Saturday, July 3, 2010

Do you use your freedoms well?

This Independence Day weekend I am thinking about how blessed we are to live in this great country of ours!

There are so many men and women that have dedicated and given their lives to insure that we all can make our own choices each day; choices to live the way we want. Each morning God opens our eyes, we can do anything we want, go anywhere we want and pursue any path we choose. That is an awesome blessing and an awesome responsibility, don't you think?

In so many places in the world, this is simply not the case. Many around the globe live in fear. Fear of their governments; fear of different factions fighting within their country; fear of their military; even fear of their neighbors; fear of disease and hunger.

Our American forefathers had a vision. Their vision was to create a government for the people and by the people, and through their perseverance, they did. Many gave their lives working towards the freedoms we often take so casually today. Our military people around the world continue to protect and defend this great country of ours.Are you thankful to them, you should be!!

Take a moment this weekend to thank the Lord for this great country we call home. Praise Him for making this earth and all of us! Take a moment to thank someone you know that has served, or continues to serve. They make our way of life possible. They serve, so we can live! 

Honor their service and please don't take your freedom for granted. Freedom is NOT free. Use each day to God's glory! Thank God for the many blessings and freedoms you have. Praise God that you can live in America and that your family is protected and safe. Do something good with your life. Don't waste your time, you'll never get it back. Reach out and help someone else. One life CAN change the world. Let it begin with you :)

My verse for today is from Psalm 24:1

"The earth is the Lord, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. He founded it 
upon the seas and established it upon the waters."

My prayer for day:
Dear Heavenly Father:

Thank you for America! Thank you for your protection upon our country, and those who serve. Be with them and their families and give them strength and courage to endure their separation. Thank you for all those who have been willing to live and die for our freedoms
all these years. Thank you for us being able to live free, for being able to come to you each
day in prayer, without fear of retribution. Thank you Lord for all we have for we know it comes from you.

In Jesus Name I pray,
Amen and Amen

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Can CCSVI be my miracle?

What a DAY! I am trying to contain my excitement about the new CCSVI "Liberation Treatment," that is taking the MS community in U.S., Canada and the world for that matter, by storm, but I must admit that I am having a hard time calming down!!

My son casually mentioned a Dr. Zamboni and something new that he was doing for MS patients to me when we were visiting my very ill father in Feb. He had a friend that knew about it and had said something to him. I thought I'll check into it, and put the "Zamboni" name in the back of my mind, knewing I would remember it because of the ice reservacing machine, but at the time my mind was totally occupied with my Dad's illness and I had to put it aside for awhile.

As soon as I got home and things settled down and after the MS Walk, I began to get on the Internet and on Facebook and really check this out. OMG! This is totally revolutionary and it goes 180% in the face of everything we know and the doctors have ever told us about MS.

I think that Dr. Zamboni might be my new hero. I have spent hours researching everything he has written and all the information about CCSVI. He did this for his wife. She was diagnosed with MS a few years ago, and he started looking for some way to alleviate her increasing symptoms. He was acting out of love, not money. He was thinking out of the box, forgetting everything he knew and had learned about MS. He started looking at it from his angle since he is a vascular surgeon and what he discovered has turned the medical field upside down! Has finding were just released last fall, but boy, has he made a huge impact - everyone with MS and all the neuros around the world are paying attention!

So, how do I fit into this whole equation? Well, as many of you know, I have had MS for 12 long years now, and especially within the last 5 my disability has really increased. I can no longer drive because I have no feeling in my right foot, and don't have enough cognitive abilities to make the quick decisions needed to be behind the wheel. I am in constant pain because of peripheral neuropathy which is pretty much all over my body at this point. I am using a walker now and my endurance is pretty much down to 3-4 hours, maybe longer if I really push it, but then I pay for days. I am totally intolerant to the heat and have tremendous fatigue, which has been one of my biggest challenges over the past 12 years and it continues to get worse.

