Feeling With Both Hands. (sharing stories from another)

My friend, Anna Baker, had this on her wall .. and , as I read this, my heart knew I needed to share his story and tell parts of my own Mema story.

The day before my beloved Mema went to glory, she ordered -yes, ORDERED-me to go to Minyards and get groceries. I told her, ‘Momma, don’t you DARE die while I’m gone.” and she promised me she wouldn’t.
Like this guy in the story, I was in tears buying what I knew she wanted-cabbage, peppers, onions, dry beans and bacon,

I tried my best to avoid eye contact with anyone so I wouldn’t be engaged in talking and I rushed back to her house and started cooking.

The aroma of pinto beans, meatloaf, cabbage and cornbread filled the house as I wiped tears from my eyes and struggled to do what I had been raised to do.

” People are going to come to say ‘goodby’ to me, they gotta have food to eat.”

” Yes, Mema, I’ll make sure there is plenty of food to eat. “

Part of my heart was breaking and the other part was going through the motions.. doing what I knew she wanted.
” You did good, Jeanna’, the house smells good.. people can come now. “

Whatever else life has bought me, I remember her squeezing my hand and telling me that I had done good.

I’m a toucher just like her.. it is apparent to anyone that sees me, even complete strangers.. and I’ve been known to “pull a Mema” and reach out and hug someone, brush tears away, grasp the hands of a person because I can sense they are longing for a touch that says ‘you are good.. you are seen.. you matter”

When you’re out and about, be open and willing to look at the people near you, they just might be in your presence for a good reason-either to give or to recieve.

Be like my Mema… Feel with both hands!

“The day my father died, I was at the grocery store buying bananas.

I remember thinking to myself, “This is insane. Your dad just died. Why the hell are you buying bananas?”

But we needed bananas. We’d be waking up for breakfast tomorrow morning, and there wouldn’t be any bananas—so there I was.

And lots of other stuff still needed doing too, so over the coming days I would navigate parking lots, wait in restaurant lines, and sit on park benches; pushing back tears, fighting to stay upright, and in general always being seconds from a total, blubbering, room-clearing freak out.

I wanted to wear a sign that said: I JUST LOST MY DAD. PLEASE GO EASY.

Unless anyone passing by looked deeply into my bloodshot eyes or noticed the occasional break in my voice and thought enough to ask, it’s not like they’d have known what’s happening inside me or around me. They wouldn’t have had any idea of the gaping sinkhole that had just opened up and swallowed the normal life of the guy next to them in the produce section.

And while I didn’t want to physically wear my actual circumstances on my chest, it probably would have caused people around me to give me space or speak softer or move more carefully—and it might have made the impossible, almost bearable.

Everyone around you; the people you share the grocery store line with, pass in traffic, sit next to at work, encounter on social media, and see across the kitchen table—they’re all experiencing the collateral damage of living. They are all grieving someone, missing someone, worried about someone. Their marriages are crumbling or their mortgage payment is late or they’re waiting on their child’s test results, or they’re getting bananas five years after a death and still pushing back tears because the loss feels as real as it did that first day.

Every single human being you pass by today is fighting to find peace and to push back fear; to get through their daily tasks without breaking down in front of the bananas or in the carpool line or at the post office.

Maybe they aren’t mourning the sudden, tragic passing of a parent, but wounded, exhausted, pain-ravaged people are everywhere, everyday stumbling all around us—and yet most of the time we’re fairly oblivious to them:

Parents whose children are terminally ill.
Couples in the middle of divorce.
People grieving loss of loved ones and relationships.
Kids being bullied at school.
Teenagers who want to end their lives.
People marking the anniversary of a death.
Parents worried about their depressed teenager.
Spouses whose partners are deployed in combat.
Families with no idea how to keep the lights on.
Single parents with little help and little sleep.

Everyone is grieving and worried and fearful, and yet none of them wear the signs, none of them have labels, and none of them come with written warnings reading, I’M STRUGGLING. BE NICE TO ME.

And since they don’t, it’s up to you and me to look more closely and more deeply at everyone around us: at work or at the gas station or in the produce section, and to never assume they aren’t all just hanging by a thread. Because most people are hanging by a thread—and our simple kindness can be that thread.

We need to remind ourselves just how hard the hidden stories around us might be, and to approach each person as a delicate, breakable, invaluable treasure—and to handle them with care.

As you make your way through the world today, people won’t be wearing signs to announce their mourning or to alert you to the attrition or to broadcast how terrified they are—but if you look with the right eyes, you’ll see the signs.

There are grieving people all around you.

Go easy.

