Apparently, I have an auto immune disease that is making my body attack itself, specifically my thyroid, which now has nodules on it.
There was really no building up to it, and I’m a blurter, so there it is.
Whathadhappenedwas…. (Yes, this is going to be long, because it is all connected.)
A few months ago my foot started hurting. Plantar Fasciitis. So I do what I always do, I turn to Google, ask my friends (and even asked a doctor) and learned some stretches and rolled things under my foot, and was on the road to recovery. Woooo Whooo!
Or so I thought.
My foot pain soon turned into hip pain. And when I say pain, I mean it felt like someone was stabbing me in my lower back if I moved a certain way. But it never was a predictable certain way. Any which way would cause pan at any moment. It caused pain to sit down. It caused pain to stand up. It caused pain to sleep. It was difficult to dress, or shower, or get in and out of my car.
I went to get massages. I tried different stretches. I was taking about 6 pills a day of any combination of Aleve/Advil/Tylenol I could stomach. I would have taken more if I wasn’t afraid of frying my liver.
It just got worse and worse. I couldn’t even walk the 3 minute walk to the beach to watch the sunrise. I couldn’t bend over to pick up my friends baby. It was starting to affect my emotions, combine that with lack of sleep: Fan.Tas.Tic.
I tried to hide it, but it was obvious to anyone who had spent any amount of time with me that I was in excruciating pain.
I didn’t want to go to a doctor who was only going to prescribe muscle relaxers or pain killers so I visited Natural Medicine Clinic. I met with Dr. Bob for my back. Things didn’t get better right away. He was honest enough to tell me they wouldn’t. I actually think I was more sore after a few visits.
As the days and weeks went by I went from being pain-free for a few hours, to taking Aleve only at night, to a pain-free day, to my back and hip being now almost all better!
So then I asked Dr. Tom about their Nutrition Services.
I filled out a boatload of paperwork and questionnaires. I took blood tests. And then we had a conversation to explain results.
I eat relatively “healthy”. I adopted a (mostly) vegetarian/vegan diet awhile back.
I work out. I walk. I do yoga. I can even survive spin class.
My vitals are consistently good and not even “just for a fat girl”. My blood pressure is excellent, so is my cholesterol, and according to traditional tests, so is my thyroid.
I couldn’t figure out why I was still not losing weight. And why I had this skin rash. And why I have this one nasty toenail that Lamisil wouldn’t even kill.
Is it because I was stressed? More lazy than I wanted to admit? Eating more unhealthy than I thought?
Nope. Antibodies. And yeast. And fungus. And all sorts of things I don’t quite understand fully yet.
Because he did a nontraditional blood test he found that even though certain levels looked normal on my physical last year, there is alot more going on that is causing a chain reaction throughout my body. Then since those levels are off he ordered an ultrasound of my thyroid. They found nodules that are thankfully smaller than would need a biopsy.
I’ve changed my diet from being a (mostly) vegetarian/vegan-ish to following a strict Paleo diet (meat, veggies, greens, and limited fruits, nuts, and seeds. No grains, no sugar, no processed foods, no vinegar, no flour, no dairy, no alcohol,no anything other than what I just listed above.)
I’m drinking more water, and taking some recommended supplements.
On the 4th of July I said goodbye to almost all of my favorite foods/drinks. And when I say I said goodbye what I mean is I ate. Alot. It started with a bagel in the morning, and the eating went downhill from there.
I cleaned out my cabinets and cleaned the fridge. Replacing beans, rice, and quinoa with Salmon, chicken and lots of lemons and onions.
It’s been a whole two days of obedience.
I thought I wanted to punch the sample lady at Costco in the face when she was making Ghirardelli brownies. I thought I was going to have a breakdown driving past Chick-fil-A. I can’t think about it all too much because it becomes overwhelming.
Even with the daunting truth of massive change, I find myself thankful.
I am thankful for the pain in my back. If it would not have been so severe I would have never gone into that office, or asked for help in other areas.
I am thankful for the ability to do things pain-free, which has helped me be more active even when I “don’t feel like it”.
I am thankful for supportive friends and family.
I am thankful I can walk the beach again.
I am thankful for the hope I have that this road will lead to healing.
There are days when the sunrise is awe-inspiring. All seems right with the world as you stand in enjoyment of a masterpiece seemingly painted just for you.
