398. Water Damage

The boys at Ezra's Fire House field trip

The boys at Ezra’s Fire Station field trip

I’m getting spoiled. I’ve often been blessed with so much more than I ask or even imagine during this Recovery. Of course there are setbacks, but that’s how this gig works and remembering the many blessings the Lord has strewn along this bumpy path strengthens me to face every day – especially the hard ones.

Prior the Summer of 2013 I asked God for an AlterG to use while I visited Ai Ai & Tim. It is not overly common to find one available for public rental – it’s often for patient-use only.   The first place (a running store) I found on the AlterG website emailed me to say they no longer had the machine. So I called the second place on the list – the Southern Gym. SCORE. It is 5 minutes from Ai Ai’s house. Plus it’s an actual Physical Therapy practice with a very experienced PT at the helm. This was great bc he kept me from getting too excited.

I went in expecting it to be a clean transaction – I barely looked at the machine and I was like, Do you take AmEx? My Southern PT was like, Ummm…maybe you should try it out first. :).   And the next time I came in I got a full evaluation, a chart and everything.

I had a game plan for building my mobility credibility and pursued it doggedly but three weeks in my Southern PT informed me that there would be no running for me that summer. This is understandable given that he had never seen me before and I was beginning to regress bc I was away from acupuncture. But when I showed up this year in April I informed him that I now have a Personal Trainer and an Athletic Trainer who help me run so he was very pleased to let me have at it. I thought he wasn’t monitoring me as closely but I was wrong – I still had a chart and he kept on writing his little notes in it.

So it was huge for me to secure AlterG usage in a super convenient location and in an experienced PT environment, but the story gets better. When I enlisted Boo Boo’s help to prepare for my visit she informed me that the Southern Gym had sustained major water damage due to a burst pipe. All the tenants had to move out of the building. The Optical Practice next door was being completely gutted. I was heartbroken – not just for me, but for the impact this would have on business. So I prayed that they would be able to move back in soon, and that the AlterG survived the flood.

The trailers were lined up outside to hold the tenants' things.

The trailers were lined up outside to hold the tenants’ things.

My first day back at the Southern Gym was also their first day after 4+ months at another location. Happily, the only thing broken on the AlterG was the TV screen and they had gotten a new one lickety split. As my Southern PT carried boxes around Boo Boo whispered, Maybe you should just try running and he won’t notice. :) Bahahahahaha! She was just kidding, don’t worry, Mommy. I gained permission for a sanctioned run. It was all good.

When they moved back in they posted a sign saying "We Are Open"

When they moved back in they posted a sign saying “We Are Open”

I was so pleased to be able to continue ORFR without a break. I sent postcards to my Trainers and M37 with my stats. When I came home I was looking for a massage therapist to fill out Team Tanimal. I had found massage to be really helpful while I was away (per CMD’s suggestion) and I was feeling so good I hoped to be able to reduce my visits to her to once a week.

I have mentioned that I have a new massage therapist before but I haven’t introduced you yet. I found her because I stopped by the massage place in person one day – we were running errands nearby – and said, this is less about relaxation, more about medical necessity. They immediately signed me up to see “Gen.” When she greeted me in the waiting room a couple weeks later I ascertained that she was not unfamiliar with mobility deficits.

My impression was correct. When I gave her a brief health history she said, You’re in good hands. I’m an orthopedic surgeon and a [former] physical therapist.

I raised my fist in victory. Yessss! I love it when this happens.

Told you I was getting spoiled.

She does massage as part of her pro bono work and she keeps on meeting people who need help (like me!! I am very needy). She immediately did the eyes-only diagnosis thing like Coach R does and she approaches muscular intervention like Trainer D. Except Trainer D scolds me if I laugh – D: Don’t laugh, it changes everything! Me: Well then stop saying funny stuff. Gen is okay with laughing, or at least she understands that it’s impossible for me not to laugh at most of the things she says. Working with her is like Trainer D in “strength & honor” mode except he might work for 10-15 minutes, tops. She goes for an hour.

Strength and Honor |Proverbs 31 | Ann Ning Learning How

When they’re not tending to me, Team Tanimal serves the NBA, NFL, and US Soccer. Gen also used to work on baseball players back in the day. So I’ve got my major sports covered. Pfewf – that’s a relief. But after that first day (when I tried to crawl away from her but she had a grip on my leg – boooooo) I asked her to go easier on me bc she’s used to big athletes, but I’m just me. Since then it’s been fabulous and I’m booked until November.

