Sunday, November 29, 2009

Punctured "I'm Alive!"

Have you seen Animal Planet's new show "I'm Alive?" Just yesterday I watched an unbelievable survival story from a husband and wife who got swarmed by africanized killer bees (Episode 6, "Out of the Blue"). It was completely horrendous to watch what happened and a relief to know they actually did survive! So needless to say the show had been on my mind ever since then and I've been extra cautious and jumpy. It sets up the scenario in the show with mostly always an unsuspecting victim saying it was "a day like any other," or "nothing seemed like it would go wrong that day." An obvious foreshadowing of things to come.

I decided I would go ahead and cut down our massive intertwining hedge of morning glories as it is getting colder and they are dying until next spring. I went to go get our wheelbarrow to put the cuttings into and transport to the trash in the alley. I thought of the show as I picked up the wheelbarrow and scared myself a little thinking there could have been a snake under there (Half way Katie's fault to for posting about the snake encounter in our city!!!!). So quickly I jerked the wheelbarrow towards me in the corner of the yard and felt a HUGE dagger-like stab in my head. Instantly I knew I had been struck by something very pointy! It was our MASSIVE Yucca Plant. This is no ordinary plant, and even in the realm of Yucca's I think this one surpasses them all. This Yucca stands proudly at the same height as me with spines as long as my arms. The top of the spine is NEEDLE sharp and when it stings its victim a toxic venom is excreted. I had to actually remove my head from the stinger....yes! Oh yes....I'm telling you this was very painful. I got the wheelbarrow to the other side of the yard and I was going to check out my head after I took my gardening gloves off. At that point I felt coolness all along the side of my head. I touched my head and there was blood all over. My hair was wet from it and I felt the bump and it was HUGE. It felt like a grape was under my scalp. I went inside and put a paper towel on it and called Bryan at work. I was kind of scared because the pain was all down my right side and my eyes and ears were hurting. I pressed on the bumped and it seemed to be going down in size.

I spoke with Bryan and was so annoyed that I hurt myself! It hurt SUPER badly. I took some Benadryl in case I was allergic. I write this whole blog really because of Bryan's response to me on the phone when I told him what happened. He of course was worried and felt bad. I was telling him where it was and that I had blood all in my hair and fingers and nails, and his response after I told him I was going to take a shower to get it off was "Oh....but before you do that could you take a picture of it for me?" He wanted to see it so badly. It was hilarious and made me laugh!

I seem to be doing ok now. It hurts really bad and I cannot even lay my head down on that side on my pillow. A shooting type of pain goes around that side of my head, neck, and face. Hopefully tomorrow it will be better. I am glad I did not see any scary snakes! But WOW, I didn't see that injury coming! Maybe I should be on the next show?

I tried to love that Yucca plant! He was a gift to us, but I am not so sure he will be living with us after this episode. I know it is not his fault since he was born that way.
What do you think....


Saturday, November 28, 2009

My B-day/Thanksgiving

It has been a very enjoyable Thanksgiving and weekend. Thanksgiving was actually my birthday! It is amazing how many people celebrated my birthday with parades in New York, and families gathering around tables full of food! I felt quite honored! (LOL!) Gracey and I did our annual trip to the Meek Children's Hospital and visited some of the sick children, did tricks, and gave and received a lot of joy.
Bryan's Dad came and spent the evening with us as well as Jenn and her precious daughter's, MaeLeigh, and Audriana Rose. We missed Adrian (Jenn's hubby is deployed overseas from October until February). We had a blast cooking, eating, and playing the Wii and our favorite board game as we introduced Bryan's Dad to our beloved "The Settlers of Catan." I knew he was going to love it and win, and sure enough he really was good at it.

I opened some really neat gifts. Bryan wrote me an amazing blessing and had it custom framed. Reading through his words just blew me away with desire to keep going and discover how Amazing the Lord was in my life and how He is working in my present time and for the future. Richard and Diana both spoiled me! Casja sent me the most adorable butterfly serving set and napkin holder. I LOVE them so much. Jenn actually took me out to lunch and a movie today (see my birthday just keeps going and going and going!!!). Tighe sent me a meal, dessert, and get this...my first BLING item for my car! A steering wheel cover with guess what on it....BUTTERFLIES! Seriously I was so blessed by all my cards, texts, e-mails, phone calls, and presents! What a way to spend my last birthday before I am officially old and 30 next year (please for the sake of your health and my emotions do no mention that it will only be a year until I turn this age...you will regret it!)! I Praise God that I am alive and blessed!

