Thursday, July 2, 2015

A verdict (and steps forward)

Well, folks, we have a WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER. Several of my Facebook friends gave me some bone broth advice, and the verdict is in: chicken bones are the way to go. They smell better and take less time to cook (just 24 hours). A few people suggested cooking the broth in a Crock-pot in the garage, which sounds like a guh-reat plan to me. Sorry, neighbors: your odds of smelling my broth have just increased by at least three. Although, this time around, the smell should be much more pleasant. Just be thanking your lucky stars that I didn't decide to cook BEEF bone broth in the garage. 


If you prayed about my doctor's appointment yesterday, thank you. I'm happy to report that the doctor I saw yesterday (Dr. V.) was systematic (YAY FOR SYSTEMS!), detail-oriented, knowledgeable, and familiar with cases like mine. His protocol aligns with the things we talked about in our consultation (not a given, I've discovered) as well as some of the hopes I had for a treatment plan. The N.D. I saw a few weeks ago didn't end up being as helpful as I'd hoped, so it feels good to find someone who seems like they'll be a good fit for my needs. We're finally taking steps forward, baby.

Dr. V. thinks lyme is a strong possibility and wants to do further testing for co-infections often present with lyme. He also wants to check for parasites and a few dozen other things -- other pathogens, vitamins, minerals etc. So it's back to the labs for more bloodwork etc.

In the meantime, I've started Phase One of the doctor's protocol. This phase will (hopefully) prepare my body for the antimicrobial treatment at a later stage. Over the next week, I will systematically introduce new items to Phase One's protocol with the goal of boosting a few systems and beginning to pull toxins out of my body. Pathogens are nasty little toxin-creators, so bodies overrun with pathogens tend to have way more toxins than your average healthy body. I'm praying that the protocol, especially the detoxing, won't cause any complications and will be wonderfully effective in nudging me toward healing. I'm also praying that my body's responsiveness (or lack of responsiveness) to certain things will help us figure out all that's ailing me. 

Let the puzzle pieces continue to emerge!

Hoping your Thursday is grand (and cheering for you, Skillets),

SJ



© by scj

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Three days

This week my body has taken me through the wring.er., and since my next doctor's appointment isn't until tomorrow, I've been pumping my body full of every natural remedy I can think of to try to ease my symptoms a bit. Nutritional shakes. Gallons of water. Electrolyte drinks (thanks, mom, for inventing the concoction). Vitamins. Supplements. And man, nothing is working. And so, I have decided to try bone broth — the anti-inflammatory elixir touted by bloggers such as Wellness Mama and Dr. Mercola and recommended to me by multiple friends. This stuff sounds like the real deal, so last week I bought the ingredients to make my own. Today is the first time I'll actually drink the broth, though, because it's taken me three days to make this stuff. And my, what a long three days it's been.

Have you ever made beef bone broth, dear readers? It is one of God's especially stinky gifts. And since the bones have to simmer for for 48-72 hours before their marrow has fully disintegrated into the broth, it's three days of major stink. God bless my parents who have put up with this constant, simmering stench ("Sarah, I can smell that stuff in the front yard"). And God bless my bedroom, which has a way of trapping especially potent pockets of bone broth stink (there is no escape from this smell. None). And God bless my body, for which my family and I are enduring three days of olfactory discomfort (one day we'll laugh about this).

In the meantime, I'm thinking I'll try chicken bones for my next batch of broth. Surely they smell better than beef bones. If you bone broth aficionados are able to weigh in on this stinky issue, please do. Do you know of a less smelly way to do this? If so, my family will be forever in your debt.

Over and out, and cheering for ya, Skillets,

Sarah


P.S. I'll see a new N.D. tomorrow. Would you pray that God will fill him with supernatural healing wisdom and that he'll get me on a trajectory of healing? I'll also be seeing three different doctors ( a radiologist for a brain scan, a neurologist, and an infectious disease doctor) in the next few weeks. I'm hoping they can collectively shed some light on what's going on in my body.



© by scj

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kiddos

Yesterday my cousin brought her sweet babies, ages 3 and 1, over from Portland to visit. My aunt and uncle are visiting my parents from southern California, so it was a family breakfast affair. I sure love having babies in the house.

