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For those struggling with depression, healing from abuse, anxiety, or living with a chronic illness - the idea of hope can sometimes feel disconnected from our reality. Matt Pappas joins me in this episode to discuss his own journey with hope. What's helped him tangibly engage and define his personal sense of hope and encouragement for listeners who may WANT to hope, but don't know where to start. Click here to give it a listen!

Thoughts on Hope: A Podcast Interview with Matt Pappas

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It’s been a few months since I launched with my first podcast episode for my channel, Grit & Grace and I loved hearing your feedback and connecting with you all. After that episode I went radio silent as it’s been a difficult few months of juggling treatment and work from home…But I’m finally back with our next episode!

Today’s Guest: Matt Pappas

I recently chatted with Matt from Surviving My Past about the reality and challenges of the word “hope”.  He is active in the online community, striving to bring encouragement to others who share his past of childhood abuse as well as those who battle anxiety, PTSD, and illness.

It can spark a variety of emotions in us when we hear or talk about the idea of hope, can’t it? Engaging hope when you feel hopeless can bring pain or discouragement. We may feel “less than” for not being able to grasp it in way others want us to or how we think it should manifest. All the while, others seem to keep the flame of hope burning inside, despite the struggle of pain, depression, or loss.

But wherever you’re sitting on this topic, you’re welcome here.

In this episode, Matt shares honestly on the ways he views hope, as well as the real challenges that both abuse survivors and the chronically ill face. It’s an insightful conversation, not a head-in-the-clouds message on hope. This is all about grassroots hope, real experiences, and encouragement for the struggling heart.

How do you engage hope? Let us know in the comments!

To connect with Matt more visit his blog at survivingmypast.net and be sure to download your FREE copy of his new book: Surviving Grief.

You can find Matt on the following social media channels:
Twitter: twitter.com/survivingmypast
Facebook: www.facebook.com/survivingmypast
Instagram: www.instagram.com/survivingmypast/

And be sure to subscribe to his podcast!

Want to listen to the episode on Marriage in Chronic Illness? Click here!


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Are you struggling with chronic illness and disconnected from the idea of New Year's resolutions? I feel ya. This year I'm embracing a word for the year and the word that came to mind first threw me for a loop!

My Word for 2017: From Surprise to Embrace

 

New Year’s resolutions used to be a stress inducer for me. Each year I’d come up with some grand goal of doing xyz and come January 12th I’d be so far off track it felt like there was no point.

In sickness I’ve tried a resolution or two. One year it was to hand-write a letter each month to send to a friend. I think I made it two months? And then, YOU GUESSED IT. No more letters. Last year my goal was to focus more on the blog…and that I DID do. So all is not lost.

But you know the hardest thing about the idea of New Year’s resolutions in sickness? We never know what to expect from one day to the next. I may be able to put in a total of three hours of blog/business work one day and be in bed unable to move for the next three.

So resolutions either have to be highly qualified and realistic for me or they have to be ditched altogether.

As I began to think about 2017 I decided I wanted to land on a word for the year. I thought it could either be an intention or something I wanted to embrace, or even just a word that resonates deeply.

The word that came to mind almost immediately stunned me. And that word was HOPE.

Why the stun, you ask? Well, it’s because I have a hard time using that word if I’m honest.

It’s a hard word to wrestle with when you feel as if you’ve been beaten down year after year by disease for the last 3.5. When it seems there’s no end in sight. Or in the moments when you’re literally just trying to breathe. (Thank you, Lyme & mold illness).

Hope can feel elusive when you’re held under the heavy weight of suffering. And when it’s portrayed by others as a feel-good-feeling or that it’s something you “just” have to choose? It can feel like an even more distant idea.

But hope is more than a choice.

And it’s very essence stretches beyond a happy dose of the feel-goods.

It’s more than a choice because sometimes we can know we want something, need it even, and reach for it…but not be able to grab hold of it.

On any day of the week I could need a heavy item pulled out of my cabinet. But in my current state of health I couldn’t safely make it happen. Between my POTS symptoms and lack of strength I wouldn’t be able to lift the item, let alone bring it down (or up) to my level.

So Trevin gets it for me. He carries the weight so I have access to what I need for the day.

