Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Best of 2011

2011 was good to me even if I didn't get pregnant.  Here is a list of what was great about this year.

St. Teresa de Avila
She was my patron for the year.  I loved meditating on the fact that she struggled spiritually until she was 40.  Since I turned 40 this year and the learning curve with this spirituality thing has been steep for me, I took great comfort in knowing her journey.  

Peace
This was my word for the year and even though I'm not completely where I want to be, peace has begun to seep into my heart and for that I am grateful.  Much of the reason is that, with God's help, I've been able to temper some bad habits.  

Weight Watchers
Can you guess what one of the bad habits is?  I'm only 3 pounds away from goal.  

Anit-inflammatory diet and T3
I could be wrong but, I think these two changes were key in helping me feel better.  I'm a bit apprehensive because I'm not sure where the diet will lead me or if I'll need more than T3.  But, at least now I have enough energy to research it more. 

They spend an inordinate amount of time with me and answer every weird question.   

She is the person who figured out how tired I was.  She didn't just say, "Oh, your depressed or anxious."  Now, she's working with me on anger management and I'm learning so much.  

Friends
I try to avoid discussing relationships on this blog in case the person would find the post.  But, suffice it to say that I've had several key relationships in my life that became troubled.  Some of them have improved because I've put up healthy boundaries.  I've been praying for God to send some catholic friends and boy, did the Lord deliver.  We've made friends with a couple at church and I joined a book club that's mostly people from church.   These people aren't outwardly spiritual- I'm not going to be saying the rosary with them any time soon. But, they are good, positive people that are fun to be around.  They've been a breath of fresh air.  

Family
Guitar Man and I continue to grow in our relationship even with a few bumps along the way.  AJ is finally doing solidly well in school.  Nothing in school has been easy for him and he's finally working at grade level in 5th grade.  My mom has made it another year- alleluia.  

You
Thank you for this community.  I love reading your struggles, your joys and your stories.  Thank you for sharing- I love you.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

prayer buddy reveal

I had the distinct honor to pray for T at The What IF Cross.  She gave birth to the adorable Magdalene Agnes on December 10th! Praise God!  My prayer life took a hit with travel, family obligations and the general busy-ness of the season.  So, my work was offered up for her intentions.  I offered up tasks and worry many times a day and thought about her all the time.  T- you will continue to be close to my heart!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Controlled Chaos

Thank you all for your prayers for my mom.  After three days in the hospital, she was released.  She's on medication and she can still take her chemo drugs. That was my biggest fear.  One of her chemo drugs can affect the heart and I was so afraid they would discontinue the medication.  The medication she's on (Tykerb) was made specifically for the type of cancer she has and she has a very aggressive form of breast cancer.  Knowing she's on this medication is a great comfort.  It was very, very hard being so far away from both of them and having my 70 year old father have to deal with this all on his own.  My mom became very agitated at certain points (very unusual for her) and there was a scare that she had a hole in her heart (it was a shadow on the echocardiogram).

We tried to make the best of the trip even though the whole point was to all be together for the holidays.  My sis and I had lots of time to talk and hang out and make healthy food.  She's recently became a vegan so it was very complimentary to the anti-inflammatory diet.  On top of everything, my niece was sick the whole time we were there so we didn't go anywhere except to church twice.  I almost forgot about the Holy Day in the midst of worry!

Preparing for the trip took much of my weekends leading up to it so I'm not very well prepared for Christmas which we are hosting.  Then, there's always work and the busy-ness in a school leading up to break.  We've done lots of crafts, Polar Express Day, dipping Oreos in chocolate (VERY anti-inflammatory-HA), secret santa, a holiday breakfast, and two big projects AJ had due for school.  The house isn't all the way decorated or straightened or cleaned.  AJ threw up today all over the living room.  At least that floor is clean now!  And, the gifts aren't all shopped for or wrapped.  Thank goodness we have a small house and a small family.  It makes decorating and shopping a bit easier.  I kind of just took the day off yesterday and did basically nothing.  I'm not sure if it was laziness creeping in or if I was giving my body some rest in the midst of the season.  Probably a little of both.

This post is all over the place.  Basically, I'm writing it so I can find comfort in all that's been done already, find fortitude for what's left to do, and keep the real reason for the season in the forefront of our preparations.

While I work, I'm going to light a candle and put on Jeff Cavins Great Adventure Bible Study CDs.  I have the 8 week series and it's perfect to listen to at Christmas because it builds up to Christ's birth.

All my work and worry is offered up for my dear prayer buddy.

Dear Jesus, help me remember that when I prepare for our guests, I am preparing for you to enter our home.  When I cook the food, it is to feed you.  When I clean and decorate it's so you have a beautiful place to sit and enjoy the love of a family.  And that the greatest gift I can give my family is a still, peaceful, gentle heart so that I may reflect God's love.  

God Bless you, my friends!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Prayers and Leibster

Can you please, please pray for my mom, Judi?  It looks like she's going to be okay, but she's been in the hospital for 2 days due to an irregular heartbeat.  She's completely stable.  They are running many tests and there was a scare today because the echocardiogram showed a hole in her heart.  They did another more invasive test (esophagial echocardiogram) that showed it wasn't a hole, it was just a shadow.  My mom's health isn't great since she's on chemo for recurrent breast cancer.  I just wish she could be home.  What sucks, too, is that my parents were supposed to be in Seattle visiting my sister with AJ and I.  They admitted her the day before we were to leave and my parents insisted AJ and I still go.  So, here my sister and I are, in Seattle, worried and wishing we were in Chicago.  My poor dad has been dealing with this by himself for three days.  Mother Mary, pray for my dear, sweet mother and my loyal, loving father. 

I've been so busy preparing for the trip (sub plans, christmas shopping, craft making) that I haven't been able to acknowledge the Liebster award that Alive in Hope bestowed upon this bad, bad blogger.  Thank you Alive in Hope, you always cheer me up with your effervescent posts!  Part of the deal with the Leibster is that you have to award 5 other blogs with under 200 followers.









Upon receipt of the Liebster Blog Award, there are a few very simple rules

1)  Copy and paste the award to your blog.
2)  Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
3)  Reveal your top 5 blog picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4)  Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.


Here are some of my favs, in no particular order:


1. What if God Says No- I love Donna's quiet, steadfast faith.

2.  Sew Infertile- I can't see if she as more than 200 followers.  Sew's open book policy about her hormones have taught me so much about my own!  And, she's got great, great news!

3.  Abigail's Alcove- Abigail's strong faith and willingness to share it lifts me up with every post.

4.  Be Not Afraid- I can't wait to hear what adventures await this sweet family!

5.  Catholic Mutt- Love her pics and her thinking.

And, every single person on my side bar.  You are my heroes, my mentors, my role models.  I love you and pray for you every single day.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Anti inflammatory diet questions

I've been a very, very bad blogger as of late.  Reading and not commenting.  Not responding to comments on my own blog.  Not posting.  I'm still adjusting to my new sleep routine and it's cut precious time from my day.  I'm trying to come up with creative ways to carve out time.  Thank you all for commenting on my last two posts.  You gave great insights and support that has helped me in my journey.  I am indebted to you.  If anyone has Sarah's (at Sarah's Journal) or St. Rita's Roses' email, can you leave in the comment box?  I was too slow on the uptake to email them about getting invites to their blogs.

