Saturday, May 31, 2008

God Bless the Broken Road

Last night was my last Stepping Up DVD lesson. In it, Beth Moore talked about how every person and every experience she had, even the negative ones, led her to Jesus. She spoke about how sometimes it is on the broken road of life that we find Him. She also told us that we are all on a pilgrimage, and that we need to be good fellow pilgrims, ready to help others out when they need it. The lesson really made me think about my own pilgrimage and my own broken road.

As I reflected on my own broken road, I realized that scattered along the way, along the side of my road, there have been many fellow pilgrims. And, I have been blessed to call each of them my friend. Some were sent to me for just a season, and some, I pray, are here for the journey. They have influenced me for the good, and some of them have influenced me negatively. But, no matter what, God has worked through each and every one of them, and I have been blessed.

I have been blessed beyond anything I can imagine with the friends I have had over the years. My friends have walked along side me, at times helping me up, and at times carrying me over the rough travail. They have wept with me and for me. They have dried my tears and have bound my wounds. They have comforted me in times of sorrow. They have held my hand through break-ups, through ended friendships, and myriad failures. They helped me bury my aunt, my dad, and my grandma. They have shown me that the end of my world has not yet happened, no matter how I feel. They have held my hand while Jesus healed my heart.

They have laughed with me. They have danced with me. They have sung songs out of the sunroof with me. They have shopped with me, laid out in the sun with me, and have eaten a ton of great food with me. They've spent countless hours talking to me on the telephone, talking about everything and nothing at the same time. They've taken pregnancy tests with me and have been in delivery room with me. Now they have even emailed and blogged with me.
My friends have done all these things and so much more with me. They have pushed me and challenged me. They have forced me to grow. They have opened their hearts and their lives to me. They have talked to me about and have shown me Jesus. They have taught me to trust and to love, and they have each made me a better person. Even when they hurt me, even when they disappointed me, and even when they've left me along the side of the road by myself. Because no matter what, my friends have forced this weary traveler to keep living and walking forward on this broken road. Walking forward in search of my God, whether I knew it at the time or not. Walking forward, inching closer and closer to my Mount Zion.
And, I am grateful. I am grateful that I am a sculpture, chiseled by God, but through the hands of each person who has touched my life. I have been shaped by each and every friend I've ever had. And, I know that God has worked through each of their hands, even when those hands chiseled what seem to be mistakes or imperfections created by heartache or negative experiences in my past. He has a plan to make even those imperfections beautiful, conforming to the image of His Son.
So, to each of you out there who I am blessed to call "friend," even the ones I have haven't met in person (yet), thank you. Thank you for making the mosaic of my life brighter and more colorful by being a part of it. And, please know that it is an honor for me to be your friend. There is nothing in this world I would rather do than walk along side of you on this pilgrimage. Nothing. I will laugh with you and cry with you. I will be here for you whenever you need a friend. In the middle of the day or in the middle of the night. When the road is level, but especially when it is broken. I can't take the credit for the good things, and I can't heal or fix the bad ones, but I pray that I can help spur you on to the One who can.
God bless my broken road. It has led me to you, and you help lead me to Him. I love you all more than you'll ever know.

Friday, May 30, 2008

And We'll Be Dancin' The Night Away

OK, so we won't be dancing, but we'll will be watching some dancing tonight. Remember, I told you my weekend plans involved tu-tus and tights. Yep, that's right, I'm going to the ballet! I love, love, love the ballet. I danced when I was younger, and I have even been known to take an adult dance class or two. So, I was pleasantly surprised when George said he had gotten us tickets to see this:

(Yes, that dude does have shorts on. They're just difficult to see in this picture ;) It's the spring performance of Ballet Des Moines. I have to admit that I am something of a ballet snob. I get crabby if the dancing isn't as good as I think it should be. But, I will tell you that we have been to a Ballet Des Moines performance before, and it was very good. I think they have an arrangement with some of the larger ballet companies across the country, including the Tulsa Ballet, and they get some of their dancers from those larger troupes. In any event, I am so excited. I get to dress up and go to the ballet. I can't think of many things that would make for better Friday night activities.