Sometimes it’s the same with hope. We may barely have the strength to say the word out loud, let alone FEEL hopeful. And there are times our spirit is so weak that we need someone else to hold onto hope for us. To stand in the wet and cold with us, to support us as we stand, or sit, or crawl through the brokenness.

To hold onto the light of hope for us in the moments that we can’t.

So this year, just as years past, I will hold onto whatever fragments of hope I can manage. I will endeavor to give myself grace when I feel doubt or fear and I’ll continue to pursue healing in all its forms.

I’ll make an effort to regularly define what hope means to me. And let go – as many times as I need to – of impossible standards of what hope should look like in struggle.

I also want to hold hope for you.

That this year will be one that brings comfort for your weary soul. I want to hope for you that the thing you’re waiting for will begin to realize.

Through my writing, sharing, listening, living – I want to be a hope holder. A shoulder to lean on. To shed light in the dark corners of heartache, suffering and pain.

I’ll be here in your corner. Reminding you that someone out there is holding hope for you. For healing. Restoration. A source of income. Community. Family. Fulfilled dreams.

And the beauty of holding hope for others? It teaches us. Stretches us. And it means something deep, both to us and to the person we’re hoping for.

It reminds us we’re not alone. And that we’re in this thing called life together.

And that truth, in itself, is full of hope.

Want to join me with your own word for 2017? Comment below or join the discussion over on Facebook today! I’d love to hear from you.

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Finding healing in times of illness, grief and loneliness

A FREE eBook: Embracing the Raw

Today I have something I’m beyond excited to share with you guys…my very first eBook!

Embracing the Raw - Free eBook from Living Grace

These pages have been crafted to share some of my honest moments of finding healing in times of struggle.

I think we can easily feel this sense that until we’ve “made it to the other side” of whatever it is we’re struggling with, that we are somehow not enough.

For me, I’ve sensed this outer and internal expectation that until I get my stuff together (hope more, be positive more, be more of whatever others think I need to be) that maybe my story isn’t worth sharing.

Is there a right way to healing? A more admirable way to grieve? And what about dealing with loss, pain, frustration, dashed dreams…are there standards for that, too?

This tango with the spoken and unspoken standards for my timeline of healing, grief or my measure of hope have often left me tired. Discouraged. Feeling less than and at times even angry.

But I began realizing something that has shifted the way I view wrestling with the harder things in life. It’s transforming my understanding of grief, healing, hope and purpose and it’s beautifully giving me freedom.

Which has brought me to the creation of this eBook for you, my friends. Embracing the Raw: Pilgrimage of a Healing Heart.

Embracing the Raw: A book on finding healing in the midst of loss, grief and pain | Free eBook by Kami Lingren, Living Grace Blog

 

This book is about accepting the raw in our path toward healing. It’s about wrestling with the real and valid emotions that come with facing trauma and pain, while being gentle with ourselves in the process.

Inside these pages you will find honest words from my heart to yours, beginning with the story of how the disease I’m fighting nearly took my life just under a year ago. And how I’m reaching for light and hope in the aftermath.

Embracing the Raw is my gift to you! I hope you find a dose of comfort, understanding, an ounce of healing – something you need on your own difficult path to help you just that much more.

To download your copy, simply follow this link! (And if you’re already on my mailing list, check your email! You received a copy earlier this week!)

I’d love to hear your thoughts as you read it – find me on Facebook or email me at kami@livinggraceblog.com so we can connect!

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carrying our burden

Some Things Can Only Be Carried

“Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”
– Megan Divine

That quote. So much wisdom in so few words.

When I first read it, I breathed it in like ocean air. I read it over and over again, allowing each word to be soaked up like water to a sponge.

Some things can only be carried.

I want to be well. As long as I’m sick and fighting this disease, I will crave wellness and pursue healing. I will continue to try new treatments as needed, listen to messages my body sends, and care for my soul.

But I cannot fix my disease in the same way that I can unclog a drain.

I miss the ability to be more active, to explore more freely, to eat the foods my body now reacts to. I grieve the loss of freedom and the limitations my illness has set.

Yet I cannot take away the sense of loss the same way I can pull weeds from the soil.

