geanniegray.com

a blog about life with diabetes, depression & dysfunction & how to manage them with HOPE!

what I deserve


Do you ever think to yourself (or say out loud?) “I don’t deserve this.”  Like,

“I didn’t deserve to be talked back to like that by my teenager.”  

“I didn’t deserve that put-down from my husband/wife.”  

“I didn’t deserve that reprimand from my boss.”

If you’re like 99.999% of the human race, you HAVE had that thought in one situation or more.  Or at least you have thought that it wasn’t fair that you were treated in whatever way.

Isn’t that how we think?  We humans?

Earlier this week, I was going through my devotion on YouVersion in the book of Numbers (chapter 16) when I read this:::

Numbers 16:32-33

32And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods.  So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.

This is the story of when Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt…after all the plagues and Pharoh following them into the Red Sea.  The Hebrews have seen God part the Red Sea and allow them to cross on dry ground (that always blows my mind…that the ground was DRY), they’ve seen manna appear on the ground, they’ve seen God send hundreds of pheasants to feed them, they’ve seen the pillar of cloud and fire that leads them.  They have SEEN God do so many miracles on their behalf.

When I younger, I would think to myself, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH THOSE PEOPLE!!  THEY LITERALLY SAW THE HAND OF GOD MOVE RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM AND THEY STILL COMPLAINED?!?!?”

I guess wisdom really does come with age since now, I often find that I’m giving myself a good talking-to about not trusting God to take care of things since I have, yes, ****I HAVE SEEN GOD’S HAND MOVE IN FRONT OF MY OWN EYES**** before as well.

And so this Korah guy and a couple of his buddies decide there needs to be a change in management.  They decide Moses, God’s chosen leader, isn’t doing a good enough job (red flag:  it may have been Moses they were looking at, but it was God they were rebelling against!)  They decide they’re going to get folks all riled up and force Moses out and replace him with someone they think can do better.

If you’re a pastor or any sort of church or even a business leader, you know how this goes.  No matter what you do, some of the people aren’t going to be satisfied.  At least part, if not all, of the people you ‘lead’ or shepherd aren’t going to be happy with the way you do things, no matter how much you pray, no matter how whole-heartedly you seek for God’s guidance…SOMEbody out there is going to be displeased and they’re either going to tell you about it — repeatedly — or they’re going to tell everyone else about it until the whole place is having doubts about your abilities.

ahem  I can save THAT sermon for another post, heh let me get back on my thought…  What struck me upon reading that, or rather hearing it since I was playing the scripture on my phone, was OH MY GOODNESS!!  What if God still did that kind of thing today??  What if He opened the earth to swallow us up when we grumbled or complained?  What if He wasn’t longsuffering and merciful?  What if He gave us exactly what we deserve instead of what we could never earn by ourselves?

Now, let me say this before someone out there who isn’t sure they like God or want to believe in Him or follow Him says, “That does it!  I don’t want to serve a God Who acts so impulsively.”  I don’t believe God acted on impulse.  You can read again and again throughout Numbers how the Hebrews, God’s chosen people, rebelled over and over.  They’d already been in the desert for a long time when this happened.  There had been many an uprising during this time.  The people had griped, grumbled and whined about everything.  They EVEN went so far as to say they’d have been better off as slaves beaten and overworked, unfairly treated, than to have God lead them out into this forsaken desert.

I can’t quite imagine that, but I try not to judge them too harshly.  But I will admit, when I read this account I find myself ALWAYS wanting to smack a bunch-a Hebrews up-side the head and say, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?”   I believe that Korah and the others had done this same thing several times already.  I think they were probably always trying to stir up discontentment and division among the Hebrew congregation.  I don’t KNOW that, but I know that God isn’t reactionary.  He’s not a God who makes ‘snap judgements’ or ‘goes off’ on people.  I mean, c’MON…if He did, do you think the world would be the way it is today?

No, God is and always has been long-suffering.  If He wasn’t merciful, He would have left them all in bondage in Egypt.  He’d have gone looking for other people to call His own, I daresay.

And that brings me to thinking about myself and how I am constantly failing God in one way or other (or multiple ways!)  It’s like that little saying or meme you see sometimes…

So, here’s my thought before I get side-tracked… I am SO THANKFUL that God isn’t in the business of giving us “what we deserve”.  If He was, then WE would have been swallowed up, sent alive to our “just desserts”, an eternity in hellfire!

That IS what we deserve, after all.  It’s so easy to lose sight of that in our comfy lives where we don’t have to fight for food or shelter every day.  We think we “deserve” to have things go our way.  We think we’re good.  Whether because we’re unaware of what God did for us in sending Jesus to shoulder our punishment or we think we’re “okay” since we “serve God”…we attend church once a week or we volunteer at the soup kitchen…whatever.

But we don’t even deserve to breathe.  We certainly don’t deserve the opportunity to live out eternity in heaven with Jesus.  But He still came

 

 


so gone so long


Sheez!!  I have missed writing so much!!  It’s been crazy around here, of course.  I began having physical therapy on my neck and shoulders, as I’ve mentioned before, but they also started occupational therapy on my hands.  Or rather, my right hand, which has been going numb a LOT!  At first, because there was some initial pain too, I figured I just needed to sign up to have carpal tunnel surgery on this hand too, but my doctor (my general practitioner) was SO against it!  She was telling me how it only worked about half the time, etc. etc.  Which was surprising to me since when I had it done in my left hand, it was like a miracle!!  Took care of all my problems in that hand!  But then, talking to others who have had CT surgery done, they’ve had bad experiences.

As of now, the pain is much decreased and the numbness isn’t as constant so I’m trying to get by without seeing an orthopedic doctor.  I think a lot of the pain I had at first was arthritis.  The weather was horribly rainy then and while a lot of times, the rain doesn’t seem to affect me at all, this time, it really did and I had aches in joints I’d for

gotten all about.  UGH!

So anyhow, they keep you busy running to therapy umpteen times a week.  Thank God it’s not too far from the house!

As for other doin’s… Tommy and I both went to Cincy to see the kids on the weekend of June 4th.  Since I had an appointment with my endo in Lexington on Monday afternoon, we just stayed Sunday night too and stopped for the appointment on the way home.  So we left here on Friday afternoon.  I was able to leave Max with a friend, thankfully, so we loaded up our bikes, the kids’ life jackets and ours and as little luggage as we could get by with, their two camping chairs we thought they’d forgotten (they meant to leave them!) and a small cooler with drinks and snacks ALLLLL into our Challenger!

Yes, I said the Challenger!  Ha ha ha!!  We checked to be sure we could even get our bikes in there first and surprisingly, with the front wheels off and the back seats folded down, we were able to get both of them in without too much trouble.

We DO have an older bike hauler, but it takes a hitch reciever and Tommy’s not been willing to cut into the body and stick one of those ugly things in between the two chrome-tipped exhausts.  I can’t say I blame him one bit.  If we get to where we’re riding a lot, maybe…but right now?  Nope.  Ruby is too sharp to mess up like that!  Ha ha!

