Friday, October 18, 2013

Wow, Talk About a Quick Turn-Around! Let's Hope This Lasts!

My Momma and I on our Vacation, on the Wharf in Monterey about to enjoy the most amazing food EVER at Fisherman's Grotto. So, so good!
Oh how beautiful are Your works, my Lord, from the depths of the seas to the heights of the heavens - Your Glory is in all that we see!
 Wow, if ever there was a tremendous turn-around in only a few days, boy did I ever experience it! I can't thank you enough from the very bottom of my heart how very thankful I am for all the prayers, well-wishes and words of encouragement - we hit rock bottom but didn't end up battered and broken this time. No, this time God got us through it much more smoothly than last year, and even though another storm may yet still be on the horizon for us, as winter hasn't even hit yet, we're learning how to attack things head on rather than be the one's without a plan.

How beautiful the Wharf is in the Evening. I LOVE the crisp white coloring on the boats, and the way the reflect so beautifully on the water.
I wish with so much of my being that I could say it was cutting out Gluten that saved us, but alas, I am most definitely, without a doubt, NOT Gluten Intolerant. Not that I really ever thought I was, but we wanted to do the Gluten Cleanse for many reason, first and foremost because I know that people really DO have tremendous issues as a result of eating Gluten, and secondly because my niece is actually one of them. For her, she noticed in a week changes taking place in her body, and by week 4 she was feeling pretty great. As for me, even after 5 weeks of following the rules to the T I found not even an ounce less of pain or discomfort, and I had no intestinal problems to start with that weren't directly caused by my meds so there was really nothing to fix there.

I'm loving this new red hair-color on me even if it was supposed to be blonde. It brings out the red in my eyes and I'm not sure whether to go even lighter and blonde (since I've been a bleach white blonde naturally most of my life) or if I should go red again, whether of the same tone or even richer. Any thoughts?
What worked for me was a bit strange to my doctors, and it took them some time to agree to it, and honestly, a very desperate and absolutely honest to goodness breakdown by me in one of their offices over the fact that even with all the work we had done over the year, the bio-feedback, the Physical Therapy, the psychology and psychiatry and acupuncture and breathing exercises, stretches, hot baths, heating pads, just about every trick in the book, including Tiger Balm and Capsacin (ouch! that stuff hurts!), everything was wiped away in an instant, in a perfect storm of emotions, rain, discontinuation of acupuncture and it was back to the ER for me, feeling pain that I hope none of you will ever have to feel. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy it was so bad. But what we did was adjust one med, one we used exclusively only during the winter last year and will again cut off during the spring, or so I assume, and we made it go from a "take as you need and only if you're dying from pain" type of med to a regular, 3 times a day med, and it worked wonders on my body in as little as 24 hours. Literally, one full day of full time use at regular intervals and I went from writhing in pain to being able to manage myself a little bit more and more each and every day. We brought Gluten back in and found not one extra ounce of pain - no change at all. It was the medicine, through and through. Crazy right?

And we took some measures of our own on this trip, like buying this grabber for one and what I believe is a Walnut Wood Cane, so I can pretend to be Quite Distinguished... I only got this shot of the grabber, but I'm sure we'll be seeing some with me and the cane in the months to come! Lol!
But I thank God that my Doctors took aggressive measures for me - they even are going so far as to not only reinstate acupuncture for me, but I get to go weekly for a while in November and I am just oozing with gratitude for that!

See?! See, that's me, "Oozing with Gratitude!"  =0)
We, my mother and I that is, had planned a trip months ago to go to Monterey for a few days, and thought for sure that two weeks before the trip was due that there was no way on earth we could do it. I was in such a bad place physically and we didn't know what to do other than pray and hope for the best. Luckily, or rather, in God's PERFECT TIMING, my Drs. made those changes to my meds and so we decided that with just us two gals and a wheel chair we could try to make this work. I stopped my Gluten Free diet the day before the trip so as not to get a false positive because of the extra activity, and I felt great. It's crazy to me that I actually felt better bringing wheat back into my diet than I ever did taking it out. I'm sure glad I tried it though just in case it might have worked, because I don't want to rule any options of being free from this pain out, but it just wasn't in God's cards for me I suppose. I know for a fact that God has a plan for me in this suffering - nothing we go through hasn't gone through God first, and I am positive that at this point in time God wants us to struggle through this pain, even if that doesn't make sense to anyone else. I do want to be like Christ in His suffering, and this is just one way to bring me closer to Him and to understand Him even more. And of course, I still have plans to try many more tests, food and other-wise, to try in the months to come just to see what might work, though I'm struggling on deciding on which one to do next, considering all the yummy holidays coming up... Hmmm... I'll have to give this some serious thought, that's for sure!

And here's my mom, playing with her little Hermit Crab friend she named "Hermie." Quite original, huh? Haha! Oh, but how I love the way my mom can just let loose and let the child in her come out as she explores the world in ways that even children would admire. She is a true adventurer, through and through, and a wonderful mother. I am truly blessed!
Well, I just wanted to thank you all so very much - every prayer, every word of encouragement along the way, every single act of kindness from you all have overwhelmed me in the most blessed of ways. I feel so blessed to be your friend, so blessed to have you in my life, and I pray that in some way I can help you every bit as much as you helped me. I praise my God for you, and for what He has done in my life. Even through all the darkness I've felt in these past months and years, you have helped to remind me that God is always there for me, which means their is always hope, always Light to drown out the darkness, and always hope if one is willing to find it

