Glacier National Park 2010

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Broken Road

It has been another week....I had two good...well, tolerable days...then I got hit with something like the flu. I know it wasn't the real flu because I had my flu shot earlier in the month....isn't that how it works? You get a flu shot so you don't get the flu....right? But I had flu-like symptoms and they made me miserable...I'm still "running a temperature" as we say here in the South...and I do not feel like eating....makes me nauseous to think about it! In fact....

My Southern Living magazine arrived and any good Southerner knows about all the amazing recipes contained therein.  I couldn't even look at my magazine and usually I read it cover to cover the day it arrives...turning page corners down as I go so I'll know what recipes I want to save. There was none of that today....and probably won't be for several days. And it is the Thanksgiving issue!!! Sigh...

I was listening to the radio this afternoon and heard that song, "The Broken Road." And it touched something inside me in a way it has never done before. It made me think of all the things that have happened in my life over the past few years....and especially the past six months....and I felt the song contained a wonderful truth in the lyric, "God, bless the broken road that brought me straight to You."
Because it wasn't the smooth road that brought me into God's was a road filled with pot holes and buckled with bumps and cracks. 

So I'm thankful for all the pain....physical, mental and emotional.....that I've experienced. Each one brought me closer to my God. It is hard to remember that truth sometime, especially when things are really tough and I have no strength left.....but anything, any experience, whether sorrowful or joyful, that makes my relationship with my God a closer one actually should be considered a blessing....and I'm going to do my best to remember that.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wow....Just Wow!

I have to take a moment to share the most amazing experience! As you know, the past few weeks have been such a struggle for me.....and at times I have been terribly overwhelmed by, well, I guess you could say, life in general.

Yesterday I went to work even though it was difficult in the extreme.  Since Friday is assessment day for the students, my job would not take as much out of me as usual.  Most of the people I work with are very aware of my health issues and always try to be as accommodating as possible.....for which I am always grateful. Throughout the day yesterday, if I was not needed in my regular classrooms I went to help in the guidance office.

Our counselor is a caring and loving individual and sometimes she is pulled in a multitude of directions so her day to day duties....paperwork, filing, shredding.....sometimes pile up. I was giving her a hand with the shredding when the most wonderful thing happened!

She had to leave her office to direct a rewards event for 70 of our students who'd earned a "Popcorn and a Movie" party because they had reached the fund raising goal for our I was alone in her office shredding a huge box full of old folders and papers.

Because the noise of the shredder can be very loud and irritating after a while, I decided to put in my earphones and listen to some music on Pandora......which I am able to do on the phone I unexpectedly had to buy. I was listening to my "Chris Tomlin Station" singing along under my breath....I wasn't really thinking about it but of course the lyrics were ministering to my heart, when something wonderful happened!

I cannot tell you today which song was playing when it happened....but suddenly I felt enveloped in a soft warm embrace and I was no longer just sitting in an empty classroom doing a mindless hands were raised in praise and the words I was singing were directed to the Heart of God and nothing else mattered! And I felt no pain...none...all I sensed was the pure, unblemished love of God filling me up body and soul. The songs changed I'm sure but I was aware of nothing but that Loving Presence.

Not sure how long it lasted because I was unaware of time until the bell rang and I found myself sitting in that chair in front of the shredder with papers clutched in my hand. At least ten minutes passed before I was able to stand and clean up my work area.....and the whole time I kept thinking....Wow....just wow. 

My normal bearable pain is still with me but for that pocket of time yesterday I felt nothing but the wonder, the joy, the peace that being totally in God's Presence brings. And I know that one day when my time here on this earthly plain is complete that is the feeling I will experience for eternity.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Camel's Back....Part Two

Where to begin? Let's just pick up where we left off at the end of my last post because the craziness continues. No...I think I need to back up a bit because when I started thinking about EVERYTHING which has transpired through this saga.....I started laughing....yep, laughing! When you look at it all lined up it's just funny.

