Cinco De Mayo kid plans

I LOVE holidays!  They are a perfect excuse to break out of the norm, do something a little crazy and indulge in great (usually too much) food!  Holidays are also ideal for someone like me that works way better under deadlines and pressure; I day dream about incorporating silly-ness into our lives with practical ways to teach my kids about a God that loves them, but as the days slip by in busy routines of school, work, sports, showers, chores, meals, bedtimes, etc., I let a lot of missed opportunities go by.  But the deadline of a holiday usually makes me get my act in gear.  Because as busy tired moms it is often hard to get ideas implemented into our families I thought I would share some ideas here occasionally on my blog…it makes no sense for others to do the “work” again;O)

This year I realized that I really do not know a whole heck of a lot about why Cinco De Mayo is celebrated…what I found from quick research is this: it is to celebrate Mexican freedom. Mexico won the Battle of Puebla against the French, although it was not a major battle it still offered great symbolism of victory and hope to the Mexican government and people for freedom.

So here’s my plan: eat yummy Mexican food, make 2 crafts with the kids & share some verses on freedom with them.

Craft 1: I found this on Pinterest: making maracas out of an Easter Egg, 2 plastic spoons, duct tape and some kernels of corn. (An easy craft to do since we have yet to get the plastic eggs into storage from Easter!)

Craft 2: I did this with the kids that I used to babysit for: Make pinatas out of paper lunch sacks, let the kids paint and decorate to their hearts delight then fill with goodies and let them whack the heck out of them.

Then while making crafts we can talk about the following verses that show how we live in spiritual freedom and how the enemy wants to enslave & entrap us in many ways…ask kids to brainstorm ways, like jealousy, heart ache, lying, sickness, greed, temptations, etc…But every time we take a stand and live in God’s will, even if it is a “small” victory, it is something to celebrate just as Mexico celebrates their “small victory.”

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

John 8:32-36 (paraphrased for the kiddos)  and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Galatians 5:1 Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. 

With this next verse we can brainstorm DIFFERENT ways to celebrate our freedom in Christ~~unfortunately creating a joyful noise is not an option for our family as some of the members take after me and are completely musically tone-deaf.  I also hope I can tolerate the “joyful” noise coming from their maracas.  Not loosing my patience will probably be my “small victory” that I celebrate in at the end of the day with a margarita.

Psalm 98:4 KJV Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. 

 

You think the grass is always greener….

I keep pretty quiet about how difficult daily living is, how my skin & body hurt, how I pray my body out of bed daily, how I even envy those who work out, crazy~who’d a thought I’d ever be jealous of exercise, but I am!!  I am also jealous of the moms that seem to be super moms with an energizer-bunny-batteries powering them to do it all and then still go out for their nightly run and then meet up with a girl friend for a glass of wine.  Which, if you are a friend and you think I am talking about you, I probably am.  I am in awe of all my girlfriends~I love them and they amaze me!  But I also do realize we all have our own struggles and that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s just different landscaping, (insert cheesy analogy) all our yards have weeds, grass and flowers~they just look different; blooming at different seasons and then giving us burs in our kids’ feet in others. 

This week I had a Dr. appointment and no one could join me to make the quick trek out to Colorado.  Which since the Colorado law changed, I laugh at saying my Dr.s are in Colorado because I feel like it makes me look like a pot-seeker!~nothing against medicinal uses of marijuana, but it’s just not for me.  Anyhow, I was/am having a particularly hard Lyme week where even driving to school only blocks away exhausts me and I spent much of my mom duty time on the couch reading to the kids and snuggling, so driving 15 hours in 2 days seemed insurmountable.  On top of it, I was nervous about this expensive new treatment & this new Dr. I had never met. To sum it up I felt lonely and alone.  I was thinking “no one really knows what it’s like to be trapped inside this body, actually~ no one really even knows that I am trapped in a severely sick body & no one really cares.” I prayed myself thru my “pity-party of lies” and then sat down at my computer and there was an email from someone I had never had an email from with a link to her blog.  She has Lyme & I felt like copying and pasting everything she said in her blog post and then saying “this is me!” Here is her link, whether you suffer from Lyme or some other chronic disease or even chronic difficulty in your life I think what she says is poignant: http://conniestrasheim.blogspot.com/ 

I do know I am never alone and I love that I have an eternal Best Friend, Healer and Comforter with me at all times, but I think He knew I needed to be understood by another person.  In our chronic illness or chronic difficulties, loneliness can be the biggest enemy, but we are not alone~not only did God give Himself to us and fully understands us, He gave us each other and there is someone who understands where you are today, you are not alone-not ever!