I started part of the anti inflammatory diet two weeks ago.  I say part because I was only going on what I could find on the internet.  I just purchased a book titled, The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book by Jessica Black.  Half the book is recipes which I desperately need.  It's been hard, but with the other diet changes I've made, it seemed like just another step.

What I'm doing:

  • No caffeine
  • No sugar
  • No processed foods
  • No fast food
  • No potato
  • No tomato
  • No rice, gluten or dairy (not really anti inflammatory- food allergy testing found out I am sensitive to it.  Still eating butter.)
  • Tons of veggies and fruits
  • Lots of seeds and nuts
  • Probably a bit too much meat 
  • Green tea with honey and a bit of soy creamer

What I still need to do:
  • more fish (salmon and anchovies)
  • more mushrooms
  • no more pork
  • no peanuts (peanut butter is my favorite food :(  ) 
I am feeling better.  Praise Jesus! I'm still not where I want to be, but the crushing fatigue has lifted.  I've even had some moments when I felt 'normal.'  I'm sure the better sleep and the T3 are contributing also.  When I first started the diet, I thought I'd have anything I wanted on Thanksgiving.  But, now that I'm feeling better, I'll be making some special food and sticking with it.  

Questions for you guys:

Do you have any book recommendations on the anti-inflammatory diet?

Do you have any recipes or tips you can share?  

God Bless you All!!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Broken

I've had a broken body ever since I can remember.  I had asthma and allergies as a very young child so there were lots of emergency room visits, doctor's offices and medicines.  This was in the era before inhalers and nebulizers so an asthma attack that couldn't be controlled was an automatic trip to the ER.  I'll bet if I was a kid now, my asthma would be very controlled and not that serious.  I can only imagine my parents fear every time the wheezing would start.

I never realized how often I was sick until we went to a doctor when I was a junior in high school.  I was extremely fatigued and had frequent headaches.  I had mono as a freshman and ever since then, I had trouble fighting off infections.   The doctor wanted a detailed medical history and my parents went through every hospitalization.  Even though that was twenty years ago, I clearly remember them both recounting the history.

Then, without consciously knowing, I broke my body even more.  I joined the swim team and trained hard from 3rd grade until freshman year in college.  I became a camp counselor in college and exhausted myself for 5 summers straight.  I ate sugar and processed foods to keep up the pace.  I even smoked for a few years. Yuck!  As an adult, I took a stressful job that ate me alive with work.  I kept working this crazy job after I had a child.  I finished my master's degree and ran the Chicago Marathon.

As I look back on it now, I see God's hand in all of this.  He let me have a broken body and he let me break it even more because through all of it, he healed my spirit.  It's still healing, but the amount of peace I feel right now is one I've never known.  He put people, blogs, practitioners and books in my path that have healed my spirit through my broken body.  It's hard to point to just one of these as pivotal in the healing.  But, they have each in their own way taught me how to 'be.'  And learning how to 'be' was something I always knew I needed to learn but, how do you go about learning how to do something so complex?  I am finally seeing the fruit of years of prayer and study.  He has helped me become less lazy, less gluttonous, less judgmental, and less anxious. There is a long road ahead and much more work to do.  But, His burden is light and I finally feel that lightness like I never have before.

I pray that now this spiritual healing will help me fix the damage I've done to the body He gave me.  And if He does heal my body, I pray that I will always remember His lessons in humility so that I may use my body wisely to do His will.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Prudent Hope- Napro appointment

Had an hour long phone appointment with my Napro doctor this past Wednesday.  I'm still trying to process everything.

Current Symptoms:

  • with each cycle, I seem to have more pain associated with my period (at first I thought it was cervical and now it's farther up)
  • the pain isn't there the month after I've been on antibiotics (I've been on 2 rounds) but, returns the following month
  • very, very tender breasts before period
  • just this past cycle for the first time, I had intermittent brown bleeding before period
  • just this past cycle for the first time, I had watery, pink discharge
  • fatigue (improved after changed sleep habits but, still severe)
  • poor mucus scores- improved greatly after three months of 500 mg slow release B6 but, now poor again after being off of the B6
Current medications and supplements:
  • 300 mg of progesterone peak +3 through peak +12
  • 600 mg of mucinex 2 times per day CD5 through peak +4
  • multivitamin with copper and iron
  • 30 mg of zinc daily
  • 200 mg of Magnesium Glycinate daily
  • 6,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily
  • 500 mg of Panthenic Acid daily
  • Probiotic once a day
  • 1000 mg of Omega 3 daily
  • Advair inhaler
  • Flonase nosespray
Dr. S's recommendations:
  • 7.5 mg (not sure if it's mg- haven't received the prescription yet) of T3
  • Go back on B6
  • Antibiotic treatment for DH and I on days 1-10
  • Anti inflammatory diet
  • Doesn't think the progesterone is causing the the brown bleeding or watery, pink discharge
    • these two things are new in my cycle and so is the progesterone
    • I've had brown bleeding but usually not intermittent (one day of it, next day nothing)
  • Future thoughts:
    • pre-peak blood work
    • discuss laproscopy and hysteroscopy 
    • see if there's endo and get a scraping to identify type of possible infection
Thoughts and feelings: 

I was absolutely over the moon about the T3.  They are sending it from Mecca- Kubat's pharmacy.  I am more excited about this than I should be.  I am trying to temper my hope a bit regarding this being the 'it' drug for me. The anti-inflammatory diet hasn't sunk in yet- I've been very confused about diet lately and this just adds to the confusion.  I've just recently made huge headway with weight loss and am not ready to rock the boat just yet.  Maybe I'll tackle it in a few weeks when I get the T3 underway.  The possible surgery totally floored me.  I've always had very regular periods with no pain so this came as a huge surprise.  I love my doctor because she as doesn't like "to take a shotgun approach."  She was just letting me know what's going on in her mind.  Peoria has a brand new NaPro surgeon and my doctor discussed my case with her.  Even though I'm probably a candidate and I'm sure she is a great surgeon, I'm also aware that surgeons like to do surgery.  It's definitely on the back burner but, the thought gave me that shaky feeling.  I'm offering up the fear and anxiety for Jelly Belly.  I am so incredibly thankful for all the medical posts I've read over the last two and a half years on these blogs.  It gives me a frame of reference for what's going on and most importantly, it reminds me that I'm not alone.  God Bless all of you.  