 

We had an amazing time while we were visiting Corey and Melissa.  Most of the time it’s rushed.  We don’t have much time to be there so we have squeezed a ton of sight-seeing and visiting into them.  This time, we just took it easy and had a couple things planned.  We did those and then just fiddled around the rest of the time.  We rode the Little Miami River trail which was awesome.  It’s a rails-to-trails trail and so it was mostly flat.  We rode up to what’s called The Old Powder Factory where they used to make ammunition.  It, um…it blew up, so now what’s left of the buidling, which is substantial, is abandoned and it’s a cool place to see.  There are white and turquoise tile decoration up on the towers of red brick and it’s all by itself almost in the middle of nowhere, so it’s an eery sort of place.  Very cool.  The ride was just wonderful since it was mostly shaded and follows the river.  We started in historic Loveland, which is such a quaint, beautiful area of town.  Little shops and tons of people just out milling around, either riding or running/walking the trail, or working at the shops, some playing music, some sitting around the park-like area just snoozing or playing games.  It was SO fun!  And it really got Tommy and me both back on a cycling kick, which thrills me to no end!

In fact, we actually have 76 miles under our belts in a week’s time! (3 more rides after the one in Ohio)  WOW!  I am so shocked that we were able to accomplish this!! That I was able to accomplish it!  I can’t describe how good it felt to be back on the bikes with the wind blowing past us, seeing turkey, deer, rabbits, foxes and horses….oh, and of course, cows as we rode down our familiar country roads.  We even got to ride with some folks from our cycling club, so it was fun catching up with them, assuring them that, no, we hadn’t died, we just got busy.  Cycling has been one of the only hobbies that Tommy and I both really enjoy that we can do together.  It’s good for our health and our relationship.  You can’t beat that with a stick!

While we were with the kids, we also went to the Cincinnati Zoo and to a couple of bike and outdoor shops, out to a few neat places to eat and to several places scoping out the best place for them to put in their kayaks.  Yeah, Corey and Mel just bought kayaks, so they will have a busy summer for sure!

The weekend before, Memorial Day weekend, Corey and Melissa came down to Kentucky for a few days, so we were busy then too.  We went to a friend’s family farm a couple of times where they often camp out and enjoyed the campfire, cooking and company.

Friends and folks who know my eldest and his wife often ask me how I’ve done with their move to Ohio and I have to tell them it’s been a bit easier than I thought it would.  I thought sure I would just die without them here but in all honesty?  We see them more now than we did when they lived right next door.  It seems absence really does make the heart grow fonder and the people take a lot less for granted!

And so this past weekend, I have been serving on an Emmaus weekend!  Since our Emmaus community has not had access to the Christian camp we have used for the past several years, we hadn’t been able to host a walk, but a generous church offered their campus to us (actually it’s where the first few walks were held when our community was brand new!) and so I’ve had a spiritually refreshing, physically exhausting weekend!  It was really wonderful and I’m still basking in the glow of the heavy presence of God we had all weekend.

Since waking up this morning, though, my face is swollen, my sinuses are all gobbed up and my head is pounding like someone’s playing drum on it with a hammer, so I’m going to treat my aching self for awhile…see if I can get my bones to stop protesting and settle in with my Bible for a bit.  As usual, I’ve come away from the weekend convicted of the lack of time I spent with my sweet Savior, so I’m getting back to it and sighing with relief that my God is big on second, third, fiftieth chances.

He is just SO good!

Be blessed today and go bless someone else!  mwah!

 

 

I feel ya, Tinman


My joints and a bunch of other stuff that probably aren’t joints have been just killing me lately!  I mean, some days, I swear I’d spray some WD40 all over me if I thought it would cure me as well as it did the Tinman in The Wizard of Oz.  Just a few squirts and he was good to go, right?

Sadly, I haven’t found anything to work like that for me.  I’m thinking this is a combination of weather, age and tendency.  All of the ‘itises’ run in my family.  I’m getting up there to the point that my poor old joints are getting to be well-used and prolly tired.  And we’ve had rain for days.  Cold rain!  That last little kick in the pants from winter called “Dogwood Winter” around my area of the world.

My doc has had me going to physical therapy already and after a couple weeks doing that, my right hand began to go numb and the fingers be really stiff.  I’ve already had carpal tunnel surgery in my left hand years ago and was at one time supposed to have the right hand done, but it got better enough that I didn’t have the surgery.  So I figured I’d surely have to have it done now.  I called my doctor and sorta demanded that I have the surgery set up, so she reluctantly made me an appointment with a neurologist in town.

In the meantime, my physical therapist, A, suggests that I let the occupational therapist work on the hand.  She calls in a request to be referred and so now I’m seeing the OT as well as the PT.

Surprisingly, the therapy has been working.  I really think all this rain made it a lot worse and so as the weather clears up, I think things will feel better too, but the exercises the OT has me doing for my hand actually do help so much more than I dreamed they would!  So now I’m debating whether to go see the other doctor.  I mean, if I NEED this surgery, now would be the time to get it done since we have destroyed our deductible and eaten through our out of pocket limit too!!

Tommy has been referred to the physical therapist too so hopefully, his back and legs will start feeling better.  But during all of this therapy, something went haywire with my left shoulder.

The PT has been working on both my shoulders, basically trying to strengthen the muscles that have grown weak after years of trying to hold incorrect positions to help ease the tension pain in my neck.  I mean, for 20-plus years I’ve dealt with this awful neck/shoulder pain without any real or lasting relief.  I’m pretty sure a local chiro made the problem so bad when he tried to tweak my neck.  That’s when the migraines started, at least.  I had those for a year or two before seeing a different type of chiro who got rid of the migraines, thank God, but could never get my neck to stop hurting.  Then I met a chiro through Emmaus who worked on me at camp once and she did wonders for it, but it was almost a two-hour drive to her office in Middlesboro, so I couldn’t really keep that up.

So now here I am, trying to keep myself from becoming a Tinman.  Ha.  The other thing, a big reason to pursue this is that I would REALLY love to get back to cycling and one of the worst pains I had from riding my bike wasn’t my butt.  It was my neck and shoulders. I’m SO hoping that I can get to where riding my bike doesn’t make my neck and shoulders hurt so bad that I have to just stop.  It gets to a certain point, like the point of no return, that it hurts so bad and won’t let up.  I have to stop what I’m doing and I’m still in pain.  Lately, it’s been hurting to the point of tears, so I’m really praying the therapy will fix me up.

I can’t take pain meds because of the CGM.  Apparently, acetaminophen causes the readings to be off and some suggest the same is true for ibuprofen.  Also, ibuprofen can affect blood sugar control.  So, I decided I’d try taking plain old aspirin for the pain.  The PT suggested it, actually.  She realized I really needed some relief from the worst of the pain before I could get back to doing any sort of exercise.  I took three doses of aspirin on Saturday and by about two hours after that third dose, my ears were screaming.

