Letting God’s Love Enter Christmas Eve

 

Christmas Eve is the last Sunday of Advent this year, which is the love candle. No candle is more fitting for this day. Advent and Christmas have their roots in the love of God. Furthermore, Christ calls us to receive this love and give it away to those we encounter.

 

Christmas Eve is the high of anticipation of the Christ child yet shares the magic of Christmas day in a special way. An opportunity to cherish Christ, furthermore, to spend quality time with Him. Out of love God gave His Son, Jesus, who is love. Our hearts overflow with praises simply for the Miracle God chose to give us, His beloved Son.

 

Our lives are messy and we are damaged at best. God looks past it all calling you His child, His beloved. His desire this Christmas Eve is for you, sweet friend, to offer up all that you are, your flaws and brokenness, and rest in Him. There is nothing you need to do. He longs for you to rejoice in the gifts He has given you. For you to receive His love.

 

Let go of the need for perfection. Release the stress of making this the best Christmas ever. Let go of unrealistic expectations. Invite Jesus to be in the center of all you do today and tomorrow. Pause. Rejoice. Express your gratitude in each moment. Cherish the time with the people around you. Savor the simple moments.

 

Lord Jesus,

 

Messiah. Counselor. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. The government rests upon Your shoulders. Immanuel. Our healer, provider, safe place, peace, and source of life.  Righteous and victorious. You, fully God became fully human for our sake taking the sins of the world on Your shoulders and demonstrating love beyond comprehension. We rejoice in Your birth, in Your love, all You have given us through the cross, and that You will come again.

 

Silence our minds this Christmas Eve. Let us be aware of Your presence today and tomorrow. Allow us to receive Your present of Salvation and love. Let us live in Your love. Open our hearts to Your presence and love. Enable us to breathe Your praises moment to moment and to hear You whisper in simple moments. All honor, glory, and praise belong to You, Lord Jesus, now and forever.

 

Amen

 

 

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Christmas Cookies

Baking is an enjoyable part of the Holiday season. I have been extremely spoiled, every season there is something homemade my mom makes for us from applesauce to pies to cookies to candy. I always enjoyed assisting her in baking, especially during the Christmas season. It has been difficult for me to bake on my own because of POTS and a lack of energy. I am going to share some cookie recipes with you. Some are spoonie friendly, others just taste good and are worth sharing.

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Low Spoon Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup of peanut butter

1 egg

1 cup of white sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Combine ingredients. Bake for about eight minutes

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Philly Cream Cheese Cookies

I simply love these cookies. They are different than the norm but festive and delicious.

Ingredients:

1 (8 ounce) package of Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup of softened butter

1 cup of powdered sugar

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon mint extract

Combine ingredients. Allow dough to chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325. Bake 10-12 minutes. Makes about three dozen cookies.

Shortbread:

More of a classic type cookie. I love simple cookie recipes. They can allow those with chronic illness who are sensitive to take part in the cookies. I am not gluten-free but have a lot of abdominal issues and this cookie always sits well.

Preheat oven: 350

1 cup of butter

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup of cornstarch

Being on your feet for too long is draining. I recommend sitting while making cookies. Using an electric mixer can help conserve energy as well. Take breaks in between, if needed. Rember there is nothing wrong with getting help baking or having someone bake for you 🙂

My family and I love this Gingerbread Cookie Recipe by Trisha Yearwood.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring
  • Nonstick cooking spray, for the baking sheets and rolling pin

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the cookies: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the shortening and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, vinegar, and egg and beat on high speed to blend thoroughly.

Sift together the ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and 4 cups of the flour in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed shortening and sugar and mix to make a firm, manageable dough, adding more flour if needed. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

Then the super fun part! Cut cookies into tons of fun Christmas shapes using cookie cutters. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes.

What are your spoonie baking tips? What is your favorite Christmas Cookie recipe?

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Happy Thanksgiving day, sweet friend! My prayer is that today overflows with joy. I also pray that your heart overflows with thankfulness as you remember all the ways that the Lord has greatly blessed you this year. Try to think outside the box when counting your blessings. There are always more things to be thankful for than you are aware of.

