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Hello… You have a Brain Aneurysm

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in adventure, hope, prayer | 38 comments

Last month I couldn't spell aneurysm.  I've typed and spoken this word thousands of times in the last 30 days.  Yep, I have a brain aneurysm -- Crazy, isn't it.  It hasn't ruptured -- so that is very good. How did I find it?  Well, funny you should ask -- there's a story. I've had this weird vertigo for the past few months.  I feel like I'm falling to the left -- it's just a feeling, I don't actually fall. Finally I diagnosed myself with middle ear infection -- well, me, google and my medical training (which came from binge watching Grey's Anatomy).  A round of antibiotics was ordered -- by my doctor because strangely enough my Grey's Anatomy medical education doesn't qualify me to write prescriptions -- I KNOW!  Whatever. The antibiotics didn't do the trip so I headed over to the ENT to get a better diagnosis.  I determined that something most be going on inside my ears. ENT looked, tested and couldn't find anything.  "Let's rule a few things out with an MRI and then we'll do some more testing," said Dr ENT. Well, okie dokie!  But I'm on schedule.  Have things to do, no time to slow down. The next day I have my first MRI on my head -- gotta make sure there's nothing in there causing the left leaning stuff. I was CERTAIN that NOTHING was happening in my head.  Well, nothing that would show up on a screen anyway. And then I got the call -- "We found something.  We need to get a better look. We've scheduled you for an MRA tomorrow." UH, okay.  And I hung up. FYI -- apparently MRA is an MRI that looks at blood vessels. So that's how they found my aneurysm.  And it's a doozy -- as we say in the medical community.   See that gray bubble in the middle -- that's it!  and that big artery it's attached to is my right carotid artery. IMG_8983   So, I am fortunate that is was found.  And I'm also fortunate that I can have the aneurysm taken care of with a vascular procedure -- no need to shave my head and cut my skull open.  And that's a sentence I never thought I'd write.   And I have my very own vascular neuro surgeon -- just like Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey's except that Dr. Shepherd is dead and my guy is very much alive.   My doc will send a wire through my artery into my head and put platinum coils in the aneurysm to fill it up -- and if you're going to fill up something, platinum is the way to go.  This will stop the blood from going to the aneurysm and no more risk of rupture. Personally I've never known someone who had or has an un-ruptured aneurysm -- but I've known a few who've suffered through a rupture and the outcome isn't good.  So if you have a story of a great outcome, please share.  If you have a story of a bad outcome -- don't share.  I'm doing my best to stay positive and think about all the amazing stories I'll get from this.  AND I'm using it to get favors from my daughters -- 'Hey baby, would you get Momma show eyelash extensions -- you know I have a brain aneurysm, right?"  "You and your sister be nice to each other, Mom has a brain aneurysm."  You play with the hand you are dealt. Recovery should be fairly quick and uneventful -- that's the two things I look for in a recovery.  I have the operation on Wed, Aug 24th -- I would love your prayers for me and for my family.  I know God has us in the palm of His hand.  He is my strength and my shield.  I trust Him.  He has this!

365 Days or is it 366?

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in adventure, blessings | Comments Off

One year ago today I started on a new adventure (aka a new job) -- with Compassion.  It's been a year filled with fun and firsts. Went to a developing nation -- and I didn't just stay in the tourist section. Saw true poverty up close -- and it broke my heart. Stood over a table filled with child packets and cried when it hit me that this is REAL.  These children NEED a sponsor and not like i need a new pair of shoes.  This is a true NEED. Cried when I watched hands go up across an auditorium as my speaker asked 'who is willing to make a difference in a child's life?' Learned how to sleep on a glorified book shelf -- also known as a bunk on a tour bus. Spent the majority of three weeks living on a tour bus with 10 other people -- none that I knew well before the adventure began.  Now I call all of them friends.  Don't know what they call me -- maybe crazy lady, but I had a blast! I've gotten to know the people on my team and I'm honored to be among them!  They are talented, passionate, fearless, and funny!  They have answered my questions, talked me off of ledges, walked with me through crazy ideas and helped me navigate through this first year. I'm honored to have an amazing roster of amazing speakers!  They are an incredible bunch who believe in Compassion and love the children of Compassion!  And I get to work with them. While this year has been full of so many firsts and so much fun, I try to never lose sight of the children that have been sponsored this year!  Over 800 children by my speakers!  This is what it's all about -- children! I leave you with a few pictures from my first year with Compassion! IMG_7614

My group in Nicaragua!  Missy Robertson, me, Jade & Chad Prather, and Kasey & Justin Van Norman

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A view of the back yards in a village in Nicaragua

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The Karen Kingsbury and family tour team!!

