August 1, 2019

Oh man, summer is almost over! August 1st is here already. I wanted August to be here to get a break from school, but not because I wanted summer to be over.  Thankfully, the weather is Being with them also makes me miss Granny, and I feel guilty for not spending more time with her. I also miss my grandbabies.

8/8/19

The last few days have flown by.  My friend Debbie came down here (at the cabin) to spend a couple of nights with me.  We took lots of walks with the dogs and yesterday went into Soldotna to go to the Soldotna Wednesday Market. It is scorching here, and it's hard to cool off. I am NOT complaining!   I have continued helping our elderly neighbors.  Another neighbor and I took Christine to the doctor on Tuesday, and we are waiting to see if they adjust her medicine.  She has this neat thing (yet another neighbor ordered) that is called the Pill Butler  It spits out the needed pills at the required time. Unfortunately, though, the pills are not in there correctly due to previously changed medications, so I go over to make sure she takes the right pills.  I am worried about leaving them on Sunday.  Thankfully they do have other good neighbors who help out as well. Patrick is putting in a septic system for Harold tomorrow.

I am all finished with classes and have two more weeks before school starts again.  I was pleased to get an A in both classes- Advanced Families and Groups and Medical Social Work. I did get 100% on that last paper I was waiting for a grade.  Two semesters left, and then I will graduate. It will be a challenging year, but God will give me the strength. He opened the doors so he will provide me with the knowledge and the skills to do this.  I am excited about being close to the end of the program. I am eager to use my skills to help those in my community.

8/13/19

Tomorrow is my oldest granddaughter's birthday.  I cannot believe six years have flown. Olivienne is so incredibly mature, sensitive, and kind.  She has empathy down pat. She reminds me a lot of Logan.  I can talk to her like she's an adult just as I could with Logan.  I love that child so much.  She was a huge help with her sisters at the cabin.  She put Boe to bed every night.  Boe thinks of Ollie as a second mom, and whenever she is upset, she wants her.  

This morning I am having the stent from my bile duct removed.  Mom will be taking me.  Mom just had an endoscopy on Friday.  She is having similar issues but certainly for a lot longer than I have had mine.  I'm so thankful for my mother, who is always eager and willing to help me no matter what she has going on in her own life.  I had another painful spasm on Friday night, but thankfully it only lasted a couple of minutes.  This morning the backache I have had most mornings is back with a vengeance, and I cannot take anything for it because of the upcoming procedure this morning.

8/13/19

Our warm and delightful weather has continued into August.  This is the best summer we have had it years.  We indeed have broken heat records.  As mentioned before, the fair is right around the corner, so it will begin to rain.  It is inevitable as it's an Alaskan tradition to go to the fair in the pouring down rain. 

May 2, 2020, is my hooding ceremony for my MSW degree. IF I pass the next two semesters, of course. I am so looking forward to this ceremony.  Years ago, when I got my Bachelor degree, I saw someone get "hooded," and I was in awe thinking how smart they must be and never imagined I would ever get my graduate degree. I pray that my health stays stable, and this dream of mine can become a reality.  God has been so good and faithful, and I pray that all goes as I hope it can go.

I was accepted as a volunteer ambassador for Be the Match.  I will be going to Minnesota in October for a two-day training. I am incredibly honored and excited about this opportunity and plan to take this volunteer work to a whole new level in educating others of the importance of becoming a bone marrow donor, and the services that Be the Match offers.  I will gain new skills on advocating for services from my senators and representatives too and hope I have the opportunity to do so in Washington D.C. as well as in Juneau.  I wish I were thirty years younger so I could have more years to do community service activities.

 I had my bile duct stent removed today.  It was a smooth procedure, and I had a quick 30-minute nap during it. I feel fine afterward. I had another painful episode on Friday night and hoped that I don't have another.  The doctor up here finally got a hold of Dr. Hogan, and they decided to start me on the GVHD medication. I was extremely reluctant to take it as there are supposed to be quite a few side effects. I fought it hard, but I lost the war.  Six weeks I must take it, and then another procedure will be done.  The doctor took more stomach biopsies today.  I'll follow up with the local doctor in six weeks and see what the plan is. Hopefully, I won't have to go back to Mayo before May.

