Life Is: But A Prayer

Despite life’s uncertainties and living with a disability, I believe our lives are but a prayer.

What is prayer? An address or petition in words, thoughts, emotions, or actions, to God or a god, person or thing for help and/or enlightenment, of praise and/or thanksgiving.

For as long as I can remember, within me has been a deep knowing that God is there. He is my Father, and Friend. Even in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual battles living with a disability, I know ALL is well with my soul. It’s not up for debate. It’s a foregone conclusion. It’s the truth. Period. All I have to do is be still, be quite, and b-r-e-a-t-h-e.  It’s so simple to pause, yet so difficult to stop thinking, worrying, emoting, and imagining.

Like I told you in my last week’s article, I’m in a bout with the herpes zoster virus: shingles. Before the blisters appeared, I ignored the early “electric nerve tingling” symptoms; they’re typical in living with SCI.

The shingles diagnosis was a shocking surprise for me because my mother had told me that I never had chicken pox. Well, obviously, the truth is: I never evidenced symptoms of chicken pox, but the virus took up residence anyway!

From reading my books, you know what I believe and where I dwell, despite the battle. Shingles is a physically painful and mentally challenging battle.

My eyes behold the inflamed skin encircling scattered islands of blisters. My body’s tactile sensitivity to the viral nerve attack keeps me mindful during the day and awakens me in the night. So, how do I respond?

Just as the confused house wren awakens me at 3:55 and 4:15 many mornings, I have succumbed to the confusing ifs: What if the virus lives on? If it hasn’t died, will it present its venomous head again?

I don’t like to think these thoughts anymore than you do. But, I take security in knowing that they’re merely thoughts.

Thoughts aren’t necessarily prophetic—thinking them will not make them come about.They’re not the truth—thinking them doesn’t make them real.

I can hear my thoughts, but I don’t have to listen to them. I filter my thoughts by weighing their motivation. If they’re beneficial, creative, and productive, I give them power by indulging their possibilities. If not, they get deleted…every time they try to put fear in my heart. As you know, some thoughts are very persistent! (I dedicated one section of my book HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU on how to change unwanted though patterns.)

The other morning when my faithful little wren woke me, I was instantly made aware of the shooting nerve fire down my leg. Simultaneously, I was distracted by what I thought the wren was saying. As clear as any chirp ever was, it said, “You feel the pain. You feel the pain. You feel the pain.”

I certainly could—feel the pain, and I gratefully thanked God.

Sometimes, we have to accept the good along with the bad. That’s life. Whether it’s living with a disability or dealing with life’s curve balls, no one is exempt. The important thing is where we put the emphasis.

Practice makes perfect.

WOEISME! Shingles!

Let me say it again, WOE IS ME!

I’m sure you noticed that last Friday’s post was a lonely quote. Let me explain:

On the previous Monday, I began experiencing a dull pressure on the inside of my left knee. Tuesday, there was swelling, and the dull pressure increased to sharp intermittent pains. Assuming it to be SCI-related nerve firings but wanting to be safe, I called to report it to my doctor. His nurse informed me that their computers were down, but she would give him my message.

He called Wednesday urging me to go to the emergency room without delay. He called in orders for a bilateral venous ultrasound to rule out the possibility of a deep blood clot. Meanwhile, the sharp pains had turned into intermittent shocks of fire and progressed up my thigh and down my knee–unlike SCI nerve pain. Also, there were two angry patches, one on the top of my knee and the other on the inside of my upper thigh, near a recent cat scratch. Hmmm.

Upon admittance, I reiterated my growing symptoms and pointed out the curious rash. Seeming to have plugs in their ears, the nurses made notes and the technicians rotely performed the ultrasound (thankfully, no blood clot), wrote out a prescription for pain/inflammation, and dismissed me. In my typical fashion, I didn’t fill the prescription.

