H U N G E R

This is a scary word when weight control comes up. At least it was for me.

I have never gone to bed hungry in my life.

I’m almost ashamed to admit that. But I think I’ll choose to feel richly and inexplicably blessed rather than ashamed. God is a wondrous and loving creator and he pitied me in this even though I didn’t deserve it.

What do you think of when you’re thinking hungry?

Is it a desire for a particular food? Does talk of lasagna, pizza, tacos, burgers inspire feelings of hunger?

ME: YES!!! Lasagna and pizza for lunch, tacos for Afternoon tea, burgers with bacon and cheese for dinner, and how about some ribs for Supper and let’s don’t forget deserts. Truly, I am at heart one of Tolkien’s Hobbits–least ways when it comes to food I am.

I grew up in a church family. Do you know what a church family is? Among other things, it’s a family where just about every activity is accompanied by a meal, a salad, a snack, a something-to-eat. And the folks who bring dishes are pleased and jovial to share, many folks priding themselves on their prowess at preparation. Oh we look forward to the next picnic, when Mrs. Smith is going to bring her lemon bars, and we just can’t wait to have a bit of Mr. Johnson’s famous chili! I don’t think I’ll ever forget or regret one bite of Elsie Fischer’s beloved, 14″ diameter wild apple pies, brought to potlucks several times each autumn, or Bob Keen’s apple butter, Mom’s chicken casserole (I could weep tears of joy and longing talking about that casserole), my sister’s quiche, my other sister’s zucchini bread or my precious husband’s Pink Lady “salad.” Food was not just something we ingested for sustenance it was something we shared in happiness, in sorrow, and just because we were pleased to be together. Saucy bars…. wait, give me a moment…..

Ok, I’m ok now.

I’m very pleased to report that I have not felt H U N G E R since my surgery.

The first three days following my surgery, smells of preparing or prepared foods caused me a lot of nausea. After one meal my husband prepared for everyone else as I lay in the recliner in the living room, I asked them to open all the windows and turn off the heat (yes, the heat was on in July–it was 48°F out because Upper Michigan), and please position a fan where it could blow in my face to clear the scents of this meal. I was aware of the ingredients, and I knew very well that in normal circumstances I would have enjoyed this delicious meal, but good heavens. On that day the very thought, the slightest smell of food was enough to make me plain sick. Fortunately, by day four, when I started to really perk up and feel more myself, the smells of food stopped working treachery on me.

I have not been hungry since my surgery.

But I have desired food.

Yesterday they ate grilled polish sausages, and crispy baked potato strips. While I sipped a grossly-sweet protein drink.

On Saturday night, there was something with chicken, broccoli, cheddar cheese and some crispy crumbly topping I couldn’t identify but it smelled amazing.

Right this minute, I have a suspicion that they may be eating at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants while out grocery shopping for the things needed to make my allergy friendly, not-gross protein drinks.

I think someone mentioned pizza.

Nope, not hungry. Not one pang of emptiness.

But desire for food?

OH MY GOODNESS, YES.

So how do I cope with this part? Food is family, food is social, food is a natural, necessary part of every day life! Who doesn’t NEED food? A lemon bar is food! And sour cream coffee cake…. oh wow… OK, I’ve regained my composure… that is also food. RIBS, smoked until they’re soft like butter, and then glazed in tangy, honey barbecue sauce and put to flame until the sauce is sticky like taffy, are most definitely food.

So how do I do this on my own?

The answer is: I don’t know yet.

I do know that:

  1. My stomach is only 5oz. or so big. That’s roughly the size of a medium banana. There simply is not volume enough there to eat everything I find tasty, yummy, desirable or satisfying. Not like I used to. Taste things? You bet. Eat like a farm hand? No. No way.
  2. My health and life are more important to me than 5 minutes of gratification that may have a negative impact on my overall health.
  3. I can always eat more later. The food is not going to evaporate, and there is no rule that says we can’t  have the same meal more than once in a week, or even in a day. Were yesterday’s ribs amazing? Then I can have an ounce or two for breakfast and even lunch if they were that tasty (when I get to solid food stage.) Do I still yearn for that quiche from breakfast? I can eat it for dinner or my final snack of the day.
  4. Discipline and self control are two skills I do not have in abundance. I am impetuous and a bit flighty. Some might say I am a “flibberty-gibbet.” If a “great” idea occurs to me (It’ll be great!) I often fly off into it with little or no thought. Maybe someday I’ll tell you about the ducks we raised in the dining room… Knowing I don’t have these skills as a rule, means I need to get a grip and start really applying myself to their practice.
  5. I need to pray. I need to pray and pray, and beg my loving Father’s help with reigning in my desire. Some people have trouble with desires for porn, sex, alcohol, drugs, power, authority–mine is food. The textures, the flavors… It’s the most regular type of gluttony known to humankind–eating–and probably the least often thought of.

Our God has promised to lend us His strength when we are weak and to make his strength perfectly manifested in our weakness. Wow, am I looking forward to His promised proof. And I am grateful that the proof of His strength is promised. That way, even though my answer to how do I do this myself is “I don’t know” the answer to “how do I do this with God” has already been answered and continues to be answered every single day.


