I haven’t been on here much. All I can say is “I can really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now…”
I hold in my hand a wish. A tiny spark of hope. Hope for the future. Hope for life. Hope of things to come.
A miracle, new hope. It feels like God’s grace is running out for my mom. Where is the grace I felt God telling me about way back when I wrote the blog post What’s Grace got to do With it? Really, who am I to talk? I am not God. But I am me, and that’s what it feels like. We pray for a miracle, knowing it may not be granted. Knowing many before my mom have succumbed to the awful disease called cancer with nary a miracle in sight. Yet I pray every day for one, knowing my answer may be ‘No.’
My mom took a turn for the worse after getting on the new trial drug she had been getting a placebo of during her two years in the trial program at OHSU. The trial drug caused excruciating pain in her stomach and a loss of appetite. She was in the hospital twice in less than a week. Now she is home in hospice care and was taken off the trial drug. Her stomach pain has subsided and her appetite is very slowly coming back. She’s mostly eating soft food or liquid.
To those who have thought to send gift of fruit baskets, Omaha Steaks, Freshly or Instacart so my dad can get groceries delivered to his door or who brought home cooked meals or goodies. Many thanks to you. A special thanks to the writer of the note on one saying “Mary, eat!” When I read that to my mom. She smiled and decided to try eating a slice of apple. Thank you for being God’s hands extended to my parents during this tough time. For any who stopped by their house, thank you for helping lift her spirits. Thank you also for any and all prayers sent out way right now.
It doesn’t feel like Christmas around here. Mostly we stopped shopping for Christmas when things took a turn for the worst for my mom. But I honestly feel like we have Christmas all wrong. It’s not supposed to be about commercialism at it’s finest. It’s about God sending his gift to us – baby Jesus in manager.
I think Charles Schulz got it right with Linus’s speech in a Charlie Brown Christmas:
Linus Van Pelt: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not:
“for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.’
So, at the risk of sounding like my Christmas spirit person (animal?), The Grinch. I leave you with this:
And on earth peace, good will towards men…
*Photos taken by me on a trip last month to Edgefield, mcmenamins in Troutdale, OR
I’ve been kind of quiet the last couple of weeks on here. Just putting my head down, trying to get through. It seems like so many times we are struggling and just can’t even reach out to others during our struggle. I’m having major flare-ups of pain from the cyst, the last time after just sitting and watching a movie. I want a second opinion on this cyst. The flare-ups of pain are coming right from the base of my spine, where the cyst is, I’m sure it’s the problem, but trying to get a neurologist who knows how to deal with it may not be as easy as I originally thought because apparently, Tarlov cysts aren’t common. So I end up in excruciating pain for a couple of days when I somehow trigger the pain. I’m so tired of dealing with it, I’m discouraged that I can’t live my life like I normally would. I really want to go hiking, but that will trigger the pain. It is affecting my way of living at this point.
Furthermore, Pinterest suspended my account for 2 weeks due to a copyright complaint. After 2 weeks, my account was not back up and running, so I started trying to e-mail them. It took another week for them to correct the problem and this time, they did decide to remove the strike against my account. I still may have some old ones on there, which really ought to be removed as well, but at least they listened to me and took care of the problem this time around.
To make things worse, I’m fighting over bills from the billing office from where I was going to physical therapy that they couldn’t be bothered getting out to the car insurance adjuster in a timely manner. They keep saying they’ll do things, and then they never do them. Now they are saying they’ll bill the insurance, but really, I’m beginning to lose hope. It’s like they just answer the phones at that office and then nobody follows up on the actual work generated by the phone calls.
So, there are a few not too good things going on in my life right now. It knocks the breath out of you some days when too many bad things are going on. So, what do you do when life gets you down and you’re struggling to get back up again? Here are 7 things to do when you are having a bad day.
Pray – A few weeks ago, the pain from my cyst was hitting really bad and I was at my wits end, hurting and tired of dealing with it. I told God, I just need one good thing today. Something to counter the bad. Just one good thing. Later that day I got a past owed payment from someone I did work for already and keep having to hassle to actually pay me the money owed now. I’m still owed more money from that same person, but still. One good thing came my way.
The next time something bad happened was the day they shut my Pinterest account down. I saw the e-mail early in the morning as I got ready to take off to be a body double that day. I was so distracted and having so much fun on set, I wasn’t really thinking about Pinterest at all that day. Two days later when I wasn’t on set having the time of my life, that blow really hit home and I was having a really down day, but still, I was having one good thing to counter the bad on the day it was happening. It helped for a bit.
