Saturday, May 29, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Hope you have a wonderful day, Princess! We look forward to spending time around the table with you and the birthday desserts (and presents) after church this evening.
Captain Zoom promises to be here, too. :)
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Of course, you might be 29 (no "might be" about it! I was there: you're 29) but you still look like you're 16 years old. Except that pregnancy part, that is. But you wear it well. :)
Anyway, all joking aside, I wish you a very happy birthday. And I'm looking forward to sharing dessert later. (It's your birthday but we'll all celebrate. Thank you!)
Saturday, May 15, 2010
But even then I had to make some major decisions about just how far I would go with treating the disorder. After much prayer, Pastor Dad and I drew a line in the sand and stayed behind it. I can't say that I'm "happy" with our decision, because there is nothing about this awful disease that falls under the heading of HAPPINESS, but it was the right one. And we've soldiered on for 20+ years now without the dreadful side-effects that some meds would've caused over the long haul.
That was the only health-issue I had experienced until a few years ago when my doctor said that my blood pressure had been steadily creeping upward for a few years. It was still in the pre-hypertensive stage and he didn't want it to go higher but he didn't want to put me on medications until he absolutely had to do so. He talked to me in a pretty straight fashion. He was surprised to find that I am not in love with the salt shaker like many who suffer from hypertension. It is hard to cut out something that isn't being used much. So with his encouragement, I began to research and to make lifestyle changes.
For one thing, I determined to drop a few pounds but without going on a diet. I decided to make changes that I could live with for the rest of the life that God grants me. I put the scale away and never got on it again. Here is what I did to gradually change how I eat:
- I began eating lots of fruits and vegetables. I found "The Rainbow Plan" in the July 2001 "Prevention Magazine." I now eat a colorful assortment every day.
- I eat dessert every day. It just so happens that it is a Hershey bar. NOT a whole bar, mind you, but part of one. Or I drink hot chocolate made the old-fashioned way with cocoa powder and just enough sugar to make it taste sweet but not syrupy sweet like the prepackaged kind.
- I stopped using artificial sweeteners. I use only pure cane sugar and honey or nothing at all. After I got used to the sweetness of fruit I found that I didn't have the sweet tooth I used to have. I even managed to drop the sugar from my several-cups-of-coffee-each-day (but don't try to get me to drink it without cream!).
- I changed the way I eat protein. By that I mean that I added lots of nuts and seeds to my diet. They have more fat in them but it's a better fat than in meat. We also eat more peanut butter, tuna salad, or egg salad for lunches and very little lunch meat or hotdogs. We still eat meat each day, but I've noticed that I don't eat as much of it because vegetables fill me. We eat more fish, chicken, and eggs. We still eat red meat, but not as much as we did.
- We eat mostly bulky bread. I still buy white bread but I consider it dessert, not part of a meal. Real bread doesn't require several slices to fill me up and it has more fiber and nutrients.
For another, I decided not to exercise. I hate exercise! But I decided to add other things to my life that I enjoy:
- I now get more movement in my day by doing real work and play as opposed to fake routines. It is a whole lot more fun to swing a 20 lb. baby than it is to lift a 20 lb. weight in repetitive motion! Just my opinion, but I'm telling you what works for me.
- We got rid of the satellite t.v. and I limited my computer time so that I wouldn't be so sedentary. Pastor Dad bought me an iPod so that I can listen to books while I do other things like yardwork instead of sitting on the couch reading.
- We took up biking, but for the peace and quiet and chance to be together and not for the exercise. We are NOT the fast-paced, racing type of people. We're more the "let's get out in the sunshine and notice the scenery" kind of bikers. Consequently, we enjoy ourselves AND get a bit of exercise to boot, even if it isn't the optimal heartrate kind.
