Thursday, January 26, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 26

I left my appointment with Dr. Gaw today with mixed feelings.  I was relived, confused and uneasy with maybe a tinge of fear.  It wasn't nearly has upsetting as I had feared the appointment would be.  However, there was something that he said that has me disturbed.

I don't have to have the retuxin treatment yet.  We talked about it and agreed that if or when I come to the point of not being able to walk again, we would look at starting it then.  That was huge relief!  I told Mary on the way into his office I could throw up I was so nervous.  I am never nervous when I go.  Sometimes I dread what he might say or recommend, but never nervous.  That's how much I do not want to have to do that treatment.  I am grateful we do have something left to try just in case, but I am even more grateful we don't have to cross that bridge right now.

We talked about the med changes Dr. Peltier did the first of December, and how they just made the pain worse.  He agreed with Darryl that having me go back to what I was taking prior to the change was best.  He is not changing any of the meds I am currently taking, but he is adding one.  He is trying another med for the neuropathic pain.  It will take at least 2 weeks before I notice a difference.  Hopefully, it will be a difference for the better.

I had just let out a sigh of relief.  I wasn't going to have to start the retuxin, and we were in complete agreement about when that would even need to be considered.  He had a plan on what to try next regarding my pain and that did not include reducing the Lyrica.  And then I told him about the issues with my eye lately.  I expected to get the same response Dr. Peltier and even Dr. Huddleston, my eye doctor, gave me.  I thought he would just say it's just part of the disease.  Instead he has decided to do additional testing with my next blood draw, which happens to be tomorrow.  He checking for myasthenia gravis.  I had never heard of this, so I asked him to explain it to me.  Basically all I got was, you won't have to worry about it if you don't have it and don't go home and look it up.  He knows how paranoid I get, and he knew I'd come home and look it up.  He said it would take 2 weeks for the results to come back, and he was having the test run at the Mayo Clinic.

The Mayo Clinic.  My immediate thought was, if he's having it tested there, it must be serious.  I think I even said it out loud.    

So, what I heard him tell me was he is checking for a disease I had never heard of, he was having the test run at the Mayo Clinic and I was not supposed to look it up when I got home.


Guess what I did within 5 minutes of getting home?  Yes, I looked it up.  I don't know if he thinks there is a possibility I have this disease instead of the CIDP or in addition to it.  I have many of the symptoms of this, but many of the symptoms are the same as those of CIDP.  It's going to be a long two weeks.  I'm just going to keep telling myself he's just being cautious.

I don't even know which diagnosis is worse.  Neither of them are appealing.

Then Sara came through the door holding this surprise for me ...

I have never been more grateful for a Sonic coke!  It's always a bright spot in any day.

I wonder if I can get her to walk through the door with a purse tomorrow.  I already have the one I want picked out.

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 25

I am terrible at forgiveness.  I like to try and convince myself I am quick to forgive but I'm not.  I hold grudges.  I like to make the point to the person who wronged me of just how much they betrayed me and hurt me.  I sometimes hide behind the excuse ... it's not that I am unwillingly to forgive, but I have to protect myself from being hurt again.

Yet, I expect others to quickly forgive me when I've wronged them.  I apologize.  I ask them to forgive me, and then I don't understand why they still hold it against me.  I like to shake my finger at them and remind them how Jesus commands us to forgive.

I am a hypocrite.

We were discussing part of a chapter in our bible study yesterday dealing with forgiveness.  The subject of severed relationships came up.  A friend brought up how instead of there being forgiveness, some relationships become severed.  She was explaining situations she had witnessed that if you didn't live up to the expectations of someone they cut you off ... the relationship is over.

These words were out of my mouth before I even realized what I was saying ...

I never live up to the expectations of God.  Never.  I constantly sin against Him.  I betray Him.  I don't keep His commandments.  I am an utter and complete failure.  However, He never severs our relationship.  He's longsuffering.  His love is steadfast.  He is quick to forgive.  He doesn't hide behind the excuse that He has to protect His heart from being hurt again.  Frankly, He knows I'll betray Him again.  He knows I'm not going to keep His commandments.  Yet, He is still quick to forgive, and He never holds it against me.

He forgives me, and I immediately start on a clean slate.

He is not a hypocrite.

This part of the chapter spoke loud and clear to my heart when I read it the first time, and when I re-read it yesterday it was as if God had it highlighted in pink.  So I picked up my pink highlighter and started swiping away.
"When God forgives, it doesn't mean he looks at our sin and says, "It doesn't matter.  It's no big deal."  When he said he would forgive our wickedness, he knew what it would cost.  He knew that the price for forgiveness would be paid through the death of the perfect sacrifice - his only Son.
... Not only does he forgive us, he offers us the complete freedom of knowing that he will never "remember [our] sin no more."  This doesn't mean that our all-knowing God actually forgets what we've done.  It means he no longer holds it against us.  He recalls what we've done, but he will never throw it back in our faces.  He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve.  He treats us as if we had never sinned against him.
This is something for us to remember when other people hurt us and we think to ourselves, Well, maybe I will be able to forgive them, but I can never forget!  We will probably always recall what they did or said that hurt us deeply.  But as we become more like Christ, he gives us the grace to do what he does; he gives us the inner strength to refuse to hold those hurts against the people who have hurt us.  We can actually treat them as though they'd never done it.  That's how he treats us!  This is the grace he provides to us so we can treat others the same way." hoping for something better by Nancy Guthrie
"He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve."

Thank you, Jesus!

"But as we become more like Christ, he gives us the grace to do what he does ..."

I am forever grateful my slate has been wiped clean.  I am grateful He is giving me the grace to be more like Him ... to forgive more easily.  I realize it's a process.  Being sanctified is not so easy, but oh so worth it. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 24

I am grateful I have not fallen since Friday.

I think that statement speaks for itself.  Every day without a fall is one more day I have survived without breaking a hip or a leg ... or hitting my head.  Falling is really scary ... and embarrassing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 23

Day 23 ... I am grateful I not only can have hope, but my hope is found in Jesus.

Sara posted this picture on her Facebook page yesterday with the caption,

 "Who can not believe in God with a beautiful creation like this?" 

It reminds me of the devotion Connie shared with Mary and I about how the sunrise reminds of how God's love is constant ... with every sunrise He is saying to us, "I love you".  Ever since she shared the devotion with us, I look at every sunset differently.  It reminds me He will be with me through the darkness.  Last night He used my daughter to remind of this very truth.  Not only did He remind me He would be with me through the darkness, He used my 16 year old daughter to tell me.

Grateful seems like such a inept word to describe how my heart feels.

Monday, January 23, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 22

On day 22 what am I grateful for ...

After church yesterday Connie and I surprised Mary with a birthday lunch.  Her birthday is actually at the end of December, but with sickness and the busyness of life, this was the first chance we had.  It was so fun trying to surprise her, and we were able pull it off without her having a clue.  We had such a sweet time just being together, laughing and sharing our hearts.

