Call of Duty!

20140107-230006.jpg

Call of Duty is a very popular video game in the entertainment world, and most likely if you are a gamer you play, or have tried to play the game! If you haven’t done either of these, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, or know someone who plays it!

This game is filled with missions and  series of objectives. If you play online you can play with others from around the world separated into teams with a specific mission to complete! When playing online this game calls for timing, precision, skill, teamwork , maneuvering, anticipation of your enemy’s movement And much more.

I live with an avid C.O.D. (At this moment it’s C.O.D. Ghosts) player and many times the games go from fantasy to real life (L.O.L.) and if I was asked to sum up the game with one word it would be “Intense” and just from hearing the noise from outside the door it can go from fun to highly emotional with one movement of the controller! There have been many times where the reminder has not only been this is not real life, but just a game! We have also joked of the fact that when my husband is going to play, he’s off to war, and those times he’s not playing, that he’s home on leave! Yes it’s that serious!

All jokes aside; as I thought about his game after texting him to quiet down, I realized we have all been given a “Call of Duty” in life whether we understand it or not! In our life here on earth we have been given a purpose. In our purpose (the reason we are here) we will be given many missions, filled with a series of objectives that we must complete!

Then there are times like on the online version of the game, that there is one special specific mission that must be completed! The mission that not only calls us to have precision, skill, teamwork, anticipation, but one that requires patience, and the wherewithal to endure!

You see the games can be played in the first person; where the player experiences the action through the eyes of the protagonist. Or you play the third person where it’s an outside view, over the shoulder, behind the back. This third person view allows you to see the surrounding environment better and act accordingly. It allows you to see the mission through total different eyes!

For my husband and I we have been given a “Call of Duty” with a specific mission to take care of a child who has Epilepsy! Just like when you first start playing the video game, you have to learn it and the more you do, the better you get at it. So it’s the same for taking care of our son we had to learn how. We had to also come to grips with the fact that in this mission we are not first person but third! Our job to stay by our son’s side at all times watching his environment, helping him to see the things he couldn’t from his view and acting accordingly. It may get very intense at times, and it may seem as though Epilepsy is getting all the points but  the objective is to work as a team to endure this condition and one day not only with our son, but 65 million others we will  be able to say we “Won the round” !

*If you have been given a specific mission whether in first person or third; don’t give up remember you have been given all the tools you need for your “Call of Duty” you just need to learn how to use them!

The Gift

20131230-095721.jpg

“Remember, the greatest gift is not found in a store nor under a tree, but in the heart…” ~Unknown

This year when asked by my family what I wanted for Christmas, I constantly told them I didn’t want anything! When they continued to ask the question I later responded with:

  1. Quiet time to write
  2. Help doing chores
  3. Get along with each other
  4. To follow directions the first time given
  5. Try their best in all they do

Their response was “We can’t put those things under a tree” as I smiled and said “I know!”

As we later had a more detailed conversation about my requests; I reminded them sometimes the smallest things, the ones we forget or we take for granted are the greatest gifts we could ever give or receive! Those gifts are the ones that truly require the most from us, a part of us! Those gifts require us to stop and think and do from our hearts!

In explaining this to them they chimed  “It’s like getting gifts everyday” and truly it is!

After our discussion and my time of reflection, I remembered  that in our day-to-day there are also things that happen to us or come our way, things that are given; that cannot be wrapped up and put under a tree, those that may hold value and many more that will be priceless!

The next day I notified my family of a challenge for the upcoming year, and this challenge I place before you also!

THE GIFT CHALLENGE:

Take a left over medium size box (make sure it is a deep box) from your Christmas/holiday celebration, or any you may have around the house. Wrap it with any left over wrapping paper.

Once you’ve wrapped the box cut a slit big enough to place a slip of paper in. It only needs to be big enough to place the paper in. (not to take the paper out).

(After the box has been wrapped and the slit has been made.)

Place a tag on it that says  “THE GIFT”

Then take the box and place it in an easy accessible area.

