It is What it is

>> Sunday, February 27, 2011

So...Monday is Rare Disease Day.  Some new readers may not know that I have a little known disease called Intracranial Hypertension. 

This is taken right from my friend Kerry who has this disease in a major way, "Intracranial Hypertension (IH) is the general term for the neurological disorders in which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure within the skull is too high. Imagine, if you will, your skull filling up with CSF and "squishing" your brain...that's what IH does. As it squishes your brain (and the brain does not like to be squished) it does nasty things in response."

IH causes debilitating headaches for me (Laury) and extreme dizziness.  It took years to get a diagnosis.  FINALLY, after a very long time and 2 shunts, I have one that is working amazingly well along with a combination of medications.  It's placed in my foramen magnum (that hole in the picture is where the spine comes up into your head - my shunt is in there somehow.) I have tubes that run from there down my neck and around into my pleural cavity (lungs) where the excess spinal fluid drains. Now you know way more than you ever wanted to, right?  

There are lots of diseases out there that we don't know about; not until you happen to run across one in your body or the body of your child or spouse.  It's hard finding a doctor to even know what's wrong and then finding a doctor to help you, preferably one that is close. I want to spread some good news.  I've been waiting out of fear but now's the time.  I've been feeling really really good!  I went back to the pain clinic to get help about three weeks ago.  I left there when they couldn't do anything for me six years ago.  That was when the headaches took over like crazy.  Dr. Vallajo has me on some medicines that are working wonders and he gave me cortisone in my back last week.  

I'm up and around now!  My house is getting cleaner and more organized.  I'm feeling better about myself.  I'm laughing more.  Enjoying life.  It's great!  I'm living again.  And now that I am living again, I can see how much I wasn't.   

We are in Jeremiah right now in our B90X and I am loving it.  The words there are speaking to me in major ways.  Jeremiah has a hard job.  He has to tell the Israelites that they are in for it by God because they have disobeyed way too long.  They aren't liking the message and I left poor Jeremiah locked in prison tonight.  The good news is that after 70 years, God has promised to come back for them.  The punishment will be over.  In Jeremiah 31:13 from The Message it says, 

"I'll convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy."  

That's what I feel like has happened to me.  I've left a dark place and now I've been lavished with laughter and joy.  Okay, so a reality check.  I do have a chronic disease.  Things could change, but I am walking in faith.  I am enjoying what I have right now.  

Each step I take, I want it to glorify my God - whether it be through the storms, between the storms, or after.  Just like I  told a young friend this week, "It is what it is."  And God IS.  And that makes me SMILE.  I've been smiling lots lately.  

And in 25 days, my very best friend who knows me inside and out but loves me anyway, will be here, and we will be able to run around like teenagers and have loads of fun.  God is so very good.  

"God will create a thing new in this land:
A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!"
Jeremiah 31:22 (The Message)


When You're Between a Rock and a Hard Place

>> Wednesday, February 23, 2011

God's Message:

"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called you by name.  You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it won't be a dead end --
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That's how much you mean to me!
That's how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.
So don't be afraid:  I'm with you."
Isaiah 43:2-5
The Message


Dominoes Anyone?

>> Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Today is day 51 of B90X.  I'm cruising right through Isaiah.  We are over half way through the Bible already!  That's a pretty big accomplishment for 90 days!  I'm already thinking how I want to read it when I'm finished.  Let me tell you, it will be much slower so I can take my time to study some things.  I'm thoroughly enjoying this, though.  I'm thinking I'd like to start the new year this way every January.

Any one want to come play with me today?  I have the day off.  If so, follow me over to our brand new group blog, Jewels of Encouragement.  I'll be setting up the dominoes.  Come on over, not only today but every day!

Each day of the week we will have a different Christian woman posting an encouraging message for all of us in each walk of life that we are in for "such a time as this."  I know almost all of the women and they are pretty fantastic, let me tell you!  I'm excited to be a part of this group.  Don't be shy.  We love to hear how an article has touched you.  Or maybe you have a question you'd like to ask.  We'd even accept criticism:)  Really truly.  Okay.  Enough talk.  Let's go play!


Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes!

>> Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sistersicks in Wooden Shoes! by Robin Jones Gunn, published by Multnomah, is one of the BEST fun books I've read in a long time.  It may be the whole timing of the read, too.  In less than five weeks now, my best friend is coming to visit in Central Illinois from Washington state.

