The Ministry of Lisa Copen

Lisa Copen, Founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill, shares about mothering, illness, ministry and more.

Archive for Daily Ponders as I Wander

Oh, What a Day!

While trying to figure out how it’s 3:35PM and I just now got out of my pajamas and through the shower, I reflected back on my day and saw a pattern.  I couldn’t help but hear the 12 days of Christmas song!

5 kinds of entertainment for my little shepherd boy

4 loads of laundry

3 blogs posted

2 quiche made (1 burnt)

1 in gingerbread house makeover (previously collapsed)

all while still wearing this (cumbersome) splint!

…and we even got skype working so we can watch the rest of the family open gets 1000 miles away!

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Look More Awake for 12 Bucks? Sure!

eyerollerSo, I turned 41 last week… during Friday of Invisible Illness Week!  I remember being one of  the youngest gals everywhere I went… now I am looking at “age defying” make up.

Here is one item I am adding to my arsenal though, and regardless of your age (or gender) if you are in chronic pain and up many nights, you may be interested too.

It’s the new Garnie Nutrioniste Skin Renewal Anti-Puff Eye Roller. You just roll this “massage roller” that has a caffeine gel in it, under your eyes. It helps stimulate “microcirculation around the delicate eye area.” All for about 12 dollars.

I purchased this in August. The coolness of the metal tip of the applicator feels good, regardless of how well the product worked. But I wonder… could it be making a difference? The puffiness and creases seem a bit smaller. So whether it’s helping or having a placebo effect, I’m satisfied.

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Invisible Illness Week Thoughts – Day 1

woman-pjsI am up and at the computer about to start day 2 of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness WeeK. Your prayers have been so appreciated and I am thrilled that day 1 worked out so well with no technical glitches, no computer errors, etc.

This year I really wanted Georgia Shaffer to speak and Monday morning was the only slot she had available since she had a full week. (Thanks, Georgia for squeezing us in!) So we kicked things off and jumped right into talking about how we deal with our difficulties in life in different ways. We had over 200 listeners for our first show so we were off to a great start.

I have a pumpkin candle to create some atmosphere in my office, but am too scared to light it, so instead am just spritzing pumpkin room spray around. It smells like fall. I keep trying to turn and prop my feet up on a chair. My feet are swelling again and I don’t know if it’s the weather, or due to sitting so long here, or the angle of the chair. I keep moving everything to try to rotate positions.

Next was the 12 pm show. Jennifer Jaff shared some wonderful insight into insurance issues and also what to do when we have a pre-existing condition. This seminar is one you will want to listen to and have a piece of paper ready to take notes. She gave a lot of web sites that are helpful as well, all of which are available at her web site. And just a reminder that her services with her organization Advocacy for Patients are free (yep, you read that right.)

After the second show the phone rang and it was my parents. My mom said, “If it’s okay, I have a plane ticket I can get.” Okay? Yes! My parents had just returned from a trip to TN the day before (after being stuck overnight at SF due to plane issues). I hadn’t asked her to come for II Week because I didn’t think she should be returning from a long trip and then fly down here. She has her own chronic illness issues. But she said, “If you can do this, I can get on a plane. This is why I retired. ” Thanks to Dad who encouraged her to go and gave her 20,000 of her airline miles so the ticket was affordable.

My son gets out of school each day at 2:20 and I have shows at 3 and 5:30. Let’s just say I was desperate enough for childcare, after asking everyone I knew, to post it on Facebook. I figured maybe someone from Rest Ministries would know someone in San Diego and they could watch Josh in my home while I was just in the other room. But my mom is a’comin and should be here by noon today.

I explained to Josh’s teacher that this week was chaotic, and not normal, and that my mom would be picking him up the rest of the week.

