The Fear of Sitting Down and Little Tricks for Bringing Happy Back

 

 

What is she talking about, “the fear of sitting down??”

Well, if you have it, then you know, and if you don’t, I’m sure you have your own problems. Ha! No, I just mean that I found this video that explains well what we are doing for my hip pain. (I do live in fear of sitting. Sitting hurts.)

I still have to do one more MRI to check for inflammation in my SI joint, but for now, we’re going with the theory that all of my problems are mechanical.

Meanwhile, my physical therapist and my chiropractors have told me that my pelvis has a lateral tilt. My PT says that the left side is usually “way higher” than my right. He even taught me how to even it back out, so just in case any of you share this problem, which they say is common, I wanted to share this video with you all.

Perhaps if I do this everyday, I could stomp out this pain in my rear altogether:

This makes a lot of sense. I’ll try anything to be able to take a car trip!

I’ve been going to so many doctor appointments, tests, etc., etc. Getting actual answers keeps getting postponed, though.

Last night, I was standing in the kitchen, and BAM! It felt like my right shoulder was on fire. It was intense. Then today I couldn’t turn my neck to the right. Then the same thing happened to my husband, but on his opposite shoulder! Weird! I hardly slept last night. It hurt all night long. Alan slept well, but his shoulder still bothered him during the day today too. We are a pitiful bunch.

I’ve had tons of x-rays at this point, though, and I can tell you that they are clean. I have beautiful, happy bones. My rheumatologist says that I do not have an autoimmune disorder, which is good. Although, actually, psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder in and of itself, but I guess he didn’t think that one counts.

Yesterday, I was feeling down about the whole, “What in the world is wrong with me??  I’ll never get to take my kids to Disneyland,” thing.

This morning I drove all the way to my cardiologist appointment, only to find that the doctor was at the hospital. I rescheduled with his physician’s assistant. I liked her anyway, so no heart test results for me until next month.

I used my surprise free time to drive to the beach and think and pray and watch people try to surf on tiny waves.

I have so much to be thankful for! My friends have been so insanely supportive. McKenzie baked me gluten-free bread. Joy bought me the most delicious loaves from Costco. Cassie has been so encouraging. Hillary brought us dinner. Alan’s friends brought us a bread maker to borrow. My Classical Conversations mom friends have prayed over me. I feel so loved!!

Do you know what I was reminded to do today? Have fun! When did I stop doing things just for fun? I’ve decided I need more happy in my life. Our nanny, Analise, always opens all our blinds and curtains. I was amazed at the difference in mood that it creates!

Here are a few simple ways to create happiness:

-opening windows, or just the blinds and curtains

-listening to music

-taking walks, even better, taking walks with friends

-taking the boys to the park

-buying and reading a magazine that you love (I chose Glamour. Next up: Vogue!)

-talking to a good friend or your mom on the phone

-doing something fun with the kids

So I took the boys swimming today. I couldn’t swim with my spontaneous shoulder injury, but it was still rewarding. I got in with them.

I think it’s time to stop worrying about what is wrong with me and just get back to doing my job, but with more music and more happiness. I’m not promising anything about the messy house, though. That’s a side effect of the homeschooling. We’ll be tidier once that’s over.

Life gets really fun once you get over yourself.

A peacock, who sits on his feathers, is just another turkey.

A peacock, who sits on his feathers, is just another turkey.

Life is so much more fun when you quit worrying about what others think of you. It’s not about “me” anyway.

The other week I sang a solo at church. It used to make me ridiculously nervous.

Why does it make us nervous to do something we love in front of other people?

Because there are people! And they are watching! And what if your hair is messed up, or there’s lipstick on your teeth, or you miss a note?

But what if you don’t? What if you just stomp on all of those thoughts, embrace the very soul inside yourself, and just do it!

That’s what I did the other week. I had all these doctor appointments and mystery health problems hanging over my head, and something about it all pushed me over that selfish ledge that has eluded me. I managed to hop that fence, you know, the one that stands between caring and not caring about what anyone else will say.

