Tag Archives: reading the Psalms

Carried in Love

“It happens every time,” I say in tears with a mouthful of a Fiber One bar. I take a drink of my re-heated coffee, then continue, “I do so well; then the week before my doctor appointments, I just don’t!” Of course, I also state in frustration that I think it’s a conspiracy. I am not sure what the case is (definitely not a conspiracy), but this situation does seem to happen most often around doctor appointments.  Maybe it’s just ironic.

This morning was like any other Sunday: a rush getting ready, downing a small breakfast amid hoping to leave on time, but still needing to put on my socks and boots. In my hurriedness coming out of my room, carrying my winter coat and boots, my right leg locks at the knee as I round the corner in which throws me off-balance. I tumble-down backwards, dropping everything and hit my head on the floor. My parents were still here, and within a minute of falling, Dad came to the hallway and assisted in picking me up off the floor.

Just a few days earlier, I spent a whole day conquering my file box! (Also termed: The Twilight Zone!) After hours of organizing and sorting, the results are rewarding. All that was left to accomplish was shredding a stack of old bank statements. Dad un-jammed my shredder and I started happily shredding away! As it starts to fill, the shredder gets a slower speed and makes noises (unknown to me.) Dad comes in and tries to tell me this, but I defend my shredder saying it is able to shred up to so many pages and that it is just full. Not really implying that I need help emptying the bin, Dad makes his way to help me anyway. Sitting on a stool, I start to stand to get out of his way, but result in slipping…knocking the stool over, I too stumble backwards. It was like a crash-landing. I have never hit the floor backwards so hard ever before, and in a moment, I was in the worst pain and instant tears. But Dad was there, and helped pick me up.

As he helped me get comfortable on the couch, I started to feel bad for bickering in justification the few minutes before the fall. Seemed so silly; and Dad finished shredding my papers. This morning, after finally getting my boots on, I realize that I probably shouldn’t drive in the snow that was piling down. I text Dad and tell him I am just going to stay put, safe and sound. “After all that,” I mumble as I go ahead and just brew a new pot of coffee. But I am glad I stayed. My morning readings brought me to ponder God’s unfailing Love, as I thought about my Dad having been by my side after each fall. Truth: Dad won’t always be there, but God is ever-present in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Missy [his daughter] could fall down and hurt herself, even if I’m walking right there beside her. That doesn’t mean that I allowed it to happen. She knows, as far as unconditional love, I’ll pick her up and I’ll carry her. I’ll try to heal her. I’ll cry when she cries. And I’ll rejoice when she is well. In all the moments of my life, God has been right there beside me. The truth of God’s love is not that he allows bad things to happen. It’s His promise that he’ll be there with us when they do.

–Clark’s response to Marty’s question: Why does God allows bad things to happen to decent people?

Love Comes Softly. 2003. Based on the book by Janette Oke.

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It’s like lab work…Part I

If you have ever had important medicines where labs are required before you can proceed with anything medical then this post would be like the lab work. Maybe I spent too many hours in doctor appointments yesterday or maybe it is because I have somewhat neglected to keep you all informed of current physical conditions, but to understand yesterday and the current future course of actions then you need to understand the lab work of what has brought me to this point.

So here it is: Part I

I wrote at the beginning of the month about my May MRI/hearing test results, a list of things physically changing in my body and the fact that I had an option for a chemo treatment. Over the course of the month, here is an inside scoop of a few important decisions and observations that lead up to yesterday’s appointments.

First, it was no easy decision about the chemo treatments. Yes, I had an absolute peace that doctor’s appointment, but when I returned home, I was forced to face reality and the fear of the reality that my body is indeed winding down faster than my hopes, I lost sight of the peace that God was in complete control. I felt like this heavy cloud was over me..like the fear that I would make a wrong decision. I was just confused even though I was seeking God with my whole heart.

Do what the Lord bids you, where he bids you, as he bids you, as long as he bids you, and do it at once. —C.H. Spurgeon

Between different songs coming to mind (Michael W. Smith’s “Someday” (Set the Children Free), passages of Scripture (Psalm 90, emphasis verse 12), talking with my parents and the C.H. Spurgeon’s quote, I came to the decision that I would start the chemo treatments. Not implying that God has given me this time to “be sick,” but that I have the time right now to try. I knew deep inside that if I got to the next MRI without at least trying, then I would hold guilt on myself (even though I shouldn’t). I also had to come to realize that this is still something that is purely trial run. The hope is that it stops tumor growth, but it could not work any at all too. Neither myself or my doctors have any control of that.

My decision made, I emailed my doctors and we started communicating about different things. I also told them that I would not want to start anything until after my parents returned from their trip to Colorado. That leads us to this week.

Like any other appointment, I have to evaluate myself and make a list of any new physical changes noticed or questions I may have. Even though I was just at Children’s three weeks ago, I had a list of new physical changes which is a bit saddening, because it means that the something is still going on inside my brain area. Because I won’t have an MRI for another 2 months, I can’t assume tumors are growing but they are obviously putting pressure or something as my body is showing change, especially on the right side.

