Friday, July 30, 2010

God is good, part 2 or stranded in the burbs

I made it out to Chicago in relatively good time.

Driving the 5 1/2 hours all by myself is never easy, but I made it.

Tired, but I made it.

My appointment was uneventful.

Not many of my supplements have changed, which can be discouraging, but on the other hand, the one I'm taking specifically for my tumor went down, so that is a little encouraging.

It may mean my tumor is feeling the effects and DYING! Not disappearing, but dying.

That is the first step.

Kill it, then expel it - hopefully it is working.

I left the office right during rush hour traffic for Abby's apartment.

Unfortunately the road I was on was like a parking lot, abnormally so due to construction.

I rolled down my windows, turned on the radio, and prepared for an hour or more drive to my destination that should have taken about 15 min.




Barely getting my car off the road before it died.

And realizing I was in a strange city, on a strange road, in the middle of 6 lanes of stop and go traffic,

All. By. Myself!

I immediately called Dustin - exactly what I thought he was going to do way back home, I'm not sure - but I called.

He tried his best, but we couldn't come up with any solutions other than calling some random towing company and hope for the best.

Did I mention that my phone was dying?

Thankfully Dustin has this handy dandy little thing that you can plug into the cigarette lighter and then plug your actually charger into.

I panicked for a few minutes as I didn't know how to turn the power on, but eventually, after desperately praying, I found it.

The last thing I wanted was to be stranded out there without my phone.

After calling Rae, who is working out there observing my chiropractor, and asking her to pick me up, she told me that her boss, the man who owns the building my chiropractor works in, said he could send his mechanic and truck.

We said, "Yes, thank you very much!"

This whole process took about 2 hours.

Two hours in which I had a great Bible reading time, and randomly turned on the radio to hear a sermon on Job.

If I had been tempted to complain about my lot, remembering Job's story quickly chased that away.

I was out of traffic's way, I had a nice breeze, and my car hadn't exploded.

Not to mention someone was coming to get me.

The calvary arrived shortly, and I have never been so happy to see cars with faces in them I knew.

Justin, Rae's boss, told us to go on home, he would wait with the car until the tow truck arrived.

I hugged him and gratefully got into a moving car.

He grinned and said he would want someone to do the same for his daughter if she was stuck in a strange city.

Praise the Lord for people like Him.

I later found out that when he said "His mechanic and truck" he literally meant that.

It seems he owns several businesses, one of them being some kind of mechanic shop.

I can tell you one thing,

If the car had to overheat, I'm glad it did it there.

If I had to be stuck, the road was perfect.


I'm grateful for a friend in Chicago who owns a tow truck!

The mechanic, Andy, had a bit of a headache finding out what was wrong.

I almost took Rachel's car home because they didn't think they would get it done in time.

In fact, I had driven her car to a gas station just down the block.


You see, her car is a manuel.

I learned to drive on a stick shift.

Drove one for seven years.

Loved it.

I don't drive them now.

Driving in Chicago traffic made me so nervous.

And yes, I cried.

Why would God make me drive a manuel home, when He knew I was so uncomfortable with them?

My husband listened to me whine and blubber over the phone, called Andy, and they worked it out.

You see, someone had jimmy rigged our car before we bought it. Putting some wires together so the fan ran all the time to cool the engine, then hiding their work, which is what took them so long to find it.

Andy graciously jimmy rigged it again so I could drive it home.

I drove Rae's car back to her, so relived I didn't have to drive it, and then asked for a ride to the shop.

Carson, someone else she works with, unhesitatingly took me over there - some 25 minutes away. (Chicago is so BIG! It was technically even on the same side of town.)

I"m telling you, God is good!

Andy patiently explained what was wrong, handed me the part to fix it, told me how to find the other part in a junk yard so we wouldn't have to spend $250 for the whole thing, and offered to find it if I wanted him to.

I already felt like we had been burden enough, so I said Dustin would try to find it at home.

He assured me that if we couldn't, he would do it and mail it to us, or the next time I was in Chicago he would fix it for me.

When I pulled out the check book he waved me away and said it was all taken care of.

The towing.

The part.

The time and labor to find that silly jimmy rigging!

I smiled all the way home.

