One Of Those Days

I am having “one of those days”. 

Today I woke up to pain. The kind of pain where all your brain sees is the word “PAIN” flashing like a neon sign with every throb your body makes.  Pain running down the entire length of my arm, down into my hand that is such, it is hard to even think about anything else.  

Today I woke up afraid that I have mono.  My 11-year-old son has missed two weeks of school because of breaking out in rashes and having such bad joint pain and muscle aches that we rushed him to the Emergency Room one night and he hasn’t been able to walk very well. 

My son who is a junior has missed a week of school due to extreme fatigue and nausea off and on all week, so I’m wondering if he has mono too. 

I taught a class this morning with very little kids and all I could do was hope I didn’t sound as sick to them as I sound to myself.  

I have school to get through, my house is in disarray and all I can think of is pain. 

Here’s the thing about learning to live with chronic pain.  You feel pain for awhile and you think, “This isn’t that bad, I can handle this”.  But then the pain stays, and after awhile you think, “Ok, I know that this pain isn’t that bad, but I’m getting tired of it”.  Then after awhile, the pain itself wears you down until you’re just tired.  This is chronic pain.  Pain that doesn’t stop, pain that doesn’t give you a break, and pain that sometimes is unbearable. 

Today I find myself at a place where all I can pray is “Jesus, help”.  Today is a day I find myself in a place where I know that it is going to be a minute, by minute journey.  Today is a day in which I will cling to the truth of God’s word that He is going to take care of me and bring me through it, even if it is a second by second journey.  Today, I cling to my faith like nothing else because if I didn’t have my faith I think that I might break down and quit.  I am fighting to believe that there is a purpose in this.  I am fighting to know that God will give me enough strength to make it through my day.  

Today is a day where there can only be God.  I have to change that neon sign from blinking “pain” to shining “God”.  

And with that said, I have kids to get up and off to school…..

Everyone have a blessed day!!!!

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Where Have I Been?

I have had so many thoughts about what I have wanted this post to be.  There is so much that I want to say, thoughts that I want to share, but I also don’t want this post to go on forever.  

If you have read any of my previous blogs then you know that I have been diagnosed with a condition called cervical spinal stenosis.cervical_stenosis_intro01

It’s a very painful condition that can cause the spinal cord to be pinched and for me, it’s affecting my left side.  A couple of weeks ago the pain had become so bad that I was unable to sleep for several days.  It ended up in a trip to the hospital and an injection of Fentanyl and an oral dose of Dilaudid and a prescription for stronger pain medicine than I’ve ever had.  So I was out of commision for almost a week.  

I am very blessed that since then my pain level has been very tolerable at about a 1-3 most of the time, however, I have periods where my arm goes numb or my fingers stop working and therefore typing or anything is out of the question. 

At the same time that this was going on, I found out that in order to keep teaching for Qkids that I needed to get a TESOL, or basically a certificate saying that I have been trained to teach English as a second language.  So now I am enrolled in a course that I am trying to get finished and that is taking up a lot of my time. 

There are lots of times when I am learning something new, or when I am at church and I hear something that I wish to share with you, but because to time constraints or health issues I am unable to do so at that time. 

Yesterday I was watching 20/20 on Hulu.  Sometimes I like to go back and just watch all the episodes that I haven’t seen, and they were talking about rookies.  If you haven’t seen the TV show “The Rookie”, I highly recommend it.  Anyway, there was an entire episode of 20/20 about rookies.  One was a lady who had been a cop, but when she had children, she decided to be a stay at home mom.  At the age of 52, she became a rookie cop.  

Another one was a girl who had had a high paying, high power job on Wall Street and then one day decided that she was going to quit and start auditioning for Broadway shows and she ended up playing Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway. 