If I sounded a bit frazzled when I first came on the line with Joanna Faillace for the 3 o’clock show it was because I picked my son up from school at 2:20. We ran home, I handed him milk and a snack, threw his karate uniform on. Packed him a snack to take. He said he’d wait in the driveway for his ride. I told him he could wait in the house, but he was feeling like a big boy and when I called “I love you!” he hollered back “I love you too.” Ahhh….

Just as we went live he appeared in my office and said, “They aren’t here yet. I’m thirsty.” I hit the mute button and said, “Go back outside. She’s coming. Milk is int he cooler.” I started the show and mouthed to him “I can’t talk” and waved. He went back outside and stood out there to wait for one of my dear friends to pick him up and take him to karate. I left her a bag of mail to drop into a mailbox even. Thank you, Shelley!

Once Joanne started talking I muted myself, took off the headset and ran out there to see if he was still there (Sorry, Joanne!). I had told him to come tell me when Shelley got there. He was gone. So was the mail. Okay…a kidnapper wouldn’t take the mail, right?

I ran back in and was back on the show. Joanne had a wonderful presentation about eating right, foods that are super-naturally healthy, and as always when I talk to her, I came away with some simple things I could easily do to improve my health- and dare I say – even metabolism. Now there is some motivation! I was glad I was keeping my food diary yesterday because I was stressed out enough I would have been eating more than I should.

I got off the phone and called Shelley to make sure she had Josh. They were finishing up karate learning cart wheels and then she was taking him to another a friend’s house to play. I called and left messages for my husband to pick up Josh (“I don’t have the address. He’s playing outside. It’s 2 or 3 houses down from Shelley’s house. Call me if you can’t find him.”) I reminded him to pick up drugs for me at the pharmacy too after work.  And then left 1 more message to pick up eggs.

We had our last Invisible Illness Week show of the day with Maureen Pratt who was calming and talked about having joy and gratitude despite illness. We had some wonderful encouraging calls (I love it when you call in!)

We finished at 6:30. I called my mom to make sure she had her ticket. I called Joel to make sure he found Joshua. They were looking for a clean restroom somewhere near the pharmacy (2 stores didn’t work) and they got home after 8.

I worked on blogs and answered emails until then they arrived home. Gave my kid a big hug and told him how proud of him I was. I grabbed a Nutrisystem lasagna and we ate at 8:15. I had Joel show me how to get the video game out of of the Playstation and then I went to Blockbuster at 8:45 to drop off movies and games that–if were not returned by midnight 9/14–we’d be charged for.

My husband volunteered, but actually I just wanted 15 minutes in the dark car alone and I blasted the “Our Hope Endures” song by Natalie Grant. I just picked up the CD last week as my “gift to myself” for this week and love her song “Our Hope Endures” that came out around the time I started Hope Endures podcasts last year. I will post a link to it later. Amazing song, and lyrics about a friend of hers that has cancer.

Got to bed by 10. Got back up at 10:30 and worked till 11:30. And -praise the Lord, slept!

I woke up at 5 a.m. and prayed for my mom who was just arriving at the airport to fly out. She should be in Seattle now (Eugene to Seattle, to San Diego is how it works.)

Got up at 7:15. I haven’t showered yet but I did throw on some clothes. I had a quick breakfast, watched 10 minutes about remembering Patrick Swayze on the Today show (sad), spent a few minutes in prayer and am going to be answering emails until the show starts with Pam Farrel (so excited to have her!). Then I hope to prepare a bit for the shows today, especially the one I am supposed to be doing on starting a business, since our second scheduled speaker had to cancel due to a family emergency. I have orders to send to our warehouse, and then need to grab a bite to eat.

Please keep us in prayer today. The shows, guests, listeners. Our guests that had to cancel have unspoken prayer requests. My mom’s best friend is 80 years old and having open heart surgery today too. She went into surgery at 7 a.m. and it should last 4-6 hours. So many people are hurting, including many of our speakers who are all coping with their own illnesses, and still doing the shows for all of us.

I hope that together we can reach out to everyone who needs reminded with the Lord’s love and hope.

God bless you, friends. Thanks so much for your support.

