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

Monday, June 30, 2008


Every now and then I just have to gloat. These were all free this week at CVS. (No, I did not use my boys to distract the clerk while I walked out with them) Actually, they were advertised buy one get one free, plus I had 7 B1G1free coupons, so they were all free. I do not plan on eating them all. I plan on saving them for school. We like to reward our class with goodies every now and then.

Cardiac Rehab

Those are two words I was unfamiliar with until about a month ago.

I have begun my rehab program. Basically it is an exercise program with some teaching on diet and lifestyles mixed in. I am going three days a week, and each session should get a bit longer until I reach the level of exercise that my heart needs. I am on a heart monitor the entire time, so they know if my heart rate is too fast, too slow, etc. My main observation though is this: I am the minority. I am in a class with about eight 65-70 year old men. Instead of "Sweatin' to the oldies" , I am Sweatin' WITH the oldies! This really makes you think I WAS too young to have a heart attack.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Life is short

I have not updated for a week and I am sorry about that. I am in a strange mood right now, partly depressed, partly ashamed, but mostly humbled. Let me explain. During my “recovery” I have spent probably too much time on my computer. I surf blogs, looking for bargain hunters like myself and then out of some twisted sense of curiosity I then go to the sidebars and start looking at the blogs those people look at. What is up with that? Part of me tells me it is weird enough to go to the blogs of people I don’t know, and then even weirder to move on to the blogs of people THEY don’t know. But I guess that is the nature of blogs.

Today, while doing this, I came upon a blog that has profoundly affected me. Some of my readers will know who I am talking about when I mention the recording group Selah. They are a Christian group with some of the sweetest music this side of Heaven. I did not know until today the sorrow surrounding one of the members and his family. The name of the blog is “Bring the Rain”, and is written by the wife of one of the members of the group. She has a true gift of writing and truly writes from her heart. She chronicles the life and death of their 4th daughter and then the unexpected death of their nephew just 7 weeks later. It is a beautiful yet extremely difficult read. Go here if you wish to read her story. I would recommend that you go to the left side bar and start at the beginning of the blog and read forward that way. Give yourself some time.

What does all this say to me?

1. Life is short. I realized that when I stared the possibility of death in the face one month ago. However, I am 51 years old. I have lived a good life; I have shared this journey with precious people and have been blessed. I cannot take things for granted any more. None of us know what tomorrow means. It does not matter if you are 51 or just a few hours, months, or years old. An old Wayne Watson song holds the line, “death is no respecter of age”. That line is so true, but is so ignored.

2. God is still God. I do not understand much about Him. I do not, or never will in this life understand why babies die, nor will I ever try to explain it. I cannot. I just know that God is God. He is there in the midst of our pain. I believe with all my heart, that God aches when things like these happen. His plan did not include babies dying.

3. While it may be important to be wise stewards of the things God has given us, I think the real question God will ask is not, “What did you do with the things I have given you” but “What did you do with the people I gave you?” I like bargains, I like going to CVS and getting things for pennies. However, that is NOT the focus of my life. God does not care if I spent two dollars or twenty this month, but He does care how I treat people. God has put family, friends, even strangers in my path for a reason. Am I using my time on this earth wisely, to show them love in various ways?

Sometimes I just get full of myself. I know, having a heart attack has caused me to be a bit self-focused as of late, but maybe that is just the opposite of what it should have caused. Maybe, just maybe, this heart attack is to give me a wake up call. Life IS short. Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is to spend more of it with Him, more of it with others, less focused on ourselves.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

God is Good~But we Already Know That!

Good news.

Double good news that is.

Yesterday I had my second heart catheterization. They were suspecting a stent failure and went in to check it out. Everything was fine! The stent was working like a charm, nothing else was a problem and I came home later in the day. You have to lay very still for a few hours following this procedure, so I snoozed a lot and waited till time to go home.

What happened between the time of the failed stress test and the good report today? God happened, that is what. You need to know if you do not already, that I take serious the power of prayer. There were many prayers going up for me this week.

