A few months ago I wrote a warning article on my Make Time For Happy blog, a fun blog inspired by my little pup, about the dangers of letting your dogs outside without keeping a close watch after a hawk or an owl came within feet of my back door. If it had happened when we first moved in 14 years ago, I could have understood. As very few of the lots in our neighborhood had been built and it felt like we were in the middle of the country. But now ever lot has been built on, and areas that were once nothing but trees have been cleared and transformed into neighborhoods and more and more it feels like we have been swallowed up by the city. So you would think that it would be safe to open the door and let our little dog spend some time roam his fenced in backyard.
For the first few years we had Happy, we often did that. But every once and a while we would notice the shadow of a hawk passing over heard and heard the birds madly screaming as the mocking bird or black birds gave vigorous chase. Oddly, as the houses sprang up around us, we were surprised one day to look out our window and see a hawk sitting on our fence. For a few days after we decided that it was better to be safe than sorry, and accompany Happy as he ran and played. When, after a few days, there was no sign of the hawk, we figured all was safe and we let Happy out as normal.
On and off for a few years, there would be a pattern of the occasional visit by the hawk for a few days each year, and then an all clear for the rest of the year. At first it seemed like there was nothing to worry about as the hawk would only relax on our fence for a few minutes here and there for a few days, and take off at the slightest peep. For those few minutes we were able to enjoy the priviliage of beholding this breathtaking predator from our family room window.
Then one year, there was a somewhat worrisome change, yet it took time for us to recognize how unnerving it was. After years of making the occasional visit and taking off, we noticed that instead of taking off the moment that we opened the sliding glass door, it would linger and let us admire it from the safety of the porch. Our hearts thrilled with amazement as we stood on the porch and enjoyed this rare view. As soon as I had the chance I got out my camera and snapped a couple of pictures, thinking how lucky I was to be granted this rare priviliage.
Then one day I tried opening my porch door and take a few steps outside so I could get a better picture. And to my surprise, the hawk stayed and let me take a few picture.
And after a couple of days take a few steps in its direction and take an even better picture.
It would seem that alarm bells should be going off at this point that this wild bird felt comfortable enough to let us open the screen door and get within 50 feet of it and then calmly turn its head and let us take its picture. Overcome with the excitement at being so close, it never occurred to us that this wild bird was slowly losing its fear of us, and that this could put our dog in danger.
Some days are definitely harder than others, and today has definitely been one of those days. Today has been a frustrating day full of interruptions and delay. Task that should have taken 5 minutes were turned into an hour plus exercise in misery as every time I started someone would come and ask a question or needed me to hear something important. On top of that, it seemed that every program was eager to reveal their peculiar quirks, crash, or somehow erase portions of the work I had struggle to complete.
Irritating and pain inducing struggle that it was, I had brushed most of it off as the unwanted misery of one of those trying days when it everything goes wrong and you wish that you could just stay in bed until today turns into tomorrow. Tired and worn, I have learned to take a deep breath and remind myself that this too shall pass, and take an extra long break to recuperate.
All would have passed with only minor notice, if it had not been for an unexpected disappointment. For weeks I have planned to get a brand new math sheet creating program that was scheduled to come out tomorrow. For days I have watched every video that I could, and planned what I would do when I got it.
That was until tonight, when less than 14 hours before its release, the breaks were slammed shut because my mother feels the price is to high. Suddenly, without any warning, hours of waiting and planning went up in a puff of smoke.. In that second my heart sunk and discouragement took hold.
It reminded me how much has changed since my father died. If he was alive the price of the program would not have been an issue. As my eager cheerleader he would have helped me pour over the different bonus packages to help me chose the right one.
It is not that money was not an issue while he was alive. As long as I can remember money has always been tight. As much as my father would have loved to give me a blank check and let me get whatever I wanted, he had to settle for long talks to help us pick and chose which items were the most important and which we might desire but must pass on for now.
But things were just better enough, that there would have been no question about whether or not we were going to get this program. After a few minutes of seeing what this program could do, the question would have been settled, it might mean waiting on other things for my little business for a few months, but he would have said it was a deal too good to pass up.
Even then, some of the heartache of missing my father and the way things were before he died might have been avoided, if it were not for the fact that all of this is a stark reminder of how my life and business have stood still. ears of fighting to go to school, years of struggling to make books, and I am still in the same place as day one. A lifetime of struggling and doing without, giving up holidays and summer vacation to study, staying up till midnight to do homework, getting up at 4am to get ready for school, some semesters enduring 12 hours without food because I could not afford to go to taco bell and get a burrito, at times having to go to class in a wheelchair, pushing myself to the point that tears were running down my checks with each step because I was ignoring the symptoms of a massive infection, enduring long hours in class with an undiagnosed and untreated migraine, for what?