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30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

Get your own list and answer and send it on at invisibleillnessweek.com

Prize Give Away! Fill out #iiwk09 meme “30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know.” Copy it from our web site here: http://invisibleillnessweek.com/?p=2301 – Share it with others via Facebook “notes”, your blog, etc. THEN… post a COMMENT on our blog http://invisibleillnessweek.com/?p=23 w/ the link to where you posted it and we are going to choose 2 people to receive a prize Sept 5th, 2009.

hand

  1. The illness I live with is: rheumatoid arthritis
  2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 1993
  3. But I had symptoms since: a few months before diagnosis
  4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: everything-life was never the same and I am always in pain
  5. Most people assume: RA is an inconvenience, that is doesn’t impact every part of your life and every movement you make
  6. The hardest part about mornings are: getting up, I am very stiff and sore
  7. My favorite medical TV show is: It was “ER” for years. Stopped watching a few years ago
  8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: a jar opener
  9. The hardest part about nights are: actually sleeping, and getting all the pillows in the right places
  10. Each day I take about 20 pills (including vitamins)
  11. Regarding alternative treatments I: am open to ideas, but prefer to do my own research not get advice
  12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: invisible
  13. Regarding working and career: I was discouraged I couldn’t fulfill the plans I had, but I’ve found God had something better
  14. People would be surprised to know: how deformed my hands and feet are. That the arthritis is in every part of my body, not just “a place.”
  15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Seeing the progression of the breakdown of my body, despite the medications and knowing the older I get, the harder surgeries will be to recover from.
  16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: go on roller-coasters! We recently went to Disneyland and I just “did it.” And climbing up slides at the park when my son was a toddler and needed help going down.
  17. The commercials about my illness: are nothing like reality. They are very deceiving about most illnesses I think.
  18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: being carefree, being able to walk on sand down to the beach and just walk forever along the coast.
  19. It was really hard to have to give up: being creative with my hands like cross-stitching, quilting, etc.
  20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: creative things on the computer like digital scrapbooking
  21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Run. Play with my son, throwing a Frisbee, playing volleyball, running on the beach.
  22. My illness has taught me: that life is precious and not to take moments for granted or to take the health of your family for granted. We never know how much time we have with those we love.
  23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: I’m so glad you are feeling all better now!”
  24. But I love it when people: actually follow through when they volunteer to help me with something. It’s so hard to ask for help, and then when the person changes plans at the last minute because it’s just inconvenient for them, it can be difficult for a person with illness to find a back up (I’m thinking of generalities here, not a specific situation.)
  25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: “My comfort in my suffering is this: [God’s] promise preserves my life.” Psalm 119:50 I put it in my emails and when I autograph books.
  26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: You are not alone in this. It will be hard, but the most important thing is to turn to God, not away from Him. And to find a friend who understands and will listen to you when you need to talk.
  27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: The amazing people you meet who have so much joy and strength in the most difficult of circumstances.
  28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Just drop by for 5 minutes with a latte or dinner.
  29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I want people to know they are not alone in their illness journey and that there is hope and joy despite the pain.
  30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: thankful that you cared enough to be informed about illness, because with 1 in 2 people living with an illness, there are many others you know who can use your encouragement and support. Thank you!

Find out more about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and the 5-day free virtual conference with 20 speakers Sept 14-18, 2009 at www.invisibleillness.com

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Joni and Friends Celebrates Anniversary

book-joniWhen I was young I read the book Joni and saw the movie. That this young woman’s life could be turned around in a second, all from a simple dive, was scary to hear. But to see her faith, regardless of her circumstances, was amazing and inspiring.

Years later, at the age of 24 I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I looked for the chronic illness Christian organization for those with illness. I was familiar with Joni and Friends, her ministry for the disabled, but I didn’t feel like it “fit” what I was going through at the time.  I wasn’t in a wheelchair, after all. I just would never be able to wear high heels ever again.

