Sunday, January 31, 2010

My sweet Sarah

For close to a week now, my sweet baby girl has been coughing. It's mostly been at night & during the early hours of the day. That tells me that her sinuses are draining & it's tickling her throat at night and it's pooled in her throat during the morning hours. We've been doing her preventative steroid (asthma) inhaler in the morning & evening, taking a dose of her allergy nasal spray in the morning & evening, taking Robitussin both morning & evening and doing a sinus wash in the morning & evening as well. We've begun running the humidifier at night in her room & she's sleeping with Vicks Vaporub on her chest & feet at night. I mean, seriously....what more can we do? She's been hanging in there...not really getting better, but not getting worse either. It's going around at school (both her school and mine!) so I'm sure she's fighting off whatever everyone else is dealing with.

Last night, about 11:45pm she woke up crying that her left ear hurt. Poor sweetie. I took her temperature & it was 99.4. She was wearing flannel PJs & had been in her bed with a humidifier steaming up her room, so I didn't count that as a fever. I gave her a dose of Motrin & some Benadryl and she came to bed with me where she cuddled up & slept til 2:30am. (That's when she woke up & went back to her bed.) This morning she was OK. Still the same coughing that has been going on all week, but she wasn't having the ear pain. Throughout the day, she commented about pressure in her ear...not really pain, however. (She said that it kind of hurt in her ear when she burped! ha ha) And she described feeling like a bubble was popping in her ear. Sounds to me like there is fluid in there & she's feeling the pressure from that.

I'm crossing my fingers that she can sleep all night & that she'll feel great in the morning, but I kind of suspect that we're going to end up in the doctor's office before this is all over. I've really been trying to treat her symptoms & let her immune system kick this, but I'm beginning to have my doubts as it drags into the 5th or 6th day. Say a prayer for my sweet baby girl, ok?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I love paperwork.

I'm a nerd.

When the new school year rolls around & it's time to fill out a gazillion forms for the kids' teachers, I hear all the other parents groan & grumble, so I try to play along so they won't know about the psycho that looms within me. Honestly, I'm always a little giddy with filling out the new little cards & forms.

And those shopping surveys that come in the mail? Oh 'em. I can't tell you how many of them I've filled out & then didn't send it once I spent all that time doing it. Seriously though, most of those will get you some free coupons & sometimes a product sample if you send them in. I realize most people think that a couple coupons & a trial-sized sample isn't worth the time it takes to fill them out, but hey...some of us like it, so hush.

Tonight we had a staff meeting at work. Our director gave us a big long meeting agenda. Yeah, I'm weird. Most of the other teachers listen to the director go through the agenda at the meeting & then promptly toss the paper it's printed on. Not me. I'll read it through 2-3 times before I throw it away. I am a fruitcake. I love the details & checking little boxes & crossing all my T's & dotting I's. It makes me feel like I accomplished something I guess. I'm not sure...I just love details & paperwork.

Am I alone? Does anyone else out there feel like an idiot admitting to their love of surveys & quizzes, box-checking & form filling out? There's gotta be someone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Book Review: 13 Reasons Why

Since I mentioned it in my post about books I was reading, I figured I'd tell you what it was about now.

(Spoiler Warning!!!)

13 Reasons Why looked good on the review I read. The basic plot is that a teen boy comes home from school one day & finds a package on his doorstep addressed to him. He opens it & finds a bunch of cassette tapes labeled 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. Not knowing what they are about or who they're from (no return address), he goes out to the garage to find his dad's old tape player & puts in the first tape. Immediately he recognizes the voice of Hannah Baker, a girl he's had a crush on for years....a girl who committed suicide 2 weeks ago. She recorded all these tapes before she killed herself & they're being circulated around to 13 specific people. Each one of them is named on the tapes, primarily for her to explain how they affected her life, what caused her to come to the conclusion that suicide was the best choice and how they were to blame.

Now, that (above) is what all the reviews said about the book. But the truth is, I was drawn into the book for the first umpteen chapters & really wanted to see how it ended, why Clay Jensen (the boy who found the tapes) was named on the tapes...what he did to contribute to Hannah's life. But by the time I reached the 200th+ page of word for word dialogue from the tapes, I got bored. I am by no means discounting teen depression and suicide rates. Please don't misunderstand that. I am absolutely aware that perception of your problems is all that matters and if you perceive them as HUGE, no one else's argument could convince you otherwise. And obviously teens who commit suicide are dealing with some very serious perceptions of things going on in their lives.