Come face-to-face with God, and give thanks;  with loud and joyful voices, praise Him in songs.” Psalm 95:2 The Voice Translation

Sovereign Lord,

I rejoice in Your name joining heaven in blessing Your mighty name. I am in awe of Your love, grace, and compassion. Your ways are flawless and beyond my comprehension. I adore You. I love You from the depths of my soul as complete as I know how.

Forgive all the ways that I have fallen short of Your glory. I am undeserving of all these good gifts you have bestowed upon me. Thank you for looking beyond my faults and for lavishing me in Your mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

Allow me to focus on You throughout this lovely day because You are the source of all gifts. Without You, I would have nothing to be thankful for. Hallelujah. Worthy are You, Jesus of all honor, glory, and praise. You have been faithful in providing for me and blessing me beyond my understanding.

Let me slow down entering fully into each moment with a heart of gratitude. Help me to cherish each moment. I praise You for the details of this Thanksgiving. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the people that surround me, for the food in front of me and all the hands who helped it reach my plate, the lessons You have taught me this year, all the ways You have provided for me, and for this day to celebrate.

Thank you for giving Your son Jesus Christ, for Your holy and living Word, my personal relationship with You, and for my salvation. I praise you for the opportunity to serve You. It is a joy to worship You.

Amen

A Prayer for a Life of Thanksgiving

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“How good it is to give thanks to the Eternal and to praise Your name with song, O Most High;  To speak of Your unfailing love in the morning and rehearse Your faithfulness as night begins to fall.” Psalm 91:1-2

Lord,

I adore You, how I love You. Cherishing who you are I offer worship from the depths of my soul to You. I treasure Your living  Word. Your beauty surpasses all words. Magnificent creator. Author of Salvation, through Your sacrifice beyond human comprehension You have brought me by Your blood, calling me Your beloved child. In You I  have everlasting life. You constantly poured out countless gifts beyond what I deserve, furthermore, far beyond what I deserve. All honor, glory, power, and praise belong to You now and forever more. Blessed be Your glorious name.

The to-do list dictates my time. My emotions wildly running dictate my reactions. My pain dictates my thoughts. I hurry- thought scattered- overwhelmed-depleted. Senselessly rushing another day without ever savoring a moment. Neglecting the gifts you have bestowed on me; I take so much for granted. I do not understand the depths of each gift and many I cannot see. Lord Jesus, have mercy. Forgive my ungrateful heart and lavish on me Your stunning grace.

Thank you from the depths of my soul for providing for me. I praise You for my relationship with You, Your Word, and Your character. Thank You for creatively and compassionately knitting me together and for the purpose You formed me for.  I praise You for this season of life. Thank you for investing in me, loving me, and forgiving me. I praise You for the blessings I neglect to see, those I am unable to understand, and the ones I have acknowledged, though not enough.

Enable me to slow down… to pause and reflect on Your goodness. Help me to recognize and say thank you for a few gifts. Fill me with thanksgiving every moment of every day. Let me live by Jesus’ example offering a gift of thanksgiving to You in the midst of unspeakable pain. Allow my thanksgiving to bring glory to Your holy name.

Amen

Dysautonomia Awareness & Update

Happy Dysnamonia awareness month! If you are unfamiliar with Dysnamonia please check out my blog post Dysautonomia Awareness. There are at least 15 types of Dynamonia, with POTS being the most common.  A few others are Neurocardiogenic syncope, Multiple system atrophy, and Familial dysautonomia.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome was not recognized until 1993. Beforehand, individuals with the illness were misdiagnosed many times with anxiety. It is thought that there are a group of individuals who outgrow POTS.

It can be challenging to stabilize an individual with dysautonomia. Without proper treatment, it significantly decreases an individuals quality of life. I received my POTS diagnosis three years ago. It has impacted my life in ways that I would have never guessed.

