Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Where My Life Is: Part 3

Saturday morning I trekked upstairs, gathered up my Bible, my laptop, a couple of notebooks, some Starbuck’s via, candy and chocolate I had saved back, (essential to living on the couch. Can’t survive without candy or chocolate!) books that I hadn’t read yet, letters that I needed to reply to, and my pillows and blankets. I was moving into the living room.
One week turned into two. I was still living on the couch. I physically couldn’t do things. I went to church, but all I did was sit, that was the extent of my activities. I went to my appointment with a cardiologist on the 22nd of November. After telling him what was going on and such he said that the list of what it could be was too long. So we would narrow that down with three tests to start with. And if we couldn’t get any good answers from that we would, as he puts it, ‘Do some more investigation.” Love this guy’s vocabulary!
I would have my chest X-Ray, Echo-cardiogram, (heart ultrasound) done on December 2nd, as well as have my 24 hour EKG halter monitor put on.
So what did I do while waiting? Well November is National Novel Writing Month. I was doing the contest of writing 50,000 words in month, but had gotten set back due to the circumstances. So I pulled my story out and finished that baby. I wrote letters, read the Bible, and since I couldn’t get out that much I spent a lot of time conversing over the Internet. I will admit to you here that my attitude has seen some definite changes. In the beginning I was scared about it all. I mean that’s really understandable considering. I had no idea what was going on! But I also wasn’t completely trusting in the Lord. I was grouchy, still am from time to time. I didn’t want to live on the couch. I hate being confined. I love moving around and doing things. I love being busy! To me, I’m being lazy. That’s my mindset. But….through different conversations with my brother Josh he finally convinced me that I can’t really help it. It’s not my fault if I’m being lazy. It’s still frustrating to me when I see something that needs to be done, but I know that I can’t do it.

Well five days into this thing I found out that I couldn’t laugh anymore. Well, at least without consequences. Laughing makes it a whole lot worse. The first time this happened, I went to lay down to go to sleep and I had to sleep sitting up. Whenever I laid down it was as though there was a heavy vise clamping and compressing my chest. My chest pain and heart rate increased too. I ended up throwing myself into a panic attack the first night. The second night I laughed the same thing happened, except I didn’t have a panic attack. So no laughing. Which is completely foreign to me. I am known for giggling. I handle life with laughter! I love to laugh. I love to make other people laugh. But now I can’t.

Thanksgiving rolled around, and on the way to my older sister’s house I laughed some, and sang. Bad idea. When I tried to get out of the van a sharp pain stabbed me in the chest. I couldn’t hardly breathe it was so bad. I made it in the house, and into a chair. I started shaking violently and I couldn’t get the pain to go away in my chest. After family pictures, I stayed snuggled up with soft blankets, in a most comfortable chair the entire day.
That night I had a bad attack..
After that we determined that I would not sing anymore. I’ve done some a little bit, and I’ve always felt horrible afterwards. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Where My Life Is: Part 2

To pick up where I left off in part one…

At the doctor’s appointment on Wednesday Nov. 13, we discussed with the doctor our suspicions about me having Lyme’s disease. She agreed to give me the test along with a bunch of other blood tests. Such as my vitamin D levels, a thyroid check, things like that. The next day, she called saying that she had gotten one of the test results back. Mom and I were on our way into town so we couldn’t call her back.
  Whenever I get test results I’m always nervous. No matter what kind of test it was, it makes me nervous. When we got to a friend’s house mom called the doctor. A few minutes later she announced that my vitamin D level was critically low. It was a level nine. I was immediately put on 50,000 IUs of vitamin D per week. I’ve been on that for about five weeks now.

The next week all of my test results came back negative. No Lyme, which I am grateful, deeply grateful for, and my Thyroid was fine. They did find that at one point I had had Mono. I find that funny and horrible at the same time. I never knew I had it. Hopefully I didn’t give it to anyone else.
So…back to square one. By this time I was getting progressively worse. Even more worse than before. I had passed out on the tenth of November after performing dinner music with my sisters. Thankfully I was home when it happened.
My episodes seemed to be getting closer together. More frequent. And we had no clue what was going on. Talk about scary! The week of the Long Sister’s Student’s Recital I taught piano lessons while relaxed on a couch. I teach at my student’s home so that was awesome how the Lord provided a way for me to comfortably teach. But I was only allowed to sit. I could walk, but only when necessary. The only thing that the girls would let me carry was my bag. I admit I got irritated with this over protection. It was needed, but I felt…restricted. 
At each of my student’s lessons I told them that this might be the last lesson for a while. We might have to stop after the recital and pick up in January. I felt like breaking down. OK, I did on Sunday night when my mom told me that I needed to tell my students that. I’ve come to love all of my students. They are like, I don’t know, best friends. The more you invest in someone’s life the more you grow to love them.
Friday rolled around, and I actually felt really good. I had taken my second vitamin D pill the day before and I felt almost somewhat normal. I taught four of my students in the morning, then came home and readied myself for the night.
While trying to seat my students I kept getting their names mixed up on the paper. Whenever I get close to passing out my vision feels funny. I had already begun to feel nauseous, yet another symptom of passing out. Flustered, I handed the paper to my older sister, Emily, and explained to her what was going on. The recital began, and so did my shaking. I continued to shake throughout the whole thing. Nobody except Emily knew because I did my best to hide it. Emily sat beside me, with her arm around me just in case I did pass out. She didn’t want me falling on the floor. Halfway through she whispered to me and said, “You are not getting up to give your speech.” I nodded and told her it was best if I didn’t get up. I didn’t have notes so I gave her a brief run down on what I had planned to say.
After the recital, and during the reception I continued to stay seated. I knew that if I got up I would more than likely pass out. One of my student’s came up to me and asked if we were still on for lessons the next week. Ever the stubborn one, I pluckily replied, “Of course we are! I plan on being there Tuesday!”
A little bit afterward I went to the restroom with the aid of Emily. When I returned to my seat, I laid my head on her shoulder, and went limp. I didn’t completely pass out, but I had no strength left whatsoever. I kept my eyes closed throughout this time. It’s too much of an effort to lift them, that and talking. I heard them get a wheelchair, and then my older brother Josh, and possibly someone else put me in it. During the process I kept slipping in and out of consciousness. Movement seriously aggravates it. Don’t ask me why. It’s the weirdest feeling though. At the time I wasn’t sure what they were trying to get on the wheelchair. Turns out it was a leg rest or something. Mrs. Beck, the lady who had helped us organize our recital, and one of the mothers of four of my students, ended up wheeling me out. She used to be a nurse, so that was a great asset. I remember hearing her take my pulse saying it was at 120. I left the recital in quite the melodramatic way. Not the way I would have preferred in a million years, but did I really have a choice? I was put in the front seat of my dad’s car by dad and Josh. I’m not quite sure what they were doing, but Josh was in the car talking to me. That really helped me calm down. 
 A lot. I won’t go into all of the details of what happened in the ER. It would bore you, but they did not find anything new. They told us that it was pointless to keep bringing me back in there because they would do the same thing over and over: Suck my blood, do an EKG, and hook me up to a heart monitor.
That was one of my worst episodes ever. On the car ride home mom informed me that I was going to cancel life for a week, and do nothing but lay on the couch. And she meant that to the ‘T’.

