Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I wish I could write down that I've had a miraculous full healing and I can do everything I once did and more, but I can't.  In honesty, I'm not sure a full healing is in my cards.  I've been slowly coming to grips with that as I've ventured further in time away from my brain tumor, and I must say, it hasn't been easy.  I don't want to miss pointing out that although I have not been healed 100%, I still believe I've been miraculously healed.  I believe there is no other way I'd be here let alone capable of what I am without God.  He has upheld me and given me strength, courage, wisdom, love, support and encouragement throughout it all. I also have amazing family and friends who have gone above & beyond to make me feel as close to normal as possible.  Despite this, I still have much work to do on myself with acceptance.  It isn't about just accepting this happened or what my future may be, its about accepting me and what I've become.  I've heard and shared many times that God doesn't make mistakes. I believe this, but I'm learning to accept, embrace and love the new parameters I now feel I have.

So then... what does it mean to be healed? When will I know I'm done? Will I ever be done?

Questions I'm still trying to answer... so here's what I've come up with so far...

The Free Dictionary online gave me this...

v. healed, healing, heals
1.To restore to health or soundness; cure.
2.To set right; repair
3.To restore (a person) to spiritual wholeness.
To become whole and sound; return to health.

In my bible study, I came across some scripture that really made me think...

Psalm 30:2
New International Version (NIV)
Lord my God, I called to you for help, 
    and you healed me.

Psalm 107:19-21

New International Version (NIV)
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them; 
    he rescued them from the grave. 
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love 
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

So the journey continues...please pray for me as 
I tread this rocky trail of acceptance.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Vow

Last night, I watched "The Vow" after putting the boys to sleep and all I can say is Wow! Not only is it a great chick-flick romance, but it really made me think.  The premise of the movie is a couple gets into a car crash and although they survive they aren't left without speed bumps they must venture across.  The woman suffers from a traumatic brain injury & memory loss (she doesn't remember him or their life) and the man is determined to make her fall in love with him again & remember what they had.  Although, I didn't suffer memory loss, I too, have had to learn a new me.  I can't even fathom what that would've been like with memory loss.  It saddens me to think, I could have woken up from surgery unable to remember Darren, Zachary or Kadin.  As I write this, I get choked up thinking about it and I have to stop myself and give Thanks to God for the blessing of memory.  I couldn't remember how to walk, talk, or swallow, but I didn't forget precious memories like what it felt like to see Darren on our wedding day, or to have an enormous hug from Zach with an I Love You, or the beautiful grin Kadin has that warmed my heart even in those dark days of ICU.  How blessed I am!  After watching the movie, I snuck into each of their bedrooms to see them one last time before I went to sleep. What AMAZING gifts they are! Thank you Lord for the memories of the past, the current & and those that I'll be making in the future. Blessings

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Finishing up

This week was the final week of Zachary's first year of preschool and it will certainly be missed.  What fantastic teachers he had and what a wonderful program that he was able to explore and learn in.  A few weeks ago, I paid tribute to all his teachers with a fun craft that allowed me to nourish my creative spirit.  Because I like themes, I selected the Fishers of Men scripture in Matthew that I felt was so fitting, and assembled a "Thank You" bag filled with goodies that fell along with that.

Matthew 4:19

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

I am so excited that Zachary gets to go to this school for another year of Preschool.  What a blessing!

Inside the bag was a bag of goldfish crackers, a fish cookie cutter, handmade fish soap, gummiworms, homemade bookmark with Matthew 4:19, and then tied to it was a fish notepad.  Yes, all fish themed, but I took it a step further with a handout that further explained each items significance.  It said:

Here's FISHIN' you a GREAT Summer!

Just a little THANK YOU for the impact you've made in our lives

In Matthew 4:19, we are called to be “Fishers of Men.” In your case these men are little children, but the importance is no less greater. So THANK YOU for what you've taught Zachary this year.
Here's a little explanation of how it all fits together...

Fish Soap -your clean teachings help propel these children forward toward success

Goldfish Crackers – in teaching, you've provided nourishment for their growing bodies, minds & souls

Gummiworms -you've used creative 'bait' (crafts, games & fun) to keep them engaged & learning

“Fishers of Men” Scripture Bookmark - a reminder of what's guiding you

Fish Cookie Cutter - you've helped to mold them into the big people they'll become

Fish Notepad - you've recorded all the achievements they've made throughout the year

May you be inspired to be creative in the way you thank others!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy 101st Post!

Well 100 posts under my belt... Thanks for reading, supporting, praying, and loving me.