And Connie made this fabulous cake ...

She made a hummingbird cake.  It was so good!  I regret not bringing some of it home with me.

I am so grateful for our friendship.  I love Connie and Mary so much.  There are so dear to my heart, and I treasure our friendship more than words can express ... even if they are bossy big sisters. : )  I did write in Mary's card, "I love you more than Sonic cokes".  Maybe words can express how much I love them.

The three of us don't get to have much time together.  I hate it that Connie lives in another city now.  So when we do have the gift of being together, we soak in every single moment.

Since we were celebrating Mary's birthday ...

There are so many things I love about her, but if I had to name only one, it would be that she always points me to Jesus.  Always.  If I'm heartbroken ... she points me to the cross.  If I'm terrified ... she points me to Jesus.  If I'm joyous ... we are going to praise the Lord.  No matter the circumstance, to the cross we go.  She doesn't just point me to Jesus, she goes with me.

She is such a gift from the Lord Jesus to me.  I really do love her more than Sonic cokes.  I am so grateful to have her as my friend ... and as my sister.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 21

I am so exhausted I can barely hold up my head ... literally.  I can't even think straight.  It would be so helpful if I could just sleep.  I can't seem to do more than just doze off and wake back up though.

Today I am grateful the grocery shopping is done.  I made the mistake of trying to go with Nathan today.  I should have just let him do it, but my stubborness kicked in and I insisted I could do it.  I should have stayed home.  I just about ended up in the floor a couple of times.  Another thing to be grateful for ... I didn't fall. 

Nonetheless, I am grateful it is done.  Once again we have full cabinets and a full fridge ... well, we will have when everything is put away.  I am just way too tired to deal with it right now.  I am not going to complain about having food sitting everywhere and the Tide not put in it's place.  I overheard a conversation between two ladies today that just broke my heart.  They were trying to figure out which essential to buy.  Not what brand, which item.  That very easily could have been us.  But for the grace of God, it would have been.  It made me want to cry.

Yes, I am so, so tired.  We have a mess in the kitchen and dining room, but we have plenty of food ... more than enough.  I am grateful for that.  I can deal with being exhausted and in pain knowing my family doesn't have to be concerned about going hungry.

Since we've been home I've wondered what Hannah would have done if she had been with us and overheard the conversation between those ladies.  My guess is she would have told me she would give me all of her money to buy them food.  My selfish heart never thought of it.  I wish I had thought to have gone to the register and bought them a gift card and took it them.  I wish I were more like Hannah.  She doesn't just think about doing things to help others, she does them. 

I am praying the next time I will be more like Hannah and spring into action.  I also hope I am humble enough to not tell anyone ... just like Hannah.  She's so good at rallying people together to do things for others, but there are so many times she does things and no one is made aware of them.  Sometimes we don't even know until after she's done them.  I love her heart.  I know she loves Jesus because she tells me, and her actions validate her words.

That's something else to be very grateful for.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 20

I don't use the word "friend" loosely.  Not everyone I know do I actually consider my friend.  I in no way mean that as an insult to anyone I know.  I just don't automatically trust everyone.  Some people will trust others until they prove themselves to be untrustworthy.  However, I don't trust anyone until they have proven themselves to be trustworthy.  I have a lot of walls built around my heart.  Not as many as I have in the past, but I still have a lot of them.  The past four years have shown me there are so many who truly are my friend, but I don't think I would have realized it had I not been forced by circumstances in my life to let some of those brick walls down.  I have had many opportunities to get to know those around me when I've needed someone to stay with me at home, stay with me in the hospital or depended on them for help in so many other ways.  Not only have I had the eye opening experience to having more friends than I knew I had, but I've been blessed to begin other friendships.

In order for a relationship with someone to be a true friendship, it can't be just one sided.  I can't just allow people to give and do for me, call them my friend and not be there for them when they need me.  I also have to prove myself trustworthy.  I can't expect what I'm not willing to do.

I deeply value trust.  There is no greater compliment someone can give you than to trust you.  It's a gift ... a fragile gift.  It should be handle with the utmost care.  I was reminded of this very thing today when I opened up an email from a friend.  She has asked me to pray about something and has asked me to not say anything to anyone.  I am going to admit I want to share this information with my closest friends and have them pray for her also, but I can't.  I have to keep her confidence.  How can I expect her to keep mine if I don't keep hers?  If I were to tell what she has asked me not to share, it would show my other friends I can't be trusted.  What she has asked me to pray about is huge, and I truly think she could use the support of her other friends right now.  She needs others to be praying.  It's not my call though.  I must keep her trust.

I am grateful she considers me to be her friend and she trusts me.  I am grateful the Lord reminded me how important it is to remain trustworthy, even when I think I know best.  I am grateful He has reminded me how fragile trust is, and  I am grateful He gives me the desire and the ability to be trustworthy.  I wouldn't be or even have the desire without His help.  It's not something I can do on my own.

This issue of trust has been heavy on my heart today for multiple reasons.  It's no coincidence the Lord had her send that email to me today and not another day.  I am so grateful I have people in my life I can truly trust.  I am even more grateful that above everyone else, I can trust the Lord.  As trustworthy as all of us desire and try to be, He is the only one Who is perfectly trustworthy ... that's why I can't be without His help.

Friday, January 20, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 19

"It's over my head, but it's under His feet."

This was a Facebook status one of Sara's friends posted.  Kristina is wise beyond her years and has a precious heart for the Lord.  I couldn't have said it better myself.  It's exactly how I feel right now.

Yesterday was not a pleasant day.  Physically it was one of the hardest days I've had in awhile, even with considering all of the viruses and infections I've had lately.  I woke up in a lot of pain, but I thought it was just because I had slept in the same position ... although I had only slept about an hour.  When I went to the bathroom and was washing my hands, they hurt so much I could hardly stand to touch them.  They felt like they were bruised on the inside and fire was shooting through them.  My whole body felt like that actually.  I could hardly stand to touch anything.  I felt horrible ... really tired and weak ... and I had a weird headache.  Then I ended up falling twice.  My left leg just gave out and on the floor I went.  I became really frightened when I thought about how I was feeling and had fallen twice, so I sent Darryl a text explaining what was going on with me.  I included in that text ... I DO NOT WANT TO GO TO THE ER.  I have not had good experiences in the ER ... terrible is a better description.  Just the thought of having to go there makes me panic.

I also asked him if I was just being paranoid.  This was one time I really hoped that's all it was.  He said that it wouldn't happen like it did at first because I was on treatment for it.  "It" being the CIDP attacking my system.  He wanted me to call Dr. Gaw's office to get in to see him next week and to take precautions getting up and around.

He also added I was not paranoid.  When I told him I was frightened, he said he would be too.  That was not reassuring at all.  So I promptly  called Dr. Gaw's office and left a detailed message.  They finally called back this morning with an appointment time for Thursday.

