Welcome

Welcome! This is where it all began. I no longer post on this website and some of the content reflects former convictions and understandings. Some of these posts are hard core on issues that I am softer on these days. I deleted many posts that I feared would lead people into legalism, so if you find a missing hyperlink that may be why. These days I write at Covered By His Hand.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Doctor's Appt.

I had my appointment with the DO this afternoon. We have a starting point, but no answers yet.

Before I explain the possibilities for the serious condition, I need to mention the thyroid. He does not think that my thyroid condition is the reason/cause for my weakness, pain, and fatigue. And, since Armour was not working we told him that we wanted to get me back on Synthroid/Levothyroxin. Yes, I took it 20+ years without dramatic results, but maybe we were missing another issue. If you have a problem with this decision to get back on man-made drugs (as opposed to all-natural) take it up with Paul. Paul went to help me decide on a proper course of action. And, he and the doctor agreed to getting me back on Levothyroxin. I start back on this pill tomorrow morning, and I will get tested in 4 weeks/one month for results.

As I already mentioned, we all (myself, Paul, and the Doc) believe that my weakness, pain, and fatigue goes well beyond the realm of hypothyroidism. He also thinks that in the spring and summer my condition (whatever it is) goes into remission. (Because of more activity, sunshine, warmth, etc) When I thoroughly told the Dr my ailments we came to these possibilities.

Here are the possibilities:
1) Rheumatoid Arthritis - This is a serious possibility, and one that is easily tested for. Yes, I was tested for this last spring, but the Doc thinks that I fit the profile and there might have been a false negative. He compared it to taking a pregnancy test too early... the condition may not have been advanced enough to trigger my blood test. We will run a different test called an anti- CCP test in a month. This is NOT the same test I had last year. Last year we did a Sed Rate test. (Learn more about these tests here.)

2) Vitamin D deficiency - He seems to think this is not the chief culprit, but we will test for it in one month when we test for RA.

3) Fibromyalgia - This is a serious possibility. But, we will not pursue anything in this area until after one month has passed and an RA test has come up negative. At that time, my DO will send me to a neurologist to get an MRI and all those fun things to check for the other possibilities listed below.

4) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome- This is another serious possibility. He said that I fit the profile.

5) MS - This is the last (and scariest) possibility. Because of my odd eye functioning he wants to see me get to a specialist that will do an MRI if/when the RA test comes back negative. My eye troubles are not so much characteristic of these previously listed conditions.

Am I panicked? Not exactly. I am not as calm as I would like to be. This month of waiting before testing for anything seems silly, but God must have a reason. And, Paul and the doctor agree that this is the best treatment plan. I am not being patient... I want to be tested for (and know the result of) the RA and vitamin D deficiency tests RIGHT NOW. But, this is not to be - and I need to leave this burden for the Lord to carry. I am insufficient (in and of myself) to handle these stressors without anxiety. But, the Lord is with me - His rod and His staff comfort me. And, He has given me His Comforter to keep me. In light of these facts - how could I be scared?

So - what do I know for sure? If I am going to get through the coming month(s) without sinning and worrying - I have got to be reading the Bible FAR more than I am! I need to be totally grounded in the Word. So, I plan to spend less time reading other people's blogs. I need to spend more time with the most important Book I could ever read!

No Worries

This afternoon I go to the doctor... which appointment I was formerly dreading. I was filled with toxic fear and pernicious anxieties. My sins were carrying me away in a stream of poison.

Translated: I was sinning in my worry about what the diagnosis could be. I was letting fear of the future prevent me from seeking help that may make my present circumstances better. But, I have repented of that.

Sunday's sermon was encouraging and convicting. We listened while the Pastor exposited Phil 4:4-7. He called worry and anxiety a SIN! And, I cried with the conviction it brought upon my heart. Then, the pastor continued in the sermon to bring encouragement - the peace that passes understanding! I walked away renewed.

Maybe I am dying. Maybe I have cancer. Maybe I will not walk at this time next year. Maybe I will go blind. Only the Lord knows! I need to trust God! He is always with me, He will never leave me or forsake me! And, what's more, this present ailment may turn out to be nothing more than poor diet/vitamin deficiency.

