I love you

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Who Is Saying “I Love You”, to You?

Each of us in this life wants more than anything to be loved. We work for love. We strive for love. We make fools out of ourselves for love. We long to feel that love warming our hearts and souls. We strain our ears each day for just a whisper of those three glorious words: “I love you.”

What most of us don’t realize, however, is just how much God loves us. God is showing us and telling us how much He loves us everyday. When you see the sun rising over the mountains, feel the cool breeze kissing your face, and hear the sweet songs of birds blessing your ears that is God saying, “I love you.” When you see the adoring eyes of your dog looking up at you and feel the gentle brush of your cat against your hand that is God saying, “I love you.” When you hear music that uplifts your soul with joy and read words that make your heart and mind soar into the heavens that is God saying, “I love you.” When you hear the laughter of children playing and feel the warm hug of your own child against you that is God saying, “I love you.” When you have the loving support of your family and the wonderful kindness of your friends no matter what you are going through that is God saying, “I love you.” When you find your thoughts and feelings always leading you towards growth, learning, love, and joy that is God saying, “I love you.” When your life’s circumstances both good and bad help you to keep growing stronger, better, happier, and more loving each day that is God saying, “I love you.”

God is always telling you and showing you just how much He loves you. Don’t be afraid then to say, “I love you too God.” Don’t be afraid to live that love in your life either. Love God with everything you have and with everything you are. Love yourself, love your neighbor, and make this whole world your neighborhood. Always remember that God is love, that life is joy, and that we are one. And always listen for the million ways that God says, “I love you.”

Recovering From Lupus Flare Day 17

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Hello everyone, here I am in bed still but it isn’t a hospital bed, for that I am very grateful. Recovering from lupus flare or still in it is hard to say. I can usually tell the difference without endless labs, the human guinea pig we all feel like with each new drug “to try to see” if THIS one will work, or the hamster running on his spinning wheel happily..I’d be happy, elated to have my life back. All of this time gives me much to think about, would love to write about, but I don’t have the strength to write and each letter typed now hurts my badly swollen fingers.

I’m sure anyone that doesn’t know me will look at my picture & think, she looks tired but not seriously ill. Everyone else will see; my hair no longer full because half of it is now gone; the weight loss obvious in my face. The subtle signs only Lupies & Doctors see: swollen or puffy eyes means kidney issues still; the paleness of my skin underneath the red patches; how tired I am physically and every level. Tired & pain so agonizing you think to yourself as you cry yet again “I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t do this anymore”. Those thoughts of despair are normal but don’t make the flare disappear; they can harm your recovery..you have to keep your faith & hold on. Accept your circumstances & never stop believing you will push through. God works in mysterious ways, and the story below is one of my daily devotionals I receive in email. I was in a dark place until I read this email; upon completion, I was smiling brilliantly by mouth, heart, soul. I know many blessings are coming, one recent that has changed my life forever, never to be the same again, the smile on my face the joy of this miracle brings matching the one in my heart. Never give up; Hold on tight because your blessings are on the way. Enjoy the story! ~Jennifer~

Loaves and Fishes
“‘Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?’” (John 6:9 )Remember the heartwarming story of how Jesus took the loaves, broke them, multiplied the fish and gave everybody lots to eat with lots left over? Jesus even said, “Let nothing be wasted.” They gathered baskets full of bread so nothing would be thrown away. I think about that story when I watch a Christian go through tough times yet hang on to God’s grace. Maybe you’re one of them. Day-to-day heartache is your routine and problems seem to have a permanent place in God’s plan for you. Yet you’re faithful –or should I say, you hold onto God’s faithfulness. What God is doing with you is like what He did with the barley loaves and fish. Jesus broke the bread. And out of the brokenness He multiplied the blessing so that thousands would be nourished. Yes, it hurts to be broken. But sometimes that’s part of His plan, especially if He wants to use you to feed others. It’s a way your faithfulness can be multiplied. Out of your brokenness, the blessing can be bestowed on more than you ever dreamed possible. And here’s the thing: If you’ve been broken by the hand of God, you can be certain nothing will be wasted. God will gather up and use all the hurt; not a bit of it will be discarded or cast aside.

That little boy with the small loaves and fish must have been amazed to watch Jesus do such marvelous things through his little lunch. Be sure that God knows what little you have to offer. Is it a bit of obedience? God will multiply it. Is it a weak prayer? A small word of testimony? A feeble effort to encourage others in their pain? I promise you (no, He promises you) that He will expand your offering. It will not be wasted.

