Wealth

“The thing that is precious in the sight of God is faith that has been tried. Tried faith is spendable; it is so much wealth stored up in heaven, and the more we go through the trial of our faith, the wealthier we become in the heavenly regions.” —  The Place of Help from the Quotable Oswald Chambers.

Eventually, one of the main thoughts that come crashing to mind when I face trials is the fact that God really never promised life would be a bowl full of cherries. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to hear this. He did say, however, “I came that you might have LIFE and have it more abundantly.” [John 10:10] But, oh what a twisted perception we have of this word. In our first-world life, abundantly means large quantities of stuff. Plenty.  Plenty of stuff. We are choking on our stuff.

I wonder how abundantly we would live if we truly had large quantities of God’s word flowing through our weak hearts on a frequent and consistent basis. If we had plenty of – Jesus.

I think our stuff would pale in comparison.
Abundant would take on a whole new meaning.
We would experience true wealth no man could fathom.

 

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No Promises

The “world” says I am a Sagittarius.
According to the cosmic alignment of the moon, planets, and the timing of my birth, I’ve been labeled and categorized into a herd of late-November/December-born humans who are fiercely independent, free-spirited, and . . . aloof. Aloof? Really. Where do they come up with this stuff?

Apparently, we’re also embarrassingly blunt.
What’s intriguing is that it truly DOES take an act of God Almighty for me to say the right things at the right times. There is a time and place for my blunt, straight-up, no-holds-barred, real self and, to be honest, it has taken years and years of pain to get it [somewhat] right. I still don’t have it right. I’ll never get it right. Getting it “right” violates who I am to put it – bluntly. So while I cling to God trusting he will guide me, corral me, contain me, I know in my heart I won’t ever, ever, ever be meek & mild. That said, here’s some straight up truth about parenting.

We are not promised anything.

Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

You will pour your entire life into parenting. Some will sacrifice career advancement intentionally setting family as a priority. Others will forfeit a career, altogether. Oh, you’ll buy cute maternity clothes, you will study books, and blogs, and commentaries. Some will take birthing classes. You’ll contemplate hospital vs. home births and midwives.  You’ll rearrange budgets several times over and eventually come up with something that works well enough, at least for the moment. You will spend a small fortune on redecorating. You will pack and repack your bags too many months before the real labor day. You’ll take more pictures than a few devices can hold. You will spend countless sleepless nights either feeding/nursing, coddling, soothing, crying, or praying. Fatigue takes on a whole new, cruel meaning. Showers become a luxury. You vaguely remember life pre-newborn or what your Hubby looks like but both are fading fast. You will begin to resign to the fact that the clothes you have are good enough for another year. And, then another. Suddenly, your weekly haircuts, periodic manicures & pedicures don’t seem so important. You will pray over your children, pray for their future spouse, teach them about everything under the sun from finger motion Bible songs, body motion childhood praise songs, and pages upon pages of Bible verses to art history, famous missionaries, and world geography. You will  take them to VBS and spend thousands of dollars for them to go to camp every summer. You’ll sign them up for every noble activity that might augment and support your vision of building Christ-like character into your children. We teach. God do we ever teach. Hours upon hours of talking. And talking. And talking. Grasping at every teachable moment as if God only allows a specific quota. You trust God’s grace is sufficient for every bauble, every mishap, every failure. You set your life-goal to follow that seemingly lucid recipe for success.

Success. That “to glorify the Lord and enjoy Him forever” kind of success. The kind of success that stops our children in their tracks when sin and temptation come calling. Because, after all, we followed the formula for success, right?

Spoiler Alert: We are not guaranteed this kind of success.
There are no promises.  We buy all the expensive ingredients, mix them together in the most accurate proportions, and expect – success. I wish it were so. I wish – as an aging near-Titus 2 status woman of God – I could tell you how simple it really is: ” Just mix A + B very carefully, add a handful of God’s amazing grace, and you will get C.” Doesn’t always happen this way. You know why? Because in spite of every tried & true formula, our kids are still sinners in dire need of a Savior. Yes, even our Christian kids.

