Archives For Faith

The Invisible Elephant

March 8, 2016

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When you look at someone with an invisible illness you never really see what is actually going on. Sure they may look fine, normal even. But, the fight is happening on the inside and there is no way of knowing what is happening. As for me, my butterfly rash that shows up from time to time is one of the only visible signs of my disease, that and probably the fatigue you see on my face on occasion, but that’s it.

My latest battle with Lupus is struggling to breath on a daily basis. Since my diagnosis in 2012 I have always had some shortness of breath and chest pain. Typically it would come and go, but last summer it just never went away. It is a constant and daily struggle. What do I mean struggle breathing? Basically it feels like someone is squeezing and restricting my lungs while I try and breath, or like a giant elephant is firmly planted on my chest, all day, everyday. Yeah, it’s not fun. Sometimes you might catch me taking several shallow breaths trying to actually catch my breath.

I have gone through rigorous tests to ensure that I did not have asthma or allergies causing this issue. My results were unfortunately not very satisfying. My lungs are functioning properly- no asthma, no allergies, nothing… simply Lupus. But, with Lupus it is never that simple, this disease can attack any organ in your body, and my lucky organ is my lungs, and with any treatment option it may help or it may worsen the condition all together.

To look at a variety of treatment options and know that it’s kind of a coin toss on improving can be a little overwhelming! I took several weeks to pray and research my options. Honestly, I decided that it’s okay if my lungs were never fully healed (in this life) as long as I could find some relief! I felt a peace about my decision to add essential oils to my existing treatment plan. I’ve known people who have used essential oils for a number of things, and I will be 100% honest, I was skeptical…sorry! But, I decided I had no reason not to try it and I felt God nudging me in that direction so I felt like I should listen. I’ve been using 2 oils (Raven for breathing and Immupower for Lupus) daily for about a month now and felt like I have seem an improvement. I noticed the most drastic difference when I went two days without Raven and noticed the increased difficulty in breathing. I know it may not work for everyone, but for me I was so happy to find the relief that I have so desperately wanted for such a long time. I’m so glad that I was obedient and listened to the direction that God was directing me.

It would be so easy to dwell on the what if’s or worry. I decided from the beginning of my diagnosis that my life, my health and path are in God’s hands. He can use every struggle and every invisible pain for the betterment of His Kingdom. I firmly believe that my illness will never be wasted, my life will not be wasted. He has a perfect plan for my life and Lupus holds no bounds to what my God can do!

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 

 

 

I am four weeks away from meeting my second child! It’s an amazing feeling knowing that we are so close, especially since this was a very long journey. With both of our boys we were not the lucky ones to conceive quickly. The first time around it took us seven months to get pregnant, while that is certainly not long compared to some people’s journeys it definitely is longer than we expected for being young and healthy. Little did we know that I had Lupus and it was playing a factor into me getting pregnant. This time around we were aware that it might take a while. But, I will say even though I thought it would take a while I did not expect it being a two-year wait.

Maternity_11I had weird symptoms for about four years off and on, but nothing that would tie anything together for the doctors to think, hmmm… maybe it’s Lupus. After my oldest was born I had a rough recovery and then around the time he was eight months old all the symptoms I had previously hit at once and more. By the time he was a year and a half I was diagnosed, finally. Truthfully, I was just glad to finally have a name, a thing, a reason for everything. I could finally know what I was working with. Getting any diagnosis is scary, especially one like Lupus since it is so mysterious and can attack any part of your body. It’s hard to predict and hard to treat. But, God gave me a peace from the beginning. My story is from Him, He has everything in control and Lupus is just part of my story and I have come to terms with that. He has plans for me!

Since I was young, one of the first things that the doctor asked was if I wanted to have anymore children. There was no question that I did, we had always talked about wanting to have a large family. But, it was going to have to wait… for the time being. Lupus patients can have safe pregnancies and healthy babies, but the best thing to do is first get it under control before putting your body through the stress of pregnancy. So that meant that I spent the next year working with the doctor to get everything controlled and to a point that I could get pregnant. That was hard, because by then in our ideal world we would have already been trying for another baby. Being told yes, but not right now is very trying…

After a year we finally got the okay from the doctor, everything looked good and we could try for our second child! Yay! And then came the next year… I honestly thought, oh it will take a while, but probably not longer than it took the last time. Well, it took exactly a year before we were pregnant. Since it was such a long wait I truthfully was in shock when I had a positive pregnancy test! You wait that long and eventually you start to think of it as a distant future thing, when it finally meets your present it’s so exciting you can’t believe it.

