Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's a Sunday evening...

It's a Sunday evening and I sit here not really knowing what it is I'm going to write.  My mind and heart are stretched so many directions.  Life is never dull and that's a great thing!  It can be an overwhelming thing too and I'm so grateful for God's presence in my life through each day.

This past week was one of improvement in the health department.  Praise the Lord!  Tuesday I found out that all the blood tests came back fine/negative!  That was such a relief.  The remaining barium in my appendix should work itself out over time and my doctor said not to worry about.  Praise God, praise God, praise God!  The gut pain has been much less this week as well.  Praise God again!  There is still so much to figure out and so much of my future is very unknown.  But I am so grateful for each step towards getting this particular flare up under control.  It has been five long months.  Sleep continues to be a struggle.  I was hoping that as I lowered my daily Prednisone dosage it would get better but I'm still waiting for that to fully happen.  I'm down to ten milligrams a day and need to stay on that at least until my appointment with the specialist on March fifth (a week from tomorrow!).

I was able to go back to work on Monday and work my normal three-day work week.  Another praise God!  Monday was very long and I came home and collapsed in bed.  Tuesday (one of my days off) was spent in bed but Wednesday and Thursday I was able to go back to work and not feel like I was going to die.  So thankful for the strength God gives for each day.

God's been showing me that I need to take the time and money to make improvements to my diet.  It keeps coming up in conversation with people and He keeps bringing it to my mind and attention.  My dad was encouraging me earlier today to start juicing again, a habit I had for awhile and then stopped.  So within the week, I intend to start that.  (I can eat very few raw vegetables due to the fiber and "roughage" being way too much for the inflammation in my intestines.)  I'll also be making kefir again and trying to lower the amount of grain and gluten I consume.  A dear friend is making me good bone broth and I'll continue to drink that with coconut oil in it.  Aloe juice is another thing I'm hoping to add in soon as well.  Those who know me know what a struggle balancing my diet is for me.  It is truly something I can't do without God's help.  Look at my food page.  You'll understand what I mean.

The more time I spend in God's Word, in prayer, and in reading books written by those who follow Him, the more I want to spend each day in a way that counts.  I want to spend time each day getting to know Him better; getting to know His heart; being drowned in His presence, love, and grace.  When I'm sick, it's easy to just lay in bed and watch movies or browse the internet.  And that is fine in moderation; in fact, when the pain is super intense, a movie or TV show is perfect.  But in general, I don't want to "exchange" a day of my life for entertainment.  I don't want to "exchange" a day of my life for anything besides knowing, loving, and serving God more.  Is it a sin to watch TV shows all day? No.  Does it help me keep my heart in the right spot?  Not really. 

The future is on my mind a lot right now.  What's going to happen with my job after April?  How am I going to pay the medical bills?  Where does God want me to go?  What does He want me to do?  How does He want to use these health challenges for His glory?  What does He want me to do for long term treatment?  How can I help people with similar struggles?  What is He going to do with my doula certification?  How is He going to work in difficult relationships?  How am I going to handle the attacks from the devil, the doubts in my mind, the hurt in my heart?

It's okay to ask these questions, to have these wonderings.  But He's teaching me to not stress over them, to take one day at a time, trusting Him each and every step of the way.  There is tremendous peace, joy, and gratitude when I let Him take the wheel in each area of life; when I trust His directions even when they don't match my plans (which is pretty much all the time lately).  It's a continual, daily process.  If there's one thing God's shown me the past couple months, it's that I can make all the plans I want, but He will direct my steps.  And no matter how incredibly painful those steps may be, they're always better.  Always.

And because I'm continually looking for humor in life and I'm thinking about getting up for work tomorrow morning and I'm thinking about tiredness and insomnia and that I'm just not a morning person and that I hate getting out of bed and how I'm trying to work on this but that I also need to sleep when I can right now and that I'm trying to make this sentence ramble on as long as possible, here's something that cracks me up.  Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The past couple weeks I've been spending a lot of time in the book of Romans.  Not a deep, in depth study (yet).  Just reading and soaking in all the GRACE that is overflowing in that book of the Bible.  It's been incredible and I've never come this close to beginning to understand what grace and the Christian life really looks like.

