Monday, April 30, 2012

Learning ways to rise above the Pain...

During the past few days, all I have been able to think about is Pain-and feeling so completely helpless as I watched my body being drained of any remaining energy-all because I was stubborn and had to push myself way beyond my pitiful endurance levels.  There is a saying "Payback can be Wicked!"

When Pain is raging in your body, its very easy to "forget" a promise made-because Pain is In Your Face-beating your body, and not showing any mercy.  Thats where I have been the past few days as it hit me, I had forgotten a promise made to my husband-to get out of the house and  take a drive to a beautiful place in Austin,tx-called the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  Its a place of sheer natural beauty for generations to visit. I urge you to bring it up on the Internet and view this amazing place.

But when I got out of bed this morning-my body was screaming at me, saying "Quick, I need a heating pad, ice pack, Muscle Relaxer-actually I need a do-over of the last two days" and of course I had forgotten the promise I made to my dear husband.  About mid-day I suddenly realized the house was just a bit too quiet and so I found my way to his office and gently asked "So, when do you want to leave for the Wildflower Center?"  Let me just say, his sudden Stare at me told me so much-obviously I had forgotten about going and had been too consumed with the Pain Battle.

He looked at me and said "Seriously, look at how much you are hurting, there is NO way that trip is going to happen!"   I could see the frustration in his eyes and definitely heard  his words.  After this many years of marriage, a time like this calls for a complete turn-around by Martha-and so I looked right back at him and said " Well I will be dressed and ready to go in Ten Minutes!"  He was temporarily at a loss for words and came back at me "Now Martha-you know there is No way your body can do this today!"

It was a gentle "throw-down challenge" as I glanced back at those loving eyes of his and said "Just watch me!"  I left his office, got dressed and returned to stand there, fully dressed, with my fingers lightly drumming across the top of his desk as I asked him "So-what's Your Excuse?"  We grabbed each other, hugging with delight, knowing we had beaten Pain today-actually I think we gave it a "Texas Slam Dunk" of sorts.

Our trip was filled with taking photos, getting ideas of flowers we would like to plant in our garden area, and
above all, it was filled with the simple joy of being together.  As we were finishing our lunch, my husband took a long look at me and said "You know, when I first saw how bad you were feeling this morning, I decided to just give this day up and do nothing-but You did it-By God's Grace, you rose above that Pain for a bit and we had some fun!"  Lets just say-For me, It doesn't get Any Better than this day.

I give God all the credit for this day-and every day of my life.  Yes I walked around with Pain right beside me today, but my Husband was also there, holding my hand as we took in nature's beauty that only God can create.  Yes-this entire day was filled with Joy and love, and I will keep learning new ways to push past my Pain.  My prayer is for you to have just a second or a hour or a day-in which you can stand up against the Pain that you fight.  God bless each of you.  Martha

The Mistake of ignoring Pain...

Being a grown woman with a logical head on my shoulders-tells me  I know after all the years of suffering about things I can't do, should not attempt to do, and even those where I should run away from quickly!  That last one has the strongest impact on my body and usually I stay away from that one, due to so many Pain-filled lessons learned when I cast the fear aside and tried to do one of those tasks I had put away and then paid the Price for trying again to be the Old Martha.

Chronic Pain has so many "Parts" attached to it- my Pain List is long: Burning Sciatica-which I do believe if I got near a pile of aged wood, all I would need do is simply Stand still, and with a snap of my fingers, the flames around my leg would reach out and start a big fire! One thing I keep learning is how different Pain is for each person-mine is no worse than someone else who is suffering-and many are suffering in total silence. That aspect is heart-breaking for me as I have been there and its a rough road to travel along.  

So you might be wondering, "well, what made you ignore Pain this time?"  Oh that answer is simple-its Spring time here in Central Texas and everything is blooming, including weeds that don't belong in a flower bed, over-grown plants that need pruning and all that was needed to this mix was a hard-headed woman who suffers with Chronic Pain and decided to get outside and work like I once did, trimming shrubs, lifting a large watering can, moving a rock out of way (small one-least I remembered to keep it small) and after two long days of this, my old friend Pain showed up and simply "Flattened Me!"  As I moaned and ached, all I could think was "Why did I make this mistake Again?"  Not too hard to figure the answer out, I still wanted to be Me again, but my actions put me in  my chair and I looked like a big truck had mowed me down!

As I was getting dressed this morning to attend church with my husband, all I could think was "This Pain Is Driving Me Nuts- I just want to stay Home" but pushed that thought aside and quickly got dressed.  As I dragged my body into our car, slamming the door behind me, I turned to ask dear husband "Well how do I look?"  God bless this man- I treasure his honesty as he looked at me with love and concern, saying 
"You know, I watched you walking out of the house and thought, My Wife is so pretty-and she would really glow if a Smile was on her face!"  His words were not meant to hurt me but they helped serve as my reminder of making the choice to Ignore my Pain and now the Price of doing it had to be paid.

For anybody who fights this battle of Chronic Pain in their lives, each one of us must find our way to accept the limitations Pain brings to each of us.  We don't have to Like this fact, but instead we each have to learn in our own time a way to acknowledge Pain being with us. None of this is easy-but for me, I choose to keep learning the lessons-because Pain Won't Beat Me-that fact is burned deep within me and I simply refuse to give up. As these last two days drew to a close, my Joy Moment showed up this morning-as I realized each time I moved,  the constant screaming of my muscles had eased. I took this "peace offering" and pray I will think twice before making this mistake again.

Keep looking upward, and know there will always be a Texas Prayer for you- from one who fights Pain every single day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lessons among the Flowers...

There is a lot to be said for living in a smaller town, everybody knows each other, latest news is usually at the local cafe and people do care and get worried if they haven't seen you in a while.  Yet just as with any other smaller community, our area is beginning to show the real signs of big growth and now we don't know everybody, instead find ourselves asking "Heh, have you seen those folks before?  Must be new to the area, bet they came here to get away from the big town!"

It seems our small town has just about everything you could want- we are very lucky to have a small garden center that is run by a local couple who truly love nurturing beautiful plants and  selling them to people.  This couple will be the first to tell a customer, "if you want plants that will Last, then drop in to see us, but if you buy from those Big stores, well-don't expect your plants to last long!"  I am sure folks have thought this can't be true, its just a sales-pitch, only to find out later-the Owner was right as you drag back in to the local store, with your head down, trying to say "Well, I-uh-well you were right! Now could I buy some of your plants?"  A big smile will fly across the face of the wife-who is there daily to water, prune, and love the plants as she walks among them.

I have known for a few years now that she suffers with Chronic Pain-when we see each other, its like this special "Pain Language" starts to fly and we bring each other up to date as to our latest struggles.  This lady is another "Pain Won't Beat Me" type of person-refusing to give in and let Pain take her away from what she loves to do-walking among the flowers, drawing inner strength as she pushes herself to do a task, no matter how bad she hurts at that moment.

Today I dropped in to the plant store with one goal, buy a few plants, get them home and in the ground, without help from anybody!  I walked around for quite a while, admiring all the spring beauty around me, bees buzzing, hummingbirds zipping around-the setting was so peaceful and it was fun to just linger there and drink it all in.

