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Accepting the Challenge

Yesterday, I became one of many that have accepted a challenge to live healthier for the next 90 days, knowing that if I can make the change in the next 90 days, I can turn it into a new lifestyle.

For someone who is considered “morbidly obese”, I knew that to be truly committed to this challenge, there had to be accountability. That is why I love that I am part of a group of Christian women that love the Lord and seek His guidance daily. They are a great group of ladies from all walks of life and have challenges ahead of them just as I do. Our challenges may be different, but the opportunities that God has placed us all together is not a coincidence. His plans are always perfect and purposeful.

So, one of the challenges I have faced even before this challenge officially began was learning to love water, instead of soda or some other high-calorie beverage. A week ago, I was lucky if I drank even 8 oz of water a day. Now I am drinking 120 oz a day.  My goal is to reach 200 oz a day (if my doctor approves that amount).  Along with drinking all the water and choosing to eat healthily and losing the extraordinary amount of carbs that have become habits for me, I am trying new supplements from Plexus Worldwide. I will take these supplements daily along with moving more.

healthy eating

I am gaining new insight into the world of chair exercises. Right now my balance isn’t great and standing for more than 10 minutes at a time, causes pain and serious discomfort. My hope is that as I move more, even in small increments, I will notice a difference for the good. I am praying that as I embark on this journey, I will not only become a healthier me, but I will be able to share my success stories with all of you.

Once I learn more about the supplements and how they will help to heal my body from the inside out, I will share what I am taking and how they are working for me.

God dropped this opportunity in my lap because I chose to be real about my pain and discomfort. Other people reached out to me and asked me to come along for the ride.

Jeremiah 29:11  International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I know there will be times that Satan will try to discourage me and distract me, but I am committed to making a better life for myself. I am tired of writhing in pain and feeling so fatigued that sleep never comes. I want to enjoy life, not from the chair I sit in daily and look at the four walls. I want to be able to walk without pain, play with my grandchildren, dance with my husband and love life.

And the best thing about this new challenge is I am making friends I will have for life.

God is good! All the time!

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to all!

My Heart

My heart sees what the world cannot comprehend.

My heart sees the loneliness that she feels when the world shuts her out.

My heart sees the ache when all she wants are friends that include her and think about her.

My heart sees how walls have been built because they are a form of protection.

My heart sees a young woman trying to find her fit in this life and feeling hopeless.

My heart sees a child that looked for love in all the wrong places because she didn’t feel loved enough at home.

My heart sees a child that wants to feel needed and loved unconditionally.

My heart hurts because I cannot fix the problems she fears and the failures she remembers

My heart sees what all the negative words have done as they have penetrated her soul and become her beliefs, that she is worthless, useless, lazy, not loved.

My heart cries because this is not who she is. She is beautiful.

My heart sees the struggle she lives within herself; I remember when she was carefree.

 

 

My heart sees that coping isn’t easy and sleep never comes.

My heart sees a woman that loves her child but doesn’t know how to show it all the time.

My heart sees a woman who wants to have a job, have friends, be independent, but doesn’t know how to achieve it, because her self-esteem has been battered and bruised.

My heart sees where I have failed and my heart forgives itself because holding onto that kind of thinking can cripple a person.

My heart hopes for her, that one day she will be the person God has created her to be.

My Heart Katlyn

My heart sees the fierce compassion she carries within her own heart and will defend those she says she doesn’t love because that’s what family does for one another

.My heart longs for her to accept that she is worthy of love, real love and so much more.

My heart waits for her to understand that life gives us lessons to make us stronger and not to withdraw more.

My heart leaps when I see her artistic ability and I only wish she could see this gift of a talent she has.

My heart perseveres in knowing she can be anything she wants to be, she can be the best at what she hopes for and she can soar.

My heart prays for the day that she is not afraid to spread her wings and fly.

My heart weeps because the anxiety that is part of who she is how it  stops her in her tracks and as much as she wants to be a part of something, anything, she doesn’t know how to move forward without fear creeping in.

My heart loves this person with so much love, that I will never look at her except as the beautiful child I know her to be. She grew inside of me for 9 1/2 months. She is my daughter. She struggles with depression and social anxiety. She has but a few friends and I weep because I know she desires so much more for herself than I can give. I love her with a fierce love and I always will. I pray daily that she will know how much she is loved and will not only know it but embrace it. I love you, Katlyn Nicole with all that I am.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings til next time!

Beyond Blessed

Today God reminded me how very blessed I am. My good friend, Julia popped by to brighten my life, not just my day, but so much more.

