Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Pain’

A New Normal

Over the last couple of months I have been aware of something odd.  I have not been able to bite down normally – molar touching molar.  I have had to move my jaw in a backward motion first – then bite down.  I had braces for about a year, almost 5 years ago and somehow – I think this “positioning” for my jaw just seemed normal to me.  When I say I became aware of it just in the last couple of months  – this has to be just coincidence, because nothing in my mouth was bothering me.  It was normal.

A third molar.

A third molar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, the last couple of days a crown in my mouth has been bothering me.  I am not sure just what exactly was bothering me – only that it was quite sensitive.  Especially when I swallowed.  It was great timing too – because this morning I had an appointment for a teeth cleaning.  If something should go wrong in your mouth – it works great when it coincides with a regular appointment.

I need to add to this story that in packing boxes and doing extra “stuff” I somehow managed to tweak my back in the process.  And by tweak – I mean muscle spasms and the works.  This pain made it difficult to find a comfortable position for sleeping last night – and so there I was with ice on my back my feet elevated and a sore crown in my mouth.

So this morning with a back wrap around my waist secured tight, and with a little difficulty getting in and out of the vehicle for my cleaning appointment – I went inside to a friendly and accommodating dental staff.  Every person helpful and  intent on helping me find the cause of my sensitive tooth and careful about my sore back.  (Just a side note – if you need a great dentist and live in the Renton area – look up Steve C. Yang, DDS.  He and his staff are amazing.)  Dr. Yang wiggled and probed and no matter what he did he could not find anything wrong with the crown.  I was definitely feeling it when he wiggled the crown – but there was nothing visibly wrong.  I was starting to think the pain was all in my head (or back) and even told him!  But he laughed and said, “No – I think maybe your bite is a little off” And with that  he set about to adjust it.  As he was doing so, I told him about the curious normal way that I had to bite down (or not bite down as the case was).  He said that was not normal and began a series of biting down tests to mark where my teeth were abnormally hitting.  This took careful evaluation and then the area was marked and expertly polished down.  Within a couple of minutes my “locked” jaw was released – and a new normal took effect.  I was actually able to rock my bite from side to side – something I had never been able to do!  And there is no odd “popping” sound.  Amazingly enough – it is in that simple little adjustment – where pain or a pain-free existence can take place.

I pondered these things while having my teeth cleaned – and then again while I went in search of a chiropractor to help me with my icky back.  I learned that many a chiropractor office (including my own) are closed on Tuesday!

The nice man we found to help me was able to bring my back to a new normal at least it should be after much ibuprofen and ice!  I will tell you that it gives me much empathy for those who live with chronic back pain as their normal!  

Back pain – at least the lower back, has never been an issue for me.  But it becoming more that way as I become older.  The tiniest things can set it off – a mere twisting wrong, or even turning over wrong in bed!  I must keep this area strong so that the new normal for me is NOT lower back pain!!  No more tooth pain – and soon NO MORE BACK PAIN!

What about you?  Have you even had a minor adjustment that shook your world and gave you a new normal?  I pray that your adjustment is relatively painless – and does not include a crown or your lower back :)

God Bless

That’s The Way Love Goes

English: Lindsey Buckingham With Fleetwood Mac...

English: Lindsey Buckingham With Fleetwood Mac on March 3, 2009 in St. Paul, MN at the Xcel Energy Center. Photo by Matt Becker, Use without citation is prohibited by law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of you who have an appreciation of 70′s music will remember Fleetwood Mac.  One of the members, Lindsey Buckingham is still making music today.  I was listening to this little gem on Spotify while doing some writing yesterday and wanted to share it with you.

Enjoy and God Bless

“That’s The Way Love Goes”

By Lindsey Buckingham

I’d like to take your pain away
Away, away, away
I’d like to take your shame away
Away, away, away

I lie alone and watch you sleep
I’d reach for you but I might weep
If you should tell me I must keep
Away, away, away

In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
Took a look and then saw your secret
Oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes, it goes.
In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
I took a look and then I saw your secret
Oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes, it goes.

