Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blog Interrupted!

If you're a reader of mine (or you're just looking around my website) you've noticed my ability to stay current writing a blog has been sketchy at best.

It isn't because of my health in anyway--MS or otherwise--I'm so happy to say! I've just been very busy speaking, singing, writing, and letting God give me proper rest that I have been interrupted often from this joy.

Since many speaker friends have blogs on their home pages, I may do that soon--and I may not. We're reworking my entire site and I'll let you know here what's happening there when it is up and running and I've decided.

Until then, I hope you're doing well and experiencing God's blessings.

"Take a limitation and turn it into an opportunity. Take an opportunity and turn it into an adventure by dreaming BIG!" Jo Franz

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fighting MS

I haven't written a blog post in an embarrassingly long time! The good news it's been because I've been feeling pretty good and I've definitely been busy. And saving myself for speaking engagements meant something had to go, unfortunately it was the blog--sorry to those who were followers and gave up. I kept thinking I would get back to it--ever feel that way about something?

Tomorrow is World MS Day and if you read this blog I hope you to We need to keep fighting to find treatments and the cure because MS alters lives.

I'm blessed to be supported by a wonderful husband and have the tremendous joy of sharing with audiences--listeners and readers alike. I have purpose in my life and I hope all those with MS who read this do as well.

Hoping stay connected more often---!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Child-like Living

Last week our daughter's family came from California to visit. We had been anticipating it for months... Lindsey has three daughters and that means three grandchildren came to play! I love being with these young ones not only because I love them, but because they remind me how to have fun like a child does.

One afternoon we all went to the Oregon Children's Museum where there are lots of interactive exhibits. What fun to see the girls who love to go grocery shopping with Mommy put their own (fake but real-looking) food in small buggies and take them to the cash register that actually makes a noise when items are passed over it! What fun to see Calysta (ten) serve a plate lunch she had "cooked" for her grandpa. And the water area was dousing at it's best for even Ryenn who is eighteen months. We took Maycn when she was that age and she loved even more at age five.

Then on Sunday we went to the Clark County Fair. (Was I ever glad it wasn't a scorcher like we had the week before!) Calysta and Maycn rode the Ferris wheel with me and oh, I enjoyed as much if not more than they did!

When we moseyed through an exhibit room there were several trampoline bungee jumpers--all children--having such fun. I yelled, "Can anyone do that--my age, for instance?" And guess what--I got right in line with Calysta and Maycn. What a BLAST for me--from my power chair (which I use for this type of all day event to get around in)--to crawling on the huge air-filled trampoline.

My attendant asked, "Have you ever done this before?"
"Never! But I'm soooo excited!"

I even did flips! You can see me doing so by clicking here! It's the video at the top called "Just for Fun - Jo Trampoline Bungee Flipping". Every opportunity to have an adventure is absolutely amazing for me. I laughed so hard I could barely jump. As I flipped backwards I felt so many joints and muscles crying out I knew I'd regret it, but I didn't care.

My poor husband hadn't wanted me to do it because of my cervical spinal cord injury in 1994 and neck problems ever since. He could see me breaking my neck. And, to be honest when I watched the entire video, I barely made one back flip. But as he video taped me he cheered me on, yelling this and that. He said all of the adults around him were cheering me on and looking envious.

I'm reminded that Jesus said to come to him as a little child. He wants our lives to be filled with child-like faith and wonder and his love that overflows into our hearts cheering us on to the best abundant life he has purposed for us. Do I have limitations with MS that make life difficult? You bet. But I have such love flowing into me from Jesus I shout with joy at seeing my granddaughters roll in the grass. I want to always be child-like.

How about you? What can you do today to be child-like with wide-eyed wonder?


PS You can also see lots of fun things I've done and places I've been here! You can watch the same video at the bottom of the page!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Ruptured Appendix Can Be An Opportunity

It took me much longer to get to this than I'd expected. Having two surgeries within 13 days took it out of me and I've been recovering slowly--and now surely.

After coming home from Joseph, Oregon after the wonderful opportunity to share with ladies from Baker City about how we can be friends to those in need, I was tired but extremely fulfilled. We had a great time and my husband who drove me had a great time as well--he needed a break and got it while I "worked"!

But only two days later I felt ill, the following day I felt worse, and on Friday May 8 I told Ray he needed to take me to the doctor. My own was out that day so the new physician I saw asked Ray if the pain that had me doubled over was common. He said he'd never seen me this way before (and I've had a lot of pain with a cervical spinal cord injury--thankfully I've forgotten how bad some of that was). She said, "Go immediately, straight to the ER! I'll call ahead to get you in front of others!"

We're so thankful to her, I have taken the energy to write her a letter of thanks. The surgeon I saw said the CAT scan revealed a need to check out my appendix and abdomen, so I had surgery about 1:30 am. My appendix had burst and I had a drain to remove infectious toxins. One of the worst affects though was the "ileus," a result of anesthesia making the gastro-intestinal track go to sleep! Which means, you can't have anything but ice cubes until something wakes up! Hence, I was in the hospital eight days.