Since I became disabled and unable to get on my knees or squat down, I have not been able to plant my flowers.  My husband and I used to plan our flower beds and containers, go to the local home improvement store and purchase potting soil, plants, flowers, etc. and each year create beauty outside of our home. Then after the weeding and planting and mulching, we could sit on our front porch and enjoy the beauty of our hard work. Those times brought such joy to my life.

Three years ago, when I did my final plantings, I laid flat on my stomach in the yard on a cardboard box and planted the seeds and starts of blooms. It took a long time, but I was so determined to do it. I knew that would be the last time I would be able to do it. Joint and bone wear had taken its toll.

Now, Julia amazes me because she is always creating beauty in her own flower beds with a mixture of plants, herbs, flowers, grasses, etc. When the weather is nice enough to be out digging in the dirt, that’s where you will find her. She has seed starter plants and starters from other plants all over her kitchen and outside on her patio. It’s like walking into a home garden center. And she isn’t afraid to get dirty or remove hedges that were in her way or change the design of her garden if she doesn’t like it when she’s done.

Today, she appeared at my home with a load of mulch and composted soil, empty planting containers and starts of herbs, flowers, and vegetables and her gardening tools. She knows how much I miss my flower garden. And while she was figuring out where she wanted to plant everything and how to do it, I sat on my walker and we fellowshipped with one another.

Because she has such a huge heart, full of love, she allowed Tyson to help her plant the flowers and dig in the dirt. That’s huge for a three-year-old with sensory issues. He cried when she had to pack up her tools to go home. But she promised she would be back, tomorrow with more plants.

As you can see, she is a very beautiful friend, outwardly as well as inwardly. She loves with all she is. We have been friends for over 11 years and we have laughed and cried together and encouraged one another when we felt at our lowest.Julia

 

1 Samuel 16:7New Living Translation (NLT)

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Thank you Father God for reminding me that blessings come in all shapes and sizes, and in all forms. The best blessing that any of us can have in our lives are our friends and family.

Thank you, Julia, for the love you have shown me today! It will not be forgotten.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!#HopeAlways#HaveFaith

Blessings to you!

 

 

Hazy Days

Lately, I have had to stop in mid-sentence to try and recall what I was about to say or continually ask the same question, knowing I was given the answer multiple times, but I just can’t recall what it was. I do not like repeating myself and I don’t like asking others to repeat themselves. When this happens, I am tripping over myself apologizing and having to explain that sometimes the “brain fog” of Fibromyalgia is real and not an excuse for not listening.

Hazy Fog

It’s like leaving the room you’re in, to go get something from another room, but you feel like the rooms have moved and you have no idea how to get there from where you are. You think you must be losing your mind because you can’t keep track of simple details. It’s maddening, for me.  Sometimes the “fog” is like a haze. I stumble through my day, writing myself notes and writing everything down because I don’t want to ask again, and then misplacing the notes, only to find out they are right where I put them.

And going to the grocery when the “fibro fog” has settled in for a spell is a whole new thing. I must write everything down I need. If I do not put pencil to paper and notate it, even if it’s only two items, I will not be able to recall it.  I used to be able to remember the smallest of details. My mind was sharp. It’s frustrating because you never know when it will happen.

I play word games with friends and read to keep my mind active. I am working on teaching our grandson letters and numbers that he will need for preschool.  I think the most frustrating part of this “fog” is when I forget something that is really important. There are no do-overs. Apologies can be given, but how many times will that happen before people will stop relying on me?

I have always been able to stay on task and now I start something and don’t finish it because I forget what I started and move onto something else. Then I realize a few days later, I need to finish what I started. As I said, for me it’s maddening. The only solution I have found that truly helps is prayer. When I pray to Jesus and ask for His Peace to help me remain focused, I can sit with Him and just let His Peace wash over me.

Philippians 4:6-7New Living Translation (NLT)

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Before I retired, I could work with vendors, keep track of all the details of a delivery, write up reports and take care of details, like a boss. Now, all the details seem to blur together and I have to sift through them to figure out what is important and what is not.

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I often wonder if this is how people that suffer from dementia feel. If this is the same type of feelings they go through when they are searching for the right words to communicate their needs.  It is scary to think that a disorder such as Fibromyalgia could affect my brain in this way. Fibromyalgia is full of surprises. It’s kind of like the line from the Forrest Gump Movie,  My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”[1]See Footnote.

Lifting the Fog of Understanding

Fibromyalgia is a lot like that. You never know what you will get. I can guarantee from my point of view, though, it will not be sweet or delicious, as that chocolate might be. This fog that I live with does lift from time to time and I am very thankful for that.  I can’t imagine being in a haze all the time. It’s like trying to look through the thickest pair of eyeglasses there are (remember the term “coke bottle glasses”), and they are all smeared because you tried to clean them with a tissue that had lotion in it. No matter how much you try to rub the smears away, it just makes matters worse. That’s what the fog is like for me.

