Caravan Sonnet: October 2014


Custom Altered Journal Order (Purple & Brown)

I love the opportunity to create and I am so thankful for all of orders that I receive. Each order is a gift to me!
One of those that I received a couple of weeks ago was from a friend who wanted to have me create an a custom altered journal for a friend. I was so delighted to do this! 
Thank you so much for the opportunity to create this for you Jen! 
If you are interested in a altered journal or a custom order feel free to check out my shop or email me for details! 
Happy Friday y'all! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


12 Things to Pray for the Children of Parents with a Chronic Health Condition

Hello! Thank you so much for your interest in reading the 12 Things to pray for the spouse of someone with a Chronic Health Condition! The 12 Things to Pray EBook is now available on Amazon! You can find it HERE



"Almighty God, we bless and praise Thee that we have awakened to the light of another early day, 
and now we will think of what a day should be. 
Our days are Thine, let them be spent for Thee. 
Our days are few let them be spent with care. 
There are dark days behind us' there may be dark days before us, strengthen us for their trials.
 We pray Thee to shine on this day- the day which we may call our own. 
Lord we go to our daily work. Show us clearly what our duty is and help us to be faithful in doing it. 
Give us strength to do, patience to bear, let our courage never fail. When we cannot love our work, let us think of it as Thy task; and by our true love to Thee, make unlovely things shine in the light of Thy Great love. Amen."
Happy Wednesday Friends!

p.s.- Like these pictures? These are a few of the pictures from the 2015 Trees on the Shores of Lake Champlain Calendar which you can find HERE!


2015 Lake Champlain Calendar

I am so excited to share with y'all a project that I have been working hard on behind the scenes! This year it was a dream of mine to produce a couple of calendars for my shop and I am so excited to share the first one with you today! 
This 12-month 2015 calendar shows twelve gorgeous shots of Lake Champlain in upstate New York. Nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Champlain is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the United States and is famous for its part in the War of 1812. (It is also my favorite spot on earth! *smiles*)
Each picture in the calendar has been taken by me and I have chosen twelve of my most favorite shots!
With each calendar you have the option of purchasing a desk calendar or two different sized wall calendars! I am so excited to have this in the shop! Thank you again for your support of my shop! If you are interested in purchasing this you can go directly HERE!


the Lyme Diaries: Helpful Resources

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}
A few weeks before I was "officially" diagnosed with Lyme Disease I remember searching the internet for answers, resources, and help. I spent time calling numerous doctors, left hundreds of messages on any office phone number where I had heard that they even knew of Lyme and laid in bed at night with tears crying out to the Lord as it appeared to be a fruitless and hopeless journey ahead of me. After I received the "official" diagnosis of Lyme I searched the internet for people who had been healed of Lyme Disease and looked to see what doctor they went to, what habits they adopted, and a host of other things. Honestly, the whole thing was a very scary and confusing time. There were a lot of tears, a lot of time spent frustrated as it seemed to be just running into a brick wall, and most of all I kept finding more and more scary things on the internet (some of which were true and some of which were not!). A lot of things that I have learned are simply "trial and error" or something that I have heard someone else try or hearing of a "friend of a friend" trying it. What I would have loved would have been a "resource" guide to all things "Lyme related" and that is what I hope to provide today. (This is in no way an exhaustive list and I plan to continually update it but I hope it will help you navigate this scary world)

(With the exception of any Lyme books that have come out since July 2014 I have read every single Lyme book there is out there (even tracking one down from Germany that I had a friend help me translate!) and have listed the ones that I have found the most helpful. I have listed the ones that I have found "the best" from top to bottom. This is not an exhaustive list and because Lyme Disease symptoms do vary I would encourage you to read as much as you can get your hands on but hopefully this list will be a good starting point for you!)

Cure Unknown By: Pamela Weintraub (This book to me is a "must read" for all Lyme patients. It is difficult to "weed" through the language at some parts but the fight for health will be understood by all Lyme patients and their families.)


Resources for the Role of Diet in fighting Lyme Disease
The Lyme Diet By: Dr. Nicole McFadzean (I wish I had read this earlier on my journey as I didn't read this until recently and had already adopted all of the principles she mentions. For someone just starting out and not understanding the role of diet in the fight of Lyme Disease this would be an excellent book.)

The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health by Shelley Redford Young and Robert O. Young 

Gerson Therapy (While I do not follow this therapy in its whole  I do believe some of the principles in the book are a wonderful resource towards healing. You can read the book HERE.)

