Long Hauls and a Pause

via Daily Prompt: Pause

Today is the pause before heading back to “normal” life. For the last 12 days I have been traveling, packing, unpacking, planning, presenting, exhibiting, or preparing. Tonight I get to pause before completing my itinerary and returning home. Driving from Michigan to the Washington D.C. area and presenting and exhibiting there was the first portion of this ordeal. It went well, if hectic. My dad came along as my driver, thankfully –as I’d had vertigo again for about two months and many of us were concerned about me holding up doing all this stuff. We got back in time for me to reset before readying and heading on planes to Vancouver to present and exhibit there. We booked me an appointment with my LymeStop doc in Idaho while on my way home from Vancouver. Hence the pause. I flew into Seattle last night, got out of the city, stayed somewhere in the mountains, and drove the rest of the way across Washington (the state is much easier to drive than D.C.! ..but there I was back on Interstate 90…) to land in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho today. Ahhh… something familiar (same hotel as the last two trips here -they have a reduced rate for patients!01c2bd39fae9a326e124efeb1921e5839a5e4f5e18). I knew that in all this busy-ness and working I had to just survive to today, and I’d be OK. I made it! Ironically, the vertigo died down about a week before I left for the trip East. I have had some bouts with it, though, including one just yesterday morning. I’m still so thankful to see the doctor tomorrow. And especially for time for a nap today. Ultimate pause.

East to West — D.C. (USA) to B.C. (Cananda) and back home again. Whew. That aught to placate wanderlust for a while. Mountain views have certainly filled a tank in me. Alleghenies, the Coast Range, Cascades, and Rockies. Ahhhh… drink them in…

and then I’ll go home and savor the hugs of my family for a good loooooooong time!

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Loaners and weak spots

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I’ve been driving a loaner vehicle for the last week. After posting “drive” this seemed a good follow-up, because this loaner has taught me a few things:

  1. It is not the vehicle of my choosing. I don’t pick the color, make, model, specs or accessories. I get what I get (and don’t pitch a fit).
  2. (Maybe this should be number 1) It is a gift, a privilege. I am so thankful for it, or I wouldn’t be going much of anywhere.
  3. It has things about it that bother me; it does not feel “at home” to me. Yet, I cannot alter it or try to get too comfortable with it, as it is not mine.
  4. I will have to return it in at least the state I received it in -I signed a form saying I  would care for it as if it were my own.
  5. Our earthly bodies are “loaner vehicles”.

Seriously though, God gives us these “earthly tents” as the apostle Paul calls them in his letters to Rome and Corinth, as a temporary dwelling till we get to our sweet ride in heaven. They aren’t ours, but His property. He loans them to us, paid for by our Jesus Christ insurance plan. Sometimes we don’t like what we get -the make, model, size, shape, specs, accessories. Some things we notice we’d like to change, we wonder why it was made that way; it’s not how we would design our vehicle. But we do make alterations, and get “at home” in these loaners. Some people to extremes, changing not only hair color, tan, or shape, but even going so far as to surgically change the make and model.

It makes me sad when I catch stories of people who feel they were “born in the wrong body” -and yet, doesn’t everyone think that at some point, at some level? We dislike the weak spots we see in our own appearance, build, or system. We’d rather not admit those are ours. Oddly, it is our own pride that spurs these ideas, our thinking that we could do better, that our idea of beauty, completeness and perfection is better than God’s design for creation. We see weakness and “wrong” where God has planted an opportunity for dependence, trust, growth, allowing others to support us, and more. All of these things are part of this world due to sin, yes, and His perfect will eradicates every blemish for heavenly perfection one day, as it was originally designed to be. Meanwhile, here we are.

I find myself facing a weakness I thought I’d conquered. (Yeah, you know how that goes.) My head is spinning again, and floating, falling, all of those sensations as strong as they were when my battle with Lyme was at its worst. Questions bubble: Is it a permanent weakness in my system due to the Lyme, and damage it caused? Did I just overdo things? How do I know how much is overdoing it? How long will this last? How do I plan now, if this is part of things..and for how long? Is this just the enemy trying to hold me back? Is the Lord showing me something? Fatigue sets in. Feelings of being overwhelmed. Decisions weigh so heavily. What was that about trust, dependence and all that?

It’s days like this I would love to trade in this loaner for “my real” ride. But, like the car in the driveway, while mine is still in the shop, it is not time yet. So, I must use what I’ve got. For now. And ask my Creator, Provider, Savior and Adviser how to proceed, driving around with His logo on me, honoring His business in the way I handle this vehicle.

