...i am a princess on the way to my throne...


A Necessary Weight Gain 

Yesterday was fabulous. One cannot go wrong with a combination of family and good food! I was pretty worn out by the end of the day, but also extremely happy. I love my family dearly, and it was nice to get to spend some quality time with them.

On the not-so-great side, I can already feel the weight I've gained. Yesterday marked the 14th day of being tramadol-free, and to say I've been stuffing my face is a bit of an understatement. I have lost a lot of weight over the past year or so, and come to find out tramadol works as an appetite suppressor. This works nicely for weight loss, but apparently I've been starving my body from the nutrition it needs because I'm almost always hungry! And I'm not eating just junk, either. Whether it's animal, vegetable, or mineral (or in this case, sweetable), I'm game to eat it. On one hand I'm totally bummed about the weight gain, but on the other hand it's a necessary one if my body really has been starving. I'm planning on getting back on the Body-for-Life program once my strength returns, and then between the exercise and balanced eating I will lose fairly quickly what I've gained.

Hey, in God it's all good. I'm getting healthy and I'm happy.:)


A Choice to be Thankful 

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I couldn't be more pleased. It's a beautiful holiday to me, for it gives me more cause to reflect over my life than even New Year's. I can look back at what has happened over the year, and see where I am now and where I want to be before the year is over.
Of course, sometimes being thankful for something is a choice. We can have warm, fuzzy feelings for something and be thankful for it, but when the fuzziness is gone, are we still thankful? Being thankful is so much more a state of mind than a feeling. It's a mental expression of what you appreciate, whether or not you "feel" thankful for it. We can let so many things slip us by if we do not take the time to acknowledge those things of which we can truly be thankful.

I choose to be thankful for:

1) My God and my faith: Jesus has been my Light for nearly 13 years, and He has been by my side through everything. He love, His honesty, and His caring have kept my life sane. Even when I step off of His path, He is always there, loving and beckoning.

2) My family: Their unfailing love and closeness lifts me up and surrounds me with love.

3) My church family: They are an amazing people who I am proud to call brothers and sisters.

4) My husband: This man certainly deserves a shout-out all to his own. He has been with me through it all: through the party-days with the GTA, the days of 'growing-up' and saving for a house, the days of uncertainty, the days we walked those precious first steps as baby Christians, the birth of two precious children, the days of growth and change, the days of spiritual maturity (and those of immaturity, which can come when we lose focus), to today, a time of of physical and mental frailty which grows stronger every day. He is an intense man, anointed of God and my soul-mate, who stands by me every day.

5) My friends: You know who you are. Thank you for your love! And thanks for making me smile.:)

Life has been very interesting for me lately, but there is one thing I choose never to forget: Life is good. God is good. I choose to by thankful, and through this choice a bountiful life will emerge.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Love and light to you and your families!:)


A Long Ride 

Hey, all. It's been a long time since I posted here, and even longer still since I've had anything to say. God's wisdom, however, tells us there is a time for everything, and the time to come here again is now.

I've had a lot of curiosity on what has been happening with me lately surface, so I thought I would go ahead and post the situation. It's not going to be flowery or prose-enduced, but at least it's real.

Several years ago, I started having serious pain issues with my lower back. I went back an forth from doctor to doctor, and eventually I was diagnosed with chronic arthritis of the lower back. During this time (about a year or so) I was on a lot of narcotics: percocet, lortab, vicodine, etc. My favorite was the Lortab Elixir, because I can't swallow normal size pills, and with the elixir I did not have to crush it up and eat it laced over pudding (blech). These medicines were all doctor prescribed, and I used them the way they were supposed to be used. Of course, the more I used them the more I needed them, and once I got to Pain Management it felt like I couldn't function without them.

Once Pain Management stopped I found myself at a crossroads, and not a happy one: I knew I had a problem with narcotics. Fortunately, the withdrawals from them did not last that long, and I was up and moving pretty quickly. However, the back pain was still there, so I still needed something stronger than Advil and not narcotic like the former medicines. Welcome, tramadol!

Tramadol is a small, white pill that is a prescription for moderate to severe pain. Although not classified a narcotic, it is a synthetic-opiate with similar properties to a narcotic. I had been on tramadol before, and the doctor had said it was not like the narcotics. Still in pain and done with doctors, I found a pharmacy online and was able to procure some after filling out a medical questionnaire. I thought it would be okay to take because it was not classified as a narcotic.

I've just stopped taking tramadol after nearly two years. It seemed the more I took for pain the more I needed, and I ended up taking nearly 15 pills a day just to feel normal. I was tired most of the time, disinterested in things, and pretty much addicted. What started out as a way to get basic pain relief ended up a mess, to say the least. I knew I had a serious problem, but did not want to admit it to myself. If anything, the tramadol was making me sicker: I had migraines a lot, and of course more back pain, and I got sick at the drop of a hat. I did not realize my foolishness was poisoning myself. My husband knew what was going on, but every time he tried to approach me I didn't fully receive him. I did not want to admit the fact that something had taken place above God in my life, and I didn't want to admit the fact that I was a prescription drug addict.

