Monday, November 30, 2009

What a Whirlwind!

My GOODNESS! The last four days have been INSANE. Thursday, Thanksgiving, was spent at my parent's house, with my family, and then we dropped Jacob off at Doug's parents for an overnight. Doug and I plugged in our ginormous TV, sat on the couch (actually NEXT TO each other!) and watched a movie. It was awesome. Then Friday morning we got up (as Joanna would say) at the butt-crack of dawn (hehehhe) and went shopping all day. Back to Wayland to pick Jacob up. Unpacked. Oy. Then Doug started messing with the pantry shelves. I should seriously take pictures...(Ashley, it's like a MONK pantry now!!!!)

Saturday, we finished the pantry. I mean, we took every. single. item. out and cleaned, put it back (or on my other gigantic shelf in the kitchen where I put all my baking items, candy making items, tea, coffee, and hot cocoa (for Doug). Everything is all lined up...all the labels the same way...it's a sheer work of art. Brings a tear to my eye. Anyone with even slight OCD is welling up with pride. The ONLY way it cold be better if it would be alphabetized...However, taking out a million cans and boxes and putting them all back in (90% by myself because Doug was hacking up the entertainment center to reinvent it to fit the new TV). Again, McGuyver pulled out a miracle. I can't even describe it. Have to do pics again.

THEN, Sunday morning we were cleaning frantically because the house was completely trashed from the activity of the previous 3 days. Doug's parents came over for Thanksgiving yesterday, and we had our one turkey who survived to be butchered. I know, oxymoron. It was too big to fit in the roaster (22.5 pounds!) so he had to put it in a foil pan with a ton of foil over it. Hilarious. That thing could have fed a village. We'll be having turkey for a looooooong time. If you have any good leftover turkey recipes, let me know!

Today I'm exhausted! I woke up this morning feeling like I had been hit my a Mack truck. It's getting a little better, but I'm taking it EASY today...and having pizza tonight with great friends that we haven't seen in forever!

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

OH----thank you to my Symlin, I have lost 10.5 pounds! Even over Thanksgiving and surviving making about 20 dozen Christmas cookies! Woot! Woot!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Survived my First Black Friday!

Oh my gosh what a bunch of crazies there are in the world. And no, I'm not JUST noticing this, but who in their right mind gets up at 4:45 AM (that would be me) to go to town to shop? We just went in town first, but Pamida opened at 6 AM, and they had a 32" TV my in-laws wanted as their TV was completely dead. Good thing we got there when we did, because they only had 4 of them, and we got the last coupon.

I have to say, Pamida did something very smart. The had an employee outside going down the line to ask what people were there for. They had printed slips of paper with the "hot ticket" items on them. And we got the last TV ticket. And we were only like 12th in line. But that eliminates the "I'm-gonna-get-there-first-and-don't-care-if-I-trample-you." problem. What a sad state of affairs that was last year. That people would care so much for saving $50.00 that that would trample a human being. I really can't fathom that. I truly can't. NOTHING is worth that.

The only other place we had to wait in line was Radio Shack in Otsego because they didn't open til 9. The one in town opened at 5:30, but never even HAD what we wanted (a wireless keyboard for my laptop). So we ended up going to Otsego, and getting everything on our lists! It was very cool. We got a TON of DVD's from Meijer and WalMart. We saved a BOATLOAD of money. It was pretty fun actually! Doug's parents took Jacob overnight so we didn't have to worry about him getting all germy and cranky, not to mention dragging him out in the middle of the night. I can't IMAGINE doing that. And Jacob just LOVES going over there.

Our BIG splurge was a ginormous TV. And I mean GINORMOUS. I feel like I'm at the movies now in my own house. Wierd. And the pictuure is SO clear!! It's like 3-D...wierd. (Yes, I'm technologically impaired.) Our old TV was on the fritz, and with winter coming, I was not about to be without a TV...soI guess it was a good time for both our and my in-laws' TV's to die!

So....do YOU normally go out the day after Thanksgiving? Where do you go? DO you always go with the same people? Would you sit out in line like overnight?

I would NOT sit out overnight for anything. There is no material ANYTHING that I would wait in line for more than like, 30 minutes for. And THAT's pushing it. : )

Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I grew up in a very staunch Christian Reformed church. We sang hymns. ONLY hymns. And, unfortunately, we sang them as if we were dying. The slower the better, oh, and especially if you sang it in a minor key. Now that I'm older (ish!) and have sung praise and worship for years, I look back on some classic hymns with new appreciation. This one says it all:

Now Thank We All Our God

Text: Martin Rinkart; Trans. by Catherine Winkworth
Music: Johann Cruger; Harm. by Felix Mendelssohn

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace, and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills, in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God, whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Praise God today for all that we have to be thankful for. Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

Oh, we truly have so much to be thankful for. Even in the worst of times, we can find gratitude. Think of Corrie ten Boom. Joni Erickson Tada. Do you think they had reasons to be ungrateful? I sure do. But they aren't. They bless God. And they share with others His love and grace.

Joni has become a true inspiration to be since I have been ill. I've known her story, and was always amazed at her fortitude, but since being diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, spending so much time in the hospital, the physical, mental and emotional challenges that it brought forth.... I have really looked at her and thought: "This woman has to wait in bed in the morning for someone to come and get her up. To help her with the bathroom stuff and bathe her and dress her. What the HECK are you complaining about?" So I'm going to list some things for which I am thankful...and I would LOVE for you to leave a comment telling me one thing YOU are thankful for. What has blessed you this year??

