Progress not Perfection

All it took was one hard drug (the prescription variety) and suddenly I can function a few more hours each day.  PRAISE THE LORD!

First up:  finish cleaning the house to keep the risk for exposures down.  Dust/mold/smells can trigger significant sickness if I don’t so gratefully I got it done today.

Second:  keep up with scheduled treatments and keep trying to add in items that are recommended for me.

Third:  organize medications, oils, supplements, and medical supplies that have spilled over to various locations in our home.  Prepare items to donate that are no longer needed.

Fourth:  begin the next filing projects needed to gather our tax records.

Fifth:  prepare tax records for filing with our accountant.

For the first time in a very long time, I am making progress a “To Do” list.  Lord willing tomorrow I will dig into number four.  Dang this feels good!

God created our world with a masterful order, hierarchy, time table, and purpose all to bring Him glory.  He knows and sees and orchestrates and cares for every minute detail of life as we know it.  We get to see His handiwork:  look closely and you will find it as nature wakes up again this Spring.  We get to participate in the majesty of life as His children whom He dearly loves.  While we will never duplicate the perfect order of the stuff and events of our lives, perfection is not our calling (it’s His!).  So the stuff stacked neatly on our microwave instead of the kitchen counter is just alright with me.  Perhaps we would agree that our lives do simply work better when things are cleaner and neater? 

Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.  Isaiah 40:26

Perhaps then I will submit my wittle accomplishments today to the Lord as alms of worship and thanksgiving for the gains He has granted in my health.  I am making progress in a perfect path created by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  And that is all it took to make some sense of my world on a Sunday.

Let’s add a little encouragement, a little promise also from Isaiah 40 for those who are weary this night:

31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isn’t that just wonderful Gentle Reader?  JJ

 

Just doing my job

occupational therapy, O.T., home care, home health, assistant, therapist, accessibility, tub transfer, adaptive equipement, Hope Beyond, therapist heal thyself, tub bench, transfer, gait belt, bathroom treatment, therapy
An O.T. assisting a client in a tub transfer using bathroom safety equipment.

When I was working in my career as an Occupational Therapist, I coined the following phrase to describe my role to my patients and their families:

An Occupational Therapist takes a look at how a person occupies his or her time and the skills needed to get through the day.

This definition worked well, given the diversity of populations, conditions, and treatment interventions utilized in O.T.  Having a simple, quick definition helped me better communicate my 30+ years of licensed and skilled interventions from a variety of treatment settings that might be called upon at any stage over a course of therapy.  Together we then crafted a course of action to get the person back into his or her life as best as possible.  Funny how the person that may have benefitted the most from all of this is the one writing to you this evening . . .

Recovery from a serious illness has been a case of the phrase “therapist heal thyself” coupled with the expertise of a few other licensed professionals.  My part was to study, research, document, evaluate, revise, manage, and just hang in there by my fingernails to get through these past 4 years.  However I will credit the Lord, Jesus Christ for providing the courage and hope that my husband, Steve, and I needed to actually start seeing some progress.  And guess what, it is starting to happen!  The Lord has allowed recovery to begin!

Six weeks ago I began an ongoing, intensive course of IV antibiotics for the treatment of chronic Lyme disease.  In the interim I experimented with liposomal melatonin, 5-HTP (a precursor to serotonin), and now CBD oil (from industrial hemp).  I believe it is that latter that have helped to move my sleep/wake cycle from that of a brown bat to a gal that is just slightly a night owl.  I am starting to dream again and have a little more energy, clarity of thought.  Also the years spent chasing down mercury toxicity, mold illness, dental issues, and secondary infections have prepared me to tolerate this level of intensive treatment.  Are you ready for the biggest change of all?

The two to five hours per day of violent convulsive episodes is diminishing in intensity and duration!  This has been consistent for about two weeks now.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!!!!!!

We are thrilled for some positive change in my condition!  We are now hopeful that the powerful doses of antibiotics will help kill the Lyme bacteria and co-infections likely causing the seizure attacks and other noxious symptoms.  Whoa.  So how do I fill my days?  I am continuing my full time job of daily detoxing, preparing  a specifically crafted diet, maintaining a detailed treatment log, medical appointments averaging daily, supportive relationships, study-and-research, medical treatments (some complications came with the IV treatments), connecting online to forums critical to these efforts, the “stuff of life,” and taking a walk at least once per week.  Maybe this week it will be twice?  Yeah God, the pup will love that one!

Like in the past, right now I am just doing my job.  I am grateful that the Lord saw fit to lead me into the profession of occupational therapy as it provided me the skills needed to manage the mechanics of this illness.  Along the way my beloved Steve has been the greatest friend, confidant, witness, and spiritual leader that I could have ever asked for to walk this road with me.  He has labored tirelessly night and day for me, for us.  Thank you Jesus for Steve.  There are many unknowns and many more months of treatment yet to follow for sure.  No problemmo.  With my Lord and Savior at the helm, I will be fine.  Lord willing, I am going to get well!

