Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lagniappe–August 17, 2014


It’s been a busy week around here. I never even got around to doing my 7 Quick Takes Friday. Well, I guess today’s Lagniappe will have to do. (I also have a movie reviews post in the wings, but it will be another day or two before it gets done.)

1. Monday through Friday were low-headache days!! Yay! The weather was calm and so was my head. I totally loved it.

2. Wild Man had a dental appointment on Monday and was found to have 6 cavities. Yep, 6!! Apparently, they’re from drinking so much soda. We’ve really loosened up our lifestyle over the summer, so we’re tightening things back up and keeping a closer eye on Wild Man’s diet and tooth brushing.

3. Wild Man told me when we got home, “Don’t make a big deal about the six cavities to Dad.” So, when PWM came up from the basement, I said, “I’m not supposed to make a big deal to you about the fact that Wild Man has six cavities.” PWM said, “Really. OK, I’ll make the big deal, then.”

4. I had two cavities filled on Tuesday. I love my dentist. He made sure to numb up the whole lower side of my face so I didn’t feel a thing. I couldn’t eat for several hours, but it was completely worth it.

5. On Wednesday, I did a cooking-palooza! We get veggies from a CSA, but it’s sometime hard to eat all of them if I don’t feel like cooking (which I haven’t lately). So, on Wednesday, I cooked. I made Roasted Onion and Garlic soup with a bunch of the onions and garlic. I made Beet Brownies with two pureed beets, although they did not cook as quickly as I’m used to beets cooking, so there were some little bits of beets in the brownies. We couldn’t taste them, though. I used a very large zucchini to make Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread which froze very well.  While I was at it, I also made some French Bread in the bread machine, which was my first time using the bread machine. And, before I was done, I made sure to clean up the kitchen. Yippee!!

6. Yes, I did start getting a migraine on Saturday, but it wasn’t terrible. The bad thing was that I had insomnia and the headache last night so I didn’t get out of bed today until noon, but my headache is still there. I should have just gotten out of bed.

7. While I have a migraine, I have decided to rearrange the living room. Great timing, huh? Actually, I have developed the plan, that we’ll carry out when the migraine is better. I want to do it while I still have the kids to help.

How has your week been? Do you have anything of great depth or insight to share? No? How about a cat story?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Normal Day!

So, what did I do today? Well, I didn’t have a migraine (at least as of now – 7:41pm). I got up at about 8am. I spent some time on the computer, did some reading. I had breakfast. It was a slow morning. Let’s call it leisurely.

At about noon, I started my cooking odyssey. We’ve gotten a lot of veggies from our CSA, but haven’t had a lot of time to cook them, so we needed to do something to use some of them up. I made Roasted Onion-Garlic soup, Beet Brownies (brownies with pureed beets hidden in the batter), French Bread (in the bread maker), Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread, and Meatballs. And then I cleaned up.

Sounds like a normal day, right? Not for me. I’m lucky to be able to cook dinner most days. Well, I don’t cook dinner most days. By late afternoon, I’m either too tired or too headache-y to do much. The crock pot is my friend.

What was different about today? I have no idea. But, I’ll take it. This may be my one good day for the next couple of weeks or the next month. That’s OK.

I was normal. Even if just for one day.

Thank you, Jesus, for normal.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams, Suicide, Depression, and Migraines

Yesterday, we lost an amazing actor and comedian and, by all accounts, a wonderful man. He had an often fatal disease called depression. And one of the worst complications of depression is suicide.

I have depression. Thank God, I’ve never been suicidal. I can’t attribute that to anything I’ve done. It is purely that the course of my illness has never been that severe. But, I’ve had days where it took every bit of energy to get out of bed. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have darkness so bad that you are willing to end your life.

One of the worst things about depression is how it takes over my life when it flares up. Everything becomes about how bad I feel. Instead of thinking about how great it would be to take a walk with a friend, my brain tells me how tired and miserable I am and how a walk would be a terrible idea. Every fun thing in the world seems like more work than it’s worth.

