$h*t Happens

The reality is our brains are often in a million places not including where they really should be- here, in the moment.  Because of this, groceries get left in the car overnight, pumped milk gets left on the counter, and keys get locked in the car.  In the grand scheme of life, these issues are pretty minor but nonetheless very frustrating.

One of my friends couldn’t find her keys this morning- so she had to Uber to work.  After I heard about her rough morning, I started thinking about all the other things that have happened to me, family members and friends.  Most of these memories are unfortunate when they happened, but now in hindsight, are pretty dang funny.

  1. whoopsOne year for Christmas, we got a lot of fun sporting equipment- roller skates, a ping pong table, and a basketball goal.  My dad set up the basketball goal on the edge of our driveway.  The next day, he backed into it with his truck and the pole was bent pretty badly.
  2. A family member once left one of his two children at a McDonald’s.  Big whoops.  Thankfully, the child was fine… and the dad too, eventually.
  3. At some point in my childhood, I thought there was a mouse in my room because I kept hearing strange noises that were unpredictable.  Four days later, I realized my mom’s pager was in my dresser.  She had only been missing it for a week.
  4. Several years ago, my dad decided to move the mailbox from one side of the driveway to the other.  The next day, he promptly ran over his new mailbox and then put another one back on the original side. (Notice any trends?)
  5. When I was in high school, I was pretty good about losing my keys.  My dad got tired of rescuing me, so he had a spare key made and managed to rig it up underneath my car for emergency situations.  His only caveat was that as soon as I got my original key back, the spare had to be re-rigged underneath the car.  It worked well… more times than I care to count.
  6. In a three year span, I managed to drop two cell phones into toilets.  That’s enough of that expensive memory.
  7. Post college, I had gone to a bar with a friend for a few drinks in Athens, GA.  When we got back to her car, she decided she wanted to wait a while longer before driving and drink some more water.  We sat in her car listening to music and talking.  All of the sudden her car turned off and we couldn’t get it to turn back on.  It was 1AM and her car battery was dead.  Whoops.  Wish I could say I learned my lesson this first time, but this happened to me again in November while there for a football game.  The third time is the charm, right?!
  8. A year ago, I lost my purse and couldn’t find it anywhere.  I had convinced myself I left it on the roof on my car while loading JB into his carseat, then drove off with it on the roof.  I visited the businesses in the shopping center, combed through my house/car many times, and called the on duty security company for the shopping center.  Two days later, I walked into the bathroom in our basement and found it sitting on the kitchen counter.  Ever since that, we are the proud owner of dozens of tiles. (https://www.thetileapp.com/)
  9. Last week, I tried to crack some (older) eggs to cook breakfast.  They weren’t cracking, so I decided they were frozen from being in the back of our fridge for so long.  A few hours later, my husband called and wanted to know why I threw his hard boiled eggs in the trash.  Whoops.
  10. On Monday, I left our front door wide open for 4 hours while we went to the zoo.  When I got home, our dog came walking out on the front porch.  And no, he wasn’t wearing his collar that day.  Thankfully, he didn’t realize the door was open til I got home.

I don’t really have lots of advice to give on this topic- just try to realize when you are in the thick of it, realize you will probably look back on this time and laugh.  It’s much more fun than crying.

laugh, brooke

2017 VBS Missions Wrap Up

Last week, our wonderful church hosted Vacation Bible School for 250 children.  It was a great week filled with music, crafts, science, story telling and recreation!  The children learned that they can be (super) heroes for God by studying leaders from the Bible.

I was lucky enough to be the mission donations coordinator.  My job consisted of choosing organizations to support and determining which donations they needed most.  Then, I compiled this list into a schedule for the week.  Each day, the campers were encouraged to bring in specific items to donate to that day’s ministry.  As donations came in, they were sorted, counted, boxed and then delivered to each ministry.  We collected cash & coins all week and my awesome youth helper counted and rolled that money each day.  I also had the pleasure of announcing at the daily closing session how many items the kids had donated that day.  It was a really fun week!

