Thanksgiving

I’ve been quiet these days, pondering many thoughts with a schedule full of field trips and homeschooling to-do’s and get to’s. As we began a new week and the week of Thanksgiving, God, in His infinite understanding and kindness is teaching me to take at least one full day of rest each week and more rest throughout the week.  This doer kind of girl finds resting incredibly difficult. I always find “one more thing” to do. Just one more thing that leads to a day of unrest. So, God is faithfully teaching me to enjoy this gift of rest.

Life has been throwing curve balls at me and my inner woman has been whiny and my lips may have been pouty more than a few times. I have needed the reminders of His promises lately and I really needed a dose of thanksgiving in the remembrance of His faithfulness. It is always sobering to remember how He has always been present and provided when needed and so much more. He truly is good.

I also needed to be reminded of His hope. My friend Vinae has a lovely blog where she shares about life with her family. She has had her own health struggles that have plagued her for many years yet she is a brave soul who battles fierce with God leading the way. She wrote this article about living life to not only survive but to thrive. I pray it blesses you as it did me.  Click here to head over to The Improvising Mom blog.

Blessings to you and yours and may you choose rest in the hustle and bustle of this holiday week.

Joy,

Charise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Traveling With M.S. and Some Thoughts I am Brewing

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From the flight, somewhere between Texas and Alabama.

Traveling with M.S. is no easy feat. The months leading up to weeks and then like a rushing wind the days leading up to departure, fear creeps in and contemplation runs amok just trying to figure out exactly what to bring to aid in easing my burden. I never feel great knowing that I “have” to bring a device for assistance and I really dread the idea of others having to help me but its too hard for me to do it all by myself now. Talk about humbling!

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Speed Racer. 

I asked for all of my birthday money to go towards this September trip to the American Christian Counselor’s Conference. I volunteered so I could attend free and was gifted with a special discounted plane flight.  The cherry on top was the gift of flying into Alabama and getting extra time with one of my dearest friend’s Joanna, a former Cali girl- turned Southern.  As I prepared to come she lovingly reminded me that she just wants me comfortable and to bring whatever will be best for me. Sometimes I just need permission to do what is best for me and enables me to have more energy even when it is very humbling. Years ago, while I was on a two month, mild bed rest with my last baby, my darling Joanna pushed me around in a wheelchair so I could attend church or other functions that I didn’t want to miss out on.  And then, right after my diagnosis when my legs were weak and I struggled with driving she drove me to stores all over kingdom come. She served me then and I was reminded that she would serve me well again.  I yielded and decided to take my scooter.  I am so thankful that I did. I am so thankful for her willingness to love me well.

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After a long day of traveling and two long years I got to squeeze my sweet Joanna. 

The trip was  physically exhausting but at every turn, wrapped in gold lining. The rich conversations, powerful worship, mental exercise and strengthening, love of the people and delicious fellowship were every bit a part of the gift God had for me. My babies were safe at home with my amazing husband who blessed me with this time away and I had no worry.  My soul was awash with fresh springs and desires confirmed in my heart. I asked questions and received a plenitude of answers. Many of them I am praying through and some I will be sharing as the days go by.

What are you considering to let pass by you today because it seems like too much work?

It may be that Home Group-too vulnerable, too hard to push out of your comfort zone. Maybe it is giving yourself time away in quietness or time to do something you enjoy  because you still do not think you are worth it. Maybe it is that friendship you are desiring but not so sure you want to take the time, be real with someone, or let someone know the real you. It may be pulling up a chair and playing a board game with your child even though you do not feel like it. It’s those small somethings that  weave loving life imprints on the heart of your child. Maybe it is some Big Hairy Audacious Goal that seems so far fetched and scary to  pursue, but you have it deep in your heart.

“A hero chooses to be courageous even when he feels inadequate.”

Gregg Jantz PHD

You are a hero. Please. Stop. Let that sink in. YOU ARE A HERO.

You are worth it. What ever the chasm you are steering away from, it is worth the effort to cross. Loving and being loved is worth it. Loving yourself enough to do what is good for you is worth it. Stepping out of your comfort zone is worth it. Let’s live fully today because tomorrow isn’t promised to  anyone, not you, not me or our loved ones. And let’s remember that it is the seemingly minuscule moments of each day that make up a legacy. What Legacy do you want to live?

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Outside of the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. 

Recent Update: It’s Not Going As Planned- Give up or Fight On?

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“Demand your healing, Charise.”

“Speak it and it will be done.”

“Believe it and you will be healed.”

“The mountain will be moved- tell it to be gone.”

Yes, I have spoken it, received it and continued seeking, asking and knocking.  AND I will keep on keeping on.

