Friday, July 22, 2016

The Best Laid Plans.....

One of the things that I tend to resist is planning. While I appreciate organization and I know that making some plans is supportive, I prefer a more "freestyle" approach. It is a funny thing. We make appointments, work to stay on a schedule, have things going a certain way and then BOOM, life happens and things... change. This summer has been a continual affirmation that there is little that I know, even less that I am in control of and sometimes it is a total act in trust, faith and patience. It's been insanely FUN and challenging, all wrapped up together.

We were all set to head to radiation yesterday and got a call as we were on our way out. The "test run" for Pake's protocol didn't pass quality inspection. At 87% accuracy, they couldn't confirm that the radiation was going to go to the targeted area. This is his hearing and we are not willing to take chances or compromise his good auditory nerve. While it was an inconvenience, I also appreciated the specialist taking time to explain what was going on, what the process involved and why we were not able to move forward as planned. So what to do when things don't go as planned? How do we proceed when we are feeling really annoyed because what we had planned didn't pan out?

In all honesty, I was annoyed when I initially heard the news. We drove four hours to get to Omaha so he could begin treatments and now we don't have a set date. Hummmmm. There was that strong urge to shut down, be angry and frustrated. I know these reactions well. And... I recognized them right away.

I took a deep breath, I walked outside and sat on the porch. I took in another deep breathe and I listened. I listened to what "Michael" had to say. I listened to his words and his tone. He was apologetic and he knew this was an inconvenience. He was nervous about how I would respond and what kind of person he was talking to and.... he was doing his job. He HAD to tell me this information and he knew that it was out of alignment to even think of continuing until they could be certain that the calibrations were going to work as intended. I was deeply grateful for his knowledge and his willingness to take the time to explain everything. 

How many times do we stop to really listen to and receive what people are sharing with us? How many times have we bitten someone's head off when they are simply doing their job or sharing their truth or just letting us know how they feel? Yes, my reaction one of being annoyed because the team was gumming up the works of MY plan...... oh my... I caught myself there. How can I be annoyed at them? Or anyone else? This is just how things go, sometimes they work how we want them to and... sometimes they don't. 

I think when we have something in mind and it doesn't go as planned there's a tendency to stay stuck on what we wanted to happen. We're still "back there" when right in front of us are abundant opportunities. "Okay, that's out, so what's next?" Has been my next game plan. Sometimes I don't know the answer. I sure didn't yesterday. It worked out just fine. We had a great day, got a little "pampering" in (Thanks, Leah!) took Pake out for his new favorite dish (fried rice and chicken) and enjoyed great conversation and laughs. 

We didn't limit ourselves because things didn't turn out how we wanted them to. We looked for and opened into what else was possible, what experiences and gifts were waiting for us since the ones we thought we were going to have didn't come through. 

No one can say what is coming next. We can make plans and we can have some ideas, but really we don't know. That's part of living in this time, place and culture. We have to become ok with not knowing, which is scary for those of us that prefer the safety of routine, habits, patterns and boundaries. I'm not sure that the unknown will ever be really comfortable for me. I am shifting to look at the unknown as an adventure, an experience. I want to make the most of every day and my intention is to LIVE full on. To do this, a lot of my own beliefs and limitations are being challenged. This is not always comfortable and it certainly isn't easy. I can feel growth though and I feel myself changing from the inside out. I am constantly coming up against my own thoughts and beliefs and testing them to see if they still fit. Some do and some do not. 

The other day I was going to wait to wear a fun outfit combination. My initial thought was to put this aside for a different, future event. I was just going out to lunch. (I caught myself here too.) Why wait? The cute shirt and skirt made me smile, shouldn't I wear them now? Today? Why was I making a future event more important than the present one, right here, right now? 

Our lives are a serious of choices within each moment. There is no guarantee that we are going to pick the right choice. In fact, there may not be a right choice. What if it is just a choice? We make the choice, find out what happens and keep moving forward. I've lived with a lot of regret, guilt and second guessing. Growing up I had tons of anxiety over making the "right choice" the last thing I wanted to do was make a mistake. I now see that differently. We are going to make mistakes, we are not going to be "on" and hit the mark every time. If we are going to truly LIVE and experience life, we have to be willing to be ok with what happens after we make a choice. If we don't like something we can change it. Yes, we have to live with that choice but LIVING implies that we will also learn from mistakes and we will continue to grow. Some of the big mistakes that I felt I've made and beat myself up with at the time, proved to be some of the most beautiful blessings of my life. It's all perspective. It's how we look at the situations within the act of living, and still claim the sweet blessings that continually surround us. 

I don't know what the rest of today will bring. I don't know how tomorrow or the next day, next week, next month will go. I always hope for the best, brightest and most positive. I continually look for ways that my journey can inspire and strengthen others. I have made the choice to LIVE right now, right here. 

As for planning, I'll be writing down what I hope comes through. I am developing a rare talent for turning scratched out events into rare art forms and animal shapes. I hope wherever you are, whatever you are experiencing this moment as you read these words that you will make the choice to LIVE. Wear those fun shoes you've been saving. Cook that special meal that you've been thinking about. Tell the person you've been admiring how you feel. Look your babies in the eyes and tell them that they are beautiful gifts and how grateful you are for them being in your life. Take a walk. Make a positive habit change. Challenge yourself to find the good in even the shittiest situations. Speak your truth. Live from your heart, even if it doesn't make logical sense. Be who you are. Love yourself, love others. Share your gifts, inspirations, encouragement, support and gratitude. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Here we go...

