Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 923: Greater than through love and support!

I go back to work tomorrow. This blog was started for me to hold me accountable and one of the by products if it is that others may see my journey and something may come from it for them. I had to remember that as I was thinking about this entry. I have not been sleeping real well since I got home. I know this may be normal, but I need to do this for me. I need to write down what is inside and get it down. The last 10 days have just been so intense and while I know in my mind that it will take more time, I feel like I want to do it all right now. Today in fact is the first time I feel like I can breathe. Monday, my first day back home, I ran around doing errands, laundry..staying busy. Yesterday  was a little better, while I have done some of that, I have actually read some lovely cards that came, cried a little, and just..well..slowed down. But I have this need, this need to write down the experience...this amazing gift that has come to everything else, it is a day at a time.

Last week, it seems like a year ago, we were called to Rex...Daddy had been in and out of the emergency room with so much pain all week..but he had been moved to the ICU..ICU number 11. Leanne called and off I went. When I got there he was on oxygen and it was not good. But as we talked, my siser and I, we had been here before, or so it felt. For 10 years, daddy had been so much. We often called him the teflon man...he had lived for years with renal bypasses, open heart surgery, had had diabetes since 1981, and had had lung skin, and esophageal cancer. At points along the way the question came "what is enough".."how much can one man suffer"...but I always got back the answer that there was business that needed addressing and there was something...that was something my daddy and God had to deal with...and for me, for all of us, it was to be there.

So, here we were again, Daddy in the ICU at Rex. But we knew..we knew this time it was different. His kidneys were shutting down, he had congenital heart failure, and the area that had been radiated in his esophagus was showing new growth in the cancer and it was "hot". He was faced with no way out with this, and Leanne and I sat, she on one side of him and me on the other and we held his hands. I will carry that memory for the rest of my life as one of the most precious memories I will ever have. Leanne and I have had our moments, but there in that room, there was such love...and we were there for Daddy. And we both told our daddy that it was ok for him to let go...that we wanted him to be out of pain, and he heard us. All of a sudden, Leanne began, not to read, not even to recite, but to speak was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. She was passionate, sincere, but above all else, she was speaking love..and it was simply beautiful. Daddy held my hand with pressure....and he heard every word. It was amazing..and I will never ever forget hearing ("for those with ears..let them hear")....and from her came such true love. Through her came such peace that night and it set the tone for the days ahead.

It was not meant that Daddy would pass that night. He was going home. That was always his be in his own house and he HATED not being in his own house. He has more to do. the next day, we did not know what to do and Drs...God love them..they are geared to heal...they are NOT geared to tell you that there is nothing more...that there is a time to stop. We, however, knew it, but did not know what to do. I had such a long history with Lower Cape Fear Hospice and brought it up and Leanne was ready to talk about it to...but we still did not know what to do or how to have the conversation with the hospital, the care providers. It was maddening. Then came this amazing Paliative Nurse..her name is Camille Lamb and I will be grateful to her the rest of my life. This SOUL..I cannot even qualify her by sex or status as her presence preceeded her the minute she sat down and began to talk to us. She was amazing. Over those harry potter glasses, her eyes radiated comfort and there was just a sense of trust that came from her. She told us that on rounds they had the discussion that Daddy should begin to have paliative care..but now it was time for us to discuss it.

Camille was amazing and walked us through what it meant, how to talk about it and then, she said we needed to talk to Daddy about it..and that she would do it. She asked if we wanted to go with her and I went...and I found myself asking my brother in law to go with be there with me..but more importantly to be with there with Daddy. See, for months...or longer, as I have lived in Wilmington, it was my sister and my brother in law who came to my father's house and crushed my daddy's medicine's and made sure that his feed tube and all that his needs were met. It was my brother in law who did so much for my daddy..and I am so grateful that several months ago, away from all of this, he had called me and I was able to thank him for all that he did. Buddy was also my daddy's son..and for me, to go to that room to talk to Daddy about this with Buddy was terrifying, but less so, because I was going in with someone I knew cared about Daddy so very much.

Camille woke daddy, and made sure he understood what was going on. While the details are not as important, what I witnessed and expereinced in that time, with that woman facilitiating that converstaion was nothing short of actually touching compassion and being wrapped in unconditional concern and care. She made sure that Daddy was fully aware and we were all involved and able to share how deeply we loved him. Daddy had already prepared for this with a do not resistate and other decisions about his care, now it was time to stop treatments and just make him as comfortable as possible, remove pain as an obstacle, get him home and spend our time together.  We gathered together and cried, but we also shared how very deeply we loved each other and we made our commitments to seeing this through. Camille got Wake County Hospice to come meet with us and we began the next phase to honor Daddy's wish to be at home till the very end.

