STILL

Another 5 months have gone by since I wrote – which would seem crazy – but it really doesn’t. I barely have enough free time to take a shower – let alone sit down and type!

Going from 1 to 2 children has still been crazy hard for me – like I said before. And sometimes I feel like I’m just a weirdo that can’t handle it. I can’t even tell you that it’s crazy hard sometimes – pretty much all the time. How do you attend to both? How do you meet the needs of a toddler and an infant – at the same time. How do you make time for your husband at the end of the day or the beginning of the day – or anytime of the day. Sacrifice is the only answer I’ve come across. You sacrifice the needs of one for the other. In every situation. I’m sacrificing spending time with Jared over sleep. I’m sacrificing sleep over taking care of a baby in the night. I’m sacrificing spending time with Fitzy over editing photographs while Enoch sleeps. I’m sacrificing a shower over dishes and a walk and picking up toys. Sacrificing spending time with God over wallowing about my situation. Sacrificing – balance – whatever – call it what you want – but it’s what I’ve discovered.

And I’d like to say that I suppose we are doing fine – but I’m not. I’m overwhelmed. Mostly with the lack of sleep. Fitzy has only started sleeping through the night since April – but he also gave up any naps then too. And by sleeping through the night I mean – he calls out anywhere from 11 to 5 and asks for daddy. Jared ends up in bed with him for the rest of the night. On a typical night – Enoch goes to sleep at 8 in his crib  and is up again at 11 – ready to be up – but I get him back to sleep – in our bed. Then he is up at 1 for about an hour most nights – rolling around and whining – if it’s really bad – I give him a bottle – but try not to. Then he’s up again by 4.30 and sleeps fitfully until about 5.30 when he’s up for the day. He takes two small naps a day. And I’m exhausted. I usually spend every morning sobbing – wondering how I’ll survive another day on this amount of sleep. And I do – but I’m quite sick of surviving and would like to start thriving. Because – believe me – it’s not fun for anyone. I realize that. We have two small bedrooms upstairs – so we share a bedroom with Enoch – because I can’t deal with two kids up all hours of the night. And so starts the cycle of waking up and being in a house all day that I don’t want to be in. I could list the reasons – but I’ll spare you. These two things are what keeps me from loving life. It might sound petty – it might sound trivial. I realize that LOTS of people have it MUCH harder. But that still doesn’t mean that what is happening for me is hard. I don’t think it’s right to say – well – just be grateful for what you have – it could be worse. I’ve been trying to push it down – trying to make it not matter – and it’s just taken a deeper root. I need to experience it – to somehow figure out how to get through this. Because it’s consuming me.

And as I look through my blog posts – I realize that it’s always a struggle about something. And then I think – I don’t remember reading many blog posts – from anyone that go on and on about their wonderful amazing beautiful lives and how they are just rocking everything that’s thrown their way. Struggle? What’s struggle? Isn’t it all about managing our way through the muck. Navigating through the ugly to discover the beautiful underneath? I say that to say this – if you think I’m complaining. I’m whining. I’m ungrateful. Please feel free to stop reading.

It’s hard for me to remember the days when all I wanted to be was a mother. The pain and the prayers – I seriously don’t remember. I mean – I know I felt that way. I know that it hurt – but it’s not there. I look at these two little boys and it’s hard to imagine a life – almost 30 years of a life without them in it. And for the past several years it seems I’ve always been wanting. Wanting pain to go away (it’s not – but much better). Wanting to be a photographer (and I am). Wanting to be a momma (and I am – twice). Wanting to be in a different house. Wanting babies to sleep better. Wanting a minute to write. Wanting whatever isn’t in front of me.

I want to embrace. Not want.

I want to embrace where I am – the pain – the trials – the joy – the beauty. These boys that I wanted SO badly. These babies that consumed my thoughts. To be a momma. A get on the floor and play with my kids momma. A look them in the eyes and LISTEN to what they are saying momma. I want to embrace it. This husband who is quite fantastic to me. Who deals with my dramatic personality. And loves me in spite of it. This guy that just loves me. I want to embrace it. All of it. But. It’s hard. Really really hard. A work in progress – which I will always be – but shoot – I want to be happier. I want to be happier because the truth is – Jesus is crazy awesome. Period. If nothing else. Jesus is awesome. And I need to see that. And hold onto that. Sometimes only that. I want to be happier because right now – it’s hard to live with me. And Jared is pretty awesome – because he is the heart that loves me at my worst and the arms that hold me my weakest. That’s how I can describe him. That’s what he is to me. I want to be happier because these babies are all I’ve ever wanted. And I’m missing out on happy times because I’m too sad to see them.

