It’s more than a delicate balance

As anyone who likes to (or needs to) cook knows, it can be a tough balance to make a recipe taste just right.  The host of your fav cable cooking show says to add a pinch of salt and pepper as you watch her grab easily a fistful of seasonings.  Ah ha!  So that is why version mine comes out differently than yours!  Just ditch the online recipe on her website and fly by the seat of your pants!  Taste, taste, taste and make the dish all your own, eh?

I don’t tend to make meals using recipes anyways.  With a limited diet and having to make a wacky version for me and a “normal” one for my beloved, I would become too frustrated trying to follow the masterpiece designed by someone else’s reality!  I just start with what I CAN eat, add more salt with my eyes closed then put one of my go-to seasoning mixes on Steve’s version.  It works for us.  Well most of the time, that is!  And when it doesn’t, that is what salsa is for right?  (O.k.  I know I have offended someone out there now!)

My health situation of late is kinda like the same delicate balance.  Add too much zinc for too many days in a row or take a new supplement or med for more than 3 doses and whammo (!) I get burned at the “steak.”  There’s little more than dog food left of me afterwards.  Gratefully my Doc does exhaustive lab testing to try to coach me in the right direction.  But now even labs cannot predict the outcome anymore.  I seem to react to everything.  It’s worse when the pharmacist of an independent lab starts making suggestions too.  So I try this and that.  Oh how I want things to work out well!  So far, it has not.

I am my own worst enemy in these scenarios.  The results aren’t even back yet for the female hormones that are at a mystery level since going through menopause.  I went through menopause during the almost 4 years of this illness and these tests for me are way out of date.  The significance of the hormones is that a goodly number of women (who have true epilepsy) have worsened seizures during menopause and others have reported a new onset of what is called “catamenial epilepsy.”  While I do not think that I have epilepsy per se and all the fancy labs have supported this, I do find this course of study intriguing.  I joined a couple of Facebook groups on the subject and have hunkered down into some new online research.  Then of course I re-started a tiny bit of progesterone on my own to see what would happen.  Yeah, I know that I should wait until the lab results are back in a total of 6 weeks.  But heck, at the rate I have been going, 6 weeks means up to 210 more hours of convulsive episodes!  Why wait?  I am going to go through hell anyways . . . .

Dr. Erwin Leutzer of Moody Bible Institute teaches that, “when you are going through hell . . . DON’T STOP!!!”  Oh yeah.  That fits for me.  Not sure what to do with some of the symptoms that are emerging though.  Clearly this will need professional tweaking at some point!  Do ya blame me for trying?  What if I finally stumble upon the resolution to this nightmare?  There are so many labs that are off now and the convulsive episodes have escalated to 4 hours or more most days, I just figured that it’s worth a shot . . . worth disrupting the status quo.

The decisions of life can be a delicate balance over here sometimes.  Do we continue with travel plans when I am in the throes of chronic illness?  For us, the answer is yes.  We just adapt things a bit and get on down the road.  Life goes on.  In due time, if it is the Lord’s will, I am going to be well.  In the meantime we will use the portable heater in the Tin Can Ranch (aka travel trailer) instead of the noxious propane mini-furnace so I can be with my beloved overnight at his kayaking competitions out of town.  In the meantime I’ll freeze portions of meals to ease food prep when Steve needs to pitch in for me.  In the meantime I will fold laundry when my brain stabilizes in the wee hours of the morning and scratch the ears of our pup who gets more fractionated sleep than I do.  In the meantime Steve will head into work later to make up lost time and we will be grateful for his flexible employment.  And so it goes, a balancing act on steroids that we have come to master, one ingredient at a time!

Gentle Reader, I’ll bet you understand the need for balance with the stuff of life. Let’s look together with gratitude that we do have some choices even in the worst of situations.  For those who believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, we know that all things, delicate and less so, will work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  It’s His promise from His word in Romans 8:28.  That is because He knows us and loved us before we were even born.  He knows and cares for all of the details of our lives!  (Psalm 139)  And He knows what choices we will make.  As for me, I will aim to make choices that keep me moving forward, aiming to win.  Sometimes things will be out of balance for a time.  Yet with my eyes fixed on Christ, leaning on His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit I will run my race of life with endurance:  endurance the produces hope (Romans 5:4) and endurance to finish well too!  (Hebrews 12:1)

surf ski, surf ski racing, river racing, USCA, kayak racing, unlimited class, competition, drafting, Epic kayaks
My River Bear leading in a United States Canoe Association event last year. Gooooo Steeeeve!

Never sacrifice sweet victory for a need to stay comfortably in balance though.  Attend to the tasks at hand with wisdom then get out there and LIVE!  Do not stop!  May we both finish well my fellow sojourner.  The crown of glory awaits!