I’ve had tinnitus for years.  Since I was 16 and our old pediatrician diagnosed it.  He asked me a bunch of questions trying to determine what may have caused it.  When I told him I’d been having more sinus headaches and had been taking the aspirin I found in the kitchen cabinet, he said, “Ah.  That’s probably the culprit.”  For years now, when I happen to tell another doctor this, they blow it off and say it couldn’t have been the aspirin.  However, since then, I hadn’t taken any aspirin other than a chewable once every couple of days for blood pressure/heart health.  So by the time I’d taken three doses of regular aspirin, it felt like my ears had been plugged with bubblegum and the screeching that is normally tolerable was 10x higher.  It was horrible and I was so afraid that I might have done something permanent to my hearing.  Thankfully, that slowly dissipated and things went back to the normal squealing that I’ve learned to deal with.

SoooOOooo…that’s where I stand.  Hoping and praying, working toward feeling better and being more pain-free.  


creative juices and such


So, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to write the book lately.  Yesterday was a good good day!  YESSSS!

my ancient laptop

Yes. I’m working with an ancient laptop. Maybe the book would make enough money I could afford a new one? HA!

 

I wrote another 3,000 words yesterday.  I just never realized how hard it would be once I actually sat down to write out the words.  I mean, it’s not like I’m having to develop characters and come up with a decent storyline, right?  This is my life I’m writing about.

But MAN!!  It is much harder than I thought it would be.

My first “block” was trying to figure out the best way to approach the writing.  I mean, like first person, third person…do I use fictitious names?  Do I write as if I were telling the story about someone else then reveal that it’s me?

Then came the nightmare of realizing that if I write it, they might read it. (cue Field of Dreams“if you build it, they will come”) Ha ha.  Meaning my family.  This isn’t a story about some horrid abuse-ravaged childhood.  It’s about a dysfunctional family and who doesn’t have one of those, right? I believe there are no perfect families and even if there IS one, I’m convinced that somewhere inside that family, you will find at least one sort of dysfunction. None of us have the perfect family. In MY mind, saying I come from a dysfunctional family isn’t like throwing down the gauntlet.  It’s not a “dirty word”, but to some in my family, it may very well be. I began to agonize over how different people would take my story if I really told everything I want to tell.  Even though I have/will write in the forward that the book is about the state of past relationships and that healing and restoration has since taken place with assurances that I love my family, yadda, yadda.  I still worried.

Some things have changed since then.  Even more restoration has taken place and so, even though I’m not going to talk to my immediate family (besides my hubby and kids, I mean) about writing this book, I feel like once it’s (ever?) done, I will be able to hand it to them and say, “Read it knowing that I wrote it so that other people might benefit from what I’ve been through.  I wrote it to exorcise my own ghosts and I wrote it to keep my mind from exploding.  I never, EVER wrote a word of it with the intent to hurt anyone.  I wrote what is true.  I wrote what I remember, I wrote how I felt, I wrote how the things that happened changed and shaped me.  I tried to make it very clear throughout that I love my family dearly and I hope you can keep that in mind.”  Then, I’ll hope and pray that certain of them can read it or even think of it without worrying how someone else will think about it or making up grand scenarios of how others will perceive the book.

deep breath

I don’t know if that’s possible, but I’ve gotten to the point where that is much less a deterrent than it was before.

The other thing I’ve run into is how to put it all together.  I mean, there are various health events that take place and I want to share some details of what I went through physically because the bizarre-ness of those things is part of the story, but I also want to tell how I was doing emotionally.  It’s hard to do both at the same time.  That probably doesn’t make sense, but it’s true.

In the end, I’ve decided to just write it the way I do most everything else.  In my own “special” way.  Ha ha.  Most people say they enjoy reading the stories I’ve written and shared over the years.  They say they like the conversational style of my writing, so I’m just going with that.  I’m sure it would be frowned upon by professionals and teachers, but it’s all I know to do at this point.

If you wish to be a writer, write.

Something else I considered in the very beginning was writing my story without much of the uglier details.  The things I feared (and still somewhat fear!) would upset my family the most.

Look, I’ve come to the point where I have shared some extremely intimate details about my marriage with all of cyberspace, surely I can be honest about a fight I had…

I wrestled with that one for a long time but I couldn’t figure out how to tell my story while purposely leaving out important details.  I couldn’t figure out how to explain those details without exposing what really took place.  Those details are all very pertinent to the whole story, so I couldn’t leave them out.

I figured Look, I’ve come to the point where I have shared some extremely intimate details about my marriage with all of cyberspace, surely I can be honest about a fight I had with my sister or mom.  Surely I can tell what really happened in this, what I consider to be more minor, event.  Maybe to them it won’t be as minor.  Like I said, I’m telling it all.  The ugly parts too.  I feel like that should be okay when I am wrapping it all up in the fact that things didn’t stay that way.  Things got better.  Repairs were made, apologies stated, forgiveness received and restoration happened.  Why then, would it not be okay to share why those things were ever necessary?  How do you help people deal with their own dysfunction if you aren’t honest about your own?

Anyway, this is where I stand with the book.  The one I have carried around in my mind for decades.  The one I never told anyone I even wanted to write until recently.  If you have tips or any constructive info that would help, I’d love to hear it.  At this point, I am finally in the space created by learning what Epictetus said from the photo above… if you wanna be a writer, then write!  I’ve heard that from many people, from online book-writing courses, etc.  So I’m writing.  That will probably slow down blog progress even more, but I will come share my progress until something crazy happens that I just have to share here!  grin

If you would like to help me with this, I am looking for some proofreaders!  I don’t know how long it will be before I’m ready to share, but I really do need some people who would be willing to read what I have and share their thoughts with me.  In exchange, you will be publicly thanked in the book.  I’m told that’s a fair compensation.

Hahahaha!  I dunno though.  If you think it’s really bad, you might ask for more!

If you’d like to proofread for me, please send me a message or comment here!

geannie {at} live {dot} com

THANK YOU!!

Blessings…

 

 

 


living with food allergies…


That is SUCH a lame title guys, but I wanted people to know exactly what I was talking about.

Yes, eye roll  I know that’s unusual for me.  Ha-ha-ha.  Sheesh.

This is sort-of an update too because there’s been a ton of stuff going on around here.

First of all, yeah, we are dealing with allergies again.  But this time, it’s not me!  And it’s not like hay fever type allergies.  Tommy is just plagued with a whole list of food allergies!

I’m talking some weird foods, stuff he eats all the time…or used to, that is.  We were both floored when the results came back.

Shoot, we were floored when they were finally able to even do the prick test on him at all!

This is what happened when they began writing the reference info on his back:

YIKES!!  Yeah, his skin began to get really red and puff up as soon as they started writing back there.  Keep in mind, he had to go off all antihistamines and his usual allergy medicines for a week prior…and he could only make it to five days.  We called the allergist’s office and got him in early in Lexington instead of waiting for him to come into our local office as planned.

