Monday, September 24, 2012


Have you ever noticed how bad things seem to snowball? When one bad thing happens, it seems like they just keep happening... and they get bigger and bigger! I guess that's the reason behind the origin of the saying, "When it rains it pours." But do you ever think about how good things seem to snowball, too? We seem to focus too often on life's struggles that we forget to get excited about the joys. Say you wake up late in the morning, and on your way out the door you spill your coffee all over you. What's going to happen with the rest of your day? Chances are you will have a flat tire on the way to work, you'll realize at lunch you have no money on you, your boss will decide to take you off a project you've been so excited about being a part of, then you'll get home to fix dinner and notice the food you were going to use has gone bad. It's one thing after another. Or if somebody says something bad to you that puts you in a down mood, bad things just keep happening. What about when someone starts your day off with something good, though?

In Bible study today we were talking about how people can get you down, and the problems just seem to build. It reminded me of several times in my life when the opposite has happened. Sometimes all it takes is that one person doing something nice to turn my whole day and whole attitude around. When I lived in Miami, Florida, and I was a server at Chili's I can remember this one day I had that was horrible. My manager was on my case non-stop. I got flustered and ended up messing up orders. Then one order came along and I completely forgot to enter it into the computer. By the time I realized my mistake the guys at that table were very frustrated. I went to them anyways and explained how it was all my fault. I told them I completely forgot to enter it, and for that I was so sorry. I expected them to be horrible about it. Instead, though, they thanked me for my honesty. They told me they seldom run into honest people in south Florida who will actually take the blame when they do something wrong. They were so appreciative that I did not try to push it off on someone else that when they left I noticed I received the biggest tip I had ever gotten. Talk about changing my attitude! That made my night!

The funny thing is that this unintentionally was paid forward about a year later. I was living in Pensacola, Florida. My brother was working on a movie in New Orleans, and he came over to see me on his day off. We decided to go eat at Red Lobster. Our server was horrible! She was rude, mean, and just an all around terrible, terrible server. When we got ready to leave we were going to split the bill. Instead I told my brother I would get the tip if he got the bill. I left a tip the same size as the bill. He asked me why I did what I did after she was so horrible to us. I told him that people don't just act that way. There had to be a reason for her attitude, and my guess was that something was going really bad in her life. I wanted to do what I could to help make it a little better.

I was thinking about that today. I would venture to bet that the actions of those guys to me when I was having such a bad day are what subconsciously convinced me to do what I did for that girl at Red Lobster. It's amazing how we never know what the actions of a stranger will lead to. With that in mind, we never know what incredible things our actions to a stranger could lead to.

Try doing something good for somebody you don't know. Better yet, try doing something nice to someone who is mean to you. You may not see the positive results, but they just might happen. Regardless of their reaction, though, you can feel good knowing that you took the higher road.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ice Cream for Dinner

I cook for my boys all the time. If I don't cook, they either don't eat or they'll eat something really bad... like ice cream for dinner. So I feel like it is my obligation to cook every night. In fact, I usually cook at least two meals a day, sometimes three. This weekend, though, I still wasn't feeling completely up to par, yet I still cooked dinner on Friday and Saturday. Today, Sunday, is suppose to be a day of rest... right? I figured I better abide by that. :-) So we had leftovers for lunch, and I let them do for themselves for dinner. The dinner of choice tonight was... drumroll, please... Spaghetti O's! You have to understand me to know how hard this is for me. I am the anti-processed foods person. To me they aren't foods... they are food-like substances. But I let it all go tonight and happily served it to them. Ok... so I did still fix it. But I didn't spend an hour or two cooking like I do most nights. I was so tired that I didn't even care. Whew! That's hard for an OCD girl! I feel like I made a huge accomplishment.

We worked with Connor tonight on his math. We have no idea how long this worksheet had been in his folder since we only see him every other weekend. But he struggled so bad on it that the teacher sent it home to be redone and have a parent's signature. He's so smart, but when he doesn't understand something he just gives up. When he's at our house we always make sure to review every class with him, see if there's anything he's not getting, and if there is then we work with him on it until he gets it. By the end of the study session tonight he was whizzing through those math problems. It's all about spending a few minutes with the kid every day. If he had that, he would make all A's. We would give anything to have him more often so his grades would come up and he would start enjoying school a little more. We will just continue to pray about the situation, though, and do the best we can do.

Sunday Night Football is on, and I have a running back (from my fantasy team) that's playing. I'm playing my brother this week, and it's looking like I'm gonna beat him. I have to hop off here and cheer on Frank Gore!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spin City

My world is still spinning. I was hoping I'd wake up this morning and feel better, but the dizzy spells have continued through today, too. They have been off and on rather than continuous today, though, so it is an improvement. I have to admit, it makes you a little nervous when you are suppose to be taking care of someone else and your body isn't cooperating. Luckily my husband had a good day today. I don't know what I would have done if he was having a rough day. It's possible to push through many illnesses, but it's pretty difficult to push through dizzy spells.

We did have a wonderful surprise at the front door earlier. Our 2 year old nephew who lives down the street rode his tricycle up to our house (with his daddy walking right beside him, of course). I have to share the picture of him wearing his helmet on his tricycle.

