Saturday, June 28, 2008

CJ Is Here!

My nephew (and Godson) is finally in town. He hasn't been to God's Country in three years. I've missed him...almost as much as my parents have.

Oh, yeah, his parents are here too.

It took them nearly 12 hours to make the trip. CJ told us all about staying in a hotel about half way here. I love to listen to him tell stories. He reminds me of J at that age. Such a diverse vocabulary. And not at all afraid to speak.

He thinks I'm silly. He told me over and over again. Finally, he asked me why I was so silly. I told him it was because I love to hear him laugh. Then he laughed. And I loved it!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Melatonin is my friend!

Between the melatonin and the sleep deprivation, I FINALLY got some sleep last night. Yesterday, I found a way to be productive on just two and a half hours of sleep. Last night when I got home, I ate dinner, checked my personal email, and was in bed by 6:30. I slept without interruption until almost 1am. Then I was up for a couple of hours. But I did get a few more hours of sleep before coming in to work today. I vow NOT to forget my melatonin every evening. Everyone deserves a good night's sleep!

Thank God for Melatonin!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Focus, focus, focus

Sometimes I have days when I feel utterly useless. I get to the end of the day and wonder what the point of it all was. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished a darn thing. Today is one of those days.

I know I haven’t been sleeping well. And I’m sure that’s been taking a toll on my ability to focus on what I should be doing. Hopefully, that’s all it is today. But I find myself having the most difficult time settling into a task. I’m allowing everything to distract me. My list of things to do keeps growing and I’m not accomplishing any of them because I keep bouncing between tasks.

If I could do anything in the world that I wanted to do right this moment, it would be to sit in one of Julie’s very comfortable lounge chairs under a tree in my yard with a good book. I don’t know how long I’d be able to read before I fell asleep, but I don’t even care. I’d let the birds and the wind-chimes lull me to sleep. Maybe Linus would come and join me. My very own little snuggler.

But it’s only 2pm. I have another 3 ½ hours of work ahead of me, if I’m going to get my 9 hours in today. After that, I have choir practice. Then I need to make a couple of greeting cards for work.

Okay, I’m convinced that my problem today is that I’m simply tired. Moreover, I’m tired of being tired. If I thought that taking a 15 minute nap would help me, I’d go down and take one in my car right now. But I know that I need to sleep for a couple/few hours. And I don’t really have time for that right now. I can’t keep having days where I don’t get much accomplished because I can’t concentrate on what I’m doing. I have got to find a way to get a good night’s sleep.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's a Boy!

I did NOT sleep well last night. Not sure why. I got up relatively early this morning and made the 90 minute drive to meet my ex in order to take charge of the boy. Besides being tired, it was a good drive, down there and back. I sang all the way down there, talked with Jeff all the way back. He's back... back to being a Hoosier again. I'M glad he's back. HE'S glad to be back. I think this is a very good thing and I'm truly looking forward to the next year.

Jeff is already out with friends. That didn't take long. I didn't expect that it would. I just hope and pray that he stays out of trouble. I think he has it in him to be a good kid. I also KNOW he has it in him to get into trouble. But I told him today over lunch exactly what I expect of him...a young man that acts like he's going to be a legal adult in exactly seven months from today. He told me I was expecting a lot. I agreed. After sharing that he was stressed about being an adult in such a short time, he grinned. He and I both know that he can pull it off. And I'll assured him that I'd do what I could to help him get there. It's all good. James 1:2-3

Speaking of boys...Linus Felinus bit me two days ago. I was holding him in my arms and his front paws were over my left shoulder. That's when this really big, black dog spooked him. He's a fight or flight kind of guy and wanted desperately to take flight. So, using his jaws as his opposable thumb, he bit me...on the side of my head! I have two puncture wounds about an inch over my left ear. I was amazed at how he could dig his teeth into my scalp. It really hurt at the time; now it just feels like a bruise...and two raised bumps with scabs. It only bothers me when I try to sleep on that side of my head or brush my hair.

