My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Friday recap...

It rained all night but the sun is shining bright this morning. I slept until after 7am... waaaay late for me but I'm sort of resetting my internal clock and I didn't get to sleep until after midnight last night.

Austin and I had a full day yesterday
I went to the doctor. He was sad about me losing my job but agreed that it's time to start thinking seriously about disability. It's discouraging to realize that my situation has changed in that way but I did feel validated to some degree. Having a problem with your spine is like having an invisible injury. I don't have a sling or a cast or anything visual that anyone, including me, can see. Nobody sees pain. You can dramatize but I don't. I don't limp unless my body forces me to. You don't see how bad I'm hurting because most people in my real life don't see me. I don't answer the phone, usually when I'm in pain. I just completely withdraw. It's how I deal with it. And then I come here and whine everyday. At any rate... my doctor has an attorney they work closely with and he feels that they will be able to get me approved on the first attempt - which would take about six months. He loaded me up with as many samples of my meds as they could. I go back in June for a re-check and that will be full price... but... well, who knows where we'll be in June?

Next Austin and I went to get his hair cut. He was looking like the Lorax. He wants to grow his hair out but it's so thick that it grows into a sort of shaggy fro, if you can imagine that.

We went and bought him a new shirt for Gramps' memorial service. The same little button up shirt that he's been using as his "Sunday/Go to meeting" shirt since he was 14 no longer fits. I've got to hem his pants that I bought him for Kegan's memorial because they're way too long.  I got myself a nice, comfy dress and some black Mary Jane flats that will be comfy even if I swell up.

That's my latest problem: swelling. If I'm on my feet for more than an hour, from the knees down my skin gets red and warm to the touch and my legs and feet swell up to the point that you would think the skin would burst. I doubled up on my diuretic last night and it took about six hours before the swelling was down enough that it didn't hurt to touch my skin. Dr Google offered lots of scary possibilities but, one that really stuck out to me was lumbar spinal stenosis - which I have, and is degenerative (meaning that it will get worse and the symptoms will too) so it's not surprising that it would rear it's ugly head. There are a couple of other possibilities and it could be a side effect of one or more of the new meds I'm on. Nothing I can do about it now, but I'm definitely keeping a watch on it.

I forgot that I had a lab appointment yesterday morning. I remembered around 10am... and it was supposed to be fasting blood work and I was already halfway to my doctors appointment.


I saw a quote on facebook yesterday that said something to the effect that they'd rather deal with a kind atheist than some of the Christians they had come across. I agree. That's definitely been my experience here. And it's really sad. However, no matter what anyone, Christian or not, does to me, I truly believe that no weapon formed against me will prosper and I. am. holding. on. to that concept. If unemployment is denied, I'll file an appeal and ... if it still is denied... then I file for disability. That's the game plan.

After the haircut... and the shopping trip.... we went out to lunch at a place called Pastability. They have all different kinds of noodle dishes and Austin and I really enjoy the thai and japanese noodles. It was nice to sit and chat and have his mostly undivided attention. I found out that he burned his hand while on the "Camping Trip of Doom" and also developed a huge blister on his foot. This is the problem I have with Austin... yes, he's an adult, at least chronologically, but his decisions and actions are of a much younger person. This is why my blood pressure shoots through the roof when he's away from me.

We went to the Christian book store and browsed. Austin's haircutting place gave him a coupon for a free smoothie so he got that and finally we headed back home. That's when I really started to feel the swelling in my legs. It made me horribly anxious but... it is what it is.

Today I need to run a few (very few) errands and rest up as much as I can. Sunday and Monday will be very busy days for me and I'm used to being a slug. I'm going to close with a picture that Aunt Mimi found in my facebook photos yesterday... I forgot I had it... it's Gramps on the swing with his granddaughter Hannah (Sarabeth and Jamie's cousin) pushing him last October at Sarabeth's birthday party. It's grainy - I took it from a distance and I don't have a fancy camera so I had to edit it to bring it in closer... but it's still. just. Precious. We never would have dreamed that less than six months later we'd be saying goodbye to Gramps.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Remembering Gramps

 In 1993, my big brother started dating Angie Beavers. To put it in time line perspective - I was pregnant with Austin at the time that Angie was introduced to our family. Bubba and Angie got married December 16, 1994 when Austin was 9 months old. From that point in time, our families have been somewhat blended. Once Sarabeth was born on October 14, 2002, the Beavers and the Gants have shared a mutual love for the same little girl... and then Jamie came along in December 2004 and the bond was strengthened. I have always treasured in my heart the fact that these girls that I love so deeply and completely are loved by so many people...

Yesterday, my girls lost one of those people who love them... when their grandpa, "Gramps"... my sweet sister-in-law's Angie's father. Our hearts are so just broken... not just for Angie in her loss of her daddy, not just for my girls for losing their Gramps... not just for "Aunt Mimi", Angie's sister Mandy, who, over the years has grown to be a dear, dear friend to me - we are the "crazy Aunts", the second-born siblings behind two amazing and over achieving first borns... and for Bubba, who lost a father-in-law, as has Mandy's husband Scott ... and for Mandy's daughter Hannah who was the first born grandchild and absolutely adored by her Gramps... and for "Grammy"... Trudy, Angie's mom, who has lost her husband of 42 years. My heart breaks for all the ones in the Beavers family who loved Gramps and whose lives will be forever changed by his absence.

But the Gant family grieves too, because in every joint celebration - births, birthdays, baptisms, etc... he has been a part of OUR lives and we, too, will miss Gramps. I had to really dig through my digital photo folders to find any pictures of Gramps... he's always sort of in the background... on the sidelines... but these photos are from Grammy and Gramps 40th wedding Anniversary in 2009... while they were cutting the cake. And right there in the middle is little Jamie - who is so much more grown now (and missing most of her front teeth). It's so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that Jamie's birthday party back in January was the last time that we will see Gramps in this life, although we believe that there is a life after death and we firmly believe that Gramps will be there, as a believer in Christ, and we know that we will be there too. We don't grieve as those who have no hope... but we definitely grieve our time apart from Gramps.

My favorite memory of Gramps was when Austin had bought a bb gun for himself with a gift card he got for Christmas. (nobody would have wanted to actually BUY Austin a bb gun for reasons that you can probably determine for yourselves!) We lived "in town" so it wasn't appropriate for him to shoot the gun at our house (although I later discovered he not only shot the gun AT our house but also IN our house... that's my Auggie!) so we took the opportunity of being at Jim and Angie's - which is way back in the woods, far from the main road... and Austin set up a little target area for himself with empty milk jugs and so forth... and was having a great time shooting his gun. I looked out of the window to check on him and make sure he wasn't aiming at squirrels or birds... and it was Gramps with the gun, having the time of his life. He had two daughters and then three granddaughters so he missed out on a lot of these "little boy" activities... but he was such a wonderful grandfather to girls... indulging them in lots of really awesome girly things... going with them to Disney World to see all the princesses. Gramps will be sorely missed.

Austin made it home safe and sound yesterday. I had texted him a few times to see when he planned to come home and each time he would say, "in just a little bit"... and finally I sent him a text and said, "do you need a ride?" and he did... and so I went into town to find him.... they had been just walking around town like a couple of vagrants. There was some major drama about a girl that Skeletor wants to date (although he's still married) and the girl is hesitant... as she should be. Austin was trying to explain to me how it's appropriate for his married friend to cheat on his pregnant wife because pregnant wife won't move out of her parents' house... and married friend doesn't want to live with his in-laws because they hate him and he doesn't feel comfortable... and honestly... if I'm the in-laws and this kid is staying up all night playing video games and sleeping all day while my pregnant daughter is working her butt off as a cashier (i.e. on her feet all day) I'm thinking I wouldn't be his biggest fan either. And kudos to the pregnant wife for having the smarts to not move out- and therefore end up supporting a do-nothing husband. Austin said, "well, she's been promising him for 3 years that she would move out" and I said, "Has (married friend) been promising for 3 years that he will get a job?" well, there you go. If they can walk all over town loitering... they can walk to a job. I'm jus' sayin'....

At any rate... Austin came home, took a shower, ate dinner and crashed. He's been asleep ever since.

Trouble the cat is so spoiled. He has this routine where he will sit on the arm of my chair (instead of on my chest) and I will tell him, "oh thank you for sitting in your spot... what a very nice kitty cat... my yikes him ayot... he's so pwetty... and he has pwetty hair... and such pwetty white socks...and so forth" and he is such a little creature of habit that if he assumes his position and I don't go through the entire routine of admiring him and petting him... he squawks until I do. He even holds out his paw for me to admire his little white "socks". I'm thinking that his love language is "words of affirmation".