Prayer: Brokenness is something You know all about, Jesus, for Your body was broken for me. Today remind me of how close You are to me in my brokenness and soothe my heart with Your nearness. Multiply the blessing to many through me. Blessings, Joniand Friends http://www.joniandfriends.org

I Surrender All

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Millions suffer daily fighting all diseases. Some are “invisible” like mine is with Lupus, because if you saw me you’d have no idea the war being battled inside my body as I’ve heard endless times “But you don’t LOOK sick!”..no, I don’t, unless you see me on a day where my joints are so stiff I’m walking like Frankenstein, swollen joints all hidden by clothing with the exception of my hands. You can’t tell that my shower drain is clogged with clumps of hair every time I wash it. You can’t see the adhesions that are throughout my entire abdomen on the inside, wrapping themselves around & attaching to my bowel, liver, kidneys. You can’t see the scarring throughout my liver and left kidney or the level of inflammation throughout my system, but it’s all there.

Those closest to me that have walked this journey with me, supported me, can hear immediately in my one word Hello upon answering the phone that I’m not having a “good” day. The most frustrating part of these invisible diseases is the not knowing how you’re going to feel from one day to the next, even one hour to the next. You have to learn, plan every detail based on your level of strength for that day especially during a flare. It is challenging to say the least, but my Faith & my personality don’t allow me to stay down for long, which is a Blessing I receive constantly throughout every day.
How do you get to this mindset? The image above sums it up perfectly…

SURRENDER. I surrender All, arms outstretched, wide open, heart, mind, body & soul in complete alignment as one. Surrendering does not mean giving up or losing hope. It means you make the conscious choice to let everything go: the mistakes, the failures, the bad memories, the sadness, the heartache..anything that is negative so you can open yourself to all that is good, remember the beautiful & keep it close to your heart like your favorite blanket on your bed tucked up underneath your chin on a cold winters’ night or the scent of cologne on your pillow giving you dreams of memories that are indelibly marked on your heart forever.

I learned how to do this long ago but since I’m a mere human I slip back into old mindsets, trying to control what is happening in my life, my body. It doesn’t work, ever. Thankfully, I learn from my mistakes easily, ask forgiveness when I’m wrong & forgive in kind. I have the ability to release the negative and focus on the positive, which makes a huge impact on my daily life. It takes practice to achieve this mindset of peace but once you feel that peace that warms your very soul you’ll decide immediately to maintain that peace because it gives you strength, security and love. I get that level of peace only through my faith & prayers.

Yes, I have an illness that’s made me a complicated patient to treat but this is a complicated disease. I know from experience when I need a spiritual tune-up because my body tells me so. I may not listen all the time right away but I do listen, and I feel the physical shifting of energy that is occurring at a strong level right now, pushing me toward the lightness I keep in my soul. The Light of Love, my core being, my Divine purpose for living. The words “I am Love” keep popping into my head lately even while sleeping. That is my message to look within, reflect on recent words, actions or inactions and give myself an attitude adjustment. That act in itself alone is very freeing, healing.

2012 is coming to a close, a year overflowing with tremendous change, challenge, grief, growth and renewal. The Christmas break from school has given me the gift of precious time alone with my son for an unprecedented 10 consecutive days facing our first Christmas as a separated family, which was more painful than I’d thought it would be, nothing at all to do with Lupus, everything to do with continuing our new life together.

The painful moments brought us closer together, gave each new respect for each other, deepened our profound love for each other. We laughed louder, stayed up until the middle of the night just talking & being together. So many precious moments that make me want to freeze the clock to continue sharing this time.

Tomorrow will arrive, bringing our time together to an end as it’s his time to be with his Dad. My birthday is New Years’ Eve, the first as a single woman and the first birthday I’ll be without my family. I’ll be on my own, alone, but not lonely. It will feel strange I’m sure, but it’s my Birthday. What a year it’s been and I look forward to the year ahead with much hope, love, confidence and vision. I will indeed be celebrating myself on New Years’ Eve!

I envision many great things for my life; if you don’t think BIG, shoot for the stars with all you have, you will be continuously disappointed. I believe in second chances & give them; why not do the same for myself?  Our thoughts affect every aspect of our lives and I choose to not only believe but SEE myself healthy, healed and continuing to learn, grow, love. It will all happen because I Believe and See that it will.

