Monday, August 8, 2011

A few thoughts...

Yesterday while driving home from a trip to Indiana we came to a stop quickly on the interstate. We just missed a large accident in front of us, we were maybe 20 car's back from this accident. We were stopped on the interstate for a few moments till the police came to help direct traffic around it. A large truck (not a semi) pulling a trailer had flipped over almost crushing the cab. Without getting into to much detail, most b/c I did not want to look when driving by the medical team had arrived and was trying to get the passengers out.

It's been almost 24 hours now and I can't get this out of my mind. I keep praying for those in the truck, and for the family in friends of whoever was in the truck. There world has been turned upside down without any warning and will forever be changed.

It's funny how events happen when you don't expect them and it forever changes you. God truly does have the power and no matter how healthy we eat, how much we work out (I know I am bad at both of those), or how much we plan your world could always be turned around.

I had A LOT of time to think in January and life is really about living it in the moment and being happy. Life is to short and your world could be turned up side down in a moment. Since January I have really tried to live a bit more "carefree". Life is about living, having enjoyment, laughter, love, service to others and joy. I try to no longer care if my house is perfect, spend hours away from the ones I love working, or wast life wishing I had something I don't. We all want something we don't have and it's hard not to look at what we don't have and enjoy what we do have.

Thinking about that accident the question has came to mine: Life will change are we enjoying the ride or looking ahead to what is next?

I pray for the families of those in the accident may they find peace in where God takes them and I pray for the 1 or 2 people that read this that you find joy.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I meet a new friend last Saturday named Roger. Nice guy, a bit odd. Roger is a door to door sales man (I did not know they still existed!) to sell a Kerby vacuum that both vacuum and shampoo your carpets.

I feel like when someone wants to shampoo a room for free to let him, after all I am a slob when I eat and I dropped some food on the carpet that I wanted to get out for some time now. Roger worked his magic on the living room carpets and on the first 3 stairs - good thing to b/c I may or may not have slipped today walking down the stairs so good thing my ass meet clean carpet.

The price of this "amazing" vacuum was 1,700. Needless to say Lacy and I do NOT own a new vacuum. However our living room and few steps look fantastic! This is not something I would rule out for the future - however Sam the Man ruled it out for me.

In other news last Sunday it was 90 and we turned on the air, today it is 45 and raining and now we have the heat on. So glad Ray and Mary made it back safe and sound to Iowa today and where able to take off their shorts at my house, get their winter coats out of my closet, and of course to see the clean carpets in the living room. Thanks for bring the "fall" weather mom and dad, I know you hate it however I LOVE it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I have started to notice a lot of progress in my healing the past few weeks so I thought now would be a nice time to share.
* I am able to go up and down stairs more maybe 2 or 3 times a day. It still takes a lot out of me to go up and I am not able to really carry anything because I still need to hold on to the railing for support but it is nice to be a bit more mobile.
* I have been able to do more things around the house. I cleaned the kitchen floor this weekend and was also able to mop!
* I am slowly starting to gain more balance when walking on uneven surfaces. Walking up hills or even slight inclines is a challenge because it pulls on my legs in a painful way but it is getting easier.
* I have started to use my handicap sticker less and less and that is a GREAT feeling.
*Also, I can pick items up and bend over a lot easier. I can now carry my laundry basket and not pull it behind/next to me!

My feet are still tingly. Kneeling at church is still something I can't do. It just hurts from my knees down but I am ok with the progress I am making.

I know I have thanked a lot of people but I am truly thankful for everyone who has helped me: co-workers, family, friends, roommate, and boyfriend. I have had so many friends who have traveled a long way just spend time with me and cheer me up. Thank you all.

Also Seth, STM helped me proofread this so I hope it is up to your liking.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I am blessed to be prayer patenters with a good friend of my who travels around the United States as a Catholic speaker - and is amazing with High School students. Each month I get an updated e-mail from him about his life - ups and downs and prayer request that he has for that month. My day is always the 10th. At the end of his emails he always shares a quote or reflection and I loved the one for April and thought it was blog worthy in sharing. I hope it invites you into some deep prayer and reflection this Lent.

