Sunday, November 8, 2015

 

Dear Friends,

 This is a recap from an email many of you have received already, but I wanted to add some personal notes at the end....so feel free to scroll down to the asterisk line.

Earlier this year I was invited by Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship to attend their Urbana missions conference in St. Louis between Christmas and New Year’s.  This is a conference held every three years and has over 16,000 people who attend and includes Bible study, speakers from all over the world, and hundreds of seminars and exhibitors.  It is a discerning space to discover where your gifts, dreams and calling meet God’s global mission.

As I read the invitation I was surprised to learn that my registration to the event is free of charge and that I was also given a generous hotel discount.  I learned from the donor office that it was a gift to honor all the years that my ex-husband and I had given to the IVCF ministry and the years that I had continued to give since our divorce.  It was definitely an unexpected surprise blessing!

Attending Urbana is my next step in discerning God’s call in this new season of my life.  I am writing to first and foremost to ask for your prayers for my health and safety for the trip and that I would be able to learn more of God’s call for me as I begin preparing for an empty nest.  I am in the process of meeting with some Indiana Inter-Varsity students from the area in the hopes that we can carpool and share my hotel room to help cover expenses.

 I am also writing to ask that you prayerfully consider donating funds to cover my expenses for this ministry opportunity.  You can donate by check by using the address below.  Unfortunately, I am not a non-profit organization, so you can’t consider it a tax-deductible donation.  Please prayerfully consider giving whatever God lays on your heart.  Please do not feel obligated to give…I covet your prayers more than anything else.

 While married, I had ministry dreams and aspirations that God laid on my heart that I was not able to pursue.  Shortly after my divorce, I was surprised to realize that life was a completely open book for me and that now, perhaps I could pursue the ministries God had so long laid on my heart.  Suddenly, being single starting looking pretty awesome!
As a result of the open road before me, I have been able to grab onto a wonderful opportunity to go back to school in January to earn my MBA in public health administration….as many of you know patient advocacy is a great passion of mine….particularly considering all of the health challenges my family and I have faced.  The best gift of all?  My employer is paying for my tuition!  All I have to do is pay taxes on the tuition.

I was also recently blessed by a friend of mine who provided finances so I could travel to London over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I have a dear friend who is in ministry there who is going through some unbearable hardships, and I can hardly wait to minister to her and her family in person...not mentioned an opportunity to tour London!

Also, in January I am starting a training program at my church to continue offering advocacy services to those in my congregation and others who need it.  The program is called “Stephen Ministry,” and the training involves classes that cover a variety of issues from understanding grief and loss to ministering to shut-ins, those experiencing economic hardship, those struggling with illness, those experiencing divorce or trauma, and as well as developing listening skills and participating in assertiveness training.

I have walked this valley of pain, and by God’s grace have come out healed, provided for and with a joyful heart….how can I not in turn share this with others?

Friends, there is not a week that goes by that I am not helping someone in this capacity already…I have helped people find doctors, get free medications, manage their medical bills, write insurance appeals, find lawyers, etc.  I have also simply sat with people and shared their grief as well…God has definitely helped me see when there is a time for action and a time to simply weep with those who are hurting.

And I so want to help as many people as I can!

Thank you again for the love and prayers through the ups and down of the last several years.  Someone commented to me the other day that they were sorry I had had such a hard life. 

I laughed and replied, “I have a wonderful life…all the things you see as downfalls were greatly used by God to make me who I am today….and I would not trade those hardships for anything.  They were the best things that could have ever happened to me because through them I learned joy, contentment and peace and finally fully accepted God’s incredible grace in my life.”

So here is to praising God for what seem to be hardships and prayerfully serving Him today and in the future!

Sincerely,

 Liz Craker, 9528 Aboite Center Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46804
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Personal notes for my regular blog readers:

I have been in the ER once again with colon issues.  Fortunately, the issue resolved itself without invasive medical intervention.  My sweet Heather and I were driving to church this past Sunday when the fierce pain hit.  I pulled over and she took me to the ER and handled the whole situation amazingly!

