Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This summer my daughter Echo will embark on a mission trip to India. This is no ordinary trip, not a summer camp or retreat, it is to fulfill a desire that God has put in her heart.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
You see many years ago a seed was planted in her. In 2002 our family went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, it was one of the hardest points in our families history, it was scary, foreign, isolating and faith impacting. Out of that trip came some pretty big spiritual revelations. The first was my husband was called into full time ministry and began to pursue a pastoral job and the second was that Echo knew she wanted to be a missionary. That tiny seed, just the desire to evangelize somewhere (at age 12) was big enough but then God started speaking to Echo and giving her more and more love and compassion for the people in the Middle East and India. Every time something is said about that region or it's people Echo's ears prick up and she listens. When things erupt and there is turmoil, Echo feels it with them. He heart breaks when a bomb explodes, or when hatred is spoken about these people so far away from us. Many well meaning and good Christians have tried to persuade her not to go into this region of the world, saying well meaning and very logical things about safety, security and her youth. This hurts Echo, she begins to wonder if maybe she is wrong and everyone else is right. She told me the other day, "how can it be right for people to die in the middle east, at war or in turmoil and not know who Jesus is?" As a mother it is so hard to minister to her, to comfort her and enable her to see the truth what ever it is. Part of me would like nothing better than to keep her here with me, safe and sound. I know that would be wrong. Who am I to judge her passion, her faith, her calling. Part of being a parent is learning to let go, to have our children find their place in the world. I know that this one trip to India will change Echo, it will give her direction and it might end up taking her even farther away from home. Scary to think about but I would rather have my daughter half way around the world standing with Jesus then lost and wondering around the cities of the United States alone. In the bible there are several things Jesus, God's own son commanded of us.

The first is love God above all else.
The second is to love your neighbor (everyone in the world) as your self.
Mark 12:29-31
29Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. So love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

The last was to go out into the world and make disciples of other nations.

Matthew 28:18 18When Jesus came near, he spoke to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19. So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 20Teach them to do everything I have commanded you.

“And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I love Spring, it is the promise of renewing that comes each year. After a long hard winter the first signs of spring always brings to mind a new year, a new beginning. I have a ritual of sorts that I do each year. No matter where I am living, a house, a condo, an apartment or a tent I always plant something somewhere. I do not have a green thumb but I fumble through it. I buy seeds and play in the dirt and plant them, water them, and watch as a new creation is born. I know lots of people who every year go to the home stores and buy already grown plants and deposit them in their dirt but somehow that doesn't appeal to me. I enjoy taking something so plain (the seed) and lovingly care for it as it grows into something. Maybe it is the Mama in me that enjoys the creation part, maybe it is the God in me that enjoys watching as the creation unfolds. This year I bought wildflower seeds, poppies, and a few others. For some reason I am drawn to the wildflowers every year, I think because the seeds are all mixed together and you just don't know which flowers will grow in your area and because I have daughters who when they were young would cut bouquets for every one, I had to grow things that were very abundant! The poppies are for sentimental value, they remind me of California which is where I am from. There something that is therapeutic about my spring ritual, it somehow resets my thinking for the new year. In reality I am the seed, every year I am reborn.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18
17Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

At what cost?

O.K. so I did my taxes, like so many other Americans I rely on my income tax refund. I am lucky, I am poor and have 4 kids so I have a little nest egg that comes to me each year. Thank you Uncle Sam you always allow me to buy my kids new shoes and replace the clothes they have out grown since the beginning of the school year. I noticed this year that there is a section for deducting medical expenses so I began a file and started saving receipts, I fill a prescription and put the receipt in the file. So far this year alone I have spent $781 dollars out of my bank account for medical problems, prescriptions, and doctor visits. Oh yeah, I have insurance which is deducted from my husbands public school teacher salary every month. I do not know the exact amount but I am betting it is a lot for a family of 6! I have an outstanding bill from my Rheumatologist for close to $300 all I can figure is I paid my co-pay, the insurance paid their portion and what remains is what I need to pay in order to continue my care. Really the doctor has already received over $100 dollars for a 10 minute visit how much does she really need? Give me a break. All I want is to be healthy, normal, untouched by RA is that too much to ask. I am beginning to think that maybe being ill is too expensive for two teachers with a family. Uncle Sam saved me for the first few months of the year but after the tax money is gone I am out of luck and sick of being broke and sick of RA. It is funny that in the middle of all of this God is speaking to me, reminding me of what is most important and relevant to the whole picture. No matter how hard things may seem in the moment, I am praising God for all he is doing in my heart. I will fix my eyes thoughts on what is true.

Philippians 4:6

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Updating now mid April add another $800 in medical expenses!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Isolation of Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

I am not superwoman

According to my family and those who know me I am superwoman. I have always been able to keep going, to get things done even when everyone around me was withering from exhaustion. I am trying to get my family to realize and understand that I am not that person anymore, that my body is now being ravaged by a disease that slowly takes away my physical strength, mind and spirit. The disease is Rheumatoid Arthritis. For years I have struggled with undiagnosed pain and fatigue and now it has a name. I am fighting it with all I can, my strength, my spirit, my heart and my mind. The pain sometime is so unbearable, my body just wants to rest in a hot tub and try to unwind itself. But I don't do that, I keep going, keep working, keep trying to have a assemblance of normalcy. I am not the type or person to ask for help, to complain or to make my needs known. Is that bad? I expect my family to help me, to understand. How can they when they don't know what this feels like. When it hurts to walk because you have bulging discs in your lower back, your hips are inflamed and of coarse your knees and feet hurt because your RA will not settle down. Oh yeah and I am suppose to walk 3 miles to work each day and teach 3 year old's. Yes, I am complaining. I know I shouldn't but lately I feel like no one is listening.

The dictionary describes pain as:


An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pain has both physical and emotional components. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. Pain may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Pain is mediated by specific nerve fibers that carry the pain impulses to the brain where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.

Pain is also a term specifically used to denote a painful uterine contraction occurring in childbirth.

The word "pain" comes from the Latin "poena" meaning a fine, a penalty.

Contrary to popular belief my RA pain does not go away with Ibuprofen, Methotrexate injections or muscle relaxants. It does not ever go away it simply migrates to another joint and continues on it's coarse.