Random pic:

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397. Cut Loose for 2 Months

Ezra at dinner.  That's how I feel except it's not cute when I do it.

Ezra at dinner. That’s how I feel except it’s not cute when I do it.

As I climbed the steps a few days ago (I’m writing on July 26) I felt my left hip buckle like it hasn’t in a long time. I almost forgot what it was like. It’s a good thing I was holding on with both hands. The weight-bearing problems worsened the next day. It took me a week to admit it, but I felt pretty crummy. I got over-tired over the weekend and should’ve taken a pill on Monday when I noticed my left leg was dragging in a completely appalling way on the AlterG. But I forgot that I have pills precisely for this kind of thing bc I haven’t taken one in so long and I was busy not admitting that I felt bad enough to find the bottle.

While I was climbing the steps when my hip folded I was thinking, Wow – I haven’t been this tired in more than a year! Back then we were making the longer drive downtown to Planet Rehab where I had Land PT, then Pool PT 2x week, we drove back to suburbia to Vision Therapy 2x a week, and I was just starting acupuncture so I saw CMD 3x a week. I don’t know how we did that. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

I had this thought on a Friday evening after seeing Trainer D twice, Coach R twice, and having massage, CMD, and PT once each. I’m definitely getting stronger, but the tiredness triggered my pain and I was dragging literally and figuratively. I wasn’t sleeping well, either, which really sealed the deal.

In between or during all those workouts I got stretched out really well, and then on Friday I told CMD my leg was bothering me. She (walking backwards) watched me take three (literally) steps and she knew from my gait exactly where the problem was coming from. Does it hurt here? She put a finger on my hip while I was on the table.

Me: Owwww!

CMD: I didn’t even put a needle there and it’s so sensitive!

Yeah, she knew exactly what was going on. It’s kind of scary when she does that.

Last night, even after acupuncture, was still pretty rough so I’m going to go take a pill and be done with it.

Actually, when I went to Physical Therapy on Wednesday I got cut loose for 2 months! This is the longest I’ve been on vacation from Rehab without actually getting discharged. This is a trial run to see how I do before I get kicked out for real. I lost no time in sending Trainer D a subject-line only (no text in the body of the mail) email that said, To reiterate: I BLAME YOU.

352.  Ed Says, "Well, that backfired, didn't it?"

352. Ed Says, “Well, that backfired, didn’t it?”

When I saw Coach R the next day I explained why this is a big deal to him. When I left The Place I was unable to verbalize how I felt: You don’t understand. This isn’t enough. Please don’t leave me like this. You can’t leave me like this.

But now that the infrastructure-building phase of my Recovery is complete (as far as I know – I’m actually not looking to add anyone, but I might change my mind) and my PT is generously letting me go slowly per my request, I’m okay with getting kicked out bc I have several fabulous people helping me out.

So the next time I go to PT it will be late September or early October. I had better do my homework bc she’ll probably do a re-eval when I go back. In my experience good things happen when I take a break for a month or two and then return to work. In the meantime I am going to enjoy my time “off” from Rehab, hang out with my friends, and let Team Tanimal break the bad muscles down and build good ones up instead.

PS. Hi –I’m back in action after 2 weeks. The situation deteriorated after I wrote this, but I’m getting better.😁

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396. Hiatus

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I felt utterly fantastic for several weeks. My chi was extremely vital. People noticed – one quote was it’s emanating… But three Saturdays ago the situation began to deteriorate. Because I was feeling so great I refused to recognize the signs. It’s an old hospital trick – the one when I close my eyes and say, This isn’t happening, this isn’t happening.

Oops. I’ve been particularly pathetic lately so I’m taking two weeks off to really focus on getting that robust chi back. This is one of the perks of RecoveryLand. I get to declare Snow Days and shut down my online presence at the drop of a hat if I’m not feeling well (which seems to have happened more often than I’d like lately). I think this was triggered by overtiredness and then aggravated by seeing my African friends, JJZME. This visit was SO fun – I loved seeing them – and it was so much better than when they came in November 2011. Back then it was too soon for me to be able to handle things well even though I was glad to see them again. I had hoped to fly back to Burundi with them on that trip, but it turned out that I spent most of the time crying whenever I was behind a closed door. Fast forward to the present day and it was easy to really enjoy the visit, but I guess it’s inevitably a little sad, too. But I’m so glad we could hang out for a few days – I only wish it had been longer!