I want to be happier because I’m miserable. And I’m so tired of feeling this way. So tired of pulling into the driveway with wishes in my heart. Waking up in the morning in tears. And yes – I know. This too shall pass. But it really sucks while you are going through it. And I don’t know how to get over that.

I don’t do Pinterest. And the biggest reason is that it would suck WAY TOO MUCH of my time. The second reason is – I can’t stand seeing all these little improvements for your home all the time. Because it makes me even more frustrated with where I am. Everyone says – be content with what you have. Be thankful for what God has given you. But we all want more. Improved furniture. Better chairs. An updated kitchen. Fancier lights. It’s always something. Updating. Improving. Upgrading. Remodeling. And I get that – I really do. But – our treasures are in heaven. Not here. Yet we all want more. I want a different house – more than I can even express. And my goal – now – isn’t to stop wanting a different house – but to start realizing that it doesn’t matter what this house looks like – outside or inside. That it doesn’t matter that it’s nothing like I would like to have. But that I have it and I have to make do with what we have. I don’t like this. And I don’t think that I need to learn to like it. But I do need to stop allowing this to make my heart ugly – because it is. And it’s bad enough for me to deal with – let alone what Jared is dealing with. It’s hard to focus on building our treasures in heaven when we are so consumed with how our here on earth looks.

And sleep – well. Again – it is what it is. I’ve tried. And because we have tiny bedrooms and someone has to share a room – crying it out in the middle of the night means losing more sleep that what I am now. 5.30 mornings are getting old. Quick. And I know – someday I will say – remember when we didn’t sleep? Cus I don’t. I wish our biggest problem was sleeping at night – or the lack. Instead of mean kids at school. Instead of broken hearts. Instead of dating. Instead of driving. Instead of college. But – again – going through it is ROUGH. But it’s gonna be the way it is for a while – based on how Fitzy slept. And I’m doing it – so I’ll keep doing it. I just need to be happier.

And really – again – only Jesus can do that. Not a new house. Not sleep. Not Jared. Not my kiddos. So today – again. I’m making an effort. An effort to not be miserable. Because when you look around – life is pretty amazing. And be still – which I know is kinda impossible with a toddler and an infant on the move – all the time. But just not be in a rush ALL THE TIME. I feel like I’m always moving at high speed – which is normal for me. Slowing down is hard – because then I spend way too much time in my head. And it usually comes back to – if I slept more – if we lived in a different house. But sleep and a new house doesn’t fix an ugly heart. Jesus does.

And like I wrote last time – life as we know it – has changed. Again. And it will again tomorrow.

PSALM 46

Filed under: babes,baby barden,bardenisms,birth,expecting,just because,kiddos,love,newsworthy,TMJ,word of God — admin at 1:04 pm on Wednesday, June 20, 2012

PSALM 46

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Before they diagnosed me with TMJ disorder – I thought I was dying. I thought for sure I had a brain tumor that was pushing my eye out of the socket. A tumor that was pushing on my brain and making it feel like mice were running up and down my nerves. A tumor that was making my arm and face numb – making me delirious from pain. I was sure of it.

I prayed like I never prayed before. I cried. I yelled. I got down on my knees. I screamed. I begged. I cried. I slept. I prayed.

One night I opened by Bible – begging God to give me a verse – to speak to me. Psalm 46 is what I turned to. Verse 5 is what jumped out to me. God is within HER. SHE will not fall. God will help HER at break of day. How many times in the Bible is the word he used instead of she – LOTS! And this verse said SHE. That God would help HER at break of day. Nights were usually the worst for me. After being up all day and carrying around this pressured ball on my shoulders. I came home from working all day and cried and slept. And did it all again the next day. And the next day. I printed this verse out and put it under my keyboard at work – on the wall – in my calendar – EVERYWHERE! Jared helped me memorize it – going over it with me every night.

I said it over and over and over and over again. Cried it. Prayed it. Screamed it. GOD WILL HELP HER AT BREAK OF DAY. That one sentence was my lifeline. I held onto that hope that tomorrow I would wake up. That I would want to wake up – because I can honestly tell you that I wanted to die. I wished I would die. It hurt so bad – all the time. But I would repeat Psalm 46 and hold onto hope.