That is all.  JJ

Long before sun up

Recovering from a serious illness sure can make your daily schedule wacky!  I know that I’m not alone when surfing Facebook and find a few lone rangers out there overnight in the various Lyme and Mold forums.  Tis sweet.  Often I get my best thinking, creating and writing done just before sun up.  I used to say it was, “making lemonade out of lemons.”  Yeah, o.k.  I’m just glad to have some moments of clarity no matter when they come!

Here’s the latest fruits of my labors.  Something good from Trinity Jewelry by Design:

Think Spring!
Think Spring!
DSCF9448
Black leather wraps in style!

The whole chicken or egg dilemma

chicken and eggs

Sometimes in life things do not occur in any sane, logical order.  Well after the original Creation of all things, that is!  Before Creation there was only God and we came with His speaking into existence time, space, the earth, and so on.  All I can say is that after I was born a lot of things happened in a fairly reasonable sequence.  However after I became an adult that all changed!

I started my career, graduated with a Masters degree, and was married 12 years without ever having had any children.  I see now the paradoxical blessing of never having had a family as a young woman; it just didn’t make sense why this happened as the years went on until more recently.  It was the Lord’s plan for my life.  Regardless I now have had the privilege of “adopting” my intended beloved husband’s grandson this past year and it is GRAND!  I love it!  Sitting here in the great State of Indiana following the stream of photos on Facebook of little Jackson and his parents in North Carolina is the new replacement for dinner-with-the-family on Sunday afternoons.  Well o.k.  Works for me.

Ah yes, work.  I began my career as an occupational therapist, dabbled in worker’s compensation insurance, ventured into a home business three times (where I continue now as a hobby), bounced back after a few orthopedic injuries, and landed in an extended medical leave two years ago.  I would have thought that I would be more vulnerable to such a serious illness when undergoing some of the more significant and stressful transitions in my life but it didn’t happen that way.  Illness came when I was happily married, living closer to my hometown of Detroit, Michigan, secure in my relationship with the Lord, and largely homebound in a pretty place with a cool dog too.  I have never felt more loved and it came after age 47, not as a baby girl.  Works for me.

And there it is again.  Work.  My training as an occupational therapist brings a fascination with all things “work:” from the menial tasks of housekeeping to the time-and-motion requirements of an assembly line worker.  I am amazed at the inner workings and outer performance capabilities of the human frame in addition to our ability to love, to hate, to dream.  Later in life I would also come to know the Creator of mankind as my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ:  the One who made me and you in His image.  Oh how lovely He must be for all of us to be a copy of His humanity!  My life has been a wacky journey of discovery for all that He has made and gifted me to be; my weaknesses in addition to my strengths are crafted at His hand, in His time.  This brings me to the current day.

I received a job notification from a prominent continuing education company for a part time Lead Occupational Therapy Education Planner.  Wow, that sounds cool!  The Planner would assist in the development and promotion of continuing education courses for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants nationwide.  I have spent my entire career continuing my love for learning as I moved from one specialty area to another, adapting from one work setting and set of skills to another.  Then when illness struck and continued into the year 2012, the Lord guided me into an online jewelry business.  I knew very little about ecommerce at the time!  Within a year I am grateful to report that I had customers from most sections of the United States and had learned a variety of jewelry-making techniques.  I could adapt my creative schedule any time of day or night.  And the marketing and writing skills of previous endeavors got applied and developed further, including photography and the use of social media.

Even with all of that, my greatest joy lies right here with you.  This blog has received my heart, my hopes, my fears, my dreams, my failures, and my successes too.  You have been there for me, Gentle Reader, through yet another transition in my life.  I have recently doubted my ability to return to gainful employment due to the nature of the illness in my life.  And yet the skills of reading, writing, creating, and social networking have grown despite any hardship.  So I applied for the position!  I included the online business, eBook, and this blog as accomplishments of late.  It’s just like an occupational therapist to examine the skills needed to get through the day and a person’s ability to match it to what is needed in  his or her life.  This is exactly what I have done these past 2 years and in considering this new venture.

Thank you, Lord, for creating me as an occupational therapist.  You knew the skills I would need to navigate the events of my life and breathed the seeds of them into me decades ago.  And if it is your will that I move forward with gainful employment with this new company, then I am ready for this challenge.  I don’t need to know if it’s the right timing, if I need to do something else first as in the chicken or egg dilemma.  I’ll just trust you with all of the details.  How timely that earlier today I was talking with a friend about her preparation and experiences attempting to return to work after a personal leave of absence.  I place both of us at your throne of grace that your wisdom and strength would infill both of us for the opportunities that lie ahead.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.  JJ