Friday, October 12, 2012

A LittleBirdie told me . . .

When I began writing here well over two years ago the sole intent was to create a place where I could update close family and friends on our journey.  I never imagined people from near and far would bookmark and follow and support us the way they have.  Over this time I have received many emails asking why I do not monetize my blog, link to ads of products I use or believe in or promote other blogs here increasing my own "traffic".  The answer is simple.  I have always wanted this to stay a quiet place where candor was the rule, and I could feebly attempt to point to the Hope that remains by Him and through Him and for Him.

I have prayerfully been considering some Team Danica changes.  I believe God is making the timing clearer to me through recent answers to prayer for our family, our continued struggle as far as health and long term finances but most of all because I have been moved by the Spirit to share more than I can personally give with others. 

The first change I will make is to remove the "DONATE" button on this blog at the end of October.  In many ways nothing has changed about how in need we are and how this financial strain will not really end any time soon.  Digging out of the humongous hole of debt seems impossible.  Truly.  Perhaps one of the biggest surprises during all this time is those of you who have never seen our family as a "lost cause" but instead have been God's hands of providing exactly what we needed to make it through over and over again.  Never for a moment doubt what a difference you have made and how you have changed our lives. 

Some of you have asked and many of you are wondering how in the world are we going to be able to afford the rental payment on our new home.  Remember when I asked you to pray about my Social Security Disability application?  I think it was one of the hardest posts I've ever had to write, and I've wanted to go delete it more than once.  I thought if God answered I would be walking around with a scarlet letter "D" around my neck.  The truth is He answered "YES" in record time, and I am not ashamed but instead so grateful I have wanted to shout it from the rooftops.  He was making the way of escape all along.  My Disability will pay the payment on our home and utilities.  Our finances will stay much the same as far as Dan's income and our other expenses.  There is no windfall.  Once again, just what we need.  The hundreds and thousands of dollars of new bills are still coming in, and I file them neatly with the years of others, and we go out to gather manna for today.

The other questions in recent days are, "What do you need for the house?" and "How can we help you with the move?"  Today we found out we will not get the keys tomorrow like we thought but rather on Monday.  This creates a push for Dan and my dad to get in there Monday night after Dan gets off work and cut strips of the carpet and remove all of it and the pad as well as the tack strips.  If you are able and somewhat handy and would like to offer to help with this chore please contact me on facebook or comment here.  The installation of the laminate floors is already set for Wednesday and Thursday, and my dad teaches a class on Tuesday night, so really Monday is the only night to get it done.  One of the biggest concerns with this home was the flooring.  The carpet was original and would definitely make me sick.  Dear parents of a childhood friend felt led to help with this expense.  The remaining cost has been donated by a local business.  Without this love we would have had to wait until we could save enough money or risk me moving to my new "safe" house and not being able to tolerate it or feel even a little healthier there. 

New friends we met through Betterment asked us, "What do you need or want?"  Oh my, please, do I dare ask for something as big as a dresser or a chest of drawers?  Heather and I have not been able to go shopping yet, but I tell you the thought of not having my clothes in baskets and shoved on shelves but having real drawers makes me giddy.  I have tried some older thrift dressers and like most everything used they have had a smell that cannot be removed and makes me very ill within minutes of being in the same room with the piece of furniture.  This is a huge gift! 

We have some painting to do, we need to purchase a washer and dryer, preferably front loading ones we can put on pedestals so I could use them. We need a sofa, something we need to buy because used upholstery is the toughest when it comes to my allergic reactions.  Other than those main things the rest will fill in over time.  Honestly, if all we had were four nice sleeping bags I think we would be tickled.  We are so grateful for the joy and excitement you all feel for us and your desire to be a part of making this house a true home for us.  Fingers crossed we will actually move in the weekend of the 27th.  Danica and I both have important appointments in Cincinnati earlier that week, so we are really hoping it will be a double celebration for our family. 