When I told my parents this story, my dad asked me where I buried the cat. : ) I assure you, Linus is still with us.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I know I dream. And I know I dream in color. I sometimes remember colors vividly from my dreams. Or the colors relate to my real world. In one dream, I remember thinking (in my dream), “that’s the same color of purple on my bedroom wall.” I honestly don’t ever remember waking up thinking about a dream I had in black and white. Maybe I do dream in black and white at times, but I don’t remember ever remembering that aspect of those dreams.

Regularly, I remember my dreams with great detail. The amount of detail amazes people. Sometimes it even amazes me. But I love that. In fact, if I go too many days without remembering my dreams, I miss them. They’re like old friends to me. I wish I knew what made me remember them or not. I’d do whatever I could to control my ability to remember them more often. I truly enjoy the mini-motion pictures that my mind creates while I sleep…even if I don’t understand their meaning.

Then sometimes, like today and a couple of days last week, I don’t remember my dreams, but flashes of them streak through my mind throughout the day while I’m doing other things. There I am, sitting at my desk minding my own business, literally working on a task directly related to my job, listening to music on my headphones…when all of a sudden, I have a thought that I don’t remember generating on my own. When I stop to try to analyze it or connect it to other thoughts or even try to figure out where it came from, I’m at a total loss.

The first couple of times I found myself in this place, I let it go. But after it occurs several times a day, it becomes quite frustrating. It’s as if I’m being haunted by pieces/parts, fractals of my own dreams.

Then I wonder if those incomplete pieces of my thoughts are trying to tell me something. So, I find myself trying to focus even more on the blurred, rushed, nonsensical pictures in my mind. My eyes are closed. I take deep, cleansing breaths to relax my mind and body. And I just listen in an attempt to recreate the actions just prior to or just subsequent to the one tiny piece of ‘dream’ that I can’t even see clearly. It becomes almost an obsession.

Then sometimes I wonder if maybe the reason I can’t piece it all together is because they’re not my thoughts at all. I wonder if I’m hearing the thoughts of those around me. OR am I seeing a vision or a premonition…something NOT generated in my mind at all, but something from the universe around me. I wonder. I often wonder…

I wonder what it is, what it means. And I wonder if I’ll ever unlock the door to where it comes from.

But my current theory is that it’s all in my head. : ) If I simply spend a little more time each morning annotating my dreams, I honestly believe that I’ll have fewer of these stray, haunting pieces of random thoughts distracting my day. Because I assure you, they aren’t nearly as enjoyable as remembering and reliving my dreams.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Flag Day

***I did not write this.***

Do You Know Your Flag Etiquette?

Summer, with its bevy of patriotic holidays, is a great time to wave the American flag. But lots of people don't really know the right and wrong ways to display and care for their flag. There is actually a legal set of instructions for the care and handling of the American flag, set out in the Federal Flag Code, which became law the year after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Here's what you need to know to show the flag its due respect.

You can fly your American flag any day of the year, but most people enjoy putting out the flag on patriotic holidays. The flag can fly from sunrise to sunset. The only way it can be left out all night is if it is illuminated the entire time. The flag shouldn't be left out in the rain or in other inclement weather. Give it plenty of room to hang free so it doesn't flap into any foliage or walls. It always flies with the union, or canton (the blue area with the stars), side up. If you are going to fly the flag at half-staff, first raise it to the peak of the pole and then lower it; raise it again to the peak to take it down.

When you're not flying your flag, store it in a moisture-proof container in a safe spot. Make sure the flag is dry and clean before you store it (a damp flag may get moldy). If it's dirty, hand-wash it in cold water with mild detergent and then air-dry it before storing — or take it to a dry cleaner. Fold the flag in half width-wise twice. Then fold up a triangle at a time, starting at the striped end. When you have only the end of the union (the area with the stars) left, fold it down into a triangle and tuck it inside the other folds.