This episode was so bittersweet for me. One reason for that is because when I was in high school, all I wanted to do was to be on Broadway and to win a Tony.  I even went to The American Musical and Dramatics Academy in New York at the age of 17, and I got a certificate for Musical Theater Performance.  But at that time, I realized that the whole audition process was too much for me and that there were things that I wanted more, such as a family, kids, a husband.  So I moved away from New York and left that life behind.  I do miss it.  Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had stayed on that path…

The episode was also bittersweet for me because I am at a stage in my life where I am trying to find myself.  I have spent the last 18 years doing nothing but taking care of my family and my kids.  I know that being on Broadway is a dream that has passed me by, I never really finished school for anything else, (I did take medical transcription for awhile) and I just am not sure what my purpose in life is supposed to be.  

One thing that I have realized over the past few years is that it’s not about me.  I am at a point in my life where I want my purpose to be about what and where God wants me to be.  I’m just not sure what that is.  Especially, since I am adjusting to living a life of chronic pain, and trying to get through this course so that I can keep teaching for Qkids and earning an income.  

Life.  It likes to throw curveballs.  It takes you to the unexpected.  It is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, twists and turns.  Sometimes it’s very hard to hold on.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep up.  Sometimes you feel like nothing you do is right or is going to work out.  

But you don’t give up.  You keep going.  You find inner strength you didn’t know you had, you lean on God, your friends, your family.  And you keep going.  

Hopefully, I will finish this course, get my certificate and get back to blogging more.  I have other things that I want and need to do too.  Like getting back to being fully keto.  I have kind of not been as strict as I was because it’s just hard to cook and do all the shopping when you are in constant pain, and yes, I can see and feel the difference.  

This is where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.  I am praying and hoping that it will all settle down and work itself out soon.  I guess that’s all for today.  

Hope Restored

I’ve been away again.

Health.

Finances.

Kids.

Stress.

I used to be a very angry person.

I used to be a very bitter person.

And then one day, God reached down to a broken, miserable and angry woman and grabbed hold of her heart.

Simple as that?  Yes…and no.

My life has been a like a chapter out of “A Series Of Unfortunate Events”.  Abandoned by a mother who had severe mental illness, adopted by grandparents who tried their best but fell short, loss of a grandparent and going through the teen years with only a grandfather who had no idea what to do with me, kids who have emotional distress and disorders, financial struggle and now my health. 

Have I been perfect since God reached down and saved me?  Not even close, far, far, from it.  I wish I could say that God grabbed my heart and from that moment on I was a completely different person…

However…

For me, faith has been a long, hard-fought journey,  one on which I have had to work very hard to move forward on.  Every day it is work, to be faithful, to trust, to believe, to understand. 

The last couple of years have been especially hard.  We’ve endured mold in our home, everyone having pneumonia (me, being hospitalized due to becoming septic), living in a hotel for a month, four vehicle accidents, a carjacking, a bullet flying through our house barely missing our kids, me developing diverticulitis and now cervical spinal stenosis. 

Financially, we have never been in the category of comfortable.  We live paycheck to paycheck, I’ve spent years making homemade laundry detergent and fabric softener and cleaners to save money and looking for other ways to save and earn.  We miss out on a lot of things because we can’t afford to do them. 

Have I had doubts? Many a time. Do I have doubts now? Yes, sometimes.

But I’m learning and for that I’m grateful.

I have really struggled the last couple of weeks with this new diagnosis that has left me in pain every day.  I get up to pain, I go to bed with pain. At times the pain is so bad that it’s all I can see.  And I’ve been angry.  It hasn’t seemed fair.  I have days where I can’t hold a pen or a fork, I’ve had to learn to do things differently or not at all.  I’ve had to accept my limitations.  But despite my emotions, my Lord and Savior, Jesus, has been there.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling a bit down, but better than I have been for awhile…and as I went about my morning routine, and was taking my husband to work and my son to school and listening to the radio, I was overcome by a feeling of peace.  

“It’s going to be okay.”

In the end, it WILL be okay.  In the end, I will be home in a place with no more sorrow or sadness, no more sickness and pain.  In the end, I win.

