Wednesday, December 21

The Least Smooth Move Ever!

Since we are in the military, normally the packing and physical move are the lesser concerns. You set dates and the military contracts and pays a local mover to do and/or coordinate your move. In the past it has been relatively easy. The moving company comes in and estimates how long it will take to pack your household goods. They tell you what day they will start packing and the day the truck will take your items away to your destination. In previous moves, at least 8 that I can name off the top of my head, the schedules were met and we have had relatively event free moves. They have been fairly smooth on the part of the moving companies, even those that where cross country.

Our packers were due to start Monday, December 5. It was estimated that it would be a 1 day to pack. Maybe a few hours on the second day depending on how many packers they were using on the first day. The truck was scheduled to pick up our items Wednesday in Vegas and deliver in Tucson on the following Monday. I should have known we were in trouble when the two packers didn't show up Monday until 11 AM with lots of excuses. I learned more than I wanted to know about the moving business.

The company who was hired by the military to do our move, Apex, subcontracted out the job to another company, Southern Nevada Movers, who doesn't want the liability of employees moving people's items, so they subcontracted the job out to an individual contractor. That individual did not have the extra resources to buy the materials needed to do the job. The check Southern Nevada Movers wrote to pay him for previous work couldn't be cashed. He could only cash the check at Southern Nevada Movers bank. I guess Southern Nevada Movers has a very poor reputation in town because they bounce checks, even payroll checks. So the individual contractor had to wait for their bank to open before he could buy packing materials like boxes, tape and paper. Once he had the cash, he then had to go buy all the materials himself and that is why it took him until 11 AM to arrive. He then discovered that Southern Nevada Movers underestimated how much weight and boxes we were needing for moving, so he ran out of materials around 3 PM. He had come with an assistant, someone he was paying to help him pack our belongings. The two of them had only packed about 1/3 of our items in those 4 hours.

I feel bad for the individual contractor that due to the economy he has to accept less than ideal terms and horrible treatment from a company. What happened was that the military awarded the job to the lowest bidder, based on the maximum weight we are allowed to move based on my husband's rank, Captain. Apex won the contract hypothetically for $8,000 they then turn around and awarded the job to Southern Nevada Movers for say $5,000 and then they turn around and tell the individual contractor they will pay him $3,000 to do it. However, out of that money he has to pay for all the materials, truck, gas, weight station costs and anyone he needs to help him meet the schedule Apex has set up for the contract with the military. All of this he has agreed to before seeing the house, the items of how much weight it will actually be and the conditions. Then he has to deal with a company that doesn't pay and customers that are unhappy.

Our packing wasn't done until Wednesday. The truck came Friday in Vegas to take our items to Tucson. Our truck full of household items didn't arrive at our home in Tucson until 12:30 PM Tuesday, December 13. It was pouring down rain all day and night Tuesday. It was a mess. Since we have retired, I am so glad this is our last military move. I hope we don't have to move again anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 29

Is There a Miracle Move in the Works?

Oh wow, is my procrastination catching up with me now.  We are 6 days away from the movers coming to pack our things in boxes.  I have a refrigerator full of food, mail I haven’t opened, and addresses I haven’t changed. I still have loads of laundry to do before I even attempt to pack our suitcases. I feel a bit queasy thinking about it, or that could be my gallbladder acting up again. There is probably going to be another break in the blogs for a bit until we get settled again.

I wonder, with the miracle of my holy heart being healed do I deserve peace in other aspects of my life. Well, of course I deserve nothing, but do I have the right to ask for something? I mean really having the hole in my heart close is pretty spectacular. Besides my absolutely beautiful daughters that God is allowing us to parent, I’m not sure what else I could really ask for. Peace on this Earth would be cool.

However, I am experiencing some severe turmoil. I am not resting on the Lord. I hate this feeling of not being prepared. Every moment I spend sitting at the computer, reading, shopping, or watching one TV show, I am beating myself up about not sorting through things or organizing things for the move. I also spend too much time thinking about things that don’t matter at the time. Does God have a limited amount of miracles he gives out per person, per family? Why some people and not others?

I am surprised that I have the “Why me?” question for my healing. With all my accidents, misdiagnosis, mental and physical health issues, I never said, “why me.” I was always of the thought, “why not me?” I have a trust and faith in God that carries me through the trying times. For the most part I am a positive person with a good ability to put on a good face (mask). I trusted He knew what He was doing and eventually it would get better. Now that God has healed the hole in my heart I now wonder, “Why me?” There are so many people with cancers, severe pain and anguish that I think would be so more deserving. The men, women and children who do not have any resources or support, why not them? 
What really perplexes me now is how can I ever ask God again for anything? I am having a hard time preparing myself for this move from Vegas to Tucson. How will we bring in income? How will we pay the bills? Will I get my act together quickly enough in Tucson to be able to get Christmas decorations up before Christmas? Will I be able to get my girls the #1 gifts on their Christmas lists despite them being out of stock all over the country? Does it really matter?