And, to make my Friday even better, my best friend from college is driving in tonight. She and her sweet, darling five year-old son are coming to hang out with us for the weekend! Yippie! She lives in Illinois now, and we don't get to see each other very often, but this is twice in the last few months she has been back to visit. I have no idea what we are going to do, but I am completely certain that it will involve lots of food and lots of laughing because that's what we do. It will probably also involve a trip or two to Target and the mall. We are women after all.!

So, I am terrible about taking pictures, but I will try to remember to take at least a few this weekend. I hope you all have a terrific weekend!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's Almost Friday

It is Thursday, which means it is almost Friday! Woo hoo! Yippie! I might be slightly excited, but I bet you couldn't tell. *wink*. Primarily I am excited because I've had a pretty good week, and I have some awesome weekend plans. So, here's a little recap and a preview!
Tuesday night I continued my deep cleaning spree. I have been boxing up some things that are taking up unnecessary space, like my law school books. They are big, heavy, and completely useless. In fact, I have no idea why I still have them. Well, other than my addiction. I can't get rid of a book. Even ones I didn't like. I keep them all. Hello. I'm Heather, and I'm book addict. Nice to meet you. I should also note that I now have George boxing up some of his books, and W. is next. Because the only thing worse than one book addict is an entire family of them. The sickest part of all of this is that I have really enjoyed cleaning. I love it when things are organized and in their proper place. It just makes life better. Don't you think?
Last night I had the best dinner with my good friend Cindy. We had some yummy Mexican food, but we had even better fellowship and conversation. All I can say, is that it what just what I needed! My belly hurt when I left the restaurant, and it wasn't from the food. It was from all of the laughing we did. I had such a great time, and we're definitely going to have to do it again soon!
Today is my friend Annette's birthday. Annette and I went to law school together, and we were in the same study group all through law school and for the bar exam. And, let me tell you, we have seen each other at our worst. It is amazing how law school can bring out the worst in you, both physically and mentally. But, the most amazing part is that we still like each other, despite seeing each other at our worst. And, isn't that what friendship is really all about.
Tonight is my last Thursday night Bible study. We have our last session of Stepping Up tonight. I have really enjoyed this study. Realizing that we are all just pilgrims who are merely traveling through this life has made such a huge difference in my perspective on things. It is amazing what hope it brings to know that I am not stuck in this season of my life forever. I am only here for a brief moment in time, and, PTL, I am on my way to meet someone glorious and wonderful. And, that's where I will stay forever. So amazing!
I do have to admit, however, that I am more than a little bit sad that this Bible study is ending. I always feel sad at the end of a Bible study journey. I know, that is probably weird, right? But, I do. And, this time I feel even more sad because I have had the pleasure of doing this one with my sweet friend, Julie. I have really enjoyed spending time with her each week, and I am definitely going to miss that fellowship. To prevent me from having some type of meltdown, I think we will just have to continue getting together periodically this summer. And, I won't be going into Bible study withdrawal because I have a Bible study picked out and ready to go....And, I can't wait!!
Wow, this is getting long. Maybe I'll blog about the rest of my weekend plans tomorrow. I'll give you one hint, however. It involves tu-tus and tights!!
How about you? What are your weekend plans?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What a Marvelous Memorial Day Weekend

Well, girls, I had a marvelous Memorial Day weekend. After I escaped from work Friday night, I went home to spend some quality time with W. I was planning to make some yummy Mexican (OK, pseudo Mexican) food for dinner. I was planning to make taco pie, which is a huge hit around our house, especially with the ten year old. I think that's because it involves the Pillsbury dough boy, and let's just face it, he makes everything better. There was only one problem with my plan. My hamburger was bad. No, not bad. It was rancid. Despite the fact I had just purchased it, and despite the fact that it was still before the sell by date. That made me mad. Some of you already know this, but this was the second time in a month that I have purchased bad meat from the grocery store (Hy-Vee on Valley West Drive). So, we ordered pizza instead. And, it was yummy! We hung out for a while, and I went to bed early. Even earlier than W. And, for someone who loves sleep as much as me. That was priceless!