I haven’t been as faithful to my Bible readings or studies.  I haven’t been as faithful about checking my social media accounts and sharing verses and teachings about what I’m studying and learning.  But that’s okay.  I’m only human.  

I can have my moments…as long as they stay moments.

You see, Jesus loves me too much to leave me where I am.  That’s why I’m convinced that I was covered with such peace yesterday.  Jesus loves me too much to let me stay down in the dirt, wallowing in sorrow and pain.  His Presence is all too known and felt by me for me to stay in the pit. 

I have to do the best with what I have and that has to be enough for me.  It is for Him. 

So.  I have set myself some goals that I hope to accomplish by December because I still need to grow, I still need to change, I still need to walk this path and move forward in my life, in my faith.

  1.  QUIT SMOKING FOR GOOD!!!!!!  Why?  I believe it’s fairly obvious.  For my health, so that my body can be in it’s best possible shape and be used to serve the Lord.

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  2.  GET OFF THE SODA!!!!! Another obvious…I love my soda, I only drink diet, but I feel so much better when I drink water, and it’s not healthy.  I don’t want to put any more trash into my temple.

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  3.  DESTRESS!!!! Stress is not a God-given emotion.  Stress is not healthy.  So I am going to take time each day to meditate…(I love to sit and think of verses to nice, calming music) and pray.

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  4. GET BACK IN THE WORD!!! Stupid little phone games, drawing me to them instead of opening my Bible app first thing in the morning.  I was doing so well for months and when I got to the point where I was in so much pain, I started neglecting the habit. 

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  5. EXERCISE.  One thing that I have been reading and researching is that even though it may sound wrong for me due to spinal stenosis, exercising is actually good for me, stretching and strength training.  I intend to start small with 15 mins a day.  Everyone can do 15 mins, right?

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I want to grow.  I want to change.  I want to continue down the path to spiritual, physical and mental wellness because that’s where God wants me to be.  He wants me to live an abundant life…in Him.  It may not be the way I expect it to be, but I have to remain faithful to Him and care for myself so that I can represent Him and model Him to the best of my ability, for my family, for my friends, for myself. 

These are my thoughts of the day…

My own Simple View.

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Struggling

I am struggling today, emotionally and physically.  Physically I feel like a bunch of broken pieces.  I am experiencing random pain and numbness throughout my whole left arm and hand. 

Typing is not easy because I feel a lack of control in my fingers.

I’ve decided that I don’t like being on pain medication and muscle relaxers, I don’t like how they make me feel.  At the same time, I don’t like being in pain.  But this random numbness and tingling is irritating and annoying, to say the least.  Maybe it’s because of the weather change.  

I have all of this stuff that I need to do and I’m having a hard time getting motivated enough to do any of it.  Because of all of the numbness in my hand and arm, I’m afraid to do the dishes because I’m afraid I’ll be dropping them everywhere.  It definitely does not help that I am left-handed.

I have found myself talking to Jesus all morning, but it’s all jumbled.  I don’t know whether I am questioning my faith, or my situation, or having doubts.  I’m overwhelmed by feelings.  

I don’t understand why this happened to me, but as someone on the radio said this morning, “Why NOT me?” 

So I guess I am at a point where I am trying to figure out how I am going to deal with it. How do I go about my daily business, taking care of my family, being a wife and a mother when I am in constant pain and feeling like my hand and arm isn’t going to work?

How do I stay positive when I am feeling like I am falling apart? 

That was yesterday, today is a little different.  Emotionally, I am feeling stronger.  I have cleared myself of the pain medication and the muscle relaxers and I am feeling more like myself.  I have decided that for today my word focus is going to be “I can”. 

I started doing the dishes, but it is hard.  I find myself amazed at how quickly my range of motion and ability to move has deteriorated.  I am thankful that I am not in nearly as much pain as I was before, but I am still questioning my ability to get much-needed things done around the house. 

I’m not questioning the circumstances so much today, rather questioning how to get around them.  

I have had my pity party and now it is time to move on. 

