Saturday, December 18, 2010

Simple Wins

I haven’t written in a while.  Not out of laziness or busyness or any of those other excuse we use on a daily basis. I haven’t written out of anger.  Every time I sat down to write in my blog about my health, my heart, my soul, my spirit - I became angry.  So angry that only venom came to my mind.  Only words that were made to be shouted not written would come out of my fingers. I woke up angry, I worked angry, I ate angry and even slept angry.

I was angry at the cards I have been dealt.  At the health I have been handed.  Angry that no matter how hard I tried I kept turning into this weak and pitiful person who needed help!  I just wanted to scream and cry with every breath I had!

So what has changed you ask?  It is simple.  A state of mind.  My health is not any better - in fact I think some days it’s gotten worse.  My spiritual journey is in a holding pattern and my heart is the same.  What changed was my mind.  I woke up one morning and decided I couldn’t - no WOULDN’T live this way any longer.  Why do you want to live a life of anger? I took a deep breath and as I breathed out I decided the pity party was over!  No more anger, no more crying, no more feeling sorry for myself. Now was a time to live, to fight and to enjoy life!

My husband actually started me down this road about a week before.  He is one of those people who will love you deeply while always being honest and upfront with you.  When we discussed having leadership pray over me at our church he asked what I wanted.  I told him I was tired of praying - tired of wanting - and that I just didn’t know what to pray for anymore. He looked me straight in the eyes and instead of doing what every one else in my life does (which is love me through it - hug me and tell me what I want to hear) he said exactly what I NEEDED to hear while loving me through it.  “It’s like the guy in the Bible that was by the healing waters but complaining to Jesus saying he tried to get in but others got there first so he couldn’t be healed. Jesus said to him - GET UP!  GET UP AND BE HEALED!.”  “Kim - you have to want to be healed - you have to get up!”.

Wow - that hurt.  But again I reiterate that is exactly why I love my husband - he loves me deeply even when it comes to telling me the hard stuff I do not want to hear! However, be that as it may, he was right.  I was sitting on the sidelines whining about how I couldn’t get better but I wasn’t doing anything.
That brings me back to that morning, that deep breath and that decision to break the pity party up and start living again!  Since then I’d love to tell you I am healed and everything is perfect. Unfortunately if I did I would be lying.  My health has not gotten any better, in fact today I have no voice and have been sick for days (above and beyond my normal stuff)!  Spiritually I am still on hold and well not much has changed.

No I correct that - I have had small wins since then and I think I have been all along - it’s just now I allow myself to see them.  I have made it to church a few times after months of not going at all.  My doctor was finally able to get the specialist to agree to see me! Most of all, I am now able to look at my family and see love and feel grateful for them in my life instead of worrying about me and my health destroying it!

The moral is simple - life will hand you crap - but if you put on a smile and truly allow yourself to enjoy life - you will be able to push the crap aside and enjoy the little moments that matter the most.  So your health isn’t great, so your mind doesn’t work the way it should, so you aren’t “good enough” to enter those pearly gates in heaven - that is not what matters.  What matters is you put your feet on the floor each and every day - you take one moment at a time and you allow yourself to bask in the little wins of those moments.  The rest - well the rest is like loose change - stick it in a jar and forget about it!

Here’s to simple wins!

Friday, October 22, 2010

May be moving to new blog site

If you are following me click the title above and go to my new site.  I will keep putting them on here when Ihave time but eventually will be moving permanently to the new site!

Thanks for your support!

17 and Pregnant...

I am 17.  I just found out I am pregnant.  Do I sleep around? No I don’t.  In fact, I am in a committed relationship with a loving guy who has asked me to be his wife.  He asked me months before I became pregnant, so I know he loves me and not just because I am carrying his child.

Pregnant?  I can’t be pregnant – I am ONLY 17.  I am still in school and I cannot handle this.  I have lived a life of pain and suffering.  I have lived with abuse and dysfunction for 17 years.  I watched my mother die by her own hand.  I have just found a safe place within my fiancés house with his family – a pregnancy would destroy all of this!  I CAN’T BE PREGNANT!

My fiancé is grinning – he is happy we are having a baby.  He is such a loving guy and so ready to take on the world.  How do I break his heart and tell him I do not want this baby? I cry silently because once again I am alone with devastating circumstances and no one to lean on. Why does my life keep being hit over and over again by BAD THINGS?

I have decided – I cannot have this child.  I cannot do this.  I will tell him today… His body, his mind, even his soul is in shock! Abortion?  "We can’t do that" he says.  "It will be fine" he says.  I do not care – I do not believe him and I know I can’t do this.  I’ve already made the appointment.  It will be fine – I don’t want it anyhow so how hard can this be? Sadly he agrees with me.

We are in the clinic now.  Standing there I hear others talk about how many times they have done this.  Some are fine, some are crying.  I, on the other hand, have no feelings.  None.  I look over and he looks so scared.  It doesn’t matter  - we are too young – it has to be this way. I have decided - no backing out now.  It's too late we are here.

I go back and am put on a table.  The doctor tells me he is sick of teens getting pregnant and just coming to "take care of it".  He tells me that this is wrong and then proceeds to do the abortion anyhow. His message confuses me. I am awake and have received no medication at all.  The doctor begins – it hurts so bad – I am crying – but the doctor only stares at me uncaring.  He continues to hurt me – I want it to stop. I plead with the nurse - she just stares at me uncaring and tells me to be still.  He is finally done – he shows me the blood and the baby.  He says "Hope you are happy! Get  some juice and go home." The sight of what I just did destroys me! The doctor's actions and words shatter my soul.

