The Night Watch

Psalm, Psalm 42:8, fear at night, comfort at night, God is with me, in the night, joy comes in the morning, getting through the night, blog at nightAnd so the night watch begins

As my beloved tucks himself part way under the covers, the cool air circulates around him and our home.

He looks so peaceful as he collapses into bed,

Having worked the day long and again this evening to make things right with our world.

The pup slumbers on the floor behind me

With her own watchful eye as the big storm rumbles outside in the darkness;

Another night begins and I am hungry

The wretched episode and weathering inside my own body now behind me once again.

It’s a strange life, that is clear:

The promise of new treatments,
my meager attempts to go on . . .

Let me pretend I am doing something worthwhile

When my world stops shaking and I find you here, Gentle Reader, ready to make sense of it all.

Sometimes there is no sense to be made

We simply endure, do our due diligence to survive:

Touching something meaningful when the opportunity comes our way

Then letting it all go to the escape of sleep whether by night or by the dawn cometh soon.

Perhaps this night will bring fruitfulness

Maybe I’ll be able to write something of worth?

There is certainly much to do alone here with you as the keys light up and my mind slowly turns on;

My Lord is here with me so something good, something meaningful might happen yet this evening!

Since I cannot be sure but the time will pass anyways,

I better get something to eat before “dinner” slides into breakfast, hunger into weakness

Then maybe my brain will come back online too.  If this is to be my shift I better get to my assigned duties of late —

If I am to be awake, the most of it I shall make again and again.  Who knows, maybe something good may be too?

Yes, something good may be too.  JJ

Don’t confuse happiness with joy

In the words of Billy Graham:

Some people think Christians should always be smiling and happy, and something is wrong if they aren’t.

But this isn’t necessarily true.  Jesus stood outside the tomb of his friend Lazarus, and we read that, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).  As he approached Jerusalem “he saw the city and wept”  (Luke 19:41) because of it’s spiritual blindness and guilt.  He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and was, “. . . in agony [and] his sweat became like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44)

Don’t confuse happiness with joy.  Happiness comes with happy circumstances; joy wells up deep inside our souls as we learn to trust Christ.  Joy does not mean that we are never sad or that we never cry.  But joy is a quiet confidence, a state of inner peace that comes from God.

Life’s troubles will rob us of our happiness, but they can never rob us of the joy God gives us, as we turn in faith to Him and seek His face.

The joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

From “What is joy?”  in Hope for each day, (2002).  Thomas Nelson, Inc.  p. 338.

I get this and hope you do too, Gentle Reader.   Few things can rob your happiness like waking up in the middle of the night 8-10 times with convulsive episodes and a massive headache.  It probably wasn’t nice for my beloved husband Steve either, awakened from a sound sleep lying next to me.  The aftermath for me felt like I banged my head in every direction against a wall.  Not fun at all!  Gratefully the dream I later woke up in the middle of (after more seizure attacks falling asleep)  was a reasonable one.  I mean that we had experienced something similar just under 2 years ago so it wasn’t that bad really.

I dreamed that Steve and I had moved temporarily into an apartment while some work was being done on our home only to have all of our belongings and the inside of the apartment become covered cascades of dust!  Yeah, that was not good for someone multiply chemically sensitive like me knowing that mold is often lurking in dust.  The situation was beginning to resolve when I woke up.  Phew!  It was just a dream!  This time the headache was less and the convulsions were replaced with less violent seizure attacks.  They actually helped clear my head some . . . and yet I still felt beat up.  The next few hours were meaningless . . .

Regardless, I have joy!  How is this possible you may ask?  Well, it’s just like the quote from Billy Graham noted above.  I have learned to trust Christ in all things, wretched or not.  Of course I cry in sorrow when a new treatment intended to help me makes things worse for awhile.  Call it a healing crisis, herxheimer reaction, or the like.  It’s a bite in the shorts any way you slice it!  But that doesn’t change anything between my Savior and me.  He meets me on my bed of sickness and weeps for my suffering.  This is not His intention for me yet at the same time my suffering will not be wasted because He has a plan for my life.  Maybe one part is this:  I am hoping that my suffering provided an illustration here of HOPE IN ACTION.  I pray that it will encourage someone out there who is suffering too.  HE CARES FOR YOUR SUFFERING TOO and will see you through it!

One day all of our strife and worry will be over as He makes our joy complete when He comes again in glory:  with unimaginable happiness too!  This promise holds true for those who love the Lord and call Him Savior.  If you are suffering, please do not let that stop you from seeking the best hope you have in your pain:  the person of Jesus Christ.  His love covers ALL.  In Him, you will find a joy that will transcend it all.  Gentle Reader, please do not confuse happiness with joy.  JJ

Jer 29.11

You bring me joy

How about playing a little tune while enjoying the view that encourages me these days: my beloved and my garden.  Enjoy!