Fast forward a few months and I am sitting here, my oldest will be four next month and my youngest will be born within the next four weeks. It was definitely not the plan we had envisioned for our family, we had always pictured a two to three-year age gap. But, God has a much better, more beautiful plans than we can make for ourselves. Will we get to have four kids like we always imagined? I don’t know, and at first that saddened me. But now, I know that we will be given the number of children that God had planned for us from the beginning. If that means two, three or four it doesn’t matter, because whatever His plans are for me I am thankful! I am thankful to be called Mom and thankful for the two amazing little boys that God has blessed me with already.

A New Season Ahead

July 19, 2014 — Leave a comment

If you haven’t noticed, it’s been pretty quiet around my blog lately. I took about a 6 month break from pretty much all my writing. There was a lot going on and it just seemed like the thing that needed to happen, one less thing to think about in my day. But, only for a season, because I truly do love my writing time… and now I am back!

The Regal Ruby is our take on the classic Cherry Pie

The Regal Ruby is our take on the classic Cherry Pie

The last post that I wrote was about The Year of Pie. Well, many of you probably already know that I have started a company with one of my friends, Viva La Pies. This was all in the beginning stages when I took my writing break. I have wanted to own my own Pie and Coffee shop for about eight years now. It never failed that when we would visit family in a small town in east Texas, Chase and I would find ourselves in the local pie shop dreaming about my future shop. We had talked about the “someday” pie shop for so many years that when we began to get more serious about it, it was kind of surreal. Finally, Chase asked me, “if you didn’t try, would you regret it?” I had no question in my mind what the answer was, yes… I would always wonder what-if. And with that we had our answer. My business partner and I worked for several months perfecting our menu and getting it exactly how we wanted it. Then came time for the Kickstarter, because opening a pie shop can be rather pricey. We ran a month-long Kickstarter and unfortunately we were not funded. It was definitely a disappointment. But, that has not stopped us. And why should it? Right now, we are operating as a home bakery and are working towards our store front. God can see what is ahead, and for that I am thankful, because he knows the best time for this to happen. Not to mention, we have had a great receiving from our online followers once we started accepting pie orders as a home bakery.

Viva La Pies

Want some pie? Don’t worry, we have plenty!

 

Also during my writing break and in the middle of starting Viva La Pies, I found out that I was pregnant. This was a two-year long wait that we were very excited about! We were so ready to grow our family, and was starting to wonder if that was ever going to happen for us. Not to mention how my Lupus was going to respond. Thankfully Lupus has been so quiet, I can actually say that I don’t even realize I have it right now! Praise the Lord! Like I mentioned above, it was a disappointment when our Kickstarter was not funded, but it definitely made sense with what was going on within our own family, it would not have been easy to open up a store front while pregnant.

Now, I am home after two years of being in the workforce. Those two years taught me so much, and I am thankful for that time along with this new journey ahead. My days fill up fast as I have an amazing three-and-a-half year old who keeps me busy, a couple of days a week I work for one of Chase’s companies, along with marketing and baking pies for Viva, all while being pregnant. It’s busy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I am thoroughly enjoying the blessing we were given that is allowing me to work from home right now.

Sometimes, our timeline looks a little different from God’s timeline, but He always knows what He is doing!

 

My forever accessory to life

My forever accessory to life

When my face is rash free, my joints are treating me nice and my fingers don’t go crazy white I can forget that I have an illness. Mostly when I have had weeks and even months of feeling better than usual. The thing about Lupus is that majority of the time it doesn’t show through on the outside. I look just like everyone else, I seem to be healthy but reality is far from that. There are times when I look into the mirror and think back to that moment I heard “You have Lupus” and find myself doubting those very words. Could it really be true? I have felt so good lately. I look okay. Maybe it was all in my head. But those thoughts come to a sudden jolt when I am reminded of my disease every day by my twice-a-day pill organizer. What twenty-something has a pill organizer? Just those that need one..