Heather has had an extremely tough fall with diabetes' and her rigorous band schedule.  I have been a bus chaperone for many events so I can be there when an emergency arises.  God in his infinite wisdom led me to another band mom who is a diabetes' nurse who is also a bus chaperone...so when I can't go with the band, she and many other band moms keep a watchful eye on Heather.  She has had bronchitis and a tummy bug...all which affect her blood sugar.  She even got so ill during the PSAT that she was unable to finish. 

Also, one day at band she was preparing to compete at our local high school when she experienced extremely low blood sugar.  Amy and Stephen were home from college to see Heather perform.  I had just returned home from volunteering at the event, when we received a call that Heather was not doing well.  Amy and I rushed over to the school while Stephen was on stand by in case things got really bad....and then as we pulled out of the driveway,  Amy hit Stephen's newly purchased used car with my car.

We all had a bit of a panic, but I was able to regroup.....I said, "it's just cars....we will deal with it later...Heather is our main concern."

We got to the school and found her doing better after taking some glucose tabs.  The band director and staff were extremely encouraging and let Heather decide if she felt up to performing.  She decided not to perform, and I took her home and put her to bed after following up with her doctor.

Needless to say, all that transpired was extremely overwhelming, but Stephen and Amy both learned a great lessons about grace and forgiveness....after all, in the big picture it was just two cars with some minor damage that could be easily repaired.  Seeing Heather so ill definitely put it all into perspective.

In spite of her health issues, my amazing kid has marched to a 3rd Place State finish as well as a 5th Place Regional finish.  Now we are onto National competition next weekend.  She manages all of this with all As, two Bs and a rigorous dual credit schedule.  Between study breaks she is teaching herself to play guitar, and I just love to hear her play and sing.  Here she is celebrating her recent State victory...this picture taken by another band mom blessed my socks off!




My job is continuing to do well and I am training under a wonder team leader.  My boss, who is a Christian and who has been a single mom herself, is very gracious about work-life balance and the endless doctors' appointments we seem to have.  Consequently, I am fiercely loyal and dedicate my self whole-heartedly to my work....within reason, of course.  I am learning a great deal about international supply management and expediting for the commodities that I purchase.  I am hoping that experience will pay off in future missions work or ministry.  The job affords me the opportunity in the future to either go into full time missions work or ministry or to continue in this career field as well as volunteer in missions or ministry.  I am excited to see how that all comes together.


As always I am grateful and humbled that you read this blog and come along side me in this crazy life journey.  Things are hard and extremely frustrating at times, but I have been given such contentment and joy no matter...which is priceless in itself.  I just celebrated my 50th birthday and took the day off work...I spent the entire day doing things just for me, and it was AWESOME! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My New Testimony




I have begun to think of my life as a threatrical play.

Act 1 was full of the scenes of my childhood and growing up years, high school, college, career, children and all the ups and downs that life entails, caregiving for elderly parents, as well as dealing with several of my own health problems as well as those of my children.


Act 2 has been full of an unexpected life change of divorce, being a single mom, and continuing to deal with chronic illness as well as going back to full time work, guiding my children through their school years, college and beyond.

When my marriage ended, there were many trials, ongoing health issues and financial distress. At the time I was making $17,000 a year as a teacher’s aide. Over and over God provided miraculously as many of you know. Finances were tight, but we never went without. Through it all God healed my heart and enabled me to move onto a life of joy, grace and forgiveness that could not have come from my brokenness on my own.

My ex-husband is a wonderful father who generously provides above and beyond what he is legally required to do. He gives me money for their Christmas presents and even pays for their vacation expenses so every year they can attend Cedar Campus, a family camp and student training camp,  managed by Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, as he knows important that place is for our kids.

We go out for coffee every few months to discuss how the kids are doing and how we want to handle the variety of situations that inevitably arise in parenting a split household. The discussions and time together are actually very enjoyable, and we have become better parents because of them.