Over the past few years and especially the past nine months, God has been chipping away at lies I've been taught; lies about Him, about grace, about a relationship with Him, about me, and about life.  

He's been winning me over with His love. 

His mercy. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

His patience. (Psalm 145:8)

His forgiveness. (There is no condemnation!)

 HIS LOVE. HIS LOVE. HIS LOVE. (Romans 8:37-39)

"When we try to earn His love or be worthy of it, we actually push ourselves away from it.  Because His love arises from who He is, it must always be a gift, always freely bestowed upon us, always unconditional.  Why does the sun shine on the lake? ... The sun shines on the lake because the lake is there!  The lake is warm and radiant, shining like the sun because the sun first shone in it." (Malcolm Smith, Let God Love You, quoted on page 137 of Grace for the Good Girl)

He's teaching me it's more about trust than obedience.  That obedience will be a result of trust.  (Grace for the Good Girl, chapter 10)

That I don't have to worry about living by a set of lists, and rules, and standards.

That as I spend time with Him and allow Him to completely fill me, obedience and the fruit of the Spirit will follow.

That HE is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. (John 14:6)

That my walk with Him is about FAITH, not works of the Law. (Romans 4:13-22)

"Do you remember when you got into the Word and it wasn't because you had a sermon to prepare or you needed to learn some things or there were some doctrinal problems or you knew that to progress as a useful servant you had to continue on in the things of the Word of God? But you just got into the Word because you wanted to hear something from God?  You wanted to know something about Him?  Do you remember when you just prayed because of Him?  Your heart was burning for Him, you wanted to know Him?" (Paul Washer)

I love the above quote and the questions that are asked in it.  And I'm so, so grateful to be able to answer YES.  

God is taking me through pain and suffering and sleeplessness to show me HIMSELF.  To answer my prayers and give me a desire to know Him and to know His Word: just for Him.  Not for a list of how to live.  Not to back up a belief I'm clarifying or defending.  

He showed me Himself and now I can't get enough of Him.  He showed me He comes down when I hit rock bottom and my face is stuck in the scum to pick me up, wipe the dirt off my face, wrap His arms around my hurting heart, and love me.

For years I've been saying, "it's about relationship, not religion/rules."  And I truly, truly believe that.

But I didn't know how to live it out.  I was still unsure of a close relationship with God because I still felt that I somehow had to earn His blessing, favor, acceptance, and closeness with Him.  

That I had to live by some list of rules.

Dress "right", listen to the "right" music, not watch the "wrong" movies, hang out with the "right" friends, etc.  

That if I wasn't spending tons of time in Scripture reading and prayer I was somehow completely failing at this thing called the Christian life.

That if I didn't correct the sinful patterns and habits in my life, I was not worthy to come before Him.

It was so overwhelming and my attempts to live up to it all felt so inadequate.  The shame, guilt, and regret I lived with suffocated the life part of Christianity.

Just earlier this year I was telling my cousin and best friend that I was scared that if I dove in deep, I'd find out that all these rules and standards that people have taught me were the way - the ones suffocating me and stealing my joy - were really what God required.

Deep down I knew it wasn't.  But it's amazing how hard it is to be set free from lies.  While He's been doing it slowly over the past few years, God really obviously started this work in my heart last February at a conference with Paul Washer and Norm Wakefield and then again last May when He flooded me with truth through one of my second moms, Amy.  She shared a Scripture and a song with me that I lived off of for weeks, maybe months.  Throughout the past year since then, He has brought friends, Scriptures, books, songs, blogs, and circumstances into my life that have revealed more and more of Who He is.  And He is so much more than I ever thought possible.

By His grace, I am His daughter, completely and totally loved, forgiven, clean, and rejoiced over.  There is nothing I could do (or not do) to change that.  He meets me exactly where I am.  Whether it's in a hospital room in more physical pain than I can handle, in my own bedroom working through more emotional and relational pain than I know what to do with, or in my car driving, thinking, and praying and the perfect song comes on the radio, He meets me.  He loves me.  He doesn't see the ugly.  He sees the beautiful.  