8/14/19

My oldest granddaughter is six years old!  The day Olivienne was born, I was a nervous wreck.  I remember feeling as if my brain and body were disconnected. I cannot describe my excitement and nervousness. I was blessed to be present at her birth and was blown away by how calm Meghan and Kirk were.  They did everything right in bringing her into this world. I loved Ollie Mae so much, and when I was diagnosed with leukemia before she was even a year, I remember the anguish of being away from her.  I am so thankful that Meghan brought her to Idaho to see me at least one week a month.  That was a considerable sacrifice for Meghan, and I will never forget how compassionate she was to do that.  She knew I needed Ollie to continue to be motivated to fight for my life.

This morning I went with Meghan and the three girls to get a pedicure.  It was so fun to sit there and see the looks of excitement on their little faces.  I held Boe while she got her toenails painted.  She was so patient waiting for her turn.  There were no temper tantrums or anything. It was an enjoyable morning.  After that, I went and visited my friend Wendi in the hospital.  She had a serious operation, and I wanted to cheer her up.  She was incredible when I was sick, so it was time to return the favor.  Wendi is one of those people who have had many health issues and still manages to be cheerful and support herself.  She's amazing.  I had OT today and then had to come home and take a long nap as I was exhausted.  I've been having pain and other issues that disrupt my sleep night after night, and it gets tiring.

I've been able to squeeze in a few visits with my friend Pam who is back visiting from Germany.  She brought her husband, three of her four adult children, two of their boyfriends, her two step-sons, and one of their girlfriends.  They've been in Alaska for a few weeks and are exploring the sights.  It's lovely to continue seeing longtime friends who mean so much to me.

8/15/19

I went over to Meghan's to see Ollie before her first day of kindergarten. I also got to see her class.  Ollie came home tired last night and told Meghan that she needed a hot tub soak and a shower. Meghan said after she did that and had dinner, she was in a better mood.

8/16/19

Ollie didn't want to go back to school today.  She told her mom that she already went and asked why she had to go again.

I went over to Granny's today to make her breakfast and give her her pills.  She is having difficulty remembering to take the medicine- very similar to what Christine is going through in Kasilof.  Before I left I had gotten my own pills out of the bottles and put on the dresser. I take out morning and evening pills to remind myself to take my meds.  I do not remember taking them at all but they weren't on my dresser. I'm supposed to be responsible for helping others take their pills and I cannot even remember taking my own.  This is like the blind leading the blind.  Granny's memory is definitely getting worse as is her mobility.  I set up an appointment with a care coordinator next Wednesday to discuss options and programs for her. It is so difficult to watch my strong Granny go through the aging process.  She was always so fierce and capable. I know it's a lot harder on her than on me so I don't mean to be selfish. I am just sad that she is losing her independence.

I have spent the past couple of hours paying bills and getting our finances in order.  As next week is the beginning of the fall semester, I must get as organized as possible.  I must get in a walk with Ringo too. I finally took him for one last night. I wore a sleeveless top and shorts at 8:30 PM and was perfectly warm. I love this fall!

8/19/19

The weather has turned windy and a bit chilly. Most of the leaves will soon be off the trees. It is a sure sign that summer is over. There will be no more complaining of it being too hot. Instead, we will complain about the wind and chilly temperatures.  It seems we are often dissatisfied with nature, with life, with our jobs, etc. The other night I was mowing my yard and grumbling to myself until I thought, "I HAVE a yard to mow I HAVE a house to clean! I AM here to enjoy things in life and I'm blessed to have chores to do and be well enough to do them." That realization changed my bad attitude to one of appreciation. 

Thursday I went all the way to Anchorage to get a couple of live immunizations I had permission to get.  I forgot that if I had GVHD I was unable to get them. I had only recently found out the GVHD was present in my colon.  Thankfully, when I got to Providence and pulled out my paper I saw the statement on the bottom NOT to get immunizations if GVHD is active and if I am on any immunosuppressive medication.  I did give in to the doctors who insisted I start a medication for GVHD. I fought it tooth and nail but was warned my GVHD can go from mild to severe quickly and it was vital to take the medication. I've been having some stomach pain (different than before) that I believe is a side effect of the meds.