I’d like to take your pain away
Away, away, away
Behind your shade the color’s fade
Away, away, away

The diamond falls, the hand is dealt
Upon the shrine where we once knelt
Oh how I wish this veil could melt
Away away away

In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
Took a look and then I saw your secret
Oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes, it goes,
In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
I took a look and then I saw your secret
Well, oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes it goes

In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
I took a look and then I saw your secret
Well, oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes, it goes.

It goes, it goes, it goes, it goes
It goes, it goes, it goes, it goes
It goes, it goes, it goes, it goes
It goes, it goes, it goes

I’d like to take your pain away
Away, away, away
I’d like to take your shame away
Away, away, away

Stretches That HURT!

Massage in Frankfurt, Germany

Massage in Frankfurt, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several months ago, I noticed a sharp pain when trying to lift my left arm.  The pain was down my arm and not in my shoulder – and hard to explain.  It only hurt when trying to put my arm above my head – and so my obvious conclusion to this irritating and painful problem was not to do that.  Ever. I found another way to get undressed and remove clothing attached and around my arms with my arm in a down position – I’m pretty creative like that :)

I told my massage therapist and she smiled and said knowingly, “this just happens as we get older”.  Great.  That’s what I was afraid of.  And because of my repetitious movement at the computer and playing piano for a few hours each day – the problem has increased in recent years.  That day and every time since, she has worked on that arm and attached ligaments and helped me to get increased mobility.  The pain was only so-so – UNTIL the last time I was in to see her.  By this time I noticed that I had the same pesky pain in BOTH arms when trying to raise them above my head.  She worked on one side and it honestly took my breath away it hurt SO BAD.

She suggested some stretches and a heating pad to loosen up the locked up area – and Greg decided to get in on the action by “suggesting” some stretches.  He has me get down on the floor flat on my back and raise my arms above my head.  It sounds so easy – anyone should be able to do it, right?   But for me – it’s very difficult.  Because I’m a good sport (and to humor him) I am trying this – lifting my arms as far as I can and letting gravity pull them down on my floor.  It is very hard NOT to arch my lower back – but I am at least trying.  Not an easy task while our puppy is all excited that we’re down on the floor with her – she thinks we’re down there to play with her and keeps jumping on my sore arms – OUCH!

And although these stretches, plus the other ones suggested to me are good for me – I do not like them.  I’m not a fan of pain, physical, emotion or any other kind.  But I have come to terms with pain – have made friends with it and am trying to let it teach me the lesson that it needs to.  Pain will have its way – teach its lesson and hopefully move on.  At least in other aspects of my life – this has been the case.

Ah – pain!  The great teacher.  That moment making us change and do something different.  Making us take great efforts to avoid, get fixed up and obliterate forever.

Like those awful stretches.  I will do them because I do not like the alternative.

How about you?  Do you have some painful stretches in your life?  Are they worth it?  Is it better than the alternative?


God Bless

My Pain In The Neck

I've had a migraine/headache for 6 days straig...

Image via Wikipedia

I woke up with a headache.  These days it is somewhat unusual – and only happens if I sleep on my neck wrong – or something is out of alignment.  I’ve had sinus pressure, stress related and even bad migraines headaches – but this pain in the neck is different.  It takes the skilled hands of my chiropractor to “fix it” and adjust my neck and spine back into position before I feel better.

It’s funny how a pain in the neck colors everything about the day.  Things are just a little bit more gloomy – situations seem bigger than they really are, food and even coffee doesn’t help.  The little tasks seem more difficult and take longer.  And it gives me true empathy for the chronic pain sufferers out there – who live with some kind of pain every day of their life.  “How do others do it”?  I think to myself.