Suddenly the Lady sees me and says "Well, I haven't seen you in a month of Sundays (a texas twist) I was starting to get worried about you!  How are you doing these days?"  Then she stopped and said, "Do you mind if I sit down while we visit?"  My first Lesson-Pain had been a Frequent Visitor to her body and it showed in her slow walk, the quick need to sit down-as it hit me just how much Pain takes from a person and yet here was another person, obviously suffering and yet refusing to give up doing things she loved.

Lesson Two began-as I tried to offer words of comfort to her, instead she turned the questions toward me,
asking "So how are you doing, is your Pain better or worse?"  I didn't know how to answer her-if I said my Pain was worse, it felt as if I was trying to "best her" in some warped way and that was the last thing I wanted to do!  It was hard to find the words and I just mumbled something about "well it sure hasn't left me!"

Then she shared with me that her husband had also become a victim to Chronic Pain after having major surgery on his neck, from discs that were bulging and causing him to be in agony.  I listened as she described his days, the moments when Pain grips him, causing severe Muscle Spasms and how helpless she felt, not being able to do something to help him feel better.

Lesson Three was the one that had my full attention-she had been looking around at all the beautiful plants that she cares for and I noticed a look on her face-as if she were in some far off place that only a few can go to-and she told me "You know-when you are living with someone who is suffering just as bad as you are, well when the days come and all we can do is complain, fuss, cry, moan and groan-it actually helps because you know the person sitting across from you, understands exactly what you mean!"

I understood her message to me on this day-it was one filled with lessons to remind me about Chronic Pain-its not black and white-you can't see it-oh you can feel it-and yet its almost impossible for others to get true insight as to just how hard this fight can be.  As I gathered all my new plants and got ready to leave, she looked at me and asked "So are you going to get these in the ground today?"  My first thought was "You just watch me" but deep inside, there was a nagging doubt if I could manage getting it done.  She was reading my mind and told me "Tell you what-I am going to give them some extra water-that way it will be okay if they have to sit a day or two."  She knew the message my Pain was sending out with my own slow walk and a burning leg that has driven me to exhaustion.

There we stood, two women united by a common enemy-Chronic Pain-and it felt as if we had sent a silent message to each other- "Hang in there, Don't give up the fight, We can do this!"  I got home and by the grace of God and some very helpful Angels, I managed to get five plants in the ground and hope they grow.

My Joy today was two-fold, as I got to see so many beautiful plants and catch up with a fellow friend who suffers as I do-somehow I think we managed to lift each other up, just a bit.  That "bit" can go a long way in making it through the day.

God bless all who walk this hard journey.  Martha

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Can I help put the BURN out?

                                            Hands of Love Shtick-by Veronica Anderson

Well if anybody could "capture" the image of my lovely Butt, Leg and Foot Burning Pain, only Veronica could do it this well!  Yes the look on my face is "exactly" how I feel about this Pain and then I look to see the "loving hearts" extending from Veronica's Hands-knowing she is sending me a message the way only she can do-its her way of showing how she wishes my Pain would stop!

If I sat here forever and typed every word possible to describe the Burn-nothing does it better than this image does.  This Pain is constant and it does Burn as if there is a fire flowing up and down my leg.  I believe the basic medical term is "Chronic Sciatica" and let me tell you , its wicked.

This image came to me on a very special day-37 years ago, I married the love of my life and it still seems as if it were just a few days ago.  Yes the world around us has changed and without doubt, my old body has changed but our love has remained "constant!"  We did nothing special-actually my husband took the day off and went fishing!  Now I hear the voices rising "Heh, you should have spent this day together" and yet I felt such peace in seeing him leave for a while today, as it gave me time to rest and really travel back across the years in my mind, remembering that special day, how young we were and nothing seemed impossible for us back then.  We were ready to start our lives together and our feelings have not changed a bit.

If anything, all that we have been through together, well its brought us even closer-as if we know each other's thoughts before we speak them.  We also both knew with the Pain I am having, it would be next to impossible to enjoy doing anything special.  He gave me the BEST gift of all-I asked him last night what he now thinks of his old wife, beaten up by Pain, weary from the battle but refusing to give up the fight, and as always he took my hands and told me "I think you are still that beautiful woman I married and can't wait to grow older with you!"  I gushed and hugged him, telling him my heart feels the same for him.

Thank you Veronica-you did me a world of good today-matter of fact-you brought me my wonderful moment of JOY that I look for each day!

God bless you and keep looking up.  Martha

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rough days of Pain....

I look toward the distant sky-hoping there are some clouds growing dark, giving me the "common" reason as to why my Pain level has risen and seems to have no stopping point.  Nope-clouds are not dark, the sun is bright and here I am, in what we Texans call "Kick-Butt Pain" and the logic in my brain tells me "Heh Kid, you know how this works-so you just better dig in harder!"

My mind was running over things I could do-maybe even push myself a bit further and suddenly it hit me "I know a job I can handle-its sitting just outside the door of my office in the yard, waiting for somebody to take it out of the way!"  Wow, I was off and scrambling to find tools I hadn't touched in a long time, but found them and finally stood face to face with my job-tearing the Dog House down we had built many years ago for our Dog who passed away a few years ago.

God is amazing as to how He watches over me-I started this project with such gusto, not even thinking as to where my dear husband might be, only knowing I was going to get this job done and show him I still had some strength left in me.  Silly me, as I began pulling boards off, throwing them out of my path of work, he stood quietly out by our barn, watching me, waiting to see if I fell, which is what we both dread the most and yet giving me all the space I needed to try to do this task.

Less than thirty minutes later and only a few boards removed, I had dragged my aching body back to the house, grabbing a glass of water, stretching out in my chair, and realizing "Martha-Your Pain is still here, what do you think will happen if you keep going back out there?"  I simply shook those thoughts away and headed back to the old Dog House again.  I finally managed to get the roof taken loose, after pulling, tugging, struggling with the last of my remaining strength  and as Pain began to scream at me, I threw all my tools on the ground and slowly walked toward the barn where my husband still stood, watching me.

I can't put into words how much it bothered me to let these words come out of my mouth, and saying them felt worse "Heh, Husband-guess you have seen what I decided to work on, right!"  He was very silent and said "Yes, so how is it going?"  It was a low moment-but I knew the answer and said "Its Not going at all and if you don't mind, I could use your help-because if I keep going like this, we both know what will happen!"

Long story short-He knew it was time to step in and we both finished the old Dog house off.  Later as I was sitting with him on our front porch, I asked him "So tell me how pitiful it looked as I struggled out there" and he was wonderful but honest "Martha-it looked like you just kept walking around it, trying so hard to pull a board off  and then you would do the same thing again!  I was just waiting-and praying you would stop and realize, you were in over your head."

He was so very right and the only reason I had even started this job was to do something, anything that would take my mind off this miserable Pain.  I have my normal moans and groans, but try to keep the real complaining to a minimum if possible.  Lately-I can't even do that because this Burning in my Butt that then runs all the way down my leg and then takes every bit of my foot and just keeps Burning , day and night-well it's taken a lot out of me.

