January, Februay, 2020

January 2, 2020

Happy New Year to all of us fortunate and blessed to be here on this earth. The year started off with a bang- literally, as we watched the fireworks with our precious granddaughters.  It was cold and windy and they probably would have preferred staying home in their warm pajamas, but it was an adventure.  We took them to Iditapark for the city display.  Afterward, we stopped by the Garden of Reflection and I showed them Uncle Logan's plaque.  I want them to know their Uncle Logan.  We had them all day on the 1st and they wore us out!  We loved having them so much. I plan on having Ollie here tomorrow while Patrick will be at the cabin.  We are going to have a day just for her and me which should be fun.

I invited some moms who have lost a  child to come over today. I thoroughly cleaned my whole house and made a bunch of snacks. Only one person came!  This is the second time I have attempted to start a support group- the first for bone marrow survivors and that wasn't successful either.  Maybe people don't want the support!  I have all these ideas of what people need and maybe they just don't need what I think they do.  I want to help but maybe my help isn't needed after all.

1/5/20

I kept Ollie overnight on Friday. It was just the two of us as Patrick is working at the cabin.  We first went to Granny's and I left her there with her while across the street at my cousin's house interviewing a potential caregiver for Granny.  Those two had a fabulous time together! They ate some ice cream, looked at quilt books, went into the sewing room and discussed sewing, and watched TV together. Ollie told me that she enjoyed her time with Granny so much and she would like to do that again.  I was a bit nervous leaving the two of them but I was just across the street and Ollie had my phone number.  I should not have been nervous as Ollie is so much like her mom and her Uncle Logan as she is far more mature than her six-year-old year would imply.  The time they spent together meant so much to both of them.  Later, Ollie and I went to a recovery church and heard some great testimonies of how God helped people out of addiction.  I don't think Ollie paid too much attention which is totally fine!  She drew pictures and practiced her writing.  I loved having just her. I was supposed to have Ailynn last night but she got into trouble and wasn't allowed to come over darn it.  I only have a week left off classes so I need to soak in some grandbaby time quickly as I will be very busy the next few months.

Yesterday I went to a town hall meeting and it was packed with people wanting to speak to our legislators about problems in the Valley. I wasn't going to speak but ended up doing so because I felt it was important to point out that we need to treat each other kindly and not be so judgmental and quick to tear each other down. I mentioned that people releasing from prison need assistance and encouraged employers to give them a second chance. I reminded everyone that addiction doesn't discriminate and can happen to all families- including mine.  I probably sounded ridiculous as I know I stumbled over my words as I am not the greatest public speaker. I get too nervous.  Hopefully, it resonated with some and will make a difference as people interact together.

This week is a very busy week full of medical appointments and other events.  I book myself up too much.  I need to work on tax preparation too as I don't want to be doing that while writing those blasted school papers. How I dread this last semester in some ways!  I am so tired of writing papers that have to fit the criteria.  I need to be allowed to be creative!  I can do this!  Just a few short months left and my degree will be complete! Thank you, Jesus!

1/8/20

I have tremendously enjoyed my week so far.  Yes, I have had a few commitments, but overall, I have had some much-needed downtime and feel more relaxed than I have for a while. Yesterday I had a webinar- for my practicum- which I am getting a head start on, then went grocery shopping, ran some errands, briefly visited Granny, then went to an Opioid Task Force meeting.  I fell asleep from 7-10 last night which meant I did not sleep well last night. I've been up since 0400. I imagine a nap will have to be in my schedule again today, but hopefully, I can do that earlier in the day. I don't like when I crash so late in the evening.

The burdens of those I know continue to press heavy on my heart.  The single mother diagnosed with breast cancer still needs community support and I'm trying to connect the right people together to organize a fundraiser for her.  I can certainly help, but don't have the time to take the lead on it.  She is in desperate need of financial assistance.  The other friend with breast cancer who lives in another state, recently found out she also has another type of cancer and is having more scans.  She has her hands full with a mother who is experiencing dementia symptoms and she has three young girls.  Then there are all the children I see on FB who have cancer and my heart hurts for them.  

My mom hit a deer on Sunday and did a lot of damage to her car.  I worry about them.  Dad's truck broke down so it's currently in the shop.  They seem to have so many things go wrong which is frustrating because they are the most giving and wonderful people ever. I want things to be easier for them.

It is very, very cold here in Alaska and people are whining constantly about it. Yes, it is cold, but I am thankful it's not windy. When the wind starts blowing I will be the whiniest person out there.  I am so thankful that I have a warm house and a garage.  It's terrible out there! People's cars are not starting, the homeless are going to freeze to death, and it makes it difficult for people to get around. It's minus 24 this morning which is so darn cold!  My neighbors septic system has been frozen for two days and I feel so bad for them. I keep offering them my bathroom and shower but so far they have not accepted.

I met with one of my Representatives on Monday night. I love her heart. I think most of the legislators in the Valley love Jesus and it is obvious.  She has a compassionate heart and was excited to share with me what she has done for reentrants after incarceration.  She also donated some professional clothes for my upcoming Capstone project.  This project is one I must complete before graduating with my MSW.  It will be a one-day event held at True North.  It's the first-ever Valley Reentry Fair.  I will be giving out professional clothes for interviews and employment, as well as offering a keynote speaker who happens to be a person who served 20 years and is now a successful employee and also has his own business.  We will have breakout sessions for budgeting, interview skills, art, mindfulness, free haircuts, and more.  We will also have vendors there to share services such as peer support, substance abuse treatment, rental assistance, and hopefully employers.  The motto of this event is, "Building Healthy Connections Within the Community." I am very excited about this.

