Absence apologies…

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Huge apologies to all of you who follow my blog – while I’d tried earlier in the year to maintain some semblance of continuity, sadly my health has heavily declined over the past few months, culminating with me spending almost all of the last 2-1/2 months in hospital :(.

I have chronic & now apparently heavily severe Sjogren’s Syndrome (an autoimmune condition that technically dessicates you from the inside out), which destroys the mucous producing membranes of the body, so no tears, no saliva, etc.  And it’s the latter that has really caused me severe problems recently whereby because when you’ve no saliva (which is a natural antibacterial/antifungal fluid), your mouth becomes a playpen for all sorts of nasties – for me, it’s been a horrendous couple of bouts of severe oral thrush, plus once we’d got that sorted, oral herpes simplex :(.  Both caused very painful tongue ulcers which left me unable to talk let alone eat or drink.  On top of that, I’ve now got low blood pressure for some reason, which caused me to faint & bang my head heavily 10 days ago, plus I succumbed to pneumonia which left me being readmitted to hospital 1-1/2 days after being discharged!!

So, all in all, my heads not really in any place to think sensibly, & I’m still struggling with poor cognition & memory, making it hard to concentrate for very long.  This post is taking me twice as long to write as it would usually.

However, unless I end up back in yet again, I would still hope to gain some inspiration to continue writing the provocative and thoughtful posts I’ve become known for.

If you’re the praying type, I’d certainly appreciate your prayers for me, as this “blip” in my health of late has been quite hard to cope with.

Blessings.

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Temporary hiatus….

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Apologies to all who regularly follow my blog.  I’ve not been too well of late plus have a lot of work on, trying to get my various Christmas card orders made for friends & family.  Between everything else going on in my life just now, I really haven’t had time or opportunity to write anything of real interest so have taken a temporary break from the blog.

However, don’t panic – I’m absolutely going to return shortly and begin more regular posting as the Lord prevails to grant me topics that I can get my teeth into :).   So just keep watching this space.   In the meantime I’ll be putting up a craft post in the near future just to keep the blog alive.

Thanks for your patience.

Personal update & Christmas cards.

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Apologies to all my regular readers for the lack of posts in recent days but I’ve had some stressful times of late, and only now have time to catch up on such things as updating my blog.   My mum wasn’t at all well over the late summer right through to October and she’d really only started to recover, when I then had to cope with my 12-year-old handreared (by me) kit Tikvah (you can read about him elsewhere on here if you search) took critically ill, culminating in emergency surgery for aggressive small cell lymphoma (bowel cancer).    While he sailed through the surgery incredibly well, he went downhill a week later necessitating immediate chemotherapy.  I found all of this surprisingly hugely stressful – much more so than I ever anticipated so I’ve not been too well on the back of it.

However, he’s now just completed week 4 and is once again doing superbly well and is expected to continue to stay so for the foreseeable future, although I appreciate this is really only delaying the inevitable, and his time with me now is hugely limited, which is still tough for me to accept, but ultimately philosophically, I recognise he is only a cat – he just happens to be THE most amazing, unique, and special cat, the kind you only get once in a lifetime if you’re really lucky.   He’s the first one I’ve ever had that responds appropriately to 10 words not all related to food :), and acts sometimes as if he really does understand what you’re saying.

Anyway all that aside the other time consuming aspect of my life has been making 500+ Christmas cards since August.   It’s the same every year – I start early thinking surely this year I’ll make enough to deal with all the requests but once again, got to the beginning of the month having to find another 80 from my own stash to fulfil a friend’s needs.   And almost all of these get given away to family – two friends are gracious enough to sell some but ultimately you just can’t make money on them as nobody wants to pay even 50p per card let alone the £2-3 they should be sold for and I’d rather get £5 than nothing at the end of the day.   Plus the biggest purpose of making them isn’t for money, it’s for my therapy and pain relief/distraction etc.   My pain levels have been rather high of late with all the extra driving and stress etc, and making the cards has been great for just keeping my mind off how bad it can be more often than not now, especially with the Arctic conditions we’ve suddenly hit here in the UK.

So once again I figured I’d just share a couple here and give you the link to the website where I have a lot more on show.   If you’re feeling generous, certainly I’d be more than happy for you to buy some and am willing to do a deal on bulk orders (more than 5).   Each year I seem to manage to create a whole new range and the side-stepper cards (shown above) are proving hugely popular this year.   The one on the right here is a “Flowersoft” one – the foliage at the base of the image is treated with tactile Flowersoft which provides a lovely 3D feel to it and looks quite realistic.   And the bonus is that it’s not too deep so along with the S/S cards doesn’t cost too much in postage.   One friend told me that it had cost her £28 to post her cards last year because most of them were 3D decoupage – that really shocked both of us, so I’m endeavouring now to make a lot more flat ones for next year!!

So for now, all that remains for me is to wish you all a very blessed and peaceful Christmas and trust you all remember Who the season is all about and why it is celebrated at all!!

Back to work…

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Bit of a longer break from writing than I’d expected to have this past couple of months, but a necessity of sorts, as I just haven’t been able to think straight much to do anything requiring brain power.   I’m battling bone pain nightly which is now under investigation but which continues in the meantime to cause me endless fatigue through broken sleep.   I’m contented it’s nothing serious as I’ve had this before in 2006 caused then by bony infarcts and it’s most likely just a recurrence, but I discovered then that the only way I was going to get pain relief was to be willing to be totally housebound and on ridiculous doses of narcotics which ended up just making my brain more like Swiss Cheese than it is already 😦   So I figured this time, I’d just try and ride it out a bit more in the hope that either the Lord will once again heal as he did that year, or the docs find something easier treated perhaps.   There’s a possibility it may be nothing more difficult than bumping up my Vit D intake as I’ve had very low levels for some time now and my Rheumatologist thinks that also might be causing the pain as it can cause a condition called osteomalacia (bone softening).   But we’ll see.

So, in the meSquare diamond DPantime, I’m going to try and put my tired brain cells into action and resume writing once again – plenty of ideas certainly, but it’s proving tough to just get stuck in and put the post together – something I’m sure all bloggers feel now and again.   This is also the busiest time of year for me, as I’m once again starting in to the yearly Christmas Card production which takes up pretty much all of my spare time.   Usually have around 3-400 cards+ to produce and unless I keep on top of them, I end up in November trying to make 10 a day which is crazy – easier to make 1-2 a day now and have less pressure then.

But at least you’ll know if nothing’s happening over the next few weeks, what the reason is.

Where would you be if….

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Before you start to read this, be warned – it’s a rare “rant” for me as I don’t often give in to the extent of my feelings on some issues in the way I have done with this one, but some things just get me plain mad, and this is one of them!!

I’ve been listening a lot lately to talks and discussions about abortion issues in particular, especially where they concern Barack Obama’s excessively liberal stance on this topic.   I was utterly shocked beyond anything I’ve ever felt before, to hear that he not only condones abortion, but also that he voted in favour of partial birth abortions to the point where he would support a doctor actively killing a BABY if it dared to exit the womb of its own accord before the doc got his hands on it during a planned abortion procedure.   I find it incredibly fascinating how so many women in particular seem to be able to ignore the utterly obvious in all of this.   While they lie there 7 months+ pregnant desiring to be rid of the “thing” inside of them, they don’t want to contend with how that is done, or the end result etc.   To them the “thing” inside them is a nonentity of no value – it must be, or else they would not only deliver the baby but be willing to put it up for adoption instead.   I seriously want to know why that is such a huge undesirable thought for them.   What really leaves me confused is how in an “unwanted” pregnancy the baby is only ever referred to as “product of conception” or other medical terminology e.g. foetus, embryo, etc,  but yet, if say x years down the line the woman’s circumstances change and she then is married and gets pregnant, from the outset the “thing” is incredibly now called a BABY!!!   Does anyone else see the irrationality in that??   Or can someone explain it to me, as I’m seriously lost on how you can switch your entire pysche to think one thing to suit one set of circumstances and an entirely different to suit another, when it pertains to the same “thing” – a BABY!!   I’m also utterly galled by the fact that partial birth “abortion” is nothing short of infanticide but because the woman’s rights trump the baby’s it’s overlooked and everything is done to prevent it gaining any notoriety.    I have to ask again – what the heck is the problem about giving birth and handing the child over to someone else to love it and bring it up – and I can only surmise that it’s a desire to have NO responsibility in any shape or form for the child that God has graciously granted the mother to have – perhaps even for the sole purpose of providing the child for another infertile couple – who knows?!

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Boats, storms and an uncaring Saviour….

