Friday, September 30, 2016

Wonderfully Made

So it has been a while since I posted. I am finding that it has to be truly quiet and usually something hits me powerfully that I don't feel I have any option but to write.  I just hope it is at a time that someone needs to hear what I am trying to share.

I came across this verse the other morning.  It is one I have read often. In fact I have shared it with others on numerous occasions.  I love the reminder that God made us just how He intended.  He does not believe we are a mistake or that some situation along the way undermined his creation.

Well today, something jumped out at me.  It was like it was highlighted on the page, or blinking on and off.  I read the verse again:

"I praise you because, I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalms 139:14"

When I have repeated this verse in the past to a friend I shared that the verse stated,  "you are fearfully and wonderfully made." I usually share it when someone is struggling with their value.  Feeling unloved or not appreciated.  Their gifts aren't needed.  God reminds me of this verse at just that moment.

So what jumped out in this verse?  There is a huge difference for me in one word.  I vs. You.  It is easy for me to accept God stating I am his creation and he feels I am wonderfully made.  I am sure you have had your mom, best friend, spouse, or sibling tell you something great and you shrug it off.  You feel, "They have to say that because you are my person.  Ha!"

Well, that is not what the verse states.  It says.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I am called to accept and embrace that I am just how I was meant to be made, right as I am.  It is actually a statement of  unbelief to feel I am less than in how God made me.  Wow!  I know it is a simple thought but still powerful.

So, I am encouraging you today.  Embrace and Own who God made you to be.  Believe who you are. Perfect in His image.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Freedom Plan Challenge-Day V

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Today's challenge has been about creating the successful environment for my own increase in productivity .  A challenge to share what my day would look like when I have established healthy productive tools for my day.  Any goal you have today, needs a plan and needs accountability.  I am hoping you can help me with this in the coming weeks!

I may have mentioned before, but part of this journey for me has meant no longer taking my medication for ADD.  The pill that helped me focus, have clarity, and organize my time.  All the things this challenge is asking of me.

The tips shared for this challenge has given me a renewed sense of focus and perspective.  I have a determination to find new strategies for personal success.  I believe that some of the ideas and tools provided with this challenge can help anyone seeking to be more productive and efficient in their day.

If I am to be successful at achieving my goals I have shared, then I must create the right environment, the right time of day I plan to work, and how I can hold myself accountable to continue on this journey.

I have to take a minute and share one of the best tips I learned in this challenge so far.  You may have heard of the Pomodoro Technique.  There is a book, App, and so much more detail out there for those interested, but the concept is simple.

Break your time up into 25 minute intervals.  Stating that for the next 25 minutes, I will only work on this one thing.  I will not look, listen, or address anything else.  Set a timer and work diligently during that time.  When the time is up. Take a break and then reengage in another 25 minute block.  It uses the age old tool of deadlines and sense of urgency in a much more successful manner.

With that said, my productive day could look like this:

  • Start my day with coffee-of course!
  • Prayer and time in the Word for focus, clarity, and direction
  • Breakfast & girls off to school
  • Set aside my two hour morning or afternoon block of time for focused work each day
  • 10 am -12 pm or 1 pm- 3pm
  • My work time needs to be quiet, private, and clear of clutter
  • Divide my work time up in to 25 minute segments based on the work I am set to accomplish.
    • Writing a blog
    • Researching a topic
    • Reading literature on ways to personally heal and/or help others

  • Complete the time with a review of work completed and set task list for the next work session
If that can be a work session for me, the output would extremely productive and provide the tools needed to focus on numerous projects in a day successfully.

Let me know if you put any of these ideas into play personally.  Love to learn from you as well.  

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 5

Monday, September 26, 2016

Freedom Challenge-Day IV

Unlocking Your Superpowers

So my challenge today is around understanding what my Superpowers really are.  Putting a name to them.  Start allowing myself to see what God has given me as strengths that come naturally.  

I have always loved the superhero.  The good vs evil battle, but the superhero always comes through.  I always was drawn to one that seem to walk in the middle.  I even went as far as to have CatWoman on the back of my license plate as a teenager.  My husband's mother named him Gregory Kent Myers after her favorite Man of Steel-Superman.  As you can see this idea of Superpowers is very intriguing to me.  

