Coping with change and disappointment

As you know, we live in a fifth wheeler RV  We have been on the road for three months. Having sold or given away most of our stuff, we have very little left. But it didn't matter as this RV had most things we needed. It was a dream come true.

The dream is coming to an end. My body can't cope with RV life. All my ailments are exacerbated by living in the fifth wheel. I have torn my meniscus in my left knee and I can no longer manage to get up the seven steps and the three up into our bedroom and ensuite. I am almost housebound.

Because the bed is difficult to get in and out of, I need to pull myself up and my shoulder and neck muscles vie in hot contest of being the sorest. As a result, my polymyalgia rheumatica is back and bad.

I have to slide down the wall to help take pressure off my sore knee and this has played havoc with my spinal problems and after getting up the main steps, I suffer angina really badly.

My fatigue is so bad and my fibromyalgia is in a flare. The stress of finding a new house and forcing myself to use the steps in order to do that is causing me to go into a depression.

There's no way round it: no mobility aids to overcome the problem and we will have to sell the fiver. It is a very disappointing turn of events.

I had prayed that I would be making the right choice in buying the fiver and GMC tow vehicle and in how I used my inheritance my mother left me last year. I felt sure this was the way to go but three months into our venture, it is apparent that for me, it is not a lifestyle I can maintain.

In a Christian's life, there is nothing that God hasn't already seen, and in saying that, I must confess that I believe everything is for a purpose. Whatever is in the future is part of God's plan for my life.

In feeling the disappointment, I must remind myself of this. I look forward to looking over this chapter in my life's book and seeing God's purpose for this. God is good. All the time.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thank God it's Jesus!

There are many things in life that can break us. Illness, loss, grief, depression, divorce to mention just a few. But often it is sin that breaks us the most: and unlike some other things that break us, time does not make it easier. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:19
That is why repentance is so important. We need to repent as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, for if we don't, we give a foothold to the evil one. He takes great delight in making us feel estranged from God and hopeless. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Of course, God is not distancing Himself from us- we do that when we are conscious of sinning. So it is imperative that we come to Christ and confess our sin immediately and partake afresh of His Grace. There is nothing like the fragrant aroma of Grace as a balm for our sin when there is true repentance and forgiveness...
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:15 

But after repentance and forgiveness, we often find that there are those who still judge us and who remind us of our sin constantly. They call that which God sees as clean, unclean...
Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. Luke 7:39

But where can one go when judging fingers point out our repented sin? We go back to Jesus. We take His Word that He has forgiven us. we renounce the judgers as being used by the evil one, and we get back on our feet, and continue in the Spirit..
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God... 2 Corinthians 10:5

Often the one who has sinned the most will arise forgiven and serve God in a passion and newness bought through the cleansing of the Blood of Christ, and in gratitude for His sacrifice for us...
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:12

I have noticed many times over that people who have been broken and whom God has restored, often serve Him with passion and a zeal that others don't match. The greater the sin, the greater God's Grace...
"Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." Luke 7:47

As for those who judge us, we should remind them that the Blood of Jesus has washed our sin away and that they should not ever call unclean what God has called clean..

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

"We Give You Thanks"

"We Give You Thanks"

Lord, as we gather at this table
May we be truly grateful
For the bounty You have given us.
We thank you for the earth and rain,
The good harvest and the wholesome grain
That went into our daily bread
And kept the stock that kept us fed.
Thank you for the hands that cooked and baked,
And for the water that our thirst slaked.
Please accept our thanks as we honour You
For Your goodness in giving us this food.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15

Sex isn't everything

This picture reminds me of Chris and I in the kitchen... I often can be washing the dishes and he will come behind me for a cuddle.. I still blush and giggle like a school girl!  I usually go weak at the knees when he kisses the back of my neck, and I turn around and kiss him passionately.  Finally, we break away, breathless with romance and laughter!  Most times, he then pitches in and helps me finish washing up.

This little dalliance of ours to us is quite romantic and that coupled with the fact that Chris helps me with the dishes, makes me feel nurtured and happy- it doesn't take a lot for me! Which is good, because money is short for a lot of flowers and chocolates.

We do go out together for meals whenever we can salt away a little money.  Nothing too expensive, but we bring our own ambiance!  Just looking into each others' eyes and holding hands over the table reminds us of our early days together and keeps us focused on each other.  Truly, we do adore each other.