Pain is so tough on the body-and thats why I know the importance to keep trying, don't just give up completely-yet I will be the first one to say there are many days where I will just do a lot of NOTHING.

I learned a lesson with the Dog House-a painful lesson and will not try that again.  God gives me free will and Chronic Pain is a daily lesson of learning-how to handle these tough days, how to let go of things I loved doing, how to face the reality of my life with Pain, and most of all, be thankful for how much God loves me.

Thanks for letting me ramble a bit-and please feel free to drop in and do the same.  I have a good listening ear, a burning butt and an open heart.  God bless all of you. Martha

Monday, April 23, 2012

Seeing a Loved One Suffer....

My precious Dad passed away on April 21, 2003-even though many years have passed by, for me it still seems as if it were just a few days ago.  He was completely "present" till the very end-I knew the time would come one day when his body simply couldn't hold on, but I was stunned when it did happen.  We had spoken to each other that morning as I was headed to the Pain Clinic for Injections-praying as always for some relief to help me re-group-and get prepared to go another "Twelve Rounds" with Pain.    I recall my Dad telling me that morning as we spoke on the phone "Well Sister, I think that old Leg Pain is gonna stay with you for the rest of your life!"  My heart was silently agreeing with him, but my head was thinking, "I will fight this Pain until there is nothing left of it" but knowing-This Pain is BIG-and since the awful day I fell from that tree-it has never Left my body-so my sweet Dad knew exactly what he was saying.

I find myself reflecting backwards today-and wonder how my Dad felt as he watched his daughter go through so much Pain-realizing there was nothing he could do for me, but pray and love me.  Maybe God didn't want me to understand it at that time, but now-I see us both as a "reflection of each other" suffering with physical Pain, hurting so much, taking such a toll on our bodies, and I am sure he had moments of just wanting to quit, but the "fighting spirit" within him and passed to me, kept us both from giving up.

It is not my intent to make it appear as if we were both major "Warriors" as we fought our Pain, because there were many times when I would see Dad, knowing his smile was gone,  and watching him looking way far into some distant place-longing for all the joys of life he once had in his grasp, now gone and his body so frail.  The night he passed, I had to walk inside the Assisted Living Center on a walker, as my legs were so numb from  injections done that day-and I found myself silently thinking "Wow, this must really look weird!"  What I didn't know was that when a patient was near death, all the other residents were quietly escorted to their rooms, giving total privacy for the family-and also sparing  the residents from thinking "Well, another one is leaving, wonder when it will be my Turn?"

I would have done "anything" to push away the suffering my Dad went through-but he had been a heavy smoker for over 50+ years, each time as he would light up another one, suddenly this terrible hacking cough would arrive as I told him "Daddy, Please stop smoking, Please!"  He would pause while fighting for a breath of clean air and tell me "Yep Sister, you are right, but I can't quit-just been doing it for too long!"  From that day on, I never fussed at him again because he had spoken the Truth so clearly to me and I did not want a single second of our time being taken up with fruitless pleadings. There are things we just have to accept-no matter how much we wish they could be different.

Shortly before he passed, a day came when our "Pains" united with each other-he had suffered a stroke that took his left foot away from a normal position and leaving it almost bent "crooked" and at times he would tell me "Dang this old foot is sure aching today Sister" as I would be thinking of ways to ease his Pain, while being vividly reminded of my own Pain, and feeling so helpless in my fight against it.
One day came that pushed me to help him, no matter how I had to do it, and without thinking I knelt down on the floor, gently taking his Foot and moving it back to a "more normal position" and holding it steady, not allowing it to move.  Daddy looked down at me, knowing how my own Pain was screaming at me while on the floor, and yet instant Relief flooded over him!  He smiled at me and gently said "Sister-thats the best its ever felt since that Old Stroke hit me"-as I fought back tears, telling him "Daddy, I would gladly stay right here and keep it this way so you don't have that Pain!"  

I can't imagine all that was going through his mind-but being the Parent, he spoke up and said "Now Sister, you know its only gonna hurt your body just as bad to stay there-so I think you and me are gonna have to tough it out and live with this Suffering!"  My heart broke as I gently allowed his foot to return in that horrible position, watching Pain slide across his face and as I pulled my body up, Pain arrived fast for me, giving me the same reminder my Dad had spoken of "We have to live with this Suffering!"

To this day I shall never forget the agony my Dad went through-but on this day of all days, I have looked back and God has opened a "window" for me-reminding me that I am Not Alone!  Today I say a prayer of Thanksgiving for God having given me such a wonderful Man that I was honored to call Daddy.  I know he is watching over me and now he is free from the suffering and Pain that once had him in its grasp.

My Joy on this day is simple-I am remembering my Dad and loving him as he resides peacefully in Heaven.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Revolving Doors of the Pain Clinic

When I plan on seeing my Pain Doctor at her office (which now includes a clinic) my bag includes a book, some New Embroidery Piece to work on, magazines-all of this to help pass the time because I know the wait to see her will be a Long one!  Its not because of over-booking patients-nothing except my Pain Doctor is very much in demand!  As we all sit waiting, shifting from one aching Hip to the other, someone will start a small complaint about the "Wait" and almost in unison-one after the other will start saying "Yes, its not fun to wait but lets all be honest, She is Worth the Wait!

Its unusual for me to see her on a Saturday-but this time was very needed-hoping we could  work out a mode of "Attack" to slow down the horrendous Burning in my Butt, Leg, Knee, Calf, Foot and each Toe. She knows this "Burning Sensation" has been a true source of nightmare Pain for me over these fifteen years.

We arrived an hour early and as my husband parked, I headed for the gleaming Revolving Doors. To my surprise, the doors did Not Open-so here I go, stepping up close, thinking this would do the trick-again, Nothing.  Now I was starting to feel frustration-as I had received a call earlier reminding me of my appointment time so I pushed my Face against those doors-allowing me to see a light on in my Doctor's Office.  Back to the doors I went, this time trying to Pry them apart with my hands (I hope nobody was watching) but they refused to move, and I  would back up, take a move toward the doors-with a silent command of "Open Up for Martha, Now!"

Frustration had left and Anger was brewing as I grabbed my phone and started punching in her office number, ready to give the person who answered a piece of my mind-only to hear a "recording-stating the offices were closed and to call back on Monday!"  My Anger was deflated in seconds-as I imagined trying to rant at a Recorded Phone Message-and so I backed up, almost trying to ram the doors, giving them a swift Kick with my foot!  My husband had now arrived as I explain "Heh, the doors will not open!  I have tried everything and they are Closed shut!  He is now pressed against the doors, looking for that "light" to tell him the Doctor is inside and of course he figured there would be no problem getting those doors open as his hands grabbed each side of the door and again, Nothing happened.

