Thursday, July 26, 2012


I've mentioned for awhile now that I haven't been 100% healthy for a little while now.  I haven't fully disclosed details to much more than a handful of people for a few reasons.

Why I haven't shared:
First-- I'm embarrassed.
I'm embarrassed about how I look.  Honestly.  This isn't for people to console me.  It's just the truth.  My health issues have caused me to retain fluid (not water but fluid that a normal body rids of naturally) from my face all the way down to my toes.  I definitely look plumper than I ever have, and I know what people assume when they see someone gain weight.  They think lazy, eating too much, let herself go.  But they don't ever think it's for medical reasons.  And that's hard to live with.  Whether or not you're a vain person, you don't want to be judged by how you look, especially when it's far from the truth.

Second-- I'm still being diagnosed.
I don't want to talk about every little test or treatment, because it can change quickly until the doctors finally figure it out.  I have a big doctors appointment in a couple weeks that hopefully will find the complete answer.  I'm being treated for some symptoms right now, but we haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet.  I don't want to seem overly dramatic or shifting with the wind on diagnoses.

Third-- I don't want to be a negative person.
When you're dealing with something like this, it really takes an emotional and mental toll of you.  It's tough.  And I don't want people to feel like I'm always complaining or asking for attention.  So I try to keep it all together and do as much as I can to keep up and live normally, even if it's really, really tough.

Why I should share:
First-- You need to know you're not alone.
If you're going through something similar, you know it's easy to feel alone or feel that others don't fully understand.  You're not alone.  Right now I'm being treated for lymphedema symptoms, and if you're having to go through funny looking treatments like me, then it can be embarrassing and hard to share.  So I'm sharing just to show you that I'm going through it too!
I have to wear each of these at home for daily therapy:
These are pumps that stimulate my lymph nodes, and they're cumbersome and silly looking, but they give me relief, so I love them!
I also have to drive 30 minutes twice a week to physical therapy where they do this:
My legs stayed wrapped.  They only time they're not wrapped is when I go to therapy; they unwrap them, do therapy, and rewrap them.  I'll do this for several weeks.  The wraps also work on my lymphatic system.  Try going shopping or out to eat in these things.  Pants don't fit over them, so you can't hide them.  And people like to stare.  People also say really dumb things, so you just have to smile.
So if you're having to go through treatment that's somewhat publicly embarrassing, I'm here to hug you and say, I understand!

Second-- My Lord has blessed me immensely.
Every time I feel like I can't go on, He shows Himself and give me the strength I need.
I can't begin to tell you every detail of how He's blessed me along the way.  I've had great doctors and great therapists.  I've even had receptionists that have comforted me!  The lady that worked for the company that provided the lymphedema pumps has been so sweet.  Health care is expensive, but many of my bills have been heavily discounted or donated.  I've had to shell out some money, but God knew ahead of time in my former job that a health savings account would help me pay for those bills today.

Please, please believe me when I say none of this is for pity.  It's for me to tell you that you're not alone.  And if you're blessed in health right now, it's to tell you that I know you may have other hardships right now.  And you may not have to be wrapped and wear silly garments like me, but I know your pain might be just as hard to bear.  And I pray that you see God's hand in your life and allow Him to strengthen you and use your pain for good.

I'm disabling the comments for this post, but if you want to talk or let me know what you're going through, you can send me an email- marlashep(at)aol(dot)com

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fresh Guacamole Recipe

It's hot hot hot outside, which means I want something cool and fresh to eat.  I've been making lots of guacamole.  It's perfect for when you're feeding lots of people or for when you want to snack on it a few days (I'll tell you how to keep it good for a couple days!).

Let's get started...

1)Dice half a red onion.
I like red because of the flavor and color.  If you're not crazy about onion, you can use less, but I wouldn't omit it altogether.
2)Squeeze the juice from one lemon over the onions and stir.

3) Put two ripe avocados in with the onions. (My husband likes for me to use four it just depends on how much you want!)

4) Grab a potato masher, and mash the avocado!

5) Add minced garlic (fresh or jarred),

6) Add cumin and cayenne pepper to taste.

7) Dice one tomato.  I've also found that slicing cherry tomatoes work; I almost prefer those, because they stay firm and are easier to slice up.

8) Add the tomatoes to the mixture.

9) Add juice from another lime. (My husband also prefers omitting this last again, it's up to you!)
(Optional: Add cilantro.  I add it if I have some around the house).

10) Take the pits (pits? seeds? What are they called??) from the two avocados, and put them in the mixture.
Leave them in.  They'll help keep it fresh and green!

I keep mine in a tupperware bowl so it will seal up.  It stays good in the fridge for about three days.  The lime juice may need to be stirred as the guacamole sits, but I think the flavor is actually better on the second day when all the flavors are married together.

Ruby sat at the kitchen door while I made this.

She was waiting for a tortilla chip.

How do you like your guacamole?

Monday, July 16, 2012

BIG NEWS! Blue Kite Boutique Coming Soon!

I can FINALLY tell you my BIG NEWS!!!!

For months I've been wanting to shout it from the roof tops.  It's one reason I left my job, and it's one reason why my life is so crazy right now...


Soon you'll be able to shop at Blue Kite Boutique (well, if you live in or are visiting the area!)!!!

I'm so excited about this new adventure.  It's a place for me to sell my merchandise and concentrate my energy, rather than trying to market and sell at several different stores like I was before.  It's also a place for other artists, craftsmen, etc. to sell their goods.  I'm excited about building a community within the small four walls of the boutique.

I hope you'll come visit!

Check out the Blue Kite Boutique blog, and follow it on facebook and twitter to get updates about the grand opening!

love, love, love,

Sunday, July 08, 2012

another year of life

I haven't posted in a month.  A month!  I've never been away that long.  I'm still reeling about my picture situation and have found it easier to ignore the blog than face the fact the pictures will probably never be recovered.  Pity party of one!

I turned 27 this week.  27!  If you had asked me ten years ago where I would be at 27, I probably would have guessed with kids.  Well, I am happily married, but we're not ready for kids.  And I don't feel like I'm in my late 20s...whatever that's supposed to feel like!  I also wouldn't have guessed I'd have health problems, but they're being attended to, and hopefully I'll soon live as though I did before.  I also wouldn't have guessed I would have changed jobs, but I did!  Isn't it funny how we make plans for the future?  I'm at a point where I'm just ready to see what God has in store for me next and not worry so much about planning my life and instead just enjoy each little things that comes along.  It's pretty liberating.
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