Plop! There I was on the other side of that fence, and it felt amazing! I stood there, it was the most empowering thing to just not worry, and I sang my heart out to Jesus, just as if I were in my very own shower.

I was not nervous because it wasn’t about me anymore.

Who cares if someone out there chuckles about me? Good. Glad they got a laugh. Serving isn’t about me. It’s about giving what I have.

Have fun with life!

Have fun with life!

Ha! I bet some of you wonder why I’m always sharing my crazy crap on the internet.

It’s worth it, y’all. Do what you love, and shamelessly share it. It may even turn into income for you. I turn away work now all the time because I’m still too busy with all of my children to take on outside work, but I’m still here, writing and sharing, maintaining what I enjoy. Income opportunities can be taken care of later, when I have time for that.

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I believe in not putting pressure on yourself to “have it all.” Maybe you can have it all throughout your lifetime, but why stress yourself out going for all of it at once? Where’s the fun in that?

I wish I could go back to the sweet, timid, 23-year-old me. I would tell her, “Who cares if you don’t have a job and don’t know what you want to be? You’re happy being a wife and cooking and keeping house. Master that, and don’t worry about what anyone else says. There will be so much time to work a career and raise children in due time.”

Life is too short to impress people who won’t be impressed anyway.

I’m going to spend this weekend praising and thanking God for this beautiful life that I have been given. We are going to hang out as a family, going to birthday parties and basketball games. I’ll probably eat and talk too much and accomplish precious little. The kids will be loud. John David will follow me around. People will always be asking me, “What about dinner?” It will be glorious.

Life get so much more fun once you get over yourself.

 

For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

Romans 12:6-8 

 

 

We all have different gifts, each of which came because of the grace God gave us. The person who has the gift of prophecy should use that gift in agreement with the faith. 7 Anyone who has the gift of serving should serve. Anyone who has the gift of teaching should teach. 8 Whoever has the gift of encouraging others should encourage. Whoever has the gift of giving to others should give freely. Anyone who has the gift of being a leader should try hard when he leads. Whoever has the gift of showing mercy to others should do so with joy.

 

Thanks for keeping me in the top 50 by voting!

You can have the gluten, but you’ll never get the chocolate!

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Have you ever tried to be gluten-free? Before you roll your eyes, let me assure you that I’m not about to try to convince you to join me on this.

I’m trying this, at the recommendation of my cardiologist, in order to feel better.

Can I get a tee-shirt that contains that explanation because I feel like such a trendy hippie or diet-nut at parties now.

“Are these gluten-free?”

I don’t want to be that guy. Maybe I should just start carrying food around in my purse.

I turned down CAKE at a party the other day. Ice cream cake!!! I felt like such a heel.

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“Did your mama just turn down cake?” “I don’t know the woman.”

I’m so new at this that I mistakenly eat gluten every single day still. The other day I was so very proudly chomping away at my salad, thinking, “Mmmm Mmmm MMMmmmm,” and then I realized, “Oh. I just ate like 10 croutons, which I’m sure had no gluten at all…..”

Oops.

The other night, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I told Alan, “Please go to any store that you can find open (on a Sunday night), and buy me some gluten-free bread.”

Alan came home, with get this, a NINE dollar loaf of gluten-free bread.

Did? What? How did?  Nine!!!!!! Nine dollars!!!

Now if you know Alan, then you also now officially know that Alan loves me more than life itself because Alan does not buy over-priced things. I’m not even sure if Alan buys reasonably priced things. Alan believes in saving money.

Nine dollar bread.

So I’ve gained like 5 pounds since Sunday, and it’s only Tuesday, because goodness knows we cannot possibly let a single slice of that loaf go bad before it is consumed. It was obviously spun out of gold.

Again, it cost nine dollars. Nine.

I’m pretty sure we will never do that again, but Alan knew how desperate I was for bread that night. Thank you, Honey!

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My favorite restaurant in the world: Cracker Barrel. Gluten or no gluten. Some things are worth the pain.

