Archive for March, 2012

845~Audrey

In honor of National Kidney Month, I want to take this month to share my experience with kidney disease and faith in hopes that other kidney patients will know they are not alone and that God still walks beside us.

 

My last entry for National Kidney month is one of hope. I’ve taken you through my journey of diagnosis and adaptation, but want to leave you with my blessings.

When my journey first started, I had creatnin level of 2,498. Normal function kidneys can put out up to 800 before they are considered problematic. As you can see, I was well above that level.

I started on a low dose blood pressure medicine which causes the inflammation of the scar tissue in my kidney to decrease making the filters more effective. I have started drinking more water, getting more rest, and going to the doctor at the first sign of sickness. I have continued to pray to God and heightened my spiritual journey. I’m, reading more Christian books, following daily devotionals, and reading the Bible each day.

I went to the doctor my check up two weeks ago. My creatnin levels? 845! The lowest number to date. I am officially stable, and go to see my nephrologists once year. My function is down to about 96 percent but those are acceptable number and are a decent trade off for the decrease in cratnin levels.

God has blessed me with health, with strength to get to that health, with doctors who care, and friends and family that support me. I thank each one of you who held me when I cried, rallied me when I was angry, kept me entertained during those sleepless nights, those who kept praying and praying and never doubted that I could overcome this disease and still be who I am.

Mark your calendars readers who live inMontgomery! The annual Kidney Walk will be August 18. I invite each and every one of you to come and support this cause. Meet some of the kidney patients the Alabama Kidney Foundation helps. Introduce yourself to me and put a face to this blog. Know that each step you take changes the lives of the people around you.

 

Love God. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Love your kidneys.

 

Kidney Facts: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure; next is high blood pressure

Men have a higher risk of kidney disease than women

 

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Steady on that Trust-Renee`

You will keep in perfect peace
   those whose minds are steadfast,
   because they trust in you.
    Trust in the LORD forever,
   for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.

Isaiah 26:3-4

Stead fast: Resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering

trust: confident expectation of something

The last few weeks my mind has been racing. Should I buy this car? Is Daniel back healthy? Am I ready for a relationship? Am I doing a good job?

I am my biggest critic and it is hard for me to control my thoughts, my thoughts like my words tend to ramble at times. This is why this Scripture from Isaiah speaks to my soul. I must learn to keep my mind steadfast (resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering) on trusting (placing confident expectation of something) on God and His promises to me.

I will never go through this life and not make a mistake, I am human, but what I can do is be so fearful of making mistakes that I live a life that is not true to what I claim I believe. I believe that Jesus was dead and He rose on the third day..meaning not even DEATH..can stop Him. He is unstoppable. And when we accept Him we are endowed with that same power because HE is in us. How awesome is God that He is so willing to share His love and power with us! He is incredible.

Now that I have decided to really trust Him I’ve decided to do two things: 1) I entered into a relationship. It has been almost four years since anyone could claim me as their girlfriend. I have been so fearful of being open emotionally that I kept every dude at a “safe” distance..but my boyfriend has been extremely patient and has been my really good friend for almost six years. So he knows all my quirks LOL and surprisingly he’s still into me 🙂 But from this situation I’ve learned that fear will stop you from moving forward even with something that you really want to do..something your heart desires and longs for. Who am I not to go after every single dream and desire that God has placed in me??? The second thing I have decided to do, write my vision for my life..the life that I have always wanted but been afraid to go after. When this life is done, I don’t want anything left on this plate. I want people to say I glorified God and lived my life completely pored out. I want to be completely empty of myself and filled with Christ before this life is over.

God is a God of overflow, abundance. The sooner we walk in that Truth the closer and more intimate our relationship with the Father becomes.

Steadfastly trusting,

Renee`

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Stay encouraged

For the past few days, I’ve been a little down. The doctor put me on bed rest for the next few days. I was in a terrible accident on Friday. I hydroplaned into a 34 foot embankment and hit a tree. I thank God that He saved my life. I was hoping that after going through such a terrible event, life would get better now. But it hasn’t. I am still faced with the same problems I had before my accident. It seems as though my life is where it it was when I first decided to start this radical journey. Sometimes, it feels like its worse and becomes unbearable to continue. Being on bed rest irks me on so many levels. If you know me, you know I am always on the go. I always have something to do. My mother and Grandmas always tell me I’m a busy body and need to sit still. I didn’t know it then, but maybe God has been telling me that but I refuse to listen. I don’t know what to do with myself when I am still. I promise it feels like I’m going crazy…. Like I am missing something out there. For the almost a year, I felt like I haven’t moved any. I started to feel sad when I decided to revisit my rad seven goals. I have already accomplished 2 of my goals. I created a project to support a cause I believed in, “Hoodies for Trayvon.” This young man’s life was cut short because a man supposedly thought he was up to no good. Another goal I have accomplished was keeping a design portfolio. I have my own website: beylewphotography.com. Plus I am currently in the process of reading the entire Old Testament. I started 1 Samuel the other day. It feels good to know that I am progressing in my journey. Whenever you feel like you are not moving, ask God to show you how far you have come. I would also create a rad7 list. It is amazing to see how God works when you present your desires to Him. I feel very encouraged today and I give all the glory, honor, and praise to Him.

