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, September 28, 2022


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. - Psalm 139:13-16

I cannot begin to fathom the depths of that. My mind has been pondering and rolling this subject around for quite some time now. Incredible really. How can we begin to grasp that kind of incomprehensible care? It's beautiful. 

Awesome in a speechless sort of reverence. The Author of Life not only made us intricately, thoughtfully but planned our steps. I can't walk through your life and point out what He is doing, but I surely can with my life. Come on. Let's take a walk… shall we? 

Rewind the footage. Hold on. Fasten your seat belt…

Hold fast. A sailor's tattoo across his knuckles to remind him in a storm of what he must do to survive the terror of storms at sea. We've got this too, Christian. That rope we cling to? God's Word. Life happens? Always be in Scripture. Storms and sunshine both. Read the Bible. Hold Fast. I painted that on my nails in the thick of a life storm once. Visual reminder, that one. Let's go forward…

"Two weeks to live, if you make it through each night." I was told that. As a follower of Jesus, we are to not fret about the future. Death's sting is gone. Proclaim the gospel. Live for Jesus with every breath you've got. Dying is only gain. Remember that. You may be the only light someone sees through the darkness. Let's speed up to the cool part-

I opened my eyes on the morning that doctors said I'd not live to see. I'd said my I love you that meant goodbye for now. I looked toward heaven. I thought I was in God's waiting room. My name about to be called. Elated, I listened, waited with baited breath. It was highly uncomfortable, akin to drowning, but with blood not water. My mind knew it would be temporary. Recall Pilgrims Progress? Christian at the river? That's how I saw it. Fulfillment of promise was on the other side, glorious and grand. I wanted. Endured. Longed. I thought to my loved ones and I had asked if it was His will, that I stay for them. However! If it were time -for there is no such thing as before one's time, we all have an appointment here- then Jesus take me Home! I wanted eagerly to finally see His face. I was ready. 

I was given a miracle (Thank you Jesus!). And it exposed a lie in my life- "Just another day." Let me be perfectly frank with you folks, that doesn't exist. Every day you wake up? That's a brand new day. One you did not have yesterday, and you won't have today again. It's precious. Wrapped up for us to discover when we rise up from sleep. We take it for granted, don't we? I know I did. 

Trials? Struggles? How could that be a gift? I've touched on this before. Let's go to Scripture. That's what we cling to.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4

Do you see the gift? Don't be like the world, Christian. You don't belong. And you won't. You're a light in the darkness. Lights stand out. A beacon shining into the night, for the lost. Scripture says we're a city on a hill. Shine. Be fearless. Hope.

Fast forward. Zip!

The hurried steps of a visiting pastor. His voice called out to me, "Hope! Wait, Hope. I want to talk to you." Wow, that's a bit fast, isn't it? We went years forward here. Here, where I was in the center of a storm. I was calm while my life spun in idiopathic medical difficulties. I had given my poem, There Is A Battle Line, to my pastor to read. He had asked my permission to read it in front of the congregation, leading into the sermon. He called it "a timely reminder." I was then asked up to present my testimony. I sat on a chair, and trembling like a leaf, shared my walk with my precious Jesus from my being born again up to that present moment in front of them. There wasn't a dry eye, and a visiting pastor in the back mistakenly thought my name was Hope. So I gained a knickname. I like it. Hope isn't like dandelion blown wishes, you know. True hope? It's solid. It's built firmly on the knowledge of what's to come, the promise of all our tears wiped away; the place where pain and suffering cannot cross into (thank you, Jesus!). Looking at the face of God and hearing "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Hope. 

OK, let's hold down the button for the sake of time. Lots of years. We'll just fly by. Isn't that just like time? It always seems like yesterday until it's pondered about. So many details that get forgotten somehow, yet how important they are in refining us as we walk with Jesus! Whoa now lets not pass this event. It really hurt but… God brought good out of it. He is amazing like that. I didn't see the good at the moment, but it was there from the beginning. His perfect will in motion, just as always and always will be.

The date? February 14, 2022. Present year. Yes, you're right, that's Valentine's day. I worked that day. It was a busy, hustle and bustle sort of day. Made more hectic by people getting special dinners for loved ones on the snowy winter's day. Accident reports were buzzing my phone infrequently throughout my shift. I keep it on vibrate so I can hear the buzz as the report comes in and pray. A coworker called out sick, so I told my boss I would pull a double. Just, let me attend to my pets at home first. It was agreed. I left to do so. 

