Thanks, Mom and Dad…

Every morning at 8am, I get a daily bible verse sent to my phone via text message. This morning, I received a text with Ephesians 6:2-3:

‘Honor your father and mother.’ – That it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on Earth.”

Now, I know that God is at play here. He knew that I needed a little extra push.

Last night, at the Bible study I attend weekly, we talked about Jesus coming of age. We talked about when Jesus was twelve years old and his parents accidentally left him behind and he stayed in the temple for three days teaching. We also talked about when Jesus finally came of age and became baptized by John in the river and God spoke to him. Although the stories were about Christ himself coming of age and truly realizing his purpose and potential, we really got onto the subject of parents.

At Christmas time, I sang a song at church called “You’re Here,” by Francesca Battistelli. The song is about the sheer awe Mary must have been feeling holding the Son of God in her arms in the manger that night.

As we pointed out in Bible study, parenting is pressure as it is. There are times where parents fear that they won’t succeed in raising a successful member of society. There is a lot of pressure on all parents everywhere who are raising children to “do it right.” Imagine the pressure Mary and Joseph were under in raising Christ Jesus! Before Mary became pregnant with the Son, the Angel Gabriel came and told her what was going to happen. Mary knew that she was to carry, give birth to, and raise the Son of God. I think that night in the manger as well as the day in temple when he was twelve years old did Mary really say, ro quote my senior pastor, Glenda Ulmer, “what have I gotten myself into?”

I know sometimes during my teenage years, I was a sass master, just like Jesus was that day in the temple (don’t argue with it. He was like, “Mom. Duh. Of course I’ve been in the temple teaching. HELLO?!”) I thought my parents were the worst people on the planet and I thought they “didn’t get me” and were never “on the same page” as I was. I’m sure that as Jesus got older and began to realize his potential, he thought he knew better than they did. That may have been true, of course because He was the Son of God, after all, but my point is that parenting then was just as hard as it is now and teenaged Jesus may have been similar to teenage us to an extent. After all, that is part of what God meant when he gave us Jesus. He wanted Jesus to be just like us, yet a non-sinning man.

Parenting is difficult. Not that I’ve had a chance to do it yet, but I know it’s not easy and I commend my parents. I commend my parents and all other parents over all space and time. No parent feels the pressure that Mary and Joseph felt, but I’m sure it seemed that way sometimes.

Last night, a funny friend said she was thanking her parents after her recent twentieth birthday for raising a child who beat teen pregnancy and stayed out of jail.

Of course, only a small portion of children end up pregnant and/or in jail, but I think what my friend was doing was saying, “Thank you.”

Now that I’m out of the house and I’m on my own, I realize how much my parents have done for me. Not only did they provide for me and keep my financially stable when I couldn’t do that myself, but they loved me, supported me in everything I did and appreciated me as a person. I like most that my parents made me into a respectable individual. I like myself and I owe all of that to my parents.

So Mom and Dad, you didn’t raise the Son of God, but you were parents and that’s amazing in itself.

Thank you for being my Momma and my Daddy. Thank you for loving me, thank you for respecting me, thank you for all the things you have done for me.

I love you.

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The Start of Something New

The new year always offers us a new beginning…and we tend to talk a lot about it. For me, I’m not feeling that January 1st of this year was a “start of something new,” (excuse the cheesy “High School Musical” quote; I thought it fit) but rather that January 20th will be. I start my second semester of school this year on Tuesday the 20th and that seems to be what I’m waiting for to transform into a new me. Why am I waiting? I’m waiting because…well honestly, I have no excuse why I’m waiting. I don’t exactly have a new years resolution or even a “new semester resolution.” I just hope to feel better over the next few months than did over the last few.

I’ve started seeing a new neurologist and he is absolutely phenomenal (Dr. Michael Ament, MD. Board certified neurologist and headache specialist at the Ament Headache Clinic in Denver, if anyone needs someone great to treat his/her headaches…don’t forget to mention that I told you to go to him…we both get a discount). My first appointment was long and he analyzed my past and my present with headaches and he gave me a treatment that I’m hoping will start to work. He really gets the ball rolling and he seems to genuinely want to know where my pain comes from and how to fix it. I started on a very low dose of Topamax or Topiramate, which is an anti-epileptic medication. I had taken an epilepsy med for my headaches before and the side-effects were miserable. The same stood for the second medication, but I had to stick it out for four weeks to see if the medication was treating my headaches. Of course, the medicine was not making any change in the frequency or intensity of my headaches and I was in a moody, depressed, hopeless stupor for almost a month. At my appointment yesterday, we decided to cross that one off the list. My next step is blood pressure meds, considering the headaches may not be caused by something in my brain. I have also taken a blood pressure medication before and there were neither side effects, nor results. I do have high hopes for this course of treatment. There are not as many neurological side effects expected with this one and although it is a blood pressure medication, it isn’t the same thing as what I took before. My doctor told me that his goal is to get me headache free (or almost headache free) and back in the pool. He says this medication offers for a more active lifestyle, so I can finally start working out a little bit and getting more in shape. In addition, I was given an abortive medication for when a migraine starts on the uprising to knock it back down and I have begun to make an appointment with an allergist to see if I have any weird allergies that are migraine triggers. The doc also ordered another MRI brain (UGH), but I’m hoping that over the course of the next month we will make some advances. It feels like I took a step back on the topamax and now I’m ready to start moving forward and getting on with it finally! It’s been 8 years for goodness sake!

So, I have a plan for myself. I am going to do just what my neurologist tells me. In addition to that, I am going to begin working out. I will probably do mostly cardio for now because I want to get into shape before I try to strengthen any muscles. I’m not sure how to work out outside of a pool, so if anyone has any pointers, just let me know…I need them…desperately. I will probably swim once a week and do yoga directly after that (it feels GREAT!) and then I will go from there. Doing consistent exercise might hurt my head at first, but it’ll get better over time (or at least it’s supposed to). I’m also going to eat healthier and try to keep track of my food intake to see if anything in particular aggravates my headache.

In addition to the cliche getting healthy thing, I hope to find a job this semester so that I feel more financially secure for myself. I’m ready to start making my own money again! I’ve applied for seven jobs in the Fort Collins area and I’ll apply for more if I need to!

The icing on the cake is that my loud, broken car is finally getting fixed, so I hopefully won’t have a whole lot to worry about once I go back to school.

I’m really looking forward to this semester. I’m going to do everything in my power to make it a good one!