Thursday, December 29, 2011

A new chapter and looking back...

Maybe sometimes it is good to reflect with your eyes closed and grasping a daisy within your hand.
Maybe sometimes it is good to dream of the coming year and the unknown chapters the same way.


This year- so much has occurred. Everyone in the blog sphere seems to be writing about this year, which is only natural with the new year mere hours away. This post may be very long. I will talk about and share about life, the lovely and the difficult, I will share about my faith, and I will share memories. It is being shared so that others may read it if they like, but I think in some ways it is for myself most of all.

So, with a daisy in my hair I'll retell parts of the tale from 2011...

2011 got off to a rough start. My health issues were in a terrible place. After arriving home from traveling I went into a "crash" which left me in bed most of the time for over two weeks and in a ton of pain. Yet, my heart still worked to be optimistic from bed. On January 3rd I wrote in my journal-

"Good afternoon. Today is the first Monday of the new year. I felt that today was a good day to start writing in this lovely notebook. It is a brand new year! Even though it seems to be off to a rough start, I am going to plan and dream and live."
 
As the days went by I was in pain and felt terrible, but somehow, even in the moments where I cried God granted me joy and I chose thankfulness. On January 15th I wrote in my journal-

"This morning I stepped outside for the first time in 12 days. It hurt my eyes, but my skin and body rejoiced for the fresh air. 

List of thanks:
20. Thank You for fresh air.
21. Thank You for a special text!
22. Thank You for the sweet spirit Elyse has in You.
23. Thank You for birds!
24. Thank You for Dad's amazing french toast!
25. Thank You for Dad!
26. Thank You for the 'I love yous' I've received today."

The list of thanks was inspired and began as I was reading Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts. That book inspired me to a new understanding of thankfulness. Thankfulness was easy when I felt great, thankfulness was hard when I was in terrible pain, with swollen glands, and hadn't showered in days.  But, I was choosing thankfulness. I'm honestly, a bit amazed as I'm going back and reading.

There were struggles...

January 18th-
"How is it that tears of pain can be healing?
That is a mystery to me. 
How is it that laughter is such good medicine?
That is another great mystery to me.
...my heart is happy, yet this is still hard."

January 24th-
"Well, I have gotten one section of Lit (done) today and one section of English. Words can't express how tired I am.
You would think I have worked on school since early morning based on how tired I am. It's hard not to get caught up in "the way things once were". I do so desire to graduate in May of 2012. That seems so impossible right now.
I miss school! I really miss being able to study hard and make fast progress!
But, as Mom and my doctor continue to say, "Health is most important. You have time." Why do I not feel like I have time? I suppose because I want to finish highschool with friends and I don't want to have to explain...But, most of all, I don't want to be left behind...I don't want to be stuck."

Thankfully, I was blessed with very slow improvement. I worked on my studies at home and took a Literature class that I thoroughly enjoyed. One of the books we read was The Diary of Anne Frank. 
On January 28th I wrote an observation about Anne-

"It's days like today that I see why Anne Frank thought she "fell in love" with Peter. When the sky is blue with a little bit of white, with the sunshine, with birds chirping, a light breeze, and an over-all feeling of spring, it would be easy to think yourself in love. Then you add that Anne was stuck in the same house for over a year and that she was lonely, with Peter being the only available male available it would be easy to think yourself in love."

As the year moved into February my health issues and life in general continued to give opportunity for growth. On February 3rd I wrote- 

"We live in a culture that can't seem to "just be" for a few days. I used to not be able to "just be", but CFS has changed that. It's odd how much I've changed. I just don't have the energy to go, go, go anymore. Life has a new rhythm. 
Go, rest, rest, go, rest, rest;
take time to be."

I was beginning to learn the new rhythm of life, but at the start of the year it was very slow. I remember how low my energy was and how high my symptoms were. That prevented me from being able to get out of the house much, but on February 7th I wrote about my experience getting out of the house for a longer period of time- 

"...(at the bookstore) I had a good time. There wasn't too much noise. I wanted to touch all of the books. All of the shapes, sizes, and pictures. Well, I didn't want to touch all of the books. No, some of the books are horrid! But, I was happy. I was in a world of words. In the world of books I am able to learn and "go". I can go and move in books even though I can't very much in real life." 

I'm amazed by the things that I take advantage of now that I'm doing better. A bookstore was overwhelming to my senses at the beginning of this year from having to rest and stay home so much. Wow. I'm so thankful for the improvement I'm in the midst of now.

Time went on to February 14th. For the first time in years I was completely content to be at home and single on Valentine's Day.

I continued to find joy in the seemingly simple things as I see when I read part of a journal entry from February 18th- 

"There is something very special about balloons. I've always found joy upon having one. Maybe I love them because that float and move with the wind and air. Momma gave me a rose shaped balloon on Valentine's Day. (My brother) J helped her pick it out. It is tied to the end of my bed. I enjoy watching it. On the days I can't move around very much, it blesses me to watch the balloon move with the unseen air.

It feels vain to say that I'm amazed at myself, but I am. Looking back on this year's journals I'm amazed that through the ups, downs, crying, fears, frustrations, enjoyments, and everything in between that I continued to choose thankfulness and joy. I'm thankful for the blessings and encouragement that I see in the pages of my life all along the way. I'm thankful I'm not bitter. I'm thankful for God's faithfulness.

In one of my February journal entries I even dreamed of doing a photo shoot with a big bunch of balloons. Which, wonderfully happened this summer! 

Balloon photos picture credit: Nic Pettersson.



