Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fear Without Answers

   I woke up angry this morning. I’m not sure why, but at any given moment, I could go one of two ways- tears, or loud outbursts of yelling.
   It's probably bad to be writing to you in such a state. It's probably also bad to be sitting in this empty parking lot on a Sunday morning. If I never mail this letter, than you'll know it’s because I left my laptop here and ran away from a goon.
  So here I am, and I promised you a letter about my Mom’s scary experiences.
  Ha. Ha.

  At the time I interviewed her, three weeks ago, she said her scariest experience was when she nearly drowned in the lake. She and my Dad were out enjoying the water. She lay on a floating raft,and he swam around in the water. Suddenly, he had this hair-brained idea to join her on the raft. And I guess he popped it, because they both sank. Mom didn’t know how to swim, so she wrapped her arms around Dad’s neck and choked the life out of him.
  In case you just laughed at that statement, know this, you shouldn't kill the person whom you are depending on to save you…
  So anyway, one of their friends finally saw them and threw a lifesaver out into the water.
  Long story short: They nearly drowned, but ‘by the grace of God one of our friends saw us and thought quickly enough to help.’

  My Grandma’s story was similar. She was out playing by the river when she was about 9. She and her cousins threw an inner-tube back and forth for fun. In an attempt to catch the inner-tube, she fell into the river. Fighting hard to save herself and digging into the river bank, she finally made it back to the shore. Funny thing was, she said, “I could’ve stood up at any time. It wasn’t deep at all.”
  Nearly drowning is a scary experience, whether you truly are drowning, or whether you just think you are.
   And that leads me to today. My Mom’s new scary experience.
  About a month ago, she stepped on a tack and injured her foot. For weeks she hasn’t been able to put her foot down on the ground. Somehow, I guess when she jerked away from the tack, she pinched a nerve.
    Parts of her body went numb.
    She started having this bizarre burning feeling all over.
    Her joints hurt.
    She felt constantly exhausted, and jittery.
  And finally, she started having tremors.
  I walked into her room a few nights ago, to see if she needed anything, and found that her legs were jumping off the bed and coming in toward her stomach.
I knew immediately what was wrong, because I had been through the same thing before.
She shook inside so hard it took her breath away. I kept hearing her gasp.
  I ran to her side, “Mom, are you ok?”
  “I-I-I c-c-can’t- st-st-stop shhhhhhhaking.”
  It was weird. Seeing it, rather than experiencing it, was like deja-vu. My heart sped up. I breathed rapidly. But I tried to remain calm, even as tears formed in my eyes.
  “Ok, Mom,” I said, “You need to roll over onto your side.”
  Her legs jumped and twitched of their own accord. “I-I-I’ll t-t-try.”
  When she finally rolled over, the tremors lessened a little. I grabbed an ice pack from the freezer and held it to her spine, rubbing it up and down in a soothing manner.
  But the shaking didn’t stop.
  I gave her some food, thinking maybe her sugar was low.
  The shaking still didn’t stop.
  Finally, I called my Dad. He left work and came home to take her to the ER.
  She didn’t want to go. My Mom hates going to the doctor.
  At the ER, the nurse had difficulties putting in an IV. She also had trouble drawing blood, but probably because she went in at the wrong angle…
  Finally, a doctor came to see my Mom with the results of her blood work. Her sodium was low. They gave her some sodium-chloride, and a little while later, she came home.
  It was 3:45am when she and dad pulled in the driveway.
  To my surprise, she walked in with a steady gait, no shaking; no tremors. She told me what the doctor had found. I said, “Oh good.” And thought it was over.
  But it got worse. The next day, she was at it again.
  And the day after that- same.
  I came into her room to talk to her and she cried. “I don’t know what’s wrong! What if it’s something serious?”
  On top of that, we haven’t yet found a good doctor. I won’t go into all the details, but anyone who has had experience with silly doctors will know what I’m talking about.
  She was at the Emergency Room again last night.
  And I stayed up until they got home.
  This time? It was reverse hiccups, retract—— something hiccups. I forgot.

     There aren't any solid answers at the moment.
     But something weird is wrong. What is it? All of these crazy names are going around,
     Lyme Disease,
     Addison's Disease,
     Unknown scary stuff....
     Or it could be something simple, like an electrolyte deficiency.

