Archive for September, 2013

Burdens & Blessings~Audrey

I have spent a lot of time being sick. In fact this year has been an emotional roller coaster of emotional and physical wellbeing. I had two aunts die; my mother was in the hospital; I was admitted as well and am still in the throes of being diagnosed.  Those who have kept up with my “Dire Straits” posts know that I have been shipped around by doctors and I had a hard time finding someone who would listen. Finally, a friend called into a favor at UAB. In less than a week, I was in with a doctor in the Rheumatology department. The doctor was very responsive and looked at my entire health history. He even looked at my original kidney biopsy that was done four years ago! Now that’s what I call service!

1235024_571018516297268_1044836334_nFrom both my symptoms and the results of my kidney biopsy, he was lead to believe that I might have lupus. More tests were run. I swear I don’t have any blood left! IO would know in two weeks what happened. Within that time, I woke up with no feelings in my feet or hands again. We called UAB and they set me up for another appointment; this was in response both to the flare up and the fact that I needed yet more tests done. We had yet to find where my autoimmune decencies were.

This led to a spiral of depression. I hurt, I can’t sleep, and I don’t feel good. I am emotionally tired. How much more testing do I need? What if it’s something more than lupus, something rare with treatments in testing? It all finally sunk in. My life will change no matter what happens. We can manage symptoms but flare ups are guaranteed and I will hurt like this again. I’ve cried over this in the last few days. But I’m ready to get back on the happy track. The best way? To explore how these burdens have given me blessings.

On Labor Day weekend, my boyfriend and I had planned a trip to Atlanta for my first Dragon Con. Dragon Con is a convention for the fans of science fiction, fantasy, television, comics, movies, etc. It spans five different buildings and six city blocks. Tens of thousands of people come dressed in costume to attend panels by stars, fans, and creators. Autographs and photo opportunities are abounding. People set up shop and nerds spend lots of money on cool geeky stuff. It sounded like an adventure and a chance for me to fan girl out.

So months and months ago, after Wizard World New Orleans, he said he wanted to take me and I agreed with excitement. I purchased my tickets, he booked a hotel room away from the hub of people, and I took time off work. Then came Memorial Day weekend, the start of a long, difficult struggle with my health.  We had to reevaluate our trip. I was determined not to miss it. I rented a scooter (I can walk for long distances or stand for long periods of time), and he found out how to acquire disabilities services.

Our first night was a bit troublesome. We had rented a room at a bed and breakfast and were sharing that room with one of his friends to save costs. They had no elevator to where the rooms with two beds were, and I couldn’t go up the stairs. We had to get a ground room with one bed. The person at the front desk was nice but said it would have been helpful to know about the wheelchair when we booked. I explained, with wet eyes, that my condition had worsened and we didn’t know we would need it. The front desk made the room magically appear. My boyfriend’s friend had no problem sleeping in the “sitting area”; he had plenty of blankets and space. That was blessings one and two.

The Dragon Con staff was nice and helpful. They assisted in registration and getting me set up with a wheelchair sticker which denoted I needed special seating for ambulatory assistant vehicle. They even got me a sticker to write my emergency contact on in case something was to happen to me when I was separated from my boyfriend. Friday was hard. I was taught good manners so I was trying to be nice but people were being rude about letting me get through or walking in front of my scooter. I was tired and cranky (being in a new place the night before had made it hard to sleep). I went to The Walking Dead panel, and my pass worked like it should. Because I was first in the wheel chair line (I still went an hour before to wait as is appropriate), I got a good view of the stage. But the cast didn’t show up. Then, on our way to the next event, my scooter broke down. I was just so upset and tired and unhappy that I cried. I thought I had made the biggest mistake.

But God was just teaching me. Showing me a burden and then showing me the blessings. I got good sleep that night and was hooked up a new, working scooter. I decided that I would quite being “nice” and just run over people who rude to me. I went to the Warehouse 13 panels, bought gifts for my friends and got autographs from Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Eddie McClintock.