And to close this off, I'll just quote my incredible friend, Lydia.  I emailed her asking for her thoughts on this blog post and here's my favorite thing from her two-in-the-morning reply: "God is not some snotty popular teenage girl who's going to kick you out of the group because you did something He didn't like."  It made me smile; a) because it's just ridiculously funny worded that way and b) because it's so true.

God gives His grace freely; not just saving grace at salvation but continual, free grace throughout our whole walk with Him.  No matter what.  End of story.

Praise God.

Monday, February 20, 2012

My heart's desire

After another rough night of not enough sleep, I only had time to read a quick Psalm and Streams in the Desert this morning before getting ready for my first day back at work in two and a half weeks.  In my sleepy state, I "accidentally" read Psalm 21 instead of Psalm 20 like I was intending.  God used my sleepiness to have me read exactly what I needed.  

When I read the above verse, it was like a light bulb went on in my (sleepy) head.  These trials, the pain of the past few weeks (months), it's all been His answer to my prayer to know Him more; to love Him more; to desire Him more; to see more of His heart.  The sleepless nights have turned into heart-to-hearts with Him that I never would've had otherwise.  The intolerable pain put me literally on my face in tears and agony before His feet.  He met me there.  He met me in a way I've never known before and I will never be the same.

In the future I will share more about this journey in my relationship with Christ.  Those closest to me know the challenges my walk with Him has held.  They know the amazing victory He has won in my heart over the last couple weeks.  They've walked with me each step of the way, loving me, and pointing me to our Savior.  I can never thank them enough or thank God enough for loving me through them.

Life: Random Bullet Point Style

  • Hospital Randomness:
    • We don't appreciate real clothes nearly enough (I have lived in hospital gowns and/or sweatpants for seventeen days straight)
    • If after four IV pokes (and twists and turns) and three nurses the new IV still isn't in, they will just let you keep the same IV you've had in for four days (and you will have lots of painful bruises)
    • Pacing back and forth the length of one's IV line makes one feel very much like a chained dog
    • You have not experienced being rudely awakened until you are woken up at 5:30 every morning to have more blood drawn
    • After having a couple dozen x-rays and a CT scan within six days, you will begin to feel like a walking electrical box radiating rays of power
    • On that same note, it's a bad thing when the x-ray people know you by name and you can pick up conversations where you left off
    • (Final random hospital note: I found this dog wearing this hospital gown after I listed the random facts about hospital gowns and feeling like a dog. I was a bit excited when I came across it.)
  • Health Update Randomness:
    • The barium is out of my intestinal tract (woot!) but somehow ended up in my appendix (waiting to hear from a radiologist about that)
    • I had tons more blood drawn on Thursday to test for things like lupus, lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid issues, etc.   So far the only thing I've heard back on is lyme disease and it's negative, praise God.
    • The doctor lowered my daily Prednisone dosage, which is helping me be able to sleep  at least a little more at night (yay!)
    • I have not taken a pain pill for three or four days!
    • There is an appointment scheduled with a specialist in Madison on March 5
    • After missing two weeks of work, it looks like I'll be able to go back tomorrow (or later this morning...sleep is still an issue so here I sit).  Very thankful and a little nervous to see how my body handles trying to go back to "normal life".
  • Friend Randomness:
    • I have the best friends in the world: end of story. Here are a few examples...
      • Erica is great at being my twin cousin across the pond, constantly reminding me to trust God and nurture my relationship with Him, and giving me a kick in the backside (and for laughing at with me)
      • Lydia is great for bringing movies, yummy food, laughs, great discussion, hugs, and creativity
      • Emmy is great for always being there on the phone, prayer in the middle of the night,   understanding exactly what I mean, and continuing to love me through all the ups and downs of over ten years of friendship
      • Melinda is great for always being my triple sister, having a listening ear, helping me with friend & relationship issues, and reminding me to keep my head on straight
      • Meagen is great for fun texts, laughs on the phone, and the constant assurance of Texan love and prayer from both her and her amazing mom
      • All the texts, comments, messages, phone calls, notes, and emails from Megan, Emily, Jeanine, Nathan, Amy, Jasmin, Dusty, Morgan, Spencer, Sarah, Tammy, Jordan, Abbie, Chad, Stephanie, Caleb, Karen, John, Tara, Tyra, Katee, Leah, Erin, Ash, Micah, Ashley, innumerable church friends from both FRC and Grace & Truth, relatives, and too many other Facebook friends to list
      • The prayers from SO many friends of many I haven't met and can't wait until we're all celebrating together in heaven!
    • The family has had to cook VERY few dinners for three weeks now...the meals being brought have blessed us more than we could ever express.  The Church is an incredible thing!
    • My desk is so covered in cards I can't see the top of it anymore.
    • Dad, Mom, Hannah, Caleb, Ruth, Josiah, & support team a woman could ever ask for!!  And the best nurses in the world!
  • Jesus Randomness
    • All the walking to get the Barium moving turned into long prayer walks with Him.  This is something I plan to continue even though Barium walks are no longer necessary...they have become such precious times of praying for those I love.
    • The book of Romans is beyond's about FAITH, not works of the Law.  This is something He 's been trying to teach me for years and the past couple weeks is pounding it into me through and through.  It's been the most freeing thing in the world!  (I could write several (long) blog posts on this subject!)
    • His plans are incredibly different from mine: incredibly.  I don't always like them...they often hurt a lot...but I know they're perfect and so much better than mine. He sees the big beautiful canvas...I see the earth-side mess in my humanness.  
    • He's good at stripping everything away and leaving me with only HIM.  He knows that's exactly where I need to be.  It's been an incredible growing process...
    • His love is overwhelming.
    • His Word is alive!
    • His mercies are new every morning.
    • His faithfulness is great.
    • He has the best shoulder for crying on.
    • There is no place I'd rather be than in His arms and care and plan.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Face Down