Everything is so exciting when babies are around. The birds are taking a bath in the fountain outside the window? AMAZING. The bushes out front are full of plump blueberries? DELIGHTFUL. The big truck behind the house is pouring cement? GET OUT OF TOWN.

Talking about the bathing birdies


Life is a stream of delights cascading into every moment when you're a kid. 

When you're a kid, eating trail mix is HILARIOUS. There's just something about peanuts and red M&Ms, man.



And best of all, when you're a kid, every Bible story is fresh and awe-inspiring:


Here, R and I are reading excerpts from the book of John. The story of Jesus washing his disciples' feet was particularly noteworthy to little R. ("Mom, Jesus washed off the mud and animal poop!")

I'll tell you what, if you're wanting to increase your happiness quotient, go hang out with some babies.

Heavens to Betsy, they're one of life's greatest delights.

Happy Tuesday, friends.

Cheering for ya,

SJ



© by scj

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Helping my unbelief

Yesterday was full of sweet gifts. Tea in the backyard while reading the story of the widow's offering in Luke 21. Then lunch on a bench in the sunshine. Turkey, quinoa, and spinach tossed in peach vinaigrette and olive oil, with homegrown blueberries for dessert. I'm grateful for these quieter moments. By evening, however, my symptoms grew loud and ornery, and I felt too sick to blow-dry my wet hair. My mom offered to dry it for me, and although her touch was soothing, I felt disappointed by my body's continued limitations. When I climbed in bed, I was trudging through thick layers of muddy discouragement.

A few weeks ago I read Mark 9 in which a father brings his demon-possessed son to Jesus for healing. The disciples try healing him first. No luck. "This kind needs prayer," Jesus admonishes them. I'd always thought Jesus was classifying demons in this story, as if some exorcisms need prayer while others don't. But one of my pastors said Jesus was making a point about all exorcisms: they all require the power God; without his involvement, the demons ain't going nowhere.

The disciples were relying on their own power to heal the sick boy; that's why Jesus admonished them: "How long will I put up with you, you faithless generation?" The boy's father isn't exactly demonstrating hall-of-fame faith, either. "If you can help me, please do," he says to Jesus. "If?" Jesus asks. "All things are possible for one who believes!"

"I believe," the boys father cries. "Help my unbelief!"

I've prayed this prayer a number of times over the years. When I do, I typically expect Jesus will answer by pulling out his scalpel and cutting the unbelief out of my heart in an act of merciful yet painful surgery. But there are no scalpels in this story. Instead, Jesus turns and heals the boy. A gracious act to buoy the man's faith.

I like Jesus's answer to this man's prayer, so a few weeks ago, I started echoing the prayer more persistently: "Lord, help my unbelief on this long journey of sickness." I wait expectantly, hoping for a miracle. And then, days after I start asking God to help my unbelief, the doctor I've been waiting months to see cancels my appointment. I spend hours researching and calling other doctors but can't find a reputed doctor who will see me before the end of July, just weeks before summer's end.

So much for an imminent miracle.

Last night I knelt at my bed before going to sleep. "God," I prayed, "I really need you to help me trust you. I’m having trouble believing you’re attentive to, involved in, and care about this journey of sickness. Please help my unbelief by teaching me your tender care for me." 

This morning I woke up to a text from a good friend. She'd sent it last night, 45 minutes after I prayed and climbed in bed:

Thinking of you so much tonight. My bible study of young adults are all praying for you. Jeff, our bible study leader, prayed for you powerfully this evening. He's so kind. About 6'4", deep voice, gray haired man. About 65. Thought you might appreciate the visual :) Powerful prayer :) 

The text was from my friend, but it felt like it was from God, as if he was saying, "See, I care. While you were on your knees praying last night, I was moving in my people to come before God's throne on your behalf. You'll know my tender care through my people."

Seconds after reading the text, the doorbell rang. I walked upstairs and found a large vase of summer flowers on the step, waiting just for me.



Later, I discovered my former piano teacher left them. She had a recital for her students last night and these flowers were part of the decor. "Who shall I give them to?" she wondered as she drifted off to sleep last night. This morning, while she was walking with a friend who also struggles with chronic illness, my name came up. Just then, my piano teacher heard the Holy Spirit say, "Sarah!! Take the flowers to Sarah!" So she did. 

"See, I care; you'll know my tender care through my people." 

