Good Good Father

I gave a talk at a women’s retreat this weekend and we sang a song called Good Good Father. It is easy to know that your Father God is good when your Earthly father is nothing but kind and loving. I am thankful for and admire men who are the reflection of the Good Good Father– men who keep their vows and commitments, love their wives and children, pay their child support, keep their visitation dates with their kids……. but most of all who choose to follow the Good Good Father who created us all.

I have no excuse to be anything but kind and loving because of the love poured out to me by the men in my life.
An Uncle
A brother-in-law
A father-in-law
Family friends
And especially my husband and my own good good father.

I was surrounded by so many broken hearts this weekend– broken relationships. We are all broken people. What I learned was that fathers have the power to change the world, not perfect fathers, but fathers who are present in their children’s lives. Fathers who show up.

Mothers are so important. I am one. I know my role is important. It is so much easier for a girl to know she has worth when the father in her life treats her like a precious gem.

Thirty minutes before I gave my talk at this retreat, my precious mom whom I adore handed me a necklace from my father– an act of love that tells me I have worth. I am forever grateful for my earthly Good Good Father.

To all: you have a Good Good Father
He created you and loves you. You just have to believe it.

Psalm 139:13-14
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Thank you for my necklace, Dad! I love you!
‭‭

img_7435

Advertisements

The Birthday People

I call them “Birthday People” –people who stop in the middle of the day that commemorates one’s birth and take the time to simply say Happy Birthday!

Social media may have many negatives, but when the “Birthday People” do their thing, I am reminded of how powerful the simple gesture of acknowledgement is. The Birthday People take a few seconds of their day to say — you matter.

Yesterday was my day and I have to say I was
overwhelmed and touched by how much that simple gesture meant.

Thank you, Birthday People! Those of you who posted, tweeted, texted, emailed me to acknowledge #57 yesterday made my day brighter. There is a good
force in social media. I call them the Birthday People.
Many thanks again to you all!

img_7222

Coach

Coach

My family celebrated my mom’s 80th birthday this weekend in Nashville, TN. It was my mom’s idea because my mom is fun. She is a grandma of 4 grandsons. She is the mom of two daughters. She is the wife of one husband.

My mom is a fairly private person about her own childhood. That is because it was not picture perfect. What I will share are the words I would use to describe her mother (my grandma) — loving, kind, strong, independent, steadfast, role model, survivor. I do not have any words for her father. I do not know him. From what I hear, he was not a nice man. I call my mom and her two siblings silent survivors because all three emerged from a childhood of tension to become people who are loving and kind. I have always admired my mom for her lack of bitterness towards her own father. I’m sure she would tell me it is her Heavenly Father who fills that gap. My mom is a woman of strong faith in Jesus.

If you look at my mom’s high school and college year books you will see pictures of her as a cheerleader — a role she carried on into her adult life as she married a man who for decades was a high school basketball coach. Most people think of her as that cheerleader sitting in that basketball gym in the stands, and in many ways that is how I see her — an encourager in the stands of my life always cheering me on.

But I’m sure my dad would agree with me, my mom ain’t sitting on no sidelines just cheering us on. (My mom was a high school grammar teacher. That is going to make her cringe! Lol) My mom IS our coach.

I would call her my life coach. She wore the whistle in our family. My mom is the best of any good coach who pushes her players and tries to get the best out of them. My dad and sister I know would agree with me, we are who we are today because of our mom. Words to describe my mom are the same ones that I used to describe her mother — loving, kind, strong, independent, steadfast, role model, survivor. I can only hope that someone will say those words about me some day. I am fortunate to have been coached by the best.

Connie Milhollland, you are dearly loved by this family. Every day you cheer us on, we want you to know we are grateful for you, Coach!

Love you always,
Your Team

img_7100

img_7116

Don’t Forget

Don’t Forget.

DBS (deep brain stimulation) surgery is a real possibility for me in the near future. My miracle medication, Levodopa, is starting to lose its effect reminding me what I try to forget — Parkinson’s is a regressive disorder. At my most recent neurologist appointment, I had a levodopa challenge test. I had to be off my miracle medication for twelve hours to gather data on how effective this medication is for me. This information is needed for the brain surgery. For twelve hours I had to be reminded of what I try to forget — this disease is not going away and it was frightening to live in that body for twelve hours unmediated.

During the same twelve unmediated hours, I received heartbreaking news that a dear friend’s husband has Alzheimer’s.

As much as I try to forget– there is no cure for many neurological diseases that ravage and destroy. Yesterday forced me to think about what I try to forget– the late stage of these diseases.

I try to forget — some day that will be me. Even though this is a bit sad, I am going to tell you what I don’t want you to forget — when I am in that late stage. Then, you fill in the blank for your loved one.

Don’t forget — this is not the real me. I am not this body but trapped inside it. Don’t forget.

Don’t forget — my smile and how I am not very photogenic. We laughed about this often.

Don’t forget — that I am funny. Tell the stories of all those funny moments we shared.

Don’t forget — that I love dogs. It lifts my heart to have a fur ball snuggled next to me.

Don’t forget — that I am passionate about children’s causes and bettering their lives.

Don’t forget — that I am a fighter. I am still fighting.

Don’t forget — that I’m your friend. I would give you a hug if possible.

Don’t forget — I am your sister. You still need to ask to borrow my clothes.

Don’t forget — I am your mom. I love you dearly for who you are, not what you do. I brought you into this world and I may not be able to take you out now, as the saying goes, but you know my expectations– men of character.