I walk out to the lobby – dazed and hurt.  My guy grabs me and holds me so tight.  He is hurt by my decision but stands by me. How did I end up with this guy anyhow?
I spend weeks bleeding and in pain.  So alone and scared.  Finally when I wake up night after night crying out for the baby (believing I can hear the dead child's cries at night), hurting and bleeding... my fiancés caves and tells his family.

Oh God - they can't know!  How could he do this to me?  They will kick me out!  They will stare at me with horror and point at me with shame!  They are Christians they will not tolerate this.  I hid in my room in fear - it won't be long now before I have to pack and figure out where to go!
They are at my door now - crying and sad. They forgive me and hold me.  They tell me they wish they had known for they would have helped us.  They cry with us. They get me to a doctor and help heal me. How can this be?  Why didn't I just go to them in the first place - then it wouldn't hurt so bad now!
No one told me that they couldn’t heal my soul or my heart.  I miss the baby that I didn’t want but now miss with every fiber of my being.  I cry out every night and my arms ache at the emptiness.  I look at my fiance and die a little inside at his heartbreak he shows with every breath he takes.  I begin to wonder why it was so important to not have that child.  What was I thinking?  Why did I make that decision? Why didn't I trust God? Oh that's right, I have turned my back on God - why would He help me now?

Skip to a year later – we are married.  We find out we are pregnant and are joyful.  Then the doctor tells us the child is gone and we have to do a procedure to take the child out.  My life spins back to the time I had an abortion.  I cry – I wanted this baby – why can’t I have this one?  We cry together – we scream together, we hate each other.  I feel like this is due to the original decision not to accept a child from God when we were 17.  He blames me – I can see it in his eyes. Hell I blame me - who am I kidding!  God - please God - oh yea I've turned my back on you - never mind.

Another year – another pregnancy – this one short lived as well.  It hurts – I wonder if God could be punishing me for being so selfish the first time. Of course He's punishing me - I destroyed something He gave me, I turned my back on Him - why would He be here for me now?

We cry, we hurt, we keep dying inside.  We decide we can’t do this again.  We stop trying. Our love for each other will be enough.  God, Oh God, WHY?

Another year later we are pregnant without trying.  First we are excited – but then we remember the other 3 and lose hope. We know God no longer loves us - this child will not be. For the first time in years I pray.  I pray every day, I cry and I apologize to God an beg Him to not turn His back on me and take this child too. I am not sure I believe but I pray anyhow.

Nine months later, I am holding our son in my arms.  The pregnancy wasn't easy but here is this beautiful child - in our arms - alive and well. I know with all my heart -we should never have thought God wouldn’t have taken care of us when we were 17.  That had we only turned to Him we would have been ok.  God wasn't punishing me or us.  He did not punish us by allowing the other babies to leave this earth. God was there all the time - it was me who turned my back.  It was me who didn't trust - who didn't seek...

Looking back – Christian or not- I can tell you that aborting a child has been one of the greatest losses in my life.  That I will never be able to express the loss I felt at that moment, nor will I ever be able to fully understand why I made that decision.  I would say to anyone considering this that no matter your belief please PLEASE think hard before making that decision.  It will follow you for your entire life and once it’s done there is no going back.

You will heal, God will forgive you and people will support you despite your decision but the road from that point on is not easy – so if you can decide to take a different path – then please turn from this intersection and do not even consider this road. I’ve been on it and it’s rocky and dark and dangerous – turn away.  Learn from my pain and know that no matter what it's not God who turned away - He is still there - waiting patiently with open arms.


I looked up into the sky and saw more stars than I had facebook friends. I woke in the morning and watched a sun rise that created beautiful colors in the sky like no artist has ever been able to create. I marveled at the trees that soared above my head regardless of how we poison the ground they grow in. I stood in wonder at the mountains that glistened in the distance. Smiled as the animals graze in the fields and the dew dripped from the gorgeous flowers. I breathe in the air and wonder how did we become so blessed to live in such glory yet so ungrateful and uncaring that we quit noticing it.

How is it we are to worship this awesome God that created all things, that we are to love a God who loves us unfailing yet we cannot even take a moment in our day for Him? We push it off for later or another day. We bargain with ourselves and say – I’ll do it tomorrow – He won’t mind for He sees how busy I am. How is it that we are called to do one thing, and that is follow our Creator, yet we can’t spare a moment to do this?
When did getting coffee, rushing kids to school, hurrying to beat traffic to work and the other busyness of our day take over our main directive? We were called to love yet I can’t remember the last time I saw someone slow down to do just that. To give a moment to the old lady crying in the streets, to help the gentleman struggling to put his groceries in the car or to stop and comfort a mother who seems to be hanging on by a thread. When was the last time we stopped our busy lives to love another?

We, and by we, I mean Christians, go to church on Sundays, attend our fellowships and study groups. We do all the things “modern church” calls us to do. We read the Bible when we have time yet we do not hear what those words are calling us to do. We turn our heads when we see someone in need. Out of meanness or anger? No not usually – usually because we are just so busy with our own things – so busy with busyness that we forgot what we just heard on Sunday in Church or was taught in group or even what we just read in our morning devotion.

Funny Christians are so worried about the government taking the word God out of our money or our pledges. We worry what the atheist is doing to undermine our faith. We question other religions and their rights to spread their beliefs. Though truth be told that is not what is going to harm all the work Christ accomplished in coming and dying for us. Truth be told it will be the busy Christian who does the most harm.

