Monday, November 12, 2018

The Little Things


Before I got sick, I was definitely a "grand gesture" kind of girl.  Lavish gifts, big parties, weekends in Chicago, the bigger the better. I worked hard and played hard. But then Myasthenia Gravis came into my life. 

I got too sick to work. I was too weak to go grocery shopping.  Pretty soon I couldn't put my hair up or take a shower on my own, or even breathe without a machine.

It's then that you realize that life truly is about the little things.

Being able to put my own socks and shoes on.

Being able to wash my hair.  (Being clean is totally under-rated!! Go without a shower or washing your hair for a while...you'll know what I mean!)

Being able to breathe without a ventilator.

Being able to talk after 4 months with no voice whatsoever.

Being able to do laundry.

Being able to stand long enough to make a meal.

Being able to put make up on.

Being able to cut my own food.

These are all things I was unable to do when I was really sick.  Some of these things literally took years for me to get back to doing.  I was so weak, and so very sick. 

Sometimes, a grand gesture is wonderful!  And it can be a very necessary thing.  But most often, it's the little things we can do that make our lives and the lives of our loved ones better.

Smile at a stranger.  You will notice how their whole countenance changes.  Say hi to someone.  Compliment the cashier ringing up your groceries, or the server bringing you food.  Pay for someone behind you at a toll booth.  Pay for someone's coffee, or meal if you can. 

This world didn't get ugly and hateful overnight.  Sometimes it feels that way, but it truly didn't.  We turned a blind eye little by little, by little, by little... until we opened them and saw we were facing a whole different direction.

Let's get back to the little things.  Do something kind today, just for the sake of kindness.  I'll bet you'll make someone feel really good.  And I have a feeling you'll walk a little lighter yourself.

Friday, November 9, 2018

What Motivates You?



"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."  Albert Einstein


Americans, in my humble opinion, embody this quote.  

"What's in it for me?"

"What will happen to me if I don't?"

Isn’t that what we hear most often from our children?  Sadly, adults are following suit. I wonder…

How many people would file taxes if they KNEW there was no punishment for not filing?

How many people would go to work if they didn't get paid?

What happened to a good, solid work ethic? Putting in a hard day’s work for the sake of doing a good job?

How many people go to church because they are afraid not to?  Either afraid of being judged, or afraid of God's wrath. I grew up in a church like that.  As long as your butt was in the seat, you had fire insurance, if you know what I mean.  And if you weren't there, you better be out of state or dying.  {And I'm not saying don't go to church, I'm just using this as an example to get to my point.}

This is my question:  what ever happened to intrinsic value? 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has a wonderful definition of intrinsic: “belonging to the essential nature of a thing: occurring as a natural part of something.”  Like breathing.  It’s just part of you.

Intrinsic.  Indwelling. Deep-rooted. Organic.  That “thing” inside that tells you the right thing to do.  Just because it’s right.

When did everything become about getting something in return, or doing something just to avoid punishment or repercussion of some kind?  Whatever happened to doing the right thing just to do the right thing?  Or being kind for the sake of being kind?

What about our relationships with God?  Do we “use” Him to get things?  Are we only interested in His blessings, but not willing to walk in obedience? Do we “love” Him so that He won’t be angry at us or throw a bolt of lightning our way?

“I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them.” Hosea 11:4

Our God is so loving and good to us. He doesn’t withhold His kindness or blessings from us even though we deserve none of them!  Our Father’s only motive is love.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3b

I have a challenge to everyone who reads this:  do something kind “just because”. The whole "commit random acts of kindness" and "pay it forward" clich├ęs have been around for a while.  But seriously, when is the last time that you did something nice for someone else, just to do it? Not because you wanted anything from them or because you felt you owed them something. Just because.

Do you have an elderly neighbor who is alone 90% of the time?  Go visit.  Take your kids.  Your children would be learning history from one who has lived it, and your neighbor would be filled with joy. We can learn more from one hour talking to older folks and asking them to tell us about their lives than we could in a month of history books.

Do you know someone who had a recent illness or injury?  Ask if you can clean their house. Bring a meal over to them.

Is someone at church looking for a babysitter?  Volunteer your time. Just because it’s the right thing to do.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:34-36



Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle?

He sure does.

There is a familiar adage people say when you're having a tough go of things:  "God will never give you more than you can handle."  I'm so sorry to break it to you, but He certainly WILL.

His Word says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you." Isaiah 43:2

Notice how it doesn't say "If you pass through the waters" or "If you walk through the fire"?  It says "when" my friends.  Do you know what that means? It means that in this life you WILL without a doubt walk through some dark, difficult times.

(Gee, Kerri, thanks for the encouragement...)

