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.