 I trust God. I know that I will be ok. But... yikes. So... hoping that the pain doctor can provide samples of the meds I'm on and refills to carry me through for awhile so I don't have to come in. Technically, since I haven't met my deductible for this year, I'm paying for the office visit out of pocket and would have been... but I get the negotiated rate from my insurance company instead of the self-pay rates.

And... what else? Letsee... haven't heard from unemployment yet... have to buy Austin a decent shirt for the memorial service, which we think will be on Sunday, down near where mama and daddy live (on the southside of town) ... the burial will be up here as Grammy has a house up here and had ultimately intended to settle here eventually... daddy is going "over the mountain" to get Grandma today and she's going to spend some time with mama and daddy. My plan is to go to the southside on Sunday for the memorial service ad then spend the night at mama and daddy's so that I can go with daddy and Grandma on Monday to see her extended family in east Georgia. It's a lot of time on the road for me but I have to take advantage of these opportunities while I have free time... because when I'm working, working is literally all I can do. My back is extremely painful today... but, other than driving into civilization today, I don't have any obligations until Sunday. I'll hang tough on Sunday and Monday and then be able to rest and recover next week.

I can't believe I've been unemployed for two weeks. It is still so surreal. I miss my job and I miss my clients and co-workers but I don't miss the pain. As much as I hurt right now, I know I would be struggling to walk if I had the additional stress on my spine from sitting at my desk. Nothing in life happens by chance. God is with me.

Have a great weekend y'all! Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday blog... Wednesday recap...


Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening from beautiful Sautee, Georgia. This picture was actually taken in Cleveland... right beside the Yonah Burger. Isn't that a gorgeous view for a hamburger stand?

Are you wondering what happened to your early morning blogger that delivered her daily thoughts promptly at 6am every day?

Well... she's now a crazy cat lady, tucked safe inside her home trying to figure out the next step in life.

I make a point of leaving the house for some reason or another every single day. It confuses the cats, but I go.

Today may end up being the exception to that rule. I'm... well, I'm just tired. And sore. And feeling like nesting.

I still haven't heard back from the doctor to find out why they called my house at 8:17pm (approximately) on Tuesday night.

My sister-in-law's father, "Gramps" is still very sick and our hearts are all so heavy for them. Angie has been down on the southside of town with him most of the week.... which meant that I got some precious time with my two favorite red headed girls yesterday. I picked them up from school... took them to their house so they could gather up their library books and unwind for a few minutes... took them to the library and then to the park so they could play on the playground before church... then to church for dinner... then got them settled in their class and went home.

It was such a blessing to be with them but honestly... between the library book toting... sitting on hard surfaces... hiking from the parking lot to the playground at the park... sitting on the hard folding chairs at church for a time... I was in some hardcore discomfort by the time I got home. It breaks my heart that I'm not stronger and able to do more. There are somethings that I can't do (like mopping the kitchen) that I don't miss a bit... but not being able to swing with the girls... catch them at the bottom of the slide... and so on... it hurts.

And when I got home I was met at the porch by Austin, about to head out on a misadventure with Skeletor the Sketchy Married Man with a Pregnant Wife and some other "over-achievers". I'm not sure who was going but certainly there was someone besides Skeleton Boy because he doesn't have a car. Or a drivers license.

The plan was to go camping... which, from what I understand, is Skeletor's current address. I know this because earlier in the day Austin had asked if Skeleton Boy could stay with us "for awhile". I explained that this was not a good "season of life" for me to be taking in stray people. Austin insisted that if Skeleton boy couldn't stay with us that he'd be sleeping in a tent. I'm not sure how that is my problem... or Austin's... to resolve.

Perhaps I should be more sympathetic... but for the grace of God we'd be living in a cardboard castle ourselves... but my blood pressure shot thru the roof (I know because I checked it)... as I interviewed my young rocket scientist about his plans: Where were they camping? Who owned the tent? What was he using for a sleeping bag? What were they eating? What would they have to drink? WAS HE REALLY PLANNING TO GO CAMPING IN A POLO SHIRT, MISMATCHED BASKETBALL SHORTS AND FLIPFLOPS? 

Sorry for yelling. I didn't really. I have this bizarre habit of speaking lower and softer the madder I get.... it forces the recipient of my fury to be still and listen harder... you should try it some time.

Austin went into the "don't make any sudden movements or she might pop a vein" conciliatory mode. "Do you want me to load the dishwasher before I go?" "I don't want you to go" "I took out the trash so you don't have to deal with it when I'm gone" "I don't want you to go" "I'll be home by this time tomorrow and my cell phone is fully charged so you can call me if you need anything" "I don't want you to go".

You get the picture.

The best part was when he calmly and with complete conviction said, "You can't really stop me from going because I'm an adult"... "SO ACT LIKE ONE!!". Seriously, I haven't heard a more misguided, poorly planned journey since Ma and Pa Joad left off for California.

He said he had warned Skeletor that the maternal parent was not feeling agreeable and Skeletor, Einstein that he is, said, "I don't think your mom likes me." YA THINK?. He picked him up on the other side of the building. No lie.

If he's been arrested or met up with some other misfortune, I'm blissfully unaware. He's on Spring break so he's not missing class. It's quiet here and nobody is asking me to take them out for McDonalds or "run out for coke" and so forth. I'm comforted by the knowledge that God protects children and fools and surely he fits in there somewhere.

AT ANY RATE... I had a great conversation with a lady at church last night who is my age-ish and has been out on disability for several years following a stroke. She gave me some good advice and a lot of empathy about how life changes when your body no longer does the things you need/want it to do. Many people are concerned and sympathetic but honestly, few people truly *get it*.

It's easy to assume that I'm lazy (which I've always been, to some degree, I'm no lazier than I've ever been) or
Unconcerned
or
Unsociable
or
whatever... fill in the blanks... when really, all I am is
Uncomfortable.
Losing my job was/is discouraging and definitely has forced my hand to figure out who I am and what I can do and it's a hard, multi-layered decision that involves an "adult" who is so far removed from reality that if they did a reality show about us it would be pure science fiction.

In other news... Trouble continues to be fascinated with the kitchen sink...





Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just a few things that are disturbing me... aka Whiny Wednesday


  • I missed a call from my doctors office last night at 8:17pm. No message. Now, THAT's disturbing.
  • Alicia Silverstone feeding her baby by chewing the food and then spitting it into his mouth. SMH*
  • I'm feeling very much in the minority and don't want to make a judgement without all the information but... why are they showing pictures of Treyvon Martin from 5 years ago when there are other more recent pictures (that make him look less innocent) readily available. The very fact that the media has tried to portray this young man as more young and innocent looking than he actually was at the time of his death makes me go, "hmmmm?"
  • And let me just make a promise that if any of my young sons lose their life in any kind of tragedy, controversial or otherwise, I will not be trademarking their name. So if any of you out there wants to jump on it, go right ahead.
  • I've been watching too much tv. Every food they advertise is brown. Fast food - brown. Cereal - mostly brown + food dye. Granola bars. Cookies.
  • And how many people have mesothelioma? Because I'm betting there are about five times as many lawyers willing to represent victims of mesothelioma than there are people who have it.
  • Trouble keeps irritating Stubby. Trouble really just wants to play but Stubby is not feeling it. I've tried yelling. Time out. Clapping my hands. I finally figured out that if I wave a dish towel it distracts Trouble and he runs off.
  • It got downright chilly overnight last night. I had to get up and go around closing windows.
  • I didn't sleep well last night but I am one hundred percent certain, no doubt about it, going to church tonight. For real. Honest.
  • If for no other reason that if I don't have contact with the outside world (other than the cashier at Ingles) then I just may lose my mind. (not that the Ingles cashiers aren't perfectly nice).
  • I did have visitors last night. Austin's Sketch-bot-Skeletor the Married Friend with a pregnant wife came by last night with a girl, not his wife, so that they could *borrow* my vacuum and she could use the bathroom. Apparently they're moving into a new place. Together, I think. I explained to Austin that we couldn't loan things like vacuum cleaners to people that I don't know well. Not to be selfish or anything. But... let's just say that I'm not impressed by the character of this kid.
  • On the Today Show... Ann Curry is doing a piece about hiring our heroes, hiring veterans, which I completely support but in two separate shots they showed people in the background who are busy texting. Geez.
  • Christie Brinkley's interview with Matt Lauer yesterday... PATHETIC. I mean, she may be the total victim of a cheating narcissist and it's not that I can't relate (thank God I didn't have children with that man) but any time you throw mud on someone else (justifiable or not) you can't help but get a little dirty yourself.
  • I'm trying to hold onto that perspective, know what I mean?
  • I didn't do much of anything at all yesterday. I took Austin to school and that is about all. Had a lot of pain. Just didn't want to move.
  • I did change the litter box again because... it was just nasty. Austin had changed it last Thursday... completely dumped everything, even bleached the floor around it. It's like the cleaner you get it, the more they take it as a challenge. Pigs.
  • I also loaded the dishwasher. Hung up a few clothes. Made the bed. Minor little things. Mostly just sat here doing nothing except snarking at the tv and internet and contemplating how much ignorance there is in the world.
  • Just slowly morphing into that crazy old cat lady that I always threatened to be.