Well, God's timing, as I say, is perfect. One night He spoke to me in a way that got through all of the denial and I heard Him so clearly. There was so much love and strength in His voice, that I just broke down and finally, completely, admitted to myself that I had a problem. I knew if I continued on the tramadol path, I would end up dead on day from an overdose. I couldn't do that to myself, or my family, not for a stupid, little white pill! I repented and sobbed and poured out myself to God that night, and then did it all over again to my husband when he came home from church.

That was on November 11th, 2009, just two days before my 41st birthday. It is now November 23rd and I have not had one tramadol. I gave Robert all of the pills, and frankly I don't even care what he did with them. God has delivered me from the desire to have them, but there have (and still are) the consequences of withdrawals. The first few days were some of the most miserable I've ever had: chills, flu-like symptoms, restless leg syndrome in legs and arms, insomnia, loose bowels, zero strength, etc. Even now, with my body starting to balance out, I'm having to deal with emotional-instability (turns out tramadol is a anti-depressant, so my emotions are now *so* out of whack!). I'm having a hard time being around a crowd of people, because I get overwhelmed very easily. Trust me, it's hard being 41 and having the instability of a three year old, but I get it...

Just to be clear, I do not place blame for my situation on anyone other than myself. While it is true tramadol is too easily touted by doctors as the "lesser" drug, it was own doing that brought me to where I am. Smart people can do stupid things when left to their own devices, and instead of being up front with God I tried to hide it (which is *really* stupid, because He does just happen to be All-Knowing). While God does not expect His child to be perfect, He does expect me to be open with Him about everything that is going on within myself. He's never going to force Himself on me, and when I keep Him at bay, He will sit and wait for me to seek Him. Once I did, I was able to realize how much I need Him, and how far away I had strayed from Him. He has been there for me the whole time, but I just did not see it. Now I do, and I want a fresh, clean life.

So, that's pretty much been my life for the past couple of years. Now that I'm on the road to recovery, I feel myself wanting to do things I haven't really wanted to do in a long time, like cooking, artwork, taking care of the house, yadda yadda. I found myself looking at a tree the other day, and I was glorifying in the God's beauty of autumn. Despite the horribleness of withdrawals (and trust me folks, it is a total suck-fest), I'm starting to feel like the old me again, the me with hopes and dreams and passions. Despite all the shame, fear, and pain I've experienced with this drug addiction, my prayer is to have a testimony of hope for someone else one day.

No matter what we go through, we are never alone. God is my life and my strength, and He alone is how I am able to get through this. He has also blessed me with a family who has committed to helping me wholly, and I cannot ask for more than that.:)

P.S. This post has not been edited or spell-checked, for my brain is still a little foggy and seemingly easy things still take a lot of effort. I was afraid if I started diddling about with the post it would be deleted, and then I wouldn't have the energy to write it again...


More ACEO Art 

I am having so much fun creating these little wee works of art! I've finished two more, and have another almost completed. I am truly enjoying myself.

Title: Lavender Blue
Medium: Mixed (markers/pencils/paints)
Size: 2.5"x3.5"

And now for something completely different:

Title: Precious
Medium: Mixed
Size: 2.5"x3.5"

What is interesting about the last one is that I don't even like frogs! But I find this particular one extremely cute.:)


New Artwork 

I've decided to concentrate on ACEOs for a while. They are small, quick, and force me to pay attention to detail. Since not a lot can fit in a 2.5"x3.5" space, they are helping me focus on what I really want to put in a piece rather than a lot of "filler". They are also a good way to help me "keep busy" until I figure out where I'm going.

Title: Golden Green
Medium: Prismacolor markers/colored pencils
Size: 2.5"x3.5"

Title: Pink Sweet
Medium: Prismacolor markers/colored pencils
Size: 2.5"x3.5"

They both turned out exactly how I wanted them too, which is really rare for me. 'Golden Green' was a Froudian infulence in the eyes, and 'Pink Sweet' just makes me feel girly and happy.

ACEOs...yay! They are so much fun.:)


I'm Still Here... 

...but barely kicking.

My neighbor has a work conflict this week, so I'm watching her children from 1- 4 PM. They are good kids. One is *very* energetic and wants to stay over here *all* day and night. I'm only used to two kids.

I'm exhausted. Sweet release, come quickly!

FulCaf is feeling: nutso


My First Sock! 

And no! There's no picture! Argh!

However, fear not...Robert promised me that he would get the camera set up over the next couple of days, so (hopefully) there should be a pic soon.

What I can tell you is that I am so *happy* with how it came out! I started it Thursday afternoon and finished last Sunday night (it was pretty much finished Sunday afternoon, but I had church that evening so had to wait for the finishing touches. I expected it to take a lot longer for my first sock, and I was so excited that I immediately cast on the second.

What I can tell you is this: it's red, it's elvish, and it's Arwen! Woohoo! Hopefully by the time we get the camera set up I'll have both of them finished, but if not I'll post the one by itself.

My first sock; yay!

FulCaf is feeling: excited!

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