Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do YOU Like Jigsaw Puzzles?

I don't. I hate them. (Remember the whole "passion" post?) Yah. I hate them with a passion. I do NOT understand how people can do like 1000 piece puzzles and stay sane. Honestly. I do not have the patience for them. (See previous post!) : ) I can barely do the 100 piece ones that I do with Jacob. (Why, yes, he is only 3, and yes, he IS a genuis!) Anyway, back to the point. Jigsaw puzzles, hatred of them, and impatience regarding them.

A wonderful college friend, Mary had this quote on her blog this morning: (You really need to hear her story!!)

"When we face struggles, we often wonder, "Why?" Years from now, though, we may realize that it was those struggles that taught us something we could not have otherwise learned - that there was purpose in our pain. God's purpose is greater than your pain, and He has a greater purpose than your problems."
Max Lucado Daily: Everyday Blessings

Whoo! Halellujah for that!!!

I was once again struck by the jigsaw analogy...which is, in my humble opinion, the only thing they are good for! Oh, that or you can glue the really, really pretty ones together and frame them. I digress...

I think that sometimes we get so overwhelmed (I know I do!) with it all we forget that we only see an itty, bitty part of the BIG picture. We are but one piece in the entire jigsaw puzzle of millions of pieces....only God sees the finished product, and how they all fit together!

This can be awfully hard to fathom. So many times I have been so encased in my own pain and suffering that I can't even imagine how anyone could benefit from it, let alone me...how ANYTHING good could come of suffering. Then I really stop and think about it. How I handle what happens to me is a reflection of God in me.
Do you see what I mean? If I am going through a tough time, and I complain and whine and shake my fist at God (Not that I haven't done that, because, BELIEVE me I have!!), what does that say about MY GOD? On the other hand, if I can muster up the courage to praise Him?

In the New Testament, Paul praised God when he was in chains, literally standing in running, raw sewage up to his knees. He is a better man than I! Standing in poop. Chained up. Praising God. Whoa. Oh, to be that committed, that in love, that dedicated, that full of belief and peace in God! Truly my heart's desire.

I see SUCH a pathetically small picture of my life. If I could rise above, and just see how it fits into all the other pieces, and how THEY fit into others'. But I guess that's why we have to have faith, and trust that God knows what He's doing.

Do you? Do you trust that God has YOUR best interests at heart? He does, ya know. I may not know why, but if I know ANYTHING, I know that the Bible is God's Word, and His Word is infallible and perfect. It is complete. And it tells us that He works ALL THINGS together for GOOD for those who love Him. He never said it would be easy, but He said He would work it all out. Rest in that today!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Patience is a Virtue I Do NOT Have

Oh my gravy people!!! I'm losing my mind with cabin fever. It would be bad enough if we WEREN'T going on our first vacation in over 5 years, our first EVER family vacation (in four days!)! Can hardly stand it. Doug was inside quite a bit today, which helped, because it makes the day go faster. Jacoc actually was outside with Daddy for like 2 hours today! He will sleep good tonight! He had such a good time. He misses Daddy a lot now when Doug is at work.

I drank waaaaay too much caffeine this morning. Whew! I was stoked. I mean to the limit.
I should know better....I love the energy, but I do NOT love the crash after!

Was talking to my friend Tracy on facebook today...she lives in Florida. We went to college together, and will be connecting in St. Pete when we're down there. We haven't seen each other in 17 years! WOW does that make me feel old!!

Then, in March, I'm having a reunion with 3 more college friends...roommates actually. What a blast. It's so amazing to see how God has worked in all of our lives...all in such different ways. So I will even have that to look forward to when I get BACK from Florida!

Well, nothing too exciting...just packing and cleaning! Have a good weekend...what's left of it!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Make Up Your Mind

Happy Friday! Off to Ann Arbor today for my last round of plasmapheresis before we head off to the Sunshine State! Wooo-Hooo!!!

So I've been thinking about this post for a few days not sure how to get it down. You KNOW I'm preoccupied when I can't get words out! My mouth has been getting me into trouble my whole life! On my elementary school report cards, it was pretty much all the same: "Kerri is an excellent student...Now if we could just get her to stop talking so much and be a little less social!" Hehehhe. What can I say? I love words! The spoken word, the written word...love 'em all!

One thing I don't love...in fact, I would be go so far as to say I HATE it: People who won't make a decision. Not people who CAN'T, for whatever reason, but WON'T. And I'm not talking about the polite "I don't care where we go for dinner, where would YOU like to go?" Although this can get annoying if you have 2 parties involved who keep doing this....like the cartoon chipmunks, Chip and Dale. "After you!" "No, after you!" "I insist..." Blah blah blah.

So what I want to encourage you to do today is live with passion. It doesn't have to have anything to do with romantic love, either, before anyone goes THERE. There are over 200 synonymns for passion in my good ol' Synonym Finder. (No, I won't list them all!!) But think about it. If you lived with fierceness. If you made a decision with vivacity! If you woke up today and said, I am going to live with earnestness.

I'm saying, that even if your body doesn't cooperate, even if your finances won't facilitate, make up your mind to make a difference! All you need is your heart and your mind. Have enthusiasm!

I know there are a lot of people out there, myself included, who are going through not so great things right now. But DECIDE. Gather up every ounce of courage you have, and live with PASSION!