This is big and it may ruffle some feathers but here in America,  in this land where “dreams come true” (and in many ways they do) we need to be reminded that we are not little gods and our understanding does not surpass or compare to God’s understanding. In all the authority He gave us, we must not forget that our will is still to be submitted to the Father and all that we do should be in humility and submission to Him.  God tells us, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and  my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55

Isaiah 45:9, 11-12
“Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is a potsherd among potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘ He has no hands’? ………This is what the Lord says– the Holy One of Israel, and it’s Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.”

Remember the Patriarch Jacob? Weaseling, deceptive Jacob, who had already been chosen by God, wrestled with God and cried out for a blessing. Indeed, I believe it was the Father’s will to bless him but in the end Jacob came out with a limp and he was a changed man, no more a conniver. He still had a limp. The blessing and the limp.

Dear Apostle Paul was looked down upon because of his obvious issue. It may have been an issue affecting his speech or some other disability that ailed him. 2 Cor. 10:10 says, “For some say, ‘His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.'” Paul had a thorn in his flesh. (2 Cor. 12) He was fully aware this issue (whatever it was) was from a messenger of Satan and the purpose was to torment him. Paul pleaded with the Lord to take it away and did God remove it promptly? No. Paul was a man full of the Holy Spirit. He had the ability to touch people and they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Amazing miracles happened through him and such was the power in him and through him that the handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick and the illnesses were healed and evil spirits left them.(Acts. 19) Paul even raised a man from the dead. (Acts 20) Paul had great faith!  But God chose not to heal Paul of this ailment. And Paul accepted it.

God knew what was best for Paul. God affirmed Paul that He was going with him and His grace is sufficient for him. The Father reminded him that “His power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12) God was allowing the enemy’s attack to keep Paul in a place of humility. Did it stink? I bet it did. When Paul was put in prison was it miserable and not fair? You bet! When God allowed a poisonous snake to bite him God miraculously healed him. (Acts 26) Paul chose to see that God, who was fully capable of healing him of his continuing ailment was using these difficulties for far greater purposes than himself. He actually CHOSE to DELIGHT in the weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties knowing that because of these things he would be strengthened by God. (2 Cor. 12) Paul knew it was to keep him humble and usable. (More on Paul’s trials- 2 Cor. 11:23-29)

Wait? What about God’s blessing? What about God’s favor on his child? He should have claimed his healing and been free from trial and physical suffering, right?

Oh, what a lie we believe when we think suffering  and trials are not apart of walking with God.

Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Acts 14:22 “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Philippians 1:29, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”
Jesus’ words chronicled in Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Clearly, most of those are not physical sickness but nevertheless there is clearly suffering allowed by God for a greater purpose.

The book of James says to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

You may be asking, “So, Charise, are you giving up on asking God for your healing? Are you going to believe His promises in Psalm 103 that He heals your diseases?”

Giving up is not in my vocabulary. If the Father has me on this earth I am going to keep choosing to be bold and courageous. I KNOW the Father is going to heal me. I just don’t know when and if it is this side of heaven or the other side. I will trust Him for His timing. I KNOW I can trust Him and I can say as the Son of God said, “Not my will, but yours be done.” And ” Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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Now to share my update:

I have not been doing great. Around the time of my last neuro appointment and my MRI which were both in May, I began feeling like I was in a relapse. I was concerned but upon getting the results that my brain MRI had not changed (still 20 scars on my brain) I was relieved to hear it had not gotten worse. This entire time I have struggled with the reality that I have had a worsening of symptoms but why would my MRI not show it? When I saw Dr. last week she reminded me that we did not see an updated MRI on my spine. Due to the progressively worse symptoms in my lower extremities it is clear that my spine is being attacked in one way or another and the swelling is severe. She highly recommended I up the amount of Low Dose Naltrexone ( I was only taking 3 mg. The norm for LDN is 4.5mg). And to decrease the inflammation lest the damage continue to progress- a heavy dose of Steroids Infusion (IV’s). I have spent this week preparing and living life and prepping for IV in home therapy next week.

Last week I went through emotional roller coasters of frustrations and sadness that I had not stayed relapse free. I have worked through those emotions and I am continuing to trust the Lord for His healing and His sufficient grace and strength for each day. I will continue to walk with Him and He will walk with me and we will grow closer together in the midst of these “trials”. I believe it takes greater faith to trust God when we don’t understand the “why’s” and greater faith to keep seeking Him in the midst of the trial instead of outside of it.

What are you going through right now? Maybe you feel it is not fair. You are having a hard time understanding the why’s this side of heaven. I understand. I am linking arms with you right now and praying peace in your mind, soul and spirit. Praying for you to know the Father’s love in a deeper way in the midst of these trials and have fullness of joy as you walk through the trials. You are loved. I encourage you to keep going to His throne of grace. Keep asking. Keep seeking to know Him more and trust in His sovereign plans for your life. If we are to believe God’s promises then we need to believe all of God’s promises and trust that He loves us enough to be trusted. And KEEP ASKING FOR HEALING according to His will. He is listening. And He sees you.