What could have been a headache and very expensive had been a blessing and a reminder to me of just how good my God is!

God is Good!

Lately, when people have been asking me how I'm doing, my standard answer is "fine".

One man said, "No, how are you really doing?"

Another dear friend said, "Liar".

That started me thinking. They were both right to call me on my answer.

I'm not fine.

Life is tough.

But I don't want to complain all the time, either, so I am borrowing a phrase our pastor shared a few sundays ago about a man he knew.

When asked how he was doing he would always say, "God is good!"

This is true, no matter what.

I may be having a really hard day, but God is good.

It's not just a trite answer, either. it is the truth in my life.

God has never let me down.

No matter what the struggle I'm going through He always puts in some little thing to let me know He is there, that He is good, and that He is in control.

I'll share an example in my next post. :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back to the Dr.

I'm headed to Chicago for the next couple of days. Hopefully I'll be able to get two appointments in, and try a few new things.

Thanks for the prayers. I need them especially right now.

Life feels a bit overwhelming, a bit difficult, and a little frustrating.

I'm holding on tight to God, knowing He can get me through the tough stuff when I feel like I can't do anything myself.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Over the past three years my idea of a hero has expanded.

A hero is someone you respect, look up to, admire.

I've had many people in my life like that.

Some I've known personally, some I haven't.

The new group of heroes I've discovered have been around me for years, it just took my own personal battle to discover them.

God had them right where they needed to be, waiting to be an example to me when I needed it most.

One of them, a good friend with Cerebral Palsy, has been in my life for going on ten years.

When I first met her, I thought she was a spunky, determined person. Since then I've learned a little more of what her life has been like.

They weren't sure if she would ever walk, but she walks.

She has endured countless painful surgeries.

They weren't sure she should have kids. She has two beautiful boys.

Everything she does is three times more work for her muscles than the average person, yet I don't think I've ever heard her complain.

This has been her whole life, yet she accepts it with grace.

Can I do any less with what God has given me?

Another hero I consider to be a second mom. She has had health problems her entire life.

I didn't know the extent of it until this summer.

She is graciously giving Karis swimming lessons.

Along with those swimming lessons I get daily therapy sessions over the phone.

When she was my age, she was raising three boys with about as much energy as I have.

No energy and no help.

Her stories of what she learned, how God got her through, the struggles she faced have so ministered to me.

They meet me right where I am at.

Give me hope to go on.

Let me know God is in this and will help me through it.

He has also placed a couple of moms who have had cancer in my life, as well.

I've written about them before.

How their stories, their willingness to share what God has taught them, their struggles, everything has made me realize with God's help, you can face anything.

It has taken me almost three years to admit that what I have isn't going to be a quick fix.

Each doctor I see, each thing I try, each time I feel better, I let myself think that I've arrived.

I've finally found the thing that will fix my lung.

My troubles will be over, my problems fixed. Life can go on in a somewhat normal fashion.

Each time I've had to deal with disappointment.

Realize that there is no quick fix for me.

Understand that I'm not on a sprint, that this will be a marathon.

Not a 3K, or a 10K, (I don't even know if I'm getting the terms right, I'm so not a runner!) but a Forest Gump run across the US and back.

I've struggled as I've realized this.

Being chronically sick is not what anyone wishes for their life.

Especially in America. Land of the quick fix.

I love my doctors, but I'll be honest, there are moments I want to shake them and demand they fix me, and fix me NOW!

Quit watching me, giving me these blasted diets that take so much will power, patience, and time.

Give me a miracle pill I can pop and be better.

But that is my way.

It isn't the way I've been given.

God doesn't want a sprint for this area of my life, He wants to see how the marathon will go.

I want to tell Him He has the wrong girl.

Doesn't He remember that when He made me He didn't give me a running gene in my entire body?

But He knows.

He knows me better than I know myself.

He knows exactly how hard running a race like this is, and He gave me so many ordinary heros in my life to show me it can be done. You don't have to be perfect.

I want to tell Him it is impossible with two little kids, and to please make me better.

He shows me it is indeed possible with more than two little kids and to trust Him.

I've lived around these ladies for years.

I even watched their struggles.

But I never realized what heroes they were - and I'm sure they would all deny being heroes - until I had walked in their shoes for a couple of years.

