The month we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ is here. The true meaning of Christmas vanished long ago, and commercialism has taken its place. Perhaps this year, we can return to appreciating what this holiday truly means with all
of the turmoil over the pandemic. Holidays haven't been easy for me since Logan died. It's been hard for me to celebrate without him. I had a conversation with Meghan the other day after asking about their Thanksgiving plans. They were taking a road trip to
Montana. I asked her if they were having Thanksgiving dinner with friends. She replied, " we were hoping to pretend it's not a holiday. You know me and holidays." I got this sinking feeling in my heart and said, "This is all my fault! I ruined the holidays
for you." I was on speakerphone, and my sweet little Ailynn said, Grammie, you didn't ruin anything; it's not your fault!" Bless her little heart!
1\ week with one crisis after another, I am both physically and mentally exhausted.
put in 11 days of working so far and continue to love it. I like the clients and my coworkers. Today I start my clinical supervision for my license. I have to work 3,000 hours before I can apply for the clinical licensing exam. Today might be hard because
I have mostly been awake since 0200. I went back to sleep for a bit and dreamed Ringo got hit by a car. I feel a bit off today. Now is a good time to read psalms. I need the joy of the Lord to have the strength I need to get through today.
Thank goodness it is Friday! For the past several years, that phrase didn't mean much to me. After a hectic week with one crisis after another, I am both physically and mentally exhausted. Something strange is happening to my format, so it
may seem a bit odd u til I can get to my computer to fix it.
Patrick will be here before 6 tonight, and I am so looking forward to seeing him! I haven't seen him since Sunday. I'll get three nights with him and two full days.
Granny turned 93
on Wednesday and was flooded with phone calls with good wishes. She sounded giddy when I talked to her. Patrick and I enjoyed our dinner with her last Saturday. It's always so good to spend time with her. We can sure learn from the past. We truly need to appreciate
all our ancestors experienced and be grateful for what we have.
Be careful. Be calm. Don't lose heart. Stand still. The Lord will fight for you. Exodus 14:13-14 How true that is. We are experiencing times
of distress. People are afraid to stand up for what is right due to being persecuted for doing so. Now is the time to remain diligent and to continue trusting our God to sustain us. We can always depend on him, for with him, we have eternal life.
This life on earth is temporary. The finish line is near. Let's serve him well so we can hear the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
I am thrilled to be reunited with my husband this weekend. My days are long and stressful
at work, so I'm too exhausted to be lonely when I get home. When Friday gets here, though, I am ready to walk into his arms for that reassuring and loving hug. I had not been hugged since Sunday, and I missed it. I am a hugger, and this darn
COVID makes it impossible to have that physical connection with friends.
Speaking of friends, we plan to visit our elderly neighbors Harold and Christine, and then visit with our friends Rich and Gretchen. We haven't socialized in so long, and
I miss that connection tremendously. It is important not to put ourselves in a situation where we are exposed to COVID, and I feel confident that today's visits will be safe.
We decided not to put up a Christmas tree this year since we are going back
and forth between two places. I might have to find the teeny one we stashed here at the cabin. It may not have lights on it, but it's still a reminder that this is the month to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
The weekend went
way too fast, and Patrick and I said our goodbyes yesterday morning. Thankfully, he will be back on Friday evening for another three nights. I look forward to the following three weeks since I will have three Fridays off in a row! I'll be home each weekend,
praying we won't get a huge winter storm during that time.
Harold and Christine were exposed to COVID, so we did not get to visit with them. I am praying that they don't get it as it will be perilous for them as they are in their mid 80's and Christine
has heart problems. I talked to Harold today, and he doesn't think they have it.
My week has been very busy this week and will continue being busy for the next gazillion years. I still love it!
A day of even
numbers! It would have been fun if I wrote this at 12:12.