 

The Bend in the Road

 

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“When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lays beyond the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend….I wonder how the road beyond it goes-what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows— what new landscapes— what new beauties–what curves and hills and valleys further on.” –Anne of Green Gables

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Tragedy and trials strikes us all at one point in our lives. We can choose to see beyond it and believe that days will be better or we can wallow in pity and despair and give up on dreaming all together.

There are moments I want to give up on dreaming big dreams. Fear envelopes me  like a heavy coat and I have to choose to throw it off and believe the bend in the road has beauty and sweetness and treasures that I would not have been dazzled by had life not taken me down this road. When my body feels weak and aches and I am limited by what I can physically manage, my natural eyes can see myself in a wheelchair unable to do anything. It is at that moment that I say, “NO! No. That is not me. I will keep getting up. I will keep fighting the good fight of faith and I will keep claiming God’s promises of healing.”

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I am choosing to believe there is beauty in these ashes, life from the grave, healing of the broken and busted up things.

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Isaiah prophesied of Jesus that He would take up our infirmities, carry our sorrows, be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, punished that we may have peace and by His wounds we would be healed.

Diamonds come from the fire, wheat grows from busted, broken and dead seeds, flowers come up from the dirt.

What is your bend in the road, that situation that has thrown off your “groove”, taken away something you thought you would have or dampened the pages of the story you were writing? Keep holding fast. Keep dreaming big dreams. Keep believing God to bring forth beauty from the ashes.

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”     Isaiah 58:11-12

God is not done with you. Keep fighting the good fight of faith and keep your eyes on that which is unchanging. There is beauty on this bent road.

Cryotherapy (Days 6-7)and Normatec Compression Therapy: Continuing to Fight Inflammation Naturally

Veins poked, punctured and prodded with years of drawing of blood and  steroids pumped through them are often tender and damaged. My arm and wrist veins are so tender, sometimes they ache. My heart does not behave like it used to. Breathing does not come as easily as it once did and I often have to remind myself to inhale and exhale deep. I do not know if that is from the Copaxone I was on for a few months or the steroids but I know what I experience is not normal and I do not want to cause any more damage. This is why I choose other options for decreasing inflammation. I know I could get steroids and I would probably be back to driving quicker and maybe feeling better sooner but I am fighting to do this as natural as possible.

Charise with Norma Tec
NormaTec Compression Therapy

My sixth visit of cryo was followed up with Normatec compression therapy. It. Was. Wonderful! Especially after exiting the “freezing chamber”, legs chilled atop and then resting in a chair with leg coverings on them and the pulsing of pressure rotating throughout my legs. This therapy helps to circulate blood flow more efficiently and to detox the body. Both of the therapies together help the inflammation in the body to calm; thus, enabling the patient to experience less pain and quicker recovery time from workouts or injury.

I am convinced this is helping me! This “time of month” is usually the more difficult to move, less strength physically and increased pain. Since my first Normatec compression experience, I have been able to drive a little more and I have had less pain. We had a storm come in and surprise us today. Usually, I would know a few days in advance due to the pain and achiness in my body. I had no achiness bothering me. I am so thankful and I hope I can keep doing the compression therapy. I also love the location I am going to. They are super nice, helpful and pleasant. If you need a recommendation, I would highly recommend the place I go. (Reach out to me and I will share the location).

Something to remember- My hope is not in Cryotherapy or Normatec compression. My hope is in my God. My hope is in eternity. My joy is founded on that which is unchangeable and everlasting, not on how I feel today or how I think I will feel tomorrow. Place your hope on Him alone. He, alone is unchangeable and constant.

“In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.”

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”

“Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous. The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! ”

“The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. O Lord, save us; O Lord, grant us success.”

“You are my God, and I will give you thanks;  you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Psalm 118:5-9, 15, 23-25, 28-29

Wholebody Cryotherapy

I have to start out by telling you my eyes are burning and I am beyond tired  right now but I know that if I do not write now and share now, it may not happen.

Life has been more restful for me as of late and I am thankful for the rest. I am not driving more than  one mile away in a very slow speed to take the kids to music lessons once a week. I still can control my foot but longer periods of driving only causes pain and weakness.

My right side has been heavier and my right foot wanting to drag when I walk for any length of time. The heavier my foot, the harder it is to drive safely, so for now, I am staying off the road, laying low and allowing my hubby to take over the errands and grocery shopping. Thankful for him stepping in.

A darling sister of mine shared Cryotherapy with me and after researching it I decided it was worth trying. Steroids would be the normal option for an M.S.er at this point of inflammation and I am trying an alternative to see if this helps.