Yesterday was Ollie's birthday party and Meghan and Kirk had a hot tub full of children and a house and yard full of adults.  It was a nice evening (despite the wind) and Ollie was blessed with multiple gifts.  She was very appreciative and made sure to thank everyone which I appreciate.  

We have had guests here for the past couple of nights. Our friend and former neighbor, Jan, and her sister, Carol are staying with us for three nights.  Jan moved to Coeur d'Alene several years ago.  We had scheduled dinner together when Patrick and I road tripped to Idaho in 2014.  Jan and I reminisced about me calling her the night before we were to have dinner to ask her if the hospital there was any good.  That was just before I was diagnosed with leukemia.  We were so fortunate to have Jan there as she helped us coordinate a lot of things and offered her house when Mom needed a place to stay.  Jan visited me often in the hospital and we felt comforted knowing we knew someone there.

We also had Rick stay with us last night.  Rick is the former owner of Patrick's company and also a good friend.  Rick was amazing when I was sick.  He gave Patrick endless leave to be with me and helped us financially and encouraging others in the company to help us out as well.  Last night I looked at those two people who blessed us so much and thanked them for their support and we cheered me being alive and well.  God is so good.

 8/24/19

2:45 AM and I’ve been wide awake for almost an hour. I have to be up in 2.5 hours to get ready for the all-day seminar for my MSW program. The usual pain in my hips and shoulder initially woke me up but then I think anxiety kicked in to finalize the inability to sleep. I also woke up at 11:30 PM thinking it was almost morning. This will be a long day.

Yesterday I went to the opening day at the fair with Keeli, a young gal in the MSW program who is staying with me for a few days. I met up with Meghan and the girls and had a great time watching them fawn over the animals. One bull tried to lick Ailynn and she gave out a loud shriek. I take every moment I can get with those precious girls. I love spending time with my daughter too. My day started out great as Casey sent me an unexpected text saying he hoped I had a great day and he loved me. Being a mom is an incredible gift.

As I lie here awake in the wee hours of the morning, my mind keeps going to the plaque we are purchasing for Logan at the Garden of Reflection. What should the third line be? The first two lines are his name and dates for birth and death. I want the third line to say something to represent the incredible love we have for him. I’ve had several ideas but none that seem quite right.

There is a big work party at the Garden on Saturday and I have the final day of the seminar to attend so I can’t make it. Of course, I feel guilty because I certainly don’t put the work into it that Wendy and Dawn have been. Life has altered so much for me. First my diagnosis, then treatment, then school and complications from treatment. There’s so much I want to do and I wish I could clone me a couple of times- healthy clones!

Sunday Debbie and I are going to be “No-Smoking Ambassadors” for the Lung Association at the state fair Kansas concert.  We will be a gentle reminder for people that the fair is a smoke-free environment. Plus we will get into the concert for free which is a nice bonus!

8/25/19

Life can be very challenging and sometimes things happen that greatly discourage us. I received a text today from someone who has so many medical problems.  Her trials started when she was just a child and have continued into middle-age.  She hasn't had much luck with men and even though educated struggles with finding good employment.  There are great financial strains and enormous physical barriers.  She sent a message today that she has very little joy in her life.  That statement makes me sad.  If we don't have joy, what do we have? 

There have certainly been times when I feel that joy has been sucked right out of me.  Today started off good; I went to Summit Worship this morning and listened to a wonderful message about honoring our parents even when parents don't deserve to be honored.  There is a large difference between forgiving and forgetting.  While children may not forget the pain parents may have inflicted upon them, they can learn to forgive and therefore find a way to heal.  We must stop the generational bondage that causes families to repeat the cycle of abuse, drugs, and alcoholism.  We must learn to lean upon God for our strength.

Right now that is all I can do is lean on God as I don't understand why things are happening as they are right now.  The day started off good and now my world has once again been turned upside down.  The pain is intense and my heart is beyond heavy.  All I can do is lean up God and beg him to intervene in the situation that brings heaviness to my heart.

