Friday, December 28, 2007

Don't ignore the message

I'm going to have to cut down on the blogging.

This is the message I got last night, from a dream. Yes, a DREAM! Of all things. Now I'm not one to just....ignorantly follow every old suggestion which a dream makes. After all, my first opinion of what dreams are is that they are a reflection of our self. Of our...psyche, or whatever you want to call it. But sometimes, I think, dreams can be a useful self-help tool. Especially since I hardly have ANYONE with whom I can consult on a variety of matters!

I mention this because, the other night, I dreamed that someone was telling me I shouldn't say a certain....swear word that I had often been saying. (Unfortunately, in my verbal speech, I tend to swear like a sailor. Bad habit, I know! I'm still a work-in-progress, folks.) The person in my dream said it was bad to say that word, because it took God's name in vain. And God wasn't happy about that! After I awoke from the dream, I was frightened because that word was just a normal part of my "normal" vocabulary. :P And I didn't know how I would stop myself from saying it. But I started praying on that. And I'm hoping that will help me to REMEMBER not to say that word.

Yeah, I do believe what the man in my dream said. I mean, it makes sense that the..."G-D" word takes the Lord's name in vain. Although I hadn't realized it before. I thought it was like saying, "God, damn this thing!" But I guess...not?

Anyway. There's another dream I had with a "message" I didn't ignore. A dream in which an angel told me "God loves all women." This dream came about during a time I was struggling with my religious convictions. I really had issues with the whole "women are EVIL!" message the Bible kept promoting. And how women are undervalued in so many religions and considered to be nothing more than mere slaves and breeders. That we weren't special. But when I had this dream, in which the angel also told me "God does not hate," it really moved me. You know? Now THAT was a message I couldn't ignore! I didn't care what people said or how a Bible story was told. I BELIEVED the angel in my dream that God loves us! He loves ALL women, young and old, black and white, rich and poor, Christian and Jewish. He loves ALL of us just as equally as men!

In the dream I had last night, I was living in a different house. I was at the computer, typing up a blog post on MS Word (although I normally use Notepad LOL). Then some men I didn't know came into the room. There were two of them. They were behind me and I turned to see them. One of them smiled and said, "Look at her. She's writing a story!"

"What are you writing, Dawn?" the other asked.

And I just....stared at them. Just blankly looked at them. I hadn't been working on a story. I had been writing up a blog post. But I didn't want to say THAT. They seemed so excited over me writing another story. Over creating something new for them to read.

But I wasn't writing a story. Apparently, I was wasting my time writing a blog post! When they were expecting a story! And I felt guilty. I felt so....disappointed with myself. I SHOULD have been writing a story! I got a bazillion story ideas WAITING to be created! Why don't I just WRITE them??? Forget about people saying "it's not realistic" or about me thinking "I can't write THAT!" I should just write them anyway!! JUST WRITE THEM! And stop making excuses NOT to write them...

But blogging was taking up all my free time now. Not writing, BLOGGING. And I have just been spending way too much time on my blogs. I should spend LESS time blogging and MORE time writing!

That is the message from my dream. I won't ignore this message. And why did this dream come about in the first place, anyway? Because lately, my husband has been complaining that I'm blogging too much. Instead of blogging, he argues, which IS a hobby, I should be working on my books instead. And he has a good point. I won't argue with him there. He's right. I WAS blogging too much! And my writing was just...getting so neglected. I have the tendency to obsess over things and get addicted to things. (I forget what that personality type is called....) And for a while, blogging was my addiction.

But I'm not going to let it be my addiction anymore. I CAN'T! There is just too much work I have to do! Too many books I want to write! Too many stories I want to get written! Too many manuscript edits I have left to do!

So I'm going to DO them! Cut down on the blogging and get more writing done. That is the message from my dream. That is the message which I won't ignore.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Talking things out

Everybody has bad habits. One of my bad habits is bottling things up. I don't say things I think I should say, I don't make comebacks when people are rude, I don't talk about what's on my mind. Sometimes I'll write about them, blog about them or just sit and stew over them. But rarely will I talk about them. Even when I really need to.

Recently, I asked one of my sisters for advice on something to do with my marriage. I asked her because she has been studying psychology for some time. After she gave me her advice (which helped), I had to owe up to what I REALLY had to do: Talk to hubby about what was bothering me. And during our talk, he reminded me of how annoying it was that I didn't open up to him about EVERYTHING. He'd KNOW if something was wrong (well, we've known each other for 12 years!!), but I'd never bring it out in the open. I'd always say stuff like..."it's nothing" or "I'm tired."

Yes, that IS a bad habit of mine. And it seems I need to CONSTANTLY remind myself to just TALK about what is on my mind. Open up the lines of communication and just GET IT OUT THERE. One thing I am trying to do is STOP being like that. I know it's not healthy to bottle stuff up....and yet I have done this so many times. But I'm going to try to stop doing that.

And, on that note, I talked to him about what was bothering me yesterday. He didn't know that my cousin's death still gets me so upset. And he didn't really MEAN to say I do a lousy job of cleaning the house. He meant something else. (Whatever that means!)

I'm just glad we talked about it. It helped me feel a whole lot better. Now if only I can get myself to just KEEP talking about the things I need to talk about, instead of keeping it all inside.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I have been REALLY bummed today. I've been doing so much praying, meditating and Bible-reading to try to feel better. But it just hasn't worked.

I had a long talk with hubby the other day. As usual, he complained that I don't do a good enough job of cleaning the house. He's been complaining about that FOR YEARS!!! YEARS! By now he should REALIZE that I do the best I can when I clean. But apparently, it's not good enough. I get SOOO proud of the work I do. The floors are all vacuumed, swept and mopped, everything's dusted, washed, scrubbed, cleaned, put away, organized, etc., etc. And sometimes my back will hurt or my foot will hurt because I work so hard to clean the whole house. But it's all for NOTHING. And we have a new baby; how in the world can he expect me to do any better than before??

But, anyway. It's because of that I barely did any cleaning at all today. I mean, why bother? He doesn't freaking care or appreciate it.

But I HAVE taken care of the children, of course. I ALWAYS take good care of them, even if I'm so down in the dumps....

I'm also upset about something. It's that time of the year, you know? I miss my family a whole lot. I wish I could see them. Especially Mom, with her cancer back like that. God.....

Another thing comes up this time of year. Missing my cousin Mark. I still get upset about his death, you know? It was SO UNFAIR! I wrote this....poem in his memory. On the anniversary of his death. But I still think about him. I mean, I was going to SEE him again!!! He was just not even a day away from seeing me. After so long. It just really hurts. I know that....he's not really gone. I know he's still with us. But I think about my aunt and uncle, who couldn't have imagined their Christmas without him. I think about how his life was just cut short like that. He was ONLY 29 YEARS OLD!! I think about his daughter, who won't be seeing him anymore. I think about his sister Dawn and how she grieved.... It's all just painful thoughts.

And, you know, last night, I was lying on my bed with Jesse, just lying next to him and talking to him. Before he fell asleep. And I was thinking of reading to him. I thought 'what book should I read?' and I thought THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Even though it was....Christmas day. LOL Then I remembered the last time we had enjoyed that book. When we were still living in the desert. Liz and Carolyn had spent the night with us. The girls were lying on the floor, we camped out on the carpet, and I read that book. I smiled at that memory, but then I stopped smiling when I remembered something else: That was the night that Mark died....

If I had known...if I had known he was going to be in that car accident, I would've done SOMETHING! I would've gone out to Vicki's house and just STOPPED him from leavig! I would've....suggested he stay the night at her house!! Dammit, why couldn't I have known? Why....

Well, to say the least, I've had the holiday blues REALLY BAD. Even with Christmas come and gone, I'm still depressed. I guess EVERY bad little thing is just pulling me down even further.

I am grateful, though. For my children. I love them SOOO MUCH!! Especially little Jesse. He's smiling now and it's just so precious to see him smile.

Hopefully I'll get out of this funk soon. I called one of my sisters yesterday and we talked for a bit. That helped. And I keep in touch with them through MySpace, too. It will have to be enough for now.