1. I am thankful to my Almighty God, Who Was, and Is, and Is To Come.

2. I am thankful that the God who created the Universe and stopped the Red Sea, who parted the Jordan River during flood stage...that He is HUGE enough for all that, yet still chooses to live in my heart.

3. I'm thankful for my family....for my wonderful, amazing husband who is such a good provider for our family. You are my very best friend, and I love you forever! You are such a hard worker, a dedicated husband, and awesome Daddy. Jacob has been so excited to share in some of Daddy's deer hunting adventures! And for Jacob, my precious gift. I never knew such love and joy until I saw that little face...big ol cheeks and black curly hair (I know, you'd never know it now!) Mommy is so proud that you are MINE!!!

4. I am thankful for good friends who are so willing to help me when I'm having a bad time. Kathy, my cleaning angel....Shawn, for setting everything up, for helping me with Jacob...Candy for putting in more than her "scheduled" time...Leigh and so many others who pray for me...and for Joanna, my dear, dear friend, who has become like a sister to me. I cherish our Bible study and the other times that we get together. You bless me. Thank you for being there 24/7 no matter what. I lurv ya!

5. I am thankful that I have a disease that is not degenerative or terminal. There is no cure, and there certainly ups and downs, but there are far worse diseases out there.

6. I am thankful for this computer, for this blog, which has allowed me to meet some amazing, godly friends. You make me laugh, you make me cry...some of you make me spit out my coffee or pee my pants, but you're still awesome.

7. I'm ever thankful that I can see and hear. I can walk, I can talk (most of the time)... : )

8. I am so so so thankful that my husband has a good, steady, stable job. And that we have insurance. It may not be perfect, but it's soooo much better than many have right now. I am so thankful for all God provides in that area!

9. I am thankful for my parents and siblings. No matter what happens, we are family, and we will always be there for each other. I am thankful that my brother Mike FINALLY got into his house in California! Apparently, if you ever hear the words "short sale" in real estate, even if it's an unbelievable deal, cover your ears and run far away as fast as you can.

10. I'm thankful for my home, for heat in the winter and cool in the summer. I'm thankful for the food in our pantry and the clothes in our closets. AND I'M THANKFUL FOR MY NEW MED SYMLIN!!!!

God Bless you all this Thanksgiving....please leave a comment and share what YOU are thankful for!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ring Bearer Jacob


Ah yes, the joy of penguin suits. Jacob is in my niece's wedding next week, and we just got his tux yesterday. Tried it on him....the top fits perfectly...the pants...not so much. And as you can see, he just LOVES it. Um, yah.

SO....you can all start praying now that he'll wear it! Apparently it's better after the bowtie is off, because at least he quit screaming!

Time will tell....




Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh, Is It Monday! Randomness

My goodness. How can you use a cappucino machine every day for over a year, and then one morning get up, forget to put the metal filter in, wonder why the coffee is streaming out from all over with grounds in it...flip the thing over, mess with the seal, burning yourself on the heating element, (thankfully not REALLY breaking it) before seeing the little metal filter thingy that is supposed to go in the cup thingy. Ug. So half an hour later, I finally get my coffee. What a terrific way to start out the morning {she said, in a voice dripping with disdain.}

Then Jacob wants a train off the train wrapping paper I brought downstairs. He's obsessed with trains right now. So I painstakingly cut out a train (1 engine with two cars),and glue it on a iece on construction paper to it's more sturdy. What does he say? Mommy, can I have another one?
No. Mommy, it needs another car on the end. No, it doesn't. Yes it does!! NO.
So I'm like, what do you want for breakfast? No response. I name a couple of things. Nothing. I ask again. What do you want for breakfast? To which Jacob replies, "A train??" Ug. (And this was even BEFORE the coffee!)
Then I'm on facebook, and can't see any old posts. No big deal, just ANNOYING!!!
Oh, and one more thing to add to my annoyances of things that should all be the same wherever you go: public restroom doors. K. When you go IN, you should PULL the door open. (I hope all you major stores and restaurants are paying close attention here!!) Your hands are probably already dirty, even if they aren't, you're going to the BATHROOM. Hello!! SO....then you wash your hands....(with SOAP kids!) and dry them with PAPER TOWEL (since air dryers are breeding grounds for all things bacterial), using the paper towel to then turn off the water.

THEN, if everything was right with the world, you would PUSH the door open, using your elbow, foot, hip, tush, whatever! Clean hands need not touch the door! DUH. It does NOT take a rocket scientist people. But no, most doors you have to PULL open, thus contaminating your hands again because you KNOW everyone does NOT wash their hands after they use the bathroom.
Pardon me while I go vomit a moment.

Okay. SO...if you HAVE to pull the handle, use your paper towel, and then throw it away. If the bathroom doesn't have towel available, use your shirt to jerk the door open a little, enough to get your foot in there and kick it open. (Yes I've studied this thoroughly.)
Anywho. This post is certainly all over the place. Why not add a few more. There is a woman named Grace Datema who is having brain surgery today. She has 6 children. Please pray for her today, that the surgery us successful and that she will not have any complications, and will heal quickly.

Got to go to church yesterday....WHOO HOOO!!!! Awesome.

Finally, here is my little hunter. He has been waiting for MONTHS to hunt with Daddy. (Yes, the gun is fake!)...he was practicing all morning, shooting "deers" out the windows, and then bringing them in for Mommy to pet.


That's my baby!!! What a serious little man!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cursed Disease

I think the most brutal thing about this disease is looking into the expectant, "you-can-do-anything-Mommy" eyes of my baby boy and saying, "Not right now, honey. Mommy doesn't feel good." He's still just a little young to completely understand. I try to explain...