Think about what drives you. Concentrate on what moves you. Choose something positive to focus on. And LIVE!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Joy and Thankfulness

I spent the better part of an hour reading a blog today I had never seen before. A woman was describing her pregnancy, the expectation of their fourth child, a girl. At 20 weeks, she had an ultrasound, and she and her husband were told their baby would probably never live, because of some serious birth defects. For 16 weeks she carried that information, along with her precious child growing in her belly, accompanying a deepening of her walk with the Lord that just astounded me. She delivered by C-section a 3 1/2 pound beautiful baby girl, who was with them on this earth for 2 1/2 hours. My heart could take no more.

I have read other stories lately, on blogs, in e-mails from friends. I have heard about this person in this situation, and that person in another...

After I read that blog this morning, I turned off my computer, went sobbling and sniffling into the living room where my precious miracle of life sat watching The Little Einsteins. I grabbed him up and squeezed him tight and held him and rocked him and just told him over and over how much I loved him, and how thankful I was for him. I must have kissed him 100 times. I just did NOT want to let go! He was like, "Awww....I love you too Mommy. Can I watch TV now?" (Well, he is only 3!)

I was just struck with so many emotions! Pure, unadulterated joy in my child. Heart-striken grief for dear friends and family who are suffering their own kinds of losses right now, who have unanswered questions, who live moment by moment not sure what the next day will bring. Shame at how much I complain about the things in life that some would be grateful for, because it would mean they were alive. How did I get to be so fortunate in life? Why did God decide to bless ME with such an awesome task as raising this amazing child? With everything going on with my health, how is it that I was able to have a perfectly healthy child? Only by the grace of God, my friends.

My husband has a stable, steady job. Thank you LORD for that blessing. Other than my health, I couldn't ask for better life! Look at the people in Haiti! Look at the children, right here in America, that go without food or clothing, or warm coats because of poverty.

None of us our guaranteed tomorrow. My dear friend Joanna and I were talking about loving people where they are RIGHT NOW...Look around you. Please don't miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Tell them you appreciate them. Are thankful for them. Look at people in the eye when you pass them on the street. SMILE at them. You may never know what one kindness from a stranger could do to a person who is going through a horrible time.

Please don't pass up precious moments for things that WILL NOT MATTER a week from now. Scoop up your children...kiss them. Cuddle up to your spouse, or your children, or your pet... Show someone love TODAY. And PLEASE don't take them for granted. We may never know when they will be called home.

Monday, January 25, 2010

All-Over-The-Map Post!


Well…farm life continues. Doug found one of our ducks dead in the field next door. We saw another %$#$% chicken hawk the other day. They are beautiful, but they are MEAN! They will not leave our birds alone. This is the first time it has gone after one of the ducks though. It's either that or a coyote...but it looks like the work of the hawks. Anyone know how to get rid of them???

I have to say the ducks aren’t too bright though. Yesterday one of them was standing on their frozen solid kiddie pool “pond” looking down and quacking. Quack, quack, quack. Silly goose. Ar. Ar. Doug and Joanna were making TERRIBLE duck jokes! You know, "I guess it just quacked up." "Do you think we'll get a bill?" AWFUL.
Then I needed a bunny fix after that...so Doug brought a couple of them in. OH my GOSH I don't know how I'm going to let any of them go! They are all so stinkin' cute! I mean, come on... Just LOOK at these faces!
Jacob loves them too...As soon as we get back from Florida we have to take them to the vet, get them separated boy-girl wise, and then figure out what to do. I'm going to keep probably 2 females. If we can't adopt them out, we'll probably give them to a no-kill shelter. No one is eating these babies!

Here's me with my purple hair...you can sort of see it...at least I remembered to smile!

Well, the follow up with my doc today went well...he said I DON'T have asthma! So Hallelujah there! It's probably an allergic reaction that presents as asthma, but I don't have chronic asthma. I didn't think so....I hadn't ever wheezed like that before...SO YAY! The prednisone is making me crazy though. Here is it, 12:16 AM...can't sleep, and ridiculously hungry. Go Lucky Charms.

Anywho...kind of all over the place, but that's me right now! Happy Tuesday!


Cows?!?!?

We are getting cows! Oh my goodness. I am freaking out. One, because I am so excited. Two, because Jacob is so excited. Three, because I am a city-kid transplant who VOWED she would NEVER have FARM animals. Four, because they will be for meat, and I have NO IDEA how to not get attached. (See number 3; animals you own are pets, not food).

Very dear friends of ours have a son and daughter-in-law who are moving to Montana. They have to sell their animals because of the difference in elevation. They are giving us a great deal, and hopefully we will be able to help out some other family and friends with this blessing that is coming to us! Since Doug can butcher anything, he will do the butchering, which will result in more meat, probably better meat, and best of all, FREE. I guess butchering is really expensive, like a fee, PLUS $1.00 per pound for any meat. So MINUS the fee, if you get 400 pounds of meat, you shell out $400.00! Now granted, beef costs way more than $1.00 per pound, but when you can do it free....WHY NOT?

Also, a little good news on the lung front for me...I did the spirometry tests again last night, and my "breathing in" number (why, yes, that IS the technical term!) went from between 15 and 20 up to 40. GREAT news. The number for "normal" people is around 60, I believe. The "breathing out" number is up to 1.7 from 1.5; still low, but at least it's improving. The inhale is effected by the MG, and the exhale is effected by the asthma, so I'm not as weak as I was, but my lungs haven't completely recovered yet. "Normal" for the exhale is like 3.0-3.5. For someone with MG it should be between 2.3 and 2.5. So I'm getting there.