Those who've been following this blog a while know that I had thyroid surgery several months ago which requires me to take thyroid hormone replacement meds.....and you'll also remember that the pharmacy chain I use made a huge mistake when issuing those meds......what I didn't mention was this.....after the big pharmacy chain's mistake I decided to switch to a smaller locally owned pharmacy.  I had all of my prescriptions transferred which involved getting new scripts from doctors and so on.  I felt better dealing with a smaller pharmacy owned and staffed by hometown folks.

One week after I had my prescriptions moved and in place, there was a big ad in the paper revealing that my local pharmacy had been bought by the big pharmacy chain who would now be handling all the patients who'd been customers of said local pharmacy........yeah, I know right? That better explains why I had such a meltdown at the (big chain) pharmacy about the prescriptions being lost and co pays going up etc.

NOW lets rejoin the saga where my last post ended.....

Yesterday I was finally able to see my rheumatologist because there had been a cancellation by another patient.  Found out that the probable reason for the longevity and intensity of this pain flair was that my thyroid replacement hormones were more than likely not at the correct levels yet. Also learned that I had developed some secondary fibro symptoms....didn't even know there was such a thing..... the symptoms consisted of big knots in the ropey muscles in my back which caused a sensation of fiery painful itching. Lidocaine injections into the knots are supposed to help.....for me, not so much. Then I was told a Toradol injection could give me some relief, BUT.....they. did. not. have.ANY. Toradol!!  In fact, there wasn't even a pharmacy in the city who had any.  Well, that's just peachy! However, a pharmacy in a nearby town had 2 doses left......that nearby town just happened to be where I YAY!!

A prescription was called in. I could pick it up on my way back to work and have our nurse give me the first injection. I was so thrilled that I might actually get some relief from the pain which had been my constant companion for the past few weeks. But friends, apparently God has a weird sense of humor and He was trying to teach me a lesson I hadn't quite grasped. When I got to the the other big name pharmacy in my town, I was told to come back in an hour...I'm not joking. 

What could I do? I went to work for an hour, clocked out, again, drove to the pharmacy drive-thru. Yes my meds were ready, I paid, started to drive off and though, "Maybe I better check and make sure I have all I need."  Good thing I did......the medicines in the bag belonged to someone else! A man...whose name wasn't even close to sounding similar to mine........and I began to laugh! 

Sitting there in my car in the parking lot I laughingly said, "Really God? After the long list of of unexpected trials with everything in my life.....we add this little mix up?" But because of everything else which had happened, I slowed down and checked the meds before driving away.  And I realized that maybe God used all those trials to remind me to SLOW down....don't be in such a rush to fix everything myself....take the time to pray and find out how God will handle the hard stuff.

So I'm going to try and slow down.....take each moment, good or bad, as it comes.....and pray, pray, pray. I've no doubt God cares for me now I need to learn to let Him take care of me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back

Well it finally happened.....the straw that broke the camel's back.....and I am officially overwhelmed.  Had it occurred at any other time I might not have reacted as I did but IT did and I did. Sigh.

What? ! You may be asking. You will remember within the last 7 days I have had to buy tires for the car which was not in the budget....then my phone died and had to be replaced also not in the budget.....I had to make two unexpected trips to Dothan...think outrageous gas prices and you will know that wasn't budgeted either.......tomorrow another trip to Dothan for a visit to the rheumatologist about the out of control pain episodes.....and then "the straw."

I went online today to refill some of my most needed know, things like insulin and some other meds for my diabetes...and my all important antinflammatory.  My prescriptions had disappeared from my account! Tried calling the pharmacy to see what I might have done wrong.....I tried 9 times to get luck.  Drove to the pharmacy after work....waited 20 minutes at the drive thru window while they tried to correct things....told me to come back in a couple of hours to pick up the meds.   Gave them 3 hours before I went back.....and was told it would be another 15 minutes. No problem because they had chairs for me to sit in.  45 minutes later they called me up to the register and rang up the meds which is when I was told one of my $40 co-pays would now be $80!  That my friends was the infamous straw.