  • John Pavlovitz


It’s been a long time
Too long
And she feels like a shadow
Of her self
As if she’s been waiting
Far too long
On the sidelines
Of her own life

She needed the pause
The chance to be still
To ponder and to pray

Let go and give away
Many of the things
She never wanted
In the first place

So here she is
Rising back
Like a phoenix
Like beauty from the ashes

It’s time
She can feel it
Down inside

She’ll step out of it the shadows
Back into the light
Where she belongs

Just like she was created to be
So long ago

writingmyheartout #jeannasoul #myownwords #musicandmassage

August 3 -start the journey

I’m finding out just how blessed I am to have the small circle of friends I do and how blessed my daughter, Kateley Lyons and son in law, Geoffrey Lyons are to be part of this community in Rockwall.
While my Soldier Boy is in the hospital and I can’t help like I want, friends have organized a meal train for Kateley and my bundles.
My 925 partner, Cari Foote , drove all the way to my house with vitamins, tynenol and the fruit that I craved.
I’ve been lifted up in prayer by friends and clients, sent songs to make me smile and when I felt discouraged, I remembered who I am and what matters to me!
I’ve got an amazing team of therapists with me, and I’m pulling on my boots…
Covid is a force to be reckoned with but let me tell you about my Jesus!

Beautiful Poem

This poem is stunning. Just wanted to share it. It is used in the Reform Jewish liturgy, as an optional reading, before Kaddish

”Every once in a while, a poem or song is so well constructed, so clearly conveys the authors meaning and is so precisely expressive that it becomes something of an anthem. The poem below, Epitaph, was written by Merrit Malloy and as one of those poems, has become a staple of funeral and memorial services…for good reason.”

Epitaph – By Merrit Malloy

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.
Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
By letting bodies touch bodies,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.
Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

First Steps

Only a handful of people know about my journey with Covid.
I just want to say this .. I don’t “deserve” this and this isn’t “what I’ve been asking for” and I’m not here to have anyone say “I told you so’ .
This has been tough but you know what I’ve found òut? I’ve found out that I’ve worked so hard so much but when I couldn’t work, my team came through for me in ways that j couldn’t have expected.
I’ve found peace during the storm, comfort from people that I didn’t expect as well as silence from ones I expected to hear from.
I’ve fought hard to get my body where I wanted it to be and, those that really know me, know this isn’t what I expected from my body but this means I have to slow down and listen to my body and to my soul in ways that I am haven’t done in a long time.
I’ve pushed myself.. but I’ve also pushed away others.. I’ve pushed God to the back burner because I’ve been hurt by people….
Well, this Covid journey has bought me back to God in ways that I can’t quite explain .. I have never been much of a ‘worrier” and I’ve just let go and let God take the wheel and I’ve been at peace ..
I really have… There’s been pain.. sleepless nights… Many falls… But I just keep getting back up and stepping out .. pulling on my boots, so to speak.

I wouldn’t wish Covid on my worst enemy… and come to think of it.. I don’t think I really have any ‘enemies” although I’m pretty sure that there’s people that couldn’t care one way or another if I’m still around… But you know what?
This Covid journey has shown me how blessed I am…. Before my husband, Greg Mead , could come home to me for a week.,. my daughter, Kateley Lyons , took care of me.. my sons, Gregory Mead and Hunter Mead had to pick me up and carry me from the bed, to the kitchen and to the bathroom
I’ve felt the love and prayers from so many people…
I didn’t “deserve” Covid .. but yes. I did dance at the music on the square… I did love on my bundles and my girls.. I did go out to dinner and lunch and breakfast…. I did go to work and massage my clients… I did go to Legends Fit and workout with my trainer. Phu Lam ..

I lived and I loved., And I don’t regret any of that.. because I made memories

Beautiful, sacred. Wonderful memories… And I’m still making them.
I’m making time to heal my body, nourish my soul and this journey with Covid has taught me some powerful, profound lessons that I know I needed to be learn
So maybe I didn’t “deserve” this.. but I’m determined to find the good in all things and to make the best of the situation I’m in
I’ll be back at Rockwall Body and Soul Massage as soon as I can walk up all those stairs
Thank you so much for your prayers..
I will always remember the prayers that soothed my soul while I was on this journey.

Natural Woman

I’m sharing these words written by Ruthie Cole , because while I’m still on my journey with Covid.. I am fully aware of how blessed I am and determined to take even better care of my body and my soul.

“Oh hi this is your friendly reminder that natural immunity to COVID exists*; ignoring natural immunity is ethically, medically, and scientifically wrong, and informed consent is the bedrock of medical practice.

There are a whole lot of unvaccinated immune people who present a COVID threat to no one.

Language that says that any person is the enemy rather than the virus itself is reprehensible and should be condemned.

*Despite what some have claimed, there are over a dozen studies demonstrating that natural immunity is as strong if not better than vax immunity. Happy to share references if you need them.”

I’ve felt that certain people have judged decision and others have chosen to avoid me because of my choices. That’s okay. because as I’ve learned I’m not meant for everyone and everyone isn’t meant to be my friend, my client, my circle. That’s why I see treasure the ones that are. Down the line, in a few years time or sooner. We will learn more about the vaccinations. Let’s just be kind and walk with Love…

In My Daughters Eyes

I’m doing my physical therapy and this song comes on and almost brings me to tears… “In my daughter’s eyes. I’m strong and wise and know no fear”

This is how I want my girls and bundles to see me.. as strong and wise and fearless and loving and kind….
I haven’t been very strong lately and that is about to change but I hope I taught them compassion and understanding while I was weak and showed them how to do live unafraid.

