One Word 2015: Accept

  I've prayerfully chosen a word as the theme for my year since 2009. 2009: Gratitude 2010: Giving 2011: Grace 2012: Confident 2013: Well 2014: Share and now, 2015 will be the year to accept. defines accept like this: 1. to take or receive (something offered); receive with approval or favor: I'm going to accept compliments and constructive criticism with grace and gratitude. 2. to agree or consent to; accede to: I'm going to accept apologies at face value and not hold on to grudges. 3. to respond or answer affirmatively to: I'm going to accept invitations to spend time with friends and family whenever possible.  Relationships are priority this year. 4. to undertake the responsibility, duties, honors, etc., of: I'm … [Read more...]

31 Days to Living Well with Chronic Illness- An Introduction

Hi friends! Every year when I join the blogging community in committing to write on one topic every day for 31 days I question my sanity.  And, I say I will never participate again.  And, every year I develop some type of writers amnesia and when God lays a new topic on my heart, I once again decide to tap out my heart each day in October.  This year I am writing about a topic I personally deal with every day but don't often talk about- living with chronic illness. I was diagnosed with systemic lupus in 2009 }after being misdiagnosed in 2008 with multiple sclerosis}and have several related medical issues including a blood clotting disorder, IC, IBS and the like. You can read more about my journey with chronic illness here, here and here {you can also search the topic in the top right … [Read more...]

When you learn something from Pretty Little Liars

Yes, I watch the overly-dramatic, somewhat predictable ABC Family show, Pretty Little Liars, on Tuesday evenings with my daughter. It is our special time since the males in this family aren't the slightest bit interested.  Shayla started a new job (so proud of her) so now we watch on DVR, but it is still precious time together. I did not anticipate learning something useful to my life from the show.  Last week's episode, however, reminded me about a psychological theory that struck a chord in my heart; the concept of ambiguous loss. I'm not sure why it never occurred to me that I could suffer from something I so easily recognize in others.  Working in healthcare, particularly with the elderly, I see families walk through this valley of uncertainty when their loved one is living with … [Read more...]

May is…for moments and memories and miracles

May is National Foster Care Month. This thirty one day month contains Mother's Day as well. A day both bitter and sweet. Then, there is tomorrow. May 22nd.  The day, sixteen years ago, I physically became a mother. May brings a mixed bag of feelings to this heart of mine. A desperation to help, heal and hold foster children across the country {and orphans across the world} that need and deserve a mama. A desire to connect with my own mother while understanding relationships take the effort of two. A deep gratitude for the child that saved me from myself. and each amazing, beautiful, unique child God has gifted me with since. A profound sense of surprise at the joy that being a "Mimi" brings. And, a thrilling heart song of joy that God can take the mess of me and produce … [Read more...]

Choosing Joy

Margaret Feinberg calls it a sacred echo. God whispers something to your heart. You think you hear but you aren't sure. Then, the same thing is repeated somehow, someway and... if you are paying attention, you can catch the whisper of God, from His heart to yours.  God speaking to you, through His Word, through circumstance, through whatever avenue He chooses to use. For me, the latest Holy whisper was about choosing joy {it has long been a conversation between God and I}. First, a blog post wrote long ago came to my remembrance. Then, the theme of that post became a reverberation across the blogosphere. And, just to make sure I was listening, the sermon yesterday was about Biblical joy. As if to say, "Are you listening, Melissa?  No matter the circumstance, no matter the … [Read more...]

10 Things I’ve learned about living with invisible illness

I have been living with invisible illness {diagnosed} since 2008.  Chronic pain, fatigue and bizarre symptoms are part of my everyday life.  Statistics tell us that 1 out of every 2 Americans lives with a chronic illness {diabetes, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, etc.}   I know I am not alone.  So, why do I often feel that way? 1.  Invisible illness is isolating. Let's face it, people get tired of hearing about your "aches and pains", tired of having you cancel at the last minute because you suddenly feel like you've been hit by a truck, etc.  At least, I think they get tired of it so I withdraw, not wanting to be a bother.  Loneliness is a frequent companion. 2.  Invisible illness is unpredictable. I can go to bed feeling fine and wake up, unable to get … [Read more...]

Ebb and Flow of Life

This has been one of those weeks that simulated a roller coaster for my emotions.  Up, down, upside down, shoot back up. I'm not a roller coaster type of gal.  All of that can leave this mama exhausted in every way possible. Our weekend was full.  Of learning, of fellowship, of family fun. The speaker at the retreat we attended was speaking right to my heart and situation. How to hear God, how to really hear what He is saying to me and how He is saying it.  A verse shared that confirmed an exciting realization. The enemy knows when change is taking place in my heart and attempted to thwart the momentum.  The attempt was momentarily successful but through journaling, tears and prayer I got back on track. Then, as I already shared, Monday was a super special day for our family. Life … [Read more...]

Being sick is not fun but I choose joy

I am a positive person.  I believe that everything in life happens for a reason and that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength {Romans 8:28, Philippians 4:13}. But, I have to admit there are days and times that being chronically ill brings me down, way down. It probably doesn't help that I have had three surgeries in four months, have been mobility challenged since a fall in March and had to stop taking my MS therapy since my liver wasn't cooperating back in January. August has found me bitter most days.  Each day has felt like I am trying to walk in quicksand...I am brought down and frustrated far too easily.  Distractions have been fewer as well since Miss S and Sweet Pea were away at summer camp and my two younger boys were spending time with my … [Read more...]

My plans, His plans

Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?  The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.  Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD, the one you teach from your law...~ Psalm 94: 10-12 My plan was to be in Glen Spey, New York this week with 20+ teen mama's and their babies for YoungLives camp. My plan was to be much further along in the recovery process {from the knee surgery of July 11th} Those were not God's plans for me this week. Rarely are my plans His plans.  And, I am learning to be okay with that. I used to kick and scream {literally and figuratively} at God when my plans were thwarted.  I used to try to follow through with my plans despite the clear evidence they were not His plans.  I have come to surrender to His … [Read more...]

Parenting and illness

There is a sad story circulating the news outlets that has mothers {including myself} outraged.  A judge in North Carolina has taken primary custody of a mother's young children away, mostly because she is battling stage 4 breast cancer. {A summary of the story and other posts on the web can be found here.} While I do not pretend to have all the facts of this case nor am I privy to the thought process of the judge involved, the premise is frightening. I live with chronic illness.  MS, Lupus, a blood clotting disorder, etc. impact my health every day. Does illness also impact my parenting? Absolutely. Does illness render me incapable of adequately parenting my children? Absolutely not. The thought of what this woman is enduring, on top of fighting for her life for the past four years, … [Read more...]

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