faithfamily

A Sweet Letter From My Sister: A Letter of Love, Grace & Inspiration

LETTER-FROM-MY-SISTER

 

To all of your beautiful warriors.

I am deeply honored to have been asked by my sister to be a guest writer on her blog. She gave me a few possible topics that I could share about but I’m going to go a different direction.

I’m going to talk about us. Our relationship. I love my sister with all my heart and I think about her all the time. I worry about her nonstop. I get scared to death when I get a text from her or our mom/ I get scared that it may say something was dreadfully wrong. I want nothing more than for her to be healed. I’ve prayed and prayed for healing, but for some reason (beyond my earthly knowledge) this is her illness and only God can heal in His time.

I am 22 months older than Jamee which is not that far apart so we were a year apart in school and I’ve always been thankful for that. Growing up, Jamee was always the silly, goofy one and a lot more outgoing than I was. I was super shy and backwards. Almost terrified of people in some ways but thankfully, it is a trait that is not a part of my life today and none of my girls have inherited it. I was able to befriend her friends and they took me in as part of their group. Jamee and I fought a lot growing up (like most siblings do), but she really was one of my best friends.

A-LETTER-FROM-MY-SISTER

Sadly it took me until my late 20s to completely acknowledge our journey and understand how our relationship evolved and how we fit together as we grew older. And it was then that I apologized for every mean thing I ever said to her and our relationship has continued to grow and deepen as we get older.

I’ve always admired my sister. She has a strength and a way about her that makes her stand out. A certain charisma that draws people to her. I saw some of that light fade when illness started to take over, but she won’t back down. She fights back.

I’ve watched her get ink on her body that is permanent (I wish I was that decisive). I’ve seen her color her hair in various bold shades (both on purpose and on accident) from orange to violet to black and walk into a public space just daring someone to make a negative comment.

I have always been a people pleaser. Constantly busy trying to keep everyone happy. Even if this meant giving up my own happiness. I’ve made a lot of choices in my life basing them on the feelings of others rather than my own heart. I worry about hurting the feelings of those close to me or making someone mad at me. Constant worrying can be exhausting.

I started to feel like a coward but then I started thinking of my sister and my mood changed. I was inspired. I said to myself, no more. I’m going to be true to myself and stand up for myself. I have three beautiful little girls who look up to me. I’m their role model. Do I really want them to see a coward, or a strong, proud woman?

Thank you, Jamee. You are an inspiration to me. You are amazing and I’m so proud of you.

Love from your big sissy,

Brandy

BRANDY-AUTHOR-INFO

 

bloggingchronic illness

Making Some Changes & Life Updates With Chronic Illness

If you haven’t noticed, A New Kind of Normal is currently undergoing a minor facelift! I’m working on tweaking the design and layout so thank you in advance for your patience!

While chatting about the changes, I thought I would give you a few life updates with chronic illness. I didn’t plan to disappear after this year’s Blogging for Endometriosis campaign ended but life got a little crazy (even more than usual)! My health really tanked and we’ve had a couple of scares.

While we were on vacation, we went go-cart racing and on one of the family tracks, Abby and I got nailed hard. Thankfully it was on my side of the car so I took the brunt of the hit. It was not a normal bump and crash. We were hit so hard the suspension of the car broke and we were complete sitting ducks. In all, the attendant counted that we were hit by at least five different cars (it was the first one that did the most damage). Needless to say, my body wasn’t happy so I got checked out just to be sure but thankfully Abby wasn’t hurt at all, just shaken up. If the jerk had hit her side of the car, I might have ended up in jail.

On top of that, a few weeks ago I discovered a lump in my right breast. With my family history and my own history of having an abnormal mammogram and having a total hysterectomy at 26, we didn’t want to take any chances so my doctor rushed a mammogram and ultrasound. Thankfully, we got some good news and it was only a cyst so the girls are A-OK! Praise the Lord!

Then, in addition, I have been having even more trouble with nausea, stomach pain, and not being able to keep food down. Gastroparesis has been an issue for some time now but after needing to remove several adenomas during last year’s EGD, my GI wanted to go back in to see what was going on so I had an EGD last Friday. The only thing about EGDs that make me nervous is getting the IV. There is no prep other than not eating or drinking after midnight so the process isn’t quite as anxiety-inducing as a colonoscopy but with my terrible veins, I hold my breath until that IV is in place and then I’m golden. I always warn the nurses and usually they laugh and say they hear it all the time but never have a problem until they go to stick me. Then they believe me. My nurse this time around was amazing. She had to search and search (and search!) for a vein but once she found the pitiful thing, she hit it first try. It wasn’t ideal and it hurt like nobody’s business but it got the job done. Thank God for vein numbing medications! The whole team was amazing, took great care of me, and the procedure went smoothly. They had to remove two more polyps (we won’t know if they are adenomas until the pathology comes back) and they did the routine biopsy to monitor my Celiac disease but the doctor did note that there was some liquid still retained in my stomach during the procedure so I am not sure what that means. I should be receiving my follow up information and biopsy results any time now so I will keep you updated!