I have four kids who depend on me, a husband who works hard and needs me too, I don’t have time to wallow.  I need to be strong and do the best that I can with what I have.  That’s all I can do.  I have to accept that.  Hopefully, today, with God’s help…I can.

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I’m OKAY…

Oh, I have had so many thoughts this past week. I have had a lot of ups and downs. I have spent the majority of my time in severe pain, which led to many questions and finally a diagnosis.

My diagnosis might not be the best, but it’s definitely not the worst. I’m okay with that because I have an answer.

I’m okay with that because I know that my Father and my God is walking with me and He knows my pain. 

This is something new for me, a whole new level of faith that I have not experienced yet. 

While I fell behind on my actual Bible studies, I have still turned to some of my standbys, watching stuff on YouTube or RightNowMedia and listening to podcasts. I have spent a lot of time watching “The Frey Life” on YouTube and Mary Frey has helped me so much!!!!!frey

I have gotten so much inspiration and spiritual help from watching their story.  Wednesday I was a little down because I was in so much pain and I had been watching an episode in which Mary had received more bad news about her lung function levels were not where they should be and that they needed to make some big decisions about what to do and how to handle her treatment. 

They were so adamant that they were okay with this news.  They knew that God had them in His Hands and that He was walking with them and that he was going to guide them and help them to make the best decisions for her health. 

It got me down because I wanted to be there!  I wanted my faith to be THAT strong! I wanted to know that I could be that strong, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually!

Then Thursday came, and I got my diagnosis, and all I could feel was relief and joy. I knew what was wrong with me and I knew that I could get through it not because of me but because of Jesus. 

Yes, I have been in tremendous pain, and yes I am probably going to have to either cut this post really short or finish it later because my arm is starting to go entirely numb…

But it’s okay.  I’m okay because the Lord of all the earth has me in the palm of His Hand and He is walking with me through this journey and he is going to help me get through it. 

I believe this with all of my heart and soul. I feel it deep in my bones. 

I have Jesus and He is all I need.

Life And Pain

So…I have not been able to keep up with my blog over the last couple of weeks.  This is not working for me.  I miss writing.  However, I have been missing with good reason.

Over the past year or so, I would occasionally have the stiff neck, or neck pain, or neck with shoulder pain, but I always thought that it was normal.  I mean, c’mon, I’m getting older (gulp), and I’m overweight, and I am not that active.

However, over the last few weeks, this pain was getting worse and worse.  Over the last 3 or 4 weeks, it has become constant.  I tried to ignore it much of the time, until one day it got so bad that I could not really get out of bed, I couldn’t drive my son to school and I spent most of the day in tears.

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That evening my husband took me to the ER.  I spend a lot of time there, and I am very opinionated about hospitals and the care given to people, but those opinions are not for this post.

So…my husband took me to the ER.  After talking with a P.A. for about 3 minutes, they decided that I probably had a bulging disc in my neck that was causing nerve pain down my arm. They gave me a hydrocodone, and a bunch of scripts with instructions to see my doctor as soon as I could and sent me on my way, all within 10 mins.  I could NOT USE MY ARM…but then again, my opinions are not for this post.

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Fast forward to Thursday, because that’s how long I had to wait to get an appt since I go to a free clinic.  (I do think I get better care there than at the hospital, but they are limited in resources.)

My head was stuck, my arm was barely usable, I had been crying off and on all day.  I started seeing a pre-med student, yes, I said PRE-MED student, who immediately tried to use my left arm to take my blood pressure.  Uh, that did not go over well. (I don’t know who was more nervous, him or me)

He then sent in the actual med student, who eventually sent in the doctor who was their teacher.  This was taking so much longer than what I had hoped, all the while I’m in serious pain and crying off and on.

I give them praise because they were TAKING ME SERIOUSLY.

They rewrote my prescription for muscle relaxers, but because my arm had become almost useless, they told me I really needed to go back to the ER.  The doctor was concerned that since I was getting worse and not better, that I actually had a herniated disc that needed treatment.