Snow Day

Snow Day

Now I’m (trying to) still keep my appointments etc. bc I’ve scheduled them all earlier in the day. I go downhill the longer I’ve been awake. I’ve found that working out with a professional really helps with the pain and also the stress-induced psychosomatic symptoms (if you’re ill please keep in mind I’ve been medically cleared to exercise). So I’m going to do what I need to do to keep on getting better. This includes taking some time off from writing even though I enjoy it so much bc I should really concentrate on simple things like breathing, eating, sleeping, and getting my body parts back in the places they were meant to be in. Actually, I’ll leave that last one up to the pros. The great news is that although I’ve hit a road bump I have a full roster of Team Tanimal experts to help me. I now have Ninja CMD, a Personal Trainer, an Athletic Trainer, and a Massage Therapist – all who are frighteningly well/over-qualified. There is a brand of practitioner who is so good (s)he will exercise his/her gift no matter what you say bc they know what you need even if you’re not sure. Aaaah, I know this personality profile well (thanks, everyone!). Some are scarier than others but all are gifted, compassionate, and funny. I’m so glad now that the infrastructure-building phase of long term Recovery is complete and I can go through my schedule when I have a problem and think, I see So and So next. They will help me.

One recent Friday we came home from CMD’s office (she slathered the herbs on bc she saw that my leg was dragging) to find Ernie and Co (Ruthie was at home getting ready for guests) running around our house. As soon as we came in Peter came running (yes, he can run now). He paused briefly for me, but his little feet went pitter-patter relentlessly until he found Grammo (Mommy). And then we went to blow bubbles outside. There was also popsicle and ice cream therapy that afternoon. Happy times, people, happy times.

 

See you in 2 weeks!

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51. “I see this very well…”

[Burundi March 2011] Pippin, the family dog.

[Burundi March 2011] Pippin, the family dog.

July 2014 update:  My friends, JJZME (from Burundi) are coming to visit!  I am SO excited.  The last time I saw them was November 2011.  It was very soon after my injury and I spent most of the time behind a closed door when I could, crying.  I was sad because I had known they were planning to go on furlough and I had hoped to go back with them at this time (I had hatched this plan before I got sick.)  But God had other plans, and I’m happy to welcome them now.  This time around I’m much improved and promised to make them fun smoothies in my Vitamix and give them rides in my new wheelchair, Red.  So I’m going on vacation next week.  See you in August, and as always, thanks for reading.

PS.  This is one of my favorite posts ever.  Sometimes you gotta just call a spade a spade.

Manzanita, OR

Originally posted 11.28.12 After a few false starts I was able to start using an alarm clock again.  It helps since I have to be up early to get to Planet Rehab on Tues/Thurs.  VT is just down the road so getting there doesn’t take so much doing on Mon/Wed, but I just set the clock for the same time every day since it takes too much eye-work and motor skills to change it.  I have long favored waking to the radio vs. the buzzer and I recently woke to hear a message by Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint, the pilot among the 5 missionaries who were killed in Ecuador.  Steve is the little blonde boy in that famous Life Magazine photo of his cowboy-hatted profile with the beautiful tropical bird in the background (a gift from the people who eventually killed his father).  Now if you have no idea what I’m talking about go watch Beyond the Gates of Splendor on Netflix – it’s a documentary (2004), and there’s a hysterical sequence at the end that shows Steve Saint and Mincaye going to the supermarket.  There was also a feature film made about this subject in 2006 called The End of the Spear.

What really gripped me about Steve Saint’s message was the story he told about his youngest child.  She was the first girl in the family, and the Saints were thrilled.  It took some convincing on her part but they allowed her to go on tour (she was a musician) for a year.  On the day of her return in 2000 she wanted to lie down for a bit since she had a headache.

She had a massive cerebral hemorrhage and the paramedics came to whisk her to the hospital.  There was a huge flurry of activity which must have looked very strange to Mincaye, their adopted grandfather, who was staying with them.  Mincaye was a member of the Waodani (referred to in the past as the Auca Indians) and he had been a member of the group that had speared the 5 missionaries when he was a young man.  There had been no time to explain what was happening to Mincaye, so in the middle of the hospital hubbub Mincaye caught Steve Saint by the arm and asked, “Who is doing this?”

