December

 

 

This song by Hillsong has been in my heart all morning. It seems so appropriate after the big quake of 2018.  The mountains tremble at the sound of his name!!!

Did you feel the mountains tremble?
Did you hear the oceans roar?
When the people rose to sing of
Jesus Christ the risen one

Did you feel the people tremble?
Did you hear the singers roar?
When the lost began to sing of
Jesus Christ the saving one

And we can see that God you're moving
A mighty river through the nations
When young and old return to Jesus
Fling wide your heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord

Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring your hope
Songs that bring your joy
Dancers who dance upon injustice

Did you feel the darkness tremble
When all the saints join in one song
And all the streams flow as one river
To wash away our brokenness

And we can see that God you're moving
A time of Jubilee is coming
When young and old will turn to Jesus
Fling wide your heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord

Despite our anxiety and concern, despite the damage we have had to our homes, God is right there with us. What a powerful name the name of Jesus is.  I said his name frequently during the quake and the aftershocks. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I cried out. Save us!  I am not afraid to die, but that's not a death I want to experience. I don't want the terror to be present before I am present before my God. 
Things are calming down. Our cat came home and we are so thankful. Schools are closed for a few days, including UAA. There are damages, but no lives have been lost. Thank you, Father God!!!
 
I’ve done a lot of whining and complaining since the earthquake. I have felt and expressed my fears. I have been filled with anxiety and haven’t been able to relax. However, it’s time to point out all I am thankful for instead of focusing on the negative effects. I am grateful for:
1. Meghan and the girls leaving just two days before so they weren’t here.
2. My parents are in Texas.
3. Casey was home with me.
4. Patrick was able to make it home from Anchorage.
5. My granny is fine and my cousin was able to be there right after it hit.
6. My entire family is safe.
7. We have plenty of food.
8. We have electricity and heat.
9. My sweet neighbors offered filtered water and hot water shortly after the quake.
10. A community where grocery stores were handing out water to those in need.
11. Friends and family who reached out to us during our emergency.
12. No one was killed in Alaska because of the earthquake.
13. Our first responders who are working hard to help all of us.
14. Our linemen who worked quickly to get power restored.
15. MTA for restoring phone service and cable!
16. GOD protecting us and reassuring us. (Yes he is really number one)
17. My dog is safe.
18. Casey and Patrick doing so much clean-up.
I’m sure I will be adding to this list! So many things to be grateful for.
 
12/5/18
The quake is the topic of conversation and I want to forget about it. Sharing one's story is a normal response to a traumatic event and we must let people express their sorrows, fears, and concerns.  When a person is in the "helping field", they must help people process the trauma while they themselves are working through similar feelings and that makes it challenging for sure. Our house has more damage than we thought it did and I am concerned about the cost of repairs.  We have multiple walls with major sheetrock damage. I am not sure if Patrick has examined the foundation around the house.  We have one wall where it's completely bowed out and there is a window on that wall. Of course, I canceled our earthquake insurance a couple of years ago because it was so expensive. I am wishing we had that now.
 
Sunday was Granny's 91st birthday. Patrick and I went over and visited her for a while. She doesn't feel well most of the time and that makes me sad. She was always such a hard worker and full of energy and now she just sits most of the day.  She has so many people coming and going it seems impossible that she is lonely, but I think in those quiet times she truly is.  She calls us all most days and frets when she can't reach one of us.  She called me after 8 last night because I hadn't called her earlier. She just wanted to hear my voice and make sure I was okay.
 