Saturday was an eventful day. George surprised me with this Saturday morning.

Oh, yes. A MONKEY. I think by now you all know how much I LOVE monkeys. And, this isn't just any monkey. It's a sleepy time Curious George monkey. The tag said, "Bedtime is more fun with your favorite monkey by your side!" Oh, yes it is!! I was so excited.
Saturday afternoon George and I took W. and a friend to see the new Indiana Jones movie. To make things even better we met my friend Melissa, her sister, two of her kids at the movie. I didn't know if I was going to like the movie or not, but I did. It was actually pretty good. I don't want to give anything away, if you haven't seen it yet, but there is one really great part where some monkeys save the day!! Oh, and I got to eat movie theater popcorn, of course. With as much extra butter as the clerk would put on it. Don't worry. I have my angiogram scheduled for later this week *wink.*
Saturday night George took me to dinner at Sam & Gabes. Sam & Gabes is a little bistro in town, and it is one of my absolute favorite restaurants. I had steak de burgo and George had beef medallions topped with Gorgonzola. Yum!
Sunday morning I visited a church with my friend Melissa. I really enjoyed the service, especially the music. It was really neat. I got to spend time with God and with Melissa. Awesome! I spent the rest of my Sunday relaxing and doing some Bible study. Nothin' is better than that.
Yesterday, I had to work. Boo. But, I cut out of work a little early and went home. I wish I could tell you I did something exciting, but I didn't. I cleaned my house and rearranged furniture. I had to make room for some new book cases. (Yes, I didn't have enough shelf space for my books. And, yes, I realize I have a book buying problem.) I LOVE to read. Do you love to read? And, if so, what are some of your favorite books? I am always looking for new books to read.
I hope you all had a really marvelous Memorial Day weekend. And, yes, this blog post has been brought to you by the letter "M". Have a great Tuesday!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Dear George Letter


I love you because you are sweet and kind.

I love you because you never let me run out of Diet Coke.

I love you because you never let me go to bed mad.

I love you because you love me even when I'm mean.

I love you because you always tuck me in at night.

I love you because you let me have the TV remote.

I love you because you bought me my monkey to keep me company when I travel.

I love you because you love me enough to do all my ironing.

I love you because you take great care of me.

I love you because you don't care that I drool, grind my teeth, and talk in my sleep.

I love you because I can be my true, geeky self with you and you love me anyway.

I love you because you drop everything you are doing if I need your help.

I love you because you do half of the cooking and only complain about it when you burn yourself making pot roast.

I love you because you know how much I hate cleaning the bathroom, so you always do it.

I love you because you stay up with me when I'm sick.

I love you because you stay up with me when I am up really late getting ready for a trial.

I love you because you tell me you love me every day.

I love you because we can talk about anything, even if we disagree.

I love you because you don't complain when I make you spend your snow day watching Beth Moore on DVD.

I love you because you always tell me I'm beautiful, even when my clothes don't fit.

I love you because you always hold me when I'm sad or crying.

I love you because you sing Deee-lite to me.

I love you because you sewed the elastic on my ballet shoes last year when I decided I was going to start dancing again.

I love you because you love me even when I haven't showered.

I love you because we can watch Ninja Warrior together and you don't make fun of me because I know all the contestants.

I love you because you didn't make me re-live fifth grade alone, especially geography.

I love you because you step in when I've reached my threshold for the day.

I love you because you don't say anything when I, the tone deaf one, sing Whitney Houston at the top of my lungs.

I love you because you are funny and always make me laugh.

I love you because you always bring me books home from work.

I love you because you love me in spite of my obsession with old-school rap.

I love you because you always believe in me.

I love you because you make me a better person.

And for all of these reasons, and a million more, I love you because you are you.

