Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why I'm Grateful to Be Working as a Physical Therapist

I mention quite often how anxious I am to stay home and how much I dislike working. I've been trying to find reasons God may be wanting me to work despite it being on my heart to be home with the boys - and to hopefully have more children. And so I would like to share my new appreciation for my working with you, in the form of a list.

1. My working right now, even part time, is preparing my heart to truly appreciate being home. My desire to be home grows stronger as time continues to march on, and as I continue to work outside the home. I do realize being home with children is not easy, and when I am home full time, I know I will realize more fully just how difficult it can be. Yet, looking back at my working days, remembering just how I longed to be home and to give myself to my children, I will be more grateful and appreciative of the gift of being home - hopefully even on the difficult days.

A wonderful priest I recently talked with told me it's like a high school or college-aged person working in a factory; it's good for everyone to have a job like that, or a job that they dislike or that does not fulfill them, so that they better appreciate future work. I remember a friend of mine from high school worked nights in a paper mill her freshman year of college. While she enjoyed the job to some extent, she did not want to work there the rest of her life. At some point, she took a single napkin from the machine she had worked at constantly and tacked it to the board above her desk where she would study to keep her motivated to study and to remind herself of the mundane and tiring yet physically demanding job she had held, so that she would better appreciate the next steps in her life.

Maybe seven months from now I'll have to keep a goniometer (a took for measuring joint angles) above my mirror so that I can look at it each morning and remember what a blessing it is I get to stay home.

2. I have had the opportunity to meet so many beautiful people that I would not have otherwise met. My life has touched their lives, and their lives have touched mine. There are some patients I truly look forward to seeing, and I am sad when they "graduate" from physical therapy. And the feeling often seems to be mutual. Many of those patients (at least the female ones) will say they hope to see me again (in the grocery store, not PT, of course) and give me a big hug when they leave for the last time. These are people I feel truly blessed to have known.

3. For the reason above, I have also been able to be a witness for God to some people. My life touches others' lives. I wear a 5-way cross and a scapular everyday (and I know the straps are somewhat visible often), as well as a simple ring with a cross on it. It is surprising how often people comment on either my necklace or ring. Sometimes it's the start of some pretty cool conversations; other times, I am simply being a witness to God by being kind and caring while wearing His sign around my neck. Either way, I hope I am bringing people closer to Him, even as I am struggling to grow closer to Him myself.

4. I am also very blessed that I can support my family while Andy is in school, working only 20 hours a week. If it wasn't for being able to do that, Andy would likely not have been able to go back to school, and my staying home would be less likely (or I'd have to work 40 hours a week while Andy's in school, which would be even more difficult for me with my being so involved with raising a family and with my thyroid and adrenal issues and my depression and anxiety). We do have help from my parents with Andy's school, and Andy's school loans, work study (tutoring now 2 hours per week), scholarships, and grants, and his income from reffing hockey games - but by far our family is primarily supported by my income and would be lost without it.

5. The fifth reason I am grateful for being a physical therapist is one of the very reasons I so very much dislike it (go figure). I am such an introvert and so very much need time for myself, and am challenged by relationships with others; constant discussions with people and needing to answer one question after another, or carry on conversations, wears me out. I cannot constantly be on my toes, so to speak, without getting worn down. Yet, being a physical therapist has improved my ability to do just that (which I know will be a blessing when I am at home), and has greatly improved my social skills and my confidence in myself. I was such a shy girl in grade school and high school, and - though less so - in college. As a PT, I have had to initiate conversations, be the expert and demonstrate confidence (as my supervisor constantly told me on my first PT job, "When you don't have confidence, you need to fake it - the patients need to see that confidence from you; soon, you'll develop more confidence and won't need to fake it so much"), and learn how to relate to others. I truly have grown greatly in this aspect, and when I look at how I handle myself around other people now compared to when I was in high school and even college, I am amazed at how I have grown.

6. I am learning my limits. I used to be one who would just say, "Sure I can do this. No, don't worry I'll be fine. I'll just keep plugging away, no matter how tired I get, and I'll end up being find, eventually." Well, I am learning that is not necessarily the case. After years of not really, truly being "fine," I am learning to tell people "No, sorry, I can't come down for Grandpa's birthday" or "I'm just too tired to do that; my family and I need to stay home this weekend" or "Sorry, sweetheart, Mommy needs to sit down. We can either read a book together, or you can play in the basement."

7. And a lesson I am in the process of learning: be grateful no matter what the circumstances (THIS is currently a huge challenge for me). Between my health issues and my fatigue after working, and my desire to be home for the boys and to grow our family, I often have a very poor attitude. If I cannot give thanks for the many blessings God has given me now, will I suddenly be able to do it when I am home (and hopefully healthier)? If I cannot be joyful (at least as joyful as my depression and fatigue allow me to be) now, will I be joyful when I have kids pulling me in every direction? Yet, if I can learn to be grateful for what He has given me now, how much more I will grow in gratitude when He has given me the desire of my heart! Yet, I fear if I cannot be appreciative now, I will be disappointed when I am home and will still be looking for another thing that needs to change so that I can be happy. I have a great opportunity now to learn this gift of gratitude, and a great opportunity in seven months to continue to grow in gratitude.

Looking for Good, Solid Catholic Fiction??

Are you looking for some good Catholic fiction which celebrates and proclaims the beauty of the Catholic Church? Which teaches and applies the teaching of JPII in his Theology of the Body? Perhaps a book for that preteen to college age girl or the girl who is discerning marriage, or religious life? Or the mother who hopes to better live out her vocation? I ran into a couple wonderful fiction books that do just that and am in the middle of the second one. They are by a Catholic mom of... 8? who lives in Canada. She has a beautiful ministry of teaching courtship over dating, discerning marriage in a respectful, chaste relationship, respecting God's plan for each person.



The books, thus far, are primarily about the discernment of the three eldest daughters of a family with eight children. The first is actually about the very eldest daughter, and the second, longer book, follows her as well as the discernment of the second and third daughters. It is FILLED with solid Catholic teachings and references to Theology of the Body and to the Bible. A wonderful teaching tool! And enjoyable.

My only criticism is that the characters are "too good." Everything - from music to golf to faith - comes too easily to them, and while the struggle of remaining faithful to the teaching of the Church and the temptation toward sin is addressed, it appears too easy, even for the characters who had previously lived sinful, "hedonistic" lifestyles. Their conversions - over and over - come very easily. Also, the characters are all physically beautiful. There is plenty of mention that their beauty is greater because of the joy that comes with their faith, but they, especially the teens and 20-somethings, also generally seem to be more physically attractive than the average person, something that could be difficult for a girl who reads this book who is sensitive to her appearances, which is the case all too often today.

But the books, through presenting the characters in this way, are very effective at showing the deep joy that comes with truly following the Will of God and with true, deep faith in Him. All the characters are beautiful because of their beautiful, unwavering faith, as are all people who any of us will ever come across in our lives who have that faith. The joy and the beauty these characters demonstrate is truly something to strive for, in that way, while realizing it is only through grace that we can have that type of beauty and realizing that kind of beauty is rare and requires unwavering faith and prayer, as well as God's grace and pure gift.

The only place I know you can order the books in through Carmen's website: www.courtshipnow.com. Unfortunately, their website is currently being redone. They list their number on the website if you would like the books sooner rather than later. She also has several other resources and also talks and a pamphlet on courtship, which I believe are free downloads; I'm sure those will be back once their website is completed. I bought the books together, which saved few dollars too; that may be available if you call. Please ask if you have more specific questions about the books.

I feel like I am trying to throw a sales pitch - I am not, except that I do truly believe these books are able to change lives, especially of preteen to college ago girls (or guys who are open to reading this type of fiction).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Lady of Medjugorje, Oct 25 message


Our Lady's message to the world, given through Mirija, October 25, 2010

“Dear children! May this time be a time of prayer for you. My call, little children, desires to be for you a call to decide to follow the way of conversion; therefore, pray and seek the intercession of all the saints. May they be for you an example, an incentive and a joy towards eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

Countdown to Graduation: 7 months

Yesterday marks 7 months until Andy's graduation date! Am I allowed to say it's only 30 weeks? Or is that just showing a little too much how anxious I am to be home with the boys?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In Gratitude: The Four Loves of My Life

To God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to Mary, my Heavenly Mother: My heart, my life, and my soul - my very being - are Yours. Thank You for giving me a Safe Haven in Your arms as I give myself and my life to You. Thank You for giving me the graces to get through this period of my life. Thank You for sending me help when I need it and for periodically filling my soul with joy. Thank You for Your healing touches. Thank You also for the trials I undergo that show me again the necessity of clinging to You. Thank You for all the gifts You have given me, especially in the form of my family and in the promise of Redemption. Mary, thank you for all your petitions to your Son on my behalf. Thank you for being my special, loving Mother.

To Andy, my dear spouse: Thank you for all you do, for the hard work you are putting into your studies so that you can be a wonderful provider for our family in seven short months. Thank you for taking seriously my desire to stay home with the children and being willing to rethink your beliefs that women should also work, and for truly being completely on board now. Thank you for being the spiritual head of our household and for directing me to wear a scapular and pray the rosary - under your direction, our faith has grown together. Thank you for striving to be more understanding and sensitive to my emotional states, even when your mind is on your schoolwork. Thank you for being such a wonderful father to the boys and for keeping us on track with simple and quick discipline. And thank you for all you do around the house and for allowing me to therefore be able to take the housework in stride. Thank you for sharing your life and yourself with me.

To Blaise: Thank you for being the dear son you are. Thank you for your striving to decrease your whining. Thank you for the big, big hugs, with arms and legs wrapped tightly around me. Thank you for kisses and crosses traced on my forehead. Thank you for your enthusiasm with your new discoveries. Thank you for taking out the trash, and wiping off the table for us, and other little things you joyfully do around the home. Thank you for your curiosity into learning about the "Hail Mary" prayer and the Rosary.

To Isaac: Thank you also for being such a dear son. Thank you for bringing a bit of non-seriousness to our household and for your laughter. Thank you for funny faces and goofy voices. Thank you for your loving presence. Thank you for striving to accept that Mommy must work and you must go to the babysitter's. Thank you for the many games of football, baseball, and hockey. Thank you for reminding me to pray on the way to the babysitter's, that you have a good day, and that Jesus, Mary, and the saints and angels watch over you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Little Drummer Boy



Colorful Leaves: A Project

The boys have both been learning about colors at school: Blaise how to spell their names and Isaac which color is which (he's almost got them down - usually - just mixes up yellow and red). So with the beautiful leaves outside, I thought a project was in order. Isaac and I gathered leaves after we came home from preschool (I wish I had thought to bring my camera), and we got to work after Blaise came home. Apparently my iron does not get hot enough to put leaves between waxed paper, so this is what we did:

These are the leaves Isaac and I gathered.




Blaise working on his.




And Isaac on his. Notice we forgot to take off his helmet before coming inside, in our "excitement."



The boys showing off their finished projects. Great job boys!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Marian Mondays: Our Lady of All Nations

I am surprised I have only recently heard of Our Lady of All Nations. Mary appeared from 1945 until 1959 in Amsterdam to a single 40-year-old woman named Ida Peerdeman. She appeared to Ida 56 times during those years, giving her messages about the state of the world and events in the then-near future, from 1945 until 1950. The events have occurred. In 1951, she began to give Ida messages for which the apparitions are known. She asked that she no longer be called simply "Mary of Nazareth" but that she becomes known as Mother of all nations. She also asked that a fifth Marian dogma be proclaimed, after which Our Lady of All Nations will give peace, true peace, to the world. This dogma states that Mary is Coredemtrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate.

It appears the Vatican has approved this apparition (apparently after a controversy with the wording of the prayer to Our Lady of All Nations), and perhaps 6 million people have signed petitions that the fifth Marian dogma be proclaimed. There is also controversy regarding the dogma - in particular what it means to be Coredemtrix. Isn't Redemtrix a title reserved for only Christ Himself, some say. But, say others, by offering up our crosses to unite with Christ's sufferings, we are also coredemptrix; so, of course, Mary is a very strong coredemtrix.

What do you know about this apparition?

Marian Mondays: Have No Fear

I'm interested in learning more about Mary and her visits with us and hope to share that with all who are interested and who find me here. A couple weeks ago, I heard Dr. Mark Miravalle speaking on Relevant Radio about Our Lady of All Nations who appeared in Amsterdam, I believe in the 1950's. I have been intrigued with the appearances of Mary under this title as well as under other titles and want to learn more about her. When looking at Dr. Miravalle's site for more information, I found this:

"Anne, a visionary from Ireland, has received permission from her local ordinary, Bishop Leo O'Reilly, for the distribution of messages which she receives from Jesus, God the Father, Our Blessed Mother, the angels and saints (see article, "Discernment of Lay Apostolate of Jesus Christ the Returning King," Marian Private Revelation section). The following messages from Our Blessed Mother are directed to bishops, priests and religious throughout the world. – Ed.

