Something to hold on to...

"Today I am one day nearer home than ever before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!
 I shall see the King!"     Vance Havner

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 ~ The Year to Come

Never thought I would get so excited about a new year.  Never before have I felt so strongly about the fresh start and everything people talk about when the calendar page flips.  Mostly my life just slides from one year to the next without much fanfare.  

This year it is different.  

I thought about writing one of those "Year In Review" posts. 

 Well, I only thought about that for about 3 seconds.  Don't really want to go there.  

However, as much as I don't feel the necessity to go back over all the details of the last year, I can't really say that I want to forget them either.  In some ways, this has been the most important, most pivotal year of my life.   I have definitely been changed, and not just physically.  When I look ahead to the new year I want to put those changes into practice and learn from them.

I have never been big on resolutions.  

Why make promises you can't or won't keep?  

This time though my resolutions are of quite a different nature and the urge to keep them is strong.  

I want to do the following things this next year:
  • I want to be appreciative.  I want to show my appreciation to God and to people around me for the blessings in my life.  Just today I looked up at the gray, cloud speckled  sky with a bit of sun peeking through and I thanked God for such a beautiful sight.  I thanked Him for the cold shot of fresh air hitting my face and the way the sun seemed to sneak in with that air as I breathed.  I never want to lose this new appreciation for even the simple things. 
  • I want to be positive.  I know that with the type of cancer I had that there is a chance of recurrence, but I do not want to live my life with a cloud of cancer hanging over my head.  I would rather live my life covered with a cloud full of all the blessings that God gave me over the past year.  A cloud so full that it could burst open any minute and rain those blessings over me any time I even start to think negative.  
  • I want to be a blessing.  Lets face it.  I have been blessed this past year in every way you can imagine and  it is about time that I start spreading those blessings around.   I need to do this because without returning the favors they stop with me.  
  • I want to grow.  There is a reason God chose to extend my life and to keep living without growing seems pointless.   I want to learn more about God and develop an even  closer relationship with Him.
I guess that is what I am aiming for personally in this next year.  Physically, I really don't want a repeat (a "do over" might be nice, but not a repeat) of next year,  but come what may, I know that my God can handle it. 

Have a Blessed New Year.  Take stock of what your life really is.  Change what you can for the better , and allow God to manage the rest. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

Such is my Life

These have been very busy days.  

I am so enjoying my break from school, but I am trying to cram a lot in this week. 

Today I cleaned out my freezer.  We have a very large upright freezer and it was a mess. Luckily we do not have to defrost it, but things had been put away in a sloppy fashion and I no longer really knew what type of inventory I had.  Youngest and I spread a blanket on the basement floor and then started pulling things out and separating them into piles.  When we finally put everything back in I was very pleased.  I did however find out that we have plenty of pork products and enough chicken for a while, but no BEEF.  My family loves beef and I have none.  So I guess I will look for deals on various cuts of beef for a while.   I have more convenience type foods than I usually have on hand, but because of some excellent coupons and deals I have stocked up on some of them.  I will probably share some of those things with my boys for their apartments.  

I also had a therapy appointment and my therapist was thrilled at my improvements during the last week.  Suddenly my uncooperative left arm has decided that it is okay to do what I want it to. I can finally move it up past 90 degrees.  Practically all the way up.  It is pretty sore tonight, but I can live with a bit of pain while it is getting used to moving again.  

This evening I have been busy getting things ready for oldest to take with him when he moves out on Friday.  He will be moving to another city and sharing an apartment with a friend.  It is so nice to have a stockpile that I can pull from to help him get started.  I filled 4 boxes in no time with things like food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and room fresheners and will still fill a cooler from the freezer when we move him out.  

I also did a bit of bargain shopping today.  Walgreens has their Christmas things 75% off already and I stocked up on a few things for next year.  I also bought a few gifts to put back, and snagged some free Hershey Kisses (6 bags) due to the sale and my coupons.   I have found that it is possible to have free chocolate in my house at all times since I have been heavy into deals and coupons.  Dangerous, huh?   

Tomorrow I will try to check a few more things off of my "to do" list, but I plan on meeting two girls from my first girl group for lunch.   I can't wait for that. 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

What a Merry Christmas!

Today was a wonderful, lazy, day.  

We did something different this year and opened our gifts from youngest to oldest.  There was a secret reason that I devised that plan and it worked wonderfully.  We actually got to see each present and see each reaction as well.  We had planned a special gift for husband this year and wanted him to go last. The plan worked perfectly.  

I must say that I was very spoiled this year.  You can really really tell how much a man loves his wife when he gets her an electric blanket!  I will explain that I am not at all like most ladies my age. Instead of fluctuating between normal and hot flashes ,  I mostly only have one body temperature:  FROZEN!  My husband has seen me go to bed with two pairs of socks, and truth be told, one night I had on three pairs.  One pair was on my hands!   Lucky for me though, this blanket has dual controls, or I am sure I would never have gotten it.  The sweet thing is, I really did not think to write this on my list this year.  He just knows me.   

As I said though, I was SPOILED.  He also got me a 12 cup Kitchen Aid food processor,  (my request) a very nice Rowenta iron, and 7 pieces of jewelry.    

My boys spoiled me as well, youngest got me a silicone rolling pin, and a large bacon press and oldest got me a basic pastry decorating set and a CD.  

I had not planned on cooking much today, I was going to thaw out some homemade vegetable soup and be lazy, but when we set up the food processor I had to slice a potato, then another, then a few more.   It was FUN. ( I know, I get my kicks in the strangest way)  Anyway, after slicing 6 potatoes in about as many seconds, I felt I should put them to good use, so I made scalloped potatoes.  We grilled pork chops and cooked some green beans  and biscuits and that was our Christmas dinner.  

We watched the animated movie WALL-E this afternoon, and other than a bit of picking up here and there, have been really, really, lazy!

I hope you all had a very nice holiday with your families.  I hope the gifts you gave were a reflection of your love, and that the gifts you received returned love to you.  

I pray you took time to reflect on the greatest gift of all and that Christ has blessed your family as He has ours.  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Amazing Video--Listen Carefully --All the Way Through

Upside Down from Pace Hartfield on Vimeo.

CVS is my friend

Today after church, and while a roast was perfecting in my oven , husband took me to CVS. Today was a blow out day of freebies.  I had a $35.00 dollar Extra Care Buck in my billfold that was a left over from the Thanksgiving sale.  I messed up that day and did not really want to be stuck with $35.00 on one ECB, but CVS came through for me today and I was able to roll it over and end up with multiple smaller bucks.  The basics of this deal are as follows:

I started with the $35.00 in Extra Care Bucks, plus a $25.00 gift card from a new prescription (free money)

I also had coupons on several items 

I spent the $35.00 ECB, plus $10.76 on the gift card for a total spent of $45.76  (NOTHING out of pocket)

I left with $49.47 in brand spankin' new Extra Care Bucks (in smaller more manageable amounts)

I came home with more Extra Care Bucks than what I spent in ECBs and on my gift card.  *** I MADE MONEY!!

I did 3 transactions and ended up with the following:

5 Arm & Hammer Essentials  Cleaning Kits

5 Listerene

5 Right Guard Professional Strength

1 Halls Naturals

1 Excedrine 

2 Sally Hansen Nail Polish

2 Loreal Eye Shadow

3 Thermocare Heat Wraps

1  Package Zip Fizz Energy Mix 

1 Package Benefiber Drink Mix 

1 Alteril Sleep Aid

1 Zantac

1 Sleepinal Sleep Aid

29 items that would have cost over $167.00 but that were actually given to me for nothing!

I left the store halfway looking over my shoulder to see if I would be arrested.  It amazes me that I can get free stuff like this!

Now for the remaining $49.00 Extra Care Bucks, I will probably blow through some of them without having to worry about rolling them over into new ones.  I figure this is great timing to allow me to buy a few stocking stuffers and last minute Christmas essentials.  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Melancholy Mood

Silly me.  I watched a sad movie today and spent half of the day blubbering.  First I blubbered about the movie, then of course, I blubbered about every thought that entered my head.   It really does not take much anymore to get the fountain started.  

I feel so incredibly blessed.  To think that next week is Christmas and that I am feeling so well health wise makes me want to blubber all the more.  Most of the time I hold it in.

I spend a lot of time lately wondering.  Not wondering why I had a heart attack and cancer.   Yet, wondering why I survived both of them with such a good prognosis.  Seems we mostly ask the big "why" questions when something terrible happens, and we don't think about asking "why" when things work out good for us.   However, I AM wondering why.    What amazing things does God have in store for me that He would go out of His way to spare me from not one, but two serious events?  Actually three if we count the breast cancer scare.  