I have been up and down with the different medications currently available for MS. They are not cures, because there is no cure, is what the neurologists say. I have been on interferons for pretty much 12 years, on and off and am now on two injectables, plus a plethara of other medications to control my MS. If I don't take them, I seem to go down hill quickly. Although I've taken IV steroids over the years, I've also become had pychotic episodes coming off of them that have sent me to the emergency room more than once. I was allergic to Tysabri, to Ampyra the new walking drug that is helping so many with MS, and about 20 other different oral meds my neuro has tried me on over the years. I've tried the natural root too, trying the Ojibwa tea that is has helped so many with cancer. I was allergic to that as well and that sent me to the ER.

Ok, poor me, get over it Nick!

Anyway, here I am 12 years later, and I'm really thinking, what is God trying to tell me right now? My MS is still is rearing it's ugly head pretty much all the time. I've run the whole course of drugs available, is this new non-invasive venous Angioplasty procedure called CCSVI what God is putting right in front on my face? Should I go totally against what my neurologist has told me, and look into this further. I'm going crazy and praying about it fiercly.

As I've been learning about this new procedure, more and more each day, I feel God's hand right in the middle of everything. Since my neuro pretty much told me to take a hike regarding CCSVI, I felt led to make an appt. with my PCP before he left for vaca. Today was his last day.

I had printed out and mailed him a bunch on info on CCSVI before the appt. When I saw him this morning, he said he knew nothing about "CCSVI." I told him alittle about it and of course, his first reaction was "No way, it doesn't make sense. I'm not buying it. Everybody has a cure for this incurable disease called MS."

As we talked further, I explained that this was not a fluke, and just challenged him to look in up on the computer screen he had in the room. I told him it was all over the internet, facebook, you tube, etc.. To my surprise right then he did look it up right in front of me, and was pleasantly surprised to see all the info on CCSVI. Next thing I know he's clicking on the NMSS website to see what they say. Next thing I see is a pen coming out of his pocket. His writing down the name of someone doing research. He says, "My son is a medical professor at this school in Canada doing CCVSI research. I am going to see him tomorrow to start my vacation, I'll ask him if he knows this researcher, and check into this."

I almost fell off my chair. Talk about a God-Thing. Now, how in the world, could I have known that his son was a professor at the same med school in Canada that is doing current research on CCSVI? And he was going to see him tomorrow? WOW - Talk about God totally ordering the events. My doc came in the room, not knowing anything about CCSVI, and left a bit excited to check into this and see his son and talk about it. So obvious to me that God was totally in the middle of this whole morning. Can you see it?

Then I come home, and read today devotional from In Touch Ministries (I love Dr. Stanley). The devotional today was about affliction. I almost fell off my chair again! I have really felt that through all my difficulties over the years, God was preparing me for something bigger. That through my trials, He was strengthening me to show the world that I can smile through my illness and through my suffering and I will come out of this HEALED of my affliction, praising His Name, more loudly than ever.

II Corinthians 2:14 tell us that believers are a sweet aroma on the earth.
Dr. Stanley said that those whom God leads to affliction become a fragrance of His care to a hurting world. We carry cheer to the discouraged, relief to the hurting and the message of Christ's love to all. I was crying after I read that. Bring it on Lord, I am ready when you are!

I believe that CCSVI may be my miracle! I have had so many people praying for me over the years, and they continue to uplift me and continue to pray. They always tell me "Hang in there, Nicki, we're praying for you. God is in control." I have always known that to be the truth, and now our prayers may be answered after all, but not in the way we expected, but maybe in the way God wanted!! My doc ordered a doppler ultrasound of my jugular veins to be done next week. We will meet again on 7/23 after he returns from vaca and we have the results of the tests.

Pls. continue to pray for me friends. That God will see me through this ultrasound and direct these doctors and nurses through whatever process I end up doing. Pray for God to guide me and strengthen me and give me wisdom in my decisions. Pray for patience, because I am about to jump out of my skin now, with my excitement. Pray for the Lord to give me the courage to accept whatever the consequences, and be in His peace about it all.

I will continue to update you through this blog, because, after all, we are Watching God over the course of a year, right? I want to tell you that He is alive and well and with me as I write this. Sorry so long tonight, but I just had to share all this with you.