So the goal today is to list out what I feel I am naturally good at as well as make a list of what I genuinely just love doing.  This will help me identify a sweet spot in between that brings some of these together.  So, work with me here as I try to lay this out as a working draft:

  • Public Speaking
  • Training and Developing 
  • Empathy 
  • Vulnerability
  • Empowerment
  • Engaging 
  • Change Agent
  • Key Communicator
  • Writing- still working on this one :)
  • Building A Team


  • Sharing my story with others
  • Helping Others find their passion
  • Making Others laugh
  • Encouraging Others 
  • Praying 
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Dancing
  • Travel 
  • Spontaneous Adventure
  • Quality time with Family and Friends
My skills and passions are truly so close as it is.  I love helping people and it comes naturally to me.  I can build relationships very quickly and I have been drawn to finding ways to seeing the value in others and building them up.  

I am also extremely passionate about my faith and all God has and continues to do in my life.  I want to use my gift of speaking and writing to share my journey in hopes of it resonating with other woman.  My empathy and encouraging spirit naturally create the foundation needed for my superpower to be the most effective.  

It is hard for me to put these desires down on paper or out into internet space.  I have always wanted to be speaking to and with women however God felt lead.  In the past 10 years as I have prayed about writing, speaking or anything of that realm. He made it clear that my focus was in a one on one setting.  It has only been since the event of the last month that I have felt a desire to write in a way I have never felt before.  We will see...

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 4

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Freedom Plan Challenge- Day III

Creating a Vision for the Future

The challenge for me today was to visualize what "The Perfect Day" looks like for me.  It is a mental process of allowing yourself to see how positive something can be.  Help set goals for what you truly want in life.

I can tell you I have been blessed with many "perfect days" over the years.   It is hard to beat being on a tropical Island looking out at the beautiful blue waters, or seeing volcanoes, waterfalls, and Incredible sunsets off of rocky cliffs.  I have been blessed to see breathtaking views of God's beauty on more than one occasion. 

While any one of those were near perfect, I wanted to visualize the perfection of doing life day to day. Any vacation can be incredible, but I wanted to take the time to visualize the "perfect day" in my home with my family.

I wake up in my house that has been filled with fresh flowers. So many placed throughout the house that their fragrance can be sensed in any room.

The house is perfectly clean and put together.  Girls are playing well and creating something to show me later that day. 

I have the perfect cup of coffee on the screened porch on this cool
breezy morning.  My mind is still and focused, as I have time in the word. I spend quality time praying and learning from God's word before my day truly starts.  

The girls and I have a wonderful breakfast with Greg on the porch. Bogey is right with us being very calm and relaxed.  

We all take a few moments to recognize the value of each other and our life. 

The girls are dashing out to play with their sweet friends in the neighborhood, and Greg is off to play golf with a group of incredible men that support him and our family. 

I use that time to write.  My book is coming to an end and the publisher is thrilled with the progress.  

My blog is increasing in following and others are finding hope in the Lord on this journey with me.  By lunch we all walk to the neighborhood deli and enjoy the weather and each other.  

The girls are appreciative and grateful for all the blessings they have been given. Each seeking to identify ways to give to others in need.

We join some of our dearest friends on their boat for an afternoon boat ride. 

We grab dinner with my parents at Lafayette Village. A band is gently playing music, the kids are running around in the courtyard, and the weather is incredible. (Low 70's, no humidity) 

The night winds down with me having one on one time with the girls. Praying, talking, laughing and sharing our hearts with each other.

The perfect end to this day is spent next to my  husband. Watching something funny, discussing the day, encouraging each other for the future challenges we may face.  A time to relax and chat enjoy the gift God has given us in each other.  

This is a powerful process for each of us. I felt excited, open to possibilities.  My mind shifts to peace and quality time with my kids and husband.  I can't recreate a perfect day, but I can make perfect moments happen all of the time.

 Take some time to layout what your day would look like if you wrote your own "Perfect Day" summary.  Tell me about it. What does it include, how does it feel, who is with you...etc.  Post how you felt below when you complete it. 

 This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 3

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Freedom Plan Challenge- Day II

 Finding Your Why

I love taking this time to really dig in and understand where I am at this point in my life.  I am completely aware that a time of quietness is a gift.  I am not going to take one moment of it for granted.

