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Saturday, July 5, 2014

100 Christian Quotes by 10 Great Christians, A Review


100 Christian Quotes by 10 Great Christians from Pastor Duke Taber was a joy to read.  There are gems from some of Christianity's favorite saints and others from virtually unknown persons, but all are good thought provokers.  The book is just a listing of the collected quotes.  There is no commentary on the quotes and very little biographical information on the authors.  Here are a few of the quotes I loved and highlighted in my version of the book.

"The real test of a saint is not one's willingness to preach the gospel, but one's willingness to do something like washing the disciples' feet -- that is, being willing to do those things that seem unimportant in human estimation but count as everything to God."  ~ Oswald Chambers

"To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in you." ~ C.S. (Clive Staples) Lewis

"If you board the wrong train, it's no use running along the corridor in the other direction." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Destruction of the embryo in the mother's womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon the 'nascent life'.  To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue.  The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent being has been deliberately deprived of his life.  And that is nothing but murder." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer  This one has helped to solidify my views on abortion.

"Secular music belongs to the devil? Does it? Well, if it did I would plunder him for it, for he has no right to a single note of the whole seven.  Every note, and every strain, and every harmony is divine, and belongs to us." ~ General William Booth

"I notice that those who don't believe in uniting with a church or organization.  I notice ya'll use electric lights -- that's organized! If it wasn't, you'd be electrocuted." ~ Aimee Semple McPherson

"Remember something, God never permitted a difficulty to come into our life without also giving us the ability to handle it.  God has provided us with every faculty.  He has given us the power that we need for living victoriously.  It is a fact that everyone of us down deep has what it takes to sucessfully meet whatever life brings." ~ Kathryn Kuhlman

These are just a few of the great quotes in this book.  I gave the book a 4/5 stars.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Migraine Emergency Toolkit


I carry one of these with me daily.  It takes up a lot of space, but I don't want to not have my needed things with me.  I also almost always have a hat with a brim on to block the florescent or other too bright for me lights.  I'm nearsighted, so I use my regular glasses outside of stores more often and the sunglasses inside stores.  With the hat and glasses, I'm sometimes afraid the store loss prevention staff is going to ask to talk with me.

Another reason for carrying my kit with me is to have all the numbers on me for meds and doses, doctors and offices, and so on.  It makes my mind easy that I can just hand over my list to hospital staff and they can update my meds list if needed.

Since Zofarn, an anti-nausea med, can only be taken once every 8 hours, I also carry peppermint candies.  The Zofran is a melt in the mouth med and tastes of peppermint.  I've also done some checking into medicinal uses of mints and peppermint especially.  Peppermint naturally soothes the stomach.

So, between doses of Zofran, I suck on a peppermint candy.  Also, did you know that chewing hard candies can increase feelings of stress?  And, sucking on the candy, like on a teet or bottle nipple, can be soothing and send relaxation messages to the brain?  Well, they are both true.

Deep breathing while experiencing great pain or intense emotions also sends relaxation messages to your brain, that in turn, send out relaxation chemicals in your blood and so the tension in your body becomes lessened.  I'm trying to do that as I go through therapy to deal with the pain and stress of the changes to my life since 2011, now that I'm moving beyond the frozen survival stage.  I want to thrive, not just survive.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Always On Guard zzzzzrp!


Second time this week.  I'm at 40 and counting hours with no sleep.  Again. This week. I'm going to need something to knock me out.  I'm getting exhausted.  I don't even know whether to come or go.  I have to always be on guard against triggers.  I hate it.

You know what, they can kiss my fucking ass! I'm tired of my head treating me like a piece of shit.  I don't deserve this.  I am human and am running out of humor and hope in this situation.  Everytime I meet someone new, there's the question, do I tell them now that I'll bail on them at some point because of my stupid head?! EVERY SINGLE TIME!! I have bailed on those I live with too many times to count.  The people at TOPS are lucky I make it to the meetings.  It's a huge effort to go, and I just can't on my own.