 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power[a] is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

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Little notes…

July 17, 2017

First day: April 6, 2017. Time in program: 14 weeks, 4 days

Lost before surgery: 38#   Lost since surgery: 22.9#  Total lost: 60.1#


  1. Splenda, although I find it the most agreeable of artificial sweeteners is off the table. As a sugar alcohol it can have very similar effects in the body–like the tummy and membranes of the intestinal tract–as sugar itself does. Candida growth doesn’t sound positive. Stevia is the new fake sweetener of choice.
  2. S H O W E R: Never take this for granted. Being able to wash almost alone is wonderful.
  3. The scale can be a messenger of good or ill. The news you receive is not the scale’s fault, however much we might sometimes want to shoot the messenger. Today’s news was stunning in a good way!
  4. I’m not and have not yet been hungry.
  5. Ask for help. I told my husband and daughter my fears. They jumped up and went to work to try and find solutions for my worries. They found some. I’m not worried. Asking for help is an amazing gift to one’s self and to others. Empower the people you love. Consider what you need. Ask for solutions. Allow them to help you.

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I never knew she was so vain… And other whispered wonders

First off I must say I know I don’t OWE anyone an explanation. Ok not anyone, but most folks. The people who were owed an explanation have gotten it, ad nauseum over the past 20+ years, they watched me live it, heard me complain about it, and observed as I failed at trying to make out like it was no big deal. So no, I don’t owe anyone else an explanation. I know I also don’t have any obligation to make a justification for what I’ve done as of 5 days ago. The whole reason I’m putting this down is not for the benefit of anyone else, but my own, and for those who care enough to feel curious, but maybe don’t feel they’re close enough to ask.

As a side note, it’s amusing to me that a lot of people act about weight loss surgery similarly to the way they once did about unwed mothers. “She’s having *whispered* stomach surgery.” Like I cheated at life, LOL.  Followed by horror stories or “it’s about time.” But then perhaps I’m easily amused. Mostly though, I’ve had a lot of support. The ones I have the hardest time with are those that are scared for me, because I’ve been scared too, and pressing forward with this was not going to be *not* scary.

When I was 18, I had my first baby. The labor was nothing like the idyllic event you often see on TV, nor was it the horror show lots of women talk about from the “old days” of hospital births. I’d hazard to say it was really pretty standard for birth in 1991. I went to the hospital too early, I was scared, short on good information, in pain that far exceeded the stupid phrase “discomfort” that the child birth educator insisted was all I’d feel, and angry like a wild cat. My baby’s heart rate dropped, and I went in for an emergency c-section.

In 1991 I get the impression that a c-section was still a pretty big deal medically. Like by-pass surgery is now. I realize that they’re pretty routine these days and that’s a sad thing that doesn’t need to be examined closely here. The fact that it was an “EMERGENCY” c-section was very unsettling to us all I suppose. I had never had surgery. Never had an anesthetic more than you’d have for stitches or dental work. And while I tried to ask questions,  and I tried to get a handle on things, I was told to stop it!—Didn’t I understand they were trying to save my baby’s life?? It wasn’t a positive experience. My doctor was an older gent, easily in his 60’s by this time, a doctor from main-land China that our tiny community was lucky to have here because of his skill and expertise. When I came round I was scared, in pain, and someone was telling me I had a baby boy—that inspired panic let me tell you, I didn’t know who I was much less that I had had a baby.

Eight days after the surgery, I saw myself in the full-length mirror. Sagging and disfigured where my once flat belly had been hung two pouches of skin, one on either side of the scar scar that until the day before had sported 42 staples from my navel down to my pubic bone. Suddenly, I had what looked like nothing so much as an extra pair of buttocks hanging from my waist line–full sized even! I felt repulsed and disgusted. Horrified. How would I ever look “normal” again? And waistline? Forget it! My once definable waist was gone and my torso seemed to be more in the shape of a log. Even months later, starting just a small space below my bra band, my belly started to pouch out at the center and I looked for all intents and purposes like I the starts of 6-month baby belly. I talked to the doctor, who told me I was fat, but I had a healthy baby so what was my complaint?  Of course, now I know that during the pregnancy I more than likely suffered some injury to the recti—the tissues that hold the two sides of the “six pack” together. I would guess the recti suffered additional insult during the c-section. A few years later, the recti got a bit more abuse when I carried baby number two. I looked nine months pregnant by month 6, and the forward sagging of the baby belly was causing me trouble with walking. I wasn’t nearly as active as I was first pregnancy because my legs would go numb when I was up, my center of balance was off and I kept falling. This time I ordered and wore a special girdle to hold my belly up off my pubic bone and to try and ease the pressure on my back and legs. It helped a little. I was determined to have a VBAC, but it didn’t work out. Emergency c-section two came and went, but I knew who I was at the end of this one. I used the girdle after this time and it helped me get more mobile. Sort of. But my back was not the same. And my legs were always between sort of numb and not-as-numb-as-sometimes. My gut sagged forward more than before, and I walked around looking like I still had a pregnant belly, even as late as two years later. I went to the doctor, but by now I was a non-compliant patient (because I had wanted a VBAC) and I was just looking for someone to blame for the fact that I was overweight and too lazy to fix myself. And now I was obviously using the oldest complaint in the book to get time off of work or stay on welfare—a mysterious back injury that no one could or wanted to attempt to diagnose. Then, two and almost three quarter years after that pregnancy/delivery, on Dec 23, 1996, I reached for something across the counter while standing in line at the gas station. I spent the rest of the evening in the ER. L4 and L5 along with their neighbors looked like a Jenga disaster created by some sort of masochistic toddler on the x-ray. Doc gave me two choices. Emergency back surgery the next morning or go to a chiropractor the next morning. I saw a chiropractor the next day, and the next, and each of the next seven. It’s possible I should have had the surgery but considering the massive advances in back surgery since then, I guess I’m not too disappointed that I passed. Although I’ve wondered any number of times in the past 20 years when I’ve had to pass on activities or suffered for not passing on activities, if it would have been best to just have the surgery back then.
Two years later when I had the last c-section. I still had the girdle, and I wore it from early on. I tried to ignore it, but walking and moving was getting harder every year.