8/27/19

My heart continues to hurt as I try and grasp how things can go so wrong for some people.  There are so many I care about that make extremely poor choices and hurt themselves and the ones who love them.  I see a lack of compassion or understanding by so many.  I see a lack of forgiveness and acceptance.  I see hopelessness and in those moments I wish Jesus would hurry and come back for us.  How many would be left behind I wonder?  How can I do my part to help those who hurt to feel the joy of the Lord?  As I walked around my beautiful house today I thanked God that I have a home where I am safe and am warm.  So many do not have that.  I was thinking specifically of two individuals I know and love and they are without a home and both are emotionally struggling as they fight a mighty battle with themselves, bad relationships, and drugs.  I don't understand and I cannot comprehend how badly things can go for some people. I don't understand why someone who has so much support would choose to use drugs rather than reaching out for help from the many who love him/her.

I had a reprieve from the heartache yesterday as I drove to Sutton to take Ollie to school.  I hung out with Meghan, Ailynn, and Boe for awhile then worked on some homework.  I got another bonus when Meg dropped off the two littles to me for a couple of hours and we played together.  Tonight Patrick will be home and we will take care of Boe while Meghan and Kirk take Ollie and Ailynn to the fair.

  I've been working on school work this morning. In a bit, I am going to Granny's to make her breakfast and help her take her medicine.  Then I will be going to Anchorage to meet with my practicum supervisor, Janice, to line up this year's practicum work.  Practicum is most definitely my favorite part of social work school.  The syllabi for my classes is absolutely terrifying for this semester and once again I am filled with doubts about my ability to do this challenging academic work.  I must let go of the doubts and have more confidence in the ability God gave me.  I can do this! But dang I am nervous about it.

8/28/19

We kept Boe last night while Meg and Kirk took Ollie and Ailynn to participate in fair rides. I understand the big girls had a good time and little Miss Boe was content to hang out with "Mimi" and Papa.  I crashed at 10 PM-- I couldn't stay awake any longer.  Patrick has far more stamina than I.

Today I had a reentry fair (of sorts) at GCCC, our largest prison.  There were multiple agencies represented and we were there to discuss the future of DOC Reentry. DOC received a million-dollar grant from the Second Chance Grant to be used for reentry services such as housing vouchers.  This is all due in thanks to my practicum supervisor, Janice.  She's a dynamic lady and I'm honored to be under her wing this next year.

I am extremely tired. I had two online classes tonight plus my practicum today. It's time to get some rest. Tomorrow is another busy day with classes, practicum, school work, OT, counseling, and walking the dog.....

 9/1/19

One of my closest friends lost her aunt yesterday to cancer.  One of the most important people in the world to me finds out Tuesday if she has cancer.  I have read countless accounts this week of people losing their lives to overdoses. I have listened to mothers as they grieve their child's choice to use drugs.  I feel like life is often chaotic and bizarre, to say the least.  The song with the verse, "There is no one like our God" keeps going through my head. There IS NO ONE like my God.  I can do all thing through Christ who gives me strength.

I wonder sometimes WHY I am doing school on top of my chaotic personal life. I wonder IF I can do this.  I saw something yesterday that resonated with my soul: "Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come.  Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome." (author unknown) I can do this. I am here for a reason and I do have the faith that God will be right beside me, right in front of me leading the way, and right behind me giving me the push I need.

I think we may have a solution to Granny's need for a caretaker.  Meghan agreed to be there for three hours each day Monday-Friday.  Meghan is Granny's favorite person I think.  They have a very special relationship and I can think of no one who could help Granny out better than Meghan.  I believe all of us will feel reassured that Granny will be taking her medicine, safely showering, and eating well-nourished meals, as well as enjoying the companionship Meghan and the girls will bring her.

9/6/19

Granny and Meghan are getting along fabulously.  Today Meghan took Granny on an excursion to Sutton so she could see Meghan's house.  It was good for Granny to get out of her house. Today was the perfect day for it as the weather was beautiful.  Speaking of weather, I totally called August weather wrong. It was beautiful the entire month with the exception of just a couple of days.  Fairgoers enjoyed the sunshine for the most part.  We had a terrific summer and now are having a terrific fall.