I have been hesitant to talk much about how serious my health is because I really don’t want to be a “Debbie Downer.”  And I do think focusing on it gives it power, so I choose to focus on other better things, but it really is a defining part of my life.  So I chose to write today to offer camaraderie and because as I sat in the parking lot yesterday praying before my appointment,  I read this verse (I wish I could recall verses in my heart and mind like others…but Jesus uses the Bible app on my phone to bring me verses when my mind fails…it’s my “go-to” for quick encouragement, just type in the words you are looking for and voila, there is God’s word for what you need, the app also helps save time in finding that obscure book that you forgot where it was!) Anyhow, here is the verse:

 Jeremiah 33:6 & 9

“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it;
I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.
Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor
before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it;
and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide.”

When I read this I realized that when people see me as “normal” they are missing the opportunity to praise God and SEE GOD at work because my normalcy IS MY MIRACLE, but you wouldn’t know my miracle if you didn’t know my condition.  To appear to you as normal and healthy, to be joyful & peaceful in my pain~these are miracles, this is God at work in my life and He should get the honor.  I may not be running a marathon to show my preservation in Christ (but good luck to all those running the Lincoln Marathon this weekend!!!) but when you see me at the grocery store then I hope it brings praise to God because that task is like a marathon on my body many days.  Side note for all the small town Superior folk who wonder why they only see Jim at the grocery store: this is why, he is SOOO GOOD TO ME; he serves me in such little practical ways that are SO BIG to me!  (And thank God for Amazon Prime; I can sit and rest and shop at the same time!! hallelujah for energy free shopping!!!)  People are missing the literal glory of God on me if they don’t know my brokenness, if I seem fine to you, it is only by the grace of God.  It is the Spirit of God that gives me hope, joy, light and NORMALCY and I praise Him that people don’t see my disease because that is ONLY GOD AT WORK in me.  My new Dr. yesterday commented to me “When you walked in I thought you looked so young, healthy and happy, but the numbers don’t lie, you are really sick.”  Just proof of what a little good make up and faith can’t cover up!  Another side note: I am also thankful that the Dr. “sees” how sick I feel, this makes me feel less alone.  Maybe we all need to share our chronic difficulties and diseases with each other more often so we don’t feel alone and so we don’t miss the profound healing and miracles in each others’ lives, so that we can comfort each and so that we may not only see the grass greener on the other side but come over and help pull some weeds and plant some flowers and help pull burs out of each others kids’ feet…we are never alone!  Actually the ordinary-nce of most of our lives is probably no small miracle for any one of us; with all that comes at us and threatens us and our families on a daily basis I think angels work overtime in so many ways that we cannot even begin to fathom.  May we all see the miracle of our status quo and praise God for that.

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay
to show that this all surpassing power is from God
and not from us.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
 so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake,
so that HIS LIFE may also be REVEALED IN OUR MORTAL BODY.
So then, death is at work in us, BUT LIFE IS AT WORK IN YOU.

Photo from car window

Here is a photo from my car window last night as I drove home from Colorado…I kept my eyes on the road, I promise…I just held up my cell phone to capture how pretty Nebraska is.  The grass may not be greener in this photo but it is still just as beautiful!  I hope we all can remember to embrace the beauty of our own yards and fields…no matter how different the landscape!