Tears began streaming down my face as I asked for an explanation of the increase which I'm sure made sense to them but because of my state of mind seemed like a bunch of gibberish.  I was getting double the meds at double the price BUT my money is so tightly budgeted that I had NO extra money for a double copay.  I was embarrassed because of my tears and my inability to comprehend the explanation.....and I'm sure the long line of people behind me wanted me to get a grip, pay the bill and let them get their own meds!

The people who work in the pharmacy were patient and kind but their hands were tied....they had rules to be followed....I just didn't have an updated copy of those "rules." I had to put my meds on a credit card because insulin is kind of important for a diabetic.

There is no moral to this story. I haven't had time to search the Scriptures for comfort....but I will. And my prayer has been simple...."Please God help me get through this and don't let me have a wreck as I drive home while sobbing like a baby..."and I kept praying that over and over and over.

It would be so nice to have someone just hold me while I cry....just for a little while......

Monday, October 15, 2012

Trials + Suffering = Patience

A sweet friend shared this Scripture with me yesterday and I have found myself reflecting on it more and more.

1 Peter 4: 12 "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed."

 Because my fibro pain has broken its usual pattern, I do feel as if something strange were happening as the verse says. Knowing that this "fiery trial" is necessary and a cause for rejoicing is hard to absorb.....but I will accept it as part of my growth as one of God's Children. I've also become accustomed to God giving me answers to my questioning mind through people and situations and of course, Scripture.

 Actually over the past three or four days, several verses have "popped" out at me so to speak. I'm certain they are God's way of reassuring me, of giving me comfort while this physical pain has me unable to function normally. Take this next verse for example.

James 1:2-4 "....count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

All that happened last week.....the pain, the fatigue....having to buy new tires and a new phone.....did "test" my faith....but not without positive results. As it says in James, the "testing of my faith produces patience."  And who doesn't need more patience?  Furthermore, if I let "patience" work, I will , eventually, become "complete, lacking nothing." That's what I long for, completeness in the Lord....and if I must endure these trials to reach that state of being, so be it.

Ironic isn't it? But the next verse was one that "popped" out of my quiet time reading this morning. God always knows what I need and when I'm going to need Him to restore the balance in my life.....He will always sustain me with the power of His Holy blessed I am to have found the Source of all that is Good in this world.

Psalm 51:12 "Merciful Lord, restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

His Answer is Enough

Interesting week....long week....full week....and now its the weekend. Two days to catch up on all the things I didn't get done during the week and to recuperate and try and build up the energy for the week to come. It's obvious to me two days is not enough.

Pain is a continuing issue for me. Historically I experience mild pain daily punctuated with periodic episodes of such intense pain I cannot function.  These generally last 3-5 days and on rare occasions 5-7 days. I experienced one of those awful episodes over a week ago and have yet to reach the ordinary annoying levels of pain.  To say it is exhausting doesn't cover it.

Couple that with several large unexpected hits to my already squeaky tight budget and you have a woman who is asking the God she worships and trusts, "okay...what is the deal here? Is there something You need from me that I'm not doing? Show me.....tell me to understand!"
Don't get me wrong! I trust God to get me through whatever this time in my life is....I would like to understand so it is easier to bear.

Having to make some unexpected big ticket purchase decisions on my budget is overwhelming on a good day.  But to have to do so this week when my body is pain wracked and fatigue fogs my thought processes makes me long for someone with whom to share the decision making process. Since there is no such person, I believe God used my good friends to help me make my way through. Ironically enough, they both share the same name!

One friend reminded me that even big decisions need to be made one step at a time. So I stopped mentally jumping ahead to a scenario where I had to sell  everything I owned in order to buy the new tires I found out were necessary NOW to replace the ones I had which were bald and beginning to split. My other friend pointed out that even the smallest of pleasures can be just as special as extravagant ones.....a good cup of coffee with a homemade chocolate chip cookie.....a chat with an old friend.

