Does getting older change you?

Today I read an article entitled “Things you should stop doing by the time you’re 30”. I overall thought it was a great list. It got me thinking. Not only do I believe there are certain habits you should have worked out by age 30, there are also mentalities and certain insecurities (for lack of better term). One assumption I made when I was younger is that the older I get the less I would care about what others think of me. It would seem very peculiar to me when I heard older people (women especially) talk about their need to look a certain way in public when “people” can see them. What? I’ve heard grown women talk about how bothered they were by someone who disagreed with them… as if they were ashamed to think what they think or are afraid to appear stupid. Are you not allowed to have an opinion? I’m over here thinking “who cares what they think?”

I guess I have to admit, from the start I’ve been blessed to have grown up with a mom who always encouraged my self-confidence. My sister and I have no problem being who we are and never make apologies for it. I guess our mom wanted us to have the confidence she felt she lacked especially in her younger days. Kendra and I always thought that was strange to hear because my mother is extremely brave and shares what is on her mind. We think she is #fierce! I am grateful for whatever it is that my parents did that availed me to growing up without [an over abundance of] insecurities, self-doubt, or thinking we couldn’t do something we put our mind to. I am not afraid to make desicions that are best for me even if that means doing something a friend of mine or colleague won’t like or understand.

Having that background, I know what you as a reader are likely thinking. How can I judge someone else then if they ARE 30 but still struggle with some things. Well, I didn’t exactly say I was judging people! I said it was strange to me! I’m sometimes confused by it. I believe certain things should be dealt with and conquered 12 years after you have graduated high school – or at least valid continuing attempts. Here was the list I read today of “8 things you should stop doing by the time you turn 30″…

1- depending financially on others

2- staying in a bad relationship

3- not de-stressing enough

4- not prioritizing sleep

5- crash dieting and eating too much junk food

6- binge drinking

7- hanging with toxic friends

8- not doing what you say you’re going to do

Even if this list was assembled by Cosmopolitan and shared on their snapchat story I still find myself emphatically agreeing! Where is the lie? Then again, there are certain things I could still be doing better (ahem, number 4). Still, tonight I find myself wondering. I recently had someone cancel lunch plans with me about an hour or two before we were supposed to meet. This person is an early 20’s girl. I had made time in my very busy schedule for this person and rearranged to make it work. Yet, I remember making similar desicions at that age and being super late to meetings with friends and others. I didn’t realize at the time how rude and inconsiderate it was. However, now I’m understanding things better. I have a better grip on life. I’m not perfect and still make mistakes, but overall I’ve learned some valuable lessons that I don’t think I’ll need to learn again soon (knock on wood). I made a LOT of progress each year of my 20’s. I feel like I’m a very different person now than I was even when I got married [at age 22]. Maybe I am being a little judgmental, everyone is different and has their own strengths. However, I just really don’t see how binge drinking or still hanging with toxic friends or especially staying in bad relationships can be excusable at 30. I know a lot of people carry heavy baggage from their childhood or past that they are still working out. I get that. Many people have gone through serious trials that have prevented them from being their best self in the past. I think of a friend of mine who is 30 and is struggling with PTSD after serving in Iraq. Can I blame them? Of course not. Everyone is different.

I think the people that bother me are those I know really don’t have any “valid excuse”. You know these people? This is why I could never work with college kids or young career age. Send me all the teens! Teenagers have an excuse, they’re still learning! When you are 26 and wondering if you should date a guy everyone knows is bad news… what is your problem? It’s a struggle for me to show certain people grace with that! Does getting older change you? Shouldn’t it? A better way to put this might be the following. It is not only the sole factor of time passing in your life (aging) that gives you a better grip, mindset, or habits… it is how you allow your experiences to shape and teach you. You can be your own teacher.