Recipes for Repair, A Lyme Disease Cookbook: Recipes and tips for the anti-inflammation diet developed by Kenneth B. Singleton, MD, MPH (I have not used all of these recipes but some of them have provided a great "jumping point" for delicious and healthy meals.)

Alternative Therapy Resources
(I have found great relief from symptoms as well as help in the healing process with alternative therapy resources. Some of these I do on a weekly basis some more than once a week but always under the supervision of a doctor. It is SO important to make sure that you are under the care of a trained professional before adding any type of therapy into your routine, even "alternative" things!)

*Dry Brushing and Detox Baths (The role of detoxing is so important but must be done under the supervision of a trained professional so that you do not experience severe herx reactions!)

*IV Vitamin C Therapy (and other IV Nutritional Therapies)

*Acupuncture (When I first started my journey to get better I tried in vain to find an acupuncturist that would work with me not try and "heal me" all in one day. Although I have not found one where I live for half of the year I have a wonderful acupuncturist in upstate New York who has helped me so much with my healing process. I continue to search for one here in the south to help me throughout the year but I definitely recommend acupuncture!)
Lyme Disease and Modern Chinese Medicine by: Dr. QingCai Zhang 

*Vitamins, Herbs, and Supplements (under the supervision of a doctor)

*Therapeutic Reflexology 

*Hyperbaric Oxygen (You can see what I wrote about oxygen HERE. I have an article that is in the works about the therapeutic affects of hyperbaric oxygen on Lyme Disease. Once that is published I will cite the link here!)

*Essential Oils (under the supervision of a doctor)

*Gerson Therapy (As noted above)

* Cowden Protocol (All of the items for this can be bought from Nutramedix and they offer a financial support option if you are struggling financially. The ladies there are so sweet and I was so impressed with them as I talked with them. DISCLAIMER: I have not done the Cowden Protocol although it is something that I plan to add in to my regime in the future but have several friends who have done it and it has helped them in their journey. If you are going to follow the Cowden Protocol you might be interested in this book: 

*Dental Link to Disease (I have been reading more and more about the role of disease and teeth related issues. A great article from Dr. David Jernigan about the role of dental issues with Lyme Disease started me researching this. You can read the original article HERE!)

*Stomach Tip: (from Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride)  
"Protocol to help kill infections in the stomach:
1. Three tablespoons of high ppm colloidal silver morning and night on empty stomach. The silver solution will kill the infection.
2. DGL tablets fifteen minutes after the silver. Three per dose twice a day. This is a licorice extract and is effective in healing.
3. Aloe Vera fifteen minutes after the DGL. Take five tablespoons per dose, twice a day. All three on an empty stomach. That way the effect in the stomach is maximized.

Do this for two months. While doing this, consume no coffee of any kind (get off acidic drinks) and no carbonated drinks. No acidic foods like tomatoes, chili, hot peppers while the two months of treatment is going on."

(I have lots of stomach issues and while I haven't followed this exactly I know people that have and I have taken these same tips and applied them (under the care of a doctor) and seen helpful results!)

Financial Tips (General)
You can read an entire blog post about financial tips and resources that I wrote HERE!



the nine year anniversary

If you read my October 25th post from last year or you know me well you know that October 25th is a very special day to me. It holds incredible meaning and significance as nine years ago I had a life-changing surgery that change the course of my life and this was the day that the Lord healed me after doctors told me that there was "nothing" that they could do. 

Over the years I have celebrated this anniversary in different ways from quite evenings in with friends or family to special lunches to attending a work dinner to a very special trip to Disney World with my sister to celebrate. 

Celebrating four years in Disney World
A very special lunch with my parents at the 5 year celebration mark!
Chinese food to celebrate six years!
 Celebrating seven years in 2012
And while some of these days and moments have been photographed over the years, many of them have not. The moments of a beautiful card from my mom on the one year anniversary mark, the precious moments of telling my story to my students over the years as I testified about the Lord's mighty healing power, the laughter between family and friends, the precious phone calls and texts from friends who prayed for the miracle to happen and never stopped believing, my sister calling to celebrate with me, long walks thanking the Lord on year two, and the quiet celebration in my heart every time I see the calendar approaching this special day when doctors said there was "no hope" and yet the Lord spoke differently. 

And as I think about year nine today I have so many mixed emotions. Emotions of gratitude and humble thankfulness and prayers of, "why aren't you healing the same way this time Lord?". It is a question that I think so many people have asked behind the scenes (and some of the brave have cried with me). 