Here I am 20 and some years later. I have never wanted to be a swimsuit model, or strut on a catwalk. I’ve always wanted to be active. I still love the outdoors. I don’t feel a need to prove I can conquer rugged earth—I’ve proved it. But I miss walking in the woods. I hate basing my every plan and activity on phrases like “let’s be realistic: How far can I really genuinely walk and still walk back to the car?” I hate that my family bases their activities on my limitations. I really dislike that going grocery shopping is a major physical drain. It’s not fair to them. And honestly, I don’t feel like it’s fair to me. Overall, 26 years of struggling against my gut sagging ever further forward no matter what efforts I’ve made at strength and weight control.

Quality of life? OK, let’s get this straight. My family gives me a gift of a life full to bursting with Quality every day. But we all have our own goals. Things we want to do and be. I want to be physically strong. I want to be able to work the property that my husband I just bought. I want to be able to swing the hammer or ply the drill alongside Richard when we get to work at building our house. I know we’ll be working with heavy lifters that’ll do the biggest parts of the job but I don’t want my work to be just a token—a ceremonial nail. Or picking bad paint colors that no one, not even I end up liking, and we have to paint over.  I want to be able to be an active and involved grandma and mom. I want to finish school. I want to be physically strong enough to become a midwife—a whole midwife. I want to be strong again. You don’t know what that means to me.

And then you start to hear… You’re pre-diabetic—take these pills. Your carotid arteries are closing—take these pills too. You’ve got elevated blood pressure around your brain, and there’s nothing we can do for that, except maybe if you could lose some weight, it might help a little—and take these pills for the migraines that come with it. Double vision? Passing out? Losing your hearing? Yep, all tied to the elevated cranial blood pressure, can’t fix any of it, but maybe taking these and these and these pills will give you some relief? And the numbness in my legs and hips? Worse. So much worse. And every new diagnosis feels like it subtracts 5-10 years from my life expectancy. And now, when I have all the kids, my born children, my marriage children, my “adopted” children and the best husband any woman could ever hope for and we share a dream and we’re watching it slowly start to come true—and I’m becoming more and more crippled and on a tail spin into a series of disease that is going to shorten my life? Who on this earth would not reach out and do whatever they possibly could that might help stop this life ending cycle? I don’t want to die the woman who had so much to offer, but was just taken too soon. My health had spiraled out of control, and the only hope for it is the possibility of losing weight. So, I worked at it. And the more effort I made, the heavier I got. And everything got worse. Last year August I sat in on a meeting at Portage Health about weight loss surgery. I went away, making every excuse in the world that I couldn’t, couldn’t have such a procedure. And I kept trying to watch intake, clean up my food choices, and whip this tired old mare of a body out to exercise even though just walking up the stairs into the house had become torment. Between August of 2016 and January 2017, I gained 24 more pounds. If that’s not a kick in the teeth enough—Richard lost the same amount in the same time. Everyone in our home was getting healthier except me. I chucked the prescriptions (which had made me sicker and weaker anyway,) went on a new regimen for my conditions that is being used in Europe, and started to think seriously that Gastric surgery might have to be my solution.

And I prayed. I begged God to spare my life, and restore my health so I could live with the family He had the love and kindness to give me.

It was finally in March 2017 that I made up my mind and made the call to the clinic in Marquette, MI. I had the initial consult and they asked me how soon I wanted to go ahead with a sleeve gastrectomy. I asked if they were busy the next day. That appointment was on April 7, 2017. I followed the program to a “T” and here I am 5 days post-op from the procedure done on July 11, 2017. From April 7 until July 11 I dropped 38 pounds. 8 pounds more than the 30 they told me they needed me to lose. And now, with a roughly 5-ounce stomach and no re-routed digestive plumbing, my biggest problem seems to be that my protein drinks are grotesquely sweet and a little tummy cramp if my drinks are as cold as I usually like them. I needed to lose in the neighborhood of 130-150 pounds to be in the “healthy” weight range when I started. I’ve already lost a good chunk. I think about what the future loss should mean for my knees, ankles, my hips and of course my back. I think about what that loss could mean for my head, my cranial blood pressure–my hearing, mostly now as the double vision, passing out and such cleared up as that first 38 pounds went away. More can only be an improvement! I don’t get worked up looking at bikinis or planning my 2018 beach body, but I get excited about hiking. I get excited about snowshoeing. I get excited about fishing and boating and camping and biking (safe trails) and climbing up to a first summit (on paved paths) when we get to visit the mountains again. I get excited about being able to stand long enough to cook a meal for my family. Doing my own laundry without help to carry the baskets. Gardening, I really want to do some serious gardening! You just can’t imagine what it would mean to me to be able to do everyday things like clean my house myself! And to be strong enough to kneel down as long as a mama needs me to, to be there for her, to help her as she brings her little child into the world. I want life back.

So, it’s not because of vanity or a desire to be next year’s 40+ top model.  Not a midlife crisis about sagging boobs or puffy eyes. And truly not about wearing the sexiest outfit to grub in the garden or feed the chickens or go to a little league game. It’s for life. Sure, it’ll be nice to be able to buy mostly normal sized clothes–I’d be lying if I said the idea of buying a bra that doesn’t need Rebar, reinforced girders or various flying buttresses to hold things up wasn’t appealing, especially if I don’t have to spend $50+ per bra! But not so I can knock anyone dead. I want life. And that’s why.

