Wednesday, March 31, 2010


As today is the last day of March I wanted to end our discusion about how to be a good wife/husband while in chronic pain with a focus on what LOVE rally is. In our cultue I find that the true love that God craeted is often messed up and confused with things that it definately is NOT. How can we change our view of love into what it really is? The clearest picture of true love that I have ever found is in the Bible in 1 Corinthians. Many of us have heard this passage over and over again at weddings, or preached for Valentine's Day etc. But Have we really taken the time to look at each description of what love is? One very good way to measure how you match up with trye love is by simply taking LOVE (or it's adjective) and replace it with your own name. Every time I do this I feel humbled and I see which areas I need to work on. I truly believe that if we consiously and diligently practice love as describled here in regard to our spouces we will naturally do all the things that I have written about this month in being a good spouce. It all boils down to love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
4Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
5It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.

8Love never fails.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tone of voice

Isn't it crazy how the tone of voice in which almost anything is said can completely change the meaning and interpretation of what it means? For example:
"Ali ANNE" (said with inflection on ANNE and in a stern voice is punishing)
"Ali Anne" (said in a soft and loving voice is endearing)
"I love spinach" (said in a sarcastic tone means that you actually hate spinach - said in an exuberant tone means that you actually DO love spinach!)

Tone on voice is one of the things that we who are in chronic pain can control, and the power of this tool is invaluble for the way we relate to the ones we love. My husband called today, and I have been very sick basically on bedrest all day. I had the choice to either sound sad and dejected or to sound peaceful and joyful amidst the pain that I am enduring. If I chose to sound depressed and angry it would very likely have ruined the rest of my husband's day. He would be worrying about me, probably wondering if I was angry with him, wishing that I could live above the pain ... As it was I chose to be peaceful and joyful when I talked to him. He knows that I am sick, he doesn't need a continual reminder how bad I feel. What he does need is to know that even though I am in pain and sick, I am at peace and I have joy.

It may seem like a small thing, but the effect that our tone of voice has on our spouces is huge. Even on days when I don't feel like being happy - the choice to love my husband enough to choose happiness in my tone of voice is one that I can make with God's grace.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I didn't expect this day to go as it did. Either did my husband. He was working out in the rain and suddenly found himself with a dead truck. I was sitting all cozy on the couch when he called me to come andget him in our car. I don't drive much - but thankfully I was close and I went to see what could be done. Just that simple thing and I could have gotten mad at the truck for breaking , or mad at my husband for driving an ulreliable truck, or mad at God for making it cold and rainy today - in that moment when I heard his voice on the phone I had a choice to make my attitude good or bad. By God's grace I choose to have a good attitude about it ad jumped in the car to go to hi rescue. The smile on his face when he saw me pull in next to the truck was all the reward that I needed. I thought that I would end up going back to sitting on the couch visiting with my sisters and brothers ... but instead I ended up helping my mother-in-law with some work for her small farm (long story but we had to wait at the farm to charge the truck's battery). I didn't want to help out there because it was cold and I know how my body reacts to cold. But since it was just an hour I did what I could and she was very grateful. My husband and I got to drive together from dropping the truck off at the mechanic and had a spontanious little afternoon date while we talked about our day and dreamed about our future. It was a lovely afternoon and so much joy came out of something that could have been so bad.

All of this would have been totally different if I have chosen to react badly to the crisis of a vehicle breaking down and my husband having to stop work in the middle of the day. A split-second choice can affect so much, and our attitude is often the only thing we can control.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Don't Compair

She's exercising again. Seems like every time I talk to this girl she is expercising, OR working super hard at her very important job, OR giving to others - babysitting, helping others who need help. She is just plain amazing!!! I have noticed that as I get to know her more, I feel worse and worse about myself. I feel unattracive and like the little things that I do are nothing. I feel like I don't work out or take care of my body as much as I should. I feel like I am lazy for watching TV as much as I do. I feel bad for sleeping in. I feel like a bad wife since this girl is an amazing wife. I feel like I could never match up. I can't work and provide for the needs we have. I can't do almost anything this woman does. I feel like if I can get clean clothes for my husband and food in his tummy I am doing well. If I take a shower that is a big accomplishment. If I walk outside around the house once I feel like I have exercised. There is no compairison between us.