I recently received an email asking me if "I wanted to address the fact that the Lord healed me of Endometriosis  but hasn't healed me and doesn't seem to be healing me of Lyme Disease? Could it be that last time you were more spiritual or could it be that maybe God doesn't intend to heal you at all and you should stop believing for this to happen?". You know what sweet friends? As I told this reader, I really don't. Instead I shared that I have learned a lesson in this journey that is incredibly precious but only comes when you walk through difficult trials... you can either spend your energy and time questioning the Lord or you can bow the knee and say, "I don't understand, but you are God" and humbly (and many times tearfully) surrender. There is NOTHING easy in surrendering our dreams, hopes, fears, etc. but there is freedom. Freedom to know that God is in charge. Freedom to trust His ways even when we don't understand them. Freedom to know that pain here on earth is temporary. Freedom to know that God is God and that is all that is important in this life. 

The rest of it... how God answers or doesn't answer my prayers is not my concern. 

And with this surrender comes the opportunity to fall more in love with Jesus and who He is and what the Bible states and promises. NOT what I want it to state or promise but what it actually states and promises. And the nine year anniversary is so significant to me. 

Did you know that the number nine is important in the Bible? The number nine is used 49 times in scripture and many theologians state that it symbolizes completeness. Christ died on the ninth hour of the day (3pm) and provided the way for salvation for us. In addition to this there are nine fruits of the Spirit, and there are nine people recorded as having leprosy in the Bible. 

*smiles* Okay, so you might be asking what do those three things have to do with me celebrating my nine year anniversary and why are they significant to me? 

First, scripture has never been shy about speaking about disease OR Jesus' healing diseases. BUT scripture has also showed that sometimes (due to the fact that we live in a fallen and sinful world) disease does exist and healing sometimes happens later than we expect it or in Heaven. (This does not mean that Jesus is not all powerful in fact the exact opposite!)

Second, our all powerful God showed His complete power on the cross which happened on the 9th hour! In this act of unmeasurable love we not only are given the opportunity to accept Jesus as our Lord and be saved but on the cross Jesus conquered EVERYTHING. Including illness. EVERYTHING was conquered on the cross. 

Third, knowing this I have a choice to make... every single day... I can choose to act in faith and trust the Lord completely (where the fruits of the spirit are found) or I can respond to my circumstances sinfully and grow bitter and angry at the ways of the Lord. 

There is absolutely no question in my mind of my choice. 

Even on the days that I feel discouraged I choose to run to my precious Heavenly Father and lay everything at His feet. And friends, as I spend more time with the Lord and continue to run to Him with all of my questions, fears, disappointments, hurts, and every other emotion He lovingly speaks to my hurting heart. And I am reminded on this ninth anniversary of His incredible grace, His good gifts, His undeserving ways, and the gift of love that He gives. 

And the best gift of all? Is the gift that the ninth hour reminds me that Jesus' fulfilled it ALL on the cross...  all of the questions, fears, and every other emotion by His work on the cross. And in that there is incredible hope. Hope of a future that the Lord has in store... Hope of beautiful healing here on earth or in Heaven... Hope of living joyfully despite difficult circumstances... Hope of a loving God who loves us abundantly... and Hope of celebrating another nine year healing in the future...

healing from Lyme Disease. 


a tough but necessary decision

I am learning a life decision again this week... the reality that we only have so many hours in each day to accomplish the things that the Lord puts before us. And I am learning that business and having a lot of things to do is not always the healthiest decision... not just when you are seriously ill like I am, but for everyday... in each of our lives. At some point we have to acknowledge the actual amount of hours we have in each day and make tough decisions on what we are going to spend our energy (or in my case very limited energy on). And this week I had to make several difficult decisions on where my time was going to be spent. 
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, a day in my life currently, doesn't leave much time for me to accomplish all of the things that I want to do. There is a lot of time that is being spent on treatment, rest, and all of the necessary components to fight these diseases. This takes an incredibly amount of energy and discipline every single day. I might not "feel" like doing a detox bath twice a day or taking all of the necessary medications (and dealing with their side effects) or even taking my naps but if I want to get better all of these things are necessary components to meet the end goal. 

Part of that is hard to recognize... I like many others who are sick want to live a relatively "normal" life but as I sat in one of my ten doctors appointments for this week alone on Monday I had to acknowledge that what I want and what the reality is are two completely different things. The truth is hard and difficult... but the truth is also freeing. 
With that realization and the acknowledgement that this treatment plan is "kicking my butt" (as we say here in the south) I had to start thinking about the priorities that I have in my life and what they are in a more "fine toothed way".  In addition to meeting my requirements for treatment I must have time to spend with Jesus (which is a non-negotiable for me), have time for quality prayer, I want to have the energy to be able to carry conversations with my family, have the energy to chat and write letters with my close friends, have the energy to give several quality hours to SEEN Gathering each week, complete my work for CRATE 526 and Adopt-a-Platoon, work on my writing (for my upcoming books and for this blog) and work on continuing to develop my shop
And the rest of the things that I am doing will have to go. 

