Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Incredible Woman #2 - Kristin Johnson. Tuesday's questions

Kara: "You’ve gone through some trials in your life. Talk about those trials and how you’ve been able to overcome them. What are some important lessons you’ve learned from your trials? Give us some advice about how to handle our trials."

Kris: "Wow- where do I start? My youngest son was born almost 2 months early - he was very sick and we did not know if he would make it. He came home, and about a week later stopped breathing. His little lungs were not strong enough to help him breath when he went into a deep sleep, so they would just stop! He contracted RSV virus 4 times before he was 6 mo. and we were in and out of the hospital several times, sometimes for days, sometimes for a week or two, for the first year of his life. He was on Apnea monitors at home and had breathing treatments around the clock every two hours until he was 18 mo. old. It was so hard to take care of all of his needs and the other 2 boys, too! My middle son fought ear problems for 3 years - 3 sets of tubes, and had his adenoids and tonsils out at age 3. Blake finally started feeling better, T.J. was doing great, and then our oldest son Nathan got sick. He spent 2 days in a coma and the doctors told us he was diabetic. We were devastated. Over the next few years I immersed myself in learning all I could to take care of him- there were shots every day, checking his blood several times, measuring all of his food - all of the boys were on the same diet, it was the only way I could make it work. After a couple of years my husband had had enough I guess, things had been strained between us for a long time, and he moved out after he told me he had been seeing someone else for 2 years. I pretty much felt that my life was gone. I don't think I would have gotten through that time without my sister and parents and a couple of really good friends. I went back to school and within less than a year I had my degree in massage therapy, spinal touch, sports massage, and accutherapy. I loved it! But over the year since my husband had left, my health had become increasingly worse. I could not digest food, I could not use the bathroom and I lost 80 lbs. Though I had a lot of fun in that time of my life with friends, I was fighting a sickness that we could not diagnose. Stupid doctors chalked it up to "depression" due to my divorce. In reality I had a bacterial infection in my intestine that killed the nerve endings of my colon and large intestine- this was diagnosed finally as Colonic Inertia. Shortly after my diagnosis, I met Dave and we became very good friends. We had alot of fun with our kids and enjoyed each other’s company. My health continued to get worse and I was unable to work in massage anymore. Dave and I became closer and fell in love! He is my best friend and we are truly soul mates! (Dave is an RN, so it wasn’t too bad to have my own nurse around either!) As we prepared to get married, Dave was in a custody fight for his children. It was a wonderful and terrible time. By the time we were to be married, our attorney fees had reached $78,000, and we had his 2 oldest kids living with us - his 3 younger kids have been with us half the time ever since. Because of the attorney fees, we ended up filing bankruptcy, losing our vehicles, selling my house and his, both on short sales, and out looking for a place to live with 8 kids! We found a really nice investor, and we leased a home from him for a year in Riverton, and then we were able to buy it! The next winter I finally had the surgery I had put off for 8 years - after a couple of other surgeries caused by the problems and being very ill for years. The doctor removed 8 feet of intestine/colon and reattached my small intestine. I was in bed for about 3 months and very sick - it was horrible. As the past 3 years since my surgery have passed, I have begun to add a few foods to my not so great diet and it is AWESOME to be able to eat fruits and vegetables again! Within a year of moving to Riverton, I was having dreams about this beautiful little girl who was part of our family and waiting for us to find her. When we got Ellie's pictures, we took out a second mortgage on our home with the intention of refinancing the two mortgages. I ended up spending 5 months in Guatemala with the baby before coming home to the crash of the housing market, and last year we moved into a rental, and sold our home for $156,000 less then we owed on it! At the present time, our landlord wants us to buy the house we are renting, or move out by October 1st! I guess we are in for another adventure! Through all of the trials I have faced, I try to stay positive. I am angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, sick, tired and just plain DONE some days. But, I know that my children deserve more - they deserve a happy mom, and they deserve to laugh and be happy and not have a life full of stress. I think I deserve that too- so, I complain to my sounding boards- again my sister and my parents, and especially Dave, but then I plaster on a smile, remember there is ALWAYS someone who has things alot worse than I do, and how grateful I am for the life I do have! I have learned that it is important just to MOVE ON, don't just sit down and give in to defeat, know there is something more waiting for you! It may not be what you dream of or hope for, but it is waiting for you still the same! I have learned it doesn't matter so much what you want, but what you have already. Hang on to those around you and love them fiercely, and Heavenly Father will provide! Every challenge we face makes us a stronger person, every mistake we make teaches us what to tell our children NOT to do and why, and makes us feel more compassion for those around us. Never stop dreaming, wishing and hoping, but live in the moment and enjoy it as much as you can! And most of all LEAN - lean on the One who holds us all up, pray every day for strength, and know that He is there holding you up and has a plan for you! Have faith that you are here for many reasons, and the lives you touch each day will be changed because of you. Put your best foot forward each day and hang in there by your fingernails and teeth no matter what! :)"

Kara: "You were, at one point, a single mom, taking care of 3 young kids by yourself. Then, you met Dave and got married and had a combined family, with 8 kids. Finally, when your youngest was 11, you and your husband adopted a 4-month old baby. How did your mothering/parenting skills change throughout the years? Can you tell us something good about each of those times in your life?"

Kris: "Life as a single mom, in one word, was HARD! I respect every single mom out there. Most of them do it because they have to, some choose to, but no matter why they are single they are awesome! When I was single with 3 boys I tried to set my feelings aside and not show them around my kids. I was living for them, plain and simple! I was working full time, going to school and raising three rambunctious boys! It was a crazy time in my life, but one that made me stronger, one that made me get to know each of my boys better- as well as myself, and what I wanted and deserved in life, and one that I will never regret. I am a better person because of that time in my life. When Dave's kids came along, I felt like I had joined the army! Cooking for 10 people is alot different then cooking for me and 3 small boys! It was crazy! I had to have more patience, to laugh more, to tell myself to stay calm, but in those early years the kids made it easy, it was like having a week-long slumber party every time we had them all at home! We had alot of fun and tried to focus on that! As the kids have grown and the past ten years have flown by, I feel that I am in a different place all together. I am becoming friends with my older kids- well all of them really- and I have to tell myself each day that this too will pass! LOL! They are infuriating at times- like when the police call at 4:00 a.m. because they are out doorbell ditching, they are yelling in your face that they HATE YOU because you have rules and they don't think they should have rules, or they act as though there is something growing out of your head when you are talking to them! Yes, I yell sometimes, I stomp my feet and slam doors and wish I wasn't a mom, and then I calm down and realize how truly blessed I am, and we start all over again. I have to remind myself I am the adult, I am the example and no matter how hurt or angry I am, I have to teach them to get their feelings under control and move forward with love no matter what. Ellie has changed me alot- boy it is alot different having a 2 year old at 40 then it was at 20! I wear out easier, I lose patience, but I laugh more than I ever did when my other kids were little. I am optimistic and hopeful, and I look forward to growing up with her! I have learned from being a mom of little ones years ago how to deal with alot and I think Ellie will benefit from that. I am a better parent to her than I was to the other kids I think, practice makes perfect I guess, though I am FAR from perfect! Remind yourself daily!: Parenting is a huge adventure, hold on and enjoy the ride!"

2 comments:

nima said...

wow...good effort to blog about the great women that you met in your life.

When we read this we are getting an oppurtunity to count our blessings that god has given us...and great to know how God lead us at the time of trial...

Keep up the good work

Lynn said...

Kara,
Once again, I appreciated reading about yet another incredible woman. Thanks for the inspiration.
Lynn Woodard

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