I have been up since before 0400.  It's a good time to study for my final on Tuesday. I have lost interest in studying this semester and I need to change that attitude to get through this one last final. I will have a month off to relax and I need it badly. The pain in my hips continues to keep me awake most nights. I also have lots of pain in my thighs which I found out, during my torturous physical therapy session, is caused by the same muscles and tendons as my hips. Great. It seems nothing on my body is pain-free. I went to the chiropractor Monday for my upper back. She exclaimed, "How do you walk around with a smile on your face?  Your body is a mess!" I now have tendonitis in my bicep muscle which I caused by propping myself up as I roll over at night. Because of the severe pain and weakness in my legs, I have been using my elbow to dig into the mattress to roll over when the hip pain is too bad and that hip needs a break. I caused my tendon to be moved inward which causes pain in my shoulder. Now I am using a "log-roll" technique. I am thankful there is no video camera recording me as I sleep. I imagine I look like a beached whale trying to move. Goodness gracious I have issues!  I finally figured out today that I have survivor's guilt. I have been unwilling to ask God to remove the pain because I feel guilty for surviving when Logan and so many friends haven't. I opened up my wonderful devotional book of healing by Dr. Reggie Anderson. Today's devotion was perfect. It's titled, "Last Hope". I feel that way about my own situation because I have seen three doctors who have told me there is nothing they can do for me.  At the bottom of each page is the heading "Today's RX". This is today's:  When seeing treatment, be persistent, and never give up.  Lean on the Lord in faith, and trust his wisdom. Today's prayer is, "Lord, give me the patient to endure what I"m facing and the reassurance that you have all the answers.  I trust you to direct my path to healing." I must tell myself that God doesn't want to see me in pain any more than I want to be in pain.
 
We leave early Wednesday morning for Texas. I am so excited to see my parents! Dad feeds a whole bunch of wild creatures and watching these animals will likely provide healing to at least my mind.
"Happy are the people whose God is the Lord!" Psalm 144:15
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give away and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46: 1-3
12/7/18
I'm doing everything but studying for my final. It's like I can't bear to open another textbook. What am I going to do next semester when I have five classes? I guess the month off is going to help me rest my weary mind and body and hopefully, I will miss learning enough to put the required effort into it. Granny asked me today if I was going to quit school. I was indignant when I told her "No! I am not a quitter!" Maybe she said that to inspire me...
 
Patrick and I are flying up to Fairbanks tomorrow for a Christmas party one of his customers is having.  The night out of town will do us good and will be my last chance to relax before we leave for Texas.  Granny asked me if I bought a new dress to wear. I scoffed and said, "I barely wear anything but sweats any more! No dresses for me. I am choosing warmth over pretty." My poor husband. I asked him if my wardrobe bothered him. Thankfully(and hopefully truthfully) he said no, he likes to see me comfortable. He's so good to me. :)
 
12/8/18
Since I often fall asleep on the couch while watching TV with Patrick I decided to put my pajamas on and prepare for bed. My eyes felt dry so I grabbed one of the single eye drop containers and poured the saline into my eyes. To my surprise, my eyes were on fire! I screamed for help. Normally Patrick cannot hear me from downstairs. He heard me this time and came running. I screamed, "where's the bathroom?" I couldn't open my eyes and because of the pain, I was completely disoriented.  He guided me in there and I began splashing my eyes with water.  Once the pain subsided I took a look at the container. I had an old Cyclosporin ophthalmic container on my headboard. When the earthquake made a mess in my room that was one tube I picked up. I inaccurately assumed it was a normal saline drop. The container did look different than normal which should have been my first clue to read the dang label!! I don't even remember having Cyclosporin drops but since they are for ophthalmic use, I assume I didn't do permanent damage. That wasn't as bad as the time I put the essential oil, "Onguard" in my eyes in the middle of the night. I am a walking disaster.
 
12/10/18
The dinner was delicious and the company was entertaining, but at 8:30 p.m. I went back to our room and went to sleep. I am no party animal that is for sure. Of course, my social loving husband closed down the restaurant. Let me rephrase social loving.... He loves to hang out with his friends. That is the extent of loving social get-togethers. I normally love anything social but with the lack of sleep each night I care more about sleep. When he finally came to bed he was combative and flopping all over the place. He elbowed me once really hard. I had enough and laid on the couch. I had forgotten his snore guard so he snored the night away while I silently cursed the fact I had no other room to escape to. I fell asleep at 7:30 last night on the couch and went to be around 10:30. It was another rough night of pain, but I definitely got more sleep than I did the night before.
 
