I’m So Much Better, But Not Yet Great

Christmas TreeHello there friends, Merry Christmas!  I love this season, all the music, decorations, bustle and bells.  But in the midst of all of that…many of us are still dealing with the same challenges, perhaps trying to move them to the back burner while we’re cooking up holiday surprises.  I would love to sit here and wax on about the joys of the season…and I promise I will in my next post!  However, today, this post is for those who are “in it with me”. Who know how hard the journey has been, and that it isn’t over yet.  Whether you are facing a challenge today yourself, or if you are just empathizing with me for my sake, thank you, sincerely, for sharing a moment with me here ❤

This morning, I had an appointment with my GP (general practitioner) doctor for 2 reasons. First, I need his authorization every time I need to see a specialist and I am due for a check in with the OBGYN for the large ovarian cyst that they found during my hospital stay.The second reason was for pain management – which is a nicer way to say I was about out of my pain meds and my gastro refuses to write a script, and keeps kicking me to the GP even though he knows the GP hates to dole out narcotics.

Now, a few things are wrong with this whole situation.  First of all, in the past, when I’ve been hospitalized with my Crohn’s, it’s always taken about 6 months to truly get back on my feet – working, exercise, stable emotionally, and off the pain meds.  We are at an even 5 months since I was released from the hospital, but only 3 weeks off the steroids, (by ditching those, I started eating normally, lost weight, less stress, no more bone damage…but lost energy, and have more pain, it can apparently takes months for the body to re-adjust).  I have started Cimzia, the biologic inject-able which will be a long term maitnence dosage, however that can take 3 months to fully kick in before we can asses if it’s even the right treatment for me.  We are 2 months in.

All of that to say, I’m back to some work and exercise, still not sleeping, and all of these things are made easier with a little oxy. Now, I know it’s addictive, I know people have issues with it, and the fact that I need it still is embarrassing at best, and frustrating at worst.  I have, in the past, always been able to wean myself off without any outside help, but it genuinely takes a long time for my body to rebuild it’s strength.  In this case, I have been sick, in pain, not sleeping, battling my Crohn’s and gut infection out of control for a solid year before I was admitted. That means a year of mal-nutrition, muscle depletion, and un-rest, (we won’t even go into the emotional issues and the over all effect of this on our new marriage), from which my body is trying to recover.

DoctorPillsMy gastroenterologist said that it was “annoying” to take a test every 2 years to get certified to dispense pain meds, so he has sent me to several doctors, and even suggested that I just go to the ER when I needed a refill.  The GP I found to work with is so understanding, and was willing to help me, but was upset at being put in that situation, and I don’t blame him!  Also, he is retiring in 2 weeks, so then what?  He ended up filling the scrips, suggesting an anti-depressant to help me sleep, and wished me luck.

I felt awful sitting there in his office.  I was clearly stuck in the middle of these doctors and the state regulation, and felt bad asking the doctor for anything!  In fact, the hubby still doesn’t like the fact that we’ve had to return to western medicine after trying to use purely natural and holistic methods for the last year. However, I had walked in feeling pretty good about the fact that I had been biking and exercising, and gotten myself down to 1/2 a pill a day vs. the 2 full doses a day I was on when I first went to see him.  But to him, he just saw a young woman who looked like she should be well, and didn’t believe I should have been on anything to begin with…and admits that he knows very little about my disease and nothing about the Cimzia I’m taking. He thinks I should get a new gastro, but it was hard enough to find this one who has a pretty good beside manner, and was willing to work at the level of treatment I needed.  There’s the rub my friends.  I wish I could have just one doctor taking care of me, who can see the whole picture, who understands some of the unique factors in my case and the way I’ve dealt with it over the years.  In fact, as I sat there listening to his frustration with silent tears running down my face, all I could think of was that if only he knew how bad it had been, how many doctors had thrown up thier hands and said they couldn’t help me, and how hard I had worked to get back to “good”, and how I wouldn’t be crying if I hadn’t had to drive my husband to work at 3:30 in the morning because the Army is crazy and neither of us got any sleep last night.