That, and my faith. God is not just my Lord and Saviour. He is also my Friend. And I think if there's anyone's shoulders I need to lean on or cry on right now, it's His.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"It is finished"

I was watching The Nativity Story the other day. Such a good movie! I enjoyed watching this movie that was written from Mary's POV. How adequately it portrayed how frightened Mary must have been, just a teenager (if I recall Bible studies correctly, she was 14 years old), when told that she would marry a stranger she barely knew, a man 40 years old and who she did not even love. It also really zeroed in on her fears of what others would say when she conceived the baby Jesus. What if they didn't believe her? What if she was ostracized because of it? I mean, she faced DEATH because of it. But she didn't say, 'Oh, I'll just get rid of it.' 'I'll run away and no one will know.' 'I'll accuse Joseph of lying about his innocence.' No, she didn't do anything LIKE that. She took on her mission from God, despite her fears and worries. She said goodbye to a comfortable life and embraced the difficult road ahead of her.

And at the end of His life, when Jesus was on the Cross, His final words were this: "It is finished." He, too, had a mission from His Father. And now His mission had been fulfilled.

Jesus was 33 at the time He died. Just 33 years old, the same age I am right now. I am 33 years old, and I think about what it must be like to die at such an age. To pass from this world to the next at the age of 33.

In a way, I AM my old life. To the way I was before. Just recently, I have made a major change in my life. I have opened up my heart to Jesus and allowed God to have complete control over my life. I have completely surrendered myself and my life to God. I have committed myself to Him. Before, I was only allowing God in my life SOME of the time. Only halfway. Whenever it was convenient. And then I realized, "I either have God in my life COMPLETELY...or I don't have Him in my life at all."

Being a Christian isn't about serving God whenever I feel like it. It's not about doing what God commands of me to do when it's convenient or when I'm not so tired. Either I am a follower of God or I am not. There's no "conditional commitment" with religion. There's no religious conviction only some of the time. God wants us 100%. He doesn't want part of us or most of us. ALL of us. Our minds, our hearts, our actions. ALL of us.

This is one truth that I have learned. When I was trying to get pregnant with my son, I KNEW I had to conceive this baby. And I knew this baby was going to be a boy. I knew it was time for him to enter the world. I didn't know these things by dream interpretation or reading a crystal ball(which I don't actually do, LOL). I just KNEW it. AND I KNEW I HAD TO DO IT. Don't think about it, pray about it. JUST DO IT! And there was no question that I HAD to do it.

Just as I know one other thing now: I must end the life I was living in the past and take on this new life of devoting myself to serving God. I may not know everything that I need to know and I may get confused by things. Not understand things. Be deceived by things. (There are people I know all around me who have and still do tell me to do things that are not Christian.) I get so easily fooled at times and so...misled. But I know I must follow God and I must do it NOW. Not when I am 40 years old, not when my children are grown, not when I am stronger or smarter or richer or pretty. NOW. RIGHT NOW. And it is a calling I cannot ignore.

Before, a long time ago, I was devoted to being a Christian. People teased me about it. Even my own family members said I was having this "holier than thou" attitude because I chose to live the Christian life. This time, one worry I have had is that people will accuse me of being a hypocrite, because I'm not exactly perfect. I have lived an unfaithful life. I have done things in the past that were wrong. That were a sin. I KNOW this. I am not perfect. Nor do I aspire to be. I'm human, I CAN'T be perfect. But I CAN try to live a Godly life. I CAN make it a point to SHUN sin, to SHUN the bad ways, and embrace the Light of God. This is my mindset. I'm no saint, but I now devote myself to living a Goidly life. I know people will say unkind things to me...accuse me of having a "self-righteous" attitude and persecute me for my beliefs. Even try to lead me astray. But I still take on this new life of serving God, despite all of that. People will say what they are going to say.

I have said before in my prayers that I will never turn away from God. Despite being married to a nonbeliever, despite people judging me, despite people calling me names, trying to deceive me, mislead me and cause me to sin. Despite ALL of that, I will never turn away from God. And now, with this new life I am living, I still have that conviction with my whole heart. I will never turn away.

My old life and my old ways are over. Done with. It is finished.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Lessons in Love

There's something I have been wrestling with lately: The fact that I am not completely in love with my husband. I DO love him, this I know. I mean, I had children with him. I MARRIED him. There is a love there, and it will always be there.

But it's just not the kind of love that I want it to be. I don't love him the way I did before. I would like to. I would really like to have a marriage in which there is 100% love, 100% trust, 100% devotion. But that is not a part of this marriage. Probably because of how the first marriage was destroyed, when that love and trust were destroyed.

But I don't like things like this....being so guarded and "on the alert" in case the past comes up again or in case he hurts me again.

I have been reading this book called "The Purpose-Driven Life." It is an AMAZING book written by Rick Warren. And I recently came across a passage on forgiveness. How we can forgive people right away, as God does, but we can't trust them again right away. We are expected by God to forgive right away, but not expected to trust them again right away. That trust needs to be rebuilt over time.

So maybe over time, I will be able to trust my husband with my whole heart again. Not just half of my heart or most of my heart. All of it. It's not right that I'm on the alert in case my husband, the man I am SUPPOSED to be able to trust, turns around and hurts me again.

Ever since I opened my heart to Jesus and made religion a priority in my life, I have learned so much about love and forgiveness in my faith and worship. God has just taught me so much and I put my complete trust in Him. Hopefully this will help me to come to terms with my ability to trust my husband.

I know marriage is no paradise. I know that a relationship takes work. That it takes time. And I guess time is what we both need to fully heal from our wounds of the past. I've already let go of it. Now I just have to wait and see if I will ever be able to live with the certainty that it won't come back.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fixing people

When I was doing research for my novel, I read that many women in abusive relationships think that they can "fix" their abusive partner. Like something is wrong with him/her, so they take it upon themselves to try to "change" that person or "fix" that person. Then everybody will live happily ever after. The end.

"Fixing" someone is just one VERY common (and unfortunate) misconception many people have. You hear so many women complaining about how men have that whole "fix it" attitude with their problems, when they just want to talk about their problems. But that whole "fix it" attitude can often be taken to the extreme. Sometimes people get all "martyr-like" and make it their mission to change others. If they're unhappy with their friends, family members, partners, spouses, kids, etc., they try to change them. Fix them. Make them into a whole nother person.

But that kind of thing just can't happen. Believe me, I know! During my first marriage to hubby, I thought the same thing. "Maybe I can change him." It's true he was in the wrong to put me through that emotional abuse, but I was in the wrong to think that I could make him better. I was in the wrong to think that it was MY job to "fix" him. It wasn't. Because I have learned that people need to fix themselves. It's good that there's a friend or spouse there as a means of support and encouragement, but that friend or spouse cannot change a person.

That person has to change themselves.

How sad that, so many times, so many people still think that it is up to them to change someone. It's not. You can't really "change" someone. You can't "fix" them, either. Depending on the situation, you can either just be their friend, or, if it's a situation in which your life is endangered, your sanity is endangered, your kids are endangered, etc., you can do something that is just as effective as trying to change that person: walk away.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Lifted this from:

Right- or left- handed: right

Mood right now: Restless and thinking about stuff I want to fix with my book

Favourite sweets?: silly question. chocolate. of course.

Is there anything you would never ever eat?: yup. lots of things.

Clothes right now: black shirt, dark blue "Nike" pants

Music right now: right now? nothing.

What was your last uttered sentence?: "I did NOT know that!" After reading this about roses:
"Drops of water on the leaves can cause burning, and lead to black spot disease so always water from underneath, soaking the earth until it is damp but not soggy."

Plans for the summer: Nothing right now....

Juice or alcohol: coooca cola. always.

How many pillows?: 3

Favourite weather: sunshine

Do you play any instruments?: no.

Mornings or nights?: Knight time is my time ;)

Save or waste?: SAVE!

Favourite film: nooo, i HATE these questions. i have too many....

Do you believe in life at other planets?: no

Do you remember your first love?: yes, unfortunately

Do you still love him/her?: Noooo. LOL Haven't seen him for YEARS!

Any gay friends?: of course

Is it possible to be faithful for ever?: of course

Do you consider love a mistake?: no

How many kids do you want when you grow up?: right now I have 2 *clings to them*

Cinema or walks?: yes

Are you ticklish?: you'll never know

Do you snore?: how would I know??

Afraid of insects?: no

The most disgusting insect?: no idea

I'm good at: creating

What superpower would you choose?: super strength!

