Monday, November 28, 2016

Everyone has a story...

Those of you who've read my blog over a period of years know most of the time my life runs at a fairly energetic pace. Not that I'm out and about a lot, because that's not the kind of person God made me to be. My nature is grounded in the home, and I truly do bloom within my own domestic sanctuary. 
It's actually my mind that travels at the speed of light, the next new idea tapping at the heel of the one before and always just minutes or if I'm lucky maybe an hour apart, and this happens even in my sleep. I've never had the fortune to find that elusive 'off' switch beside my brain that would allow me to zone out and simply shut down all ideas and plans. My mind literally clicks over and over and over, day in and day out, and it gets exhausting.

This past year has been a new learning curve of daily sifting those ideas as quickly as I can into a 'discard' or 'keep' mental bucket. The more time I've had to practice this, the easier it has become to let go of more than I hold on to. 

However, something else happened this year which has also helped in the strangest way. At first I thought I was losing my mind, then I thought I was becoming a hypochondriac and began freaking out about the conclusions I was making about my mental health. 
After a pretty bad fall last year I found physical fatigue to be a regular companion. I mentioned it to my husband, Blossom and Aisha - mostly because I couldn't hide it - but didn't tell them just how bad it really was. I also told two close friends, but again, didn't expand as much as I could have.
A few more symptoms came in to play this year and I started toying with the idea I had chronic fatigue. The downside of this was that apart from the actual fatigue I didn't have the other symptoms of that condition.
In June I went downhill fast and was diagnosed with pnuemonia. Fair enough. I didn't bounce back the way my doctor had hoped and the fatigue just got worse than ever. More symptoms came into play. 
I began a new migraine preventative drug in early October (45 years of chronic migraines and this drug is for epileptics so is the last resort for me) and a few side effects mimicked things I had been experiencing for over a year, but now they just got a little worse. A few weeks went by and I came clean with my doctor and told her the full extent of what I'd been experiencing for about 18 months. She sent me for an MRI.

Now you might wonder why I'd not told the doctor everything from the beginning, why I never even told her about that bad fall last year either. 

After 45 years of migraine, after my father living with migraines all his life and dying of a brain tumour at age 59, after my Uncle Brian dying of a brain tumour at age 57 (I am now 57)...well, I just didn't want to go looking for a tumour.
It took me months to get to a place in my mind and in my heart with God, where I could lay aside fear and walk with confidence into that magnetised machine and find out what was going on inside my brain.

The results?
I do not have a brain tumour.

But I do have a brain trauma injury which is causing the symptoms that made me think I was going a bit nuts, the symptoms I've attempted to hide or downplay for about 18 months. 
The injury is permanent and will not improve. Some things will not get any worse, and some will.

The incredible physical fatigue that hits hard out of the blue and takes me days to recover from will be my lifelong companion, and I can't do anything quickly anymore. Life seems like it's going in slow motion for me, but really, it's normal pace for most people and I'm okay about that.

I've been forced to slow down, and now I can see the view.

The insatiable thirst that never slackens is mine forever because that part of my brain is damaged, and it's also the part that tells me I always need to pee. That really makes me laugh! LOL!!! Truly, I do get a lot of laughter from this because there's some weird stuff my brain does now. 
Just having conversations makes me really exhausted - dialogue wearies me, you know? Who would have thought that?
My close-up eyesight has been on a downward slope for 18 months, yet it used to be perfect. It was my distance sight that has been a problem all my life. Now I can see in the distance, but need glasses to read the computer screen. 

There's other things, but they are my things...stuff for me to know, my family to know.

So what now? I'm simplifying my life, little by little.

Even my threads. They were such a mess. I have five boxes like this to 'make nice'...

Because I hand embroider it seems wasteful to have much fabric so I gave most of it to Blossom and she will be selling it to buy what she needs for their little family.
This is all I have now, a few little piles on my sewing room shelves, and it feels peaceful in my heart...

I did keep a bundle of one hundred 5" pink & green squares and a little yardage for a quilt I'll be making with the designs from December's Stitchery Club patterns...
I'm still designing.
It's what I do, it's what God gifted me to do.

