New Life

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Looking Back isn’t Always a Bad Thing

Park reflection 2017

Photo and Story by

Elizabeth Vierra Hall

 

They say that we should never look back when trying to heal and move forward with our lives.  I beg to differ.  Although I completely understand the concept and agree for the most part, I feel that it is imperative that we, occasionally, look back for one specific reason; and that is to see how far we have come on our journey.  Looking back on occasion can be uplifting when we feel like our growth is taking us forever, or, we feel stuck and anxious to move forward faster than our present circumstances is allowing.

Keeping a journal as we go through our individual journey of life can be one of the  healthiest things we can do for our growth and support.  It makes  looking back a little easier to experience without wallowing in the past or constantly spinning in our heads.   I think the fear of looking back is that we will  “vacation” there,  which is not healthy.  Looking back can always cause us to maybe feel a little sad or depressed, but I feel that if you are hell bent on making some serious changes and growth and go to into it with a positive attitude, looking back on what you’ve learned, how you have chosen to handle it, and how far you’ve come can be such an uplifting and supportive part of your “healthy” journey of life.

Part of our journey is to make sure we have a balance of recognizing our lessons already learned, remembering them for future “tests in life”, and trying to be disciplined to not going back to the way things were while you are growing.  Having your accomplishments written down is your own personal support unit that you can have available anytime you need it.   Sometimes the best support we can have is reading about where we’ve been, how we gotten through it and compare that  person then to where you  have come today.  Friends, family and counseling can be support to us as well, but not on such a personal growth level as your own story you experience and write yourself.  There’s a special feeling of accomplishment when reflecting.

Not everyone is fond of keeping a journal and I must admit, I don’t do so on a regular basis, but what you can do, is jot down in a notebook, your phone, computer or whatever suits your needs, anything that comes to your mind and/or heart that you feel is like an “ah ha!” moment.  You may even want to put it in an email and email yourself.  Make a folder with your name on it in your email account and keep it all there. Keep your written thoughts somewhere  you can refer to when you need a little reassurance.  Just try it.  You’ll see what I mean.

Everyone’s journey is different; as it should be.  Life is tough and seems to be getting tougher these days and while everyone seems to jump in on the madness of this life like kids trying to jump in that jump rope going backwards as we did when we were kids, we tend to struggle through life by just going along with whatever is happening instead of taking time to experience our journey.  No one is perfect, not this side of heaven. Everyone has something to learn.  Everyone has growing to do.  Find what works best for you and live it.  Shake things up.  Try something new.  You just may be surprised.

Have a wonderful journey!  Until next time.

Elizabeth

 

 

Goodbye Aunt Josephine

By Elizabeth Vierra Hall

 

Today my family said goodbye to the last of my grandpa’s 21 siblings; Aunt Josie. (my Great Aunt). She was 97 years old. I don’t normally post about funerals, but, Aunt Josie was not only the last of that generation to pass…the end of that era as it were, she was also my kids’ babysitter when my grandma was not able to do it. She was the cutest, fun-loving, little over 4 foot tall, great aunt you could have for a babysitter. She was a simple woman who didn’t concern herself with the world’s problems or disasters.  She just wanted to be around children and family and love them best she could.  She had spunk and sweetness all rolled into one.

My daughter and her fiancé both took a day off from work, drove just over 3 hours to make a day trip to attend and pay their respects and my son was given the honor of being a pallbearer, which was a first for him.  I am proud of my children taking the time to honor a woman who was a special part of their lives.

Funerals are typically looked on as a duty one has to attend, but, I am proud to say that from what I witnessed today, it was the love and honor for one woman that brought the family together.  At this moment I am VERY PROUD.

Rest in the sweetest peace Aunt Josie…you will be missed, but always remembered. Love you!