*smiles* I think a lot of times people think that people who are seriously ill sit around watching a lot of TV and "get to take naps" and it is like a season "off of life". This may be true for some people, but honestly in my journey, I have yet to meet someone who likes either of those things. TV gets really old (even if you are not like me and liked TV before you got sick) and naps... well let me tell you they are not all that they are cracked up to be. 

Most people who are sick are living life the best that they can and like everyone else must take time to evaluate what is going to "make the cut" of where we will spend energy. 
So while there are a hundred little things that I closed the door on this week one of the big ones is the end of the Parcel Post Tribe. I shared with the Parcel Post Tribe Members this week that this has been a decision that has actually been a long time coming but I was hoping it would "make the cut". But honestly there are several different reasons that this is the best decision right now. One of course is my health and another was the cost of making the cards and the cost of shipping. Unlike some other monthly card services, the Parcel Post Tribe was a monthly card service with ALL handmade cards (every single part) which took a ton of time and also made the cost of shipping more expensive. 

I tried in the last couple of months to "simplify" my cards so that the shipping would be lower but in doing so I feel like a "piece of December Caravan" is being lost. So the end of the Parcel Post Tribe (at least for now) has come. I do apologize to some of you that had written me emails in the last several weeks about becoming a member and I didn't respond until this week explaining my decision. I appreciate your compassionate and understanding heart about this. 
As we head into this weekend I am so thankful for the Lord's love and leading in all areas of our lives, especially in regards to things that are best for us. I pray that as I have found you will find peace to make the tough decisions and let certain things go so that you can be abundantly free to chase after the dreams and spend time with the people you love the most. 


12 Things to Pray for the Spouse of Someone with a Chronic Health Condition

Hello! Thank you so much for your interest in reading the 12 Things to pray for the spouse of someone with a Chronic Health Condition! The 12 Things to Pray EBook is now available on Amazon! You can find it HERE


Custom Christmas Card Orders

I am so excited to continue sharing items that are being listed in the shop! Yesterday I listed the option to purchase Custom Christmas Card Orders. (If you are interested in purchasing Christmas card sets that are already made some of these have been added to the shop (for example HERE) and more will be added in the weeks to come!
Custom Christmas Card orders come with the option for me to create a unique and one of a kind design that you are looking for!
Custom Christmas Card orders come with sweet embellishments, unique details, and are all completely handmade! These one of a kind treasures will be loved by all of your recipients!
If you are looking to purchase a Custom Christmas Card order you have two different options. You can purchase the Custom Christmas Card Order without Postage (click HERE) or you can purchase the Custom Christmas Card Order With Postage (click HERE). The latter option will include the correct amount of postage for each card as sometimes handmade cards can cost a little bit more with their postage! This allows you the freedom to fill out your cards and send with ease! 
I am only taking a select number of Custom Christmas Card orders this year so if you are interested order soon! Thank you again so much for your support of my little shop! Be sure to check out all of the new additions (including some non-"Christmasy" items) that are being added daily! You can head on over to the shop right now by clicking HERE

Happy Wednesday friends!


Christmas Mini-Album: Merry and Bright

As I mentioned last week I am starting to list Christmas items in the shop! And I am really excited to share with you this addition to my Etsy Shop! This is probably one of my favorite mini-albums that I have ever made! (Along with the "Homegrown Christmas Mini Album" from last week! *smiles*)
This is a sweet and unique mini scrapbook (size is approximately 7x4) with journal tags and embellishments that provides a lovely gift for Christmas or simply a stress free way for you to remember the joy of this holiday season. Each album contains 30 pages so that you can easily document each day of December!
 Albums come embellished with ribbon, twine, tabs, pretty scrapbook paper, glitter and cuteness that you will quickly fall in love with. Simply insert your pictures and write your precious memories to remember the wonder and precious memories of the season for you to enjoy for years to come. I love the colors and the "feel" of this classic Christmas Album!
This could be an excellent and stress free way for you to document and remember the joy of the holiday season or to give as a gift for Christmas! (AND the more albums you purchase the more savings you receive!) 
Stay tuned in the next few weeks as I continue to daily stock more Christmas items and more items in general in the shop! In the mean time click HERE to go directly to the shop to place your order! *smiles*

Happy Monday friends!


the Lyme Diaries: Herxheimer Reaction ("herx")

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}
One of the words that I use a lot in "Lymie World" is "herxing" or "herx" to discuss something that is taking place in my body. Every Lymie (and their loved ones) recognize the lingo but to be honest many people outside of "Lymie World" hear it so much but have absolutely no idea what it is or what it is referring to. I thought I would take a few moments today to explain what this strange word means and hopefully provide some clear definition for those that are curious. 