With confidence we take the next step to begin searching for a proper diagnosis. I don't expect that we will learn anything today... but we take this first step. Grandma W is watching the napping children so that Paul and I can go together. Paul will see to it that I speak no more than what is true, and no less. I will be glad to have him along!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Becca's Favorite Gift

So, what does my seven year old like best of all her birthday gifts?

Her new loom for making pot pads. It came with a book to show us some neat patterns. Above she made her first hot pad. Below: Her second pot pad - very nice!


She was about to burst her buttons this morning when she found her pot pad in the drawer with the others to be used... AND we used it! I am proud of my future homemaker!

Sorry for the poor picture quality! Writing the blog is my joy, not taking/posting pics.

Cat Eviction

The kitties got evicted from the house today. We found a nice, out of the way home for them. Their new home comes complete with canine policing protection... Daisy sleeps on the front porch most nights. The cats are getting stronger and moving around more, it was time to give Tiger Mama a nudge out of her comfort zone. Plus, she was starting to take advantage of our babysitting! She has been staying out all night making us worry about whether or not she will return to feed the little ones... it is time for her to move out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

La Fiesta

Rebecca will turn 7 on Sunday, and she chose a Mexican restaurant for her birthday dinner (a big treat from Grandpa and Grandma S).
She loved all the attention of their singing and noise-making! And, she adored the sombrero!

At the end of their silly serenade, they put a plate of whip cream in her face!
Tastes good!
Joshua likes the fried tortillas!
Big bites from a little girl!

These are my parents with Nelson.

The Whole Truth

Things I actually said this week:

"Joshua, no standing on the kitchen table." (It was between meals, and he wanted to snack on some grapes...)

"Nelson, put down that hammer."

"Joshua, put down that kitten!" (As in the 2 week old kittens)

"No scissors, Joshua!"

Things the children actually said to me:

"Mommy, you are not a bad cook. You're just not a good cook." (Rebecca)

"When will we get our own New Jersey cow?" (Rebecca)

Spring Till

We borrowed Dad's John Deere 730 for our spring till. Paul was VERY happy to dig in the dirt.
This is considered an antique tractor with its mere 2 cylinder engine.

Look at the rich Missouri dirt!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Measurement of Failing Health

I am only 30 years old, yet I feel like I must be much older. I am going to write some notes about my health and it will likely come across as whining. But, I am again asking for your prayers. I am going to write some specific ailments out and we will all pray that God will heal me. And, if He does not - that I will remain faithful and that He will give me strength to carry on.

Paul and I agree that I am in the worst health I have ever been in. This week has already been very telling of my state of health, though maybe only those of you who know me "in real life" will understand the depth of meaning to what follows.

I can no longer mow the yard. *crying begins* Paul started up the new mower the other day and I wanted to give it a try. I knew things were not the same when I could not even start the mower... to save my dignity, Paul "helped" me to get it started. I had traveled but a few yards before I felt extreme fatigue at this motion! I was determined (by my damnable pride - and I mean that will all sincerity) to finish one circular lap. I got slower and slower... until Paul met me to take over. I hobbled into the house to lie down... I was done. *fighting tears* I realize that most ladies could care less about yard mowing... I am not most ladies. I love yard work! I love mowing! But, for now... I will have to leave it to Paul. If you had asked "What hurts?" when I was pathetically crying on my bed, I would have replied, "What doesn't hurt?!"

Then, yesterday afternoon we went shopping at the bulk foods store. I managed that trip really well. (Of course, Paul was there to do all the lifting...) Actually, Paul did everything. I read the list and pretended to be shopping, while Paul took 3 kids to fill my orders. Still, when we came home I felt decently enough. BUT, last night we went to Wal-Mart to get the items we could not get at the bulk store. I could not walk through the store without visibly limping. And, I actually asked Paul if I could leave. He did not want me to go into the dark parking lot alone (while in such pain/fatigue) so I sat on a bench while he paid! I NEVER sit on the bench... never! Even during some very wearisome pregnancies I did not carry on as I do now! I fear that if we go to Wal-Mart again, I will have to use the motorized chair!