In an effort to highlight some of the organizations we supported, I wanted to share a bit about what was collected and who will be receiving it.  I was able to visit a few of the ministries to deliver the donations and was able to see first hand what wonderful things they are doing to serve our community!

FullSizeRender (17)Monday

Items Collected: 595 Children’s Books

Organization: Smart Lunch Smart Kid at Grace UMC in Midtown

http://actionministries.net/locations/atlanta/programs/

Delivering the donated books at Grace UMC was a full circle moment for me.  About 20 years ago, my church confirmation class (from Augusta) stayed at Grace UMC on our confirmation retreat.  We camped out in sleeping bags in a few of the Sunday School class rooms.  Fast forward 20 years, and I got to revisit this church as an adult.  

Grace UMC is located on Ponce de Leon- a major thoroughfare for Atlanta.  It is a quickly growing area with the new, shiny Ponce City Market close by and all of the boom of the beltline.  It also happens to be surrounded by a homeless community, a government funded housing project, and low income senior tower apartments.  Grace does a wonderful job supporting these communities through programs, meals, prayer, and worship.  One ministry- the Women’s Community Kitchen- serves lunch during the week.  It’s guests are roughly comprised of 1/3 lower income seniors, 1/3 homeless women, and 1/3 families from a local government housing apartment complex.  It is very inspiring to be around a church that physically serves its neighbors- in it’s own facility- with so much love and encouragement.

During the summer, the ministry team participates in the Smart Lunch Smart Kid ministry that serves meals to children who receive free or reduced lunch during the school year.  If it weren’t for these summer feeding programs, many children would go without lunch.  The smart component is to provide books for summer reading.

I was a bit hesitant to take the almost 600 books to them- thinking that it might be overwhelming or they may not all be needed.  Boy was I wrong!  When I arrived, youth volunteers helped unload my car and then immediately started sorting, organizing and putting the books on their shelves.  These books will be distributed to the children coming to eat lunch throughout the summer.  The director said that their goal is to distribute 5 books per child.  Research shows that five books over the summer will prevent the summer reading slide.  With 700 families living nearby in the government apartments, they will easily distribute the 600 books from our VBS plus will need many more.  So glad to see the books going to such a great effort.  Praise God!

IMG_2481Tuesday

Items Collected: Over 800 toiletry items

Organization:  Mountain View & Wesley Woods

http://www.mountainviewpch.org/

http://www.wesleywoods.org/branantowers/branan-towers.html

Both Mountain View and Wesley Woods are low income senior residential facilities.  Many of their residents live on less than $1,000 per month and are on food stamps.  Unfortunately, food stamps do not cover personal items like toothbrushes/paste, toilet paper, shampoo/conditioner, soap, or other similar items.  As we all know, these items can be expensive and are always needed.  

Both organizations were so grateful for the donations!

FullSizeRender (16)Wednesday

Items Collected: 3,069 Diapers & 2124 Wipes

Organization: United Methodist Children’s Home

http://www.umchildrenshome.org/

Anyone with a small child can tell you how expensive diapers are these days.  This was the one item I was a bit worried about people donating.  BUT, I was BLOWN away by the amount that God brought in through the VBS campers this day.  Totally OVERWHELMED.  The piles and piles of diapers just kept coming.  We completely ran out of boxes to put them in.  This was TWICE as many diapers that were brought in the previous year of VBS donations.

The UMCH provides a large sleeve of diapers each month to their foster families.  This is to help off-set the expensive cost of diapering a child.  VBS campers helped over 60 families with all of their diaper donations!