Being in the scooter became a blessing. As long as I got to the lines in time, I got priority seating that was in good view of the panels. The Walk of Fame (where you get celebrity autographs) was not set up very well for vehicles so the Dragon Con staff worked with everyone politely letting me goes to the front of the line. The celebrities were so nice. Tahmoh Penikett was an angel thanking me for coming out and supporting him. It kept me out of the worst crowds and gave me a break from being on my feet that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The staff at the various hotels was just as great. They let me use freight elevators and helped me navigate some of the worst crows.1238268_721366559824_442214907_n

It also caused some sweet confusion at the Photo Ops. I had order a photo opportunity with Tahmoh and Eliza Dusk because Dollhouse was one of my favorite shows. Miracle Laurie was also their and doing photos but I could not afford the group photo. I was the first one in line for Tahmoh/Eliza, and when I wheeled in, no one told Miracle she was done. In fact she, Eliza and Tahmoh went out of their way to help and support me as I rose to stand for my photo (I was really hurting that day). Tahmoh even held my hand and helped me get back in the chair. He thanked me again and squeezed my hand. It was amazing to be treated that nicely by people who get treated like royalty and I was especially lucky to get a three people photo for the price of two.

I was really lucky. For every rude persona there were three nice ones. I was able to get closer to the panels than I would have if I can’t have mobility issues. I had a boyfriend that cared for me and fought for me when the need was. It took an adventure to realize that even though we have burdens, God has buries blessing in them.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Why Did I Get Married- Renee`

                    Proverbs 31

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

I have been married now for almost eight months, sometimes I still cannot believe I am married, other times I can’t remember my life before I allowed my heart to love my husband. Through my marriage God has been really pulling somethings out of me..mostly..ME lol things that need to be removed before He can truly have reign over my life. Being married..being accountable to another person has been the greatest & hardest thing I have ever in my life committed to do. Fortunately for me, God did not allow me to marry a clone; I married someone not my complete opposite but some one that for sure sees and does things differently than I would/do. This has allowed for some pretty interesting discussions to say the least lol *Remember one of my goals is to be a Proverbs 31 Woman*

God started tugging on my heart this week and asking me to answer the question of why I got married. It’s easy to say I got married because I love Darren (which is truth), but is there something even deeper than expressing my feelings of love for my husband? Why did I truly say..from this day forward just you and me kid? I saw him as a wonderful father, attentive boyfriend, and respectful son to his parents..while all those things are wonderful (and in my case very needed and necessary) those are all reasons that are about him and not me. As a woman, why did I want to become a wife..not what do I want or desire in a partner became my new quest. When I looked on the surface most of my reasons were about my needs, but what about my ministry? Yes ministry, as a wife I have a duty to protect my husband’s heart; to represent God’s love to him even when I feel a “certain kind of way”. If I focus on the external reasons for marrying him..I will always feel left out, because what if one day he has a hard day at work and isn’t so attentive (remember that’s one of the things I listed as a need) will I still choose to uphold the banner of love and respect..or will I hold onto a grudge? The more I focus on another person’s actions ( abuse excluded) it can be hard for me to love like I need to love. God commands us to love the unloveable; if I can’t begin to walk in this Word in my home..my walk is a fraud. I can’t be kind to those outside my home and war with my husband (who is actually now a part of me). So I decided to really see what God says about marriage.

While researching love, marriage and God’s plan for wives; God lead me to a really cool website and and even more touching article: http://abiblicalmarriage.com/why-i-choose-to-respect-my-husband-even-when-he-doesnt-deserve-it/

It really was eye-opening for me especially the ten suggestions on how to respect your husband. My favorite suggestion was number one:

  1. Be more concerned with your walk with the Lord, rather than your husband’s.  You are his wife, not his Holy Spirit.

This was something I read in the book Power of a Praying Wife (which I did not finish) and I just couldn’t completely get passed this…if I am hurting or upset how can I not look at the actions of who hurt me? What I am learning is one I know my husband’s heart and he would never do anything to purposely hurt or harm me. Two, the very millisecond I take my eyes off of God and try to mold my husband into MY image…I make him and idol and I discredit God’s handiwork. My only job is to be faithful and remember my First Love and Husband: GOD

Isaiah 54:5

New International Version (NIV)

5 For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.

So, now I am focused on doing things that would please my Heavenly Husband..which in turn will bring good and not harm to my Earthly husband.

Peace and love

Renee`

, , , , , ,

2 Comments

Year 3- *Gem*

I have decided to take a different approach to my goals for year 3. I am working towards 7 prayer goals. My HIS Renee let me borrow (so I think I may have stolen it now since I’ve had it for exactly a year now!!!)  a book called Seven Prayers that will change your life forever by Stormie Omartian. I would like to use those 7 prayers as my goals and guidance in my prayer life for the next year. My overall goal in general is to strengthen my faith so that it doesn’t matter what is on my list of milestones…. big or small….short term or long term….I want to be able to trust God so much that I am confident that I can truly do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. The seven prayers are as follows:

1. The prayer of CONFESSION- This prayer goal will help me hold myself accountable for my sins. God sees all and knows all but it is important to take responsibility for our actions knowing that we had a choice. Further, it is equally important for me to let God know that I recognize that my behavior was not Christ like and I need his mercy and guidance to walk a better walk.