But HERE'S the thing:  God WILL be with you!!  He will NOT let those waters overwhelm you.  He will NOT let those flames you feel licking at your back consume you!  

And you will get *through* it.

God allows things that I don't always understand.  A lot of the time.  Most of the time, to be completely honest.  I don't understand why. Once again I find consolation in God's Word:

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts."  Isaiah 55:8-9

These 2 verses helped me so much when I was sick.  It's like we are all part of a big jig saw puzzle, and all WE can see from our limited view are the pieces that immediately connect to ours.  And the picture from here is NOT always rosy, let me tell ya.  However, we worship a God who sees ALL!  He sees the big picture!  He sees how our pieces, our problems, our predicaments, connect with others' pieces to make the most magnificent picture.

Friends, I don't know why you are dealing with what you are.  I don't need to.  God knows.  He is THERE, right by your side.  Notice that first verse I shared from Isaiah.  It doesn't say "I will be ahead of you" or "I will be behind you", it says, "I will be WITH you."

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong, my friend.  God will definitely give you MORE than YOU can handle.  That's only because He wants you to give your burdens to Him.

 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28


Monday, November 5, 2018

Magnificent Milestone


Yesterday was a HUGE day for me.  Not because I don't feel very good (Jacob shared his germs with me).  Not because it was Sunday (I missed church).  It was a big, wonderful, magnificent day in which I reached a major, magnificent, monumental, milestone.

After 17 years and 9 months, I am *completely* OFF of CellCept.  CellCept is the medication I take for the Myasthenia Gravis.  I started it in February of 2001 and have been on it ever since.  The only time I *didn't* take it was when I was pregnant with Jacob.

CellCept worked miracles for me.  It was the only MG med I had taken that worked.  Between that and Plasmapheresis, I stayed alive.  I didn't have side effects with CellCept as long as I took it with food.  I've had friends that had catastrophic side effects from this medication.

CellCept is a drug that suppresses the immune system.  With MG, my own immune system attacks the connection between my nerves and muscles (the neuromuscular junction).  So by taking this medication (originally a drug for organ transplant patients to help prevent rejection), the MG symptoms were slightly abated.  However, it was NOT a cure.

I am still NOT cured.

I am still NOT in remission... I have simply swapped out medication and a grueling procedure in which 150% of my blood volume was taken out, separated, put back together and put back in my body (plasmapheresis) for a foot bath. 

Yup, I said foot bath.  But not any foot bath... The IonCleanse by AMD.  This machine gave me the miracle I have been praying for since I had my first symptom in July of 1996.  IF I use the IonCleanse by AMD three times a week, I don't need pheresis, and I've been able to get off of Prednisone (after 17 years) and now off of CellCept (all WITH my neurologists's consent).

I was fortunate enough to be part of a very small, informal study in which the IonCleanse by AMD was provided for me to use as a possible MG treatment.  It is non-invasive, there are no chemicals in it, it is completely safe, and AMD has a perfect safety record. Click HERE to read the white paper on the study.)

As a side note, since using the foot bath (November 10 will be 2 years since my very first one), I have not needed plasmapheresis for 21 months!!!  

I'm so thankful to God for bringing this machine into my life.  My quality of life is SO much better.  I can drive again.  After almost 15 years of being primarily home bound, I can go places with or without Jacob, without my husband.  Nothing. Else. Has. Changed. In my medical regiment.  If I over do it, or if I miss a bunch of treatments, I get more symptomatic.

And I'll tell you before you even check out the link, it's *expensive*.  Sure, you could find something cheaper; but please remember, you get what you pay for.  A cheap, Chinese knock off has NO oversight... There is NO ONE making sure it's safe.  It hasn't been tested.  It's basically a glorified battery charger.  (We ARE talking water and electricity here)... And no, I don't work for AMD.  I'm not a salesman.  I just want everyone to know what a miracle this machine has been in my life.

AMD has the patent on this technology.  As I said, they have a 100% safety rating.  The people who own the company are good people.  If you call the company, you may very well talk to one of the founders.  They aren't pretentious.  They are good, decent people who want to help others.

Anyway... I just wanted to share my amazing news with everyone, and thank God for seeing fit to bring this machine into my life.

NEVER give up.  I went 20 years with this disease controlling my life.  But people were praying for me every. single. day.  I don't know why it took 20 years.  And I don't care.  The IonCleanse by AMD has given me my life back, and I give God all the glory!

Be blessed y'all!

Click HERE to go to the AMD website. (We in the study all used the Solo machine.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Job vs. Working

photo cred: alamy
I was talking with someone a while back and during the course of our conversation it came up that I homeschool my son.  I told this other mom some of the other things I'm doing right now and asked if they thought they could handle doing those things. 

