Mother

 I watched my mother take her last breath. My mother brought me into this world.  She fed me.  She clothed me.  She taught me to be brave and walk to kindergarten, elementary school and junior high school.   My mother showed me unconditional love, like my heavenly Father does.   My mother loved me like no one else loves me.   My mother was a strong woman.   She loved her children so much.  She loved my father so much, yet at times I realized later it must of been difficult as he had some personality swings and occasionally went back to the bottle to cope with his pain.  Yet, my parents both loved the Lord and were an example of love, perseverance, commitment and faithfulness to the Father and family, which spoke volumes to me.

My mother went into the hospital in March of 2011.  Mom and our whole family had all just recently returned from one of the most fun trips together in Park City, Utah.   She was having trouble breathing while in Utah and continued that when she returned home.  The doctors had her on inhalers, but none of us had any idea until the end how bad she must of been.  In December of 2010, she spent her last Christmas with me and my family in Destin. I am so thankful for that time together. Yet, while she was at our house she was struggling with her breathing, but didn’t want to go to the ER.  She called her doctor and had him call in some medicine.  Looking back, she definitely did not want ANYTHING to mess up her trip to Park City, Utah that we all had planned a few months later in March.  Mother was part of a wonderful surprise announcement that my son, David made while we were in Park City.   He had planned to ask his long time girlfriend and now wife, Shannon to marry him.  Mother had the ring with her and just couldn’t wait to witness it all.

After the Park City trip, mother returned to her home in Birmingham and her best friend, Nancy came for a visit.  Mom didn’t feel well so Nancy took her to the ER.  Nancy still says to this day how she wishes she would of never done that because she just wants to believe that she would still be alive if she had not.  Mother never made it back home.  She stayed in two different hospitals the entire time from March through July 19th.  My brothers, sister and I made many trips to the hospital to be with mother and help her in any way.  While coming to Birmingham to see her in the hospital and staying in her home, I saw seasons pass and her flowers on her mailbox come into bloom.  I saw the dogwood trees bloom around her home. Everything else was turning green and showing color, yet my mother was dying before my very eyes.   She wasn’t able to see any of it.  One of her most favorite things in the world, to see her flowers bloom and to watch the birds from her window, and the only thing should could do was to look at the walls of the hospital, a television and a small table on rollers in front of her.  I have thought about that small table many times.  My mother loved beautiful things.  She treasured things passed down from one generation to the next.   Her gift for hospitality was evident the minute you walked into her home.  Mother had such a gift for decorating and placing furniture, pictures, etc.  She hardly ever measured when hanging anything.  She would just “eyeball it”!   Some days she would call me and tell me she had just moved the sofa from one side of the room to another.  She loved rearranging and changing up things occasionally in her home.   It broke my heart to see her in that hospital bed, and the only thing she had to rearrange were the things on her little roll away table.   She would move her hairbrush around, or maybe her calendar, notebook, pen or cup of chipped ice, and that was about it.  My heart broke for her, but I felt I had to stay strong.  I truly believed she would be getting out of the hospital at some point.

My husband saw the need to buy me a smaller car to travel back and forth from Destin to Birmingham.  Our l999 GMC Suburban wasn’t ready for the junk yard, but just could not be counted on to make long trips on the highway.   It was a good decision.    Abbey, our last child was in middle school at the time, and her dad helped out so much at home with her while I was helping with my mother.  I hated being away, but knew I needed to.  Two sons were already married, and the third one had just become engaged.   Mother and I talked about the wedding plans for David and Shannon.  It gave her something to look forward to, as well as us to talk about.  I would bring outfits to the hospital and she would help me decide on which one to wear for the rehearsal dinner.

Mother spent a lot of time in the hospital bed. She had occasional P.T., but not a lot.  She had unforeseen complications that we never imagined would happen.  Her intestine, or stomach open up.  I don’t remember why, but it just busted open.   She had to get that operated on, and that slowed down her physical therapy and her recovery with her lung issue.  She needed to get up and walk to help her lungs get better, but she couldn’t because of her stitches and operation.  She was developing drop foot.  Her skin was thinning and sores developing.  It was just horrible.  It was horrible to see my mom wasting away.  I painted her nails.   I brushed her hair.  Whatever I could do to make her feel pretty I did.  I was an advocate for her.  I am sure my brothers and sister were also, but many times we were not there at the hospital all at the same time, so I don’t know all the many good things they all did for her, but I know they did.  She wanted me to be there with her as much as possible, and I wanted the same.  Momma knew I would be firm if she needed me to ask the tough questions or advocate for her in any way.    Like momma, I have a strong determination and a strong will.   All of her children brought just the right things to her side when she needed us to.

She had been put on a breathing tube to help her breath.  Later she was on a feeding tube.  How could all of this be happening?  How did just going from an inhaler to fighting for your life happen this quick for my mother?  I still don’t understand all the reasons why, but just have had to trust in God’s timing through it all.

