Monday, December 29, 2008


January - 1996
My girlfriend Sharon and I enjoyed a few days of vacation
and I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) in Bermuda.

(as soon as I get a pic - you'll see what these legs look like now and
then you can pray with me that they can run 4.6 miles in April)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saturday Morning Surprise

I love surprises like this - on a sidewalk in Reading this morning I bumped into one of the docs that helped save my leg in Reading Hospital 4 years ago. It started out as a normal Saturday morning of errands and as I walked out of a store, I looked to my right and coming down the sidewalk was a gentleman with a look of ‘I’ve got places to go and people to see, so don’t get in my way’ all over his face and pace. I started to back up to let him pass in his rush, then instead moved forward and stuck out my hand as I said, “Hello Doctor.” For a second, he looked annoyed at the interruption, but then greeted me with a smile and an out-stretched hand. “Janet, how are you,” he asked. We chatted briefly, with me feeling slightly anxious about holding him up, but loving a chance to reconnect. This doctor was one of the first surgeons I’d saw in PA after coming home from California 6 weeks after my injuries. Though at first, he was concerned that my leg could or would not even heal, he operated on me twice and what he did is what needed to be done to allow my leg to heal.

As he walked away this morning, he called back, “Be careful, don’t do anything dumb in life, I don’t want to see you in the office.” Hearing him say that, I hated to interrupt whatever mission he was on again, but I couldn’t pass this up “On that note, is it dumb to try to run 4 miles on this leg?” I asked. Guess I peaked his interest, because he stopped and waited for me to come over to his car and asked me for details. Hearing my plan, he was optimistic and said, “No, that’s not dumb - but train wisely! Slowly increase your distance and never run two days in a row, always give your leg a break between runs.” I was thrilled as I thanked him profusely for his time and advice!

Garden Spot Marathon - here I come!

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Year Coming

I'm generally reflective at the end of a year - I like to think back over the year and further process some of the pros and cons of it. 2008 was a full year of life for me - joy, laughter, pain and loss. Seeking God through it all has helped me find some beauty - even in the midst of dirt. I’m usually not glad for the dirt, but I’m happy for the beauty I find in it.

I'm looking forward to 2009 with renewed excitement - for the first time in 4 years, I am looking at a new year with no plans for further consultations with doctors and no surgeries planned for the year
(gosh, I hope it stays that way!) I wonder if I will go through withdrawal since I must have seen a zillion 'white coats' in the past 4 years. Love those humans - they spend years of their lives learning how to take care of others and everyone I’ve met has done it with a smile (well, there was that one, but I won’t go there)

Since April, on the days my lower body cooperates, I go for a walk - outdoors in friendly weather, otherwise on the treadmill. If I’ve had a tiring day or two of being on my feet, I need to cut out any additional walking for a day or two. Since May, I’ve been throwing in about 2 to 5 minutes of jogging a few times a week. At this time, it’s a great feeling emotionally, but physically, my body does a fair bit of moaning and complaining. I’m constantly trying to determine the seriousness of the ‘noise’ - does it mean I’m pushing too hard or is it just my beat-up body complaining during the process of becoming stronger again?

I will be doing a lot of accessing the next few months as I aim to complete a 4.6 mile portion of a marathon relay on April 4, 2009. I’m excited and scared at I plan out my training schedule - I know slow and steady increases is the ticket, but part of me wants to go hit the treadmill and see if I can pound out 4 miles right now. Don’t think that will happen - as I only run about 1/2 mile at this time in the middle of a 20 or 30 minute walk.

Let the training begin ....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where's God?

He was just a little boy,
On a week's first day.
Wandering home from Bible school,
And dawdling on the way.
He scuffed his shoes into the grass;
He even found a caterpillar.
He found a fluffy milkweed pod,
And blew out all the 'filler.'
A bird's nest in a tree overhead,
So wisely placed up so high.
Was just another wonder,
That caught his eager eye.
A neighbor watched his zig zag course,
And hailed him from the lawn;
Asked him where he'd been that day
And what was going on. 'I've been to Bible School ,'
He said and turned a piece of sod.
He picked up a wiggly worm replying,
'I've learned a lot about God.'
'M'm very fine way,' the neighbor said,
'for a boy to spend his time.'
'If you'll tell me where God is,
I'll give you a brand new dime.'
Quick as a flash the answer came!
Nor were his accents faint.
'I'll give you a dollar, Mister,
If you can tell me where God ain't.'
- Anon

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Story of a Sign

Interesting - the day after I question whether or not I should write, I see this short Profound Video
about words and the power they can have when chosen correctly.

I need to ponder this today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

To write or not to write

When I was fifteen, I read 'Julie' by Catherine Marshall. I distinctly remember closing the book and purposefully saying to myself "I will be a writer someday!"
Then life got crowded - marriage, three boys, business owner, traveling, caregiver, etc. - writing only happened in my journal.

Then an accident that will forever change my life happened and it seemed like the right time for writing. Physical pain and limitations force me to sit and rest my legs - so a comfortable recliner, a lapdesk and a laptop gave me all I need to write.
Well, that gives me all the 'stuff' needed to write, but I'm finding it doesn't just happen on it's own. I need to discipline myself to make it happen - and right now I'm not doing a good job of that.

So, I'm asking myself - to write or not to write?
Am I a writer? Do I really want to write? Was my comment at 15 just motivated by the good story and the emotions that it produced? Or was that comment a 'purpose' I should make happen? When I am 95, will I wish I had put some muscle behind the idea I was so certain would happen when I was 15?

I think part of pondering this question requires me to put serious energy into writing to help me determine the answer. So, I'm planning new postings for every other day - well, every few days, or maybe once a week - geez, I don't know if and when any new postings will be here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Reflections on a Cave Adventure

Thoughts by Rosene Hoover
1969 - 2008

In March, 2008 my sister and niece traveled with me to Belize to see friends. One day we went sightseeing to Barton Creek Caves where you explore a cave in a canoe. As we talked about going into the cave, I was excited to try two new things that I had never done before … canoeing and going inside of a cave. Since I have cerebral palsy and am in wheelchair, it was a slightly bumpy process to get me settled on the cushion in the canoe, but once I was in, I was comfortable.

As we floated through the cave, I was amazed at the big, beautiful rocks deep inside of the earth. God created them thousands of years ago and only a small number of people every saw them. Why did He bother even making them? What was the point? Yet, there they stood … strong and beautiful. I decided God had a special purpose in creating them, even if I do not understand it.

I thought about all this, because it is something I have wondered about myself over the years. By reflecting on the rocks, I realized that God had also created me for a purpose, even if I do not understand what or why. One joyous thing I thought of is the fact that I have something the rocks do not have … a personal relationship with God. I can understand and feel his never-ending love and care for me. I praise Him for that!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Political Debates and Voting

Politics - they are all around us. And that's a good thing.

As someone wise said one day, this country is "for the people, by the people." So, politics and voting is a privilege that we need to take seriously. Too often we vote for the same person our uncle/mother/brother/friend is voting for. You were created with a brain - use it :)

Read this at Real Live Preacher to help you decide how to vote - no, it doesn't tell you who to vote for, but it outlines a process to go through to help you decide.

Happy Voting :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Where Does an Apple Best Enjoy Life?

Blueberry looked to see where that voice came from. She was surprised to see an apple clinging to a branch in the blueberry bush.
“What are you doing here?” She asked.
Apple shot back, “Why are you asking me that, you’re always hanging around in this bush.”
Blueberry paused a second after hearing the tone of Apple’s voice. “Yes, I do,” she said.
“If it works for you, why not me?” Apple asked.
“Well, how’s it working for you?” Blueberry asked. (borrowing a line she had heard somewhere)
“I could see how happy you were from my tree, so I wanted to be here too. It was okay at first - seeing the world from a different vantage point and all.” Apple said. “But now, I’m frustrated and don’t understand why.”
“There’s things here to enjoy,” Blueberry said, “look, there’s Mother Mouse taking food to her babies. If you
wiggle over to the right you can see the nest - what a work of art it is!”
Apple shuddered, “Mice, I don’t want to see mice or their nest! The nest is ugly and they’re huge, I enjoyed them better when I saw them from ten feet away.”
Blueberry tried again, “Wait till Friday - you might enjoy it then. We have fun playing dodgegrass.”
“Dodgegrass?” Apple questioned.
“Yes,” Blueberry excitedly explained, “we get a great workout dodging the grass blowing from the mower as Boy mows along the garden. This week should be a blast - he’s a few days late cutting it and the grass is extra long.”
Apple silently wondered why that would be fun - she preferred hanging in the tree and swaying with the breezes. Plus, she didn’t like the noise of the mower when up in the tree, she moaned thinking about how loud it would be down here.
Noticing that the things she enjoyed were only causing Apple more stress, Blueberry wondered if maybe Apple wasn’t taking care of herself. Questioning her about it only brought more complaints.
“Taking care of myself? I wish I could, but these branches aren’t doing their job to help me. I think there’s something wrong with them!” Apple replied. “If something doesn’t change, I’ll wilt away to nothing.
As Apple said these things, Blueberry realized nothing here was going to satisfy Apple -
they seemed to be made for different places in the world.
Apple was quiet for a time, then said, “Maybe I’m not enjoying it here, because this isn’t the place for me after all. Maybe I made a mistake coming here. It just dawned on me how much I like heights and I miss seeing the birds and their nest.”
Now it was Blueberry’s turn to shudder - why would anyone miss a bird? She was always hoping all the birds miss her.
Blueberry and Apple talked about how being aware of their own likes and dislikes could help them understand the place that worked best for them in life. They also realized by doing that they could benefit others better. After Apple climbed back to her tree, she saw Boy on the couch not feeling too well. After talking with Blueberry, they both spent time conserving their own fragrance. Later, when the house door opened and their combined sweet fragrance was carried in by the wind, Boy asked his Mother for some fruit to eat. The nutrition from it soon had him feeling better and Blueberry got ready for a fun afternoon of dodgegrass.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Quote from The Shack

