Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Anniversary to My Folks!

Today is the 57th wedding anniversary of my Mom and Dad, Rose and Charlie. That's them in the picture above, along with their oldest great-grandchild (they have 3!), Emily. This pic was taken at my nephew Stephen and his lovely wife, Andrea's, wedding a couple of years ago. Wow! How time flies!!!
I read this quote this morning:
"When I have learned to love GOD better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now."
~C. S. Lewis
That's the kind of love I pray the man the Lord brings into my life will have. That he will love the LORD far more than he ever will me. If he does, then I will be extremely blessed.
I've always wanted to be married and am still waiting, trusting God for that man. I have learned over time that God is faithful and He knows my heart's desires. He also has plans for my life and continues to work those out. I have also learned to be content in where He has me - not always easy, but definitely worth trusting Him with my life!
I can tell you that I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that my mom and dad love each other and their children and that they love their extended family that has grown over the years to include sons- and daughter-in laws, grandchildren (and their spouses) and the great-grandchildren. We are blessed so way beyond measure to have this awesome example of love lived out before us!!
I'm holding out for a love like theirs!!!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

If I Could Hit Rewind.....But I Can't!

Yesterday's posts took me back to elementary school days, times when things seemed simpler. While I would not want to go back and relive life, I do wish that some of the simplicity of those days still remained. Where the worries and concerns of a day were washed away with a parent's hug or kiss or the smile of a friend.
If you had told me then what I know now....yeah, probably would have done some things differently. But, as I have learned over time, one cannot live in the past, cannot live in the land of regrets, but must focus on the here and now. Time has also taught me to not worry about tomorrow, as that day is not promised to us, but to live today for today.
Health issues keep making me be reflective on what I could have, should have, wish I had, done differently. I should be this skinny minny, but I'm not. Food has always been a comfort and the poor old body has paid the toll for that choice. Yet, I believe there is always still hope, while I live and breathe and face each day. The choices are not always easy ones, but they do impact me, whether for bad or for good.
I don't mean to sound vague. These are just the thoughts of a crazy lady who is now up to four doctors that she sees and wonders to herself if there's any way to return this body for a new one or at the very least, improve what is left of the clunker she has. Even clunkers can be kept running, you know! They just may not look too great on the outside, but the inside keeps humming away, if given love and TLC to the works that makes 'em go!
What I got with Cash for Clunkers
Hmmmm....maybe clunker isn't the term I want as that implies that I'm ready to toss the whole kit-and-caboodle, no redemptive qualities....and that's not really accurate! With some hard work, things that might seem bleak at the time, can be turned around!
Here's a thought....prayer is often like that for me. In the middle of my bleakness, there comes a hopelessness that wants to overtake and wreck me. Inside *and* out! Prayer, though, is what turns things around as I turn to God and give HIM that hopelessness and this broken body, along with its cares, concerns, and worries. HIS peace, perfect in every way, is what restores me and that's something that starts on the inside and works itself from the inside to the outside, where the world can see peace in action. When I am at peace inside, I am at peace on the outside, too!
I mentioned the four doctors: one is my primary care physician, Dr P; my cardiologist, Dr D; my internist, Dr A; and the newest member of the group, my urologist, Dr M. 
Where things are at right now is that the health issues I have dealt with over time (high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, and most recently, the congestive heart failure), have left my kidneys not functioning at their highest potential and so now we can add kidney disease to the list. Yippee! NOT!
A recent CAT scan (my first) showed a couple of things. First, my kidneys are smaller than normal for someone my size (altho, I am not sure 100% what that means!). From what Dr M told me, most are 10 cm in size, where mine is around 8 cm. So I guess those centimeters would point to them being smaller than usual. Let's add to this now the fact that they have seen a kidney stone that's about 8 mm in size, just hanging out in my left kidney. Not blocking anything, just hanging out. According to Dr. M, this could have been there for years. We have no way of knowing since the CAT scan was my first one! It could not give me any problems or it could turn into one very big problem!
I go next week for another X-ray of the kidneys, followed by another visit with Dr. M. At that time, I think we will determine what comes next with that stone. There is a concern that if they go in and blast the stone, it could also weaken the kidneys, which are only functioning at about 30% of the their capacity as it is.
So.....yeah, I could so totally stress about this. But I know that stressing will not fix anything. Resting in the Lord, trusting HE knows what is best and that HE cares about me and all this health stuff...that's where I need to peace, inside and out.
To be honest, this health stuff gets overwhelming at times. Then I look around me and see others who have more trying circumstances and issues than mine and it puts things in perspective. It could be so much worse!
 I do need to do better with what I need to do to remain healthy. And I admit that I struggle with that. I need to exercise more, eat more healthy, and keep focused. Some days are harder than others.
This is a journey. It's one day at a time. One step at a time. I hope by writing and sharing that it helps me and maybe, just maybe, encourages someone else to know that they are not alone in the struggles of life. To realize that each day we are given is a blessing....and to make the most of what we have been given.
Thanks for reading my ramblings.....may you be blessed beyond measure today!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waxing Nostalgic - Part 3

