Friday, April 29, 2016

keen eye

It was Dr. Panwalkar that summarized what the last 6 weeks have felt like, "Wow, " he said on Tuesday, "you've really been through it this past month!"  As the days blurred into weeks and now months have gone by, it does feel like a lot when you go back and add it all up.

Yet the irony that always remains, is that Dr. P suggested going back to a higher dose of Perjeta, because I seem to be recovering from the c-diff.  But he did tell me it was my decision, and he'd go along with whatever I felt.

So I put my faith in him and ultimately, I know its with Him, and said yes lets do the higher dose.

You see, I've been whispering the same word, prayerfully, over and over again... strength.  Help me find strength.  Please, help me find strength.

While I've come to know the prayers are answered, what has been such a revelation to me, is that often they don't come the way I think they will.  

Awhile back, we were given the gift of hockey tickets to go and watch the University of North Dakota play their last home game of the season.  

I didn't know I was already coming down with C-diff, having just finished antibiotics for strep throat. Usually, travel and anything related to hockey gives me such a lift.  

But despite the great game day atmosphere, the awesome play of the Sioux, and the big win that night- I couldn't ever get past feeling sick and uncomfortable.

I squirmed in my seat.  I tried to sip a sprite.  I rejected food. I just felt miserable.  

I was relieved when it was time to go.  

We fell in line with each other, realizing we needed to head in the opposite direction, against the crowds streaming out.  So we watched for an opening, and suddenly I saw her.

A few yards down from us, the crowd seemed to diverge around something, then come back together in front of us.  

A woman was shuffling her feet, her arms looped over a walker, and her head bent so far forward, you could only see the top of her head.  Watching the effort it took her to pick each foot up, and get it to align in such a way to carry her weight forward, was something to behold.

And she looked to be, completely alone.  

How could she see where to go?  Her head didn't come up, not once.  People streamed in and around her in a steady flow, as she slowly steered herself forward.  Oh the trust and faith she must have, that she would be okay somehow.  

I could only stand and watch.  What could I do to help her?  I would startle her to even try and say something to her.  Plus I was jarred in between Nolan and Rick, truly nowhere to go.  When she finally passed us, she left a gap behind her that the rest of our family could squeeze through to the other side of the hall.  

What just happened?

We all walked quickly to the truck, but my thoughts still followed her.  How would she get home?  How would she fold her walker up?  How would she steady herself to get in a vehicle?  How could she even zip her coat, or put on a hat or scarf?  How?  

As we sat shivering in the truck, waiting for it to warm up a bit, I finally couldn't keep my thoughts quiet any longer.  

Had anyone else seen the woman with the walker?  The one who seemed all alone?

Its Nolan who speaks up.  "You mean the one bent over?   She wasn't alone, her husband was up ahead of her.  I saw he had keys in his hands, I wondered if he was going to get the car?  She looked like it hurt to walk.  I couldn't even believe she'd be at the game."

I'm stunned.  My hockey obsessed son, just mirrored my very thoughts back to me.  There sure were a lot of hockey things we could have all been focusing on. But the way we see things, has clearly been transformed.  Our eyes more keenly aware, of those on margins, much like ourselves.

Its Rick who speaks up next.  He turns and smiles at me, before he says over his shoulder to the boys, "she was probably there cheering on a grandson, not letting anything get in the way of doing something she loves.  Pretty amazing, how dedicated we can be to what we love despite the toll it takes on us."  

The image of her circles my brain on the way home.  When I prayed for strength?  I had hoped somehow it'd be given to me.  That I'd feel bolstered, reenergized, or renewed somehow.  What I didn't fathom, is that the epitome of "strength" would parade before my very eyes.  My keen eyes that now see- that if she has the strength to do THAT, than surely, I have the strength to do THIS. 

I've started so many blog posts- but not had the capacity to sit and finish them.  So here are a few tidbits from the past couple of weeks.

My completed art project - my photo transferred onto this beautiful piece of wood.

Along with a fantastic meal, a sweet friend gathered goodies in a bucket and this one I've turned to time and again.  

So many gray, gloomy, drizzly days in a row lately. But these keen eyes?  Help me see the extraordinary in the ordinary precisely when I need to see it most.

What do your eyes see more keenly these days?


  1. You are an amazing story teller. I'm sad that it has been a gruelling time for you. I trust that you will receive everything that you need to soldier on in a strong way.

    To me, you are a huge example of faith.

    Lord, help my sister, Vicky, and her family, too. Amen.

    Love and prayers from Munich xxx

    1. Perfectly said, Susan. I'd click "love" if I could.

    2. Despite the grueling nature of it (very well-said) what I always hope is that everyone will see I'm getting through it, and truly know I'm ok. Thank you for trusting and believing along with me, and for the prayers that Help, in more ways than you could know. Much love to you in Munich and all the beautiful places I travel to with you (in spirit.)

  2. Vicky, Time and time again, you have shown me what strength and courage is. I will keep praying that this stronger dose of medicine does not knock you down but keeps you going ever strong.

    I love your artwork! Anything done on wood speaks to me. This piece gives you such a sense of peace as you look upon it.

    Sending love and hugs sweet friend.

    1. Thank you, Eileen, beautifully said. I could see some of your beautiful photos being done on a piece such as this, too! Love to you sweet one~

  3. Just beautiful Vicky. You are such an encouragement to me. It is amazing how our outlook, what we see and how we see it, changes when we see things through God's eyes. That only seems to come as we surrender our lives to Him more and more. And that's usually during tough times and the willingness to grow in our walk with Him. I've been praying for you Vicky. I've been so busy taking care of grandies--love it, but it keeps me busy and hard to keep up with others. They are napping at the moment. :) I'm so thankful to hear you're on the mend from that awful C-diff. Praise the LORD! Love and prayers to you, and thank you again for being who you are--you are so inspiring to myself and many others.

  4. I can't wait to read your next words when you write. You draw me in. What a gift you have, Vicky. God bless that dear and precious woman who sacrifices herself to go to an outing to show her love and support.
    God bless YOU as you begin your next round of medicine. You go girl!!
    Feel the prayers of those who love and respect you. Count me among those friends.
    Love you much,

  5. Oh my dear sweet friend,
    Somehow we have been on the same wave-length. You have been on my mind and heart so often lately and my five word prayer has been constant...
    "Please God, give her strength."
    Strength for the day, strength to get through c-diff, strength for activities when you don't feel well, strength emotionally, strength to know how loved you are!

    And the strength and persistence of the woman you saw... God's gentle reminder that you can do this, slowly and surely, one step at a time. You are doing just that, dear one. And Rick's words, pointing out the sacrifice it is to show up.."how dedicated we can be to what we love despite the toll it takes on us."
    Perfect. In a sentence, a description of exactly what YOU are doing.
    Today, my dear soul sis, may you always remember that an army of us are praying, daily, holding you up to God for strength and healing. No truer words...If she has the strength to do THAT, then you have the strength to do THIS!

    Love you ALWAYS, my dear the moon and back.

  6. Vicky... I continue to be in awe of your writing talent. So sorry you've had such a rough time of it. I continue to keep you in my prayers.

  7. as i'm about to head north to help my 74 yr old parents move, i am seeing more keenly how they are aging. because of their frugalness, they're doing a lot of the little stuff themselves. the fatigue i'm going to encounter when i arrive will startle me, i know. my folks have always been such hard workers. but i could hear the huffing and puffing in my mom's voice when she answered the phone, and she was just packing up pictures.

    i'm also seeing more keenly the NEED for prayer! the enemy is doing his best to bring God's best down, and i feel compelled more and more to pray pray pray.

    your name falls from my lips, dear friend, and it is good to hear your voice here again. believing God is not only showing you strength in His unique way--what a story!--He is providing it in myriad ways too. sunrises, sunsets, meals, Dr. P, Nolan's noticing, Colton's sensitivity, Rick's love, friends' gestures. the Omnipotent is omnipresent.