Gooood morning, Sunshine!

In his book about the dignity of work, Every Good Endeavor, Timothy Keller discusses the different ways God answers the petitions of the Psalmist for food, shelter and clothing. God uses farmers to provide food, tailors to provide clothing, and builders to provide shelter. He provides for us through other people. This morning I've been taking stock of all the ways God has cared for me through his people this month. The list is long. 

1. The friend who also sees Dr. N. and, upon learning about my canceled appointment, called him to see if she could give me her appointment. (She couldn't, but the gesture was lovely).

2. The other friend who sees Dr. N., whose mom, upon learning about my canceled appointment, called Dr. N.'s office to say, "You NEED to see Sarah Jackson!"

3. The friend who offered to drive an hour out from L.A. to ensure I got safely on the airplane two weeks ago when I flew to Washington. 

4. The friend who offered to drive 1 1/2 hours each way to help me pack. 

5. The friend who offered to bring her baby over to keep me company while I was in bed.

6. The friend who called her doctor to see if she treated lyme, and then emailed me her doctor's contact information. 

7. The myriad friends and strangers who have emailed me with doctor's names, articles with helpful information, and words of encouragement. 

8. My parents and siblings, who ensure I'm not alone on this journey. 

9. The friend who's battled lyme for ten years and has talked me through a number of hard spots over the telephone. 

10. The friend who's battled lyme for four years and called me before my flight to give me suggestions for surviving in one piece. 

11. The new friend who took me to the airport early Sunday morning. 

12. The scores of you who have upheld me in prayer.


I'm currently reading Eric Metaxas' book Miracles. Regularly, he reminds me that the whole point of miracles is for Jesus to prove his deity and message his love to us. I'm still waiting for the healing miracle, but in the meantime, he's using you all to message his love to me. Thank you. The healing miracle may not happen this side of heaven, but your compassion sure does make life on earth rich and meaningful. I'm grateful for your participation in God's answers to my prayers for help. 

Praying for you all today. Do let me know how I can pray.

Cheering for ya, Skillets,

SJ





© by scj

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Barefoot days

It's been a week full of family, rest, bare feet, home-grown strawberries, and walks in the sunshine.


(Posting bare feet pictures on here means you and I are becoming great pals. Only a good friend can graciously endure bare feet pictures.)
 
I'm happy to report that my symptoms have, for the most part, continued to quiet down since I've arrived in Washington, and I have occasional pockets of relief that allow me to be productive. And by be productive, I mean dance. I hope to have the moonwalk mastered by the time my brother gets married this September. Hollllla!

I'm hopeful that this week's improvements indicate future improvement, but there is nothing linear about this illness. It's wildly erratic, with ebbing and flowing that makes no sense at all. I've stopped trying to predict when I'll feel this way or that, and have instead decided to take full advantage of the quieter stretches. This week's quietest stretches were filled with a picnic and nature hike with my sister.


My body has also allowed me to settle into a nice daily rhythm this week. In the mornings, I have a cuppa tea in the sunshine while I read my Bible. I write for several hours mid-day, and in the evenings, my mom and I go on short walks on the university campus up the street. The views are our walk are breath-taking:


There is little in the world that compares to a Pacific Northwest summer. I would drink this fragrant air through a straw if I could figure out how. I'm so glad I'm up here.

Happy Tuesday, friends.

Praying for you. And, as always, cheering for ya, Skillets.

-SJ






© by scj

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Home again

Glory hallelujah, I made it to Washington state safe and sound with no physical complications while in the air. My ideal health scenario last week would have been continued herb-induced improvement as I prepared to fly, but God sure used the week of physical crisis to showcase the power of prayer. I like it when he does that.

The carpet at PDX is renowned among lovers of the PNW

Dozens, maybe even scores, of you were praying for me last week, and on Saturday, the night before my flight, my symptoms suddenly quieted. On Sunday, while I flew, they remained quiet; and since I arrived in Washington, they've stayed mostly quiet-ish. Never in the last five years— and I really mean NEVER — has my health turned around as fast as it did on Saturday. I wasn't on any new medicine to induce the change, so the only way I can explain my body's sudden improvement before flying is God's gracious response to our prayers.

