November

November 2nd. When I woke this morning, I remembered that a girl in my daycare from YEARS ago has a birthday today. Some dates stick in my head. I remember the birthdays of most of the daycare children I had. Ashley is a beautiful young woman and is now a married mother of four! She and her husband are ministry leaders in their church.  Each child I cared for has uniquely impacted my life. I must say I miss those daycare days.  I spent my days doing happy things with the children and observing their innocent child behaviors and characteristics. I wish I could capture that feeling again and pour it out on the young people I had in my facility.  They each deserve to continue experiencing the wonderfully innocent things in life.  Most of them are doing well which makes my heart happy.

It seems now that my life is spent working with people who aren't so innocent or happy. I love helping others, learning about social work, and applying it in my practicum placement, but I must say sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the vast needs of others. I want to help them all but I know that may not be possible and that makes my heart sad.

I was thrilled to see the news today that "Sarah's Place" in Palmer got a $180,000 grant! Sarah's Place is a facility that women live at while working on restoring their lives.  The facility offers transportation, classes, GOD, and other resources to each client.

I also saw a video about a gym called "The Phoenix," and it's a facility that offers FREE workouts to people in recovery and is funded by private donors. How I wish we could get a sober gym in Wasilla.  I want to win the Publisher's Clearing House so I could fund some nonprofit programs. I would support programs to help those who are addicted, and plans to help those who have been diagnosed with a life-threating illness.

I read a post today that hurt my heart.  A lady who survived leukemia and had a bone marrow transplant two years ago said that she thinks maybe she would have been better off if she had died.  She is having trouble adjusting back to living.  She believes she's cured, but life isn't the same for her, and it frightens her. I understand all too well how she feels.  Another lady posted that her family stopped speaking to her after her diagnosis.  There is such pain in the world.   My heart's desire is to help minister to people who are hurting.  I will use my experiences to share with others in the hope of assisting them to heal from their wounds.

11/5/18

Last night's fundraiser for local bone marrow survivor, Joe Trost, was a smashing success.  The room was packed with people eager to spend money to assist this family with their financial difficulties due to Joe's illness and recovery.  There were so many fantastic items for auction.  I may have purchased a few things.... Patrick and I helped by keeping track of the live dessert and merchandise live auction. I also helped buss some tables. I am not waitress material. I hit the wall and had to go home and promptly fell asleep on the couch. I watched in amazement as my friends ran around without seeming to be exhausted. How I envy their endurance! I know I'm not supposed to be envious.... I just want a bit of energy!

It's a balmy zero here today. Oh man, it's cold. I do need to grocery shop so I am going to have to get out in it though I would prefer to stay home!

11/8/18

Today is our friend Gary's 60th birthday, and he's here to celebrate with us.  We feel honored he chose to be with us on his special day.  Gary has always been there for us.  The kids and I met him in 1997 when Logan was sick. Patrick had met him the year before.  Gary was frequently at the hospital cheering Logan up and helping with Casey and Meghan. He is an awesome friend, and we're thankful for his friendship.

I'm not sure how much longer I can go on with this excruciating pain each night. I am trying a new strategy to deal with it. When the pain wakes me (which it does several times each hour), I am using deep breathing exercises to get through the pain. Doing the deep breathing helps relax me and eases some of the pain. Unfortunately, there is no comfortable position for me. I made an appointment to see a naturopathic doctor who does acupuncture, but she can't get me in till the third week of December.  I restart physical therapy next week.  I'm not real hopeful since three specialists have now told me there is nothing that is going to help me.  The latest doctor agrees it was the Cipro and Levaquin that caused my tears and others issues, and that there is nothing that can be done to reverse the damage.  I asked him if I was going to be able to walk in ten years and his response was, "I don't know." I appreciate his honesty and his compassion. I haven't prayed for complete healing. If I think about why the only thing I can think of is God saved me, and I feel selfish asking for two big things for myself when there is a world full of hurting people.

11/11/18

Veteran's Day is here, and it's a day set aside to honor all who have served our country.  Some never came back, some came back traumatized, and some are merely glad to be home with their families.  Our freedom should never be taken for granted. Thank you to all the Veteran's, including my father who served our country.

We are at the cabin, and I am enjoying the rest. I have done some school work, but mostly I napped and read a book for pleasure. It is not pouring down rain after a blizzard came through last night. Now we have to worry about ice on the roads when we travel home tomorrow. We must leave here by 0600 to get Gary to the airport by 10:30.  I am praying we don't have any problems.

I am concerned about all the fires in California.  Meghan and her family were recently in the area the fires are. I wish they would just come back to Alaska permanently so I can know they are safe. The place my aunt and uncle owned in Paradise is destroyed. I visited them a few times and thought the town was quaint. Now it's destroyed. My heart goes out to all those who are without a home, food, job, etc. There are so many disasters in our country, and I wish I could help each person.

