I Am Thankful Because…

nature red forest leaves
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Last Tuesday was an amazing and hard day. I was scheduled to receive a number of epidurals in my lumbar and right scapula areas. Its a little difficult to write about. If you’ve read my first two blogs you will see there was a battle to even get the procedure done.  My prayer was that I would be brave and have peace about the epidurals I was about to undergo. I woke up kind of waiting for a shoe to drop that never did. I did feel brave and peaceful although many times anxiety grew inside my stomach. The kids got off to school without a hitch. My husband and I dropped off my son with my parents and drove to the orthopedic hospital campus in plenty of time.

I didn’t get the same nurse I had had the two other times but despite my small rolling veins she was able to get the IV into the thick underside of my elbow, where its supposed to go, not in my hand or wrist where it usually ends up after a few tries. That was such an answer to prayer and I am so thankful. I walked myself into the OR room, mostly because of nerves.  I let the nurses know I was nervous and they encouraged me to breathe. Before I knew it I was out and only remember bits and pieces of the actual injections.

I’ve had a week of soreness and tiredness but by God’s grace only a few of the headaches that plagued me last time. I am so thankful for all the people I knew who were and are praying for me. I know prayer works. God’s constant hand on me though this very scary thing is proof. I am so thankful to God that he brought me through such a hard thing so easily.

The hard part now is waiting. Waiting to see if the epidurals will relieve the nerve pressure and pain in my right leg and foot. My back and arm are already feeling better. I do have moments of soreness and stiffness but I do notice improvement. Something else I’m thankful for.

I swam in high school. It’s something I love to do. I often have swimming dreams. Last night I had a dream I was getting ready to swim laps in the pool. I had the idea that if I just kept kicking my feet the pain in my right foot would just go away. I took the kick board and began kicking down the lane. In my dream I could see my feet kicking and I could see the pain falling off my foot

till I had no more pain.

I do believe that sometimes God gives us dreams, its in the Bible that he often talked to people that way. I’d like to believe that this one is from Him. That he’s telling me to just keep on swimming, like Dory in “Finding Nemo, ” and I’ll get there. I am so thankful that we have a God who wants a relationship with us, who holds us close and loves us regardless of our limits. I hope you all have a thankful week as you prepare for Thanksgiving.

God Answers Prayers in Extraordinary Ways

Well last week I was a day away from a medical procedure that hopefully going to relieve the pain in my back and right foot. About 8:30 a.m., less than an hour after I posted I got a phone call. It was the doctors office canceling the procedure. My insurance had dropped my doctor, the facility was still in network but for some reason my doctor was not. I have worked in the medical field prior to my accident for 10 years. I am well aware that when your insurance no longer has your doctor in network, mistake or not, it could take weeks to months to fix. After a long discussion on the phone with my insurance and the doctors office I was told that this was an error on my insurance’s part and I just needed to wait. The office would reschedule the procedure as soon as it all was fixed.

Well, I said I wanted a testimony, here it is. I sat down and prayed, I was unsure why this was happening and I really didn’t know how to pray so I prayed that God’s will be done. Then I prayed that the Holy Spirit would pray for me. Then I messaged all my prayer warrior friends and asked them to pray. Then I felt it on my heart to ask my church to pray, that’s something I had only done one other time when I was having horrible migraines, but I really felt prompted by the Spirit so I did. Then I decided as an act of faith I would try to do what I was supposed to do for the procedure, I drank a lot of water, got the house chores done I usually do on Tuesday and prayed a lot . When I took my son to school I had KLOVE radio station on in the car and cried because it was like every song was speaking to my situation. The song by Mercy Me “Even IF” came on and I almost cried so hard I couldn’t drive. It was followed by Tauren Wells “Hills and Valleys” One of my theme songs since the accident occurred. If you’ve ever experienced a ministering of your spirit through the radio station you know how amazing it is that God uses these songs to speak to your situation.