After a miserable night, I went to First Care, a privately owned emergency medical facility. Although my left leg was now  numb, it hurt to the touch, and there were two more big red patches—like separated twins—one on either side of my knee, then a third one on my left calf.

This time, the doctor listened, joked, examined, and re-examined my cat scratches. His diagnosis: cat scratch fever.  He wrote out a prescription for an antibiotic and topical ointment.

Finally! I felt like this doctor knew what he was talking about. I took a couple of Bufferin for the pain, confident that the antibiotic would kick in within 24 to 36 hours. It was Thursday afternoon.

By Saturday, the intermittent burning shocks ran down both sides of my knee and on down behind my ankle. The patches had multiplied with painful blister-like eruptions inside the angry inflammations, and I stopped the prescribed ointment because it heightened the pain! I had to keep my skirt hem off my left leg. Due to a new symptom of back pain, I was propped up in bed by 5:00 p.m.

My sister came over, took pictures on her iPhone, and sent them to her sister-in-law, now on ER doctor. She thought it looked like shingles. After one more round of emailing pictures to a doctor specializing in shingles, it was confirmed: shingles!

At 11:00 p.m. and at my protest, my sister picked up four written prescriptions—an anti-viral, an anti-inflammatory, a pain pill for viral pain, and another pain pill. Again, they’re unfilled.

I was past the “72 hours after the rash appears” for the vaccine and some medications, so I chose a natural approach. I’M NOT RECOMMENDING THIS, but I’m only five days in, after a four-day-delay, bathing these dozen islands of rashes in a selection of Young Living’s Essential oils.

I’ve had two straight nights of restful sleep without pain spasms, the blisters are drying up and their encircling red patches have disappeared. Rash pain is mild. I could wear my skirt over my leg today without pain chills from its touch, though I prefer it off that leg. I’m still experiencing some back pain, the occasional headache, chills, and stomach aches–all symptomatic.

I am SO-O-O grateful it’s only on one leg. Countless times, I’ve thought of Job who suffered with boils over his entire body! After the emotional stress of all his servants, livestock, and family being killed and his home destroyed, I wonder if the boils were shingles. He had them from the top of his head to the soles of his feet! I can’t imagine the pain.

I’ll have an update next week.

Have you any experience with shingles?

Don’t Worry, Be Happy


Let this be your daily exercise:

“That which God said to the rose, and caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty, He said to my heart, and made it a hundred times more beautiful.”~Rumi

What joys have you gained by opening your heart, by being hopeful, truthful, and in the moment–forsaking cynicism, hypocrisy, and fear?

Love’s Concessions

We’re all aware of the necessity for clear communication, but how many of us realize the importance of give-and-take or compromise to occur for relationships to flourish and thrive?

Each category of disability suffers a specific physiological loss in its communicative efficiency, e.g., deafness and lack of verbal speech. But universally, the abled-bodied and disabled alike, suffer a greater and more divisive element in communication: the mental and emotional disconnect of misunderstanding, conflict, and discord. For clarification, indulge me for a couple of definitions.

In civil or corporate cases, lawyers, a judge or a judge and jury serve as judiciary arbiters because a compromise—an agreement for both sides to give up something to improve a situation—couldn’t be agreed upon out of court.

Because the powers that be could not reach mutual concessions for peace in times of war, an unbiased mediator is required for a successful compromise—to find an intermediate concession. Even on a world level, The United Nations was created as an international forum to develop positive relationships, promote peace and security, and establish cooperation in solving problems around the world.

Without saying, there is a great divide on the worldwide humanitarian level with societal differences. Mediation is critical for peace. I’m honing in on our individual responsibility for compromise to maintain peace in our romantic, caregiver, and life-long relationships.

Too many of us think that the endorphin overdrive we feel when romantically drawn to someone IS love. They’re neurotransmitters. Period. If they were resultant from true love, we would live in Utopia.