You could have literally read the writing with the ink wiped off because each stroke they made with the ballpoint pen had welted up.  It was crazy and then things began to get a little weird in the office…

The nurses got really alarmed.  The one who’d done the writing was all but done by the time Tommy finally said, “I don’t think I can stand that anymore.”  And that was after telling her almost from the start that it was itching.  I mean, he was willing to tolerate a bit of itching, but it kept getting worse, so she stopped with the pen and did the rest with a felt-tip, which also caused redness but no welting up.

Instead of going right ahead with the pricks, she went to get another nurse… who then went to get the doctor.  We had to wait about 10 minutes for him to come in and during that time the first two nurses brought in another nurse to check it out.  Then they asked if he was okay, was his chest tight or hurting, could he breathe okay… He assured them he was fine other than the horrible itching.

They came in to ask another time before the doc finally came in to see what all the fuss was about.

He wasn’t as alarmed but it concerned him.  He said he hadn’t seen anyone react that bad before.  He and another nurse, I’m assuming she must have been the most senior nurse or had the most experience, discussed how to complete the testing.

They came up with the idea to just make dots on his upper arm instead of writing out the numbers.  So she dotted his arm up but at the same time, she had to write down each allergen on a paper that matched up with the dots so they could keep things straight.

Once they finally got all the dots and pricks done and could give him some antihistamine and inhalers, we ended up with this buttload of things he showed allergy to.  Things like wheat.

Wheat, people.  This was NOT celiac disease like our oldest son, Corey, has… that’s a breakdown of the cillia which makes you unable to properly digest and absorb nutrients from wheat products.  However, it’s pretty much resulted in the same type of diet.

Except that Tommy’s also allergic to tomatoes and cauliflower and turkey and walnuts and vanilla and carrots…

Oh, there’s more.  But this little sample of his allergy list just gives you an idea of how hard it’s been to feed this man ever since then!

Seriously!  It’s been tough, but thank God he’s adjusted fairly well.  He went through one short-lived episode of self pity when he claimed there was nothing for him to eat ANYwhere!

As they say in the infomercials:

But wait, there’s more!

That would be funny except for the fact that in the middle of all these adjustments, he had to also deal with the food restrictions that come with prepping for testing at the gastroenterologist’s office too.  Yeah, he had the upper and lower scope thingies done so we spent five days trying to keep straight his allergy restrictions along with his scope-prep restrictions.  Talk about confusing!!

That list added grains and leafy green veggies along with fried foods.

We had already planned to visit Corey and Mel in Cincinnati during that time so I’m not sure if that made it easier to eat out or harder, but we sure got some weird looks from the requests we made.  Ha ha!

After the scopes were done, he was told in no uncertain terms to avoid all NSAIDs from here on out.  She said they were poison and were destroying the lining of his stomach.  sigh

We THOUGHT he was off all NSAIDs except his former doctor had given him something for pain quite some time ago telling him, “This won’t bother your stomach”. Turned out the new medicine was just another form of NSAID so it was actually doing the same thing.  Gah!!  I’m so glad Tommy is no longer seeing that doctor!

Okay, SO the reason he’s got so much damage from the NSAIDs is because he’s taken them off and (mostly) on for a long, LONG time.  For the pain in his feet mostly, from the tightness and pain in his Achilles tendons and all over.

The first time he went off them, within three days, he seized up like the Tin Man without his oil.  He was in misery which is why the other doc put him on this new “won’t hurt your stomach because it’s not an NSAID except that it is” medicine.

Tommy was really worried about how he was going to work or do really anything without some sort of pain relief.   When we looked at the alternative medical offerings, we were not impressed so we turned to the trusty ol’ innernets.

We researched natural herbal remedies for inflammation and came up with tumeric over and over. Okay, yeah.  I’d heard of using tumeric for pain and arthritis years ago when I worked in the natural food store, but I’d long since forgotten about it.  We came across the recipes for something called Golden Milk which, oddly enough (or not!) I had seen floating around on Facebook as well and I was very interested in trying it already.  Even before I knew about this benefit.

Ever since Tommy’s allergy testing, he’s been SO much more committed to healthy eating, something I couldn’t ever get him to do seriously before.  So he was instantly agreeable to trying golden milk too.  It was made with ground tumeric, cinnamon, black pepper and ginger all mixed together with milk and sweetened a bit.  We liked it and began having it every night before bed.

At that same time, I was also giving Tommy tart cherry juice to drink because it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

And we waited to see what would happen.

When after three days, he wasn’t hurting a ton worse, we declared it a success and made the tumeric and cherry juice a part of his regular regimen.  Before when he went off the NSAIDs, he was mostly bed-ridden within three days of stopping the medicine.  His entire body would get so tight and it would be excruciating for him to move.  Not this time, though.  The natural remedies seemed to be working awesome for him!

You can’t imagine how thankful to God we are for that!  As always, God provides what we need!   Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:22

Jesus says: “And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”

We tweaked our recipe, of course, tracked down some fresh tumeric thinking it had to be better for us.  The jury is still out on that one.  I’m not sure if it’s because the benefits aren’t noticeably better or if it’s because I detest how peeling and grating tumeric turns your hands orangey-yellow!  Ugh!

Okay so we had made it past getting him off the harmful medicine without being incapacitated but his stomach was still bothering him.  We went to see our family doctor who advised him to stop eating a few more things to see if that would help and switched his “stomach medicine” to something else.  But he didn’t get better.  In fact, the pain got worse.

We decided it must be his gall bladder.  Both the family doc and the gastroentrologist had mentioned possible gall stones as the reason for his pain.  So we hit the ‘net again looking for answers.

Annnnd, we ended up doing a home remedy called a gall bladder (or liver) flush.  I’ve mentioned it in more detail in another post so I’ll refrain here, but if you missed this post, let me just say that “flush” is a completely suitable name for this “procedure” because you do a LOT of it, your intestinals AND your toilet.  We both did it since we learned that most anyone over 40 probably has some stones even if they don’t have symptoms.  There were a lot of small, soft-ish stones so for us both, so I’m sure that is probably a good thing to do at least once anyway (if you are healthy enough, yadda, yadda, medical disclaimer)

We were SO hoping to avoid a gall bladder surgery for Tommy, thinking we could possibly flush the stones out at home, but even though the pain lessened immediately after, it soon was back up to speed.  Once it got so bad that Tommy was taking off work, he said Enough and we headed back to our family doc again.  She set him up for a HIDA scan to make absolutely sure his gall bladder wasn’t working.  The scan showed he had about 21% function, so it had to come out.

He got in for that fairly quickly, which was great.  He healed up well and is now back to his old self, minus the crappy diet.

We’re now eating SOOOOoooOOOOO much healthier!  We are eating non-GMO and organic as much as is possibly in our smaller town.  We often drive 80 miles to get the healthier food we need and want.  We’ve found some veggies Tommy can eat, so I keep those in stock for snacking and meals.  We eat a lot more fish now since turkey is off the menu for him and a lot of beef is discouraged by his doc.  He got sick of chicken real fast!  Tommy has a smoothie every morning with banana, tart cherries, blueberries and oatmeal in almond milk.  Tons healthier than even the “healthy” breakfast smoothie he used to always stop and buy each morning, not to mention a TON cheaper!  To avoid wheat, we just look for items labeled “gluten free” and stick with that.  We found some great GF tortillas that he really likes and most of the time, we can get GF bread at the local store, but lately, it’s been gone from the shelves and I’m not sure why.  He’s not crazy about the frozen GF bread, so I don’t buy it unless he’s mentioned bread several times.  Then I’ll buy it and we make sure it’s always toasted.  He was so excited when I found some GF waffles in several flavors and on sale, too!