But, perhaps worst of all, I cannot play my flute. I considered selling it, since all it does is sit upon a shelf mocking my disability (whatever that disability is...). I cannot lift my arms long enough to play it. I hang out laundry and my arms ache, but that is a labor of love that I feel I must perform. Practicing the flute, in hopes to get back into shape is not at all on my radar! My fingers, most days, are stiff and swollen. I can type - Praise God! - but I cannot play flute. (I would not be able to play piano either, if I had one).

But, I cannot completely despair! Because our gracious Lord has left me some faculties!
- I CAN SING!!! Praise God, I can sing.
- And, I can type and write this blog... which is a very strong lifeline these days. I cannot use a pen most days, but I can type!
- I still have sight and hearing.
- I still have most large motor function. (Meaning, I can walk!)

I do realize that I am very blessed. I get around better than some well people do... I know that. But, I have to take more care... I cannot paint again - that really did me in! I cannot tackle any projects without Paul... I just can't. You may have noticed that I have been posting more these past weeks... that is an indication that I am not feeling well. On days when I am sick and tired I spend more time blogging, not less.

I got up before the children this morning to do some stretches. I even did some Pilates Abs work. I am NOT trying to tone my abs for aesthetic reasons... that is not enough motivation to get me up early... No, I am going to try to exercise more, because I know that my back hurts less when I am "working out." Of course, my working out won't look like it used to. I will not/cannot do step aerobics at the gym 3-4 days/week, with weightlifting interspersed in the program. But, God willing, I can make slow steady progress...

Now, to my dear friends and family who plan to visit me this summer: Please, DO NOT CHANGE YOUR PLANS! Please, Please come! I want to see you. I need to see you. Do not worry about my health. I will just put you to work and you can help with the labors! So long as I rest every afternoon I get by ok. I was terribly tired when my friend Dawn left the other night, but I would not have traded that time for anything! But, I am also trying to be optimistic... maybe the Lord will heal me as He did last spring/summer... it could happen. I am going to go call the Dr right now about Vitamin D deficiency.

Pray for me... I want to be 30 again!

Monday, March 16, 2009

In my basement

Paul found this fellow lurking around the root cellar/basement floor this morning. This looks like another black rat snake, but not as large as the one we had last summer. So, if I am doing my math right... that is at least 2 snakes... ugh.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More kids with kittens pics

Lydia is such a doll! (Side note: Lydia just got all of sister's spring/summer hand-me-down dresses and skirts! She has almost a complete wardrobe!)
Nelson is getting so big! I think he recently had another growth spurt!

Mama Tiger is one cool cat! She stood idly by as my kids raided the kitty basket. She is a VERY good tempered cat!

Becca says: Aaawww!

Kittens and Babies - a great photo opp

What you have all been waiting for... pics of kiddos with kittens!
Rebecca teaches Joshie how to pet gently. Note how she has her hand holding Joshua's hand! Such a caretaker! Such a teacher!

Rebecca gets three at once.

Nelson tries to manage two at once.

More to come...

Two Weeks Old

Here is just one of our tiny two-week old kittens. All of them have open eyes now, since about 8 days old. And, they should be able to hear us now (as of about day 11).

I have found that kittens love snuggling human hair. So, I pull it down/forward for kitties to snuggle up to. Maybe I will get some better pics later.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hummus Yuckus!

I made hummus for the first time tonight... it was beyond awful! When I mixed the ingredients, it smelled like the corn products plant in Decatur, IL (for those of you who do not live near an ADM plant, that means that it smelled realllllly bad!)

I ate one bite and gagged. The taste in my mouth nearly compelled me to run to the bathroom! I forced the kids to try one bite - it is character building - and they all HATED it. Joshua gagged and spewed... Aaahh, the joys of trying new recipes.