God says to Mack,
"Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will see grace in many facets and colors." - William P. Young in 'The Shack'

Monday, June 23, 2008


Trees are items of wonder to me. They can start with a seed as small as this word and grow to be much taller than a house. Only an amazing creator could do that!

Trees give us endless resources - paper, your house and many items in it. Dyes and medicines are made from the bark, while leaves and roots provide oils for cosmetics and medicines. We know that maple syrup is from the sap of trees - but did you know sap is used to make gum, crayons, paint, and soap?

Anyone want a fresh, juicy peach or a crunchy apple? The list of nutritious food we get from trees is endless. While enjoying a cup of hazelnut coffee - thank God for nut trees.

You want to be "green" - plant a tree. Trees are like the lungs of the planet - they produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air. Trees save energy, because they help cool your home in the summer and act as windbreaks in the winter. If you live near a highway or noisy business, planting some trees will reduce the noise pollution by absorbing sound.

Trees are always changing … I love their beautiful, unique display each season. I am equally impressed with the relative small size of a tree trunk compared to the massive spread of the branches. This is possible because of the wonderful creation of having the unseen roots spread in all directions underground as far as the branches above. The roots supply the water/nutrients and stability needed to keep the trunk alive and strong enough to face whatever the world throws at it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Life Today

I am running - on my own two feet! I can run!
My thoughts were much more than the excited thoughts of a couch potato getting off her duff and putting one foot in front of the other. Words from doctors were swirling in my mind;
“Your leg might need to be amputated. Even if it’s saved, don’t expect to walk on it”
“You need to think of running as part of your ‘pre-accident’ life - it won’t be a part of your future.”
With each step, I assessed the aches and pains coming from the lower half of my body. My legs were supporting me, though my nerves were complaining – some stabbing knife pain, along with areas of rubbery numbness. (Like when your arm is sleeping)
I also thought of the words my husband Jerry heard from doctors, as I lay unconscious in the hospital …
“There’s only a fifty/fifty chance your wife will live.
“She might have brain damage and/or injuries so that could prevent her from walking again.”
Now four years after the accident, I am not only walking, but running on my own two feet. I can only run a few minutes at a time, but I can run! I'm so thankful for healing.
Sign at my 'homecoming' 4 yrs ago
Here's the story of the past 4 years –
Jerry and I, along with Joshua, Joseph and Jonathan were in California during May of 2004 on a trip across America. We ‘hit the road’ six months earlier from Morgantown after selling our property, business and house. After managing a garden center for eleven years, we were thrilled with this unique opportunity to rest and process the next step in our lives while traveling. The boys (ages eleven, thirteen and fifteen, at the time) continued their education with the basics coming from books and the museums/factories we visited supplying the rest.
Suddenly on May 20th, Jerry and the boys were watching a helicopter fly away with me in it - not knowing if they would see me alive again. Jerry tried to stay calm as he surveyed the accident scene in front of him - five semi-trucks and our motorhome. While the damage to the trucks was minor, it was severe to the corner of our motorhome where I had been sitting. As he watched the rescue workers repack the Jaws of Life, he shook his head in disbelief at this sudden turn of events and the massive injuries he had seen on my body.
When the paramedics put me in the helicopter, they evaluated my fading condition and assumed I wouldn’t survive the short flight to the hospital. I arrived with blood flowing from too many places and as white as paper, hardly breathing. Dr. Hinika, the trauma surgeon, instantly assessed my critical state, put me on a ventilator and rushed me into the operating room. A believer in God, he asked for wisdom as he evaluated my extensive injuries - collapsed lung, wounds the size of Texas, splintered femur, a Humpty Dumpty pelvis and countless other wounds/fractures. The combined blood loss was life threatening and they instantly began transfusions. Transfused blood is cold and my body temperature dropped to a dangerously low ninety-one degrees - they needed to give me forty units in the first twenty-four hours. (Average person normally has eight units.)
Two weeks later, as I woke up in bits and pieces from the medically induced coma, reality blurred with the nightmares I had regularly. I had no memory of what happened and I was confused. At some point, I figured out that we were in an accident and I was hurt. Though my eyes felt like lead and I could not move much of my body, I wondered if I was hurt badly and if we could continue our trip.