I have been avoiding some really necessary tasks. I keep telling myself to cast my cares upon the Lord. I just know that I am not doing that as much as I could. I don’t doubt that I still need Him. Deep breaths…. I just don’t know if it is fair of me to ask, like God has some finite amount of help He hands out. How absurd is that!  Well, I never said it was rational thoughts that I have, random yes, rational, only sometimes. Actually I have obsessive thoughts, analyzing different angles sometimes missing the most obvious. I don't need a miracle to move, just some peace and grace.
In the midst of my philosophical musings, I need to get moving. I will go conquer the laundry. The movers will come even if I am not ready. They will pack dirty clothes, but I have an issues with that so off I go.

Saturday, November 12

God's Amazing Healing Power, REALLY!

It has taken me awhile to write out my complete miracle story, being concise doesn’t come easily for me. I could write a whole book on my life, but I’m not sure anyone would want to read it. Instead I will try to summarize it for this blog. There are many miracles I have experienced in my life. I only have listed some highlights before going over the big miracle.

·        No broken bones or death despite falling off a horse and getting amnesia, being hit by a car while on a bicycle, and several bad car accidents.
·        A simple faith in God that prevented me from following through on suicide despite a serious undiagnosed, at the time, inherited mental illness.
·        Survived many episodes of self medication with excessive drug and alcohol usage. Also, I avoided any accidents or consequences of my DUI. I only became addicted to food, not anything illegal or alcohol despite years of abuse.
·        Receiving Jesus and accepting Him into my heart after fully understanding the salvation plan.  
·        Adopting two beautiful baby girls that share the same biological parents from the foster care system.
·        Surviving 3 major surgeries despite severe allergic reactions to general anesthesia and pain medications.
·        Living to the age of 33 despite a serious congenital heart defect, sinus venosus atrial septal defect (hole between upper chambers of the heart and a vein going in the wrong direction). The hole was > 2.7 cm, slightly larger than a quarter and my heart had enlarged 5 times the normal size of a heart to compensate.
·        After 10 years of complaints to doctors, finally finding one who listened to my symptoms and didn’t explain them away as suffering from obesity or a properly medicated mental illness.

Now I come to the awesome miracle of my latest healing. Please indulge me while I give some history I don’t think I covered my previous blog post.

In 2008, six years after my corrective heart surgery, I had some fatigue. After a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE), a cardiologist discovered that the hole in my heart had opened. The cells in our bodies have a memory. Mine clearly were duplicating what they had known for 33 years. However, the hole was < .5 cm, smaller than a pencil eraser. My pressure, saturation and oxygenation levels were well within normal.  Many people can live to old age while having a tiny hole in their heart, no worries. In 2010, the hole got bigger. For the most up to date history about the hole in my heart you might want to read about My Almost a Clear Bill of Health for My Holy Heart
I had a cardiac MRI done October 24, 2011 at UCLA. I have my official written out results, confirmation of my healing. THE HOLE IS GONE! My MRI shows there is no flow or evidence for right to left shunt. My pulmonary venous connections appear normal. Here is some great medical jargon. There are: No interatrial or interventricular septal discontinuity. No pericardial effusion. Both ventricles show normal contractility throughout with normal myocardial systolic thickening. No focal mural thinning or regional hypokinesia. No delayed myocardial enhancement to suggest myocardial scar or inflammation. The aortic valve is trileaflet with normal opening and coaption, no evidence for dephasing jet. After all that mumbo jumbo, trust me, the report says the hole is gone. Alleluia! It is confirmation of the Lords miracle. O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You have healed me.” Psalm 30:2

While the doctor went over the results I was thinking of the questions that I had for him. One of which was, “Can I do aerobic exercise now?” The interesting result from the MRI is that from a cardiac standpoint I am healthy and can resume aerobic exercise. However, to get a complete answer to that question, I have to follow up with my primary care physician. It seems that through incidental imaging of the upper abdomen, it demonstrate Cholelithiasis without evidence for biliary obstruction, but at least two gallbladder calculi, the larger measuring 2.0 cm diameter. There are also mild intervertebral disc bulges at T8-T9 and T9-T10 level, as well as, at T12 level, well defined 1 cm rounded cystic structure within the spinal cord. A well-defined high signal structure apparently invaginating the spinal cord at T12 level, with otherwise normal appearances of the cord - although SSFP sequences not optimal for evaluation -, and some lower thoracic disc bulging noted.

I find it amusing that I thought it maybe my heart that would prevent me from doing aerobic exercise, but instead is it my back. Although I don’t accept that it is an excuse. I know there are plenty of people with back problems that exercise successfully for weight loss. I just have to get my doctor to clear me despite what my back may indicate. Now my getting into the doctor before I move maybe the issue since he is so popular in the military community. Maybe there is another miracle waiting for me!

Sunday, November 6

Career moves

Today you get another perspective on our decision to move back to Tucson. This is in my husband's words, an answer to a family members concern about his quick retirement decision.
“Thanks for your advice. I have already officially applied for retirement. To put you at ease, this was not a snap decision from emotion but one of thought, prayer, and Christian counsel from fellow retired officers, and of course with Leslie. Also, it is not really half pay but more like 1/3 pay. And, yes it is a down economy but that does not limit God. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. And quite frankly, I am excited for the first time in many years. This opens many opportunities to more fully let God work in our lives. I have so many options that it is difficult to choose.