I won't do as many tutorials, but I will keep blogging to encourage you in your God given roles as incredible women who have stories of your own, stories that make you who you are, stories that you can share to encourage others.

I'm not telling you about me today because I want you to feel sorry for me, or because I want any kind of sympathy or a pat on the back - goodness me, no!

I'm really happy this happened to me. It has made me appreciate LIFE, the gift of who I have, what I have, and where I am.
It's not life threatening and compared to so many of you, I have got it easy.

There are other areas of my life that I'd rather not have experienced, things way worse than a manageable brain injury, but that is the point I am making.

We all have a story.

We each have a good story, a sad one, a brave one, a hard one, a generous one, a compassionate one, a still-in-process one, a yet-to-be-lived one, a miraculous one...every person you meet has a story to tell, so be kind to them, and pray that your seeds of kindness will reap a harvest of kindness back into your life when you need it most.

In our Gentle Domesticity Facebook Group last week, a dear member, Jan, lost her husband rather suddenly. She's a woman who posts quite regularly in the group, a lovely lady, an encourager.
In that message, sharing the news of her beloved's passing she again encouraged us with these words, 

Love each other, hug each other because you never know.

The response from our group members, wrapping their arms around Jan through their comments brought tears to many eyes I'm sure...and that's what mattered most. Her story matters to us, her sorrow and loss and knowing we can't be there in person but we can listen, we can pray, and we can let her know we truly do care.

I gave our group members this stitchery over the weekend because I think we all, at some time, need to be reminded that kindness is a free gift, and something every person has need of.
If you'd like to join the group and access the free pattern from our files you are most welcome. 

I think that's certainly enough from me today, don't you?

God be with you always, and may you be blessed in abundant measure with every good thing, especially kindness.

love and hugs


  1. Jenny, Thank you for sharing your story. I am so happy it's not a tumor! I'm sorry that some of your problems will just have to be endured but while I was reading your blog I kept thinking that you are one to find the silver lining in any cloud. Your blessings far out weigh your burdens. God bless you! Grandma Rita

  2. I am happy you have answers to the health issues you have been facing. I pray that your adjustment to the problems that are permanent will be smooth and that you will be able to adjust to your new normal.

  3. Querida Jenny, oro porque puedas tener la fe suficiente para creer en el milagro de sanidad completa para tu cerebro, Jesus llevo todas nuestras enfermedades y todas nuestras dolencias, y la biblia lo dice en tiempo pasado, Isaias 53.4, estare orando por eso, mientras tanto reposa en El y El hara, gracias por compartir y poder orar contigo. un abrazo desde Guatemala

  4. So happy you don't have a tumor and that you have peace knowing what is causing your health issues. Hugs and love to you.

  5. Jenny Dear you have always shared so much of yourself with us and I am so very thankful to hear you now know what you were experiencing...and it is not a brain tumor! Life does have a way of testing us and making us stronger. I believe you will honor your health needs. Yes, we each have our own stories. I am so honored you have shared your story and you are very brave my friend. God has given you a wonderful gift and we are so fortunate to be able to enjoy your designs and Stitcheries. Please take extra good care of yourself...and then your precious family. Love, Hugs and Health...XO

  6. Sending you lots and lots of hugs, Jenny. I'm so glad to hear you don't have a tumour. Take care of yourself. Love Christine xx

  7. Jenny so glad you have a result and aren't left wondering what is wrong. My prayers and best wishes are with you always. Guida

  8. Oh sweet Jenny! So much to be thankful for in the midst of all this. I know you were relieved to find there was no tumor. You are still our talented, beautiful Jenny. If you have to slow down,I am sure you will still out do most of us. Praying for you and Mr. E as you adjust to this new way of life.

