Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Look

I would hope that you would notice Living in the MidWest has a new look, but if you didn't now you know.

I thought with a new beginning can come a new look to the blog. It is simple and easier to edit for me. And this is all about making things go a little bit smoother for me.

However, I do want to hear what you (the reader) has to say about it, this is your blog too you know.
I'll be moving stuff around and playing with colors so let me know what you think.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It Stops Today

Lately I've been spending way too much time feeling sorry for myself. That is going to stop today. I'm not saying that I won't have bad days... I'm just going to try and have less. A beautiful day was ruined yesterday, because I let myself be upset. I didn't start the day as planned, waking up several times in the middle of the night, then sleeping through the alarm to head to church. Missing church made me miss the day. The only way I can take this illness is one hour at a time, but I've been letting what happens in previous hours effect the present hour. I'm going to try to make that happen less.

I haven't been writing a heck of a lot about the environment, social justice, or Christianity lately. This is mostly because I haven't had any particularly positive things to say. I'm going to try to write one post a week that has some substance on a topic that I'm passionate about.

I haven't been walking as much as I would like or need to because I've been in a lot of pain or extremely tired. I'm going to try and walk 3 days a week no matter how bad I feel.

I haven't been asking for help. And many days I seriously need it. Instead of whining, I'm going to try to ask for help from more people.

I complain because no one understand what I'm going through or how I feel, but I haven't tried to explain it in ways that they can understand. I'm going to try to start explaining my illness instead of just complaining about something I can't change.

Ryan and I have been doing this by ourselves for way too long, and I know he's getting tired. I'm going to try and assemble a team of people to help me accomplish more and feel the best I can.

There has to be more, but I think this is good for today. Notice I say I'm going to TRY to do each of these things. I know there are going to be times that I fail miserably. But I am going to make the best effort possible to make those times few and far between.

PS. I found a new favorite website that is being all inspirational and stuff: www.chronicbabe.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back On

Our power is back on. Just wanted to write to say that. I am feeling particularly lousy today, will write when I feel better.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Without Power

Much of Columbus has been without power since Sunday afternoon. There are no real indications of when the power will be turned back on, but we are coping. I've had a few high pain days, and without heating pads and ice it's been a little tough.

I did however have a good doctor's appointment today. She reaffirmed that I am indeed actually ill and that we will get it all worked out.

(This was reassuring after the whole bad dr. thing last week. I spent the whole week wondering if I had done something wrong as a patient!! What a horrible feeling, and not at all the way it should be.)

I will have an appointment with another specialist in the beginning of November. Meanwhile I have a new medication to try, and I bought myself a book. The book I picked was what I saw as the least of the "miracle cure" type books, and actually seemed to describe fibromyalgia as a chronic illness.

In other news, with having the power out and not being in school I've started to do a little theological reading everyday. Who would have though?! It's so much easier when it is not required, and it surely will inform my formal education process when it begins again.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon of St. Francis of Assisi

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord, All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.

To you alone, Most High, do they belong, and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather's moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.

Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.

Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
Mother Earth
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon for love of You and bear sickness and trial.

Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.

No second death can do them harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Digging Further

In my last post my very very dear friend Jim asked me what Romans 12 means for me personally right now? It's not a secret that I've been struggling with life over the past year, and have had some terrible moments. Some of these moments included me being very angry for no real reason other than I had just run out of every other emotion to have.

I replied to Jim in a comment below, but I wanted to dig a little further into why at this particular time Romans 12 was something that came to mind. I had to think why I posted it to begin with. When I finally remembered it didn't have anything to do with the way Eugene Peterson interprets the scripture in The Message (even though this is my favorite way to read it.)

At some point yesterday I came across Romans 12:12 (NIV), which says "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." There was no context to the scripture, just written as a "favorite quote" on facebook. I looked at it, and thought what does it mean for me to be joyful, patient, and faithful?

Joyful isn't hard, I understand joy (it's my middle name after all) I've felt joy many many times in my life time, two particular times were when my niece and nephew were born.

I think I'm familiar with being faithful as well. I've posted before that I've learned that I've become really great at being thankful in prayer, and praying for others, but I really am not good at praying for myself. I hope that while I'm working on this, others will continue to pray for me as I have for them.

Patient, especially in affliction, is a little harder for me. I'm not a patient person, almost anyone who knows me will recognize this. And ESPECIALLY in affliction. I almost feel that I haven't had a choice over this last year than to be patient. But what I want to make clear is that being patient isn't settling. It's not saying that "I'm sick, I can't live the way I use to, and I'm just going to give up."

I think what being patient has meant for me is that I need to trust the doctors that things will get figured out, and treatments will eventually work, and in the mean time I need to be patient that God will comfort me until that time comes.

I feel lucky that there will be a treatment and I will start to feel better, for some this is not the case. And for these people I pray that God will sooner rather than later provide them with comfort.

So Jim, my friend, I guess that is what Romans 12 is saying to me now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Romans 12 from "The Message"

Place Your Life Before God

1-2 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

4-6In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.

6-8If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

9-10Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

11-13Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

14-16Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.

17-19Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

20-21Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

not such a great appointment

I'm going to keep sticking to the "if you don't have anything nice to say" rule, and just say my doctor's appointment did not go as I had hoped. I did not hear anything that I did not already know and the doctor was almost patronizing. So, back to the drawing board, calling my primary care provider (pcp) tomorrow in hopes of some other options. At this point I'm willing to try anything.