The medical news I was waiting for about someone I love came back better than expected!  At least for the one major issue.  We are still awaiting test results for the other issue but at least we know there is no cancer.

My heart continues to grieve for the pain addiction causes.  The social work practicum placement  I am doing this last year is with DOC Prisoner Reentry.  I will be working on policy issues, case management, and community organization to assist in the implementation of services for those reentering society after incarceration.  I have professional knowledge as well as personal knowledge due to my son's frequent incarcerations due to drug use.  My heart breaks as a parent.  As a future social worker, I am determined to assist in providing these necessary services and work on prevention so no mother goes through what I am going through.

I ordered the plaque today for Logan's memorial at the Garden of Reflection.  It will read:

Logan Joseph Marre

6/24/87 - 10/24/98

Loved Beyond Measure

 

9/6/19

I got to visit with Granny, Meghan, Ailynn, and Boe today. I tell you, my heart felt a huge pain when I saw Ailynn zip through the door in her little leotard.  She had just returned from gymnastics. Boe was sleeping in the truck.  It hit me they are growing up so fast and I don't spend enough time with them. I hadn't seen them since Monday.  Four days in-between visits is way too much time.

When Boe woke up she grabbed my hand and said, "Mimi, outside. Apples. Pick-up."  We had fun picking apples off the ground.  She had one in each hand and was eating a bite from one, then a bite from another.  Ailynn was picking dandelions out of Granny's yard.  She was quick to tell me, "these aren't for you!"  She gave them to Granny which made her very happy.

9/8/19

This morning I walked Ringo while listening to church online. It is crazy how we can combine so many activities thanks to technology.  It was a pretty morning and Ringo loves his walks. I chose not to go to church in person because of my heavy schoolwork load.  I save 30 minutes of driving by watching it online.  The sermon was incredible. Paul, who is around Casey's age, brought the Word to us today.  The subject was on the peace of God and how God can give us peace even though we are experiencing difficult circumstances. Afterward, I listened to a song with a line that proclaimed, "What the enemy meant for evil, God will make victorious."  That's so incredibly true and I was blessed and inspired to have peace in my life despite the circumstances that are beyond my control. Even when I think I cannot handle anymore, God is there to remind me that I can do all things through him because He strengthens me.  I am thankful and grateful for him.

9/10/19

Yesterday the concept of a "warm hand-off" finally clicked for me in the dentist office of all places!  A warm hand-off is a term I've been hearing in grad school and in my practicum.  It doesn't mean warming someone's hands (that's a joke) but instead, warmly introducing the person you are working with to the next.  By doing so the person being "handed off" will feel valued as a person and as a unique individual.  I went to a new dentist.  My former dentist retired after many years.  My sister-in-law, Sharmin, recently began working for a dentist just down the road from us and he is in our insurance network.  I decided to give their practice a try. 

My first impression wasn't spectacular as the receptionist didn't greet me enthusiastically or even remotely warmly.  I was just a body.  But then I saw Sharmin who was enthusiastic and excited to see me and the little person I brought with me, Ailynn.  Then the dental assistant called me back.  She warmly greeted me and admired Ailynn which scored points in my book.  She also assumed Ailynn was my child instead of my grandchild which earned her extra points even if she was faking that part. (insert laughter)  She asked me if I was working and I explained to her that I am going to grad school, working on my master's in social work.  I told her a bit about my practicum placement with DOC Reentry.  I thought we were just making idle chitchat.  She mentioned that she has some "guards" who come in for cleanings and she loves hearing about their work.  I cautioned her about never calling them guards, and explained the difference between a guard and a corrections officer (a whole lot of training).  

When the dentist came over he said, "Hi, I'm Joe."  Joe, I thought?  Wow! He must be pretty confident with himself and feels there is no need to formally identify himself with his well-earned title of doctor.  He looked at the assistant and said, "What do you know?"  The assistant proceeded to tell him, "This is Kelly.  She is a current student working on her master's of social work.  She is doing an internship with DOC and she has worked for them before.  This is her granddaughter, Ailynn and I don't know how she can be a grandma, I thought it was her own child!" (points scored again)  The doctor then acknowledges all of that and then proceeded to tell me that Sharmin had given him a run-down of my medical history including my osteomyelitis in my left mandible many years ago.  This was a perfect rendition of a biopsychosocial history that was brilliantly delivered as a warm hand-off in the dentist office.

