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Monday, June 4, 2018

Update: Let There Be Light

I can not leave this space! David made a wonderful addition to my creating space downstairs and I will take a few minutes to update you about what is going on down there! When we moved in there were two eight foot florescent light fixtures in the middle of the unfinished area. The kids set up the Lego table under them and they did all kinds of other playing in that area of the basement. After four years, the bulbs one by one burned out and they were no longer giving any light.

I asked David if the fixtures could be moved (one across and above my cutting table and the other up across and above the table where my machines were). He didn't think that would be a big deal and so he with the help of some of the boys, moved them right where I needed them. We then went to get new bulbs. No luck, the fixtures seemed to be bad. But David, knowing so much more than I do without having to YouTube it, knew there were a few things that he could try so I left it to him to figure it out.

Having a large garage with a ba-zillion eight foot florescent light fixtures, he was able to test the balists. I knew nothing about that and as you can see, I hardly know how to spell it - but then spell check doesn't either so I will just leave it at that. I was out one evening last week and came back to David asking me to go downstairs and check it out.

Well, if you have ever heard "let their be light" in any other context besides "in the beginning", there is no comparison. Seriously, I can not get myself to leave down there and it isn't even all organized and clean! I have never had such good lighting in any area I have ever worked in. I attribute my ability to crank out creativity this past week to this very thing.

You can also see a few more fabric bins on my shelves so that is a great thing that I have been able to accomplish too. Still a ways to go as far as the organizing and purging, but things are coming right along. So, as an update of my creative space, I am happy to say, there is light. It is a happy place!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Who's Gonna Drive You Home?

You are humming a tune after reading the title of my post up there aren't you? Well, song lyrics or not, that is the question in our house lately. Yesterday, David had gone out to pick up some groceries so when Ryan called from work to come pick him up, it was me who drove over in David's car since he had the van to pick up groceries.

Ryan got in and I had to laugh. I told him "good thing you got that hair cut yesterday or you wouldn't fit into Dad's car!" Seriously, his head touched the roof of the car and his hair was getting caught in the sun visor! He has a good sense of humor when I said I had to take a picture of him! The kids are all getting more and more comfortable on the road and I have had to get used to the passenger side. Some like it completely quiet when they are driving. Some want the GPS removed from the dash (which is a good idea at this stage) and some want to chat all the way.

I say it often and I will say it again, time flies by so fast. It seems like we were just at the DMV getting their permits and here they are - two of them starting drivers ed next week. It will be a little while til I am used to them driving around town, but we still have a few months before they are on their own.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

I Do Windows After All

We moved into our current home in November 2013. Talk about a crazy time in our life! August 15th I had just had a double mastectomy after a lumpectomy left cancer in the margins. And, why not try to "flip" your old house, get it on the market and try to sell it in 30 days so that you can move into the house you see yourself living in for the rest of your life!

God did an amazing work through all that. I smile when I think about our linoleum party and then the finished product as we put the house on the market the night before I went into surgery. It blows my mind that it was already four and a half years ago. Then as I was getting into life again the cancer came back. Wow was that a shocker and rocked my foundation. But we did what we needed to do to get it out and all of the treatments that it takes to get well again. And I have blogged for years now about the whole process and life as it goes on around all of that.

But speaking of our current home...through all of this time in our home I have taken the window/screens out of the kitchen windows only and washed them last summer. After seeing some condensation and mold growing in the sills of the boys' room a couple weeks ago, I decided I would pull all of the windows and screens out and get rid of that mess! Today was the day. I hosed down the screens and scrubbed the frames and left them on the patio to dry.

I know...gross!
The glass panes were tougher since there was a lot to scrub on those. I have missed feeling like I can handle these kind of chores around the house so today has been wonderful! Maybe there will be easier breathing in that room after all is said and done. Looks like here in Iowa we have skipped spring and jumped right into summer with these temperatures but I can still spring clean in summer weather! At the same time I can work on my non-existent tan!

It is about time I get around to some of these things. One room a day is definitely doable and the weather today and the next few looks good! I am thankful for these windows because the windows in our old house were ridiculously difficult to clean. Even though I doubt the boys will even notice they are clean, it is great to know that I know! I think I will invite them to join me in the task this weekend when I get to the living room or dining room windows too.

I am thankful to be able to do this and believe me, I don't take these kind of things for granted!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Is it FRIDAY Yet?

This has been quite the week in our house and I do believe that there has never been a Friday that I won't be more thankful to have made it to in my entire life! And it is these three who have allowed us to experience a whole new dynamic in the house. Three people taking the AP Human Geography test at the same time. The struggle has been real folks!

