I had it all planned out

Never plan stuff out.  Just sayin.  It’s the surest way to have those plans messed up.

I planned to take the summer (in a leisurely fashion) to tackle the house room by room, de-cluttering and stripping us back to “sparse” and clean.  I was gonna actually get us organized –  not just the impression of clean.  I wanted to ACTUALLY be clean.  I do this for all my clients each year.  I never get around to it for me.  I always come last – but that’s the way it always goes doesn’t it?

But now?  Now it’s like an evil joke.  And as nutty as it sounds, I am obsessed with getting that goal complete before going under for surgery.  No matter what.  Call it what you want, distraction, obsession, denial; I just cant go through recovery with all this huge TO DO list staring at me.  I will look around at all the things that I need/want to get done and it will drive me out of my ever lovin mind.

So since I am off work I am refocusing on myself, for once in my life.  I am gonna take it room by room.  Each will be dug into as if we were moving.  When I was a kid we moved on average every 2-4 years.  When we moved we would make, “If in doubt, throw it out,” our moto.  It’s been 15 years since we moved in to this, our first home, and it’s just  way past time.  WAY past time.  Oh we’ve good-willed things over the years, had garage sales, and ditched a ton of stuff via hand me downs to friends…  but the reality is, we just have too much stuff.  It is neat – but I am tired of being weighed down by stuff.

So in an attempt at sanity, I will not only try to forget for a while why I am fitting a whole summer of de-cluttering into a couple weeks, I will actually do it.  My recovering self with be so pleased with this me of today.  I will say to myself over and over, thank you, for getting that blasted thing off my To-do list early.

So even though things didn’t go according to MY plan, I am excited to know that it will get done,and I will enjoy it all summer long.  🙂

I know that a clean house before surgery is NOT a big deal, nor is it anything more than busy work and distraction.  But I am coming to realize that sometimes it’s okay to just live in the moment.  Give your mind something else to chew on.  It’s not denial – it’s just not focusing every waking moment on what looms ahead.

But the looming is dead ahead of me.  The shadow of it is nearly here…

Keep up to date with what’s going on at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/christicampbell/guestbook


A light note of IMAGINARY nature

My son was given the task of crushing the cans.  He was in the garage with a host of cans we’d saved and had friends save for us to recycle.  There were no exact words I could hear from my post in the kitchen of doing dishes, but I did hear an incessant string of dialog of which there was no breathing.  He was quite literally having BOTH sides of the conversation.

I gathered the trash and took it outside. I startled him quiet as I opened the door.  He just kept crushing cans, not saying a word.  I asked if he was talking to an imaginary friend.  He looked at me quizzically and questioned what that was.  When I finished my explanation he just said “OH”, like I was nuts.

“What,”  I asked him?

“I got two ‘imaginary’ brothers, but NO, no imaginary friends.”  His eye roll was all the ending i needed.  Pardon me!  How was I supposed to know they were “brothers” he was talking to, not friends, and that there were TWO of them for heavens sakes!

In the midst of the insanity, it is wonderful to cling to the silly and normal things in life.  More than ever before, I am loving every minute of life with these silly kids of mine!



Keep up to date with what’s going on with surgery and recovery:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/christicampbell

Chocolate – a grown up version of a band-aid

Sometimes chocolate can fix everything and sometimes it is merely a wonderful distraction. But it is ALWAYS well loved and enjoyed!

I went to the store today to get the scripts I was out of from the pharmacy.  The plan was to walk in and grab them and walk out.  But as I waited in line, I heard the faint calling of a dear friend.  It was calling me from over to the left.  I looked, but then my turn was next so I focused my attention on my script.  (Why do we have to use our birth dates for these things, by the way?  Cant I just give my dad’s mother’s cousin’s name or some silliness?  I loathe this)

Anyway, I digress…  so after I was done, I started to leave when I again heard my friend calling out to me.  This time a grin came to my face and I made a bee line across the store.  How could I have even wondered?  Of course!  It was my dear friend, Chocolate!

Okay, so I admit it.  I am comfort eating in the midst of this blasted walk I am taking.  I am trying to be strong and I am trying to be all I was designed to be from the day I was born – but sometimes even grown ups need the comfort of a useless band-aid to the boo boo of their hearts.  I by no means am advocating reckless self medication through eating binges.  I am just simply saying that those danged Swiss Cake rolls and amazing fudge rounds REALLY wanted to come home with me and who am I to tell them no?  It would be cruel to say no to them, would it not?

I know… I am being silly.  I wont eat this thing away, wont even try,  but a bit of chocolate now and again sure can make me forget for a moment the pain that made me want to put the chocolate band-aid on in the first place.

