Category: DPchallenge

I used to be a rock. I was a divorced Mom of 3 kids, had a townhouse, a van, a full time job. I felt very independent and self sufficient. I even did my own home repairs, had my own collection of tools. My income, however, just barely paid the mortgage and other bills. I was proud of making it on my own.

Then I received a shock to my system. I got a passed due bill in the mail from the County. I owed over a thousand dollars in property tax. Somehow it had gotten overlooked in my planning. I was used to it being paid as part of the mortgage payment. When I had refinanced my townhouse to get the ex-husband’s name off of it I wasn’t allowed to include the property tax. Then I forgot completely about it. Now I was stuck with a bill too large to pay. I didn’t know what to do. I also lost my job and got a new one that didn’t pay as well as the old one. Now I had trouble making ends meet. I was frantic.

I prayed about my financial woes constantly. I wished I had a husband to help me. Finally I decided to go to the elders of my church. What a blessing they were. I told them everything financial, showed my bank account, my paychecks etc. I told them I had no idea what to do and I would be greatly appreciative if they would figure it out for me and I would abide by their decision. After much discussion and thought over weeks the verdict was in. Sell the townhouse and pay off everything I owed. They helped me get my townhouse ready to sell. They even made a couple payments for me to keep me afloat. Then I sold it and payed off the bills.

I don’t know what I would have done without the elder’s input and help! Since then, I have had to accept more help because I got very sick and have become handicapped. I am on disability and my 2 kids still at home are very helpful. Total strangers hold doors open for me. When I say “thank you” people smile. That makes me feel good. It is a small thing, but I can make people smile!


Photo by Michelle Weber.

Aster and her mom, Maria, were out walking their dog. They came to the outside mall and Aster wanted a ride on the merry-go-round. Her mom put the dog leash under her foot to pick Aster up and set her on the Pinocchio when another dog went by and their dog lunged after it and pulled the leash and away he went. Her mother yelled, “Stay there!” and went chasing after the dog. Aster watched as they disappeared around the corner. After a few minutes a lady came over to Aster and asked her where her mom was. Aster told her she was chasing their dog and would be right back. The lady stayed with Aster and told her a story about Jesus and his friends and some children. She explained how Jesus loves children. Then Aster’s mom came back with their dog and the lady introduced herself and invited them to her church on Sunday morning. Her name was Mrs. Marshal. She gave Aster’s mom a paper that showed where the church was and the phone number. “If you need any help, just call the number.” she said. “On Sunday morning we have crafts and games and stories for the children. We have a bible class and a church service for the grown-ups, too.” “Thank you” said Aster’s mom and they said good bye to the nice lady. On the walk home Aster told her mom she wanted to go to the church on Sunday. “I want to play the games.” she said. So when Sunday came Aster and her mom went to the church. Aster had a great time with the other kids. Aster’s mom enjoyed meeting the other ladies in the bible class and the pastor told an interesting sermon. After church one of Maria’s new friends exchanged phone numbers with her. On the way home Aster told her mom some of the fun things she had done. “The teacher said that Jesus loves all the children and their moms and daddies too.” she said. That Wednesday Maria was paying the electric bill, the rent and the phone bill and saw that once again she wasn’t going to have enough to buy groceries for the whole month. She thought about what Aster said on Sunday about Jesus loving them. Maybe they will help us Maria thought and found the paper with the church phone number. When she called the number the church secretary answered. When Maria explained her grocery problem the secretary told her about a food pantry their church had. It was open every Monday from 9am to 7pm. “Thank you”, said Maria. After she hung up the phone, she started humming a song she had heard in church. “How good it feels to be loved by God and his people.” she thought to herself with a smile.


Weekly Challenge–Fit to write

I used to work as a nurse. I love being a nurse! You get to help people all the time. You get to problem solve. You get to teach and explain things to patients and their families. What an ego booster! I felt so good spiritually and prided myself on being a compassionate, smart, caring, had-it-all-together nurse. Then stuff happened.

First I started wearing pull-up diapers to work because my period was becoming a mess, literally. I would gush and no pad could keep up with me when it came out. I didn’t think it was a real problem, just an inconvenience. I kept on plugging away at work. I even got to join a special group in the hospital that was learning a new computer system so that we could teach it to everyone else in the hospital. What a privilege! But sometimes I would show up at work and some one would say “Gee, you look kind of pale.” I would just shrug it off. Then I started noticing that I would be driving and suddenly not know where I was. Like I had been asleep and lost time. It was very disorientating. At work one time I was alone in a computer room and suddenly didn’t know where I was or what I was doing. Fortunately, I reoriented myself quickly and got back to work. But then, people started accusing me of “sleeping” at work. I would be sitting in a computer class and assisting the teaching and suddenly I would discover a co-worker glaring at me. I got fired from my wonderful job because of “sleeping”. My doctor sent me to a neurologist and I had multiple tests and then an MRI of my brain. We discovered lesions, a whole bunch of them, 4-8cm in size! I then had a bunch more tests and another neurologist said I had Multiple Sclerosis.

