Matthew 5:14-16

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." ~Matthew 5:14-16

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hello! :)

Sitting in a coffee shop this time. How's that for a change up? :) It seemed to me like a lovely idea...the smell alone is delicious enough a backdrop for writing. And the music is favorable- Christian radio, not too loud nor too soft.Eating a Paleo style fruit and nut bar and oh, marvelous, my Irish Dream Coco just arrived. I think I'm going to savor it as though I have forever to indulge in this moment. Will write more soon, promise! Just wanted to say I'm doing alright and I'm still adventuring onward, hand in hand with my Saviour. (Yep, my struggles are still ongoing but that's ok- He upholds me in His mighty strength. When I am weak, He is strong. Amen.) God bless. :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Understanding

Nov. 18th:

Lately I'd been wondering what the purpose is for me in this constant struggle, as in: where will it take me and what am I supposed to do with it. I heard everywhere that situations in a person's life are for a purpose and so a person aught to figure out what the purpose is and use it to glorify God with. So I'd been going through all sorts of books, but it all just lands me right back to step one: What is this supposed to be for? What is its long term purpose? All the books I've read say I need to discover the purpose as its just as important as discovering who you are (context was given by examples of devorces and adoptions and etc, littered the pages as examples of how a person thought they were one way and then went on a journey as they didn't know who they really were and needed to find themselves). Finding out what purpose this trial is for, its nearly hopeless to figure out. I felt so lost. It's all ended up in one big muddling frustration...Like a ball of yarn that once bumped and jostled all over the place, becomes a knotted up mess of tangles. The more it is worked over by someone who doesn't know what they are doing, the worse the knots get. I set down researching. I just don't believe that getting frazzled over a puzzle is worth it, so I'd calm down and then go back to it...well, that was my plan. I set to read fictional Christian books in the mean time.

I was referred a book by a friend, so I set around to reading that. It was the story of a young girl who's mother dropped her off as an infant with an amish family to raise. It was heartwarming and I loved it from the start. Then it happened, she discovers her amish family isn't really blood family and she tells her amish grandmother (who she places complete trust in and tells her heart to) in a big frustrated sigh that she doesn't know who she really is anymore and she needs to find herself, but that would mean leaving the family she loves. The grandmother shakes her head and says to stop right there, for that was wrongful thinking. She did not need to find herself, she was never lost to begin with. The girl says of course she does need to find herself! She's not who she thought she was! The grandmother just chuckled and said that was nonsense to speak that way, that she knew who her granddaughter was. The girl disagreed because she really wasn't her granddaughter, she was adopted! She was told to stop right that instant, for her thinking was wrong. It wasn't right for her to say she was lost and needed to find herself, that was foolishness. It was that she wanted to know what more was out there for her- opportunities to discover a world she was born into. The grandmother elaborated on how she knew the girl was never lost and needing to be found: the girl was still the same girl who loved to gather wildflowers with her grandmother, ran with her little brothers in a game of chase, to willingly help with chores, a young lady who had a heart to give and expected nothing in return, who loved the color blue and would watch the stars late at night, just to witness one shoot across the sky...and that is who the girl was. Finding herself, nonsense, that had been found already. Opportunities, now those were things to be searched out.

It was so clear as crystal that I had been doing the same thing, only in a round about way...lol, and so twisted around that I didn't know which way was up. I very well know who I am, and its not all that different from the description the grandmother gave to her granddaughter. It occurred to me that I already know that in the end, all that I do should bring God the glory. Who in Scripture who went through their trials knew precisely where it would lead them so they could properly glorify God?

Did Esther? What about Ruth? Samuel? David? Solomon? Jacob? Moses? Elijah? Noah? Ooo, or what about Job as he went through unfathomable trials? No? Who knew then? The disciples? Shadrack, Meshack, and Abendigo? Did they know where their trials and persicutions would bring them so they could plan and properly glorify God? No to that too, huh? What a pretty pickle this is! Not a single one of the people in Scripture that I could find knew, in fact, they walked in complete blindness (not knowing) to what the future held in connection to their present trial - but they walked by faith that God would provide (which glorified God because of their actions). What then were these books telling me to do? Wasn't that contrary to Scripture then? Surely there must be someone in Scripture who knew! Well, I found just one, and only one: Jesus. He knew what was to come because He is all-knowing, He knew how to respond to it, He is holy; and He glorified God. It showed me all the same, it is actions and heart that matter...it was the same theme that all the rest in Scripture resonated with in their trials. The only difference was this: Jesus is God who is omnipotent, and the rest were mortal men who placed their trust and hope upon the Lord for the unknown in their tomorrows.

You know what I realized from this? I know who I am, I know I am being used through this, more opportunities and challanges will rise up in the future, and so long as I am walking in the Spirit, He is glorified by it. I am walking by faith, which is an action He inables me to do, and that pleases Him very much. I also realize that I am not God either but a mortal, so I do not know what is coming, I do not know what is in tomorrow, or even an hour from now, but I know that in this present moment, I can be walking with Him and giving Him praise and thanks, and definitely, trusting Him with my future.

The more I thought about it and mused over all of this, the more it made sense, like the knots were loosening from the mess. Doesn't Scripture say not to trouble ourselves about tomorrow for today has enough troubles of its own? And also not to be anxious about anything, but with prayer and supplication, present it before the Lord? And the knots were gone, just like that. I don't indeed NEED to know how this all comes together in my life so that I can glorify Him. What a giant of a destraction that really is as it makes it nearly impossible for me to truly focus on Him! Not to mention its next to impossible to trust Him to lead me as through that means I end up inevitably leading myself. And guess what? Leading myself is not trusting God to lead me, so that leads in the opposite way of glorifying God as well. How can a person give Him glory when he does not trust Him with the whole of the future and with His gentle leading?

I've already placed my faith and trust in God, who will lead me through all that is coming in my future. Because I have done that, all that is required of me is that I am walking willingly in the Spirit (actions and heart), that will in turn, glorify God. It truly is that simple, and it is liberating. Today, I say goodbye dizzying endless round-and-round, and hello understanding and peace. :)

God bless!

ps- Inclosed is a video that I found quite excellent and beautiful. Its called The Potter: Reflections of a Master Artisan, by David Blakeslee and Day of Discovery.
https://dod.org/dod2332.html

Perspective

November 4th:
I've been re-reading everything on my blog as of lately. Trying to recall everything that's happened within the whirling-swirling speed of this storm. My mind had somehow blurred everything into one giant event without pause and I know that's not how it happened in reality; it was very slow, building up, like soft snowfall at night when everyone sleeps, and then becoming so big, it avalanched - and that's what we saw. Good to have a refresher as to what happened, clear up my mind a bit. And be reminded of all the many blessings hidden within the waves that I was sure would wash over me and drown me at times, they seemed so massive and overpowering. But even so, I knew God was bigger than all of that...and so much more powerful than anything that I saw coming my way, so I was heavily leaning on Him for my next steps forward with Him. No not every step was made with Him, there was a time, like that time where Peter looked away from Jesus and focused on the storm instead- and consiquently began sinking into it.

Even though I wasn't experiencing the physical pain, because of the emotional pain that I'd never encountered before, I broke my sight away from the only one who kept me from drowning in my storm. When I began to feel like I was sinking, that's when I realized what I'd done. Of course He was still there, just as He's always been. Just like Peter focusing on those wind-swept waves, Jesus was still standing right there waiting for Peter to focus on Him. I think Peter learned fear in the storm was nothing compared to confidence in Jesus to save him (after all Jesus was the only one who could). It doesn't say it in Scripture, but you know they had to walk back to the boat together on the water in the storm. It was only once they were back in the boat did he silence the storm. Isn't that interesting? I sure think so. Likewise, I can walk in my storm too, but only as long as my eyes are focused on Him. You know why? I have strength in this weakness: Jesus is far above the surging of the storm, the waves and wind cannot compete with His greatness, and His power more awesome than any fear I can possibly face in this life. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." What strength do I have apart from Him? The answer, my friends, is none.

I watched Soul Surfer while I was sick with a virus a little less than a month ago (a customer of mine was sick, sneezed on me and I caught her buggy...no hard feelings, besides she looked like she felt so crummy :/). I related to the movie when she said she had to find a new perspective because she was so close to her trial that she couldn't see around it. I figured, being a true story, if she could find a new perspective and live in her trial (if you saw the movie, she never does re-grow that arm after the shark attack). I couldn't think of how this would be a useful tool. How does a corrupt immune system that thinks my platelets are delicious, and a tummy that doesn't digest properly, end up helping me look at this differently? I happened to be flipping channels, bored after the movie was over, and I happened upon Joni-&-friends and she was talking about circumstances. I don't remember all of what she said, but it was about finding perspective in life's trials.

She said to try to think about things that others don't get to think about or know about. For her, it was being a quadrapeligic and having gone through cancer. She listed examples of amazing things she got to experience that no one else did because she was in her shoes...so it was special. She asked her viewers to think of something uniquely special that no one else got to think about. What about the first thing that came to mind? Platelets did, for me. No one thought a single thing about platelets when they got a papercut or bumped their elbow, or if they did, it was short lived. They take it for granted and quite honestly, back when I was oblivious, I didn't give it any thought. It was truly invisible. I knew they existed, nature's amazing natural bandaid within our bodies and the mandatory starting piece in any healing process, science taught me that.

Once I got deep into the danger zone, that's when my eyes were opened to that microscopic world. ITP is painless (can you feel your platelets? yeah, I can't either) and so I have to watch for visible clues that my platelets are there and my immune hasn't splurged on them. How long do I bleed over a papercut, a nose bleed? How big does a bruise get over carrying something heavy, bumping my elbow, sleeping (blood pooling to one side), getting a firm handshake, pat on the back, or strong hug? Do I spot little red dots that look like freckles on my skin? So I'm seeing what most people never get to notice.