Bryan and I are praying a lot for our future as we ask the Lord to provide us with our family. I can't believe a year ago we were rejoicing and expecting, and now things still seem unknown. We have hope and expectation for God to keep working in our lives in this area. I am not sure exactly how this will happen. We are still able to foster-to-adopt, but have not received any calls in a while. It has been good for us to heal and seek the Lord during this quiet time in between placements, but we also long for our family and our hearts grow weary with sadness. Please pray with us? Pray that this Christmas season the Lord would surround us with Hope, and that even when we feel sad as we remember Elora, we will chose to believe and hope for our children in the future.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our little Turkey!*
*No Chawennie's were harmed in the making of this photo or meal.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Maker's Diet

Years ago a popular book took stands and sold in outrageous numbers. I had no clue the book actually sought to honor God with its claim of healthy living and eating. I get very leery of self-help books and find skepticism in my heart with a lot of Christian fix-it readings. I don't like following the crowd as hit items ebb and flow promising this and that when God's Word should be our ultimate assurance.

As a person with an auto-immune disorder that nearly died, I relate a lot to the author Jordan Rubin in his book "The Maker's Diet." Jordan gives his testimony during the first half of the book, backs up his progress towards God's healing with scripture, and explains information that really proves relevant to our bodies. Time after time I caught myself in agreement with his knowledge about symptoms, causes, and solutions. God had been preparing me to read this book for weeks now. I felt called to explore what my body needs to be nurtured and spoke with a friend about it and she recommended the book. I went to the library the next day and checked it out. I had no clue long ago the book was about giving God credit and glory for giving us what we need to be healthy and explained and taught how to do it.

The flip side of knowing this information is that I get very frustrated and discouraged by our worlds influence and provocation to eat unhealthy. I used to joke around that eating healthy is a luxury most cannot afford. But in a way, I feel this is still true. Most of what we are exposed to, what is cheap, and what is yummy to the taste for us is full of nothing but ingredients our bodies are not able to process and draw nutrients from. You begin to wonder how our government can allow it! But our craving for fast solutions (not just in this area of life but in all) in the long run exposes flaws that really inhibit us rather than strengthen. Maybe what's inconvenient and worth working for could help us be healthy, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Because of money and time, we are not always able to eat perfectly. It didn't start with our generation. It began a while back, so in a way our bodies have already been deprived. But we can implement choices that will help us and our families. We don't just honor God in our hearts, but also in our minds, our choices, bodies, and health.

I don't know if this diet could heal me the way it did Jordan. But I know I am craving to eat healthier and give my body what it needs to heal and I believe that honors the Lord. I have been the person who has begged the Lord for healing, whose had wonderful faithful people surround me and pray for healing as well, and who struggles with the days I feel healed, and the days where I feel afraid because my pain is excruciating. But this book is not about following a person or a diet, it is about obtaining information and wisdom that can help. Our world is so broken. In so many ways we are not "feeding" ourselves what we need.

One particularly interesting thing I read about was the use of Biblical spices. In Jerusalem the Old City was truly amazing! I will never forget walking through the maze of stands and stores. One store I remember was full of spices! Not like our American spices in little plastic bottles, but where you could go over to bins and scoop out your own! And there were piles after pile of fragrant smells. I wish I could transport you there to see it. (I am including a photo of the store here!). We bought packages of Hyssop before we came home and use it on bread and pizza (Thanks Melissa for introducing us to this yummy herb!). Jordan speaks about Biblical herbs and spices we can use to not only flavor foods, he explains how they aid the body. During Jesus' time these seasonings helped their bodies fight illness, repaired damaged nerves, and aided with emotional well-being. It is SO interesting and exciting to incorporate into our lives. I just think about that spice shop and wish I had another opportunity to be there! Maybe someday again soon!

You will have to read the book to get a comprehensive list of the herbs/spices and their affects on the body, but for now I will list the top 21 he talks about so you can begin to use them!






















