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Daily Conqueror Moments

Daily encouragement and inspiration for the warrior in all of us. You can be a winner, a victor, and a CONQUEROR every day of your life. Lisa's posts will help lead the way on this cadence we call life.

Filtering by Tag: #LymeDisease

Heaven's Asphalt

Lisa Williams

What do you love?
What causes freedom to pulse within your veins? Where can you go to hide away from this world’s noise, to decompress?
Since I was a girl, for me it’s been the great outdoors. Give me the mountains, the ocean, the countryside and all the animals that they contain. They call to me, they cause me to think clearer, and breathe deeper. I believe that nature by it’s very existence heals people and animals. It’s a glimpse of the beauty that abides in Heaven, which, I believe is a real, live place.
I’d be content on this earth to be continually barefooted and fancy free. Give me shelter under a gazillion stars, a garden, animals, and a simple life. That’s enough for me and it began when I was a child.
Ours was a middle class family of six, whose vacations involved camping, hiking, and swimming in oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. Back then, we never could’ve imagined the hidden dangers lurking within the grassy meadows and trees of the forests we visited. Yes, way back in 1971 there were ticks which carried Lyme Disease in those California woodlands. Neither my parents, their friends, family, or doctors knew a thing about Lyme Disease. So, when a tick that was carrying Lyme bit my arm when I was twelve years old, we didn’t sweat it. When the bite mark grew and resembled a bulls eye, we still didn’t worry. When I came down with flu-like symptoms, my parents thought I had the flu. The fact that nobody else got it was attributed to luck.
The years that followed brought with them a host of health problems for me. I had difficulty concentrating, and learning. I experienced headaches daily. Participating in sports for any length of time was next to impossible due to severe fatigue. I didn’t dare try out for the track team, when running one lap winded me. I rarely slept through the night. Insomnia was quite common. I didn’t know that it wasn’t normal not to get strep throat every six months. My back often hurt and I developed stomach issues.
How in the world I lived to be 46 before a correct diagnosis is beyond my realm of understanding. At the time, I was dying.
Maybe I lived that long because after that fateful camping trip to Mammoth Pool, California, I was on antibiotics every 6 months or so. Or maybe there is a greater power at work here.
Often times now, test results regarding my condition are bleak. They say things I wish were not true. I do everything the doctors tell me to do, but, according to the test results I have not progressed. If that is true, I ought to be dead.
But God…He has another plan. He has kept me alive against the odds. I’m convinced that I won’t breathe my last breath a second sooner than I’m supposed to and when I do, He will take me Home.
Home, where they pave the streets with pure gold. Home, where gates are made of pearls. Where we will only know happy tears, and peace uninterrupted.
Think about that for a minute. The materials we use to pave roads here on Earth are the cheapest we have; cement, sand and crushed rocks. The materials used to pave the roads in Heaven are pure gold.
That’s Heaven’s standard. Pure gold for streets. Pearls for gates. (Revelation 21:21)
That gives me hope like nothing else. God has prepared a place for me and spared nothing for its beauty, and that includes divine health. No more sickness. No more dis-ease. We will know ease, peace and love so divine this writer cannot find the words to describe it. We will know God face-to-face. That’s the real beauty of Heaven, the One who created it. That’s what makes life on Earth worth living, too. His love is all over this planet. I take that love with me, along with the love of friends and family.
That’s how I’m going to win. That’s the medicine that saves me.

Dear God,
Please pave my soul with love as transparent as the gold in heaven. Purify me as such. Walk the streets of my heart and own every cobblestone and grain of sand. Help me to love as Heaven loves, and to abide in You always.
Amen.
xoxo

Love is enough

Lisa Williams

Ask anyone who knows me well, being still is not my forte. My parents had my big sisters and I doing chores and pitching in at young ages. We didn't get allowance. We were made to understand that this was simply part of being a family and it took all of us to make it operate well. I worked in the large garden we had, pulling weeds and gathering our little harvest in the hot summer sun.
Us girls painted the picket fence each summer, fed the horses, groomed them, fed the chickens, and gathered eggs. Mom taught me to cook at around age ten.
Work was (is) a part of who I am and it's always made me feel better about myself.
Back in 2005, when a team of four Lyme specialists told me I would have to leave my job at Hewlett Packard and go on disability- it was hard to let go. It wasn't enough for me just to stay at home. 