One more poem to share....this one I have only recalled the gist of it over the years. But reading it today brought it back! Enjoy this final post of my Waxing Nostalgic!
Little Boy Blue
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)
The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.
"Now, don't you go till I come," he said,
"And don't you make any noise!"
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue---
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!
Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place---
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.

Waxing Nostalgic - Part 2

Yet another poem that has stuck with me over time....

The goldenrod is yellow,
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curing in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges haunt their harvest,
In every meadow's nook;
And asters by the brookside
Make asters in the brook.

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all those lovely tokens
September days are here,

With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

- Helen Hunt Jackson
Grateful is what I am for teachers who imparted wisdom, who taught with enthusiasm, who gave their all to their pupils, and impacted my life. Yes, there were those teachers who didn't really teach me much, but there were soooooo many more who did! They made school a great place to be and I'm blessed beyond measure to have had them in my life.
And then....ah, yes!!!....and then there are the lifelong friends that I have gained over the years as well, Life has been better because of them! And as time keeps passing, more and more people have come along that have made this journey called life easier to do.....just because they are who they are and what they mean to me!
Yes, I AM blessed BEYOND measure!

Waxing Nostalgic....Part 1

What can I say.....there are some things that roll around in your head for years! The beginning of this poem is one of the ones I've had since grade school, when Miss Ross had us learn this. Which makes it either 3rd or 4th grade ... She was an awesome teacher! (I was blessed to have had her for 1st, 3rd *and* 4th grade!) Oh....and she also had red hair...and so did the time!  Enjoy!!
The Duel
by Eugene Field
The ginham dog and the calico cat
The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
T'was half past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t'other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat
(I wasn't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
The gingham dog went "Bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "Mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfulest way you ever saw--
And oh! How the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate--I got my news from the Chinese plate!)
Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about that cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ready to Get Creative....Again!

Rather dreary day out today as it rained overnight and more precip is in the picture for this afternoon. A good day to stay inside and chill out....or warm up under a blanket...or just do indoor stuff! Me, I opted to sweep AND mop my kitchen floor this had been a while!

Doctor visit with cardiologist, Dr D, went well yesterday. Says I am making good progress and I look better than the last time he saw me which is a little more than 2 months ago. It was a good visit with him and he encouraged me to keep up the good work.

His words of advice yesterday were to cut back on "two whites": salt and sugar. The sodium one, I have been diligent to write it down, even when it means I go over the total I'm supposed to intake for a day. The sugar, I will be honest.....I know it's for my own good, but I'm having a little bit of a problem trying to figure out how to start accounting for that one. Good thing I see my primary care physician next week....I can ask him about that!

Which makes me wonder about artificial sweeteners and salt substitutes....are they worth the effort? Are there potential problems with those as well? Cutting back isn't half as hard as cutting out....especially when so much of our food anymore has both salt and sugar in them....just read the labels!

Can I admit to feeling a little down in the dumps about something....and you may think I'm crazy, but.....I miss baking! Not so much missing the eating of the baking as I am the creative avenue of baking. Does that make any sense?

Baking always feels like a creative outlet to me. Well, actually creativeness in the kitchen just always made me feel good. Yeah, I know....crazy, but true!

I came across a recipe for easy homemade hamburger rolls that I'd like to try and I gasped when I saw the amount of salt it called for....1 1/4 teaspoons! Panic mode kicked in.....I don't know why, but it seemed like a lot to me! An option is to leave the salt out....but do I dare do that? Will it change the flavor? Do you know what I mean?

I just know I have to be *creative* again in my cooking, look those sodium and sugar things in the eye and let 'em know I am not gonna let them stop me from being creative in my kitchen and I am gonna eat good food that is healthy and good for me. I'm gonna be brave and experiment and go to new frontiers that I haven't gone to before! Now....somebody push me out the door to get started!

I'm still trusting God will work out things regarding my kidneys. I'm encouraged that my heart appears to be doing much, much better.....just am hoping and praying that the kidneys will also have their chance to bounce back!