I got to be awed while I was on immune-suppressing medication, watching how on the exterior how capable I was to do things. A high five, I could do that without a single thought, no matter the strength of the high five. A bear hug. A strong handshake. A hearty pat on the back. Rough housing with my neices and tickle wars. Playing volleyball. Riding a rollercoaster. Sleeping and waking without blood pooling on the side I slept on. Kneeling on the floor. Propping my elbows on my knees, palms on my chin. At the strongest point (once I was off the medication), being able to bring a sick friend some homemade chicken noodle soup and tidy their kitchen - something I NEVER would have been able to do without getting incredibly sick for weeks. Aren't those all freedoms that are taken for granted? I could go on to list several more. What an amazing taste of what normal really is like! I commented jokingly that I felt like Super Mario when he catches the invincibility star and nothing can touch him. Now that I've had that experience, I can't believe that I thought that this was normal. How, now that I've had that soaring taste of reality, was that normal at all? It dramatically changed how I thought of myself and the world around me. I believed myself weak and sickly as a child, teen, and adult, and that's just how I was. Others were strong because that's just how they were. Everyone is different and that is just who I am. Now my perspective has changed - I am weak and sickly because of a disorder and when my level is up, I am able to be that strong and healthy person I thought I would never be because that just wasn't me. I've learned that healthy-and-strong and weak-and-sickly are not traits of a person, its not who they are at all, but it is what they are dealing with. A big difference. And a huge difference in perspective.

I got to experience how that healthy and strong life feels for a season, maybe I will experience that again in the future? We shall see. I'm looking forward to the comforting deep bear-hug. Do you know that people get scared to hug me when my numbers drop? They don't want to bruise me so they don't hug me at all and look at me with this "I want to, but I'm scared to so no way am I going to" look. Here's a not so secret secret- I'd rather carry the shadowy hug-mark than go without a hug. (All I ask at this point is that your hug and handshake be more gentle than hardy.) If it was dangerously low again, I'd put up my hands in the stop signal as I did in the past and give warning to please hug me very gently or postpone the hug for a time in the future.

I have found new perspective on my diet as well. I found what I call "a hidden world" when I went gluten, dairy, and acid-free. There are so many in the community around me who are facing one or all or more of these diet shifts. The first place after their diet shifts, they enevitably end up at the store next. Most times I can pick them out of the rest of the shoppers. Their eyes and frozen stance point them out to me as I've been there. I remember researching all things gluten, dairy, and acid and holding that list in my hand and going in the grocery store thinking, "I can do this." ...and the doors open and I see all the shelves of food I can no longer eat....and I was lost in overwhelming thoughts of realizing how different this was and no ordinary shopping trip. So because of my own experience, I've been able to assist them. That makes a world of difference in their shopping experience. I point them out to products, scribble recipes and websites and cookbooks, ask what their favorite meal or a no item from their list that they love and if I can't find it on the shelves, I find it at home and next time I place it into their hands. For this experience, I am glad to be on my diet, just to help others. Or even if they don't need or ask for help, to be able to understand -partially- what they are going through. I say partially as I don't know at all what its like to have celiac or chrones or lupis or colitis. I do understand what stomach issues feel like, what dealing with others who don't understand but think they do is like, speaking to resturant managers about ingredients hidden within ingredients, knowing where restrooms are when I go places, and ultimately the misery of being glutened, or dairied.

During the Fall, I had been approached by my boss and given the assignment to create a gf df menu for our guests. We've had so many requests, but because we don't have the products to serve them, we've had to turn them all away...like everywhere else has turned them away. The only way to go is to pay a lot of money at a fancy restuarant (12 dollars for a small half-wrap sandwich, for instance...yes, the same wrap in its gluten form costs 2.99.) or to make it at home (which can be quite a process...especially when just starting out). So I accepted the task with volunatary eagerness. We would be the only place with ready-to-go affordable gf df food. I was entirely excited about how helpful this would be to everyone in the community. I began collecting and bookmarking recipes that I could re-work or simplify (after all, this would be our first time handling gf df items), then finding definitions and explanations of gf df eating (for our knowledge and reference). Then my laptop crashed and the dream to have the menu prepared and completed by Thanksgiving week went up in smoke. I cannot deny how bummed I am. None of our guests know about it yet, but I can imagine how glad and pleasantly surprised they would be to see gf df foods they could eat right in our department, made with love and ready for them to serve on their supper table. Mind you, we've purchased "May contain" labels that state that we can't be sure if it contains gluten or dairy...just like we attatch the "may contain nuts" to chocolate chip cookies. Its not made with nuts, but if you are allergic, its best to be questioning. Likewise, in the gluten-dairy world. Anyway, making this cookbook-guide was so strong a pleasureable idea that I could just taste it! Well, on the bright side, I have a year to assemble it now. And it will be ready for Thanksgiving week 2014, or so I am hoping.

Today I am watching it snow, with a kitty pinning my arm down (he's on top of my right arm, sleeping) and sipping chai-ginger tea. They did say it'd snow on the 7th...I guess they were right, lol. :P I think I am coming down with a sinus sort of cold. My stomach is especially not thrilled about it, thus the tea. Hopefully it goes away as quickly as it got here. A coworker had hugged me and then answering my question (how are you?) said she was coming down with a cold. I reminded her: my immune system... When she realized what she did, she covered her mouth and felt horrible realizing she most likely just gave me her cold. I tried to tell her it was ok and I forgave her. By the time I got home, I crashed on my bed, slept off 2 hours, my first nap since a few months ago when I needed the everyday nap. I woke up foggy-headed, heavy and aching. I started sneezing and my nose was drippy. I think I'm in for another battle. I'm thinking for now, I may need to start telling others when they approach me that if they have a cold, please tell me and as much as I love them, don't hug me. I am hoping not to lose weight like I did from the last cold, I don't have any cushion left on me, so anything lost will place me one step closer to 90lbs and the hospital. I'm going to fight this battle as fiercely as I can (again with the running in place and upon tiring, going backwards).

I don't have any physical pain as of right now, which is good news. Emotional pain is beginning the scaring process of healing. During the Summer to Fall, I encountered a situation I never thought I'd experience...and it ripped at me more than once.

~First with a day I thought I'd go into town and enjoy a sunny warm day. It was so beautiful, how could I stay indoors anyway? So I did. I'd dressed up all nice although I wasn't going anywhere and did up my face and hair just to do so. Window shopped, people watched, bought almond icecream in a bowl. Sat at a bench in the sun, enjoyed the warmth on my head and back, enjoyed my icecream. Then I watched a group of girls step out of a shop. I thought it would be amazing fun to get my friends together and have an outing too, what a good idea. Looked at a gentleman open a car door for his wife and close the door as he laughed at whatever she must have said. A mom pushed her daughter in her stroller past a stuffed teddy bear in the window, her cries and points that she wanted it. "Look at that!" I heard. The tone was so repulsed that I was made very curious to know, I turned toward the sound, focusing on the group of girls across the street. One of the girls was pointing, her face crinkled into this gross expresion, "That's hideous! Her bones are sticking out." I snuck a slow glance behind me, to be descrete. I saw the brick wall behind me, and felt a sinking feeling as the knowledge bit into me: No one was behind me. I swallowed, looking at nothing through blurry eyes. I knew they were pointing directly at me. "Some people don't care about themselves and just let themselves go. Don't look at that thing anymore. Lets go." "Yeah, that's so discusting. Lets get out of here. I can't look at it anymore." I snuck an upward glance, noticing others now glancing between them and me. The girl looked over her shoulder, giving her hair a toss, "Get out of here. No one wants to look at you, don't you get it, ugly?" "Lets just go. Leave it." One of her pals urged. They left, quickly. I could see the onlookers turn their gaze away from me and hurry away or look anywhere but at me. I placed my half-uneaten icecream into the trash and wrapped my arms around myself, feeling chilled and trying to hold in my tears. I'd never been called hideous in my life. I didn't know how to handle this. From elementary school to Highschool, I'd always been invisible. Apparently, not anymore. So I went into a little shop with pretty nails on the front glass. 45 dollars. I backed out and decided against it. I didn't need pretty fingers in order to be beautiful, not like that. In fact, that wouldn't make me pretty...it'd only stay an accent piece and accent pieces don't make the person, its just a highlight. I drove to the beach and sat in the sun, letting the warmth penetrate me and the sound of waves lapping against the sand to drown out the hurt...and I cried alone but not really.

~I was at the store, shopping when a child pointed at me and said, "Her bones are sticking out, Mommy." She pushed his hand down and told him not to point at others, and continued to whisper, looking at me, "Some people don't care about their appearance and they choose to let themselves go. Because she did that, it strips her of looking pretty, doesn't it? Its very sad." She eyed me up and down, then shook her head with a sigh and left. I was left feeling helpless from the conversation. Let myself go? I couldn't help my situation! I was honestly fighting hard to be healthy. And fighting incredibly hard to gain weight.

~I decided it was a nice day to be out and about, although nippy, and Fall leaves were swirling around. A good day for a hot coco, and taking pictures around town. So I stood in line anticipating a nice treat, camera bag slung over my shoulder. Started talking to the lady behind me in line, just having conversation. I'd noticed her daughter was dressed in a tiger outfit, so I was complementing her daughter (the daughter had asked me if I looked scary and clawed her hands with a tigery look on her face, lol what else was I to say?). I put my hands to my heart and feining surprised fear, told her she had a wonderful costume and definitely looked very scary. The little girl was very pleased. When I was done, the mother grabbed her daughter's hand and looked at me, "Well as a skelleton, you don't need a costume, now do you? You are all set for Halloween- bones and all!" And then she walked away, pulling her little girl with her who was protesting "but my hot chocolate!" Apparently she didn't like the looks of me so much that she was willing to deny wanting whatever drink she'd planned on getting, and denying the little girl a probably promised hot chocolate. If only she would have asked me to leave, I would have gone somewhere else, then the little girl could have had her coco. Why punish the little girl for it? And why be so revulsed about me? Why are people so disgusted? I can't help it and they assume its my fault. I blinked. Third time. Is this something I was going to encounter a lot now? "Hey, move toothpick, its your turn." A gruff voice behind me said. I ordered my coco and left for home.