Feeling blessed,
Bey

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Nike Faith

Last week both my sister and I had high hopes for a week that fleshed out to be nothing like we planned. I was on top of the world on Tuesday after a glowing review from my bosses after an evaluation. The next morning I woke up in a great deal of pain and that lasted until late Saturday night. My sister, a journalist is in India for two weeks and generally has a jam packed schedule but it is working within an even tighter timeframe. Not speaking the language, not being familiar with her surroundings and being exhausted from all the hustle and bustle has only added to her frustration.

On Saturday night we skyped for the first time since I saw her a week before when she laid over in the city before her flight to India. We were both in somewhat sour moods but still excited to talk to each other. My sister is my absolute best friend. We are extremely close and there is never a day that we do not communicate in some way, shape, or form. She is smart, insightful and supportive. So I am particularly saddened when she is having a rough day. Both of us go into immediate “cheer up” mode when the other person is down and always instruct each other to activate the faith muscle, get praise in high gear and seek after God with every fiber that you have. We get serious. We get matter of fact; we brainstorm and come up with a game plan for how we will block the devil. Since I was feeling better, we were working on my sister’s plan of attack. After talking for a while I left her with these parting words “I know it’s hard to do, but JUST DO IT.” I told her that focusing on the positives when you are surrounded by negatives is difficult but it’s doable, you just have to do it. The alternative is wallowing and being even less productive and motivated to pull yourself out of the “funk”. I told her like the Nike slogan says: just do it. I told her you have to have some Nike Faith!

The next day (Sunday) I woke up feeling a lot better so I decided to go online to see if my sister was online. She immediately called me when I logged into Skype and with sheer excitement she screams “Go look at your Facebook wall, Gem you have to see the picture I posted) the picture below was what my sister saw after she left church that morning. She told me that she had taken out her camera to take a picture of the sign of the cross and when she looked at the image afterward she realized that the Nike sign was right next to it! She said she knew it was a sign from God confirming that our conversation was no accident. She said that a peace came over her and the worry was gone. We were shouting and praising his name so thankful that when you are determined to chase after him even when you barely have the energy, he will reward you. He never fails. I will say it again. MY GOD NEVER FAILS. I encourage you to have some Nike Faith.

One day at a time,

Gem

Image

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In Its Natural State

Hair. Our Crowning Glory. It comes in many textures, colors, varieties, shapes and sizes. In the African American community, the hair talks currently involves moving away from using relaxers and wearing hair in its natural state. I, Danielle, have decided to go back to my roots per se (hehe). I’ve only had a relaxer for about 7 years, I was natural until my senior year in high school. My oldest sister put a relaxer in and Iwas so excited. I think I saw rainbows and unicorns. I went to college and my first roommate and best friend Trice started doing my hair and she really transformed my hair and showed me the greatness of a relaxer–The Rollerwrap.

As much as I have enjoyed my relaxer experience, I’ve always dealt with a major downfall– I was dependent on  someone doing my hair. This is one of the major reasons, I’ve decided to forgo using relaxers. I wanted to start being more indenpendent when it comes to doing my own hair. I’m not saying that I don’t want anyone else in my hair; I just want to be able to know that I can.

How is this related to my walk with Christ, you may ask? There have been so many times in my life that I’ve been afraid to venture, already seeing the mistakes before I even make the first step. Going natural has allowed me to make mistakes (hair gone awry, wearing a beanie to cover up…  lol), but trying again, hoping that the next time will be a success. That’s what our walk with Christ is all about– Going through trials and errors even failures sometimes but refusing to give up. I’m not sure if I will continue on this natural hair journey but if nothing  else, I can say I tried and I put my best hair forward. :-).

On the subject of trying again,  I wanted to share a recipe for camp stew. The first time I had camp stew, was when I worked at the assisted living facility. It is so delicious. It has a sweet tangy taste and it’s very quick to make.