What profession would you like?: gosh, ANYTHING?? Hmmm....rancher!! :) So I get to be around animals. (REAL animals. Not...human animals. LOL)

Chips, carrots or candy?: carrots

Pizza or hamburger?: PIZZA!

Do you keep a diary?: no...except for the blog

Do you have a boyfriend?: yes and a husband too (ROFL!!)

Do you ever plan to get tattood or pierced?: of course

Where?: anywhere

Messy or tidy?: TIDY

Do you balance on your chair?: no

In which hand do you hold your fork?: whichever is available at the moment

Describe the boyfriend of your dreams: A certain Mr. Jonathan Knight (he is LITERALLY only in my dreams!)

How many sisters and brothers do you have?: 4 sisters, 2 brothers

Are you afraid of blood?: no

Do you salt your food?: sometimes

Do you like singing?: only for the baby or when no one's around LOL

What did you study at senior highschool?: the usual suspects

Do you consider yourself strong?: physically, kind of. spiritually, YES!!

Do you sunbathe?: There's no freaking sun in the Northwest!

What do you do when you have the hiccups?: Drink a glass of water

Do you smoke?: no

Do you take snuff?: no

Do you do drugs?: no. JUST SAY NO!!

Coffee, tea or nothing?: Both

Friday, December 14, 2007

The REAL Secret

My youngest sister talked me into watching The Secret. I'd read up too much on it to really have any interest but because she kept bugging me about it, I rented it via Netflix. And it was everything I'd heard it was. Too much focus on materialism, financial wealth and selfishness. In fact, the only thing that I DID agree with was the whole aspect of positive thinking benefiting our health. Now, this is true. Out of ALL of the reconstructive surgeries I have had and the sicknesses, illnesses, etc., I know from personal experience just how healing positive thinking can be.

That said, I didn't buy it that negative thinking caused negative results and that only positive thinking brings positive results. I mean, look at real life. There are times we all struggle to achieve our goals. And we have doubts. But we keep pushing forward and we never lose faith. And sooner or later, we accomplish the goals, despite having felt doubts and insecurities.

No, the "secret" which that movie is promoting is not the TRUE secret to happiness.

The REAL secret to happiness is this: We don't need to have everything. I am not saying we should have nothing. Of course it's important to have a roof over our heads, clothes to wear and food on the table. But we don't need to have EVERYTHING!

In today's society, there is just so much emphasis on having everything. Having it ALL! More money, more things, more land, more fame. More, more, more. But that's not the secret to happiness. That is not how we can TRULY enjoy our lives. Because if we have everything, there's nothing for us to really value or appreciate.

We need to be happy with what we DO have. We need to be content with our lives, and ourselves. If our lives are bad, we need to change them. But that doesn't necessarily mean that we need to have more. It just means that we need to stop and ask ourselves what it is we really want. And what it is that we really need.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New pics!!

Jesse recently turned one month old. Yay! To celebrate, here's some new pics. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Keep moving forward

We recently saw the movie Meet the Robinsons. I hadn't been aware of it until I saw the preview while watching another movie. Jennifer had already seen it and when I expressed interest in it, she started going on and on about what a good movie it is and how much she liked it. (Apparently, our neighbor took her along to see it at the theater when it came out.) Since I'd gotten such raving reviews of it from her (ha), I decided to rent it.

And I'm glad I did!

It's definitely a good movie. No part of it is cheesy and, as a 30-something parent, I thought it was a movie other parents in my age group could enjoy. (Or maybe even just other 30-somethings, period! Not just parents....)

The Walt Disney quote at the end was the real kicker, though. Walt Disney is someone I have always admired, and his quote is yet another one of his quotes that has inspired me. "Keep moving forward" is a part of his quote included at the end. And during the movie, where Lewis is frustrated over being unable to fix the time machine and Wilbur keeps saying "keep moving forward," that right there has also inspired me. How he just keeps saying "keep moving forward" no matter what.

That is something that I have started to do, as well. I've seen quite a few movies where the good guys lose in the end, but they NEVER gave up! They tried. At least they tried. They kept going and going. Even when people said they weren't good enough, they didn't have what it takes, the odds are piled against them, etc., etc. They STILL went after what they wanted to do. They tried, anyway. And even if they lost in the end, even if they died in the end, their story still moved me, still inspired me, still strengthened me. As it has done for others. They NEVER GAVE UP! They kept their dreams alive no matter what.

But more importantly...they kept...moving....foward.

I used to live by the quote "be like the arrow, always moving forward and never looking back." It's quotes like this which inspire me and keep me going on.

I've had my share of failures. I've had the odds piled against me. I've had people tell me I'm not good enough, I'll fail, I'll never get anywhere, I'm not smart enough, rich enough, successful enough... The list goes on. Believe me, I've been through it all.

But I'm not going to give up. I will NEVER give up on my dreams!
I will keep on keeping on.

I will be like the arrow.

And I...will keep moving forward. My dreams await me, and I will never give up to make my dreams come true.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The playlist in my mind

I didn't lose my hearing until I was 13 years old. By then, I'd heard a good deal of music. After I lost my hearing, I wore a hearing aid. The hearing aid helped me to still enjoy music in some way, though I couldn't hear it as good as I used to. Mostly, I relied on memory, waiting until the lines were sang and singing along with what I could remember. Enjoying new music wasn't something I tried to do, though I WAS curious about the current bands and popular songs. Of course, being deaf, I didn't make it my mission to learn all about them. Music just wasn't that big of an interest for me anymore. My sisters and brothers pretty much compensated in that regard, showing me lyrics to new songs, offering cues to when lines were sang and pretty much filling me in on the different types of bands out there. (Well, SOME of them. I normally didn't hear about a band until I asked about them or they were mentioned in conversation.)

After I lost more hearing, enjoying music like before was impossible. As strong as my hearing aid was, I just couldn't "hear" the songs so good anymore. I couldn't talk on the phone anymore, either.

So I was left with what music I WAS familiar with up until then. So it has been since. And from time to time, those old songs will play in my mind. I guess you could say I have a personal collection of favorite songs in my memory. Some of them I don't remember as well as before anymore -- like, I forget how the music went or how the lines were sang -- but most of them are there and they are songs I still enjoy even today. They're old songs, true, but I still enjoy "listening" to them, even if I "listen" to them in my mind or even sing them once in a while. I guess in this way, I'm keeping those songs "alive."

Sometimes I wish those songs could REALLY be playing when I'm remembering them, so that my children can enjoy them, too. I don't know how that would be possible, unless one of my sisters was willing to take the time to burn a bunch of CDs for me. I guess someday they will hear them. (I DO have an 80's Pop Hits CD, and my daughter LOVES playing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Yeah, I remember that song, too.)

Some people have iPods and their own playlists and burned CDs. Me, I've got the music I remember in my mind. And when I recall those songs, playing them in my mind, I can still enjoy them just as much as I did when I could hear them.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Missing him

(Note: An introduction )

There are a lot of pains that I carry. Some are easier for me to carry than others. But there is one pain I have that will never go away: Living life without my one true love.

I know that there are people who have opinions about this. And they'd like to use those opinions to silence me on this subject. But, I will not be silent. I will not! I know what is true. I know what I went through... And I know that he is real. I believe in him. And I always will believe in him. He will always, ALWAYS be a part of me, a part of my life.

The "him" I speak of is Jonathan. The man in my dreams. But he was more than just someone in my dreams. No, I no longer believe that someone who LOOKS like him and shares his name is him. I refuse to believe this. It's just not possible. But what I mean is...I know that Jonathan and I once shared a life together. In a previous lifetime. Our love has survived even death. Even though we are not together in this lifetime, he found me. He found some way to get through to me. And I know that someday....maybe I will find him. Maybe our roles will be reversed and it is I who will visit his dreams.

If the whole thing wasn't some kind of story, it should be. It does have the elements of a story, doesn't it? Well, it's all true. It's a TRUE STORY. It REALLY happened. People who don't believe in this kind of thing probably suspect I have something wrong with me. There are people who just don't believe in these kinds of things. That this kind of thing could possibly happen. Well, it happened to me. And I stand by it.