Here's to another year together. I love you so much. And, in the words of Paula Abdul, I'm forever your girl.

Love always,


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Make a Difference Day

Today our church is co-sponsoring "Making a Difference Day," along with one of our local Christian radio stations and a local TV station. We are supposed to show God's love in a practical way today by showing kindness to a stranger. Specifically, if we go to a drive-thru to get coffee or a meal, we are encouraged to pay for the order of the person behind us in line. We can then leave a flyer, explaining why we paid for the order, with the clerk and ask that he or she pass it on to the customer. I thought that was a great, yet simple, way to show God's love to people we don't know. And, as an added bonus, it is a great reason to have McDonald's french fries, or a Sonic Coke, or, well, you get the idea...
I thought I'd pass this along, and give you my permission to stop at a drive-thru on your way home sometime this week! *wink*
So, tell me. What is your favorite fast food item?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's Starting to Feel A Lot Like Summer

As we were getting ready this morning, W. informed me that he only has nine days of school left after today. Nine!?! On one hand that seems impossible because I know that it was just yesterday I helped him unpack all of his school supplies. But, on the other hand, it seems like it's taken five years to get to the end of fifth grade. We have spent countless hours doing math and geography homework, and let's not forget about all the special projects we've had to complete at the last minute. I guess there is nothing like a deadline to get you motivated, even when you're ten. In any event, it was clear that he is exciting about the school year ending and summer beginning. He wants to hang out with his friends, go to the amusement park and the swimming pool, and plan his big birthday bash. And, that's exactly what he'll get to do. Because that should be what you do when you're almost eleven (or when you are celebrating your _ anniversary of your 29th birthday).
As I started thinking about W.'s summer wish list, I was reminded how much he really is a small, male version of his mother. At my core, I am completely social. Now, don't get me wrong, I like my alone time like any other over committed person, but I LOVE spending time with the people I care about. And, let's face it. I love a good party. In fact, looking back on my life, I used to always find an excuse to have a party. Birthday parties, sleepovers, holiday parties, and just because parties. Any reason to be surrounded by my friends.
Especially my girlfriends. In fact, if I had to pick one favorite summer out of all of them, I think I would pick the summer my best friends and I got memberships to one of our local gyms. No, we didn't get the memberships so we could exercise, although we did attend a senior citizen aerobics class once (What? We could keep up in that one.) We did get really tan, however. And, since we couldn't be outside all the time, we also ate a lot of frozen yogurt in the club house while we watched MTV (when it still had music videos). Ah, memories.
Now, of course, most of us don't get the luxury of lounging by the pool all summer long. But, I will tell you this. If I could do anything I wanted to do this summer, I would want to lay by the pool and eat frozen yogurt with all of you. We could even take a few aerobics classes together. You know, to compensate for all the yummy frozen yogurt we would eat. And, instead of watching MTV, we could have some really great conversations!
What about you? What are your favorite summer memories, and what would you do if you could do anything this summer?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lessons Learned in Illinois

So something happened last week while we were driving back from Florida. Something not that surprising really--we got a little lost. You see, we weren't able to travel the same route going home because of the tornadoes that were everywhere. So, instead of driving through Missouri, we took a detour through Illinois. And, while one of us, who we'll call George (What? Who do you think I am, Sgt. Joe Friday? No one here cares about the protection of the innocent ;), was driving, W. and I were sleeping. Before I went to sleep we were traveling westbound on Interstate 74, headed for Peoria. When I woke up, however, we were traveling eastbound (well, northeast) on Interstate 55, headed for Chicago. So, we were pretty much headed in the wrong direction. After I realized we were going the wrong way, I grabbed the atlas, and we were able to navigate ourselves so we were at least headed in the right direction.