Three weeks ago, I started a Bible Study and I've been overwhelmed at times with it. I don't mean that in a negative way, it strictly positive.  Months ago, I started looking for a Bible Study to get involved in and then this one came up.  I obviously didn't know all that it entailed before it began or I probably would have never entertained the idea of it. I prayed that God would not only lead me to a Bible Study that would benefit me, but that God would also be in the details of it all.  Things like speaking out load in a group, parking at the venue, time & lifestyle requirements it would have, and my abandonment to Christ and the nurturing of that relationship.

Well on the first night, I showed up a little early (I'm neurotic about being on time).  I quickly learned that this Bible Study wasn't as I'd expected. I'd heard of a Bible Study by this title & assumed it was a different one, but I was wrong.  The Bible Study is First Place 4 Health.  It focuses on Daily Victory, Daily Joy and also has a focus on having a healthy balance in all areas of your life, while putting Christ first.  I was intimidated by the rituals of weighing in, being measured & photographed for record keeping purposes.  By the end of the evening, it was all crystal clear to me what this Bible Study entailed.  I came home and began a lot of internal dialogue about whether this was right for me. I tossed and turned all night long (Thank You Satan!)  I finally came to the decision that I had asked God for a path and I was ready for wherever it lead. Here's a bit of what I've come to discover so far... what a journey.  As part of this Bible Study we are encouraged to spend additional time in God's word and one day as I read through Philippians, I came across a sobering passage that really made me think.  It's a challenge to me, no longer should I flirt with feeling sorry for myself for the path a brain tumor left through me and my family, I have to rejoice in it.  Use the journey to share God's love and plan for each of us.  I've been a Christian for a long time, but never before has scripture seemed so alive and exciting to me.  Its not just old stories, but helpful, accountable, and loving words intended to speak truth of God.
Let this scripture be my prayer: May I allow God to use a tough situation to help others.  I would be so humbled and I can't wait where that Journey leads.  Praise God I'm on it and He saved me!

Philippians 1:12-20
Paul’s Chains Advance the Gospel

New International Version (NIV)
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[a] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[b] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[c] 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

So in response I say... I am a vessel, use me!


Monday, May 14, 2012


Physical healing has been a breeze compared to emotional healing.  None of it's been easy by any means, but I felt like I had no choice to get on with life and part of that was moving, talking & eating.  In this, I think I pushed away the emotional impact this all has had on me.  I'm still in protector mode.  Some make think its denial, but I'm fully aware of what has happened and the effect it has had on my life.  I just don't want to inconvenience anyone with  processing my feelings so I've just pushed them away to deal with at a better time.  It's not that I don't have amazing people who love & support me, it's just hard because no one knows what I'm going through just as I can't imagine what those around me have gone through.  Because of the stuffing, I've dealt with little bits  that have slipped out from time to time or I find an occassion that I'm in the right state of mind to deal with it.  Processing these feelings stirs up a ton of fears for me: fear that I'm not ever gonna be normal, fear that it'll come back, fear of how my body will react to grieving (ie what will physically happen to my breathing if I start sobbing and my nose gets stuffy).   One of these processing moments occurred the other day.  I was getting ready for the day and Darren was home, so I was able to really dance on the tip of the iceberg.  I had the radio going and usually I'd be singing to the radio, but ever since my tumor removal & my resulting speech, I remain silent.  I struggle with Worship time at church because what I hear doesn't sound right to me.  I'm embarrassed & ashamed & frustrated & sad by it all.  This morning was different, as I was getting ready & trying to sing to the music, a song came on that I've heard many times.  Never before had the lyrics been so alive & meaningful to me.  The song was "Let it Fade" by Jeremy Camp. Click on the song title for a Youtube video of this song if you'd like to hear it.  Here are the lyrics that were so powerful!

Have you been walking on a surface that's uncertain?
Have you helped yourself to everything that's empty?
You can't live this way too long.
There's more than this, more than this.
Have you been standing on your own feet too long?
Have you been looking for a place where you belong?
You can rest, you will find rest.
You can rest, you will find rest.

Let this old life crumble, let it fade.
Let this new life offered be your saving grace. 
Let this old life crumble, let it fade, let it fade. 

Have you been holding on to what this world has offered? 
Have you been giving in to all these masquerades?
It will be gone, forever gone.
It will be gone, it will be gone

Let this old life crumble, let it fade.
Let this new life offered be your saving grace. 
Let this old life crumble, let it fade, let it fade. 

Let it fade.

Are you carrying the weight too much?, are you running from the call?
Let it fade, Oh yeah.

You can rest, you will find rest.
You can rest you will find rest.

Let this old life crumble, let it fade.
Let this new life offered be your saving grace. 
Let this old life crumble, let it fade, let it fade. 

Let this old life crumble, let it fade.
Have you been standing on your own feet too long?
Have you been looking for a place where you belong?

