Doradear

Finding Joy in the Journey

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Progress Report

I worked up the courage to weigh myself this morning. Since I started Whole30 (and my new part-time job) I have lost seven pounds. I’m satisfied. Do I wish I had lost 20 or even 15? Yes. Have I felt deprived, hungry or grouchy? Nope. Except for missing my sweet tea and a shot of chocolate now and then, I have not had any cravings. Not even for bread! The weight loss is a great trade off for the smell of fresh bread or brownies baking at Sam’s Club. (How do I always manage to get there when the bakery is baking? Just dumb luck, I guess.) Have I faithfully stuck to the fast for a full 30 days? Not exactly. Our family has been out to eat several times. I was a good girl every time except one. 

Now I have to admit that in It Starts With Food, the authors are very clear that nothing takes precedence over the 30-day fast. However, since 30 days will not get me to the goal line of reduced inflammation and weight loss, I decided to give myself a little break now and then. This “fast” is the ideal plan for me for the rest of my life. So, when a family or fellowship meal comes along, I may not stick exactly with the plan. Even seven pounds a month will eventually get me to my goal and ease my pain. 

I am convinced this is my answer. Thank You, God.

Sorry I’m not writing more often, but I am a busy lady! I’ll try to write more often.

Until next time,

Doradear

The Purpose of Pain

If God is love, then why do we have to suffer? Why is there so much misery in the world? Where is the cure for cancer?  Why do natural disasters take so many lives and destroy property every year? If God really loved us, He would stop all these bad things from happening, wouldn’t He? Is there even a God?

Have you ever had these thoughts? Have you heard someone ask these questions? I have. The easy answer is one that I’ve heard often. The world is evil because Adam and Eve sinned; now we all have a sinful nature. And the perfect world God created was cursed, ruined by sin and began to decay that day. It’s true. But there’s more to it than sin.

Have you ever stubbed your toe? It hurts, doesn’t it? Pain is a sign that something is wrong. Pain tells our brain, “Hey, my toe hurts!” Your brain makes you limp so your toe can get better. Pain protects. Pain is good.

No, pain’s not enjoyable; it was not meant to be. Pain is God’s way of getting our attention. If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior (believing He is God’s Son and gave His life to atone for all the sins you’ve ever committed or ever will), the pain of sin will convict you that something’s wrong so you can confess it to God and ask for forgiveness. This restores your relationship to Him. If you sin and feel no remorse, you should pray and make sure things are right between you and God. Pain is another way God proves He loves us. Without pain, we would see no need for Him. 

Have you ever wondered why Jesus came to Earth? He knew He came to offer Himself as our Passover Lamb. He came to die for us. Because He loves us that much.

As I look back at the last few years of my life, I can trace the origin of my pain. The death of our twins was the catalyst for me. The guilt that I felt was a heavy burden to carry around for the first 17 years. When I finally put that burden down I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. It was as if I had pushed “pause” on my life. During that period, I didn’t think much about my diet. Oh sure, I “dieted” (but I hid M&Ms and peanut butter cups for emergencies). My health was still good; I was overweight, but not obese.

It was about 15 years ago pain got my attention. And it’s been downhill ever since. Now I have pain in various places. And it ain’t no fun! I’m too young to be in the shape I’m in! Uncle Arthur (arthritis) came to visit and he won’t leave!

That’s why I’m so hopeful the Whole30 plan is the answer. By combatting the inflammation that causes the pain in my joints, I hope to be pain-free soon. That’s what I pray for. 

So back to the deep, spiritual question, “Why does God allow us to suffer?” 

I think God allows us to suffer for several reasons. Pain makes us long for deliverance. It draws us closer to Him. Oh, I know some people run the opposite way and seek relief in drugs, alcohol or toxic relationships. These only lead to more pain. For the fortunate ones who run to God instead of away from Him, they find the love and acceptance they crave in His arms. I know. He accepted me. 

A second reason we experience pain is so we can empathize with others. As painful as the loss of our twins was, I can honestly say now I’m grateful for the experience. In the past 24 years I have been able to counsel other young mothers who have lost a child. The only reason I could encourage them is because I understand their pain. 