Some things are not so easily “adjusted” away – like my temporary pain in the neck.  Things like bad circumstances and unexpected events happen to us whether or not we want them to – or are ready for them.  And negative and bad attitudes seem to be on the rise – those that throw their weight around in very ugly ways.  It’s all around us.  Sometimes I’d like to give those people an “attitude adjustment” – but that isn’t possible.

I’m thinking that God would like to shake us up a bit once in a while and give us a reminder that we need His adjustment in our lives to deal with those around us – and mostly to deal with our own bad attitudes of selfishness and complaining.

“Lord, adjust my heart and my mind today.  With your hand on my life, I know I will begin to look at myself and others differently – with much grace and thankfulness.  I know that I will see every day pain and frustration as an opportunity to find grace and share it with others.”


When was the last time you had to have a personal “attitude adjustment”?  What did God teach you?


God Bless


I was introduced to this song yesterday by one of my voice students, Taylor Smith.  Laura Story is the writer and singer in this video – and she reminds me very much of  the way Cindy Morgan writes and expresses herself in her lyrics.

I found the story behind this song here.  She wrote this song because early in her marriage her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  And since then – together they have had quite a journey of healing and understanding of God’s grace and purpose through the pain.

I was encouraged by what she had to say about challenges and set-backs.  Sometimes the answer in our life in “No” – and sometimes God leaves us broken so His will can be accomplished in us.  Powerful words.

How do you deal with set-backs?

Can you see the “Blessings” through the pain in your own life?

When was the last time God said “No” to you – and left you broken to accomplish something through you?


Enjoy and God Bless

The Value of Past Experience


Image via Wikipedia

We go through something.  Sometimes it’s REALLY BAD.  And we think, “Why is this happening to me?” – or sometimes we don’t think that – we just blindly accept it as our lot in life.

But I truly believe there is much more.  There IS a reason.  Sometimes we don’t see it until months or even years later.  Sometimes we never really know the reason – but I’d like to think that we always have a choice when hit with adverse situations.  Give in to the negative voices in our head that say, “just give up – it isn’t worth fighting” OR learn from it – change our course – go another direction away from the pain, humiliation or gut wrenching yuck.

I’ve had so many of these situations – that at the time I thought were the end of the world.  But later turned out to be – well - valuable, insightful, great information for someone else going through exactly the same thing.

I have some friends, Ray and Allison Carroll – who recently went through a touchy situation – very painful to say the least and they have shown great courage in telling their story through their blog articles.  They have found God’s grace and mercy in living and telling their story of failure and of redemption – so that others can be encouraged and learn from them – to show people who fail, sin, miss the mark entirely that God has not given up on them – that there is enough of God’s grace, mercy and love to take a dead and broken life, clean it up and give a new start.  Our Savior – the God of second chances – working through people in our ordinary lives – who make mistakes and are truly not worthy to be called righteous.  He uses those past experiences to bring clarification – reveal who He is – and give purpose and understanding.  As long as we are willing to change our heart, to share our story and to be an encouragement to others.

Case and point:  The other day my 19-year-old son came home from work feeling really weird.  His mouth was numb and so were his fingers – he was talking strangely too.  He said, “Mom, I’m freaking out right now – what’s wrong with me”?  I tried to be calm and think rationally, knowing of course he was too young and in shape to be having a stroke or a heart attack.  All I could think of was that he needed food and water – and I asked him how long had it been since he had anything to eat or drink.  I wondered, could severe hydration cause this?  While he was eating and drinking – and eating a banana too – just in case – I googled it.  Greg is ALWAYS gone when any and all domestic emergencies come up and I was mumbling under my breath – ‘where IS your father?‘  Let’s see… what causes numbing?  I was not finding anything conclusive.  I thought I was going to have to take him to the ER if something didn’t change soon.  But he did feel a little better after eating and drinking – said he was really tired and went to bed.

