When Restlessness Keeps You Up at Night


When the Little Monster (aka Parkinson’s disease) began making its debut into my life in undeniable ways, one of the symptoms was RLS, otherwise known as Restless Leg Syndrome. RLS is a condition that can manifest itself in others who don’t necessarily have Parkinson’s and yet, it doesn’t matter whether you have PD and RLS together or not – either way it is quite annoying.

RLS makes your legs feel tingly and jumpy – restless, like its name, to say the least. You feel like your nerves are going to jump right out of your lower limbs and I have found myself in the wee hours of the morning, walking in circles to get it to stop.

RLS has lead me to find comfort in Psalm 37, where David talks about being patient and trusting the Lord. When we grow restless and are not necessarily putting our trust in God, we tend to take matters into our own hands and try to fix what is wrong in our lives by ourselves. But David found a better way. He trusted God and in doing so, he found rest – the opposite of being restless.

David had learned to dwell where he was and enjoy God in that place. He was able to delight in the Lord because his focus was vertical, not horizontal. It took patience – being still and waiting on God. Virtues that are quite opposite from that of being restless.

The remedy from restlessness in the spiritual realm is trusting. Trusting in a God who promises to give us the desires of our heart when we find delight in Him. When God makes a promise, such as providing for you, protecting you, forgiving you, loving you, or maybe giving you the desires of your heart, you can trust Him and not spend the night hours pacing the floor in anxiousness and restlessness.

Are you restless about something and haven’t trusted God to come through? Give it over to Him now and claim Psalm 37 and then… wait patiently for Him to do it.

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:3-7a NIV

Songs In the Night


It’s only natural to wonder why things happen the way they do. Some things can leave you in a state of confusion. Some things can leave you dumbfounded. You may not understand. You are lost in a sea of torment and wonder if you’ll ever find the way out.

All of us have experienced pain of all sorts. Pain of a broken pain. Of childbirth. Of a bee sting. But physical pain doesn’t hold a candle to the mental and emotional pain some of us find ourselves experiencing. The pain of divorce. The pain of watching someone you love suffer. The pain of a wayward child.

There is one pain I have never experienced and I pray that I will never have to. A pain that I can only imagine is so great, only the tender fingers of God can wipe the tears it produces. The pain of losing a child.

A year ago my son and daughter in-law moved from Oregon, where my husband and I live, back to Idaho in anticipation of a better job opportunity. It was a good move – for them. For me? I has spend the prior five and a half years watching my granddaughter every day, all day long and the last six months watching and caring for her little brother, my grandson. When my son and his wife moved, along with mygrandchildren, I truly meant it when I told them they had my blessing. What I wasn’t ready for was what it felt like to have them gone. I literally felt as if my heart had been torn out.

I have a dear friend who had her heart torn out almost two years ago this next February when her daughter was suddenly, unexpectedly, tragically killed. Many of you may have heard. Many most likely know whom I speak of.

Judy Hensley. Mother of Carol Michelle Hensley Singletary.

I have just finished reading Judy’s book, a memoir of sorts, of Carol’s life. A tribute to her spirit. The fire inside her. But as I read it, it became more than that. Throughout this past year, the times I have spoken with Judy, my heartbreak over my loss seemed menial. After all, my kids and grandkids merely moved away. They weren’t taken without my consent. I can visit them, talk to them on the phone, see them through Facetime. Judy can’t. Carol’s gone from this world – a hard fact Judy can’t change.

During our late night or wee hours of the morning chats, there have been tears. They have been prayers. There has been searching. One thing I remember thinking and may have said out loud, is that God is going to use this amazing woman for his glory. Through the pain, the searching for answers, the tears – the grief – he is going to use this woman.

He’s going to bring about something beautiful…

Life is full of messy. Messy relationships. Messy jobs. Messy diseases. Most of which we have no control over, but because sin is a part of life and always has been, life is and always has been messy. But I continue to learn that there is a reason for everything. I may not ever know what the reason is, but there is one. If you believer in an almighty, sovereign, omniscient God (I do), then you most likely believe that thought we may not understand, God allows things to happen. And sometimes those things are not welcome.