Where  My Life Is Part 1
Where My Life Is Part 3

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Where My Life Is: Part 1

Life is crazy. That's just the simple truth. Twists and turns arriving that are so unexpected. It's scary sometimes. Never knowing what exactly is around the bend. But at other times that's what makes life exciting. Very exciting. Sometimes. It's fun to read about it in novels; "Oh, wow, that's so amazing! Her life just got turned upside down." Does anyone ever wish that it would happen to them? I did, I admit, once or twice. And well, I got my wish. I've always been told to be careful what I wished or prayed for. Lesson learned.

My life was running good for a couple of months. I settled into being a piano teacher to sixteen students. Absolutely loved it. Was planning a recital with my two older sisters and their students. And then my health started to go downhill. Funny how that happens to me a lot. I get a good start running and then crash! There goes my life for a couple of months. This is the third  year in a row that this has happened to me. I have no idea why. So don't ask me.
Over the summer I had been having bad wrist pain, and getting random fevers that would run for two days. No one else would get them. Weird, right? In September my heart started doing strange things. It would randomly speed up for about an hour or so, then it would go back to normal. Over the next month my joints began hurting. One day it would be this, the next day it would be that joint. I would get horrid leg pains frequently. In October, my sister MacKenzie came to mom and told her that she had been having some of these same symptoms. All except the heart issues. We honestly thought we had Lyme disease. Mom put us on supplements that would fight infection, and also help us with our joint pain. I didn't get better. I got worse. I was still teaching, but it got harder to hide my pain. I'm not one to show weakness. I like to think of myself as invincible....boy did that idea go out the window!
  As the month of November approached my symptoms kept getting worse. I couldn't walk up a set of stairs without feeling seriously winded. Not normal for me. I got weak easily, and required a ton of sleep. Again, not normal for me. I love seeing how little sleep I can get by on. It's a challenge.
 Wednesday, November the sixth my heart rate went way up after I had been doing applesauce. I couldn't do anything. I felt totally out of breath, and I shook horribly. I sort of freaked out, but didn't really say much about it, besides that I couldn't do much.
The next day, while at a Bright Light's meeting I felt weird again. I told mom that I was going to go out and get in the van. When I arrived there, I had no strength to actually step up into the van. I felt weird, like never before. I asked MacKenzie for help, and asked her to get Emily. She could immediately tell that something was wrong with me. Usually when I'm in pain I tend to not want to be around people. Emily put her arms around me and went to lift me into the van. I told her, "Emily I feel like I'm going to faint. I'm go-" And I slipped to the ground in a faint, in her arms. She freaked out and yelled for mom. Stephen, a friend who was still there with us along with his brother, picked me up and put me in the front seat. I kept slipping in and out of consciousness.
When I pass out I can still hear what's going on around me, for the most part, but I go totally limp, and it's too much for me to open my eyes, or speak.
Mom called dad and they agreed that she should take me to the ER. We dropped the kids off at the house, and dad put me in the car. I kept passing out in his arms and freaked him out too. My poor dad...
The only thing that could be found out at the ER was that I had Tachycardia. They told mom that she should call and get an appointment scheduled with my doctor. Which is exactly what she did.

More to come in Part 2


Thursday, September 19, 2013

I'm Still Alive!

I’ve been absent for quite some time. I honestly did not mean for that to happen. Time ebbs away too easily it seems. Especially the older you get. At least that’s what it feels like. Truth be told, every time I have tried to write a blog post I get caught up in socializing with other people, searching other things, and forgetting that I needed to write a blog post. Honestly, I didn’t feel inspired. I generally don’t write unless I feel a desire to do so. 

Nevertheless, I have been going through quite a bit. There are certain areas of my life that I would like to share with you. Hopefully when you read the different posts you will be encouraged and maybe even convicted. If I haven’t made this clear enough already, my goal for this blog is to encourage and bless any and everyone who reads it. I see this blog as a journal of sorts. I’m documenting my spiritual journey, (though sometimes the posts don’t always follow that guideline).
What I will do is give you an overview of what I have been up to. Then I’ll go into detail in a few of the areas that God has been working heavily in my life. It may take some time to get this all written, but that’s OK.
The last post that I wrote was on my graduation party. What have I done since? Anything and everything! Or…so it seems. 
I have fifteen piano students. I divided it up to where I teach them on three different days of the week. That takes up quite a bit of time. Plus I’m getting sewing lessons in exchange for teaching piano. Absolutely love exchanging trades.