Outside of these experiences, I only had a few good ones. And I fought to focus on those instead. One I'll leave you with as I've got to go to work now:

~A few years ago, dressed in my renaissance outfit (light blue with dark blue velvet, gold trim and silver and pearl crown), ordering drinks for me and my pals on our way to the faire, I hear a little boy shout to his mom (who stood right next to him) "I knew princesses were real! Mom look! Look!" and he was pointing to my friend and I. She was trying to turn him away and move on, but he was adimantly shouting in excitement, pointing at me even more, "Its Cinderella, Mom! Its Cinderella and I HAVE to talk to her! Mom please, please!" She gave in and brought her young son up to me and appologized. She was so sorry but her son was so eager and was being silly. I didn't think it was silly at all. I gave a little dip of my head, for the little boy. "You had something to say, young man?" I said, looking at him expectantly. He released his hand from his mom and reached for my hand, held it and said, "I had to tell you Cinderella, you are my favorite, and I think you are much more beautiful than you are in cartoon." His mom covered a laugh with her hands and whispered appologies to me. I shook my head, refusing her appology. He'd done nothing wrong. "Why thank you, that was very kind of you to tell me. I will treasure your words." He smiled real broadly, pleased then he looked at my wrist watch with a gasp, "Thats a good idea! You never wore a watch in the movie, now you won't be late for the ball! Go, hurry Cinderella! You don't want to be late to see the Prince!" Then he lowered his voice, "Or your ride will turn into a pumpkin again!" I couldn't help but laugh, "You are right. I better go. It was a pleasure to meet you and your mom." Her mom asked in a hushed whisper where we were going, and I told her. I could see it all make sense in her eyes and she whispered that she was sorry about her little boy and how embarising. I told her it was not at all embarising, little boys don't stay little and what he did made me smile. She nudged her son with a whisper to bow. He asked how and she bent to whisper into his ear: remember how the prince bowed to Cinderella? Like that. So he gave it his best effort in a sweeping bow. Not quite right, but very charming. I told his mom she had quite a gentleman in training, and she smiled, hoped so. I waved to them and we went on our way. What a remarkable little boy.

I'll write later! God bless! :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hello again! :)

Hello everyone! Been thinking about posting a new blog for some time. I did actually write one and was going to post it a few days ago, but my computer's hard drive crashed, and then while in the fix-it shop, they told me the motherboard just went kaploey! as well. A rather large bummer, if you ask me. So it's going to be a quite some time before I'm back on a computer that I can call my own. I'm thinking I'll have enough money saved up to get one by February if I pinch my pennies strategically. Or perhaps my poor computer can be fixed up somehow? Time will tell.

Oh! And to those of you who prayed that my unretrievable lost books on the harddrive could be recovered (praying for the impossible to be possible)....the tech called me last week and said in an unbelievable voice, "Would you mind paying 60 bucks for a flashdrive? We recovered your information and we need a big place to store them. ...Do you know you are the only case we have ever had where we recovered information off a destroyed disk? And all your information got recovered. Do you know how impossible that is? (in the background of this marvelous news, I was holding my heart and sighing a breath of "Praise God!") You are so lucky! We should not have been able to get any of that information back for you. When I say impossible, I mean it. So, uh, your books alone are too big for the flashdrives we have. Do you want to spend the 60 to get your recovered info?" That snapped me out of grieving the loss of my writings (I write with my heart, so its a part of me...to lose it so snap-of-a-second quick was devistating). I jumped on paying the 60, telling him how I'd prayed and had friends and family praying, so it had nothing to do with luck- God answered prayer. Now I have all my information back, and most importantly, my books were reclaimed from the ashes. The impossible has become not only possible, it happened. Thank you for praying, and I thank God for answered prayer over even such simple things.

This morning, I'm using my parents' computer. Unfamiliar to my fingertips as the large keyboard is, it works. Figured being I had a few hours before my appointment, I'd write. My writer's itch is really getting to me this morning, so I figured I'd satisfy it by posting to my blog. So does that sound good? Good.

Its a foggy morning, like yesterday. The ground is frosted over and the standing water has zigzags of ice across the top. Winter is slowly overtaking the Fall. Yesterday at work, I made quite a game of it. Yeah, I got a bit -well, very- michievious. The shrouded vail of fog was intensifying my yearning to write. Ooo it made my writer's itch just that much more itchier. Being I couldn't scratch the itch, I chose to be impish about the weather. To passers by, customers and coworkers alike, I would randomly 'happen to look' at the window, widen my eyes, pointing and exclaiming, "Its snowing!!" and then take satisfaction in how predictable their shocked wide-eyed expressions were. Every single one that I did this to, did precisely what I assumed they'd do. It pleasured me greatly, and I laughed. To which they gave me "evil eyes," squenching their faces at me knowing they'd been had, making me laugh all the more. lol, it was great fun.

Looking out my window as I write, visibility has lifted to see to the edge of our field, but no further. Our garden is bare, and the only thing growing in there is the persistant collard greens. Surprising being that was one of the plants that my family and I were sure would never make it. It endured being tossed onto the ground and crushed in the windstorm that tore our greenhouse up, smashing the garden chairs into it. It survived the birds feasting on it while we tried to shoo them off and scoop up what Ma and I could save. Then it endured our chickens hopping the fence and scratching up the garden to get at the seedlings. Then the water ran out a few times this summer during the hottest days and so I thought for sure we'd lose them...but they stuck through it. The first frost hit and they stood tall, unwilted, and grew more! I know I've asked more than once: "God, can I be like that collard green patch? It's survived all of its tough days and for it, the leaves are huge and the plant is hardy!" We have about 10 of those plants left (I uprooted some and took it to church). Its past the 5th frost and yes, they are still growing. Everytime I pick some of it for supper, I shake my head and smile. The most hardiest green plant I've seen so far. I almost wonder if they will survive being burried in snow and pick up where they left off come Spring! (And no, I haven't watered them since first frost.)

The rest of the garden is quickly being pulled up. The last surviving sunflower is drying out, waiting till the last of the wilted petals fall before I chop it down, I guess. We had four of those, but the bear found three of them and snapped those down to his height, ate what he wanted and left the rest for the deer. We have enough of those left to hang-dry for the Spring birds, but nothing edible for us. Strawberries are covered under the straw. Sweet potatoes (yes they grew!) and potatoes are harvested. Golf tees are poked in the ground near all our bulbs (thanks for the idea, Pinterest!), so we know where all of them are and accidentally don't uproot them or spear them with the shovel, having forgotten where we planted them.

My Dad, Mom, Aunt and Uncle, and I gathered together, armed with pickers and boxes, and went out to our apple trees. It was great and memorable, especially when Dad accused Mom of throwing an apple at him (an apple fell off the tree and brained him in the head). "Duck under the ladder next time, silly!" I laughed. "I couldn't, its seven years bad luck!" Dad said shouted back to me. I laughed harder, "Dad, that's if you break a mirror!" and forgot I had my picker on a branch and brained myself in the head with an apple. "Throwing apples at yourself?" Mom laughed, "You're trying to be like Dad!" "That's not true, I have no ladder to duck under!" I rubbed my head. Our pupper-dog stood nearby, tail wagging and waiting with all eagerness for the next apple to drop (even though she had her mouth full with the one that bonked me on the head, and had five more at her paws). I'm convinced that our pup is as infatuated with apples as Marley was with mangos. lol.

So yep, I've got my work cut out for me. Today I'll search for the dehydrator and tomorrow I'll make apple chips, apple butter and apple sauce (I've been told the last two are very easy to do....I hope so! This'll be my first attempt at it!) Green beans were canned already and stored in the pantry. I braided garlic and hung it in the garage. Purple carrots are in a dark cool place, awaiting use. Kombucha will be brewed tomorrow, just sewing up the seeping bag. Can't wait for winter, then I can relax from all the tasks...and plan for Spring and Summer's crops. :P

Pulling out the wintertime clothes and searching for clothes, like I did during the summertime. Loving the comforting feeling of my warm sweaters and coats. Ooo, and hot chocolates with almond milk, or soy if I want it richly creamy. Speaking of good treats, I'm on the hunt for warm thanksgiving foods and deserts that I can eat. Some things I've found, but still searching for a pie crust recipe. Pretty determined that there's got to be a gf df recipe for one out there that doesn't contain potatoes in the ingrediets list. If I can't find it, I'll attempt making up a dough for it. Nervous, but hey, experimenting is part of the adventure, right? <.<.......>.> I hope its a pleasant adventure. My last experiment of homemade fluffy buscuits was for lack of better words: grittily intreguing. So back to looking for more...umm, edible....fluffy buscuits as well.

Well, as you can see, I've been keeping busy between home and work. Its been going pretty well. I'm slowly learning my can and can't do's, and my can do's are growing as I learn how to rotate meals and things to do. Hiking is still not in the picture, but perhaps next summer? It is one of my many goals to accomplish. The biggest goal is to take my mountain bike and pedal it all day on a trail that I love. That one will take working up to, training too, but I think I can reach that goal. lol, I won't be as eager as to just wing it and go. I remember a time when I decided against the doctor, pt, and nutritionist's wishes (as I didn't have enough strength or energy) and went bushwack-hiking with friends on their property. I laugh at it now. I mean, I was so determined that I heard they were going and when asked, lept at it so far that I did all that climbing over large dead trees, through poky brush, slurping through the marsh, all in a shaffon ankle length dress (it was on Sunday, after church) and borrowed mud boots. Shockingly no, there wasn't a speck of mud or tear on the dress when I was done. It was such a feeling, I was so jazzed to have done it that I felt I conquered the world! The next day, I felt miserable by a sickening feeling of the world spinning, a high pitch drilling into my brain with its squeal, and ultimately squished to the bed by gravity alone. It hit me: my team knew what they were talking about when they warned me. I'd realized I'd have to tell them why my energy and strength that I was building up was out the window. When I brought up the shaffon dress, they laughed goodnaturedly till they were in stitches. Told me I was a silly crazy girl, and shook their heads, laughing more about the shaffon dress and mudboots. Now they were convinced, they said, that I had the determined stubborn willpower that it would take to work up to the goal of hiking..with their permission (when my body was ready for such a feat)....and hopefully in jeans, not shaffon.

Well, its time for me to go. I'll write more later, promise. God bless. :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A New Adventure: The Diving Board.