While married, I had ministry dreams and aspirations that God laid on my heart that my then-husband would not allow me to pursue….so I set them aside. Shortly after we separated, I was surprised to realize that life was a completely open book for me and that now, perhaps I could pursue the ministries God had so long laid on my heart. Suddenly, being single starting looking pretty awesome!

However, after the divorce, I allowed myself to enter a relationship that did not honor God and thus, I again set ministry hopes aside all the while God was gently tapping my shoulder to not forget the open future to serve Him.

Eventually, the new relationship ended mutually.  Although painful, the entire process was an incredible teaching gift from God. The relationship taught me that I am still a smart, desirable, beautiful woman even though my former husband chose to end our marriage. God used the relationship to remind me to not believe the lies that Satan told me about myself that racked my self-confidence that had been completely crushed.

Also, through that relationship I learned so much about God’s incredible grace and how there is NOTHING I could ever do to change His love for me. My stubborn heart finally learned that I could do absolutely nothing for God and He will still love me. I began working with a counselor to resolve my “works-mentality” Christianity that I struggled with for years and I truly embraced His grace…and my motivation to serve Him totally changed. In the past I often served because I thought I had to, or felt obligated to or felt I had to live up to others expectations. I now serve out of gratitude for His love.

I also learned that the best part of falling away from God is coming home to Him.

The most miraculous part of this story is how God literally has provided thousands and thousands of dollars completely unsolicited when I most needed it…over and over and over…everything from free school lunches and textbooks, college scholarships for Stephen and Amy, unexpected envelopes of cash in my mailbox, patient assistance programs, free medications, medical bills being discounted or written off, Indiana tax breaks for single moms, awesome insurance coverage for Heather’s diabetes’ supplies….. so much money that I have lost count.

Earlier this year I was invited by Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s donor department to attend their Urbana mission conference in St. Louis between Christmas and New Year’s. This is a conference held every three years and has over 16,000 people who attend and includes Bible study, speakers from all over the world, hundreds of seminars and exhibitors. It is a discerning space to discover where your gifts, dreams and calling meet God’s global mission and a great opportunity for me to prayerfully continue to explore options for the future.  I can hardly wait to attend with some Inter-Varsity staff and students from Indiana!

As I read the invitation I was surprised to learn that I was invited free of charge and was given a generous hotel discount. I learned from the donor office that it was a gift to honor all the years that my ex-husband and I had given to the IVCF ministry and the years that I had continued to give.  I am so thankful!


Ultimately through all of these events, God’s grace has put me back to the place where I am an open book to His call. I just have no idea what it is yet and I am so excited about it!

I told my kids early on in the divorce that when they graduate from college and are launched in life that I am being called to leave home to possibly minister in other states or possibly other countries.

They were naturally concerned for my chronic health issues, especially if I ended up far from medical care. God spoke through me to soothe their fears as I told them, “I would rather be in God’s will in a Third World country away from medical care that could possibly cause my death than to be outside of God’s will safe at home.”

I also wondered if might miss their young adulthood, family Christmases, holidays and eventually grandbabies if I ended up in missions in another country. As I was praying through this, God reminded me, “You will have eternity with them…what more could you need?”

 As a result of all of these events and me finally listening to God, I can honestly say that I have never been more content in my life....I am so happy in this almost empty nest season of my life...looking forward to what the future brings while enjoying the incredible blessings around me every day.


Remember:

Never let your actions or others' opinions dictate what you think God’s grace can or cannot do for you.

Never let your checkbook balance dictate what you can do for God.


for-all-us-hope-ers-when-things-aren't-working-out-as-we'd-hoped

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Been Sick For Almost A Week

I have been sick for almost a week, and I desperately need your prayers.

I started out with chills and body aches last Wednesday evening that turned into a 5-day fever of 101. I couldn't get into my doctor so I went to the after hours clinic, and they immediately sent me to the ER.  Some friends took me there and stayed with me until I was released.  Bloodwork and chest x-rays showed nothing.  After following up with my family doctor it has been determined that I have some kind of virus.



I got up several days expecting to go to work, only to find my self too dizzy and shaky.  I felt a lot better yesterday, and I fully intended to go to work today...but again I was dizzy and almost passed out in the shower.

