Monday, November 29, 2010

So long

It seems like forever since I've written.

There have been days I've wanted to write, but either my health or my emotions seemed to keep me from it.

Still not exactly sure where I'm at in either of those two departments, other than the last two days I've been feeling really well. I try not to sit on pins and needles wondering when I'm going to either be in pain again, or not sleeping, but both of those haven't been problems for two days now. I'm praying it continues.

So, instead of dwelling on those issues, I want to spend some time sharing the blessings God has sent our way. There are so many and I hope they perk up your day just like they did mine.

Karis has needed new dress shoes. I've looked. And looked. They were either too expensive or too ugly.

I sent my sister to look. We bought a pair and they ended up being duds. Cute, but duds.

Back to square one.

Frankly I was tired of looking and didn't have the energy to go to all the stores.

My sisters brought the girls home one night and dropped off a couple of bags of what I thought were their clothes that I had left up there.

It took me a couple of days to grab the bags to unload them.

The first bag did contain their clothes.

The second, and adorable swimsuit for Karis next summer. A cute skirt. A new shirt.

And these.....

They fit perfectly. She adores them. I love them. And they were free from my friend Kate. I seriously almost cried at this unexpected little gift. The exact thing we had been needing.
Between Kate and Jess and presents the only thing I've had to buy the girls this fall were some jeans and a few pairs of tights. It is like God gave me my own personal shoppers. Both of these ladies have wonderful taste and girls that are built like mine.

Dustin and I are headed out to Chicago soon. For his 30th we are going to that Bulls game and staying in a hotel downtown. Well... a relative of ours has been bringing us a meal every Tuesday. Super yummy meals.

You ask what this has to do with a Bulls game and Chicago? Let me tell you. The last time she stopped by she informed me that they wanted to buy our tickets to the game. I know they wouldn't want me to be writing about this, but I have to. It's these unexpected little gifts, and prayers, and outpouring of love that keeps me going. Dustin and I are often overwhelmed by how much people care and how they show it.

And the prayers... My cousin, who is going through the cancer battle, as well, told me her daughter prays for me every night.

A friend who I haven't kept in touch with, but unexpectedly ran into a couple of months ago called out of the blue to see how she could help. In the course of our conversation she told me her kids, who I have never met, pray for me every night.

I appreciate all the prayers, but there is just something about the little ones praying for me that melts my heart.
Remember my "wicked witch of the west" day? Well, on that particular day my sister, Faith, showed up at my door with this little treat. This isn't the best picture of it, but I had been wanting a braided rug for my living room. There is nothing that says cozy to me more than a braided rug and this one is perfect.

Speaking of cozy, we have also needed a winter coat for Karis. Once again, my searching proved fruitless. They were either not warm enough or ugly, or expensive. Thankfully we have had a warm fall and I was able to procrastinate. Just when the weather decided to make winter wear absolutely necessary, Kate found this in their coat closet. For once my procrastination paid off.
It's warm, it's not ugly ;-), and it fits perfectly.

God is so good, and thanks to all of you that are a part of the blessings He sends our way!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The new world of prescription medication.

At least new for me. My first real experience picking up a prescription was back in February when I was prepping for my colonoscopy. You can read about that under Instruments of Torture if you care to. Personally I think it best forgotten.

In the last five months I've picked up five bottles that look like this. Drugs are awfully cheap these days. I think the most I've paid for them is $1.00.

(lest you become too impressed with my counter, I must inform you that the only clean corner is the one you see. :-)

Financially they have been easy on us, physically, not so much.

The first was a sleeping pill.

It worked, I slept.

However, the second night I woke up with a racing heart that would not stop for at least twenty minutes. ( Good thing I re read that sentence. :-) I forgot the "not" in it. If this sleeping pill caused my heart to stop for 20 minutes I wouldn't have to worry about prescription medicine right now. :-)

After thinking I was going to die, I decided not to try that one again and called the doctor for another.

Ambian, my next try into prescription sleeping pills kept me awaker than a bad conscience or a pesky mosquito.

Ambian CR, the real thing, only put me to sleep for a few hours - which at that time was a blessing, but not what I was hoping for.