I can go back to school get a second master's degree in Ranglend Management at the U of A for free and get a housing stipend plus my retirement with the GI Bill. I can get another job in weather, not what I desire, but a possibility. I can go into ministry as an assistant pastor with my current masters. I can join the Guard or Reserves. I can start a home based business or a real bricks and mortar one like a U-Swirl franchise. I can stay at home and home school my children.

Public school is absolutely never an option in any way what so ever. Our young children should not be left for a majority of their daily lives having their faith and ours assaulted. There are statistics after statistics to support our decision that public school is not an option. It is a whole different discussion left for a different time. If interested check out:

I can be a college professor at the bachelor's level teaching meteorology 101. The list kind of goes on. But, the main point is I now have multiple choices. The down economy will make a challenge but it is not insurmountable. I refuse to let the government be my crutch. In the grand scheme of things, my career is over. The military will not provide the growth I want and only more separation from my family. I have served faithfully for 20 years, put service before self, and now it is time to say thank you and look forward to the next stage of life before the Gov sucks the life out of me. God led me into the military and I feel now He is leading me out.

Leslie could go back to work. I am not worried about finances God will work them through. But, I do want to get the Tucson albatross off the neck and get that taken care of instead of kicking the proverbial can down the road. We will still get health services as good as they are mostly from my experience they have been great as long as you are healthy and don't need care. Getting a renter $800 to $1000 a month below our mortgage is not a viable option. We have to get a principle reduction, short sale, or significant interest reduction. And unfortunately, our current system and who broke the system in the first place makes us liable to be sued as investors (rental property) but as home owners with a significant reduction in salary we "qualify" to get some relief. Further, they can't hold my clearance over my head that would be non-relevant at that time. Bottom line, thanks for the advice but the retirement is in motion. Leslie and I have a peace about it and look forward to what God has in store.

And yes, it is awesome that Leslie will not need open heart surgery any time soon. The hole is negligible, it is her tricupid valve that is not working properly due to the years of her enlarged heart. She has tricuspid regurgitation that she is dealing with. It causes her exhaustion, edema, etc... Keep us up in prayer for guidance. I am good with our decision and look forward to it."

Tuesday, October 25

I Survived the Tube!

I'm back from my second trip to UCLA. Yes, I had my cardiac MRI done. Having an MRI is fascinating. Actually I had a Magnetic Resonance Angiography since they gave me a contrast agent to show my heart and blood flow. They shot some magnetic material (gadolinium)  into me to take a series of images while I was laying in a tube like tunnel. If you are claustrophobic, it might be quite challenging. There isn't much room and you can't see out. The machine does all kinds of things that cause it to make really loud noises. You have to have headphones on to not only protect your hearing, but also to hear the instructions from the technician running the machine. The really cool thing was that I brought my iPod and they plugged it into their sound system so I could hear my own music in the headphones. The music would then cut out anytime the tech talked to me. She gave my breathing instructions just like when you get a chest x-ray. However, I sat in what I will call the tube for about 1 1/2 hours. During that whole time she intermittently tells me when to get ready to hold my breath while she catches images. The hardest part of being in the tube is lying down on the table in it for such a long time. Other than a pillow for my head and a pillow under my knees, it is a hard surface table.  Between her breathing instructions I was able to shift my legs a bit, cross and uncross my feet, wiggle my fingers and toes, and stretch some. I just wasn't allowed to move my torso or it would make the images blurry. She gave me positive reinforcement telling me what a great job I was doing being still and holding my breath for sometimes 20 or 30 seconds. Really it wasn't that hard, but I guess since it goes on over an hour you want to encourage people. It can take up to 2 days for the doctor to get a chance to review the results so we shall see. I know it went well though.
I'll get back to you about the other aspects of my trip to Los Angeles, the same day President Obama was there AND that it rained for the second time that month. The same times I was there. Trust me it's gonna be good.

Thursday, October 20

Thank You, But We Are Done.

Today we got confirmation that my husband’s request for retirement was accepted. I say 'we' because when your husband enters the military the whole family does too. We have spent 20 years serving this country. We spent 10 years as an enlisted family and 10 years as an officer’s family. Due to deployments, assignments and a remote tour, we spent 6 years of our first 10 living in the same place. We have lived only the last 6 years as parents. Over the 20 years we have lived in 17 different homes, apartments, and/or condos, only 5 of which we owned. We still own 2. It has brought us places we never would have chosen, introduced us to great people, created little families of friends around the world, shaped our characters like nothing else could and made us very reliant and dependent on our faith and relationship with God.
The Lord led my husband into the military and we feel He has led us out as well. It wasn’t something we contemplated for months. It really took us by surprise. I always thought we would have plenty of time to decide and process this major life event.

