Today is my daughter’s seventh birthday, and the start of another new year in her life. It is also the last post for me on Even Rocks Cry Out, as I transition on to other things. I am so thankful for all who have read and encouraged me through each season of this past year. THANK YOU for cheering me on!
I have felt a bit worse for the past month or so, and a friend reminded me that I felt worse last spring… and the spring before! I hadn’t realized that, and she reminded me that I had felt discouraged each spring, then I came through it. That was helpful! In the same way, it’s been helpful for me to write these posts so I can look back on tangible acts of God’s faithfulness and mercy and your support.
As far as transitioning, I don’t know exactly what’s next, but I look forward to more resting and praying, more time with the kids home this summer, maybe a trip to the Mayo Clinic (still haven’t heard!), and most immediately, exercising “every day in May.” K and S and I have exercised together (via Facebook accountability!) from hundreds of miles apart every day in May for many years (I took a couple years off), and I’m ready to join back in, although their exercise includes running and planks, and I am hoping to do at least 4 minutes a day on the recumbent exercise bike. Hey, just start where you are, right?
I am thankful to be through the chaos of diagnosis and initial discoveries in my journey with POTS and NCS and feel like I’m now into the hard part of persevering… but God specializes in that and will see me through this and you through whatever trials you now have as His child.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen!” (Eph. 3:20-21)
This has not been my most stellar week, beginning with preSYNCOPE-SUNDAY, then moving on to MODERATELY-hit-by-a-MACK-truck-MONDAY, oh-so-TIRED-TUESDAY, and WILL-I-get-out-of-bed-WEDNESDAY. But today is THANKFUL-THURSDAY, so I am ready to celebrate, as I type from our cozy couch, wrapped up with a red herringbone blanket, enveloped by the foggy, gray morning.
Thursdays really are “thankful Thursdays” at our house, initiated when we realized we had WAAAAY too much complaining around here and WAAAAY too little gratitude. At dinner, everyone gets to (has to!) say one specific person for whom he/she is thankful that week. We also decided you can’t pick the same person multiple weeks in a row, which we enacted when a certain kid said “the garbageman” about six weeks straight. (Hey, we ARE thankful someone picks up our trash, but let’s share the love, okay?)
Anyway, this thankful Thursday, I am thankful for these people this week:
B, who is having my kids over today and offered to drop off a Starbucks drink for me at the door (“at the door” is so nice when you don’t have energy to visit right then)
K, who came over with a delicious lunch
J, who stopped by to season and shape burger patties with the meat I’d bought earlier (and thanks to my grillmaster, M, who has done an inordinate number of dishes this week)
D, who is doing a Costco run for me
R and C, who are coming tomorrow to mop floors, clean counters, scrub bathrooms (and P, who offered to help with anything this week!); another R and C, who gave us a gift card for us all to go out one night
M and S, who checked out a bunch of library books for me to read as I rest
N and J, who brought yummy food for us
K, C, M, A, P, S, and many others, who pray for and encourage me from afar
P, who sent me the best news of the week with an adorable, creative card announcing her pregnancy
Wow. I am truly blessed beyond measure. There are many others who have come alongside me in so many ways that I haven’t mentioned and many others who are happy to help with anything, anytime– I am so amazed and grateful!
Sometimes it’s easy for me to focus on the limitations POTS/NCS causes. After all, I feel and experience them throughout the day, everyday.
However, I’m also beginning to be able to see more clearly the blessings, yes, true blessings, this illness has brought into my life.
In random order, here is my TOP TEN LIST OF BLESSINGS FROM POTS / NCS:
10. A more slow-paced lifestyle. I am beginning to see that maybe I was a little too busy back in the day.
9. More compassion for those who suffer. I have a long way to go, but I am beginning to truly understand, in some ways.
8. Greater dependence on God. I need Him every hour. Literally.
7. Fewer wrinkles. How’s that for a perk? A friend mentioned once that my face looked so great, and I realized my new, low-stress life does seem to be stopping my wrinkles in their tracks.
6. Seeing God at work, actively caring for me and our family. He has not abandoned us. (I can’t wait to read the 2015 Blessings Jar on New Year’s Eve.)
5. Our kids seeing Mama can’t do it all and needs their help, thus they are getting good practice serving. Our oldest son got the CLEANING AWARD at a recent youth group retreat. (Yikes… hope that wasn’t too embarrassing.) Turns out, he rocked while cleaning their cabin, after meals, etc, maybe partially because all three kids now know their way around some toilet bowl cleaner, dustpans, Windex, you name it.