My son Kevin and Natalie came to visit her the weekend before she died.  As we all returned back to Destin, we were given hope by some of the staff at the hospital. We were told she would be getting off her breathing tube soon.   I was in complete shock and dismayed when just about 24 hours after Kevin, Natalie and I returned from Birmingham, my brother Skip called me and said that the doctor had come in the room to talk to mother, and after that, mother made a decision to remove anything that was keeping her alive.  If I remember correctly, I believe she was given a choice of going to a nursing home in another state, that would basically just keep her alive on her breathing tube.  Mother didn’t want that.  She wanted quality of life.  She made her decision but I just couldn’t process it all.  It was too much to process right then and even years later.

The next day, I returned to Birmingham alone.  The only words I can think of is horrible.  It was horrible and so painful, yet I felt I needed to be brave, so I was.  Mother was the bravest of all though.   The morning of July 19th, my two brothers, sister and I, along with some of my nieces and nephews, all gathered in her hospital room.  Nancy, her best friend, along with her husband Bob was there also.    It sadly and honestly felt like a circus to me.  It felt like some type of out of body experience, or some movie that I was watching.  People were doing different things in different parts of the room and hallway.   The nurse was coming in and washing mother down. I had brought music to play, so that was being played.   Mother was wide awake.  She knew everything that was going on.  She even motioned to my brother to get out of the way of the fan, because she wanted it blowing on her.   I remember nieces and nephews chatting and talking about things like golf and laughing about things unrelated to mother’s death.   I just couldn’t wrap my head around it all and wanted to scream to everyone to be quiet…..but I didn’t.   We were fixing to watch my mother die and everyone was chatting like we were dining out in a restaurant.   It was somewhat upsetting to me, but perhaps this is exactly what mother wanted.  She never actually expressed down to the details of who she wanted to surround her at the end, but she would have put a stop to it if she didn’t want something.   I truly believe she would have wanted it just the way it was…..a room filled with family, chatter, laughter and talk of what everyone’s day was like.  It was me that was trying to process this all.  It was very painful.  To this day, when I hear consistent beeps, there are times when I flash back to my mother’s bedside and her machines the day she died.  The nurses forewarned us that as my mother was being taken off the machines, we would hear loud beeps and the beeps could get faster and louder.   We all finally because silent, but the beeps were louder.  One minute mother is alive, then she is not.  I watched my mother take her last breath.  How interesting that she came into the world taking her first breath, and left this world taking her last breath.  That was that.  It seemed so cold.  It seemed so horribly cold and unfair.  My mother was so brave.  So loving and so unselfish.  It was me that felt selfish, as I wanted her to live and to not go, but knew it was her choice and new deep down it was the best choice, and it must of been very difficult, yet right.  I imagine if I was where she was, I would have wanted to leave this earth also under the conditions that I was living in.   Momma knew she would be seeing daddy soon, and she knew she would be in the arms of her loving Father soon.   That was the most comforting thing about the whole death experience.

Was there a manual out there somewhere on how to handle all of this?  Where were the death instructions?  No one equipped me.  No one prepared me.  Only minutes after mother had taken her last breath, the hospital was asking details and business questions to my brother and I, who were co-executors of her will.  STOP!  STOP!  STOP all this craziness I was thinking.  Can’t you give us some time! ….but I was brave and felt I had to carry on.  I was reminded that mother chose me and my brother to carry on…so we needed to do that.  I tried with my brother’s help to navigate through it all as best as possible, yet we all made mistakes along the way.  Emotions were high at times.  It seemed like all of us siblings were grasping to hold on and not let go in our own way.  Perhaps we were experiencing what it felt like to all be out of control, but wanting to be in control.  Who knows.  What I do know is that after my mother’s death, we all took it  very hard.  We could of all worked together in unity better.  But you know what….when you are going through things, you do the best you can and somehow God gets you through it.  Hopefully the pain brings about change and the diversity brings about unity in the end.

Almost eight years later now, and although like the saying goes, you never get over it, but you get through it, is true.  With God’s help, time heals.  Counseling helped to heal.  Grieving helped to heal.  Laughing and being around my family helped a lot to heal.  Sitting and staring helped to heal.  My husband and my children were the biggest help and support that I could have asked for.  With both my parents gone, my desire to be around my siblings is even stronger now than before.   I look forward so much to those times we can gather together.

I imagine my mother’s last breath was her best breath ever as she joined my father, her parents and her Heavenly Father that had prepared a place for her and for all of us.   I will always love my mother and my father.  I will forever be grateful for their love and sacrifice for me and for our family.  They will never be forgotten.  We had a wonderful life growing up and many fun times together.  Our tough times made me stronger.  I am thankful that when I look into the eyes and hearts of my children and grandchildren I see a part of my mom and dad and lives on.   When I see nature and God’s creation,  I am reminded of my mother and father.   I am thankful for our time and seasons together.  I wish so bad they could have been on this earth longer, as daddy was just 61 and mother was 75 when they passed, but it just didn’t happen that way, so I continue to trust in God’s timing.   When they left me, they left me with a wonderful legacy of faith, hope and love….they greatest of these being love.