Some History... 
The term "Herxheimer Reaction"  (or more technically known as "Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction") is named in honor of an Austrian and German doctor who are credited with discovering this particular reaction. Both men (Adolf Jarisch and Karl Herxheimer) observed patients reacting to treatment of syphilis and performed studies on this reaction. While it was at first thought to be an "autoimmune" reaction, we now know that it occurs due to the amount of endotoxins that are released as treatment happens and the body does not have the capability to get rid of these toxins fast enough which causes the reaction. (Yes, that was written in "lay persons" words, not from a medical dictionary. *smiles*)

Although it was first discovered in syphilis, it is generally and widely accepted that this type of reaction happens with "spirochetes" based diseases (which of course includes Lyme Disease). Although there have been varying ideas, this is not a commonly accepted (in the medical community) theory for diseases outside of spirochetes based diseases.  

What is this Process Called?
While technically this is known as the "Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction" it can be referred to as "a herx", "herxing", "the Herxheimer Response/ or / Reaction", "a detox reaction", "healing crisis", or "die-off syndrome".

What Exactly is It?
As I mentioned above a "herx reaction" takes place as the patient tries to treat the disease and they have an overload of endotoxins that flood there bloodstream and can not release them quick enough. 

To be clear the body is reacting to the amount of endotoxins that are being killed and released into the blood stream (by treatment or detoxification) and not are not reacting to the medicine or treatment itself. 

What Exactly Happens?
When a patient has a "herx reaction" they develop aggravated or worsening symptoms of their disease. These symptoms can commonly include (but are not limited to): mild symptoms - like a low grade fever, headaches, flushes, rashes, flu-like symptoms; to more serious symptoms- including migraines, high fevers, rashes, flu-like symptoms (including dehydration) , dizziness, intensification of original presenting symptoms (which could include a myriad of symptoms), extreme nausea, joint or muscle pain, extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, swollen glands, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, heart palpitations, conjunctivitis, etc. 

While most "herx reactions" last for a few hours to a few weeks and are difficult to manage, there are some patients who this becomes a serious and life-threatening issue with regards to their treatment. 

The Herxheimer Reaction is definitely a difficult thing to deal with in treatment. Many patients (myself included) experience an intensification of original presenting symptoms and it can feel like you are quickly going backward instead of moving forward. Emotionally it can be a difficult road to walk. While some patients view the "herx" as something to rejoice over (because of the knowledge that you are killing toxins and you are getting better) I personally have found this to be an extremely difficult part of treatment and am so glad to have a qualified doctor to discuss my symptoms and who has helped me navigate these tricky waters. ( I can't stress enough how important it is to have a qualified doctor who will help guide you through all parts of your treatment, including the Herxheimer Reaction. Studies have now shown that certain herxheimer symptoms need specialized attention due to what they indicate is going on in the body. PLEASE discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor!) I won't lie though... the Herxheimer Reaction has been a great source of many tears on my part through this process. 

Time Frames with Herxheimer Reactions...
There is varying thoughts and data about the time frames related with a herxheimer reaction. Some medical professionals believe that it can occur within 24 hours of treatment and then others believe that it can take up to 5 days to have a reaction. Honestly, it appears (like many things with Lyme Disease *smiles*) that it varies from individual to individual and is based on the level of toxicity in the body.

Helping "end" the Herxheimer Reaction... 
There are a number of thoughts on what to do to help you work through (and "survive") a herxheimer reaction. I won't bore you with all of the lists of ideas but I would definitely recommend consulting your doctor and also treating your body with care. I drink lots of water (more than usual!), get plenty of rest, and emotionally spend a lot of time in prayer and using my "feel better" list

Severe Herxheimer Reactions...
It is very important to seek medical care while going through a herx, and to seek medical care IMMEDIATELY if you develop serious or unusual herx symptoms or symptoms involving heart issues. 

Discuss with Your Physician...
ALL that you are experiencing. You do not want to stop a medication or try to "treat" the herx without the guidance of a trained professional. 

What about y'all? Have you experienced a herx? Any tips on how you deal with this?