Dont preach at me…  I wont do it forever.  But for today, I needed a Swiss roll, something sweet and innocent from my childhood… and I gave in.

What is it about chocolate anyway?  It doesn’t exactly fix anything, yet it does such an amazing job of distraction.  And to top it off, no matter what you face, if you can face it with a smidgen of chocolate on the side, maybe you can even face it with a smile.  Is that what they mean when they say it’s like a little bit of heaven?

If chocolate is a tiny piece of heaven… I can only imagine the intensity with which Heaven will overwhelm me!

I think I will pop this M&M in my mouth and ponder on that for a while  🙂  Silly ??  Yes.  Enjoyable to ponder?  Yes.  I will save the seriousness for another day.  For tonight I will simply relax.  (and have some chocolate!)

Have a good night all…

Courage looks a lot like weakness from behind the great OZ curtain

Someone said to me, “I don’t know how you have courage enough to face brain surgery.  I’d never be able to do it.”  I so get what she was saying because I’ve said it before, similarly, for other circumstances.  But let me clue you in on a little secret… Courage looks a lot like weakness if you peek behind the big OZ curtain.

See this is what most people don’t realize; you don’t have the weapons to fight the battle ahead of time.  There’s no magic that you can bestow upon someone to make them strong. No tinkerbell pixie dust to make you rise to the occasion.  There’s no bulging muscles moving me through this on any power of my own.  Behind this curtain, I sit feebly and  I quiver in my humanity.  I shake.  I’m quaking in my boots.  My eyes have cried so many tears over the last week that you’d think there’d be no way I could ever shed another.  I should be dehydrated at the very least.  But still they come.  Not because I am without faith that God will see me through.  Not because I am worried that I will never wake up.  Not because I am scared of the pain, the recovery, or the sheer magnitude of what lies ahead.  I cry because I have never felt so alone in my whole life.  There is no way anyone can join me on this journey.  I cry because I don’t WANT to go it alone.  And I cry because I DON’T have to.

I know – I sound contradictory here… but for all the amazing family and friends who are surrounding us and are quickly adding up in numbers – I am still alone.  For all the love of my dear husband, he wont go under the knife with me.  HIS journey is singularly alone as well.  Just as much.  And yet so NOT alone.  See – a walk of faith that is being refined, tested, strengthened, and polished, it is one taken alone.  You have to do it yourself.  And it is DAMNED scary in our humanity.  Even JESUS himself cried out to God in his last hours leading up to his betrayal.  He begged his father to take the cup from  him, to PLEASE don’t make him take the path before him.  But in the end, he ended it with saying he’d do God’s will, whatever it was.

Jesus had friends in the crowd.  His mother was there.  But he was so very alone on that walk.  No one could walk it for him.  But GOD could, and he did, and he gave him strength as  he needed it to do the work until it was completed.

I by NO means even begin to compare brain surgery to the journey to the cross – but I do stand here and tell you I am beginning to see it in a way I never did before.  I see a new perspective.  I can imagine the garden and the tears and can only imagine how alone he felt in his humanity.

This week has been terrifying – and amazing.  It has sent me on a roller coaster of emotions that would have me displaying bugs in my teeth from the sheer velocity of it.  While still scared, the amazing assurances of doctors, treatment, and the blessings of so many praying friends and family just makes me wonder how I got so blessed.  What have I done to deserve so much of this amazing love being poured out?  It’s just me here…I am beyond humbled and grateful that He saw fit to grow me in a way that only walking this path would ever produce.  It may hurt like hell – quite literally, but in the end, I be the better for it.

Songs have been washing over me, songs of my childhood, and songs of faith I have learned in my adult faith walk.  I wake to them playing in my head and I go to sleep to them at night as a lullaby.  The one washing over me today?  “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus”…  These songs armor me – they raise me up on wings like eagles – they help carry me when I cant stand another moment.  They carry me like prayers up to Jesus and let me sit at his feet, pouring out my pain and my fears there, on my knees, humbly bowed.  How can I not follow Him when he took so much more than this for me?

So for today – I want to leave you with these words written long ago – by one inspired author wiser than I in creating words that hide themselves in your heart and lift you up when you need a wing and a prayer.

I also give you a link on the off chance you have never had the privilege of hiding this song in your quiver for a day you need to do battle.

This song was written in 1882 by Louisa M. R. Stead , who wrote the lyrics after she watched her husband drown and die.  It is amazing what pain can bring in it’s wake… The beauty and the transparency of what Grace truly looks like at it’s core.

