peanut butter cookies are NOT a solution. . .

peanut butter cookies
peanut butter cookies

I admit it. I eat when I’m depressed and right now I am not seeing my life very clearly. I’m not seeing how truly blessed I am. I’m not seeing that God is providing even as I stamp my feet and demand answers.

But He is. And I’m being a poothead child.

Folks say how lucky I am not to have cancer. I am grateful I don’t have cancer. I know people whose families have been devastated by that disease. My brother-in-law is one of those people. He is clear of cancer now, but our prayers and thoughts were always going up the God super-highway.

So. . .I’ve got arthritis, and it is doing a number on my cervical discs. My white blood cells are hyperactive and just love to munch on my joints. I picture little pac man figures munching greedily through my joints. Yum yum. They salivate in anticipation.

I’m having surgery in two weeks to fix the damage.

BUT THOSE STINKIN’ PAC MEN are now munching their way through my lumbar discs. I’ve been told that the discs are like jelly donuts between the vertebrae. Well, my little pac man figure has munched away on the disc material in order to get to the delicious jelly. Result? Jelly is running into epidural cavities and irritating my nerves. Literally.

I didn’t know nerves could hurt so badly—aren’t they the  transporters of pain to the brain? Seems like they should have some sort of nerve protection which would prohibit them from hurting just because a little jelly leaks out of my disk donuts! Oi Vey!

Nerves are very sensitive.

Bly me, now I can’t walk well. As my daddy says, “Cindy Lou, you have a hitch in your get-a-long!”  Yep. My get-a-long is long gone. I walk like Frankenstein’s creature.

I can handle the pain stuff. It gets to me and my hands shake all the time, so I take a light-weight pain-killer; I flushed all the Percocet down the toilet. No thank you. I’ll take a peanut butter cookie.

But I also have to take this nerve pain medication. I think it may be evil because my hair is falling out. My hair is short anyway because it is really thick and bushy and coarse. But now, it’s thinner. And it has receded at my temples and my bangs won’t grow to cover it.

My mom suggested a wig. No way jose. No wig. I wear headbands as a disguise and eat peanut butter cookies. And mope.

Oh, did I mention that sections of my eyebrows are falling out? Thank goodness for Smashbox and their eyebrow powder. it’s terrific.

This week, deep, round and red, sore bubbles broke out in random places on my face. If my face were a map and my right eye was Maine, then I have these red bumps (one at a time—not a group) in Florida, Arizona, Mexico, Washington, and Quebec. I think they may be (gulp) pimples.

Another peanut butter cookie.

Can I be blunt, please? I’m vain. I’m not, nor have I ever been beautiful, but I have always been cute. Ok looking. Not special, but I hung together pretty well. But now—I won’t look in the mirror except to put on make-up.

I have to wear glasses and I’m now a good 30 pounds overweight because I can’t walk or ride my bicycle. Walking kills foot and makes me cry in pain for a while and wish I hadn’t flushed the Percocet down the toilet. Doctor doesn’t want me to ride my bike because I could fall and crack some of my fragile discs that the Pac Men have been attacking.

What now? Locusts? Boils? (I actually think pimples count as boils.)

This too shall pass.

It will. I read Psalm 27 last week and several parts of it spoke to my heart and eased my soul. The last verse was better than a peanut butter cookie.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Sigh. To everything there is a season. This is just a season. I can wallow around with peanut butter cookies or I can be strong and take heart and wait.

I’m trying. I’m praying. God is moving, and I just need to wait and apply Clearasil quite liberally.

. . .and avoid peanut butter cookies.

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red lipstick bravery

origin_199185257 Romans 8 always confounds me. 

Today I woke up and the pain hit me all over again—not emotional pain—physical pain. It is the physical pain that defeats me and makes me angry and frustrated.

*I consider that my present suffering are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in me. Romans 8:18. (I change the pronouns all the time to make it more personal).

It’s morning and I go to the Lord. Everyone’s morning God time is different, I’m sure. When I was teaching high school, my time with the Lord was a quick reading of My Utmost for His Highest while I dried my hair, and then listening to a good word from a favorite podcast while driving to school. During the twenty-minute drive I practiced developing a prayerful attitude. For me, a prayerful attitude means  calming myself and centering my mind on the truth and presence of God. That He was my creator God. A God that cared for me with all my idiosyncrasies and past, present and future failures. I centered my mind on the truth that I was NOT going to teach the kids by myself. I didn’t have the intelligence or quickness of mind it took to teach. I had to keep God in my pocket, so to speak, so I could reach down in that pocket and feel his hand grasp mine as reassurance of presence and love. Sometimes I have a stone cross in my pocket or a rock with “strength” engraved on it (given to me by a wonderful young woman).