And pain serves as a warning that something’s wrong. Go to the doctor. Seek advice. Get help!

It is in the valley that we look up. On the mountaintop, we think we can see all we need to see. Those in the valley long to get to the top. To freedom. To acceptance. To love. God’s arms are always open. Run to Him when you’re in pain. Run to Him and He will embrace you. He is waiting.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

All Things Work Together For Good

Since my Whole 30 fast began last Sunday, I have pondered why it took me so long to get here. This morning, it hit me. This is the time and this is the place God brought me to. Is there someone in my circle, here and now, who needs me? God brought two Bible verses to mind:  “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NKJV and Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” NKJV

It took years to understand what Romans 8:28 truly means. It was our study in Romans in Bible Study Fellowship that clarified it for me. Romans 8:28 doesn’t mean everyone will get a happy ending to every trial. It means that those of us who call God our Abba (Daddy) can rest assured that all the trials we go through will help us to grow more like Jesus. And growing more like Jesus glorifies God. And that’s His purpose for me.

My heart yearns to glorify Him in everything I do.

So do I wish I had found Whole 30 years ago? Yes! Do I understand now why I didn’t and why I’m suffering through my inflammation and health challenges? Yes! Food heals, folks. God made us to eat His food, not food out of a box or a jar. He created plants and (unless you’re vegan) animals to provide nutrition for us. Why didn’t I get that? I got caught up in easy and quick. I trained my mouth to crave unnatural sweetness and that’s the hardest part of the fast for me. I still want my sweet tea and Coke Zero! I wonder…in 23 days from now, will the Coke Zero still taste same? Or will I even want it? We shall see.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. I love you guys! Send me a message if you have any questions.

Until next time (I’ve been saying tomorrow, but I just can’t seem to write every day),

Doradear

Joy in the Journey

One of my favorite composers is Michael Card. And one of my favorite songs of his is Joy in the Journey. 

There is a joy in the journey,
There’s a light we can love on the way.
There is a wonder and wildness to life,
And freedom for those who obey.
All those who seek it shall find it,
A pardon for all who believe.
Hope for the hopeless and sight for the blind
To all who’ve been born of the Spirit
And who share incarnation with him;
Who belong to eternity, stranded in time,
And weary of struggling with sin.
Forget not the hope
That’s before you,
And never stop counting the cost.
Remember the hopelessness when you were lost?
I never understood what true freedom meant. Until now. For the first time in my life, I am no longer a slave to food. I feel strong and confident. It’s a confidence I haven’t felt since college. I have tasted abundant life and I want more!
Today, I ate two boiled eggs, sliced tomato and a cup of hot tea with unsweetened coconut milk for breakfast; lunch consisted of nitrate-free ham and a handful of macadamia nuts with a banana for dessert and sour kraut with nitrate-free wieners for dinner and cantaloupe for dessert. When you’re on the Whole 30 plan, they suggest you eat fermented vegetables twice a week because they contain probiotics. I admit sour kraut is not my favorite; I’ll have to find another fermented veggie to try.
Well, day five is done. On to day six!
Talk to you later, friends.
Doradear

Float Like a Honey Bee?

Busy little Honey Bee, buzzing all around
Hubby Bee said, “Honey Bee, sit down!
You are buzzing everywhere, take it easy, please.
I know you’re feeling better, but take care of those knees!”
Honey Bee replied, “Hubby Bee, don’t worry.
I know what I’m doing; I won’t be sorry.”
Early next morning as she rolled out of bed,
Honey Bee grimaced, “I should’ve heeded what you said.”
“Told you so,” Hubby Bee replied,
Never forget, I’m on your side.
Your knees just started healing, you know it’s true.
No more buzzing all around, you must take care of you!”
The moral of this story is plain to see…
When Hubby Bee talks, listen carefully
And follow doctor’s orders to pamper your knees.
One day soon, just wait and see
You will buzz, buzz, buzz till eternity.