As I walked away from his office with 3 scripts in hand, I pondered how there was no way my husband was going to let me use an anti-depressant after what he’d seen his veteran friends go through.  I also thought about how low it feels to “need” something no one wants to give you, even if they agree you need it.  I thought about how I needed to be at my best to straighten out some work stuff today, and probably wouldn’t be because of the sleep deprivation.  At least I’d have some meds to make me more comfortable right?  Nope!  The pharmacy was “out of stock” and won’t be able to fill them for several days.  Sigh.

Here is the deal – the main reason I feel the need for all this medication is because society isn’t made to let us rest.  I can’t take more time to heal, life is moving on and I need to move on with it or get left behind!  I already feel like I’ve missed so much, even lost some friends, let people down, and been forgotten in my hibernation. I want to wake up!  I want it to be summer in my life again!

So what to do?  I don’t know.  The government has made insurance more messy, so we (doctors, nurses, patients), spend a lot of time making phone calls, filing papers, and making less than necessary appointments to meet requirements and at the end of the day, I’m not really any better off than I started. I just feel a little worse about my situation, and really want to move it to that back burner again.

IMG_20141227_175335To end on a positive note…as frustrating and embarrassing and upsetting as all this is…I don’t want to seem ungrateful – because I’m not!  Just yesterday as I rode my new bike in the sunshine I was counting my many blessings.  Any way you slice it, I am so much stronger than I was this time last year, physically, spiritually, and mentally. God has been so good, and stood by me though it all.  I may not understand Him all the time, but I see His hand in the little things…in the beauty of a blue sky, the loyalty of a little dog, the laughter two people share.  When I see these gifts I know it’s true,

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I’m so un-worthy, yet I am encouraged – may I complete those good works, and be a blessing to this world before I am called home.  May it be true for you as well.

Much love to you today dear friend, and thank you again for being “in it with me”.  ~ Morgen

Advertisements

1 Year Anniversary

At an Army event, a rare glimpse of Ed all dressed up.

At an Army event, a rare glimpse of Ed all dressed up.

It seems only fitting that since this blog was started in preparation for our wedding, that I would post something celebrating that particular day in history.  It was hard for me to write this post, I feel there were many directions I could go as I reflected on my first full year as a married woman.  So, I’m giving myself permission, (hopefully I have yours too!) to re-visit first-year-of-marriage themes in the future, and will talk more specifically about our anniversary in this post.  So here we go….

Working on your marriage starts by working on you. If there is one thing I have learned in this first year of marriage, it is that being partnered with someone brings out your very best or your very worst qualities on any given day. I have also learned that the more I focus on what I need from my spouse, the less happy I am. Instead I am learning to find my contentment and my happiness in my relationship with God and myself. Then anything I get from my spouse is a bonus!

Especially on our anniversary I had to really wrestle with the

I love you!

I love you!

expectation of getting something from my spouse. We as a society have made a gift giving occasion out of just about anything. Now if you like to give gifts, or you like to get gifts there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Gift giving is a tried-and-true way of showing affection. However it is not the only way to show affection and the lack of gift giving or dinner reservations should not reflect on the health and wellness of a relationship. This was very hard for me to accept at first because I spend too much time on Facebook, seeing all the status updates from my friends who would receive roses, a card and dinner at the nearest steakhouse for any and all special occasions. Through much conversation I have learned how my spouse feels he is able to show love to me, and in his mind it looks very different than the typical Kay Jewelry commercial.

So I had to decide if I was going to be okay with that, or make myself miserable by comparing our relationship and my spouse’s love-overtures to every other 20-something married couple in our non-denominational Christian-ease hipster society. So in honor of my spouse, who does love me devotedly, here are some ways he shows me his love all the time not just on special occasions, (he does these of his own volition btw!):

  •  Paying the bills
  •  Doing the dishes
  •  Putting my health first
  •  Working me out at the gym
  •  Serenading me
  •  Dancing with me
  •  Laughing when I spend too much money
  •  Complementing me profusely when I roll out of bed in the mornings
  •  Keeping himself informed, in-shape, and spiritually growing

How did we actually spend our anniversary?  Well, my maid of honor was in town, so my bride-groom took us to the gun-range to teach us how to shoot.  (He loved teaching us, and apparently I’m a pretty good shot.)  Then, the MOH took us to lunch before heading to the airport.  Good food, lots of laughs, and reflections on life made for a lovely time.  Finally alone, my hubby and I spent some time kanoodling, cleaning, and wrapped up the day with a trip to the movies.  Dracula Untold is not really romantic, but prompted interesting discussion about love, sacrifice, good, and evil.  All in all, a pretty good day for Team RZ – I felt connected to my husband, gained fresh insight and understanding, and learned something new with him.  Isn’t that what marriage is all about?