Note: Right after I finished writing the following words, I received a text/call that my cousin barely escaped his house as it burned to the ground a little after 11:00pm (midnight his time).  Yet another reason to keep my face down in prayer.
  If you think of it, please pray for him, his fiancee, and all involved.  Thank you.

Face down.  My head is so down tonight.  The hopes I had for a "quick" recovery from the trauma of last week were apparently too high.  My goal of making it back to work by Wednesday isn't going to happen.  God continues His work of keeping me at His feet in brokenness.  I am discovering that is the best place to be.  It is not the easiest place to be.  It is not the most "fun" place to be at the moment.  It hurts a lot and is full of unknowns. 

My biggest prayer through all of this is for God to be glorified.  I want my life, including this incredibly painful physical trial, to reflect Him, His love, His joy, His power, His humility, His strength amidst my weakness.  I am empty tonight.  My heart is heavy.  I should be trying to sleep but my heart and mind are too active even while my body aches in weariness.  

In response to a friend's sweet note on my Facebook recently, I wrote the following words: "This week has been hell physically but I have seen so much more of God.  He has poured out the water of His love to drown the fires of pain and suffering."  Tonight in my emptiness, in my frustration, in my pain, in my sorrow, I am reminded of all He has done for me.  The only right and healing response is to lower my face at the foot of the cross; to raise my hands and praise Him for what He has done; to pour out my heart to Him and trust Him for what He is going to do.  

I truly have nothing else to cling to, as this song so beautifully states.  I am in need of the love and help that only He can give.  I have no where else to turn, nothing else to cling to.  I am too weak and sick to even finish putting sheets on my bed.  My baby sister was the hands and feet of Jesus Himself as she finished it for me while I laid on her bed in exhaustion, defeat, and discouragement.  Such a gift she is.

In other news, I made it twenty-four hours between pain pills.  This is huge.  I am so grateful and pray that the pattern continues to the point of being able to go off them completely in the next few days.  We'll see what God does and what the doctor says at my appointment on Thursday morning.

