WORRY AND ANXIETY

I am usually a pretty laid back kind of gal. I don’t sweat the small stuff and pretty much everything is small stuff. However, I am having vocal cord surgery on the 12th of October and I must be honest. I am now the owner of worry and anxiety.

It shows up mostly in the mornings when I am laying in bed. I start thinking about the surgery.  My right vocal cord is paralyzed and so they have to open up my airway and inject a filler substance into my vocal cord.

No biggie, right?

Yeah, well you have the pathway to your lungs being messed with and see if you don’t freak out too.

My concern is not so much the actual surgery but my bodies response to the filler. I am highly allergic to most medications. My allergy list exceeds ten different medications and it is growing daily.

So, what may be a walk in the park for most people, may be a life threatening situation for me. If the filler causes my right vocal cord to swell too much then I have lost my airway. Kind of scary…

Now, I am all good with passing on. I don’t really think that this life is in any way better than a life with God in heaven but I have not finished my novel. I truly believe that is the main purpose for me being alive and I am very goal driven. The thought of not fulfilling my purpose for God is the most horrid thought.

So, all of these crazy thoughts were going through my mind the other day, when an unusual event occurred.

I was sitting at my desk, in my bedroom, and I kept feeling God nudge me.

I pushed Him aside, as if he was a love starved cat. He kept nudging me to look at the Bible verse calendar on my desk. I have three different ones and then another one on my wall but most days I don’t pay them much attention.

The Holy Spirit kept pestering me until I finally picked one of those desk calendars up and started leafing through it until my eyes found the one for October 7.

“I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefor my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure.” Psalm 16:8-9

I think I heard God sigh when I found that verse. I was so excited. To have a verse which I can claim over my body when going into surgery is just beyond belief the greatest assurance that He is in control.

In addition to this, I have so very many people who have said that they will pray for me. One sweet lady in my church even put it on her phone calendar. I can not tell you how thankful I am for all  of those prayers.

If you would like to pray for me I would welcome your prayers also.

I intend to blog a lot after the surgery because I have five days where I am not supposed to speak even one word. Kind of stoked about that too because it will give me time to write.

I am hoping I can talk normally after the surgery and I have always asked God to work on my singing voice because I am so off tune I could crack glass.

Who knows? Maybe I will not only be able to talk again but have a voice which is pleasing to the ears when I sing. Hoping, hoping. hoping….

A NEW CHURCH

I have gone to a mega church on and off for the past few years. I actually don’t think that mega churches are biblical. I think when you reach a certain stage in church growth you should split off and start a new church.

It wasn’t that the pastor wasn’t good. He was amazing.

It wasn’t that he didn’t use the Bible as his source for preaching. He consistently stuck to the Bible as a foundation for his sermons.

It was that I missed the intimacy that I need from a church.  No one knew me. They didn’t care about whether I went or not. I could stay home and watch the sermon from my bedroom and no one would even know I hadn’t attended that Sunday.

So, when my friend, Erin, mentioned the church she was going to, I decided to attend.

I liked it a lot at first. The pastor was Bible based in his preaching. He throws out awesome quotes like candy at a parade. I take notes like crazy because I don’t want to miss one nugget of wisdom.

The pastor’s wife is amazing also. She is so sweet and her eyes sparkle with the joy of the Lord when she sees me.

But I didn’t know if I really wanted to get involved. I mean that would be a whole nother step you know?

But at least I could attend the Vision class. I felt it was always good to know the mission statement of the church and all of that kind of stuff.

So I attended. Lord, I not only attended, I also volunteered. I signed up for the coffee team, the prayer team and the meal chain.

What on earth had happened to me? I had always been fairly good at not getting too involved in things.

Lord almighty, it seemed like I dove in the deep end of the pool with no life jacket.

