Saturday, April 30, 2016

"What is WRONG With You?"

The quest for answers continues.

I have not been quite "myself" for some time now. Sometimes it's little things. For instance, right now I can't seem to type more than a couple of letters without making a mistake.

Let me give you an expample I will type this without looking at ti and without seeing if i have made any mistakes. II'm so uset to typing an backspacing that mith ith not be able to stop myself form a;lstocorrecting as I type  Yes, autocorrecing is part of what i co natuarally but not every other workd lik this would recire.

...If you think this is just "normal", we'll just have to agree to disagree. I have never been the best at typing, but I can usually type fairly fast with only a few mistakes and auto corrections as I go. After my first round of steroids I found myself being able to type "normally" again. That sounds like a little thing, but it's only one example.

Other examples...word finding. I struggle to find the next word in my sentences. Again, a fairly little thing. But I have found myself being quieter than usual (GASP) sometimes simply because I can't find my next words. That is NOT fun for someone who likes to talk as much as I do!! It's almost like a stutter but instead of stammering on letters it's whole words that won't come out of my mouth (or I come up with wrong words that don't make any sense).

There is a little test you can do to assess how well your frontal lobe is functioning. The frontal lobe is responsible for (among other things) your thoughts, reasoning, and behavior. I had Dwayne give me the test the other day. I passed all but the word finding part.

Do me a favor. Stop reading and set a timer for 60 seconds. Press start and say as many words as you can that begin with the letter S. (Surnames, proper nouns and variations of the same word do not count. So you can't use play and playbill. (What, you didn't think I was going to give you extra S words did you?!) Go ahead, do it now. Leave me a comment to tell me how many words you came up with before you keep reading. Go ahead, I'll wait.

(Play theme from Jeopardy here.) do do do do do do do, do do do do DO dodododododo, do do do do do do do, DO, da do do do do do

How many did you get? I got SIX! And "six" was not one of my words. I re-did the test with the letter M and got...SIX again! I did the test with the letter P the next day and got NINE. Dwayne and Daisy both got 12 in the first 15 seconds! I was thinking of words like "fence" ("s" sound in it and I was looking at our fence), and for M I came up with the word "mizzy-wiggle". I don't know why that one didn't count?

I have headaches almost every day. I am EXTREMELY fatigued at least 1/2 the time. Dwayne and I walked about a block yesterday and I was out of breath. I tried to walk with Daisy the other day and had to tell her to slow down because I literally could NOT keep up with her. I am a long distance triathlete. I've completed two Ironmans, 2 half Ironmans, three 50Ks, 2 stand-alone marathons, and countless "shorter" events, not to mention the training I have done.

Okay...I heard it. SOMEONE reading this just said to themselves "well, maybe you are just tired/overtrained/burned out?" I can assure you I am not overtrained or burned out. I can also assure you I am indeed tired. But it's an unnatural kind of tired, unrelated to activity. Another example, Daisy was trying to take a picture of a prom dress the other day and asked me to hold it up for her. I had to put this flimsy piece of material on the rack because I didn't have the strength to hold it up!! I was lifting heavy weights just a couple of months ago. I LIKE to be active. I LIKE LOVE to run trails and to ride my bike and swim. Okay, I don't LOVE to swim, but I do like it. I don't like not being physically able to do those things. And, it's NOT a matter of sucking it up and just doing it. I'm not lazy, I'm clinically fatigued. It's unrelenting and is not relieved by rest.

So...what's wrong with me? The neurologist says Hashimoto's Encephalopathy. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune condition in which my body makes antibodies that attack my thyroid. In rare cases those antibodies begin to attack the brain as well. The symptoms I've mentioned aren't the only ones I've had and the ones I've had aren't nearly as bad as some people with HE report.

I went to a new doctor Thursday. He's an integrative functional medicine doctor. He agrees I have a steroid responsive encephalopathy. Encephalopathy means a disease in which the functioning of the brain is affected by some agent or condition (such as viral infection or toxins in the blood). He said it's clear I have an encephalopathy that responded to the best anti-inflammatory out there, but he questions whether or not it was caused by Hashimoto's antibodies.