Is he not the cutest thing ever??? :-)

This morning while I was resting on the couch baby Brantley decided to do a little kung fu fighting in my belly. My brother and sister-in-law in California aren't around to be able to feel him kick, so I had to take a video to send to them. If you watch at about 7-8 seconds in you will see him kick on the right side of my belly, then he does a double kick about 15 seconds later, and then another one happens at about 35-40 seconds into the video. I don't think that sight could ever get old!

(My belly doesn't have spots all over it. It only has a couple of freckles. I don't know why it looks like that in the video.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When the shoe is on the other foot...

My husband and I have been experiencing a role reversal today. We were both suppose to work picture day at my stepson's school. Tim found out a few days ago that his mom was having a procedure done today and needed him to drive her to the hospital. So we found someone to take his place at the school, but I still planned to be there all day. At 7:35 AM today I was spraying my hair, the last thing I had to do before walking out the door to go to the school. Tim was already in Little Rock with his mom. All of a sudden I had a hot flash, started sweating, but also got extremely dizzy, light-headed, and felt like I would pass out at the same time. I sat in the bathroom floor hoping it would pass. It eased enough to move, so I made my way to the kitchen to get some food thinking my blood sugar might be low. As I was getting something to eat I realized I was going to be sick, so I made my way to the bathroom. Finally I went back to the kitchen, ate, sat for a bit, and still felt horrible. I contacted my sister who is a CRNA (but might as well be a doctor because she is so knowledgable) and asked her what I should do. She suggested I hydrate well, prop my feet, and do not expect to leave the house anytime soon. I knew this meant I would have to tell my husband because he was expecting me to be at the school. I figured he would check our security cameras from his phone as we often do when we're away, and he would see me sitting here. Then he would be upset that I didn't tell him. So I texted him to let him know that I was just having a minor pregnancy spell, I was ok, and I would let him know when I made it to the school. He immediately called. I explained to him what was going on, and he got so upset that he was away and could not be here for me. He felt helpless, and he was so worried. All he wanted to do was take care of me and make me feel better. He sent me a text a bit later and said, "We are both seeing how it is to be on the other side, aren't we?" Usually he's the one at home having a rough day physically, and I'm the one stuck somewhere doing something and can't seem to get home to him quickly enough. He also mentioned how long he was going to have to wait in the waiting room for his mom to finish. He said he didn't remember it taking that long when he had that procedure. I told him it always seems longer when you're the one in the waiting room. He said, "You're always having to wait in the waiting room for me and you never complain. I never realized what a big deal that is. You're the best wife ever! Thank you!"

I don't think about the things I do for him the majority of the time. Yes, my life is FAR different than I ever imagined it would be. I expected to live the happy little life where my husband and I would both get up and go to work, then come home in the evenings, I'd cook dinner, we'd eat and then enjoy the rest of the night together before going to bed. I figured we'd go on adventures together, hike, jog, rock climb, and do all kinds of other cool things together. Instead, I wake up at 5am to make sure he takes his meds. When he wakes up a little later in a lot of pain, I do what I can to ease it. I fix his breakfast and take it to him (although he ALWAYS returns the favor when he wakes up having a low-pain day). I spend my day caring for him. Seldom does he leave the house without me because of his dizzy spells. If he needs to go somewhere I typically drop what I'm doing and go with him so he won't take a chance of driving alone. Yet, when you truly love someone the way I love him you look at it as a privelege. I feel priveleged that I get to be that person who cares for him. I feel priveleged that I can be the one to make his bad days a little better. I feel priveleged that I'm the one he leans on, turns to, confides in, and relies on. So, while I'm glad that he can experience my side for a day, I don't think he'll ever realize how little of a "hassle" it is for me and how much of a "privelege" it is.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Never am I at a loss for words when it comes to writing. But today I have been unable to think of what to say to honor 9/11. No words can do justice to the incredible impact this event had on our country. As most did, I knew at that instant that our lives as Americans would forever be changed. Last year when I had the opportunity to visit the 9/11 memorial with the Wounded Warrior Project, I could not hold back the tears or the chills. I couldn’t look at that space without replaying that day in my mind. As Americans we were no longer divided by political party. We were one. I have never been more proud to be an American than I was that day. The spirit and love by Americans was apparent at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania by police, fire, EMS, military, and civilians, at prayer vigils across the country, and at the long lines of people waiting to donate blood. To those who endured personal loss at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania that day, my heart is with you. To those who have endured personal loss since then as a result of the events that day, my heart is with you. And to all police, fire, rescue, EMS, and military who selflessly put your lives out there for us every single day, my heart is with you. We will NEVER forget!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Crazy Air Force

No, I'm not talking about the United States Air Force. I'm talking about the force planes experience in the air. Saturday my husband was having one of the best days he has had in a LONG time. It worked out perfectly because it was a beautiful day with a lot going on. We went to the air show at the Little Rock Air Force Base. It is awesome to watch the maneuvers those pilots can make with their aircraft. As they would zoom past us at 1000 mph, then quickly change directions and go straight up toward the sky, I could only imagine the amount of force they were experiencing in the cockpit. As the announcers explained the details of specific moves, I was blown away. Many of these moves had pilots experiencing 3 G's or 6 G's. In other words, it was 3 times the force of gravity or 6 times the force of gravity. Then it dawned on me... it was estimated that when my husband had his helicopter crash he hit the ground with a force of 15 G's! 15!!! That's five times greater than what pilots experience during many of these high speed, incredibly forceful moves! That's far greater than what any Blue Angels' pilot experiences. That's a HUGE amount of force! I know I've read that it is nearly impossible to survive anything greater than 12 G's. And my husband experience 15 on that day. It's only more proof to me that God had more plans for him. The fact that he can walk and experience many things in life is a miracle. He should not have survived that day, but for some reason he did. I vow to continue to spend my life helping him reach his full potential and live the life God gave him. The bonus life. :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tomatoes, Squash, Zucchini... Oh My!