I started having symptoms in March of 2006 and didn’t get my retainer until August of 2008 – so two years of constant SEVERE pain. Two years of praying this prayer over and over and over again. After I started wearing my retainer – the pain decreased. It’s still there – almost all the time – but NOTHING compared to what it was. On a scale of 1 to 10 my pain used to be a 15. It’s now about a 3 to 4 all the time. GIANT IMPROVEMENT. It’s something I’m used to at this point. When a storm comes through I’m usually pain free. Otherwise – it’s there.

Knowing that my pain was manageable – we decided to try and get pregnant. I’m sure most of you know about that long road and struggle and blessing in the end. Psalm 46 spoke to me then too. GOD IS WITHIN HER – SHE WILL NOT FALL. I felt helpless. I felt alone. I felt forgotten. But I would repeat Psalm 46 – over and over again. And again. And then again. I felt like I was a mountain falling into the sea. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of babies and pregnancies and blessings – that weren’t ours.

Our sweet miracle is now 14 months old – so we are at the point where people are asking (telling really) – YOU NEED TO HAVE ANOTHER – WHEN ARE YOU GONNA HAVE ANOTHER – YOU NEED TO GET STARTED ON THAT. And (sadly) I’m at the point where I say – well – since we’ve had two miscarriages now – I don’t know. I know for some people they can literally just think about getting pregnant and just like that – it happens that month. I don’t know what that’s like. I do know what it’s like to try and try and try for months on end (eighteen for Fitzy) and crash every month you get your period – fall into a heap and scream and pray and cry. That’s what I know. I know what’s it like to lose – not one but two babies and wonder if it will ever happen again. If we were to get pregnant again – would we stay pregnant? If we miscarry again – that’s it. We’re done. I’ve been pregnant 3 times – only once past 10 weeks. Knowing that the next time I get pregnant might be our last scares me. So I repeat Psalm 46 again – for yet another season in my life.

I write this to encourage you. To tell you that you are not alone. To let you know that God LOVES you.

You might need Psalm 46 in your life right now. Know it. Breathe it.

JESUS LOVES YOU

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,friends,just because,my family,TMJ,word of God — admin at 1:57 pm on Monday, March 12, 2012

So.

I have a much smaller online presence at the moment – as far as FACEBOOK is concerned. I created a new account to rid my life of the drama and the insecurities that I have been feeling. It’s helped – a little. But the bad part about that is that I’m not reaching as many people as I was – in terms of photography exposure or sharing the love of Jesus!

But I still have this blog as an outreach – so here goes!

I feel that I’ve always talked about my faith and shared it with you but I don’t think I’ve ever really told you how MUCH Jesus loves you and wants you. And how I found that out.

When we were little my grandma Trout took us to Sunday School. I don’t remember the first time I asked Jesus into my little heart – but I am told that I did. In 1990 our grandpa Trout died of a heart attack – Christmas day – it was awful. He was young and it was so unexpected. I was 9 – which meant my dad was 27 when he lost his dad. I remember the day so well. It didn’t snow – we got bikes for Christmas and rode them around the trailer park in our winter coats. Samm and I got NKOTB barbie dolls. I got a Magic Nursery baby that I named Kevin. It turns out he had a twin sister that was sent to me in the mail – I named her Kristen. I was standing in the hallway when the phone rang. My mom answered and I could tell by the tone of her voice that something was wrong. Very wrong. We all sat on the couch and cried with my dad. Christmas has never been the same. It was the first time I saw my dad cry. The second would be when he dropped me off at college.

Little history – my parents were young when they met. My mom was a senior and my dad a junior. They got pregnant as my dad’s senior year started. They got married in January of 1981 – my dad turned 18 in March – I was born in May – he graduated in June. My dad went to work at a local factory while my mom stayed home with me and they had Samm 15 months after I was born. Derek and I are two months shy of being 4 years apart. When we were young – my dad drank. My mom drank too – but after she had kids she stopped. I can remember a handful of occasions where my parents would fight while/because my dad was drinking. My dad will tell you that he didn’t drink for leisure or because he liked the taste. He drank to get drunk. My mom’s parents drink. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my grandpa drinking anything but beer. I can remember countless occasions and parties at my grandparents where they were drunk. My mom did not want to live this life. She did not want us to live this life. She told my dad several times that it was alcohol or his family. Thankfully he chose the latter.

