Sunday, June 30, 2013

You make all things work together for my good

You make ALL things work together for our GOOD. You stay the same through the ages. Your love NEVER changes. There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Casey Turns 2!

Look at this child. We just adore him. Oh, he's a handful but he keeps our lives exciting. I won't use the typical phrases like, "Wow, time flies!" Or "Where has the time gone?!" We know time is a strange thing. Sometimes it drags and sometimes it flies. I think the best way to describe the joy of having Casey is by saying thy we can't hardly remember life before or without him (or what we did with all our extra time. Ha!) 

He says the funniest things - I just need to take a moment to document them!
*car is "Kai"
*duck is "dutch"
*crayons and markers are "peeens"
*hummus (one of our favorite foods) is "hummi"
*yogurt is "yoie"
*banana is still "abba"
*he calls his Thomas the Train "Tommy" (I love it so much!)

We're in the early, early stages of potty training. He's so curious so we're just goin' with it. He sits on his potty whenever I go. He's also pretty good at telling me after he goes poo poo, but not before yet. ;-)

We're exhausted most of the time, but really doing our best to soak in all the sweetness and adventure that this kid brings to our lives!

Happy Birthday little bubbie!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I give you my bitter cup...

Sometimes I'm tempted to write out all the nasty, heartless and horrible things I've been told by doctors. But I choose not to. I'm fully aware there are good doctors and bad doctors. Debates are nothing new. Yet it still floors me, the audacity some doctors have. I try to wrap my mind around it, but Aaron (my rock) reminds me that it doesn't work; and more importantly, it doesn't help.

I was forced to see a new cardiologist because my awesome marathon running doctor left for the big island. So sad! Let's just suffice to say that this new doctor has decided to ignore my labs and my symptoms and trust a former college professor who told him that 30 days of antibiotics cures Lyme. And if it doesn't, then it's not Lyme. I should have put that in quotes, but I'm too lazy to fix it.

So then I asked him about my friend who ended up sick for the better part of 15 years, on her death bed for two months at the Mayo Clinic. They tested her for everything. Finally they said she had ALS and sent her home to die. But she wasn't willing. Somehow, she got tested for Lyme. Positive. CDC positive. Clinically positive. Now after 4 years on IV antibiotics (all of which are paid for by tax dollars via Medicaid), she's about 70 percent better. I added that part about medicaid because we seriously need to care about how messed up this thing really is. This ridiculous Lyme debate. It's the fattest elephant in the damn room. She can walk and speak again. She says that's a miracle for her. I think so too. My doctor ended our appointment without responding to me.

So what's up with all the Lyme Disease controversy anyway? I don't have all the answers. I think I just resolve to say that I believe in Jesus. You may not. I have Lyme Disease which will require up to one year of antibiotics (i'm considered lucky to have been diagnosed so quickly. Two and a half years in Lyme speak is QUICKLY. I know - awful.) You may disagree. Ok, fine. Just please don't use your words to try and ruin the little dignity I have left from being emotionally beat up by some doctors for the past nearly three years. Please. Put the gloves down. I want out of the ring with you. I'm getting into the ring with a spirochete bacteria called Borellia Burgdorferi.   

P.S. I'm gonna WIN.

I didn't journal yesterday. I was too angry. Pissed is a better word. And you know what's so awful? I was pissed at God. I actually said, out loud, "God, you're just a great big, all-knowing jerk!"

You know what? God's been reminding me all day how much he still loves me. GASP. I believe it. So I literally have to pour out my cup of bitterness at the cross of Jesus. I speak the words. I release.

I don't believe in luck. I do believe in hope. I also believe you have to run into concrete walls before finding an open door. I know which ones are closed and I know which ones are open. I'm walking through the open doors.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness month. It's also the month I begin the last year of my 20's. It's only getting better from here!