Vicoden, well, who wants a rash for a week that makes you itch like a monkey?:-)

And then Tramadol. I love Tramadol. It is an opiate, which works for some people and not for others. It worked for me. It took all the aches and pains away while taking the edge off everything else.

I suppose I should be thankful that it is what I am allergic to, but I must say I've had some bitter moments of mourning. I haven't talked to my doctor yet, but apparently I am allergic to everything that can be called in.

I did have one bout with some major pain and I was tempted to take one anyway. Can you believe it? A pill that was making me wheeze, breathe like I was at the top of Mount Everest, and cough up blood. No wonder people get addicted to things that are harmful. However, if drugs and alcohol produced these symptoms I'm guessing there would be a lot fewer addicts.

So... now I'm almost fine. I breath like normal, have a wheeze only a little bit, and the blood is gone.

I have a lot more to write about, but Karis wants to get on the computer to type and play pbskids:-)

I think pbs has a conspiracy going. Sadly, some of the first words out of my kids mouths is

Have a Happy Thanksgiving if I don't talk to you sooner!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prayer please

I'm having an allergic reaction to something which is messing with my breathing.

My breathing isn't perfect on the best of days, so it has really been a struggle the last few nights.

There are a couple of possibilities.

Either my pain meds or my Psyllium Husk (Fiber).

I'm afraid it is my pain meds, which makes me very sad because they actually work and when I take them I feel like a normal pain free person.

However, if they are making it so it is difficult to catch a full breath I guess I'll have to give them up and try something else.

Pray we discover soon which one it is. I'm off the fiber, but just now discovered that breathing problems are a "rare, but serious side effect" to quote the commercials of almost every drug out there, of Tramadol.

I'm a tad frustrated that I seem to be allergic to every pain med out there, but I know that God has a plan in this, as well. It's so hard to see it when you are in the moment, though.

Love you all, and thanks for being there to pray for me when I need it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy Saturday

Last night I was listening to Karis pray before she went to bed.

It went something like this:

"Dear Lord, Help all those who are sick. Please make Stella's mom (my cousin Dawn who has cancer) get better. Please help all the people in the world who are sick get better... except the villains.... "

I tried not to chuckle as she went on. What a hoot.

Anyway, if you are sick out there, you are being covered by her prayers every night, unless you are a villain, that is. ;-)

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do you remember your first computer?

I must have been about ten when my dad brought our first family computer home.

It was a big, boxy and off white. The screen was black, and the lettering green. I don't think there were any other options, but I could be mistaken.

The only thing I used it for was an occasional game of.... you know, I don't remember the name. But it involved a joystick, and I thought it was amazing.

I don't think we actually used this computer much. We only had it because a close friend of my dads loved them and either gave us the used one or it was a great deal.

It wasn't until a computer or so later that we had educational games.

How things have changed.

The last few days I have been getting e-mails from Karis.

She came home last night and told me,

"Mom, the first thing I do with I get to Grandma's house is log on to the computer."

I didn't know what "log on" meant until my late teens.

Having to have passwords for everything was a blessed unknown in my life. Ah.... to have those days back.

She has mastered the mouse, and is learning to send e-mails.

"I love sending you e-mails, Mom."

"And I love getting them, Sweetie."

Here is the story I got yesterday.

I have a dog and a cat in the hat but . Let’s play with the cat and the dog then we will have fun by ourselves we will play ball and play in the back yard then we will play with our cat and the dog we will have fun in the sun then we will go into the house then I will have fun in the house when it rains then the sun will come out then we go back out in the sun won’t that be fun

After reading it I thought four things.

1. I'm going to have to teach this child to type.

2. Is there any hope for her generation to write legibly? What does a parent say these days?

"You may have to write an important letter to your boss."

"No, I'll just send him and e-mail."

"You have to learn to address a package."

"Mom, I'll just print out a label."

"What if you want to write love notes to your special someone?"

"I'll just text, twitter, or facebook him, mom."

Writing is going to be a challenge.

3. I'm proud of my little girl. She has come so far in a year. Last January my mom started her on the journey of reading. Now she is sending me e-mails with little stories she is creating.

