Category Archives: Encouragement

Most Popular Posts on Parkinson’s Journey

imageThese are the most popular posts on Parkinson’s Journey:

Hundreds of people with Parkinson’s disease tell what their first noticeable symptoms were

People with Parkinson’s were polled as to what their fears are about PD. These are the answers.

What does it take to be an advocate for PD?

A poem on what people with PD live with

Facts about PD infographics

10 things every person with PD wants in life

This Week’s Offering… May 17th, 2015

When You Can’t Breathe

  Steven Curtis Chapman says it best…

“I don’t even wanna breathe right now
All I wanna do is close my eyes
But I don’t wanna open them again
Until I’m standing on the other side

I don’t even wanna be right now
I don’t wanna think another thought
And I don’t wanna feel this pain I feel
And right now, pain is all I’ve got.”

It was a hard day.

I waved good-bye to my son, his wife, and my two grandchildren as they drove down the street, on their way to Northern Idaho to a new home, new jobs, a new life. Now instead of twelve minutes away, it was fifteen hours.

My two grandchildren, one five and the other – one year old. My two grandchildren, who I had watched almost since day one. Every day. All day.

I helped them learn to walk. Eat with a spoon. Drink from a cup.

I sat in that rocking chair over there, and rocked them to sleep. Sang to them hymns. Read to them about the pants with nobody inside of them. Held them when they were sick or well or when they just wanted to be held.

I sat at that table over there and played games with ‘Boo’, colored, painted, had tea parties.

And then one day, my son announced a new job opportunity and you can guess the rest and that’s why I stood outside one Sunday morning, waving good-bye to a car filled with precious ones.

And after they left, I went to the rose garden and everywhere I walked I heard Boo. I saw her chasing the blackbirds. And I could hear her excitement upon finally seeing the elusive jack rabbit we’ve been tracking for months – if she had been there.

And the next day, I worked in the garden and watered her garden – a garden filled with volunteer larkspur, bachelor buttons, poppies. She is so proud of her garden. I worked out there most all day. I worked out there until I couldn’t move. I worked out there so I didn’t have to think.

And Tuesday, yesterday, I still couldn’t move. I moved too much on Monday and paid for it on Tuesday. I had lost mobility and.. gained pain in its place. I sat on the couch and worked on my pictures and cried. My digital albums are filled with children’s smiles and I could almost hear the giggles behind those smiles.

And then there was Wednesday. At one point I felt like I had been locked in a blackened room – hopeless, lost, empty. And I wept. For something lost. And it felt as if my heart was literally breaking in two. The crack I could live with a week ago became a bottomless crevice. The strength that held me together a week ago had become jello.

And I wept.

God, how am I going to do this?, I whispered through tears I hadn’t spilled out so hard in so long.

My head told me those two little ones were not mine to hold onto. I was not even their parent. Can a Grammy love her little Grammy-grandchildren so very much?

Yes. Yes – she most definitely can.

As I sat on the bathroom floor, I cried some more and through the tears whispered, God, I lived for those kids.

They were my daily dose of laughter, love, smiles, hugs, joy. God used those two little ones to bless me over and above in so many ways I never deserved. I viewed them as my little disciples and we talked about God everywhere we went. In everything we did.

How I found the energy to do it every day, only God knows. I napped with John and napped when they went home. I fought through the pain within my body and refused to not hold my grandkids or change diapers even when I didn’t think I could stand it another minute.

My body was screaming to let go. My heart was screaming to hold on. My head was saying it was time. Time to listen to the body. The disease that strives to claim more ground with each passing day was doing its job. Time to let go.

It was the grace of God that intervened. But oh how it hurt. After all, I lived for those kids.

And then, I heard it. That still, small voice that you can hear when you’re sobbing uncontrollably because your not busy talking and making incessant, unneedful noise and chatter. The comforting, life-giving voice of God.

God, I lived for those kids, I had whispered through tears.

And before I could go on to the next thought of despair, He whispered back.

Live for me.”

The uncontrollable sobbing became controlled. The tears dried up. A tiny ray of sunshine, a tiny grain of hope took hold deep inside my heart and the crevice began to close and return to a crack. A few more tears fell. Not from grief but because of grace. The grace of God. The trustworthy grace of a merciful God.

I don’t know what living for Him looks like in the days ahead with PD – His plans, His dreams for me – but as I live for Him, I will trust Him completely. I’ve been through too much in my lifetime to do anything less.

Like I said, Steven Curtis Chapman says it best…

I don’t wanna feel this pain I feel
And right now, pain is all I’ve got.
It feels like it’s all I’ve got, but I know it’s not
No, I know You’re all I’ve got
And I will trust You, I’ll trust You
Trust You, God, I will
Even when I don’t understand, even then I will say again
You are my God, and I will trust You.

Trust You. I will trust You. 

Even when I don’t understand the physical, emotional, or mental pain, I will trust Him

Trusting Him always,
Sherri

Will You Flee or Fight?