After his dad died – he sat down and read the Bible (my dad is probably the most read person I’ve ever met). He didn’t want to believe. He didn’t want to “be saved” – he wanted to read it and then put it down for the piece of fiction it probably was. But that’s not what happened. He read it and thought – CRAP. I HAVE to believe. I can’t NOT believe after reading it. We were all baptized as a family when I was in middle school – which is when I really remember trying to actively live a life honoring Jesus.

I always invited my very best friend to youth group. We went on the trips together – mostly to be near the guys we thought were so cute (sorry aunt L) (totally honoring Jesus – right?) (as a quick side-note – the first guy I had a real crush on was named Jared – crazy!) ANYWAY – I had a purple teen Bible that I took notes in and tried to remember to do devotionals. For me at that time loving and living Jesus meant not doing the “bad” things that my friends were. Drinking – smoking – having sex – skipping out on the movies – swearing. Drinking was NEVER something I wanted to be a part of. I watched my mom go through it with my dad and with her parents. Besides – we were babies. But I was ALWAYS there for my friends. I was always the mom that took care of everyone – and I’m not complaining – it’s the role I wanted and loved. My parents had ONE rule. Don’t lie to me. If you lie to me – you have no more privileges. So I didn’t lie to them. We went to the Sayre Theater once and everyone wanted to leave and walk around town during the movie – I was like – NO WAY! My mom will kill me. Oh – she’ll never know. But I couldn’t just sit in the theater by myself – right? So I sat in the park – on a bench – in the dark. And then when my friend’s mom picked us up – I called my mom and said I was sick. She came and got me and I just cried. I said – I’m so sorry – we left the theater and you told me not to. I didn’t know what to do. I was such a rebel right? Anyway – that is my middle school existence.

In high school I stopped hanging out with those friends but still didn’t take part of the drinking and messing around. I always stood up for the underdog – or tried to. I got picked on and shoved to the side. But I always stood up for what I thought was right. And no one ever noticed. Or so I thought. My drafting teacher pulled me aside once and told me that a guy in our class had mentioned me to him after class. He said – what you see is what you get with Danielle – she does what she means and means what she says – and you ALWAYS know what her beliefs are and she always sticks to them. It’s awesome. Now – that same guy picked on me quite a bit – but I was making a difference.

In college I met a girl named Trudy. She was my RA. She took me in. I was so homesick and so miserable. I would bring my Bible in at night and read. She would ask me questions and we would look them up together. I would invite her to church with my cousins – she never came – but I always asked. I transferred to Mansfield in the spring and we stayed in touch through emails. So many emails. At the end of the semester she called me. So scared. She had just read the first Left Behind book. She said – the only person I thought to call was you. I don’t want to be left behind when Jesus comes back. What do I do? So I told her. You ask Jesus to be yours. You ask Him into your heart and life. You love Him. You are called to serve Him. That’s what you do. You tell Him that you are a sinner and that you need to be saved. You need to be saved from hell. You need Him to save you. You accept His precious gift of life that He gives us. He died for us. DIED. He was born so that He could die. So that we wouldn’t miss out on an eternity with God. That’s what you do. And she did. She was baptized later that summer. She was the first person that I ever helped come to know Jesus – to accept Him and His love into her heart! It was amazing!

We stayed in touch and helped each other through the rough times – the mistakes we made – the tears and the hurt. The mistakes – did I say that one? I moved into the suite and met the people that would form most of my college memories. I met Josh and we became fast friends. I tried my best to show Jesus’ love to them – failing ridiculously at times – of course. I fell into the role of mom again and took care of my roommates. Josh and I were tight – I found out his dad was a pastor. He started coming to FCA and CCC with me and we formed a really awesome group of friends. I loved Josh – but differently than he loved me. I was his dear dear friend. I hung onto hope – still being best friends. I made more mistakes. Several. On my 21st birthday I drank little bottles of Jose Cuervo – cus it WAS my 21st birthday after all. I felt like CRAP. We went up to the university to shoot pool and I laid on the couches. I cried. I apologized. I cried. I am NOT a fun drunk.

