Sunday, February 28, 2010

Isaiah 48:17-19 17
his is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants would have been like the sand, your children like its numberless grains; their name would never be cut off nor destroyed from before me."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Matthew 6:26-28
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Things That Bother Me

1. Gossip
2. The medical community insisting that vaccinations don't contribute to autism.
3. How blindly I've fed my family junk for years and years.
4. Waking up to a messy kitchen.
5. Going to bed in a bed that wasn't made.
6. Not having coffee in the morning.
7. Bad hair.
8. Video/computer games.
9. Not having a book to read.
10. My weight.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Home Away From Home

This is where I spend 40 or so hours a week. Well not necessarily in this room for all of those hours. I am a psychiatric nurse supervisor. I work at an inpatient mental health facility, 3 units/100 beds. Specifically I manage Mod C, a 30 bed unit for the pervasive and persistently mentally ill. Our patients are people who have had a serious mental illness for many years, mostly schizophrenia. This is the unit of the hospital where people are admitted who are most likely to be violent or unpredictable.

I love my job.
That said, I usually groan a little every morning when the alarm sounds and I really love days off. But I am grateful to have a job, and furthermore to have a job over which I have some control as to how I spend my days. Last weekend I walked into my office and it was a mess. I wasn't surprised as it had been a mess for several weeks. It seems like all of the stuff that we aren't sure where to store, ends up on my office floor. Just like home, it gets away from you and you don't know where to start cleaning and so; you don't. Well I had had all I could stand so I dealt with the mess. Two of the large boxes that had been on my floor and I had been stepping around were empty. Why were they in my office? They had been delivered in December containing Christmas gifts and after the gifts were distributed I just never got rid of the boxes. I was going to use them for something. I was going to take them to the dumpster on my way out. I was going to ask around if anyone else needed two largish boxes.
Then there were the stacks and stacks of papers. Toss, toss, toss. Only ended up actually filing about 20% of the stacks I had kept on my desk.
But you know what, that slowly accumulating pile of stuff was getting to me in ways I didn't realize. I cleaned my office thoroughly on Saturday and on Sunday morning when I walked in I found myself happy to be there. I put a disc into my CD player and settled in for a great day. Not a day that was so much easier than the days prior, but a great one nonetheless.
I was sure that as people stopped by my office they'd comment on the beautiful job I'd done straightening. Not one comment! But that's ok because I am the one who has to "live" in that space. It only has to work for me and now it does.
In a time when we face lay-offs, wage freezes, home life stress...whatever the case may be, we sometimes forget to make life a little brighter in the spaces we can control. But what an impact it can have to look around and know that you have done all you can and now you can settle in and do what needs doing one day at a time. We underestimate things like the pleasure of a cheerful clean kitchen on a day when we are clipping coupons to try to afford groceries. So we can let life go haywire and suffer all the more than if we'd kept our hands on the wheel.
It doesn't cost any money to wake up early enough to enjoy the morning sun. To get yourself together in neat clothes and do your hair even if you've no where to go (does anyone else save their "good" sweaters indefinitely?) Go ahead and scrub that floor, open wide the blinds and make your space in life beautiful. Not only will it bring joy to your soul, it is a message to the enemy that Life still shines in the darkest of days.
Don't be overwhelmed today. Do what you can. It'll accomplish more than you realize.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Today being Thursday I go in to work a few hours late and work into afternoon shift for a few hours. That means I move a little more slowly and sip my coffee for a bit longer before the daily dreaded task of hair management.
This week Ford announced that the Mr.'s plant (Auto Alliance Flatrock) is laying off 950 employees and reducing to one shift. Dean's job is safe although obviously, with the elimination of 950 positions his seniority shifts down. Most of the people in his plant were hired at the same time when it opened so there are a lot of people with higher seniority by just a matter of days or weeks. He is now praying about whether to remain at this plant or move to another local plant that is running three shifts. Please pray with us for wisdom and guidance in this decision.
Tomorrow we are taking Dean's dad to the V.A. Hospital in Ann Arbor. We applied for V.A. benefits the week after Christmas and we received an appointment within a few weeks. What a surprise considering the stigma that applying for benefits and getting assistance is nearly impossible. I had people tell me we would need a lawyer to get an appointment. We are hopeful that he can get some assistance and maybe even drop the medical insurance they pay for out of pocket for him. In March we will be taking him to a behavioral neurologist for further assessment as his dementia is not typical and his MRI did not explain what's going on.
In other news Donny was brought home by strangers the other night for about the fourth time! Our gate does not close tightly and it looks like he pushed through it chasing a rabbit (judging by the dog/bunny prints.) He has NEVER done that before. So the Mr. and Jay were out at 10:30 at night looking frantically for him when a lovely couple in a minivan pulled up with him happily riding in their back seat. So we've bunjied (yes that's a word) the gate shut pending warmer weather when it can be properly repaired.
I think that's the update for us. Have a good Friday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
He enables me to stand on the heights.
Psalm 18:31-33

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I love

1. His smile.
2. His voice.
3. His kindness.
4. That he always puts gas in my truck.
5. How much he loves our boys.
6. His laugh.
7. His patience.
8. How he worships.
9. That he grocery shops every week.
10. How he loves me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

You're on my side, right?