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This appears to be a common theme among many other Christian blogs just now, but I wanted to share something from a more personal perspective on a rather important lesson the Lord taught me last year in the midst of my refining illness.   I’d been struggling heavily with trying to figure out why I was having to cope with an apparent illness of no value – well, perhaps illness never has a value, but sometimes you can see people being used mightily for the Lord as they endure dreadful times with cancer etc or some other major problem.  Me though – I was only suffering pain – horrendous certainly, but hidden and thus not an easy symptom to show others how well I was dealing with its effects.  I’m very much one for trying to work hard for the Lord, and have to constantly check myself that I’m not actually trying to overtake Him and work for work’s sake, but regardless, my greatest prayer is often that my life be used by Him in the lives of those I touch.   But as I worked through this problem last year which left me housebound, on huge doses of narcotics, thus doped and unable to think straight much of the time, I was truly at a loss to figure out what the point was in it all.   I couldn’t see any value at all in my suffering – for me or anyone else, but the Lord soon changed that.   He’d been working through the earlier part of the year to show me that one of my biggest sins was to put doctors before Him every time when it came to my health care, and so I was having to learn to overcome that temptation each time I was faced with a new problem, and seek God alone until He opened up doors to do otherwise.   But when I did seek Him I never seemed to see much change or improvement in any form, so again, often wondered what His purpose was in what He was allowing me to go through.    Then one night while listening to a sermon by a really sharp Pastor – He spoke to me and gave me some insight to where I was at.

To set the stage:boat.jpg

Mark 4:37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

The lesson I learnt out of this was firstly that when the storms of life hit, Jesus is right there for starters which we know, but sometimes we miss the subtleties about this story.  The primary one is that when the storm first rose, the disciples didn’t immediately rush to get Jesus to do anything – they did precisely what we all tend to do with our problems – start working through fixing them in our own strength first of all.   I mean, why bother the Master, if we don’t need to eh?   Secondly they figured that because He was asleep, He’d no knowledge of what was happening to them, or cared in the least if He did.   Only when their situation became really dire, and they were fearing for their lives, did they finally accede to their need for Him to intervene and thus woke Him up.    I can’t help feeling it was a somewhat arrogant question that – “Master, carest thou not that we perish?”   I mean, had they not seen Him caring about them on a daily basis up to that point, or not seen His power in action to know that if He didn’t act, there was a good reason?   And aren’t we just the same – don’t we behave with those same attributes when we hit our life storms, and His response to us is exactly the same – “How is it you have no faith”?

But it truly did impact me that night and helped me to recognise that part of my problem was still in not truly seeking Him to act in my situation still somehow preferring to try and solve things on my own.   Self will and control are against God’s Will for us.  I was reminded yet again about this yesterday in listening to the One Year Bible readings about Moses and the infamous story about the exodus from Egypt.   When the people found themselves in situations without food or water etc, and complained to Moses – he didn’t turn round and start walking about trying to locate supplies for the people in the desert, which is pretty much what most of us would start doing no doubt.  No, Moses immediately turned to God and asked Him where he was going to get the supplies from, thus allowing God to act from the outset and show His Power and Glory in doing so.

Hopefully some of you will benefit from this lesson as He applied it to my life, but regardless of whether you need it just now in your life, it’s one to tuck away for any time of testing.   Love to hear if anyone else has had similar lessons in their lives at such times.

On a personal note – more on my health issues..

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As I know some of you are following my ongoing saga with my carpal tunnel and related arm pain, I figured you might be interested in this particular update – all the more so if you by any chance suffer from fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome.   I have both now seemingly, having spent the last 12 years with just the former.

If you read my last post on this topic before Christmas, you’ll remember I had a miraculous healing of my upper arm pain after my CTS surgery.  However, before that point a referral to a new pain clinic had been put in place, which really came about purely as a (Divine) mistake (there are no coincidences in God’s Will!!) – and I duly got an appt through 2 weeks ago.   I was almost going to either cancel it or put it back as I’d only had an odd night with any sort of minimal pain in the arm to contend with, and worried I was going to waste the appt, but after praying a lot about the situation, recognising that God had to have engineered the appt to start with, and having friends, family and my GP recommending I attend, I duly did so.   And as it turned out, it was absolutely His Will for me to do so given the outcome.

This new doctor (a Dr. Pamela Bell of Musgrave Park Hospital for anyone in Ulster!) was wonderful – very empathetic, and let me outline the whole saga before examining me.   Within 2 mins or less, she found what she believes to be the source of all that trauma last year, and it’s so darned simple I’m at a total loss to understand why not only my Rheumatologist, but 3 other docs didn’t find it when I was on the ward for the whole month of August last year!!   Nothing more (possibly) than a simple myofascial trigger point.   Seems these differ radically from fibromyalgia tender points – something I’ve been blissfully unaware about all these years of synonomously (sp) using the two terms as if they were one and the same.

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