Everything in life is based on love & circles back to love with every step forward, every stumble aside. Love is who I am, just one of my gifts but definitely the most influential as I am dedicated to helping others in whatever capacity I am led to do so. It’s time to surrender..

I Surrender to All.
Love,
~Jennifer~

The Mechanic from Mechanicsburg, PA Changed My Life

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D & S Auto, Simpson Ferry Rd., Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

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In my post “Thankful To Be Thankful” I promised to dedicate a post entirely to tell the incredible story of my car breaking down near the end of one of the single most trying weeks of my life. It happened almost 3 weeks ago on Thursday, November 15th, and this experience gave me the courage to face the unexpected heartbreak in my personal life that occurred later that same night. The story will restore your faith not only in humanity, but in the kindness of strangers wanting to help. We are so used to hearing about all the evil & bad in this world that we’ve become desensitized to another murder, another crime & forget that there are many good people living in this same world, right under your nose where you’re not looking.

If you go back and look at the dates of my posts thus far, I didn’t post a single entry from November 12 through November 20th..the longest, most trying days I’ve endured in a very long time. My last post was November 11th, “Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again”, the 2nd full day of conflict, confusion and inner turmoil that had me questioning everything I knew about my self and I had fought hard and long to achieve my independence, confidence, my sense of being complete & happy with my self long ago. The fact that I had unwittingly returned to my former mindset was not a place I wanted to be, but it was necessary apparently, says the Monday morning quarterback named Jennifer. There’s truth that for every step forward you get knocked 3 steps back occasionally; I believe this happens to remind you of the choice you have to make: take the temporary stumble backwards, learn from it & move on..or get stuck back where you used to be. I refuse to ever go back to where I used to be.

The troubles started to creep in a few days prior to Saturday, November 10th, the first day of a nightmare that I could not shake myself awake from because I was living it. I was being pulled in opposing directions from specific people in my life that was causing me to question my core being; what I really wanted, something I haven’t had to even entertain a thought about in a very long time. Feast or famine it appeared, & I really had little patience for this “game” as I don’t consider myself a participant of the mental games of life. I am an open book, easily read, brutally honest at times. I would rather be told the truth about anything than know instinctively that’s not happening. I didn’t like that mindset then & I wanted no part in any of this now or ever again, but there I was, stuck in the mire yet again. Although I had transformed myself mentally, emotionally, spiritually & physically, stress takes a toll on us all. I was physically tired, had multiple worries & that is usually a recipe for disaster for me as it is for everyone. It’s why we are human.

My biggest worry every day is my car. A 1993 Dodge Intrepid I named Bessie long ago, because she was a lemon I ignorantly drove off the lot long before the “Lemon law” of buying a car with known problems came into being.

Bessie is so old she has a cassette tape player, a cigarette lighter that can’t be used to charge your cell phone & a temper all her own. She starts when she wants to; she loses all power WHILE I’M DRIVING if she’s in a really bad mood; doesn’t like the air conditioner running in the summer or the heat/defroster in the winter. Bessie really hates cold weather, & I have to start her up at least 40 minutes prior to leaving every morning, wasting gas & praying she’s in a good enough mood to not stall while I’m driving Noah to school, our teeth chattering from lack of heat and it’s only November!

I know Bessie as intimately as I know myself. I know how to change tires, fill the various fluid reservoirs, check the oil, change the air filter & windshield wipers. I know when I have to drop her down to 3rd gear to prevent a stall & how to control her without power steering when she does stall. She’s an automatic but my very first car was a 5-speed & and I know how to handle this car.

I also recognize each particular odor that tells me a problem is imminent. I’d been smelling the familiar aroma that 8 different mechanics in the Philadelphia area could never completely fix but cost a minimum $600 to pass the annual inspection. I filed it away mentally to check the antifreeze but with everything that had transpired from Saturday, November 10 forward, I kept forgetting to check the reservoir.