Although my symptoms were quieter on Sunday, I still felt nervous to fly. Before I got sick years ago, I liked flying. I especially liked turbulence. Something about the rhythmic jostling comforted me. So it was rather surprising when, while flying to Washington five years ago, the plane hit some turbulence and my body went into fight or flight mode. My heart raced, adrenaline charged, and throat constricted. Ever since then, I spend most flights trying to comfort my body by practicing mindfulness

But folks, I have discovered something with faster results than mindfulness: AIRPLANE DANCING. Here's what you do: put on your headphones and blast a very upbeat playlist. I listened to a song [on repeat] written by my friend Marques Nelson. Forevermore, this song will be my airplane jam, man. I could've danced in the aisles if everyone else would've been okay with it. Instead, I danced with my shoulders and fingers. I shimmied and I shook and I conducted the band (God bless the people sitting on either side of me), and you know what? My central nervous system didn't go haywire. Sometimes I even had the sense that the airplane's bumps and dips were the plane's attempt at some sweet dance moves.

So now I'm at my folks' house, and I'm thanking God for the week of physical crisis last week because it allowed him to showcase his attention to the prayers of his people and his power to ease a girl's symptoms just like *that*. I'm also thanking him for bodies that open us to the joy of dance, even if it's just shoulder dancing.

But that's not all, folks. An N.D., Dr. A., had a cancellation yesterday and I was able to see her. I'm still processing our appointment, but I think seeing her was a good first step. I'm on a number of other doctors' waiting lists and am asking God to direct me to the next good doctor. Because none of these doctors is quite as educated and reputed as Dr. N., I'm realizing I'll need to see a few of them in order to definitively diagnose my illness and develop a more well-rounded and effective protocol. In the meantime, I'm easing into Dr. A.'s protocol and am praying for God's continued direction and provision. There can be lots of complications when trying to clear a systemic infection caused by lyme or other pathogens, especially since killing off bacteria too fast in a weak body can cause more havoc than healing. I want to make wise, informed choices as I work toward health.

Thank you for your encouragement, support, and prayers. I just love you all. Let me know if there's any way I can pray for you this week. (Contact info here).

Cheering for ya, Skillets,

Sarah



© by scj

Friday, June 5, 2015

Plot Twist

Friends,

This is going to be short because my body is not in a good place, but I'm posting because this week I need lots of prayer.

So remember the specialist in Washington I've been waiting to see? His name is Dr. N. and he is brilliant and loaded with impressive degrees. He specializes in helping people with mysterious chronic illness, especially patients with lyme disease. For months now I've had friends and readers of my blog (hi, guys!) email me urging me to get tested for lyme. The idea has crossed my mind several times over the years but each time I've taken steps to investigate lyme with a competent doctor, I've seen significant improvement in my health before seeing the doctor or getting tested so I've held off. Being chronically ill is expensive and I have to be strategic about the doctors I see and tests I run. But at this point in the game, lyme disease makes absolute perfect sense, so I'm investigating this option.

The difficulty with lyme disease is it's hard to diagnose. There are blood tests but they often show false negatives. People who have been sick with lyme for a long time don't always produce the antibodies that show up on those tests. Sometimes, the sicker you are with lyme, the more likely you are to get a false negative. So I need someone really smart who can help me figure out what's wreaking so much havoc in my body. Enter: Dr. N.

The last five months have been some of the hardest of my life. Most days, I'm begging God for mercy from the time I get up to the time I get to bed. When I'm not praying, I'm comforting myself. "Just a a little bit longer and you get to see Dr. N., Sarah. Hang in there." Dr. N. has been my best human hope for diagnosing my ailments and alleviating my symptoms.

But then, a few days ago, the town crier ran onto the dramatic stage that is my life and shouted, "PLOT TWIST!"

Dr. N. is going out of town for half the summer and I will not get to see him on the 15th after all. He leaves the day before my scheduled appointment. I am so, so disappointed and discouraged. I'll be able to see him the end of summer, but that's disappointing for a couple reasons. First, I'd planned on using the summer to get treatment so I can return to southern California in the fall. I love my life down here and want to keep it. If I don't get treated this summer, I can't imagine how I'll be able to come back in August. Second, my body, heart and mind are so weary of enduring so much physical suffering. I long for relief.

