Monday, July 15, 2019

AWKWARD

Every once in a while my Cerebral Palsy (C.P.) produces an AWKWARD moment where I'm not sure what to do. This past weekend I had an awkward moment at my church's Respite Night. It's funny now, but wasn't at the time. I think that's true for most experiences like that.

In the event you're new to my world let me set this up for you. Once every three months, we (Precious Stones ministry volunteers from Abundant Life Church in LS) hold a night of relief for the parents of our Special Needs kids & adults. We invite the kids & adults to the "party" where we feed them & have various activities for them.

I think my favorite part of it this past weekend was seeing the miniature ponies in tiny tennis shoes. I'm not even kidding, they said they ordered the shoes from Amazon. I thought that was GREAT! *grin*

So, you're thinking, "Shannon, tell us the awkward part." Don't worry, I'm getting there. *grin*

So I served as Volunteer Coordinator and welcomed the volunteers. I helped them know when & where to go before the participants showed up. I thought I had met everyone, but I was apparently wrong. *giggle*

About an hour into the actual event I went upstairs to grab a soda. I had seen other adults walking around with soda and it sounded good to me. So, I went upstairs and they had popcorn too, so I walked over to wash my hands first. One of the hospitality volunteers saw me, followed me, and asked me what I was doing.

Um, I was washing my hands.

She wanted to hand me the soap...um, no, I got it thanks.

She said, "Oh okay."

I wanted a pop.

I was standing by the pop.

She saw me eyeing the pop.

She wanted me to stick with water since I had my water bottle with me.

Then she said something to the effect of "I'll fill it for you."

Okay, she was trying to be kind. She wanted me to have water instead of pop. In that moment, I felt 5 years old. *AWKWARD*

You had to be there, but she clearly thought I was someone participating in the event, not a volunteer.

I stood there and "AWKWARD" popped into my head.

What should I do? I wondered, silently in my head.

I knew she would feel AWFUL making the mistake thinking I'm a participant not a volunteer, much less a leader in the ministry.

I couldn't crush her. She was clearly someone's Grandma. (She was older) *grin*

I know some people reading this will think, Why in the world would you care about her feelings? You were the one who felt "awkward."

The truth is that I hate hurting people. HATE IT.

So what did I do?

I filled the water bottle and walked away. No pop. No snack. Just water.

I'd rather be kind & feel awkward than make the other person feel bad. *grin* Yes, I'm kind to a fault.

You might be wondering if I ever got popcorn.

Yes, I made the rounds (I was helping with behaviors and checked in on everyone) and went back up and grabbed a bag of popcorn.

I never did get a pop though because she was clearly guarding the pop area and I couldn't re-live it again.

When I got home later, I had a pop and pondered the whole thing.

She was being kind. I was kind. In my pondering, I realized that I can be kind AND explain who I am without her feeling bad.

I told the leader of the ministry the next day and she said in the meeting prior to the event that she told them NOT to let participants have pop because several parents had requested kids have water only. I kind of figured that as I thought about it later. She was just doing what she had been told.

I'm not mad or angry. For real.

I think I'll just save it for the book I will write one day. I'll make sure to title the chapter AWKWARD. *giggle*

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME, when you keep a healthy outlook on the situation. *grin*



Thursday, July 11, 2019

What a Day!

I'm going to just dive in here, because while I'm exhausted tonight, I want to remember today.

I began my day at All Staff. Once a month we have our staff meeting for the ENTIRE TWP staff. It was my "one year" anniversary and was honored for it. But that wasn't the main thing I want to remember. I also won four Royals Tickets in our drawing! *grin* That was cool because I jokingly told the volunteer coordinator yesterday that I wanted to go to a Royals game. *grin* But that isn't the main thing I want to remember.

What I do want to remember is our guest speaker. I want to remember her story. While it was somewhat of a downer of a story, I mean, her life was rocked when her husband took his own life. So, that isn't going to be a cheery presentation, is it? I'll admit that she has had me deep in thought most of the day. I am still processing it, but, it was worth remembering for sure.

After that I went to a luncheon where the keynote speaker shared her story of her life being rocked because she had Cancer and lost a leg. By the end of her presentation, I felt better though as she's already in a healthy place.

Both ladies had stories worth sharing and I'm glad I heard them both. I am, however, tired and am good with crashing now. More to come in the future. I have pondered the blog, and I hope to be writing more. I do this more for me than you. (Hence, you'll notice I haven't shared ALL posts, as some are just for me.)