Oh, the joys of chronic illness. Florida is getting closer, and my neuro. said the change of environment could help my lungs. I was like, I'm SO with you!! Oh, a little more good news...He also thinks that I can go right from the high doses of prednisone right back to where I was because it's only 6 days of the higher dose. THANK YOU GOD!!! If I had to wean back down, while on vacation...That would NOT make me happy. The doc DID say to watch my MG symptoms very carefully, and if the MG starts to exacerbate, then I need to go back up to like 30.

SO....if you are a praying person, PLEASE pray that I can go right back to the lower dose with NO problems!!

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I am so grateful that God has seen fit to bless me with so many caring people in my life...some I've known for forever, and some I've never "met" other than in cyberspace. But you are all important, and I am so appreciative of the relationships I have forged on this computer. Have a wonderful week!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

ER Visit

Yuck. Double yuck.

Spent half the day at the ER today. Been having a hard time breathing the last week or so. Last night was reeallly bad, so this morning Doug took me to the ER in Kalamazoo. Took blood, did a chest x-ray. They said I had asthma, probably from 9 years of breathing crap in my trach. Plus, the same day the breathing trouble started (hindsight being 20/20 and all), I used a cleaner that I made from bleach and water. Apparently you aren't suuposed to spray it. How the heck did I know?? I use bleach in the laundry. I've used buckets of bleach water to mop. I clean the toilet with bleach. What the heck difference is spraying it?

Well, according to the chemist, my husband, chlorine molecules are heavier than air, so you can breathe in water and bleach, and blow air out...the water either absorbs or exits, but the bleach (chlorine molecules) stay in your lungs, causing inflamation. So that, combined with the asthma, combined with having MG....well, it wasn't pretty. They gave me a huge extra strong breathing treatment, and I'm on oxygen, which is helping a LOT.

But they also gave me 60 mgs of Prednisone. SIXTY!!! It has taken me since JUNE to get down from 40 to 5, 7.5 every other day. My goal (maintenance dose) is 5, 2.5 every other day. I was so close. If I have to wean down that slow again.....ooooh. I can't even THINK about it without cursing.

Dirty Bastages. (100 points if you can name the movie).

So....the verdict is, I'm going to live. Oh, and don't use bleach water as a spray.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cranky Kerri has Left the Building/Does God Care?

FINALLY, the funk has diffused. Cranky, melancholy Kerri has found her way back to the pit from which she came, and the "real" me is back. **TMI alert** I am going back on the pill. My GP had told me to start thinking about going off of it because I was getting older, and because of the cancer risk OF being older and on BC pills. So I just blindly went off of them...this was also when my very best friend Linda had just been diagnosed with cancer.

Well, let the evil begin. Two weeks of the month I was either bitching or bawling. So yesterday I went online and did some research. Being on the pill actually REDUCES the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer, and only SLIGHTLY increases the risk of breast cancer (genetics still being #1, and there is none in my family, Praise God!), and slightly increases the risk of cervical cancer, which is the slowest growing of all, and I have regular exams, so anything would be caught super early, and that's good enough for me. I cannot LIVE this way anymore. I'm one of the FEW people who actually do better ON the pill. Anywho.

Okay, now for the second, completely unrelated part of my post. I have heard more than once in the last few weeks, "Does God even really care?" I am here to say, YES, my friends, he does. Do we always understand Him? NO. Not even close. Sometimes not even a little. Do I know why I was hospitalized on my deathbed 6 weeks after I got married? Not really. Do I know why I can't physically have as many kids as I want? Nope. Do I know why my best friend of half my life died a horrible death from cancer? Not a clue. BUT.....it doesn't REALLY matter.

GOD KNOWS.

God sent His only Son...and I have an only son, and let me tell ya, I don't think I could do what He did. He knew his Son would suffer unspeakable cruelties. Do you think that was easy for Him just because He was God? Do you think He didn't feel pain? Do you think Jesus's closest friends and family didn't question why? AND THEY ALREADY KNEW WHY! Jesus TOLD them. How much more, then, is it for us to wonder?

Why Haiti? Why starving children in America, the richest country in the world? Why are some precious, promising lives cut short? Why miscarriage? Why birth defects? Why, WHY, WHY?

Again, I do not know. BUT...I Believe in the One who does. Do your children ALWAYS understand why YOU do what you do? And as their parents, don't you always have their best in mind? If you spank your child, do you think that child thinks, "Oh, this is awesome! My mom and dad love me so much they are going to cause me pain so that I can learn valuable, life-protecting habits! Whoo-Hoo!!" Unlikely. They cry. They complain. They may plead. But you do it anyway because you know what's best for them. Discipline.

Now I am NOT saying that all these things happen because we are being disciplined by God. However, I'm sure there are times when they do! I know that I was NOT living a life that God wanted for me before I became ill....and I'm a lot closer now. Was some of that discipline? Could be.

I believe that the Bible is the Real Thing. I believe it is the one absolute truth in this entire, broken, dying world. I believe what God says in it. I believe that "ALL things work together for GOOD for those who love Him." (Romans 8:28) I believe that He is GOOD.
2 Samuel 7:28 "O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant."