The weather condition of the day prior had been sunny and hot for winter, the snow had partially melted. Added to it, this day was cold and powder snow covered over the frozen sheets of ice. I merged over to begin my turn toward home. Caution, I reminded myself, flicked on my turn indicator, and I slowly worked the break pedal. I'd done this thousands of times. I watched the speed decrease. I began to make my turn, and realized that my car was still going forward. It wasn't stopping! My foot pressed down on the break. Nothing, I was sliding.

I looked ahead and I had one thought- This is it. And then I went limp, thinking it might help in my recovery. Ahead of me was the equivalent of a concrete wall. A snow berm that had been there all winter. I saw the gas line and I recall hearing myself scream. The semi truck whizzed by and unknown to me, a car slowed behind me. I had no life flash before my eyes moment. It was too fast an event for that. Pain shattered like stars through my vision as the airbag deployed, punching me in the face. I remained alert. I didn't go unconscious. 

I put my car in park (habit I guess), hit my emergency lights, and planned to stay in the car but quickly changed my mind as I saw smoke rolling into the cabin. I turned off the car, detached my seat belt, snapped up my phone, opened the door (how I got the door open, they aren't sure- they had trouble with it) and for the life of me, I can't remember jumping… but I had to have jumped due to the angle of the vehicle on the berm. I stood there, looking at my car for a second, my thumb had hovered over the 9 but I heard from behind me a voice and dropped my hand to my side. "Ma'am! Are you alright? Are you ok?" A young guy hurried up to ask. "I'm not sure." I managed. I looked down at myself. "I'm alive. I'm alive." I was hugging him and repeating that. He held me and assured me I was and asked what he could do for me.

I heard an ambulance and a police car pulled in, the officer exited and ran to me, "No, not you! Are you alright?" I still wasn't sure. The young man guided me over to the other side of my car away from the busy traffic. I gave the officer all the details of the crash and was sat down in the officer's car. I called my insurance company. Then my boss. "Uh, hi, I won't be able to come back in. I… I crashed. My car's going to be totaled… I don't know if I'm ok? I hurt all over so I can't assess it properly? Yah. I know I got a concussion for sure." I've researched car crashes for a story I did. I know enough to know stuff hides when adrenaline is pumping too. I planned to be very careful until I knew more information.

I watched the officer talk to the witness. Then he came and sat beside me, "How are you? Sore? Yeah I bet after that. His story matches what you told me. This isn't your fault, the ice took you and you hung on. I don't know what to say to you. I'm shocked. You should be hurt much worse but… but this is the perfect crash. Wow. It couldn't be more perfect. It's as if angels guided your car straight forward. There's no other explanation why you are here. Its that perfect. Had your car knifed to the left? The semi would have got you. To the right? You would have hit the gas line. And had you turned like you thought? You wouldn't be here. There's not any barrier between your car door and you. But here you are. I'm so glad you're alive. And bonus- No one else involved. Just you, and the ice. This is good, if a crash could ever be considered perfect- this is the one. This is it." He looked at me in sympathy and concern. "I'm sorry you got hurt. Ah, here they come. We just came from an accident. Very slippery conditions. It's going to be a busy day."

The ambulance got in there and I stared down at the clipboard, unsure why I couldn't fill out my information. Why were the lines moving? Why was the print blurred? Why couldn't I figure out what to write? The waving lines made me some what sick. "It's ok, just do what you can." He noticed my frown. "I can't," I shook my head. "You can't? Don't stress, it's ok. Here. Its more than likely that you're in shock." He took it from my hands. "There are people coming up behind us." I saw the car. "Those are my parents. It's ok. Just tell my mom to stay in the car- she had back surgery. It's not safe for her out on that ice." They were panicked, worried about me. It took assuring to calm mom, who wouldn't stay in the car. The officer helped her. The ambulance personnel came up and checked my vitals. They said oxygen saturation was good. I was relieved because that meant no popped lungs. I opted not to do the ambulance ride. The steak and wine were removed from the car along with personal items. The long stem red rose a customer gave me was an explosion of petals all over the front of the cabin floor. (Later when I would go to gather my personal items from my car and see it for the first time since the crash and touch it for the last time, I would be told by the yard guy, "You're the driver's family? How are they? I mean I saw this wreck come in and my heart sank- I just knew this is a bad one, they're definitely in the hospital. Man… that owner is in bad shape." I smiled over at him, "Sir, I am the owner." His jaw dropped. He said some words and said "What, were angels there or something?? This is too big for lucky, ok? Way too big." I turned, "You're right. I'm standing here not by luck but by God. He did this." He got food for thought I'm sure. And so did I as I looked at what used to be the front of my car for the first time: I shouldn't have walked away from this, and He made it so I did. Thank you, God.)