Bell’s Palsy – What Stress Can Do To You

by Elizabeth Vierra Hall

 

Sunday, May 24, 2015, was a weekend I’ll never forget.  It was Memorial Day weekend.  As I got up to begin my normal morning routine, I was puzzled as to why I couldn’t hold the water in my mouth to rinse while brushing my teeth.  Why was my eye not blinking, and why was my lip drooping.  I suddenly realized that I couldn’t feel the right side of my face.  I was paralyzed!   I think the shock of what I saw in the mirror prevented me from truly believing this was happening.  I kept staring into the mirror and asking myself what the heck was going on.   I’m too young and in good health to have this happen.  Was it a stroke?  Worried beyond measure, I called my cousin who is an RN and described to her my symptoms.  She said that she was 99.9% sure I had Bell’s palsy.

Bell’s palsy?   What is that?  She told me that there is no known cause, and that it would eventually go away.  She recommended I go to the doctor.  Well, as luck would have it, all the doctors’ offices and urgent care facilities around were closed for the holiday. Well great.  You know what that means; an ER visit.  Not to put down the ER rooms,  but it immediately conjures up a huge expense that, even with insurance, will take me a year just to pay off my portion, not to mention the long wait that I am never really thrilled about.  However, I was more scared NOT to go.  So as I drove myself to the ER, I was praying this would not be something serious.  After the exam and CT scan results, the doctor confirmed that it was Bell’s palsy.  He said there is no known cause, but is believed to be one of two things; viral or stress-related.  Thinking back on the past week, I did have one of the most stressful weeks ever at work.  The doctor asked if I had any pain or odd feeling around my ear.  You know, I did!

It was the Friday before.   I remember because I was having a “discussion” with another department’s employee about an ongoing issue that still had not been resolved, and I remember that suddenly I felt like I was getting an ear ache.  My ear felt like it was plugged and I could hear myself talking.  Kind of like when you have an ear infection, only there was nothing wrong with my ear.  That’s where Bell’s palsy starts, and then radiates down the 3 main muscles of the face.  That was it!  Stress.

I was thanking God that it wasn’t a stroke.  How long this would last would remain to be seen.  It could last anywhere from 2 months to 6 months.  The ones that last longer are usually the cases where you don’t regain all your muscle strength.  Oh boy.  Now we wait and see.  The risk of losing my eyesight was very high due to the fact that my eye lid would not blink.  You see, blinking helps to keep the eye moist, and if it dried out, well, I’m sure you get the picture.  Who knew blinking was so important.  I had to keep my eye taped up and wore an eye patch.   During the day, I had to use moisture eye drops several times.  I couldn’t wear my contacts and had to wear an old pair of glasses which did nothing for my vision.  This made going to work very uncomfortable and hard to concentrate at the tasks at hand.  Eating and drinking was next to impossible.  I could only drink through a straw on the opposite side so that I wouldn’t have a mess all down the front of me.  Have you ever tried to suck down hot coffee through a straw?  Exactly!  Coffee was no longer an option.  Same with eating; I had to wear a dish towel like a bib, and eat small bites on the opposite side of my mouth.  Only half my mouth worked.  If food were to travel to the paralyzed side, my tongue would not work to shift the food back over, so I had to use my finger to sweep back what was on the paralyzed side back over.  This was an experience like no other.  It’s the little, everyday body functions that we take for granted.

My next thought was to figure out what I could do to help speed up the recovery process.   The not knowing how long this was going to continue was scary.  Was there any therapy recommended?  The doctor didn’t give any advice; just a wait and see.  Yeah, right.  If you know me, you know I don’t do “wait and see” very well.  I shared my story on Facebook.  To my surprise I received many comments, messages, texts and phone calls.  Apparently Bell’s palsy is not that uncommon.  Of all the advice I received, I chose acupuncture.  Since I’m not a fan of needles, this was always something I said I would NEVER do.  I hate needles; but like the old saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures.

On recommendation of another cousin of mine, I went to an acupuncturist, and within 2 visits saw remarkable improvement!  After the third visit, I was close to normal.  This took about 3 weeks.  My doctor who had teased me that I was going to a “witch doctor” was absolutely amazed at my progress. The look on his face was a “Kodak moment”.  Gotta love it when you can push past the normal; the expected, and prove something.  So, aside from a little pain deep down in my cheek muscle – and only when I push on it – I am back to normal! So where does this all lead?  No matter our age.  No matter how fit we are, or intelligent, or how well we’ve always been able to handle our stresses and multi-task…you can still be so over stressed that your body says ENOUGH!  STOP IT!