But who asked me to compair myself with her? She does not have the same life that I have. She doesn't have the body and health that I have. I may be able to take some principles that she uses in her life and adapt them to myself, but to try and be just like her would be ridiculous - and would probably kill me! Why do we (especialy woman) feel that we have to compair ourselves with other women? God made each of us nique, with gifts and talents that we are called upon to offer to the world in serve and witha voice that we can raise in praise to the God who we love. We are made differently and God loves us.

When I told my husband that I felt jealous of this woman he said "I didn't marry her - I married you!"

When I look at her she is everything that I wish that I could be more of in so many ways ... she is so physically and mentally and emotionally strong and useful to the world. But God gave me to this man that I love more than words can say - and he loves me and is still with me even after my crazy emotional silliness and being so inecure. I am loved. I am unique. I was made to worship God. And THAT is what I need to focus on. Not on how many times this woman exercises or does amazing things.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fixing Up Our Home!

We've been married for almost 9 months now, and we are on our second "home". God has blessed us with our little first home which we loved - our little home on the water (the puget sound). When rent became too much and we were offered a house-sitting job which was also by the water (a lovely pond) and a wonderfully beautiful craftsmans home. But neither of these have really felt like our "own" home. Being young and in love we feel that we would find and make a home wherever we end up - but there is something about having a home that can feel like it is your own. Today we began renovations on our little basement appartment at my Grammie's house. My attitude was not good at the beginning of the day (in fact last night after typing my blog I had a mini- meltdown about how tired I was after having to do much more work this week than I am used to doing) - the thought of a day working and not getting a chance to lay down during the day was daunting to say the least. But God helped me get my attitude stright after we were on our way and the day ended much better than it began. The thought of a home that we can paint and call our "own" is just the most wonderful blessing that I can imagine at this point in our young marriage.

I am so thankful!

But I am also ashamed at my attitude over the last night. I truly was typing what I believed that even though I was tired I could find joy. I think that where I went wrong was in not admitting how very hard it is to not have my own privacy and feeling like I can't really rest in our current living situation. From that I see that a very important part of living in chronic pain involves being honest and even just talking with someone close to you about what you feel - not complaining but just in being honest. Life is NOT easy - and even though there is joy amidst the pain, the pain is real and the effects of living with the limits of pain are real. What a balace! But with God's help I will learn that balance!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Taking the Moments with both hands

whew! This week has felt so busy. I think mostly because I have not be having the time to lay on the couch or my cozy floor "nest" and watch TV. I never wated to be one who wated TV all day - but with the body I have sometimes that is the most relaxing and destracting thing that I can do to help myself rest like I am supposed to do. This week since we have been house-sitting I have done a lot of taking care of the house and cooking for my husband and guests. I could spent my time resenting the changes in my life and the instability that make me not have my own space and time as much anymore. Or I could enjoy the gifts that God has given to me with the use of the lovely home and such generous home-owners who allow my husband and I to help take care of their home. My husband loves it when I am happy - and I know it makes him so sad when I feel like I don't have a home of my own. So, for this time of not having a home of my own, I am working hard on not complaining to him or anyone about how hard it is to not have my own space. Rather, I am working on enjoying and taking small moments with both hands.

One such moment was today at lunch. I was busy trying to clean before the home-owner got home this evening, but my husband was home for lunch in between jobs. So rather than saying that I was too busy and super tired I made a point of having a bowl or left-over soup with him and making him eel loved and special and that I had time for him. It only took about 45 minutes in total - from getting the soup ready to sending him back out the door to his next job with a kiss.

Take the moments God gives you and rather than letting them slip by grab onto them with both hands to show the ones you love how much you love them. Don't waste one moment!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

To the Dump!

