I laid my head in-between the donut-shaped pillow at the end of the examination bench, my back exposed to the warm air flowing softly from the heat lamps carefully positioned to keep me comfortable. I popped my headphones in and opted for something other than Enya, although her music moves me, my fingers sliding and tapping and landing on a podcast of yesterday’s sermon we didn’t get to hear. I made my face, forehead, and cheeks as comfortable as I could, melting into the table as each little pin prick made me jump as if I were about to be tickled or perhaps, get a shot. I’ve never liked needles. I don’t think anyone does, but I am especially afraid of them and that initial poke of surprise.
This morning I had my third acupuncture treatment for PCS – Pelvic Congestion Syndrome. I have been having chronic pelvic and lower back pain for the last five, and after a ultrasound have been recently diagnosed with what is best described as severe varicose veins surrounding my uterus, most likely a result of my pregnancies and the stress that they caused my insides. I am at the early stages of figuring out how to deal with this thing, outside of being glued to my hot water bottle and ingesting silly amounts of ibuprofen, the only suggestion given to me as of now. But acupuncture has been helping.
I laid there, my ears tuned into God’s word and the passionate voice of our pastor who has just returned from the Holy Land. I soaked up each sentence and formed pictures in my mind, trying not to think about the twenty or so needles sticking out my body and the ache I feel that I want to just go away. My mind kept drifting to the protests going on around our country. To the airports. To the women who are in pain and in need of a sonogram like the one I had but cannot afford one. To my dear friend’s newborn baby who is in the NICU awaiting heart surgery. To Stella running at school. To the constant throbbing down there. To what I should make for supper. To the news. To the bird I heard chirping this morning. To the homeless man that stands on the street that I pass to get groceries. To the footage and pictures and images of those who are choosing bravery and discomfort and are standing up for the marginalized right now. To those who continue to move me to tears as they act boldly as the hands and feet of Jesus.
These images, they popped into my head like I was thumbing through a flip book, each page an extension of the one before it creating a story of my thoughts, fragmented but somehow connected. I could feel my heart beating into the table as I heard these words echoed again, familiar ones by Dallas Willard spoken now several times in our church, “How do we grow spiritually? We do the next right thing we know we ought to do.” These words washed over me and gave me hope. I thought to myself, what do I spend time avoiding because I don’t want to have a hard conversation with others or myself. How much energy do I spend steering clear of things in my life out of comfort? How do I engage in all that is going on right now, all these things that seem so big and so hard – things I know are not right or compassionate or what I believe in? What do I do next? That’s a lot to think on, but it’s a place to start.
Beatrice Mae - Beautiful words. The quote spoke volumes to me as well. Thank you for this.
Kristin - Well said. I am praying for you and guidance toward the proper treatment. I love Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself”. Our self love often looks more like subconscious self preservation. We may not take the best care of ourselves but we innately do things in our own interest. How beautiful it is when we live this way for others, cultivating a habit of service and selflessness.
admin - Kristin, thank you for your prayers dear. I so appreciate anything that helps me figure out how to mitigate this pain. x Amanda
Logan Hahn - I love your words so much. They speak directly to my heart. I would love one of those drawings. Absolutely beautiful. A line from our sermon this Sunday that may tie right into how you’re feeling… “Let fear and failure be a teacher, but not a boss.”
admin - Logan, I have several copies to sell and if you’d like one go ahead and send me your email over at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you! Amanda
Nicci Schoen - This is a lovely post, yet it was hard for me to read because I know I need to take this advice. I need to RSVP to this invitation and mark it on my calendar so I remember to “do the next right thing”. Thanks for sharing and empowering. It was just the push I needed today.
Jeana Saeedi - I needed these words today <3 Thank you for this lovely piece of truth.