 


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Temperate Fortitude

The NaPro doctor wanted me to get a sleep study done.  Evidently, at the last NaPro conference, sleep was a big topic because it can be the root cause of hormone imbalance.   I thought it would be a complete waste of time.  After all, I'm exhausted all the time and I sleep like a rock.  Or, so I thought.  The sleep study found that I wake up many times during the night, but go right back to sleep.  Dr. M, a doctor in my hometown who ordered the sleep study, put me on Lunesta and had me fill out a sleep journal.  After a month, I thought the Lunesta was helping me sleep a bit, but I was still exhausted.  Then, I really looked at the sleep journal.  And even before I had my followup, it was glaringly obvious that I wasn't getting enough sleep.

When I met with Dr. M she agreed that I'm not getting enough sleep and wants me to go to Cognitive Behavior Therapy for sleep.  It's about four sessions long and it uncovers attitudes about sleep and how to bring them into line with what is healthy.  I'm about to start an anger management program with my catholic therapist so I'll do the sleep one in several months.  I've been wanting to start the anger management program for a few months and I think it's more urgently needed.  Honestly, I'm not angry a whole lot but, I'm finding that I have ZERO coping skills for the little that I am angry so it adds up to a problem.

In the meantime, the changes I've made regarding sleep are:
1)  Laying in bed from 9:30-10 p.m.  (even if I'm not done with work or chores)
2)  Lights out at 10:00 p.m. (even if I'm not sleepy)
3)  Alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m.
4)  2mg of Lunesta

This is just one more step on my 'letting go' journey.  It started 3 years ago when I had my adrenals tested and my doctor said they were the worst she's seen in 17 years.  My cortisol was sky high, but my DHEAs were totally adapted.  I felt like complete crap.  A different kind of crap than I feel now.  Then, it was a shaky, panicky, heart racing crap.  Now it's just a exhausted, how-am-I-going-to-get-through-the-day crap.  Three years ago, I was running around like with a chicken with my head chopped off.  I had tons of energy from being gluten-free and I had no idea how to handle it.  I was also coming off of a year of my mom having brain cancer.   I completely overworked myself at home and at school.   So, I started a year of rest where I completely rested one day of the week and I really rested for two summers.   I also made lots of changes to my attitude and habits regarding work.  Teaching is a job that requires very strong boundaries or it can suck the life out of you. Boundaries are not my strong suit so the learning curve has been steep.  But, little by little, my work has taken that proper place in my life. *

I've been reading Self- Knowledge and Self-Discipline by B.W. Maturin. In it, he says that the virtues have to be balanced otherwise one will overpower the others.  Fortitude has definitely been dominant in my life.  A lot of it has to do with the fact that I've been tired most of my life so I've had to cultivate fortitude.  However, it's made me even more tired than I was originally.  I forsake temperance and prudence for fortitude.   I thank the good Lord above for putting these doctors in place in my life to help me learn this lesson.  I also pray to God that I can make these changes in enough time to heal my 40 year old body so that I can carry another child. **

* and **-  these paragraphs have so many 'I's that it's hard for me to click publish.  But, instead of practicing fortitude and editing for the next half hour, I am going to be prudent and go to bed for my 9:30-10 p.m. laying session ;)  Please excuse!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

7 Quick Takes- Saturday Lite Edition

I have several serious posts in my head, but can't muster the mental energy to write them down.  So, here are a few lite anecdotes from our recent life...

-1-
A few weeks ago, we had a clogged pipe and in trying to fix it, Guitar Man and I created a flood in our kitchen.    As we were calmly cleaning it up, he said, "thank goodness our screamy-screamy days are behind us."  St.  Joseph is surely looking out for us!  Here is our kitchen after 3 days without a sink.  I'm trusting you guys with this information.  



-2-
I had to get a new blender and say goodbye to my trusty, 30 year old Osterizer.  My grandma bought it for me at a garage sale about 10 years ago and it had a glass pitcher.  It just wasn't blending well anymore.  I will miss its 70s avocado green and orange that fit so well in our 2 year old kitchen.  What does that say about my color choices?  

-3-
 I triple checked the recipe when I roasted these chickens.  Yes, it called for this much butter and, yes, there was a direct correlation between the deliciousness of this chicken and amount of butter consumed.    You may be able to tell from the picture that I roasted the chickens upside down.  Oops.  Maybe that's why the breast wasn't dry at all! 

-4-

Cookie was blessed last weekend and the sweetest Blessing of the Animals.  

Cookie is on the left
-5-
I'm reading Breaking Night by Liz Murray.  Great book about growing up with drug addicted parents, the power of love and the importance of education.

-6-
I've really been struggling to keep up with commenting on everyone's blog and writing on my own.  Please know that I've been reading and praying though.  

-7-
There is only one Creighton Practitioner in our area and she is an intern.  I've been seeing her for about a year now.   In the confessional last weekend, I got a bit of a theology of the body lecture from my confessor and he asked, "Have you considered seeing T--- S----."  I said, with as much humility as I could muster, "Actually, I'm one of her clients."  I had many different feelings after walking out of the confessional concerning this, but now I just think it's funny.  And I thank the good Lord above for the grace of reconciliation in the face of a myriad of feelings.  

Have a great weekend everyone and Jen has lots more 7 Quick Takes!



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thankful

Not for blogger tonight, or last night or the night before.  I'm having a heck of a time commenting.  All in His Perfect Timing and Two Plus One Equal Three- I had long comments for each of you and poof!  Gone.  Disappeared.  I'm praying for both of you!  And that's not even the comments I tried to leave last night or the night before...You are all in my prayers!

I was sitting in my car waiting for Dr. LaSalle to call for our latest phone appointment.  I was tired, frazzled and nervous.  I'm at a stand still with what to do about adrenals and thyroid.  I'm confused and all wrapped up in what questions to ask and anticipating what she would say.  And, I'm so very tired of feeling like crap all the time.

As I was waiting, the Early Childhood Special Education teachers were loading up the kids on the buses to go home.  The teachers, assistants, bus drivers and bus assistants were so loving and careful while handling their precious cargo.  I couldn't help but think this is one place where the rubber meets the road in the pro-life discussion.  These kids are the ones who are often aborted if their disabilities are known during pregnancy.   The people who serve them, school personel and caregivers alike, humbly sacrifice day in and day out.  They sacrifice money, esteem, physical comfort.  No, it's not all candy and roses.  They aren't perfect.  But, they are there.  Touching, lifting, hugging, holding, loving- everyday.   What a testament to life- to real, Gospel living. 

I started an Examen as I waited.  I usually to through each part of my day and pick one big thing I'm thankful for in each part.  But, today as I thought about my day up until that point, I found time slowing down.  I  realized that when I got up, I walked with my own two legs to the coffee maker.  I did so without pain.  When I started my shower, the water was hot.  Oh, and that bed I got out of was warm and there was a wonderful man laying next to me.  And he was breathing and healthy and he would be up in an hour so he could go to work.  Work that was steady and safe.  Just like my work.  The prayer book I opened was true and beautiful, touched by the wisdom thousands of years of apostolic tradition.  And I could read the words.  Someone had taken the time to teach me to read.  Then, I read the actual words Jesus Christ spoke two thousand years ago.  Right in my living room.  And I knew in my heart of hearts that if it was all taken away from me, I would still be precious in God's eyes and that I could trust His plan for my life.  I hardly got anywhere with the Examen as I was thinking about all the things I did this morning that I take for granted. 

