Monday, May 23, 2011

Slowing Down...My Arthritis and Working for the Lord

For the Laundry Room. Work for the Lord 8 by 10 print
Emily Burger Designs on Etsy
Love her stuff!  Take a look!

Hi all!   I hope you have been doing so well and enjoying life.   This verse speaks volumes for me right now, as we are experiencing a bit of a whirlwind around here lately.  I have to remind myself constantly that each step I take...I am working for the Lord.  Every little moment at a done by working for the Lord.  I thought it might be a great time to give you a little update. 

We have enjoyed some inconsistent sunshine lately, and it has been a welcome change from the constant downpours we've been experiencing for quite some time now.  Spring hasn't quite sprung around here fully, and by golly, it is almost summer.  So, here's to hoping that summer will come in all of its glory and stick around for...well...for the summer!  

Here's little buddy and I on Mother's Day.  We look a little disheveled after running around in my parent's backyard blowing bubbles.  Please forgive us.

Anyhoo, you may have noticed that I have not been posting as much lately, and that I also have not been visiting you all as often as I like to...making comments on all of your beautiful projects, recipes, life stories, and giggle inducing posts.  Well, here's why.  My arthritis (you can get caught up HERE) has come back (the joint pain is not just the inconsistent flare is here, every morning, every day, and every night).  I, along with the Mr. and my Super Duper Little Buddy, are working on navigating what that means for our family.  

I am finding most of my joint pain stemming from my neck muscles being severely tense and tight, my clavicle, sternum, shoulders, hips, fingers sometimes, toes on occasion, and a lot of the bones that make up my feet.  Now this may sound weird, but I am so THANKFUL!  Last time I experienced severe arthritis, I also suffered from plantar fasciitis, which not only created severely intense and sharp pain in my feet and heels, but also the inability to walk and get about at all.  I was crippled.  As of now, plantar fasciitis is not an issue for me, so even though I do have a lot of joint pain, it is not quite as severe and devastating as my previous experience.  Hallelujah!  I am remembering to just take my time when attempting to walk somewhere or get something done, one foot in front of the other, one moment at a time.  Sitting for long periods of time does in fact make the pain more prevalent though, especially when I go to get up, and in the evenings, that's all my tired and aching body seems to want to do.  What a conundrum!

I'm moving a bit more slowly, and therefore, life in general has slowed down a bit for me lately too.  Ya know, one thing I can say is this...slowing down isn't always a bad thing.  It can open our eyes to the little everyday miracles that we so often overlook when we're on the fast track of life.  Sweet little thank yous from my little buddy, smiles and giggles when I stay sitting with him instead of getting up to go get something done, opportunities to practice patience, empathizing with others who are experiencing pain and hardship, longer snuggles in bed, my little buddy offering me one of his "buddies" (stuffed animals) to make me feel better, the joy of accomplishing one task and having that be enough, the blessings of letting someone else do "it" for me...there are so many.


Every moment I feel a burst of energy or a slight relief in pain, I am trying to clean up, organize, think ahead, and do something that will help the day move along more smoothly for us as a family.  It's hard to say, but I am really aiming to do the bare minimum in a day.  Many of my household chores and To Do List projects have been left undone or inconsistently addressed for quite some time now as my arthritis has slowly gotten worse.  Just think of all the little things you do throughout your day to keep your family moving steadily along...things you don't even think about...things you just automatically do and use your body to perform.

Doing the laundry...bending, lifting, folding, hunching
Grocery Shopping...lifting, loading, unloading, carrying kids, walking 
Ironing...leaning, swiping, standing, repeat
Doing the dishes...unloading, loading, standing, washing, hunching, bending
Preparing meals...hunching, chopping, standing, stirring, repeat
Cleaning the floors or counters...hunching, scrubbing, wiping, bending, kneeling
Changing the bed sheets...tugging, stretching, pulling lifting, tucking, hunching
Running to Target for a few things...loading, unloading, walking, reaching, standing
Picking up toys...bending, grabbing, holding, carrying, lifting, scooting, kneeling
Gardening...walking, bending, kneeling, pulling, pushing, hunching, standing, digging
Walking up the stairs...with a kid, without a kid, one time, ten times
Heading to the Playground...pushing, lifting, bending, running, walking

All the tasks you do without even thinking, as if your body just takes you through the motions, these are the things that constitute my big decisions for the day.  Every little movement requires a thought and a decision.  Can I do this?  Is it worth it?  Can it wait until later?  Just the simple tasks of every day living can feel a bit overwhelming and be very taxing on my body...and that is all the stuff you don't even think about usually...what about the fun?  The playing?  The packing to go somewhere?  The adventures that require walking?  Shopping for a new pair of shoes or pants?

Brian helps as much as he can, but with his new job, he is leaving the house around 5/5:30AM and hoping to make it into bed by 9PM (and even that's a little late) so he is not a walking zombie the next day.  Poor guy hasn't gotten enough sleep.  My parents and in-laws are amazing and offering to help us with whatever we need...meals, cleaning up, name it...they are offering to help.  It's not always easy for me to ask for help, but I am ready and willing to take them up on any offers to help lately, and they are graciously offering so much.