I want to thank God for putting them into my life, and I want to thank them for letting God work in their circumstances so that those who are just beginning that journey can follow in some amazing footsteps.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

She insisted!

A few days before Karis turned five I started telling her that I had decided she had to stay four.

She would giggle, look at me funny, start to get a little concerned, and say,

"Mom, you can't do that??"

I think I almost had her convinced that I had somehow worked it out with God to keep her four for another year.

It was starting to bother her until she came up with a solution that she was positive mom couldn't get around.

The next night before she went to bed she told me with absolute confidence,

"Mom, I have to turn five. There is something in my brain that turns me five on my birthday."

Since she clearly couldn't be convinced to stay four, I told her I would let her turn five if my new five year old would give me as many kisses as my four year old did.

Of course she smothered me in kisses and insisted that even being a big five year old wouldn't change that.

I resigned myself, but a small part of me wishes I could keep her four.

The big day came... whether I wanted it too, or not, and I had a very excited little girl on my hands.

Auntie Christie is working here for a month, so she helped an unprepared mommy make cupcakes for dessert.
Karis didn't mind my being behind in the least. She was personally in charge of the sprinkles.
Doing what I do best these days. Praise the Lord for a family who will carry on when I need to put my feet up.
It rained the whole day, but that couldn't stop the games from continuing on. I may even venture to say that they had more fun. :-)
Pinata time! She picked it out herself.
As you can tell by the look on her face, it was a little harder to break than anticipated. We figured out why, at the end. The thing was made out of cardboard. You needed a knife just to get into the thing. Oh well, the candy inside was still good:-)
I still can't believe I'm the mom of a five year old.

Dustin's Grandma, Grandma Karen, called me up out of the blue and told me she would love to host the family party for Karis.

I was thrilled! This meant that I didn't have to clean my house for a party. Stress out about it the day of, or worry about not feeling good.

What a lifesaver and precious person she is! Thank you Grandma Karen!
Gabi enjoying her cousin Madaline at Grandma's. I think she loves the fact that she is bigger than her.
Auntie Amber.
This look was pretty much on her face the whole day. Thank you everyone for making it a wonderful party. She has enjoyed her presents thoroughly! Every one of them!
Grandma Karen saved the day yet again by producing this amazing ballerina cake. I was almost too cute to eat.
Thanks again everyone for making my five year old have two wonderful parties! Family is such a blessing!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

pondering surrender

I've been a bit silent about what is really going on with me the last few weeks because frankly, it's been hard.

My goal is not to be discouraging with this blog, but I do want to be truthful about how God is dealing with me as he takes me down the path I am on.

The battle lately has been about surrendering to Him.

You know the hymn "I Surrender All".

It is beautiful. The words are precious. I've come to the conclusion that I never knew what God was asking of me as I sang them.

"All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.

I surrender all... I surrender all..."

Here is the dictionary definition of surrender.

transitive verb

  1. to give up possession of or power over; yield to another on demand or compulsion
  2. to give up claim to; give over or yield, esp. voluntarily, as in favor of another
  3. to give up or abandon: surrendering all hope
  4. to yield or resign (oneself) to an emotion, influence, etc.

intransitive verb

  1. to give oneself up to another's power or control, esp. as a prisoner
  2. to give in (to): to surrender to temptation

Surrendering suddenly sounds so much harder.(While, not the surrendering to temptation part. I do that fairly easily:-)

For me it means surrendering to the fact that I may:

Not be the high energy mom I want to be for my kids.

Face the reality that the doctors may never find the solution to my problem.

Live with pretty much constant pain. Yes, most of the time it is low grade, but sometimes it is high grade. And it is always there.

Realizing shopping, vacations, swimming lessons, going to the park, going to church, going to play groups, going to the library, making meals, cleaning the house, these will all exhaust me for the day.

Never being able to sing more than a few phrases without coughing, on a good day. I love to sing. This is something I miss a lot. Especially during church and with my little girls in the car, or before bedtime.

Rarely having a conversation without a coughing fit.

Projects that are forever before me, ones I really want to do, but realizing that if I work on them I won't be able to take care of the basics of my house and the girls.