Well, and then there are days, where the sky is gray and lackluster and you can’t hear yourself think over the sound of the waves crashing over and over and over again.
Remind yourself, consciously, deliberately remind yourself of this truth: There are gifts, there are things to be grateful for in this day. Awe-inspiring or lackluster give thanks for today.
It’s only a “bad day” when we focus on our feelings rather than that truth.
Just has it has for thousands of years before, the sun is going to set in the west tonight, and rise again in the east tomorrow.
Give thanks for today – and have hope for tomorrow.
Children died in CT today. Gunfire – Over 20. Children died in China today. Stabbed -Over 20. It’s horrid, my heart hurts, and I honestly don’t much know more than that. Deliberately I have avoided the news. I’ve avoided Facebook – for the most part, and then this happened.
Over 45 children have died of preventable causes since I have started writing this blog.
Yes, Preventable. By my choices, by your choices, preventable.
Today in a flurry of opinions about gun control and legislation and seemingly everyone running their mouth about this and that and the other, I offer you a true opportunity to save the lives of children.
Now, what will we do?
I’ve been guilty of Depraved Indifference.
If you haven’t read it – I’ll sum it up.
I don’t know how or when but I have started to care more about my “I’m a victim” pity parties or how the chickens that lay my free-range cage-free eggs are treated than I have cared about children I know are starving, sold into slavery, orphaned and other heinous things.
Now now, I know that I am helping children “here” and that I am not doing any of those terrible things to those children “over there”.
I also know that not doing anything wrong is not the same as doing something right.
Here are some of the thoughts that have been coming to mind.
What if we had a caste system in America and I was an untouchable?
What if that was my daughter searching the slums for food?
What if my basic needs could be met by someone who wasted a little bit less and gave a little bit more?
Right now I am somewhere between wrecked and reality. Somewhere between selling all I have to move across the world to love on the “least of these” and the fallacy of the “American Dream”.
Ok, that was a tad bit over dramatic and not at all accurate, but it sounded good in my head.
I don’t think that I am supposed to move across the world – at least not any time soon! I know very clearly what my assignment is right now. It’s right here, boldly advocating for my residents living with Alzheimer’s, and loving the friends I have been entrusted with.
So, dramatic statements aside…What does mean for me, right here right now?
Let’s rewind about 2 years: I was more generous when I was a “broke” barista relying on tips for gas money. Now making more than double in salary, I have become the most important thing to
spend waste my money on. If I wasn’t so ashamed I would actually tell you how much I have spent on coffee alone.. or at Chick-fil-A… or, or, or….
Does this mean that I can never enjoy another Grande, 2 pump, Soy, Extra Foam, No Whip, No Pumpkin Powder, Add Cinnamon Dolce Powder, Pumpkin Spice Latte?*
Nope. I can. And I will. It is fall(-ish) for goodness sake!
It simply means being more mindful of how I spend my time, money, mental and emotional energy.
Not depriving myself of everything I enjoy but sacrificing somethings, more things, to bring joy and life to others both “here” and “over there”.
Less going out, more cooking at home. Less Pinterest, more prayer. Less pity-party more perspective inspiring passion. Being more thankful and hopefully alot less whining during my current “assignment” – no matter how unhappy I think I am. Less mindlessness, more meditation. Less consuming, more giving.
One decision at a time – balancing. Or at least trying to.*(Yes, that is “my” drink – don’t judge me. I am a princess and will have my latte exactly how I like it if I am paying $4 for it.)
Trust me, it’s a good thing I haven’t blogged in over a year. I unknowingly spared you from the self-focused, woe is me, screwed over, victim of corporate, too much month-not enough money, navel gazing “I want, I need, I earned, I deserve” train of thought that thankfully came to a screeching halt yesterday.
A representative from Gospel for Asia came to speak at my church. He passionately pleaded the cause of the orphan and widow, he showed a video, quoted Matthew 9 citing how Jesus had compassion and took action, and how the workers are few.
My heart was broken and I am selling everything I have and moving to India or Africa and giving my life to missions!! I totally zoned out.
Please understand, none of this was new. I worked for Gospelink. I’ve seen the videos of pastors going through flood waters on their bikes, orphans being served their daily “meals”, mud huts people make into homes. Having friends that are missionaries, I’ve heard stories. I’ve cried tears. I used to care. I made it a prayerful and financial priority in my life to right the wrongs. I was focused on telling anyone who asked how they could help too.