So now I'm back to the drawing board, scrambling to find a doctor near my folks' house. I've found a few, but none of them can see me before late July. I've gotten on their cancellation lists in case there's an opening in the next several weeks. I've also moved my flight up from next Tuesday to this Sunday so I'm in Washington all next week in case Dr. N. has a cancellation.

Will you pray for me as I look for a doctor? Please pray that I can get into see a doctor who will be a good fit for my needs in the next couple of weeks, and please pray that I can rest in God's goodness, power, and provision in the meantime. And, as I fly on Sunday, please pray for a turbulence-free flight and a calm nervous system.

This was longer than I thought! A Friday miracle! Thanks for your notes of encouragement, prayers and help on this journey, my friends. You help mitigate the difficulty of all this.

Cheering for ya, Skillets,

Sarah




© by scj

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

More prayer requests

Dear Ones,

By the grace of God, I made it across the finish line. My classes are over and grades are in. Summer is officially here. Thankfully, I recently sold my car (yay! Thanks for praying about that) and am heading to Washington next week where I'll rest and see a specialist who can hopefully give me a diagnosis and some treatment. In the meantime, the Chinese herbs that were giving me some relief the last few weeks seem to have completely stopped working this week, and my symptoms are horrendous. I'm hoping you prayer warriors can prop me up in prayer as I prepare to travel next week.

Here are my prayer requests:

1. Protection. I'm really nervous about flying next week as I'm not sure if my body can handle it. I'm particularly worried that the pressure and altitude will make my body go haywire.

2. Wisdom. It may be unwise for me to fly, in which case I'll have to find another way to get home. Not sure I can drive myself at this point. 

3. Relief. There's nothing I can take or do to get physical relief right now, so I'm asking God to lessen my symptoms as the week progresses.

4. Stamina. Yesterday my big activity was making a salad and washing the dishes afterward. It's going to take some supernatural strength to make it to this week's doctor's appointments, pack, and travel.

5. Encouragement and peace; a sense of the Spirit's presence.


I'm so thankful for your prayers, my friends. How can I pray for you today? Shoot me an email to let me know.

Cheering for ya, Skillets,

Sarah






© by scj

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rainy days: a List

1. It's been raining up a storm over here this week. The torrential downpour caught many of us by surprise:


The ol' bag on the head trick. It's a surefire hair-do saver.


2. Sadly, all the storming caused another cactus causality:



One of my succulents is down for the count. I've nursed these little succulents for a couple of years now and have been surprised by how well they've fared in their mason jar homes. Unfortunately, they've flourished a little too well and are now so top heavy I fear another storm might topple them all.



3. I'm happy to report that my replacement for Mella (who replaced George) is still thriving:


Remember Tommy? He is my indoor cactus. Soon after bringing him home and situating him under my northern window, I discovered his full name is "Thomas Melvin," but he prefers to go by "Melvin." The name suits him perfectly as he's everything you'd expect a Melvin to be: quiet, well-mannered, kind and observant.


4. My family of cacti is wonderfully endearing, but Nico, the pup I babysit, has quickly earned my truest love and devotion. I understand now why you dog owners talk about your dogs like they're your kids, send out Christmas cards with pictures of them, and devote entire Instagram accounts to them. Dogs are truly one of the best things of life. I must exercise self control not to post daily photos and videos of little Nico, and I try to make sure my conversations with people are no more than, say, 50% about him.

Since it's been raining this week Nico and I have spent more time inside snuggling. He loves to lie next to me on his back while I rub his belly. He loves it so much that when I stop rubbing he gets up and drapes himself across my stomach, his paws in the air as he waits expectantly for me to continue scratching his belly.


Nico, subtlety is not one of your special gifts.


5. Some of my family members and I video-chatted this week. I was so looking forward to seeing them; however, I ended up seeing very little of them. I did enjoy a rather riotous conversation with a pirate a couple of kitty cats, and a doctor Seuss-ish/Where's Waldo guy, though:


Dad's pirate costume and textual commentary are compliments of his children. Google video chat allows you to draw and insert clip art on the faces of the people in the conversation. It can be an independent or collaborative artistic effort, and the results are always hilarious.

(You're a good sport, dad.)