For now, sleep needs to happen. So glad tomorrow is Friday.

*grin*
LIFE.
IS.
GOOD.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Small Steps

I've had a post running through my brain and I want to capture it before it's gone. This one is definitely more for me than you. However, if you want to go ahead and read it, that's okay too. I mean, life is meant to be shared. *grin*

I am amazed at how some things stick with us when we don't expect them to do so.

Not too long ago I read an article about tidying up at home. I typically have a clean home, but not a spotless one. I hate to dust, vacuum, etc. In the article, it stated that people who have spotless homes clean a little each day. I thought that was interesting and decided to try it.

GUESS WHAT? IT'S WORKING!!! *giggle*

Okay, so if you came over today, you'd see dust. *grin*

It's step by step process, but I'm loving it because I don't spend hours at one time cleaning. I'm slowly making progress, and it works because it motivates me to do something each night. This also adds to my step count too! Since I'm not at camp stepping six or seven miles a day, I still need my steps. *grin*

So, perhaps you needed something new to try to help with the housework. I hope this helps.

After all, small steps are better than zero steps. *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME...one step at a time...

Friday, June 21, 2019

FUN LITTLE MOMENTS, Camp Barnabas Style

Ohmygosh, I just had the best two weeks of this year! Yes, I was at Camp Barnabas for those two weeks. Two VERY different weeks. Some moments were hard, funny, loving, & precious all at the same time. I've been serving since 2007 as a Cabin Mom, and it always amazes me how different each week is from the week or year before. This year was one of the best so far!

I served Terms 1 and 2 this year, and gosh am I glad I went! I have several stories, but plan to break them up into short stories in one (or two) post(s). I walked away with a deeper love of His children, kindness in all I walked in, and some lessons in selflessness. *grin*

During Term 2, we had a camper named Sally in our cabin, and one of her prayers became what summed up camp perfectly & a phrase we said a lot in our cabin. She has such a kind heart and in several prayers she thanked God for all of our Fun Little Moments. Yup, that's camp summed up nicely.

So, I'm going to dive in and share about some of those fun little moments. *grin*

Term 1 I served in Cabin G9. If you've never bee to camp, it's one of the furthest places from the main area of camp that you can be from. That means a lot of steps, and I averaged six miles per day. At that time, I walked around tired but it was all so worth it! My staffers were amazing, and made our cabin so fun.

We had a camper named Ashley, who I spent the most time with throughout the week. Ashley is non-verbal, but gosh she taught me so many different things throughout the week. Her missionary, Kaleigh, was a gift too. Ashley may not be able to use her voice, but she can communicate to let us know what she needs. Sometimes she would point, and sometimes she would scoot on her bottom (she has CP and Down Syndrome) to get where she wanted to be. If she didn't want to move, she wouldn't. Those moments were character-building, and so many lessons were learned throughout that. Ashley taught me that life is simple, and we make it complicated more than we should.*grin*

I took my $5 Was-Mart hoodie to camp, thinking that if it was stolen it was only $5. Little did I know that it would be used for HOURS playing peek-a-boo with Ashley. I learned how tiring peek-a-boo can be, but also how much joy can be given through that simple little game. During Cross Carry and Closing, I did peek-a-boo with Ashley and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Ashley will always have a special place in my heart, and peek-a-boo will always remind me of her. *grin*

Kaleigh, gosh I could write pages on this loving missionary. She was with Ashley every step of the way, and wanted her to have the BEST week ever. God clearly paired them up, and it was fun to watch their relationship grow. Kaleigh and I also had a really good routine with Ashley, and I was so proud of this young lady! The last night at wrap up, we prayed together, and that night will forever be with me. I think we often believe that our teens today are out of touch, but out at camp I am repeatedly shown that they have more wisdom than we given them credit for & love that shines the light of Jesus. Kaleigh did for sure. *grin* I pray I get to serve beside her again. For. Real.

We also had a camper named Julie. I have had Julie in a cabin before but it has been a while. I think Julie is often judged outside the camp gates because of her big headphones, but inside camp she's a jewel. My favorite moment with her was when I got to be on the wheelchair swing with her for about an hour. She made me genuinely laugh, and throughout the week we would make each other laugh just by laughing. *giggle* Julie taught me that we need to just be ourselves, and let those who love us matter and those who don't get us, don't matter. I hope I'm in a cabin with her again in the future.