Today is a good day because God is in my life.  I am working on me.  I am trying to be more cognizant of my attitudes.  The steroids are still affecting me greatly.  My moods can be terrible and I must remind myself that between the steroids and my erratic blood sugars that I am not in the right frame of mind. I do not want to be offensive, rude, demeaning, or angry. I want to be loving, kind, compassionate, and helpful. I need off these drugs!  My face is so fat and I am rapidly gaining weight which depresses me.  I am walking the treadmill most morning to try and keep my weight down.  I have gotten used to being very slender and I don't want that to change.  But the biggest thing is my mood! That and the tremors and the spaciness I feel. It's not enjoyable at all.

Kirk has Influenza B and pneumonia.  Ollie was sick for a couple of days and I hope she is better today and the other two girls don't get it. Meghan had it last week but she must not have had Influenza B, or she's tougher than Kirk which is very possible hahaha. Patrick wanted to go visit them yesterday and I had to ask him no because that would mean I would be exposed. I hate depriving him of our grandchildren but I can't afford to have yet another sickness.

1/10/20

Meg ended up meeting me at Costco yesterday afternoon for lunch and I took Ailynn home with me for the night. I know they've been exposed to Influenza B, but I couldn't take not seeing the girls anymore.  Ollie was at school and Boe didn't want to leave her mommy.  When they got to Costco, I was in the optical department.  The first thing Ailynn said to me was, "For Heaven's sake, why is my butt so cold!"  Her lines got funnier as the day went on.  She would preface her sentence with, "I've got a good one for you....." When Patrick got home I had to take a nap. I slept from 5 PM to 8 PM which means I was up until midnight and back up at 5 AM but that's not too bad.   We played a lot of ball with Ailynn and she got really good at catching. She relished the 1 x 1 attention for sure.  Tonight I am picking them all up for the night. Patrick is at the cabin so I will be doing this single-handily.  I'm a bit nervous as I was unable to catch an early nap today. I pray my strength, stamina, and patience holds out.

Today Sandra and I met with a couple of people from Senator Sullivan's office to talk about Be the Match and asked that Senator Sullivan co-sponsor a Bill that will be introduced this year.  We got a warm reception from his staff as we shared our personal stories and the importance of helping those in our communities who need a life-saving bone marrow transplant.  After that, I met with my friend Lisa who is a 22-year survivor post-transplant.

My heart continues to be heavy as I have spoken with several in the past few days whose children are struggling with drugs and alcohol.  One has a "child" who is in her 50's and continues to drink, use drugs, and go in and out of jail. The grandchild of her child is also in federal prison.  Another has a 42-year-old son who is a father to a young boy and is actively using meth. The stories go on and on.......I am concerned about my own son at this moment as well.  Life isn't easy and it's not always fun.  I trust in my God and I know he is here for me.  I pray for strength for all of us. I pray for courage.

God, I lift up all of those in the world who struggle with addiction.  I know they don't want to be addicted. I know that they are not happy but are seeking to fill a void in their lives.  I understand that they feel they can't control the urge to use or drink. But God, I know that you are the most powerful being in the entire universe and you are also the most loving and giving being in the universe. Send people to them Lord to walk beside them and show them your love, grace, and mercy. Help them to know that no matter what they have done, you are filled with grace and mercy for them. Nothing they have done is too much for you. You love them despite their bad choices and mistakes.  Show them visions of what their lives can be like without using drugs or alcohol. Please show them their worth!  Keep them safe, God.  Please send your angels to form a protective circle around them and warn satan that they are untouchable because they belong to you. Help us, family members, to know when to step in and when to step back. Send friends their way so they are no lonely. Send only people who will be a good influence in their lives. Please open the hearts of Christian men and women so they may pour out your love and mercy upon them. We trust you with our loved ones, Father God, because they were yours before they were ours, and they will always be yours. We love you. Amen

1/11/20

It's amazing how much better I can see the computer screen when I put on my prescription reading glasses instead of my regular glasses.  I am not sure why it took me so long to figure this out. I actually just ordered a new pair of reading glasses and computer glasses from Costco. I paid $170 total and the other optical shops were charging $300 just for computer glasses! I hope they work well, they should as it's the same prescription.  Being diabetic and having glaucoma and macular degeneration in my family concerns me so I want to make sure my eyes are protected.  Speaking of my diabetes, last night my blood sugar was 412 at 6 PM. At 10:00 Pm it was 51.  There is nothing like having to eat something just before bed after I've already brushed my teeth.

I had all three of the little girls last night and had a blast with them. They were exceptionally well behaved and none of them argued about bedtime. In fact, they all fell asleep within 10 minutes. I had to pinch myself to see if this was really happening!  They were loving to each other and happy. It was a great night! I am wishing they would wake up as I have been up for well over 2 hours. But it's barely 7 AM and they need their beauty sleep I guess.  We are going to Granny's this morning to have breakfast with her and help her with her medicine.  We hired a new caregiver for her last night and she will meet Granny this morning to make sure they hit it off and she will begin next week.  We really liked her and we have mutual friends so I  feel confident she is the right person for this position. Granny really needs companionship most of all.  Loneliness is a real problem for the elderly.  Loneliness is a real problem for many others as well.