I can't tell you how many of my family and friends are burning the candle at both ends.  Their kids are going in different directions at the exact same time, they are trying to meet the demands of a job that never seems to end, and then add in a dash of financial stress or health challenges and you are done. This is what society, our peers, companies, and even us as individuals demand day in and day out.

Unfortunately, I am just as guilty of this way of living.  No matter where we are in life this can happen. I have sought to be the best mother, wife, friend, school support parent, daughter, employee, and version of my self for years.  It has been exhausting and I have truly felt captive.

Our pace is so fast, that we can't slow down.  We have to keep going, or we may not have enough money to feed our family, our kids will be passed over athletically, our companies will give the next person a raise.  Even with all the upside of winning, I still feel strongly that living at that pace is not worth it.

The race, the fight, the hustle, the stress of the ridicule of others literally burns us out.  In fact it could even lead to health problems as scary as a heart attack. Just trying to make it real for me with that point.

Why am I doing this freedom plan challenge?  Why am I writing this blog? My answer is, that I don't feel I have any other option.

I truly believe God has prepared me for "Such a time as this" I studied Esther this past year.  I love that book. She was an amazing woman that was given much, and much was asked of her.

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14"

I believe I was chosen for my journey.  Unfortunately, I wasn't chosen to be queen, but still God has a role for me.  I am fighting harder than I ever have to embrace who God called me to be.  Last weekend, I cried to my husband about who I wasn't able to be.  Why are certain things harder for me than they are for others.  I know that I bring goodness to this world, but it doesn't look like the gift that , I feel, most have to give.  God made my package fragile.  You have to hold it upright, you can't shake or drop it in order to experience the beauty it holds.  

I have been shaken, broken, dropped, and discarded in the past.  That is what is so amazing about our gifts.  They aren't just something you can only give once.  I actually see our gifts as a developing piece of art.  Overtime our gifts grow, change, and shine in new ways.

I am learning how my gifts are valuable and unique. In fact, at times I believe can be rare. I have begun to find my freedom in that knowledge.  I am continuing to find peace in my differences.  I feel called to help others find relief and deliverance in their lives as well.  

You see, if I don't seek this path.  If I choose to stay captive, God will bring deliverance and freedom for His people through someone else.  I believe, as Esther was in the role God had for her; I am in this place God has for me as well.  

I am continuing to seek to live free.  I can embrace each day knowing that using my broken pieces to create something new is beautiful. I seek to bring you on this journey to freedom as well.  We will find how to turn our broken pieces in to art.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Freedom Plan Challenge- Day I

Day One:

I have a friend that has pushed me to write, tell my story, and reach others through my writing for almost a year.  Every few months I get a text to see how things are going or what I have been writing.  We talk about what I am writing, and when I am going to start sharing my thoughts.  As I have being reflecting a great deal over the last few weeks, these "nudges" have increased. 

In the last couple of weeks, the pressure to share has definitely increased. I believe God can use our friends to push us in areas we may be hesitating, even when we know it is a leap we have needed to take for a long time.   The excuses, fears, and roadblocks I felt were that;  I am too tired, no-one wants to hear my thoughts, and I don't think I am disciplined enough to truly find my voice.

That is when this little "birdie" emailed me this Freedom Plan challenge, to push me to really see what is holding me back and what is it I really want.  

A 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge written by Natalie Sisson of the Suitcase Entrepreneur.

I don't know if writing is my next long-term step, but I have always had a need to encourage others to find their passion and purpose.

I am already way behind on this challenge (insert all excuses written above), but I am committed to walk this out.  Each day I will respond to some thought provoking questions.  I am truly open to your feedback, direction, and wisdom as you process through this journey with me.

Finding Your Focus

What am I called to be doing?  Well, I know that I long to help and encourage others, to share how God continues to work in my life.  It is what I feel I was truly born to do.  My challenge has been, that I didn't feel I had the experience, confidence, or discipline to truly find my voice to help others.