I was taken to the er. Saturation and heart rate were taken. Then they talked to me about the coming days. They asked what on earth gave me the idea to go limp seconds before impact? I replied that drunks do that and they walk away from crashes typically- their bodies don't fight the momentum, they go with it. The er dr said it was a very clever move as I would have been hurt far worse (I later learned it saved me from breaking my ribs, collarbone, and spine. On the trade off? It made my concussion and whiplash stronger). They prescribed pain medication and sent me home. I laid down at home, after getting comfy and noticing my sore driving foot was missing the top layer of skin. It hit the bottom of the dash, I presumed. I thanked God I kept my foot. I knew of crashes like mine- they lost their foot or broke it badly.

I laid, staring at the ceiling. Lidocaine patch over my ribs (later, we'd discover the cartilage was torn). "Thank you, God. For protecting me today, for the angels that were certainly there. I know You did that. Help me recover, I hurt so much. Wherever You're taking me, it's for good. I know that. I'm ready. I'm ready." 

Fast forward! I looked up into the mri tunnel, the sound muted by earplugs, tube of contrast wrapped around my thumb and held loose in my hand. …Oops. Don't want to give you all whiplash too. I should have warned you that was coming. I'd been falling. I fell down the stairs, fell in my field, fell in stinging nettle (ouch). And as they'd gotten the wheelchair to come get me in the parking lot, I fell then too and smacked my head on the car. I'd been dropping things more. At a prior appointment, my Dr had pushed and pulled at my arms and legs, my fingers, feet. I had atrophy. "I'm surprised you haven't fallen more than you have." He said. "I want a brain mri with contrast done." I swallowed. "This isn't from the crash, is it?" He shook his head. "No, the atrophy is not related." I pulled in a breath, "Okay, let's do this."

So there I was, list of prayer requests pressed in my right hand as I prayed for people. I'd figured that was a good use of my time. "Well, God?" I thought. "Here I am. Crossing an unknown. We've been there before with the itp. Remember that? It was hard but You got me through. Gave me that miracle too. Anything I go through, I'm going through with You so I'm cool with it. Whatever they find? We'll walk through that together too. I'm not worried, I'm trusting You. You lead, I'll follow. Wherever You go, I'm following. For Your glory. And if what comes of this saves someone lost with Your light in my life, so be it. I'm glad to bear whatever it is. Help me be a good example to my friends. If I'm to fight something, I want them to see You in me."

Time elapsed, it finished, and I was sent home. I would later receive a phone call. "Hi? We got the results… White masses were found on your brain. Hmm? Yes, lesions. Do you have a piece of paper handy? I'll spell this word for you-" I grabbed my cellphone and opened a search bar, "Fire away. I'm ready." The receptionist began to spell "D-e-m-y-l-e-n-a-t-i-n-g." I didn't hit search. I already knew that word. I looked up at the ceiling and placed my hand over my mouth. No kidding? Well, didn't that make so much sense! They went on to talk about multiple sclerosis and said they wanted me to see a specialist.

So here I am, waiting to see a specialist. I've since seen the mri for myself and saw the tiny white dots. Lesions sound like such a lackluster name, such a downer. I decided to call them stars. My own little constellation. That sounds far more fancy and sparkly, don't you think so too? Stars in my brain. Yep. Much nicer.

I've been asked if this is going to change everything. No, folks, no it's not. I am going to continue to walk this walk. Anything I face? I know it's temporal. It doesn't go with me when I go Home one day. Yes, so working out at the gym is new. Honestly that's a good thing anyway. Having a goal of being fit, I believe, is taking care of the body God gave me. I might even have been excited when I showed my physical therapist something I have never had before. I told him, "I call it… definition." We celebrated that with jokes and puns, laughing. 

I told one of my church family on Sunday- "I don't want pity. This is not a burden, it's my staff. I'm going to have to walk with this, I have been already, but! in that, it is a tool God has given me and I'm going to go places with it. It's inconvenient when I want to do something because my hand is full. Yet again, with my eyes focused on God, it's a convenient way to open a conversation- to say yes I'm familiar with struggles, and look, come this way- I will show you Who can make you strong when all you have left is weakness. Let me show you Who can give you hope when all you feel is hopeless. Perspective is important. I want to shine. I want people when they see me, they see Jesus and know that in their lives, they too can stand victorious come what may here on Earth."