We own a home in Tucson, Arizona. We have rented it out since we left. Our ideal tenant is leaving this month. We started considering if we wanted to hire a property management company and what our long term goals were with our home in Tucson. This brought up the direction of his career and our future with the military. We had been in Vegas for two years and as an Officer that makes you eligible to be moved. He just got his line number for his promotion to Major. His field in the Air Force is small so he knows who to talk to about where he stands. He had been told he was on the Top Ten List for his field and rank of officers to be deployed. We had a fairly good idea about where his next choice for career opportunity was going to be on the East Coast. We took a look at what our goals are and what we want to be doing in 5, 10 and 15 years. Most importantly we sought the counsel of some Christian men who have retired from the military and we prayed.
It was literally just days later my husband was submitting his request to retire.  We didn’t want our home in Tucson to sit empty for long, so he requested a waiver to expedite the process. It can take the government 4-6 weeks to let you know your request has been approved.

Alert, the answer to "when" is coming.
It took only 2 weeks to get his official retirement date of March 1, 2012. He has 80 days of leave/vacation built up that we have to use. So that brings his last day of actual work to the first full week in December.
Did you get your answer? Pick a day near or around December 9, 2011 and you got it.

Yes, we are going to move in less than 6 weeks so our home can be rented out as soon as possible.  We just closed on the refinance of our Vegas home, 3.75% fixed interest rate making our monthly mortgage payment $230 less per month. We can rent out our Vegas home at fair market value, pay a property manager and landscape company while still clearing a little bit to save for repairs. It may actually turn out to be a true investment property.
The only reason we could justify staying in longer, past our 20 years, would be for the safety and security it provides us financially. We are a family of Christian faith so that did not make sense. Our safety and security is in God.

Sure, we move back with only the certainty of 38% of our normal annual income, but we will be a family who now has time to spend together. We will no longer have to adapt and support my husband’s job with the military. We will be free to choose.
We will move back to our Tucson home with the whole house air filtration system (our allergies should be so much better), whole house water filtration system and solar hot water heater. We will start another chapter in our lives. We are not the same family that left Tucson and we have definitely benefited from our Vegas experience. A whole new world of opportunities is open to us. As freaked out as I am about the quick change, I am excited too.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…….33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

Oh, I still have to get to California for my appointment Monday at UCLA for my cardiac MRI. Life moves very fast around here. Blink and you might miss it.

Wednesday, October 19

Almost a Clear Bill of Health for My Holy Heart

I'm still trying to get over my lost post. As far as our trip to Los Angeles for me to go to UCLA, it worked out well. I had some test done, met with the doctor and learned what I already suspected. Yes, Praise God, my holy heart is healed! The doctor said after reviewing my cardiac catheterization test, which he received first, he was a bit confused as to why I was referred to him.
It was all in the timing of how he received and saw test results. He said, other than some tricuspid regurgitation, my heart is fine. There is no measurable hole. A few days later he received and was able to review my transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). He said that with the TEE test results it would appear the hole was there and causing issues.

My TEE was done one month before my cardiac cath. That one month, a key event and special moment was critical. Hundreds of people started praying after we told everyone about my TEE results. After my TEE it seemed pretty evident that I was facing open heart surgery again. Due to all my allergies with general anesthesia and pain medication, I was looking at my possible death and/or extreme pain.

On March 28th, I had the opportunity to attend a Michael W. Smith concert. I spent a great deal of time worshipping the Lord during that concert. Afterwards I got some quiet time in my car waiting for traffic to clear out of the parking lot. In those still quiet moments of reflecting on how moved I was by the concert, I swear to you I heared an audible voice say to me, "You have never asked Me to heal you, so ask Me."  I was shocked, amazed and cried out, "Oh My God, you are so right, I never have." I always trusted that God was with me through everything and that His hand had been with the surgeon in 2002 and other professionals through out the process.  I never asked for a healing. Even after the surgery when they were trying to find something to give me for the pain that I wasn't allergic to, when I cried out in severe pain, I cried, "Jesus, please take me home now, kill me and take the pain away." In that time of excruciating pain I never said, "Please heal me, Jesus."

It wasn't until that moment in my vehicle with His presence there that I realized I should and could ask for a healing. I thought healings were for other people. I'm not in pain so why would I ask for God to heal the hole in my heart?  I finally accepted that I was able to ask and receive His healing. I said, "Lord, clearly I wasn't listening, forgive me my ignorance, and YES, please heal my holy heart." 

The next morning after the concert was my cardiac cath test. The test that contradicted my TEE results.  The test that the UCLA doctor saw first. The results that confused my local cardiologist and led him to refer me for a 2nd opinion. The test results that the UCLA doctor cannot reconcile with my TEE results.