11/12/18

There was a young woman walking down the road, going in the opposite direction of me yesterday.  It was raining, and it was slushy and icy in places. She looked distraught. I rolled down my window and asked her if she was okay. She started cussing up a storm as she described how bad her day was. She asked for a ride to her cabin which wasn't far out of my way, and I agreed to take her. She continued her cussing and was giving me tidbits about how horrible her life is.  The social worker in training came out, and I asked her if she wanted to talk.  I quickly reached her destination, and she asked me to hang out for 15-20 minutes. I looked at her dark and tiny cabin, assessed the two people in a rundown truck in the drive, and told her we could talk in my truck. She got out and went to her porch and started doing squats and stretches. She came back and asked to borrow my phone which I had accidentally left at the cabin. She asked on two occasions, and my honest answer remained the same. She kept getting out telling me she'd be right back. She asked if I would take her to the store and I said I would, but I had things to do so she needed to hurry. Again she got out saying, "I need my wallet, my Bible, and some chapstick." I kept waiting for someone to open my door and throw me out and steal Patrick's truck. I waited a few minutes (with my doors locked) and rolled down the window. I could hear her moaning. I then decided (1) she was extremely mentally ill (2) She was on drugs (3) she was on drugs AND mentally ill (4) She was setting me up. I felt bad, but I got the heck out of dodge. Something didn't feel right, and I had no phone, no gun, and no defense. I never did get to help her talk out her problems, and I feel terrible about that. I wish I could have done more.

11/13/18

I have lots of experience working with people who struggle with addiction and trauma. However, it's true when people say, "You can't counsel people you know." or "A doctor doesn't perform surgery on his family." Sometimes no matter how much experience one has, there are no words to help someone who is hurting badly.

His mother sobbed a significant number of tears tonight, and I have no answers for her. Her son blew up again just because she asked a question. He didn't want to answer the question, and when she asked for clarification after he snapped an answer at her, he screamed at her and cussed her out. He was entirely out of control. He threatened his father and stormed out the door. They love their son so much, but they can no longer take his abuse.  The only advice I can give her is that no matter how badly they are hurting, it is not safe for them to have them in their home any longer.  He needs help. He's not ready for recovery even though he has struggled with addiction for years. My heart hurts for all the parents out there.

11/15/18

Last night (or I should say very early this morning) we picked up Meghan and the girls from the airport. They had hours of flying as well as a six-hour layover in Sacramento. Despite the fatigue, they were all in a great mood and were happy to see us. As I tucked in the two bigger girls at 0300 this morning, I could hardly bear to walk away. I kept kissing them and telling them how happy I am to have them home. I woke up at 0700, and so did early bird, Ailynn. She and I hung out for a couple of hours before the others stirred. I made cookies with the girls, read them a story, and bathed all three. Patrick and I were delighted to spend the morning with them and just enjoy them. I’m so thankful they are here.

11/17/18

Having the girls here is a dream come true for us. We are enjoying every moment. I can't stop staring at them and hugging them. I missed them so much! Ollie is such a little grown-up. Last night I talked her into watching a Hallmark movie with me... I know, she's only five, but I think she liked it! Ailynn crawled in my lap and was watching it but fell asleep. When I attempted to put her into bed, she woke up crying. So, of course, Grammie told her she didn't have to go to bed. We all are convinced that Boe yelled, "Grammie come back!" when I went upstairs. She was crying and angry that I went up without her. The little booger usually follows me up which terrifies me since my stairs are tiled. That would be a hard fall for a 14-month-old. I got up at 0500, and so did Ailynn. I told her Grammie needed to study, so I made a bed for her on the floor of my office. She colored a bit and then fell back to sleep. 

"The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy, and I will give thanks to him in son. " Psalm 28:7. My heart is leaping for joy.

11/20/18

Self-analysis is something I evaluate on a regular basis. The Holy Spirit nudges me when I complain or am ungrateful. I get that "icky" feeling in the pit of my stomach because I don't want to be known as a complainer. There are so many things to be thankful for, so why do we spend so much time complaining? Let's use my hips for example. Yes, I hurt most of the time and have trouble walking and sleeping. But, I am alive. I am STILL able to walk even though it's difficult when I first get up from sitting or lying down. I have lost so many friends to cancer(and other things) who probably would rather be here with hurting hips. The best time of my life was shortly after I was diagnosed with leukemia. My days were wonderful. I walked the halls listening to praise music and merely immersing myself in the warm light of God. I had no distractions (except for the chemo bag and blood transfusions that kept me in bed)and could focus on God alone. It was wonderful. Flash forward to being a graduate student, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. I am stressed and managing nothing well. But God opened these doors for me, and he will assist me while I walk through them even if it hurts physically and mentally!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." God has called me, and he uses my life, my story, my experiences, for HIS good. I am blessed because of what he has called me to do and be. "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.  The Lord works out everything for his own ends-even the wicked for a day of disaster." God is directing my paths, and I will obey. He will see me through the difficult moment, the lack of sleep, the overwhelming pain. My life was designed to be a helper and to use my experiences to help others. Lord, teach me to be teachable. Open my mind and my heart to receive willingly and honestly receive instruction. Help me to be present at the moment, no matter what I am doing. Thank you for bringing our daughter and granddaughters home for two weeks, and our son-in-law here for a few days. Help me to simply enjoy them and ignore the chaos that sometimes is naturally present with a household full of children. Help me concentrate when I need to and let the information sink in despite my distractions. Help me learn to be a more effective mother, grandmother, wife, friend, and helper. "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such a thing, there is no law." I desire all the fruits of the Spirit, Lord. I fail to measure up on my own. I need you to walk along beside me and remind me of who I am in you. Without you I am nothing. May you be glorified in all I do.

Be kind to others who are fighting a spiritual, physical, or emotional battle. Be compassionate and offer forgiveness, hope, and support.  Be a friend who offers no judgment, just love, and concern.  Everyone is going through something. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. Do not have a haughty spirit. It is unlikely any of us will sail through life without facing a difficult situation. Be a friend and offer support by intercessory prayer and by being available to that person who needs you.