  9. Whew! I am so pleased to know that you do not have a brain tumour. It must have been terrible for you knowing about the family medical history. When we reach our mid to late 50's it is a time of many changes, mentally, emotionally and physically. Hormones have a lot to answer for ! LOL. It is a time when we need to reflect and get rid of negative things in our lives and thoughts so we can move on without any garbage. I hope you find a way of dealing with your diagnosis. I can certainly identify with the extreme lethargy and fatigue , having FMS for the past 26 years. There are many other symptoms associated with it too. Just throw menopause in the mix and it is really fun!!!! Grrrr. I trust that you will learn to pace yourself and read your body. With the love and support from your family I am sure you will manage to live a fruitful life despite the diagnosis. De cluttering your life is certainly a great way to start and I admire you for the great strength you have shown. I can't thank you enough for all the inspirational posts you have blogged, your beautiful designs created with love and your generosity in sharing many designs for free. It is time for you to relax a little and let others help care for you like you have cared for them. Many many angel hugs.

  10. Thinking about you, Jenny. Sorry to hear about your problems, but hoping you can find a way to cope.

  11. Happy to read you don't have a tumor.. Hugs Maria..XX

  12. I hope you find the strength and peace you need. I always enjoy your time with us out here in blog land.

  13. God bless you and keep you. I am trying to simplify and it is hard work. Love.

  14. So glad to hear you are clear as far as a tumour is concerned and I am happy for you that you have had the chance to take stock of things and readjust your life to what is good for you. Hugs Christine x

  15. Thank you for your transparency. Blessings to you!! ~Becki

  16. Lifting you up in prayer. So grateful it isn't a tumor. I know you have probably received more advice than you care for, but please let me give you one more for you to just tuck away. If you continue to feel worse, or more tired, please get tested for Lyme's disease. It affects people in so many different ways that it can go unidentified. We've dealt with it in our family.
    Anyway, for now, I'm so appreciative of you and all you write and share with us here.

  17. This was a beautiful post about the effects of health and the changes we sometimes have to make. It's hard to embrace such a change, but you are inspiring in the way you've done so. Thank you for sharing (and I'm glad you don't have a tumor!)

  18. Jenny, you've found a different path through the forest - well done! Perhaps your sharing this will encourage others to also find a different path. Hugs.

  19. The Lord knows that the 'best' doesn't come out til pressure/a squeeze is applied (like getting all that yummy sweet juice from a beautiful orange!). Someone said that "Life is not for wimps".....I used to laugh at those simple words, but now I know....and, also, know that life is not to be journeyed alone. It is meant to have companions.......first off, our Savior and, then, all those He puts in our life-paths to share (double) our joys and share (halve) our sorrows. Blessings and......Peace with hugs......

  20. I came upon your blog because of the embroidery, but I enjoy your posts about christianity the most. Definitely uplifting. Thank you.

  21. Dear Jenny

    Thank you for sharing your story. My personal experience is that we are sometimes sent these bumps in the road to alert us to what is really essential in life. I love your posts, and your design style, which I find to be uplifting and full of cheer and color. I will keep you in my prayers.

  22. What a wonderful post ( and you have written so many wonderful ones!). You are so brave, Jenny Elefantz. I'm sitting here in Ottawa, Canada sending you strengthening thoughts and feeling thankful too, that you are continuing your blog. I too love it.

  23. Hugs to you. Thankful it wasn't a brain tumor. I always encourage anyone who falls and hits their head to tell the doctor and their family. The sooner a head injury is treated the better the long-term outcome may be. Not doing or saying anything because of the fear of a diagnosis one doesn't want to hear lessens the chance of a good outcome. Speaking out of experience, you may find your pace or level of what you can do without exacerbating symptoms will vary day to day, but eventually you will hopefully find a zone you can work within. Thank you for sharing your story. Your is one of he blogs I continue to follow and read because of the content and the fact that you don't feel you have to blog something everyday. Take care of yourself. Will continue to keep you in prayer.

  24. Good Morning Dear Jenny! I am so thankful for you that no tumor was found. I am also so grateful that God has such a strong hold with you and you with him that at times such as this you hold strong and turn to him. I honestly do know and understand some (because each is a completely different case) of what you have been experiencing, are experiencing and will continue to experience. Therefore, Jenny, with my 40 plus years of living with memory loss; the emotions, the physicians, the medications, the unknowns and the denials and accepting all holding tightly to God and family; if you need someone to talk to or discuss things with; please do not hesitate! I beg you, because, I did not have anyone and that my friend is a very lonely confusing and angry road to go down. I do not want you to have to go through any of the pathways that I and my family had to. I will keep you even closer in my prayers Jenny along with your family. Please, also pass on to your family the message that if they need to talk with someone that I will help in any way that I can. They also will have a difficult time going through this passage of change with you.