But after searching Christian bookstores for a resource and scouring the Christian ministries I was aware of I couldn’t find anything. I was surprised! Where did Christians turn when they were told “You have diabetes” or “You have rheumatoid arthritis”? Yes, of course, God could heal me. But what if He chose not to? And what if it was ten years from now? I needed people who understood what I was going through- now!. And the secular support groups were just making me more depressed (too much venting and negativity and no hope at all…)

I started a little newsletter called …And He Will Give You Rest.  It was 1997 and I was just beginning to become familiar with the Internet. I built a little web site. People started to connect.

My husband and I went to hear Joni speak and I stood in line to have her sign my book but really just to talk to her. I told her about my ministry and asked if anyone else was doing illness ministry. She said “Not that I know of” and basically told me to “go for it!” Well… I did. I never looked back and always hoped I could somehow fulfill the vision God gave me.

jonisYears later I was honored to be on Joni’s radio program. She has her ministry send out our brochures when people call her ministry who have an illness. I served on the board of directors for an organization she had begun called the Christian Persons with Disabilities. A couple times a year I flew around the country and our board met to talk about disability and illness ministry in churches today and how we could make leaders more aware of the opportunities and joy people with disabilities can bring to a congregration. But Joni wasn’t there… Sometimes she had planned to be and her own health issues prevented her from coming.

At a christian book expo I found a copy of one of her paintings: Heaven. It is on the wall in my office. Her book When God Weeps is one of the best I’ve ever read.

One time I was exhibiting at a church conference where she was the keynote speaker. She zoomed by in her chair and said, “Hey, Lisa! How are you? I’m going to eat lunch over there. Come on over and join me!”

I don’t remember what I said. Nothing eloquent. My sister was standing beside me and said “She knows your name! She knows your name!”

I wandered over and had the joy of sharing a meal with her in a cafeteria setting behind the exhibit room, just her and I and her assistant.

And then one day someone from their office called me. (Me?) He had a chronic illness and had talked to Joni and thought Rest Ministries would be a good fit for an affiliate organization of Joni and Friends. I had assumed since we were more of an illness ministry and not so much a disability ministry, we wouldn’t be eligible. I attended my first meeting and the compassion of all of the staff was amazing.

A couple years ago I was to speak and exhibit at a conference organized by Joni and Friends. Days before we had to evacuate for about 5 days due to fires coming through our neighborhood. We packed 2 cars. One with our stuff. One with our exhibit stuff. I wrote my presentation sitting at a picnic table on La Jolla shores–the only place where one could breath a bit in all of San Diego county. I tried to concentrate on what I was to be doing in a few days and yet both my husband and I felt a sense that God really could take our home to make us have a spiritual lightening bolt moment in our lives. (Thankfully we weren’t right. God gave us grace and saved our home.)

But I remember my husband asking me… “What if we lose our home? Will we still go up to LA and go to Joni’s conference?” (Thinking, surely not, right?)

And without missing a beat I said, “There are no people I would rather be around after those at Joni and Friends those first few days.”

I don’t even know a lot of J&F staff or volunteers, but that’s how loved you feel. It would have been like being with my closest family during the most difficult time of our lives.

crossart

I hope you will celebrate with me this special time for Joni. Below is the press release I received today and wanted to share it with you. I wish I could say Joni and I just hang out, but that’s not true. Despite my involvement with her ministry I still stand in awe of her. When I am at a conference or her office building, she always is so busy and I know she is tired and don’t want to bother her. But her ministry and her message (through speaking, books, and sense of humor through anything) has been one of the joys in my life.

When I started Rest Ministries I had no idea what I was doing. Sometimes I think nothing has changed. I still feel in over my head, especially when my health issues mess with my schedule (I had to cancel participating last year in J&F’s conference due to having that bummer flesh eating bacteria). I will never measure up to Joni’s ministry, but is my hope that, by using it as my blueprint, I can bring glory to God.

jaf-rooms.pgA couple years ago I had the opportunity to go up and visit her new building (see right). It’s beautiful. You can stand in one place and sing and it echoes all over the building. The chapel is amazing. If you are ever in Agoura Hills, CA (north of LA) you can take a tour.