It’s now Thursday, November 15. I hadn’t slept in many days & every fiber of my being was on high alert. My “fight or flight” hormones at the highest level ever as I fought my way through each day, Wednesday the day that had my very soul iced over in fear that I could not give in to as a Mother. I’ve had more than one brush with death and I tell you it’s not scary at all; it’s warm, peaceful, the knowledge that there will be no more pain, illness or exhaustion. I am not afraid of dying but I’ve never been more afraid, helpless in how to help my son that entire day & that fear kept me on watch that entire night. Close watch, in a town we’ve lived in just over a year without knowing the people to call locally for help with this situation. It’s private, something you share with your closest, tightest circle of support but only after the crisis has passed; in this situation I knew I had to face this straight on, myself, as a Mom. I had never felt more alone or scared in my entire life but relying on my survival skills, Faith & deep love for my son, there was nothing I wouldn’t do to get him through this intact. Nothing.

Thursday arrives, I start-up Bessie to take Noah to the bus stop this time. It was bitter cold, & every window had thick patches of frost covering them..Bessie refused to defrost. I get to the bus stop, notice the temperature gauge is pegged at “H” for Hot, smoke curling through the hood & that aroma gagging me. I knew from similar times that I had to get to the nearest mechanic before the engine caught on fire, which happened once, or the engine block cracked; either way I could not be without a car. Noah wished me luck & I floored Bessie while driving with my head out the window to see, forgetting I’m in my pajamas, a lightweight coat & hadn’t taken my morning meds let alone my first cup of coffee!

I remembered the above pictured garage just blocks from my house because I’m a frequent flyer of the mini-mart next door. I pulled in on 2 wheels, smoke everywhere & shut her off completely right in front of the mini marts’ front door.

I walk in, oblivious to my appearance & asked the gentleman at the register for help, an amputee of one leg named Barry, a lovely older gentleman that always has a smile on his face. He informed me that “Dan” the owner of D & S Auto right next door would not only help me but is considered, by word of mouth, to be the best, most honest mechanic in this town ironically named Mechanicsburg.

I walked over, walked into the shop & met Dan himself. We went back to Bessie, hood up & began looking her over. I look up minutes later, there are customers from the store surrounding the open hood, men of various ages talking about my dilemma, along with Barry, everyone obviously good buddies and drinking their coffee.
I was numb both from the cold, the car but mostly numb on the inside, paralyzed with fear & running on automatic.

The guys dispersed, Dan went to get tools & antifreeze & I didn’t realize I was standing alone, in my pajamas, in public during the morning rush hour on a heavily travelled road. I don’t know how long I stood there; I was completely dazed, exhausted yet wired, now wondering how much this bill was going to be & how I was going to pay it. I had no idea how I must have looked to passers-by and it wasn’t even on my radar of caring.

One person pulled into the parking lot & asked if I needed help; I thanked him & said I was getting help. I thought that was really nice, because had I been back in suburban Philadelphia I would’ve been walking home by then.

Another person does the same; & the longer I stood there, the more people stopped to make sure I was ok. I was in shock how many people chose to stop their trip to work to see if a stranger needed help & how genuinely nice every single person was! Those acts of kindness woke me up, began to thaw the ice around my heart just as Dan returned with one of his guys to get my car over to the shop & told me to go get warm in the office.

I walk in, sit down & am greeted by 4 Rottweilers that Dan rescued, tails wagging furiously as they maneuvered each other to get their turn to give me doggie kisses…I was in love! Jasper, 14 years old, got most of my attention because he was so loving himself and very polite. He waited his turn to be petted & hugged, looking into my eyes with sad eyes of his own. I swear that dog sensed the storm of emotions I was holding in and he didn’t want to leave my side.

Time passes. I’m watching the revolving door of customers come & go, all men of different ages, all well-known & heartily welcomed by Dan, his staff & dogs now back behind the counter. Dan introduced each customer to me & told them all my story, that I’m a single Mom new to the area and didn’t really know anybody yet.
Dan & I had plenty of time to share our stories with each other, about divorce, the kids, the sleepless nights & inability to eat. Dan knew the town I came from well since he’d just left the same area to relocate to this town named Mechanicsburg 3 years ago to open up this very shop. I found myself telling Dan everything because I knew he understood, he lived it & has a new life now.

I started getting antsy as time passed & another mechanic left for yet another part needed to fix my car. I’m guessing from the parts & labor alone I’m looking at a $300 minimum repair bill & started my mental switching around of bills coming due. I started getting a headache & decided whatever the amount turns out to be, I’ll find a way to pay it.

The bell on the door to the waiting area began dinging with increasing frequency, disrupting my calculations. Each time the bell rang it was a customer I’d met earlier returning to check on me & make sure I was ok. Speechless is what I became, a rarity for me but speechless I was indeed.