Building healthy connections within our community..... It's our responsibility as Christians to do that.  It's going to start with me. I am determined to help link people together.

God bless you all.  If you have prayer requests, please email them to me at kellymarre5@gmail.com

1/12/20

A prayer from the book, "The One Year Book of Healing."  "God, help me to realize day in and ay out how you intervene in my life to keep me from harm's way.  May I Have a thankful heart, knowing that you are my protector."

1/13/20

There was a special speaker at Sumit Worship yesterday and she brought an incredible message of hope.  She reminded us of the story in the Bible when two fish and five loaves of bread fed 5,000 men because Jesus blessed the food and made it multiply to feed them all.  She emphasized that we have the ability in ourselves to multiply blessings and it's up to US to do so by using the power of God.  Why not "us?"  Why do we so often think that "someone else is more capable or should do things for others when we are capable to do so ourselves?" We sell ourselves short and fail to recognize our strengths and abilities to be used effectively by God. It was a great message for me. It reminded me that even though sometimes it doesn't seem that I am making a difference, I am.

This morning while on the treadmill I listened to a wonderful message about guilt and shame and how God can deliver us from shame.  Andrew Rodriquez brought the message, "The Guilt Bucket" and you can find it on YouTube.  What is the difference between guilt and shame? Guilt helps us realize we need to make a change so we can be free from oppression. Shame is when we do the same things over and over and expect different results. Shame causes oppression, depression, and hopelessness. God doesn’t want that for us. Get rid of the guilt bucket by exchanging it with the guilt bucket Jesus has. His bucket is empty because he’s never sinned. This will set you free! You are worthy to be forgiven and loved.

1/14/20

My practicum officially began this week and today was the first day of a two-day conference. Dr. LaTessa, from the University of Cincinnati, is in Alaska to speak about reducing recidivism, working with offenders effectively, and becoming coaches rather than referees. I love the message he is bringing, and I love that people are listening to the message. We must make changes if we want to see effective change. People can, and do, change. 

There is a man in our community who was gravely injured yesterday in a tree clearing accident.  Please be praying for Beau. He's got many broken bones. 

I have a busy few days as school starts tomorrow night. We are keeping the girls Thursday night and then I plan to go to the cabin this weekend. A little bit of R & R before the semester gets overwhelming. God has this!

1/18/20

We made it to the cabin and I am happy to be here.  I have a lot of homework to do this weekend.  The professors decided that a few assignments need to be done early in the semester, so they are kicking our butts into gear.  The classes were good this week, but my fatigue level made it difficult to concentrate.  I had an all-day conference on both Tuesday and Wednesday and I was very worn out. On Wednesday I had to leave an hour early to go home and take a nap before school.  In between my two classes I have a 15-minute break. I slept 10 minutes during that break and still was nodding off in class. This shows me I am still "not there."  It's frustrating- so very frustrating. But I do believe I will get there!  School on top of the practicum is difficult.  I am sure when I work fulltime that it will be easier because I just have to concentrate on one thing. I'm hopeful about that at least!  I want so badly to go back to work this coming fall.  I am considering all the areas that I would enjoy working in.  Now, we just need the right doors to open and a great job offer to come.

We kept the girls Thursday night and had a great time with them. I did have class so I didn't get to spend as much time with them as Patrick did, but I had the next morning to enjoy them and love on them. Ailynn woke up with q headache and said her body was shaking.  Turns out she had a fever last night of 102. When Meghan first let me know I, of course, felt bad for her. My second thought was, "Oh no, I was exposed and I do not want to go back into the hospital." My immune system is still compromised. If I get influenza I suspect it would mean being hospitalized. I have such trauma from being hospitalized and it causes flashbacks. I do not want to go back so I am praying God protects me from getting what she has and that she gets over it quickly because I don't like seeing my granddaughters sick. It hurts my heart.

It is going to be an interesting and exciting year and I can't wait to see what God has planned for me.

1/20/20

My nephew Kyle turns 20 today on January 20, 2020. I think this is the coolest birthday ever! I think he needs to celebrate at 1:20, 2:20, or 2020 (which is 8:20 PM) with a nice dinner or non-alcoholic toast hahaha. 

Ollie reminded me of an important lesson when I dropped her off late to school on Friday. I do not like to be late. I had been up since about 0400 and got all my morning rituals done. Ailynn got Up about 0730 and wondered if the Tooth Fairy had come with money for Ollie since she lost her tooth the day before. We went to check and woke Ollie up. Ollie is not a morning person at all. That girl could sleep until noon each day, unlike Ailynn who is an early riser. The Tooth Fairy did come, but Ollie was more interested in going back to sleep. I sent Ailynn down a few times to wake her while I made Boe breakfast. Boe is our best eater. she likes a variety of foods and has a voracious appetite. Ailynn wasn’t hungry which of course now I know it’s because she was sick. Finally, Ailynn convinces Ollie to get out of bed. By this time we were running behind schedule. Ollie decoded she wanted pancakes. My first thought was, “ we are going to be late if I make pancakes.” My second thought was, “ she asked for pancakes and I will be a good Grammie and make pancakes without saying anything negative.” So, Ollie enjoyed her pancakes and we were ten minutes late to school. They go to a fabulous school in Sutton which is a 25-minute drive from us. When we walked in, I told Ollie that I was sorry I took her to school late and gave her a little talk about how it was so important to always be responsible and on time.  I made sure she knew I took responsibility for not getting her up earlier and shared I was disappointed in myself because I didn’t deliver her on time. With her wise far beyond six-year-old mature attitude, she looked at me and said, “Grammie, you can’t always do everything perfectly.” Wow, how did she know I have issues with perfectionism?” Probably because I have seen the same traits in her. I don’t want her beating herself up like I frequently beat myself up. I was so proud of her for saying that and acknowledged she was right.