For the next 359 (give or take) days you are to write down on a piece of paper the things that have been gifted to you, things that have changed your life, changed your day, made you smile, laugh, touched you in any special way etc. (make sure you date each piece and if you want put your initials on it).

on Christmas Eve place “The Gift” under the tree to be opened Christmas Day. It is then that you will truly know:

“That Each day comes bearing its own gifts. (All you have to do is) Untie the ribbons.” ~ Ruth Ann Schabacker

All information in this blog is copyright to the original author The Elite Mom©2013

Lose Not…

There are days when I feel like I’m on top of the world, unconquerable; that this journey of life, the journey of Epilepsy cannot get us (my family) down! Then there are days…days like lately where sighing becomes like breathing, and the joy of days before seem like a million years away! Days where I feel not only as a mom but a caregiver that; all the steps taken , progress made, hopes built, appear to be vulnerable to collapsing! Those are times when “sighing” just doesn’t seem like enough and my mind feels as if everything is at a complete loss! When we tried everything and at that one moment we feel so unsuccessful in our efforts…

         Lose not courage, lose not faith go forward ~Marcus Garvey

In reality there are going to be hard days, days where we are so tired, days where giving up, or saying we can’t do it come so naturally…but…

Lose not courage… don’t be unsuccessful in keeping possession of your ability to do the things you know are difficult or dangerous.

Lose not faith… don’t be deprived of your confident belief in the truth or value. don’t lose possession of your strength, or your unshakeable belief in things; don’t be deprived of your confidence or trust.

Go forward…resume what you were doing and advance to what is ahead!

We have been given a promise:

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” ~1Corinthians 10:13 MSG

In the words of many today “If God brought you to it, he’ll bring you through it!”

Our job is to “Lose not courage, lose not faith, go forward!”

A Time to Dance!

girl and rainI remember growing up, hearing a song by the Beatles called “Turn, Turn,Turn” I loved it! I always thought that no matter how bad things got eventually they would get better, that’s what the song said! As I got older I remember hearing a scripture reading of Ecclesiastes 3 in church; this chapter said everything the song did and it floored me (of course it was explained to me the song was based on this scripture.) There was one verse that would stay in my mind  and that was “A time to mourn and a time to dance!”

As huge times of sadness entered my life from death of loved ones, major life problems etc. this verse became ingrained in my heart. I knew God’s promise of no matter how much I cried, grieved etc. I would get to a point in life where I would be able to dance with joy! I began to live in this promise, to hold onto it! This verse to me said that there would be a time to mourn and then that time would be done; and when it was, a time to dance would take its place!

Now for the past couple of years since my son’s Epilepsy diagnosis; people have prayed for him asking for complete healing of this condition, prayers so strong they made you feel chill bumps! I came to see this time as our “mourning” waiting for the healing which would bring a time of “dancing”.

The other day a quote came my way:

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain! – Vivian Greene

It was at that moment the old dance teacher in me was revived and I  had to say to myself wow what perspective! Dance is an art form, it is in this that the human movement is seen as the medium! This human movement is used as the  medium to convey  senses, understanding, and communicating of ideas, feelings, and experiences. It is believed that dancing helps develop communication abilities, problem solving and critical thinking skills.

So when I saw this quote and thought about my son’s Epilepsy; which the doctors referred to as “electrical storms”… I realized sometimes in life there will be storms that we won’t be able to stop and those that  may never cease! In that case it’s not about waiting for them to pass but it’s learning a new form and way of understanding, a new way of communicating your ideas, feelings and experiences. It is in this new form that we will develop the ability to communicate in the storm, a new way to problem solve in the storm  and we will see our critical thinking skills change to guide us in the midst of the storms…that is where we will begin to dance!

What I realize is that I would love for there to be a time of “mourning” that ends and the beginning of the time of “dancing”, but what I also now know is that; no, life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; Life is indeed about learning to do things differently! To free yourself from what was and freely move in excitement and expectation  to what will be!

We may be surprised because sometimes the storm seems so bad from inside the house but when we step out we learn the rain was the lightest most refreshing thing that touched us! After all, there first must be a storm to receive the rainbow.

So maybe we all need to learn to no longer wait for the storms to pass, but learn to move through them, to dance, be free and to live!

Strength Not of My Own!

” Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”  ~ unknown

In 2006 after years of trying to figure out symptoms and complications that I had been dealing with since in my teens; a doctor was able to pinpoint the problem and I was diagnosed with Wolff- Parkinson- White a heart condition in which the electrical system of the heart is abnormal causing rapid heart rates. With the finding of this and a couple faulty valves my cardiologist wanted me to have surgery. I was to stop some of my current activities till I was able to control my condition a little better; one of them being teaching dance at that time, and the other caring full time for my 2 children. I told my doctor giving those things up was not an option, and I would learn to control these things with diet and increase exercise regime!

After great discipline I was able to control my condition and episodes a lot better, and they soon only came during high stress times.