As with any symptom I face, I seek out the Lord and rely on his Word to pull me through when the days are tough to manage. When I want to give up and throw in the towel, I remember how much Jesus loves me. I remember that he has a plan for my life and I keep pressing on, knowing that the trials and afflictions I am facing now, prepare me to comfort those and encourage others that are in this silent battle. I am a warrior. I battle daily to live a normal life. I joke with others about old age and memory loss, as a way to cope.

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If you find that you, too, suffer from this thick, dense “brain fog” due to Fibromyalgia or another illness, know that you are not alone. As a warrior with a chronic, life-long illness, it is easy to have feelings of hopelessness. Remember Jesus is our Hope. Cling to Him. He will bring you through every trial you face. #HopeAlways#HaveFaith

John 14:27New Living Translation (NLT)

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Lord Jesus, help all of us that suffer from “brain fog” to remain clear and concise, to discern what is of you Lord and what is not. I ask that you pour out your Peace upon us, the only true Peace there is and help us to stay calm through the storms. In Your Mighty Name, Jesus. Amen.

May you know how much Jesus loves you and may your cup overflow with blessings!

[1]Forrest Gump Movie Quote

In Deep

John 10:10New Living Translation (NLT)

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

hopealways

 

 

 

I’ve been sitting her this morning, thinking about all the things going on around me, in my little world. We all have our own ways of coping and dealing with life and everything life throws at us, even if we didn’t ask to be part of something. And I’ve come to realize that I can choose to turn a blind eye to things that bother me or I can seek the Lord and His guidance.

I love and I love deeply. That’s the only way for me to do it. It’s not about what the rest of the world thinks, it’s about what my heart feels. I weep for the homeless and for the many people in my area that die from heroin overdoses every day. I weep because I don’t know how to fix it. I’ve been fortunate, not to have lost anyone close to me, but I have many friends and their families that have been affected by this drug. Just this morning, I read a news headline that 10 people lost their lives to heroin overdose in the last 24 hours. Losing 1 is too much, but 10 is a horrific thought. I didn’t know any of these people, but I weep for their families, friends and for them. I don’t understand what changed in their lives that they thought the heroin or any other drug for that matter could make it all better.

All of us need love. It’s part of our DNA. That’s how God created us. Every time I think about all the evils in this world, I think about this song What the World Needs Now is love. Unconditional love. Period. It isn’t easy loving someone without conditions, but if we want to be like Jesus Christ, that is exactly what we need to do, what we must do.

I live within miles of the number one ranked city (Dayton, OH) in the nation for Heroin addiction overdose and death. The only thing I know to do is to love on people. Meet them in their pain and slowly build relationships with them so they know that even when they shoot up, you still love them. We are all broken, we all have demons we face in our lives, I feel so strongly about this, but I still don’t have any answers. The only answer I keep hearing is we must love one another, deeply. We must look past our faults, our weakness. We must be willing to step out of our cozy comfort zones and reach out to the hurting, the dying and the lost. We must continue to pray for our world. Our small little worlds make up the big world we live in. Each of us must put on Jesus every day when we awaken and reach out in any way we can to stop this evil and that’s what it is, plain and simple, evil.

According to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office, via a news release on WDTN Channel 2, Dayton, Ohio (01/31/2017), 355 overdose deaths in 2016; the majority being white and in their 30’s. The actual amount of deaths was 349 according to this report from the Montgomery County Coroner’s office. As I read the reports and look at those numbers, just for the area I live in, I am astounded. This says nothing of the national problem we have. And I weep.

The hardest drug I have ever tried and lived to tell about was Nicotine from smoking cigarettes. It too is habitual and it too kills, but slowly. I’ve heard if you have just one “hit” of heroin or any other drug, depending on its chemical makeup and strength, it can kill. For some people who feel the need to do drugs, doing it just once might be their last time.

Here in our area, there is an organization that is slowly making a difference in the lives of families and addicts, with resources to help them succeed in life. Kudos to FOA Families of Addicts.

There is hope. There is always hope. Hope Over Heroin is a ministry collaborative born out of a need to do something to save lives, to educate others and to give hope in the darkest of situations. They are a National organization that is available with resources to guide you.

If you or someone you love is addicted,  please know there is help. Reach out.  You may contact the 24 Hour Heroin Addiction Hotline, call 1-888-966-8404 and chat with a live agent anonymously. If you have lost someone you love to a drug overdose, please accept my sincerest condolences, I weep with you.

Jesus can turn any mess into a message of Hope. #HopeAlways#HaveFaith

Blessings to you.

Addition to post edited on 4/22/2107

When I orginially wrote this I did not know anyone that had succumbed to a heroin overdose. Sadly, earlier this evening I received news that a friend’s son has passed away as a result of a heroin overdose. Rest in Peace James Williford.