Hospice was the next gift. Volunteering, knowing hospice here, and visiting so many in hospice care you get a sense of what is happening, but sitting in that room with my sister and my father's wife and hearing what they can do and will is nothing short of phenomenal. But the most important thing came out of this: Daddy could go home. That was the bottom line. The CNA's, the RN who would oversee, the details and the 24 hour call in case of need, and being able to keep him out of pain. It was just so powerful. We, however, would need to be there..and that was something that we just did not know about and it was frightening, but we were committed to.

I sat that whole weekend with Daddy in the hospital as we waited for Monday to come and him to go home. We watched Church together on Sunday morning, the races on Sunday afternoon, meet the press and MSNBC news programs. But we talked when he was able and he told me of what he wanted...all of it was for us to take care of each other.

Daddy got home and I went back to Wilmington. We thought the plan would be that Leanne and Buddy and Brenda would take the week and I would come up on the weekends, but the next day I was called from office. Daddy said to come. They all said to come. It was going downhill fast. Something inside me knew that this would be the last time I would make this trip to see Daddy. I stopped by the house and got somethings before I hit the road this time and, like in all my trips, I stared deeply into the clouds that decorate the sky each and every time I travel I-40. No radio on, just the clouds and the countryside.

I arrived at the house and went in the room. Daddy said "it's tough".. and I knew. He told me to stay with him. That he was proud of me, that he loved me. I was able to do the same. I was able to thank him for being my daddy. and then one after the other, people came in. Not one person came in where Daddy was not telling them how to take care, how he felt, some were getting specific instructions, some were getting some hopes...but all were getting love and all were told that he, my daddy, was going to be ok. It was amazing to witness and to be there with him.

We were shown how to administer the morphine and the medicine for his anxiety. Every two hours. Jenny Johnson, the RN from Hospice of wake county was another beautiful soul as was Tonya, the CNA. They walked us through and helped us know what the signs were, what his needs were, but most imporantly, they reassured us that we were doing the right things.

We decided I would take the night shift and leanne would come in the morning. We just did not know how long it would be. Daddy was ready. He has said so. He was at Peace. But his body was not willing just yet to let him go. So, at night, I pulled the recliner next the hospital bed that was in his room and stretched out and lay beside him. I could hear his breathing and for two nights, he would try and get up and every once and a while, so I took to holding his hand so that if he moved, it would wake me. Every two hours, my little alarm on the phone went off and I gave him his medicine and whenever he would try and get up, I would just be there to help him lie back down and be at rest. What was so amazing about holding his hand was that he had the hands of his mother. I can still feel her hands and when I grabbed his, they were so similar. I told him this and he liked it very much. He loved the idea of seeing her again and of seeing his Daddy too. Much comfort came from this and we talked about memories and things that gave us both joy. After he was not longer congent, he would raise his hand. I knew immediately what he was doing because I had seen that ever motion over and over when I was little. Daddy was motioning his bid on the market. He was buying. I thought as I watched him that he must be marching through his life, being able to see it before he left. But he would raise that hand and I would gently take it and lay it down and say "you got it daddy" and he would drift off.

Leanne did the same vigil all day during the day. All of it seemed like forever...the breathing, the medicine, the crying, the praying, the love that surrounded that room. Jenny told us that he was at peace...and she knew that becuase he had gotten all of his business done the days before. Now it was just time. She was a wise and beautiful soul. and so it went.

And then, as I was preparing for another day, and as I sat there in the room with Buddy and looked up and the short, shallow breath was still happening. I began to type again and I heard Buddy say "it stopped". I looked up at Daddy and his chest was not moving. It was completely quiet. He had left. Just that quietly. His long, hard journey had ended.

I got up and went over, stroked his hair, and buddy went to go inform the nurses. Daddy made me promise a few things about the way he would be after he left and I went to getting it done. I placed his Bible that I had left by his side the whole time in his hands, combed his hair, and placed a wooden cross I had placed around his neck when he was in the hospital for his heart a long time ago between his fingers, fixed his covers, took out all the medicinces and mess that looked like a hospital room that covered the fact that this was his bedroom, fufilled his requests in addition and then people came in.
It was exactly 2:00 when it happened.

For me I stayed as busy as I could. It just seemed surreal. The funeral home came and Buddy and I carried my daddy out of his house. Again, it seemed only right.