I zoned out only because I just couldn’t (and can’t) shake a phrase said by my pastor.
He said it flippantly, only once, having to ask a friend sitting in the front row for the correct phrasing: “Depraved Indifference”.
All past tense.
Over and over and over again it shouts : “Depraved Indifference”.
Depraved Indifference: conduct that is so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime.
Here I sit: Me. ”Mother Teresa Incarnate”. (As a prosecuting attorney cross-examining me once said.) Julie Stein.
Here I sit: Comfortable. Complacent.
Here I sit: Julie Stein, GUILTY of Depraved Indifference.
Knowing of the wrong doing that is happening, having excess funds to help stop it and doing nothing.
Found as guilty, as liable, as those intentionally committing heinous crimes.
Here I sit: humbled, wrecked, and hopefully changed.
I have recently become more than slightly obsessed with Pinterest!
Basically Pinterest collects the creative ideas people come across while roaming the web and have “pinned” onto virtual cork boards. You then organize as them as you want to share them. It’s recipes, crafts, photos, quotes, you think of it – most likely someone pinned it.
I’m addicted – not only for the excitement for my creative future, but for the nostalgia of the past.
On almost every page that visit - I say.. Hey, my mom did that!!
Before there was Pinterest, there was Toni Stein. A great mom. Creativity to the core. Girl Scout leader, PTO room mom, head of the party committee, head of the holiday craft committees, decorating and making memories.
Before there was Pinterest, my mom taught me, homemade is best – always. Food, clothing, costumes. Homemade is best.
Before there was Pinterest, my mom was doing “fishtails” and intricate braids in my hair.
Before there was Pinterest, my mom was making heart-shaped cupcakes, and carving that watermelon into shapes you wouldn’t believe until you saw it.
Before there was Pinterest, my mom was making flowers out of tissue paper, shrunken apple heads, and tin can meals, and crafts from my hand-prints.
Before there was Pinterest, my mom was making “swimming pools” out of blue jello, and rafts out of gummy life savers – all for the Teddy Grahams that were also “swimming” at my pool party.
Before there was Pinterest, my mom was making soaps and candles, and homemade play-dough, and color changing flowers, and she allowed me to make tents, out of her sheets, that ripped her wall paper. Hours were spent making homes and mazes out of cardboard boxes.
Before there was Pinterest, my mom made complete ecosystems, in glass bottles. And bird feeders out of pine cones.
Before there was Pinterest, my mom rocked. She didn’t rely on websites, or big budgets for projects. She made the most of what we had, and made it an amazing childhood.
Thanks mom. I love you. Way more than Pinterest.
“Wether you’re a Christian or not, today [Good Friday] is about Spring, pastel colors, love and peace.”
Sorry radio guy, not true. It’s Jesus. Alone.
The miraculous birth of Christ has been diluted to Santa, commercialism, traditions, and maybe mentioning Jesus in a carol or two during “holiday music”.
The glorious resurrection of Christ has been diminished to a Bunny, hidden eggs, and stale marshmallow chicks, the name Jesus is almost forbidden in these “Spring” celebrations.
But until this morning I thought Good Friday still stood alone. Untainted. Holy. Set apart. A solemn day for us to remember – to remember Christ.
Jesus, the Christ. The Song of the Living God. The Messiah. The Redeemer.
It is Jesus, and only Jesus, who provides atonement for our sin against God.
But we don’t want to think about that. The need for atonement. The need for forgiveness. That we are infected and made unclean by our sin. That by our chosing the things of the world (darkness) above God (light), over and over and over again has separated us from God. How even our best works are considered dirty menstrual rags. How our sin, our iniquity, like the wind, sweeps us away.
We don’t want to think that we are like sheep without a Shepard, that we are dumb animals who left to ourselves would starve, or follow each other off a cliff. That we have chosen to go astray.
We don’t want to think of the great cost that was paid to reconcile us to God. That Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our sins. And that God laid upon him the guilt of us all. That God’s wrath was satisfied in Jesus. The wrath meant for me. Satisfied in Jesus.
But what is even harder for me to accept is that this depravity, my wickedness, is covered, eclipsed by love. By a perfect love. Unfailing love. Strong powerful love.
Don’t just skim over these thruths. Let them sink in. Again, for the first time.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
That for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
That’s what makes this Friday scandalously Good. Not “spring, pastel colors, love and peace.” It’s Christ – and Christ Alone.