New Skills

1 Corinthians, believer, Christian, not be wasted, don't give up, hope, not in vain,

If I had to create a resume today the contents would be a bit different for these past 5 years.  Web design?  Yup.

When I get concerned that my professional skills have eroded, I remind myself that life is measured more than by occupational achievements.  Later I will write about the journey for meaningfulness that led me to simply trust the Lord with each moment, each day.  For now perhaps what they used to call a “Functional Resume” is in order?  So here I submit a list of new things for which I am grateful to have learned despite being sick every day for over 5 years.  Surely the time was not wasted!

Developed 5 websites:  1 on Etsy and 4 on Word Press.

Self-published an eBook, Hope Beyond Lyme:  The First Year.

Taught myself how to make macramé and handcrafted jewelry, developed Trinity Jewelry by Design, sold hundreds of pieces online and at 5 events, then sold the business 2 years ago.

Learned about Lyme disease, mercury, Candida, seizures, epigenetics, biologic dentistry, shingles-and-other viral infections, biotoxin illness PLUS their respective testing and treatment protocols.

Learned about social media, ecommerce, blogging, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo-and-other online forums, Skype (formed a prayer group), basic video production, online banking/PayPal, how to use a smart phone with Apps, and the like.

Became an Advanced Master Gardener.  Achieved the highest-star rated sustainable garden at our home.  Finally harvested our own blackberries!

Experimented with special diets for health:  ketogenic, low oxalate, low glutamate, gluten-free, SIBO, and the usual dairy/sugar/sweetener/mold-free diets.

Became an Assistant Editor to my Editor/Husband for the quarterly publication Canoe News of the United States Canoe Association.  Learned the basic features of MS Publisher and PowerPoint.

Experimented with various methods of detoxification for health including full spectrum infrared sauna, colon hydrotherapy, Epsom/mineral salt baths, lymph massage, and various binding agents (zeolite, benonite clay, fulvic acid, Intestinal Metals Detox, acai fiber, cholestyramine, chitosan, Welchol, etc.).

Learned about environmental toxins, extreme mold avoidance, types of masks to reduce exposure, cleaning strategies, remodeling, and more.

Implemented energy conservation, work simplification, home safety, accessibility, and novel coping strategies (that I used to train my patients!) to manage changes in my physical abilities.  Trained my husband in same, often in times of medical crisis.

Began a “telehealth” arrangement for part of my healthcare with a naturopath/genetic coach out of State.

Learned to camp in a travel trailer with my beloved hubby, Steve, and our German shepherd pup, Elle.

I bought my pick up truck 5 DAYS before I got sick.  Quickly, I learned to drive a truck then how to pull a trailer, haul stuff, and manage a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

Learned basic upholstery crafting to make all new cushions for our travel trailer and two custom cushions for a medical office.

Successfully navigated a complex and long disability case despite ongoing nightly  seizure attack episodes frying my brain at times!

Perhaps there is more yet I will stop here.  As an occupational therapist, I am trained to assess the life skills of my patients and how these are affected by his or her medical condition or disability.  Its as if the Lord knew that I would need the very skills of my profession to handle the devastating effects of a complex, serious illness 30 years after my career began.  In the past I’d often “re-invented” myself at work, moving from mental health to rehabilitation then home health care.  My work included contract work, consulting, and even a public speaking program called the Living Safely ©Program. Just about everything that I ever learned in my profession has helped me to cope and begin to overcome my current situation.

So when I shed a few tears for the setbacks that come, like last night, they simply do not last very long.  Or at least I can clear my mind more quickly than in the past.  Gratefully, I have other things to think about other than illness:  things I can still do when I can get up and get moving again.  And maybe, just maybe, when the seizures stop for good, all of this learning will bring glory to my Lord and Savior as He has helped me get through each moment . . . oh and Stevers too of course!  My husband is a saint!  And very wonderful.

Be encouraged, Gentle Reader.  Lord willing, I am going to get well!  I will be praying for you too this night.  Let’s hang in there, k?

Take care,

JJ

Psalm, 73, 73:6, God, heart and my portion forever, Lord, sustains, sickness, hope, always with me, Holy Spirit, trials, coping, Christian, believer, Jesus Christ

Revelation, 21, 21.5, make all things new, believer, Christian scripture, hope, help

So where ya been?

O.K. so I’m still sick and that isn’t my excuse this time!  So where have I been?  Editing, that’s where!

This past month I’ve poured and prayed over the decision to turn these blog postings into an eBook.  I want to make sure I have the right intentions and that the end result will be something useful to others as well.  In the process of reviewing this past year of New Hope Beyond Lyme on WordPress, it became clear that my followers enjoy messages that are particularly encouraging to persons recovering from a serious illness.  Matters of faith generate the most comments and I’m pleased for that.  To Him be the glory!

I did some research on various publishing formats and have decided to proceed with a no-cost eBook format where I can do virtually all of the formatting of the manuscript and cover art myself.  I have a lot to learn about all of this, for sure!  Lyme Disease will be prominent in the text since the treatment of Lyme was my primary focus for most of this past year.  But the take home message won’t be about a disease . . .

The truths borne out of the trials, struggles, illness, and strife these past two years have once again served to strengthen my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  About a year into this season of illness, I began blogging to keep myself sane!  Now looking back over this past year of blog posts, I am grateful to write, has actually brought more hope than tears.  I was so scared of everything in the beginning, particularly when the tic episodes began escalating into full-blown seizure attacks.  I didn’t even write in complete sentences most of the time back then.  The crazy thing is that I generally have more hope and peace now when the attacks exceed 3 times per day, than when they were less!  I have the Lord’s work in my heart to thank for that!  He works in amazing ways for sure.

While I am grateful for the gift of writing, keeping my eyes fixed on the Lord through reading His Word continues to be the most important survival strategy for me in this season of life.  The cool part is that I get to look up all kinds of scripture verses as I pour out my heart onto the computer screen.  I do hope, however, that the New Hope Beyond Lyme eBook will never be a replacement for a fellow sojourner opening His or Her Bible.  Reading a verse here or there in a blog or eBook, on a Facebook Newsfeed, in the signature line of a friend’s email, Tweeted, or in a Pastor’s message is not as valuable as soaking up God’s Word in our time alone with Him.  We can’t dwell in His presence, linger before the throne of grace in the same amount of time it takes to hit, “delete!”  His grace requires a bit of time to reach our weary souls . . .

I do hope, Gentle Reader, that your own faith in God and in the person of Jesus Christ has grown as you have joined me on this journey.  I was reading today in the first chapter of 1st Corinthians where the apostle Paul teaches how we come to understand God through faith and not through an intellectual discourse.  We choose to believe that Christ died on a cross for our sins so that we may become forgiven for our sins, right-with-Him, and begin an amazing spiritual journey rich with meaning as sons and daughters of the King.  To receive the blessings and the promises of a relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ requires faith.  If we have faith in Christ crucified, it will make a difference in our lives for all of eternity.  That will help us cope with virtually anything, today and tomorrow.

With the testimony of God’s Word as my witness, I submit to you that only with a personal relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ will any of the stuff we endure in this life make any sense at all.    If we do have this sweet fellowship with Him, the lover of our souls, all of this stuff will be worth it.  And for me, all of this suffering will be worth it as well.  I would not be writing anything if I had not gotten sick two years ago.   Nothing I write will make any difference either if it doesn’t point someone, somewhere to something more than recovery from an illness.

How humbling that Lyme Disease may be used for good.  Such is the, “new hope beyond Lyme,” after all . . .