Jacob: Can you read to me while I eat Mommy? (As I'm giving my self my Symlin shot, changing my insulin pump)...

Me: Not right now buddy...Mommy has to take care of a few things. Mommy's not feeling so good today, so we have to take it easy today, okay?

Jacob: Why, Mommy?

Me: Well, you know how Mommy has to take lots of medicine, and vitamins? {Jacob nods} and how Mommy has a trach? {nodding again} Well, Mommy isn't like all the other Mommy's. I have something that's inside her that's always there... something that makes her not feel good sometimes.

Jacob: "But I need you to be good Mommy!"

Me: {can you hear the sound of my heart breaking?} Well, honey, I do too. But we have to wait until God decides it's time to make it go away.

Jacob: Can you read to me now?

The logical, rational side of me (yes, it's there...it may be small, but it's there!) thinks, okay, just read, move on, put the TV on, and he'll be fine.

The rest of me wants to rail at the heavens and shake my fists and stop my feet and have a tantrum and ask God why. It's like I have down times, but I can handle it. But to see my child, my baby, suffering, to know that I can't give him 100% of what I want to, 150% of what he wants...and I'm not talking materially. I'm just talking about being there....being able to roll around on the floor and run with him and not fall down or have my muscles give out or be in so much pain that I can barely move.

I want Jacob to be able to crawl on me like a jungle gym, and lay on my lap and not be in agony. Every time his little elbow digs into my leg it's like a horrible sharp penetrating pain that lasts for about 5 mintues even after I get him off me. And I hate that. I HATE that I have to push my child away physically because of pain. Sometimes, if it's not super-horrible, I just suck it up because I know it must be confusing to him. Yet there are times it's totally reflex, and I just grab his little arm to stop the agony.

I could go on and on about how unfair life is...(or wait, have I just done that??) It's just tough. I want to always convey hope and joy and be paitent. My soul is trying so hard. Every day I get up and tell God I can't do it without Him...and that's the only reason I've gotten to where I am now.

But the flesh...ah, how weak is the flesh. The flesh cries out. The flesh weeps.

The soul hopes. And as long as I have that....I will survive.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

Wow.

I woke up at 6 this morning, thinking, oh YAY!!! A whole hour to myself....quiet house...Bible study... coffee...then I hear the pitter patter. More like thump-a-thump, really, of little feet. I go over to the bottom of the steps, and here is this sleepy, smiley, warm and cuddly little boy, whose face just lit up when he saw me. "Hi Mommy!" And when he got to the bottom on the stairs, ran into my arms. What could be better? I will never get sick of that as long as I live.

Jacob was a different child today. I was a different Mommy today! We BOTH slept well...what a difference THAT makes! He kept running up to me and saying, "I love you." Or sometimes he would just climb on my lap and sigh..."I love you."

"I love you, Mom." (Yes, he calls me Mom sometimes and I HATE it!) "I love you Mommy!" I seriously think he told me that 50 times today. At least. He was so happy and well behaved and fun to be with....it was just an awesome day. He even woke up from his nap happy. That NEVER happens.

I am blessed beyond blessed. I have the most incredible child. And husband. And friends.
Can't ya just feel the love?

I'm up too late...a little slap happy. But I just couldn't wait another minute to write this post and tell everyone about my wonderful day baking cookies with my favorite three year old in the world.

Mommy loves you baby.

Yesterday was SUCH a Calgon Day

Oy vey. You guys remember (well, most of you) those Calgon commercials? The mom is dealing with 16 screaming kids, the laundry is piled up, the kitchen is a mess, she's trying to cook, there's sauce splattering all over the walls an dceiling, her face...her hair is a mess...someone shows up at her door with something she needs to pay for, her husband calls and says he's staying at work until 7 PM....and she finally just says, "Calgon take me away!" And she's immediately whirled to this luxurious bubble bath, candlelit room, hair up, looking smashing....

Well. That was me. Sort of. Only 1 child. Husband hunting. Add exhaustion and muscle weakness from MG, fibromyalgia pain so bad I couldn't even touch my own skin, and a child who was on fast forward and whose volume knob had broken off at "ear-splitting." Add 2 dogs, one of whom is capable of knocking me off my feet, a chair that I tripped on (Jacob's) to avoid said dog, wrenching my knee and "bad" hip....a headache from the pit of hell, Mommy guilt for not being physcially capable of dealing with my son yesterday...Oh, and we can't forget the adorable I'm-old-enough-to-be-your-mother Consumer's guy walking around our property spray painting trees that have to be removed, including my 100 year old pear tree (which I defended out in the rain to possibly save half the tree)!!!! I kept screaming "Calgon!!! Where are you??????"

Well, she didn't answer. Which may have been okay, because if I soak in the bathtub my muscles get too weak to get back out! And although I've lost EIGHT pounds from my new meds, I'm not quite svelte enough for my Prince Charming to scoop me up.

I'm bawling, tripping, yelling, dropping things on my feet, probably THE most impatient human on the planet at this moment, and I'm like WHERE'S MY BIBLE???? I thought, if I don't find something about being patient right this minute my head is going to pop off and spin around.

So I come across Colossians 1:9-14 (NKJV) (Thank you Lord!)

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

This is why I beg for your prayers. I WILL NOT make it through this life without them. Nothing else will help. Sure, I have wonderful friends who have really stepped up and are helping me physically around the house...but the day-to-day living, where the rubber really meets the road....without God, without dear friends, some of whom I haven't even met, praying for me on a consistant basis....I simply could not do it.