And finally I read a book. Specifically, this book:
It took me a lot longer than 8 weeks to get my blood pressure under control, but at least I had a guide. For one thing, I found out that I was right when I said salt was not the culprit in my situation. I got too little of other needed electolytes and that was causing my levels to be out of balance. I read what trace elements I need and in what amounts. I then checked with my doctor to make sure the products and dosages I wanted to use were safe. Once I got his okay, I began adding things one at a time with a couple of months between additions until I found the right combination. One of the vitamins requires me to have regular blood tests, but as much as I hate blood work I think I'd hate buying prescriptions more. And I'd probably still have the blood work! As my doctor explained, it is all a matter of experimenting with the right drugs and dosages to find what works anyway so why not try it with vitamins and minerals first?
My parents bought me a b/p kit so that I can keep track of my numbers at home. It was checked against my doctor's reading for accuracy. Since I know my numbers now I also know that they have been steadily dropping for the last several months to the point where I am no longer pre-hypertensive. My doctor is pleased and so am I.
There have been several other plusses, too:
- My weight has dropped 15 pounds in the last 2 years. Since I don't weigh myself I found this out through my annual gynecological exams. These are done by a different doctor than my primary care physician who has been helping me with the b/p experiment so really two doctors are happy. 15 pounds lost over 2 years doesn't sound like much, but at least now my weight is heading in the right direction and I don't feel like I have deprived myself of anything in order to make it happen.
- I sleep better. I have this theory that not sleeping well caused my b/p to rise and my b/p rising caused me to not sleep well.
- I seem to have more time and more energy
- I seem to have less stress and less depression.
I won't list the vitamin regiment that I'm taking because that isn't the point. What I'm trying to say - in my less than eloquent way - is that health is a priceless gift from God and as such, we should try to find real solutions to our problems and not quick-fixes. We'll all probably reach the point where we're going to need that doctor's prescription pad but delaying that day as long as possible is worth the effort of doing some research and experimentation with healthy alternatives.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I pick up the greeting cards and re-read them. They say so much, but they mean so much more. I do not feel guilty for reading between the lines because I know the hearts of my children. I know more than most how symbiotic the relationship is. They need me. And I REALLY need them! They need others, too, but I am thankful to be counted. Those needs are stated - or implied - in the cards and gifts. Sometimes the chains we've forged bind and gag us, but more often than not they are the moorings that hold each of us fast in times of rough weather. I am sorry for those who have not forged such bonds!
I think about the gifts that I received yesterday, some tangible and some intangible, and I breathe a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord who has blessed me with so much more than I could ever deserve:
- I think about what an honor it is that my parents and parents-in-law spent the day with us. What a blessing that my 4 children and 4 grandchildren have their "grands" and "greats" to share their lives! Is this something we take for granted? Probably. And probably shouldn't. But like so many who are blessed we don't always think how unusual our situation is. What a blessing to have 4 generations in the house yesterday!
- I think about my husband who hosts and plans the day to honor his mother, my mother, our daughters who are now mothers, and me. No long restaurant lines for us! And I dare say that not many mothers could boast of the type of great steak dinners that we enjoyed.
- I think about my older granddaughters shopping for the perfect planter. Just knowing that they searched until they found a hanging basket with flowers that were just the right color (purple) is so endearing. Yes, handfuls of dandelions would be just as appreciated but there is something precious about little ones knowing another's preference.
- I think about the younger set of grandchildren jealously climbing up on my lap and smiling with delight when they realize that there is room for both of them on my lap and in my heart. What better way to learn that another child doesn't mean that love is divided but instead is multiplied in manifold number!
- I think of my sons-in-law and give thanks for them. I'm not their mother, nor do I try to replace their own mother in their heart, but I am privileged to be a second mother to them. I thank God for this and I pray for my additional children daily. I miss the one who is absent but I am thankful he is safe and that we will see him again soon. It has been too long.
- I think about the love my daughters have for their own mother-in-law and I am thankful for it. I'm not jealous over those relationships but I am relieved. It gives me hope that someday I'll be blessed with a daughter-in-law of my own who will allow me to love her and will love me in return.
