Friday, August 28, 2015

It's been too long!

Well, it has been forever since I've blogged. I have found myself trying to keep up with the pace of life. It's just too fast for me. The days are filled with thousands of things to do and I never seem to have enough time to do half of them. My daily "To-Do List" seems to roll over to the next day everyday. My body isn't normal. This is just a fact. I am trying to treat my body as a "healthy" body so that I can live a normal life. A job, two kids, PTO mom, volunteer, Service Club leader, a mentor, a wife that keeps the house clean and meals made, taking the kids to soccer games and gymnastics, birthday parties and social events....ITS TOO MUCH. I give up! I surrender. God has made me see that this is too much for me and its time to slow down.
How do you slow down? What does that really look like? Well, for me, I'm starting by taking a year off from teaching. I truly love teaching. It is my calling. It is my spiritual gift and the way I give back to the Lord. I love being in the classroom and I adore my babies that are in my class each year. But teaching isn't just a 40 hour a week job....it's so much overtime and there is always something to take home and work on, or research, or create. The truth is that my Lupus body just isn't what my body used to be! I have to surrender to that.
My older sister also got remarried this summer and her wedding weekend getaway was an amazing weekend for us all. I truly am excited for her and happy that she has found someone who is wonderfully kind, loving, and giving. Here's a picture from the night before the wedding (Me, Mom, & Britt). We stayed at Barnsley Gardens in GA and it was phenomenal....I would love to go back annually! This was a very welcome relaxation and I am always happy to get to see my entire family. 

School has also started back (without me as a teacher) and the kids are still at TCA. They are loving K & 2nd grade!
Here is Tip with his Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Tracey. She is amazing!!! And he loves going to school!

 Here is Ella McCray with her teacher, Ms. Lauren. They are both excited about school and I can't wait to be a parent and volunteer this year!


 I have also started taking a supplement this summer. It's called EHT and it is amazing. It has given me SO much energy, I've even started running!!!! This is big! I don't run, much less walk with my bad joints, but this supplement has done wonders for my body. I also am sleeping better and my memory is back to normal!!!! Look into this if you have any of these same issues. See the link below.



Watch this video to see how EHT changes your brain to improve your memory! EHT..what is it and how does it work? This is an amazing supplement that was developed by scientist at Princeton and I LOVE it!!!

We also have been working on things around the house, like our chicken coop. We are going to try to get into the farm life a little more. We also traded our 5 horses for 1 that the kiddos can ride.

More to come.....


I leave today with this thought:
                                         
                                                                                                                   

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Day of Rest

We've been out of school for two days now (our school shut down because 20% of the student population was sick with flu, strep, or mono), the weekend, and now today, President's Day. We woke up this morning to some snow and a lot of ice and sleet. This was a great surprise, as long as it lasts until tomorrow so we can have another day off of school;) The kids had slumber parties with their cousins last night (who just live two houses down the road) so the boys went to one house and the girls stayed here. They had a great time and now Cliff is out pulling them around on the 4-wheeler and sled. I am sitting here in the house by myself, eating Chicken Enchilada Soup and playing on the computer. I am feeling pretty good, considering I'm due for my infusion this week and having a lot of personal family issues. I am really excited about this video I found online, a video about using red lipstick to cover under eye circles. If you have a chronic illness, you know that you are always tired and I ALWAYS have a hard time covering up my dark under eye circles. So I decided to try this....
A Great Tip for Covering Up Dark Under Eye Circles
I should have taken a before picture, but I got so excited to try it that I just ran upstairs and got started. Here is my after picture:
Hard to believe that it works and that I don't look red or purple under my eyes. I'll have to see how this holds up today in the snow and ice, this should be a great testing day;) Today, it's a little thing that got me excited. Sometimes I believe that God encourages us through small moments and glimpses. I will admit that my life is very hard right now. Very hard and very lonely. Right before the winter storm came in, God gave us a beautiful day to get outside and enjoy the warmth. While sitting at the park letting the kids play the other day, I looked up at the sky and closed my eyes and just felt the warmth of the sun. It was just for a minute, but it gave me the feeling that I'm not alone, that God is here even if He's not answering me the way I want Him to. I hope that moment will help me get through the is next week. I am trying to find all of my happy moments each day, through my children and nature and my close family. Sometimes it's hard, but I'm trying to enjoy each day.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Home


Well, it's almost Valentine's Day and my birthday...and God gave me a gift. Our school was called off for today and tomorrow due to 20% of our student population being sick with the flu, strep, and mono. Not that I"m glad that anyone is sick, that's not a gift, but the days of rest...that's the gift. I NEED rest. I've been so very exhausted lately. I can't seem to keep up with a normal pace in a normal life. But then, I guess I'm not normal. I am still in the midst of a very emotional time in my personal life. I'm sure that this lends itself to exhaustion, when you can't make life easy or normal or even calm. Why do we have to feel such deep emotions for the people we love? I wish sometimes the God would give me a break...a reprieve. Just for a bit. A long enough time to recoup and get ready for another battle. My mental exhaustion leads to my physical exhaustion. So is true of chronic illnesses, not just for me. I just wish I could climb inside of a bubble for a bit. A bubble filled with a warm, calm paradise that would rejuvenate me. Fiji, here I come. Not very realistic...but I am thinking about buying a heat lamp, a 50 lb bag of sand, and a case of Corona to make my own paradise in my backyard!
Until then...these are my little pieces of paradise. Here they are holding our little kittens;) Find your happy where you can, right? Thank you God for these little "happies". They make my life worth while.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Kittens Were Born

So yesterday Ella McCray and I were home from school since she was sick. It was actually a beautiful winter day and about 65 degrees, so we got out in the yard and on the front porch swing a bit to get some much needed fresh air. Ella McCray even played with the dog and climbed a tree. It's amazing how resilient kids are, even when they are sick;)
 Note to self: Being ALL out of your sleeping medicine is not very smart...must call pharmacy or doctor today. Being on steroids everyday for the past 7 years, I HAVE to have something to counteract the prednisone so I can stay asleep at night. I woke up bright and early, well it was actually still dark out, to the sound of kitten meows...our cat had her kittens..7 so far!!
The kids were so excited. We always had animals growing up, but we always had them fixed. There is something so amazing about watching the whole process of life coming into this world. I truly believe that every child should experience this at least once in their childhood. It teaches gentleness, compassion, the delicacy of life, and the amazing ability of our God. They were mesmerized and we sat together and watched as a few of the kittens were born. Tip didn't want to leave for school, in fear that he might miss part of the births. He is only 4, and this is his last year in preschool, so I caved and let him stay home with us today. Then I watched the sun come up and grabbed my first cup of coffee for the morning.
 My favorite mugs to use are the ones with the kids pictures or artwork. I made this cup for my husband for his birthday this year...but I knew I'd get to enjoy it a bit too! Well, and I knew he wouldn't make one for me;)
(Not a great picture of myself but I'm trying to take more pics with me in them despite the fact that I do not like looking at myself...I look like a different person these days...30 pounds heavier than I'm used to).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bud

Finding out today that my grandfather will start chemo on Thursday. Praying that at 85 he lives the rest of his life enjoying every minute. I love you Bud!!!

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.