It Just Doesn’t Matter that much anymore

What others think of me, especially online, used to concern me to the point of scrutinizing every typo and punctuation mark!  Tell you what, it just doesn’t matter that much anymore (IJDMTMA).

Keeping in mind the reason for every significant action in my life so I can justify it, rationalize any lapse in judgment, or simply give me another reason to criticize myself occupies less of my mental space these days.  It takes too much energy.  Any other reasons would go against what I just said!  IJDMTMA.

Cataloging significant records that document the divorce I endured, the major court case I lost, the medical conditions that have come my way, too many artifacts and photos of special events, and purchasing new file cabinets to keep track of these events and more (I have 15 packed drawers in various lateral files, desk drawers and file cabinets, plus quite a few plastic bins around!) involves more-purging-than-storing these days.  If I need it that badly surely I can find it online somewhere, right?  IJDMTMA.

I now live in a town where the cost of living is so affordable that a few people I know have a second home just to store their stuff!  Or folks rent storage spaces in addition to their primary residences (and I am not talking about those living in an apartment or condo!). Gratefully my husband, Steve, and I live in a modest home that requires us to purge stuff periodically!  We don’t want to keep accumulating stuff!  This Christmas I will need to discard numerous Christmas decorations that were up before we remediated our home for mold damage.  The most treasured items will be consolidated into one bin.  I’m going to have to get tough and proclaim:  IJDMTMA.

Similarly, musty memories, painful flashbacks, grief beyond what most must endure, and the drag-me-down burdens that comprise life’s worries have come to the surface with the wretched convulsive episodes of the illness I have been battling.  I simply could not stop the process if I tried.  Perhaps these came as a consequence of a few illnesses that have affected my brain?  No one knows.  What I do know is that If there are to be any redeeming benefits to the nightmares of these past 4 years it must include the involuntary healing that came as these demons were set free.  Yes, the seizures helped release some bad stuff going on in my head.  Carrying this mental baggage has gone down immensely along with the emotional pain.  A different kind of healing has occurred as a result.  Joyfully, IJDMTMA.

The losses of what I once held so dear (i.e. many relationships, my occupational role of 32 years, more financial freedom, certain activities, physical fitness, and the ability to function normally) has been heartbreaking.  But just like learning to let go of other people, places, and things in my life, these intangibles had to be released to the care of my Heavenly Father as well.  At this point I do not know if any of them will come back.  Amazingly I have discovered that I still can have some good moments, make new friends and memories, have everything that I really need, and experience love like never before even with a total life makeover.  To the need for having things be just so I say, IJDMTMA.  Life goes better when held more lightly in the wonder of the moment . . .

How do I convey that “IJDMTMA” is a relatively peaceful, not a sad or angry place in which to be?  I simply have to be here right now.  This attitude has become like a protective coating to keep me from falling apart, from losing what is left, from thinking that my Jesus has abandoned me. He has not!  IJDMTMA is the construct into which I must retreat lest the grieving of what is no longer here overtakes me and blinds me to the goodness that still remains.   In Ezekiel 3:8, the Lord shows His prophet that He will indeed allow him to become “hardened” so that Ezekiel may not lose heart as he carries out the work of ministering to the nation of Israel still in exile.  Wow!  A God-ordained rebellion of sorts will help keep Ezekiel from discouragement.  A toughening will help him and his gifts to continue to be used for God’s glory.  Yes, I want the will and glory of my Lord too.  In the cocoon my Lord has woven for me I can say to all that other stuff:  IJDMTMA.

It just doesn’t matter that much anymore that things aren’t the way they should be or used to be.  I am still here and that matters to me.  Much goodness still surrounds me as I look around this room where I am sitting and see the pictures, handiwork, awards, furniture, and records that tell the stories of Steve and Julie.  Cool beans.  Better yet, just look into our eyes or sit and chat a spell to see more closely what real life looks like in those who are grounded in trusting the Lord for each hour of the day.  It isn’t perfect.  We don’t want our lives to be perfect anyways.  I have a sense that maybe yours isn’t perfect either.  It’s going to be o.k. for those who are in Christ Jesus.  One day soon we will be in His presence and the real stuff of life will be revealed.  And with His glorious light shining all around us we will be with our Lord and Savior for always . . .

Coming to faith in Christ does matter to make this all possible.  Dwelling in the presence of the Lord for all time will bring lightness of heart for all of eternity.  I will be there.  Will I get to see you there too Gentle Reader?