Monday, October 3rd I had a cardiac stress test at UCLA. I ran on a treadmill while hooked up to all kinds of wires. I raised my heart rate to 170 without having any cardiac distress and did pretty darn good according to the UCLA staff and cardiologist. My oxygen levels stayed healthy too. So when I met with the UCLA cardiologist he said that the hole, if there is one, doesn't seem to be presenting any issues. It is only because I have tricuspid regurgitation that my numbers are not exactly 100%, but are within the normal range. Due to the enlargement of my heart after 32 years with a hole, my tricuspid valve is stretched and flappy. It just isn't closing sufficiently to control the flow of blood. So instead of a holy heart, I now have a flappy valve heart. It has a cool swoosh rhythm to it too. Depending on the stress I place on my heart may effect the symptoms I see and feel.  He is having me get a cardiac MRI just to confirm his diagnosis about the hole and valve as well as not releasing me to do any aerobic exercise until after the MRI. Unless the MRI test results are abnormal, he said I have plain old tricuspid regurgitation and I will feel better if I just "Loose some weight, eat healthy, and exercise." He clarified with, "Well with the exercise just wait until after you hear from me about the MRI,"

So, I am scheduled to get my MRI on Monday, Oct. 24. I am looking forward to having this whole process over and done. I am excited to be able to return to walking with some running mixed in there soon. I will be a walking miracle! I am going to look to see if there is a 5k I can sign up and do for Spring 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. Oh, that will be another blog for another day.

Monday, October 10

How does that happen?

I just spent a good 10 minutes typing up a follow up to my Holy Trip. Then as my fingers were flying across the keyboard, my paragraphs of text disappeared. What key did I hit to make that happen? I really would like to know since it has happened to me while writing out lengthy e-mails as well. It isn't like I am some mad typist. I only type about 35 words per minute with lots of errors. I watch the keyboard half the time too. I stay on the home keys and the main keyboard. I don't have stray fingers near the delete key or backspace since they are near punctuation I don't use. The program saves a draft of what you type. However, for some reason when I went to the draft it was blank. Sigh, now I don't have the time to whip out another version of my follow up. I will have to come back to it later. In the meantime be careful when your typing. Beware the mystery key on the central keyboard that deletes your work.

Saturday, October 1

Getting ready for my Holy trip!

Well, I am not as ready as I thought I would be. I have known this day was coming, but I procrastinated as usual. What is the big deal you maybe thinking? Or not?  Monday I go to the Cardiac Imaging Center at UCLA to find out how my holy heart looks.  Yes, I know I spelled it wrong, but I love the beautiful symbolism by saying my "Holy" heart.  Just in case you haven't talked to me lately or read here before: In a nut shell, I was born with a sinus venosus atrial septal defect (hole in my heart and a vein going in the wrong direction) that wasn't diagnosed or corrected until 2002 when I was 33 years old.  Seems that my corrective surgery may have failed since cells have a memory. I am a Christian in case you haven't figured that out yet. I serve a mighty God who I believe has healed my Holy heart. I am confident that God has a plan. Which is a fabulous thing because I don't have much of one.
I thought I had some plans. I was going to record me reading some books for my children, write some letters to them, record some video and create some great memories in case we discover that my life maybe shorter than we thought. Since I am not having any surgery or invasive testing done I put it all off. Heck I lived for 33 years with a gaping hole, so what is a few more months or so.

Open Heart Surgery to correct a defect isn't the big deal it used to be, but I have some co-morbidity issues and had some complications before. I am the less than 1%.  No worries, it is all in God's hands.

So I have a bit of a bucket list that I have been ignoring. I do say though that I have a peace about it. I have had challenges in life and this is just one more that I can face with the joy of the Lord. I figure we are all on borrowed time. Whatever I do have in place now will just have to do. Yes, I have a document labeled, "Leslie's Funeral Plan," on my computer to try and help my family get through it all confident that many decisions are already made for them.

I did follow through on one or two bucket list items. We are scheduled to have our family portraits taken tomorrow. We will have all four of us together in one place for photos.

We are going to take the girls to Disneyland while we are in California. I think it will be a great opportunity to create some great memories. I just have to remember to have pictures taken of me in them. I am the picture taker in the family so I tend to be missing in many of the events in our life. I can't blame anyone but myself for that. I don't like pictures that are blurry, off center, or have peoples eyes closed so I am a bit of a control freak with the camera. I don't take great pictures and I myself don't  photograph well. Sure the weight doesn't help, but I have a bit of a lazy eye, well really a lazy eyelid that droops, uneven eyebrows (thanks to a Merle Norman incident), I have scars, and now wrinkles. I don't particularly like how I detract from my beautiful family.  I do realize that most of my family and friends don't see those things so I have to get over myself and have the pictures taken.  

I have to remind myself of Proverbs 31:30, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

However, photographs serve as reminders too of my disobedience.
1 Cor 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

Romans 12:1 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship."

Anywho, I am a work in progress. I do try and I think that is all that God asks. So off to UCLA I go to at least deal with the exercise aspect of my efforts. Once I am cleared for aerobic exercise I will have no excuse. My holy heart can only get me so far, eventually my stubborn willful addicted brain has to join the fight too.

Oh, I am going to tweet my adventure. Follow me: ruready1st

Let me leave you with my favorite blessing:
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26

Saturday, September 24

Lots of New Things

I have this really amazing friend who is darn good with most things internet related.  She also does the cutest crafts. She helped change my blog and make it look new.

We have joined a new homeschool group that meets weekly doing some really cool stuff. Today we did a fishing clinic at Floyd Lamb State Park and celebrated Rosh Hashana with Shofars, Apples and Honey.  Rosh Hashana, the Feast of Trumpets, is the Jewish New Year. No we aren't Jewish, but we are learning and celebrating other cultures. Next week is a Roman Feast!