But really, the teenager drivel and 50 page explanations of why this teen girl or why that teen boy hurt Hannah's feelings got really annoying and boring. Maybe that makes me shallow or uncaring, but folks....I'm not a high school counselor & this is a FICTION novel, so it's not as if I'm blowing off a real person who's got serious issues.

Today, I skipped ahead & read the last chapter to see how Clay fit into all of Hannah's tapes and then I turned around and listed the book on! I'm done. And what frustrated me more than the whole book of long drug out griping about Hannah's life is the fact that had it marked as a book for kids, grades 7-9. Holy moly. Sure, give a 9th grader who is pubescent & feeling self conscious a book about a whiney teen girl who decides that suicide is the best way to deal with all that. And ya know, in the end of the book, Hannah describes a pretty sexual situation she lived through that I wouldn't really want my 8th grader reading about! So no thanks 7th-9th grader at this house won't be reading this book! yikes!

Would I recommend this book? No.
Out of 5 stars, I give it about a 2 for the first 175-ish pages' worth of gripping content. Beyond that, it's just long & drug out & will make you want to scream at the suicidal girl.

Please understand, I have great sympathy for families who've lived through a family member's suicide. I understand that there are plenty of teens who commit suicide for "trivial" things & there is probably great truth in some of this book, however the book didn't present it in a way to keep me hooked. It just seemed like chapter after chapter of Hannah fussing about the same sort of thing over & over.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Read any good books lately?

I've got about 5 books on my nightstand. I've started all of them. What are you reading? I'm reading these:

This one is a quick read, little short stories from Christian authors connected with Women of Faith. They're little 2-3 page stories with a funny premise. Like the title says, it makes me Laugh Out Loud (LOL)! I grab this one for long soaks in the bathtub or when I have 5 minutes to read something but don't want to get all involved in a chapter book.

This one is a couple of years old, but I just got my hands on a copy a few months ago from I had been wanting to read it, but buying it new was just not gonna happen! It's still over $20 for a new copy and I don't pay that much for books! Sorry folks! I heard SO many good things about it, but honestly, I've struggled to stay involved in it. It's OK, but I haven't read anything yet that is really 'gripping' & makes me want to finish it. I'm going to try, though...

This one is a family's biography of their life with their daughter, Hannah. She had cancer & this is their story of Hannah's life. I've only read the reviews for this one. I can't wait to start it. It sounds like a tear-jerker.

I bought this one on the Barnes & Noble site with a gift card I got from one of my students at Christmastime. I love biographies, especially ones with a religious/spiritual side to them. We Christians call them testimonies. :) This is a story of a Muslim lady who met God. I haven't read it yet because I'm in the middle of this one:

13 Reasons Why is soooooooo out of the scope of normal for me. I wouldn't normally look for a fiction novel that falls into the mystery/suspense category but this one intrigued me. I'll hold off on telling about it til I'm done but it's quite a page turner!

So...tell me what you've been reading lately!

(Oh....and just so you fellow Karen Kingsbury junkies know....I finally bought Take One & it's on the shelf to be read, too! I'm way behind on the Baxter family!!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tornadoes in Texas

(and no, I'm not referring to the ones who wreck my house every day!)

Tonight we had a scare. Generally speaking, I love storms. The flashes of lightening & rumbling thunder is cool to me. I like rainy weather, too! Driving in a storm doesn't really bother me either because I'm always super careful. (of course, you've still got to watch out for the crazies!!) Tonight was a little different.

About 5:55, I pointed to the clock & reminded Larry that it was time to take Savannah to church for youth group. He took her. It wasn't raining or doing much of anything at the time. It had sprinkled off & on for a few hours, but aside from that, nothing seemed remotely "threatening" about the weather at that time. When Larry left, I checked my email. A friend on Facebook asked how the weather was here. She'd seen something about tornadoes on the weather, so she knew our area was getting some storms. I told her we were fine & explained that according to our news station, there was a bad storm...with the potential for a tornado....but it was in a town nearly an hour away & it was headed away from us. I really wasn't concerned.

Larry got back home about 6:25 & sat down to watch something on TV and called for me to come look at the screen. There on the screen was something about like this.