That GF food is exPENsive, lemme tell ya!  A few more things on his allergy list are coconut, sweet potato, catfish, cod, raspberries and grapes.

No, that’s still not all, but those are the biggies we run into most often.  Corey has finally found someone who has a harder time finding food to eat than him!  When we were in Cincy last was during Tommy’s overlapping diets… allergy restrictions and his scope-prep diet.  Corey would say, “Hey, we can go here.  They have a great GF stir fry that..” and I’d stop him with “Dad can’t have rice before the scope.” or when he suggested we make buckwheat noodles with pasta sauce for a meal… “Dad is allergic to tomatoes.”  Sheesh!

I know it probably sounds like we go overboard with all these allergies, but he was determined to follow the allergist’s orders to completely go off all his triggers for a couple months then slowly add one thing back at a time.  Tommy has really been great at sticking with that.  I would have just chucked it when it came to asking someone for something else, but not Tommy.  If there was no substitution, he would go without.

Besides that, we have seen first hand already that he actually is allergic to somethings when we’ve accidentally consumed them.  Like that time I put coconut milk in his smoothie instead of almond and his neck and chest turned red, itchy and welted up.  Or the time he forgot and put grape jelly on a PBJ then had an itchy throat the rest of the day.  They’re not huge reactions, but knowing he reacts adversely to those things makes him realize how much better he feels now that he’s off them.

Tommy was off work a week after the gall bladder surgery and had been off about two weeks total before that from being so sick or having a test or doctor appointment.  Since we had a 3 day vacation thingie we’d bought the year before and it was about to expire, we booked a place in Florida and took off!  He decided since he’d been off this long, we should just go down there and recoup.

Actually, our doctor told me we needed a vacation.  So it was medically sanctioned.  Ha ha ha!!  We had a nice time.  It was beautiful the day we arrived and the next day, but the last two days were very overcast and windy, but the ocean was still amazing to watch.

Sunset at Fort Walton Beach near Destin

Anyhow, that’s where we’re at right now.  Doing lots of new things as far as our diets go and it’s been good and mostly fun.  (I still hate olives, though, but Tommy loves them and they’re one of his favorite snacks).  We’re trying new things, trying to enjoy it as much as we can with the acknowledgement that if we don’t take the best care of ourselves that we can, we will not be able to enjoy life as much!

True confessions:  We drove 10 miles each way several times so we could have our meal at Whole Foods!  We felt so silly but every time we went, we would see a lot of other people in there just to eat, not really shopping.  Hey, it may just be food bars in there, but that’s some good food!  I personally loved it.  I think maybe Tommy was a bit disappointed that we didn’t find a lot more things he could eat in the restaurants.  Poor fella.  I’m like, “Dude, we’re down here right on the water.  Where people fish ALL THE TIME.  There’s gonna be seafood everywhere and where there’s seafood, there’s gonna be breading and frying and lots of gluten-y/wheat-containing foods.”  I really don’t think that had even crossed his mind on the long trip down there.

But it all turned out alright once it sat in that we couldn’t go in any ol’ restaurant and order a meal and he couldn’t order up a big seafood platter like he would have done in the past.

You know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.  Well, these old dogs are learning.  Very slowly, granted!  But we’re learning.  Ha!

Alright…I’m out for now.  Hope to get back to posting more regularly now!

Blessings~

 


impossible


You know how things become “hip” and “trendy” so fast these days.  Like the one that immediately comes to mind (and is very much done, for the most part, so yeah, it’s old, but it was super-annoying!) is the RickRoll (<–click the link for definition & lengthy exposition of the rickrolling phenomenon).

Or that meme that you find repeatedly or in various forms all over social media and the internet in general.  Like, it become a sort of techno-folklore type of thing.  (overused memes, linked in case you’re confused about what I mean…ha!)

OR (yes, I’m getting to my point here…) like all those baby-fied Noah/Noah’s ark things.  All sorts of things…baby toys, wallpaper border, wall hangings, bed sets, play sets, notebooks, stationery…you name it!  It has or has had something that was Noah-ark themed made of it.

I never got into that.  I didn’t give my boys any things that were made that way. To drive the point home for you, check out this link!  I mean, it’s like Noah’s ark-o-rama!  GAH!

Now, the above photo depicts, among other things, some top-notch cake-decorating skills but also is representative of my point that the whole story of Noah has been turned into a children’s story at best; a fairytale at worst!  This cake is for a baby shower.  It’s adorable, don’t get me wrong.  But the theme, the actual story, whether the person who ordered it believes it’s truth or fiction, is really a little questionable.  This is from a “story” (for lack of a better word right now) about when God found the earth so corrupt and wicked that He found it necessary to wipe the slate clean.  A time when He instructed the one moral man He could find who still followed God’s teachings to build a gigantic vessel (that took over ONE HUNDRED YEARS to build, by the way) for a nature event that had never yet happened (it had never rained at all, let alone flooded!) and then to fill it with two of EVERY creature on earth (plus the extra ones God instructed Noah to take).

~blink, blink~

Can you even imagine?  That’s what gets me every time.  What a wholly unfathomable idea it all was…

I can remember when my boys were young and we were homeschooling when we came to the scripture about Noah.  Often, I’d take the boys outside to read the Bible to them and we would talk about what we had read.  I can recall how it just hit me suddenly what a gigantic faith Noah had to have.  I mean, at that time, the earth sort of “watered itself”.  The dew was sufficient to create enough water to sustain all the vegetation in the world and even to supply all the people with enough water.

I’m drawing from my reading of Many Waters, by A Wrinkle In Time author, Madeleine L’Engle.

The Wrinkle in Time Quintet Boxed Set (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, An Acceptable Time)
(I love this series of books and recommend you give them a read if you haven’t already!)

 

Ahem!  So when I say that, I mean that in Many Waters, the imagery was that of a dry, arid atmosphere.  Like a desert, I guess.  And scripture doesn’t indicate if there was a body of water nearby, so I really don’t know if they could, at that time, even imagine what sort of thing was about to happen or why in the world they would need to build such a “contraption” as the ark.  Who knows?  Perhaps they had never seen any sort of boat before?

I tried to get across to the boys how HUGE Noah’s faith had to be for him to just go ahead and do what God told him when he had never seen or even heard of rain or a flood before.  I told them it would be like God telling them to build a gigantic whatchamajigger (because they wouldn’t know whatever word God would use… they wouldn’t understand what He was talking about if they’d never seen it before, if it had never even happened before) because purple, singing flowers were going to fall from the sky.

Seriously.