1 Chronicles 19:13Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight." *NOTICE this doesn't say the Lord will do what is good in OUR sight!

Job 2:10He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Psalm 143:10Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Isaiah 52:7How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" *I AM SAYING MY GOD REIGNS!!

Romans 12:2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Philippians 2:13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

It doesn't get much clearer than that for me. It is GOD who works in me to act according to HIS GOOD PURPOSE.

I may not understand, but it's enough for me. I know God is good. His Word tells me so. And when the entire world around me rocks and reels....I am standing on that Word. I invite you to do the same.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Suffering Can Be A Purpose

A dear friend and fellow blogger, Pam sent me a link to a youtube video. Now that I have broadband, I can see youtube!! It still stops a few times to keep loading, but it's worth it. She sent this amazing quote from Charles Spurgeon:

"One Sabbath morning, I preached from the text`My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?' and though I did not say so, yet I preached my own experience.
I heard my own chains clank while I tried to preach to my fellow-prisoners in the dark; but I could not tell why I was brought into such an awful horror of darkness,
for which I condemned myself.

On the following Monday evening, a man came to see me who bore all the marks of despair upon his countenance. His hair seemed to stand up right, and his eyes were ready to start from their sockets. He said to me, after a little parleying,
"I never before, in my life, heard any man speak who seemed to know my heart.
Mine is a terrible case; but on Sunday morning you painted me to the life,
and preached as if you had been inside my soul."

By God's grace I saved that man from suicide, and led him into gospel light and liberty; but I know I could not have done it if I had not myself been confined in the dungeon in which he lay. I tell you the story, brethren, because you sometimes
may not understand your own experience, and the perfect people may condemn you for having it; but what know they of God's servants? You and I have to suffer much for the sake of the people of our charge....You may be in Egyptian darkness,
and you may wonder why such a horror chills your marrow; but you may be altogether in the pursuit of your calling, and be led of the Spirit to a position
of sympathy with desponding minds."
-C.H. Spurgeon-

What a privilege indeed. Thank you to all of you for your kind comments on my post yesterday. I sincerely appreciate each and every one. God Bless you!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What is my purpose?

Struggling today. I feel so....purpose-less. Mundane. I looked in my Synonym Finder (for those newer readers: I'm a word nerd. Other than the Bible, this is my lifetime favorite book) and this is how I feel today: Mundane. Common. Trite. Regular. Ordinary. Everyday. Stale.

Sometimes I feel like life is passing me by...when I'm ill I miss so much...when I'm not, I'm catching up on all the mundane tasks of life that I couldn't handle when I wasn't feeling well. Everything is the same. I mean, yes, I have a wonderful husband and son, and I am blessed with them beyond anything I deserve, for sure. I love them with all my heart, and thank God every day for them.

I just feel so restless. Almost as if this illness has taken me out of the "game" and the "sub" they sent in has taken over...I'm not part of the team anymore. After you're out of the picture for so long, you get replaced. Work. Church. Friendships. Family. Out of sight, out of mind.

I don't know...hard to explain. I'm not trying to feel sorry for myself, honestly. I just feel kinda lost. I blog about my illness, about chronic illness...try to educate peole...but honestly. With 20 followers, am I really making a difference?

I don't know where I fit anymore. I don't work. I don't really have a church that I belong to. I can't be commit to anything regularly due to my health, so I don't join things. And that's isolating. And for an extrovert who thinks isolation is a special level of hell, it's not a lot of fun for me.

I don't need ridiculous fun and fireworks every day of my life...I get that that isn't realistic. A few sparks here and there would be nice. It's like, is this really all there is? There's just got to be more...I was made for more! But that "more" always seems just out of my reach.

Must be my midlife crisis or something. I guess that partially explains the purple hair. : )

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Urgent vs. Important

One thing I have learned from this wretched disease is that there are things that are important in life. But the urgent things usually take precedence, and the important gets shoved aside. For example, something very important to me is spending quality time with my son every day. Reading, homeschooling, playing, laughing...but the "urgent" gets in the way. The laundry. The overflowing dishes. Making that phone call. Putting the dogs out. It's like, "Oh, I know the two things Doug really wants done every day are the dishes, and a clean table." So that becomes urgent.

I have to check my e-mail. Urgent.
I have to see if so-and-so got my message on facebook and if they responded, and I have to know right now! Urgent.
The dogs have to go out...right NOW! Urgent.
So and so called two days ago, I HAVE to call them back! Urgent.

Spending time with God. Important.
Posting on my blog (to me) Important. This is more than a hobby for me...it's my way to teach about chronic illness, to encourage others (hopefully)...so it's important in my life.
Spending quality time with my son and husband. Important.

Ask yourself this: Is what I'm doing going to matter tomorrow? What about a month from now? A year? Eternally? I encourage you to look at your time...and see what urgency is preventing you from doing what is really important in your life.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Permanent

I'm sitting here listening to David Cook's song, Permanent. It's about his brother, Adam, who died from brain cancer. Adam was sick while David was on American Idol, and died the following May. One of the lines is, "I know he's living in hell every single day...so I ask, Oh, God, is there some way for me to take his place? And when they say he's so touch and go I wish I could make it go away."

If you've ever had a loved one in pain, you know that you would do ANYTHING to make it stop. And when you can't, it's the most helpless feeling in the world.