2. The prayer of SALVATION– This prayer goal will serve as a reminder that Jesus already paid the price so that I can live the life I have and in place of my sorrows he will give me joy, in place of heartache he will give me wholeness, in place of guilt and condemnation he will give me peace. (So when I complain about feeling guilty…please say “Gem did you pray a prayer of salvation today?) The prayer of salvation brings so many things: releases us from guilt, brings peace and abundant life, brings entry into the kingdom of God and brings God’s mercy and grace.

3.The prayer of RELEASE– This prayer goal simple put encompasses the phrase “Let go and Let God”- As a continually reformed neurotic control freak this is probably the hardest thing to do. Although I have gotten better at it I want to amp up my releasing prayers. I can control myself, not other people, not their choices , nor their thoughts or behaviors. That is God’s work and not mine. release…release….release….

4. The prayer of SUBMISSION– This prayer goal is one that can bring such incredible peace. God’s will is HIS will and have experienced it two ways…when I was still and let God work in only the way he can work and I’ve also experienced having a problem, analyzing it to death, doing cartwheels, jumping jacks and breakdances trying to find a solution and then crying all night and finally saying God ,please help me….let’s just say the latter is sooooo not worth it. If you give it to God he will work it out. Submission = peace (even if it wasn’t your plan) The secret is….God’s plan is always better. (I am still learning this)

5. The prayer of PRAISE– This prayer goal is to help me stay focused on what I have and not on what I want or don’t have. It will also help me to continue to live in the present. I have started a gratitude journal and everynight before I go to bed I write down 5 things that I am thankful for. It has helped tremendously with regards to keeping a positive mindsight. Some days I am thankful for my eyelashes and fingernails but before I lay my head on the pillow I am thanking God for something. Praising God just makes you feel good and it reminds you of how awesome God is and what wonderful things he does. This is a feel good goal.

6. The prayer of PROMISE– This prayer goal gives me something to stand on when/if I am feeling down. God is not a man that he shall lie. There are many many promises in the bible and they are for all of us and if we meditate on them we will remember that God wants us to live a life of joy. So if you are worried about being miserable. Grab your bible…he does not promise you that you will be miserable forever and ever and ever…joy is out there, it will come, he promised it.

7.The prayer of BLESSING– This prayer goal for me is linked to the power of thoughts and words. If anything comes out of my mouth I pray that it calls forth blessings for me and everyone else that I come in contact with and so on and so on and cause a ripple effect. Thanks to Joel Osteen I have been “Believing and Declaring” up a storm and I would like to keep that up. At times it may be silly to believe and declare that Dillard’s will have an extra 30% off sale but I don’t care , I am believing and declaring for everything positive to come my way. When you are blessed you can bless others and this is always a good thing. For good health, healthy relationships, and prosperity, I believe and declare this for myself….and for YOU.

I hope that you will join me in praying without ceasing every chance that you get 🙂

YEAR 3….LEH-GO!

One day at a time,

Gem

4 Comments

In Your Face **Danielle**

I haven’t been reading my bible like I’m supposed to. I know that and God knows that. For some reason, he keeps me around (grateful). Sunday morning, I decided to begin my morning, reading a book my Rad7 sister Renee gave me for Christmas 2012 ( I know..it has taken me long time to crack it open). It is called Made to Crave- Satisfying Your Deepest Desires with God, not Food by Lysa Terkeurst. **It is prayer to have my reflections on this book in the next coming blog posts. When reading the introduction and Chapter 1, Lysa shared three ways  Satan tries to lure us away from Loving God : 1. Cravings of the sinful man 2. The lust of his eyes 3. Boasting of what he has or does. She then goes on to illustrate how Jesus was tempted by Satan, Matthew 4 1-11:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.]

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Cravings: Satan appealed to Jesus’ physical craving for food.

Lust of the eyes: The devil promised Jesus entire kingdoms if he would bow down to the god of materialism.

Boasting: The enemy enticed Jesus to prove his significance by forcing God to command angels to save him.