I’ve always said that our lives are in the hand of the Lord, and He will guide us if we only ask him to, and he provides, oh, he always provides. The whole time I’ve lived here, in California, I’ve thought, “Geesh. Why are so many of my friends gluten-free? It must be a California thing.”

Ha! I happen to be in the exact perfect place to learn affordable tricks for eating this way, mostly due to my friends Joy and Lacy.

I am so thankful!

Did you know? “Up to 25% of people who have psoriasis also may be sensitive to gluten.”  https://www.psoriasis.org/treating-psoriasis/complementary-and-alternative/diet-and-nutrition/gluten-free-diet

My first mission is to buy a bread maker, lest I feel tempted to buy any more nine dollar bread. I’m looking for a second-hand one because so many people get these for wedding gifts and never use them. Any of you have one you’d like to sell me?

Thankfully, my friend Lacy also said that you can buy gluten-free bread at Trader Joe’s for much less than nine dollars. Ha! Phew!

I haven’t actually completed a whole gluten-free day yet, but I’m making small changes, one at a time. Last week was a true low point, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I began to wonder if I’d ever get to just feel normal again.

It’s been so depressing to be so uncomfortable all the time!

Today has been a serious victory. Every morning I carefully pull myself out of bed, wondering, “What will hurt this morning?” But today I have felt normal!!! Two days of total normalcy!!  I didn’t realize what a toll all the aches, pains, and fevers were taking on me. It is so much easier to be happy when your body doesn’t feel like it’s clamping down on you!

I don’t know if cutting out gluten will help me or not, but it’s worth a shot. Either way, let me tell ya, this whole process has given new meaning to the verse “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”  (Proverbs 27:1)

Each day that I feel well, I have this sense of urgency, wanting to get as much done as possible, in case tomorrow I just can’t. However, I don’t want to live under that kind of pressure.

I figure the best I can do is draw close to God, weep when I need to weep, laugh as much as possible, and eat the best that I can. No need for stress. Trust the Lord, and make wise choices. That’s all any of us can do anyway.

I’m off to bake something chocolate with my gluten-free flour. Now I’d like to see just one of them try to take my chocolate away from me.

When Trusting Him Got Very Real

when trusting him got very real

A couple of weeks ago something strange happened. Four mornings in a row I woke up at 4am with my heart pounding and my chest all tight and uncomfortable.

“What. Weird. Why can’t I go back to sleep?” I thought, as I stared at the clock. 4am. That’s a time I usually only see if we make foolish airplane travel plans. April does not do early.

Pound.Pound.Pound.Pound.Pound. Well, I can’t possibly go to sleep like this!

I felt more like going running than going back to sleep.

On the 4th or 5th morning of this nonsense, I decided to go to the ER. My resting heart rate and blood pressure were both high, and one of my doctors had urged me to go to the ER or urgent care the next time this business happened, so I did.

I’ve never seen doctors moved so quickly. Wait. That’s not true. I haven’t seen them move so quickly since the emergency c-section of 2011.

They ran all sorts of test, and by the time two hours had passed my heart rate was down to beautiful numbers, and my heart was working like a well-oiled machine.

“Maybe you were having an anxiety attack,” the ER doctor suggested.

“At 4am, out of a dead sleep? Really?”

“Do you have stress in your life? Are you worried about anything?”

Hahahahaha  Do I have stress in my life? Me, the woman home schooling a house full of male children, sweet, spirited boys who belong nowhere other than a farm with sixty acres?

“Well, I’m worried about my hip pain. And I mean, yes, I have stress. I have four kids!”

“But I mean are you worried about anything other than your health?”

“No.”

Why doesn’t worrying about my health count? I think it counts.

Anyway, I left, and it didn’t take too long for my heart to crank up again, and after watching people freak out about it, I started to feel rather uneasy myself.

“Ok. So I have to just get to Monday with my heart like this, and maybe on Monday my doctor will help me,” I thought to myself.