My first roadblock has been my lack of experience:
  •  I guess I assumed that I had to have met some "quota" of accomplishments or persevered through some horrific scenario, to have something of value to share. 
  • My experience with my SCAD event has shown me that if I wait for something,"big" to happen, I may run out of time and miss all the little things that had such a key impact on those around me.
My second roadblock has been a lack of confidence
  • I have always worried about the idea of, is what or how I share valuable to others?    The challenge for me is around my belief that I just haven't clearly know how God wants me to be reaching other that are hurting.  
  • I get distracted by my lack of organization and linear thinking.  I try to pack too many things into a timeframe I need to be focusing on writing.  I believe God is now asking me to tell my story.  I long to find ways to give a voice to those who can't find theirs, and that my words and perspective would be like a salve to those who have been hurt so many times.
  • I do believe, through my more recent experiences, that I have some clarity around my legacy.  I want my girls to see what is truly valuable in our journey.  That if we focus on sharing God's love with others, caring for the broken hearted, and serving those in need; they will find a soul satisfaction not found anywhere else.  That is a priceless legacy I would be honored to pass onto them. 
My third roadblock is a struggle around an Discipline:
  • I could give you numerous road blocks for me here, but there is one that has really stumped me.   I was diagnosed with Adult ADD about 6 years ago.  During this time, I have taken something to help me focus, process information, and respond effectively.  This was an answer to prayer and such a blessing to find for that place in my life.  
  • For a Cardiologist to say, with the flick of his wrist,  that "I must go off "was truly concerning.
  • To write you need focus, discipline, and an ability to organize your thoughts.  That is what the medicine had helped me do over these last 6 years.  I was puzzled at how I could feel the strong need to write, find my voice, and share my story. Yet, I was losing a tool that I had truly come to depend on.  
  • Like a lightbulb flashing above me, I smiled.  I would have to depend on God to find this organized and disciplined focus.  It was clear that what I feel as my "weakness" is the exact tool God could use for His glory.  (I Corinthians 12:9)

Please join me on this "Freedom Challenge". I truly am an open book that is in a constant edit stage.  Any thoughts, ideas, encouragement, or direction you have is helpful.  We are all a work in progress, and I am just grateful that He is not done with me yet!

 10 Day Freedom Challenge

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 1

Monday, September 19, 2016

Feeling the Ache

Just a few days after my heart attack, my sweet friend shared with her little boy that I had a “boo-boo on my heart”  He said, “I want to see miss Cat!” He ran upstairs got a bandaid and said, “How’s this?” 

Why can’t our healing be that easy? Remember how your mom or dad would kiss the boo-boo, maybe even replace with a princess bandaid and off we would go? It seemed magical how we could just move on with that kiss.  

I thought after I shared my original event with my friends and family, and told my story on Facebook; that I would have the courage to be on the mend.  I would learn from this life altering event and move forward.  

Well here I am sitting on the couch, trying to gain perspective of what this “life altering event” means for my life and for my family.  I am determined to know how God can "prune my life" in a way that will allow me to "bear more fruit" in the lives of others. Yet, I still feel the ache. It is dull, but it is there. The anxiety for someone who has had a heart attack and then has twinges, pains, even a dull ache can really paralyze a person. You don't have to have a physical ache from an injury.  It can be the loss of a loved one, a break up, someone that has no grace and holds you to a standard higher than fair.  Maybe you were demoted at work and you have to feel that ache every time you walk into work. You still have a purpose in that pain.  God IS using this hard situation for your good.

I want to write and say, I have it all figured out.  Oh, and also that I don’t worry anymore.  God is in control and as Carey Underwood says, “Jesus take the wheel.”

Well if I can’t write and say that I’m all set, then I guess I will do what I do best.  Share where I really am.   My honesty may be the biggest roadblock of truly becoming the Southern Belle my mom always wanted me to be. (Well, that and about 100 other reasons we won’t mention.)

I tell it like it is.  I don’t beat around the bush, and what you see is what you get.  I have had to make a stand for how I express my feelings over the years.  After numerous statements of, “If you just weren’t so emotional”, or “You are just overreacting and being irrational”, my favorite is “Just don’t react to anything they say and it will all work out.”