Happy Wednesday, y'all.


*shaking my head

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

rejection, redemption and what matters most

With every day that passes, Spring is more evident. One day a barren, brown, ugly branch... the next, beautifully adorned with pink flowers... or white... or purple. The patch of dirt beside my apartment is bursting forth with carefully arranged plants. I thought all that was contained there was dirt and weeds. Every day the trees bear more leaves in various shades of green... and it becomes clear that even after a season of barrenness... each and every little plant has a wondrous purpose displayed in His perfect time. As if the Creator is directing a symphony of nature that is quiet until He gives the cue. I will be 44 years old next month and Spring never fails to amaze and amuse me.


I can't help but feel that the same Conductor will bring forth such beauty in my next season of life. Even though now I feel barren and useless and ugly and unadorned... truly, I believe that there is beauty hibernating within, that in His perfect time... will burst forth and become evident to all. I'm sure of this.

We received an amazing gift yesterday. I asked for help with the rent for April, knowing that if I stretched and conserved and everything fell into place just perfectly that I would most likely be able to take care of the other bills. Instead ... we will be given enough money to sustain us for 2 or three months but definitely, without doubt, enough to take care of everything for the next two months until Austin's graduation. 

You have no idea what a burden this lifts from me! ... and that Austin continues to receive child support... and so on and so on... so many moving parts in this and so much uncertainty. Knowing that the rent is paid and the power bill is paid and that Austin will be able to graduate HERE and that if two months go by and I'm not able to find a job and we're not able to stay... than we will leave in dignity and honesty, having met our financial obligations. That is more precious than you can know. 

It's as if I went from rejection to redemption in the space of a phone call. It allows me to the space to truly listen to God's voice on our next step. When I moved from Woodstock to Jacksonville, Michael pressured me to find the highest paying job with the absolute best benefits as quickly as possible. I'm not sure that my choice was right. When I moved from Jacksonville to here, I was under the gun of needing to find a job before I could know how much I could afford in rent in order to get Austin in school as quickly as possible. He had already missed two weeks. I got things out of order... rented a place that it turned out my salary wouldn't easily cover and I spent the next almost three years playing a shell game trying to keep up.

I know that God has promised that no weapon formed against me will prosper. That's what's sustaining me right now. Oh, there are thousands of other passages of scripture that also fit and that can also be very true but God has - in each season of my life - given me one precious passage at a time to consider and to use as my touchstone, my foundation, my hope. When I was giving birth to Cody it was "I can do all things through Christ"... when I was in misery in Jacksonville it was "be still and know that I am God"... when I was leaving Jacksonville it was "I know the plans I have for you... plans to give you hope and a future"... and many other times that I've long since forgotten but whether it's a hymn or a passage of scripture or even a word of encouragement... He always gives me something to ponder, something to hold on to. And I am. Holding on. 

It's human nature to make bad choices in times of desperation and for me, for now, this no longer seems desperate. I have the opportunity to truly consider all possibilities... will I, can I find a job with State Farm here? Is there another insurance company that I should consider? Should I move into a different line of work? Should I move to a different location? Should I attempt to work full time again? What about insurance? If I take a job that doesn't offer health care benefits... if it makes me ineligible for medicaid, then I would have a very difficult time finding an individual health care plan. I could end up working and doing nothing but paying doctor bills out of what I earn... which is fine but then I'd have to figure out a way to cover the other bills. It may be that I need to work part time, both for my ability/disability and also to make sure I can keep medicaid. I mean... there are many, many things to consider. I can't just jump right in, unfortunately, otherwise I'll find myself right back where I was before - in pain, unappreciated, missing work, not covering my bills. I know that God has a better way for me. 

One very, very precious thing that happened yesterday that brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it... when Austin came in the door from school I said, "AUSTIN... come here... I have some good news!" and he said, with lots of excitement in his voice, "IS GRAMPS BETTER?"... my sister-in-law's father who has been very, very sick over the last two weeks... who has been around Austin from the time Austin was a baby... who we've seen at birthday parties and other social gatherings... who was more excited than Austin when Austin got a bb gun for Christmas... who, although he's not kin to us by blood or marriage, he is family, all the same... that with all the turmoil and uncertainty we're facing that Gramps was Austin's first thought, ... made me so proud...  and reminded me that a job is just a job... money is just money... where we live and what we do is so inconsequential in the scheme of things. Will all of this matter in five years? No more than the lesson it taught us and the testimony it strengthened.

God is good. We have an amazing family that stands in the gap for us time and time and time again and so much of my faith comes from the foundation on which my life is built. It is easier to have faith when you know that you are loved. Just as He has orchestrated the seasons, He has orchestrated our lives in such a way that we have a good, generous and loving family and support system. It's nothing I've done to be worthy... it's only by His grace that we are redeemed.

Happy Tuesday, y'all. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Furry Reasons to Love Monday

My indian Native American name is now officially: "She Who Talks To Cats".  That's what it's come to, I'm afraid.

Here we have Trouble in the kitchen sink watching for the "burds, and duh goggies and duh kwurrels and duh udder kitties" which is what I say to him every time he is looking out the window.

 Here is Trouble - or Yittle Kitty - or Tubbles - or My Yittle Boy - whatever baby name I'm giving him at the time - commandeering the foot of my bed. There has been a huge conflict over this over the weekend. Stubby sets up camp in one spot and -other than eating and pooping - stays in that spot nonstop for about two weeks and then moves to another spot. This go round, Stubby has commandeered the foot of my bed and Trouble sees my bed as HIS territory. All of my room and anywhere I am is Trouble's territory. So there has been much hissing and fussing this weekend.
 Here is Trouble being "mommy's best helper... what would I do wit-out my sweet yittle kitty helper to pack down the clothes?" If you can't tell... this is the inside of my dryer.
Here he is waiting for "duh boy to cums out and gib him yubs"  He has a love/hate relationship with Austin. If he sees Austin coming, he runs and hides. If Austin catches him, he becomes catatonic rubber kitty and is completely limp and subjects himself to whatever Austin wants to do - which is usually hold him upside down over my purse for Trouble to pick it up like a "Grab It Machine". Whenever Austin goes into the bathroom Trouble waits patiently outside the door. When Austin leaves for school Trouble sits in the window and whines. I'm not sure what Trouble's fascination with Austin is... but it reminds me of a little brother wanting to be around the big brother, even if the big brother is rough with him.

At any rate... it's that time of week again...


My Reasons to Love Monday on my second week of unemployment:

1. Skeletor the Married Loafer Dude has left the building. He didn't bother to put the pillows back on the couch but thank God and Greyhound (or whoever he convinced to come pick him up) he's gone.

2. Austin went to school today. He was ill and grumpy and yelled at me once. He couldn't find his phone. There was lint on his hoodie. This is the weird thing: Austin is the closest thing I've ever seen in human form to the cartoon character Pigpen. He literally walks with a cloud of dust around him. He wears either pajama pants or torn jeans with a mismatched shirt to school but he absolutely cannot stand to have any lint or cat fur on him. It cracks me up. He goes thru lint rollers so fast I can't keep up.

3. We'll find out today if we qualify for food stamps. This is huge for us. With it looking doubtful that we'll get unemployment... trying to make it on the $400 a month of child support Austin is getting... and the meager amount I had accumulated in my checking account... it's going to be difficult to keep the wheels on this little red wagon. We won't get much since it's only the two of us but anything would help. I can stretch it to make it work.

4. I have a mammogram today. The last one I had in June 2008 in Jacksonville had some questionable findings which turned out to be just fibrocystic stuff but they told me I needed to do another one in six months. Well... it's been four years... and it's one of those undone things in my life that I've just not had energy/time/resources to deal with. It's one of those - well, it wouldn't be a "bucket list" because it's not something I WANT to do - let's call it a "trash can list" of things I need to take care of but haven't. Like oil changes (which I'm almost due for again) and paying for my car tag (which I thankfully did early this year).

5. On my "trash can list" also for this week is to get resumes out. I'm almost paralyzed by the fear of rejection. I miss my job so bad! I miss my clients and I miss representing a company that I believe so strongly in. I literally weep when I see State Farm commercials.  I'll do whatever God leads me to do, of course, whether that means going to a different company or going to a different location to be able to support us or... working at the durn gift shops in Helen. Wherever He leads, I'll go... but it's something I've got to face - now. This is supposed to be a reason to love Monday so I'll put it on my list this way: One way or another I'm going to know if there's a possibility for me to find employment here this week. If not... I'll start getting the resume out to other areas.