I am copying/pasting something Casey wrote on FB the other night. It touched my heart.
y big brother Logan and my last summer together.(first picture) He had achieved remission and we finally got to be together as a family back home in AK and for the first time in the two years, he was sick. I believe it was only a couple of weeks later that tests destroyed our hopes that our lives could return to normal. I feel like I was definitely cheated out of the life I would've had to grow up with him and then how the turmoil his tragedy would end up changing our entire lives. individually, each of us dealt with how we could make peace with the reality in our own ways. but despite everything, I'm glad to have parents who were strong enough to be able to make sure that the family we had still here, remained strong and my sister and I were never without the love and care kids need and our family stayed together. At 28, I only respect my parents more as I am able to continue to grow in my ability to comprehend what they were having to go through and to have the strength to keep it all together and give us a childhood that we had. 
 
I am not able to show the pictures he had with his post, but you can see why it touched my heart. I'm glad he's able to articulate his feelings.
 
12/14/18
We were greeted at the airport not only by my dad but by Meghan and the girls! They surprised me. Everyone but me knew and it was the best surprise ever!! I am just soaking it in. 
Tonight we took the bigger girls to the Tree of Lights. I love Christmas lights. It’s not quite the same when there is no snow on the ground though. But it’s definitely chilly here and Was quite windy today. It’s after midnight now and I can’t sleep. Patrick was tossing and turning and I got up to go to the couch in the house but he went out to the living room and is sleeping with the girls. We are in my parents' 5th wheel. Ollie keeps crying in her sleep. I doubt I will get much sleep tonight.
12/16/18
We spent the night in an apartment I found on hotels.com. It’s a two bedroom so Meghan, Ollie, and Boe have one room and Patrick, Ailynn, and I have another. Due to being kicked all night, I am on the couch and have been awake since about 0200. It’s now 0330. We have to take Meg and girls to the airport at 0600 so I probably won’t get any more sleep. I dread saying goodbye to the girls and Meghan. Meghan has now surprised me with visits three times and once threw me a surprise birthday party. I love surprises and she’s the only one who has ever pulled one off on me. She brings me much joy. 
 
We were delighted to visit with Patrick’s sister Angie last night. She is in the area and we got to see her for the first time in a few years. She was able to meet her three great-nieces. She also brought along her oldest sister’s best friend whom I
have heard about for years. It was nice to finally meet her.
 
12/19/18
We had a marvelous time in Texas visiting my parents and Meghan and the girls. I was sufficiently surprised and overjoyed to be with the ones I love. Mom and Dad look good and they seem happy. They are going to have an inundation of company for the next month so I imagine they are going to be tired.  Mark, Sharmin, and Kyle arrive tomorrow for a week and they and Michelle will be there in January for three weeks. It will seem like an Alaskan reunion for them.
 
The girls got sick while in Texas. Meghan had to haul all three sick kids to California on two different airplanes for a total flight and layover time of maybe 9 hours. Then she drove about four hours to where Kirk is at. By that time Meghan had come down with the illness... My daughter is simply amazing and I don't know how she does what she does.
 
Patrick and I had a very long overnight flight. We left Texas at 7:30 p.m. and arrived in Anchorage at 2:30 AM which is 5:30 Texas time. By that time, Patrick was very sick. He is sicker than I have seen him in a couple of years. I am praying that my parents and I don't get it. The three of us aren't going to fight it off as well as Patrick, Meghan, and the girls will. Although they are all still sick so it's a nasty, nasty bug.
 
I stopped by to visit Granny today. I didn't get to close because I didn't want to expose her to anything I might be carrying. Her memory is getting really bad and I'm definitely concerned about her.
 
I stopped by the library today and saw a beautiful woman wearing one of the hats I gave her. She is recovering from breast cancer and was delighted to be the receipient of many hats. I also donated some to my oncology clinic. I'm so happy people can use them. I was blessed to receive so many as gifts.
 
 
 12/22/18
My niece Michelle turned 28 today. I was at the hospital eagerly awaiting her birth 28 years ago. Mom and I paced the halls in anticipation. When we held that sweet and tiny 5# baby in our arms, our hearts melted. I already had two children, Logan and Casey, by the time she was born, but my heart was overjoyed to have this beautiful baby as my niece. Michelle has been through so much. She had a rough go with college but persevered through it all andgot her Associate RN. Then she’s had a stroke and spent months working on getting better. She got back into art and creates beautiful paintings that are very popular and sell quickly. She’s been invited to a few art shows and is making a name for herself. She’s also planning to go back to school to get her Bachelor nursing degree. She is amazing and I love her.
 
We are in my happy place for Christmas- our cabin. I plan on staying here for two weeks and Patrick will come and go. I need the quiet break to clear my mind. School will start again before I know it. I have till January 14th, but I know that will go by fast. I got all A’s this semester and I am so thankful to God for helping me through it.
 
There are so many tragedies around us. People are dying, sick, depressed, mentally ill, and indigent. I am thankful for what I have and desire to help others. I watched a fabulous video about a guy who sends Amazon packages to homeless people and my heart was warmed. Let us not be selfish but be loving and giving. Let alone share our wealth and resources. After all, God have us the good things and he can easily take them away. Jesus is the reason for the season.
 
12/23/18
Two years ago Mom and I went back to Kootenai Hospital where it all began. I visited with my doctors and nurses and thanked them for helping me with my treatment. They were happy I came back to show them that my transplant was successful. I walked the halls as I did before, but this time as a visitor and not a patient. “Tad” was nowhere near me. I sat in the chapel and asked God why me. Why did I live? What is my purpose? He told me to go back to the nurses station and ask them who I needed to see to encourage. They thought for a while and said, “Katie! You need to see Katie. She has recently relapsed.” I prayed, “ Oh God, give me wisdom and words to be a comfort to this hurting woman who is scared and in despair. I walked into Katie’s room feeling a little apprehensive. Would I be a comfort to her? Would I say the right things? How could I bless her and share God’s love with her?
 
It didn’t take long for Katie to show me what she was made of. She shared how God had brought her, her husband, children, and family comfort. She joyfully shared her hope with me about having another stem cell transplant- this one being successful. She was full of love, joy, and peace. She didn’t need me there to cheer her up or encourage her, she was filled with the peace of God. I wondered why he brought me to her room. She didn’t need me. We exchanged information and kept in touch. I followed her journey on Facebook and I offered encouragement to her and prayed many prayers. We had a great conversation the beginning of December last year. Shortly after she was gone. The vicious leukemia and complications killed her. Today is her birthday. She would have been 39. I know Katie is sill joyful, but my heart is hurting for what her family was cheated out of. 
 
I still wonder why I survived when so many of my friends didn’t. Why do I feel so guilty?
 
12/24/18
 
I do not like the commercialization of Christmas. The question, “Are you ready for Christmas” always makes me pause and wonder, “what does that mean?” Do they mean did I buy everyone I have ever met a present? That all those presents are wrapped under the tree? I’ve seen the local ad “get your low interest rate here for Christmas presents instead of using your credit cards. Our financial institutions are encouraging us to spend more and to incur more debt for things we don’t need so they can make a profit. If you have to borrow money to purchase gifts for someone, perhaps you should rethink that. There’s nothing wrong with a homemade gift whether it’s something you made, canned, or give as a gift of service such as a handmade certificate saying you will shovel their drive the next time it snows. I love to buy gifts for people, but I do it by accumulating things over the year that reminds me of them. I love to bless people but I don’t want to buys gifts because I “have to”.  I buy gifts, that I can afford that match the personality, wants, needs, and desire of the person I want to give it to. Just last week I gave a friend a 25 cent huge lighthouse book I got from a Friends of the Library Sale because she collects lighthouses. It wasn’t new, but she knew that I thought about her and got her something that she tremendously enjoys.  I love how my daughter and her husband have decided they don’t want their girls to feel Christmas is about getting a bunch of presents. This year they chose to give the girls the gift of their time. They took them on an outing and gave them their undivided attention and made lifetime memories. If they had spend a few hundred dollars on toys, I bet the toys would lose their value quickly either because they broke or the girls got bored with them. Instead, their parents gave them the gift of personal value. They demonstrated how much they value and love each child. I am so proud of my daughter. The Christmas spirit is what I miss-the moments when people take the time to visit and share with each other. When people make an effort to reach out and help the hurting. This is something we should have all year long, not just at Christmas. Christmas is set-aside one day each year according to the calendar, but the Spirit of Christmas can last every single day of the year. Am I ready for Christmas? Yes, everyday.
 