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CPM’s and OBs: Why can’t we all just get along?

“Women can’t easily turn to data to make an informed decision. Groups representing doctors and midwives are pushing statistics that advance their polar-opposite ideologies and confirm their own opinions.” (Zadrozny, 2014)

For those who do not know it, in May I began a four year degree, Bachelor or Science, Midwifery. The studies are taking up vast amounts of my time, which is just fine, because this is something I believe in and want to do. I have chosen to pursue the credential of Certified Professional Midwife, a credential conferred by the North American Registry of Midwives, and recognized by the federal government of the United States. A CPM is often called a direct entry midwife, as she is not a doctor or a nurse first, but educated and trained to be an expert in the fields of well woman care, pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postnatal care of mother and child. CPMs view the mother as a whole, the child as a whole, and the both of them as part of a family, as a whole. In this way, CPMs are holistic caregivers. Pregnant women are more than the sum of their reproductive organs and CPMs take an interest in more than the S&S that affect those reproductive organs. A prenatal check is more than a blood pressure, weight, pee in a cup, measure your fundus, check your vagina, and have a nice day. No, its more: How do you feel? OK, how to you really feel? What are you experiencing? How are things in your relationship with your partner? How are you eating? How does your family feel about the new comer? Do you need to ask any questions? Can I answer anything for you? Do you have everything you need? You have my cell number, right? You know you can call anytime? A CPM is a technical expert whose training and education is solely centered on the woman and her unborn or new born child. But she is also a source of information and support, an encourager and an assurer. Sometimes a CPM is a referrer—telling a mom-to-be that homebirth is not a safe option for her this time and sending her to see an OB who can complete her care. Sometimes a CPM is a transferrer, going with her client to the hospital during labor when things just aren’t going right, or the pain is too intense, and then the CPM usually stays on and helps the woman to complete her labor in the role of a friend or a doula, if the hospital staff don’t throw her out. A CPM is a lot of things.

One thing a CPM is not, is an untrained “lay midwife” as many doctors, and doctor’s associations would have the public believe. The phrase “lay midwife” is really degrading, like calling one a shade-tree mechanic, a Mickey Mouse plumber or a “weekend cowboy”. Images of Larry the Cable Guy declaring “Git-r-done!” come to mind. Images of the old hag with ridiculously long fingernails who smears squirrel pooh on a woman’s forehead, burns dried herbs and chants during labor creep into one’s mind as well. Or of hippies wearing puka beads and singing Kumbaya with guitar and tambourine giving birth in the back of a VW microbus. Unfortunately, in most states in the U.S., this is how midwives are viewed by the established medical community as a whole. There are exceptions to this rule, but not as many as one would hope.

In European countries, in most of Asia, and in Africa, midwifery is a long established and well respected profession. Midwives are seen as separate, equally contributing members of the established medical community, and their input, knowledge and experience are sought after by others in that community. Obstetricians, who are after all primarily surgeons, only see the 10-15% of women who actually need the care of a specialist in a hospital setting to give birth and have a healthy baby medically. When I started out in midwifery study, I was surprised to learn that this relationship did not exist between American doctors and midwives.

As an example of over medicalized birth in the U.S.: I was shocked when I discovered that in the U.S., our cesarean rate is 31.8%. (CDC, 2013) In most countries that number is closer to 12-15%. (WHO, 2011) One might say, well, obviously, we’re taking better care of mothers and their babies, because we’re saving their lives by doing more cesareans. Sadly, this is not true. The U.S. is 41st in the world for mother/infant mortality in the time period just before, during and just after birth. (Wagner, 2008) One of the main reasons that our cesarean rate is so high? This should embarrass us, but the answer is “convenience.” Doctors do promote cesarean section as a perfectly safe alternative to the “horrors” of labor and delivery, which will, after all, have negative affects on a woman’s life long vaginal resiliency. Not to mention, you can pick your baby’s due date, and schedule time off from work, and arrange for your family to be here, and for child care, etc….

Contrary to the suggestions of many midwives and the illustration I’ve just shared, most OB’s are NOT bloodthirsty fiends just looking for a chance to carve women up, with dollar signs in their eyes and their next vacation on their mind. I do not believe that there is a doctor in this world who would willfully tell their patient that thus and such a surgical option is perfectly safe and a reasonable option, unless they really believed it to be true. I do not believe they do this just for the money, (a cesarean birth costs 33-50% more than a natural birth in the hospital) for the convenience, or because they are just plain misogynistic, as has been suggested by some. I believe, that they believe what their textbooks, journals and professional associations promote: that cesareans and all of the other interventions that technology has provided to us, are safe, reasonable means in delivery of a baby, any baby or every baby. This is simply what medicalized birth is.

So, here in my little Pollyanna world, there are no wicked-crone or voodoo midwives trying to use pregnant and laboring women for rituals involving guitars, rodent poop or smokey herbs, and no doctors gleefully planning to perpetrate their next bloody, rascally, hospital-pocket-book inflating unnecessary procedure on poor unsuspecting women for their own gruesome entertainment. My conclusion? Simply this: Both the CPM and the OB want what’s best for the pregnant woman and her unborn child. They just happen to disagree on what “best” is. As it happens, in the Netherlands for example, where midwifery care is an accepted norm, midwives and doctors consult together as lateral equals, recognizing that they both have different roles to play in maternity care.