Yeah, I’m Honey Bee. I spent the weekend pain-free, y’all! No kidding! I went out on a date with Hubby Bee on Saturday; I even went up a few stairs (not too many). Sunday I went to church and friends told me I was beaming. One friend said I look 10 years younger! I’ll take it!

Alas, it was short-lived. Monday morning my knees were screaming! I’m nursing them now with ice. Today was my third week anniversary since I received my stem cell injections. I’m still hopeful that once my weight comes off, the knees will no longer hurt. I pray so.

As for my Whole 30 journey, today is day three. Today, I ate boiled eggs and a sliced tomato for breakfast. I worked today, so I ate nitrate-free ham and two tiny mandarin oranges. My beverage today was water infused with fresh strawberries. I found a Whole 30 recipe for pork chops and potatoes with savory sauce and I can smell it baking now. I’ll let you know how it turns out. :0) For dessert, I will have strawberries.

Not gonna lie, I would love to have a glass of sweet tea right now! (Not gonna do it!)

I had a bit of a rough start without my hot tea this morning; I had a headache. It went away around 10:00 am.

Only 27 days to go on round one! Thanks for coming along on my journey.

Until tomorrow,

Doradear

My Whole 30 Journey Begins

Seasons

We are on a journey, my friends, you and I.

Our journey’s destination reaches past the sky.

Our adventure begins when, as tiny babes,

We are born, we grow, and year by year we age.

From childhood to grownup, each little tyke must learn

That just like nature’s seasons, our lives will change and turn.

But our Father up in heaven knows our every need

And if we ask Him to, He will take the lead.

A roadblock here and there we’ll encounter on our way,

But if we learn God’s lessons, heartache will not stay.

Every little girl and boy must learn to crawl and walk and giggle;

Even when their hair turns gray and things begin to jiggle.

I hope you enjoy my little poem about our lives and seasons;

We’re all family after all, and for me this is the reason

I came up with this little poem, just for you I wrote it.

Feel free, in the days ahead, if you ever want to quote it.

So join me on this journey and please use your imagination;

As we embark and realize heaven is our destination.

I wrote this poem for a presentation at a Ladies’ banquet a few years ago. I modified it to include any male friends who may read my blog. (Yeah, I see you! Please consider being a follower. I still have only four. I promise not to bug you; you’ll just encourage me.) I think the poem fits my post today, so I decided to share it.

This season of my life has been a challenging one. I never dreamed I’d be living with chronic pain at my age. It is my hope that my new lifestyle (notice I didn’t say diet) will eliminate the inflammation and the pain. Weight loss is a pleasant side effect of the healthy eating, so unlike all the other times I’ve tried to lose weight, this plan focuses on my overall health. I didn’t start my journey on Saturday as I planned. My hubby and I decided to go on a date, so we went out to lunch and to a movie. We had so much fun! And I was free to eat what I wanted. That’s one of the great things about the Whole 30 plan. You “fast” some foods for 30 days. We decided to go out on a date every 30 days. I’ll start a new reboot the day after. I believe that will make the journey go much easier, don’t you?

I had a great day yesterday! I went to church pain free. Members of my church family said I was beaming; one new friend in Sunday School told me I look 10 years younger! I’ll take it! My hubby warned me to take it easy. I guess he was right; this morning my knees are aching. (It’s a good thing I have a chiropractic appointment this morning.) I’ll probably ice ’em up when I get home this afternoon.

So, I weighed in yesterday and took measurements. Let’s do this!

Day One I ate: eggs scrambled in coconut oil with sauteed onions and sliced tomato; stir fried vegetables with coconut oil and coconut amino and baked chicken; and leftover chicken, vegetables and collard greens for dinner with strawberries for dessert. The only beverages I had were hot tea with coconut milk and lemon water.

I awoke after a great night’s sleep needing no caffeine!

So here we go! The purpose for my blog is to document the healing process and what I learn during my 30 day fasts. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

Have a great Monday, friends.