So I thank you for your prayers. They matter more to me than you could ever know. Who could have thought through this blog, sitting at my computer, I can find peace, knowing there are people out there lifting me up to the Creator of the Universe.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Beautiful Story of Cancer Survivor

I recently saw this on a blog and it touched my heart. I would like to share it today. We can find a cure for breast cancer! (And other kinds!!!)

Like most elementary schools, it was typical to have a parade of students in and out of the health clinic throughout the day. We dispensed ice for bumps and bruises, Band-Aids for cuts, and liberal doses of sympathy and hugs. As principal, my office was right next door to the clinic, so I often dropped in to lend a hand and help out with the hugs. I knew that for some kids, mine might be the only one they got all day.

One morning I was putting a Band-Aid on a little girl's scraped knee. Her blonde hair was matted, and I noticed that she was shivering in her thin little sleeveless blouse. I found her a warm sweatshirt and helped her pull it on. "Thanks for taking care of me," she whispered as she climbed into my lap and snuggled up against me.
It wasn't long after that when I ran across an unfamiliar lump under my arm. Cancer, an aggressively spreading kind, had already invaded thirteen of my lymph nodes. I pondered whether or not to tell the students about my diagnosis. The word breast seemed so hard to say out loud to them, and the word cancer seemed so frightening. When it became evident that the children were going to find out one way or another, either the straight scoop from me or possibly a garbled version from someone else, I decided to tell them myself.
It wasn't easy to get the words out, but the empathy and concern I saw in their faces as I explained it to them told me I had made the right decision. When I gave them a chance to ask questions, they mostly wanted to know how they could help.
I told them that what I would like best would be their letters, pictures, and prayers.
I stood by the gym door as the children solemnly filed out. My little blonde friend darted out of line and threw herself into my arms. Then she stepped back to look up into my face. "Don't be afraid, Dr. Perry," she said earnestly, "I know you'll be back because now it's our turn to take care of you."

No one could have ever done a better job. The kids sent me off to my first chemotherapy session with a hilarious book of nausea remedies that they had written.
A video of every class in the school singing get-well songs accompanied me to the next chemotherapy appointment.
By the third visit, the nurses were waiting at the door to find out what I would bring next. It was a delicate music box that played "I Will Always Love You."

Even when I went into isolation at the hospital for a bone marrow transplant, the letters and pictures kept coming until they covered every wall of my room.
Then the kids traced their hands onto colored paper, cut them out and glued them together to make a freestanding rainbow of helping hands.. "I feel like I've stepped into Disneyland every time I walk into this room," my doctor laughed.

That was even before the six-foot apple blossom tree arrived adorned with messages written on paper apples from the students and teachers. What healing comfort I found in being surrounded by these tokens of their caring.
At long last I was well enough to return to work. As I headed up the road to the school, I was suddenly overcome by doubts. What if the kids have forgotten all about me? I wondered, What if they don't want a skinny bald principal? What if..
I caught sight of the school marquee as I rounded the bend. "Welcome Back, Dr. Perry," it read. As I drew closer, everywhere I looked were pink ribbons - ribbons in the windows, tied on the doorknobs, even up in the trees. The children and staff wore pink ribbons, too.

My blonde buddy was first in line to greet me. "You're back, Dr. Perry, you're back!" she called. "See, I told you we'd take care of you!"

As I hugged her tight, in the back of my mind I faintly heard my music box playing . . . "I will always love you."

Subject: Breast Cancer Stamp Booklet
We need those of you who are great at forwarding on information with your e-mail network. Please read and pass this on. It would be wonderful if 2010 were the year a cure for breast cancer was found!!!! This is one email you should be glad to pass on. The notion that we could raise $35 million by buying a book of stamps is powerful! As you may be aware, the US Postal Service has the "Fund the Cure" stamp to help fund breast cancer research. The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda , Maryland . It is important that we take a stand against this disease that affects so many of our Mothers, Sisters, Friends, Coworkers, and Spouses of Coworkers.

Instead of the normal 44 cents for a stamp, this one costs 55 cents. The additional 11 cents will go to breast cancer research. A "normal" book costs $8.80. This one is only $11.00. It takes a few minutes in line at the Post Office and means so much. If all stamps are sold, it will raise an additional $35,000,000 for this vital research. Just as important as the money is our support. What a statement it would make if the stamp outsold the lottery this week. What a statement it would make that we care.

I urge you to do two things TODAY:
1. Go out and purchase some of these stamps.
2. E-mail your friends to do the same.

Many of us know women and their families whose lives are turned upside-down by breast cancer. It takes so little to do so much in this drive. We can all afford the $0.55. Please help & pass it on.


As many of you know, my best friend Linda passed away from endometrial cancer. It's been just over a year. One, long, horrible, painful, tear-filled year. What an amazing thing to find a cure for cancer...for ANY kind of cancer. Please consider if you can afford to buy even a few of these stamps.

Thanks!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

All Things Are NOT Created Equal

Okay. There are a few things in this world that are simply NOT the same. For example, zip lock bags. (I know, you thought I was going to get all philosophical on ya!) There are some ziplock baggies that are IMPOSSIBLE to open! The plastic of the bag is so cheap and flimsy that IT breaks before the ziplock seal does! Makes me want to scream.

Meijer USED to have good ones. But they must have changed theirs, because they are now the same crap as the other cheaper brands. So it's GLAD for me from now on. I've had too much food ruined because bags have split open, not to mention the mess when Jacob is eating a snack out of a plastic bag and the bottom rips out. Ug. I know part of it is my MG, because my grip is ridiculous sometimes, but come on. Why can't they just ALL BE THE SAME, and we wouldn't have this issue???