So, is hummus a love/hate relationship? Is it an acquired taste? Or, do you think I did something to really mess up the recipe? I am frustrated, because I wasted half a lemon's juice in that concoction! (Well, the lemon peel was not a total waste. I took it to the bathtub and scrubbed the rust stains with it. After soaking, the red stains lightened up a bit!)

Any ideas? Want to send me a new recipe? Do you think that I just hate tahini? (I hope it is not an aversion to tahini... I paid $8 for that bottle of tahini at the health foods store!) I thought that everyone is supposed to love hummus?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A long forgotten update

We had a home schooling accomplishment that I forgot to mention...

About one month ago, Rebecca and Nelson finished Saxon K math. For those of you unfamiliar with homeschooling, it is not at all unusual to have two children (who are close in age) in the same math programs (or science, or history, or whatever one child excels in...). Nelson (who is 18 months younger than Rebecca) is great with number concepts. Rebecca... not so good. She was struggling with Saxon 1, so it made perfect sense to review back to the K program. The review was very helpful, and she was able to feel like she was still more advanced, because she grasped these review concepts quickly. (In simple terms, she felt smart!)

Sorry that I forgot to document this achievement! I know that many friends and family come just to hear stories about the kids (and their schoolwork)! I will try to post a little more about the kids' schoolwork... if I remember...

A Dear Visitor

My friend Dawn came to see me yesterday! She drove 2 1/2 hours (with two kids) from another place in MO to visit me! I do not have too many girl friends in real life, but Dawn and I have managed to stay in touch for years.

We met at college, through our husbands (who were both Bible majors). And, at the time she seemed so "perfect" that I could not spend much time with her. My dear friend Dawn is SO gifted in the areas of all things domestic and/or baby related. And, rather than learn from her, I ran away from her. I have repented of that proud course of action many times. But, despite my own pride, God took charge of that relationship in a BIG way. Paul and I were living in a duplex and God brought Jason and Dawn to live in the other side of it! We were such close neighbors that we practically lived together. I would knock on her door daily to chat, or to sample her cooking (since we could smell everything that she made), or to get a few moments of free child care.

I have such precious memories of those months living side-by-side! I was pregnant with Nelson and sick/weak most of that time. My precocious Rebecca (who was one year old) often needed a playmate while Mama rested. So, I would take her over to Dawn to play with her. On many occasions Dawn fed and even bathed Rebecca for me! Then, there were the times that she washed my dishes... cleaned up a puke mess that I could not get within 10 yards of... and much more.

I have learned more about being a wife and mother from Dawn than from any other real life friend! And, the learning continues!

Yesterday, she taught me and Rebecca how to prepare the avocados I bought for my new guacamole recipe. Rebecca and I took turns scooping out the avocado meat. And, then Dawn sliced/chopped/diced all the other ingredients, because my hands (as usual) were too sore to do it myself. (The guacamole was EXCELLENT! I think we will eat it in the future at least 2 times per month! Such a healthy recipe too!)

We were also able to carry on some adult conversation about legalism, modesty, family-integrated church, and some other issues while the kids played nearby. I had a lovely day! Two and a half hours is just far enough that we cannot visit very often, but that just makes our visits more precious when we do get together.

The only problem, she made us absolutely baby crazy by bringing her chubby 11 month old, red-headed girl! And, then she showed us the cute baby sling and carrier she made for her... now I want another baby even more than I did before! I want the baby sling, yes - but I want a squishy baby to fill it with even more!

What a lovely time we all had! OH - and she insisted on doing my dishes for me! And, I am so grateful that she did! Within the hour I was sobbing at how I could not have done them last night on my own.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The cat is still alive

I watched as our friend's F-250 ran over my favorite cat, Rose. I almost fell over in grief. I never knew that I could mourn for a cat! She was not quite one year old, and not yet full grown.

She drug herself off to a flower patch and we said our goodbyes. I pet her and begged God to reconsider. Yes, I even prayed asking God to heal her! I went inside and left Paul to care for the cat. He was watching to see if he should shoot her and put her out of her misery. He started yelling, "Beth, come out here, NOW!" I arrived in time to see Rose (the cat) walking to the hole that leads under the house. We all assumed that she was going off to die. Paul's prayers seemed to be answered (he would not have to shoot her). Last night, Paul went to look for Rose in the crawl space to bury her, but he could not find her.

