Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Today I remember the sacrifice that Christ has made on my behalf. He was pierced for my transgressions and crushed for my iniquities. His sacrifice satisfied the wrath of God toward me, and I am forever grateful.

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
    a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Photo Credit: SweetCapture

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Day in the Life

For many years now I have had people tell me that my Good Day and Bad Day posts are their favorites. A lot has changed in the past five years, so here is what an average day looks like for me now. This is neither a "good day" nor a "bad day." On good days I can do more than what you see here, though I may pay for it the next day. On bad days I struggle a lot, and I have to pretty much stay in bed.

Snuggle time with my children

Enjoying time with William and Adelaide.
I love it when they come into my bedroom to talk in the evening and give me hugs and kisses.

A Day in the Life
Monday, April 14, 2014

6:30 am – I hear Will stirring. He gets up and gets himself and the children ready for the day. He makes breakfast for them, makes sure that they are properly clothed, and fixes Adelaide’s hair. Will walks William to the bus stop while Adelaide watches from the window. Then Will takes Adelaide to daycare at a friend’s home. Will and the children are very quiet in the morning so that I can keep sleeping and hopefully get the 10 hours of sleep that I need.

9:53 – I open my eyes and begin the process of waking up.

9:58 – I call Will and ask for some coffee and breakfast. Usually he is at work in his office, which is in our basement. However, today is Monday and is Will’s day off work. Instead of staying at home, he is out grocery shopping this morning. Will tells me that he left breakfast outside the bedroom door for me.

10:02 – I grab my breakfast, laptop, and Bible, and I lie back down in bed. I take my morning meds and eat breakfast. I check email and Facebook, and I read online while trying to convince my brain and body to wake up and get moving.

11:07 – I am feeling awake enough to start my prayer and Bible study time. I grab my prayer journal and pray for many of the requests listed there. Next I walk to the kitchen and pour myself a cup of coffee. I head back to bed to read and study my Bible.

11:50 – Will is home from shopping and comes in to see me. We chat for a few minutes. Then Will goes back to putting away groceries, and I turn my attention back to my Bible study.

12:04 pm – I finish my Bible study time, and I begin working on email.

12:40 – Will goes to pick up Adelaide from daycare, and I get up, get dressed, and brush my teeth.

1:00 – Adelaide comes home. I read to her and get her ready for a nap. Usually Will puts her down for a nap, but today I am feeling well enough to put her to bed. This is a special treat for Adelaide!

1:30 – I sit down at the kitchen table and look through the mail. I am excited that a new book has come in the mail for me! It is Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch. I will start reading it later on this afternoon. Right now it is time for lunch, but my stomach is feeling pretty unsettled.  I choose Jello and ginger tea, knowing that even with gastroparesis, my tummy will probably be able to tolerate those two things. I am wobbly and weak from my activity in the last hour, so Will helps me to the bedroom. He carries the hot tea so that I don’t accidentally spill it while walking.

1:45 – Will heads out to do more errands while Adelaide and I have nap time. I lie down in bed to eat my Jello and drink my tea. I read a friend’s blog, and then I make a few edits on my own blog.

2:19 – I call my friend Dorina. We talk and catch up for a few minutes.

2:27 – Adelaide is having a hard time sleeping. I get up with her, help her in the bathroom, and put her back to bed.

2:31 – I lie back down in bed to read and rest, and I start reading Rhinestone Jesus.

3:15 – My stomach feels like it can handle more food, so I get up and get a banana. Adelaide still hasn’t fallen asleep. I help her in the bathroom again and take her back to her bedroom. I ask her to play quietly so that I can rest. I go back to bed. My legs are weak and a bit shaky from all of the up and down activity since waking up this morning. I haven’t done a whole lot today, but not having an extended period of time to rest takes its toll on my muscles.

4:00 – It is time to get up and spend time with Adelaide and William, who has come home from school. My legs are weak, so I grab my walker to help me get around the house. William is busy playing with Legos and listening to a story CD and decides to join us later. I get a snack for Adelaide. She sits on the floor in the living room, and I curl up on the sofa near her.

4:10 – Will comes home from running errands. We talk with him and catch up on our days thus far.

4:22 – My body feels weak and faint. I pray for renewed strength and energy, and I ask the Lord to help me have a good attitude and to love my family well.

4:25 – I ask Adelaide to get a Boost from the refrigerator for me. I drink the Boost and take some midodrine to raise my blood pressure.

4:30 – Will brings a box of Easter decorations upstairs, and we start to decorate the living room. I stay seated on the sofa, and Will and the children do the walking and placing of decorations.

5:05 – My body is too tired to continue, so we set the rest of the decorations aside for the day. Adelaide asks me to tell the Easter story using our Resurrection Eggs set. I am tired, but I know that I need to push through and tell the story. The Easter story is important!

