Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adventures with Fibro Fog!

If you live in the States like I do, you have celebrated Labor Day.  This year, Labor Day fell on the 3rd, just 2 days after my niece's birthday and a week before my mother's.  We all got together and had an impromptu party for my niece mainly, but my mom got her presents from me, too.  It was a wonderful time, and Mom loved her gifts (and so did my niece), and everyone loved their cake and ice cream.

While we were there, however, I decided that my mother deserved something special on her actual birthday, so I talked to my mom and asked her what type of cake she wanted for her birthday.  She informed me, much to my delight and surprise, that she'd much rather have pie, but not just any pie.  Oh, no.  This was a very special blueberry pie made with tapioca that her mother used to make her as a very special treat.  Oh, well, now I just HAD to rise to the challenge!  I promised my mom her very special pie on her birthday, just a week later, and told her that we'd have it at my house.

Now, this would normally not be a problem, except the day before her birthday I ended up down for the count due to my Fibromyalgia, mainly the IBS issues that can come with it in the morning, but fatigue, stiffness and pain were there in full by evening.  I was so disappointed, but determined to rest and make that pie, no matter what on Monday!

On Monday morning I woke up feeling a little better, but not 100%.  I prayed that the Lord would help me be able to do what I'd promised, that He'd help me be able to at least function, and that I'd have an amazing time with my family that evening.  After that, I felt that I should take it easy and make the pie after lunch, during my daughter's nap time, which still gave me plenty of time to get everything ready.  I took the morning to relax and fold some laundry, doing my best to stay still.  Everything was going just as I thought it should go, and I was pleased and thankful.

Fast forward to 12:30pm, just a 1/2 hour before I was going to start the pie and house cleaning, my daughter wakes up from her nap (she normally eats an early lunch around 11am or 11:30am and then goes down for a nap and sleeps until around 1:30pm or 2pm), and now I know I have to wait until the boys get home from school before I can start the pie.  Oh, dear.  I quickly did the math - My folks were coming over at 7pm or 7:30pm, and I was going to start getting things ready a full 2 hours later than expected...YIKES!  Four hours to do what I'd planned to do in 6.  Ok then! 

On top of it all, Fibro Fog set in!  Those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Fibro Fog is similar to what some people call Mommy Brain or forgetfulness or "being blonde" (no offense intended to all my blonde readers out there :) ).  I decided to take a deep breath, offering up a quick prayer, expressing to the Lord that this was NOT the plan, but it was in His hands, so I trusted Him to help me through this, did my best to fight off the panic that was starting to set in, and began to do what I could before starting the pie, which wasn't much. 

The laundry I'd hung outside wasn't dry yet, so that was out.  I wiped down the bathroom and prayed it would stay clean after the boys got home.  I did the dishes that were there.  I vacuumed and straightened.  I then rushed off to school to get my boys and returned home, feeling a bit overwhelmed since we didn't get home until closer to 3:30pm than 3:10pm like I thought we would.  My timeline was now down to 3 1/2 hours instead of 4.  I looked up toward Heaven and thought, "Are You sure You know what You're doing, Lord?" which He assured me in His Own way that He did, so I just kept plugging away the best I could.

When I came home, I realized that I hadn't started thawing the blueberries (I could only find 1/2 of what I needed in fresh berries, so the other half were frozen).  I grumbled at myself and then got them out of the freezer, determined to start the pie by 4pm, hoping that the berries would be thawed enough by then.  I threw them in the sink in a colander with the fresh berries which I had to de-stem, and let them sit while I helped the boys get everything settled and reminded them that any homework or chores needed to be done soon because Grandma and Grandpa were coming over tonight.  I didn't know how God was going to get it all done through me at this point, because I knew I could not do it.  I was spent already and still had so much to do.  I'm sure God must have smiled at this point, because it's not until you are at this point, the "I can't" point, that God can truly step in and say, "I know, but I can!"

I'm going to take a moment to integrate this right now before I go any further: my kids are just wonderful.  They can be such a big help.  They did exactly what they needed to do and they even played together so that I could do what I needed to do. :)  Unfortunately, with my Fibro Fog, I struggled to remember what all that was!  God knew that would happen, too, and I know that He had a hand in touching their little hearts to help Mommy as much as they did. :)

At any rate, since I had no choice but to be still and wait on the berries to thaw, I sat down to check on Facebook (do NOT do this if you have things to do, especially when you have Fibro Fog), and before I knew it, it was 4:15pm.  It hit me suddenly that I was forgetting something.  I got up to go into the kitchen and saw my batch of thawing blueberries and quite literally squeaked.  The pie!  My timeline was going out the window!  Thankfully my timeline is not normally God's, and He is able to do so much more than we give Him credit for!

I got the the blueberries (which were still partly frozen) mixed with the tapioca and other ingredients and let them sit as per the instructions.  Now I had to make the pie crust, but I had 15 minutes yet, so I went to straighten something else.  About the time the timer went off to tell me the filling was now ready to be used, I went to go make the crust...only to realize I forgot to get the butter out of the freezer.  Lovely.  At this point I was sure that everything would be a disaster, but God whispered in my ear that it would be ok, just breathe and trust Him to help me.  What choice did I have but to believe Him?

I put the 2 sticks of butter (I decided to make 2 pies to have enough for my mom to take some home and my family to have leftovers) into the microwave for about 20 seconds while I got the other ingredients for the pie crust out.  I got the flour all over trying to put some on the counter for rolling, not to mention the mess I made trying to cut the still partially frozen butter into the flour in the bowl before adding the milk and realizing I have to mix it with my hands (don't worry - I always wash my hands thoroughly before cooking or baking) since the butter was still too hard.  I FINALLY get that all mixed in, I get the dough divided up, and I'm rolling it out when it dawns on me that this is the pie crust recipe I put on my Natural and Free blog, so I should take a picture since I don't have one up yet!