I am praying this is not the beginning of another attack, but I also recognize the signs.  I'm also praying Dr. Gaw has a different plan than to start the retuxin.  Maybe they are just being overly cautious.  I am hoping that by Thursday I'm feeling much better, and I will have had no more falls.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate CIDP?

In addition to all of the physical stuff going on, I received a phone call from someone that started a snowball effect of me discovering how much more out of control someone I love has gotten.  How far downward can someone spiral before hitting rock bottom?  I keep thinking they've hit it, but they go father and father downhill.  It is tearing me up inside.  This whole situation is affecting so many people, and there is nothing I can do.  I can't fix any of it.  I have to leave it with Jesus.

I kept quoting these verses over and over to myself yesterday ...

"I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all of my fears." ~ Psalm 34:4
"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit, Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all."  Psalm 34:18-19
And then out of the blue I got an email from our pastor letting me know he was praying for us.  You cannot convince me the Holy Spirit isn't real.  He laid it upon Caleb's heart on that particular day, a day I felt so overwhelmed, to be praying for us ... and this is not the first time this has happened.  Caleb asked if there was anything specific he could be praying.  I sent him an email full of things he could be praying, and he assured me he would be.

I am so grateful the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.  There are so many times I don't even know how to pray.  I just become frozen because I am so consumed with worry and fear. 

I am grateful He prompts my friends to contact me at just the very moment I need them.

I am very grateful that "It's over my head, but it's under His feet".

He is sovereign.  He has all of this chaos under control.  I just have to trust Him.

I am still praying the Lord returns today.  Seriously.  I cannot wait to be able to crawl up in the lap of Jesus and know everything is better than okay.  It's perfect.

I cannot wait for Him to dry my last tear.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 18

I had typed up a long post and was just about ready to hit "publish" and I changed my mind.  I'm not really sure why.  It just didn't seem to say what I really want to say.  It was just a bunch of words all jumbled together.

January 18, 1988 my Nannie went to be with Jesus.  Twenty-four years ago today He called her home.  Whoever started the cliche' "time heals all wounds" must have never lost someone they loved deeply.  It hurts just as much today as it did the night she died.  The older I've gotten, the easier it's been to cope with ... most days anyway.  I still have times when I sob because I miss her so much.  I miss her hugging me when I left her house ... her slobbery kisses on my cheek ... the way she would stand on the porch and wave bye as we were pulling out of her driveway.  I miss sitting in her bed after eating breakfast drinking my hot chocolate as she drank her coffee and talking.  I miss just being with her.  I know she wasn't perfect.  Who is?  Not me.  Not you.  But I loved her ... unconditionally.

I still love her.  I miss her.  Sometimes I think I would do anything to just have one more day with her ... to have her call me and ask me a hundred times if I have the doors and windows locked and to remind me to not answer the door for anyone.  I would give anything if she could have been at my wedding ... if she could have held my babies ... if they could have grown up getting those same hugs and slobbery kisses on their cheeks.

I would do anything ... I would give anything ...

Or would I?

As much as I miss her ... as much as I would love to have all of those wishes come true ... my heart is so grateful to know she is with Jesus.

How could I possibly wish for her to leave Him and come back here?

I believe that some day I will hug her again.  I will get more of those hugs and slobbery kisses.  I will be able to watch her hug my girls and kiss their cheeks.

I will be able to spend eternity with her forever singing "Victory in Jesus".

I have nothing to give.  I can't do anything to make it happen.

He gave His life and He hung on a cross, so that we wouldn't have to give anything or do anything.

And because He gave His life for us, I will have so much more than I could possibly wish.

I am grateful for the 15 years I had with her, but I am beyond grateful that I will spend eternity with her.

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 17

I am finally over all of the upper respiratory stuff I've had lately, and the nagging cough is finally gone.  I am tired and I still haven't bounced back from being so sick, but for the first time in over 2 months I don't have a virus or an infection.  I am so grateful to not be sick and to be totally off of all antibiotics.  Now if I can just figure out how to sleep at night maybe I will feel even better.  I don't ever sleep well, but lately it's been worse than what's normal for me.  I sleep about 30 minutes to an hour at a time.  Maybe some day I will sleep better.

Tonight was bunco night.  I really needed a night with my girlfriends, so I was grateful I was feeling well enough to go.  I always have so much fun.  It's so nice to spend an evening with friends laughing and talking.  Not to mention the Sonic coke Nathan always stops to pick up for me on the way to drop me off.  Oh how I needed that coke today!!

A day I feel pretty good, a Sonic coke and bunco night are just a few things the Lord has given me to be grateful for today.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 16

Well, IT'S A BOY!!

No, I am not having a baby, but my best friend, Robyn, is.  She's expecting baby #3 in June and found out yesterday afternoon she's having another boy.  I am so, so excited for Robyn and Randy.

I wrote here about how Robyn struggled for 11 years to have a baby and was told it was not possible.  She now has a 4 year old and a soon to be 3 year old little boys.  Daniel and Joseph are the most precious little boys.

They are miracles.

There is so much about Robyn's story to be grateful.  When I think about how the past 15 years have been for her tears start to flow.  She was told there was no hope in ever having a baby, and today she says prayers every night with two little boys as she carries their little brother in her tummy.

I cannot even find the words to explain my gratefulness to the Lord for giving me a front row seat to the miracles He has given her.  It has been such an honor and joy to watch everything that has unfolded of the past 5 years.  My heart just leaps with joy.

I can hardly wait until June when I get to hold miracle #3 ... who I happen to think will be named Samuel.  No, Robyn and Randy have not named him that ... not yet anyway.  But Daniel and Joseph are calling him that for some reason.

I think it should stick! : )

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 15

Being a school teacher Nathan gets paid once a month, so we do our major grocery shopping once a month.  After the groceries have been bought and put away, I feel comforted and secure when I look at the full cabinets and refrigerator.  I'm assured we are not going to go hungry.  However, when we start entering that last week before payday the cabinets and the refrigerator begin to become empty, and the balance in the checkbook lowers.  I then start to panic.  What if we run out of food and we have no money to buy any?  Are my kids going to go hungry?  There isn't any validity to my panic.  I know we are not going to go hungry.  Even if we were to run out of food we have family and friends we could go to.  I'm not really sure where that fear comes from, unless it's because I know there were times my mom wondered how she was going to feed us.  Somehow she always found a way though, and we never went hungry.

I don't know what true hunger feels like.  Sure I get hungry right before it's time for my next meal.  My stomach begins to growl and my mood ... well, let's just say when my blood sugar begins to drop I'm not pleasant to be around.  But to be hungry and not know where or when my next meal will come ... to have my stomach ache because I am so hungry ... to be so weak from hunger I can hardly move ... well, I have no idea what that is like.  The short term growls of my stomach don't even compare to the pain of true hunger.

Our pastor's sermon on Sunday was titled, "The Satisfaction of Starvation".  He has been preaching on The Beatitudes the past few weeks, and it's been a time of spiritual growth for me.  I've learned so much.  As I think about all of the things he has said and go back and read over my notes, I find myself searching my heart deeper.  I see up close just how wicked and empty my heart is  ... I realize I am starving spiritually ... and it drives me to the cross.  He's only about halfway through The Beatitudes.  By the time he's finished I may be parked at the cross.