This morning I read about trust. Trusting ourselves and others to always do the right thing is not possible, but we can always trust God. We will let ourselves down, and others will let us down. God will never let us down.  He is someone we can always depend on. He is consistent, honest, and we always know where we stand with him. People and circumstances are going to disappoint us. We will be betrayed by the people we love. We aren’t going to always get our needs met by those we love the most, but God will always meet our needs.  When others hurt us it’s important to take our hurts to God and not to social media or around town. We must stop the division in our families, our communities, our states, and our nations. 

This week is a busy week for me as I have lots of appointments, doctor visits, errands, and practicum meetings. We are training the probation officers about prison Reentry this week.  We are asking them to trust us that we are giving them knowledge of how to implement programs that will help people change. I am working on my Reentry Fair Capstone Project and setting up speaking engagements to tell professionals all the reasons they need to believe that those with criminal records can change and why they should help this population of people. I am asking them to trust me and my knowledge as well. I trust God to give me the right words and help me persuade these groups that change IS possible!

1/22/20

This week is so busy for me and is flying by so fast I feel as if my head is spinning.  I have so much to do for practicum and school that I feel I cannot keep up.  I must drive into Anchorage for the next three days to attend the training DOC is providing to the probation officers about reentry services.  Since I am the practicum student I will be there to assist in however they need me.  

I was invited to speak to the Rotary Club at the beginning of March about my Capstone project. I am both excited and nervous and certainly need to write something out and memorize it.  Public speaking is not a gift for me despite people saying I am a good speaker. I don't do enough advance preparation and I need to make myself more comfortable with all the pertinent information I am sharing. I must be confident!  Yesterday I met, through Zoom, with two amazing men, one who works with a prison ministry academy, and the other a professor at the University of Georgia.  Incredibly, they are both willing to help me design my pre/post survey for my Reentry Fair.  I am thrilled to have their expertise and I know that God designed the meeting which happened in such a roundabout way.  Meghan has a friend who has a friend who referred me to them... It's definitely one of those, "God things."  I want so badly for this event to be a success so that returning citizens will have a sense of belonging in our community.

I am reading a book called, "Dog Whistle Politics" for my advanced policy class. It is not a book that I would have chosen to read but now I am glad I am reading it.  It's about the root of racism in America and some of the stories have brought tears to my eyes. I was horrified to read about "Convict Leasing" which is when at the beginning of the 1900s through the end of WWII, inmates (predominately African American) were again forced into slavery because they were "leased" to companies/business owners so they could provide labor for the difficult and dangerous jobs.  They were physically forced and tortured to perform and many even had their arms and legs amputated by chains and bars used to force them to work.  I had no idea what had happened until I read the chapter, and I was horrified to think that in our recent history that horror took place.  We wonder why things are so bad in the world right now but I can see how generational trauma affects each generation of people.  Take the Alaska Natives for instance.  They were forcibly removed from their homes and put into boarding schools where they were abused.  So many have passed on their pain and suffering onto their children and their children's children.  Only God can release that trauma and facilitate healing.  How do we introduce a loving God to others so they may know him and allow him to take away all that pain and break the generational bondage?  I believe it starts with relationships.

When we have a relationship with someone, we are more likely to share our genuine thoughts and beliefs with them.  We can teach others that it's okay to let go of the pain that has kept them in bondage.  We can share with them that it is important to hold every thought captive that is not one that is of encouragement.  The devil has an innovative way of destroying all peace and happiness.  When we hear those negative thoughts and voices, we must tell the devil to go away because he has no authority or power over us. God gave us both power and authority over satan!  We can send him on his merry way because we are children of God.  We must believe that we are worthy and capable.  Perhaps we need to write out Bible verses and stick them on our mirrors to remind us who we are in Christ.  We hold value to God and if HE values us, which he does then we are important.  I think most of us want to feel important to someone.  Who better to be important to than to God?  We all serve a purpose here on earth.  We were not created for no reason.  

Yesterday I watched a Christian minister introduce a lady whose grandmother (who was a nurse) inject her 8-month pregnant daughter with saline to induce an abortion.  This lady was the baby of that failed abortion.  After the saline injection failed, the baby was born alive but her grandmother just put her aside to let her die.  Another nurse rescued her and she was adopted into a loving home.  When she learned about her history at the age of 14, she was devastated and began drinking and developed an eating disorder.  When she finally allowed God to heal her from the pain, she began speaking out against abortion and sharing her story. She even tracked down her biological mother and offered her forgiveness for her part in the attempted murder.  This is a woman who has used her experiences to help others and has advocated for the termination of abortion rather than the termination of the pregnancy.  She's a faithful change agent and her story is so powerful.  God kept her alive for a reason just like you and I are alive for a reason.  What can we do to make a difference in the life of another?

Have a blessed day.