Thoughts on adrenals and thyroid and food allergies and secondary infertility faded away.  They were crowding up my head and choking the still small voice that cries,

"Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, I love you."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Prayer Buddy!

I had the honor of praying for Sarah at Sarah bellum.  Her blog is private so I wasn't able to learn more about her while I was praying.  The mystery of only knowing her name and intentions helped me focus my prayer and I think made it purer.  She's invited me to her blog, but for some reason Blogger is not letting me in. Blogger is also not letting me comment on blogs tonight.  Kinda frustrating, but honestly, I've never had trouble before so hopefully tomorrow night will be better! 

God Bless you Sarah!  I loved praying for you and will continue to do so.  I can't wait to get to know you more through your blog! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oh, so this is how it works

I've got it all figured out with the intercessory prayer thang.  (note the sarcasm)

A few months ago, Guitar Man was having great difficulty with PEACE.  He was easily frustrated.  Slamming stuff frustrated.  All the time. 

Then, I started a 30 day Novena to St. Joseph for him.  About 1/2 way through the novena, I asked my counselor for suggestions on dealing with him. 

I never had to use what she suggested because he calmed down and I turned into the poorly behaved one.  Then the next time I went to counseling, I had to admit it and she said, "Kiiiiimmm" in a sweet, gently chastising voice.  We talked about my anger management issues and I'm working on it. 

Tonight, I was mildly irritated, let Guitar Man know it and he wouldn't fall for it.  He stayed calm and completely diffused the situation.  It could have easily blown up. 

So, the lesson is: pray for your loved ones, God may grant them graces that end up helping you more than the prayer helped them. 

Go figure.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Elementary Questions from an Elementary Teacher

I've mentioned before that I am a very slow reader.  So, I try my hardest to choose books judiciously- especially spiritual books.  My latest subject has been suffering.  I read Lewis' A Problem of Pain and Kreeft's  Making Sense Out of Suffering.  Not that I get suffering, but I understand it as well as I'm going to at this point in my journey. 

My next big question is concerning prayer and how it works.  I know nothing except that there are different types of prayer: intercessory, contemplative and meditative.  I have what I think is a good prayer life.  I can speak about how prayer has changed me.  It has changed my desires so they are more in line with God's.  It's helped me accept His will.  It has brought me closer to God, into a more personal relationship with Jesus and it has helped me identify and respond to the workings of the Holy Spirit.  The prayer that gave me these graces is probably meditative and contemplative.  When I do ask for something, it's always with the caveat, "If it is your will"  and "give me the strength to bear this cross if it is not your will." 

But, how does intercessory prayer work?  If I'm asking for something like a baby or healing, how does God decide who to give a baby to and who to heal?  And how is that related to His will?  Does he somehow change His will to answer our prayers?  Or does he answer our prayers based on what is His will all along?

Instinctually, I'm thinking that I can ask and if it's good for me, He will answer the prayer in the affirmative.  If it's not good for me, He will help me bear the cross of Him saying No.  He also may use the cross to bring others to Him.  For example, by not having another child, I've been able to give more to my students, friends and extended family members when they need help. 

Am I totally off base? 

What else do you have to add? 

Do you have any book recommendations to help me along this part of my journey? 

You ladies are so wise and wonderful, I'd love suggestions. 

These questions have been brewing for a long time, but in light of our little blogosphere's answered prayers (Matching Moonheads, Perfect Power in Weakness, Hebrews, A Martha Trying to be a Mary) during prayer buddies, I thought I'd ask for your take on all this.

Praise God for His answered prayers and for the new life he has given to the world!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Division of labor

One of the cool outcomes of our trip to Yellowstone was a daily decade of the rosary as a family.  AJ and I try to say a decade a day together- always initiated by me.  In the tent one night AJ asked to do a decade.  I almost fainted.  Then the next night Guitar Man said, "Let's do a decade."  They both wanted to continue doing it as a family once we got home.  Never in a million years would I ever imagine this.  As I started to lead the prayers tonight, I asked Guitar Man if he wanted to lead.  He said, "No, you are responsible for keeping our family holy and I'm responsible for keeping our family solvent."  HA!

Our Mother Mary never ceases to amaze me.  The Rosary really does produce miracles.  Even if it's said a decade at a time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

How To

How do you call the one person in your life besides your husband that has had the most impact on your adult life, the person who brought you back to the church in one single sentence (see 'boss' in side bar), the person who through that one sentence resulted in the life of your son- how do you call them and tell them you you are so very sorry the the love of their life has lung and brain cancer? 

You screw up you face, take a deep breath, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, and dial.  You talk, you sympathize, you try to lift up, you realize that person, as usual, is lifting you up.  Then you hang up and cry life a crazy fool into your pillow.  That's how. 

St. Peregrine, Pray for KF and MH.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

7 Quick Takes- Yellowstone Edition

It's good to be back! I'm constantly writing blog posts in my head: guess it's time to actually blog.  Ha Ha!  This is totally off the cuff, written quickly from the heart.  Please excuse any errors or weirdness. 

-1-

We went to Yellowstone two weeks ago and camped out for three nights.  To some of you, this may seem like no big deal.  For these suburbanites who only took vacations in cities and hotels, it was a big deal.  Actually, Guitar Man never took vacations so I basically have to drag him on our trips.  I'm very patient the week before we go when he's freaking out about missing work and paying the bills early and packing and finding someone to take the mail.  I'm patient because I know when we get in the car after about an hour, he'll look over at me with a sparkle in his eye, a smirk on his face and say, "and you didn't want to go on vacation." 


-2-

We were nervous about camping, especially since we've NEVER CAMPED BEFORE.  And, we were camping in bear country 1,300 miles from home.  I should also add that we are not handy.  For example, we are both afraid to change the fluorescent light bulbs in our laundry room.  But, with advice from many friends (thanks Catholic Mutt!), everything was successful- even the food.  We ate out on the road- mostly Subway and salads from McDonalds.  While we were in Yellowstone, we ate exclusively from the cooler.  If I may say so myself, we ate very well.  We had sloppy joes, mostaccioli, quesadillas, zucchini brownies, string cheese, salad with lots of cut up veggies, simple salad dressing of olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper. 


Lots of orange juice too!




-3-

Not only was our trip successful, it was inspirational.  I think it was even a spiritual experience.  We were in awe most of the time.  I thought AJ might be bored but, he loved searching for the wildlife and staring at the geothermal wonders.  I got a little choked up when we were approaching the exit.  When I looked over at Guitar Man, he had tears in his eyes.  Our trip seems like a dream now.

Except.....


-4-

I was in pain most of the time.  I forgot to mention on the medical quick takes that I have a cervical infection.  It's Strep B.  I've just had very mild pain in the past around my period.  Not even pain really, just cramping.  I was on a course of antibiotics and that cramping and brown bleeding cleared up.  Well, it somehow came back with a vengeance while at Yellowstone.   I'm now on another course of antibiotics (DH is too) and the pain has subsided.  Phew.