I was… okay, I am a stubborn person. One thing I did to help myself become a better learner is get a few older women to mentor me. When I’m having trouble learning my lessons (or even completely unaware I’m not learning my lesson), talking it out with my mentors help beyond words can describe. I have three women who are older and wiser with whom I share all with. One is in her 40’s, one is in her 50’s, and one is in her 60’s. Their feedback and advice is so helpful even when sharing a scary truth or something I hate to be wrong about I still covet their opinions. Each have proven to really hear me, listen to me, and know me. Each look out for me and have nothing but my best interest at heart. So, their advice is always spot on. Because there are three of them whenever I hear something from one that I’m still unsure about I can always share it with two other trusted sources. Each of them share my core values and beliefs and when all three are singing the same song to me – I know I gotta listen and follow through!

The other obvious answer is my faith. If you know me than you know I believe in God, love Jesus, and experience a relationship with Him that is life changing. If you’re a skeptic or have never heard from God yourself before and don’t believe – we can still be friends I hope. For me, God is the surest and realest part of my life. The wisdom and knowledge I receive from Him – the LOVE and acceptance that I receive – is better than any human wisdom or support. Jesus is the most consistent person in my life. The love, peace, understanding, and wisdom I receive from Him is beyond anything I could have hoped for. If you’re wondering about God email me today at Learnin2breathe.blog@gmail.com – I’m willing to talk to anyone in a judgement-free and safe context. I can try by best to answer any questions you might have.

Overall, hey you – yeah you in your 20’s. Be your best self. Work towards your goals. Don’t be that lazy and immature human at 30. You can make it. You can heal. You can progress. I promise! And I’ll try to have more patience and understanding as well 🙂 Maybe I can even help you like my mentors have helped me.

“Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art” Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5

“A man who views the world the same way at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life” Muhammed Ali

“…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:3-8 

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Truest Self

Hey guys. Officially I’m on a posting break (as you may have seen here), but unofficially here I am at L2B past midnight. Typical. I’ve been traveling a lot this summer and otherwise attempting to “rest” my creative posting brains in order to save up and prep for fall posting schedule. So, either I’m about to break that concept apart completely or come up with something genius. We’ll see.

I’ve been thinking today about your truest self. Have you ever been to place where you felt free and back to the real “you”? Maybe you went back to a childhood cabin on a serene lake and suddenly remembered the “breath of fresh air” for you soul. It comes when you feel most like yourself. The truest form of YOU. More free and unburdened. No distractions or limits to just being you. It’s like you felt a good and familiar bright white cloud fade back in… nothing like the current darkened skies of burdens, fears, or anxiety. You think “it feels good to be me again”. Just me. You can feel safe and think about whatever comforts you want. For me, there are a few triggers that in retrospect I can identify. Smells. Places. A specific scent or location and now today it’s also apparently a movie.

I just watched (for the second time) “Best of Me” which is based on a Nicholas Sparks book, of course. I don’t like or condone everything in the film but I found the story and female lead character fascinating. As a teenager she was uninhibited and loved and dreamed in her truest form. As an adult, over twenty years later, she returns to a specific place that helped define her in those younger truer years. I’m watching this scene and all of a sudden I’m feeling so pleased. I’m remembering times where I returned in a full circle sort of way to find myself at my truest form. I’m happy that I can go to places or find space and time to return again. Moments in time and space where I can find myself to just sit back and let out a sigh of relief that I’m free to be me with complete contentment. Part of the relief comes because of the lengthy time it’s been since I last felt that way. Tonight I found myself craving to go “back” there.

It’s a strange way to think about it. Actually it’s strange way to live all together. Most of the days I have life seems to be just great but I do not typically feel like my truest, most free, uninhibited, bold, passionate, and REAL self. Today I found myself wanting to go “back” to a place where it’s safe and can come quite naturally to feel true. Since this “place” is more a state of mind than anything else why I would refer to it as going “back”? Why isn’t it going “forward”? Moving forward. Moving ahead. The connotation on the phrase “going back” means you forgot something. You don’t want to move on. It’s scarier to move forward. It’s a negative connotation. Why do I have to go “back” to feel free? Shouldn’t I be moving ahead and becoming more and more who I want to be each day? Why isn’t it one of my goals to feel like my truest self EVERY day?