Today I was so excited all day waiting to go to the dump! I waited and waited all day for it to happen, and I was preparing for dinner and everything so that I could enjoy the time goig to the dump. Sound strong? Well, the dump is a 30 minute drive from our house and my husband was going to use the old red Ford Farm truck (which we drove away from on our wedding) to take the dump and I was going to go with him. This means that I would sit as close as humanly possible to him (which I love) and we could talk and just be together.

When you think of the dump it is a place full of garbage and it stinks so bad -- but even the thought of going someplace like that is wonderful when you have someone who loves you to go with. Any time spent with the one you love can become a date if you let it! This reminds me of the purpose in doing this blog - to find the joy in life even in the midst of pain. Even the yucky parts of life that feel like garbage can be redeemed and beautiful with Love involved. God gives enough Love to transform pain into joy - just like my husband's love transforms the dump into a wonderful date! To be honest, I didn't notice the garbage at the dump at all. My husband and I shared a symphony chocolate bar together and listened to his MP3 player (one earphone in each of our ears). What a joy!!! All that it was to me was a time to be with my Sweetheart talking, and enjoying each other.

Enjoy this day weather full of garbage or not by looking past it into the eyes of the One who loves you!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


As I sat in the doctor's office I kept mentally pinching myself to make sure that I was actually awake. He was giving us answers and he was listening and genuinely concerned and had a desire to actually help up. Sadly this is very rare in my experience of the health care world. I don't know if it is just because the doctors are over-busy and have so much and so many patients on their plate .. but to find a doctor who wants to dig deeper into a compliated case like mine is very unusual. This particular doctor is a cardiolgist. We went because of the chest pain and weakness I have been having for 5 years - which has been undiagnosed and misdiagnosed for years now. But this way the day we had been waiting for. A diagnosis. Paricarditis or swelling in the sac around my heart which has now become chronic. There is something causing this - any range of auto-immune diseases (which we have suspected for years as well). But at least I know that when my chest hurts it is because of the swelling around my heart - and when I am so tired it is partly at least because of the strain on my heart. And I am so relieved. Just to know is half of the battle - or maybe even 80% of the battle.

The best part of this story: the hand that held mine as we walked into this doctor's office, the eyes that met mine with that understanding excitment at the news of a diffinitive diagnosis finally, the arm around my shoulders as we walked out ready to face the next round of testing and new doctors ... my husband was with me every step of the way. For all of the spouses who feel that they are always there for the wife or husband who is sick ... thank you! You may not know how much your presence means to us - but it means more than words can say. You give us strength to face another day, another doctor.

We are grateful.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


just had to say thanks to Mo and Lucy and all of my dear "followers" who encourage me so often with comments on my posts ... it means the world to me to have others walking this same journey and to share life with. together we are much stronger than alone! love you!

Apple Blossoms

Today I stood under an apple tree and prayed that I would be a better wife. The blossoms were magically beautiful - full of life and fragrance - and the chilly spring air was tickling my nose as I breathed in the blessings of spring. God made each apple blossom so gloriously intricate and delicate. I could gave up through the branches and see the pure blue sky above. God is BIG - and yet His creation shows the intricate attention to detail and beauty that He has. He cares about beauty, and about our enjoyment of the earth all around us. He made so many things that point to His love for us and His desire that we see Him through what He has made. All of this makes me want to be the best at what He has asked me to do - and at this point in my life the title of wife is the biggest job before me. It would be easy to come up with excuses every day of how I can't clean or cook for my husband, or how I am too tired and weak to take a walk or sing with him while he plays guitar ... BUT then I would be missing out on so much of this adventure of being his wife! And I would be missing out on the treasure of blessing this man that I love more than life itself.