If you'd like to honor this month by becoming a bit more informed about Lyme Disease and the surrounding debate in the medical community, you can watch a documentary for free on Hulu called "Under Our Skin."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I've made a clear decision. Healing for me is not based on what tomorrow will be like. Nor is it based on how I was yesterday. It's about today and now. Today I feel amazing! My body feels a bazillion times more "healed" than yesterday or the day before. But I don't want to compare it. I just want to celebrate TODAY, because today is a gift.

I'm at a crossroads. I'm in the middle of this journey which is quite arguably the HARDEST part. My dear friend Anne reminded me that the Israelites were at this very spot in the Jordan River (are you as thankful as I am for friends who are inspired to say the right thing at the right time?!) The Israelites started to collect stones when they reached the middle of the river. At this point in their grueling journey, they wondered how they could ever cross and make it to the promised land God had commanded to them.

Joshua gathered a representative from each of the twelve tribes to collect twelve stones (one each.) God made a way for His people to cross raging waters. He opened it up for them to walk on dry ground. And then after they crossed, He set it flowing again. They could look back both literally and figuratively on what God had done! He made the impossible possible.

Joshua 4:21-24

Then Joshua said to the Israelites, "In the future your children will ask, 'What do these stones mean?' Then you can tell them, 'This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.' For the LORD your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and He kept it dry until you were all across, just as He did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the LORDS hand is powerful, and so you might fear the LORD your God forever."

God makes a way. I'm asking Him to show me my stones because I want to collect them to have the most honoring and worthy sacrifice ready to give Him for His incredible goodness and faithfulness. What a story I will have to share when my children and my children's children ask what these "stones" mean!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Im living. I'm still having my fair share of "am I really living this Lyme disease nightmare?" moments. But I'm also choosing to live. Sometimes it's a success and sometimes it's a failure and I have a breakdown.

I've been meditating on the song "Rewrite This Tragedy" by Sara Groves. I can't find a video link for it, but its worth a listen.

I'm continuing to lose about 2 lbs a week which I'm very frustrated about. It's not healthy weight loss. Meal planning stresses me out because I'm limited on what I can eat. I'm just doing what I can and trying so hard to stay positive! I'm showing improvement on my anti malarial med that's treating my babesia. My balance has significantly improved just after 4 weeks on that. I hate taking drugs but its working. I'm sticking with it. By month six (I'm just past the two month treatment mark) I'll be off ALL antibiotics and on a strict herbal and supplement protocol. I'm already excited for that 6 month mark!!

Parenting is really wonderful AND really hard. It's extra hard with a chronic illness.. But as my friend reminds me (young mother of 2) who is fighting a brain tumor: "I have not lost my praaaaaise!!" I seriously had to make a Brooklyn tabernacle choir pandora station. Sometimes you just need the gospel music. It takes me to a place of praise.

Casey is turning into such a little boy (no longer baby!!) He's saying a lot of words...beesh (beach), doggie, up, MOM!!!, night-night, and counts 1,2,3. He can make so many animal sounds and loves to read. He loves this book we read in Hawaiian. Cracks me up. Our little island boy. :-) And in case you wondered, I'm absolutely positive I butcher the Hawaiian language when I attempt to speak it.

He's into EVERYTHING. Notice the emphasis. Not an exaggeration. Promise. He also eats none stop. I can hardly keep up!

We just got back from a week on Kauai with the Meredith family. My favorite
island by far! But I hated the wild roosters. Obnoxious. Even still, it's the most exotic and beautiful place. I just stood amazed at Gods creation.

Here are some pictures from our adventure!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I wish I had something interesting to say

.....but I don't have much! I just felt the need to blog. I've been journaling a lot lately which is something I haven't ever done until recently. For me, it's important to document my feelings, experiences and thoughts as I move through this new way of life being my "new normal." It's been amazing to pour my heart out to God privately. I know I'll treasure these writings years down the road.