It's so hard to live it, though. You can't imagine how painful it can be to live your life without your true love there in this world with you. Well, I imagine I am not the only one to be separated from my true love. But it is indeed a pain unlike any other. My arms ache to hold him, even though I never REALLY held him and will never get to until this life ends. I yearn to be close to him, to look into his eyes and touch his hands. These are part of the pain that I live with.

Another part of that pain is guilt. Guilt over....marrying another. I know in one of the dreams, Jonathan and I DID marry. But that's not here or there. (Nevertheless, I still acknowledge him as my husband, even though it was in "just a dream." Perhaps the dream was representative of past events or of the degree of love and commitment we share for each other, but the bond we share shall never break.) In this lifetime, I am married to someone else. I feel guilty, but I know that I must do what I must do in this life. I must do what is expected of me, both as a Christian and as a woman. I must do what is right.

And that also is a painful reminder. Doing what is right. I know that in helping Jonathan to cross over, to go home, it was the right thing to do. But I did that out of love and not out of duty. I wanted him to be happy and have peace. Not wander the earth or...through dimensions anymore. It was painful to do this, because doing this meant he would not be in my dreams anymore. He would be home. I miss seeing him in my dreams.... It was the closest we could have to sharing some kind of "world" or "life" together. Now we don't have that anymore. And I have nothing except the memories to remind me of him.

And I have our love. No matter what happens, and no matter what people say, I am always going to love him. And I suppose I am always going to miss him, too. I have accepted that I will never see him with my eyes in this lifetime. Oh, I'll see pictures of that someone who LOOKS like him....but that won't be him. I have accepted that this pain of missing him is one that I must carry with me. I may write poems inspired by our love....I may occasionally shed a tear or whisper his name when that pain gets to be too much to bear...but I know that this path in life is one I must walk, and walk alone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Small sacrifices

I recently saw the movie "Late Marriage." Watching that movie sure left me feeling depressed. The character, Dooby, ended up marrying the woman his family WANTED him to marry, and not the one he REALLY loved. He did this to appease his family's wishes, not his own. He gave in to family pressure, and that right there was what left me feeling depressed.

I know all about family pressure, and about giving in to it.

I have lived with the regrets because of giving in to family pressure. And it's not just my own family who I have had to make sacrifices for or give up something/someone for. It is also my own child's.

Some people just don't understand this, but I'm the type of person who would do ANYTHING for my children. And I really DO mean anything. I would give my own life for them! They really do mean that much to me. They mean the whole world to me. My children are more important to me than anything and anyone in the whole wide world.

Some may say "well, what about YOUR happiness?" My happiness can come later, after my children have grown.

Before I had more than one child, it is my daughter who has influenced the choices I have made in life. It is because of her that I have made certain choices. And even though I have regrets because of these decisions...even though some decisions mean I must live without some things and some people....they are the choices that I MUST live with. Because they are choices I made for her.

And now I have another child, too. And I will be making choices because of him, too. Both of my children matter to me more than any words can say. And while "sacrifices" are usually seen in a negative light, I don't regret making sacrifices for them. I would do ANYTHING for them. They are worth it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The other "woman's choice"

I wasn't sure if talking about something like this was a good idea.Sometimes I worry about the things I discuss in my blog -- like, if people take them the wrong way, or something. But I really feel it's important to discuss this issue, not so much to defend my decision but maybe in some way to let other women who make this decision know they have a "soul sister" out there.

Before I had my baby, I was of a mind to feed him formula. Having gone through the routine before, I really felt formula-feeding was the more convenient option for all of us. My husband, however, felt differently.He wanted me to breastfeed. His stand on this issue is that it is the healthier option for our child. Even though I reminded him that our daughter was formula-fed (after one week of being breastfed) and that she turned out just fine, he still felt that breastfeeding was the way to go.

I'd previously had a bad relationship experience with someone which affected my views of breastfeeding, so I didn't feel too good about it. It just really affected me so deeply that I struggled with how to approach breastfeeding my own child. (I'd rather not discuss what happened. Let me just say that I paid the price for trying to have an open mind.) So for a while, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to go through with it. I wasn't sure if I COULD go through with it. Even as I talked to my husband about this, and about my feelings which resulted from it, that didn't change his desire for me to breastfeed our baby. So I had to work out my issues on my own, which I did succeed in doing.

After I gave birth, we set to the task of breastfeeding the baby. Since I had not been able to learn that much about breastfeeding, I had a WHOLE LOT of help from the nurses and lactation consultants at the hospital.They tirelessly worked with me to help get a hang of breastfeeding. Even when I faced a positioning challenge because of my left hand being unable to hold my son's head when he was on my right side, they were constantly available to help me and to educate me on breastfeeding. My husband was very supportive, too. When I finally learned how to support the baby on my right side despite my physical challenges, I was overjoyed. I soon experienced the bliss of breastfeeding my baby and the bond we shared during such an experience. I finally understood that bond. I thought I was silly to have such reservations over breastfeeding before, because ALL of those issues just went away. They meant nothing, NOTHING, compared to this. It was just such a wonderful feeling, unlike any other in the world.

Then something happened. Amid the nursing and in-between pumping that I did, I noticed something on one breast: A blister. When I saw it, I was horrified! I was stunned! HOW did that get there?? It was right next to the nipple, and there was NO WAY I was going to put that into my son's mouth! So I decided that I would nurse/pump on the good side, then supplement his feeding with a couple ounces of the formula the hospital gave to us. At least until the blister healed. (Yes, it WAS painful and soon became irritated. I had to cover it with a bandage.) I tried to pump milk on that side, mainly to keep the milk supply up, but it was just too painful.

Luckily, I had an upcoming appointment with a lactation consultant. I figured I could talk about this blister and see what my best course of action should be. When I showed her the blister, she reacted with the same kind of surprise. She said it looked like the baby had been biting there, though I couldn't recall that kind of sensation from previous feedings. She also found a new blister on the OTHER side! Good grief!! She gave me some Soothies to wear, which would help heal the blisters (they were UTTER heaven, especially since the right side was becoming engorged) and we talked about my options. I told her all about how I'd been feeding the baby up until this point. We talked about the possibility of my pumping milk to keep the milk up until I could nurse the baby again. She also mentioned the possibility that I could stop the milk supply and give him formula -- mainly because the whole pumping thing would become an inconvenience. She knew I had another young child to care for, and that there was nobody else at home to help out.

I sadly looked to where my daughter sat on the floor, playing with toys. Hubby was sleepily slouched over on a stool, half-awake. (He'd only gotten a couple of hours of sleep.) I knew she was right. She said if I pumped the milk, I'd have to do it every three hours until my full milk supply came in. Then I'd have to ALSO squeeze feeding the baby in there somewhere. Hubby was taking the week off from work to help out, and he'd been wonderful about it, really. But he had to go back to work soon, and that meant I'd be alone with the kids all day. I had NOBODY else to help out. Nobody else to keep an eye on Jennifer so I could disappear for 15 minutes every 3 hours to pump milk. I mean, how could I expect a 6-year-old to behave? And what about her school? What if I'd be stuck pumping milk when she gets out of school and then I'd be late to pick her up? What about the baby? I couldn't do the pumping in our room while he's asleep, because it would wake him up. That meant leaving him alone, for 15 minutes. Sight unseen. I couldn't do that! What if Jennifer went in there and...DID SOMETHING?? Picked him up or something?

Anything could happen. And I....would not know until after it happened,because I wouldn't be able to HEAR any of it. Or even see any of it. (It's not like I'd be pumping milk on the living room couch. And I don't let Jennifer in the same room I pump in, either. It's a very private moment for me. Hubby isn't even in the same room when I pumped milk. I just didn't feel comfortable having an audience.)

So, it was true. It really wasn't doable for me. I couldn't nurse the baby until my blisters were healed. I couldn't pump milk, either. As much as I hated the thought, I would have to stop the milk. I'd have to stop breastfeeding my son. This realization hurt so much. It was so painful and tears came into my eyes. I started feeling guilty. I started feeling SO inadequate and like such a failure. I just felt horrible. I knew it was the best decision for me to make, but it still hurt to make it. I had to do what was best for the family, even if it meant that it hurt and even if I ended up feeling like a bad mother because of it. (Oh, I did indeed feel like a bad mother. There is just so much pressure on women to breastfeed.)