So many of the harder things in life involve complicated healing timelines. There’s no road map to grief. There’s also no single cure that will eradicate every sick person. We can’t wish away the scars, the bruises, the tender parts of our wounds.

Going into fix-it mode seems to be our go-to when we are faced with hardship. Somewhere along the way we learned to believe the answer was to fix our situation or even the circumstance of someone else. We label the emotions that often feel all-consuming as “stuff we need to get rid of.”

Maybe the desire to get it together comes in the form of a new cure we just have to try. Or maybe it comes out that we aren’t grieving the right way and someone wants to change us. Someone else thinks we aren’t embracing enough hope or wanting to be healed and that’s why we aren’t better.

In response to so many remedy motives, I’ve endured many bouts of shame along this fight with illness. Some sparked by well-meaning, but unhelpful words from others. But many others that I’ve put on myself or learned somewhere along the way.

The root of the shame I feel? This subconscious belief I battle that I need to be fixed.

I’m bruised from the trauma. I’m still sick. I have scars from loss, tenderness from dismissive doctors. My dreams can be scattered with nightmarish memories of ER visits.

Each of these, and many others, have become a part of my story.

I can spin my wheels trying to find a way to fix the broken pieces I’m left with, but what if I am missing the bigger picture?

What if some things were meant to be carried?

changing how we view burdens

These sums of a greater part of my story, are just that: they are pieces of my reality, not flaws.

They are writings of where I’ve been, stories of my present struggle. They spark a flame of hope for my future, for healing of all kinds.

Together, they have contributed to who I am today.

The pain has shown me a strength I never knew I had. The scars of loss have increased my compassion and empathy.

My sickness has spurred me to seek out what I most value in this life. It’s also given me time and space to pursue a dream I’d buried for years.

The less I struggle to fix my emotions and circumstances, the more free I am to embrace where I’m at. I learn to carry the things I cannot fix and let go of the things that hold me down as I walk, even crawl toward the future.

Carrying my sickness doesn’t mean I have given up on healing. It means that I’ve accepted it’s a part of my life for now. I can shoulder it’s weight as I connect with others who are suffering and allow what it’s taught me to share compassion and understanding with them.

Carrying my grief doesn’t mean I don’t have room to also embrace joy, laughter, and goodness in my days. But it does give me permission to feel and process my grief as I need to. Instead of shame for my tears, I can give myself grace and acknowledge that my losses are all as real as my joys.

So maybe some things in life can’t be fixed…at least not yet.

Perhaps by throwing them over our shoulder and bringing them with us, they become a part of what makes our souls more real and our hearts more relatable.

And for the burdens that are too heavy to bear alone, we can remember that we have each other.

 

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When Life Seems to Be Passing you By

When You Feel Like You’re Standing Still

Cars and pedestrians steadily streamed past me as I sat on the corner of our street, exhausted after walking the short distance from our home. My husband had gone back for “the wheels”, aka the wheelchair, and I waited as the world around me whizzed by. Yet again, I found myself at a standstill.

In many ways my body and I have come to terms with how we deal with this Lyme invader. We’ve agreed to fight hard, and I’ve found that often looks like resting. Rest has always been difficult for me.

I sometimes feel this uncomfortable force behind me…have you felt it, too? This steady nudge telling us that constantly moving forward and up is the only way to success, healing, purpose, dreams, and self growth. There is truth within that, but I think sometimes the path is more complicated.

Going backward isn’t an option. Digressing into bad habits and downward spirals of regret and self-critique only harm. We have come beyond that, and continue to work through it, not only to better ourselves, but hopefully to better the world around us.

But there are times when we are seemingly at a  s t a n d  s t i l l  in life. Where direction is lacking or completely void, sickness is demanding, or the job can’t change. We are in a season of waiting, of the answer repeatedly being “not yet.”

I have felt the buzz of the world around me whizzing by as others work hard, hustle and serve in ways that I simply cannot. I admire their drive, growth, courage, and ability and I catch myself far too often comparing my sick body to those of the well. My reality to someone else’s.

A lot of the “normal” has been stripped from my life these past few years. I’ve clumsily navigated conversations, my limitations, emergency room visits and my role as a wife in illness. And in the messiness of this new life, I’ve been challenged to fight harder than I’ve ever fought before. For wellness, for connection, my marriage, community and my quality of life.

Experiencing Growth in Every Season

In these years of standstill, where most of my time is spent at home on the couch or in bed, I can look back and see new purpose, perspective, character and dreams that God began to develop…things I didn’t recognize in the moment, but can see more clearly now.

Passion and compassion for the unwell and disabled.

A heart for those who have experienced great loss.

A strong desire to educated on chronic illness and Lyme disease, as well as bridge the gap between the sick and the well.

A renewed dream of being a writer (lesson one was, “Start Writing”).

I’ve seen that growth can happen in the phases of life where we feel we are standing still. In that dead-end job you can’t seem to get out of. In the seasons of grief. When life’s circumstances require you put off that dream one more year. The lack of direction for what’s next. Battling illness.

We face day after day, regardless of how strong the struggle is. Our hearts may feel heavy, but we find a way to show up. We may dread the work day ahead, but we are there and giving it our best. Life may feel like a mucky mess, but we find a laugh, a smile, a friend to hold on to.

It may take looking back from next year’s view to take in the beauty that is flourishing within you and I. But it’s preparing us. Molding us. Enhancing our gifts and talents with greater heart and character. Making us more loving, more wise and more ready for what’s ahead.

Let’s be kind to ourselves. Let’s rest in that place of accepting that growth and beauty are being cultivated within, even as the world is seemingly passing us by.

We can shine brightly where we are, as we are. Even if it’s at a standstill.

XO,

Kam

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Finding purpose when life hits hard.

Unrefined Hope

Hello to you lovely readers from our new home in the beautiful southern Oregon. If you missed my husband’s guest post, let me catch you up in real time.

In the last 8 weeks we gave feet to [and sped up the timeline for] our plan of leaving Southern California, researched destinations, chose a new city, packed up our belongings, said some very hard goodbyes and made the trek to move our lives to Oregon. All in the midst of illness and some heavy grief.

We split the travel into two days, knowing my body couldn’t make it all in one without some dreadful aftermath. Tooka would like you to know that she enjoyed her view out the window and loved every rest stop she was allowed to explore/stake claim on. She slept most of the way and I wished with every ounce of my being I could sleep as well as dogs!

It’s hard to believe we have been here three weeks already. Moving when you are this sick – or married to someone this sick – is a huge feat and we had been hanging on for these weeks of rest. No more packing. No more moving prep discussions [or arguments].

Devoid of any concrete plans, we have enjoyed quiet days and short scenic drives together. We live in a valley, surrounded by beautiful foliage-covered hills and mountains, some we can see from our home.

It is quiet here, calm. Quite the difference from nightly Disneyland fireworks and the train that shared our street back in Anaheim. Both of which would literally shake our walls. 😉

My parents visited us this past weekend from Northern California to help us dress a few of our walls, reassemble the sauna and put together some Ikea magic (flat boxes that transform into tables – you know the drill). It was nice to have the extra help and to feel like our new house is beginning to look more like our home.

As I’m writing this, I am struggling with this sense that there may be expectations others have upon clicking to read this post.

Maybe to read that there’s some new great hope, excitement, or news that I’m about to share about my health or our situation. That moving to Oregon has already been this miracle shift for us and, whether or not I say so, one may assume things have improved significantly for us.

embracing authenticity in hardship

Our reality is pretty close to our weather lately: most days it’s cloudy with scattered showers and a few breaks of sunshine in between.

This past week was an exceptionally hard battle with my health in my fight for wellness. Symptoms and pain level were heavy and sleep was far from possible most nights.

Trev has been wading through the adjustment and grief of leaving his home and so many important relationships from the place he called home for most his life. We are resting because we need it.

As a whole, our culture has some learning to do in walking through the hard stuff with others. We aren’t good at sitting in the moment, truly feeling the weight of the load of our neighbor.

We like to speak fast and listen half-heartedly. We rush to point out the things we think are the “good parts,” the aspects of the trials we want the person facing hardship to focus on because otherwise it’s too uncomfortable.

