Saturday, November 7, 2009

While You Were Sleeping

After I awoke from my coma and began to comprehend and understand things a little better, and was eventually released from the hospital, I realized that much had changed around me - or there were at least some things I didn't (and still don't) remember.

I would ask a friend, "When did that building go up?" Her answer was most often "While you were sleeping." I heard that answer more than once.

Though our bodies and/or our minds might 'stand still,' the world does not. Things continue to move forward. Life doesn't necessarily wait around for us.

I was sitting in church one weekend and all the songs we sang seemed 'new' to me. Our church hired a new worship pastor. I didn't know if these were new songs that he introduced to us or if I just didn't remember them. I think it was a little of both. They are terrific songs, but it felt weird not knowing them. I didn't seem to engage as well as I had in the past.

At a recent service I realized that I knew all the songs! Some of the songs have been around a little while, but others were those that I had learned over the past few months.

3G Networks
Another thing that I have needed to find out about is all this 3G network stuff with mobile phones. What was that all about? I began to look on-line and found out that it has to do with higher speeds and performance, as well as easy access and high speed mobile broadband . . . something like that.

It still doesn't make much sense to me, but I began thinking that I have come up with a 3C Network!

3C Networks
What is a 3C Network you might ask? Well, for me, I became aware of this while learning to ride a tandem bicycle. There is at least 3 C's to be aware of:

CENTERED: Be centered was one of my first requirements. I wasn't supposed to lean to the right or the left, but to remain centered behind the lead rider, Tom. I would focus on the center of Tom's back and try to remain in that position, even as we turned corners. Having ridden a tandem bike with Tom four times now, that has gotten easier.

COMMUNICATION: Communication has been vital and Tom has been a terrific communicator. He will tell me where my pedals need to be positioned, when to pedal, when he is sifting gears, when and what way we are turning, when we're stopping and when we were going to go over a bump. He communicated very important things to me and it has made our rides that more more enjoyable.

CELEBRATION: Though I think there are C's that make a good ride on a tandem bicycle, my final C is celebration. Last week two of the women on my bicycling team brought their bikes and joined Tom and me on our ride. Our ride was the furthest we had gone. It was terrific to have my friends with me on the ride. They were very excited and celebrated with me being on a bike again.

One of my friends with us was Kathy. Kathy was the other woman who was hit by the same car I was. This was the first time we've ridden together since our accident in June 2008. It was a joyous celebration!

Those C's have something to do with higher speeds and performance. I have now ridden the furthest I have since my accident. It feels so good to be on a bicycle again.

Though I am thankful for Tom's leadership, I am extremely grateful to God for His healing, His grace, His love, and His care. As well, these 3 C's are important in the spiritual realm, too.

CENTERED: Keeping focused on God. Life has been a bit challenging at times for me and hasn't made a lot sense at times, but as I put my focus back on God and off my circumstances, it makes a world of difference.

COMMUNICATION: Prayer and reading the Bible are ways in which God and I communicate. Though God doesn't give all the answers, He does reassure me of His presence and that He does have a plan.

CELEBRATION: Worshipping God, celebrating Him, and focusing on all that He has done is an opportunity to honor God for who He is and what He has done. It also helps in keeping one centered and keeping those communication lines open.

While I was sleeping life went on. There are things that I am beginning to recognize and remember. It is a good journey to be able to be on.

Whether it is 3Gs or 3Cs, whether it is new songs or familiar songs, it is great to be awake and to be able to enjoy life - the new things and the familiar things.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trust Part II

Last week I blogged about how my first attempt at a bike ride in over a year, as well as it being a tandem bike I hadn't been on before, taught me a lot about trust. This week I trusted Tom again as he took me out on a tandem bike again.

The second ride was as fun as the first, but I think my trust level was a little higher. Since I had ridden with Tom before, I knew what to expect and he was faithful again as a leader. We're supposed to go on ride number three next week.

One of the things that I have learned over the years as a follower of Jesus is that my trust (faith) in Him can increase as I see His faithfulness in my life. I can look back over the time since I began to follow Jesus and see the faithfulness of God.

Therefore, when new opportunities arise for me to place my trust/faith in God, sometimes it is easier - because God has been faithful in the past, I know He will be faithful in the present and the future. Since I am human, I don't always cling to that truth and can become anxious and focused on the challenge instead of focusing on God.

This past weekend (October 10 and 11) it was announced to my church where I have been on staff for just over three years that I was going on permanent disability and will no longer be working on our ministry staff at Lakeside church.

It was a hard, but relatively easy, decision for me to make. It was hard because I loved working at Lakeside. A wonderful staff team, incredible vision of service, and tremendous people who make up our church. I had the opportunity to use my gifts and talents in some neat ways.

It was a relatively easy decision in that my brain is still having its challenges - memory, processing, multi-tasking, impatience, frustration, and being overwhelmed are some of the challenges with my brain injury. Though physically I feel well, I knew I was not ready to return to work now and I am uncertain at what point in time I may be ready.

It was a wise decision for me as I can work on some recovery things. I will also look into volunteer opportunities. It is possible that I will have the opportunity to work with an organization or two to speak to people about drinking, driving and distractions.

How do I feel? I am sad and working through this loss. I am also at peace, because I believe that this is God's direction for my life. I also believe that God does have a plan for my life. I may not know what that is today, but I know I can trust God with my today and with my future.

Faithful and trustworthy: that is who God is.

I will continue to live in California and attend Lakeside Church. I will continue to work on exercises to help my brain, reading, and doing some writing. And I will seek to continue to trust God and His leading and provision for my life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


How would you define trust? In Random House Webster's Dictionary it states: "Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc. of a person or thing: confidence."

A friend recently told me that he would be willing to ride a tandem bike with me, but he asked me if I "trusted him" Hmmm, I thought, yes, I trust you. I wasn't sure why that was important.