They have one book and multiple online resources. One of my responsible ones has made up 40+ flash cards and so someone is usually going through those. The tension is building as Friday becomes closer and to help, this mom has been doing most of their chores in the evenings so they can study.

I asked the most obvious question a mom of triplet teenagers may ask "why don't you all sit down and study together?" Three almost simultaneously gasp "MOM...we don't study the same AT ALL!" So not even two of you? I am thinking? No...resounding.

One is a little grouchy to everyone as the stress builds through the week, one is physically not feeling that well (which this non-doctor mother would
attribute to the stress building...but what do I know?) and the other is walking around like "test? what test?"

This is a new and exciting experience for me. I keep thinking "and we spent money for this?" Yes, to watch our kids not share and snip at each other all week. Some think that how the others are acting means they don't care or they aren't taking things seriously. I literally don't have to mother them at all this week because they are mothering each other "you shouldn't study that", "you need to share that book, Mom bought it for all of us!, "why are you just sitting there watching tv when there is a HUGE test coming up on Friday?"

I hang back in the other parts of the house doing their chores and listening to the sounds of studying, three different kids, three different ways, three different amazing minds doing their thing. I am not at all worried. Just counting the hours til they go off to school on Friday. They are blessed with great minds. I often wonder how that happened. I did marry up where intellegence is concerned and maybe along with all of those long eyelashes that they didn't get from me, they also got a brain that soaks in knowledge and spits it back out again in a way that is favorable to a good grade.

Whatever it is you can know this...I will be SO glad when it is Friday!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Stupid Feet!

I can hardly walk these days! Plantar Fasciitis is really no joke! The pain in the morning walked off pretty easily at first but it is the all day pain that is getting the best of me. Thankfully as a substitute teacher on my feet there is little discomfort (especially when I wear my shoes with good arch support) but when I am around home there is a lot of sit down time.

Sit down time means that I have to get up and walk many times a day. THAT is when it is excruciating. It eventually walks off but the pain when you try to stand up from a chair and haven't used those muscles is bad, even after just ten minutes. Pain shoots up through my heal too and so from the knees down it is crazy pain. If you want to see this "old lady" all you have to do is stick around until I have to get up and walk around.

I was told that it could have been exacerbated by the chemo and my body is reacting to that in my feet. It definitely started right as I got into a great walking schedule last spring much to my disappointment. I have gained weight and that extra weight could cause irritation. Which is a catch 22 because I can't exercise my favorite way (walking) if I am supposed to rest. The fact that I am writing this now proves also that I have not been faithful to my elliptical all winter which would probably be a good alternative exercise without the stress on my feet. Doctor said that rest would help and maybe that is true, but the rest is not helping my stamina and all around well being. As my children (who obviously watch too much television) will quote for me "a body in motion will stay in motion" from one of the many annoying pharmaceutical commercials!

So recently I did what any normal thinking person would do and I googled it. I have exercises and have been able to put to use my elastic band. I spent one morning for thirty minutes on each side stretching slowly those muscles to try to get the inflammation down. It seemed to help that day but it is probably going to work best once I get into the routine of doing it daily. Following the directions I pushed up and held, and then twisted a bit out on the inside of my foot and held and last twisted a bit on the outside and down and held. It hurts when you first position but as it stretches it really felt good. I also have a water bottle full of water in the freezer to roll when I am at my desk, and golf balls...I never thought I would EVER own golf balls, but rolling them in the arch of my foot feels dreamy! Now I just need to do it every day. Stay tuned, I may report back on how it is going.

Oh...and a public apology to anyone who has told me they have Plantar Fasciitis in the past and I didn't understand how debilitating it can be. I can truly say now that "I feel your pain"!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Squeaky Wheel

First ice the area
I guess if you complain enough about something someone will hear. I don't think anyone heard me at the oncology office as of late, but when I got there yesterday morning, I was greeted with a exam room and some papers to sign. Huh? I thought.  It is my new "that time of the month" where I go into the fast track room, get a shot in my behind and head back out the door for the rest of my day.

Not this time. Some who are connected to me on Facebook have probably seen more than once my complaints about a $1,200 shot each month that I get of Lupron. My forced menopause drug of choice (or doctors choice as the case may be). Seems as though I am not the only one who thinks that the cost of Lupron is outrageous.

My dear nurse who greets me with a friendly smile each month went on to explain that they are switching all of their Lupron patients to a new drug...funny, I don't remember the name off the top of my head...and now I am thinking, "hmm, maybe I should have asked for the fact sheet to have as a reference"...oops. The reason for this change is because the cost of the Lupron shot is getting too high.