*Many times, I don’t know what to pray anymore. I’m find I’m repeating myself. I have a list and it’s the same list. How and why? How and why, Lord? Help Lord! Please, Lord! And then I remember my access to the Spirit. Why do I forget that? His indwelling in me. Oh Holy Spirit—I pray—moans and groans too deeply implanted to be verbalized. The Spirit translates.He gets it. 

 And then comes verse 28. God works all the yucky, painful stuff for good—His good. His good in me. Shaping and forming me to be more like Jesus, but oh what a stiff, cold piece of clay I can be.

So today, in pain, I read these words and reflect and write. Looking at red and gold and brown trees reflecting the morning sun. Wishing I had another cup of coffee  and could sit a while longer until my hands quite shaking. And the pain passes.

Slowly, slowly it does. The shaking becomes a vibration. I run the dishwasher. I eat my oatmeal.  I take a shower, and even though I know I will be working on my computer today and may not even leave the house, I put on red lipstick. Red lipstick is brave. I will be brave in my hope today. I will be brave in my trust.

 “So what do you think? With God on our (my) side like this, how can we (I) lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us (me), embracing our (my) condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us (me)?” Romans 8:31-32 The Message Bible

A Poem by Wendell Berry—for my daughter-in-love, Renee

A Homecoming

One faith is bondage. Two

are free. In the trust

of old love, cultivation shows

a dark graceful wilderness

at its heart. Wild

in that wilderness, we roam

the distances of our faith,

safe beyond the bounds

of what we know. O love,

open. Show me

my country. Take me home.

Breaching: The Movement of Whales: What it takes to move out of fear and live bravely

A pod of whales cavorting around the San Juan Islands in Washington state.
A pod of whales cavorting around the San Juan Islands in Washington state.

*I originally published this in my older blog, “Pray, Read, Teach” directing it towards my senior girls who struggled with purpose when faced with college. I’m re-posting it for all of us that are in our middle years and facing a wall of fear that strangles us like the roots of tree, dragging us down into despair and weakness. Though I’ve taught for 20 years, every year is a challenge. This year I fear I won’t be able to do my job due to chronic auto-immune diseases that continue to knock me flat on my tush.

Lost Dreams

In my 20s and 30s, life seemed so possible. I was young and healthy. Sure divorce knocked me and my children for a loop–a loop like one of those upside-down roller coasters that leave you screaming like a banshee–and sure, I had to go back to college so I could support myself and my kids–and sure, I had to depend on my parents to help me with my children while I was working and going to school–and sure, I had to teach my mom how to give my four-year-old her insulin shot so she’d stay alive–and sure, I faced loneliness unlike anything I’d ever experienced, BUT I was young. I felt like life was still out there somewhere. God was leading me to something wonderful.

Reality Check

Why in the world did I think that I’d be immune from the suffering that the majority of the world goes through? I guess I thought I’d paid my dues: divorce + infidelity; daughter diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes; moving from Littleton, Co. back to Oklahoma and my parents’ property; watching my children get on a plane by themselves to go back to Littleton to spend a summer with a dad that stayed uninvolved and a step-mother who disliked them passionately (a helplessness only those who have been through will understand); watching my oldest son disintegrate into darkness and depression; watching helplessly while my middle son got stitched and casted after falling face first from a cliff; struggling in a new marriage when you have no history together and no children to irrefutably join you to each other; watching my now-grown daughter suffer through a divorce of her own (the pain is so acute–you feel like your sins have been regenerated in your children’s lives)–I guess I figured I’d fulfilled my quota of bad stuff. “Ok God, now for the good stuff.”

At 55 my dreams have never found a place to bloom. I keep thinking, “This summer, Lord. This summer I’ll write and complete my book–just one book.” And now this. Cervical disks ruptured and rubbing across my nerves, psoriatic arthritis pretending it’s rheumatoid arthritis by copying RA’s pain patterns, dealing with allergic reactions to Humira that cause my eyebrows to fall out and me to faint on a regular basis (even at school). THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MY SUMMER OF RESTORATION! 