My solution is this: Let women and their families decide. It is past time for doctors and midwives to stop demonizing one another, and to encourage honest, open research that can result in good, evidence based practices that are suited to the majority of the people both groups want to serve. There are more than enough pregnant gals to go ’round! Quit being jealous and territorial. Consider what is good for others, rather than what is good oneself. Let people make their own, thoroughly informed choice. Of course, this requires people to make the effort to educate themselves, and that is a challenge. But I think that it is one that we as a society could rise to, just as soon as the experts in the field can quit fighting over maternity care like children on a playground.

I should note that the reason I took to my seldom used blog to write about this, is that I am currently trying to write a research paper, and the opening quote of this post sums up the way I am feeling as I am trying to shuffle through the currently available research.

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Oxygen

“God is like oxygen; you can’t see Him, but you can’t live without him.”

I read this today and I wanted to share it with someone I know who claims to not believe in God. It dawned on me then how silly it would be to share this with that person, because not believing in God, this sentiment would have no meaning to him, beyond an annoyance rather like a mosquito, and perhaps an eye rolling because that silly woman was promoting God at him again.

In a flash of thought that took maybe 3 seconds—amazing how fast our brains work, isn’t it? Especially damaged ones like mine—I remembered what this person was like in younger years. Trusting God, believing in God, pursuing God. And then I sadly recalled when this person’s belief, trust and faith were challenged to the point that this person gave up their faith for a more worldly, academic view of life. Somewhere along the way this person had adopted the idea that his faith in God was a covenant that should have spared him from the challenges and heartaches of life. Upon being challenged, this supposed covenant was broken, and the faith evaporated, but with a malice toward the perceived breaker-of-covenant, God Himself. I admit, I can only guess that this is the case, because this person has never willingly discussed his loss of belief and faith with me, and so, as a subject quite hostile, we avoid it. His assertion that if I loved him, I would not question him or mention this. My assertion that because I love him, I should do no less than mention this, over and over. For peace-sake, I try to keep this to myself in his presence, but I never cease in praying for him. Wow, three seconds to think it, but all these words to express it….

I share this with you, in reference to the above quote, because in that three seconds, I thought of God being like oxygen, and a stanza from a favorite praise song ran through my mind alongside these reflections. “This is the air I breathe, this is the air I breath, your Holy Presence, living in me…” and I thought too that if oxygen up and failed to support a person in the way expected, would one then turn on oxygen, deny it’s existence, claim to never have believed in oxygen, and declare that they no longer needed that non-existent oxygen at all!

Personally, I have a problem with breathing. That is that I am allergic to just about everything that floats in the air. Dust, mold, pollen—it really doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, I am allergic to something, and as a result, my breathing is often inhibited as my sinuses swell and I experience congestion and discomfort, persistent asthma, and shortness of breath. I get it from breathing. Breathing what I need most: oxygen. If I don’t get that oxygen into my system, we all know what happens. My brain stops functioning properly, my organs begin to shut down and I die, physically. So, despite the existence in the air of dust, pollen, mold, dander, hair… I breathe. I don’t feel like oxygen has in any way let me down because of the junk mixed in with it that makes me uncomfortable. I take in the oxygen and the allergens, the good with the bad, and accept it as just a reality of breathing, of living.

One thing that seems to be a factor with disillusioned Christians, is the idea that being Christians makes us immune to “bad things” happening in our lives. When the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. Lets face it, the 12 apostles died primarily as martyrs, murdered for their faith. One can’t get less physically protected than that, I’d say. Christians were persecuted in the early years, their deaths made sport in Rome’s arenas; later those that didn’t wish to conform the corrupt demands of an overreaching Roman empire were hung, drawn (having one’s internal organs dragged out while still living), literally quartered up like a side of beef, or burned at the stake; Christians in Asia were tortured an killed as well; today, Christians in middle eastern countries, and Asia frequently find themselves in prisons and work camps for the small act of owning a Bible. Blinded, beaten, stripped, starved, their faith in God does not waver, in spite of their wretched physical condition. Their families torn apart, their physical bodies torn apart, and yet they pray to God for deliverance—not on this physical plane, but deliverance to eternal glory. James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

I’m not trying to play the “Children are starving in China” card here. (See how easy you’ve got it in comparison!! Nope, not in this essay) That is not my aim at all. What I’m trying to point out is that our declaration of faith is in no way a compact. “God, I will have faith in you, so long as my life is reasonably free of bumps and agitations. But if the going gets rough, then it’s YOUR fault, and I won’t believe in you any more.”

I don’t blame God for my troubles. Truthfully, I am the author of the majority of my problems. And usually when I decide I know better than God and take off and do my own thing without reference to His words and teaching. But others of my troubles I really have no culpability for. Just as I am honest enough to admit where I have messed up and caused my own trouble, I see clearly enough to know when I didn’t do anything to cause my own downfall. So who is to blame when I bear the consequences of actions not my own? Who is to blame when bad things happen and I am drowning in heartache and sadness, or physical pain? What about blind chance? Are those things God’s fault? Even if he didn’t cause them, why didn’t he prevent them? What’s the deal, God?

The fact is, that this world we live in is corrupt. People are corrupt, or at the very least corruptible. Surely, God could reach out and stop any one event from happening. Surely, He at times has reached out His hand and for His own reasons, stopped a bad thing from affecting particular people. But the fact is, that God gave every one of us the right, the ability, and certainly the personal will to make our own choices. This world was made perfect. God made it perfect. But it was humans, confronted by Satan, who chose to disobey God, and in their disobedience, they introduced the corruption we are drowning in today. Unless you are willing to give up your free will, don’t go asking God to take it away from others.