6. This is not a reason to love Monday but we're going to make it into one - my sweet sister in law, Angie's father is still very, very sick and in ICU where he's been for over a week. Gramps is mostly sedated so although he's the one who is suffering physically, the women in his family are all suffering emotionally. I'm going to ask you to pray for these girls and give them a reason to look back to today and know that they were truly carried on the wings of prayer. Trudy, Angie, Mandy, Hannah, Sarabeth and Jamie - you can list them by name before the Lord and ask Him to wrap them in His love and give them strength and courage and hope while Gramps is recovering... and we definitely want to believe in Gramps' complete healing!

7. It's a beautiful Spring day and I am so blessed to be able to have the windows wide open and not have use any power to control the climate in our little apartment. Gotta keep that power bill as low as possible! I hope to take some pictures of the fabulous sights around here today. I'm so blessed to live here and if circumstances are such that we can't keep living here, I will still be so grateful for the time we've had in this beautiful part of the world.

8. My back still hurts every day but since I haven't been sitting in a desk all day I haven't had any episodes where my legs don't want to support me. Whatever pinches off those nerves does it when I'm at a 90 degree angle. If I could work from my recliner... I'd be golden.

So that's it... my furry Reasons to Love Monday this week... thank you for your prayers, your emails, your comments and likes... I feel so blessed to have people who read my blog and care about me. It helps me have a reason to get out of bed each morning! Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sleepy Sunday (for everyone but me)

Twelve-thirty-ish on a Sunday afternoon and every living being in this house is asleep... except me.
Trouble actually has his head propped on the corner of my laptop... which is fine except when I need to backspace for any reason... and I backspace a lot.
He's so durn cute, though... I can't make him move.
Austin's married friend needs to go back home to his pregnant wife. Poor boy is scared to death of me AND HE SHOULD BE and I'm not sure why.... I don't dislike him, per se. I just dislike how Austin acts when he's around. And... well, I think it's super sketchy/irresponsible for a man who is grown enough to be married and to procreate to stay up all night two nights in a row playing xbox 360... keeping me awake and putting my kid back on the vampire schedule that made him nearly fail 11th grade last year.
Ok. Honestly, I don't like that kid.
I mean, Logan, even though he was reproductively irresponsible has worked his tail off over the past year making sure that Hillary and Dessa were taken care of. He has gone to school full time, worked as many hours as he could get and put up with ... let's just call it "less than supportive" parenting.
I know that Married Friend has had "less than supportive" parents as well, but at some point you just make a decision that despite whatever cards you were dealt in your formative years that you are going to make a better life for yourself. He hasn't. I find that unacceptable.
They have been living with his in-laws who don't like him (I concur) which has made for difficult living conditions for him so he has insisted that his pregnant wife and toddler step-daughter move out with him to a place of their own. He doesn't have a job, mind you, and pregnant wife is the sole supporter of their family. I can't imagine why she wouldn't want to leave the safe haven of her parents' home. *eye-roll*
Since pregnant wife wouldn't leave, he did. To sleep on my couch. Since, you know, I have the means to support a worthless adult/child.
I'm sorry if I sound bitter. I haven't slept well in the past two nights because of... well, what I just said.
Subject change.
This medication they have me on for cholesterol completely knocks me out within thirty minutes of taking it. I wake up three hours later (which may just be a coincidence because of - previous subject) and feel like it must surely be 5am or something... last night it was 10:41pm. That's some hard core stuff.
My blood pressure is still not what it should be.
Last night our internet went out... I had to call the internet provider to see if we could fix the problem. My cell phone doesn't have good reception in our little basement apartment on the wrong side of the mountain... and our modem is wired up to the inner-most portion of the house. If there is a tornado, I would station myself beside the modem. It's that interior.
So I was doing this crazy kind of Internet Repair Yoga where I held the cell phone where it could have enough signal for me to hear every other word... I held the modem in the other hand and the ball point pen I was using to press the reset button in the other hand and the laptop in the other hand. Yes, that's four hands. No, that's not humanly possible. Especially when you have lost your flexibility and mobility.
For an added degree of difficulty, Trouble and Stubby decided to get in a tomcat territorial fight three feet away.
It turned out that it was a system wide issue and all of my efforts were in vain. They asked for a number to call us back when the service was restored and I wanted to give them Austin's number, hoping that it would *at least* ring when the call came in (mine doesn't always, especially after dark). I couldn't remember Austin's number because I was out of breath and flustered... and so I said... "Austin, what's your cell phone number" and he said, "WHO WANTS TO KNOW?"...
I am, by and large, an even tempered person. I may be catty and mean occasionally in my blog but truthfully, I rarely raise my voice in anger.
Rarely.
WHO WANTS TO KNOW? The person who pays your cell phone bill, Loser.
I nearly snatched him bald headed.
After ending the call... I explained calmly the frustration I was experiencing and asked if he would, when the internet provider called back, please help me to follow their instructions as I was having quite a difficult time of it.
So when they called back and I was in my recliner with the forty pound cat and the laptop in my lap (I made that number up) (I was playing freecell) he brought his phone to me, said, by way of introduction, "Here mom" and walked away... while I tried to wrestle myself to a sitting position and also a position that would allow HIS cell phone to pick up a signal ... the customer service person said, "It will be an estimated 24 hours before your service is restored" ... I probably shouldn't have taken my blood pressure after that.
The Married Friend Skeleton Boy really doesn't need to be here because honestly... I need a victim... and I'm not sure anyone would miss him if he disappeared.
It was about 8am today before my service was restored.
In other news... I am now at 39% proficiency in freecell.
I'm having a little bit of trouble concentrating lately.
I'm thinking that I might be slipping into a little bit of depression, although I'm fighting it.
I'm scared to death to spend any money at all. Depression mentality setting in - the era, not the mental illness.
I'm so grateful to God that I caught up my bills in February and paid things one paycheck ahead instead of hoping my paycheck would be deposited before the checks cleared. We would be in worse shape otherwise.
I'm slightly discouraged that *finally* when I was getting caught up, *this* had to happen... but I do believe that all things work together for good and I definitely believe that God will meet all of our needs. I mean, who would have thought that my kids' dad would be consistently paying child support after all these years of inconsistency? To me, that is DEFINITELY a God thing.
Everybody is still asleep.
Happy Sunday, y'all.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

random Saturday stuff

It's a beautiful bright sunny Spring day here in lovely Sautee, Georgia.

I have already made my trip to town for the day and it was already crowded. People like to make day trips to the Northeast Georgia mountains when the weather is nice. It's a perfect day to come... everything is blooming and colorful and just simply amazing! It just means that it takes longer for us locals to do the things we need to do on the weekends... and it's silly for me to try to do things when it's crowded when I have all this time on my hands. Unfortunately. 
There's just the tiniest little hint of chill in the air... enough that the cats are tunneling little caves for themselves in the pile of clothes that I just took out of the dryer. Poor Stubby had the PERFECT little cave - only his head was showing - and made the mistake of going to sip some water. Trouble totally bogarted the cave... and Stubby is stuck on the end of my recliner trying to figure out how to evacuate Trouble.
Remember when this used to be a weight loss blog? Now it's the "Daily Adventures of Heather's Cats". And seriously... if you were to look at the photos currently on my digital camera... they are cats, cats and nothing else but cats. It's a sad state of affairs, my friends.
Austin's "married friend" spent the night with us last night. (you remember, the one who didn't have a wedding night because they got married at the courthouse and therefore didn't really have a wedding... so they couldn't have a wedding night? that one.)  He's on the outs with the spouse and so he's crashing here. He's a walking skeleton so I figure he probably doesn't eat much. He doesn't have a car or a license so I'm not worried about him taking Austin anywhere. It gave me a little bit of a pause when Austin said, "Zack doesn't have anywhere to go, can he stay here for a week or so?" This is where time and experience as a parent is on my side - I realize how volatile young relationships can be. He'll be back with Amber in a minute and a half. If he's not... by Tuesday... I'll be out helping him job hunt. No loafers in this house. And, Heaven knows that I need to be sensitive toward people in need... don't want to mess up my karma. 
My Monday is scheduled up with mammogramming and getting all the documentation turned in for my guv'ment handouts (do they still give out the government cheese? that was the BEST cheese! Grandma got a block of it when we were little and she couldn't eat it so we go it... made the best grilled cheese sandwiches! but I digress)... Tuesday is going to be my day to take copies of my resume around to anyone and everyone who will let me in the front door. The worst they can say is no. I'm used to "no". It stings... but only for a minute. I figure while I'm out and about doing that, Austin and Zach can look for gainful employment too. Wouldn't kill 'em. 
I started on a new medication yesterday... cholesterol meds.... The nurse from my doctors office called and said my cholesterol was 331 (fasting) and I have a bladder infection. Who knew? 
I've been ignoring everything else while trying to manage my pain - for the past 15 months  - and I've really got to do a better job with my diet. I don't mean "diet" as in Weight Watchers, etc... I mean I need to eat a more balanced, healthy diet. This train is heading down a mountain at full speed and it's going to be a nasty heap of junk at the bottom if I don't find a way to apply the brakes. Or something less metaphoric.
So I'm taking two different blood pressure meds, both of them doubled from their original dose... a diuretic... a cholesterol drug... and my blood pressure yesterday afternoon was 151/94. It's just stupid. I took it again at midnight (yes, I was up at midnight) and it was 116/64... which I thought was fantastic... but again this morning right out of bed and right before coffee it was 137/84. I mean... this morning's number wasn't BAD but it definitely isn't reflecting the tons of drugs I'm on. 
I had shredded wheat for breakfast. So far, so good for today, right? 
I had planned to have soup for lunch but oy, the sodium! 
I skipped a trip to the bakery. No sense wasting money or calories. 
I had lost three pounds when I went to the doctor on ... what day was that? Thursday? I sarcastically thought to myself, "that's three pounds of tears"... but... eh... whatever. I need to be a whole lot sadder for a whole lot longer before I'll be back from the land of morbid obesity. 
In other news... yeah. That's about it for today. 
Hope you're having a fabulous weekend! Love and hugs!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful to be who He wants me to be