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Me and Shellie Rushing Tomlinson  (she's the Belle of All things Southern)

And then you find out you are Asian

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in random ramblings | 1 comment

Recently, I went to see a doctor about having a bit of face work done -- do not judge!  I wanted to see about getting my neck tightened -- just a bit.  And since I was there, I thought why not ask about getting my eyes done. I've always had heavy lidded eyes and have long wished for those  big beautiful lids. So the doctor looked at my neck first -- and explained that getting your neck tightened really requires getting your face tightened.  And he was nice enough to say I don't need my face tightened -- at least not yet. Then he looked at my eyes...  
"You are Asian, right?" Uh.... no "But you have Asian blood? " Blank stare "Polynesian?" Nope. "Only Asians have these type of eyelids."
Well --okay. And all this time I've been marking that Caucasian box on all types of forms.  Now, I'll be marking that Asian box! And I'm googling 'makeup for Asian eyes.'      

Finding Your Passion even when you didn’t know it was lost

Posted by on Feb 5, 2016 in adventure, blessings, Seeking Jesus | 1 comment

One year ago today I opened up this little planner -- the Passion Planner and began a journey to finding my passion. IMG_7641 copy Now, let me say that MOST people begin a new planner on January 1st or at least sometime in January.  Me?  I let that new year soak in for a month and then I get hopping.   So today I opened my new Passion Planner -- and remembered just how much this planner helped me make a change in my life.  Now, let me state that I do not believe the planner has ANY magical qualities -- nothing like that, but I do believe it helped me FOCUS -- and it helped to REMIND me WHO holds my life in His hands.  The planner was and is a tool to moving out of the muck of everyday life and moving on to live and work and exist in your PASSION -- the passion that the Lord has for ALL of His children... ALL of us are called to a life of Passion and purpose.  Sometimes we just get caught up in the daily grind and forget to focus on the One who gives us our passion! So back to my story -- a year ago I opened up my Passion Planner and began to take stock of where I was in life.  I knew it was time to move on from the job I had -- the handwriting had been on the wall for a while.  I felt strangled, stifled and without a way to share my creative and business passion.  I knew it was time -- but I didn't know HOW to go about it.  After all eight years with a Christian charter cruise company is a odd skill set.  Where to go?  How to go?  What to do?  All those thoughts rambled through my head and heart.  And then I opened the first pages of that planner and I wrote out my first  Passion Roadmap: FullSizeRender   I have some LOFTY goals on that roadmap -I LOVE what the Lord had me write for a lifetime goal --
Connect people to Jesus Connect people to passion Use local, national, and international platforms to show LOVE not judgment
And that short term goal -- find a new career path in THREE months.  Now, realistically that is CRAZY!  Just plain bat crap crazy.  But I wrote it and then I took that little three month goal and created my FIRST passion plan! My number one action item was PRAY!  And I did.  Daily, Hourly and often even more frequently.  I prayed for direction, wisdom and discernment.  And I read the Word of God -- I spent hours with my head and heart buried in scripture. I also used my planner as a journal of the journey -- and reading back over it today I'm JUST BLOWN AWAY at how the Lord was at work.  Here are a few highlights that I LOVE:
Feb 12 -- I apply for a position with Compassion International (one week after making that first road map and committing it to prayer) March 7 - Prayed for affirmation and wrote: Trust God's Plan (always better than mine); Wait on the Lord (His timing is perfect) March 11 -- I have an interview with HR at Compassion (LESS than 30 days from applying!) March 27 -- Interview with the man who is now my boss -- and I did the interview while onboard a cruise ship in the Bahamas April 6 - Set sail on what would be my last work cruise.  It was bittersweet but I knew before I stepped off that ship, that my time with Premier was done. April 22 - In person interview with Compassion in Colorado Springs
And this is what I wrote in my planner on April 23rd IMG_7636  

 I GOT THE JOB!  