It’s been a while since I’ve even thought of this happy “place”. It’s probably because I have enough stuff going on in my life leaving very limited time to remember. When I do remember there isn’t room to stay thinking about such things. So it’s a scheduling issue? Calendar issue. Seems my true self makes less and less frequent visits the older I get. The more time that passes makes those moments come further and further apart. So it’s an age issue? Growing up. Is there one answer?

I see lots of quotes and intelligent and inspiring words while surfing around pinterest and instagram before I go to sleep at night. Often times I’ll read something I resonate with and like it so much that I put it into a pinboard I’ve named “Wow, that’s so Kim”. For a split second I get a tinge of the REAL me feeling. I feel affirmed in who the REAL me is. Here are some of my favorite ones so far…

I love being me. I really do. I know that’s a great blessing. I am content with being me and elated when I can be my truest self. Peaceful happiness in a state of returning “home” in a sense of where I belong.

This concludes my thoughts for this post. I’m going to have to do a “part two” of this post. I think I just started a series. On “Truest Self: Part Two” my task might be discussing possible ways to be my truest self MORE. My goal is to be as peacefully happy as God would will for me. I can’t but imagine that is the human God created me to be and should be always. Why should I be anyone else?

Is it me against the world?

Anybody ever feel like you are the only person on the planet trying to do the right thing? Even though you know that’s not true you still wonder why you work so hard, so sacrificially even, while others continue to crap on you? Why even bother working that hard at doing the right thing…? A while ago I did a post on choices over at 47 Grove. When I was younger I had no problem with the concept of “thankless” good deeds. As an adult I’ve had more time and experience to see real messed up stuff happen. Maybe that’s why it is now sometimes harder to understand why you can do everything right and still get crapped on. Perseverance used to come a lot easier. I went so far as to look up the definition of the word “persevere”…. continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. One synonym given was literarily to “struggle on”. I guess “the struggle is real” is an actual thing. Even if you have been around long enough to know doing the right thing means you’ll likely still get crapped on… it’s not until you’re actually IN the crap that things really get tough. You know it’s coming, and yet still when it hits you wonder why life is spinning.

I could be a beach bum. For the rest of my life! I love the sound of that career. I could sell art on the boardwalk. I could wear a bathing suit every day. I could even do a little ministry and pray for people along the beach, right? Doesn’t that sound a whole lot better right now? Costa Rica has nice beaches I’ve heard. Beach missions.

Hmmm… God doesn’t seem to have called me to a life of beach missions. Bummah. Instead I’m in the trenches of what many have called the “thankless ministry”. They call it youth ministry. In all actuality it’s more like babysitting, mentoring, coaching, life guarding, cleaning, driving, car pooling, feeding, reading, pick ups, nursing, juggling, praying, praying, and really praying that everyone turns out alright. Myself included. The beach sounds a lot easier though! Maybe someday. Possibly around retirement age. That’s okay.

I’m not the only one to have experienced an unwanted or seemingly undeserved ending to a really good / moral / or even evangelistic deed. I think of the many times in the Bible people who were in the middle of doing the right thing got crapped on. Paul and Silas were thrown in prison. Jesus’ disciples were arrested, tortured, murdered. Mary saw her miracle baby brutally killed in front of her own eyes. Let’s not even go Old Testament here. Daniel was thrown in a pit with vicious lions. Noah was mocked by his entire society. Let’s not even go there with Job or Jeremiah.

I guess I feel pretty stupid now. Many have experienced far harsher trials than my own. One thing I’m always telling my kids is that God always keeps His promises, and to remember that He promises this life will be hard and… the struggle is real. Dang, I knew saying that all the time would come back to bite me someday. Taking my own advice.

We aren’t supposed to feel good after every right decision. We are supposed to feel right about every good decision. Sometimes you’ll be thrown for a loop. The ending won’t be what you wanted, could have guessed or even deserved. So let’s examine again why we do the right thing. First reason, because I’m called by the God who I love. After sacrificing for me I know that I can sacrifice for Him. I can do what He’s asked because I love Him and He is God. Second reason, because others will benefit from my right decision even if I don’t. Third reason, because someday I will be rewarded. Oh, and it will be a great great reward in heaven. God will bless me on earth as well according to how He sees fit. Fourth and final reason, because I trust Him. God knows what He’s doing. and I don’t need to question why. I just need to serve. I just need to make right choices. I just need to be faithful. I trust God for the rest. He knows what I need better than I do.

