Sunday, September 25, 2011

Emotional Day

Today Hubby & I decided to drive down to Santa Cruz then drive up the coast. My heart was heavy as we started the day. My cousin Jonna's husband Larry was coming to the end of his battle with cancer. Larry always amazed me with his faith & determination not to let the cancer get to him. He always smiled & was confident God would see them through this. I was really struggling with enjoying the day. As we started our drive up the coast line, I got the call that Larry's battle was over & he was no longer suffering but instead in Heaven. My heart ached for my cousin Jonna.

I tried not to cry as we drove. We rounded the corner & caught glimpse of a magnificent little beach. We immediately stopped. Somehow, the beauty of God's creation soothed my soul. 

This little cove spoke so much to me. The rocks had been so battered by the stormy ocean. A hole had even been worn through the rock. Much like the trials of life wear holes in our lives. Yet, the hole added beauty & intrigue to the rock just like our trials & how we handle them add beauty to our lives.

When I saw this rocky ledge being battered by the sea, it made me think of my cousin Jonna. She was like that rock. She was being battered by the storms of this life. She was being slammed by death, grief & loneliness. Yet through all these trials, she was standing strong. God was going to stand with her & keep her strong.

I almost cried more because God had given me the picture I needed to see at the time I needed to see it. Our God is so good & His creation is so beautiful. It overwhelms me & leaves me speechless.
As our day progressed & we continued driving up the coast, God kept providing me with more & more scenes to remind me of His love & protection. 

If you look closely toward the top of the picture, you can see 2 little birds. There were lots of them on the beach. We were on top of them almost before we saw them. This verse popped in my head:

Matthew 10:29-31 - "Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your 
Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows."

 The beach can be so peaceful, yet...

so chaotic & overwhelming...
Through it all, God is waiting to shine His love down on us & reflect His glory through our lives just like the sun reflects off the water.

 Enjoying the beach with my wonderful Hubby.

More of God's beauty as we drove down the coast on Highway 1.

 I love the mix of man-made & God made beauty.

The beauty of God's creation. I love how blue the lake is. We found this gem as we travelled through the mountains back to our hotel. 

It was a beautiful day filled with emotion. 

California trip - Sight-seeing with a great tour guide!

Yesterday was our first sight-seeing day. We started about 11:30am after Hubby got off work. We had a wonderful tour guide yesterday. Dai Wei was Jeff's roomate in college (1989-1990 school year). He was thrilled to see us & gave us an awesome tour.

 We headed into San Francisco via the Bay Bridge!

Then we proceeded to follow the bay around San Francisco. It was neat seeing the Bay Bridge from below.

  Next we went to Pier 39 where we saw a Sea Lion colony, Alcatraz & the Golden Gate Bridge.

We also walked through the Shopping area stopping at the Hard Rock Cafe to get collector pins for Josh since he collects them from all over the world. Now he has 2 from San Francisco!

We also visited Lombard St. We stopped at top & took pictures then drove down it to the bottom & stopped to take more pictures.

 We stopped at the bay near the Marina. We then walked across the street to The Palace of Fine Arts. Beautiful Roman Architecture. I loved the way the light illuminated the column (above right).

   As we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, the fog continued to roll in. By the time we got to the north side, the bridge was partly covered with fog. We then went up to the vista overlook. The fog was so thick you could barely see the bridge.

 Then the fog cleared partly & the sun came out. We could see a partial rainbow in the fog to the left of the bridge leg. What beauty God blessed us with.

We then proceeded back to the piers. We had supper at Fisherman's Grotto, the oldest restaurant on the piers. After supper we headed back to Dai Wei's hotel where we met up with his ex-wife, Cathy & their son Nathan. They surprised me with ice-cream cake, flowers, sparkling cider & birthday card. My birthday is Monday. A very good end to the day!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Surprised by Fear

Ever think you have overcome one of your most paralyzing fears only to have it appear out of nowhere?

When my Jamie was 18 months old, we found out she had a peanut allergy. At age 3, she touched another child who had peanut butter on them at church. She then rubbed her nose/mouth. Her reaction started with a rash. Hubby & I each thought the other had given her Benedryl. Big mistake! 1 1/2 hr later Jamie has an anaphylactic reaction. This means her lungs were swelling as was her mouth & throat. She could barely breathe. I'm so thankful for her Epi-pen. Within 30 seconds of Hubby injecting it into her leg, you couldn't tell anything was wrong with her breathing.

After this reaction, I became paranoid that I would lose my baby. I was filled with fear whenever there was a situation where peanuts were involved. It was overwhelming. That is not how I wanted to live life. Fortunately we have a gracious God who took away most of that fear & helped me to see that I could only protect her so much & that I would have to trust her in His hands. I began to relax, even when peanuts or tree nuts (which we discovered later) were involved. I trusted that we were doing all we could to keep her safe. We warned others, we trained Jamie to ask if things had nuts in them & not to eat without our permission. We've made it almost 8 years now without a major reaction. I've probably had 5 years without the fear.