This morning I saw a post about a nativity scene in Palmer being the first one in years. I know that's not true; I've seen them outside various churches each year. People were debating
whether the nativity scene should be there or not. People were crying FOUL; We must honor the separation of church and state! One person even said if a Christian scene can be displayed, so can a satanic scene. What is WRONG with people??? The traditional manger
scene brings hope, love, and peace to us all. It reminds us that CHRIST is the root word in Christmas. Jesus came to earth as a newborn child to save us. We celebrate Christmas because of Christ. We have turned into people who are afraid to share their faith
due to fear of being persecuted. I even wondered if I should wear a necklace with a cross on it to work. I chose to wear it, and I am glad I did. Why should my beliefs be stifled?
Patrick and I decided not to hang up Christmas decorations this year
due to going back and forth between Wasilla and Kasilof. I miss the lights, but I don't miss the mess. I don't get out much, but it seems like there are minimal decorations this year. I finally asked why our office building isn't decorated. By the time I left,
there was a tree in the lobby! Perhaps I should decorate my own office and bring joy to others. All of my decorations are in Wasilla except for one tiny tree. I will take it to work. This year above all years, we must bring that peaceful feeling that Christmas
decorations bring. There was a time when we loved Christmas because we love blessing others. I miss those days. Now we fight over our rights, and it's become a commercialized stupid holiday. I will continue honoring this holiday as one to celebrate the birth
of Jesus and bless others.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Be merry, be at peace. Our Lord and Savior have come.
I finally put on some Christmas music today, and it felt a little bit more like Christmas. I got to thinking about the
magical feeling of Christmas pasts. When I was a child, I looked forward to Christmas. I faithfully watched ALL of the Christmas shows on TV. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and I am sure many others. It was a magical time.
When I grew older, Christmas traditions weren't as special, but I still looked forward to it, especially going to Granny's each Christmas Eve. When Patrick and I became parents, that magical feeling came back as we "played Santa Claus" and watched our
children experience similar joy as we did as children. When Logan died, I lost my interest, and the magic was gone. When the grandchildren came, the magic returned. Now they are gone again, and the magic isn't here. As the saying goes,
"I'm just not feeling it." Now, if I could go out and participate in Christmas events, it would probably help bring that Christmas joy back. But COVID has ruined that. I am trying to think of ways to bless people during this holiday season.
My heart hurts for all of the children living in poverty. They don't know what the magic of Christmas feels like. My heart hurts for the elderly who are living alone or in nursing homes. My heart hurts for those separated from their families because
they are in prison. How can God use me to help?
Yesterday U.A.A. had an online holding ceremony. No one but the university staff was seen on camera, and we graduates couldn't see each other. There were some nice speeches, but
I am thrilled that I got to have my own graduation in May. That meant a lot to me.
My days are filled with work and exhaustion and it is difficult to keep up with writing. So many things go through my head regularly and I
think, "that would be a good topic to discuss", but then my brain quickly deletes the information. I think there is a term for it, "brain dead from exhaustion?" Most nights over the past week I slept pretty well which is an enormous blessing.
There were a few days I was up at 0430, but overall, much better than my previous seep patterns over the past several years. Last night I dozed off while watching, "The Professor and the Madman," and then announced I was going to bed when it was over.
Patrick looked at me and said, "you do realize it is only 7:45, right?" No, I did not know that. I was SURE it was at least10 P.M.! But, I had been awake since 0430 so that is my excuse. After I completed all of my mandatory before-bed activities,
i.e. washing my face, putting on pajamas, brushing my teeth, I decided to try watching one more movie with him and managed to stay awake. We have such limited time together I felt it was important to sit next to him while we are in the same house.
Our time together goes by so fast I hope we can manage this chaotic schedule. If it is not snowing next Wednesday, I will drive home that night as I have next Thursday and Friday off. It will be wonderful to spend four nights here at home.
In fact, when I come home, I am always amazed at how much space there is to move around. The cabin is very small and I don't get my exercise as I do here at home.