Then suddenly a person came walking toward us from the other side of the doors and like magic-Doors Opened for us, almost like a Red Carpet being rolled out!  I got registered for my appointment and asked the receptionist to just come out and Yell for me-I had no other place to go.  Sitting in the Lobby was where I learned about the Revolving Doors-A man comes walking up and before he could reach the doors, I stepped forward, making the doors open, then Bowing and telling him "Welcome to the Pain Clinic today"as he walked past me, probably thinking something is wrong with this woman-but my Husband answered his fears with, "Doors aren't Working!  As he passed by me, I saw the huge back brace that was supporting his body, noticing how slow he moved-my heart broke for him-as I clearly saw the Pain he carried with him.

I am always humbled when I see  physical suffering-that slow walk that says it all-meaning every part
of their body aches and knowing, they too had to sit and wait their turn.  My name was called and I had a moment to visit with a young lady who works with my Doctor, and I had to ask  "Do people get tired of waiting for the Doctor?"  Silly me, I knew that answer but was amazed at what this young woman came back with "Yes-we have people who get pretty Hot under the Collar, but the most amazing thing happens-when they see the Doctor, the anger vanishes-they feel relief, knowing this doctor will show them every ounce of compassion possible and will go the extra mile to help them find some relief."

It hit me about the Revolving doors on this long day-none of us like to sit and wait to see a Doctor. But when Chronic Pain has you in its grasp, you will wait-because your body is begging for  help.  I realized that perhaps God had given me a chance to Slow down- "Look through those Revolving Doors, go on and look beyond them-there are so many who suffer as you do."

When my Doctor walked in to see me, instead of hitting her with a barrage of "this hurts, this burns, its constant, I can't stand it, please Help me" I stopped-and saw the Human person in front of me. Her body showed the exhaustion, eyes weary from going over health records with patients-but then she raised her head and gave me a Smile that was filled with compassion and caring.  I told her "Just take a few minutes, stretch your legs out, I am not going anywhere and I know you must be so tired" and for a split second-we shared a look, as here sat the Patient-giving the Doctor advice!

I left there with my heart feeling so moved-as it hit me how much Pain I had witnessed-knowing Pain does not pick or choose-when its ready to grab you, there is no running from it-even if the Glass Revolving Doors are closed tight!  Last night I spent time offering prayers for my Doctor, asking Him to give her added strength and endurance as she continues in her work.

My moment of Joy came at her office as I shared my "Pain Won't Beat Me" Blog with my Doctor and watched her read-then having her look up to tell me, "Martha-I am so proud of you, this is wonderful work!"

God bless all who suffer with Pain-I do pray for you!  Martha

Friday, April 20, 2012

Disaster Waiting to Happen!

For anybody who knows me pretty well, they always say "If an accident can happen, Martha will probably be nearby!"  My dear husband never forgets our Wedding Anniversary as I start  a month ahead of time, reminding him "Heh-you know we are getting really close to our 37th Anniversary, Remember?"  He will give me a look as if to say "Do you really think I would Ever Forget the day we got Married?"  My heart soars from those words and we don't feel the need to impress each other with gifts, as we know our Marriage is the Best Gift we could ever have!

Yet I know he sees all the things I can't do and so he started talking about doing something "special" this time, asking me if I wanted to travel somewhere (yeh, me in a car, miserable from sitting after the first ten minutes" and he knew-bad idea, and moved on to ask me if I wanted something, maybe a new Television?  My dear husband-I could see his face-as it hit him "Oh No-lets see how FAST she grabs this idea" and yes-I was running with it.  We have an older television that seems to weigh about one thousand pounds and we had been talking about the fact it was getting close to never coming on again, and so I jumped on the idea and suggested we go the next day-just to "Look" at some televisions.

We did shop and found a new one within minutes-both of us knew this was what we wanted and did not waste time, but told the excited sales clerk "write the order up, lets get this moving" and we were out of there within an hour. All we could talk about while driving home was how much fun it would be to watch the news,special shows on this new television. Then reality set in as it us, the old monster television needed to be moved to make place for the new one-all I could think was "How in the world will we do this?"

We decided the time had arrived, me promising to not touch a thing, my husband would do it all and if the old machine dropped and broke, well perhaps it was Meant to be that way!  The First Disaster happened when my husband started moving the monster-as it started to slide and he was on the ground, in its path!  I stood frozen-as my husband got whacked by the fall, but he moved just in time for it to only hit part of his leg!  He stood up fast, making sure that nothing was broken and on we went.

It was a comedy of errors-we figured our elderly neighbors were watching and wondering "who will go down first" as we pushed and pulled the monster outside, and somehow My husband managed to load it on a trailer.  My husband was so happy- and invited me to "Jump up on the Trailer" and without a thought, I did!  Disaster had arrived again-the second I moved my bad leg to step up,  my back "Screamed at me" and I knew-PAIN just arrived again! I sat down, with my husband looking at me, knowing what had happened.   He just shook his head in frustration, wishing we had never tried this.  Now he wanted the job done-so we could get away from the old monster television but as he went to push it over so it would sit flat, Disaster was still waiting and suddenly the Monster had landed on his Foot!

"Oh dear, Did that Hurt?"  The look on his face was all I needed for an answer and so we limped back inside, searching for heating pads and Pain relief.  Thank Goodness, I will be visiting my Pain doctor in the morning-but HOW will I explain about the Monster Television!

Today Disaster took two victims-it will be nice to just lay around on the sofa and let our new wounds ease a bit.  My Joy for this day was simply being able to still walk!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pushing myself to SMILE...

This photo was taken of me shortly before the Wedding of my Dear Friend's Son was about to start.  I was blessed to help with the Rehearsal and in the background, stands some of the Groomsmen but you can't make them out.  Anybody who knows me is assured of one thing-Martha does Not like to have any picture taken of herself!  Now this is not for anybody to say "Oh Gee, You shouldn't feel like that" but its me being very honest! Underneath the makeup and fresh hairdo-is the body of a very tired woman who is in Pain and wants to go home, slip into some Pajamas and go to bed!  This was my "First" time to have my hair and makeup done professionly-but it didn't last long. We were walking into the Reception Hall as my husband says "Heh-what is that black thing hanging down from your eyes?"  Yep-False Eyelashes-making me suddenly feel like Lucille Ball in the Movie "Eight is Enough" with Henry Ford as she looks down to see a False Eyelash floating in her creamy Coffee Drink and mine were Tiny-but Aging eyes have a way of saying "Not today Dear!"

Now you must be thinking "if Martha doesn't like her picture being taken, then WHY is she posting one? I decided to do this for two reasons: First: this is a very happy SMILE on my face and second:  I am Not dressed in Black!  My husband had decided this would be one time when Martha was going to put some Color on, no matter what.  We spent hours at the local mall, with my him waiting patiently as I would try a Black outfit on, and just see him shake his head in a firm "No" and we would start all over again.  The amazing thing about my wedding attire was that while I was changing clothes at the mall, dear hubby walked all over the place and this is the outfit that He chose for me!

I think he was stunned to hear me say "Heh, I actually Like the way this looks" and that was all he needed, as he rushed to the counter to pay for it-probably with a fear if enough time went by, I would be back at the Black Pantsuit area, looking for something else.  He told me how proud he was to escort me into the church and I must say, he was the most wonderful "escort" I could ever dream of having.