A couple of years down the line I once again fell ill, dealing with symptoms I had dealt with as a teen/ early adult that no one could diagnosis! I had just had my youngest son and was dealing with intense symptoms and I was seeing my doctor they started running test to see if I had M.S.  and was shortly able to rule that out, but the question still remained what was going on? Shortly after I was diagnosed with Lupus, thrown back into learning how to maintain a proper diet, find the right exercise regime etc.

I struggled to find the right balance and be the healthy person my family needed! I found a rhythm to keeping myself healthy! Another obstacle passed!

Not even a year after my diagnosis we were hit with another obstacle this time my oldest son, he was diagnosed with Epilepsy and I would have to learn to care for him! Even on days where I wasn’t a 100%  I  would have to struggle to fight the pain… to do the things I normally in “sick days” couldn’t do for myself let alone others!

Just this Summer I learned after a hearing checkup that I was losing my hearing and would soon need to be fitted for hearing aids, yet another obstacle to overcome!

When people learn of my story they always worry and ask how do you do it? I can understand if you just went insane, or if you decided to give up! What they don’t know and  never understand is that  On my weakest days, that is when I’m my strongest;  there is  a strength that is beyond my understanding fueling me, pushing me, giving me a power far beyond my natural capabilities! God has taken me in his arms he walks me through the toughest days, the weakest days! On the days I and others may understand if I give up God holds me tighter and blesses me with a strength that is of his own, all He ask in return is that I never give up, that I trust him to hold me and carry me through,  Making me a true testimony of the ‘Footprints in the Sand!”

One night a man had a dream.

He dreamed he was walk­ing along the beach with the Lord.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.

For each scene, he noticed two sets of foot­prints in the sand:

One belong­ing to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,

he looked back at the foot­prints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of his life

there was only one set of footprints

He also noticed that it hap­pened at the very low­est and sad­dest times in his life.

This really both­ered him, and he ques­tioned the Lord about it.

“Lord, you said that once I decided to fol­low you

you’d walk with me all the way.

But I have noticed that dur­ing the most trou­ble­some times in my life

there is only one set of footprints.

I don’t under­stand why when I needed you the most you would leave me.”

The Lord replied, “My pre­cious, pre­cious child,

I love you and I would never leave you.

Dur­ing your times of trial and suffering,

when you saw only one set of foot­prints in the sand,

it was then that I car­ried you.”

footprints_in_the_sand-1024x886

 

*Thank you to my brother who shared this quote and touched my heart!

Seize the Moments of Bounty!

There’s something about the first day of November that makes the Fall season seem so official! When I think of this time of year I think of harvest time, and all the fruits and vegetables in their bounty, in their abundance! The crops rich in their colors and aromas! In my mind I can only thank the farmers for being so diligent in the days they had to sow etc. I can only be thankful that they used their days wisely that I may be able to enjoy the work of their hands!

This evening for the first time I saw this in a different light; as I sat watching Hallmark Channel, start their Heart of Christmas Movie Countdown with the kids , across the screen flashed that there was 53 days till Christmas and P’nut yelled it out! He then added 53 days of amazing life!

What if we took on the mindset of this little boy? Instead of seeing a couple of Holidays in these next couple of months that we see this time as 53 full days of complete amazing life?

Webster’s Dictionary says that the word Bounty is mostly associated with a great harvest that produces lots of food, it’s known as nature’s bounty.

In actuality bounty means generosity in giving; something given freely; a generous gift.

So instead of seeing Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, we should see all of them as 53 days of amazing life, 53 days of bounty, 53 days that have been given freely to us. Given freely for us to enjoy and use wisely each and every second of them in their abundance!

If we are diligent with the days we are given freely and generously by our Heavenly Father and use them to give ourselves completely to family, friends etc. We will produce  rich colorful memories, filled with the sweet aroma of love! doing this will ensure the time taken will produce memories that will last!

53 days of complete amazing life, to seize the moments of bounty!

Reflections!

reflection1There’s a quote that I ran across  by Mahatma Gandhi

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

Even funnier yet that after reading the quote I was approached by my older children; complaining that their younger brother was not playing nicely. I jumped at the moment to use this quote and of course I did, they both said ok we get it and took off! Shortly they were back in front of me and I asked my normal question when I know there’s something wrong; “What’s the problem?” They both chimed “we were the change and our change didn’t change him at all!”