I had an interesting thing happen to me this week. I know this might sound weird (considering that I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in February) but I  JUST - like....JUST let it sink in. I actually wrote in my journal that I'm allowing the presence of Jesus to wash over me as I accept that I have Lyme Disease - and something I'll have to manage for the rest of my life. I had more testing done, which my doctor initially found thorough and helpful, but - bless him - now he's thinking we really didn't even need to do it because guess what (?!) it all came back positive again. Duh. In fact, my western blot test started showing more Lyme specific positive bands thanks to treatment drawing out those awful antibodies. Gosh, I know so many people (you know, my millions of blog readers because I'm a super interesting writer, ha ha ha) probably have no idea what this even means, but I'm blogging about it anyway. It just makes me feel better, ok? For pete's sake, I tested positive on an ELISA screening. I was told by one of the leading researchers in Lyme Disease that this is so incredibly rare because typically people get a negative on that screening (with a high likelihood of it being a false negative.) So if you see me, just smack me on the head, alright? Wait, don't do that. Hug me instead. Or tell me that you love me and that I'm gonna be OK.

I'm SCARED. Eeek. I put that in all caps. It's true. I'm scared about the future even though I know who holds it. I need patience. I think God gave me Aaron because (as I've said a million times in this blog before) he has the patience of a saint. Seriously. It astounds me. But even he's been struggling. This is hard. We want a quick fix. We want a cure. We want to know how I'll be one month, 2 years, 10 years from now. But we don't know. I will say this though, I had three really good days in a row this week. YAY! And my cardiologist (yep, got a new one of those thanks to my sick, skippy/palpitating heart) has told me I must exercise to block the over-production of this stress hormone my brain is telling my body to produce because of chronic Lyme. Apparently that's what's messing up my heart. Good to know! So, I actually went on a run yesterday with Aaron. It was pretty short, and slow....aaaaand rough, but I did it. My cool marathon-running cardiologist told me that exercise does the same thing beta blockers do to regulate a person's heart. Who knew? And he told me I need to be signed up for a triathlon by next year. Ohhhhh, my very optimistic cardiologist, you are one funny man! But hey, anything can happen.

We want more children. Really, we desperately want more children (and Aaron would appreciate a little more, um, practicing - as would I.) Thank you very much, FATIGUE! It's not that we can't physically have more children, but who knows? Maybe we can or maybe we can't? We have no reason to think that would be true but only God knows. We got pregnant with Casey like BAM fast. We thought for a second about having a baby and I was pregnant. My Lyme doctor said that when the time is right, he encourages us to grow our family. I'll have to take medicine to keep the bacteria from crossing the placenta. And speaking of, if you're wondering about Casey being at risk, I need to save that for another blog post. But in short, it's not something we're losing sleep over at this moment. And hopefully never will.

I've never shared this before, but I had a miscarriage in September of last year. It was super early. So early that we only got excited for two days. But it still sucked. Gosh, it feels good just sharing that here. I know so many women have had miscarriages. And I've wondered from time to time how different things would be right now if I were pregnant (and due in May.) Would I have found out about the Lyme? Would I be worse? I certainly couldn't have started treatment since all the stuff I'm currently on would be absolutely incompatible with pregnancy.

Life is hard and messy sometimes. But God uses messy people so I'm excited. Is that strange? What can I DO for YOU, God? Use messy 'ol me. I'm still here for a reason, walkin' around all Lyme-infested (ew.)

Please use this to your glory.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

T to the I to the R to the E to the D

I'm so tired. Tired of feeling like I constantly have the flu.

Thank goodness I have this boy to make me smile.

Oh dear Lord, please deliver me from this suffering!!!!!

And on a totally different note, our bathroom is being ripped apart and rebuilt. I'm taking "showers" in my the backyard, folks. Nothing like living in Hawaii. Here's your picture: sickly woman, shaving and swinging her head around with suds all over. I refuse to skip a day shaving my arm pits. I don't care who sees! I don't care who stares! I'm shaving!!!!

