Multiple System Atrophy, God and People


I know most of my weaknesses and I know some of my strengths. I do know that I am not afraid to speak to strangers. I  used to look at it like this. I can talk to them, heck, they will never see me again.

Well that helped, but I learned that talking comes easy for me. I know that one of my weaknesses is unsure of my own worth. This can lead to not moving forward, being afraid of others remarks. This is when my weight comes into focus for me. I think, are they looking at the over-load baggage I carry?

I get more afraid when I am sitting at home alone. I get braver when I am out in public. I find this odd about me. I think it is the opposite for some people, but today I was thankful I am the way I am.

I have been spending a lot of time in prayer. I have been trying to figure out what I am all about and where does God want me to go in this small town. I hate it that I have fear inside that I may not make it. The job that I should be working is not here.

I am always telling God my worries and then I dunk them with a goal shot right into worry basket I made for him with my name on it in big letters.

TERRY SHEPHERD, my name is on that net.

So to get to my story, I had to go out today to the post office. I did that and then proceeded to Captain D’s for some light lunch of fish. While I was there I was smiling. Don’t ask me why I do this. I do it when I am among other people.

My mom used to tell me I never smiled when I was young and when we would get ready to get out of the car to go in somewhere she would always say, Pull your dress down and put your smile on. Well, maybe this is why I still smile when I walk in to a business.

So I am sitting there alone eating my lunch. I had noticed about four tables had been shoved together and a pretty big group of people were eating. They were laughing and having a good time.

I happened to over hear one of them say the word Jesus. I listened more intently and then when I was finished with my lunch, I took care of my trash and tray and then I did it. I walked over to the group and started talking.

I asked them, ” Are you a church group?’

” Yes, we are, from three different churches.”

” I am pretty new here in town and had thought about going to church but couldn’t find one that was similar to the one I was brought up in.”

All at once they all started smiling and talking, they stood up and began shaking my hand, introducing themselves. They each told me their names and what church they went to. They all invited me to their services and told me the address and times church started.

They began to politely ask me where I moved from and what drew me to this small part of the world.  I explained about my brother and my daughter living here. I told them I was a published author and that I was a speaker for MSA through a caregiver’s eyes.

They went silent for a second and then the questions came charging at me about what MSA stood for and what it is. I don’t know how long we converted but it was nice and I was laughing and having a good time.

I was getting ready to leave and I thanked them for letting me interrupt their conversation. One of the ladies told me she worked at the local hospital on Monday mornings. She invited me to be there next Monday and she would introduce me to the staff and give me a chance to tell them about my speaking.

I thanked her and said, ” Of course I will be there and thank-you so much for the invitation.” I walked back to my seat and I know without checking my compact mirror I was smiling ear to ear.

I have been speaking to God for weeks. I have built my new Facebook page about MSA through a caregiver’s eyes, which by the way is still going strong, and then today, I not only found a church, I found three churches, met about eight new people, and even got an invite to the hospital.

God, I still don’t know where you are taking me, but I know it is going to be worth the wait. Thank-you for loving me, forgiving me for my sins, and always listening.

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Maybe, Just Maybe M.S.A.


Ever since Al passed away, I have had a deep desire to reach out to others and help them. MSA, multiple system atrophy is just not any regular illness. It is rare, and it is a completely bumpy roller-coaster ride from beginning to end.

I have taught a Hospice group and I have helped several people on Facebook that have had questions. It seems the biggest question I am asked is what stage is my loved one in?

I finally decided that my desire was so strong that maybe, just maybe God was using Al’s illness for me to go further in my life. Does that make any sense? It does to me. Every thing I did, all that I saw, every fear I experienced, every question I googled and learned, I want to help others not to have to go through what caregivers live through.

I decided to test the waters, step out in faith and build me a page on Facebook. I opened it two days ago and each day I have added things to it, such as photos and videos.

It is called;

MSA Help or Just Need to Talk, Multiple System Atrophy

You can find it at the link below;

https://www.facebook.com/MSAfeelingstressed

It is a site where friends, family, and caregivers can come and just talk, have a good listener, vent or cry. I added to it today that I will come to you and speak to your community, nursing home or where ever I may be needed.

I have never done this before, but I feel led to do it. I have tried putting in so many resumes since I moved here to Kentucky. I never get anywhere. Maybe, just maybe this is the route I am supposed to walk. I ask God to help me by opening the door, if he wants me to walk through it.

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One Foot in Front of the Other


I am up early this morning again. I think this is becoming a habit. I wouldn’t mind if I had full days of work and didn’t want to take a nap within four hours. I flipped the TV on and went to the station where I could watch my super woman, I Love Lucy. She makes me laugh even when I don’t want to.

This episode is about their boat trip to Europe and she misses the boat. It made me think about how bad she wanted to go and what measures she would go to make this happen.

We all go through issues each day. Some are easy to solve, then there are others that require a thought process and at times the answer can not be seen through the fog. Yesterday I watched one of my favorite shows called Every Day Living with Joyce Meyers.

Her topic happened to be on choices  also. She made me see how many decisions we make each day. Anything from rising out of bed, to balancing our checkbooks. We make choices without even thinking about them.

Writing that last sentence made me wonder what choices I have made without thinking in my forty-five minutes of waking up. Let’s see, I decided to get up. I made the choice to light up my first cigarette. I chose to pour my first cup of coffee.

I decided to play Candy Saga before doing anything else. I easily channel surfed to the Hallmark station. I chose to turn the over head lights on instead of opening the window blinds.

Look at those decisions  I made without putting any thought into it. What do we do when we are faced with more difficult choices? What if the answer we want is so heavily weighted that we will do anything to have it our way as Lucy did in her show?

Lucy was determined to get to the ship she had missed. Her husband, Ricky and her best friends Fred and Ethel were on the ship and she, always being in some sort of silly mess had missed the ship.

She had no way of reaching that ship but by helicopter. To add laughter to her situation she screamed and demanded another way; but in the end she stepped out in faith. She was so afraid of riding in that bird with no door on her side, because she wanted to be reunited with her loved ones.

Do we step out in faith when we are unsure of the outcome? Stepping out in faith is such a simple process. All it entails is placing one foot in front of the other and walking. We are experts at that aren’t we? After all we learned to take our first steps somewhere between the ages of one and two.

I have not stepped out in faith many times in my life. Fear of the outcome has kept me on solid ground with my feet frozen in spot. It upsets me when I act like this because I may be missing out on something that would make my life fuller and richer.

I have learned since Al has passed that instead of me trying to beat myself up emotionally or crying because I am scared; to put my faith in God. I have an imaginary basket that I vision God holding. It is labeled Worry Basket.

Every time I face a decision that is not easily fixed, I toss it in God’s worry basket and try my best along with prayer to listen to God’s whisper and follow his direction. It does work.

It relieves stress and the spinning of thoughts in my mind. I have chosen this route with my moving this month. My moving is a big deal. I am listening to God speak to me. I am determined to do what is right. I have no doubt  I am walking towards is the right path; because I am allowing God to lead me and I know he wants only the best for me.

I want a change in my life. I need a different scenery to look at. I can want something so bad just like Lucy did. She wanted to get to that boat and she found a solution. I want to walk the path that  God has chosen for me so found praying and listening for his word is my solution. I am stepping out in faith. It can be scary, but I know God will never steer me wrong.

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