Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Morning Thoughts....

Good Morning My Friends....I woke this morning with this verse on my mind. I'm not sure why but I wanted to share it with you. Hope you have a Blessed Sunday.



1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.




Love and Butterfly Hugs My Friends <3

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

God is in the Small Stuff......


Bruce and Stan's newest book encourages readers not to disregard the minor, insignificant things in life. Rather, God Is in the Small Stuff...encourages a better understanding of God's infinite character, reminding readers that He is a personal and intimate God, involved in every detail of their lives, however minute. God Is In the Small Stuff...and it all matters contains 40 chapters, with titles such as "Remember that God Loves You," "Discipline Yourself (No One Else Will)," and "Contentment Won't Kill You." Each chapter includes an introductory commentary in the tongue-in-cheek Bruce & Stan style, followed by bits of pithy and sometimes humorous wisdom such as: God knows what's in our hearts. We might as well get right to the point.
God will never send a thirsty soul to a dry well.
God won't take away a sin until you give it over to Him.
The way you think about God does not define Him.




This is the latest book Giveaway going on on my Facebook page so make sure you go there and sign up. Would hate for you to miss out on such a wonderful book. Thanks and God Bless. Vicki

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fibromyalgia Information.....


Using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), researchers in France were able to detect functional abnormalities in certain regions in the brains of patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, reinforcing the idea that symptoms of the disorder are related to a dysfunction in those parts of the brain where pain is processed. "Fibromyalgia is frequently considered an 'invisible syndrome' since musculoskeletal imaging is negative," said Eric Guedj, M.D., and lead author of the study. "Past imaging studies of patients with the syndrome, however, have shown above-normal cerebral blood flow (brain perfusion) in some areas of the brain and below-normal in other areas. After performing whole-brain scans on the participants, we used a statistical analysis to study the relationship between functional activity in even the smallest area of the brain and various parameters related to pain, disability and anxiety/depression."

In the study, which was reported in the November issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 20 women diagnosed with fibromyalgia and 10 healthy women as a control group responded to questionnaires to determine levels of pain, disability, anxiety and depression. SPECT was then performed, and positive and negative correlations were determined.

The researchers confirmed that patients with the syndrome exhibited brain perfusion abnormalities in comparison to the healthy subjects. Further, these abnormalities were found to be directly correlated with the severity of the disease. An increase in perfusion (hyperperfusion) was found in that region of the brain known to discriminate pain intensity, and a decrease (hypoperfusion) was found within those areas thought to be involved in emotional responses to pain.

In the past, some researchers have thought that the pain reported by fibromyalgia patients was the result of depression rather than symptoms of a disorder. "Interestingly, we found that these functional abnormalities were independent of anxiety and depression status," Guedj said.

According to Guedj, disability is frequently used in controlled clinical trials to evaluate response to treatment. Because molecular imaging techniques such as SPECT can help predict a patient's response to a specific treatment and evaluate brain-processing recovery during follow-up, it could prove useful when integrated into future pharmacological controlled trials.

"Fibromyalgia may be related to a global dysfunction of cerebral pain-processing," Guedj added. "This study demonstrates that these patients exhibit modifications of brain perfusion not found in healthy subjects and reinforces the idea that fibromyalgia is a 'real disease/disorder.'"

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue and multiple tender points. Tender points are specific places—for example, on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and upper and lower extremities—where people with fibromyalgia feel pain in response to slight pressure. The syndrome is one of the most common causes of musculoskeletal pain and disability and affects three to six million, or as many as one in 50, Americans. Between 80 and 90 percent of those diagnosed are women.

Although fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis-related condition, it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles or other tissues. Like arthritis, however, the significant pain and fatigue caused by fibromyalgia can interfere with a person's ability to carry out daily activities.



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Don't Leave it on the Desk...


There was a certain professor named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States and who was a Christian.

Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution.  Every student was required to take this course their freshman year, regardless of his or her major. 

Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery.  Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously. 

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve.  Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going onto seminary for the ministry.  Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen.  He was now the starting center on the school football team, and was the best student in the professor's class. 

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. "How many push-ups can you do?" 
Steve said, "I do about 200 every night." "200? That's pretty good, Steve," Dr. Christianson said. "Do you think you could do 300?" Steve replied, "I don't know .. I've never done 300 at a time." "Do you think you could?" again asked Dr. Christianson. "Well, I can try," said Steve. "Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind, and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work.  Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it," said the professor. Steve said, "Well ... I think I can ... yeah, I can do it." Dr. Christianson said, "Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind." 