Guess what… it still sucks to get crapped on. Ha! Yeah, I know. So there are things you can do during those times. As you can see, I tend to blog a bit! It releases tension for me and provides a safe place to get all my thoughts out in the open. I often figure out a lesson God’s been trying to teach me after I read my own thoughts that I’ve poured out while writing. I also make sure I am resting, taking a sabbath each week, and caring for my health properly. I escape to the beach when I need to. I get some fresh air and clear my head. I do something I really enjoy for an afternoon if it’s well deserved. I call someone who I know understands or cares and just have a conversation with them. Even if it’s not extraordinarily deep it means something to have someone you care about talk to you on the phone for a bit. I take a deep breathe. I take a sip of my coffee. Eventually I find my way back to my prayer closet. I read my Bible. I ask God for wisdom. I try and move forward. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. There’s isn’t a better way. There isn’t a short cut. Believe me, I’ve learned the hard way.

It’s troubling sometimes the amount of hardship we can expect to come. Even still I reminded that God has given me all the means to make it through. If I’m filled with the Holy Spirit and my God is for me… who can be against me?

It’s 3am again

Why wouldn’t I be posting? It’s 3am.

This past week I went back in time (as you may have read here) via my old blogs. I do mean OLD blogs… xanga, livejournal, all that good stuff. Before they called it blogging and it was closer to street art than what “blogging” is today. Still trying to break into my old myspace. I did have a blogspot and a typepad also at one point. I also wrote detailed lengthy letters to one of my best friends all throughout high school that I’m trying to track down. Those letters will surely be revealing. One common theme in all my writing through the last 15 years (yes, that long) was the post launch time… can you guess? 3am. Yes.

I’ve literarily ALWAYS been a night owl. Even as a baby my mom says almost right off the bat I had my days and nights mixed up. The night time provided the dark and quiet peace that has always focused my soul to write. Doesn’t mean I’m not afraid of the dark… but there are far less distractions at 3am. It’s a good type of alone.

Last night I got up around 1am (still rather early for me apparently) to get some food. I was at my parent’s house on Grammy duty. There’s this one cupboard at my mom’s that always smells like Bran Flakes. Even if there’s NO Bran Flakes in it! It’s one of those “smells like home” kind of smells that reassures you. Last week I opened this same cupboard only to find no bran flakes. For the record, I put about a pound of sugar on top of the Bran Flakes… who can even eat it plain? Why not just buy sugary cereal you ask? Good question, never thought about it. Bran Flakes with sugar though… perfect late night snack. Anyways, this week I open the cupboard to find…

 when you think you found your cereal...cupboard2

What the heck is this fake?!?!?! Market Basket brand!!! So fine, there is supposed “bran flakes” but not the brand name original… and then to make matters even worse THIS happens…

cupboard3

I mean… of all the evils in this world.

That was it. My punishment for eating wheat. I never have wheat/gluten. Anyways… I made my bowl of sugar with a little cereal on top and made my way over to the couch and watch something while I gobble down this feast before bed. Of course it’s the middle of the night so what’s on… Nick at Night! Boy Meets World it is. Ahh, Netflix, when will you add Boy Meets World to streaming?

Then it struck me that in the same year I’m trying to conceive an actual human being with my husband five years into marriage… I’m still able to go to the house I grew up in, eat my mom’s cereal, and basically reenact my middle and high school existence. Down to Boy Meets World and the late night blogging even. Am I even allowed to claim adulthood when I still have these capabilities? For a second I felt so little. Is there ever an age that you reach when flashbacks such as these no longer occur? And it really takes you back! Just like reading my old blog posts did.