The first Sunday I was supposed to help set up the coffee table was the same day as the Celebration of Life service for my dear friend who passed away. I figured I could say “No, sorry. I have that afternoon reserved. (Yes, I know church is in the morning)

The problem with that is that my friend who died would have probably shot down from heaven and slapped me across the face with a good dose of reality. Of all my friends she was the one who always was offering to help others. She would be pleased as punch if I was helping my church on the same day I went to honor her.

However, I did show up late and the coffee table was already set up. However, Erin was nice enough to show me the ropes for next time.

Next time came soon. It was yesterday and I got some wonderful instruction as to how to set up the coffee table. We have to set up and take down because we are currently meeting in a warehouse. So I set up, then we had the service and after the service I took it down with some help from others.

As soon as  my coffee table put away. I looked around for other things to do. I spotted a little boy who had caught my eye earlier.

His Dad was busy putting the sound equipment away and his mother was working.I was a bit worried that he would get hurt running around.  So, I scooped him up and sat on a chair so that he would be out-of-the-way. He was such a little sweetheart. I made sure that we were within eyesight of his Dad so that the little chap wouldn’t be scared.

His Dad thanked me profusely, as I gave the precious child back to him. . My goodness, I felt like thanking the Dad because it is not often that I get to hold such a sweet child in my arms.

As I left church yesterday morning, I left with a grateful heart.

So thankful that I can worship in this great country according to the belief system I have chosen. Grateful that I have found a small, Bible based church. In addition, I have found a joy in serving that I didn’t even know was there.

I have reflected on this church many times since I first attended and it always brings a smile to my lips. I realize that I liked it a lot at first but it is more than that now.  I am beginning to love this body of Christ as I believe Christ would yearn for me to.

WORKING ON A SABBATH

I had agreed to work on Saturday but I really wanted to be off on the Sabbath. I had to help out at church and go to a Celebration of Life service for my best friend. It was only one appointment and the patient was one of my favorites but I really didn’t want to work on the Sabbath.  I had made this very clear to my scheduler. There should have been no confusion.

I opened up my schedule on Friday night and there she was, scheduled for that Sunday. The very day I had asked off. I was enraged. I threw off the cloak of righteousness that Christ has given me and rummaged through my closet for my Diva robe. I put on my Diva robe and tied the sash tight. I was going to give that scheduler a piece of my mind.

The only problem is…

I can only whisper due to my vocal cord problem. It is very difficult to get enraged when you do it at a fraction of the decibel that most rage entails.

So, I went to sleep instead.

On Saturday I was going out the door to see my patient when I felt a tug on my Diva robe. That tug was the Holy Spirit. Then the Holy Spirit brought to mind James 1:20, which is one of the verses I have hidden in my heart.

The thoughts in my mind proceeded to tear at the sash of my Diva robe.

“It wouldn’t kill you to do that visit tomorrow. You know the scheduler has had added responsibilities put on her plate. She not only works during the week but takes call every single day so that you don’t have to. She is also taking care of her mother who is very sick. Furthermore, this is the only company that has ever given you weekends off. So, what is the big deal?”

I felt the Diva robe slipping from my shoulders and landing in a puddle at my feet. “Ok, I will call her and tell her I can do it.”

I called her and told her that I noticed that that visit was still on my schedule for Sunday. She started making excuses. I told her that was ok, I would do the visit. I would just have to do it in the evening when I was done with the memorial service for my friend. She was so grateful. As I was doing so, I could feel the robe of righteousness covering my shoulders with grace.

James 1:20 “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness which God so desires.”

A WHISPER

I have had a difficulty with my voice for over a year now. Since I have a paralyzed right vocal cord there is too much air escaping when I try to talk. All I can do currently is whisper.

This is quite the predicament to be in when you work with the elderly. Most of them have lost quite a bit of their hearing. When they tell me to speak up it is impossible for me to do.

Yet my company still keeps me employed and the dear old folks I go to visit suffer my weakness with great kindness. Somehow I always get through each day even though my voice does present a challenge.