I did get in one week of biking. Did several hours of graphic design for next year’s classes. And that was it. Going on seven weeks now and just received MRI results (not good) and preparing for my next epidural steroid shot that will hopefully alleviate some of this pain and give me back the use of my left arm.

Husband in Colorado for a week, taking the vacation we were supposed to share. Instead I curl up in a ball in bed and cry because of the pain. Then I read all the wonderful blogs out there by published authors that aren’t me and I settle into a bout of self-pity.

Where did the joy go? 

I’ve lost my vision. I’m still in the middle of this. I wish I could say that through prayer and Bible reading I’ve grown stronger and more faithful to the Lord, but I haven’t. I’m floundering this way and that…waiting on God to show me if I’m going to be able to work or not (and not working full-time is not a good option for me). I have no idea what is going to happen in the next few weeks. Surgery? Not being able to teach? Then what, Lord? LORD, THEN WHAT? Sigh heavily. 

So this parable that I wrote about dreams and purpose is relevant now as I wallow in fear and uncertainty. I’m reading Lauren F. Winner’s Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis and Margaret Feinberg’s Wonder Struck. I’m listening to Jeremy Camp and MercyMe and Audrey Assad and Lara Landon and letting their lyrics and music soothe the fear I grapple with like one of those bears on Mountain Men (my hubster loves that show). 

Maybe you are in the same place. You’ve reached the middle of life and you feel invisible–like you don’t count anymore. That sounds terrible and selfish. I have a wonderful grandson that I adore and wonderful children who love me and care about me, and exceptionally gracious parents who pray faithfully and cry with me when my body hurts. I have so much. And still I’m scared. Who will take care of me if I can’t work? What if I never write? And the biggie: what if this pain is my new normal? If you are there with me, this parable is for you. I hope you enjoy it!

A Parable About A Girl by Cindy L. Camp

She lived small. A small room in a small house on a small island with a small grandmother. She loved her small room. It smelled of living things like moss and ocean water and lavender blossoms. She had very little furniture: a twin bed covered in a plum quilt her grandmother had made for her. She had crafted it from her granddaughter’s “plum period” tee shirts when the only color that Annie would wear was plum. Not purple and certainly not lavender. Rich, earthy plum.

A small cabin on one of the San Juan Islands.
A small cabin on one of the San Juan Islands.

She also had a chair. It was old and tapestry-covered. Something she and her grandmother had found at a garage sale on the mainland. She remembered watching it sway in the back of the pick-up truck as they crossed Puget Sound on the ferry. It was faded and softly green and she could rock in it. It was her favorite place to sit when she was inside. It faced out to the ocean and the forest and a cropping of stones where birds would sit and the occasional feral cat.

In one corner of her small room was a dresser with a mirror. The mirror was lined with shells and rocks she’d gathered on her excursions around the small island. Her grandmother let her glue them to the mirror. She was wonderful that way. She let Annie be Annie.

The only other things in her small room were a few rugs and hundreds of journals and books. The books were stacked according to color. The journals were stacked according to year. She had journals from 10 years ago when she was 8.

Inside each of her journals was always some sort of plan or map in which she would draw or write out her future. Her favorite journals were maps. She loved maps. On the small island there was a nautical store full of useful things for the fishermen who dominated the island’s population, but the owner, Bud, had trunks full of old maps that he’d let her have for a dollar or two. She’d take them home, cut them apart and create new worlds in her journal. Then she’d draw in her island. Sometimes her island would be next to Africa (which now rested where China once was). Sometimes it was over by Scotland (now relocated to the Mediterranean). Once she had placed the pieces of the map throughout the journal and decided on a location for her island, she would mark off her journey in red marker. She created jobs and adventures in each place. She was a nurse sometimes. Always somewhere dangerous and beautiful. Sometimes she was an artist living on her island now relocated somewhere near Sweden. She would sit by the water and paint the colors of Sweden. Sometimes she was a photographer in the mountains of Nepal or a missionary in Kashmir. Sometimes she was a shepherd in Israel, her island carefully moored in the Jordan River.

Sometime around the age of 16, Annie stopped buying maps and creating adventures. She started trying to figure out what she really wanted to do with her life. She attended a small island school, but her grandmother was the one who really educated her. She read and read. Everything from Melville to Kingsolver. She read Darwin. She read the Bible. She inhaled books like air, each one of them leaving a particle of themselves behind. Her newer journals were full of magazine pictures from National Geographic. At 16, she was going through her “I want to be a photojournalist” period.