On my sixth day there we had a fire in our garage which my husband put out himself, braving blinding black smoke to open the doors by hand and find the source. Nothing like adding more stress to his life! The garage was covered in oily black residue since it was an electrical fire--he was charging a radio control battery for his airplanes and the charger shorted out! Apart from his job, the cleanup with professional crews has consumed his time.

Now home, I began running a low grade fever and eventually went back to the ER on Memorial Day, May 25. I had two abscesses due to the rupture. I won't go into the surgery I had to drain this . . . to say it would gross some out is an understatement! This time I was in the hospital another eight days!

I've been recovering ever since, and in this past week I've seen a marked change in how my energy level has been growing. I am back to doing some of my exercises! My neurologist said last week--with much relief and happiness due to all my body has been through--that I haven't progressed with the MS since he last saw me. YEAH!

How does one see all this as an opportunity? Well, for me, every hospitalization has been an opportunity to share my hope and faith with nurses and doctors and other personnel I would never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. The stories I could tell about seeing a smile spread when I simply said a genuine "Thank you" abound. Listening to nurses tell their own stories and being able to encourage them, or as was the case one time actually say, "You did all you could" as I looked into a face filled with despair and guilt and watch that beautiful face relax and tears fill her eyes, made my day. Then there was the student nurse I got to encourage before her professor and her training nurse--what joy that brought me! I was saddened to learn many patients are belligerent and even mean!

Would I have preferred to not have gone through all this? Definitely a big "Yep!" as our granddaughter would say. But I would not have had the blessings I did in being kind to others or experiencing the blessings of others providing meals, praying, and being available when Ray had to leave town for three days during my recovery. Nor would I have had the opportunities to encourage my husband in certain ways as he did me.

Even a ruptured appendix can be an adventure with living!

To every adventure!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Emergency Surgery and More

Just after I wrote my last post about going to Joseph Oregon to speak/sing for a retreat I had emergency surgery on a ruptured appendix. Since then I have spent more time in the hospital than out. I hope to write a full post next week.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Going to The Shack

You've heard about the novel, The Shack, and perhaps you've read it. I was dubious until I saw William P. Young, the author, speaking about his life and why he wrote the novel. I was in tears.

Now I know people who hated this book, and I know people who loved it. I'm not sure there are many in between.

I am one who loved it. I love it when a book takes God out of "the box" people try to put him in.

Did you know that the place where Paul Young has set his story is real? There is a Joseph, Oregon, and there is a Wallowa Lake where the tragedy occurs.

Well, this coming Thursday my husband is driving me to Wallowa Lake where I will be speaking for a women's retreat Friday through Sunday. I will share my topic "Friends, the Silver Lining in Difficult Times," which is based on a song I wrote for the amazing people who lifted and carried me places in Israel I would never have experienced without their help. We were working together on an archaeological excavation team. I can hardly wait to speak to these wonderful women I've communicated with, and I can hardly wait to see some of the sites I have imagined in my mind while reading The Shack.

I've always been this way. After reading historical fiction I could hardly wait to see Andrew Jackson's home "The Hermitage" in Nashville, Tennessee. It met my every expectation. And since I've seen photos now of the area where I'll speak I know it will do so as well.

I hope if you've been afraid to read this book you'll take a risk and see what it's about. And let me know what you thought of it if you've already read it. I'll let you know what I think of the area the author describes after my weekend away!

I'm stopping for now--I spoke this morning and am a little tired.

Have a great week!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taking Care of Me

Do you find yourself overdoing easily? When I have a "good" day, do I ever want to get going on things! I've been blessed to feel good for awhile after the MS siege of bad symptoms last summer. And so I've been out there speaking, singing, recently writing a new book that I'll have available to sell in a couple weeks . . . and that's not all!

I had a book signing scheduled last Saturday and when I called the store manager on Friday I needed to ask for a rain check. She loves having me any time I want to come in and I love doing it--connecting with new people at the store--getting my memoir into more hands. But I had been working and going so strong with a lot coming up I knew I had to take care of me! Fortunately, this wasn't a paying gig, because I never cancel those unless it's drastic. Rae understood and said, "Take care of yourself. Whenever you want to come in, just let me know."

That's why I haven't written a blog either. I've been so busy, just taking time to catch you up on life had to be put on the back burner. I'll be out speaking weekly for the next month but I'll try to write again soon.

What do you do to take care of you? (Trying to be cute here, not the writer.) Read a book? Just sit in the sun? (We haven't seen much of that in the Pacific Northwest!) Eat ice cream? Uh, oh. I'm getting hungry thinking about that one.

I hope you're taking care of yourself--whatever that means. I know when I overdo it affects everyone around me.

Let me know what you do when you take care of you--write a post!