Blood Ties

I had an experience the other day that really stuck with me: an encounter that stayed in my soul.

Ever since my mom’s stroke, I feel like people can sense something different about me. It’s like, I’m walking around with this neon sign that says, Tell me your secrets, my life is in shambles!

Something like that.

Or I’m just super non-threatening.

Like your anti-Regina George. More of an Anne of Green Gables type.

Either that or Mary Katherine Gallagher.

But however I read, I just feel like people — strangers — have been really open with me.

Like the other day…

If there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that I hate going to the doctor. And I know, the irony isn’t lost on me, because wouldn’t you know…my sibling is a doctor.

So this was the first I’d been to the doctor in, oh….five years or so. I had to go get a check up on my Ulcerative Colitis.

Anywho…the only thing I hate more than going to the doctor, is getting blood drawn.

Goodness gracious, I nearly pass out when someone comes near the inside of my arm with a needle. No ma’am.

So, of course, how did my appointment end? In the blood lab.

But you see, I’ve developed a coping mechanism: I get the nurse to distract me with a story…Right after I tell her I’m deathly afraid of needles.

So here I am, asking her how she’s doing, and I inevitably end up just babbling on about my own life, to keep myself from thinking about the whole needle-situation taking place on my arm.

So, eyes clenched, and mouth running, I’m telling this woman about my mom and how she had a stroke, and that I’ve been her recovery sidekick since December. And I was just spouting off about how even though it’s been a hard season that it’s actually been a blessing that’s brought us closer and strengthened our family.

And after I felt the release of the tourniquet and the relief of the bandaid, I opened my eyes, only to find this sweet nurse with tears running down her cheeks.

She could barely find the words, she just silently cried, nodded, and pointed to herself.

She proceeded to tell me about how she had some sort of brain issue on one half of her brain, and that she had finally saved up enough money and scheduled the surgery, but that she hadn’t told her kids yet, because she was afraid of how they were going to take the news.

She just poured her soul out to me, as though it had been bottled up for weeks, just waiting to explode.

I stood up and gave her the biggest hug I could, and we just stood there for about 45 seconds, in a bear hug – her big bosom shaking through sobs.

I don’t know what came over me, but I whispered to her that God was going to get her though it. And I told her that I would be praying for her.

She just looked at me and smiled. “We were supposed to meet today,” she said.

Driving home, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly trivial that I was so concerned over a silly little needle, when that kind woman was grappling with a burdened heart and spirit.

And it just made me realize how, so many people are walking around with incredible pain and fear. And how, sometimes, all they need is someone to share it with…even if it’s just an arm on the other end of the needle.


I didn’t do anything earth shattering that afternoon. I just listened, and gave her a hug.

Because sometimes, a hug communicates everything the other person needs to hear.

The fact is, we can make a difference. We can be a light to someone in the dark. And it starts with the people that God places in our lives — even the people administering the needle of doom…God places people in our lives for a reason — sometimes for our benefit, and as it turns out, sometimes for theirs.

So she was right – we really were supposed to meet that day.

Thanks God. Thanks for letting something good come from that interaction.

***A little update:

Well, I wrote this post from my apartment in NYC. I’m going to be here for 3-ish weeks, and then hop back and forth, splitting time between NY and Ohio 🙂 At least that’s the plan for now…Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement during this transition.

Oh…and the results of that blood test and my Ulcerative Colitis check up? — 100% healthy


Lastly, get up to 40% off, site-wide at Reebok using my promo code: MEMORIAL . I hate to “promote” stuff,  but I am honestly obsessed with my new MET Classic kicks, and this deal was too good not to share with you 🙂

OK, see ya Monday!

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232 thoughts on “Blood Ties

  1. I seem to recall ANOTHER post very recently where “we were supposed to meet today” came about…think God is telling you something 🙂


  2. What a great story and a great reminder to think about what other people may be going through. You were definitely supposed to meet that woman on that day. It’s great you opened up to her, and she to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You gave a PERFECT demonstration of something I got in prayer last week. I was complaining a bit about feeling and seeing God’s love. I mean by faith I know it’s there and I do get occasional hugs (I don’t know how else to say it; I feel God’s embrace). But it’s not all the time.

    As I asked for that I was instantly reminded of all the times God’s love flows THROUGH me – just like what happened in this case with you. It’s like we’re his pipes if you will. The love isn’t given to us only for us to feel warm and connected, it’s to reach out and give 45-second hugs just like you did.