This Christmas has taken on a whole new beautiful meaning.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  I have always appreciated and loved Christmas.  This year it is different though.  I look at our tree and want to cry, I open each card and say a prayer of thanks for the friends and family that mean so much to us.  I shop with a greater joy than ever before, and to be honest, I am looking forward to getting presents as well.  I want to soak in every second of this Christmas.  I feel a bit like Mary did on that first Christmas.  No, I cannot compare my experiences with that of Mary,  yet I have always loved the account in Luke Chapter 2.  I love verse 19 where it says that "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart"    I am treasuring, and I am pondering.  Pondering how a little baby came to save us, to give us life abundant.  Pondering how I have been given a huge gift this year and how much I am loved. 

This next week will be busy.  Youngest will be home from school so both boys will be home for a while.   I will be cooking more, cleaning more, baking, wrapping, and waiting.  Waiting anxiously for Christmas morning with my family.  Waiting to savor the moment, to treasure, and to ponder. 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Crunch

Sounds like a recipe doesn't it? Sorry if you were expecting something delicious.

Rather I am talking about this time of year when moms become super human warriors that shop, clean, bake, cook, wrap, send out cards, and decorate while still attempting to hold their day jobs. As the time gets closer to Christmas we get all the more harried.

Yesterday husband presented me with an amazing gift. In reality it was the gift of time. He played the role of super human warrior yesterday by completely cleaning the house so that I do not have to this weekend. I arrived home from school to see that the kitchen was cleaned and mopped, bathroom cleaned and mopped, house vacuumed, bed made, bedroom cleaned, AND a cup of hot tea was sitting on the stove waiting for me! Isn't he amazing?

I love this man.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Medical Issue

Father in Law is in the hospital. Last night he went from fine to very sick in no time. Husband went there and the decision was made to take him to the hospital, only he was too weak to walk across the room so an ambulance was called. He seems to be doing better, but he has an infection of some sort which they still need to identify. I spent half the day with Mother in Law at the hospital. I am so thankful for sick days that allow me to do that. Thankfully I have some left after all the ones I have taken this year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Medical Update

Some of you might already know this, but I thought I should post this for those of you that do not. The cancer I had has a specific blood test, much like a PSA for a man. A rise in my calcitonin level would be a red flag and an indication that something needs investigated. Pre-surgery my level was 1356, normal is 5 or less. After surgery the level dropped to 5 ! That was great news. A better, more reliable test is done at least 6 weeks post surgery. I had blood drawn on the 24th of November and last week my doctor called personally to tell me that the level was now "undetectable" ! She was very excited, but nearly as much as I was! This will be repeated for the rest of my life, probably every 4-6 months. I see her in less that 2 weeks and I will find out just how often she will want the test repeated.

Just thought you might be interested.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

One for "The School Book"

****This is a huge departure from my usual posts, but it is something nonetheless that I feel you will enjoy****

The teacher I work with and I have said for years that we need to write a book. Some things that are said at school, "out of the mouth of babes" are just too precious not to share. Well, I am sure that this story won't fall into the "precious" category, but it has given quite a few people so far a good laugh. (Private note to my teacher--Mrs. M. -- I can't believe I did not share this with you yesterday, but you know how busy our mornings are...I will fill you in on who said it later.)

For the rest of you, please do not be offended at the following.

Yesterday morning I was busy teaching my morning groups. Our class rotates during reading from a group with the classroom teacher Mrs. M., to another aide, and myself. At this particular moment I was between groups.

Now I will try to be discreet here, but something unexpected happened. Out of nowhere, a small amount of silent, and not so fresh "air" escaped from my backside.

Okay, I think you all know what I am talking about.

Now, my next group was on their way to my table and I am thinking to myself. "Oh boy, this is going to be interesting". Just then one of the boys arrives, sits in his chair and immediately I see him ever so slightly sniff in the air. Panic was about to set in and then he remarked, "Mrs. W. I smell bologna, do you smell bologna?" I was thinking, "Well, not exactly bologna, but if thats what you want to call it then that is fine with me !" I just smiled and told him I did not....

Kids are funny.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Seems like a long time

I am so sorry. I know it has been a while. For you faithful few that check every day please forgive me. These are busy days. I had such a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family and with having both boys home that I have neglected this blog.

They have been busy days. While everyone else shopped after Thanksgiving, I cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned some more. I cleaned on Saturday as well. Much needs cleaned all over again, but it sure looked good for a while.

Our boys, mainly prompted by youngest' pleading decided to go out and chop down a real Christmas this year. We have not had a real one for about 10 years at least. They did an amazing job and we put it up on Saturday evening. The house smells wonderful! (thank you youngest, it was a good idea)

~Sorry about that photo and the weird black borders. Blogger did not like the way I had cropped it. ~

The last few days I have been busy as well, partly by snagging more bargains! Our local K-Mart finally decided to join with the rest of the K-Marts and do the super double coupons. Husband and I went on Sunday evening for the first trip and I did pretty well. I returned after an my therapy appointment on Monday evening just to pick up 2 Gillette body washes that ended up being free. However, tonight was the best trip of all. When I went on Sunday night I had purchased 4 cans of End Dust spray. The register kicked out a one dollar coupon good on future K-Mart purchases, but before the register was done, it froze. They had to re-boot it and it took a long time. When it came back up it spat out 4 more coupons. The clerk said she was giving me all of them since I had to wait so long. Tonight when I went I was "armed" with a few select coupons that I wanted doubled and the one dollar coupons from the register. They let me use them all! My manufacturer coupons all doubled, then I got to use the 8 one dollar coupons to reduce my total! I bought over $41.00 dollars worth of stuff for $1.68!!! It was sweet! Here is what I bought:

2 bags of Hershey Bells

2 bags of Holiday Reese's

2 bags of Kit Kats (yes youngest I will save some)

1 box of Fruit Loops

1 bag of Pup-peroni dog snacks

1 package of Dixie paper plates

2 -36 count St. Joseph 81mg aspirin

2 -24 count Tylenol Rapid Release

1 Gillette Body Wash

1 Diet Pepsi (mine)

I think I have just about depleted my good coupons though. I will not likely make any more trips to K-Mart this week. If any of you snag some great bargains let me know!

I will try to post more often, I have much to say, just not much time right now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

My "CVScapades" (My sister coined that term...I love it)

It was a very good day.

Everything in this picture, all $192.05 worth cost me a total of $20.74. My out of pocket would have been much less, if I had broken up the Right Guard purchases into about 3 more transactions, but it was Thanksgiving after all and I did have other things to do. I still walked out with only paying slightly over 20 bucks and have $35.00 in Extra Care Bucks for my next shopping trip.

Here is just what is in the picture in case you can't make it all out:

5 Right Guard Professional Strength Deodorants (these alone would have cost $40.00!)

3 packages of 3 each Dial Soap

1 Aussie Shampoo

1 Aussie conditioner

3 Gatorade G2

2 Maybelline Mineral Power (liquid make up)

1 Gover Girl Liquid make up

1 Cover Girl pressed powder

2 Colgate Total toothpaste

2 Loreal Lip Juice Lip Gloss

2 Sally Hansen Maximum Growth Nail polish

1 Johnson's Soft Lotion

1 Garnier Make Up removing cloths

1 King size Hershey Bar

1 Shick Titanium Trimmers

1 package of 2 each 5 Hour Energy Shots

2 packages of Phillip's ipod ear buds

I did start with $35.00 in Extra Bucks, so I had a good way to start my shopping spree. I also had $8.00 in manufacturer's coupons. I did 4 different transactions, and like I said, if I had split up my last purchase I would have spent less. I am not beating myself up though over this. I am quite pleased.

The store was out of the Bic Soliel razors that were in the sale ad for today though. Actually, they had one on their shelf and a gal in front of me got it. No problem...I have 4 in my stockpile.

I guess I should also include CVS with what I am thankful for this year, but not necessarily just CVS. I actually am thankful for this whole new way of shopping. Stockpiling, couponing, and matching ads has really boosted our budget!

These Things I Know For Sure

I am writing this post on Thanksgiving Eve. it is late, 11:09 now and I know I will still be up for a while. A cheesecake is finishing its last 10 minutes in the oven and then it has to cool for one hour before going in the fridge for the night. It is a delicious recipe and oldest son wanted to make it with me, so I waited until later tonight when we could do it together. My "famous" broccoli and rice is put together for tomorrow and will bake after we arrive at husband's folks.

I have some time alone now to reflect and compose this post.

My thoughts are so deep right now. As I think back on these last 6 months, I KNOW I have much to be thankful for.

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day will be the 6 month anniversary of my heart attack. The event which began the chain of events that will shape the rest of my life.

These things I know for sure:

1. God is faithful.
I guess I have known that in my head for quite some time, I have read the Bible enough to see that fact repeated in scripture. I have heard others proclaim that time and again when they have gone through crisis. I guess though, that it was never made more real to me than it has been in the last 6 months. There were so many events, and not just in my own life, but in the family as a whole, that might cause some to doubt God. In each situation though, even ones that did not turn out how we would want, God proved that He is right there, every step of the way.

