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Archive for the ‘Christian Walk’ Category

Coming Out of the Closet with Chronic Illness

So, no, not “coming out of the closet” like that. ;)

More like this:

Hi, my name is Tiffany, and I have a debilitating chronic illness.

You’d be surprised how long it’s taken me to be able to say that.

Two years.

I’ve suffered from migraines since puberty, but they were manageable with medication, and very infrequent (ranging from once every couple of weeks, to a couple of periods of a year or more without an episode). But two years ago, things changed.

For two years now, I have had a debilitating headache every day.

Yeah, every single day.

Migraines frequently, but not daily. But on the other days very painful headaches, accompanied by vertigo, extreme fatigue, and other symptoms.

I am under the care of a neurologist who specializes in migraines. We’ve tried at least ten separate treatments so far, including Botox and a wide array of medications.

I have had an MRI, a sleep study, and a detailed eye exam. I know what foods and things are migraine triggers, and avoid them. I have tried chiropractic, massage, and other therapies.

We even moved out of our home and to a more sterile environment in a different neighborhood, in case toxins in the house were to blame.

For a long, long time, I expected it to get better. Every day I thought that even though things were slipping out of control with the housekeeping, the homeschooling, my marriage, my corporate worship, never mind my wishes to sew and garden… it would all get better, because surely tomorrow I’d feel better.

I no longer believe that.

I am still searching for a better treatment. I am still praying for relief.

But I am now able to see that, at this moment, this is simply my lot in life.

I may be able to whip up some butter from the milk we buy, but I cannot commit to a big and long-term project like soap making, or keeping the plants watered.

After trying an anti-depressant medication which was also supposed to be a good headache preventative, I realized how depressed I actually was. It didn’t help the headaches, but after much soul-searching, I am continuing to take it. Maybe this “boost” has helped me to take a more objective look at things, and explore ways to make things work.

I’ve hired a neighborhood teenager to come over and read to my kids for an hour twice a week. It’s an easy job, so she’s not charging much. This is enabling us to keep on track with our schooling. Since we prefer a literature-based approach to learning, and since neither of the Littles is a fluent reader, this was where we were floundering.

Another neighborhood youth has volunteered to come over one or more times a week and help out. He’s not only helping with things like keeping the yard in shape, and washing the car, but he is taking the Littles along and having them work with him – and learn how to do these necessary household tasks.

The small expenditure this entails has been easy enough to work into our budget.

All I had to do was admit that I needed help.

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An Insurance Alternative

If you don’t have insurance…

If you don’t believe in insurance…

Or, these days, if you don’t like the morality that the insurance system is supporting…

You might look into something like Medi-Share: Christian Care Medical Sharing. It works similarly to insurance, but it’s truly a co-operative of like-minded people working together to help one another.

And as an added bonus, if you sign up through my link (Medi-Share), you’ll get a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card! Nice!

I may earn commission for purchases made through my links (thank you!). I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

Advent Books via Truth in the Tinsel


Advent begins on Sunday (December 2nd)!

As I’ve posted previously, last year I purchased the inexpensive eBook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands after reading a friend’s recommendation on Facebook.

It’s set up to be a Christmas ornament each day, but we decided to modify things a little and make each project into one page of an Advent Book. I’ve had several people ask me about it, so I wanted to do this follow-up post and show you what I mean.

Shown are Day #2 – Kingdom (by Jewel), and Day #3 – Zacharias (by R.T., with writing by Mama).

I had some heavier-weight paper/cardstock that we had purchased to print greeting cards. It came in four colors, and the kids decided to do multi-colored books. I think having the heavier weight (rather than just paper) is a good call, since some of the projects do have a bit of mass to them. Color is entirely a matter of preference, of course.

A gracious friend gave us some “pocket” 3-ring binders, so that they could do a piece of artwork on plain paper and just slip it in. Obviously, the options for decorating your covers are endless.

We didn’t get all the way through with our Advent projects, and (as you can see) the covers need to be done as well. This year December will be VERY full, so I think finishing up the boos we started last year is a realistic plan.

This year, in addition to the eBook itself, you can purchase a set of printable ornaments from Truth in the Tinsel.

This would speed up the process, be more portable (to work on while travelling, etc.), and also help with the “flattening” if you want to do a book like we did.

However you choose to celebrate the season, I pray that you will remember to keep your focus on “the Reason for the season.”

I received some of referenced items for review purposes, and may earn commission for purchases made through my links (thank you!). I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

30 Days of Thankfulness – Day 30

30 Days of Thankfulness

(A reminder to do what we are commanded in Scripture.)

November 30th, 2012.
Day 30.

I am thankful for Disney helpers.

