Tag Archive | God

Catch 22

Sometimes I feel so torn, like I have no right to complain about my problems ~ that others have it so much worse than I do and I should just shut up and feel blessed.  But when my life, that I thought was on a pretty good track, goes awry, I need some time to regroup, ponder and pray.  Lord, what am I to do next?

That’s what has happened recently.  Besides being morbidly obese, I have severe arthritis in my feet and knees ~ especially my right knee, which is now bone-on-bone and beyond pain comprehension most of the time.  I now walk with a cane all the time, which I hate.  I’ve been seeing an orthopedic specialist for 2-3 months now, and, after visiting him yesterday to hash out our next strategy for pain relief, instead he said he can do nothing more for me.  Then he went into a long dissertation about how bad my knee(s) are and that I’m a candidate for knee replacement surgery IF I can lose a minimum of 60 lbs first.

He continued his long monologue about bariatric surgery, and that it appears to be my only last bastion before being immobile/unable to walk.  I sort of remember being in minor shock at that point.  Deer-in-the-headlights kind of thing.  I thought, “But no!  That can’t be!  I’ve been working hard, changing my eating lifestyle and losing weight!”  He seemed to have read my thoughts and said that at the rate that I’m losing, it would take me about two years to lose the necessary 60 lbs.  “Not fast enough,” he said.  He’s talking by the end of THIS year.  But I’ve lost 25 lbs. since the week before Christmas.  I thought it showed good promise.

I left his office in a fog.  That fog turned into despair and then depression.  The thought of bariatric surgery made me shudder.  You see, I had such surgery in 1988 when I was 29 years old.  From the moment I woke up in the hospital, gagging on the NG tube down my throat, the next 10+ years would be a nightmare of hell on earth with regard to my digestive system.  Most of the first 5-6 years were spent vomiting and/or feeling nausea like you can never imagine.  I used to have extreme nausea for hours, sometimes all night, and would curl up on the floor or the bed in the fetal position and rock myself until the feeling passed.  I used to beg God to make it stop, crying that I would never eat whatever hellish food that had made me sick that time.  It continued on into my current marriage, as of 1998, and I used to have to ask Al to pat me on the back (it helped?).  It was embarrassing the first time it happened with Al, and I had to explain it all… why I was curled up into a ball on the top of our bed groaning and begging to die.  It may seem irrational, but I’d rather spend an eternity in the firepits of hell than vomit once.  Vomiting, for me, IS the embodyment of death.  Next to gagging, it’s the closest I can come to meeting eternity without actually dying.  I don’t know why.  So, this bariatric surgery had been my near-death experience, over and over for decades.  It has lessened now to only once or twice a year… praise the Lord!

And now here I am, again, confronted with having a new torture to deal with all over again.  Even though my common sense tells me that, after 30 years, procedures have changed.  It has to be better now.  And I know I have to try this again.  I say “try” because I may not get accepted, and/or my insurance may not cover the surgery.  Last night I wallowed a bit.  But I also prayed and asked many of my wonderful friends to pray.  I figured my options are either sit and do nothing while my health continues to go downhill one part at a time, or I could take God’s hand and keep going, keep moving forward and do the best that I can to right myself.  I’m admittedly scared.  I’m no longer 29 years old.  It’s 30 years later and I don’t heal as well.  Regardless, I cannot be idle, self-pity or wait any longer.

The answer is to push forward, step-by-step and go where God leads me.  I’ve contacted a local bariatric team at our local Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.  It’s the way to start.  I’m working with them to see if I qualify and if my insurance covers the surgery.  I should know in a few days.  I have to be optimistic.  Any other option is not acceptable.



Forgiven & Set Free Five Years Later ~

Life with Jesus in it is amazing.  I often look at the little oak tree that I planted five years ago after finishing Forgiven & Set Free ministry through my church.  That little red oak has grown a lot!  It’s not only grown a lot in height, but in meaning.  It still stands for the son I’ll know someday, but also it stands for me… for my strength to get through this,  the resilience it takes to go on and the love I can finally feel for myself after all of these years.  I’ve come a long way, through lots of challenges.  I have a ways yet to go.  I won’t reach the end until I go home to God and can meet my baby again.