    Good job, Caralyn, you are God’s hand extended. Even when you don’t know it or expect it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh gosh thank you so much 🙂 His pipes … I love that 🙂 thanks for such kind words. I am truly touched. God is good and isn’t it a comfort to know that He can always reach us through one another 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  4. People often feel that it takes something profound to make them reconsider things. I’m such a person

    Stories are a great mechanism to put a frame around our own. Like you were saying, we can carry our own heavy baggage for so long. There’s a story behind what the next person did to lessen their burden and I believe you’re the type to tell someone yours (like you have) to inspire someone else to do the same. Personally, I think nurses who draw blood or ghoulish vampires so I can personally identify with your reservations about them and their… prodding… nature.

    Anyway, this one is a good read too! It’s amazing to see how something seemingly routine or unimportant can bring about a heavyweight fight between a bully and the little guy/girl. Even more amazing to see the underdog make the bully realize that even they can be victims and the cherry is watching them lay down their burdens because they can do the same.

    “In my experience, prayer is pretty iffy as a battle plan. But I’ll also say this, if you need a miracle, there’s nothing like it.” -Bruce Campbell as Sam Axe: Burn Notice “The Fall of Sam Axe.”


    1. Thanks so much Kevin 🙂 you’re so right – we can only carry the baggage for so long on our own. Isn’t it awesome to know that God puts people in our paths to alleviate the load. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 Hugs and love xox


  5. So AWESOME!! Jesus! 🙌🏽❤️
    I loved what one of the things said “if your load is too heavy, stop carrying it” so good!
    Let your light burn my friend!! 🔥🙌🏽🤘🏽😀❤️🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an encouraging post! It seems people are so willingly to be open with you since you are so open with them! Keep going, God will keep using you. –E.R. Peters 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful, you know, God uses hearts that aren’t afraid to show that they have been wounded and are fragile because those are the hearts that others sense can be trusted with their “heart” and their fears, and worries, without fear of judgment or being ridiculed. I truly believe this is only the beginning of what He will do through you! God Bless you. And you are truly beautiful inside and out and love is the most powerful weapon against the darkness of this world.


    1. Thank you so much N. I love that thought: hearts that aren’t afraid to show they’ve been wounded or broken – that is such a beautiful thought. Thank you for sharing that with me, and for your wonderfully kind words. Sending big hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Chosen for such a time as this, this is your season Caralyn! I love to read about how God is working through you in a sweet and subtle way and your openness to His leading. It really is as simple as taking the time to listen. Glad your check up was healthy!


    1. Thanks so much Terese. Gosh that’s a kind thing to say:) you’re right- listening is a big thing. And thank you – I am very grateful for that clean bill of health! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox


  9. YAYYY on getting clean blood results, I don’t like needles much either. I am glad you decided what to do with the whole moving thing…..going through a similar situation right now 🙂


    1. Thanks so much! Yeah a lot to be grateful for, with the clean bill of health 🙂 good luck as you transition to a new chapter as well! I’ll be thinking about you!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox


  10. Hi Caralyn – your story reminds me of a famous quote…”Be kind, because every person you encounter is fighting a hard battle you know nothing about”…thanks for sharing and God’s peace be with you!


  11. As I am actually going through my own tribulations with a head injury as well, this story hit home for me. Our God has called us to rejoice in our trials, as they bring endurance, which thus brings character, which then brings hope fulfilled by righteousness in Jesus (Rom.5:1-11) Thank you for sharing this, as it has only given me additional belief that God’s will shall be done in my life.


  12. Hi… I’m a few days behind on blogs…

    Such a sweet story. It’s so nice when you can connect with a stranger like that.

    It’s a nice contrast to something I experienced in 2004 at the place I call on my blog “Church II With The Problems.” I was accused of acting inappropriately, based on rumors, half-truths, and people taking things way out of context, and after that happened but before I left, I had a lot of conversations about what happened and why people thought I was acting inappropriately. One of my “friends,” in one of those conversations, told me that the reason people don’t like me and are turned off is because I tell them too much. When people ask me how I’m doing, I actually tell them how I’m doing, and they don’t want to hear that. People just want me to say fine as a formality, not talk about my day.

    At church.

    People I’d been in a Bible study with for over a year at this time.

    It’s true that people are this shallow, but it’s sad.