Just thought you might like some good news from the “Hope Beyond” blog, eh?  Take care Gentle Reader.  And thank you for your support.  You rock!  JJ

Obedience

Obedience is one of those words like “discipline.”  Not popular either one of them, yet both separate the whining cry babies from the mature adults amongst us.  For believers in Jesus Christ, obedience matures our faith and transforms us into the image of Christ (a work never completed during our lifetimes).  In our humanity our flesh tugs at us to rebel or be tempted in directions other than the leading of the Holy Spirit.  But by focusing on His incredible gift of grace, studying His holy Word, and submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit we will end in a better place for sure.  I have seen it in my own life and in the lives of others.  His will is best.  His timing is best.  Why?  Because He loves us and because He is God!

These thoughts came to me after reading an interview of Ravi Zacharias in the RZIM Summer 2015 newsletter and listening to a message by Pastor Paul Mowery of Harvest Fellowship in Leo, Indiana.  At the close of his message on Romans 11, Pastor Paul encourages us to “be about worship,” praising His great name for having mercy on us as recipients of the Lord’s grace.  We are not to dwell on what each of us may have done that draws attention to ourselves.  We are to be about Him: worshipping our Father God.

Lately I am struggling with these themes.  Many of my posts here have tried to pull something meaningful out of the challenges of a wretched illness.  As the days wear on with the setbacks of late, I have found myself literally screaming out my anger at God with the wails that accompany the convulsive seizures.  “Why do you hate me?”  Oh yeah, it’s bad.  Even my beloved Steve who has been at my side during a fair amount of this hell admits his anger at God.  And we are convinced that this is an o.k. thing to do.  It is not an o.k. place to stay, however.  And it is certainly not an acceptable attitude to act upon.

You simply cannot be angry at someone whom you do not love dearly.  Such is our dilemma.  We both love the Lord, Jesus Christ, and are humbled, grateful for His mercies in each of our lives.  We have so much goodness between us!  We are grateful for so much!  And in our humanity we are broken and don’t like the brokenness.  Way down deep we are hurting and it is this hurt that fuels the anger.  Admitting this will be the way out, the way back to fellowship, the discipline that will bring obedience, the song of worship yet to come . . .

So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
    during the time of testing in the wilderness, (Hebrews 3)

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Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.  (Hebrews 3)

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being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 1)

Today with the faith of a mustard seed (that I understand is rich in nutrients of which I am needing anyways!) I will choose to honor and worship the Lord, my King.  He has built this frame in which I dwell and within it dwells the Holy Spirit.  Broken or not, it is the vessel from which I will praise His name all of my days.  I lay my angst on His mighty throne of grace, with great expectation of His promise to redeem it for His glory.

obedience, endurance, waiting on the Lord, discipline, redemption, redeeming grace, redeem

May He be glorified in all.  My Jesus.  My all in all.  Worthy of our praise.  Worthy is this Lamb of God!  JJ

A Bed, A Barn, and A Barefoot Woman

When selecting a mattress, one must decide some key factors before heading out to the store:

  1. What size do you need:  twin, full, queen, king, or California king?
  2. How much are you willing to spend?
  3. Do you need a box spring or will the mattress still be comfortable alone if it is to be placed upon a platform bed?
  4. Do you want the comfort of memory foam?  Spring coils?  Pillow top?  Or a combination of the these three?
  5. Will having a 2-sided mattress be important to you and the life of your mattress or do you desire maximum comfort in one-sided layers without the option of flipping it periodically?
  6. How thick of a mattress will work in your sleeping area?  Too high of a bed can cause accidents and require a step stool for the vertically challenged among us.
  7. How long is the warranty?
  8. Will you get a better deal all around if you buy locally from a barefoot woman?womans feet

Whaat?  Did I lose you with number 8?  I don’t really see why because after all, that was a HUGE factor in my purchase of a mattress on Friday!  Well, I didn’t think it would be a big factor until a most unusual circumstance arose.  Allow me to elaborate . . .

I asked some friends on Facebook for a suggestion of a place to purchase a relatively inexpensive queen-sized mattress.  Some additional factors due to my allergy sensitivities were:  minimal outgassing odors from synthetic materials, latex-free construction, plus the overall weight must be reasonable.  I had found a manufacturer in a city about 1 1/2 hours away who offered custom mattresses and was prepared to make a road trip to check it out while carting our old queen mattress in the bed of my truck.  Then when an acquaintance suggested a local business owner “at the corner of Hurshtown Rd. and Boger Rd.” who had provided her family with a great product and price point not too long ago, I decided to check it out.

The problem with this scenario unfolded quickly:  the streets intersected somewhere in the middle of no where by two smallish towns and in the heart of Amish country.  The phone number that she gave me didn’t work and she was unavailable on Facebook Messenger to clarify it.  Of course I didn’t have her cell number with me!  If the place was an Amish business then it could be possible that they would not be in the phone book or have a website.  Both proved to be true.  Yet the possibility was still intriguing  to me.  We have had local Amish craftsman build a cabinet for our bathroom, weld a custom seamless curtain rod for inside our bay window in our kitchen, and create two gorgeous custom trellises for our flagstone patio.  The experiences were fun for me to design and the finished products were excellent at fair pricing.  So to embark on an unknown adventure to find the right Amish-quality mattress was very appealing to me.  I decided to go for it!