In the span of time between the start of January to the end of March I filled an entire journal from cover to cover. It was filled with observations, prayers, thanks, heart cries, heart sighs, rejoicing, and my journey put in words.

April and May was a difficult time. It had a lot of ups and downs. Looking back I see how much I struggled emotionally. I struggled with my health limitations, my feelings, worries about the future, and the symptoms. In May I was retested for and diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. It was good to know the reason for all the pain I was having, but being given a new syndrome to live with was a bit crushing. I think the words I wrote in my journal on May 13th give a good glimpse of the struggle-

"(In regards to my health.) Will my life really ever change for the better? *sigh* This is so hard. Will I ever stop thinking back to how I used to be?"

The wonderful thing is that I can now give a jubilant yes to those questions! My life has changed for the better and improved since the day I wrote those words. And, even though in some ways it is hard to believe it myself, I'm no longer looking back on the past and wishing it would become my future. My focus is now on the daily and dreaming of a new future. I'm not trying to go back, but instead desiring to be content and move slowly forward. I'm so thankful!

In April I began this blog as a way to connect and be creative. I didn't really know what I would write about, but I knew I needed a simple way to be creative and to connect with others.

Some of my favorite posts from April and May are...

Returning to the Wonderful World of Crochet... -A post on my crochet project.
Spring Sweet Wins and a Poem... -Winning a contest by writing and sharing a poem.
Birthday Blessings... -Enjoying a wonderful birthday.
My Health Story...
A Little bit of Roses and Turning Worry into Wonder... -Seeing beauty and learning about worry.

May gave way to June and the summer was upon us. June was filled with slow continued improvement, growth, and an exciting Sarahbration! (May Dad came up with Sarahbration by putting my name and celebration together. I love him.) My family put together a special party for me and I was overwhelmingly blessed. The balloon pictures as well as some of the following were taken for or during the Sarahbration.

On June 26th I wrote in my journal-

"I want to write about yesterday. Yesterday was my "Sarahbration." My entire family worked so hard to make it a wonderful and beautiful time. There were white daisies (my favorite flowers), balloons, light lime-green table covers, a nice room set-up, a childhood table with things from my younger years, a recent years table with items from my older years, snacks, lovely flower plates and others, drinks, an incredible cake by Wendy, and a special guest book. Mom and Dad surprised me on stage. They took turns speaking about my life and then about my future... I was also amazed by all of the people that came and blessed on me. There were over 50 people that came."

My lovely cake!


Love her!

Love these two precious gals!

Blog post the Monday after the Sarahbration.

June gave way to July and then August. The summer was filled with continued improvements in the area of health and continued growth.

Favorite posts from the summer-

A roller-coaster week and a few lovelies... 
Thankfulness isn't just feminine...  
An unexpected wave of grief...
Sistershipping...
Beauty is more than make-up... -My very first interview!
A Magnificent Monday... -Enjoying the back porch with my dog Annie.

Then came autumn with it's adventures, new possibilities, lessons, and hopes.

Favorite posts from autumn-

School- One Day at A Time... -Learning to take it a day at a time.
Something Old, Something New, Next to Water that is Blue... -Pondering.
On Tears... -Learning it is okay to cry.
Little Things, Like Kittens... -It really is the little things in life.
The Bloom and the Gentle Reminder... -Reminders from God as I look upon a flower and into His word.
My Mema, the Songbird... -Writing of my Mema.

Favorite Posts from December-

Baby hats in Papa hands... -Crochet newborn hats.
Eye-sparkler moments... -Those moments where my eyes sparkled.
In the Midst of Waiting... -Learning to wait well.
Papa Bear... -For my Daddy, to bless his heart.


Now, it is December. I'm amazed by this year. I'm amazed by God's faithfulness. And, I'm amazed at how blessed I've been this year. I'm on a journey called life and hours from now a new chapter, a new adventure, a new year will begin.

Do I have dreams for 2012?

Yes, I do. I hope and I pray that it will be a year of continued growth, transitions into new chapters, and that Daddy God will lead me every step of the way.

I'm so thankful for this blog and the adventure it has been this year. I'm looking forward to continuing the adventure in 2012. Thank you to my lovely readers for reading and leaving such kind comments this year!

To my family and friends, thank you. I love each and everyone of you. You have supported me in the ups and downs of my health issues. Words can't express how much that means to me.

So, here is to 2012! A new chapter is just hours away.

I’ll keep on walking as hope flies high.

Simply,
Sarah

2 comments:

  1. I just love your positive attitude and sense of optimism and grace, Sarah. You are an inspiration! I did the same thing early in my illness - kept a journal of the ups and downs. I also started a Joy Journal to write what things brought me joy each day.

    Thank you for sharing your year-long journey! Here's to a happy and healthy 2012!

    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh! Thank you so very much, Sue!
    I'm so honored to have you say that of me.

    I've kept a journal of some sort since I was very young. I think that made it only natural for me to continue keeping a journal through all of this. And, in some ways keeping a journal is one thing I can be consistent in even on the bad health days where I only write one or two sentences.

    Isn't it nice to be able to look back and reflect?
    I'm glad to hear that you keep a Joy Journal! How long have you been keeping it?

    Thank you for taking time to read it! I hope you have a wonderful year too!

    Thank you for reading my blog, leaving such kind comments, and for encouraging me as we live in the midst of a similar health journey.

    -Sarah

    ReplyDelete

Hello and welcome to my blog!
I'm honored that you are at my blogger abode.

I simply ask that you please keep comments clean and respectful. Thank you!

Also, I do my very best to respond back to each and every comment that readers and guests so graciously leave. So, if you leave a comment, be sure to keep an eye out for a personal response back from me!

Blessings!