Yesterday I went to an eye doctor in Anchorage who specializes in dry eyes. I have
chronic dry eyes and I have for years. There is a procedure out there that insurance will not pay for (of course) that she thinks will help me. I didn't realize the eyelids have oil ducts on both the upper and lower lids. All of my ducts
are clogged. She said that if she were to squeeze out the gunk in one of my clogged ducts the consistency would be like toothpaste. This procedure puts a strange gadget on both eyes that is heated to 108 degrees. The purpose is to "liquify"
the contents of the duct, therefore, will allow tears to come through. I will plan to do it as soon as I have completed my probationary period and can take an afternoon off work. It takes just 12 minutes. Interesting procedure and of course I hope
and pray it will help.
The doctor was incredibly nice. She is from Vietnam and described being a refuge and apprehensive about coming to America. She worked hard for her education and strives to continually better herself. When I shared
a brief synopsis of my medical trauma and my recent return to work she complimented me. She said, "So many Americans just sit on their butt and do crap, but here you are, after all the things you have gone through, working and showing people that
it can be done." I never know what to say when people compliment me. I can only think of, "But by the grace of God, go I." It is not me who has the strength. It is through Christ that I have the strength. It is my parents, my
grandparents, and my ancestors who have taught me that we must work hard to achieve success. I do not take anything for granted, but appreciate all the opportunities I have to learn, grow, and achieve.
Recently a friend who has had so many difficulties
in life experienced the loss of a beloved parent. She has now lost both parents and a sibling. This friend has experienced depression and sadness for all of the years I have known her. I remember talking to her in high school and trying to
encourage her and share God's love for her. We reconnected several years ago and she has mentioned the impact I have had on her. Again, I have difficulty accepting that. It was not me, it was God through me. After I told her she blessed
me with her friendship, she wrote, "I can't imagine a person like you saying I gifted you with my friendship. I am blown away by that statement. You have always been a beautiful, sweet, kind-hearted person who has always done whatever you could
to help anyone." I guess my friend and I both have difficulty seeing our own gifts and strengths. I want so badly for people to recognize their own strengths, but it is hard for me to acknowledge my own. I think I am struggling because I
work on practicing humility and humbleness. I never want to feel or appear to be grandiose in any matter. I have had a few people tell me I am a "know it all" and those words haunt me. I never ever want to be that kind of person.
line is what we hear is often who we become. If we hear we are good for nothing worthless, stupid, etc., then we are going to feel that way. If we hear that we are made in God's image and he is always with us to help us, we will have confidence
and step out in faith to achieve things we never thought we could achieve. My parents and my grandma are three people who fit this last category. They do so much for others and they do so because they genuinely care. None of them will accept
praise or have a big head for what they do- they just do it gladly because they love Jesus. I want to be more like them. I don't need kudos, I need Jesus to shine through me so I may help others. I am more than blessed. Through Christ,
I have conquered leukemia, I am able to continue living after losing my first-born son, Logan, I continue walking in faith knowing Casey struggles with a substance use disorder, and I continue pressing forward despite my physical pain and limitations. I can't
possibly do those things on my own. I am blessed, grateful, and humbled by the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Yesterday the winds were fiercely blowing. I thought about Peter panicking in the boat while Jesus slept.
Jesus was calm. He woke and rebuked the winds. All it took was for him to tell the winds to obey him. I find it amazing that God can force the winds, the seas, and the mountains to obey him, but he gives us free will to make our own decisions and
create our own lives. We get to choose. We don't always choose the right path, make the right decision, or be the person God created us to be. However, we have all of the ability to make that conscious choice to follow his way. I find it interesting to hear
people say they don't want to be forced to act a certain way or imply they would have to be robots if they were Christians. I think some think if you are a Christian, then you aren't allowed to have fun or be carefree. I love that God makes the winds, seas,
and mountains obey him but that he does not make us into those robots! I think God loves our uniqueness. So, be unique, follow the path you want as long as Jesus is on that path too. Let him be your flashlight so you can see clearly.
