Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Discernment & Distraction

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Discernment is the ability to judge a situation well or to judge a situation well for the obtaining of spiritual knowledge or guidance.

I had to make some changes that would affect my ability to pay my bills. I mean it would make paying them more of a challenge. The weeks before the day of the change there were quite a few distractions that made me want to change my mind. And on the day of change, there was a REALLY BIG DISTRACTION.

I felt many things like anxiety, confusion, and jealousy. I second guessed myself a few times. I second guess my “hearing” God (What you may call, self, the Universe, Creator, Divine, etc.). However, I came to recognize this as a test of my faith in myself and of faith in the God I serve. YOU MUST THINK and OBSERVE what is going on when you make decisions to change. Why does negativity seem to surround a change that is good for you? Why does fear arise? Doubt? Where is this coming from? You must not only ask the questions, you must answer the questions HONESTLY. And if you pray and meditate, you must do that, too! You need clarity.

  • In my religion it says God is not the author of confusion. For me, the confusion was coming from within and without.
  • Also, God spoke to my spirit, however you want to explain that, “I would never use negativity to keep you in a situation that is not good for you. I would have been sending obvious signs of positive change and improvement.”
  • I know God to be my provider and protector. There is scripture in my religion that says; “Put your trust in God, not man.” In other words, trust God that cannot fail because sometimes, many times, people and jobs will fail us. We will fail ourselves at times. No matter what is happening, God will provide, protect, and preserve. This is what calms my fear. THINK: There is not only scripture that shows God’s provision, but I have so many examples and proof in my own life of God’s provision, preservation, and protection. Also, of God’s increase and blessings. THINK. REFLECT.
  • Each time I prayed, something negative would happen as a sign of why I had to make the BIG change. I was restless. I was without peace.
  • What about OBEDIENCE? I had to obey what I heard and what I felt. You know what you hear and what you feel. You know that “something”, that gut feeling or wherever your intuition hits you. You must obey it because if you don’t there are consequences and if you do obey it, there are rewards. Those rewards can be blessings, a peace of mind, a promotion, etc.
  • Prayer and meditation, talking with Godly counsel, and even you-tubing some of my favorite spiritual leaders and teachers is what helped me stay clear. And trust me, I am not just a Christian that listens to preachers only. I seek wisdom. Wisdom doesn’t have a religion.

I am here this morning. I slept good. I am taking it day my day. The energy in my home is peaceful. A person may be responsible for the energy they bring in your space, but you are responsible for letting the energy remain.

~Nikki

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Day 1: RA/RD BLOG WEEK: DEALING

Dealing – How do other diagnoses impact your RD and its treatment?

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I was on my second and current Rheumatologist when I found out my previous Rheumy had diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. Imagine my surprise! I developed diabetes AFTER my diagnosis of the RETURN of Rheumatoid Arthritis DISEASE. I was first diagnosed at 8 years old and it went into remission after middle school and returned when I was 35. In the process of a surgery for Halladux Rigidus (Nodule develops on the big toe joint and causes PAIN, erosion, etc.) they doc said “Oh I removed the build up and I could see the arthritis and OSTEOARTHRITIS.” I also found out this year I have osteoarthritis in the joints of my fingers.

How do these things impact my RD? The fibromyalgia and RD was hard to differentiate in the beginning. I would have muscle pain and joint pain and I didn’t know if I had muscle pain because of the joint pain or if I had joint pain because of the muscle pain. It turns out that fibromyalgia, or any other thing I have can cause my RD to flare or cause me pain. My body is so confused about what is pain, when the pain requires an attack or not, how to receive pain and process pain, it doesn’t know what to do and when to do it.

It has made treatment very challenging to make sure some meds do not interfere with others. Some meds are used for the same thing. Also, when one thing is out of whack, like diabetes, it causes neuropathy and then fibromyalgia can kick in. Also, if I am dealing with anxiety or depression it can cause flares with fibromyalgia and RD. I have had both to flare at the same time and it is like being in a blizzard or a natural disaster of the body.

What makes the difference for me, or how I deal, is to differentiate between fibro and RD and I did that by learning (reading and researching from CREDIBLE sources) about each one. I treat fibro with pain cream, ice packs or hemp oil massage. I use pain medication or steroids for RD pain. I address diabetes by managing it. I address anxiety and depression by seeing a therapist and applying the skills taught to me by him that helps me to cope. I am spiritual and that helps SO MUCH. I meditate. I pray. I take pain meds for joint pains. I take my meds regularly ( I was not doing this at first because I hate pills but now I even take an injection I give myself). I put my CPAP on at night to help me to rest and if I need sleep meds I take them. REST is important in helping to prevent flares, pain and it’s important to rest to recover from flares.