"For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life – pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures – and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair.

Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.

In all three parables which Jesus tells in response to the question of why he eats with sinners, he puts the emphasis on God’s initiative. God is the shepherd who goes looking for his lost sheep. God is the woman who lights a lamp, sweeps out the house, and searches everywhere for her lost coin until she has found it. God is the father who watches and waits for his children, runs out to meet them, embraces them, pleads with them, begs and urges them to come home.

It might sound strange, but God wants to find me as much as, if not more than, I want to find God. Yes, God needs me as much as I need God. God is not the patriarch who stays home, doesn’t move, and expects his children to come to him, apologize for their aberrant behavior, beg for forgiveness, and promise to do better. To the contrary, he leaves the house, ignoring his dignity by running towards them, prays no head to apologies and promises of change, and brings them to the table richly prepared for them.

I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding out and making it as difficult as possible for me to find him, but, instead, as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding."

Henri Nouwen

The Return of the Prodigal Son, 100-101

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My mom....

If there was one good thing out of all of this mess that has happened was that my parents where here during it all. When I am sick I don't care how old I am, most likely I will want my mommy. We sent dad back to warm weather shortly after Christmas, however I was thankful that he was around during the surgery!

My mom has stood by me for over 6 weeks now. She has done a lot of "not fun" care taking, drove me around, did laundry, cooked and cleaned, rubbed cramps out of my legs, taken me to a number of doctor apt. and most importantly put up with me ever changing mood swings. She has cried with me, calmed me down when I was frustrated and laughed with me when needed. She has do so much that I don't know how I can thank her.

Now I am on my own, mom left this morning. I have a great roommate who has and will help out. I am looking forward to be doing some things on my own and also scared shitless. I know I have a lot of great friends and family who will help out along the way. As much as I am looking forward to some freedom I am also going to miss her. I am so blessed that she was able to come and stay for so long. I am also thankful for my dad living without her for all this time, however he is not getting tired of hot dogs and bake beans I think he will be happy to see her tonight when she flies in.

Health update: I can go upstairs on my own (go up once a day and come down in the morning). I can shower in my OWN shower! Walking without a walker 90% of the time. I am able to drive!
Things I can not do so well: bend down, walk a long ways, and go to the bathroom (work in progress)

A new journey starts here...

Monday, January 10, 2011

A long time coming..

This blog has been in my head now for a few weeks and I am just now taking time to put it down into words.

As many of you know I had emergency back surgery a few days before Christmas. Whatever could have gone wrong did.... I should have been out of the hospital a day after surgery but three day's after surgery I headed on down to the rehab floor for four days of rehab ... you see my new "normal" is to learn to leave with numb legs, ankles and feet. Also, as fine as it is I can't feel my ass. When will I get feeling back, maybe 6 months to a year. So hey walking with a walker at 29 is cool right? I am trying to look at it that I am not in a wheelchair at lest right?!

When going to Target last week for the first time ever I got to ride in those little motorized carts. I was so looking forward to this and learned quickly that it SUCKS to shop with one of those. It's impossible to go look at clothes b/c the cart does not fit. Every time you back up it BEEPS LOUD and everyone stops and looks at you.... EMBARRASSING! If more then one person is down an aisle forget about going down! Also if they are stocking the selves no way you can go down...