Music moves me. I love it. All kinds. I've said before one of the hardest things about this d#mn illness is that I cannot sing like I used to. Music can move me to tears very easily. This song is haunting and beautiful, and makes me cry every. single. time. I listen to it. It's amazing. That he can sing with so much emotion without cracking...If you sing, you know how tight your throat gets when you get emotional...

I miss singing. I mean, I'm so grateful I can talk, and I can sing "this" much...I have a range of about 4 notes...but I used to SING. I love to sing to God, to worship, and oh, do I struggle with why that was taken away.

I have been missing Linda like crazy (for new readers, Linda was my best friend who died from metastatic endometrial cancer October 2, 2008 after an 11 month battle). This song (Permanent) just penetrates my heart. I can listen to it over and over and just feel his pain. I guess partly because I know what he's feeling. Linda was like my sister. Oh, girl I miss you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bloggers Unite for Haiti


Hey everyone,

As you all know, there was a devastating earthquake in Haiti on Tuesday. The death toll is assumed to be at least 100,000 if not more. In the whole spectrum of things, when you look at a map, Haiti is only a couple of hundred miles off the coast of the southernmost point of Florida. That's like from where I live to Chicago. Not far at all. Yet it is worlds away in tecnology, health, democracy, etc. These people need help.

My parents have friends who have adopted a child from Haiti in the past, but it takes MONTHS to get through the paperwork. I know there are many individuals who would love to help in some way (myself included). If I were healthy I would love to go there and help...I would love to take children in...but to be frank, it ain't gonna happen. So what can we do? First and foremost we can pray. God knows each person there intimately and what they need and how to get it. Our prayers can facilitate that.

Secondly, if you are able, give. On my sidebar is a button for Doctors without Borders.
Another reputable establishment involved is CARE. You can find their link here.
You can also give to the Red Cross or UNICEF.
Please watch out for scammers. The dregs of humanity come out at times like these to try to take advantage of a horrifying tragedy and make it work for them. Give to someone with a GOOD REPUTATION, and give directly to them, NEVER through a third party.
Let's just keep them all in our prayers, and do what we can.
Thanks.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Just Listen

Seems like I'm not the only one to experience blog block lately! I've been on a few others' who have been struggling with the same thing. SO...I have seen on the SITS page "510 Prompts" (a button from Shimmy in my Spirit). You pay only $3.55 and then download 510 writing prompts. As I was going through them this morning, this one jumped out at me. "Just Listen..."

When you're struggling to hear the REAL reason for your child's tears...just listen.

When your husband comes home from work and snaps at you for no reason, before you fight back, or jump to comclusions...ask him about his day, and just listen.

When you're talking to God and you feel like you're not getting anywhere, like you're beating your head against a wall, going through the same thing over and over, be still, and just listen.

When the doctor has bad news...before you make your funeral arrangements, just listen.

If we spent a FRACTION of the time listening as we do talking, can you imagine the impact on our relationships? With our friends? With our spouses? Children? God? Even ourselves! Instead of our voices prattling non-stop in our minds, just listen...hear God's truth about you.

If you really listened to me, what would you hear?

I love God. I struggle sometimes with things that happen to and around me, why good people seem to have so much bad in their lives...but I KNOW that He is on the throne, and He isn't going anywhere.

I love my husband fiercely. I may complain about stupid things he says or does, but my heart belongs to him and always will. If you just listen, you will hear that he is my hero.

My son is my earthly center. My world revolves around him. He makes me laugh and cry. He makes my heart feel as if its going to burst through my chest...as if it simply can't hold the joy and blessing that he has put there.

If you would just listen...you would hear that when I am wounded, I talk. I gush. I babble. But it's my way of asking for support and encouragement without coming right out and saying it.

So whatever happens today...before you react, before you jump to conclusions, before you decide something important...just listen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Baby bunnies

BUNNY ANYONE??

Okay folks, here are just TWO of the adorable, soft, warm, fuzzy, darling, precious little bunnies that could be YOURS...for NO COST!!! Here's the brown one that looks like a little squirrel(minus the tail of course!). Her underside is all white.

They are about 3-4 weeks old; we figure when we get back from Florida we will take them to the vet, separate them (male and female!) and then they'll be ready to go!

Then there's this little gorgeous fella...(I really have no idea at this point if they are fella's or gals, but whatever).
Doug thinks there are 3 black ones, one brown one (above), one white one with gray spots, and 3 or 4 white ones with black spots. It's hard to count when they're all zipping around.

Seriously, we need to find homes for most of them. He he. Yes, I said most. I'm keeping one or two girls. How can I not?? But we CAN'T keep them all. If you're interested, let me know!






Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless (almost) Wednesday

Anyone who knows me knows I can't TRULY be wordless. I don't think that's possible. : ) Here is my pride and joy, just 5 days short of four months old. He is simply too cool. People would stop and remark about his hair. One lady even asked me if this was a wig. I'm like, yah, I buy Elvis wigs for all my children....Sheez.
Love you baby!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Courage

"Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrow is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow." Dorothy Thompson

I have said before that surviving is a lot harder that dying. But in my core, I believe the quote above. There has to be more. There just has to be. I will NOT believe that we suffer in vain. I will NOT believe is some cosmic irony that has just let us run amok on this mudball called earth.

I believe that God IS good. That it was never His will that we should undergo such horrible atrocities. He created us to live in paradise. And when this life is over, we will indeed!