Facing the reality that being sick costs money. Money we would rather spend on other things. Or money we just don't have.

Watching my husband live with the stress of me being sick, him having to provide extra help, extra money, extra time that wouldn't have to be if reality wasn't as it is.

The last one is one of the hardest.

The reason I have hesitated in sharing this is that I don't want people to feel sorry for us.

It is what it is.

It's hard.

I've been through some rocky patches as God deals with the reality of surrendering to Him.

Surrendering EVERYTHING.

Surrendering my ideals of what my future looks like.

And it always comes back to this: "As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of the Lord is proven. He is a shield to those who trust in Him." Ps. 18:30

And it is, He is. He's always there for me.

He lets me wander about the house after the girls are in bed, Dustin still at work, tears streaming down as I list all of the above and how hard it is for me.

How much I want life to be different.

How jealous I am of moms who aren't sick.

And then gently reminds me that He is with me.

Though He cries with me, keeps my tears in His bottle, He also has a purpose in all of this.

So, yes I have rough days. My attitude isn't at all perfect. My struggles are continual. But His grace is indeed sufficient in my weakness.

That is why I say, please don't feel sorry for me, for us.

It may be a rather bumpy road, but the blessings I get from depending on God to get me through (when I remember to do that) abound.

What we do want, however, is your continued prayers. I covet those. Realizing that the only strength I have comes from above.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Just sitting here a moldering:-)

At my first visit to Chicago I was informed that I had a mold problem.

I guess you can pick up mold in your system from anywhere you stay a week or more.

It wasn't that big of deal.

Mold, apparently, is easy to get out of your system.

I took my dose of mold killer, aka Cream of Tarter.

That stuff is nasty to swallow, however, if you are going to have a colonoscopy anytime soon, 5 tsp. of cream of tarter does the same thing as the entire gallon of whatever it is they make you take.

Honest engine.

And though it tastes just as bad, you only have to drink about 10 oz. of it rather than the 64.

Plus it is way cheaper.

Anyway, it killed my mold.

I wish mold was my main problem because then this would all be over with.

Alas, it isn't.

Anyway, last time I went he found mold returning in my head.

Which means I was probably breathing it somewhere in my environment.

We had the mold guy over with fear and trepidation. Mold is an expensive problem to get rid of.

Why I even doubted my chiropractor, I don't know.

Somehow He seems to know everything.

Not to be irreverent, at all, but this doctor has given me a little clearer picture of the reality that God knows everything about me. EVERYTHING. Things I don't want known, He sees.

My bad moments.

All seen.

My scared moments.

He's there.

Just like this chiropractor, who has never been to my house, or my state for all I know, could tell me that I probably have a mold problem.

Sure enough.

Our laundry room has mold.

We missed taking out that drywall after the basement flooded last summer.

Now we are going to pay for it.

I've done my Cream of Tarter again, so I should be mold free for the moment, however, could you pray we find the best solution for getting rid of the laundry room mold?

Believe me, if I could I would be force feeding it Cream of Tarter.

If I have to suffer through that because of it, then the least it could do would be to join me. ;-)

Unfortunately it isn't as simple as that, or just cutting out the drywall, although we will do that.

We want to get rid of it, a.s.a.p., however, we don't want to go into debt doing it. You want to know something? I hate money. I hate the fact that I'm sick and we have to use money on pills, doctors not covered by our insurance, etc. I hate spending money on mold instead of a cruise. :-)

However, I love that God always provides. He has been so faithful, and He is teaching me to trust Him in the provision department.

I'm a worrier, as one doctor just told me by looking at my tongue. I know that sounds weird, but you know what? I'm beginning to not be phased by weirdness in doctors. The weirder they are the more they seem to help me.

Besides, he was right. I am a worrier.

My prayer is that God will take my worries today and everyday.

He can handle them so much better than I can.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I love my dad!

To my absolute shame I missed both my dad's birthday and Father's Day. No card, no present, no nothing.

Granted, he was in OR for his birthday and I was gone for Father's Day, but still, I feel horrible.

So.... not that I can possibly make it up to him, but at least all of you will know why I love my dad!

These are the two favorite men in my life. :-)

My dad taught me by example what it means to be a good husband and father, and I'm so glad he didn't just step out of the father role when I got married.