Guess what friends, I don’t have it altogether. The good news is, that none of us do.  Don’t you get tired of the pretending? Don’t you get tired of telling everyone you are just fine? (I wish I could say that the way I heard my favorite speaker Beth Moore say, “I’m just fiiiiine” insert her Texas twang in for effect)

Please don’t get me wrong.  There is no need to share every personal detail of our lives.  Sometimes we have to tuck “our kind of crazy” back in. Ha!  I am saying that when I have come across individuals that I felt were harsh, uncaring, or self focused;  I used to back down.  I would cower to their statements of my weakness, or their claim of my “irrational state."  My reaction was based on the fact that I needed to change my behavior because they did not feel comfortable with my ability to be who God made me to be…Real!

A quick side note that I challenge you to try in your own life.  If you have a situation with someone in your family, close friend, or co-worker that has continued to disrespect you or belittle you; then try something different.  I am asking you to stand up for what is right.  State clearly that, “you will not be talked to in that way, or you are just as important as they are and the plans they have.  I will only communicate and work with you, if you can do so in a respectful manner.  Otherwise you plan to remove yourself from the situation.” (Unfortunately you must also do this in a calm and mature manner. I guess that is part of being a grown up or something)  Let me know how it works for you.  Literally it has taken me over 30 years to try this approach and it works EVERY time.  It is called, setting healthy boundaries!  If you haven't, you must stop right now and go read the book Boundaries, by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.

Ok, back on track, I stated that earlier I am not where I want to be in this healing journey.  I am scared.  I am not scared all the time, but if my chest tightens, or I feel a twinge, I start to worry.  In fact in the three weeks since my heart attack, I have been to the ER twice.  The first time, I thought I was Fred Sanford. “I’m coming Elizabeth! This is the big one!

I am serious though.  I could not breathe, my chest was so tight, I was light headed.  My poor husband rushed me back to the ER, and I was sure it would be another Heart Attack.  It wasn’t.  The best educated guess is that one of the medications for my heart was causing a reaction, and they needed to make a change.  I had also run errands, gone in a store, had several visitors stop by, and tried to keep the dog from kissing them to death. (He is well trained when people aren’t around). 

A week later, I wanted to watch my baby play soccer.  I had missed several practices and a game that she had scored her first goal.  I’m a cheerleader at heart, and I "needed" to be there to celebrate in the excitement.  So, last Saturday I went to the YMCA and sat for an hour to watch her game.  Unfortunately, I ended up on the couch with a migraine the next two and a half days.  So, there I was, headed back to the ER.  I can’t take my usual migraine medicine, and I don’t really know what symptom is normal and what symptom is a reaction to new medication. So after numerous tests, they felt it was the additional changes in heart medicine since my last ER visit.

Dr Visits, ER visits, aches and pains seem to be part of this recovery for me and many others who have survived a SCAD incident.  I have turned to getting lost in the SCAD research literature and SCAD educational forums for some peace or clear direction. It blows my mind how little is known about something so fatal.  I have registered with the Mayo Clinic and connected with several different SCAD survivor groups. All of this to learn and hear what type of process should I put into place to educate, bring awareness, and live in my new state of normal.  

The blessing and encouragement in this is that God has been right here, waiting for me to find peace in the stillness.  You may remember I talked about that in my last note.  Well, I am still working on it.  I have received many encouraging words, quotes, and a simple devotional that continues to provide words that have jumped off the page to my heart.  “Rest in me my child. This time devoted to me is meant to be peaceful, not stressful.  You don’t have to perform in order to receive my love.  Jesus Calling, Sara Young”

He reminded me through scripture that, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He takes great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17”

I have read that many times and somehow the words were even sweeter in this time of my unknown.  It is really hard to wait.  Even waiting in line for gas, or waiting for a call about medical tests, waiting to see if you got the job.  It is really hard.  I am in a time of waiting to heal.  A simple day of errands would knock me down for two days.  My heart is healing and I have to take it as my body feels I should.  That is just crazy.  My brain is saying…”Let’s go!”  Unfortunately my heart is not.  

