Tag: Blogging

Get out of that comfort zone!

As a mom of a rambunctious 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old teenage girl, we are always learning life lessons in my house, but often I am the one giving the lessons and learning through their situation and seeing how I could do bette with things in my own life. Afterall, if I teach it to them, I better model it first.

Last week was no different, Katie has chosen to be a Veterinarian. We are so proudDSC_0057 of her, at fifteen I wish I had been half as goal oriented as her. She has her eye on the prize and she goes for it. She chose a High School that has a program that trains her to do exactly that. The plan is that when she graduates High School, she will be a certified Vet Tech,  and then she will go on to college and have a head start towards her career. She is so excited and this year she has enjoyed her first year in the Agriculture program. 

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However, Katie is also in Band. Katie is my musician of the family. She loves playing her flute, and choosing between music and becoming a Vet was actually hard for her.  Last year Katie paid her dues and did marching band for the year that she was told she had to do originally. She broke her knee, and marched anyway until the brutal end. This coming year, she physically can not march, but would like to continue symphonic band but they are requiring marching band if you want to be in band at all.

Katie agonized over this for weeks. She knew this would mean she would have to give up band. And as I watched my daughter, I had this chat with her one morning. 

Sometimes, you have to leave what you are comfortable with even if it hurts and you have to move forward to see what bigger and better things God has for you. That’s the problem we get so comfortable with where we are. All we see is what we are losing and we can not see what we are gaining.  If we would just move forward knowing that there are bigger and better things ahead we wouldn’t miss out on the blessings God has for us.

For Katie, moving away from her first love of band is extremely difficult, but God has huge things in store for her.  She is gaining more time with the animals, more experience, and things she really loves. She has the ability to give lessons for the flute as well so it’s not over, because she has time now. She can play more often at church. She can join the orchestra in town now. She can play for this blog more often now. There are so many opportunities and doors that can open up but she can’t limit God because she is afraid to lose the familiar…. otherwise she will never mature and never grow. How many of us get comfortable with where we are that we resist change and miss out on countless blessings? We don’t want to lose our comfy spot but if we would take a leap if faith, we wouldn’t lose at all we would gain everything. 

 I just thought this was worth sharing with all of you.

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Can I get it right? Sunday morning sermon By Pastor Johnie

Take responsibility for yourself. (Random rant.)

After talking to a childhood friend that grew up similar to me, I began thinking about how many people I know that use how tough they had it as a child as an excuse of why they aren’t where they want to be now in life and it turns out there are a lot. I have never allowed anything that ever happened to me in my past to be my excuse, in fact I have used the things that happened to me as a learning experience of what not to do. This was a random rant, not directed at anyone in particular. Just some thoughts that I needed to get out.

 

Surrounded ( Fight my battles) Michael W.Smith

 

This song seemed appropriate for my mood today. Enjoy.

Let me let you in on the seriousness of my Autoimmune Disease story. Let’s get real for a minute.

 Let’s get real for a minute. 

I think at times I downplay the seriousness of my autoimmune diseases and I don’t allow others in on the reality of my story. 

My major organs are being attacked. I have heart blockages in my right bundle branch and I have the beginnings of kidney issues due to lupus. My digestive system doesn’t work as at it should, for my digestive system to break down foods it takes three times as long as a normal system.



I have over ten autoimmune diseases all of them have symptoms of their own. Lupus, Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, Lupus Nuephritis, Gastroparesis Nuerocardiogenic syncope,Sjogens, Autonomic dysfuction, Esophageal dysfuction, Arthritis, Antiphospholipid Syndrome, Autoimmune dysautonomia, Raynaud’s phenomenon, Myositis, chronic pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia. I am sure I have forgotten to list something because I also suffer from short term memory loss. 



 

I have to take a hand full of medication in the morning and at night, where before I became sick getting me to take Tylenol was difficult. 
I am on a healthy eating plan because I have serious digestive issues. I eat soft foods, I do not eat much more than a cup full of food at a meal. I do not eat sugar, processed foods, fried foods, gluten or bread. 
I have people advising me continuously about special diets, gluten free diets, vitamin rich diets and more as if these would cure things in an instant. I have a list of foods that my doctors tell me I cannot eat but I continue to fight every single day to stay alive and to stay healthy.
I just turned 39 years old on Friday and I plan on spreading awareness of the horrible autoimmune diseases that attack millions of people so that one day there might be a cure. 
My desire is to make the public aware of autoimmune disease and to reach as many people as I can for Jesus Christ. God has given me peace about what is happening in my body and I want everyone else to find peace as well. I remain positive because the only one that can heal me is God. He is all I have.
 