Happy hubby, happy life!

Happy wedding day!

Getting back to my previous point about working on the self, some days it is a struggle to find my peace and happiness and contentment apart from the person that I have to do life with, however I also know that I can be demanding, selfish, prideful, needy, achievement-oriented, and by turns over emotional, or not in touch with my emotions at all.  That’s why I feel that prayer and meditation, (journaling for me), is even MORE essential when it comes to marriage vs all the other things we spend time stressing about.  After all, your marriage is the commitment that affects you each and every day, and will be with you until the day you die.  It can be, and should be, the most life-altering decision you make.  What is more worthy of your time and consideration?  After all, by calling on the Big Guy’s help, and working through your baggage SO THAT your marriage becomes healthier…you are really doing yourself a favor.

We are big fans of affirmations. We really appreciate when the other takes notice of something that we’ve done or something great about us in general. We try and make it a practice to affirm each other each night before we say prayers and go to bed. Some nights it is easier to come up with something than others but the practice of doing so forces us to look for the best in each other even if it’s been a hard day.

The #1 thing that I’ve learned about marriage is that every day is a choice. You may fall in love but deciding to stay there is made up of little choices each and every day. I can either choose to withdraw when I’m upset and pout, or I can lean into our relationship. I can try to understand the other point of view, I can opt to compromise. Obviously I don’t do it right 90 percent of the time, but with a lot of grace, forgiveness, and God’s help we’ve made it this far, and are looking forward to the rest of Forever.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love my Husband

Image

Hey friends and followers!  Team RZ is “celebrating” it’s 2nd Valentine’s as a couple, and 1st as newlyweds.  We all know relationships – especially marriages – are tough.  But today, regardless of what our spouses do or don’t do, I choose to celebrate by remembering the best things.  I choose to convey my love the best way I know how…via blog!  So maybe some of you can relate, but set the complaints aside for a moment, and remember your beau is made in a Heavenly image…and join in the count-down with me.

10.  Reason why I love my husband – He saved a man from a burning car last summer.  To be honest, I totally forgot about this, (wait, don’t gasp, I have a horrible memory!), and he never brings it up.  But he had his review the other day, and it came up because he was in uniform when it happened.  He was driving home, saw the car in trouble, broke the the window, climbed in, and pulled the guy to safety.  Then he administered first aid and waited until the pediatrics came.  I don’t love the fact that my hubby did this crazy scary thing… I love that it’s in his nature to just help people.  He is never too busy, or cool, or sure someone else will, he just stops and does what needs to be done.  I’ve learned a lot from watching him.

9.  Reason why I love my husband – He is a life-long learner.  One of the first ways we bonded was sharing articles while he was in Germany, then reading and sharing our thoughts with each other.  He always wants to learn something new – he listens to podcasts as he bikes to work, reads books while waiting on people, prints articles he finds online, and sometimes calls me just to tell me about something interesting he learned in class that day.  I get exhausted from just a smidgen of that information – but he just hungrily eats it up, and passes it along to anyone who will listen.

8.  Reason 8 why I love my husband – he goes after what he wants.  That’s why we are together – he made up his mind that he wanted me, and we made it work from different continents, time zones, beliefs, and careers.  I find very few men that are willing to make sacrifices for relationships anymore…and he was so dedicated from the start!  As he often tells me, “you never stood a chance!”  It’s not just me by any means – when he wants to accomplish something, once it’s decided, he just does it.  Marathons, promotions, special forces, school, our home…now the trick is, he has to decide.  It doesn’t work if I just ask him to do something.  Oh wait, only good things!