While it may not have been intentional, I have at times been made to feel like my level of hope isn’t enough. It’s either insignificant or it’s “unseen.”

In the level of openness I’ve embraced in sharing my story, I’ve been met with some great moments of compassion and understanding. I’ve also been critiqued and given a list of “to-dos” and shiny phrases that should boost my hope and positivity meter.

I recently shared a post on my Instagram that I’m going to share again here. It’s something that I feel resonates with where our hearts are sitting in regards to hope:

navigating hope in disease

“I’ve been thinking a lot about hope over the last few months. What it looks like for me. How other people view it. The expectation and pull other people have for me to always “cling tight” to it…and in the way they think it should manifest in my life, in what I share, and how I present my honest struggles with Lyme.

My understanding of hope goes something like this…hope isn’t always bright and lively, vibrant with color and clarity. I’ve seen hope flicker in the quiet moments. The moments when we are all alone and hanging on through one more moment, one more year of singleness, another day at an awful job, one more seizure, or another piercing migraine.

My hope often feels like the pebbles on the right. Kind of gray, rounded, messy. Perhaps not full of light and life in the traditional sense, but they ground me. The real, calloused, unrefined hope I embrace may not make sense to you, and you may not be able to see it if you’re looking for your own version of it. But it’s there, softly blazing in the corner of my heart.

So today I’d like to say this: It’s okay if your hope isn’t a bonfire ablaze. Others may want to impose their understanding of hope on you, but your hope is important and beautiful. You wouldn’t still be here if you weren’t hanging on to that hope uniquely yours.

Keep embracing those ounces of hope. Whether they’re gray pebbles or bright blades of fresh green. They’re valuable and significant.”

We know we aren’t the only ones facing a hardship that has rocked us to our core. Life can hit us like a ton of bricks, without warning. In the moments where we feel weighed down by the weight of a heavy burden, our hope can look much different than many people expect…but it’s here.

Softly blazing. Flickering in the corner. Holding on.

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For All You Moms. And Those of Us Sitting Over “Here.”

mums

While in honor of Mother’s Day, this post is truly for all women. The mothers, the aching child-less hearts, the grieving one who lost their precious babe(s) and to the woman who never plans to have children. We all have a role to play and a reason to be loved this Mother’s day and everyday.

My Mom lives a solid 9 hour drive from me currently, so I’m wishing her a happy day from afar today.

She is one of the most giving people I know. She’s given away more free furniture, gifts and time than I could ever think possible for one human to give. She even gave away her wedding dress one year to a bride who wasn’t going to be able to have one for her wedding. I’m pretty sure giving is her superpower.

She strives to always be a phone call away for her kids –  excuse me, her babies, as she reminds us (thanks, mom) – and I would say she excels in that area. She tried working outside the house for a couple of years during our childhood and simply felt her calling was to be at home with us kids – all four of us. So she left her job and came back home and I’m thankful for all that she sacrificed to do that.

I have fond memories of how fun she would make summer vacation and all the ways she tries to make our birthdays special. Her mashed potatoes will forever be untouched.

I’m also blessed to have my mother-in-law, Joyce, in my life. She instantly welcomed me into the family fold, offering me their spare room to live in during our engagement months.

She is kind and generous and has helped us so much in these last two years of fighting this disease. From weekly doctor’s visits to helping out in the home, she hasn’t thought twice about helping us in any way she could.

We share a love for country music, and even though neither of our guys are a fan, we still have managed to sneak it into the car mix on a couple of road trips. Because girls must stick together. I’m thankful to call her mom, too. <3

Mother’s Day can bring such a wide range of emotions to each of us women. For some it is a time of gratitude for the children they’ve been blessed with. For others, they are celebrating the mothers in their life today and the beauty of their relationship as mother-child.

Yet, it’s a hard holiday for those who have a strained relationship with their mom, or maybe don’t know who or where their mom even is. And for even others, there is grief on this day. Grief over the child(ren) who’ve been lost or the desire of motherhood yet to be fulfilled.

It’s a day where motherhood is needed most. Sensitivity and compassion can often be replaced with questions of “when are you going to start having littles of your own?” or “are you going to be a mother this year?!”