12/25/18
Happy birthday, Jesus. Thank you for coming to earth to teach us how to be Christians, how to love each other, and how to live for you so we may live eternally with you. Thank you for the warm bed I get to sleep in each night, for healing me, for comforting me when I hurt, and for giving me three beautiful children and three beautiful granddaughters. Thank you that I still have both of my parents and my granny here on earth with me. Thank you for my faithful husband. I love you, Jesus, Savior of the world.
 

Love is:
A husband who drives to the store for eggs his wife forgets to bring without complaining.
Love is:
A husband who praises his wife for making her first perfectly fried egg that looks pretty and says, “I will still eat it” after she accidentally drops it on the floor.
Love is:
A husband who makes sure the car is warm before his wife gets into the vehicle he has already filled with gas, added more windshield wiper fluids, and checked the oil.
Love is:
When a husband tells his wife she is beautiful even when she was bald and feeling ugly.
Love is:
When a husband expresses his adoration for his wife even when she knows she isn’t the same person she once was because of her physical ailments.
Love is:
Worth every effort.

Merry Christmas my friends. 

12/27/18

We made a delicious dinner on Christmas Day and took it to Harold and Christine, our elderly neighbors in Kasilof. We spent a few hours visiting them and they were delighted and kept thanking us for being there with them. Harold has a similar problem with his vision as my Granny does. She can take see to see or quilt anymore, and he can’t see to drive his beloved heavy equipment anymore. Both are struggling with the loss of vision and feel unsure what good they are anymore. It’s so much easier to see the good in others than it is to see in ourselves. I can count a hundred reasons why I value them and my granny. I wish I could get them to see their importance.

I bought a week pass to a gym in Soldotna. I have to modify a lot because of my hips, but I’m treating it like the physical therapy I am missing because I’m here and not at home. I can’t believe how weak I am. Someday I know I will gain my strength back.

I met with a guy that’s big into the recovery community in Kenai. We shared strategies and I am hooking him up with some people I know well. We are all in this together. Our mission is to eradicate drug use and support our recovering loved ones.

12/28/18

It was another rough night for me. In the middle of the night I accidentally ripped out my insulin pump site. I was too tired to reinsert a new one. When I got up this morning I remembered that happened and went to get the pump and couldn’t find it! I looked all over the cabin a few times. I prayed for God to open my eyes and see it, and there it was lying next to my bed.  I went to redo the pump and it wouldn’t take the insulin vial . Three times I reinserted it and got the same error. That had never happened before. The fourth time I prayed that it would work because I do not carry syringes with me and I would be without insulin. It worked that time! God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good!

12/29/18

I went to the gym today and was determined to push myself. I could hardly get up on the eliptical and my right hip hurt the entire time. I got off after six minutes because I was concerned I was doing more damage than good. I started waking on the inside track and was moving slower than molasses An older woman (much older than me) whizzed right by me several times. In between her laps she was lifting weights.  I was frustrated and tearful as I wondered if I would ever be able to walk without pain and walk without limping. I finally told God I'm ready to accept his heaing. I lost another friend to AML the other day. I don't feel worthy of heaing when so many friends are dying from a disease I have conquered with God's help. I am struggling with asking for complete healing when he has done so much for me. Do I deserve anything else? He gave me my life. Shouldn't I just be content with that? I don't know the answer. I hope it will become clear to me.