Did a 1 mile walk with a Leslie Sansone DVD this morning that I have never watched before. It was a classic walk, with basic walking moves. So I did not let the weather stop me from moving! And the stretches at the end of the walk were wonderful! My plan is to get in some kind of exercise at least 3-4 times a week. Between walking after work at the high school track and these DVDs, I think I'm on the right track. Dr D said to not overdo it, to let my body let me know when enough is enough. Good advice, don't ya think?

I'm off to get things ready to go for work tonight and then it's sleepytime for me! Praying you have an awesome and blessed day!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


As I was getting things ready for my visit with the cardiologist today, I began to get a little discouraged. Why? Because of all the “numbers” that I keep track of for the various medical professionals. Part of the discouragement comes from feeling defined by either a single number or a set of numbers. Really, is that who I am?
 I heard God speaking to my heart, and wrote this down: “Remember…who you are is not defined by a number, but by Whose you are….what is reflected from the inside will always be far more important than what the outside shows."
What does that mean to me? I got to thinking about all the things that numbers are involved in:
My age - 55, soon to be 56
My car - a 2009 PT Cruiser (can't forget that theres a number for the registration, my liscense plate, my driver's liscense number, miles on the car)
My address and zip code and phone numbers
My blood sugar levels, blood pressure, weight and a bunch of other things associated with my health that involve #s
My social security number
The balance of my banking accounts
The cost of groceries, the bills, and gas
Calories, milligrams of sodium intake, ounces of water drank
Loads of laundry
Tick-tock of the clock -being on time - waking up, going to sleep, taking meds, yes, all affected by numbers
Times around the track to equal a mile
Measurements for cooking and baking, sewing and such
Whoooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! (See what I mean....numbers, numbers, numbers!!!!!)
Even the sum of these will never define who I am. God, Who knows the number of hairs on my head and the grains of sand in all the world, doesn't care as much about the numbers of my life as He does about me - the, if you will, total sum of me.
I'm so grateful He gets me, understands me, loves me and will take the time to remind me that I am not a number to Him. He cares about how I react to all those numbers and how they affect my life. But He is more concerned that I'm finding my peace in Him and leaving all of it up to Him.
I want that more than anything....the peace of God. So, I give Him all my numbers today and let Him direct my path. Gonna get out there and live today for today and let the numbers just roll away....God has me (and them) in His hands!
And because I know that this is true.....I am blessed beyond measure!

A prayer for today (author unknown):

"My closest friends, dear Lord, are a reprieve for my soul. Their acceptance sets me free to be myself. Their unconditional love forgives my failings. Their kindness gives me a sense of worth. Thank You for these people who are a reflection of Your love in my life. Help me be a friend who will, in turn, lay down my life in such loving ways."

Be blessed today!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hellooooooo There!

I must admit to being tempted several times to sit down and start to write again. But "things" tend to get in the way and before you know it, the inspiration and the gumption are both gone!

In the months that have gone by since my last post, it's been verrrrrry interesting! And not always in a good way!

The beginning of June saw me in the hospital, first in Brookville and then in Pittsburgh, at Allegheny General, over the space of a week's time. Are you shocked? I hadn't been feeling all that great for about three months and one night, I just decided I couldn't deal with the issues of not being able to breathe well any longer and left work and headed for the emergency room. I thought perhaps the issues were asthma related - boy, oh, boy, was I wrong!

Turns out I had congestive heart failure and they admitted me instead of letting me go home. Not exactly what I had in mind when I went there! Over the course of the next few days, I was on medication to get the fluid off of my lungs and the pressure off of my heart. I went to the hospital in Pittsburgh by ambulance (I hope I *never* have to ride in the back of one ever about a long uncomfortable ride!) and had a heart catherization done there.

The good news is that there is no blockage, but.....the heart is weaker than they like. So after going on several different medications and having lost at least 20 pounds since then, I am truly feeling better. We will find out in a few weeks or so just how much stronger the heart muscles are....I am hoping the heart specialist will be happy with my progress.

On the downer side, I have been to see an internist at the recommendation of my primary care physician. Kidney disease, he says. There will be further tests in the near future to see where exactly things stand with that and what needs to be done to stop/prevent things getting worse.

So the problems are - congestive heart failure, weakened heart because of that, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, and let's add kidney disease to the mix. A positive is that my blood sugar levels are stable enough that I don't need to take meds for the diabetes...which turned out to be a blessing as the meds I should have been taking are NOT good for the kidneys!