Like losing a child. No matter how old.

But, because life is continually messy – and has been since the Adam and Eve episode – there will always exist someone who has gone before us and ‘been there, done that’. Someone who never signed up for messy but was thrust into the heart of it and in the process had their heart torn apart.

Someone like Judy.

There is beauty in the broken and I have not seen it more evident than in her life. Broken, crushed in spirit – wondering and asking why – still she sings.

In her book about Carol, Judy shares a conversation she had with a friend who has gone through a similar experience. They reference the biblical account of when Paul and Silas are imprisoned and how at the midnight hour the two men are praying and singing praises to God. Judy and her friend talk about the verse that says, “…and the prisoners heard them.”

Somehow, the prisoners heard them… they were not simply singing like we might do in the shower. They were not singing a bar or two to themselves. For the other prisoners to hear, they had to have been singing with spirit (quite literally!). I am in awe not at the fact that the prisoners heard them, but that they were singing praises and most likely – singing them loudly.

In her own strength (and she will tell you this herself) Judy has not survived but it has been only by the merciful compassion of a heavenly Father working through His presence in her personally or through the outreach of others toward her. And it’s because of His relentless mercy that she is learning to sing in the night hours. The times that are so incredibly dark and the sun seems it will never shine again. You know – the times when you feel imprisoned to the pain of this world and it feels as if it will never let up. Songs in the night are miracles of praise because when you least feel like singing is when you need to do it most.

Sometimes having a chronic illness leaves you feeling imprisoned, broken, and grief-stricken in its own messy way. But there have been those who have ‘been there, done that’ and are a bit further ahead on the journey and will come alongside of us in order to encourage and teach us how to learn to sing in the dark of the night.

Judy has been nothing short of a illuminating light in the midst of a horrendous storm. She has been proof that while we may never understand why God allows certain things to come about as He does, He does not nor will not abandon His children in their time of need. She is proof that praise is possible in the darkest of times because the light that had already been shining in her life is even brighter now.

If you want to be uplifted, encouraged, and given a renewed sense of hope in a great God,, her book, Carol’s Smile, is available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble stores. And no, she didn’t pay me to write this. She’s sending me Oreos instead.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. …you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” Isaiah 43:1-5

2014 Holiday Gifts/Ideas for People with Parkinson’s Disease


It’s that time of year again and so, here’s the 3rd annual list of great ideas for gifts for people with Parkinson’s disease and is suitable for those who live with other chronic illnesses. If you have ideas/suggestions not on the list, feel free to add to the list by leaving a comment.

  • Because people with PD and/or otherr chronic illnesses ingest so much medication, it can slow the outflow process. In other words, they can easily suffer from constipation. The Squatty Potty is a help to those who find it difficult to have bowel movements. For a list of Squatty Potties and their like-competitors, go here: Squatty Potty and such
  • Many people with PD who loved to write without the aide of a keyboard, sorely lose out when it comes time for sending (handwritten) notes any time of the year. Weighted pens (and pencils) are a god-send to those with PD, as they give more stability to a trembling hand.
  • A sturdy, plastic cup with a straw is a great and simple gift and there are so many fun ones to choose from. These are great for people with PD. They’re not only fun, but the straw stays put and are perfect since most PD patients do better using a straw when they drink. For the healthiest choice, choose BPA-free.
Readers Choices:
  • “One of the gifts I am proudest of (and has gotten most use, I think!) for my step-father with PD was an ink stamp of his signature. One of the first things he had trouble with was signing his name, and the stamp works perfectly on cheques, documents, etc. I took a high resolution scan of the signature from before he had the shaking, and then went to an ordinary business solutions website, [Staples, Office Max/Depot, etc) and voila! Now he can sign his own name and it looks like it used to.” (Note: Get the signature during a “ON” time of medication for best results for the best signature.) -submitted by Anonymou
  • “…for men who have always cut their own hair– military and men of a certain generation who just like to avoid the hassle of a salon. Remington makes a cordless short-cut clipper that is easier to hold and works just like a brush, specially on the back of the head. It’s a simple tool but keeps one more…task easier and in the home.” -submitted by Erin
  • “My wife was diagnosed with early onset PD early 2014 at the age of 43. She also has recently been diagnosed with Lupus. I purchased a Tens unit and an extra large 12×24 heating pad to help alleviate her aching muscles and joints. I will get her a few gift cards for massages from the local spa. I am also researching a percussion massager so I can help when she has a flare up and isnt feeling her best.” -submitted by Big Jake (Note: Please consult your doctor first before using the Tens unit for placement of pads if you have had DBS.)
  • “My father in-law has quite advanced Parkinson’s and I’ve just bought him a DAB radio. It will be ideal for when he’s not feeling to good too get out of bed or watch the TV. I think you can feel very lonely with Parkinson’s and hopefully the radio will help.” –  submitted by Claire