So when a cruel person acts out in a cruel manner and harms another person, it isn’t because God failed, it is because that person chose to act out in evil. When a person dies “unexpectedly,” it isn’t because God failed to keep them from dying, it is because we failed to remember to expect everyone to die—as natural as all people being born, is the natural reality that all people die. When life events seem to fly away from us and we feel as though it is all out of control and we can’t understand why, it isn’t because God failed to arrange things for us, it’s because life events usually really are outside of our control, and God never promised to smooth the road for us. It is at those times that our faith is refined from alloy to pure gold—or…Not refined, based upon our choices and expectations.

James 1:2-4Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So, when I get a stuffed nose and start hacking and coughing and sneezing, I don’t blame oxygen. Oxygen is just as pure and good and necessary as ever it was. It’s the stuff inevitable in this world that gets added to the oxygen that causes those breathing difficulties. I don’t turn my back on oxygen, I don’t deny it’s existence. I breathe, and I take the good with the bad.

In the same way, when I am bogged down in trouble, pain and sorrow, I don’t blame God. He is as ever he was: perfect, incorruptible, loving, trustworthy. Just because this world is messed up and full of corruption, I don’t hold God responsible. Lets face it, we can thank humans and Satan for the corruption we live with today. God is Always pure, Holy and good. I breathe Him in, and take the greatness of God along with the corruption of evil. My job is to use my free will in a right way, to use it to pursue God’s purity, His “rightness”, His Holiness, His Good.

Here recently I was in the emergency room with distressed breathing, another bout of bronchitis and sure enough, one of the first things the staff did was get me breathing pure oxygen. I love the clear minded, giddy feeling I get when I get to breath pure oxygen. I just wish the tubing didn’t smell so odd.

Just like that breathing mask, when I am faced with trouble, rather than turning my back on God, it is then that I need a straight shot of God, His word, His will, His praises, like I needed that straight oxygen, being poured into the mask I wore, until my O2 saturation was back up at the right level. I need to keep God in my blood, in my airways, in my every organ, up at the right level.

Well, that’s what I got from a picture on Facebook and a 3 second flash of thought. I sure would value any feedback or thoughts on this.

God bless!

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Second Amendment Letter: Dear Elected Representative

January 9, 2012

 Dear [Elected Representative],

 In the days since the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary school, there has been an increasing outcry for greater government restriction on the sale and possession of firearms and firearms accessories. As one of your constituents, I feel it is my duty and privilege to directly address you on this issue.

 First and foremost, I would like to recall to you the oath of office you took when you entered office:

 I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

 From this, I should be able to trust you to:

  • support the letter and spirit of the Constitution
  • defend the letter and spirit of the Constitution
  • to both support and defend that letter and spirit against any enemy, especially if that enemy is one of your colleagues
  • to both support and defend that letter and spirit against a president who disregards the Constitution, or the powers of the three branches of our government or behaves in any way, like a Tyrant or dictator
  • to both support and defend that letter and spirit with true faith and allegiance, meaning that your first concern is not you, your special interest groups, or your pocketbook, but the keeping of the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
  • that you have stated that oath and so been entrusted with great and terrible responsibility with complete honesty and a determination to serve we, your employers faithfully, without any deceit
  • that you will carry out the will of your constituents, and not your pocketbook, your retirement, or your big dollar special interest backers or any lobbyist

 These are high expectations. I trust they are well placed in you.

I am writing to remind you that you have an obligation to uphold and defend the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which grants you, me, my family, my neighbors and all Americans the legal protection of our Innate Human Right to keep and bear arms, without any infringement or subjection to any power, least of all the power of the office that you hold at the pleasure of your fellow citizens. The Second Amendment does not allow for any limitation by any government body, upon the make, style, caliber, appearance or firing capacity of any firearm. If you will uphold your oath of office, you will uphold the Second Amendment and all it stands for.

That reminder in place, as one of the people you were hired to represent, I require that you vote “no” and actively oppose any efforts made in Washington D.C. to limit the Constitutional, legal protection of this Innate Human Right to defend ourselves, our families and our property from those who would deliberately, cruelly, and in hatred attempt to deprive any people of their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As one of the people you were hired to represent, I require that you do not attempt to punish we, the law abiding, for the sins of the lawbreaker.

Sincerely,

Misty Williams

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Back again

Howdy!
I used to have a website that I posted my ramblings on, and I had a few folks that enjoyed reading them. I think I will re-post a number of those, as they will give some insight into what I’m paying attention to. You’re welcome to look at these if you wish. I took a bit of a break from writing while my family was completing a move from Texas to Michigan last winter, which included some custody struggles in the courts, and then the long summer and autumn with traveling and getting the new house situated the way we wanted it–I just didn’t have time to write like I wanted to. Anyway, for those who have written and encouraged me to get busy with my keyboard: Here I am. I look forward to hearing from you.
~Misty~

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It’s in the U.S. and it’s Bigger than a Mega Mosque

I read a document a couple of days ago that upset me a great deal–this was after I had written, emailed to her, and then posted my letter to Ms. Pelosi. It was a document put out by a Muslim man who was apparently in sort of a position of authority among what he refers to as The Group; his name was not mentioned on the document, that I saw; I admit to some skimming. The first portion of the document was in Arabic, which of course means I stared at it and was utterly baffled. The second half of the document was the translated-to-English version. And it is terrifying. This document came out in 1991. It would be all to easy to dismiss this document because it is nearly 20 years old. But think about what has been happening in this country since 1991 (and for many, many years earlier!) when it comes to Militant Muslims in this country. Rather than dismissing the document because of it’s age, I sat there reading the document and asking myself, are they achieving success in their “Civilization Jihad” The answer I got back made me want to get out a drum and fife and start gathering the troops!!An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group [Muslim Brotherhood] in North America

Here I quote a couple of things from within the document, but I hope you’ll read the whole thing:

4- Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America:The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be equal.