If your flag is frayed or beyond repair, you should retire it and get a new one. The Federal Flag Code suggests that an old flag be ceremonially burned, but this isn't recommended today (particularly since some all-weather flags are nylon, which shouldn't be burned). Instead, you could box up and bury your flag. Better yet, call a local veteran's organization or Boy Scout group; either would be glad to retire the flag in a respectful manner. There is a rule that the flag shouldn't touch the ground, but if yours does accidentally, it's not necessary to retire it. Just clean it and continue to use it respectfully.

The flag is a symbol of the United States, not a decoration. That's why the Federal Flag Code lays out such strict advice about how and when the symbol can be used. If you are entertaining and want to go with a patriotic theme, avoid paper products with flag images. Instead, choose red, white and blue bunting or items decorated with stars. The flag should always be displayed on its own staff and be larger or more prominent than other flags. Never carry a flag horizontally; it should always be held aloft so it is able to hang freely. The only time it's appropriate for a flag to be flat or to cover anything is when it's placed on a coffin.

© Copyright 2008, Meredith Corporation

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's Just Kidney Stones

Jeff went back to Kentucky today. He's been here for a week. Originally, he came home for Relay weekend. He was supposed to go back Sunday night. But due to a very unfortunate set of circumstances, he had to stay longer.

All day Thursday, Jeff was complaining about how often he was going to the bathroom. I didn't think much of it as it was REALLY hot and I'm sure he was drinking plenty just to stay hydrated. Well, by Friday, let's just say he was having difficulty controlling himself. This is when I became concerned. So, we made a doctor's appointment. Honestly, I assumed he had a UTI, would get a prescription for an antibiotic, and that would be the end of it.

While at the doctor, we learned that Jeff has lost 10 pounds since the last time he was there, 18 months ago. Needless to say, it's unusual for a teenage boy who is in great shape to drop ten pounds. His blood pressure was up, but that's not unusual for him. He had a red blood count of 50+; normal should be no higher than 3. And he had tenderness at the sides of his abdomen, though strangely not in his back where one would expect kidney pain. So, between all that and the symptoms that got us there, the doctor was concerned to say the least.

The doctor explained that whereas UTIs are quite common in girls of all ages, they are very uncommon in boys of any age. During the course of the conversation, Jeff mentioned that both of his parents have had kidney stones multiple times. The doctor seemed hopeful for the first time during the appointment and said that kidney stones would be THE BEST diagnosis that he could give Jeff. Before we left, they took a few tubes of blood, which Jeff HATED. The boy does NOT like needles. And we were asked to make an appointment for the following Tuesday. Depending on the results of the lab work and whether or not Jeff passed a stone, we were told to be prepared for additional testing.

I worried about Jeff all weekend and asked for prayers from friends and family. Jeff on the other hand, went on as if nothing had happened. He didn't feel 'great' Friday night, but got better as the night wore on. He even stayed at Relay all night long. Saturday night, he went to a birthday party of a friend. Sunday, he actually hung out around the house with me. And then he went sandbagging in Elnora Monday night with friends to help protect the levee after the rains. Every time I asked him how he felt, he insisted that he was fine.

At Tuesday's appointment, we learned that nothing grew from Jeff's urine culture. So, he didn't have a UTI after all and was allowed to stop taking his antibiotic. We also learned that all of the tests they ran on Jeff's blood came back good. No drugs. Kidney function was good. Liver enzymes looked good. Sugar levels are okay. So, the doctor deduced that Jeff most likely passed a stone on Friday, which would explain why he felt bad Friday and good the rest of the weekend. Then the doctor asked Jeff to lie down on the table so he could poke around on him a bit. When he pushed on the left side of Jeff's abdomen, he flinched. The doctor decided that since the CT was already on the agenda, we should go ahead and follow through with that...just to be sure So, we did.

We had to travel to the hospital. But once his name was called, it only took about five minutes. Three hours later, I got a call that said that Jeff had a kidney stone just leaving his kidney. The doctor said that he didn't expect Jeff to have any problems passing it since it seemed he passed the first one okay. So, besides fighting the pain, we weren't given any marching orders except to come back after a month to ensure there wasn't still blood in Jeff's urine.