I know...I know....why didn't I go earlier? Money. Why wasn't I taking my medications or seeing a doctor? Money. I couldn't afford either of those, so....yeah, I just did the best I could and it caught up to me. But....even through this, I am blessed beyond measure!

In the midst of this, God has remained faithful to me. SO FAITHFUL!!!!! Praise His Name for that! I have seen Him take care of all these mounting hospital bills that I had no clue how they were going to be taken care of! And I now am on medical assistance through a program for workers with disabilities. I do pay a monthly premium for this, but it is well worth it for the care I'm receiving! My medications are affordable for me and they are helping!

Some days, I'll be's very hard to not get discouraged! Like on those days when the labours and issues in life just start to get to me and I want to scream....or resort to eating things not good for me! I have several medications I take daily as well as needing to watch my blood pressure, my blood sugar levels, my weight, my sodium intake AND my fluid intake! As much as I like making little charts, the keeping track of things some days is a pain in the watoosie!

Still there has to be a positive.....I am maintaining that weight loss. Most days, I am really good about writing down the sodium content of things (I am limited to 2000 mg of sodium a day), my fluid intake (2 liters a day), and watching what I do with my blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Those have all been really good, I'm grateful to say. I have started to walk at the local high school track after work and am doing at least a mile when I go, three to four times a week. (I think there may be a jogger or runner in me somewhere, but I'm not quite to that stage yet!) I'm hoping to add more miles as time goes on!

Clothes are fitting better, breathing comes much easier, and I feel better overall. Still....there are those times of discouragement and I try to avoid staying in those places very long. It's not easy, but God continues to give grace and walks with me through those times.

I'm hoping to be a bit more consistent at posting, although time will tell! I am grateful if you read this today and were at least a little bit encouraged....and a little blessed.

Through it all, I remain.....truly.....blessed beyond measure!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Living Beyond The "Norm"?

Not much has been going on lately besides work and doing stuff around the house, trying to keep caught up with things like dishes and laundry. The work schedule has been crazy, with my days off split up, so when I do get one, I do the house stuff and find myself tired enough to fall into bed mid-afternoon.

For those of you who don't know, I work overnights at a local WalWorld. That means my sleeping patterns are not the "norm" - or rather what others consider to be the "norm". I'm beginning to wonder, really, what exactly "normal" is because it's not the same for everyone!

For instance, those who look forward to the weekend off after working Monday thru Friday, 9 to 5 (and we're talking am and pm here) - they think that's the "norm". I beg to differ. That's not true for everyone in the world...not at all. Those who work 2nd and 3rd shift are as "normal" as everyone else - they just are doing things at different times than a person who works daylight hours.

Sometimes, maybe we need to look at our definitions and take into account that, really, "normal" is such a relative term. What I work is different than someone else, when I sleep is different than others, and yet, I manage somehow to keep on with life. You really don't have much choice! You keep going! And yet, to use that quotable word, this is *my* "normal".

Granted, this 3rd shift schedule doesn't allow for much of a social life because I can't seem to find many people to hang out with or call at 3 AM in the morning when I'm wide awake. You adapt and make it work for you, so you can get things done.

For instance, I was off yesterday, came home and did bills, and just after that, the electric went off! No warning, no thunder boomers, nothing....just on one second and off the next! I called Penelec, got the automated service, "Thank you for reporting your outage. Your estimated time of restoration will be 11 AM".

Now this change in my "Normal" kinda threw me for a loop as I had planned to do certain household chores on this day off. Like laundry. Baking. Reading. Blogging. Catching up on Facebook. All these things that took electric. I was, faced with what I call a "pioneer" do ya wanna deal with things with no electric? You can do this, you're adaptable (OK, maybe the word "flexible" comes to mind, too!). You can make a cake by hand and bake it in the oven that is gas. Can heat up water and make jello....oh, wait, no, the fridge is off. Hmmmm......

What did I opt to do? Go out and mow grass. Yep, before 9 AM even! The sad part was that since it has rained recently, my grass had grown more on one side of the trailer since the last cutting a little more than 3 weeks ago. There's a spot in one part of the yard where water will just lay and when you hear it "squish, squish" under your feet, well, you know it's not dry ground! So, the grass in this part of the yard is like, oh, maybe 8 inches or so tall. But I braved it, got that self-propelled, mulching mower started and went to work.

Now here's the thing about wet grass and mowing with a mulching mower. The mower will want to stall out, so I was going much slower than usual than I would have if say I had cut it a week or so ago. I kept having to lift the front wheels up so it could spit the grass out. So much for an excellent mulching! NOT! I didn't want to open up the little shoot-it-out-the-side thingy, 'cause then it would shoot it over in the neighbors' yards. And I hate it when they do that to me. So, I was nice, kept it in my own yard.