"Lisa, if you don't rest through this process, you could die." they said.

Shortly afterwards, I resigned from singing on the praise team at my church in Denver. I missed it so much! It hurt because I felt utterly useless. Not being a part of ministry meant I wasn't contributing anything at all to my church.
God must be disappointed in me.
It wasn't enough. 
No. I wasn't enough.
I was "less than." Just fill in the blank. I was less than whatever or whoever you could think up.
Then in 2017 just 3 months after being crowned Mrs. International Elite with Today's International Woman Pageant, I had to relinquish my title due to this illness. I felt embarrassed, guilty, and lost. (They broke the rules and let me keep that gorgeous crown though!)
Recently, I was admonished to step down temporarily as CEO of Little Glimmer of Hope Foundation, the charity I co-founded with my husband in 2014. 
I'm letting everyone down. My clients. My board. Everyone, I thought.
Saying all of this has been difficult for me is an understatement. I would've never thought of it this way, but I've been in a grieving process over it. I simply could not let go.
I've felt tidal waves of worthlessness because a great deal of my worth was tied up in what I did or did not do. Resting just felt wrong. Whatever, "enough" was, I wasn't measuring up.
My board told me, "You have one job. Get well." My husband reasoned with me. My pastors counseled me. My best friend convinced me. Yet, I still couldn't let go and I couldn't figure out why. I mean I prayed and said "God, I'm letting go." I soon learned saying it and doing it are two entirely different paradigms.
Then, today while reading a book that a friend suggested entitled God's Best Kept Secret, I read this simple, yet profound truth.
"God does not determine who you are by what you do."
Whoa. Wait. Really? He doesn't? You mean to say He loves me just because I'm His child? I don't have to try harder, do better, make a difference, or go-go-go for Him to be my Father and adore me anyway? 
"His mercies are new every morning," my husband said. 
"You don't have to do anything for Him to love you. Lisa, you must let go! You'll only get sicker if you don't!" my best friend stated factually.
"You are loved unconditionally. You are safe." my pastors encouraged.
That seems too good to be real. But, please, God, let it be real.
"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." Titus 3:5
My worth is determined by so much more than what I am capable of.
When I wake up in the morning, it's often not up to me as to what I am capable of. If I have to be somewhere by 9, I make sure I'm awake several hours ahead of time. I've showered the night before. I've got to give my body time to let me know what it will and will not do that day. It's not unusual to have no more strength than to simply lay down all day.
This is my world now, and although it's 100% harder than life pre-Lyme, I am grateful for air in my lungs and the ability to still be capable of doing what I can do.
What can I do though?
I can write. I can read. I can laugh and give a listening ear to a friend. I can talk with my grandchildren on the phone and hear their giggles. I can be a loyal friend to many. I can be a good wife to my husband.
I can choose joy.
Most importantly, I can love. I still have that ability and no person, no hardship, no challenge, no sickness, disease, or demon in hell can take that away from me.
When I buy into the lie that I am what I do, I live in a state of identity crisis. There's so much more to every single one of us than what we can or cannot do.
"And now abide faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love."
I've lost the ability to do a great many things, but I have not lost the ability to love. As long as I have this heart beating, I still have the ability to love on this earth.

Giving it away, receiving it, basking in it. I have learned, Love is enough. It is the foundation and cornerstone of all that we are, because God is Love. Love overcomes obstacles you didn't even know you had. Love has enabled me to accept myself the way I am right in this minute, weaknesses and all. To love is a hard quest at times, but God's Love is a Comrade who will walk this life's cadence with you to a rhythm you can understand. And when you're worn thin and cannot walk, Love will carry you. When you're alone and lonely as if you're on the outside looking in, Love will invite you in with open arms and give you a seat at the most elaborate banquet table you've ever seen. Love will show you that you're accepted and worthy.