I was given coffee, candy, snacks & bottles of water. I was given pieces of paper with phone numbers & the names of their wives who had already been contacted by these gentlemen & were waiting to hear from me. Can you imagine that this actually happened? An entire town opening their hearts & homes to my son & I, complete strangers? I thought I was dreaming. The ice around my heart began a swift melt, the water forming in my eyes as I filled up with tears, huge lump in my throat, with each continued heart opening to ease the aching pain in mine. Never in my life had I witnessed such an outpouring of love & support, let alone be the recipient of it.

A man named Jim came back to give me packages of homemade candy that his wife Kathie makes from their home & sells in local stores. I looked up at him & blurted out, “I’m the one that’s been wiping out the supply of peanut butter fudge all summer next door!”, not believing the connection. Jim said “My wife & I know what it’s like to fall on hard times. You & your son need support. From this moment on the two of you are now part of our family; you’ll never be alone here again & we would like to have you both over for dinner, please call her”.

Dumbfounded, tears streaming silently down my face I still couldn’t talk. I stood up, gave him a big hug & managed a “thank you, I will call her” as he left & I sat back down completely blown away, starting at the familiar label on the chocolate that is still my secret treat for myself.

Dan the Mechanic from Mechanicsburg saw the parade of kindness of course & told me my car was ready. Bracing myself for the $300, he told me my bill was $67. I knew that couldn’t be possible but before I could say anything, Dan informed me he made some calls on my behalf & my bill was paid in full by an anonymous donor. I became a blubbering, sobbing mess, covered my face with both hands & just cried. The tears of total exhaustion, fear, stress from the days prior I had been unable to even think about shedding came out in a flood of overwhelming disbelief at how all of these complete strangers helped me.

I finally found the strength in my legs to stand up to go to the counter to get my keys from Dan. I couldn’t stop crying as I tried to thank him when he said words I’ll never forget: “Jennifer, it’s obvious that you’ve given much to this world to help others..now it’s your turn to receive the help you & your son need. Don’t refuse the help from pride; if you need anything, you now have your own family here to call. You’re going to be just fine”…and handed me my keys. How did he know that about me? What made him say that, I wondered?

I drove Bessie home with the heat blasting on my frozen toes, in awe at how well my car was running. I pulled in front of my house, turned off the ignition and stared with new eyes at my neighborhood. This was no longer a place to live with my son on our own; we suddenly inherited a big, loving family from complete strangers & Dan the mechanic finally made Mechanicsburg my true home town.
Gratefully,
~Jennifer~

Emotions In Motion

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It’s a common “fact” in society: women are such emotional creatures! We aren’t doctors, lawyers, engineers, any job description because we live our lives by emotion enhanced by the dreaded force of the female anatomy called hormones. Everybody agrees, men & women alike: men joke & complain about their wives to each other that they dread going home because “it’s that time of the month”, nudge nudge, wink wink, as if they have any idea what that experience is actually like, month after month until the next phase of life called peri-menopause and menopause hits, or as in my case, a hysterectomy in my mid 30′s. There are different types of hysterectomies however, & I was fortunate to keep my ovaries.  Women even use their hormones as a reason for everything..as I said, it is a common “fact”, right”?

Wrong. All humans are emotional, both male & female. Society for a long time conditioned the male to the strong, silent, no tears permitted or the showing of emotion, whereas it’s expected that females cry at the drop of a hat or fly off the handle in a fit of rage. Thankfully, times have changed and parents like myself are teaching their children that feeling all of your emotions is not only normal, it’s healthy,  and showing those emotions, especially tears, is not only acceptable it should in fact be encouraged, especially when raising sons.

My son, Noah, cannot stand to see me cry for any reason. He knows me so well, if something on tv is sentimental, he immediately looks at me & groans, “Oh, there she goes again!” and I then start giggling as I wipe my eyes. He is my only child, my living miracle and we are making our way together through the end of my marriage to his father, a new school year, his official entry into the world of being a teenager, puberty & the many changes we’ve been through since his father moved out. It has not been easy, it’s been hell. Challenge after challenge, constant change instead of a familiar, reassuring schedule, fear, uncertainty, anger…and the shedding of many, many tears by us both.