5:20 – I lie down on the sofa to be with my children while William does homework and Adelaide plays with Easter eggs. William is soon finished with his homework, and he and Adelaide take turns hiding and find Easter eggs in the living room. I have fun watching them play together.

5:45 – We eat supper in the living room. The children eat on a blanket on the floor. I eat while lying down on the sofa, and Will joins me on the sofa.

6:15 – I am tired and have a migraine. It isn’t wise for me to keep pushing my body much longer, so I get a shower and get ready for bed.

6:45 – I fall into bed, so tired and ready to rest. This is both my favorite and least favorite time of day. I am thankful for the opportunity to have much needed rest and quiet, but I wish I could be with my family longer.

6:47 – Will brings a cup of tea to me. I check email and catch up with friends on Facebook.

7:15 – I want to type some emails, but my arms are too weak. Instead I need to lie completely still and just watch a television show online.

7:38 – The children come in to say good night. We give hugs and kisses and chat for a bit. Adelaide asks for a cape so that she can be Elsa from Frozen. I tell her that I have some fabric in the basement that I can use to make a cape for her, but that I can’t make it right away. She is excited about having a cape, but disappointed that she can’t have one right away. William comes to the rescue and brings his Darth Vader cape for Adelaide to wear. Adelaide pretends to be Elsa while walking around with the Darth Vader cape, happy as can be!

7:42 – Will brushes Adelaide’s teeth and gets her ready for bed. William asks me for help coming up with clever words for a Star Wars mad lib. We work on it together.

7:51 – Adelaide comes in for more hugs and kisses.

7:53 – Will puts Adelaide to bed, and William reads his mad lib to me. We then start working on a second Star Wars mad lib.

8:00 – Will comes in as William and I are finishing up our second mad lib. Will reads it out loud for us and we have a good laugh together.

8:07 – Will puts William to bed, and I return to my television show.

8:32 – Will comes in after putting William to bed, and we chat for a few minutes.

8:38 – I am in need of soft and liquid food regularly, so Will makes pudding for me. He makes a double batch so that I will have some in the refrigerator for a few days. He also works in the kitchen to clean up the messes from the day. While Will works in the kitchen I finish watching my tv show, and then I work on some online volunteer work.

10:00 – Will has finished cleaning the kitchen and making pudding. We talk for a few minutes.

10:20 – Will starts the night time routine. He fills my water bottle, gets an ice pack for my feet, and gets himself ready for bed. I finish up some email and Facebook messages.

10:38 – Will comes into the bedroom. We talk and spend some time together even though it is a later evening than usual.

11:25 – We pray together and kiss good night. I turn off my computer and take melatonin to help me fall asleep. I turn off the light and pull out my kindle. I read on the kindle to help my body wind down and fall asleep. Sometime around midnight I fall asleep and sleep peacefully.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Busy Hands: Birthday Gifts

This fall I spent time crocheting and knitting gifts for Adelaide's birthday in December. I crocheted a rosy pink dress for her baby doll. It was a great little project to use up some of my leftover yarn stash.

I knit a soft, white blanket for Adelaide's baby doll. All I know how to do is the knit stitch, so it isn't anything fancy, but it was fun to make. I would work on it in the evenings when I was resting in bed. I usually forgot to hide it when William and Adelaide came in to give me hugs and kisses good night. They often asked, "What are you making?" I would say, "I'll show you when I'm done." They had no idea what I was making, and they were both to surprised to find out what it was when Adelaide's birthday arrived! 

The most special gift was the doll in the white dress. The doll had been wearing only a partially finished hat and dress made by my Oma. I finished up the dress and gave it to Adelaide for her birthday.

In this picture Adelaide is wearing a shirt that I made for her a year and a half ago.
I crocheted a snowflake and sewed it onto an otherwise plain, black turtleneck. 

Happy 4th Birthday, Adelaide!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Paint

It is time for Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo and her blogging community. We write for just five minutes. The writing prompt this week is "paint." 

Red and Green Northern Lights
 Photo Credit: Greg Clark
The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
 It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.
 Psalm 19:1-6

For seven years I had the privilege of living in Alaska, a grand a beautiful state. I was continually delighted by the splendor of creation and seeing God’s handiwork on display.

The mountains were majestic and ruggedly beautiful. They were rough in the summer months and softened by snow in the winter. The tallest mountains were always covered in snowcaps, a continual reminder of their impressive height and God’s impressive handiwork.

Sunsets were amazing in Alaska. The warm glow across the sky would cast a pink paint across the snow covered mountains. I took pictures of these glowing pink mountains, but my pictures could never do justice to their beauty.