FullSizeRender (15)Thursday

Items Collected: 400 lbs of canned foods + laundry detergent + baby wipes

Organizations: Caring 4 Clarkston and Toco Hills Community Alliance

http://www.tocohillsalliance.org/

This was by far the most physical day I had of volunteering at VBS!  400 lbs of food for our church’s Clarkston food pantry!  I worked on my muscles by hauling, sorting, boxing, and wheeling heavy boxes to storage.  Yes, it was a lot of work- but it was so awesome to see how much God provided for these two ministries!

Caring 4 Clarkston is a monthly food pantry that our youth group staffs and runs in Clarkston, GA.  Clarkston has a large refugee population and we are happy to help support the community through non-perishable foods and baby supplies each month.  The donations included pasta, mac n cheese, canned meats/fruits, pasta sauce, and a wide variety of many other pantry items.

Toco Hills Community Alliance is a fantastic, well run organization.  They provide a hot lunch 4 days a week and have a large food pantry that allows guests to choose their own groceries.  In addition to canned goods, they often supply fresh fruits/vegetables along with meat productcs.  THCA also has a well organized clothing closet and provide utility financial assistance for those living in several zip codes.  We donated laundry detergent and baby wipes to them through these donations.  I was told that laundry detergent is always needed (not provided through food stamps) and baby wipes are always needed too.  Many of their guests use baby wipes as a way to bathe.  

While I was at THCA, the director said something to me that really stuck with me.  She was talking about how she is limited to who they can serve (guests must live in one of 15 zip codes).  She said if it were up to her, she’d serve anyone who needed anything because the gospel does not limit who can be served.  

FullSizeRender (14)Friday

Donated: 221 pairs of socks + 150 first aid supplies

Organization: OGUMC Mobile Soup Kitchen & Mercy Community Church

https://mercyatl.org/

Y’all, I think this is the coolest ministry.  On Friday afternoon, members of our church load up a van with pre made sandwiches, snacks and a giant cooler full of soup and head to midtown Atlanta.  They wheel this food around along Ponce de Leon Ave and serve folks at several different spots.  When I think of Jesus living in Atlanta today, I would imagine him out serving lunch along this route.  A wide variety of folks are fed- homeless, day laborers, and drifters- but anyone is welcome.  It doesn’t matter who you are, you get a meal if you are hungry.  No matter if it’s raining, sweltering heat, or freezing cold, this group heads out to serve their community.  Isn’t that just the coolest?

Many of the guests who frequent this mobile food kitchen are always in need of new, clean socks.  They often have cuts, blisters or skin irritations that require simple first aid treatment.  These donations will go to help just that!

———

I loved serving as VBS missions coordinator!!  I wish I could do this once a month instead of just once a year.  

Thank you to all the VBS families who donated items and/or coins!  Thank you for being God’s hands and feet on this earth.  You have blessed so many as a result of your generous hearts this week!

learn & love, brooke

 

Smart Lunch Smart Kid Devotional

This weekend I was invited to a beautiful, catered affair…. An afternoon book club at a friend’s gorgeous home.  It was a special book club because the author of the book was there to lead the discussion.  To start the conversation, the hostess asked us all to go around and introduce ourselves and say a fun fact because many of us had never met.  The first lady owned a catering company, the next was a former Miss USA competitor, the next started a prominent charity, the next was an attorney, the next was in a top 10 music video, the next was a surgeon… you get the picture.  Then it was little ole me’s turn.  I could not think of one thing nearly as fantastic as what all of the previous women had said about themselves.  I felt so out of my league!

Yesterday, when I was telling my sister about the experience, she quickly reminded me of how I spent last week- volunteering with VBS.  I had the wonderful job of organizing the mission donations for the week.  Each day I was overwhelmed by how much God provided that day.  The campers, AKA God’s hands and feet, brought in 600 books on Monday, 800 toiletries on Tuesday, 3,000 diapers on Wednesday, 400 lbs of canned goods on Thursday, and 221 pairs of socks on Friday.  All of these donations were delivered to 7 organizations in our community to serve those in need.  Now, when I think of VBS, I can remind myself of how much God used me to do his service.  I can find comfort in knowing that God made me, honed my skills, and then allowed opportunities for me to use the gifts He gave me.  I may not be a surgeon, Miss US nor an attorney- but in God’s eyes, I am just as powerful for His Kingdom.  This has been a great reminder to me that I need to look at God for His approval and not myself or others.

