Friday, August 23, 2013

Next Steps

I am not a crier by nature...although I've found myself to be "weepier" over the past few years of my life.  My BFF calls me a closet crier...she says she knows I cry...I just don't do it as openly and often as she does. ;)

Every morning I receive a devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries...they are quick reads and almost always very timely.  The one I received this morning was no exception. The title..."Where Your Tears Go".  The lady writing spoke of how she was a crier...and she wrote about crying as she dropped her daughter off at college.

I'll admit...I teared up.

Monday begins Dylan's last chapter in school.  Senior year is here.  It's been a struggle trying to wrap my mind around this.  How can it be that he has reached this year?  It's not been long enough...he's not old enough...it's not time yet.

Yet...the calendar does not lie.  Dylan has finished the prerequisite 12 years of schooling leading up to the Senior year...he's done well even.  He is seventeen years old...and it is indeed time for him to begin Senior year.

And...it's killing me.

I'm so excited for him...so proud of him.  He's done so well...I would say he's worked hard, but really...he's one of those kids who doesn't work hard, but still gets good grades (it's sickening).  I even had one of his teachers tell me that towards the end of last year - she mentioned hoping she would be able to challenge him in his next AP class with her...she seemed dubious about the prospect...

But, there is a part of me that is just not ready to let go.  I've spent a lot of time this summer by myself.  Dylan was in Florida for two weeks...spent another week at the beach fishing...and between all of his summer "activities"...he has spent very little time at home.  And while I don't really mind him being gone...I don't worry that he's up to no good...there is a part of me that has already fast forwarded to August of 2014 and is not ready for the prospect of many weeks on my own.  I know there are some who have perfected this and enjoy the "on your own" life...but my whole world has been wrapped around this kid for the past 17 years...

So, I'm feeling a bit lost these days.

I know I should take each moment...live day to day...and I'm working really hard to do that...

But my mind can't help but look to the future and see the long stretch ahead of me.

Of course, I have no idea what God has planned for this next year...and I'm just clinging to the promise and the hope that He has a great plan for me. 

Right now, though, I'm just trying to work through the next steps...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Update on my "Be the Match"

In April, I received a call letting me know that I could potentially "Be the Match" for a person needing a bone marrow transplant (read more about that call here).

Last week I received an update from the National Marrow Donor Program telling me I WAS a suitable match; however the recipient is not ready for the transplant.  I have to say...I'm a little sad.  Because I know more than likely that the recipient isn't ready for the transplant because he's all better...unfortunately, I feel like he's probably worse.

And, yes...I know it's a "he".  After my phone call, I received a letter in the mail from Be the Match as kind of a "hard copy confirmation" of the phone call...or maybe it came in the event that my phone information wasn't correct.  At any rate, the recipient is a 50 year old male.

I won't know any more about the recipient...even if things turn around and he can do the transplant.  I believe I'll have the opportunity to meet the recipient after a year...if we are both agreeable.  But I can only imagine who this person is.

Someone's husband...

Someone's father...

Someone's friend...

Even though I don't know his name, his family, or his friends...he is a real person.  And I just have to continue to hope & pray that I'll have the opportunity to give this gift to him.  The gift of hope & life.

Dylan asked me if being a bone marrow donor was on my "bucket list"...it's not really, but I honestly hope that, if not for this recipient, I can be the match for someone else down the road. 

Mostly because if I were in their shoes, I would hope that someone would be found to be MY match.

I'm thankful for this opportunity.  I'm thankful that I've been able to inspire others to sign up.  I know there are people who are on the registry for years and years...and never get called.  I know how fortunate I am to be healthy enough to give this gift.

I would urge everyone to join the registry...the process is simple.  It's as easy as swabbing the inside of your cheek.  This gets you "in".  That's all you have to do to get registered.  If you are found to be a potential match...it's about 4-5 vials of blood.  If you are found to be THE match, there may be some pain involved, depending on whether they do bone marrow or stem cells...but it's a minor inconvenience for a day...maybe two.  People who need the transplants have been sick for a long time...I can't deny them this small sacrifice of my time and comfort. 

And again, I'd hope that someone would do the same for me.

To receive your testing kit so that you can join the registry...go to www.marrow.org.  Be the Match for someone who desperately needs it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Highlights from Last Weekend

Yeah...yeah...yeah...I know.  The weekend ended two days ago and we are half way through this work week.  I've had very good intentions of writing this post for the past two days...I even e-mailed the pix from my phone yesterday...but I didn't have time to write.  So here goes! :)

My weekend technically started Friday morning.  I decided to take the day off so that I could work in my yard...so I started my day at Lowe's...$90 later, I had everything I needed (plus some) for what I wanted to do in my yard.

Next stop was Wal-Mart...where I shopped for our church kids' movie night...


Looks like I'm getting ready to go on a junkfood eating binge! We did an ice cream bar (aka make your own sundaes)...these are just SOME of the toppings!

After delivering this to the church and heading home, Mom & Dad came over to help me transform a flower bed that had been a bed of monkey grass. If you don't know what that is, please don't attempt to find out. It is of the devil.

Half way through our planting day, my dad received a phone call from my sister saying she had fallen down her stairs and had done something to her ankle. They went to pick her up...brought her back to me...and we were off to the sprain/fracture clinic. Thankfully, it was just a sprain. Her unsympathetic husband sent me this video later of Ayden's recreation of her fall...

video

I did get the majority of my flowers planted and my beds are refreshed! :)



Later I headed to Movie Night with my Clubhouse kids...we have some Hispanic children who have started coming...they tried to get me to play the movie in Spanish...which made me laugh.

On Saturday, I got up way too early and headed to the church where we had an Operation Inasmuch morning. This is a morning where we go into our community to do different missions projects. Our project as a youth group was to hand out water to runners/bikers/walkers at a local lake park. It actually turned out to be fairly successful since they were having a 5K run/walk. We handed out almost 400 bottles of water!

After lunch, the youth went laser tagging...Dylan decided to hunker down in a puddle during one game...


I promise that's just mud/dirt/water...

Sunday was a regular Sunday...church...and then lunch with these two (plus their mom & my parents!)



Ayden wasn't all about having his picture made until he realized he could be silly with it. Those bottom two pix were "posed".

All in all, a good & busy weekend. Hopefully, this coming weekend (another 3-day weekend - WOO HOO!) will be a little calmer. :)

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, May 6, 2013

{Sick Days}

Today it is raining for the what seems like the 75th day in a row. 

I honestly am beginning to believe that my little section of NC has somehow been transplanted to Seattle...it's been rainy & cold for far too long.

I know we will all appreciate it in the summer when it's 100 degrees outside and we haven't seen rain for weeks...

But cold & rainy days do not make for a happy Jenn.

One of my Twitter friends posted today that she was watching Sesame Street with her sick child today...her children are younger than five...but it got me thinking...

I really miss sick days with my little one.

Sometimes they were timed perfectly...I needed a day to catch up on laundry or something like that and I would hope for a sick day...and voila - one would arrive!

Sometimes they were timed at the most inconvenient of times where I had to shift things and move things and make everything fit into place.

I remember one time I dropped Dylan off for school at normal time and the school called for me to pick him up around 9:30am.  I fumed all the way to school - the day was a half day...could he not make it 2-1/2 more hours???  Dylan was a well known sufferer of school-itis...I remember calling Ashley & telling her how aggravated I was with this "sick" kid...only to arrive at school to find out that he never made it back to his classroom. He had thrown up in the hall and then they found him in the bathroom.

Yeah...I felt like a heel.

That particular day, I had nothing to catch up on...I had nothing that I needed to do...and I remember putting him in my bed and sitting in a rocking chair, watching him sleep.

What I wouldn't give for another sick day.

Now, hear me say...I'm not wishing my kid to be sick.  Not at all.  We are on the home stretch of school for the year...he has AP testing this week...he needs to finish out the school year strong.

But, I wouldn't mind a day sitting on the couch with my little one snuggled up to me...half way between wake & sleep...needing nothing more than his mom to love on him & comfort him.

That's what I miss...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Be the Match

Several years ago (I think 2010) I filled out a simple application, swabbed my cheek, and returned everything to be registered with the National Marrow Doner registry. I don't even know what prompted me to do this...except that I have known at least three people who have received bone marrow transplants...and it literally gave them a second chance on life.  The procedure is simple - possibly a little painful - but really, what is my small amount of pain compared to that of a person suffering from cancer. 

Since I returned my sample, I have thought very little about this.  I received their e-mails...updated my contact information as necessary...but other than that, I didn't think anything else about it.

Until today...

When I received a phone call from the registry saying that I was a potential bone marrow match! 

You have no idea how excited this makes me!

There are still several steps that I have to go through before I'm selected as a best match - bloodwork, physical, etc., but just knowing that I'm being considered is mind boggling!

ME! I could be the person who gives someone else a second chance at a life - cancer-free! What an incredible honor!

I'll keep you updated on my progress.

To join the registry (which I very much support), you can click here.

:)

Friday, April 26, 2013

{Change}

There is a saying that goes something along these lines (because I can't remember the exact saying) - the only thing that is constant is that everything is continually changing.

There are those people out there that deal well with changes.  They almost enjoy the constant movement in their lives...new jobs, new cities, new children, new ways of doing stuff.  I would love to tell you that I'm one of those people, but I'm not.  Just recently we were discussing change with our Youth and I confessed to them that I do not do well with change...unless it's my idea...and even then, I tend to struggle with change.  My initial reaction is to say "NO!"...and then as I truly consider what the change is, the benefits...the positives of said change, usually I come around.  I have worked really hard to resist that initial knee jerk reaction and wait until I can get to the next phase to see if I can accept the change...but I'm not always successful.

Yet, every Spring, I deeply desire a change in my life.  I don't know if it's coming out of the dreariness of winter...or just seeing how the trees/flowers/bushes all come out and become new...but there is a part of me that wants something to change.  It's not a specific change that I seek...just anything to be different.

The constants in my life:

 - I've been a single mom for 16 (almost 17 years).

 - I've worked at the same place for 14 years.

 - I've gone to the same church for my entire life.

 - I've lived in the same small town for my entire life - even when I moved out of my parents' house, I only moved 2 minutes away...literally.

Over the next year or so, my life is going to change in a major way...because my 16 almost 17 year old son is going to graduate...and move on, as he should.  We were discussing colleges the other night - I desperately want him to stay in NC...he really would like to go to FL.  I told him that I wouldn't lie to him & tell him I didn't want him to stay in NC...because I really & truly do...but I also told him that ultimately, I wanted him to go to the best school with the best options and the best financial opportunities...and one that he would enjoy.  I think he understood...but the one thing that stuck out from our conversation was this - he said "I don't want to just go to a FL school to be near my family. I really want to experience a different culture...a different way of life."  In his mind, the way of life in FL is just enough different to give him a different taste in life...and I cannot fault him for feeling that way.

Change.

I don't know how God will orchestrate change in my life, but I'm trusting that He will change what needs to be changed...and leave the rest alone.  I'm praying about some specific things that I think He might be calling me towards...but we shall see.  Ultimately, it's up to Him...and I am trying to be patient and know that His plan is the best course.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

When Boredom Strikes

Or "stricks" as I began to type into the post title...

Just a little randomness today...

My work is staying caught up here lately...which means that I don't have as much to do...which means that I get bored and if I were OK with burning through my vacation time, I would just leave...but I'm not. Plus, I currently have no money...so my time off would consist of my sitting on my couch, watching my big TV and doing nothing...

I'm trying to find the problem here...

My last post (Falling Apart) referenced some goings-on that left me...well falling apart.  All is well & resolved I'm happy to say.

Also, in good news...Baby Oliver is home from the hospital! YAY! He is still using a feeding tube to supplement his feeds & for his medications...but he is home after being in the hospital for almost 2 months. His second surgery was exactly what was needed to make him better and get things moving in a positive direction. Yay God! :)

Currently, I'm reading a book by Mary Jane Clark (see my Goodreads widget over here -------->. I am becoming a big fan of hers! I love the way she writes a mystery, giving the perspective of many different people, some of which you think might be the killer...even giving the perspective of the killer while keeping his/her anonymity until the very end. This is the third book I've read of hers and the first two I honestly didn't know how "dunit" until the last chapter. This book is proving to be the same. They are light reads - not quite as suspenseful as some murder mysteries, but a good read.

I recently finished The Book Thief. Oh.my.word. Such a good book. It's about a girl growing up in Nazi Germany. It's very sad...but really, what should you expect from that time period? Nazi Germany was a sad time period.

Dylan is taking the SAT's in a couple of weeks...oh my...we are on the eve of Senior year. I honestly can't believe it. One year from now, we will be looking towards Graduation. It's just surreal. I don't feel like I'm old enough to have a high school senior. It's just not possible. College plans are still up in the air...he says Florida State or Central Florida University...I say High Point University. I want to keep him close to me...but we shall see where God lands him. :)

The boy has expensive taste though...not an in-state or "public" school among his selections. All I have to say is that he better be getting some scholarships!

I'm becoming increasingly disappointed in Hawaii 5-0. This, at one time, was one of my favorite shows. Dylan & I have watched it faithfully. My two big issues with this show...#1 - they don't play new episdodes in any regular fashion. There is at least one to two weeks between new episodes. I could understand this during the holiday / award show season...but we are past all that. It's time to get some momentum to the show! Which brings me to #2 - last week's new episode, while it was good, didn't really have anything to do with the story line. They revisited a story line from the beginning of the season...but this one didn't really have anything to do with what's been going on. It's time to beef things up CBS!!!

I have to go to the doctor tomorrow...for a regular check up. I am already dreading it. I was so excited to find a doctor's office that would go ahead and schedule an appointment a year in advance. On the positive, at least this means that I'm going and keeping things in check. On the negative, I hate going to the doctor and usually don't go until I'm on my deathbed. So...tomorrow should be fun.

Not.

OK - enough of my rambling...time for me to get back to work. :)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 8, 2013

{Falling Apart}

Sometimes you just have to "fall apart".

And this afternoon was the afternoon for me to do so.

For the most part, I was having a perfectly good Monday...for a Monday, you know.

And then around 3pm I received an e-mail that began a downward spiral that ended with me sitting on my couch, falling apart.

I am not a cryer...I don't like to cry. I don't like to show weakness to anyone. I think I'm an ugly cryer, also. I don't cry pretty...it's more like a scrunched up face with tears running down my cheeks. Nothing "pretty" about that. 

But sometimes it's a necessary part of the process.

I don't feel better...I won't even lie.

But I know that tomorrow is a new day, with new worries, with new celebrations.

And in the midst of me falling apart, almost minutes after I had checked Oliver's blog for updates on his progress...my sister sent me the sweetest picture of this baby...off his ventilator and smiling for the camera.

A new set of tears began.

For now, I'm doing what I tell our teens at church - I'm clinging to the promises that I have in God's word. It's amazing...just this morning I commented on Facebook about a recurring theme of "do not fear, for I will be with you". There were no less than three people who had posted one of the many times this is said in the Bible. Just recently I finished reading Deuteronomy & I'm in Joshua right now...over and over and over again Moses & Joshua repeat this command for the Israelites.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

"And the Lord said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you." Joshua 1:8

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

And this one from Isaiah:

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:1

OK God - I've got it.

I mean, I might mess up and forget again in less than 12 hours...but I've got it.

And I'd just like to say "Thanks"...

Because I know I don't have this on my own.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

{Hope}

Much has happened since my last actual post...we took a trip to Fort Caswell with our Youth...I got another tattoo...and Oliver was born.

Just so you know...Oliver is not mine, but he is my sister's nephew. And his being has been a significant part of my thoughts for the last several weeks.

Several months ago my sister sent me a text...I don't remember the exact words...but I do remember her telling me that they believed that her nephew to be born had a heart condition. I found out later that it was also determined that he has Down's Syndrome. He was to be born on March 19th at Chapel Hill where they were expecting to do immediate surgery to put a shunt into his heart to "fix" it.

Let it be noted that I think Oliver already has a mind of his own...

On Saturday, February 23 my sister called to tell me that her nephew had been born...not at Chapel Hill, but in Wilmington (where his family lives). Her sister-in-law had gone into labor late on Friday night and had him very quickly early in the morning on Saturday. Also, he was to have been born by C-Section because his older sister was delivered in that way...but he couldn't wait to be part of this world and he was delivered "the old fashioned way". It took the doctors a while to get him stable, but soon...he was OKish. 

For almost 4 weeks he was in the NICU at a hospital in Wilmington and they were hoping to put off his heart surgery until he was 6-9 months old. They even prepared to take him home...ironically on March 20th (the day after he was to have been born)...but his condition changed and he was airlifted to Chapel Hill, where he underwent open heart surgery on March 21st.

His recovery has been up and down since then...mostly down. It's been heartbreaking to hear from my sister and to read Oliver's dad's blog regarding his condition. The thing they most feared was that he would have to have a second surgery...which he did, yesterday.

Prior to that, Oliver's mother was given a gift...the opportunity to hold her sweet baby on Monday for the first time since his surgery on the 21st. As a mother, I can't imagine watching my child, day in & day out...knowing that he is hurting...and knowing that I can't cuddle him to me to try to soothe his pain. But for an hour on Monday, his mother had the opportunity to do just that...to hold him and love on him. My sister sent me the picture...the joy was evident on his mother's face.

The last news that I got from my sister was that Oliver was stable & that his stats after this surgery compared to the first surgery are much better. This is encouraging...and give us all what we need most in the midst of this...hope.

I have tried to understand how my heart has become so involved in this little life that is in no way related to me. I have cried and cried over him...prayed and begged God to be with him and his parents. I know that part of it is compassion...and I'm not an uncompassionate person. But at the same time, I'm also not the one to be found weeping over people so far removed from me.

I just know that God has burdened me to pray over this little life. I began to think about the prayers I have lifted up in the past...and I honestly am not sure I've ever prayed so consistently and so passionately for anything in my life.

Which may just be what God wants from me in all of this.

I have been humbled & amazed to see how God is answering prayers for Oliver. One of my specific prayers was that his parents be given some kind of hope...something to hold on to in the midst of his ever changing condition...something that they could believe in. I truly feel that God answered that prayer on Monday when his mother was allowed to hold him. For an hour on Monday, Oliver was not just a sick little baby...he was his mother's child. Just being able to hold him had to inject some hope that this was all going to be OK. I have also been encouraged by the news of his bettering condition.

And I know that this all must be God's loving touch on Oliver's little body.

I don't know what the next few days holds for this baby...but I'm praying & believing that this second surgery is what was needed to improve him...and to allow his parents to bring him home...to bring their little family back together.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

For your Wednesday Night Viewing Pleasure...



I have to admit that both of these pics (borrowed from each show's Facebook page) have been cracking me up.  As a fan of both shows, it's a hard pick...but since it's been almost a year since a new Psych has been on the air, I'll be tuning in to USA at 10pm...and letting the DVR catch Duck Dynasty (sorry Si!). Dylan & I even prepared by watching Santabarbaratown last night.

It's gonna be a good Wednesday night! :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{ Leo }

When Dylan was younger, he wanted nothing more than for us to have a dog.  He would ask...I would turn him down.  Finally, when he was about 7, my dad read an ad in the paper a lady had posted. She had three basset hounds that were free to good homes.  By the time we got to go look at them, she had one left...and when we left she had none. Rosie came home with us that day and was such a sweet, sweet dog. She ended up going blind...which meant that when we moved out of Mom & Dad's house, she couldn't go with us. Plus, we don't have a fenced yard...and she loved to be outside most of the day.

A few years ago, Mom & Dad noticed that Rosie was having trouble getting up & down the stairs going into the back door from the yard. Dad took her to the vet, only to find out that she was suffering from nerve damage in her hindquarters...and the vet could give her meds for the pain, but she would most likely go downhill very quickly and she would be in a great deal of pain. We made the heartbreaking decision to have Rosie put to sleep.

About a month later, someone messaged me on Facebook about another 2 basset hounds that were available for free...and so Mom & Dad have ended up with Cookie...another sweet, if not a little too people dependent, basset hound. She really is perfect for them...she's playful, loves the kiddos and has a sweet disposition.

After we moved out, Dylan begged me to get him a dog for our house. I told him "no" over and over again. This past summer, Dylan turned 16. I could've gotten him any number of things for his 16th birthday, but I wanted this to be a special gift...and so I decided this was the year Dylan would get a dog.

I began my search through Craigslist - Dylan had wanted a beagle for a long time. I found a few possibilities...but some were older dogs and some were rescues. I didn't want a dog for a few years that we would have to put to sleep or would pass on due to age...and, while I have the utmost respect for people who take in rescue dogs, I knew that I couldn't do that. I needed a dog that was not too old, I preferred one not too young, that would be playful and would play well with little ones.  On July 3rd (two days after Dylan's birthday), I saw an ad on Craigslist for a lemon beagle. I almost didn't click on it because there was no picture, but I was starting to get impatient to find a dog. The lady e-mailed me back very quickly and included a pic of a sweet brown & white dog. I arranged to meet her the next morning...and enter into our lives Leo.


Leo was just over a year old when we got him and he couldn't be a more perfect dog for us. He's playful...but can be low key. Even though he's not too old, he still has some of the puppy...but he likes his sleep too. He's a snuggly dog. He sleeps with Dylan almost every night...and when Dylan's not there, he sleeps with me. He loves Aly & Ayden and they love him back. He's such a sweet heart. And as you can see...he & Dylan are good friends!


So, we are now a  dog family...and I couldn't be happier with our friend. :)




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Starting Over


"Starting over" seems a bit dramatic...but since it's been SEVERAL months since I've posted here, it's very much like a new beginning.  I've missed blogging...I've just not really had the time to put forth here.

Yesterday afternoon, when I was trying to kill some time, I decided I need to do some "clean up" on my reading list. 

You know what I found? 

I'm not the only one who stopped blogging.

I haven't finished cleaning up my reading list (mostly because blogger makes it kind of painful...so if there's an easier way to quickly reduce my reading list, please share!) but I plan to simplify.  I may link up to a few meme's here and there, but for the most part...this is going to be for me.

So, here goes.  We'll see how things go...if I find the time to put a little bit of myself here.  We shall see.