It’s “alot” I know, but it is my life and I believe to approach it from a realistic and faith-based perspective gives me the balance I need to stay afloat.

~Nikki

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In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, including joints. In severe cases, it attacks internal organs.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects joint linings, causing painful swelling. Over long periods of time, the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone erosion and joint deformity.
While there’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, physiotherapy and medication can help slow the disease’s progression. Most cases can be managed with a class of medications called anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS)

Getting Uncomfortable with God?

Late yesterday evening, I was in a very uncomfortable mood. I thought to myself, “Why am I so uncomfortable?” As soon as I posed the question the answer came as “That’s me.” I understood this immediately to be God. I understood it as God was making me uncomfortable ALL THE MORE about my situation. I’m asking for signs and wonders and I had a feeling I wasn’t going to get many more signs, but the answer is in my FEELINGS. In my GUT.

Is this about growth? Not so much. It is more about unblocking my path. It’s about unblocking my crown chakra, heart chakra, and root chakra (I know I lost some of you with that lol). It’s not about the what, it’s about the who. It’s about not having someone slow me down. It’s about not having my energy (chakras) drained. Why? I am being urged to deepen my spirituality and also, I am on the path to manifest destiny. I know what I need to create and it’s not turmoil. It’s not annoyances. It’s not immaturity, foolishness, and irresponsibility. Oh, how important it is to be connected to the RIGHT people and in the RIGHT relationship!

I am uncomfortable and it’s not just me, it’s God. What do I do? I pray. I take action.

~Nikki

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Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Time Well Spent

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My mom is the primary caregiver for my father. He has Parkinson’s Disease which is a result of being in contact with Agent Orange when he was in Vietnam. He also has other illnesses and diseases that have developed after Parkinson’s. Imagine you retire and you develop a disease that DRASTICALLY changes your outward appearance and your mental and emotional well being.

My dad has always been this strong guy with muscles. I remember him lifting weights and hanging from his biceps. I remember the big round weights that go on the weight bench. I remember the children in the neighborhood racing against him and they would lose. So, if it’s hard for me to see all of that, his mobility, his muscles, his strength disappear, it must be incredibly hard for him to deal with. He’s stubborn, but I think by now he realizes he needs help or assistance. Yet, he fights to keep most of his independence because he doesn’t like anyone doing anything for them. Especially, if they make it known they really mind doing it for him or that it’s a problem. I get that and the stubbornness from him. My dad has always had a sharp mind. He still has it. He is like a walking history buff and Bible. He is still pastoring and this is his last year as his health has really declined. Last week when he was in the hospital for rehab, we talked about poetry and just when I thought I knew it all about poetry he throws out poets I never heard of. He recites some lines. This is my dad.

This week my mom was out of town on church business and I was “hired” to take care of my dad. Even though my mom is the primary caregiver, all six of us children are there to do our jobs. We all chip in. Some more than others because some work full time and others have illnesses of their own (like me). We seem to take on our roles and fill in when needed of roles of the others. It just worked out that way. I took care of Dad this week and I got to see him in a different way. I got to see the struggles in a different way. I heard the yelling as he napped. It was something about war. I got to see the depression that he sometimes denies. I got to experience the moodiness and irritability that we rarely see. But, I also got to see the determination to wash his own clothes, put his dishes away, wash up, and put his clothes without my assistance a few days. I saw the sweat pouring down his face and the tiredness that followed those simple tasks.

My favorite part of the experience was getting him out of the house to sit on the porch as he likes to do and we listened to a famous sermon on YouTube by Reverend C.L. Franklin (Aretha Franklin’s father). He was unsure he could get out of the house or go anywhere with his new fancy walker (which he calls the Cadillac). I had to encourage him and he made it to the barber shop with his new walker.

Even though it was really hard work taking care of him all week from 7 am to 7 pm it was time well spent. The pain and exhaustion that I felt daily, the pain meds I had to take, the willing myself to get up, the swelling and the joint inflammation, the mental battle,  reminded me of why I had such a hard time working my last full time job.  By the time you recover, it’s time to work again and creates an endless cycle that worsens your health. However, all that I experience this week was worth the quality time spent with my dad. Care giving is a job. It’s a job for the one doing it all the time and the ones who do their parts regularly and the ones that have to fit it in. However, it’s rewarding knowing that you helping someone you love and it has it’s moments that will someday become memories.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Life Doesn’t Get Any Easier????