Sarah

We first met in the bathroom at church when I was washing my hands. She was standing by the paper towels. She modeled simplicity and beauty, and spoke kindness. 
Still a teenager. She was just seventeen……if you know what I mean…..and I saw her standing there. 
She asked if I was the one singing that night with her brother, Sean. I had been looking forward to this time, as Sean was and still is an incredible musician. 
I was. 
Sarah was on “stand by” to take my place, as there was a possibility I wouldn’t make it back in town from Birmingham, where I had been taking care of my mother. She has a voice of an angel. Still does! Still love singing with her. 
That same night she met my son Paul, who was an usher at this wedding. Jesus, church choir, the single’s fellowship group and finger lickin’ Southern Baptist Fried Chicken helped to grow their relationship. 
Some thought it to be scandalous, as their age difference was far apart. I thought it to be an answer to prayer. 
Sarah is a runner. She moves fast and furious at times, kind of like she dances. She had some incredible tragedies and trials growing up. It was hard after her father died. 
 I have always admired and been amazed with her courage, strength and perseverance as she has turned her tragedies into triumphs and her trials into testimonies. There isn’t a mountain too high for Sarah to climb.
When that son of mine finally asked “Would you marry me”, I could barely catch up fast enough before her family and ours all made it to the court house steps.  
I have loved Sarah from the moment I first met her. She is fun, crazy, loud, laughs a lot and fights for what she believes in damn it! She is also tender, nervous and afraid at times.  
She is my daughter-in-law. She is going to take care of me one day. She is the wife of my oldest son, Paul and the mother to my granddaughter, Lily Faith. The best part is that she is my friend.  
I have loved journeying through life together with Sarah. We have shared our experience of singing in England on a mission trip together. We have shared our first time of seeing the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, D.C. together. We have shared seeing and hearing the load roar of the Atlantic Ocean together. We have and still share the love for Jesus. We have shared many family stories together around the dinner table. Now we share one of the most important men in both our lives together. Paul.
There is nothing better than being able to know you have a loving and faithful women for your son to take up where you left off. That is Sarah.  
The first time Sarah came to our home to eat she just didn’t have the heart or nerve to tell me she didn’t eat meat, so she ate every last bit of that delicious pork chop.  
We have loved one another. We have forgiven one another. We have done “real” which was hard at times. We have persevered in not giving up or giving in. We have held one another. We have learned one another’s love languages and boundaries. We have sung together, laughed together and cried together. We share the fight against rejection and fear. We war together for our families and guard our camp.  
I have heard that a man sometimes marries a woman that is like his mom.   
Happy Birthday Sarah. Bob and I love you very much. 
Don’t forget to feed the birds.

Mainsail In Destin, Florida

In the late 80’s and early 90’s my parents owned a comdominium at Mainsail.  Bob, the boys and I enjoyed visiting my  mom and dad when they traveled to Destin from Birmingham for a time of rest and relaxation.  Abbey wasn’t born until 1996 so she never experienced these special visits with her grandparents and unfortunately never got to meet my father.

I loved my parents coming to Destin, although I do regret not spending more time with them when they came, but I am probably being too hard on myself. I remember mom and dad  enjoying their time on the beach and I am sure they enjoyed a little space before we brought our three sons for a visit.

Yesterday,  after a doctor’s appt I pulled into Tops’l to take a morning walk.  While enjoying my walk on the beautiful beach, I didn’t realize I had gone quite a ways. Actually, I was about a mile down the beach before I saw Mainsail where my parents used to own a condo and visit quite frequently in the early 90’s. All of a sudden when my eyes locked on the Mailsail building my emotions and mood began to change. Tears streamed down my face. I began to weep and sob as I walked towards the buildings. I longed so bad for those days long gone.  Just to see my parents, brothers and sisters all happy together with our families on the beach. I felt such overwhelmed sadness. Then,  I just had to see the pool my boys and I used to swim in with their grandparents.  I wanted  to walk on the boardwalk we walked on and the beach we all played on.  I looked out in the gulf where my momma bobbed up and down saying how healing the salt water was.  I looked up at the 6th floor and remembered the night Bob, the boys, my parents and brothers and I all played games together in the condo. I remembered the baseball we played on the beach with my mom, dad and our young sons. One particular game my mother kept telling David and trying to show him how to play and some rules.  Keep in mind this was wiffle ball.  She just wanted him to understand.  Honestly ,David was born understanding how to play sports.  Anyway, we all laugh about it to this day how she was telling David the “how to’s” and David just wanted to swing that bat!   David look at my mom and said, “Gigi, you aren’t the B. O. S. T. of baseball.   He meant boss!   We laughed and laughed.