As I was looking at the atlas, it occurred to me that we had gotten off the correct road somewhere very close to a town called Normal, Illinois. (Yes, I'm serious. Look it up for yourself; it is near Bloomington. And, yes, if you know him, it shouldn't surprise you that George took a wrong turn at Normal ;) Oh, I kid. Really. I do.) And as a side note, I should tell you that I wasn't necessarily very happy to discover that we were traveling in the wrong direction, and I may not have handled the situation with as much grace as I should have. Just think attack of the flesh woman. So, for all of you who have read Having a Mary Spirit, you will agree with me that it was appropriate that we were in Towanda, Illinois, when I had my meltdown. Again, I'm serious. Towanda, Illinois really does exist. Who knew?
Anyway, I've been thinking about our wrong turn in Normal, Illinois quite a bit over the last few days. And, it occurred to me how easy it is to take a wrong turn at Normal in our lives. OK, so I can't speak for you, but I can speak for myself. I can think of more than one instance where I have taken a wrong turn at Normal. And, by that I mean that I can think of more than one time where I have gotten off the right road because it was more "normal" to go the wrong direction in life. For example, many of you know how miserable I am in my current job. But, sadly, it's my own fault I'm miserable. I didn't take the job because I was led to take the job. I took the job because I would make more money. And, I think you'll agree with me that by the world's standards, that was the "normal" decision to make.
Now, I will say that I didn't truly become a Christian until after I took my current job. And, I think that God used my desperation to draw me close to Him. But, still, I increasingly feel that I am on the wrong road, traveling in the wrong direction. I feel pretty confident that I'm not where God wants me to be. So, here are my questions, ladies. How do you know if you are where God wants you to be? And, if you aren't, how do you figure out where you are supposed to be? I realize that there is no "answer" to these questions, but I would appreciate your insights!

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Monday!

Yep, this just about sums up my day thus far. I have actually been working on a post today, one that even solicits your advice, but unfortunately, I am SWAMPED at work. Grrrrrr. Did I mention that I don't like Mondays??? But, I do love monkeys!!! Hopefully, I'll get my other post up later. I hope you are having a wonderful Monday!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hallelujah It's Finally Friday!! More Randomness From Me

I'm excited that it is Friday. Can you tell? There is so much I want to do this weekend, but I'm going to try really, really hard not to over do it. I think that sometimes (OK, most of the time), I try to do too much on the weekends (OK, and during the week). So, it's no wonder that I am perpetually stressed out, especially on Sunday nights. And, after our whirlwind trip to Florida this past week, I could really use some R&R. But, in my typical style, I see several problems with this. First, my house is a disaster. I'm usually one of those anal people who clean before they leave town because I hate to come home to a dirty house. Unfortunately, we left in such a hurry, I wasn't able to do that this time. So, needless to say, the house needs to be cleaned. Second, and closely related to item number one, we are out of food. So, unless I want to be beaten to death and eaten by the hungry savages that also live in my house, I better go to the grocery store. Third, I need to come into the office this weekend and get caught up on a few things that have been lingering on my desk for way too long. Sounds exciting, huh? Come on, I know your jealous. OK, maybe not! *wink*.
Even though I need to make time for those things, or at least time to delegate some of those things to someone else, I do have some fun things planned. I am getting together with a couple of my favorite girlfriends tomorrow night. We're not quite sure what we are going to do, but we might do to dinner and a movie. Yeah!! And, tonight W. is spending the night with his best friend, and George will be working, so I get some alone time!!! I think I will spend it reading and getting caught up on my Bible study homework I'm behind on. I also stole Caroline's idea for a prayer notebook. I bought a three-ring binder, some dividers, some paper, and some new colored pens. So, maybe I will start organizing that tonight as well!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Random Thoughts for Thursday--What's In a Name?

Last Saturday afternoon, during the birthday festivities, my mom told me that she almost named me Selena. I'm not certain why, but I was perplexed by this. Maybe it is because I can't comprehend being anything but a Heather, or maybe it's because I'm weird. But, in any event, I've been thinking about this again this morning. I know that God knows our names, and has known our names, since before the foundation of the earth. So, despite my mother's best intentions of naming me Selena, God intended me to be Heather. But, why? What's behind that name? And, since my brain is still only functioning at half capacity, making it difficult for me to concentrate on the intricacies of the admissibility of ERISA payments, I thought I would check it out, and here's what I found.