As I continue to struggle with this I have sought God to see what I am supposed to learn from this trial.

Within the past month I think I have found my answer. In James 1:19, God says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”

Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

I have found that when all I can do is whisper I measure my words very carefully. lol

THE BACK STORY

Usually I write inspiring posts for this blog but sometimes feel as if I need to lay a foundation for a post. This piece is kind of the back story for the post I will release tomorrow. So, as the story goes…

Last year I got a horrible sinus infection while coming back from my parents place on an airplane. I responded to it as I respond to most health problems. I ignored it.

It kept getting worse. I happened upon a patient who had become disabled when a sinus infection had transposed the blood brain barrier. This poor man had suffered several strokes as a consequence of his sinus infection and was now bed bound. I was starting to get headaches which I NEVER get and after seeing this man I made an appointment with my doctor.

I was prescribed LEVAQUIN which knocked out my sinus infection but also took my voice. Instead of going to my doctor and demanding a blood test to check to see if I had infection, I did what any other nurse who is well connected does. I called a friend of mine who was a doctor and asked him to throw some more antibiotics my way. He is a good friend and did just that.

My throat was in such agony I could barely swallow for three to five months. I finally went to the ER and had them do some testing on me and they said I did not have an infection.

My next step was to go to an ENT doctor who told me that I had a paralyzed vocal cord and he needed to “beef” it up. He couldn’t tell me what “beefing” it up meant, nor would he say that “beefing” it up would give me back my voice.  At times I could talk almost as if I had never had a problem but most of the time I just whispered. So I didn’t go for the surgery.

Then my voice got much worse and all I could do was whisper.

This year I decided to try a different ENT. I told her straight off that I needed more information about the procedure if I was going to do it. She explained that my left vocal cord was enlarged and my right vocal cord was paralyzed. Apparently the two must touch each other to make sound. My right vocal cord had atrophied to the extent that my left could not meet it.

She was even sweet enough to send me to a speech therapist who actually showed me pictures of my vocal cords.

Then she explained that “beefing” up was injecting a filler such as collagen, or hyaluronic acid into the right vocal cord to build it up. Then the left could actually touch it when trying to make sound. (Kind of reminds me of some kind of sick romantic story.)

With all of this information I could make an informed consent on my surgery and that is now scheduled for October 12th. For those of you who feel led to pray for me I would greatly appreciate this. There are dangers associated with this surgery; such as bleeding, or too much filler, which could lead to my airway closing up. So prayers are needed.

I do believe that God is in control and if you are so kind as to read my post tomorrow you may understand what I have learned from this trial. (wink, wink)

MY INNER JOY

I used to be so happy when I was a little girl. I would wake up just bursting with joy. There were many times as a single mother I could barely contain my joy when I saw my children in the morning.

My joy had nothing to do with my circumstances.

I was raised in a home with a mother who was depressed and angry due to bitterness over the way others had treated her.

I was not popular in school and when I was in junior high and high school I was the victim of horribly bullying. Yet I still had an inner joy.

Anyone who has been a single mother can tell you it is not easy. Raising children and having to do everything without a partner is a very difficult road to travel. My ex was not able to provide a large child support check so I had to work a lot while also raising my children. He did remain very involved in their lives though and still provides great counsel to them when asked. So thankful for that.

Yet, when I think back on those years I do not remember the nights that I cried myself to sleep. I remember it as being the greatest amount of fun I have ever had in my entire life.

Over the course of the years though, my joy has diminished. Lately I have missed it more than I can say.

It was a surprise to me when I felt it creeping up in my Spirit last Sunday. All I had planned was church and then to go to a Celebration of Life service for my friend that had passed away.

I woke up that morning with joy springing forth. I had to go to church early to help set up the coffee. We meet in a warehouse and have to set up and take down each Sunday.

I arrived a little late and I don’t want to do that again. I also could not stay to tear down and I hope to do that next time I have the privilege of serving. Yet just being with that church family is like being hugged by God. They are so very welcoming.