I slept well last night for the most part but at 3:00 AM I woke up praying. I actually think I was praying in my sleep because as soon as I realized I was awake I was already praying. What for? For my sister. She had a major test this week and was one that could bring devastating news. I do not want any more devastating news. Today husband and I decided to make the one hour trip to go be with her when she got the news. The doctor said they would call her when they got the report, but that she would have to go into the office to hear the outcome. She has done so much for me these last few weeks and I just felt compelled to be with her. I was feeling fine and it is not a bad trip. After about 20 minutes on the road we got a call on the cell phone. She had heard from the doctor by phone and the news was good! So our trip turned into a time of celebration!

God is indeed good.

Now the tough question.

Would I still proclaim that God is good even if the news had been bad?

I would like to say that I would because I have walked those dark roads before. Actually many times before. I have lived through the deaths of both parents by the time I was 23, lost a brother, a niece, suffered a miscarriage, had a house fire, and walked through the dark days of my mother in law's stroke. The events of recent weeks have been compounded beyond belief. God has held me through all of these times and has taught me that I did not have to go through them alone.

Just like Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego proclaimed: "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know , O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." ( Daniel 3: 17-18 NIV) This verse has become one of Husband's very favorite verses. The phrase "even if He does not" comes to mind often when I am praying for something that I am sure I know the answer for. When I let God be God, I always win.

I knew that God was able to answer my prayers how I wanted, but even if He did not, I would still love and serve Him, because He has shown me He would see me through anything.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Growing Weeds

Lately with my heart ailments it seems all I have been growing around here is weeds. My flower beds were overgrown, my garden practically needed mowed, and my bushes were hitting you in the face when you walked by. Today changed all of that. Two angels, (one is actually named Angel) showed up at my house and spent two hours, trimming, weeding, sprucing up , and returning my yard to a much better state. What a huge blessing. I am the one that usually does the yard work other than mowing and for right now I am prohibited. It was getting to me though. I did not plant flowers this year to save some money, so there were no flowers to tend to, but everything else is 100 times better. I have said it before, I am so very blessed.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Is summer supposed to be crummy?

Sometimes I get discouraged. I try to be upbeat on this blog and tell you happy things, share great bargains, and sometimes sweet and funny experiences in my life. Today I am sad, scared, and down. Can I be raw? I think I am asking myself that question as well as any readers that may stumble over to this site.

I did not get good news yesterday at my cardiologist follow-up appointment. I should back up and tell you that I spent Tuesday evening in the local hospital. I experienced upper back pain early in the evening and after a few phone calls to an advisory nurse, husband took me in to the ER. Of course, they checked for a new heart attack, but the EKG and heart enzymes checked out good, even so, the tests continued. First an X-Ray, then a CAT scan of my heart. After being seen by a couple of doctors and an assistant, I was told that first, I had a previously undetected heart murmur, a leaky valve, and possibly a stent failure. I was released the next day, and followed up with a stress test yesterday morning. Let me say this about that, Why would anyone purposely do that to a person? This was a “pharmacological stress test”, meaning no treadmill, just drugs that mock a stressed heart. I will just refer to that as “heart attack in a syringe”. It was an awful test. I developed nausea, my chest hurt, and I had a general feeling of death. Two weeks after a heart attack is much too soon to re-live those feelings. Needless to say, I flunked this test. Literally. When I arrived at the cardiologist’s office that afternoon he informed me that I had indeed failed the test. Which means, there is an 85% chance that there is still a significant blockage on that artery. Which could mean a possible stent failure. What do they do now? Go back in for a second look. I am scheduled for another heart catheterization this next week. If they find a problem they will fix it then, if they do not, I will go home and pursue the back pain further.

It was not the news we had hoped to hear. Might I also stress that this has been a really crummy 2-½ weeks. To think, I was anxious for summer break. Let me fill you in on the rest of the story and in so doing I will invite you to my pity party. The following are all in addition to my recent problems.