By 4 p.m. The web portal to my insurance still showed my doctor not in network. So at that point I was sure it the procedure wasn’t happening. I was still reeling, do I need to find a new doctor, how long do I wait to find a new doctor, is God trying to protect me from something? I didn’t know really why it was happening. In the situation we found some good, it would allow my husband to go to work and have the meetings he needed, my mom had recently fallen and needed to recover, her and my dad would be watching my son during the procedure. So I was trying to be thankful for these reasons.

Tuesday morning came and my husband wanted me to call the doctor again before he headed to work. There had been no change and the procedure was canceled. I went about my day and at 1:30 received another phone call from the doctor’s office. Everything was fixed my doctor was back and network and they needed to reschedule the procedure. Prayers were answered. I rescheduled for tomorrow. So far I have not received any more phone calls so I believe were really going thru with it tomorrow. I don’t know why all this happened and it has left me with lots of questions but I don’t think I’m as anxious as I was last week. I’m still praying God’s will be done and I’m still praying for healing.

The delay also allowed me another day at physical therapy where my therapist had me call the doctor due to the fact that my hips won’t stay in alignment and when she tries to correct them its really painful. That earned me a follow up appointment with the doctor which I am thankful for. I don’t think that would happen without the delay. So I am determined to believe that all these weird plans God has ordained for my good. Hopefully next week I’ll have another praise to post and more healing.

..And Then the Fear Comes…

This blog is about journaling about fear and anxiety and battling it with God’s word and God’s gifts of creativity. I started this blog because of the journey I have been on since May of 2017 when I ruptured my S5 disk in my back. I am still on that journey of recovery and tomorrow I stop at another destination.

I am scheduled to receive a number of epidural injections in my lumbar area and left scapula area, or mid back and left shoulder. The lumbar injections will hopefully if successful calm down the swelling in that area and release my sciatic nerve that causes constant numbness and pain to my right foot. The left shoulder is inflamed from clenching the steering wheel when I drive, because my right foot is in so much pain from driving and over compensating.

I underwent a similar procedure about 6 weeks ago in August where they put the epidurals in my S5 joint at that point and the results were not what was hoped for. The numbness in my foot did decrease but it also moved into my arch making it even harder for me to drive. The back pain did also decrease. Needless to say the lack of success from the first set of epidurals along with the week long headaches I had which is a common side effect of the procedure leave me very anxious about tomorrow.

I know its okay to be fearful and anxious about tomorrow. These are normal reactions to a hard thing. I’d like to discredit tomorrow and say its not a hard thing but it is. Its all been hard.  I know there are people, maybe even reading this who have it harder, who live their lives in a wheel chair, whose handicap sign doesn’t have an expatriation on it like mine.  I feel like this experience has given me more compassion and humility towards them. To think about being free from this pain, being healed of it seems wonderful and doubtful all at the same time. I fear the doubt I feel. God calls us to believe without doubt but when the best outcome hasn’t happened for so long, doubt is very real.

So how do we let go of doubt? How do we like Elijah’s servant go to the edge of the cliff and look for a rain cloud 7 times? I think around time 3 and 4 doubt had to enter his mind, how did Elijah steal his thoughts from it. (See 1 Kings Chapter 18) The truth is God has healed me many, many times through medicine and miraculously. I believe he has the ability, I’ve asked for the healing but going thru the test he asks of me is very hard. I heard Joyce Meyers say that you have to go through the test and have the moans to have a testimony. That if you stop at the moans you won’t get at testimony. If I have to go through this, I want a testimony at the end of it. I want to testify to God’s Glory and love so that others know how much He loves them too. Thank you for letting the blog be part of that testimony, I hope you’ll pray with me and for me tomorrow, If you are also facing something hard and want prayer please let  me know in the comments below.