I choose his grey suit, a starched white shirt with his initials, his red striped tie, belt, shorts and socks...everyone liked what i choose. This was my daddy. Leanne got his barber to come.

the last two acts for me for him during all this was to close his casket at the end of the visitation. Again, I did this with Buddy. It was then that I lost was so real. But, It did not last long enough. I wanted to cry for days, and yet it stipped in minutes. For another time.

Then, at his funeral, I got to read scripture..the good news for my daddy..for my family...I also got to say what a good man he was and how proud I am of my sister and of my brother in law. This was gift.

So much happened in such a short time and while I have left a lot out, I needed to get some of this out..somehow it makes it more real. and while there are "details" that linger...that was so much of what happened. I never in my life dreamed I would be here, for a lot of reasons. But no matter what, what was and is so powerful is that my Daddy had a good death. All the pain, all the issues, all the suffering...he was able to end in peace and love and surrounded by so much good and leave it in goodness.

For me, there was a lot of intensity in all this. I just have to continue a day at a time feeling what I am feeling and balancing the gratitude for having experienced all this with the pain that also was involved in this as well.

But, there is a list as long as I can write and it will be attended to of thanks....from the hotels that put me up with special rates for hospital visits, to the nurses on the floors, the hopsices, the people who facebooked, sent texts, sent flowers, did the flowers, came to the visitation, made calls, attended to my many....and I assure you that these blessings will never go without thanks....

thanks be to God.
Know these folks...I am forever grateful to them:
Hospice of Wake County
Rex Hospital 
Rex Cancer Center
Ramada Inn on Blue Ridge Road
Whole Foods at Quail Ridge Shopping Center
McLeod's Florists in Angier, North Carolina
New Hope Presbyterian Church
Williford's Funderal Home
Comfort Inn Fuquay Varina
Cary Cardiologist 

Lenwood Sherill Dean Sr., passed peacefully into the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on July 19, 2012 at home surrounded by his family. A native of willow Spring, and the son of the late Paul and Ada Dean, Sherill was a retired tobacco buyer with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Sherill treasured his family, his friends and his church. Left to cherish sweet memories of Sherill are his wife, Brenda W. Dean, children Leanne Dean Walters and husband Buddy of Fuquay Varina, son L.S. “Bo” Dean Jr. and partner Michael Freeze of Wilmington, stepdaughter Dawn Mayo of Sanford. Grandchildren Lauren Walters Butts and husband Stephen, Morgan Adaire Walters, great grandchildren Mason, Garrett and Wesley Butts. Step-grandchildren Chris Adams, Wesley and Jeremy Walten and Haley Frame. Brothers and sisters in law Marshel and Joy Dean, the late Bobby G. Dean and Peggy all of Willow Spring. Nephew Tim Dean and wife Kelly of Ocean Isle.
The family wishes to thank Dr. China Goli, Dr. JoEllen Specca and their office staff, as well as special friends Phillip Carroll, Sammy and Jennifer Warren for their assistance and love for our father. Any remembrances in Sherill’s honor may be sent to Hospice of Wake County.
The family will receive friends from 6:00-8:00 pm, Saturday July 21, 2012 at Williford Funeral Home with services at New Hope Presbyterian Church, Hwy 42 Willow Spring, on Sunday, July 22,2012 at 1:00 pm

Cary Cardiologist

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 918: Greater than through love and support!

we are sitting here, around my dad. I am about to take the night shift. He is at his journey's end. I am not sure exactly how to describe it, but I know I am be able to be here. To be able to have said all that needed to be said. To be sitting here and available for him. But I was not thinking about that..or this moment.this experience as much as I was thinking about my dad.

Am I greater than because of him? most father's and sons, it is complicated and we have this wonderful tradition in the south that when the final bell is tolled for our departed all of a sudden its "bless his heart" and "what a powerful man" and on and on. The other stuff, well...not so much. But, what relationship does not have pain, mistakes, major issues? Not one that I can think of...not one that does not have a whole lot of love and a long history...a lot of trying and being there for each other....a lot of pride in each other. A lot...and I mean a lot of forgiveness....on everyone's part. and even more accepting each other for who and what we are or what we become.