Be sure to read up on the herb/spice you may not know about before you use it. (Click on any names above and it will lead you to a link about it). But the best way to learn about it in the context is to read his book. It is just too long to type for me!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Praying for Rain

God has been helping me remember acts of faith I observed from my past. One specific time was while I was in college. There was a student who read God's Word and decided he would look like a fool to obey God and cry out to Him for rain. We were in a massive drought. I never knew dryness existed like this! It was so bad that the ground was actually breaking like the cracks you see in desert photos...they rippled and scaled. This one fellow classmate petitioned the Lord, fasted, and prayed for rain at the amphitheater. In fact (if I am correctly remembering) he stayed out there for days and nights on the steps barefoot and prayed for God to open up the sky and bless us. He cried out, begged, bowed, pleaded, and praised God to have mercy on our land. I think there were even flyer's about the prayer intercession asking people to join. I thought it strange at the time, but the intrigue I felt by the godly example this man was taking in leadership was teaching me and challenging me even years after it took place. I knew not everyone understood, but his obedience stayed firm, his expected embarrassment never came. I was so honored to see someone living in faith around me. That is what I've wanted. I wish I drank more and looked for more Wisdom at that time, but God knew the timing where He would reveal things to me in the seaons and ways I would be able to receive them and truly grow and follow.

I think after about a week of this, I am sure he was weary and doubted. I'm sure evil tried to weaken him and embarrass him, the struggle was obvious to others and they made it known, "God is not interested, give up." What a lie! God says to ask and keep asking, He wants to know how badly we want Him. The trial wasn't necessarily about rain, but about what God was doing in the hearts of those who chose not to give up. It really is this way, it's really about trials preparing us to handle such great powerful Wisdom and Understanding that could not take place without our hearts being tested, examined and in the right place.

About another week or so went by and one day before dark, sure enough the skies rained down water. I saw the prayer warriors dancing, literally jumping, smiling, and rejoicing in the Lord on those steps. They didn't have their shoes on, their clothes were soaked, eyes were sunken in from sleep deprivation and fasting. The seeker looked frail and weak, but suddenly energy came back to him and he was alive with thankfulness. I don't remember a lot of things but I can close my eyes and see their faces running around and splashing for joy in puddles forming around us. I don't think he was a prophet, but I do feel like he desired the Lord and sought Him to provide. I'm honored to again have witnessed him portray God's Word as livable and real. I pray he even now allows the Lord to show him "great and unsearchable things." (Jeremiah 33:3)

Our obedience and "foolishness" sets our hearts to seek God and we will never know what our following will change.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Making Sense


We've been reading through the Bible. Bryan and I began shortly after we were married, we are nearly done! And then I began myself last year and I am on my way to completing it as well. I have read the Bible a lot throughout High School and College, but never did I complete the whole Book unpurpose with intent to seek God. The New Testament is very wonderful and Awesome! I just hang on every Word and could read it over and over again, and I will. The Old Testament, however, is challenging and, sad to say, boring and difficult at times to prove relevant. I get confused and burdened to read all those weird things that happened. The battles, plagues, and angry curses from God. I've struggle to find meaning in it.

Tonight I finished Jeremiah and realized that the ENTIRE Old Testament is a recording of how desperately we need Jesus! And then, after I've come to that revelation, it makes so much sense for that much of the Bible, God's Word, to lead up to needing our Savior. All those rules, commandments, and God smiting those who made minor mistakes compared to me, or any living in our times, just seem to fall under the Grace of Jesus. Thank God I have Jesus, I wouldn't even stand a chance! I'd be dead, a pillar of salt, or swallowed up by the earth!

It still doesn't make reading Numbers enjoyable-but I get why it's all here-to show us the WHOLE story, to show truly how much Jesus is needed and how even more Amazing He truly is. It's in a sense a prologue to needing Jesus so badly because we are so sinful.

I am so thankful God shows His Love in so many ways, especially by giving us His Word to know, study, and ask for Wisdom from. It takes more than reading it, but a desire for the Holy Spirit to act and reveal the Treasure of the meaning. Praise God for His Truth, for it shows but one thing, He Love us.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gracey Update

Last week we got Gracey's tests results back and they were not good. They decided there was a possibility the two samples got mixed up (they took a sample from her after she fasted, and then again 2 hours after she ate to see what her liver enzymes would do) but either way, the levels indicate something is wrong with her liver. So, they decided to repeat the test, which is actually going on right now. If the test comes back bad again we will bring her to a specialist and they will do an ultrasound of her liver and see if there is a shunt. If so it could be operable, or if it is in the small ventricles we could try a medicine. She seems to be ok. She went on our trip with us and did a lot of walking. I picked her up as much as I could, but still she was really pushed a lot physically. She has been resting a lot, but not in a way that makes me think she is hurting or reacting to the liver. So again we wait for the test to come back in about a week and we will go from there. But I pray for healing for her! She is such an amazing little dog and I am so thankful for her.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

26.2 miles:4 hours 43 minutes and 48 seconds later!

Bryan with his medal!

Bryan did it! 26.2 miles in 4hours 43 minutes and 48 seconds!