"August 8, 2003

"The Blessed Mother [says:]

"'I want to give you a glimpse of your future. I hope to prepare you so that when the time for change comes, you will move smoothly into the new order. My children are aware that the world is changing. Worldly souls think that they are orchestrating these changes, but in reality, God is in charge. He is taking their evil intentions and using them to implement His own order. Holy souls need have no fear. The plans of the evil one will go nowhere. Be confident and fearless in the face of information that would cause you alarm. You must remember that God is in charge because God has always been in charge, God will always be in charge, and I, your mother, am telling you this now.

"'My child, do not be afraid to give my words to your superiors in the church. You must remember that these are not your words or prophesies. You are not responsible for them and do not have to prove them. How could you? These words come from heaven and they are intended to give my children advance warning so that the children of the Light are spiritually prepared. All must play their part and you will see that many are receiving communications of this kind. Be brave. Be holy. Be ready to accept your assignments with faith. We are relying on chosen souls to bring a great many souls back to Christ before the time for the Miracle of Souls arrives.'"

The part that struck me, and the reason I wanted to share this quote are these words: "My children are aware that the world is changing. Worldly souls think that they are orchestrating these changes, but in reality, God is in charge. He is taking their evil intentions and using them to implement His own order. Holy souls need have no fear. The plans of the evil one will go nowhere."

The world is changing in so many ways, nearly all are not for the better - or so it seems. It's enough to make us sick to our stomachs, and feeling quite hopeless and helpless. Why don't these people, these politicians, people in Hollywood, media, etc get it?? How can they not see what is so very, almost painfully, obvious to the rest of us?

Many of our political leaders are so caught up in the illusion of power. They see in their hands the ability to change things in this world, and I wonder if they truly care whether they're changing things for the better or for the worse, or if they just like the power they feel by being able to put their stamp on the world and their influence on our lives. I see them in some ways as bullies, preying upon those of us who are weaker and have less influence than the rest, just so that they can feel better about themselves. I feel sorry for those who do that in some ways, especially if that is the case, but also because they don't know God; they are so very separated from Him, and that must be tremendously painful. In order to give the meaning that they lack to their power, albeit in a personal philosophy in which there is no truth and no meaning, they make themselves into little gods, making laws with little regard to what is right.

BUT THEY ARE NOT IN CHARGE, even if they believe they are. GOD IS IN CHARGE. Romans 8:28. God will turn all things to good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. God is using their evil intentions and evil efforts and using them for His own purposes, turning them to good. It is already set... God will triumph over evil, no matter what the other side pulls on us. But which side will we be on? Will we help or hamper His Will? Will we play the part He calls us to play?

Some are called to stand in the front lines; I thank any and all who have protested outside an abortion clinic or in Washington, or elsewhere. Such is necessary. But we must also PRAY!! This is a spiritual battle, and we must all fight with spiritual weapons - prayer, fasting, offering up our trials, the Rosary. A devotion to Mary, and through Mary to Jesus. He must be the center of our very lives! We have nothing to fear; we have nothing to run away from. But we have EVERYTHING to run to! May we embrace He to does and will save us! May we beg for His Will to be done, for His Kingdom to come! Do not be afraid to ask for what you need. Don't be afraid to ask for His Kingdom to be hastened.

We are surrounded by so much evil, coming at us from every side! We cannot possibly do battle ourselves on every front. But God, Who is everywhere at all times, Who is all powerful and all knowing, can. And He is and will! Let us cling to Him and fight on His side, doing our small though important part! And we will triumph!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A prayer for spiritual battle

Andy and I receive The 101 Times in the mail. It is a Marian newsletter which often contains wonderful articles. The last newsletter contained a couple prayers to the Holy Spirit, one of which I felt very drawn to pray and feel has been a wonderful blessing over the last week, since I started praying it. I will quote the entire section of this article, since the spirit with which it is prayed is as important as the prayer itself:

"Cardinal Mercier said: 'I am going to reveal t you the secret of sanctity and happiness. Every day for five minutes control your imagination and close your eyes to the things of sense, and your ears to the noises of the world, in order to enter into yourself. Then, in the sanctity of your baptized soul (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit), speak to that Divine Spirit, saying to Him:

'Oh Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do. Give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me, and accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your will.