Tornadoes. All around us. The worst part of the storm at that time was headed for the general direction of our church! My baby was there! I immediately said "I think we need to go get Savannah." Larry nodded in agreement so I grabbed my keys & cell phone & shot out the door. I felt a little like Grandma Thora in this episode of Arthur. (just watch the first minute & 1/2 of this video & you'll get the idea.)

Although logically it was probably not the best idea to go out in the middle of an oncoming tornado, I wanted to get my baby home! Thankfully, due to the storm, most of the area was taking cover, so the roads were clear! I prayed & sang an old church song that I learned when I was a kid all the way there. It was the only thing I could think of to keep me from panicking & getting overly freaked out. I kept having this visuals of my car being blown off the road or picked up & dropped on top of a house or something! Come on, folks...I've seen the Wizard of Oz....I know what a tornado looks like! Ha ha!

I think I turned into the church parking lot on 2 wheels trying to hurry up & get to my baby girl. When I pulled up, the youth pastor was on the porch of the youth building with his laptop watching the storm system progress on the same news station we were watching at home. As I approached him, he pointed me to the hallway where all of the youth group was taking cover. I got Savannah from the line of kids & headed back to the car pronto! I didn't want to waste time waiting for things to get better (or worse!) so we jumped in the car and took off! As soon as we got on the road, I called Larry to tell him I was headed home. When I told him what road I was on, he advised me where to turn off & get out of harm's way. He said I was right in the middle of where the strong part of the storm was hitting at that time! If I turned north, I would've driven right into the storm, so I turned south & drove away from it to get home. Thankfully I could've gone either direction to get home, so choosing one route over wasn't a problem. As soon as we hung up, I told Savannah that I had sung all the way to the church to get her & she said "I was just thinking that it would be a good idea." She reached over & took my hand and we sang Jesus Loves Me over & over the entire drive home! I think we were both terrified but made the best of the situation.

When we got home, Samuel was in his bedroom floor, hugging a pillow, rocking & crying. He was scared to death after hearing the word 'tornado' on the news. Sarah was sitting by Larry watching the weather on the news, but he had retreated to his room to work on his homework. Poor kiddo was in there alone & seeing all the lightening out his windows and just completely panicked. :(

Not 5 minutes after we got home, the weather guy announced that a "rotation in the storm system" (aka: tornado!) had been spotted at the intersection of 2 highways. Those roads are 1 mile from the church where I'd picked Savannah up!!!!!! Thank goodness I brought her home!

The whole thing ended up dissipating & never really touched our neighborhood, but I must say... driving through the bad weather, hearing the storm sirens blaring at me the whole way to & fro, yikes. Scary stuff!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Church Fires

Tonight, a church is on fire. It's the 7th one in East Texas in recent weeks. It's scary. Whose church is next? Will it be my own? I pray not. Father, protect us.

For some reason, this song came to mind while I was typing this. Maybe the Holy Spirit is reminding me of the message to this song in this time of scary-ness in regard to the local churches? Whatever the case...enjoy.

Edited on 1/21/10 to add:
Another church was burned yesterday morning.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bring the Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You
with all that
I've gone through.
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You?

I am a grown up now. It's official. I can't name a single family who hasn't lost a loved one to cancer. Some of those precious families have lost children to cancer. Have I mentioned before that I think cancer is a vile, nasty, evil beast? It's the epitome of a monster in my mind. I can't think of a single thing other than cancer that gives no regard to age, gender, race, or ethnicity. It will attack the tall, short, thick & thin. It gives no thought to socioeconomic status, intellect or wealth. Everyone who knows me knows that I am very mild-mannered and seek to see the good in everyone rather than the bad. But where cancer is concerned, I find myself seething in raw anger toward this thing...this atrocious monster that has no concern for me when it attacks those I love. It may one day attack me or my husband or my children and that brings me to my knees in anguish. God, protect us all.

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray....

I ache for the families who've lost children. Not just the ones that were lost to cancer, but all the others who were lost to miscarriage, abortion, SIDS, chromosomal abnormalities & other illnesses. And especially those lost to infertility--the ones hoped & dreamed for that have never come to be. I can't imagine my life without my children and the very thought of you taking one of them, Father, or never giving them to me to begin with... is more than I can stand to imagine. My heart breaks for all of those mommies whose womb is empty, whose arms are empty, whose cribs are empty. God forgive me for ever complaining about something my kids did. They are 3 of my greatest treasures and my life is fuller because they're in it.