Red Oak 2017

Thanks for stopping by.  God bless.  ~ Tamara

I’m Getting Old ~

I have recently begun to acknowledge that I am, indeed, getting old.  At 50-something years of age – okay, 55, but I admit I had to do the math on a calculator because I couldn’t remember which 50-something I was – I have come to realize and accept that I am past middle aged and on my way downhill to the end of my life.  I am neither afraid nor sad about this revelation, as I know exactly where I’m going, and I know I will go when He says my time here is done, not before.

I’ve noticed subtle changes in my physical being:  thinner skin, “age spots” where you least want them to be, easier to bruise and longer to heal, memory loss.  Perhaps the worst of these, for me, is the memory loss.  I can no longer remember year-to-year how old I am, I cannot remember my grandchildren’s birthdays, and to be honest, sometimes I have to look on my calendar for the exact date of my husband’s birthday.  I remember it’s in early April.  I keep an in depth, detailed Calendar on my Outlook application at my work, and I routinely print it out and keep it in a like-size binder that I carry with me at all times.  I keep everything immediately important in there, or it will be forgotten.  Even when my payday is (every OTHER week) and when bills are due.  My binder is my lifeline.

My health is failing year by year, and I wonder how much longer I’ll be able to mobilize without major assistance.  I have back issues, knee issues and now foot issues.  When I get sick, I take forever to come back to good health.  A simple cold can turn into bronchitis/sinusitis, strep ~ and I may not recover for several weeks.  My shopping is now curtailed by a myriad of orthopedic pains that only allow for me to walk for approximately 25-30 minutes total before I have to abandon whatever plans I had for doing things outside the home.  I know a good portion of my problems are most likely due to weighty issues, and I try to exercise (recumbant bike & treadmill) on my good days ~ but my good days are fewer and far between than the bad ones.

Lately, I find myself measuring what’s left of my life in increments of 7-10 years at a time.  Maybe I should take it down to 5 years.  I am fairly confident that I have a maximum of about 12-15 years left before I am summoned to be by my Lord’s side.  And I’m totally okay with that.  This is not a “complaining” post, but just one of acknowledgement.  But increments of just 5 years left of life seems so very short when there is so much more I want to accomplish before I leave this world.

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I want to surround myself with my children and my grandchildren as often as is possible.  Since one of my children keeps three of my grandchildren in Alaska, I am in despair of seeing them again.  I am blessed that I can see most of my children/grandchildren as they are mostly local (with 35 miles)… although some I still do not get to see often enough even though close.  Oddly enough maybe for some of you to imagine, but the most important thing I would like to accomplish would be to regain a relationship with my estranged son.  I pray to God every day that, for whatever reason I don’t know, he would forgive me and learn to love me and we could have a mother/son relationship again.  Did we ever?  I think so, but my memory fails me.  He appears to put all of his thought to his deceased father.  I often wonder if he’ll care when I’m gone, being relatively sure that, if he even does, it’ll be short-lived.  Our distant relationship is the most painful thing in my life right now.

But I digress.  I am relatively sure that I will move on before my soul-mate and husband.  His family has a history of longevity much more than mine.  And, besides, he has strict orders not to go before me ~ by me.  If he were to die first, I do not know how I could continue.  I can’t even conceive of it!  Maybe it’s selfish of me to think this way, after all, he would be just as devastated and hard-pressed to continue without me.  Anyway, my orders to him are just tongue-in-cheek.  We both know that we do not have control of when we will be going home to be with God.  We only know that we will be together again in eternity at some point of His choosing.  That’s enough… for now.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my thoughts.

TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

USAF Graduation ~

Every time I see dark clouds in the sky, and then the sun shining brightly through them, like I did this afternoon, whether it be just a small crack or a larger opening in the cloud line, I think of November 27, 1998.  Bear with me as I tell you why.

 Growing up, my two eldest daughters were very close to my parents, especially my father, who was the only father-figure they ever knew in their lives.  He taught them all the essential things:  how to make peanut brittle, homemade applesauce, etc.  Dad and Karalyn seemed to have a particularly strong bond.

 In her Senior year at Auburn High School, Karrie attended Air Force ROTC with the intention of making the Air Force her career when she graduated.  Despite the turbulence at home, she was very involved in her ROTC activities, had good grades and seemed very focused.  Her grandparents and I were very proud.  It was designed so that she would travel to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, right after graduation and attend Basic Training there, as the start to her promising career in the military. 