Here is my health update, it’s boring so please no need to read, but some have asked so here it is:

I have had Lyme for 21 years, I started feeling sick after being on the East Coast when I was 16 and have been searching for answers to why I felt awful since then.  About 5 years ago I tested positive for Lyme (a test I had to argue for to get, one of the many things I have learned is you have to be your own advocate.) But that Dr was working on my hormones, convinced if we got those from being “out of whack” to stable I would feel better. I didn’t, so I went back to the Lyme test and started looking for Lyme literate Dr.s…Some crazy things about Lyme is that it is not covered under health insurance, many Dr.s don’t treat it, Lyme hides in the body when it feels under attack so it’s hard to kill, and the longer it is in your body (for me 21 years now) the more damage it does.  The most severe cases are death and nervous system damage that leads to limited mobility and paralysis, I am so thankful I have not experienced these!  So my treatment has been trying to kill the disease and repair the extensive damage done. Lyme is a cousin of syphilis (though not spread in the same way) but it is a spirochete that burrows into different tissues, cells and organs of the body (which completely grosses me out when I stop and think about this!)  When it feels threatened by anything it moves again and thus easily HIDES from treatment and makes it difficult for Dr.s to “take aim” and kill it.  Lyme also is similar to HIV (some of the immunity tests are the same for HIV patients as Lyme, my other Dr said my test was lowest he had ever seen in any of his aids or Lyme patients–again not comforting at all to hear this and yet it is because sometimes I feel guilty for not being able to work like I used to or keep up with other Moms…but this is why)  Lyme makes us sick, like HIV makes a person sick, but it is the co-infections and inability to fight off any virus or bacteria that makes a sick too.

I have been fighting Lyme and a co-infection of staph for 2 years now.  2 years ago I felt like just going to heaven; Dr. said when I arrived to him I was dying from the disease…now although I am exhausted from fighting the disease.  I am living & no longer dying!  So that is good!  But now I have plateaued at feeling cruddy & I fight to do normal things everyday. So, I am trying another Dr. with another crazy treatment. The one good thing about having 21 years to fight a disease is that time is in my favor and I can learn from my past and from others.  You can probably fight and beat a disease with normal medicine and treatments. For me after thousands of dollars in normal medicine, numerous visits to “normal” Dr.s around the country I truly believe that your odds are better at beating any disease if you feed your body raw healthy food…limiting all sugars and processed food (again not for the faint of heart or normal family life…but if you are fighting for your life-it’s worth a try!) and then supporting the body with supplements/vitamins/herbs that YOUR body needs~not even 2 Lyme patients should be on the exact same protocol because of how the disease affects us all is SO DIFFERENT!

At this last Dr. visit I tested positive for pneumonia in the lungs, staph in my sinuses, bronchitis and Lyme–which more specifically the Lyme is in my GI tract–so my Dr. can take aim and fire.  From all the meds over the years my Liver function is really low, there are a couple glands and my thyroid that are functioning really low too, one he had never seen so low so he wonders if the Lyme resided there for awhile and destroyed it.  I asked him about my heart and if it was functioning well, he replied “You are more likely to get hit by a asteroid than have heart problems!” What a relief, I was worried that all my worry (a symptom of Lyme is anxiety) would give me a heart attack…lol!  2 years ago my cells couldn’t retain water & this Dr. said the same…my cells are dehydrated…so weird because I drink water like crazy.  My Lymph function is really low as well as the “energy” of my body…so these are all things he is going to focus on with a treatment that is a combination of this new unorthodox & expensive treatment (if you want to know more about this treatment just contact me) “normal meds“, herbal/vitamin supplements, diet, detox, faith and more life style changes~ he tried to convince me to work even less and rest even more, (ugh and sigh).  So that’s that.

If you do suffer from a sickness that you don’t know what it is or haven’t been successful in treating…Don’t give up…I am lucky that I have time on my side and have learned to incorporate “all walks of medicine” into my healing journey (not all are this lucky to have this much time to fight and learn about their disease)…and not until I did so did I have any progressive results. I can honestly say I longed for heaven two years ago and now I can’t even fathom feeling that bad.  Healing hasn’t come easy…lots of different Dr.s, lots of research, lots of money (one of the reasons we sold our home in Lincoln and moved where cost of living was cheaper was to afford healthy food, my treatments and to slow down~healing has come at “big costs” for our family~ but as my husband says “you are worth it!” (and whomever you are reading this right now~so are you!)