Hello! It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? The only reason I can think of for not writing sooner is that I felt I was at a standstill and didn’t know what to say…or if I should say the same things (but I felt that would get old really quick-like). Know what I mean? Well, *shrugs* there you have it. :)
I had my golden birthday recently. I’d been waiting all year in anticipation. To some, it’s really a silly thing, but to be my age on my day of birth…that was neat to me so I wanted it to be special.  I just didn’t know how to make it into a workable plan. I knew I wanted Italian food. Italian food to me is “special” food. I chose Italian when I first became a teenager, and my first taste of wine was paired with Italian food…so I wanted to have that sort of meal to signify it too was special. And I wanted nothing else than to make memories, sharing in laughter and good times. That was my ultimate goal and longing, more than getting Italian for supper. Piece by piece this plan came together. The biggest piece was when a pal stated sadly to me one day that there was nowhere to wear beautiful dress from the back of the closet, but she wanted to. It made her feel beautiful. I informed her she’s already a very pretty young lady. She laughed and asked if I had such a dress.  Haha, well, I have more than one. Yep, I understood what she was saying and I related. I wanted to wear what was beautiful but there is nowhere to wear it. Then it hit me: my special day! We could all pull out our pretty gowns and wear them then. But where would we go? KFC, Taco Bell, or McDonalds in formal attire?? Nah. Why? It would look out of place and completely silly. Besides, it wasn’t Italian food and my mind was locked on it. (Yeah, this is the part where I get picky. :P) My friend’s reply was instant: We could go to the little Italian restaurant. They have excellent food. My pal next to her nodded rapidly- we could scrimp our money enough to splurge on food for such an occasion. We’d pay our own ways, cause I had those medical bills. So, we had a solid plan. I set the date for Saturday and sent texted invitations to my friends and made calls to family. It was going to be grand.
I decided to wear my red velvet dress, so I put it up to air out and get the wrinkles out. I got a text, “Are you going to wear the red dress we found?” Yep…with a black velvet shawl of course to cover my shoulders, make it modest. I had rose jewelry that mimicked the roses sparkling in the dark red velvet fabric. And my black-strap high heels. Yep yep, it would be perfect. At first I did wonder if it would fit me like a potato sack (like my sky blue renaissance dress with the billowy sleeves did) due to losing weight since purchasing the dress. I put myself at ease. Of course it would fit. And it did, perfectly. :D
Helped two of my friends that week find dresses that would fit them. Both looked breathtaking and amazing, btw! It was such a neat experience to encourage, chitchat, and point out tips that would help in selecting an outfit complimentary to them. The night of the party came and it was such a beautiful event. Exactly what I hoped for. I could hear the laughter and stories around the long table. I’m sure I bore a satisfied smile because it was what I hoped for. And so was the food. (Yes if you must know: my food did have mushrooms in it. ;) To me, it was a minute hint next to the prosciutto, parmesan, and noodles in its creamy garlic sauce. Mmm, it was delicious!) Supper was followed by gifts (which I’d told my guests they weren’t obligated to bring anything, as it was an expensive supper. I just wanted time with all of them, to be surrounded by the blessings in my life. That’s what mattered to me). There were gifts also heartfelt cards (of which I still have displayed on my dresser although my b-day date has long passed by. I can’t bring myself to take them down yet. Seeing them displayed reminds me of them and I smile and think about that lovely night). They serenaded me with the classic birthday song of course, and I was given a chocolate and vanilla mousse in a desert glass, a single candle bright at its center. “Make a wish!” I was told from around the table. “Blow it out…” “It’s going to melt into the chocolate before she decides what she wants to wish for.” I heard someone chuckle. But I knew what I wanted to wish for, so I leaned forward and blew out the flame. (Such a big wish for such a little puff of breath, but hey, no one imposes wishing limitations after all.) What was my wish? lol, you know the rules- If I tell you what I wished for, it won’t come true. ;)  “Now we all get a taste!” Mom interjected jokingly. Grandma said, “Nah, let her have it. By the time that little desert gets around the table and back to her, she’ll just have the empty cup and spoon!” They ordered their own deserts and we passed around samples of ours to each other. We were sung to by a young group of ladies. They were good. We applauded and fished into our wallets for spare cash to tip them.
I thanked God that the night was absent of pain, it was like a dream. Like Cinderella, who gets her magical ball until the stroke of midnight….only, we didn’t stay out that late. :P  Mom organized us into a group photo and flashes snapped all about. (Now, thank you my dear photographers, I have photos to remember the occasion by as well.) :) I slept like a rock when I got home, satisfied and so very happy.
Currently, I am on vacation for 9 days, thus the laptop comes out and I start writing like a wildwoman. Who knows when I’ll get the chance to get caught up on everything! Writing and sorting out emails (200 arrive in my box every 2-3 days, O_o, yeah it’s a nuttyhouse in the inbox with over 990 emails to sort through. I think Facebook comprises 3/4 ths of the traffic in there. I’m pretty sure of it. :P Deleting and clearing out my phone of old messages so I can receive new ones. :) Trying as well to crank my imagination up so it’ll get chugging again. I would love to pour over my old writing projects and pick them up again. Perhaps finish two posts so I can receive the replies, cause I am sure giddy to see what they’ll write in response. (It’s kind of like a game of tag, only in writing stories.) :) Been going through three books at the present: The Search for Significance (-a thank you to the pal that referred this book to me), Jesus Calling (-got that for my b-day, love it), and in the Bible, the book of Job (-being my pastor is teaching a series from it). In Biblestudy, we’re going through the book of Ephesians…it’s been very deep. Our small group has barely entered the book, because it’s so rich, we go right into the meat of it and it’s been so good for us. We get all excited over how truly amazing God is, and we should, because He is incredibly amazing. :) Been a bit late in getting my life-list written out for this year. It was supposed to be jumped on in January, as usual (and nope, it’s not a New Year’s resolution that dissolves over the course of a few months). So, I’m slowly attending to that. I like to learn new things and grow. Learning just makes me all the more hungry to learn. Each year I plan out new things to strive for that year. If I don’t get it, it rolls into the next year until I have it. One year it was a language, another year was jewelry making, another year was photo classes, another was crocheting, another sewing...mending…cooking…and so forth and so on. This year I didn’t have anything in that creativity slot- so I spent the first day of my vacation going around town asking questions and seeking a craft I hadn’t done. No, I’m not planning on doing it on my vacation, but I’ll certainly save up for it.
At the ladies retreat that I went to over the weekend, I’d noticed one of the ladies knitting on the couch across the way. She was surrounded by a group of girls. They were talking about making hats. It intrigued me, so made my way across the room and I asked questions, one of which was: How is knitting different than crocheting? They said it was much harder than crocheting. Instantly, I was very interested. I love a good challenge. Chatted with them for a while, and that night, I stopped wondering what craft should go in this year’s slot. Knitting. So, back to where I was, I stopped by one store and saw all the scarves, gloves, socks, shawls, and sweaters. It did look very daunting of a task, especially those sweaters and socks. I love a good challenge. I stepped into the store and was instantly met with a question, “Are you looking to take a class on knitting? We have classes Monday through Thursday.” And I was handed a form. I asked all the questions I could think up. What supplies were needed? How much would they cost? How much were the classes? How long were the classes? Where was the class located? What was considered a good beginner’s project? What was a good yarn for a beginner? (When I learned to crochet, I used one of those fluffy wools that was very difficult to see the loops in the chains with.) So, anyhow, being I have to save up for my big adventurous trip in March, I figure that I’ll take the class on knitting in April or May. It’ll be so neat, I can’t wait.
Ert! (-car skidding to halt) Big adventurous trip, you say? Yep. I was called by a clinic who would love to meet with me and try their hands at solving my mystery. Great! I am excited! :) I had received some no’s from clinics and doctors that I’d tried to go to, in attempts to get answers. They’d all said the same thing: There is no evidence to prove that there is an existing issue that needs treating, so we will not be meeting with you. …And you know what? They are right -all my tests have come out healthy and good, after all. Looking at my charts and info, everything is doing just as it was created to do. That’s what makes this such a perplexing mystery. The clinic is far away, so thus the big adventurous trip. It will take 6 hours one way. Dad will be driving, so that makes me copilot (The gas money for the trip is being provided for by my grandparents (I hadn’t asked, but I am sure grateful). So they deserve a big thank you from me, for sure. I received the paper packet in the mail and I’ve been filling it out. Some of the questions are maddening because I find fill-in-the-dots to be frustrating as I can’t explain things further than the question. “How many times per week do you cry?” For instance. I can’t write: About 4 times per week as I am in pain, but I usually don’t cry when I hurt, I talk. So they might think it’s due to trouble at home or Depression (which has happened before thanks to the fill-in-the-dots). Craziness. :P
On that note, I’m sure you are curious on how am I doing?
I’ve been having more good days and not so often as how it used to be, which is good in that regard. 4 out of 7 days are “bad days”  and in those times, I still struggle and fight it. Although I try to relax through it, I find myself consistently attempting to muscle up and “bull through it,” before inevitably crashing on the couch. I still need my naps in the middle of the day, even on the good days, because I get so fatigued that I can barely keep my eyes open. I’ve learned tricks to keep myself from drifting when I cannot sleep, or I don’t want to. I can also avoid the naps, but it costs me in energy to fight it and my focus is shot when it comes to group conversations. I’ve learned it’s not a good idea to fight the naps, but to give in to them. I usually nap 2-4 hours and then I’m able to do some chores and make supper before fatigue sets back in. I’d been told fatigue is caused by too much sleep, so I tried less sleep (only 8hrs and no napping) for a time…it was awful and I felt I failed multiple times because I would get dizzy and off-balance, so I’d sit down for a breather and blink sleepily. Next thing I knew it was hours later. It would frustrate me. That’s when I figured out naps could be delayed but not avoided. Then I was told my fatigue was caused by too little sleep, so I enjoyed frequent naps (3-4) like a child would enjoy being handed a whole bowl of M&Ms and told to have as many as they’d like. I did well with it during the day, but when night came I stared at the ceiling, wide awake. So that didn’t work either. I returned to the nap as needed (1 or 2), and I slept like a rock at night.
They said my fatigue was caused by the Depression that I was refusing to admit I had. I admit: the Depression box that some kept trying to suggest I was in, made me want to get very frustrated as nothing I said could convince them I didn’t have it, I knew that wasn’t the issue. I had to keep praying that I wouldn’t fight back in self-defense because it wasn’t necessary. Plus I knew it would put a tally in their favor due to the stress I would exert explaining why I wasn’t stressed. The best thing to do was the hardest thing to do: Don’t defend myself, and let them say how Depressed I am and tell me what I needed to do to rid myself of that stress.  I worked on diminishing the look of panic, stress, and desperation over the situation to accept things of far better value: Being collected, calm, and at peace in the situation. And in the middle of the storm, to have a quietness and trust. It’s not my place to stop the storm, I can’t stop the storm. It’s impossible. I am not in control of the storm, or the waves pounding the rocks, no. I am a lighthouse on the Rock. The Light is His and the window of my heart is what I have, and I am to keep it open, so the Light goes far-reaching into the stormy darkness. (Just like the city on the hill in Scripture.)
The accusations of how I was refusing to offer my situation to God, to let Him have the control over it all and how I wasn’t trusting Him so that is why I am being afflicted, that is the most hurtful thing for me. I’ve called these comforters “Job’s friends” ever since they said this would go away once I was in right standing with God as He would take it away and I would be healed. I know what they are saying is out of genuine concern for my well-being. I see their thoughtfulness very clearly, because in all honesty, they see me hurting and want to help me, and I love that. They are concerned that I should have a healthy relationship with God, I cherish that in them. It is a wonderful thing to have friends who are concerned about my heart-relationship with God. It is highly valued to me. It still takes more strength than I have, it takes His strength to remain quiet and at peace when the sin-Depression subject comes up. Each time, I am all stirred up inside. I want to correct them gently by telling them how much God has been working on me, the great things He is doing, how each time I hurt, I cry out to Him because He is Comfort. But could they hear what I would say? Last time I had attempted it, it had ended poorly; them on one side and me at the other with no bridge of agreement to bring us together in the middle. So I am quiet and prayerful when they speak about these things. And then I tell them how much I am thankful for them and care about them. I am convinced that time will speak for me.  
I had many people pray over me. Beautiful moments, I tell you. Simply beautiful. Hard not to cry, it showed me the love of my Brothers and Sisters in the Lord for me, and when they lifted me up in prayer to Him, I was mightily encouraged. I can't number how many times hands were laid on me, heads bowed and we came before His throne together. A-mazing. Yep. I thank God for my prayer warriors. Definitely a blessing to me, having them talk to God about me and asking for His will in my life. Its a very grand thing I don't take for granted. 
I have had a few circumstances where we prayed that God would just remove it from my life and heal me. that would be ideal, so I thought. ...So we all thought. (But God didn't answer that prayer in that way. He had something different planned for me when He answered our prayers about my health...something none of us saw, but He saw it all. And as I knew, He knew and held all the answers.) I encountered a group of aquantances who heard about my situation and they offered to pray for me. Of course! They all got around me and put hands on me. I understood it to be encouraging. Then they began to pray that the demons would be cast out of my body in His name, as they were the cause of the evil that hurt me so much. Right in the middle of them saying, "We cast you, demon, out of our friend, in the name of Him who is holy: Jesus Christ...." I couldn't, in all honesty, take being silent anymore and interrupted with the first sentence to exit my thoughts, "Dude, the Strongman is in the house!" I was released as though I had shocked them, then they left. I stood in the parking lot looking at their tail-lights with this little squint on my face. Why did they think that I had demons inside me? The Holy Spirit dwells within me. Both cannot live in the same heart. The Scriptures talked about the Strongman in the house and evil not being able to enter, unless the strongman were first tied up (but who then, could tie up GOD? The binds on Him were tried at the cross and Death could not even hold Him!). But where on earth did the word "Dude" come from? Just my shock at them actually trying to do that to me? I guessed so.