- I think about the relationship my children have with each other and shake my head. Where did these people come from?! I know how they came to be biologically, but how did they get to be the people they are today? The same folks that I thought would kill each other in childhood now tend to serve as their own police force and cheerleading squad. They patrol each other's behavior and encourage each other in ways I never could. Such is their own symbiotic relationship! Being an only child, I can only wonder at this. I watch their interaction and I miss the child who is absent. I'm thankful she will be here soon as I hear the other children talk about the arrangements they will make to their own schedules just so they can spend as much time with her and her spouse as they can.
- I think about my own children and I cry tears of joy. People have always asked me what I wanted my children to be when they grew up. No one ever believed me when I said I didn't care. These are probably the same people who didn't believe me when I said I didn't care about the gender of each child when it looked like we would be blessed with all girls but it was true. And such is the same with what they became when they grew up with one exception. And it is a major exception. All I ever want my children to be are servants of the Living God. That's it. My childrearing verse through the years has always been 3 John verse 4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."
And that, my friends, is the greatest gift that any of them can ever give me. I am so blessed!
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
These were the candles that were on The Bear's birthday cake this year. They were brand-spanking new, freshly bought and everything. Nothing reused this time, but only because I wasn't sure if I had a "1" and a "5" that were usable and I didn't have time to run back to the store if I didn't - and only for that reason - not because it was my favorite child's birthday or anything like my hacked Facebook status claimed. (Thanks alot, Bear.)
Monday, May 3, 2010
For instance, most likely you have heard about the terrible flooding hitting Tennessee this weekend but I can hardly believe that . . .
- Pastor Dad and I drove those same interstates a mere 24 hours prior to the time they were closed! If we had taken our time (as we at first thought about doing) and not pressed onward with a mega-marathon drive on Thursday between mid-TX and Memphis, TN we most likely would have been stranded on I-40 between Memphis and Nashville on Saturday like some of our friends have been. We made it home Friday evening after driving 11 hours on Thursday and 8 hours on Friday. (Photos of the devastation in the area where we had driven only hours before.)
- Friday morning when we got ready to leave Memphis we began having car trouble and thought we might need to make other arrangements to get ourselves home! Prayer and Pastor Dad's assessment of the situation allowed us to make a temporary engine fix that made it possible to get home without leaving ours there and renting another one. Our car still needs repairing, but at least that will take place here and not there.
- I am overly drawn to Facebook and Twitter this weekend. I have lots and lots and lots of friends and loved ones living in Middle Tennessee and I want reassurance that they are all safe.
- Karen and Lulu were born in Cincinnati but raised in Middle Tennessee and that Princess and The Bear were born in Middle Tennessee but raised in Cincinnati. We do humorous things sometimes ourselves but in this case we feel it was God who showed a sense of humor!
- the area where we lived for 14 years that suffered from severe drought several of those years now has more water than it can handle. I wonder if our prior residence is high and dry! And is the mall that was built on the 100-year flood plain now flooded?
- The Bear (my baby boy!) is 15 years old today! The years have flown by much too quickly. I comfort myself with the knowledge that he may not always be my little boy but he'll always be my son. For that, I am abundantly grateful and feel abundantly blessed!
So, in conclusion, to my loved ones in Tennessee: I'm praying for your safety and your recovery from this unexpected storm.
And to my son: I love you very much and pray you have a very Happy Birthday!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
My picture will probably never be next to the entry for "Normal" in the dictionary, but I was near Normal several years when driving to visit friends in Peoria, IL. (Go get an atlas and look it up.) Anyway, that's about as close as I got to Normal. And I was nowhere near it on this past trip.
What I mean to say is that now
- There is a McDonald's nearby.
- I'm sleeping in my own bed again.
- I'm not living out of a suitcase anymore.
- I'm back in the Eastern Time Zone.
- I'm not going to be a visitor in the church I attend tomorrow.
- And the refrigerator is empty or nearly empty because it is mine and not someone else's.
Yes, it's great to be home.
Now I'm off to switch around the laundry and make a grocery list. I've got much to do today!