But you know what? The real “success” lives out in you and me, the parents. Real success – that God-honoring success – is in how we respond to trials, how we  respond to disappointment, how we process anger, hurt, sadness, and betrayal. How we – love. If we are truly Christ-followers, love is the answer to every question.

The parenting life. It’s really not about our kids, at all.
It’s about God molding, shaping, changing, transforming us into His likeness. It’s really all about how WE  “glorify the Lord and enjoy Him forever….”

The Road Back from Hell

My Coming Out Party – Part II

I was at the very end of my rope. In all honesty, I was dangling by the  small, wiry threads that come unraveled at the end of the rope. I had lived for nearly seven years with weird, unexplainable, undiagnosed, crazy, physical symptoms. My body seemed to be shutting down, physically. It’s the only way I know how to describe it. I remember the day so vividly when I realized that I could no longer walk to the pond; some 300 yards, away. I knew my days were numbered as to how long I’d be able to walk the pasture with my husband as he managed, surveyed, and observed the cattle. My gardening days appeared to be over. Every year had only gotten worse. Though we worked hard and walked all over this farm, my endurance and strength continued to decline. I truly wondered if I had MS. My soul mourned a vast amount of scenarios. I’d cry myself to sleep wondering how long I had to live. Thankfully, since I’d been a psychology major in college, and mental health and behavioral science was my thing, I was still aware enough to know that I needed help. I had cried, pondered, & wondered enough. I had Googled and researched dead ends enough. I had trusted mainstream medicine enough. I refused to accept the anti-depressant/anti-anxiety band-aids. I was not thriving. I wanted my life back.

As I faced another day of heart palpitations, debilitating weakness, dizziness, and weird, hard-to-explain, sensations in my brain, I finally reached out to a private online group hosted by STOP THE THYROID MADNESS which is also the title of a book written by thyroid patient advocate Janie Bowthorpe. Within minutes, people from all over the country chimed in with answers to my mysterious symptoms. At that moment, I realized I was not alone. I was not losing my mind. I was not crazy. I was a thyroid patient in desperate need of proper treatment.  That very day, May 18th, 2013, was the day I became my own advocate.

The days, weeks, and months that followed were filled with knowledge way too big for me. I am absolutely NOT into healthcare and medicine. I write. Subject-Verb Agreements and proper grammar matter to me. It takes/has taken an exorbitant amount of time for me to wrap my brain around the HPA Axis, labwork ranges, and cellular metabolism. But, for the first time, I had real words for what I was feeling.

Air Hunger.

Brain Fog.

Heart palpitations.

Tachycardia.

Adrenal Dysfunction.

It was a slow kill. That’s what Synthroid does. It’s a T4-only hormone when our bodies, as God designed them, require T1, T2, T3, and T4. Highly educated scientists, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies believe (and want you to believe) that T4 hormone replacement/supplement will convert to T3 by way of the liver thus providing the vital, life-supporting, T3 brain food our bodies need. In some cases, it does, at least for a while. When it doesn’t  alllll sorts of havoc begins to take place along the hormone highway, as I’ve now dubbed it. There’s no way I could go into the details of cell conversion, HPA Axis, consequent adrenal dysfunction, sex hormone roles, and the plethora of vitamin & mineral deficiencies in one blog post. It’s just too big. There are several terrific websites out there where detailed information is already available and very well written.

Within a month of chatting with the members of the STTM support group, I made the hard decision to step out of my comfort zone and switch to Armour Thyroid. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE! It has literally changed my life. I will elaborate in later journal entries. For now, what’s most important for you to know is this: When something isn’t right, it isn’t. Trust yourself. Don’t allow a few letters behind a person’s name dictate the course of your life. I trusted mainstream medicine because I thought they knew better than me. That blind trust was sending me to an early grave. I’m on the way back from hell. I can see LIFE just ahead.

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My Coming Out Party – You’re Invited

This is a huge topic I hope to tackle in small bite-sized pieces, this year. This is only Part I.

