Jan's Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

My First Blog Entry

September 19, 2017

Have you ever noticed that when you’re having a pity party, God seems distant? Yeah, me too. I was having a full blown one not too long ago – tears and all -- when a song came to mind from a church we went to years ago. It’s called “Reveal”. The song begs “Father, please reveal yourself to me”. As I listened to it, I realize that I’m the one who’s been distant…I’m the one who keeps God at arm’s length. So, I prayed the words of the song as I listened to it, and guess what? God showed up! He showed up by giving me a peace that only He can. The memory that triggered my pity party – disappeared! I turned the evening into a private worship party…

Next came “Wash Me Jesus” – I know that He has. And He will do so over and over again, because He loves me, in spite of myself. He proved that on the cross.

Third song: “Will You Worship?” Yes, Lord, I will. I may not always feel as close to You as I want, but I can and will worship you. And when I think about things that my friends and family members have gone through or are going through right now…well, my troubles don’t seem so bad. Life isn’t fair… it’s life. This is mine to live, and I’m going to live it…whatever comes my way. With God ON my side and my husband BY my side, I can handle anything!

“I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.” Ps. 52:8-9 (NIV)

“I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.” Ps. 86 12-13 (NIV)

If you’d like to find the songs I mentioned, they are in the Community Bible Church online store:

Reveal (single): http://www.cbcmusicstore.com/categories/CBC-Praise-Choir/?sort=featured&page=8

Wash Me Jesus (single) & Will You Worship (album - incl. "Reveal"): http://www.cbcmusicstore.com/categories/CBC-Praise-Choir/?sort=featured&page=10

Excuse me, did you say Parkinson's?

July 24, 2019

“If you’ve met 1 person with Parkinson’s (PwP), then you’ve met One person with Parkinson’s.” Anonymous

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014, it was a shock like none I would have ever expected. How could what I thought was a shoulder injury be an incurable, neurodegenerative, progressive disease? I had just turned 53 and have always been physically active. My rational mind said, “Well, at least it’s not a death sentence. I will eventually die with Parkinson’s but not from it.” But my emotional mind jumped on a roller coaster ride of emotions. (Now, I must tell you that I love roller coasters, but this is one I’d rather have skipped.) I lived in denial for a year, waiting for my shoulder to heal (it didn’t) until I finally saw a movement disorder specialist for a second opinion. When he gave the same answer as the first guy, I looked him square in the eye and said, “Wrong answer.” From that day forward, I’ve ridden my roller coaster through the other stages of grief – anger, bargaining (& prayerful begging), moments of feeling depressed, and then finally acceptance. This is not a “giving in” acceptance, but an “ok, so I have Parkinson’s…but it doesn’t have me” acceptance that my life has a new normal. I’ve learned to see the humor in my symptoms. (As she grows older, our granddaughter will laugh with me at Lolli’s “dancing hands”.) It means I choose joy over sadness. I work hard to keep doing routine things, even if it takes me longer. It’s a bedrock of faith and a positive attitude that helps me climb out of the dips on my roller coaster ride. When they come, I choose not to stay in the lows but purposefully do things to bring me out of the dips. And I always savor the thrill of the peaks. As of this writing, I am not on medication, but use exercise as my medicine. I have learned that my best weapons for fighting this disease are a positive attitude, support from my husband & family, exercise/exercise/exercise**, educating myself on symptoms, treatments, clinical trials, research, etc., and learning from others who have Parkinson’s, because no two PD patients are the same. 

Now you’ve met one PwP.

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s or some other life-changing disease, please know that you are not alone. There are lots of resources available to help you navigate through the innumerable questions that you have now and will have later. You have plans to make, things that need attention now which you thought you could “take care of later”. I would be honored to be on your support team and help as you begin the process of determining how your life will change. Yes, you read that right…you do have choices in this experience that will have a great impact on your life moving forward. You don’t have to live your life according to how others think you should. You have more control than you may think or feel you have at this moment, and you can choose to live your life well. Let’s figure out how to make it the best life possible!

**Boxing is a great form of exercise for PwP, thus the photo of a boxing ring.  And no, the blonde is not me! :-)

Faith, not Fear

March 16, 2020

Turn on any TV, radio or news feed in any country today and the top story is going to be the COVID 19 virus. The focus will be on how fast the virus is spreading and the growing concern of how deeply this virus is affecting the entire world -- not only from a health perspective, but also our financial base, our social interactions, the way we do business, etc. Every time you check email, you are most likely receiving notice from a business stating their concern for your health and the measures being taken to keep you and their employees safe (banks, restaurants, fast-food chains, grocery stores, retail stores, churches, schools, airlines, hotels, theaters, ….need I go on?). There is validity in the concern, and we pray for those who are infected by the virus and those who have existing conditions that make them more vulnerable. We also pray for those affected by it through layoffs, reduced hours, travel restrictions, etc. It is easy to hear all of this and be afraid.

But you don’t have to stay afraid. 

The focus of the government and media to individuals is instructing us to take care of our physical well-being. Social distancing is designed to slow the growth and spread of the virus; cleaning practices (personal and institutional) are designed to protect you from getting sick. It is wise to follow these guidelines to stay healthy.

But please also practice good self-care for your mental well-being. Remember that you have a choice in how you receive all the information. You can choose to live with a perspective of fear or with a perspective of faith. You can allow fear to paralyze you, or you can choose to tap into your inner and outer resources and be creative in how you deal with the challenges you face. 

Your inner resources are those strengths God has given you. Some will come to mind easily; there may be others you haven’t used recently, so you may need to take them off the shelf, dust them off, and re-acquaint yourself with them, but they are there to serve you and to help you serve others Your outer resources are those you normally turn to – again, your family, friends, pastors, community, etc. 

Here are a few quick examples of being creative: Every time you wash your hands, use those 20 seconds to think of things that you are grateful for today. When you reach for the hand sanitizer, say a quick prayer for someone you know of who is in need (it can simply be the mention of their name – God knows the need). Instead of reading another Covid 19 statistics article, pick up the phone and call a friend or family member, or reach out to a neighbor and see if there is anything they need help with. Start planning a trip you’ve been thinking about -- understand that there will come a time when the virus is less of a threat and travel will start up again. You can dream and put a plan into place now for a great trip you will take in the not-too-distant future! Refuse to let fear stop you from living a great life.

You have a choice. You get a vote. And if you need additional, one-on-one support, please reach out. You are not alone. You can conquer fear and live in faith.

God Bless,