Let me be like the apple blossom: although fragile and weak in many ways it points to the glory of God it's Creator - and brings joy to all those who take the time to look ...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

30 years

Today my husband and I threw a surprise 30ith wedding anniversary party for my new in-laws. A few months ago my new mother-in-law mentioned that she would like a party this year - so I knew that this was something we needed to do. But with my health it was a daunting task. I think one of the most important lessons I learned from this experience was to delegate. I asked ladies from the church to bring finger food - so that the only thing I would need to bake or cook was the cake (and I got help with that too!), my husband helped me do all the shopping we used disposable dishes and live primroses as centerpieces ... everything went off perfectly and I didn't kill myself doing it! Just because I am in pain all the time and have the energy of a snail doesn't mean that I can't do special things for the loved ones in my life.

Watching my new father-in-law singing the song he sang to his young bride 30 years ago brought tears to my eyes. They have had challenges and trials over the years but they are still together. It made me think of where my Husband and I will be in 30 years. If God sees to give us life that long I see us very much in love as we are today but deeper. The reason that I see this and that I feel I can be secure in this is because of the glue that holds us together - God. I don't think we could endure the stresses and pain of life without God at the center of our marriage. I know that my new in-laws would say the same.

Oh may God give us the grace to keep our eyes on Him and to hold on tight when the road gets slippery.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Love

Today is my husband's birthday - and I am so happy that he was born. He is there for me in everything, and puts up with so much with my health and everything that entails. I don't have much else to say as I am just so tired from a very demanding weekend - but I am so thankful in this moment for a man who sticks with me and who I know that I will be proud to stand beside for the rest of my life.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Allowing Him to enjoy

Today was such a beautiful day - an early spring day full of fresh air, flowers, and singing birds. But my body was giving an all out attack on me. I spent most of the day laying in my cozy blanket and pillow "nest" on the floor (somehow the firmness of the floor helps me deal with pain). My husband spend the day outside and when he came home from work he was raving about the weather and the way the grass was blowing in the wind - the feel of spring all around. He was practically beaming. And it made me happy. I want him to enjoy life to the full - and I know that there are things and ways of enjoying that he will have that I may never know ... and that is ok. When we are the chronically in pain spouse begin resenting the spouse who is "free of pain" (although no one really is), it puts deep strain on the relationship. I find that my joy is doubled when I see his joy in the beauty of the creation and the life that God has given to him.

His enjoyment brings the things that I am not allowed close to me ... and I can almost feel the sweet grass on my feet and the spring breeze in my hair just by seeing his smile.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Sweet Hero

My husband is a hero.

The spouses of those in chronic pain often are from what I have seen. I am sure there are plenty who aren't or who have abandoned ship by now - but I for one am extremely thankful for the ones (and in particular the One) who have stayed. The staying in itself may be seen by some as heroic - when faced with doctor visit after doctor visit, disappointment after disappointment, hospitalization after hospitalization ... so many things that no one would call enjoyable. My husband finds moments of joy in everything. We have been laughing all day long at the comical name of my new gastroenterologist doctor who we met this morning. A simple thing, but which makes moments sitting in waiting rooms more fun. He brings companionship to the most boring and painful times of my life. But this alone doesn't make him a hero.

Tonight, after a long day I was already in bed, I told him that I had forgotten to write in this blog and how I felt like I had let myself down for not doing what I set out to do with writing every day this year. I said., "it's ok that I don't write today .. right?" "NO, you need to write" was his answer! Some might think that is horribly mean of him to say to his wfe who was already laying down in bed. But I saw right through that. He knows that I need the feeling of belonging of being needed, of making a difference ... and silly as it may seem, this blog is one thing that does that for me. He knows that I am well enough to type tonight and that doing so will help me get up tomorrow with my head held high feeling like I have purpose in life (I know all of this sounds lofty for this simple blog ... but it's true). He is my hero because he believes in me and pushes me when I can't do it myself.

So, to my sweet Husband, and all the spouses of the chronically in pain out there .. thank you for being the hero you are.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just ask

Today it was windy -The kind of wind that makes you wonder if you'll have power to watch American Idol in the evening. The kind of wind that makes you wonder if the house will be ok situated in the woods as it is ...the kind of wind that makes you know there is a BIG God out there.