It’s not for everyone and a bit out-of-character for me. But here goes.

HYPER-thyroid

After a routine OB/GYN exam during the summer of 2006, I got a call stating my thyroid blood work was at “dangerous levels” and I was referred to an Endocrinologist. The very first appointment with Endo #1 resulted in a sonogram and needle biopsy, that very day. Needless to say, I was scared.to.death. I never once thought of cancer, I was only terrified about four tiny needles being inserted in my neck – on both sides – which added up to  …eight tiny needles. No anesthesia. No topical/surface numbing help, just my neck and needles.

I was diagnosed with HYPER-thyroid due to benign nodules on both sides of my thyroid gland. My metabolism was in overdrive. The protocol was, and still is, RAI, or Radioactive Iodine Treatment. RAI is based on the idea that the thyroid gland will absorb all ingested iodine first and very little, if any at all, is passed into the rest of your body. Following along with this logic, radioactive chemicals and iodine are combined in a pill form and when swallowed the thyroid gland will absorb all of the toxins and eventually die off. Once the thyroid gland is dead, determined by blood work, patients are then given thyroid hormone replacement to, theoretically, supplement everything the body needs. Just one little pill, daily. Simple as that. I was never informed that I would live the rest of my life in a HYPO state.

As the old saying goes, hindsight truly is 20/20. Pre-2006 I was starving. For years I had been hypersensitive about the next meal, always planning, always preparing, always hungry. Hungry to the point of serious desperation and anger if we didn’t eat on time. I chalked it up to having two babies back to back and nursing both for long periods of time. During the course of seven years, between the year Our Firstborn (1995) was born and our Thirdborn (in 2002) I had three miscarriages. I was always extremely exhausted but pushed harder thinking I was lazy. I should also interject here that we traveled the country with Hubby’s job two separate times within these years. It was easy to think I was exhausted for other reasons. I have no idea how long I suffered with HYPER-thyroid but looking back now, I know it was many years.

HYPO-thyroid

I distinctly remember the few weeks that I felt normal after RAI. Hubby had a project in Los Angeles and I actually drove several hundred miles of that stretch. I had not been able to drive much at all during those many months of traveling because I would literally fall asleep at the wheel. That trip lead us right into 2007 when I began my prescription of Synthroid. By the Fall of 2007 (we were in Wisconsin by then) I distinctly remember speaking with my Endo over the phone while she was at a park with her children. I suppose I had called enough times (stating SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY BODY!) that she decided to call me herself. Our conversation went well and she expressed how imporant it was that my levels be checked regularly and that I should never miss an appointment. Since there had been very little mention of the degree of seriousness that went along with my “levels”, if we were out of town with Phillip’s work, I would just make an appointment when we were in town. At this point, early on, I truly had no clue and depended solely on whatever she and her nurse told me. My faith in her settled and Lord knows I tried (hard) to keep her.

However, weird symptoms kept cropping up. I’d call and the nurse would always leave a message stating that my symptoms were not thyroid-related and that I should consult my primary care physician. Looking back now, I honestly don’t know how she sleeps at night. Knowing what I know now, I’m absolutely positive she got numerous calls a day about the same weird symptoms.  – Well, not willing to give up (the symptoms are way to scary to give up!) I did see a nurse practitioner who diagnosed me with anxiety. She prescribed Xanax. Desperate, I took one on the way home from her office and was asleep by the time we pulled up in the driveway. (Hubby driving, of course) I asked my RN sister about Xanax and I will never forget her words: “Absolutely NOT.” I had no clue. She explained how addictive it can be, and that I did not need Xanax.  She was right. Even though I cut a few in half trying to make them work, they didn’t. I was just a very drunk, sleepy thyroid patient with the very same symptoms I’d always had. I eventually flushed the Xanax.