But isn't that where I should be anyway?  I have never had to experience physical starvation, but I have been at the point of spiritual starvation many times.  My spiritual hunger has been so great I should never want to leave the foot of the cross.  Yet, I do.  I think I can feed my hunger with other things.  Other things that become idols in my life.  An idol can be anything ... anything that you want more than Jesus.  We all have them, but we have to get rid ourselves of them.  I don't know about you, but I often have to do this on a daily basis.  The more I search my heart ... the closer I take a look at what it truly looks like ... the more I realize just how many idols I have.

As I was reading through some of my notes, one line jumped out at me.

"I will never be satisfied if I don't find Jesus."

I can guarantee you those were not my words.  It was a quote from Caleb.  My sanctification hasn't progressed as much as his.

Physical hunger is different than spiritual hunger.  I can eat a big meal and satisfy my physical hunger.  I try to satisfy my spiritual hunger with food sometimes, but it never works.  My spiritual hunger can only be filled with Jesus.

Only Jesus.

Caleb said on Sunday, the more Jesus satisfies our hunger the greater our hunger is.

I've chewed on the statement the past few days.  The more He satisfies my hunger, the greater my hunger for him becomes.  Why?

Because the more I know Him, the more I want of Him.  I want more of His love.  I want more of His peace.  I want more of grace and mercy.  I want more of Him because with Him, I lack nothing.  He fulfills my every desire, my every need.

It seems crazy to just get up and walk away from all of that trying to find something else to fill my hunger.  I tend to forget just how wicked and dark my heart truly is and just how wrong it can lead me.  The only answer I can seem to come up with that would explain why I do that is I'm fallible.  Yet, when I see how wicked my heart is, I want to turn and run.  I'm learning to run to Him.  I never have to panic His love that fulfills my spiritual hunger will run out.  There is an endless supply.

He will supply everything I will ever need, and my need for Him will never end.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." ~ Matthew 5:6 

I am so grateful Jesus drew me to Him.  I am grateful He made it easy for me to find Him when I go the wrong way.  I am grateful He gave me the desire to truly want to know Him ... to thirst for Him ... to hunger for Him.  And I'm grateful He will always and forever supply all my needs.

Monday, January 16, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 14

It's the little things in life that I have to be grateful for that I so often take for granted.  Maybe I shouldn't refer to them as "little things", rather they are the things that seem to just blend in with my day to day activities.  I don't notice them as much.  They are things that don't come to my mind when at the end of the day I look back at the blessings I've been given.

When I think back to Saturday the things that jump out at me that I'm grateful for are having a laid back day where I could just rest, being able to spend most of the day with everyone being at home and being able to spend the evening with friends celebrating the marriage of a friend's son and his wife.  Those things are the obvious things I would choose.  But when I look beyond all of that for something that isn't so quick to remember, I discovered one of the most treasured blessings I have.  A blessing that the Lord was so gracious to remind me I had.

Sara drove me to my friend's house that afternoon.  On the way there a favorite song came on the radio and without even realizing it, we both started singing along.  She knew every word.

"The Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns.

This song has a special meaning to me that one day maybe I will share.  I will tell you I have part of the lyrics with pictures of some of my closest friends framed and hanging on a wall in my livingroom.  It was a gift from one of those friends to remind me that the Lord is the Voice of Truth.  I can see it from where I sit. I have to walk by it wherever I go in the house.  It's a constant reminder to me that He, and only He, is the Voice I need to listen to.  He is the Voice I need to choose to believe and not the voice of the evil one.

Those framed lyrics and pictures are a blessing I see every day, but rarely do I name them when I am thanking the Lord for those I have been given.  I take it for granted.  It blends in with every day life for me.

So does something as simple as riding down the road singing along with my daughter.  Not just any song, but a song about the love of our Heavenly Father.  A song that reminds us that all things are for His glory for those who belong to Him.

And she belongs to Him.  She confesses this with her mouth, and her actions show she loves Him.  So does Hannah.  I wish I was a bold as Hannah is in her faith.  Their love for Jesus is very evident in their life.  They aren't perfect.  They mess up, just like me and just like you.  However, their heart's desire is to live for the Lord.

"I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth." ~ 3 John 1:4

What a blessing ... and one I so often take for granted.  It should be at the top of my list of those things I thank Him for every day.  Instead, it just blends in with my every day life.  I am so ashamed to admit that.  Nothing about knowing your child belongs to Jesus should just be an ordinary part of life.

I have friends who are heartbroken because they have children who don't have that assurance.  One confesses that they don't even know if they ever were converted and the other is struggling with the truth of who God really is.  So we pray ... a lot ... and we wait upon the Lord.  It's heartbreaking.  My heart aches as I watch my friends struggling and hurting.

And yet, I am taking for granted that my girls confess to love Jesus.

I am grateful that Sara and Hannah belong to the Lord.  There is peace that is indescribable in knowing that truth.  I am going to be more intentional about praising the Lord for that.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 13

When Hannah was born, Sara was so excited to be a big sister.  From day one she was protective.  When other kids would come to visit she would tell them not to touch her head and not breathe in her face.  She wanted to hold her all of the time and wanted to help me take care of her.  She was so cute with her.  Then one day, she had had enough.  Hannah had the colic until she was 4 months old and she literally cried almost non-stop.  She would only sleep less than an hour at time most days, and we were all exhausted.  One afternoon I had just changed her diaper and left her laying in the floor while I ran to her room to get a clean outfit.  When I walked back into the livingroom Sara had her around the neck headed to the dryer!  Her reasoning, she wanted her to hush up because her crying was hurting her ears.  She heard someone say to me that I should put her on the dryer to see if that would help and thought they said in the dryer.  I think that may have been when she started thinking that having a baby sister wasn't all she thought it to be.

Sara and Hannah have the typical sister relationship.  They argue and tell on each other.  There has been screaming and hitting each other.  Nathan and I have been accused of loving the other one more and think the other can do no wrong.  They've each thought at one time or another the other one thinks she's a princess.

However, there have been those times when we get a glimpse of how much love they have for each other.  The older they get, the more I see it.  I miss the days when they would play with baby dolls together.  There would be baby dolls and all their accessories all over the house.  You couldn't walk in the hallway or even sit on the couch because they had stuff laid out everywhere.  Nathan and I loved hearing them play together.  Probably my favorite phrase of theirs was, "pretend like _____ (fill in the blank).  So, so cute!!

Over the past year or so, I've noticed they have started to enjoy being together again.  I have prayed they would one day become close friends.  I want them to grow up and love just being together.  There have been times I have wondered if that would ever happen, but I'm beginning to get hopeful that it is actually a possibility.  There are still times they fight like cats and dogs and act like they can't stand the sight of each other, but more and more I hear them giggling together.  They go out and eat together or just to run an errand for me.  They seem to want to be together more.  Well, except for the night they left all happy and best buds, and moments after leaving Sara pulls back in the driveway to drop Hannah off because she wouldn't stop messing with the radio.  I guess they were just keeping it real.