Nina - Hi Amanda, such soulful and contemplative words. I can tell you were an English teacher. I am a middle school art teacher and would love to have a copy of that print for my classroom! I would be happy to pay any fees you might incur. I can email you with my address! Thanks so much 🙂 Nina
admin - Nina, I have several copies to sell and if you’d like one go ahead and send me your email over at email@example.com Thank you! Amanda
Ashley - But what is it? What can we, as families, do? How do we stand on the middle *solid* ground of love and kindness- helping our neighbor- being on the front lines in the field- despite political affiliation or offenses? What does that look like? Something beyond prayer, beyond donating, beyond talk, beyond marching. Where do we serve? How can we make this actionable?
admin - Ashley, these are the very questions I have been asking myself day in and day out. I think it starts with helping your actual neighbor and going from there with what you have and what you are able. Giving kindness and patience and grace to strangers is wonderful too. I keep thinking that small things add up and if I just give intention to the world around me as I go about my day, I am radiating more good than I may even realize! x Amanda
Kelsey Morris - As your sister in Christ, I would highly encourage you to do some studies on healing in the Lord. He died for your complete and total health and He can surely heal you. I am praying for you sweet Amanda. Also, your father in law is so talanted, I would love a copy of that painting. How much would one be?
admin - Kelsey, Thank you for your prayers. It’s been forever since I have not had this pain and I am ready to feel whole again. I have several copies to sell and if you’d like one go ahead and send me your email over at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you! Amanda
Johanna Roman - So beautiful, I always like how you write things in your blog :), sending you nothing but good vives and I know things will work out for you they always seem to happen. Thank you for sharing and wow yes your father in law is very talented.
admin - Johanna, I will pass those kind words of your along to him! Thank you! x Amanda
Hayley - Thank you, just what I needed to read today!
I wish you well Amanda
Viktoria - Hello Amanda,
I am a new reader to your blog and have to say you keep inspiring me, even though I am not a mum (yet), to live simply but have courage and notice all those little things that show extra magic when done with care and attention.
The picture of the print on the Instagram made me immediately wonder how to find out where to get it:) So, I am wondering, how would one go about that?
Wish you smooth recovery and all the best!
admin - Viktoria, thank you for your kind words. I have several copies to sell and if you’d like one go ahead and send me your email over at email@example.com Thank you! Amanda
Brandy - The next right thing. Such a good place to start. Thank you. I hope that you are feeling well again. I’ve had some discomfort from my own three pregnancies and have been trying to address that this year. Maya Arvigo massage helped me. That painting is so nice. Are you selling copies of the painting? I love winter pictures.
admin - Brandy, thank you for this suggestion! I am adding it to the list of things to look up, I so appreciate it! Yes, I have several copies to sell and if you’d like one go ahead and send me your email over at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you! Amanda
Ami - Have you tried taking magnesium? It can really help cramps. I always had immense pain during my first days of the period and now I start taking magnesium daily five days before it starts and it’s been the first time since 13 years that I didn’t even need any painkillers. Maybe the pain won’t go away completely but I guess every little bit helps!
admin - Ami, I have not! I will be looking into this, thank you so much! x Amanda
Jandee - I can relate on so many levels. I hate to offer “advice”, we are all so different and have different needs. So here is some information-Dr. Donald Decanio D.C. based in Olathe. Life changer. I speak from experience.
TangerineandMe.com - I’m so sorry to hear about your health condition, as someone who deals with chronic pain I can understand the feeling of fear and hopelessness.
As much grief as being sick has caused me I have also learned how special the good days are and how much of a support God can be when there is no one else to reach out too.
Wishing you all the best in your acupuncture treatments and I hope that it brings you some relief.
admin - Thank you so much, I really appreciate your kind words. Have a beautiful week! x Amanda
Francesca - Dear Amanda,
I am so grateful for your blog. I often come to it when I need a boost or some inspiration – thank you for sharing your beautiful home, thoughts on parenting and ideas to further deepen the connection with your family. My daughter, Evie, and I are planning to make a wreath for Spring over the coming weekend thanks to one of your posts!
I was really moved by your piece, entitled, ‘what next’ and would love to purchase a copy of your father-in-law’s watercolour. I live in Oxford, UK… would it be possible to ship abroad?
I look forward to your reply.
Kristen - I just wanted to tell you that I so appreciate your blog. The simplicity and beauty is always such a great reminder for me to slow down and take in what is going on around me. I’m currently pregnant with my first child (due in a few short months!) and will be transitioning from working full time in an office to being a full-time stay-at-home mom and I am so looking forward to it yet am nervous at the same time. I love how intentional your posts are regarding time and how to go through the days with children. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement to do real life. You can bet I’ll be continuing to read your stuff! Can’t wait for the book to come out!