My husband works outside. In the wind. In the rain often, or the snow, or the heat. He is out in it day after day. Then he comes home to me. And I am ashamed of the times when I don't welcome him right away by asking him how his day went. He pretty much knows how my day went. He knows that I have been laying around watching TV, doing stuff on the Internet, cleaning the house or cooking ... he knows that I spent my day alone - but he still asks how my day went. Like I have said before, chronic pain comes with the danger of selfishness. I (and all of us) need to fight against that day after day. Those of us who are married can fight it in simple ways, and one of those is just in asking him how his day went. Not rushing forward to complain about the day we had in pain, but to really care enough to ask him how his day went - what happened at work? What things is he proud of that he did that day? What things did he see? How did God work in and around him in his day? Just ask.

It may seem like something small. But it opens the door to show the man that I love, who has promised to stay with me in sickness and in health - that I care about him first and that I care about his day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Sweetest Man

I just watched the movie "2012", scene after scene of the earth crumbling into the depths, and wave after wave of destruction sweeping everything and taking all that was standing to ruin. This is how it feels to be in the hospital for any length of time. I have been out for about 5 days now, and I am getting back up out of bed enough to look at the damage around me. The bills have piled up, cleaning is waiting for me, little things that I said I would get done are now demanding that I do them NOW ... laundry ... dishes -- these things just don't wait for me while I am gone or too unwell to do them. My life feels like ruins right now.

And my gut tells me to just lay back down and let it all pile up more - what's the point when I will just be sick again tomorrow?

And I would listen to my gut ... I would listen, if it weren't for one little thing: in the midst of the earthquake, the tidal wave ... peeking up above the rubble of my life I see the form of the sweetest man on earth - my Husband. And because of him, I must go on. I refuse to give up and quit. I will fight to get back on top of life - of this ride that keeps going and never gives me a break. He gives me more than enough reason to live.

So, I pick myself up - I struggle to swim through the debris, and make it through another day ...

Maybe tomorrow the storm will stop ...

Saturday, March 13, 2010


My husband is an incredibly patient man. He would have to be to put up with the incredible mess that we call a bedroom lately! Between moving, and being in a house-sitting situation, and me being in the hospital our room has become quite a pile of tossed clothes and papers. I knew that it was only a matter of time before my propensity to clean would take over and get the job done. Today was the day.

He was out and so it was the perfect setting for me to do some quick folding and hanging and tossing in the trash. Now, I didn't get half of what should have been done, done. If I had waited for my health to permit me to do the job the way it should be done, it quite possibly never would get done. This is one thing that I have learned. I need to allow myself the freedom to do as job as good as my body will allow without beating myself up for not doing a job as good as it could be done. My sweet husband is not as obsessive compulsive as I am, and he is overjoyed with a semi-clean room. I need to let go and allow myself to be happy with this too. I need to love him by doing what I can around the house and being happy with it, even if it isn't everything that could be done.

Seeing his face when he looked at our tidy room and cleaned bathroom was all I needed to show me that it doesn't matter that the bathtub wasn't scrubbed, or that my socks were not lined up in the drawers, or that there is a hamper full of clean clothes that need to be hung ... the room looks nice and he is happy. And so am I.

Friday, March 12, 2010


My husband laughed like a little boy as he played with the soft pizza dough that I had made - he said he had never made pizza like this before - and he was so so excited! I was nauseated and dizzy with pain. But I did my best to pop in and out of the kitchen to do a bit here and there with the pizza making. No, it wasn't the way I wanted it to be. It wasn't the kind of fun pizza making that I wanted to have as the first time we made pizza together. To be hnest, it wasn't enjoyable for me. I felt miserable. I wanted to die from the pain and nausea that I was feeling. But I knew that he would like making pizza and I knew that he would like eating pizza! So I did it for him. If I had been thinking of myself, I would have told him to make mac and cheese from the box for himself while I laid on the couch. But I wanted to do something for him to make his Friday night fun.