Happy to report that Pake completed the preliminary work for radiation today. The staff is very kind and his nurses are stellar. He walked in and out, with a smile on his face. Today's highligh was getting to choose the Pandora music, "2000 something Country" (I'll keep my opinion on that to myself :) 

He'll be here once a day, starting next week. It's going to be a long 6 week haul, but we all agree that it is better than surgery. He's had enough of that to last for a long, long time. 

I'm super proud of Pake's positive approach. Not one time has he felt sorry for himself or complained. What an inspiration he is! 

Everything is better with {old} Country Music! 

Signing the consent form
We want to thank everyone for the support, messages and encouragement! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Blank Page

It's crazy to ponder how my life has changed recently. I've fought long and hard to "become," to create a life that I wanted to fully participate in. When I sat down in January and penned my intentions for the year, I had no idea how things would shift and change. I had long-held dreams, desires, and hopes pulsating in my heart. I held on tight. Too tightly. I knew if I let go, things wouldn't be the same. 

I've learned you can't hold on to situations and people. I've known this but I had to re-learn it. We all have a choice of how we want to spend our days, how we want to live and be and what we want to experience and who we want to experience life with. We can put fourth a lot of effort, hoping things will go how we want, we can offer invitations and encouragement, but when it comes right down to it..... if we have to force something or someone to be in our lives, it's probably not meant to be, or at least not in the way we thought it was going to be. I've beat my head into an invisible wall until it was bloody. I've cried rivers, and none of those tears produced my desires. So I stopped. I stopped forcing, I stopped hoping, I stopped trying to make things happen. I let go. My stubbornness is an attribute that has kept me going, it's part of why I am where I am today. While it's admirable to work hard for something that I want, it's equally exhausting to keep working on on a project or person that doesn't isn't willing to put match that devotion, time or focus. There's heartbreak in letting go but there's also relief. 

I'm sitting here on my porch, looking at a blank page. I have no idea what words and experiences will fill this page. I only know where I've been and how I'm approaching life now. It's uncertain and I'm good with that. I'm waiting on a call that will determine the path for the rest of my summer. Pake has a small tumor on his right auditory nerve, this is his "good" ear. We have a couple of treatment options, both equally risky. This is beyond our control. The option that looks the best requires a relocation to Omaha for six weeks and daily radiation treatment. While we are blessed to have my best friend living in Omaha, this is not a vacation. While I love to travel, explore and experience, I am also mindful of the need to have a home, routine and some predictability for my children. This move will shake things up. The overall goal is to preserve Pake's hearing and so we will do whatever we have to do to ensure that he can hear, for as long as possible. 

We've made an unspoken agreement that our outlook is positive, we purposely find the good, the blessings and the benefits within this situation. It is all "unknown" yet we know how we look at this situation, how we act, react and deal with the challenges that arise are ultimately going to determine our attitude. This is not ideal, but few things in life are. We have Soul Family and friends that support us. 

We've come a LONG way since his diagnoses and now, five surgeries later we are grateful that we can walk in and out of the UNMC, and not have to spend the night. It's summer time and he's not missing school. I have a vehicle that runs down the interstate so we can have Parker and Pryce with us every other week. We WILL make the most of this situation, discomfort aside. 

I have some plans and ideas for what I want to create now that I've completed my Master's program. I still have BIG dreams and desires for what I want to experience, where I want to travel and how I want to offer my gifts, talents and insights to others. I'll continue to flow with these, tuning into the timing and working with what arises. 

In the meantime, Pake could certainly use some prayers and positive, healing intentions. He's 17 and this is scary. He's strong and positive. He knows who he is and what he's about. He's aware of the cards he's been dealt and he's determined to make the most of the life he's been given. As his Mama, my job is to embody the full power of love, support, guidance, humor {and healthy sarcasm} that I can provide. I'm still a Mama though and my heart is bit heavy because of the sacrifices that have to be made. We are not victims. We are human with all the worries and fears. I've never been one to sugar coat anything, so I'll simply say that heading into this with some apprehension. I trust that everything will be fine. I trust that I have people to lean on when things get rough but most of all I trust that we are right where we need to be. 

I wanted to start a separate page for Pake, but he said, "No." He would like me to continue to integrate updates here on my Facebook page and here. He doesn't want sympathy in any way. I want him to know that he's got tons of support, more support than what he can possibly imagine. He's one of my hearts and to know that he has to go through this hurts. 

This is our life. We will continue to live it, be grateful for the many blessings, the twists and turns, the beautiful surprises and the memories we are making. It is our hope that we can somehow be a reminder of how precious life is and perhaps be a positive example to those who are dealing with challenges, in whatever forms they are showing up as. 

Today, we are grateful for medicine, for technology and for the love and support of the wonderful people in our lives. 

Pink Cup. Planners. 5:2 Weekly Review

Light Me Up: This week's inspiration is an adorable cup I snagged after we hiked Rocky Mountain National Park. The Aspen and Evergreen ...