I hadn’t been to Mailsail since my parents sold their condo before daddy died on August 8, 1995.  Then momma died July 19, 2011.  It can be such a lonely feeling at times when both your mom and dad have died. It was especially hard yesterday because it’s 20 years ago today, August 8th that daddy passed.

A good cry and a time of reflection is ok.  Sadness is ok,  but don’t want to camp out there too long. It’s too hard.   My prayer today is that we honor, cherish and remember those that we love and have lost.  I will never forgot my folks, but they are gone now.  I still have siblings still alive though.

After momma died, some family relationships suffered and still are. My hope and prayer is for those that are left behind after a loved one dies, please don’t shut down, bury your emotions and pain and forgot about the family in your life that are still alive and well. Life is so short and soon will be just a memory.

  

When Your Child Reaches for Candy and Gets the Cosmo Magazine Instead

Cosmopolitan

Isn’t it a shame that when your child reaches for candy in most stores check out lines they get an eye full!

Many people want to be world changers. Some have different views of what that means.  To me…it means starting right in my own home, planting good seeds.   Next, it means seeing who God has put me around to be an influence to, whether it be my children’s schools, band organization, soccer team, work, church, etc.

A few days ago I had an another opportunity to try and make a difference and plant a seed at our local grocery store.  It has been about four years since I first began expressing my concerns and opinions to the Managers at our Winn Dixie Store here in Destin, Florida about having the Cosmopolitan and other inappropriate magazines at the check out counter.   I went through about four different changes of Managers finally before they made a change and shields were put on the Cosmopolitans, as well as they were moved away from the counter.  Yoo hoo!!!  I had a little victory.   I do remember one day during that time frame my brother walking out of the store with me snickering about what I was doing as if my voice would never be heard.  So, yes, I was snickered about and probably talked about, even amongst my own family and probably amongst the managers, but knowing what my passions are and staying focused on that keeps me on track.   One thing about using our voice is that if God has something in your heart he wants us to share and be heard, I have the faith that it will be.

Because the traffic was too long to head to Fresh Market the other day,  I ran up to Winn Dixie.   I was wanting to grab some pork chops for our dinner as we had friends coming over that night.  After shopping I proceeded to check out and I purposely took a quick look and there it was!  The Cosmopolitans were back at the check out counter.      YEP!!!  Eye level where little kids check out with their moms or dads while looking for candy and other little things….. Grrrr!!!!  I have to admit that in recent visits, I have not taken the time to see if what the manager’s agreed upon in the past was still being implemented, as I do get in a hurry.  But this day I did take the time.   Especially I felt it necessary and the right time to address this with the manager as directly behind me were three beautiful girls.  As I looked at them I thought of how sweet and pure they appeared,  and I began to bubble inside with a little righteous anger and urgency to get the manager.   No, I didn’t turn over any tables in the marketplace. Yes I did pause.  I just don’t want things to go back the way they were years ago.   Besides, my grandchildren, although toddlers, go through those same lines when they shop with their parents.

The manager and his assistant were gracious to listen as I talked about how Publix must value their families as they shield their inappropriate magazines at the check out counter.  As I had done in years past and with other managers at this same store, I explained to this manager that I have been a resident of Destin for over 25 years, and love my town.  I love shopping locally. My husband and I have been married for 38 years and have loved raising four children in Destin.  Also, I mentioned that I am a blessed grandmother of four.   I continued as I did other times in the past explaining that I have nothing against sex and that sex is great when it’s how God intended it to be. Also I threw in there that my husband and I enjoy sex but God created sex for a purpose….and I don’t believe it’s for my children, your children and other people’s children to read and see about at the check out counter, and that magazines like Cosmopolitan, should have a shield on it or be moved to another place to help protect our children of all ages’ eyes.  Amen and Hallelujah!  (I didn’t say that last part, but felt like it)

It’s just another of many avenues I have been down in fighting for sexual integrity, as I remember the days many years ago when I realized that the seeds that were being planted into my three sons would not be good ones if I continued to allow Victoria Secret Magazine to come in the mail.  Next was the American Eagle catalogue I had to call and ask them to please stop sending me.  Most of this comes from things you never asked for but get when you let the store have your email or sign up for discounts, etc.     I also stopped shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch when Abbey was in middle school for many reasons. First an foremost, I was not going to support fluffed up pornography and half naked young children and teenagers posing in AF outfits.   You get my point.  For me and my house, planting good seeds and weeding out the weeds that will choke my family was and still is very important.

I can only hope I planted a good seed at our local store the other day. I am sure I will have to keep praying, keep watching and keep watering it.    I truly believe if we all plant just one little seed at a time and continue to water it, that we can definitely make a world of a different and begin bringing back our homes, neighborhoods and America to good morals and values.  Never hurts to try.

The Rich Young Man and Zacchaeus

This is a must share written by David Schmidt from “Financial Storehouse”
How hard is it for a camel to go through the eye of a needle?

I know I am to love my neighbor. And I understand that was said in the red words multiple times.