Smiling-something that seems like it should come so natural-easy-straight from the heart, but when you are in the Chronic Pain Battle Valley-smiles seem to fade away, replaced  with deep lines in your face showing lack of sleep, too much Pain, worry, everything that is offered on the Chronic Pain Menu!  I have been told my Pain will be hanging around for a long time to come-even into my "Golden Years"-wait-my body is telling me I have already arrived at that spot!  Sometimes people will ask my age and I never hesitate but just throw out, "Oh I am 85-don't I look good for my age!"  They don't buy it for a second and behind my flippant remark is the unspoken one- "well I look like I am 85 because of all these years of Constant Pain beating against my body-heck-you should see me when I first get up in the morning-I promise you, its not pretty!"

But those words never come-instead I have learned to paste the "half-smile" on my face and people who really know me-understand to not ask how my day has been, because my face tells them the news is not great.  It would be pretty easy to get MAD about this-and I do mean MAD-but what purpose would that serve?  All I would be doing is wasting precious Time given to me and I choose not to do that.

Yes-many days come when I can't toss on the "Half-Smile"-heck I can't even find it, and could care less about trying to locate it.  A Smile is so pretty, sweet, loving, glowing-and can light up the world around us.  But being in Chronic Pain for so long-well its why I make the "Age Comment" about myself because I probably don't look like I am 85 but all of me feels "Much Older!"

I have gone back and forth in my mind about posting this photo-because I didn't want to do it for comments of praise about looking nice-instead I wanted to show this photo to serve as a reminder for myself "Heh, Martha-guess what-You can Still really Smile!  One more precious thing that PAIN will never completely take away from me!  Maybe one day, we need to get as many PAIN WARRIORS as possible, line up and when they say "CHEESE" for a photo- we all say "Have you lost your Mind?"

I pray you hold tight to the joy in your heart that brings a Smile to your face-Pain has No right to take that from anybody!  God bless you and keep looking up for Joy-mine has come today through the writing of this blog post.  Thank you God for letting me see my Smile!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lifting up a Pain Partner!

When a person suffers daily with Chronic Pain, you begin to think, "nobody feels like I do" and yet your mind tells you there are lots of unknown people who suffer with Pain- they might be living next door to us, or sitting beside us in church-we never know the Path others have to walk, and its pretty hard to get our minds away from our own miserable Pain Journey to think about others suffering.

I have a very dear friend whose husband suffers terribly with Chronic Pain-he has had numerous accidents, hip replacements, just too many times of his body getting roughed up and it has taken a huge toll on him.  We began our friendship by Praying for each other.  Each time I spoke with his wife, I would ask how he was doing and one day, I asked if He minded speaking with me on the phone.  We shared our "Pain Misery" with each other and I told him that from now on, He would be in my prayers every single day-and in turn, He promised to do the same for me.

We have stuck to our promise-and its almost like we can "sense" when one of us is really having a rough week. Sometimes I think we should both start doing the Weather Reports because when his Pain starts rising, he will comment "somebody is catching Hell somewhere tonight!"  His meaning is simple, there is bad weather breaking out as His body is throbbing-letting him know, Bad Weather is coming this way!

His wife will let him know when I am on the bad side of Pain and again, as my day drags on, there will come a second when My Pain seems to ease a bit-and my heart tells me "my good friend just prayed for me!" We both know there is no magical cure for our wounded body parts, nerves damaged with wicked scar tissue choking the nerve so badly, it makes us both want to just Scream and Beg for it to stop.  Yet our inner strength keeps going-as we both lean hard on our faith.

I spoke with him yesterday, asking how he was doing-but already knowing what the answer would be: He let me know things were not terrible, but definitely not great!  We talked briefly about the things we can do to stay occupied, trying so hard to keep our minds away from the Pain. It was a "Hang in there Buddy" Conversation and yet it ended in the most beautiful way; I assured him that he is always in my nightly Prayers and he assured me, Prayers are sent up to God by him each day-so that I can keep finding the courage to battle back against Pain.

We have a beautiful quiet "Spiritual Sharing" that happens each day and I know God hears both of us praying, doing our best to "Lift each other Up from the Pain Pit!" Its a Gift that can't be measured-or truly explained-but we both know God brought us together and we lean on each other in those rough times, always looking UP to God for help.

Today I pushed myself to get out of the house and go for a ride with my husband, knowing it was not going to be easy, but I found my way through it and something tells me, the prayers of my dear friend-they were the extra "HELP" I needed to get through the day.

I pray for all who suffer their own battle with Pain-just know-you are not alone!  Somebody is "Lifting" you up and hoping your day will get better.

God bless you. Martha

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My Rock!!

Well, Here is Matt & Martha!

This photo was taken at a Dinner this past weekend as we were part of helping with the Rehearsal!  Matt is a wonderful man-its just that simple.  I can tell you that when we married-almost 37 years ago, he had a FULL head of hair!  We have joked over the years as to WHY he lost his hair and came up with this:  With Me-well there are all types of situations and things happening that Matt would stop, and take his hand, pulling his hair back in frustration and thinking "What a Week I am having with my Wife!"  As the years went by, his remaining hair was going away FAST-and so I suggest he shave it off.  I had seen many men with a shaved head and found it "quite attractive" so he finally gave in, agreeing to go have it done.  But one night, he decided Martha needed a "surprise" and he comes walking out of the bathroom, and asks me "Well, what do you think?"

Oh my gosh-there he stands, not realizing that in his rapid shaving-lots of Pitiful patches were still left on his head and then as he turns around, All I can see is this solid WHITE area on the back!!  My brain is saying, "how am I going to be seen in public with this man?"  But being the loving wife, I smile big and tell him "I love the New Look!"  Something must have told him-"my wife is NOT telling me the truth" and he just stood there, waiting for the real Martha to show up and I did, by suggesting we both go back to the bathroom and help "Slay the remaining hairs!"

It all worked out, as he was outside the next day, getting a lot of sun to help the WHITE area blend with the rest of him.  Matt has had a mustache since we first met-and its been shaved off only TWO times in our marriage-he had to shave it when he entered the Police Academy, and about thirteen years later, shaved it off as he took a month off of work to study for the Detective Exam-and yes, he made Detective and we finally got to have weekends together!

We met at a Chili Cook-off in Sept. 1973-I was with a group of girls who went to high school with me and they were attending college in this town-but I could not go to college as my parents simply could not afford it.  We are all walking around and suddenly we see this booth with several "good looking men" laughing and cooking away on their Chili.  Everyone talked about going up to ask for a sample but none of them had the nerve-except for Me!  I went marching up there, long blonde hair flowing, tight fitting jeans and a smile on my face as I asked "Could I please have some Chili?"