On Friday of this past week, I had a new opportunity to trust. Tom is the physical therapist I am working with to help give me strength and conditioning to ride a bike again one day. Tom has been incredibly encouraging, insightful, and pushing me in new areas.

On Friday, Tom was set to take me out on a bicycle. There are a couple of important factors here: one, I haven't rode a bicycle since my accident on June 18, 2008. The second thing was that this bicycle was a tandem bicycle - two people riding on the same bike at the same time. I hadn't been on a tandem bike before.

Tom explained what we would do and how t
o do it. He said that he would be communicating to me along the way - everything from when and which way we would turn, where I should position my pedals, when we would be hitting a bump, and when he would be shifting gears.

Since I was on the back seat, an interesting situation arose. All I could see in front of me was Tom's back! I couldn't see where we were going or what was in front of us. I had to trust Tom.

Since I have been working with Tom over a number of weeks now, what I knew about Tom was very positive. He knows what he is doing, he is compassionate, he cares about the progress I am making, and he knows that things like this can be a challenge for me.

We began our bike adventure in the parking lot, which enabled me to get used to this new bike. Tom went at an easy speed, he communicated along the way, and he was sensitive to how I was doing. A few minutes in the parking lot, then off to the streets that were nearby.

Honestly, I was very nervous at first. I held very tightly to my handlebars. As we were making our way around the lot though, eventually my nervousness began to reside a bit. Then we hit the streets!

The morning was sunny, cool and a light breeze was blowing. It felt really good. I really enjoyed being on a bicycle again! While on the road again, there was a little traffic, but I wasn't scared by it. There were a couple of times when a car would be approaching behind us, but it didn't make me nervous. That is huge, because I was hit from behind by a care while riding a bike. I wasn't sure how I'd react to a care being behind us. (We were in the bicycle land on the side of the road.)

Tom was a trustworthy leader. He had integrity (he did exactly what he said he would do), he had the necessary strength and ability . . . I placed my confidence in Tom and it was well worth it. We'll be taking more rides on the tandem and because of my experience with Tom last week, I can trust him in the future.

God has given me plenty of new opportunities to trust Him. I wash I could say that I constantly and fully have trusted God each step of the way, but I haven't.

I have been scared, uncertain, and at times, anxious. I have needed to trust God with health, healing, provision of finances, my job, my well-being, my relationships and more. Each stop of the way though, God has been faithful, he has been trustworthy.

God is a God of integrity. He is the Promiser who keeps His promises! God has infinite strength and the ability to pass all abilities. There is none like Him. God is the Creator of the universe and rules over all. He communicate through His Word - the Bible - and is faithful in all He does.

I may not be able to see what is in front of me, but I know I have a faithful, capable and trustworthy Leader.

As I seek to live out this week ahead, there will be plenty of opportunities to trust God anew. Thought I don't know the plans that god has for me, He does, and I can TRUST HIM with those plans.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declare the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Proper Power Source

I have not been much of a techy-type or electronics person in my lifetime. There is one thing, though, that I pretty much know for certain: it is important to know and take advantage of the proper power source for an item.

Today I felt I hit the jackpot! There were a few items that I own that have been challenging me as of late. I wasn't able to use these items to their full capabilities. I was working my way through a container that held numerous, and not very clearly identified, electronic plug-ins. I began to look a little closer to discover that these gadgets were very likely the answer to my electronics challenges.

Sure enough, of three items that posed a challenge to me, all three are now working! The issue was that they were not adequately charged; they needed to be re-charged. I wasn't fully aware of the resources that were available to me and to my gadgets.

During my recovery, people have commented on how well I've been doing. To be honest, those comments often surprise me. On the inside I can be challenged by depression, discouragement, disillusionment and disappointment. Life right now is hard and has its challenges. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things for me to praise God for each day. He has blessed me, healed me, provided for me and more.

Also, God has been the Proper Power Source for me. As a follower of Jesus, God the Holy Spirit resides in my life. He gives me strength, endurance, perspective, guidance and more to live each day well, and to walk through the challenges of life. God is the One who enables me to have the strength and power I need. I'm am not sure how I could have made it this far without God and without His followers helping to care and support me.

Each day, and throughout some days, I pray and ask God to be in control of my life, to enable me to live so that I would honor Him, and to have strength to face what the day will hold for me. That is what gives me hope and perspective to live each day. I don't always do that well - I too often take back the control of my life that is better off in God's hands.

That is the Proper Power Source and One that I need to be connected to. If I'm not, just like my little electronic gadgets, my power source will be woefully inadequate and I will begin sounding like a worn down iPod.

Friday, September 11, 2009

How Is Spike?

Now some of you may ask, "Who is Spike?" Spike is my cat who I have had for ten years. I brought him home when he was about 12-weeks old. Spike is special for a number of reasons. Here they are:
  • I decided to get a cat when my mom had decided to retire from work and move down to California with me for part of each year. My mom was born on the Oregon coast, so hot weather was not one of her favorite things, therefore that's why she would have been here for only part of each year. We talked about getting a cat. Since friends of mine had a cat who was pregnant, I put in a request for one of their kittens. That was the year my mom died. She never got to move to California or to meet Spike, but I know she would have liked him.
  • Spike is part Manx (you know, those cats with no tails). Spike has a partial tail (his brother was born looking exactly like him, but Spike's sister had a full tail). I named Spike Spike because I felt that the other kitties in the neighborhood might tease him, so I gave him a tough boy name. He does live up to his name at times!
  • Spike is quite the traveler and has settled in well in a few different places. I guess you could say he is able to adapt well. From Elk Grove, CA flying to Chicago, IL; living in Wheaton Il; driving to Seattle, WA from Wheaton; living at my brother-in-law and sister's home with two dogs and another cat, my nephew and niece; driving to Folsom, CA; living with some friends at their home in Elk Grove for awhile; moving into our apartment in El Dorado Hills; hanging out and holding "down the fort" in the apartment until his mommy came home from the hospital.
Spike has been a part of my life for a good while. He greets me at the door when I come home (unless he is trying to get out of the apartment for a while and tries to run outside). Though I don't consider myself a cat woman, I do enjoy my cat a lot.