My boss informed me that I have to go on disability when I run out of sick time...fortunately before this I had 96 hours of sick time. This has taken up 40 so far.  I am hoping that I can get back to work soon, but don't want to push it either.


Please pray for restoration and healing and that I would not needlessly worry about finances.  My sick days are paid for, but there are going to be quite a few of medical bills.  I am already at my limit of what I can pay as I am trying to pay off several medical bills from previous illnesses this year.  God has always miraculously provided in the past, so you would think I wouldn't be concerned...but stupidly I am.

Every day I am sick, I am one day closer to being well.  Yes, this is discouraging and I am going to stay positive above all else.

On a good note, during this time at home I bought my ticket to London this week that a friend is paying for, and managed some details for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Urbana missions conference that I am attending after Christmas.  I also finalized details for our vacation at InterVarsity's Cedar Campus.  

I have so much to look forward to, and I am not letting this recent illness get the best of me!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

End of a Relationship

My relationship of two years with my boyfriend just ended mutually.  I have such mixed feelings.  Things have not gone well between us for quite some time.

I am so tired, but I have been encouraged by my life counselor to write this the evening we broke up.  I am numb, overwhelmed, sad. 

I think we jumped into to a serious commitment too quickly after my divorce.  We were so head over heels in love in the beginning that we immediately started making life-long plans, buying a truck together, merging bills and even moving in together.  Not the smartest decision I have ever made and certainly not one I would want my children to copy. 

I knew right away that he was not a Christian and had no desire for Christ.  He always respected my faith and encouraged me to follow it.  That was always going to be a big divide between us.

I am sure there are Christians who would slay me for living with him and for being involved with a non-Christian, but it is God's role to work through this with me. Every time I went to God with my choices I was met with love and compassion and grace…more than I have ever felt in my life.  I would, however, never do it again.  It was the most blatant, sinful choice I have ever made.

We moved in together when I was having health issues a little over a year ago and my boyfriend was extremely worried about me.  Then we were busy with Heather’s band season.  That was followed by the busy holidays.  Then things settled down, and we slowly realized we just didn’t have much in common.

I frustrated the daylights out of him because I often didn’t hear and/or remember things he would tell me.  I do have hearing issues that doctors have diagnosed as an auditory processing disorder…that is part of the problem….but I was also so absorbed in the kids, planning things around everyone else but him, forgetting things he told me, arranging schedule stuff and commitments without including him, and arguing with him when I didn’t agree with the very opinions I asked him for.

I did not purposely choose to not to hear or remember things, but I could have done better.  I just got tired of being beat up for it as he lost his patience with me.

I kept hurting him and hurting him.  And then it got to the point that I felt pushed away.  We became barely more than roommates, and I wanted to build new experiences and do things together that he just didn’t want to do.

I was unhappy and insecure and he was unhappy.  I certainly didn’t feel cherished or desired anymore.  At best, I felt tolerated, and he felt disrespected.  Frankly, we both deserved better. 

We both admitted we had things to work on to make the relationship improve.  I didn’t want to lose him, but I didn’t want to go on feeling hurt and hurting him. When he would not agree to go to counseling it was time to call it a day...so we mutually decided that it was much too difficult to continue to try to make it work.

Now we are working out the details of undoing our budget and finances and household.  That is going to be tough as I lost Amy’s child support last year, but I am determined to make it work.  Any cheaper apartment would be outside of the bus line from school for Heather, so a move is not practical.  I will go back to having very little savings and eking it out with my tax returns as I have done in the past.  I am not about to stop tithing.  I just can’t do it.  God has been so faithful.

We had a family meeting with the girls, and Amy was mad that I made her come home from a friend’s house to meet with us.  He and I wanted to come clean with them as soon as possible, especially since he took the next day off work to move out.

He is such a gypsy and can live with nothing…he is leaving me all the kitchen stuff, towels, sheets…except for a few things.  He is only taking taking a chair, his paintings and his TV…that’s it.  He gave his couch to Stephen for his IU apartment and his bed to Heather.  I feel bad that he has nothing, but that is his choice.  He is even leaving his bicycle. 