My girls made some new friends today.

My children did something new today besides celebrate Rosh Hashana. They slept until almost 9 AM this morning.

I learned how to tie a new kind of knot that will come in handy if I ever decide to put a hook on a fishing rod.

My husband and I are discussing a new strategy for his upcoming career plans. I will have more on that at another time.

I got a new bluetooth device today that I have no clue how to use yet.

We are making new plans for our trip to Los Angeles for me to go see a new doctor at UCLA.

We have a new plan to go to Disneyland while we are in Los Angeles to go to Mickey's Halloween Party which will be new to us.

I have a new spider vein in my leg that I thought was a new bruise and a new cyst on my ear.

We have a new babysitter (friend of our regular babysitter) for tomorrow night so that we can go to a concert we have never seen before.

You get the idea. Have a great new day tomorrow. Think about all the new things you encounter, create and obtain tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 21

Strong, Opinionated Me

I've decided I am not going to do a blog on disfiguring skin diseases, physical ailments or any mental illness. It is to depressing and I didn't realize how controversial. It seems most of the things I want to talk about these days is controversial. I didn't realize that so many of my points of view are so contrary now to the average person.

Last night I found myself explaining how what our children eat and are exposed to in this day and age is very different then when I or others older than I were growing up.  We were talking about the huge increase in children with allergies, asthma, obesity, and autism. Sure there was McDonalds, Burger King, twinkies, pop tarts, etc... around when I was younger. I got what seems like hundreds of vaccinations at school. I lived in houses with lead paint and asbestos as well as two parents that smoked. Oh wait, I do have tons of allergies and other stupid ailments, well, okay, that could explain it, so lets go back further. Well, no I am not an expert and you would be far better off watching some documentaries. Netflix has a plethora of them. I suggest: Food Inc. Food Matters, Ingredients, and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. These documentaries do an awesome job at explaining then and now.

I will tell you that my daughters will not be receiving any more vaccinations until further research. I never should have had Mikayla get more vaccinations after she had a seizure. I figured it was because it was the evil all in one shot.  I did insist after that that we got off schedule and spread them out over a longer period of time. When we did the flu vaccine I insisted on the thermisol free version.  I couldn't track down a thermisol free version in Vegas, so they went without. My daughters will definitely not be getting the Gardasil shots after reading all those horror stories.

Oops, I said I wasn't going to bring up these controversial issues. Now the traditional taboo subjects are still politics, money, sex and religion? However, now there are more subjects if you don't want to hear my strong opinion like the weather, environment, food, medications, diagnosis, weight loss, addictions, parenting, discipline, adoption, careers, education, peoples names, immigration and real estate. I'm sure there are a few others I have argued with people about, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.  I am an opinionated, strong-willed, assertive person. I actually love a good debate. I guess that unto itself is contrary to many people. See in my world a majority of things are black and white. It seems the average person now sees shades of gray in ever single thing. People are so concerned about hurting someones feelings they won't speaks their mind. I'm glad that for the most part I surround myself with either like minded individuals or people who are tolerant of my assertiveness.  I don't do well when I have to constrain myself. Catch me at a time I am tired or exhausted and you can get a word in edgewise. That is me more often these days.

The subject I do find defending most is homeschooling. I am thinking I maybe need to keep some statistical facts handy so I can use those to support my belief in it.  There are so many studies debunking the myths, I can't keep track of it all.  I will leave you with this, "Yes, you could if you wanted to." Really it applies to all aspects of life. If you have enough of a why, you will find the how.

So I am going to contradict myself, (unfortunately I find myself doing that to often), about a no no subject right now. When it comes to weight loss, I am still gathering my why because I just haven't found the right how for me.  So please don't bring up the weight right now or obesity in children. I am not into debating it. Personally I don't need suggestions, advice or will power about it right now either.

I really liked the latest round of Facebook status posts: ~~It's hard to explain to someone who has no clue. It's a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside. Please put this as your status for at least 1 hour if you or someone you know has an invisible illness (Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Diabetes, LUPUS, Fibromyalgia, MS, Arthritis, Cancer, Heart Disease, Epilepsy, Autism, etc.) " Never judge what you don't understand. Copy and post, I did!~

That is the best line, "Don't judge what you do not understand." I often times get into debates because people don't fully understand something. They got the news from Jay Leno, David Letterman or the front page of their internet browser.  All I can say is listen, look, read, read and do more reading to get as many different perspectives as you can if you want to debate or intelligently discuss something. The biggest issue I have had to work on and be very willing to say is, "I don't know about that."
Okay, I will get down from my soapbox. My oldest daughter will surely knock me back to reality.

PS. Excuse the grammer, spelling and any other annoying writing. I don't have time to do as much editing if I am going to ever get posts on this blog.

Thursday, September 15

My Frazzled Disconnected Line of Thought Tonight

Sat down to write another blog. I was going to lament about disfiguring skin diseases, but got distracted. I went to Google to verify the spelling of something and off I went on another subject. When did Google become spell check and the dictionary? I digress. I think I am just going to point out why I have a hard time blogging.  I really don't have a direction with this now, but just try to stick with me.