But you know what type of neighbor makes it hard for me to love?

That neighbor/person that says, “You know it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. So you should think long and hard about encouraging people to be rich.”

Yea that person.

But lets dive into the good book together.

Luke 18:24-25 is the famous verse.

Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

These two verses have been used to influence our culture. In a toxic way. In a way that for generations there’s folks who believe rich folks don’t go to heaven! I just wish they would have kept reading the next two verses.

But lets keep reading.

Verse 26 & 27. Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “WHAT IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH MEN IS POSSIBLE WITH GOD.”

Without Him we aren’t saved. And it’s impossible to be saved through man and things of this world. But with Him our salvation is possible.

Then I find humor when I turn the page. I also find grace too but I found humor because roughly 15 verses later folks were confused why Jesus had gone to be a guest of a sinner at Zacchaeus’s home.

Oh and Zacchaeus was rich.

And in Luke 19:9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to SAVE what was lost!”

See He came to SAVE the rich like Zacchaeus!

So be encouraged that you have the opportunity to manage the wealth you’ve been blessed with.

Because I was wondering if the folks in America that thought the rich wouldn’t make it to heaven, then are the folks in Guatemala living off a dollar a day poor enough to make it into heaven? See because the Guatemalan thinks that the “poor” Christian in America is extremely rich.

Next time a co-worker, neighbor or friend leads to the misconception about rich Christians, encourage them to enjoy being rich in hopes they can best use God’s money to bless God’s people.

As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor–this is the gift of God. – Ecclesiastes 5:19

The hand of the diligent makes rich. – Proverbs 10:4

Be motivated by the opportunity to impact others.

Because it’s Him who gives us the opportunity to work to become rich. It’s Him who aligns us with the right opportunities through our hard work.

While you gain riches a reminder that there will be more distractions. And there is still idols that we normalize.

But continue to give thanks to him DAILY for the riches in ALL areas of your life. Not just in your finances.

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly ALL things to enjoy. – 1 Timothy 6:17

Live intentional,

David Schmidt
Step 1: $1K IN CASH
Step 2: ELIMINATE DEBT
Step 3: STOREHOUSE FUND: 3 MONTHS EXPENSES IN CASH
Step 4: RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS
Step 5: KID’S COLLEGE
Step 6: ELIMINATE MORTGAGE
Step 7: GIVE, SAVE, LIVE!!!
Financial Storehouse is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:6-7

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Are You Fearing Lyme or Ebola?

It can be scary and it can be fearful when there are breakouts of horrible viruses like the Ebola virus and Lyme Disease.  It can be especially hard because I believe like many others believe, that there is so much cover up and unanswered questions….at least with Lyme Disease.   When my daughter, Abbey and I first found out we had Chronic Lyme Disease it was definitely an overload of information to process. It was also a relief of finally knowing what were dealing with, after many years of being misdiagnosed and dealing with unknowns and illnesses.   I felt the same way the day I cried my eyes out with relief and sadness, while holding my oldest son and hearing that his diagnosis came by as positive for Chronic Lyme Disease.  But, on a positive note, like Phil Robertson says, “Now We are Cooking With Peanut Oil”!   Yes, now we all were able to move forward in our journey.   (I will share the story of our journey that lead to our discovery of Lyme on another blog.)  Abbey, Paul, nor I didn’t want to hear that we had spirochetes in our brain, organs, tissues and joints.  Good grief….it sounded like a horror movie. That was hard to take in.   Next we had to learn how to begin trying to kill them off……hopefully kill them off that is.   Then, you supposedly cannot ever be sure you are cured or over Lyme Disease completely, but trusting in your symptoms and testing throughout the years, and of course the mighty power of God’s healing and intervention.    I am speaking for Abbey and myself when I say that we had to work through the initial shock of being told we had Lyme Disease and several other co-infections  that tag along with Lyme Disease for some and most Lyme patients.  But, with a little time, we began to replace those feelings of fear with faith and hope that we knew only Jesus could give us.   HE has always been there for us and will never leave us or forsake us.  It has taken more though than just saying we trust in the Lord to overcome Lyme Disease.   It has taken a lot of work and change on our part.  It has taken more discipline and order than normal.  It takes putting up boundaries and saying no to things when we feel our body being pushed to the extreme.  It takes not comparing yourself with others or what other’s strength’s are.   All the time people ask us “How are You Doing”?  Or they comment….you and Abbey look great!!!  I thank people for the compliment and usually tell them we are doing good,  because we know that we are in good hands with our Savior. Truthfully though, not many understand all what goes into having and treating Lyme. Lyme is one of the most complicated bacterias with many unknowns.   There are a lot of answer I don’t know but I do know who truly does have all the answers and know that I need to keep it simple and trust in HIM.