This morning, the kids were screaming "Mommy, Rosie Posie is here. She's here." I went running, thinking, "If these kids are lying, I will cry more than I did the other day!" But, there she was on my back patio! She has lost some weight and her breathing is labored, but ... She is still alive. She can walk. I am not yet sure if God has given her back to us long-term... but I hope that He has! I love that cat more than I ever thought possible.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Updates

(Reposted July 22, 2009 after editing)

Answers to prayers:


1- I visited a Dutch Country Store about 35 minutes away and I bought box loads of healthy ingredients! I was able to get bulk (and organic) wheat, cornmeal, barley, oats, rye, unsweetened coconut, and much more! I was able to get 2 big boxes of healthy grains and goodies for $70! I cried for hours... I was so happy!

2- Paul called his dental insurance to find out where to get me into a dentist, because the internet said our "network" was about 100 miles away... And, LONG story short - I went to a dentist 15 miles away this morning! I was able to get a full set of X-Rays and an exam. I go back to begin a treatment plan on March 31st.

3- Paul and I were looking for a little push mower, because our lawn mower died last year. We were considering a reel mower (think man-power, not horse-power). A reel mower is about $100. But, after getting laughed out of every store we went into (because we have about 2 acres to mow), we decided to reconsider. We found a 22inch push mower at Wal-Mart this afternoon - last year's model. Paul offered them $100 for it (the price tag said $158), and they accepted his offer! I tell you, my husband is the King of Bartering! We are now the proud owners of a little push mower.

4- I have made a few traditional food recipes this week and they were amazing! No processed/refined ingredients! All healthy grains! All great taste! I did have to buy many ingredients to make some dishes, but I needed them to eat more healthy anyway! The children are eagerly trying new recipes!

Concerns:
1- Paul's job is still not "secure." There were 12 men sent home without work this morning!!! Paul does not like this job, but we would rather not lose our only income (before lining up a new job)! But, the Lord is good - and maybe He is doing a new thing!

2- We are feeling very displaced. We have no friends locally with whom we can fellowship regularly. We are looking for dear companions who we can worship and fellowship with throughout the whole of a week! We want dear friends that we can truly share life's journey with. We love meeting new friends in the blogosphere, but I long for real-life friends whom I can hug and hands to hold! We want a family (or families) to share one another's burdens! When we moved here, we thought we would be getting this type of situation with Paul's parents... but,life is not always as we imagine it. We continue to pray for real-life friends.

This update will have to do for now, I am trying to cook while I write (never a good idea). I will be on soon (tonight or tomorrow) to review a wonderful book! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Life is Still in Focus

Though my blogs lately have been more home-improvement related, I have not lost my focus and theme of "Growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ." You see, I believe that a wife is the Keeper of the Home. I have said before, that I think some women go to the extreme with their domestic responsibilities, and they forget why they are decorating and cooking. We need to work with the fervor of working "as unto the Lord." We work hard... we keep our homes nice... but we do not let it rule us.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Prov 31:10-31 (KJV)

The virtuous woman is a busy woman! She certainly is not idle! Nor does she ignore the work that needs to be done within her gate! I think that I was ignoring the work that needed done in my house (especially my kitchen) because I feared the work. But, with my husband as a guide and governor, I was able to work on the house and not be consumed by it. I am always trying to find balance between doing too little and doing too much!

I have almost finished the kitchen painting work. I am ready to plant my garden. I am planning to sew a few things in the coming months (more on this later). I am eating healthier. I am cooking healthier! But, these things do not replace my growing in grace - they are a product of that growth!

I trust that I can write updates about our dietary changes, my learning to cook health foods, my home improvements, etc - without you all thinking less of me. I still love talking about deep theological subjects, I will still write plenty of book reviews!, but I am broadening my blog to include my domestic home duties. I pray that this will be yet another way to encourage my readers. God is gracious, and He will grow us!