Why does that matter? Well...if it's the antibodies and I focus solely on bringing those down and keeping them down* but that isn't the cause then I haven't solved the bigger issue. (*To be clear, it's highly debated whether or not you can bring thyroid antibodies down and I won't go into it here but I'm of the belief that it is possible to do that.) Because he questions that notion, he is doing a myriad of other tests. He took 10 vials of blood and I have to do a test for metal toxins that requires collecting my urine over 24 hours and sending a sample to a lab for analysis. (GROSS)

I'll have some preliminary results from him in about 3-4 weeks, but the metal testing won't come back for another 4 weeks after that so I have a follow up in 7 weeks with him. In the mean time I'll get my next treatment of steroids next week, and then my third treatment a month later.

Funny story about the doctor visit. Dwayne told the good doctor he'd pay extra if he would tell me my trouble is because of the cat!! The doctor obviously shares in the lack of love for the feline variety of pet because he obliged by taking an extra vial of blood for another test (toxoplasmosis). If that were to come back positive I will have to investigate our bank accounts for a suspicious payment!!

Come on now. What's not to love about this guy!?

Thanks for stopping in. :D

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Day THIRTY Is Here!!

Today is my Day 30 in my "Whole 30"! (And my Day 10 for my "FaceLess10"*) So...what have I learned? What has changed? What hasn't changed? What do I do now?

First, I think the "FaceLess10" was a lot harder than the Whole 30. In case you don't know what I'm talking about...I decided on day 20 of Whole 30 that I would spend the next 10 days without FaceBook in my life! (GASP) I realized I was on it WAY more than I needed to be. I found myself checking my newsfeed every few minutes as if the world would stop if I didn't find out what my FaceBook friends were posting throughout the day. Once I committed to being off FB, I found myself playing more iPhone games (Candy Crush, FreeCell, Churchill Solitaire...need I go on? ...don't judge me, I'll bet you have your own ways of killing time). So, I stopped those as well!! Ten whole days. That's bigger news than changing my diet as far as I'm concerned!

I found I had MUCH more time to read. Sadly I also found some new ways to waste time in a day (Real Wives of Dallas is a real show...who watches that stuff? People who aren't on FaceBook or playing iPhone games of course!) When I found myself "killing time" I stopped and asked what a better use of those precious minutes would be. Sometimes that meant I took a nap! Mid-day naps are glorious! I can't say I got a lot more real work done than before, but at least I felt like I was doing more with the day and this time really highlighted how much time I fritter away doing "nothing".

What I didn't eat on Whole 30

There is a set protocol for Whole 30-no dairy, grains/pseudo grains, no sugars or sweeteners of ANY KIND, no legumes. I also took out eggs and 99% of anything processed at all. I didn't modify as much as I probably "should" have because there are some additional restrictions that would have made the last 30 days "Autoimmune Protocol" compliant, but I figured being 100% Whole30 strict for the full 30 days was going to be enough, and it was. AIP takes out nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes and peppers), quite a few spices (ie cumin, coriander, and pepper of any kind) as well as nuts and seeds of any kind. While I didn't eat a lot of the AIP foods, I did have some things some of the time.  I also know I was "contaminated" at least once with butter at Smashburger.

What did I learn?

Well....not a ton except that it's EASY to not eat certain foods! Seriously. I went to a party Sunday and ate a tiny bit of guacamole on celery and didn't eat the rest and I didn't feel deprived. I didn't eat gluten free carrot cake and...well, I did get a bit sad in the moment, but I'm not sad now. That moment of want FADES pretty darn fast when I am resolved to NOT eat something. In the moment it feels tough to say no, but that no was decided long before I got to the moment of having to say it so it wasn't as hard as it might have been if I hadn't made up my mind in advance. So my take-away--decide before you have to be in the moment.

What has changed?

Well...I'm not faced with having to make the call in the moment. I will NOT eat gluten. Period. I am not willing to say I'll never eat it again because I will eat Mark's donuts again and they will be worth it. But I might not ever think other gluten is worth it for me ever again. (More on this later.) I know I will eat sugar again, but my hope is that I will be able to say "wow that (fill in the blank) is just too rich!" and push said food away and not eat it (something I don't think I've EVER said/done before!).

What has not changed (much)?

Whole 30 specifically says to NOT weigh yourself at all. Well, I didn't listen to them. I did weigh, pretty much every day. weight didn't change much at all. I went down a couple of pounds, back up a couple and back down a couple all month long. Well, now that I'm looking at my Garmin stats, the exact change is that I'm down 8 pounds from where I was 30 days ago. That's a little surprising...and that's exactly why you aren't supposed to weigh every day! But I have to say tomorrow I might be up a couple again, and I started a little high compared to what's "normal" for me, so that 8 isn't as impressive as it sounds. But, I also have to say I'm pleased with where I am right now all things considered.

What do I do now?

There is a set protocol for reintroductions. But, I have to face facts. I already KNOW dairy and eggs do not work in my body. I already KNOW sugar turns me into a demon. I already know gluten pokes holes in my gut. Why would I eat any of that EVER again?

The trouble is that I also KNOW something I still causing my body to react. I'm not sure what it is. There are times I eat a meal and my hands swell up, my head hurts, my sinuses feel like they are going to explode, and the scale pops up a couple of pounds the next day. (And it's obvious where those pounds are because my lower abdomen tries to imply I'm about 6 months pregnant!)

So... I have invested in a fancy food diary. I got it last week although I haven't actually started using it but that's the plan for the next 30 days. Dwayne has been saying for years "If you would just keep a food diary you could figure out what it is that gives you trouble". The problem is that MANY foods give me trouble. The other problem is that I am NOT good at "connect the dots" when it comes to stuff like this. Food intolerances can show up three days after you eat the offending food! And, complicating it even more, there are food combinations that can cause issues even if the individual foods don't. It's like connect the dots in the stars with no numbers. Not going to happen. I'm committing to keeping the diary for the next 30 days and faithfully noting all that I eat and all that I experience and then let my engineer husband look for patterns.

What happened to "Tiger (Cub) Blood"

I was fairly certain how I was feeling on Day 10 was more from the IV steroid treatments I was receiving than my diet; the last several days have been a confirmation of that certainty. I'm back to being exhausted and not thinking clearly in general. I know there will be more than one person who thinks this because I'm not eating grains, pasta, bread and rice. But, no...that's not why I'm feeling this way. My diet hasn't contained any real amount of that kind of food for years, even training for Ironman. This is certainly a result of Hashimoto's Encephalopathy. I get my next three days of treatment in a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). I'm looking forward to it more than Christmas!!

*No gluten, ever??
I say I don't think I'll eat gluten ever again (except Mark's donuts!) because everything I have read says people with autoimmune conditions/diseases should NOT eat gluten, ever. When my issue was "just" my thyroid it was easier to say "this pizza isn't going to kill me". But this new twist on Hashimoto's has been scary to say the least. The antibodies are attacking my BRAIN. We take thinking for granted, at least I used to. My health is more important to me than any gluten filled food could possibly ever be. And, if I thought eating Mark's donuts would kill me, I wouldn't eat those either! I've read too much about how the immune system works to ignore it. I'm not saying it's bad for everyone, but I believe it's not good for me. Until something/someone convinces me otherwise, I'm avoiding it like the plague. Until I go to Arkansas the next time and then Katie bar the door, I'm having not one, not two, but THREE cream filled bits of heaven in my mouth!!!  (I'll skip the chocolate milk, but I might make one of the three a chocolate covered cream filled yummness!) Because Mark's donuts will "always" be worth it (unless I find myself living down the street from it again, and then they won't be as worth it as they are now!).

Thanks for stopping in. :D

Friday, April 22, 2016


I told you last time (you probably didn't have to be told) I am IMPATIENT! I don't like to wait for anything.

I remember the first time I made Rice Crispy Treats. The instructions said to cook the butter and marshmallows on low until they were melted and blended. I couldn't understand why on Earth you'd cook it on low. In case you've never tried it, marshmallows will disintegrate (FAST) if you cook them on high. Sad day for me since we only had one bag of JetPuffs.

(By the way...this is day 26 of my wasn't a great idea for me to search for an image for this post!!)

I remember a time I woke my small kids up at midnight because I was so excited for them to get their Christmas presents I couldn't wait until morning!

I could go on, but I won't/

Right now I'm having to wait until the first of the month for my next IV treatments and I don't like it one bit. I wish I could get the next treatment NOW. I want to feel better (again) NOW. AND I want to keep feeling better until I'm 100. I'll agree to feel old for the subsequent 13 years I want to live after that, but only after my age has gone beyond three digits.

Thanks for stopping in.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Up Down Up Down...Down...Down...Looking UP

Since my IV steroid treatments it's been up and down. Until today. Now, I will say it now, today isn't over with yet, so there's still time for it to go back up. But it's the first day since the first treatment that I have woken up really exhausted. It's never a good sign to wake up tired.

Most days since that first treatment I have at least started the day feeling clear mind. Energetic. Able to drive and know where I'm going. Able to talk without having to really think about my words. I don't think I've gone a full day feeling like that, but at least a portion of the day has been like that for me. There usually comes a time when I crash a little (or a lot) but after a nap I wake up feeling ready to go again. That didn't happen today. I took a two hour nap and woke up just as tired as I was when I first got out of bed this morning.

My original plan was to swim this morning and then hang out with a friend for a bit before coming home to do some meal prep and work. I did go to the pool (to meet with an athlete) but I ended up deciding against the swim. My thought was the swim wasn't worth it if it meant I'd have to take a two or three hour nap for recovery. But as it is I took that nap anyway just to function.

Let me just say, this SUCKS.

I have to remind myself. I'm not dying of cancer. I'm not paralyzed. I'm not losing my mind...oh, wait, I kind of am doing that.

I can't describe to you how this feels. I almost think having a name for it and knowing the process that is going on actually makes it worse. It feels like I am giving into how I feel a little more than I was before I knew.

In my mind this is like having your eyesight or hearing go bad a little bit. At first you start to notice things aren't as crisp and clear. You strain to see/hear and you fight it. "I am not losing my vision/hearing!" "I do NOT need glasses/hearing aides!!" You work extra hard to see/hear and it's EXHAUSTING...and it doesn't work. You don't see/hear better just because you are trying harder to MAKE that happen. So you "give in" and get glasses/hearing aides. (I) feel like a FAILURE because I couldn't make that happen. I gave in. I didn't fight harder. I didn't try harder.

That is NOT kind and it's not true. I would never tell anyone else they were a failure for getting glasses/hearing aides, or for taking a nap when they are exhausted. Why would I feel like I am different? Why would I feel like I am a failure because I want to take a nap, or do something to stop my mind from feeling the way it does?

Here's the thing...I know, without a doubt, I have felt better at times the last ten days. If you have a high fever it feels different. If you break a bone, it feels different. But in those cases there is something tangible to point to. You have a thermometer or an x-ray that confirms you aren't crazy.

This is my mind we are talking about. My demeanor. My mood. My thoughts. And I KNOW there are people who will say it's hormones, or who will blame how I'm feeling on the fact I'm not eating bread. No...I live in this body and I can tell you that is not it. But I can't show you.

I say it all the time, you can't control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in your mind-how you think and your attitude toward your circumstance. Giving in is not who I am. I am a fighter. I am a warrior. I don't give in. I do ALL I can to do ALL I can.

Yes, I believe it's necessary to surrender to God's plan because I do believe there is a Master plan at work here. (I'm aware not everyone believes that, and I'm not trying to push what I believe off on anyone else...this is just about me and what I believe.) I believe God is trying to teach me something about myself or about Him.

I used to be a quitter. When things got hard, I would give in. When I was faced with a temptation, I would give in. When I was expected to behave a certain way to be loved, I gave in. When people pushed me to believe the way they believed, I gave in. I think this is about really listening to and HONORING my body, being KIND to my body. I needed a nap today so I took a nap.

I used to be AM impatient. I want things to be the way I want them NOW. I think this is about me learning how to breathe in and breathe out and know that "recovery is coming" even if I don't know when.  ((Side note, I sometimes do this thing in Spin class where I don't tell the class when recover is coming. Most of the time I do let them know, but sometimes I don't just to see if they will keep pushing even not knowing what is going to happen next.))

I used to hate highly dislike making final decisions, mainly because I don't like to be wrong! I like there to be options. Making a decision to go one direction necessarily rules out the other direction. Sure, you can go back, but you've wasted time. I want to make the right decision from the get-go. Saying "well, let's try this and see what happens" makes my skin crawl. I like to be right from the start.

All of these reasons are the very reasons I started training for a marathon 6 years ago and how I ended up training for/completing endurance distance events (IM and 50K). I really am NOT a quitter anymore. But I am still impatient and it's still my nature to defer to someone else to make final decisions, even if I'm not sure they are exactly right.

Recovery is coming but decisions do have to be made about treatment direction and how to handle day-to-day "operations". I'm learning to be kind to myself through all of this.

That doesn't suck.

This has more meaning that you probably even know.

Thanks for stopping in.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What Do I Say?

It's hard for me when someone says "How are you?" or "I hope you are doing well?!" Because part of the truth of the answer is, "well...things aren't totally great right now" but the other part is, "I'm doing GREAT because I have what I think are answers and that's a push in the right direction!"

I want to share my struggle, but I don't want to bring anyone down, or divert attention from the truth that EVERYONE struggles with something. We can focus on that struggle or we can focus on the path out of it. Sometimes the path out is ONLY in our minds.

Think about Steven Hawking. He is trapped in a non-working body but his mind is FULL and THRIVING. What I'm going through is NOTHING compared to that. But at the same time, it's not like I just stubbed my toe either.

Again, there's a balance in there somewhere. I am not going to go into my health history when someone casually says "hey, how've you been?!" but I think it's appropriate to share struggles with each other as long as we don't get mired down.

I've never been trapped in real quicksand, but from everything I've read (and according to this video), the more you fight it the further you sink. You have to almost work with the sand in order to get out. Relax into it while at the same time staying focused on getting out.

You can't ignore quicksand. You can't just "radiate positivity" to get out of it. You have to relax into the hard work.

So, what will I say when someone says "so, how are you?" Maybe my answer will be "I'm wor-laxing my way out of quicksand!" Or maybe I'll say "I'm making it a great day in the quick sand!"

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tiger (Cub) Blood

Whole 30 talks about "Tiger Blood". They say it usually hits about mid way (days 16-20ish). Some people get a feeling of increased energy, workouts are better, sleep is generally feel like you can take on anything.

Well, I'm on day 10 so I am attributing how I woke up feeling today to the medication. I think it's really working! I'm a little nervous to even say that out loud but I feel better than I have in a long time. Now...I will say I've had days where I've woken up feeling really good but then go down hill all day. Usually I think that's because I do too much in the morning because I finally feel like I can accomplish things so I try to do everything. The last time I woke up feeling like this (several weeks ago) I went for a 6 mile trail run and then had to sleep the rest of the day and felt horrible the next few days afterward. So, no running for me today. :(

Today is the last treatment for this month. I have 20 more days of Whole 30 and then I'll re-evaluate and see where I'm at. My guess is I'll stay pretty whole after that because I know it's best for my body. I think it's like training and peaking for a race. NO ONE can be in peak race form all the time. You MUST have down time. I don't know that you NEED to have junk food for physical well-being, but I think there's an argument to be made that it's okay, when you are in a healthy state of body and mind to allow some fluff in the diet every now and then. The trouble for me is that I'm a person of extremes! I don't do "balance" very well.

You know what that means? I just need more training!!

It's going to be a GLORIOUS day!!! (Not just one day, but TOday!)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

This Is Not Hard

I see I haven't written since my post about IMChoo. What a day that was, and what a wild ride I have been on since then.

I'm going to skip all the intervening details of life and go right to what I wanted to write about today....well, maybe not right to it!

I have been doing a "Whole 30". (No, that is not what this is about, it's the intro...) The most quoted line in Whole 30 (and It Starts With Food) is “It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”

Well...I agree. I have a friend who was diagnosed with what doctors would call terminal brain cancer. The chances of remission of that kind of cancer are very slim to none and almost everyone diagnosed is gone from this life within five years. He is currently cancer free after just the first round of chemo and radiation. (No, this is not what the post is about either although I could write a book about this man's courage in the face of a "hard thing"....He would want you to make no mistake, his courage is all from God and not at all from his own strength.)

For a while I have been having what I call "health weirdness". I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis back in 2009. I have taken Synthroid almost every day since then, except for a short time I thought I could control it with diet and stopped taking the meds. It obviously didn't work, in case you were wondering... My "numbers" are managed by a really good Endocrinologist here in Huntsville, Dr Dwain Woode. His office staff left something to be desired early on, but they have come a long way and I think his is the best office in town to manage thyroid issues. (He is also a diabetes dr but that is WAY off topic!) No, I do not want to write about my thyroid, but I am narrowing down to the real topic at hand.