I met Jared and like most moments in my life – drama ensued. Jared was breaking up with his girlfriend – we got together not shortly after – I still had feelings for Josh. Lots of people were hurt and mad. Our friends eventually forgave us. They came back – most of them. They were going out one night and wanted me to go with – but I don’t go to parties – and I certainly don’t drink – that was evidenced earlier. Stupidity followed – to prove a point I drank. To prove the point that I was NOT fun. Josh was there the night of my 21st – he tried to reassure everyone that it was NOT a pretty sight. But I still did it. I went to the party. Jared was waiting in the dining hall for me to get back. I was crying and apologizing for getting drunk. Crying cus I was a horrible person. Josh looked at our friends and said – see? Told you so. That was the last time I drank. Jared and I got engaged a few months before graduation. We had a party at Jared’s parents and Josh gave me a card that said – thanks for being my light in the dark. I cried and hugged him – realizing that I wouldn’t be seeing one of my best friends every day – like I had for the past two years. Josh was a groomsman in our wedding – we are going to his wedding next month. I still cherish those memories and know that God put me in that suite for a reason. I messed up and made mistakes. But I was also the light I was hoping I would be.

Jared and I got married. We hosted different friends and family when they needed a place to crash for the night or weekend or month. Or semester. I mothered – like I always do. I messed up – like I always do. We were very comfortable with Jesus. Not going outside the box – not being challenged. Then I thought I was dying. I had horrible pain in my head. The left side of my face would go numb. I thought I was having a stroke. I would feel so much pressure in my head that I wanted to cut it open. For the first time in my ENTIRE life – I got on the floor and prayed. Crazy Christians do that – not me. I couldn’t believe that I was brought to the point of laying on the floor to cry out to God. I had more and more conversations with Him. Asking Him to help me – begging Him to help me. Praying I would make it through the day. After two months my doctor diagnosed me with TMJ disorder – very severe TMJ disorder. At last – an answer. But not an answer to the pain. For two years I tried it all – steroids – mouth pieces – acupuncture – herbal remedies – nothing helped. For two years I prayed and prayed and spoke Psalm 46 over and over and over and over and over. I pasted it to my desk at home and work. I had to remind myself EVERY DAY that God would help me. That He would save me at daybreak – just like the verse promised. I had never experienced such reassurance as when I would read that verse. I would put the whole thing here – but I want you to go look it up. Google it – whatever. It was the first place I opened my Bible and it was meant for me. Exactly for me. I felt for one of the first times in my life that God was really speaking to me. After two years of absolute awfulness – I was referred to Lewisburg to Dr. Robinson. He gave me the “retainer” that I wear now and improved my life 200% – and Jared’s life. He loves Jesus and I totally believe that God ordained our meeting. I blogged about it a little – way back.

Then we got pregnant! Then we miscarried. Then we were very very angry. Then we were very very depressed. For a very long time. It was a very dark time and I was VERY angry with God. I had arguments with Him. I won’t go into much detail – if you haven’t read the blogs – you are welcome to go back to the archives and read. They should be under baby barden or go back to March of 2009 and go from there. I blogged. People read. I blogged more. People read. I couldn’t believe that the hell we were going through would be of benefit to anyone. It was. I met SO many people who were also trying or had lost babies. I was able to photograph those people when they found out they were expecting. I was able to help them through their pain – pray for them and with them. I was able to converse with God without raising my voice nearly as often. I was able to share how Jesus loves me and you.

I was able to share a miracle. We got pregnant. We have an amazing baby boy. We’ve lost another but we hold onto Jesus – and each other. We are a little stronger than last time.

And now you are up to date on my life.

Life isn’t perfect. We all screw up. I think I’m right and you are wrong – most likely. When I am wrong – I will apologize – most likely. I am stubborn and sarcastic. I am confrontational. I will not allow you to walk all over me. I will defend myself and my family. I will agree to disagree but when you get mean and start throwing accusations – I’m not putting up with it. I am judgemental – even though I try VERY hard to not be – or at least keep that crazy at bay. I am loud. I am obnoxious. I like to be the center of attention. I like to be the boss. I love. I love my baby and my husband. I love my family and my friends. I love my readers and my clients. I listen. I encourage. I give great hugs. I pray. I don’t put up with ridiculousness. I am honest. I am loyal. I am confident – most of the time. I am passionate and emotional.

Most importantly I am loved. By Jesus. I am wanted. He died for me – and if I was the only person on the earth – He would have died for only me. I’m loved by my family and friends – but that doesn’t compare to how Jesus loves me. It never will.

Here’s the thing – people will fail you. Always. Your parents – your husband – your wife – your sister – your pastor – your best friend – your kids. Every time.

But Jesus NEVER does. EVER. He never forgets you – He never abandons you.

But Danielle – you miscarried TWO babies – don’t you feel like He forgot you? I did. But He didn’t. He was there – watching over us and holding that little babe’s hand in His.

But Danielle – what about my parents – they died – where was your God of love then? He was there. He is always there.