What if God told you something like that?  Don’t you imagine it was along the same lines with Noah?  I can almost imagine this sort of conversation happening…

“Yes, I’m going to send water down from the sky.  Yes, I know it usually appears on all the leaves.  But I will…yes.  Yes, I know you’ve never seen water come out of the sky before, but I am going to do it that way this time.  Yes…enough to cover the entire earth.  Yes, Noah, I know you’ve never seen that much water in your life.  I know you can’t imagine it.  It’s okay though.  I always do what I say I will do and this time won’t be any different.  Just trust in Me, do what I ask you to and you will get to see something that has never ever happened on earth before!”

Wouldn’t it be the same way for us?  I honestly wonder if Noah even questioned what God was talking about, or maybe he wasn’t fully aware.  I really think about this thing a lot.

I really think about this thing a lot.

I mean, did Noah just trust God so fully and completely that he didn’t even bat an eye?  That’s pretty awe inspiring if you ask me.  And here I sit, questioning and wondering if God can or will help us be able to pay our bills or do something or other, and I fret and worry about it.  What a little-faith-er I am!!  I can’t even have faith that God will sustain us with the things we need let alone to do something outlandish and be considered crazy by the world just because He said to.

I had big plans of showing how various factions of society look at or consider the Ark and the whole story of Noah.  From the hostile to the mocking to the sold-out to the “adventurer/historian/myth-buster”.  There are all kinds of opinions and views about Noah’s Ark.  It’s probably one of the most visible, socially acceptable stories in the Bible, even when it’s completely wrong or based in emotion.  You may come across a representation of the ark anywhere!

Go read the account of the ark with this in mind.  Think of how they lived back then, think of what it was like to live that way and how it would be to have God ask you something like that in a time of such rampant evil and violence….

The World When Noah Was Alive….Genesis 6…

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  ~Genesis 6:5


stormy weather…


It’s getting to be tornado season around my house.  It’s a little funny (not ha-ha funny, but odd-funny) for me to say that since we have been blessed to avoid any huge damage from tornados since we’ve lived here.  That’s over 20 years now!  But there have been some bad ones come through very close to us over the years.

I don’t mind a thunderstorm every now and then.  I like the feeling of being safe and protected in my house while the thunder rages outside.  It reminds me of how tiny we are in the grand scheme of things.  It reminds me of how awesome and huge God is and conjures up visions of Him sitting amongst the clouds, flicking His hand to instigate bright flashes of lightening and earth-shaking booms of thunder.

It also usually always makes me think of how amazingly cool it would be to see a storm from His point of view.  I mean, how cool would it be to be able to look over God’s shoulder, or rather, probably, from atop His shoulder, and watch all the action from the topside?  I think it’s fascinating to ponder how utterly awesome that would be.

Heh.  Do you ever think about things like that?

One of my daughters-in-law is really afraid of storms.  Not so much that she’s panicking, but she doesn’t care for them at all.  I have never really been afraid of them.  I actually liked to be outside watching when one rolled in.  I know.  Not very bright of me, right?  Ha!  But it’s true.  I can remember one time when a storm was rolling in over our house.  I was nine or ten years old, I guess, and Dad made me go outside and get some lawn chairs I’d left out in the yard.

As I opened the storm door and stepped outside, the wildness of the winds hit me in the face and the darkness of the sky became up close and personal and I felt incredulous that my dad had sent his poor little daughter out in that weather. Heh.  But I knew he was watching me and wouldn’t let me back out of it, so I ran as fast as my legs would go.  I grabbed up those two chairs, slapped them together and ran for dear life back to the garage to stow them and get back in the house as quick as I could.  

Being all by myself out there was a bit more scary than I had anticipated.

But watching a storm with someone else is a little different.  Another time I remember is when we got caught in the barn when a bad storm hit.  I think it was maybe Mom and my sister this time.  We ended up getting some hail with that one and it was so cool to me to sit in the hay up in the loft and listen to the fury outside.  I think we had some puppies at the time, so that was lots of fun, too.

Or it could be that I’m completely mixing up my memories.  You never know with me these days.  Never the less, at one time in history, I was caught in the barn during a hailstorm and the crazy, loudness of the ice hitting the tin roof was really amazing.  It’s like you have absolutely no control and no choice but to hunker down and let God’s enormous-ness happen all around you.

I dunno… maybe I’m just weird thinking about stuff like that?

Another, more recent time I remember was when my boys were young and we’d gone camping!  We didn’t get hail that time, thank God, but there was lots of lightening and thunder and all we could do was hunker in the tent (yes, a TENT!) while the rain battered against the thin nylon.  The very idea that some flimsy fabric was the only thing between us and the wild weather outside was pretty sobering.  And of course, I did some praying in there that the stitching and fabric would hold!

I’m pretty sure that’s the four-day weekend we spent when it would rain at least once a day, then be beautifully sunny.  Tommy and I ended up buying extra tarps and reinforcing our rain protection that time.  The boys thought it was great fun.  Mud didn’t bother them at all.

smile

Fun times.

This time of year also brings birthday month.  Casey’s birthday was last Sunday.  Corey’s will be the Sunday after this.  I can’t believe they are now 24 and 28!!  I mean, seriously!?!?  When did I get old enough to have an almost-30-year-old kid?!?

Thinking about them being this old makes me really wonder if I’m ever going to get a grandbaby.  I try not to talk about that, especially to them, but c’mon you guys!!  You’re not getting any younger!

I can’t imagine having been married this long and not having any kids.  Of course, our marriage is nothing like either of our kids’ marriages.  Casey and Tay continue talking like soon as she’s done with her BSN (which is next month, hallelujah!) they will be up for having kids.  I guess I can’t see it though because they’re never still long enough.

They are both constantly running to this or that meeting, some sort of sporting event or party or concert or just getting together with friends.  It makes my head spin!  I mean, you have to plan months ahead if you want to do something with them and then it’s likely to be a no-go if Taylor has a lot of homework.  Sheesh!  I just wish I had that much energy!  Ha!

Anyhow, yeah… I’m staring 50 in the eyeball right now and most of my friends have at least one grandbaby if not more!  I feel so left out.  (heh)  That’s only when I let myself think about it, though.

Right now, I’m just trying to work up to where I can ride my stinkin’ bike again!!  Tommy and I went out Sunday afternoon and I couldn’t even finish six miles!  Of course, I hadn’t been on that bike in a good year, so I’m trying to cut myself some slack, but it sure felt horrible to realize how much stamina I have lost.  How much endurance and ability.

It definitely proves the phrase “Use it or lose it” because I’ve definitely lost it.  Every last bit of it!!

But here’s to better things and a stronger body.  Please, Lord!  ūüôā

Okay, that’s all I have on my brain right now.  Take some time to watch the sky today and think about what and Who stands beyond your view…

Blessings!

Psalm 95:4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.

5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.


playing catch-up


That’s what you can consider this post.  Me trying to update you on all that’s been going on with me and the hubs in the health and medical happenings department.