So today, as I breathe in this morning air and look around me at all the wonders our God has provided us (and no that does not include the Mercedes or the luxury homes!). I hope and I pray that God will change my heart. That God will help me see past my busyness and truly live like He asked me to live. That He will forgive me for my ignorance and bless me with knowledge and humbleness. Today I pray God will help me stop being a Christian and help me start being His disciple. I pray that if for only a moment each of you, Christian or not, will receive the same blessing and remember that in all this wonder we are called to live for Him and not busyness.

New Shoes - I am not my mother!

Everything I have done in life has about not repeating the past.  I come from a dysfunctional family who inflicts pain like most people give hugs.  Every breath I take is about not repeating what I saw, what I felt and what I lived with every day of my life until I turned 18.

So, how is it I am finding myself in the same shoes as my mother.  Let me rephrase - not the exact same shoes but I am looking at those shoes and I am definitely thinking they are starting to look like hers.  What is so frustrating is up until now I have been shopping in a totally different store and wearing a totally different look.
I married a wonderful man who has never laid a hand on me or my children - which would be the exact polar opposite of the man my mother married.  I have a well adjusted child who has never experienced pain and suffering life I did growing up.  I love my life and the people I've surrounded myself with.

Now you are reading this going how is she wearing the same shoes?  How could they even look similar to her mom's? Has she lost her mind - or maybe just her perspective?

Looking at this, I know my path has been 100 miles away from my mom's shoe store! However there is just one thing - one tiny thing that I have NO control over - but the one thing that makes me feel like I walked out of my closet and stepped into hers.
I watched Rheumatoid Arthritis destroy my mother along with all the other dysfunction she lived with.  I was so focused on the dysfunction in my life or rather keeping the dysfunction away that I forgot to watch around the corner for the genetic diseases that lurk in our family.  So now I am standing here wondering how could I work so hard on not being my mother but now I am staring at her face in the mirror?

My new goal in mind is to figure out how to fight my AS disease and not let it destroy me like it did my mom.  With that in mind I think I am going to take these shoes off and give them away - I am not her and I do not shop where she shopped.  I am stronger and walking farther to get to a better shoe store will be hard but worth it!

That being said please know that I love my mom with my whole heart and miss her every day.  I think she did the best she could with what she was handed.  However just because I love her doesn't mean I have to live the same life.

Well I am off to find a new store!  I'll be back soon to show you my new shoes!

Contemplating your life...

On an average day my pain level doesn't go below a five, if I eat 1000 calories I am lucky and no I am not complaining - just stating facts.  As you know I have Celiac and AS but along with that recently I've started having new medical issues.  No doctor seems to know what is going on and the latest thing I was told was that I may have tumors in my liver.  "Most likely they are benign" is what I am told.

I just take one day at a time. I have a lot more doctors to see and a lot more "mmm I am just not sure what is causing the pain" to go so I am trying not to freak out or anything.  However yesterday was one of those days that every song, every comment, every thing that happened just makes you contemplate what you are doing with your life and why you are doing it. Especially when my health is in question.

It hit me that one year from now my mom and I will be the same age as when she took her life.  It hit me that I cannot even imagine what life will be like after 39.  Then it hit me the doctors told me I have tumors in my liver - TUMORS!  I know what they said but it sort of freaked me out!  So everything I looked at, everything I thought and everything I did went through analysis.

Simple things like - How could I have lived here for 3 years and never gone down that street that is less than a 1/2 mile from my house? How can I wave at my neighbors everyday and not know their name?

Then I moved on to things like.. The people in my life - are they toxic to me and my life or my greatest supporters?  Do I treat people the best that I can everyday?  If I died tomorrow would someone remember me with a smile or with anger?

Then I started wondering... Have I done anything meaningful with my life? If I was gone tomorrow have I done what God called me to do? Will the people around me be left with something to remember me by besides my material possessions?

After these thoughts hitting me over and over again I came to one conclusion... and when I did I curled up in bed and sobbed.  Literally sobbed.  I am afraid that looking back on my last 37 years I haven't done near what I should have.  That if today was the last breath I would draw then it would be a disappointing sigh.

Sobbing doesn't solve the problem though.  What I can say is that after yesterday my outlook has changed.  I've made decisions I have been toying with for years and I am not going to keep letting life pass me by while I wait for the right time to act.

I can honestly say I do not regret a moment I spent as a mom or a wife.  I feel like I've done exactly what I was suppose to do for both of those roles if not more.  I also know that I am going to spend the rest of my life being the best mom I can be.  I am also going to keep working on our marriage because all the work we've put into this love has paid off and I never want to lose what we have. This part of my life is not sob worthy so I will keep on keeping on.

However personally I feel like there is a lot to do!  I have a lot of decisions to make on career choices, friend choices and most of all figuring out what God is calling me to do.

Today though - I have realized I have to focus on healing.  I have to remember that everyone gets knocked down but it's how fast you get back up and what you do when you are standing again.

Contemplating my life has been life changing - and even if you are in perfect health I would recommend you look at the world for one day as though you weren't.

Dear Dad


You will not know who I am today. You will not know anyone in fact - you haven't for a while now.  However I needed to write this letter.  I needed to tell you somehow just how much you mean to me.  I can call you right now and talk to you and say the things I am going to say here - but you won't know why I am telling you this or even remember it in a few hours.  So I guess I am hoping that by putting my feelings here - out in the world - somehow cosmically you will feel the love I have wrap around you and hold you awhile and somehow comfort you in that strange world you've found yourself in.

Funny though that I write this letter to you and not my father by blood.  See you are not my biological dad, you are not my step dad, heck you are not even my adoptive dad.  You are the "dad" I acquired when I married your wonderful son.  You and mom took me in when I was 17 years old.  At a time when no one else wanted me or could even tolerate me.  You and mom looked at me and didn't see a kid with troubles, a kid with anger issues, a kid who wasn't worth dealing with anymore.  No you looked at me and knew I could be saved - and save me you did.