Although we have all three forms of Lyme, we won’t give up.   If we would of discovered earlier we had simple Lyme we could of been treated with a short round of antibiotics more than likely and it probably wouldn’t have gotten into the cell wall or cyst form as well as the spirochetes.  Neither of us ever saw any bulls-eye rash or tick.  SO, to all who are reading this, please practice prevention from being bitten by ticks, educate yourself on the new research that is saying Lyme can be sexually transmitted as well as passed to your unborn through utero, and seek answers. Lyme Bacteria is very similar to syphilis, and we all know that can be passed on, so why wouldn’t you believe Lyme can be passed on? If you get gripped in fear you will never get out of the boat and get help or treatment.  It can be overwhelming, but our family, especially my husband, and our faith in the Lord have kept us going.

Paul & Me backstageHand in Hand on our Journey with LymeAbbey and Leslie in Orlando

So, for those of you who are asking how we are or what we are going through or have always wanted to understand and know a little more about Lyme Disease, I have put together some information for you.

WHAT IS LYME:

Lyme bacteria (called Borrelia burgdorferi – Bb) is similar to syphilis bacteria in appearance. It is corkscrew shaped and enters the body immediately after a tick bite and has been found in the CNS (central nervous system) within 24 hours of being bitten.  It can also be transmitted via mosquitos, sand fly’s and possibly by sexual contact.   There have been cases that have shown that the mother has passed it to her child in utero. I believe that I contacted my Lyme from my mother, and passed it to some of my children.  Because of its shape, it prefers to quickly move into the tissue, where it travels better and can invade organs and every bodily system. It grows in cycles, usually every 4-6 weeks and that is why long term antibiotic treatment is necessary. You cannot kill this Bb in 2 weeks of antibiotics, it will grow again in a few weeks. It is a smart bacteria and can hide from the immune system invading healthy cells, going unnoticed, therefore is not attacked by our immune system. It can form cysts when it senses a hostile environment (antibiotics) and hide from many antibiotics.

B. burgdorferi is genetically one of the most sophisticated bacteria ever studied. The Borrelia bacteria is able to change into three different forms to evade the immune system and antibiotics and to allow it to survive for long periods of time. (I can only laugh when I think about this in terms of a star wars battle)  Abbey and I are planning on kicking butt to these creepy things and besides.  Besides antibiotics, we are using lots of supplements, herbals and now doTerra Essential Oils, that will especially help break through the slimy biofilm, where research has shown can be hard to break through with antibiotics alone.

If you get bit by a tick or infected by another vector born insect, and can seek help soon after, you probably will eradicate all of the infection very easily by a round of antibiotics for about 28 days.  But, like Abbey and myself, as well as many others who go undiagnosed for years, it turns into Chronic Lyme Disease.  Below explains a little about Chronic Lyme Disease.

Chronic Lyme disease patients may face a long hard fight to wellness. People with chronic Lyme can have many debilitating symptoms, including severe fatigue, anxiety, headaches, and joint pain. Without proper treatment, chronic Lyme patients have a poorer quality of life than patients with diabetes or a heart condition.
The fact is Lyme is a complex disease that can be highly difficult to diagnose. Reliable diagnostic tests are not yet available which leaves many—patients and physicians alike—relying on the so called “telltale signs” of Lyme disease: discovery of a tick on the skin, a bull’s eye rash, and possibly joint pain. However, ILADS research indicates that only 50%-60% of patients recall a tick bite; the rash is reported in only 35% to 60% of patients; and joint swelling typically occurs in only 20% to 30% of patients. Given the prevalent use of over the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, joint inflammation is often masked.
Based on these statistics, a significant number people who contract Lyme disease are misdiagnosed during the early stages, leading to a chronic form of the disease which can prove even more difficult to diagnose and treat. Lyme disease is often referred to as the “great imitator” because it mimics other conditions, often causing patients to suffer a complicated maze of doctors in search of appropriate treatment.

The Three Forms of Lyme are and that Abbey and I are Being Treated For:

Spirochete– Spiral shape allows penetration into tissue and bone. Capable of intracellular infection. It leads to most of the signs of Lyme disease. It can then convert to cell wall deficient and cyst form when threatened by the immune system or antibiotics.

Spirochete

Cell-Wall Deficient (CWD)– In this form, a lack of cell wall makes targeting by immune system and antibiotics more difficult. It is also capable of intracellular infection and can clumps together in colonies making it very resistant to any treatment. The colonies are protected by biofilms, which make them even more resistant to antibiotics and immune system.  Borrelia can shift from the spirochete form into a cell-wall-deficient (CWD) and spheroblast (cyst) L-form. Its intracellular forms infect human endothelial cells and they also infect immune system cells ( i.e, lymphocytes ) corrupting their intracellular molecular structure, disabling parts/modes of the immune system and enhancing the virulence of other co-infections.