We live in a world that isn’t perfect. It’s sinful and broken. God created us with a free will. We chose sin. We wanted it all – who doesn’t? But those promises that satan was whispering in Eve’s ear were lies – they ALWAYS are. There is a battle for YOUR soul. God loves you but satan just wants to increase the population of hell – he hates you. He puts doubt in your mind. He stirs the pot. He asks the question – where is your God now? If this God loved you – He would have saved your baby or your parents – He doesn’t love you. In fact – no one REALLY loves you. Those are LIES.

There is a passage in Luke that my dad always brings up in response to questions like this. It talks about a tower falling and killing eighteen people. Were those eighteen people more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? Jesus says NO! But unless you all repent – you will also perish. My dad sums it up like this – Hey Jesus – what about those people that died? What about that tower? Jesus says – here’s the thing – towers fall – people die – did they deserve it – no! But it happens. That’s why you need to be right with God. It could happen any time.

Because our world isn’t perfect – people get cancer – people are murdered – people are abused and abandoned. Babies are aborted – children are kidnapped. We live among thieves and liars and rapists and murderers and horrible people.

God loves us. He LOVES us. OH HOW HE LOVES US. Why can’t He stop the murdering and the abuse and the awfulness that is our world? Because we are sinners – because we chose sin. God didn’t create us to be drones – to be robots that bowed down to Him. He created us to love and to breathe and to choose. With that choice comes sin. It sucks. BUT HE LOVES US. He loves us SO much that He sent His son to earth. Born a sweet innocent baby – to take on my sin. Your sin. EVERY SINGLE SIN. Because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for our horribleness – He died in our place. So that we could live. So that we could live forever in God’s presence. Without pain and anger and sin. Without fear and doubt and worry. A life full of worship and love.

We are here to love God and to love on each other. We are here to share this awesome news! God loves YOU! Accept His Son as your Savior. He will save you from hell. Admit your sins – your awfulness – ask Jesus to take them for you. Lay them down. He loves you and wants you. He is waiting.

SWEETNESS UPDATE

Filed under: baby barden,bardenisms,just because,TMJ — admin at 2:16 pm on Friday, September 17, 2010

I had an appointment this morning to change my anti-anxiety medication over to something safer throughout pregnancy – but there isn’t any for my situation. My anxiety is brought on by my jaw pain – so my Amitriptyline was more for pain control and anxiety brought on by the pain.

Please pray for me specifically in that area. I have been on that medication for almost 5 years and it has made my life slightly more bearable. The appliance I wear for my jaw helps a GREAT deal – so I am trusting that will remain the case. The fall and spring are hard for me anyway with the change in temperatures.

Our first OB appointment isn’t until October 22nd – which I am not too excited about! I am not letting myself get overly excited until I see our little miracle on an US – but as it is – God has other plans for my faith. I told the nurse our history and my fears about wanting to make sure the baby is okay – and they still kept me at Oct 22nd. – which puts me at 10 weeks and 6 days – which is normal I suppose!

The last few mornings have been tough – and late nights – and I am STARVING all the time. I actually took a 3 hour nap this week – which is not like me at all! I haven’t been editing nearly as much as I should because my office chair and my hips are in an argument at the moment. My head doesn’t like to stay up on it’s own too much without my medication to dull my jaw pain and craziness. Thankfully I set up Jared’s laptop to edit my photos – which is slower than normal – but it’s getting done!

Jared has been awesome – so great with helping me out and letting me rest and understanding that our house is literally a sty. My clients have been so understanding that my normal turn-around time of less than a week is non-existent too! September and October are my busiest months and God is just teaching me that I need to slow down since I am on fast forward all the time!

Thank you again for all your prayers and thoughts! We love all of you and are blessed to call you friends and family!

ONE YEAR

Filed under: TMJ — admin at 8:34 pm on Saturday, August 22, 2009

It has been roughly one year since I got my device for my jaw.

It has been roughly one year since my life became nearly 100% pain free.

It has been roughly one year since my dreams of becoming a photographer and a mother started to come into sight more clearly.

There were days when I didn’t think that I would be able to hang on any longer – days when I thought that God had forgotten about me.

I knew that God would provide a miracle for me in some way, shape, or form when it came to my jaw pain. I am so thankful for Dr. Robinson and his staff – for God bringing him into my life.