I think his question implied that he was ready to go spear the responsible parties with an IV pole if they were hurting his “granddaughter.”  Steve Saint simply said, “I don’t know.”

But then understanding illuminated Mincaye’s face and the fierceness drained out of it.  “Aaaah, I see this very well,” he said, using a turn of phrase characteristic of his native tongue.  “God Himself is doing this.”

The Saints’ daughter died that day and the story of their loss grieved me to the core.  But Mincaye’s words struck me as a brilliant summary of a very dark and sad event.  His mere presence in the Saint home is a powerful testimony of love and forgiveness.     He was responsible for Nate Saint’s death and yet Steve and his family welcomed Mincaye into their inner circle where he discharged his duties as grandfather with honor.  But it was his words at the hospital that I find even more daring than the change in his life after becoming a follower of Christ.  I personally would have cringed at assigning responsibility to God that day in the hospital.  But Mincaye just called a spade “a spade,” and maybe I should, too.

Last night I told Mommy, “Sometimes I wish this hadn’t happened but I know it really did happen and I’m so used to it now that I don’t really wish it hadn’t happened anymore.”   When I was hospitalized in OR it took a while for me to acknowledge that my injury might have happened.  After I decided that everything was too detailed to be a dream I started thinking, Okay, this happened, but my behavior and the questions I asked indicated that I was hoping it hadn’t happened.  It wasn’t until about a year ago that I stopped hoping it hadn’t happened and started accepting that it did.  It’s taken some time but I’ve gradually become unafraid of assigning responsibility for what happened to me to God.  Now I know that it’s okay to carry my logic through to the end point and rest the responsibility in His hands – after all, He is God – it’s not like He can’t handle it. (Side note:  Forgive my colloquialism – you know I mean it reverently.) 

Admittedly, I’m still a far piece off from “celebrating” the fact that this happened to me.  I mean, come on – I’m still getting used to acceptance.  But check back with me in a year or two and we’ll see what my story is then.  Speaking of celebrating, I’m going to start thinking about Ed’s 82nd Birthday Bash!  My brother will celebrate a milestone birthday then too, so maybe we’ll all go up to see them and party together.  Hey, E&R – let’s discuss.

p.s.  I did okay at PT yesterday and am back to my M-Th therapy schedule.  Let the good times roll!  Thanks for praying.

p.p.s.  Steve Saint was badly injured in June 2012.  He was testing an aircraft (his ministry designs flying devices for indigenous peoples) and something (sorry, I’m unclear on the details) fell from the sky and hit him on the head, resulting in neck-down paralysis.  He’s had spinal surgery, is regaining feeling and can walk now, but I’m sure he and his family would appreciate your prayers as he continues to recover. 

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395. Decision Day 2014

July 2014 | AVM Rupture Recovery Year 3

July 2014 | AVM Rupture Recovery Year 3

 

Mommy took these pictures at lunch last week.   I’ve been practicing my laughing lately and yes, I’ve started shopping in the little boy’s section since I started needing more exercise clothes.  I just can’t relate to what they sell in the women’s activewear department.

I explained to my Trainers last week that  the fact that I can look you in the eye and talk to you about this with confidence is not because I have been untouched by this situation.  It’s because I already decided…

223.  I Found Grace in the Valley

Grace in the Valley | Paul goes to Rome | Ann Ning Learning How

This is one of KAR’S pictures from the R Family tour of Israel last year.  I asked her to send it to me because it’s one of my Daddy’s favorite things to tell me about.  The Apostle Paul made no secret of his desire to go to Rome (Romans 1.10), but he ended up going in a way he would never have chosen – by appealing to Caesar he was escorted to Rome as a prisoner and used his time well to share the Good News with many of Caesar’s household (Philippians 4.22).  The fact that he didn’t get to go to Rome when he wanted to also resulted in the letter he wrote to the Romans – and we have profited from the epistolary treatise for generations.

KAR sent me this picture a long time ago and I filed it away in my Flickr account until I wanted to write about it.  Today’s the day!  I think Tanpo likes to tell be about Paul going to Rome because it is such an encouraging and instructional example of someone who was forced to walk a path he wouldn’t have chosen, but in retrospect we are privileged to see how the Lord multiplied Paul’s impact via those circumstances that were hard to live through but were chosen and planned from the perspective of the eternal Divine.