As we make lunches today, not one of us does it all.  We may be the only person putting the sandwiches in ziplock bags… but before we even touch that sandwich, several other hands have already purchased the supplies, delivered them, set them up, and then made the sandwich to hand to you for the bag.  Every single one of those jobs is just as important.  Without each of them, the next could not occur.

This is just like the body of Christ.  Romans 12:4-5 tells us “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  To me, this is a complicated way of saying that we all have strengths and skills.  Some of us are leaders, others are doers, while others are organizers.  Some of us think about logistics, others try to make things speedy and efficient and others are cheerleaders.  All of these skills are important when trying to accomplish a common goal.

As I think back on the missions donated at VBS, I think about how everyone doing a little is what accomplished SO much.  No one person brought in 1,000 items on their own.  No two people brought in 500 items on their own.  Instead, everyone pitched in some and with the sheer force of our numbers…. Everyone doing a little made a WHOLE lot.  We each contributed to the Body of Christ to do His work and serve so many more than we ever could individually.

So, today, as we each do our “little” job in this big process of SLSK… don’t forget that each part is just as important as the rest as we all work together to feed others as the Body of Christ.  Give thanks to God for giving you your skills and bring Him joy by continuing to use them to further His Kingdom.

Prayer:  God, thank you for bringing all of us individuals together today to form your Body.  Make us mindful of the gifts you have given us and how we can share them with others.  We pray your blessings over these meals and the homes where they will be enjoyed.  Allow this food to be a physical nourishment but also a spiritual reminder of Your love.  Thank you for using your people to recognize a need and use your Body of believers to address it.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

Embracing Emotions

When I hear the word emotional- I immediately think of it in a negative way. We use it to generally categorize the un-happy feelings- sadness, grief, anger, or frustration. But, if I’m happy- I usually just say that I’m happy instead of calling it emotional- even though happiness is an emotion too.  

Today was an emotional rollercoaster.  I started the day at church surrounded by our village of close friends. JB and all of his buddies were up on the altar singing and dancing their little hearts out to their VBS songs. I was so happy to see him praising God while having so much fun. I was so happy to be among my friends who worked so hard to make VBS so wonderful for all of our children.  My friends have mad skills- decorating, baking, organizing, planning, leading, and preparing.  I was grateful to be a part of a church that invests in its children through a wonderful week of VBS. As VBS missions coordinator, I was blown away by the faithful donations brought in every single day by VBS campers to support others in our community. Just so much happiness and gratitude at one moment that it hit me hard. I just couldn’t physically contain my emotions anymore and the tears started to come down.  

This afternoon, I was thinking about my dad and my love for him. Of course I started crying again as I thought of this love and gratitude for the effect he has had on my life. Tearfully, I sent him this text:

“Happy Father’s Day daddy. I enjoyed working with you around c shack and crabbing/drinking beer for hours a few weeks ago. Thanks for teaching me the value of hard work. And how to fish. Love you so much!!”

I’ve been trying to embrace my emotions recently. In the past, I’d try to hide them or was ashamed by them. “Come on Brooke, get it together!” But now, I’m realizing that they are a natural part of being self aware. Happy tears can’t flow if I’m not searching for gratitude. Sadness for others is also a gift as I’m able to help carry their burdens. Being sentimental can’t happen if I’m not reflecting on what others mean to me. Writing my “Odes” can be very emotional as I reflect on what someone means to me. But, I’m thankful I’m able to let them know what an affect they have on me and it makes me even more grateful for their presence in my life.

