Notice of Changes

You will notice that some of my albums are "empty" on my Facebook page and that some pages and pictures are missing on here and on Natural and Free. Don't worry - they won't stay that way. :) In light of some recent events, I've had to watermark my photos and designed images. Until that is done and I get a chance to upload them, my FREE Fibro Banners and Badges and Inspirational Designs {By Me} pages will be down, and the albums under the same (or almost the same) names on my Facebook page will be empty, and pictures will be deleted and watermarked at various times for as long as it takes to get that done. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. Thank you for understanding! In the mean time, if there is an image you would like that you saw or have an idea for a new one, feel free to email me or leave me a comment, and I'll do what I can to get one to you. :)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'll Take Your Way

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
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55 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
 
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These verses, especially the one in bold above, have meant a little more to me as of late than they have in the past.  They fill my heart with a peace and joy that is hard to explain, but I'll definitely try.
 
It all started back a few years ago when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  Back then I thought very little about God's plan for my life where illness and suffering were concerned.  I thought that Fibro was a bump in the road, and that surely God didn't plan it to be in my life - it just was.  I have realized since then that, though God is not the cause of our suffering (that ultimately is caused by sin), He does allow it for reasons that are sometimes only known to Him.
 
 
 
 
How can I say that?  Well, my thinking on this began to change drastically back in June.  Though I've only alluded to it in my Monthly Milestones posts, my health has been a challenge, especially since June.  I've had more sensitivities to foods (IBS is a daily occurrence if I don't watch what I eat), exercise or a lack thereof is affecting my strength and fatigue levels more than ever, and the amount of migraines I've been having has risen exponentially, and they are lasting longer, too.  I've had tests for bleeding disorders because I'm bruising easier, I had an ASCUS pap in July (which was of no concern after further looking into it), I've been diagnosed with Fibrocystic Breast Disease or Fibrosis (Hurray for no cancer, but I still have to be diligent to check for new/growing lumps.  I have to go back in a year, sooner if I notice something new, but no surgery or biopsies for now.), and have recently had some issues feeling like I was swallowing around a lump in my throat which I have to keep an eye on (they think it is allergy/illness related and caused by excess phlegm, not thyroid, since it seems to be improving).  I've even been having random 99 range temperatures more often than not.  I feel very much like a freak of nature, and I have found myself asking God "why?" a lot.
 
You see, I let myself get to the point where I got angry.  I found myself looking around at all the healthy people.  I found myself looking in the mirror and being upset that I can't lose weight like "normal" people or that I can't seem to get and stay healthy.  I was feeling picked on, and I let God know it.  I quite simply cried out to Him with, "Really, Lord?  Really?  But I have plans!  I have goals!  I want to serve You and take care of my family!  Is that so wrong?  Why have you left me so helpless?"
 
Oh, yah.  I went there. 
 
And you know what He whispered back?  "I know you have plans...But you never thought to ask about Mine."
 
Ouch.
 
No, I hadn't thought about God's plans.  I couldn't see what His purpose was for allowing me to face such darkness.  I didn't see how light could come from trial.  Sometimes, I still struggle to see it.  Truth be told, it still looks like dark.  I feel like a little child alone in a dark room, waiting for the monsters to come out of the closet.
 
Here's the thing that God has been showing me, though.  He is showing me that He has chosen me to walk through the dark.  He is asking me to take the scary path.  I don't know why, but I do know this: The path that I want to go down of good health and service is NOT the path that I think it is.
 
 

 
You see, I see the easy path.  You know the one.  The one with the flowers and no twists and turns.  It is well lit and beautiful, and it looks perfect.  But, that's just it: It just looks perfect.  I can't see that it leads to a drop off that will put me in great danger. I can only see the immediate.  It is not the right path for me.
 
God's path for me looks a bit like the things nightmares are made of.  It looks like that scary dark room, and I'm that little child who is freaking out looking at all the shadows.  I've cried out to God, my Father, and asked Him to turn on the lights, only to find that He is offering a flashlight to illuminate only a little at a time.
 
"See?" He says, "That's not a monster.  It's a rocking chair.  It's where I will sit and hold you when you cry, need comfort, or when you need some time alone with Me."
 
He shines His light in another dark corner and says, "And that's nothing to fear.  It's just a pile of books that will teach you many wonderful things."
 
The lights go out again, and I realize that the shapes in the dark are not what they seem to be.  They are things that will be or are sources of comfort and learning.  The light, His light, shows us that the things that go bump in the night are not what they appear - they are things for our learning and our joy...if we don't give into the fear.
 
 
 
 
Best yet?  God is there with us to hold our hands, just like any good parent would do for a frightened child.  And you know what?  I am just such a child.  I have been frightened of the unknown, I've wanted the lights on, I've wanted the easy and the known, but that's not what God has for me.  He has a plan that will be more beautiful, more amazing, and more wonderful than I could ever imagine...If I'm willing to trust Him.
 