My POTS has been out of control from the start (it has been acting up majorly this month which is why this post is so late). We attempted a blood pressure medication, which I didn’t tolerate. Then we did a beta blocker. Next, we did IV fluids, which by the way has been the best treatment I have received. Then we went back to what I like to call live at your own risk till we come up with a new idea.

The typical go-to list of eating salt, compression stockings, drinking insane amounts of water, and pace yourself has not been enough for my body. Of course, I do my best with the non-medication list for POTS people. Yet, my blood pressure would bottom out a few times a day. The effects of this are anywhere from dizzy spells to chills to passing out to falling to tremors.

Needless to say live at your own risk hasn’t been going all that well. I find it dangerous for me and those around me find it scary. At this stage of my life, I don’t find passing out to be scary period. I am more frustrated with needing to slow down even more and the injuries that occur when I don’t have a warning.

I began seeing one of the few POTS specialists in my area about a month ago. A week ago I failed my second tilt table. I had been skeptical doing another tilt table on high doses of steroids but my body surprised me when I passed out ten minutes into the test. They took some blood work during the tilt table and once those results are in we will examine what options I have for a new medication.

In addition, he is thinking there could be a mast cell factor which is kinda extremely long to explain so that’ll be in another post. The doctor did mention, after my last fainting spell, that there could be an element of the heart slow

I find it amazing beyond words that all of my pets are able to figure out when I will have an episode. My cats will try to get me to sit down or get my walker. Abby, my service dog in training will alert me and then get my mom. I have spoken to several professionals and no one is certain how they pick up on it. But I am thankful. In general, with the four of them, I have had fewer falls. It is once in a blue moon that they miss it or I lay down and still pass out.

 

*Photos from the Dysnamonia foundation photo contest.

Thoughts of A Spoonie

My life is so different from those typical my age. I cherish all I am blessed with. However, there are times it is difficult watching people when I am out or on social media. Girls laughing at the mall without a care in the world. Not needing to think about passing out or taking medication. People going forward with life. Getting engaged. Getting married. Expecting children. In a way, I feel left out.

I came home from college and began a hard fight. Everyone else enjoyed friends and learning. I fought my body. Fought the pain. Fought just to stay alive. I have learned valuable lessons. I have begun serving in ministry. I wouldn’t trade these priceless blessing for anything. Yet some days I crave a normal life.

It is okay to be in between loving your life and grieving what never happened. It is to me a normal element of the spoonie young adult world. The emotions are hard to process at times, but my friend, you are doing an amazing job! Allow yourself to feel.

Move forward one moment at a time. Celebrate the small victories. Embrace each moment of joy. Thanks for stopping by.

20 Facts

20 Random Facts About Me: Chronic Illness Addition:

  1. I have been admitted to the hospital three times
  2. I know how to do self-injections
  3. My right arm is significantly longer than my left one
  4. My joints pop out of place a few times a day
  5. I am on my third dose of Remicade. It is making a difference already.
  6. I am hypermobile. I have learned this is more than I thought.
  7. I have three kidneys as well as chronic stones
  8. I have tremors or muscle spasms which are thought to be Dysautonomia related. They are painful as well as irritating.
  9.  Being chronically ill has altered my skin color.
  10. I have moon face.
  11. At times I stand or walk on the sides of my feet (it has gotten dramatically better with age)
  12. Currently, I am loving my stuffed dog that is microwaveable with a lavender scent. My twin friends, who are four from Chruch named him Cuddles. Anytime I am going out I heat it up and bring it with me. Excellent for joints or abdominal pain.
  13. I have developed sensitivities to bleach, laundry soap, dishwasher soap, and additional cleaning products. We use Seventh Generation and Lysol.
  14. I have had five surgeries
  15. I have applied for a service dog and have begun thinking about names.
  16. It is less painful to eat. Somedays I’m not hungry but then I just grab a drink if I need something like ensure.
  17. I get a butterfly rash and anxiety before extreme pain or a flare of symptoms.
  18. I use elbow crutches or a wheelchair at times
  19. I have had a concussion
  20. My cats help my anxiety