-5-

Then, my back went out.  I have a history of back trouble but, I've licked it over the last 10 years.  It comes on when I'm stressed.  I was stressed about the trip then add 21 hours in the car and there is a recipe for disaster.  The key for me is to force myself to move.  Walking up to Old Faithful, DH asked, "On a scale from 1-10, what is your pain."  I said, "8."  That's bad for a woman who has a very high pain tolerance.  Because there is so much walking, it was a natural way to keep me going.  So, by the time we left Yellowstone, it was under control.  There was a point that I got down on my hands and knees and prayed to our mother Mary for relief, strength and the wisdom to deal with the issue.  She answered my prayers- thank you dear mother. 


-6-

Then there was the, how can I say it?  The sluggish digestive track.  After a few days of lots of orange juice and grapes, it was better.  There was a lot going on in my pelvic region and all my suffering was offered for my prayer buddy and all the gals still waiting. 


I prayed for my prayer buddy and all you gals while up on this lookout
-7-

It was not lost on me the irony that I was having a spiritual experience in the midst of physical pain.  I felt very, very close to God on our trip.  It is not often that I have a sense that I belong.  When I go places and even when I'm in my home town, there are times when I feel out of place.  It's hard to explain.  It doesn't bother me.  I chalk it up to being made for a different world.  But, at Yellowstone, I felt as though I belonged there- like I was at home.  Not my physical home.  But,  my heart was home. 







Friday, August 19, 2011

7 Quick Takes- Medical Edition

I finally had followups with Dr. LaSalle and the Napro doctor.  I haven't started anything yet, just trying to digest the information. 

-1-

Vitamins and Minerals

I'm low in all the Bs (except 6 because I was taking a supplement), magnesium, iron and zinc.  Dr. LaSalle wants me to take a high quality supplements and a probiotic. 

-2-

Progesterone

Low progesterone throughout post peak.  Dr. LaSalle thought it was fine and Napro said it was "less than optimal."  Suppositories here we come!

-3-

Thyroid

Again, Dr. LaSalle said it was fine and Napro doc wants me to take temps for 10 days out of cycle (Days 5-9 and then Peak +5- Peak +9).  If the temps are below 98.2, they will give me T3 since I have too much RT3.  I've already taken temps for 5 days and not one has been above 97.5.  Hmm.  No wonder why I'm cold all the time. 

-4-

Adrenals

Looking good!!

-5-

Food Allergies

Lots of very mild allergies so Dr. LaSalle recommended a rotation diet where you only eat a food every four days.  I have to wrap my head around this one after all the changes I've made with my diet.  I tend to eat the same thing everyday until it's gone.  I'll make a pot of soup and eat it everyday for lunch.  The big difference will be stocking up on a variety of foods. 

-6-

Sleep

Napro doc wants a sleep study done.  She said that all the hormone supplements in the world won't help if this is a sleep issue.  I made an appointment to meet with a doctor in town who supervises them and then inadvertently missed it yesterday.  Got caught in traffic.  We are on vacation next week so my new appointment is the week after.  Guess the sleep study won't be done before school starts.  Oh Well. 

-7-

Weight

I've lost about 10 pounds now.  Several weeks ago, I gained a few and I'm losing 1/2 pound a week so it's took me a month to get back to where I was.  It's been a little frustrating, but I think I found my groove.  The five vegetables a day are key.  Adding fat like butter or bacon to the veggies help them go down.  I'm making veggies like my grandma used to!  I'm exercising in two 20 minutes sessions a day.  I find that I can get my tired self to do 20 minutes.  In the morning I do yoga or weights and a run once a week.  In the afternoon, I'll bike, swim or run.  Once a week, I'm doing an hour run.  Yesterday, I did a 20 minute run and ran  2 10 minute miles which is really fast for me.  It felt great.  I'm also trying to make each day consistent in weight watcher points.  They give you a certain number of points per day based on your weight (I have 29).  Then you have 49 extra point each week to use however you want.  I found I was using those 49 points in 2 or 3 days.  That meant I was eating a whole lot (aka binging) on those days.  Now, instead, I'm shooting for 35 points a day.  I haven't binged in several weeks now.  If I know that I want to splurge on a particular meal, I can eat low points for the other meals of the day and really go all out for one meal. 

Praise God for such great medical care!  Hope everyone has a great week.  You are in my prayers!



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Heartland

Thanks for all the prayers on the last post- they were working over here.  My hubbie and I have had lots of chats about the topic and all is well.  He has a fondness for Peter and feels a kinship with him especially when Peter falters.  So, he's always comparing his own life with Peter's.  The thing about my DH is he has a lightheartedness in his faith that I lack.  He easily admits his faults and mistakes and is able to move on pretty quickly.  He accepts God's forgiveness and mercy much more openly than I do.  He has more to teach me than I do him.  Even though we are still working through the feelings, there is a sense of peace in the house.  Thanks for listening. 

Last Saturday, we went to The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in New Franken, Wisconsin.  It was a long drive, but completely worth it.  The grounds were delightful- well kept and humble.  It reminded me of my grandparents pristinely sweet garden.  The crypt marking the place where the apparitions occurred was so completely breathtaking that I  forgot to pray for all the intentions I planned.  There were so many candles burning that it was well over 100 degrees in the actual shrine.  There weren't even any candles left to light.  I was so overcome with awe that I was only able to pray for two intentions that were heavy on my heart.  I have two friends that are in crisis situations and needed immediate prayers.  As I fell asleep that night, I prayed to Mary for all of us infertile gals.  I'm hoping she understands.  We went with DH's cousin's family and had a lovely time.  I forgot my camera- these pics are from my DH's cousin's wife. 

Fatima garden


Stations of the cross

The Crucifixion

Sr. Adele's grave

Guitar Man and I



The statue in the Crypt- right above the apparition site.  Rows and rows of candles lined the entire room.

Today, DH, AJ and I drove the back roads to Peoria for my NaPro follow up.  That is another post in and of itself ;)  During both of our drives, we saw blue sky, fluffy bright white clouds, golden corn tops, bright green corn stalks and dark green soybean plants.  I love living in the breadbasket of the world where every piece of land is touched, cultivated and worked.  Whatever I feel about corn and soy and how they are used, this part of the world feeds the world.  It's done mostly by hard working families who love the land and are dedicated community members.   God Bless all the farmers and their families! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Didn't see this one coming

For about six years, I prayed for my dear husband to find his vocation and that if it was God's will, that more children would be included.  There were difficult moments, but overall, God gave me the grace to embrace my life with one child even though I longed for more.  Then, two years ago, Guitar Man was open to having more children.  Now, here we are not able to conceive.  Last night, he opens up to me that maybe all those years of not wanting children were really him not putting faith in God.  And that if he had faith, maybe we would have more kids.  This is all in light of this week's Gospel.  He said that he was like Peter, he was following without wholehearted faith.  Oh Lordy.  You see, I've been under the impression all this time that we were following with faith.  My husband is a musician and writer.  He has produced beautiful work during the past 8 years.  Art that is touched by Christ.  As with any art, who knows if it will ever have a large audience.  But, even if only one person is influenced by it, it is worth it.  So, you see, I didn't think this was coming.  I responded HORRIBLY to him.  Horribly.  I told him I could not handle his regret.  That I handled his not wanting children so well- that he could not expect me to handle this well.  I had just returned from a Creighton followup.  Never fun being reminded of infertility in a fertile world.  Plus, it was CD2.  I say this not to excuse my behavior, but to explain it. 