My GPS located the intersection of the two streets in a remote area as I had suspected:  right in the heart of Amish country along blacktop roads littered with smooshed and sun-dried horse manure.  No signs were in sight to point the way to Ruben’s Mattress Warehouse!  Ahead of me was a horse-drawn buggy carrying two ladies about to exit a homestead onto Boger Road.  I stopped and asked what I thought was a friendly question.  “Hi there!”  I said as the driver looked shocked, all bundled up in black in the front seat of a two-seater, that this gal originally from Chicago would stop to speak to her from her warm and comfortable king cab truck.  “Is there a mattress business around here?”

“I think there’s a guy who sells them across the street,” was her sheepish reply.  Really?  Don’t all Amish folks in this area know each other?  Aren’t they almost all related either directly or indirectly, through inbreeding or something like that?  There must be a family squabble going on so I confirmed where she was pointing to and motioned that she could exit out of her parking lot of a driveway in front of me.  She bowed her head slightly and proceeded out and down the road.  O.k.  Now for the second part of the adventure:  which barn is it? 

I pulled into the homestead across the street, facing Hurshtown Rd.  Having visited many Amish families when providing occupational therapy home care visits, I was a little familiar their culture.  They are a private people so you don’t just go up and knock on the front door of the house or wander around the barns looking for someone official-looking.  I decided to wait in my truck while trying to contact my friend again via my smartphone and hope someone noticed the sound of a truck driving up.  Shortly thereafter, the barefoot woman appeared.

I confirmed that this indeed was the mattress place, that no, I didn’t phone ahead because I had the wrong phone number, and yes, it was o.k. to drive around the first barn to the entrance and come inside to check out their inventory.  Ruben makes the mattress frames for the Wolfe bedding company in Indianapolis, a 2-hour drive south of Fort Wayne near where we live, and sells the completed mattresses locally.  Their customers are generally from the Amish community and a few folks in the area who find them in a regional courier or by word of mouth.  Well cool beans.  The barefoot woman was kind and showed me her wares in her navy pleated dress:  carefully pinned together with straight pins per the dress code of their bishop and accompanied by a pleated white head covering.  Her adorable granddaughters followed us around the barn as I laid on a few samples that fit my criteria.  One was perfect and I wrote her a check for nearly half of what a department store would charge.  Cool beans again!

The women of this community have always struck me as being particularly hardy.  This was proven true once again when the barefoot grandmother and her tiny daughter loaded the 80+ pound queen-sized beast into the bed of my truck with yours truly helping some too.  The gravel parking lot, 60 degree weather, and risk of a mattress crushing her feet if it slipped made no difference in the order of business completed that afternoon.  I tried to be an encouragement to the girls who had shared that their mom was sick, before I knew that she would be summoned to help with the loading, and suggested that they could pray for her mother to be healed.  Earlier I was amazed that there was no synthetic smell whatsoever to the mattress and offered a spontaneous exaltation of praise to the Lord who surely led me to this expertly crafted barn of sleep-heavenly treasures!  “Praise the Lord” I exclaimed.  Truly my Jesus was providing for my every need that afternoon and I remain exceedingly grateful.

The barefoot woman and the girls retreated back into the house surely to attend to other household duties.  I proceeded home with the mattress hanging out the back end of my truck, musing about the wackiness of yet another adventure here in my beloved home state of Indiana . . .

Most folks who live in the outskirts of Fort Wayne would think nothing of the kind of experience that I have described for you here.  But for me it is still a wondrous process of discovery when a simple purchase becomes an adventure into the back roads of the surrounding countryside, a window into the daily lives of another culture, receipt of a quality product made by local craftsmen, and another confirmation that I might have always been meant to drive a white pick up truck!  It’s fun to haul stuff yourself!

I am so glad that my Knight in Shining Aluminum (aka Steve), my intended beloved brought me here to his home State of Indiana from the bulging metropolis of Chicagoland seven years ago.  I am so grateful that my dad bequeathed my brother and I his Nissan Frontier king cab truck so that I might trade in my Hyundai Tucson for one of my own.  And I am so glad for the ability to slow down and smell the scented barely-marked road ways along the way:  something once foreign to me sitting in big city and suburban traffic not long ago.

So the next time you are seeking to purchase a new bed or mattress set, think about the barefoot woman in the barn.  You too might find a steal of a deal in addition to a great night of sleep!  You might also find fodder for the grist mill for having travelled off the beaten path.  I did and I am glad.  :JJ

Amish buggy

Good News!

LeteverythingthathasbreathpraisetheLordPsalm150_6The seizure attacks have diminished from 3-4 per day for up to 4 hours each (and all night long every 10 days) to 1-2 per day.  This is huge!  Praise the Lord everyone out there!  Praise the Lord!