Saturday, July 15, 2017

Real Success

I've been thinking a lot lately about what a successful life or career looks like.  Because by all worldly standards I would say I have neither.  I have a substantial stack of unpaid medical bills sitting here on my hutch.  The paint job on the hood of my car could stand to be redone.  (It had to be repainted after Kyle got in an accident with it right after he returned home from his mission).  I need a new windshield for my car too.  The pits have all cracked  further and now my windshield  looks more like a road map.  (We don't have glass coverage with our insurance)  The four of us reduced down to one bathroom since Kevin has pretty much  taken over the other one since his SCI.  He needs a special seat.  Our so called "fancy" dinners out once in a while have been reduced down to anything you can order through a clown mouth, is on the dollar menu, and can be taken home.  It gets super "fancy" now when we put our strict dollar-menu-only rule on hold for one night once in a blue moon.  In fact we celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary with burgers from Whataburger and a hug.  Although, I do have a proper job, but I haven't gone as far as getting my series 7, 66, 9 or 10 licenses yet.  And I'm not looking to do that anytime soon either.  (Maybe down the road someday). Where would I find the time to study?

Now, I'm not sharing these dirty little secrets with you to garner your sympathy.  I certainly don't feel like you should pity me (though you might feel inclined).  There's not one thing I've mentioned that I wouldn't gladly change if I had the good fortune to do so.  Except the job thing - I could become quite happily unemployed if we ever became independently wealthy.  (Not that I ever expect that to happen).  I only mention these things because I'm learning in these lean times that my financial situation does not define who I am.  Although, our situation has defined who we are to some friends and even some family. (Sad but very true). These conditions don't exist because we are lazy or because we are careless with our money.  Not because we are hopeless sinners or consumed by greed.  They are what they are - conditions that exist, hopefully temporarily, in my life right now.  I'm not a failure simply because I struggle to make ends meet.  Similarly, many people aren't "successful" just because they have huge houses and huge bank accounts.  (I know of lots of wealthy people that are careless with their money, but no one cares about that unless you have very little and then they assume it's because you must be careless with money.  If only they knew how well you can stretch a dollar.)  We are all so much more than our debt-to-income ratio.

Kevin and I are the parents of four generally happy children.  (They're all officially adults now so the happiness isn't always a guarantee.  Attitude.  That's all I'm going to say). Our children come to us when they have problems or questions or personal issues.  We spend a lot of time together as a family, and for the most part we enjoy it.  Our children are bright, helpful, and kind to others.  They don't mope or feel sorry for themselves when their friends have things that we simply could never provide.  If there was something they wanted they knew we couldn't afford they usually worked hard to earn money to get it on their own.  I think our kids learned to appreciate what they had because they had to work for it.  Our kids laugh easily and forgive easily too. 

Our home is warm and inviting and generally clean, although right now it looks like a cyclone hit inside the house.  (This is what life is like with adult children sometimes).  Its not tiny, but it's not huge either.  It may not be an impressive home, but it is a haven.  It's our little corner of the world where we can let it all hang out and just be ourselves.  We feel so very blessed to our friends, and now neighbors, who found it for us when hey did and we have been here now for about seven plus years.  We are very grateful the air conditioner works, especially in the Arizona heat.  At the end of the day, what more do you really need?

I have faith in my Savior and my testimony of His gospel.  I know who I am and where I am headed.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and I love Him.  I also know that He will not allow me to suffer any more than is necessary for me to learn and grow and become increasingly more like Him.  With that perspective I know how to define success for me.  And I know that all the crummy things are just for now, not forEVER.  And that's alright.  I've learned through this last trial how to turn all of my burdens, struggles, and frustrations over to my Heavenly Father and I have also learned that He can do more with them than I ever dreamed possible and for that I am most grateful.  

It's been interesting these past two years.  We've come a long way.  I think the biggest thing I've  learned is that my Heavenly Father is right by my side every step of the way throughout my struggles.  I never really understood that until I quite literally felt His love for me personally and quite intensely as He helped me through so much in the most profound ways.  I know that if I could see beyond they veil He would be standing right beside me with outstretched arms ready to lead me and guide me safely through every single obstacle.  There were times as I was praying and casting my burdens at His feet that I what I really wanted was for Him to come and give me a great big hug and tell me everything was going to be all right.  It was during those times when this incredible sense of peace would come and my room would fill with light even when it was completely dark.  My tears would stop and I knew that this was from my Heavenly Father showing me just how much He loves me and was there to help me through those rough times.  