The answer to the above question is that Spike is doing very well, though I think the heat has been a tad too much for him at times. I love that he hangs out with me and I think he really likes watching the Animal Planet channel with me. I do think he is really glad that his mommy is home now.

Adapting, a great quality for Spike to have, as well as for me. This past year-plus has been a year of adapting to changes and new ways of life. I wouldn't necessarily have chosen this path myself, but God has been with me each step of the way. There have been incredible blessings in the midst of walking through one of the most challenging times of my life (though I think the death of both of my parents were the most challenging).

If I didn't adapt, I would miss out on so much good and would have been whining about what I felt like I had lost. Sometimes losses give us the opportunity to experience new gains that we would not have experienced otherwise. yes, there is grieving in the losses, but there can be much celebrating in the new gains. It can take awhile to see the gains, but I believe they are there, though they may look different than what we're used to.

I appreciate the tremendous gifts God has given over this past year. Some of the gifts are yet "to be opened," so it will be an interesting journey along this path where God is leading.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Do you live in fear? I think I am coming to recognize that I have lived a good portion of my life in fear. Fearful or afraid of what? you might ask. I think I can identify some of the fears, but in all reality, I'm on a journey of discovery. Some of my known fears: of flying - actually it is of crashing; of rejection; of ridicule; of failing; even though I am a follower of Jesus and know where I am going when I die, I've been afraid of dying a good part of my life; and I have often been afraid of the unknown.

What good have these fears gotten me? Not much, actually. Fear tends to hinder me. I don't take initiative as much as I could. I don't try things I would like to. I even didn't fly on a plane - once. I almost didn't take a job that would required a lot of flying. I'm sure glad that I came to realize that wasn't a good enough reason not to take the job. I flew quite often, getting to see places I hadn't seen and meeting people I probably would have never met.

There has actually been some fear with this latest journey I am on - so much unknown for me. Will I physically recover fully from my accident? I don't know. Will my brain fully recover? Another unknown. Will I have my job back and be able to function adequately? Unknown. Financially will I be okay? Hmmm . . . Why do I fear? It can usually be connected with my lack of trust, a limited faith in a faithful God.

Every day you and I walk through lives filled with many unknowns. Yours may be different than mine, or they may be the same. But the coolest thing is that God does know - and He has the power and control of the future. God is capable, He is trustworthy, He cares, He loves, and He is all-knowing (just to name a few attributes).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Celebrating the Little Things

Yesterday I went for a swim in the pool at my apartment complex. This wasn't the first time I have been in a pool since my accident, but it had been a while. I had called a friend and left her a voice mail to let her know what I was doing. Later in the afternoon she called me and asked how my swim went. I don't think I sounded overly excited about the "five laps" that I had swam. Debby's response was different: "You swam five laps!" (There may have even been a 'congratulations' in there.)

Congratulations for swimming five laps?! Yes, because it is basically a miracle that I can swim at all. One of my therapists shared with me recently that I am comparing my recovery to 'before' my accident, not since my accident. Before my accident I, at times, could swim a mile - a few more laps than five! But, since my accident, my leg is healing and getting stronger and I am able to swim FIVE LAPS, as of yesterday . . . what will next week bring?

Earlier in my recovery I was told to celebrate the little things, because the little things represent healing and progress. Since I have been feeling better, I had forgotten those important words. When I couldn't (or can't) do something that I often could before my accident, I get disappointed and frustrated, instead of celebrating.

Debby, thanks for the reminder and the encouragement.

Do you have something to celebrate today? Don't be ashamed or embarrassed. Go for it!



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One In A Million!

On Monday I read an article by Lee Woodruff in Parade Magazine. Lee is the wife of Bob Woodruff, who was the anchor of ABC news. Bob suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) while covering a story in Iraq. I read a terrific book, In An Instant, by the Woodruffs regarding Bob's injury. I was encouraged by the book, as I, too, suffered a TBI a year ago.

In the article, it states that 1.4 million people in the USA suffer a brain injury every year. That does not include the over 300,000 veterans who have suffered TBI's in Iraq and Afghanastan. The article mentions some dramatic medical breakthroughs in this area. Praise God for the progress being made, as I am a recipient of the tremendous progress that has been made. My recovery is still in process, but the progress I have made is astounding. In fact, I am just beginning to grasp how serious my injury was and the incredible recovery I have been blessed with. God has been so good to me.

I am grateful for the doctors, nurses, therapists, and other medical personnel who have been used in my healing and recovery. I also have a tremendous friend network/community that has been an incredible blessing: taking care of me, watching out for me, cheering me on, and sticking with me. I know there have been times that I haven't acted like I needed help or have been a very good "recoverer." (If that is even a word.) But I am grateful.

Articles such as Lee's give me and the other TBI sufferers hope. It is a long journey and to know that progress continues to be made gives encouragement to keep pressing on. And thanks to all of you who are those encouragers to me and the other 1.4 million.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Prodigal God

I began reading an incredible book this week - "The Prodigal God" by Timothy Keller. If you haven't heard of it or read it, I'd encourage you to get yourself a copy. Dr. Keller is one of this year's speakers at the Leadership Summit, so it is good preparation material, if you're attending the conference. Plus, it is a good book!

You may or may not be familiar with the story/parable in the Bible regarding the prodigal son. Dr. Keller "uses one of the best-known Christian parables to reveal an unexpected message of hope and salvation." 

I've been encouraged, amazed, challenged and extended hope. It is a book that I needed to read.

God is a God of hope, of grace, of love, of truth, of forgiveness, of life-change . . . changing our lives from the inside out (though often using outside factors) to continue to transform our lives to be more like Jesus.

The accident that I am in recovery from is an "outside factor" that God is using to change my life. Just this morning, I think for the first time, in my prayers I thanked God for this accident. I haven't been thankful for this accident, because to me the results have been quite an inconvenience and pain (sometimes a literal pain). How can one be thankful for such a bad thing?

One can be thankful because God can, and does, bring good things out of bad situations. It is an opportunity to experience God's faithfulness to His promises: being in control, love, strength, grace, healing, provision, care, etc.

In my mind, things at times have seemed out of control and taking too long. God's timing is often different than our own. God often times has a different plan that is connected in the circumstances He has us walking through. God is a good and a loving God - that is WHO HE IS - therefore I can trust Him to be good and loving to me, even when it may not always look that way through my eyes. But if I look at these things through eyes of faith and God's words to me through the Scriptures, then I can obtain a much better perspective, an accurate perspective.

That doesn't mean it isn't hard or challenging, but throughout the process God is faithfully with us. He does not abandon His children. It enables us to represent Him to a world that is in desperate need of Him - to extend love, hope, grace and forgiveness.

In the early 1990's, my mother heard the message of the prodigal son through a speaker by the name of Billy Graham. I know my mom was familiar with the story, but that evening in particular, my mom responded to the message Dr. Graham shared, and she decided to become a follower of Jesus that evening. I don't remember the words Dr. Graham communicated, but that doesn't matter. The words were full of hope, grace and love to my mother who now is spending eternity with her Savior.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Visit

I knew this day was going to come, but I wasn't sure when. After the sentencing hearing for the young woman who hit me and my friend, Kathy, with her car, I knew I wanted to visit her in jail. Finally, I focused myself in pursuing the visit and today (June 24) "The Visit" took place. I am glad it did.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous. I don't feel comfortable with "small talk" with someone I don't know. I did want Brandi to know that I cared about her and was wondering how she is doing. It was good to see her, listen to what she had to share, and pray for her. There was no reason to be nervous and my plan is to visit her again.

Jail is not an easy place to be, so please pray for Brandi - for good health, safety, time to go quickly (she misses her family) and for good things to come out of a mistake that was made.

Thank you for your prayers for me. I know God hears them and is answering them.



Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Success Part II

June 18, 2009 marks the one-year anniversary of a horrific accident that I was involved in. My life nearly ended after I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle. Much of the past year is a blur. I've had plenty of good times and have made tremendous progress on the rehabilitation journey. But the recovery is still in process. Some days I feel incredibly good and optimistic, but I have to admit that there are some days that are hard, slow and discouraging.

Many people have been a part of the healing process. I have had some disappointments and limitations. My physical and mental healing have made great strides, but there is still plenty of room to go (though I tend to be in denial of how far I probably have yet to go).

Before my accident, I didn't think I knew anyone who had suffered a brain injury, but I was wrong. My mom suffered a stroke, and my brother had complications (an infection) following surgery that impacted his brain. My cousin's daughter suffered a traumatic brain injury a couple years ago as a result of a car accident. Of those people, I didn't fully grasp the challenges that come from having an injury to one's brain, but there are many. I still don't fully comprehend the injury I sustained, but hopefully I am learning.

I am a person who enjoys anniversaries and special dates. I am extremely grateful for this anniversary. God has been incredibly faithful over this past year. Though there is much I don't remember of June 2008 - June 2009, I'm sure it is a year that I won't forget.

Has this been a successful year?

I don't believe achieving success means that one doesn't experience pain, loss, disappointment or failure. I've experienced all those things this past year. I've made many mistakes, but I am grateful to be alive and know that God is doing a work within my character and enabling me to trust and honor Him.



Note from family: It has been one long year, but we are so grateful for the love and support from each and every one of you. We appreciate all the prayers, meals, gifts and cards . . . and most of all, loving us through this. God has blessed us with an outcome we hoped for, prayed for and dreamed of - to God be the glory! Great things he has done!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How Do You Spell SUCCESS (Part 1)

It has been nearly one year since I sustained a horrific accident - nearly dying after a motorist and her car collided with me while I was riding my bicycle. Though I am recovering quite nicely, there are days I still allow myself to become frustrated, impatient, and even angry. I still have some hiccups with my memory and brain functions. My stamina is increasing, but still needs to increase. I do need to get the doctor to sign off on my return to work.

I'm not necessarily fond of my limitations, the speed in which I do things is slower. BUT, I am living independently, I am driving my car again, I've made a trip to Disneyland, I have meaningful conversations, I go to my wonderful church each week, and this week, I rode on a bicycle again! People comment on how good I am looking. I eat food without drooling.

There is no doubt that this is tremendous progress, but is it success?

Some days I ask myself: what will success look like on this journey? Is it the things I've listed above? Is it getting back to work? Is it doing now (responsibility-wise) what I did before the accident? Is it having complete healing in my brain? Is it not experiencing pain, discomfort, and/or limitations physically? Is it being alive?

How would you answer those questions? How would you define success?

Please know that I am celebrating the progress that has been made - I am incredibly grateful to God for His healing, His provision, His grace, His love, His care, His goodness and more! I want to be a woman of faith, who not only celebrates the past and what God has done, but trusts Him with the future, whatever that looks like.

Thank you to those who have been a part of this recovery journey: through your prayers, your time, your giving of resources, you encouragement and your unwavering support. It means a lot to me.


Friday, June 12, 2009

How Many Steps Does It Take?

Today I was on a bicycle for the first time in nearly one year. In my mind, my expectations were that I would sit on the bike, get things adjusted as needed, have some "spotters" for a little while, and then ride the bike like I did last June.