I always thought when the going gets tough in a relationship those who value it are willing to put work into it...if one just simply walks away without a fight to save the relationship, it makes the other person wonder how committed you were in the first place.  I was truly hurt by his unwillingness to fight for us.

I will have to figure out how to buy a TV, and I have to laugh that I got overwhelmed about that.  I tackled so much after Dave and I separated that a TV should be nothing.  Dave actually had a spare TV that he is loaning me for a bit.

I logged onto Facebook recently and saw the following picture on a friend’s page.  I so needed to see this.

Fortunately, my health has been good, although the past three days I have been home from work with a fever.  I just got results back from my recent colonoscopy and the news was very encouraging...areas that were ulcerated have healed, and pending no problems I don't have to have another colonoscopy for 3-5 years!  I did injure my back which ended me up in the ER twice in March, and I have battled several infections in recent weeks...now I am slowly mending.

Stephen is heading back to Ecuador for 5 weeks with his campus fellowship....You can donate to his work by clicking here. Amy is home for the summer and is spending more time with Dave, which I am grateful for.  

The week of the break up Amy and Heather had just come to stay with me for two weeks, and even though I love them dearly, I was ready for a break and to mourn in peace and quiet.  

Amy is home for the weekend and working part-time.  She is planning a trip to San Francisco later this summer to visit a college friend.

Heather is busy with a summer P.E. class, drivers' ed and music lessons.  She is headed to Y camp later this summer, and right after our vacation at Cedar Campus she begins band camp.


Amy, Stephen and Heather at his IU apartment celebrating his 21st birthday! 

I will be doing some more traveling in the next few months.  I have a dear friend who served in our church for a time and then she moved back to England.  We stay in touch through Facebook chats and texts.  Another friend of mine knew how badly I wanted to see my London friend, and he donated cash for the plane ticket, a hotel room in Chicago the before the flight and money for my new passport and other expenses.  I am going the week of Thanksgiving!  This friend has blessed my socks off!

Then at Christmas I am attending Urbana, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's triennial missions conference.  I am so excited...and as a long-time donor to InterVarsity my conference registration is free, and I also got a hotel discount.  I will be sending out letters to raise support to cover the hotel and other expenses later this summer.  I just know that God wants to use the skillset I am developing at my job to do some unimaginable things for Him in the future.

I also will be traveling to New York sometime next year to visit my nephew...and in January I have the opportunity to participate in an education program paid for by my employer to earn my MBA.  I am a little nervous but totally excited!

I guess you can kind of tell I have a new-found sense of freedom, although I am broken-hearted about the relationship ending.  I know the breakup was the right choice, as I started feeling relieved not too long after we ended it.  I didn't realize how I was walking in eggshells around him, trying to make things go smoothly...but there have been plenty of tears too. 

But I have been through worse, and God is not about to let me down yet.  Were my choices with my boyfriend taking God's plans for me for granted?  Did I not trust God for His timing for the right person at the right time?  Did I rush into the relationship head-long without thinking it through?  Did I fall for the first person who expressed interest in me in the midst of healing from my divorce?  (I don't believe the last statement as I truly loved him).  Perhaps "yes" to all of the above.  I obviously have a lot of thinking and praying to do.  

I do know this...I learned that I could love again, and I was and am still am extremely blessed that it made me realize that I am still a beautiful, desirable woman.  

I will always be grateful to him for that as long as I live.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Make the Choice!


I am so darn proud of myself....I was sharing with my daughter Amy and her boyfriend this weekend how I got through some of the trials I have been through...many of which have been written about in this blog…and how I have been given what I can only describe as peace and grace as I look back on my life...and I said, "I am in the emotionally healthy place I am in today because I CHOSE to heal emotionally.  I chose to remember God the great Healer and not the hurt."

I could look back and be bitter, angry and, quite frankly, an unhappy person...but I did not like that reflection in the mirror and I chose to change my perspective. This did not happen overnight and there were a lot of tears and struggle, but in the end with God's help I made the climb over the mountain of negativity.