Changes I have noticed have been complete numbness in my right hand and up my arm. (I will blog more on my right arm later). There has also been an increase of pressure in my neck, so I feel my posture has decreased again even with keeping up with my PT exercises. I also have had an increase of pressure in the lower spine. I can feel it as well as I notice it in the way that I stand and the added pressure on my intestines. My balance seems about the same in normal walking situations but may have a bit more troubles as the most frustrating recent change being losing hearing in my right ear. Usually a few small decibel is not that noticeable, but I just got my hearing aid adjusted two weeks ago and already noticed that I was having a hard time hearing. And even if I did not notice, others had because the first thing a few friends and my doctor pointed out was my voice being strained (I do this when I can’t “hear” myself speak.)

As all this came together, I took my list and my questions to my doctor appointment yesterday. My lab work on my behalf was complete, but I was in for more when I got there…

Continues in Part II.

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“Awaiting a Cup of Coffee” and other ramblings…

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It’s like waiting for a cup of coffee.

And while I feel like I sit around waiting for the brew button to shut off, I am finding that the cup of coffee comes with preparation. I wake in the morning and come to the kitchen. Lights turn on and the cupboard to the stash opens. I place in the filter and measure the fine grind coffee, often adding an extra pinch for a strong cup. I add water, push the start button and watch the coffee begin. The smell enters my nose. I get excited as I pull out a mug, the creamers, the spoon to stir. Then I wait.

Most days, I feel like I too am just sitting around waiting for the signal to turn off so I can grab my cup and go. Do something meaningful, something big. But God is showing me that while I wait for His timing on a job, there is work to do. There is preparation. I need to let go of my expectations, impatience, doubts that form in my limitations.

Then it happened. This morning the light came on and the door to my heart opened. I filtered my thoughts and measured the cost of saying “Yes, I will wait for the Lord.”  I added in His promises and watched the day begin. And in seeking Him, the sweet aroma of peace started to fill my body.

And I wait.

Psalm 40:1-5, 16-17 ESV

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told…

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

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Green.

I was not very hungry, but decided I should eat something. Seems like most Sunday evenings a bowl of cereal does indeed suffice for dinner. I did not want cereal, but something. I remembered I had avocados in the refrigerator. An avocado with sea salt. My cousin really is a genius. She recommended the combination. Simply delicious! I usually don’t have a hard time cutting the avocados or getting the contents out, but today was different. At one point, the avocado flies out of my hand and rolls down the countertop. If I was bowling, I could have claimed a strike. My avocado landed precisely in a cup full of water in the sink. Soggy avocado. At least the outside was, but the inside was still good. Fresh. Sprinkled Drowned with sea salt. Ripe olive-green.

I have been thinking about the color green lately. Now that the winter days are almost over, I can see highlights of green starting to grow in the grass. Nothing huge, but there is green. It is not fully brown like it once was. Spring is green. Growth, new life.

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Green is a blend, a mixture of strong blue and soft yellow. It’s personalities resemble both primary colors. Green is energizing…green is active. Green is for everyday purposes: “Ready,” “Go.” You cannot just sit and watch a garden toil on its own…you must work the soil. Planting, weeding, watering, yielding the crops.  It is culture, deed, tasteful, nurturing, becoming.

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Yet green is passive. It “fills in the spaces,” like a floral arrangement. It is not claiming glory as the rest of the flowers in their boldness, and yet without the filled green–it would blemish. I often find myself relating to this green…the background green. I am not the bold green, a natural-born leader. I lead behind a leader. I love the background details…the things that seem insignificant, yet I notice them. Green is pastoral, harmonious, tranquil.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

Psalm 23:1-3 ESV

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Green is everywhere. What do you see in the color green?

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I have decided.

Hi everyone. Just wanted to give you a quick note this morning before I head out for the day. I have to go down to the Liberty Children’s campus (about an hour drive) to get some lab work done and then my MRI is at 4pm. So this will be another long day, but needs to be done. I actually fall soundly asleep during my MRI’s so I really can just look forward to a few hours nap. 🙂

I have made my decision about whether or not to have the surgery to remove the clot/see if a stent is needed. I really struggled with my decision. My darkest fear is being put to sleep…bad experience from the last surgery to place my medi-port in caused this. I talked with my family Saturday night and was really honest with them. I think too I was still not understanding how the anatomy and procedure works, so I got a more clear understanding on that as well. But I still had to decide.

As I got in bed, I made a list of pros and cons and did some thinking. In the morning while I was doing my devotions God kept bringing me back to Psalm 4:8, “In peace, I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” I looked at my list of pros and cons. If I truly did have more pros than cons, and if the fear was the only thing holding me back…I figured that was pretty lame. God gave me an overwhelming peace about my decision. Through the course of the day–discussing more things with my family…calling my sister and thinking of things ahead, I see now that this is a good thing. There are many positive aspects of doing the surgery and so being now at peace, I am ready.

I do not have a date yet, but it will most likely be at the end of this week. I will keep you all posted. Thank you for your prayers this weekend about my decision. Please continue to pray for my family as this is a lot for them too and quite frankly–we are exhausted.

May all your expectations be frustrated.
May all your plans be thwarted.
May all your desires be withered into nothingness.
That you may experience the powerlessness and the poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

*Prayer over Henri Nouwen by mentor.

More to come…

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