Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I invite you to visit my new site, “Hope Heals” —

Monday, July 4th, 2011


The story of the last three years of my life has been many things, but if nothing else, it has been a story of Hope. And I mean that with a capitol “h”. I am so blessed to be able to continue to share these new chapters of my story and to encourage those who read it with the Hope I have.

Now, to be clear, I have experienced tremendous, miraculous healing in my physical body since my stroke (though it is certainly not to the full extent that I would like just yet), but physical healing from Hope is NOT what I am talking about here. To me, “Hope Heals” will share my experience of Hope and how it has given me the most profound and true healing in the midst of suffering–the healing of my soul.

My postings will (almost all) fall into 4 categories and will be labeled as such. The blue scalloped circles (SCROLL DOWN if you don’t see them on the main page) have the names of these categories on them, and when you click any of those four buttons, all the postings that fall into that particular category will be listed.

As a little explanation, I chose an anchor for the logo for this new site because this ancient Christian symbol literally stands for Hope. Even more meaningfully, the image of Hope in Christ as an anchor during the dark storm of my stroke, keeping me “firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19), resonates so deeply with me. And, as you will see in the future as I share my home with you, I basically love all things nautical. I even live 5 miles from the beach.

If you were on the email list for this website (, then you should start getting updates to your email from Hope Heals (pray the transfer of email subscriptions works–I’m not great with technology). If you would like to get Hope Heals updates sent to you via email or RSS feed, just click on the white star “Subscribe” button at the top of the page.

I hope you enjoy the new site as much as I have enjoyed setting it up. “See” you over there!

A New Website

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

I have deeply loved having this website. From its creation, as I lay in an ICU bed fighting for my life, many of you have been with me. You have become a family to me. I have been eternally moved by your prayers and support.

It is extremely meaningful to me to think about how having my stroke in this point in history has meant that you could follow my progress and my story from your own computer.

This website was created to be a place for compiling all of the various information on the internet after the day of my stroke. (It was created by Charlie Saliba, a sweet guy back in Alabama, who I didn’t even know!) After about 9 months of him gathering info from other places (facebook groups, my mom’s original blog, church newsletters, etc.), I began writing my own updates on my CaringBridge site, and it became a way to not only share new information with others, but also a cathartic means of coping with my new reality.

Charlie, you are a wonderful person! You have so blessed me in my time of greatest need by allowing others to instantly journey with me and pray for me every step of the way. You will only know the impact this site has truly had when you get to Heaven. I can only tell you that I have personally received countless emails from strangers around the world who have been touched by this site, and it would not have been here were it not for you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Because July 4th is our nation’s day to celebrate its independence, I am following suit! I will begin sharing my life, prayer requests, medical updates, and much more on a new site this Monday. In an effort to feel like less of a science project, I want to tell my brain that I have healed enough (and am continuing to heal enough) to merit a website that is NOT solely dedicated to medical updates. What an amazing answer to all of your prayers to be at a place in my life where I have more to share than just my recovery. Don’t worry though, I’ve still got plenty of prayers and medical updates to share with you. I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. I can’t wait see where it all goes next.

Look HERE for all the details on Monday (7/4/11) in between cookouts and fireworks!

Speaking Engagement with both of us!!! – “Summer Monday Nights” @ FBC Wetumpka

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

“Summer Monday Nights” is a special summer series of services hosted by First Baptist Church in Wetumpka, Alabama. Jay and I are speaking at the one tomorrow night! They are flying us in to speak to this group – soooo sweet! Please join us as we share how we hope in the Lord through the tough storms of life. The service starts at 6:30pm at the church located at 205 W. Bridge Street. The church’s phone number is 334-567-5191 for more information.

Happy Father’s Day!-A Message from James

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Click image above to enlarge

Summer has Arrived!

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Thank you so much for all of your incredibly sweet words about BOTH pictures that I posted. I agree, even though that first picture was inverted, there was still a smile there that has not been there for the last three years. Yes, as many of you commented, it was not easy to write a “retraction” to my first posting about my smile. It made me sad and I knew it would make you sad for me too. Also, it was honestly just embarrassing. It was eating a little humble pie. I think that’s life, though. It is messy and yucky and sometimes you have to print a retraction. So, thanks for that and PLEASE KEEP PRAYING that one day I will smile on the right side just as much as i can smile on the left.

On another note, the picture above is from us leaving the house on Monday morning. James had his final day of preschool and I had my final day of physical therapy for the summer (I will continue OT through the end of the month).

It has been very striking to me throughout this process how James and I are doing things about the same time: I was re-learning to walk as he was learning to walk, etc. So, this recent same final “Schools out for Summer” day should come as no surprise. It is a rarity, a strange blessing, and even a privilege to see the world as James sees it and to experience things at the same time. Few mothers get to do this and I am very grateful. It is, yet again, a Romans 8:28 paradox.

Point of Gratitude: Summer!!!!

A Little Too Good To Be True…

Monday, June 13th, 2011

A good friend read the recent post below on my smile, and mentioned that perhaps the picture I posted was inverted. In other words (based on Jay’s Lacoste symbol on his shirt, which in reality is on his left side–though the picture shows it’s on the right, the image is flipped), so what looks like the right side of my face/smile would have to be the left. In thinking about it more, I was sitting on Jay’s left side, and we took the picture with our camera phone on a setting where the camera is flipped toward us. So this inverted the image. Even though that picture looks like a big right-side smile, in reality, it’s the normal/left side of my smile that is prominently smiling. (However, that smile is pretty cute and I do like what the right side of my mouth is doing in it — it is also giving a good ole grin!)

I guess it was a little too good to be true. I suppose we sometimes want things so badly that we see things as we wish they were and not as they truly and logically are. The right side of my mouth is definitely moving, though it’s less so than it appeared in that last picture. The picture here is NOT inverted, so you can better see how my normal smile looks, without me forcing a right-sided movement.

I go to the trouble to correct this mistake because I first want everything on this site to come from a place of truth, as much as I possibly can. Secondly, I want to express the natural inclination of us all to see what we hope for and desire to come to fruition, maybe before the time is right. I believe one day my smile will come to a more normal place. Today’s not that day, but that’s OK. It is a great smile regardless! Even if I’m not smiling fully on the outside, I’m smiling all the way on the inside.

My Smile is Coming Back!!!

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Nearly 9 months after my radical, second facial surgery, there are great signs that the movement around the right corner of my mouth is returning! Unfortunately, my right eye simultaneously closes when the right side of my mouth moves upwards (which is why I’m showing you a picture with sunglasses on), but it is moving!!! Can you see it? We are not sure why the turning up of the right side of my mouth makes my eye close, but I’m having an eyelid surgery on July 8th and that may change this. I do not know what my face will look like in years to come. I really have no idea – no one does actually. What I do know is that this is a very good sign! Stay tuned .. the miracle is (slowly but surely) still happening.

(Now I have to be honest, this is a strangely good picture of the smile. It doesn’t usually look this way. I think the way I’m tilting my head has a lot to do with it. –Just being honest :))

Point of Gratitude: Movement in my face where the entire inter-cranial facial nerve was cut — where no movement should be possible. Pretty awesome.

P.S. I have gotten pretty sick this past week. I have gotten on medicine and taken lots of naps and I am now feeling better. However, I have not returned emails in almost 2 weeks! So, please don’t think I’m just not writing you back, I have not written anyone! (I was asleep anytime humanely possible throughout the day).

Saturday Night Benefit Concert

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

This Saturday night (June 11) we are co-hosting a house concert supporting the charity, Beat the Drum Village, which was started by our friend Lauren’s father. This charity creates safe homes for children in Kenya, orphaned by and living with HIV/AIDS. It will be a little different set up than the most recent charity events that we have been involved with as it will be a concert at Lauren and Don Miller’s house (just a few blocks from us in Culver City!), with incredible music by Andy and Anna Stover (our dear friends who took in James when I was in ICU) and Brian and Taylor Bowis (check out Taylor’s website–she’s just started teaching piano lessons in Santa Monica–, not to mention several songs by the one and only Jay Wolf!! Some of you may know of Jay’s hidden musical talents, but for those of you who don’t, come check it out in person–he’s good, really good, and I’m not just biased. The Stovers and Bowises are all phenomenal musicians too–guitar, singing, piano, and drums–they all sound amazing together!! I’m definitely their biggest groupie, but feel free to join me for this fun event for a great cause and enjoy a night of great music with me!

Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad!

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

We all love you so much! 35 years together – wow. (Your grandson really loves you!) … (so do I)!

Adorable Distractions

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

I’m too blessed to be bitter.

I’ve gotten a lot of pretty bad news lately. I won’t go into many of the details now but needless to say, recently doctors and therapists have told me some tough things to hear. Some of you already know about a few of these.

A few “highlights” (that just seems wrong to write that word about this):

My main eye surgeon (Dr. Velez) is not certain if my brain can fuse one image again. Operating a third time on the muscle could cause the double vision to get significantly worse. His hope is that I will eventually “go dim” in my right eye and just see out of my left (thus one image). I will have a surgery (most likely in early July – I will post the date when it has been confirmed) to lift my eyelid so I can see more clearly and so that it will look more normal. They will also insert a gold weight into my upper eyelid which will help it to fully close when I blink. Thinking about all of this eye stuff is sad to me because this was supposed to be an easy fix. From day 1, the double vision was supposed to be alleviated by an easy strabismus surgery. I never could have imagined that this would be something so different than that.

*My OT has confirmed what I have been (painfully) feeling for weeks: my LEFT shoulder (“the good one”) is now subluxed in addition to the right one. Because I am not doing things with this arm/hand/shoulder that I used to do because of my poor balance (like pushing open doors), the left shoulder has also become partially dislocated. Please keep my shoulders in your prayers – the rain and cold here in LA recently has meant I have had some pretty bad pain in them, akin to arthritis pain, I guess. I now understand why senior adults move to Florida.

*I am definitely “right hand dominant” my therapists have determined through various tests. This means it is extremely difficult for me to switch and use the left hand for all of the things from writing to typing to cooking that I used to do with the right hand. Sadly, it will not be an easy feat if decide to switch hands. My OT is now trying to train my left hand to develop more coordination.

As many of you may remember from when I shared this, I currently have a brain aneurysm. Strangely, these latest set backs and problems evoke a similar response in me that the news of the aneurysm did. It’s OK. I will never lose heart. Despair is not an option. In fact, I will rejoice in all circumstances.

Phiilipians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Maybe I have been given the opportunity to cultivate that deep feeling of peace. I will count it a blessing.

Speaking of a blessing, I had a special one on Thursday. I think I have the most thoughtful friends EVER. The Wolfs were having a rare morning at home with no preschool or therapy. My sweet friend Mia drove over here, put James’ carseat in her car, and drove us (with her own daughter) to Cora’s house for a play date and picnic lunch. Cora has twin 2 year olds who are just delicious.

So, 2 boys and 2 girls and 3 happy mommies. Yes, I wrote happy. I’ve been in a little bit of a funk recently. All this hard news, people writing mean comments on my mom’s blog, other tough stuff in my private life involving people I love (yes, I do have a whole life to deal with outside of my injury) and James being a semi-bratty (typical, I know) 3 year old, have all just kinda thrown me. I’m just not totally myself or something.

The lunch was delicious! We had a divine meat-free*quiche, a carmelized onion and goat cheese tart, and a raspberry vinaigrette salad. Cora even had my favorite beverage on hand – lime flavored sparkling water. Good food makes me very happy. This meal did just that.

This picnic lunch and the time with these little cuties was strategic and about much more than just lunch and a playdate. It made me remember what really matters in life. Mia and Cora knew what they were doing. They are true friends. They let me cry a little about some recent news, they pushed James on the swing, gave him toys to play with and they fed us both cupcakes. Those all make for a happy mommy and son.

This picture is Cora and me and all four of the cuties. Sadly, Mia was taking it and not in it. I’ll just have to post a pic of her soon! She is beautiful and very talented!!!!

*For almost a year now, I have been a “pescetarian”. After almost a year of eating meat with some very negative effects (sweating, eyes watering, the sensation of choking, etc.), I finally gave it up for the most part. I also saw Food, Inc. and Fast Food Nation and just decided I shouldn’t fight so hard for something that may not be so great for me anyway. PESCEtarian means I totally eat seafood (different texture than normal pieces of meat) and I eat eggs, dairy, nuts, and other sources of protein. I always appreciate the thoughtfulness of friends who provide meat-free options.

P.S. Websites take a long time to come together! Mine is still very much in process. I’ve run into a number of glitches, but for now, I’m going to keep writing here, and I promise that sometime soon, there will be somewhere new to find me — and there may even be some innovative things about it to enjoy when you get there.

Also, this is very cool. Please Do this

**Thank you for always supporting causes that I care about. Just to tell you a little of what you have helped do this past few months: Alison’s grandmother in Indiana got 137 birthday cards! Kerri Clark won the contest in Birmingham and will travel to NYC! Alison won the competition and the Mercy Clinic in Athens was awarded money to see more of the uninsured in Northeast GA. You all fully funded getting JuicePlus gummies to LA Foster children at Impacting Hearts for a year.

Point of gratitude: Sweet friends – some I know and some I’ve never met (many of you!)!