Cell Wall form

Cyst- In this dormant form the Lyme bacteria are not mobile and do not cause symptoms. They can however survive harsh conditions (including antibiotics, temperature changes, and most other adverse conditions) and are able to convert back to spirochete form when conditions are more favorable to their survival. Changing into the cyst form allows the spirochete to hide undetected in the host for months or even years, until a weak immune system in the host paves the way for the cysts to open and the spirochetes come out & multiply in great numbers: this leads to many of the symptoms of Lyme disease.

borrelia_cyst

General Information and Facts:

It does not take long for the Borrelia bacteria to spread within a person’s body after being infected. In fact in less than a week after contracting a Borrelia infection, the Lyme spirochete is able to penetrate deep within the body, and to dig its way into tissues such as tendons, muscles, heart, liver, and even the brain.

Borrelia burgdorferi symptoms are numerous and can mimic a wide range of diseases including: multiple sclerosis, arthritis, ALS, auto-immune diseases, neurological diseases, depression, anxiety ADD, ADHD, Thyroid Issues, Bi-Polar, Alzheimers and many others.

Lyme disease treatment is difficult due to all of the above factors. It requires a comprehensive program that is aimed towards removing all of the forms of the Borrelia bacteria from the body, not just the spirochete form.

Borreliosis, or Chronic Lyme infection, usually requires a long-term treatment approach due to the very long life cycle of borrelia.

Lyme is a “political” disease that has doctor’s butting heads regarding treatment.

CDC reports: Lyme disease infects 300,000 people a year. 10 times more Americans than previously reported. – 

ACCORDING TO THE CDC, LYME DISEASE IS THE FASTEST GROWING VECTOR-BORNE, INFECTIOUS DISEASE IN THE UNITED STATES. 

The IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America) simply will not even consider that Lyme is easy to get, needs prolonged antibiotic treatment until symptom free and that the infection is hard to kill. They do not consider the co-infections (other bacteria ticks carry) that make Lyme even more virulent. Their claims of short term antibiotics “curing” Lyme Disease is highly unlikely. They believe that if you still are symptomatic after a short course of antibiotics that you have what they call, “Post Lyme Syndrome”, they will not call it Chronic Lyme Disease, nor will they treat it any further. Their theories have been proven untrue by Lyme patients themselves. Many patients have gotten well after many months and some after many years of treatment with antibiotics.  Please, if you have Lyme Disease you will want to check out the http://www.ilads.com website.

Seek help from ILADS Organization:

ILADS (International Lyme and Associate Disease Society) are a group of Lyme literate Md’s that recognize Lyme can be a long battle . They have mountains of evidence that long term antibiotic treatment works! The IDSA seems not to consider the evidence, nor consider that there are millions sick with Lyme Disease, many misdiagnosed with MS, Fibro, Parkinsons and a multitude of other diseases.   ILADS is committed to the prevention of chronic Lyme disease.

The following tips are designed to offer guidance and minimize the risk of contracting chronic Lyme disease.
1. Know that Lyme disease is a nationwide problem
2. Check your tick facts
3. Show your doctor every rash
4. Don’t assume that you can’t have Lyme disease if you don’t have a rash
5. Do not rely on test results
6. Be aware of similar conditions
7. “Wait and See” approach to treatment may be risky
8. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion
9. Know your treatment options
10. Expect success
– See more at: http://www.ilads.org/lyme/lyme-tips.php#sthash.xpw5mrsR.dpuf

As I persevere in this journey, I can only pray that my children will also.  I will never know for sure how I got Lyme.  I am not positive on how my two children got Lyme.  How I think I got Lyme, was passed down from my mother, and I think I passed it down to my children. There is research showing this has happened and is possible.   There is still more to learn and I am a sponge.  I just have to keep praying for wisdom in learning and not giving up on this journey.  The things we are learning and doing I can only trust will benefit me and my family. There are some things we want to pass down to our next generation and there are some things we don’t, if we can help it.

I remind myself that I am on a journey of healing and wholeness. That journey takes time. There are some of you that are on a journey of healing and wholeness from Lyme or another problem that seems overwhelming to you.   Don’t give up. If you feel hopeless, there is a man named Jesus Christ who died on the cross just for you and loves you so very much. His plan is a good one and as you seek HIM and his direction for your illness or any problems, you will discover His incredible love and incredible strength and incredible plan for your life. Remember…”And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to them who are the called according to HIS purpose”. Romans 8:28

Being Intentional.

Hearing our Pastor tonight keep using the word “intentional”, I thought I would share this post again.

A Grace Filled Home

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Whether it is a diet or a relationship, we have to be intentional in our thoughts, steps and pursuit of doing the right things and making wise and Godly choices. Like the STOP, DROP and ROLL drill that people have learned and and to think about if their clothing catches on fire, we need to intentionally think about STOPPING, PRAYING and LISTENING to the Holy Spirit to guide us before we speak, Facebook, text or snapchat that boy or girl, or eat that wrong food. The question crossed my mind if Jesus had to be intentional in making good choices and being obedient when he was growing up. Many times when I asked my kids when they were growing up and even high school or college age, why they did what they did, or why they made that wrong choice, many times I would get the answer “I don’t know”…

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Being Intentional.