Where is God in all of this?
Where is my Comforter?
Why in hell does he forsake me?
I should just die and then the pain would end.

But, that would sadden many people.  People who I love.  I don't want to hurt anyone.  I want to not hurt.  I want to not have to struggle for everything. I don't want to be the model patient who is happy to get her doctor's agreement that, "Pain is just weakness leaving the body."  Stupid Army Guard doctor... who isn't really stupid.  I'm just lashing out.

Money is a struggle.  Food is a struggle.  Health access is a struggle.  Dental care is a joke.  Medicaid doesn't cover dental and Medicare doesn't either, at least not for adults.

I HATE BEING DISABLED.  I WANT OUT OF HERE.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I choose to ...



Well, it's a long way off from Invisible Illness Week in September, but seeing as how I just found out about it, I'm sharing about it now.

It's a week for others who have an illness that others don't see to get mutual support and have a sense of community and not having to wonder if the answer to the question, "How are you?" is supposed to be the easy, "Fine, thanks and you?" or the real, "Feel like crap today.  The illness is acting up and I have to accept that I just have to make it through this bit of time to get out on the other side." or the sometimes even more intense, "Shut up! Your whispers are so loud they are making the ax cleaving my brain dig even deeper, so please just be quiet!"

Only that last one is not the best to maintain good relationships, even though it is why I grit my teeth sometimes.  I do sometimes tell Casper, my dog, "Be quiet! Just be quiet for a minute! Please!" Karen realizes then, before I do most of the time, that a migraine is going on because I'm usually long suffering and very patient with Casper.  He just responds by trying to lick me and kiss me.  Dogs are love.  Well, at least Casper is.

Nights like right now I know I'm in for a migraine when I slow down enough and the insomnia stops.  It's not even just being tired and wanting to sleep, it's a total absence of the sleeping thoughts and feelings kicking in.  It is almost 4AM, and I am finally starting to get a migraine, like I expected.  Lack of sleep is a trigger. Florescent lights are a trigger.  Going shopping for a bit, driving home in the rain with bright headlights coming at me from oncoming traffic and from behind with reflections off the night vision mode for the rear view mirror, all of that is a trigger one each by itself, but together... yeah, I don't stand a chance of no migraine tonight/this morning.

Anyways, this post is supposed to be about what I choose to do, in spite of my illness, or along side of it as it is always a constant frienemy.  I do my best to choose to accept the pain and stuff when I can't control it and hope that the medicines work.  If they work.

I choose to go shopping anyways.  Yes, I wear a dark hat and sunglasses even on dark and stormy nights, making the shop staff think I might be a burgler, but I do what I have to have less of an impact from the environment on my system.

I choose to create.  I went to the store and got yarn for a gift for my dad and a second gift for my mom.  I also picked up a journal I've had my eye on for months.  It's been months because the first store didn't sell them anymore and hadn't for a while, longer than a couple of weeks.

I choose to pray for folks when I can't do anything else.  I choose to use the mantra, "Pain is just a mental event." when the prayers are too hard to do with the pain in the cranium.  I choose to live and be messy and be myself and take care of things as things happen and am learning to be much more decisive than I used to be.

I choose to have fun!  That's been my mantra since childhood.  If it ain't fun, why in Sam Houston would any one do it?  Whatever it happens to be.

I choose to love strong.  I choose to drink water mostly, but when needed vodka or rum don't go astray.  Beer is too yeasty for me.  Oh that's another thing.  Somehow, I am supposed to go gluten free to see if that elimination diet does anything for my migraines. Then, I'll have to decide if there is an effect, whether to suffer the effect and enjoy bread and pasta and couscous and did I say bread? and muddle through another migraine.

I'm getting used to them.  That doesn't mean that I have to like them, or understand them all the time.  I can't. Even my neurologist doesn't understand migraines and why sometimes there's a slow burn to build up to the pain and others it's all I can do to get to the bathroom before my stomach revolts from the sudden intense onslaught of pain and associated nausea.

