time of favor

Psalm of Mandy: a Pain Warrior’s Prayer

But as for me, Lord,
my prayer to you is for a time of favor. Psalm 69:13 CSB

time of favor Psalm 69
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This is a paraphrase from Psalm 69. David had many times in his life when he felt he was drowning in troubles. People who suffer from chronic pain can often feel they are drowning in pain and sorrow. When I read this psalm of David I can feel my own soul praying this prayer with just a few changed words. As you read it, you may understand some of the things that chronic illness causes in our lives. My words are in [ ]. Highlighted words link to another post I have written concerning the issue.

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fIBROMYALGIA REALLY FOR REAL

Why Fibromyalgia is a Real Pain?

Question:

Is Fibromyalgia pain REALLY real?

Originally published on January 17, 2019

Dear Friend OF A FIBRO WARRIOR;

Unimaginable to me, but there are people who can’t relate to dealing with pain. There are folks out there that have never had as much as a headache in their life. This is unimaginable to me.

I’m NOT one of them.

I have dealt with pain from a very early age. In the 5th grade, I started having chest pains, severe pains, like having a heart attack pains. But by the time I got to a doctor or the ER, the pain was gone or they couldn’t find the source of it. They said it was “growing pains“. Funny, I never got taller than 5’2”. Sure had a lot of pain to end up so short.

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Diagnosed RA & Fibro ~ Don’t Give Up!

Advice from a Chronic Pain Warrior

When we receive severe diagnoses, it can shake us to the depths of our souls. And many times, we don’t hear anything the doctor says after that. The last thing you need to do is sit down and give up. Let’s review a few things our doctors may or may not have expressed to you at that initial appointment. These are some things I neglected to do and have learned the hard way about it.

Advise from a pain warrior Don't Give Up.
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What is Fibro

What is Fibromyalgia?


Welcome to Letters to Friends where fibro warriors explain the pain. If you have other questions, we may have answered them here or you can comment below with your questions and we’ll answer!

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Fibromyalgia is not a death sentence.

Fibro is not a terminal disease. You can live a full life and have fibromyalgia. Your life may not be the same as before and pain management will be necessary to have a portion of your old self.

One can live a long and "normal" life because #fibromyalgia can be managed. Click To Tweet

Reminder:  I just want to say that I am a patient, not a doctor. What I am sharing comes largely from what my doctors have taught me and what I have discovered in my own research.

I am sharing to hopefully help you be informed enough to support friends with this syndrome or possibly acquire informed questions for your doctor. Please talk with your doctor or visit the Mayo Clinic website for official information, diagnosis, and treatment.

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Broken into beautiful

How God Restores a Broken Heart

So many of us find ourselves BROKEN. But God can make all things BEAUTIFUL if you will let Him. Don’t hold on to your broken heart.

broken to beautiful

I picked up Gwen Smith’s book because I am writing a series of devotionals on emotional trauma.* I wanted to find out how others dealt with their own broken hearts and other traumatic events and how God helped them recover.

*My series can be received weekly in your email box! Click here!

We have all found ourselves broken and unable to fix it. Only God can restore our broken hearts and make us whole again. Gwen brings to mind how this life can beat us up and break our tender hearts. Each chapter tells of someone she knows personally and links her together with a Biblical woman. She then shows us that “God can use each and every person who surrenders her brokenness into His hands…no matter what.” It doesn’t matter if we are broken from past sin. Sometimes, we ourselves have sinned. Other times, those around us have sinned and we became the object of the sin. Either way, God CAN use the brokenness and turn it into something beautiful. The key is our own surrender of the heart. We must allow God to do the work in our hearts and lives. Then and only then will the beauty shine through.

Gwen reminds us that Satan would like to take us down for the last time. He wants to defeat us and convince us that God does not care. These crafty lies of the evil one can hold us back and keep us struggling in the hurt. We must let the lies go. Stop believing the lies and begin believing in the God who created us. Gwen tells us that “when we invite God into our circumstances, He will faithfully respond to our needs”. And then we will experience His peace, his presence, His power!

At the end of each chapter, Gwen leaves us with lyrics to one of her songs

From one beautiful heart to another!