I have been recording so many gifts into my gratitude journal over the past few days.  It is overwhelming how God's blessings shine through during even the darkest times.  His faithfulness is great.

I read the following verses this morning and they blessed me so much.  Even when life hurts and doesn't "feel" like love, God continues to POUR it out.

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:1-5)

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Update and Thoughts on Weakness

Weakness is something that I have been thinking about so much the last several months.  It has taken on a whole new depth of meaning in my life during the past week.  There is something incredibly humbling about admitting I am one percent weak without Christ. 

Being the oldest daughter in a large family, my "role" has been that of the rock for my siblings since I was very young.  Being strong wasn't an option in my mind; it was necessity.  Who am I kidding: in my mind it still IS a necessity.  Being weak in front of my younger siblings rips me apart.  I was born with a stubborn, independent personality; this is not especially helpful when learning weakness and humility before God.  Praise Him for patience and mercy and that He loves me enough to use fiery trials to teach me what I need to learn.  

My amazing cousin posted this blog post yesterday.  I don't feel like anything I write can hold a candle to what she worded so perfectly.  You know someone is a best friend when they describe yourself better than you can.  Please go read it.

So much love <3

Wednesday late afternoon I posted a Facebook status desperately requesting prayer.  My pain levels had taken an agonizing turn for the worse and I was beside myself writhing in pain and nausea.  The pain...I don't even know how to put it into words.  I have never wanted to escape my own body so badly.  I have never been so close to wanting to give up and die.  My doctor tried to comfort me by telling me it was worse than having a baby...that if I could do this I could for sure have a baby naturally...that I was, in fact, having a "barium baby."  The difference is that when you have a baby you get breaks between contractions; not so when having a barium baby apparently!  (Another small difference is you don't actually get the reward of a baby but that's beside the point!)  This went on for seven hours.  I posted the special request for prayer about five hours into the anguish; within a couple hours things had settled down so much it was unbelievable.  Yes, there were pain meds given; yes, I forced myself to get up and walk and walk to try to make the necessary progress.  But I don't for a second believe that's what did the majority of the work in those two hours.  

Before I go on, I should clarify a few things: for whoever reads this and for myself when I look back on this time and want to remember what happened and what God did.  The Barium that I had to drink for the test I had on Friday is clinging to my intestines, causing major swelling and even more inflammation than my "normal" Crohn's swelling, inflammation, & constriction.  My doctor said it is very rare for one's body to react so violently to it.  Basically, it is "stuck" in my system and can turn to cement if it doesn't get out.  The only to get it out, is walking, walking, walking and drinking, drinking, drinking and no eating.  After a week with no meals except for a few on Tuesday/Wednesday (which caused major issues), I don't think I'll ever take being able to eat for granted again!  They also tried a couple other things to get it out of my system (which is part of what caused the excruciating pain on Wednesday) but the bottom line is this: nothing can dissolve it.  We just need to wait and pray and I need to drink and walk.

Walking is incredibly challenging not only because the gut pain skyrockets, but because my knee and ankle on my left leg have issues from previous injuries.  The laying around and being shot up with all kinds of drugs and steroids has caused the inflammation, swelling, pain, pressure, etc. to become the worst it's been in months (years?).  The pain in those joints has been a huge part of what's kept me up the past couple nights because the pain meds for my gut do not touch my leg.  I am very thankful for ice and pillows, even if the relief they bring is very little.  I called my doctor with a few questions this morning and this issue was one of them.  He called in a topical cream to my pharmacy so I'm praying that'll help.

Back to Wednesday....after the pain subsided a little after 7:00, things became a little more calm. The pain levels went from a fifteen down to a five.  The relief was overwhelming.  The joy of seeing God answer prayer was priceless.  I was finally able to fall asleep for a half hour around midnight.  The rest of the night I slept in bits and pieces, getting up every hour or so.  Thursday morning my doctor came in and said he would let me go HOME. I wasn't really completely ready, but he wanted me in an environment where I can sleep better and not be exposed to all the viruses in the hospital as my immune system is so weak.  I was so happy to hear I could leave.