7.  Reason why I love my husband – He keeps me focused on God.  It’s true, sometimes I’m a bit self-centered, or get distracted from what we were put on earth to do.  He keeps me on track, sometimes without even realizing it.  Sometimes, he’ll directly say to me, “baby, we need to pray!”, sometimes, I see something in him that reminds me he was fearfully and wonderfully made, sometimes, I get upset and don’t understand, and end up on my knees seeking wisdom from the Father.  One way or another, this man has stretched my faith more than I ever thought possible.

Image

6.  Reason why I love my husband – He’s hott.  Sorry ya’ll, that’s just the simple truth.  He’s a good looking man, and when he comes home at the end of the day, I think, “Wow, he’s yummy!  And he chose me!!”  And that’s all I’ll say here…  

5.  Reason why I love my husband – He supports me.  Sometimes, to a fault.  Whether it’s a business idea, a friendship, and goal, a dream, he always supports me.  He put it in the vows he wrote to me, and reminds me often that we are a team.  If it’s important to me, he’s going to help me get there.

4.  Reason why I love my husband – He’s a warrior.  He fights evil, seen or unseen every day.  We talk a lot about spiritual warfare in our house, we believe that just as God is so good and full of love, that there is an Enemy full of evil and pain.  So whatever form that evil takes, my love is ready to do battle.  On a more personal note, I worry sometimes that he will never truly feel peace.  He has been a solider for 6 years, most of his adult life.  He’s seen enough action to know that the bad guys are real, and too close for comfort sometimes. I pray often that our home would be a place where he can rest – even just for a moment before heading back into the fray.

3.  Reason why I love my husband He’s so silly!!!  Sometimes we just get the giggles and can’t stop.  I’ve never laughed so easily WITH someone.  You know how a lot of times, the laughter between people is at one person’s expense?  Or one person thinks it’s funnier than all the rest?  Not with him, when I start laughing, he’s right there with me.  And when he’s causing my laughter, I can’t stop!  We sing in the car, tickle each other, and make goofy noises and voices.  I think, (well, this is the German in me), that being silly with someone is more vulnerable than just about anything else.  It’s a form of intimacy just like the deep emotions, and physical touch.  I love his smile, and love when we laugh together.

2.  Reason why I love my husband – He is going to make a great dad.  I have not always been on the “I need a kid” band wagon – many of you know this.  However, when I see my hubby in action every day, I think, this man DESERVES to have kids.  He should have a little mini version of him that he can teach and love and train up in the world.  I see how tender he is with other peoples kids, or our dogs, I hear how deeply convicted he is about right and wrong, about caring for others, and I think, dear God, may we have children JUST SO THAT he can be their father.  Lord knows, if I’m their mother, they’ll need all the help they can get.

1.  And, the #1 Reason why I love my husband is.…because I choose to.  I figured out long before I ever met this guy that Love is a choice.  How so?  Because it’s an action.  The feelings ebb and flow with our sleep patterns and the other person’s behavior, but our actions don’t need to.  So when I first told him I loved him, I meant it.  I had fallen, and decided to stay.  Regardless of what the future held, I decided I was going to love him like Jesus as best I could – even if that meant us not being together.  But it was in God’s plan for us to be together…so on Nov. 2, I stood up in front of family and friends, and promised God that I would love this man for the rest of my life.  And so, I do.

Taking the Leap

It's scary to jump off that step and not have firm ground underneath..will he catch me?

It’s scary to jump off that step and not have firm ground underneath..will he catch me?

There is something specific about resting in the arms of the person who has vowed to spend the rest of their life with you.  It is so comforting, it leaves the mind free of fears, and open to dream.  What is it about marriage that makes us so united, how is it different than really super committed dating?  I think it’s the leap.

When you get married, you don’t get to watch the movie of your life together play out in front of you and then decide, “yes, I’d like to have that. ”  We can never know what life holds in store for us alone, and even less so once joined with a partner who brings their own qualities, ideas and dreams into the equation.  Yet for those who are willing, the actual act of saying those vows is taking a leap of faith together, into a new life that is unknown…. The unknown is always scary, but like skydiving, going to war, or getting through college, there are adventurers in life that bond 2 people just because they got though it together.