-Mandy

Connect With Gwen’s Broken but Beautiful Heart

Gwen blogs here HOME – Gwen Smith

Get Your Copy

Enjoy Gwen Smith’s Music

trouble sleeping

Gotta Get Some ZZZ’s ~ Fibromyalgia & Sleep

I noticed that it was National Sleep Day or something and it’s common knowledge that Fibro warriors have trouble sleeping. So I thought I would share some information from different fibro warriors that have written something. My friend Glenna Norton recently purchased a My Pillow mattress topper. She was raving about how her sleep has improved so I asked her to write a review. Her review is here and then you will find some other fibro warrior’s blog post about sleep.

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Fibromyalgia? Have trouble sleeping?

So do I, or should I say did I! About a month ago, I went to eat breakfast with a good friend from church. She told me how, for years, she had trouble sleeping until she ordered a MyPillow 3-inch mattress topper, and boy was it a game changer! She has slept like a baby since ordering it two years ago.

No More Couch Sleeping

In turn, I told her I had a lot of trouble sleeping, too, mainly due to Fibromyalgia. I spend at least half my time sleeping on the couch so I decided to give MyPillow a try. I love their pillows, have had them for years! Love that you can wash and dry them! And a 10-year guarantee is a great selling point!

I ordered the MyPillow mattress topper and a set of the Giza sheets. They came sooner than expected. I have had GREAT sleep for over two weeks now! All in my bed, no more couch sleeping!! The sheets are soothing to my skin, as well!

Guess now, I’ll order us all a pair of the house shoes! Woohoo! Glenna

Information about the MyPillow mattress topper:

They consist of three unique layers: 1) contains patented foam for support and durability; 2) has transitional foam for comfort, weight distribution and relieves pressure points, 3) a removable zipper cover that’s machine washable and dryable, which consists of straps to hold in place. This is made in the USA, has a 60-day guarantee and a 10-year warranty! Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than buying a new mattress!! I highly recommend this product to anyone suffering from Fibromyalgia! It is definitely a game-changer!!

P.S. Order straight from My PIllow for better discounts!


And Now From Some Fibro Bloggers

Get Your Weekly dose of Sleep Info every Sunday

Bar McLullich from the UK writes about sleep nearly every Sunday on her blog, Back Pain Blog.

If you are in chronic pain, the last thing you want is to not get a good night’s sleep. I have suffered from more pain and chronic fatigue due to my sleepless nights and I have tried a myriad of different things to help me get a better night’s sleep.

Here are six ways that have helped me… SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT 5 WAYS TO HELP YOU GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP WITH CHRONIC PAIN… – BACK PAIN BLOG UK…


Get Your Sleep Workbook Here

Melissa Reynolds at MelissaVSFibromyalgia has done a lot of research on sleep and fibromyalgia. She has created a workbook that you may find helpful.

The paradox of chronic insomnia and chronic fatigue is a mean one. How can I be so exhausted deep down in my bones, yet still not able to sleep? – every fibromyalgia fighter ever. Sleep research, sleep hygiene, sleep tips, and all the things I have been learning about combating chronic insomnia and fibromyalgia.

Melissa offers video posts on her site. You may find that more helpful than reading through information.

Go to her blog for more information

How do I sleep when I have chronic fatigue and chronic insomnia? – Melissa vs Fibromyalgia

If you are into Yoga, Check out this blog post.

Get Better Sleep Tonight: My Yoga for Insomnia Sequence – Melissa vs Fibromyalgia


Some Deeper Research & the Fibro Blogger Directory

Lee Good at Fibro Files has written several times about sleep as well. Her posts are more in-depth research which will give you lots of information on what is being studied. I was interested in this article about vibrotactile stimulation. I had not heard of it before.

Fibro Files: Vibrotactile stimulation helps fibromyalgia symptoms of pain, fatigue and sleep quality

Lee also offers a place for all Fibro Bloggers to share their information on anything about fibromyalgia. That post comes out every Friday. You might want to look into that.

Fibro Blogger Directory


Finally, What Are Your Eating Habits?

Michele here on the blog has been talking about the Science of Eating this year. Her posts will wake you up to some of the eating problems in our society.

I recently found this video by a health coach, Joe Reed, at Train Outta Pain. Again, I have never heard of Circadian Rhythm, but this sounds logical. He says that food, sleep, and brain fog may all be related. He is on Facebook. Circadian Rhythm Matters.


REALLY! THIS IS THE LAST ONE!

Cynthia at My Inspired Fibro Life has some great things that may help your get your ZZZZ’s.

How to Sleep Better – My Inspired Fibro Life (photobaugh.com)

That’s it for now. I’m thinking that it’s enough to digest.

Here’s to better sleep! I feel your pain!

Mandy

Thank you for sharing!

shingles vaccine

Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Shingles Vaccine

It started with tenderness around my elbow. I was a bit concerned because allergic reactions tend to start at the elbow for me. But I couldn’t figure out what was different in my life. About a week later, little blisters broke out, and then, oh the itching and pain! Y’all, you do not want to experience this. Did I somehow contact poison oak when they were removing trees from our backyard?

Finally, I gave in and contacted my doctor.

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How to Achieve a Great Life

What does it take to achieve “the great life”?

Psalm 81:8-16

I had a great life growing up.

Wonderful Christian parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, you name it. A big dairy farm to grow upon. But I suffered from poor self-esteem. I couldn’t explain it, but although I could make a long list of all the wonderful things about myself, I was not pleased. I wanted to be something, or someone else.

Over time, I found myself .. that is, I found that what I needed was to Say YES to God. I look at teens and young people today and I see myself. They want what they can’t have, they want to be what they cannot become because God made them for His pleasure and He has a specific plan in mind.

In high school, I wanted to be what I couldn’t be

.. a cheerleader

.. a class leader

… I had to find what God wanted me to be.

I didn’t realize it at the time but it was all a fight to say yes to God

…to give Him the right to lead and work in my life.

I found a few steps to take to find “the great life.”

achienve
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First, Listen to the people God has placed in your life for direction.

Psalm 81: 8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!

Yes, our family was at church every time the doors opened. We served the Lord. BUT that was my parent’s “Yes to God”. They raised us to have every opportunity to live for the Lord. Yes, the Lord was important to me also, I wanted to live for Him, Sing for Him, etc. But I also wanted to be successful in the things that seemed important to every other teenager.

Looking back

I’m baffled at why I cared about being a cheerleader or a class leader. My talents did not lie in those areas, but I wanted to be recognized. Maybe there were pressures to be these things. My siblings were athletes. But God did not make me that way. I had other types of talents. I could play the piano and sing. Actually, because of those things, people said I should be a pastor’s wife.

Now we all know you can be a pastor’s wife without these talents. But I said, “No, not a pastor’s wife”. I loved animals so people said, “You should be a veterinarian” or “You should marry a farmer”. But I said “No” I don’t like farm life.

It’s interesting that as soon as I got away from the farm, that was all I talked about. (Just ask any friend from college, they’ll confirm it) God was calling me all through my life. “Get your eyes on Me and see what I’ll do!”

Secondly, Know that God is faithful.

10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 

 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.

Psalm 81:10-12

When I look back on my life, I see how God was working despite my plans. As the country song says, I thank God for unanswered prayers (or unwanted answers). I would be in a mess if God had answered some of those prayers the way I wanted them answered! And in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided my needs and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me.

in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided for my needs, and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me. Click To Tweet

In college, I began to own the beliefs of my parents as my own.

An example of God giving me over to my stubborn heart… It began way back as a child. I had a childhood sweetheart. There are a lot of sweet memories, but our lives went in separate directions. Little did I know, it really upset this young boy. He had great ideas for the two of us. When we got to college age, our paths crossed again and we dated for a while.

In looking back, I believe, maybe God got a little tired of hearing us fuss and complain, “I want a wife, I want a husband.” So He threw us back together to learn the hard way that He had other plans, that we were not for each other, nor were we neither one ready for a serious relationship.

Thirdly,  Put God first in your life and He’ll bless you beyond measure!

“You shall have no foreign god among you;

you shall not worship any god other than me.

13 “If my people would only listen to me

if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock, I would satisfy you.”

All these things that I thought I wanted to be were actually the ‘gods’ that I put before the one true God. I had to let them all go and once I did God began to bless me. All those “things” faded into the background and then He gave me the desires of my heart .. a wonderful husband and beautiful family, a 25-year ministry to children, and then a ministry to women. Read how we met here.

And it has been blessing after blessing as we have placed God in the center of everything.

A fun little note I like to share … remember I mentioned I did not want to marry a farmer and I did not want to marry a pastor.

Well… I married Pastor Farmer! …… hey! #IsaidYES!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

5 Steps Toward Beginning a Great Day

For those of us that suffer from the effects of chronic pain, it is often difficult to get going in the morning. I am often tempted to lay in the bed and let the day pass me by. But I am learning how to get my day started on the right foot. Let me share 5 steps toward beginning a great day. I preface this to say that I totally understand that some days are worse than others and I only encourage you to try.

S – T – R – E – T – C – H and B – R – E – A – T – H – E

I am thankful for a good stretch. When I first was dealt this terrible pain, I could not move, up or down, roll over, sit up, you name it. Any movement at all caused a debilitating contraction of pain across my lower back. So there was no stretching going on here. But now that I have learned to manage my pain, I am grateful for every stretch. I do several stretches right from the bed and others throughout the day. Identify your points of pain and look up some gentle stretches that will help release stiffness. If you ignore this, you may end up completely tight and unable to move. Here’s a place to start…

Exercises to Reduce Chronic Pain

MEDITATE

This begins right where we left off. I’m not much of a Yoga fan, but I do take in some good deep breaths every morning. I spend some time listing things that I am grateful for. You may be in a lot of pain or there may be a lot of problems in your life, but there is always something we can be grateful for. Get a small notebook and start a gratitude list. Then if you have a particularly bad morning, you can go back and remind yourself of all the good things in your life.

I then spend a little time reading and meditating on the Holy Scriptures. I start with Proverbs. There are 31 chapters. One for every day of the month. You might relate to how things haven’t changed much over the centuries. Secondly, I turn to the Psalms. It was suggested to me once that I should read a Psalm every day. Honestly, it’s a great idea. I am always encouraged because they often start out with the trouble and the psalmist will end up praising God. Now that is a great way to get the day going!

[Actually, now I’m reading 5 Psalms. It only takes a few moments. I start with the day of the month. ie today is the 16th, so I read Psalm 16. Then I add 30 and read Psalm 46, then 76, then 106, then 136. This seems to add some variety to the reading. The only time I switch it up is that I save Psalm 119 for the 31st day of the month. This Psalm is long, so I give it its own day.]

There are plenty of great apps available for this time of reading if you prefer something else.

First Five – an awesome app offered by Proverbs 31. As it indicates, It only takes 5 minutes to read.

BGEA – You can’t go wrong with Billy Graham’s devotions!

Check out some other possibilities here.

HYDRATE

Get started with your hydration goal by downing 2 8-ounce glasses of water right off the bat. I take my medications with the first one with apple cider vinegar; the second, with your medications. Why Apple Cider Vinegar? Because it has so many benefits including:

  • stabilizes blood sugar levels
  • increases body metabolism
  • decreases your appetite
  • improves digestion
  • Keeps osteoporosis at bay
  • constitipation relief
  • helps overcome fatigue
  • reduces inflammation
  • detoxifies your liver
  • read here for more

Start small with the vinegar, maybe just a capful. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or even a bit of liquid stevia if you can’t deal with the taste. It is definitely an acquired taste. And do this first before your glass of clear water so that you rinse the acid from your teeth.

MAKE YOUR BED

5 steps toward a great day
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Seriously, take a couple of minutes and make your bed. It will help you sleep better at night and you will be more rested tomorrow. It adds to your stretching routine as well. Another note: When it the last time you wash your bedsheets? Once a week is advised to remove germs and dirt.

BREAK A SWEAT

It only takes ten minutes to get your heart rate up and challenged. Dr. Livinggood [yep, his real name], suggests ten minutes of Tabata. This is a high-intensity exercise, but high-intensity is relative. You do what you can do. Great for your heart! Here are the videos I use to help me get going without going to the gym…

Silver Sneakers for those on Medicare

Faithful FInishlines – {affiliate} a great place to get lots of weight loss help. Here’s a free 5-day challenge

Actually, just go to YouTube and type in Tabata.

Of course, you could just take a brisk walk.

CONCLUSION

All this takes less than an hour and you will be ready for a great day!

Mandy

BONUS

– If you are married, you might like to add this to your morning routine! – Make Love To Your Spouse!