Currently as of today, I wait, working on healing and getting stronger. I'm teaching myself to speed read once more, it's a work in progress due to the optic nerve damage. Every step is exciting… I've got a stack of delicious to be read books waiting for me! I struggle with researching and studying, but, I will not quit. I'm resolved to be a student of the Word. Just because something is harder, doesn't mean stop trying. I'm surrounded by the love of my family and my friends. I'm ever thankful for the encouragement of the good friends who listened and were and are there for me. I praise God for those brothers and sisters in Christ, I know full well that He placed all of these into my life. I cherish their words in my heart. I can't stress how important having this support is. 

Until next time,

Shine forth in the darkness (be fearless and unashamed of the gospel). Armor on, with the Sword in your hand (be in the Word!). Eyes on Jesus (focus on glorifying God in your walk). Let's run the race (persevere)! 

God bless :)

Oh! Ps- There Is A Battle Line, that poem was published as of this month in Clean Fiction Magazine. I've seen a dream become reality, seeing it in print. I am praying it inspires Christian readers to actively wear their spiritual armor and reminds them that we are engaged in a battle between Truth and lies. 

Monday, June 21, 2021

Standing back up and Walking

 Howdy all! 

Its been a good while, hasn't it? I've got catching up to do. This blog was hard on my mind for weeks, no months now. lol. So! Today is the day! 

Where did I leave off? Oh yes, Covid. It took until mid April but guess what? I was able to kick out the last two symptoms. No more sunburn rash weirdness, no more hair loss. I didn't know if I would lose some of it or loose it all, but just in case it started looking crummy, I decided to have it cut off as short as I could go (while still being able to slip it back into a ponytail for work). I didn't want to see it go to the trash can so I donated it before it possibly came to that point. I also made up my mind to have it highlighted for summer. I told the lady to have fun and no unicorn colors! She had a good laugh about that. I got to thinking, what's the worst that would come out of it? Not liking it? With my hair falling out, that was laughable. My hair would grow back. Caramel highlights is what I got and I do like it. My sense of taste came back about the end of March and the ability to smell came back a week after that. It was odd as I thought they would come back together, but I'm glad to have both again. I'm one of those that cooks with their senses, not by measurements. 

I decided to see a nutritionist as the stress caused my body to start emptying... which isn't a fun digestion issue. I lost ten pounds. Surprisingly, not only were we able to restart my digestion on the right track, my energy came back, and I haven't had one issue with Gerd since I started week 2 of the plan we made (very nice). While the weight gain is much slower than I would like, my nutritionist is right- Eating right and establishing a good digestive health is the key to feeling good, weight gain will follow that. I followed the plan strictly (until recently, when coffee was taken off the menu - I'm fighting with that one, its not easy). Its been 3 months now. The difference is outstanding. I have more energy than I've had in several years. Everyone around me says I'm much more alert than before I began this plan. I am glad I chose to do it. I'm still following it although my last appointment was last week. I intend to keep going because I have my sights on good health. I have a goal too: 2 weeks without 1 nap. I believe more than ever that I'm approaching that goal. I've been missing naps, which is amazing! (Having a choice to fall asleep is one thing, I'm ok with that. Not having a choice and losing the daily fight with napping is not. It gets old, quickly.) When I do meet the goal, I can go hiking again. I can go swimming. I can go mountain biking. In moderation. Not all at once. :P To get there, coffee has to go. It is making my already taxed adrenals work too hard. I keep reminding myself that its worth it. I've just got to put my foot down and say no. I want to be as healthy and strong as I can be. I found a few alternatives to coffee and I'll start doing those. I'm sure I'll fumble around, make mistakes, but guess what the best part about slipping is? I can stand right back up and keep going. And I intend to. The bible doesn't say I can do some things through Christ that makes me strong, it says all things. And all means all. 