Until next time,

Doradear

A New Chapter, New Hope

So I haven’t been blogging very much. I realized it’s because my blog didn’t really have a purpose. I mean, why would anybody care what I think about anything? Just a week ago I had no purpose, but now I do. I need your help. Would you please consider being my accountability partner for the next 30 days? Let me explain…

The past six years have been a whirlwind. My elderly mom moved in with us; our son graduated from college (Magna cum Laude in Physics!) then got married; my husband got a new job; we built and moved into a new house in a new town; we joined a wonderful, loving church family…and I suffered through it all. I knew something was wrong. My health had been on a downward spiral for years. I had become scatter-brained, stressed out, decrepit and exhausted. My ministry, which had always brought me joy, became difficult and sometimes I just didn’t want to sing or play the piano or organ anymore. It was just hard to have the energy. I tried to be brave, to hold it together, for my husband and son. I had to take care of my mother and my home. And myself. I was always last.

It caught up with me.

Growing up, I always had robust health. I was overweight, but I was active and busy and happy most of the time. Sure, the chubby girl is always bullied. So was I. I had great teachers my whole life who encouraged me in elementary school, but junior high was an ordeal I would never want to live through again. I started high school fearful that it would be just like junior high. Then a miracle happened. I worked up the courage to audition for stage band. Our band director told me he had never seen anyone my age who could sightread like me! That one compliment turned things around. I decided to try acting and loved it. It didn’t matter so much that I was overweight. I was voted a senior superlative- most talented; I was the class poet; I sang at our class Baccalaureate ceremony and the teachers voted to give me a college scholarship based on all-around ability. I was college-bound!

Like so many others, I did not have a clue what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” My dad insisted I study accounting. Ugggghhhhh….a creative musician taking accounting? It was the longest semester of my life! I changed over to journalism and settled in public relations. When it came time to choose a second major (or two minors) the choice was pretty easy. It had to be music! I had already been studying voice at the conservatory on campus at UTC and was singing in Chamber Singers, so I decided to check out the recitals held every Thursday in the concert hall in the Fine Arts Building. Music majors had to perform twice per semester. I sat in the back on several Thursdays and enjoyed the wonderful music. Then it hit me. I did not want to be judged by my appearance. I wanted to be judged by my talent.

I had to lose the weight.

My wonderful, supportive parents paid for Nutrisystem. I lost 80 pounds by dieting and riding a bike one hour a day. Success!!

I’ll skip ahead. I graduated and met a wonderful man. He joined the United States Air Force and we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. All I knew about Albuquerque I learned from Bugs Bunny who said, “I shoulda taken a left at Albu-KOYKEY.” It was on a snowy morning in Albuquerque my life changed.

My husband says I hit him first. I don’t remember it that way. To be honest, I don’t remember much about that day. Except pain. I love my husband! He’s a lot like me; we both have the same weird sense of humor. We’re both playful and love to laugh together (and at each other). That’s what led to the event that changed my life. It was the snowball. That darn snowball! It was our first snow as a married couple; we did what most “normal” newlywed couples would do. We played in the snow. We made a snowman, then in my zeal, I started the snowball fight (or so my husband says.) He was too fast for me! I remember running to catch him so I could get him good, but I missed when my foot landed on a sheet of hidden ice beneath the snow on our driveway. It happened so fast I had no time to catch myself. I landed hard on my right hip. I haven’t been the same since.

I got up, brushed myself off and thought, ‘Oh, I’m gonna have a bad bruise.’ Which I did. But I had also fractured my pelvis.

I took something for pain. I was only 26 years old; what could possibly be wrong other than a bruise? Monday morning, I got up and went to work, nursing my sore leg. I did that for three weeks until one morning I got up and couldn’t stand up straight. “Hmmmm…I guess I better go to the doctor,” I said to my husband, “Something’s wrong.” By that time, my pelvis had started to heal, so the doctor did not seen anything on the x-ray. He referred me to the chiropractor on base. After three weeks, he said I was right as rain, so I didn’t go back.

The next year, I found out I was pregnant with our son. I was ecstatic! I read every book I could get my hands on. Money was tight, so I bought maternity clothes and a crib from a friend who needed to sell them. We could hardly wait to see him! I worked until two weeks before he was born. The pregnancy was easy, really, and I had no more back pain than “normal” expectant moms.