At 17, her journals started showing her doubts and fears. She’d paste in a picture of a woman working as a nurse with AIDS babies in Africa and try to visualize herself doing that kind of work. Something so meaningful that she could dedicate her life to and feel that when she died, she would have mattered. But she was afraid. She was afraid she’d never finish college and especially nursing school, so she drew a big red X across the picture.

She added a picture of a teacher working with migrant workers in New Mexico, teaching English to the children so they could have a future in a new country. Another big red X. She was terrible with Spanish. She barely made it through two years of it in high school.

At 18, she read a book about a missions organization that worked with women and girls around the world–helping them to escape sex-trafficking. She even emailed the writer/missionary and asked her about it–but they said they needed someone who could do graphic design for them from the United States. They didn’t need another traveler. Annie didn’t own a computer. She used the island’s library when she needed to access the outside world.

Graduation loomed and passed. Still Annie sat with her journals debating her life. She worked at a small bookstore in Anacortes full-time and took the ferry to and from work. Sometimes she’d see a pod of whales breaching one by one moving towards the place in the center of the world where whales gather.

Her grandmother never pressed her about college. She never pushed her towards a career off of the island. She knew that Annie had to find her own way. She watched her granddaughter struggle with herself, but she didn’t intrude. Not then. She watched. Like the whales, Annie needed to go to the center of her world and gather her thoughts, dreams and wishes into one cohesive purpose.

Finally when Annie turned 20, her grandmother decided it was time to make a few things clear. Annie was still working at the bookstore and still writing her journals in her small room in the small house.

The grandmother met Annie at the ferry one evening. They rode their bikes quietly to the small house. Then the grandmother took Annie by the hand and led her to the bench where they could watch the ocean breathe and gather itself up and then drop itself down flashing against the shore.

“Annie, do you ever want something more than this island and the bookstore?”

Annie looked shocked. Her grandmother never asked her the heavy questions except about God and about the boys/men she occasionally dated. Now she was asking her about the one thing that she had never been able to decide upon despite hundreds and hundreds of journals.

“I don’t know.” And she didn’t, so the grandmother prodded a bit deeper.

“Do you feel restless?” Annie nodded.

“Do you feel trapped?” Annie nodded again.

“Ok, Annie be honest–what do you love to do more than anything?”  Annie looked up and smiled.

“I love to write. I love maps. I want to write about what I see. I want to pick up a soft-covered book and look inside and see my words describing something ordinary that people might miss if they aren’t looking closely.”

“Like what?”

“Like the blue-green mist that hovers around the woods on Lopez Island, or the glassy calmness of the water when I’m kayaking around the east side of the island. Or the miracle of seeing the orcas breach. Or even the market and farms on Lummi Island.”

“So why don’t you? Why don’t you use those journals of yours and travel and write.”

“But that takes money and time.” Annie sighed. “And a decent camera…and a publisher.”

“Yes. It takes all that, but is any of it going to happen if you don’t try? Is a camera and a publisher necessary right now? Can’t you just write?”

“I can’t, grandmother. I…I’m not that good of a writer. And I can’t leave the bookstore–they need me and I need the money. Plus, I’ll never afford a camera on my salary and I do need one. And besides that, there are dozens of books about the islands. We certainly don’t need another one. Who would want to ever read mine?”

“Ok.”

“Ok, what?”

“Just ok. It sounds like you are going to stay where you are and dream your dreams, but never pursue them because you don’t think you’re good enough or special enough or rich enough–when really, Annie, you’re just not brave enough.” 

Annie looked at her grandmother. Her grandmother got up and left Annie sitting on the bench looking out at the water watching the gentle movement of the eternal tide. She turned over and over the things her grandmother had said. She made it sound so easy. Just do it. Quit waiting. Stop letting fear jam you up and keep you from moving forward.

That night in bed, Annie got out her Bible. She read her regular night-time readings. A little Old Testament (Isaiah), some Psalms, and some New Testament (Thessalonians).

This time she decided to read a little Ephesians. And just like that, God spoke. It was a spirit-crunching awareness that made her catch her breath.

While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master,I want you to get out there and walk–better yet, run!–on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline–not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences…You were called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together , both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. BUT that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his/her own gifts.” 