Bryan crossing the finish line!

All I can say is "WOW!" You have no idea what he has been through to do this! It has been a long day. We got up at 4:30am after really not sleeping much, walked to the bus station so Bryan could catch his shuttle to the starting line. He arrived there and began the race in a corral group around 7:45-7:50 ish. Gracey and I then went to mile-marker 1 and cheered him on. We then went to the finish line and waited and waited and then finally I saw this very cute guy running towards us! But I have to pause here briefly...I am NOT joking when I tell you people were literally dropping like flies all around us and had to be carried by medics to a near by medical station. It was a extremely hot and humid day here and people were getting very over-heated. The clock said 5:08, but since he started in a pace-group he began after the clock started, so his time was tracked by his shoe-tracker. After I saw this one man pass out only several feet from the finish and carried across the finish...not even knowing really where he was, I began to get very worried. There were 30,000 runners and just think of all the people who came to cheer them on! I was a little piece of sand on a huge ocean beach! But I prayed and asked the Lord to help Bryan see me and Gracey and he did! It was nearly impossible to get a good shot of him, but I tried!

After we finally found each other by Bryan borrowing a cell phone to call me to meet him, we sat there and Bryan just started to cry and cry! He was happy, and he did it and we found each other and rejoiced! I was very nervous the whole time he was running, but I knew the Lord would see him through to the finish. I was just happy he wasn't one of the people passing out.

There is so much more I want to write, but we are at the hotel still and I will get to write more when we get home. Here are some AMAZING photos of my WONDERFUL husband. Thank you all who prayed for him and wrote the notes of encouragement. He got them after he finished and cried from joy and feeling so loved by you all.

Us before the race!

Gracey was here to cheer him on, she thinks SHE did the race...and we are not telling her otherwise!


Bryan with all his 50 encouragement notes!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Disappointment

Every day I see horrible things that break my heart, all in the name of "Christianity." In fact, believe it or not ACU proudly announced they hired a hypnotist for a free campus-wide event on Friday night. When do we as followers of Christ have to apologetically step towards the line of sin to look cool and bring in events that are fun, without quite putting one foot over. All this to say, it doesn't matter if people or buildings attribute themselves as followers of Jesus, their actions state more of what is going on in the heart. Hiring a hypnotist to come onto a Christian university should send a HUGE red flag into the air, but it seems that no one else even noticed or cared. A hypnotist is not someone who desires to use the Lord for glory, it is NOT possible. They however use their power, which is worldly pride and recognition and Powers that one should not even be around or "play" with to make the crowd believe in them. It is a very dangerous thing to be involved in and for ACU to promote this on their Campus should be unacceptable and recognized as a wrong move.

"Hypnosis began as part of the occult and false religion. The Bible speaks out strongly against all practices of false religion and the occult. God desires His people to turn to Him in need, not to those who practice sorcery, divination, or enchantment. He warns His people about following after mediums, wizards, enchanters, charmers, and those who have a familiar spirit (Deut. 18:9-14).

Hypnosis, as it is practiced today, may very well be the same as what is identified as "enchantment" in the Bible (Lev. 19:26 KJV)."In hypnotism, faith is shifted from God and His Word to the hypnotist and his technique. God speaks to people through the conscious, rational mind. He commands individuals as creatures who make conscious, volitional choices. He sent His Holy Spirit to indwell Christians to enable them to trust and obey Him through love and conscious choice. Hypnosis, on the other hand, operates on the basis of imagination, illusion, hallucination, and deception. Jesus warned His followers about deception. After a person has opened his mind to deception through hypnosis, he may become even more vulnerable to other forms of spiritual deception.

Hypnosis can generate Satan's counterfeits of true religious exercise. If hypnosis generates any form of faith and worship not directed toward the God of the Bible, any person who subjects himself to hypnotism may be playing the harlot in the spiritual realm. (See Lev. 19:26,31; 20:6,27; Deut. 18:9-14; 2 Ki 21:6; 2 Chron. 33:6; Isa. 47:9-13; Jer. 27:9.)

Hypnotism is demonic at its worst and potentially dangerous at its best. At its worst, it opens an individual to psychic experiences and satanic possession. When mediums go into hypnotic trances and contact the "dead," when clairvoyants reveal information which they could not possibly know, when fortunetellers through self-hypnosis reveal the future, Satan is most certainly at work.