She then went on to explain that this new drug that I will be getting isn't a shot in the behind but instead, goes into the belly right under the skin. The needle goes in and it will be "wiggled around" to form a tunnel, pulled out just a bit and then a pellet will be injected into the tunnel right under the skin. Would I like an ice pack to numb the area first?

Hmmm...I don't know, sure we will try it this time. So I iced the area right beside my belly button. After she left I found myself wondering "beside my new belly button, or down two inches where my old belly button was? Or, perhaps it doesn't matter that much. She came in about five minutes later with another nurse who is learning how to give this injection. She assured me that she has done it many times. I wasn't too concerned. As she prepared the syringe I noticed the large needle unlike others I have used to give myself shots "just under the skin" in my belly in the past. Before I knew it the needle was in, the "wiggling" was done and the pellet was under my skin. It is one of the bigger holes I have been left with after an injection but hey...it isn't going to cost me $1,200 a month!

All of this to say I am thankful for a doctor who recognizes the ridiculousness of the drug costs for their patients. It may take a little more time in the office on injection days, but that is all right by me. Next month I am going to skip the ice. From waist to neck I am pretty much numb since my mastectomy reconstruction anyway. That will shave about five minutes off of the visit!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday From the Heart: We are the Speck!

Lately I have been thinking a lot about how difficult it is at times to just praise. Not asking God for anything, not being thankful for anything He has done for me, but instead to just praise Him because of who He is! David in the Psalms has such a wonderful way of doing this. I find myself starting in any number of the praise Psalms if I haven't the words myself.

Being a substitute teacher, I am in a number of classrooms. I was thinking this morning about Horton. Yes, the Dr. Seuss Horton. He hears a who. I have seen that book in at least three different classrooms these past couple of weeks. When we first saw that movie it was so moving to me because of the fact that as most of us have heard it said "a person's a person, no matter how small". When I grieve for my miscarried child and keep that to myself because, "well, she was only a 11 week old fetus". Obviously when the movie came out that was still a raw grief...no matter how small. That child who is in the arms of Jesus matters to Him.

Is anyone else with me when they saw that movie? I mean, that we are the Hortons of the world and there are little people or maybe your take is "less fortunate" people that need to be kept safe and helped? Just a thought. As I have been seeking to better praise Him just because He is God, He has brought small glimpses to me in the things I have been doing. I already mentioned the many copies of "Horton Hears a Who" books in classrooms I have been in. Then there are all of the glimpses lately I have been given into the universe itself. A few weeks ago Matthew and I went to the observatory here about 30 minutes away and got the reminder of the teenie tiny-ness of us. And we so often think we are "all that".

I pondered this morning when I drank coffee on the back step as the sun came up...my God could at anytime take that sun into His hand and fling it across the galaxy sending us to our demise spinning into space. He really doesn't even have to do that at all really. Just a small tip with a finger for Him to throw off the suns position and send us into a random orbit. Too close to the sun, too far from the sun and we are no longer "all that".

We really are "the speck". The beautiful thing about real life though is that our God is not Horton. He is not a bumbling elephant who is trying as hard as He can to keep us safe. We live in His Will. Not always an easy place to be but we have a guarantee that He will not lose us in a huge field of pink puff flowers! I got to share the story of Abraham's almost sacrifice of Isaac to my Good News club kids. How sobering it is to think that God could ask for our most prized possession as a sacrifice. Abraham knew beyond a shadow of a doubt God's character would not renig on His promise. That is why he truly is the "father of the faithful" and has so much of Hebrews 11 dedicated to his example.

Yes, we are the speck. And we can be sure that the One who holds us is not going to let go, or lose us along the way. In fact, there is only one enemy of our God and he holds no candle to the One who created him! I am going to stay fixed on Him. I am going to be a better praiser of Him. NOT because I have to be a "good enough" praiser but because I am the speck. If I learn to praise Him well, I will be able to help those who need someone to speak for them in His name.

I have been blessed to have spent the last seven months in the book of Hebrews with some awesome women of God. There was so much to learn but one of the things again, recently that connects to my desire to praise God for being God is Hebrews 13:15 "Therefore, by Him, let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." Praise as a sacrifice. During the times I am grieving, sorrowful or even depressed, it IS a sacrifice of my own state of mind to say "Lord, I praise You in this storm". Sacrifice...it is easy to praise God when things are going well, it is when we have to hoist our own grief onto the altar of His praise that we sacrifice. We are the speck and He is our God. Our God who hears every word whispered or shouted. Without our saying, He knows "we are here".

Having trouble praising? Here is a place to start...open the Word to Psalms and take your pick: 33, 63, 84, 92, 93, 95, 96, 100, 111, 113, 117, 136, 139, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150.

Psalm 63:1-3 "O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You."