Day 2…How does Autoimmune Disease affect our family? A note from my 14 year old daughter.

Being the daughter of a mom that has lupus can be tough sometimes. I have struggled with anxiety since the very beginning. Several times I would be at school and wonder, “Will my mom be okay?.”  It seems like we all have a jump scare at least once a year. I always sit in my bed every night and pray to God about
everything but my mom is always at least one of the topics. I used to be afraid to tell my mom about my personal problems because I would be afraid that it would stress her out even more than she already was. I felt like I had a voice in the back of my head telling me not to worry but I didn’t listen to it. That was one of my big mistakes I made through this journey. Ever since 5th grade, I went through anxiety
thinking I may come home to something bad happening.
If I could give advice to another daughter that has a parent in this situation, I would suggest not to worry because God has a plan for all of us. Usually when these things happen it’s to teach us a lesson. Personally, for me it has taught me hope. While writing this I
had to think about what hope actually was. When I searched what “hope” meant it said, “a feeling of trust”. I learned to trust God with my mom. Every now and then I still think, “Is my mom going to be okay?”, but I still say I need to trust God.
Romans 5:5 says, “Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured
out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”





 

In case you missed it……

Living with many Autoimmune Diseases is difficult enough. I have to keep on living a life, being a mother and a wife. I have to deal with my pain and I have to keep a handle on my emotions.


Over the next few days I will share some of my closest family and friends writings on how my illness affects them. I asked each of them to write how my illness affects them. The first one will be from my Father, the second one will be from my 14 year old daughter and I will continue for a few days with a few more people. 

The reason I am doing this is because I want to bring awareness that our families and friends are deeply affected.



When we are physically  hurting, they are emotionally hurting for us. Sometimes it’s hard to express that you love someone when it hurts so bad.

How does living with Autoimmune Disease affect our families?

Living with many Autoimmune Diseases is difficult enough. I have to keep on living a life, being a mother and a wife. I have to deal with my pain and I have to keep a handle on my emotions.


Over the next few days I will share some of my closest family and friends writings on how my illness affects them. I asked each of them to write how my illness affects them. The first one will be from my Father, the second one will be from my 14 year old daughter and I will continue for a few days with a few more people. 

The reason I am doing this is because I want to bring awareness that our families and friends are deeply affected.



When we are physically  hurting, they are emotionally hurting for us. Sometimes it’s hard to express that you love someone when it hurts so bad.

My first letter will be from the man that I call my Spiritual Father but by all rights and purposes he is my Dad.

Actually I feel more like a father to Tabitha than just a spiritual father. I hurt when she hurts, I’m sad when she is sad, I empathize when I can do nothing but offer words of comfort. I have walked a hard road with Tabitha for nine years, most of those years were dealing with the past atrocities that she has suffered. Those former years, before I knew her, have made me angry and hurt at the people that have hurt her. I can do nothing about those people but I can be there for Tabitha. Now, as almost insult to injury, she has been plagued with a debilitating disease. I’m not angry with God because of her life of torment and pain, He didn’t cause them, but He has lifted her up through them and has given her hope and a platform to help and encourage others. I never ask God why this is happening to Tabitha, in fact I think this is Satan’s way of trying to silence her, but he has failed to do that, her voice of hope and encouragement is stronger than ever. The sicker she gets, the more I encourage and the more I ask God to heal and protect her from Satan’s talons and I will do that until the day God calls me home.
I tell Tabitha that God is as all we have.  This is a fallen world and we, as the human race, have chosen to do our own thing, but God still stands and waits for His children to call out to Him, to call His name, to ask for help, healing and mercy and He has done just that for Tabitha. The help and healing isn’t manifested in the way we would always want, but still God continues to bring help and healing in new ways that is overwhelming victories. We see that God is doing greater things than just stopping the pain and sickness, He has created miracles that Tabitha and I rehearse continually to keep them fresh in our minds and hearts. That doesn’t mean God is not touched with our infirmities, He hates for His children to suffer, but suffering is a part of this world. One day this will all be over and we will go to a place of bliss forever. For now, we will stand, we will fight the enemy and we will continue to believe that God has a plan. Our faith and trust are in God. God has been my source of strength for longer than Tabitha has been alive, now I will be her source of strength. I will stand with her, hold her up when I need to, pray for her, encourage her, listen to her, cry with her and continue to love her just like the Father has loved me. In fact, that is how I have known how to be a father to Tabitha, God has been a great Father to me.