My fragmented heart is being made whole because of Love and it is enough.

xoxo

Full speed ahead

Lisa Williams

My sons had just left for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Special Forces. Infantry. Front lines of war, boots on the ground.
That's when the diagnosis came. Late Stage Lyme. I didn't know how serious it was until a team of doctors explained it to my husband and I in great detail. 
I was shell shocked to say the least. I had two wars to fight now. Theirs and mine.
A young man never goes to war alone, his family is in a war, too. His mother will pace the floors at night waiting, wondering and hoping for the safe return of her child. She will freak out and have nightmares. She will weep. A lot. She will tremble with each news report but she will never give up.
To think of them, the very reasons for my heart beat, to be fighting over there, for the freedom of another country. For freedom from terrorism and oppression. Good God, how do you get through a single minute much less a day- wondering if your only children are dead or alive? I'm still not sure how any of us did it.
My sons, they are the pulse within my veins, the reason I breathe. Better women than me have prayed for the return of their sons just as hard as I did and yet, theirs came home in a box. It seems so wrong for me to be happy that mine came home, when theirs didn't.
Thirteen years later, it still seems wrong and unjust. There are just some questions that have no answers I guess.
How do I explain to my sons that I may not make it? That this disease has run amok in my body and is taking over my brain? How do I tell them that they could come home to no mother?
I refused to say it. I refused to allow my words to cause them one nanosecond of stress which could've been a reason for their concentration to shatter. They needed to focus on the task at hand. My news could've been their undoing.
No. I wouldn't. I didn't. 
The thought occurred to me that while they were fighting terrorists over there, that I was fighting one no less stealthy. I had to win, for them.

“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” yelled Admiral David Farragut, who had latched himself atop the mainsail to see above the smoke.
His fleet of wooden ships with hulls wrapped in chains, and his four iron-clad monitors, were attacking Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864.
When one of his ships, the Tecumseh, sank after hitting an underwater mine and called a torpedo, his fleet faltered in confusion.
Farragut rallied his troops, chose to fight harder than ever before, and drove them on to capture the last Confederate stronghold in the Gulf of Mexico.
Today, thirteen years after my initial diagnosis, I am still in the trenches. I have not advanced. All that has happened, according to test results and doctor's reports is, they've managed to keep me alive. 
Alive. It cannot mean just to fight to live another day. Alive has to mean to really live life! There's more to this life than merely being in a fight all the time. Even Special Forces teams get R & R.  Rest and recuperation. Yes, please and thank you. 
No military man is required to fight 24/7 with no break. Nobody can do that. When my sons were on leave they would often write home more than usual. They would try to have some fun. They would sleep more. They would find solace and peace in the company of their comrades.
Superman rested, Wonder Woman rested and they aren't even real! Their creators knew that it would seem too unrealistic to the reader to dismiss the need for rest even for a superhero. 
Even God rested on the seventh day. He is real.
Did He need it? Not likely. However, He set an example for His creation, saying to us, "It's OK to rest."
When my sons came home from physical war, it wasn't over for them when their boots landed on friendly soil. It's not that easy. They were more like eagles who flew back to the safety of their nests, only to find a hurricane was approaching. PTSD is a __itch of a war to fight. I saw my father contend with it. He once told me that although he returned from the Korean War in his early 20's, the flashbacks and nightmares continued well into his 70's. I guess my war isn't going to be over very easily either.
Dad once said, "That's just a part of war, a price you pay for freedom from tyranny. War is hell. No man in his right mind wants a war...but it's part of what must be done to keep terrorism and tyranny from our shores. Yet, terrorism is here. We must be vigilant. In your war against Lyme, you must be vigilant. I know you're afraid sometimes, but you've got warrior blood running through your veins. You have what it takes. You can win."

I believe him.  So, I fight. Daily. And, I rest, which is not a passive event when you must do it in order to live. I'll do every single thing, big or small, in my power in order to win. Live or die, I will cultivate joy, friendships, and show forth love to this hurting world. I'll try my best to educate civilians (Non-Lyme Warriors) so that there are less casualties from this Goliath called Lyme. 

I want to shout it from the rooftops; "I am not afraid! Damn the torpedoes, Love is my battle cry, so full speed ahead!" 

xoxo

Not today

Lisa Williams

I'm getting dressed for a Birthday party in late November that I'm not even sure I can attend. It looks and feels like Christmas outside and I really want to attend this celebration. However, my body is revolting just as it has before every other Christmas or Birthday party I've been invited to this winter. My body has bah-humbugged every last event by screaming in no uncertain terms to me, "NO! You shall not enjoy Christmas or any other event this winter! You are banished to the abyss of nothingness. You shall go nowhere and do nothing, thus shall be your holiday season!"