  8. Your words are as beautiful as your photo-wood project. Love both.

    My keen eye is seeing so much empathy and kindness from unlikely Mormon forces who are sympathetic to gay youth who have been thrown out of their homes. They are gathering supplies, clothes and all kinds of love and acceptance. "What would Jesus do?" is such a much better response than judging and excluding.

  9. Oh, God is so good at showing us just what we need. If only we would keep our eyes open and really look for him - what an important lesson that we all need to learn.

  10. Good to hear from you a bit again. And what a beautiful story... to be grateful, to look at other's ways and strengths that help us to reflect and keep going. It is truly beautiful (and helpful) what you have written.

    Much strength to you!!
    And I kept thinking how your boys will always know you have come to games, in ways just like this old lady did.

  11. I read this slowly, enjoying every word choice, every emotion--every comma.

    You are so gifted, my friend. You write with heart. It's a skill that cant' be taught. And you always, always take us on a journey and fill us with hope.

  12. I'm afraid I need to come and read your wisdom to have just a hundredth of it, Vicky. I've spent so much of this year kicking against the goads and feeling imprisoned. I've adjusted my attitude more than the channel knob on an old radio but I seem to get more static than music. Thank you for sharing perspective and your beautiful art and artful way of approaching life...

    What my eyes have seen keenly is the bitter fruit of greed. I've seen that when you give things away you receive. I seen that when you're afraid someone may take what you have, rust, rot, and vermin ruin it anyway. I regularly see the underbelly of mental illness and choices that have harmed so deeply and it reminds me that I too can harm and to be careful and stay aware, and to truly care.

    I'm in a hospital room on this day being checked for the toll it's all taken and trying to spring myself out of here. And I think of HOW many hospital rooms you have been in and faced yet another day of, week of, and years of and try to keep my impatient heart in check. And I try to figure out how I will fit all I need to do now into six days this week instead of seven and I feel like I'll drop balls at every turn trying to be all things. And I'm brought up short because I will NEVER be all things and excellence is great but manic pushing only makes me weak and incapable of completing my tasks.

    Thank you for keeping on and being courageous, Vicky. If she can, you can. If you can, I can. I love you.

    1. Robynn- I am so grateful for your authentic sharing about the hard and the very hard. Your poignant words brought back vivid memories of a season where I too was adjusting and adjusting, hoping to hear the music instead of static. A season where I had to surrender because I too couldn't do all things or be all things. The juggled balls falling all over the place.
      YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I have read your post four times and am holding you in prayer, friend. Prayers for peace from the chaos. Prayers for energy, vision, and protection from the harms that swirl around you. Prayers that you are out of the hospital. Prayers that you will know YOU CAN.

      As always, your words resonate deep inside me. They strike a vivid chord with my own experience. Thank you for being real about where you are!!

    2. Oh, Linda. How extraordinarily kind of you to enter in with my struggles and to offer words of encouragement and PRAYERS. What a gift. We sit at Vicky's feet of wisdom, as sisters in hope and heart with her and with each other, and we form new friendships and bonds. I always read your comments because they minister to me, too. Thank you for your continued care and loving spirit.

  13. I'm negligent. I missed this one dear Vicky. Forgive me for falling behind while in the whirl of my life. I am looking forward to a day soon when we can slow down together. Soon dear one!

  14. I've been staying offline a lot of late and I missed your post sweet one. Sending you love- and picturing that precious lady walking slow to her car in the cold- thinking about her and about you...xo

  15. Happy Mother's Day, dear soul sis!
    You are in my prayers this morning since I know what it is like to not have your own Mom here to celebrate with, yet being celebrated yourself as Nolan and Colton's Mama. How blessed those boys are to have you and you to have them. You are teaching them so much about true and deep love, compassion, courage, joy and devotion. You are teaching them abut resilience and caring and God's grace. You are teaching them about gratitude and surrender. You light up their lives, dear Vicky!

    Thank you for lighting up my life too!
    Today may God hold you in the palm of His Almighty hand!
    Love, Linda

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