You may be asking, “what in the world is cryotherapy?”. Here is an explanation from one website:

With Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC) the body is exposed to extremely low temperatures (-200° to -250°F) for 2-3 minutes at a time. This rapidly lowers skin temperatures and triggers cold receptors to activate the body’s survival mechanism. The brain then reacts to the skin sensors and stimulates regulatory functions of the body, like releasing anti-inflammatory proteins, endorphins, and rapidly circulating oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

Today was the first day.  The tech was delightful and sweet and very helpful. I left on my panties and put on a sports bra (no metal allowed in this chamber). I put on their comfy gloves, big manly socks, masculine robe and entered the chamber.

 

Here I am in the machine. You are seeing little bits of the Nitrous Oxide. I can’t say that the initial experience was lovely and pleasant. It was already cold. Once I entered and the door was closed, I took off the robe and handed it to the tech. IMG_3252

She warned me that first timers do not always reach the three minute mark. It is usually something to work up to. I wanted to make it to the two minute mark at the least. That was my goal. Time flew by and yet the pain was hard to endure. You are supposed to slowly rotate your body while in the machine. I was doing so but because my body IS already numb, getting more numb made it more difficult to steady myself especially while turning. You are not supposed to touch the inside walls and you are not supposed to look down or breathe in the liquid nitrogen so I kept my head up and breathed slowly in and out to calm my body down. The cold and I don’t mix and this was no different. It was mighty uncomfortable. I do feel that this is better than an ice bath. Ice baths make you experience a different kind of cold because your skin is wet and cold. It is different. Maybe I will have a better explanation when I am not so tired.

When I reached the two minute mark, the tech turned it off and handed me the man robe. When she opened the door my babies were waiting anxiously for me. They could see my face above the machine and could tell I was uncomfortable. When I stepped out my oldest embraced me  and held me close to him to warm me up and the rest of the little ones clung to me too.

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My babies love me! 🙂

Cryotherapy-kids embracing me

My skin was freezing and my legs were weak. I am not sure if that was due to the stress of the new experience or the extreme cold. I could not feel the pain so that was nice. As the day went on I could feel the normal pain, normal fatigue, normal weakness. I am going back tomorrow and praying the continued visits will help in the long run. I picture this experience like an athlete would ice a bruised or injured leg. It takes time for the healing to take place but I am going to persevere to experience the healing.

Here are some links for those who want more info on Whole Body Cryotherapy:

Take your time on this site. There is information for lots of different ailments, diseases and more.    http://wholebody-cryotherapy.com/en/cryotherapy/multiple-sclerosis.html

This is a place in Riverside, CA- http://www.cryofixwellness.com/

Pubmed on MS. and Cryotherapy- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20299758

Blessings to you all,

Charise

The “Monster” May Not be So Bad

close up image of space trilogy book oneMaybe the monster in the water isn’t such a bad thing.

I have been chewing on C.S. Lewis’ words from the first of his Space Trilogy.  The main character was conversing with an intelligent being on another planet about a violent creature that lives in the water. The creature will demolish and tear apart anything that comes in its path. The human’s response was that there was no place for this monster and the “higher power” shouldn’t have made this creature or allowed it to be here for the sake of the good creatures. The intelligent being said the words that have had me mulling over and over and over, ” The hanakra (monster)  is our enemy, but he is also our beloved…………..I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lake”. 

No danger in the lake? Isn’t that what we want? No danger. No financial strain. No health issues. Nothing that shakes us.

What is the monster you are facing right now? There are so many options of monsters to choose from and each of them can devour us in one way or another. One way or another we can let anything swallow us up and spit us out.

But what if we chose to see the monster in a different light?  What if  we saw it as a means to reach a deeper love, cherish the people God has placed in our lives more fully, experience a more full enjoyment of the simple things, an opportunity to put the first things first? What if the very monster meant to destroy you by the Enemy could be used for your greatest purpose through God and His strength.

In Lewis’ wonderful, philosophical, fictional story the alien beings were trying to kill  the monster but they had a deep appreciation for it. They appreciated more because of “it”.

When our eyes are fixed on that which lies beyond this mortal earth and we live for God and eternity, couldn’t we see our circumstances in such a different light?

The enemy of our souls uses the “monster” to steal away our moments, our peace, and our joy. But when we are surrendered to God and dwelling in His presence, we have peace and joy and see the monster for what it really is. It has no power over you. The “monster” cannot take your JOY but joy can be found in the midst of places where “it” lurks.

God says to me and to you,
“I formed you. Fear not, I redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you, For I am the Lord your God……Fear not, I am with you.  ” Excerpts from Is. 43:1-5

His presence is enough for you. I am praying for healing for your body today. I am praying for Joy in the midst of your present circumstances.

P.S. I am resuming ‘Motherhood with an Illness’ next blog entry but I am going to broaden it to ‘Parenthood and Illness’. I realize I have amazing fathers who follow this blog too.

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