Little bit of everything …

Filed under: bardenisms,TMJ,word of God — admin at 8:34 pm on Thursday, October 2, 2008

HEALING: When my jaw used to hurt, I’d sit at my desk all day and say – God if You heal me – I will shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone I know about Your love and healing mercies. Now, my jaw is healed – call it a dentist with a test product if you want – I call it divine intervention!

Yet – here I sit – still telling God that my attitude will change when …

when He gives me that full time photography job I want.

Have you ever noticed how we give God those “if/then” statements, telling Him that - IF - He changes something - THEN - we will do this or that – then, we will give Him glory and honor? I can’t very well stand from the rooftop of my house telling everyone how God healed me – or can I – but I can tell you about it here.

God has healed me!

And while I may still have twinges of pain occasionally, and some days are better than others – those lows I used to experience are less and less frequent. Thank You God! I remember saying to Jared that I would tell all my friends about how Jesus healed me and how they need Him in their lives. I haven’t. I’m trying.

LIFE WITH JESUS: I cannot imagine living life without Christ directing me. There have been a few times where I thought – how can I do this – how can I wake up tomorrow and still be in this pain and not know what the next day will bring? Thanks to my relationship with Christ – I was able to turn to Him and let Him hold me and calm me.

ON BEING BLESSED: I have been blessed with a husband who has encouraged me to grow in Christ every minute of every day. I have a family that covers me with prayer. I have a God who loves me more than I will ever know. I want you all to know that God used Dr. Robinson as a part of the plan to heal me. (God is still healing me and I have to understand that He has a plan that is much more perfect than any i might devise). How I came to know Dr. Robinson is a God story in itself.

MY GOD STORY: My jaw pain started in March of 2006 – from what I think was stress at work. By May of 2006 – that particular stress left – and with the change in staff, we had to have a coverage person come in. This coverage guy, Chris, has a wife who had TMJ problems years ago with successful surgery. This past June – two years and a few months since the initial problems started – Chris told me that he really thought I needed to call the guy that worked on his wife. I called him and was told that he no longer did TMJ work, but that Dr. Robinson in Lewisburg was rumored to have a new procedure that worked wonders. Jared pointed out to me the other night that if it hadn’t been for Chris coming to work with our staffing change – I still might be struggling with constant pain. I know that God had a specific time frame and plan worked out with my healing. I didn’t like His timing – but we rarely do.

MY CHRISTIAN WALK: I also wanted to share with you a little bit about being a Christian. I think it’s a word that is thrown around a lot and not taken as seriously as it needs to be. I am a Christian. I am a God-fearing woman. I make mistakes. I mess up. I make wrong decisions. I say things that I shouldn’t. I talk about people. I sometimes think that my choices are the right ones for everyone. I am stubborn. I get upset with my husband over petty things. I have a tendency to nag. Sometimes I think – you’re 27 – act like it. I am trying. I am learning. I am discovering and asking for forgiveness when I mess up.

I think so many people say – why would I want to look into that Christian stuff – they are all hypocrites. We aren’t hypocrites – at least not all of us - we are a people blessed with grace and forgiveness. We try to follow Christ and His teachings – we mess up time and time again … and again … and again …

With all my faults – my childish actions at times – my stubborn mind – my big mouth – God still loves me. God still wants to have me with Him for eternity. God still forgives me. Christ can give you freedom like none other.

I leave you today with the knowledge that Christ is only a prayer away. He healed me. I have waited two years to tell you all about the healing power of Christ and the love of God, and perhaps most important of all – the truth that He has a plan for you!

TMJ Relief Fund …

Filed under: TMJ — admin at 5:32 pm on Friday, September 5, 2008

Last time I posted I was at 14% of my goal – now I am at 22% of my goal – all with the help of you lovely folks. Thanks again to all of those you are trusting God and praying with me. Thanks to all those you have given of their funds and time on my behalf – it means more than you could ever know.

I have had the device a little over two weeks and I think that my pain has significantly improved. My jaw hasn’t hurt too bad over the past two weeks – and while I was in Virginia there were two whole days where I had no pain at all. My teeth are starting to move – that is the hardest part I think – I would say that my jaw is pain-free for the most part – but those teeth – now I know what braces must have felt like. I would say that overall the improvement is about 90% – which is FANTASTIC – I notice that when I get upset or angry – my jaw starts to throb – which is stress and what needs to improve there is how I handle it. I see Dr. Robinson again on Tuesday so I will know more – if this is working – if my mouth moving so much is a good thing – what I can expect from here on out.

I love that you continue to pray with me and support me in this relief effort.