With every motion I make, my body feels heavier. I am so far beyond tired, there ought to be a page or two reserved just for me in The Guinness Book of World Records. "World's Most Fatigued Woman", yep that sounds about right.  
 I'm utterly drained of strength, yet I've done nothing today. Lyme does that. I don't know how, it just does, but I know that short of being hospitalized, I cannot cancel. It's too important and every last soul there is expecting me. My goal is to flat push through this fatigue like a John Deere. Truth is, my feeble attempts to navigate through this exhaustion is much more like one of those teensy Smart cars stuck in newly poured concrete.

I'm trying to go faster. Gah! I'm going to be late. My arms and legs just will not move as I'm demanding they should. I lift my arm with the intention of putting mascara on my blonde eyelashes. For a quick second I want to curse my Irish roots and ask the heavens why on earth I couldn't have been born with dark lashes that can actually been seen without black goop on them. I shake my head half with angst and half shaking cobwebs loose and trying to get my brain to focus. Now that I'm going to be far more than fashionably late, I chide myself with inevitable questions that I'm sure every "Lymie" asks themselves every now and again.

How many times have you cancelled on people in ten years, Lisa?
I can't even count.

How many times have you made your friends wait for you?
I still...I can't count. Oh ghost of condemnations past, please go away.

Because while I think two hours is sufficient time, (after all, it was that one day) clearly, today it's just not enough time for my frail chassis to prepare itself to be seen by and interact with other people, and I rather hate myself for it. Oh, I know I can't be held responsible for contracting Lyme, nor am I accountable for what it has done to me, but somewhere deep down in the Grand Canyon of my soul rests a relic of a thought. A thought that keeps telling me that by George, if I just try a little bit harder, I can somehow, magically be well. Only, today, my try along with my hope is as lost as lost can be and in the present darkness of this mad moment, I'm as sure as shootin' that there will be no recovery of it. Maybe, it is simply buried away along with all of my other numb emotions today and like an archeologist, I will have the tools to dig deeper and rediscover it tomorrow. 

But...not today.

Today I haven't so much as a teensy tiny glimmer of hope.

Mascara on. Praise the Lord and pass the hot buttered rum, my eyeliner is done now, too. Lipstick swiped across lips that are refusing to smile today. Maybe I will feel something smile worthy later, at the party... that is, if I make it there.

I can hear my husband in the garage downstairs. He's warming up the truck and I haven't got my boots on yet. It's his sweet and patient way of nudging me to hurry, except my hurry is absent and unaccounted for.

My hair is a rebellious mess. Where is my good hairbrush? I stare in the mirror at this half-curly-with-tendrils-and-half-straight-as-a-bone-hair-weirdness. I furrow my brow and scowl at my own reflection. I feel ugly. I used to feel pretty.

Not today. 

Thanks genetics. Thanks Mom for the bone straight hair and thanks Dad for the curly locks but, seriously, why couldn't I just have one or the other? I vehemently dislike this bad hair day so I decide to don a hat with shimmery little sequins on it. I slip on one boot, then the other and force my feet through invisible-molasses-in-winter-time to get myself downstairs. Upon seeing me, my husband quickly walks nearer, holds out his arms, and halfway whispers, "You look radiant and your hat has little bits of glitter on it, it reminds me of you, baby doll."

I smile and melt into his arms, resting nearly all of my weight onto his strong body. He holds me steady and asks if I can make it.

"I think I can, I think I can." I whisper to him and to the little glimmer of hope that has accompanied his embrace.

He settles me into the truck and fastens my safety belt over me, because he knows my cramping hands cannot do it for myself today, but he doesn't make a fuss over it. He just humbly does what needs to be done, reading my cues along the way.

"You'll do great today my darlin.'" he whispers again, knowing loud noise is going to hurt my head today. "And if you feel too weak, you can lean on me. If you need to leave, we'll politely make our exit. Deal?"

You know me so well. Deal, I think as I nod my head slightly. It hurts to move. I find this so unfair. Really, it just plain old should not hurt to move, but bah-humbug, it does.

___

An hour later we arrive at our destination and begin to see folks wandering into the lovely club house we've rented for this party. Balloons and streamers deck the halls and children are romping playfully while grown ups hob nob and collaborate with one another regarding the Christmas season.

I did it. I made it here. I get to engage in this happy day. The pain and exhaustion will not win.

Not today.