Back to the ER, I go.  I get into the clinic there and I start repeating my story.  I look like crap, of course, if you can imagine, I had been crying off and on all day, my LEFT arm is the one that wasn’t working, and I am left handed, my hair was a mess since I didn’t even care to do anything with it, yet, I still got the feeling that most of the people there were just dismissing me, until I finally got to the P.A.  She listened.  She told me she was concerned also, but they don’t seem to understand my dilemma.

You see, they couldn’t understand why I came to the ER.  Since they don’t usually deal with or take care of people who complain of back or neck pain…uh, are you not a hospital?… Sometimes I question the logic of this world…

So I explain my situation again.  I originally came to the ER because my arm didn’t work and I had been in constant pain for two weeks.  They told me to schedule an appt with my doctor, which I did, but since I go to a free clinic because I am uninsured they don’t generally have specialized care. I waited nine days and went to my appt and they were so concerned that they sent me back to the ER.

Once again I was told that the ER doesn’t usually handle this kind of problem, but she was still very concerned. She ordered a CT, and had them give me pain medicine immediately (PTL) and put me in a c-collar. As uncomfortable as a c-collar is, it relieved so much of my pain because typically I felt as if the weight of my head was going to break my neck.

I wait about an hour and they come in to take off the C collar, telling me that I don’t have a bulging or herniated disc. However, I have a condition called spinal stenosis and they were told to take the c collar off so that I wouldn’t get stiffer than I already was. That made me sad because it was helping me feel so much better. 

Anyway, I look at my paperwork and I have severe spinal stenosis on my left C5-C7 vertebrae. The doctor said that it was bad enough that I have almost no space left between the vertebrae and they are crushing my spinal cord. 

Great! That’s just great news! (not really), but seriously, all I could do was breathe a sigh of relief. I knew what was wrong with me, it wasn’t all in my head, I had a diagnosis and it can be treated. 

I may have to live a life in pain a lot of the time, but I’m OKAY with that. Knowing what is wrong is half of the battle.  Learning to accept my limitations and not get down on myself is another issue altogether. 

Today is Sunday, I was diagnosed on Thursday, I started steroids on Friday.  I am happy to say that I am almost pain-free, but my arm is numb in many places and I don’t have complete control of my hand. Plus I’m having all kinds of muscle spasms up and down my arm also.  I have had to start trying to learn to do things with my right hand. 

Typing is something entirely different though, if my hand doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. I will either have to just use my right hand or figure out some other way to blog.  But again, I say I’m okay with that. I will explain in another post.  

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Thank you for reading, I’m still hoping and praying to get this blog up to professional status at some point. That is my goal and my dream. Thank you for following my story!

Health Barriers

I have written in the past that I chose to do keto because of my health and not weight loss. 

I have found myself at a wall in both places.  Not only that, with my last bout of diverticulitis, I found myself smoking again. Apparently, for me, painkillers are a major trigger for wanting/needing to smoke. So not good.

I have stalled on my weight loss. So I have been talking to other people and reading some other blogs and it looks like I am going to have to make some adjustments.

However, this month my husband and I hit some serious financial issues, so buying the correct food has really not been an option. Also, due to these problems I had to go off of one of my diabetes medications. The combination of not being able to stay strictly keto and being off of my meds has led to higher blood sugars than I have had for awhile and I have been dealing with neuropathy in my feet again. 

This has only proven to me that keto is the way to go. I can’t wait to get back on it. 

Also, I am back to quitting smoking, and this time I think that it is going to stick. I am using patches, and I am over 24 hours in and am still feeling good. 

My faith is what is keeping me going. I know that God is going to provide for my needs, I know that this is just a season and I can not wait to go back to keto completely.

It also proves to me once again, that mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health all go hand in hand and have to be in balance. 

I have not been feeling well and it has made me feel depressed, angry, and spiritually unsatisfied. 