The words touched her heart and Annie felt a bit of bravery rise to the surface like a whale catching its breath or flaunting its beauty. My gift…she thought. He gave me my love for writing. He gave me this love for words. He gave me a gift of seeing His beauty in nature. He’s given me a home I can return to when I grow weary. He’s given me a job that allows me some freedom.

Annie knelt beside her small bed. She laid her head on the plum quilt and cried a bit. She was scared. It was a big step and she might fail. She heard a voice say, “So what?” Ok. She would fail. And so what if she did? She’d keep going and learning all along the way. That was bravery. Knowing you’d fail sometimes, but doing it anyway–whatever “it” is.

“Lord, I’ll start right here–on this island. And I’ll just draw the pictures if I need to–just little sketches. Or maybe I can borrow someone’s camera…” Her mind was whirling as she fell asleep.

When she woke up the next morning, she re-read the passage in Ephesians 4 and looked at her journal. She had a choice. The glow of excitement had faded and reality settled in quickly. She could either put last night’s God-moment aside or she could act on it and see what happened. 

She could hear her grandmother in the kitchen waiting for her…waiting for Annie to decide that she had purpose and vision. Annie walked into the kitchen and poured herself a cup of coffee with a little creamer–and then emptied the whole thing into a traveling cup. She picked up her battered backpack and stuck in a few pens, pencils and her journal.

“I am going to cover the west side of the island for a bit and just see how it goes.”

Her grandmother smiled and gave her a hug. “You are gifted for one purpose: to glorify God. Your writing will do that–now go–get out there. Do it. Don’t wait. I’ll be here. I’ll always be here.”

So Annie went.

…IN WHICH I CONCLUDE THAT THERE IS NO SAFETY NET

Image
Forget the Disney image–E.H. Shepard’s capture A.A. Milne’s story so much better. Timeless.

To quote my philosopher of choice, Winnie the Pooh: “I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” 

 To quote my spiritual mentor of choice, C.S. Lewis: “Aren’t all these notes the senseless writings of a man who won’t accept the fact that there is nothing we can do with suffering except to suffer it?”

 To quote the source that guides my life, the Bible: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12

 Another one from the Bible–this time from James (one of Jesus’ younger brothers…same mama; different papa): “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” James 1:2 (The Message)

The writing…

Ahh, you say to yourself. She’s going to go all whiney-butt on us and then talk about how suffering is a good thing…and… you’d be wrong. Suffering is an ever-present part of life. Few of us escape it. Some have more than their share.

I live close to a hospital. There is a brand new children’s hospital connected to it and a Ronald McDonald House near by. They act as reminders to pray–reminders that there is suffering far greater than I can fathom.

A personal pet peeve that I believe Jesus would agree with me on: The brand of Christianity that denies suffering and instead insists that healing is available for the asking. The one that says, “Follow Jesus and life will be easy and you’ll get rich because he wants you to prosper and you’ll never be sick because he wants to heal you!” (Take my word for it: these are out of context!!)

Case in point…or cases in point: The disciples. None were rich and drove the most pimped out camel in Asia Minor. None wore a lot of bling or anything made by a Jewish Versace. They lived dependent on the kindness of strangers who were also believers. They made their way (like Paul) practicing a trade. They spent lots of time in prison under the oppressive and really nasty Roman Empire. And most were martyred–except for John who was exiled to the island of Patmos.

ImageConclusion: Why am I surprised by what I am going through? Even though there is no “safety net” of protection, there is this assurance: “Abide (remain) in me, and I will abide (remain) in you…as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now ABIDE in my love.” Jesus, John 15

For the third time this week, I’ve written the word “abide” on the inside of my left wrist as a reminder.

A MUCH NEEDED CHANGE OF SUBJECT:

Sounds I love:

  • The gentle creaking of 60-year-old hardwood floors when I prowl through the house at midnight.
  • The cooing of mourning doves.
  • Children’s voices playing outside.
  • Lawnmowers on Saturday afternoon
  • The scratch of a new pen hitting a new journal.
  • Typewriter keys (Apple should create a typewriter sound option for my Mac keyboard)
  • And my favorite…the deep, rolling belly laugh of my 9 month old grandson, Sawyer.

A BOOK I AM ENJOYING: 

Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Skinner — I read her first one, Girl Meets God, and was Imagehooked. Skinner grew up “at a synagogue in a small college town in Virginia.” She goes to college in NYC and converts to Christianity. Her books are clever, witty, but loaded with mature observations about faith and its practices in the United States.