What I thought was so empowering was that whenever the devil tried to tempt Jesus, Jesus came back to him with scriptures. He was confident in those words. Fast forward  a couple of hours, I went to my first church visit. It was a local Church of Christ, literally less than 2 miles from my home. They were very welcoming. The pastor’s message dealt with how to use the word of God. The main scripture was Ephesians 6:10.17:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

What was different and I found that I liked was that the pastor scripture jumped. He didn’t stick with the main scripture that he started with: he showed several supporting scriptures of how the word of God has been used and should be used. Examples included: 2 Timothy 2:15, Hebrews 4:12, Jeremiah 23:29, and wouldn’t you know it, one of the scriptures that he Jumped to? MATTHEW 4:1-11 I see you! God wants us to seek him, to search him. He wants us to know his word and his truth. He decided to show me some thing that I would later hear again and be able to put it in my brain and incorporate in my spiritual mindset. I sat in the church, amazed of God’s glory and grace. Sometimes, It just takes a morning reading to help you realize that God is listening and he is still there.

Still Pushing with my reading glasses on,

Danielle

,

3 Comments

Year 3 ****Pam****

I am more than ready to move on to the year 3 goals. I have learned things this year that I did not expect to or want to. That is plenty of motivation to move forward and leave last year in the dust. Everyone has times like that in life that moves us to change and grow. Sometimes growing is just painful. The positive things that have shown through all of last year’s crap, are what I need to keep in my life. I am trying to weed the negativity out because it only hinders my progress. Here are the new goals.

1. Take better care of my physical health by keeping up with my own doctor appointments.

2. Be joyful about something every day.

3. Have fun time with my kids.

4. Go running or do yoga on a regular basis.

5. Meditate on small sections of scripture.

6. Let go of unnecessary guilt.

7. Sleep an average of at least 6 hours a night.

Here’s hoping year 3 will teach me new things and lead me in the direction God wants me to go. Peace and Love, Pam

5 Comments

Done and Done- Year 2….it’s been real. *Gem*

Wow ! Made it through an unbelievable 2nd year and I have come out feeling blessed and grateful. (and sleepy) .My blogging was not the best this past radical year but I am pleased with the ways I challenged myself and have high hopes for Rad7 Year 3. Here’s a summary of my goals and progress made.

Learn to cook ten meals– Halfway through the Rad year this goal changed to “eat healthier.” I decided that I wanted to incorporate fruits and vegetables into my diet and stay away from anything fried , foods with white flour and continue to keep my sweet intake at a minimum. Currently I eat fruit at least twice a day and I have vegetables with either lunch or dinner or both. I am currently obsessed with cucumbers, bell peppers, watermelon, pineapples, grapes and plantains and I am delighted to announce that they have taken the place of bread, chips and cookies!!!

Decrease Debt/Increase savings– This goal went nowhere. Sad face. I am not poorer but I am not richer either. I am thankfully working and paying bills pretty much the same way and continuing to be my thrifty self. Thankfully I am close to a career move that will significantly raise my income and I hope to arrive at that place within the next few months! This is definitely a goal that I will recycle.

 Find a home church– Total success. This is probably the most important goal in the world for me. I desperately wanted to find somewhere that I could fellowship ,receive the word and just be connected to things that help me feel positive and enriched. I found that place that I can call home. I took a very long time to actually get the nerve to go to church and there were a few failed attempts. I remember one night in particular about 3 months ago I took my clothes out the night before (which is something I never do- I pick my clothes out about at random after I take my morning shower with little thought ) and put the address of the church in my GPS only to wake up the next morning sick as ever. The devil was busy because he saw my preparation .I was so discouraged so I just went online on the church’s website and read everything that I had been reading for about a month. I eventually found the link to one of the  pastor ‘s  Facebook and began following her posts and one day a post screamed at me , it said “Don’t let anything keep you from church on Sunday that won’t keep you from work on Monday” and I decided that I didn’t care what happened when I woke up that morning , I was going to church. BEST DECISION EVER. I have attended almost every Sunday for the past 2-½ months and I have brought friends and family with me. I have even gone on Wednesday night after work ! I love love love….did I tell you LOVE my church.

Create a home office–  I turned the dining room area into a makeshift office. It doesn’t have bookshelves or anything fancy but the only things in the space are work related! This is not going to be a recycled goal because basically in the grand scheme of things…my office is wherever I end up doing paperwork and I have so much paperwork to do that I do paperwork everywhere and well…that’s about it . But for the most part if you glance over there in the corner you will see a desk and chair and my printer/scanner/faxer/copier and pictures on the walls, books, stacks of papers and other things that signify “this is where fun goes to die

Volunteer–  This is a goal that I did not prioritize. In the beginning I started looking online for something that I could do but I think that an efficient way to spend my time giving back could be connected to what I already do. I have tried whenever possible to do things for my clients or people I work with that are not necessarily things that I get paid for . In my mind it helps to know that if I can help , I will. In the mental health field there are so many ways to lend my time, skills and connection to resources to the community. I did not find somewhere to volunteer but I certainly tried my best and make the most of my time with my clients.