​It’s time to make some life changes.  Your body needs you to.  That doesn’t mean you are weak; not at all.  It means you are being brave in changing your life around to take care of you; something we’ve been taught is selfish, and that is so very wrong.  You must take care of YOU, without feeling guilty. Yes you can!  It doesn’t have to take hours out of your day, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything but your time.  Our world is becoming such a crazy, unhealthy, whirlwind of white noise and garbage and “have to’s” that we are like robots being sucked into it all thinking if we don’t comply we’ll be left behind.  Baloney!  Don’t buy into that.

The most important thing in your life is YOU!  YOU matter!  YOU are important.  I am not a doctor, a clinician of any kind, nor do I have walls of certificates that say I can change your life or that I do this for a living.   I’m just your average working woman, mother, friend, neighbor just like the ones in your community.  The only difference may be that I may have had a few more experiences like no other that could be a catalyst in helping others who are struggling with everyday life and who are seeking some peace, solace, and heck…maybe a laugh or too.  Won’t you join me?  I think we’d be good together.

Here’s to the new you!

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Photo by Elizabeth Vierra Hall

Do Something For You

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Do something for you each day, no matter how small.  It’s not selfish, it’s taking care of you.  Think of it as doing a quick charge to your mental/physical battery, kind of like doing a quick charge to your phone during the middle of the day because it was overused; running too many applications than normal.  We accept a lot of work during our day, probably more than we should.  Give yourself a boost each day so you don’t run on empty.  It’s NOT selfish.  It’s healthy.  Your mind, body and soul will thank you.

When People Drive You Crazy

 

by Elizabeth Vierra Hall

Birds on Beach

Photo by Elizabeth Vierra Hall

A thought to ponder: Is there someone that is absolutely driving you crazy? Annoying you to no end? Feels like it gets worse day after day? You just want to rip your hair out? So what are you doing about it? Have you taken them aside like a good friend (or family member) and talked to them about it? It’s kind of difficult to do, isn’t it? So what’s the alternative? Think about that for a moment or two. If you think about it, most people who annoy you are not doing it on purpose. Chances are they have no idea something they’re doing bothers you. I mean really…who would want to alienate themselves from society?  We’re all so different in our thoughts and actions. It would be nice if we could all read each other’s minds (well, to a point maybe) so that we could correct whatever we’re doing “wrong” in that person’s eyes. If it continues to be a problem and you’d like to correct it, maybe set aside a little time and say, in love and friendship, what it is that is driving you so crazy. It will certainly make you feel a lot better and, the other person could certainly learn and grow from it – not to mention they will quit doing whatever it is that frustrates you; at least they will be aware and try THEIR best. Sometimes it’s just their personality or learned habits. If that’s the case, it could be very difficult for them to change no matter how hard they try. Think how they would feel.  If not taken care of in an up front and caring way, you could explode and chances are, you could hurt that person beyond a certain point. No, it’s never easy to have those conversations and you probably think you’re saving everyone a lot of hurt by just holding it in, but chances are if you are becoming more frustrated and less patient as time goes on, then it is inevitable that it will not end well. Take a deep breath. Heck, take several deep breaths, think on it a bit, but make that move. Your health will thank you, and in time, so will that other person for helping them grow.

Have a great day!

Shopping Encounter

Old trunk in Ione

IT’S ON MY HEART: Nugget for Life

Photo and story

by Elizabeth Vierra Hall

So yesterday late afternoon, I went to Walmart to pick up a few things. One of them was some linguica I wanted to add to my potato soup. I haven’t bought linguica in a very long time. As I was standing in the cashier line, I noticed a small, elderly woman just ahead of me. She looked to be in her late 80’s. First thing I noticed was her hair. You know the look, the generation that would go every week to get their hair done at a salon – there’s just that special look; my grandma had that same hair. As she turned to put her items on the conveyor belt, I noticed her earrings. They too reminded me of my grandma…that vibrant costume jewelry of the 70’s. As I continued to watch her take her items out of her cart, I began to think about grandma and all the good ‘ole days; days of shopping with grandma and her patience, her mannerisms and how she taught me how to behave (mind) in a store. Grandma never dreaded shopping; of course the shopping experience wasn’t like it is today. I sometimes wonder what she would think about Walmart.