People sometimes say that suicide is selfish, that a person who commits suicide is thinking only of themselves. Well, they are. But, that’s the illness. A person with depression can’t imagine that anyone else would want them around anymore. When I’m down in the black hole of depression, I don’t feel loved and wanted, no matter what people say. Depression is more than sadness. The illness consumes me. And I’ve never even been sick enough to consider suicide. It must be a million times worse for someone who will take their own life.

Migraines and chronic pain are the same way. I don’t want to be a hermit when I have a migraine, but I am. Pain takes over every part of my being. And it’s usually accompanied by nausea, sound sensitivity, and other symptoms. Even when it’s just head pain, it still takes over my consciousness and doesn’t allow me to function. That’s part of how pain works. When the body works properly, pain is supposed to tell you that something is wrong so you can fix it. In chronic pain, the signals are not working correctly, so you get all discombobulated. Pain demands to be heard. All. The. Time.

Some Christians are hesitant to use medications for depression because they think depression is just a bad bout of sadness or it is purely “spiritual”. Sometimes, sadness is normal and just needs some time, particularly if it is a normal grief reaction after a death or significant social or emotional change.

But, true depression is a physical illness caused by messed up neurotransmitters in certain parts of the brain. Sometimes, depression is part of other illnesses, like bipolar illness or schizophrenia. In any case, medical intervention is necessary. In mild cases, counseling alone may be effective, but in more serious cases, medications along with counseling and lifestyle changes will be needed.

But, is God really OK with us using medications to treat mood disorders? I sure hope God’s OK with me using medications to treat my headaches! And my mood disorder (depression) goes right along with the headaches. In fact depression is a “tag-along” illness with many diseases, including migraine, fibromyalgia, and even things like after open heart surgery. God gave us the ability to diagnose and treat lots of illnesses, including illnesses of the brain. I assume he wants us to use these abilities!

Where does God fit into the depression thing, though? I believe God does want us to feel better. I’m sure that he sometimes supernaturally heals people, but most of the time, he works through the laws of nature. We get better through medications and counseling. Depression is treated by medical professionals like diabetes or hypertension.

In my walk with Jesus, I know that my depression affects my spiritual life, just like it affects the rest of my life. When I’m really depressed it’s hard to pray. But, it’s also hard to talk to my husband and kids. I have found, though, that there are certain passages of the Bible that are particularly helpful for me to read and meditate on when my mood is low. My prayer and meditation time are very important to me as part of my depression treatment. Worshiping Jesus is part of my life. I know that he wants me to be emotionally healthy, so I try to keep to practices that I know are good for me.

And, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t tell you that if you are depressed, you don’t have to live this way! Get help! Tell a friend, call a help line, go to an Emergency Department! Suicide is not the answer, but neither is feeling rotten all the time. Medications can really help you feel much better and live a better life. And check out your local church. Jesus wants to help you, too.

What are your thoughts?


R.I.P.. Robin Williams

Friday, August 08, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday–August 8, 2014


1. We took family pictures on Wednesday!! For the first time in at least 8 years! We kept putting off scheduling them because of my headaches, but we finally just put the date on the calendar and hoped for the best. Yes, I was on Maxalt when we took them, but the two that the photographer put on Facebook so far look really great!

2. Rosie Girl left home yesterday afternoon with her usual light brown hair. When she comes home tonight after spending the night at a friend’s house (and going to the tap dance festival in Stevens Point), she’ll have orange-ish red hair. Yep, they’re doing henna! I guess it will calm down to red over the course of a week or so. I can’t wait to see it.

3. I’ve been freaking out a bit about the whole school supplies thing. I’ve never had to buy stuff for a kid to go to public school before. Does he need notebooks or binders? Folders? How many pencils or pens? Guess what? They put that info on the school website, even for juniors in high school!! My stress level is way down.

4. My headache level is NOT down, however. Bummer. I had a long migraine last week that I think was triggered by a dental cleaning. Next week, I have to have a cavity redone. I’m making Wild Man drive me so I can take my muscle relaxers beforehand. I don’t have much to blame this week’s headaches on, though.

5. My counselor has encouraged me to do one thing I enjoy every day to help with my depression. Yesterday, I had a milkshake and then drove home the back way which is more wooded and less commercial and, mostly, less familiar. Central Wisconsin is gorgeous in the summer!!