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory
And I know there'll
be days
When this life brings me pain

But if that's what it takes to
praise You Jesus, bring the rain!

A baby with a birth defect, bankruptcy, a sick newborn, marital stresses, job loss, financial stress, ill family members, gaining and losing my 'other 2 kids' .... Lord, I can't complain. Those are so minor in comparison to the pain & grief & suffering going on in so many other lives. Help me to see how fortunate I am every day. Help me to praise You for every detail that makes me whine. If it takes bringing me a little pain to remind me to focus on Your greatest gift, draw me nearer to You, then bring me the pain. Break me.

I am yours regardless of
the clouds that may
loom above
because you are much greater than
my pain
you who made a way for me
your destiny
so tell me whats a little rain?

When I think of the anguish & grief of a mother being drug away from the bed of her child who has just died, she's kicking & screaming, begging You to bring life back to that little body, I am moved to tears. And you did that very thing. For me. You gave Him up. For me. So that I could stomp on His name & spit in His face. Lord, forgive me.

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

The earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami a couple years ago, the hurricanes in the USA, floods & famine & poverty. September 11, wars, terrorism, suicide bombing, kamakaze pilots....I am reminded of both Your great power and the immense suffering that occurs worldwide. Who am I to complain about piles of laundry? I have clothes to wear & healthy family members to wear them.

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
is the lord God almighty
is the lord God almighty
I'm forever singing

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll

be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

My life has been one big plan that has slowly been broken down by You. Reminders that looked like crisis at the time quickly became nudges from You that I was never in control at all....that this was always part of Your plan for me, it was never "plan B"....I was never in control..... I was never in control. You have to remind me of that a lot. I am not in control. And when I look back on those times of greatest pain, I see where Your hand was wrapped firmly around me, holding me tight to Your heart, suffering every moment of pain WITH ME so that I'd lean my head in a little closer & hear Your heartbeat through it all. God, I don't like pain. I don't like suffering, but those days bring me back to You every time. And if I have to accept the pain to be reminded to fully rely on You, then Jesus....bring the pain.

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll

be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Winter in Texas

The couple of weeks have been very odd weather-wise. This freakishly cold weather is doing us all in! Texas homes & people were not built for this kind of weather. I realize we're SO very lucky, though, in comparison to so many other places in the country who experience these sort of temps every winter, but it's just so strange for us to go 10+ days in a row with nothing but freezing temperatures every day.

At the school where I work, we have a recess time every day on the playground. Many of the cold-natured teachers will hesitate to go outside if it's chilly because they are big weenies. (ha ha) I, on the other hand, am hot natured & figure that as long as the kids have a coat, we can go out! A few weeks ago, one of the other teachers came out to the playground & approached me saying "I asked the office if it was warm enough to go outside today & they told me you were out here with your class. I just laughed & told them 'Liz will go out there in a blizzard, though, so that doesn't tell me anything!'." She knows me well.

Today, I wrapped a scarf around my neck & folded it up over my nose and ears. As I stood there helping Larry with something on his truck, I started thinking "Have I EVER used a scarf for its intended purpose like this before?" and I couldn't honestly think of a single time when I have!! Folks, I am 34 years old and have lived in Texas my entire life...and I've never used a scarf to warm my neck, face & ears before. That should tell you, it's freaking COLD!

This morning, we woke up & realized that the water in our bathroom and laundry room would not come on. The pipes were frozen! Luckily, when they thawed nothing had burst & we have no leaks. (that we know of yet, anyway!) I'm telling you, we are just not equipped for this kind of weather. It's crazy.

I've told people for years that I wish I lived somewhere that got some REAL WINTER weather. I think I lied. This stinks!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Winding down...

Is it really that time? You know. Time to get ready to get back in gear & go back to work/school? The holiday break has been FANTASTIC. Soooo very relaxing & restful. I swear, though, that I've gained several pounds and have slept more than any one person should be allowed in a 2 1/2 week vacation period. Loved the naps & sleeping late! Loved the yummy goodies! Loved hanging out with the kids. LOVED the nightly UNO tournaments. Loved all the extra time to hang out with the family.

But alas, if we are to eat for the rest of the month, I need to get back to work & earn a paycheck. Darn that whole adult responsibility thing. Oh well.......

(whispering) In 2 weeks, I get a four day weekend. I bet I'll be able to survive til then.