My marriage had been over for years but actually taking the steps to officially break up your family is not something on the top of your To-Do list, especially when you are the one who has made the decision to end the marriage; you are the one lying wide awake all night, wondering how you’re going to get your child through this process intact, how you’re going to have to dig deeper within yourself for strength you never knew existed for the sake of your child. You are the one that tells your husband of 17 years, it’s time to end this. There are millions of reasons why so many marriages fail & for this post it’s not necessary to go down that road. Separation & divorce are very emotional events that don’t resolve themselves in a week; it is a journey and the journey is a roller-coaster of emotions.

I met my husband almost 21 years ago, both of us in our mid 20′s. I was the epitome of the traditional “emotional” female because I did not know myself well enough yet, had not matured enough yet, to understand that I could actually choose to NOT live by emotion. It is not an easy adaptation because as humans, there is an emotional action to every emotional reaction..we are all emotional creatures whether we want to admit it or not. It is scientifically proven that a newborn infant thrives from being held, a brand new human being totally dependent on its caregiver to provide the single emotion that binds us all..Love. When the newborn is deprived of love, they do not thrive. I find this to be true for all humans in my personal journey thus far of my life, from every person I’ve ever met. We are born to love, to touch, hug, give & receive affection, feel happiness, joy, sadness, anger, despair. We are wired to be emotional and when our emotional needs aren’t met, we start to slowly die from the inside out; it actually affects our physical health as well as our mental & spiritual health. Children not only need to be told they are loved, they need to feel they are loved by both physical affection of hugs & kisses to seeing their parents & family members express their love for one another in the same fashion. We are the examples of life, of love, of relationships to our children by what we show them in our daily living in our homes. Children are like sponges, soaking up every word, said & unsaid, every facial expression, body language, the atmosphere within the home. If our children do not witness a positive, healthy demonstrative environment of love, they will not know how to reach their full potential of giving & receiving love in their future relationships, whether in friendships or dating. The experiences of our childhood are the foundation in which all of our future actions are based, mostly subconsciously. It is imperative that what you present to the world is exactly what you live behind closed doors in your home.

It took me a long time to realize I did have a choice in how I wanted to really live my life. I wanted to stop living by emotion yet fully feel every emotion. I accomplished this by making a conscious choice to give myself a new “me”, and my faith as a Christian was & still is my saving grace to not have my entire life ruled by emotion. I can have a day where everything is going wrong: the alarm clock didn’t go off, car won’t start, forgot to put the garbage out..and instead of getting agitated and angry, I take a deep breath, look up to the sky, and let it go.There is not a single day that passes that I don’t laugh or smile at least one time no matter how I’m feeling; that’s just how I am. I can have a day where I am completely, entirely “emotional”, where out of the blue, a memory, a song, a smell, hits me like a freight train to the solar plexus, and I can do absolutely nothing BUT cry. It’s actually healing, cleansing to cry all of the toxic emotions you’ve been holding in for whatever reason.

I have achieved a level of inner peace, contentment & joy that I never thought possible; of pure happiness, hope, excitement every single day. It is truly an incredible way to live! Unfortunately, since I am human, and based on my life experiences & personality, feel things on a deeply personal level. Having this awareness of myself has brought great clarity in dealing with others, because how I feel listening to a particular song may not touch you on the same level; everyone is wired uniquely within themselves on how they feel, act & treat people. Feelings are very personal; nobody else can have your feelings for you & nobody else’s reasoning can make your feelings unreal for you. Feelings have a mind all their own; they can be pushed down or bottled up, but not turned off; at some point, those feeling will indeed emerge, and I’ve found that the best way to handle this is to strive to maintain my personal peace. If my peace begins to feel ragged, I know the choices I’m making are wrong & that I must take action immediately to rid my life of the person or situation that is stealing my peace. Feelings & emotions don’t come packaged in labeled boxes, they intertwine, shift, grow & recede, sometimes all at once.

These past few days I’ve run the gamut from experiencing complete & utter beauty that fully touched every inch of my soul, only to be replaced by sadness, loneliness, remembering the trauma & recovery of my own full stroke from my recent prayer request for my friends’ Dad, missing Noah, thinking about the upcoming holidays, our first where the time has to be divided, which I dread completely and although I did not WANT to cry, tried so hard NOT to cry, I HAD to cry. I made it through most of the weekend without crying & actually had a great weekend..there’s that faith & inner peace coming into play, that choice not to live by emotion. I was determined to fully enjoy my time this past weekend and I did…until Sunday night.