20140112-141246.jpg

Whether it is a diet or a relationship, we have to be intentional in our thoughts, steps and pursuit of doing the right things and making wise and Godly choices. Like the STOP, DROP and ROLL drill that people have learned and and to think about if their clothing catches on fire, we need to intentionally think about STOPPING, PRAYING and LISTENING to the Holy Spirit to guide us before we speak, Facebook, text or snapchat that boy or girl, or eat that wrong food. The question crossed my mind if Jesus had to be intentional in making good choices and being obedient when he was growing up. Many times when I asked my kids when they were growing up and even high school or college age, why they did what they did, or why they made that wrong choice, many times I would get the answer “I don’t know” or “I just didn’t think about it”. I guess I can understand those answers to some degree, because I have no idea why I just stuffed down a large glass of sweet tea, combo meal and a blizzard at Dairy Queen knowing I just ignored all my food sensitivities and the bad affect sugar has on my health. Maybe there are times we just don’t care if we do what’s good for us, or maybe we don’t think down the line to see how we will suffer from those bad choices. Have you ever heard of H.A.L.T? When we are either Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired we so easily lose it and break down. We can slowly let the small bad choices come in so often, that after a while we can grow numb, complacent, blind and deaf to what is the better, and Godly path or choice. Choices can either draw us closer or farther away from good and healthy things. I believe we should practice being intentional in making right choices. Anyone ever heard of the book “Practicing the Presence of God” or heard Bill Johnson from Bethel’s teachings on Practicing walking in the presence of God? Making good choices might not come easily or naturally for many of us but I believe that we can and should practice more and more being in the presence of God daily, hourly and minute by minute, and that we will begin more and more to develop a strong desire to have a heart after Him. If we can begin to think more intentionally of wanting to follow HIM, I believe we will then naturally begin to hunger and thirst for more of HIM, and will want to stay in constant conversation all day with the Holy Spirit telling Him of our love, devotion and desire for HIM. Oh Lord How Beautiful….Your Face is all I seek, and when Your eyes are on this child, your grace abounds to me.

Raising Our Family in Church

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My mother and father raised our family in a Christian home and in the church, and when Bob and I married in 1977,  we knew we wanted to do the same.   Each week we looked forward to Sunday, to fellowship, worship and experience life together with other fellow believers. I can’t begin to tell you all the happy times,  good memories and life-long friends that our family has made through belonging to a church, and serving alongside others.    All the Christmas pageants we were a part of, where our three sons were either lambs, wise men, kings or shepherds, and our daughter an angel.  All the youth mission trips, youth leader meetings, youth camps, children’s choirs, adult choirs, musicals, serving in the nursery, teaching Sunday School, etc. etc. etc.     Bob and I are so thankful as we now watch our son’s and daughter-in-laws begin to plant their lives and families into church, as well as our daughter Abbey, serving, using her gifts, and loving her youth group at our present church, Destiny Worship Center. We are looking forward in a few weeks, to our granddaughter and grandson’s baby dedication.  As I stand there on that special day I will take a deep breath of gratitude and thankfulness to the Lord for my family, for HIS love, mercy and faithfulness…..and how the circle of life continues….and pray we will always keep Christ in the middle of that Circle.

I ran across this article by Greg Laurie, a Christian Post Contributor, entitled “Why Going to Church Is Important, Part l” and found it worthy of re-blogging.
By Greg Laurie | Christian Post Contributor

Some people claim to be Christians but don’t attend church. But if you really love God, you will love His people and long to be with them.

“Well, I haven’t found a church I like yet, and I work and Sunday is my only day off!” The Bible indeed commands us to go to church, and-even more-to be a functioning part of it.

Hebrews 10:24–25 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I like the way the New Living Translation puts it: “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.”

The Bible does not say: Don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together unless Sunday is your only day off…or unless you want to run in a triathlon…or unless it’s a great beach day, in which case you are excused, because you just don’t need fellowship as much as other Christians do.

Yes, if you love God, you will love His people and long to be with them. If you don’t really love God, you won’t love His people. Some will say “I’m so over the church; people are critical and judgmental. It’s so full of hypocrites!” My response to that is: There is always room for one more!

Understand, I am not justifying hypocrisy of any kind, but honestly, we have all been hypocritical at times. But that is not a reason to not attend church. The church has its flaws because people are in it. However, Jesus both started and loves the church. He died for it.

Being in fellowship is a proof that you are indeed a child of God. It says in 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Studies show that if you don’t go to church for a month, the odds are almost 2 to 1 that you won’t go for more than a year. Being a vital and active part of the church is something we pass on to our kids. A study once disclosed that

•If both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72% of their children remain faithful in attendance.
•If only Dad attends regularly, 55% remain faithful.
•If only Mom attends regularly, 15% remain faithful.
•If neither attend regularly, only 6% remain faithful.

What legacy will you leave your kids? Are you committed to demonstrating to them that going to church is important?