Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year in Review (or at least the start of it)

This post was inspired by the church service I attended today. I'm new to this particular church and tonight was a New Year's Eve's eve type service. It was called a Lord's Supper: we ate dinner together followed by baby dedications and communion.

They asked for people to share their testimonies and since they also had this supper last year many people did a year of review. While they spoke, I thought of 2012 as I had lived it. I thought of the the road trips, moving, hospital visits, everything that went along with 2012.

If I had to describe 2012 I'd say it was a year that taught me about independence... and how I am not allowed to have any. :) My mother has always been a woman that put the needs of her children first. That's something that I have always admired about her. For a long time I think I confused her prioritizing my siblings and I with an independence from others. Nothing was impossible for her to accomplish alone (or at least that's how I saw it). I seek to do the same. Or at least I did until 2012.

At the beginning of the year I started a friendship that ended very poorly. He was a man that asked for help and I tried to be there for him as best as I could. Unfortunately he needed more help than I was able to give him and I had to end the friendship because it was not healthy for either of us. For the most part I kept all the tension to myself and just let it build. I was independent. Even after the breaking point, I shared my frustrations with few people and even then it was more to word vomit than to ask for help.

Since I didn't learn from that not to be an island of one from that experience a second trial came. I dislocated a disc in my lumbar spine through a series of prior, foolish acts. The disc between the L4 and L5 was shoved down and to the left which made sitting and bending impossible.

The only thing I was able to do without excruciating pain was standing and lying down. Unfortunately they only minimized the pain and didn't diminish it completely. Nothing helps one get over the illusion of independence quite as fast as the inability to bend. I was fortunate enough to live with two wonderful friends last year who were very accommodating but I found myself feeling like a burden. When I dropped something I would stand up and use my feet to shuffle it over to one of my roommates and ask them to pick it up for me.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Finished with this semester of school. All the stress of papers and what have you has crushed my immune system. My sinuses are swollen, my throat aches, and so does my body. But I am still thankful.  Everything that my body is throwing at me is nothing compared to what happened today.

My heart and prayers go out to those affected by the tragedy in Connecticut. Every shooting is a tragedy but today twenty-six people are dead, twenty of which were children. These kids were told to close their eyes and hold the shoulders of the people in front of them in order to avoid seeing the bodies.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Finals Week

I have four more days until break. Although I don't have any finals I was assigned three papers... One that determines whether or not I get my degree (15 pages), one in a literature class (6 pages), and the last one is a reflection of my third class (10 pages). For those of you who don't excel at math, that's 31 pages. I've finished the ten page paper and four pages of the paper for my degree. 17 pages left. 

My biggest problem writing all these papers is finding a comfortable position to write. I herniated a disc in my spine, so unless I'm in an extremely comfortable chair (let's face it those don't exist on a college campus) sitting isn't a good choice. Instead I have turned to writing in my bed, this of course comes with its own issues (unintentional naps). 

Recruiting members for my mission trip has been stressful and this stress plus paper writing is starting to have physical manifestations (more hair loss, stress headaches, I have a sore throat/ ear ache). 

Keep your chins up friends.

"The light's growing bright further up, further in"
"Onward and upwards! To Narnia and the North!"

Monday, December 3, 2012


This May I went on a weeklong mission trip to an "hogar para los niƱos"(children's home)* in Tlacolula, Oaxaca. It was AMAZING. For seven days my team gardened, washed dishes, helped prepare meals, did maintenance, helped test the kids in English, (and my personal favorite) we hung out with them.

If you're familiar with lupus you might be thinking: "That is the worst idea ever! That's too much sun and too physically demanding on your body."
To which I say.... I personally painted, helped with some meals, washed dishes, washed windows, tested the kids' English, weeded (from a seated and shaded position), and spent time with the kids.

Although I am tired while I am there, it's still worth it (plus most days we had nap time). I was pretty good at not over exerting myself with everything except the day we did tourist things, we went to the Yagul ruins (Zapotec civilization).

For the most part, this was the level we started at. It was so beautiful and so well taken care of. I had gum in my mouth that I wanted to get rid of, but throwing it away out there felt like I would be defiling it. It was absolutely beautiful... It seemed that its beauty increased with altitude and the others wanted to go higher. I'm pretty laid back so it didn't matter either way. Just one thing... Definitely didn't have elevators when the Zapotec built this so we had to climb the cobblestone stairs.

With Lupus unless the person has a flare up, no one can look at her and see she is sick. If my joints are revolting against my body, if I am fatigued, no one can see that. When I use the elevator to go up to the third floor, I can tell by people's faces and mumbles that they think I'm too lazy to walk the stairs. But I digress---

This picture was taken when we finished climbing. Once again, I am very thankful there were stairs (always cobblestone and sometimes loose or broken, but stairs nonetheless) so I didn't have to rock climb up there. There were times that I wanted to quit, I was sweating and my pain was about a 6 and getting higher. I pushed through it. I didn't want to stop and have someone feel obligated to sit with me. Exploring ruins from a civilization that goes back farther than 2,500 years is not something people get a chance to do everyday. I couldn't ruin that for anyone. The week after we came back I rested. If I had not been able to rest that week, I don't know what would have happened.

I'm leading the trip this May which is really exciting. It's a whole lot of preparation but I can't wait. It's sad that a week is all I'll ever be able to spend there. I'd love to stay for a month or two, but that level of activity and all the sun would make it unbearable.

*This children's home takes in those that have been abandoned, parents are in jail, and/or DIF (their version of children's services) has declared their home unsafe (usually due to abuse or neglect). They range from babies to students in college.

I find the Spanish equivalent of cheers to be extremely appropriate for those of us who are broken. It literally translates to "Health!"