Saturday, June 14, 2014

Health update.

I have officially been diagnosed with narcolepsy along with cataplexy. You're probably asking yourself "What is that?", but not worry, I will explain it to you. So here are 10 things you need to know about narcolepsy. 

1. Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder resulting in severe sleepiness in about 1 of every 2,000 Americans. It is second only to sleep apnea as a cause of daytime sleepiness. It is due to the loss of cells in the hypothalamus that produce a wake-promoting neurotransmitter hypocretin. It can be described as, the part of my brain that is used to regulate my sleep and wake times does not function properly. So it confuses sleeping and waking time and intermixes them.

2. They don't know what triggers it. However genetic, autoimmune, and infectious causes have been suggested. They do know that destruction of nerve cells that produce the neurotransmitter hypocretin is the root cause in the majority.

3. The peak age of onset is 15 to 25 years of age. Still, it can be present as early as 5 years old or as late as 40. I started having symptoms around age 13.

4. 60% of Narcoleptic's are initially misdiagnosed and many go undiagnosed for more than 10 years. It has been a long seven years for me of being confused of why I was always so sleepy.

5. 75% of people with Narcolepsy have cataplexy.
  • Cataplexy is an episodic condition featuring loss of muscle function, ranging from slight weakness such as limpness at the neck or knees, sagging facial muscles, weakness at the knees (often referred to as "knee buckling"), or inability to speak clearly, to a complete body collapse. Episodes may be triggered by sudden emotional reactions such as laughter,anger, surprise, or fear, and may last from a few seconds to several minutes. The person remains conscious throughout the episode. In some cases, cataplexy may resemble epileptic seizures. Usually speech is slurred and vision is impaired (double vision, inability to focus), but hearing and awareness remain normal. Cataplexy also has a severe emotional impact on narcoleptics, as it can cause extreme anxiety, fear, and avoidance of people or situations that might elicit an attack.

6. One third of people with narcolepsy experience vivid dream-like hallucinations called hypnogogic hallucinations when they are falling asleep or while awakening. This is frequently accompanied by temporarily paralysis known as sleep paralysis. I thank God that I do not experience this part of narcolepsy.

7. One third of Narcoleptic's have associated anxiety and depression.

8. Most Narcoleptic have disturbed sleep because of frequent shifts from sleep to awakenings throughout the night.

9. Narcolepsy can be easily diagnosed using a test called MSLT (Multiple Sleep Latency Test), which is the test that I took to discover my results. 

10. Narcolepsy is treatable, but the treatment does not remove the problem. Medication will just help me to function better. 

I will most likely still take a daily nap (hopefully just one). The doctor has put me on a medication called Nuvigil that will help with my sleepiness. I am testing out the dosage these first two weeks. At the end of the first two weeks, we will add either an antidepressant called Effexer or Xyrem in addition to the Nuvigil to help me with my cataplexy.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

DIY: Jewelry Holder

What you will need:

A frame of any size and color
Chicken wire
Wire cutters or tin snips
"S" Hooks (optional)

Find a frame you love and fabric that compliments your room, which in my case was Burlap.
I found my frame at a garage sale and painted it white. If you do this, let your frame dry completely before working with it. Take the glass out of the picture frame if you haven't already done this.

Now get yourself to Home Depot (or Lowes, I'm not picky) and buy the smallest package you can find of the smallest size chicken wire. It will be in the lawn and garden center, outside. This roll was about $5. If you don't already own one, buy a tin snips too. Or borrow one from your neighbor.

Roll out the chicken wire and try to flatten it the best you can. This is not an easy task and mine is still kind of lumpy. But that's OK, it allows you some space to hang the jewelry. If it was super flat, it would be too hard to attach anything to it, since you need a little space behind it.

If your frame did not have a backing when you bought it. Then simply go to your craft store and in the framing section, you should find colored boards for matting your own photos. Buy that and cut to the size of your frame. This is what I did, because with the little holes in the burlap you can see the backing color through the burlap. So I picked a backing with a similar color to that of the burlap.

Next I laid the cardboard backing that came with my frame, down onto my freshly ironed burlap. Once I had it centered, I pulled it taut around to the back and secured with packing tape. Nothing fancy here.

Next use a tin snips to cut the wire a little bit bigger than the backing of your frame. You could staple the wire to the frame, if you would like. Or (like I did) wrap it around the cardboard backing in the same fashion as the fabric excluding the tape this time.

Now take the cardboard backing piece with the fabric and chicken wire on it and press it back into the frame. You might need to use some pressure, like I did. The way mine worked out was that the chicken wire made the cardboard backing stay in by itself, so I didn't have to push the backing tabs down to hold it in.

Then hang your frame on the wall and stand back to admire your work. This took about 15 minutes, start to finish, give or take a few minutes.

You can buy little "S" hooks at Home Depot to put onto the chicken wire, if you would like to hang necklaces and bracelets. (I would most definitely recommend the "S" hooks.) Place the little "S" hooks you bought, onto the wire, and hang your necklaces and bracelets from them.

Earrings just get hung on the wire and flower hair pins are clipped right on to it.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Imitators of Christ

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children." Ephesians 5:1

As I read this verse it made me ask myself "How are we practically supposed to be imitators of God?".
God always desires for us to know more of who He is and to be more like Him. There are several verses in the bible that express this desire of God's heart. In knowing these few things, I concluded that we need to imitate the attributes of God that scripture specifically calls us to follow in.
There are twelve attribute that I came up with.