Today I feel quite well. I am a little tired, but it’s a better day than it has been for about a week now and I feel in balance. I feel peaceful and happy.

I am currently sitting on my couch in front of two open windows, with several big trees for shade with sunlight streaming through listening to some peaceful meditation and yoga music on Spotify.  The actual playlist is called Christian Meditations and Peaceful Moments. There is music with birds and streams, add that to the birds chirping outside and the cool weather, it makes for a very peaceful serene setting. 

Life is going to get better. I am going to get better. I am choosing to believe this. I am choosing to see beauty and think positively which is so much easier when I physically feel better. 

That is why I will continue on this journey to physical health and well-being. 

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My body is a temple, and from now on, as much as I can I will treat it as such. 

I have so much on my heart and on my mind today. Sometimes I feel like my eyes have been opened and God is teaching me so much that my mind can’t process it all.

Sometimes I feel the pain of friends who are going through as much as I am, if not more and I wonder why so many people are hurting.

Sometimes, like right now, I have the opportunity to sit in front of an open window, with the sunlight shining through the trees and onto the green grass and I am amazed at the beauty of it. 

Sometimes the trials that I am facing seem too much to bear. 

It has been a very hard week. Financially, my family is struggling. Due to that my keto diet is failing, and due to that I have had some health challenges and my sugar is up and I am not feeling as well as I could be. 

But…I’m learning and starting to be able to truly see that my God is bigger than…

My God is moving and changing me, my heart, my perspective. 

I have choices. I can sit here and let my circumstances dictate my feelings which in turn can dictate my actions or I can choose to follow hard after my Jesus and pray about my problems, bring them all to Him and accept the peace, comfort, and joy He gives. 

I’m learning to reach out to others, either to check up on them when I know they are hurting or to swallow my pride and ask for help or advice, or prayer.

God made us for community. God made us so that we would love each other and bear each other’s burdens. God wants us, as women, to serve each other, teach each other, depend on each other and most importantly love each other. 

My church has started a Wednesday night Bible study called Adorned based off of the book “Adorned: Living Out The Beauty Of The Gospel Together” by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Adorned_Social_1200x630

While I have missed two weeks of the study, the parts that I have been there for have been amazing teachings.

Incredibly enough, a lot of what Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has to say in this book goes right along with a lot of what I am learning in my “Kingdom Woman: Embracing Your Purpose, Power and Possibilities” study by Tony Evans and his daughter, Chrystal Evans Hurst. 

Adorned Video Series

The Value of A Kingdom Woman

I am learning that my value has never changed, through all the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am learning that I have always been loved and have always been valuable to God. I am learning that I have something to offer through my experiences. 

I am learning that the most important thing I can do is to love Jesus and love others, that with everything that goes on within my life, my relationships matter the most. They need to take priority in my life. First, with my God and my Jesus, second with my husband and my children and finally with all those I come in contact with. 

I have always felt that it is not my place to judge or condemn in my Christian walk but not judging or condemning someone is not the same as loving them, developing relationships with them, showing them that I care. 

You don’t know how hard this is for me, and yet, I find myself changing. 

I have been so hurt, so broken in the past…that I couldn’t even be around people. I used to go to church and just cry because I thought that everyone could see the ugliness inside of me. I used to have anxiety attacks in crowds, on the bus or in the grocery store because I didn’t want people to see me or see how broken and used up I really was. 

Then when I was finally able to be around people, it took years before I could trust them again, make friends again, or develop relationships that lasted.

But now…now, I don’t just want to be around people, I want to know them. I want to develop relationships with them and be there for them and love them. 

It doesn’t matter how broken I’ve been or how hurt I’ve been or how lost I’ve been. I can still CHOOSE to love. I can still CHOOSE to forgive. I can choose to put the past behind me and move forward and accept change.

How is this possible? It’s only because of Jesus. 

It is not always easy. I have to work hard to keep my focus on Him. I have to work hard on my relationship with Him. I have to be intentional to walk with Him. It’s only through Him that I have been able to change. For that, I am eternally grateful. 