One of the things I love about him is that he has never, ever been a pushy dad. But... he is always there when we need him.

I remember when Dustin and I were dating and hit a rough patch. I didn't know what to do, I was crying, and all I wanted was my dad. I don't even remember what Dad said to me, but what I do remember was his arms that held me while I cried it all out. Somehow it made it all better. (And obviously Dustin and I got through that rough patch:-)

There is just something to a dad's hug.

I snuggled up next to him on the 4th and felt the same sense that I always have.



Unconditional love.

As the above picture shows, as well, he demonstrates his love by doing.

Our wood floor would probably still be unfinished if he hadn't helped us with the last three feet, or so, not to mention the hallway, etc.

Our laundry room has an organizational system thanks to him.

Our stairway is fixed.

We have bookshelves in the basement.

Dresser drawers in the nursery....

Anyway, you get the picture. :-)

One last thing about my dad. He isn't into jewelry, he never wears anything but his wedding band. Yet, ever since I've been sick, he has his yellow bracelet on.

I love that.

Just another visual sign that he loves each of us girls so much and is constantly thinking of our well being, even after we have moved out of his home and made lives of our own.

Love you dad! Thanks for always being that solid person I can count on!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Changing the focus.

After one more close, close up we checked the picture and discovered our mistake. What on earth did we do before digital? Imagine our disappointment after developing the film and discovering that I had only gotten me?

Actually, let's imagine the trouble I would be in. After all, these photo shoots only come along once every other year.

Praise the Lord for digital!
All that comes to mind when I look at this is:

1. Popeye and his ginormous arms.

2. Wishing I really had half the muscle this picture makes me look like I have.

3. The thought that maybe I should be doing pushups or something so that I could get a little bit of that muscle the camera gave me into my arms.

4. How horrified I would be if my forearms really bulged like that.

5. There might be a little bit of talent to taking self photos.

6. I may not have that talent. :-(
Apparently fourth time is the charm for me. You can see ALL our faces and no awkward arms.

Allison and Jess? You get to fight over who takes the self photos next time.

I think I'm resigning.
This is more my cup of tea. Plus, you guys make a good shot easy to take. :-)

PS I can't get the "surrendering all to Him" part of the song I shared last time out of my head. I'm sure you will be hearing more about that in the future. Just a heads up. :-)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's all about me...

I laughingly said as I took this picture that as long as I focused the camera on me we should be ok, forgetting that we had zoomed in the camera for a previous picture.

All three of us giggled when we saw the results, because it turned out to be focused on me and me only.

I still get a chuckle when I remember the teasing I received about being stuck on me.

The chuckle turns into thoughtfulness as I realize how often my focus is just that.

On me.

Me and me only.

I forget that life isn't about me.

Not even a tiny little speck of it.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in self - especially so, it seems, when you are failing in your health.

People ask you how you are feeling - and you talk about yourself.

(A disclaimer here, I don't mind people asking how I'm feeling. I don't mind answering. It's just harder to get my focus off myself when I talk about myself. :-)

You see doctors, and you talk about yourself.

You complain about how you are soooooooooooooo tired to your hubby, and your kids - once again talking about yourself.

I can see the lure of seeing a shrink. It's nice to talk about yourself and your problems. :-)

Granted, when you are sick you need to do a bit of talking about yourself because communication is necessary to get better.

However, I'm discovering that the focus on getting better can quickly shift to having a complaining heart and feeling sorry for yourself attitude.

God put three verses in my mind as I fell asleep last night, worrying about a few things.

1. Do not fret, it only causes harm.

2. Rejoice always.

3. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.

And a song....

Jesus, Lover of My Soul (It's All About You)
It's all about You, Jesus
And all this is for You
For Your glory and your fame
It's not about me
As if You should do things my way
You alone are God
And I surrender to your ways

It is all about Him. He doesn't need to do anything at all my way. He may want me to live like this the rest of my life and I need to be ok with that.

My circumstances are for His glory, not mine.

The prayer of my heart is that I remember to surrender to His ways.

The picture is silly, and I'm sure I'll get many a giggle as I look at it over the years, but I want that to be the only thing in my life that is focused on me.