Don’t worry. She did. She pulled up my records, saw the pattern that dated back to at least 2012, and she put me on medication that has helped immensely.

But that’s not the point of this story.

The point of this story focuses on those days between the ER morning and the appointment on Monday.

I knew I had to get through those two little days with my pounding, schizophrenic heart, and it was uncomfortable, and it was worrisome, and you know what I had to do?

I had to literally “trust God with my heart.”

In church circles, we hear that all the live long day. “Aw. Little Johnny asked Jesus into his heart.”

“You gotta get your heart right with God if you want his blessings.”

“Give your heart to Jesus.”

“Don’t harden your heart towards the Lord.”

When we say heart, we really mean the soul. I get it. But wait. Do we also mean more than that?

Do we just mean the soul? Or do we also sometimes mean life?

Because I noticed something pivotal in all of this rig-a-ma-roar.

The ER people, and even my general practitioner, sure treated me a lot differently when my heart was in distress than they did when my hip was hurt, and my hip hurt way more than my heart ever did.

But my hip is not my life. I could lose my hip, get a replacement, and keep on livin’.

The heart is the life. Once the heart gives out, it’s over. The fat lady is done singin’!

(Sorry. I think bad grammar helps emphasis sometimes.)

Now what these folks are missing is that if they’d bring down my hip pain, my heart might not get so upset, but that’s a topic for another day…

Now let’s apply the heart=life idea to a church phrase or two.

  1. “Little Johnny gave his heart to Jesus.”

Little Johnny gave his life to Jesus. Jesus isn’t just there to take you to Heaven. Jesus wants  us to trust him with our life! He wants us to come to him in prayer and to follow his teaching.

2. “You gotta get your life right with God if you want his blessings.”

But let’s not put the cart before the horse. We have to ask for Him to forgive us, and then we have to trust him to help us “get our life right.” It will never look perfect, but you will see a difference.

The biggest take-away for me was the reminder to truly trust the Lord. When you’re consciously trusting Him with the very beat of your heart, it suddenly gets very REAL!

 

 

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely shall be delivered.”  Proverbs 27:26

my heart trusts in the Lord

“The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.”  Psalm 25:17

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

 

 

Update on my Pain Battle: Things are getting better!

 

 

"'Together' is a really good word. Together is what we need when we hit tough patches in life. Making decisions when life is making you cry shouldn't be done alone." --Lysa Terkeurst, in The Best Yes

“‘Together’ is a really good word. Together is what we need when we hit tough patches in life. Making decisions when life is making you cry shouldn’t be done alone.” –Lysa Terkeurst, in The Best Yes

 

Today I went to my very first cardiology appointment ever. It was both helpful and confusing at the same time.

My cardiologist thinks all of my pain and heart issues are probably related. Structurally, my heart looks superb, but the beat and the blood pressure are too high. She thinks this may be autoimmune in nature.

And then she said two things I would rather have not heard. Don’t worry, it’s actually kind of funny:

  1. “No exercise until we figure this out.” (This is in case I have some sort of horrible blood clot, I think…..I can’t wait to see the look on my physical therapist’s face when I tell him they do not want me to exercise yet. Hahahaha!)
  2. “I think you need to be gluten free.”

Bread and walking. Two of my favorite things in life. Walking is one of the primary ways that I manage the throbbing pains. Can’t I just give up sugar instead?

 

I’m kidding. I’ll do it, but first I need time to figure things out. I mean, who knows. We still basically have no idea what is causing the pain or the heart issues.

I’m so tired of even thinking about all this health mess. Right now it sure would be fun to forget about it and go shopping for a beautiful new outfit instead. Maybe I’d even buy a copy of In Style magazine. Then I would have a Cinnabon, and I would eat the whole thing unashamedly and wash it down with a little jug of whole milk…  These are my fantasies…

Oh, well. At least they still let me take Motrin. My friend Lisa and I were joking the other day about the things you wish you’d known earlier in life: Target and Advil. If ever there were two things we should have bought stock in, those two things are the cornerstones of life right there.