Somewhere in the list of pages that my misspelled word came up with there was an article about a politician. I then found myself reading an article in the Washington Post. A list of top 10 stories caught my eye so then I read about a lawyer who is now a topless dancer. She said she always thought she would never do it, but she is due to the economy effecting the availability of jobs for lawyers. As I was reading I had my Facebook account open and got a ding for a chat. While chatting a friend's blog caught my attention so when my chat was over, I headed over to read a blog. That reminded me that I needed to put the date on my calendar that I need to mail my Mother's Birthday card in order for it to be on time. I help people have progressive birthdays, but I don't think they may see it that way.

Once on my Google calendar I realized I didn't know what park our group is meeting at tomorrow. I went to the Yahoo group web page to check the park location. It is a set event each week on the calendar just the location changes.  On the details of the event it reads: Dieses Ereignis wiederholt sich am dritten Donnerstag jedes Monats. Looks like German to me, but I don't know for sure, so I Google it. I mention it on my Facebook post which engages me in some comments and another chat. Come to find out getting a translation of a phrase is not as easy as you would think. I keep getting asked to download this free program, "Easy Translation is Just A Click Away." Sure that won't be what I will be thinking when I pick up some computer virus, malware, or software that creates conflict on my system. This whole foreign phrase thing is really fascinating to me now. Someone else checked the Yahoo group calendar page I am referring to and they don't see it. So I clicked back to it and it is gone. So was I hallucinating. Is my computer now filled with the Holy Spirit and talking in tongues? How bizarre. We know a family that moved to Germany this summer, the Miller family. My girls loved to go over their house to play and they were members of the same Yahoo group that we would meet at playgrounds. Sigh... I miss the Miller family. That phrase made me think of them immediately. Hmm, said a prayer for the family, maybe it was a sign from God to pray for them? This foreign phrase that displayed on my computer for an internet groups calendar. No one else saw it and I have no clue what it means. It got me to take a moment to pray. The family is on my daily list, but they got extra today! I often find myself praying for people when I am on the computer. Maybe from a story I read, or a picture I see. Another topic to write about someday on top of the other 3 I discovered while typing this.

I think the internet has made me ADD.  I never follow the same line of thought or get to a point. In blogging this entry I have gone back and forth to it like 20 times. Each time struggling to stay on some sort of consistent theme or direction. I think I mislabeled my blog. I should have been the "Distracted Analyst." Anywho, I dislike not knowing something. Now it is past midnight, I started writing this at 10 PM, and I have to get to bed. This is my life, fits and starts, distractions, and then a mystery to keep me awake. Good night.

Oh hey, let me know if you can translate:  Dieses Ereignis wiederholt sich am dritten Donnerstag jedes Monats.

Saturday, September 10

Time for A Change

Life never seems to be dull or boring around here. I want to get an update out there about the busy things in our life I mentioned in my July post.
The Good News, well other than about Jesus, the IRS closed our case in our favor. They didn’t change a thing on our return and we got our complete refund. It was a very healthy amount, given our money pit in Tucson, AZ. We are now credit card DEBT FREE and had some money left over to save for a raining day. Woo Hoo. We are prepared to handle the financial blessings God provides us. That all came from doing Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey. Check out a local course near you! Our church has been offering it for over a year now.

More news is that we will be on our way to UCLA October 3rd to have my heart checked out. I am meeting with Dr. Jonathan Tobis who specializes in Interventional Cardiology Research. His specialty is finding other means to fix the heart so to speak without open heart surgery. I don't think any procedure will be necessary at this point. I have to be prudent though and get a professional opinion and explore the best options.  I am more convinced than ever that my extreme exhaustion, vertigo, edema, aches, pains, respiratory distress, etc... are more related to allergies, diet and exercise.

Since this all started back in September when I made the commitment to do Couch Potato to 5K training, God has been working on my awareness of how I am treating the temple He has given me. He has placed people in my path to bring my attention to what I can do about it. Clearly His hand is on my life as I had lived 33 years with a significant hole in my heart. Now ten years later, I find myself with many of the same issues I had before surgery. Instead of dwelling on a failed repair, I like to think of this as an opportunity to heal, to allow God to do His work with me.

What does that look like? I am focusing on my diet now. Once all the tests are done and the doctor clears me, I will start adding more exercise. I really just think I'm a bit toxic and need to get rid of all the processed sugar and bad carbs in my diet. Since September, I have watched the following documentaries: Food Inc., Ingredients, Food Matters and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  In doing research on the internet I have read about Genetic Engineering, chemical exposure, environmental hazards, yeast overgrowth, insulin resistance, GERD, sleep apnea, etc...  There are so many things that can contribute to poor nutrition and serious health issues, not just a hole in a heart.

We now eat as many organic things as we can along with Grass Fed Beef and soon Pastured Poultry. Still working on getting all the chemical products and processed sugar out of our lives. I really feel I need to get back to what God designed the human body to endure. He made us humans to be a well designed efficient system. He gave us the food we need. People did not need to create or engineer the food we eat. I feel Him leading me and calling me to be a good steward of His creation, me. I am seeking His will for me. Now how that turns out in the end still remains to be seen.