I should write another post about doing nothing like I did yesterday, because as it turned out... I accomplished a few things and felt much better for it.

I updated my resume. I had been holding off on it... it's like... updating your resume is admitting that you really DON'T have a job. It was much easier because my sweet friend Lisa (I love you, girl!) sent me a link for what looks like a legitimate work from home with sales and customer service type stuff and I had to have a resume to upload to them. Well, praise the good Lord who watches over my disorganized self, I had a copy saved to my home computer and it was easy to update it. Unfortunately, my computer isn't upgraded to the level it needs to be for me to do that particular job but it made me feel good to realize there are legitimate jobs out there that I just might be able to do from home.

I rescued my brother who had run out of gas after taking the kids to school. He might not like me posting that. But it happened and I was so excited to be home and able to help him out. And thankful that it happened after he dropped the girls off and not before. He's had the girls all week by himself because Angie's been at one of those conference things and he does such a good job with them. He was just... busy. And they closed down the gas station across the street from them. Around here you kinda have to plan your gas trips because it's not like there's one on every corner. Anyways... made me feel useful.


I went to the dentist to have my stitches out. Come to find out that I had an infection and a dry socket, which is supposed to be enormously painful but, other than being uncomfortable and just feeling icky, which I thought was fibromyalgia-ish, depression-ish type ick. I'm thankful that I didn't have the pain that would normally have accompanied that situation.I have felt really headachey and drained and unable to focus and I attributed it to the pollen, the fibromyalgia, depression, etc. Never occurred that it was the removal of that cyst from my gum and side effects from that. Once I got through the day past my little procedure and the bleeding stopped and the nausea stopped, I just went on to deal with other things like, you know, getting fired. I suspect it was a combination of things.

Stubby the nurse cat has been trying to stay as close to me as possible. Trouble, who considers me HIS responsibility is having NONE of that. Any time Trouble is in the litter box or eating... Stubby is like, "the coast is clear" and comes running to my rescue. Then Trouble realizes that Stubby is in HIS territory and he chases after him. It's like having sibling rivalry. Crazy cats. I guess I'm the Crazy Cat Lady with the "crazy" describing the cat, not the lady. I hope. I love them so much and I'm grateful to be entertained by them.

I'm letting Austin sleep in this morning and I'm taking him to school. We love Miss Nessa (best bus driver ever!) but he has to get up so early to meet the bus and our house is running on a little later schedule, praise the Lord. I also promised him a Starbucks. He worked so hard yesterday getting the kitchen clean... he took out the litter box, the trash, scrubbed my dirty kitchen floor, cleaned off the counters, emptied the dishwasher and I had only asked him to do one of those things (the litter box). I had this talk with Austin not too long ago that we both share the responsibility for keeping our little apartment looking nice... and now that he's 18, it's even more important. He is such a blessing and a comfort to me.

I'm having fasting blood work this morning so I can't have a treat at Starbucks when we go. My doctor appointment is at 9:30 but I'm gonna head over there earlier in the hopes that they will go ahead and do the blood work so that I can eat something. I don't operate well when fasting.

After the doctor appointment... I'm meeting with unemployment. I'm not expecting to be approved but I still feel like it's important to go. You know, so much of this stuff is just going through the motions. I have decided not to file for disability until I have a decision from unemployment.

-------------------

So, again, I'm faced with a situation that seems like "the end of the world"... and it's. just. not. I'm glad for all the things that God has brought me through because I have been conditioned to have expectant hope for the light he's going to shine through the darkness. He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. I'm one hundred percent certain of this.

This Thursday I am so grateful that I have gone through a whole week with less pain. I'm thankful for what lies ahead... whatever it is.... wherever it is... I'm thankful that I'm no longer in a situation where I feel unappreciated. I am thankful for the rest I've gotten this week. I'm thankful for everything that spurs me on and moves me toward God's will for me.

All I've prayed... for so many years... is "God... let me walk in your will... let me be who YOU want me to be"... I've prayed my heart out in my car... in the kitchen at the office while my tea was heating up... every restroom trip... on lunch break.... I've just covered this whole process in prayer. This makes me confident that nothing that has happened to me was an accident. God has allowed me to go through (is allowing, present tense) what He needed me to go through so that I could be who He destined me to be and to be where He destines me to be. And I. just. can't. WAIT!

Happy Thursday y'all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Permission to do nothing has been granted...

And the week goes on...
It's Whiny Wednesday and I'm going to celebrate by napping. Soon.
I get my stitches out this afternoon - in my gum - remember the cyst I had removed last week? Seems like a thousand years ago.
--------------
I am going through the stages of grief.
On so many levels I am relieved to not have the burden of trying to work full time.
You just don't know how much it's hurt over the past year. I know I complain a lot but... you don't know.
It was a relief to have what my surgeon described as the "most painful surgery" he does... because it meant that I didn't have that "sitting at my desk" pain for a brief, short time.
And... trying to find a balance between being in so much pain that we couldn't get my blood pressure regulated... and pushing myself to be at work so that I wouldn't, well, you know, get fired.
On other levels... it's just trading one stress for another.
I've never enjoyed uncertainty.
I went from my lofty "peace in the eye of the storm" yesterday to off the chart anxiety... and I know it's because I'm pressuring myself to figure it all out more quickly than it can be discovered and uncovered.
Right now... the simplest task: updating my resume... has me practically paralyzed.
I'm not feeling like selling myself... I'm sort of stuck in rejection mode and feeling like I can't quite articulate why anyone would want to hire me for anything.
Sort of like... after one too many dating rejections... it was easier to be alone than to face the potential rejection.
I'm giving myself permission today to do nothing. Which is not much less than I did yesterday, only I worried and fretted and felt guilty about it all day.
So today, I'm going to PLAN to do nothing and then anything I do will be a bonus.
Technically... my brother ran out of gas this morning and for once, I was able to come to the rescue instead of the other way around.... so technically I have done SOMETHING today.
I will fix myself some breakfast here in a few minutes so that will be SOMETHING else.
Two things.
And... I'll go to the dentist today. So that's something more. I'll have to shower and get dressed for that.
I will not permit myself to stay immobile for long.
I will not dwell in analysis paralysis for more than just a brief time.
I just know that I have pushed myself through an awful lot of things for far too long and I really, honestly, truly, more than anything today, I want to rest.
Tomorrow will be a busy and stressful day... two appointments early, right out of the gates.
So today is a good day for nothing.
And please, keep my brother's father-in-law in your prayers (Angie's dad... aka "Gramps") he is still in ICU and didn't do well overnight.
Have a great Wednesday, y'all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

resting in the eye of the storm

I'm adjusting to my new situation... decompressing... resting my spine. I'm in quite a bit of pain today and grateful that I don't have to face a day of being in pain and pretending I'm not.

Back in the Darby Days there were things that I wanted and needed to talk about so badly but I couldn't for fear of repercussions. Once I was away from him I didn't necessarily want to do an information dump because by that time... it was better for me to let things go and not rehash. There are still many, many stories that I haven't shared because I don't want to revisit the hurt.