In happier news I had my weekly massage today and it was WONDERFUL. It's really the only thing that keeps me out of bed, I just need to find a way to pay for it.

And I want a recliner.. It would be wonderful.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Prayers for Haiti

I don't know a lot about Haiti. I'm not sure I really know anything at all. But what I do know is that Hurricane Gustav tore through Haiti leaving flooding and death in it's wake. Hurricane Ike did not make a direct hit, but more flooding is expected as the out bands of rain go through.

My friend Julia's dad does mission work in Haiti, lot of prayers are needed. The mission lost their crops and is dealing with flooding. Julia said that it is not as bad as it could be, as there is more flooding and low lying area and in the cities. The flooding consists of sewage, which will cause even more deaths that the hurricanes and flooding already has.

The main thing to keep in mind here is that when the US media reports the death tolls, they are very under reported.

Prayer for Haiti, and for the relief workers.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Important Appointment

I have an incredibly important appointment on Wednesday. I have my first visit with a rheumotologist. This doctor will hopefully be able to diagnose and start to treat all that has been going on with my body for practically forever. It's been much worse in the last year, and am looking for some relief.

I'm anxious about it, because there are so many things that could go not well. The doctor could not believe me about my symptoms, my blood work could be completely inconclusive (as it has been), I could very well just not like her. Or the treatment that gets prescribed might not work.

Prayers would be greatly appreciated for this appointment and follow up appointments. Thanks.

Once I'm feeling better I can write better and more informative blog posts.

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's a Boy!

From The Kids


Ryan and I went to a cat shelter yesterday and brought home a beautiful boy. His name is Popeye, named by a woman at the shelter who took care of him as a kitten, we will keep the name. He is 1.5 years old, and he has been in and out of the shelter his whole life, being returned twice. He's so wonderful and we could not ask for a better cat (I would say pet, but Scarlet is still wonderful.)

This picture is also one of the best pictures taken of me in a long time. The idea of getting a cat was partly as pet therapy, having someone to love and care for, and for company on the bad days I spend in bed. These days seem to be more frequent lately, but Popeye seems to know exactly where to lay so I feel better. He's even laying in my lap/on my chest as I am writing this.

In other pet news, Scarlet is getting ready to shed. This will be her second time this summer, and probably she won't shed again for awhile. She is getting extremely long, and we will take a new picture soon. I haven't figured out the logistics of having Scarlet out of her tank with Popeye in the house, but we will see how it goes.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kombucha

I started on a new adventure last night, aided by my friend Chris. I am now brewing kombucha tea. Kombucha is a beverage that is made out of tea, sugar, and a symbiotic colony of yeast and beneficial bacteria.

It comes from Asia and has many health claims laid upon it. I am not expecting it to be any kind of cure, but am hoping that it perhaps could at least aid in my digestion, and whatever other problems it might enjoy helping with.

I'm not skeptical, but I'm also not expecting a miracle.

You can read more about it here: Kombucha

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Green Candidates?

So it's election time, yada yada yada. I think it's very important to vote. I always have. I know who I'm voting for and why, but I don't wish to discuss it here, or argue with anyone, or try to persuade anyone. If it was a different year, maybe I would. But with all that's going on, I'm going to keep those kind of high emotion type things to myself.

However, I do think it's important to be informed. And while I'm for sure not a one issue voter, I do know some things about the environment, or at least know how to find reliable resources to learn about the environment. So I just wanted to post this link for you to check out your presidential candidate. How Green is Your Candidate?

I suggest reading what Grist has to say, reading the interviews, and the fact sheets. Take it for what it is, but Grist is usually pretty accurate in their information reporting. I can't say the same for the comments at the end, and I usually don't read those anyways.


I also suggest reading up on things like poverty, health care, foreign policy, etc. But this is not the place to look for it.

Camp Coast Care

I just received an e-mail saying that Camp Coast Care was not affected by Hurricane Gustav. They kept power throughout most of the storm, and are back operating awaiting volunteers. The e-mail also stated the the Mississippi didn't get much in the way of damage, so that is something to be thankful for.

I'm sure it was emotional however little damage they got. We also need to keep those who did receive damage in our prayers.

5,000 visits

Just wanted to point out that I just hit 5,000 visits to my blog. Pretty groovy.

Tired

I am tired of being tired. Already behind on the one class I am taking this semester, only because I'm too tired to focus. Nothing much else to say about life right now.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Landfall

Well, I've been resting most of today... But Gustav made land fall and has slowed to a category 1 hurricane. Strong wind and rain are still an issues, but it appears that things will not be as serious as Katrina. From what I understand the major part of the storm went west of where Katrina was, but people still felt effects even into Florida. Keep praying as everyone waits out the storm. When I hear from people I know. I will post more.

Update 2

The outer strips of rain and wind are starting to make landfall on the coast. It's such a bizarre feeling, being this far away and still so emotionally involved in the event. I can't even begin to imagine how those who have evacuated and watch the storm hit their homes from afar, not knowing what they will come home to.

I'm also torn as the Weather Channel showed some fishing and shrimp boats getting ready for the storm. The owners were staying with their boats. While I really want them to get out and protect their lives, at the same time the boats are their lives. They need those boats to provide for their family, and I feel for them as they make a tough decision to be with their boats throughout the storm. The jobs are endangered enough because of the economy, losing their only boat could be devastating.

Keep watching. Keep praying.