Not 30 minutes later – he came out of his bedroom saying he had the WORST HEADACHE in the world!  Then it dawned on me!  I know what this is!  And although I had not had these exact symptoms before – I knew about them and it was clearly a Migraine Headache.  The really bad kind.  I knew because of my past experience with them.  I get them so bad that I’m vomiting and lose a whole day.  Pretty soon – he was doing the same thing in the bathroom – but at least now I had a fresh perspective.  I gave him ice for his head and a bucket for beside his bed – just in case.  I could tell him there was no need to go anywhere – he was not going to die – he would just feel like it!  It was too late for pain pills – he would just throw them up anyway.  And even though the pain was bad and it’s never fun to up-chuck – at least I was able to reassure him - because I knew too well what was happening to him.

Now, am I glad I have had REALLY PAINFUL Migraine headaches?  Are you kidding me?  But did it help to diffuse a panic in my home?  Yes.  Would I have known otherwise?  No way.  I would have thought he was having a stroke or worse – maybe a tumor pressing on his cornea that was making his eyes not see clearly.  Oh the carnage that would have ensued – the money that would have been spent – only to find out – it was only a migraine.

I will take painful situations if they will help me or someone I love in the future.  I will not like them.  In fact I will HATE them.  But I will learn from them and ask myself – who can benefit from my pain?

How about you?  Who can benefit from your pain today?

God Bless

Let It Go

I saw the above quote yesterday while helping my daughter and son-in-law move into their new home.  We had to pick up some furniture at The Cannery – and I saw this sign sitting on one of the coffee tables inside.

I was talking with an old friend today about the things we go through in life – making us more compassionate to those around us – and was even talking to my friend and pastor, Stephen about his recent back trouble with a herniated disc.  It seems as though our experiences in life – even some of the bad or painful ones - have a way of teaching us perspective, empathy and most of all awareness of those around us.  Often times ( okay most of the time) we don’t see the benefit to our own lives while these things are happening to us.  I know I haven’t.  I would rather NOT go through it at all.  I would rather hang on to comfort, peace, understanding and validation – you know.  The things that make us strong.  But it seems that is not in the plan for me.  I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me a few times – and rather than hang on to my comfort and things familiar – I found myself having to abandon those simple comforts and exchange them for painful, humiliating times of discomfort.  Let’s see…Strong and comfortable – or…Weak and miserable.  Hmmm.

So this leads us to the statement in the above quote.  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?  When I read it – it struck a chord with me – it really did.  It’s true.  We are taught to “hang in there” – “not give up” or “give in” – but I think we may have it wrong. Sometimes you need to let it go - in order to gain perspective and find your inner strength again.  Sometimes losing is really winning.  Sometimes the things that you think will make you strong – really make you unhealthily dependent on those you shouldn’t be.  And sometimes the real test of our faith is to let something go – maybe something that we thought we couldn’t ever live without and gaining something much more in the process.  Gaining ourselves back.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

Painful things bring perspective, understanding and clarity.

Real strength comes from letting go

Losing sometimes is really winning

Finding one person who understands your journey makes it all worthwhile

Holding on means dependence on God and God alone

Sharing our discoveries and lessons in life with others to help them is the only way to live

There’s freedom in living an authentic life

So – I guess I’ve learned and I’m still learning to – Let it go

All of it.  And I’ve discovered something.  It’s okay NOT to be perfect and be far from “arriving”.  If people expect this from you – they have probably not been through any pain themselves – or anything that would “rock their world”.  This can make them appear judgmental and hard.  I don’t believe that Jesus was either of those things – and we should not be either.

I choose to be around people who have been through a little of life – and have gained the knowledge and perspective from a well stumbled journey.  Those people who have learned how to really live – after truly letting go.  Who are NOT judgmental and critical of others – but who embrace and love.

Let It Go.  Do it today.

God Bless

Day 4

Massage in Tarifa, Spain taken on May, 6 2007 ...