5- Understanding that we cannot perform the settlement mission by ourselves or away from people:A mission as significant and as huge as the settlement mission needs agnificent and exhausting efforts. With their capabilities, human, financial and scientific resources, the Ikhwan will not be able to carry out this mission alone or away from people and he who believes that is wrong, and God knows best. As for the role of the Ikhwan, it is the initiative, pioneering, leadership, raising the banner and pushing people in that direction. They are then to work to employ, direct and unify Muslims’ efforts and powers for this process. In order to do that, we must possess a mastery of the art of “coalitions”, the art of “absorption” and the principles of “cooperation”.

An important word in this document is “Ikhwan”. It means “Religious Militia.” Also, Mujadeen. It means “Geurilla Fighter.”

The simplistic, almost childlike joy, and conviction that they will wipe out Western Civilization from North America is chilling to say the very least, and they have no concern whatsoever for whether or not Western peoples are interested in their way of life. As Muslim or Islamics have been since 613, they are blithely convinced that the whole world belongs to Allah (or God) as only they know him, and that they therefore have the right to subjugate everyone. They do not need a physical “nation” to be a “state”, the world is Allah’s and therefore, theirs. Militant Islam already has a nation. They com- pletely ignore the fact that Almighty, All powerful, and all wise, GOD, gave us all a choice– from Eve to Jesus, he gave us ALL free will. Even well before their so-called prophet emerged preaching in 613AD, GOD had sent us truth, and given us all the free will to make our choice. Their prophet taught the opposite in the Qur’an: (Al-Anfal 22-23) “Verily! The worst of (moving) living creatures with Allah are the deaf and the dumb, who understand not (i.e. the disbelievers). Had Allah known of any good in them, He would indeed have made them listen; and even if He had made them listen, they would but have turned away with aversion (to the truth).”

The sort of center that is now to be built two blocks from “Ground Zero” in New York City is escribed in the above document, right down to what services will be available, those that are being reported by the MSM to be in it, and those that the news media isn’t in a hurry to talk about. I can’t encourage you strongly enough to read it. We are no longer just in a battle of political ideology, or religious inclusion or exclusion; our very freewill is threatened. And once again, while Rome burns, both of our major political parties are happy to take money from whatever groups offer it, and so sell the soul of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of our federal government for their own greed, egos, and power. Both of our primary political parties seem to have the notion that if they can buy enough of the Islamic/Muslim vote to keep themselves seated in office, they will be able to in some way control the super-power they are inviting into our borders, as though these will be no more dreadful to keep anesthetized than the average American citizen. The FBI probably could contain this, the question is, will they be allowed to? Clinton was given intelligence and “offered” Osama bin Laden. But he turned a blind eye.

I share here something I mentioned to my dad in an email earlier this week that concerns me a very great deal every time I think about it. It is incredibly distressing the number of individuals whom I have seen, even as far away from the border as we are in Central Texas, who absolutely look like darker skinned Mexicans. They drive vehicles with Mexican flags on them, listen to Latino styled music, wear shirts with Mexican flags and pro Mexico-conquer-America slogans, but when they are speaking amongst themselves, they are speaking Arabic languages rather than Spanish. Please understand, this is not hearsay. I’ve seen and heard this myself. Also of very great importance to know: a large number of the Mexicans that are coming illegally across the border are no longer Roman Catholic or of other non-militant sects, but are Militant Muslims. Please understand, I am not suggesting that all of the illegal immigrant population are Militant Muslims, but there are a significant number who are.

If you read their propaganda websites, ( http://www.aztlan.net is a good example) you will find that many have almost as much hate for Catholicism as Hitler did. But it’s important to be covert… to make sure the stupid Americans don’t know that they are Muslim or Islamic. On their propaganda sites, they encourage the stockpiling of weapons, militant resistance and confrontation, and being as the Quaran says, prepared to fight for Allah. (Al-Anfal 60) “And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allah does know. And whatever you shall spend in the Cause of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and you shall not be treated unjustly.”> Hey wait! That’s us! We’re their enemy!! Anybody who does not believe in Allah the way they believe in Allah is their enemy, especially moderate Muslims who want to worship Allah in peace, with no desire to overthrow or eliminate others’ way of life. In verses 56-58 of this same chapter, the prophet teaches that any treaty or agreement made with an unbeliever is already automatically void, because whomever the Muslim makes the treaty with, has broken faith with the Muslim already, by not believing in Allah, as

the Muslim believes; you see, the treaty was not broken by the Muslim, but by the evil infidel. (Interestingly enough, that means Muslims can in good conscience make whatever treaties they want with we infidels, knowing they will break them as soon as we’re lulled, if we do not immediately convert to Islam after signing or agreeing.) In the second book, Al-Baqara, the prophet goes on and on describing why and in what ways all Jews and Christian sects are enemies of Allah, and thereforeenemies of the Muslim; and for those who are Muslims, who are not prepared to be militant for “Allah’s” cause, Muhammad describes the Hell which awaits them. This “Make Ready” or “Be Prepared” is the motto on the logo of the terrorist group the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been around since 1928. There is so much more at stake than I ever realized. I am working on picking this apart and really breaking it down into something manageable to understand for myself… to sort of track the groups mentioned in the 1991 document, and see what has become of them. I’ve already learned that as the fellow who wrote the memorandum suggested, a few of them had merged by 1993. There is so much more information than I ever wanted to know.