It’s not just me. I remember when I went to Ladies’ Retreat. I put my Costco size bottle of Advil on the counter, and I was constantly saying, “Yes, you can have some,” to all the other ladies.  Haha!

Everything is going rather well though:

  1. I feel better.
  2. One of my favorite people brought us dinner last night. (Thank you, Hillary!)
  3. My doctors are running tons of tests, so maybe we will find what is wrong.
  4. Oh! And I DON’T have a fever today, not even a little bit. Hurray!
  5. I had those boys doing school work like crazy this morning. I’m going to get some serious house cleaning done too, while I still feel well.

Hard times make such fertile ground for growth. Being hurt and confused was awful, but it was also like rain. We all run from the rain, but if we don’t have it, our soul starts to look like a desert.

So I think I will come out of this stronger than before. I mean, physically I’m weaker, but inwardly I’m feeling all gladiator-like. That’s right. I’m 10 feet tall and bullet proof, in the Lord.  I’ve seen so many answered prayers. It’s almost tempting to take them for granted.

But instead, I will give thanks.

 

I have had so much help. I owe so many of you a great deal of gratitude, especially Alan. Alan has shouldered an enormous amount of responsibility during all of this. I can’t tell you how many ways he has covered down for me.

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Alan and Joshua, spending time with our niece: They are both so good with babies.

I feel so thankful and full of hope today. If joy were a commodity that I could walk around and hand out to all of you I’d do it! To feel the way I feel, right this second, is a delightful thing. My joy is just spillin’ out all over the place.

 

 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”  Ephesians 3:20-22

 

Learning to Suffer Well or at Least Find the Balance

God will deliver us.

Have you ever been through something hard that you knew could not be walked around? Life is a muddy puddle for me right now, but there’s no way around it. It must be walked through.

Do you know what I mean? We all have our things that we go through.

My chosen theme for 2016 was to fix my SI/hip/back/leg pain. That’s the goal. Instead, 2016 has been the most painful year I’ve had in a long time. I’ve pulled out of this before though, so that encourages me that perhaps I can overcome it again.

At least none of my ribs have popped out of joint this time, ha!

My body is becoming a huge obstacle to me. It is stiff and painful and worst of all, it is incapable, and I hate that. Don’t you hate it when people call you “weak’?

Who wants to be weak? Not me.

I want to shout, “No! I’m not weak. I’m raising four little boys. I’ve sent a husband away to war for a year straight each time. I am not weak! I’m TOUGH!”

But my body disagrees. My body is sad. I’ve taken to going to the gym this week to walk in the evenings.

Thoughts in my head at the gym:

“Geesh, why is my heart rate so high? Oh, I should be taking my medicine right now. Ugh.  I’ll be okay for just a 20 minute walk. I’ll take my medicine when I get home. Why am I like 90 years old??

Oh my goodness! The girl next to me is running on speed 7.2, and her heart rate is only 120!!

What’s mine? Oh, 180. Let me slow it down to 3.1 for speed. 180 just sounds bad. I wonder if it is. I wish I had gone to medical school. I wonder if I look like a pathetic, frail old lady to her (girl running).”

I’ve had sacroiliitis pain for years, but now there are all these new pains to go along with it. Plus, I want to hurry up and get it all seen about, but insurance is taking forever.

I’m kind of nervous when I get out of bed in the morning. I have thoughts like this:

“Will it be a fever day? (Yes, yes it was.) What is it about fevers that knock you down and render you useless?

Where will the pain will be today?

I have got to act at least normal enough that the kids don’t get behind in school.

I’m afraid that no one will ever be able to fix this. I said I wanted to put Humpty back together again, but the thing is that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Humpty back together again.”

I want to have more empowering thoughts. I want to learn how to be the kind of sufferer that doesn’t tell others about the pain, but if they don’t know, how will they ever be able to give me the grace that I need?

So there must be some sort of balance. Lay down the pride enough to ask for help. I had to do that today, at the park, when I couldn’t get my body to cooperate with pulling JD out of his baby swing.