 

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I used to be afraid to share even just the name of Jesus. But my desire is to know Him so much, to follow after Him so hard, that I can no longer NOT share the name of Jesus. 

I wish I were perfect, but I’m not, and I’m not going to be. I’m going to make mistakes and I am going to fail, just as I have all of my life. But, the more I focus on Jesus and my relationship with Him, the easier it becomes to not make as many mistakes, to accept my failures and not let them define me, and to love others.

I still have so much improvement to make even though I know I won’t be perfect until I am in His presence. However, with His help, with my friends’ help and prayers, I can make progress every day.

That’s all I can ask for. 

These are the thoughts on my heart today, this is my own Simple View.

My Favorite Things…

I have had it on my mind the last few days to share a few of my favorite things because they make me happy.

First off, one of my favorite things is my immersion blender. I use it almost every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, depending on what I am making. I use it to make scrambled eggs in the morning for my kids. I use heavy cream and the immersion blender makes it so frothy that the eggs turn out very fluffy. I absolutely love it. It also comes with a little food processor thing that makes it so easy to chop veggies, so I use it a lot for that too. I have an Oster Immersion blender that I think I got at Wal-Mart. It is absolutely one of my very favorite things!!!blender

My next favorite thing is my brand new coffee frother. I didn’t think I would love it as much as I do, but I do, I love love love it!!!! I love frothy hot coffee, and it works awesome in bone broth when mixing in butter and seasoning too!!frother

I got this one off of Amazon for like $12. It was worth the cost!!!!

Next, bullet journals. Now don’t laugh, because I just started bullet journaling, and so I haven’t bought an actual journal, I’m using a spiral notebook for now. What I discovered is that I love it, it helps me stay organized in my head and therefore I am less stressed out. I can write whatever I want in it. I can keep track of things I want to keep track of. I can write down last minute notes. It just works well for me.journal

I LOVE  a vlog called “The Frey Life”. It is about a husband and wife. The wife has cystic fibrosis, and the husband is a pastor, it just tells about their life and their struggles and their faith. I find this vlog to be very inspiring. They are also on Facebook and Instagram.

The Frey Life

TheFreys

When I am down, and my faith is waning, I remember this couple. I watch their faith and it reminds me that I may have struggles, but others do too and that some are much worse than my own. Their faith and their gratitude have been an amazing gift for me to watch.

I love Pinterest. I love Pinterest so much that I don’t even think I  know how many boards and pins I have.

I love game night. Some of us at our church have decided to try to grow as friends, not just spending time doing Bible study, but having fun, which I am beginning to see how important it is, not just the fun, but having a steady group of friends. We are also trying to figure out how we can grow this night to include more and more people, so if anyone out there has any CLEAN group game ideas, let me know. So far, we like Taboo, Mad Gab, Hollywood Game Night, and Apples to Apples. Good food, great friends, lots of laughing and great company! Something to look forward to almost every week!taboo

Lastly, right now my favorite music is Lauren Daigle’s new album!!!! Yay!!!! Love it!!!!Lauren-Daigle-Look-Up-Child

There you have it! These are some of the things that I love and that have made my life much easier!

Life Was Not Meant To Be Easy

My topic today is something that I have been struggling a lot with lately, especially in my Christian walk and faith.

Life was not meant to be easy.

I think that this applies especially to Christians.  John 16:33b (NLT) says “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” 1 Peter 4:16 (NLT) says “But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian.” James 1:2 (ESV) says “Count it all joy when you face trials of various kinds.”

accident action adventure aid
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You know, I have thought about this for years, and to be honest I have many times been angry about it and considered it to be unfair. I mean, if I am trying my best to follow Jesus and to be like Him, why should life be so hard?

I have been doing the First 5 study on Psalms 1-76, and one of the main themes throughout these Psalms is that David suffered. David suffered at the hands of Saul. David suffered at the hands of his own son. David suffered because of his own sin.