I go wash my hands and get out the camera.  I try several shots, and think I finally have one that will work, and put the camera away, re-wash my hands, and just when I'm getting myself all covered in flour again, my husband calls.  I jump about out of my skin, but grab for a towel, wipe off my hands sort of and answer the phone.

I look at the clock, and it is now 4:45pm.  My hubby will be due home in 1/2 hour.  I haven't made dinner, and I'm still working on pies.  I tell him what's going on, and he says he'll pick something up (along with the ice cream I'd forgotten to purchase, because what's pie without ice cream) or we can have the pizza we keep on hand "just in case" (the only pizza that doesn't totally destroy my stomach that's not homemade is Jack's Bacon Cheeseburger pizza, so we keep a few in the freezer for emergencies), and I am over-joyed that that's one last thing I have to worry about, the whole time I'm caught between laughing and crying over my forgetfulness due to the Fibro Fog.  The Lord took this moment to again let me know it would be ok...no matter what happened.

About this time, in what seemed like a horrible twist of irony, my Fibromyalgia decides to throw in some aches and pains, but I can't quit now!  It's my mother's birthday!  She WILL have pie!  I am determined to do this!  I forget about the Lord's help...I'm going to do it MYSELF!  He (in the only way God can) steps aside, and let's me struggle as I roll out the dough, get it in the pans, remember that I haven't pre-heated the oven, so turn that on, put on the top crusts and get them all fancy looking with egg wash and sugar.

Just as I'm standing there admiring the beauty of them and grateful that I'm nearly done, something nags at me.  I forgot to dab the tops of the filling with butter!  Seriously!?!?  Ack!  How in the world was I going to undo my masterpieces?  This is the point that God taps me on the shoulder and asks, "Are you SURE you can do this alone?" and I have to humbly admit that I can't do it alone.  I need Him, even in this simple thing, and He graciously yields His strength to me and His wisdom on how to fix the matter.

I was able to take a butter knife and carefully pry back the tops to add the butter and carefully re-sealed them, and I was so grateful that the Lord helped me think of the perfect way to fix the pies!  You couldn't even tell I'd had to basically take them apart.  I was grinning from ear to ear, thanking the Lord profusely. 
 
By the time I got that all done, the oven was ready to go, and my hubby was walking in the door.  It was nearly 5:30pm now, my folks were due to be there in possibly as little as an hour and a half, the pies would take up to an hour to bake and I didn't have dinner ready.  Now I wanted to cry again (Can you tell what a roller coaster ride of a day it was?).

I quickly told my husband the situation, and he said he wanted the pizza, so he'd wait (An amazing answer to prayer if you've ever had a hungry hubby come home after a long day at work!).  I knew that would be pushing it time-wise, but it was the only option really, so I agreed to it rather than scrounge around for a quick alternative. 
 
I got the pies in the oven, and chanced to look outside...and see the laundry I'd forgotten all about.  I raced outside and got that in, thankful it was now dry.  I left it in the laundry room, knowing that I had no where near enough time to fold it before my folks came and get dinner ready, etc.  I then went about doing the new pile of dishes and finishing cleaning anything else I forgot, the whole time grateful that my kids and hubby weren't complaining that food wasn't ready and that everyone was in good spirits.  The Lord was giving me His peace, but I will admit I wanted to fight it in lieu of being frazzled because there was still part of me that doubted that it would all work out.

The pies were done within 45 minutes, so the pizzas went in at around 6:15pm.  My poor little girl was starving at this point, so I gave her her milk and told her dinner would be ready soon.  She took the milk and that kept her satisfied until it was time to eat.  Thankfully the pizzas were done by 6:30, and I had everyone eating within just a few minutes after that.  Praise the Lord for that! :)

I had snapped some pictures of my pies (something that took this much effort and taught such great lessons must be remembered - I'll post the pictures at the end of the post) while the pizza was cooking, so while everyone was eating, I rushed to upload them and add the pictures of my pie crust to my other blog.  At this point, I was exhausted, didn't know up from down, but the house was clean and the pies were made and I was happy that my folks were coming over.  In the midst of those thoughts, the Lord reminded me of this verse, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13, KJV), and I knew that was the only way I had gotten anything done at all that day.

My hubby went to take a shower, and I enjoyed the breather while we waited for my parents to arrive.  They showed up at closer to 7:30pm (very unusual for them since they are normally early, so another small miracle), which meant that I had about 1/2 hour to relax after everyone was fed...and to make sure that everything we indeed totally straightened. :)  That was an unexpected blessing from the Lord!  This verse was especially true right then: "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," (Ephesians 3:20, KJV)

We had a wonderful time watching some Youtube videos that we'd made for the camp my parents run, for lack of a better term, and looking at Facebook photos of my new 2nd cousin who is absolutely adorable! :)  We talked, we laughed, we ate pie...very GOOD pie, I might add that my mom said was "perfect".  If only she knew...
 
When they left around 9pm, I was exhausted, but happy.  I hurt, but I was able to smile.  Why?  Because, even in my weakness, even when it seemed like I'd forgotten nearly everything, even when my plans got flipped upside down and things went no where near according to plan, everything turned out better than I could have hoped.  Why?  Because when I couldn't, God did.  I think I need to say, "I can't" to God a lot more often, because when He does it, it truly is perfect.
 
Oh, and to those of you wondering about those pies?  Here's what they turned out like:
 
Yum!  God and I sure make amazing pie. :)
 
I hope you have a terrific rest of the week!  I'm off to go do the rest of the things I need to do today with God's help, because I can't do it without Him!

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