Even though I continue to wonder why pain must be my daily belief that God will always use whatever means (or people!) necessary to bring me some measure of comfort stands firm. As His child, it is perfectly all right to question and to long as I keep my heart and mind open to His voice and His answers......and I have no problem with that!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I'm tired.....physically, mentally, emotionally. So tired that were someone to call and inform me I'd won an all expense paid trip to anywhere wonderful.....I'd have to say, "thank you so much but I'm too tired." 

Isn't that sad? To be too tired to even contemplate doing anything wonderful or fun or exciting....but that is how I am at this moment.  My hope is that the current state of affairs passes....and quickly. I can only suppose the fatigue is a result of the latest battle with pain.

My journey over the past four months has made me realize how glad I am to be living as a child of God....last year when I experienced these pain episodes and struggled with fatigue I would inevitably end up depressed and weeping.  Now, when I'm dragging myself between classes with my rolling crate of supplies and feel that I cannot possibly take another step.....cannot form a coherent  thought or sentence.......I stop....take a deep breath.....and simply open my heart and mind to the strength available to me through my God and Creator. He has not failed me...ever.

Just that one moment in His presence is enough. I was reminded today that God has promised never to put more on us than we can occurs to me that this is true simply because God never expects us to bear anything without Him.......for that I am eternally thankful.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What's Normal Anyway?

I sat on my porch for a while this evening and true to form my thoughts rambled from pillar to post as the saying goes.  Fatigue pulls at me. One thing about these bouts with pain is the exhaustion they leave behind.  One doesn't consciously think of how tiring it is to fight pain...but it is.  Depending on the duration...and the intensity of the pain takes days to recover the energy one needs to just get through an ordinary day.....thankfully, this flare up is beginning to fade.  And now I try to regain some semblance of what is normal for me.

Back to sitting on the was soothing for a while.....just sitting, watching the cars drive in and out of the complex. It can be quite busy with neighbors arriving home from wherever they've been....and sometimes leaving again.....the racket of children trying to get in those last few minutes of playing before supper and homework beckon.  The weather is still quite mild...leaning more toward warm than of the things I still dislike about living in the South.....seasons sliding into one another with very little change in temperature.

As I said, my thoughts rambled.....that happens a lot when I'm not quite able to physically do what I'd mind goes into overdrive......which many times leads to insomnia. Anyway.....tonight, on the porch I thought no particular order, bulletin board ideas, Lewie away at school, Melissa killing a poisonous snake (which she did earlier this week,) Michael and his job search, my best friend, a variation on my yummy cheese wafer recipe, wanting to own a pair of cowboy boots, how I'd look as a red head and writing a book...oh yes, and how I wish I could travel places I've never seen but would like to.....places like the coast of Maine,Yosemite,England,the San Diego Zoo...and those are just the things I remember.

All that being said......Though I realize I may not live long enough to do all the things I dream of doing, I plan on enjoying all the things I am able to do......more importantly, my desire is treat all those I meet with kindness and respect and to try in my own small way, to make this world a better place. Apparently for me, normal is have lots of crazy, rambling thoughts and ideas...and to write about them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An Ordinary Woman

Even though I've spent the last two days fighting the pain of a fearsome fibro flare up, I feel so blessed! God has reminded me of that in numerous ways......from the smiles of children as they show me the library book they brought to school to the coworker who, realizing how badly I was hurting, bent and whispered a prayer in my ear.

A flare up this intense used to push me right over the edge into a pool of dark thoughts and needless anxiety. Not this time. No, this time was different. I fell into the peaceful loving arms of my God who held me, cradled me and reminded me of all that is good about my life. Instead of bemoaning my fate and working myself into a state of endless weeping......I prayed.

First, my prayers were those of thanksgiving......for all the blessings I now see more clearly....then I prayed for my children......their safety, their place in God's plan.....I prayed for other family parents,my sister, my nephew, my aunts and uncles, my cousins.....and it was more than just a "God bless" litany of names.  After all, when pain makes one immobile there is lots of time for some in-depth praying!