I told the consultant that I would stop the milk and switch to formula-feeding for good. She noticed my reaction and said, "You seem very sad about this decision." She went on to say that breastfeeding is not right for every family and that I have done a wonderful job in breastfeeding Jesse so far. He at least had SOME breastfeeding during the first week of his life, and that was important. The important nutrients were given to him and he would be okay if I switched to formula-feeding. She was VERY sympathetic and very understanding. She did help me feel a little bit better, but as we left the appointment, I just felt awful about myself. I hated the whole situation. Now I WANTED to breastfeed my child! But...given the circumstances...I could not. It just couldn'thappen. Part of me wanted to be a "martyr" about it and find SOME way to safely continue with my plan to pump the milk and feed the baby in between making sure my other child was safe and not doing anything with the baby while I wasn't available to watch both of them. But, I knew that wasn't possible. I just couldn't do it, and that's that.

When we got home, I felt miserable. I just felt horrible. I went into the bathroom and cried and cried. I felt like I had let my child down. Like there was something wrong with me. I was so depressed and just riddled with guilt. It was awful. I tried to cheer myself up, thinking things like "I can drink coffee now!" or "I can eat spicy and garlicky foods now!" But even that didn't cheer me up. NOTHING cheered me up. For the next few days, I was a zombie. I fed the baby formula, hating myself each time I did. And, yes, I DID drink coffee. And tea. And soda. But there was no feeling of joy or happiness over being able to drink them again. There was nothing except the reminder that I wasn'tbreastfeeding anymore.

After a while, the melancholy faded away. I just accepted it that I wasn't breastfeeding anymore. The engorgement went away, my blisters healed and soon my breasts felt "normal" again. Yes, I mourned that "empty" feeling they now had, still feeling a sting over my inadequacy. But I knew I had made the right decision for all of us. Well, maybe not as far as the baby's health is concerned....but definitely as far as his safety is concerned.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sleep-deprived haze

Today, Jesse turns 10 days old. Woo-hoo!

Looking back so far, I can only use one word to describe it all: Muggy.

Seriously, we are ALL going through some heavy sleep-deprivation. For the first few days, I only got about 4 hours of sleep each day. There was ONE day not too long ago I got 6 hours of sleep, but so far, we're still going through the whole "not getting enough sleep" stage of new babyhood.

I am sooo glad I let editors know I'm taking downtime after baby's birth. There's no pressure or deadlines to face. Meanwhile, though, the OTHER stuff we have to do in life is getting a little....neglected.

For example, here's a summary of things that happened because of our sleep-deprivation:

--I forgot ALL about a prescription I had at the pharmacy, which my doctor faxed over before I left the hospital

--We forgot to put the garbage out for trash day

--We forgot to check the newspapers for the birth announcement (I wonder if it's too late?)

--I ended up saying something in an email to a good, longtime friend which UNINTENTIONALLY hurt that person's feelings (I swear I don't even KNOW what I am saying half the time! Or remembering what I'm saying.)

--We forgot to help daughter with homework so there was one day that she didn't get her homework turned in.

Of course, we have been having the usual crankiness and carelessness because of this sleep-deprivation. Hubby and I have gotten into a spat or two, but we make up later on, knowing we're both just tired and running on empty. We have also been trying to get this house back in order (it was a DISASTER when I came home) but it is taking a while. On top of this, we're trying to get EVERYTHING post-baby in order: All his paperwork and medical stuff taken care of. For the first week, we sure did a lot of running around to appointments and making phone calls.

I myself have also faced obstacles because of the sleep deprivation. I have YET to pay a writer whose article I bought for the E-zine. And every time I remind myself, I forget again! ARGH! I also haven't been able to put out the November issue (I'm the only person who does it and I haven't really had the time!) and I feel guilty about that even though I let readers know the November issue might be late because of a pending birth. I haven't been able to do ANY writing besides this blog, though I've had plenty of ideas for stuff to write, which I've scribbled down. (Hopefully, I can find the chance to get them written up soon.)

But the lack of writing is something I keep thinking about. I don't feel guilty about THAT, because I know that taking care of the baby (and myself) are more important. And they're not stuff anybody is WAITING to read/publish, anyway. But what I also think is...what would happen if I DID try to write them? My brain isn't even functional these days. I get soooo tired, sometimes I almost fall asleep right when we're having dinner! And sometimes I can't even think straight. AND when I'm typing stuff, my work is littered with typos I have to go back and fix. If I try to write...would any of it make any sense? Sometimes I think of the writing I want to do and either confuse myself or end up not making any sense to myself. Would I be able to even write what I plan to write, without messing it up? I can't even THINK of how that could go wrong at this point, but I'm sure there are ways it could happen. So maybe it's just as well I'm not able to write them. Yet.

Too bad the same can't be said for me driving anywhere. So far, no accidents. So far.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Cross

Yesterday, I had an appointment with a lactation consultant at the hospital. While Jennifer, Jesse and I sat in a room waiting to be taken to the office, Jen pointed at something up on the wall and asked, "What's that?"

I blinked at her in surprise. "That's a cross."

"What does it mean?"

More surprise. "That's what Jesus died on."

"Who's Jesus?"

OK, I thought. I'm going to have to have a little talk with her Sunday school teacher. And, maybe I should be more informative to her on that end, too. "You don't know who Jesus is?" I asked.

She shook her head.

I frowned. "What are they teaching you at church?" I then gave her a brief, summarized explanation of who Jesus was, why He died on the cross and how He died for all of us.

Jennifer got all sad. "He died?"

"Well...yes. The bad people hung Him on the cross. But, Jennifer, it's a good thing. He died for you and me. His death took away all of our sins." I started to wonder how I could explain the concept of original sin to a 6-year-old.

"But He died!" she went on, all teary-eyed and sad. She looked down, a deep frown on her face.

"Honey, Jesus isn't really dead," I explained. "It's just His body that died. Jesus came back to life. And He went to Heaven. His spirit is alive."

This didn't offer much consolation to her. She just sat there all sad, looking down at the floor.

"Don't be sad that He died, be happy," I said, unsure of the right words to say! "When He died, He took away all of our sins. And that means we get to go to Heaven, too, when we die." I thought on this for a minute, then added, "If you're good."

I wondered if those last words had any affect on her.

Well, she soon wasn't so sad anymore. And I made it a point to get out her Children's Bible and read to her the story of Jesus. (Uh, we haven't gotten to that part....yet.)

All of this made me remember that gospel song, "Old Rugged Cross." It wasn't long before it was stuck in my head. I love that song! It's one of my favorites.

Here are the lyrics:

The Old Rugged Cross
Copyright: George Bennard, 1873-1958

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary. (Refrain)

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me. (Refrain)

To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share. (Refrain)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Labor day

My doctor knew an early birth was in the works. Any day now, she said, the baby would be born. She was right. I was due November 13th but my baby had other plans.

On Thursday, I just finished eating lunch and I went into the kitchen to wash out my glass. Suddenly, my water started leaking out! EEK! I made a beeline for the bathroom and, yup, sure enough, it was DEFINITELY my water leaking. I emailed hubby and he said "call your doctor." So I called the doctor and they told me to go to the ER BUUUT not to drive myself there. I was all by myself so I emailed hubby again and told him what they said. He got off work, picked our daughter up from school (I'd already informed the school we might have to take her out early because of the pending birth) and came home to drive me to the hospital. At this point, I was near tears because my pants were soaked. (Good thing they were icky maternity pants that I never plan to wear again!) I didn't like being so wet in my clothes. Didn't! Like it! >:( So hubby grabbed a towel to put on the seat of the car and we got EVERYTHING together (hospital bag plus a bag for Jen) and headed to the hospital. Good thing they told me not to drive because on the way, contractions started up and I was wincing every time the car turned when we got there. He wheeled me inside then took Jennifer with him to go park the car. I was taken to Labor and Delivery, into a room and they had me change into a gown and get into a bed. My ASL interpreter had been called ahead and she met me there. The room was NICE -- it even had a couch! They strapped a heart monitor around my stomach and something to monitor contractions and not too much longer afterwards, my water officially broke and the contractions became stronger.

The doctor on call came in to talk to me about an epidural. I knew I wanted one but wasn't sure if I would end up getting it too early. He assured me that wouldn't happen. It wouldn't "wear off" like I thought it would because it was like a pump. About 10 minutes later, I told him, "OK, let's do that now."