I have been writing as often as I can. By writing I mean working on my novels. I have three in the works. The main one I am working on is the second rough draft of my World War Two novel. I am really trying to get that one finished. My hope and prayer is to get it published someday soon. I’m still praying about which publishing house I want to go with, and how to find a literary agent. That is one scary thought. I have no idea how it will all work out so I am simply leaving it up to God to provide me with one.

My family has been busy with singing engagements and different functions. Corrie’s baptism/our fall party is this Sunday. We have preparation for that to work on.

I have been continuing with my own piano lessons. God worked it out to where I would be able to further my piano education. That was truly amazing how the Lord opened the door for that one. I am still awed at how He made that happen.

I have a new sister! Sabrina Lynn. Beautiful six year old. She is actually our second cousin, but the Lord allowed us to obtain guardianship of her. She is such a blessing. I am planning on doing an entire post on that one. You’ll get all of the details on that situation, most of them anyway.

That’s about all of the major things happening in my life. There are little things in between the cracks of these main things that I will share with you. I know God wants me to share them with you all. He has laid it on my heart to do so.
Stay tuned for the next few blog posts that are certain to follow.

God bless you!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Graduation!

I keep meaning to write a post on my graduation which happened June 22nd. It's almost, but not quite, a month later. I am so sorry that I have not posted anything! Life has been extremely crazy busy with my graduation and all of that preparation, the Barnards staying for eight days. (That was beyond imaginable fun. It was totally awesome, epic, wonderful, and more!) Then Grandparents from Florida came, then the Barnards returned for a day and a half, and then the crazy mad dash of getting 4-H projects completed in one week began. :)

Oh, and might I add, the Freetown Festival, singing at a fish fry Sunday night, singing at the prejudging of the Jackson County 4-H Talent Show on Monday.....such is the life of a Long kid. Never gets boring.

Needless to say....this is why I have not posted anything since May 29th. Oh boy...that's like almost two months ago. Shameful!

So! I digress and move on to my graduation party....

My party really began with the prep work. Honestly, with all of the help and fun we had...the preparation was a party in itself! Oh, and the play practice the night before and the morning of my party.

Anyway, amidst the prep work the Barnards arrived. We all felt terrible that all they received in the way of greeting was a quick hug and a joy-filled hello. They unpacked and got their things settled in while the rest of us were still running around like chickens with no heads.

While David was checking the sound system, Daniel, his brother, was telling a couple of the kids a story. He had music and voice effects. It was quite hilarious!
After that we had a quick play practice and then we finished preparations.

Here are pictures of what all our hard work resulted into.

The cupcake stand.

The card box
My display table. These are different things that are major parts in my life. My mom did an awesome job, did she not?

At 1:00 people began to arrive. Because I was the graduate I had to greet everyone and thank them for coming. I'm a people person. I really am, but greeting all of those people? Just a tiny bit daunting and intimidating.

One of the first people to arrive was a pen pal and one of my best friends whom I had not seen since last May. Kylen Burns.

Kylen and I

Here are a few of the many people who came:
Our dear adopted Grandma Felda
Some of the Smith family. It was delightful having them there! :) And we are still holding your volleyball net hostage! :)

Daddy's sister, Aunt Tanya

My darling niece, Jade

And here is my other beautiful niece, Mila.

That's just a few of the people who came. 

We ate and then I played the Maple Leaf Rag to gain everyone's attention. Once I had it, I played Debussy Arabesque no.1 
Then....the speeches. 

Dad and Mom spoke first.

The wonderful audience. :)

Stephanie spoke next.

Then Emily

Older brother Josh spoke

And last but not least of all, I spoke.

I cannot remember what all I said. I had written out a rough draft, but I didn't end up using it. I remembered all of the main points, but there were some things that I wanted to share from my heart. So I did. :)

After the torturous speeches, I dislike public speaking, Daniel Johnson did a comedy routine.   

Daniel Johnson giving his comedy routine..
When he was finished us girls sang. 
I sang two songs that I wrote and then we sang This is Freedom and How Great Thou Art. Two of my favorite songs we do.

Us girls singing. You'll never find a flattering picture of anyone singing. :P

While all of the play actors went down to the house and got into costume, the Bell family sang. 

The Bell family.

The next thing we did was perform The Princess and the Kiss play. I regret to say that there are no pictures of the play whatsoever. Here's what happened:
When we began performing it was already sprinkling. I believe the camera got put away at that time. We were almost finished with the first act when it began to down pour. That stopped everything. People rushed to put the sound system and the piano on the stage. Lots of people gathered on the stage. Others left, and still more sought shelter underneath the tree house, and in the actual house. 
I got stuck on the stage in my costume along with the three princes. Josh, Isaac, Emily, and Corrie changed out of their costumes and played in the rain and cleaned up the food and such. When the rain finally stopped, the men put away the sound system. We gathered the remaining faithful guests and performed the play a capella. Basically we had no microphones and no sound effects or music. This was a real bummer to all, but I was still glad that we were able to perform it. 

After we had taken our last bow all of us changed out of costume. Quite a number of us ended up playing Ultimate Frisbee in the Soccer, a.k.a septic field, in the pouring rain. It felt good to get wet after all of the humid heat. We ended up having the hot dog roast and finished out the party at 10:30. 

Thank you to those who helped with the preparations. That was a huge help and we were blessed by your willingness to serve. 
Thank you play actors for being willing to perform even without the sound system. :)
Thank you to all of my guests for coming and especially for those of you who stuck around even after it started raining. 
My graduation party was a ton of fun! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Doubly Awarded!

I was doubly awarded by my dearest friend, Ellie, over at Aquamarine Dreams. And Jonny over at Scrinium et Suggestum

The German word liebster means dearest. It is awarded to those who have under 200 followers on their blog.
Once you have been awarded, you have to share 11 random facts about yourself. Next you must answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you. Lastly nominate 11 other bloggers (who have under 200 followers) and ask them 11 questions. Don't forget to notify them that they have been awarded.