As I wait for my turn, I continue going down memory lane. Many memories flooded the moment and it was sort of a peaceful, relaxed wait in line…until….

The woman in the line next to me says to her cashier, “Yea, I’m buying crack!” She says this SO loud and kept repeating it. She was a loud woman who looked to be in early 40’s. She had her own special look; LOUD. Loud clothes, loud hair, a look that says, “HEY…LOOK AT ME!” She goes on about crack this and crack that….the young guy with her, looked to be her son, was unloading the cart…WITH attitude. The woman continues with her crack story and I’m thinking…”What the heck is she talking about?” Then she says, “Yea, it’s for my cat. This stuff is like crack for cat, right?” Ahh. Apparently she’s talking about cat nip. I’m rolling my eyes (on the inside) thinking, “Good Lord, no class, no tact.”

While this was going on, the guy on the other side of me is so BADLY TRYING to flirt with his cashier. Oh, and I mean badly. For a brief moment I just had to close my eyes, clinch my teeth and shake my head. There goes my tender-hearted, relaxing walk down memory lane of the “good ‘ole days.” Lord, just get me out of here and right quick please!

As the elderly woman unloads her very last item, guess what it was? Yep, linguica, AND the same brand I had just picked up. I had to smile. As I was beginning to unload my cart, I showed her I had the same item. She smiled and said, “Good stuff.”  At that moment, I felt my grandma’s presence around me.  I started to catch that emotional lump in my throat.  I wonder if grandma was watching me from heaven shop today.

As the elderly woman left with her purchases, it was now my turn and I couldn’t help but think about those people around me and THEIR shopping experiences, the memories they are creating for their children and the difference from when I was a kid to now.  The experiences, etiquette or lack of and memories that they are going to be passing along to their kids and so on. What a shame. It makes you think about all things that will no longer be in existence because the passing of the etiquette torch as it were, has started to die off.  Isn’t that just sad. The world has become such a different place. I feel as if my heart is mourning for  the shopping experiences that once were.  What would grandma think?

Enjoy your Sunday. Make good memories.

Timing & Blessings

Birds on entertainment center

Timing & Blessings – A “What Just Happened Here?” Experience

Photo and story

by Elizabeth Vierra  Hall (originally written February 25, 2017)

 

Yesterday, as I was driving down what has been deemed as the nation’s worst highway, the 99. I asked for God’s blessing, and my guardian angel’s (my Mom), to safely get me to and from my destination.  My destination was the Barnes & Noble book store in Fresno to attend the book signing of Hanford’s own Tyler Henry.  After my quick request for safety from above, I happened to glance at the clock in the car; 11:11.  Many people believe that anytime you see same digits, it is a sign from above that your loved one is with you.   I happen to see that occurrence a lot lately.  An overwhelming heart feeling just squeezed me, then peace.  Before I knew it, I was driving up into the parking lot.

My first sight was the line that was starting to wrap around the building, and I was even a little over an hour early.  Oh boy, look at the cars in this parking lot!  Something tugged at me to quickly look to my right.  There it was, front row parking; the only one available in that area.  Another sign (blessing).  As I exited my car, I could hear something being announced over a speaker about the book signing, but with the constant noise of the parking lot traffic, I couldn’t hear what was being said.  Starting to panic a little that I missed an important directive about the event, I quickly walked up to the end of one line and asked the ladies what was just said.  They told me it was about the numbered wristbands for the particular lines.  What? What wristbands?  This is the first I’ve heard of this?  One of the ladies looked over to her husband and said, “Get that other wristband out, now I know who I’m supposed to give it to.”  The three of them, the lady, her husband and her mother, all looked at each other, then at me, with a look like I missed a joke.  I felt like I just walked into the middle of a movie.  My head is thinking, “OK, what just happened here?”  I asked what the deal was and she told me, “Don’t worry about it.”  “Something told me that this extra wrist band I got was for me to give to someone who was going to need it”, and then she winked and said, “It’s all good, don’t worry about it.”  Standing in line in amazement, she tells me that there are 8 groups of 50 people each; we are in group 3.  She said, “It’s all about timing.  You were meant for this.” Timing.  I’ve been hearing a lot about that lately.