This post needed some comic relief.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Casey woke up crying from his nap yesterday and I cried too. I don't know why exactly this happened yesterday but it hit me really hard that I just needed him to know how sorry I am. Sorry that I didn't hold him enough when he was a baby. Sorry that I let him cry longer than I should have. Sorry that I lost my patience. Sorry that I didn't know I had Lyme sooner so I could get better quicker. Sorry that I've forgotten so much, so deep in brain fog. Sorry that my body couldn't and sometimes can't be the mommy my heart longs to be. I need grace - especially from a 21 month old. He doesn't deserve a half-there mommy.

And he gives it. Oh my sweet boy. You hug me and kiss me and I know if you could, you'd say, "it's ok, mommy. I love you!"

I'm doing my best and facing my grief. I'm letting Jesus simply wash over me. I audibly say, "Jesus, come and take what I can't fight." I can't battle this in my flesh. I physically relax my muscles as I speak
these words.

GREATER is He who is in me. Greater is He.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I never thought i'd consider worsening symptoms "progress." To put it simply, I'm so sick. No, I've never had cancer, but I'm convinced this has got to be the closest thing. Awful! I spent an hour on the phone yesterday with my md in Seattle. He's the best. I'd be at a loss without him.

Following two seizure-like episodes and worsening of my cardiac symptoms, I was about as close as I could be to checking myself into the hospital. I don't want to die from a stupid tick bite!

My md switched my meds around a bit. He also added in my treatment for Babesia, a complex coinfection of Lyme which is also transmitted via the tick bite. Am I allowed to say this is hell? This post is not about to be overly spiritual.

Aaron is amazing right now. Enough said. Believe me when I say we GET what it meant when we said, "in sickness and in health." Thank you, Jesus, for this man. Casey is still unaware and I count it as a blessing.

This is my life right now. A roller coaster minute by minute. Sometimes up, sometimes down. But I'd rather be on the roller coaster because you gotta hop on before you can get off.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

One day at a time

You repair all that we have torn apart and
You unveil a new beginning in our hearts and
We stand grateful for all that has been left behind and
All that goes before us

You've got all things suspended
All things connected
Nothing was forgotten
'Cause your love is perfect
You are our healer
And you know what's broken
And we're not a mystery to you

We will dance 'cause you restore the wasted years and
You will sing over all our coming fears and
We'll stand grateful for all that has been left behind and all that goes before us

Lord, you mend the breech
And you break every fetter
You give us your best, but what we thought was better
And you are to be praised
You are to be praised

I sang these very lyrics about 10 years ago. They were powerful to me then, but even more now. I love how God uses things in our past that had one meaning, to use them in our present with a new perspective.

I just want to update that I have been given a very complex diagnosis (Lyme Disease) for which testing is very unreliable. I did test positive on what is referred to as a culture test. It means that my blood, when presented with the borellia burgdorferi bacteria (aka Lyme Disease), produced an extremely strong reaction. This diagnostic tool along with my symptoms, exposure risk to ticks and other very specific clinical markers has brought me to this place. I'm on a very intense antibiotic treatment that is making my symptoms worse before getting better. This crap is no joke. I'm having tremors, massive fatigue and my loss of balance and heart irregularities have gotten even worse. The treatment is basically "burning" this unwelcomed invader from my body.

It's a bit surreal. For one, I don't look sick! Lyme is very tricky. One moment I can function and then the next, i'm down for the count. It's literally that crazy of a disease. For the first time, I had a doctor pull ALL of my health problems into one pile and give me a diagnosis that's responsible for all of them.

I'm thankful to my ND in Hawaii who back in October even had the slightest knowledge about Lyme Disease and suggested it to me as a possibility. I'm also indebted to my dear friend Anne in Virginia for her prayer and for pushing me to dig deeper even when I wanted to ignore such a frightening disease. After all, I did first get sick in Virginia which has a massive tick population. We did a lot of hiking and camping - which I don't regret. Though I certainly wish this hadn't been the outcome. I am pleased, though, to learn that pregnancy wasn't responsible for my deteriorating health. At the time, it made sense to believe pregnancy could cause such debilitating symptoms. But I knew in my heart I was sick and something has been very, very wrong.