Two years later, we would try again, but that pregnancy was completely different. You can read about it in my Defining Moment post.

When the twins died, part of my heart died with them. This woman who had always had robust health realized that she was mortal. Spending 24 hours alone in intensive care in a military hospital has quite an impact on you.

I decided to just live. I would raise my little boy to be kind and smart. I would tell him about Jesus and teach him to read. And I would be the best wife I could be. What I did not understand then was that by putting myself and my health last, I could not be the woman I so desperately wanted to be. Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I tell young women to take care of themselves first. Putting yourself first means knowing who you are, a child of God. Seek Him out; remember that God loves you most of all. He loves you so much He gave His only Son to take your place in punishment for every sin you’ve ever committed or ever will. He wants you to live an abundant life…that means a balanced life: mind, body and spirit. You can’t live an abundant life if any part is out of balance. I wish someone had told me that 27 years ago.

It was in 2003 that my fall caught up with me. My right hip was hurting. It was less painful to ride in the car if I sat with my right cheek on a pillow. I went to the doctor, who prescribed pain medication and sent me to a physical therapist. He asked me if I had ever been injured; the only injury I ever had was during the infamous snowball fight. When I described what happened, he told me I most likely had fractured my pelvis. My decision not to see a doctor and get x-rays for three weeks meant the fracture had started to heal, making it very difficult to diagnose. There was nothing to be done but physical therapy and chiropractic care. And medication for pain.  “You just need to lose some weight. That’ll help,” he said.

I tried. And failed. For years.

I don’t know if doctors were aware 15 years ago that certain foods cause inflammation. If they did, nobody told me. I had heard the reports that saccharin causes cancer. I thought drinking Diet Coke was a good thing; I mean, Coke is full of sugar, right? I cooked all our meals; I rarely fried anything. I was active and exercising, but my weight kept creeping up. As the weight went up, the pain level increased. So did the stress. Then Mom moved in with us and I tried to care for her as best I could. My doctor became concerned about my blood work and sent me to an oncologist. Now, that’s a scary thing! I had a bone marrow biopsy. The good news is I have no genetic markers for cancer. Not one. So what in the world was going on with my health? What was causing my symptoms: exhaustion, high white count, “brain fog”, mood swings, rosacea, etc.? My doctor prescribed an antidepressant. Oh goody…more medication. I wasn’t gaining weight, but I couldn’t lose weight either.

I gave up.

Fast forward to 2016. New home. New doctors. New pain. I have tried every diet fad and almost every diet…First Place, Weigh Down, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Paleo, the Daniel Plan, etc. but nothing helped me lose weight for very long. I was in pain from head to toe. I had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hands, knees and neck. I had sprained my ankle and was diagnosed with Achilles tendinitis in my right ankle. I wore a dadgum boot for months! I had carpal tunnel in both wrists. A friend referred me to her hand specialist, who ordered x-rays of both hands and told me I need joint replacement in both thumbs. The most painful injections I have ever had were his cortisone shots in those joints. Thank God again that the injections worked and my inflammation went away, taking the carpal tunnel with it.

My knees were so painful I could barely walk anymore. My chiropractor referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. He ordered x-rays of every angle of my knees. The prognosis was not good. Severe arthritis behind both knee caps. He warned me never to take any stairs and said he doubted I would be able to put off surgery for very long. He ordered cortisone injections for both knees. I was hopeful the cortisone would help my knees the way it had my hands. I cried all the way home.

I had to make some tough decisions. No stairs meant no music ministry. There are stairs down into the choir loft, up to the stage and down into the organ pit. I had to give up singing and playing. You might as well rip my heart right out! My husband and I talked and prayed about what to do. We decided to switch to the early service so I would not have so far to walk to Sunday School. Our new connection groups embraced us and we feel loved. God is so good!