I was told by some doctors and acquaintances in January (various times, separate places), that I need to “get happy” as though it were something I could reach out through my pain and snatch it up for myself, or a sunshine-pill that could be swallowed, thus putting a grin on my face and a merry skip in my step. I had already learned from August and again in December that happy is an elusive emotion. It comes when I feel good, and it bubbles up inside of me and I can’t help it, it spreads to my lips in one big giant grin and I am full of laughter and it’s just fantastic. I do like feeling happy, but happy isn’t always available. In fact, there are times of deep sadness, and happy is not there. It doesn’t mean that’s awful and shouldn’t be. There is a time for happiness, and a time to be sad. A time to dance, a time to mourn. A time to laugh, a time to cry. This is the way of life. And this situation has the times for me to cry and be sad when I don’t feel good. It’s not Depression that makes me cry and sad, although yes, Depression can cause those things. It can also cause a person to feel crummy. But here’s the thing: The flu can cause throwing up, which causes a person to feel crummy, and weighted with sadness because they can’t do what they planned to do, and if it’s a party they wanted to attend, they are bummed to cancel. And the sickness makes them restlessly hot in the night, aching, and they cry because it is truly miserable. Once they are better, they are happy again. I’ve never heard of a sane person with the flu hop to their feet after throwing-up, and stomach still churning, grin and whistle about their day, roses-and-rainbows-happy. It doesn’t happen like that. Likewise, when I really get to hurting I can only muscle-up enough strength to not cry for so long before the dam bursts. Pain is not meant to make you smile, if that happened to me, I would naturally be assumed as nuts, crazy, and out of my mind. Why? Simply because pain is unpleasant. Like the saying goes: “I like pain…until it hurts.” Pain is great to notify us of trouble we were prior to, unaware of, but that’s the extent of liking of it I’m sure. “I hurt” equals “I cry.” Now, being sad has its limitations. Why? Because I have Joy and Hope (capital letters on purpose as my joy and hope are in Him because God is my Joy and Hope). I’ve discovered in this storm, joy is different than happy. Happy you have when the weather is fair and life feels great, but joy is in the center of both happy and the center of the deepest, darkest raging storm for the Christian. Happy doesn’t enter that storm. Joy remains always, always present. I have joy because I have the Joy.  
My invisible knife (or spear) symptom is infrequent, random. It comes when it wants and leaves when it wants. It didn’t look to have a reason or pattern that we could see. It seems to go away and I’m skip-a-de-do-dah happy and energetic (until nap time, which I still take), and then there are other days where I’m skipping along and I might as well of eaten rotten food because suddenly I don’t feel so great, then I realize I really don’t feel so great, so I sit, then lay down, and there is the white hot knife, so I cry; or worse, the spear…and I start screaming and sobbing. And that’s when I realize, it’s tricked me, like it has a life of its own and wants me to think the world is right and happy, only to drag me downward and laugh in my face as I curl in a fetal ball and cry. And there’s nothing I can do about it. Medication doesn’t affect it, save for whatever medication they gave me at the E.R. That one, whatever it is, works. But I’d decided to stop going to the E.R. when I hurt (this is just my decision, not recommended). I realized money only stretches so far, and my symptoms will either go away in a few minutes, an hour, a day, or two, or three…And it’s 100 bucks to visit the E.R. 50 bucks to visit the doctor. This money will only go so far. If I spend it relieving my pain, I feel better short term, but it will return later because we haven’t figured out what the reason for the pain is. If I stay home and ride it out, I feel miserable, but I save the money for the doctor visits, which means working towards finding the explanation why I hurt. It has taken lots of tears and strength to fight through the really bad nights.  When it’s woken me from my sleep with a sharp twisting stab, I cry into my pillow and ask God to please take it away. It doesn’t go away, but that doesn’t mean that He hasn’t heard me. I know He most certainly has; every single tear-jerked word and every gasp. And I know that when someone loves you so deeply, when you hurt, it hurts them. I know that in His eyes, that was there. It was in those nights that I was most aware of the calm within the storm, the presence of my Comfort. So that you know, it’s not common for it to wake me up in the night. I am usually so tired, I sleep through the night. Mostly, I don’t get it during my sleep, which is great, and it can stay that way! :P I say mostly as I did have it one night and it was hot enough of a pain that it snapped me out of my sleep and I couldn’t think around it, I just cried and eventually dozed off. That was a few nights ago.
Found myself shaking one evening when I woke up, as though I were chilled by a frigid wind. My hands were trembling in my lap. I looked at the time and realized it was time to make supper. My family would be home soon, and I wanted it to be ready. I’d got to my feet and my world swirled off-balance, so I sat down as the motion weighted me in that direction. I waited, only to hear the squealing in my ears. I stood back up and tottered over to the kitchen like a sleepy child, fingers trembling on their own accord. I didn’t know what was going on with them, but I was going to fix supper. I pulled out the cheese grater, fumbling to hold onto it and the cheese both, pushing my arms to do the work. Still, the grater was clattering on the counter as I sliced. Mom came in at that moment and stood silent for a moment before saying it wasn’t natural and I needed to sit down. I said I was fine. She didn’t believe that. I sat down as asked and drifted off to sleep. When I was woken up, dinner was ready, and the symptoms that had irritated me had gone. I later asked the doctor about it and it was explained to me how anxiety builds up and causes these symptoms. I took the words to heart. I was anxious! God said not to be anxious for anything! I promised myself from that point on to give my anxiety to Him, although, I was pretty sure I was doing that. Apparently not- the symptoms showed otherwise. I went home and put myself alone in my room to pray, to ask Him for forgiveness and face to the floor, ask Him to humble me enough for His good use. I didn’t want to be anxious, that meant I was trying to take control. I didn’t want control. To take control when I told Him from the start that He was to lead me, was to me, to be proud and think I could handle this on my own. Impossible! Pah! Unthinkable! I need Him like I need water or air! I love Him over and above anything I could possibly name. I cannot possibly step forward in this life without Him. I want Him in control at all times. He loves me on such an enormous scale that anything He chooses for my life is wonderful, a gift, a blessing, even if it is in disguise.
 I still struggle with digesting my foods. I eat as much as I can and at the end of the day, I’m glad I don’t have to eat another bite until morning. Still, with eating all that I can, I’ve lost the 3 lbs I’d been fighting to hang onto. It perplexed everyone that I could “eat like a horse” and drop weight like it was nothing. I began thinking of it like a running treadmill. As soon as I stopped jogging forward (eating lots), I started going backwards (losing weight), and when I struggled hard to jog in place (eat enough that I kept the weight) it resulted in me being tired out from the struggling. My Grandparents referred to it as being “accidentally bulimic” although I didn’t suffer from bulimia. Knowing my food wasn’t digesting like it should only upset me, so I kept doing a “hand it over” and “taking it back” battle where I’d entrust God with my situation like I should and not get frustrated (it’s not a fruit of the Spirit, so I don’t want anything to do with it. Besides, frustration doesn’t get me anywhere but upset). Then it’d happen all over again because I’d realize I’d taken what I’d given to him and a whole new frustration would erupt in my head: why do I keep trying to take this confounded situation when I know I don’t have the strength to handle it? …Have you ever have this happen? …Yeah, I dislike it too. I wish I would just leave it in His care, and I mean permanently leave it there.
Been through several different diet programs. Diets to gain weight (although the online program would send a pop up message “Good job, keep it up” every time I lost a pound. Silly, but still useful. :) ), diets to raise protein and fiber (recommended by dietitian, insured that I would gain some weight….but we were both befuddled: I lost a few pounds more and I was still getting sick to my stomach. That’s when I was told there was certainly something wrong and that was evidence), fruit and veggie diet (to cleanse out toxins that could be making my body corrupted, then I could digest. That was the plan….I hardly digested any of it, plus it was so painful and my stomach would swell up pregnant-like, but minus the baby. By the midweek, I completely lost interest in food. After all, who is interested in hurting themselves on purpose?), meat diets (supposed to gain weight, and I did, 1 lb, which dropped off the next week. This was a super-painful diet to me), dairy free, gluten free, both dairy and gluten free (I actually felt amazing at first. It tricked all of us, even my doctors. We thought we had it by the tail. Then, strangely, it got worse, and I went downhill, painfully so. Although I did gain 6 beautiful pounds…before going to E.R. to surprisingly discover that my blood sugar was at 50), then I created my own (very unbalanced) diet called desperation: snatching anything that was high in weight gaining properties and….I lost 4 pounds and pain tortured me. To boot, acne speckled my arms and face (lovely….). I had a panic attack during this time and laid on the bed, going through my breathe-in-&-breathe-out with no deep breaths routine that lasted for a good while (it feels like I am being suffocated). I was upset with me for the attack happening. I had nothing to panic about as I wasn’t in the danger zone yet. It eventually passed and I was able to get up to my feet, lightheaded, and continue with my evening. Then, one day a friend asked me to try an MSG free diet for a month. No other food but what was on the okayed list. I was for it and I was desperate. Anything to get the pain to go away because nothing seemed to be working for me.
I stayed at the same weight all month, which was very exciting for me, like a mini victory. I also wasn’t getting headaches, and that random onset of tight, hard to breathe sensations in my lungs disappeared (medically, my lungs are fine btw). I’d had what doctors called “panic attacks” for about eight years. I thought it would never go away. The first time I had it, I thought I was having a heart attack, and so did everyone around me and I was zipped off to the E.R. Had tests done and everything checked out, I was fine. But I was really having a tough time getting air, I couldn’t breathe it in, it would get stuck and then I would panic within my brain because I NEEDED that air! I’d gasp for it and that’s when it would really go south cause then I didn’t get any of it and began gasping wildly, and not collecting it. I was informed that I was only holding my breath and needed to calm down so I could breathe. Once it got to that point, they would say I wasn’t listening and too panicked to even hear them. I’d get jabbed with a needle and as I fell asleep, I’d feel my chest relax and the clenched feeling in my lungs lifted, sweet air filling them. Finally! That’s what I wanted! Air!
I can’t count how many times I did those E.R. races. Eventually, I got to the point of teaching myself to lay still in those moments and focus on one breath and then letting it out, and repeating that. It made my mind go wildly in circles screaming for air, but I would keep calm and still. As soon as I gasped as my mind begged for me to do, all was lost and I was taken to E.R. for the sleepy-time shot in the rump (because I wasn’t listening) that would relax me entirely and I’d breathe again. So on this MSG free diet, I felt like I had won something, it felt great, so I celebrated February 1st with a cup of decadent brownie whip. I got sick to my stomach and I was sore all day. For the rest of that week, I stared at the whip every time I passed it and shook my head when I would think of how much I had once wanted it. Now, I wanted nothing to do with it, I was repulsed.
I ate all sorts of other foods that week and again felt pretty sick. I retreated back to the diet, where it felt safe. I ate lots of raw foods after that, thinking of health benefits attached to them. There was a sharp ringing in my ears at times (painless but annoying). I continued getting dizzy and off-balanced so when people would rush by me, my center of gravity would bend towards them (I always caught myself by walking the other way, focused on something else). I was digesting less. I wanted to give up, but I couldn’t do that. (That’s what happens when there are no answers and only questions, and pain, and frustration when nothing that is done is helping. It’s normal to want to throw in the towel and just forget about the whole dang thing and move on with life. Stop seeing the doctors and just learn to live life around whatever the mystery is. That was what I planned to do. And so, I ate bacon with my breakfast (what I know could hurt me, but I wanted the issue to go away, so much so that I was trying to will it in my brain to just get up and leave and I’d give it a stiff boot in the rump when it got to the door. I was sick of fighting and sick of pain. And I wanted pork). That night was spent reliving reality as I hugged the toilet, and reminded me why I couldn’t live around my pain – I was living in it. I was revolted by my rebel thought to just live, and despised how careless I was to eat something I knew I should not eat.
So, the next day, I increased my stupidity and went straight for the potato bread. By noon, I was grocery shopping with a loose sweater to disguise the evidence of my being dumb – swollen stomach. There I am, carrying my basket in front of me with both hands and a lady approaches excitedly, saying “Oh!  Yay!” and places her hand on my stomach. “Can I?” She says, a little too late. I realize what she is waiting for, and I squint, trying to figure out how to kindly say, “You’re not going to feel a baby kick, if that’s what you are expecting.” But that’s all that comes to mind, so I say it and go on to explain I’m not pregnant, I am dealing with some sort of medical mystery, and ate potato bread and it swells me up every time, I knew better. Her smile slacked off and I wished instead that I was pregnant so that we would talk about happier things. Like baby bottles, blues and pinks, soft blankets, little toes and fingers. I would laugh and talk about decorating a room, and picking names, and possible birth dates. And would the little one have his eyes or hers? It would have been beautiful, but then, back to reality, I was dealing with a mystery that was hurting me. I chewed myself out when I got home for eating the bread. My subject with the lady, although turned out a lovely conversation and catching up, never would have included what I was considering a murky subject that I wanted to be far away from. My mystery was wearing me out. I don’t know what had gotten into me that I would rebel against the only facts I knew: I can’t eat potatoes, or beef, or pork, or beans, or oily foods, or caffeine, or acidic things, or dairy, or gluten without a reaction that I know I won’t like. I felt like I was all massed up in chains. I found myself pondering how people can live like this. What do they do when they can’t find the way out? What do they do when they mess up like I did, being all rebel-like against their mysteries? Or do they just accept it and move on? How do they just move on? I attributed moving on to be getting better, or progress even in the littlest measurement, and that wasn’t happening. I thought about how one of my good pals was going through kind of similar but different and more painful situations than I was, but she was stronger than I was. In fact, she was out doing things and living. How could I mimic that? Then, of course, it hits me: Who’s strength do you think makes her so strong, hers or His? No brainer on that one. 
I started going to a physical therapist, getting my stomach worked out…that’s when we found out together that the pain can be triggered. Like a push button. Only, once it’s triggered, it stays on; we couldn’t seem to find the “off switch.”  It was an embarrassing moment for me because I almost threw up on my pt lady. She said not to worry about it as the stomach is a sensitive place and mine was very upset when I got to my appointment (a bad day), so she had thought what she was doing may have that effect on me. Yep, it did. I still felt bad for what happened (like I could stop it…nope, not so). Continued seeing her. Each time, although painful, got better.
I started to notice a difference: I was having less “white hot spears” and although still was getting the “knife” feeling, it too wasn’t twisting in me as much. I became eager. This was progress. I felt on top of the world. I celebrated….doing all the laundry, tidying up the house. Boy *sigh of happiness* that was a long time coming. Then, as I surveyed my work, I frowned. I didn’t feel so good anymore. There was that squeal in my ears that I knew no one else was hearing although it drowned out the music I was listening to. My world felt tipsy. And then there was a blinding stab in my stomach. I was going down… but where was that victory I just had? I was muddled with confusion. I had felt great. Didn’t we fix it? I’d felt like I was better. Midway through the laundry, I’d considered calling my future appointments and saying I was better. Something in me was in disapproval at that very optimistic thought, kept saying wait, wait. So I hadn’t canceled any of the appointments. Now I was so glad I hadn’t. Clearly, this mystery hadn’t fixed. It had tricked me….no, I had overstretched my boundaries. That’s what I had done. So I had boundaries. The thought gave me hope. Boundaries meant I could do things, within limits. I just had to find what the limits were. Hurrah. :)
A long while came and went of not being able to do much at all, save for my job, cooking meals, and sleep. A few weeks of this and I wanted to cry. I thought I’d passed this point already.  Well, I considered it, being I went through it before, I could go through it again. I’d get up to where I felt good again, and this time, I wouldn’t sweep through the house like a mini cleaning tornado (if there ever was such a thing as that). I’d go about tidying slowly, so as to not pass that boundary line. I’d be careful about it. That day came. I passed the boundary line without my knowing it, and the pain erupted not like before, but in the middle of the night. I didn’t sleep well, and when I did catch snippits of sleep, there were nightmares that made me sweat and jolt into a sitting position, huffing to catch my breath. I would sit there in the dark, grasping my matted up head with both hands. This was going to drive me into insanity. There was no way out. It hit me. Of course there was a way out, and I was going to get there. I’d been promised so, though it wasn’t guaranteed for this life. I’d just be at the mercy of this mystery, but more than that, knowing with all certainty that I was held up by not my strength, but His, in this Walk. If that was how the rest of my life would be, like this, I could do it, because He said He is with me. I couldn’t imagine going through this, day in, day out, for the rest of my life, but it was happening. And I was learning to soar spiritually in this turbulent physical journey. I did love that, although, quite honestly, I held a strong distaste for the physical war with my mystery. I can’t count how many times nor express how deeply I asked, emplored, begged on my knees, for just the name to the mystery. Just naming it truthfully for what it was. I didn’t ask for fixing, just the name alone. Oh how I knew that would still my spinning mind! It would pull the fogginess of the fight into clear focus. At least my ‘enemy’ would have a name!
Weeks passed. I was learning a lot from my pt lady every time I went. I learned what muscles and nerves made the spear and knife symptoms happen. She was working on them. I had no name, but at least I had the muscles and nerves that were assisting the mystery in paining me. The next time I was asked by friends what I thought was hurting me, I told them what I’d learned. They looked uncomfortable. Then they told me that wasn’t a table-talk subject, in fact, I really shouldn’t talk about such stuff, it was disgusting. I didn’t know anything about these muscles or nerves as they had super long names, what I would call “doctor speak.” I thought about it for the rest of the evening. Surely, someone would ask me and I couldn’t say the same thing, although I would be telling the truth. I figured out an explanation that would say: I knew what was causing the hurt, but it was graphic. That would give them time to back out. If they wanted more, I’d warn them again that it wasn’t like a broken arm and explaining the muscles and nerves and bones involved there, it was the stomach, and graphic. If they insisted, I told them. And those were ok with it, surprising to me.
 