6. Wild Man now has three jobs! He started as a cook’s assistant at a local restaurant. Right now, he only works once a week or so. And, on busy nights, he just washes dishes. But, it will be good for him when school starts and his job and the laundromat finishes, but he still needs gas money!

7. I finally got Something Other than God from the library!! Yes, I know I’ll be the last one of this blog’s readers to read the book, but, better late than never, right? Winking smile

So, what’s up with you these days? Check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Friday!!!

To Survive or To Thrive


John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” NIV

John 10:10 “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” KJV

I’ve been feeling like I’m just surviving these days. Even now that the depression is starting to lift, I’m still just “getting by” most days. I read a blog post (but I can’t remember where – sorry) about thriving as Christians. It was really inspiring, but when I finished reading, I just thought about how sad and depressing my life is.

Jesus was very clear that He came not just to save our souls, but give us “abundant life” and to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. I don’t think he intended for any of us to mope around here waiting for the day of our death. Our life is important, if for no other reason than to be part of God’s kingdom here on earth.

Paul wrote in Philippians about how he didn’t know whether he’d rather be in heaven or earth, but then concluded that he could be joyful and content in any circumstances here on earth because of faith in Christ.

So, yeah. I’m having a hard time with that right now. Chronic pain takes over everything in my life, it feels like. What I can do each day is determined by how much my head hurts and how bad the nausea and other symptoms are.

I know that some days, all I can do is survive. I’m not able to do much more. But, overall, I’d like to thrive. I’d like to feel like I’m making an impact in this world, even if it’s small. Maybe just getting up and getting dressed is enough. Maybe working in the shop once or twice a week. Maybe occasionally blogging.

What do you think? How do you do more than get from one day to another?

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Is God Angry with Liberia?

It appears that some of the clergy in Liberia think so. I disagree. At least as far as God is angry with anyone. The clergy who made this statement believe that God is angry with Liberia for the sin that the those in the country have committed and allowed to be committed, so God is permitting the Ebola virus “plague” to spread throughout the country.

God can certainly judge cities and nations as He did in the Old Testament. He is, after all, God. But, in the Old Testament, He made it very clear to a city or country that He was judging them before He wiped them out or allowed them to be conquered (i.e. Sodom and Gomorrah). In more recent times, natural disasters haven’t been accompanied by clear warnings or words from God. And this Ebola catastrophe doesn’t appear to be an obvious judgment since it covers multiple countries and is affecting people of all ages, races, occupations, etc.

A few years ago, a tsunami occurred that was devastating to Indonesia and other countries.  Was this God’s anger for something that Indonesia did? In the 19th century, the volcano Krakatoa erupted and killed many people. What about the Lisbon earthquake? And we can’t forget the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

We live in a world that God created with these natural forces that sometimes cause upheaval for the humans that He also created. Ebola virus lives naturally in fruit bats without too much fuss. Every once in a while, it will get into a human and cause a small epidemic. But, now that humans don’t always live in villages, Ebola is able to spread farther and cause more havoc.

Why does God allow these things to happen to us? I ask that a lot. Why does God allow me to have chronic pain? If God is so good, why do natural disasters happen? Why is there cancer? Why can’t we all live to a ripe old age and die quietly in our sleep? (Of course, if that was the case, my medical career would never have been needed.)

I have no idea. And the Bible is not clear. The book of Job is a whole book asking this question with a couple of chapters with God answering “Because I’m God”. Jesus talks about the rain falling on the just and the unjust. God is God. And He’s big enough that we don’t always understand Him.

The question of a good God allowing bad and evil is the one thing that shakes my faith sometimes. I don’t understand why God allows what He allows. But, if I could understand Him, would He be God? No. God is bigger than I am. In every way. And, in my experience, obeying God and walking with Jesus has worked out, so I’m sticking with Him.

No, I don’t think God is angry with Liberia. I believe Liberia is experiencing a natural disaster which is pretty miserable. I agree with the three days of prayer and fasting. I believe that God answers prayer. And the rest of us should also pray for Liberia and the rest of Africa affected by Ebola.

What are your thoughts?