I must begin with 11 random facts about myself. Oh, dear...

1. I am a Christian (that's not really random actually)
2. I am a homeschool graduate.
3. I am not going to college.
4. I write songs and novels.
5. I hate driving in the city.
6. Pistachios are one of my favorite snacks.
7. I am a patriot.
8. I stand with Israel.
9. I don't have a Facebook.
10. I love toast.
11. I prefer being barefoot.

OK, now to answer the 11 questions posed by Ellie!

1. Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog because I wanted to reach out to people whom I can't see or touch. Through the words that the Lord gives me I can encourage and hopefully bless those unseen faces.

2. Why did you name it what it is?
My middle name is Rose. Naturally I wanted a spin off of my middle name. The phrase, 'stop and smell the roses' kept coming to my mind so I went with it.

3. Where do you find inspiration for your blog?
The Lord, and life lessons.

4. Is your blog for you, or for your readers?
It is for my readers.

5. What was your favorite birthday gift?
Uh...I have quite a few birthday gifts. I loved many of them so I will pick one of them which would be the Bible that my parents got for me on my 13th birthday I think it was?

6. What song always makes you cry?
Never Give Up on Me by Josh Bates.

7. What movie puts you to sleep?
 Hm...probably one of the Ken Ham movies we own. No offense here. :P

8. What is something you wanted to show someone, but didn't dare?
Getting personal now are we? LOL! Let's see, there was a time I wanted to show a whole lot of people just how hurt I felt. I didn't though because I wanted them to see the love of God. Not my pain.

9. Which personality type do you find more approachable, quiet or talkative? 
Talkative. :)

10. May it be, or Into the West 
      Into the West.
11. Which smiley do you use most?

Since I was doubly awarded I must answer Jonny's questions too. Which, they prove to be quite interesting. :P

1. What's your favorite book/passage/verse of the Bible, and why?
Good one! favorite book of the Bible, well I don't just have one, I have several. But to pinpoint just one I would say the book of Psalms. Why? Whenever I am going through a rough time I can open to any psalm and find comfort through David's words. Plus a lot of the psalms are praising the Lord. David was a songwriter. I am one as well. Both of us have the same goals. Praising the Lord.
My favorite passage is Proverbs 31:10-31. My Good Morning Girls group and I are getting ready to study that! :) And why? um..The Proverbs 31 woman is my role model. She is what I am aiming to be like.
Favorite verse is 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Why? It's my life verse. 'nough said. :)

2. Who's your favorite non-biblical historical figure?
Two come off the top of my head. Eric Liddel and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

3. Excluding Jesus and the Apostles, which New-Testament person would you want to talk to, and why?
One of Jesus' brothers or His earthly parents. I would like to know what He was like growing up.

4. Which Old-Testament person would you want to talk to, and why?
Esther and Jeremiah. Esther, well I want to know what it was like facing danger like that. Her bravery and loyalty to her people and the Lord is awe-inspiring.
Jeremiah. He was the weeping prophet. I want to know how he felt when he was rejected and everything. Get the inside story. :)

5. Which of the following soundtracks do you think is more sad-sounding, and why: The Jedi Purge (Star Wars), Gandalf has Fallen (Lord of the Rings), or Never Forget (Halo 4)? I recommend listening to them while you fill out the rest of the questions to save time (all three combined should take less than 12 minutes). ;-)
Gandalf has Fallen. That one sounds the saddest. Why? I don't really know why! It just does! :P

6. If  you had the choice to be involved in any historical event, which event would you choose, what part would you play in it, and why?
World War Two would be my event. I would like to play the part as a spy (double agent for the U.S.) in Germany. Why? I have always dreamed of doing something like that. Since I can't do it myself I have written a book about it. :P

7. If you had the choice to play a part in any fictional event, which event would you choose, how would you want to be involved in it, and why?
OK. I think I understand this question correctly. My fictional event would take place in the book series, The John Bennet and Erin McCoy series, by Joel C. Rosenberg. I would like to play the part as Erin McCoy. Why? She's awesome! :P

8. If for some reason you weren't a Christian, what belief system do you think you would be most likely to follow? 
I would probably be an agnostic

9. Do you have any combat/self-defense/shooting skills/training? If so, name them. If not, name some you would want!
I have zilch! I would like to learn some sort of self-defense training...maybe knife throwing, or scalping, and I'm just kidding.
I would like to learn some kind of self-defense training though.

10. Do you agree or disagree that flying is for Droids?
Uhh...I disagree...flying is for any flying device that can stay in the air. I don't know! :P

11. Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon? 
Dijon mustard? Oh yeah! Bring it on! :P after that crazy round of questions.....I hope you all are still interested in this crazy ride! :)

OK! Now I must award eleven people who have under 200 followers

Olivia at Epiphanies
Haley at Remake of a Girl
Leah at My Journey
Gabrielle at The Ink Stained Parchment
Lauren at Virtuous Daughter
Sophia at Simple Delights
Katie at Writer's Ramblings
Anna at Shine
Rachel at Of Love and Beauty
Cindy at Life as a Young Christian

And their eleven questions are:

1. Why did you start your blog?
2. Where do you hope to find yourself in five years?
3. If you could place yourself in any book, which book would it be, what character would you want to be, and why?
4. What are you currently reading?
5. What is your personality type: quiet or more outgoing?
6. What is your biggest goal?
7. Do you prefer an action-packed film, or a romantic one?
8. Jane Austen or Charles Dickens?
9. Do you laugh a lot?
10. Do you read political thrillers?
11. Are you interested in eschatology?

Have fun you Liebster friends. :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rewarding Hard Work

I have been teaching four of my younger siblings for two years now. I will admit that teaching my siblings is harder than teaching someone else's child. The natural tendency to get impatient often arises when I'm teaching them.