   With all of these questions circling around in my head, a thought comes into my mind on replay, "What is God's plan in all of this? Why can't my Mom get better?"

  This afternoon, while writing this letter, I took a break to read my Bible and seek God's face. Thank God for His Word.
  John chapter 9 opens, "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
   Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be manifest in him."
  John chapter 11 opens, "Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha...(Lazarus was their brother)...Therefore, the sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby."

  Jesus healed the blind man, but He allowed Lazarus to die.      
       To bring glory to God.
  After Lazarus died, Jesus went to Bethany and raised him from the dead. Many people believed on His name, and in turn, He actually started the ball rolling toward His crucifixion. (Not that the Pharisees didn't already hate him, but if you look at chapter 11, verses 45-52, they decided to kill Him because of this miracle.)
  Reader, I am marveling in the fact that GOD HAS A PLAN. He can take a horrible situation and cause something good to come from it- specifically to glorify His name. Satan seems to say, "A-ha! I've got you this time, God! LOLOL!" And God waits for the right moment to turn it around. I'm sure when Satan saw the resurrection of Lazarus, he put it into the hearts of the Pharisees, "Hey, you have to get rid of this Jesus! He's ruining all of my plans!"
  I find it interesting to note also that the Pharisees and leaders not only wanted to kill Jesus, but LAZARUS TOO! People came to the feast of Passover to see Lazarus for themselves, to see if he really was alive like everyone was saying. The Pharisees were like, We need to kill this man so no one sees him alive and decides to believe in Jesus! (See 12:9-11 if you don't believe me. I'm surprised I never noticed that until today!)

   I'm scared, Reader. What will happen to my Mom? Will she be ok?
   I'm angry. The doctors aren't being very accommodating. I feel like they have zero compassion!
   And while I know that God's Word is truth, and He has a plan, I have to trust Him.
     Trust Him.
       Easier said then done.
     BUT, I know the Truth, and that's a good foot forward. 
 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

  Do you have the same trouble?

    Until next time,
    God bless you and give you grace; May He guide you in His truth, and help you trust Him!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bold and Adventurous, but not Stupid

   Starting a blog is kind of like getting a new pen-pal.

    I don't know who you are, or what your interests are. And you don't know who I am. Once you find out who I am, will you still write back?

   Getting a new pen-pal can be a scary thing.

   You write your first letter.
      "Dear Stranger,
      Look how interesting I am.
      I am very friendly and cool.
      I took boxing for three years and can kick people's butts.
      The tattoo on my left arm says, "I'm cul".
      What's cool about you?
      Write back to me soon and tell me!
                                                                                                             Weird person

     At first, they write back excitedly,
          " dEAR wEIRD pERSON,
     Then, sadly, you never hear from them again.
     And you feel like a total loser.

     But enough of that. This is a new pen-pal-ship. And maybe this one will last longer than one letter.

   And in all seriousness, I'm doing a scary thing by writing to you. Therefore, I thought it would be cool to write about... scary things.

    Instead of writing all about myself though, I got stories from other people. I think you might like that.

    My question was, "Have you ever done anything that was scary?"

    Since I live with my parents, I thought I'd ask them first. My Dad actually had a pretty funny story, while my Mom's was more sober. And because I also have a story from my Aunt and my Grandma, I think I'll send you two separate letters. That way you won't be overwhelmed because the first one is so long.

    The first set will be called, Bold and Adventurous, but not Stupid. How do you like that title? It describes a small fraction of the population. A lot of adventurous people are really dumb. Have you noticed that? But anyway, my Dad isn't- 

    When he was 9, he and his friends rode bikes all over the place. They had a ramp that they could move around the yard at will, and jump over anything they dared.

     "I knew better than to do it, cause I knew it wouldn't work..." My Dad's story began, "We had already jumped our bikes over everything in sight." But that wasn't enough; They wanted something more. "The other boys knew I was a little daredevil, so they dared me to jump over the only thing that we hadn't tried yet- the barbed wire fence."

     Hey Reader, when I was a kid, I ran into a barbed wire fence and got stuck there. It wasn't fun. Have you ever had dealings with those gnarly things?