1/25/2020

Imagine taking a nap late in the evening after a full day that began at 3:30 AM When one could not sleep. Then there was the drive to Anchorage for another day of an all-day conference. There I was, tired, emotionally drained, frustrated.... I laid down on the couch to read three weeks of newspapers I haven’t had time to read. I made it through one before I fell asleep. The phone woke me up around 9 PM. It was Patrick calling from the cabin. I fell back asleep and woke before midnight with some energy.  I decided to get some things done on the computer. I worked on taxes, I returned important emails, I modified my flyer for my Capstone event.  I did all I could while I still had energy. Finally, at 4 AM I forced myself to go to bed. I was filled with anxiety over the news I got yesterday. News that’s going to change lives and not in a good way. News that brought my knees and makes me wish God will come back soon and take me home so that I don’t have to feel the pain a mother feels.

I also got my blood tests back and I am in adrenal insufficiency again because of the steroids. I am frustrated about that. My A1C (diabetic test) is at 8.1 and I’m so upset. That’s also due to steroids. My cholesterol is high- I assume due to the medications as well. So now I have to take new medicines to counteract the damage the others did. That just makes me angry!

I have papers due in a few days that I haven’t even had time to start. I’m overwhelmed. Terribly overwhelmed. Things are out of my control and I don’t know what to do.

1/26/2020

I visited with Granny in the morning and gave her her pills and breakfast. I read a chapter of the book I bought the visiting minister wrote. Her regular caregiver reads her a chapter a day but I thought it was a good thing to do while I was there. Holly bought her a paint book and helped her with it today. She said Granny really seemed to enjoy it so I will do that with her too as I visit. The more activities we give her, the better.

The girls spent the night with me so I got out from under the homework cloud for a bit. Unfortunately, I was pretty darn tired and fell asleep on the loveseat.  When I woke up I discovered they put themselves to bed with Ollie in the middle hugging both of her sisters. It was a precious sight, to say the least.  I sure wish I had more energy for them.  They were really well behaved.  We took Ringo (finally) into the self-cleaning dog wash.  We weren't impressed.  The room was cold and the hairdryer blew out cold air on him. The poor dog!  I guess I'll start doing t his at home. He sheds so badly II don't want the hair in the drain but I guess I can figure something out.  The girls thought it was very strange that I was bathing him there and they were also cold standing in the room. We walked out we saw the tail end of the fireworks in Palmer and that thrilled them.

I was able to get some school work done yesterday but nothing is turned in yet. I have to wait for my assigned partner to review it before I submit it to BB. I still have another two papers I haven't even started and both are due soon. It's all overwhelming especially when I am worried so much about a personal matter that is keeping me up at night. I know God is capable of miracles but what if someone really doesn't want to change? Maybe they really prefer being rude, hateful, deceitful, and using drugs?  I go back and forth in feeling if they truly wanted to have the support and love of the family and fit into the society that they would take advantage of every opportunity offered rather than sneak right back to drugs and be hateful and mean, dishonest, and steal from all around.  Then I put myself back into that person's shoes and wonder how they feel about themselves.  Are they hopeless? Discouraged? Traumatized? Feeling worthless?  How can loved ones help?  I"m at a loss. We have prayed for years and nothing seems to make a lasting change.  Discouragement is at the top of m feeling chain today.  I have several friends experiencing this exact scenario right now.  I am out of suggestions or words. I go back and forth with just feeling numb and then having a breakdown.  I wish Jesus would just come back and take me to Heaven.

 1/27/2020

Its 1:11 AM on Monday and I am not sure when I am going to sleep. I had the girls last night and they wore me out. I hadn't gone to bed until 0400 the day before. I am reflecting on my ability to be a good caregiver.  Last night I fell asleep on the couch while they watched a movie. When I woke up, they had put themselves to bed and were all huddled together with their arms around one another. It was so sweet and precious yet my heart sank as I realized they did this without me even waking.  Thank goodness Ollie is responsible and shepherded them to bed.  I was up way before them this morning and instead of getting on the treadmill I just piddled around not really accomplishing anything.  After Meghan and Kirk picked them up at 2 I got to work on some school work until I once again fell asleep. I woke up at 9 PM and started working on school and tax stuff. I must be up early to travel to Anchorage for my oncology appointment so I truly need some sleep. I need a normal sleep pattern for sure.  I enjoyed the girls and I hope they enjoyed being with me too. I love them so much but don't always feel as if I am totally present with them due to the fatigue and the stress of school.

Ailynn had a bit of a meltdown and I pulled out my phone and clicked on a kid's mindfulness activity.  It was about being the pond rather than the fish with all the negative feelings swimming around. The pond is a safe and calming place.  I thought it made a lot of sense but she told me she is going to continue being the angry fish. I hope it does sink in and she learns to manage her frustration better. I also taught her some of my ACEs training about how someone can go from 1-4, with 4 meaning "flipping your lid." Ollie told her she thought Ailynn was at a 4 today but she insisted she was at a one.  They are picking up what I am putting down!

 1/28/20

Yesterday I went to the oncologist and discussed my terrible A1C and my adrenal insufficiency. I picked up yet another steroid yesterday This one is supposed to compromise my immune system even more. That's just great as I am volunteering all day at Homeless Connect tomorrow, and then going to Spring Creek Correctional Center on Thursday. Germs will be everywhere! I also saw the endocrinologist today and he adjusted my pump settings. However, my blood sugar was still over 300 today. I just don't know what to do.

The girls stopped over today and I enjoyed seeing them. I am completely overwhelmed with school. They were a nice welcomed break. I just don't see how I can get all of my work done with practicum and such fatigue. It's 7:30 PM and I am off to bed and hope I sleep tonight.  