The first attribute was Holiness.
"...but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16

"...You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy." Leviticus 19:2b

Having Mercy or being Merciful
" Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:36

Being Compassionate or having a Compassionate heart.
" Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience..." Colossians 3:12

Having imperishable Beauty of the heart.
" But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." 1 Peter 3:4

" How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Romans 10:15b

God is Truth itself and He desires us to be Truthful and to delight in it.
" Behold, You (God) delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart." Psalm 51:6

God wants us to shine forth His Light.
" In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

God delights in a Humble spirit.
"...God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5b

To have Love for one another
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:7-8

"So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16

"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Purity in heart
" Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8

" For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21

Serving God with Faithfulness
" Now therefore fear The Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord." Joshua 24:14

Having Wisdom from God
" But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." James 3:17

Encouragement for Difficult Times

This blog post originated from my bible study in Acts. We were currently studying Acts 14.

" We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God"  Acts 14:22

As a believer you have probably experienced the reality of this verse in your own life. Often it is through suffering that we discover the door of faith opened to us. Unlike Paul, if the choice is ours, we would (no doubt) choose the easier and shorter road, opting for comfort and convenience. However, there are no shortcuts into the kingdom of God; hence time and time again we find our faith being tried in order to produce in us the qualities that God so desires.

" For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but to suffer for His sake."  Philippians 1:29

"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted..." 2 Timothy 3:12

Following Christ is not easy, in fact, it says that we too will be persecuted just as Christ was but in the end it is so worth it. 

“ Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

Romans 5:3-5 is a beautiful picture of peace and joy in tribulations.

" My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-4

Notice that these verses do not imply if but rather when you encounter trials. There is a promise here to each one who believes, that their faith will be tried. Patient submission will result in growth and maturity.

" Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
Psalm 34:19

" I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me (Paul) has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14

“ And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you" 1 Peter 5:10

“ Do not fear what you are about to suffer...Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

You, Christian, must lay hold of the truth that the kingdom of God may not be entered without difficult and even painful experiences. " If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." You are His disciple and will, at times, have to endure ridicule, overcome opposition, and rise above your disappointments while keeping in mind the ultimate destination of your journey, and the blessed hope you possess in Christ.

" The path of sorrow and that path alone, leads to that land where sorrow is unknown."
(Author is Anonymous)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Autumn leaves are falling...

Wow! Autumn came so fast. Seasons are like a passing breeze, they come and go so quickly. Yet when you are in the midst of one it seems to like forever until the next season will come and time is slowly ticking along. But before you realize it the change in seasons will already be coming.

Oh! How we can relate this to times and seasons of life. For God says in His word that "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Time can seem to creep painfully slow especially when you are going through a trial in life, but just as quickly as this trial has come upon you the next season is just ahead. 

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:6-7 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

And on the contrary, when things are going good, just remember that a trial is going to happen at one time or another so keep on the look out and don't grow weary of doing good.

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13

“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

So my encouragement for all of you today is to embrace, with open arms, the season and time that God has currently placed you in and strive to give glory to God through your circumstance until you get to that next season in your life. "...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31b

"Finally, be strong in The Lord and in the strength of His might." Ephesians 6:10


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's for dinner tonight?

My health update is that I have not improved all that much and my energy has not increased either. But one of the greatest parts is that I have lost over 10 pounds which is wonderful. So what's for dinner tonight? Here is what we have for dinner some nights. I got this recipe off the Internet but I have changed it to make it dairy-free and gluten-free. If you don't want it to be gluten-free and dairy-free you can use the underlined ingredient. And there is an added gluten-free peanut butter cookie recipe at the end that is delicious.

Baked Turkey Swedish Meatballs
For the Meatballs:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 cup minced Fresh Onion
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
20 oz. , weight Lean Ground Turkey meat
1 whole egg
1/2 cup Quinoa Flakes or Dry Bread Crumbs
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
1 teaspoon ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg

For the Sauce:
14-1/2 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Beef Broth
3 Tbsp. Brown Rice Flour or another flour substitute or All-purpose Flour
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Salt, Or to taste
1/4 cup full fat Coconut Milk or Light Sour Cream (I used Canned Thai Coconut Milk, mixed well)
1-2 Tbsp. of Agave Nectar or honey or stevia (optional)

Then for the gluten-free and dairy-free version, I added some Arrowroot Powder and Glucomannan to thicken the sauce a bit. I also forgot to sauté the onions and garlic last time and the meat balls still tasted fantastic

For the meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté 2-3 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl, combine turkey, onions and garlic, egg, quinoa flakes, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, allspice, and nutmeg. Shape into meat mixture into 1" balls and place in a lightly greased baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through.

For the sauce:
Pour beef broth and flour into a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well incorporated. Pour beef broth mixture into a large skillet with a lid and add Worcestershire sauce, parsley, black pepper, salt to taste, arrowroot powder, Glucomannan, and agave nectar (optional). Heat to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in coconut milk. Add meatballs and cover. Simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over brown rice or brown rice noodles, if desired.

Now for gluten-free peanut butter cookies. Yum! This recipe is extremely easy and ,yes, there is only four ingredients. I will have to upload a photo later.

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup Natural Unsweetened Peanut Butter or Unsweetened Almond Butter
1/2 cup Sugar or Coconut Sugar (any sweetener)
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well incorporated. 
Spoon onto a lightly greased cookie sheet a tablespoon at a time. Then take a fork and lightly smash down to make a criss-cross pattern. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until done.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Just a side note...

I also have a pinterest if you guys would like to follow it. Here is the link so that you can check it out for yourself if you would like.