Today was one of those days where we saw a glimpse of how they really do love each other.  Sara was willing to let Hannah go to the movies with she and a friend.  She didn't even put up an argument.  Just before they left I heard Hannah tell her she would buy her snacks because Sara stays broke.  They were just really sweet to each other today.

I am so grateful for those times, even if it does only last for moments sometimes.  It wasn't all buttercups and butterflies between them today though.  They brought me back to reality that their perfect harmony was only temporary when Sara criticized Hannah's outfit and Hannah had a quick comeback for her.

But I'm still grateful for those sweet moments between them.

Friday, January 13, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 12

I am a day behind in my post.  Hopefully, I'll be able to write up today's tonight, and I'll be all caught up.

Yesterday was our Pastor's birthday.  What better time is there to let someone know how grateful you are for them than on their birthday?  I know we should tell them often, but a birthday just seems to be a moment you really shouldn't pass up.

I am grateful for Caleb.  He has been a huge blessing to me and to my family ... and to our church.  The more I know him, the more respect and love I have for him.

Caleb is one of the most transparent people I know.  He is so honest about his own sins and brave enough to share them.  When he preaches his sermons, he's preaching to himself as much as he is to all of us.  I tend to sit up straighter in my seat and take notes just as fast as I can when he's preaching because I know he's preaching from his heart.  He's not just mouthing the words.

He is such an encourager to me.  He shows up when I'm in the hospital, and he sits down and stays for awhile.  He stays for awhile, he doesn't just cruise in and out, and he never leaves without praying with me.  He calls just to check on me, and there have been numerous times he's sent me a text full of scripture to encourage me.  Then there have been many times he's come by the house to visit with us, pray with us and just let us know he's willing to help us any way he can.

I am full of questions.  I seem to have an endless supply of them, and I'm not real shy when it comes to asking them.  Bless his heart, I know there must be times he thinks, "here we go again".  He always answers my questions.  If he doesn't know the answer, he's honest about it and will find out the answer.  He doesn't claim to "know it all".  That's one more reason why I respect him.

There are so many more reason why I am grateful for Caleb, but it all boils down to one thing ... His love for Christ and his desire for others to know him to.  That's the foundation of who he is.

I am grateful that Caleb was sent to our church, and I have the privilege of sitting under his teaching.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 11

I have replayed the day over and over in my head several times.  Some days being grateful is hard.  Yesterday was one of those days that at every turn there were blinking neon lights drawing my attention to the hard things.  It was an emotional draining day, and by the end of the day I was in no mood to write a post about being grateful.  Because honestly, I really wasn't.  I tried to find something I was grateful for, but I couldn't get my mind of upsetting news I had gotten about someone I love.  I couldn't stop thinking about a friend who is hurting, and how I am so angry with someone.  So I let it all fester ... all night long.

I didn't do what I said I was going to do.  I wasn't intentional about focusing on the blessings I have rather than the things that are upsetting and heartbreaking.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a house to live in and food to eat.  I have a husband that loves me.  My daughters are healthy and thriving.  I am surrounded by people who love me.  I really could go on, but instead I gave all my attention and energy to things I can't do anything to fix.  I should have just left it with Jesus.

I got an email from Mary this morning, and she was sharing a quote she had read in a friend's Facebook status.  Somehow I actually had overlooked this friend's status when I had surfed through Facebook early this morning.  Probably because my heart wasn't ready to hear it.  Maybe I did read it, and it just didn't stick with me at the time.  When I read it in Mary's email it hit me in the gut, and I heard it loud and clear.  My eyes were opened wide to what I had actually missed that I had to be grateful for yesterday.

"Yet, it is kindness when He strips us of self-reliance, because it is there, in our emptiness and brokenness, that we experience the privilege of His sustaining grace. It is only at that dreaded place of weakness, that we discover the surpassing power of Christ," Give Them Grace, Fitzpatrick & Thompson.

"... His sustaining grace ... "

How did I miss that?  How could I not see that all through yesterday and all through the night I was experiencing His sustaining grace?

Because I took my eyes off of Jesus.

Just like Peter, I took my eyes off of Jesus and I began to sink.  I began sink right back in to the very cycle I am trying to break.  My "woe is me" attitude was coming back, and I was just about ready to jump back into the mud and start wallowing.

Thank you, Lord, for protecting me from that happening.  I truly am grateful for your sustaining grace and for forgiving me when I take my eyes off of you.  Thank you for catching me when I start to fall.

I am grateful the Lord laid it upon Carol's heart to share that quote.  I am grateful He brought Mary's attention to it, and He laid it upon her heart to share it with me.  I am grateful that after I didn't see it the first time around, He prepared my heart to hear it in Mary's email.

Most of all, I am grateful for His sustaining grace and for His forgiveness when I take my eyes off of Him.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

366 Day of Gratefulness ~ Day 10

Today marks 4 yrs since the day that changed our lives forever.  I say ours because it has affected Nathan, Sara and Hannah as much as it has affected me.  It seems like it's been a lot longer than 4 yrs.  I can barely remember what things were really like prior to CIDP.  Life has changed so much for us.  It's been hard.  It's been really scary at times.  It's been frustrating.  It's been exhausting.  At times it's even felt hopeless.

I went from being this independent, constantly on the go person, to someone who depends on some sort of help every day and spends days at time not even getting out of the house.  I'm in constant pain.  Some days it's so bad all I can do is cry.  I get so weak that just holding my head up is hard.  My eyesight is now affected because my left eye muscles are weak.  I drop things all of time because my hand looses it's grip.  My feet shuffle on the floor because they are so heavy and I have foot drop.  I won't even tell you how often I fall, but it's scary.  It's been expensive.  Even with having really good insurance it's been super expensive.  I have no idea how people who are sick and don't have insurance survive.

I have come close to death several times.  There have been times I thought if the disease wasn't going to kill me, the treatments surely would.  I only have one more option for treatment if I begin to regress, and it's considered an "experimental" treatment for CIDP.  As of now, the cellcept is keeping me stable.  Praise the Lord for that!  I have to keep myself from thinking about all the dangers of cellcept and focus on the fact it seems to be working for me.

All of that sounds horrible doesn't it?  Some days it is horrible.  Some days I feel completely defeated.

I am not telling you all of that so that you will feel sorry for me.  I want you to get a realistic picture of what life is like for me to help you grasp how amazing what I am about to tell you is.  Hard isn't even a big enough word to describe what life is like for me.

And yet, in the midst of the pain, frustration, anger and the days that feel hopeless my life is so wonderful and full of hope.

I know it may sound crazy to you.  It does to me at times. 

But God ...

He has blessed me so much through all of this.  He has given so much more than I deserve.  He's given me grace and mercy.  He's carried me when I didn't know how I could possibly take my next step.  He has provided me with everything I've ever needed.