How do you embrace your emotions?

love, brooke

How To… Clean Your Car

4 Days Before:

  1. Start dreading that it’s almost time to clean out your car again.
  2. Look at your calendar and decide when you want to spend an hour dealing with it this week.

1-2 Days Before:

  1.  Try to take a random item out of your car each time you get out of it so it won’t be so overwhelming on cleaning day.
  2.  Do as much laundry as you can to prepare for the load of dirty clothes, socks, shoes, bathing suits, and hats that you will inevitably find in your car.

Day Of:

  1.  Find 4-5 empty grocery bags to use for sorting items.  Put these bags in your car.  Do not put them on the chest freezer in your garage and then drive off without them.
  2.  Go to an expensive, self drive through carwash (with free vacuum if possible).  Try to go during an off peak time so no one will give you dirty looks when you stay 20 minutes longer at the vacuum station than the 10 minute maximum time.
  3.  Have your car washed in the automatic car wash.  Try not to hyperventilate while inside the claustrophobic car wash coffin.  Distract yourself by surveying the inside of your car for to prepare for a plan of attack.  
  4.  After exiting car wash, try to find a vacuum bay without cars nearby (see #6).
  5.  Start somewhere simple, like the driver’s seat.  Empty all of the trash out of door pocket, center console, then start vacuuming the seat and floor.  Don’t even try to vacuum the floor mat.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Just remove it and put it aside for the floor mat machine.  
  6.  As you start to get your momentum, head to the front passenger seat.  Remove all the trash, empty cups, extra Chickfila straws, and jackets.  Begin your sorting into grocery bags.  A bag for clothing/shoes, one for trash, one for recycling, one for toys, and one for dishes.  Pray that you will only need one bag per category.
  7.  When you finally have mastered the front seat and have thoroughly vacuumed, it’s time to take a shot of tequila and head to the backseat.  *If the backseat of your car is like mine, you may want to take two shots.
  8.  Keep on sorting the crap into the bags.  Hope that you don’t find many things that don’t fit into those categories.  
  9.  Don’t get caught up on trying to figure out what things “used’ to be.  For example, old fruit, it doesn’t matter if it used to be a strawberry or a raspberry.  At this point, it is bordering on foul wine, so just throw it away.  
  10.  Once everything is sorted, try to make a guess as to how many pounds of cheerios, pretzels, stickers, and dirt are remaining.  Vacuum up those 17 pounds
  11.  Look at your watch and breathe a sigh of relief when you realize that you are only 5 minutes over your time allotment.  In the next breath, freak out because you haven’t touched the trunk yet.
  12.  Open your trunk, grab any trash you see, then creatively move things around so that you are able to vacuum underneath them without actually removing them from you car.  Some of these items may include- a yoga mat, cycling shoes, tennis rackets, cooler bags, an air compressor, a diaper bag, and a box of random crap that you haven’t touched/sorted through in four years.  Of course these are hypothetical examples.
  13.  Realize that you are hot, sweaty and out of energy.  Slam the trunk to head home only to realize that you still have floor mats to put through the machine.
  14.  Haul those to the machine and pray that no one steals your wallet or iPhone while you are away from your car for 3 minutes.FullSizeRender (9)
  15.  Check your tires to make sure they have plenty of air.  Yes, this is not part of cleaning your car but when else are you going to do it???  If you are lucky (like me), you might find a nail in one of them.  
  16.  Get back in your car to head home.  Be thankful you went over your allowed time by only 14 minutes this time.
  17.  Once home, use windex to clean your dog’s “nose art” off the inside of your car windows.  
  18.  Carry all the category bags inside and start putting it up- washing dishes, doing laundry, and trying to figure out how to keep that much crap in the house and out of your car next time.
  19.  Enjoy your clean car for approximately 1.5 days!

laugh, brooke

 

It’s OK to Say No

I get asked to volunteer my time to a worthy cause on an almost weekly basis.  Can you be room parent?  Can you lead a Bible study?  Can you be on the membership committee?  Can you bring a weekly snack?  Will you teach Sunday School?