I couldn’t sleep because I was in both physical & emotional pain; remember, our minds & emotions are connected to our bodies and one affects the other & the effects of my recent hospitalization still haven’t completely healed. I was tired from a busy weekend, but once the lights are turned off for sleep, everything that I was holding in had me in turmoil the entire night. I couldn’t even write, that’s how upset I was, & I didn’t yet know what the next day had in store for me. I gave up on sleep, and went about my Monday as usual but I knew that if just one more thing occurred, if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to stop..and that is exactly what happened.

I made it through the appointed meeting that was the final straw for me intact on the outside, wrecked on the inside. I got in my car & cried the entire way home. I walked around my house, cleaning, doing dishes, laundry, taking a shower, crying the entire time. I went to bed, said my prayers and cried some more. I was alone; I didn’t have to worry that Noah would see me crying this hard, and I used the opportunity to cry it all out. Finally, I slept. I have my peace back wholly intact. I feel a bit bruised, raw, vulnerable, yet I feel better. My faith never wavers because God has never, ever let me down and I know He never will. I may feel lonely at times but I am never truly alone because God is always with me as He is with all of you. The miracles, the blessings, the sheer beauty of events have been increasingly abundant every day that passes. This motivates me to continue living my truth. We all have Emotions in Motion..when you allow yourself to really feel them all, it’s actually a humbling reminder of how precious every second is in our lives. It is even better when you share them, and I thank you for letting me share mine with you.

Peace,
~Jennifer~

MAY 2013 LUPUS AWARENESS MONTH

http://www.streetinsider.com/Press + Releases/Lupus+Foundation+of+America+Calls+on+the+Public+to+Take+Action+to+Expand+Medical+Research+on+Lupus/8293415.html
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THIS SITE IS OFFLINE

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I haven’t been blogging much lately, but I certainly won’t be today. We killed this bill last year; we have the power to do it again.

Go dark from all social media to STOP CISPA today. Protect what little privacy you have left.

~Jennifer~

The Marching of Time in March

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Well Hello everyone, it’s been ages since my last post and SO MUCH has happened during my absence, it would take forever trying to catch you up!

I’m still in a lupus “flare” mode, but adding a RA (rheumatoid arthritis) flare-up to the mix, with the icing on the cake (or salt into the gaping, bloody wound) is tearing the meniscus in my left knee weeks ago; oh what my medical insurance company has put me through would take many long posts & increase my now “new” high BP that is no longer controlled by the mix of blood pressure meds I’ve been on for 3 years..back to the guessing game of “Let’s Try This Prescription!” to lower my blood pressure by simultaneously increasing my co-pay for the new meds…I’ll take Pill #4 for $100 Alex! (Pretending to be a contestant on “Jeopardy”).

I can skip the long, mind-numbing details that will surely exhaust you, the reader, of this message of the NON-health care I’ve not been receiving by my insurance provider not because that story doesn’t BEG to be told, but to spare my arms the physical pain of typing this now..every morning I wake up wondering which body part (s ) are going to actually work or not, my left knee a constant source of severe pain & swelling, the injury causing my left hip to hurt as well since the knee buckles just from walking normally around my house.. I’ve been seeing my carpet from a new perspective, face first from falling, but am not a candidate for surgery although my MRI shows a significant tear & the entire knee is unstable…let’s leave it at that for now.

I look at the calendar in amazement..it’s surreal at best, realizing the blur of time marching on as it always does and here it is, the month of March & marching away time so swiftly. I’m fatigued beyond measure, hurt all over with my “normal” daily joint & muscular pain, but the knee keeps me up at night& I’m unable to sleep more than a few hours at a time. I think about all the basic things I need to do on a daily basis to be Mom & run this household, but am not supposed to be doing anything but stay off the knee.

I had no problem doing just that when I was in a straight-leg immobilizer, but as a single Mom, how am I supposed to be..Mom? Do laundry, go grocery shopping, cook, clean, chauffeur, keep up with a teen son, a dog?

