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My last post had some of you worried.  It’s ok.  You can admit it.  I received quite a few phone calls, visits, hugs, notes, and treats within hours of posting it.  I feel very loved and am grateful that I have so many wonderful friends and supporters.  There were some hard days after my last surgery when I realized that my hand would never be what I had hoped for–but now I am moving on.  There is too much life to be lived to sit around and wallow in my pain for very long.  So I’m continuing my climb and looking toward the future…


5_19_2016.2Yesterday, the last of the stitches were removed from my arm. Although I’m still on the mend, this event marks the end of this chapter in my life, the chapter entitled, “Rebuilding My Right Arm.”  When I look at my arm today, I have to acknowledge the miraculous healing that has taken place.  My hand, although not fully functional, is pretty useful these days.  I can’t do everything I once did, and I’m still pretty clumsy, but I have a hand!  When I look at my arm, I see a beautiful work of art.  In my opinion, the time and talent that has gone into creating this part of my body qualifies it as a masterpiece.

With this chapter coming to a close, I have spent quite a bit of time reflecting on life–my life in particular.  My childhood was not easy, physically or emotionally.  I was accident prone then (requiring stitches 11 times by the 3rd grade) and I’m afraid that pattern hasn’t changed.  It’s amazing I made it to adulthood! Throughout my life, it has seemed as if each time I make it through one crisis, another is waiting just over the horizon.  The past 4 years have been particularly grueling.  There have been many days when I just wanted to lie down and quit, but in spite of the frustrations,  I have managed to come out on top over and over again.  For example, the aggressive cancer I developed in January of 2012 was treated–and is now in remission.  The accident in 2014 that nearly severed my hand could have been much worse, fatally injuring my daughter or me–but it didn’t.  The doctor who was on call that night was willing to take a chance by trying to save my arm–and he was successful.  Then to top it all off, my daughter and I walked away unharmed from another roll-over accident in March of this year–that was definitely a miracle.  I marvel at the number of “coincidences” that were aligned in my favor with each of these events.  Why did I live when so many others have died?  At this point, I’m a statistical anomaly.  I should not be alive–but I am!

I’m starting to feel as if there is something I am supposed to do with my life that I have not yet accomplished. There must be a reason I have been spared so many times–some mission I am supposed to carry out–some way to make a difference.  I have many examples to follow, other people who have touched my life while leaving their mark on the world.  They are ordinary folks who have accomplished extraordinary things.  Not one of them would be likely to describe themselves as a “work of art,” but in my life, that is what they have become.

tim schaubThere is my surgeon, Dr. Timothy Schaub, who literally rebuilt my right hand, wrist and arm; my life would be very different today without his contributions.  I just might be his “piece de resistance”!

Steve Kramer

My physical therapist, Steve Kramer, has been with me every step of the way, encouraging me to fight through the pain and overcome the limitations of my hand; I’m not sure he knows how much I appreciate his incredible talent.


The five people who call me “Mom” have loved, supported and encouraged me on a daily basis. I know they would do anything for me–and I would do anything for them. Each of them is a masterpiece in my eyes.

My husband, Jim

And then there is the man who asked me to marry him nearly 30 years ago.  His burden has been heavy, but he never complains.  He is always by my side, ready to serve me in any way he possibly can.  His patience, service, and commitment are a true representation of charity.  I am a lucky woman to be able to call him mine.

Many other people have helped me carry the burdens of the past few years.  Each one of them hold a special place in my heart and have given me something to aspire to become.

As I look to the future, and wonder what is waiting for me in the days and years ahead, the many lessons I have learned keep coming to my mind.  Each of those lessons have been monumental in shaping who I am.   I will treasure them for the rest of my life.  They did not come without significant cost, but that is what makes them all the more valuable.  As I continue on, seeking for my purpose and striving to build a masterpiece of my own, I will take them with me to use in making a difference in my corner of the world.

Each one of us is working on a masterpiece.  It is encompassed in that thing we call life.  We get to choose the size of our canvas, the tools we will use, as well as the the textures, brushstrokes, and colors.  Each day we add to it with the decisions we make, the things we choose, and the lives we touch.  Some of us will create significant paintings that will be known world wide for many years to come, while others may be simple and known only to family and friends.  But in the end, each of us will have a work of art that is uniquely ours.  It really doesn’t matter, as long as we have done our best.

My hope is that someday when I kneel at the feet of my Savior having completed my masterpiece, I can present it to Him with confidence, knowing I created the life I was sent here to create and that I made a difference in the lives I had the privilege of touching.  I want to hear him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Your masterpiece is exquisite!”