Maybe your requests are different:  Can you captain our softball team?  Can you take on this extra work project?  Can you use your vacation for an extended family wedding?  Can you be HOA President?  Can you host a baby shower?

Many people would agree that these are all wonderful opportunities.  It feels good that people think enough of you to be able to handle these duties.  But, at some point- you can’t say yes to everything.  It breaks my heart to say no to great opportunities.  

Over the last few years, God has been revealing to me that new yes commitment is a no to something else.  Being aware of your current commitments is important before adding anything new.  A yes to serving on a charity committee is a wonderful thing- but it’s a no to dinner with my family each week during the meeting time.  A yes to teaching my son’s Sunday School class is great but it means I’m saying no to attending my own class at the same time.  

I feel awful letting the asker down.  I know they need help and they think I am a good fit for the task.  Plus, I want that person to still like me.  Like many people, I equate letting someone down as them losing respect for me.  But what I’ve learned is if they can’t respect my no, then they aren’t really someone I want to be friends with any way.  Friends value one another’s happiness and support decisions to make that happen.

I’ve slowly been learning that saying no is ok.  Life goes on.  I am realizing that some people may respect you for not taking on more than you can handle.  Plus, if you volunteer a lot, this encourages the asker to recruit new volunteers and allow others to be involved.  New volunteers and ideas can be a good thing.

FullSizeRender (8)It’s still hard to feel like you let someone down or can’t “do it all”.  I’ve decided to become a NO Cheerleader.  If you say no to something, I will clap for you and stand proudly for you saying yes to other wonderful things like your family, health and/or sanity.  You may feel bad or someone may make you feel bad- but know that I have your back!  Congrats on taking control of your calendar and resources!  You have figured out how to treasure your time, money and family.  Job well done!

Now, I encourage you to also become a NO Cheerleader.  Support your spouse, friends and neighbors if they have to say no to good things.  Cheer them on for protecting what’s most important in their life. In the process, I promise you will build your relationship to allow more vulnerability and support!

Also keep these thoughts in mind when you are the asker.  Be sure to respond to a no in the way you would want to be responded to in the same situation.  Allow a no to build bridges not cause division.

Together we can all support one another by celebrating the no that allows more time for the yes!

learn & love, brooke

Ode to SAG

My least favorite thing about the United Methodist church is our pastor merry go round.  Every 4-8 years, a pastor leaves a church and a new one usually takes his/her place.  In theory, this is great for the growth and transition of churches but in practice is a sad time for the congregation.  I am especially struggling with it now as our beloved, SAG, Susan Allen Grady, is leaving my church and going to another.

Since we were on spring break when the announcement was made that she was leaving our church, I found out on Facebook.  I just couldn’t believe it- I never expected her to be leaving us this summer.  I still haven’t found it in me to “like” that Facebook post.

SAG and I started at our church around the same time.  I first met her at a low country boil at our senior pastor’s home.  She seemed reserved but very friendly.  I had no idea that she would become one of my biggest mentors over the coming years.

The first time I was able to work with her it was to help plan a church picnic.  It was during the planning meetings that I begin to appreciate SAG’s honesty and diplomatic processing.  Her witty sense of humor also started to shine.  She has no problem poking fun at herself either.

As the years went by, she asked me to help plan several other events and I had the joy of continuing to work with her.  I got to see her in action as a preacher and a young mother to a high spirited daughter.  On top of that, her husband is also a preacher.  That is a lot to balance and she always does it with a smile and plenty of grace.

She works to make everyone feel special by being generous with her time.  She never rushes a conversation and always makes her office open to whomever needs to chat.  SAG has been a cheerleader for my writing by encouraging me to share it publicly and by helping review/edit a small group study discussion I wrote.