    Your Friend Always Brenda

  25. I've read your blogs, stitched and saved (and printed) your sweet stitchery designs over this past year or so and have always read with interest anything you care to share with us. You are my friend. My heart was in my mouth while I was reading your blog as I wondered what you were going to tell us and I feel humbled by your honesty. I know we don't get to pick and choose our lot in life and I know that God doesn't ever make mistakes. I also know your faith will grow in new ways during this season as you lean on Him and adjust to another challenge. Unfortunately I can't give you a hug or pop round with a cooked supper on the days you don't feel so good, or even get the shopping done as there is a mighty sizeable ocean & a few countries between us, but I can and will pray - for you and your family, as you face the future together. That you will know His loving warm hug and His protective arm around your shoulders. Your beautiful designs and the encouragement you give to others is now reaching all around the world. Wow!! May God continue to bless you in new & exciting ways in all you are able to do. You are amazing xx

  26. Hi Jenny, thank you so much for sharing your story. You are truly an amazing lady with wonderful gifts. God is wonderful! God bless you and your family. 💐💝

  27. Thank you for sharing so much of your life journey with us Jenny. May you know God's richest blessing in your everyday, as you cope with the changes that have come about. You have blessed so many of us time and time again. I will be praying for you as you continue on life's journey with all the new things you have to experience. 'The Lord Bless You and Keep You.' Num:6v24.

  28. Hola Jenny!
    Gracias a Dios que no era un tumor. Entiendo perfectamente el temor que sentías y me alegra que te hayas sobrepuesto a él y lo hayas podido enfrentar. Gracias por abrirnos tu corazón y compartir con nosotras tu experiencia. Segura estoy de que has ayudado a más de una de tus lectoras. Recibe un fuerte abrazo y que Dios te siga llenando de bendiciones para que nosotras podamos seguir disfrutando del fruto de tu inspiración. Besos

  29. All I can say is " hugs, love, blessings and prayers together with a bunch of thankfulness xoxoxo

  30. Thank you for posting "your story" with us. Even though you still have things to deal with I am happy to hear it was not a brain tumer. My story is dealing with fatigue from chronic Lyme disease and the frustrating journey and expense of trying to get better. I am happy to read that you will still be sharing your stitcheries at times. Thank you! Nancy

  31. Hello dear Jenny, thanks so much for sharing this story with us .. had been thinking of you & wondering how you were doing. I am relieved for you that this is not a tumour ... can imagine how worrying it has all been for you. Thanks Jenny for all that you share with us out here in blogland ... your blog is & has always been a truly wonderful place to visit, usually with a cuppa in hand. Your post was timely as yesterday I found myself rushing in the wool shop, grinding my teeth because they didnt have the wool I needed for Santas beards, thinking hurriedly of all the jobs on my list that I needed to do in town & I ran, crash, bang into an old acquaintance. Her head all wrapped up stylishly in a turban because she is undergoing intensive chemo for the huge tumour in her ovaries. We stopped & chatted & it made me slow down & think for the rest of the day "there but by the Grace of God goes any one of us" ....... Sending you gentle hugs & blessings Jenny x x x x

  32. As always, you are gracious in all things, and filled with faith and trust in the Lord. He has a plan for you, and it is unfolding in amazing ways. Love you, Jenny.

  33. I am keeping you in my thoughts, and as you say we all have a story...thank you for allowing us to share in yours.....

  34. Ah..dear Jenny - hug, hug, hug - squeeze tight! Totally get the medical thing. History in my family of people going to get a check up in hospital and never coming back! Blessings come to us in so many different ways - now for you to live at the pace God wants - so in all things we give thanks. Thanks for no tumour, thanks you have a wonderful daughter who can benefit from the fabrics, thanks for being able to embroider, thanks for life and a wonderful person called Jenny! Love and Peace.

