Friday, February 26, 2010

Nada Mucho...

There isn't a ton new with Steve and I, suffice it to say I'm still climbing out of the hole of health woes (praise God I'm moving at all) and Steve is busy as ever with work. I would like to ask for your prayers in a somewhat new way. I spoke with a dear friend about my anxiety and panic attacks, and she said she had dealt with similar thoughts and struggles recently and was pressed upon by God to seek prayer from the family of God and it helped a lot.

So, here's my background and prayer request: Since my sister's death eight years ago and even before then, I've struggled with panic attacks while away from home and a gripping fear of death and harm that could befall my family and friends. I hadn't had a panic attack in a very long time, but after getting really sick in January, they've returned. I believe that it is somewhat hormonal, but there is definite opposition from Satan who would love nothing more than to see me fail and lose faith in God. If you would pray that God would continue to build up and protect my mind and body from Satan's attacks and that I would be continually reminded of the hope and surety of God's love and plans for our lives, that would be immensely appreciated by Steve and I.

There is one exciting thing. Steve and I have been reading through The Princess Bride before bed every night. If you want an excellent book to read, check it out. It's written by William Goldman. You can also watch the movie, but I'm sure you're already familiar with such a wonderfully classic film.

Thanks for reading. We love you guys. =)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hot & Cold Packs!

I'm excited! I finished a few hot & cold packs, and they feel pretty amazing. I'm still trying to figure out the best amount of time to microwave them for so they stay warm long enough. A warm or cold eye/sinus pack really helps reduce eye strain & headaches, which Steve and I often have. Way too much time spent looking at monitors.








Monday, February 15, 2010

Lazy Days of Winter

Today was supposed to be productive. It has been, sort of. I'm really excited about a new project I'm working on. I'm going to try to make some hot/cold packs with cotton fabric, some dried teas and essential oil, and golden flaxseed.



I chose golden flax seed because it contains oils rather than the water found in wheat and rice, and tends to heat better without scorching. I chose golden over brown flax because the golden is supposed to have less of a "food" odor when you heat it. So, we'll find out if all of my research was accurate. The scents I've chosen are chamomile, peppermint, and lavender. They are all relaxing, but peppermint is supposed to be especially effective with relieving sinus pressure. I'm excited to test it once it's finished. I'm planning to make an unscented pack for Steve since the fragrances tend to bother him rather than help. He even went fabric shopping with me and picked out what he wanted. Awesome.

I bought the fabric at Wal-Mart for $1.50/yd and some lavender essential oil for about $2. I was able to buy the flax seed (.98 cents/lb) and dried tea (Stash - .09 cents a bag) in bulk from our local Winco store. I was excited I wouldn't have to order some online or drive up to Portland. Now I need to get the fabric through the wash, cut out the right sizes, sew them, fill them, and hopefully enjoy them. Back to work!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Great Sales & Love Bugs

Joann Fabrics had a sale today. 5/$5 Simplicity Patterns (Limit 10). I'm absolutely thrilled about what I found!

Adorable Bug Bibs! (#2468)




Rag Quilts (#4993 & 2493)







Yoga Accessories (#3583)





Aprons, Big & Small (#2555)



Technology Totes! (#4391)





They also had all of their Valentine's Day "Holiday Inspirations" brand items 50% off! I saw this little singing Love Bug bear and I couldn't resist embarrassing my sweet husband at work! It worked like a charm - red face and all. He knows he's loved, beyond the shadow of a doubt!


Isn't she cute? She's a great singer too!

"Be My Baby"

The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I'd never let you go

So won't you stay and love me
I'll make you so proud of me
We'll make them turn their heads
Every place we go

So won't you be (be my be my baby)
Be my little baby (my one and only baby)
Say you'll be my darling (be my be my baby)
Be my baby now (my one and only baby)

It echoed down the hallway as a person waited for the elevator.
We turned at least one person's head!
Steve's response was, "How do I make it stop??" haha!


Springing Ahead

SPRINGTIME!

I can't stand to wait any longer for the rains to stop or the flowers to bloom so I've been digging up my own signs of Spring!

Hobby Lobby is one of my favorite stores and they have an amazing project page.

Here are a few projects I think are really cute!

"T" is for Terry Cloth

A Sweet Romance

Paint it Pretty!

