"This illness is to fatigue,
what a match is to a nuclear bomb.
It's an absurd mischaracterization!"
~Laura Hillenbrand

January 30, 2008

A hard hard week....

(c) M Pruitt
Do not copy or reproduce without written permission of artist

We will NOT forget the Lord Our God!

Remember the children's book "Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day" ?

This has felt like my "terrible horrible no good very bad" week. But in reality, it's also been a lot like many of David's Psalms where he cries out and weeps and moans, but in the end he ends up with Praise for God. Those Psalms seem a little strange, but I think I can understand them a bit.

We have had many stresses and difficult situations around here...

As I posted last, my stomach has gone into a mode of emptying very slowly causing lots of pain and nausea. I was on IV fluids for the weekend and no oral intake of food or liquid. This often helps my stomach to kick back into action.

It didn't.

But I was able to see a GI doctor Monday morning. He was really great and we are taking a new road of aggressively treating the pain and nausea with medication, hoping that I can stay hydrated and nourished without being hospitalized. So far, though there have been a few rough moments, this is working and I am well hydrated and working on getting in some nutrition.

Bill's parents are facing some very difficult health issues. Very difficult indeed. Bill is flying down to spend a day with them and help them make some decisions. Though this is very hard on and stressful for Bill, we are thankful they trust Bill so much to asked him for help.

Sweet Ellen lost her car this week. She was hit by a truck and her car is totaled. Though she loved that car, and we relied greatly on two cars to be able to get two teens to all their "activities", I am so proud of Ellen's attitude of trusting God that I could almost burst. She is an inspiration to me.

She also had her heart set on attending a dance conference called "Festival". It is an "invitation only" conference and her company is a member of this elite group. But, with the loss of her car - getting a job is going to be hard. So, once again - another huge disappointment. And yet - through tears, she proclaims trust in God and a willingness to accept the fact that she just can't go. Again - my mother's heart aches for her and yet at the same time, bursts with pride.

Psalm 103

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;

the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children-

with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.

Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.

Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.

He is enough for me . I will remember the LORD my God and all that he has done for me and provides for me. If you need to remember this too - watch this video with Chris Tomlin's song "Enough". It's a great reminder on a "terrible horrible not good very bad day" ! (just scroll down to "background music on the right margin and click pause before playing the Video)

January 23, 2008

Tummy Flare

(c) M. Pruitt 2008
"Candy Hearts" Needle Felted ACEO
created as a request from an eBay customer

Oooooo...... Owwww..... Yucka! It's been quite a long time since my stomach has flared up!

For a year or so, it seemed to flare about every 2 months, but it's been much longer than that this time. But, though it's been a long time, it doesn't make it easier to accept!

What is a "stomach flare"? Well, with my autonomic system not functioning correctly, my stomach doesn't receive the correct messages to empty. This is a constant problem and I deal with it through adjusting the types of food I eat and with medication that stimulates my stomach to empty. On most days, this is enough to remain comfortable.

But occasionally it gets worse. Sometimes it's because I ate the wrong things, and sometimes I have no idea why! When it flares, I get a lot of pain and nausea. Sometimes it lasts a day or two and sometimes it extends so long that I have to ask my doctor to order IV fluids for me here at home.

I deal with flares by taking pain meds when I can't stand the pain anymore, and nausea meds. The pain meds have to be avoided as much as possible, because they slow my stomach down more. The nausea meds make me feel totally wiped out and sleepy - in fact the side effects often last 24 hours or more.

It's also very important for my body to stay very hydrated. Hydration keeps my blood volume up which helps with the tachycardia and getting blood back to my head. Hydration and blood volume are also controlled by the autonomic system, so this is why sometimes I need to get IV fluids.

So, of course, I would greatly appreciate all of your prayers. I know I'll get through this spell, like I do every other one... but it sure is uncomfortable.

You may be wondering how I could post such a cheery picture when I feel so icky! Well, I decided to open this post with this new needle felted ACEO because I live like this - a foot on each side of the fence. One foot on the side of joy, peace, contentment and love - and one foot in pain and physical yuckiness.

It's not that I don't struggle with emotions brought on by the physical distress - I often do. But, read my last post! I was sick and alone and needed a hug. God met me, right where I was, and touched my heart, allowed me to create, and even sent extra hugs through friends!

I guess it's a strength of Hope. Hope in God's goodness and a hope that all is not lost - even in the midst of pain and suffering! I have these verse on my computer desktop right now and they continually renew my mind and my emotions through this roller coaster of symptoms.

Psalm 42:4-5

These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I WILL yet praise him...

January 22, 2008

FlutterBear Hug

I was tired. I was sick. Everyone in my family left for their activities. I felt a little bit like Donkey in the movie "Shrek"

"I need a hug!"

So I sat down and told God just that!

He didn't show up in physical form at my request, (though it might have terrified me if He had - hee hee), so I told Him I wanted to spend the evening with him. I picked up my roving and needles and began playing around - doing a little felting. Suddenly and idea came to me. I began work for real, and God and I had a wonderful evening together!

There is an art contest on eBay called Nibblefest Art Contest (NFAC). There is a monthly theme, and artists from all around eBay come and create something for the theme. Everyone lists their art on the same day - the 20th of the month and everyone lists for the same price - 99 cents! Then the artists who get the most unique bidders wins!

This month's theme is "Combine 2 Animals into 1"

The sudden idea I had was to create a needle felted teddy bear with butterfly wings. A FlutterBear! I created him with wide open arms - ready for a hug! He even has butterfly antennae!