I believe I'm already healed. Truly. My body just needs to catch up with my spirit! I've been prayed over in ways I've never known before and God's will is for me to be healed.

But as for today, I'm truly too sick to fly, let alone fly alone and I cancelled my flight. Aaron decided yesterday to fly out here next week and we'll be able to attend our grandpa Dupar's memorial service. This decision came very timely as I didn't know last night how bad I'd feel today. The whole family will be together! Aaron will fly back to Hawaii with Me and Casey on March 11. I'm so relieved to not have to fly alone! Six hours is long even for a healthy person.

I trust my doctor here in Seattle. I hate my treatment but I know it's a must. I've struggled the most with the pain of precious healthy years lost. Years that I wanted to spend completely wrapped up in my beautiful son. But God will restore the wasted years and I proclaim that his goodness will be multiplied. This is our God.

Monday, February 11, 2013

NOT about me...

Why is it that I still manage to convince myself sometimes that parenting is all about me? What I can do, what I can't do; what I think Casey should be or should not be doing; what my day will look like, etc. And then I get days like today to remind me that it's NOT about me. Sigh...deep breath in...deep breath out.

Casey has been waking up at about 5 a.m. lately. It seems that it just keeps getting earlier and earlier. On the bright side, he'll stay in his crib talking to himself until 7. I know, crazy right? I mean, what on EARTH is he doing?? Talking to his teddy bears, i'm sure. He has one named "Buckley" whom he got for Christmas. Poor Buckley already has one arm falling off. Casey LOVES Buckley and we often catch him chatting away with him. It's pretty cute. But, 5 a.m. wake ups?? Not cute, son.

Oh. And guess what earlier wake-up's mean? They mean a cranky, emotional 20 month old by 10 a.m. Today I realized that I was frustrated with him for really stupid reasons. For instance, I was grumbling to myself that it makes me feel exhausted when he's grumpy by 10 a.m. It NEVER OCCURED TO ME that my son might just need to lay down for a morning nap. Since Casey was about 13 months, he's been only take one long nap a day in the afternoon. We'll eat lunch around noon and then he'll go down around 12:45 and sleep until 2:30 or sometimes as late as 3:30. Case is a very active child so he's worn out by the time he lays down! I guess I just get so caught up in the awesomeness of this routine that this morning, it truly inconvenienced me that he was so grumpy. I ended up giving him lunch at 11 in which he ate all of two bites before throwing it on the floor. I'd had about enough, so I took him right out of his chair and put him to bed. He was out in minutes.

So thus brings me to where i'm at now - Drinking a very full mug of "humble tea." Parenting certainly sharpens me. It also reveals my own personal short-comings. But i'm actually glad it does. I need it!

I'm learning that I need to be OK with a schedule change. I'm also learning that my son's needs can only be met by me. WHOA. Huge, but incredibly wonderful responsibility! He's totally dependent on me. Today he needed a morning nap and I need to respond better to his cues. Tomorrow, he might still wake up at 5 a.m. and be fine until his usual nap time. Who knows?? Life with a toddler is so unpredictable and sure is a wild ride!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Heaviness and Light

We've just come out of such a wonderful week with my parents visiting from Washington and I don't think I can adequately describe just how much fun we had. My parents sure know how to relax as well as have fun! Casey loved having their attention and he suckered them into reading about a billion books. We absolutely love that our boy is a book fanatic! He's learning new things by the day and continues to amaze us and bring us joy.

While my parents were here, we recieved the sad news that Grandpa Dupar had passed away (Aaron's mom's dad.) We knew his health had been declining over the past few months, but the timing and news of his death still came as a bit of a surprise. It was nice to have my parents here to bring comfort. It's in those moments that you're never prepared for the emotions and it's one of the toughest times to live far away from family.

Grandpa Dupar was an amazing funny and gentle man. He could tell so many stories and keep us all laughing. Christmas 2011 was was a time we'll never forget. All of us were together! All of Aaron's family and even my family flew down to Palm Desert, California for a sunny Christmas. Casey was only 6 months old and looking back, that time together will bless our lives forever.