'If you do this, your life will flow along happily, serenely, and full of consolation, even in the midst of trials. Grace will be proportioned to the trial, giving you strength to carry it, and you will arrive at the Gate of Paradise laden with merit. This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity and peace. Try it.'"

Besides likely the promptings of the Holy Spirit, you can see why I was drawn to this prayer. The second from last sentence of the prayer is difficult for me to say, but the Holy Spirit knows I will do my best to honor that promise, even if imperfectly at times.

In Gratitude for JOY!

What consolation the Lord has granted to me today! While I was kneeling in church, He filled my heart with so much love and joy and let me know He is truly with me! What a gift to have received such grace!

My heart's desire is that, in the midst of life's trials, I may know joy and peace and may be able to gratefully give my suffering to Him to console the Heart that is pained by our sin. Our Lord granted that desire today. May He be praised!!

I have been offering my struggles with my thyroid issue, work, and frustration with disobedience of the kids for love, hope, and joy - and true faith - to fill my heart and to fill the hearts of my family and fill our home, that all who enter may know His love and that His love may permeate our family life. I have prayed that He protect us from the devil and all evil spirits that attempt to do us harm and may place His shield around us, and that He fill us with so much love that there is no room for any other influence.

Through prayers specifically to Mary and to the Holy Spirit, He has heard me and has granted me answers to these prayers, even if only for a time! But may those prayers continuously be answered; and may I have the fortitude and trust in Him to continuously ask and seek His help! For we are indeed involved in spiritual battle, and the devil and his evil spirits are all around. Mary asks that we turn to Her Son in our battle, uniting our crosses and ourselves with Him. The devil looks for any opportunity he can find... please don't give him the chance! I have found complacency to be just the chance he needs... therefore I pray for the grace to be constant in prayer and to not grow complacent!

May our Lord be with you all and give you His love and joy! May Mary our Mother intercede for you and be your constant companion!

First Blooms of the Season

Well, not really. I did have a few flowers this summer, but go figure, most of my summer flowers didn't do as well as my fall ones. The fall flowers were all ready to welcome the first frost! They're making the fall more cheery!



Mums. My second mum bush has lots of buds but few flowers yet... looks like I'll be getting a second wave sometime! The third bush died this spring and was replaced by a tiny plant that will hopefully grow bigger next year.



Late-blooming Clematis. We have mid summer clematis as well, that only produced a handful of flowers this year. We though this particular vine was dead this spring and almost pulled it out, but it turned out to do very well!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Obedience

This weekend was a challenging one for our family, in light of the boys having difficulty recently with obedience and Mommy not feeling well. Since I have not been doing well for some time and have been getting after them more easily, I thought they deserved an explanation and also an explanation as to how they can help, complete with a lesson and definition of obedience a friend had shared with me Saturday morning.

I told them I am sick and have been since childhood, with something that makes me more tired and more stressed than most people get. My doctor and I have been working really hard to make me better, but stress makes me sicker and worse, and makes me yell more easily. Do you want to help me get better? Yes, yes! Ok, this is what you can do to help: be obedient and do what Daddy and I ask you to do without whining. I get more stressed when you don't obey. And do they know what obedience means? No. It means (and I love this part that my friend told me about) you do what we ask right away, all the way, and with a joyful heart. We went into what each of those phrases meant, and the boys were excited to help and to repeat each over and over.

Obedience is right away, all the way, and with a joyful heart!

Quick thyroid update

Quick update regarding my new thyroid medicine: I probably should have stayed at 60mg during the weekend rather than increasing to 90mg... though perhaps that would have been worse. I was tired this weekend, having been up nearly 2 hours each night (which is better than the 5 hours, 3 nights in a row as I was 2 weeks ago :) ). And I was pretty crabby and fatigued (but seem to perhaps be doing better today??). Andy and I actually got in a few fights, largely in part to my mood and his being tired of my moods, also because he is looking ahead at week #2 of 3 weeks of tests, followed by weeks of papers and reports. but God seems to bring good out of bad situations. I dug up a book, The Thyroid Solution by Ridha Arem, MD, which I had bought 4+ years ago. (It helped me greatly at that time, but I am a bit disappointed in it as of now, as it mentions Armour fairly little and has very little mention of adrenal issues, getting Addison's disease - no adrenal function - mixed up with adrenal fatigue (those words are not even used) - poor adrenal function). BUT it had a great chapter on thyroid issues and relationships. And it's amazing how he is able to spell out every issue, with the exception of the ways in which this affects the kids, that we have been experiencing. Reading this and talking about it helps me to know what I have been telling Andy is true: this irritability and anger, unrealistic demands, need for comfort and sympathy from Andy, inconsistency, need for peace and quiet are normal and are in part, at least, a result of my thyroid condition - and, I believe, of my adrenal insufficiency. I think Andy is starting to understand this stuff at least a little more after yesterday. I wrote a quote from this book in my last post, counting down to Andy's graduation.