    Out of curiosity, did this doctor’s visit happen in Ohio or New York City?


    1. Oh I’m so sorry to hear that, Pi. That’s never a good feeling when we feel we can’t be open with our friends. I’m sorry you had to walk that road. I think sharing your heart is a beautiful quality 🙂 It was in Ohio 🙂 thanks for stopping by! hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much 🙂 gosh, what a kind thing to say. i was just a hug at the right time 🙂 but i do thank God that our paths crossed that day at such an important time for her. that was a blessing for sure. thanks for stopping by! hugs xox


  13. Great read and what a great feeling you put in my heart this morning. I truly look forward to reading your blog – especially Monday morning! Now to comment – Congratulations on the Health Check and Blood work report!!! Praise God for that!!!!!

    I like how you put it “I didn’t do anything earth shattering that afternoon. I just listened, and gave her a hug”. Oh but you did do something earth shattering – you opened the door for that conversation and confession of self guilt – that’s more that most people do in a day! People do not like to hold things in and you (and God) were there – just in time. Secondly, people can often sense Honesty, Truth and Integrity in a person – which in turn causes them to open up and begin a conversation……. involuntarily. Kinda almost like a spontaneous utterance. Again – praise God for that!

    Keep up the good work, stay strong in your faith and thanks for letting us follow along in your daily life and recovery. Glad to know that you are keeping your ties with Ohio close at hand. It might be inconvenient, but I think it’s a good solid decision!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This totally spoke to me today. First, I am a neuro ICU nurse. I specialize in strokes, TIAs, brain injuries and the fact you are her recovery partner makes me tear up. It is SOO IMPORTANT!
    second- I hate the doctor too… I work with them daily… I hate going and hearing about myself.
    thirdly- all the blood work.. It’s awful. I ask for them to use the smallest needle possible and distract me.
    I totally understand this and I’m sorry about your mom.


  15. Excellent post, and an excellent moment to share to show us how even the most “trivial” moments are far from that, how you coped invited this profound moment into the lives of two good humans. Thank you for sharing.


  16. Truly inspiring post this is. Bottling disturbing issues inside only puts a burden on one’s spirit which is supposed to travel light by default. You helped that woman that day offload the weight she had being carrying, “just” by lending an ear. It’s what makes you human. You aren’t “super-nonthreatening”, instead you’ve got a welcoming spirit. Keep lighting up the world.


  17. Amen. Keep being an encouragement. On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 4:00 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “I had an experience the other day that really > stuck with me: an encounter that stayed in my soul. Ever since my mom’s > stroke, I feel like people can sense something different about me. It’s > like, I’m walking around with this neon sign that says, Tell me ” >


  18. I love this, I had an experience like this once, I was in school waiting in line to get a school ID, I started talking to this girl I’d just met, & we bonded & she told me how she has been suffering from depression since 2005 & was finally graduating!

    She told me that it has taken over ten years to graduate but she’s happy because she has finally managed to control depression. She gave me great tips on managing college life & I was really grateful to get insight from her!

    I think most of us are wrapped up in out struggles & it can be hard to be vulnerable & open up to people. I thought your post was beautiful, I really enjoyed it, thanks!


  19. Sounds like you may be Empathic, perhaps a light/soundworker. There are a
    few legit tests out there that can help you.


  20. Wow! You’re indeed an incredibly strong woman! I cannot imagine the pain you must have felt going through those flairs.

    And thank you once again for your posts. Once again, I found comfort in many little things you said in this and the UC posts. I am more and more convinced the more of your posts I read, that God is speaking to me through you and your stories. I’m so grateful I found your blog. Big e-hugs to you and a big, but thank you. I also hope and pray your mom keeps getting better and better every day.


  21. I just read this because I’ve been slacking on reading blogs lately. But this made me smile so big! I love how God uses us!


  22. I’ve gotten behind in reading your posts which is sad for two reasons. First, I’ve been missing your amazing stories about God on the move in your life. I like to think of God’s work in the world as a stream. He invites us to step into the stream and be part of his amazing grace. Maybe don’t downplay your part (I mean you get super bonus points for the MKG reference and super, super, bonus points for the Anne reference). You were willing to be present, to not withdraw or patronize, and be God’s agent of love; that’s tremendously huge.

    Second, reading several of your blogs at once will make it challenging for me to be totally brilliant as usual. I will do my best.


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