Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Life is Not Lemonade Right Now....Just Lemons

Well, the flu has hit our house. Not much fun;( Tip has been home sick for three days, and I've had to take off and stay home. It's hard being out for teachers. There is so much more work that goes into taking off and leaving lesson plans laid out with detailed descriptions of every minute and activity that you do in a day! That being said, I probably needed this rest too.
 Tip was so exhausted that he fell asleep on the sofa curled up with our puppy, Samson.Sweet face;)
 Ella McCray woke up saying she didn't feel good either, although I didn't believe her. I ended up letting her stay home since her teacher was out and she would have a sub...it also meant that we could stay in our jammies and not drive 30 minutes to school, which selfishly, sounded good to me. They ended up entertaining each each this morning by playing mancula (a special thanks to my niece for teaching them how to play over Christmas break). But wouldn't you know...this morning, after getting her dressed and loaded up to go to school, she threw up everywhere. So today, we are all home again, this time with two sick babies...and a mom whose recent infusion has left me tired, drained, and more susceptible to the flu (Clorox spray and the washing machine have been my best friends).
 So...it's time to rent some movies and turn the den into a theatre to help pass some time. Yesterday, we did lots of painting and glittering and cutting...today I'm tired! Even the cats are tired (including Moonlight who should have her kittens any day now)!
Tomorrow we find out about my grandfather's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. They did a PET scan yesterday and a biopsy last week, so tomorrow they visit the oncologist, along with my mom and two aunts, and find out the prognosis and treatment plan. The only thing we know now is that they believe it's stage 2. This is a picture of my sweet grandparents, Mimi and Bud. This picture is on my mantle and I look at it everyday. I miss being home with my family. I wish I got to see them more often. We grew up very close to my grandparents, spending lots of nights with them and always doing things together as a family. Life just seems to be hard right now. It seems true, that when it rains it pours. Lord, I am asking for a reprieve...a break in the hardships for just a bit. Just long enough for me to gather my strength. Lord, I pray for strength and courage. Courage to rely on you and trust that you will get me through my life right now and help me to be better for these times of struggle.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Life Goes On


Even when I feel bad, life goes on. I find myself trying to distract my brain from thinking about reality. Work is a good distraction, I love my first graders. We recently celebrated our 100th day of school and we dressed up like 100 year olds. They were precious and I had fun being someone else for the day.
 I even got to get a quick picture with my daughter, Ella McCray, who is in the first grade class across the hall from me. She loved dressing up and wearing gray hair, although its hard to tell its gray in this picture.
 A few days ago, I took Ella McCray to the hair dresser and she got 12 inches cut off to donate to Locks for Love!! I could not have been more proud of her. As a parent, one of the most important things to me is that my children grow up to be kind, giving, caring Christians who give back to this world. And at the age of 6, I think she is on the right path.

 Her hair cut was precious on her, but I have to admit that she looks so much bigger now;(
 Here is her pony tail cut and ready to ship off. If you are interested in donating your hair, please visit Locks of Love's Website.  I hope that someone enjoys her beautiful locks! Below is the last day of school with her long hair. I even let her wear it down without a headband or a bow (which is unheard of in our house).
 Bye-bye goldilocks!!!
 I also just had my Benlysta infusion....#44 I think. It's been three years so I've lost track a bit. I am now getting my infusions in Jackson, TN, so I only drive 1 hour to my doctor's office instead of 6 hours. This helps, but they don't do infusions on Fridays. I only take off one day of work...this has made me a bit tired since I'm not getting to sleep the entire day afterwards. My husband could probably help me, but I don't think he understands how tired I really am and he has a lot of things he wants, or needs, me to do around the house and with the kids. It's hard to take a day off when you're in your own house. The kids still want mom and life continues to move whether I feel good or not. I'm sure all the moms out there understand.
We also got to go home to Georgia over Christmas. This was a wonderful trip. We got to visit with my mom and sister and all of our cousins. This was the first time all the kids have been together in over a year. It made my heart happy.

 They couldn't have been more excited to play together. It was definitely a joyful noise to my ears.
 My mom also got the girls tickets to the Fox to see The Nutcracker. We had a wonderful time eating at a little tea room before the ballet and then going to see the ballet. It brought back memories of my Mimi taking all of us when we were little. Days like this make me miss being closer to home. I actually got a little teary-eyed while we were eating. Just sitting and talking with my mom, sister, and the girls made me miss this happening more often. I want for my kids to know my mom and have some of the same memories I had growing up...we were definitely loved and made great memories with my mom, aunts, and grandparents.

We found out a few days ago that my grandfather, Bud, has pancreatic cancer. We are still waiting for the biopsy to come back, but the outcome does not look good. This trip to Georgia over Christmas was a gift. We will go home to visit my grandparents, but this might have been the last "good" visit we will have. Life is never what you would have planned it to be. I wouldn't have placed my life where it is now with the hardships that I am facing...lupus, a sister who has murdered someone, being so far from my family, loneliness, cancer affecting my family...the list could go on. But the gift...is that I have great friends that love me and will always be in my life. God has blessed me. My children are also healthy and happy....and this means the world to me.

 Here is my latest distraction. Working around the house to make some improvements without spending much money. I moved cabinets and countertops, painted my kitchen table, cut off the legs to shorten the table, put benches in to make a banquet, made burlap bench skirts, made bench covers and pillows, painted a wooden drink holder and added a barn wood top, and began wrapping my hardware with twine.