Another thing that drives me nuts is the set-up of left turn lane traffic lights. Okay, so maybe I'm the only one who is annoyed almost beyond words about this: Why do SOME traffic lights go from blinking red to GREEN, and others (that could be a mile down the road!) go from blinking red to RED? How stupid! They need to ALL be the same, and I'll bet it would prevent some of the accidents that happen at these intersections. Makes me CRAZY.

Oh, here's another one....it used to drive me more crazy when I was working and used number keypads all the time. Why are the 1, 2, and 3 on the BOTTOM of number pads on the keyboard, and on calculators, but on the TOP of the telephone? Same numbers. Different order. WHY???

Okay, so before you call me Monk, or call the men in the white suits and the padded wagons... I do realize that SOME things are good different....namely people. If we were all the same, life would be pretty darn boring. Unless you were like me. : ) Then it would just be CRAZY!

So maybe if all of us OCD people write our Congressmen something can be done.

Yah. I don't really think so either.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I am a Hunting Widow

Alas, today is THE DAY. Opening Day. For what you ask? Gun season. Deer hunting. I have seen the last of my husband for a while. Well, it's actually been a while as he's been "preparing" for quite some time already. First, he had to ensure his tree stand was in tact. A-OK there.
Then, he decided he needed some more vantage points, so he built 2 more deer shacks. Or, as Jacob calls them, "deer catchers."
So we all went out to paint, and this is Jacob peeking out from within. He wants to know when Daddy is going to take him "Hun-tin!"

Well, they turned out great, and Doug put them out in the field, very strategically placed, I'm sure...I think he even put one up on stilts.

I heard a loud shot about 8:40 this morning, but it echoes so much out here I can't tell ya where it came from. Hopefully he gets at least one today, or else he'll be all grumpy. : ) He has as many licenses as the law allows, so he can get some deer meat for other families. He does the butchering himself so that A.) you know you're getting back the deer you shot, B.) You can get whatever cuts of meat you want out of it and C.) it's cheaper. That should probably be the first reason!

Anywho...saying prayers for all the hunters out there to stay safe, and get their deer!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

MG and Homeschooling....How interesting!

Good grief.

I will NEVER second guess our decision to home school Jacob, and I know we are doing the right thing, for several reasons, not the least of which is trying to keep me from contracting some icky illness Jacob brings home from school. He is also so stinkin' smart he'd be bored to tears.

It is frustrating however, to have MG and try to raise a 3 year old, and teach him. Thank the Good Lord for awesome friends that have set up people to come and help me out a couple of hours a week cleaning. And of course, my cleaning angel, Kathy, who is coming once a week. God, bless these women!!! And their families!

I had been trying to get and keep the house clean after Doug made some snide comment about living in a pig sty. (oh, yes he did!) So for two days I worked my fingers to the bone, and about killed myself doing it. (I can be a wee bit stubborn.....no, really!)

So at dinner one night I just looked him dead in the eye and said, "Well, you can have a clean house but you'll have a dead wife. Your choice." He wisely said it looked like he'd have a dirty house. Then Shawn stepped in and made her list, and people signed up to help. It was such a relief when Shawn called I almost bawled.

But anywho...back to homeschooling. Jacob would do school every second he was awake. Until Daddy comes home and he can go outside, that is. It is exhausting trying to keep that kid busy AND challenged. He gets bored so easily, yet he gets frustrated if something is TOO hard. For example, he has brainquest cards that he LOVES doing....they are for 4-5 year olds, Jacob has been 3 for 3 months now! He knows all of them....there were like maybe 10 out of 300 that he didn't know, and most of it was stuff he wasn't exposed to, like, where does a stamp go on an envelope? Never talked about that with him.

I have some things where I think, oh he could never do this...and he breezes right through. Other things I'm like, oh this will be simple for him...not so much.

God keeps me humble though, because Jacob still has sensory issues...still puts a lot in his mouth that he shouldn't, that kind of thing. He eats about 10 different things (that are edible!) So he'll probably graduate Harvard at like 18, but still be licking his shoes. : )


I, however, am as proud as can be of my beautiful boy. He is smart and gorgeous and crazy and wild and busy and all boy. He is tender and sweet and precious, and I love him with all my heart.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Article by Lisa Copen about Church

Hey everyone,

This article was in my ezine from Rest Ministries called HopeKeepers. Many of you know some of the issues that churches today have with taking care of the chronically ill. Especially younger people who are chronically ill. Some already do a wonderful job of this. Some don't seem to make it a priority, but many others just don't know how to help. This is from the mouths of 800+ people who took a survery about what churches could do. This fantastic article is reprinted with permission from the author.

Ministering to the Chronically Ill: 20 Ways That Take 20 Minutes
by Lisa Copen

Rest Ministries, the largest Christian organization that specifically serves the chronically ill, recently did a survey and asked people to "List some of the programs or resources a church could offer to make it more inviting and comfortable." They have provided a sampling of some of the 800+ responses, all of which could be done in 20 minutes or less.

1. Encouragement emails.

2. Make sure the handicapped stalls in the restroom are functioning and clean.

3. Padded chairs or cushions, room for wheelchairs, and plenty of room for my family to sit with me.

4. Be open-minded about a support group for the chronically ill like HopeKeepers. It would make me feel very special, knowing that there is an understanding of people's needs that are not always visible.