1. The day of my heart attack husband’s family was to attend the funeral of husband’s 53-year-old cousin. However due to various reasons below, none were able to attend.

2. A much loved niece of ours is pregnant. Yes, this is a good thing, but she has had a major case of “all day sickness” which is a serious damper to the life they are used to. This is a woman who loves taking care of her husband, making delicious homemade jams and bread, and helping others every chance she gets. These days she barely can get out of bed to even smell bread, much less eat any.

3. Father in law suffered a stroke the night before my heart attack. It seriously affected his walking ability and he spent 2 weeks in a rehab center learning to walk. Husband and I were not able to offer the assistance we would have liked due to my situation. He is home now and doing much better, but there are still issues.

Not enough you say?


4. Husband’s brother has just been newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes does not run in this family. When you suddenly have a blood sugar level of 600 it is not a good thing. He has had two hospitalizations this week. His wife, our sister in law had been here caring for father in law.

5. My precious sister has a new medical concern and will undergo a serious test this week. She has been setting all of her concerns aside and has been making weekly visits (2 visits this week) to care for me in much appreciated ways.

Add to all of that the general stress of moving a son home for the summer, finding places for all of the new stuff in the house, re arranging bedrooms (I did nothing) and getting through each day while learning to live with heart disease.

I fear even numbering these items because I know the nature of numbers…there is always one more.

So, might I ask you all to lift this family in your prayers?

Now, to be really fair, I must turn and focus on the positive. I have to get that out as well. We have been blessed beyond measure with help from wonderful friends through our church. We have had delicious meals, help with the boy’s rooms, had our refrigerator cleaned out (yippee), and have had offers for practically every need we have. People are so good to us. We are truly seeing God with skin on right now and that is what has gotten us through these crummy weeks. I am being honest, these have been crummy weeks. However, God has blessed us and is bringing us through them.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


You can tell that the 'ole ticker is doing better.

I'm baaaack.

These were deals that were just too good to pass up. I went to both Walgreen's and CVS, and through numeral transactions I purchased all of the following for $5.24 out of pocket! $5.24 sure goes farther than it used to. I did use quite a few ECB's, a $5.00 register reward, plus a lot of manufacturer's coupons to arrive at my small amount of actual money spent.

In case you can't make it all out:

1 Gallon of milk
7 boxes of cereal
6 cans of Nivea shave gel
3 rolls of Reynold's Wrap
3 bottles of Maalox chewables
4 boxes Band-Aids
1 Nivea Body Wash
1 Electrosol Tablets
1 package cotton swabs
1 Huggies baby wash
1 4 pack razor blades

That will most all go into the stock pile, the Band Aids and some shave gel will go to college care packages. With my old way of shopping I would have spent more on the razor blades alone, because I would have not bought them until we were out and then I would not have caught a sale or a coupon. Today I took advantage of a sale, a coupon, and Extra Care Bucks. I still have over $24.00 in Extra Care Bucks because I earned them on most all of my CVS purchases.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I have mentioned before that I am really blessed. Let me just say that the events of the last week have caused me to realize that in a very profound way.

I could not have imagined how many people would reach out to my family and I to show their love in so many ways.

On the day of my heart attack I had 35 visitors between the two hospitals. Now, to be fair I am counting my husband and sons and they probably do not really count as visitors. People showed up, some briefly to express their love and concern. Many drove quite a distance to be near me. What a huge blessing to be surrounded by so many that I count precious in my life.

Since I have been home from the hospital I have received many cards and phone calls, I have had delicious meals delivered to my door, and have had help to clean my house and work to help get my son’s room ready to accept all of the college and apartment items we had just brought home.

It is quite humbling to have so much attention and expressions of love and it is showing me perfectly how God’s people can reach out to show His love to others. If you have the opportunity to spread this type of love to anyone in need, let me just tell you how very much it is appreciated.