Well, if we're not talking about what I eat or my bowel movements, what is left except my sleep habits? You all know that I am not exactly a gifted sleeper. I can remember as a little girl, before my sister was born, being unable to nap. I would lay down in the little yellow back room of our house in my single brass bed with the white chenille spread and...stare. And think and make up stories in my head. Pretty much everything but actually sleep.
I have all the of the basic sleep disabilities-take forever to fall asleep, can't stay asleep, awaken too early, awaken if there's too much noise or light or a full moon or a butterfly flaps its wings in Hong Kong. I don't snore, that's something, right? So I try really hard to exercise really healthy sleep habits like no caffeine in the afternoons or evenings and I don't watch anything disturbing on television right before bed. Our bedroom is painted in a soothing color and there is no television in there. No heavy snacks right before bed. I read something peaceful before I turn out the lights. And still there's no guarantee of a restful night.
So this is where you are on my side, right?
Mac. Mac!
He's a night owl. He's on the computer (tap tap tap), on the phone (talk talk talk), making a snack (clank clunk bang.) Not particularly loud but at night time everything seems just a little louder. It takes me about an hour to fall asleep, always has. So on average, I'm falling asleep just about 10:00. Most of the time before midnight I'm awakened by Captain No Sleep. His opinion is that I am unreasonably sensitive. My opinion is be that as it may, it is what it is. If I need the house dark and silent by 10:00 or so, I think that is what should happen! I can pretty much tune out the white noise of the television and conversation as long as it is not conducted at the Mr.'s usual megaphone volume. So after 10, I'm just asking that the phone and computer and sushi bar shuts down. I agree that it's bizarre that the tapping of a keyboard can both awaken me and keep me awake however, it does! Mac goes to school full time but has a large chunk of time with no one home to tap, talk and clank away. He can tap, talk and clank until 10.
Weigh in. It has come to this after yet another night last night when I fell into a deep and restful sleep around 10:30 and was wide awake at 11:36 exactly to the tune of Mac on the phone. When did I fall back to sleep? Last time I checked the clock it was 1:43 a.m. Admitting that my sleep needs are extraordinary, am I crazy to say that I get up early for work therefore my needs come first?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Redeemed Hunger

I am on day 5 of my lifestyle change of choosing whole foods. My head tells me it's too soon to feel a difference but then again, the spirit man responds long before the body catches up. I feel good, energetic. I slept really well last night although not the night before. I have a sense of peace with this that I've not had with prior diet programs. Not that the other systems didn't work, I will forever be a WeightWatcher & credit them with changing my life. But I don't feel that struggling uphill feeling. It's so much easier to say, "I don't eat chips" than it is to say, "I can have 11 chips." Yesterday it was blizzarding so on my way home I stopped at our farm market and bought preservative/dye-free cheese (Havarti, cheddar, Colby) & bakery fresh whole grain bread (sour dough & multi grain) without bleached flour. We made good old fashioned simple grilled cheese. I also took advantage of their food counter to buy a small container of tortellini salad, curry chicken salad and grape leaves-all fresh and natural ingredients. We enjoyed a little of this and little of that with our grilled cheese. Low calorie? No. But we're not focusing entirely on that right now. It's ingredients and portion control. One sandwich and a small scoop of tortellini. And 4 grape leaves. Just before bed I had a cup of licorice & chamomile tea which promised to help me sleep.
Understanding that the novelty of this process is new and even exciting; I am hopeful and happy with our decision. We are feeling more satisfied with smaller portions. We are doing less rummaging for snacks because the strawberries or pineapple or raw veggies are already on the schedule and at our fingertips.
My absolute worst time of day is immediately after work and before dinner. I think it's a combination of wanting to de-stress and being ready for dinner but I'm a hog at that time of day. Well, today I came home hungry for a very good reason, I didn't have a lunch break. It happens sometimes. When I got home I had a few slices of pineapple and finished the three left over cheese tortellinis. And I'm fine. Satisfied, shaky feeling subsided and comfortable waiting for dinner.
I know there will be times when it isn't all so positive and times when I say, "Yes I do eat chips and especially with dip!" That's ok because it's not an error it's a deviation off course. It won't destroy the good my body gains by whole food consumption if it doesn't replace the good choices all together.
Today I am down one pound since the weekend and feeling good. Oh, and Jay is still consuming gluten with no reaction! It was like a party over here making him a grilled cheese!
In everything, I am giving thanks!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Made Whole

For a few years I've given a good deal thought to the whole food movement. I've never doubted the wisdom of the idea, just lacked the gumption to research, convince the Mr. and do it. Debra often shares her efforts to eat healthy and simply and Mrs. Mac will likely be raising chickens any moment now. It's probably the thread that runs amongst our little blog klatch; the homemaker and the woman who longs for simpler times. Times when life and families and food was more...whole. So I am not surprised that here and there we all seem to comment on getting back to basics in one way or another.