After arriving home around 4:00pm yesterday I was seriously questioning the wisdom of leaving the hospital.  The stress of getting up, the drive home, etc. was almost more than I could physically handle.  I tried to go to bed around 7:00 but my body wouldn't let me sleep.  I finally got up for a few hours and then went back to bed a little before midnight.  After a lot more tossing and turning, I finally fell asleep at some point and got at least five hours straight. PRAISE GOD!!  It felt like five days compared to the rest of the week...

Today has been a challenge for sure but I am so very thankful to be home.  My youngest brother & sister are such good caregivers!!!  I am so humbled by their love.  The other three siblings are all gone and Mom is still really struggling with her wrist injury/surgery so Josiah and Susanna are really stepping up the plate.  It is an awesome thing to see them grow and mature.  Okay, it's a little sad too...when did our babies become ten and almost thirteen years old?!

If I take the pain meds every five hours I can survive.  I have NEVER been dependent on pain meds before and I hate it.  Little miss "I have a pain tolerance the height of the sky" is learning to admit I can't do everything on my own. Oh God, I'm a slow learner...thank You for being so patient with me.  For making me weak so that I can see You be strong!  Thank You that You are always FOR me!

Even after the Barium is out of my system, there are still huge concerns.  The fact that my body responded so violently is proof of just how bad things are in there.  I am going to see a specialist in Madison later this month.  My family doctor is AMAZING and has been through this whole week especially; but this is out of his league.  A few weeks ago he was thinking that he could be the one to help me combine nutrition and medicine to get the Crohn's under control; after this week we know that is no longer the case.  Hearing him say that if we don't get this under control I could be on IV nutrition the rest of my life?  That kind of scares me.  So much to trust God for right now...  I'm so thankful He's given us doctors when we need them.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to each and everyone who has prayed once or a hundred times.  Each one means more to me than I could ever express.  God is using you mightily to show me His strength and love.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


It's 2:00 in the morning and I can't sleep due to the pain.  I've been laying here crying my eyes out pleading with God to pick me up and get me through the night.  I have never been so broken in my life.  

There haven't been any fireworks from heaven.  No verbal words of comfort.  Not a hint of explanation.  But the following song came to my mind and I've been playing it over and over...a small hint of peace is finally settling over this room.

The pain is still tremendous.  The loneliness of a dark hospital room is somewhat suffocating.  As a "tough" woman, I am not used to these kinds of feelings of helplessness.  Being blessed with an incredibly high pain tolerance has been a huge part of my survival for the past six years.  Reaching that pain level limit has been one of the hardest things for me.  God is stripping everything away to show me just how much I need Him.  The devil knows to attack when I'm at my weakest. 

During this hospital stay God is teaching me is just how much prayer those who are hospitalized frequently and with worse conditions are in need of.  Hospitals are not fun, folks.  Being constantly poked, pricked, and shot up begins to hurt like hell.  The constantly changing stream of nurses can be overwhelming.  The need to stay strong in front of visitors can result in anxiety attacks the minute they leave.  

Here, in this brokenness and pain, God promises I will be held.  He has a shadow I can hide in.  Learning just how to do that is a process.  Psalm 36:7 says, "How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust in the shadow of Your wings."  Honestly, I don't feel His lovingkindness right now. Does that make it any less real?  No.  Does it stretch my faith? Yes.

Psalm 18:36 holds the promise of being held. "You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great."  His hand will hold me up no matter what happens with my health situation; no matter what happens in the difficult relationships I'm facing; no matter if I leave this hospital tomorrow or a long time after tomorrow; no matter if they can find a way to get this pain under control or not. 

The journey of faith is a rough one.  Oftentimes things don't make sense.  On this painful night, I'm trying to trust God with the fact that one day it will all make sense; there is a purpose in all of this.  

To those facing incredibly challenging health situations in your own life or the life of a loved one, my heart goes out to you.  I'm praying for you during this sleepless night.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

From Hospital Room 219...

Saturday early afternoon, I blogged from my bed at home. Little did I know that within a few hours I'd be in a hospital bed...and would still be there on Monday.  And on Monday would still not know when I'll be able to back home.  Life sure has a way of throwing me for a loop....