I decided among all this, that I would get the ball rolling on fixing my teeth. An important step that I have wanted to make for about 5 years now. I am excited to be out from underneath the weight of debt that quite frankly, I was told would swallow me alive and I'd never get rid of. I paid off every last penny of it this year. Its done. And it feels... every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. I've been saving up since then to pay for the down payment on the dental surgery (the rest will go through a loan that I have already been approved for). The surgery is out of pocket, being labeled as cosmetic, so its going to cost some pretty nice shiny pennies, that's for sure. And its going to feel quite similar to a hot burn. I won't be able to talk for 2 weeks. But, it will be worth it in the end. Silly, but my favorite goal out of this will be- I'll be able to sink my teeth into an uncut apple without breaking my teeth. No more slicing up apples in order to eat them. I'll be able to eat confidently. God gave me this body, I'm going to take care of it the best I can. :)

I finished my last physical therapy for my twisted leg. I now walk straight. Where at first, it felt terribly uncomfortable and strange, now I'm adjusting to my new way of walking. Time and practice. Lots of it. And exercises. It reminds me near daily of what a friend told me once- that it was just like when God gets a hold of our lives, and its uncomfortable at first, so very different, but we trust in Him and we follow Him. There is a plan for us, for good. And it begins to happen, what was crooked and twisted begins to straighten. We don't walk that old painful path we once walked (I had so many twisted ankles), we walk a new Path, a far better one. Where once there was weakness and susceptibility, now there is strength and it is secure. Its a continuous effort for both of these things- It takes Walking. :)


The next part of my story is called Stretching the comfort zones and defeating the villain of fear. 


I found out while I'm expanding my horizons and slowly chipping away at my list of things I've never done before, without thinking, I've also added limitations. Limitations that I enforce because I'm scared to do them for some reason or another. Write and publish a novel? I'm scared. I want to, I really want it and have always dreamed of it. There are ways to make it happen. Yet I think about how scared I am, instead of the excitement that yes, I can make it happen. Since when did fear start trying to rule this life? Do you know what people say they regret at the end of their lives? It isn't what they did wrong, its this: What they didn't do. Hearing that said, I couldn't help but think about what I've yet to do: my books. I was also asked to teach something I knew a little bit about and my instant response was to shy away from it and point to someone who knew far more. I missed something that I noticed later, but the moment was gone. Hey now! God didn't give me a spirit of fear! Aren't I to be victorious? So I may not know as much as the person over there does, the fact is- I do know some things. So teaching in public isn't my gift, coming along side people is... and what if the one leads to the other? How many times in the Bible does it say not to fear? Not to be afraid? If I don't step out, what opportunities are being missed? Even the ones that look insignificant can lead to something that is a treasure in Heaven, a good thing that God wanted us to do. While I get my health in order, I'm trying to get my mind in order too. I think its harder than ignoring the call of coffee, but it can be done! I know I'll slip up time and again... but know what? I'll get back up. I'll start again. Keep striving continually. God is the strength of my heart (Psalms 73:26). In all things, its the focus that matters. In the Bible, Peter walked out to Jesus on the water. Looking at the waves in fear made Peter sink in the water, but if you notice - they walked back to the boat. Its a process of continual reminders- don't focus on the things of this world. Focus on Jesus.  

Fear? It has come to this day. It's time to meet The Sword.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Until next time, 

May you rest securely in His Words, take up the full armor and let your eyes be fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). 


Monday, January 4, 2021

Happy New Year!

Howdy everyone! 

    I'm back! It's been a goodly while hasn't it? I hope you've all kept well and that your Christmas and New Years were peaceful and nice. :) 

    There is so much that has happened in my journey since the start of my medical avalanche. Good times and hard times both. In it all, I can see God's provision throughout. Not one thing that I truly needed went unprovided. Several things that I thought I needed (they were wants really), I discovered I didn't need after all. I can’t thank those who dropped off groceries on my porch enough as of recently. I’m well supplied and I can’t think of anything that I need currently (other than I need to get better lol!). I’m thankful for all who offered to help. 

    Yes, I have Covid. And yes, I know where I got it. Dad brought it home and then Mom got it. I was outnumbered. I woke up with it on the 3rd of December. I never got a fever, nor did either of them. I was the only one to get a rash in my mouth (that’s what cued me in that it was not my typical sore throat cold). They are better, officially cleared from quarantine and back at work. I’m still in quarantine, a list of symptoms still present and accounted for. My doctor asked me if I knew what a Covid long hauler is. When I said I did, they said good because I am one. Day 32 currently. I’ve been off work using my vacation hours (which is not a problem, I have more than I can use). Crummy vacation though. Can I get a refund? lol. 