4. Maybe by next year she will be able to show her mom how to do all the things she wants to do on the computer. :-)

One last thing, I slept great last night, and I'm feeling good today. Thanks for all the prayers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's a girl thing.

Last Sunday I randomly decided to paint my nails. I never paint my nails. A fact emphasized when I got in the car and Dustin glanced at my nails and grinned.

"What?" I said defensively.

"Nothing." Still grinning.

Ok, so maybe I have only painted them two, maybe three times in the six years we've been married.

I don't mind the paint job, it's the chipping and the having to take it off afterwards that is so hard.

Why is that?

A cotton ball and remover really aren't any more work than painting them on, less probably.

But they have reached that stage.

The removal one.

I may get to it in three or four days, I'll let you know.

My random act did spark another random act in my house.

All of a sudden I found myself getting out an old towel and finding two very willing pairs of legs on it.

Wiggly legs.
The ones on the left wiggled a lot more than the ones on the right. :-)
The great debate in my mind right now is whether to cut Gabi's bangs or not. She looks adorable (well, all the time) with them pulled back, but I am losing more hair clips... we really should buy stock in the company.... But anywhoo...

Despite the wiggles, we managed to get this...
I LOVE little feet. Each one of those little pink sparkly piggies are randomly kissed by me - when they are clean, of course.
On Dustin's day off chances are you will find the girls here or wherever he is. Mommy loses most of her appeal when daddy is in the room, or house, or anywhere that isn't work. :-)

Pardon Gabi's hair. My girls don't grow hair, any hair, until the age of two. By then, it is next to impossible to get them to leave hair clips, bows, ribbons, or hats on their heads. I try.
We got Dustin's favorite ice cream and stuck a candle in it for his belated, and going to belated even more, birthday. He loved it.
Surprisingly this kind of ice cream doesn't even tempt me, chocolate deprived though I am. That was one of the reasons I bought it. ;-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Karis has learned so much this year. A friend told me that at four the baby goes away forever. It's true.

Right now she is on the couch reading to herself.

She asks me to say words she can write out.

She unloads the dishwasher and most of the dishes go in their right places.

She cleans her room, makes my bed at times, vacuums, and can clean windows.

She helps her aunties cook, loves cooking shows, and wants to be a chef.

This year she mastered the overhead ladder.
Loves to climb trees, as you can tell by these pictures. The Rivers kids taught her how to go higher. Mommy is not sure what she thinks about this.

And of course, learning to ride without the training wheels. She has two bikes, but this is my favorite. One of my nicknames for her is Strawberry Shortcake. A neighbor was getting rid of their vintage bikes and we got the Strawberry Shortcake one. It works out great because now we have one and one is up at my mom and dad's.
Above all, she is a tenderhearted little girl who loves her family and the Lord. We are blessed to have our fiery little redhead.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Get behind me!

Last night I stared temptation in the face. (I won't tell you yet who won the battle)

It came in the form of some delightfully ooey gooey Coco Rice Crispy bars.

You see, the last few days have been a bit of a challenge.

I had been feeling so much better besides the sleep issue, but I knew things would eventually catch up to me because they always do.

I haven't been in any intense pain, just more than usual with the lung.

It happens when I'm worn out and, ok, I'll admit it, have too much dairy. :-)

The combination is lethal.

But when I'm worn out, discouraged and in pain, I still want to turn to what has comforted me in the past. Sweets and Chocolate in particular.

When our meal was dropped off, which was fantastic one, I was also handed the above mentioned bars.

Normally it isn't a problem for me. I take the sweets, give the girls a little, and send the rest with Dustin to work.

I put the bars on top of the fridge and set to work fixing the girls plates.

Those bars were stinkers, though. They kept taunting me with their incredible gooeyness.

"Eat me, eat me. You know you want to. It will make you feel so much better. Why not? Is your strict diet really helping you? Just one bar, it won't hurt."

They would not let up, I'm telling you.

I fed the girls, ate my own meal, and still, those blasted bars urged me to take them from the top of the fridge.

I finally did, taking a tiny little single crisp and chewing it.

It was every bit as good as I imagined.

I looked at those four bars, dying to eat every single one of them, and knew what I had to do.

I put on my shoes.

The kitchen garbage wasn't good enough.