The simple phrase of “happy mother’s day” can be every bit as happy as the words suggest, or it could be the very thing that sets off a flood of tears and pain. But, the act of mothering, of caring for another – that is what is most needed today.

Let’s muscle up those mothering hearts we’ve been entrusted with as women and remember to be sensitive to the fact that not every woman can easily have children. There are also women who may not want to have children of their own.

Let’s resist our knee-jerk questions and phrases and replace them with compassion and awareness, love and listening. Let’s embrace the mothers in our life while also being soft to those who are hurting.

If you are a mother reading this today, I wish blessing and love all over you. Hold those precious littles (and bigs) tight today. You all are amazing and fulfilling such a beautiful calling, even on the days of overwhelm when you feel like you’re just not quite giving enough. I declare you are rocking the mom gig!

To the single or married woman who doesn’t plan on having children, you, too have such an important role. I’m sure you’re tired of the disbelief and questions of why you don’t want to have children of your own. But I’ve seen you. I’ve seen the way you inspire and give so much of yourself, the ways you invest in the children of friends and family and give their parents a beautiful breath of fresh air through adult conversation and encouragement. Keep being you!

And for you, sitting here with me in the land of dreams or aches or grief. I see you and I hear you. This holiday can be so hard. The questions, the waiting, the wondering “will I have my moment? Will I have this gift?” For some this day brings back memories of what we’ve lost and it cuts to the core. I’m sending big hugs and so much empathy and compassion your way.

Wherever you’re sitting as this Mother’s Day approaches, I pray you feel loved and reminded of your value. Your heart has much to offer this aching world.

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Lyme Disease Awareness

lyme awareness month

happy Saturday, wonderful people.
yesterday was World Lyme Day, kicking off Lyme Disease Awareness month.

since this disease has directly affected my life since 2010 I absolutely HAD to participate in the Lyme Disease Challenge: Take a Bite out of Lyme. as many of you know from either knowing me personally or simply following my blog, I was misdiagnose with MS early on in my journey and treated for that for years. however, last year we realized I actually had late stage Lyme disease. this disease has forever changed my life and I want to spread the word that this disease is spreading and is not adequately funded or understood within the medical community.

the Lyme Disease Challenge involves these steps:

1) take a bite!
bite a lime and take a photo or video of the act and share it with your friends!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

2) share a fact
choose a fact from the Lyme Disease Challenge and share it with your pic.
IMG_20150502_0954063) pass it on
I tagged a few of my friends on Facebook, but I challenge you to consider helping bring awareness to this debilitating disease, too! I’d be honored to have your support.

after posting we are challenged to donate $10 to ILADEF (International Lyme & Associated Diseases Education Fund). for my donation, I am holding an online fundraiser through my Jamberry business throughout the month of May. I’ll be donating all of my commissions, along with Jamberry donating 10%. a total of 40% of all fundraiser sales will be donated to ILADEF! consider joining my page to learn more about the disease and how to protect yourself and your children from contracting this disease. and to consider supporting this fantastic organization with a purchase through my site!

hope you all have a lovely weekend, friends!

THINK GREEN this month! 🙂

–Kami

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misdiagnosed and a ray of hope.

yesterday we met with a specialist in San Diego who confirmed we were right in that I had been misdiagnosed…that for the last four years I did not have relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, but, in fact, have had Lyme disease all along. at the stage I’m in, it’s referred to as chronic Lyme disease and is complex to treat. it’s incurable when it reaches this stage, but with the help of treatment I should have hope of a better lifestyle in the future.

it will be a long road, as she told us to expect two years of treatment and can’t promise exactly where I’ll be by then, as every patient is different. she explained that I not only have Lyme disease, but also have at least one, if not more, of the co-infections that are commonly associated with Lyme. the combination of diseases is no surprise with the wide range of symptoms I experience (I just added symptom #64 to the list this past week – I wish the bugs understood that this is not a competition). we also know that most, if not all, of the treatment I need will not be covered by insurance and we can’t afford it on our own…treatment will be somewhere between $20,000 – $25,000, with the bulk of it needed in the first year. some dear friends are helping us put together an online fundraiser that should launch within the next week. your prayers are so much appreciated, as well as helping us spread the word about the fundraiser once it’s launched.

in my treatment, I am to expect having days, even weeks, that will be even worse than what I’ve experienced thus far. thanks to some friends and acquaintances that have Lyme, we were expecting this news, but it’s still really hard to prepare for. I think of my worse days thus far and I want to burst into tears thinking about the journey ahead…those will be very difficult days. but, with Lyme, the general consensus on how treatment goes for patients is you get worse before you get better.