But before they could do that now, they had to put an IV in first. No problem, I thought. Just a one-time sting and that's that.


My veins ended up NOT cooperating. Every time they stuck a needle in, my vein popped! (So weird....) I was writhing in pain as they tried one area of my arm AND hand after another. (This isn't the first time this has happened. On one occasion I was in the hospital having reconstructive surgery, the doctors couldn't get a good vein on my arm and spent 10 minutes or so poking ALL OVER my foot and leg. Yeah, I was pretty much screaming in pain while the nurses held me down. And let us NOT forget, boys and girls, the 15 shots into my spine I once had for a spinal tap. Ugh. WHY??!!!) Finally, they called someone else in. She had the idea of numbing my hand, that maybe it would help them get a better vein. So she numbed it (not TOO much) and, on the VERY first try, they successfully put the IV in. It didn't hurt AT ALL. I told her, "Next time, I want some more of that numbing stuff!" Heh-heh.

But since the IV was in my hand, I was concerned about being able to fingerspell to hubby. (He is also a non-aid-wearing deafie.) (You know, they should make an acronym for that!) We DO talk to each other and use lip-reading, but sometimes we DO have to sign or fingerspell. So the nurse asked me to try fingerspelling her name. "What's your name?" I asked. She fingerspelled E-R-I-N. I was able to do that okay so no worries there.

Next they wheeled a funny looking metal thingy in that looked like one of those thingies they have at spas for people to get into a position for a back rub. The anesthethiologist administering the epidural introduced herself and explained the procedure, as well as answering my other questions. (You can tell it's the first time I've ever had one!) The nurse monitored the baby's heartbeat and helped me get into position. At this point, the interpreter, hubby and Jennifer were out in the hall. Jennifer is PHOBIC around shots and I didn't want her to see that. When the anesthethiologist looked at my back, she had some concerns. I have third degree burn scars on my back (from the accident) and she wasn't sure if it would work. But she did some more examining of the damaged skin on my back (it covers my whole back) and said she thought it would be fine. So my back was washed down and the needle was inserted into my spine. I SCREAMED! I didn't expect THAT kind of reaction but, boy oh boy, did that HURT!! But the pain soon went away and I felt weird with my legs all tingling and getting numb. I could feel the medication being injected and that felt strange, too. She covered my back with a tape and I was allowed to lie back down in bed.

I can only say one thing about the epidural: God bless whoever invented it!! The contraction pain was long gone, but it sure as heck felt weird when there was a pressure-feeling every time they happened (they were happening A LOT!!). Having my legs all numb was a weird feeling, too. The nurses would occasionally check to see how much my cervix was dilated and they would have to move my legs themselves to do it. Finally, there came the announcement: "It's time to push!"

Jennifer was not in the room for this. The interpreter volunteered to watch her for us in the hallway. I'd talked with hubby about this. Of course, the birth of her little brother is a special moment, but I was concerned the sight of all the blood and me trying to push him out might scare her. So we agreed she would not be in the room for this.

When I'd given birth to my daughter, I didn't have an epidural. But pushing her was HARD. Whether or not you get an epidural, the pushing is ALWAYS hard. I couldn't "feel" the baby to push him out, so I focused on using my muscles to push. This was NOT easy! At first I thought the epidural made it harder for me to focus on that, but I knew it was just 100% mind over matter. Still, I was pushing so hard, it felt like my brain would explode!!

Then I noticed that when the nurse told me to breathe, she breathed differently than I did. She illustrated to push on the exhale, not on the inhale. So I changed my breathing to copy hers and this helped A LOT! Still, the pushing was REALLY HARD and soon there was bad pain down there, too. In between yelling "ow!" and grunting for air, I was pushing like crazy! But even as I pushed, I kept thinking, "I can't do it! I can't!" His head was just too big! They told me his head was on the pelvic bone and I tensed, remembering how this one woman giving birth had her pelvic bone broken in the process. I kept saying "I'm afraid I'll break" and the doctor kept assuring me I won't "break." I wanted to start crying and saying "I can't do it!" but I knew I couldn't say that. I couldn't THINK that. I HAD to do it! I had to get this baby out of me!

So I kept pushing and pushing. They put this metal thing at the side of the bed for me to grab onto when I pushed and that plus them holding my legs helped, too. As I pushed, I also looked at the clock. I wondered if the baby would be born at the same time Jennifer was. Well, Jennifer was born at 8:58 P.M. and it wasn't even 8:00 yet. So, I kinda hoped it WASN'T going to happen at the same time. I hoped it would be sooner! Even at 8!

Finally, after 40 minutes of strenuous, exhaustive pushing, the baby's head came out. I tried to push more but the doctor did most of the work, pulling the rest of him out. That hurt but I instead focused on the feeling of his little body leaving mine. (Yes, even with epidural, I could FEEL that!) The doctor got him out and put him on my stomach. That tiny, shivering purplish baby on my tummy was MY NEWBORN SON!! Relief swam over me, mixed with exhaustion, as I stared at my beautiful little boy. Tears came into my eyes and everyone started giving me hugs. I was SOO HAPPY!! All of that hard work, all of it, had been worth it. My son had finally been born. Words cannot even BEGIN to describe how happy I was. It was such a magical moment!!

Hubby and I had not decided on a name EXACTLY. It was either Jesse (his choice) or Ryan (my choice). The minute I looked down at my baby, I knew which name to give him. It struck me just like that: Jesse. He LOOKED like a Jesse, so on October 25, 2007, at 8:06 P.M., an 8 pound, 7 ounce and 21-inch-long Jesse Taylor Wilson was born.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Power less

Yesterday, we lost power for 3 1/2 hours. I didn't catch on to the power going out right away. Jen was playing her computer game while I was going around the house, tidying up and getting the morning routine "started." She stopped me on my way past the computer and said that the computer went off in the middle of her game. Confused, I looked over the computer, then I woke up hubby to tell him about it. He nodded, said to let the computer stay off for 10 minutes, then start it up again. (It's a new computer so I don't know why this news didn't surprise him.) But before I left the room, he alerted me to the fact that the alarm clock was off, too. He told me to check next door to see if they were without power. But first I checked the other rooms to verify that the lights weren't working. Then I went next door, on both sides, and sure enough, my neighbors were without power, too. I asked one neighbor if he was going to call to find out what happened and, when he said yes, I asked him to let me know. (We can't make phone calls ourselves to find out.)

When I came back, hubby was up and checking around to make sure the power outage wasn't going to hurt anything. Then he took a candle into the bathroom for light while he showered.

Jen had a hard time understanding what the power outage meant. She wanted to watch a Rolie Polie Olie movie she checked out from the library but I told her the TV and DVD player won't work when the power is out. So we went over the things she COULDN'T do while the power was out: She couldn't play her computer game, watch any movies or listen to music. And she said, "And you can't check your email." (Well, I was okay with that, since I'd already checked it earlier that morning.) She wanted something to do so I suggested, "Well, why don't you do some art?" I reminded her how I'd cleaned up and organized her desk just the day before and how all of her paper and art stuff was right there for her to use. (Good thing I got her extra paper!) So she went into her room to create art at her desk.

Meanwhile, I wasn't stressing out over the power outage. It wasn't summer with HIGH HEAT to deal with (thank God!) and it's not like we had steaks in the freezer, or anything. (Actually...we pretty much just had a little bit of milk and two slices of turkey lunch meat in there to worry about. LOL Yeah, we had to do some grocery shopping.) But I DID get antsy over not being able to vacuum the carpet or do the laundry. I did what housework I could (except the dishes, since I'd assigned THAT job for after lunch/before dinner) but soon grew restless. Jennifer got restless, too, so soon I was suggesting other things that we could do together.

Like...put up the Halloween decorations! I'd bought the decorations WEEKS ago but we've all been so busy that we didn't get around to putting them up. So we all three put the decorations up. It was fun and Jennifer was really excited over it. I enjoyed it more because we did it together as a family.

Jennifer also wanted to do paper crafts. She created envelopes and wrote letters to her friends. She and her dad also played with a newspaper hat he made for her. And during all this, we munched on the leftover donuts and pizza that were in the fridge. (Well, we might as well eat them now!)