2. My Husband is incredible.
Most every marriage vow includes the phrase. "for better or worse". I just don't think that when you are standing at the altar that you really think that time will come. Might I just be real and say that even though God was and is faithful, I would have never chosen these last 6 months. I cannot think many people would choose a heart attack, followed by cancer, followed by an emergency surgery, followed by a breast biopsy. Worse came all at once for us and my husband was my biggest ally. He was my support, my nurse, my advocate, my encouragement and my love. I cannot thank him enough for loving me in such a way.
I remember one particular moment that will always be etched in my mind: We were at the local emergency room when my neck had suddenly swelled. I was so afraid, and I was not handling it very well, I was crying and scared. I feared what was going to happen as I was struggling to breathe. My husband was at the end of the bed and to calm myself I just had to stare into his eyes and lean on his courage for a moment. He stood there and returned my focus. He was keeping his eyes fixed on mine to give me the support I needed. They quickly gave me a medication which knocked me out, but I remember the love and encouragement in his eyes. Oh how I love this man.

3. Family means everything.
I am blessed to have two sons. They were there the day of my heart attack at my bedside. They were there the day of my cancer surgery. They have encouraged me along the way. They are a sweet motivation and a huge reason to "press on".

My sister has gone over and above the call of duty and made so many trips to the hospital and to my home to care for me, to visit me and to love me. She and I have been close for a very long time, but the way we feel about each other now is amazing. Since the day of my heart attack we do not end a single phone conversation without telling each other "I love you". It is that important because we now know how fragile life really is. When the time ever comes that God separates us we will have no regrets.

My brothers have made countless calls to check up on me and several of them were able to make trips to the hospital to see me. I am so blessed.

My husband's family means the world to me and have been there through it all with many phone calls, visits, and prayers. They traveled many miles to be with me and have shown so much love, even though each of them had been dealt some pretty serious things in their own lives and families.

Husband's parents have loved me as their own ever since I married into this family and these last 6 months were no exception.
These were hard months for them as well, but that never stopped them from showing concern for me.

4. Friends are icing on the cake.
We are such a blessed people. It is not enough that the God of the Universe loves us and calls us His own, not enough that He puts us in an amazing support system known as the family, but He sprinkles our lives with friends to top everything off. What can I possibly say to all of my friends to express my thanks? I never wanted for anything. Meals, housework, yard-work, errands, visits, you name it and it was provided. Many things were provided before I even expressed a need. The prayers and phone calls helped carry me through each day and the cards poured in. During the "heart attack" period I received 79 cards, during the "cancer" period I received well over 100. I have kept every one, they are such encouragement. I have had church friends, school friends, old friends, and very new friends all rally around and shower me with love.

5. This world is not my home.
I think the most important thing I know for sure is just that. This world is not really my home. I now know life is fragile, that life can turn on a dime and be completely different in just one heartbeat. As much as I love life and love my husband, family and friends, I know that we are all here for such a short time. The God of the Universe knows that as well and thankfully made a plan for all of us to live forever. The salvation that I have in my life is the one thing I am truly most thankful for. Yes, even more than everything else I have lived through in the last 6 months. That more important even than waking up this morning breathing, I have an assurance of eternal life.

As I finish typing I am noticing that now it is indeed the 27th, the 6th month anniversary mark. After all I have gone through in those 6 months, I may not really know much, but those things I know for sure. I truly do have much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I got my answer

I am not eligible for the clinical trial. The doctor's office told me tonight that because of a previous cancer (thyroid) that I am not eligible. You would have thought that this doctor would have known that this would eliminate me. So there is my answer. I still do not know though if he will choose to do anything else for me or just monitor me with mammograms.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Something to Think About

This has been a very good weekend and it is only Saturday night. Sunday is still coming, and that is my favorite day! I will blog more about the weekend tomorrow. Too much for one post.

Here though is what I need to think about:

On Friday, I had two doctor appointments before we headed south on our little get-away. One of the appointments was with my oncologist. Now, to clarify, I do not have an oncologist for the thyroid cancer I had. Don't need one, they got it all. This oncologist is for the cancer I did not have. Confusing? Yeah, a little. I have seen an oncologist twice for the breast issue. It was not cancer, rather some odd little cells that seem to increase your chances of getting cancer. I am over the 20% mark as far as lifetime risks go for getting breast cancer, and to him that seems to be a big deal. He is very interested in getting me in a clinical trial for a new use of a current drug. There is a drug that is being shown as effective in women who already have advanced breast cancer, but as of yet they do not know for sure if it could prevent breast cancer in women that are just at a higher risk. That is where I come in.

Here is the deal, there is not much out there to try for me anyway, and this drug is not yet available in my instance, so this might be my best shot at a treatment plan. The current popular "preventative" drug has side effects that would not be good for someone like me with a previous heart attack. I am not naming drug names here on purpose. Last time I did that I was given a comment on this blog by a drug company spy or something like that, and I would rather not have commercial endorsements on this blog unless I am the one making them. I do know the name of the drug and plan to research it carefully before accepting any offer that comes my way. There are a lot of questions I would want answered before I would agree as well.

I am going to research that drug now, but I ask that you say a prayer for me for wisdom. I might not even get invited to join in, and I would take that as an answer from God. I should know by about Tuesday.

My other appointment was for my annual "female" visit. I see a nurse practitioner that husband and I both love. She is very good. She had not seen me for a year so she was a bit taken back by all that has happened.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lazy Me

So sorry to all of you die hards out there, I have slacked off this week. I am not really sure how many readers I have anymore though because I don't get too many comments these days. That's okay.

This has been a busy week. I am focusing on getting into the groove of walking on my treadmill ( 2 nights in a row!) , plus I have had 2 doctor appointments so far this week and 2 more to go. Everything is fine, I just have so many follow-up appointments. I have a feeling that for a while anyway that I will be frequenting the doctor's offices.

This weekend husband and I are running away from home. Well, just one night, but it is still good to get away. I have 2 doctor appointments in the big city to our west on Friday afternoon, and afterwards we are traveling south a ways to spend the night. We will get up the next morning, drive a bit more, and visit two different nieces. One of them (farmwife) has 4 children, all adorable, and we have never seen the house they built.
The other niece lives even further south and her sweet daughter is celebrating her first birthday on Saturday. I will get to get away with my husband and love on great nieces and nephews all at the same time. Pretty good day I must say.

I don't know about you, but I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another Medical Dilemma

I discovered today that I may indeed have another medical issue.
It happens every Sunday morning.

My eyes leak.

Today they started during the opening song, continued throughout all of the worship music and then started really leaking during the sermon. One might wonder if the subject matter of how God gets us through tough times has anything to do with this problem, but I just know that this is happening with regularity. They get started and for some reason don't stop.

I will keep you posted.

I hope you are not thinking that I seriously think this is a medical issue. I know it is not. I know it is the result of the blessings of a Good God, and that He has literally carried me these last 6 months. Worship service is a time that I truly turn my thoughts and my praise over to God and I am truly humbled at His blessings in my own life. I do not know why He has blessed me so, I have done nothing more than anyone else to deserve this. I just know that I am truly grateful. Not knowing how to express this gratefulness causes my eyes to just leak uncontrollably.

I can think of worse issues.

$20.00 Marathon

This should make a believer out of you!

Granted, the following was all possible due to the careful use of coupons, rain-checks, a gift card, store sales, CVS Extra Care Bucks, and Walgreen's Register Rewards.

Really, all those deals had to merge to make this all possible.

This is what I got today for just under $20.00:


3 big city papers

1 Loreal Age Perfect Moisturizer ($15.99--free after extra care bucks)

2 packs of 3 each, Arthritis Relief Well Patches (free, due to a rain-check)

2 bottles of Revlon Nail Polish

(I left CVS with $18.00 in new extra care bucks for the next big deal)

Dollar General:

4 Air-Wick Freshmatic Kits (these are $11.99 at Walmart, but only $6.00 at Dollar General, I had $5.00 coupons)

2 Lysol Neutra Air Freshmatics (same deal as above and I had $5.00 coupons)


2 gallons of milk

4 packages of cheddar cheese, (shredded 8 oz)

4 bottles of Suave shampoo

2 small cans of French's French Fried Onions

The grand total for all 3 stores was under $20.00. It was a very good day.

That is how I stockpile!

Plus the papers are chock full of good coupons this week to allow me to stretch our dollars even further.

My sister will get good use of some the air fresheners, she has a number of cats and likes to keep her house fresh. (She does an excellent job by the way)

I love my coupons.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cleaning Frenzy

I must admit that I have not put in a day like today for quite a while. Oh, about 6 months to be exact. Today I started cleaning and for a while I felt like Forest Gump when he just started running and never stopped. I eventually did stop, but I accomplished so much.

