Living a life of gratitude and walking by faith during trials

It has been some time since my last post and even longer since I provided an update on my health. There is so much that has happened. I’ve been connected to so many people struggling with Lyme Disease and/or searching for answers. Our faith, church, family, neighbors and friends have continued to bless us with support. I felt like our life had been flipped upside down when I really started to understand what this disease had and is doing to me. Every step of the way, God has provided me with answers and peace when I had to make difficult decisions.

It has been hard to gather my thoughts and there has been a lot for us to process. Since I had a PICC line inserted in November I have been treating my Chronic Lyme with IV antibiotics and meds, supplements, and oral antibiotics. I have made some progress, I have had my share of really bad days and occasionally I get a glimpse of my former self. Neurologically I have had some setbacks and the attacks I was having are consistent now, but are a sign of the treatment expelling the toxin into my blood or what we Lymies refer to as die off. I have been able to remain aggressive with my treatment, but it has not been without the constant thought that I don’t want to do this anymore. That being said, every single time I have wanted to give up He has provided a new source of strength or someone who was in need of strength and suffering.

We have increased my IV’s, I remain on several oral medicines and antibiotics. Throughout treatment medicines are combined and shifted to make the treatment effective. 3 weeks ago we replaced Minocycline with Biaxin to begin treating for a malaria-like bacteria that I have exhibited symptoms of for the past few years. My reaction to Biaxin amplified my Babesia symptoms and my tachycardia has worsened which is all part of the bacteria fighting back. I started an antimalarial medicine a few days ago and will remain on this combination for the next 5+ months. I will fight this battle with all my strength.

After much prayer and looking back at the health issues our children have had (varying from a vascular tumor, cyclical vomiting, and benign hydrocephalus) I felt that there had to be a correlation. We anxiously had all 3 tested and sure enough this was passed on to them congenitally. Contrary to what the CDC acknowledges this is passed in utero and we are living proof of this. We have been treating them for 2 weeks with oral antibiotics and for the most part they have been troopers. They have had their ups and downs, but are resilient and I cannot help, but recognize what a miracle these 3 kiddos are to us! When their results came back positive I felt an overwhelming sense that my hubby had to be tested as well and today brought more devastating news. He has more positive bands/markers than the rest of us, but my number on one test is the highest. He shows more past antibodies, but is in an active state of infection and is CDC positive. This poses a lot of questions about who had this first and why its impacting us all so differently, but one thing is for sure…. God has a bigger purpose for the 5 of us, making those questions irrelevant. For now, I am in a state of sadness, but I know that cannot last for long and is not where God wants me to be. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the promise of a better life with Him and give thanks for that hope. I will continue to do my best to walk by faith, because my sight has been distorted both physically and emotionally. We are fortunate to have so many people that He has surrounded us with and the privilege He has entrust us with to help others with this disease.

Decking the halls

I used to be that person who had their house decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Heck, who am I kidding? I had it all done the day after Halloween. This year has brought a lot of change and we started a new tradition of our Thanksgiving Tree in the month of November. It brought a focus of giving thanks for all of the blessings we have, both big and small. I have committed to continuing to share our thanks as part of a New Year’s resolution. Stay tuned for my new DIY Mom project in 2015.

It’s December 13th and our tree is finally up and decorated! The stockings are hung by the fire with care and soon St. Nicholas will be here. I finally went to get greens for our new table box, outdoor planter box (made by my talented hubby – see the pics) and our urns. We assembled them together and had many laughs as we stumbled around outside on the porch, after dark.

Franklin, the elf, has arrived and it all seems very surreal. I can’t believe it, but this is probably the last year that my sweet boy, who gave the elf his name, will probably believe in The Elf on the Shelf and Santa. The sweetest part of all is that even our littlest gets excited to find the elf every morning! I love having all three of the kids excited about something together!

I still believe in Christmas miracles, like the fact that they will enjoy their matching shirts and pj sets that have just arrived. I plan to make the most of the next 12 days until Christmas and cherish this Christmas while all three of our kids believe. I guess we are never too old to remember the real meaning of the season and our Savior’s birth! I hope that each of you are finding a little bit of joy each day during this season. No matter what trials or obstacles this year has brought, we all have a lot to be thankful for!

Falling for the table…

I love having gatherings for family and friends. During the holidays, I especially enjoy it and I think that is in part, because I love Christmas so much, but I think the season brings to light what is most important in our lives and that is why I love it so much. I don’t consider myself the least bit “Martha-ish”, but I do have big aspirations…and most of the time my better-half comes through and rescues me from my DIY project disasters!

Our Newest Family Tradition

For the first few years that AJ and I were married, November 1 was a special day to me. Not only did 100.3 WNIC start playing Christmas music, but I also strong-armed AJ into helping put the Christmas decorations up. We were decorated for Christmas for nearly two full months. Carter (our only little one at the time) was in the spirit too and really enjoyed putting ornaments on the lowest two feet of the tree. He did not, however, like the answer he got when he asked how many more days until Christmas.  ** Oh well **

This year, we are changing things up for a few reasons. The first reason is that

The perfect date night – with a twist

Let’s get something out of the way – being married is tough work. There are many joys to being married, but it is definitely hard work to make the most of the difficult times that we are all faced with in marriage and keep in the positive. Of the many marriage tips that are given to newly married couples, as well as to those that are going through trials, is to have a date night and plan some intentional time with your spouse. Date nights are a great way to reconnect and remember the little things about them that made you fall in love with them in the first place. It is a great blessing to be able to spend intentional time with the one person who knows you best and is your best friend – and if you have kids, you know that this time with an adult is even more precious.

Giving thanks in the midst of struggles

gratitudeSome of you who are following my blog may not know the major health struggle(s) I’ve had for the last 3+ years. It all began hours after I delivered our second child, my sweet Sydney. Instead of starting from the beginning, which could take me several posts, I am going to work my way backward while sharing with you the abundant blessings that God has given me and my family during this struggle.

Love/hate relationship with technology

Here I am posting to my new blog which I’m totally psyched about and yet technology has become an evil force in our home. My three kiddos all want to watch or play something separately and my youngest, whom we refer to as “Mase-Monster” is by far the most out of control. When he wants to watch Peppa Pig he means business. He looks so cute and innocent, but man is he stubborn!

Does technology rule your house too? Do you put limits on your children’s technology time and how do you enforce it?
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Living by faith

Living by faith
Living by faith

I have always considered myself a Christian, but until my life was turned upside down, I didn’t really know what it meant to know God or what my faith really meant. My anxiety and lack of faith (more commonly known as fear) consumed me. It still is a struggle, but I have learned to let my faith be bigger than my fear. I now live by faith, so that it in turn allows His spirit to move in me.

Door Decor

I’m one of “those” people who never knows what to do to decorate the outside of my house when the holiday or seasons change. I am very cautious of coordinating the outdoor look with the interior look. For all of you who know me, you know that I have a hard time making decisions when it comes to things like this!

So, that being said, the outdoor decor doesn’t change very often. My door has had the same wreath on it for almost two years… plain green faux boxwood. Until last night, when my Mom surprised me with the most beautiful burlap and ribbon wreath that really is perfect for every holiday and season! I never thought I could love a wreath so much, but I do! Pulling into my driveway now makes me feel this new kind of happy!

Thanks again to my Mom and Dad for the gorgeous door decor!