There's nothing like fresh garden vegetables.... until those fresh garden vegetables show up at your door every week or two as gifts from a sweet neighbor. I really don't know where this sweet man lives. He's a painter for the man down the road, and he's been painting for over 50 years. My husband was visiting with the sweet older man down the road from us one day, and his painter asked if we would be interested in some veggies from his garden. Tim didn't turn him down, so a few days later we had tomatoes, squash, and zucchini on our doorstep.

Since then he has brought us another load of them plus fresh muscadine jelly. And today he showed up with zucchini, tomatoes, fresh bread and butter pickles, fresh pickled squash, and fresh pickled tomatoes. He told Tim he'd rather do that for someone like him than anybody else. It makes us feel bad, but it makes us feel good at the same time. What a treat to have someone so sweet who truly wants to share the fruits of their labor with you.

While I'm on the subject of heart-warming experiences with mankind, I must mention a sight we saw while driving home from my parents' the other day. A woman was stuck in the inside lane at a traffic light because her vehicle had stalled. There were two cars in the left turn lane next to her. A man ran across the road from a nearby gas station to help her. As soon as the two cars in the left turn lane saw that, they both immediately pulled their cars partly into her lane -- one in front of her car, and one behind -- to block her vehicle from passersby for safety as it was pushed out of the way. Then the drivers of each vehicle hopped out and helped push her vehicle to the shoulder. It was awesome to see. There was no hesitation from either driver. When they realized what was going on they both immediately sprung into action to help. Oh how I love the south!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cooking with Bacon

Everything is happening so quickly, but it's all good! We were unable to get the house we wanted, so we started looking hard for houses hard and fast. After looking at several and not really finding anything that was going to work for us, we decided we would give a neighborhood a chance that we had previously said we did not want to live in. We looked at several houses online in that neighborhood, but none tickled our fancy. We finally found one that looked like it might be worth seeing. After walking in we pretty much decided that was the one. We weren't in love with it, but it was the best we had found to that point. The yard is much smaller than we had wanted, but it is only about 4 houses down from my brother and sister-in-law (who is one of my best friends). The neighborhood will be great for my stepson and the new baby, and it was a good deal. We went for it and eventually got our offer accepted. Now everything is moving along quickly. We plan to close on both houses July 27th.

The baby is doing good. We go back on August 2nd for our big ultrasound. We are planning a gender reveal party on August 4th. Right now our plan is to have the nurse write down the gender and place it in an envelope, then we'll have a baker fix a cake that is pink on the inside if it's a girl and blue if it's a boy. We'll cut into it at the gender reveal party, so we'll find out the same time as everyone else. Now let's just see if we can hold out for that.

Tim is doing good! He still has his bad days, but overall he seems to be much better. I think a big part of that is because of the baby. His overall attitude is completely different now that we're pregnant. It was something we both wanted so bad for so long, and he was so afraid that his injuries would keep it from happening. I saw an instant change in him from the time we found out we were pregnant, and it's stayed that way ever since. He even seems to love me more (or at least show it more), be more confident in himself, feel good about our surroundings, take things in stride better, and be less stressed. All that makes such a difference in pain level. I'm a big believer that stress can make a world of difference in physical pain and abilities. It's definitely not that the stressors have gone away. I think he just sees them in a more positive light now. It's so awesome!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A (House) Hunting We Will Go....

It's amazing how quickly life passes by us. We are trying to get our house sold. My husband bought this house before we were married and, unfortunately, about three months before his crash. At the time he thought it was the perfect house for him. It's outdoorsy, rustic, in the woods, and really set for a man... a healthy man. There are stairs to get in, stairs to get out, stairs to go anywhere or do anything in or around the house. It's also on the side of a steep, rocky hill. Therefore, he's pretty much confined to the bedroom and living room when he's having anything but a good day. We need it gone, we need to be on flat ground, we need to not have so many stairs, and we need to be in town and closer to the schools. For all of these reasons we have been working our tails off to get it fixed up and ready to sell. (When I say we, I mean my parents and siblings just as much as us). A tremendous amount of effort has gone into it, but apparently it is paying off. He had it For Sale By Owner when I met him, and it had been that way for awhile. Eventually he listed it with an agent. She had it for about 10 months, and we finally got an offer (although we were going to lose $10,000). The day of closing the buyers backed out. We had another agent list it for about 3 months, but I don't believe it showed once. So after about 3 years on the market, we took it off to fix it up. I painted, built planters, landscaped, built a rock sidewalk and stairs, added curtains and feminine touches, and just all around tried to make it feel more like a home than just a house. Tim changed the carpeted stairs to hardwood, built some cabinets in the laundry room for extra storage, put drawers in the risers of the stairs for extra storage, repaired some parts of the deck, put a floor in an unfinished basement room so it can be used for storage, cut a hole and installed a new backdoor, and fixed many minor things around the house. Along with my family we laid sod, built a new patio out back, built new retaining walls, and did all the other things that physically Tim and I could not do alone. Last week we listed it back on the market, and we had 3 showings the first day. One of them resulted in a contingent offer. Another was planned to be an offer, but the buyers realized it wouldn't work after crunching numbers. And today we learned of another offer we have coming in. And this time we won't be losing any money!! The bad thing... the house we wanted and placed an offer on received another offer at the same time. Ours was contingent, the other wasn't. They rejected ours and accepted the other. Now we can't find any other houses we're interested in. So it looks like we may be displaced for awhile. That would be all well and good, and we could just live in our camper until we found something else but.....