While we flippantly disregard the saying, “You can’t live on love alone.” it silently heralds the importance of commitment, communication, and trust. I believe that the cornerstone for any “normal” partnership or relationship (disabled or not) is commitment; but without the mortar of communication and trust, they crumble in misunderstandings and conflict.

A relationship without these is like the Pacman game; day-to-day realities (Pacman) consume the endorphin-producing emotions, especially for spousal or significant other (SO) carer collaborations. They’re REALLY hard. When life happens, we believe we’ve fallen out of love. When in truth, we never were. It was an endorphin-induced high. We came down.            

All relationships run into difficulties, but when a spouse takes on the role of caregiver for the disabled other, it can be stress and hurt 24/7…if without compromise. Instead of idolizing the notion of what love is—longing glances, stomach butterflies, endorphin highs—then hurling blame, judgement, and criticism at each other when its intoxicating vapor evaporates, focus on character and integrity.

How does your significant other deal with conflict; with wisdom and understanding or with anger and criticism?

How do they solve problems; with a hopeful heart and hearing ears or with denial and finger-pointing?

Are they fair, kind, and honest or irresponsible and combative?

When things get tough, love is having each others’ back.

If your relationship is characterized by frequent conflicts, and you are disrespected by your significant other, give them time and the freedom to grow, just not at your emotional expense. If quarrels and resentments characterize your partnership as the 24/7 caregiver of your spouse or SO, enlist help. If not, these can develop into debilitating co-dependent dynamics, unhealthy for both.

If you are the one who doesn’t want to give to or make compromises in your relationship, at least give them the truth. Own it. Be an adult.

Even after heart-safe trust is an earned harbor, when you know a truth is necessary, but it will be hard to receive, wait until you can speak it genuinely, in love; never off the tongue rashly, sarcastically or concealed behind humor. That’s unloving, deceitful, and a stab in the back.

Instead of the give-and-take or compromise in love, I think it’s the give-and-get of love. Remember my article, “Beware: Karma—BANG! BANG! DUCK!…bang-bang-duck/ . What you give, you get in return; hopefully, it’s respect, consideration, kindness, dependability, patience, forgiveness, an available shoulder, a sympathetic ear.

Upon further consideration, if there is anything to take, how about your dishes to the kitchen, the garbage to the curb, and the dog for a walk.

I want you to be the best you! HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU-from A to Z

P.S. Here you will find a synopsis of Gary D. Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, an eye-opening explanation of how we give and interpret love. A revelatory read!


Be Your Favorite Color

Here’s the hook: The only way to find out what “be your favorite color” means is to read my new book, HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU-from A to Z. It’ll be worth it!

My purpose for writing Viewswas to share a little of my journey adjusting to disability and to open discouraged hearts with hope. No matter the life interruption, there IS life after. As a follow-up, HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU is to open eyes and minds to discover that purposeful future.

Aware of the many advanced self-improvement books written by highly educated doctors, PhDs, scientists, etc., I decided to write one on an elementary level, a four-part 101, of things that worked for me. I begin with leading clues to discover the real you, and how-to get to know yourself after losing touch.

Part Two is the common denominator for the sober awakening that life has passed us by—the impact of thoughts on physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health.

Part Three offers 6 states-of-mind to assist in identifying what roadblocks may have detoured you on your journey of self-discovery. They are: boredom, denial, excuses, laziness, fear, and ingratitude.

And of course, a tongue-in-cheek Part Four on my deep thoughts to stimulate yours. Like, what’s a burp? And, how-to prevent them; as well as, a chapter on the association, connection, and benefit of color in our lives. You CAN be your favorite color!

No matter what has delayed the fulfillment of your destiny—never knowing, parental brainwashing, incident/disability, or forgetting—it’s never too late to discover your north star, your passion and purpose in life.

P.S. Because of the fancy formatting, fun fonts, and novel use of color, HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU  could not be converted for iPad, Nook, and Kindle readers. It’s one-of-a-kind! I’m working on a PDF for you who are digitally addicted.