She also has been instrumental in me completing two Disciple classes over the last few years.  Because of her encouragement, my Bible knowledge has grown exponentially.  She has also helped gently push me in starting and leading two small groups.  As a result, my spiritual friendships have deep roots now and my faith has grown deeper as well.

In my mind, the biggest effect SAG has had on me is through establishing a weekly communion service.  Last week, I was able to say a few words during one of her last communion visits.  Here is what I shared (through lots of tears):

FullSizeRender (7)“At this stage in motherhood life, getting to Sunday School and “big church” is difficult with a loud, rambunctious 4 year old son.  Thankfully, this communion service has helped me fill this church void each week.  Susan has consistently filled it with uplifting and thought provoking homilies.  Her commitment to recruiting others to serve and involving attendees in participating does not go unnoticed.  I feel this weekly service is one of the most intimate opportunities at our church.  I’m grateful for her leadership in starting the service and continuing to make it a priority.

Susan is an encourager.  Between my writing, calling to share at communion last year, and forming small groups- Susan is always there to help and cheer me along.  She makes herself available for mentoring and encouragement whenever needed.  I appreciate your investment in me and my faith.

As a fellow lifelong Methodist, I’m going to miss the strong, female leadership that Susan brings to our church.  But, at the same time- I’m proudly cheering you on as you assume your new senior pastor position.  We love you and will miss you.”

Obviously, I am sad to see her leave for so many personal reasons.  I am going to miss her smile, leadership, sense of humor, and encouragement.  But, at the same time, I am so proud of her to be moving into a senior pastor role.  I know that God has big things in store for her and her new church.  She is a lover of people and relationships and I know that will carry her far in life.  I am just proud to be on her cheerleader squad during life’s journey.

On a positive note, she said I can still text her even though she isn’t my official pastor anymore.  I am glad to still call her my friend.

Best wishes SAG!

love, brooke

Diagnosed

The waiting game seems so long and never ending. The wasted doctor visits, pointless meds, and crossed fingers have gone on for far too long.

After 4 months of misdiagnosis, today, I finally received a diagnosis. It’s not a wonderful diagnosis but to have it is wonderful. I like finite. I like plans in black and white.

My prayer over the last week has been for a diagnosis. I was terrified of more biopsies and tests. I wanted this to be the end of my diagnostic period- not the beginning. I was at the point that I didn’t care what it was- just give me an answer.

I didn’t realize how much emotionally that I had riding on a diagnosis. But after I talked to my doctor on the phone, I couldn’t stop the tears. Tears of anxiety and joy streamed down my face. I had been so “strong” over the last few days. Patiently waiting for the news and not expecting it til next week.  Once I finally received it, all emotional bets were off. The waterworks were on.

And then, life seemed brighter. Like I had been viewing the sun with sunglasses on. The diagnosis was me taking off the sunglasses. Everything around me is brighter. More colors, happier and bigger. I want to live more full.

This incident is another reminder to me of how much I take life for granted. I take my health for granted. Oh, I’ll do that eventually. Oh, I’m in good health, I can do that whenever I want. This was a scary/great reminder that life can be short. We have no guarantees, so don’t live like we do. I’m thankful that my issue is minor in the grand scheme of medical issues. My heart goes out to those who go through months and months of tests waiting for answers. It’s such a long and frustrating process.

I’m also grateful for God answering my prayer for diagnosis.  Is it a medical issue I want?  No way.  Is it something that is easily treatable?  Yes.  Is the medication covered by my insurance?  Yes.  Are these all things to be grateful for?  Yes.

I realize I’m just starting the journey of dealing with this chronic issue but I’m choosing gratitude.  I’m going to continue praying that I’ll be successful with treatments and get back to living my normal life.  It would be easy to focus on the negative- why me??  Why this?  But instead, I’m focusing on gratitude of a diagnosis, excellent healthcare, good insurance, and access to meds.

I’m taking advantage of happy hour this evening. Cheers to living life to its fullest!

live & learn, brooke