Were my expectations too high?

I did get on the bike and my dear "spotters" helped me with balance and getting used to the seat and the bike. Adjustments were made as needed. But it wasn't that easy - it was hard. When I began peddling the bike with my dear friends helping out, it was a struggle, I think mainly with balance. I was nervous, as well as I was much more afraid than I thought I would be. I was impatient with myself and with the process. I wanted this day to come and get right back out there riding - but that didn't exactly happen.

My expectations were too high.

My friends were incredible supporters and cheerleaders. Where I thought I failed, they were so excited for me. As I explained the experience with my physical therapist, Felicia, she was happy for me and said "its' the first step. A step at a time."

A lot of this recovery process has been "a step at a time," but I usually don't want it to take that long. It is not failure to take a step at a time, but progress - progress in the right direction .

Are you in the midst of some sort of process? Remember to take a step at a time . . . and celebrate the steps you are able to take.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stop Mommy, It Hurts!

I knew something wasn't quite right as he made his way through the front door. On his back were a bunch of prickly little things, as well as on his tummy. Spike - my cat - must have found a lovely little place outside to lay in and roll around in.

I was able to get some of the things off his back, but because Spike has a sensitive tummy, he wouldn't let me at those. I found his little brush and was able to work many of the things off his back, and then I turned him over. But the growl Spike made, as well as the showing of his claws and teeth, I knew Spike wasn't very happy about his endeavor. I felt like he was saying to me, "stop mommy, this hurts." But couldn't he tell I was trying to help him?

That got me think: how often I have complained, growled, shown my claws and fangs in this recovery process. "Stop God, this hurts," I might be saying. God might just be responding, "Can't you tell I am trying to help you?"

The little aches, pains, delays and inconveniences I'm walking through don't always feel good, but they are a part of the healing/recovery process. They are good things, like me trying to remove little thorns from Spike's tummy. Maybe I'll see, like Spike, that after the thorns are gone, it will feel better.

I do know the reality that all my aches, pains, and inconveniences may not all go away, but through the process I am learning about God's care and provision - that will never go away.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The 49er Club

When I was young girl, growing up in the Seattle area with my family, I was already a sports fan. There was a point in time, due to the lack of professional teams in Seattle then, that I was a fairly significant San Francisco 49ers fan. Those wee the days when John Brodie was playing. (I was a John Brodie fan.) But in due time, we got "our team" and loyalties transferred.

I do have to say I have joined a 49ers club this year - not that one in the Bay Area - but I recently had my 49th birthday.

In a birthday card I received from a friend in Hawaii, she wrote, "What a special birthday this is for you! Being there were a few days last year when it was rather tenuous as to whether or not you'd see this birthday! But I am so happy to be sending this card because that means my life is blessed because you're still in it! (Yes, it's all about me - even on your birthday.)" THANKS T2! CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU.

I am happy about having been able to celebrate this year's birthday. A few of my friends here have joined The 49er Club too, so we're each pounding a little harder on the door to 50! We've been encouraging on another, supporting one another, and growing older together. That is a good thing. It has been a tough year for me - a year that has zoomed by quickly; and a year holding things which I was not expecting. But in reality there has been much good this year. Experiencing God's love, mercy, healing, grace and provision. Experiencing the love and care of family (my sisters, brother-in-law, brother, niece and nephew) and many friends.

I am continuing to feel better physically and mentally, but I do know that I am still on the road to recovery. This type of road is not one that I would have necessarily signed up for, but I am grateful for that God is doing in me, as well as how He has used this in some people's lives. Blessing and gifts from an unexpected route on the journey.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Disneyland 2009!

Last week I had a great opportunity to do something that I haven't done in about 20 years: go to Disneyland! I can honestly say that things, as I remember, have changed a tad, though it is basically the same place - the happiest place on earth.

My friends, Steve & Vickie, and I drove (well, Vic and I rode); my brother in law, sister and niece flew from Seattle to meet us. My niece, Emma (just 11 years old) was quite the animal on the rides. I'm so glad that my brother-in-law, Dave, was there so that he, not me, could accompany Em. I did go on a good shares of rides myself. I did enjoy "Soaring Over California," "California Screaming," (though my eyes were closed a good portion of the time) and the Buzz Lightyear laser tag game. The one time I rode the "Tower of Terror" was good enough for me - been there, done that! Good family/friends, good food, and good fun made for a wonderful week. I do have to admit, I came home a little tired.

This week doesn't quite have the schedule as last week, though a couple of rehab appointments, counseling and Brain Gain workshop will keep me busy and I am sure will hold plenty of good times as well - all helping me on this road of recovery.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother's Day: A Special Day Set Aside for Special People

April 16 of this year marked the 10th anniversary of my mom passing away. My mom was an interesting person, though there was much more to her than I ever knew. This morning, as well as the past few days, thoughts of my mom have been on my mind. What have I been thinking?
  1. My mom loved her three children to the best of her ability.
  2. My mom loved her two grandchildren very, very much.
  3. I am so grateful that besides knowing her grandson, Cody, before she passed away, my mom had a year with her granddaughter, Emma. My mom loved Cody and Emma very much.
  4. My mom had a very recognizable laugh and she had a twinkle in her eyes when she smiled. (I miss those things.)
  5. My mom had a generous heart.
  6. My mom was a big sports fan and we went to a San Francisco Giants baseball game together at Candlestick Park; our only time to see a game at that ballpark.
  7. When I moved to California the first time, we would have weekly phone calls - if not more than once a week.
  8. And I have also been thinking - I would have like more time with her, but I am thankful for what time I did have.
I am learning in my life, and through my recovery from this accident, I too often focus on the wrong things. I have focused too much on what my limitations still are, instead of celebrating the victories - matter how small they seem to me. My mom didn't have the easiest of lives. She didn't have a lot of self-confidence, but she was a good person. When my mom was alive, as her child, I wanted her to be 'different.' I focused too much on the limitations I felt my mom had and what I felt she wasn't doing (or doing enough of). As a result, there was much that I missed out on. I want to see life - mine and others - through different eyes/lenses.