Always impressive and magnificent were the Northern Lights. God painted across the dark, night canvas brilliant colors that danced and swayed. It was impossible to not stand in awe of God’s power and creativity in creation. Truly, “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1).

Photo Credit: Image Editor

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Eating Well with Gastroparesis

As part of my dysautonomia, one of the conditions I have is gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a paralysis of the stomach, and it causes delayed stomach emptying. Some people with gastroparesis have a full stomach paralysis, meaning that they can't eat any food at all because their stomachs don't empty. Instead they have to rely on tube feeds that go directly into the small intestine or on TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) that is delivered intravenously. I am very grateful that I only have a partial paralysis. On most days I need to follow a dairy free, low fat, low fiber diet because of gastroparesis. Sometimes my gastroparesis flares up, and I have to follow a soft foods, or even a liquid, diet.

In the last few weeks I have been working on recovering from my most recent gastroparesis flare. For several days I was on a mostly liquid diet. Then I was able to add in more soft foods, like pudding and applesauce. After a week I could tolerate small amounts of solid food as long as it didn't have any fat or fiber in it. I am now back to having three small meals of solid food per day, but I have to be extra careful to avoid too much fat or fiber. I also have to supplement with liquid and soft foods in order to get in enough nutrients and calories each day. It is so nice to again eat food that I can chew!

I know that many of you have chronic illnesses, but I'm not sure how many of you have gastroparesis. I want to share some of the foods that have been especially helpful for me in dealing with gastroparesis just in case it is helpful for you too. Pictured above are the foods that I have been the most helpful to me in recent weeks.

Peppermint Tea
This helps with nausea associated with gastroparesis.

Gatorade (not pictured)
I don't drink Gatorade very often, but I keep it on hand for when the need arises. After going 24 hours without being able to digest any food it is important to drink Gatorade to get my electrolytes back up. I continue to drink a glass or two of Gatorade per day when I am on a clear liquid diet.

Ginger Ale
Ginger products help with nausea. Ginger ale also provides calories, and that is a really helpful thing when you have to be on a liquid diet.

Ginger Root Capsules
These are cheap and an easy way to help fight nausea.

Gin-Gins by The Ginger People
These little candies are so nice! I hadn't heard of them until this winter when a friend sent me a box of ginger products to try. These little candies have been very helpful for me when I am too nauseated to drink all of the water necessary to swallow ginger root capsules. These candies are something I can even tolerate while on an otherwise liquid diet. Having a small piece of food to eat is such a treat during liquid diet days. I also keep Gin-Gins in my purse, and William will eat a piece when he gets carsick. According to MythBusters testing results, ginger helps with motion sickness too!

Ginger Honey Crystals
A friend also recently introduced me to these ginger honey crystals. The individual packets contain honey and ginger crystals that you mix into 8oz of hot or cold water. When I am too nauseated to drink regular water, these drink mixes are so helpful! It makes a spicy and delicious drink.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cookies
These cookies only have four ingredients: peanut butter, raw sugar, one egg, and vanilla extract. I have found that I can tolerate these cookies even when on a soft food diet. This is a great way to get some protein and calories when on a restricted diet.

Pretzel Sticks and Saltine Crackers
These are solid foods that are easy on the stomach, and the salt is good for those of us with low blood volume and/or low blood pressure.

When on a clear liquid diet, jello is such a treat! It's almost like solid food, but it counts as a liquid.

Homemade Coconut Milk Pudding
I love homemade pudding, so being able to eat this helps to make a soft foods diet not quite so terrible. :)

This is a great way to get in lots of vitamins and protein in a liquid form. I used to drink Ensure, but recently discovered that Boost tastes better. It is smooth and creamy and not grainy like Ensure. Boost is water based, so it is easy to tolerate. It does have milk protein, which normally I avoid. However, when I am on a liquid diet, this is the easiest and best way for me to get protein. There are 15 grams of protein in that little 8oz bottle!

Fresh Vegetable Juice
Many years ago I was given a juicer, and it has been such a blessing! While Boost, pudding, ginger ale, and jello are a good help, they can't compare to the nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables. However, when I am on a liquid or soft foods diet, neither raw nor cooked vegetables are an option for me. Will juices carrots, beets, sweet peppers, celery, and spinach for me regularly. The juicing process takes out all of the fiber that I can't digest and leaves lots of good nutrients and vitamins. The juice shown in the picture above was made with carrots, spinach, and sweet pepper. It looks terrible, but it is so good for you, and the taste isn't too bad! I don't drink as much fresh fruit juice because when on a soft foods diet I can tolerate applesauce, cooked bananas, and coconut milk. I do have juiced apples or oranges occasionally.

Those are some of the foods that help me as I deal with gastroparesis flares. What foods are helpful for you when dealing with gastroparesis? Please let me know if you have any tips and tricks to share!
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