 I can’t believe it’s May. I should, as we celebrated my two boys’ birthday this past week. 28 and 32 years old. Born the same day, April 30th. Four years apart. It leaves me amazed, for lack of a better adjective, how quickly the days and years have passed. It also makes me sort of sad, as watching my grandkids during the day leaves me realizing the same thing is happening with them.

I think as a young mother, you can’t realize how fast the time is slipping by. You’re too busy changing diapers and running bath water. Doing daly tubs of laundry and wiping up spills. You’re consumed with the next activity whether it be a softball game or assisting with homework. Through all of the busyness, you lose sight of the reality this could be one of the ‘lasts’. When once you thought you had forever, now you realize you may not have tomorrow.

I’m not sure how all that came running out – pen to paper – except to go back to the beginning and reiterate, ‘I can’t believe it’s May’. Parkinson’s Awareness month (April) is now over and I mostly flaked out on making others aware. Go ahead and throw the tomatoes. I really don’t think I could have done any better.

As my grandkids grow, I often wonder when will be the last day for opportunities to rock them because they won’t fit on my lap any longer? Will today be the last day for Clara to be excited to see me when I pick her up from school and she runs into my arms? Will today be the last day John is enamored with a hummingbird and waves bye-bye as it flies away? Will this be the last day Finn tries to roll over because tomorrow he will? Just how many ‘lasts’ will/could there be?

Sometimes life can bring us down. 

Who am I kidding? 

Sometimes life does bring us down. The important thing to remember is it’s deadly to stay down. We don’t necessarily die physically, but when you’re dealing with a chronic illness day in and day out, constant pain on top of that, loss of mobility – whatever comes with what you have – it’s not that difficut to die in our spirit. We lose the desire to be a part of the fleeting days. We want to ‘fleet’ right along with them. Life is sometimes, almost, unbearable.

That’s one reason I watch my grandkids – because life is so precious and we aren’t promised tomorrow. That can be taken two ways. First, we aren’t promised tomorrow in that we may not have the opportunity ever again to spend time with those we love. We may choke on an olive at dinner tonight and that will be it. Second, we aren’t promised tomorrow in that we may still be here physically, but instead be in a place where we can’t have our grandkids on our lap or they’ll tip our wheelchair over. You know what I mean.

I know  if I avoid choking on an olive at dinner tonight, it could leave the possibility of not beig able to do things with others later because of the road this disease may take me on. And so, I have to make a choice. In spite of the pain, the loss of normal movements, tiredness and everything else that can come with a chronic illness – do I say forget it and give in to that dying spirit or choose to endure through the pain and whatever else and keep fighting this thing?

I choose to fight.

There are some of you who may not be so sure today. That is what prompted this post. Somebody may feel like giving up, like giving in. Please don’t. If you don’t have the strength to fight emotionally, write me, leave a comment, message me on Facebook. Something. You are not in this alone. I will fight with you. I will fight for you. I’ve been there in the dark place and fighting is so much better because even in the pain, life is precious.

Journeying with you,
sherri

When Life Is Overwhelming 

 

There is a pair of yellow flip-flops on the front of a blue t-shirt. Below them it is written: “Life is good”.

Some days, life
is

good.

Other days, it can be so overwhelming.

Yet, from the good day to the days that are filled with feelings of despair and discouragement, emptiness and apathy, nothing has really changed. Nothing seems so different in our circumstances that should cause us to feel as if things have chnaged.

It’s all familiar, but the difference of only a day can bring a dark, haunting feeling that causes me to feel overwhelmed. Struggles that were present yesterday but gave no real cause for concern, today give way to distress.

There is a song entitled, “Here”, by Kate White and it speaks to my heart in so many ways.

Here,
In this place,
In this moment
I will praise You.

And here,
In this place,
I will glorify Your name.


Here,
without fear,
I will climb into Your lap.

And here,
bathed in tears,
You embrace me as I am.

My life is overwhelming me.
It’s hard to see the things You see.
Your spirit comes to comfort me.
I will praise You.

Here.

Here, in this moment, in this place, I am overwhelmed. My life is overwhelming me. It’s hard for me to see the things God sees. It’s hard for me to see the way God sees – how my disease will progress. If my friend will find a place of remission with her fast growing cancer. If my opportunities to see my grandkids will get fewer and farther between. If our income will be sufficient month to month. If we will be able to care for our parents the way they will need to be cared for when the time comes. If… when… how… where…

On days that are overwhelming, the list can seem endless.

Because I make it endless.

It’s quite easy to add to it when you’re in a state of mind that seems like everything is overwhelming you. One dark, discouraging thought after another.

But, it is here, in this moment, in this place, I will praise Him.

For here, in this place, I climb into His lap and bathed in tears, He embraces me as I am.

Whether faithless, concerned, overwhelmed, or whatever defines my feelings, my world.

His spirit comforts me. And the darkness dissipates into light. And the light washes over me in the color of warm. And the warm soothes my soul so that I know that once again, He is God. He is here, in this moment, in this place.

The very least my heart can do is to praise Him. And so I praise Him.

Here.

In this place.
Journeying with hope – sherri
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