I would love to hear how you are beating the winter blues!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Motivate Me

It dawned upon me this evening that sometimes our best accomplishments in a day are the ones that aren't on our to-do lists. I woke up procrastinating. Do you ever have those days? Your eyelids slide open just a sliver to notice daylight peeking through the shades, and then everything comes to a grinding halt.

I managed to half-complete almost everything on my list. Yet, at the end of the day, I have decided to sit back and enjoy the two clean shelves of my refrigerator, the amazing orange-pineapple chicken we had for dinner, that spotless de-junked corner in the living room, and my relaxing shower at the end of the day. Sometimes going with the flow and discovering a new destination is more rewarding than trying to swim upstream toward our ideals...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Great Start

We've had a terrific start to our week. Monday was a long workday for Steve, but it's over! He came home and began working on his online business. I helped him with some of the packaging and mailing process. After that, we went over to Jon & Kari's for a few hours. It was great to enjoy some company and be out of the house for awhile.

On the way home we even grabbed some burgers. Steve's learned since being married to order only 3/4 of what he really wants because it's highly likely I will have leftovers. There are few times when he's been disappointed. However, the catch is that he ends up sharing more of his Pepsi than he planned. What a sweet guy! ;) It's been weird adapting to my body's new diet. It has decided to crave really small meals VERY often - like every hour or two.

We were up until 2am... The first time in weeks for me. This morning I had enough energy to clean the bathroom and get the laundry going. Thank you, Lord, for your mercies that are new every morning. It's going to feel great to have a clean and orderly house again. Now I'm ready for a nap (11am).

Monday, February 8, 2010

My husband rocks

I was looking over pictures from last winter, and it made me realize how blessed I am to have such an awesome husband. He makes my life a joy.











Free at last!

I feel that it's safe to say that I'm mostly better now. Finally! I even ate some potato chips tonight. Taking it slow as I ease back into a normal diet. I'm still tired a lot of the time, especially after being out of the house, but I'm not feeling nauseated or in pain anymore. Thank the Lord, and thanks for your prayers as well.

Steve and I had fun catching the last 15 minutes of the Super Bowl via live feed scores & commentary online (no actual footage). I'm hoping to see that amazing 74-yard touchdown run by the Saints since my in-laws taped it.

I can't think of anything else that's new or exciting lately. If I do, I'll be sure to share it. Have a beautiful week!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Correction...

Steve pointed out to me that my oral surgery is set for February 9th, not March. I'm planning to postpone it awhile longer. =P I would like to feel normal for a little while before that happens.

Saturday - At last!

It's 1pm. We're still in bed, and it's wonderful! It has been such a long week. I have no idea what today entails, but I'm hoping to get out of the house for a little bit. I finally have a valid reason to go baby shopping! And baby girl shopping at that! So excited for Naomi and Kevin to be home with little Tirzah and settle into their new life together.

Steve posted some photos from our trip to Astoria. It was a fun place to visit. There are so many parks within driving distance. One of my favorite places was the Coffee Girl Co. located on Pier 39. You have a beautiful view of the Columbia River (I think) as you sip your delicious coffee. There were binoculars on the window sill so you could check out birds and boats. We even saw a pair of sea lions swim past! So awesome!

Health update: All my blood tests were fine. We're waiting on the lab for a couple more results from other tests, but probably won't hear anything until Sunday or Monday. I went to bed at 8pm last night, tossed and turned a bit in the morning, and decided to wake up around noon. I guess I needed those 16 hours of sleep. That's ridiculous... 16 hours! I'm still a bit off-center since a couple of my meds cause drowsiness and dizziness, but I can't complain. I'm excited to go to church tomorrow. We're praying I continue to feel better so it's possible.

Friday, February 5, 2010

keepin it short

I'm feeling pretty awful today. Just wanted to update that I saw another doctor. She ordered some blood tests and another test to see if I have a bacterial infection in my intestines. We're so ready for this to by over! Please keep praying! We need all the help and love we can get! Thanks!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The 3-6 Grind

2pm - Steve is home for lunch! Yay!
3pm - Steve goes back to work. A little sad, but feeling good.
4pm - Lonely. The sun is disappearing. It's getting colder out.
5pm - Try to sleep. Minutes tick by. Check Facebook.
5:30pm - Stare at the clock.
5:45pm - Rereading the same things on Facebook. Deciding who to call.
6pm - Listening for the door.
6:15pm - "Click. Creeeakk." Steve's home! Yay!