It's the same now... there are things that I couldn't comment on at the time that I would talk about now but I don't even want to revisit the frustration and discouragement. I'm grateful for every paycheck. I'm grateful for being able to maintain employment and insurance over those years. I'm grateful for how I grew in my prayer life by the desperate need I had for prayer in that time of my life.

More than anything, I'm grateful for the opportunity to be who He destined me to be. The opportunity to write that book y'all have been wanting me to write. The availability to be there when people need me. I've missed so much over the past few years... a friend's funeral... not being there for my family when they needed me... so many things.

I don't have a printer (and my dad has one for me but it's two hours away) so I'm going to go to the library today to update my resume and start getting it out. I'm going to be truthful on my cover letter and explain my disability. I can't pretend that I'm physically able to work full time. I'm not. and if I accept a full time job knowing that I physically can't do it... it makes me look like a major slacker... which is how I've felt for the past year and a half. When... honestly... if I was working fewer hours I would have had much better attendance. Yet... I have to either have health insurance through my employer or I have to make sure I don't make too much money to qualify for medicaid. Sad, but true. It's a delicate balance. Few employers are going to offer health benefits to part time employees and I can't imagine a situation where I could make enough money part time to pay for health insurance. Boggles the mind.

I talked to a disability attorney yesterday - we have an official meeting for March 30, after I see the pain doctor and review my records and such. Because of my age she feels like it's inevitable that the initial application will be declined but she feels like they can help from that point on... and if they're involved from the beginning they can make sure we position ourselves for a more favorable and faster resolution. She feels like it will be at least six months before its resolved... but there is a five month "time deductible" that I would have to satisfy... so I wouldn't be reimbursed for all the money I've missed in that time. I'm still learning about this process.

I have an appointment on Wednesday to have my stitches taken out in my gum.
I have an appointment with the unemployment people on Thursday.
The library today... post office today to return something to amazon... lots of things to keep me busy and keep me from curling up in a ball and disappearing from the world... there's only a slight temptation to do that. I'm fighting it.

I don't really see a situation where I can continue to live independently and support our household while these things are in process. I'm confident that we'll make it through Austin's graduation but after that... I don't know. I'm praying but I'm also in a strange season where I'm sort of just being still before the Lord. Does that make sense? As if... in my time of greatest need, most important decisions, incredible anxiety... I have the most unbelievable sense of peace and calmness. As if... I'm in the eye of the hurricane... although the winds are blowing strong all around me... I feel completely sheltered and safe. This is why, as a Christian, I feel we have such an important role to play in the lives of others by way of intercessory prayer. Those in greatest need sometimes need to just be still and let God do *His thing*...

Anyways... I feel like I'm rambling a bit today and I hope not. I want so desperately for this season of life to be meaningful to me and to y'all. I want to reflect the hope that I have. I want my life to be one that constantly gives Him all glory, honor and praise. Things will, I have no doubt, be difficult ahead. There are going to be disappointments, rejections, times of confusion and discouragement. I went through a storm... I'm in the eye of the storm... and I still have to go through the other side... I just pray that I have the strength to stand no matter how fiercely the winds blow.

Time for breakfast... love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

the year of the Lord's favor

I spent most of the past two days feeling sorry for myself. At some point yesterday ... I stopped grieving and started planning. The fog lifted and I realized how blessed I really am.

It's possible that I may be able to continue to work until Austin graduates. That gives me two months to plan out our next step and next season of life.

The reality, the really hard reality, is that I can't do anything that will have me sitting for eight hours a day. I can't do anything that involves high stress because of my blood pressure. I can stand for a short period of time. I can't walk long distances. I can't lift.

The things I'm good at - writing, encouraging, relationships - are being blighted out of my life because of the physical toll that a 9-5 job is putting on my body. I've given up so much to try to hold to this job.

I believe God has other plans for me. I'm CERTAIN that God has other plans for me.

Not sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, five days a week will mean that I can sit in a worship service for an hour or two a week. I can get back to true fellowship, bible learning/teaching, worship... the things that I have desperately missed.

Not sitting for 8 hours a day will mean that I have the energy and mobility to visit with the people who matter in my life... nurture the relationships that matter... be the mom, sister, daughter, granddaughter, aunt, cousin, friend that God purposed for me to be.

I don't have all the pieces of the puzzle put together yet. I have done a little research about the process of filing for disability, the availability of medicaid and food stamps and that sort of thing. I will know more once my transition period is outlined. I was too emotional on Friday to be logical or tactical.

Things don't always turn out like you had planned.

  • I thought I wanted to be the mother of little girls... it turned out that my calling was to be the mother of boys... and in hindsight, I wouldn't have it any other way. 
  • I thought I wanted to be part of a couple... I thought there was no way to survive as a single person... it turns out that I really enjoy being single.
  • I thought I wanted to live in that duplex that we couldn't afford and I thought that the fire was going to break us... it turned out to be a huge blessing.
  • I lost a job after 9-11 - working in the freight forwarding industry and there just wasn't as much freight being forwarded and I was the first to go... it opened up my life so that I could immerse myself in the world of theatre and there are countless relationships that I have today that I never would have had if I hadn't been unemployed for a season.
  • I thought that the end of my marriage with Michael was the end of me... it turned out to be the restoration of my soul. 


Every end of every season of my life (so far) has brought sadness, confusion, fear, desperation, discouragement... but every. single. time. God has moved me into a better place. There has always been beauty for ashes.

I'm attaching a long passage from Isaiah. I memorized the first couple of verses a year or so ago and as I was writing today this popped into my head. I have suffered for a very long 15 months trying to make my body do the things that physically, I just can't do any more. I have peace knowing that the end of that suffering is in sight and I am so excited for whatever the next season of life has for me. In my heart of hearts, when I set aside my pride and human emotions and let the spirit of God that is in me really have rule and reign in my heart and mind... I know that the Year of the Lord's Favor is upon me.

Isaiah 61

The Year of the LORD’s Favor
 1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, 
   because the LORD has anointed me 
   to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
   to proclaim freedom for the captives 
   and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] 
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor 
   and the day of vengeance of our God, 
to comfort all who mourn, 
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 
to bestow on them a crown of beauty 
   instead of ashes, 
the oil of joy 
   instead of mourning, 
and a garment of praise 
   instead of a spirit of despair. 

They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
   a planting of the LORD 
   for the display of his splendor.
 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
   and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
   that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
   foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
   you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
   and in their riches you will boast.
 7 Instead of your shame
   you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
   you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
   and everlasting joy will be yours.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

crossroads

I'm at a crossroads.
I can't be completely candid about the details but my employment is quite possibly coming to an end soon.
The only way to prevent it is to bring in a lot of new policies fast. More than I ever have before.
I shed a lot of tears yesterday and couldn't get my blood pressure under control.
It's still high.
Ironically, I had the biggest bonus payout in my entire career yesterday. But it didn't matter.
God has prepared my heart for this. I knew, one way or another, change was looming ahead.
Rarely does anyone hear it in my voice, but most days, especially by the end of the day, I'm in extreme pain.
Many days I cry the whole way home from work.
Other days I cry before I even get there.
Trying to rise up, push through, fake it until I make it... it's wearing on my body.
I don't give up easily.
When the circumstances were made clear to me yesterday, I grieved.
Not so much about this job... but knowing that any job... for the rest of my life... is going to be difficult for me.
That moment when you realize that you are not valuable... I've had several of those kind of moments over the past few years and they weigh heavy on me.
The roles that I felt destined to fill... wife, mother... not valuable in either place.
Insurance agent... not valuable.
My prayer, every day, is "Lord, let me make a difference in someone's life today". And every day, He allows that to happen.
----
Well, what I am is not enough.
And... cumulatively... over the past years... not being enough seems to be a theme in my life.
Not thin enough.
Not rich enough.
Not strong enough.
Not productive enough.
Not pretty enough.
Not young enough.
Not sociable enough.
Not educated enough.
Not healthy enough.
I weigh my life on a different scale. You see, I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know that what I do matters.
I know that even though my eyes are puffy and red from crying for most of the past 24 hours... that God draws close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. I'm thankful for my brokenness.
I want you to know that I have hope. I won't give up.
On my desk is the verse that Angie shared with me before I left Jacksonville, "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you... plans to give you hope and a future". Jeremiah 29:11 (Heather's memorized version)
So, if you pray, pray that God will show me the way. That I will either be "enough" where I am or that He will prepare something more, something better, something that will not leave me feeling like a loser every day of my life. Maybe even something that doesn't hurt as much.
I know that my life impacts other lives everywhere I go. Maybe I just need to be in a place where I feel valued.
Happy Saturday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm just so blessed!