The second change I plan to make here on the blog is to hire someone to clean up the broken tags and links, organize old posts so they are more navigable and backup our story for a more permanent site change down the road as well as redesign the look while taking this to the real URL and not using Blogger as the publisher.  (If you have a suggestion of someone good to work with please send me a note with their information.)  I'm thinking spring.  It would stay a place for personal reflection, but I will also begin sharing the stories of others who touch our life in some way who need prayer, encouragement, out pouring of love and yes, even financial support.  We have long believed great love does translate to miracles.  I hope this is a legacy our family will pursue even in the midst of continued suffering. 

This brings me to the Little Birdie.  God has put the Marx family, friends of friends, on my heart hourly this week.  Cat keeps a painfully real blog about the loss and grief of losing their son Owen and now a new pregnancy with a grim diganosis.  I will not in any way try to share what is their own story but instead ask you take the time to read at least her most recent post.  After you have sat with her words then please circle back to the Little Birdie plea for this family.  I've been following this local website since the beginning and am truly inspired by the way they use social media and people telling people to meet needs. 

There is great need all around us.  I am sometimes consumed by the heart God has given me to DO something to encourage those who are connected to us who are hurting.  Yesterday as I made a meal for my dear EDS friend Melinda who is recovering from fusion, I could feel the emotion and prayer and love and sacrifice mixing in with the food.  I've blogged about her daughter Brooke, Danica's Chiari friend, her family and our friendship several times before.  In recent days it is like I carry Melinda's heart right on my sleeve.  I drove on the interstate for the first time in a year out to her house across town.  I looked into her tired eyes and the reflection of myself was plain to see.  We have walked such similar roads.  When I ask her what they might need, and she first says everything is okay, I know she is stalling to tell me the real truth.  I know it is gas money for Tim to get to work over an hour away for a twelve hour shift and then drive over an hour home to try to do all the things Melinda cannot.  I know the checking account does not have enough for the prescriptions and trips back and forth the Cincinnati and fall clothes for their three growing children.  I know they are probably selling on Craigslist anything even remotely of value they might have left to try to keep the lights on.  These are things Dan and I have lived.  We have been hungry and not told anyone we could not afford a gallon of milk.  I have gone without my medication to keep our lights on.  Dan actually called in to work once because it was the day before payday, and he had no gas.  This is not financial irresponsibility.  This is the very real result of hard working people who lost mothers who worked and contributed from day one and then were not able.  Are not able.  This is the devastation of children being diagnosed with a disorder that required special surgeries far from our homes and continued treatment and monitoring.  This is days and weeks turning into months and years of medical collections and no end in sight.  Ever. 

They are not a "lost cause" anymore than we have been.  They are desperately clinging to the faithfulness of God and doing the next hard thing.  I would give Melinda the shirt off my back.  I would not eat so she could.  I would go without pain relief so she could feel just a little better.  I lift her heavy heart with such weak hands.  I can't do this on my own, but He is able. 

The last thing I ever wanted this place to be is didactic.  Still, today, I encourage you to look around at someone touching your life who is in need.  Can you pray for them?  Could you encourage them with words?  Perhaps you are able to meet a tangible need that literally gives them the hope to move on.  Never underestimate these things.  Look for opportunities.  If your life is busy and self absorbed set a day of the week aside for intentional kindness.  Drops make an ocean.  Be God's hands and feet.  The joy of intentional giving will overwhelm you, and you may be the most changed of all.

An artist I love has a little hardbound journal titled, One Good Deed a Day.  I have a new copy here and would like to give it away to someone who needs a little push in beginning a kindness journey.  Please leave a comment here or on the facebook link telling me a little good deed you have been called to that has just not quite come to fruition.  I won't be "judging" for a winner this time (way too stressful!), but I will randomly choose from the comments on Sunday night and the sweet journal will be on the way to the winner on Monday.

Now wasn't it refreshing to read an entire post without one mention of my health status or pain?  Love you all.  Make it a great Friday. 

Our Hope remains!

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