Thursday, March 29, 2012


I'm hungry.  Two days into my new eating program (after my allergies were tested and my Dr. put me on a restrictive diet because the way my body processes certain foods) and I'm starving.  The diet really isn't that horrible but the fact that our house wasn't set up with the foods I can eat made it tricky.  I have the sweetest Husband in the world who stopped on his way home from school to get some rice, sunflower and soy milks and a variety of nuts and veggies so tomorrow when I have more time to organize myself I will hopefully make some fun things to eat that will actually fill me up.   I did however make some quite yummy pancakes without gluten, dairy or egg whites so that was my accomplishment of the day.  But I was still hungry all day.

The physical hunger has been a perfect picture of how I have been feeling in the depths of my being every moment for the past several months.  I am so hungry for any piece of wisdom and information about adoption.  I feel like I just can't get enough from books, and other's stories, and adoption agencies, adoption blogs .. I want more and more and more.   Thank God He led us to others who have gone before in this adoption journey and the wisdom these generous friends have been so gracious to share with us has been a life line.  (so THANK YOU - you know who you are).   I know that we are still at least a good year away from applying to adopt (I think they generally want you be in a home rather than a basement and with a "real" job)- and after that it can be quite a wait too; but I am just so thankful to have this time to prepare and learn all I can.  I don't want to waste the gift (I don't always feel like it is a gift but am trying to look at it that way) of this season of our lives.  After all, God doesn't waste anything  and we're supposed to be aiming to follow in our Father's footsteps right? 

So, tomorrow I'll try and find some new recipes and learn to fill my tummy with good food that will help my body be as healthy as possible.  And I'll keep reading, and making copies, and contacting people and learning all I can to help us find our Someday Babies.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm goin' hippie people!

Those who have known me my whole life know that my health nut phases were just that: PHASES.  Encouraged by some Naturopath, or my Mama, or a book I would dive in with both feet trying to take my health into my hands by eating healthy, taking supplements etc.  I never really saw a huge benefit - except for feeling better avoiding the inflammatory food groups, and eating more natural foods. 

In the beginning of the year I had some genetic testing done - and it came back positive for a mutation that affects how my body detoxes, and creates healthy new cells, and activates vitamins which in turn affect all kinds of things.  Today we met with my doctor and went over test results of my food allergies among other things, and it just became so clear how everything in my body is related: genetics play a role, and food sensitivities, and toxins, and auto-immune, and infections ... the human body is more complicated than a simple test and a pill you take to make you feel better.  Everything is connected and it's crazy to see the cause and effect of things that I have experienced for years.  Knowing now what my body needs to function with this genetic mutation and my body's tendency to have a high level of inflammation feels like power to me.  I can't fix some of the things going on with my body - but I can do a lot of things that will help my body function even better now that I know what my body needs on a cellular level. 

I feel encouraged.  Even though I can't have dairy or yeast or bananas or peanuts or shellfish or... (thankfully I can still have corn, soy, rice etc.)  I feel like knowledge about how the body works can help me manage everything better.  No one can cause their own body to never get sick or 100% protect against various diseases, but I am excited that I can help my body by eating what I should and avoiding what will cause inflammation etc. to be worse.  It's also reminded me to get back to the basics and eat more home grown (good thing we planted a garden this week!), local, unprocessed things.  This isn't a magic cure - but it is better management of my own body and better stewardship of what God has given to me. 

What excites me most is that I have the goal of becoming even more healthy for our Someday Babies, and for them I would gladly give up ice cream.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Last Super

I'm feeling like today is the last day I can eat, but I am spending so much time trying to decide what to eat that I totally forgot about lunch!

 Let me explain: tomorrow I get test results from a food allergy test.  When I was little I had asthma pretty bad, and my Mama took me to a naturopath who did an allergy test.  The results: I was allergic to potatoes and eggs.  For dinner that night we were supposed to have potatoes and scrambled eggs.  As a child my all time favorite food was potatoes, so you can imagine how traumatizing it was for me to not be able to eat them now!  Actually, I was incredibly disciplined (now where did that discipline go when I need it?) and since avoiding potatoes and eggs did miraculous things for my asthma I keep with it.  When I was in my early 20s I took another test and found out that my allergies had changed (this happens as our bodies change and forget what they were fighting against in specific foods sometimes). 

Various doctors over the years have tried a wide range of diets for me - from gluten free, to vegan.  The one I have noticed has made the greatest difference has been the anti-inflammation diet in which you avoid foods that tend to cause inflammation in the body (nightshade veggies, some citrus, pork etc.) this food-elimination has helped my joint pain so much that I never feel like going back (other than the occasional potato chip or fry).  I love having some control over how I feel! 