Image via Wikipedia

It is Day 4 of my birthday month.  I have happily given myself a whole month for the experience of having yet another birthday.  And not just any birthday.

Last night my very romantic husband texted me and asked me for a late night rendezvous on his way home from work.  For COFFEE people – get your minds out of the gutter!!  I was still up, reading and returning emails – and I was like YES – let’s do it!  Forgetting that I’m not 25 anymore – and that it takes me more than a day to recover after being up WAY past my normal bedtime – but I was wide awake and I was anxious to shake it up a little.  I mean – if the younger people can do this – why can’t I?  What do they have that I don’t?  Our 19-year-old son does it ALL THE TIME and he seems to be no worse for wear.  What’s the DEAL?  The other night he came home after a late shift at guitar center and started cooking at 11:30pm!  Needless to say, it woke us up and it was most unpleasant – not to mention annoying to hear the banging around in the kitchen and then smelling the food as we’re trying to sleep.  I was much too tired to deal with it at the time – but when he finally emerged from his room the next day I said to him, “Shawn – do you have to come home at that hour and COOK?  Can’t you pick something up on the way home or something”?  And do you know what his response was to this?  “Why do you and Dad have to go to bed so early?”  Unbelievable.

Yes.  I am old.

So this morning I woke up with a screaming headache and quickly took some headache pills and put ice on my aching head.  Then made an appointment with my Chiropractor.  And would you believe – the adjustment didn’t help me?  Good grief – I dislike VERY MUCH getting older.  However we did manage to find a wonderful and supportive office chair for me so I can sit at my computer and write with excellent posture and hopefully eliminate neck and shoulder soreness.  As a piano player – I have dealt with tight muscles my whole life – but it is worse as I’ve gotten older for sure.

My sweet husband used to tell me brilliant things like this:  “Why don’t you just relax?”  So you can see that I’m surrounded by sympathetic men in my life.  Actually he’s learned that it is not just a matter of relaxing – or willing my tight muscles to relax – it’s my personality type – and where I carry my stress.  We all carry it somewhere.

The good news is that I also will be going to have a massage on Sunday afternoon with someone who was highly recommended to me – so that will be very nice!  The last massage I had was from a man who did Tye massage – and it was wonderful – but he is available only at the times that I teach.  I need one every week – just wish I could work it out financially.  :)

But it IS my birthday month – so pretty much anything goes this month.

Have a wonderful evening and God Bless

My Life Verse

Proverbs 3:5-6

This is my life verse. It has been for as long as I can remember. Although I do not fully grasp its complexities – at the very base of my own simplicity – I accept it.

Even years before I knew God‘s plan for my life – I know He had His hand upon me. I didn’t always make the right choices – and yet He always showed mercy to me. And the only thing that was ever required of me – was to just simply – trust.

Long before things made any sense to me – I still held on to this verse and tried to do as it said – and yet I sometimes failed miserably. It is easier to try to figure things out in a human way – and try to ‘fix’ our circumstances in our own way – without God’s help.

And if I’m really honest – I would have to admit that I didn’t trust that God would ‘do it right’ concerning things in my life – and more importantly – people in my life that I desperately wanted to be there. I did try to do things my own way – several times in my life - and messed it up pretty badly too.

I’ve loved and lost. I’ve been misunderstood and rejected. I’ve ‘leaned on my own understanding’ of situations and been confused and disappointed. I’ve felt helpless in the midst of a friendship gone terribly wrong. I’m human. I’ve cried out to God – and asked the ‘questions’ that all of us ask. “Don’t you care? Don’t you notice that I’m suffering? Can’t you fix this? How long oh Lord? How long?”

My path in front of me is crooked and has many barriers and hindrances in my way.  Walking forward is miserable – especially when I step out on my own.  God promises that when we lean on Him – He will make our crooked paths straight – and He will direct us on that path.  How easy it sounds – how hard it is to do.  I do not see it – until I step out in simple trust.