After 2 1/2 years of trying, doctor's appointments, tests, treatments, meds, and many many many prayers, it finally happened!!! Right now we are 13 weeks/2 days pregnant. We are so stinking excited about the baby, but now we're starting to wonder where we're going to be living with our little bundle of joy.

Now that explains why I have not been blogging. I have been going from sun up to sun down (and this is during the season of long days), and I have been so exhausted between all of that and keeping up with school that the most other stuff I do on the internet is pretty much from my phone as we are traveling to and from Home Depot. But thank you, Robin, for encouraging me to get back on here. I have been writing letters to the baby most nights in a journal I bought for that reason. I plan to post them eventually when I get a chance to just sit down and type out everything. I really miss blogging, though, and want to get back in a steady routine of it. I have a little feeling my blogging will be sporadic, though, until we get settled in a new home. But even if it's sporadically... I'm back!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In the Face of Technology

Oh technology, you can be such a thorn in my side. Don't get me wrong. I love how I can find the answer to a question at the click of a button, see what my family is doing across the country, and video chat with my nephew a few hours away. But you have torn such a big hole in socializing. Yeah... we can facebook, twitter, pinterest, and blog our hearts away. Social networking sites are awesome, and they only keep getting better. Do I want to go without them? No way. When you live in the country with no neighbors, spend all day taking care of your husband at home, and don't get to be a part of many social events because your husband doesn't handle social situations very positively anymore, technology can be your best friend. But what about socializing with my husband? We sit on our separate computers at night. I sit on the chaise. He sits on the couch. We each have a laptop on our laps, searching away for what? Yes, I am going to school online. If it wasn't for you, technology, I wouldn't be able to get this degree. I spend much of that time doing schoolwork. But what about when I'm not? What about all the hours we spend not talking to each other because we're so engrossed in our own computer world? And then, as if that's not enough technology for us, we can seldom go in a restaurant without him taking his Motorola Xoom (an android version of the iPad). If he doesn't take that, he has his phone out the whole time. We don't go to restaurants often, so for me that is a great time to enjoy each other. We are together 24/7, but we are never really together. I feel like I am constantly working by either doing housework, taking care of him, or doing school, and when I am not doing that stuff I "hang out with my friends" on social networking sites. He has his own social networking sites that he literally spends about 8-10 hours each day on... although his are more like "Ford Truck Enthusiasts" and stuff like that. When our plans for this weekend got changed unexpectedly, we decided to head to the lake to get our boat dewinterized. We figured we would then take it out on the water and enjoy some peaceful time together before lake season hits and there are drunks everywhere. We stopped at this little cafe for breakfast, and the first thing he did when we sat down (even before looking at the menu) was take out his Xoom and start looking at Ford Truck Enthusiasts. I decided what I wanted, and then I sat there staring at the wall while he scrolled through his social networking site. After about 15 minutes he realized what he was doing. When he put it away, we didn't know how to have an actual conversation with each other. We don't "date" anymore. We don't know what that's all about. The last few "dates" we had were me making him a special dinner and we ate it at the table without the television on. As soon as we were finished, though, the tv was right back on. I bet it has been at least 8 or 10 months since we have gone out on a date. I long for dates... technology free dates.

And don't even get me started about enjoying the great outdoors. We have a pretty cool firepit because where we live it is a must. We can't sit around that firepit without him on his Xoom. Last weekend we were up in my hometown. We went to my brother and sister-in-law's house and sat around their firepit. My husband had his Xoom out the majority of the time. He hardly even noticed the fire. When we go visit my parents, that Xoom gets more use than it can handle. Talk about anti-social! And camping... oh camping.... we don't even know what real camping is these days. We sit in the air conditioned camper with our laptops and tablets, cook in the camper kitchen, and watch movies on the tv inside the camper. We might as well stay at home. Can't we just go do some real camping without the technology???

So, in closing to you, dear technology, thank you for everything you have made possible. But sometimes won't you please just get the heck out of my life, even if only for a couple of hours?