Whatever you are waiting for today.  Whatever you are frustrated about.  Remember that:
  1. Life isn’t meant to be done on our own.  We need others and that is what makes us stronger. I am reminded daily by my family, friends, and neighbors through their kindness. 
  2. We should challenge ourselves to share the real story and not what we think others want to hear.  None of us have it altogether and the encouragement we give to others in our vulnerable moments goes so much further.
  3. We have to wait to get where we want to be, or learn what we need to learn.  That is often where God is looking for us to grow, during our time of “the wait.”
  4. We expect way more of ourselves often time than God does.  He wants to know us and love us and fill us with peace.  I pray you can see that in your own challenges good and bad.  
  5. Take care of yourself.  Listen to your body.  If you need rest, take it.  If you need exercise do it.  If you need help, ask for it!  Friends, please remember that you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your kids when on a plane.  We need to have the same expectations for ourself in the day to day.  Ask yourself…are you taking care of you too?
A friend shared this song with me today.  It is powerful  I have heard it before, but sit and listen to the words. The singer is AMAZING as well, but her words are just as powerful.  The idea of rising over and over is the example of strength in adversity.  I don’t have to rise and move on ASAP, but I can continue to rise through the love and encouragement of those around me. I hope this song can give you the reminder of who those around you may be.  Unfortunately, my neighbors are taken.  There might be a house or two available over here in River Run.  😉

Listen Here:  Rise Up- Audra Day

“You are broken down and tired,
 Of living life on a merry go round.
You can’t find the fighter,
 But I see it in you. 
So we are gonna walk it out,
 And move mountains
We gonna walk it out.

And I’ll rise up, rise like the day.
I’ll rise up, rise up unafraid.
I’ll rise up, and
 I’ll do it a thousand times again.

And I’ll rise up, high like the waves.
I’ll rise up, in spite of the ache.
I’ll rise up, and 
I’ll do it a thousand times again 
For you…..”

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Day things Changed...

I was giving a copy of this devotion from Charles Stanley last night.  It spoke volumes to my life as of today.  Here is a brief excerpt: 

                 Psalm 46:10 says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” The King James Version uses the expression “be still,” indicating that our best response to disappointment is to trust in the heavenly Father.
               How humbling it is to know that as God’s children, we have a direct line of communication to our Father, even in the midst of trouble. We don’t have to respond like the world, out of a heart filled with anger, depression, or revenge. Nor do we have to fix everything in our own strength. The truth is, hardship not only forms our character but also reveals it. 
            One common response to difficult times is anger. In moments of frustration, we run the risk of making impulsive decisions that could impact the rest of our life.
            But instead of getting caught up in the emotion, we should wisely be still and trust in the One who can work everything for our good (Rom. 8:28). 
            In this world, troubles won’t vanish (John 16:33). But when storms are brewing on the horizon, buckle up and trust God to guide you through. 
Only in Him can you truly cease striving.” 

Broken Heart-mending the pieces

Sunday, August 28th, 2016 was a day that things in my life changed forever.  I just think once you have an experience that impacts your health or your way of life, you start to see things differently.

A little back story on me.  “She has such a giving, loving, caring heart.”  That is what you hear when others talk about my gifts.  I am proud of that.  I know even though there are many things I can work on, I have always prided myself in being someone who cares, loves, gives, and encourages.  My strength you see, has also been my downfall at times.

I have given more than I have, I have loved more than others may deserve, and I have sacrificed more than needed.  I share this because I am in a time of deep reflection.  In fact whenever a major event has happened in my life, I have always felt compelled to write. I don’t write often, but if my heart is full, I have no choice but to pour it out on paper.  I have written over death, loss, change, love, birth, and lessons I have learned.  Today, I am sitting here looking at the ocean, as the sun sparkles on the sea and I am writing about me.

 I felt like a spectator of my life as it was changing right before my eyes.   It was my fourth day with bouts of chest pain.  This time we had just gotten to the beach, unpacked, and walked out to the sand to start a week of special family beach time.  This trip had to be cancelled twice and we had to find a new place two days before.  I was determined this trip would happen.  We all needed to relax, and be with each other.  I was so grateful and excited for the memories we were going to make.

As we walked up to the house that evening, I begin to feel the pain in my chest I had felt the last three days.  Sharp, stinging, disorienting pain.  Of course it was acid reflux, stress, exhaustion.  I had to be overreacting.  I laid down, took deep breaths, had a nexium, and yet the pain continued.  I texted my family and friends saying what do I do?  Why won’t it stop?  I even thought I just needed to sleep.  I believe my father’s text was, “Go to the emergency room!”  Well, I didn't do that, but I did head to a late night urgent care.  I was almost embarrassed they would tell me it was nothing, and the girls and Greg had been inconvenienced and out late for nothing.