4. Noncompeting schedules in our marriage, since mine is quite free. (Not a necessity, but I’m enjoying the blessing aspect.)
3. More of my physical presence around the house for my family. While they’re here, I am not often out and about doing errands, meetings, get-togethers, etc. I think they really like this. (Ditto, parenthetical statement above.)
2. Seeing God’s people help in so many ways. This is a huge encouragement. After we recently enjoyed a fantastic meal someone brought, I told Mark, “This makes being sick a lot more tolerable.”
1. Freedom to wear cute shoes that may be too big, too small, or a bit uncomfortable– and not have them wear out– since I don’t walk that much. Ladies, this is AWESOME! My shoes always look brand new. (The scuff marks below are certainly all from previous owners, I’m sure!)
Hey, when you find a cute pair, it’s nice not to have to worry about pesky details like whether the shoe actually fits!
So I was going to do a long-delayed blog post the other day. I summoned up my remaining shreds of energy, turned on the computer, found a cute picture, and… Internet Explorer would NOT load. I mean it! It was not going to open. I clicked, double-clicked, right-clicked, went thru various menus– NO SOUP FOR YOU! (I mean, no Internet for me!) I couldn’t get online at all.
Hence, no blog post.
God cracks me up. For a couple years now, He has been “canceling” things that I put on my agenda. We signed up to host missionaries one weekend– nope, sorry, turned out they have relatives in town. I tried to sign up to bring a new mom a meal — oh, too bad, turns out the meal plan was either deleted or was unavailable to my eyes only. We made plans to keep a young couple’s baby so they could have a date. Oops, surprise, their inlaws showed up in town that afternoon to take the whole family out– no babysitting happening.
One “good” thing after the next that I’ve tried to do has been canceled over the last couple years. I’ve gotten the hint and try to make my own “helpful” plans a lot less often, for this current season.
I truly believe God is telling me, “I’ve got this! I do not need you to do all sorts of things to enact My kingdom purposes. I love you too much to let you think you can find your worth and identity in DOing. Just be– be mine.” (Seriously: One particular time as I cried out to Him in frustration at being unable to DO, I heard Him respond to my heart, “Kristi! I’VE GOT THIS!”)
I love it. He is helping me surrender teensy bit by teensy bit.
Where do you need to surrender and BE? Or, where might be God asking you to step out in faith and DO?
It IS my birthday, and I AM smiling! Maybe you don’t always feel ready to party with POTS, but be encouraged by the fun I’m having on my birthday weekend. A change of scenery and something to look forward to can make a huge difference for someone with a long-term illness.
Mark surprised me yesterday with a trip to the Biltmore Estate to see a display of costumes worn in Downton Abbey– yes, the REAL costumes actually worn by Lord and Lady Grantham; Mary, Edith, and Sybil; Lady Violet; and Matthew and Branson from Seasons 1-4. There were dozens to see– SO cool.
The first two floors of the Biltmore were wheelchair-friendly, and we even got to ride the oldest continuously running elevator in the Southeast, complete with original motor from the 1800s. How’s that for a perk (seeing as it didn’t break down while we were on it)?
The main tricky thing about wheelchair adventures (besides nausea) is that you see everything from about the height of an eight-year-old (definitely different for me, since I’m almost 5’9″ and used to looking over people’s heads)… but the Biltmore was well prepared and even know exactly how many steps it would have taken me to go up to the third floor (I’d been there before, so I passed this time but got to watch a video that displayed the rooms I could not access).
Mark was awesome. He planned the whole thing and even scheduled it so we didn’t spend too long there, knowing I’d wear out quickly, and had us back to our hometown to have a restful afternoon at home. (Full disclosure: It was 3 p.m. and I crawled right into bed.) He tells me he has more surprises in store this weekend… I’m excited!
I wanted to make a big chocolate chip skillet cookie and homemade ice cream on my birthday (Yes, I could buy them, but where does one buy sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free desserts? That’s called fruit.), but considering how I felt and deciding to conserve energy, I only made the ice cream, below. No problem: I added chocolate chunks to get the feel of the whole dessert thing. This recipe is adapted for our family’s current digestive needs using the general idea of the dairy-free ice cream recipes on The Spunky Coconut. Mark and I thought it was pretty much the most amazing thing ever; two kids ate it… with tons of Hershey’s syrup on top… and one kid didn’t eat it at all. Hey, more for us!