I choose to ask God to use my suffering to bring peace to others.  I guess this is what was meant by lifting up your cares and worries to God when I was younger.  I never really understood how you could give something to God, one because all is his to begin with, and two because how do you give someone your pain?  How do you let go of your anguish?  How do you let go of your brokenness and leave it at the foot of his cross?  How do you let the Great Comforter comfort you?  How? Why?

That's one question I will never know the answer to.  Why did this happen.  I had none of the markers for the bacterial meningitis that almost killed me and left me with migraines.  Compared to my friend who has blood cancer, at least mine is just something to suffer through and not die over, not unless I get bacterial meningitis again.  If I do the ventricles in my brain may get backed up with cerebral spinal fluid as the meninges that filter the fluid into the outer layer of the brain and the spinal cord will be even more scarred and filled with debris.  It is like I have arthritis not only of the joints but of the meninges too. :-)  A little gallow's humor there if you don't mind.

Anyways, it is now after 4AM and this is getting just a teensy bit long, so I'll hush for now.  I need to find an image that does this post good.  I know just the one too.


Image is from: http://www.bioidenticalhormonemd.com/assets/images/img_brain-electrical-activity-mapping-beam_1.jpg

I chose this image because it looks like the electrical storm that the migraines sometimes feel like in my brain.  I know that the meninges isn't really in the brain, but on the outside of it, but that's the easy to explain the geography.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ode to a Hexi-Flat


Ode to a Hexi-Flat*
By Jennifer Cragen, May 2014

Oh so sweet!
The lil' hexi-flat!

You are fleet of knitting,
Double mint thick.

Turkish cast on,
Kitchener bind off.

Born of the mind of an English woman,
Crafted by folks around the world.

Embroidery, cables, and
Texture too,
Your surface disguises.

Small investment,
Luxurious yarns involved, or humble.

Sometimes Stuffed,
Others un-Puffed.

To be made, and shared,
Fun for all,
You're made for one and all.


*A hexi-flat is an unstuffed hexipuff from the the beekeeper's quilt pattern on Ravelry by tiny owl knits.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dancing With The Stars and Meningitis


Amy Purdy is inspirational to me for a few reasons.  Not only is she dancing after having double amputations on her legs!  Talk about wowzers!  She is so smooth and beautiful with how she dances. 

She also is an inspiration because she also survived bacterial meningitis.  She shows me what can be accomplished if one pushes through the pain and develops strength of will.  I utilized her example today while at a concert by the Sunshine Band at the Morrison Center in Scarborough, Maine.

The concert was from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with bingo and refreshments available too.  The various members of the band warmed up and started playing songs.  There were two guitarists, one person on a kettle drum, various people on tambourines, and all singing and having tons of fun.  Sometimes the audience sang along with the band.  

I had a migraine starting before leaving for the concert, but I wanted to attend the event to have some fun family time.  I took a migraine abortive pill when we got there and I availed myself of the free iced tea.  An half hour later the pain was still great so I took a pain pill.  By 6 p.m. I could not go any further, so we left, but we had had an hour of fun and enjoyment of the band and watching others sing and dance and have fun.  It was a really good event.  My system just didn't agree with my ideas of what I wanted to do, so we lived within the limits of my system.

I've been trying to apply the Serenity Prayer for my pain and living in my limits.  If you are unfamiliar with this prayer, here's the text of the prayer.

Lord,
Give me the serenity to accept what I cannot change,
the courage to change what needs to be changed,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
In your name I pray,
Amen.

I have peace about today's experience of the concert.  I cannot change how my head worked.  I took the medications as directed and did what I could.  The rest is up to the effectiveness of the medications and nature.  Sometimes the migraines last a while, and sometimes they go away with one dose of the medications.  There's no rhyme or reason for either reaction of my system.  I just live with, along side, this giant.