But I do not want to become so consumed with my own pain that I can’t do anyone else any good. That scares me.

And you know where we should go when we’re scared? On our knees, on our knees in prayer for help. The Lord is still in heaven, and He knows exactly what we’re going through.

Here are a few verses that have given me comfort on my quest to suffer well:

“I have become like a man who does not hear, whose mouth can offer no reply, I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God. For I said, “Do not let them gloat or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips.” For I am about to fall, and my pain is ever with me.”    Psalm 38:14-17

“If I should say, “My foot has slipped,” Your lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me your consolations delight my soul.”  Psalm 94:18-19

But you know what the thing is? If you want to hear God’s consolations delighting your soul, you have to be quiet and listen to Him. If you never listen for His voice, no, you probably won’t ever hear it.

So I’m making time to listen. I am getting low, real super low, down close to the ground. I’m carrying my troubles to Jesus because while doctors have failed me before, the Lord never has.

I encourage you all to try it too. Get low and get quiet. No electronics. No t.v. Just you on the floor, hiding from your children if necessary. You, on the floor, listening for the voice of the one who made you.

"Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light."  Micah 7:8

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.”  Micah 7:8

 

 

 

 

The Power of Far-away Friends

faraway friends still count

You might think that I have a lot of little boys, until you meet my friend Julie, who has five.

Did everyone have a great Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? We did! I mean, we just went to school, but that’s fun for us because we get to see and talk to people there. We love people.

No, I mean we truly love people. I’ve had hermit phases that were incredibly sad, when I forgot how much I need others. My children and my husband are the same as me. We thrive off of social interaction.

Home school families sometimes have to work a little harder to get that. And that is exactly what this story is all about.

faraway friends count too

Yep. That’s nine little boys.

You see, I only began home schooling last school year. My friend Julie has been doing this much longer, but last year she found herself in an isolated place. I don’t know all the details, but I know that she lived on an island, far far away from any family, or neighbors with little boys, or cousins, or anything.

So Julie became a blogger, and somehow we found each other’s blogs. Birds of a feather always flock together, you know.

Many days I would feel down and find encouragement over at Julie’s Full Manger. And vice/versa. Raising several oh-so-boyish-little boys is a thing that bonds people. Actually, any shared experience bonds people, and Julie and I were both in a time when we had few other friends.

That sounds sad, that we didn’t have many friends on hand, but it was true.

faraway friends count too

“Life is much better with good friends to share it. A world without friends, I don’t think I could bear it.”

So we encouraged each other through our blogs. I didn’t pretend like home schooling several kids in a new state, for the first time, was something that was easy. I’ll never tell you that I love something that I don’t love. Honesty is always better than a facade of perfection.

Julie cheered me on to keep writing and to not grow weary, and she sent me emails of empathy. I think people with the gift of encouragement are my very favorite people. Don’t you agree?

And this spring, Julie got to move off her island, and back to a place that she knows. I think she has lots of friends now, many friends, and no internet reception. The horrors! Ha! She seems happy though. She doesn’t blog much now, but we keep up via email. So when she wrote me to say she’d be in town, we of course got our families together!

faraway friends count

“I think Caleb is taking like 70 pictures,” Julie informed me, without even breaking camera-smile.

faraway friends

“What! Oh, here, Caleb, that’s enough. Thank you.”

The internet is used for many destructive things in the lives of people. Thankfully, it has edifying uses too. There are so many online support groups you can find out there. This year, with my pain and stiffness flare up that won’t go away, I’ve been scouring the internet for chronic pain blogs and information on what might be wrong with me.

But isn’t everything that way? There are so many powers at our disposal in this modern age, and we all have our own unique powers too, but we must decide how to use those powers for good. It’s up to us to find support and to be supportive.

It’s neat how Julie and I were able to help each other at a time when we didn’t have anyone nearby. Sometimes far-away friends are just as powerful as those nearby, if you’re careful to keep in touch.

23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.…    Hebrews 10:23-25

 

 

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