Now, if we could just be successful in practicing warm hand-offs in our everyday encounters.  I think about someone who might have a problem they are dealing with and seeking help for.  How often do we tell someone, "I think such and such agency takes care of that," rather than taking them to that agency and warmly handing them off ensuring their needs are being taken care of.  I see gaps in the systems that need to educate others about learning the art of a warm hand-off.  What about in a church when someone needs prayer?  Do we just pray for them and leave them to find their own way out, or are we identifying their needs and matching them up with a mentor, referring them to someone more experienced in that area, or even simply calling them in a day or two to ask them how they are holding up and what else we can do for them?  How quickly we say, "I will be praying" and then we don't follow through- or at least more than one prayer.

I encourage you to practice a warm hand-off today.  Do your part in helping people feel they are unique, special, and important.

9/12/19

I was in prison all day yesterday. Don’t panic- it was for my practicum hahaha. I got to go to Spring Creek for the first time. It’s our only maximum prison in Alaska. It was way different than I expected. The superintendent there has a different philosophy than most superintendents. He treats the inmates like they are humans who deserve to be respected- men who are important and valued. He and his staff spend time talking with them to get to the root of their behavioral issues and often assign mentors to the ones having the most difficulty. He sounded like a social worker and I wonder if he studied SW in school.

I was blown away by how calm the inmates were. Many were playing volleyball, several were in the woodshop creating the most beautiful, intricate art pieces, and others were out walking around the yard with a bunch of dogs! They train rescue dogs so they maybe adopted. The inmates even get to sleep with their dogs. Tell me that wouldn’t warm a heart! Even the staff can bring their dogs to work and the inmates take care of them. They have a running club and at 0700, some staff even run with the inmates around the yard. I’m telling you, it’s the most innovative approach in Alaska and I LOVE it! I would work for him in a second if it weren’t in Seward. That’s about 2.5 hours from my cabin and about 3 from Wasilla. I chose to come to the cabin for a few days to get a break. I can't figure out why more people don’t use the same philosophy. It is an approach that encourages behavioral modification. One incarcerated man who leads the Reentry mod that is designed to prepare men for release said, “It’s discouraging when we get out and people shame us and treat us badly. I wish I could prepared people by saying, we are going to be your neighbors and encouragement goes a long way. We want to be good neighbors and fit in. If we don’t have the support, we will go back to our old ways.” I encouraged another man to reframe his words- he said,” I’m an addict.” I encouraged him to say “I am a man with a substance use disorder and I am working on recovery.”

Social work was the right choice for me.

9/14/19

Yesterday was Friday the 13th and nothing bad or unusual happened to me.  Truthfully, I never really thought about it as I am not one who is superstitious.  Yesterday was a good day as I had two teleconferences and one meeting all related to addiction recovery and reentry into society.  I am becoming more and more passionate about this matter.  

Patrick, Ringo, and Oreo arrived yesterday.  In fact, they were in the cabin before I returned from my meeting. Patrick had steaks and shrimp on the grill. Oh my, was that a delicious dinner!  We watched two movies and I stayed awake for both which is nothing short of a miracle.  I had been up since 0400 yesterday due to my insulin pump beeping at me.

It is a beautiful day outside today and I'll be in for most of the day doing schoolwork.  Patrick is excavating on our lot where the RV spots and cabins will be.  There is so much to get done before winter and we are running out of time. I sure wish we had the money to hire someone to help out.

I did get to take a nice walk with Ringo last night and will take a break from schoolwork to go on another. I promised him and I always try and keep my promises.

I pray for the sick, the hurting, the homeless, the addicted, the grieving, and the depressed people in this world. May each know the peace that only God can give.  In today's world, we are told that we need to accept "all Gods and faith."  While I agree that we need to honor each person's choice, there IS only one God.  Let us not forget that he is a powerful God and he will determine where we spend eternity.