One thing that I am grateful for is that my mom was in heaven at the time of my accident. My accident and lengthy recovery would have been incredibly difficult for her, so she was in the perfect place to see all that God has done, and is doing, throughout this process.

God, thank You so much for my mom that You gave me. This Mother's Day I celebrate her and I worship You for her.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

Monday was a special day, as Vickie and I made a visit to Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento. Mercy was the hospital where I stayed from early July until towards the end of August. It was here that I had the opportunity to have some wonderful nurses and rehab specialists do their tremendous work on me. They were used to help me make great strides in my recovery.

It was an incredible feeling to walk into the section where I spent that time - being recognized, glad to be seen, and to encourage those who were there. I recognized a number of staff (though I didn't remember all their names), the wing of the hospital was familiar and memories . . . some of them very funny . . . came to mind.

The men and women who work in the rehab department of Mercy General are truly gifted. They do a tremendous work on a daily basis to help people like me who are trying to make their way back to living somewhat of a normal life. (Yet, I'm sure without a lot of credit.) They were glad to see me and communicated that they don't always have the opportunity to re-connect with those they've helped. I was happy to see them too; they were such a blessing to me.

I think another visit will be in order one day.

On Sunday I had the opportunity to attend a service at the church in Elk Grove where I spent about eight years on staff. It was great to visit and see a number of people I knew - some who I haven't seen in a very long time. A lot of changes have taken place since I left, but they're good changes. What hasn't changed are the friendly, loving people who worship God there.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The words "DRIVE AGAIN" have a couple of connotations for me. One it is the name of an organization that assists people who have been unable to drive for mobility reasons to possibly begin to drive. Secondly, it was something I have really wanted to do. I hadn't driven a car in about ten months. The thought had crossed my mind once or twice whether I would be able to drive again . . . ever. This past Sunday I had the opportunity to drive again!

I worked with a man by the name of Duane, an Occupational Therapist, who conducted some tests - about an hour to and hour-and-a-half. He was very pleased with how I did. Then, came the exciting part: to go driving. I drove Duane's equipped car and we eventually made it to Roseville and then back to El Dorado Hills.

How did it feel? It felt normal; it felt good; it felt relaxing (for the most part). Duane told me that he would have realized that I hadn't driven in such a long time, along with having my injury, if he had not already known. WOW!

After the class I was excited, I was encouraged, and I was fairly tired - all good stuff. Passing this evaluation was huge for me; it was another positive step in the recovery process.

On Wednesday of this week I have an appointment with a physical therapist who will be looking at my knee that was injured a tad in the accident. I've been having some aches and pains (nothing too severe), so we'll see what I can be doing to strengthen the knee, if that is what needs to happen. Then on Thursday I have an appointment with the Department of Rehabilitation that helps people getting back into the workforce. I really don't know what to expect at this meeting, but I'll find out soon enough.

It has been a fairly busy couple of weeks. I'm encouraged and grateful for all that is happening. I have been volunteering at a couple of elementary schools in the area, I had the opportunity to visit with two friends from my hometown in Washington that I haven't seen in quite a few years, and I attended an introductory/informational workshop for a 5-part seminar called the Brain Gain.

All the things listed above are a part of my rehabilitation process . . . positive steps in the right direction.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

How Was Your Easter?

A week ago, many of us took the opportunity to celebrate Easter. How was your Easter this year? Any different than in years past?

I was a tad concerned because I wasn't sure if I was going to get an Easter basket this year. (Yes, as an adult, there is still a hankering for the chocolate sweetness the Easter basket can bring.) But I was pleasantly surprised: no, I didn't get an Easter basket; I got two of them!

At my church, we had a weekend of Easter. In order to allow as many people as possible to hear the incredible story of God's love and sacrifice for us, Lakeside Church offered Easter gatherings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Throughout the six worship gatherings over those three days, many people had an opportunity to hear and respond to the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus. An act of sacrifice that was done by God, on behalf of humanity, in order to have a relationship with the people he created.

As I sat and listened, to be honest, I was a tad distracted. A couple of days before Easter, I began looking at some photographs of me taken in the hospital shortly following my accident that took place in June. My body was battered and bruised; my eyes were black, blue and swollen. I had tubes going into me and coming out of me. I was connected to monitors that communicated to medical personnel how I was doing.

It is these pictures that communicate to me how serious my injuries were. I have no recollection otherwise. But it was these pictures that were coming to my mind on Saturday evening. My life on earth nearly ended at that time.

This Easter became very special to me, because I almost wsn't here to be able to celebrate all that God has done for me through His Son, Jesus. Jesus went through a horrific death for me - and for you. But it didn't stop there - Jesus, who had been dead for three days, was raised from the dead. He was alive!

Journal Entry: "At church last night, my accident was constantly on my mind. My mind was flooded with pictures of me following my accident. I almost died. Actually, maybe I really died. (Is that what is called 'metaphorical'?) What if the 'old Kathi' was supposed to die that day, but the 'new Kathi' was to come to life?"

I told someone recently that I wasn't necessarily liking the 'new Kathi' (if that was who I was seeing and/or experiencing). BUT, what if God is showing Kathi a little more clearly the old, icky stuff in her life in order that the 'new Kathi' can emerge from the gunk and to present a 'resurrected Kathi.' (Far, far from God-like, but evidence of God's powerful, transforming work.)

Transformation, that is what God is about doing: working within people's live to change them and bring about a lasting, eternal work that only God can do. Sometimes God uses things like car accidents and physical limitations to do part of that work. God can, and does, a good work in bad or unexplainable accidents. But because of God's character, He can be trusted.