Gender: Feminine
Means simply "heather" from the English word for the variety of small shrubs with pink or white flowers which commonly grow in rocky areas. It is derived from Middle English hather.

Hmm, that's interesting. I think God may have been on to something here. I definitely was planted and grew up in some rocky soil. But, maybe that's what He intended for me; maybe He was/is glorified by the fact that I grew up in that rocky soil. I know this, I would not be where I am today if it had not been for God's mercy and His grace. And, with everything that is going on right now in my life, I am hopeful that no matter how rocky my life gets, I'm a Heather, and that means that I can grow there. Isn't that cool?

But, I didn't want to have all the fun. So, I thought that I would research the meaning of some of my dearest bloggy friends' names as well. So, in alphabetical order, here goes. And, if didn't do your name, please don't get mad. I promise it doesn't mean I don't love you! Leave me a comment, and I'll do it tomorrow.

Gender: Feminine
French feminine form of CAROLUS

From the Germanic name Karl, which was derived from a Germanic word which meant "man". However, an alternative theory states that the name is derived from the common Germanic element heri meaning "army, warrior".

Hmm, can anyone say prayer warrior??? I love that you are such a prayer warrior, Caroline, and I have no doubt that is what God intended!! I have been so blessed to get to know you over these last few months. You have become very dear to me! I can't wait to get to know you better in the months and years to come.

Gender: Feminine
Latin origin.
Means "light."

Once again, how apropos. Cindy, everyone around you knows what a bright light you are to be around. You are so funny, sweet, and perky! You are such a blessing to your friends. I am so glad we got to be in book club together. I hope we can get together some over the summer so I don't go into Cindy withdrawal. I love you!

Gender: Feminine
Latinate feminine form of JULIUS.
Means youthful, soft-haired, or vivacious.

Oh, girlfriends! I have three of you that share this name!!

To my new friend Julia in GA, I'm just getting to know you, but from your blog I can already tell that you are beautiful inside and out! I know we come from at least a slightly similar background, and I can't wait to learn more about you!

To my hometown homegirl, Julie (who reads my blog but doesn't always comment ;), I love you so much! You are definitely youthful, and you are perhaps the most vivacious person I know! You always brighten my mood and my day. You are such a blessing!

And, last, but certainly not least, to my new friend Julie in OK, I know I don't know you that well, yet ;), but with a beautiful, bright smile like the one you have, I have no doubt that you are vivacious and full of life! I will also tell you that you don't look a day over 21. So, you obviously have the youthful thing goin' on, too. You are so sweet and I can't wait to get to know you better!!

Gender: Feminine
Means "bright-headed."

Kelly, you are definitely "bright-headed," and I'm not just talking about your new, brighter, lighter hair-do!! You are so sweet and such an encouragement to so many women who read your blog. You are like sunlight, my friend! It radiates from your bright smile and your warm heart! I am so blessed that I have gotten a chance to get to know you a little, and I can't wait to get to know you more!!!

Gender: Feminine
Means "honey-bee"

Oh, my dearest, most wonderful friend, Melissa! I don't have to tell you how much I love you!! You are so sweet and are like honey to me, baby! I don't know what I'd do without you. When I was doing a little research on honey-bees, I found something interesting. Honey bees were the royal emblems of the Napoleonic Empire. They signified immortality and resurrection. Now, obviously the Napoleonic Empire was not immortal, but because of the immortality and resurrection of Jesus, you are eternal! I know how much you love Jesus, and that makes me love Him even more. You are a blessing, girlfriend!

Gender: Feminine
Means "lady" or "princess" in Hebrew.

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, my friend from AR. It may be awhile before you see this since you are so busy sleeping these days ;) The very first person we know of with the name Sarah was Abraham's wife. We also know that God gave Sarah her name shortly before she gave birth to Isaac. I just keep thinking that you are not so unlike that Sarah, well except for age thing! Anyway, you are a princess to God, and you are a blessing to me!