I think the leap of marriage is in itself a bonding experience that helps you to face the scary unknowns.  When life gets tough, or throws you a curve, the hope is that you will be strong enough to look back to your wedding day and say, “we took that leap together, we are floating through thin air with each other, together we can find firm ground again.”

What about kids?  To have, adopt, what if we can't...

What about kids? To have, adopt, what if we can’t…

There will be other leaps throughout life that continue to bond you if you let them…but they can also tear you apart.  It is our choices in these situations, our ability to put the others needs first while still expressing our own, to be slow to anger and quick to forgive, that determines whether you will be glued tighter on the other side. Leaping into having kids together – another act of faith.  Taking a jump to move to a new place that your spouse feels better about than you do.  Re-arranging your career to make room for your partner, your family.  What about that leap into a crazy vacation that seems totally impractical but is probably exactly what you both need?

Yes, experiences are what unite people, and marriage is the first of many leaps of faith that can build a life un-imagined.  Here’s to love, and here’s to leaping.

Fighting to Get Close

Awwwwe

Awwwwe

I know you all assume that Edward and I are the most loving romantic couple, and in our sweet pre-wedding bliss, always speak to each other in the most patient, kind, and care-giving way.  Hahaha…nope.   We are both type A, first-born, leadership-oriented individuals who get pretty passionate about what we think.  This will occasionally cause heated debates where neither of us is in any hurry to give ground, or worse yet, concede to the other.

Those of you who know us well will also attest to the fact that we can be very analytic, so I have taken an analytic approach to our tussles, and discovered something interesting.  We are fighting to get close.  It’s so simply profound that I can’t believe I was never able to put words to it before.   What I mean is what may start as a difference of opinion can escalate into a passion-filled argument because underneath the words we say out-loud is the heart-cry “I want you to understand me.  I want you to know me and still accept me. I want to feel more connected and in-sync with

Angry, yawning, or both?

Do you hear me?

you.”

Does that resonate with anyone else?  I see it so clearly now in our arguments.  I feel most hurt when I feel Ed is speaking or acting without knowing me.  I want him to have paid such close attention to our conversations that he will automatically know how I’ll respond.  If I were to hazard a guess, Ed loses patience when he feels we’re not working as a team, and when I can’t respect or anticipate what he is wanting for our relationship in that moment.

Bottom line:  We humans are designed to love each other.  Fighting to get close is just part of how we love!  I truly believe that now.  So if all couples, friends, family members fight, what’s the game changer?  That you stay to finish the fight.  Don’t just walk away, or emotionally shut down.  It’s harder to stay in the battle, to keep re-explaining, to patiently listen, to concede a point or two…but when you stay in the

At the military ball...loving our time together

At the military ball…loving our time together

battle, you will ultimately win the war.  And winning in the Love war means a a lasting victory that is sweet to the soul.

From the Groom

She's barefoot, He's snacking...only 3 months into it.

She’s barefoot, He’s snacking…only 3 months into it.

The World we live in is very large.  It’s abundance of life and beauty leaves us all in awe.  Everyday we are blessed with the freedom to journey in it.  In this grand journey we pursue a multitude of different things, some power, some wealth and some fame.  Of all these things, we as humans pursue and convert, nothing in this world is more important or valuable than the grandest prize of all, Love.

From the days of the Greek city states, where the beauty of Helen launched a 1000 ships, to the spark I felt when I first laid eyes on Morgen Reynolds, Love has proven time and time again to be the most powerful force in the universe.  With all that said, it should be no shock that once I was presented with just a mere taste of that precious commodity, I jumped at the opportunity to thoroughly explore it.

Mo and Ed in Colorado

Colorado, his family, 1 year later

So now here we are, a year later looking back on the path we have forged together, realizing we have not only bettered each other’s mind and character but also our heart and soul.  We have captured that mystic creature, sought after by many, and plan to do nothing short of spending the rest of our lives cherishing it as it grows and spreads in our lasting commitment together.

I love you Morgen Lee Reynolds, and may God continue to bless our union and those around us!