6-6-13: Today:
Hello. It’s been a while since I last updated this blog. I had hopes to keep it updated so all of you who wanted to know how I was doing, would know. However, I didn’t calculate how much my journey would tire me out, neither did I factor in that my brain would become foggy and unfocused. I did make an attempt to write a post (see above portion, made months prior to this addition). I wish I could pick up where I left off in that draft, but I don’t remember what I was going to say. Oh well. I’ll start over…. Just kidding! Just kidding! :P
Alright, so I had MSG again a few months back, after my MSG free diet and I noticed some things I didn’t like. It does affect me. For one, I had a panic attack…which I got curious to figure out if its linked with MSG and you’ll never guess what I discovered….I never panicked until I couldn’t handle my suffocatingly-restricted body and had to have that air! In which, I would do what I knew I shouldn’t (gasp in a mouthful of air), and then I’d panic. Why did I panic afterward? Because my lungs wouldn’t collect the normal amount of air, so by gasping, that was basically like being thirsty and turning on a firehose and trying to drink that. Guess what? You don’t get your thirst quenched that way. Once they would give me the sleepy-shot, I’d fall asleep and my muscles would relax making it so my lungs were collecting the oxygen again. What tensed up the muscles? MSG. Behind all of my ‘panic attacks’ was a prior meal that contained MSG. I’ve since weeded it out of my home and have never since had an episode of it. Oh –happy-day. Praise God. :)
My mystery isn’t a mystery any more. It doesn’t have a specific name, nor do we know where it came from or when it first started. It goes back to my early childhood, is about as far as we can track the symptoms. All we know with certainty is that what my doctors and I are doing, is working. It’s been months since I’ve felt the spear-symptom. The knife-symptom still comes and goes, but randomly, as it’s basically a Charlie-horse for the stomach. Yes, a Charlie-horse. The same sort that people commonly get in their legs at night. Yeah, ok, so its stronger than your average leg Charlie horse, but that’s because when it clenches near my hip, it happens to clench the central nervous system inside of it, which perfectly explains the tingling-numbish pain that is in a different spot/moves around. It happens anywhere in my body where the central nervous system feeds to…which is all over. That also explains why it hurt so bad. Surprisingly, I was told that I coped amazingly well with the pain, and was incredibly strong. This statement baffled me. Strong? I thought I was incredibly weak! But no, they assured me that with the sort of pain that causes, I should have been screaming and twisting about in efforts to escape it. And not quiet with silent tears tracing trails down my cheeks, curled in a fetal ball. When I inquired what causes these Charlie-horses for my stomach, the answer for that was easy – malnutrition is the leading cause. When muscles don’t have the right nutrition to function properly, they spasm and clench up. The weakest muscless are the first to be attacked. The doctors think that early in my life, being so much emphasis was put on training my right leg to walk a certain way, that side became strongest and the left side, weakest. Interesting eh? Here I thought my twisty-leg was the weakest part of me.