Now when I think of success I never think in worldly terms.  I think I'm successful because I have learned to not focus on the worldly things and look more to the spiritual successes (if you will).  Like the relationship I'm building with my Heavenly Father.  I've learned to think in logistical terms now.  You know, now that my husband is in a wheelchair how are we going to do certain things and how much extra equipment will we need to bring with us to do it?  I've come to appreciate others with their disabilities, especially those with disabilities that cannot be seen by the naked eye.  I've come to appreciate more than ever those people that take time out of their busy lives and schedules to do something nice for us or to stop and say hello to me or Kevin.  It means a lot to us both, especially Kevin.  The other day we received a phone call out of the blue from our old Bishop calling to check up on us.  He talked to Kevin for a bit and that put a big giant grin on Kevin's face for the rest of the day.  He's still smiling today so it was a really good thing.  Our old Bishop didn't have to do that, but it meant the world to Kevin and to me to.  It was awesome!

In other news...

We've come a long way in a short amount of time.

About six months or so ago we started a new phase of this whole paralyzed from the waist down thing, and we are going full steam a head with it.  Over the next two weeks Kevin has four "fun" appointments.  One is just a phone interview.  One is with a new pain specialist.  One is an in home evaluation.  And the last one is a four hour evaluation that will take place in Anthem.  So it will be an hour drive there and an hour drive back, and that's in good traffic.  My only concern is how well Kevin is going to do with all of it.  I'm sure he's going to be in a lot of pain.  Hence the reason for the pain specialist appointment before the big appointment in Anthem.  I'm worrying already for him.  Right now he gets up to go to he rest room, to shower, and to occasionally get after the kids and that's pretty much it.  The rest of the time he is in bed laying down because his back hurts so much.  So, we are going to have to plan ahead for those last two appointments, but we'll get through them and we are hopeful they will be especially helpful for Kevin in the end.  More to come on at. 

It seems that while Kevin seems to be getting a full work over, so have I.  I have seen my fair share of doctors lately too.  The day before yesterday I had my braces tightened.  Ooh!  They never hurt enough for me to need to take Tylenol until I tried to eat something.  They changed up the wires and went with a thicker gauge wire and did some fancy work with the bands.  They are pulling my front top four teeth together right now. My Orthodontist was thrilled with how well things were progressing with my teeth so far, so he said we are going to hit it hard now.  He wasn't kidding!  As soon as they changed the wires I could feel my teeth tighten and I even felt one slightly move.  And then after the bands were put in, things were super tight.  It's Saturday and I'm still only eating soft foods.  Ouch!

Next week I have an appointment with my cardiologist just to go over medication again.  I need a refill.  I also have another follow-up appointment with my allergist too.  So far I'm loving the drops.  They are super easy and I can take them from home.  I just need to keep them in my fridge.  I've noticed that if I miss taking them first thing in the morning I'm usually a little itchy by the afternoon and cant wait to take them.  This is what the starter kit looks like...


I keep track of my dosage with the little chart on the box top and each vial is a different phase of the drops.  Eventually I'll work up to the very last bottle and take those for two weeks.  Then I'll go back to their office for another evaluation and possibly more allergy testing to get my long term drops just right for me.  It's a good thing.  I'm especially excited to see how these drops help to improve my asthma because I'd love to get off a lot of those medications if I can eventually.  That would be awesome!  Not to mention prevent me from having more breathing related illnesses.  I'm excited!

Lexi has an Orthodontist appointment next week and she needs to go down to the school to get a few things set up for her first semester.  She missed all of this when she got sick last week.  She had some kind of stomach bug.  Poor girl.

Curtis will be speaking in another ward on Sunday.  He got a call from a member of our high council last week.  When I asked him where he didn't want to give me the ward name because he doesn't want me to go to hear him speak.  How rude is that?  He eventually told me where after I promised to not show up.  

I've made a decision.  Lately I've been watching that show called Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines 


and I absolutely LOVE the work they do!  I"ve decided I want them to come and fix up a house for Kevin and I.  They pretty much stay around their hometown of Waco, Texas so I don't think a trip to Arizona would work for them.  



A girl can have a dream can't she???   They just seem like a lot of fun and they are just a cute couple.  Not to mention the work they do is amazing!  I tried to get Kevin to consider moving to Waco but he refused to move there with the Wacko's of Waco.  (LOL!).


(I was born in Texas so I can poke fun a little bit about my birth state)
 I just liked the house prices there.  They were finding old Victorian houses for $35,000 there.  Sure, they needed a lot of work but they were huge!  4500 square feet with four bedrooms.  Talk about a dream come true!  BUT I have to think more realistically.  We need one floor, no stairs.  We could still move there and find a really nice house for very little money.  Just a thought.  They even have a lake.  See.  I'm thinking lake front property.  Just what Kevin wanted.  Ha Ha. I have to tease him about moving to Waco a bit.  He gets a little worked up when I tease him about it. He did say we could move to Texas if we were close to The University of Texas.  You know the Longhorns.  I just laughed.  

Well, looks like we might get a storm tonight.  I'm excited.  We received a severe weather alert warning us of heavy winds of about 60 miles an hour and penny sized hail.  If we see any of that I'll be surprised.  We usually get passed over for the heavy parts of the storms most of the time.  So we shall see.

Well, I've got a few things to do around the house.  Take care and we will talk again soon.  

I found a few awesome quotes and just had to share a few....








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