As Good As It Gets

      Late this afternoon, we headed over to St. Mary’s Hospital for Daniel’s neurologist follow-up appointment.  The nurse who took his vitals did a double-take when she saw him because he looked so much better from the last time she saw him. He eats us out of house and home, but managed to lose a little over 2 pounds since last month!  The appointment went well overall, with us explaining we have seen strides in his health.  I still haven’t thrown caution to the wind, but I’m ready to do the happy dance!

      As we got further into our discussion about his health, the reality remains that he is still tired, still has to have a minimum of 10-12 hours of sleep every night and some days are just bad days no matter what we do.  Her comment was, ” You know, this may be as good as it gets until he outgrows this syndrome.”  And I am perfectly okay with that.

     Our society always pushes us to do better, be better, achieve more, do more and God tells us to rest.  Jesus didn’t push himself to overachieve or make a tally of how many He healed in a crowd.  He simply did what his Father told Him to do and then retreated to be with His Daddy.  

      Considering how far we have come in this medical journey, I will gladly take and keep my son at the stage he is right now.  No, he’s not completely well, but he’s able to function most of the time.  His stubborn streak is showing up, his wicked sense of humor is slipping back into conversations and his obsessive tendencies over wanting others to understand his opinion are all part of his daily life again.  Little things like this that I prayed would come back are here and driving us all crazy again; and I wouldn’t trade it for the world on a silver platter.   If this is as good as it gets, then I’d say I’m a very blessed mom.  I’ll take every moment of this versus the other side of this rare illness. 

     The struggle isn’t over yet, but I can honestly say I think we’re finally on the other side of the worst side of it.  No, this isn’t how we planned on high school being for him, and next week will be a realistic indicator of his endurance.  Dipping into the muddy waters of “why me”  or “what did we ever do to deserve this” would simply be a stupid negative move.  Instead, we choose to focus on how far he’s come, God’s glorious healing power, and relishing every returning part of his personality that was ambushed by this syndrome.  If this really is as good as it gets, then we are blessed beyond measure.

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Doing What’s Right

      Our budget will have to be squeezed just a little tighter.  We got our new budget plan amounts for electricity and gas in August and both went up to a higher amount…sigh.  I have to admit that money, more than anything, sends me right over the edge.   Our bills are paid on time and quickly now with online payment, but just the mere thought of having to handle money makes my stomach churn.  We’re in that classic middle class syndrome of having enough to pay bills and get groceries, but very little, if any, leftover.

      Even with all that said, we continue to walk in faith.  Our budget plan amounts increased, but we also, on faith. have increased our monthly online tithe to our church. No, I’m not doing it for a “prosperity plan” or expecting anything to fall miraculously from heaven.  I increased our tithe because I wanted to and because it’s the right thing to do.  For many years I admit I was mediocre about committing to a tithe, but now I’m adamant about doing what is right and bringing glory to God in all we do….even our small amount we sacrifice every month.

      Going out to a restaurant is a real treat for us as well as having “fun” food or junk food in the house.  Our meals are simple, frugal, but delicious.  The other day, Sarah found a bag of “popcorn” chicken in the freezer and exclaimed, “Mom, this is rich people’s food!”  I explained that the only reason we had it was because it was on sale and I had an insanely high dollar coupon for it.  I love to cook for my family, but also acknowledge it has to be within reason.  No fancy gourmet expensive meals or buying spices that I’ll only use once; we are very careful to stay at our allotted amount for groceries.  Being frugal, but sensible with our family meals is a challenge, but again, it’s the right thing to do.  Blowing our resources at a drive-thru window or eating out several times a week would just not honor God’s faithfulness to us. 

      This summer I also updated my working wardrobe but it wasn’t from major department stores.  My “new” clothes came from local consignment shops and Goodwill. I simply can not justify almost a hundred dollars for a pair of shoes, but $5.00 is more my style.  Using our limited resources wisely is the right thing to do, and it’s a more fun to find a bargain than to spend too much money.

     God is good and He’s been so very good to us.  Watching Daniel slowly recover has been my greatest joy this summer.  He still has “tired” days, but he is able to function more now.  I know he’s getting better because his stubborn streak has returned!   All the things that used to frustrate me, are now blessings returning one by one.  