I couldn’t. I had to face reality, admit I needed help, and after my dear friend Judy, also a single Mom with Lupus went out of her way with her own knee problems, to get here to take care of both my son, our dog Jack & myself, I had to send my son to his Dads’ for 16 days. I was completely incapacitated, on crutches, on pain medicine that only makes the pain tolerable and I could not put the burden of yet another medical crisis on my son. He’s been through enough in his 13 years, I will do whatever I have to do to spare him, no matter what the personal cost is to me. His Father & I have worked hard to be co-parents, and we changed the custody agreement to 50/50; one week with Dad, following week with me, an open-door of welcome anytime to the parent not having our son that week. Finally, a solution that works for all of us, but mostly for Noah, who really needed his Dad, and I get the rest I need under close guard of our new family member, a dachshund named Jack we rescued & I have completely spoiled rotten!

This past week I became Mom again;. I still can’t believe my son is now taller than me, has changed so much it’s difficult to wrap my head around. It was a rough week of adjusting to each other again, but I cherished every second. Last night, our final night for this week, we finally got back to our usual bedtime routine of watching hysterical videos he finds to share with me on YouTube from his iPod, laughing until our bellies hurt.

We stayed up late into the night, sleepiness finally overtaking us, me breathing in his freshly washed hair, my head resting on his shoulder, where not so long ago I was holding him in my arms, rocking him to sleep with his “night night” bottle, his chubby baby hand wrapped tightly around my pinky finger, big blue eyes staring into mine as I watched his beautiful face finally relax, long eyelashes fluttering closed, my heart a massive lump in my throat, bursting with love for this precious child I fought so hard to bring into this world, so grateful to be his Momma.

Last night I was filled to bursting with that very same love & gratitude as I gently kissed my now teenage son on his forehead, tucked him in with his favorite comforter that is now too small for his long frame, watching him drift off to sleep again. My heart was aching, knowing he’ll change again this week away from me, tears filling my eyes at the realization of just how quickly he’s growing up…but he’ll always be my baby. My one and only baby that’s growing into an amazing young adult.

I quietly left his room, making my way slowly to mine, when I heard a groggy voice say, “I love you, Mom”.

I love you too, my son, to the moon and back, always…
Time marches on.

~Jennifer~

Lupus Fatigue & Sleeping Through Life

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This is exactly how I feel, only my hair isn’t as colorful & clean since I can’t get out of bed long enough to shower or have the strength to take one. The mind-numbing, overwhelming level of exhaustion hit me like a freight train on Sunday, December 30, 2012 & here it is Thursday, January 3, 2013 already. 4 straight days I’ve been in my bedroom, sleeping so deeply I don’t even change positions. My only priorities during the short periods I’m awake & can physically get out of bed are taking care of basic hygiene; taking my meds & forcing myself to drink the minimum 3 liters of water daily to prevent my angry kidney from getting infected again.

There is no such thing as time, what day it is. I managed to get all the laundry downstairs on Sunday yet it’s still in the same place, the piles getting bigger daily as I change into clean pajamas, brush my teeth as I hang onto the sink to keep myself standing. Stumble back to bed, relief washing over me that I accomplished that much as my eyes immediately close and I once again sleep deeply for hours, alarm set to take my meds at the appointed time.

If you have Lupus you understand what I’m saying. If you’re loved one has Lupus, you understand as well. Most other people don’t understand, which is frustrating & sometimes hurtful to hear statements like “get over it”, “you’re depressed, here’s an antidepressant” or my favorite, “the more you sleep the more tired you feel”.

I can’t “get over it”, I’ve tried a million times & accepted that when this happens, my body is telling me to sleep for a reason. I am not depressed & do not need another pill thrown at me, although depression & Lupus is very common and the stigma of depression itself in the world still exists today. I don’t have the energy to feel any emotions quite frankly but I seek moments of laughter, smiles & love to sustain me. I manage a few prayers before slumber overtakes me again.

I am blessed to be able to sleep like this, knowing my son is safe with his Dad. They stopped over yesterday afternoon to bring me a container of food, knowing I’m not eating because waiting 5 minutes for the microwave to heat up anything is 5 minutes too long for me, but it was nice to see them both & I appreciated the meal.

It’s 11:45am right now; I’ve been awake for exactly 3 hours but it’s time to go back to sleep..I’m actually nodding off now trying to finish this. I have many beautiful birthday wishes on my FB I still haven’t had the strength to read, but just knowing they’re waiting for me is a lovely gift! I’m truly blessed to have so many loving friends!

Good night for now! I may not be posting much but I’m reading my fellow bloggers posts as they come in & I always lift every one of you up in prayer. Enjoy the beautiful sunshine!

Back to slumber,
~Jennifer~