I’ve indicated a few times that he and I both have been really busy getting all sorts of tests done and then, when something comes up on a test, having some procedure or other done.  Unbelievably, this year it’s been mostly him having procedures.  More about those in a sec…

So far this year, I’ve had a mammogram (joy. not.), an eye exam (got my new glasses & can see MUCH better now, YAY!) I’ve had several blood draws, which is usual for me, I had another sleep study done (after about 8 years?!) and have a new C-PAP machine now, I had my first stress test and echocardiogram done looking for the source of my constant fatigue, that led to seeing a cardiologist and having my first-ever heart catheterization done, which came out fine, I’m finishing up my allergy shots along with getting weekly B12 injections, and now I’m going to physical therapy to get my shoulders and neck back into shape after going for years with constant stress-related pain.

Ha, I told a friend the other day if I could just get some new teeth (I want to get implants as soon as I can) and some liposuction, I’d be almost good as new!

As for my poor hubby, Tommy’s had a bunch of tests run as well.  I finally talked him into seeing my doctor and he really likes her, just like I said he would.  She has been working to find the source of his stomach problems.  He’s had scopes done, both directions, which led to the gastroenterologist telling him again to get off the NSAIDs.  He thought he WAS off them, but come to find out, the meds his old doctor had put him on for the pain in his Achilles actually was another form of NSAID, so his stomach had gotten all messed up again.

He was so worried about having to stop them since every other time he’s gone off pain meds, he has been just wracked with pain and barely able to walk, let alone anything else.  So we began looking for natural anti-inflammatories.  I found a good source for tart cherry juice concentrate and started him on two cups of that a day along with drinking “golden milk” which is a turmeric drink.  Turmeric is a very powerful anti-inflammatory as well.

After having his allergy tests done, we found out he is highly allergic to a ton of foods, weird things that are so common it was pretty discouraging to think about how we’d avoid them.  Like apples, tomatoes, and vanilla!  Just sit there a minute and think about how many foods are made with those ingredients!!

He has done really good with changing his eating habits but soon, his stomach really started to bother him.  I’ve been telling him for the past several years if he didn’t lose some weight, he was going to regret it.  He’s the type who will do the opposite of what you tell him just for spite, so he’s not been trying at all to modify his eating.  So now, with several doctors telling him it is a MUST that he eat differently, he’s finally on board.

When our doc began testing to see what was up with his stomach, she mentioned gall bladder, which put us on the search for ways to avoid having to get it removed.  That’s when we did the gall bladder/liver flush.  Tommy ended up doing it twice but still had to get his taken out.  Turned out he didn’t have stones, but instead his gall bladder was just grossly infected.

They had a horrible time getting him sedated, or rather, intubated and we left the surgery center with a letter from the doctor and anesthesiologist to keep with us in case he ever had to be sedated again.  Seems he has a very small airway along with a strange alignment of his esophagus that makes it impossible to intubate him in the normal way.  He has to have a bronchi-scope instead, which is a whole different set of tools for the anesthetist.  During his gall bladder surgery, they had to stop everything while the other tools were located and brought to the operating room.  Apparently, it was very stressful and maybe even dangerous to have to do this.  I didn’t understand all that she was telling me, but she said to make sure the doctors got that letter before he has another surgery or sedated procedure.

After the surgery, Tommy seemed to start doing better.  His terribly bloated stomach went down which made us realize that he’d probably been sick with that for a couple of years!  We didn’t realize it was bloating instead of just weight gain!  However, he has continued to have pain in his upper/mid back area.  So our doc sent him for another CT scan to check his kidneys.

This would be his fourth scan-type test this year after an initial ultrasound, then a CT for the initial stomach pain, then a HIDA scan, now this CT and then, after finding cysts on his kidneys, they sent him for another ultrasound to see if the cysts were something serious.

Turns out they aren’t and now doc wants to send him to the chiropractor thinking his back pain is muscular instead of internal.

I wasn’t thrilled about that since I’ve been a ton of times to this chiropractor without getting any relief for my neck and shoulders.  I really love the gal that works on me at physical therapy.  She’s a former masseuse so she also does some massage on my neck and shoulders, which helps a lot.  She’s trying to help me build up the muscles that are weak from years of trying to accommodate my misalignment due to pain.  The reason the chiropractor hasn’t worked for me is because all those muscles are so tight, even when the chiro aligns me, my muscles will pull things back out.  Until my muscles are retrained, any alignment isn’t going to stick.

I’ve been to the PT three times now.  Yesterday was an unusual day, though.  I was late getting there, which made me nervous and stressed anyway.  She put me on this bike to do hand pedaling and then over to the pulleys to do some exercises when I began to feel extremely tired.  Tommy texted about that time to tell me my sugar was pretty low.  I had seen it about the same time and walked over to my purse to get something to treat the low blood sugar with…but all I could find was one solitary Tootsie Roll!!  My little zip bag I keep stuff for lows in was empty!!  ARGH!  I remembered then wiping that out when we were on vacation but never thinking to restock it once we got home.

By this time, I was beginning to sweat and feel shaky.  I texted Tommy, who had been planning to come by the therapy office to get his computer out of my car.  He had already come and got it though, so he was already gone when I asked if he could bring me a Mt. Dew or something.  By this time, the therapist had noticed something was up with me.  I told her what was going on and she spotted the number on my CGM app on my phone… it was 54 at the time and trending straight down.

She said, “Is that what your sugar is?!?”  “Um, yeah,” I told her.  Then she and the receptionist both started to wig out a little.  I felt so stupid having to tell her I had NOTHING to treat the low in my purse NOR did I have my glucometer with me.  I’d left it at home charging, thinking I shouldn’t even need it.  But now, I could have used it to be certain what was going on … to determine if the CGM was correct or not.  Obviously, it was, though because I began feeling really crappy.  The therapist ran to get me something she’d brought to work with her.  They were some kind of health-food choco-peanut butter things and I ate them, feeling like an idiot having to eat up her food!!  She told me it was fine and said: “they aren’t that good, but here…”  LOL!  I guess maybe I was doing her a favor by eating them??  Ha!

I knew they weren’t going to do the trick though since they weren’t very sweet and had a lot of protein in them.  Tommy called me about that time and told me he was coming to bring me something to eat.  Then I felt horrible that I was making him have to come all the way back because I’d forgotten to restock my purse.  I told the ladies (only the receptionist and therapist were there at that time) that my husband was bringing me something when the receptionist said she had a Mt. Dew and some honey in her car.  I told her not to bother, that he would be here soon.

The therapist said, “Go get your stuff.  I’m not going to sit here waiting on him while she passes out on me.”  Sigh.  So, I downed the soda when she came back and handed it to me, mumbling ‘thank yous’ and ‘I’m sorry’s’ between gulps.  They both assured me it wasn’t a problem, so I relaxed a little.

By the time Tommy got there, I was in the middle of getting the post-hypo freeze and slowly, my numbers started to come up from LOW to 42. He sat down on the table beside my chair and during the recovery, the subject of his medical stuff came up and he asked the therapist some questions about what would be best for him to do.