Today I :

-cleaned the kitchen and swept and mopped the floor

-stripped two beds and washed all the bedding

-re-made our bed, (oldest son can put his own back together)

-cleaned the bedroom and vacuumed

-cleaned the bathroom and mopped that floor

-sorted through a mound of paperwork in my dining room and cleaned it well

-straightened up the rest of the house

-washed/ dried the kitchen and bathroom throw rugs

-washed two other loads of clothes

That was truly a huge day for me, I did not quite finish. Husband will vacuum the rest of the house tomorrow. I still have some laundry to fold, but my my the house is pretty much all clean at once, and I did the most in one day that I have done since before the heart attack. It actually felt pretty good to dig in like that and have the stamina to work so hard. I tell ya, things are getting better and better!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I was finally able to get back on the treadmill tonight after 3 weeks of healing from my stupid human trick. I am not completely healed, and in fact there is still quite a bit to heal. I do not cringe with every movement of my foot though, and actually it felt quite good. I only went for just under 25 minutes, but it got my blood pumping and I enjoyed it.

Physical therapy for my shoulders went well also, although they do like to make me work. I was on two different contraptions tonight, and then did additional exercises before she let me go. I have homework as well and I am already noticing a big difference in my right arm, the left is still weaker, but it is coming around.

Life is good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Open Letter of Apology

Now, I admit, that most of you who read this will have no idea what this post is about, but some of you will know very well. Read carefully.

This is an open letter to Karen.

Dear Karen,

Please forgive me for being so self absorbed as of late. I admit I have not kept up with those dear to your heart. I have selfishly been writing on my own blog about all of my own troubles and have just not taken the time to read about your precious friends. I used to keep up with you and I knew every heartache that the Baxters felt. I remember well when Kari had the terrible problems with her first husband and the joy that Ryan brought into her life. I wept with Ashley as she struggled to find herself and when she was pushing Landon away, even while I knew he was the best thing for her. I hurt so much for John and Elizabeth when they were trying desperately to find Dane or even to put a name on their firstborn son. How tragic that Elizabeth did not live long enough to see the desire of her heart come to be fulfilled. I followed you closely when Haley nearly drowned and the sorrow that event brought. I watched as Luke has wavered in his faith and in relationships. I have wished so much that Erin and her family could be closer to the rest and not so far away. I cried with the rest of you when Ashley and Landon's baby did not beat the odds and left this earth as soon as she came. I have seen the changes in Brooke and her husband as their faith has grown.

You see Karen, I did do a good job keeping up with you for so long. Remember, I rejoiced when Katie and Dane finally were able to get married and I felt the disappointment she felt with the closing of the CKT. You know that I have admired along with you, the great faith and influence the Flannigans have had in the Bloomington area. What neat people they are.

I am just so sorry that I have neglected you as of late. When I had my heart attack last May it is like I just let the entire Baxter clan go. How can we do that with friends? I know that "Someday" I should read up on your friends and surely I will not let the "Sunset" on these wonderful people. It is just that "Someday" and the "Sunset" are so far out of my mind.

Please Karen, forgive me and be patient with me. I have not even asked my friends how the Baxters are doing because I honestly want to find out for myself. Will you give me another chance?

****Okay, enough already. Please do not put the Baxter family or anyone else mentioned in this post on your church prayer list. Do not ask me how they are doing, and please don't think I have been one big heel of a friend to let a family go through so much and not keep up with them.

The Baxters are a fictitious family. Well, sometimes I wonder, because as many of my friends will attest, we "know" them so well. It is just that I have not kept up in my reading of the books about this family, written by Karen Kingsbury. I have read the first 12 books , however due to my own drama have just not managed to read books 13 and 14. I know, I am a terrible person to abandon them at this point and I beg from all of you die-hards (you know who you are) ( Reta, Kelley, Chel, Sue, etc., etc.,) my forgiveness.

Monday, November 10, 2008

23 Years Ago Today

What a wonderful day.

The days leading up to November 10, 1985 were not so wonderful. Our oldest son was 22 months old at the time and had been having problems with recurring pneumonia. This bout landed him in the hospital for a total of 5 days. I was 9 months pregnant, yet managed to stay a few nights in the hospital with oldest. He had gone in on a Monday and by Thursday I noticed something strange. I was suspicious that I would soon be in labor due to some tale tell signs, and the nurses on the floor decided I needed a roll away bed to sleep on rather than a recliner. I slept okay that night, but after seeing the doctor the next morning I was sent home to my own bed and instructed to get some rest because labor was in fact, imminent. Mother in law spent that night with oldest and by the next morning he was able to come home. What relief when we were able to get home with him on Saturday. That day was a frustrating one though, because although he was home, he still was a sick little boy. Our washing machine decided to break that day as well, sending a huge puddle of water across our entire laundry room. Ever notice how misery loves company and there never is just one thing going wrong at a time?

Finally we all went to sleep that night and rested fairly well. Even though the next day was Sunday it was decided that we would all stay home from church. Oldest was not allowed to go out in public yet, and we could not figure out who should stay home with him. If I had stayed home by myself with him, then there would be a problem if I went into labor. If husband stayed home, then I would have to drive to church alone, creating another potential problem if I went into labor. So we all stayed home, and tried to "rest up" for the next big event.

Sure about 1:00 pm, I was stepping out of the shower and noticed that my water broke. Before long we were at the hospital and while my water had indeed broken, no labor pains accompanied that event. We spent a few hours waiting in a labor room while our doctor decided the course of action. Finally it was decided that I would be induced and our sweet baby boy was born just before 10:00 pm.

I was thrilled. Many people wondered if we had wanted a girl the second time around, and in some ways I thought I would have. But I will try to tell you where exactly my heart was. Our oldest had already brought us so much joy and having a son was in every way a wonderful experience. I had nothing to relate to as far as a daughter was concerned and I knew that there was no way our joy could be any greater had we had a girl. There was nothing sweeter to my ears than hearing first of all that this baby was perfect, and then that it was another boy.
Over the years this child has continued to fill our days with joy and laughter. He has taught us much through his generous, loving spirit, has amazed us with his creative, intelligent mind, and had blessed us time and again by his love of, and unique outlook on life. The relationship that he and his brother share has warmed my heart and has made me proud to see that they are not only brothers, but best of friends.

Happy Birthday Youngest!
I pray that this day has brought you joy as you have brought to us!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another Busy Weekend

No real time to post today, but tomorrow's post is already planned. I have been busy all weekend. A special program on Friday night, an overnight stay with my sister which included a marathon Christmas shopping trip, and today we are off to visit youngest because tomorrow is his birthday.

See ya tomorrow.....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Unexpected Tears

I don't know if you have ever read "The Last Leaf" , the old short story by O. Henry, but it was brought to my mind today and has made quite an impact.

Today at school our class was heading down the hall to go to the gym to attend an honor assembly. When we rounded the first corner and passed by the glass enclosed courtyard I could see leaves fluttering by. Although there are no trees in that courtyard the wind had caused quite a mass of leaves swirling around. Out of the blue I thought of that short story, and equally as surprising, my eyes welled up with tears. I was glad that I was bringing up the rear of the line because those tears would have been hard to explain. I am actually still processing what brought them on.

To make that short story even shorter, and in no way do it justice, I will give a brief description in case you are not familiar with it. I may not be completely accurate with my version of this wonderful story, but you will get the main idea. If you are able, track it down and read it.

In the story 2 friends, both artists share a studio apartment in a building where other artists have chosen to live. One of the friends is seriously stricken with pneumonia and has convinced herself that she will surely die. The doctor knows that she has given up and tells the other friend how grave the situation is because of that fact. The woman with pneumonia even convinces herself that she will die as the last leaf falls from the ivy vine outside their apartment window. Not able to convince her otherwise, her friend pulls the shade so the sick friend will at least stop looking out the window and counting the leaves. Another artist in the building comes to visit then paints a few hours while both women are sleeping. The next day the sick woman begs her friend to raise the blind and notices that one leaf is still hanging on. All day and all night the leaf remains, even through a blustery wind and rain. This convinces the sick woman that she has been foolish to give up, and if that leaf can hang on, then she can as well. Immediately she starts eating and becoming better.

They later find out that their other friend has died suddenly in the hospital of pneumonia after having it just 2 days. A discovery is soon made of a ladder outside their window, and what they thought was the last leaf hanging on the vine was actually a painting of such placed lovingly in the window by their friend after the last leaf really fell. It was felt that he contracted pneumonia while out in that rain to place the painting against their window.

Why did that make me cry suddenly? The more I have processed it today I have drawn these conclusions for myself:

1. Attitude is everything. This woman did not believe she would make it and convinced herself of that fact.

I realize that I have had both a heart attack and cancer in the last 5 months and I truly believe that having faith and trying to have a positive attitude has helped tremendously. I need a positive attitude now as well to get through any lingering pain issues.

2. Friends make a huge difference. If it were up to her, in her darkest hour, this woman would have given up. She convinced herself that she would die, but her friends would not let her have her way.

I was surrounded by friends and family that offered me strength when mine was wavering. They offered encouragement when I was low. They gave me a gift of a "last leaf" in so many ways. Whatever my needs were, they were met.