1/30/20

Homeless Connect went well and I was happy to be able to provide intake for those who needed services.  Spring Creek Correctional Center canceled the in-reach for today due to potential blizzard conditions. I cannot say I am disappointed as I needed a free day to do some schoolwork. I am finally attempting to attack my proposed practice evaluation I have been dreading that is due next week. I seem to have a mental block when it comes to anything related to evaluations. I am very stressed about this paper and the other ones in that class.  

I have been awake since 0130 after going to bed at 9 PM last night. I don't know how much longer I can function on minimal sleep.  My endocrinologist made some adjustments to my insulin pump but my blood sugars are still remaining high.  I suspect my adrenal insufficiency is also contributing to my sleep problems.  I am completely off Prednisone now which is great, but I am still on two other steroids.  I take way too many pills.

I received the picture book of quilts that Granny made today and I am so thrilled to have it. I am going to ask her to autograph it for me.  That's hard for her because she can barely see, but I'll encourage her to try as I want her to sign it for me. It's a treasure to be handed down from generation to generation.

I have a friend who is having surgery today for skin cancer- a pretty serious surgery, and another who is having back surgery tomorrow. Another friend is having adverse reactions to her chemo treatments and is really suffering.  I also have many friends whose adult children are struggling with drug addiction and things are not going well. Please pray for these people.

 2/1/20

Oh my goodness it is February already!  This semester is going to fly by for sure. I spent all day working on two assignments that are due next week plus another I am trying to get out of the way. I must have the two finished by tomorrow so that means I must buckle down today and get them done.  I have to take a couple of hours to give Granny breakfast and pills for the next two days. Plus, we are keeping the girls tonight. My personal life is interfering with my school work, but my personal life is also important.  I am making sausage gravy and biscuits to take over there.  Patrick stayed home this weekend instead of going to the cabin since Super Bowl is tomorrow. I sure hope he plans to figure out the food and snacks for the game (which I won't be watching) as I am way too busy to do so.

I have managed to get four hours of sleep for the past couple of nights. It's not much, but at least I slept from 1:30 to 5:30 last night.  My blood sugars continue to be erratic. Yesterday it was 495 and after 6 units of insulin, it was still at 425 two hours later.  I am at a loss of what to do. I am sure that's a contributing factor to my fatigue and lack of sleep. With adrenal insufficiency on top of that, my endocrine system is overtaxed.

Despite it all, I continue to feel grateful to be alive and able to do what I do. I was speaking with a couple of people this week about how I continue to go forward with life despite all the obstacles.  Mostly I have a good attitude- at least "I" think I do!  Life is good and I am happy and content and feeling incredibly blessed.

2/3/20

The girls spent Saturday night with us and we had so much fun.  They were really well behaved and brought a lot of joy to us. Boe tenderly kissed me on the forehead a couple of times which melted my heart. The bigger girls wanted to sleep downstairs with Papa, so I laid in their bed upstairs with Boe until she fell asleep. They all slept all night and I got up at my usual 0530 and started working on my lit review for my practice evaluation paper.  She woke up about 6:30 and came out all sleepy-eyed. She never said a word, just let me hold her. After a few minutes, I carried her to my bed and laid down. Five minutes later I snuck out and went back to the paper.  She went to Grannys with me and visited with her while I gave Granny breakfast and her pills. I enjoyed that special time with my youngest granddaughter.   When I got back, Ollie, Boe, and I worked on some art projects while Ailynn hung out with Papa.  It was a successful grandparents' weekend!

I did not watch the Super Bowl, but I did see the halftime show on the internet and was appalled.  I think that the singers/bands were focusing on sexuality way too much.  I am concerned that young girls watching will feel that they need to grow up and be sexy in order for people to like them. Worse than that, I fear that young girls think they need to be sexy now! We have such a high sex trafficking issue in America. Young girls and boys are being exploited by men and women at dangerously high rates. Promoting gyrating women pole dancing only exacerbates the crisis.  There is no denying these performers ARE sexy, have great bodies, and are good singers. However, the Super Bowl should be a family-friendly event and promoting sexuality isn't conducive to that theme.  Furthermore, it makes average women feel inadequate compared to these flamboyant performers. How on earth can a regular woman compete with that?  I can guarantee you there are a lot of married women wondering if their husbands want them to look and act as those performers do. I suspect the show contributed to a lot of insecurity for women and girls. Not to mention that it put men and young teen boys in a situation of extreme lust!  Teen boys who don't need the added pressures of a sexualized show.  We have lost our morals and values in this country and it is time we brought back the innocence. But is that even possible? I believe we have gone over the top and there may not be any turning back.

 2/5/20

My dad turned 77 today. He was always the strongest person in my life- so full of energy and stamina.  I see he's still spry but certainly not as full of energy and stamina as he used to be which saddens me.  I know age changes things but it's sad to see people no longer in their prime and larger than life. To me, he will always be that incredible man so full of love, wisdom, and power. I wish I were there to spoil him today.  I hope he has a peaceful day with no drama and just fun and relaxation. I hope Mom takes him out to lunch and maybe a nice drive and hike. They need to get away from the daily stress they are under.

Last night I had the Opioid Task Force meeting and I spoke about my upcoming Capstone Project.  Today I have two presentations to give. I have been awake since 0130 so we shall see how I do. I am debating getting on the treadmill today. Truthfully I don't feel like it.  I'd rather go to sleep but I doubt I could sleep anyway. Plus my first meeting begins at 0830 and it's now after 0600l.