Meditate– I feel very successful with this goal. It has taken on new life for me with regards to making sure positive vibes are all around me. I have had to set strict boundaries to ensure I keep my peace. Peace is important to me because when I am stressed I become physically ill and it only starts a cycle of negativity and unhealthy thinking that I can’t afford to subject myself to. I have meditated in the formal sense. I have also consistently found bible verses and positive thoughts to  “meditate” on. Most importantly ,I am acutely aware that if I give too much airtime to something stressful it usually stresses me out further ,so I keep talking about stressful things to a minimum. So once I have aired it once or twice ,I sincerely try to give it to God and let it go and in return accept God’s peace and choose to meditate on something positive. This has helped my mental health soooooo much and I am a happier ,less anxious ,less neurotic person.

Overcome guilt– Definite improvement with this goal but still a work in progress. One of the biggest factors that contributed to my guilt was the repercussion of setting boundaries. I was afraid of upsetting people or feeling bad about not explaining myself to people and I have let some of that go. As I mentioned before ,peace is so important to me and taking care of your self does not mean that you are selfish. It’s important to do things and make decisions that ultimately make you happy and less stressed because truthfully , the best way to be available to people is at optimal health. The better you feel emotionally , the more emotionally available you are to the people in your life.

So that’s the wrap up folks!! I  am still living in the here and now and taking things one day at a time. Thanks for taking those steps with me.

Always….one day at a time,

Gem

3 Comments

Radioactive~Audrey

“I’m waking up to ash and dust,

I wipe my brown

And I sweat my rust.”

“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons

Last year, I decided to give each year a theme from a song. Last year was California 37 by Train, and I used it as a way to get on track with my spiritual path. This year it’s “Radioactive”; I have been changed for good by this journey and want to keep transforming. So follow me on my Year 3 journey.

1240128_721375307294_935820037_n

  1. 1. Accept and Learn to Live with my Diagnosis

Those who have been reading my blogs know that I have been dealing with health issues. It seems I may have an autoimmune disease. I want to take this stride and still live my life. I want to accept what I can’t change but make the most of my life. No lying down and whining for me. I will still be myself and accept the diagnosis as part of my self.

imagine dragons radioactive2. Forgiveness

I plan to truly work on forgiveness. It has been a struggle for me to forgive some people who have hurt me in my life. My goal is plan more effective strategies for forgiving as well as praying God to truly lift me of this burden. You’ll probably see some “amends” blog as I travel down this path.

163168_538596262964_1412821_n3. Crafts

I have been busy and sick and stressed. I have not had much drive to so anything fun. I have hardly done any crafts and crafting makes me happy. I am almost done with a scrapbook for Kelly’s son that just needs finishing touches if I would just do it. My goal is to work on one craft project each month and allow my creativity to shine. I have already succeeded for September: I created congratulations cards for all my R7 girls for completing Year 2. I am just much happier when I use my creativity.

4. gwen_30day_spa_bannerSpiritual Readings

I started a Psalms Summer Program this year and didn’t finish it. Like my crafts I want to pick back up with my daily readings and not just the devotional I get in my e-mail each day. My goal is to finish the Summer Psalms as well as read the 5 spiritual books I already own.

budget_pie5. Budget

This is recycled from last year. I completed half my money goal: I started a saving account. This year I plan to create a formal budget. I am already to doing an informal one: all my medical bills requiring dolling out small portions as well as my regular bills and everyday needs.

chickenpatience

6. Patience

I am an overachiever. I try hard, I learn quickly, I am open with my emotions, and I of above average intelligence. This is not meant to brag at all. I am putting you in my mind set. Because of these things, I tend to hold people to higher standards. I believe that because I can do things others can too. That is not fair to any. I am going to work on my patience with my boyfriend and dealing with his slow rate of expressing emotions. I am going to be patient with my friends who have their own way of showing their love. I will be patient with my co-workers as they learn more about their profession. I have to remember that people have their own talents, times lines, and special assets. They should all be celebrated.

7. Slow Down

I have to slow down. Being sick has shown me that my old way of living (go-go-go-go 200 percent) is not okay. I worry too much and stress out too much. I must take things at a slower pace and work on one thing at a time. I also mean literally slow down. I walk fast but my body can’t handle that. I need to rest more. So this year I will work on being healthy by not over doing it.

So there you go Radical readers! I’m ready for Year 3!

2 Comments