I'm now realizing that I need to support him through this realization.  I have lots of experience with handling what-ifs and regret.  Thank God for Abigail's post on not being scandalized by the cross.  It has given me strength today.  The only good thing I said last night is that at least he was always honest.  He was honest all those years about children.  He's being honest now.  I just have to be open and forgiving.  St. Joseph, pray for us. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes- Vegetable Edition

-1-

I've radically changed my diet in the last month.  I've made a few major changes, but the most important is that I'm focusing on eating 5 veggies a day.  It hasn't happened everyday- especially the days we were flying ;)  But, this one simple change drastically altered how I view eating on a daily basis.  There were several encounters that led to this transformation.  
 
-2-

Watching Sew detox.  Although I am doing a tiny bit in comparison to Sew, she has inspired me to think about my colon and veggies are good for that!

-3-

Getting a book from a friend about using almond flour and coconut flour led me to Elena's Pantry.  After reading her recipes and seeing her diet, I was inspired to incorporate more veggies.

-4-

Wellness Mama is very inspiring.  I'm not sure I totally buy into going grain-free, her recipes and ideas are great. 

-5-

Reading Born to Run.  The vegan diet this Mexican tribe eats keeps them free from chronic illness.

-6-

Weight Watchers topic of the week a few weeks ago was Vegetables .  They encouraged us to make the veggies the centerpiece of the meal. 

-7-

A had a long talk with a physical therapist friend.  She founded her own clinic and treats patients using integrative techniques.  She very, very gently encouraged me to eat more veggies.  She said they are the key to what I need to get healthy. 

So, after being knocked over the head about this topic several times, I'm thinking it might be the Holy Spirit working.  Do I feel better? A tiny bit.  I am more regular though ;)  Cravings are fewer and I'm still losing weight.   And, I feel as though I'm being proactive with my health which brings great peace. 

Do you guys have any recipes with veggies as the centerpiece of the meal?  I'm doing lots of romaine and spinach wraps and roasting veggies on the grill.  That's going to get old fast!!

Visit Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back from Vacation

AJ and I just got back from a week in Seattle visiting my sister's family.  We had a wonderful time and I'm feeling very, very lazy.  After doing almost nothing yesterday, I am trying not to have a repeat today.  I've missed you guys and have been reading, but not commenting.  Hopefully, I'll get caught up today in between cleaning up the mess that is my house. 

Caleh at Barefoot and Pregnant posted a link to Gerard Nadal's blog.  In the video, several priests are praying at an abortion clinic.  After watching the video, I realized, one of the priests is from our parish!  I was so proud of him.  Go Father Camaioni!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Faith Journey- Part Two

College was very tough for me.  Much of the reason was because I didn't have a faith community to call home.  There were other reasons, too- much to many to go into here.  I became depressed at the large university I attended.  I was in no way prepared for the challenges college presented.  In the middle of this disaster, I met Guitar Man.  He also was a disaster in the making.  There is no reason our relationship should have flourished during this time.  Yet, it did.  It was because Guitar Man loved me.  Sure, I loved him back.  But, he loved me unconditionally and fully.  I was not so generous with my love.  In that way, God was present in our early relationship.  Guitar Man's love was a healing balm on my wounded heart.  He taught me what it meant to be loved.  We started a 7 year tumultuous, secular dating relationship- if you know what I mean. 

When we were married in 1998, we weren't ready to go back to church.  Instead of getting married in a church we were married in a ceremony led by a laicizied  married priest.  Even though part of me shudders now thinking of it, his gentleness and acceptance was an important part of our journey.  Shortly after our wedding, Guitar Man started his PhD. in political philosophy.  His advisor was a devout Catholic and through  the study of philosophy under this brilliant man, Guitar Man's heart slowly began to open. 

During this time, my father underwent surgery for prostate cancer.  I mentioned to my boss that I would like to go back to church, but wasn't comfortable in any church, but the Catholic Church.  She mentioned that I should try the Newman Center at NIU.  I started attending Mass sporadically for about 6 months.  Guitar Man was very encouraging and I probably wouldn't have gone if he didn't encourage me to go.  I felt right at home at Newman.  It's a relaxed, diverse atmosphere with upbeat music (I'm pretty sure B16 wouldn't approve of the music, but it really was part of what drew me back).  The priest at the time, Fr. Steve, was gentle and humble.  His homilies contained the recurring message of letting God's love into our hearts.   One day, Guitar Man came to church with me.  It was like a switch went off in his head and we were back.  I probably would have just kept going intermittently.  This is a pattern in our relationship where I venture out as the wandering explorer and Guitar Man follows for a while and then he runs ahead and makes a decision about which direction to go. 

On August 5, 2001, our marriage was convalidated in the Catholic Church by Fr. Steve.  All of our parents were present as well as my sister who wore her bridesmaid's gown from our first wedding.  Guitar Man calls me his first wife from his second marriage and I call him my second husband from my first marriage ;)  It was a glorious day.  We were finally home and could take part in the Eucharist.  Sadly, we missed church the next day because we were out celebrating.  Oh my.  Kinda embarrassing, but the truth.  That very day, we conceived our son, AJ.  Never, ever hearing of Theology of the Body or NFP, but knowing contraception was wrong, we used the 'rythmn method' by not having relations on days 10-18.  Well, I was way off on my cycle and I erroneously thought it was day 6 when it was day 13 which I know now means nothing, but evidently it was a fertile day. *

Once we find out about AJ, we decided Guitar Man would stay home- I was in no way ready to stay home.  I was still nursing wounds from childhood and would have been a depressed stay at home mom.  The women at my work mothered me and taught me how to be a mom.  If he asked me now, I could totally do it ;)  We thought he could finish his PhD. while he took care of the baby (hahahahahaha) .  We bought a small house.  AJ was born and I never felt natural at something until I was a mother.  He had some developmental delays which took much of our time and energy to help him overcome.  I kept working as a teacher and still do.  Guitar Man has since abandoned the PhD.  Having him teach and write while I worked was becoming more and more stressful.  We decided we didn't want to move out of state so we could closer to family.  If he wanted to pursue a professorship, we would have to move.  He took a great, flexible job at a local business. 