Where were the Bible professors? The students to protest this event? Where were the Deans who should be testing and seeing that things on campus honor the Lord. Slowly, slowly, slowly, we are taking more and more risks that do not honor the Lord and we have trouble recognizing them and then they don't matter anymore, or we feel strange about them so we write it off and desensitize ourselves to the Holy Spirit's warnings. But they do! And we must stand up for the truth. I don't want to be one of those people who supposedly lived a life to honor the Lord that says "Jesus, Lord....Lord." and Jesus turns to me and says "away from me you evil doer I never knew you." These are the days where we will begin to see a clear mark between those who are seeking the Holy Spirit and then those who are not. And sadly even our Churches and Christianity is one of the main resources used to create problems and lead many away from what is true and what is freedom and LOVE from Jesus Christ the Son of God. We don't necessarily need to follow like blind sheep, we still have the responsibility to have a relationship with the Lord and by seeking His word, test and see what we allow ourselves to be around and taught by.

What a very scary time to live in, that even Christians can be completely blind to consequences of choices. Christianity is not a feel-good relationship with the world all the time. In fact, our choice to follow Jesus should be met with negativity, awkwardness, and people thinking we are strange for not participating in worldly events like Halloween or going to see a Hypnotist.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Courage

One of the most single amazing acts of courage I have ever seen did not come from a man who ran into a burning building to rescue a child, or someone that pushed a woman out of the way from an oncoming car and was hit themselves, or even a father who dodged bullets from an angry person who went on a killing rampage to rescue people in the store he didn't even know. No...oh no, to see real courage, the pure, basic, raw courage, go find someone who has lost everything and then find out to your amazement that they still HOPE. Yes, this is the greatest act of courage I have ever seen. It goes against all their reasoning to HOPE. Their experience may haunt them, but the choice to still go on and HOPE in the Lord completely astonishes me.

It stems from God's Love, covers our hearts and souls and allows us to see beyond pain and suffering and believe in something Greater, Powerful, and Beautiful beyond what words could describe. Hope medicates us and pushes us to persevere towards the unseen. But yet it is unseen- it is by no means un-felt. Sometimes the greatest sense of compassion comes from the One who knows us and can comfort us like no one else could.

And to those who are true Courageous people, keep going because the Lord is pleased with you.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Test Day

Gracey had her test today. It felt so weird not having her around the entire morning as we had to drop her off early this morning and leave her there until afternoon. I kept looking for her and checking on her, but she was not there. Hopefully this test will help us know how to treat this. It will take 7-10 days for results. We'll just wait and see and give her extra love and care in the meantime.

Monday, November 02, 2009

My Trial

How important we feel
going around like we deserve so much
as if we've done something to even permit breath
I plead and hold trials
I judge You for Loving me
as if it were a crime for You to discipline and mold me
Have You not already had Mercy?
Have You not already shown Grace?
I chase myself in circles
Hoping to prove I am there
But it is not what matters
Even when others play too
Are we all missing it?
If not then we drown ourselves in distraction
And we think it is living life
Oh God, that You would somehow pull out the rug from under us all
Am I blessed that You would allow me to struggle TO You?
I've asked for You
When I was a child I knew You beyond what I was taught
I felt You and wanted You
You were my Treasure
Has my spirit been disciplined from a believing Counselor
That painfully pushes me to grow?
Not for the faint of heart
Not simple nonsense
But tough Love
Tougher
Toughest
At times it almost feels like hatred
But You know me
You know I struggle with the Tamer
I go right
You pull me left
I struggle with letting You have the reigns
I must look silly
But You've never left me
Your discipline has allowed my desire for You to increase
And when it increases I find real Joy
God, a contradiction is at stake
But only in the mind of a man
It's fabricated to look as though we are persecuted or targeted
But I've drank
It's You
Give me strength to Love
But I do ask for one thing,...
Just that You would grant me joy in doing so.

Journal Entry from 10/13/2009

Sunday, November 01, 2009

What A Nut

Hi! It's me Gracey the Splend-Weenie! Let's go on an adventure together! Scroll down so just the picture shows and what I say! It will be so much fun! Are you ready? Ok....let's GO!!

First we must sniff for the right kind of adventure....the nose always leads to the perfect ones! Oh here we go...I think I'm on to something....

Sniffing is very detrimental to adventuring...we must sniff a lot, and then when you think you might be done sniffing, you must sniff some more...it is only appropriate.

Hey! LOOK! I found something!!!! See!!! This is super cool! I told you about the sniffing,...see we what we found? It always pays off!!!

Alright! Let's play with it! You throw it up in the air and I will catch it...ok, ready????...on the count of three....1....2...3!!!!!!!!

Caught it!