The book begins with a middle-aged empty-nester, Summer, from Midwest United States, who receives some disturbing news from her doctor.  Instead of facing it head-on, she decides to run to her best friend, Noelle, in the Netherlands.  They found each other as pen pals in grade school and kept up their relationship all their lives.  They wrote letters and later as technology improved, they emailed but have never once seen each other in person.

I laughed so much as I read this because the characters kept switching between my best friend and myself.  The silly situations they got themselves into reminded me of the crazy things we went and go through, too.  Some not so funny at the time but now we can laugh about them.

Even though Summer was in denial about her health situation, God followed her to Noelle's house and spoke to her through each experience.  Summer learned many things about herself as she lived a week of her life with her friend.  Noelle 'gently persuaded' Summer to milk a cow.  This is what Summer learned from the experience.

"This is pretty amazing," I said a few moments later.  My voice was more soothing than it had been earlier.  "I feel very organic.  I need to have a piece of straw hanging out the side of my mouth."

Noelle smiled.  "I wish I had my camera.  You're a little Dutch barn maid."

"I don't think I'll need a picture to remember that I did this."

"It's pretty cool doing things you wouldn't normally do, isn't it?"  (pg. 114)

I don't want to ruin the book for you so I won't mention rental bikes that fall into the canal or 2 women who sail in a wooden shoe.  I sure wouldn't want to say anything about pesky sea gulls, either.  Awesome book.  Perfect for middle-aged women who have friends who are in another city, another state, or maybe even across an ocean.  We all crave friendship; maybe even more as we grow older.

If you want some big smiles and some giggles, please read this book.  I must warn you, there might be some tears that come along with it, too.  Where two good friends come together, tears inevitably follow: tears of healing and joy.  Thank you Robin Jones Gunn for a book written just for me, for just a time as this!


I'm Starving!

>> Friday, February 18, 2011

On my last blog post, Desiray posted a comment that I replied to and decided, "Hmmm...that will make an awesome post." it is. Thank you, Desiray, for pulling more out of me about waiting on God. I don't know this woman. She's just a fellow Christian blogger who found me and who has been encouraging me ever since, along with Grandma Becky (and I appreciate them both.) Anyway, waiting on God...

I've become quite the expert soup maker this winter. I can't take credit for that, though. Actually, my good friend, Becky Glenn, gave me an awesome taco soup recipe. It's easy and extremely good. Here it is. Hopefully she doesn't mind that I'm sharing it with all of you.

Taco Soup

1 # browned hamburger
1 small onion chopped (or onion flakes)
1 bag frozen corn (16 oz) (or 1 can)
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies (10 oz undrained)
1 can plain diced tomatoes (14 oz undrained)
1 can chili beans with sauce (15 oz undrained)
1 can tomato soup

Mix all together and cook in crock pot (high 2 hours) or oven or simmer on the stove.
Serve with:
Tortilla chips
Shredded cheese of your choice
Sour Cream

The problem with this soup: I have to wait for it to simmer. I suppose I better share my dirty little secret with you. Most usually, I don't wait. I'll scoop some up and put it in a bowl and heat it in the microwave. The problem with that, it doesn't blend in all the different flavors like it does when it takes it's time in the crock pot.

If I would just wait for it...I would eat the most delectable bowl of soup ever. I am overly impatient. You know, talking about soup reminds me of Esau. He came in famished after his work day and begged Jacob for a bowl of his red stew he had simmering on the back burner. I'm sure Jacob would have given him some for free at dinner time but Esau was so dramatic about the whole - I'M STARVING and GONNA DIE - thing that Jacob played along.  Jacob traded his twin brother a bowl of soup for his birthright.

All because Esau was impatient, he lost out on all the rights that came along with being the oldest.  All because he was too impatient to wait for dinner, he let something slip past him that was much more valuable than a bowl of soup.  How sad is that?

Psalm 27:13-14 (The Message)
 I'm sure now I'll see God's goodness

      in the exuberant earth.
   Stay with God!  (Wait for God!)
      Take heart. Don't quit.  (Wait for it...don't quit!)
   I'll say it again:
      Stay with God.  (Wait for God!)

You know...when we try to speed things up, we are attempting to stop what God has set in motion for us.  We can't see the big picture.  Sometimes, every little piece has to fall into place before we see answers to prayers.  God sees it all.  He knows it all.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  Why don't we just wait for Him?  

I hate the thought of sitting in my rocking chair in the nursing home thinking of all that my impatience cost me during my younger years. Oh, can you imagine?  To finally have life figured out by 85, 90 years old and not be able to change a thing?  