But in the meantime, it is so imperative that I keep my focus on God's purpose for my illness. I know of someone who has benefitted spiritually from how God has worked in my life through this illness. I cannot tell you how privileged I feel to be a part of that. I mean, if you KNEW that something you went through was used by God to bring someone to Him who otherwise may not have? That's worth anything, is it not?

So on the days when I am down, when my trach is driving me crazy, and hurts, and I can't get it just right, and I can't breathe so well, on the days when I don't have the energy to lift my arms, the days when my son looks into my eyes and says, "Why do you have to rest Mommy?" That the times when I can't meet that friend, go to that Bible study, attend church, when my vision is doubled and I am whining and complaining.... I MUST refocus on God. He is my ONLY Cure. I MUST remind myself as did Job, I KNOW that my Redeemer lives!

And I must add that I could not have gotten through all this without all of YOU praying for me. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God heard and answered the prayers of His faithful when I was in the hospital 9 years ago. There is NO physical reason I should be alive. God spared me, and I believe He did so for a reason.

So I ask that if God ever brings me to mind, please pray for me; for me to remember that God is my Hope and Salvation. That He is my Peace, my Comfort, and my Healer. And if you feel so moved, let me know you said a prayer...encouragement is something that spurs me on.

So when life throws you a curveball, say a little prayer and swing for the fence!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Bucket List

At first when I looked up exactly what "bucket list" referred to (I mean, I knew it was a "goal" list), I was pretty freaked out. It comes from the English idiom "to die." So I was like, ewwww! I think I'll call it something else. But then I read further that the American idiom, and it's more like "kick the bucket," therefore, a list of things to do before you kick the bucket. (Yes, I'm always like this.)

So....without further ado, here is my bucket list:

1. To see my son know and love God.

2. To not just write, but publish, a book about my life with Myasthenia Gravis.

3. To see all of the continental United States.

4. To learn how to play the banjo. Well.

5. To adopt at least one child.

6. To homeschool my son through high school by age 16 (he's a genuis : )

7. To live in Colorado some day.

8. To learn sign language.

9. To learn Spanish (again) as I teach it to Jacob.

10. To earn a second Bachelor's or get a Master's in Theology or English.

How about you? What is ONE thing on your list?
Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

25 Days and Counting

Okay, since I was so miserably whiny in the last post, I thought I'd post a happy, happy, joy, joy post about vacation, because that is how I feel 98% of the time! We have twenty five days until we leave. The only thing is, I've been keeping track of the weather in the three places we're staying, and it's been COLD!!! Yesterday at my parent's house, it didn't get to 40 degrees! That's CRAZY!! Thank goodness for global warming {she said in a voice dripping with disdain}.

I have to check to see if Mammoth Cave is open all year around, because we want to hit that on the way down. I'm not sure how much of it I'll be able to explore if you have to walk the whole way, but we shall see!

My family used to go to Florida every year when we were little, because my dad owned a greenhouse (nursery for plants) and he had business in Apopka; he ordered most of his plants from there. (Shout out to the Im brothers!) I'll never forget when my dad told us about the first time he had saki....but that, my friends, is a toooootally different post.

I think the thing I love best about Florida is when you step out of the car for the first time, and you feel that Florida breeze. There is nothing like it. Warm (hopefully!!) breezes, the slight hint of orange blossoms, sea air....ahhhhh. I haven't seen, felt, or smelled that in 23 years. Wow. That makes me feel really old. Nice. We always used to stop at the Florida Welcome Station, and they'd have fresh squeezed Florida orange juice.

We're going to St. Pete...the Pier there...its' SO cool. The last time I was there I was with my grandparents, whom have both passed away since then. It is a beautiful memory. We're going to fish our arms off...I'm not sure I'll want to come back!

The thing I'm MOST looking forward to is just over 3 weeks of family time. Doug has been SO busy at work and working outside it seems like we hardly see him sometimes...Jacob loves his Daddy so much, and always has SO much fun playing with him.

I think tied for family time will be watching everything through Jacob's eyes. The untainted joy of childhood, the sheer exuberance of seeing something you've never seen before...pelicans, manatee, alligators, AND we're going to the zoo in Tampa where you can ride a camel and see elephants. I think he will think that that's where heaven is.

And right now, I'm not sure he'd be wrong!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Stress!!!

Okay, for those of you who can just decide to go on vacation, throw a few things in a bag and go: I hate you. In the nicest possible way of course. Due to having a 3 year old that will NOT go on the potty (I've tried everything but boot camp, and I'm not sure I could handle that), and my health issues, we need to rent a dang U-Haul for diapers, wipes and medical supplies. I take 22 pills a day including my vitamins (mostly prescription). I need a months supply of all of those. that's 660 pills. Have to keep them separate, so it's about 17 pill bottles. Some of the pills are huge, ergo the bottles are huge.

Then add the wedge that I have to sleep on, 3 pillows, (since I can't lay flat and still breathe), my oxygen concentrator and compressor....My suction machine, all the spare parts, my nebulizer, spare parts, saline and albuterol, my trach cleaning supplies, all a month's worth...But the thing is, if we only went away for a weekend, I'd still need all that! That's why when we go somewhere, we stay for a while!!