9/19/19

On this cool day of 9/19/19, my cousin celebrated her 50th birthday. I glanced at the clock today and it was 9:19 AM. I screenshot a picture and sent to her. I guess 9 is her "lucky" number.

I downloaded a stress app tonight as an experiment.  I have asked a friend to allow me to write about her stress level over the next several weeks for a single system research design project.  I found an app that helps measure stress. Being a considerate researcher, I downloaded the app to try on me.  The app measured my heart rate by me placing my finger over the camera. No surprise to see a red screen stating I was exhibiting signs of extreme stress. My heart rate was elevated to about 94 beats per minute.  That's actually not that uncommon for me but I will admit I am under a great deal of stress.  It's very hard to juggle my school load. I have multiple papers to write and to be honest, I have no clue what I am doing. I can't exactly fake my way through graduate school and the perfectionist attitude in me is coming out big time.  I am overwhelmed.  I don't know how to even begin these papers.  I have classes two nights a week for four hours, multiple hours of reading and assignments, many, many papers to write, my practicum, and I'm still supposed to sleep somewhere in between doctor appointments.  I did get an hour's nap today and managed to walk Ringo. I have to practice self-care, or there will be nothing left of me.

I have so many obligations and I also want to squeeze time in to see my grandbabies.  Patrick has been at the cabin working all week and I've eaten poorly since he's been gone. I need sleep, good nutritional food, and comfort. May God give me the strength I need for the next eight months......

9/23/19

My parents invited me over for dinner Friday night and I ate well, then I went to dinner at my cousin's house on Saturday for her birthday celebration, and today I will have a brunch at my brother's for my niece's 21st birthday. Thanks to the birthdays this month I am eating better. I still haven't cooked. Patrick won't be back until tomorrow night.

Yesterday I went into Anchorage for a recovery rally as part of my practicum.  I heard some sad stories and some stories of victory about overcoming addiction.  The keynote speaker is an attorney who got his doctorate in law after he was convicted of federal drug trafficking charges and spent time in prison.  If that doesn't motivate someone with a criminal history, I don't know what would.  He was an active drug user for years and had a traumatic upbringing. He overcame his addiction by the grace of God and the twelve-step program. He inspires me to keep encouraging others in similar situations to keep trying.

I got up early to work on a paper before I have a Zoom session about it with my instructor.  I need some guidance. I had a terrible night's sleep- my shoulder hurt all night and I had nightmares which caused me to wake up crying in fear. Not a good night but here's to a better day.

9/28/19

We have the girls for five nights while Meghan and Kirk get some rejuvenation and adventure. They are in currently in Colorado but were in Vegas. They have two concerts they are attending and I know they are having fun.  I think all parents need and deserve breaks. They sure wear me out so I have had to make sure I've gotten a nap in the past couple of days.

Tonight my mom, Ollie, and I went to a fundraiser for Set Free. Set Free is a great organization in the Mat-Su Valley and they bring Jesus into recovery.  Governor Dunleavy was there and spoke about the good work this agency does, Senator Hughes, and Representative Tilton were also present. Senators Murkowski and Sullivan joined via video announcement and all sang the praises of Set Free. We heard powerful stories of people who overcame addiction.  It's incredible that people can be so immersed in the drug culture and still be able to break free from the hold.  It gives me hope for those I love who struggle with addiction.  God is ready to do a miracle in their lives too. They just have to be ready to receive it.

9/29/19

It has been one busy day. Boe fell off the barstool, Ailynn fell off another chair, screaming kids running around being normal girls.... I am tired! This parenting stuff is definitely for the 20-year-olds, not the 50-year-olds!  We have a septic problem and Patrick is out in the rain trying to fix it.  I am praying he can.  This is not what we need right now.  He's under so much stress with the business adventure, my parents are under so much stress getting ready to leave to Texas, and I'm under so much stress because of school.  My heart rate is quite elevated. I've been averaging around 90 beats per minute over the last week. We all need a break. I'll get mine in May I guess. I just have to hold on until then.