After two years of teaching them I finally figured out how to get them to practice regularly. You would think that I would have already discovered that, but alas I had not.

I told them that starting in June we would begin a rewards system. Each of them will get their own calendar for the month. They have to practice ten minutes a day, four days a week. At the end of the month they bring me their calendar and if it meets the requirements that I set, then they get a prize.

Each child I explained that to, their eyes lit up when I got to the end of my explanation.

I remember when my older sister's best friend, Elizabeth was teaching me. She did something similar, and it made me want to practice even more because I knew I was going to get a prize for it.

When lessons were over and I was fixing dinner I got to thinking about my whole rewards system. I realized that God does the same thing with us in His own way.

(Don't you just love it when you have an epiphany?)

In Psalm 37:3-5 it says, "Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."

In every one of those verses there is a reward for doing something for the Lord. Trust in the Lord, and do good and you shall be fed. Delight in Him and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way unto Him, trust in Him, and He shall make your desires happen!

There are many other references in Scripture that illustrate this. God made us and He knows how we work. He offers rewards to His children when they obey Him.

He rewards us with eternal life if we will only repent of our sins and ask Him into our hearts.

This principle of rewarding works for personal goals as well. I find that when I have a daunting task, such as cleaning my disaster of a room, I don't have the motivation to do so. But if I set a reward for myself when the job is finished I have a lot more energy. Usually.

Maybe there is something that you need to get done that isn't happening because of a lack of motivation? Try setting a good reward at the end of the task.

God uses it so it has to work. :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Crossing Over the Threshold

I've been absent for an entire month. At least in my posting. I apologize, but life has been crazy here lately, and the lack of Internet has prevented me from updating my posts.

   If you read my post, Don't Worry About It, then you will remember me mentioning that I would be taking the  GED test. Which I take next week.

Before I did so I had to finish quite a few math lessons. I wanted to finish them, but at the same time I was hesitant to do so. I couldn't figure out why.
Why would I be so hesitant to finish school and move on into adulthood? Isn't that what most kids dream to achieve? To make it to adulthood (finally)?

After giving it some serious thought I discovered the reasoning behind my hesitation.

By finishing school I was, in my mind, closing the door to my childhood completely. That's a rather sad thought, in my opinion.

I'm reminded of the verse in 1 Corinthians 13, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 

Putting away childish things. OK, I don't believe that necessarily means packing away the baby dolls, Lincoln Logs, train tracks, and forsaking all fort building in the woods.
I believe that's part of it, but I think it is more of putting away childish thinking, behavior, and immaturity.
I have, I think, put all of those away. (Haha)

I am hesitant to leave my childhood because that's all I have ever known. Stepping into adulthood scares me. I have no idea what lies ahead. I don't know what roads I will take. All I can do is simply trust that the Lord will guide me in this new way of life.

So as I step over the threshold of adulthood, I will take my Savior's hand and trust Him to lead me wherever He wills.

Friday, April 5, 2013


No, it's nothing major in science like how to live on Mars or anything. Nor is it how to lose fifty pounds in one week. Nothing like that.

But don't get discouraged! Please, keep reading...

Since December 5th I've been having problems with being able to eat food and not feel sick. We had no idea what the problem was for over three months. When a new doctor put me on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet I began to feel a whole lot better. In the past two weeks I've started to add a little bit of dairy back into my diet. It didn't do anything to me so I kept eating it.

But I did not want to try the gluten yet.

Yesterday while out and about with my family we had bean burritos from Taco Bell. I didn't even think about the tortilla shell being gluten...I was simply too hungry. So I ate it. I started to feel sick maybe thirty minutes after I had eaten it.

This morning when I got up, it was about 3:30, I realized just how sick I felt. All of the pain and queasy feelings that I had endured for over three months were plaguing my body something awful. I almost could not get out of bed I was in so much pain. That's when I figured out that gluten is my enemy.

Now what is gluten?

The word 'gluten' comes from the Latin word, "glue."
Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat, and related grains, including barley and rye. Gluten is what makes your dough stretchy.

Almost all of my family has a gluten allergy. Right down to three-year-old Michael. I didn't think I had it. I refused to think I was allergic to gluten. Come on! Who wants to give up tasty donuts, or delicious homemade bread, or toast (I love toast!), or cake, or...yeah. The list could go on. I didn't want to give any of it up. I didn't want to admit that I had problems with it.

And isn't that so true with some of the things in life? We don't want to give something up, so God takes us through a situation so that we will? We could have simply given it up early on and spared ourselves, and other people, so many problems and heartache, and whatnot. We would much rather hang on to our junk than give it up and let God give us something better.

If we could simply learn to let go and let God. It's not easy though. We are like children who don't want to go to Disneyland because we are having too much fun making mud pies in the back yard.
 Look what God offers in exchange for our junk though! Blessings, and so much more...

I could have easily averted so many of the problems I went through if I had listen to the advice of some friends of ours. They suggested that I go off gluten and see what happened. Stubborn me told them that toast was the only thing that didn't make me hurt...Ha! Ha! Oh, if only I had realized.

But aside from that, God did teach me a boatload of things while I was 'down'. I wouldn't trade my exhausting three months of hardship for anything because of the valuable lessons I learned.

Isn't Romans 8:28 so true?
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to the them who are the called according to His purpose." 

God takes our mistakes and turns them into blessings for us. He is amazing and more.

This morning, I told my mother that gluten would never again enter my mouth. I will live without all of those tasty treats mentioned above. I do not want to feel sick anymore. I am tired of feeling lazy and useless.
So! I will live gluten-free and be extremely happy with it. :)

Two questions for you, dear reader, before you click off:

1. Could you possibly have an intolerance to gluten and don't even realize it?

2. Is there something in your life that you need to let go of?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Don't Worry About It...

photo credit: Morguefile

"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" ~Matthew 6:34

Worry. Anxiousness. Fretting. Panic. Fear.