I still  had the Celebration of Life service for my friend  though. I thought I would be a mess of tears but I wasn’t. It was such a beautiful memorial to her. Everyone was talking about what a loving person she was. She had so many friends and family there who had all been touched by her amazing life.

I still miss her like crazy but when I think of that service I find comfort.  She was such a loving person and, in turn, was so loved by others.

When I think back to where my joy originates, I believe it may originate in serving and loving others, in addition to worshiping God. I am still trying to discover the mystery of my hidden joy.

Where does your joy originate from?

ELVIS

I have some bad news to share.

My cat, Elvis, has passed due to kidney failure. He was named that because he had the most stunning black fur I have ever seen on a cat.

My boyfriend has been caring for Elvis over the past few years. He had taken him because some horrible person had lied to the city of Fort Worth and told them I had thirteen cats.

Although that person meant to do harm, God meant it for good.

My boyfriend and that cat became best buddies. Where there was one, there was the other. He would send me pictures of them watching sporting events and movies together without a millimeter of space between them on the rocking chair.

My boyfriend put Elvis on a diet and he lost a good amount of weight. When he was at my house he never used to run because his favorite activity was eating and laying in the sun.  At my boyfriend’s house he would sprint the length of the house.

He was happy and he was loved from the minute he was born to the very end of his life. My boyfriend’s vet even took him home during the night when he was in kidney failure.

When I went over to my boyfriend’s house I always gave him treats and he would always be so excited to see me. Or maybe he was just excited about the treats because he was so happy there it didn’t faze him when I walked in the door.

My boyfriend had also taken Elvis’ sister. Elvis and his sister were always loving on each other.

If all cats and humans could be loved the amount that Elvis had been, the world would be one of peace and contentment. His life was shortened due to undetected Diabetes and the corresponding kidney failure. But I believe his life was lived to the fullest due to the love he received and gave back.

I would encourage anyone who reads this post to love their family, friends and animals to the best of their ability. I have lost a best friend, Kathy Raney, and an amazing cat, Elvis, all within the span of one month.

I take comfort in knowing that God has both in heaven and that I loved both while they are on earth, yet the tears still explode down my cheeks whenever I think of them.

I Corinthians 13:13 “13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

If those of you who pray could keep me and my boyfriend in your prayers I would be grateful. September has been a difficult month for me and the passing of Elvis has been heartbreaking for my boyfriend.

 

THE GIRLS

I had met the first of the three girls several years back. She was in her 90’s.

I came to love her when I was her home health nurse. She was bed bound at the time I took care of her. Even though she had a pressure ulcer and C diff she was still so pleasant.

Her husband was still living and he did as much as he could but he wasn’t in good health either so the amount he could do was minimal. She also had a cute little lady friend who lived with her and she was in her 90’s also.

We became so close that I was invited to her birthday party. We had so much fun together.  Each time I left her we said we loved each other because we did.

Soon she moved into a facility and I lost track of her.

When I started working for my current company I was asked to fill in for another nurse on some of her cases. I did so without knowing that I would be taking care of the little lady friend.

The first girl had passed on and now the lady friend was rooming with her husband. I enjoyed reconnecting with her.

Just a few weeks ago I had another patient of mine whose daughter refused to give her the antibiotics that the doctor had ordered. I kept telling her that if she didn’t give the antibiotics her mother would not beat the Cellulitis that had infected her legs. She said a friend of theirs had died of C diff and she was not going to let that happen to her mother.

We got to talking more and I found out that she was referring to my former patient who had passed away. Apparently these three girls had been friends for quite a long time and had a history of having a blast together.

I don’t know how on earth I got the privilege of taking care of three wonderful friends which were all in their 90’s. I think it had to be orchestrated in heaven by the first girl who passed away because I had changed companies and I didn’t even know that the first two were acquainted with the third girl.

I know that they all loved God and I am so honored that He has allowed me the privilege of taking care of “the girls.”