In that moment I sent them back off to play and get along, but days and now weeks after this happened It amazes me; that their response is no different than any other child’s and to be totally honest no different than an adult’s  response! Sometimes we see change as something that happens right then and there, most of the time when we use the word it’s to reference to a change you see quickly on the spot. When we don’t see the change immediately we can sometimes give up, I know I’ve been guilty of that. So I had been trying to find a better way to explain that quote to my kids; I kept thinking what is the best way to deal with this and as I thought I remembered :

A few years ago when I was teaching dance and my group and I were getting ready for one of our performances, I wanted to use dance scarves as one of our props. I searched everywhere for the perfect ones and could not find them so I set out to make them myself. I went to Jo-ann Fabrics got the material and tools etc. The material was very sheer and delicate and the only way for me to get the design I wanted on them; was I had to use this light box and I had to have a stencil that not only had the shape but also the colors I wanted to use. From there I had to turn the light box on,stick the stencil on a center part of it and then place it somewhere it couldn’t be tampered with. This process they said could take weeks even months. The process was that slowly but surely the light in the light box was going to take the images on the stencil and slowly reflect onto my material, until the material soaked it up and the image would then be embedded in the cloth! The Lady at the store told me it would take patience, and that the reflection must be constant and consistent!

Why at a time like this I would remember such a thing. Even more why am I telling this to you? I am simply saying that sometimes like that cloth I was using, a situation is way to delicate to want instant change ;   instant change for that cloth meant it would damage the cloth and lead to it unraveling, and so that goes for our lives! Sometimes the things we want and need to see change in, are the things we need to be willing to place ourselves under a light and be the stencil for or the guidelines for. That we must be willing to be patient, constant and consistent; so that those around us can slowly soak up our pattern to the point that they slowly reflect what we are and what we want to see!

So parents if we want to see certain morals and characteristics in our children; we must not only talk to them about it but we must be willing to be the image for them to reflect!

wives, husbands if we want to see love, respect etc. in our spouses we must be willing to be the image that they can reflect!

As for me I’m not only trying to be the image as a wife, and a parent, but in my life I also have to be willing to be the image of awareness for EPILEPSY! Yes it is something I Would love to see a change over night, but I also know it is too delicate of a cause, situation to want that instant change; for fear that instant change would unravel what others have worked years to build! So I, like many other advocates have to be willing to place our lives, our struggles, our compassion, our love, our hope, our faith, determination, fight and so much more under the light to slowly but surely be reflected and embedded into the world around us!

So tomorrow as we welcome Epilepsy Awareness Month around the world; those walking the journey, those advocating don’t give up, don’t lose sight be patient, constant and consistent your image will lead to the reflection that changes the world!

Happy Epilepsy Awareness Month!

Forget, Strain and Press!

Lately People ask me about my faith, I have decided to include a section about my faith. The only way I can start is by taking you back!

I remember sitting in the pew years ago when I was just a little girl; with my eyes wide open, my ears listening intently and my body hanging off the edge of the pew! I was listening to the Pastor tell this story and not only was it interesting to hear, but this Pastor’s actions spoke louder than words! That Sunday the particular text he was preaching on; he began to tell us to visualize being in a race and he started to use words that were so detailed you could see everything. As he spoke he came down further into the aisle and grabbed two of the biggest guys in the congregation; both no less than 6’2′  and weighing in the lower 300lbs. Now this is a big deal because this pastor he was 5’5′ and middle/ upper 100lbs. and he put the guys on each side of him, their purpose to hold him back and as you saw this struggle going on he came to a verse and he began to speak  : “Forgetting what was behind and straining toward what is ahead, pressing on toward the goal.” and as the pastor spoke these words you could see the struggle between him and both guys; he was straining to get past them! As the straining continued the pastor began unzipping his robe and as he strained he began to let go of the robe and working his arms out of it, he was also able to free himself from the two gentlemen; when they realized he had worked his way free they began to hold him back but he had already gained his momentum and was able to drag them to his goal! As he reached his goal everyone stood up and was clapping, to see this person win even when the odds were against them amazed us!

That sermon left a huge impact on me, and to this day I can see and hear that sermon just as if it were happening at that moment. There have been many times were I have had to replay not only the sermon but that verse in my head to keep me going!

You see the pastor had a purpose, he had a  goal, he had a prize to win; and along this purpose he was met by some heavy opposition that was trying to hold him down at all cost, but he couldn’t let it. He was so focused on reaching his goal that he was willing to let go of the thing that was (or what I thought was essential to him) to meet his goal. When he let go of this, he was able strain and gain the  momentum needed to press to his goal!

