A face without freckles is like a night without stars...

Starr is me, I am her, and she is I. She is so much more than she thinks she is. If you asked her, she would say she is just a mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. However, she has been told many times, that she is more than that. Her loving Heavenly Father reminds her all the time, that she has gifts and talents to share with the world, and that like unto her name, she should let them so shine before others, that they may light the day, like the stars light the night. She is passionate, loyal, and gentle all at the same time.

Often when people see her they don't see a gentle, quiet and fragile woman; however, they are wrong. Deep down inside that's who she is, and only those who are truly looking, will see who she really is. If you happen to make it through her exosphere, consider yourself to be a blessed individual. Not many make it there, but when they do, they have a permanent place. Her caring ways, allow her to see things in the world a bit differently than others, unique to a fault.

She truly sees through a darkened glass, and can see beyond the darkness, and find hope throughout the world. Beyond her large, thick exterior are gems within her that are priceless, that are only valued on a spiritual level. Buried within the layers of her atmosphere are different pieces of her puzzle, and even she has yet to put all of the pieces into place. May you enjoy each piece she writes; they truly are the picture into her puzzle.

My Children

I am the mama of two all encompassing children, who own every ounce of my heart and soul, even the part their dad holds onto gets kicked out at times when one of the two does something magical to melt my heart. LillyRose is our precious big girl now, who is a whopping 6 years old! From the moment she wakes in the morning until her head hits the pillow at night in one way or another she reminds us that she holds a status the rest of us don't: Miss Diva Wildfire. Her independent nature, and natural ability to question the world around her has given her the actual gift of life, as every family member knew when she was born at 2lbs 6oz, a fighter since the day she was born.

Our son Abraham Jr. is our love bug. He has eyes that melt every inch of any woman's soul, Look out Ladies! At 5 years old, he is such a smarty pants and I LOVE it! His father recently said he had a genius on his hands, I didn't dispute him or his shining pride I felt emanating from his smile. My son is like the coals beneath a beautiful fire, and often times these parts of his personality help me through my days and "ignite my own fires within myself." Like his sister he too came into this world a fighter at 3lbs 6oz, and his tantrums prove to us that life wouldn't be as interesting without him.

My Children "run" the show, even though we would never admit that to them! That would result in utter defeat in our battle of parenthood. Our days revolve around their schedules, routines, likes, dislikes and even the amount of dishes in the sink when mommy has friends over! My oh my! ;) Together they make up the valves within our hearts, and are the blood circulating through our veins. We are extremely blessed to be their parents and though parenthood has tested us in ways we never imagined, I know we'd be lost without it.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Living with Chronic Kidney Disease

As I sit in bed next to my son watching endless YouTube videos of kids playing with toys, I can't help but feel like I am somehow not being a "good" mom. My expectation of who I would be as a mother vs. Reality sometimes sends tears down my cheeks. Yet, there is this small voice within me at the same time that says: "How are YOU even going to get out of bed today, Starr?" The pain is overwhelming, and the thought of beginning my daily routine, overwhelms me to the point, I almost have a panic attack, almost every single day. Yet, I get up and I do what needs to be done, because I have these amazing people in my life who depend on me. My CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) has been a consistent companion in my life from the time I was seven years old. The trauma of having lived with a life debilitating disease most of my life has taught me so much about compassion, persistence and hope. Each morning that I wake up, it's a reminder that I have purpose in my life. The day always begins with medication, and it takes everything I have to even take the medication that will get me through my day. My bones ache. My insides ache. My mind feels slower than ever. At 35 years old, it's difficult to even get the house clean, laundry washed, dried and folded, shower, dress; Let alone put my makeup and do my hair. Which happens to be a rare occasion lately, and I think I am coming to accept that, though it's difficult. Everything I do requires energy that feels like I don't have.

Before I go any further, I would like to give a brief overview of what symptoms CKD might include.
According to the National Kidney Foundation:

What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?

Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

What are the symptoms of CKD?

Most people may not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. However, you may notice that you:
  • feel more tired and have less energy
  • have trouble concentrating
  • have a poor appetite
  • have trouble sleeping
  • have muscle cramping at night
  • have swollen feet and ankles
  • have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
  • have dry, itchy skin
  • need to urinate more often, especially at night.
There are five stages of CKD, and I am at Stage four. My life is altered by my disease in many ways. The ability to care for myself sometimes feels overwhelming, and caring for two small children who depend upon me each and every day is a joy, pleasure and blessing; Yet, it also takes everything I have. When people ask how I'm doing; it's a question I can't answer properly. The pain never ends, the tiredness never ends, HOWEVER, My hope never ends either! My hope in the ability to make it through my day one moment at a time never fails me. I KNOW the reason I have hope is because of my faith in Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. I have been lifted up during really hard times, in ways that are only explained as miracles. I have been given strength during moments of weakness that feel to threaten my sanity. Another reason I have hope is because of the service people have given me and my family. Countless times, I've been served, assisted, loved, and helped. My heart fills with gratitude at the faces that fill my mind with their hands of mercy, love and service. I've truly been blessed with people around me in the last four years, as my disease has progressed to Kidney Failure, that have been the hands of Jesus Christ. 

Living with a slow progressing disease is life for me. It's frustrating. I lose confidence. Scary. Painful. As much as I try not to let it run my life; I accept it, finally. I own my CKD now more than I ever have. I realize that I have limitations, yet, I try not to let those limitations hold me back from creating happiness for me and my family. I won't lie, some days are harder than others. My children watch more TV than I had ever "expected," Yet, it's been a blessing to have a way to entertain my children when all I can do it lay on the couch and watch with them. I always have viewed my life as if I'm in a boxing ring. I have my gloves on, my head gear, I've trained with a coach, I have him at my side encouraging me (Christ) and my opponent is life. I want to make it through this life, I may take some punches, I may take a lot, yet at the end of the day when I win the fight, though I may look bloody, bruised and beat up; I know My Father in Heaven will take me in his arms when my time comes to leave this earth, my pain and disease will be swallowed up in his power to heal. His love with shine around me, and because I tried my best to fight life in way that is acceptable to him; He will say to me: "You've done it, your trials are complete." 

If you ask me "How are you doing?" Just know that every day is a battle. Some days involve more punches than others. Most of the time, I'm just holding my hands up trying to block the punches; and when I throw a few, it takes most of the energy I have to do so. That doesn't mean stop asking, it just means that I have more hard days than good days right now. I felt the need to get this off my chest today, and that's okay. 

Thanks for reading my loves. 

One Love, 
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