Make the choice!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I Have Allowed Myself to Become Empty

Saturday, March 29



As you read this I can hardly type....can hardly function....I am empty emotionally, physically and spiritually and it is no one's fault but my own.

As many of you know, I try to take time out for personal retreat a couple of times a year.....sometimes I go to Camp Lutherhaven north of Fort Wayne and sometimes I go to Lake Placid Christian Conference Center south of Fort Wayne.  If you live in the Fort Wayne area I encourage you to take advantage of these solitary retreat programs....they are often free or for little charge.

It is a habit I have instilled since my divorce...to grieve if needed, to pray, to simply sort things out, to journal and to rest....to shut up the voices in my head and truly listen to God...and I do not function well without the respite they give me.

And now at last I am here, and I don't know how to sort through my mess except to prayerfully write it here before God.  It is sometimes the best way He and I communicate.

My dear friend Leisa Larson once told me and a group of young moms in our Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group that if you squeeze a sponge until the water is all gone, there will be nothing left...you have to replenish the sponge.  

My pastor Ray Harris at The Pointe Church has said you can't serve in your home, workplace or community if you don't replenish yourself spiritually.

I have not done this.  I have not made my spiritual life or rest of any kind a priority.

And it shows.

I have been ugly to live with and am endangering the very relationships with those I love around me and endangering my health as well.


Some of my health issues will always be there to deal with.

Continued colon testing shows that I will always have to be watchful....it is not uncommon to have pains that cause me and my boyfriend to question "Do we need to go to the hospital?" 

So far, we haven't gone to the hospital for my colon....but the constant strain of potential emergency have worn us both out.  I am certain it would not be so bad if I managed my work stress better....thus, I am in control of some of this.

In December I noticed some breast tenderness, and given my breast cancer history, I had it checked out right away even though I had to pay out-of-pocket because I had just started my new insurance at my new job.  Fortunately, that turned out ok.

I started taking on more and more responsibility at my new job in January, and it has been difficult.  I am not catching on as fast as my supervisor would like and when I am ill and not feeling well colon-wise and stressed because of that....

...well, that does something to a mind's cognitive abilities.  But the modern workplace does not care about that....the workplace wants your work done, and that's what I have been attempting to do.

I have been working 10, 11 or more hours a day...and I take responsibility for some of this...I am being too conscientious.  

It is an issue I have been working through with a life coach/counselor at Stages and Transitions.  I have discovered that I live with the underlying, constant fear of not measuring up and fear of being the one who sticks out for poor performance.  I constantly live in the mindset that I absolutely can not be the one who drops the ball for any reason, any time, ever, at all, period.  And I am exhausted by the expectations of this mindset.

In relationships, particularly with my boyfriend, I find that if he is quiet or in a bad mood, I always think it's because I done something wrong or he's mad at me.  I stupidly think it's all about me all the time....how exhausting this must be for him to deal with.

And then to add to it...at the end of January I was diagnosed with a nasty virus that came with extreme fatigue and nausea that took weeks to recover from.  

No sooner than that improved I got hit with a sinus infection that flared up my asthma that required two doctor visits, doses of steroids, steroid shots and two rounds of antibiotics.

I ended up in the ER twice recently due to extreme back pain.  The pain was so bad I would have gladly chosen death...I begged God to take me....and in my pain I was very mean and nasty to my boyfriend.

He has missed work because of me, which means no pay for him.  I have sick days, but as a new employee have tried not to miss work. He is worried about medical bills and my fearful comments that I am going to lose my job.  Neither of us, I think, have been thinking clearly under the stress.

I was much improved Tuesday after chiropractor appointments and follow ups with my family doctor and got up to head to work...only to realize I had blood in my urine.  I thought, "My God....what else could possibly happen!?!"

I went to work but had to leave early to see my chiropractor for a follow up.  I was nervous about asking my boss to leave, but I had no choice.  After the chiropractor I stopped at my family doctor for a urine test and was prescribed another antibiotic.