My first clear memory of Jerry is him grinning one morning as he came in the room. “Why are you so happy?” I asked.
“Because of you, you’re awake and talking!” he responded.
Puzzled I asked, “Why is that a big deal?”
He realized I did not understand what happened or the situation I was in. “Because of all your injuries you were unconscious, on a breathing machine and feeding tube for eleven days,” he gently said. “I have been talking to you and it’s great to finally hear you respond.”
He said that my parents had flown to California the day after the accident, stayed a week and taken the boys back to Morgantown. I strained for memories, but all I could conjure up was what Jerry told me. I was scared, but being an optimist at heart, I thought that in a few weeks, I would be okay again. From somewhere within me, I prayed … “Help me become better, not bitter through this.”
After I was awake, I began to learn about all my wounds and to understand where the pain was coming from. Each time the nurses changed a different dressing, I was appalled as I saw more wounds and staples in my body. The nurses reassured me that nothing malicious took place when I expressed feeling as if I was living in a movie where they did experiments on me while I was unconscious. I also learned I had acquired a fifteen-inch titanium rod in my femur to hold the broken pieces in place.
From conversations, I knew my left leg injuries were massive, so I blocked my view with a pillow whenever those dressing were changed. I do not faint when I see blood, but I had no desire to see my lower leg with about seventy percent of the skin and soft tissue missing. The early recommendations from Dr. Hinika’s colleagues had been to amputate it. Thankfully, Dr. Hinika called in another specialist to evaluate it. They decided to save it by harvesting muscle from my back and skin from my thighs for the significant skin graphs it needed. These ‘donor sites’ added to my pain and discomfort.
“Is there any spot on me that is not injured?” I questioned Jerry.
“Thankfully, your head is fine, along with most of your upper body. You are hurt from the waist down, because your legs were pinned between the seat and the dash of the motorhome,” Jerry said.
Preferring to focus on the positive (or wanting to ignore reality) I didn’t ask if I would walk again. However, overhearing some conversations about my future abilities, plus the reality of where I was, along with my pain forced me to question at times. Most times, as I talked to God about my fears, I felt a measure of peace, though I didn't know what the outcome would be.
A workout for me pre-accident meant running anywhere from two to ten miles, so I looked forward to physical therapy to do something to help myself heal. Three weeks after the accident, therapy began. Hearing the accolades from the therapists the first day made it sound like I had run a marathon. Reality was I only lifted my legs three inches off the bed. But their cheers buoyed my spirits and gave me resolve to reach for five inches the next day and a little more each day.
My recovery progressed faster than anticipated at first. Three months of tough physical therapy and then - steps! I walked across the room on my own two feet with help from my therapist and a walker, happy to be finished with the wheelchair.
Now four years and sixteen surgeries later, scars/deformities still cover my legs. But, thankfully the last surgery in February helped my pain and discomfort decrease to the point where I can live without meds most of the time and brought me to the place where I can run again!
The emotional journey was as hard as or harder than the physical process, but thanks to a caring creator, some good counseling and giving myself time to process it all, today I can say - life is good. I know the ‘wall’ between life and death is thin, so I celebrate and enjoy the miracle of life. I marvel at the creation of our bodies and the way they can adapt and heal from trauma. I have a new appreciation of waking up each morning and filling my lungs with a fresh breath.
If I had a choice, I would like to skip the pain of the past few years, but I don't have that choice. The choice I have is this life today. What do I do with the life given to me each day? A few things - tell how physical and emotional healing can happen and go for a run!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Trusting God ... even when in pain

Recently, I had corrective surgery on my foot to repair an injured tendon. Prior to surgery, I had two consultations with the surgeon, and I must have tuned out or been thinking about dinner during his conversations about recovery. So, on the day of surgery, I nonchalantly walked into the hospital under the impression that since the surgery was minor, the pain and recovery would be minor as well.
The surgery went as planned and I was waiting for my discharge papers 3 hours later. That is when I realized I had missed a few details. The nurse read the instructions as she handed me the papers … “fill the prescription for pain meds, don’t unwrap the dressing until you see the doctor again … and do you have crutches?”