Patrick is home this weekend working on the kitchen remodel. We are thankful that Casey removed the flooring and the cabinets for us.  Now Patrick is removing a wall and running electric. It's going to be awful living in a house with no kitchen for a few weeks but I will have to suck it up!

12/30/18

The pain and uncomfortableness I again experienced last night while sleeping does not matter to me at all. In the midst of the pain came the most incredible dream of all. I got to hold and kiss my son, Logan. It’s been years since God had allowed Logan to come to me in my dreams. This time he was about 4-5 and we thought he had died when in fact, someone took him home from the hospital and kept him as their own child. We found him again by accident. Let me assure you, I irritated  Logan so much because I would not stop hugging and kissing him and plying him with questions. I was filled with happiness and joy. It was amazing. Even when I woke up and realized he wasn’t really physically present, I was still so happy and content because I DID talk to him, hug him, and kiss him. That was my son and I felt him. I got a gift from Heaven last night and I am so delighted.

12/31/18

 

As we bring 2018 to a close and welcome 2019, I ask you to live your life with intention. Celebrate the victories of others, offer your time and resources, and be an encourager to all.

H: Humbleness. May you have the gift to be real with people without pretentiousness. May you feel that nothing is “beneath you”. Take joy in all you do.
A: Awesomeness. May you be the best you can be by using the gifts God gave you. Strive for success in all you do.
P: Praise. May you praise God for all he has done.
P: Provision. May you use what God had provided to you, to provide for others in need.
Y: Yearning. May God instill a yearning inside you to offer blessings to others.

N: Niceness. May you be nice and kind to all you meet.
E: Earnest. Be earnest in your giving of your time and resources to help others.
W: Wait. Wait to speak. Be thoughtful in your words and responses. Speak with positive intention.

Y: Yes. Say yes to the things you said you didn’t have time for. Be a volunteer, spend time with a lonely person, start that new hobby.
E: Educate yourself and share your knowledge to help others.
A: Amazing. Be the most amazing person you can be.
R: Respect. Respect each and every person even if you don’t agree with them.

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.

11/23/18

I am thankful we had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  41 of us met at my cousin Holly's house to share food and laughter.  Last Thanksgiving I wasn't able to attend as I had just gotten out of the hospital with pneumonia. I was doubly glad to be there this year. Granny's house is where we normally gather, but since Holly bought a huge house directly across the street from Granny, it made sense to move the party over there. I have been fighting a cold for the past couple of days and I alternate between feeling fairly well to shivering with body aches. So far I am running just a slight fever. I definitely don't want a repeat of last year. Having Meghan, Kirk, and the girls here with us was icing on the cake.  Casey was there too and I was so happy.

The time is going by quickly for the girls' trip. They will be leaving in just a few days and I feel like I haven't gotten enough time with them. It's going to be a long winter without seeing them. It will be almost six months before they return. :(

11/24/18

I didn't leave the house yesterday. I wonder if I am becoming anti-social. Sometimes I don't want to interact with the outside world. Maybe it's because I have had body aches for the past few days and my right shoulder is constantly hurting. I get fed up with not feeling well and don't want to pretend all is great. What is great is that the big girls finally came home!  We had the joy of having Boe overnight for the past few nights, but Ollie and Ailynn were at their other grandparents' house. We had "Christmas" last night and the girls got to open their presents. Of course, my house is a mess again, but they were so joyful. I was worried I didn't get Boe enough gifts and she had absolutely NO interest in opening a single present. She just wanted to swing. So....I guess I did okay.  Ailynn loved opening all her gifts, but the highlight of it all was putting them in a box and "delivering" the mail to Papa. Her biggest reaction was to the unicorn pajamas I found for her.  She refers to herself as a Unicorn with Bumble Bee Super Powers.  These pajamas didn't have bumble bees on them, but when she saw the unicorns she hugged me so tightly. That was a win!  Ollie refers to herself as "cat girl" and I found cat pajamas for her too that she loved. Both girls got a homemade Wonder Woman purse too. I bought it from a friend's daughter who is making aprons and bags for a fundraiser. They were a hit as well.  Casey played with Ollie's activity dress-up book with her and she thought that was fun.