Within 30 minutes I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  I had a heart attack…I can’t hardly write that down, or say out loud.  I am 39 years old, healthy, have a regular blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and have none of the other risk factors.  

The ER Dr, the on call Dr, and nurses all kept saying. “We are sure, it is nothing, but we have to treat it like it is serious until we can prove it isn’t.”  Thank you Lord for New Hanover Memorial Hospital and their willingness to make sure they checked every potential scenario.  Every EKG, Blood Test, Nitro tablet, and Chest x-ray each left the staff with more looming concern.

Everything in my age, potential risk factors, and vitals were normal.  My EKG showed an abnormality and the blood work on my cardiac enzymes were elevated.  Those were the only two.  Praise God those were there because that is what admitted me to the hospital Sunday night, continued tests, and led to a heart ultrasound and heart catheterization.  

The Cardiologist was so sure it was a stress induced syndrome that stuns the heart, acts like a heart attack, but is actually only short term and reversible.  It is called “The Broken Heart Syndrome”.  He knew I had to wait until 6:00 pm for a Heart Catheter to be done, and since he wanted me to be released to get back to vacation, he scrubbed in and performed the procedure at 11:30 am on Monday, August 29th.  (Thank the Lord for Dr. Ellis)  Once he got in, he found 100% blockage in one of the largest arteries. (known as the widow maker)  He called in a colleague to put stents in and went out to see my family.  He was so surprised.  He could not believe he found it, but I can’t imagine where I would be today, if he had not been pre-cautious,  and fit me in to the schedule.

I did not have plaque buildup, I did not have any long term scenarios.  I was diagnosed with something called Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. (SCAD)  This is a situation where due to something extremely intense with stress, pressure, hormone changes etc ,a tear is caused in an arterial wall and the blood pools and creates a blockage in the vessel.  This had to have happened within the last few days at the most.  

I have never won the lottery, but I have been blessed as one of the individuals that have experienced this.  Only 1/10th of all heart attacks are diagnosed as SCAD.

My life is different forever as a result.  I will take medicines to protect my heart, I will have to manage my stress , and activity ,and heal in more ways than one.  If you know anyone that has had this experience, than they may share that it isn’t just the physical part that is hard.  The reality, the acceptance, the fears of it happening again are just as painful of a recovery.  

I know this is much longer than most need, but know it is so important for me.  I plan to change in all the ways I need to change, and I also plan to ask for support in all the ways I may need support.  

We were never intended to walk this journey alone, privately, and without worry.  We should not ever be shamed of our vulnerabilities and needs.  We all have “stuff.”  No one has a life all figured out and simple.   I encourage you to be willing to embrace who you are today, and not what you or others think.  

God made me fragile, gentle, loving, and with a big heart.  It has been mended this week and may beat a bit differently.  I am embracing that I can’t climb every mounting, fight on the front line, or even withstand every storm on my own.  I am one that has the arms to hold those hurting, the pom poms to cheer you on, and the grace to accept you just as you are.  
  1. Lastly, I want to encourage you to take your health seriously.
  2. If you ever feel pain in your heart or brain-GO TO THE HOSPITAL/ER IMMEDIATELY!. (advice from my EMT)
  3. You don’t have to have genetics, or all the signs to have a serious situation.
  4. I felt a pain in my chest like a knife going through to my back on Thursday morning, and a burning/stinging pain behind my sternum on Friday and Saturday afternoons.
  5. Each of those days the pain went away after an hour or so.
  6. The pain wasn’t unbearable (or so I thought), so I felt I was overreacting.
  7. I tried to explain it away.
  8. Sunday the pain lasted longer and turned to a pressure/weight on my chest, but still not unbearable. I was a bit disoriented as well, but I think it was because I was becoming worried it was bigger than I thought.
  9. I wasn’t having any feelings of dizziness nausea, sweating, fever, pain in other places
  10. So at the end of the day I am telling you to, Go, to the hospital! They will take you seriously and they will be so thankful if it is indigestion, anxiety, or whatever.  Just please go….
I plan to focus on Being Still, Cease Striving, and Embrace my life and all God has given me.  I love my family, I love my dear friends, I love my home and sweet neighbors.  God has truly blessed me.  This is just my next chapter.  Thank you all for caring and supporting me.