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121.  How to Eat Ice Cream While Minimizing the Health Consequences

121. How to Eat Ice Cream While Minimizing the Health Consequences

KRK (remember him from the Life of Elijah – I Kings 19 at the end of my How to Eat Ice Cream… post?) wrote an article in this month’s Missions magazine.   (Do you get Missions?  You should.  Or if you want to save paper you can read it online.)  It’s called “When God Says, ‘No’ so that Missions Advance”It’s on the inside cover if you’re reading the hard copy, or page 2 of the pdf.  What an honor that would be – to receive this kind of “No” for His greater glory.  KRK mentions me in the article (thanks, K!) and when he first talked to me about it I was floored at the prospect.

I said this a couple of weeks ago, but this is not just “my story.”  It’s the situation the Lord chose me to entrust with.  Don’t get me wrong – a lot of times I feel like I could have totally done without the privilege of being “chosen”, but then I remember that He planned this from the beginning and will provide my resources for living and I can smile again.

A couple of weeks ago Ai Ai and I were Hee-Hawing in the aisle of a store as I pushed a cart along for exercise.  “Boo Boo,” I reflected, “sometimes I think I might laugh too much to be a credible disabled person.”  She told me, No no, the sound of laughter is evidence of a joyful heart – and that is a Very Good Thing.  I guess genuine laughter does point to a joyful <3, which increases my credibility as a disabled person who trusts God for His perfect plan even though things have been looking extremely imperfect for quite a while now.

When I shared what’s been going on with the lovely group of Ladies at the end of July it was the first time since I got sick that I could say, “I found grace in the valley.”  There is often a distinction between what we know to be true vs. what we feel to be true.   On that Saturday the two coincided for me in a very sweet way.  As I was talking I was thinking, I’ve got this,” because this has been my life for 2+ years and so I know this “story” well.  But as I was talking I realized that many of the ladies there had no earthly idea these thoughts had been going through my head and it was good for them to hear me say what everyone was thinking and then chronicle how the Lord let something Really Bad happen to me and then gave me peace about it.

Seriously – if you haven’t read “The Turning Point” please go do so, now. You can also listen to a clip of what I said that morning (7:41).   I write for many reasons, but this is the primary one.  I used to give people a little speech at The Place before I handed out tracts: “I’ve had time to consider whether or not this is true, and I think it is, so I want to make sure you know about it.”  It was early on in my outpatient life and I was like, “C’mon – who’s really gonna say, ‘No’ to the girl in a chair?”  Heh, heh.  Sorry.

I was glad to see everyone on Saturday but it was a special treat to see R – JCJ’s mom.  Sister K came, too, and I got to meet her new baby and Grandpa, too.  It was great because I had corresponded earlier in the week with R but totally forgot to invite her to come on  Saturday!  Welcome to my world.  A couple of nights ago I also forgot to take my contacts out for the first time in 17 years.  I guess I was just really focused on getting in bed because my back was all done.

A year ago I visited with R and she asked me in such a gracious, winsome way, “Is it okay that you lived?”  She’s pretty much the only person in the world who could ask me that with the weight of experience behind the question and true friendship lending it sweetness.  The fact that she’s JCJ’s mom is yet another one of those things I see too much intentionality in to be considered coincidental.

Yeah, it’s okay that I lived.  More than okay.  And on Saturday I got to say why.

P.S. the title of this post is a play on the song, “In the Valley” by Sovereign Grace.  It’s based on the titular prayer from The Valley of Vision – the collection of Puritan Prayers and devotions introduced to me by Drs. M&S when they visited me during my Amazingly Happy Summer in OR 2010.  It’s a very peaceful song – if you like it go Google it and you’ll find that Sovereign Grace very kindly provides free tabs, lyrics, lead sheets and piano scores(melody and chords only) online.

 

395. Well Suited

 

A long time ago we celebrated graduations by helping the grad choose an "Interview Suit"

A long time ago we celebrated graduations by helping the grad choose an “Interview Suit.”

We welcomed a childhood friend back to our church recently and he inquired with another friend, How is Ning?

Stronger than ever, was the response. [Great answer – thank you!]