5. Add more disabled parking, even if they are temporary spots.

6. Educate the ushers that people arriving late may have difficulty walking or getting out of cars and will need some assistance.

7. Ask volunteers to call people with chronic illness just to check on them when they don't make it to services.

8. When suppers are given, recognize that I may need help getting my meal--or at least understand that I won't be able to wait in a long line.

9. Be gentle when giving people big hugs. It can topple over or hurt a person.

10. Have a video tape of the service, not just a live web cast. Not all our computers work that well.

11. Make sure that the church doors aren't too difficult to open or at least have mechanical assistance if they're unusually heavy.

12. Stop telling me that if I really believed and had faith I would be healed by now. Please don't insist how good I look, because I know for a fact that I look terrible and miserable that day.

13. Offer me ways to serve within the church that can be performed regularly, but not on a set schedule. I still want to contribute, but I need some flexibility so that I can do a job when I feel well enough to do so.

14. Have sermon notes available so I can listen later or even just review what I didn't catch the first time.

15. Acknowledge National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Rest Ministries has a nice book list of top 100 Christian books for the chronically ill. It would make a nice display in your bookstore that week.

16. Just mention chronic illness occasionally! Don't forget to talk about it in sermons as one of the challenges many people face just like unemployment or divorce.

17. Have Christian volunteers from church that will clean house for small fee. Some have offered to clean my house, but I cannot accept charity yet, but neither can I afford to pay a regular house cleaning service.

18. Help with some of the small costs of providing encouraging books and resources for the church library the chronically ill can check out.

19. Remember how many caregivers are in the church, not just caregiving for their parents, but also for their spouses or ill children.

20. Have copies of sermons for free on CD or computer.

Find over 500 ways to encourage a chronically ill friend in the book "Beyond Casseroles: 505
Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend" at www.beyondcasseroles.com

Blessings,
Lisa Copen, Rest Ministries Founder Rest Ministries Chronic Illness Pain Support

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Very Personal

This will be probably one of my most personal posts ever. It regards the most sensitive, painful issue I have dealt with in life: My weight. I debated and debated over sharing this, but 1. I finally have good news, and 2. If there are other people out there, I want you to know you're not alone.

Okay, it doesn't take an Einstein to realize I'm overweight. Being on as much medication as I am on doesn't help. However, I am obssessed with food. I always have been. As far back as I can clearly remember (back to 4 years old) food has been the focal point in my mind. Not on purpose, not like, "oh, I'm going to think about food all day long." It's just always been there. When I was 4 years old, we celebrate Thanksgiving at my Grandpa and Grandma's house. Before we ate, we all went around and said what we were thankful for. Some were thankful for Jesus, others for family, or whatever...I was thankful for food. And everyone laughed at the cute little fat girl who loved food. But it never changed. And it stopped being funny.

I was a chubby toddler, a chubby kid, a chubby teen, a chubby adult, you get the picture. While I'm of short stature, I have always been one of the biggest people in the room. Before I go on, let me clarify that I am NOT a person to go through the drive thru and order 6 Big Macs, 4 large fries and a diet coke. I ate normally most of my life. I snacked more probably, and may have eaten some things "skinny" people wouldn't. But the point is, I didn't set out to be fat my whole life. But the biggest difference, I'm starting to think, is the way I thought about food.

I tried every diet out there...you name it I've tried it. All the pills, powders, potions, vitamins and low-carb, no-carb, low-fat blah blah blah. If I did manage to lose 15 or 20 pounds, it came right back on and then some the second I stopped eating like a bird.

Now add in my medical problems, and all the medicaton I'm on: Myasthenia gravis prohibits any repetitive activities...like solid exercise. Being diabetic and on insulin makes it harder to lose weight. Being on anti-depressants can make you gain weight, as does the Prednisone. I was getting so desperate that I was looking into bariatric surgery. And believe me, after all the stuff I've been through medically, elective surgery IS NOT on the top of my list. But as I said, desperation had definitely set in. I found out however, I'm not even a candidate for this type of surgery, because I take too much medication. Not only would my new stomach fill up with the pills, they wouldn't absorb normally.

So I was really feeling like there was just no solution. I was gaining because of the prednisone, and it seemed like there was no way out. Talk about depressing.

And then.... {cue angelic music}

I went to the diabetic doctor. I got on the scale and started bawling as soon as I got into the waiting room. (And you can hold your breath forever cuz I ain't tellin!) The doc came in, and I was trying to hold it together but I just couldn't. I told her how depressed I was because of my weight, and how at wits' end I was. She says, well..."I don't normally bring this up with someone whose blood sugar is in such good control. But since YOU brought it up, there's this medication called Symlin. It's a hormone that you use with insulin, and it slows down the digestion of food, causing you to feel full longer, and you feel full faster when you eat. It also does something to the central nervous system that inhibits appetite, and helps your liver to produce less glucogen. A lot of people have lost weight taking it."

I was like....huh? For real? What kind of medication helps you eat less and feel full longer, and why has no one told me about this before??? Weight loss??? Can I start 10 minutes ago??

Long story short (I know, too late)...I'm on the Symlin. It's a shot, 3 times a day, before meals. I started last Wednesday. As of yesterday morning...I have lost.......

SIX AND A HALF POUNDS!!!!!

I can't believe it works! I take it 15-30 minutes before I eat, and I'm eating less than half of what I used to. I feel full longer, I'm on about 1/2 the insulin I was on a week ago, and the BEST part for me, is that I DON'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT FOOD! I don't think about it, I don't dwell on it... I don't count down the minutes til I can eat again...my stomach growls and I think, oh, I guess I should eat now.