We all have those feelings. We all wonder what will happen today, or what will happen tomorrow. Will we get sick and die in the blink of an eye? We can't stop whatever's coming. So we panic.  


We are human. And we listen to the thoughts of fear and doubt that Satan presents to us. It is so very easy to believe the lies of the Devil. He is very crafty and masks his lies with a sliver of truth. 

We must remember that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
By realizing this we can combat the lies with truth. The only way to fight the devil, besides resisting, is to fire Scripture back at him. It's truth and he knows it. 

I would like to share a little testimony of mine centering in on this area. 

As most of you probably know, I am graduating this spring. The question that weighs heavily on a high school senior's mind is, "What am I going to do after I graduate?" 
Every one stresses and frets about this. I had several ideas floating around in my head last year. Maybe I would take the SAT just in case I had the opportunity to go to college to study music. Maybe I would just write novels and teach piano. I really didn't have any sense of direction. I felt like a lost kid in an unknown building looking for someone to point me in the right direction to the exit. 

Most logical thing for me to do was to seek God's will and pray about it. So I spent another year in school preparing to take the SAT and praying for God to show me what I was supposed to do. 
As the time neared for me to take the SAT test I got to talking to my mom about when I would actually take it. She gave me a few reasons why it wasn't really necessary for me to take the SAT test. She thought I should take the GED test. I really didn't care which one I took, I just needed to know which test I was taking. I was prepared for both so it didn't really matter. We decided on the GED for a couple of different reasons. 

What really blew me away was when my mom told me that a couple of families were already asking when I was going to start teaching piano. I had no idea people were asking. 
I've always wanted to teach piano and I've been teaching four of my siblings for a year and a half now. 
Another door opened for a tutoring job. 

As I thought about both of these 'job' opportunities, if you will, I was amazed at how the Lord was working it all out. 
Here I was just moseying through my senior year not really worried about what I would do after I graduated; doesn't mean I didn't think about it often,
I did. And when I did I would panic. But the Lord really dropped it all in my lap. There was no need for me to worry at all. The Lord knew what was going to happen. He knows what is going to happen for the rest of my life. My life is in good hands. 

And the same goes for you. You don't need to worry about what is around the next corner. It's enough that God knows. Whatever is ahead, He will take care of it. Don't let the weight of fear and worry pull you down. Give that burden to God. He is more than capable of handling all of your problems. 

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

He even promises that He will take your burdens and give you rest. Give Him your burden and take His yoke upon you. He says that it is easy and light. 

Give your life to God, and rest easy in His wisdom

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What Can You Do?

Three months have passed since I first became sick. That's quite a bit of time if you stop to think about it. Or when you spend most of that time lying in bed. You would think that by now I would be used to feeling awful and having an abnormal life/schedule. This is not true. I'm learning to accept it all, but there are times when I just wish it was all gone. I get downhearted a few times a week and those are the hardest days. But those are also my best days. I lean on the Lord a lot more in those dark times. That's what makes it all worth it somehow.

The other day I was laying on my bed just thinking, as I have been wont to do here lately, when a thought suddenly struck me.
There have been many other people who were sick all of their lives, yet they pushed past it all and did something noteworthy.

William Wilberforce had Colitis all of his life. He devoted his life to abolishing slavery in England. He achieved that goal!

Beethoven was deaf most of his life, yet he still wrote classical pieces; today they are still among people's favorites.

Fanny Crosby was blind from infancy and she wrote over 9,000 hymns during the course of her life.

These three were the people who came to my mind. I was blown away when I spent a little time mulling over it.
Even though I'm laid up in bed most of the day I can still work on different things, which I do. But what can I do for the Lord while undergoing this whole sickness? Is there something specific He wants me to do?

Are you undergoing a rough spot in  your life? Is there something preventing you from living your life normally? What can you do for the Lord during this time in your life?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Where'd She Go?!

Yes, so I have been absent for two weeks. Where did I go and what have I been up to?

I normally don't post stuff like this. Usually it's stuff worthy of you reading. But oh well.

I have been finishing up my school work like any normal senior in high school. I'm really looking forward to being finished with school. Yes, I love learning, but I'm ready for this season of my life to be over. It's time to move on! :)

An update on my health issues:
I saw a new doctor on Monday and he does indeed believe that it's my gallbladder. (the tests I had showed that there was nothing wrong) He put me on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, basically a torturous diet in my opinion! lol. I'm on it for about three weeks before I go back to the doctor and we assess whether or not it has worked. Also I'm taking a few supplements, and drinking ginger tea.
I'm still in quite a bit of pain, but I'm accepting it as daily life. :) Life lessons are never learned the easy way.

I passed the second World piano competition audition! I was so excited about that. I play at the University of Cincinnati Ohio the fourth week of July. I'm looking forward to that. :)

I will be starting an Etsy shop soon. Be on the lookout for that announcement!

This past weekend my family traveled three hours north and spent the weekend at the Barnard's house. That was a blast! :) Can't wait to see them again.

Ummm...nothing else really exciting. I try to stay out of trouble as much as I can. :P

I certainly hope and pray that all of you who are reading this are having great lives right now. That sounds really cliche too...and maybe a bit cheesy...
Remember: no matter what trial you are going through God will get you through it. Just look up to Him. He is always there and will never leave you nor forsake you. :)

Chazak Amats!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Another Choice

I would like to thank each and every one of you for the awesome criticism that you have provided me with. And the back up. :) I am an aspiring writer and I'm grateful for the criticism you have graciously given me. All of it will help me grow as a writer. Thank you!