When I was finally up in the 90’s, they had decided between themselves that the therapist would text our doc to ask if she could see Tommy and try to help his back before the chiropractor.  I ended up not having any therapy yesterday, which stunk, but I think Tommy and I both felt better about him possibly getting to be in with the therapist instead of the chiro.

We will see what becomes of it all.

By this point in the game, we only lack a few hundred dollars meeting out out-of-pocket limit, so we are going to get all the therapy and tests done that we can and take full advantage of our insurance!  Lord knows we’ve sure spent a buttload of money on our health this year and it’s barely April!!

I sure do wish I could get my teeth done on the medical insurance, though!!  Siiigh.  Oh well…

Oh!  I forgot to tell you that in the middle of all this, we took a short vacation to Destin!!  It was actually “prescribed” when I was back in with our doc, talking about all the various appointments we had already had and those coming up soon, she said, “You guys need to take a vacation!”  I asked her to write a script for it.  Ha.  Anyway, we had bought this three-day package last year and it was going to expire soon, so we decided to just do it.

It was fun and nice to get away, but next time we go to Florida, it definitely needs to be longer than just three days.  Hopefully, that can happen before we get too old to travel by ourselves.  Heh.

Okay.. I think you’re all caught up now!!  Later!


belonging


I think it’s kinda funny, since God can be a very humorous sorta deity, that the word “longing” makes up the majority of the word “belonging”.

I mean, isn’t that what we all long for, at least part of the time?  We want to belong.  We want to be part of something.  We want to be accepted and loved.  We long to BE.

I’ve spent most of my life not knowing where I belong, never being sure of myself.  I was never gripped by a desire to do something so much that I “just knew” it was my “calling”, it was what I was supposed to do.

I’m sure that a lot of people who know me in real life may not think words like “insecure”, “doubting”, “confused” and “aimless” describe me, but they do.  I mean, they sure describe how I feel about myself.

I hate the feeling I have when I’m chatting in a small group or even one on one.  Before long, another person comes along and suddenly all attention is toward that person who (usually) I don’t know. It’s not that I’ve lost the person’s attention but that I sorta cease to exist.  Maybe it’s just me. But I don’t know what to do with myself.

This happens on a pretty regular basis and it’s not with one particular person or group.  And I don’t even think people realize that it bothers me.  I feel like, “Okay…no one’s talking with me anymore.  No one is including me in this conversation.  Do I leave?  I feel like I’m eavesdropping or creeping if I just hover around the outside of this circle.  Do I say bye?  See ya later?  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do!”  Most of the time, I’ll just wander quietly away, leaving the group or the other two people talking.  Most of the time, I don’t think anyone notices.

I really need to know if I’m the only one this happens to.  I mean, if not, then thank God and give me some tips on how to deal with it.  But if I am “the only one” who experiences this, well shoot, that’s pretty doggone sad!!

So with that little glimpse inside my mind, you should get a sense of how I feel a lot of the time.  Just insecure, uncertain if people like me, doubtful that they want to talk with me, confused about how I can feel this way but be able to get up in front of a roomful of people and give a talk.

I’ve pondered this a lot, as you might imagine.  Why am I this way?  Why do I feel so unsure about whether I am liked by others, whether I’m wanted in a particular group?  The conclusion I’ve drawn is that I still carry a statement in my head that my mother said to me once.  Don’t worry.  This isn’t gonna become a mom-blaming post.  I love my mom, but she said something to me once that I’ve carried with me.  Well, no.  That makes it sound like I choose to carry it.  It has just followed me, stuck on a loop in my mind sometimes.  Other times, I only hear it when something like the above situation happens.

I was probably around ten or eleven years old at the time.  We were probably at a baptism or something after church.  I remember being in a sort of overgrown area, gravel and bunches of Queen Anne’s lace and clover. Baptisms were done outside in the creek, of course!  My closest friend had asked if I wanted to come play ball at her sister’s house with all her other siblings.  She was the youngest of six so three of her siblings were already married and having kids.  I went to ask Mom if I could go.  She immediately said no, which was usual.  We were never allowed to go many places without Mom being there, too.  I protested and she said, “They don’t really want you over there.  She’s just being nice and inviting you.”

At the time, all I remember feeling was fury.  I was so mad at her for not letting me go.  It wasn’t until decades later that I realized I still hear those words in my head whenever I’m in a crowd or trying to decide whether to go to a party or a shower or any sort of gathering.  I hear, “You aren’t wanted in that group.  Nobody really cares if you are there.  They don’t like you.  They won’t tell you not to come, but that’s only because it would look bad if they did. They just don’t want you.”

I would never tell my mom this.  As a mother myself, my heart breaks when my boys let slip with something I said to them that was really hurtful.  I don’t want to hurt her, so I would never tell her about this.  (don’t worry.  she thinks the internet is where the devil lives, so she’ll never find my blog or anyone else’s for that matter!)

Finally pinning down the root of this thing has been good for me.  I’m not comparing my mother with satan, but these days when I hear those words, I know he is the one saying them.  Sometimes it takes me awhile to realize after I’ve already let the sting of rejection wash over me, but I’m trying to get better at that.

That’s how I feel about my book. I get these nudges that I feel must be from God that I should write it and I feel that some of the things in it would be helpful for others who are struggling…be it depression or a marriage problem like we had or just knowing someone else out here has and is dealing with the same things.  Then here comes that voice…“Why in the world would anyone want to read about you!  laughter  You’re nobody and your little life is nothing to be excited about.  You can’t even put the words together anymore, so how will you do it anyway?”

Today, when my ancient laptop refused to boot up, I instantly started hearing “This is a sign that you should give up on the book.”  I have my draft saved on here.  Over 8,000 words that I worked hard to get out of me.  The thought of doing it again was horrific!  So, I am going to save my draft to a thumb drive.  I know.  It’s about time, right?Obviously, the hubby came home and “fixed” my computer with just a few keystrokes.  I don’t ask questions, I just go with it.  And I continue to ponder the latest sermon series at church…all about growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has just been like an extra push when I’m sitting there listening and there’s scriptural confirmation that I need to “just do it”, as they say.  This one really hit me hard…

 

“It is difficult to sense the presence of God in your life when you ignore the purpose God has for your life.”

The “main point” of becoming a Jesus follower is to lead others to follow Jesus.  So in that way, we all know what our purpose is.  We don’t have to wonder.  Your way of leading people to Jesus is probably a lot different than mine.  I feel like within that “main point” lies our purpose, our gift, our God-given talent. If we will focus ourselves on “the main point”, then our purpose, our “reason for being” will become clear.  Does that make sense?  For instance, if you have a musical talent, you can use that talent without the “main point” in mind or you can do what you love, what you’re best at, as a starting point to show others the love of Christ. Like if your gift was music…you could play and sing just any old songs, or you could use your talents to share Christ with people.  See?

Okay, well I’m just going to hope this made sense to you.  It seems to take me so long to get posts together anymore that I am writing a single post in two or more sessions and I lose my focus.  I really hate that and am hoping to get past this soon.  I have a ton of stuff to catch you up on but for now, I’ll close this one.

Blessings!

 

 



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