The little glimmer of hope grows a few sizes, rather like the Grinch's heart in Who-Ville.
I glance over at my husband and he nods knowingly; yes, she is alright for right now. Then, I fix my gaze, for longer than a few moments, on my grandson who just turned one and his father who just turned thirty and I can't look away if I tried, and I don't want to.

They are playing together and it's like a scene from one of those 1950's feel good movies that you just want to watch over and over again. It's a classic, the kind that makes you feel just a slight nip of sadness when it's over. The kind of scene you simply cannot stop watching and you suddenly crave popcorn.
I study every inch of their glad faces. I soak in their laughter like a sponge. The sound somehow reminds me of jingle bells in crisp, new snow and invigorates my spirit. My mind wanders back in time to 29 years ago when my baby was turning one and his big brother was nearly three.

My heart skips a beat, literally. For a split second I wonder if it's because Lyme has weakened my heart or if love has strengthened it in just this instant. Either way, it's welling up with pride and sheer bliss that I have lived through the worst of Lyme and I can experience this day.

My granddaughters and my other son join in this moment, unaware that I am mesmerized by them as I carefully attempt to memorize their every move. I want to freeze time somehow, I want my brain to take a snapshot so that I will never, ever forget this scene. The way their eyes sparkle and the movement of their facial muscles. The way my granddaughter's hair shines in the sunlight pouring through the window. The hearty laughs of both my grown sons mingles with the rolling belly laughs of their children. 

Then, my soul is illumined with the fact that I am gazing upon the very ones who will be here long after I am not. They will carry on my legacy. Now, I know this much is true:
This fight to be here... to be right here, right now in this place, was all completely and utterly worth every millisecond of pain or struggle.
Because this, this right here is my hope. This Super Nova, this oh-my-stars-glimmering-wonderment-of-hope is mine all mine. It's the pure, delicious love I delight in, the joy I swim in. I devour it all as I breathe it in and bask in the sweet presence of love so divine that It gives me strength. Then, for an hour or so, the fatigue that has plagued me all day takes it's own nap and I am free and unencumbered to be present in this exquisite gift of the right here and now.
I whisper thank you to my God and to the love in this whole wide world that seems to have settled upon me.

Oh yes, this love has fallen upon my brow, my body, my very heartbeat and the heartbeat inside of my heartbeat. It's like the snow that falls, dusting the tree branches outside, like sweet powered sugar falling from a euphoric sky.

Love has surrounded me like a warm blanket on this wintery day and it feels like Christmas.

I smile at the faces I haven't seen in so long, and I feel as though I will make it, not just through this day, but through this entire ongoing battle, this relentless war, this ever present contention with my vile enemy, Lyme disease.

Today it will not win. No, not today. Today I have glistening, shimmering, amazing-grace-filled-hope...and not a thing can take it away.

Not today.

 xoxo

Stepping up to the Plate

Lisa Williams

When I was in the fourth grade, my elementary school teacher, Mrs. Wylie, organized a Mush Ball game for morning recess time. Each week she choose new team captains, who would then choose their teams. Every Monday morning just before recess, she would announce the week's new head honchos.

I stood there among the team captain hopefuls and with the eagerness of would be lottery winners, we cringed each time someone else's name was called. The suspense nearly made us pass out or at the very least scream. There we were, 25 or so, jittery, energy filled 9 year olds awaiting what we deemed to be the chance of a lifetime.

"Team Captain," can't you just hear the angels singing at the sound of that title? It rivaled any we had known thus far. Even if you were a no-name before, if you were picked by Mrs. Wylie for team captain, you gained popularity faster than your mom could cook instant Cream of Wheat.
I was never chosen for Team Captain, so I settled for just being picked for a team. The fear of rejection was the same as any other kids, but looking back I can see why nobody truly wanted me on their teams at first. I was the skinny girl, the toe head, the "dumb blonde." I was awkward and as far as anyone in my class knew, not very good at sports, especially "boy" sports.
Or was I?
What they didn't know was that my dad or sisters played "catch" with me most every evening. My cousin Steve and Uncle Bobby taught me how to pitch. My neighborhood had our own ball "teams" and we played ball quite often after school until the street lights came on. My cousins and I played ball together at picnics and other outings and we really liked it.
Still, I was usually picked last or not at all. I never even got the chance to bat, until one fateful morning. 
I can still remember that sunny day. I was finally up to the plate for the first time. The pitcher turned to his team and said "It's Claiborne, bring it in, she can't hit." Slowly the outfield players all walked in, expecting an easy out.