Anyways, I hope you have peace in your life about what is going on in your life.  Where are you in regards to accepting your limitations?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Holy Land Moments, A Review


In their book, The One Year Holy Land Moments Devotional, Rabbi Yeschel Eckstein and Christian theologian Dr. Tremper Longman III provide a 52 week devotional that includes both Judaic and Christian thought on various passages from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament.  The daily passages reflect on the Jewish view of the faith and history present in each part of the Bible, while also offering Christian interpretations of the same passages, in a comparison manner meant to build up both perspectives rather than tear them apart.  At the end of each week there is space for reflection and questions to answer to aid in that reflection.  Having the reflection at the end of the week gives a Jewish feel to the progress of the book as the Jewish Sabbath starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday, whereas the Christian Sabbath takes place solely on Sunday, and both Sabbaths are days of reflection for our relationship with God, however we know him to be.

I liked the format of the weeks, the give and take between the perspectives, and the chance for reflection each week.  The questions were very useful for me.  There is nothing I did not like about this book.

I gave the book 5/5 stars for the reasons enumerated above.  I received my copy of this book from Tyndale for free in exchange for my honest opinion.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Power of Healing Prayer, A Review


In his book, The Power of Healing Prayer: Overcoming Emotional and Psychological Blocks, Father Richard McAlear, O.M.I., provides a Christ centered, scriptural, and holistic approach to the ministry of healing that every church and parish can initiate and develop into an ongoing charism for Christ.  

I learned about Inner Healing in Chapter Five, Getting Free of Guilt in Chapter Eight, Healing Hidden Hurts in Chapter 13, more about the Mystery of Suffering in Chapter 16, and the Prayer of Faith in Chapter 17.  These are just a few topics that were particularly important to me.  If you have read a bit of my profile, you know that I have migraines a lot and have gone through a ton of changes in the last through years.  I have a lot of misplaced guilt around that which I'm working through to get to a place of healing and I will be incorporating more prayer into the process along with the other exercises I'm doing.

I will be referring to this book again and again.  It has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.  Thanks goes to the Catholic Company for providing the book for free in exchange for an honest opinion.  I was going to give the book a 4/5  only because some of the teachings are hard for me to put into practice in my life right now.  But, that is about me and not the book, so I gave the book 5/5 stars for readability, challenging precepts, and for Father McAlear's warm writing voice.

Harvest of Rubies, A Novel, A Review


Tessa Afshar wrote Harvest of Rubies, A Novel in 2012.  This new book tells one of the oldest stories, that of a tossed together couple afraid to trust each other and hiding their own hurts behind their idols, whether scrolls and parchments or power and social status.  Sarah, cousin to the Biblical Nehemiah, is nominated to be the queen's head scribe.  Darius must marry a suitable Jewish woman, well they would say girl.  The two are a match made in Heaven, they just don't realize it yet.

What I liked was that there was an intense amount of inner dialogue on Sarah's part as she was the narrator.  This meant that unfortunately others, including Darius, come off as flat and simple.  Unfortunately, this second characteristic made the book more of a slog than usual for me.

I gave the book 3/5 stars since the story is neat, Sarah is fully developed, but others just aren't developed enough.

I received my copy of this book through the Moody Book Review Program for free in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

How to be a Productivity Ninja, A Review


In his book, How to be a Productivity Ninja, Graham Allcott delivers awesome advice in easy to understand and incorporate bits.  

I'm a home-based, disabled, student, and I learned a lot of ninja skills to speed up my processing.  I really like the weekly and daily checklists.  As well as the second brain and getting inputs to zero concepts discussed in this book.  Then, again, I'm a productivity geek too.

I was very excited to get back to this book and learn more ninja secrets from the master while I was reading this, so I give it 5 stars.

I received my copy for free from the publisher through the NetGalley Professional Reader program.  My opinion, as ever always, is my own.