My plan is to take the big girls to church today. They haven't been since the last time I took them earlier this summer.  I hope they love it and learn about my friend, Jesus.

 November 29, 2018

Our girls left yesterday and the house is eerily quiet. I am reminded of their presences as I pick up the ponytail holders, the socks, undies, and Barbie dolls left scattered in every room.  However, there are no little arms wrapped around my neck telling me that I am loved.  Meghan had a terrible trip down with something going on with each of the girls that stressed her out. How I wish I could have gone down there with her.

Finals are upon me, I am still not sleeping much, and I have an enormous amount of stress in my life. I could use some prayers.

11/30/18

Today I need a little bit of "Jesus Today"  

"Trust in me forever for I am the rock eternal.  It is easy to trust me for a while especially when things are going well in your life.  But I am calling you to trust in me at all times, no matter what is happening. I understand what a difficult assignment this is, and I know that you will sometimes fail in this venture.  But I continue to love you perfectly even when you don't succeed.  Let this assurance of my unfailing love draw you back to me-back to trusting me.  Though your trust is imperfect and unsteady, I am the Rock eternal-absolutely steady and unchanging. You can rely on me!  When your walk through this world feels wobbly, remember that I am your Rock.  I always provide a stable place for you to stand.  I can easily bear all your weight including the weight of your problems.  So come to me when you are feeling heavy lade with worries.  I invite you to lean on me-trusting me with all your heart and mind(Young, 2012, p.60)

"Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal."Isaiah 26:4

"Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

"Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding."  Proverbs 3:5

Every day that begins with Jesus is going to be a better day. The world's problems are heavy on my shoulders. Sometimes I feel like I will collapse.  I bear the burdens of many because that is what I am called to do. However, I sometimes forget to dump all my problems on the big shoulders of God. God can take away my pain and I must remember to allow him to do so. Practicing self-care is a term some of us hear often.  There is no better self-care than sitting at the feet of Jesus and sharing our disappointments, concerns, challenges, and fears.  And then we praise him and thank him for keeping us on earth to be with our families and friends to share their trials, tribulations, and successes with them.

My husband has insisted I go to the cabin with him this weekend.  He sees how the stress has affected me and wants me to relax.  He wants to spend time with his wife again.  He wants a wife that is patient, kind, and loving, not stressed, irritable, and worried.  This weekend I will honor my husband's request and give myself permission to just be me.

*** Well this day did NOT go as planned. I packed for the cabin and was getting dressed when the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced happened.  Pictures flew off the walls, furniture moved as if someone was tossing it around, all my cabinets opened and everything spilled out onto the floors. There was broken glass everywhere.  Casey was downstairs screaming for me. The electricity went out and I couldn't see to get past the debris in the hallway. I kept thinking maybe he was pinned under something and couldn't break free. He thought I was trapped somewhere and ran outside looking for me. When he saw my car was in the garage, he really panicked.  It was at that moment I realized how much my son truly does love me.  He comforted me as I cried through all the aftershocks and we stayed close to one another all day long.  He brought me great comfort today.

The roads are a mess with sinkholes and collapsed bridges. I kept thinking, "My husband is going to make it home to us." But he persevered and made it okay. I'm so glad we are together. One of my first thoughts was, "I am so glad the girls aren't here because they would be so scared."   I just kept crying, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, make it stop!!!!!!  I thank Jesus that despite the damage to our house and so many broken things, that he spared us. He protected us and we are safe.  Our cat disappeared during the quake though and she has not returned. Please pray for our sweet little kitty. She is such a good cat.