Kelsey and Kate were our staffers and they both worked VERY hard to make sure a good time was had by all. Kate and I didn't always agree on things, but we never let that get in our way. Kate will always hold a special place in my heart, as she pushed herself to be more than she was and gave 100% all the time. I'm praying for her for the next two weeks to come. *grin* Kelsey was the one I spent the most time with, and I was amazed by her leadership and openness. Kelsey took time to get to know all of us and her love was radiant. I loved that! *grin* I hope to serve beside Kelsey again too. She's a gem.

Term 1 had the BEST group of Barnstormers I've ever seen out at Barnabas. Grace was one of ours, and she was incredible. She really connected with Ashley and I hope she gets to serve in my cabin in the future as a missionary. She will rock it for sure!

Griffin was another barnstormer who connected with several campers during Term 1. Griffin did a great job, and I loved the suit he wore for the dance. He's a keeper too and I hope he returns. *grin*

Several of our campers had been at the Lake but never at Purdy and they truly captured my heart. It always amazes me how some people can cry when their parents leave, and be smiling a day later saying she never wanted to leave. All of our campers during Term 1 blessed me. Each had their own personality and I loved all of them. *grin* I hope to have them in my cabin in the future. *grin*

I stayed below the Fish House for Term 1 and loved it. While it was more steps to walk, we had our own bathroom which I LOVED. My roommates were fun, and one was a former staffer. I napped everyday and got in shape throughout that week. I wouldn't trade Term 1 for anything in the world. *grin*

I rushed home on June 7, did laundry, ran to Wal-Mart, picked up Jay, repacked the bags with clean clothes, and did the whole thing all over again. As usual, leaving Jay was the hardest part of going to camp, but he stayed with some friends of mine so I felt good about that. *grin*

The second week was for young people (ages 16-25) and several chapters of my life came together for that week. I had campers from EVERY chapter of my world at camp. That was a bonus! Several campers made me smile, and I was SO GLAD that I registered for that week! It was AMAZING! I even saw one of the young ladies that was in my cabin in 2007! I smiled. A LOT!

My staffers blew me away Term 2! I don't know how camp finds such amazing servants but I'm glad they do. Sarah was a young lady that I've served beside before at Barnabas. She and Ronni (my fave camper of all time) have a special bond too. It was so fun to share the week with Sarah and Ronni! Sarah has the patience of Job, and made everything seem so easy. She loves with all of her heart and EVERYONE she meets this Summer will be blessed beyond words.

One of my roommates during Term 2 was Sarah's Mom, Christi. Christi is a jewel. The first night I slept on the couch in our room because I couldn't get up to the top bunk. *giggle* Christi gave me her bottom bunk the next day so I didn't have to be on the couch. Christi will never know how much that blessed me. It's a small thing, but it truly blessed me. Thanks, Christi!

Term 2 I was blessed to be in Ronni's cabin once again. Ronni and I met in 2008, and had a connection from the start. I remember in 2008, that little girl who cried every night and wanted to go home. Meanwhile this year, she rarely mentioned Mommy, Daddy, brothers, or the family dog, Cedar. She is now a young lady and she made me laugh over and over again. Ronni will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart. *grin*

Hannah was our other staffer, who was amazing. My favorite moment was when she was reading the kid's bible to one of our campers. It was precious. Hannah will also bless ALL those in G5 this summer. She'll never know how proud I was of her throughout the week. Legit.

We had one camper who captured my heart, and she didn't want to leave our cabin at all. My heart broke for her, as she struggled during the week. In the end, she went home a little early due to various reasons. That camper will always hold a special place in my heart. I spent a lot of the week in the cabin (with a staffer, of course, rule of 3!) while the others went out and experienced camp. I didn't mind though. One of His kids was struggling, and my heart was there anyway so it wasn't a sacrifice in my opinion. That's what we're called to do, be there for the people who need us. That camper probably doesn't know it, but she will always hold a special place in my heart. Totally.

We had a missionary that came to camp without a church group, and I liked her the moment I met her. She admitted one night during family time (small group time after campers are in bed) that when she first arrived at camp, she asked her Dad to take her home. I'M SO GLAD HE DIDN'T TAKE HER HOME! She was such a blessing to our cabin, and I think she'll be back at camp in the future. *grin*

All of our missionaries and campers were amazing. Sally, cousin to Sarah, kept us laughing throughout the week. Sally tattooed herself with special markers on one day, and I laughed. Sally is pretty special to me too. I mean, we were thankful for all the fun little moments due to her. *giggle*