It’s a surreal kind of week. I’ve actually really thrown myself for a loop.Will anyone ever understand why the adolescent years stick with us in such a unique way? It’s the shortest time period of your life! You’ll spend most of your time on earth as an adult NOT being young. However we’re always hearing our grandparents talk about “the good ol days” or when they were growing up. It really sticks with us no matter how much you try and block it out. Oh and I’ve tried 🙂

One more week of spending my Tuesday nights into Wednesday afternoons with Grammy. After that she’ll live in Virginia with my aunt for a month before she moves back to this area to live with yet another aunt and be reunited with my grandfather. So… next week will be the final bran flakes late night posting. Stay tuned. Exciting stuff here.

Let’s start over!

Life update: I am blogging. Yes. Okay, doing one thing right! Anyone else get the feeling that adulthood is absolutely NOT something that is possible to “master”… like… ever?! What does “successful” even MEAN? As a kid you imagine yourself a successful adult looking a very specific way. Well, I’m here now! What’s the deal?

Let’s be clear. I love my life, love my husband, and I consider myself very blessed. I’m also sick, overwhelmed, and sometimes in some ways I feel as though I have less direction than I ever did. Very contrasting! There’s so much about my life that I enjoy. A moment where my husband and I lock eyes and communicate through a smile. A moment when I sit down in a comfy chair at a coffee shop with a good friend and sip a delicious latte over conversation. A moment when one of my students makes a good and Godly decision for their life. A moment when I hear the perfect harmony to a beautiful song. There is so much to love, appreciate, and look forward to.

There’s also so much that I could not have imagined. I never thought I’d live my entire adulthood with a life altering illness. I never thought I’d be a bi-vocational minister. I always assumed I’d just do ministry forever and solely, it’s that simple. Come to find out, it’s definitely NOT that simple. Very few things are simple now. In retrospect high school and certainly college were simpler times. I think in college my main thoughts might have revolved around going to the beach, sleeping, and hanging out with my boyfriend. Now, there’s real like, life altering decisions to be made! When should we have a kid? When should buy a house? Can my body actually handle the stresses of having two jobs? Should I finally listen to my doctor and slow down?

I know I’ve only been an official adult for 8 years, but wow. This is it huh? Those of you who are further along and have already had your biological kids are probably laughing. Ha. Yeah, I know. I’m ridiculous. I’ve always thought that because of my profession, my adolescence, and my training [or something?!] that I was warped forward into a rather “mature” [for my age] adulthood and that’s why I’m able to function as such. Now I’m feeling a bit juvenile. My husband recently brought this to my attention in a very loving and concerned fashion. He is my biggest fan and is always looking out for me. So yesterday he took me to Panera and said “will you let me tell you something as your spiritual leader?”… and that’s very exciting when my husband talks like that. Any other Christian women out there feelin me? That’s hot. Anyways… he let me know that it’s time to focus! It’s time to realign our goals. It’s time to stop talking about how overwhelmed I am. It’s time to trust in the Lord. It’s time to listen to Him. I am excited for this new chapter of NOT self-reliance, but of God reliance! My favorite book in the entire world is “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. Absolutely life changing. It just so happens [and this happens often] that yesterday’s devo was SPOT on what we were talking about. I highly recommend this book/devo… whoever is reading this blog post you MUST buy this!

After talking to Clark and reading my devo, spending some quality time with the Lord… I’m realizing more and more how my life is not what I thought. I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am SO GLAD my life is NOT what I imagined! It’s farrrrrrrrr greater! My husband is…. WOW…. hott!… out of the this world amazing. We do something truly amazing with our lives. We are youth pastors. It’s a call I never imagined I would answer and serve alongside my husband. I have kids! Lots of them. They are SO annoying most of the time. Haha! But they are also so special. I love them beyond words can say. I think sometimes I might need them more than they need me. Maybe you other youth pastors or youth pastors wives can relate? When people ask me “Do you have kids?” I always respond without hesitation, “yes! I have about 200 of them”. They are my joy. Our ministry and our calling is my joy. I’m ready to focus on the Giver of Joy. The Creator of Life. The Father of Light. The One to whom I owe my life and more. What’s more, I can trust Him. When I trust Him, everything falls together in line. Life is hard and unexpected, but that is part of the beauty. Just wait for it. Trust Him and He will guide you and show you. I promise. I’m waiting too.