I will forever be grateful to you and mom for taking me in - because I believe with my whole heart it saved my life.  Without you both loving me and supporting me I do not think I would have the life I have now.  A life full of love and happiness.  I will always see mom as the one who loved me, who was patient with me and the one who nurtured me.  You, well I will always remember you as the one who gave me swift kick in the pants when I needed it the most and never took my crap.  You never physically touched me or ever EVER hurt me - but you knew when to tell me to knock it off and get my head straight again! It's because of you that I learned there was a different way to be - that I had a real chance at a good life.

To be honest though - now I feel guilty.  Guilty that maybe I didn't tell you how much I loved you or maybe I didn't tell you enough.  See when I love someone I love them with my whole heart and hold them there forever.  However I am not one to be on your doorstep asking to visit a lot nor am I on the phone all the time telling you about my life and you have influenced it.  I am a bit of a gypsy and though I prize the people in my world; I do not see a need to always be shouting it from the rooftops or veering off course to make time for lunch.  So for that I apologize - not for who I am but for the fact that if I may not have told you enough or showed you enough just how much you mean to me.

I also feel guilty that you now live in this alter world with your disease and that even though you were able to fix me - I can't fix you or this! I am powerless to stop this disease from destroying you.  I can't DO anything to help you.  Yet I owe you so much!
Dad there are very few people that I allow to be woven into my fabric called life.  You however are and always will be one of the threads that hold me together and when you are gone I will always remain a little frayed.

So please know that I love you.  That you are an important person in my life even if you don't remember that life all the time.  Remember that you have made a difference not just in my life but in many others.  Somehow I hope that you know that even though "your world" has changed - the fact that you are important and loved in "our world" has not.

Hang in there we've got your back - even if you don't know it!

I love you DAD!

How do you respond to that?

A little over a year ago I started a blog on about getting healthy.  It sounded easy.  I would blog about my progress and just watch myself get better and better.  However a year later, I think I'm further behind than when I started.  I have had good days and bad days.  Lately it's been more bad than good.

About two months ago I started having problems again and wasn't able to eat or handle much at all.  I waiting about three weeks before going to a doctor.  My doctor was stumped so she sent me to my GI doctor.  He too looked puzzled and said he wasn't sure but thought it might be my liver swelling and my body not healing.

So then I took a trip to my nutritionist who put me back on a soft diet for a few weeks and said that I just needed time to heal.  I was following her diet to the tee and seemed to be doing better.  She told me after 2 weeks I could introduce one item to my diet every two days until I could tolerate food again.

Last night was my first day of reintroducing foods.  Let me just say it didn't go as planned.  I literally ate one bite of meat and then spent the remainder of the night in pain and trying not to cry.  So it's back to soft foods for me - the introduction wasn't a good idea yet.

I guess you are wondering what all of this has to do with my title....well let me tell you.  Today my husband and I got a little snippy with each other and started to argue which is pretty rare for us.  So in the middle of this stupid argument my husband throws the bomb out there.  "Look I'm stressed and I hate you being sick.  I have always seen us together growing old together and lately I just don't see that anymore.  I feel like I am going to lose you and you won't be here to grow old with me".

The question now is what do you say to that.  To the person who is my rock, who is my earth angel and the one I count on to be strong? How do I reassure him when even I don't have that answer.  What if I am not here later in life?  What if something serious is wrong and the doctors are just missing it?

I want to watch my baby grow up and have his own babies.  I want to sit with my husband when we are old and watch our family.  I want to live a life I never got to see my mom live....
So how do your respond to that?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The more I learn the less I know

The fact that I am a researcher at heart and that I become obsessed with learning would normally lead you to believe there isn’t much I DON’T know about my health.  However to say that would be a total lie.
I have had Celiac for two years now.  When I found out, I immediately took on the task of learning everything I could so that I could heal and get better.  I can now recite long words that contain gluten in them.  I can tell you that beauty products have wheat in them and though the doctors say that doesn’t matter that they are dead wrong on that one! I can whip up a delicious home cooked meal that is completely safe for a celiac to eat without giving it second thought.

What I cannot do is tell you that I am an expert in this area.  Lord knows I should be - I have read, researched and lived everything I can get my hands on.  The crazy thing is that even TWO years later I am STILL learning about this disease.  I am still finding things I didn’t know and I am still healing from the damage the disease did to me in the first place.

This is what leads me to my title - the more I learn the less I know.  What I do know is this - Celiac is not a joke. It isn’t an easy disease to live with and it’s effects can rack up some major damage to your body.
My suggestion - do not stop learning.  Make a commitment to stay up with the latest news and medical findings.  Doing so will cause you a lot less heartache later on.

Learning will help you become healthier in all areas of your life and if you have Celiac it may just save your life!

If you are not learning you are not moving forward and that could be a fatal mistake!
Peace to everyone - may this week you find one thing that can help you be healthier in your body, heart and soul…….

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

And There's More...

I have had Celiac for two years now.  It was a relief to be diagnosed and seemed to be such an easy fix for such a large health concern.  Now two years later I am finding out "there's more".  There hasn't been a week that has gone by that I haven't learned something new about this disease or the diet that goes along with it.

And there's more....
I have learned that there is gluten not only in foods but in shampoos, lotions, make up, and much more.  I have learned that doctors tell you that this doesn't matter as long as you do not eat it.  Then I learned that if I used it I became sick - and when I started asking around so do many many other Celiacs! 

