Monday, April 28, 2008
On a much larger scale, God created each and every person. He knows us by our name and he knows every little detail about us, much more detail than I know about my musical compositions. Satan tries to steal us away but he can't if we are in Christ. We have been bought with the blood of Christ and he is able to hold on to us. We belong to Him and He loves us. He knows the exact number of hairs on our heads at any given time of the day, He knows every thought we think, every place we visit, He knows the exact day, hour and minute of our birth, and He knows what will happen in our future. He even knew us before we were born. To me, these are comforting thoughts. It's comforting to know that we have a God who really knows us and loves us because we are his and He created us. And if He can know all of this about us, surely we can trust Him to take care of our needs and to take care of our children when they are out of our hands. God IS the one who is in control of this universe and He is more than able to take care of every situation in our lives.
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. Psalm 139:1-4
Thursday, April 24, 2008
There is a river just a short walk from the office where I work. Each day on my break I walk down to the river for exercise, or to just sit and enjoy the solitude. Most of the time there is a breeze at the river and the water is usually flowing. However, on a rare occasion there will be absolutely no wind or breeze, and the water is completely still – so still that you can see a perfect reflection of the trees in the water. It is one of the most beautiful sights to see at the river. Since the first time I saw that, I always look now to see if I can see the reflection of the trees in the water, but usually the breeze moves the water so that I can't see the relection.
If our lives are constantly busy, always doing something, and we never sit, relax and meditate on God or on the Bible, I believe we miss hearing the Holy Spirit speaking to us and guiding us. Sometimes, we need to just sit still so the reflection of the Lord can be seen in our lives.
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
For this is what the Lord says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream.... Isaiah 66:12
Here is Rush of Fools singing "Peace Be Still".
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Proverbs 19:23
If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. Job 36:11
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I noticed a line in a song by Matthew West today. The song is You Are Everything (click to listen), and that line says, "You're the one who looks at me and sees what I was meant to be." When our families and I looked at Eddie back then, we saw someone possibly without a future. But God saw the plans that he had for him to get well and to become everybody's favorite teacher. God saw the loving and supportive father that he was meant to be. The Bible says that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ -- not troubles, hardships, persecution, or anything else. No matter how bad things look sometimes, and no matter how much we mess up in our Christian lives, nothing can separate us from the love of God through Christ.
For I am convinced that neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Over the years Dr. Campbell would refer me to doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They would do numerous tests on me as well, including blood work, numerous types of x-rays involving digestive organs. They also did a test where they stuck needles in certain areas of my body to test for muscle damage. Needless to say, this was no fun at all. They tried me on certain physical therapies on my hands since I was now experiencing contractures of my hands, making my hands resemble someone who had rheumatoid arthritis. The proctoscopic exam was nothing I would ever want done again either, as they would be checking for blood in the stools. The UAB doctors would eventually feel I was mostly showing the symptoms of scleroderma and lupus erythematosus.
I would also experience Raynaud’s phenomenon, a condition where your hands would not receive good circulation in cold weather, causing them to become numblike and quite pale. Another very peculiar activity would happen to my body. Little sores would develop deep under the skin of my hands and would work their way up to the surface. They would be painful. Calcium started accumulating in certain areas of my body, such as at the back of my forearms underneath near the elbows, and in my groin region. The groin region was probably where lymph nodes were present. These calcium deposits would start opening up, causing a white pasty material to ooze out. After a while, I would squeeze these areas, knowing what was about to happen.
One time I bumped the backside of my upper arm, and it caused an abscess there. Eventually that area would become painful, requiring a surgeon to open it up and clean it. It left a terrible open wound, looking much like a shark took a chunk out of my arm. It was horrible looking. But amazingly, my arm healed over time only leaving a small scar. And also surprising to me, it seemed that I began to feel much better. For months during 1982 I would go through the same nagging symptoms. I would wake up in the morning with a fever for some reason, and after I took some Ascriptin for the fever and it broke, I would then feel well enough to go to work. I was working back at Jackson Hospital again, by the way. After this incident with the abscess in my upper arm, the disease’s activity lessened considerably. It’s almost like my body needed to get something out of it with that experience.
The disease would end up changing the way I looked. It changed my facial appearance and even my hair color to some extent. The joint contractures in my hands remained. The upper body muscle damage remained. My voice was also affected. When the disease was very active, my voice would weaken during the day. I would begin the day talking with my normal voice, but as the day wore on my voice would weaken to a whisper even though I was trying to talk louder. My speech was also not very clear. My voice is much stronger now, but I still have the effects of the disease with my voice being different now.
I would like to feel that the Lord has miraculously healed me of the muscle disease. However, he left me with some evidence of the disease’s effects to remind me from what He has delivered me. I certainly hope I have become a stronger Christian as a result of this disease. I am so thankful to my wife, parents, friends, and church family for their prayers and encouragement over the years. Thank you, Lord, for working mightily in my life! May You receive all the glory!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I decided to get an appointment with a civilian doctor since Maxwell would only let me see a physician’s aid. I became frustrated when all of the doctors’ offices I called said it would be a few months before their doctor could see me. My mom suggested I call Jackson Hospital and talk to the ladies I used to work with in Medical Records when I was in high school. As a part-time employee of Jackson Hospital, I had an employee doctor who would do a yearly physical for free. I called to see if they thought my former employee doctor would see me again at a much sooner time. Dr. Fred Campbell’s office was very accommodating, giving me an appointment right away with Dr. Fred Campbell.
I am a Christian, and this had to have been the Lord bringing Dr. Campbell back into my life. As I sat there on the examining table with only my shirt pulled off, Dr. Campbell right away noticed something suspicious about my upper body. He immediately suspected an autoimmune disease such as polymyositis or dermatomyositis. He wanted to admit to Jackson Hospital right away and start me on large doses of Prednisone, an anti-inflammatory drug that would help with what he suspected would be elevated enzymes indicating an autoimmune disorder.
I learned that an autoimmune disease is a condition where the body attacks certain parts of itself. It sends antibodies to certain parts of the body, destroying these targeted areas. My body was attacking the muscles especially.
The blood tests done would confirm Dr. Campbell’s admitting diagnosis. I had an active autoimmune disease going on inside my body. Large doses of Prednisone were administered by mouth, and this would prove effective in lowering the enzymes in question. I also had a muscle biopsy done on my calf muscle to verify the activity. It would also be positive of autoimmune activity.
I was discharged from Jackson Hospital after about a week in the hospital, feeling so much better about my situation now. I would now enter a new chapter with my muscle disease. I would now begin to show the side effects of the large dosage of Prednisone I was taking. I was feeling much better but beginning to gain considerable weight due to retaining fluid. I developed the characteristic “moon face” that accompanies the taking of Prednisone. I felt better but looked terrible. It would get to the point that I would no longer even recognize myself in the mirror. This can be quite alarming when you don’t even recognize yourself anymore. However, I am still hoping and praying for the Lord to heal me.
When you are only 21 years old, and your health is so poor as mine had become, it made me really trust the Lord more and more and really start to think more about spiritual matters in my life. The muscle disease was causing me to think more seriously about being a Christian.
I would end up becoming addicted to Prednisone. It can cause your adrenal glands - located on top of your kidneys – to become suppressed and quit producing the hormones they produce that your body needs. I would try to stop taking Prednisone several times, but would be met each time with terrible results. It would be like my body was an engine trying to run without any lubricant between the rubbing engine parts. It was extremely painful to say the least. I would receive temporary relief with a shot called ACTH at Dr. Campbell’s office. I would feel fantastic for about 1-2 days but the terrible pain would return. So I would end up taking the Prednisone again. I did take much smaller doses than initially – 5 mg daily – but couldn’t completely stop taking the medication. Eventually I would be able to stop taking Prednisone without the painful adverse effects.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Eddie’s Disease Story
It was in the summer of 1977 when I began to notice some things about my body that didn’t seem quite right. I was nearly 20 years old at this time. I was on a summer missions trip to Michigan when I had an opportunity to lift some weights and was surprised to discover that I could not lift the weights like I used to be able to do. I just thought I was terribly out of shape at the time and passed it off. I also noticed that summer that the palms of my hands at times became itchy. And there was not the flexibility in my wrists when I leaned back on my hands.
I returned to Montgomery from Michigan in early August and was determined to try to get “back into shape.” I tried lifting weights at home but would encounter immediate severe headaches when doing military presses. I enrolled in a body conditioning class for the fall quarter at Auburn University at Montgomery. We ran, exercised, and lifted weights in that class. I became very concerned when I could not do any sit-ups, had difficulty with weights still, and my running was extremely slow. I then decided to go to the doctor to get checked.
As a military dependent, I had base privileges at Maxwell Air Force Base’s Hospital. I made an appointment and was only able to see a physician’s aid. He examined me and did some medical tests. I would later find out that the tests seemed to suggest to him that I had mononucleosis, the “kissing disease.” He suggested I take it easy and check back with him at a later time. This went on for months, all the while I am thinking I had mono.
Near the end of winter in early 1978, I went to practice softball with some of the men from church when my future father-in-law commented to me that I looked like I was running in slow motion when I ran the bases. We had played softball together in the past. So of course I became more concerned about my health situation, knowing that I was not getting better and did not feel mononucleosis was an accurate diagnosis of my condition.
I finally became so irritated with seeing only a physician’s aid that I demanded seeing a real doctor. Maxwell Hospital agreed to let me see an Internal Medicine doctor, Dr. Melida DeLerme, and admitted me to the hospital to do more intensive tests and also to do a bone marrow biopsy. I was beginning to think that we were going to find out what was really wrong with me finally. I spent a week in the Maxwell Hospital. They did numerous blood work tests and I endured the very painful bone marrow biopsy, feeling we were about to find out my problem. I was discharged a week later with the diagnosis “elevated liver enzymes” and was given an appointment to return in a month. It was the worst blow to my hopes. I was so upset. I was angry at the hospital and doctor for not being able to find out the cause for my symptoms. This was perhaps the lowest point I felt during the entire time before being correctly diagnosed. Needless to say, I was not a very pleasant person to be around that weekend.