CGFAA Presented Narnia the Musical, How God Provides

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The CGFAA Cast of Narnia the Musical

My middle daughter, Lucy, just completed a weekend of 7 shows with Center Grove Fine Arts Academy. They performed Narnia the Musical with a cast of over 90 students ages 8 to 18. This is Lucy’s second show with the program. The program itself is a wonderful way to let students learn about theater and fellowship in Christ together. As I said in previous blogs I served on the costume committee, which I find very fun and challenging.

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Tec week / show week are equally fun. All the preparations are done and us costume moms hang out back stage to make quick fixes and help with quick changes. We get to know the cast a little bit, see how much hard work went into everything and get to know each other. I truly enjoy the team comradeship that forms and the friendships you have going into to the next show.

Like any other God-serving task I’ve ever experienced this one seemed to have its own sets of challenges and battles along the way, especially the week of tec. What surprised me is this time I didn’t get quite as despaired by them as usual, except for a challenge that came on towards the beginning of tec week. Physically I wasn’t up to the task of driving to and from T.C. Howe High School which is about a 35 minute drive from my house on the expressway. Getting to the school I did fairly well, but driving me and my daughter home from practice at 11:30 at night my right foot, which has nerve damage from my back in it, couldn’t keep the petal down at the 65 miles and hour I needed to stay at on the expressway.  After one night of driving home in unbearable pain I woke praying to God to provide another way for us to get there. I messaged the moms I knew lived near me and hoped for an answer.

God had already figured it out. Nicki, who was one of the leaders of the costume committee and someone I didn’t even think to ask, messaged me and offered to give me the night off and take Lucy. She does not know what a God send she was. That night I truly needed rest. The next few days my daughter and I were able to catch rides with two other girl scout moms that I am so thankful too and over the weekend my husband drove, allowing us some needed catching up. Next to the way God provided through this battle the other stresses of the show, costumes misplaced, tails torn,  all seemed small. I knew that somehow these things would be resolved too by God’s grace.

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“Deep Magic” one of my favorite scenes in the play

The wonderful thing about serving in a community of believers I think is that when the trouble does arrive you can openly remind each other to pray and pray for each other.  You can give God the glory in unison when the victory, big and small do occur and all this can be done without hesitation the real world brings on. I love the diverseness this group has in our individual christian beliefs and yet we come together and work together without those differences being a hindrance.  I believe the acceptance the children have of each other is what bubbles over into the adults. I am so thankful for this program exists in our community and can’t wait to see what great things it will bring. For more information on CGFAA please check out their website at cgfinearts.org. 

Did you get to see Narnia or do you have a similar program in your area? Please comment about it below.

Exhotic Feline Rescue Center in Centerpoint is a Life Experience

It has been hard to blog these past two weeks. The kids were on fall break and finding an empty computer in this house has been next to impossible. But fall break is over and I already miss them. I love having my kids home, school seems so much harder for us all. On Friday my girl scout troop and my close friend’s troop teamed up and went to the Exhotic Feline Rescue Center in Centerpoint, IN.  www.exhoticfelinerescuecenter.org

IMG-9763 We really enjoyed the trip. It is a wonderful non profit rescue that really cares about and for its animals. Getting there however, for me at least was a challenge.

I had always wanted to take my girl scout troop to this rescue. Lots of other scout troops I knew had gone and loved the experience. My girls are currently working on an animal badge and the trip fit perfectly. Since my troop is small, 4 girls, I set up the event and invited my very close friend Cassandra’s troop to come with us. Her troop is also fairly small. My girls were excited, I was excited, until I realized the logistics of the trip. My right foot still has nerve damage. To make the trip I would have to drive about an hour and a half there, walk for what was about an hour and 15 minutes and then drive an hour and a half home. My foot wouldn’t be able to do that. I was in a panic. My husband didn’t think he could take off work to be my driver, he would be traveling that week and unsure what day he would come home, So I spoke to Cassandra about canceling the trip. I prayed about the event and even felt that canceling was the thing to do and I was so disappointed about the decision. But Cassandra said very wisely “This is a problem we can solve.” The problem was we had 4 girls who needed rides plus me and my two girls. Cassandra lovingly was willing to rent a 12 passenger van, and drive, so that we could all attend. I was so humbled by her willingness to help. In the end with the help of my of my other girl scout mom Rebecca taking one girl, We all arrived. “Its more fun this way anyway,” Cassandra said, “Its an adventure.” She was right it was so much more fun to catch up with my friend and to have all the girls giggling and laughing in the back of the van. My foot did have issues walking in the cold I had a lot of numbness and was sure driving home would have been too hard. I am so thankful to my friend for not giving up and approaching the problem in such a positive, loving way. She certainly taught me something.