Even now, after school my dream of going to school and becoming a doctor, then settling to try and become a nurse practitioner, and for now even getting a bachelor degree has been demolished, I have pushed myself to the point that every bone in body hurt. Where my nerves were so raw that it felt like someone was scratching their nails down a chalkboard or putting bare wire in water, and even worse, triggering hours of intense nausea that kept me from eating or functioning until it passed.
Why, in hopes that this puzzle book, that poetry video, blog, notebook, or activity pack would be the one to take off and earn more than a buck or two here and there. That at last, my dedication and perseverance, my willingness to work until my body said no more, would at last be rewarded. And success, even a little droplet of success, would finally come my way. And finally the pain of having to spend a lifetime on the sidelines watching my family, my neighbors, my classmates, and you tubers get their dream job, graduate from school, some become doctors, get engaged, married, have kids, buy their dream home, and live the life that will never be mine, wash away.
In that one crushing moment I felt that bitter weight of failure. That agony of knowing that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I struggle, I will never know the thrill of success or the joy of being a part of life. For good or for bad, for some reason all of my best efforts have ended up in a sea of tears that could not be kept in a hundred bottles for their multitude.
It has taken a lot of effort, but most days I am able to bury the pain of missing out on life’s dearest mile markers. It is not easy, but most of the time I can put on a brave enough face to convince those who long to be convinced that I am content not to marry and have kids, that I am satisfied to be forgotten as I sit on the sideline and watch the world go by.
Thankfully, the effort to make my books and humble little videos, keeps just the tiniest enough sliver of hope alive, that most days I can ignore the deep ache in my heart. Over and over I tell myself today will be the day, and if not, surely tomorrow will be the one. Perhaps this book will the book that will change the course of my life and allow me to enjoy the pleasure of earning my own living.
But tonight, when yet another hope crumbled into a billion particles of dust, I had to admit defeat. In spite of all my pushing myself to the point of being bedridden, the multitude of missed meals and hours of sleep, and countless other little and major sacrifices so that I might finally hold up my head instead of always having to hold out my hand, I have gotten nowhere. In a cruel twist of fate, the classrooms full of students who barely made an effort, have enjoyed the thrill of victory, have known the joys and frustrations of work, love, and family, while I, the one who gave every ounce of her feeble strength, have only tasted failure and disappointment. And all my hard work and dedication has only netted my aches, pains, infections, migraines, emergency room visits, loneliness, tears, broken dreams, and more.
Will I rise or will I fall? Will the day ever come when my hard work will translate into something greater than an empty dream, unfilled longings, and a quietly broken heart? Will I ever know the joy of finding true love, of earning my own wage, or at least being able to earn enough that every once and a while I can have the pride of being able to say, it may seem expensive to you, but its my money and I think its worth it? I do not know. But it sure seems like on this earth, success will never be mine no matter how hard I try.
The only thing that I can do is give my broken dreams to God and ask Him to dry the tears of my heart and give me the strength to get up tomorrow and keep on fighting until there is no more time to fight. And trust that one day He will keep His promise to swallow up the years that the locust have eaten up, and exchange all my tears for shouts of joy and happiness.
Initially I had plans to write about some of the difficulties of starting an Etsy shop when you are basically housebound. That was until my uncle called and said that he was coming to deliver some stuff to our house this afternoon. Even though he was in the middle of emptying my grandmother’s apartment due to her recent death, the fact that he was making the near 3 hour round trip out of the blue struck me as odd. Due to another potential reaction to the super safe iron for pregnant women, my appointment for Monday’s iron infusion had been delayed for another week. And since he and my aunt had made the long trip to our house Sunday to deliver a bunch of furniture, this sudden, unexpected delivery caught my attention, and I could not help but think that God was sending him to our house for a bigger reason.
For the next two hours, except for the fact that both my mother and I felt miserable, things went smoothly, and it seemed that my initial instincts were unfounded. That was until I remembered that the day before we had missed a call from the hospital nurse to see how my mother was doing after her four or five day stay in the hospital almost a week ago due to extremely high blood pressure and chest pain. I did not think too much of the call, and decided that despite the pain I was in, I had better clean as many of the dishes before my uncle arrived, until my sister came rushing over with the phone and insisted that I needed to talk to the hospital nurse.
Happy Sabbath everyone. I hope that everyone is enjoying a wonderful Sabbath day. I know that for me and my family it is going to be rather tough since it has only been a few days since my grandmother died. She fell asleep in Jesus a few days ago, on my Mother’s birthday. It was a mixed blessing as it is never easy to lose someone you love and even harder on a special occasion like your birthday. But it was a blessing because my Grandmother was suffering. She was 101 years old, blind, and a few weeks earlier had had a stroke that made communicating very difficult for her.