Knowing how desperate I was to lose weight, my husband agreed to let me try South Beach diet. I thought it would be a great option for us (especially in preparation for knee surgery), but we soon grew bored with the frozen foods. And even though I’m in pain, I still enjoy cooking my own healthy food.

Nope. South Beach wasn’t the answer, either.

I had grown desperate to find a solution to my pain. I remember a friend from Bible Study Fellowship telling me about her friend who had stem cell injections in her knees. After several days of research, I talked it over with my husband and attended a lunch seminar about stem cell research and how they treat osteoarthritis in joints. After the seminar, I went to the office to have x-rays to see if I would be a candidate. Thankfully, it turns out I am a candidate, so I called my husband to tell him how much it would cost. I am one lucky (blessed) woman! He thinks I’m worth at least $8, 960 (that’s the cost if you are treated the same week of the seminar.)

I am happy to report that in only two weeks, my knees are already feeling better. The pain has eased a bit and I’m able to get around much better. I go back in three and six months for plasma rich platelet injections. I may even make a video about my progress for the doctor’s office if my knees continue to improve. I pray so…

A friend told me about an eating plan called Whole 30. She said she and her husband were on the plan and had seen great results. I invested in the books It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, Food Freedom Forever and Whole 30 Day by Day by Melissa Hartwig and joined a beginners group on Facebook. As I read It Starts With Food, it hit me. Everything I ate was wrong. Even the South Beach meals were chocked full of foods and additives that were causing my inflammation! LIGHT BULB! I plowed through the book; it really is an easy read with some humor thrown in. It’s almost like reading my own story. That’s where I learned two important lessons.

DIETS DO NOT WORK and CRAVINGS COME FROM MY BRAIN, NOT FROM MY WEAKNESS!

I have spent so much time beating myself up because I’m not strong enough to resist temptation. I convinced myself that if I were a better Christian, I would love God more and food less. Folks, let me tell you something…if you have ever taken part in a Bible study that shamed you into thinking that if only your faith were stronger, if you were only closer to God you could turn your back on the foods that tempt you because temptation is a sin…let me tell you…that’s a lie. If your system is so damaged you’re suffering from metabolic syndrome (like me), you must heal your digestive and endocrine systems before you can EVER lose weight. Once you do that, your cravings will ease. Once you understand how food can HEAL you…that’s right, I said it…HEAL, you’ll give yourself a break. I did, and I feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders!

DISCLAIMER: I do not work for the doctors who developed Whole 30. I will not make any money off one dime you spend on these books (so don’t ask me to lend you mine, because I’m not gonna!) If you’d like more information about Whole 30, here is the link to their website: https://whole30.com/books/

I just want you to feel free. Like me.

One of the things Melissa Hartwig encourages folks to do before they start their first Whole 30 round is to find accountability partners. I decided to document my journey here and will try to post every day as time allows. I began my fast last week, but will do my official start  with accountability tomorrow. It takes time to read the book and prepare your pantry for your new way of living. So tomorrow I reboot. Today I drink my last glass of iced tea with Sweet & Low and order my last Chinese food for awhile (but not forever!) Thanks in advance for joining me on this journey.

Hey, if you don’t mind, please leave me a comment if you’re interested in tagging along and want to know how it’s going.

Until next time (tomorrow?)

Doradear

 

 

I’m Not WIMPY

wimpyShe called me Wimpy. Can you believe it? It’s been over two weeks, but I can’t get it out of my mind. The image at left is the first one that came to mind. I know, I know, I’m telling my age here, but I promise Popeye cartoons had long been syndicated when I watched them and read them as a child.

I’m NOT Wimpy! I can understand why my friend (I will call her Mona) could consider me Wimpy. She does not know me very well. Mona did not know me when I was thrown into the furnace. The only people I had with me during that journey were my husband, my parents, my precious little two-year-old son and several friends thousands of miles away. And Jesus. Always Jesus.

When I was in the hospital 24 years ago, the only comfort I had other than the short visits from family was my Bible. I pulled that Bible out a few months ago. It is worn, the cover tattered and the pages marked, highlighted and some torn. I poured over scripture while I waited for our daughters to be born. I begged God to save them, to heal them and make them whole. He answered those prayers, but He healed them by taking them to heaven. It took a while for me to understand and let go. I had so much faith I would bring at least one of the babies home! But it was not to be.