You know what that means?  With Him ... because of Him ... I lack nothing.  He is all I need.

I've spent a lot of time sitting at the foot of the cross begging for mercy and grace the past 4 yrs.  I've also gone through times I was so angry with Him that all I would do was shake my fist and ask why.  And you know what?  Whether I was begging for grace and mercy or shaking my fist at Him, He was always there.  Always.  He never once left, and He never once turned me away.

He never will. 

Caleb ended his sermon on Sunday by asking the question, "Do you know Christ?"

Yes, I do know Him.  I love Him.  I trust Him.  He lives in my heart.  I am His and He is mine!

And over the past 4 yrs, I've really gotten to know Him.  I've spent hours upon hours with Him.  I've spent hours studying His Word looking for answers.  I developed this deep hunger to know Him even more.

I don't think that would have happened if I hadn't gotten sick.  Maybe.  I don't know.  I do know I spend a lot of time at His feet now.

And you know, I can honestly say that if getting CIDP is what it took to put me flat on my face at the foot of the cross, it's totally worth it.

I do know Him.  And I know Him at a deeper level than I probably ever would have otherwise.  Because I know Him, I have a life full of hope and so much to look forward to.

I can praise Him because this is not my home.

And yes, I still pray every day for Him to come and take us home.

So, four years later and on day 10 of my "366 Days of Gratefulness", I can say I am grateful for CIDP.  I truly am thankful for it.  I never thought I would have said those words.

I want you to consider that question Caleb left us with on Sunday.  Do you know Christ?  If you don't, I suggest you run to Him as fast as you can.

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 9

Today I am grateful that Sara easily forgives.  I reacted badly to something concerning her today and had to apologize and ask her to forgive me.  She forgave me instantly.  She has such a sweet spirit about her, and I certainly could learn much from her.  I have seen her forgive others for doing the same things to her over and over again.  I've often wondered to myself why she would allow them to keep doing those things to her.  It occurred to me tonight she's simply doing the biblical thing.  She's forgiving seventy times seven.

I am so grateful she loves Jesus.  I am grateful her desire is to be like Him and not me.  I am not kidding when I say there is so much I can learn from her.  She is such a blessing to me and I love her so, so much!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Days 7 & 8

I made the commitment to myself and to the Lord that I would be more intentional about focusing on the things in my life I have to be grateful for because I was stuck in this pattern of "woe is me".  I was spending a lot of time wallowing in my sorrows just like a pig in mud, and then I'd carry all of that muck around with me.  It was affecting me greatly.  Making me short fused, depressed and weepy.  I had to do something.  So when I ran across the idea on Pinterest of keeping a journal of things to be grateful for, I thought it was a great idea.  I could write those things down and be able to go back and read over them to remind myself of all blessings I've been given.

But let's face it, some days it's much easier to see those blessings than others.  It seems like all the hurtful things are always surrounded by blinking neon lights commanding my attention.  I get so blinded by the bright lights I can't see anything else.  And so starts the wallowing again.

Saturday was a good day.  We just spent the day at home just hanging out.  We were looking forward to spending the evening with dear friends that were in from out of town.  I was excited I was feeling well enough to go, but just as I was headed to get my shower, the phone rang.

Cue the blinking neon lights.

I had expected that one day I would get this phone call, but when it actually happened it knocked the breath out of me.  I just got sick all over and was furious at the same time.  I almost called our friends to tell them we weren't going to be able to make it.  My excitement about our fun evening we had planned had become over shadowed by news that put me on the verge of despair.  It would have been so much easier to have stayed home and just sat on the couch and cried, but I didn't want to let our friends down.  So I decided we would go, and maybe, just maybe, it would get my mind off of things for awhile.

I am going to confess that almost immediately after getting that phone call I got really angry with the Lord.  I started questioning why He hadn't intervened and kept this from happening.  I've prayed so hard for these circumstances to change, but they just keep getting worse.  I asked Him if He was just ignoring me or was I not making my request clear to Him.  I threw a big temper tantrum because I wasn't getting my way.

Then later that evening, as I sat in a room that was filled with friends that I love and who love me, I heard the Holy Spirit speak very clearly to my heart.  That phone call didn't take Him by surprise.  I had expected that one day it would come, but He knew it would.  Not only was He not surprised, but He knew the exact moment my phone would ring.  So as I sat there in a big circle visiting with friends, the chatter and giggles of kids in the background, I was reminded of His sovereignty.  He knew the moment my phone would ring, and by His sovereign grace, it came just before I would be spending an evening surrounded by friends.

I could have just sat there and wept, but as my eyes started to well up with tears, a conversation started about a pig roast one of the guys had done a few years ago.

I had been like a pig wallowing in the mud, and the conversation turns toward a pig roast at the moment the Holy Spirit is speaking to my heart.  The Lord certainly has such a sense of humor, doesn't He?

Day 7 ~  I am grateful for the Lord's grace and mercy.  I am grateful He gave me the grace to get through that evening ... and for the grace He's given me in the hours and days that have followed.  I am grateful for the mercy He gave me when I threw my temper tantrum and acted like I was entitled to answers.  I am grateful for His forgiveness for my actions.  I am so undeserving, yet He is so gracious and merciful.

I am also grateful that even though it seemed as if the evening was going to be a total bust, I was still able to spend it with dear friends.  It was so good for my heart.

Day 8 ~  I am grateful that I was able to go to church.  It was the first Sunday I have been able to go this year, and I was so, so glad to be there.  I needed it so much.  I need to hear the Word, and I need the fellowship.  I do so much better when I am able to go.

And here is another example of God's grace and mercy ...

Caleb had planned to preach a totally different sermon than what he preached yesterday, but the Lord changed his mind ... or I suppose you could say He changed His heart.

So his sermon was based on Philippians 3:2-11 and what it means to know Jesus.

I have three full pages of notes, but I'm just going to summarize what I took away from His sermon ...

"Christianity is knowing and being known by God."

"To know Christ is to know His benefits."

The benefits of Christ are justification, sanctification and glorification.

God does not declare us righteous because of anything we have done.  It's only because of what He has done.  To know Christ we have to throw away any other reliance we have and trust only in Him.

Sanctification is making us more like Christ.  To really know Him is to know His suffering because that was His life.  Suffering is a gift because it is through our suffering we are being refined.  Suffering and sanctification will always go together.

As we suffer, we are glorified.

First comes the Cross, then comes the Crown.

I must say, that sermon was exactly what I needed to hear.

I have realized that over the past couple of days I have something to be grateful for that far out shines any blinking neon sign.  I am a child of the King.  There is nothing that can ever change that.  I'm going to have suffering in my life, but in the midst of that suffering I still have much to be grateful for.  Being refined is painful, however, it's allowing me to really know Christ.

There isn't any neon sign that can out shine or any blessing that will ever trump knowing Christ and being a child the of King.

Friday, January 6, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 6

I realized earlier today that this is a leap year, so I had to adjust the number of days in my title.