 And there's more....
 I have learned that just when I think I have researched every corner of this earth and that I know all I could possibly know about Celiac I am wrong!

And there's more...
I have learned that the damage my body has sustained from Celiac includes dental problems, gallbladder problems, liver problems, and much much more.

And there's more....
Mostly I have learned this is not an easy disease and that most likely this has become a full time research and life long learning process! That nothing will ever become one hundred percent easy with this disease!

I have learned that I am getting really good at research, that this disease will become a defining moment and my life and that I am stronger than I ever imagined.

Friday, May 14, 2010

For a moment - it's just too much

For a moment in time you are lonely.
For a moment in time you are scared.

For a moment in time you are hurt

For a moment in time you are….. hungry, tired,  beaten, you name it - you feel it.

How many moments in your life have you felt like this?  How many moments in life have you felt alone in a world with millions upon billions of people? How many moments in your life have you felt that faith alone cannot hold you up – for this moment – this moment is just too much this time?

Look around you - you have friends, family, co-workers, etc all willing to tell you Hallmark greeting worthy messages.  They can tell you God has a plan, things happen for a reason, don't be silly you are not alone, and on and on and on.  

Today though if you turn to me I will tell you a different message.  Not one of God and goodness but one of evil and hatred.  As you know I consider myself a Christian (and I say this loosely as I feel it's more about my relationship with Christ than my relationship with the church or even the title itself).  I also have had more of "those moments" than most people should ever have in their lifetime yet I still have much more to go.  
I want to talk about something no one utters, no one speaks about.  It has become like a Harry Potter novel where there is this evil one that no one speaks his name in fear of conjuring that very evil up! 

Today I want to remind you that while you are having that moment - the devil, Satan himself is posed waiting to pounce on you and every doubt you have ever had.  See I do not believe that Satan just tempts us.  No I believe that at times he stomps on us over and over again.  So much so that we can only see the beating that will begin from the moment we open our eyes in the morning until we pass out with exhaustion at night.  Satan has learned that through our faith we are strong so a little temptation doesn't always go far enough - or a slight bump in the road doesn't always stop us from he upped his game.  

I believe that when you are on the right path, that when you are posed to do the most good for God and his kingdom is exactly the moment Satan chooses to commence those attacks.  And do not worry - it won't be a small war waged - it will feel as if Satan and his entire army has chosen your doorstep to wage war and somehow you were not able to get out in time.  A sea of evil and darkness will descend upon you so that you cannot see past it to light and goodness around you.  

Why you ask - why would Satan taken an interest in someone who seemingly seems so unimportant?  Easy! In God's kingdom we are all important.  Each person Satan wins over is one more for him and one less for God.  By drowning you in despair you become weary and it's harder and harder to remember the light and the good and the fact that you are surrounded by those who truly love you and would do anything for you.  So in short - he wins!

The biggest questions - How do you get out of it?  How do you endure it? And most importantly how do you stop it?  I cannot tell you specifically what you need to do to stop Satan from attacking.  I can tell you that there have been times in my life where Satan has lashed out at me so hard and so fast that I felt one more blow would crush me, that all my life had been drained from me and that no matter who I loved or how much faith I had I just wasn't sure one more breath was possible.  I also know that in those moments I was bare boned on the floor begging God to make it stop - to help me hold my faith and begging Him not to forsake me or forget me.  No I mean literally on my knees before God - praying? begging?  That I am not sure but those times are one of the few times I have come to God completely stripped of anything earthly or remotely full of pride or anything else that I've learned here on this earth.  I have come before him stripped of all things and in that moment is when I have seen the greatest light.  

In that moment, I understand that it's not always about God rescuing you but sometimes it's about you rescuing yourself.  It's about you realizing that no matter what Satan has in store for you - you belong to the greatest protector there is.  It's about realizing that sometimes beatings happen and God's NOT going to stop them all - however He is going to be there to pick you up when you ask.  It's not different than the times I watched my son walk onto a path I knew would lead to hurt and pain - but I let him so that he could learn and grow.  So if I would do this to my own son - why would my Father not do the same for me.

Now I know what you are thinking - why would he allow us to be pummeled by Satan for so long and so hard?  I can't tell you that - only God can - but I can tell you that no matter how it feels you must hold on to the truths that you are NOT alone in this world and that your faith CAN hold out through the worst of the worst. I can tell you that Satan has an interest in you for a reason - he is trying with all his might to stop you from doing something for God.  Think about it - did he not do the same to Jesus in the dessert?

Today I bring you no hallmark greeting - just a solid knowledge that 1. you do have friends out there who can give you a hallmark greeting and that alone is a blessing and 2. you have a God who is more powerful than Satan could ever be and when you strip yourself down He will wrap His arms gently around you and hold you through the worst of it.

Be strong and brave against Satan's attacks - for he has an army and he has no conscience that keeps him from attacking even us, no matter how small of a part we feel we play, and he will keep it up until you banish him over and over again - you may not have won the war today but you can win the battle - and one day you will be on top of the hill again amazed at what God can do!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


She is blessed beyond belief with her friends and family.  She has a small group that comes every Tuesday to eat and study together.  Though some nights there isn't much studying - instead there's story telling like tonight. They are laughing together as they tell their life's war stories.  None of the stories include "war" - just simple things like dynamite alarm clocks that get the bomb squad called, stories of past relationships, the time the cat was left in the refrigerator all day... just simple day to day stories that make us laugh.

In a birds eye view this woman has the perfect life.  Friends, family, a nice house, a job (which is no simple feat in this economy) and even pets.  What you don't see though is her true story.  In order to see a person's story it is always so much deeper than it looks.