Yes, I admit, my story is shallow, and is full of mistakes. I'm not perfect. I'm human, so naturally I'm going to make mistakes.
I didn't do all of the extensive research that I know I should have done when I wrote this short story, but I had a few hours until I was supposed to present it to my family. The idea popped into my head and I didn't think twice about writing it.
I wasn't planning on sharing my story with anyone, but my family suggested that I share it on my blog to coincide with Roe Vs. Wade. So I did.

The reason I failed to respond to your comments is because you guys seriously are intimidating. But thank you all the same for the life lessons that you have unknowingly provided me with. :)

The reason I pulled the post, The Choice, is I realized the story is poorly done and I would like to do it over again. I will do my extensive research and post the story when it is polished and refined. :)

God bless each and every one of you! May you have a blessed day. :)

  For my real online friends who love me in spite of my is a video that I came across yesterday. I thought you might find it quite humorous. :)

This was a very timely video that Ophelia just posted yesterday.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Random Update Followed With a Poem of Mine

I haven't really posted anything from what's going in my life. And most of you dear readers are probably wondering what happened to the real Haley! Well here are a few things:

I've been busy with preparing for the World Piano Competition for several months now. But here recently things have been getting a little more hectic due to the fact that the second audition is this Saturday. Exciting,  yet a little terrifying at the same time.

School has been another big thing for me. I'm planning on graduating in May/June and I'm going to take the SAT test in May. That has me busy with tying all of my 'loose ends' up. :)

Another huge thing that has effected my life a bit more than I would like, is health issues. A few little details on that subject....
Ever since December 4th I've been having problems with being able to eat and not feel sick. Most days I just eat enough to get by. I know that is not the smartest or wisest thing to do, but when you have hardly any appetite at all and you are just plain scared to just isn't my favorite thing right now.
Turns out after I had a HIDA scan it revealed that my gallbladder is barely working. That's a problem. I've done two gallbladder cleanses and each time I felt awful afterward. I've been laid up for about two months and due to the fact that I'm not eating I've lost some weight. That's OK. I did have weight to lose. Anyway, I'm not complaining and I'll get to that later.
I went to a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist earlier this afternoon. The doctor told me that my gallbladder is more than likely diseased and will need to be surgically removed. He joked with my mom and said we would plan the surgery unless she had another way of removing it. :P The appointment with the surgeon has not been set yet. Anyway, next Friday (February 8th) I have a gallbladder ultrasound in the morning and at 1:15 that afternoon, I will have a scope done. What will happen during the scope is I will be put to sleep and they will slip a small camera type thingy down my throat and into my body and take pictures of my gallbladder. What happens from there I don't know.
So if you wouldn't mind sending up a few prayers for me I would really appreciate it.

Now I don't want to sound like I'm complaining over my current situation/illness. Oh no. Not me. Yes, it does get tiring and old just having to sit a lot because I don't feel good most of the time, but the Lord is teaching me a ton through all of this. I'm learning patience. That's one of the first lessons the Lord brought to my mind when I asked Him what He was doing. A sure funny question to ask the Lord, but I was curious and desperate.
Don't ever underestimate the power of patience. Patience is a wonderous thing, but that's a whole other blog post. But yes, the Lord is teaching me patience, endurance, long-suffering, determination, and joy in suffering. Tracing rainbows through my rain. Yes, the Lord wants us to joy in our suffering. He gives us the strength we need every day to endure it if we only ask Him for it.
My word of encouragement to you is this:
If you are going through a hardship in your life at this time, look to the Lord for the strength you need. He will willingly give it. He wants you to rely on HIM. And Him only. Search the Scriptures. His promises to you are overflowing in that blessed book. Don't give up. Press on! This is for a season and the Lord will get you through it. He has a reason and a plan for everything. He allows things to happen and whether they are good or bad He will turn them for our good. (Romans 8:28)

Now, that I've rambled on long's a poem, more like a song that I wrote. I was feeling a bit down the other night. Here are a few more of my thoughts for you to read. I hope I haven't been too...long-winded. :)

Safe In Your Arms

When my fears threaten to seize
My heart in a cold clenching grasp
I know You are watching over me
When my mind fills up with doubt
And I can’t seem to take control
I know You are within and without

So please take me in Your arms
Hold me close and don’t let go
Reassure me I’m safe from all harm
Oh, Lord Jesus, You’re my Father
I’ve no reason to doubt You
Safe in Your arms, You love like no other

As I plead and cry to You
Satan tries to discourage me
And convince me I’m not getting through
But through the clouds of my storm
Your loving voice falls on my ear
And tells me, “Come, you’re tired and worn.”

So please take me in Your arms
Hold me close and don’t let go
Your love is greater than the world’s charms
Lord, I trust You completely
My life is safe in Your hands
I bask in the knowledge that You love me

Your love dispels all my fears
And brings me to tears of sheer joy
For I know I’m loved by One who cares
Lord, I can never recount
All the blessings You’ve given me
I can never repay this amount

Oh, Jesus, Friend and Savior
Great and Mighty is Your name
You are the ultimate love giver
You are always here for me
I’ve no cause to doubt at all
I’m safe in Your arms for eternity

Oh, Jesus, I’m safe in Your arms.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Sound of Abortion

A video that you must see. A horrifying realization when you watch this.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

God Spared My Life!

I should be dead.

Or at the very least in the hospital right now along with my older sister Steph. But I have a miraculous story to tell. One that bears Spiritual Warfare at the very heart of it.

Yesterday, Steph and I went to Panera Bread for dinner with some friends. I had changed my mind at the very last moment to actually go. I had planned to stay home, but decided against it when I realized I needed to pick up some things from the store before Friday.

We weren't planning to stay at Panera Bread past seven-thirty. We had music to practice for our parent's 25th vow renewal ceremony/celebration on Saturday. But we stayed later and then at the last minute decided to take one of my best friends, Rachelle, home after we had hit T.J. Maxx (another last minute decision) the library, and Walmart.