Today I am grateful for "laughing gas".  I absolutely hate going to the dentist.  Just getting my teeth cleaned weirds me out, but when I have to have any sort of dental work done I am terrified.  Today I had to have a couple of fillings done, and by the time they called me back and got me settled in the chair, I was almost in tears.  I am grateful we have the sweetest dentist and his office staff is just the best.  I highly recommend them to anyone.  I have recommended them many times and will continue to do so, but I hate going.  If they weren't so sweet and so good at what they do, I'd probably never go.  Today was not pleasant.  I don't know why, but for some reason I don't think I was breathing the gas in deep enough, and I could feel myself going into a full blown panic.  Thankfully they picked up on it, and he would pause and tell me to breathe in the gas for a little bit.  Poor guy.  He certainly earns his pay with me.  Bless his heart, he never acts like he's one bit irritated with my fear or the fact I act like a big ole' baby.  And have I mentioned how sweet his staff is?!?!

I am very grateful for "laughing gas", but actually, I am even more grateful to have a dentist, and his staff, that are so wonderful at what they do.  And they do it with the sweetest, kindest spirits about them.

Whom Shall I Fear?

I have a lot of fears.  Some that are understandable and some that are completely irrational.  I am terrified of snakes and mice.  I can't even look at a picture of a snake or hear someone talk about one.  It causes me to have nightmares that they are crawling on my bedroom floor keeping me hostage in bed.  Now that I've just written that I will probably have that nightmare tonight.

You see, now I am fearful I'm going to have nightmare.

I am fearful for the safety of my girls and Nathan.  What if they are in an accident?  Sometimes I am fearful of being home alone.  What if someone tries to break in?  What if I fall and can't get up or reach the phone to call someone for help?  What if the next fall breaks my hip or leg, and I'll never be able to walk again?  What if the added weakness in my legs and arms isn't from not sleeping well lately, but it's a sign I'm headed for another attack?

What if ... ?  I could go on and on with a thousand "what ifs" and work myself into a complete tizzy.  I've done it many, many times.  I am quite an expert at it.  Some days I am able to rest in knowing that the Lord is sovereign.  Some days, not so much.  I'm better at resting in Him than I ever have been, but I am far from where I need to be.  So I find myself asking the Lord for protection ... a lot.  I don't just ask Him for it, I beg Him.  Then I fail to trust Him to keep His promises to me.

Someone once told that in the Bible it says, "Do not fear" 365 times ... one for each day of the year.  I have no idea if this is accurate.  I've never counted it and most likely I never will.  If it's true, I'm not sure what you should do during leap year.  I do know we are reminded and commanded not to fear all throughout the Bible.  So when I find myself getting worked up in a complete panic, I remind myself of the promises we are given that the Lord will protect us.  Grant it, sometimes that protection doesn't come in the form we would choose.

I am a visual person.  That's one of the reasons I decided to do the "365 Days of Gratefulness".  Hmmm ... I just realized that this is a leap year, so I suppose I should change that to "366 Days of Thankfulness".   Anyway, I can go back and read what I have to be grateful for.  I learn visually.  I can read instructions a thousand times or have someone show me how to do it once.  So I ask the Lord to show me why I shouldn't fear and how He's covering me with protection.  It seems to be a constant request.  I often find those visual reminders come in the most unexpected ways.

About a month ago we had family pictures made.  Alissa and I talked about ideas for the photo shoot, and I told her I have a quilt a friend made that has been in every family photo we have had made since I've had it.  She immediately popped of with this idea.

I remember thinking how sweet that would be, but I had no idea the Lord had an even bigger plan than to just have a sweet picture for me to look at.  This quilt is covered with verses from Psalms.  Every white block contains a verse.

Yes, it's a very sweet picture, but when I look at it I see so much more.  We are wrapped up in a quilt that is covered with reminders of just how much I can trust in the Lord.  And while being wrapped in those reminders, I am in the arms of the man the Lord as given me to be my protector, someone I can trust.  Nathan is a tangible reminder of the Lord's protection, and that picture is a visual reminder.

At the end of the song, "Who Am I" by Casting Crowns is a sweet melody that says, "Whom shall I fear, whom shall I fear?  I am Yours."  I find myself singing that melody often.  Not to worry, I sing it in my head and only sing it out loud when no one is around.

Because of who He is and because I belong to Him, I have nothing to fear.

I wonder if I will remember this an hour from now when I'm sitting in the chair at my dentist office.

365 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 5

Today I am grateful for friendships.  I have said it before and I will say it again ... and again ... I have the best friends a girl could ever ask for.  I am so blessed.  If I were to list all of things they have done for me and my family, the list would go for a country mile.  Some are closer friends than others.  They come in all different ages and stages of life.  They are all very important to me and I love them all very much.  I don't know why they love me so much.  I am not so easy to love at times, yet they are longsuffering with me.  My friendships are one of the greatest blessings the Lord has given me.

I have a close friend who told her daughter, "We don't do that in front of company."  I don't even remember what it was they were talking about, but the daughter's response was, "Mrs. Robin's not company, she's family."  There is no greater compliment a friend can give you.  It still brings tears to my eyes.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

365 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 4

Today I am grateful for my part-time job.

I have only ever had 2 other jobs.  When I was in high school I worked at a fast food restaurant.  A few months after graduation, I began working at a Long Term Care facility in medical records.  The plan was to only be there until I graduated college, but I ended up working there for 17 years.  It was there, in my office, that I collapsed when I first got sick.  I left in an ambulance and never returned there to work again.  It's been hard.  Very hard.  It will be 4 years next week when that happened, and I still cry about it times.  It took me 3 months to go through the bag of stuff that was packed up from my desk.  I finally just took the pictures out of my girls and the bible I kept at my desk, and threw the rest away.  I didn't want to look at it, much less keep it as a reminder of what I had lost.  It took my awhile to understand why it's been so hard.  Partly because of the way my dismal, which is just a pretty way of saying I was fired, was handled.  I felt like I had been thrown away and it hurt.  I now know there is no way I could have ever gone back to work there.  Physically I just can't do it.  I don't miss the job.  Don't get my wrong, I liked my job.  However, it could be stressful and frustrating.  What I miss are the friendships I had.  I spent more time with the people I worked with than I did my own family during the week.  I had developed some very close friendship with some of them.  Friendships I believed were for a lifetime.  It's been heartbreaking trying to understand why those relationships ended when I lost my job.  I would ask myself if I just didn't matter to them as much as they mattered to me.  Actually, some days I still ask myself that.  To be fair, a couple of them were dealing with some heavy stuff in their own lives, and their time was consumed with those things.  I knew this and I understood.  It was still hard though.  I miss them greatly.  I know that some friendships are only for a season and few are for a lifetime.  I also know that just because I don't hear from them very often doesn't mean I've completely lost their friendship.  It just simply means life has changed.  And it's changed a lot.  I'm not very fond of change.