3. God uses many things to get our attention. We need to be close enough to hear Him whisper, and close enough to see a message from a swirling bit of leaves when He wants to tell us something. I was so taken back by the sudden tears. I am not usually like that. It was as if God was saying, "Anita, pay attention, this is another one of my teachable moments, please don't miss what I am trying to tell you."

4. We / I need to be the type of friend that discovers what a person really, really needs to get through a situation and go out of the way to provide it.

What type of "last leaf" could we offer?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Frugality 101

If you have been reading me for a while then you know that my posting will vary from frugality, to personal issues, to random thoughts. Lately I am on my frugal kick again, so that is what you get. My coupons are finally clipped, sorted and filed, so I am feeling armed and ready to "spend money to save money". I have a few more deals in my head and coupons ready for action.

**** Note: some of these things might be a repeat of things I have said before, but I have had some new requests for my best tips, so here we go again****

I want to go over what I have found to be my number one way to consistently save at the grocery or pharmacy (other than staying home)

The number one thing that had drastically reduced our spending is the smart use of coupons!

My old way of using coupons:
Make grocery list, try to pick as many sale items or store brands as possible, then use any coupons I could for that list. Spend $85.00 at the store and then come home and gloat about saving $4.00 with coupons.

My new way of using coupons:

Buy multiple copies of big city papers, beg for additional copies of coupons from your friends and then clip ALL coupons, even ones I do not think I will use. I then make my lists BASED on my coupons! Go to the store, spend $26.00 and come home and gloat (shoot, I gloat in the checkout lane) about saving $45.00 with coupons!

I no longer shop with a long grocery list of things we "need" because of the way I stockpile, I rarely run out of things other than milk. I make my list based on my best coupons matched to the best sale and stock up on whatever that deal is. One week it is pasta, one week cereal, then another it might be toothpaste. Eventually my shelves are stocked with a number of items all bought dirt cheap! (remember I will not pay anything for toothpaste anymore)

If you missed my post about coupon sorting and filing, then click here and check out how I manage my coupons.

I am sure if you looked in my cart at WalMart you would wonder why I shop the way I do. The other night I bought 6 packages of various pasta because I had great coupons. Those go on the stockpile and I will not pay full price for pasta for a very long time.

If you missed my stockpile post, then click here and here. I can tell you that since that was posted in July the items have changed somewhat because of things we have consumed or donated, and other items have replaced them, but I am just about as stocked now as I was then. Just the actual inventory has changed. I may have slowed down a bit through all of my health issues, but the shelves are far from bare.

Since that post we have been able to donate many many items and before shopping this way we never had extra to give and could not afford to go out and buy things for others. Plus, as I have said before, I LOVE shopping in my basement when we want toothpaste, shampoo, cereal, or various other items.

I do not want to bore you with my shopping frenzy, but I just cannot tell you what a blessing this change has been for my family. I never ever thought that by buying brand names and using coupons we would be able to save so much. I never thought that our over all budget would improve and that we would finally be actually saving more in the bank than before.

Want more frugality posts? Any specific topics ? If I don't have the answer I probably know of a blog to point you to.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Physical Therapy

Today after school was my first therapy session. It went pretty well. I have some exercises to do this week that do not seem too difficult. The therapist did say that I had considerable weakness in my shoulders and upper arms. Some of that she feels is a nerve situation and that it might take a very long time to completely regenerate. She explained my neck stiffness and told me some things I could do to help with that. She also had me close my eyes and found that there is still a large portion of my neck that feels pressure but no sensitivity. I will go twice a week for the next month and then reevaluate my situation. She was gentle which I liked and said that in my case there is no need for painful therapy. So, no physical terrorist here. It was interesting though because all this time I have noticed the weakness mostly in my right arm and shoulder, but when she did all of her tests and measurements she found my left arm and shoulder are quite a bit weaker. I guess since I am right handed I just did not pay much attention to the left side.

How far would you go?

Okay-- I went back to WalMart tonight because I was in the area and asked them about my coupons that were not deducted from my total. They told me on the phone last night that I would have 5 days to go there and settle on this receipt. So, I thought I would give it a shot. Yep, she was right, I have 5 days, only she did not tell me that the accounting girl I needed to talk to leaves at 3:00 pm. Jeepers. I cannot get there before 3:00. She told me to call tomorrow and they would try to figure something out. I would let it go, but $9.00 seems to be a lot, especially since I am trying to be frugal.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Boy, did I shop tonight.

It started at Walgreens where I was very successful at obtaining a few free items (two 20 count packages of Celestial Seasonings Tea, and 4 packages of Wrigley's gum due to a store sale, store coupons, and manufacturer's coupons ) and a few very cheap things due to coupons. Later I went to WalMart, where I spent more than I usually do, but stocked up on many things very cheap plus about 7 free things and bought 2 big bags of dog food. Even with my huge stockpile there are things we use often and when the deal matches up with the right coupon, I will buy it. I also hit Dollar General, mostly for my sister. You won't believe what I did for her, well, maybe you will. Remember that husband graciously sorted my coupons yesterday? I asked him to pitch any that had expired and any that would expire very soon. Well, sister tells me tonight of a great deal at Dollar General where you could get the $11.00 Lysol Neutra Air kit for a buck -- if you had the right coupon which would expire tonight. Guess what I did for her? I dug through my trash and found 3 of them which husband had pitched. Lucky for me, he had placed the expired coupons in a newly emptied Kleenex box, so it was easy for me to pull them out of the trash. I am not going through it anymore though. That amazing husband of mine carted me off to D.G. so I could buy those for her, only I am keeping one. I think I am entitled.

We also went to Menards where I got a free flashlight and some marked down Halloween candy for school. Our only other stop was Office Max where I purchased 2 ink cartridges with my Max Perks bonus.

Yikes....I just checked my receipt and the 3 best coupons at WalMart did not come off, and I handed those to the girl one by one. That is a total of $9.00 that did not come off. My tendency is stew and dwell on things like this, but husband says to let it go. Not sure if I can do that. I did call them and they told me I had 5 days to go back and that accounting would find that error. Hmmm.

I think the only things we possibly need in this house right now might be a bag of potato chips and a pound or two of ground beef. I can't really say we need those though, because we certainly will not starve without them.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back in The Saddle Again

I am a coupon junkie.

Today while coughing and snorting I decided one thing I can do is to get my coupons organized and ready for my shopping pleasure. I am half way there. All my coupons are clipped and husband has graciously been updating my coupon file by pulling all of the expired coupons. You would not believe how far behind I was...I did a terrible thing, I had to throw away two entire coupon inserts because I had let the entire things expire! Shame on me! However, in my defense, they were duplicates of some that I had used to my advantage. Once I am totally filed I will be hitting the bargains. I already have plans for Walgreens and WalMart this week so that I can use some of my prize coupons and I might just post a picture again of my finds. Remember when I used to do that? I do not want to do that with every shopping trip, but every now and then will be fun.

Oh- by the way... I have updated my link lists on my side bar. I deleted a few of my frugal sites because they were becoming a bit disappointing, I added one that helps me a ton--you can click on it to find out what coupons will be upcoming in the Sunday inserts. Usually by Thursday of each week you can go to Coupon Clippers and find out what the big city papers will have. You can buy coupons from that site as well, but I have never done that. I just use that site to decide if I want to buy extra papers based on my needs and if so, how many papers.

I so want to get completely well so that I can host a coupon class. Actually more than just a coupon class...I want to share all the amazing money saving tips that I have learned in the last 8-9 months since I have been following those blogs. I wish I had been keeping track like some do of the number of coupons used and the exact amount of money I have saved. I do know that our debts have been going down consistently while we have been able to save more money than before. I just really watch my spending now, and the more I watch it, the more I want to watch it!

I also have added links to folks I really know. I used to have most of those on my side bar, but deleted them one time. You can drop by those sites and tell them I sent you.


It is 2:14 AM as I type this.

The bad thing about not being able to sleep tonight is that I have to repeat one whole hour due to the time change. I should have seen this coming though, I slept most of Saturday due to a return of cold symptoms and it was inevitable that I would not sleep tonight. Seriously, I got out of bed at 10:00, got dressed, took my mother-in-law to the grocery then came home, watched the rest of a tv movie, then crawled back in bed for 3 hours, got up and did very little, Husband and I dined on a gourmet meal of grilled cheese and tomato soup and then watched a bit of television before we put in a movie. The latest Indiana Jones movie was sitting on the entertainment center from Netflix for a few days and needed to be watched, I made it about 1/3 of the way and then returned to bed before 9:00. By 1:00 I was coughing and aching and returned to the tv. Television is funny on time change nights, one hour shows are listed on the cable as running from 1:00-1:00. Can't say I ever saw that before. Don't you feel bad too for the people who work the night shift tonight? They have to work an extra hour. I hope they get paid well for that!

Church is up in the air for the morning. I am ready for a long stretch of not missing church. Before all of my health issues I think I had only missed church about twice in the last year and those were times we were out of town. I just do not routinely miss church. I don't like missing. Maybe if I can return to bed soon I will be okay.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Today I got a phone call from the director of radiology of the center where they did the wire placement without numbing medicine. The doctor I saw yesterday did as he said he would and passed my letter along to those who need to read it. I was very pleased that my doctor did that, and pleased that this director took it seriously.

