Monday, November 29, 2010

At this time.

Last year at this time, Al had been on dialysis for 4 years. His body was going downhill fast and he was sicker and sicker by the day. I remember listening to KLOVE the week before Thanksgiving and they were asking callers to let them know what each were thankful for. I called in, and actually got through! I stated I was thankful that I had the kidney my husband so desperately needed and we were short weeks away from transplant day. As dire as Al's health seemed, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Our surgery was scheduled and we were doing it! The days of dialysis were still daunting, but hopeful that the end would bring a whole new life for Al. This year KLOVE was again asking callers to phone in their thanks. I was in the car driving by myself one night and a caller shared her story. Her 31 year old husband had received devastating news that he was in End Stage Renal Failure. I remembered those words when Al was given his diagnosis. They are ugly words that I hope and pray no one would have to hear. The caller went on to say she was thankful that her husband would be coming home to be with them all for Thanksgiving. That was exactly what I did on dialysis. I hung on tight to the things that made our life "normal" and we fought through the things that dialysis had brought into our lives that were so. not. normal. I remember the monthly deliveries. Our home would fill up with thousands of pounds of solution to be used to flush Al's peritoneal cavity of all the toxins that built up when you have no working kidneys'. I remember the night where he would have to hook up to the machine early in the evening, pulling his time away from his family to time spent in bed. I remember Christmas mornings where the kids would be excited to go downstairs, but we would patiently wait for one of daddy's dialysis cycles to complete so he could join us downstairs for opening of presents! When we were doing it, we managed it all quite well. Now that I look back, I think how did we EVER manage? We did get through it, and we are here almost exactly a year after transplant and living a completely different life that not one moment is taken for granted!! I am so thankful that I had in my body what my husband needed, and that we both got through our surgeries, healed and went back to a normal life. For me it was days, but for Al it had been YEARS since he got to live a normal life. I look back to last year at this time, not quite knowing what was to come, but so very excited at the possibility that our family would grow in unthinkable ways and we would all come out on the other side thankful and gracious at the amazing gift we all received. I am thankful. I am hopeful. I am still in awe that it even happened to us!! I pray that this kidney lasts far beyond the first year we are nearing, and that we all grow stronger each time we are graced with another beautiful yet tedious challenge!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A few months ago I was fully prepared to be moving into the single mom territory. My marriage had gotten that bad and I was mentally focused on tackling the job of raising my two adorable and awesome children on my own. I sit here today and feel thankfully blessed that I am not actually a single mom, but one that has bonded with my husband in a whole new way. And moreso that my husband has bonded with my children in a whole new way. Today has been rough. The last few weeks have been rough. I am literally crawling out of my own skin most of the time lately and I am driving myself nuts. The absolute worst thing for me right now is to be sitting at home all day. Today, has been one of those days. My daughter has a spotty sore throat and it's against her best interst to get out and about. So we were here. All, day. I lied, I got to go to class this morning, but mostly we've been here all day. Kids are still in jammies. My house is a wreck from the kids playing all day. And I am clawing, internally screaming, LET ME OUT!!!!!!! It's a horrible cycle. But it's my cycle and until I figure it out, I have to just do what I can to manage. Hubby will be home soon. (Read 7PM) so I stepped out of my comfort and texted him to ask if he would mind if I got out for a bit when he gets home. To my blissful suprise he said sure no problem! To which I replied "YOU. ARE. THE. BEST!" I meant it. He is being supportive of my need to get away and take a break and that is invaluable to me (I would imagine to any mom who stays home!!)
Thank you hubby. I mean it. You have saved me from myself today!

(I shall probably get off of here and clean up a bit, or he will wonder what I was doing all day! LOL!!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday November 14th

Yesterday was a big day for our family. I have been married to my husband for 6 years. To say we started out backwards and upside down is an understatement. To add to the intensity of our marriage, a few years ago I went through a major Spiritual change in my life and really explored who I was, and who I want to be. The changes I have made have not been easy on my relationship because for my husband I had changed into someone completely different. In his words "boring". God knew what he was doing. I was fulfilled with enough confidence to continue on my journey of self discovery and to believe that some day in the future, all would work out. Two years ago I started attending church regularly. I grew up a Lutheran, have gone to a Lutheran church my whole life, but it was because I was "forced" (lack of better word) to go; not because I wanted to go. I would sit there in church, bored and looking at my clock to countdown to the end. Times have changed. I have gained such a beautiful relationship with church and with God and I truly deep down whole heartedly enjoy going each week. Acilia my daughter and I had a routine each Sunday. We would leave the house, go pick up my mom and the three of us would attend church together. We all enjoyed it and afterwards we went for lunch. It was great. But something was missing. Multiple times I would sit and survey the church attendees. Many different family dynamics but mostly there were families. Including the mother, father and children. I sat and envied those families. I wanted my husband with me at church. My husband grew up Catholic and at this point in our lives was not practicing religion on Sunday's. He was staying home with our son on Sundays. We were a split family and that didn't feel good. God agreed. As you may know at the end of the school year last year, we started seeking a new school for Acilia to attend. She was attending a Lutheran school in Wheaton. I asked my husband to join me on the journey of finding a new school for her. We looked at public schools and we looked at other private schools in the area. We visited a Lutheran school in Lombard which happens to be quite a drive from our house. We loved it at first impression though and I felt it was only right to try out the church there too. If Al liked it, we could possibly start attending as a family. Words can not describe our first experience at that church. It was a Spiritual fountain of happiness and goodness that we all felt as a family! We made the decision to start sending Acilia to the school come the beginning of a new school year and we had decided as a family to regularly attend the church through the summer. If Al thought it all felt right, we would take the New Members class that started in September and God Willing become members in November. Yesterday was the day we became members of the church. We became members of the church as a FAMILY. It means SO MUCH to me that God guided us. He never fails! Yesterday was my husband's birthday. On his birthday he was confirmed Lutheran with this bible verse: "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
What a blessed day for all of us! Here is a picture I took of Al as he was confirmed. It's awful quality; I only had my phone on me to snap pics!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Life flash!