And so hear we daddy and me....and it is his time to transition and I am full of love. period. He told me he loved me. he told me he was proud of me. and I got to tell him the same. We laughed a little..and we told stories. OH MY..if you think I am a story teller, you ain't heard nothing like my daddy tell a story.

and then....there is that I greater than through the love and support of this man....

there were the summer's...just daddy and me in the warehouses on the tobacco market. i saw the pride in my daddy's face when he introduced me to the other buyers and folks...he loved me and gave me such an  amazing summer.  He let me loose in the warehouses on the golf carts and then let me follow the sale as the auctioneers went on and Daddy got the best of the best and the auctioneer proclaimed that bale REYNOLDS!...He took me took me to South of the Border from chadburn as my "treat" and for years I thought that was the mexican border (don't judge me...Pedro said it!) and he let me buy firecrackers that are stories in and of themselves. Each year down there, like clockwork, I would have an asthma attack and end up in some columbus county hospital and he sat there through the night with me just like I am sitting here now. The next day getting a coke and a nab and back at it.

there were those tomato sandwiches with duke's mayonaise, white bread and salt and pepper.

there was showing me that a jar of water in the refrigerator is as good as any fine champagne...and in the summer tastes much sweeter

there were those go carts that made him say "damnit" like it was the only word in his vocabulary..but when we got them going and went on the track around the field and spent all day at it..he was the happiest in the world we were having a good time.

there was seeing me play in Mr. Petty's car..yep...Richard. He carried that car around for him and it was parked in our back yard...I loved climbing into that car and playing behind the wheel..and seeing daddy's face as I did.

there were those Christmas's..Lord those Christmas's. Everyone trying so hard..ours was the first divorce in the family and everyone tried to make it "Normal". we would be picked up and daddy would have all the presents Santa left at his house, all place in piles, specific to carefully gotten.

there were those trips to myrtle beach each year staying with the owners of the Royal Villa off the main stip. Daddy in the waves with me, riding them as good as I did and when I big one came, proclaming "here comes the judge"....then helping me build castles..even though he would much rather be at the pool at the hotel. And God. those thousands of hours this poor man had to spend playing and perfecting ski ball with me or going through the Gay Dolphin to get "just the right gifts" for people when I got home. and the seafood...driving to calabash...thank God for that gift!..yep..definitley greater for knowing Hushpuppies and fried shrimp.

there were those saturday's when he had me polish shoes. Shoes were to be polished. Always. and they were to be done right. we did that together and I still do it right.

There were those starched shirts...shirts are to be starched...and monograms are a good thing even if your initials are LSD.

there were those trips to Max Sox barber sharp everytime I was with him. Necks are to be clean and shaved and nails are to be trim and clean and we did this together. I learned the art of banter at that place and did not even know it at the time.

There were those Sunday mornings....oh we were going to church. that is the way the world works. Not going to church means the world ends! :) and when that collection plates comes around, if you are old enough to sit in a pew, you are old enough to put money in that plate..and he always had a dollar for me to give. It was my first lesson in giving...interestingly, in the drawer next to where I sit, there is an envelope of nothing but 1$ bills. That means a lot to me and every child who knows my daddy.

There were those sunday mornings in church where you listened even if you wanted to sleep. :) and oh did we want to sleep! but that is where I learned some lessons on respect and being available even when i did not agree. and then we sang...and daddy's deep voice always three octaves below the melody...after church there was the shaking of hands and speaking and family. no rushing.

there were those sunday dinners at Grandma Dean's. Time with family. Being togehter. the adults at the big table, the children, sometimes with Uncle Marshel at the folding table, but everyone together. Daddy saw to this for us. He would say to love your "roots" to know this and to be proud of it.

there was setting up the tables for the dean reunion, just him and me. Making sure it was done right like Aunt Annie and making sure that the table clothes were straight and the poinsettas were perfect and there were enough for each of the women in the family to take home....and that there was mountain dew for the grandchildren, stephenson's bbq a plenty and the fire in the firepalce in the fellowship hall was perfect. 

There were those drives to panther lake, granville county and other places where daddy showed me where my great grandparents farmed, how they lived, and what was left of those places. Daddy walked me through his memories and gave me stories and shared with me some of who he was.

There were those visits to graves and setting out flowers. That was so very important to him that the flowers be changed regularly and that there was always something that showed love and care for those who had passed. He let me be a part of that with him.

there was showing up in Carrboro when I was so very sick and lost as a teenager. He, in his own way was there and showed up for me.