By then I had had a hysterectomy for a messed up uterus. It wouldn’t quit bleeding no matter what my gynecologist tried. I had a heart attack from blood loss. At one point I had less than half my blood cells! I received 4 blood transfusions over a 1 month period.

For about a month I felt much better, stronger, full of energy, great! Then, suddenly I had trouble walking and my balance was off and I would forget words I wanted to say. I knew what the word meant, but not the word itself. One time I asked my son to get the laundry out of the oven! I had trouble controlling my right hand. I couldn’t dial a telephone, I would miss the numbers and miss-dial.

I couldn’t work at all. I was already a single mother, so mine was the only income. We became homeless. I had been living in an apartment and I owned a van. I piled our favorite things into my van and moved out of our apartment. For 2 months befor I had to leave the apartment I begged different people at our church to let me and my son sleep in their house at night, but no body would let us. Then finally an old neighbor friend said yes! What a jewel! She and her husband had a small townhouse and a 10 year old daughter and a 20 something son living at home already. Their house was very full of stuff. My son and I took turns sleeping on the couch and the floor in a sleeping bag. Every night we had to clear a space on the couch and the floor. My friends even fed us dinner sometimes. We stayed with them for 4 months!

On top of all that, my ex-husband refused to let my son move with me and our other kids to AZ to be with my other family. So my oldest son and my daughter moved to AZ and stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for 11 months waiting for me and my other son to be able to move too. Finally we had our time in court. The judge said “Of course he can move to AZ with his mom! He already lives with her all the time anyway!” So we finally got to move! Now we are all back together again.

We lived with my parents until I got on Social Security Disability. Now we have our own apartment. But I don’t have a car and I take the bus with my electric wheel chair to go grocery shopping once a week. I live right next to my church. That is a blessing to find an affordable apartment so close to it!

I got through all of this crazy, stressful, confusing time with lots of prayer and listening to a christian radio station, crying and singing praise songs.

I deal with stress all the time. I’m a single mom of 3, I am handicapped with: pain (fibromyalgia); difficulty walking and memory problems (brain lesions); extreme tiredness (chronic fatigue) and can’t work so I’m on Social Security, I also have depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)…

My stress relievers are: being outside in the quiet with just the sounds of the wild creatures; watching a beautiful sky; playing acoustical guitar or cello; reading things online; proofreading books for–; and last but not least–praising God (that is a real healer of the mind and spirit!).

Part of health is being able to reach out to others with help, support, prayers …. Health is not always about medical or mental health but about spiritual health as well. So now I feel healthy when I am caring for my children, praying for other people, being a good listener for others, volunteering to proofread books …

I appreciate this weekly challenge idea. Thank you for reading. I hope I haven’t been to gross discussing certain things! It felt good to get all this off my chest.

Weekly Challenge: I Remember

I remember my Mom laying on our friends couch when she was pregnant with my little brother. She was wearing something white and her belly was big. Then I remember her sitting on that couch holding my baby brother. I remember being afraid to go close to her, I just stood there looking at her and feeling nervous. The memory is kind of hazy around the edges. My Mom’s face is pretty clear, and the couch. It was a brown and tan couch with a plaid pattern in it. She said something to me, but I don’t remember what it was. I had just turned 5yo.

I remember being in kindergarten class. The teacher sat in a rocking chair at the front of the room and called us to sit near her on the floor so she could read to us. We sat on an oval braided rug with dark multi colors in it. While the teacher was reading I picked my nose and looked up at the teacher. She saw what I was doing and frowned and shook her head at me. I stopped and wiped my finger under the edge of the rug. I remember feeling scared when I saw her looking at me and then I looked down and I felt my face get hot.

I remember the day we first moved into our house the summer before I started kindergarten. I remember riding my tricycle on the sidewalk in front of the house and seeing a girl around my age a crossed the street looking at me. I said “Hi.” and she turned and ran inside her house. I was disappointed and I told my Mom about it and she laughed. Later the girl came over with her Mom and I remember feeling kind of nervous and curios. We ended up becoming best friends and played together all the time.

I remember one day playing with my friend in her yard where her family had put in a new fence. This memory is very clear, I remember the whole scene. There was a pile of dirt by the fence in the back yard. She and I started playing in the dirt and using the hose to get it a little wet. The dirt had a lot of natural clay in it and we had a grand time making clay figures. I made a large elephant about a foot long and a foot high. It turned out pretty sturdy and I wanted to show it to my Mom. I carried it home and sat it on the side of our front porch and went inside to tell my Mom and asked her to come look at it. She said she would look at it later because she was busy. Then I heard a noise at the front door. Next to the door we had skinny, tall windows. In the window on the left side I saw another neighbor’s little girl’s head stick up in the window, then she suddenly fell down and then ran away. I opened the front door and found that she had stepped on my elephant to see in the window. Now my elephant was just a pile of dry clay dirt. I was so disappointed that I wanted to cry. But when I complained to my Mom, she just laughed and thought it was funny and said I should forgive the girl for ruining it because she didn’t know any better. I was disappointed I couldn’t show my mom the elephant and also disappointed that my Mom didn’t care that it got ruined and she didn’t get to see what I had made.

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