I could not believe they could not find out what was wrong with me. At this time, I could not even lift my head up normally while lying in bed. I had to roll over sideways and then lift my head. My voice was becoming weaker as was the rest of my body. I was a very discouraged and desperate young man.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
1. Slaying of the Serpantine Dragon
2. Death Has Been Swallowed Up in Victory
3. Resurrection of the Beast
4. While the Sparrow Sleeps
5. Hymn of Praise
6. Everything and Nothing
I love #6 "Everything and Nothing" because it has a few lines where all the guys sing together -- I mean real singing with a melody and everything! Here are the words the bro-choir sings.....
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
This book has it all, lust, sex, murder. The name of the book? The Holy Bible. The story I just told about is found in 2 Samuel and it is about King David, a man after God's own heart. David did some really bad things, but he found forgiveness in God. Hey, if there is hope for David, there's hope for us! Through Jesus Christ, we can find forgiveness for sin......any sin. He can cleanse us and give us abundant life.
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered..... Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin. "Selah" Psalm 32:1; 5
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Philippians 1:3
Monday, April 7, 2008
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies : thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psalm 23
Friday, April 4, 2008
There are some days that I can't walk outside because of various reasons, so at those times I have to resort to walking on the treadmill. To me, it is so much harder to do that because it's boring and the treadmill is so loud I can't hear the TV. But I have found the answer that makes treadmill walking time seem to pass more quickly, and helps me walk faster. I don't have an ipod, but I still have the old walkman CD player. I have found that putting in A Plea for Purging's CD makes me walk so fast and it keeps my attention because I'm listening to that fantastic drum-playing and the extraordinary guitar sounds so much that I don't even realize that I'm exercising. I would say, try it, but I think most of my readers can't handle this hard kind of music. And it's probably only a mother's love that makes me enjoy it. But it works for me and if you decide to try it, let me know if it helps your walking routine.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I have lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. This week, another of my aunts left this earth and has gone to her heavenly home. I have just come from the funeral, so death is on my mind right now. I don't see death as a morbid subject, because it is really a part of life and something everyone has to deal with at some point. After hearing about my aunt's life, I feel comforted rather than sad. She had a Hope, the same Hope that I have. My aunt's hope was in Jesus and I believe with all my heart that today she is finally looking at her savior. I do feel sad, though, for her daughter because now both her parents and her only sibling are all gone.
I hope this doesn't seem disrespectful, but I enjoyed going to the visitation last night because I got to see relatives I haven't seen in a long time. Since my grandparents died, we don't get together anymore. I didn't realize how much I have missed some of my cousins, especially Randy. Randy is my age and his family lived next door to my family when we were growing up. He was my first playmate and he was like a brother to me back then. We played together all the time and I have great memories. We stayed somewhat close as teenagers, but as adults I rarely see him. But the best part is, we have a family reunion planned later this month so we will all be together again and this time I won't have to rush back to work. I will be able to visit cousins, their children, aunts and uncles as long as I want.
Something else that was really interesting for me was to see the different generations that have come from each set of parents (meaning from my dad's brothers and sister). It's amazing to see how one married couple and the way they live their lives affects all the generations to follow them. It's really something to think about.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
One day last week I won tickets on the radio to our city's Riverfest. We have this really nice amphitheater by the river and Matthew West and Sonic Flood were to play there Saturday night. First, a local band played and then some guy talked for a while and then it was time for Matthew West. By that time it was raining, so we sat in the rain and listened to this great Christian singer/songwriter. If you listen to Christian radio at all, I'm sure you've heard some of his music. When he finished, Sonic Flood didn't get to play because it was raining harder and they cancelled the rest of the show because of "liability". I wanted to hear the band but I was also soaked and was glad to go home and get dry.
Yesterday, I was at work and it was around the time most people go to lunch. I got two phone calls from people who work there telling me they saw that my car had a flat tire. Thankfully, I work with some people who are very nice and several of the men offered to change the tire, and someone even took it to the tire place, had it repaired and brought it back to work and put it back on my car. Since my husband works 25 miles out of town, he was really grateful for this help.
Some of you might remember that I recorded a CD for my mother for Christmas. Well, I am now working on a new instrumental CD, but this one will be all original music written by me. That way, if I decide to sell it, I won't have any copyright issues to deal with because I own the copyright to all the music. I am having a great time arranging all the music because I'm playing all of it on my synthesizer. It has all kinds of sounds so sometimes I am using nature sounds in the background of the music. This music is all slow, soothing, relaxing music which would be great to play when you are trying to go to sleep. All I need is a title. Here are some of the titles of the songs on the CD -- Dreams Come True; Magical Sleep; Reflections; Lullaby; Solitude. There's more, but what I need is your help in coming up with a title. I would like for the title to give some idea of the purpose of the CD which is relaxation. I thought about something like "Dreamless Sleep". If you have a suggestion for a CD title, please leave me a comment with your idea. Anyone who gives a title suggestion will get one of my CD's if you want one.