“Wait a minute, are you sure those are my discharge papers? Because my post-op visit isn’t for 16 days … so what about showers? I don’t like meds and I don’t remember the doctor saying anything about crutches.”

“Yes dear, these are your papers … that dressing can’t get wet, so no showers. I think you will want to fill that prescription and use the crutches,” she gently responded.

As I transferred into the wheelchair for the ride to the car, I soon realized that any movement caused so much pain in my foot that it felt like a knife was cutting me. A suspicion started to grow … I think the doctor left the surgical knife in the incision!
When we got home, I had no choice but to use my crutches to go inside. (collecting medical supplies has been a hobby the past four years) I also asked my husband how fast he could get to the pharmacy and back again! The first night was so miserable that I was sure the surgery was a mistake. At times, I felt as if I needed to tear the dressing off and remove that painful knife!
Over the next few days, I did as little as I had to and I continually thanked God that my doctor had prescribed a strong painkiller. My suspicion about the knife continued to grow, especially as I slowly hobbled on my crutches. I could even picture it … about three inches in length and about an inch wide. From time to time, I had to look at my foot to reassure myself that there was no knife cutting through it.
After the first week, it finally felt better and I tentatively put some weight on my heel as the pain allowed me. By the time I went to my post-op visit; I was hobbling on my heel without the crutches.
Now as I walk with less pain and resistance, I am thankful that I couldn’t change my mind about the surgery in those first pain-filled days.

As I reflect back on those few weeks, I realize how often I do the same thing when I want to change a behavior, start a project or restore a strained relationship. I begin the process without properly preparing myself for all that is involved. The details bore me or I don’t think they apply to me. Then when things don’t happen as easily as I would like them to, I want to give up. I even give into suspicions about why things are harder then I anticipated. It has to be because of my circumstances or something others did or said. Lord knows, it would just be easier if she/he hadn’t put that ‘knife’ in there.
I need to accept the fact that change takes time and may involve pain. Only then can I embrace the process and stick to the choices that help me get the result I want. I’ve also been reminded to not give into suspicions that can easily derail a successful plan. If I had ripped open my dressing to take out the suspicious knife … the process would have taken much longer.
As I move through my days now … with a healed foot, I try to remember to not only embrace, but to prepare myself for the slow, sometimes painful, process that is needed to deal with certain issues in life and to trust God, even when in pain.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I want ...

The pain and sadness around me, makes me want to ask - what is the meaning of life? No wait ... I'm not ready to ponder that question today. I just want to deny all the hurt and pain. I want to put my head in the sand and stop thinking about how to help myself or others.

There are a few ways that I help myself through times like this ...
The first, I savor time in nature. I want to sit in the warm sun and relax. I want to smell a fragrant rose. I want to see and hear water. I want to take a walk in the woods and step on crunchy leaves. I want to wrap myself in a blanket and stare at the stars.
Or ... I want to read a good book ... any story that takes me away from the story I am in the middle of right now.
Or ... I want to do something concrete ... I like to organize facts and data in a graph. I want to plan the details of an event. I want to write out an agenda for an upcoming meeting. (don't know if we would follow it, but it gives me a feeling of control)

At one time if I would have chosen any of these three rather then dealing with the reality I am in the middle of, I would have felt guilty for avoiding reality, but now I realize 'there is a season for everything' and if I give my mind/soul/spirit the rest I need for a time, I will be able to process in a healthier mode later.
That reminds me of this wonderful prayer ...

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
-Reinhold Niebuhr
... okay, since it's dark and cold outside and I don't have any good books right now, it's time to organize an event :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Years

I love New Years! It represents a new start … that to me is hope. Some things in life can’t be started over, so getting a new year every 365 days is a great gift! I like the ‘clean’ feeling that I have as I look at a whole year spread out before me.
I talk to God about the year. Even though, I know that it will look different then I could ever imagine it will ... I reflect, I make lists, I plan and I dream with my husband and/or friends.

It is a great day to be alive!