Thank you Jesus and God Bless you friends :)

My verse today is about affliction from Psalm 119:71-76

"It is good to be afflicted, so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort according to your promise to your servant."

My prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father:

Thank you for this awesome day today. Thank you for being right in the middle of everything. Thank you for opening my eyes so that I might see your Mighty Hand at work. Lord, please give me patience. I have been waiting for so long Lord, but I will continue to be obedient and wait on you to see what you want for my life. If it be your will, heal me of this evil MS, Lord. Rid my body of this terrible affliction. Put an end to my suffering and I will continue to tell the world of your glory, even more so than I am capable now. Your will be done in my life~~

In Jesus Name I pray,

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can you see your God-given gifts?

All of us have God-given gifts, it's just a matter of identifying them. The Holy Spirit gives us these to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth, and bring new souls to Jesus Christ. They are identified in numerous passages in the Bible: Corinthians 12:1-14, Romans 12: 6-8, and Ephesians 4:11.

If you stop long enough to look, you can see these gifts and manifested in the lives of those around you, including your own. Sometimes, I think it's more easy to recognize some one elses spiritual gifts other than your own, even if they can't see it themselves.

I have been able to do that in many of my friends over the years. The gifts of love and faithfulness are easy to see in my friend Ron with his out going and never ending zest for Jesus. He has had a Bible Study class and mens prayer group for many years. Ron also has the gift of evangelism, and will minister to anyone, anytime. He is easy with a smile and Bible verse to lighten any load you are carrying. Ron embraces his gifts and lives for the Lord each and every moment of his life.

I think my husband Steve has a servants heart and what a gift that is. He has always taken care of me and our kids, but he has been my "caregiver" for over 12 years now since the onset of my MS. It can't be easy taking care of someone elses' needs all the time, but he does it every day with style. Along with being my best friend and the love of my life, he is tireless in his devotion to me and I am so thankful and grateful for his patience and love. Definitely a "God Thing," as I like to say. He might not see himself as a servant of the Lord, but I certainly do.

It has been easy to see the gifts of wisdom and guidance, through a number of my dear friends like Brent and Mary. They were our pastor and wife years ago when I went through my medical crisis in 1997. That totally bonded me to them for life. I will never forget their presence in my life when I needed them most. Although they moved on to another church 10 years ago, but we have remained close and have turned to them in some of our darkest hours. They have the gift of ministry and are both leaders for Christ. They always look at anything in life through the eyes of Jesus. I so value their continued friendship.

My dear friend Michelle always has the gift of encouragement. She suffers with MS, like me, yet she always keeps a positive attitude about life. She always tries to look for the best in a situation and in a person. She is always there to tell me I'm doing a good job, or giggle or is excited just to sit around and play scrabble and talk about life. Her bright smile always encourages me every time I see her.

One of my oldest and closest friends is Ellen. I have known and loved her for over 36 years! She is always there for me, in good times and bad. I worked with her for years, and have always known her to just be one of the kindest and most patient people I have ever known. She is one of those people that God puts in your life for a lifetime, and I am so thankful for that! What a blessing she has been for all the people that have known her over the years.

I have many more friends that continue to touch my life with their gifts. God is using them each day, and they may not even know it. I watch them moving through their lives and I see the people that they impact, and how they reach out and uplift others. It is awesome!

Stop and take time to think about your own spiritual gifts. Do you know what they are? Are you using your God-given gifts to build up the kingdom of God? Take a few minutes to read the Bible verses above and reach out to others with your gifts from the Lord. It will bring incredible joy to your life :)

My verses for day are about spiritual gifts Corinthians 12:1-14, Romans 12: 6-8, and Ephesians 4:11,

Romans 6:6

We each have different gifts, according to the grace given us... let us use them in proportion
to our faith."

My prayer for today:

Dear Lord:

Thank you for your Holy Spirit and the gifts He bestows. Help me to use my gifts to spread the love of Jesus to everyone I love.

In Jesus Name I pray,