And, of course, my hometown homegirl, Sarah! I'm so glad we've gotten a chance to get to know each other at Valley and through our blogs! You are so sweet and such a godly lady. I hope we get to know each other even better in the future!

Gender: Feminine
Modern French form of Jehanne, an Old French feminine form of Johannes (see JOHN).
Means "YAHWEH is gracious".

Yahweh is gracious, Shana, and so are you! You are so gracious to always open your home to your friends and to feed us all those yummy pastries you spend days making! I love you!! You are such a wonderful friend! Thank you for making me feel so welcome at Valley. I am going to miss you when you guys leave, but promise me we will keep in touch!

So, there you have it girls! Isn't that interesting. I love you all so much! I hope you each have a wonderful Thursday!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Gator Hunters

Like I said yesterday, despite the circumstances of our trip, some good things happened, too. For instance, on Friday while I was at the hospital with my mom, my boys went out to hunt alligators. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from their adventure.

"Shh, it's bear"

I think the gator pond was in George's stomach after he ate his weight in gator tail at the restaurant.

And, yes, my friends, this is a real photo, but my boys didn't take it. They gave the camera to the alligator wrestler, and he took it.

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I would have gotten within 100 feet of that thing. I'll leave that kind of stuff to my gator hunters!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

We're Home

We're home. We pulled into the driveway about an hour ago, and I am EXHAUSTED!!! I have so many things running through my mind, so this will probably be somewhat incoherent. But, I wanted to give everyone an update...

--First, THANK YOU to everyone who prayed for our travel. I know they were successful because we not only traveled 3,500 miles safely, but we also didn't kill each other in the car. And, that is nothing short of a miracle in itself!!! I mean it is NO fun traveling that many miles in a car under any circumstance. It's cramped, uncomfortable, and the trip seems never ending. But, on top of the general problems, add two boys and all of their stinky smells, and you just might wish you traveled with a bottle of Febreze. Or, a clothespin for your nose. Or both. We had some interesting and slightly amusing things happen both in route to Naples and in route to home, but I'll post about those later. For now, suffice it to say that I now suffer from a fear of enclosed spaces, especially when I have to share those spaces with boys who have eaten beans and cheese.

--Also, THANK YOU to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. Despite the circumstances, I had a great birthday. After all, I got to spend it with my mother and and my brother. My mother, true to her style, coordinated my birthday party from her hospital bed. We had food catered in from Bucca Di Beppo. It was very good, and I ate way too much. My mom even made sure that I had a birthday cake. It really was very nice. I still have a lot of celebrating to do now that I'm home. My very good friend Melissa has a birthday tomorrow, and we need to plan a big par-tay to celebrate!!

--And, I want you all to know that each of you were in my thoughts and prayers while I was gone. I am so blessed to know each of you. I love you all!!