Grandpa's memorial/celebration of life will be in early March. While we want to be there, the timing is a challenge for us. So we will be there in spirit.

Casey and I will actually be flying out to Seattle in mid-February for two weeks. We will use this time to connect with family. And after much consideration, prayer and thought, I will also be seeing a specialist in Seattle regarding my unexplained symptoms. I'm not sure how many of you read my last post (and/or the comments) but a dear friend of mine from Virginia had suggested possible Lyme Disease. It struck me as interesting because that was the first thing my ND here on the island had brought up back in September. Obviously having grown up in Washington, I have heard of Lyme Disease but I didn't know much about it. So back in September, I was given the CDC approved antibody test which came back negative. I guess I just blew it off as another thing to check off the list. But then both my ND and MD here started to explain to me that the test is inaccurate 60-70% of the time for something called Chronic Lyme Disease (advanced stages.) After revisiting the possibility, I have been advised to seek a thorough examination by a Lyme literate MD in Seattle (there are no LLMD's on the islands). I'm taking a series of very specific tests but will also be evaluated clinically to determine what is going on. All of that to say, I have clearly been chasing down a lot of rabbit holes so I have no idea what will come of this, but there is no doubt that my symptoms are almost creepily (if that's a word!) similar to Chronic Lyme Disease. There are a lot of misunderstandings about this disease which makes the diagnosis all the more frustrating and difficult, but there's no doubt that it exists and that it is thought to affect thousands - if not millions - of people around the world and many of whom are misdiagnosed with things like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromayalgia. I'm grateful and confident that either way, I believe this extremely competent specialist will be able to help me determine what it is I've ben suffering from. I can never lose hope.

If anyone is interested in reading about Lyme Disease and other ticke borne diseases, you can visit this link for very useful information:

As I said, this could prove to be just yet another thing I check off the list, but it's important to either diagnose it or rule it out. So i'm going with my gut (the Holy Spirit) and am going down this path. Yes, i'm nervous. Yes, I have many questions. Daily I remind myself that God knows every single detail about me (and all of us! Whether we like it or not.) EVERY LITTLE THING. While that means He knows every good or nasty thought we have, it's also comforting to know that God knows what is ailing me and I believe He's guiding each step i'm taking. With the support of my loving family, this is happening.

To my praying friends, would you please join us and lift up this process? We are giving it over to God. We are tired of searching, wondering, confusion, helplessness and more. I say "we" because chronic illness affects everyone closely connected to the person suffering. But in truth, I can proclaim God's faithfulness through it all. I have been stretched, am being transformed and in my heart, i'm better because of it. Even in the heaviness of life...the loss of a loved one, the pain of illness....there is still joy, hope and light.

I will not be sharing about this process publically via facebook and will only be sharing these personal details here. But outside of seeing the specialist and spending precious time with family, I certainly would love to catch up with friends.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The "chronic" challenge.

I'm taking a big, deep breath here because i'm about to write some very personal things. For those who suffer from unexplained illness, there are many challenges and frustrations that come with it. I could list all of them here, but that list would be long so I won't! I'm just going to high-light one of those (in my opinion) significant challenges that I believe impacts everyone with a chronic illness, and also their families.

False hope.

I have seen many doctors. I have also seen and/or spoken with/read about many alternative doctors. I do believe in natural medicine. I also believe there is a time and place for more "modern" medicine. Somtimes I find that I fit into one category...and then the other. Other times, I'm not sure which one and I simply throw my hands in the air. I have tried anti-anxiety medication, prescription medication and many supplements.

When I was recently diagnosed with a systemic bacterial infection, I chose to take a heavy prescription dose. I knew I had disappointed my natural doctor, but it was a choice. And I made it. I made it along with my physician. I trust both, but I still had to make a decision. Certainly I hoped this would be the "cure" for my long 2 years of suffering. It may still be. But it hasn't happened yet - I can tell you that for sure. I have my good days and then I have my bad days. And the bad days hurt and scare. They also exhaust me and my loving husband. I broke down in front of my MD yesterday. She is the most compassionate doctor I have ever known. I am so thankful for her. I'm afraid some doctors forget that their patients are humans with pain and illness and families to love. A little compassion goes a long way. I told my doctor that my biggest fear is my son growing up and only knowing his mom as "not well." Just stating that or even thinking that sends me into near panic.