He pressed for more information since he hadn’t seen me since childhood: Well, how strong was she?

Strong enough to survive the bleed.

Strong enough to learn to walk when I was 31.

Strong enough to keep on “running” today even though my left leg was dragging on the belt pathetically.

And strong enough to admit that the life I lost wasn’t the life I really wanted, anyway.

The consensus is that I will never be the same. I generally avoid the language of medical certainty (I like to leave room for Divine Intervention and medical opinions likely don’t take this into account), but I agree that I won’t be the same…and that’s okay. I’m ready to acknowledge that I don’t want to be the same. I don’t know what my end state is going to be but I’m sure it will be some sort of “good.” Come along for the ride and we’ll find out together.

348.  What's This Going to Look Like?

348. What’s This Going to Look Like?

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve finally started to settle down after Oregon. I’ve been test-driving the ideas you’ve been reading about with my focus group (viz. my friends) and they helped me think stuff through. They didn’t just “yes” me to death, they made me elaborate on my statements and explain things fully.

When I met with my elders at W (my OR church) to tell them about my desire to visit Burundi one of the things they said was that it was good that I wasn’t running ahead of everyone, assuming they’d catch up. I had spent 6 months in silence regarding my Africa Dream. I didn’t even tell my parents bc I was like, I might be insane. I’ll pray about it and we’ll see if this is just a passing fancy.

It wasn’t. 6 months later (the happiest of my life) I told my parents and it was another several months before Daddy said I could talk to my elders and ask J&J to host me in Burundi.

So I took my time. I only talked to God about this crazy plan and then I started enlisting the help of spiritual heavy-hitters in my life to help me.

I took my time with transitioning to RecoveryLand, too. It’s been over 3 years. It took me over a year to do anything online. It’s taken me over a year and a half of writing to get comfortable with making definitive statements.

I used to poll on the miraculousness of my survival and ask questions like, I think this situation is kind of “extreme.” Would you agree? I was appalled at what had happened but was unsure if I was sizing the problem correctly. This was only compounded by the fact that once you leave the acute stage of illness and transition to Recovery you have to earn your spot in the public’s consciousness. Your world stopped, but everyone else’s keeps on turning. It took me a while to understand that this was a completely natural order of events and to choose to try to re-integrate myself into the stream of life.

367.  The Fellowship of His Sufferings

367. The Fellowship of His Sufferings

When people stop and think about it, though, they tell me that yes, this was a big deal. Not always in words, but their eyes fill with tears at the thought of the initial phone call they received. I mix in circles small enough for many people to know my name and have prayed for me (thank you!) even though I don’t know them. If we happen to meet, they will often cry, too. And perfect strangers (more so in the South) will approach me while I’m minding my beeswax in public and tell me about their struggles bc they deem me as “safe” to talk to.

The first time KRK saw me (this was before he knew I wanted to go to Africa, or anything – he just knew I had gotten sick) he said, Ning, now when you walk into a room you have instant credibility. [Side note: Ann vs. Ning FAQ]

He spoke from experience and compassion. I am humbled that that was the first thing he wanted to share with me.

When my friends thought about what happened their reactions ranged from “deep deep sorrow” to all-out “anger.” No one shared that they had been “angry” with me until a couple of weeks ago. And it came from a friend I have never seen angry before although we’ve been friends for over 20 years. It took guts/vulnerability to admit that, and it was tremendously validating for me because I was angry when I realized this was for real, and it was such a comfort to know that someone else had been angry on my behalf. (The word on the street is that this opinion was not a unique occurrence.)

But this same friend told me that the anger faded when I started to blog and everyone could read what I’ve been thinking about. To have it verbalized in such a way was wonderful. That was the effect I was going for although I couldn’t have articulated it when I first started.

204.  Food for Thought when Launching A Business part 2:  Competitors and your Product's Superiority

Attribute Map | 204. Food for Thought when Launching A Business part 2: Competitors and your Product’s Superiority

I don’t do this bc I survived a cataclysmic health event and want to join the already saturated “inspirational” and “self-help” market. I write because God gave me hope when I was ready to throw in the towel and He did so via ordinary means and publicly-available information. I’m not asking anyone to take my word on what I saw in The Valley of the Shadow. Since God preserved me cognitively I’m asking you to use your noggin, like I did.