Because money is in short supply, and because we constantly laugh together and cuddle often, we feel that special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays and Valentines' Day aren't necessary to show affection and love. We in fact, do not buy gifts for these for each other. And it is perfectly fine with us. We do, however look at our wedding photos and reminisce a lot on our anniversary or any other date significant to us...

I think it may be the fact that we are an older married couple that makes it easier to see romance in ways that younger couples don't.  With age and fibromyalgia and heart and back problems and Chris with his diabetes, sex is either umcomfortable or impossible. So both Chris and I look forward to a bubble bath at home with a good back wash and nail trims or a foot or back massage.  We do that for each other on a regular basis. To us, nurture is romance!

Chris loves me bringing his breakfast into him in the morning. This to him is romantic and although his not buying me presents and sending me cards may seem that he is an unromantic man, nothing could be further from the truth.  He sings to me! We have some special songs that he says were written just for us, and he will play them on the computer, and take me in his arms and croon to me as we dance slowly round the living room.

Because I am often in hospital, Chris shows his care by staying with me most of the day until visiting hours are over, just stroking my hair and holding my hand. Or he will come with our laptop and headphones for me. My heart melts with love for him.  We can't stand to be away from each other.

Illness, medications, no spoons and age have curtailed our times of intimacy, but we manage to show love to each other in ways that are imaginative, erotic and very caring.  There is absolutely no thoughts of unmet needs- love can be expressed in ways other than full sexual intercourse, and we delight in each other regardless! If sex happens, it's a bonus!

So we don't care about no presents or cards for Christmas, or birthdays or Valentines' Day-  with the romantic sparks that still fly between us, and our little dalliances, every day is Valentines' Day. 

I thank God for Chris as I am one very blessed wife, and I tell him often.... he finds that very romantic too! We are proof that you can live without sex! Sex isn't everything!

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life ... 1 Peter 3:7  this post has been written with my husbands' permission.

It's love in action

I have been reflecting on the amount of grandmothers who have a large role in bringing up their grandchildren, or who even have custody of them. 

Some of my childhood memories include playing with my father's work mate's children. This friend was a widower and he was left with two young children to bring up. He was helped by his mother, Mrs B.

Mrs B was a senior woman of about 75 years. She wore her grey hair in a tight bun and sported black lace up shoes that gave her appearance a rather severe look, especially with her long black skirt and white blouse that did up right to her neck. She wore no jewelry and I guess you could say she was a plain person.

At the time she took on her motherless grandchildren and moved in with them, she was enjoying a wonderful life as a companion/assistant to a woman of wealth. She was widely traveled and lived in a large prestigious house. Yet, she gave it all up to raise her son's children with him.

Even as a young child, I was impressed by this woman and thought how great was this lady's heart and love that she gave up a truly salubrious life for them.

It is only as a senior great-grandmother myself, and on reading that God classes this devotion as a mitzvah and is especially dear to His heart, I realise that this self sacrifice is so precious to God and to the grandchildren being cared for.

This to my mind exemplifies the sacrificial life of His Son Jesus, Who was perfect in love and sinless. Such kindness is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

To all grandmothers who care for their grandchildren, know that your sacrificial love is indeed pleasing to God. It's more than being kind: it's love in action.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

"Little Angels"

On wings of love we laid you down, 
Wrapped moonbeams round your sides, 
We dimmed the light of distant stars 
And sang you lullabies. 
We lingered round your cradle 
As we gazed at you in awe- 
To us you were as angels 
Too perfect for this world. 
You must have dreamt of Heaven 
For you decided not to stay, 
The angels came and took you 
On the clouds on which you lay. 
Now Jesus gently rocks you 
In His strong and gentle arms, 
We know now, little angels, 
You are safe from any harm… 
Lord, lay them down in a cradle of gold, 
Tuck rainbows round their sides, 
Cover them with Your angels’ wings 
And if they ever cry- 
Tell them Mum and Dad are coming 
Just as soon as they awake- 
Please kiss our little angels, Lord 
And love them in our place.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10 

For my twin babies, Sarah and Ruth Urbani, born sleeping November 12, 1969

We all live in glass houses

It never ceases to amaze me that most people, (myself included in the past), have judged others yet haven't given much thought of the actions and sin in their own life.

I well remember a neighbour friend of mine who was sharing a cuppa with another friend and myself. We shared that we were both pregnant at the time we were married, and she sniffed and declared that she was a virgin at the altar. We felt resentment because this woman had an affair at work and nearly put the end to her marriage. We rightly felt who was she to judge us?