Finally, I worked with Jennifer on an activity book she had to do for school. Right around the time we finished, the power came back on! (How appropriate.) She ran around the house, turning on all the lights. Then she put on music and started playing her computer game again. Ah, yeah. She missed technology. LOL (I'd found out that the power had gone out because some guy had crashed into a power pole on a nearby street.)

Still, we had a great time even WITH the power out. And I'd noticed how neighbors were coming outside to clean up their yards or driveways and to just play together as a family. It made me think of maybe just how much we all miss as far as "together time" is concerned because of all the technological distractions in our lives. TV, radio, computers and video games.

So in a way, I'm glad the power went out. We needed that time together as a family. And, we should have some more of it happen, too -- not JUST when there's a power outage.

Friday, October 19, 2007

heat sickness

I was supposed to interview someone over the phone this morning at 6 but I was not able to do it. Why? I was too sick! Hubby left the heater on all night and when I woke up at 5, I wasn't feeling so good. I went to sit in front of the fan but I was also feeling really sluggish. I was SO FREAKIN' HOT!! I was wearing only a nightie but I was still so hot. When I'd gotten up to let the dog outside, it was like 50 degrees out and I stood in the open door, relishing the cold air.

After feeling a LITTLE BIT better, I went to the bathroom to take a shower. Problem was, I was soon feeling really sick again. I was breathing hard, sweating and felt really queasy in my stomach. I was burning up! So I couldn't take the shower.

And I was too sick to do the interview.

Hubby ended up getting up to get our daughter dressed and drive her to school. Next time, I'm going to have to REMIND him that there's a pregnant woman in this house and to leave that darn heater OFF!

At least, for the next three weeks. They can live through THAT, right??

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Hubby did a Very Good Thing recently: He bought us cell phones. Not JUST cell phones, mind you, but the kind of phone that also has a camera, voice recorder, flashlight, email/text, calculator and games. It even vibrates when a message is received! (MacGyver would LOVE these.) It's a good thing he got these phones because, a couple days later, my email on my old ISP stopped working, on the same day I had to take our sick daughter to the doctor and hubby wanted to stay updated on what happened while he was at work.

I hate to admit it, but I'm becoming addicted to this little phone. I use it for EVERYTHING! Well, except to cook meals and do the laundry with, though it would be nice if The Powers That Be could find some way to incorporate those features into an updated version of the phone. ;) (There's also the fact that it doesn't have a word processor thingy on it, either. How sad, especially since I have been without MS Word and STRUGGLING because I can't work on my books. Ack!)

But one thing I'm really going nuts over is the camera feature. For the longest time, I would envy people who had camera phones. I'd watch them hold their little phones up to take pictures and all the while seethe over how I don't have one of those camera-phone-thingies myself. Sigh. Now I finally do! And despite hubby's cautions not to go nuts over taking pictures with my phone, I just can't help myself.

My daughter somehow or another spells her uncle's name (WITHOUT HELP) while we're playing Scrabble? Click!

A weird-looking spider is on the tree outside? Click!

A VERY foggy morning blankets my daughter's school in fog? Click!

A culinary disaster turns into an artistic curiosity? Click!

My dog is cuddled up asleep next to my chair? Click!

I know that sometimes there are things that are NOT worthy of being photographed but sometimes that obsession to take pics with my nifty camera phone overrides that common sense. It doesn't matter if it's my daughter standing in front of the TV watching a movie or if it's a cool-looking autumn leaf found outside. Nothing can escape my clicking finger when it comes to the camera phone! Bwaa-haha!

Of course, to save room, I email the pics to my email account. And sending an email costs 5 cents each time. I wouldn't be surprised if hubby faints when the bill comes in.

Meanwhile, my digital camera is sitting in the case on the shelf, feeling all neglected and jealous of the new guy. I still use it every once in a while, just to let it know it's still useful to me, but when it comes to portability and instant email receipt of a photo, the camera phone still comes out on top.

At least, until they come up with something else that's even better....

Friday, October 05, 2007

MySpace -- the OTHER free Internet email account

Ever notice how some people have a preference on how to be contacted? Some prefer a specific email account, some prefer texting while others prefer being contacted by cell phone.

I know a lot of people who have a MySpace profile. And for some of these people, MySpace is their main way of contacting others the same they would via an email account! One of my sisters, for example, checks her MySpace messages more than her email account. It's gotten to where I would just opt to contact her via MySpace instead of her email account, especially if my message to her is time-sensitive. (The worst part is, I have to wait for a page to completely load before I can click on "Message." Unfortunately, her page takes a looooong time to load. Yesterday, for example, her page took so long to load, I was able to write up a one-page short story while I waited for it to load. And when I was done, it was STILL loading!! I may have a new ISP now but I'm still on dial-up, which is not much fun but WAAAAAY better and faster than AOL.)

I also have a friend who has an email account, but he can't give it out since it's business-related so he uses his MySpace account to send and receive emails.

Because of this, I have kept my MySpace account. There have been sooo many times I've been tempted to cancel it because of dealing with creeps on there (I'm NOT on MySpace to hook up with anyone or "find true love"), as well as dealing with all the SPAM that keeps being thrown my way. (Seriously, if I want a new cell phone carrier, work-from-home job or free ringtones, I'll look for that myself, thanks. Your spam for these products is JUST spam and automatically gets deleted.) Still, I keep it because it's practically my lifeline of staying in touch with friends and family.

However, I have changed the way I use my MySpace profile. My main one (author profile) is for writing and book-related stuff. I have created another one for family-only stuff. On THIS account, I talk about stuff going on, fill out the surveys (when and IF I have the free time for it!), share family pics and info and just keep everybody updated on stuff going on out here with us, since EVERYBODY lives so far away!

All the same, I think it's kinda funny that some people rely on their MySpace accounts to stay in touch with other people than they would their email accounts. As far as writing goes, I have A LOT of contacts on MySpace who respond to my messages there faster than they would through their email accounts. Emails can get lost, forgotten and misplaced. Still, I've had better luck in hearing back from them via MySpace messaging.

I don't know why some people prefer this method to communicate over an email account. In my friend's case, it's a no-brainer. Perhaps for some, they prefer it because email accounts can occasionally crash, get blocked or even refuse to work right. (I've had to deal with problems logging in to certain email accounts several times.) Also, there are vigorous spam filters which block certain emails from the accounts, even emails that have cleared in the past! (I have another friend who I've been emailing regularly for 3 years and, sometimes, his spam filter blocks some of my emails from getting through to his inbox.)

But, I guess, whatever works. With me, I accept being contacted any old way, email or MySpace -- even when my email accounts can be hard to log into.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The parking lot wars

The more I have to face that chaotic parking lot every time Jennifer gets out iof school, the more I am trying to figure out my best strategy to make picking her up a little less stressful.

It's not just the HUNDREDS of cars I have to contend with when picking her up (I pick her up at the front of her school), it's also the parking. Mainly, if I park my car and wait for her to come outside, there's a VERY good chance I'll get trapped. In the school parking lot, people throw parking laws right out the window. They park EVERYWHERE; behind parked cars, at odd angles alongside curbs, they double-park and even turn a section of the lot into a two-way thruway going only ONE way!

It's ridiculous.

At first I thought, 'Well, if I leave early, I can get a good spot where I WON'T get trapped, pull out when she comes outside and pick her up.' This turned out to be a bad idea, because apparently, it's the same exact thing EVERYBODY ELSE was thinking! All of the other parents try to get there early. (I can't tell you the many times I got stuck trying this. At one point, a guy had to help me maneuver my way out of a parking space where I was snagged between cars!)

So next I tried getting there just a TEENSY bit later. Say, 2-3 minutes later. That worked for a while, but today I figured I should move that to 4-5 minutes after school is let out.

Today I got there a little later after school was out. Jennifer's class was not outside yet, so I tried looping around the parking lot to come back around again. Bad idea. I made a turn into the middle of the lot and, after I saw what lay ahead of me, I released a deep groan. "Ohhh, nooo." I. Was. Trapped. I hadn't seen it, but at the end of that part of the lot, a semicircle of cars were parked, blocking my exit. Thankfully, the last driver was in his car, AND his child walked up to the car asking him how he planned to get out since I was RIGHT THERE, blocking HIS way out of that mess. He motioned that he'd just back up and move around the car in front of him. I was relieved; at least he wasn't angry at me for "blocking" his way out (even though NORMAL driving rules allow me a lane in THIS particular area of the parking lot!) and at least there was a way for BOTH of us to get out of there.