Well, back to the allergy test.  Because of a genetic mutation that was found in my blood earlier this year - my dr. wants to redo the allergy test (because with this mutation have more food sensitivities), and so tomorrow I find out what I should avoid.  I know that there are people who don't put much stock in food allergies (except maybe the REALLY bad ones) - but I know from experience that what we put into our bodies does affect how we feel, and I want to do all I can to be as healthy as I can!  

For the past month as I have waited for the test results I have felt like I should eat whatever I can now because I just KNOW that I will be allergic to corn, or wheat or heaven forbid: dairy!   So, now I am stuck with the very hard decision of what to make for dinner tonight!  Pizza?  Tacos? 

 Oh the choices!   ... well, time for a late lunch.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

News Flash: change is coming!

Hi reading friends!

I know I haven't been blogging as faithfully lately, but I've been thinking and praying a lot about the blog and life and what God has for me at this stage in my life.  I began the blog in my first year of marriage, when I was being challenged (to put it lightly!) by significant health issues while learning to be a wife.  I was honestly afraid that I wouldn't live every day to it's full potential, or that I wouldn't be a good wife because of the physical pain I was dealing with every day.  Over the past 2 years God has really been growing me and teaching me (a process that has been simultaneously difficult and wonderful) and He has brought me to a place of acceptance and peace (at least most of the time!).  Over the 2 years that I have been blogging here, I have also had some key answers to some of the mystery of what was making me sick and in pain - and although I am not 100% cured (and may never be this side of heaven), I have been able to learn things to help me function MUCH better and avoid some of the really hard days.  Honestly, it's been a combination of proper diagnosis and diet, medications that keep symptoms under control, as well as a lot of prayer and learning how to LIVE well with the limitations and pain.  I know I will continue to learn and grow and by God's beautiful grace live every day well until the day I see Him face to face in heaven.

So, this brings me to the point of this post:  I think the blog is going to change somewhat.  I feel like I have said many of the things I wanted to say in starting this blog.  I wanted to encourage others facing chronic health challenges, as well as to educate those who are walking beside someone in the path of pain.  I know that at times there will be something I need to write about related to living with health challenges or other areas of suffering (like I have said over and over EVERYONE has or will have some type of pain in their life - physical or otherwise), but I am not sure that this will be the main (or only) purpose in my writing anymore.  As those who have been reading know, the heartbeat of my life these days is our "Someday Babies" - the children that by God's mercy we will adopt.  With about 14 months til my sweet Farmer Boy graduates, we are counting down the days til we can apply for adoption.   We don't know where or how or what the situation will look like, but with every spare moment I have I am researching, and preparing papers, and reading adoption blogs ...  so I just feel like it only makes sense for my blog here to begin shifting a little bit too.  I love to write, and writing here has really been a catalyst to my ability to gain some balance and "normalcy" in my life with chronic pain and being a new wife.  I know that blogging about this next chapter in our lives will also help me process and grow as God prepares me to be a mama.  A MAMA!  :)  I don't think the blog will change all that much - but maybe just expand a little - or a lot.   It's exciting for me to think that I began the blog because I was afraid or becoming a victim of my pain, and I was feeling like the walls were closing in on me .. and now the blog needs to change because my life and experiences are getting too big!!!

Well, that's it.  A New direction!  You are so welcome to continue walking with me through this journey as I seek to bring glory to my Wonderful Jesus through the ups and downs along the way. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Count your blessings!

How about some GOOD NEWS?

Today I went to one of my assorted doctors and was given the great joy of never having to come back!  Since over a year I had been having bouts of horrible abdominal pain - last summer it was diagnosed as bile duct problems - I had surgery in August to fix the problem and ended up with pancreatitis (which by the way isn't much fun at all except maybe seeing your tummy expand to look about 6 months pregnant).  After I recovered from that (which is actually a pretty common side effect of having the surgery to fix the bile duct) I still had some bouts of the same type of pain.  After talking with the doctor I found out that one of my medications could be making the pain worse - maybe even aggravating my pancreas more.  So I went through the process of going off this medication (which actually went much smoother than I thought).  Imagine my complete joy when I realized a few weeks after going off the medication that I was feeling MUCH better!  I didn't have to worry about what I ate or if it would make me have that horrible pain again, and as long as I eat healthy I don't have to worry about it acting up again!  Today the doctor told me that he is glad it has resolved and I don't have to come back and see him ever again unless something comes up in the future - which he doesn't think will happen and either do I!