6. This week my students told me they thought I was a "front row, center seat" kind of student in college. "Most of the time," I responded. "Every now and then I was a 'back row, hood on' kind of student." In those days, there wasn't nothin' like retreating into a good hood when I was tired and wanted to feel inconspicuous. I still love me a good hood, especially on days I wish I could leave the house wearing a disguise. On those days, I wear my APU track and field sweatshirt because it has the best hood in town.




Do you ever feel like you'd rather face the world looking like someone else? Maybe don a mustache and some crazy spectacles before going to the grocery store?


7. Speaking of mustaches. I have a habit of sticking mustaches to random possessions, forgetting I've done it, and then being delightfully surprised when I re-discover them. This here is my Bible-reading journal currently disguised as "Monsieur Pierre."




8. In between this week's storms Los Angeles looked an awful lot like the city of Oz on the distant horizon.



9. Happy weekend, friends of mine! I hope it's full of delights.


Love,

SJ





© by scj

Monday, May 11, 2015

Puppy Therapy

Everyone, meet Nico, the cutest little pookie face you ever did see:


Nico is my neighbors' dog, but, since they work everyday, and since he's a companion dog who loves people, and since I'm a sick girl who needs puppy therapy, we've arranged for me to babysit him when they're at work.

I am officially a smitten sitter.

Nico knows how to make a girl feel like she's the best thing since a floor full of dinner crumbs. He's also got the hops of a gerbil (seriously, have you ever had a gerbil? Those things can JUMP) so when I let him out of the house, he runs toward me, shaking with delight, and  jumps right into my arms.

Nico is also the snuggler of snugglers. He snuggles in my lap while we watch the sunset. He snuggles next to me while I grade. And last night, in the most endearing act of dog affection on the planet, he came and rested his head on my tummy when I laid down to rest.


I just love him.

Happy Monday, folks. I hope yours was a good one.

Cheering for ya, Skillets.

-SJ






© by scj

Friday, May 8, 2015

A May health update: prayer requests

Hi Friends,

Lots of you continue to pray for me. Thank you. There have been many times when I've come to the end of my rope and have been tempted to despair but have instead been filled with inexplicable joy. In those moments I think, "Wow. A lot of people must be praying for me."

I'm thankful to have found some Chinese herbs that have provided some relief. I started taking an herb blend a month ago and have since added another blend. The herbs have generally lessened my dizziness, although I still have regular dizzy episodes in which I feel like my central nervous system is going haywire. It doesn't feel like the herbs are addressing the cause of my dizziness, but they have lessened it enough that I can finish the semester teaching. My other symptoms remain unaffected by the herbs.

Having stretches during which my dizziness is lessened has allowed me to more closely observe my other symptoms. The more I observe and collect data, the more convinced I am that this isn't an inner ear autoimmune disease like one of the doctors wondered, although I could certainly be wrong. Other diseases seem like more likely culprits.

Right now we have two significant pieces of data to make sense of as we try to crack this code: 1) the test results indicating my central nervous is being attacked, and 2) my body's responsiveness to the Chinese herb blends. Because the respective sets of data are from totally different schools of medicine (western medicine versus eastern medicine) none of my current doctors can synthesize it to make sense of it all. I need a doctor who's trained in both western and eastern medicine. Thankfully, in June I'll meet with a doctor in Washington who has an M.D., N.D., and a degree in Chinese medicine. I'm also getting some other tests done this month that will hopefully help him to put the pieces together. You could pray for this doctor if you think of it. He has stage 4 cancer but is still practicing.

This periods of physical relief I've experienced lately are a tremendous blessing, but the support of my community lately is a greater blessing. This week I'm praising God for so many acts of compassion:

  • For the single mom who invited me to stay with her and her kids so I'd have care on my sickest days.
  • For the friend who has put work and school on hold the last year as he undergoes cancer treatment, and who offered to help me pay for a particularly expensive test, despite his own limited finances. 
  • For the friend who offered to drive me six hours north to a lab that does the testing I need.
  • For the friend who asked how she could help me, and got out her notepad and pen of paper to record my response. 
  • For the people who have gone out of their way to gather and pray for me. 
  • For the friend who searched for new housing possibilities for me when I was sickest.
  • For the stranger from my church who has offered to clean up and sell my old car for me. 
  • For the family members who have sacrificed time, resources, and loads of energy to help me navigate this. 
  • For the friends who continue to text, and call, and text some more, even when I'm too tired to respond.  