It stared me right in the face! It was as if God was saying directly to me: "Jessica, let it go, it doesn't define you, I've created you for more!". I just want to argue this saying "how can I be used if people have a hard time understanding me?". "Why didn't I sing when I could, so many missed opportunities to praise Him!". I think I've even drawn the conclusion you're not normal if you don't sound normal.  Please don't take this as my own personal pity party, I just trying to sort through feelings & truths/lies.  I haven't let go of this, but I like to think I've made some headway.  Just like the song says 'you'll find rest' and I pray I find a place where I can rest in this, knowing my speech may never return in the way I expected, but accepting it and trusting God has so much more for me.

Thanks for listening!

SIDE NOTE: PRAISE - I went out to dinner with my family this past Friday and usually I select the menu item that will be the easiest, knowing I'll still take forever eating it and most likely bringing at least half home.... BUT.... I finished it all.  I had my favorite off their menu, a bean & cheese burrito that was the size of the plate.  I even took a picture of the clean plate, I should of taken one before hand but I jumped onto that before I even had a thought to.  It was so yummy!  Thanks again for the continued prayers on my swallowing, it still isn't back to normal but it is better than it was a year or even 6 months ago. Thank You Lord!


Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Finding Center

Finding Center - my path to rediscovery of it, physically & spiritually. First PT exercise while in the hospital was relearning my "center" by making sure I was not leaning to one side or the other.  This step was critical if i wanted to walk again.  Family was asked to cue me to "line up" when they noticed I was leaning.  I had a spot on the wall in my room that I'd square up with & then I'd ask for confirmation I was truly lined up.  This was tough to do, especially with double vision, which at that point I didn't realize I had.  It took a day or two to get my brain back in the swing.  It was explained to me a number of times during this period that my brain was confused and was lying to me about a lot of things, especially my balance and it's many components. So, why is it critical to find your physical "center"? PT's response - "your brain calculates where you are in space based on information from the body position - staying over your center requires knowing where you are in space and being able to return to it after you leave it - basically it's the only thing keeping you from falling with every movement" (thanks Irene & LeAnne). Okay so now that I've regained that for the most part... (I can still feel my lean & instead of my brain just fixing it, sometimes I have to have some inner dialogue).  But, what about your spiritual walk? I learned the importance of my center in my physical walk, but what was "my center" in my spiritual walk? And so the journey began...and TRUST me it's not over. I figure I'll be working on this the rest of my life, as I suspect we all should be.  So here's what happened so far.  I had this major thing happen and I had a choice to make.  I could face my situation with fear of what lay before me or I could face my situation with faith that God would care for me. I chose Faith and my journey hasn't slowed down since.  God has continued to heal me in a remarkable way.  Over two years now, I still am noticing changes.  Trusting God that He'll heal me, please don't think I'm expecting a complete healing.  My expectation is that God will heal me according to His plan and He has exceeded my initial expectation.  When you are laying in a hospital bed unable to walk, talk, or swallow, your beside yourself when you surpass a wheelchair, walker, and other aides I once had.  In reality, I was discharged with a lot of 'necessity items' (walker, suction machine, handlebars on toliets, blood pressure cuff, handicap parking tag, feeding tube & food,  meds).  I think all but the feeding tube and a few meds were gone by six months post op. Praise God!!!!!  As soon as the tube was out 14 months post op, so were the meds.  I started driving a little after 6 months post op and have been moving ever since.  Eleven months post op, I joined the gym and have been faithfully going , my goal is three days a week.  I can't stress this enough, ALL of this is possible because of God! While I've been healing physically, I've been spending more time in God's word.  I've begun doing devotions daily and have returned to church, which I had stopped going to when I first became sick in October 2010 because of fear of how I'd be received. Now, even with my very present deficits, I'm still welcomed with open arms & warms smiles.  Gods word has become exciting to me and I am starting to enjoy it!  By focusing on God, I've truly been able to enjoy the blessings He has given me.  I'm working at getting "my center" focused on Him.  We are called in Hebrews 12:2 to 'fix our eyes on Jesus' and in Matthew 6:33 to 'seek ye first the kingdom of God'. By realigning ourselves with God, we are capable of incredible things.  So, does this mean I have it all figured out? No way! I still struggle daily and I still have 'hot spots' that need God's attention & my focus, repentance & redirection.  I'm not perfect, but it's amazing when God reveals stuff to you how important it is to 'finding center' in Him. Please continue to pray for me and my recovery. I'm trying to be bold & trusting here, so, please pray for my anger & it's ability to rear it's quick ugly head and for frustrations I come across with my deficits and how they impact being a wife and mother.  Thank you! Blessings.