The actual rescue is wonderful. They have mostly tigers, bob cats, a black panther (which I learned is actually a leopard, ) lions and a few other big cats that have all been rescued. Some of them had been in circus’s, or animal shows or even theme parks. 4 had been rescued from a tattoo parlor in northern Indiana. Some of them were in good condition and had been cared for before arriving,  others really had not. There were tigers with missing eyes, one that walked strangely due to neurological problems. The white tigers were the saddest to me. Our guide, Christina, explained that white tigers don’t occur in the wild anymore. They are inbreed and have many, many problems. The white tigers their were cross eyed, and one of them even had their organs on the wrong side of their body. They were beautiful but heart breaking. IMG-9725

Another tiger really caught my heart and was truly a God moment for me. It was a female that when found was actually paralyzed. Christina said the vets recommended extensive physical therapy for the tiger but because no one can get that close to them, the rescue is very strick about not allowing any person in a cage with a tiger for safety reasons, the vets recommended putting her down. The rescue was very upset about that and was coming to terms with it when all of a sudden the tiger started trying to stand. Christina said she didn’t do it for long but every day they saw the tiger work on standing, then work on walking, until finally the tiger was able to move about on its own. “She did her own physical therapy,” Christina said, “Many doctors have wrote papers on her because we didn’t know a wild animal could recover like this on their own.” When the tiger walks she has one back leg that she favors and Christina said that she had nerve damage to it so it falls asleep on her.   I knew exactly how that poor tiger felt. But the story was such a reminder to me that it brought tears to my eyes. If God can take a tiger from a death sentence into walking. How much more can God heal me. The whole experience has been a lesson for me not to give up or in to fear. IMG-9859

The scouts really enjoyed the rescue. It was so cool to be so close to these animals. It was surprising hear the tigers and lions talk and chuff at Christina as she appeared before each enclosure and follow us as far as they could not afraid of us but happy for the visitors.  You could tell these animals were happy, and well taken care of and well loved. I would encourage anyone to go and take a tour. If you have been there and want to tell the story of your visit.  Please comment below.

How to Make Leaf Mason Jars and a Fall Foliage Place Mat

IMG-9568So before I get started on the above fall crafts I just want to mention its Wednesday. I try to post on Monday. Why the delay? Well have you ever noticed when your trying to do something big that you feel God has given you to do trouble happens? Delay, sickness, broken down cars, so much so that it feels like an uphill battle. Well your not alone, The Bible says we will have trials of many kinds and well this week has been full of trials to get to this computer. My kids are on fall break so I have to get up extra early to write and all three of them have strep throat. You’d think that would encourage sleeping in but instead I’ve been up early two days in a row taking care of a feverish four year old. So this is my third attempt. Prayer and a not giving up yet attitude will get you thru it. God’s grace will get you there.

So a few weeks ago I was at a friends house and loved all her fall decorations. I came home and realized I have none! I don’t decorate a lot but I did want something pretty fallish to look at so I decorated my dining room table. Now I had seen on Pintrest these pretty fall mason jars but no tutorial that I could pull up to tell me how to make them. They were easy, and cheap to make! Here is what you need. Mason Jar (I like the smaller size but any size will do). Modge Podge, A Popsicle stick, paint brush, fabric fall leaves ( I found mine at the Dollar Tree) electric votives (also at the Dollar Tree) and ribbon.