    And last but not least, a greast stocking stuffer would be a tube(s) of Arnica Gel. This works wonders for stiff necks/shoulders. It comes in cream (not greasy) as well, but the gel dries really fast. Both the gel and the cream work equally well. No fragrance. This really helps the stiffness in the neck which in turn helps to reduce the headaches associated with PD. I can attest to this fact!

    For a list of gift ideas from previous years, click here.  And don’t forget to leave a comment if you have a suggestion.



The other day I wrote a post on giving thanks in all things over on my author site.  It was based around 1 Thessalonians 5:18, where, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are admonished to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in all things – to give thanks.

You have Parkinson’s. Someone you know has Parkinson’s. You have a chronic illness other than Parkinson’s. You have gout. You have a chronic illness and gout and a friend with Parkinson’s and you can’t find the TV remote and you’re supposed to give thanks?

Sure. Right after you eat the last two Oreos because after all, you have  a little milk left and studies have shown (studies I conducted personally or with a group) Oreos have been proven to help you feel better. But you gotta have milk…

There are just some things in life that are hard to give thanks for. But, it doesn’t say give thanks for everything, it says, give thanks in everything. And there is a difference.

Giving thanks for all things, is an act of gratitude, of “thanks-giving” upon recognition of a gift having been given to you. Giving thanks in all things con notates situations and circumstances. Is it possible to be in the throws of say, Parkinson’s disease or some other chronic or terminal illness? I believe so. Is it possible to be able to give thanks in the midst of some battle while not being able to give thanks for it? I know so.

You, undoubtedly, have read that people have actually been able to see the blessings that God has brought about through their illness or disease. And they have gone on to use those blessings as opportunities to bless others who are going through similar circumstances. There is no one more qualified to comfort the hurting except the one who has already been there, done that. There is no one who can understand better that pain, confusion, sorrow, and grief. And there is no one better to help get through the grief than the one who has already experienced grief itself. 

How do you give thanks in all things? I believe it takes knowing the One on whose ears the thanksgiving will rest. The One who is at work to bring together everything that happens to us – good and bad – for our good. He doesn’t allow situations and circumstances in our life to defeat us, to beat us down, to cause us to grow weary. We may feel defeated, beat down, and weary, but those are feelings and our feelings are not always accurate. Sure we can grow weary and get beat down over what life serves up but the fact is – we are not defeated. God is a god of victories and He is fighting for us.

Giving thanks in all things constitutes believing that God has your best interest at heart. Believing that He is sovereign and in control, regardless of what is going on around you. It means believing that He is faithful and can be trusted. And if He is faithful and trustworthy, surely our response will be an attitude of thanksgiving because He knows what He’s doing and what He’s doing is taking the bad – diseases, illnesses, abuse, severed relationships and more – and he’s working through the circumstances to bring about good. Good meant for us. 

I believe that eventually, giving thanks in everything can lead to giving thanks for everything. Because you have trusted His faithfulness, and because you have rested in His sovereignty and you have seen the blessings from being broken yourself, then maybe – just maybe – you’ll be able to give thanks for everything.




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