It's crazy how sometimes the light is even more beautiful when surrounded by darkness, don't you agree?
I noticed over the weekend with my mom, as she pushed me around and as we encountered little obstacles here and there because I still can't walk very well and am still very weak, that she's been struggling to see the reason in all of this, and it was actually rather fun to be able to share with her the things God has shown me and grown in me and my family because of these overwhelming hardships we've faced in the last four years, but most expressly this last year. God brought me and my role of a mother from that selfish place that so many mother's experience when they have their first child and finally get hit smack dab in the middle of their face that their life really is no longer their own - no selfishness allowed from here on out when little ones are involved. Not only do you have to give up your sleep, but even every waking hour is spent feeding, clothing, diapering or potty training, raising up a tiny little human being into a good and helpful member of society. You spend your days reading, playing, and honestly sometimes just trying to escape from your child for one moment just to use the restroom in peace, though we all know that's a joke! And then there's the guilt involved in it all - am I spending too much time on myself, am I raising them right, am I teaching them the values and ideals I want them to learn. Can I please just have one hour of peace and quiet just to myself, where I'm not flooded with thoughts about my children or with tasks to do, but where I can experience true peace and rest?!

Speaking of children, we went to Monterey a few months ago to this very same beach and finding anemones and urchins was rather difficult. Apparently over that time they've been rather busy, breeding like rabbits! Every rock was COVERED with them - in fact, it was a little gross to be honest, but amazing all the same.
I felt like I lived for nap times - they were what made or broke my attitude each day, and what determined whether my husband found when he came home - either sweet little miss 50's in her fine linens and with dinner piping hot on the table, or the HULK. All too often he found the second, I'm embarrased to say, but it's true. And you know what it took to change me and the way I viewed my days and this all too precious, all too short time with my sweet and hyper little babes? It took God slamming me on my back in utter agony so that I was literally FORCED in every way to slow down and smell the roses (or more often than not, the sweet smell of baby powder as it unsuccessfully tries to mask the odor of whatever my child ate the day before because my word - did it smell wretched!!!). But yeah, Praise be to God for knowing exactly what it would take to bring me from resenting my children and all the time they were stealing from me and becoming a mother who looked forward to each fleeting moment I could get with them because I barely ever got to see them anymore. Sure gave me a HUGE reality check there, and honestly, the way that my pain has shaped the way I love and treasure and even just see my family, there is no way on earth I would EVER give that up, and I mean EVER!

There was a HUGE fire across the bay, and yet even through the thick smoke and destruction there was a beauty to it that everyone who saw it with us could not deny. Powerful, Unstoppable, Beautiful.

It's helped grow my husband and I as well, shifting our relationship from bickering over trivial matters to coming together in tears and crying out to God for mercy. It got God in the center, and even though there are parts of the UGLY in me that I wish my husband had never seen, and that his entire family had never seen, parts so disturbing that I cringe to even think of them, even though our relationships will never be the same, at least for mine and my husbands I am grateful for that in ways you could never understand. Before he understood or believed what was going on in my body was very real and every bit as painful as I claimed, which is one of the greatest difficulties people with this very REAL auto-immune disorder face every day, I have to say we just weren't being very gracious with each other - and neither of us was blame free in it. But now, now that we've been through this journey together, not only does he seem to view me as his Princess to save and I see him as my Knight in Shining Armor, but God is more in the center of US than He ever has been before, and I would never give that up for all the world as well.

This was something else that had grown over the few months since we had last been here - the kelp and seaweed shot up like crazy - some of those strands were an easy 20 foot length - I wish we could have measured them for sure. Much like the growth in our own lives - we can both see it and we know it's there, but it's immeasurable and only God alone knows how much growth has really taken place.
And these are just a few things God has done in our lives - I can't wait to see the impact this will make on us and those around us throughout the years. We've been blessed by friends who we will never ever be able to repay, and we are learning to accept that, hard as it is, because that's just how things have to be. We've seen our friends and family growing in God, being like Christ to us in our suffering, helping us pick up the pieces of our shattered lives and home, bringing us food, cleaning our home, watching our children, and just being THERE for us when we need them, and it's just amazing and beautiful to behold. We're spending more time trying to teach our children about God and who He is and what beautiful things He's done in our lives, though there's always room for improvement there, and I certainly don't claim to have all these things out to a tee. I just am so thankful for the way God has used this to slow us down by force so that we can see what truly matters - the eternal over the present, and all our relationships over our free time. It's incredible what God can show you if you're willing to listen, and I eagerly await with still a little fear and trepidation what He has to show me in the future, in order to change me and shape me into who He wants me to be.

I LOVE finding beauty in the unexpected!
I hope and pray that there is something in this again VERY LONG POST that speaks to you, and if you ever want to talk, please, feel free to leave a comment or follow the link under "About Me" to leave me an email. Honestly, I'm not sure that I can even help, but I CAN listen if that's what you need, so the offer stands. I hope you are finding your own sweet little moments of bliss in your life, and that God will continue to show Himself to you in new and exciting ways. As for me, I think I'll try to get in a brushstroke or two before the boys awake, if I get the chance. God bless you, my friends, and thank you ever so much for your continued prayers and support in this rather strange journey in the life of this tortured little artist. Take care!

One more look at the sea in all it's splendor before we go - the waves were crashing hard that day and the pounding of them upon the rocks filled the air with awe and wonder at the power behind them - a power and strength that pales in comparison to it's Creator, Christ our Lord. How I wish I could paint even a fraction of the beauty that God makes every day, but it is certainly enough to just be gifted enough to witness it in person. How great is OUR GOD!

Good-bye for now! Until next year, Monterey! We had such a fun trip, despite the wheelchairs and late starts due to my pain and my fibro, but I'm just so overjoyed at the fact we were even able to go that I can't complain at all. What a blast we had - thank you so much for your prayers that surely helped allow us to enjoy this trip, let alone even go on it. I really needed that!!!




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