So, my life lately sort of sounds like a dog's life, doesn't it? It made me laugh to think about it. Today I decided to drag out some old Real Simple magazines, blog (obviously), and read my bible. Today's reading was about the penalties of oxen goring people, other animals, and slaves. Not exactly what I expected to read about, but it definitely got my attention off the time. The other part was about the voice of God. Pretty awesome stuff.

Pressing on

Great news, good news, and not-so-good news.

Great news first! We got a phone call from Patty (sister-in-law) last night saying one of my dearest friends just had her baby! We're soo excited for Naomi and Kevin and their baby girl Tirzah. It's sort of a tearjerker, the good kind, because I know Naomi has dreamed of being a mom since we played house together at the age of six and seven. To see how God is so good and how much He loves to give us the things we so fervently long for is such a refreshing realization. Praise God! Little Tirzah, we dedicate in our hearts to pray for you as you grow, that you would come to know the Lord's love and salvation, and to bring you and your family before the Lord in all seasons of life! We love you!

I don't know how you can possibly follow the miracle of life with anything that seems remotely good in comparison, but this is my own little gift from God. I've been feeling better, even if it's not consistent. I'm realizing the trend is that of a roller coaster. I stayed awake for the majority of the day yesterday, whether I felt up to it or not. I'm deciding that's a blessing because it means I'm getting more energy. Yay! Thank you, Lord! I also received some very meaningful messages from friends and a special woman that God has used her trials to encourage me (Thanks, Kathy!).

The not-so-great news... Well, it's hard to say anything is not-so-great in light of the what I've already come through. Yesterday, I started that new anti-depressant. I was excited until the severe abdominal cramps hit me with renewed nausea and the need for urgent bathroom trips. I had a hard time concentrating on what the doctor and pharmacist were saying to me at the clinic, and after Steve heard how I was feeling he said, "I think you were supposed to take it with food." No kidding. I woke up this morning with pretty bad nausea. I'm not sure why. I'm starting to get angry about it, and I know I need to just lay it at the Lord's feet. I took my meds, forced down two rice cakes and some gatorade, and took the anti-depressant. Right now I'm waiting to see what happens. Please pray I can tolerate whatever comes along. I'm hoping to sleep a bit today for the sake of my sanity. :) If I'm not feeling back to normal by Saturday, I may postpone my oral surgery (wisdom teeth) indefinitely until I feel strong enough to handle more pain and drugs. For now, it's scheduled for March 9th.

If you have time, feel free to comment here, email me (kottum@gmail.com), write me on Facebook, or give me a call (608) 780-8438. I can't promise I'll answer the phone since I may be sleeping or have no energy, but I'll do my best. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Worthy God

I can't express how much your prayers and well-wishes have meant to us over the past days and weeks. This song popped into my head this afternoon, and this verse was impressed upon my heart:

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our bless├Ęd Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.

How wonderful is it to belong to a God who loves us with an unbounded, deep, strong love? I love you, Lord!

Steve went to the clinic with me this morning for a follow-up appointment to my ER visit. The nurse practitioner we saw (and really like) said he was pleased with the progress I've made. He said it may take another week until I'm completely recovered. There was also some bittersweet news. I told him I'd been struggling with panic attacks over my illness and with some depression. He gave me a questionnaire and ran the results while we waited. He diagnosed me with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) with symptoms of anxiety and depression. We decided the best route was to split between medicinal treatment and counseling. I started a mild anti-depressant today (forgot to eat food and wound up nauseated again), and I'm feeling pretty optimistic for the first time in awhile. I attribute that to the seed of hope for resolving so many things I've struggled with over the years, not the medication. I still stand by the fact that scripture and prayer are the best medicines. (That's not an endorsement for faith healings as the only Godly way to deal with an illness!)

If you don't mind continuing in prayer with us, our greatest request is that God leads us to the counselor He wants me to work with, and protects my heart and mind while I work through some stuff, especially if it's a secular counselor/method. Because of insurance reasons, we are most likely required to work with the staff Kaiser Permanente provides. I thank God for humbling me enough to accept the help I've been needing to live my life to the fullest for him and my family. I'm also keeping you in my prayers as the Lord teaches me to be an even stronger woman of faith! I love you guys!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fear & Faithfulness (Josh 1:9)

Bear with me as I'm having a hard time pulling my thoughts together lately. I began January excited about getting in shape with the Jillian Michaels' DVD, as I posted before. Looking back on those days, one thought comes to mind:

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Prov. 16:9

Steve and I had been counting down the days to our vacation to Astoria. On Sunday night of the week we were planning to leave, Steve came down with the "flu". He ran a fever, threw up, and was just miserable for about a day and a half. We left for our trip on Thursday.