"Me??  I have a JOB," they said rather haughtily.  

{crickets}

I was like, Oh, you have a JOB?  That you get PAID for?  That you work at 40 hours a week, sitting behind a desk, answering phones and filing papers?  Wow!!

I may not have a JOB, but I WORK my butt off.

"Salary.com aimed to market price Mom in the same manner it prices a job. For 10 titles, a nearly 100-hour work-week and a six-figure annual rate, moms may be the most valuable workers in the country." (www.forbes.com)

Ten titles.  100 (plus) work weeks.  No monetary pay.  I get paid in hugs and kisses, headaches, heartaches and never get a vacation.  Even when I'm on vacation...I'm always a mom. And there is no harder, better job I'd rather have!!  Along with the other dozens of things I need to be, I am:

a scientist
a teacher
a friend
a therapist
a nurse
a professional organizer
a taxi driver
a referee
a medical professional 
a psychiatrist
a financial manager
a veterinarian (for my fur-bearing children)
a counselor
a disciplinarian
a boo-boo kisser
a chef
a nutritionist
a housekeeper
a maid
a missionary

and so much more.  

So stay at home, homeschooling moms, whether you work OUTSIDE the home or not:  I see you!  I know how hard you work!  God sees you, and sees you investing in the future generation for the good of His kingdom.  So the next time that person in your life tells you (haughtily and with smug self-appreciation) that they have a JOB, you go ahead and tell them that you work harder than anyone you know, and that according to forbes.com you SHOULD be making $115,000 a year.  

And you are worth every. single. penny.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Unpopular Part Two

A few months ago, I posted a poll on Facebook that asked if people were born inherently good, or inherently bad/evil.  I have to say I was a tiny bit surprised by some of the responses.  A full 65% of those who answered said they thought people were born inherently good.

For those who are interested:  I disagree.  So does the Bible.

"Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest." Ephesians 4:23

I recently read a book called "The Hope of Nations" by John S. Dickerson. *Amazing* read.  

In "Hope of Nations",  John S. Dickerson writes about the Post-Truth and Post-Christianity society, in which we now live.  A Post-Truth society is one in which feelings have more influence over decisions that facts.  Read that again.  I'll type it again:  In this Post-Truth society we find ourselves in, *feelings* rule.  They are secondary to *facts*.  Let that really sink in.  It's terrifying if you ask me.

On page 68 the author writes, " Even fallen humans are capable of great good, nobility, and creativity.  However, separated from God by sin, humans inevitably drift back toward the destruction of sin.... Apart from Christ, we are blinded from the truth.... This is why a world with more than enough water, food, and resources still contains millions who lack clean water, sufficient good, and basic freedoms.... God intentionally described the fall of humanity at the very beginning of the Bible because it is a foundational truth. If we forget this reality about human nature, the world will not make sense.  Indeed, our Post-Truth neighbors, having been taught that all people are basically good, struggle to make sense of realities like ISIS and drunk drivers."

Think about it.  How else can you describe ISIS other than evil?  And what is the opposite of evil? Good. There is, without a doubt, good AND evil in this world. The problem is, we start OUT evil, and can only become "good" by the grace of Jesus Christ.

The depravity of man is a concept I grew up knowing because I grew up in the church.  The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" 

This is where we are now, in my opinion (and have been since the early New Testament  church):  "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error."  Romans 1:26-27  Unnatural.  Indecent.  These are not my words.  They are the words of God.

This is why we so desperately need Jesus! He is the ONLY thing that is going to make a hoot of difference in this maddened, sick world.  Did you know that in Folsom, California they have a "bondage" fair?  It's called the Folson Street Fair and it includes " naked adults in leather bondage gear, masturbation in public, and outdoor sexual "play places" that emphasize bondage, whips, and chains. All of this happens in broad daylight in a major American city."  ("Hope of Nations", p 13)

If that is not depravity I don't know what is, my friends. I think most of us can agree that an event like this is at the very least inappropriate, and at worst, absolutely vile and revolting.  Depraved.

One man decided this festival was appropriate for his 2 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER whom he brought to the sex festival dressed in leather bondage gear.  A TWO year old.  A reporter asked him if it was wrong to bring a child (a BABY) to such an event, and the dad answered, " 'Every parent has to decide for themselves what is right for them. And I respect that.  And we decided that this is right for our children.' " (p 13, taken from the East Bay Times, Sept. 29, 2005)

Do you see why it is imperative to have an absolute truth???  If we have no TRUTH there is no standard by which to measure right and wrong.  This "father" decided it was right for him to abuse his child by taking her to see things she should NEVER see in her life let alone as a baby.  Do you think it's a far stretch to this child being molested by one of the "fair goers?"  Think about it!  If there is no "wrong", if *anything* is tolerable and acceptable, why wouldn't it be the logical next step?  Someone out there doesn't think it's wrong to molest a child, therefore, he will do what "is right to him."