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There are a couple of quotes that state something like, “Life doesn’t get any easier, you just get stronger or Life doesn’t get any easier, you just get better at handling the things you go through.” I would read these quotes and literally roll my eyes. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the part that says “Life doesn’t get any easier” because I want life to get easier. Don’t we all? Raise your hand if you want life to get harder and remain difficult. I thought so. Can we just get strong enough and learn enough and life gets better? Oh, wait, there is a thought. Life gets easier because we get stronger and we learn to handle the things we go through with accrued wisdom. -Nicole Jackson Yes, quote me on that.

You see, I am at this ebb and flow period of my life. This, nothing is happening, something is happening, but very slowly and we are going from 0 to 100 the next day or moment. I don’t like this phase of things. I imagine this is what being sea sick is like or motion sickness. I just want to get to my destination and BE STILL and ENJOY. I don’t want to ride the ups and downs of these sometimes humongous waves. Heck, I can’t surf or swim! Topsy turvy much? Yes. Much. This type of phase doesn’t work well with my anxiety and depression. What is a girl to do?

A girl is to hold on. For dear life. To her Creator’s unchanging hand. A girl is to cry, get upset, be happy, meditate, have a margarita or go to bed. However, a girl deals with this phase of life is how a girl deals…without judgement from others or herself.

Life gets easier because we get stronger and we learn to handle the things we go through with accrued wisdom. -Nicole Jackson

The Art of Suffering?

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I don’t know if I will master the art of suffering, but I know that I have suffered a lot in this lifetime. My suffering is not to be compared with others. I don’t believe in who suffered more because as I have said my whole life, “We all have our own personal hell(s) to live through.”

Speaking of hell, I had a migraine last night that could be considered and EF4 if it was a tornado. It was a 9 on a scale of 1-10. As I lay on the couch in darkness, a lavender candle lit, I thought to myself, “Why do I have to suffer so much? I have suffered my entire life physically and with matters of the heart. I want this suffering to be over. I deserve more peace, love, and joy the rest of my years.” And then I said to myself, “You can endure this. You can get through this. This pain will not last forever. You just have to wait it out. You’ve done everything you could in the natural and spiritual. Wait it out. Think of things that bring you peace and comfort.” It took seemingly forever, but after a migraine that started with a suddenly stiff neck around 4pm and turned into a full blown migraine around 7pm, after 11pm I could finally sit up without the feeling of severe nausea. I got up from the couch and went to bed.

When I woke up this morning I saw this quote. How true I thought. Even though I get tired of suffering, it is better that I work with the suffering, instead of against it. Working against it only makes it worse. I get upset about the migraine, start to go into why and my heart rate raises. Blood pressure goes up and the pain worsens. I go into panic when what I am doing is not working fast enough. It only makes the pain worse. I let go last night and just endured. I have decided not only to not compare my suffering to others, I have also decided to not accept that I suffer more because I am stronger than others. Hell, I get tired of being strong. I am also weak in my suffering many times in private, but it is my God that is stronger during those times. God sends angels and earthly angels to help me through my sufferings. I am thankful and grateful for them. I may never know why we suffer more than others. I accept that it just is and this is why I cherish the simple things in life as if they were the most valuable because many times those are the only things I can focus on in times of suffering.

~Nikki

Mother’s Day: Fish & Bones

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There is this saying: You have to learn to eat the fish and spit out the bones. It’s a secret to some and obvious to my bloggers, that my relationship with my mother can be described as turbulent. I am not ashamed of this. Many mother and daughter relationships are at it’s best, “complicated” and I speak on behalf of some of those women. Here is the post I posted on Mother’s Day about my mom and photos from my day as a mother.

My mom and I are like oil and water sometimes. Some say it’s because we are alike and some say it’s because we are different. At the end of the day we love each other. I get my strong value for family from my mom. I get my strong work ethic from my mom. I get my cooking skills, my creativity, my fashion sense & need to have a lovely home from my mom. The idea of the finer things in life yet making the most of your lot in life. I am a giver and will try to help everybody and will feed everybody. I get that from My mom. My mom has her own big personality and it gives us many laughs. My mom is the best because she’s going to put family first and she’s going to protect it. She’s going to come through and this is why we come through for her. I love it when I make her laugh and she says “Nicole, You’re so crazy.” That’s us. That’s family. That’s love.