Tonight I am going to bed very early, it is just after 8:00 and I am ready. Tomorrow we have parent-teacher conferences in the evening and that will make for a 12 hour day. I am tired just thinking about it. Good news is that we get off early on Friday.

Today I had multiple pain issues with my shoulders, and my neck, and foot, so I am ready for bed. Silly me, I still cannot believe that I did that to my foot. It is just going to take some time and I am becoming an impatient person.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No news is good news...

Or so they say.

I am beginning to think that must hold true for me, if there is no real news in my department it must mean no new medical crisis. Seems that is the only news around here lately.

Well, I have little news, or information, but not much.

Today I went for a follow up appointment with the surgeon that did my breast biopsy. While there, I hand delivered a carefully thought out letter that let him and everyone else for that matter know that I did not appreciate the painful approach to wire placement. He was quite understanding and I really felt he understood. He had nothing to do with that barbaric practice of gouging me with a needle and wire and not numbing me first, so I had no problem letting him know that I really did not like that practice. He also took a look at my foot that was attacked by my treadmill and told me in detail how to care for the wound. He would have referred me to their "wound care" specialist if I had wanted, but you know, I have enough "specialists" right now and prefer to go this one alone. he did tell me that this will take a long time to heal. My sister went with me today and I must say she was shocked by just how bad that treadmill incident was. I chose not to post a picture of that lovely wound, and you probably should thank me, it is not a pretty site.

I will make this a short post tonight because I seem to have a zillion things to do around this house and must accomplish at least 2 or 3 of the zillion.

Catch you all later.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Not to do on a Treadmill...

Okay, so a heart atack, cancer, and another cancer scare must not be enough to keep my pain level up, evidently I need to self inflict an injury to sustain my pain.

Case in point: Last night friends came to see us to celebrate my birthday. I decided to show them my new treadmill. First mistake, I got on with just socks. Don't do that. I was walking along at .5 miles an hour though, not enough to cause harm and everything was fine. Until, I decided to show the husband some of the wonderful treadmill features, like the incline- no problem. Then I wanted to show him that it can go really fast for those interested in running (he is an avid runner). Only problem is that I did not really mean to push the 12 mile an hour button when I pointed to it. Whoa Nellie. It started going very fast, very fast. (get it, like .5 to 12 mph in two seconds.) I felt like George Jetson screaming, "Jane stop this crazy thing!" Only Jane did not come to my rescue. I panicked and forgot how easy it is to kill the thing by pulling that little saftey rope, and instead started trying to reduce the speed as I normally do, in .5 mph increments. Not near quickly enough to prevent a potentially serious accident.

All of a sudden my husband stopped it for me, but not until my left ankle decided to fly off the back end and lay across the belt while it is spinning out of control. New words for my vocabulary -- road rash. OUCH. I am left with a half dollar size angry, nasty, oozing rash and an egg size swelling across the right side of my left ankle! Luckily I can walk, and even found shoes to wear today that seem to work. I am not really in too much pain, which is surprising when you see my ankle.

So, I think I have learned my lessons. First wear shoes, then pay attention and do not try to show off. Also, I now know that the controls are sensitive and have saftey features built in for a reason!

My adventures continue!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Birthday Gift

Today is my birthday...I MADE IT !

Here is what I want.

I want you !

It is time to de-lurk, that means it is time for you to tell me who you are and just who reads my blog. You do not have to send flowers or gifts (unless you want to), but please just tell me who you are!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Wonderful Day!

Good news!

My pathology report came back today and I do not have any cancer in the specimen! I am to see an oncologist because I did have those atypia cells in my initial biopsy and they will discuss my risk factors and the possibility of being put on medication. I can handle that.

This was also just a very good day all around. No shoulder pain, no real neck pain, no other pain and pretty good stamina. I put in a full day at school and came home and got right on the treadmill. I feel wonderful. Let the praise begin!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Taking a Break

For those of you who of know my addiction to coupons, you will be surprised to know I am not buying newspapers tomorrow. I have already found what coupons will be in the fliers and I decided I can easily pass them by. I am actually slowing down on my shopping in general right now and not just due to health issues. I have a great stockpile and I am able to comfortably live off of it for a while. I may pick up some free things here and there if they come my way, but there is not much we need and when I check my surplus I would not want to pay much out of pocket for anything right now, knowing what I have on hand. I mean, paying even a quarter for a lot of things right now would be foolish for me. This is the beauty of the stockpile system, buy low, buy lots, never pay full price, and live off of it when you want to. When the time is right I will replenish certain items, but everything is pretty well stocked at this point. I need to take full advantage of the meats and items in our freezer before adding to it. So, sorry stores you might miss me for a while,

Two Posts so far Today...Maybe more to Come

I must be really pensive right now, either that or just suffering from insomnia, but I have been wondering something...

I know that everyone who reads my blog does not share in my faith, but I have a question. I would love to know the honest answers to these questions, but I don't know if I will really get answers. That is okay, it is just that these questions have been rattling around in my head for a while now and it is time for me to get them out. I have seen those 'man on the street" type of interviews, and I really do not want to pose these questions in that manner, and this is my other best option.

Here goes.

First question: Do you consider yourself to be Christian, atheist, or agnostic ?

Second question: At time of deep stress, or deep sadness in your life what do you do, do you cry out to anyone, God maybe, whatever your concept is of Him, or do you basically suck it up and go it on your own?

Third question: If you do not consider yourself to be a Christian, do you pray?

With all I have gone through lately I have mentioned that I wonder how people who do not have a true relationship with God handle these things, but the more I think about it, I really want to know.

I wish I could have a heart to heart talk with those who do not believe as I do without them thinking I am being preachy or judgmental, I just really want to know how different people handle stressful times.

My enquiring mind wants to know.

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want to

Well, it was bound to happen. My post surgical pity party. It seems like I have had one with each surgical or major medical event in the last 5 months. Maybe it has something to do with anesthesia leaving my body, maybe it is hormonal, maybe it is just to show I am human and not able to be completely positive all of the time. I usually do not invite anyone, which is a good thing. I think my husband and my boys time have each attended one of them, but I don't know if they were actually invited. Strange party to crash, huh? It happened last night after I took a short bath. I just lost it for a while. To be honest I am sick of pain. I don't like living my life in a "complaining" mode. I don't like not knowing how to answer people when they ask how I am. That is a question I have to process every-time it is asked. I wonder if they want the short easy answer, which lately has just been, "I'm getting there." Or, if they want a longer but more truthful answer. That answer uses words like pain, hurting, sore, and tired. Not too many people really want to hear that when they ask. Some do, my closest family and friends really do want to know, and they really care, but in general it seems people want the short answer. Funny, I just thought about tele-marketers, too bad we blocked them, because I could sure give them an ear full when they ask, "How are you today?" It would make them block ME!

I KNOW all of this will pass, that the stiff, compressed feeling in my neck, the uncooperative shoulders, the swollen sore body part, and the lack of true, restful sleep (hence the time of this post) will all be a thing of the past and I can have a real party! It is just hard to get from here to there.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chalk This up to Experience

I have been asked why I did not stop the doctor yesterday and insist on numbing medication, and I have given that question some thought. I believe it is due to the old "fight or flight" mode that your body goes into at times of great stress. Some would react by announcing their dissatisfaction and insisting things change (fight). However, my reaction was to escape the situation in the way my body told me to, just try to pass out (flight). I guess we truly do not know which of those modes our body will go into until the time comes. I have decided though that now I will fight, I will my doctor that this has to be changed and that if I ever have to have his done again that I will not do it without medication.

Warning***Actual Graphic Medical Procedure Description***Not Kidding.

Today was my surgical breast biopsy. Prior to the actual biopsy I was subjected to another procedure which helps the doctor find the area needing the biopsy. This was truly an experience:

Imagine if you will, one particular body part placed firmly in a vice grip. Add to that picture a needle being poked through it like a nail through a brick. Add to that no lidocane, none at all to ease the pain of this nail going through a brick. (If any of you who are reading this have any influence on medical practices, would you please make it a law that certain body parts must have numbing medication prior to anyone poking and prodding? Thank you.) Imagine now a wire being poked through said needle into said body part. Now, here's the kicker, imagine passing out while you are in a vice grip with a needle and wire sticking out of your body part. Very interesting. I told them I was feeling faint and luckily they believed me, but they continued on their quest to get the needle into the brick. Then I told them I was really going to pass out. I had that strange tingling feeling in my hands, then the immediate profuse sweating, then that ominous sinking feeling. I could hear her say, "Stay with us"--easier said than done. I could hear her say breathe deep breaths and blow them out. By this time she is behind me supporting me and trying to fan me with her hand. The doctor however is hammering away. She asked if I was still with them....then I mustered up everything I could to pull words out of my mouth, only I felt like I had to pull words from my toes. It was that hard to choose whether to speak or succumb to the darkness. She asked again if I was still with them, and I used my slightest inside voice and said, "A little". I remember her repeating the question and me struggling again to answer. I am convinced that if she had not kept asking questions and requiring an answer that I would have been gone for sure. I am deeply grateful that I was sitting at the time and not standing at a mammogram machine (oh, I mean the vice grip). Once that was over I needed to go to the bathroom and it must have been a funny sight, my entourage of 3 nurses and I parading down the hall to the nearest bathroom. I was clutching a blanket around my waist to hide my backside due to the lovely hospital gown, one nurse was toting my IV pole, and two nurses were perched at my side like columns for support. Due to these events the surgical time was delayed by about 40 minutes. However, by this time I was just glad to be in the OR and put under anesthesia.