And mark my words:  very soon there will be no law able to stop him if this world continues down the path it's on. 

I could go on and on, but I want to say this:  THERE IS HOPE!!!  

"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men[a] because all sinned—13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ." Romans 5:12-17
Just as we all sinned through Adam, we can all be saved through Christ.  It's not like God is about to leave us in our depravity!  We ALL have a choice!  

"For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." Romans 5:7-9

Justified means "just as if I hadn't sinned".  God, through Christ, brings us unto Himself.  He takes away our sin through the blood of Jesus!  Hallelujah!  We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.  There is NOTHING we can do to earn salvation.  Nothing.  God will never love you MORE.  And He will never love you LESS.

I know this is a long post, and I'm praying you're still reading.  Please think about the things in this article.  I know some of them shocked you.  They shocked me.  They sickened me.  But they also lit a fire under me.  How can anyone read about a "festival" like that, in California, in broad daylight, and NOT be disturbed??   This is our world, people.  

We need Jesus.  Do you know Him?  Please just consider His offer:  "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

 "...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Romans 10:9-10

It really is THAT simple.  Believe.  Confess.  Live for him.  He WILL give us rest in this wicked, wicked world. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Unpopular Part One


I have never really been popular.  I've always kind of had my own groove, been my own person, and haven't been one to go with the flow.  As an adult, that thrills me!  As a child and adolescent, not so much.

I can honestly say that 90% of the time I don't really care what people think of me.  Yes, I'm human, and when I feel "ganged up on" sometimes my nose gets a little out of joint.  What DOES upset me is if people call my character into question.  That's not about being popular, or being "right"; it's about the fact that I'm pretty much as straight of a shooter as you can get.  I speak the truth, but I TRY to do it in love.  I don't always succeed. But know this:  I don't lie.  I don't cheat.  I don't steal.  I'm very, very human, and I'm sure I have hurt people's feelings with my candor. I really don't mean to.

That being said, there are times when I'm FINE with being unpopular.  In today's culture, it's very UNPOPULAR to be a Bible-believing Christian.  We are about the only social group that it's "okay" (politically correct, socially acceptable) to malign, bully, harass, and just plain hate.  Think about it:  If a Christian stands up for what THEY believe, they can get sued.  I have been called (among other things) myopic, narrow minded, a hater, a homophobe, a bigot, a Nazi, and more.  All because I believe in the God of the Bible, and in His Word as being THE absolute truth in life.

I believe in Jesus, the Son of God, fully God, and fully human at the same time.  I believe He left His place at the right hand of God, came into this world some 2000 years ago, and lived a sinless life (the only One to EVER do that).  Then he suffered a brutal, horrible death so that I could live eternally in heaven.  Yes, I truly believe it.  I believe the Bible is the 100% authority of my life, and that it was written by human hand, but each word was given to the authors by God Himself.
"Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory."  I Timothy 3:16 ESV

You don't have to believe like I do.  That's not what this is about.  It's about *everything* being acceptable and tolerable *except* being a Christian.  It's about being preached to about love and acceptance and being told I'm full of hatred and intolerance.  I base my beliefs and my decisions on the Word of God...so if you're offended by me, it's really not my belief that offends you, but God's Word.

Anyone who knows me, I mean really knows me, knows how much I love people.  I can truly love anyone, because Christ loved me while I was yet a sinner.  Jesus said, " A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35 ESV

I've always wanted a bunch of adopted kids because there are so many out there that need a home and family, and I really could LOVE them.  I don't care if you're black, white, brown, yellow, red, or purple.  I don't care if you have long hair or short hair, if you're gay or straight, if you're a Democrat or Rebulican.  I try to see people for who they are on the inside.  Do I agree with every lifestyle out there?  Not at all.

What I'm trying to get at is that there is a HUGE difference between agreeing with someone's lifestyle choices and accepting them as a fellow human being deserving of love.  Do you get that?  I'm not ever going to agree with men using the ladies room or vice versa.  I'm never going to agree with a lifestyle of child molestation because a person was "born that way".  Not. Going. To. Happen. However, there is a difference between hating a sinful lifestyle and hating a person.

"The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling." I Peter 4:7-9

A while ago on facebook I posted a poll asking if you thought people were inherently good or inherently bad/evil.  Tomorrow I will post part two of this post, and explain my results and feelings on that.

Thanks for reading.  I welcome your feedback!