Thursday afternoon we checked into our hotel, and that evening I became really nauseated and felt like throwing up. I had a panic attack that night, which only made things worse. There's just something completely miserable about being sick away from home. I felt pretty crumby the whole time we were in Astoria, but I was determined to enjoy what I could while we were there. Afterall, Steve's flu bug only lasted at most two days. We checked out Saturday morning and started to head home. I was actually feeling pretty good. I even drove in Portland traffic! Then I made a bad decision and got a hamburger and fries with a frosty at Wendy's. I felt awful Saturday night and didn't make it to morning or evening church on Sunday. I think I spoke to about ten nurses throughout the week.

I finally got an appointment to see a doctor on Friday afternoon. Around 2am on Friday morning, I woke up shaking like crazy. It felt sort of like a panic attack, but I couldn't stop it and I was having a really hard time even speaking to Steve because I couldn't connect words to make any sense. My mom has been a guardian angel to me this whole time, talking to me at all hours of the night. Steve has definitely been my hero. Friday morning was quite miserable. I pretty much gave up praying with words and just sobbed. I thought Steve was going to cry with me, but I can't say I'd blame him. That was one of the darkest days of sickness I've ever faced. I could feel a strong level of spiritual warfare taking place in my heart and mind that I've never felt before. I was pretty scared. I'm so thankful for all of the people who have been praying for me.

We spent Friday morning on the phone with a doctor and since my symptoms were worsening and I was going on day nine of all the nasty stuff that comes with a virus, she was worried I was dehydrated so she referred me to the Emergency Room. That scared Steve a little, but he's really amazing! As for me, the words "flu" and "ER" or "Urgent Care" are somewhat synonymous so I was honestly excited to go to the ER and have them shine a light at the end of the tunnel.

At the ER, they put me on an IV drip of fluids, gave me some anti-nausea meds through the IV, ran some blood tests, and a urine test. My electrolytes were fine, but I was dehydrated despite the gallons of Gatorade I had been drinking over the past nine days. They diagnosed me with gastroenteritis, and my chief complaint was cold symptoms. I contest that my chief complaint was that I felt like a hamster with food poisoning stuck in an exercise wheel with that one stupid hamster that never knows when enough is enough. Round and round I go. When I'll get better, nobody knows!

My father-in-law, Robert, stopped by to talk and pray with us, and then my mother-in-law, Cathy, dropped in for the rest of my stay and kicked Steve out of the room. He really needed it. He hadn't been eating or sleeping since I wasn't cooking meals and he was so concerned about me. >Thanks for keeping him alive, Jon!< I love my parents-in-law soo much! They're so incredible, and I'm learning that I'm not alone out here just because I can't have my own family nearby.

Today is day 13 of this illness, but I feel like I'm coming out of the woods, finally! I still feel really weak, shaky, somewhat nauseated, and I don't have much of an appetite, but we're getting there! I've been really exhausted mentally and physically to the point where I stay awake for about eight hours a day now (up from six). I sleep the rest, waking for a few minutes at a time to drink some liquids, check the time, and talk to someone on the phone or read Facebook. Emotionally? Let's not even go there. The stupidest thing can make me cry right now. I think the most difficult part of this illness was being alone for so much of the time. It's like a wrecking ball to my hope. However, if God brings me to it, He can bring me through it!

Things I have learned through this experience:

God is always with me, and he is always in control - no matter how I feel.

Scripture and prayer are the best medicines. "strong & courageous!" Joshua 1:9

God has placed people in my life, and he wants me to open my heart to them, be vulnerable.

Christ enables me to do all things, even when I feel as though it's a losing battle.

The devil is real and he will use any means to break my faith, especially illnesses.

God loves to show off his skills when I entrust him with my broken heart.

God deserves my praise and worship, and he blesses me when I surrender to him.


These are a few thoughts that have gotten me through day-by-day:

Increase your strength by thinking of God's tremendous blessings in your life.

"O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me." Psalm 30:2

Take courage in that God leads the way wherever you go. So exchange your fears for confidence in Him.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Thanks to everyone who has been praying for us, and offering their help! We love you, and thank God for you! May He give you a special blessing for your love and concern for us.