This recovery process has had good days and hard days, but God has been there each step of the way. He continues the physical, mental, and emotional healing aspect of the accident, but He is also doing a work within me that reflects an even deeper healing.

This Easter for me was different for me, not just because of some limitations in my life, but because as someone who faced the prospect of death a little too closely, a deeper appreciation formed in my heart and mind of what Jesus went through on my behalf.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Who or What Are You Waiting For?

I had this lesson a few years back, but I recognize it is a tough one for me to learn. I was waiting to hear from someone regarding a possible job, but she wasn't contacting me . . . I was growing a tad impatient. While taking a walk one day, I complained to God: "Why haven't I heard from 'Suzie?' I've been waiting for her for a long time. Decisions need to be made." The answer was impressed upon my soul - "You're not waiting for Suzie, you're waiting for Me."

This answer was not an audible voice from God, but I knew it was from Him. In the process of waiting, often times, it seems like we're waiting on people and circumstances. God is one whose timing is perfect for His plans and purposes . . . and it often seems such a different time frame and plan than my own.

I feel like throughout this process I have been waiting for: doctors, medical personnel, appointments, referrals, phone calls, emails, healing, getting back to work, driving once again, getting on a bicycle, and the Chicago Cubs baseball team to return to the World Series. This is just the short list!

I'm in the process of memorizing the Bible passage of Psalm 37:1-8. I have made it to verse 7. This morning I read, "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him." Stillness and patience! Those aren't necessarily easy words for me to hear, but they're the right ones . . . and they really are good words for me.

God is teaching me a lot about His character, His grace, His sovereignty, and that He is in control - and that it is about His timing. He is doing a work within me (in my character), as well as this healing process. God has been healing me, inside and out. For that I am truly grateful. It doesn't necessarily happen according to my time frame, but I am going to seek to find out more about being still before God and waiting patiently for HIM.

God is worthy of my trust. Much good will come out of waiting on Him for His plans and purposes to be accomplished.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

An Entry From My Journal -3/28/09

There is something interesting going on inside of me, I think in my soul. First, I need to recognize/admit to how anxious I must have been feeling.

Some days my stomach felt like there was a "pit" in it; a heaviness. I know I've been  struggling with depression and there were days - that is how I felt internally - depressed.

My doctor and therapy appointments were good - I was progressing! But why was I feeling so empty inside?

The last couple of appointments have been different. I left them with a greater sense of hope and expectancy.

Throughout this journey, I know I've had hope: God's hope and His presence, His provision and His care. I am - and have been - completely in His hands.

NOT that my doctors and therapists have been hopeless - because they haven't been. They've been supportive, encouraging and helpful. BUT the last couple of appointments I have felt hope had been extended to me. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and no - it is not a train.

There is talk about and a process to getting back to work; to driving again; and even to riding a bike again.

I did believe I was going to be able to do these things again, but in some ways I think I was beginning to doubt those possibilities.

What am I feeling inside of me this morning? I am feeling hope, happiness, peace, satisfaction, gratefulness and joy.

One of my favorite recording artists is Chris Tomlin. I appreciate the words of his songs. This weekend I have designated as "Chris Tomlin Weekend." I am predominantly, if not completely, listening to his music. I am also memorizing a group of verses from the Scriptures: Psalm 37:1-8. I have memorized up to verse 6. Not bad for someone who had a major brain injury and has struggles with memory issues.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Have a Nice Journey!

Those were the words from a gentleman gathering his possessions that went through the x-ray contraption that my possessions went through at Sacramento International Airport.

I was preparing to board a flight to Southern California to attend a conference in early 2008. The thing is that I found the man's greeting interesting. I know that numerous people have extended greetings for a 'nice trip' or 'nice flight,' but I don't think ever for a 'nice journey.'

Those words have remained with me for quite awhile, because they were so apropos. We're really on a journey, aren't we? That particular trip was actually going to equip me with important tools for the journey that God had me on.

Journeys are interesting. I remember taking some as a child with my family, and really thinking we were lost. It was a tad frightening for my young mind to comprehend at times; but my parents - my father in particular - were always full of words of reassurance.

The past nine months have held an unexpected leg of my journey - being hit by a car; experiencing a coma and various physical hurts, aches, and pains, challenges with my memory and physical limitations; rest stops; filling of the fuel tank; laughter and tears. It has been a tad frightening at times - but my Heavenly Father in particular - has been extending words of hope, encouragement and reassurance.

Honestly though, I haven't always taken those words to heart. Over the past few weeks, I have felt physically not well (a touch of the flu maybe?); I've been weary; I've been discouraged and even depressed.

I don't like to share those things, because so much good has happened that I feel selfish. I should be grateful for all the good, all the healing, and for all the encouragement I have received.

I am grateful, but I am recognizing, too, that there are hard times.

This weekend was a positive one: appointments were positive, I had some very good conversations with friends, I felt physically better, I got to watch basketball, and the University of Washington men's basketball team made it into the NCAA playoffs: March Madness!

I don't have a date set to go back to work yet and that's okay, but we're definitely moving in the right direction. I've struggled with 'how long' I feel everything has taken: nine months. (I don't think I'd do very well as a pregnant woman.)

People are constantly encouraging me that my progress has been going well and has gone quickly. I know I don't fully comprehend how seriously hurt I was (maybe because I was unconscious during a lot of it). I am trying to take those encouragements to heart and realize that God has done a lot in a 'relatively' short amount of time.

I have a follow-up appointment with a doctor next week where we might get a handle on when I can return to work. A couple of doctors I met with last week were very encouraged with my progress.

Regarding the road map for journeys, there are rarely times that one doesn't experience delays, detours, and distractions; but they then get to their destination and often with added memories and stories to tell.