When corresponding about this topic my sister Teresa, she wrote to me that the Enemy is loving this “fruitless fury” over the building [GZ Mosque] and it’s location. And I have to agree with her, the outrage over this building may be misplaced. It is certainly offensive, but is it possible its more of a dodge? And if they capitulate to the demands of righteously outraged, loyal Americans and go build their cultural center elsewhere, will the general populace be lulled again? There is so much more that is important going on than a discussion of the location of this mega-mosque. Allowing Militant Islam to raise a mosque to their victory in NYC is wrong, but there are issues of much greater import andimpact to consider.

I hope I don’t sound like a conspiracy nut. But I think our problems are much bigger and much more dangerous than I had really realized. I’m just now reading the Qur’an, and knowing some of the history of the “prophet” from college (had to take a world religion course, and chose Islam, go figure), and how his teachings and preachings changed from 610 when he first “received revelation”, to 613 when he started preaching, until his death in 632, I see the development of an intense frustration, as people, including himself, failed to live up to the high bar he had set. When his message didn’t resonate universally, and completely change the world in the ways he wanted it to, he turned mean in a hurry; the message of Allah kept shifting and changing as Muhammad experienced letdowns and frustrations.

The Qur’an was first disseminated by oral tradition: Reciters carried the words of Muhammad Memorized and approved by he or the companions and carried from one locale to another. It is important also, to realize, that after Muhammad’s death, more of the Qur’an was written by his apostles, and their messages frequently conflicted with both Muhammad’s Sunnah, the Qur’an and each other’s messages, as they vied for power and control. The standardized version of the Qur’an did not emerge until 650, when the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan ordered five of the “companions” (apostles of Muhammad I believe, please correct me if I’m wrong!) to produce one. All other copies of the Qur’an were sent to Medina and destroyed.

But there is one very important thing to learn from Muhammad: in his brief 62 year lifespan, only 22 of which he claimed to be God’s prophet, and established the roots of what is known of Islam (The Straight Path) today, proves what an amazing influence ONE person can have on the world, and in how short a time. Muhammad was a shepherd, a recluse, really a bit of a hermit, and his wife thought he was nuts! He was a no one. But his name and words are still echoing around today. He had a message and he was utterly tireless in proclaiming that message! Held to that bar, where do we as Patriotic Americans measure? Held tot hat bar, where do we as Christians measure?

Muhammad cannot in any way compare with Jesus, as some might argue. Although Jesus’ ministry spanned only three years, the reason His message has endured is because he had an advantage, He’s the Son of God, and the message of God is absolute truth. The “peaceful” message of Islam cannot be truth, because the message itself, the words their prophet spoke, claiming they all came from “god”changed with the prophet’s mood.

It is Absolutely VITAL that we wake up right now. Our complacency is going to cost us everything we hold dear. This is not something that our grand- or great-grandchildren will have to try and fix; if we do not act now, our grand- and great-grandchildren will be living under the bitter yoke of Sharia law. Iam absolutely NOT calling for violence, or any sort of attack on any person for their religion, or their free practice of it. I absolutely believe that every person has the GOD given right to freely choose their own religion, and to practice religion freely, or to completely ignore religion if they choose–so long as that practice or ignoring of religion does not keep others from exercising that same right, and it certainly must not subvert the Constitution of he United States. I absolutely AM saying that we MUST stand up and actively resist this invasion, and usurpation of our Constitution, this land and our very hearts and minds.

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We are ALL Qualified

I’m reading a book published in 1896 right now, called A Catechism of the Constitution. Already in 1896, when our Union of States was barely past it’s century mark, it seems that there was a mindset in the people that there were those who had a “right” to govern. This way of thinking, encouraged by those who valued power and esteem, had taken away the power of the states and moved it to the centralized federal government; an action that was never intended by the founders. (There were factions of course who supported a powerful centralized government in the framing, but they were out voted.) By the time of this publication in 1896, there was also a mindset that plain old, every day citizens were not fit to rule themselves, and there had already been something of an established ruling class in America. (Sound familiar?) The author, (John W. Overall) compared it to the monarchies of Europe, and asserted that we had been meant to live in a Republic, not a monarchy! Even then, the ordinary citizens who ran for office were laughed and poo-poo’ed away as loonies or cute, but not to be taken seriously. The behemoth has only grown, and that mindset has been rooted in our minds until We the People no longer feel that our government belongs to us, and in many ways, I think the career aristocrats ignore voting time, because they know it’s not really going to have much affect on the great, over-reaching power of the beast that is our government.

I personally believe it is time to completely shake career politicians out of our Capitol, and our Congress, and let the average every day citizens manage our central government again. Servant leadership was what the founders had in mind, and they were following the example of their Lord. In the Federalist No. 57, James Madison wrote: “Who are to be the objects of the popular choice? Every citizen whose merits may recommend him to the esteem and confidence of this country. No qualification of wealth, of birth, of reliegious faith, or civil profession is permistted to fetter the judgement or disappoint the inclination of the people.”  You and I and any person are just as qualified as any Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Sarah Palin, George Bush (Jr. or Sr.) or Ronald Regan. People need to remember that and learn to believe it again! That lack of knowledge and probably more importantly BELIEF!–is what is holding us back. Yes, the liberal media will smear us and both the liberal and conservative career politicians will scoff at our “quaint” efforts, but Ladies and Gentlemen if we will shore one another up, support those who are willing to truly be servants to take on the beast, I firmly believe we can succeed!

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