These details may seem trivial, but it all played a part in the story. In order for Rachelle to ride in Steph's car we had to put three heavy-duty card tables, for the party, in the trunk. It was tricky fitting them in there, but we managed to get them in the trunk.

We spent more time in T.J. Maxx and Walmart than all of us had anticipated. I couldn't find the particular gift card at the 'old' Walmart in Columbus that I needed. Frustrated, I told Steph and Rachelle that I'd just get it at the newer Walmart out by the highway.

We dropped Rachelle off at her house and then headed to the newer Walmart. We met up with Mom there and almost took Samuel  home with us. Once again, it took me a while to find the gift card, but I finally found it and we left for home.

During the drive, I worked on Christmas gifts while Stephanie practiced her speech for Mom and Dad's party. We had found it interesting that every time she came to the part of sharing the gospel she always blanked out. This continued all the way to Columbus and back. She told me, "Haley, Satan does not want me to share this."

The road from Columbus to our house is a dangerous one in the winter. Especially on a particular stretch known as Beck's Grove. We had come through there before just fine. Yes, there were patches of ice, but we had made it safely the first time.

While we were on this road Steph was practicing her speech once again. She was at the part of sharing the gospel when all of a sudden we began fish-tailing. Now Stephanie is a safe driver. I feel safe whenever I am with her.

But whenever the car started twisting, it seemed to go berserk. Steph said, "Don't worry, Haley, I got this," remembering Dad's instruction.

No matter what she did it was worthless. The car was headed for the left side of the road where a deep, wooded ravine seemed to be our destined doom. All of a sudden the car was turned around and the next thing I see is a white embankment and a tree coming at us. Stephanie shut her eyes through the whole thing, but I kept them open the entire time.

I remember screaming and hearing Stephanie scream. We slammed into the embankment and I thought that would be the end of it. I remember thinking, "God, I'm going to die today." But next thing I am being flipped upside down. I hear a loud crunch and screaming. I remember hitting the door, but I didn't feel it. While flipping, both of us felt like someone was holding us in a tight, comfortable embrace. We had our seat-belts on, but it was a stronger grip. Even when we were rolling we felt as though we were swaddled with soft pillows or something. There were angels holding both of us, I am sure of it.

All of a sudden I was suspended in midair by my seat-belt. I suddenly realized that I was repeating, "Oh my God" over and over again. I couldn't figure out where my seat had gone. My door looked odd and I couldn't figure out how to get out. All I could think of, was my sister dead?

I unbuckled my seat-belt somehow and softly landed on the 'floor'. I later figured out that it was the cracked windshield that I was sitting on. The first thing that Stephanie thought when we stopped was, "Shut the car off." Then she thought of me. She thought she had killed me or impaired me and I was in a bloody mess. The first thing I said was, "Are we still alive?" She assured me we were very much alive. We were both turned around mentally. I grabbed her arms and she grabbed mine. I said, "Steph, we need to pray!"
She started praying and I interjected, "Thank you God for saving us!" She stopped me and said, "Right now is not the time to pray. We can pray later. We need to get out of the car." I collected all the necessary belongings and placed them in a Walmart bag. That is, after I found my shoes.

We crawled out and heard a man's voice asking if we are all right. Steph answered "I think so. I don't feel hurt, but I need to call my dad."

I looked at the flipped car and thought, "There is no way we just made it out of there alive. No way."
The man's phone didn't get signal in the spot where we were. He told us we needed to call the police.
A county water utility truck stopped and the couple both had cell phones. The man used his to call the police and the woman let Stephanie use hers to call dad.

The couple from the water utility backed up and sat farther down the road with their flashers on. Dad would be at the crash site in roughly thirty minutes. The man who had first stopped told us, "Why don't you come and sit in my car where it's warm?"

We numbly got in. It was a good thing we did because I was starting to slip into shock.

Aaron was the man who let us sit in his car and he told us some of his crashing experiences. He didn't even live in the area. The only reason he had been down here was to get his birth certificate for a job in another city where he lives. We told him that God had orchestrated the timing perfectly.

The first volunteer policeman got there and we got out. He asked skeptically if we were the ones who had been in the car wreck and if we were hurt. Steph told him, "I don't think so. I don't feel hurt. I'm just shook up."

The policeman shined a flashlight in her eyes and asked, "Are you sure?" She reassured him.

Dad showed up along with more policemen. We went through the whole process of registering the car and all that. Nobody could believe that we were the two who had been in the car wreck.

Those tables I mentioned that we had put in the trunk? I shudder to think what could have happened if they had been in the back seat!

Stephanie's huge glass water bottle had landed above her head and all that had happened to it was the lid came off and the water spilled out. I later reached into my coat pocket and pulled out a Starbucks Mocha glass jar. It was not scratched or cracked. I could hardly believe it.

Mom arrived and charged up to us crying. We put our arms around her and reassured her that we were okay.

We were all heartily astonished when after the wrecker had turned the car over, the car started. Then Dad drove the car all the way home! Stephanie fell apart at that point. She could not believe it. I put my arms around her. I felt like giggling. I didn't feel like crying at that moment. I wanted to laugh exultantly because my God had conquered the demons who wanted us dead. I told Stephanie that I was going to mention what had happened before she gave her speech on Saturday. There is no way I can't. We all agree that what had happened to us was a direct attack from Satan, but God had intervened and had an army of angels all around us.

Fuzzy picture taken from Mom's cell phone camera

We are both sore and I found out I had a minor concussion and a cut on my foot, but other than that and being traumatized I am extremely glad that I am alive. I honestly thought that my life was going to end last night. God spared my life. I cannot tell you how grateful and humbled I am to know that the Lord has a specific purpose for me. I have come to the realization through this whole situation that God has me in the palm of His hands. Life is precious. Value it. Don't squander away your days. Enjoy them. Live them to the fullest. Fill them with things that have an everlasting purpose.

Note: To read Mom's account, read the post The Car Wreck on her blog.