I’m tired.  Goodnight all.  JJ  Ezekiel, harden not your hearts, suffering, endurance, it don't matter to me, what matters most, Christian, marriage, overcoming, chronic illness, chronic pain, hope, trust, the Lord

From the Do It Sick Chef: Let’s make something that resembles lunch!

The first video of my Do It Sick Chef series is now available on Vimeo!

In “Let’s make something that resembles lunch,” I literally get out of bed to make real food in a real kitchen that includes:  a veggie-n-meat entrée, ghee butter, and roasted turnips.  Roasted turnips?  Yes, you got that right!  Special diets require new and sometimes unusual food choices.  Just Julie will show you not only how to make these dishes but how to prepare the food saving money, time and energy.

Future videos that are already in the works will cover the topics of freezing foods for easier meal planning, a stand-alone segment on ghee butter, kitchen organization to save energy, and more.  You are invited to “Like” my Hope Beyond Facebook page to keep up with future videos and share your meal planning, preparation, sanity tips too.

Take care, Gentle Reader.  Lord willing, those of us battling serious illness are going to get well!  JJ

A Nice Overview of a Nasty Toxin Called Mercury

mercury, mercury toxicity, mercury poisoning, amalgam, dental amalgam, neurotoxin, neuro, seizures, convulsions, dentist, root canals, dangers of, extraction, mercury freeSince I’ve been affected by the neurotoxin called “mercury” and have invested considerable time and resources into this topic, it seems appropriate for me to provide some resources here.  I have blogged about my own health issues related to mercury poisoning.  My beloved husband saw my telling test results, witnessed the process of detoxification, and has championed the benefits in improved health that have followed.  Then I realized that there is some background information that I may not have shared with him or in Hope Beyond.  Steve still has questions.  Maybe you do too, Gentle Reader?

Let’s start with a basic video from a scientific perspective of a lab.  Looks like mercury is indeed toxic and gives off dangerous vapors:
 
Now apply the information to a tooth in a human body and the typical scenarios people experience when it is in their mouth.  Note that other studies show body burden increasing within hours not just 30 days:
 
Here’s more detail about dental amalgams, its effects, and how the rest of the world has addressed mercury toxicity; this one is older and a little quirky.  They call for more research (and that research is now available):
 
But how can mercury affect the body?  Here’s another genteel overview from a dentist with some studies cited and an explanation of the general mechanisms of action.  She is one of many, many who have published videos on this subject.  Note the opening remarks about the lungs (which is where most mercury enters the body via vapors):
 
The dentist noted above also has a video series that is well thought out, easy to understand, and contains nice graphics with no hype graphics.
What has been discussed in the videos above is inorganic mercury.  To round out this introduction I must add another form which is “organic” or methylmercury from fish.  Check out this case study from a city devastated in Japan by mercury from industrial waste.  If you watch my videos on YouTube you will see how I can relate to the wretched convulsions of Minamata Disese.  Skip to other videos in the series on Minamata Disease for additional history too:
 
In the future I will chronicle my own discovery of mercury poisoning, the best treatment for me, and how reducing toxicity affected my health.  Just recently I have found that detoxing from mercury is the largest part of my restoration to health.  For the treatment approach that I would recommend as a fellow sojourner (not as medical advice!), please see the Mercury Toxicity Overview  page of this website.
And please be encouraged, Gentle Reader.  We are going to get well!  JJ

Known in the Gates: Part 3, The Man Next to Me

https://www.facebook.com/227446947339836/photos/a.323357667748763.75624.227446947339836/823076851110173/?type=1&theater
From Facebook, June 4, 2015

When I was blessed in marrying Steve nearly 8 years ago, I often sought out Proverbs 31 in the Bible as a guidebook, a different kind of blueprint for how to love him in a manner that would honor the Lord and Steve the best.  Flash forward nearly eight years and enter the challenges of serious illness.  How do you “strengthen your arms,” “not let your lamp go out at night,” “watch over the ways of our household,” and support your man in the ways a Christian wife is called to when you simply cannot do much of anything?  By the Lord’s grace, that’s how!

Steve has become my whole world due to the isolation that came with a serious illness these past 4 years.  He is also the only one to whom I am called to serve during this season of my life second to the Lord himself.  I am no longer able to work in healthcare or serve others at my church.  At first this did not seem like enough.  Later on I stressed beyond belief to serve either one of them.  Now looking back I can say that each day I was given enough energy and clarity of thought to serve both as best as I could even in my times of greatest weakness.  These tasks are critical to fulfill the outcome cast in Proverbs 31:

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

I just hope I did my part as best that I could . . .