If we say we haven't sinned, then God says we are a liar. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That's why we need a Saviour and that's why we need to extend grace to all.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:16

Pre-marital sex or extra marital sex is sin: just as is gossip, pride and unforgiveness. Sin of all kinds sent Jesus to the cross. Jesus took our sin upon himself. And not one of us is sinless, save Jesus. "There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10

Jesus Christ is our Advocate and Judge. We have no right judging another. Our job is to pray for them.My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 1 John 2:1

As long as we live, we will sin. Not willingly, but we will all fall at one time or another. So it would behoove us to refrain from throwing stones at each other when we all live a glass house.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

When an aspirin won't fix it

When it comes to Fibromyalgia many people – men and women – have reported a reduction in their libido due to the sometimes chronic nature of the condition. Sometimes Fibromyalgia sufferers can feel perfectly well and are willing to make love but a ‘flare-up’ can put paid to such willingness.

The sheer unpredictability of the condition is such that it can leave one or both partners feeling as though they are not wanted and that perhaps the other partner is making excuses; this is simply not the case.

Sufferers of Fibromyalgia, especially in its chronic form, find it difficult to make love because of the levels of pain they have to endure. Making love requires a considerable amount of bodily movement and if the trigger points flare up then this movement can be painful or at the very least uncomfortable.

Another problem with Fibromyalgia is the way in which an individual’s body weight can fluctuate; this too has consequences on the libido, making the sufferer feel as though they are unable to perform and instilling in them a lack of self-confidence which manifests itself as a lack of libido.

It is important to emphasise that a lack of libido can be turned around either by reducing stress and anxiety or by changing one’s daily routine. Your doctor will not necessarily prescribe any medication to help combat this problem as there is not really much that can be done physically about the condition.

I think it is very important to reassure your husband that you still love him even though you are hurting too much for intimacy. In areas of chronic pain and illness, communication must be open so that there are no silent doubts about whether you as a wife, still love your husband.

So important is this area of intimacy in marriage, that I would suggest that you be willing to try to accommodate your husband at any reasonable time, instead of just at night when you are understandably tired out. If lovemaking is simply impossible, remember to caress and cuddle your husband. author unknown

Remember to be demonstrative and vocal with letting your husband know you love him. He will most likely be feeling anxious that he can't help you in your suffering. Fibromyalgia flares can't be fixed by taking a few aspirins.

Blessings, Glenys 

My beloved is white and ruddy, chief among ten thousand. Song of Songs 5:10

Feeling a bit washed out!

As you probably know, we live in a fifth wheeler RV full-time.  It has some benefits which I am slowly starting to see, with compact living that reduces the work needed to maintain it a bonus.

We are by the sea at Seaspray Caravan Park. The weather has been great, but last night it rapidly became colder and today it is muggy and raining.
This doesn't normally worry me, but as a sufferer of fibromyalgia, it often brings on a flare and it has. I am overwhelmed with muscle and body aches and tiredness.
Although living in a RV makes it easier to keep clean and maintain, there are many things that need to be done daily. Especially when you have a cat that lives inside.
There are meals to cook and clothes to wash as well, and even when housework's shared with a partner, there are some things that a woman just has to do in homemaking. Life in a RV isn't just a long holiday.
As I type, I can see our bed and it is calling my name. Chris is going to tuck me in for a nana nap. Hopefully I will feel better after that and will have enough energy to cook a Shepherd's Pie for dinner.
After I am tucked up in bed, Chris has promised to run the Dyson Stick Vacuum over the floors. For the first time I am glad there aren't a lot of floors to do.
But for not the first time, I am glad that we have a queen sized cosy bed just feet away from me. I am going up the three steps to it as soon as I post this.
So much for one long vacation: fibromyalgia doesn't take a holiday. I am feeling a bit washed out.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24

Welcome Validation: False Guilt's cousin

Sometimes when I am having a flare of my fibromyalgia, I find that I need to feel validated in my sufferings. Not many people believe that fibromyalgia is real, and when you feel wiped out with chronic fatigue, endless pain and brain fog for weeks at a time, you can suffer from False Guilt. This is a cousin to needing Validation. So, feeling like that, I decided to look up some sites and recap the symptoms of the complaint. Here they are:

Fibromyalgia produces widespread pain, disturbed sleep, and exhaustion from head to toe.1 Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons—the soft fibrous tissues of the body. Although the muscles hurt everywhere, they are not the only cause of the pain. Instead, the diffuse, body-wide symptoms are greatly magnified by malfunctions in the way the nervous system processes pain.2,3