Finally coming to terms with the painfully obvious fact that Endo #1 wasn’t listening, during another routine OB/GYN visit, I asked to be referred to another Endo. I saw him only once. I began to explain several symptoms, including my weight. His suggestion was to see a nutritionist in preparation for gastric bypass surgery. He failed to let me know that I was VitD difficient but perhaps it was because he left the country shortly after my visit. It was within a few weeks that I received a referral letter stating that Endo #2 had left to practice in another country. On to Endo #3.

I saw her only once. She was emphatic that I take a multi-vitamin every day and that I should probably consider walking at least 30 minutes a day. Nice try, lady.

As weird symptoms persisted month after month, I decided to get a second opinion regarding the anxiety diagnosis so I went to our local family doctor and, though she listened and seemed genuinely interested, in the end I was still stamped with an anxiety diagnosis. Needless to say, I felt utterly defeated. I’d never had a history of anxiety even with plenty of life circumstances that could’ve easily caused panic/anxiety. It just didn’t make sense. I made the commitment (to myself) that I would take Lexapro for one year. During that year, I gained 30 MORE pounds and as I mentioned with the xanax scenario, I was just a very flatlined, easy-come-easy-go,  thyroid patient with the very same symptoms I’d always had.

After a little over a year, I bravely weaned myself off Lexapro. It was a great decision. I realized through the experience that I had no emotion at all. I found that I couldn’t muster up the emotion or strength to write anymore; that alone was enough for me to call it quits but in all honesty Lexapro did nothing for the underlying, untreated, undermedicated issues at hand. Months went by, long after I knew the Lexapro was out of my bloodstream, and I continued to decline. The last few years, particularly the last 16 months, I’ve declined at an even more rapid rate. I knew something had to change or I was going to die.

In a desperate, last-ditch effort I reached out to an online group. I explained my history, symptoms, and fears. Within just a few minutes there were several comments on the thread I’d started and we ended up “chatting” the entire day. I’d finally found a glimpse of hope.

Let us send our daughters to die in battle for the sake of gender neutrality!

I’m really lovin’ this guy. Wish I was smart enough to get all that Truth down in one blog post. Think men & women are created equal? Just send Hubby to the fast-food drive-thru and have him order (correctly) for at least three kids. 😉
Embrace God’s beautiful design and purpose. ~ the Farmer’s Wife

The Matt Walsh Blog

There are three different types of ideas: good ideas, bad ideas, and ideas so horrifically stupid that they will be mocked and scorned by our descendants for centuries to come.

Modern left-wingers typically trade in the second sort of idea, while occasionally conjuring up something that unquestionably falls into the third category.

Speaking of which, there’s this.

After discovering that half of the female Marines can’t meet the minimum physical fitness requirements, usually failing to do three pull-ups, the Corps has decided to delay the standards. This is all part of the process of “equalizing” physical requirements so as to integrate women into combat roles.

Here we have a horrible idea, stacked on top of a bewilderingly idiotic idea, poured over a collection of reckless, ideologically-fueled, irrational, liberal feminist ideas. Basically, an insane idea had sexual relations with a moronic idea and the two gave birth to this idea.

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Hey Housewife. . .

My morning inspiration.
My sweet friend had no idea she’d be an inspiration to so many.
She was simply commenting on her Newlywed-Daughter’s FB post about housewife boredom which can so easily entangle all of us. Be blessed this last day of 2013.

“Hey housewife, turn on some music, pull your hair up in a pony tail or bun, get some laundry going, plan dinner, start at the back of the house and make your way to the front- cleaning, rearranging, organizing, bake some cookies or bread, use some smell good cleaner or simmer some smell good spices on the stove. After your house is spic and span and smelling good, paint your toenails, go for a walk, do a little exercise, try something new with makeup, read a book, read the Bible, light some candles and have a quiet time. It’s the last day of 2013- embrace it, wring every bit of life out of it! This is the day the Lord has made, this is the day the Lord has given you, this is the day you woke up again healthy, this is the day your husband has a job, this is the day you have a husband coming home to you this evening, this is the day you have a home to care for, this is the day that you have parents that love you, rejoice in your Maker!!! Lift up your head, stir up a thankful spirit. Go get ’em girl:)))”