Friday, September 9

I Feel Like a Pirate Lately.

I keep encountering changes I knew nothing about, didn't pay attention to or are just a part of life. When I encounter these changes and I can adapt to them easily, all is good.  It is those times that I find myself roadblocked from adapting that make me say, "Argh!"  Now I am not a pirate, never have been, never had any desire to be one.  I just find that since I type out many of my emotions that I am running out of ways to express myself without using expletives that won't offend someone, mainly my Mother. Wow, she would be so proud of my run on sentences. Not.  Although the insanity is that my Mother will never be on Facebook, Twitter or my blog. Well, maybe someday on my blog, but that seems way in the future. These posts will be old and off the front page so it won't matter eventually.

Okay, I digress. Somewhere in my continues learning of technology and human resources training (yes, I was an HR Director, forgive me please), it occured to me, well it was mentioned several times to me as well, that you shouldn't post anything online that you wouldn't want your Mother, Boss, or Priest to read.  To bad someone didn't mention my grammer teacher. Oh wait, I never had that in school. Can you tell? Anywho, I digress again. So in trying to keep my language cleaner I find myself saying and typing words like, argh, dang, bummer, shoot, sugar, damn, crap, freakin' A, or just freakin', screwed, hell, etc... I think you get the idea. For the most part I don't think these offend anyone, not even my Mother. I have been well trained to try and control my tongue. Well, my use of freakin' has been annoying sometimes and didn't sound very good when it came out of my 5 year old. I have refrained from using that lately.

I don't consider myself a person who swears in general. I have let the $hit word slip out when injured, but that is rare. My mother always said that if a person has to swear then it displays their lack of education and good vocabulary. I would like to think that what is happening is that I write more, especially on Facebook and because the written word can be so impersonal that I feel the need to add emotion. Unfortunately those emotions come out in silly or stupid words.  Actually to think about it, I am not the only one. Since life is often times summed up in 140 characters or less for a Tweet or FB status there are more and more emotional sounds being expressed in typing these days.  I see sounds of emotion expressed all the time now. Phew, Sigh, LOL, LMAO, <3, etc... So I guess my saying "Argh," isn't all that odd these days. I think others online have found much better ways to communicate their emotions than I. I will keep exploring my options.

Oh, you know what started all this. I couldn't get my blog dashboard to come up correctly for me to post something. I had actually planned to spew some other garbage. Got sidetracked. Well, I will save it for another month or two...

Thursday, July 14

It's hard to start again.

It has been so long since I have posted that I forgot how this whole blogger thing works.  I can't believe I let that much time pass.  I have been rattling off e-mails and Facebook messages like crazy, but not blogging.  It is so cathartic for me and I neglected it, why?  Probably for the same reason why I have a hard time eating right and exercising. I lack discipline and life keeps getting busier.The number of things going on in my life right now is staggering.  Life when I started this was easier, of course I didn't see that then. It is always so hard at the time, but then once we reflect back, Wow, it wasn't that bad at all.

Last year it was being a Mom to a difficult child and homeschooling.  Now it is my health, our finances, my husband's job and my children.  I swear life's challenges are growing exponentially.

My health, let me see if I can sum it up.  I have Congenital Heart Disease which is news to me since I had my congenital heart defect fixed in 2002 when I was 34 years old (another story for another time). None of my health care professionals at the time said that I had a disease, just a defect that was corrected. Come to find out, even though it was corrected, I am still labeled as having Congenital Heart Disease. Then more news, my correction has failed. My cardiologist says the hole is back. Now I have spent the last few months dealing with that whole fiasco. More to follow in another blog post.

Our finances, we are being audited by the IRS, need I say more.

My husband's job is becoming a member of the family. It whines, demands attention, doesn't listen, and consumes our resources.

My children and I adjusting to homeschooling is interesting. They don't seem any worse for the wear. We haven't killed each other yet. Despite my feeling inadequate and failing miserably they are still learning to read and write.

Oh, I just thought of a major reason why I didn't post blogs.  My mother was here for the winter. Yes, she arrived before Christmas and didn't leave until just before Easter. It was a long winter. Every time I sat at the computer, which is very frequently, she would say, "There you go again, sitting at that bloody computer."  I would explain that I use the computer to research and function in all aspects of my life.  I do my grocery list online, I print coupons online, I get recipes online, I search and print out activities for the kids, crafts, coloring pages, I talk to my friends mostly online, I look up deals, I research products, I look up medical conditions, I read the news, I watch videos, I read blogs, I research all different aspects of homeschooling, I download, edit and post pictures, I read and post on Facebook, and I have 4 different e-mail addresses to check. If I am not on my computer I am interacting with my children or doing household chores.  I rarely watch tv or read books anymore. My children get me as their teacher and as their Mom giving them lots of attention. No one is suffering or feeling neglected because of my computer time. It seemed she was the only one with the problem and I allowed her to make me feel guilty about each computer session. I kept my computer use to a bare minimum. I did it and it was hard. Once she left I didn't get back to it much, but I did read a few books and watched more tv!

I'll see if I can start over with this blog.