Countdown to Graduation: 8 months

Eight months until Andy graduates! Actually, as of a few days ago, I can change the countdown on the 21st of each month, and so you'll see these posts a week or so earlier. I found out May 21, 2011 is Andy's actual graduation date, with finals done the day before that. It feels good to put a date on the end. Woo hoo!

Sept seemed to have gone fairly slowly, with the weeks dragging on more slowly than usual, though it's still funny to think that it's already October.

I picked up a book again yesterday about thyroid conditions, which I have not read for a couple years, in hope of finding a chapter that will help Andy to understand how this thyroid and adrenal issue is affecting me and contributing to my mood and reactions. I am grateful that it contained a chapter that did just that. The book is The Thyroid Solution, by R. Arem, MD. I am saying this here because it has a quote which I believe will shed light on why I am doing this countdown and why I am so anxious for Andy's graduation and my staying home.

"Many patients... devote most of their attention and remaining energy to the effort to maintain job performance. This tremendous burden on the brain will often be expressed in outbursts at home as patients' frustrations and inability to fulfill emotional and physical responsibilities in their private lives affect [spouses and] families.

"Amanda, a teacher with a hypothyroid condition, described this conflict to me. 'I became irritable with my students,' she said. 'I had to exercise a great deal of self-control so that I wouldn't fly off the handle. This would tire me out so much that, when I got home, I was useless to my husband. I felt guilty, like I wasn't really all there to do the things we wanted to do. We would go dancing, and I couldn't remember to move my foot out for each step. It was very noticeable.' When patients focus on doing the best they can at work, their home life inevitably suffers, because they have no energy left for family duties and obligations."

I have had no doubt my work affects my family; being a physical therapist and having to be "on" all day, just as a teacher does, leaves me exhausted at the end of the day and the end of the week. When I was working 4 days a week, with kids at home the the other 3 days, I could never recover. And I was getting worse and worse. I do my best not to let my condition affect my patient care, devoting most/all of my remaining energy on maintaining job performance, and giving my family the left-overs, meaning I'm often exhausted and moody at home. I get after the kids and fight with Andy too easily, and it pains me to see the effects this has on them. But somehow (and I still can't get a grasp on this), it seems I am powerless to stop my own reactions - it seems I am too fatigued and that it takes too much effort to control myself. I need to learn to just walk away, but the anger and irritability prevents this. I feel guilty for this, as being a wife and mother is most important, after God, and I want to do it to the best of my ability. I want my children to know the love and joy of following Christ, not to associate faith with anger and guilt. What "Amanda" said about not being able to remember to move her foot while dancing with her husband - it sounds ridiculous, but things like that happen frequently with me. Simple actions, simple phrases, things that used to come easily to me confound me and seem to elude me at home.

But more recently, my job performance had been suffering as well (and that means home/family is suffering more). I was written up for being so tired and for complaining about my fatigue to a co-worker and "worrying her" months ago. Now, I feel great pressure not to say anything to anyone and not to show signs of how tired I am, which is overall beneficial to me as well but very difficult on my bad days. Now that I have cut back to part time with weekends, Mondays, and Wednesdays off, it seems it takes at least the weekend to recover to pre-week status and sometimes Monday as well, but at least I am partially recovering. I thought I had been actually slowly getting better, but this new thyroid medicine has made it more difficult to gauge. I am (hopefully temporarily) more irritable recently.

The solution to me is to put in my notice and be done with work as soon as possible, but financially that is not possible. It would likely do Andy in to take on 16-18 very involved credits, with the effort he puts into school, and to take on a job. So I feel very trapped. This perhaps sounds ridiculous to some people - how can I be struggling so much with a part time job and two children?? So many people take on so much more and do just fine. I'm just making too much of this. No, I promise you, this is real.