Desparate for a Real Date with my Real Love

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Yesterday was awesome! Tim woke up feeling good. I think when he has such a bad day, just feeling average the next day seems so good to him. He was in an awesome mood all day, he felt like doing things, and everything was incredible. In fact, he was more active than me all day, which is very unusual. I was a little concerned he was overdoing it and was going to cause himself to hurt bad today, but he didn't. He cut out a hole in our wall where we are going to put in a new door to a new patio. The hole was started by his fist one day a few months ago, so he just had to use some tools to make it bigger. ;-) We went to Home Depot to check out the doors. We figured we would buy one from Direct Buy to save money, but we wanted to price them at Home Depot to see what we needed to expect. They were all $250 or more for the type we needed. As we were about to walk off that aisle, though, something caught my eye. I went to look at it, and I was blown away. There was ONE solid wood door in the style we wanted that was originally $174. That price was good, but we knew we would have to do much more work to make it happen because we would have to frame it out ourselves, paint or stain it, attach hinges, etc. However, that one door was on sale for $43.50!!! We couldn't believe it! We snatched it up, along with the boards, hinges, and things we would need to put it in. For less than $100 we got all the materials needed. I LOVE me some bargain shopping!! When we got home Tim worked on it all evening. I was afraid he would hurt today, and he does, but it's not so bad that he couldn't do anything. This is so awesome! Very seldom does it happen that way. We both have been so excited and giddy today because of how he is feeling.

I keep getting more green all the time, and it's spilling over into cleaning products now. I was focused on all natural and organic eating, natural body care, and natural fabrics. I have started finding recipes for many natural things. I got a book that has everything from toothpaste to pet treats to laundry detergent recipes. Our deck is getting moss all over it, so we were going to buy some deck cleaner to get rid of it. We have a lot of deck. It goes all the way around our house, and it starts up by the road and comes all the way down to our house. It's faded to a gray color over the years, and now it's gray with green. I decided to try a homemade recipe for deck moss cleaner. I tested it on a small area, and it was incredible! Not only did it get rid of the green moss, it also got rid of the gray color. That small area of deck now has the original reddish brown color of the wood. The rain is pouring today, so I can't get out and clean it. But we are suppose to have sun tomorrow. If we do I will clean a big area of the deck and do before and after pics for you to see. I think you will be amazed!

Tonight we are working a variety show at the middle school. We'll be selling popcorn and cokes all night. It's a little bittersweet because my hometown high school Lady Rams basketball team is playing in the state finals tonight in Hot Springs. That's only an hour and a half from me. I want to go see them play in the state finals so bad, but I already made this commitment to the school. I love working at the school, but I would also love to see my old girls play in this game. Regardless of whether or not I get to watch them, though, I am SO proud! What an exciting time of their lives this is!

I got my schoolwork done for the day already, and now my husband has gone down to work on that door some more. I think he's painting. I probably ought to go see how I can help him. Woohoo for two good days in a row after such a bad one, though!!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Broken Heart

It's amazing how much more it can hurt to watch someone you love deal with pain than it is to deal with it yourself. My heart is so broken. We are getting an early spring, and I have always absolutely loved this time of year. When you have a husband who experiences extreme pain almost continually as the fronts of spring weather come through, though, it is not such a wonderful time of year. With this early spring means early increased pain. Today was beautiful. It was windy, but the temperatures were in the low to mid 70's. We had planned to get out and work in the yard to enjoy the day. Yesterday we attempted it, but after about 30 minutes he could do no more. We were both so excited about today. He made it to the couch after crawling out of bed. Within about an hour he was back in the bed for a good portion of the day. Regardless of whether he was laying, sitting, or standing, he could not decrease the amount of constant pain he felt. He tried sitting on his hip and leaning over so he would have no weight on his tailbone or rear end, but his hips bothered him too bad. The nonstop intense pain led to frustration and embarrassment. He felt bad for me to see him like this. He knows I am used to it, but it still bothers him every time. He tries to hide so much of it from everybody... even me. Hiding it from someone who is around you 24 hours a day, though, is nearly impossible. The longer it persisted, the more frustrated and angry he got. It absolutely breaks my heart to have to see him go through it and know there is nothing I can do to help. I stretched him, massaged him, waited on him hand and foot, prayed for him, and did everything I knew to do to encourage him, relax him, and make him feel better mentally and emotionally. But that's all I can do. Other than that I just have to sit there and see him go through it. By the end of the day, I'm left with an exhausted husband from his muscles contracting to the pain all day and a broken heart from having to see him go through it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Oh What a Day...

Yesterday was awesome! I spent the day painting Connor's room, and Tim finished fixing the door from our bedroom to the deck... the same project as the siding work that I showed in pics the other day. Late afternoon I decided to take a nice hot bath. I got some candles lit, drew my bath water, and climbed in. Tim brought me an unsolicited glass of wine. It made me feel so good! I stayed in there until my skin was all wrinkley, and it felt incredible! I got out and took my time getting ready. He got all fixed up looking good for our date. I tried to take a pic of us to put on here, but I couldn't get any of them to turn out good. Right before we left he had a card and a gift for me. He told me that he almost didn't give me the gift because it's not my main birthday gift, but my main one hadn't come in yet. He didn't want me to think that this was my "birthday gift." I was so excited that he was taking me on a date that I didn't care. I hadn't expected anything. And the fact that he had gone and gotten me a sweet card was even more touching. He wouldn't have had to buy me anything after all that. The gift was a pair of pink work gloves. I loved them! I've been wanting some bad. He apologized again for them being all he had for me on my birthday, and he told me that my other gift didn't come in time. Never in the past did I say a single word to him about not ever getting me anything for my birthday (and he doesn't read my blog), so it really caught me off guard that he was so apologetic. The date alone was more than he has ever done. I couldn't quite figure it out.