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room.  When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. 

No, these weren't the normal kinds of donuts, they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls.

Everyone was pretty excited:  it was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson's class. 

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, "Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?" 

Cynthia said, "Yes." 

Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?" 

"Sure!" Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten.  Then Steve again sat in his desk.  Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia's desk.
Dr.. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, "Joe, do you want a donut?"
Joe said, "Yes."  

Dr. Christianson asked, "Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?" 

Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.  And so it went, down the first aisle; Steve did ten push-ups for every person before he/she got his/her donut. 

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott.  Scott was on the basketball team, and in as good condition as Steve.  He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship.. 

When the professor asked, "Scott do you want a donut?" 

Scott's reply was, "Well, can I do my own push-ups?" 

Dr. Christianson said, "No, Steve has to do them." 

Then Scott said, "Well, I don't want one then." 

Dr... Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn't want?" 

With perfect obedience, Steve started to do ten push-ups. 

Scott said, "HEY! I said I didn't want one!" 

Dr. Christianson said, "Look! This is my classroom, my class, my desks, and these are my donuts.  Just leave it on the desk if you don't want it."  And he put a donut on Scott's desk.
Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little.  He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down.  You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow. 

Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.  

Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, "Jenny, do you want a donut?"

Sternly, Jenny said, "No." 

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, "Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn't want?"
Steve did ten ... Jenny got a donut. 

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room.  The students were beginning to say, "No!" and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.. 

Steve also had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut..  There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved. 

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbelievers in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn't bear to watch all of Steve's work for all of those uneaten donuts.  He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert count the set and watch Steve closely. 

Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row..  During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room.  When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room.  He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it. 

Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. 

Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time.  He was taking a lot more time to complete each set. 

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, "Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?" 

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, "Well, they're your push-ups.  You are in charge now.  You can do them any way that you want."  And Dr. Christianson went on. 

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, "NO!  Don't come in!  Stay out!" 

Jason didn't know what was going on.  Steve picked up his head and said, "No, let him come." 

Professor Christianson said, "You realize that if Jason comes in, you will have to do ten push-ups for him?" 

Steve said, "Yes, let him come in.  Give him a donut." 

Dr. Christianson said, "Okay, Steve, I'll let you get Jason's out of the way right now ... Jason, do you want a donut?" 

Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on.  "Yes," he said, "give me a donut." 

"Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?" 

Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort.  Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down. 

Dr Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters.  Steve's arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity.  By this time, sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing; there was not a dry eye in the room.  

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders and very popular.  Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, "Linda, do you want a doughnut?" 

Linda said, very sadly, "No, thank you." 

Professor Christianson quietly asked, "Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn't want?" 

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda. 

Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan.  "Susan, do you want a donut?" 

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry.  "Dr. Christianson, why can't I help him?" 

Dr Christianson, with tears of his own, said, "No, Steve has to do it alone; I have given him this task, and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not ... when I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book.  Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade.  Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class, or offered me inferior work.  Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up, he must do push-ups.  I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push-ups.  He and I made a deal ... for your sakes." 

"Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?" 

As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him, and he fell to the floor. 

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, "And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, pled to the Father, 'Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.'  With the understanding that He had done everything that was required of Him, He yielded up His life.  And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten. " 

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. 

"Well done, good and faithful servant," said the professor, adding, "Not all sermons are preached in words." 

Turning to his class, the professor said, "My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  God spared not His Only Begotten Son, but gave Him up for us all, for the whole world, now and forever, even for those who refuse His gift of everlasting life.  Whether or not we choose to accept His gift to us and believe that He is our one and only Savior, the price has been paid. Wouldn't you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?"

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino

The Spoon Theory
by Christine Miserandino
www.butyoudontlooksick.com

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing. As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know? I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn't seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick. As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try. At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands. I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted. Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control. She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become? I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a neverending supply of "spoons". But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn't even started yet. I’ve wanted more "spoons" for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus. I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said " No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can't take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too." I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this. I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s "spoons", but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less "spoons". I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on "spoons", because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me. We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night. When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all. I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared” Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day's plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count "spoons". After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can't go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.” Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my "spoons".

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reading.....

Sorry I haven't posted a new blog in a while but I have been doing a lot of reading. I have been fortunate enough to have been chosen to read books and write reviews. I thought it would be a lot of fun since I really enjoy reading and I have found that I really do enjoy it a lot. So far it has been Amish books which are my favorite. I am looking forward to finishing this next Amish book that I have started. I do hope that you all have been keeping up with your reading as well. Will have more to write in my next post. God Bless....Vicki