Hopefully between the tests and visits with my doctors, we will be able to get a better handle on my health and things will fall back into place. I am ready to get back into a routine, not only with blogging but with life in general. I cannot believe that Abby’s last day of school is next week and I will no longer have a kindergartener! The year has flown by so fast but we are ready for some summer fun!

Thank you guys so much for sticking around and for all of your support! You have no idea how much it means and how it keeps me going!

family

My Little Cheerleader & The Lessons I Learned As A Cheer Mom

It is hard to believe Abby’s first season of cheerleading is over! For starters, don’t you just die from the cuteness overload when seeing this sweet face in uniform?

My Little Cheerleader

 

I just can’t. Swoon.

Like I said before, the season is finally over. John and I wanted to throw a party Saturday when the season was officially over (I am sure the coaches did too) because it meant that we now have our Tuesday and Thursdays nights plus Saturday mornings back! Hallelujah!

The basketball season went well. Our age group for basketball and cheerleading was K-2. The skill of the basketball teams grew by leaps and bounds from the start of the season to the finish. The number of cheers and routines our girls had built up in their repertoire was impressive. Abby is not the most coordinated child on earth but her growth from start to finish was amazing. Major kudos to all the coaches.

The season wrapped up with the area cheerleading competition, which was held this past Saturday, and our girls worked their tails off. The coaches put together a great routine and the girls performed it beautifully. I mean this was a 3 minute routine and these 5-7 year olds rocked it. I was honestly blown away with their stage presence. Their focus was completely on the judges. They smiled big, had high energy, and shook their booties (age appropriately of course).

Side note – I wonder how many cheer squads had some part of Shake It Off in their routines this season.

I have always scoffed at those parents who got upset by a bad call by a ref or judge (I mean come on, be a role model to your child please!) but I had to point the finger at myself on Saturday and give myself a time out.

As hard as our girls had worked, we were taken aback when the results were announced. There was only one other squad in her age group and they did well. They performed as I would have expected a group of 5-7 year olds to perform (random waves to family throughout the routine, blanking out, that kind of thing). We knew our girls were on pointe that day so we really thought we would take home the win but the judges didn’t see it that way and gave the win to the other team.

My first reaction was to go all mama bear, yell at the judges and ask them if they were blind. I know I am biased being a parent but the general consensus of the crowd was the same and thought our girls should have won. I was a little upset. Some were more vocal than others. I was more vocal than I should have been. I didn’t storm the table or anything but I did some trash talking amongst other parents and coaches. The worst part was that I did this trash talking in front of my child.

When we got home after the competition and I started packing up Abby’s cheerleading gear, I was still frustrated by the results but I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Instead of having a huge smile and just bubbling over with pride about how hard Abby and her team had worked, how she had gotten up in front of all those people without fear, and how she had gave it everything she had, I had a scowl and was muttering to myself about what kind of point system they must have used.

Some of the reasons we signed Abby up for cheerleading was so she could learn dedication, how to be part of a team, and – you guessed it – good sportsmanship.

I needed a hefty dose of that myself.

I had been a terrible role model for my daughter that morning and I needed to apologize.

And I did.

I sat Abby down and I explained that I did not have the attitude that Christ wants us to model. I should have modeled good sportsmanship and having a Christ-like attitude and I was sorry that I did not do so. The important thing was that they worked hard as a team, they had fun, and they totally rocked it. Everything else was irrelevant. I told her that she reminded me of what was really important and I thanked her for that and asked her to forgive me. She said she did and gave me a kiss and a hug around the neck before running off to play.

The next night, they had the end of season banquet. Abby came home with her trophy and all was right in the world. The results of the competition the previous day were all but forgotten.

She looks at her trophy and remembers the excitement of being chosen to call the cheer during the halftime routine and giggling with teammates about that part in the cheer where you have to shake your butt.

I look at her trophy and remember the lessons I learned as a cheer mom and how God used these little girls to teach me a lesson on attitude and what is really important about being a team.

Lessons-Learned-As-A-Cheer-Mom

 

P.S. Took an intermission from Blogging For Endometriosis Awareness this week but things will kick back up next week and not only are the next two weeks’ topics hardcore, there will be giveaways each week by our amazing campaign sponsors FJJ Creations and Seaview Jewellery! You will not want to miss it!