I also felt useless after I lost my job.  I had always worked and I wasn't sure what to do when suddenly I didn't have a job anymore.  There were many days it took everything I had to just get through the day.  I had to relearn how to do everything from how to walk again to learning how to hold a pen.  My muscles were so weak and none of them seem to work like they should.  As I regained some of my strength, I desperately wanted to go back to work.  It still wasn't possible though.  Just taking a shower wears me out, so there was no way I could work even half a day.

Then one day, the perfect opportunity was laid in my lap.  Darryl asked if I would be willing to help when he started his new endeavor.  Of course I said I would, but quickly after saying yes, I realized he meant something other than I thought.  I thought he was asking for my help as a favor as a friend, but he was offering me a job.  I was very hesitant.  I've seen so many friendship end over business.  It just wasn't worth it to me to risk that happening.  My friendship with Darryl and Mary is far more important to me.  We spent the next few weeks discussing it and praying about it, and I ended up agreeing to give it try.  I am so grateful I did.  It's been such a huge blessing.  

I only work part-time, and I work when I feel up to it.  I don't have to take a shower or even get dressed.  I can work at 5 a.m. or 9 p.m.  I can work from my dining room table, the couch or even sitting on the bed.  He will tell me what is a priority, and I do it as I can.  I don't work every day and some days I don't work more than a couple of hours.  I can work for 15 minutes and then rest for 2 hours before starting again.  It's also given me a purpose, and I feel like I'm contributing to my family ... and the added bonus of being able to help a friend.

So on day 4, I am grateful for the blessing of my part-time job.  I was beginning to believe there was no way I would ever be able to work again.  I am grateful the Lord showed me otherwise and laid the opportunity in my lap.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

365 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 3

The first thing(s) that comes to mind at this moment that I am thankful for are antibiotics and cough syrup.  They have been my constant companion for almost 2 weeks now.  After adding antibiotic number 2 to the regimen, I am finally beginning to feel some better.  My cough hasn't been as bad today, and what I have been coughing up is now clear once again.  That last part might have been a little TMI.

The second thing that comes to mind that I thankful tonight are migraine meds.  About 2 hours ago it hit me.  Thankfully I was able to take the migraine meds early enough that I think I've been able to keep it at bay.  My head feels fuzzy from the meds, but it's far better than having a migraine.

I am so grateful I am finally beginning to feel better.  Hopefully, tomorrow (well, since it's after midnight now it would actually be today) will be even better.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

365 Days of Gratefulness

I somehow have to figure out a way to be intentional about thinking about positive things instead of allowing myself to constantly worry about all of things I can't do anything about.  I've allowed myself to get in the habit of wallowing in everything negative.  I don't want to live that way.  It's not only not good for me, but it's a terrible example for my girls.  It's sinful.  The Lord Jesus clearly tells us we aren't supposed to worry.  We are to turn all of our burdens over to Him.  My focus needs to be on Him, and I need to be wallowing in all of the blessings He has given me.

I saw this on Pinterest the other day.  I think it's a wonderful idea.  Not only would it be something that would cause me to be intentional about focusing on all of the things I have to be thankful for, but it would also be something tangible for me to be able to go back and read through as a reminder.  It can be ordered on Etsy here .  I haven't decided if I'm going to ordered it or just make my own.  I have decided I'm going to do this though.  I think I'm also going to share on this blog what I grateful for each day.  I may not always share some deep thought, but not every grateful thing is deep.  Sometimes it comes it comes in the form of a Sonic coke.

January 1 ~ I am grateful to have my girls home from the short trip they took to visit family.  I miss them so much when they are gone.  I am so grateful they have the opportunity to make trips with their grandparents, and their aunt.  They are blessed to have 4 grandparents that love them so much.  They are also blessed to have been able to get to know three of their great-grandparents.  Nathan's maternal grandfather is the only great-grandparent still living, and Pop Pop is still a very active part of their lives.

January 2 ~ I am grateful to have all the Christmas decorations put away.  I am also grateful to finally have all of my laundry caught up.  There is only one small load left to wash and a load of jeans to fold.

I encourage you to take the time to wallow in the things you are grateful for today.  I think you should also write them down so you can be reminded of what you have been blessed with your life.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Wanting To Be Hopeful

I began a post yesterday about how hopeful and grateful I was about the beginning of a new year.  Before I was able to finish it, the girls came home from a trip they had taken to visit family, and the night seemed to get away from me.  It's now 3:30 a.m. on January 2, 2012.  I can't sleep because I can't quit coughing and the pain in my feet and legs is awful right now.  When I went to finish up my post, I realized it wasn't what I really wanted to say at all.  So I deleted it and started again.

It's been a long several days.  The Friday before Christmas I started getting sick and as the days wore on I became sicker.  It started with feeling like I had swallowed a hair ball, grew into a horrible respiratory infection, bronchitis and now what seems to be a touch of pneumonia I can't seem to shake.  Darryl added another antibiotic yesterday and called in my third bottle of cough syrup.  I've been instructed to take both antibiotics together, and when the first one has ended have it refilled for another 10 days of treatment.  It bothers me I have to take so many antibiotics, but I know I don't really have a choice.  It seems like the past couple of months I've been sick more days than not.  I've caught every virus going around our community.  It's just been a constant reminder of how weak my immune system really is.  My immunity is comprised from having CIDP and having to take the cellcept lowers it even more.  It's frustrating.  I was asked this past week if I was depressed.  I hadn't really thought about it, but I suppose I am.  Being sick so much lately and my pain level being more intense has just made me tired.  Tired and made me hate CIDP even more.  I was so hopeful just a month ago that a couple of med changes would help my level of pain.  It didn't work though.  Nothing else seems to either.

However, I'm not just depressed over my health.  When I think about 2011, I immediately get this sick feeling in my stomach.  It was a horrible year.  I want to have hope that this year will be better, but honestly, I don't.  Someone I love deeply has been in a path of self destruction for years now, and this past year it came to a head.  It's been so painful to watch.  I desperately want to fix the situation, but I feel so helpless.  Probably because I am.  The reality is I've already done everything I can to help them, and I've actually probably been an enabler at times.  Not intentional, but I believed for weeks they were headed in the right direction.  I allowed them to "pull the wool over my eyes".  I wanted to believe them so much, but I found out that once again I was being lied to and taken advantage of.  It's amazing how they are the one who is headed for complete destruction, yet it's those around them that are devastated.  I am angry, sad and hopeless over the whole situation.  Just when I think they've hit rock bottom, they fall even deeper.  I am so fearful of what is going to happen to them.  What is it really going to take to wake them up?  And what if, just what if, nothing ever does?

I carry them to the foot of the cross and lay them down daily.  Several times a day actually.  I beg the Lord for mercy and wisdom ... for some glimmer of hope.  I worry and I'm anxious.  I'm all of those things I'm not supposed to be, but I love them so much I don't know how not to be.

So, I hold tightly to the promise that the Lord is sovereign as I sit at the foot of the cross where grace and mercy meet.