 

 

Coat of Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-7New Living Translation (NLT)

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

How many times have you read this passage in the Holy Bible? How many times have you heard this portion in marriage ceremonies? I have heard it, and read it hundreds of times. It is one part of 1 Corinthians 13 that I really like. It helps me remember how I should be toward others. Do you love like this? Do you love like God does? Continue reading

Let’s Be Real

Hello, dear friends! I’ve been away for a while now. I would love to say that I have just been so busy that I didn’t have the time to write. That would not be accurate or honest; anyone that knows me knows how much I value honesty.

So, I am coming clean with you. I’ve been suffering from some mild depression for a while now and instead of taking my own advice and seeking the counsel of others and pressing into the Lord, I’ve just been trying to cope with it any way I knew how. Food has become a comfort to me in such a way that I have managed to gain a significant amount of weight and have some tough decisions to make.

There are some medical reasons for the weight gain, but I can’t say it’s all due to hypothyroidism. I could infer it is because of my quitting smoking, and that’s the reason for the excessive weight gain. The truth is that since I no longer work, and I am home all the time now, food is always accessible. And food choices aren’t always the best.

I’ve always battled my weight, ever since adolescence. I have never been this heavy in my life and in order to be at a healthy weight, I need to lose over 250 pounds. It really is overwhelming and depressing and this is the mindset I need to get rid of. 1398614719289

I know that I can work to eat healthier and slowly lose the weight or I can have surgery that my doctors have recommended. Either way, it will be a slow process and I am not entirely sold on the weight loss surgery.  Since I am considered to be Morbidly Obese with a BMI of over 61, I am a high-risk surgery patient already.

Hearing the words morbidly obese puts it all into perspective. Morbid meaning unhealthy and could lead to death. Truly a scary thought! I am not ready to die because I weigh too much. I need to start moving and doing. I can give anyone a pep talk, but giving myself pep talks never seem to have much of an effect.

I am blessed to have a friend that is nutritionally wise and has agreed to help me formulate a plan for me. She has offered several times over the past couple of years, and I know now is the time to take her up on the offer. And I also am aware that I need to be “all in” or “nothing”.

Addictions are hard to beat. It took me 30+ years to quit smoking. And I have to remind myself daily that I do feel better now that I don’t light up. That doesn’t mean that I don’t crave a cigarette from time to time or when I smell smoke from a passerby that I don’t want to inhale it; because that would be a lie. But I know for a fact that if I was still smoking, I would need more than weight loss surgery to make me healthier.

I never thought of food being addictive until now. The truth is I love to eat. And now that I don’t smoke, so many foods taste really good and I love flavors. Now I have to learn to eat healthy for life. Not a diet, but a lifestyle change.

I have felt spiritually attacked on many levels in my life also. Satan knows when we are down and he knows exactly what will get to us and uses that to bring us down and become discouraged. And if we don’t recognize that, we can spiral out of control. It can be a slippery slope for sure.

In John 10:10 the Bible tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came so we could have life abundantly. In

In 1Peter 5:8, we are told to be self-controlled and alert because the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

I have always been able to hold onto the Joy in my heart placed there by the Savior. I don’t know what happened or how it happened so fast; I realized that I was running on empty and needed serious refueling. My love languages are quality time and touch. I love spending time with people and giving and getting hugs.  Being in the confines of the four walls of our home, not being around others, was truly having a depressive effect on me; even though I have always been the type of person that has no desire to go “out”. I would much rather stay home with a good book.

I have heard versions of the Serenity Prayer but never seen this one until recently.
Serenity Prayer
– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

Read more at BeliefNet

So, in accordance with that prayer, I need to change what needs changing to help me live a longer and fuller life, accept what I cannot change and be wise to know the difference. I need to remember to live one day at a time, enjoying each moment I am given and realize that the hardships that I go through help grow me and teach me to rely on the peace of the Father. I need to surrender to the Lord. I am blessed.

In Proverbs 3:5 the Bible tells me that I am not to lean on my own understanding but to trust in the Lord and he will take care of me and make a straight path for me.

In John 14:27 the Bible tells me that Jesus leaves me peace, that only He can give. I am not to let my heart become troubled or afraid.

I know that every single day I must trust in the Lord, for EVERYTHING. He gave me life and he came to earth as a man so he could die for me and I could live forever with Him in eternity. While I am here in my temporary home, I need to honor the Lord with my temple. This temple needs a good shaking and cleaning. I’ve let it go for way too long!

May I encourage you today that whatever you are in the midst of, know Jesus is there with you. He is your mighty King and creator. He loves you. Trust in Him.

Blessings to all~Carlene