Too easy to pull them out later. (Hey, their still wrapped and on a plate. When you are desperate who cares where they have been sitting. :-)

It was cold, windy, raining, but I stalked out through the garage, actually having to say, "Get behind me Satan" as I went, opened our big trash can (Sorry Krista, Just be flattered that the bars looked that good that I had to resort to such extreme measures. Forgive me?) and shook all the bars into the smelly depths.

They were so sticky yummy that I had to work really hard at getting them to fall off.

And then I cried.

Why? I'm not sure. I don't think it was really about those Rice Crispy bars at all.

I think it was because I felt so absolutely foolish and pitiful having to say "Get behind me Satan" to a plate of bars.

Why couldn't I be resisting something big and nobel?

And why do I struggle so much with giving up something that harms me? All for momentary comfort?

Why do I even wonder if it is worth it, when I know it is.

Last night as I got the girls ready for bed I had a precious time watching my Karis discover new words out of the Bible (Her current favorite book to read from), and bath time with Gabi turned into a precious splashing (by me, the girls aren't allowed to, of course:-) and exchanging kisses time. The sparkle in her eye when she realized hugging me was getting me all wet gave me the giggles.

That is why it is worth it.

And that is why I will continually have to say "get behind me Satan" to sugary temptations, no matter how foolish I feel.

Psalm 13:5-6 were a blessing to me today. "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me."

It's true, He has been so good to me.

And so has Dustin, letting me cry it all out and just holding me. (Poor man, there is no manual out there that tells a guy what to say when comforting a wife who is crying because she had to throw out the Rice Crispy bars:-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

About that Chocolate Cake.

Remember the Mom Song from a couple of days ago?

I changed my mind, and made up my own little ditty.

"This is the Mom Song, mom's are great, they are better than, better than, better than....all the sugar I ever ate." :-)

My mom is amazing. Way better than chocolate cake.

She decided that I wasn't getting a chance to get better because I was using all my energy to survive every day. Even with the help I was getting.

So, you know what?

She is taking my two precious little high energy, mischievous munchkins from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

That gives me seven whole hours at home to rest, exercise, eat all my veggies and protein, take all my vitamins, lotions, oils, etc.

She deserves way more than a medal.

And I'm so glad I have her instead of all the chocolate cake in the world.

Thanks Mom!

I love you!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The center of attention

I've never much liked being the center of attention.

If I can avoid it, I will.

Somehow I think Gabi Rae took after me in that area.

She loves one on one attention.

She adores hugs, tickle time, reading, cuddles, but....

Try and sing Happy Birthday to her and you will get a face like this.
She recovered enough to blow out the candles, although her aim was a tad off and big sister had to help out before her hair caught on fire.
Daddy got to help with the presents this time while mommy tried to keep up on what she was getting from whom.
She loved this baby, although I'm not sure we are quite ready for a real one again in the house if this is any indication of how they would be held. :-)

Thank you everyone for the wonderful gifts and for making it a great day! Grandma Karen once again opened her home for the party and it was greatly appreciated!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Random thoughts

1. I slept four hours straight last night, then dozed after that. It may not seem like much, but it is amazing for me. Now to work my way up from that.

2. Karis sang me "The Mom Song" at lunch today. It goes like this. "This is the mom song, and my mom is so great, she is better... she is better... she is better than chocolate cake."

Two things about that.

First. In my sugarless state I'm not sure anything is better than chocolate cake. Moist chocolate, creamy frosting..... ummmmm..... Sorry mom.

Second, my proud mom heart was basking in delight over my budding genius of a song writer. Here was my five year old making up a darling song about how I'm better than chocolate cake. I had visions of the famous singer she would become.

Later I overheard a conversation between her and Dustin.

Did you make up the Mom Song, Karis?

No, it's from the Cat in the Hat.

:-) Oh well, she is still a genius.

3. I don't know what new pain medication they gave me for my shoulder ache, but I highly recommend it.

I'm warm, I'm drowsy, and the pain is gone. It was a little pill, smaller than a pencil eraser, but it packs a punch.

4. My husband turned 30 this weekend and I totally blew it. No card, no cake, no party. We had a family reunion. Poor excuse, I know.