While it is never easy to say goodbye to a loved one even for a few hours, deep down we all know that the Lord did the wise and compassionate thing in letting her fall asleep until He comes again. And from the signs in the sky, in politics, nature, and at every turn, we have good reason to trust that our separation will not be long.
Ironically, I started creating the Bible games and quiz videos because of my grandmother. I had been creating Sudoku, activity books, and notebooks to sell on KDP for a little over a year and I was seeking a way to honor God with my new skills when one day my mother told me how frustrated she was that she was unable to read her Bible because she could not see and she was starting to forget some of the verses.
I felt so bad for her and wondered what could be done to help her. After a bit of reflection and prayer the Lord brought to my mind a new program that he had sent my way that turned text of multiple languages into speech. I was looking forward to showing her the videos I was making and had had just released the first few videos when her health began to rapidly decline. Sadly I was never able to show or tell her about the videos I had made to try and help her remember God’s word.
I wish I knew why my wish of helping my grandmother study and remember the word of God was not allowed to happen. But even though that wish cannot come true, it would be my greatest joy if even in a small way, these videos can prove a blessing to you and your family, and help you draw closer to God, and in some way help you to build a foundation for eternity.
Finally, after 5 delays due to my mother being hospitalized, my Grandmother having a stroke, allergies, and other chaos, I was able to get my 2nd iron infusion yesterday. I can hardly move today, but it feels so good to have some iron as it make breathing so much more comfortable.
Well the moment I finished that video everything went absolutely crazy. My mother’s blood pressure started rising like an airplane, their were issues with the bathroom, and phone calls galore. And to my dismay issues with uploading my file, turns out my files had to be 20mb or less. In the middle of the chaos, while on step 3 of creating my shop, I did something, who knows what, that locked up my account and got it suspended.
And as an added bonus, after months of slow but steady prep work, I was finally able to open an Etsy shop. Opening an Etsy store was an idea that was recommended by several leading KDP low content You Tube channels as an easy way to diversify. After all, low content creators already have the content used to create their coloring and activity books. With a little mixing, matching, and tweaking, they can easily create digital download activity packs and coloring pages to sell on Etsy.
After several months of utilizing what little energy I had to create a few activity packs, after a bit of prayer I decided that it was time to open my storm. The first few minutes went by smoothly, and I decided to follow the recommendation and create a little video that I could post to Etsy and add a little sound and put on You Tube to show off my new package, On the Go Bible Games and Coloring Pages Printable Bundle.
Have you ever had one of those days where your mind is bursting with ideas and plans, but your body feels like it is weighs a ton and all you want to do is crawl into bed. For me today is one of those discombobulated days where my mind is longing to work. I had a post that I wanted to share about the day my family got Happy. But even though half the post is already composed in my head, my tired and achy body rebels at the thought of sitting down and trying to type out the lines.
So instead I thought I would share a poem that I had written a few years back that was inspired by the frustration of having to deal with the debilitating fatigue created by chronic health issues like iron deficiency anemia, fibromyalgia, and more.
Finally after years of trying to get a doctor to send me to the hematologist and an unexpected extra week of waiting, I was able to get my iron infusion. I was supposed to get my infusion last week, but the day before my appointment I got a call from the doctor’s office saying that there would be a delay in my appointment. When I asked why, I was told that they did not know, but maybe they overbooked.
I must admit that I took the news rather hard. I was feeling horrible. I was starting to feel very close to the way I did when my iron stores dropped down to less than 3. I had reached the point where even the slightest activity, such as taking a shower or getting my supper left me winded, and I was so worn out that I could barely lift my head off of my pillow. I knew that I had reached the point where getting the infusion was a must, and now I was going to have to wait another week, with my iron dropping, to get some relief. My heart fell and my eyes began to water. I must admit, that if it were not for the fact that I was sitting outside of Happy’s vet, I would have been cried, because in that moment I really questioned if I would ever get the infusion.
Every day for this past week, I would wonder if the phone was going to ring and I would be told, sorry, we have to reschedule again. Every time the phone rang I was afraid that it was them. Even Thursday morning, I was so concerned that my appointment had been canceled that I called to make sure that it had not been changed. It was not until the IV needle was in my arm that I finally allowed myself to believe that I was finally going to get some relief.
And did I ever need the infusion. Since it was my first infusion at that office, the doctor had to see me before I could get the infusion. And I found out why I was starting to feel like the time my iron stores had dropped to less than 3, my stores were getting very close to that level as they had dropped to a dismal 4. With an iron saturation of 4 and a hemoglobin of 10.1 and dropping, no wonder I could barely lift my head off my pillow.