I’ve written before that although God made it very clear that I’ll not be getting what I wanted I’m sure I‘ll be getting exactly what I was made for. But this is the first time I’m making this statement: I was made for this.

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394. Spectacle

(Mar/April 2011)  I had just gotten home from Burundi and J-->G took a bunch of us to dinner to get the full story.  I was jet-lagged but the pizza helped. :)

(Mar/April 2011) I had just gotten home from Burundi and J–>G took a bunch of us to dinner to get the full story. I was jet-lagged but the pizza helped. :)

There is an element of spectacle about what happened to me. I had just come home from Burundi and everyone was like, How did that girl survive Africa?!?!? There was a huge “Princess & the Pea” element to my desire to move to the 3rd world that made people (myself first of all) look on with wide-eyed wonder at the whole thing.

And then word circulated that something had happened and I was on life support in Oregon. My friends called each other and tried to break the news gently. One of the reactions was, No, it can’t be her – she’s fine. She was bouncing around here last week.

So I was already being observed bc it was an uncommon choice (certainly one that no one was expecting from me) to want to turn my back entirely on the American Dream and move to Africa. But I never got that far.

When I first got home I was at church with Ai Ai and as I maneuvered into my chair I felt like everyone was watching (they kind of were – they were all poised to intervene if I needed assistance.) Boo Boo, I hissed, I’m such a sideshow right now.

No you’re not, she comforted me.   Mind the wall. (She didn’t want me to hit myself.)

Last week I told my Trainers about the element of spectacle surrounding this situation as part of the context for a “Goal Reset” I’ve been thinking of for a while now. I told them it was like I got lit on fire, jumped off a bridge into a roaring river and made it.

Side note:  Special thanks to the dear friends who helped me think through this statement.  I was originally afraid it sounded too bold.  But once we talked through it we agreed that I wasn’t overstating the case.  I also got some good laughs regarding these theoretical scenarios:

This is my new analogy to illustrate the difference bw Trainer D and Coach R:

(1) Theoretical conversation with Trainer D:

Me: Hey, D, I want to jump off a cliff.

Trainer D: [holding hand aloft in a “rock on” symbol] I’m coming with! Let’s take my bike. [His ill-advised motorcycle.]

(2) Theoretical conversation with Coach R:

Me: Hey, R, I want to jump off a cliff.

Coach R: Official response – That will not help you reach your long-term goals. [Sotto voce] But between you and me I want to see good form on the way down.

These people (even in their theoretical forms) totally crack me up. It helps that I crack myself up, too.

But back to my original analogy about being lit on fire and jumping off a bridge: yes, I made it, but I didn’t swim to safety on my own. I was rescued.

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Cubicle Decor

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I got a package in the mail recently from W (my Oregon church).  Inside was a notebook that was found among the things I gave away when we cleaned out my garage.  (PS.  Thanks again for making it so easy, everyone!)  The notebook was actually a gift from my eldest niece, Hannah.  The front cover was a picture of her posing cheekily on one of our family vacations.  This picture (above) is of the inside cover.  On the bottom, the thing that starts with, “byg…” is the first email she ever sent me.  She was probably 1+ and pounded on the keyboard while sitting on Ai Ai’s lap.  I printed it out and taped it to my monitor at work.  It was my favorite article of cubicle of decor.  When I left my first job I took down my baby’s “email” and pasted it in my notebook.  I’m glad I got it back.

 

357.  Thank You

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66. Enthusiasm

Originally posted 12.18.12 – This video only gets funnier with time.

Seriously?  What  is Karine celebrating in this movie?  (If you haven’t watched the clip yet, do it.  Be forewarned – it’s noisy.)  The original version is 2 minutes long (I cropped this to ~40 seconds) but I assure you, she says “Yay” and claps enthusiastically the whole time.  Maybe she was just glad to be at the piano and to be with her cousin.  Joshie and Karine are still quite attached to one another.

This summer when I played sudoku on the iPad with my left hand (“Oooh!  I wanted the 6, not the 7!  There goes my score.)  I used to listen to a mix of kiddie songs Ernie made for Karine when she was a baby.  One of them is called, “So Glad I’m Here.”  It’s very repetitive and I normally have an aversion to repetitive songs, but I tried really hard to like this one and be glad “I’m here.”  It’s better, but it’s still a choice to be made.  But watching videos like this makes the choice easier.

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