Don’t forget — I am your wife and even though you now are my caretaker, I am passionate for you, adore you, still love your legs. Keep biking. You have great legs.

Don’t forget — the real me. I’m just trapped inside this mortal body.

Don’t forget — to be happy. I believe in Jesus. You don’t have to worry about me. I look forward to heaven where I will be greeted with a new whole body.

Don’t forget– I love you.

For your loved one, what would they say.
Don’t forget — ________.

While I am still in the earlier stages and don’t expect this to be me for a long time, and I am still praying for a cure. I want to remind you some day — don’t forget.

img_7034

Meet Lorisa

Labrador Retriever + Poodle = Adorable Dog Called Labradoodle.

Lori + Lisa = Adorable Girl Called Lorisa.

Who is Lorisa? Lorisa is the main character of the book cowritten by my dear friend Lori and me. Lorisa is a labor of love created by a friendship that has stood the test of time. For me, Lorisa represents determination, faithfulness, loyalty, sacrifice, belief and love– all of the characteristics that I have witnessed in my cowriter over the years. Lorisa has the boldness and spunk that I see in Lori and the scattered idealism that I see in me.

We hope that Lorisa teaches children to believe in themselves and enjoy the process of growing up. Lorisa has what is called a growth mindset which basically means that she believes that her efforts matter. Her motto in the book– Am I there? Not Yet. I’ll get there. You bet!

Lorisa has taught me to believe that I have purpose and to enjoy the process of living. Lorisa has taught me to dream big, work hard, and not focus on my limitations.

We did not draw Lorisa. We worked with a fabulous illustrator who kept going back to the “drawing board” until Lorisa emerged as we envisioned her in our minds.

Who is Lori? If you had the privilege of having Mrs. Hockema as a teacher, you will never forget her. She most assuredly is on your list of favorites. As a classroom teacher, she was dynamic and passionate about her students and profession. She gave her all. She still does in all her endeavors.

Over the next couple of weeks I will slowly tell you more about Lorisa. It is going to be an incredible journey as we introduce her to you. How do I know this? — because the process of writing this book has already been incredible and fascinating.

Retired Teacher + Retired School Counselor = Two Friends with Many Stories to Tell

Adorable girl character + Adorable dog character =
Book Coming Soon Titled NOT YET

………Is it here? NOT YET
It will get here. You bet!

Coming soon!

NOT YET
Lisa Cox and Lori Hockema

img_5949-1

Ribbon of Tears

Ribbon of Tears

If each of our lives is a story, and I do believe each and every one of us has a story to tell, today’s page of my story would have tears staining the ink on the page. Today is a day I let go and trust. Today, I say good-bye to the idea of going back to the profession I love. Today, I turn in my letter of retirement much earlier than I ever anticipated. Today Parkinson’s knocks a little wind out of me.

By tomorrow, I will turn the page and look for new opportunities. Tomorrow, I will quit pouting and see all of the windows God is already opening as this door quietly closes in my life.

Actually, I won’t wait to turn the page of tomorrow. I will mentally put those boxing gloves on (physically put them on tomorrow) and hit back

I will do as the song Heather Richardson and I wrote…..

“dig deep, find strength, and trust. And throw that First Punch”

But……. first I will reflect on a line that Heather and I wrote in another song that I hope you all will be hearing her beautifully sing sometime soon…….

” Today is marked by a ribbon of tears to close the chapter of” my counseling years.

Good-bye —
ZCS

Hello —
New Chapter

img_4322

Why? First Punch for Kids with Challenges

The past seven years for me has been an incredible journey. I have been to a place that I never dreamed I would go. I have experienced a world right in front of me that struggles to fit in, keep up, and is often on the sidelines of life. My journey has been a spinal tumor, spinal cyst, and finally a Parkinson’s diagnosis through which I have discovered a whole new world of pain, struggle, fear, healing, acceptance, beauty, and joy. It is the world of the disabled or those with special needs.

From 2010 – 2015 I lived in that world as I watched and experienced my body succumb to the attacks of Parkinson’s. Slowly, my body began to stiffen and fail. I was losing my balance, my movement, my strength, and my smile. On July 28, 2015 I visited a doctor who prescribed for me a new medication. Miraculously, in one hour after being on that medication, I came back from my journey and the experience of being disabled. Although, I still have the same diagnosis, I am back to my almost fully functional self. There is no cure for Parkinson’s. I will most likely regress someday. I write this to you today because I sit here with the gift of my health back for an undetermined amount of time. Praise God.

For a while I have stepped out of the world of disability, but I cannot leave my friends behind. My friends are the little ones with challenges who I would see in the halls of the schools where I have worked for 24 years as a school counselor. I now have an amazing window into their world, our world in reality.

Our purpose for the First Punch Boxing for Kids with Challenges is to bridge that gap and bring strength and hope and to give kids the courage to step up and battle the challenges they face in their world.

I am a funny, fun, in love with life person. Parkinson’s tried to steal that from me. Parkinson’s lost. Hope won. The fear is gone. I want to share this hope with kids experiencing challenges in their lives.

I have so many people for whom I am thankful and so many more to whom I need to reach out and help.

Will you partner with us to fund this pilot program for the summer of 2017?

Let’s make it happen!

FIRST PUNCH – Noncontact Boxing for Kids with Challenges https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/147552517/first-punch-noncontact-boxing-for-kids-with-challe