For instance, we could start with the first layer.  This woman who looks like she has everything is riddled with pain and health problems.  Every time she swivels her head to listen to another person's story a sharp pain radiates down her neck into her lower spine.  Sometimes depending on where she looks or how she turns her neck a pain shoots down her arms and makes her entire arm go numb.  Does she wince or cry out - no because that is considered a weakness in her eyes.  So she pushes it all back until they leave.  When they leave she can collapse in a chair, let the tears come to her eyes and wonder how she's going to get through another day of this.  Then she will wonder how do you  put your feet on the floor in the morning knowing that first step will be the beginning of a new day of pain.  However she doesn't have that luxury right now, so she smiles and laughs and works harder at pushing all the rest further and further away. 

So with a minor glimpse into this woman's first layer we see pain.  Now we think to ourselves - well she's stubborn that's why she pushes through.  She has a room full of friends and family - why not lean on them.  Heck there are even a few in that room who have asked her that.  Well in order to understand the answers to those accusations/questions you would have to go into another layer of who that woman is and how she became that way. 

So the question is this - do we dare go deeper?  To go deeper means we connect ourselves to her even more - to go deeper means that we would have to accept that the pain and suffering she holds within that mind could be too much to bear - even for someone who is strong. 

Isn't that what we always do - weight out the options of how much we REALLY want to know?  How much we REALLY want to get involved?

The answer is this - in order to go beyond who we are and what we are dealing with we must reach outside of ourselves to see what others are going through.  It's harder than it sounds because life is just much easier if we keep things on a basic level and do not reach beyond the surface.

So I ask you - are you ready to reach beyond the surface of someone else - or are you happy within your own walls?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

GlutenWiki is upon us!

Check out this new site - I love the concept and the fact that they are out there trying to gather great information to make our life easier.

Thank you so much GluenWiki!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Why do I not crave God like I crave ______________?

How many of you can finish that sentence without even thinking about it? Why do I not crave God like I crave coffee or food or work or........?  When this first came upon my heart to do this devotion this is what popped in my head as the title "Why do I not crave God like I crave Starbucks!".  Of course that seemed silly to me as I do not even go to Starbucks (I know I know I am an anomaly in our world).  Then I realized that God put those words on my heart so that I would think about this and understand it wasn't about craving coffee but about identifying what I do crave more than God and His word. 

So for me - I would have to say I crave busyness more than I crave God.  Sounds crazy I know - but I love to be moving, to have a plan, to have something to do and a goal in mind for everything.  When you plan your life like I do there's isn't much time to listen to anything else (I am too busy).  I am too busy planning and doing to sit and listen to what God has planned for me. I am too busy to read God's word. I am too busy craving busyness!!

That revelation made me stop dead in my tracks.  Why do I not crave God and His word every moment of my day?  When I hit a wall - why do I not feverishly search my Bible for the answers?  When did I decide that what I wanted, what I planned, what I thought was enough?  When did I forget this passage?
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Truth is I think I've always run headlong into everything in my life and figured I could solve it.  That's what I do.  Now I am faced with a problem...only my problem is that I am not turning to God like there is a fire in my heart to serve Him.  So now - the ironic thing is - to solve this I MUST crave God, God's word, God's plan with every fiber of my being in order to "fix" this. 

I wish I could say I came to this conclusion on my own but once again God had to not only put it on my heart but play it over and over until I found myself sitting here at midnight finally doing what He asked me to do this morning!  Then when I gave in to the constant voice of "why do I not crave God..." and looked it up, the first thing that came up in my search was this scripture“What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?  All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest… for without God, who can eat or find enjoyment?”Ecclesiastes 2:22-23, 25

I wish I could say that when I read this quote a bright light came on and now I crave God's word and can't wait to finish writing this so that I can pick up my Bible and wait for the next direction he sends me.  However that wouldn't be true.  What is true, is that now I understand that I am not doing this right and I understand that I have to change.  I also have realized that while I am thinking that I have to change I am also running through all the things I must get done before I sit down to spend some time with God and His word.  Whew God must just want to shake me like a rag doll at how dense I can be.  However I can say that even while I am thinking of ALL THOSE THINGS I HAVE TO DO my eyes are sliding over to my Bible and I am finding myself thinking - just one paragraph - one verse - I surely can fit that in... so maybe just maybe there is hope for this "Bull in China Shop" gal and maybe just maybe I can see myself not only surrending to His plan but also CRAVING everything He has to offer me.

So what's the moral of this, because you know there is always a moral at the end of my devotions!  The moral is this: We all crave something more than we should in our lives.  We all put God and His word and His plans aside for these cravings.  So am I telling you that you are a horrible person for craving something more than God?  No but what I am saying is today God put it on my heart to not only learn this lesson for myself but to also pass it along - so if you are reading this - maybe God is trying to tell you to slide your eyes to your Bible, to stop long enough to hear his persistant whispers on your heart, to lean onto Him not your own understanding....


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Celiac - not a disability but another ability

So I found it funny that as my friend was telling me about their Passover that they said to me "You would not understand how hard it is to live when you can't have unleavened bread!  It's in everything!".  I just laughed softly and thought to myself "Actually I do understand!".  What made me find this so funny is my friend KNOWS I have Celiac and it never even crossed their mind that of ALL people I would understand what they were going through!

See I think people forget that you have to be so careful.  That  nothing goes into my mouth without thought and careful analyzing!  In fact I have read and heard many Celiac's complain about their quality of life and how hard life has been since they found out.  Most look at it as a disability in fact.