There are lots of ways God transfigures the darkness into light, and the sweet compassion of of his Body in the midst of difficulties is one of them.

I have more prayer requests this week for those of you who are praying:

 1. Patience. A friend of mine sent my recent test results to his doctor friend to get another perspective, and the doctor responded with a couple of diagnostic possibilities as well as a bit of encouragement: diagnosing a rare disease, if present, can take time. Sometimes it can be a very long process. In the meantime, some of my symptoms continue to progress and I find myself getting frustrated with how slow this process is.

2. Peace. I'm anxious about what's going on in my body and I worry about how it will affect me long-term as it remains untreated, whatever it is. I worry that I won't find the right doctors or get the right tests in time. I also struggle with regret as I wonder if I could've somehow prevented this.

3. Provision. I'm hoping for revealing tests, incisive and insightful doctors, and effective treatment.

4. Power. To get through the day, to complete my responsibilities, to follow through on rather tiring doctors appointments. I'm very weary.

4. Healing. In God's time, in his way.

5. Wisdom for the future. Whatever's happening in my body is pretty incapacitating and I often wonder if I'll be able to continue with my vocational and educational plans. Orange County is where my life is — I have a wonderful group of friends, job, church and school here — but if I don't seem some significant improvement in the next few months then I'm going to have to rethink where I live and what I do. I'd sure love to be able to continue with my plans. I feel such a strong calling to be at Biola teaching and studying.

6. That I'll be able to sell my car quickly. I'd like to get up to my parents' house as soon as I finish teaching this month so I can rest with the support of family, but I can't leave until I sell my car.

7. Housing. It's still looking like I'll have to move, although I'm not sure when. Finding housing in this area that works with my rather specific health-related needs is pretty tough. I also don't feel like I have the capacity to move right now.

8. Fruit. I want God to use this season for good, somehow in some crazy way. I hope he'll use it to make me like him, to encourage the Saints, and to complete his Great Commission. I'd like to be more attentive to the good work he is doing right now.


Thank you, my friends. Praying for you, too. Let me know how I can.

Cheering for ya, Skillets,

Sarah




© by scj

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Training Regimes

It must've been the 11 meet records, 3 stadium records and 2 school records made at the Bryan Clay Invitational a few weeks ago that got me and my track buddies feeling puh-reeettty ambitious.

"Let's have an alumni competition at next year's Bryan Clay Invitational," said one.

"Yes, and everyone can compete in an event they've never tried before. We can train all year in preparation," said another.

Distance from training must make the heart grow amnesic, because somehow, in spite of the perpetual physical and mental exhaustion we endured during our track years, we all embraced the idea with enthusiasm: "Awesome," we said. Then we each picked our new event with great optimism, and that was that.

Sparks, a former hurdler, will be competing in the long jump next spring. He recently messaged us this video entitled, "Day 1 of training" (if you're on mobile you may not be able to play this epic video):

video


"Ouch," our coach responded.

"Slacker. I'm on day 3," messaged Bibi, along with this picture:


I will be doing the shot put come April 2016 (naturally) and quickly realized my approach is similar to Bibi's: I intend to increase my girth units.


Also, I'm wiping the white board with extra vigor and doing regular hand-to-mouth reps with various desserts. Watch out shot put contestants, you're not going to know what hit you. No, really. Watch out. I'm afraid I won't be able to hoist the shot put where it's supposed to land and it may accidentally hit you.

Gabe is still biding his time as he figures out what event he'll do. He did, however, dig out some old spikes. I'm guessing something speedy will be in his future.




I don't know if Bryan has decided on an event yet. I do know, however, that he's maintaining his javelin skills in a rather unexpected way:



You go, girl! Keep an eye out for Bryan's tooth-losing daughter; I think it's likely she will be at the 2036 Olympics! Also, Bryan posted this video on twitter last night and within hours it went crazy viral. Made ESPN, the Daily Mail, TMZ. That's pretty fun! (If you're on mobile and this video isn't playing, then click on one of links to see the video).

And there you have it: ridiculous ambition, varied training approaches, and a no-doubt memorable track meet in our future. I'll let you know whose training approach gives them the upper edge...

Happy Wednesday, friends.

Cheering for you, Skillets.

-SJ



© by scj