I am finding one of the toughest tasks as my arthritis has returned is managing being a stay at home Mom (forget about being a stay at home housekeeper) of a two year old who finally decided it was time to be normal (tantrums galore around here)...and this alone brings a whole level of exhaustion and patience testing on its own.  I sure love my little man...but this normal phase that most kids and parents experience is turning into one heck of a nightmare at times for this aching and not quick to move around mama.  He is doing well with playing independently and understanding when I say I can't "play" with him because my body has owies, but what Mom wants to say that to their little buddy every single day?  THAT gets tough.

Our plate is full at this time, and yet, we are plugging along.  I am experiencing arthritis with a whole heap of history, understanding, gratitude, and patience that comes from going through this before and knowing what to expect.  But I dare to say don't let that statement fool you because life is definitely not all rainbows and butterflies right now either, as we are working through this time with a lot of frustration, exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, helplessness, uncharted territory (being an arthritic stay at home mom with a two year old...before, it was just B and I), and concern.  

Now, I should assure you, not every day is horrible.  In fact, I am thankful to be experiencing a lot of good days...days where there is pain, but I am still able to move about and tackle life a bit.  I would say, however, that the good days lately are also met by quite a few rough ones in terms of being able to function properly/productively as a stay at home mom/wife/cook/housekeeper.  It's a daily struggle to maintain a positive mental attitude, as that can be my biggest enemy at times.  

I do have an appointment with a new rheumatologist scheduled soon, as my previous doctor is no longer practicing here, and so I am hoping to start fresh, talk about some options for pain relief, and just go from there.  One hurdle for us is that we would love to get pregnant and add to our family.  Getting pregnant hasn't come easy for us in the past.  It took a year to conceive Cooper, and it is proving an equally as lengthy attempt this time.  Unfortunately, we have seen my arthritis pain simply worsening during this time.  Eek!

The route of finding pain relief might be tricky for me.  Remicade is what I took previously for my arthritis, but it has not been around long enough to have the data to prove it's safety for women who are pregnant or the safety of the unborn child.  Many of the other arthritis drugs out there are so toxic, and nowhere close to being safe for women who are pregnant or hoping to get pregnant, so this is going to be an interesting road to investigate.

Although I am stealing a few moments to blog or catch up on reading, sitting at our computer is not as easy for me as it was previously, and without a laptop to blog with while lounging in bed at night, I am just not finding sufficient time to really keep up lately.  I was having so much fun trying to post almost daily.  Through blogging I have been so inspired and encouraged, and at the same time, have LOVED sharing Hallelujahs with all of you...hoping to inspire and encourage you in return.  I think it makes sense to slow down a bit.  I am sure everyone experiences seasons in life...and for me, this season presents itself as a good time as any for a bloggy slowdown.  I still look forward to posting here and there...but probably just not so vigorously and consistently right now.  When I am able to dig right in, I will do so, and as I am struggling a bit to balance it all...I will do a little less.  I will still be sitting here, thankful for each of you, and looking forward to all the future Hallelujahs that will make their way into our lives.

I thank you for your inspiration, and send you my biggest hugs.  You all serve as such encouragement to me.  I tell ya.  Every little thing I'm doing lately, I can't help but be so thankful that I have hands and feet to do it with, that I am loved, that I am alive, that I am surrounded by grace...and continue to plug away...trying to remember to do it all for the glory of God.  Although struggling physically right now, I do feel so blessed, and I know not everyone is so fortunate to have some of these joys afforded to them.  

Is there anything you are working for...putting your efforts and heart toward...all for the sake of man right now?  Is there anything that you could slow down to take a moment to rearrange your that you are working for the Lord?  Not yourself, not others, not because of obligation, not just to make it through the day, not for money, not for power, but for the joy of the Lord?  Giving your all for Him, to Him, because He deserves it and because He calls us to do so?

Whatever you do, 
work at it with all your 
as working for the Lord, 
not for men.
Colossians 3:23

I pray that you have a moment to contemplate this for yourself, that you are experiencing joy in your every day, and that you can slow down and catch a few everyday miracles for yourself.

Many blessings to you friends!  
I'll catch ya soon!  Life is good!

PS - As I finish writing this, I feel like today is a GOOD day.  Yay!  Some pain, but nothing severe.  I am ready to tackle this moment at a time!


  1. i had no idea! sending you the biggest hug i can!!! i am in complete awe of what you are going through and your wonderful thoughts of it all...stay positive!! you are in my thoughts and prayers!!! and i truely beleive that your little boy will not rememeber his "mommies owies" but the love that you have for him!!

  2. You are such a sweet inspiration of faith ... waiting on God on a moment by moment basis. Your list of moving that I just take for granted made me pause ... have I thanked God lately for just being able to fold the laundry? Nope!

    Thanks for the reality check ... blessing and health to you!

  3. So sorry to hear of what you are having to deal with Holly. There is no doubt about it, adversity is sent to those who can deal with it and I am so impressed to hear of your positive attitude ( not the easiest when you are dealing with constant pain and trying to raise a two year old!! Unfortunately when we are dealt lemons we have little choice other than to make lemonade! Thoughts and prayers are with you. Simone xxx

  4. Oh Holly! I am so sorry that you've been struggling recently. I can only imagine what a day in your life is like right now but I'll be definitely praying for you.

    Thank you for the last part of this post. I've been struggling with things in my life lately and you've helped me realize that I need to do things to glorify the Lord and not others. It actually brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for allowing the Lord to work through you!

    Better days are ahead my dear!

  5. Just reading this, Holly, and praying for you and your fam. It really stinks that the RA is back and I'll be praying for you guys as you navigate this. Blessings to you guys!


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