But yet there is hope. I do believe, despite how much I am struggling with it recently again, that the treatment I am receiving is the correct one for me and will rebalance all those endocrine hormones, eventually making me feel a lot better (normal???). And decreasing my hours from 31 to 20, including an extra day off and somewhat shorter days at work - the longest being 9 1/2 hours rather than 11 - gives me better balance between work and home and decreases the extent of exhaustion. Having two mornings without kids, with ability to exercise and go to church, and with responsibility to no one but myself until 11:15, gives me the opportunity to take care of myself and encourage recovery. And a growing trust in God, and increasing frequency of turning to Him helps greatly too, even if I don't "feel" the effects immediately.

From this perspective 8 months seems like a long time, and often I wonder if I can make it through two more semesters when every semester thus far has gotten worse and worse for our family (and this one seemed to take a huge dive to being even worse this last weekend). But God does not ask of us what we cannot do, and 8 months will likely go fairly quickly. With His grace, I will likely make it through, family intact and somehow stronger as a result.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Our Lady of Medjugorje, Oct 2 message

October 2, 2010 Message to Mirjana


"Dear children, Today I call you to a humble, my children, humble devotion. Your hearts need to be just. May your crosses be your means in the battle against the sins of the present time. May your weapon be patience and boundless love – a love that knows to wait and which will make you capable of recognizing God's signs – that your life, by humble love, may show the truth to all those who seek it in the darkness of lies. My children, my apostles, help me to open the paths to my Son. Once again I call you to pray for your shepherds. Alongside them, I will triumph. Thank you."

A note, in case you have not caught the different spellings of the two similar names. Mirija and Mirjana are two different people, both seers to whom Our Lady has chosen to reveal herself in Medjugorje. Because both these women have received all ten secrets, they no longer see Mary daily as they once did and as a couple of the seers continue to. Mary has chosen, with Jesus' blessing, to continue to speak to each of them once a month. Mirija has the blessing of Mary's presence on the 25th of each month, and Mirjana on the 2nd of each month. The messages Our Lady gives them are spread through various means throughout the world. I receive them on email. For more information, click here. This is the same link I posted late last month with Mirija's message.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Brief update regarding switching to Armour Thyroid

I don't believe any of my normal readers, the few of you that there seem to be, have a lot of interest in reading about my thyroid, but I am posting on the chance that there are others, like I have, who search the web for information on how people have tolerated switching to Armour.

I switched 11 days ago now, to 60mg. I had 4 days of anxiety and 3 nights unable to sleep, then 4-5 awesome days where I felt better than I ever have. The last 2-3 days I have felt tired and have been having brain fog again, as well as a few of my other issues I had noticed improvement in. Because I know the typical successful switch to Armour includes periodic increases in the medication until the optimal dose is reached, as doctors cannot put their patients on a full dose, nor know what a full dose will be, for reasons of anxiety as our bodies get used to the medication, I called my doctor for advice. Her partner was on call and increased my dose to 90 mg per day. Because I know my body and have dealt with hypothyroidism my whole life, I am choosing to ramp up to 80 mg over the next three days then 90 mg. I took the extra 20 mg today later than I should have and am consequently having a little difficulty sleeping again, though I do believe I will fall right asleep once I lie down again after drinking green tea, eating a handful of peanuts for protein, and taking a 5HTP supplement.

Between the hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue, I am surprised how sensitive my body is to all these levels of endocrine hormones and levels of neurotransmitters. I hope that as my body recovers that I will be able to decrease my dependence on many of the supplements I take, but I have read many people have to continue quite a few of them or have symptoms returning.

Another bit of advice/opinion, in case anyone is reading this who is considering treatment for adrenal fatigue. Some sites advocate use of Hydorcortisone replacement through a couple different medications (Isocort and Cortef??). I have not been on those medications but would be skeptical of trying them. The reason is that, while they do allow your adrenal gland to rest, I have read (and it makes sense to me, as a non-medication-prescribing medical provider) that they also allow your adrenal gland to weaken through disuse. Also, they can interrupt the balance of the various hormones that the adrenal gland produces. My doctor has me on a combination of pregnenalone (an important precursor of the adrenal hormones and cortisol) and adrenal support (a combination of herbs/etc found to increase production and slow breakdown of cortisol). I get these supplements from a place which only sells to medical providers and so am unable to give advice as to what supplements others should take. That combination may not be what is best for everyone, though, so if this is something you are considering, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable doctor.