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4.29.2009

Attitude of Gratitude



I have been tagged for this particular award several times. Sorry to those who have tagged me and I haven't re-posted. I know the one of the bloggers who recently tagged me was Vivienne at The V Spot. Have you guys read her blog? Oh.My.Gosh. She is so funny. Her blog is an easy read. The way she puts things out there and is so real...it's captivating...and funny...did I mention funny? Rhonda at Down Memory Lane is another one who recently gave me this one as well. She's a new blogger buddy who I am looking forward to getting to know better. I know she always has such nice things to say when she comments and her blog is a joy to read!

So, I'm supposed to tell how I've come to have an attitude of gratitude. I can't think of one particular event in my life that made me want to be grateful. That's really just how I was raised. Knowing God and knowing that He was in control, has been my anchor my whole life. I've always been grateful for that. I also think being grateful is something that is often passed down. My mom has always been such a good example. She has never taken anything for granted and she has always been willing to give praise where praise was due. I've learned a lot from watching her.

I have a story I'd like to share. It's a little lengthy, so I'm warning you in advance.

My life took a drastic turn when I was about 8 years old. My mom remarried for starters. I did not want my mom to get married. I just couldn't understand what was wrong with the way things were. Why did we need a man around? What did he have to offer US? He put a kink in our Saturday shopping trips and weekends spent at a hotel. Our weekends turned into "family time"...movies, dinner out, ice skating...it was horrible! Ok, maybe not horrible, but in the eyes of an 8 year old little girl who loved nothing more than her mom and the time she spent with her...it was the worst. He took up space, he took up time, he took up residence, and he took up the comfy recliner in the living room. Not only did my mom marry some strange guy, despite my many protests (which could be another blog in itself), she also started a long battle with illness.

In 1985, my mom got married. The next year she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. So, at the ripe age of 27, my mom had a complete hysterectomy. What she thought was the end of being sick, was only the beginning. During the next year or so, she started losing weight due to an inability to keep her food down after eating. She went through tests until there was nothing left to test and every outpatient procedure you can think of. Results of some of the tests showed an abnormality in her esophagus area and also down through her GI tract. She was referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where they continued to do tests and diagnosed her with colon cancer. Due to the fact that she was so young and had so much life to live. They took every necessary step to make sure that she would beat cancer yet again. Many prayers were prayed and our attention turned to God. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He was the one who had carried us through hard times before. My mom always made a point to focus on the good and make me see that we had things to be grateful for. I remember lots of things from that time in our life, but one thing I don't remember is every forgetting my blessings. My mom would remind me that she was still here, God was not finished with her, and He was still in control. So, that's where I would stand. That was my "happy place". Just a short while later, they removed my mom's colon and did a brand new procedure that rerouted her intestines and reconnected 'things', which meant no colostomy bag...one more thing to be grateful for. Her recovery from this second surgery was long, and the chemo was awful, but eventually she did recover. One more thing to be grateful for.

By this time, I was about 13 years old. I was past my mom's new husband being a nuisance and I had fully embraced him as my dad. He was a rock. He was someone I knew I could always lean on through good times and bad. Again, one more thing to be grateful for. During all of these procedures, my mom's issue with not being able to keep food down never got better. She had been diagnosed with everything from eating disorders to mental disorders. While the doctors tried to decide what she had and who to send her to next, she was withering away to nothing. By the time they decided what exactly was wrong with her and what they were going to do about it, she weighed 87 pounds. The conclusion they came to was that she had a congenital defect in her esophagus, one that stemmed from her being a twin. Basically, the muscle at the end of her esophagus, the sphincter muscle, was paralyzed. It would not do it's job of opening to allow food to pass through and then closing to keep the food down. Hence, the getting sick after eating and extreme weight loss. Soooo, in 1995, when I was a Junior in high school, my mom had another surgery. They did a thoracic surgery (kinda like open heart surgery) and went in and basically cut the sphincter muscle so that it would stay open and allow food to pass through. That wasn't necessarily the end to my mom's battles, but it was the end to the most of it...and we were grateful.

She is alive and well today. Something I am VERY grateful for! I know I didn't have to tell you all of this to prove my point, but I just wanted you to see that God has always been in control. Also, when things seem to be at their worst, if we will just remember ALL the things that we have to be grateful for, it allows us to believe things will get better. Going through all of that makes it easy for me to see all the little and big things that I am grateful for.

So there are a few rules to this award:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post...check!
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude
3. Link to your nominees within your post...check!
4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award
5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award...check!
6. Tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude...check!

I know a lot of you have done this already, so I'm not sure who to tag.

Here are a few people that I find are always grateful and counting their blessings.

1. Katie at Blessed by 3 Miracles
2. Renee at My Glimpse of Life
3. Melissa at The Crazy Daisy (I think you've already done this before, but you could do it again.:)
4. Rebeckah at Life with Kaishon

14 comments...I love comments:

Shauna said...

Hope you have a great sunny day :)

Shilo said...

Good to hear from you! And what a neat testimony of God's faithfulness!

Vivienne said...

Well, that was worth the wait. What an amazing story. How awesome is your mom to not only keep her chin up and her faith strong through all that, but to set an example for you?! What a remarkable woman!

(Thanks or the nice comments. Easy to read? Cool!)
:)

Dawn said...

I'm sitting here with tears. No one, and I mean NO ONE should have to endure that.

I love your positive outlook and your obvious faith in the one true Healer.

I'm happy you have your mom with you still today. A blessing indeed!

Jen said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal story, I'm glad to see it has a happy ending!

Liz said...

Wow.... your Mom is an amazing woman. I don't know many people that could have gone through all of that and kept their grattitude. You included!

Thanks for sharing!

Xazmin said...

This post made me cry...thanks a lot!

My mom also re-married when I was 8. Her new husband adopted me and is my dad...but we definitely had our rough patches.

I have had cancer take away too many people whom I love...I'm glad your mom is a survivor.

I appreciated the email.

I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!

Jessica said...

My Mom has also been sick for awhile...she has had emphysema for years, and this past November my brother called me and said they were taking my Mom to the ER because she was having trouble breathing. To make a very long story short...she was on a ventilator for nine days and they were not sure if she was going to be able to come off of it...my Pastor and his wife came by anointed her several times and he said he felt God working with my mother...while the nurses were standing behind me shaking their heads (like there was no hope) my pastor just looked at them and smiled because he felt God working.

Well...

My Mom is alive today...she isn't smoking anymore...and is another one of God's miracles. She is on oxygen a lot, but compared to where she has been...she is wonderful!

God does work wonders...He works miracles!

Heather said...

congrats on your award! i've missed you in bloggy land this week ~ hope all is well!

stop by my blog when you get a chance ~ another award is waiting for you!

wife.mom.nurse said...

Lovely post.

Your poor mom went throught so much, as well as you, her family.

I am glad she has done so much better!

HE is in control!

Impulsive Addict said...

OMG! How many years have I known you and I'm not sure I knew any of this!!! I'm a horrible person.

Apparently I really am since you don't think I "count my blessings" enough to be awarded! Whatever. Just b/c I have a drinking problem? Just so you know, I thank God every day for letting me wake up from my alcohol induced coma every morning. Is that not enough?

Life with Kaishon said...

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, Shucks Jenny Kate : ). You are SO sweet. I love that you have learned this beautiful way to live from your Mom. You know why I love your Mom? Because she raised someone as spectacular as you. (Even though you do have pale skin and sagging boobs :)

Tanielle said...

What an amazing story! Your family is awesome!!! Glad to hear she is here with you still. You sooo deserve this award!

AndreaLeigh said...

congrats on the award. she is a survivor!