The pitch, the swing, the miss. No runs, no hits, no errors and I was afraid. 

My palms were sweaty. I looked around as if I was looking for a way out or a source of confidence or something. Anything.

From the corner of my eye I thought saw her. Then, I turned my head and clearly saw my big sister, Peggy, watching from afar. I knew she was rooting for me. She nodded. I nodded back. Then another ball was released from the pitchers arm as though gravity didn't exist. I swung as hard as my frail arms could swing.

I hit a home run and the crowd went wild. I imagine that might've been how Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle felt when they hit their first homer. After that, I was picked first by a team captain, every week. As I rounded the bases that day, I could hear my big sister cheering, as she jumped up and down. Then the entire team began to cheer, "Claiborne, Claiborne, Claiborne!"

They're chanting my name! Hey, I'm not such a bad player after all!

Today, I'm the pitcher and I'm pitching to you, my reader. Not only am I the pitcher, my calling has made me "Team Captain", but I'm afraid this position hasn't afforded me much popularity. You don't become super popular when you're asking for other people's hard earned money. Yes, I am asking, but not for myself.

How can I cause you to catch a glimpse of my vision?

I know there are so many causes, worthy causes, out there in the world and no doubt all of you see pleas for donations each day in your social media newsfeeds.

But...tonight, I'm weeping at the thought of one more person dying of Lyme disease.

Can you hear these cries? I know of that which I speak because it almost took my life in 2005. I was fortunate enough to have insurance, and, believe me, what insurance covers is merely a drop in the bucket of what it costs to overcome Lyme.
The IDSA (Infectious Disease Society of America) has guidelines on how they say doctors are supposed to treat Lyme. However, those guidelines are not only bogus, they are outdated. The guidelines haven't changed since the 80's. The IDSA, Big Pharma and insurance companies can't make money from Lyme when it is correctly treated. They say 3 weeks of antibiotics are enough, and that Late Stage Lyme doesn't exist. HOGWASH! When Lyme bacteria isn't caught early it multiplies within the body and over the months or years it becomes chronic and deadly.

It's taken me 10 years to get to the place I'm at today in regards to Lyme, and I still have to have treatment to stay alive. Three weeks worth of antibiotics would not have "cured" me, I may as well have eaten Skittles as medicine for that length of time.
Why does the IDSA do this, you ask? Because they love money more than people, so they instigated this evil to deny Lyme patients treatment and they target and shut down physicians that don't comply with their insane policies regarding Lyme treatment.
Since 2005, I have seen 7 different Lyme doctors, 5 of which were targeted and shut down by the "Big Wigs". They were threatened. "We'll pull your medical license," they were told. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the threats were more dangerous than that. When people love money that much, they don't care who lives or dies.
I'm a lot better than I was in 2005. I can walk now, I can travel, write, have fun and most of the time I can drive. Treatment days are still rough but I'm living and not dying.

I know some people that are not so fortunate. I want to help them, but I can't do it alone.

So, I'm doing what any self respecting Lyme Warrior would do. I'm starting a foundation to bring financial aid to those with Lyme who can't afford treatment. My husband Chuck and I mulled over the name and decided that everyone needs a little glimmer of hope to carry on when they're in the dark, thus was born the name The Little Glimmer Lyme Foundation. We're in the process of obtaining our 501 c3 status, but that doesn't mean we can't get crack-a-lackin' now. To learn more about what we do at Little Glimmer Lyme Foundation, please visit our website at www.littleglimmer.com

Please be patient with us. We're just getting started. Funds are low, but won't be low forever. If you know someone who needs help, please click the "contact" button on our website www.littleglimmer.com and shoot us an e-mail. We'll do what we can to help.

The bases are loaded, there are two outs and I've never been up to bat in this kind of World Series before. Please be like my big sister, and cheer me on. Please catch this vision and step up to the plate with me. I have to hit a home run with this, because it's not a game. It's life or death.

Together, we can win this. 
 xoxo

Conquering one step at a time

Lisa Williams

I'm inside a tube.

I'm inside a big, white, hollow tube thingy.