I came home yesterday to find that Austin was  making dinner - spaghetti. It was ready about five minutes after I got home. That was a huge blessing! There was an angle, of course, he wants me to take him to the skating rink on Saturday night so he can meet up with the girl he likes. Her parents don't want her to date yet and they will be out of town. I told him that there was no way I was going to be an accessory to a child willfully disobeying their parents. I also reminded him that the age of consent in Georgia is 16 (she's 15) and that if he were charged with statutory rape that he would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. She may be a great girl... she's just too young for him. I have a feeling that this is going to be a knock down drag out kind of weekend over this issue. He'll thank me some day.

One of the new meds I'm on is making me swell - badly. By the end of the day yesterday my shoes were tight and I had cankles. I'm taking a diuretic so that was really weird. My blood pressure is somewhat better but still high-ish. This morning it was 138/89... which is not great considering I'm on three bp pills now.

The big ole hole in my gum isn't bothering me at all. I had thai food yesterday for lunch and a couple of grains of rice wanted to set up shop in there but they were easily and painlessly retrieved. Having the stitches there is not as uncomfortable as I had anticipated.

I took Grumpilstilskin to Starbucks yesterday on the way to school. I thought a venti iced caramel macchiato would mellow him out ... and apparently it did. I was chatting with the barrista and asked him about their blonde coffee. He followed us out to the parking lot and gave us a sample of ground coffee to try today. I drink a really dark, espresso blend of coffee so it's a big difference for me. I actually really like it. It's not really weak... it's just a different flavor....

I'm dizzy this morning and wiped out. Thank God it's Friday. And payday.

Today is my parents' 46th anniversary. The older they get and the older I get, the more I love and appreciate them. The older my kids' get, the more I realize how important it is to keep in touch with your parents. I am so proud of my parents, how hard they've both worked to give us a good life - what a great example they've set as a work ethic - what a blessing they have been to me throughout my whole life. All five of us kids have taken different paths but they have always loved us, supported us and been an anchor that we can hold onto.

The cat is eating spaghetti. There were some noodles left in the collander in the sink and that little booger just climbed up on the counter and snagged himself a noodle. Garfield.

We are definitely, one hundred percent certain to get a Chickfila very soon. The building is about halfway finished in front of the Walmart in Cornelia... about a mile from my office. That makes me a very happy girl. My life is complete. Ok, not really but it makes me super happy.

Yesterday felt like such a victory for me. My initial instinct was that I wouldn't be sufficiently recovered from the dental trauma to make it through the work day but honestly... I was very ok.

God is really good, y'all. My life is far from perfect and there are trials everyday but I just feel like I'm wrapped in a cocoon of bubble wrap and that everything that comes against me - even if it impacts me - it's not as bad of a blow as it could have been.

Have a good Friday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An extension of Whiny Wednesday...

I have a confession to make: I'm the meanest mom in the world.
Yesterday (you know, when I was so sick from my pain meds that I was curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor) I refused to take Austin into town to meet up with this young girl he likes.
A girl whose parents won't allow her to date so Austin wants me to assist in helping him scam and create opportunities where he can *accidentally* be where she is... and he wants me to leave him there until he calls me to come back to get him.
OR... he wants me to give him money to go hang out with her and pay someone else for gas so I can be *uninvolved* in helping him and this girl disobey her parents.
I will not.
Even if I wasn't curled up in a ball beside the toilet because of the nausea. I still would not.
Even if I had cash on hand to throw his way - which I didn't because I need to go to the ATM... so he said, "just let me take your debit card"... yeah. I've been burned by that scam already by his older brothers... to the tune of at least $600 and I will not... under any circumstances... allow him control of my debit card.
So Austin... showing off his brand new *maturity* ... screams at me that I am the meanest person in the world. I don't care about his happiness. I don't ever do anything for him. I want him to be miserable and stuck here in the house with me.
Here's a list - just for the record - of the things I've done for Austin in the past two weeks: (at least the things I can remember)

  • Took a half day off of work to check him out of school, drive him 30 minutes to the nearest drivers license bureau, sit there with him for two hours (in very hard chairs) so he could get his learners license.
  • I took him out to eat wings for his birthday.
  • Last week... because he was mad at me about not letting him go hang out with his friends (including, possibly/probably, this young man who was killed)... he refused to change the litter box so I did it. 
  • Because he refused to do the dishes the entire week last week... I did it.
  • Because he *forgot* to take out the trash, I did it. 
  • On Friday, because he was mourning, I drove him to school (which is fifteen minutes in the opposite direction from my office) and because he was upset, I used my lunch hour to go pick him up and make sure he was ok before going back to work. 
  • Because he was grieving... I didn't ask him to go to the grocery store with me. I didn't wake him up to carry in all the groceries... I did it.. all these chores of his that I do KILL my back... so it's not just a matter of disobedience on his part... it physically hurts me. 
  • Because he was grieving... even though he hadn't done any of the chores I asked him to do... I went to McDonalds and picked up his usual Saturday breakfast. That I bring him every week. And for the record... McDonalds is about 15-20 minutes from us, so this weekly trip to McDonalds takes a good 30-45 minutes. 
  • After shopping... and feeding him.... I realized that he had set his khakis (his only decent dress pants) on the table ... and I realized they are much too small... so I went BACK into town and bought him a pair of pants... again, letting him sleep.
  • Once he got up... even though my back was KILLING me by this point... I ironed the shirt he wanted to wear to the viewing.
  • I gave him gas money for his friends who were taking him to the viewing.
  • I gave him spending money for the time he was going to spend with his friends who were grieving.
  • On Tuesday... after having a chunk of junk cut out of my gum... stitched up and with blood oozing out of the gauze packing in my gum... I went to McDonalds and picked him up cheeseburgers for dinner... and a sweet tea... 
  • Since I wasn't able to go anywhere Tuesday night... and he really, really, really needed new shoes asap, I bought him two pair online and paid extra for shipping so he could have them, you know, asap, even though I have tried for the past two weeks to take him shoe shopping and he wouldn't go. 
  • And today... because I haven't been to the ATM all week since, you know, I've been curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor... I'm taking him to school so that I will have cash to give him so he can have snack money. 
  • And... you know... he's 18 and all... and doesn't work... but, of course, he blames that on me. 

So yesterday... when he told me what a horrible person I am... I didn't say a word... I just started crying... not out of mommy guilt (because Austin doesn't easily feel guilted) ... but out of disappointment. Not to be a martyr but I've done a lot for my kids over the years. Marrying Michael, as misguided of a decision as that was, was in large part to take advantage of the opportunity to offer my kids a better life than what I could give them in that ghetto of a trailer park. Living in the duplex that I couldn't afford here in Cleveland was to allow Austin to finish school in the same place without having to move again. Living here in Sautee was in large part to shelter him from the negative influence of kids who were NO GOOD for him and to allow us to continue to stay here, where he wants to live. Continuing to live here and work, despite the amount of pain that it causes me to work a 9-5 job, is for him. Everything I do is to give him a better life.
And I say all of that - not to air our dirty laundry - but because I know there are a bunch of you out there who are wearing yourselves out to create a better life for your kids - and I know that you also have a lot of times where you feel overworked and unappreciated. And for me... I just feel like... as my boys have gotten older and gone on to live their own lives... they've just walked away ... they don't look back. They check in with me maybe once a month. They don't pay back. And it breaks. my. heart.
And you know what happens when I pray about this stuff? About how my kids have taken so much from me without giving back... without being in touch... without participating in my life... without caring what happens to me... when I pray about it... God reminds me that I treat Him the same way. I ask for the moon and stars (literally) and don't stop to give back to Him... or to my world... like I should.

It's thankful Thursday and I'm sorry to make it an extension of Whiny Wednesday... but that's what happened. And I try, whenever possible, to blog from my heart... and that's on my heart today.
And now I'm running late.
Love and hugs, y'all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The beast is released... or... Whiny Wednesday

It was just a little root tip... left behind from an extraction four years ago in Jacksonville. I could feel it... but in the midst of my back drama last year I put it on the back burner.

We found a great dentist... right in town... took both my insurance and Austin's... we talked about the large amount of dental work that I still need... and it was decided that because there was an infection in that little root tip, the tip had to go.

No big deal. I set the appointment for a Thursday *just in case* it caused a problem so that I would only have to struggle through one day of work if it ended up being painful.

The co-pay was manageable. I mean, for every dime I end up with after my budget is met... there's a dollar that needs to go some place or another... things we've put off... but I since this was impacting my health and had the potential to cause more trouble...it was time.

Just like with the surgery before Christmas... it wasn't the PERFECT time to deal with it but it was something I needed to do.

Then the appointment got moved to Tuesday. Dentist had a family situation he needed to take care of on Thursday. No problem. No conflicts on my calendar. I was slightly apprehensive because *if it went wrong* I had the potential to miss time from work which is a huge problem.