The whole building was designed for ministry (cute little places to sit and pray), comfort (it feels so light and refreshing) and to make anyone in a wheelchair feel normal (a building that makes the wheelchair ramps appear to be nothing but design inspired to add to the visual pleasure). A waterfall in the reception area immediately calms you and makes you feel like –for a moment– all is right with our world.

jonisdesk meAnd then I got to see Joni’s desks – one was spotless but the other one, the real working desk…? Let’s just say for a moment was thrilled because it looked as full as mine! It stands as a reminder to get back to work because when it comes to illness or disability ministry “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:37

If Joni has blessed you (as I know she has – many of you) remember to drop her a note or a birthday card in the next couple of months.

Lisa

____________________

As Joni Eareckson Tada observes her 60th birthday in October, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the ministry she founded to provide support and outreach to individuals with disabilities and their families — inspired from her own experience as a quadriplegic trying to adapt and survive in an inaccessible world.

Tada became a quadriplegic at the age of 17 as the result of a diving accident. As part of her rehabilitation, she learned to paint beautiful pictures with her mouth, which she showed at local art fairs. She was featured on a local television program, after which NBC’s “The Today Show” booked her for an interview with Barbara Walters.

“After that interview, things kind of exploded,” Tada said. “A publisher asked if I would write a book (I did and its called “Joni”) and the Billy Graham film ministry did a story on my life.

“This resulted in thousands of letters from disabled people,” Joni continued. “These letters inspired me to begin this important ministry, responding to people seeking advice and encouragement.”

Joni and Friends was established in 1979, in Burbank, Calif., and Tada began the now- internationally-syndicated radio program “Joni and Friends” in 1982. The ministry grew and moved to a new location in Agoura Hills in 1986.

One of the ministry’s best-known programs is Wheels for the World, providing wheelchairs for individuals with disabilities all over the world. Family Retreats are another renowned JAF outreach, during which individuals with disabilities and their entire families are encouraged and given a real respite during a week-long “summer camp” atmosphere.

As JAF has moved from a personality-focused programming ministry to a vision-driven movement, it has engaged in the bio-ethics debate, with the establishment of the Christian Institute on Disability. This development has helped prepare JAF to lead the Church into the 21st century, as technological advances outpace Christians’ engagement in science and culture.

A critical development in this growth and transition has been the addition of Doug Mazza as president and COO (Tada continues to serve as CEO). Mazza came to JAF in 1999 as executive vice president, moving to his new role in 2004. Drawing on his years of corporate management experience, Mazza helped initiate the transition from “Joni” to “Joni and Friends,” and encouraged a more collaborative and integrated organization.

Billy Burnett, vice president and chief financial officer, oversees financial and administrative systems at JAF, and along with other ministry leadership, is amazed at how God has blessed and grown Joni and Friends. The organization recently completed construction on a large, new hi-tech headquarters building — a model of accessibility for the 21st century.

As the ministry turns the corner on this its 30th year, it continues to fulfill Tada’s vision of accelerating ministry to those with disabilities. “If churches around the world would grasp the revolutionary truth that Christ’s transforming power always comes through sacrifice and weakness, it would dramatically alter the landscape of the global church,” Tada said.

In celebration of the 30th anniversary, JAF has established a special gold seal for use in all literature and communications. It serves as a reminder of how far the ministry has come, Mazza said, but is just the tip of the iceberg in how JAF plans to continue to grow and serve in the future.

“While we pause in appreciation of the past, we look forward with more excitement than ever, as we continue to see so many opportunities ahead,” Mazza added. “Because of Joni’s vision and foresight, JAF is poised to lead the Church in meeting the challenges of a new era — a time when technology has advanced and life has been devalued so that those with disabilities and those without a voice need a champion more than ever.”