Guitar Man is an excellent father. In many ways, he's much more of a natural than I am.  But, he never wanted more children.  He didn't feel the Lord was calling him to have more.  So, I began a prayer campaign for him to find his vocation hoping that more children would be part of it.  At this time I also found Relevant Radio and my faith life took a huge jump forward.  That radio station helped me fall head over heels in love with the Catholic Church.  Then, I found Danielle Bean and Elizabeth Foss and all of you guys.  I can now say I'm starting to have a relationship with Jesus and most days, my life is a prayer.  We look forward to Mass, it is the highlight of our week.  This brings me now to the present time when now Guitar Man is open to life and yet, after two years of trying (with pretty much perfect timing every month), I've been labeled infertile.

All of this sounds just like a quick history of my life.  But, when I think of my faith, I can't help think of my history because of the guidance the Holy Spirit has given me.  Through all the pain and hardship, I could have a falling apart marriage and a bitter heart.  But, He kept me open to the love that Guitar Man has for me even though our life dreams don't match.  He filled my heart with gratitude and joy.  He put me in a school with early childhood experts that could guide our beautiful child through his delays.  He placed us in a community with a strong network of support and a laidback attitude- just what we need when navigating life with a child who needs a little extra help along the way.  He led me to this part of the blogosphere and to Napro which will hopefully help us have another child and if not, help discover why I've had life long fatigue.  He is the author of Life and I know my story is safe in His hands.

*I am so very sorry if this information is in anyway painful for anyone.  It's actually painful for me knowing for so many years I took my fertility for granted.  It is one of my biggest regrets and I'm still working through the pain.  So much of it is in education.  If I would have only known.....But, who knows if my heart was ready to hear it.  Give it God, Kim, Give it to Him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Creighton flunkie

Whenever I go to a followup and my practitioner asks all the questions like, "Did you check your observations everytime before you urinate?," "After you urinate," "After swimming," etc, I always have to say "no."  There's always that one time that I'm barely able to make it to the bathroom anyway because I'm trying to drink more water.  Or, when I've left my class unattended to run to the bathroom.  Or, like yesterday, when I spent the day at the waterpark which had a dimly lit bathroom.  I always get marked as a poor charter.  It doesn't bother me too much because it only happens a handful of times a month and I never get complacent.  I'm just not perfect and I can't lie to her about being 100%.  My practitioner is so sweet about it.  I hope it won't go down in my permanent record ;)

Friday, July 8, 2011

7 Quick Takes

-1-

An unfortuate series of events led to me using the dog's toothbrush instead of my own.  As you can tell from my previous post, the dog can do no wrong so I wasn't too disturbed.  Until Guitar Man asked me how many poops she ate that day.  Her only unseemly characteristic is that she eats her poop.  Grody.

-2-

I usually am able to get out in the yard and clean it all up by the 4th of July.  We live on a corner so our lot is big. I like the side yard look decent so it takes a while.  Well....I'm just starting the clean up now.  I desperately need a hair cut too so as I was out there yesterday I was thinking that my life is a bit shaggy right about now.  The consolation is that we've been having loads fun so far this summer (along with all the doctor's appointments ;) ). 

-3-

I'm in the middle of reading The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin.  It's a great, accessible overview of Ignatian spirituality.  Sew recommended God and You by William Barry a while back and I read that.  Martin does a whole chapter summarizing God and You so it was a good refresher.  Have any of you read either one? 

-4-
Yesterday, my friend gave me Born to Run.  It's a book about a Mexican tribe of long distance runners.  They run with joy in a cooperative spirit and they are extraordinarily humble.  They are super healthy and have few injuries even though they can run a hundred miles in their sleep.  I can't put it down so the above book will have to wait a few days.  I'm burning through it.

-5-
I've really struggled the last year with books.  I always have a spiritual book going which is great, but I'm a really sloooow reader when it comes to material I'd like to retain.  That reading is slow going so I'd like to have something lighter to read going at the same time.  But, not too light if you know what I mean.   I've lost my taste for chick lit and can't seem to get 'into' any good novels.  I've started and not finished several great books (Wuthering Heights, Brideshead Revisited, Kristin Lavransdatter, Let the Great World Spin).  For years, I've been able to get wrapped up in stories such as these.  Not so much in the last year.  So, I'm giving up the fight and switching to non-fiction because it seems these types of books are reeling me in.  I loved Left to Tell and Into Thin Air.  I hope my love of fiction comes back soon. 

-6-

I have a several prayers that are weighing heavy on my heart. Would you mind saying a quick one for C, P, R and A?  Hard, hard stuff happing in these four lives.  Thanks in advance. 

-7-
I've noticed something since I began this blog.  I feel as though I have a stronger, clearer voice in my mind and in my relationships.  Thank you for providing a safe community to share my deepest thoughts. 

Have a great weekend!



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gratuitous Pet Post

I apologize in advance for the schmaltz. 

Years ago as an anniversary gift, my mom gave my husband and I a framed print of "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost  It was her way of affirming our knucklehead decisions.  I've always had the knack for choosing the hard road.   In comparison to many, I've had it easy.  But, for me and my hardened heart, it's been hard.  The fruits of that road have been plentiful, by the grace of God.  I'm sure He knew what he was doing when he planted the desires of my heart.  He knew a challenging profession and working motherhood would teach me to become more humble.  He knew working in a high poverty school district would help me see the face of Christ in everyone.  He knew a smallish house that needs repairs would teach me discipline.  He knew an artist husband would teach me to look beyond material success.  He knew a child with some special needs would teach me patience and understand true self worth.    He knew all these decisions would lead me toward the very, very beginning stages of understanding redemptive suffering.  And he knew all the other stuff I didn't decide on like breast cancer in my mom, secondary infertility and chronic fatigue would prepare my heart to accept His will, not mine. 

In the midst of the difficulty, He sent me something that was easy and sweet and beautiful.  He sent me something I never dreamed of having because of lifelong allergies.  He sent me something that soothes my soul and the only sadness and pain associated with her is that fact that she won't be with us forever.  He sent me Cookie.

Cookie on the first day at our home- 11/15/09. She was 8 years old and in the local shelter for the second time in her life.  We are so glad she found us!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

7 Quick Takes- Prayer Edition

When I wake up in the morning, I tend to be very distracted so my prayer time is filled with rote prayer.  I save the daydreaming contemplative prayer for later in the day.  These prayers root me in the day and if I don't say them, I miss them.  They have slowly evolved over time as life changes, devotions are discovered and intentions emerge.  As of now these are my morning go-to prayers:

-1-
Danielle Bean introduced me to the prayer a few years ago.  I've always wanted to buy a mug from her- maybe one day...There are many versions out there.  Here's ours:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of your mother Mary, I offer to you my prayers, my sufferings, my disappointments, my joys and all my works.  I give you these together with all that is offered to you in the sacrifice of the Mass everywhere in the world . I give this gift in reparation for my sins, for the needs of people throughout the world, for the intentions and needs of my loved ones and for our Holy Father.  Amen
From The Essential Catholic Prayer Book 
-2-
Cause, boy, do I need it.