I wanted to share this because I know that many of you are going through painful times physically or emotionally ... and I think it is so important to share the times of blessing and not only the lessons we learn through the times of pain.  I know that there may be hard days - everyone has them at some point.  I will likely always deal with some health challenges and some pain - but I am just glad that this is one issue that is gone - and one business card that I can take out of my wallet!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I NEED THEE EVERY HOUR by Fernando Ortega

Something beautiful has been happening the past two weeks.  My heart has been clinging to God in a way that is only born of pain.  I think this is one of the reasons God allows suffering in our lives - He knows that without pain we can become self-reliant and forget that we NEED HIM every hour.  I don't like pain and suffering - but if I am open to my Lord I can see the deep blessings that come from depending on Him and not on myself.

*NOTE: sorry I haven't written much lately - my computer is in a slow process of dying and I sometimes don't have the patience to put up with how long it takes to do something on the computer - or it freezes just as I am getting inspired to write .... 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Broken Dreams

On New Year's Eve last year I wrote of some of the deep blessings 2011 brought our way - although it was a hard year in many ways I was rejoicing in the beauty God was bringing through the struggles we had been facing.  Check out #4 on our blessings list:

"#4 Clarity in our future dreams. 2 New Year's Eve's ago my sweet husband hugged me and as I cried and told him that I didn't know how to dream anymore, he told me that he would help me dream again. It's taken time, but I am beginning to REALLY dream. That dream includes our plans after his graduations to move to Africa where he will teach and I will hold babies in a high risk orphanage. This dream is most precious to me because we have been in contact with this orphanage for awhile now and are planning to begin the adoption process 3 months after we move there. There are a LOT of variables with this dream - but we are excited about the possibility! We know that God can change the way this dream looks over the next 18 months, but we are taking the first steps and holding onto His mighty hand for guidance every step of the way."

8 days ago I stood in shocked silence as this precious dream disintegrated in a matter of seconds.   For months now we have thrown ourselves into this dream - my husband was preparing to apply for a teaching job in this country, we were in touch with our orphanage contact and researching and even planning details like shots and visas and housing and what month we would leave.   I don't know if I have the words to express what it felt like for me to REALLY dream after so many dreamless years.  I found myself trying to guard my sweet Farmer Boy's heart by reminding him that something could get in the way of this becoming a reality - but my heart began to total believe that our babies were going to come from this orphanage.  About 10 days ago I dreamed that I was holding a baby girl in the orphanage and she looked up at me and said: "You're my mama".  I didn't want to wake up.  All of this is to say that I was entirely invested in this dream.

We had been told the first week of January that adoptions were shut down where we were planning on living and adopting (a problem that is happening all over Africa), we thought that they would open back up by the time we would be heading over there.  But our contact from the orphanage only had to say one sentence to express to us that it wasn't going to open back up for us to adopt from this country.  Yes, this is heart-breaking for us.   But what is most sad is that the reason adoptions have shut down is because of child trafficking.  As a country that has the highest percentage of orphans of any country in the world it is tragic that because of evil people these children will be unable to be placed with adoptive parents now.  But even in this we have seen how the Church is gathering around these children in love and we know that God can do amazing things even when it seems like an impossible situation. 

What was surprising to me about this was that the comment I heard more than any other was that there would be another opportunity to adopt for us.  I guess I was surprised because that really was the last thing I wanted to hear.  It made me think about how when you loose a dream it isn't wrong to grieve that loss.  I remember when my friend had a miscarriage and she said how everyone kept telling her she could get pregnant again and have other babies - but what she wanted was someone just to cry with her and grieve the baby she lost.   That's how I'm feeling.  Not that I have been through a miscarriage or know that feeling of a baby dying.  Since I will never have a baby growing inside me, I guess this type of situation where we loose the dream of a baby we thought God was leading us to is as close as we'll get.   I know full well that God directs and that He will use even this to lead us and He may very well have children that He will put into our lives someday.  But that thought doesn't actually make this loss any less.   I have been praying for our Someday Babies for over 7 years now - and it was such a comfort for me to know that we were making plans to go and get them.  It was a comfort for me to know where (what culture and where on the map - what orphanage etc.) our babies were going to be born (or already were born).   I think it is very natural for us to try and help by comforting and giving hope to those who are going through some kind of loss.  But the most helpful thing sometimes is a shoulder to cry on.

I don't know what will happen - I don't know how to pick up the pieces of this precious dream and start a new and different one, but I know that God is the Redeemer and I trust that even though I can't imagine anything different for us - He can.