With our Disney vacation just a few days away now, I can more or less look back over the process of getting everything ready… And I realize how important my helpers were along the way. There’s a lot to this planning, and people with specialized knowledge make all the difference!

I am thankful for Disney Dining’s cast members.

Making most of the reservations online was simple enough, but there are always a few snags. How do I book the package with the show reservations? How do I change all of these reservations from 5 people to 4? One call to a toll-free number, and cheerful Disney folk were able to handle it all.

I am thankful for Disney Dining’s gluten free policies, the special diet department, and the information they provide.

Honestly, I think I would be too overwhelmed to try a vacation like this to a place where I didn’t feel comfortable about being able to get “safe” food.

I am thankful for my Disney “Earmarked” Travel Planner.

Again, I could have booked a hotel and bought tickets online myself. But I don’t know which rooms have the best view, much less how to request them. And adding the Free Dining Plan after the fact? Making payments on my trip? Changing things at the last minute due to Wolf’s military schedule?

Yes, I could have called Disney each time, and I’m sure the cheerful folks there would have been able to handle each request. But I can’t tell you what a relief it was to have a single, knowledgeable point of contact who knew and could do everything. And there’s no charge for the hand-holding – agents’ commissions come out of Disney’s part of the bill.

I can’t speak highly enough about Chris at Pixie Vacations, so I want to share her information with you. She did not seek this promotion, and I am not receiving any compensation for it. Please do tell her As For My House sent you, so she knows how much we appreciate her!

Chris Wood
(919) 889-5281
ChrisW (at) pixievacations (dot) com
Her blog / website: Everything Walt Disney World

And here we are… A whole month of gratitude!

Feels good, doesn’t it? :)

30 Days of Thankfulness – Days 26-29

30 Days of Thankfulness

(This meme is really just a reminder to do what we are commanded to in Scripture.)

November 29th, 2012.
Days 26 – 29.

26. I am thankful for Netflix.

I know that may sound a little silly, but hear me out. We don’t have TV service, and have spent a lot of time with just DVD watching for our family movie time. Netflix has given us a much wider range of good choices, as well as the “instant gratification” factor. This is great for family movie nights, as well as sick kids!

27. I am thankful for AWANA – and the people who make it possible.

Naturally, we consider ourselves to be the primary teachers of our children in all things; we certainly don’t consider Sunday School, Church, or AWANA to be a substitute for that. But the kids have a great time socializing with other kids their own age in a pretty “safe” (morally) environment, as well as memorizing Scripture and hearing Biblical lessons.

AWANA this year is also the first place R.T. has been willing to go and stay without us. Hooray for my big boy!

28. I am thankful for Christian music – old and new.

I don’t listen to secular music at all anymore, except in unavoidable situations where it is being broadcast in a public place. I am always blessed when I play (and sing) my favorite Christian artists’ music, which I enjoy because of the worshipful and/or heart-touching lyrics, as well as the music itself. (Who? Casting Crowns, This Hope, Phillips Craig and Dean, The Masters Chorale, etc.)

I am also a huge fan of the classic hymns of our faith. I have come to realize how much I’ve missed being in a church where the worship leader says, “please turn to number 278 in your hymnals…” So many of them are Scripture based (rather than the shallow themes of many modern praise choruses), and really encourage a worshipful heart.

29. I am thankful for modern conveniences.

I know I blog a lot about off-grid living and man-powered machines, and I truly do believe those are valuable and important. But with my health challenges of the last year, it is a tremendous relief to have a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, a KitchenAid mixer, and an Air Conditioner. I can’t imagine how I’d be able to take care of my family without them, right now.

30 Days of Thankfulness – Day 25

30 Days of Thankfulness

(A handy reminder to do what we are commanded to in Scripture.)

November 25th, 2012.
Day 25.

I am thankful for homeschooling.

This one encompasses a lot…

  • I’m thankful for a husband committed to the idea as much as I am, so that he’ll do whatever it takes to allow me to stay home with them.
  • I’m thankful for a supportive homeschool community of friends online, and the wonderful Magnolia State Home Educators group locally.
  • I’m thankful for great Christian curriculums (although I hesitate to mention this, as I already gave Sonlight their own day!)
  • I’m thankful for the Lord’s leading that brought us to the point where we feel this is the right path, and for his strength and support when times are tough.
  • I’m thankful for children who are interested and willing participants in the process (and who also each had their own day!).
  • I’m thankful, so thankful, that I have the opportunity to not only teach each child in a way that meets their needs best, but also to teach them about a worldview and way of life that our faith imparts, and protect them from the bad influences and dangers (on so many levels!) that are “out there”.