We went to P.F. Chang's and got our favorite foods... Seared Ahi Tuna for an appetizer and Kung Pao Shrimp for our main course. We then went back to Cabot to see a movie. We ended up deciding on Contraband with Mark Wahlberg. It was a really good movie... very action packed, which I LOVE!!! But the good guys were bad guys in it. That's the only thing I didn't like. I like for the good guys to be good guys. So when we got home we watched Person of Interest that we had DVR'd. That is our show! We never miss it, and if we have to be away when it originally airs, we DVR it. I could never get enough of it.

We finally made it to bed after 2am, so we slept in this morning (That's the beauty of setting your own schedule). After having our morning coffee and doing our morning internet rounds, I did a little school work and cleaned the house some. When the mail ran, Tim flipped out and wouldn't let me go check it. I'm always the one to get the mail because he's not real comfortable on our front stairs that go up to the mailbox. He wanted to get it, though. When he came back he had a huge mischievious grin on his face. He went in the other room for a second, then he came back, handed me an envelope, and said, "Here's your real birthday present." It was a gift certificate for a 90 minute hot stone massage. He was so proud of himself for getting it for me, which made it an even better present. I didn't expect anything, and I got my pink work gloves, a card, and a 90-minute hot stone massage. He had ordered it from a place in Little Rock, and they mailed the gift certificate. I've decided I will schedule it for shortly before ovulation next month so maybe it will help me relax and de-stress. I can't wait!


Tonight I was working on my school work. Our assignment for today was on Freud's psychoanalytic theories, and the implications of fixation on a particular stage. It was very interesting, but I found the classroom discussion to be even more interesting. My professor asked if anybody had ever encountered someone with traumatic brain injury. She was discussing the personality change involved in it. I chimed in immediately. A year ago, my husband was a different person. A year ago, he would yell at the drop of a hat. He would throw things, have fits, and lie almost constantly. Today, though, he remains calm the majority of the time. He has rage every so often, but when he does it is not as intense. He still struggles with some things daily, and his bad days are BAD DAYS! But overall, he's a completely different person. He treats me differently, he responds differently to other people, and he seems to have a slightly different outlook on life. My professor asked if someone with TBI and a personality change due to it can ever overcome that and go back to their former personality. I get confused sometimes by what should be attributed to his PTSD, what is TBI, what is just his personality, and what is because of the loads of frustration from severe chronic pain and the inability to do things he once did. But it has me wondering, is his personality changing back to it's pre-crash self, or is he just finally accepting what has happened to him and the way it has changed his entire life?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gift Requests

Today is my birthday. It's already a huge change from the past. Two years ago for my birthday my husband was in Oklahoma, and I was in Arkansas. Not only did I not get a gift, but I didn't even get a card. I got nothing. His birthday prior to that I had planned a surprise party for him, gave him several gifts, and made a big deal of it. For me on my birthday, though, not even a card...

Last year we were in Colorado with my family. We are a family that is more celebratory than the average family. My family made a big deal of my birthday, took me on a sleigh ride, took us all to eat at an awesome restaurant, and had a cake and everything for me back at the house. My husband got me nothing. Finally, late in the day, we walked into a shop and saw a toboggan I liked. He bought it for me and said it was my birthday present since he didn't get me anything.

This year everything has changed for me. We've had so many things going on. We're trying to redo our house so we can get it sold and get moved to a house in town. We're still working on his claims and stuff with the VA. We have several doctors appointments nearly every week for him. I'm in grad school. We have all the PTO stuff at my stepson's school. And the infertility treatments and appointments are time consuming and mentally and emotionally exhausting. We have not had a "date" in forever! Gifts for me don't really hold much importance to me now. I would rather get something for my husband, stepson, parents, or someone else. So.... my ONE gift request from my husband this year... A Date!!! That is all that matters to me. I just want to spend some time with him.

My mom then got to asking me what I wanted for my birthday. I racked my brain trying to figure out what I could possibly want. The only thing that mattered to me was for her and daddy to come down and stay with us for a few days. She took me shopping in hopes that I would come up with something tangible that I wanted. Nothing. I could not come up with anything. All I want is a visit from my parents.

So today is going really good. I have a date with my husband tonight. He's taking me to P.F. Chang's, my second favorite restaurant. My favorite is Ruth's Chris, but we don't have one here. Then he told me last night that his plan for the date fell through. He tried to surprise me with a carriage ride in Little Rock. I was shocked! He was so upset that it fell through, but I was so excited that he was trying so hard to give me a good date that I didn't care at all that it fell through. Actually doing it isn't what matters to me. Knowing that my husband was putting effort into a night just for me meant far more to me than ANY tangible gift could ever mean!!!