Little Beemer, a young AK boy who recently had a bone marrow transplant, has been fighting RSV and the Epstein Bar Virus. I am very worried about him and ask for you to pray for this young man.  So many people suffering from complications of cancer right now.

2/7/20

I had my Pantamadine breathing treatment scheduled today at Providence. The last two times I have gone there has been inadequate service as no one knew why I was there, where I was supposed to go, or who to call. After last month I got a call from a supervisor who ASSURED me that would not happen again. She made the appointment with me herself and promised all would go smoothly. But then I showed up and nothing was smooth..... I was told there was no appointment. Once again they tried reaching the department and no one answered. They tried paging. They asked me to have a seat because it might be a while. After about a 40 minute wait they came and got me and apologized. I tried being polite and kind but I was really ticked off.  The manager came to see me and profusely apologized which I appreciated.  She promised it would be different next month. I'll not hold my breath but I do appreciate her efforts. She gave me a $10 gift certificate to have lunch there which made me feel pretty good as the food was delicious!  I am fed up with medical procedures in general but to have them mess up my appointment three months in a row is ridiculous.

I just finished class and I am so tired. I not only had the breathing treatment, but I had to drop off our tax stuff to our preparer, then went to Palmer to help with a reentry simulation for the Youth Court as part of my practicum.  The kids were so adorable and they seemed to be really interested in the process.  A couple of them said, "It is really hard for people to get out of prison and find jobs and housing.  They need to be given a second chance and people need to remember they are humans."  Very insightful for middle schoolers I would say!

2/8/20

I went to the fundraiser for Sutton Elementary last night and brought the three munchkins home with me.  They were so good again! Ailynn was in a great mood and was the best behaved of all three with Ollie right there with her. Boe was awesome last night but tested her boundaries this morning which is normal for a two-year-old. I love having them. Meghan and Kirk are in TN and won't be back until tomorrow. I dropped them off to Grandma Jane this afternoon after we visited the Oathout's at their new coffee stand that opens on Valentine's Day. We got a sneak preview and a free drink today which was fun!

2/9/20

I am so tired and I even took a nap today. The dogs woke me up barking in the middle of the night and were out for an hour.  I was doing homework and decided a nap sounded better. I spent most of the day sitting. I feel extremely lazy. I did listen to church online while I walked on the treadmill though.

The Super Bowl halftime show continues to generate comments and frankly, the comments irritate the heck out of me.  “It’s no different than a man wearing a Speedo at an Olympian  swim meet.” Okay, a man wearing a Speedo isn't gyrating on a stripper pole or shaking his butt. “I loved it because she is 50 years old and in great shape!” Okay, first of all, 50 isn’t that old. Secondly, she may be in great shape but she’s still pole dancing in front of children. “ Women have the right to be sexy.”  Absolutely, but not in front of children! “ It was a 10-minute show so how much can it really affect a child?”  Seriously??? Ten minutes of anything affects a child! 

We have simply lost our morals and values! I am wondering how to handle my objections. I am tired of being attacked for having morals and values. Am I supposed to sit back and pretend all is okay? That doesn’t seem right either.  Jesus, just come back and take us to Heaven. This earth is too crazy for me. 

 02/12/20

I've been sleeping better but still so very tired in the mornings. My insulin pump keeps going off in the middle of the night and I have to figure out how to stop the one alarm that tells me I haven't pushed any buttons in three hours. Duh! I'm trying to sleep! I know there is a way to turn that alarm off. I actually never turned it on. I think when I got a new pump it was an automatic setting that came with it.

I have a sore throat and starting to feel as if I am getting body aches. I took a couple of Tylenol and I hope that helps. I have a meeting with Senator Murkowski's office today about Be the Match National Marrow Donor Program, and then a community ready event for reentry for my practicum. On top of that, four hours of school tonight!  It's a busy day and I don't have time to be sick.

I was contacted by a woman whose daughter has been using drugs for years. She is weary from the constant worry- one that I understand.  Again, so many to pray for. So many addicted to drugs and so many with serious health problems.  Not to mention that so many are just living in emotional pain, so many are angry and bitter, and some living in generational dysfunction.  How can I be of help to all of them?  I truly want to help them all but I am one person. I suspect there are many who think like me.  We need to band together to be more effective.

2/13/20

Last night I had to present my practice evaluation PowerPoint to my classmates through Zoom.  It's always awkward to do that because of several reasons. 1.  I don't feel confident in public speaking. 2.  I am weak in the data collection and analysis area so feel completely dumb.3. I don't like being on camera!  Despite my concerns, my presentation went well. For the first time, I signed up to go first. I didn't want to sit there for the entire class with butterflies in my stomach waiting to go or thinking about how the person before me did it totally different and maybe I did it wrong.  It's done!  I think I have two more presentations this semester before the big 20 minutes "showcase" for my Capstone Project- my Reentry Fair.  Which, by the way, got totally funded by the Mat-Su Health Foundation!  I am so excited about this event. I have several vendors and presenters scheduled, now I just am praying the returning citizens (those recently released from prison) come to the event designed for THEM!