 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 

THE TV ATE MY BLOG POST

Anybody else foolishly think to yourself “Oh, I’ll turn on the tv or watch Netflix while I write this blog post”… and then 30 minutes later you’re trying to remember what the heck your awesome blog post idea was?! Terrible. Since my husband and I got Netflix we’ve gone through different series together, and recently I decided to start Gossip Girl for my own entertainment. Bah. Bye-bye eloquently clever blog post filled with my signature wit, charm, and… BAHAHA – okay so my blog post wouldn’t have been THAT good! It’s still frustrating though…

So, in efforts to fight off my inclination to now post about shopping or my love for The Cheesecake Factory… I’m going to post about things that inspire me to post! Maybe in reading this you’ll remember all the things – or better yet, PEOPLE – who inspire you! Each week over the month of January I’ll post a inspiration post, first up is this week’s!

Before I’m really ready to start writing a blog post I need a delicious late night snack. Things to know about Kim… I eat cheese, like, every day. All cheeses pretty much. And I like it.

photo (6)

Alright… back to business. Today I made a wallpaper for my desktop and it’s a great first piece to what inspires me!

kims comp wallpaper

The people I love inspire me!

My new wallpaper is complete with family, friends, and friends who are family. I couldn’t possibly leave out my babies, our youth group kids and staff. Then of course my favorite human in the world, Clark Clervois, the most incredible husband-man! I spent the majority of the day today with my brother and his wife, they are absolutely wonderful. You can see Fabricio in the upper left hand corner pic front and center in navy sweatshirt and again in the bottom left hand corner pic with olive green shirt & glasses to the left of me and his wife Kemberli right behind him! Fab became family to me and my immediate family when he and his brother started coming to our church and stole our hearts. My sister and I grew up with no real brother’s and Fab and Felipe grew up without any real sisters, so we adopted each other. Today Fab and Kem and I spent the vast majority of our time together looking at old photo’s and video’s remembering our brother and my friend and laughing at how ridiculous we used to look. On Christmas Fab texted me and my husband asking if we could FaceTime… my sister had a sixth sense that Kem is pregnant! She was RIGHT! The thought of my future niece or nephew has not left my mind since I first heard. AHHH! I’m beyond excited, ELATED! This baby already means the world to me. And so, I find inspiration in the love of a family that I’m bonded together with not because we share genetics but because we chose each other. We’ve gone through so much together. Watching those video’s today reminded me of how much we really and truly love each other.  I am so grateful for them, thank you Lord for giving me these amazing humans to share life with. Hopefully in 2014, a little MORE life adding more chapters to our story. I am very much looking forward to the baby Paes chapter! 

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So, until next week’s inspiration post I’ll leave you with this verse.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

Home Sick Again

So, it’s Friday night – youth group night – and a beautiful fall day outside… and I’m home in bed. No fun. Everything at youth group starts in thirty minutes and my mind is reeling with all the different responsibilities that I’ve had to let someone else handle because I’m home sick. We prep all week for youth group and then start setting up around 3pm, print all our stuff at 2pm. What a day! Then, this morning when I woke up as sick as I am Clark said I needed to stay home. Sigh. My health has been one of the biggest challenges throughout my adult life. Here’s the “short” story…

In 2005 I contracted mono, which most of you know as the kissing disease! Well, I didn’t contract it having that much fun… although I did end up giving it to my teenage boyfriend that way ;-). Come to find out toddlers just so happen to carry the EBV virus in their system, which is what mono stems from. One Sunday afternoon I volunteered to watch the kids in the nursery when apparently one of those little critters passed their lovely strand of the EBV virus to me. I became apart of the elusive top %5 of worst case mononucleosis cases in the US. I showed the most serious systems of mono during the first six months and missed almost half of senior year of high school. I think the school let me graduate just because they didn’t want me to stick around another year.  This wasn’t the “stay home from school and feel tired for two weeks” type of mono… I remember waking up some mornings and not being able to feel my legs. It was scary, and I missed out on a lot of life during that year. What 17 year old wants to stay home all day and be miserable? By the end of the year I had like three friends left.