Kinsly loved trips to the restroom (with two people, of course) & hated rain, Katie kept us all in line by asking, "Where are you going? Why?", Meg made us smile repeatedly. I'll admit, I can't recall all of the campers little things that made them special, but I am glad EVERY ONE of them was in my cabin. I want ALL of them in my cabin in the future. Barnabas truly is a family, and I'm so glad I get to be a part of it. *grin*

Some people ask me what's so great about camp. I often feel that words can't describe what all happens, and I'm at a loss how to describe it. Yes, there are stories, and they are often really funny. What you don't know is that it's the purest form of Kindness I've seen lived out this side of Heaven. I'm a relationship gal, and those that are formed at camp are life-changing in ways you don't understand unless you're there. Several nights I sat and watched "cool" kids play basketball, volleyball, and/or throw a football with people with disabilities. They didn't go easy on them, but they did encourage them to try their best. I remember watching one staffer & one camper spend a LONG time throwing a football back and forth. It was the way I picture Heaven. No limitations, people just being people, met right where they are. That's worth more than all the money in the world.

I entered back into the working world & Vacation Bible School (V.B.S.) at my church this week. It didn't take long for the limp to make me different again, and for little kids at VBS to say, "What's wrong with you?" I smiled before explaining it to the little people, but it made me ache for camp. Being different is cool, don't misunderstand me, but to be in a place where there's unconditional acceptance is priceless to me. And honestly, I wish everyone could see it.

It makes me long for Heaven even more. For now though, I'll take my Barn-a-bubble experiences when I can get them. And no matter where I am, I will enjoy all the little moments this side of Heaven. *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME, especially out at Camp Barnabas! *grin*

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Random Thoughts

I have started to blog quite a few times in the past few weeks, and found that my emotions were in a place where it would be healthy to publish. After some pondering, I thought it was time to post some random thoughts. I find myself thinking, "If I don't blog, I'll forget this a year from now." Yes, it's true, I blog more for me than for you. I mean, I'm glad when someone says they read the blog, but years from now I won't think, "I had a gazillion followers" I will think, "I want to remember about...." See, it's for me, you're just an added bonus as a reader. *giggle*

Today I have a ton of random thoughts. I think that's healthy, as we've had A LOT happen in our world that I have thoughts about. Some good, some character-building, but all worth remembering. Even in the hard times, there are lessons to be learned.

We recently had the twenty-year mark anniversary of the Columbine massacre. I remember sitting in my dorm room 20 years ago and watched the coverage. I also remember thinking, "Do I really want to teach?" Of course, I didn't let fear take over, and taught. My heart aches for families that have lost love ones in shootings. I saw the mother of one of the Columbine Shooters do a Ted-Talk about her son who was a shooter. She had no idea! I've watched it several times. It's quite a society today, with shooters in various aspects of our world. My heart breaks for people affected by random acts of violence. Gobs of shootings. Innocent lives lost. Heaven must be full of incredibly special people. I mean, they were taken so fast, I'm sure there's a special place for those innocent people. We'll never know this side of Heaven, but it's nice to think that. *grin*

I am still loving my job. My favorite part is that I don't have homework. Ever. I'm not in this job forever, but it's perfect for this season. I needed something new. I've been deep in thought about it, as it was a year ago I was spending hours online trying to find a job. I remember aching inside because I worked with some AMAZING people at the school I was at. Of course, God knew where I was headed. I now have some AMAZINGLY FUN co-workers. I can't imagine my world without these people in it now. Lunch is the highlight of my day everyday. We laugh often, and it's just fun. My friend Jill was right, there are friends everywhere you go. I would add, you just have to give relationships time to grow. I'm a blessed gal for sure. *grin*

I recently went to a family reunion, a Camp Barnabas reunion. *grin* I was a little nervous with the leadership change, but it still felt like a family reunion. One particular moment that I want to remember was pulling up to camp, and Mike telling me I was staying in the Wellhouse for the weekend. He also warned me not to get used to it. I laughed. Let me tell you, I didn't feel I was sleeping at camp. I felt like I was in a hotel. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the normal living quarters for the adults, as we are blessed under the dining hall. However, to not have sounds above me during FOB and a shower attached to the room, well it was fun for a weekend! *grin* I also served in an amazing cabin. One particular camper in my cabin is non-verbal and I can't even tell you why we connected. But we did! It was precious! And of course, I was in Ronni's cabin. The whole weekend was tons of fun. Above all, my cabin was incredible and it was one of those cabins that would have been fun for an entire week. I loved it! Each of those young ladies blessed me in their own way. Legit. Of course, it makes me ache for Summer Camp! *grin* It's around the corner. *grin*

So I guess that's all my ramblings for now. I have several other things rambling in my head, but it's time to get ready to crash. Tomorrow is Friday! Woohoo! *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME!!!