However, just so you don't think too badly of me I'm going to try and make it up to him the next time we are in Chicago. He has always wanted to see a Bulls game, so we are going to try and see one of those and stay downtown somewhere. Most of the hotels are outrageously expensive for us at the moment, but I did find one for $79. We will see. :-) I'm kind of excited and I'm not even a fan of basketball.

5. Someone brought us a really great meal tonight. We were at the park so we just missed them, but if you happen to read my blog thank you for the super yummy meal.

6. Isn't sleep a wonderful thing? I can see why the super rich would give up their fortune for a good night sleep. I may not be super rich, but I was ready to spend $70 on sleep meds if i knew they worked. :-) Yes, I'm a bit of a tight wad.

7 . Now it is time to go get some of that sleep. After I do my back exercises, which could be amusing on these pain meds. It requires some balance, which seems to be affected by whatever I am on.

I know.


Because I tried to go across a moving balance beam in the park today and it didn't work out so well. Good thing it was only an inch or two off the ground. If memory serves me correctly I think I was fairly good at balance once upon a time. Maybe that is something that leaves you after you turn thirty.

8. Have I mentioned that I'm glad my husband is finally 30 along with me? I never minded being older than him, but when I had to say I was 32 and he was only 29... well, it made me feel a little old.

Night everyone and can I say thank you again for all the prayers? You are all amazing. When I hear people wake up in the middle of the night and pray for me, well.... it makes me cry I'm so grateful.

I love ya'll

9. No, I'm not from Texas, but this time of year I like to pretend. You see, my friend Jayne keeps showing off these pictures and they are in shorts and t-shirts. It's to make us jealous, I know. I figured if I threw in a few ya'll here and there I might feel warmer.

10. I think the ya'll's are due to the pain medication. I"m going to sign off before something else comes out of these fingers of mine. :-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thank you

Your prayers are working.

I have a new sleeping pill that managed to get me several hours of sleep and I wasn't even in my own bed. :-)

I have high hopes for tonight now that we are back from Minneapolis.

More later, but I wanted to let you know that I have managed to actually sleep.... what a blessing it is!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quick prayer request

I haven't slept for about four days now.

I'm not sure what is wrong, but obviously something is.

I've tried prescription sleeping pills, and all the natural stuff.

Nothing is working.

Obviously I'm getting a tad desperate and could use some extra prayers.

Would you pray that tonight I would find something that works for me?

If it weren't for not sleeping I would say I feel great. It is frustrating and is yet another complication to my life.

Not having sleep also makes it really hard to have a good attitude about everything, so pray for me to be patient and not a grouch to be around.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Life is messy.

I'm glad God can handle it.

That's what I say.

Sometimes it is hard to believe it, you know?

I'd like to say I never doubt God, but the honest truth is I do. There are times I doubt. I doubt He knows what He is doing. Why am I, a mother of two little ones and the wife of a busy man going through this? Is it really for the best?

I'm reading a book called Praise Habit by David Crowder. Today I came across a quote by Walter Brueggemann.

What a last name, eh? Anyway, back to the quote that meant so much to me in the messy places.

"It is no wonder we have trouble when trying to fit our "spirituality" into all the stuff of life because we've neglected to bring all the stuff of life into our "spirituality." There is impoliteness in our experience of living. There is darkness and pain. But the wonder and joy and the surprise are that even in the middle of darkness and loss is the unexpected presence of God."

In my/our spiritual experience we have felt the impoliteness, darkness and pain. There has been doubt, questions, wondering what is going on.

But, in the midst of that, I have had the wonder and joy and the surprise of God.

I'm not perfect.

I forget and doubt again.

I feel the betrayal of my body that brings those doubts of God's perfect plan.

But then there is ALWAYS the unexpected presence of God.

He never leaves Dustin and I to figure it out on our own.

I am so glad that in spite of my doubts and in the messy places of life...

God really can handle it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

From Ballerinas to Bugs.

For six months my little Gabi has called Dustin or me into her bedroom after she has been put to sleep.

She is standing up in her crib (yes, she still sleeps in her crib) with a little smile on her face.

"I have something to tell you," she singsongs.

"What is it Gabi?"

"I'm going to have a ballerina cake for my birthday."