     Mom had apparently never heard this story before, and she totally freaked out. "Honey, I really don't want to hear this story..." She said. "I already know where it's going."

     But Dad, being the person he is, continued.

     "Yeah, we got the ramp all lined up next to the fence, and I positioned my bike in front of it. I was ready. I took off flying down the yard toward that rickety ol' ramp and then 'schwoop' I slammed on the brakes.... and slid under the fence."

      I wasn't expecting that....

      "It scruffed me up real bad." He said, "But not nearly as bad as it would have if I had jumped."

      He said he never accepted a dare again. "Anytime someone dared me to do something after that, I told 'em to go jump in the lake!"

      I think he's telling the truth too. He marches to the beat of his own drum. I think I get that from him. Like, who in their right mind writes to strangers and tells them about their lives...?

     My Aunt Gina is also a little daredevil. Maybe not by your standards, since I obviously don't know who you even are.... Maybe you went bungee jumping off of the Statue of Liberty for all I know... But this is my letter, and I think she’s adventurous.

     I asked her the same question I asked Dad, and do you know what she said to me? She said, "Well, I've done scary things, but I wouldn't say it was because I had to..."

     My first thought was, what on earth has this woman been doing?

     She proceeded to tell me that she loved flying in airplanes, and she loved scary roller coasters, and she even loved para sailing. It all sounded like a lot of fun, except for the airplanes. I, uh, I've never flown before. (I know, to be 23 in 2015 and to have never been in an airplane? That might actually be kinda rare. I don't know- you tell me. I'm terrified of planes though.)

      Back to the fun stuff- Have you ever been para sailing? It sounds like a blast! Maybe I'll get to go someday. She said you're in a sort of kite that is tied to the back of a boat, and you sail behind the boat above the ocean. Can you imagine what the view would be like from one of those? (It's probably not suitable for people who are afraid of heights though.)

     After the ride, they drop you down into the ocean.

     Wait a second, what? I don't want to be in the ocean with the jellies! And the sharks! But, I bet the warm salt water feels amazing.

      She loves roller coasters as a whole, but there was one that terrified her. She said it felt like it would dump you out when it went around the curves. Oooh. That would be sickening.

      All of this brings me to wonder how adventurous you are. Do you like trying new and scary things? I, as a general rule, like adventure and exploration. One time I went rapelling down a 140 foot cliff! But I think for the time being, I'd rather stay in my quiet front yard and look at the insects in the grass.  

      What do you like? You'll have to let me know. And I'll send you another letter soon with more stories. I hope you enjoy them.

       Here's to launching our new pen-pal-ship! I can't wait to hear all about you.

     Your new friend,
Shout out to my friend Rachel for helping me edit this article. Check out her lovely booktube/YouTube channel: BookishAtHeart
Thanks also to my Mom. She doesn't have a channel though. ;)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Intro and Guidelines

Well, hello there! Thanks for stopping by!

This blog is about you, it's about people like you, and it's about me.

Who am I? My name is Samantha. I am an aspiring lawyer who loves journalism. I like to talk to people and hear their stories. This blog is for writing down those stories and sharing them with others.

I plan to interview regular Joes about topics of interest, and write down their answers here.

 I will either get their permission to write an article about them,
 or I will write about them in an anonymous fashion.
 There will also be the option of 'name-changing', in case they don't want their real name to be attached to their story.

 Please interact with me on this blog! It will be great to start up conversations and hear what you have to say about the topic at hand! Please feel free to add your thoughts. And while I encourage you to have your own opinion, I would also ask that you respect the opinions of others. I will try to respect yours as well. By commenting on the page, you acknowledge that you have read these guidelines and agreed to them.

 Now, let the fun begin!

 First topic:
 Doing what scares you.
 Have you ever done something that scared you? Maybe because you had to, or because you were terrified that you would fail? If you have, tell me what it was (Let's not be dirty though...) and how you felt afterwards in the comments below! Did you regret it? Did it make you happy? Did you feel empowered because you thought you couldn't do it, but you actually did really well? I'll try to use some of your comments in the article.
 (Ex. Getting a bold haircut, writing a thesis, changing a poo diaper, starting a business, going to college at 31, etc.)

I look forward to hearing from you! Meanwhile, I have some interviewing to do...