From what we know the biopsy went well, but it will be a few days before we get the results. The anesthesia was handled well, and I arrived home about 5 hours after surgery. I went straight to bed though with my familiar bag of frozen peas (same bag--my new best friend). A wonderful supper of homemade vegetable soup and all trimmings was brought to us by a friend from church and I am doing well.

Tomorrow I will stay home and keep the frozen peas handy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Say a Little Prayer for Me

If you read this on Thursday then please say a prayer for me as I go for my biopsy. I would like to say I am totally okay with this, and I think I mostly am. I would be lying though if I said there is no concern. I just have not had the best track record lately, so I cannot help but be a bit apprehensive.

I have no idea when the pathology report will come in, hopefully soon.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I cooked! (and other random thoughts)

I can count one one hand the times I have cooked in the last month. Between delicious home delivered meals, left overs from those delicious meals, take out, and few nights out, I have just not had to cook. Tonight I made chili. It tasted delicious. I must have been craving it. It is a pretty easy meal, a bit of prep in the beginning, then it basically hangs out in the pot and gets better and better. I made a big pot too, so there will be leftovers, and possibly some for the freezer. It felt good to cook something. I will get oldest son to help clean the kitchen though.

When the mail arrived I was greeted to a wonderful surprise. A beautiful necklace with an equally beautiful note to remind me that my scar is a reminder from God of how He worked in my life and that this scar can be considered as a necklace from God given to a child He loves. I am so blessed.

I am pretty tired tonight. I battled a headache most of the day, and it got pretty bad at times. There are just a few drugs I can take right now with surgery coming up, so I pretty much had to deal with it. The thing that has helped dull it was a walk on my treadmill. That must have gotten the blood flowing.

I do think I will make it an early night though. I do not want that headache to hang around tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Love Coupons

Do you throw them away?
I love my coupons.
Today I went to WalMart for the first time alone in over a month, I also hit another store on my way home. I had a whopping stack of coupons that needed to be used (53 coupons to be exact). I pretty much only purchased what I had a coupon for with the exception of 2 gallons of milk, some eggs, and a couple of other items. I bought a lot of food items for the stock pile, and for the church food drive. My total for both stores would have been $161.15, but the coupons totaled $97.39, so I spent a total of $63.76. That is more than I usually spend for a week, but remember, I have been to the grocery very little lately. I am set now for the week, for the food drive, and for keeping the stockpile stocked.

The good thing about coupons is savings like this, the bad thing is keeping them organized. I am behind in my clipping and filing. Lately I have only been cutting out the particular ones I need for a current deal or a planned trip to a particular store. I hope to get the rest filed soon.

The shopping trip did wear me out though. I was actually very tired when I left and almost turned around. When I got home and put everything away I did snooze in the recliner.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Busy Weekend

It has been a busy few days. As I said, youngest and one of his roommates were here this weekend. Sometimes I think of how nice it would be to be in his shoes food, free laundry, free haircut, dinner out, a fresh baked pie...Oh, wait a minute, I pretty much have been in those shoes lately as much as I have been cared for!

Now I will explain a bit. He did most of his own laundry, I did help fold a little, he cooked some of that food himself, I did very little cooking this weekend, and I had help baking that pie. One of "my girls" came over and asked what she could do, I mentioned how I really had wanted to spoil youngest with a homemade pumpkin pie, and she said she would help. I made the crust and she put together the filing. It turned out wonderful.

I also had a friend (her mom by the way) who called on Saturday and asked if she could come and help me clean house. It was an offer I could not refuse. It seems that since I moved from the heart attack to cancer so quickly, that some things have just been ignored completely, or just about. My bedroom was a mess. You know, kitchens and bathrooms are always a priority over the bedroom and when company is here, I can shut the bedroom door. Let's just say it really needed attention. She helped me to clean it properly. I did what I could and she did the rest. I hope she does not clean and tell though because if truth were to be told, it was much worse than I will describe.

Today after church, and after a nap, we left town to go purchase a treadmill. I have not been able to return to cardiac rehab, and I need to remember that I did actually have a heart attack. My heart needs a workout and I do not like to walk outside alone. I have been looking at treadmills for a while and studying them online. I finally found the one I wanted and we tested it out last week. Today a special sale was posted so we went to get it. Assembly was easy and after about 30 minutes or so, I was walking. I have to practically start over, because everything I built up to at cardiac rehab is gone. I went slow and easy tonight, and even worked in a few neck exercises while I was walking. Pretty coordinated I must say.

Tomorrow I hope to go to the grocery for the first time by myself in over a month and do just a couple of household things. I do not want to overdo it though. Thanks to Mr. Columbus I have the day off.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Round Three

Today was another day of pre-op appointments, including seeing a nurse, anesthesia, insurance (they must get paid you know) a pre-op physical, and lastly another blood draw. I am surprised they found any blood. I wonder how much I have had siphoned out since my heart attack in May...
First a heart attack, then thyroid cancer, now my breast biopsy. ( I am still not really saying, "Bring it on")

Next Thursday I will have my surgical breast biopsy. I am not expecting any bad news here, ( although I have said that before)
I guess though I would rather they do this surgical biopsy and find out for sure whether or not there is anything bad sneaking around in there. I will be off work the day after as well.

Something else happened today. The rest of my steri-strips were removed. I am not real pleased with what was revealed. I know that scars improve greatly in time, and I will certainly use my share of scar improving medication. (not using a brand name here, last time I did I had a comment from someone in the company, and it was much like a huge free commercial endorsement, which I deleted by the way) The fact is though, that to be really really honest, which I always try to be, it is a bit depressing. I know you all will give me lots of encouragement, but please at the same time take a moment to validate my feelings, and agree with me that it is okay to be a bit depressed, as long as I do not dwell on it. I have to brag again on my husband, because that is exactly what he did, I told him afterwards that the scar was a bit depressing, and he said it is okay to feel that way, and that it is normal to feel that way. He said for me not to feel bad about that, just do not dwell on it. I love it that he didn't immediately say that it is silly to feel that way. He validated me, yet helped me put things in perspective at the same time.

After all of these appointments we enjoyed a delicious dinner out together at one of our favorite restaurants. Nice ending to a busy day.

On an exciting note for me, youngest is coming home later tonight. I have not seen him since he went back to school after my first surgery and I miss him. I will not get to spoil him quite like I want to, but I will try to find someway to spoil him while he is home. Surely we can find another favorite restaurant to eat at this weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This song makes me think...

By now, most of you have noticed the music on my blog. Some of you probably love it, some of you, not so much. Perhaps you even mute it as soon as you arrive on the blog. Well, those of you who are astute at noticing differences, ( and actually listen to this music) may have noticed that I have added a song.

I recently added, "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me. This song has been like a splinter to me lately, I just can't seem to get it out of my mind, my being, or my soul. I have to say though that I am troubled by it. I mostly agree with it, in that I know that the fact that I have been a Christian for a long time has definitely helped me with my recent bout of "rainy" days. However, here is the I able to say, "Bring it on" ? I am troubled by that. I know I have great faith, I know I am confident in God's protection for me, and I do want Him to be glorified through any of my recent health problems. I just don't know if I am really able to ask for problems just so that He can be glorified. I want to be there, where more than anything else I want situations to be revealed in my life just to give Him glory. I just don't know if I AM there. How about you? Have you been there, where you really felt like you actually asked God to bring the rain in your life?

This blogger is curious.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Slowing Down

Have you noticed that I am definitely slowing down in my posting? Also, my posts are growing shorter. There are a few reasons that I can think of:

1. No one wants to check in just to read about my whining. A sore shoulder only gets so much attention, then it is like, "Okay, it hurts, get over it."

2. I am back to school (although today I only made it half a day). There just is not enough time to collect my thoughts, process them into an interesting post and then actually type them.

