Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: Dreams

Dreams are defined in two ways:  #1 – a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep. and #2 – a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.

I will admit I don’t often remember the dreams I had when I am sleeping.  I guess it is part of the MS or maybe I don’t dream.  But there was a time when I had goals – dreaming big for success in my professional and personal life.  Of course, I’m not sure I really knew what success was.

What do you dream of?  Exotic vacations?  A successful business? A romantic relationship?  Kids? Friends?  What did you dream about doing when you were little?  I don’t remember much of my childhood so what my dreams were, I don’t know.  I have glimpses of past dreams – some of which I met.  Those glimpses come with the help of others who remind of my successes.  Now, my dream is to wake up one morning with memories (all of them) and not have MS.  I dream of being able to process thoughts and have feelings again besides the extremes of sadness and joy.  It’s more wishful thinking than anything, but who knows, if not today, maybe tomorrow. There’s always hope for tomorrow.

I never grew up dreaming I would have a life with a chronic illness filled with body weakness, loss of memory and pain. I don’t think anyone ever does. Cancer took many of my family members so I actually figured one day it would take me…..but I stuffed the thought and lived my life.  I’m not sure what my choice would have been on career day but I’m sure MS wasn’t an option.  I remember wanting to be a lawyer and ended up in the casinos. Then addiction and recovery changed my life.  I went from the casino to being a social worker.  Something which might have been God’s plan all along.  I loved helping people and it became my calling.  I am grateful for the pictures and the memories others share with me of those many years making a difference in the live of others.  I love creating things – angels of all types and sewing.

Now, because of MS, my thoughts get jumbled and the words I’m thinking aren’t always the ones that come out.  I don’t remember people so remember details about their life is a struggle.  Helping others is more difficult since I can barely help myself some days.  I trust others memories of my hopes and dreams.  I  rely on them to help me remember my past.

I may not talk a lot in public since my worlds get jumbled BUT I do love writing. Writing my thoughts down gives me enough time to pause in order to keep from jumbling words up too bad. I still make a ton of writing errors, but they are easier to correct than losing my train of thought in the middle of a conversation.  It’s really funny when I jot something down and then go back and read it later – I am usually puzzled wondering what was I thinking.

Creating my angels has become therapy.  It takes a lot longer than it used to but I still love spending the time using those creative juices.  The colors may not always work, the design may be a bit off but the end result is a unique angel design.  I have to be more patient with my hands when they won’t stay steady. Or the numbness/tingling causes me to drop things.   That makes it a challenge, but somehow I still get things done.

Because of MS, I have learned to appreciate the things I am still able to do. I can’t let the fact that I can’t do something now get me down. There’s always a way if I get creative enough.

Have you given up on a dream?  Maybe it is because of a chronic illness.  Maybe it is because life showed up and things got detoured.  Don’t loose hope in succeeding in finding your dream. Never stop pursuing your dreams just because something gets in the way.  Life happens.  Dreams keep us going and yes, they do change.

Never lose the ability to dream – for me, it just means writing them down.  It means not “thinking” the passion will keep the dream alive because the truth is, by tomorrow I will forget what the dream was.

Remember…Go out there and conquer your day today.  Reach for your dreams – large or small. taking one step closer to them every day.

Have a blessed day!

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

How to Heal a Hurting Heart

 

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

When Life Seems Broken

Thank  you Gwen Smith for today’s message:

The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. (Nehemiah 1:3, NIV)

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of a land far from his home. (Which means he held a trusted position that allowed him personal access to the king.) When some old friends came to town he found out that his people, the Jews, were in a terrible situation. Deeply burdened by the news, he wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed. He took the devastation of his people to heart and responded on a soul level.

The Bible shows us that Nehemiah prayed. He was pressed but not crushed. He told the Lord that he was sorry for the way he and his people had rejected God and for the ways they had disobeyed His commands. He remembered the instructions of God to His people and reminded Him of His promises. And he asked God to hear his prayer, give him favor and lead his responses.

I read this and see a vibrant example of the way I should respond when difficult situations come my way. When my loved ones are hurting. When my homeland is unsafe and vulnerable to attack. Here are a few basic faith principles we can apply that Nehemiah modeled in his prayer and in the conversations that followed.

#1. BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. Nehemiah wept and mourned in response to the situation. You don’t need to pretend that you’re “fine” when life hurts. Instead, You can do what Nehemiah did: cry. Be sad. Mourn. Grieve.