I wish you could hear her. She says it the same way every time in this adorable singsong voice that draws out the word ballerina and birthday. I smile, no matter how tired I am, and say, "Yes Gabi, you will have a ballerina cake."

So... her birthday rolls around and naturally I plan for the coveted ballerina cake.

The cute little hand made ballerinas are picked out.

Picked out mind you, not made. Procrastination is the name of my game.

I was only wondering about doing a cake or cup cakes, so I asked her.

"Gabi, do you want ballerina cup cakes or a cake?"

She wasn't sure what I was talking about so I pulled up some pictures.

She looked at a few and said, "I want M&M's."

M&M's? What happened to ballerinas?

I pulled up some pictures of M&M cupcakes. Some really cute ones that looked like bugs popped up.

"Those." Her little finger punched the screen while Dustin tried to hold her back.

"You're sure? What about the ballerinas?" I asked.

"No, M&M's." Very decidedly.

I must admit that I didn't argue too much. You see, M&M bugs are much easier than the ballerinas I was going to make.

M&M's it was. :-)
Faith came over the night before the party and helped me create.
The end results. She loved them.
My spider legs are a little off, but the eyes were cute and buggy :-)

Monday, November 1, 2010


I haven't had to deal much with betrayal in my life.

I've had glimpses here and there, but God has largely protected my life from those crushing moments that come when family members or trusted friends betray you.

In the last few days I have identified a feeling brought on by this journey called cancer.


It's not betrayal from God, friends, or family.

It's my body.

I would imagine it is much like a relationship betrayal. You've invested a lot of time, you feel connected to this person in a deeper way than with others, you do things to show you appreciate that person, you love them.

I'll say it, I'm rather fond of my body because it is all I have to walk around in. I'm not Miss Marathon runner or Miss America, but I've tried to stay in shape. I've avoided drugs, smoking, drinking and binge eating. Now, I could have done better in the healthy eating department, but I did OK. OK, not great. I must confess that in my past my idea of shedding a few pounds was just eating less. And the "less" that I ate might have been french fries, a bowl of ice cream, etc. If that is all you eat, well, you lose weight. Not healthy, but it worked - maybe. I may be suffering the consequences of those decisions now.

Now my body and doctors are telling me I have cancer.

I have a cough that won't go away.

I have a tumors in lung and liver that are tenacious and don't like to give up.

The doctors don't have a good solution to get this out of my body.

The other things I'm trying are either slow or not working.

I feel more fragile than my 92 year old grandma.

When pain keeps me up until 2:30 a.m., (or all night) the feeling of betrayal hits hard.

Why can't I get my body to do what I want it to do?

Why does it have to hurt when my babies run up to me for a crazy big hug?

I hate cringing when I know they are headed my way, but reality is that their little bony heads, elbows, knees, etc., hurt me a lot when they connect with my lung and chest area.

I was wandering around the kitchen a few nights ago feeling sorry for myself and I'll have to admit on the way to letting bitterness seep in.

This is a daily battle for me, keeping my thoughts going in the right direction.

My thoughts fortunately turned towards Jesus - always a good thing. (they don't, always)

I mentally went over who Jesus is.

And then I felt really, really, really small.

His public ministry was right at the age I am now.

He gave everything to those around him, especially His disciples.

He didn't have a home or many moments he could call his own.

He was always serving someone, or teaching something, or healing somebody.

There wasn't a selfish or feeling-sorry-for-himself bone in his body.

And what happened to him?

He was betrayed by those closest to Him.

He was betrayed by everyone, including me.

How did He feel when those he had given everything for gave him up and denied they knew Him?

He didn't storm around and stomp his feet, He didn't become bitter towards them, He didn't say "Oh woe is me." (convicting. I like to storm around at times)

He gave the ultimate gift and died for them, for me, for you.

Yeah, like I said, I felt really, really small.

Small yet comforted.

He didn't suffer the exact same way I am, or you are.

And He did have the advantage of being perfect, unlike us. :-)

But, even though He always chose to respond the perfect way, I love that He knows how I feel.

He knows exactly how it feels to be betrayed, and He is ready to listen to me when those feelings overwhelm me.

What an amazing God!