I’ve been reluctant to step out in complete reckless abandon and ‘trust with my whole heart’ – because in doing so – it means that I no longer have any say in what happens. I have to give up all of my choice – and all of my control – and just - trust.

I am still waiting for a few things. I am a reluctant ‘truster’. I want to. But even though I ‘trust’ in my head – it is hard to let go entirely – when things don’t make any sense to me – and ‘trust’ with all my heart. There are still some ‘crooked’ areas in my path ahead – so I know I haven’t totally surrendered trust yet.  But I’m working on it.  I’m waiting for the crooked path in front of me to straighten out once and for all.

I know and have some limited understanding of the very nature of God - even though it is hard to grasp – He loves me - and wants the very best for me. Why can’t I believe it? Why don’t I always trust it? I don’t know. And I’m ashamed to admit it.

Even now – I wait. I wait for resolution. I wait for truth to win out. I wait for peace in the midst of pain. I still wait. And because I know I will mess up and take back my ‘trusting’ – try again to do it my way – and I will yet again ‘lean on my own understanding’ instead of His – the process will take longer.

I guess I have many more life lessons to learn on this journey of learning to trust. I guess He is not finished teaching me. I am thankful that even though I don’t deserve it – He loves me and He’s not finished with me yet. He cares enough about me and my situations in life – my feelings and emotions - that He is willing to take me on a journey through pain and hard times to bring some understanding of the great things that are brought out of that pain – compassion for others – empathy and softening of my hard, uncaring and selfish heart. He is not unmoved or uncaring - as sometimes it seems to me. There is a right time for everything – and I must simply trust that the right time has not come yet. But it will. And one day I am convinced that I will understand. And there will be some sweet surprises when He is through working behind the scenes in me and in others.

That’s trust. That’s faith. And I am trying to hang on to both. Until that day – when I can see all the reasons – for everything in my life – that’s what I must do.

So each day – I begin again – I take a baby step – a step toward – trust. A baby step toward – leaning. A baby step toward stepping out in faith.  And someday – I will understand – someday – I will really get it.

God Bless

My Shadowland

The other night I had the privilege to see the play “Shadowlands” the “love story” of C.S. Lewis and the woman he fell in love with and married.  She was in her early 40′s and he in his late 50′s.  Unlike any of his fictional stories – this was the true account of his journey through love and loss – joy and pain – struggle with questions and faith in God – changing many of his opinions on many things he had held as “truth” – and even visiting the “dark side” in his despair.

Love and loss can do this.  Each one of us has a story.  Each one of us has questioned things about life and even about God – at one time or another – if we’re really honest.  You see – there’s nothing like pain to make you really honest.  It probes around inside of you and won’t let go of you.  Your “real” self comes out – the good, the bad and mostly the ugly when you are in pain.

I love this quote by C.S. Lewis:

    “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

      My “shadowland” is a journey through that pain, loss and ultimately – victory over something.  Most everyone has something that is their “test” and the hardest thing they will ever have to endure.  Many times – it is private and not many people know about it – but it is still there - and it still casts a “shadow” over your life.  But I, like C.S. Lewis have discovered the nearness of God though that struggle – and a wisdom and strength that cannot be earned any other way.  It is in the “dark” times that we are so much more dependent of God – and we fully appreciate it when we come out into the light.  It is sometime much later that we begin to see the reasons why.  Sometimes we never know the reasons.
        What is your “Shadowland” today?  What are you going through today that maybe very few people know about?  Maybe no one knows except God.  Maybe you are even questioning your very purpose in life – and your relationship with Him.  I am praying for you today that like me, you will begin to see the purpose in your loss – and will be able to see God’s hand over your life and struggle as you surrender to that loss.  I pray that you will be able to hear God’s voice to you in your conscience and His shouts to you in your pain.
          I am praying for you
            God Bless

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