In December my "health weirdness" started getting much worse. Just a few of the symptoms I was having: trouble finding the next word I wanted to say*, TERRIBLE "brain fog", headaches, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, my leg would give out while I was running every now and then, I would sometimes fall over in the shower or while walking, and I felt like my hands were on the wrong side of the keyboard while I was typing sometimes. I can't describe how I was feeling other than to say it felt like my brain wasn't working the way it should and I knew it, but couldn't do anything about it. One day I didn't know how to get out of my own car. That was the symptom that finally pushed me to seek a doctor appointment.
My husband noticed some of these symptoms and pushed for a neurological consult. Naturally I had to go to my family doctor first for blood work (all normal, not even my most common issues of low vitamin D and iron). She sent me for a brain MRI with and without contrast (also "unremarkable"). She then sent me to a neurologist who turned out to be a headache specialist (not the right doctor for my symptoms). That doctor wanted to send me to a colleague. Friends were worried (okay, I was also worried) it might be MS so I wanted to go to a doctor who specializes in MS in Cullman (Laganke). My doctor wanted me to see Scott Hitchcock here in Huntsville. Well...she was right. (Side note, my appointment was originally set for April 19th but a friend of mine is good friends with him. She talked to him and he got me in six weeks earlier that that!)

After a full battery of tests and a month of waiting I got a diagnosis. Hashimoto's Encephalopathy. If you click the link you will see it's a scary thing. It's not cancer scary, but it's scary. Left untreated (or misdiagnosed) it can cause seizures, paralysis, coma and death. I was diagnosed (I think correctly) last week; I started treatment yesterday so I think I'm not going to progress that far because of this disease.

But, let's be clear,
As human beings we have a terminal disease called mortality. The current death rate is 100%. We don’t like to ‘think about death,’ especially our own, yet, worldwide, 3 people die every second, 180 every minute, and nearly 11,000 every hour. That’s 250,000 a day who transition from this life. (excerpt from Randy Alcorn, HEAVEN) 

I believe in God the Father of Jesus Christ. I believe once I pass from this life I will have eternal life with Christ in Heavenly Places. But even that isn't what I wanted to focus on today.

Here's the thing. This (fill in the blank) is not hard. EVERYONE has struggles that seem to them to be hard in the context of their life. (The AC is broken, Starbucks is out of carmel topping, traffic is backed up for some unknown reason, the ice in the tea has melted making it watered down... #firstworldproblems.) You know what I'm talking about. We all "struggle" at some point in our life...or what we call struggle.

But, no matter what you are going through, this (thing) is not (really) hard. Not facing the struggle is hard. Not talking about and dealing with the struggle is hard. Not working to overcome the struggle (in the best way you know how) is hard. Ignorance is hard. Not seeking answers is hard.

I haven't really wanted to research or learn about my current "life boogie man" because I have confidence in my doctor. I realized this morning not knowing what life is throwing at me leaves me at a disadvantage. But I refuse to focus on the flaming arrows. True, my faith in God allows me to feel very protected in His armor, but I have to PUT IT ON. It's not a magical protection. I can't pretend to know what it would be like to live a life outside of that faith, but even as a Believer in Christ, I have a part to play. I have a role. I have to work out my faith. When David defeated Goliath, he had to pick up the ((pitchfork, slingblade...*)) sling shot and fire off the tiny pebble that "miraculously" made contact in exactly the right place. (I believe God directed this pebble, but it wasn't going to get there if David hadn't done his part.)

My belief only gets me so far. Stepping out in faith on that belief and behaving in accordance with the belief...that's what it's all about.'s not hard when my belief is strong and my truth is real. Because when I test the water of my faith, I stand firm. If my faith were built on something less, I wouldn't have a leg to stand on!

This is not hard. No weapons formed against me shall prosper. I can walk through the fire and not be burned. I will still feel the heat of the flame, but it will be a refiner's fire, not a firey death. Standing on the belief that this world is not my true home helps a lot because even in Earthly death there is life-eternal life.

This wasn't intended to be a sermon. I'm not ever going to tell anyone else what they should believe. That has nothing to do with me! But I want to ask the question if you feel you can stand firm on what you DO believe? If so, hallelujah!! If not, I'm going to leave you with this...standing on ever-shaky ground (or shaky legs)--that is HARD. (If you can't see the embedded video, you can see it here:

Thanks for sticking with me. My goal is to write more often again. I hope you'll join me, either before or after you go face the hard thing in your life, just not in place of facing it!


*BTW...this is a good example of what happens way to often to be normal. I have a word I want to say and I think of other words instead. I have to say this example is pretty benign. Usually it has been a COMPLETELY wrong word, sometimes even completely made up words that don't exist in common language. I don't usually SAY the word without meaning to, but most of the time when this happens, it helps to say the word so I can find the right word. :D