Job suffered. Job lost everything that he had. Job suffered because his friends were of little to no help but only criticized.

Paul suffered. Paul was imprisoned over and over again. He was beaten, he was shipwrecked. He suffered from an unknown ailment that caused him distress.

Jesus suffered. Jesus suffered rejection from his own family. Jesus suffered being mocked and tempted in the wilderness.  Jesus suffered the worst death imaginable.

So many of God’s most faithful servants, writers of the Bible, teachers, and followers have gone through trials. It’s all throughout the Bible.

So then why should we, as believers in Christ believe that life should be easy for us?

Here are some questions that I have on my heart today:

If I did not have trials to face in my life, would I feel the need for Jesus to be in it?

If it weren’t for the challenges I have faced in the past would my faith be as strong as it is?

If my life were easy all of the time, would I still turn to Jesus as often as I do now?

Food for thought.

So what do we do when we suffer or go through trials and challenges?

One thing that I have been learning from the blogs, and the Bible studies that I read and the podcasts that I listen to, is that I need to turn to Jesus first and foremost. I need to focus on Him before I turn to anything or anyone else.

I admit that this is so hard for me. I struggle with it daily.

I want to tell people, I want to whine, I want to complain, I want to get angry and some of that is okay. Sometimes our biggest supports are our friends and that’s the way it should be.

We should all be so filled with Jesus and trying to be so much like Jesus that when our friends are hurting and facing challenges in life that we can listen and we can support them and be there for them and pray with and over them. We NEED this in our lives.

But Jesus is the most important thing!

What do I do when I am struggling?Christian-Cross-Sunset

I pray.

I read my Bible.

I find a devotional on the subject.

I turn to my friends for guidance and wisdom.

I turn on worship or praise music.

Mack Brock-Greater Things

We are so lucky in this day and age with the technology that is available to us! There are so many things we can do to help us keep our focus on Jesus and help us to remain strong!

YouTube has tons of videos or preachers such as Tony Evans, and Lisa Harper, and even Beth Moore.

Tony Evans

Lisa Harper

Beth Moore

There are podcasts galore where people talk about their struggles and how to get encouragement. Sometimes I find these to be most helpful because listening to other people talk about the same problems and issues that I am facing and learning how they cope is such an encouragement and help to me.

Proverbs 31 Podcast

For The Love- Jen Hatmaker

The Going Scared Podcast

But I once again turn to Jesus. We need Jesus.  We need to stop going to church and being religious and trying to fix our misery with religion and we need to call upon Jesus! This is what I am learning from so many different places!

I am doing a study called Kingdom Woman with a group of lovely ladies on whom I am learning to depend on to help keep me focused on Jesus and to share my problems with.

I am learning that no matter what I am going through that Jesus knows where I am. He knows what I am dealing with. I am learning that “church without Jesus is our official religion” and that “Jesus is the secret sauce to straightening up whatever circumstance I’m in” (Tony Evans; Kingdom Woman Video).

My friends aren’t going to fix my problems.  Going to church is not going to fix my problems. Only Jesus can fix my problems. I need to live my life FOR Him, and not for anyone or anything else. Through living my life for Him, He can transform me into who He created me to be, He can transform me into the good mother, and the good wife, and the good homemaker. 

Notice, I did not use the word perfect, or great. While great may be attainable, perfection is not. I will not be made perfect until I am with Jesus in eternity. Then I will be made perfect. 

That is why life is so often called a journey. It is a journey that we take to mature, and grow and to learn and become wise. If it weren’t so what would be the purpose? 

I know that I am nowhere near where I want to be, in my faith, as a mother, as a wife etc. I know that I am and will face many more challenges and trials. I know that I may not respond to them in the way that Jesus wants me to every time. But I know that I am on that path and that I want to stay on that path.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The path that leads to perfection in eternal glory with Jesus. 

These are my thoughts this morning. Maybe not as simple of a view as it could be but completely what’s on my heart.