  35. I am happy your courage in investigating your symptoms is not sinister Jen. Everyone does have a story. I wish you well with your new "norm" and continued self care regime. Hugs xx

  36. Jenny, I love your attitude. Don't miss the views. Love and prayers to you.

  37. jenny- Your story has touched my heart and life. I have a daughter who has had way too many concussions for a 20 year old. i see some of the same things in her. Thank you for helping me understand your symptoms and I pray it will help me give her more space and more love as she tries to recover from her knocks on the head. I know God is using your story in my life and I am truly blessed every time I read your blog and read your sweet replies to my comments. I am glad you will still design and blog. I am also glad you have a wonderful family who loves you and loves God. Thanks for sharing. I will be praying for you to let God have his way and that he will continue to use you to do his will. Thank you- Kristy

  38. Your reliance on God is getting you over yet another hurdle. What a great witness you are for
    for Christ in good and rough circumstances. You are in my prayers too.
    Kindness is my action word for this year. I would like very much to make this pattern. However I can not find it, I can't even find it to buy. But I did purchase a sweet little pattern I found while searching. So it was not time wasted. Have a great day.

  39. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I was getting concerned, since you were away from your blog for so long. I wish I was on facebook, so I could join your group. I pray that you will continue to learn how to adjust your life. You are a good testimony to others of how in this cursed world we may have troubles, but God will never leave us or forsake us. May God bless you today and always. Blessings-Michelle

  40. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing the wisdom God has granted you and may He continue to grow you in Him daily through this challenge.

  41. God Bless you Jenny! Take care and rest my dear dear friend! You have been such a blessing in my life and we all have to slow down and smell the roses for life is too short to do other wise. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Hugs and Blessings to you and yours, I will be back soon!

    Jan <3 xxx

  42. Thanks Jenny for sharing this uplifting, encouraging and emational post! We all have times of change in our lives. I will share this encouraging blog with others!
    Take care,

  43. Sending prayers your way. Thank you for sharing your story and I am so glad it was not a brain tumor. Yes, with God's help we can make it through what we need to.

  44. Dear Jenny,

    Give yourself a pat on the back for being brave! Blessings to you sweet friend!


  45. Showers of blessings! You are an encouragement to many. Thank you!

  46. May the Lord keep you and give you peace in all things.
    You are such a inspiration and a reminder to the goodness of Jesus.
    Thank you

  47. So glad you didn't need surgery Jenny! Hugs and prayers for the needed adjustments.

  48. Dear Jenny,
    I've been away from the computer for two or three weeks. I needed that time to rearrange some parts of my days.
    Today I read this entry.
    I see that you are reorganizing your life too. Other reasons, same need.
    You are a brave and generous woman.
    You have given us so much that even if you stopped writing today, we would have much to reread. Much to be thankful for, many embroidery to make.
    It's enough for me if you are happy and enjoy your family and your peace of mind. And that, sometime, say "hello" to know that you are well.
    God bless you, my dear friend.

  49. Oh Jenny I am just getting around to 'catching up' on some blog posts and just read this. I am so glad you don't have a brain tumor, but I'm sorry your are experiencing these other issues. Only you know what you can and can't do, and I'm sure you will find the right pace for you. Thank you for being such a joy to others.

  50. Dear Jenny, I've fallen behind, and just now read what has been happening with you. How relieved I am to hear you do not have a tumor. I hope your new medication lifts the migraines; I started on a new med two years ago and my chronic (daily) migraines became significantly better after a long period of adjustment. So, hang in there, longer than seems fair, and perhaps you, too, will get some relief. As for the rest, well, our lives go down unexpected roads, don't they? I know you will make the best of this, and will be surrounded by love wherever this journey takes you.

  51. Dear Jenny, am so relieved to hear you do not have a brain tumour and it must have been an awful feeling not knowing the reason for your symptoms so take good care of yourself and thanks for your wonderful creations you share with us.

  52. Dear Jenny, am so relieved to hear you do not have a brain tumour and it must have been an awful feeling not knowing the reason for your symptoms so take good care of yourself and thanks for your wonderful creations you share with us.