 

What really constitutes being a Father?

I was born in the most obscure circumstances possible. My biological father was abusive in every way possible from the time I was just a toddler until I was nine-years-old. My parents divorced at that time and for a short time my three siblings and I  lived with my mother.
One day, without any forewarning  my siblings and I were taken away from our mother and placed in foster care. Although we were safe from physical abuse in our foster home, mental abuse was still the order. I learned at an early age how to look after myself and to protect my brother and two sisters. For the most part, I was the father and the mother to my siblings. Still, even in the midst of an abusive life, God still found a way into my life and he placed different people in my path even for short times.
Even though my life had been filled with abuse, neglect, and abandonment, God was still a part of my life. We were taken to church, we were taught about Jesus and I managed to find people that seemed to care about me and my siblings despite our plight in life. I knew who God was but I did not have a relationship
with Him. When people would say that God was my Father, I could not relate, every father I had known to this point was a bitter
disappointment.
I met my husband when I was just a eighteen. After a very short courtship we would become engaged and married just a short time
later. One of the defining factors of my relationship with my husband was that he went to church with his parents. I too wanted
to go to church and so I attended church with my husband and his parents.
One day a missionary came to our church and talked about Guatemala. I connected with the pictures of the starving dirty poor children and I wanted to go help. This mission trip would be a life changing experience for me.
At this time in my life I was twenty-nine years old, had two small children but I was still not over my past and the abuse that I had
suffered, but I was determined to keep moving, that was the only thing I knew, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
On the mission trip I became acquainted with the Associate Pastor of the church.  Back home, at the church for an entire year he had been relentless to always go out of his way to speak to me and my husband and he would call us by name. However, I was not about to let anyone in my life, I had a hedge of protection around me, and I would not give him the time of day.
On the mission trip He spent time talking to me, encouraging me and even pushing me to become more connected and to break out of my shell.
When we came back home from the mission trip, I began to open up to the Associate Pastor. He proved to me to be trustworthy. He was patient, he taught me the word of God, he prayed for me over and over again. One day I realized, “maybe this is what a dad really is?”
I wish time would allow for me to tell of all that I have learned from this man, but one thing that stands above the rest is his unconditional love. No matter how stubborn I was, no matter how angry I was, he still loved and cared for me and kept leading me to Jesus.
We have built a trusting relationship for nine years and he has taught me everything a real father should have. This man is now my spiritual father, because of Him I can call God my Father for the first time and mean it because now I understand what a father really is.
I believe that spiritual fathers and spiritual mothers are essential in the church for repairing damage that has been done to young Christians. For me, it was the only tangible way to learn the basics of a relationship without expectations. Because of one person willing to take the time to step out in faith and keep trying even though it was difficult, I was able to know unconditional love and give my life willingly over to God. #unconditionallove #survivor #metoo

My daughter playing At the Cross by Chris Tomlin.

I am so proud of this girl right here. Not only does she play her flute beautifully but she is a great daughter.

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What is autoimmune disease to me?

What is autoimmune disease? The medical definition is as follows; An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. 

However, I have my own thoughts on what autoimmune disease means to me.

For me it’s not knowing what comes next. My good days are a normal person’s worst day. It’s the daily renewing of my mind to fight against depression, aggravation, and anger. It’s a daily awareness of how I feel, things I do, and how much I do.  It’s a daily fight for my life. 

 

Chronic illness is more than just a disease that makes my body hurt and an illness that won’t ever go away. It’s mentally draining, it attacks me to my core. Some of my biggest fears in life have had to be confronted in order to survive this illness. There isn’t room for wasting precious energy on things that I can’t control.

Facing a chronic illness is not easy, it’s scary and full of unknowns and unanswered questions. It can be lonely at times, even if you do have a full circle of supporters. I often see that other people say that no one understands them, and that is right! No one can possibly understand what you are going through except for yourself. It is your journey. However, we can’t get caught up in how much others do or do not understand what we are going through when we really can’t fully understand it ourselves. 

If you are a caretaker of someone with Autoimmune disease, the biggest gift you can give to your loved one is to say I believe you and listen. Understand that this illness is beyond what you can see, physically and psychologically. 

If you are one of my fellow spoonies, find a support system of others that you can gather information from and that can relate. If you need a support buddy, message me!

What is autoimmune disease to you? 

 

 

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