      No, we are not financially wealthy, we do not have a large home, we do not have anything extra in our lives right now, but we are blessed beyond measure.  Everything we do is measured upon Biblical standards and a desire to bring God’s glory to all we do.  We choose to do what’s right, not what we feel, not what others say.  We are trusting, breathing, putting one foot in front of the other and God will bless our efforts.

      

 

     

It’s All About Him

       Every Sunday in church I have to bring tissues because the message and the music always move me to tears.  They are not sad tears, just tears that cleanse my soul and tears that reaffirm my trust in the LORD over and over again.  I’m seriously thinking of suggesting to put a box of tissues at the end of each row!  The past two plus years of dealing with Daniel’s illness, the financial burdens and just trying to cope day to day at work have made me keenly aware of God’s Holy presence and my constant need to simply trust HIM.  I wish I could say I was the perfect believer and never doubted, but doubts have risen like curling smoke from a chimney.  You’d think by the age of 52, I would be a wise Christian example, but sometimes my own children amaze me in their child-like belief and wisdom way beyond their years.

      This journey has taught me to fight and hold onto faith, not feelings.  Combating fatigue and anxiety about paying bills ranked pretty high on the list of doubts, but somehow we have always had a meal on the table and bills are paid one by one.  No thunder or lightning, no huge winning lottery checks in the mail, no manna raining down from heaven, just God overseeing every moment and providing what was needed for the moment.  I’ve learned that God doesn’t need a ticker tape parade every time He generously provides, He just wants me to keep trusting.

      I have to clung to God’s Promises, his Word every early morning and Christian music to fill my ears and head.  Teasingly, I have told my husband the only thing I miss about work this summer is the half-hour commute filling the car with my “Jesus music”.  It’s definitely been a long haul in this journey and it’s far from over. Yet, for the first time in a very long time, I can finally look back and see how far we’ve come.  The fog is lifting and now the pieces are coming together to actually see God’s work in this path we never thought we would trod.

      Daniel finished his summer online Algebra II class and submitted all his work…literally two hours before the extended deadline.  His waiting and procrastinating made my stomach hurt, but he pulled it off at the last second and ended up getting a high B in the class.  Just so you know, this was a huge God moment, because I did NOT nag him, yell at him, remind him or berate him…I kept my mouth SHUT and just prayed he would finish the class on time.  Later, he told me he finished the class and got a B, and I reminded him the only way he finished that class was because his mama was praying for him!  How he crammed a semester’s worth of work into the last 3 days I’ll never know, but I am so grateful that God pulled him through and decided to show off at the same time.

       This summer has been a time to heal mentally, physically and spiritually.  At a recent teacher workshop I attended, as an icebreaker, they wanted you to share how much energy you had compared to the bars on your phone being charged. Several shared that they had three, four and five bars and were so ready to begin the year.  I did not voice my comparison aloud because I thought it would be interpreted as a negative comment. If I had to compare my energy level right now as compared to charged bars on a cell phone I would honestly be at a two.  Initially, that number sounds very low and despondent, but actually it’s a confirmation of God working continuously in my life.  When I left school in June, I was probably in the negative number range with absolutely nothing left in me to give, to teach or to absorb.  So, within 2 short months, God has moved me from the negative range to an acceptable range for my physical, mental and spiritual attitude.  Only God can do that and I confirm that it really is all about Him!

 

 

Words :)

        Words we hear, we say, we see have a profound effect on our daily lives.  This past week, Daniel had a follow-up appointment with his neurologist.  After hearing about his current status, asking a few pointed questions she then stated the words we have longed to hear for over two years:  “He’s getting better!”  A rush of relief flooded over me, and a cautious hope filled within me.  No, he’s not completely well and I’m still treading cautiously in these unknown waters because I’ve been devastated by the emotional cycles of his syndrome.  A doctor was smiling and constraining herself from dancing across the room and we sat there in utter disbelief from the proclamation of her words.  Three little words have brought a cautious hope, a bright light in the darkness, and a solid anchor to hold onto as an affirmation of God’s healing power.   

      All of our children are grown now, and we have a precious granddaughter that simply rocks our world.  There has never been a day our children have not heard, ” I love you.” We haven’t filled their heads with “fluff” words or negative comments, but just affirming simple words:  “I love you, I support you, I’ve got your back, You are precious.  It doesn’t take a plethora of words to communicate, just thoughtful, careful words.  Affirm, encourage and reassure with simple words…you never know when God will use your words to change someone’s world.