The Lord through His Word in Proverbs 31 and other places (in addition to the leading of the Holy Spirit) showed me how to function in these roles through the most serious illness that I could ever imagine.  In turn for Steve the Lord through His Word, leading of the Holy Spirit, and fellowship of select believers, gave my beloved the strength to care for me during a season of our marriage that was incredibly challenging for him as well.  For example lost or broken sleep virtually every night!  Steve has fulfilled his calling:  there is much fruitfulness in our marriage as a result.  I will write more about this in the future for sure.  I am so proud of Steve!

The part of Proverbs 31 that has helped me to feel less alone, to feel that there is a “Jesus with skin on” who remembers me and loves me too is in the verse that captures the Christian husband’s response to her faithfulness:

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.

Yes.  Throughout these 4 years of significant challenges in every area of our lives together, Steve has trusted me.  He trusted me when he married me and he trusts me now.  His confidence is such a precious gift when my spirits were so low and my self-doubt so high.  My husband has heeded his own call to love me as Christ loves the church in the most loving way imaginable.  My beloved husband believed me that I was truly sick and believed in me no matter what that looked like.  (For example, when I said that I would be o.k. though still seizing for the five-hundredth day this occurred when he is late leaving for work after caring for me that morning.  O.k.?  Really?)  Steve has championed my attempts to keep going, to search for clues as to how to get well, to get up after yet another defeat.  Steve is my hero on this earth.  Period!

One of the greatest challenges of life in general is the quest for significance.  Now let us return to the theme of this 3-part blog.  For a Christian husband to be “known in the city gates” as it says in Proverbs 31 is one reason why a Christian wife should serve her husband well.  We must respect our husbands in private and in public so that they in turn may be respected in the workplace.  We want this!  To make this effort to respect our husbands is important no matter the circumstances in which each of the partners find themselves.  Yes, the wife may be sick at home; be home raising the children; have her own career, tasks and accomplishments yet all of these are to be in concert with supporting the spiritual leader of their household.  This is a tall order handled to be with prayer for sure!

For me it has been very hard to be second:  to support Steve while remaining in the shadows of life when I am also number 112 or so by so many people that used to be a vibrant part of my life.  I had to bring this identity crisis to my Heavenly Husband over and over again.  It was the precious relationships with my Heavenly Husband first and my earthly husband second, where I have found the ability to keep them in the right order!  Jesus was my perfect companion at all times.  Steve needed to be away for work, spiritual feedings at church, and some recreation too.  I had to let go of the temptation to pull on Steve too much.

I simply could not have as much time with Steve as in our first years of marriage since I could no longer participate in activities that we liked to pursue together.  My Heavenly Husband filled my needs.  He gave me this blog, new friends, and an online jewelry business.  My Lord revealed Himself to me in ways I had never experienced before.  And when Steve came home, our reunions were always sweet.  I had endured a thousand wretched times alone.  It’s just the way it had to be for us.  In due time that would not create trauma for me.  I realized just how tangible having Christ with you can really be . . .

In Christ and in love with my beloved Stevers, I have found who I truly am, who my Lord has created me to be.  I have found love beyond measure.  I am never alone regardless of the circumstances.  In completing the tasks to which I am now called, our household works well and is peaceful overall.  I get to live Shaunti Feldhaun’s wise words as noted above.  And no matter what the circumstances, whether I return to work in my profession as an occupational therapist or whether I am home recovering from a setback of sorts, my call will be to stand alongside and possibly behind my husband.  My heart is full.  Both are lovely places to be!

And that my Gentle Reader is a great discovery indeed.  This is God’s design for marriage.  In the end the only “gates” where it is truly important to be known will be the open door where I will someday meet my Lord, Jesus Christ and He calls my name.  So sweet.

Will I meet you there too?  JJ

Just another day

Today was much of the same:

Back to bed after hitting the wall, so to speak.

Hours later I cleared

And a phone call to my beloved at work

Got me in motion to do the tasks at hand.

The story doesn’t vary much . . .

Maybe an outing to test the waters may come

Only to push me back a few days and then

I wonder if I have really come forward much at all.

But “it takes what it takes” sometimes;

The good, the bad, the ugly like an old western:

I know the patterns at least so I cry less

Resting comes more easily as does opting out

‘Cause life is more about the meaning than the doing anyhow.

The last sentence in this prose

Must point beyond my tale of woe

For when a beloved friend faced losing a family member so dear,

I realized the blessings that abound in my life even so

Even so I will go on and things will get better of this I am sure.

It doesn’t have to be today you know!