Regional muscle pain not related to arthritis or the nervous system also occurs in the majority of people with fibromyalgia.4 Patients describe this as firm knots in the belly of muscles, often causing restricted movement and radiating pain.5 These muscle nodules are myofascial trigger points and some researchers suspect that these painful areas overlap with the tender points used to diagnose fibromyalgia.6

The symptoms of fibromyalgia are unpredictable and most patients are frustrated by their physical limitations and inability to make plans. You may feel as though you have to "push yourself" to get things done.7

Most patients with fibromyalgia say that their muscles feel like they have been pulled or overworked, and sometimes they twitch or cramp.8 Even the skin may feel badly sunburned.9 To help your family and friends relate to your fibromyalgia symptoms, have them think back to the last time they had a bad flu. Every muscle in their body shouted out in pain. In addition, they felt devoid of energy as though someone had unplugged their power supply.

Given that the symptoms may be similar to a viral flu, experts in the field of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome believe that these two illnesses may be one and the same.10 Gulf War syndrome also overlaps with these two conditions.11
Common symptoms:

Pain - Fibromyalgia pain has no boundaries. People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, stabbing, or intense burning. Quite often, the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning, and muscle groups that are used repetitively may hurt more.12 In addition, the severity of regional pains (particularly those in the head, neck, shoulders and lower back) are a strong predictor of a person's overall pain rating.13 The muscles in these painful areas can feel tight, knotted and rope-like. Pressing on the firm, knotted region hurts and often causes the pain to shoot to other muscles when a myofascial trigger point is present.

Fatigue - This symptom can be one of the most incapacitating for people with fibromyalgia. Patients may feel as though their arms and legs are weighted down by concrete blocks and their bodies may be so drained of energy that every task is an effort.7

Memory and Concentration - Difficulty concentrating and retaining new information may seriously interfere with everyday mental tasks.14 This symptom is referred to as "fibro fog" and may hinder job opportunities. In particular, fibromyalgia patients have serious difficulty retaining new information if they are distracted.15

Sleep Disorders - Patients report trouble falling asleep and more importantly staying asleep, but the unrefreshing quality is what makes the disorder much worse than insomnia. Repeat arousals prevent patients from reaching deep, restorative sleep.16 As a result, the night is spent in "quasi-sleep" and patients wake up feeling as though they have been run over by a Mack truck. An overnight sleep study will likely show repeat arousals with bursts of awake-like brain activity occurring throughout the night, but a specific sleep disorder may not be identified.17

Exercise Difficulties - Moderate intensity exercise activates a powerful pain-relieving system in healthy people, but it makes the pain of fibromyalgia worse.18 This is why initiating an exercise program may make you achy and tired. However, if you do not exercise on a regular basis, the performance of normal daily living activities will start to cause more pain. Rather than give in to the increased pain sensitivity related to exercise, patients are advised to do mild exercise in short intervals (such as five minutes at a time) to keep the muscles fit while not over-taxing them. A study in Sweden revealed that half of the fibromyalgia patients found it impossible or difficult to climb stairs and a majority of patients could not run. Just standing for five minutes was extremely taxing to one-fourth of the patients.19

Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain and bloating, abdominal gas, and nausea represent symptoms commonly found in roughly 40 to 70 percent of fibromyalgia patients.20

Chronic Headaches - Recurrent migraine or tension headaches are experienced by 50 to 70 percent of fibromyalgia patients. Most headaches are rated as severe, occur at least two times per week, and often have a migraine component.21 Referred pain from myofascial trigger points in the shoulder, neck, and head muscles are suspected to be responsible for most tension-type headache and also play a role in migraines.22

Jaw Pain - Temporomandibular joint dysfunction causes tremendous jaw-related face and head pain and affects one-quarter of fibromyalgia patients. Typically, the problems are related to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the jaw joint and not necessarily the joint itself.23

Other Common Symptoms - Non-cardiac chest pain, acid reflux, irregular heart beat or palpitations, shortness of breath, numbness and tingling sensations, the feeling of swollen extremities, chemical sensitivities, nasal congestion, premenstrual syndrome and painful periods, irritable bladder, interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia (vulvar pain), difficulty focusing eyes, dry or burning eyes and mouth, dizziness or feeling faint, profuse sweating, muscle weakness and balance issues can occur.24,25,26 Fibromyalgia patients are often sensitive to odors, loud noises, bright lights, some foods, and often the medications that they are prescribed.27