-3-
Prayers to St. Peregrine and St. Jude
The prayer to St. Peregrine  is mainly for my mom who has suffered from breast cancer and 2 recurrances for the past 7 years.  She's in a great spot right now and the tests she has every three months have come back clear for the past 2 1/2 years.  Unfortunately, now there are 8 other friends and family members with cancer that are added to the list.  St. Jude is also for my mom because he's her patron saint.  I also add the intentions of those wanting children. 
Favorite line from prayer to St. Jude: Notwithstanding this request, help us to see our trials as reflections of the sufferings of Christ. Let us see even now the great hope and faith that we may share with Christ in the glory of his Resurrection. 

-4-
The Serenity Prayer
I started saying this recently after listening to Father Emmerich Vogt's CD series on Detaching with Love. 

-5-
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
A few months ago I realized what an important prayer this was in my childhood so I added it to my daily rotation.

-6-
Dedication to St. Joseph
I was born on St. Joseph's day and my middle name is Jo so I've always had a love for St. Joseph.  I'm always trying to model his humility and obedience.  Trying being the operative word.

-7-
Prayer to St. Michael
Oh, how I love this prayer.  It makes me feel so safe in this crazy, sinful world. 

See Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Faith Journey- Part One

My mother came from a Catholic family. I'm pretty sure her dad was Catholic only because of my grandmother.  His family was supposedly somehow scandalized in the old country (Bohemia) and left the church.  My grandmother was devoutly Catholic and outwardly spiritual.  Masses were constantly being said for us as well as novenas. 

My father came from a staunchly German Lutheran family.  I always had the feeling that Catholics were looked down upon although no one ever said anything about it.  On that side, no one said much of anything anyway ;)  My grandmother was a truly Christian woman.  She knew about suffering, self sacrifice and bore it well. 

When it came time for my parents to marry, they married in the Catholic Church and my father promised to raise any children in the Catholic faith.  So, for years, we went to Mass with my mom while my dad attended the Lutheran service.  Once in a while, we went to church together. 

When I was in 5th grade, my parents decided to enroll us in the local Catholic school.   They thought our local public school was too unconventional with its open classrooms and team teaching. As an aside, I LOVED that school and learned an enormous amount there.  Unfortunately, the Catholic school was mind numbingly boring.  Really.  Recently, I came across the St. Francis prayer.  I remember we said it everyday at the Catholic school. I look back now and realize that the prayer was what helped me through those long years without running screaming from the building.   The thing that was great about the school were the kids.  I had a really nice class and most of the kids were kind and loving.  Sadly, my poor sister had a much different group. 

When I was a sophomore in high school, my mom's best friend from high school decided to leave the Catholic Church and become Assembly of God.  This decision spurred my mom to start shopping for a new church.  For a variety of reasons,  she wasn't happy with the church anymore.  My sister and I went with her to different churches in the area.  I tried some of the youth groups but, never felt comfortable.  I never felt comfortable in the churches either.  The music and enthusiasm were great.  But, they wanted to you come down to the front and declare Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  I could never do that and somehow because I couldn't do that, I felt less of a Christian. 

One day, my mom announced that she wanted to become Lutheran. Lutheran!!!  I couln't believe it.  It was such a departure from the churches we were visiting and there was really no discussion about it.  So, my mom, sister and I started classes to become Lutheran.  By now, I was a senior in high school so I was older and had just about had it.  I came home from the first class and told my parents that I didn't want to become Lutheran.  Then, the night before the confirmation, my father literally, got on his knees and begged me to become Lutheran.  He wanted me to have a place to come if I needed a church.  I couldn't say no to him. So, I was confirmed Lutheran.  I have to say it was one of the most suffocating moments of my life. 

After that, I did not set foot in a church for ten years.  I literally could not stomach anything religious.  I still believed in God and Jesus but, I was so lost. Even now, writing about it,  I'm having the same physical reaction I used to have when I thought about church- pit in my stomach, racing heart, anger welling up.  I absolutely loved being Catholic and it was ripped away from me. 

Looking back, I realize that I could have driven myself to Mass.  I could have talked to a priest.  But, that's not what I did.  Unfortunately, I believed the lies I was told about the church.  Although I don't agree with what my parents did, I completely understand and forgive them.  They were doing what they thought was best.  They never, never would have done anything other than give us their best.  I also believe poor catechesis and a lukewarm parish were responsible.  My family, cooperating with the Holy Spirit, gave me the greatest gift they could- they gave me faith.  And that faith kept me close to Jesus who turned this big mess into something beautiful. 

God is a seeker and he is the God of Surprises.  He found me, brought me home and gave me the surprise of my life......

Friday, June 24, 2011

Adrenal and Allergy Testing Questions

The Napro doc appointment was great- as great as a doctor's appointment can be.  Between seeing the doctor and the Creighton practitioner, I was in there for 2 hours.  They both collaborated on what tests to perform.  I could hear them talking in the hallway outside the room.  What a gift to have a collaborative atmosphere!  So, these are the blood tests they ordered:

1) Serum progesterone and estradiol P+3, +5, +7, +9, +11: I thought my luteal phase was fine but I have many days of spotting before my period actually starts so I wasn't charting it correctly and it had to go in the post-peak phase not pre-peak.

2) Thyroid: Free T3 and T4, Total T3 and T4, rT3 and TSH

3)  AM Serum Cortisol

4)  Vitamin D3

Dr. LaSalle who I saw a few weeks ago (she's not Napro, she's an MD with a background in endocrinology and integrative medicine) ordered some similar tests so now I'm trying to figure out what next steps to take.  I'm definitely doing all of the above tests.  I'm not so sure about Dr. LaSalle's.  My main question is about the cortisol.  Dr. LaSalle ordered a saliva test taken 4 times a day.  I've done that one twice before.  My main questions are:

Which is a better test: saliva or blood?  If you  think saliva, what lab would you recommend?

The two in the past were done by Diagnostecs and this one is ZRT.  I'm asking because I know a doctor in town that does the adrenals with Diagnostecs and I could just go to her instead of driving 4 hours to Dr. LaSalle. 

Dr. LaSalle also ordered allergy testing for basically everything.  I'm pretty sure it's RAST testing.  NaPro doc said she wouldn't order it- I had to go to primary doc for that.  Again, I'm thinking my in town doctor can do the RAST test.  My question about allergy testing is:

Are there different ways to test for allergies from a blood test?  If so, which test would you recommend. 

It seems from Dr. Google that there is only one type of blood test for allergies which is RAST.  But, you know Dr. Google....you guys know lots more!!!!!

There is a part of me that feels so selfish for going through all of this.  I don't have any huge medical problems.  Fatigue and infertility are my main problems.  There was this little voice inside my head yesterday telling me that it's not that bad.  That I shouldn't be there talking about myself for 2 hours, spending tons of my family's money and resources on this 'invisible' problem.  I keep giving it to God every time I think of it.   He keeps reminding me that this is not selfish, it's another way I can give to my family by being healthy and hopefully adding a new life along the way.

Thanks to you all for being there, for reminding me I'm not alone and for sharing your journey.  God Bless!