This whole experience has shown me a lot...
  • It is all about how you look at things. Chose to look at the bad or good it's all in your outlook. A positive attitude goes a LONG ways. As my mom always says "someone has it a lose worse then you" and she is right. Before surgery someone has it a lot worse then me and still someone has it a lot worse then me. Look at what you have not what you don't have and be blessed for the simple things in life like walking, driving and going up stairs on your own.
  • I have the best people in my life that have helped out! My mom is still up here to take care of me so I can live at home and not in a nursing home. This has turned not only my life upside down but also my roommates life upside down and I am thankful for all of her help and support. Also but not last the boyfriend has been more then amazing with all of this. He has made me smile though all the tears and pushes me to work harder. He has stood by my side every step of the way and for that I am thankful.
  • I learned that I am a lot stronger of a person then what I ever thought I was. With that means trusting people. From going down the stairs in a stair chair b/c I could not walk out of my house, from being lifted from bed to bed by a blanket (yea it's kinda scary!), to standing on feet that feel like they are burning under you, and when someone says they got you - they do. All of the needles, and hoses whenever I went to the hospital I hoped that it would never have to be me when it is you it sucks but you can get through it with a lot of work and trust.
  • Also, showering and washing your hair everyday is not needed. :)
Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, comments, text, phone calls and emails. My
life has changed, it will only get better from here. This is a sweet picture of me shopping at Target with my walker hanging out of the cart b/c it did not fit well. I almost took a ladies eye out...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It a wonderful time of the year...

Awww, it is that time of year when Advent is coming to a close, and Christmas is soon to come! It's a perfect time to be in Iowa if you have a parka!

As Lacy and I put up our tree on Tuesday night, I could not help but get excited about ornaments that I put on the tree. I have ones that I made in elementary school (those are Lacy's favorites!), ones that I got as gifts from Mom and Dad, and there are pink flamingos, penguins and so much more!

The Parental Units left 80 degree weather on Friday and headed north to Iowa and got to West Des Moines early Saturday afternoon. We have big plans of eating yummy mommy cooking, baking, and making gingerbread houses with good friends and family.

The Youth choir at church will be singing at the 6:30 (midnight mass), so I am looking forward to celebrating with my family and church family the birth of our Lord.

Below you will find the Christmas letter that I wrote for the family; feel free to check it out as this is the "green friendly" Christmas card...

Merry Christmas friends and family!
After much begging, I (Tonia) was able to write this year’s Christmas letter. I hope this letter finds your family and friends well! The Pals family has had a wonderful 2010, and I am as eager to tell you about it as you are to read about it, so let’s get this party started!

After Thanksgiving, Mom and Dad headed down south to their new winter home in Mission, Texas and fully enjoy retirement. They were blessed that I came down for Christmas and Brother Wade came down in mid-January. When family and friends were not visiting Mom and Dad enjoyed playing cards, doing woodworking, swimming, and going down to Mexico. Mom learned how to make fused glass jewelry and stained-glass steppingstones. Put your order in early! Dad made a fantastic oak clothes hamper that he always puts his dirty clothes in!
Grandma (Mary’s Mom Elsie) turns 90 this December so the whole family got together the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was a fantastic day celebrating a wonderful woman’s life with family. Mom and Dad headed south right after the party and are hoping to return this year for Christmas, weather permitting.

The summer was filled with time at the lake house after Mom and Dad returned at the end of April. Mom is slowly working on all the projects she has put off for years. She has a pile of dirt that is almost done!

Brother Wade found himself in Florida this spring to stand up in a good friend’s wedding. Wade also had back surgery at the end of July and was off work for three months – way too long if you ask him! He has had a great recovery and is feeling much better.

I had a great year! I am still working at the Catholic Church as a high school youth minister. After UNI had a fantastic win over KU, I headed down to St. Louis to cheer on my Panthers in the oh-so Sweet 16! This summer I headed down to Panama City, Florida for a week on the beach with a good high school friend and came back with a fantastic tan! This December I head down to New Orleans for the High School Youth Ministry conferences! I am looking forward to a tad bit warmer weather.

Blessings to all of you and your family this Christmas season! Feel free to come down to south Texas to see Mom and Dad this winter if you get tired of the cold. They have a fantastic guest room waiting for you!

The Pals Family (Ray (Mike), Mary, Tonia, and Wade Pals)