Drive

On the road again…it’s so great to be on the road again… I can still hear Willy Nelson singin’ that song in my head. And it was so great to be on a road trip to the mountains -my home- with my kids on Christmas day. Having been there and come home, and getting back into “real life” again I’ve realized a couple of things.

  1. Mountain air and that blue-blue sky have filled my tank. I have been renewed and refreshed. I long for the day I return to them again. But, home is not there. Home is where my husband is (who could not come on this trip).
  2. Drive…that’s what I had when I was sick. I had drive to be well. Drive for health. Now that I have attained healing from my chronic illness, I do not have that same drive. I have “lost my muchness” in a way.
  3. On the road of life, as my son’s psychologist put it yesterday, we have three brains that can be “driving our car” -survival, feeling, and thinking. We want the thinking brain to be driving as much of the time as possible. Huh. I had been in survival and feeling for a long time, in my illness. I’m glad to be able to think again. I’m easily awed by all the things there are to think.

Now I have a question: Where do I go from here? (OK, one more): Is this sense that a change is in the air just me finding myself again after my illness, or is there a change coming? Only the Lord knows. And that is a good thing.

Proverbs 16:3,9
Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established…In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

A year gone by

It is nearly Christmas, and the end of a year full of changes. I actually get to participate this year in festivities! I’ve been to my kids’ Christmas Program at school (a first for all of us ..a Christian School actually celebrates Christmas), and made cookies (GF and SF). Went shopping. Yep. Still hate that. Wrapped presents. Making paper snow flakes, even. Maybe I did some of this last year, with the help of others. I don’t remember. I vaguely remember getting really sick from IV medications, and stopping them around  the end of the year. I can’t really recall the last three Christmases, actually. I’m so thankful Lymestop was God’s way of healing our family of Lyme!

I pray for each and every Lymee out there who still suffers, and trudges through each day, and hopes the next treatment phase will help more than this one.

I pray for any who suffer and wonder why, who have trouble greeting each new morning. While in my sickness, I was blessed with the task of writing a Bible Study session on Living with Pain. (See more about it here). In doing so, I found such comfort in the truth that pain of any kind never has to be pointless. We ask God to use it, and He will. He will make good things happen in the midst of it. Teach us. Show us His love and mercy. Bring others into our lives, through whom He truly works miracles in our hearts.

As I’ve had a nasty headcold for the past week, we have easily remembered what it’s like to do life “with mom being sick”. Someone told me yesterday “I hope you are better by Christmas -it’s no fun being sick for the Holidays” and all I could think was “I’m used to it”. But not this year, Praise my Healer!  I just keep reminding myself that it is only a cold, it will pass.

This week hearing holiday favorites, our family realized all our Christmases will be white..we’re the Whites!

And on that note, my prayer for anyone reading this (and for myself!) is this:

That the Messiah shows Himself alive in you, and that life grows and brings about wonderful mysteries and adventures that thrill your heart and bless everyone you encounter.

the push-me pull-you, cast iron and coconut oil

Dr. Doolittle will always be in my brain naming the odd creature the “push-me pull-you” so matter-of-factly. While Lyme disease for a long time pulled me down, while family and supports pulled me up, or along, I was grateful. Now, as life is rolling once again, the directions have scattered and expanded. And when I’m not careful, fatigue and lack of rest set in and pull me back into symptoms. God be praised I learned that quickly! Now, by His grace, may I implement the sacred times of Sabbath. Rest. Nothingness for my brain and body.

In other news, coconut oil and cast iron are two winners of the “best things I learned about while sick” award. Heavy enough to knock out a horse, but worth their weight, my cast iron pans have proven themselves above the “non-stick” pans, even the new fandagled healthy ones. Plus they are just cool. And indestructible (always a bonus with a klutz like me). And coconut oil remains a staple in my baking (instead of shortening or butter), cooking (in the pan, for greasing with, on toast…), and remedies (homemade vapor-rub, deoderant, lip balm, lotion…) and makes me happy.