This is a tiny, precious book that I got from the library and have now ordered (used copy, of course!) for my personal library. My fingers are itching to annotate!

Grace and peace to you, Cindy

What are your favorite sounds? Books? Winnie-the-Pooh quotes? C.S. Lewis quotes? Verses to sustain you?

A PREVIEW: Red Letter Experiment:#4 Short and Sweet and Childlike: Matthew 18

Image
Renee’s flowers. My daughter-in-love took this picture at a Farmer’s Market in Bend, Oregon.

 I haven’t worked on this blog for awhile. I haven’t been looking at the red letters of Jesus and trying to see how I’m supposed to be living. I pick up my Bible and my journal and I listen to great teaching and I study and wait for God to inspire me to write. Nothing. 

 I read books on writing. I get periodic phone calls from a self-publishing group reminding me that when I finish my books, I should pay them a couple thousand bucks to see my work in print (so thoughtful of them). I feel this pressure to write and grow and develop, but I’m just so tired. Overwhelmed. Empty. There is nothing new or spontaneous happening in my creative brain cell. I used to think I had a veritable cornucopia of creative brain cells, but not any longer. I’m pretty sure I’m hanging on to my last one. And it’s a wimpy one. 

I’m a school teacher (in case you didn’t read the “About Me” tab information). I teach English to high school kids. This past year I used up five years worth of accumulated sick days. I feel like I let down my students. 

I headed into summer determined to lick several things within the first two weeks of June:

  • Lose another 20 pounds! 
  • Start riding my bike religiously again! (my favorite form of exercise ever)
  • Switch from Humira to Enbrel and start seeing my psoriatic arthritis improve.
  • Get really healthy, fit and energetic so I can make it through the teaching year without missing a day (and so I can wear some cute skirts with boots this year–Vanity, thy name is Cindy).
  • Write 2 books: one for first year teachers and one called Volkswagen Theology, which I  started as a blog.

REALITY: 

  • Can’t lose weight because the drugs I’m taking are messing with my metabolism.
  • Started riding my bike and loving it….when–DA DA DUM! I started feeling numbness in my left arm. 
  • Saw doctor. Numbness in left arm due to cervical disk pressure due to degenerative disks due to psoriatic arthritis (with rheumatoid pain patterns) and osteoarthritis. No more biking. WHAT??? What about the 20+ more pounds of fat and excess everything on my body? No weights. Walk (in 100 degree weather–I scoff and sob).
  • Started Enbrel. 
  • Started pain pills for arthritis. 
  • Numbness in hands becomes a full-blown conflagration of fiery nerve pain up and down my left arm and into my upper spine. Weeping in bed with pain and fear. 
  • I am now 3 weeks into June. No books finished. No writing. No weight loss. No bike. Just pain. Losing chunks of eyebrows. Pale. Constant pain and no sleeping. A visit to the Urgent Care Center. 
  • Doctor seen on emergency basis. Schedules MRI. Gives me two shots in neck and shoulder blade. No help. 
  • Another night of searing pain so intense I expect to see blisters on my skin. Steve and I cancel our Jackson Hole vacation for July. 
  • Percocet. 

 And that’s the lowdown. MRI will hopefully show what is blocking the nerves, and then we can sandblast the sucker out and be completely recovered by the first of August. (HA!)

Meantime, I exist. I can’t drive due to medicine. I can’t ride my bike (though hubby has sort of consented to getting me a cruiser bike that allows me set upright). Money. That’s all it takes. 

And God is staying very quiet. Whispery even. It’s like He doesn’t want to disturb me. WAKE UP GOD AND DISTURB ME!! I’M SINKING HERE!

 When all else fails, go back to what works. Red Letters. 

I’ve been examining Matthew 18 and will have some things to write about tomorrow. But not today. Today I re-posted my past Red Letter writings. Today I’m resting and learning to trust again. Today I’m eating an apricot and dreaming of a miniature poodle. Today is a day to remain hopeful.

Some thoughts before I write: What do you think Jesus means when he refers to the “kingdom of heaven”? How can adults change/convert/turn back to a child? What is Jesus warning us about regarding causing a child to stumble and sin? How do we do that? What does it look like? 

 Leave some thoughts if you have a hankering to…I’d love to hear from you.