However I am now 2 years gluten free and I have to say - though I understand completely how that feels and have even voiced a similar opinion - I have also learned that having Celiac has taught me a new ability.  I am now more careful with what I eat (a given), I eat healthier and there isn't one thing that I pick up that I do not consider and contemplate before consuming!  So really I have gained a new ability - or as some would say a new awareness.  I never used to think before eating.  I saw and I ate - it was that simple.

Now I realize not only how gluten was affecting my body but I am understanding how other ingredients also affects me.  So much so that I've slowly started weaning myself off of the processed foods to keep down cross contamination problems as well as steer clear of those ingredients I can't even pronounce!  In doing this I am starting to realize how much better fruits, vegetables and even meats are tasting than they used to.  I've cleared my palette to allow me to try foods I thought poorly of and have found some of them have become my favorites!  Then to top it all of - I am now able to smell the chemicals in processed foods.  I know that sounds crazy but it's true.  Processed foods are no longer having the appeal they once had because well they just do not smell right any more.

So bottom line - Celiac is not an easy disease to have - however it's not the worst either.  In fact I think most people will find they are healthier for it.  So disability - I think not!  New ability - yes that is what I have gotten out of this! 

Good luck and stay strong!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Anklyosis Spondylitis Hurts INSIDE and OUTSIDE

I wake up some days and I hurt.  I am not talking about an ache or an annoying pain - I am talking about pain that wants to make you scream and cry.  Is it truly that painful - not necessarily.  It's just EVERYWHERE. It's in your muscles, your joints, your skin and your bones.  EVERYTHING hurts EVERYWHERE!  Those days are hard.  Those days I am not sure how I am ever going to be healthy. I  mean I get to the point that my bones hurt so bad I do not even want someone to touch me at all - even if it wouldn't hurt me.  That is what I would say describes AS for me.  Just that all over pain when I am in a flare up.  I just want to withdraw from the world and just pretend it's not there.

That is where I've been for the last few weeks - hiding.  Truth be told I am on the wrong end of this disease to help get myself healthy.  I am overweight, I do not eat right (and when I hurt I eat worse), I hurt too much to exercise and when I don't hurt too much - I don't want to exercise, and on and on and on.  I want to call my depressed friends and say "You are so lucky!  You can show your pain to the world!" - yet somehow I know that's not what I mean or want to say - it just that I feel having AS makes you and your pain invisible to the world.  I have been stomping my feet and shaking my fist. I am the epithomy of the fictious character who is in a field with her face upturned to God screaming - "Why me!  What did I ever do wrong!". 

Oh sure - I can easily point to several people I PERSONALLY know who are dealing with what I imagine is MUCH worse - but that sure doesn't knock down my pain or stop me from being angry at my situation.  So last week I hit the "well now what?" point.  I mean screaming, crying, denying .... all of that is not working... so now what?

Well people that is where God comes in for me - because I do not have the answers.  All I know is my husband was starting to worry and throw words around like "withdrawing" and "I am getting REALLY worried about you" - so I must have hit full on FAIL as far as answers go.  So who do you turn to when you are so withdrawn you can't hear your family and friends and no longer even want to try to find the answers yourself? Well that is where God seems to have other plans for me - he doesn't seem to have giving up in my future (at least not right now).

Now let me take a moment to say if you had told me any of this 5-6 years ago I would have thought you were a bit loopy.  I can't explain it - I can just tell you I stumbled into christianity with a resistance of a person being dragged to a burning stake - but through it all God won and my life is COMPLETELY different and things happen that I can't explain and well - it just works out (not in my timing or how I thought but dang it - it does work out!).

So that said - out of the blue I get this book on my library holds (that I do NOT remember putting on there) called "29 Gifts by Cami Walker".  It's not a christian book but a spiritual book.  It is from a perspective of an MS patient who was slowly killing herself by letting her disease take over her and her life and how she is taught about the "29 gifts" by a spiritual friend.  I am not all the way through but I can tell you this book is changing how I look at my disease and my life.  I can also tell you God puts things in your life just when you need them - even if you don't know that you do.

For instance, I broke down and called a nutritionist.  Though that may sound simple to you - that was a huge step in realizing I can't do this by myself.  I keep trying to do everything on my own but I finally realized I need help.  I need my family, friends, medical caretakers, ect to do this and do this right.

Then from that point on I started looking at my disease differently - I started trying to find the positive in things not what I couldn't do or how bad I had it.  In doing this I've started sleeping better and I was even able to spend a full day out and about with my husband (something we haven't been able to do in months - hell maybe even a year now).  Right after I had my amazing day with my husband I was down the entire day yesterday.  That normally would have thrown me into a poor me situation but instead I kept thinking "baby steps".  I had at least ONE good day this week - that's one more than last week.  By doing that - I was able to keep myself from plummeting into a hole of despair.

Do I think this book is healing me - no.  Do I think it will cure my AS - no. Do I think God has a plan and is steering me - yes.... What this book and this new attitude is showing me is that I do have GOOD days, that I CAN do things - it's just not what I am used to and it's not in my timing.  I am learning to take smaller steps - to enjoy my accomplishments and not to be so hard on myself when I can't do what I used to be able to do.

So am I going to be positive and happy and never be angry or upset about having AS - nope.  I am human.  Heck I can't even promise I won't be mad in a few minutes about all of this.  What I can say is that through simple beliefs, simple steps and acceptance I can get through this.  I can make it and that I can make a difference to those around me.

So God I don't know if that's the message or if there is something else you are leading me to but so far - this is where I am at.  Thank you - thank you for helping me out of my hole - even when I didn't realize I was in one.