The end product......clumpy mounds here and there of thick green grass. Wet, thick green grass. BUT, it was mowed! The weed eating even got done, too, once I figured out how to jump start the weed eater that was not wanting to start. (Gotta love carburetor spray - starts the mower AND the weed eater up when I'm having issues....and yes, I just did a spellcheck....carburetor was not spelled right the first time!)

By the time I got to the weed eating, it has started to sprinkle. So if you live in NW PA, and it rained in your neck of the woods yesterday morning, it's my fault. I *knew*it would rain just because I mowed. Happens a lot that way. I guess it's "normal" for me to have that happen! The grass will grow some more and I will have more to mow again another day. It's all good!

The electric did come back on. So glad, since I was getting rather chilly from the dampness and the chill of the trailer! I did heat up water on the gas stove and had a cup of chicken noodle soup and a delightful cup of dark chocolate cocoa. That warmed me up somewhat. I had spend about an hour under a blanket with a good book in front of a window in the living room, the brightest place in the house. Still, to have that heat kick on when the electric came back on.....delicious, comforting, a blessing.

So, I guess whatever our "norm" is, we should focus more on what the blessing of whatever that looks like. Because if we can do that, we can rise above it and live beyond that and walk in the truth, that we are indeed *blessed beyond measure*, no matter what! Thank You, God, for that!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Think I'm Ready to Blog Again.....'s been almost 6 months since I blogged!?!?!? What?!?!?! Whoa!!!!

 It's not that I haven't thot about it. I'm sure I could've found something to share, but the energy to do it wasn't there. I haven't even really taken any pictures in that time, either!  I think part of it was due to being busy, part of it because of time, but mostly? I think I was grieving Cady.

Yes, I know....she was just a dog, but, to me, she wasn't. She was a part of my family and her passing left a big hole. A reaaaally big hole. It was six months ago yesterday and yes, I had a good cry at least twice yesterday. I still miss her and keep expecting her from to come jump on the bed while I'm on the computer, so I could rub her belly. I came across this pic yesterday and it's one of my faves, cuz it's exactly how she would sit and look up at me when I was on the couch....and usually had food that she wanted me to share with her! "Where's mine, Mom?"

I've been to the animal shelter nearby at least three times since she died and I have yet to come home with a dog. Right now, I am being practical and paying bills is more of a priority for me than spending money to adopt another dog. I've thought about this alot over the past months and I do want to adopt or rescue another dog like I did Cady. That takes $$ that I don't have right now, so I am saving that up, but being practical is really more of a priority.

I do check out a "free dog" link frequently as well. So far, nothing really grabs me. I find myself wondering about people who are wanting to give up their animals that they claim to love just because they don't have time for them. It's a real commitment to have a pet of any kind - you have to be willing to make the time to take the time to play and be with that pet. Maybe another reason I'm not rushing right into things is that I have been working alot and have taken on a 2nd part time job - or it's an excuse I am telling myself to avoid committing myself to another dog.

But I think it's more that I want the right dog at the right time. I love dogs. Their companionship, their unwavering love for you, their excitement to see you...yeah, I miss that! But I am also finding overe these last 6 months, that even without a pet here, I am still not alone. God has been faithful and I am ever reminded that He fully knows what I have need of and continually supplies what I need...when I need it. He is so good that way!

I have to be honest.....I have yet to go through Cady's things out in the living room closet and take them to the shed. Part of me doesn't want to take them to the shed, a logical place to take packed up things to. I dread the idea of going thru dog snacks, even tho I know I could donate stuff to the local shelter. Part of it is, well, what if I get another dog soon? Then I would have wasted all that energy. Gee, I am full of the excuses, aren't I?! But I think it's something I need to do before bringing another pet into my home, not that I want to erase or get rid of any reminders of Cady. I think it's more that she was/is a link for me to my time in GA. And the friends I made there and that chapter of my life.

I made some wonderful, wonderful friendships there and I miss those people something fierce some days. I have absolutely no regrets about following God's leading and moving to GA and living there for 10 years. And I don't regret moving back to PA. I do miss the people who touched my life.....wish they lived closer!

But I also know that God would not have me to live in the past, but to deal with and live today. And that is what continues to spur me on. Trusting Him with today. Taking it one day at a time. Not dwelling in the past, not fretting about the future, but living life today. And today looks very good because He is in it. He will provide, He will watch over me, and He will love me right where I'm at.

And in so many ways, I am blessed - beyond measure!!