Unless you have this problem, you really can't understand the relief. The freedom. The overwhelming gratitude for having this obssession lifted from me! I have been praying for so long. For something to work. To give me the strength to exercise, the self-discipline to not eat. I would go on a "healthy eating plan" and be so hungry. SO crabby. (Doug can attest to that!) I think the only time I'm crankier is when I'm really hot...if I'm hot AND hungry...yikes. I think my head spins around.

Doug and I were in the car on Saturday and I just broke down. I looked at him with happy tears streaming down my face and said, "Can you imagine I might dare to be thin?" I've NEVER been thin. I'll settle for healthier! But serioulsy....to NOT be the biggest person in the room...you can't imagine. I honestly don't care what I weigh or what size I wear...although it would be nice to be able to walk into ANY store and buy clothes!

So anyway....this is a lot of information for me to share, but I have a feeling there are more people out there like me...Now you can't get Symlin if you're not diabetic. But chances are, if you're extremely overweight, you have sugar problems. So if you DO...ask your doctor about Symlin! The shots are no big deal...I HATE needles, but the outcome is SO worth it. Sometimes it stings a little bit, but the needle is really tiny.

This is going to change my entire life.
Thank you God!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Remembering

You know how you start hearing from every area about one particular thing, and you KNOW God is trying to tell you something? Well, that’s been me the last few days, folks. I think God is reminding ME, as well as wanting to share with lots of you out there, that we need to remember Him. We need to remember all the good God has done in our lives.

Joanna and I are doing Me, Myself and Lies, a Bible study by Jennifer Rothschild. This week has been about remembering.

Yesterday I was blessed to have an amazing angel (see previous post) come and clean my house, for free, someone I had just met when she walked through my door…just because she loves to serve God, and God wanted to bless me through friends. She asked me to tell her my story, and I was remembering all the things God saved me from while I was really, really ill.

I receive Chronic Illness Devotionals in my email every day, and guess what yesterday’s was? You got it: remembering the good God has done.

If you have read this blog long, you know my favorite book on the planet (besides my Bible) is my Synonym Finder. I’m a word nerd. So of course, I had to look up every synonym for “remember.” Here are a few of my favorites: recall, recollect, call to mind, have at the tip of your tongue, keep in mind, bear in mind, be aware of, review, go over, memorize, have by heart.

Wow. Can you imagine if we truly did this? If we made a list of all the good God has done…Well, we couldn’t even make a list that long! But then, to really remember. To call to mind. To go over. To memorize. To have by heart.

One of my favorite Scripture stories is of God leading the Israelites through the Jordan River. Not to mention it was at flood stage! He told Joshua to take 12 stones out of the MIDDLE of the Jordan, and build a memorial as to what God had done there. That way, when their children asked, they could explain how God had saved them once again.

Do you have a memorial? Do you have any physical reminders of God’s goodness? I encourage you to find one. For many, it can be photos… I have many photos from when I was ill, and to look back and see how far God has brought me, well, it’s just amazing.

For some, it’s something that may have caused them physical injury or helped them heal: a cast, a piece of metal; for soldiers, maybe shrapnel or a bullet. Something that you can show your children and say, “This is just one way God has done good for me.”

Even in the BAD times, God is working for our benefit. I know if you are going through something right now that may be reallllly tough to believe. But I am telling you from experience! I have been fighting myasthenia for 14 years now. Nine years ago I should have died. More than once. My ENTIRE life has changed. I’m on disability. I can’t work. I didn’t think I could have children (see Jacob, miracle child!). My independence is virtually gone. I have lost numerous people in my life whom I thought were friends. I am judged constantly because I don’t look like I’m dying. I have a trach through which I breathe.

And yet, I wouldn’t trade any of it, because God has done so much in my life since then. I know Him better, although I still have a loooong way to go! I love more deeply, more easily, I forgive MUCH more easily, I’m not nearly as impatient as I used to be. Life is precious. I don’t get angry like I used to. Things that used to bother me just roll off me like water off a ducks back. Now, I’m not saying nothing ever gets to me, because it surely does. There are things that will always be wrong and unjust, and that will never change.

But things like traffic jams, construction delays, changes in plans (which used to send me over the edge), unexpected small problems, what to eat and what to wear…it’s like, who cares? The God of the Universe has reached into my soul to change me for the better. Whatever I have to deal with I will, because I wouldn’t have missed that for the world.

“Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits!” Psalm 103:2

Will you share a remembrance of what God has done in your life?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Angel Friends

First of all, my deepest sympathies to anyone who had family in Ft. Hood that were injured or killed. What a horrible pointless tragedy. My prayers are with you.

Now for something positive and wonderful and uplifting. I met a real, live angel today. Her name is Kathy, and she's the one of the kindest, warm-hearted people I've ever met. My dear and precious friend Shawn (who is also one of the kindest, most warm-hearted people ever) passed around a list at her Bible study for people to sign up to come and help me for 2 hours a week doing whatever...cleaning, helping with Jacob, etc. God Bless you Shawn! It's so frustrating not being able to keep my house clean! Like even sweeping (with a broom)....I can do about 2 or 3 passes, then I have to rest my arms. Ug.

So last week, a friend came TWO days in a row for more than 2 hours and cleaned. Today, Miss Kathy came over and cleaned from like 10 til just after 3. And she said she wants to come back once a week until it's "done." Can you BELIEVE that? Just when you think there aren't any decent people left...God shows you in a big way that you just can't give up. What a precious, precious lady. And she didn't even KNOW me. I just met her today~ That's what gets me. I have a few friends who are amazing and wonderful and would do anything for me...(love you girls!) and then there are people who I've known all my life, and, well, let's just stop there, because I'm at a happy place right now.