Then there's all Jacob's stuff I have to pack...toys, videos, things to keep an almost 3 1/2 whose never been on a trip busy for 3 days in the truck. I just wish I could cross my arms, blink my eyes, dip my head, and we'd just all be there, unpacked. I'm just thankful that my husband is the King of Packing Anything. At Costco the other day, he had things in the cart like a jigsaw puzzle. The guys at the register were like, "How on earth did you do this??" It took them two carts to get everything in. He he he. So that won't be an issue...room I mean, cuz Doug can make anything fit. It's just getting everything together. Ug. And Doug is super busy at work with the expansion yet, and trying to get the plant online, getting training for all the new stuff, and still trying to do all the other stuff he normally does! Then at home, trying to get the fishing stuff together, the boat, etc....

I'm just saying right now this better be the best vacation of our lives. Period.

Not to mention trying to homeschool my child and not being able to find anything in this pit called my office because it's where everything gets dumped that anyone doesn't want seen. Dumping grounds/classroom/Creative Memories room. Yah, right. I haven't seen my CM stuff for about a decade now...

Well, better get moving. Need to go find some cheese to go with my whine. Thanks for putting up with it!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Anybunny want a bunny??



SO....We got two rabbits this summer to add to our pet collection. This little guy, Stash (above), was indeed, a BOY.
We also thought Chia was a boy. We were mistaken.
We found out we were wrong when Doug found 6 dead bunnies out in the bunny condo. {Sniff} I know...I'm so glad neither Jacob nor I discovered them! We really thought they were both boys. I guess it's hard to tell with rabbits.
We called the vet to get Stash "fixed." It was probably 10 days to 2 weeks after we found the litter that Stash went to the vet.
Right before Christmas, Doug comes in and says, "I found another Christmas present for you outside." I was like, "Outside?" He says, "Ya. Apparently we didn't get to Stash quickly enough."
My jaw just dropped. My first thought was "Poor Chia!!" My second thought was, "Are they okay??" Doug said there were 10 that were still alive, 1 that didn't make it. We are now down to nine, and I saw them yesterday for the first time. They are almost as big as a small guinea pig. OH MY GOSH are they cute. But there's NINE of them!!! Now I KNOW why there are expressions like "Multiply like rabbits!" Goodness.
I couldn't get pictures of the bunnies yet, but I held one yesterday. I had NO IDEA how LOUD baby bunnies could be. OH MY WORD. Mama Chia came running! The babies are SO quick! One of them jumped right out of the bunny condo into the snow! Doug had to chase him around...it was hilarious. But he (or she) is safe back in the coop.
There are two that are jet black, one that is brown, kinda like Mama, and I think the rest are white with gray and black spots. OH my GOSH they are so cute. Yes, I know I've said that 17 times. Doug wants to breed them for meat. I was like. Um....Over. My. Dead. Body.
(That would be no.)
So...if you want a bunny, LET ME KNOW!!! As soon as they are weaned we are taking them to the vet so we can separate the boys and girls. No more of this mating business! We may keep a couple of the girl bunnies, but we really need to find homes for them! Let me know if you are interested!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Copycat Post

The featured blogger today on SITS said that someone encouraged her as a post to list 10 HONEST things about herself. I thought Hmmm....that would be interesting...so I decided to copy her! : ) So here we go:

1. I am a Christian who loves God and trusts Him with my life. I know that without him, I wouldn't even be here. I screw up all the time, and God loves me anyway, just the way I am.

2. I have been overweight all of my life, and have recently found the Holy Grail of MY weightloss...Symlin. This is a medication used to help control diabetes, and a "side effect" is weight loss. And it's working. Hallelujah for that.

3. Lack of communication drives me crazy. I would rather beat the dead horse until I KNOW that poor thing is never rearing its head again instead of ASSUME that someone knows what I mean. I have been on BOTH ends of miscommunication, and it's just ridiculous. Make sure people understand you, and that you understand them, BEFORE you end a conversation.

4. People who say things they don't mean make me angry. Very angry. People who say mean, horrible things, and then say, "OH, just kidding." They need a slap upside the head. It's this simple people: SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, AND MEAN WHAT YOU SAY. It's not rocket science. Words hurt way more than you know, and as Dr. Phil would say, "You can't un-ring a bell." Your words are powerful. They have meaning. And once they are out of your mouth, you can NOT take them back.

5. The things I hate most about being chronically ill are:
-feeling like I'm not a good enough mom and wife
-losing my independence almost completely
-having the trach and losing my ability to sing (I sang in a quartet in college, and at weddings
here and there)
-I can't have more children (well, I could TRY, but I don't think I'd live through that again!)

6. The things I am most grateful about being chronically ill are:
-I am much closer to God than I was before my I became ill
-I am more patient
-Little things just don't bother me anymore...takes too much energy
-I really appreciate life; and I try reeeallly hard not to take things for granted
-I am not afraid to speak my mind (even MORE so than before, for those who knew me
before!) good, bad, or ugly.
-I love more quickly, more fully, and more deeply
-I forgive more easily

7. Looking at 5 and 6, I guess I'm thankful I got this stupid illness. More pro's than con's. Important ones anyway.

8. I LOVE where I live, out in the country, but it's too far from my family.

9. My husband is my best friend. Every year he gets more handsome. He is brilliant. He has the ingenuity of McGuyver, Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett all rolled up into one. He is good at everything he tries. He has a steady job, which he works very hard at, and is good at it. I love him with all my heart, and pray we are together for many, many, many years.