Here is my 90 year-old self from the future telling my 47 year-old self from right now - "Wait for God.  Don't try to make things happen.  It never worked out when you did that.  It didn't work at 20.  Not at 30 or 40.  It didn't work at 50 or 60, either.  Girlie, it didn't at 80 even.  Stay with God and wait for Him."

I just cracked myself up.  My old self never talked to my middle aged self before.  Wow.  I guess it's been a long week.  :)  I don't want to be like Esau.  I want to walk triumphantly into the Promised Land with my inheritance firmly in place and I will gladly wait for it, whatever it is at the moment.  Come walk with me, won't you?


Wait for it...

>> Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wait for it.....

              Wait for it....

                                  wait for it.......

We don't like to wait for things, do we?  We have fast food that isn't fast enough for us.  We count down the days to Christmas.  Right now I'm counting down until spring break when my best friend gets to come see me for a whole week from Washington.  I have a countdown of how many days until the 90 day Bible reading challenge is done - ummm...49 days left - Wow!

I don't like waiting for things and then I find myself wishing whole weeks away so the time goes by faster.  The more I wish away, the more days I'm whittling away towards old age.  Oboy.  Time needs to go by a bit slower, not faster.  Hmmmm....  But, it seems to go by plenty fast when the long-awaited event comes along, doesn't it?  

David talks about waiting in Psalm 37:34, The Message:
"Wait passionately for God, don't leave the path..."

Passionately means 'ruled by intense feeling or strong emotion.'  David lived his life passionately.  Everything he did, good or bad, was passionate.  Do we wait like David says to wait?

"I waited and waited and waited for God.
At last He looked; finally He listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn't slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God."  
(Psalm 39:1-4 The Message)

Wait passionately and with abandon.  Sounds like an exciting life to live, when we seek to live a life like King David.  He didn't have an easy life, either.  He was the youngest of a boatload of brothers.  He was a shepherd and did all he could to watch over those sheep.  He killed the giant, Goliath, when all of King Saul's army was too frightened.  He played his harp to soothe Saul's soul and had to play dodge ball when Saul got mad and threw things at him.  

His own son attempted to take over his kingdom.  He had an affair with another man's wife and then had that man killed in battle to try to cover his sin.  David was completely human yet through it all, he learned and he matured and was a man after God's own heart.

So, I want to try to learn to wait passionately and abandon myself to God.  I hope I learn lots from David as I peruse through the book of Psalm.   



>> Thursday, February 3, 2011

"If my people, who are called by my name, 
will humble themselves 
and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
 then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin 
and will heal their land."  
(2 Chronicles 7:14)

This verse is found in day 32 of B90X, the Word of the Lord to King Solomon at the time the King was dedicating the temple.  We know from Biblical history, that the Israelites constantly turned away from their Lord.  Then, good to His Word, God would bring them under oppression; the people would then again cry out to God; and God would bring relief to them once again.  It was a constant cycle.  

It sounds so simple.  All they had to do was seek after God.  Humble themselves.  Pray.  Seek God's face.  Turn away from wicked ways.  So simple.  Yet we can't condemn the Israelites because we do the same thing.  Sometimes we get so complacent in our lives that we let things slip.  The hard times that fall on us serve to bring us back to God so we should be thankful.  

I chose a book to review from WaterBrook Multnomah, Radical.  Several groups from my church are reading the book right now, so it was a good time to go for it.

This book by David Platt, calls for us to live radically; to live the way Jesus lived.  I have to admit, after reading just the first chapter, when I sat in church that following Sunday, I felt extreme guilt.  When so many others around the world worship the Lord in secret, on hard chairs, or no chairs at all; I still complain about it being too hot or the lights are too bright, or music too loud.  

David calls for a radical change in our lives.  He asks that we take a year and do these things:  pray for the world; read through the Bible; sacrifice money for a specific purpose; spend time in another place serving God; and commit your life to working in your community.

He says this, "I believe-no, I know--that if you stick to these challenges for a whole year, you will find yourself coming alive like never before. You will know the incomparable thrill of being a part of what God is up to where you live and around the world. You will be ready to shed forever the unworthy parts of the American dream and hold on to the beautiful and lasting dream that God has designed for you." (pg. 186)

If you are happy with your life; happy living in a state of complacency, then I recommend you not read this book. It is a good read, yet honestly, if all you read this year is the Bible, and you really really read it, and ask God to speak to you as you do, then you can write your own book; live your own exceptional life in Christ.

Praying we all can live a 2 Chronicles 7:14 life starting today.

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