Song to play:

Pictures from my heart of gratitude.  Thank you Jesus.  You are so good to me.  JJ

My beloved and me at Lakeside Rose Garden, Fort Wayne, Indiana
My beloved and me at Lakeside Rose Garden, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Garden pup:  Elle
Garden pup: Elle

 

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Our first compost pile in what used to be the dog pen.  Sorry Elle!  You'll have to share!
Our first compost pile in what used to be the dog pen. Sorry Elle! You’ll have to share!

 

Lavender in the veggie garden bringing on the bumblebees.  Yes!
Lavender in the veggie garden bringing on the bumblebees. Yes!
Looks like the Knock Out Rose bush is going to make it after all!
Looks like the Knock Out Rose bush is going to make it after all!

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Forbidden Fruit

It’s everywhere.  I look in one area then into another and I cannot avoid seeing it.  I go to the store and displays everywhere tempt my senses.  I must be strong.  I look forward as if I am wearing blinders (those “harness winkers” or leather patches that keep horses from looking to their peripheral vision) so I don’t stray from my mission.  The forbidden fruit beckons.  “No!” I will not cave.

It’s not that I can do this in my own strength, by the way.  The cravings are too great.  Every cell in my body has probably been affected at some level since I’m without the glucose and carbohydrates that provide energy to battle the infection raging therein.  Oh you thought I was writing about something sinister, didn’t you?  Nope.  It’s an elusive fungus, partially protected in a mucous-y biofilm but not sinister per se.  It is CANDIDA!  And at level 3 of 4 levels, gut yeast is hurting me badly.  The “forbidden fruit” includes actual fruit plus food containing any form of sugar plus any simple carbohydrate or starchy vegetable.  This includes all grains, even the gluten-free kind.  Now even several months into this this extreme diet I have yet to see the endpoint.

Now let’s add another layer:  any food that is fermented, aged, seasoned with just about anything but salt, or at risk for trace amounts of mold!  Evidently even walnuts and pecans can harbor mold in the folded areas of the nut itself.  Leftovers in the frig for more than 24-hours can harbor mold.  Black pepper can harbor mold.  And the list goes on.  Tonight I decided to sacrifice some more seasonings to try to prevent the side effects of consuming the wrong foodstuffs.  The consequences have been severe:  three and one-half hours of seizure attacks plus hours of recovery yesterday convinced me of the need for some more tweaking.   I also stopped one of the medications that feels like it’s killing me.  When a pathologist stated online that seizures change the matrix of the brain, well that woke me up again to the seriousness of this battle.  Seizures can be a part of a level 3 Candida infection.  Geez.  And most people associate yeast with vaginitis.  That was a cakewalk compared to where I am these days.

Yes, this is tough stuff.  Yes, it takes total discipline, focus, endurance, and patience with the repeated setbacks.  Chronic illness requires grace from one’s family, especially one’s spouse.  I am grateful for a loving husband who relies more on the Lord for his happiness and peace than on me.  He sees things from a hopeful place and speaks to the little improvements or the sweet moments between us no matter how small.  His God-given strength is very humbling.  The only way we are able to endure this is through the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  We believe that this is the Lord’s plan for our lives and that He is here with us no matter what happens.  And if it is His will, I will be well someday.  I will be able to put to use that awesome carbon fiber canoe paddle Steve bought me for Christmas!  Such a gift of confidence from my beloved.  I love my man!

The forbidden fruit of today have become the hedges of protection I need to keep me from getting worse.  Just like the corrective events of life (those we bring upon ourselves from our own mistakes and those the Lord allows for His Divine purposes), they are not to be hated, feared, avoided, or teased.  We must face that which is forbidden and directly choose otherwise, place a barrier (physical or mental) in the way of temptation, and simply go forth on a different path that leads to victory.  Nothing else will do if we want to win.  I did not dink around with my diet at all during Christmas and I still was very sick.  Imagine if I had “cheated” on my survival diet.  I would have not been able to visit with family for three consecutive days, cook for several hours at a time, and enjoy a delightful time of fellowship.  Sure I “crashed and burned” around 8:00 p.m. each night.  The sacrifice was worth the reward that was available to me.  The reward was greater this year than last year at Christmastime.  That’s cool.

From here the journey ahead is unclear.  I will continue the treatment approaches I have described above yet do not know yet if any new medical approaches are warranted.  I have an upcoming appointment with my Lyme and mold-literate medical doctor where we will review the difficulties I have had functioning these past two years.  There’s another functional medicine clinic of interest that is 3-hours away . . .   We sure will be praying for direction about all of this in the new year.  Wherever the path leads I know the Lord is already there.  I welcome His plan for my life that has created more joy than I ever could have imagined on my own.  If that joy must come through serious illness then I would not want it any other way.  Really.  I’m just believing what He tells me, you know.  Picture me and Steve in an outrigger canoe along a sandy beach somewhere warm . . .   Yes, I can picture it  . . .

Proverbs 3:5-6
Proverbs 3:5-6