30 Days of Thankfulness – Days 21-24

30 Days of Thankfulness

(This meme serves as a reminder to do what we are commanded to do in Scripture.)

November 24th, 2012.
Days 21-24. (Yeah, I’m behind again)

21. I am thankful for all the wonderful ministries out there, and those that serve in them.

My calling isn’t to go spread the love of Christ to children in Sri Lanka – but through World Vision I can help. My calling isn’t to share the love of Christ and the story of his birth with children all over the world, but through Operation Christmas Child I can help. The list goes on and on. Thankfully!

22. I am thankful for good food!

God could have made one kind of bland, nutritious substance that would keep us alive and healthy. Isn’t it a blessing that He created such an amazing bounty, instead?

23. I am thankful for DVDs and Netflix.

We don’t have TV service, but we sure do enjoy watching our choice of family-friendly commercial-free entertainment together!

24. I am thankful for photographs.

I have a house full of framed photos, and many, many albums. I enjoy having the “triggers” there to keep all the wonderful memories alive and close at hand.

We have such fun with our annual family photographs! This year we did a Disney theme, with local photographer Haley Zak, and had a great time!

30 Days of Thankfulness – Day 20

30 Days of Thankfulness

(A handy reminder for me to do what we are commanded to do in Scripture.)

November 20th, 2012.
Day 20.

I am thankful for God’s miraculous provision.

Every time we have a need come up, there has been a miraculous answer – and God is so gracious that he even includes the “want” kind of “needs”, like a vacation.

It’s a different shape each time. Sometimes it’s an overdue payment from somewhere, or an unexpected gift, or a blessing from a church. Recently, to our amazement, it was some office furniture that we “inherited” because a closed business was going to throw it away, which we were able to sell to fill out our Disney budget!

Thank you, Lord!

Advent for Kids (and a Freebie!)

We are so excited to be doing an Advent devotional again this year!

Last year I purchased the inexpensive eBook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands after reading a friend’s recommendation on Facebook.

The book has an easily broken-down shopping list of supplies – most of which are things you’re likely to have around the house anyway (or you can easily substitute for such things).

Each day has a Scripture reading, tagged to a “clue” that the kids find in their Advent Calendar (several options for how to do that).

Then there’s a fun craft project for the kids to do, along with some other discussion ideas for you to use (or not, or as you see fit).

The projects are set up to be done as a series of Christmas Tree ornaments, but for a variety of reasons, we decided not to go that route.

I basically “flattened” everything, and mounted each artwork on a sheet of paper. Then each of the kids is assembled their projects into an Advent Book (in a 3-ring binder, to give it some protection), with the idea that it can be stored away in their memory box, or enjoyed again next year, or whatever other use we can think up!

The photo is the Littles at work on Day 1 – a candle, for Jesus, the Light of the World.

We got behind and didn’t finish our books last year, so we’re looking forward to picking up where we left off.

If you’d like a copy, the book is only $7.99. And this year she’s also created a set of printable ornaments, available for $3.99.

Use these on days you’re too busy to do a big craft, for toddlers, while you’re at Grandma’s or if you just want to save a little money on supplies!

And there’s even a Black Friday Sale!

Purchase the book ( CLICK HERE ) on Friday, November 23rd, and you will receive the ornaments as a FREE BONUS!

If you take advantage of that, note the following guidelines:
1. You not have to add the ornaments to your shopping cart. If they do, you will pay for them, and there will be no refunds.
2. Within the initial “thank you” email you will receive a link to the free printable ornaments.
3. Coupon codes will be disabled on this day only. They will be reinstated bright and early Friday morn’. {eastern time}
4. Detailed instructions can be found on the book sales page ( HERE ).

The book and ornaments are, of course, available all the time, but the special sale is one day only.

I’d like to think we’ll finish this up this year… But with a trip to Disney, and our out-of-state family coming to visit, it may keep dragging on until 2013!

I received some of referenced items for review purposes, and may earn commission for purchases made through my links (thank you!). I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

30 Days of Thankfulness – Day 19

30 Days of Thankfulness

(A handy reminder for me to do what we are commanded to do in Scripture.)

November 19th, 2012.
Day 19.

I am thankful for the Bible, and those who made it possible.

I confess, today’s entry was inspired by my friend Tamara’s Facebook post this morning:

I am grateful for history’s reformers, without whom, I would not have had the privildge this morning of holding and reading my bible! The Apostles, Christian martyrs, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, Tyndale, Wycliffe, Cromwell, the Pilgrims, the Puritan Fathers. So thankful for their sacrifices and work for God’s glory and Word! Now, to lay aside every weight of sin and live a life worthy or The Author.

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