 I feel my heart swaying between emotions as I’ve been processing this over the last few weeks. I’m holding onto hope, yet feeling the often indescribable weight of this journey. this is the tension I’ve always felt in really difficult times…and this one is no exception. sure, we are thrilled to have the right diagnosis, as well as the proper treatment and a hope for a better lifestyle. but, having walked through the thick of the past 14 months and only our eyes and hearts knowing what it’s truly felt like to walk through our journey, the weight has not yet been fully lifted. even more patience will be asked of us in the days ahead. as we prayed yesterday on the drive home, we are asking God to continue teaching and molding us in this process, and for strength – for our tattered hearts can often feel weak and worn.

since I know the next two years will be very hard, I find myself in an inner struggle over how to respond to those whose reactions to our news focus only on the good prognosis. I guess I want to say two things. first, thank you for your love and support. we do value your happiness with us over our news of hope. but I also want to ask: please don’t just check out of our story in response to the good prognosis….but rather, would you be willing to also feel the weight with us of what this journey has already been and what this means for the years ahead. this journey is not over, especially considering that the hardest days are still ahead of us and, as I mentioned before, my treatment is only beginning and will last about two years.

we have such a hard time in our culture with sitting with people “in the weeds” and endeavoring to feel the weight of their circumstance or season. a teacher once shared in church how in Jewish culture, sitting Shiva – a seven day period that takes place after the loss of a loved one – requires the visiting friend or family member to remain silent, unless the griever starts the conversation. totally sounds uncomfortable to us, right? we constantly seem to feel the need to fill the silence in hard situations with something, anything, but how is the one who’s suffering left feeling? something for us to consider.

thanks for taking the time to read this, and, in a way, “sitting in the weeds” with us for a few moments. none of us were meant to walk alone and Trev and I are thankful for those who have chosen to walk with us. <3

{{ for those interested in learning more about Lyme disease
(including how to protect yourself) here are a few links: }}

about Lyme disease

top ten tips to prevent Lyme disease

co-infections + Lyme disease

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in the waiting, still You are good.

we’ve all been there. that place in “the waiting.” where we’ve had plans, dreams, questions, roadblocks, heartache, [insert your “waiting” purpose here]. there’s really nothing glamorous about it.  tiring? character building? pull-your-hair-out frustrating? yes. but, glamorous? not so much.

when I think of seasons of waiting I also think of some form of silence. where some thing or question is lying in wait for resolution or response.  there is resolution on the horizon or at least hoped for, but it hasn’t come. not yet.

for nearly a year now, I have wrestled in this place of waiting. often feeling as though there was silence, but also knowing {but needing to remind myself} in the midst of this tension that my Maker is good. that even in the midst of constant pain and having my activities decided by my health day-to-day, my Father decides my future.

I’m not always able to make it to church, but in the last couple of months each time I have sat in those seats it has been such a sweet, sweet time with Jesus. in the midst of this waiting, my soul has been refreshed and cared for through worship, teaching, and people laying their hands on Trevin and I to pray for healing, strength and rest.

in a recent Sunday, we sang the lyrics below…and, well, I cried through the lyrics with an arm raised, but my heart was swelling in song with every word. it’s a reminder that it is here in the waiting, wherever that is for you, that still we can know our God is good. from this waiting, though it feel like darkness – he. will. lead. us.

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what You begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through ‘til the end
You see it through ‘til the end

The Lord our God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness
You will lead us
And forever we will say
You’re the Lord our God

In the silence, in the waitingStill we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good
Yes, we can know You are good

We won’t move without You
We won’t move without You
You’re the light of all
And all that we need

{you can listen to the Lord our God, by Kristian Stanfill HERE}

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