3. Not much has changed.

Perhaps soon I will come up with an interesting post, however, today is not the day.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Short update

This will be brief because more than anything I want to get to bed early tonight (even more than my love of blogging). School went okay today, not perfect but okay. It was actually good to be back and good to teach my groups. I really didn't realize how much I missed that. The teacher I work with is wonderful and she truly looked out for me today, so that made it easier. I did have considerable pain in my shoulders by late morning, but I came prepared with my microwaveable hot compresses. I wore them most of the afternoon. They take the edge off of my pain. I was glad to get home today though and have taken it easy all evening. We were fortunate to have supper delivered to us so I did not have to cook. Tomorrow night I will heat a meal from my freezer. I have some delicious stuffed manicotti that my sister made and we will eat the rest tomorrow night.

I have more upcoming news to explain, but I will wait for that. A warm bath and soft bed are both calling me right now...

Back to School...

Report to follow.

Friday, October 3, 2008

2 Outta 3 Ain't Bad

Okay, so I only accomplished 2 of the things on my list. I drove, and did okay. At first it was a bit strange, and it is not completely easy. I cannot just turn my head to check traffic, I have to turn my whole body. I did manage. The worse part is that tonight I am suffering. I am hurting, bad actually. The problem with my shoulders is becoming more than just a nuisance, it is excruciating. I have "Googled" a lot tonight to see if I am completely making this up. Good news, it is not all in my head. It is indeed due to the trapezeius muscles which runs from the middle of your head, down your neck and into both shoulders. Bad news, "Googling" is not encouraging. Severe shoulder pain after a neck dissection can be quite common, quite painful, and can last for months. I am already praying that this will not be true in my case. I need my prayer warriors to get mobilized and be on this for me. I do not do well with intense pain. Typing is okay as long as I keep my elbows next to my side, once they move away from my body my shoulders hurt. This is by far the most pain I have had in my healing process, even when my neck blew up like a balloon it did not hurt like this ( I just could not breathe). I do not want to be wimpy. I am just not handling this very well. I worry about Monday. I will have to write low on the chalkboard and may be taking hot compresses to work with me.

So the other thing I did on my list was to stay awake. Yesterday must have been just an exception due to lack of sleep the night before, because today I did fine.

I did not touch my closet. It will have to wait, I do not have the strength in my arms to sort through clothes, I will figure it out day by day until I can do a proper job in my closet. Maybe I will just wear the same thing every day and call it a uniform.

Works for me.


1. Drive
That is something we take for granted. Today I will attempt driving for the first time in nearly a month. My sister is coming for a visit and she will ride along with me on a few short errands so she can make sure I can handle it. I need to take my return to work note from my doctor to our school's administration building, then I need a few things from the grocery. Since I have not driven I am glad she will be along. The issues to address are my still very stiff neck and my quite sore right shoulder. If those two body parts cooperate then I think I can handle it.

2. My Closet
Another thing to accomplish today is my closet. Our house is very old, and closets in its day held 3 dresses , two blouses, and one skirt. I have a few more items than that, so I must rotate clothes in and out of suitcases. The weather has changed in this last month and I probably will not be wearing many sleeveless tops next week. I need to pull some fall clothes out. To do that job well takes nearly a half day, more than that if I choose to iron everything. So, I will probably only get enough ready for next week and make the entire switch when my arm works better. My sister is great in the ironing department...

3. Stay Awake
After yesterday I am wondering if maybe the permanent thyroid drug I am now on needs tweaked. If I have another day like yesterday I will call the doctor to see if we need to monitor my levels now. It was a struggle to stay awake yesterday.

That is about enough on my list for one day, if I really accomplish each one I will feel pretty good. In case you are driving in my area today: You might want to watch out!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Well, I did not pass the stamina test. I was exhausted for some reason after being at the funeral home for about an hour, so instead of staying for the remainder of visitation, the service, and the family dinner, I had a friend take me home. We got a quick lunch and made a few stops on the way, but I still got home in time to collapse in my recliner for a few hours.

Tonight we are going to husband's folks to spend a bit of time with his brother and sister in law who came for the service.

I am wondering about Monday. I can hear the kids...."Wake up Mrs. W." we will see.

A bit more of my steri strips came off today which makes the scar a bit more visible. Not too awful, but not pretty either. Time heals all wounds, right?

Testing my limits

Today will be a test of Anita's Stamina System. Today I am going to be gone most of the day. Husband's first cousin passed away Sunday evening and I will be attending the visitation, service, and funeral dinner along with most of husband's family. Unfortunately, husband cannot attend. He has taken so much time off lately, and his boss is out of town. Since it is a very small business, that puts them in a bind, so husband must work. I will represent him so to speak. I think I will be okay. I have a few pills in my purse just in case, although I am trying to do without them.

This will help prepare me for work Monday, or let me know if that is going to be difficult.

Getting ready for anything takes so long. I will have to get up much earlier on Monday to get ready for school, everything takes longer.

Well, I must finish getting ready.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My brother Carl

The fact that I will soon turn 52 and the fact that my oldest brother passed away at that age is a bit erie to me, especially given the fact that this has not been the most stellar year for me health-wise. It has caused me to think about him, a lot.

I have mentioned before that I come from a big family. I am the youngest of 9 children. This made the family dynamics a bit odd because we never ever lived together for any long period of time. By the time I was born, my oldest brother was 21 and soon to be married. The next two brothers, twins, entered the military about 4 months before I was born, so they were already out of the house. One of them made the military his career so he was only officially home when he was on leave. He and I never really lived together. It was strange having a brother who you only saw when Uncle Sam let him come home.

Back to the oldest:

As I said he was 21 when I was born. This picture puts that in perspective, although I am not sure how old I was here. I remember that my mother did not like to look at this picture because she said I was "sick" then. I suffered some strange anemia back then that made me very weak and caused me to pass out while trying to walk.

I don't have many memories of him until I was a bit older and he was married. I remember my sister and I staying all night at their house, that was fun. I remember eating "Chicken and Stars" soup and homemade banana bread at their house. I remember their big dog , Queenie, which I was terribly afraid of. I remember that with his daughters, my nieces, my relationship was closer to that of siblings than it was of an "aunt and nieces" because of the small age difference. His oldest daughter and I could fight like the best of rivaling siblings one moment and be best friends the next. He was a collector. He loved finding unique items at yard sales and thrift stores. He found my cast iron dutch oven in a thrift store when he knew I wanted one to put back in my "hope chest". He loved books. I barely saw him without a book in his hand. He would decide to learn about something and would go to the library and check out books on that subject and consume them.

His knowledge amazed me, but I never really knew his heart until much later. I spent a lot of time with him over the years, but I don't feel like I ever really knew him. After his marriage ended he moved away to start a new life in the state our youngest brother lived. They had a unique relationship despite their age difference and it was good for Carl. In some ways he blossomed there. He began a new hobby of carving ducks, geese, and shore birds. I am the proud owner of his first attempt, and while it is crude in some standards, it is one of my most precious possessions. His later carvings were amazing, the feathers on these water-fowl were so lifelike you would want to pet them. He loved this hobby and mastered it early on. It was during those years that he became a Christian and our relationship took on an entire new meaning. Although we had a few different views about our doctrinal issues, I knew his heart was right and that he loved God with every part of it. I know he still struggled with demons of the past, as we all do, but he was forgiven and he cherished the grace that was given to him. He and I wrote many letters back and forth in those days to discuss our faith and to attempt to persuade each other to see our side of different theological issues. Since I was a former Bible college student, I thought I had all the answers, I am not so sure now.

The next picture was taken after my grandfather's funeral. All of my siblings were there that day.
Funerals were sadly the only time we all got together back then. We had already lost both Mother and Daddy, and the sting of death had hit us pretty hard. In this picture, I can see this sting in my grandmother's eyes. She had already lost her daughter, (my mother) her son in law, (my dad), many siblings, and now the man she shared her life with for sixty-nine years. Carl is the one in the front. By this time his health was seriously compromised. Rheumatic fever as a child had left his heart wounded. Two surgeries had already been done to repair damage left from that awful disease. I am standing behind him, next to my grandmother. I was pregnant then with our oldest son. Attending that funeral was in question for me because I had had early problems with my pregnancy which had me on bed-rest until just before his passing.

Carl only lived about 5 more years. His complications from years of heart damage, plus strong medications taken for years had taken their toll. He slipped away one evening in his own home and was found the next morning in a kneeling position at the side of his bed by a neighbor and the police, whom she called when she could not get him to answer his door.

At that time I thought 52 was too young to die. His children were all much too young to lose their father. As I approach that age I don't just think it is too young, I absolutely know it. I love that I am from a large family. I love thinking back to all of the noisy family dinners, the attention I would get just for being the baby, and the support a large family brings. To this day, we all love each other and are there in our struggles. My family has surrounded me with so much love and concern during my recent health issues. I am so glad that I have so many siblings to lean on. On the down-side, the age difference between some of us has made natural divisions within the family unit, which is natural that certain groups of siblings would have closer relationships than other groups, I just wish I could have the same closeness with each of them.

I miss my brother Carl. Much like I feel about my parents, I miss the years we have not had together as much as I miss those that we did. Being the oldest and youngest gave me a unique relationship with him. I just wish I was able to fully develop that relationship. A few more years would have been nice.

Here's to you Carl.