Mom and Dad called and said they are coming down Saturday to go to an antique show with us and take us to dinner. They're only staying for the day because we have my stepson this weekend. They want to be able to spend a few days helping us redo the house when they come stay with us, so they are going to plan another time when we don't have my stepson and can get a lot of work done. So I get a double whammy from them... two visits!!!!

I am so excited about this birthday and my awesome gifts!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Day Away and a Day at the VA

I started writing a blog post yesterday while we were in the waiting room at the VA, but then they called us back. I saved it as a draft, and then I got caught up in other stuff when we got home and never completed it. So I'll post it and then continue on:

I seldom spend a day away from my husband. I still get my hair done in my hometown, so I often make that trip alone. I get there just in time for my appointment, visit with my family for a short bit, and then head back so I can be home in time to feed Tim supper. Yesterday was my appointment, but I stayed after to eat with my family and shop with my momma... and it felt so good!

I love my husband and I love spending time with him, but getting a day with my momma was perfect! It's funny how we want to be with our mom every second as a child, then we go through the teenage phase where we want our mom to stay hidden, and then we eventually come back around to the point where spending time with mom makes everything better. My mom is such a source of strength for me. I tend to be very independent, but it feels good to know that mom is always there.

...And now to continue...

Yesterday we had two appointments at the VA, and we weren't really sure what to expect. We had one in the compensation and pension unit on some claims we had filed. The other was in the spinal cord institute. My husband had a spinal cord injury in 2006, spent over a month in the spinal cord rehab unit in Memphis after his release from the hospital, and never was introduced to the spinal cord unit in North Little Rock. He had one follow-up appointment in Memphis in 2007, and he has not heard from them since. Then in comes Whitney. There is absolutely no reason for him to slip through the cracks like that simply because he didn't have a wife at the time to advocate for him, but it happened. I have been pushing all of these doctors, and the VA has been more than willing to help. Yes, we've had a few snags and troubles. As a whole, though, the VA has been incredible. It's just sad that it takes the warrior having someone to advocate for them before they get help. It makes me wonder what happens to warriors that don't have a spouse or parent to help them and never do. NONE of this stuff happened for Tim until 4 years after his injury, and I'm going to bet it wouldn't happen if I wasn't here to push it. These men are taught to do as they're told and not ask questions, so they don't. They take what they get, and that's it. I wonder how many wounded warriors are getting done wrong every day because of this. It's so sad.

The two doctors, all the nurses, and the entire support staff with which we dealt yesterday were INCREDIBLE!!! We were very pleased, and we feel very confident about the future of Tim's injuries because of these people. They were all amazed looking at Tim's medical history that he is where he is today. They attributed it to his drive and determination to never give up. I couldn't agree more. The doctor in the SCI even said that he thought the reports he read had typos when he saw Tim walking in with no more assistance than a cane. He was shocked that he even walks at all. He was so positive and willing to help in any and every way possible. The doctor in the C&P has a daughter with an injury at the T10 level (Tim's is T12), so he understands much of what Tim experiences. He told us all about the most recent research and really gave us a ton of hope for the future. After we finished with the whole process the C&P doctor came back up to us to make sure everything went well for us.

Some people have constant complaints with the VA. I have trouble getting things processed with them, but I cannot speak highly enough of just about every individual we have encountered as far as medical staff at the VA at NLR. We truly feel blessed!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Take a Break

We discovered a leak in our garage when I was getting ready to take Tim back to the hospital after his weekend home during his two week hospital stay in early December. It was raining, so we did the best we could to cover the area where it seemed to be coming in. After he got home from the hospital he went out on the deck and pulled part of the siding off to figure out the problem. It was worse than he originally thought. Apparently the builders did a poor job when they built the deck. They left it so water could go straight down into the wall during every rain. Luckily it was just in one spot, but a large amount of the wood there was rotten. We called our insurance, and they sent someone out to look at it. With our $1000 deductible, they really weren't going to be out anything. So Tim decided he could save us some money by fixing it himself.

He basically just covered it up through the holidays to buy time to fix it. Yesterday he went out there and began working on it. He was feeling good, so he thought it would be a good day for it. His doctors have been trying to teach him to take a lot of breaks so he doesn't have so many bad days. He worked for quite awhile, then he came inside when I finished cooking lunch. After eating he decided he needed to rest awhile. He rested for a couple of hours, then he went back out to work on it.

This morning he was in a great deal of pain. This was an indication to me that I need to convince him to slow down when he's feeling good. Almost without fail he is in a lot of pain afterward. Mid-day he was feeling a little better, so he convinced himself that if he went out to work on it he would feel better. He worked for a bit, then he came in and laid down. He just couldn't go anymore. Tonight he went back out for a bit, then he came in and went straight to the couch.

It's hard to make him stop when he's feeling good because I know how much it helps him mentally to be able to do things. I need to start reminding myself, though, of how down he will be the next day when he can't get out of bed. I'm going to try to do a better job of making sure he takes a break often enough. He does look really cute in his toolbelt, though. :-)

Yep, that's my hubby!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Living with PTSD

Sometimes PTSD is almost too much to handle. I avoid putting much on here about it, but I know it helps me to read of other wives who struggle with their husbands' symptoms. So I want to share some so I can comfort others in that way.