 All of this...costs less than $50. Thankfully, we have a barn out back that needs to be torn down and my husband is very crafty (when convinced to help) and he was able to do my barn wood table top. All the rest of the things were moved from other spots in my house or repurposed from outside on my back porch. It makes me feel like things are a little new and fresh.
My next project is painting our old cabinets gray and distressing them. Cliff's grandfather built our house and the cabinets were handmade and just need a little love. The white was beautiful at first, but having small children, a careless husband, and a chronic illness means that I can't clean them as often as they need to be cleaned to look good.
I hope that I can continue to live everyday and see my blessings through my mess and even bless others. Lord use me to do your will and help me to trust that you are allowing me to go through these things so that I might change and further your will by helping others in ways that I otherwise wouldn't have.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Life is Hard


I should believe this...but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with this "lonely" feeling that I find myself asking God why...not why lupus, not why do I have emotional difficulties to overcome, but why did you not give me someone to help me through all the hurdles life has to thrown at me? I'm assuming the most obvious answer is that He wants me to depend on no one but Him, He wants me to trust His path and purpose of everything in my life and that He is molding me with these experiences for some unknown but greater purpose. But my path sure is lonely and difficult right now. I know logically....that this too shall pass. I wish I could press fast forward or float through my life right now numb to reality. I'm just tired. Really tired.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lots to catch up on!

Oh, it's been a whole and someone dhpd pop my hand, but I've just been exhausted with keeping up. Since Halloween we've had a lot going on....
We began reading chapter books!!! I can't believe how fast they grow up, be still my heart. 
Our elf, Milky has returned for CHRISTmas!
I got Thanksgiving ready and the house decorated, I even made a table arrangement (which reminds me of my momma). This DID exhaust me;)
At school, our Service Club, which I head up, had a "Week if Giving" and donated 140 gifts for Toys 4 Tots, among other things.
We also celebrated Thsnksgiving at school. I love my kiddos;)
We also attended our local Veteran's Day Parade .....

And got a new puppy.....which has exhausted my to no ends. This is why I didn't have a third child....mental note- do not agree with husband next time he wants a puppy. More in depth updates to come soon;)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Today, Lupus...you won;(

Happy Halloween week! Here is a throw back to 6 years ago...my daughter was 7 months old and I had recently been diagnosed with Lupus. I look SO healthy compared to now. SO young. I was 27. It is amazing how the past few years have aged my mind and body so much. I WANT MY BODY BACK!!!!! I could be upset that I feel sick and long for the perfect body I used to have, or I can appreciate the things I still have. I still have two healthy children!
And here is a Halloween picture from 4 years ago...time sure does fly!
And here I am now...on the sofa (the dreaded spot for fatigued  individuals) with pink checks, a tired and fattened body, and a defeated spirit...not to mention lots of other issues that are better left unsaid;) Lupus...I am sad to say that today was yours. You won. I struggled to get through a Sunday. I did NOT go to church;( I slept for hours and had help from my family to care for my children. I did not cook. I barely managed to wash and fold clothes. I did not shower. I tried to eat, but my stomach stayed hungry all day....for unmentioned reasons. I did not smile. I did not laugh. I wondered if tomorrow would be better...and now...I choose to leave today behind me and to try to think positively for tomorrow. For tomorrow, life begins again. The weekend is over and it's back to life. Back to school for the kiddos and back to work for me. Everyone is my life deserves more of me. Myself, my children, my husband, my classroom at work, my friends, my family, my God.....how do I give more when I have so little? This is my daily struggle (along with pain and fatigue). But, here is always tomorrow. And hopefully....#Annie The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Georgia on our Minds


So we left for Georgia at noon on Friday. Yes, that was a long day for me;) After being up late the night before and teaching, I drove 6 hours (although it turned into an 8 hour trip with traffic) with the kids. We came to visit my grandparents. We had a scare a few weeks ago. My grandfather was having some issues and ended up being rushed into surgery and having a pacemaker put in. This made me think about how often I come home now that my infusions aren't here. I decided that my grandparents are getting older and that I would not be able to live with myself if something happened to them and I hadn't been home to visit. So we came in to visit on our fall break. We will leave here tomorrow morning and head home so I can get my infusion in Jackson, TN on Thursday morning. 
I'm exhausted. I'm hurting....a lot. But I'm trying to hang in here and keep my children entertained. My knees hurt so badly that it's hard to bend them and they are giving out on me walking up stairs. I'm sitting here on the sofa while the kids nap watching "Strage Medicine". They have discussed medical marijuana and bee sting therapy. The bee stings are used to help autoimmune diseases and rhuematory arthritis....hmm...I'm considering looking for a beehive right now. Crazy? Or desperate? Or a good natural alternative to pain?

We went with my mom to The Mistletoe Market on Saturday and did a little Christmas shopping...the kids loved it.
Who knew Target could be so entertaining too?
Our favorite purchase at Mistletoe Market was this gingerbread house, The Candy Cottage. It's a plastic gingerbread house that you can decorate and reuse!! The kids loved it!
Here is our finished Haunted Gingerbread House.
We also enjoyed the park with our cousins.



And then today we went to Chuck E Cheese, their favorite treat so far. It was better than ice skating or the aquarium for me because I could sit down. Sad, but that weighs in on my decision making.