Make sure your Mason Jar is clean and dry. Paint Modge Podge on the leaf you want to place into the jar, paint on the side you want facing out of the jar and then put the leaf on the inside of the jar. IMG-9562You can use the Popsicle stick to smooth the leaf against the jar if your fingers don’t fit, mine didn’t. Just keep repeating this until the inside of the jar is covered with leaves as you like.IMG-9563 Let the Jar dry overnight. Its going to look like a white mess when your done but that all goes away, I promise. The next day drop your votive in and tie your ribbon around the mouth of the jar and your done. So easy!

Then I went to work on making a place mat with the remainder leaves from the Dollar Tree. For this project all you need is fabric leaves, A piece of felt, I used white because that’s what I had, but brown,orange or yellow would work too and your glue gun. Now I have to confess that I got the idea of this at my friends house. She had some of these on her table and I turned one over to see how it was made. On hers the leaves were sewn on and I believe you could do it that way too, I just thought hot glue would be easier.  IMG-9566To start I took a plate that was about the size I wanted and traced a circle on the white felt. I  then cut out the circle and began gluing leaves along the outside edge of the circle. Working inward I glued the next circle of leaves so that they were overlapping the first and in between the first set of leaves. Kind of like when you lay bricks. I did this with each layer until I got the the middle.IMG-9567 Where I just overlapped two leaves to create the center. I placed my treasured grandma’s bowl with the pine cones my girl scouts painted for me inside on it and I was done. I officially have decorated for fall. Let me know if you try either of these crafts in the comments below. Happy Autumn.

Our annual trip to the Martinsville Chili Cook off and Chalk Art Contest

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One of The Winner’s Pictures of the Chalk Art Contest

Every year in this little town called Martinsville, Indiana they have a fun artistic event that my kids plan all summer  long to do. A Chili-cook off and chalk art contest. My girls and I love the chalk art contest. We collect chalk all year and we have a big tub of it along with a bag of charcoal (for black). The Martinsville Chamber of Commerce puts on the event to raise money for their youth scholarships. There are many artistic people in Martinsville and I always am in awe of what they draw at the festival. Its taken seriously as many will show up early to have time to finish their creations.

We arrived a little before 11 a.m. this year which gave us about an hour and a half to draw. Chalk drawing takes a long time, especially when you have a big space. This year my eldest daughter barely finished her drawing in time.  She loves horses and has drawn a horse for the past three years. This year she wanted to try to draw in black and white.IMG-9525

We have a wonderful day. After drawing our pictures we try the different chili’s and vote for our favorite. The farmers market is always close by too. My daughter took a friend this year and they bought some apples to munch on instead of the snacks I packed.

We’ve been coming to this event for about 5 or 6 years and we’ve learned a few tricks on how to draw chalk well. We always plan our drawings out first in the space with white or light colored chalk. Other colors cover this up easy and you can get your mistakes out of the way. Chalk is very forgiving when you make mistakes usually you can just smear or blow the chalk away and go over the mistake. Smearing is an art. We used to use our hands, sleeves whatever we could until I took a chalk art class with Jennifer James who taught us the secret of pool noodles. I usually by a few from the dollar store and tear them up. They are perfect for smearing the chalk around and blending. You don’t tear up your hands and you don’t waste as much chalk. Unfortunately they are very light and can blow away very easily which is what happened to us this year halfway thru drawing.  The other secret we’ve learned is the importance of charcoal. Most chalk boxes don’t include a black and if they do it doesn’t last long. Charcoal, like what you use in your grill, works really well and lasts longer. I’ve had the same bag of charcoal for 4 years. It is really easy to outline your work with charcoal when your done to make it stand out and keep your picture easy to see.

This year’s festival was a welcome beginning to fall for us I hope you enjoy our pictures below. Mine is the sunflowers and pumpkins, My daughter is the horse and her friend made the anime of Totoro.