My future husband stepped right up and gave me a sample of his Chili!  Of course I thought he was so handsome but what stood out the most was his SMILE!! I had never seen anybody that happy in my life-(probably helped that he had been enjoying a few beers) and we started talking-as my friends now wanted me to follow them.  I waved my hand toward them, saying I would find them later.  NOTHING was going to pull me away from this man and this Smile!! We started talking, about everything from where we grew up as kids, when suddenly Matt stops and tells me "I don't want to get married for TEN years!"  I don't know if he was testing me but I just looked at him and said "Well-in TEN years, you just might not find ANYBODY worth marrying!!!"  It silenced him and on we went-talking as if nobody else existed around us, with Matt not caring if the Chili burned up as he tried one more test "I want to have SIX kids" and it didn't take me long to answer back "Well, you are looking at the WRONG woman because I don't think I can do that!"  He took a long look and still chattered away.  We realized our conversation had been going for almost three hours and I figured my friends might be getting nervous, so I gave him the phone number where I was staying at and we promised to meet up later that night at a dance (of course Matt never made the dance-as the beer and Chili put him to bed) and he walked me over to where I would wait for my friends-when suddenly he looks at me with those EYES of his and says "Can I kiss you Goodbye?"

To this day I don't know why these words came out of my mouth but I said "Now listen, I really don't know you at all, but I don't mind if you give me a Kiss on the Cheek!"  He looked like a sad kid but acted like the true gentleman he has always been and gave me a very wonderful kiss on my cheek!  We never saw each other that night, and I left to go back home where I lived with my Parents.  My friends told me their phone rang very early that morning with Matt asking to speak with me!  They gave him my home number, he called that afternoon and we began dating the following weekend.

Our courtship lasted for over a year and we never missed a weekend of being together.  When he took me home on that first date, I turned to him and asked "Why did you ask me out?"  In my mind, I could not comprehend such a wonderful person wanting to date me because I did not ever see myself as attractive.  Matt turned to me with such a serious look and said "I took you out because I am in LOVE with you!"  Now that one stopped me in my tracks-and my Mom told me just a few weeks later, she knew I had met the man I would marry!

Matt is patient, kind, loving, strong, full of joy and laughter and above all, he is my ROCK!  I lean on him for everything-I do NOT want to think of my life without him!  Our prayer is to grow OLD together!

I hope you enjoyed our story!  There is nobody else like Matt.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Facing the Facts...

My dear friend's son was married this afternoon to the love of his life-a beautiful young woman and the service was amazing!  It was a real blessing to hear the minister share how this young couple places God first in their life and how they both share a true desire to give back to the community-in thanks for all they have been given.

The church was filled with people supporting these two in love and prayers.  I had the pleasure of helping to get the wedding party all lined up for their entrance to the church.  Everything flowed perfectly and then it was time for me to open the doors for the Bride to enter.  She was being escorted by her Mom down the isle as her Dad was the minister who would perform the wedding ceremony.  When I opened those doors, there stood Mom and Daughter, holding hands and sobbing-I knew without a doubt those tears were coming as both of them were mentally processing all the years together, from a baby coming into the world, to a Mom now preparing to walk her only daughter down the isle and hand her over to a wonderful young man!

It was a moving moment-and they had to work very hard to pull the emotional moment together-and I could see the tremendous love that flowed between them.  After finding my seat beside my husband, I sat down and he just leaned over, put his arm around me and gave me Kleenex-because my tears were flowing and nothing was going to stop them.

This young man has been in our lives since he was in the fifth grade-and we have shared many ups and downs with him and been a second family when he needed it.  We have seen him graduate from college, watched him worry about finding a good job, then cheering with him as he landed a solid job with a large city, being part of their Engineering Division.  This is his talent and he is dedicated to his work.

I guess this happens at weddings, but for me it was like a video was playing-moving at a fast rate as I recalled a funny kid with a wicked sense of humor, a young teenager with amazing respect for his elders, a young man dedicated to reaching his goals in life and today-a Man who was holding his Bride's hand-as love flowed between them. God was standing there beside them and I know-they will find their way through life. As the service was ending, this wonderful young man took a second and looked at me-smiling with such joy.  It was a sweet moment between us and I thought my heart would break, not from sadness, but from Love.  

So today I faced the fact that a Little boy had rapidly grown into a wonderful man-and I prayed to God, asking for Him to watch over this loving couple as they begin their journey in life.  The other fact I had to face-this one not so pleasant was me trying to DANCE with my husband-just one slow dance was all I wanted.  A song started playing and we headed to the dance floor and as we moved around, my body was screaming at me, "you can't do this" but I am stubborn and kept working at it.  My husband knew that my strength was almost done and now he was dragging me around or so it felt like that and this is when it hit me, as I told my husband "I am done-its time to go Home!"

Facing the facts--having to admit my dancing days are probably over-my leg was barely supporting me and I knew it would not look too good for me to just be laying on the dance floor!  But facing this has not brought anger or heartbreak-but instead-its brought me to acceptance.  Yes I will miss dancing but there are still many things I can do with my husband and for that-I thank God with all my heart.

Chronic Pain takes a lot from us-but it does not have to take everything-we just need to keep looking beyond the Pain, trying to find just one simple thing that brings us a bit of joy.  For me-I am willing to keep looking for that Joy-and thanking God for each day He gives me.

Facing facts is never easy-but with faith and courage, we will find our way.  God bless you all.  Martha

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When can I Scream at the Pain?

When haven't I screamed at  Pain during all these years of my body aching and throbbing each day?  I have yelled about it, cursed it, raged with a torrent of  words that start running together, not making sense, because my rage is flowing out so fast, I simply can't put the words together!  All I do is rant until there is nothing left inside me, no air to fill my lungs for the rage to continue-and the protective wall around me starts to fall as I collapse in tears-tears that I fight with every fiber inside to keep from flowing to the surface.

Sure I know its okay to cry, actually very helpful to let all those emotions out-but tears bring a certain type of fear to my heart-as I find myself so afraid that if I finally Cry-perhaps it will be the beginning of me feeling  the strength I have held for so long to fight against Pain breaking down.  The logic in my brain speaks and says "Well Martha-maybe its time for you and Pain to give each other a break in this battle!"  Sad to say, that logic doesn't last very long-as I know my Pain will not leave my body-so I must hang in there for the long haul, no matter how tired and worn down I get.

The past few days have been Rough, Pain seeming to have somehow found that "Hammer" and  giving my leg a beating that finds me begging for relief.  Today was one of my worst days-and the only coping tool I could come up with was to take a ride with my husband, hoping to just get my mind off the Pain, knowing I can't forget it-but instead trying hard to focus on the Spring Beauty that surrounds us now here in the Texas Hill Country.  Wildflowers are more beautiful this year-as we have endured such a long drought period and all you can do when seeing them is smile and give praise to God for this amazing beauty.

We took our drive, with me having a few good moments but as the day wore on, Pain decided to knock loudly on my leg and remind me, "Guess what, here we go again-you had better hang on for the Ride Pain is taking you on!"  I could not sit still as my husband drove and we both knew, time to head for home, hoping that a long rest on the sofa might help things calm down.  He stopped to get me a soda and as I sat waiting, my anger kept rising- I could feel it growing stronger, with me  wishing there was "something" to help ease my leg down. For whatever reason, I found myself reflecting on a lesson taught to me long ago by my Dad- he told me "Sister-when times come along in life that make you feel like you just can't take it anymore-and you are feeling so sorry for how bad You have it--STOP--look around--this is when you will See Another person who is suffering a hundred times worse than you!  Sister-this is the moment when you Count Your Blessings-thanking God for all you do have!"