Now here I am 24 years later preparing for knee replacement surgery. I hope my doctor will agree to replace both knees so I won’t have to go through surgery again for a very long time. But Mona said I shouldn’t do it because I’m too WIMPY. Sigh…I’m sure many of our heroes in the Bible thought they were too wimpy to carry out God’s instructions. Moses comes to mind. He tried to pin the responsibility for negotiating with Pharaoh on his brother Aaron, but God said, “No, Moses, YOU do it!” It worked out pretty well, though Moses was a hothead and had to be put in time out. The man who led the Hebrews out of Egypt was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of His pride (Numbers 20.) Even though Moses was disobedient, Jewish tradition teaches that he died by the “kiss of God” and Numbers 34:6 states that God Himself buried him. Can you imagine such an honor?

No, Moses wasn’t wimpy. Neither am I. No amount of physical pain can compare to the pain I’ve already suffered. Nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect it to be easy. I will, of course, follow my doctor’s wishes. But I am ready to live again. It’s time. I will never be an American Ninja Warrior (one of my husband’s favorite tv shows); I just want to be able to play with my grandchild(ren) someday.

God will give me the strength to get through it. He has never let me down. I know He never will.

Until next time.

Doradear

 

Growing Old is NOT for Sissies!

My husband bought me a power lift recliner yesterday. It’s humbling. Here I am, caregiver to my 91-year-old mama and I’m the one needing a lift chair? uggghhhhh

I can’t help but think about the day that changed my life. I can’t remember the exact date. I know it was in 1990. It was in winter. I know because that darn snow caused the event  (not my stupidity, clumsiness or accident proneness). That was the beginning of the pain that has become my constant nagging companion.

Before you turn 30, unless you’ve suffered from some malady before that tender age, you believe you’re invincible. You have successfully grown out of adolescence; hopefully you know what you’ll do “when you grow up” because you are “grown up”; you may have even settled down with the love of your life. This was me. In 1990. I married my Prince Charming in June of 1989. He was an officer in the USAF; I was working at a large credit union. We were happy and content in our little house on base. Until it snowed.

I don’t know what possessed me to make that snowball. Was it a moment of meanness or just my playful streak that got hold of me? My hubby tells me I hit him first and he just defended himself. In my zeal to retaliate, I made the perfect snowball for maximum vengeance…not too hard, not too big. Just right. But I missed. And the second one missed again. So I chased him. He wouldn’t stand still! And man, is he fast! If I had a time machine, I would go back to that fatal moment and slap that silly snowball out of my hand. As I ran after my “Prince”, my right foot landed on the icy driveway. It happened so fast! Down I went, landing on my right hip. Being young and stupid and thinking I was unbreakable I got up, dusted the snow off, and stumbled into the house. I remember thinking, “Ooh. That’s gonna leave a bruise.” It did. But what I didn’t know was I had fractured my pelvis. It took three weeks before my body really protested to the point I thought something was seriously wrong. I couldn’t stand up straight. So I went to the doctor. I should have gone immediately to the emergency room for an x-ray after I fell, but you know what they say about hindsight…it’s 20/20.

Flash forward to today. My right knee is shot. That fateful fall caused back problems and a tilting pelvis. The tilting pelvis causes my knee to turn outward and puts stress on my knee. It wore out the cartilage; my MRI showed it is bone on bone. My knee is very angry with me! A second moment of clumsiness caused me to fall five years ago. SOMEBODY at Tallahassee Mall thought laying a “slippery when wet” sign on a marble floor was a good idea. Uh, no, dummy it’s not. You stand caution signs up so they can be seen; it’s not a good idea to lay a plastic caution sign on a slippery marble floor! Some people are not graceful. Some people are unlucky. Some people don’t look DOWN all the time while they’re walking. Some people look UP and talk to other people. Down she goes! Right on my knee. (It must have been an impressive split, though.)