My plan is to leave
for home right after work tonight. I drove back last Thursday night and was in constant, terrible pain. The three-month reprieve from hip pain this summer was not long enough. Now I remember what it feels like to be pain-free and I long for that again. Besides
my hips hurting, my arms are excruciatingly painful when I drive. I've been going to a new chiropractor in Kenai. Yesterday she said, "I don't know if I can help you, but I will try." I wasn't surprised. No doctor has been able to help me since this started
after my transplant. I think it's my cross to bear. it's a reminder of how blessed I am to have my life here on earth. It helps me be more understanding with others in chronic pain.
A friend posted a reminder of how important it is to
find joy at Christmas time. I have made no secret of my difficulty in finding joy in a world where so many are focused on buying gifts and outdoing each other. Patrick and I were talking last week and I made a "joking" remark that I had expected
to come home and find a Christmas tree up as a surprise. I then told him I didn't really expect it because he's never been one to want to decorate with me or act impressed with my decorations. I am pretty sure I hurt his feelings which was not
my intention. This morning I walked downstairs for the first time since arriving last night. I found a very nicely decorated Christmas tree up with the lights on. At that moment, I experienced pure joy. I felt his love come through and I
realized how intentional he was to do something he would know would bring me joy. I don't think he felt bullied into doing it; I think he truly wanted to make me feel joy. He succeeded.
Happy birthday, Jesus. May
we all realize that today we celebrate you and the gift you gave us all, eternal life. May we treasure each moment on earth and strive to bless others as you have blessed us. May you guide and direct us every step of the way, and may we follow
you willingly instead of reluctantly. I love you and I thank you for coming to earth to save me.
We are nearing the end of the most difficult worldwide year that many have experienced. We have experienced earthquakes, tsunamis,
hurricanes, COVID, riots, political nastiness, loss of connectedness, camaraderie, employment, deaths, and loss of hugs. I keep hearing people say, "I can't wait for 2020 to be over." Do they think all of the bad things are simply going away? I am afraid
that is not going to happen. We have reached a point where there is no turning back. COVID will eventually go away, but I suspect another worldwide pandemic isn't far behind. I also think natural disasters will continue along with the nastiness
of people. I sound like a real "Debbie Downer" today don't I? First, the Bible tells us that natural disasters will increase before the end of time. But the Bible also tells us that brother will fight against brother and sons will be
against fathers. We are seeing that now, aren't we? It is heartbreaking and distressing. As a Christian, I urge you to stand up for your beliefs. Practice kindness, love your neighbor as yourself, help someone in need, and be a person of
integrity. If you will make just one New Year's Resolution, I urge you to make being kind your resolution. Kindness goes a long, long way.
I will be headed back to Wasilla tomorrow after work as I have Thursday and Friday off. It will
be my third weekend in a row driving back. I am thanking God that the roads have been good. Patrick will be traveling here the following couple of weekends. Living in separate households is not ideal. Hopefully, it won't be for too long.
Happy New Year's Eve! I ended up not leaving the cabin until this morning. Of course, we started getting snow yesterday afternoon. I wasn't comfortable driving in the dark on snowy roads. Thankfully it was clear this morning
and I had no problems getting here.
My last blood tests were short a test. They did not do a CBC even though it was ordered. I stopped into Quest on my way home. Their internet was out and unless I had the order in my hand I was not going
to get my blood test. I called my doctor who said they'd fax it. Quest needed to close for lunch and the order hadn't come in after five minutes of waiting. I had to go home, wait for an hour-and-a-half, and return. Thankfully, it's only a 7-8
minute drive from home. I felt very frustrated because I just want to be normal and not have to worry about medical stuff.
My transplant doctor sent a message that they will not schedule my post-transplant annual testing unless I get the
COVID vaccination. I cannot believe I will be refused medical care because I won't get the vaccine. It is unfair. My body, my choice! In my opinion, the vaccine is too new. I don't know what the long-term side effects will be.
I am not willing to be a guinea pig. I fear this is the beginning of being denied rights and privileges if we do not get the vaccine. It seems so wrong to me.
Here is to 2021- a new year, a new beginning.