When a person can't get a diagnosis, it's nearly impossible to utilize a proper treatment.

I am finding relief from my food allergies (dairy and gluten.) I am also doing as well as can be expected on my supplements, but I am not cured by any means. This may be a long process of healing which could be 2 more months, 2 more years or the rest of my life. THE UNKNOWN. I don't know. The positive aspect of chronic illness is also the negative. How strange, right? The positive is that just looking at me, you wouldn't know i'm not well. You wouldn't know that i'm fatigued (not tired...different thing), my neck aches, my head aches, my breathing is labored and stressed, my balance is off, my heart palpitates up to 20 times a day (sometimes painful and always irritating - especially when it wakes me up from sleep.) I can hide it really well when I need/want to. But it's also negative because it would be easy to say, "You're not sick! You look great!" Looks are so deceiving. This is when those of us with chronic illness potentially fall into the "nutcase" category.

Just to clear the air, so far I have been "diagnosed" with these things: hormone imbalance, anxiety, food allergies, malabsorption of nutrients, systemic candidiasis (treated via prescripton), arthritis in my cervical spine (how the heck did that happen?!) i.e. chronic pain, and now (the most recent possibility) CFS: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It basically encompasses all the things listed before it. CFS is diagnosed via process of elimination of other things that can cause the same symptoms. But i'm stubborn so I haven't resolved to accept that diagnosis yet. Maybe if it's brought up enough times, I will. But not yet. Let's face it. I'm in denial about anything that isn't curable. Make sense? And I'm in denial about anything that would potentially cause me to have to take long-term prescription medicine (not saying that CFS requires that). I just can't do it! If I were to diagnose myself with something (ha!) I would probably diagnose myself with google-overload syndrome. That's right! I loathe Google. Every time I have a possible diagnosis presented to me, I research...and research...and research some more. Exhausting! I need to stop, my friends. I need to stop! Pray for me.

Can you see the pain of false hope in all of this?

And can I just add, I NEVER ever...ever...EVER thought I would end up with a chronic illness. I hate even typing that. I never really knew it existed until I look back on the last two years. I guess I've lived in denial most of my life thinking that when people are sick, they go to the doctor, have some tests done, find out what's wrong and take medicine. Reality check, Jenny! And I know that's probably easy to say....the "I never thought this could happen to me" phrase. But it's true. Never. Never thought. I mean, friends, I was running a half marathon at 5 weeks pregnant. I was energetic. I was fit. I was running the race! But thank you Jesus. I'm still here. I still have my life - my wonderful husband, the most beautiful baby boy who makes me cry with joy just looking at him, true/life-long friend. I love my life - still. I LOVE MY LIFE. And I give thanks.

Our pastor preached on giving thanks in all circumstances. You know that verse..."Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18. That verse always bothered me. Can I admit that? For my entire life, I thought that meant that we were to give thank in all circumstances - even the awful, painful and bad ones - because those awful, painful and bad circumstances are God's will?? I have totally read that wrong. It means it is God's will for us to give thanks in all circumstances, just as Jesus did. That is God's will. Not the experiences, the giving thanks part.

Here is my hope in all of this: I hope that I will become even more thankful and compassionate with each passing day. And I hope that I will truly live "giving thanks in all things."

I want to ask you to pray for me. Pray that I am healed, because I believe I can be. But if I can even ask for a more simple prayer, please pray that I could sing again. It's almost a thing of my past. That's really weird to me. That would be a good baby step in the right direction, or maybe a giant leap! Also pray for my family. I love them more than words can say and I just want to pray for Casey's innocence and Aaron's desires in life.