Aggravating Factors - Changes in weather, cold or drafty environments, hormonal fluctuations (premenstrual and menopausal states), stress, depression, anxiety, and over-exertion can all contribute to fibromyalgia symptom flare-ups.12
Fibromyalgia Quick Facts

* Affects 3 to 5 percent of the general population28
* Occurs in people of all ages, even children
* Men develop fibromyalgia too, although more women are diagnosed with it
* Symptoms are chronic but may fluctuate throughout the day
* Roughly one-quarter of people with fibromyalgia are work-disabled12

The general consensus here in Australia is that fibromyalgia is all in ones' head and that the sufferer is a malingerer. Certainly this exacerbates False Guilt and invites his cousin, Validation into the scene. Although I am aware of false guilt leading to me wanting to feel validated, I still succumb to it at times of prolonged flares such as this one I am experiencing at the moment.

I have *every* one of these symptoms, so I feel validated. So welcome Validation: hopefully he and his cousin won't be staying long!

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24

Twelve years old today

Twelve years ago today, I had two stents and an angioplasty in my heart. I was so nervous but was glad that at last the day had come, especially that I was still alive to have it.

I had angina for a month previous to the procedure and tests were positive. I would need either stents or bypass surgery. I had 99% blockage in my heart vessels and I was told that I could literally drop dead.

Told not to get the heart stressed but to take things quietly, I was forbidden to go to my beloved step-father's funeral. He would have told me not to come if he was able. It was very hard.

As a public patient, I had to wait my turn for a bed. Not having had a heart attack yet, I was not on the top of the list. It was a long three weeks.

I was discharged a day after the procedure and I felt sore where they had inserted the stents and also in my femoral artery where my groin was bruised and swollen.

But I was glad to be alive. Ten years earlier, I would have been looking at open heart surgery like my father had.

Today, I still have angina. I am on blood-thinners and often have to put a nitroglycerin tablet under my tongue. Another angiogram later showed damage done from where they entered my heart, and it also showed I have a hole in the heart making it so that the blood does not oxygenate properly. My lungs are working overtime apparently. Which would explain my breathlessness.

One cardiologist told me I have the heart of a 85 year old. It could make me fearful, but I remind myself that God knows my days and He is in control. I will die exactly when He wills.

I remain grateful that I went to the doctor initially about a heavy weight feeling on my chest that woke me up. If I had ignored that, I most certainly wouldn't still be alive.

As I reflect on the advances in cardiology, I praise God for His mercy, and I raise a glass and offer a toast for my stents: twelve years old today. 

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

So teach [usto number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12 

Emulating the Proverbs 31 woman

The Proverbs 31 woman is an example of a godly wife. It's not something we are going to be able to do all at once and for some of us, we may never accomplish all she did. But I believe emulating her example is a good thing. We have to have a goal. If you aim for nothing, you are always going to hit it. I used to get up real early, about 4.30 to get my husband off to work. I would have my quiet time then before my 4 children would wake up.

This worked for me when they were quite tiny too and I just carried it through. Until about 22 years ago when illness came in. I don't sleep well and wake up in lots of pain and I find if I try to get into the Word the fibro fog makes it impossible to focus. I don’t glean much from the Word and my prayers are disjointed. I put on some praise and worship music and just thank the LORD for giving some sleep and so on. After a hot shower and breakfast, I can study the Word and pray better. I think anyone with an illness or pregnant, or who has had a sleepless night with a sick child etc, has to be realistic and in tune with their body. She has to know what her own limitations are and modify what is an excellent goal to achieve it.

My modified morning routine now works better for me. And let's face it, any time is a good time to be in the Word! We all have to work out when it is best for us....then do it. My time of choice would be early mornings though. But I have had to learn to modify things in order to achieve them. And later is better than never! I believe that for all of us women trying to live a godly life, the Proverbs 31 woman is a guide of what to strive for. Even if we can't achieve all she has done (and you will notice that she achieved this over seasons of her life- not all at once!), still our hearts will be in the right place.

If women look at the whole picture with the view of doing it all NOW or not modifying it for themselves, they will most likely give up and not even try to emulate her example. Sometimes there are unresolved heart issues that the LORD has to work through with some women who won’t even try to emulate the Proverbs 31 woman. Not even with modifications. It may take some time until they are convinced that this holy calling in their lives is truly for their own good and contentment. Sometimes it takes a lot of washing with the Word before the soil of the world is cleared out of some women's eyes. They just need encouragement as God works in their lives.

© Glenys Robyn Hicks

‘She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.’ Proverbs 31:17
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