With one hour left to wait before lines began to move into the store, we discovered how much we had in common, down to the very little things in life that usually one keeps to themselves.  We connected.  We shared, we laughed; it was such a peaceful, enjoyable blessing.  Positivity.   Something there doesn’t seem to be enough of lately. She had such an incredible energy about her and yet peace and warmth as well.  It felt like…home.  A home one doesn’t have, but longs for.

As our group is finally escorted inside the store, I  see Tyler sitting at a table with a few people standing around him.  His mom, Theresa, was off to the side speaking with a few people.  I’ve never met her in person; but we’ve messaged each other several times.  Such a lovely woman.  I was hoping to get to talk to her.  As I stood in  line approaching my turn I’m thinking, “I wonder if Tyler will recognize me from the two readings I’ve had  back in 2014.”  With all the people he’s been in contact with, I didn’t think it was likely.  As I am one person away from my turn, Tyler happens to glance up in my directions, sees me, and with that big warm smile, waves to me.  What do you know; he remembered.  Well, at least recognized my face, so I’m thinking.  When it was my turn, he stood up from his chair and gave me a big hug.  He asked me how I’ve been and that he thinks about me and my mother.  From this point on I can’t remember the exact words in our conversation because I was so surprised that he remembered the reading that was about my mom who passed when I was three years old.  Now what does one do?  Not wanting to hold up the line, I kept the conversation to thanking and showing support for what he’s doing and for making time for this local venue. “What just happened here?”

Walking away, or should I say floating away,  I noticed his mom was having a conversation with someone and I didn’t want to interrupt, so I walked passed to catch up with the kind people I stood in line with.  As I walked passed, Theresa touched my arm to get my attention and said…what did she say?  I can’t remember. I was still in another realm.  First thing she did was give me a big hug.  She mentioned that it was so nice to finally meet me and thanked me for supporting Tyler.  We talked for a bit, and then took a few pictures together.  It felt like family.  “What just happened here?”

The thing about all these moments; the clock, the parking space, my wristband friends, Tyler remembering me and my reading, the warmth of his mother…at each moment there was this warm feeling that came over me, like a hug from above.  Since January, I’ve been having these moments.  They usually bring an emotion of tears, which Theresa saw and then gave me another hug.  “What’s happening here?”

I’ve discovered that this is how I am being directed to move.  To write.  To help others.  To, hopefully, bring inspiration.  And at that moment it hit me.  Something Tyler said to me back on March 18, 2014 on that park bench where I had my first reading.  As my reading came to an end, he said I was going to live a long time because he feels that my purpose in this life is to help others.  “What just happened here?”

The hardest thing for me has always been not having my mom here on earth as my guidance growing up.  It’s supposed to be your foundation.  NO ONE can replace your mother; that guidance, love, support.  Someone to hug you, love you like ONLY a mother can.  That was stripped away from me at 3; never to be replaced.  But maybe, just maybe, in a nontraditional sense, she has been trying all along to be there for me. Tyler thinks so, and after that first reading it has opened my eyes, and heart, to another way of connectivity.  And so I say to all of you stuck in traditional beliefs, open up your heart and minds.  Be aware of the blessings that are happening all around you.  Get out of the negativity realm.  Break away from the humdrum just for a bit and see what you’ll discover.  You just never know what is waiting for you.  A chance to grow.  A chance to love. A chance to say, “What just happened here?”

A BIG thank you to my wristband friends, Claudia, Claudette and Erin, and to Tyler Henry and his mom Theresa.  You were all a part of another “What just happened here?” moment in my life.  God Bless You!