10. My son is the light of my life. He is so smart, and precious and special. There aren't even words that can describe the feelings my heart holds...joy and sadness and expectation and love. Protection and recklessness. Amazement and awe. They just aren't strong enough. Often I look at him and get tears in my eyes. I think, "I can't believe I really get to keep you." I have never known such fierce love. I will fight for him to the death...especially if you're a ROOSTER!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Carrying a Grudge?

* Okay, I need to make a disclaimer here before you continue reading. I wanted to clarify (before we get a bunch more misunderstanding) that I wasn't writing about Joanna holding a grudge...Some things happening in her life and another friend's life were a catalyst of my remembering the grudge I had against the man you will read about in this post. Make sense?

This week some really cool things have been happening among a couple of my friends. One being my best "G" on the planet...Miss Joanna. I think a lot of people think that forgiveness equals weakness. Or that it makes what someone did okay. Well, in my humble opinion, those folks would be wrong.

Forgiveness, if you need to forgive someone, is for YOU. Do you know what holding a grudge does? It shackles you to that person. It's like you want to be as far away from them as possible, but when you don't forgive, you're bound to them. Like two peas in a pod. As long as you don't forgive, you will never be free from their power over you.

I learned this lesson the hard way, about 13 years ago. The man I was with cheated on me and lied to me, and I found out. This was a time in my life when I was not living the Christian life I should have been, even though I believe I was saved, I was involved in leadership in my church (which I shouldn't have been!)...I was living with this man. Then, his ex-wife sent out their two precious little boys to live with us. This woman had no idea who I was, but sent her precious babies on a plane, alone, from California to Michigan. They were 11 and 7. Oh, how I loved those boys. Leaving them was one of the toughest things I have EVER done in my life. It was horrible. In my heart I love them still.

The pain from that situation was almost unbearable. It would have almost been easier to go back, but I knew nothing would change. Finally I read a book called the Gift of Forgiveness by Charles Stanley. AMAZING. Life-changing. You don't have to be a Christian, you don't have to believe in God (although I highly recommend it!: ).....you CAN forgive, and the only person it benefits is you. Believe it or not, the other person may not even know you have an issue with them! Shocking, but true.

After I had truly forgiven this person, I truly held no ill will toward him, and it didn't break my heart to run into him anywhere. (Him and his new wife, having married her 12 weeks after I moved out of my own apartment so his children would have aroof over their heads!) I still regret the whole thing because to this day I think about those boys. I told them I wasn't leaving them, but you know they felt like I was.

Anyway. I really encourage you to let it go. With me being chronically ill now, I simply don't have the energy to stay angry or hold a grudge. Life is too short. It really does drain you, even if you don't think it effects you in any way. It does.

We can forgive. We might not forget, but ya know what? Even that goes away after a while when you truly forgive. You just release that person from their power over you, and then you can move on. I have been there. It works.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Blog Resolutions

Or maybe goals is a better word. We were challenged by our SITStahs (check out the button on my sidebar, the Secret is in the Sauce) to come up with 5 things we wanted for our blog in the new year, and 5 things we want to learn. SO....I've been pondering...

1. I really want to "get my blog out there" and get more readers and followers.

2. I want more readers and followers so that I can educate people, and churches, on dealing with chronically ill people.

3. I want to encourage people who have chronic illness, or care for someone with chronic illness. To let them know that although it's tough, God can help you through! You CAN live with chronic illness, and have a great life!

4. I post pretty regularly, unless I am ill, but I want to blog every day, or as close to it as possible!

5. I want to do giveaways.

Five things I want to learn: (there's probably more like 50!)

1. I want to know how to do feeds...I have something going, but I have no idea how it works. I want my blog posts to show up on Twitter and Facebook.

2. I want to learn more about blog design, and to be able to add more stuff to my blog other than the stuff on one sidebar.

3. I want to learn how to hook up with products for giveaways.

4. I want to make my blog as user friendly as possible.

5. I want to learn how to give (and receive : ) blog awards.

It's going to be an awesome year!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Beginnings

I'm not sure what it is I love so much about beginning. The hope maybe? The newness? The freshness? The clean slate? Like right now, as I look out the window, I see freshly fallen snow. A bright blue sky. Everything looks clean and clear. Pristine. New.

But in a few days, the snow will get dirty. The traffic will kick up dirt and grime, and the beautiful freshly fallen snow becomes snirt (snow + dirt). It's no longer clean. It's no longer pristine. Not so new anymore.

I'm SO good at beginning. At starting a new thing. A new project. A new Bible study. A new discipline plan with Jacob. A new attitude towards my illness. But pretty soon, my attitude becomes snirt. Following through is not my forte. I'm not exactly sure why either. It's kind of annoying. I guess part of it is that I need accountability. For example, Joanna and I are doing Bible study together. If we weren't, I probably wouldn't be doing a study. But knowing that I am accountable to her, that she is depending on me to have it done, that motivates me.

I guess I am good at following through if it's something I LIKE to do. There really is nothing like a finished project! Our pantry for example. We unloaded every. single. item. to clean and rework the shelves. It took days. But the finished project is amazing. I wish I could have that attitude towards everything. I guess that's what makes us human.

I'm so thankful that God's mercies are new every morning...that His compassion never gives up, or runs out, or get snirty.

So if I DID make resolutions, which I don't, I would say that I want to work on following through. I'm a great beginner, but a not-so-great ender. We'll see what happens!