So, the next answer that came is: I’m not digesting my food. (No, that’s not the answer, although it was at one point…when the CT scan showed why I wasn’t hungry – I was full, physically full, of undigested food…Is that gross or what? Igh!!) My system isn’t digesting because it is off-balance in alkalinity. My system is highly acidic (explaining the frequent burping, acid reflux, and throwing up). My system being acidic, made it so that foods which in an alkaline environment would digest, didn’t digest and just piled up. So, my body would do all that it could to move the food out. If it couldn’t move out, then it went up and out. The gluten and dairy acted as inflammation agents, explaining why I did so well in the beginning of the Gluten-free, Dairy-free diet. With those inflammatory agents out, there was nothing to get my system inflamed, at first. Then, I unknowingly filled in those gaps where dairy and gluten used to be in my diet and put in….you guessed it: Inflamatory foods that were also acidic based. Guess what happens when you add fire to gasoline? Just saying. It wasn’t pretty. Now I’m on a gluten-free, dairy-free, acid-free, sugar-free diet. Sugar-free? Sugar is an acid based substance. Not to mention it was the cause of my 2-3 nap-crashes per day. Yes sugar gives a jolt, but it also gives quite a drop. Now I just take one 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon after work. Much better! Yay! :)
I have low blood sugar, which is the reason for my ‘anxiety’ where my fingers would be trembling, I’d get dizzy and lightheaded/off balance, see sparkly spots or clouding up of vision with black spots, and the ringing in the ears. All warning signals that I was told were anxiety was my body’s way of informing me: Hey lady! You are low on blood sugar, if you don’t eat something, you’re going to pass out! So, working with my acupuncture lady, pt lady, and councilor lady, I began to eat a diet that my body would digest, and learn to listen to the signals my body was warning me with. The first part was difficult, until I realized that I couldn’t do it perfectly because I am human and I’m going to have times where I fail. But then, I’m to stand back up and get right back on that diet. To stray from my diet, I’m discovering, isn’t worth the cost AT ALL. I still stray from it. But then after it affects me, I get back up, shake it off (no self-talk of “that was stupid, what were you thinking??”, and return to my diet. Simple as that. Is this diet easy? No. But I can honestly tell you, it feels a whole lot better than being down on that couch, or cuddling with that porcelain bowl. When friends call and ask if I want to do something, I can do so…so long as I pack up goodies that I can eat to take with me. If I miss out on the packing lunches and snacks and water, then I pay for it. First I pay with the low blood sugar warnings, then I hurry to do what I’ve termed “picking my poison.” That means, I look at what fast food is available and I pick the one I think will hurt the least. It’s still going to hurt. Watching people eat, in the beginning, was torture for me. I’d find myself salivating over their food as they closed their eyes and munched into it and chewed. Oh yessss, that looked sooooo good. Watching the juice drip out the back of that burger or off the corner of a piece of steak as it was hanging on the fork. Or the crisp sound of bacon. Oooo my yes: the gooeyness of icecream and sweets! Then, as I relayed all this back to my team of three, mad that I was so envious of them that they got to eat that and I couldn’t eat it, I was given new insight: The next time that happens, because it would, I’m to stop in my thoughts and pray this: “Dear God, thank you so much that I do not get to eat (name of food, drink, desert, snack, etc), and for protecting me from getting sick from it. I am very grateful for your protection over me in what I eat. Thank you for what you have supplied for me to eat. Amen.”
The first few weeks of this, I was doing this whole inside battle thing as I was saying one thing and saying another, all in my mind. It kind of went like this: “Dear God, could I please eat that (on top of: Thank you so much that I don’t get to…”), I really want it (and for protecting me from getting sick from it)! Comeon Lord, I really want it, look! It looks so good (Thank you for what you have supplied for me…)! Please?? (Amen.) …Yeah, I felt like a complete hypocrite. But, spurred by their encouragements to keep this practice up and not become discouraged; that I was creating a new habit to replace the old one. So I did as instructed. I had lots of practice, lol, I’ll tell you that much! One day, Mom was drinking a soda and I saw the fizzy bubbles and that it was a Pepsi (my favorite soda). I prayed over my hot tea that prayer of thanks and gratefulness for protection, to Him. And then Mom did the unthinkable and so did I. She put it in front of me, “I don’t want to tease you. Here, do you want a sip? Just one. It won’t hurt if you just do a little slurp.” I felt the words from my core and it just came right out, no thinking-decision time required, “Nope, but thanks.” “Are you sure?” Mom questioned. I was unfazed, “Yep, I’m fine with my tea.” And honestly, from that time forward, other people eating food in front of me that wasn’t on my diet, didn’t faze me. No envy, no bitterness. Just….gratefulness and thanks. That was a huge victory for me. Turning down a soda? Nah, that wasn’t the real problem. The problem was envy instead of gratitude; that was the battle. Gratefulness was the victory. :) Do I still struggle with seeing foods I can't eat? Yes, I'm still human. But I'm not bitterly envious about it.