 Starting in late August, Karrie would attend Basic and graduate just before Thanksgiving, and her grandfather could not have been more proud of her.  Karrie was so looking forward to coming home after graduation to share her graduation with him.  No one could have foreseen how things would progress before she would finally make it home.

 My father passed away on November 18, 1998, while Karrie was in the middle of finishing up basic training and taking exams.  I still remember the anguish in her voice, not only upon hearing the loss of her grandfather, but knowing that she had a choice to make:  either come home for the funeral, or graduate from basic … just a few days before her graduation ceremonies at Lackland.  I think we both knew the answer, but I had to confirm to her that her grandfather would no doubt want her to finish the beginning of her new career.

 Al and I flew out to San Antonio on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1998 to see Karrie graduate… only a very few days after my father had been buried.  It was going to be a “quick overnight trip” for us, just long enough to get out there, do a little on-base sightseeing, spend the night, see the graduation, then leave that same afternoon to come home.  Whirlwind!


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The weather was less than stellar on Thanksgiving Day, and the next day, on graduation day, it was cloudy and threatening rain the entire day.  The graduation ceremonies were conducted on a very large field, and guests were seated on bleachers, much like at a football game (I assume).  It was so overcast, and I was so certain it would open up and pour any minute as the ceremonies started with cadets/graduates marching and parading on the field in front of us.  I fought back tears (and still do when I think of it) as I thought of my dad, and how he would’ve liked to be there that day to see this.  I kept trying to focus on the processions and pomp & circumstance going on in front of us on the field.  It was difficult. 


Getting towards the middle of the marching ceremonies, as Karrie and her colleagues were marching very close to the bleachers, and were about to do an “eyes right” to the Commanding Officer, suddenly the skies opened up and down poured sunlight!  I stared, astonished, at the parting clouds and the sun shining through a separation that shone right down on just this group of cadets!  Just Karrie’s group!  And I knew.  My father and mother were watching, and God was behind them watching over their shoulders from Heaven, and they were all proud.  Yes, I burst into tears at that moment and I knew they were with us there.


I don’t tell this story to many, as I have been scoffed as coincidence.  But that’s okay.  I know.  Al knows.  I hope Karrie knows.


Karrie continued to begin her career in the Air Force, and was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska.  However, she met and fell in love, then married a career Air Force Intelligence officer.  She soon left the active Air Force to be a stay-at-home Mom to three of my wonderful grandchildren, and an Air Force wife to a soon-to-be-retired from the Air Force son-in-law of mine.  They still reside in Alaska.


Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.  I hope you find inspiration in my story.  God is everywhere.  You don’t need to look for Him, he’s there… He’s right behind you, He’s got your back.  Believe it.


Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Quiet Time ~

Today is a day just for some “me” time.  It’s a stunningly beautiful fall day in Central New York, and I will be alone through tomorrow.  Al has taken Katie and our truck/trailer down to PA to continue in our quest to help my mother-in-law and sister-in-law move to NC.  Tomorrow I will ride down with Kristen to assist in whatever I can do to assist.  But, for today, it’s just me.

 I’ve needed this quiet time for myself for a long time.  I wasn’t ready when I had previous time off from work.  But this time, I’ve prepared for it.  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s been a particularly stressful past few weeks for me between work, home and in-laws.  I knew today was coming, and I actually planned out this day to accommodate quiet time.

 I’m getting ready to go grocery shopping/photography hopping when I finish this post.  Early in the morning is best, but it’s still early “enough” that I should be able to get some nice shots.  Later I will be baking, making some German dishes to take to PA with me tomorrow for an “everybody lunch”.  At 3:30 pm, of course, is “Quilt in a Day” on public television.  Then the later afternoon I will spend quilting and/or reading quilt magazines/books.  During much of that time, I will stop often and take some time to just “be still, and know…”  Psalm 46:10.  I will stop often just to give Him some of my time.

 Meantime, I wanted to share a couple of photos that my husband, Al, took of Skaneateles Lake a week or so ago.  They are my focus today.  Quiet beauty.  Stillness.  Enjoy.

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Waterfowl on Skaneateles Lake

Waterfowl on Skaneateles Lake


For today, as my friend Carol (“Wanderings of an Elusive Mind”) says, they are “enough” to get me through.

Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt