Sunday, May 29, 2011

"To God be the Glory..."

Well, i admit here; right now, that I got sucked in to Oprah's final show. I am one of those that records shows that I suspect will be talked about, so I can watch them to reference and make my own opinions. So, I recorded Oprah's last show and when she got up and started an hour long "preach" about her 25 years, I kind of sort of may have done the slightest bit of an eye roll. Until I pushed my preconceived ideas aside and just started listening. She had some great things to say. She was inspirational and likeable and I especially liked her words about God and how he is an impactful part of her life. My ears perked up and I wanted to quote here what she said about God:

"I have felt the presence of God- my whole life - even when I didn't have a name for it. I could feel the voice bigger than myself. Speaking to me. All of us have that same voice. Be still and know it. You can acknowledge it or you can worship it, you can ignore it or you can know it. Know it. It's always there-speaking to you and waiting for you to hear it. In every move, in every decision I wait and I listen. I'm still, I wait and I listen for the guidance that's greater than my meager mind. The only time I've ever made mistakes is when I didn't listen. So what I know is GOD. IS. LOVE. God is life and your life is always speaking to you."

I wondered how Oprah would wrap up her show. I wondered what her "final words" would be. I was so pleased that she gave glory where it was deserved by saying "To God be the Glory" and that was it. She walked off stage leaving behind the 25 years she put in with her heart and soul.

So, love her, hate her, take her or leave her, her final show will have moved many to be greater than they ever imagined and I commend her route to the legacy she left.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pain Factor

I have written here before about my seemingly abnormal pain tolerance. My willingness to not be fearful of pain and to test my body instead of listening to "scare tactics" is getting to a point where I believe I am on to something profound!

Pain is the message from the brain to the "injury". We all have neurotransmitters that send signals to every part of our body. The message of pain is also I believe related to fear. I have a theory that looks into the pain of childbirth for instance. Anyone that has had a child knows it's not all 100% pain free. I have noticed however that the women that go into labor expecting to go natural and do it natural end up with a beautiful story of serenity and peace. Then you have the women who perhaps have walked into childbirth full on planning to use every source of pain management that is offered and when for some reason it works out where they are using their own methods to manage pain it's an absolute horrendous "thought I was going to die" experience. The brain is responsible for many things. The brain is also powered by "thought". If for instance you "know" a car accident is impending..the natural thing to do it so tense up. Have you ever wondered why drunk drivers often times walk away from a deadly accident...I believe it's because they have no reflex time; they don't see it coming, therefore they are completely relaxed. What happens to your body when you tense up verses staying relaxed, I am not a scientist or a doctor but I do believe relaxation is a huge part of managing pain. I have been testing this theory with my own experiences. I have dealt with anxiety my whole life, so managing that has made me an expert in learning to stay calm even if my body is sending messages otherwise. I believe that because of this "stay calm" attitude, I also have a high pain tolerance. I have taken it one step further and decided to do what I can to keep my body free of any medication. I take things when NEEDED, not in anticipation of pain.

Yesterday I went in to the hospital to have surgery on my foot. When I had my consultation with the podiatrist, he immediately recommended I be put under for this procedure. Knowing how involved being put under is (hospital, drugs, no eat/drink, rules, regulations, no driving, post anesthesia recovery, etc.) I asked the simple question, could we do it with a local instead? He said yes, but I don't think that was an answer he *wanted* to give. Let's be honest, it's easier on a surgeon to have the assurance of their patient not knowing what's going on. They can fully focus on the surgery not worrying if the patient is comfortable because they are sleeping. I get it. Most people opt for that route, so to hear me ask NOT to take that route, I believe put him off a bit. He went on to tell me how painful for local anesthetic injection is and then told me the main concern is that I don't move. Ok got it. So I walked into the hospital yesterday and was immediately taken over by "hospital procedure". I was put in a gown (standard precaution because I was going into the "sterile" OR) and I noticed there was an IV bag waiting for me. Seriously? I reminded the nurses that I am just having a local, so the need for fluids wasn't necessary. She informed me that it was an antibiotic that the doc had ordered. Oh fine :) Stick me with the needle then! LOL! I am not a hard patient, I am very easy I abide by what's told to me, and I keep a smile on my face through the process. The nurses love that and I am sure I will appreciate the "good patients" too when I am nurse :) I feel it's my duty to be as little trouble as possible. So all gowned up etc, ready to walk into the OR. I get in there. Yes I am calm on the outside, but the machines don't lie, my BP was elevated and my HR sounded like a chorus of jackhammer knocking! Yes, I can come off as calm and collected, but when you are hooked up to monitors, there is no fooling the doc. I made a light joke that I was going to concentrate on slowing the beeping. There my deep breathing started :) I was told surgery would last from 2:30-3:50. Perfect for me I was able to get a peak at the clock. That's about all I could see. I had a sterile cloth over my body that was "tented" about a foot above my head. I am not clausterphobic so that didn't bother me at all, but I could see why people want to be sleeping in the OR, it's very intimidating! All the "medical talk" and sounds of machines and hustle and bustle of the many people in there to make for a smooth surgery. There was a nurse in there with me, she kept me company and we conversed about many things. I was so thankful for her, but I am looking at half a face covered by mask and hair net, I did notice she had blue mascara on and complimented how it matched so well :) She said it was a "girly thing" :) For me to be in the OR was fun, when I did my CNA course we were begging for a tour of the OR, but due to sterile regulations, we could only peak through a window. So to be a patient that is awake during surgery, it was a riot for me. Moving back to my "numbing injection" that I was told would be the worst part. It was a tad uncomfortable, more of just a "weird" feeling. They stuck the top of my foot with the needle and I immediately felt a tingly, warm feeling wash over my entire foot. Suddenly any touch was barely detected and we moved on with surgery. I wasn't sure exactly what was going on, I didn't mind that so much, but I was left wondering if it had started, or if I was just feeling the beginnings. Then I asked to see the "specimen" that was removed. (The surgery I had was to remove fibromas that were growing under the skin and into my foot. A fibroma is described as scar tissue. I believe a few years ago I must have dropped something on my foot causing a trauma that healed internally, and my body was producing far too much scar tissue. If it wasn't taken care of it would have just kept growing; hence why I decided to have it removed) the fibroma was cut out, and they showed it to me before it went off for a standard biopsy. It was bigger than I expected, but not surprisingly so. I believe quite a bit of it was "IN" my foot only a small part a hard bump under the skin was what I could see before surgery. I also had another one that was larger but softer on the side of my foot. We decided try to inject that one in hopes it would shrink. Sparing another scar that would have been larger. My hope is that the injection worked so I don't have to get that one removed too. Surgery completed quickly, I was out of the OR by about 3:15. Foot bandaged with a medical shoe. That medical shoe was a joke, it has a plastic bottom so it made a "click, clop" sound like a wooden pair of clogs would and my foot kept slipping forward. With two crazy wild kids to chase after and 2 weeks to wear this shoe, I opted to stop at Walgreens for a better "boot" they had one left and it was my size, and since they were eager to get rid of it (it had been discontinued) they had it marked down 50%. It was still way more than I would spend on even a nice pair of shoes, BUT I truly feel it's worth it to have comfort while my foot heals. I was discharged with strict instructions to use my vicadin prescription atleast through the night, Dr. equated pain to a "caged monster" want to keep the monster maintained. I understood and respected what he was saying, but I was unsettled about the fact that I would need pain meds and really unsettled with the idea of taking them before the pain sets in. Felt a little "unnecessary" I am not afraid of pain and I have the pills on hand for *if* the pain does creep in, but last night I waited to feel a glimmer of pain, time kept passing on; no pain. I started to do some research on how long a local is supposed to last, but was sure that after 5, 6, 7, even 8 hours it should have been worn off. Bedtime came, no pain, not even a little bit, so I apprehensively went to bed, fully expecting to wake up with throbbing pain. I slept through the night, woke up this morning; still no pain! I made a comment to Al that I wonder if my brain is missing the "pain sensing" transmitter. It's just odd to me that I am told to expect pain for certain things and then I have none! My husband lended me a compliment that I am  "awesome" .  I told him how much I appreciated his comment but went on to explain, I am not awesome, I am just not afraid of pain. I choose not to be haunted by "what if's" instead I move forward, trusting that my body knows what it's doing. That's my version of pain management and I will admit, it's working quite well!

sporting my boot in which I added a little "glitz"
that's my way of combating boredom! Ha

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In which I try to explain.

Something profound happened today. I love moments when I feel God so close!

2 years ago my grandpa passed away. To commemorate my family joined my grandma at her church for a service. The church isn't large but there are quite easily atleast 50 Bibles scattered in the pews. We sat about halfway back on the left side. Not sure if you often pick up the Bible to read along when the sermon comes, but I am not 100% in the practice of doing so. Something told me to pick it up and read I did. I opened the Bible and was struck by the label inside.

Verna and Oscar are my grandparents. The Bible I was holding my hands was the very Bible my grandparents donated to the church in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary. I held that Bible the rest of the service. I couldn't let it go. It felt as though my grandpa was there sitting with us. Enjoying a beautiful service!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Trouble in the name of fashion

I am kind of embarrassed to admit that Acilia got in "trouble" (her term; not mine) at school due to my style choice for her at school.

I buy clothes for my kids. I take great pleasure in purchasing outfits that are cute and stylish and (especially for Acilia) shoes that work with all the outfits. We have play shoes, dress shoes, "style" shoes and then of course "practical" shoes that I usually buy but they stay pretty new. Practical and shoes don't really work together in my vocabulary. I am one that will wear 4 inch heels as I chase after Miles. I am thanking the good Lord that there are such desirable choices for shoes these days that are *gasp* FLAT! Acilia and I have a matching pair of gladiator sandals. I get great joy out of clothes and looking put together :)

mommy/daughter matching shoes
Well, Acilia goes to school where uniforms are declared. It's a "loose" policy; she can wear any solid color collared shirt and any solid color pants as long as they are not jeans. Then we have "casual" days where we can choose anything to wear within the limits of a few rules to keep the clothing appropriate. Back to shoes, when we have casual dress days, I use that as my guideline to have the shoes less practical and more stylin' :)
Well; my stylin' choice was not appreciated by her teacher yesterday. She mentioned to Acilia that the shoes she had on were not allowed to be worn at school. Acilia came out with a glum face not very happy with me that *I* had been the one to get her into trouble. Oops! I had some explaining to do to make things right with Acilia and I believe I should pull out the dress code guidelines so my darling daughter is not the rule breaker in class.
looks like we will be wearing "practical" more often :/

Friday, May 20, 2011

Credit where it's due

Let me begin this post by stating; I am not writing this to pat myself on the back. I deep down; whole heartedly feel I had nothing to do with what took place today.  I merely opened myself up to allow God to use me as a tool...

Driving through Wheaton today I had a craving for a Graham's chocolate shake. I passed a man that was clearly homeless. His belongings in garbage bags. He had a jacket on unzipped with his bare chest revealed. It was 76 degrees today; so it was by no means cold enough to wear a coat. He had on ripped jeans that he was holding up with one hand. I immediately lost my desire for a leisurely visit to Graham's. Instead my heart was screaming to help this man. Clear as day I had a conversation inside my mind that went "how do I help this man?" "Simple, he needs a shirt!" I started on a mission to find him a shirt and belt. Downtown Wheaton has many shops and I had about 15 minutes before having to pick Acilia up from school. Stopped in one store, they had no shirts. Stopped in a resale shop and scored a Ralph Lauren shirt for $4! I was disappointed there were no belts; only suspenders. (I passed on those!). I took the shirt up to the register paid my $4 and headed out; I was praying the man would be in the same place I had seen him about 10 minutes before; but he was near a bus stop so I really thought there was a chance he would be gone. My adrenaline fluttered when I saw he was still there. I pulled into the 7-11 nearby, grabbed the shirt, got out and walked up to him. I found myself asking God "Am I am really doing this?" "Yes, Karrie you are." "Ok then, guess I'm doing this!" I said to the man "excuse me sir? excuse me" then I handed him the shirt and said "here you go" and walked away. That was it. Mission complete. Times like these I've come to reflect how awkward it seems to someone that just doesn't understand. To me, it's not about understanding, it's about listening to my heart and allowing God to give His messages. Some things make more sense than others, some things are just common decency. Other things leave me wondering how and why I got involved. Overall, I can walk away from the situation comforted knowing I have done what God has called me to do. No need for an explanation, just excitement that I am his tool!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lifelong dream

I had always wanted a daughter. I envisioned a little "mini me" who would love to shop as much as I did, and share all of her heart with me. God blessed me with Acilia. My first born; turning 8 next month. Her intense love for horses has allowed me to share passion for them with her, because I have always loved horses!
Acilia is surely my "mini me"
case in point

and though she doesn't care at all about shopping (which actually works in my favor! She will wear anything I buy her!!); she's a pretty cool kid that makes me so happy to be her mom!
I did something today; something I've been talking about doing with her since she was 4...we are booked for 7 nights for mom and daughter time at a DUDE RANCH to celebrate being the big beautiful girl she is becoming! I was on the phone making my reservation and getting so very excited about such a fabulous mom/daughter trip that we will surely remember for a lifetime! Ahhhh, yessss, all horses for a whole week! I can smell it now!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stand; don't sit

I am a big fan of exercise built into the day, I am not one to carve out time to exercise and the few times I have attempted to change that, it lasts a few weeks then it falls by the wayside. That's why I find simple, effective ideas that are built right into my day to be far more substantial! I read an article this morning and a few things mentioned were enough to motivate me to share my thoughts on the subject.
Want the read the article? Here it is: 8 tips Your Welcome...

I have some "bulge" around the middle and it seems to be growing by the day. The last few days especially I've been finding it incredibly exhausting to do something that normally happens naturally; suck in the gut!! I keep thinking to myself; something changed. Get on the scale, haven't gained weight, but something is different. Well; I am mortified to admit I have been indulging in Einstein's new pretzel bagels about 4-5 days a week. (GASP!) When I read in the 8 tips that "Bagels aren't for thin people" I had an epiphany. You can bet I will be noting that as my mantra in the coming weeks as I work to come off my nasty new bagel habit! I can't believe I just wrote that out for everyone to read, but guess what; accountability is the first step!

Something I have taken part in for years is the "stairs instead of escalator" mindset. I park in the farther spots when I go out; I take the stairs; I do squats while I brush my's an easy calorie burner! I once read something on a poster in the gym that said "Your body doesn't know how you are moving; it just knows you are moving" that rings true for me and goes along with my build it into the day mindset. A few extra steps, standing up straight, random squat sets; they all help! They all add up. My problem though is so do the little extra hershey kisses I sneak in throughout the day. Works both ways my friends!

Another few points that I enjoyed in the 8 tips article is to stand instead of sit. You can believe I pushed my chair aside and am standing as I type this. It's hard to stand still though so there are calf steps and arabesques as I am standing here. Along with the random squat or jump! :) I'm a sight to see right now; but I bet I've burned a good 50 calories and stretched my muscles in a way they appreciate!

Speaking of stretching. Big fan of that too! My favorite is neck rolls. It feels so good and I can feel the stretch all the way down my back.

I've got to admit there is so much joy in a good walk or bike ride with my kids, so I can't say that I rely 100% on the above listed methods, but a healthy balance is ideal.

8 tips goes on to list bloat reducing foods; asparagus, lemon, cucumber among those listed. And green tea is a must! (Will need to add that to my daily drinks, maybe it can eventually replace my daily diet coke fix!)

Green tea with a side of  "stand; don't sit" anyone?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

This mom here asked for no gifts. The gift of Mother's Day for me is to see any sort of appreciation for the work I do throughout the day, 365 days of the year. I have no time clock to punch in and out; so my days can sometimes be long and demanding. I don't want that to be confused with "ALWAYS" long and demanding...infact my job as M-O-M is rather delightful. I get to snuggle two of what I think are the cutest kids on Earth whenever I see fit; because I am their mom :) I have two children who smile when they see me; that just melts my heart. So though it can be tough sometimes, it's also amazing most of the time! The last 6 years celebrating Mother's Day have always been less than stellar. I have been offended more times than not on Mother's Day when I had to change poop diapers or explain to my husband why "even though I am not his mother; he still should celebrate that I am the mother of his children!"...this year was different. This year I felt appreciated. Hubby brought breakfast in bed. Hubby kept the kids while I went for a nice walk with my mom. Hubby took care of dinner. Hubby planted my flowers for me. Hubby gave me a nice backrub. Oh! And hubby unloaded the dishwasher!! :) Not one of those things was a "gift" that cost money, yet all of them made me feel like the most special lady in the world! :)

Yesterday was a great day for me; I hope you had great things happen for you too!

Happy Monday-Green


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Clean Water

America has many luxuries. Would you ever consider clean water one of them? Do you know how blessed we are to be able to have water on in our homes at the turn of a knob? To have flushing toilets that waste gallons and gallons of water throughout the day and night without giving it a thought? Machines with clean water to wash our clothes?
Some people do not have this luxury. Some people are dying because of it.

I was given the privilege of photographing a concept to show what some people are drinking and how unacceptable it is! I am thrilled to share with you some of the photos...

I ask please that if you look through this post, that you take the time to look at the website:
Give Clean Water Now and ask yourself "what can I do to help?"

The mayor of Wheaton came out in his suit; would you be appalled to see the mayor of your town gathering his water this way?

Would you want your daughter drinking from a muddy puddle?

Or your son to drink water that looks like this?

Would you want this to be your faucet?

What can you do?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Monday- Flowers

This is my all time favorite pic I've captured of flowers!!

Old home Joys

Old homes are great.
Old homes are unique.
Old homes have nooks and crannies you'd never expect to meet!
Old homes have charm
Old homes are worn
Old homes often times are not the norm.
Old homes need work
Old homes they creak.
Old homes the paint chips,
Old homes are anything but weak!
Old homes are built with utmost care
built to last, even with wear and tear!
The owners of old homes work hard to keep them up
Old homes are work
Old homes have cracks
Old homes have patches in the plaster.
Some old homes are a sheer disaster.
Old homes beg for a little TLC
Old homes make you wonder; what's the story?

Old homes are always one of a kind
The woodwork hand stained, not of the manufactured kind
The materials look as though they have been gathered by hand
Limestone, stucco, wood, brick
Each placed piece by piece; preserving the land.

Old homes are special.
Old homes are comfort
Old homes bring forth a sense of history
Some stories left to be a mystery.
Written in honor of our old home

We live in an old home. When we bought this house 6 years ago, we decided it needed some work. We walked into a renovation that would take 15 months to complete. And an "old home" that was now modernized with updated electric and plumbing. Vaulted ceilings and crown molding! I had always wanted to live in an old home "they are so charming". I am not sure I will want to live in an old home again, however the experience hasn't been bad by any means. It's just "interesting". Have you ever tried to put a nail into a plaster wall? Well, you will find that nails and plaster don't mix. I am pretty sure I've never met a plaster wall that hasn't defeated me. Have you ever had a floor that if you sit on a chair with wheels, you end up in a different spot than when you sat down. Yes, gravity and wheels, don't mix! Have you ever been able to put magnets on your kitchen ceiling? The ceiling is OH SO COOL but it's tin. They don't make tin ceilings nowadays. So you won't find that in every home you go to!
Have you ever seen a "dome" in a basement and wondered the heck IS that?? I wondered the same when we toured this house and I discovered the fact I was sort of "creeped" to ask what it was, because it looked a LOT more scary than something that collects storm water! Drafts in old homes are unbelievable!! You could be sitting in your kitchen next to a door that's closed yet still feel as though you are outside! There are creaks and squeaks, you become accustomed to hearing them. There are things in the home that are original to the home, but you would pay thousands for if you request them in a new home. It's all part of the charm!
I am so grateful I have had the chance to live in an old home. It's the only way I could truly appreciate what an old home offers! And truly be ok with living in something a little newer! :)

I wood burned and stained this plaque for Al when he completed renovation on our home.
It hangs in our back entry way. To remind us how much work an old home is, but how rewarding it can be!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Love and Respect

Last night my husband spoke to me from his heart. His delivery of the message left me feeling hurt and unworthy, but this morning, I have a different perspective. We have not had much time at all together for the past few weeks, it's the "busy season" at work and with that comes demanding hours and a tired husband. I am left to keep the pieces of our family puzzle together and always reminded that I have a husband that has thoughts and wishes for this family too; he's just not here to voice his concerns. This puts me in a sort of mind reader position and I will admit here that I usually fail miserably in trying to do as my husband pleases, instead of what my natural instincts are. That is a huge battle in my heart. When Al came to me last night bitter and resenting the fact that he is feeling complete and utter disrespect from me, my heart dropped. I keep trying to please this man; yet he still feels I am going against his wishes regularly. It was hard not to get defensive, and I am pretty convinced my lack of compassion for his words came off as I didn't care. I was hurt and I didn't know what to say. If one thing I have learned over our time in this marriage is that words do hurt. I often times am left not knowing what to say, because I don't want to hurt the situation more than it already is. I've been accused many times of ignoring what my husband is saying just because I don't know what to say. I'm working on that.
I have a book called "Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs; it's been collecting dust next to my bed. I have a tendency to dig into my library of self help books as the need arises. The need arose this morning; the book is here next to me and I am reading with delight. I am always so pleased in how God responds to my needs with Earthly tools. I am here today with an engergized spirit of thankfulness that my husband came to me last night with his concerns. His method could use a little tweaking; yet his message this time was completely clear and it took time to sort through my hurt to realize how blessed I am to have a husband that so clearly cried out to me what his needs are and furthermore that it's a common enough need that there are books out there specifically for this desire of a man's. I feel God with me on this path to become a new and better wife.