TMJ Relief Effort

Filed under: TMJ — admin at 12:14 pm on Thursday, August 21, 2008

TMJ Relief Effort – Day One and Two

Tuesday afternoon Mom B and I traveled to Lewisburg to have the final fitting for my new jaw device. He hooked me up to the TENS unit for an hour and half – which I hate – and then fitted the device to my mouth in a relaxed state. He made an appt. for Monday the 25th to check up on me and see how it is fitting and feeling. It feels awkward and bulky – but that is to be expected. I can hear a difference in my voice – but Jared can only really hear it when I say the letter S. I think that everyone can see my lower lip sticking out a little – but Jared assures me that it isn’t noticeable. I feel like I have cotton in my mouth and it’s getting pretty dry – but I have to take it out when I want to eat so I think it might cut down on snacking. He said that it should help the first night but I don’t know how much improvement I see. My ears are still ringing like crazy and I still feel full – please keep praying for me. As far as the TMJ Relief Fund – I have 14% of what I need – Thanks again to all of those who gave and are giving of their funds, time, and prayers – I cannot begin to tell you how much they are all appreciated. I pray that THIS is what God has for me. I pray that THIS is the time. I pray that you would pray with me.

Today is a little different than yesterday – I think I slept much harder and it hurts today – quite a bit. I woke up with pain in my back teeth on the L side – which is the most affected side – and it hasn’t really gone away yet – I am praying that it is just allowing my mouth to get used to this device – either way I am glad that I go back on Monday. Yesterday felt really good – other than getting used to it. Today – not so much. Thank you for praying for me and believing with me.

TMJ Relief Fund

Filed under: family,TMJ — admin at 10:15 pm on Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So – I have mentioned it before but I will say it again – I have the BEST family ever. My family, friends, and church family have blessed me with their love and kindness. I have a TMJ Relief Fund – thanks for the name to Jessica (my sister-in-law) – that people have been contributing to. I am amazed and so humbled by what people have given me thus far. I am not only talking about monetary gifts – but prayers and kind words. As an update for all of you who keep up with what is going on in the region of my TMJ life – I had my second appt. yesterday with Dr.  Robinson. He hooked me up to a TENS unit – an electrical stimulation device – to help relax my muscles – for about 70 minutes. He then took molds of my bite to send out to make the device that I will wear all along my bottom teeth. August 19th is the appt. where I will be hooked up to the TENS for about 45 minutes and then have the device fitted and in place! I can hardly wait. I will have trouble speaking for the first few weeks – or so I am told – but I am willing to sacrifice that to feel better. I sometimes get overwhelmed when I think of the life that I will be living in a  few months – God willing. I have the calmest peace about this device – I truly believe that THIS is what God has in store for me – for us. Again – thank you to all of you who have given or are giving of your time and money to help me in this endeavor. I cannot even express to you in words what it means to me to know that I am in your prayers and that you are willing to help me in this purchase. I would love to make a little graph on the side of my blog that shows how much I need and where I am in that goal – but I don’t know how.THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU.  

Answers …

Filed under: bardenisms,TMJ — admin at 2:21 pm on Thursday, July 10, 2008

I am trying not to get my hopes up too much – but I really feel that this is an answer to prayer – it HAS to be. I made my first appt. with Dr. Robinson for a week from today – Thursday the 17th at 1.20 – I will have three to four more appointments after that. I am trusting God to provide the funds for this procedure – Jared and I both feel that this is the step we are to take – it makes me feel better to know that I had another option from someone who was much less expensive and I didn’t feel that option was the one – weird – I know. The first appointment consists of taking precise measurements of my jaw and mouth. The seconda appointment – at the end of July – takes two hours and is when I have the TENS unit attached to me to determine my “correct” jaw position. The third appointment – August 19th is another TENS unit session with the device being fitted and positioned correctly. I should be back one week after that to see if it is indeed doing its job.

What I need – PRAYER – please please please pray for me – for us – it is painful to say that this is a dream I have been wanting for a long time – ‘cus what a sad thing to have to be dreaming about – but it is. Please pray that God uses this device as His healing – or just His divine healing – I will go for either one. Pray that the funds will come – which I trust that they will – I don’t usually have a peace about things – and I do about this. Although, I am trying not to get TOO excited – until I know for sure that it will work.

Thank you to those who take the time to come to my website and support my dream – both photography and TMJ – I hope that by this time next year to be a FULL-TIME photographer and momma-to-be – so you could pray about that for me too.

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