Then I prayed about my 'failings' as a person.....except I don't see them as failings, I see them more as characteristics upon which I need to improve. God alone has the power to make those kind of improvements....thats why I pray! Because I want more than anything to grow and become the woman, the person, God has planned me to be.  At this moment I choose to see the pain I endure as a tool by which I am molded and shaped into an instrument of God's love. Believe me, when physical pain is a constant companion, it is better to view it as a positive than a negative.

Sometimes when I read over what I've written I worry that I sound like a "Goody Two Shoes." Believe me I am not! I am just an ordinary woman trying to find my way through life....thank you for letting me share my spiritual journey with each of you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

As Long as I Can Pray

It has been building for several days this particular pain episode I find myself enduring.  I never really know what's going to trigger a flare up but once in a while I can trace the beginnings back. Such is the case with this one. 

The awful stomach virus I contracted last week seems to be the origin of this flare.  The pain grew gradually more intense......I kept going, trying to go to work and just deal with it.  Most of the time I can manage it that way.  But then there are those other times.....and this is one of those times.

Trying to sleep or rest is nigh impossible because there is so position which doesn't bring its own discomfort.  Even breaking out the strongest painkillers I have bring no relief.  So, this morning I dressed in the softest clothing I possess, went to school and did my daily morning duty, talked with teachers and subs about the writing prompts for today.......and am now at home, waiting for a call from my doctor about the possibilities of getting a Toradol injection today.

But You know what? In spite of all the pain, the tears that accompany the pain and the fear that the pain will never lessen.........I feel so very blessed and loved.  My physical and emotional state has no bearing on God's love for me.....nor does it impact my ability to pray and praise God for all He's doing......because as long as I can think, I can pray and as long as I can pray, I can communicate with God and when I am still, I know I can hear God........and that is all good isn't it?

So today I will 'be still'.....I will reach out with my prayers to those God brings into my mind.....those who read these words know that you are being prayed for today especially.....and I will patiently wait for whatever comes next.........God is in charge and He takes care of all the details!

Monday, October 1, 2012


My alarm went off this morning and contrary to my normal routine, I hit the snooze thinking five minutes of gentle stretching might give me some relief from the fibro pain radiating through my body. Instead, within a couple of minutes the glaring sound of a tornado warning siren ripped through
my consciousness.

Its been five years since an EF4 tornado tore my hometown apart....leaving behind it death and destruction and a community of people forever changed. Every time I hear the sound of that siren....every single heart jumps into my throat and my mind races back to that the emotions.....the fears....the interminable waiting for news.  The siren pierces my heart and I am once again sitting on the floor at our elementary school with frightened children huddled around me. I remember my mind racing, thinking about my own children, wondering.....praying for their safety.

My oldest son was likely crouched in the hallway of the elementary school where he worked, my daughter hopefully sitting in a safe place at the community college she attended, my youngest son also waiting in another hallway at his school.  In the age of cell phones, rumors flew between the adults in our school........"a tornado was spotted at the airport"......"a school has been hit"...."we think its a junior high.....yes....Old Junior" heart sinks and I begin to shake.....Lewie is at Old Junior........then, no it isn't Old Junior......I feel tears on my face.......I begin to breathe again.

When the tornado finally passes, the truth of what has happened is revealed and the sorrow and anxiety begins anew.  Two schools suffered direct hits......our high school and the elementary school where my oldest son worked. It would be hours until I would be reunited with my children, all my children...... that night we dragged pillows and blankets into our living room in order to sleep huddled together, windows open to the constant sound of sirens from ambulances, police and firetrucks vibrating through the darkness. I remember reaching out and touching each of my children, weeping quiet tears of thankfulness.....praying for those families whose children had been taken from them....and hearing my grown son breakdown when the full realization of what he had been through finally hit him, cradling him until his tears ceased.......for me there was no sleep that night as I watched over my children, touching their hands, their hair....reassuring myself that they were least for that moment.

And so my day began.......and now as I recall and write, I realize that once again, there are tears on my face and I begin to pray.......