There will be a lot to share about this leg of the journey: God's faithfulness, love, care, provision, and presence will fill in a lot of the blanks.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What a Week!

Do you ever have stuff going on in your life, you keep walking through it, and then you hit some milestones and you hadn't realized how much it was weighing on you? That was my week. A couple of things took place that I knew would be coming at sometime, and I was completely exhausted when they were over.

The first was the sentencing hearing for the young woman who while driving her car, struck my friend, Kathy, and me while on our bikes.

On Monday, before the judge, the young woman, and a full courthouse, Kathy, Vickie, my sister Theresa, and I all read victim impact statements. The woman's mom, as well as a friend of her, and the young woman also read statements. The gal pleaded guilty and is now in jail for a year, as well as having a number of years probation.

It was a tremendous blessing to have my sister and brother-in-law, David, there with me. I love them so much and it was great to have their encouragement and support. I knew this day was coming, but it was still hard. I haven't gone through anything like that before. I was tired.

On Tuesday, I went to have some long-awaited neuropsych testing done. It was five hours of testing to get a gauge on where I am following the serious brain injury I had. (Next week I will go in to discuss the results with the doctor.) We should be able to gain some sort of idea when I may be able to return to work. This, too, was very tiring.

Some fun things took place this week, too: I made it to a golf driving range to hit golf balls with my friend's husband and son. Yes, it was evident that I haven't played golf in over a year. But the son and I did beat the dad in a putting competition we were having.

Last week I had the opportunity to get into a swimming pool. A friend and I used kick-boards to motor around the pool. It was a good thing I had a kick-board, as I wasn't very fast and I probably would have sunk. It really did feel great to be in the water.

Then today, another friend and I went on our weekly walk. We increased the length of our walk, about a half mile or so.

All these things communicate progress to me. At times it can feel like a long process (which it is), but then I am encouraged when I can grasp hold of some results.

Thanks for your continued prayer and love!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Living with TBI

I guess it's about "blog time" again. I've been pretty inconsistent, but I'm working on it. This has been a good week, with not a lot new going on.

Last week was excellent as my sister came to hang out with me for a week. It was very good to see her. Theresa got a little glimpse of my world, as she was able to take me to a couple of appointments. It was unfortunate to see her leave, but I know she has a busy life to live in Washington.

One of the interesting events that happened was my friend, Vickie, and I were interviewed for an article in the Village Life newspaper (a small local paper in my neck of the woods.) The reporter did a very nice job with the article.

I continue to be involved with a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) Support Group. I think there are six or seven of us who have each experienced a TBI. I am the most recent recipient, but it is encouraging to interact with others who have experienced some of the same challenges that I am experiencing. Sometimes this is a lonely journey, though I have wonderful people supporting and encouraging me.

I have not been cleared to go back to work yet, though the doctor appointment that I need to have looks like it should be set soon. One of the major words in my life - thought no always followed well - is the word "patience." Things just take longer, as well as appointments aren't always when I'd like them to be. It really is okay, as I'm probably trying to push things a little quickly.

Recently I have been reminded that this healing/recovery process will take at least a year. With that, my life will probably begin looking a bit different. Now, I don't know what that all means, but part of it has to do with 'adaptation,' learning to adapt to life after experiencing a major brain injury.

One of the things coming down the road is the sentencing of the young woman who hit my friend, Kathy, and I. The woman pleaded guilty to a couple of charges and will be sentenced on March 2. Please keep me in your prayers as I will have an opportunity to speak at the sentencing. I think I'm doing okay with this, but I do know it is on my mind a lot.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's Still a Long Road!

Recovery continues . . . but it is a process not necessarily according to my timetable. One of the lessons I have learned over these months is that things won't necessarily happen when I want them to, but God is in control and his timing is perfect.

My rehab is almost complete . . . for now - I have the option to return after taking a little break. Even though I really enjoyed those who have served me there, I am going to be glad when this is finished. I am not back at work, and I'm not driving my car, or riding my bike yet. I need to take a special battery of tests that will help my doctors figure out timing on those things. So . . . I wait.

In the meantime, I'm walking a couple of miles everyday, riding my incumbent bike and getting stronger all the time. My sister, Theresa, will be coming for a visit next week, and I'm looking forward to seeing her! 

A few weeks ago, the young woman who hit me, and my friend, Kathy, pled guilty to the charges against her. Her sentencing will be the first week of March. I'm happy the court stuff is coming to an end. I'm happy I'm seeing less doctors. I'm happy my medications are being reduced. These are all good things, but the process still isn't complete. My recovery will probably still continue for a while and the "post-accident" Kathi is trying to adapt to new schedules and new ways of doing some things.

I continue to pray for patience and grace, and God will provide!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Seven Month Anniversary

I just returned from my morning walk. It felt great: the sun is shining, it was fairly warm, but there was also a crisp coolness. I think I've begun walking about a mile round-trip. I'm trying to get out there each morning.

This past Sunday (January 18) I was at church and we were standing and singing worship songs to God about His greatness and presence. Then it dawned on me - Sunday was the 7-month anniversary of my accident. I was in awe. I honestly don't remember how bad I was seven months ago, but I do know how well I am doing today. I'm taking fairly long walks, I'm living in my apartment, I'm remembering things better than I was, and I'm feeling good. I'm very grateful for God's goodness to me.

I realize that the things that distract me the most are small, insignificant things that seem to limit my mobility, independence and remind me that I don't have control over everything. Hmmmm. But I have come a long way and I'm grateful to be living, to be walking and thinking. Those are good things. The distractions take my focus off of God and puts the focus on the unwanted thing. That can change ones perspective quite a bit.

A day at a time. One step at a time. It will all add up one day. Keep moving forward. It's a process, a journey. And God is with me every point along the way.