Crohn's is a complicated, chronic disease.  It's been an incredibly painful past several years but this is the first that it's been so uncontrollable.  I'm grateful that until the past few days I never had to know what it was like to live on Morphine to survive the pain.  It's crazy.  As much as the side effects hurt after they shot it into the IV, the relief it gave a half hour after each administration was worth it.

On Friday I had a test done that has greatly contributed to these complications and pain.  It's rather frustrating that I was not warned ahead of time about these possibilities...  Such is life and now we're dealing with the after effects.  

So far I don't need surgery but there is concern that a complete blockage could form.  There is a lot of swelling, inflammation, and constriction in especially one spot (the killer pain spot).  The Barium that I had to drink for the test Friday is stuck in my system and can turn to a cement like substance if we don't get it through there.  That is the biggest prayer need right now....

So here I sit in room 219 surrounded by evidence of all the love and care of family and friends.  This afternoon is the first time I've been alone more than a half hour since I was hospitalized.  Am I one blessed woman or what?!  There are flowers and cards and a super cute pink frog covering the window sill.  My hair is finally clean thanks to my friend Lydia helping me wash it when she stopped by this morning.  My phone is dinging frequently.  My IV keeps drip, drip, dripping.  And I continue to sit and wait...wait for the pain to subside, for all the other crazy symptoms to calm down, for the Barium to MOVE.  The sitting and waiting is hard...especially when in so much pain.  (They had to stop the Morphine this morning.)

Things could be SO much worse.  God is still on the throne.  He's got a perfect plan beyond anything I can see or imagine.  His love knows no bounds...

Saturday, February 4, 2012


On this gorgeous Saturday I am laying in bed unable to get up due to the pain.  I'm laying here with the fuzziest blanket on earth, books, my Macbook Pro (obviously), my phone, my meds, a bunch of pillows, my favorite sweatpants, sunshine and blue sky showing through the window, and feeling blessed. The pain is the most excruciating it's been in awhile; there's something very humbling about not being able to move and do things for myself.  I'm so incredibly blessed with a family who is here for me at my weakest.  I can't wait to see how God uses this trying time...He must have something tucked up His sleeve.  Whether I know what that is in this lifetime or not, I know He has the best plan.

While I lay here I've been thinking about the happy times during the past couple difficult months.  I started going through pictures off my camera from December and January and had a BLAST recalling the memories of fun and craziness.  So since it's been awhile since I posted a bunch of random happiness, here goes a LOT of pictures!

...snapshots of two of my favoritest kiddos

...Willow Tree and books = love
(I love my room, btw!)

...errands with the little bro
(soon to not be littler than me...maybe a couple weeks?!)

...cute birthday card made by my hugely talented sister

...Peanuts wrapping paper = best ever call with sis-in-love

...laughter with one of my bestest friends in the world being crazy me

...found THE tree once again

...too much cuteness

...getting Christmas gifts ready to mail to my MI family

...siblings curled up on the couch with books by the fireplace

...snowman cookies

...younger siblings excited for Christmas

...the wonderful mess from making cutout cookies many yummy shapes

...I don't know how the little bro captured this shot but I think it's cool

..."It's a Wonderful Life" by the Christmas tree

...caramel apple rolls

...cinnamon rolls

...annual Christmas stairway pic beautiful golden retriever watching us with our stockings & gifts

...there's a Brewers ornament in there; pretty sure she LOVED it

...watching the Pack kick some more booty on Christmas night

...holding my bestie's precious new little son after attending her labor & delivery from amazing friends on my desk

...sibling fun

...he HATES being kissed him!

...late night sibling craziness

...MORE late night sibling craziness

...little road trip on a Saturday

...looking cool and looking forward to Olive Garden & a movie in Milwaukee

...the driver and shotgun

...amazing picture from my Compassion child

Darn, life is a wonderful thing.  It's the little things...always the little things that bring so much happiness and joy to daily life.  Happy gorgeous Wisconsin Saturday!