The truth is I am not in denial of my diagnosis. I’m actually okay with it. But sometimes I find myself looking and feeling like I used to and then everything becomes surreal. When I actually stop to think about those words “You have Lupus” it’s hard to believe. Not because I wish it weren’t so or because I fear what is ahead. It’s hard to believe because who thinks that they will have their world altered by words like that? No one. I seem to be healthy, and sometimes I even feel that way. But then I get reminded of just how invisible this illness really is when I wake up with achy joints and the beautiful butterfly rash to accent my face for the next several days and my stark white fingers that are my winter accessory. Truthfully it’s as simple as this… I don’t think about my disease all the time and if I am having several good days in a row I forget about this part of my life, that I have Lupus. But, I think that is a good thing because it’s pretty great that people don’t see me and see my illness. I will talk to people about it with all honesty, but I like knowing that it doesn’t have to be me. I think it’s okay to forget about your diagnosis because every day when I take my morning and evening medicine that is enough of a reminder. I don’t need to dwell on it.

I do not fear what is ahead. Rain or shine, God Has plans far greater than mine, and that includes my disease!

I am sure that we have all heard the debates about whether moms should work outside the home. I have heard it said that women can’t win, if they work outside the home then they must love their kids less. If they stay home then they don’t want to contribute to society or to their family financially. If we listen to society and these debates then yes, women can’t win. There is no way that we could please everyone with these two options. But, it really shouldn’t be about society and what others think of you as a parent. It is about what God thinks, what your family needs and what you feel about yourself! I left my job a month before my son was born and thought that I would be a stay-at-home mom forever. It’s funny how we make plans for ourselves but God’s plans usually end up in the opposite direction. Here are 10 things I have learned from being a working mom.

  1. Your Child Loves You! My little guy loves me and that love did not change because I went back to work. I visit him every day at lunch and he always has a bright smile and begins to tell me with excitement about his day. His love is unconditional. For that I am grateful. It is all too easy as a mom to make ourselves feel guilty for a number of things. But, our children see us more graciously than we see ourselves.
  2. More Intentional. I have always tried to be intentional with our family time. I never wanted to be the family that all we did was watch TV together. But, it is easy to do when you stay _MG_2659at home all day. Once I began to work outside the home I have found that our family time became more intentional. Less TV time and more playing games, going to the park, evening walks and lots of lego time. It’s not that we were less intentional before, it’s more that we cherish every moment and want to make it count. Even if it is simply hanging out at the house running around like robots.
  3. God Knows Best! Our plans are just that, they are ours. God’s plans typically will differ from what we planned. But, I have learned through the years that He always has a reason for what He does and His plans are always better than I could have done myself.
  4. Making Friends. There is nothing more special than watching my son make friends! He gets excited every day when he walks in to a room full of his best buddies. In our families situation it was not always easy to spend time with friends when I wasn’t working because we are a one car family. Many days we were stuck at home. This has offered a chance for my little guy to play with friends on a regular basis.
  5. No Lesser. I do not feel that being a working parent makes you any lesser of a parent than staying at home. Both roles are extremely important and both roles work hard. It’s easy to tell yourself that you are lesser because you are not home, but this is a lie that we are telling ourselves. Remember, our child loves us unconditionally and sometimes working is what your family needs. Doing what your family needs does not make you lesser! _MG_3138
  6. Always A Mom. This is plan and simple but sometimes you just need to remind yourself that you are a mom no matter if you work from an office or if you work from home. Moms love their children, look out for their best interest and care for their needs. This is true of working moms just as it is true of stay at home moms.
  7. The Mold. There is no perfect mold. Just because you have friends that work or friends that stay home doesn’t mean that you must do what they do. Sometimes what your family needs is not what you even expected. Every family is different, every situation is different and only you know the needs of your family. Don’t feel guilty for knowing the needs of your family!
  8. No One Is Perfect. You will not be perfect in either situation. If you work, you will have days that you feel like a failure as a parent. If you stay at home you will have days that you feel like a failure as a parent. The parenting thing is not easy. Don’t believe the lie that other people have it together, because we are all learning as we go. We are all doing the best that we can, but the truth is that no one is perfect. We will mess up. But, instead of feeling guilty we should lift each other up and support one another because parenting is hard!
  9. Struggles. The grass is not greener on the other side. I have done both and have thoroughly enjoyed both. But, each come with their own struggles, even if you can’t see it when looking in. Working you struggle with juggling your time, stress of the job, and all things parenting. Staying at home you struggle with all things parenting, being isolated, and often times a tight budget. Let’s stop putting up a front and just be transparent with each other. It’s okay to say that you are having  a bad day!
  10. Calling. I firmly believe that if God called you to it, then your family will not be content and thriving unless you are obedient. This is true in either scenario. No matter if God called you to work or if God called you to stay home, you will only ever find true joy being in the will of God!