I was nervous yesterday. Apprehensive is the best word. I hate going to the dentist. I have had some major dental trauma over the past ten years or so. I don't like it and wouldn't do it if it wasn't necessary. And this was, as it turned out, more necessary than we thought.

The tiny little root tip was surrounded by a cyst. What the dentist thought, based on xrays, was a little pocket of infection was actually a cyst. And for the root tip to come out, the cyst had to come out. And because it was a cyst, it wasn't as easy to access as the little tiny root tip would have been. So I ended up with a nice incision in my gum to completely expose the cyst.

When the dentist says, "check this out!" to his assistant it's not good news for the person laid back in the chair. He offered to show me but I was on the verge of passing out already. I was numbed but the sounds of the drill and the cutting open of flesh... which I could hear... *shiver*.... left me shaky. Hearing the sutures go in... I'm still dizzy thinking about it.

The cyst, most likely, is another symptom of the granulomatic disorder that gave me the scar tissue in my lungs and the cyst in my sinuses and so on and so forth. I'm lumpy. My body apparently forms cysts around foreign bodies in my body. Sort of like... an oyster making pearls. Or something less valuable.

It doesn't appear to be cancerous cyst or carry any long term implications. I have this antibiotic rinse I have to use and I have to go back in a week to have the stitches out and make sure it's healing properly and I'll find out more about the makeup of the cyst then.

Incidentally, if you're on three different meds for high blood pressure... you might just bleed more than usual. It looked like a war zone by the time we were finished. I had this little page of information in my lap and it was splattered with blood by the time they were finished. The sweet dental assistant had to mop up my face before they let me out of the chair.

The pain hasn't been anything greater than what vicodin can handle (or in my case vico-profen)... I'm sore from the aggressive digging and drilling and so on... and I'm so horribly sick to my stomach... and I'm so weak I can barely walk from bedroom to bathroom. Weak enough that Austin volunteered to stay home with me today but I sent him on to school. I think the dentist unleashed a beast when he freed that cyst. Fever, chills, shakes... it's not pretty. Having to postpone my appointment with the pain doctor.

Anyways... so that's the story... it's always something. But, let me add this - God is faithful. I thought that there was no way I would get any more support for Austin short of a court battle but his dad paid yesterday.  That was a HUGE blessing.

Ok... back to bed. Love and hugs, y'all.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bracketology


For the ninety percent of my blog readers who don't follow sports... specifically college basketball... this time of year may not mean anything more to you than allergy season (and what a humdinger it's already starting out to be!) but for sports fans... specifically college basketball fans... this is the time of year known as "March Madness". You see... the best 64 (well, 68) teams from all over the country compete in a tournament that begins Thursday (well, today for the "play in" games) and goes through the April 2nd. And part of the fun of March Madness is predicting the winners... I do it almost every year. Some years I don't do well. Some years I put up a respectable bracket. Everyone has a method for their "bracketology" and I thought I'd share mine.
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Explanation of my bracket or "How a girl fills out a bracket"...

1. I pick my teams based on the guys in my life. I love Kentucky. There was a fella that I used to be close to who was a big Kentucky fan. That made ME a Kentucky fan. And even though I've solidly been in the Gator camp for football ever since the Tim Tebow days... I have remained a Kentucky basketball fan.  This explains Kentucky going all the way (and hopefully bringing back great memories from 1996)... and it explains Florida making it to the Elite 8... and it explains FSU in the Elite 8... (because my boys are FSU fans). It also explains Gonzaga because my kids' dad's uncle went there. I always take Gonzaga as far as reasonable into the tournament. A sweet sixteen match up between my kids' favorite team and their paternal great-uncle's alma mater makes sense in my world.

2. It's all about Cinderella. Seriously. You may think of Cinderella and picture a lovely girl in a ball gown. I do too, except during the month of March. Cinderella means something totally different then. I googled the word "cinderella" and "ncaa bracket" and based my choices loosely on those results. You gotta respect the Cinderella story. Technically a TRUE Cinderella team will be ranked 14 or lower but my own loose interpretation means anyone who rises above their rankings and goes further than expected in the tournament. This explains my odd choice of St. Mary's in the Final Game.

3. I watch a few games here and there throughout the season and fancy myself an expert based on my impressions. Let's face it: I'm no athlete. I understand the basics of most sports only because I grew up in a house with 4 brothers and 1 tv. I do a little cramming the last week or so of the season and watch the games on tv througout the various conference tournaments and pick teams based on my perception of how those games went... which is another reason why FSU does well in my bracket... and why Vandy gets a good bit of respect... and so on.

4. It's about odd, eclectic choices. Every year the people with the best brackets are usually people who know hardly anything about basketball. I always put a few random picks in there... or excuse my odd choices with the perspective of "the less you know, the further you go".

So ... there you go... the logic behind my bracket.

My dentist appointment for Thursday was rescheduled to today so I will have a shorter work day but at least a minor amount of misery before I get back home this evening. I'm not a fan of the dental pain. I'm already feeling the effects of Springtime in full bloom... honestly... I very much want to just crawl back in bed today. I won't. But I want to. Hope you have a good day... love and hugs, y'all.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Reasons to Love Monday - State Of Intimidation (Unrated)




Is there any better Reason to Love Monday than THIS commercial? Please watch it... it is ridiculously funny and ... has a shadow of truth. Not that we duck and hide from clients... ever.... ok, just the one guy who asks me out every time he comes in and creeps me out... but there are a lot of people whose temperament makes me want to run and hide. Or cry. But I do love with I do. Almost all of the time.

There's another video that I've been trying to find and post for you but the links keep breaking. Just google, "Marie Osmond Pees Herself"... you really have to see this. It's hilarious! It was my Reason to Love Sunday but it really made me laugh. Loud.

It's MARCH MADNESS... time for the NCAA Basketball Tournament and I will be filling out my bracket today. I'll be using every spare moment working on this to get it right. I use a combination of logic and emotion in my feminine bracket. I watched about 12 hours of basketball and basketball commentary over the weekend. I know more about this current field than most women and a lot of men... I use common sense, for instance, a 16 seed isn't going to beat a number 1 seed. I think that's only happened maybe once in the history of the tournament. It's fun seeing how well I do. I love the competition and I see it as sort of a brain teaser.

I bought groceries this week with the determination that we are going to live off the bounty of the pantry for a solid week. We have to cut back our spending and I've been eating lunch out almost every day. That's roughly $100 a month, if I eat smart but most of the time I don't. We've also had a lot of breakfasts out... driving through for a drink...lots of waste in our budget and that has to stop. I clipped my coupons and shopped wisely and planned wisely for what we needed. I also cut out sodas for Austin. He's not loving it but it's a waste of money and it's bad for him. My Reason to Love Monday is having breakfast ready to go!

(by the way... if you have coupons you're not using... will you consider mailing them to me? I'm having trouble finding coupons since we don't have a printer and I rarely buy a print newspaper. We saved $13 this weekend and I was really proud of that, it will add up and help me fill the gaps in my budget)

It's warming up. Our lowest high temp for the week is 69, which will come today. I have the window open and the kitties are loving peeking out. Unfortunately... there was a little parent/teenager drama going on upstairs over the weekend (the boyfriend was arrested, according to Austin) and there was a little carrying of sound down to us... doors slamming... stomping..Ugh.

My own teen... he's doing fine. A little snappish with me and I finally last night had to snap back and say, "ok... I'm not appreciating the way you're talking to me"... I know that anger is part of the grieving process and he doesn't really have anyone else that he trusts enough to be angry at ... and know that they'll still be there. It's that unconditional mommy love. I don't like the meanness, though. It hurts my heart. I've worked hard at making the path easy for him over the past few days but... there's only so much I can do, know what I mean?

I made an awesome - stretch for days - recipe in the crockpot on Saturday. I used 8 boneless chicken breasts... two jars of salsa... one big can of cream of mushroom soup... two chopped peppers and a ton of cilantro (because I love it and it's good for lowering blood pressure) ... so far we've had four meals from it. It is great over rice... it's great to pick out the chicken and put it in a taco.... I made a casserole by layering it with corn tortillas and cheese in a casserole dish (that's for dinner tonight) AND... since pillsbury pizza dough was buy one get one free and I had a coupon....we're going to have a mexican pizza with it tomorrow. Having dinner already planned out is a great Reason to Love Monday.

Wednesday I go back to the pain doctor.
Thursday I have some dental work done to fix something that the quack dentist in Jacksonville did... they left a tiny piece of tooth when they did a root canal and that tiny piece is causing infection. Not looking forward to that process but I have to do it while I can do it.
Friday is payday.

Let's get this week started... have a great day, y'all!