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50 Things…

Someone sent this to me to fill out a couple of weeks ago and I just finished and am posting it. I don’t know if it’s interesting or not. I won’t be offended if you don’t read it or if you just have more interesting things to do!

Six Flags México.
Image via Wikipedia

50 Things

1. What color is your toothbrush? hot pink

2. Name one person who made you smile today? My son

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning? Getting a cup of coffee

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago? Working on Invisible Illness Week Stuff on the computer

5. What is your favorite candy bar? Uno (hard to find) Recess

6. What did you do last night? Went out to dinner with husband and son

7. What is the last thing you said aloud? “I’ll record Batman for you.”

8. What is your favorite ice cream? Mint chocolate chip

9. What was the last thing you had to drink? iced coffee

10. Do you like your wallet? I love it. It’s red

11. What was the last thing you ate? Cup of grapefruit

12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week? a tee shirt at Ross

13. The last sporting event you watched? Tour de France

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn? Loads of butter (but not now, on nutrisystem)

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to? Can’t remember how to use it.

16. Ever go camping? Growing up

17. Do you take vitamins daily? Yes

18. Do you go to church every Sunday? As much as possible, sometimes listen online

19. Do you have a tan? My arms have a tan line

20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza? Usually pizza

21. Do you drink your soda with a straw? No

22. What did your last text message say? I tried to text and accidentally called my cousin.

23. What are you doing tomorrow? Church, Costco, ?

24. Have you ever eaten a bug? Not on purpose

25. Look to your left, what do you see? Cute lamp that looks like Adirondack chair

26. What color is your watch? I don’t wear one

27. What do you think of when you hear Australia? Some place I’d like to visit someday

28. What are you wearing right now? Cotton crop pants and tee

29. Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? McDonald’s for son to play

30. What is your favorite number? Don’t have one

31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone? My mom

32. Any plans today? 10 pm, off to bed to read

33. How many states have you lived in? 3

34. Biggest annoyance right now? Pain in hands and shoulders, numb foot

35. Last song listened to? No idea

36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? No

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house? Am blessed, have a housekeepers

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? Sandals from Easy Spirit

39. Are you jealous of anyone? Not that I can think of

40. Is anyone jealous of you? No one I’m aware of

41. Do you love anyone? Lots of people

42. Do any of your friends have children? Yes

43. What do you usually do during the day? restministries.org stuff and entertain son for summer

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? Never use that word

45. Do you use the word “hello”? Yes, especially when I answer the phone

46. What color is your car? silver

47. Do you like cats? Love them!

48. Are you thinking about someone right now? Not really

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags? Yes, even went on some coasters

50. How did you get your worst scar? Flesh eating bacteria on ankle

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What’s the Rule of Thumb?

Than Ball, my own work, photo taken by me.
Image via Wikipedia

This is a fun site to visit, Rules of Thumb, if you have a few minutes and want to be entertained as well as informed. They have nearly 60 “rules of thumbs” in the health section. All of these are short, and I wouldn’t bet my life on them but they are interesting.

For example if you want to determine the effectiveness of a calcium tablet (of a particular brand), the rule of thumb is stated as. “To see how long a calcium tablet will take to break up in your stomach, place a tablet in a few ounces of room-temperature vinegar and stir vigorously every five minutes or so. The tablet should disintegrate completely in 30 minutes or less. If a tablet remains mostly intact after a half-hour, chances are it won’t be of any value to you.” The source given is Consumer Reports, USA

Another interesting rule? As a rule, men will have figured out approximately what an item will cost and will have the needed amount or more waiting on the cashier. Ladies on the other hand, will wait until they are told what the needed amount is and then open their purse or clutch and dig out the money.

You can also look up topics like “durability.” For example, the rule of thumb about wearing shoes is that if you switch back and forth between three pairs of shoes, they will last as long as five pairs worn out one pair at a time.

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