    I thought that while I was down, I would work on writing and learning ASL via Youtube videos. I could also catch up on a stack of books that were just waiting for me. What I didn’t count on was the surprisingly thick brain fog that would dash all those great ideas to a fine powder and blow them away. The brain fog was as mean as being winded and heavily fatigued. Simple things like getting dressed, making a bed, getting a shower in- became huge tasks that left me drained for the remainder of the day. I’ve been spending my time chatting with friends via the internet (talking on the phone leaves me feeling out of breath and fatigued quickly), looking up and sharing memes, and playing a video game that’s live courtesy of the internet. I’ve shared the gospel 4 times through chats, which God knows what He will do with that, I just planted seeds. I may not be able to do much but I can still do something. :) 

    I’m hopeful to return to work next week, but I know it won’t be easy. I’m easily out of breath and still have other symptoms, like covid toes (hard to walk and painful). Its far beyond 14 days, which is the CDC requirement for quarantining. I’ll be calling the doctor to see it would be a good idea to return to work in this current state. Time will tell all. I miss my coworkers and from what I hear, they have been missing my being there too. I mean, who is going to count down to Christmas (there are 355 days to go), bring up songs to fit the conversations, and lighten the day, not to mention being such a hard worker? That made me smile to hear. As did the flowers and card that my boss had everyone sign. That was brought by with soup. Butternut Squash soup is so far the easiest thing for me to eat. I can’t smell at all and the only tastes I have is tasting salt and this phantom flavor of sweet clover honey (which is incredibly strange when I drink coffee and my brain is telling me via my tastes that its salted clover honey). The level of weirdness goes up when I am eating steak and potatoes. Why does that taste like salted honey? O.o Eating has become a game of textures instead of flavors. I have no idea when I will regain my ability to taste or smell, or if it will be the same as it used to be. 

    I decided to try to battle the brain fog by putting together a puzzle. Admittedly, for one who is very good at puzzles, I am struggling to assemble this one. I’m unwilling to give up and piece by piece, effort upon effort, its coming together. The last piece isn’t going to slide into place though… the dog chewed it up. Yep, she’s left her mark on this Christmas puzzle. I’m hopeful to complete the remainder of puzzle before next week. I’ll also attempt to pick up a book from my stack of things to read. I’m hopeful to be able to remember beyond a paragraph of context. I’m not one to give up. Slowly pulling myself up to my feet. I’ll get there too. It’s just a matter of when. 

    I ordered seeds for this year’s garden. I heard of the race to buy up seeds (much like the toilet paper craze), and slipped in my order just as things began to go out of stock. Made it with a few modifications to my list – some things I really wanted went out of stock. Life marches on! I’ll keep a watch for restocking and if I can’t get them, then there is always next year. I know seed companies are working hard right now. I’m sure they are doing all they can to meet the high demands. Lots of talk about Victory Gardens. I’m not worried about what the future will bring, I’m simply growing a garden as I do every year. It brings me joy. Funny- when I began that journey, I was presented gardening by my doctor as a replacement to hiking. My energy couldn’t support hiking, and with gardening, I could take breaks or stop for the day at any point. I remember laughing in humor at the thought of me being a gardener. Me? Garden? I killed everything I touch! I’ll never forget his words, “What will you gain if you don’t try?” Yeah, nothing. So I tried. And yes, everything died, but I was desperate so I tried again. And wouldn’t you know it, something grew. I felt this satisfied smile light on my face and I realized something – gardening wasn’t about having a green thumb at all, it was all based on what I knew and what I didn’t. My garden grew leaps and bounds. While I do miss hiking, gardening fills that void and gives me a very similar quiet satisfaction. When people ask what my favorite room in the house is, I don’t even hesitate- it’s the garden. 

    Oh! I forgot to say: A lot of people have been asking me if I am afraid of Covid. No, I’m not. I’ll tell you why- God is in complete control and my trust is in Him. He planned my path and I know that no matter what I go through, He’s with me and His plans for me are for good. I’ve been through many sicknesses and conditions. The two things I learned are these- Keep your focus on God, everything else will go into place according to His will. And you don’t have to be strong- God loves to use the weakest of people to show His strength. He supplies the strength that we need to do all that He asks us to do. 

    As much as I would love to stay and chat, I should do some more breathing exercises and rest a bit. Until next time, God bless! 

Matthew 14:25-33, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Romans 5:1-21, Ephesians 2:8-10.

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


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, 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 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.


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 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 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 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'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