Personally, I was THRILLED with the diagnosis. Jeff on the other hand, not so much. Then again, he has to deal with the pain. But I've never been so relieved to hear that it's just kidney stones!

Saturday, June 7, 2008


The 2008 Martin County Relay for Life has come to a close. And again this year, we improved on last year's total. Victory! I can't remember the exact number We raised more than $60,000 this year! I believe our goal was around $62,000. Last year, we blasted our goal by more than $12,000!!! That is HUGE! Especially for a county with communities as small as ours. Then we follow that up by raising $4,000 MORE this year! I am so proud of us. Goes to show you what people can do when they work together for a common goal.

Team #4...that's our team...finished with $2,596. Three years in a row, we've been a bronze fundraising team. That means that we've raised at least $2,000 each year. That is SO cool! In order to hit the silver level, we'd only have to raise another $404. $404! I told the girls that we can definitely do that. We had a few team members who weren't committed to fundraising this year. With their renewed commitment, we can definitely meet that next goal. So, look out Martin County. The Christ Renews His Parish Team is makin' the move.

I can't finish a blog entry about our Relay weekend without at least mentioning the adverse weather in the middle of the night. Some places is southern Indiana got up to 10 inches of rain over night. Lucky for us, it wasn't that bad here. But we had lots of wind, thunder and lightning, and heavy rains during the night. Around midnight, we secured our campsites and moved into the High School gym with our lawn chairs. The karaoke moved right along with us, from center stage to the gym. Everyone handled the move without incident. By 3am, we were back outside. (Personally, I went home to sleep at 2am, so I missed the transition back to the track.) Outside of the thunderstorms, it was hot, hot, hot, windy, VERY humid, and (did I mention?) hot!

There's just something very moving about a Relay weekend. Lots of work. Lots of fun. Some tears. Some laughter. Some pretty good exercise. Lots of goofing off and being silly. Lots of hugs. Great food! SO...MANY...PEOPLE touched by this horrible disease. There was a little girl, she couldn't have been 2 1/2, who was still growing her hair back after her cycle of chemo treatments. There were men and women in their 80's who have been in remission longer than my son has been on this planet. And so many people in between.

We CELEBRATED those who are living with and who have beat cancer. We REMEMBERED those who lost their battle with cancer. And we all made a pledge to FIGHT BACK! We can keep raising money for cancer research so that more and more treatments and cures are realized. But we can do MORE, but altering our lifestyles to do what we can to keep ourselves healthy. So many things that we do INCREASE our chances of getting cancer. We need to REDUCE those chances in any way we can. And that's what FIGHTING BACK is all about.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Laminin - Louie Giglio

You have GOT to see this. If you love me at all, you'll watch this video. You're going to need 9 minutes. MAKE THE TIME. Promise me you'll make the time. I love you and I want you to see it...the whole thing. Please, just do it. Trust me.

Click here!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bronze Again

We did it again! I didn't think we would. With the economy and gas prices, not to mention our late start. But we did it. Our Relay for Life team raised more than $2,000, making us a Bronze fundraising team.
Personally, I raised nearly 50% of our teams total donations. Another 25% was given to us by Pamida because one of our team members is an employee. The rest of the team, all 10 of them, raised the other 25%.

At first, it upset me that the rest of the team wasn't taking an active role in fund-raising. If everyone else on the team only did the $100 they were expected to do, our team would have raised more than $3,000. But there's no point in wrestling with 'what if'.

I keep telling myself that if I was a better team captain, I could motivate them (us) to do more. Obviously leading by example isn't cutting it. But I also try to make it as easy as possible for them. I fill out the registration forms for them so that all they have to do is choose a t-shirt size and sign the form...but some of them don't return them to me and eventually lose them. I write their donation request letters that they too could have sent to friends and family. They just choose not to send them...most of them anyway.

I could put forth more time and energy, but I feel like I'd only be wasting MY time and energy. But you know what? I'm busy too. Ugh! This is exactly why I need to stop wrestling with 'what if'. We ARE a bronze fundraising team for the second year in a row.