Living with someone with PTSD can be one of the most stressful things you could ever experience. It's like there's a constant bout of anger pinned up inside them all the time. Views on everything are negative. They always think everybody is out to get them, and the world is always against them. Rage bursts out at the most random times. Sometimes I just want to run far away from it all.

Yesterday was one of those days. There are situations that scare me, and yesterday that happened. I won't go into detail for the sake of privacy, but those days knock me down hard, and it's tough to get back up.

I've learned how to deal with it most days, but it just causes stress to build up inside of me. Somedays I get to the point that I just can't keep that smile on my face and try to calm him down any longer. The bad thing is, when I get down I stay down. I've tried to pull myself out of this funk today, but I can't seem to. On my bad days or when I'm in a bad mood I don't throw temper tantrums, gripe and complain, nag, get irritable, or snap at people. I just get quiet. I don't say much. When I do, I speak very quietly. I never get an "attitude"... I simply get down. I've been quiet all day, don't feel like talking, have quietly cleaned the house, cooked him lunch, and worked on school work. Sometimes I can ease on past it. But tonight I needed to vent. This was going to go in my private journal because I try to keep things like this off my blog, but I put this one here in hopes that someone else can see it and feel like they're not alone in the struggle of living with someone with PTSD. It's a daily struggle, and all I can do is pray that it gets better someday.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Antiquing and Flea Marketing

We've started browsing antique shops and flea markets as a way to get away from the stress of everything. Primarily we like to go to flea markets and find things we can repurpose. Yesterday, though, we went to Botkinburg and found the most amazing antiques. One of them I fell in love with, and if I came into money it would be mine! We couldn't find the history on this particular piece, but look at the beauty and craftsmanship:

After leaving there we revisited a couple of antiques/flea markets that we had been to a week prior. We got a few items to decorate our rustic style home with and a couple of things we can repurpose. I don't have pics of the door and ammo box we got to repurpose. They are still in the back of Tim's truck, and it's too late and cold for me to go out there and get pics. I'll post them later. But here are a couple of items we got to decorate the tops of our kitchen cabinets.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A New Year: A New Focus

This is a new year, and I had full intentions of posting this on the 1st. It looks like I'm starting the year off by still not being real consistent with my blogging. I should have resolved to work on this. I have a post in my head every single day, but I seldom get them typed. So... for the 12th of January, here is my beginning of the new year post.

I have decided this year I will have a new focus. Last year I focused on having a baby. It consumed my every thought. When looking back on our new year's resolutions from last year, Tim and I saw that we both set our main resolution as getting pregnant. The longer it went without happening, the more depressed we both got. I decided this year I would redirect that focus. Rather than trying so hard to get pregnant, I would focus on being consistent with yoga, organic eating, and other things that will prepare my body for a pregnancy. The problem has been our schedule with our reproductive endocrinologist. I've been forced to focus on it some. They scheduled our next testing to begin January 4th. I quit temping, charting, and I planned to quit OPKing (ovulation predictor kit), but the opk has not worked. It is all for good reason, though. I was tested on the 4th, and everything turned out really good. Tim was tested on the 9th, and my HSG dye test was scheduled for the 10th. We were extremely nervous about Tim's tests because of his injuries and medications. We are still thanking God for getting good results all around! We could not be happier. Yesterday we met with our RE to discuss our next step. He gave the go ahead for insemination. He said in our case we should start with a few rounds of natural insemination. If it doesn't work, then we'll add meds into the mix. We're too late in this cycle, so we'll attempt our first IUI in February. Wish us luck!!!

Last year I tried to fix things out of my control. I focused on fixing the way a particular person treated someone I love. I realized that it did nothing but stress me out. I tried to show someone who has ill feelings toward me for no logical reason that I am really a good person, and there is no need to treat me that way. The nicer I was, the madder this person got. I finally was informed that this person wants me to be bad, and it makes them mad when I prove them wrong. Those feelings are out of my control. All I can do is continue to do the right thing, pray about it, and let God take it from there. Some of my husband's problems are out of my control. Though I can help in some areas (and I believe we made HUGE strides in MANY areas last year) there are some areas that are out of my control. I must quit focusing on those and letting them stress me out.

Instead, this year I will focus on things that are in my control:

My fitness is in my control. I will not kill myself in the gym. I will not overdo my workouts. I will not train for any intense competitions... yet. I will do what is best for my body to make it baby-ready, and I will be consistent with it. I will allow myself the opportunity to get back my former love for fitness.

Finances are in my control, and I will continue to work hard to make sure we are on a good path financially so we do not add stress to our life in that area. I will be organized (I'm a little ocd when it comes to this), and I will be consistent in my budget tracking.

Career aspirations are in my control, and I will continue to work toward them. I will allow enough flexibility so I can change as I see fit, yet I will remain focused enough to reach my goals.

Fun is in my control. I will focus on having fun more rather than being so rigid. I have a tendency to focus on "things that need to be done." I will adapt the motto "Work hard, play harder." I will allow time for fun and entertainment.

Most importantly, my relationship with God is in my control. I will maintain a relationship with Him, growing closer to Him by the day.

So... there you have it! I didn't list all of my goals. They are going to remain private for now. I simply told my new focus.

Now I want to hear it! What did y'all plan for the new year???