Because life is hard … and just because we’re Christians does not mean we get easy passes.

Thankfully, God knows sorrow well and is the generous source of comfort we need.

#2. PRAY. Nehemiah’s powerful prayer included the following. I’ve bullet pointed them to be a useful guide:

– Begin with confession (on behalf of you and your people).

– Remember and remind God of His Word.

– Petition on behalf of others (Pray for your people. Stand in the gap. Intercede.)

– Ask for success (Yes. You read this right. It’s okay to ask God to give you favor. Nehemiah did!)

– Ask for mercy (That the punishment we and our people deserve would be withheld.)

While following this template of Nehemiah’s prayer doesn’t guarantee any of us that God will answer our prayers as we expect Him to, it does give us a step by step path to follow that will focus our hearts on God’s intervention.

Then, after Nehemiah prayed, the Lord allowed the king to see that something was wrong. And the Lord allowed Nehemiah to experience the favor he asked for. BUT he had to face his fears in order to step into the provision God had for him. And this shows us another great takeaway…

#3. DON’T LET FEAR HOLD YOU BACK. Nehemiah was heavy with sorrow and the king noticed. In chapter 2 the king asked Nehemiah what had made him sad. “So the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” (Nehemiah 2:2)

Insightful king, right?

The next words Nehemiah writes are, “I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” (Nehemiah 2:2-3)

Amazingly, the king cared! He asked what he could do to help, and then provided Nehemiah with everything he needed to go back to Jerusalem and help his people rebuild the ruins.

Nehemiah could’ve shrugged off the king’s question. He could’ve said,Nothing is wrong, my lord! I’m fine. All is well. But he didn’t. Even though he was afraid, he spoke truth. He didn’t let fear hold him back. And as a result, he was equipped with what he needed and was mobilized toward healing.

Are there complications that have your heart grieving and sifting through ashes?

Are you trying to keep a stiff upper lip and carry those broken burdens quietly?

God is all about rebuilding broken hearts and hopes, friend. He specializes in transforming smoky ash heaps into beautiful displays of His grace. He will move you toward that beauty and healing as you move toward Him in distress as Nehemiah did.

Have a blessed day!

Hope Wissel, Weigh to Goal

Warm Water and Lemon

Hubby is a Dr Oz fan and faithfully watches everyday before heading to work.  Then he researches the ideas online and if it is a supplement that could help one of us – he buys it.  Does it make me crazy – YES!  My linen closet looks like a mini vitamin shop.

So, several months ago, Dr. Oz talked about the benefits of drinking warm water with lemon first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.  To say the least, I was skeptical that it could help my IBS.  Nothing has seemed to help so I didn’t bother and just pushed the idea aside.

Last week at the doctor, we were discussing some new meds that might help the IBS.  Doc suggested something natural that many of his patients were trying – that worked.  Okay, I am game at this point.  Guess what it was?  YUP – warm water and lemon first thing in the AM.  UGH!  I got the “I told you so” look from hubby.  I laughed because I had just bought lemons at the store to try this exact thing.

So with apprehension, I tried it.  I followed it with my usual cup of coffee.  Guess what it WORKED!  Okay, so once I figure is just luck but after almost a week of doing it…the results are the same EVERY day.  WOOHOO!  I am one excited girl!

water and lemon

I wanted to share with the MANY benefits of just a 1/2 cup of lukewarm water with the juice of a lemon slice:

1) Aids Digestion. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body.  It balances maintain the pH levels in the body.  Lemons are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. Lemon juice helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements.

2) Cleanses Your System / is a Diuretic. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body and helps keep your urinary tract healthy. 

3) Boosts Your Immune System. Great for fighting colds. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure.

4) Balances pH Levels. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.

5) Clears Skin. Helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes and is vital for healthy glowing skin.

6) Energizes You and Enhances Your Mood. Provides your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. The smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and help clear your mind. Lemon can also help reduce anxiety and depression.

7) Promotes Healing. Promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage as well as displaying anti-inflammatory properties. 

8) Freshens Breath. Besides fresher breath, lemons have been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. 

9) Hydrates Your Lymph System. Warm water and lemon juice supports the immune system by hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body. 

10) Aids in Weight Loss. Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings.

Health benefits are courtesy of www.positivehealthwellness.com.

So, was this enough to convince you to try a cup of lukewarm water and lemon in the morning? Which of these benefits excite you the most???

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!