 

The loss of a friend

I lost a friend last week. She passed on. I am sure I have told you about her because she was a one of a kind sweetheart. She was physically disabled but more alive than most people I know.

My friend couldn’t walk. She had some rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. She also had had Breast Cancer and Diabetes. She kept telling me that she was getting tired. I encouraged her to limit her activities.

My friend didn’t. It wasn’t her nature to say “No” to anybody. In fact, most times when I called her she would ask me if there was anything she could do to help me.

My friend and her husband took me to the rental care place  when I needed to rent a car for trips and out for dinner many times. They refused to ever let me pay because I had been a nurse to her husband at one time. I guess they felt as if they needed to pay for my meals. I tried to be sensitive to their financial stress and not become a burden to them.

My friend was my greatest cheerleader as far as my novel went. She is the only person in the entire world that has ever read any of my current manuscript and she raved over it.

My friend was at home when she died of a heart attack.

I can’t even begin to tell you how broken-hearted I am that my friend  is no longer here on earth. I keep missing her. I keep crying. I keep wanting her to be there for me but I know she is with God. I know she is happier with Him.

As I view my life I realize how much I learned from her. Even though she had to use a scooter to get places that rarely stopped her from going anywhere. Although she had been a type A person, when she became handicapped she accepted the curve ball that life had thrown her with amazing grace.

I stopped in to see her many times and I don’t remember her ever being discouraged or depressed. She loved others with her whole heart and I realize now that she is gone home how deeply I loved her.

There is to be a celebration of life memorial for her in a couple of weeks. She wanted to be cremated. I hope I can stop crying by then…

I know there will never be another Kathy Alexander Raney. She was one of a kind amazing. I miss her with my whole heart because she was one of the best friends I have ever known. I love you girl, to eternity and back with all of my heart and soul. You were the best!

WHY GOD?

Have there been times in your life when you don’t understand how a God who loves you could allow you to be so heartbroken and not step in to stop it?

I had a time like this several years ago.

It was when my two boys became convinced that they should go live with their Dad in Florida. I was so hurt by this that I refused to listen to their reasoning.

My lawyer had told me that they had said nothing bad about me behind closed doors but they missed their Dad and wanted to live in Florida.

Why Florida?

In addition to the beach and Disney world; Florida has an awesome system of education, not only for their high school students but also a program for college. I had taught all of my children the importance of education and they saw Florida as an open gateway to better education.

Their Dad had been very involved in their life, even though our divorce happened when they were young. When he was living close by me he took them every weekend. So it wasn’t like he was an absentee Dad who decided he wanted to step up to the plate of parenting when the children were almost grown. He had been a present “coach” in their lives all along.

Yet, I was heartbroken. My children were the essence of my life. Every decision I made in life took them into consideration. Why would God allow this to happen?

The answer came to me one night. It is interesting to me how God can flood my consciousness with His reasoning and it all makes sense in the flash of a second.

The reason my sons were allowed the privilege of living in Florida with their Dad and Stepmother, was because my daughter needed me .

She had moved away at about the same time the boys had. We hadn’t been close for several years. She had graduated early from high school and decided to pursue a career as a sales person. This job moved her to Kansas City, Baltimore, Kansas City and then back into my home.

She had always been a social butterfly while in Texas. Unfortunately, when she moved to the Midwest and Baltimore it was like she lost her wings. She called me, as if to seek the shelter of the cocoon which had nurtured her through her youth. We had some heart to heart talks and there were plenty of care packages sent her way.

Then she moved back into my home, for which I am grateful.

When my boys left to go live with their Dad it began the healing process for my daughter and I. If my sons had been home I may have not had the same level of compassion for her. God needed for me to be totally committed to loving her.

I am still healing my wounds from this time in my life but I know that God sees the future and He is a God of love. I know He loves me but even more than that… I am certain He is crazy in love with my daughter and I wouldn’t want it any other way.