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Jay Update

Several people have inquired as to how Jay is doing. *grin*

I sit here tonight with a huge smile on my face. One week ago I started a gazillion attempts to blog and couldn't. I didn't know what was going to happen to my little buddy, and I couldn't even let my mind go through the various scenarios of what could possibly go wrong. Tonight, I have good news.

After spending a week at the vet due to an inability to pee without difficulty, we have a happy little Jay back! *grin*

Jay came home on Monday and had stitches & staples removed on Wednesday. They sent us home cone-free! *grin*

Okay, they sent us home WITH the cone, but, he doesn't have to wear it all the time! *grin*

I got him home and he was licking the area from the surgery that still needs to heal. Thanks to a dear friend at work giving me suggestions, I am keeping him in the cone when I can't keep an eye on him and while I sleep. Fortunately, he doesn't mind the cone. He had adjusted to life with it, which makes me smile.

At this moment, he's asleep on the couch without the cone on. If he's near me, and I'm watching him, I let him take a break from the cone.

In middle February when all of this started, I didn't know what the adventure was going to bring or what he would need.

I can honestly say, we're both INCREDIBLY happy to be together again. I think I ran the gambit of emotions during it all, but am loving this little guy with an appreciation of his life in a new way.

I know that mathematically I will outlive him. I'm okay with that.

I'm just glad it isn't now. *giggle*

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME.

Thanks to all of those who have supported us during this season. Your love has been noticed & felt. Deeply

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

National Love Your Pet Day

I was scrolling through social media this morning and saw that it's National Love Your Pet Day. I chuckled.

I love that we now live in a society where we have a lot of random, small holidays. Meaning, no gifts given, just fun things to celebrate. And, Jay is always worth celebrating! *giggle*

So, I haven't posted this on social media until now because I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I know, you're thinking, that transition doesn't make sense. Hang with me, it will. I promise.

So last week Jay started showing some unusual behaviors. The main one is that I would wake up in the morning and go to the kitchen to let him outside, and there was urine on my kitchen floor. This is very unusual for him, and he was scared to death when I made the connection between liquid and pee. (slippers have been washed a few times) Fortunately, my friend at work suggested I call my vet when I told her about it. Turns out, that saved his life. *grin*

I called the vet and made an appointment for Friday Morning. I honestly expected to be told he has a bladder infection and leave with medication for him. I was wrong.

It was a blizzard outside when we headed to the vet Friday and I carried him inside because they wanted him to have a full bladder. After some discussion and letting him have an examination, the vet gave him back to me and shared the news. Long explanation into one sentence: the vet felt that it could be Cancer due to the exam. I held it together through the conversation, and made an appointment for Monday for his biopsy.

I was on the verge of tears all day Friday. I did cry some after I initially got home, but gosh Jay was pretty content, so I didn't cry all day. *grin* So, I stayed home with him Friday instead of going to work. I will admit, the blizzard also made it easy to stay in.

Over the course of the weekend, he increasingly had to go outdoors. He also didn't take time to find the perfect place to pee. He took two steps outside and would pee right away. He also cuddled with me more than usual. By the end of Sunday I was glad we were headed to the vet on Monday morning at 8am for his biopsy.

Monday felt like the longest day of my life. He had surgery right away, and she said I'd know how he was doing between 12 and 1pm. It was 2pm when she called. I will admit that 1-2pm felt longer than one hour, but it was GOOD NEWS!!!

Turns out he had bladder stones! While I felt badly that he had stones, I was so glad it wasn't Cancer!!! *grin*

The vet called this morning to tell me he's doing well. He had to stay and be monitored because of the extra incision they did due to the stones.

The vet literally said that if it hadn't been caught when it was that he would have died. *gulp*

So, while it's slightly weird to be home without him, it's okay because he's almost ready to come home. Assuming things go well tomorrow I can get him tomorrow after work! Ahhhhhhhh! I can't wait! *grin*

I'm not naive, I know I'll outlive him, but am so glad it's not this week! *grin*

So, on National Love Your Pet Day, Jay is celebrated! I didn't see him today, true, but he's on the mend to come home. *grin*

I didn't post this before now simply because I wanted to see what he had first. I want to say "Thanks" to the few people who supported me throughout the weekend. Once again I've been reminded that I'm single but NOT alone. *grin*

LIFE.
IS.
AWESOME!