Suddenly I turned to see a man trying to work his way toward the store-but his struggle was terrible-as he dragged his leg behind him-Pain was written all over this man-as I could see the suffering he was enduring.  It felt like everything stopped, nobody else was around but me and the man!  I dropped my head in sorrow and shame, telling God "I am sorry for raging on about myself-Forgive me-and please God, I am sorry for being so angry about the Pain that still follows me!"  Then I asked God to please help this man, give him a moment of relief.

It was a mixture of emotions for me at this second in time, as I could almost hear my Dad's lesson, knowing how Much God has blessed me with, and yet the most inner human part of me still ached as I knew, my Pain battle still was there, right beside me as I was given this moment to witness such suffering by another.  My husband had come out of the store, got inside and said these words "Did you see that Man?"

I will be "processing" this day for a while-as I know all my failings-and all I can do is keep trying, perhaps giving myself "permission" to break down and cry-without the fear that tears will take away my courage in this battle with Chronic Pain.  Everything I am-it all comes from God and I choose to Honor Him and my prayers tonight are filled with Thanks to God-as I will always remember  "Yes, I did see that Man."

May God lift up all those suffering with Chronic Pain and hold you in His Loving Arms.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Martha & Her Hammer!

Well-Veronica has done it again!  She captured "Martha" perfectly-standing on one of the most beautiful places in Central Texas-called "Enchanted Rock!"  This perfect photo was taken by: David Longhorn dave.  Great job, Dave!

I am proud to be holding up my "Pain Won't Beat Me" Motto-as I stand by it and probably repeat it a dozen times during the worst days of Pain. People see me on the bad days and sometimes comment "Well Your Pain can't be that bad-you are still walking" and my heart is silent, unable to find words to explain what I go through.  But a day did arrive as I found a "different Voice of Sorts" to answer questions about my Pain.  It happened at church one day, as I stood against a wall, rubbing my leg, trying so hard to make the Pain go away.  A man saw me and commented "How bad is that Pain in your Leg?"

I suppose at that moment, all the years of Pain raging in my leg had caught up with me and I wanted to scream  words back to this man but suddenly I remembered we were near a church office and I had seen a Hammer laying on a desk.  In one swift move, I had grabbed that Hammer and started Beating my Leg with every fiber of my being!  No words, just the Rapid Swinging of Hammer against Flesh-my Flesh and my brain was telling me "Stop Martha, you are just making it worse" but I didn't care-I was tired of the questions, tired of the Pain, tired of my body having to fight so hard against this Pain and all I wanted to do was make sure a Proper Answer was given to the man's question about my Pain.

My husband had stood nearby, shocked to see this scene unfolding but he did not stop me-He knew how deep my Frustration went!  The room was deathly quiet and finally my poor leg had become numb from the Hammer-so I calmly put it away and then turned to the man, who stood with his eyes wide open-and said "Well-in answer to your question-this is exactly how BAD my Leg Hurts-it never stops and I live with it all the time."

He promised to never ask that question again, I thanked him and suddenly my Motto showed up-as I added, "But I can tell you one thing, Pain Won't Beat Me-Ever!"  I have a feeling he believed my words.  In that tiny room, God stood beside me and held me steady as I physically "Spoke" the Pain I live with.  There is a "different" manner in which I think of that Hammer:

"If I had a Hammer, I'd Hammer in the Morning. I'd Hammer in the evening, All over this Land.  I'd hammer out Danger, I'd hammer out Warning, I'd Hammer out Love between My Brothers and my Sisters, All over this Land.

God bless Veronica for helping me Find my Way to Stand on the Rock.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Life moves along at such a busy pace that we miss seeing "changes" in our friends, and don't think anything is wrong until a day comes and we are struck with shock as we see the hard physical changes brought on as someone we care about has been hit with Chronic Pain and the battle is roaring!

My eyes were opened recently as I saw a long-time friend, limping her way out of church, and the look on her face told me all the answers to my silent questions-PAIN was chewing her up and spitting out each piece it could of this gracious woman.  We had a moment to talk and she let me know that surgery was just around the corner as a hip replacement was very needed.  She commented on how long the Pain had been with her and she just put it aside as a back-ache, nothing more, until the day came when she could barely walk and then reality had arrived. 

I let her know my prayers would be starting, wishing for a safe surgery and a speedy recovery-and it hit me that her husband was standing quietly, with a look of fear in his eyes, and I could sense the helpless feeling in him.  Before I left them, my heart just pushed me ahead and I took his hand, looking at him and saying "She is a strong woman, a fighter and I just know everything will be okay!"  Relief seemed to wash over him suddenly and he thanked me for caring about them both.

The great news is my friend came through her surgery with no complications!  Praise God for this and within a short amount of time, I was thrilled to look up one Sunday in church and see her there, looking so different, an obvious sign that Pain had been pushed away and it just warmed my heart to know prayers were heard and God helped remove that terrible Pain from her body.

Today I had a chance to see her and my heart soared- as I could see such improvement in her health-strength returning to her body, and she was really speeding back to full health.  She started talking- speaking of being frustrated with having to stay home, feeling bored, wanting to get out and do things.  I listened quietly because I knew what lay behind those words "having to face tough facts-realizing all the things she would have to give up."

Unless you have walked this road-there is No way to comprehend the intense frustration a person feels when faced with drastic life-style changes.  Its just plain wicked-almost as if you are stuck in a valley, with the hills being too high for any possibility of climbing out.  My friend spoke about telling her doctor that "perhaps she could just get a little small lawn mower to push slowly" and having her heart sink as she saw the look from her doctor that was saying "those days are over-you must put them behind you." 

I know all too well the emotional roller coaster my friend is on right now as she begins adjusting to a slower pace, having to watch others do things that at one time were so easy to do, now having to take each step slowly-being careful to not fall for fear of injuring her body.  My heart ached because I could not find the words to help her-only time will do that and she will reach deep inside, gradually accepting this new path of life.

Others had gathered around and I knew it was time to move on and let her visit with more friends-but I paused and said "The hardest thing I ever had to do was give up Mowing my yard- my Doctor had pleaded with me over the years to give this up- and I finally did, but it made me so Mad- I had to accept it and keep moving."  She took my words in without speaking-because she had watched over the years as my Pain Battle took me through some horrible ups and downs-with so many visible changes to my life.

We were two "wounded women" who have fought with Chronic Pain for years-now we were standing face to face, no way to dodge seeing the "obvious" changes in us.  I walked away with a heavy heart, but something hit me and its like I was hearing these words "Yes-Pain has wounded both of you, but Prayer has brought you this far and Faith in God will take you through the challenges that will come. Just be thankful for each  day!"

I knew today had been one that required me to stop and "listen"-so I would not Miss the Message meant for me to hear today-Being Thankful to God.  This was my Joy moment today, and I am thankful for it.

Always know, for those who suffer with Chronic Pain, there is a Prayer being said for you each day, asking God to help you get through each second.  If you can, please just say ONE prayer for me.  Bless you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Picking myself up Again!!