Know you’re not alone – I don’t care what lies the enemy is telling you. You are not alone. I know, I shut down when bad things are happening and start isolating myself. I know this isn’t good. I’ve gotten better about at least reaching out to my family, but I’m terrible about reaching out to friends. Which brings me to my next point:
Try to reach out to a friend – They may be just the life saver you are needing. Just talking about your problem will probably make you feel better. But, be careful who you reach out to. Try to find a person you know is empathetic otherwise you may find yourself being ‘fixed’ by a well meaning friend who then decides if you just do what they say, everything will be fine and then sweeps you and your problems under the carpet like they’re all taken care of. Which may leave you feeling worse, because they aren’t.
Take time for self-care – Pamper yourself. Take a hot bath. Watch a movie you’ve been wanting to watch but haven’t made time to watch. Read a book. Get your nails done or do them yourself. Buy yourself a treat. Sit in the sun. But most of all, relax. Take time for you.
Move it, move it – I know, when life gets you down, it’s hard to do anything but curl into a lethargic circle on your bed, but exercise gets those endorphins going and help lift your mood. Go for a walk. Do yoga. Exercise. Run. Dance. Twirl. Whatever works for you, but try not to let that lethargy keep you down. My only problem is when I’m in pain, it hurts to move. It hurts to stand, it hurts to sit, but if I can’t stand laying flat on my back anymore, I will start pacing slowly taking small steps. If it is physical pain getting you down, you may not be able to do this, but otherwise, try to get moving. Especially outdoors in nature.
Take action – Unless you feel God telling you to be still, take steps to try and solve your problems. I’ve made numerous phone calls trying to deal with the bills coming from Legacy from my physical therapy. I’m trying to get another referral to a neurologist from my doctor because it sounds like my chiropractor’s office has decided the first one’s opinion is the gospel truth, despite the fact that that man cut me off 3-4 times when I was trying to talk to him as if he wanted to prove the cyst wasn’t the problem in his chart notes so he could push me out the door and feel justified by it. I feel like I have every right to get a second opinion and if I don’t feel like my chiropractor is going to give me one, I’ll get one from my primary care. Nothing is worse than feeling like you have a physical ailment with no solution to resolve the problem up on your horizon. When I started e-mailing Pinterest about my problem with them, it actually got taken care of. I’m putting on my armor, strengthening my resolve and getting ready to kick butts and take names if necessary to get the help I need. As I told my sister the other day, I’m taking action and bringing God with me! If He’s not going to tell me what I need to be doing, I’m going to do what I can to fix the situation, then leave it in His more than capable hands.
Get professional help – If things get really bad, get professional help. Talk to a counselor. Get a prescription for an anti-depressant from your doctor. Actually take the medication. Come up with a back-up plan. A family member of mine is really fighting depression right now, (Yes, please send prayers.) she is taking action to fight it. Coming up with a plan of action for when it hits really bad, including being pro-active and getting a referral to an in-patient mental health facility ahead of time. She’s got her armor on. She’s fighting hard. I’m proud of her. Depression sucks.
Also, be aware of the people in your life. People are fighting battles you know nothing about. Reach out to your friends. When they are having a bad day, they are to worn down by the struggle to reach out to you. Let your loved ones know you care. Check up on them. Come along beside them. Encourage them. No, you don’t need to give them solutions to all of their problems. Just be there. Be a friend. Let them lean on you. Your presence and your caring are far more powerful in people’s lives than you could ever know.
Wild rose~ photo by Calvin Hodgson
My family member fighting depression posted this on Pinterest the other day and I remember seeing this on the wall when I used to work in a mental health counseling office. I see her fighting this fight. She’s asking for her stick. She’s ready to do battle. She’s trying to arm herself, even if all she has is a stick. She probably feels weak right now, but all I see is her strength. I see her. I validate her struggle. I’ll not only hand her a stick, but take up one of my own and be ready to fight by her side.
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A few fun things to lift your mood:
*As we are seeing so many celebrities taking their lives right now, I just want to say, don’t do what other people are doing. Don’t romanticize suicide. Don’t think committing suicide will take you down in a blaze of glory. You’ll be dead. You won’t be here to see the aftermath. I for one, am so adverse to following the crowd, if everyone is doing it, I don’t have any desire to participate. ‘Throw back Thursday’, no thank you. ‘Caturday’ was fun until too many people joined in. ‘Ice bucket challenge’, nah, you all have fun now with that. But for those of you who follow the flock like mindless sheep doing all of these trends, beware. The suicide trend I’m seeing in social media is not cool. Do not follow people into the dark void they are going down. There is hope and help to be had! You play an important part in the lives around you. You are loved. You matter.
‘It’s just a bad day, not a bad life’ photo credit: