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Broken Crayons Are Not Useless

garden, broken crayon

Sherri Journeying Through

My son and his family were preparing to move. Was I willing to let them go? Yes. Did I want them to go? No. But that was my selfish desire. I have realized that the harder I try to hold on to what I want, the less I allow God to intervene, not just for my good, but for my best. In the process, I have learned not to hold on. And in some instances, I actually do that. In other instances, though, it can be very hard, especially for a fixer. And I am a big fixer.

I want everyone to be happy. Smiling. Content. But that’s not reality. The reality is that it is not up to me to fix everything; it’s not up to me to make everyone happy. 

I realized yesterday that I tend to coddle people. I also realize the world’s happiness has not been made my burden. I am accountable only for myself in how I react to the circumstances that this world throws at me, such as how I will deal with having Parkinson’s disease, what the financial burden will be, and choices others around me will need to make regarding my health. On and on my list goes.

But how I choose to deal with what life throws at me is what matters. Will I choose to smile, knowing that my God is bigger than all of this? Or will I whimper and whine?

Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I want to be strong in every way. I want to support others. Sometimes we need to give “tough” support, the kind that says, “Enough! Get up, live your best, and be thankful that God has given you another day!”

Whether it’s another day walking slow and stiff or another day with the ability to weed my flowers without pain, I want to give it my best.

Sometimes we feel like a broken crayon. No longer valuable. No longer pretty. But broken crayons are still usable and make beautiful colors. We just need to let go of what is keeping us down and give it to God. Let us be usable, like a broken crayon that God is using to complete a beautiful work of art in our broken lives.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Broken Crayons Are Not Useless appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Where Does Your Strength Come From?

column, perspective, shared advice, strength

Sherri Journeying Through

Grieving can, and often does, involve suffering, sorrow, sadness, hurt, depression, a feeling of affliction, and more. Grief is most commonly related to, and thereby put into, the categories of death and dying. However, grief covers so much more than our expression over the physical loss of a loved one.

I was reading tonight a verse from Nehemiah 8:10 that says, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Grieving can be an everyday part of life for someone with a chronic disease like Parkinson’s.

The first occasion to experience grief with Parkinson’s is upon diagnosis. You realize that from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same. There was no physical death, but eventually, you realize life from that day forward will be looked upon quite differently. Some days will be looked upon with grief in the form of sadness and sorrow while others will be met with smiles and laughter. Our path will not necessarily change, but we may face it with different emotions.

People who live with a chronic illness can be easily upset with life if they feel they’ve been dealt a hand they don’t deserve, or a hand they refuse to accept. This is a form of grieving in the way of anger and of asking why. Why me? Why this? Why now? (As pondered in the justified mind of an early onset Parkinson’s patient.) The why’s of life can leave a person grief-stricken, for they can be hard to make much sense of and be hard to understand (if not impossible). This can often lead to a deep sadness or depression, and we’ve learned depression is one part of the whole picture patients often have to deal with in Parkinson’s disease. You may be waiting for a good day to come, and if you’re fighting depression along with all the other challenges PD has to offer, that good day may not come any time soon.

Affliction appears in several different ways through Parkinson’s disease. Pain, tremors, lack of balance, difficulty swallowing — the list goes on and on. Each day, we encounter different “tests” this disease strikes us with. Will you lose your balance and actually fall this time? Will the tremors cause you to withdraw from the social activity you scheduled for the day? Will the pain rob you of doing what you love? Will going out to lunch embarrass you if you begin one your choking episodes? The list of afflictions doesn’t end there. We can feel slightly pricked or punched hard in the gut, depending on the severity of the test. It’s a state of misery that leaves you feeling helpless, sometimes hopeless. And hopelessness is such a dark place to be.

But … there is hope. I started this out with a verse that I had read earlier today. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” It’s not always easy to abandon grief as our companion. Life as we once knew it has changed; some days replaced with deep sorrow over what we have lost or may lose. Anticipation has been replaced with anxiousness and fear. Fear of the what-ifs. Borrowing trouble from tomorrow. That’s what the what-ifs are made of. Tomorrow’s unguaranteed trouble.

Instead of “what-iffing” ourselves into depression and sorrow, let’s learn to allow joy to be our strength (the Lord’s joy is mine). Let’s replace sadness with hope, sorrow with thanksgiving, grief in its entirety with trust. Joy will build us up through this trial of life called Parkinson’s disease and keep us from falling into the abyss. And joy is so much better, don’t you think?

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Where Does Your Strength Come From? appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today

The Old Me Versus the New Me

 

Sherri Journeying Through

I used to be happy. I used to be a lot of fun. Or, so I’ve been told.

What happened to me? The me who used to not have to take pills to feel good? The me who used to laugh all the time with others and dance all the time with my kids, and sing all the time at the top of my lungs? The me who even I liked?

My kids have told me they want their “old mom” back. How can I give them what was stolen? How can I get back what was taken away — involuntarily, I might add?

I try to stay “up,” try to keep a positive attitude, a joyous spirit. But it’s positively a hard thing to do when this thing — this monster called Parkinson’s disease — continually insists on having its way. Every time I start feeling as if the “old me” is making a comeback, the “new me” butts in.

Sometimes, I don’t have a choice in this transition; this changing of life. Sometimes, I don’t get to choose the up days from the down days, and the in-between days from the lost days. Sometimes, the bad days really are as bad as they seem and the good days are really better than it appears. It’s a big game this little monster plays: deceiving you, deceiving me.

I’m going to try — try real hard — to hold on to the old me. The one before the pills. The me before I got lost. The me that used to laugh all the time, danced with my kids all the time, sang all the time. I am going to try to hold on to the old me, despite the color of my hair. (Of which I earned each and every gray strand by being a mom while being the old me.)

I’m going to try to be up when I’m down and not cry when I feel like crying … over lost things. And if I can’t summon up the old me while living the new me, please don’t give up on whoever I am, because the old me really is alive struggling to be loose, let out, set free.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post The Old Me Versus the New Me appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today

When Living With Parkinson’s, Ax the Stress

stress and health

Sherri Journeying Through

Stressed. This is what my thesaurus had to say: “To ‘stress’ is to emphasize.” Emphasize what? The fact that your life is out of control? The fact that you’re not handling things well?

Being “under stress” means that these two elements are wearing on you — being out of control and not handling things well. However, there is still some control. A minute amount, but then, are we ever really in control?

Perhaps something, somewhere, somehow, in some way is insisting on driving you crazy. More than likely it is we, ourselves, who are driving “us” crazy. We are the ones who insist on allowing something or someone, in some way, to get to us, to rob our joy.

For example, as I write this my husband and I are driving on Interstate 10, going from Phoenix to Los Angeles. We are going the speed limit at 75 mph. A Chevy Blazer with a roof rack piled high with camping gear and a back window with a sticker that says, “Desert Center Fellowship,” plus a license plate that reads “PASTOR,” zooms past. It is definitely exceeding the speed limit of 75 mph. This is after he has been tailgating us, we who are behind a semi-truck that is exceeding his speed limit. The first semi-truck pulls in front of another semi that is passing us on the right, then quickly passes the one in front of us and then pulls in front of him, cuts over to the left of him, and pulls in front of another car. It is moments such as this that drivers tend to get stressed.

I continue writing as my husband continues to drive. Approximately 10 minutes later, from out of nowhere, the Pastor of Desert Center Fellowship zooms by us once more, and once more, he swerves to the right to pass a car that is dawdling down I-10 at the much-too-slow speed of at least 85 mph.

Now, many drivers I know would be stressed by now. They are not merely under stress. They are stressing out big time, and at this point, it is their choice. At times like these in our lives, we allow stress to rob our joy. We allow situations and other people to insist on their agendas, hammer home their opinions, spotlight on the negative, underline our failures, dwell on our mistakes.

You know what I’ve learned that was refreshingly reminded to me today? People like “Pastor Desert Center Fellowship” don’t cause my stress. I do. Things like being cut off in traffic don’t cause my stress. I do. Situations like dirty dishes in the sink left for me to do don’t cause my stress. I do. I allow myself to “climb under” this stuff  — because I choose to. I choose to let it get the best of me and drag me down so that I fit under it, let it cover me, and dwell fitfully within it as it wraps its not-so-warm, fuzzy blanket around me. I have allowed it to define my moment, my day. I have become the “s” word: Stressed out.

I am so grateful God has not given up on me, that He still finds me teachable. I am grateful I have learned not to always give in to stress, as was once so easy to do. Now I am much quicker to recognize the hold it strives to have on me. If I allow it to cover me, if I climb under it, before I know it, I am not just “under” stress; it has begun to consume me, define me, highlight my life, insist on having its way, and ultimately, I have allowed it to steal my joy.

Disease. Loss. Pain. Financial burdens. Relationships. All things in life that can create stress, if we allow them. We cannot control everything, if anything. Stress allows us to deal with this “life” — this disease — ineffectively. What is effective? I have found two things to be most effective for me: Forgiveness and thankfulness.

I had a current, ongoing situation that had been stressful for me. After talking to a good friend recently, I realized I hadn’t forgiven the person with whom I had been struggling. I’d allowed the pain to grow because I’d sought control instead of forgiveness. I had allowed the situation to highly frustrate me, and at times, rob my state of mind, my joy.

Forgiveness! Do they deserve it? Not my call. Do I need to do it? You bet. By forgiving, I can find things in that situation for which to give thanks, and by doing that, my focus returns to its proper place — on God being in control. When the right perspective is there, joy overflows.

Is forgiveness easy? No way. Is it necessary? For me, yes. I don’t like the word that starts with an “s” and if I refuse to forgive, refuse to see the hard things in life to be thankful for, that “s” word takes control, consumes my joy, and I am nothing more than … stressed.

That isn’t where I choose to live. Joy is a much better state of mind and with all that a person who has  Parkinson’s has to deal with, don’t you think that’s a better place to be? Living with joy and axing the stress in your life?

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post When Living With Parkinson’s, Ax the Stress appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today