THANK YOU KATHY!!!! What a blessing!

You know, this disease is so bizarre. I think it has given ALMOST as much as it has taken. God has shown me things I never would have seen, good and bad, without MG. I wouldn't change it. I love what I have now that I wouldn't have, even with all the ugliness.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Randomness

The sun!! It DOES still exist!!! Jacob and I will be bundling up to go outside shortly...it's still a bit chilly, but the sunshine...well, we can't pass that up. You never know when you'll see it again in Michigan!

Bizarre thing....I've had the froggiest voice for the last 3 days. Just hoarse and weird. Been super tired too, but that's typical for over-doing a bit, and just the whole MG thing. The voice is annoying though. OH well.

My superfast internet is still fantastic, and while we will be keeping the dial up and phone until we get back from vacation in February (so Doug's parents have back-up!)

On a serious note: I checked this out on Snopes, and they confirmed it was true. There is a little boy named Noah who is suffering from neuroblastoma, and will not see Christmas (according to his doctors). His family will be celebrating Christmas this weekend. Noah loves Christmas cards, and they are asking that people send a card. SO....if you would like to, here is the address:

Noah Biorkman
1141 Fountain Circle Drive
South Lyon, MI 48178

Thanks!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wow.

Amazing just how "human" some humans are.

Surprising how often people talk out of both sides of their mouth.

Unbelievable the slander that comes so easily for some.

Shocking the levels of hatred expelled upon you from those you once loved.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Life

I must say I am thoroughly enjoying being part of the 20th century technologically. I haven't quite made it to the 21st yet, but I'm thrilled to be where I am. This broadband thing is amazing. I was downloading stuff yesterday that would have taken at LEAST 5 minutes per page, and I instead, I would just watch the numbers zoom up to the end, and it would be ready to go. INSANE!!!

AWESOME McTalking time last night with Joanna. Whoo! What a study. My goodness. It's a good thing we only meet every two weeks, because it takes us that long to absorb one week's worth of material from this woman! Plus we are both homeschooling moms; she having a much larger workload than I because she has 3 children, and I have just one...but still....this study is so amazing. Me, Myself and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. This woman gets in your business like you couldn't believe. She has the uncanny ability to say one sentence so spot-on that you're just left there rubbing your cheek. Joanna and I have both been Christians for a very long time, but are both learning things we've never known....It's amazing. SO worth the time and effort put into it.

On the home front, time to go to the diabetic doc in Grand Rapids today. Whoopty-do. They're pretty cool about everything, and I don't get lectured about my health (gee, ya think? With all the crap I go through and all the medication I'm on...you'd think ALL doctors would know better...) But it's just a pain to have to drive all the way up there. Thankfully my mom and dad are wathcing Jacob for us, then we will be all going our for dinner with my aunt Dee.

Been pretty stressed the last few days. Dealing with some personal angst. My stress levels have been bad enough to affect my health. While doing this study, one thing we're really working on is how we talk to ourselves, and taking our thoughts captive and making them agree with Christ's thought about us. Ms. Rothschild said right in there, don't be surprised when people start coming out of the woodwork attacking you on many levels because of the strides you are making spiritually. Whoa. Talk about truth there! I have to keep reminding myself that I am not fighting against flesh and blood. satan has his plots and schemes, and they almost always involve other people.

I've also been having many issues with my trach. I had to take it out last Friday because it hadn't been out since the MRI, and when I put it back in, I didn't get it "just" right. It's AMAZING how many muscles in your neck can be affected, and how they react when one little part of you is "this much" off. Holy-pain-in-the-neck-Batman. So Saturday morning I took it out again, and by Saturday night it was still killing me...I thought I had it, but I didn't....twisted it a bit Saturday, got SOME relief, but realized Monday morning it wasn't abolutely right. FINALLY got it in correctly before Bible study. Now I'm not touching it for a while!!! Between that and stress...I pretty much have no strength, and no voice. Oh well. Life goes on. Suck it up, Buttercup. Everyone has problems.

Please keep my sister Lori in your prayers...she and her husband don't have medical insurance right now, and she is super stressed about it. She tries not to worry, but I know I would, and I'm pretty sure she does. She's got health issues as well, and it's hard for her to be on her feet for long periods at a time, but she has to work...they still can't pay all their bills...anyway. Thanks.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Oops! Monday Me-Me

Sheez...I've only done this for one week and I already forgot...I was just so excited about my fast computer! Okay.....


1. Do you like to cook and/or bake?

2. What is you favorite fruit?

3. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? Why?

4. How many blogs do you visit on a daily basis?

Have a great week girls....make sure you comment!!

Good news.....

I'm so excited!!! My computer is SO SO SO SO much faster! I actully just watched a 4 minute VIDEO!!! First time EVER at home. I think I'm the only person on the planet (besides my parents) who have never been on youtube. Whoo-hoo!!!!

Saturday we went Costco to get pictures done, do some shopping, and then we were going to go to the mall to the Verizon kiosk and get a new phone and cord so I could get a faster internet. Turns out Costco has a Verizon thingy right there, and so it was TOTAL one-stop-shopping! I was biting my nails as I installed it and tried it out...and it works!!! OH my WORD this is cool.

My facebook page just loaded in 5 seconds. SECONDS!!! NOT minutes! Sometimes it doesn't even load! This is amazing.

Pardom me while I go surf the net in my euphoria!!
Tomorrow's post will have some substance.
: )