Tis so sweet to Trust in Jesus/  Sung by Casting Crowns

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more.

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
Just in simple faith to plunge me,
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood.

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life, and rest, and joy, and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Keep up to date with what’s going on:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/christicampbell

Holdin on…

My deepest thanks to Holly P for giving me this to cling to…  I’ve probably heard this song a million times, but I never truly heard it till today.  It’s all I can’t put into words- and yes, believe it or not, even I can be at a loss for words.

Today is a sunshiny day but I still am clinging and holding on.  I know He’s all I need and all I need to hold on to.  There’s clouds and there’s rain rolling in, but the Son is shining just before it and beyond it, and to that I am holding on…

Holding on – by 33Miles

may this minister to your heart where ever you are in life.


It may not be rocket science; but it IS brain surgery

Anytime someone sends you for a surgical consult with a Neuro-specialist, well something inside you that you never knew existed gets woken up. Brain surgery is something you flippantly say when someone is making a mountain out of a mole hill.  You say, “guys, this is not rocket science – nor is it brain surgery here…”

Wow – Guess what?  THIS here?  It IS brain surgery.

It started out simply enough.  I was having increased migraines and they were getting so bad meds were not helping, no matter what kind I took.  I lived with daily headaches, balance issues, vision problems that were worsening, and a host of things i always thought unrelated.  So they sent me for an MRI.  I figured that was it.  New drugs, move on.  Wrong.  The MRI was abnormal.

The nurse called and said my MRI was abnormal and my doctor was sending me to see a neuro surgeon.  She rattled off the name of my diagnosis and hung up.  In two minutes or less my world was flipped upside down.

I have something called Chiari Malformation.  It’s a condition  I was born with where the brain does not fit into the skull properly and is herniated into the brain stem area.  It results in pressure on the brain stem and constriction of the flow of spinal fluid, nerves, and a host of other technical termed things.  Long and story short, no meds will cure it.  You can mask the symptoms and issues created for a while, but the only answer is brain surgery where they take out part of the skull to give your brain room to breathe.  Like unbuttoning your jeans so your stomach has room after a big meal.

When viewed logically and in theory – I am calm and collected, and very ready to say, “Well, okay.  Fix me.”

On a human level?  I am terrified out of my freakin mind!  They are going to go at my head with a buzzy saw and cut away bone to let my BRAIN have room.  They will cut away some of my hip muscle to make a patch where bone should be.  Ummm – okay…  …and it will be a long drawn out healing process and and a painful one.  I want to just say NOOOOOO  and cry and rail and get mad and then get scared and cry all over again.

But here’s the thing I come back to over and over.  None of this is new to God.  He is not surprised.  There’s no booming doom music playing here.  He is full of hope and peace and promise of a good future for me.  HE believes I got what it takes to walk this path.  HE thinks I am capable of brain surgery!  He thinks I am strong enough to stand up under this!  He sure thinks a heck of a lot more about me than I do!

So what is He planning here?  Where is He taking me?

He is planning to help me.  He is planning to help grow my faith.  He’s gonna grow the faith of my whole family.  THAT excites me.  That said…  I am still scared and really dont want to go at this at all.

There is a lot to learn in the next few weeks, doctors to consult, research to read, clinics to visit, tests to do, and decisions to make.  LOTS of decisions to make.  Who, when, where, how, and on and on…

And this is so not all about me…  it affects my kids, my husband, my whole family… and how will we manage to get by without me working for a very long time?  What does God have up his sleeve that will provide the unknowns for us?

But for now, I will be at rest knowing that He believes I can do this.  And not only that, He will use it somehow.  So that is my prayer.  If I have to walk this slippery and rocky path, that he will somehow use each and every cruddy and crappy moment of it to HIS glory.  That it will do a work for Him that could only be done by my choosing to be faithful in taking whatever steps he places before me, regardless of my humanity crying to have Him please remove it from me.

And there is no rosy, sunny ending to this blog.  I sit with tears streaming down my face, soaking my shirt.  I am scared.

But the blessings that are coming even as I type these words are the waves of comfort He brings me as I lift it all to him as an offering of obedience… and give him all I am.

Mold me, make me, use me.  Heal me.  Make me yours, and make me into your image.  Strip away all that is ugly, unworthy and worldly, and replace it with what is pure, refined, perfected, and Holy.

Let me shine on my darkest day.  Let others see you in me when I can barely hold my head up.

I am so grateful to run into the arms of my Abba Daddy, where he knows my hurts and sees my tears before they even fall.

Keep up to date with what’s going on:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/christicampbell