Believe me...there are days when I wish I was sick enough, long enough to apply for disability...and as life would have it, there are days when I feel absolutely great...my body is bipolar!

As for the medical bills....I do not worry...God keeps providing.  I just negotiate and pay the bills as they come.

I made the decision to pay higher premiums to have a lower $1500 deductible, which will help.  I just have to get through paying the $1500 to get to my deductible as the bills hit my insurance. Fortunately, billing and insurance take a while so I have been able to use HSA funds I am building up as the bills slowly trickle in.

Yet, the temptation to not tithe is ALWAYS there.  It never adds up and looks like I can pay my bills, but miraculously I have NEVER missed a bill...

....and the blessings just keep pouring in...


I was able to negotiate a 20% discount on my  December mammogram bill.

My asthma doctor prescribed a $145 inhaler prescription, and I was able to have him prescribe a $45 prescription instead.  While I was negotiating that, CVS kept the $145 order on hold and then sent it to me by mistake...and because it was their error they gave it to me for FREE!
   
I received a $100 VISA gift card from the YMCA for teaching swim lessons there for over 10 years even though I am very part-time and can only teach a few lessons in the summer.  My Y employment also gives me 40% off from a summer camp for Heather.


The low gas prices and driving a Prius continue to help my weekly budget...in my old van I was spending $65 a week on gas...in the Prius I was spending $25 a week on gas...and now with the lower prices I am spending $15 or less a week on gas...so I am putting any leftover gas money in savings to offset medical expenses.



When I went to the pharmacy for the recent antibiotic, the bill was $200...they pharmacist took one look at that and said, "I am calling your doctor...we can get you something way better than that!"  Bless that man's heart...he was able to get me a prescription for a mere $4.44.


Year after year, I keep qualifying for reduced lunch fees and free textbooks for Heather...which also allows for some free frees on a college credit test she needs to take this spring and free college entrance exams.


In December I took out a $100 cash withdrawal from my Walmart credit card to help with Christmas expenses, but the transaction showed up on my account as a $100 payment.  I called the credit card company three times and spoke with the Walmart store manager where I made the transaction, trying to pay them the money.  The Walmart manager could not find a transaction error in the store accounts, so he thanked me for my honesty and told me to consider it a $100 credit against my account.  Crazy, right?

In spite of the financial blessings, everything has been a terrible strain on my relationship with my boyfriend of almost two years.  I love him very, very much, but I have made him very unhappy in recent weeks.

Since I was already headed to my retreat, he also decided to take some time away this weekend to get a break.  I was so fearful he would come home today and want to end the relationship.  When he arrived home, we both honestly admitted that we enjoyed the solitude and time away from each other and decided that we needed to take these breaks more often...we are both very independent people and need our space.

I admitted to him my responsibility for the stress we have been going through, and he understands that some of it has been out of my control.  What hurt him the most is that I had not been completely honest with him or myself about how poorly I had been feeling all winter. 

The time away this weekend gave me an opportunity to strategize some stress relief.  I even participated in a restorative yoga class that my sister-in-law recommended.  While I was in the session I let go of so much stress and rested in the arms of God...so much so that I wept. 

I am weak and a bit shaky and my stamina is not what it had been, so I am going to try to walk a couple of times a week along with the yoga.  My boyfriend agreed that those were good ideas and encouraged me to pursue them.


So there you have it my friends...my life seems like such a train wreck at times.  Please keep me in your prayers as you always have.

Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Friday, April 4
I am happy to share that I have been recovering well and continuing to make some serious changes to combat the stress in my life.  

I am back on my feet at work, and miraculously, tasks that I just couldn't get my mind around have suddenly become easier and I am accomplishing more in a shorter amount of time.  I think my mind knew it was time to sink or swim!  

My boss has been supportive of my restrictions and has encouraged me to get out off the office and get home at a reasonable time, which I am truly grateful for.  My boyfriend has even said I am grounded if I am not home by 6 p.m :)  I am so blessed by his support and love that he shows even after I have been not so easy to love.

Thank you for your love, support and prayers through all the crazy times in my life.