Wednesday night, that fear hit me with a vengeance. Due to a relaxedness on my part & oversight by those at church, we had a kids function with peanuts involved. I thought this would be a safe event. My guard was down. As we walked across the lobby to the cafe, I spotted the peanut covered ice-cream. I felt the fear grip me. It took all my strength not to grab the kids & run out the door we were passing. This would have meant very upset kids.

So I stuffed my fear down & walked with my kids into the cafe area. It was a very chaotic area with kids & adults everywhere. I told my kids not to touch anyone & not grab any ice-cream treat until I checked labels. The first box of assorted goodies had NO allergy labels at all. It contained the forbidden item. So everything in that box was out. Fortunately, they also had Icee push up type bars which where labelled with allergens. They were safe.

I got each of my kids one & even made sure another boy who has peanut allergies (his mom wasn't in that area at the time) got the safe Icee product. I sat them at a corner table where I could try to keep an eye on them to make sure no one who had nuts touch Jamie. No one approached our table, but I don't blame them. I probably didn't look too inviting. I was trying hard to keep the fear inside & not overreact & fall apart.

I prodded the kids to quickly finish & we made our escape. I was glad it was dark on the way home as I was crying. The fear had overwhelmed me & I had not handled the evening gracefully at all. I reacted in fear & not with God's peace. I had focused on the threat instead of God's protection. I thought I had moved past the fear. Once again, Satan had waited for the opportune time for my weakness to show & pounced on it & me. Once again, I let the fear overwhelm me without turning to God until I was almost totally engulfed.

I'm praising God today that He kept my Jamie safe without a single hive! I'm also praising Him that even thought I let the fear capture me, He didn't let it totally engulf me & enslave me! I learned that I need to turn to God the second the fear appears & not let it in. I also learned I need to not be lax on checking food for events we will be attending & need to remind Jamie's teachers & leaders about her allergies. When you don't live with the allergies, you don't always think about them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thoughts as Hubby packs...

I've been so blessed to have my wonderful Hubby home for the past 3 weeks. We've had some great family & couple time. I'm so thankful to God for this time together.

As I'm sitting here typing, Hubby is packing his tech. He leaves in 1 1/2 hrs for the airport. He's only gone 4 nights this week. Even though I know it's only a short time, I'm already missing him. You'd think by now, I would be used to this. But I don't know that I'll ever be used to him leaving me.

I find myself stopping a lot as I type to watch him pack. After 23 years together (almost 21 of marriage) I still like watching him. I continually thank God for him & for the fact that I am so in love with him. I see so many marriages around me either struggling or ending. I know that it is only because of God's grace we are not.

I'm so grateful that next week I will get the opportunity to travel with Hubby for 10 days! Can't wait to spend time in San Jose with my sweetheart! I am so blessed to have wonderful parents & in-laws who love to take our kids, even for 10 days!

As I think of Hubby's traveling, I am excited at the prospect of him being on this side of the country after New Years. Hopefully we will get to travel with him some as a family. All that family time plus wonderful field trip opportunities sounds awesome to me.

Well, Hubby's about done packing & will be leaving soon so I'm getting off here till later! Look for a post later this week on the Women's Retreat at our church & True Beauty.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


You'd think after living with Fibromyalgia for almost 15 years I would know how this disease works. But every once in awhile, I get blindsided with this disease!

With fibromyalgia, you have good days & bad days. Sometimes you have several good days in a row. When you have the good days, you tend to overdo because you feel so good.

Lots of things can cause you to have a bad day. Overdoing is just one of them. Weather also plays a big part in how you feel. My body is a human barometer! I can feel storm systems before they move in to the area. Storms tend to make me feel achy. Being very busy or very stressed can also cause flare-ups. Not sleeping well can cause flare-ups. When you combine everything, you have the makings for a severe flare-up.

Normally when I have a busy week, I build in time to rest. This week I did not do that. I went from activity to activity with little time for rest. We stayed up late, got up early & had constant activities going on. Plus, I was feeling really good. I had very little pain.

Having very little pain lures me into a false sense of everything being ok & I don't need to rest. This morning I woke up feeling horrid. I felt exhausted & achy all over. This put me in a very bad mood because I wasn't expecting it. Also my mind is very foggy. I think this is worse than the pain. When my mind is foggy, even the easiest tasks become hard.

Fortunately, my Hubby is home this week & has been working with the kids on schoolwork. His help has made this day bearable.

Note to self: The next time you have a really busy schedule remember you are going to flare!
Note to everyone: Please excuse errors in this as spelling & grammar go out the window during fibro-fog!