I had a great time creating this - my first needle felted sculpture! I don't think it will be my last! God did give me a hug in His own way. He wrapped his arms around me and spent the evening with me, and for that, I very thankful!

BTW - FlutterBear could make a fantastic Valentines day present! The auction ends Sunday February 27 at 4:00pm. Click Here to view the auction for "FlutterBear Hug"

January 17, 2008

Ballet Art

(C) M. Pruitt 2008

Remember - just a month ago - how many blogs I did on Ellen dancing in The Nutcracker? Well, several of the dancers in her Ballet Company allowed me to us them as models for my paintings. This is the very first Ballerina I've painted. It's an 8.5"x11" impressionistic watercolor.

I was really excited to share it with all of you who cheered me on physically through The Nutcracker, enjoyed my experience with me and prayed for me during those weeks. The fun continues!

Thanks for stopping by!

NOTE: The picture has been updated because I've made some changes to the painting 1/24/08

It's now for sale in my eBay store

January 14, 2008

Nice Matters

I was sent this beautiful award, quite some time ago. It comes with the requirement that I pass it on to 7 other bloggers, whom I will list at the end of this post.

But first, I want to tell you about the special lady who sent it to me. Her name is Amy. She came into my life, and I into hers at a very unique time.

I was new at being a Pastor's Wife, and Amy had developed an online ministry to Pastor's wives. It met many needs I had and I enjoyed the conversations among my new online friends.

I first met Amy face to face, at a Pastor's Wives Retreat. We'd only talked online, but we planned on rooming together, along with two other online friends. Amy and I hit it off and I remember the hours we spent sitting in an old cabin, sharing our fears, our dreams and crying together.

We watched each other grow and we watched as God amazingly brought our dreams to reality!

And then...suddenly... to my great surprise, we've been watching and grieving for one another as our dreams... those dreams God had amazingly brought to reality... we taken back away from us.

Our losses are very different. But I value Amy so much. I love to visit her blog and read how she processes every day, her ups, her downs, and her continual pursuit of God. She finds great joy in life - which I hope that, I too, radiate. But she is also honest about her trials and disappointments. I appreciate that about Amy.

Thank you, Amy, for being a part of the many places I have traveled in life since we first met. And thank you for sharing your life with me and allowing me the privilege of knowing you.

And now.... on the the "Nice Matters" awards! First of all.. you may want to visit Amy's blog.

Second - I pass this award on to several very special people, and blogs that I often visit and enjoy reading.

Here's the description of the award:
“This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.”

Katey - my Blueyeduck friend, an amazing artist, encourager, and great blogger!

Patti - a sweet and tender soul I've met on eBay. Her art warms your heart and her love warms my soul.

Amy Weber - one of my favorite artists (she allowed me to do a collaborative ACEO with her!)

Kathy Jurek - A watercolorist I greatly admire!!! I enjoy her blogs too!

Emily - a dear friend I've made online and hope to meet face to face one day. Emily also has POTS, caused by Lyme Disease. You'll learn a lot about the struggles of living with Chronic Illness from reading her blog.

Christine - her writing is as beautiful as her art!

Laurie Pace - I do not know Laurie well.... and she doesn't know me at all. But I admire her art often and her blogs are inspiring and encouraging!

A Time of Change

We had a wonderful family Christmas.

But before you know it - it's January, and January has brought many changes.

~Bill and I had an empty nest on New Years Eve!
~Marie spent her New Years Eve in Mexico!
~We had a staff lunch that I was able to go to and had a wonderful time chatting with some of the friends I rarely see!
~I went out to coffee with a very dear friend!
~Chris turned 15!

And then... I collapsed. I felt the change coming... I fought it off... taking extra meds for those "special" occasions. But by the evening of January 3, I had begun to feel almost like I did 15 years ago when I needed a blood transfusion after Christopher's birth.

I've rested - rallied a bit - tried to carry on, but the fatigue was determined to win. I'm back to a low point. Why? We may never know. What can I do about it? I wish I knew.

What does a "low point" feel like? I can hardly describe it. My brain feels like half of it leaked out and the rest is swirling in my head. I get goosebumps up the back of my legs. I sweat, then I run a fever. I'm so tired I almost cry - not from sadness - just from being so tired. And yet, I have sleepless nights. Or if I do sleep, I awake feeling as tired and sick as when I went to bed. Sometimes noise bothers me. Sometimes lights bother me. My body hurts all over.

I had a wonderful 8 weeks of feeling better and enjoying The Nutcracker and my family, going to church and all the assorted visits and outings I had. And for that I am so grateful!!! I am disappointed to be where I am now, but not surprised. I'm beginning to understand how this illness works and how to enjoy the good times, and then readjust when the hard ones return.

I find art very hard to do during this time of fatigue - but I keep doing it little by little. I've accomplished three unique pieces since Christmas! The first is an ACEO (2.5"x3.5") in Oil Pastel (a new medium for me). The second is an 8.5"x11" Watercolor and the last one, I just completed yesterday, is a new needle felted ACEO.

"Inspiration" (C) M Pruitt 2008

"The Crows at St. Hubert's" (C) M. Pruitt 2008
For Sale on Etsy

"Hugs and Kisses" (C) M. Pruitt

Thank you to all of you who visit me here, pray for me, rejoice with me and mourn with me. I am so grateful for all of you!

I'll try to keep you updated on any new developments in my life and art!