For those out there with AS or other diseases/medical issues - I pray for you. I hope that you can trust God to catch you when you are falling so fast you don't even know if you CAN stop!  I also recommend you start looking outward and finding the good things - the little things that make living each moment of this life worthwhile.

If anyone has AS or wants to know more here's some links to check out:

Also if you want to check out the book here's the title and author:
"29 Gifts - how a month of giving can change your life" by Cami Walker

It's a Celiac Thing - You wouldn't understand!

So I have figured out Celiac is a harder disease than it looks from the outside.  See I had been sick for many many weeks.  Finally my GI decided to go in and take a look.  Lucky me he started at the wrong end - UGH! but eventually did an endoscope on me which lead to my diagnosis.

I have to be honest though - if I could go back in time to the point where I woke up and my GI was smiling at me saying "Guess what!  We figured it out!  You have Celiac - All you have to do is stay away from wheat, barley and rye.  So basically just give up bread and pasta."  At that point I would look my GI dead in the eye and then punch him square in the nose!  Not because I do not like my GI - heck he's my favorite doctor and I still go see him.  Not because Celiac is a hard disease to live with.  No it would be because of what my GI said from "All you have to do is stay away......"  Who was he kidding!  Gluten is in EVERYTHING!!!!!

(written previously - and apparently on a bad stomach day!!!)  Just thought I'd share :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day - In a true spirit of love

I want to take a moment to say Happy Valentines -which is ironic because I really do not believe in this holiday.  However I had a realization today that almost dropped me to my knees. 

Here's the thing - I think Valentines Day started out in true earnest a day to show your loved one how much you appreciated them.  However in true western culture we've managed to make this all about the gifts we get and not about the fact that we are lucky if we have someone sitting beside us who loves us and well to be honest puts up with us!

So you ask - what was the realization?  I was sitting in church today listening to people say Happy Valentines Day thinking yea yea yea I don't even believe in this holiday.  I haven't since I was a little girl and watched my father tear my mother's heart out 364 days of the year but then bring her flowers and candy on Valentines day and say I love you!  What a joke - however that is not the story for today.  So while we sang I was looking at the wood cross on the side of the stage and in truth my heart just wasn't in it.  I love Mark and Dev with all my heart but felt like this was just such a false day for me to be participating in.  So I looked at the cross and all the sudden I saw Christ hanging from the cross and I imagined how he looked - really looked - bloody and bruised and cut.  Dying for me.  ME of all people - now if that wasn't the best Valentine's Day gift then there has never been one. 

See here's the thing if someone banged down my door right now and dragged me through the streets while my neighbors hurled insults at me and then put me in front of all those people and said would you die a horrible death right now to show your love for your husband and son I would say yes - in a heart beat.  Then if they said would you die for your other family and your close friends - I'll be honest I'd have to think about it - probably would hesitate a lot and finally say yes (I hope).  Then if they asked me if I would die for complete strangers, the same strangers who were just hurdling objects my way as I was hopelessly dragged through the streets - I wouldn't even hesitate - I would say no. 

I hate to admit it but that would be my answer.  Why should I die for those who hurt me - who don't care one once for me - who screw up their lives and then expect others to fix it - those who care more about things than people - Why????  However isn't that what Christ did for us - He died for us screwed up people without hesitation without a doubt.  He died for us - and if that's not love then I do not know what is. 

So today I give my Valentine's to Christ.  He provided me with a happy family, love like I have never known and things I didn't even know I wanted/needed.  However the greatest thing He gave me was love and saved me regardless of how often I trash His love, how often I turn my back, how often I turn to the world instead of Him.

This realization made me cry during communion - made me realize that no matter how I feel about Valentine's Day - I was given the greatest love of all....even though I didn't deserve it.

So I wish you all a great Valentine's day in this spirit not in the cultured spirit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What I learned last night from Laura Bush

 I know I know - you could spend hours with Laura Bush (the first lady of our last president George Bush) and still have more to learn from her when you walked away.  Mrs. Bush is a gracious yet humble woman who carries herself with dignity and grace.  However I must admit - I really had no interest in meeting her.  I am just not into celebrities and meeting famous people.  Which is quite humorous because that is what my job is all about!  Anyhow I thought it would be interesting to hear her speech and Q&A but really didn't even think twice about having a chance to meet her. 

Therefore I was caught off guard when my boss was asked to go talk to Mrs. Bush and she asked me to come with her.  My introduction was brief and then from there I just listened to my boss and Mrs. Bush talk.  However this is what I learned in that brief encounter that I will carry with me forever.  My boss, Karen, asked Mrs. Bush if she ever thought her life would be so public and Mrs. Bush answered no that she thought we would have had a very VERY private life and that she would have been very VERY happy with that.  However that is not what God had planned for her and here she was.

In that instant, I tuned the rest of the conversation out and thought about all the "plans" I have had and still have for my life.  I also thought of all the things I am currently experiencing that I'd rather not be doing.   At that moment I understood that my "plans" had nothing to do with my life.  That God was going to lead me somewhere and most likely it was going to take me out of my comfort zone.  Yesterday I would have fought it but today my prayer was that I accept where God is leading me - that I embrace the things I am most uncomfortable doing because most likely that is where I was going to find the most satisfaction and most blessings.

Even last night - I received a blessing that I did not pursue or even think I wanted.  I learned that a shy librarian had been lead in the total opposite of where she expected to go and in that process she has done GREAT things for women everywhere in this world.  Had I avoided that encounter (like I was trying so hard to do) I would have completely missed that message - one that I feel God was leading me to hear.

So today I am thankful for the unexpected and unwanted moment and I am looking forward to the next one!