--But, I know that you probably want an update on my mom. My mind is still really spinning about all of this, and I need to pray about many things, but I'll try to give you the cliff notes version for now. My mom was in terrible shape the first day we got to the hospital. She was drifting in and out of consciousness and was very incoherent. I'm not sure what all I've blogged about before as way of background about my mom. If you already know this, please bear with me. My mom was an addict for most of her life. She was also an alcoholic. She became a Christian about eight years ago, and PTL she has been clean ever since. Unfortunately, as we know, sometimes we continue to have consequences from things we've done in our past, and that is what has happened to my mom. Her liver is failing. Initially, we thought she could take some special treatment that might cure her liver problems, and we're still hopeful that the treatment will work, but we know now that her liver is in much worse shape than we thought. Her liver isn't processing things correctly, particularly ammonia. So, her ammonia levels were through the roof, and those elevated ammonia levels caused her to go into hepatic encephalopathy (which is way more serious than her doctor told us at first). The hepatic encephalopathy was causing the following symptoms when we first arrived at the hospital: headache, inflammation of the spinal cord, edema of the fluid around her brain, sleepiness, lethargy, confusion, depression, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, and numbness in her fingers. Pretty scary stuff. On top of all that, she was dehydrated and her red blood count and potassium was low. The low potassium levels prevented the doctors from giving my mom the medicine to help decrease her ammonia levels. Hepatic encephalopathy can cause coma, and my mom's blood pressure was 55/34, which is really close to being in a coma.
She had an emergency colonoscopy Sunday morning because the CT Scan of her abdomen the doctors did Saturday showed inflammation in her colon. But, the colonoscopy on Sunday showed NO problems at all!!! PTL!!! The doctors did get my mom's ammonia levels down, and they released her from the hospital on Sunday. My mom had a pretty good day Sunday. But, my brother just called, and it looks like she may be going back to the hospital tomorrow.
It's probably evident from my incoherent description of my mom's medical conditions, but I am having difficulty processing all of this. I realize that my mother's health is very precarious, and I also know that my mom would like to have me around more. My brother lives near her, but he is also in bad health and is not really able to take care of her. Suffice it to say that I need a lot of guidance on what I should be doing right now. I am praying about it, and if you have a few more prayers in you for me, I would appreciate it!!
Believe it or not, there were some good things that happened on our trip, and I will blog about those later. Right now, I am EXHAUSTED, and I am going to bed...right after I read all of your blogs!! Have a great night.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Hola from Naples

Whew, ladies. As some of you know, we made an emergency trip to Naples, Florida earlier this week. My mother is in the hospital, and we felt we needed to be there with her. So we left home at 8:00 Tuesday night and drove 1600 miles. We wanted to drive straight through, but we just couldn't do it. I was just too tired. We drove for 24 straight hours (well, as straight through as you can when you are traveling with two boys with bottomless pits for stomachs. I guess they thought they needed to eat or something.) We stopped in Valdosta, Georgia for the night. We tried to make it at least to Ocala, Florida, but we hit Atlanta in rush hour, and it took us FOREVER to get through there.
So, anyway, we eventually made it, and now we are here. And, can I just say, THANK YOU for your prayers. It meant a lot to me to know that you were praying for me and my mom. My mom wasn't doing well at all when we first got here. She was drifting in and out of consciousness and was incoherent. Today is much better. My mom is awake and in pretty good spirits. I wish I could give you all a comprehensive medical update, but we're still waiting for the results of few tests. So, I'll be back, probably tomorrow, and hopefully I will have more information then.
Thanks again for your prayers. Please pray that my mom is even better tomorrow. She wants to throw me a birthday party in the hospital tomorrow. Let's hope she forgets about that!
I love you all. Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May First!

Alright, so it's May Day today. Now, I don't know about you, but I am not all that familiar with what May Day is all about. In fact, all I really know about it is that kids make May Day baskets, fill them with candy, put them on their friends' doorsteps, ring the doorbell and then run away. Is anyone else familiar with this phenomenon? I have been told that this may be a strange Iowa tradition. Anyway, since I don't know any more about it than that, I thought I would do a little research. And, here is what I found out.

May Day is an ancient pagan holiday that was celebrated by dancing around the maypole and crowning the May Queen. I guess, May 1st was also the first day of summer in these cultures, and May Day was a celebration of summer as well. Unfortunately, the article did not explain how May baskets fit into this equation, or why people wanted to run in circles around a pole. I guess I'll have to do some additional research...

Interestingly, I found out, however, that May first is not just May Day. It is also International Workers Day (which celebrates the 8 hour work day) in Europe. In the United States it is Loyalty Day (because International Workers Day was seen as being too subversive) and Law Day (can anyone tell me why don't I get this day off?)
And, although it doesn't always fall on May 1st, today is also the National Day of Prayer. So, please know that I am praying for each of you today. You are all very special to me, and I love you all. Just don't expect any May Day baskets on your doorstep. I don't celebrate any holiday that requires me to run anywhere. Well, unless it is to a really good sale *wink*!