So there we go, I hope to have Thanksgiving week be full of rest, and I look forward to having time to cook on my cast iron, with my coconut oil -they fix everything, right?. And hopefully gain some insight and focus so that this next season is less reactive and more following with purpose the passions and pursuits God instills in me. It’s a trick I’d forgotten: this ability or organize a busy life. And there’s one I’ve never been good at: keeping the lines drawn for what is most important, and maintaining boundaries so that time is not stolen from that. I had thought I learned it well while sick, as my energy units were precious and few. I was good at it then –and priorities were clearer. Being busy means sorting out a lot more going on in the brain and out in the world! How do you “normal, healthy people” keep it up?!?!? I think I need more coconut oil….

 

Who Cares

Posts are fewer now, and farther between. Mostly for great reasons: namely, that I no longer have much to say about Lyme disease’s effect on me! Lymestop seems to have lived up to it’s name and stopped it in me, my husband, and my kids. Also, because I have been so busy with other things in life that I haven’t had time to post. How awesome is that!?!

If you’re reading this, you are one of those magical people in my world who cares. Thank you. ❤  Now that I am out among people every day again, I see how many people do not care, or think about, the gift of health or how fragile it is.

Last week we visited a church –yes, that’s right, we are going to church again! Commotion, noise, lights, socializing and all! The journey to find a church home is just as complex as the journey to find wellness from illness. So victory has new meaning once again. Praising God for the choices in our area, while trying to discern what we need, where we can fit and contribute and grow,  is more challenging than we realized. At this church the pastor mentioned how we humans are not durable. That is, we are not ever-lasting. We will one day cease to be beautiful, and functional. We lose our physical strength and and ability to be productive, as well as what the world considers aesthetic beauty. This brought to my mind my post on my favorite attributes of objects: Durability, Functionality, and Beauty. How fresh in my history is the tale of me losing those attributes! Yet already, daily, I expect them of myself again, and of others (and of things) around me. I get so frustrated when my expectations are not met. I fall into the trap of the temporary:  think of it as permanent, because it is the now. Like a cat, I do not think about past or future. Or at least, my thoughts are consumed with the now and I do not have room for thoughts of past or future. It is healthy, to a degree, to focus on the now, so as not to be consumed by regret or over-analysis of the past, and also not to be consumed by worry for the future. But it too needs put in check.

I sense the need to put it in check -it is what is keeping me up tonight, and writing rather than sleeping! I need to take time to process, to pray, and to plan. To step out of the present and it’s activities and to-do lists and demands. To reflect. To dream. Or I might just lose my victory, though I may have conquered my case of Lyme.

For that reason, I am so grateful for the truth in this simple Proverb: We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go.

Feeling: Precarious

Dizzy off and on, again. arches-national-park04That feeling that I could easily tip, topple over. The ground beneath isn’t always steady. I knew the feeling so well as soon as I felt it. Then I tried really hard not to think much about it. Then began to admit it was happening, told a few people, and both my primary doctor and the doctor in Idaho. Got some blood-work done, and an answer from Lymestop. Dizziness is normal in the detox process. Common. Eating clean is my number one defense against any symptoms right now, keeping detox pathways clear.

This would make sense for the stomach aches our whole family has experienced, and the extra aches my husband has again –we got too free with our foods too quickly. Lesson learned! Detox is a long process, dead Lyme bacteria and gunk will take time to cleanse from. So, dialing back toward the detox diet we go.

Meanwhile, I’m realizing that precarious is precisely the word for feeling. A feeling is real, true enough. But is a real feeling, not a real experience. I feel the ground lurch beneath my feet. But it doesn’t. Recent conversations over emotionally tough situations clarified to me just how precarious it is to feel something so strongly. Reality is perceived askew: words are heard and meaning is placed on them far beyond their speaker’s intent, movements and actions or in-actions are imbued with motives. The tricky bit is that very few of us can simply stop feeling for the sake of living only in reality (and I don’t think I could trust those who can or d0). We have to somehow acknowledge and live with what we feel, while also acknowledging what is and wisely maneuvering through them both. I suppose that is part of why fasting with prayer is so effectual, as it causes us to purposefully acknowledge the feeling of discomfort and direct the hunger toward prayer instead of satisfaction and the end of the discomfort. It teaches us to maneuver feeling.

Be very careful, then, how you live -not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. -Apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:16-18) I continue to learn to be more careful in how I live (Lyme may be dead but healing still takes time!). I want to be wise, to make the most of every opportunity. Every meal. Every conversation. Every time I discipline a child or spend a dollar or hear someone speak or type a word. When the Lord’s will is fully accomplished, that is, He is glorified in all the earth, we will even feel it. Until then, feeling will be in the position of being easily toppled and constantly requiring balance: precarious.