No-this post title does not mean to say I took a bad fall, Thank God-because if that were the case, I would be at the Hospital Emergency room right now, trying to figure out the damage done by a fall.

Like all who suffer with Chronic Pain, some of the roughest days will suddenly arrive, with no warning or reason except to say "HELLO, I AM HERE AGAIN!"  I have all my daily coping skills and start using them first when it hits me that I am feeling like a huge truck ran over my body!  Prayer comes pretty quick, then trying to do something  relaxing so my mind is off the intense throbbing, walking the floor and complaining to my dear husband who must be thinking "Lord please give me patience and please help my wife" and on it goes.

It feels like a vicious cycle with no end in sight and yet I know its vital that I dig so deep-to find every bit of determination possible so I can hang in there and Never Allow Pain To Beat Me.  Trust me-there are no Victory Chants when it feels like I have gained some ground, because these are the seconds when I am grabbing for every ounce of strength possible-and sometimes when I am grabbing desperately for strength, its very scary to feel weak and worn thin from Pain.

What I have learned is this:  a) Always turn to God in Prayer and never think He is not listening-He hears every word of Prayer I utter, and what a GIFT this is for all.

b) Get smart about my Pain-keep doing research, and yes-I do get down when the same words appear and sound so promising but in my case, fully knowing  there is no magical cure.

c) Reach out to others-Now as I say this, my dread is that friends will finally look at me one day and say "Gee Martha-I am so Tired of hearing how bad you hurt, so just DO something about it!"  Two things will happen if I ever hear those words-First I will apologize for leaning too hard on them  and then I will walk away and never complain again to them.  I must look within and realize, it is very hard to keep listening with an open heart-because we are so very human.  All I can do is hope and pray that I do not let my feelings turn to anger.

My list of things to do goes on but as I just said in the last few lines of this blog, I don't want to become the Best Pain Complainer in the World!

This has been a rough "Pain Spell" for me-I feel it, see it, and Know it!  I asked my husband yesterday if he could "see" the changes in me that Pain has brought on-he paused, as I gave him a look that might compare to a recent movie "The Help"-where Minny is saying "I want to see you Square On" because I wanted to hear his words-no matter what was said!

His voice was filled with love and strength as the words came out "Martha, I see how tired you are at times, your walk is slower, I know you are really struggling with the Pain, and yet you are still the same beautiful, blonde haired woman with eyes that grabbed me the second I met you and fell in love with you on the spot!"

Oh my goodness-as I try to end this post, my heart is swelling with the tremendous love this amazing man has for me and tears are filling my eyes.  Its hit me-he is with me for the long run-all the way and his love will not waver!  God brought him to me and I realize how blessed I am to have the love of God surrounding me.

As my Mom and Dad both would tell me, "Sister, you just have to take life a day at a time."

My help is right in "front" of me and that gives me great Joy in the midst of my struggle.  I keep praying for all those who are suffering with this horrible battle-just take it a day at a time.  God bless you all.  Martha

Monday, April 2, 2012

Heaven-how do we describe it?

My dear Father passed away in 2003 and yet it feels like he has only been gone a short while.  We talked about lots of things as I visited him-questions about how my husband was doing, what all was happening on our farm and the list would go on.  I delighted in listening to him predict how large our hay crop would be and I would give him a story of me doing something silly, like running over a ball of  Orange Fishing Line as I was mowing and wondering "why is this orange stuff following me?" and he would howl with laughter, talking about the big mess it must have made.  These were joyous conversations that are stored away in my heart and bring me joy when I recall them.

One day  I walked in-gave him a hug but noticed his eyes had a far-away look in them and he was very quiet, which worried me.  I sat down and finally asked him "Daddy-what is wrong?"  He kept looking out the window and then said "Sister, I don't think the good Lord is going to open those gates for me, because I probably don't deserve to go to Heaven!"

My heart broke apart at these words-I knew my Dad trusted in the Lord and hearing such doubt in his words left me speechless, but I could see how heavy the load was for him and felt that a major task lay ahead for me to answer his questions.  Without hesitating, I sat straight up and told him "Daddy-you are a good Christian man-I just know the Lord would not shut you out and besides, Moma is there now and she is waiting to see you!"  His mind was full of thought as he lay there, with his hands inter-laced as he moved his thumbs in a race, simply going round and round, just like the path of our words being spoken.

I knew we were far from finished with this serious conversation as more questions started coming from him "Okay-tell me what you know about Heaven!"  There would be no "Dressing Up" the words for this and I simply told him, "Daddy, I think Heaven has to be a Paradise, its beyond anything we understand."  I quickly added words he could relate to "Oh I bet there is a lot of  Fishing in Heaven-remember about Jesus feeding thousands with just a few loaves of bread and some fish!"  Silence filled the air as he mulled my words over and then asked "So Sister, Who Do I talk to about getting inside Heaven once I am at the Gates?"

My Dad-simple, to the point, no hidden agenda, waiting to see if I thought what he said was silly and I knew he was pouring his heart out to me, so all I could think to say  was this "Well Daddy, I believe Saint Peter is at the Gates-just speak with him and Moma will probably be right there, waving you on in!" Silent prayers were rushing all around me because Dad knew his time was probably not long and he needed words of assurance- and would never have spoken to anyone else-just his daughter whom he called "Sister"and he was placing his trust in me as I tried to teach him about Heaven with time not being on our side for a lengthy lesson.

Something profound had happened-he seemed peaceful and relaxed-understanding my answers and now after the serious manner of our words, he decided to have a bit of fun with his daughter- "Now Sister, I think you are right about Heaven being a place filled with fishing and I need to know where to get my fishing pole!"  Typical Daddy-taking  care of the basics. This sly smile covered his face as he watched me struggling for another answer- "Oh Daddy, you know who will have your Pole-Moma!"  My mind was so ready for this conversation to end but he had one final challenge for his daughter "Okay Sister-I need to have a Fishing License-so who do I talk to about that?"

Now we were both smiling, knowing how far we had traveled together-I leaned back in my chair, tired and yet thrilled to see my precious Dad's face, filled with love for me as I spoke to him "Daddy, be sure and speak directly to Jesus about that!"  He quietly chuckled and we never spoke about Heaven again.  Oh I am sure that I could have spent a long time quoting scripture to my Dad, giving him words from the Bible, instead of coming up with answers of Heaven being a place to catch a lot of Fish!

Sometimes we have to take a different approach on spiritual issues and my Dad had hit me with the biggest challenge-he needed answers and assurance.  I probably was not the best person to tackle this issue but he trusted me and had witnessed my own faith journey.  As I left his room that day, suddenly for no reason, I glanced toward pictures hanging on the wall and there was a photo of my Dad, much younger, smiling with pride as he held up a huge catch of fish!  God was right there with us both-and I know HE gave me the words to help me give a fast teaching lesson about Heaven!

I will forever be thankful to God for the blessing of my parents, regardless of the ups and downs we went through at times, I loved them so much and there is a aching in my heart as I miss them each day.  Something tells me they are smiling down with Joy as they rest on the shores of Heaven.