(It was at this moment, when I had finished typing this. I had looked up a minute before and Daddy was breathing, but when i put the period on this sentence, my brother in law said, "Bo I think he has stopped". It took me a moment, but i knew exactly what he meant. I looked up and daddy had stopped breathing. he had quietly left room. Sometime I will write more about this, but tomorrow is the funeral and I want very much to finish these memories. I may not be able to finish them all, but I want to do what i can while it is fresh in my mind....)

there was teaching me to know the name of who you do business with and look them in the eye when you do it. and if they do you wrong more then once...move on. but give everyone a chance.

there was teaching me to keep my eye on the ball when I took my swing with a golf club, even though he threatened to tie my head to something rather delicate to ensure that i least i never forgot.

there was taking tim and me to the barn and teaching us how to shoot.

there was giving a wedding present to his son and son in law..that was a huge and one I will never forget..

there were the millions of hours talking democratic politics and his deep desire to see our world better and all he did to try and make it so. 

there telling me jokes and stories that will live in my mind and heart the rest of my life.

there was so much more that is absolutely impossible to capture in some blog post.,,,but at the end of the day...I know now that the imperfect perfection that is a parent is a blessing that I am grateful I understood before the end was just that.....a blessing. I am who I am because of my parents. I am part my daddy and I am VERY proud of that. I am very blessed by that and I am so very grateful that at the end, I could be there to say thank you to him.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Day 902: Greater than through love and support!

When I was checking out at West Marine I asked the guy, "does this come with divorce insurance?". he smiled and said, "you are not the first man to ask that!".

I loaded my new purchase into the car with him and headed home. A new adventure awaiting.
No divorce awaited me. Just the opposite. Happiness that I had gotten something that I could take my joy to the next the next level. Even more happiness that I had gotten a good deal. But, as usual, support and love for wanting to try to do something that would bring me peace, a challenge, something new. I had gone and gotten my sit on top kayak. I was supposed to leave our lunch and go to the grocery store and somehow West marine, being so near by Harris Teeter just lured me in....somehow. :)

I have so wanted to launch from the beach ever since I was at Kate and Mark's last summer with the Honors Student and tried it down at Kure Beach. I tired to do it with the little Kayak and it was a complete failure..sinking me each time. The call of those waves was intense and it was scary too! :) But I got a lot more than I could have ever imagined out of my first trip out.

First, I had not really done this before..Kure was a short trip and it was pretty calm...the waves at the time were small and I did not stay out long. This time I was on my own and the surf was way up. I was prepared in some ways; had my life jacket, a botttle of water, and a whistle. I had sense enough to look for the lifegaurd stands and monitor where I was.

I jumped up on the craft and paddled out. The surf wanted to push me back, but I pushed ahead. I thought it was best to get past the break point, and that was smart as I was able to get on and stay on. But this was not easy paddle and I hit the waves straight on..taking me up and then sending me down like riding a horse! It was thrilling. Paddling did not take me far and was intense! I don't think I have worked quite so hard, but the pay off was the waves...up and down, and the higher the wave, the greater the release on the other was exhilarating!

I was obsessed for a little while on seeing dolphins or some sort of obsessed that I almost did not see a full grown pelican literally floating feet beside me. It occurred to me that I was spending so much time looking for something I was missing the beauty right under my nose...uh huh...yep, there was something to this...and I got in the moment. I started to see the vastness of the ocean over the horizon..the shape and dimension of the waves....the power of them...and yes, I got it that there is respect for that power...and I got it why surfers are so obsessed by being out there! It is the ultimate in peace...even while battling the current..even while running up and down..there is this tranquility..this is palapable....

and I did keep my eye on the shore. while i was experiencing all this wonder, I was able to keep my footing, my bearings so I did not get lost or swept away. yep...there is something to this....

I was whooping and hollering and having a 12 year old's good time and this youngin' about 15 feet away was on a surf board and I nodded at him like i knew what I was doing..just a little cocky..and I turned back to the horizon and a wave about the size of the sunspree hotel came up..took the kayak straight up, turned it, me and the world right us over top of my tail. I had sense enough to let the boat go and hold on to the paddle. The life jacket brought me right up and righted me, but I was in a panic for a second not sure how to get back to shore....the boat went to my right...and i was not sure what to do. I was holding on and just looking for what to do next...then it occurred to me to stretch out my legs..and when i did...yep....I touched the ground! :) Even that far out..I was not that deep and was just fine. no need to blow the whistle. Now the boat. I started towards it..and there was a guy swimming closer to it who went to it and grabbed it. He waited till I got there. I profusely thanked him as if he had saved it and me...and he just looked at me as if it was no big deal. It was just what you do. I was blown away by his kindness, but then I wasn't. By now, I should know that folks are there when I am in need. I am there when others are need. That is how it works. That is how it worked. yep, there is something in this.....