I’m too young for knee replacement surgery! My grandma never needed it. She lived by herself until she was 96, when she had a stroke. That tough little ol’ lady lived to 109! My mom is 91 now (I was a surprise my mom and dad. Wink.) She doesn’t need knee replacement either. Miss “Grace” here sure does!

I have struggled with my weight most of my life. During college, I decided to shed the fat suit that was holding me back and lost down to my ideal weight. I kept it off for ten years. I even lost most of the baby weight I gained after our son was born. But when the twins died the sadness and guilt made dieting impossible. Even today, 24 years later, the enemy lies to me and tells me their death was my fault and not God’s will. I know it’s a lie, but it’s easy to fall back in his trap. It was my excuse for failing at so many diets. But no more.

I found the answer to weight loss. ATTITUDE. There are many good diets out there; any one of them will help you lose weight If you have the right mindset. I chose a high protein, low carb diet. I would say it’s South Beach, but it’s actually a combination of their food and a Christian program called Shibboleth. The South Beach meals are delicious! All I have to do is go to the freezer and pick out a vegetable and meal. I choose my own food and they ship it to me automatically each month. It helps to have people who love and support you who agree to eat frozen dinners with you. I am so blessed!

It also helps to stay in God’s Word. I have found that starting my day with God in the morning in prayer and Bible study makes for a much more successful day.

I conquered my fear of being seen in public in a bathing suit too. I started water aerobics last week. My orthopedic surgeon told me I can’t walk fast enough to burn calories for weight loss; water exercise is my only option. Thankfully, I found a group of ladies who encourage me (it helps that I’m the “baby” in the group too!) God is so good! He moved us here two years ago and gave my hubby a job where I can volunteer. Access to the health center on campus is free because I volunteer there every week. What a blessing! I’ve lost 10 pounds so far.

I wish I could tell you I’m not apprehensive about the surgery, but I am. On the other hand, I am looking forward to getting it over with and being able to walk without a cane. I can’t look back and wish away that fateful snowball. I must look ahead to my future.

Do you need a friend to encourage you? Need a weight loss buddy? Or just need someone to talk to? I’m here.

Until next time.

Doradear

Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

I renewed my blog today. When I saw the date of my last post, I was shocked! So much has happened the past few years. My elderly mother came to live with us; our son got married and gave us a beautiful daughter-in-love and we built and moved into our new house near Atlanta. My husband started a new job (hopefully his last one before retirement) where I’ve been blessed to volunteer; and we joined a loving church family.

I was also blessed with new challenges. Yes, I said, “blessed.” I have been a Christian for 44 years. I’ve traveled through a few valleys, and I’ve rejoiced when God led me out. So now as I face some pretty painful physical challenges, I know that something great is waiting for me on the other side. I can see a pinpoint of light through the tunnel of despair and pain. And, I thank God for it.

I’m about to start a new Bible study with my friends in Sunday School. It is Think Differently: Nothing is Different Until You Think Differently by James McDonald. Boy, do I ever need to think differently! God did open my eyes during our study of Romans in Bible Study Fellowship this year. It’s something I knew deep down already; my execution of the concept, however, was sorely lacking. My physical challenges have left me exhausted, discouraged and often broken. My prayer life has consisted many days of cries of, “HELP ME, JESUS!” Ever been there? Whew!

I opened my email this morning to the most encouraging message I have ever received, from an amazing woman of God. She told me I am loved. I am part of a family. The women in the class barely know me, yet they have embraced me and offered to help me as I walk through this valley of pain. I am rarely at a loss for words; this morning, having no words, I wept. Those tears, however, came from deep in my heart, a heart filled with gratitude and awe that the God who created the universe listens to me. He listens. He understands. He knows what I need even before I do. And He loves me so much He guides me in ways I cannot see. It is only in looking back that I recognize He was the rudder of the ship all along. Though I am rocked by emotion, stress and pain, He keeps me afloat and on course.

So, “Who Am I and Why Am I Here?” To glorify God. Always. More to come. See you tomorrow.

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