Already I can feel some difference in my energy levels. While my energy is still low, if it were not for the miserable side effects of getting an iron infusion such as terrible muscle cramps and pain and headaches, I would probably be able to do 5 times the amount of work in a day than I have done for the last two or three months. Granted that is barely anything in comparison to a normal person, but at this point it certainly feels like a major achievement.
But while I am very thankful for the relief of that this infusion has brought me, I have a new concern. At the doctors office was told why my appointment was canceled, and the reason is very concerning. It turns out that my appointment was not cancelled due to insurance or overbooking, but a far more serious reason. Short supplies.
Yes, to the list of items that are in short supply you can add iron. And like baby food, getting an iron infusion can be the difference between life and death. Right now the supply is so low that they are having to reschedule patients and where they would give them one infusion every week for several weeks, they are having to put a week in between.
While getting my infusion I heard the nurse tell another patient that the doctor had wanted to give her a certain type of iron, but had to change it to another because the supply of that type of iron was too low. It was so low that they had only been able to get 20 bags and they had used 12 of them so far today. No wonder they had to reschedule my appointment. Leaving me with a new concern, that as the cost of gasoline rises, and the supply chain becomes more precarious, how long will it be before the iron infusion that I and so many others need to keep us alive, will become a causality of this volatile market and disappear.
Good news, hopefully anemia will not be controlling my day much longer! I am scheduled to get my first infusion this Thursday. Which is great, because even with the occasional iron pill and daily drinking of the prune, Rasin, grape, and date drink, my hemoglobin is quickly dropping, and it is becoming harder to do even simple task like eating without becoming short of breath. My iron is getting so low that even though I am spending a few minutes in the sun nearly every day to get some natural vitamin D, I am becoming as pale as a ghost.
I am still not a fan of spending most of my day hooked up to an IV, but at this point it is an answer to prayer. It will be so nice to be able to do simple things like stand up and walk down the hallway or get something out of the microwave without becoming winded. While there are many big things, I want to do like complete 5 minutes of exercise on my total gym without gasping for breath or spending ten or fifteen minutes a day completing my next poetry or story book, it is the simple things of life that I am looking forward to.
Each time my iron drops so low, I am reminded how easily we forget the many little gifts that God has granted us. The ability to eat without feeling like you are going to suffocate, to bend down without fearing that your breath will be completely taken away, or comfortably walk a few feet without hyperventilating are all too often taken for granted. Too often we spend our lives chasing the big gifts, and think ourselves ill-used and believe that our prayers have been ignored because we do not receive the big bonus that we deserved, the funds to take our dream vacation, get a promotion, or some other desire of our heart.
Hurray, after more than a month since I got my lab results back showing that my iron saturation had dropped to a 4 (the low end of normal is 15), I finally have an appointment with the hematologist. I wish that I could say that I was looking forward to getting an iron infusion. But while I appreciate the temporary increase in physical and mental energy an iron infusion brings, I am not a fan of having to spend 6-8 hours getting an infusion, and the uncertainty of how I will react. To make matters more difficult, this will be the first time that I have to get an infusion without the companionship and protecting watch of my father.
But even though I do not like getting an iron infusion, my stomach cannot tolerate taking iron pills for more than a few days at a time. After a few days it makes my chronic nausea so strong that I dread meal time to the point that I at times I am delaying and even skipping meals. To alleviate the nausea I have to stop taking the nausea causing my iron levels to sea saw up and down, and slowly causing my iron stores and iron saturation to drop to a point that I can barely lift my head off the sofa and where some days even a few steps leaves me gasping for air.
Fortunately, while I have been waiting for my referral to reach the the hematologist, I found a couple of natural ways to help me get enough iron to help me do one or two task and breath a bit more comfortably. One natural remedy is to drink a bit of beet juice mixed with another juice like grape or apple juice. Mixing it with another juice is important as on its own, probably due in part to its strong flavor, it can be hard to keep down. But mixed and diluted by another juice like apple or grape it become more tolerable.
Hope, it is something that we all desperately need to keep us going. With a good dose of hope, we would not have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Because it is hope that that cheers us up when everything around us seems glum and impossible.
It is hope that takes hold of the strong arms of trust and faith to keep our heads above the billowing waves. When discouragement seeks to suffocate us and build such a high wall that we will never be able to enjoy another ray of sunlight again, it is hope that points us to the great promises of God and reminds us of the importance of trusting in things that though yet unseen, will one day become a wondrous reality.
Like a vitalizing tonic, hope has the power to revive the nearly dead soul. Bringing it back from the brink of lifelessness into a vibrant and purpose driven life.