And it worked. And even though I felt horrible and didn't actually enjoy the making of the pizza - hearing his excitment actually made a fun memory for me too. It wasn't what I intended. But it made him smile - and in so doing made myself smile too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

His Prayers

My husband just got home from work. I was laying on my favorite place of the floor in a nest of pillows and blankets watching TV. He came in and asked how I was feeling and I told him that I was feeling the same: pain and nausea. He told me that he was so sad because he had been praying fervently all day long for God to make me well.

He prayed ALL DAY LONG. For me.

How am I supposed to respond to that? I love this man more than I knew it was possible to love a human being, and he loves me and he wants me to be well. He pleads with the Creator of the Universe ALL DAY LONG for me to be healed from the pain and illness that plague my body. But I am still sick. I desire more than many thing to be able to just lie about how I feel and to make him happy. But in the long run that wouldn't work. He would know the truth. How can I be a good wife to this man who grieves over my sickness and pain?

By facing even this un-ending pain and illness with JOY. I see my husband's face relax when he sees me smile or laugh even through the pain. I see his eyes sparkle when I tell him that it will be ok, that I am still happy.

My joy and faith in God is the best way to love this dearest of men. And NOTHING can take that away from me!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


My first day home from the hospital - and it's been rough to say the least. I feel so overwhelmed with all the work that needs to be done around the house (we are house-sitting so the house has to be nice and clean when the owner comes home Friday). I am unable to do anything at this point.

I have felt a little stressed out - and have told that to my husband. I think that being honest with him about what I am or am not able to do or even think about (everything is just so overwhelming to me after getting out of the hospital) is probably better than hiding how I am feeling about everything. I know that I need to not over-burden him, but being honest is a way of helping him know what I am able to take on or not. It's crummy feeling like I am unable to do anything, but at least he knows and he understands and is ok with the house being a mess and he steps up and does things that I usually do around the house.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


The first night after being admitted I woke up in a drugged haze and asked where my husband was ... my nurse said (in a very angry voice) "He probably needed a BREAK' ... and then as she walked out she said    "You are going to wear him out".  Aside from the fact that this nurse was totally rude and out of line in judging our marriage - this is another area that I can be loving to my husband even while in the hospital.  I wasn't born yesterday, believe me I know that sickness is exhausting for those who love me.  It breaks my heart to see the grief on my sweet husband's face.  I also KNOW that my husband loves me and he wants to be able to take care of me and be with me. However, I asked him to go home every night because I know that is one way that I can show my love to him by helping him get a good sleep.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

in the hosp.

I have not been on the blog lately - I am in the hospital after a CT scan showed swelling around my liver and so i have been here for the past 2 full days. The doctor is trying to piece together all the random issues that I am having ...

As far as being a good wife while in pain - I have been really trying to focus on my sweet husband while being in the hospital. sometimes it takes asking him to go home to sleep or asking him to go make sure that he eats .. he would like to just sit with me and hold my hand all the times, but my loving him is sometimes shown by being ok enough for him to feel the freedom to take care of himself even while he is taking care of me.

I hope this made sense - I am on a LOT of pain medication. Even in this I have joy and I have joy in the strength God is giving me to do my best to be a good wife even while in the hospital!

Monday, March 1, 2010


I was unable to blog yesterday as I am dealing with being quite sick with something like a kidney stone or infection ... I had wanted to not skip any days but have realized that is impossible for me.

BUT - now we are into a brand new month! I want to focus on a specific aspect or area of living in chronic pain each month - last month the focus was on grief. This month I want the focus to be on how to be a good spouse while in pain and ill. As a young wife (we've been married almost 8 months!) I am well aware of the fact that my health and pain affects my sweet husband. I am also aware that I desire to glorify God in my marriage and be unselfish as I deal with pain. I want to focus on all of these aspects this month.

Tonight I decided that a pizza for my husband was a good idea. It would be easy to feel bad because of the fact that I cannot always cook a good from-scratch meal for my hard working man when he comes home from work. He is totally happy with his pizza, and I need to just allow myself the ease of a ready-made dinner and not beat myself up about that. I can show him love by doing what I can to provide yummy food for him even when I am sicker than a dog ... just one way that I can love on him while in pain.