I do not feel well. The upper respiratory infection I have been fighting since November is getting worse. I have mild body aches and had a few long coughing fits in the middle of the night. I tried going to bed at 9 PM but just before I was falling asleep I realized my blood sugar was really low.. I had to eat 2 oranges and a banana to get it up. I was too tired to brush my teeth again. Gross, I know! Nothing like falling asleep with citrus all over your teeth.

  Today will be another busy day as I have a physical therapy appointment this morning, then will be going to the men's prison for case management- part of my practicum and my practice evaluation paper.  

2/14/20

I don't celebrate Valentine's Day because I think it's ridiculous that one day a year society shames us into professing our love by spending money on things we don't need, flowers that will die and are outrageously overpriced, and candy that isn't good for us.  I didn't always feel that way.  As a teen, I wanted to be loved by someone so badly.  I never had a boyfriend in high school until I met Patrick towards the end of my senior year. Even then we were not really boyfriend/girlfriend, we just hung out as friends. Our relationship changed in June of 1985 when we fell in love.  In 1986, we spent our first Valentine's Day together. I was living in Anchorage and he came over that night.  I assumed he would show up with a bouquet of flowers, a beautiful card with loving messages in it, and maybe some candy or some special gift.  He arrived empty-handed and I was devastated and shared my disappointment with him in a very immature manner.  he went to the grocery store and came back with a small plant in a container with hearts on it.  Truthfully, it didn't mean too much because he felt obligated to buy me a gift, although he scored many points for trying to make me happy.

As the years went on, he got better with the gifts and planning incredible dinners, usually cooking for me, and I appreciated his efforts. I also worked hard to make the day special to him.  After years went by I reflected on that first Valentine's Day and thought about my reaction, my disappointment, and his efforts to please me.  I realized how ridiculous I was in reacting the way I did.  I realized how meaningless it really is to set one day aside to show love when every day should be a day to celebrate love when you are in a relationship.  After that realization, I insisted we would no longer buy gifts for each other on the mandated day to express affection.  Instead, we make an effort to celebrate every day as a gift because we love each other.  I'm so happy to be free from the bondage of obligations.  

2/16/20

Yesterday I got to attend Beauty and the Beast play at the college.  Joyce, (Meghan's stepmother-in-law), our friends Annette and Paula, along with Meghan, Kate, and all the kids were with us.  The kids were very well behaved and thought it was a good play.  I thought it was fabulous and all the actors did a great job.  It was a nice break from school work that is for sure.  The girls dressed up and looked really cute.

I coughed again all night long so I got little sleep. I leave for Juneau very early in the morning and certainly hope this cold gets better. I do not want to get anyone else sick. I look forward to this trip but have a bit of anxiety about being away from home for three days. I spend tonight and Tuesday in a hotel in Anchorage and will spend Monday night in Juneau.  The flights are too early and arrive too late to make it easy for me to get home.  My mind shuts off when I am very tired so the organization is gracious enough to work with me by getting me a hotel.  I have a conference early Wednesday morning in Anchorage.

Patrick plans to meet me at the hotel tonight if he can wrap up things at the cabin in time.  We haven't gotten to spend a lot of time together since he's gone every weekend and I am so busy with school.  It will be nice to see him and maybe we can have a nice dinner before I fall asleep as usual!

I heard today that a friend, a former Alaska Trooper, had a stroke while vacationing in Hawaii.. Please pray for Dave.

02/20/2020

Another cool day! For those who have a birthday this day, they'll have fun writing their birthday month, day, and this year.  I know four people who do have a birthday today.  I have had a busy, busy week. Juneau went well!  I loved being there and advocating for tobacco-related issues.  This time was about taxing e-cigarettes just like all tobacco products are taxed. When the tobacco tax was implemented, there was no such thing as e-cigs.  We just want them to be taxed like all tobacco products are.  The other issue/part of the SB 182 Bill is that Federal law now mandates the age of purchase to 21.  AK Statutes still has 19. We just want Alaska to conform with federal policy.  

We had a bunch of snow dump Monday and Tuesday so I was thankful that I had a hotel lined up for Tuesday night in Anchorage since I had a very early conference for my practicum. I was away from home for three nights and I was really glad to be home. The past two days I was at a recidivism reduction conference.  It was also good.

2/23/20

We brought Ailynn and Boe with us to the cabin this weekend. Ollie was still in school when we left. I felt bad that she didn’t get to come with us, but I think she’s enjoying a weekend alone with her parents.  The pass was so snowy and scary for me. Thankfully, Patrick was comfortable and confident driving through it. Good thing I wasn’t driving!

Yesterday I pulled the girls around on the sled. It was a good workout for sure and I was happy I could manage it.  My hips are hurting again (last couple of weeks) almost like before when I had trouble walking. I hope the progress I had made isn’t going away. My physical therapist is aware of my regression and hopefully, they can fix me up to get me to where I’ve been the last couple of months. My blood sugars are going from constant highs to frequent lows which isn’t fun at all!  Other than that, I’m alive and doing pretty good. I’m sleeping better finally. 

2/26/20

I am so disorganized and feel like I am not giving anything my best right now.  I feel like I am forgetting something important.  Today my schedule completely changed and I thought, "great! Now I can do school work." But here I am trying to figure out what to tackle first.  I've been so busy with conferences and meetings for school I just can't figure out if I am coming or going. Both of my classes were canceled tonight which is always nice but I was supposed to cofacilitate in one of them which means that will have to be rescheduled. I was eager to be done with that responsibility.  The end of the semester and my graduate school experience cannot come soon enough for me. I am more than done!