  53. It feels so much better when you know what it is, doesn't it?? It doesn't make it any easier but at least you know how to tackle it. I am happy with whatever you choose to do. We will all love you just the same!

    I also have a "fractured brain" that I have had most of my life but wasn't diagnosed until I was 59. Partly because I wouldn't go and find out why or see if there was help for me! Besides anxiety and depression from various traumas in my life, I also suffer from other spectrum disorders. It was never diagnosed because when I was young they A. Didn't think females had these issues. and B. There wasn't really any information about it.

    To say my life has changed significantly is an understatement. I can do and be things I never thought possible.

    Why am I sharing this in this group? Well, my dear Jennie, maybe between the both of us we can overcome the stigma of having a "fractured brain" and help others to get help and not suffer as long as I did. This is my mission. Mental Health and brain injury are not something to be ashamed of. It shows we won't let our limitations stop us!! Love you all! Gillian

  54. My dear Jenny, your unflagging optimism is such a wonderful blessing...there ALWAYS is a silver lining, we just need to be open to seeing it. For you, the silver lining is huge. I am so glad there was no tumor - thank you for that blessing!! - and I am so glad you (as well as your family and friends) finally know what is going on with you. May God continue to bless you with what you need!

  55. Dearest Jenny. We are all blessed in different ways. Yes, I said 'blessed'. My son is 'blessed' with Cerebral Palsy Spastic Quadriplegia. He lives independently with round the clock support, has his own business and a Horticultural qualification, and inspires all he meets. In return, his life is enriched by those with whom he comes into contact, in a way that would never have occurred had he been able bodied. He makes me proud and humbles me, every single day. You will find a way through this, and I'm sure that that path will find you continuing to encourage, inspire and soothe, in that special way that is yours alone. Bless you for sharing your struggle with us, for truly we are but strangers who have crossed your path to lighten your load in some way. Warmest hugs, Mimi xxx

  56. I missed this post while were in Australia & New Zealand just catching up now.

    It must have been a relief to find you didn't have the brain tumour but sorry to hear about the brain trauma. However you have such a positive attitude & faith which help you live your life to the fullest.

    I am always amazed at how much you do so maybe it's a good thing for you to slow down & smell the roses more often. I love your posts & your embroidery is so beautiful. You have such wonderful gifts which you are generous & share with us.

    Thank you & God bless Jenny.

  57. I'm coming up on five years since my brain injury (from a kick in the head from a violent 8-yr-old), and what I know with certainty is that despite all the tests and all the medical experience of professionals, we know absolutely nothing about healing from brain injuries that will allow us to predict that healing. While I will never be the same as I was before, there isn't a month that goes by that I don't see some indication of healing--so except for the changes because of the wisdom I've acquired (and my brain would have changed with or without the injury), I'm more hopeful than I would have imagined several years ago. One of the most life changing things I learned was that any medical professional who says, "You will never..." or "You will..." most likely doesn't know and is only guessing.

    Our brains are nearly as amazing as our God, so it's going to be a surprise any way we look at it!

  58. I am so happy to hear it was not a brain tumour considering your family history. I am glad you are taking some time out for yourself and getting well. I love your site and only recently came across it. You are in my prayers...thank you for your lovely patterns

  59. Hello dear friend. First, just GRATEFUL you don't have a brain tumor. Second, sending you light, love and tons of hugs.
    Love you dear one.

  60. Dear Jenny, I too am so glad that you do't have a tumor. Your attitude and grace in sharing this is so amazing. As I always see, your godly wisdom glows through your difficult posts.

    I could not believe I did not see this post or realize the loss of the lady in the FB group.
    Then I looked at the date and remembered it was the day we buried my 49 year old niece; only child, wife and mom of 4. 3 of whom were still being home schooled. I had not been spending time on line from her death the week before.
    We lost several friends back in September too.

    Your admonition to love, be kind, pay attention is so true. You never know the last time you will have an opportunity to do so. Each of these dear ones in my life, died suddenly, unexpectedly.

    I'm so grateful to have come to know you and your gentle heart across oceans and time zones in the wonder that is the internet. And so I pray for you now - The Lord bless you and keep you Jenny; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Elaine


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