At that moment on that Sunday years ago after watching the Pastor speak on that Philippians 3:12-14 text; I decided that was the way I wanted to be , that at all cost I wanted to be a living example of those verses!

I have learned over the  years that not only was this the pastor’s struggle but this is for everyone of us here on earth! I have learned  that there comes a time in your life when your faith calls you to let go of what was, and strain towards what is! There is a time when you must press even when you don’t feel like pressing… but you must do so to reach the goal!

Seize the Moment, Make a Memory!

After our son was diagnosed with Epilepsy; people would ask “what is the most important lesson that you’ve learned?” My answer was quick “That time is not ours to control, and every single moment is precious and very important!”

This was a vital lesson for me because I was a scheduler and organized planner! I would have events planned out years in advanced and stuck to them down to the very time, anything other than that was unacceptable to me. Now I have learned to take the days as they come, kind of go with the flow of life! We had to learn as a family to take advantage of the seizure free days! Learning to take those unplanned days that came out of nowhere and change them from ordinary ones to extraordinary !

In life we have to understand we shouldn’t wait until life changing events happen to live! That right where we are in life, we should start truly enjoying each minute! It’s in these minutes that we take; that the most beautiful memories are made and lives are the better because of it. In this category section of my blog I will share ideas to help “Seize the Moment” for families, individuals, couples and groups.

My Kind of Stable!

“What happens to us Mommy? Do who we are, to other people change, because our lives changed? Did Epilepsy change us that much?” This was the question that rattled my ears, my brain and my heart Saturday: as we drove home from our afternoon appointment! I looked into the rearview mirror at my 10yr. old son and his face stared at me earnestly while tears filled his eyes!

I knew why he posed this question it is one that has gone through my mind millions of times,but yet have not touched my lips; they have stayed as far back in my mind as possible. They have been placed there to keep the hurt from becoming an unwanted reality!

I slowly but surely answer: “What happens to us? well we go on to be the strong and loving people we were destined to be! We go on to be united and strengthened as individuals and a family! We continue to live each day as it comes, and to enjoy every moment we can with love, and lots of laughter complete with many memories! As far as who we are to others, sweetie only that person or those people can decide! Did Epilepsy change us ? the answer is Yes and No!”

Now to you who may be reading this blog can I ask you this question? What is stability? What do you consider to be stable in your life? What are the qualifications for someone to be seen as stable in your life?

The definition of Stable:

Firmness in position; continual without change;permenant. Resistant to change, especially sudden change or deterioration.

These words were how I classified stability in my life, and I likewise saw myself to others… But over the past years I’ve wondered have I done myself and those close to me more harm with thinking this way? Have I set myself and now my family up for a heartbreak?

What happens to us? I think it’s a question many Moms and Dads ask themselves individually, a question many parents ask each other. Many families together wonder. Something that Individuals, couples, love ones etc. ask when something hits their lives. Something that drastically changes their lives from what they once knew it!

What happens to us when we can’t make it to every celebration? What happens to us when I just can’t pick up and go? What happens to us when at the last minute plans change, and I must cancel? What happens to us when schedules are no longer flexible? What happens when I just can’t talk on the phone for hours? What happens when I can’t entertain the way I use to? What happens when I can’t go out with the girls/guys on a normal basis? What happens when the reality of life hits?

Does who I am become a who I was to you? Does our relationship change? Will you see me differently and view my life through eyes of sadness?

Or will you be there to help me “Seize the Moments” I can? Will you be there even when I can’t? Will you understand when at the last moment plans change? Will you schedule me in, even when I can’t be as flexible as you? Will you hear me even when I can’t talk? Will you let me be part of your life even when I can’t be the life of the party? Will you hang with me even when I can’t hang out? Will you stand with me, when life jolts me and throws me? When reality settles and hits me all over will you stand with me through it all?

I see things such as rocks, mountains, many things in nature as stable because they’ve been around for a time! Look at caves they have been around from the beginning of time they are very stable, and hold mysteries untold…. But the truth about caves are they started out as rocks and over time the elements around them have edged and formed and molded them into the beautiful symbols of stability they are today; and when you look inside their is a treasure to be found inside of them!

In the same way to be effective parents, significant others, love ones, extended family and friends; a community of support we too must learn to be as stable as the rock but also letting the change of time and life mold us into caves! A true symbol of stability that others may need! The treasure that will be stored inside is not only that of memories but of love that will be carved into the rock that will endure this lifetime and stand through everything!

So my question to you are you willing to be my kind of STABLE?

20131020-162933.jpg