I have a mask over my face that makes me look like a linebacker. They gave me music to listen to via earplugs that is supposed to help lessen the deafening noise of this machine. It seems that somewhere in the distance I can hear Sweet Home Alabama under the banging, clanging and beeping, but barely.

My body is inside of a big, white, hollow tube because they are looking for the reason or reasons why I've been passing out, having seizures, and generally feeling like everything around me is spinning or shifting nearly all of the time.

It's really loud in here and these earplugs aren't all that and a bag of chips. And my face itches. Of course it itches when I'm not allowed to scratch it.

A tumor could be in my head? I do not need another health issue, God. I mean, you know this, right? Lyme is quite enough. I'm sorry, God, I don't mean to be sassy or make demands on you, but, seriously? Oh God, I know that you're kind and I know, that you know, that I've been through the mother of all wringers over the past 10 years. Could you please let this not be a tumor?

These past few months of my life have contained days upon days of one medical test after another. I swear the phlebotomists are secretly vampires. There's no way they need that much of my blood for these tests. Yep, vampires. Blood sucking villains that would put Edward, Bella and the entire cast of Twilight to shame. 

Today, laying inside this claustrophobic noise machine, I still don't have all of the results yet. What I do know according the results that I do have, is that 10 years after the initial diagnosis of late stage Lyme Disease, I am still no better. I have not advanced, in fact, I am worse off than when I began the very first treatment. Lyme has invaded and I am still at war with this monster.

But, I fought so hard! I've done everything I was supposed to do! I was supposed to be better by now, dammit! 

Dear God, I'm sorry for the swear word, but, it seems to me that there's just no other word that will do. Lyme is a damned awful disease from the pit of hell.

I have not advanced.

Not. One. Little. Bit.

Doctors have managed to keep me alive and that's about it.

Alive. Alive to do more than just feel physical pain and limitations all of the time, right? Alive...to actually live, right?

Just wait one little minute here! How am I supposed to plan absolutely anything in my life when I don't know if I'll be alive next week or not?
But...wait a sec. None of us knows what tomorrow might bring. I could die today or on my 100th birthday.

It's good when you have a sense of where you're headed on life's journey, but it's not imperative.

What? You've gotta be kidding me!

Abraham had no idea where God was leading him, but at the command of God, he got up and went.
Hebrews 11:8 (NAS)  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

We walk by faith, not by sight. If we could see ahead of time every step we were to make, we would have no need of faith in God or ourselves at all. God is the only one who sees the entire journey, and we are not required to see every step we are to take, only to take them.
It's important to note that when Abraham went to where he was called to go, that not everyone he knew went with him. Not everyone could because not everyone had the same call on their lives that Abraham did.

Get this clear in your thinking: Where you are called to go, not everyone can go with you. Your journey, your cadence is just that; Yours.

It's not that your cadence is better than anyone else's or that walking it makes you a better person than anyone else is. It's just different. All of us are on different journeys in this life and sometimes, to get to where we are going, we have to leave certain things and certain people behind. It doesn't mean we don't love and care for those people. We do. It just means they can't tag along on the cadence to which you are intimately called to walk. Certain activities can't tag along, either.

Certain people and certain activities just do not belong on your journey. Let them be and follow your own calling towards your own destiny.

Certain activities, attitudes and habits have to be taken off so to speak, like an old coat whose fabric has lost it's weave and buttons, and thus, it's warmth and usefulness. Don't hesitate to remove the old garments that are worn thin. You may have gotten used to the old ways, comfortable in them. The new seems odd to you, but the new is exactly what you need.

The newness, embrace it all, put it on like a new outfit, even if it seems odd to you at first. You will find that it's necessary and it will bring color and function to the stark, dull places in your journey.

Your journey is as unique as you are and the difficulties you encounter along the way have the capacity to connect you with other people that you would never have been connected with otherwise. Some of these connections serve purposes that haven't even crossed your mind yet. Some people needed you to cross their path, and you need them just as much.

So you don't know where this journey will ultimately lead you? Neither does anyone else, but you can't go backwards and you can't stand still for too long or you risk getting stuck.

Leave the baggage behind. Let go of everything that impedes your progress.

I'm letting go of the doubt, the fear, the complaining. I'm going forward. I will keep fighting, no matter what.

Go forward, one step at a time, even if you don't know where you're going. Just take one step, then another, then another.

See? You're making progress already.

 xoxo