I was driving on the expressway today, alone; just me and my radio. I have been driving for 15 years. I know the signs of the roads, I follow the rules, not a daring driver. So when I approached a ramp at almost 70 in a 65 I started to slow down as I got on the ramp. I noted a sign that said 25 mph and then I saw a white cross on the side of the road. After that my car started to fishtail and I realized I was NOT going 25 (didn't even have time to get down to that slow) and I was on a road with two ditches on either side of me. The sign and the cross flashed again as I struggled to gain control of my truck. It all happened in a few seconds but the aftermath was riveting. My adrenaline was going. I was shaking and then I started crying and then the radio seemed so loud I had to turn it off. I suddenly felt very alone and thought about how I would have felt if I had landed in the ditch if it was even something I would have survived. I truly had never felt such a scared feeling in my life. My life flashed and I felt as though my world came to a crashing halt. I eagerly worked to gain control of myself again. I thought of making a call to tell someone. That's my human nature at work. If something happens to me I immediately feel the need to share the news. I didn't this time. I was so scared and I was still crying. I took those moments to be with God. God was with me the whole time. I am certain God granted me a miracle today. A miracle that allowed me to gain control of my truck as it fish tailed out of my control. I was inches from the ditches and I really was taken aback at how differently it *could* have been.
I saw a semi in a ditch on a ramp when I was driving home tonight. Not sure of the outcome of that driver but it was pretty beaten up. It yet again occured to me how differently my ramp experience *could* have been.

Friday, November 5, 2010

You Capture! - Serene



I gave this challenge some thought. I noted in my mind how serene could be found abundantly in nature. I wanted to further challenge myself though and think about what brings me true Serenity. This word means so much to me. I work to achieve serenity in my heart and in my family and in life in general. It dawned on me though, Serenity is not from anything manmade. It's a peace and understanding and a TRUST that I find only in one place. I find it in my Heavenly Father. When I unlocked that Truth; it made perfect sense to me to use the cross wall in my bedroom. That wall brings me so much peace and happniness and Serenity. Delightful coincidence: One of my crosses has the "Serenity Prayer" engraved in it. That cross was a gift from my mom. I chose to edit my picture in a way that highlights the word Serenity. Do you see it? Enjoy!

"Serenity Prayer"
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

30 to be

My 30th birthday is a mere 4 days away. I am not exactly counting down the days; I am however, reflecting. Reflecting on how blessed I feel to have the life I have. To have the opportunities I've had. To follow the dreams I have and to have the people in my life that matter so much. I am blessed to be the mother of two amazing children. Kids that make me laugh, and make me smile and make my heart melt. I am blessed to have a husband that for better or worse has given me another chance. I am blessed that I had a kidney inside of me that was a match for my spouse and better yet that December 3rd marks one year since the amazing God orchestrated day that I was able to give my husband his life back. I am blessed to have a mom that I can call my best friend and to have a dad whom I have finally come to appreciate and now I have the chance to see his grandfather side. Which I happen to think is a great side to him. I am blessed to have an awesome brother who always looks out for his little sister. And that he married someone that I get along with so well and between the 4 of us we have created a dynamic of friendship with our 6 kids that is sure to bond them all for life even though they attend different schools. I am most of all blessed that I have come to really appreciate what Jesus Christ has done for me and have my heart opened up to receive an outstanding relationship with God. One where He guides me and holds me and comforts me at all times, especially those times where things seem dark. I have learned so much in my 20's, I know it's just the beginning. I am so excited to see what my 30's bring and to reflect back on the next 10 years to reveal other amazing blessings that are to come in my life.

Monday, November 1, 2010

You capture!- Halloween


Halloween was splendid this year!
Hubby and I ready for a Halloween Party

My nephew Joey, I love the action in this shot!

The monarch butterflies, my niece Kate and my daughter Acilia
My hubby being one with the tree :)

My son Miles, the firefighter :)
Family Pic
Acilia, my daughter
The best for last, this is my favorite capture from Halloween 2010