And more than just a job, I got my passion back.  I LOVE working with Compassion.  I love the PASSION my team has for the children in poverty.  I LOVE the passion we have that Jesus is PROCLAIMED in this nation and this world!  I LOVE my passion -- I got it back and I didn't even know I'd lost it.  Slowly I had lost my passion.  I'd let it slip away. I gave others the right to make me feel less passionate -- but no longer.  Those days are done! On May 5th -- remember that was the  due DATE I wrote in my planner -- I was saying goodbye to my co-workers and finalizing details.   On May 11th -- 3 months and 6 days I began my new job with Compassion. I don't know if you've lost your passion or you're just looking for focus, but I know  -- this pay attention to what's happening and make a plan!   We serve a God who is RIGHT IN THE MIDST of the details. I love how He knew just what I needed and put it all together.  He gave me the desire of my heart before I could even articulate this desire. So today, One YEAR LATER I just got home from a week in Nicaragua, I'm getting ready to head out on my first Compassion tour in a couple of months, and I'm LOVING my work with Compassion.   I work with an amazing team and have the most incredible group of speakers -- I'm blessed! And I'm working on my next road map -- What's next Lord?

Romans 15:13!

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Eight Years Ago

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in adventure | Comments Off

In a small place known as the Blogosphere, a 40ish woman sat down at her Dell computer and typed out the first words of her first blog post. That woman was me. I never really had a plan for this blog... didn't truly know what I was doing, but I figured everyone else was doing it and I just hate to be out of the loop. So it began. Here are some of the first words I wrote:
Welcome to my blog – Joy Filled Living. I pondered what to name this blog. I wanted something quick, snappy, and something that described me. I considered Slightly Frazzled, Mostly Optimist Ramblings of a 40ish Christian wife, mom, and writer, but it missed the mark on quick and snappy. It does describe me -- but let me add this addendum …and Mother of the Bride. I don’t officially become the Mother of the Bride until May 17th, but for now let’s just call me the Mother of the Bride to be.   Now, back to this blogging thing – Joy Filled Living. Isn’t that what we are all called to? A life of joy. It’s not a life of comfort, but one of challenges. It’s not a life of ease, but one of substance. It’s not a life about me, but a life about Him. It’s a life filled with the joy of the Lord – not the happiness of getting my way, but the joy of walking in His Will.   I would like to tell you that I have always lived in the reality of this Joy Filled life, but I would be lying. I got to this place of a joy filled life the hard way, I took the scenic route, the road more traveled. I found this life of joy when everything else didn’t work—finally I looked to the author and finisher of my faith and found that He held the keys to a life of joy. So, here I am – living that life of joy.  
The blog lost the name Joy Filled Living somewhere along the way.  The Bride is now a wife  and the Mom to my four year old grand boy.  The maid of honor, my baby girl, is now a married woman, too.  Life has happened in these last eight years.  Great blessings and great losses.  Our grandson Ben joined the family and we added Tyler, the new son in law.  My niece, Taylor married her man, Brandon.  We've been greatly blessed with all these wonderful additions.  Sadly, we lost my Dad two years ago -- and that's a hole that just can't be filled. My career has been everywhere.  When I started this blog I was just leaving a position as the Director of a non profit to work for Premier Christian Cruises -- and now I'm a relationship manager for Compassion (THE BEST JOB EVER!) Life is good, and it's still filled with JOY.  Not simple, not easy but definitely Joy Filled. I would say I will blog more, but that may not happen -- and you know what -- it's OKAY!  If I have something to share, I'll share it.  If not, I keep quiet ... okay that's funny.  I'll never keep quiet.  I always have opinions and strong ones on all manner of stuff! Happy 2016 -- and Happy EIGHT blog anniversary!  Wow!