This Covid journey is teaching me so much…. #walkwithlove

Not My Words .(but my thoughts)

I’m not a nurse but I’m friends with many. just as I’m friends with several doctors… This is very well written.

I remember being taught in nursing school the rights of medication administration – 1.Right patient, 2. right medication, 3. right dose, 4. right route, 5. right time, 6. right documentation, 7. right situation 8. Right place and 9. RIGHT TO REFUSE.

I also remember my nursing instructor stressing how important number 9 is and that we as nurses have a duty to ensure that the right to refuse any medical care or medication is honored and upheld. To advocate for our patients and protect them. Protect them from what you may ask? To protect them from other medical professionals and “people” who think they can bully, manipulate, control and dominate any patient to force a medication, procedure or any type of medical care.

And wouldn’t you know that this RIGHT to refuse has been what I have had to defend more than anything? As an RN of more than a decade, I will forever support the right to choose and also the right to REFUSE any form of medical care. I can’t believe anyone feels that mandates of any form of medicine or medical practice or procedure is acceptable. Even more shocked that some nurses and NURSE LEADERS feel this is acceptable after a career of fighting for, defending and advocating for our patients rights.

Forced healthcare is NOT healthcare and I stand for the freedom this country was founded on. I have stood for my patients right to choose. And now that nurses and other healthcare workers rights are being threatened, I stand for their right to choose as well. COERCION is not CONSENT.
*For anyone thinking medical mandates are because the government(and their programs) care for you and your health and safety, you should definitely brush up on history and how the Nazis exterminated over 6million Jews #yesitisthesamething #medicalfreedom #stopthemandate #holdtheline #foreveranadvocate #ProtectYourChildren

New Mercies

Morning by morning, new mercies I see

This is an old gospel song that my Mema used to try to teach me-the deaf one- to carry the tune to. I can’t carry the tune, but I do know every word.. and it feels so good to listen and sing along…

New mercies, indeed, last night I walked across my bathroom and into my closet-42 steps-slowly, purposefully, and not gracefully but I did and this morning, I did it again, walking to the sink to the closet.. slowly, gratefully, mindful.

Step by step… Then I come to bed again to drink my coffee and do my quiet time and the first verse I read is this one from Luke… “You must be merciful, just as Your Father in Heaven is merciful” and I had to find the song that immediately came to mind…. Great is Thy Faithfulness… and share my thoughts and my gratitude.

Mercy-compassion has been shown to me in such incredible ways . My old friend, Susan Gamez Balderas , has been giving me magnetic massage therapy sessions that I believe have helped me get back to walking, my trainer, Phu Lam , has modified sessions and given me confidence reach day…. He’s so compassionate and patient with me and every session with him makes me stronger..

Mercy and compassion …
My daughter, Kateley Lyons , didn’t tell me this but Susan did… During my hardest days when I was so weak and sick, she put her arms around me and walked me outside to get treatment. She showed great love… When I asked her about it, she said ,”Momma, l learned from Mema and Meme and you!”

That’s what we do .. We show mercy and compassion and love because our Father does and because of all the people that are watching us.

May we be examples..
Great is Thy Faithfulness… New mercies I see!

Part of the Journey

Yesterday I went back to my beloved 925 and gave a massage.
. It was different… I used a walker to get my client and to get from one room to the other but I leaned on the table to do the massage, and I used the stool far more than before but I was able to do the work I love, and my soul felt so good .
I’ve always said that massage isn’t what I do, it is who I am… a toucher, a healer, an empath, and while I worked on my client-one that’s been coming to me since 2009- I found myself feeling such peace and purpose.

I’ve got a long way to go… But with God all things are possible.. and Phu Lam is a huge part of this journey with me.

By the time Greg Mead gets back, I’ll be dancing again… and chasing after my bundles and my girls!

I couldn’t have made it without my tribe… . My sons that’s aren’t on Facebook and my daughter, Kateley Lyons that took care of me and are still taking care of me .
Laura Bjeles and Shelby Waters at Rockwall Body and Soul Massage … My 925 partner, Cari Foote , and all the many, many prayers of friends ,family and clients.

Life is indeed better with boots on… As the shirt by Chasity Watson of Upstream Dreams Creatives declares . and I’m pulling my boots back on and giving a “hallelujah” to God for making all this possible!

The texts, the messages, the cards, the food… The Love I’ve felt during this journey has been enlightening and sacred.. it has taught me so much.. I knew I needed to learn more.. and I’m so grateful that I’m getting a chance to do what I love and love more!

walkwithlove #writingmyheartout #jeannasoul