As you know, I am a Weight Watcher Lifetime Member not in good standing. Ugh. I remember when I was within a few pounds of my goal weight my mom asked me if I thought I was capable of ever being fat again. I said yes. I'm not back where I was but heaven knows that I'm not where I need to be. I said yes to the question because like the alcoholic, I know my weakness very very well. As my friend Lisa and I have often said, it's the cellular fat girl (CFG.) She never rests!

Why haven't I just jumped into whole foods and healthy living? Lazy and undisciplined would pretty much explain it. Didn't feel like the uphill battle with my guys. Expensive. Blah, blah, blah. Then this week I was listening to Doctor Radio and a nutritionist was talking about healthy eating and the part that preservatives and processed foods likely play in our current health as a society. In case you haven't heard about whole foods, it's really pretty simple. It's doing your best to eat food as close as possible to its original form in nature. Apples, not apple sauce. Eggs, not Egg Beaters. Whole grains not processed white bread and avoiding refined sugar to choose molasses, honey, maple syrup. Oatmeal, not granola bars with oatmeal. Sliced roast beef not lunch meat on your sandwich. It takes some effort because grabbing KFC at the end of a long day is not an option. And remember, I am married to a guy that chooses Arby's instead of McDonald's when he feels like eating healthy.

So this nutritionist just pushed me a few steps along the path I've been eyeing for a while now. Today the Mr. and I went to the Westborn Market because I wanted fresh fruit and had a hankering for grape leaves, which they sell. When we got home I made us each a snack of pineapples and strawberries. And believe it or not, for the first time since I became aware of the concept, I admitted that I would like to learn more about eating whole. It's been quite easy to push the idea aside by blaming his likely lack of support to keep eating the wonderfully delicious fattening food I love. As always, there is a season. Much to my surprise, the guy muted the television (!) and engaged in an insightful conversation with me about eating fresh and whole! I really feel that God planted a seed in my heart and that today was the right season to harvest the idea. Dean was excited to hear about the concept and readily agreed with me that this was something we needed to start doing. Praise the Lord! I mean, seriously; praise the Lord! I have not only felt this was something that would help me with my food struggles but I have been certain of the benefit to our entire family. With diabetes and hypertension in our families and the shocking fact that we seem to be getting older; there is no time like the present to begin guarding our bodies.

I read quite a bit online about whole food diets and one of the things I have most appreciated is that most of the articles advised to take this on as a process. It's ok to be less than 100%. That's something I really struggle with, the concept that less than 100% success with anything is not worth doing. But I feel a true peace in my spirit that for now, we can take each step toward a healthier lifestyle as we are ready. I am asking the Lord to prepare our hearts to receive this change with joy and not with dread or the condemnation that has always accompanied my slips away from complying with my diet.

Today we began our journey. It will be one of baby steps and discipline not to mention learning. I'll ask you to please pray for us that God will guide our hearts as we try to surrender our very bodies to his wisdom. I'll also ask you please, with all the love in my heart, not to become our Whole Food Police. It's probably just me but I have a pet peeve of people pointing at my plate to inform me that I am not allowed this or should have chosen that. We are going to try this one day at a time.

Dear Lord, I give my body and the bodies of my family to you. I ask you to give me wisdom with my food choices and to focus my thoughts not on a dress size or number on the scale but on the belief that a healthy body will reflect beauty in its own way. I yield my cravings and habits to you and confess that I have not honored my responsibility to guard my health. Father, I know that I have created my own battle by allowing myself to live in a way that I know is harmful to me. I'm sorry Lord. I thank you for the bounty that you have given us and that you have allowed me the privilege to live in a country where I am able to choose what I want to eat everyday. Right now I ask you to extend your favor to the farmers and workers who continue to work to provide the same food that you created at the beginning of time. I ask you to bless the crops of this country and prosper us, allowing us to receive your harvest with gratitude. I continue to thank you for the work you are doing in Jay's body as he reintroduces gluten into his diet and I pray you would guard his health and allow him to continue his life free of Celiac disease. Although I have surrendered and taken my appetite back many times before, I surrender again. Give me a redeemed hunger. Thank you. Amen.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Psalm 27:13-14
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD

Saturday, February 06, 2010

10 Items of Varying Interest

1. Week one of Jay's Gluten Challenge-no reactions!
2. The FIL has a kidney stone, praying it passes easily.
3. Slept really well last night, wide awake at 5:00 a.m.
4. Going to the library this afternoon.
5. Had popcorn for dinner yesterday.
6. Superbowl party tomorrow!
7. Planning a quiet day today.
8. Sipping my Starbuck's coffee and sitting in front of the fire this morning. Everyone else is still asleep.
9. Still trying to get my diet rolling consistently. I WILL do this!
10. Happy.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Long Night

Hello friends, it's been a longish few days around here. On Wednesday evening my father-in-law reported that he had "some blood" in his urine. The Mr. checked to find a pretty large amount of clots. My mother-in-law tells us that the exact same thing happened a few years ago, a urologist was consulted who "couldn't really find anything but gave him some pills and it cleared right up." What cleared up? No idea.
Thursday morning when I left for work I advised the Mr. to take his dad to the doctor. Meanwhile at work I called Wal Mart and got a medication history and lo and behold; he had been taking Proscara (for enlarged prostate) as of last spring. The folks fell into the dreaded Medicare Donut Hole around summertime and most of their medications were stopped due to lack of money at that time. However, neither Dean nor I had ever heard of the urologist consultation or the blood or the medication before now. I called the folk's new doctor here in Michigan and he sent the FIL straight to the emergency department. By this time it was Thursday evening after much back and forth about what to do. You see, the MIL felt that the trick was to get those pills again; whatever they were. That would surely clear it up. I felt that he hadn't seen a urologist in heaven knows how long nor taken the mystery med since July so I was very uncomfortable playing around with the situation. After several hours in the E.R. we got our answer; kidney stone. The FIL was discharged home and is following up this afternoon with the doctor and has orders for lots of clear fluids.
This was another one of a few situations since the Folks have moved here to Michigan when caregiver becomes Care Giver. Dean sees that his parents don't always make the right decisions and is still struggling sometimes with stepping in and taking control. But that is our responsibility now. It's easy enough to stand around saying someone must do something. However, once you become the someone; it goes from just a lovely idea of what is right to a sometimes overwhelming daily burden. Yes, I said burden.
In fact, as the MIL was insisting there was no need to go to the doctor, I was on this side of the Mr. telling him that he has no choice. Their lives are in our hands. And often, they are the ones causing us the greatest difficulty in keeping them safe and healthy!
By 2:00 this morning, Dean was home and had talked himself out enough to fall asleep. Does it sometimes make us wonder if we shouldn't have just left things as they were? Sure. For a moment or two at least. We also look to the future and wonder what in the world will be next and next and next. And what if, what if, what if.
But this time another day is passing and drawing to a close. This morning the Mr. took the Folks to Wal Mart to grocery shop and get out a bit. Now he's with them at the doctor. I hope that they realize, as I do, how extraordinary their son is. After several days with them this week taking them to visit family or run errands and last night's very long and stressful events; he was awake this morning and taking them to Wal Mart. I suggested that he just call and tell them he'd pick up their list and save himself the trouble of dealing with his demented dad and blind mom who cannot walk. Just get the groceries and leave the Folks at home. His response? A weary but sweet smile. No, they like to get out of the apartment and they look forward to grocery shopping day.
That's my guy.
Dear Lord, I ask you today to show yourself in relationships of adult children and their parents. Some have wonderful relationships that have not yet changed into that of caretaker; let them feel the fullness of this time in their lives. Others wish for something more that cannot be demanded and will not be offered; God be all that they are not for one another. And allow that to be enough. Father, bridge disappointment, cover despair, grant wisdom and most of all; let our love for one another be holy and right. Families splinter in so many directions. Teach us to hold tight. Amen.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Low Tech & A Little Bit French

I picked up some extra time over the weekend so yesterday I was off and had a no tech day! Well, a low tech day anyway. No cell phone, no computer for me. Just felt that I wanted a little break from constant contact. The Mr. and I went out to lunch, did some housework stuff and watched reruns on television. I made a French vanilla cake and French press coffee (we were very French!) It was a nice day and today I feel rested, relaxed and ready for work.
Jay is doing well with his gluten challenge. He went off his g/f diet Friday evening and so far no reaction. We continue to pray for God's will and feel peaceful about the whole thing regardless of the ultimate outcome.
Well, I better get moving and start the day officially. I'd rather be off again but it's nice to feel refreshed and energized! Maybe we should low tech ourselves on a regular basis, huh?

Happy Tuesday!