I was a little overwhelmed by getting knocked off and headed to shore..but it occurred to me that I was not ready to go home and getting knocked off was no reason to stop when i was having such an experience. So, I headed back out..I jumped back on...and I paddled harder than bigger and badder waves...and I was able to have a conversation with higher powers. Just sit and talk and listen. It was amazing.... was more than Kayaking....It was:
1.) remembering that I don't have to be afraid to pursue things I want to with those I love when it is something I really want for my own health and wellness.
2.) rememering to look at what it in front of me and seeing the beauty that is there and not getting so distracted by what might be or looking for something that I don't see what it.
3.) taking risks, but being mindful of the dangers and taking measures to ensure some safety
4.) remembering that I am never alone and all things come with love and support of others
5.) and I can have some fun..and really just kick the frick back!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Day 896: Greater than through love and support!

I think I have quoted this before but there was a wonderful, spirtual mentor in my life 20 some years ago who told passed on to me that "true humility is the achievement of one's own excellence".

At the time when he told me that (or told us that as it was a youth group that I was in) I had no clue whatsoever what he was talking about. First of all I only knew humiliation and exaggerated ego. I didn't know whole lot about what humility was and had no real estimation of my self. At the time I certainly didn't know what excellence meant and while I covered up my shortcomings with the defense of ego I didn't know what I was truly capable of and I didn't really understand what my talents were or what I was able to do in the fullest. As a result I was seeking things that were not in my "excellence" and I was seeking things I thought would make me happy or successful: mostly things or activities that I thought others admired or respected, but not necessarily things that fit me or were or what I wanted or valued or ever felt comfortable doing.

So finding my "excellence" was about living up to my own potential, but moreover, being authentic and true to who and what I am. The way to that though was getting rid of what I thought others wanted, what pleased others, what others found valuable and look at what I found valuable..what was at my core. What is that my higher power had in mind when he wound me up and made me....what was my purpose sans all the stuff that was layered on top and I had obstructed my way with. 

Bob started me on that discovery with that simple phrase "true humility is the achievement of one's own excellence". It was up to me to listen and be ready to experience what that was and is. By being opened to it I began to develop some understanding of what it was that I was capable of  and by truly acknowledging the gifts that I had by realizing the scope in the depths of all that I had that was offered to me that I can achieve so many wonderful and great things but that I had to take time to find out what was in my scope.

The humility part of it was being right sized; realizing that there are some things that I am NOT capable of, and I am one of many, one with many...there came a sense of self that is in perspective (ok..most of the time!) that is not so grandiose, not so out of whack with the rest of the world, that I am part of a community, that I'm part of the world around me and by being right size by being a part of things and there's just so many wonderful things that can go on and that will go as a result.

Why am I am on about this...again? LOL! Well..this is not some sudden revelation..this excellence is discovery..and I have been seeing and experiencing some things lately that have lead me to a place where once again I am hearing that statement in my head; where gifts are abundant all around me, where lessons continue to come into my life and they are continuing to help me to see what is my direction and purpose..what is His direction.

What is it that really is at the core of who I am. Most of you know by now that any kind of issue or any kind of movement that really moves me with regards to anything to do with basic human needs whether it's homelessness or whether it's child abuse or whether it's substance abuse and mental health anything that's about basic human needs drives me more than anything else in my life.

Well within my excellence I know that I can rally and I can be about doing things that are supportive and that are about championing those causes. Health and wellness is something that I have found in my own self and it's something that I can champion.

I guess I'm just coming to the point where I realized that's okay and that's something that I really can center my life around and I can really focus on and really embrace and I can find my excellence in all of that. The latest part of my journey where this weight loss in this new health and all of this it's really brought me to understand the importance of using the lessons that are in front of me to focus in on how I can be a part of the solution where you're part of things that make a difference and make those changes. But it all has to start with me and I have to do the things that are necessary to take care of myself.  I have to make sure that I'm eating right,  have to make sure that I am exercising,  that I'm focusing on myself spiritually,  and that I'm doing those things primarily in my relationship and my relationships that are healthy and they're wise and that I'm doing the things that are necessary to take those lessons and move them in the right direction and see them all as the opportunities that they are.

 I say that because a few weeks ago I was kind of not sure what was going on in terms of the things that were right in front of me and old habits are easy to get into but I think that one thing that word humility where if I'm keeping right size and keeping within those parameters and I'm really focused in on what is my excellence that makes it all really truly possible for me to see everything that's in front of me as an opportunity and I am grateful today for all the opportunities that I have.

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