This is me some time around 2006 or 2007 when I was tested for lymphoma. I look so little!

This is me some time around 2006 or 2007 when I was tested for lymphoma. I look so little!

I continued to be symptomatic for over a year and half. The damage done to my immune system and body were so severe that it caused permanent damage. In 2007 the doctor’s finally started to test for everything in the book including some pretty scary things like lymphoma and MS. I really stumped the doctors and specialists for a long time. All those years of my life I had no idea what was really wrong with me. Now, years later I have better doctor’s who were able to look back through my health records and at least find SOME answers! I have three autoimmune deficiencies. I have Hashi’s disease and hypothyroidism and severe psoriasis. I also have a few growths or “nodules” on my thyroid glands, and one particularly large one on my right gland. My neck unfortunately bothers me all the time now. Recently I’ve had so much pain there that I visited the doc’s office to get an ultrasound. The doc found that my right gland’s “special visitor” – the nodule – has grown even larger. In December they’re going to have to stick a needle in my throat and pull some of it out… and I’m not looking forward to it! They’ll retest for thyroid cancer, which wouldn’t be as scary if my aunt hadn’t just gone through thyroid cancer.

Phewf… so it’s out – that’s my ongoing scary health sega. Many of you other chronically diseased friends reading can relate. “Sick days” for us are not just a normal sick day. It’s like having to miss out on your life because of some illness that you have no control over. You often think “why me?”. So today, I’m home very sick with either a cold or virus and because of my other conditions I don’t have the capability to fend it off properly. It’s taken me a while to gather the courage to share this information about myself, but I hope to somehow help other’s going through something similar. Today, I think all I can do is share. Often I have to remind myself that my health doesn’t define who I am. So many people in the past have marked me as “lazy” or “not motivated” when in reality I was silently suffering behind closed doors. I’ve always wanted to do a post on my psoriasis or thyroid because of an inspirational woman who’s blog I read. She is a mom and talks about how she deals with running a family and living with rheumatoid arthritis. Don’t you love reading a blog only to realize you would probably be friends with that writer if you had met in real life? Thank you Hillary Leonard, hopefully my life will at some point become equally as fascinating!

The truth is, mono sucked… but that time period of my life taught me an incredible amount of life lessons that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned so young. The truth is, being chronically altered is depressing… but it keeps me balanced and [when I let it] allows me to see life through the most important filter. All I had during those long moths at home with mono was God and my Bible. It was then that I learned God is not a feeling or an experience that could only be reached at places like youth group and summer camp. When all my friends struggled in college and ended up leaving the faith, I had a strong rock to lean on. I knew where my fulfillment and purpose came from and didn’t have to go searching for it. I didn’t feel the need to act a certain way to prove something either. I was settled in my who I was and my beliefs – my foundation – and it was then that God delivered to me the life I couldn’t have possibly dreamed… including my man!

Now, when my colleges are overworking themselves and exhausting their families… I don’t even have the choice but live a more balanced life. Yeah yeah… sometimes I too do the overworked thing. I’m not above it, I get sucked in too. But then I pay for it with my health and God reminds me that I wasn’t created to constantly be on the go. Maybe it’s like my “secret” fail safe that God puts in me so that I never have to experience a burn out. That’s my worst fear… me or my husband burning out. God knew that when I married a pastor. He’ll take care of us, I know that, but I still have to do my part too. Today, I remind myself of this… otherwise it would be easy to feel sad about everything I’m missing. All I can do is try. In the mean time, my husband has come home and made me feel a whole lot better. He came through the door with presents!!!! Oh how well he knows me. He got me a card, my favorite cookie dough, my favorite soup, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Thankful for my husband today and that outweighs my stupid diseases. Sometimes you just have to take it one day at a time.

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The gorgeous flowers my husband brought home, I love these colors!