Camp Stew (Yields 6 servings)

1.5 cup frozen whole Kernel corn

1 cup chicken stock (Such as Swanson)

2 Tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 can of tomato soup/sauce

1 (14.5 oz) no salt-added diced tomatoes

1 (15.25 oz) medium size green lima beans, rinsed & drained

2 teaspoons of hot sauce (optional)

2 Chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)–put whatever seasons you would like, I used Lawry’s Nature Seasonsings

Prep

1. Combine first 7 ingredients and hot sauce if desired, in a large Dutch oven or pot. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes.

2. While soup simmers, shred chicken to measure 3.5 cups; add chicken to soup. Cook for 3 minutes.

Still Pushing,

Danielle G.

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Dread~Audrey

In honor of National Kidney Month, I want to take this month to share my experience with kidney disease and faith in hopes that other kidney patients will know they are not alone and that God still walks beside us.

 

Dread- Verb- to fear greatly; be in extreme apprehension of

Noun- Great fear, especially in the face of impending evil

 

There is a film I enjoy based on the Clive Barker short story called “Dread.” This R-rated film focuses on the psychological aspects of dread and our biggest fear. I enjoyed the psychological aspects of this movie and story and what dread can do to people. I also had some trouble understanding it because, though I am scared of things, there wasn’t anything I dreaded. Until last year.

Last August, I participated in my third kidney walk. The proceeds from the walk go to Alabama Kidney patients and, before I need assistance from the Alabama Kidney Foundation, I am trying to pay it forward. Most years my closest friends walk with me. But this year they couldn’t go, and I chose to walk alone because this was so important to me.

The walk was great as usual. I bopped around the track with my ipod, enjoying the lovely day and the free goodies that generous companies donated. I participated in raffles and auctions and just had a good time.

I was very intrigued by a demonstration they had planned to do later in the morning. So I made sure to stop by the booth of the at home dialysis machine. It allows you to hook yourself up to it and night and have dialysis while you sleep. Sounds like the best solution to dialysis doesn’t it?

But as I watched, I could feel dread tingling in my toes, creeping up my legs, tightening my chest. It had suddenly occurred to me that I would have one of those machines one day (if I could afford it). I would need dialysis. I would hook those tubes up like they did to the demonstration bag. My fingers trembled; my head spun; my mouth went dry. As they were about to turn on the machine I had to walk away.

It is one thing to have the idea that you will need dialysis in twenty years, but a whole other thing to see that in front of you and imagine your own body hooked to that machine. Writing about that feeling brings tears to my eyes and makes my heart race, but I have tried to get that fear under control, because the dialysis machine will be the thing that saves my life.

“Dread” refers to “facing the beast” and that through facing the beast we can overcome our fears. While it didn’t work out well for the cast of the story or book, I think facing the beast has truly opened my eyes. I won’t be blindsided by the dialysis machine in twenty years, but I know it will frighten me. But I pray to God for strength everyday. I know he is giving that to me, because I don’t have that same sinking feeling of dread that I had that day. I know when the time comes I will be even more brave. Because God will be beside me and then the beast will tremble in fear.

 

Kidney Facts: 75,000 patients are waiting for a kidney transplant.

                       More than 375,000 American need dialysis or a transplant to stay alive

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Peace ~Venus

Just wanted to share a devotional I got today. Enjoy! ~Venus

Prime Time With God Devotional

 

Today’s Prayer

Dear God, Please help me to adjust my life to you. I pray for wisdom and boldness to do what is right. Show me the way, whether I need to change jobs, make new friends, break bad habits, or whatever the case. Make me aware of how I need to change and adjust, so that I will be pleasing to you and will receive the blessings you have in store for me. May you be glorified in all I do. With thanksgiving and praise, amen.


Peace-A Weapon Against Satan
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
03-24-2012

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” – Psalm 23:4a KJV

In the battles of the workplace, your peace is actually a weapon. The workplace creates many opportunities to rob us of our peace. Cash flow concerns, deadlines, relationships – all create stress on us. Your confidence in the God of peace declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. You see the first step toward having spiritual authority over the adversary is having peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the devil, he did not confront satan with His emotions or in fear. Knowing that the devil was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any voice other than God’s. His peace overwhelmed satan; His authority then shattered the lie, which sent demons fleeing.

There is a place of walking with God where you simply fear no evil. David faced a lion, a bear, and a giant. In this Psalm he stood in the “shadow of death” itself, yet he “feared no evil.” David’s trust was in the Lord. He said, “…for Thou art with me.” Because God is with you, every adversity you face will unfold in victory as you maintain your faith in God! David continued, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Ps. 23:5a). The battle you are in will soon become a meal for you, an experience that will nourish and build you up spiritually. Only God’s peace will quell your fleshly reactions in battle. The source of God’s peace is God Himself. If fear has been knocking at your door, begin to face that fear with God’s peace. It is God’s secret weapon to destroy fear.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

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