Birthday Butter Pecan Ice “Cream”
1 can light coconut milk
1 frozen banana
3 Medjool dates, soaked in 1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp gelatin, dissolved in 1/4 c boiling water
big dollop sunflower seed butter
dollop vegan butter, cooked to attempt a faux brown butter
almond and vanilla extracts, to taste (more almond than vanilla)
3-4 drops liquid stevia, to taste
salt, to taste (you want butter pecan ice cream to taste a bit salty)
Combine all (including the liquid in which the dates soaked) in a high-speed blender; adjust flavorings, sweetness, and salt. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Pour into prechilled ice cream maker and process, according to manufacturer instructions. Toward the end, add chopped pecans (and maybe dark chocolate chunks). YUM!
Notes: Full-fat canned coconut cream tastes better and gives better consistency; also, it tastes better if you use more dates (8-10) and eliminate the banana. We used sunflower seed butter, but almond butter would be better.
Cards, texts, and Facebook messages from friends and family are making my day fantastic. Never underestimate how encouraging a few kind words can be! Thanks to all who are helping me celebrate!
P.S. Lest you think our kids are deprived, neighbors we haven’t seen in months just rang the doorbell– I opened the door to find them bearing a large container full of gluten-full, sugar-full, dairy-full cinnamon rolls. They had no idea it was my birthday– and the kids will get to, first-hand, TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!
I noticed something different this year as I read the Scriptures surrounding Christ’s birth. You know the Magnificat, Mary’s song of praise after she finds out she’s been chosen to bear the Holy One of Israel? I tend to picture the angel Gabriel telling her of God’s plan, her submissive assent, then the Magnificat.
But, no, the Magnificat comes AFTER she goes to see her relative, Elisabeth, to share her news– and she had gone to see her “with haste.” Think how quickly you go to someone after shocking news. Surely, even after she submits graciously, Mary is feeling overwhelmed, thrown off, curious about how her new, unusual call will play out. I felt encouraged this year by the friendship between the two women, how Elisabeth’s excitement about Mary’s call helps Mary burst forth in her own genuine praise and excitement. Her song of worship focuses on God’s character and promises, and she actively trusts him.
You may be called to something hard right now, something glorious, or a combination of both. The illness God has given me feels like a hard call, but it is one that can lead me to worship and thanksgiving. THANK YOU to you, my friends and readers, who have encouraged me throughout 2014 and before, that I might turn my eyes upon Jesus and praise Him mightily.
May your Christmas be merry as you celebrate our Savior’s birth, as God took on flesh and dwelt among us!
I was recently with a friend, and a few minutes into our time together, she told me she’d just gotten off a phone call related to a very hard situation her family has had for years now. She was feeling overwhelmed and sad and physically sick at the thought of the ramifications of the call.
My heart went out to her, and we prayed right then, asking that God would continue to help her trust our good, sovereign Father and that He would show her family mercy according to His good will.
She excused herself to get Kleenex, and when she returned, I chatted away about Thanksgiving recipes, Christmas lists, family friends… anything but the difficulties that surely lie ahead. Maybe trying to distract her was okay (we did have all our kids nearby), but maybe I should have asked her how it felt to be in this situation, what she feared, how she had seen signs of God’s past faithfulness. Either way, I definitely wish I had just ASKED her whether or not she wanted to talk about it more.
I want to learn to have a good listening ear. Do you have one? How do you listen, truly listen, to those around you?
Thank you to those who “listen” to me through these blog posts. I am not always the best at sharing face-to-face, and I am so grateful for your encouragement, whether I see you often or have not even met you. I hope tomorrow is a day full of Thanksgiving for you!
I have a friend and neighbor who helps our family in a creative way. She has four young children and homeschools. When her oldest three attend a co-op on Mondays, she packs a lunch for them AND for my children at the same time!
My kids love this. They love that she always includes a napkin (oops! sorry I forget that, kids!), slightly different foods than we have, some yummy treat, and tailor-made foods for each of my children’s particular tastebuds. They also love knowing they are eating a lunch similar to their friends’.
I love this. I am usually completely wiped out on Monday mornings and getting the kids out of the door any morning is no small feat. What a treat for me to know Mondays include a little respite for me!
Is today just another manic Monday for you?
A resource for those with chronic illness and a record of blessings along the way