Still issues with weight. This week, I’ve gotten down to 110, which, for the record, a healthy weight for me would be 135. I found myself in a new situation this spring: I couldn’t fit into last year’s summer wear. Yes, I had my winter wear and that was the same size as last year’s summer wear, but it was baggy, and I stuffed my multiple layers into my pants to keep them up…until March when a little kid spoke up: “Mommy, she has to change her poopy diaper soon huh?” The mother gently shushed her little boy, glanced at me with an apologetic smile, and they went on their way. I asked a nearby coworker in a hushed whisper if my clothes sagged too much and there was hesitation, and then a softly given nod. And it flipped inside: I could not wear these pants again. In fact, being all my pants were this loose, I’d need to do something….pronto. Why hadn’t anyone pulled me aside and told me it looked so bad? I cast that thought out of my mind. No reason to think about that. After my shift, I went all over town, thrift store shopping. I came home with a sizable wad of ‘new clothes’ that fit my size. Getting the shirts was easy, same with the two dresses. But the pants, the shorts? I had to overcome an uncomfortable position I’d never been in: None of the adult sizes were fitting….and when I glanced over to the children’s section, it put this knot in my stomach as my mind said, “I wonder if….” And some people gave me weird glances as I put the pants up to my waist, but I kept my head down to my task. Crush the stupid pride. I still felt heat in my cheeks, embarrassed. But what was I to do? It was important for me to just focus on getting what I needed. I tried to make it fun by trying on an outfit I was certain I’d never wear – laughably so. I worked hard to make the very uncomfortable moment into something fun. It worked, although I was still getting looks. “Obstacles are meant to overcome,” some of my work training randomly fired off in my thoughts. “Do not be anxious….do not be afraid….” Verses from Scripture fired off as well. The pants fit. 2 pants, 4 shorts (due to summertime), came home with me from that section of the store. Difficult? Yeah, it was, but conquered now. :) Were I in need to do that again, I’m sure the discomfort would resurface being I know what size I am now and where that size is located in the store, but I’m sure that being I did it once before, I can do it again. And plus, I won’t be this size forever. Just for a time. It’s all going to be ok, and I know it.
Still issues with burping. It comes unexpectedly and I am just as surprised as the person I'm talking to when it happens. I've tried "excuse me!" but it gets the same response as when I say nothing. I'm considered rude for it. I did a lot of thinking about it and tweaking of how I said it (sometimes I burp right in their face, especially when backing out of a hug). I finally learned that if I look surprised (cause I am) and say, "Oops, where'd that come from?" it helps them to understand I didn't mean it. Which, I didn't. 
 
Was given a beautiful ring on my birthday this year. It was a small diamond inset amongst a pair of leaves and grapes hanging off to one side, the golden vine swirling around and looping to the other side, creating the band. It was given with these touching words from my friend, “For you, on your birthday. Let it mark the start of a brand new adventure for you.” Onto my left pinky finger it went. Neither of us realized how potent of a statement that was: It did mark the start of a new adventure for me. I’ve relearned, learned, and unlearned many things. Most of it was unlearning old things and relearning new. I’ve lived my whole life with the understanding that I was a weak individual, unable to do what most kids did at my age. And to boot, very sickly- catching any cold that was nearby…and so frightened of catching a sore throat which would lead to strep and from there to Scarlet Fever (which I caught 3 times).
My understanding of how my body worked was based off of how I saw my body functioning. Even as a child, I wasn’t properly digesting food…only, it didn’t show all the signs that it shows now. I’d go through the latter part of my childhood and young adult life wondering why people went to the restroom so much, and why they said they had hunger-pangs. I figured hunger-pangs to be a figure of expression just as a person would say, “Today I am soaring!” They weren’t actually soaring, they just were having a good day. So being it was time for lunch, they were signifying it was that time by saying they had hunger-pangs. I’d always gone off of 7am- time for breakfast, 12 – time for lunch, 6 –time for supper. And somewhere along the way, a snack or two. That’s why it never bothered me if I just ate 1 meal, no meal, or 2 meals. I didn’t feel comfortable with 3 meals, but I always thought that was because there was a lot of food on my plate and it was too close to bedtime to be comfortable. I always had a love for food. I would experiment in the kitchen, so I had no aversions to food at all. I was in fact, a human garbage disposal- I could eat anything and wasn’t scared to try new things (yes, I love Liver and Onions in Mushroom Cream Sauce, and Pate on crackers). My only aversion was towards mint, still is that way (YUCK!).
Well, anyways, so about a month ago, I was at work and it was nearing my lunchtime, about an hour from it, and this dull pain struck my stomach. I freaked out mentally, trying to analyze it. It wasn’t my knife symptom and it was far too dull to be the spear. It wasn’t anything that I could put my finger on…and it wasn’t going away. It wasn’t painful, perse, but it was just simply there. I couldn’t figure it out at all. And it wasn’t going away, which was really beginning to rub on me, being my day had begun well. I ate lunch, which was delicious leftovers from a successful attempt at zucchini and pine nut ricotta. I worked for about 2 hours before it hit me: where was that dull pain? I shrugged it off. It was gone, so I was happy. Well, the following day, the same thing happened. Then the following day, only this time, it happened right before each meal. So, I brought up my ‘crisis’ with my team. No kidding…I never had hunger-pangs. I thought it was a joke when they told me that’s what it was! If I remember correctly, I laughed. 
It was suggested to me that I have snacks handy and eat those between meals. Bingo. No hunger-pangs, although I was registering that my body was hungry. It felt weird and new…and truthfully, kind of scary to me because it was unknown and foreign to me. Now I feel hunger-pangs or get hungry and smile, and then go eat. I eat about 6-7 meals per day (not including side-snacks). I feel good doing this. It’s great. :D ps- my low blood sugar symptoms happen almost not at all when I eat this way. I am very excited about my diet. I know I can’t eat like I used to. And for now, no cold food. All of it is room temperature, warm, or hot (so my system doesn’t have to expend energy to heat up cold food). Meats I can only do turkey, chicken, and fish (beef and pork are still incredibly hurtful to me)…and only twice per week (as all meats are acidic). I’ve been told by various people who ask about my diet, “My goodness! What CAN you eat??” or “That sounds like a VERY restrictive and chaining diet! You must not be able to go out to eat, right?” In response, it’s liberating! I’m not curled up on the couch hurting. I’m up doing things (well, in moderation). I can eat as many vegetables as I want, they are unlimited. There’s quinoa, among other gluten-free grains and oats. And there’s eggs (protein) that I hardboiled and have after work. Water is unlimited. There are many ways around not having sugar. Originally with this diet, I wasn’t doing fruits either. All fruit has sugar, so we wanted my system to rest. Now, apples are reintroduced, but I have to slice them up and warm them on a cookie sheet in the oven or dehydrate them. I can’t have them cold, yet. Eventually, I’ll have the fruits all back in my diet. The meats will stay in moderation. And “picking my poison” will happen rarely on occasion, we’re in hopes I’ll be able to do that without it hurting. Until then, I’m learning to ask questions (better not stand in line behind me when I do…I’m still slow at remembering what questions I need to ask). Recently, for instance, I learned that I need to ask deeper questions than usual “Does it have potatoes or dairy in this enchilada?...Can you leave off the cheese?” Sometimes that doesn’t always work. Mothers’ Day, Dad and I took Mom out for dinner and I asked those questions and the answer to both was no. So I ordered it and the cheese was on the enchilada, but not in it. It was such a light sprinkle that I just ate it. There were no potatoes that I saw. We had such a lovely time, it was a good meal and we enjoyed each others company. When we stood up, Mom pointed to my dress, which when I looked down, there was my swollen stomach and I had popped two buttons on my new dress. *facepalm* It’s painless, but uncomfortable. Plus, my clothes aren’t meant for expanding like that. My swelling up after 15 minutes of eating could only mean there were potatoes definitely in there somewhere, somehow. When I got home, I researched it and discovered that the waitress wouldn’t have known this (I didn’t either!) but shredded cheese is packaged using a dusting of potato starch to keep the cheese from sticking together. So now I know to ask, “Does this meal contain potato starch, flour, or flakes?”
And as for my unhealing sores on my foot pads? Its location is on the portion of pressure spot that coordinates to the stomach and being it appeared last year on the right foot in the same location as the left foot. It looks like those are symptoms and may go away as my body heals. I have also been shown my fingernails which have always had white spots dotted on the nail and little black splinter-sized streaks, things I considered normal for me. Ha, there were a lot of things I thought were normal, that come to find out, they weren’t normal. The white spots on my nails was my body’s visible way of telling me I was low on zinc. Went on that and poof, those white spots went away. I was amazed!
I have been promised by my team that I will one day be strong, physically strong. God has been working on me emotionally, but now I am rising in health and this is my new adventure. I’ve never been physically strong, so when I was told this, I was very quiet and didn’t know what to say. My mind was only saying one thing, which I eventually said after there was silence in the room, “Me?” I was assured with the promise. It will happen and is happening. Over the course of four months, I’ve shown amazing improvements. Yes, there are still struggles and battles, but I’m learning to listen to my body. I say learning because I’d spent my whole life ignoring it, so I started out not knowing why it was doing what it was doing, nor what it wanted. I’m working on new forming habits and asking daily that God would help me listen and do what whatever is needed. This way, I am taking care of the temple God has given to me. I am excited. I am learning. And I am glad for answers.
There are still times where I talk to God and tell Him I obviously cannot deal with this and I trust that He will work it out. And then I sleep on that. You know what? He does. Every time, these needs are met, and situations that are beyond my control, are worked out. I am grateful for all of your prayers. Its often that I reflect on this journey from where it avalanched until now and I am amazed at all that has been worked out. God answers prayers. Yes, no, and wait. And boy have I learned that waiting is an active sort of wait – filled to the brim with trust and faith and more prayer. But, not waiting on my own, but through His strength. Praise God!
I have a ways to go before I emerge from this cocoon and on wings of beauty, fly. Until then, I take each day as it comes and I look forward to the day of breaking free of the weakness and with strength, living this new life. I know this will be all unknown to me, but then, who knows the future? God does, and He is leading me by the hand through all of this.  It is as though I walk purposefully along the side of the pool and climb up the tall ladder. There is excitement and drawing. Forward. I walk slowly on the high rise board, the pool down far beneath my slow steps. Forward, and the board begins to shake. I leave the rungs of the ladder behind me, and I walk ever forward. The leap is coming. I am excited, I am scared with the thrill. I can’t wait, I walk…I stand at the edge of the board and take a deep breath. I have never been this high up before, my heart thumps, it is quiet. I raise my arms up in position and stand tall. The air is laden with expectation. Soon.