So, here is where I am.  I am in the dark with a flashlight, holding onto God's hand as tightly as I can.  I don't know what's in the dark.  I am admittedly a bit afraid, but God is showing me that He is there, and it is His plan.  I will come through it better than I could ever imagine, if I just hold onto Him, even if the results seem scary and bad, they aren't.  They are lessons to be learned that can be learned no other way.  They are the way to greatness and love that is beyond understanding.  They are His thoughts and His ways...and I trust Him.
 
 
 
 
Please continue to keep me in your prayers.  I've gotten very few answers regarding my health, but tests have come back "normal" or "inconclusive", and we just have to wait and see.  God has given me some encouraging things to help me along my dark path (like great prayer warrior friends and amazing family), and for that I am grateful.  I am humbled that He'd choose me to go through these things, and so very grateful He's with me each step of the way.
 
 
 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Monthly Milestones {11}


Today is my eleventh time running my monthly feature where I will be giving you updates on how I am doing physically, mentally, etc. and in which you can link up a post about some form of progress you are making, if you wish (see details below). I am enjoying this, and being publicly accountable (as hard as it is) will and is helping me out tremendously.  I hope you enjoy this link-up as well, will link up something inspiring and share it with others so that we can meet our goals together! :)

Here is how I am doing as of yesterday:



Me as of today, November 1, 1014, at 229.5 lbs.


  1. I've lost a little.  My weight has been kind of stair stepping down this month.  I'd lose about a quarter pound, gain half, lose 1 pound, gain half, etc.  I am glad that I ended up half pound lighter by the end of the month, and can hope that next month it is more than that. :)  I'll keep plugging away! :)
      
  2. I am still trying to walk daily, at least during the week days.  The weather is definitely colder and yuckier.  I normally get only the walks in that it takes to get my daughter too and from school, but sometimes I get more.  I'm hoping that my body will let me continue to walk because I miss it when I don't get them in.  We shall see!  If not, me thinks I need to try to get some time in with the Wii Fit. :)
         
  3. My system is still gaining sensitivities to certain foods.  Basically, I am finding that I have very little tolerance for foods on my "don't eat too much of this" list.  I am having more and more IBS-type symptoms when I do, and even experiencing more migraines (though I cannot 100% link the migraines to the foods vs. weather).  It has been interesting to say the least.  I guess I just better start being really good whether I want to or not! LOL :D
        
  4. I'm slowly starting some of the changes on my blogs, and not all of them for good reasons.  I'm still insanely busy and been dealing with some health issues that I will explain more in the next point, so I haven't gotten to any of the real fun changes that I have planned for here or on Natural and Free.  I have, however, found that some people have been taking my free Fibro and inspirational images and modifying them or changing the link to them so that I am not getting the traffic from them or the credit for them. People are even marketing them as their own work.  This means that I will be adding a watermark of sorts to them, that I've had to contact some sites about either removing my content or giving me credit, and a few other things. 

    Let me be clear: I want my images to be free to use for personal use, and I want you all to have easy access.  However, using my images without giving me credit, editing them without permission and calling them yours is STEALING.  Don't do it. 

    If you are a blog, business, etc. who wants to use one of my images, especially if you would like some changes made, contact me FIRST before using them.  I will be flattered you want to use them, though I do like to know which blogs, businesses, etc. want to use my images and have the right to say no for reasons of my own choosing.  Please respect that.  If you do not, I will ask that you remove the images, or I will contact who I have to to report the theft of my intellectual property, and no one wants that. :)

    If anyone (business, blog, person, or otherwise) wants to modify the images, email me, and I will modify them for you or discuss the terms of you modifying them.  I am more than happy to modify images according to my terms and open to suggestions about new ones.

    My images are not to be sold or used for profit without express permission from me.  If I have to, I will remove the images and make them "by request" only, but I don't want to have to do that.  Thank you all for understanding. :)
       
  5. I'm going through some medical testing right now.  About 3 weeks ago or so, I found a lump in my right breast.  I have also developed tenderness and some swelling in my left breast.  I had a mammogram on both breasts and ultrasound on the lump in the right breast on Thursday, October 30th, 2014, and hope to get the results from that some time next week.  Breast cancers, benign cysts, lumps, etc. run very high in my family, so neither I nor my doctor are taking this lightly.  I had a physical 3 1/2 months ago or so and felt no lump or tenderness then (and even as little as a month and a half ago I felt nothing either), so even if this is the "worst case", we feel like we've found it very quickly.  Of that I am grateful.  Prayers and thoughts appreciated as we wait on results and then decided on next steps.  Thank you!  I will keep you all posted.


That about sums it up for now.  How are you doing?  Are you reaching your goals?  Have you tried something new?  Come up with a new recipe?  I hope all is going well with you, and I hope you will link-up a post telling me all about it or even leave a comment sharing your thoughts.  As always, I wish you the best of luck in all you do, and hope you will return soon! :)





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Now It's Your Turn!



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