Next week, I'm going to try getting to the school 5 minutes AFTER release so I can just drive my way through the parking lot without having to stop and get trapped. (If you park anywhere, you WILL get trapped!) If that doesn't work, I'll just park on the street and walk up to the school and pick her up in person. This is something a few parents have been doing, and I'm starting to wonder if they do this to avoid the madness of the school parking lot.

Well, I just hope I figure SOMETHING out. Maybe next year, I'll just have Jen take the bus.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Do actions speak louder than beliefs?

There is one thing that keeps happening to me which I just don't fully understand. It may seem like a trivial thing, but the fact that it even happens has left me puzzled for quite some time.

What happens is, if I keep thinking on something that I want, it comes true. For example, in the past I've thought of a favorite episode of a TV show or a certain movie I'd like to see again. About 3-7 days later, poof! It was on TV. Either someone would turn on the TV and THERE it was or I'd see it in the TV Guide listings. Another part of this is I'd think "I could really go for some Taco Bell right now" then someone would suggest we go get some Taco Bell. Or, I would think about a book I haven't read for a long time and would like to read again. Sooner or later, that book would appear in some way or another.

The third example just so happened to occur yesterday. I was thinking about the Dr. Seuss book, The Foot Book, and how much my daughter and I enjoyed reading it together. I kept remembering how much I enjoyed reading that book and how I liked it so much because it has a good rhythm to it. (In my defense, it's the kid in me that loves this book.) (Er, not the ACTUAL kid inside of me. LOL) Guess what? This was the VERY book my daughter brought home from school for her reading homework yesterday! (Part of her homework is to read a book from school.) I couldn't believe that happened. I was so surprised. She DOES have this book in her room, but I just never got around to reading it to her because we were reading OTHER books. Namely, books from her school.

I don't understand how or why this happens because I am of the opinion that just THINKING something is not enough to make it come true.

Well, I suppose in some way, I wasn't just thinking about these things. I was remembering how much I enjoyed them or thinking on how something would taste so good right now and believing that I would soon be eating that particular thing again soon. This is just one thing life coaches tell us to do when we think about something we want: Visualize it being a reality. Visualize enjoying those things again. Hear it, see it, breathe it, visualize touching it (like if it's a coveted necklace) and tasting it and feeling it.

But as for me, I REALLY feel that it's just not enough to "think" about something that I want or "believing" that particular thought will become a reality. I believe that we need to be PRODUCTIVE about making our dreams a reality. For example, if we want to write a book, it's not enough to just "think" about one day being an author of a book or visualizing it. We need to get our butt into the chair and WRITE IT! That is the only way to get on the path to becoming an author of a book: Actually writing the book. Working towards that goal. When I wanted to get published in magazines, I spent at least 6 hours of my time EVERY DAY sending out queries, researching markets, brainstorming for ideas and finding interviewees. I didn't just sit there, twiddling my thumbs and thinking, 'Gee, I want to get published in a magazine.' I got busy making that dream a reality. And, I did. The same thing with my nonfiction books: I APPLIED myself to making my desire to author those books a reality.

In some way, this belief reflects being a part of an athletic team. I recently read a book called Soccer Dreams by Leah Lauber, and the players of the team she wrote about were talking about how they were out there every day practicing, practicing, practicing. Constantly playing and applying themselves. And how this was why they were the best. This was why they became champions: They were OUT THERE putting themselves into the game. They didn't just practice when they felt like it or just "believed" they would win and do whatever they wanted. They WORKED towards achieving their goal of being champions.

I bring this up because of a dream I had last night. I dreamed I was a part of a cross country team and the coach was REALLY working us hard to be the best team. (This dream made me so wistful. I miss running! Boo-hoo.) The coach worked us so hard that many of us were sore and tired and just low on energy at day's end. He didn't stop at grilling us on the field, though. He was onto us about watching what we ate, getting enough sleep and keeping a positive attitude about what we were doing. And as time passed, as I saw other girls on my team drop out because it was "too hard" and they were "too sore" to go on, I kept at it and soon saw results. (This actually happened when I ran in cross country at Monta Vista. I started seeing PHYSICAL results all that running was doing for me.) I didn't quit. I didn't give up. I did what the coach told me to do and I became one of the best runners on the team. (*wistful sigh*) This same discipline and unwavering dedication are what it takes to making a dream a reality. Not just "believing" that dream will come true. It takes applying oneself to MAKING that dream come true. Practicing, working, showing up. (Er, that last part is one thing I wasn't too good at when I was in cross country. *ducks*)

All the same, though, there isn't anything wrong with believing something WILL come true, if we WANT it to come true. Even as I am applying myself to making my dream of being a famous author come true, I believe it will happen. Heck, one can believe something has ALREADY happened! I'd be fooling myself if I was thinking right now "I already AM a famous author!" because I haven't exactly reached the level of "fame" which I define it to be. But there ARE benefits to believing that something will come true. It just takes a little bit of time and steadfastness for us to see it ACTUALLY come true in our real life.

And keeping the negative stuff like doubt, fear and uncertainty from our minds!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sick day

Yesterday, after I picked Jennifer up from school, she seemed to be in a good mood and being her regular self. She was hungry, as usual, and requested pancakes and a bowl of cereal to eat as she watched a Miss Spider's Sunny Patch movie she got from the library. But not too long afterwards, she came up to me as I sat on the couch and said, "I feel different." I had no idea what she meant. She asked me to set up her blanket on the couch so she could wrap herself up in it, because she was cold. She kept putting her arms around herself and pretending to shiver to let me know she was very cold.

She fell asleep for a little while. Earlier in the day, I'd decided we'd have chicken noodle soup for dinner because I was too sick to make anything else but now I figured it was probably best to make some since Jennifer was so cold. It would help warm her up. So when she woke up to go to the bathroom, I started up the soup and I tried to keep her awake so she could eat some. She was still shivering and complaining of not feeling very well. I put on one of her movies, hoping it would keep her awake. It was Alice in Wonderland. She complained that the sound from the movie was hurting her head so, for a while, she watched it with the volume muted. I kept noticing she was sniffing her nose a lot and breathing with her mouth open. When the soup was ready, I tried to get her to eat some of it, even telling her I would feed it to her, but she just wouldn't eat any of it. By now, she was feeling miserable. She had a distant look in her eyes and I noticed her eyes were watery. I kept the lights low because they hurt her eyes.

At one point, hubby felt her forehead and frowned. I asked him if it was warm and he said, "Of course." So I suggested we take her temperature. It was 103!! Hubby got her some Children's Tylenol but she took A LOT of coaxing to take her medicine. She managed to take one but stalled with the other two chewable tablets left to take. At one point, she dropped them and as I searched for them on the couch, my hand brushed against her bare stomach and I gasped. She was BURNING UP!! I told hubby and we helped her to dress down to her underpants. She was on fire all over and not just her stomach. We managed to get her to take the rest of the medicine. She asked for the sound to be turned back on on the TV so she could watch her movie. I guess that was a good sign?

Sometimes, she fell asleep and slept for a while. She was still not eating her soup, though, and I was worried her chills were still bothering her or how she was sleeping on an empty stomach. (I BARELY touched my own soup at this point. I was so worried about her.) She DID drink some Gatorade we had in the fridge. That's about it, though. When she slept, I'd walk around the house, just wracked with worry. I kept praying, "Please, God. Please help my baby."

Eventually, she woke up again to go to the bathroom. When she came out, she was crying. She was feeling SO miserable. Everything hurt. She was complaining about body aches and her head still bothering her. Hubby said if her fever didn't go down in an hour or two, we'd take her to the ER. When her movie was over, I drew her a lukewarm bath. She couldn't walk too comfortably, though, so hubby carried her into the bathroom and helped her undress and get in the bathtub. (She was wobbily when she stood up and still burning with fever.) We took turns sitting with her in the bathroom. As I sat with her, I tried to think what could be causing her to be so sick. Was it something she ate? Did she catch something at school? I asked her if any of the children in her class were sick and she said, "Everybody's sick." (I kinda doubted this. Would EVERY one of those children's parents send them to school sick?...) After some time in the bathtub, she seemed to be a little more animated and coherent. She even asked for warmer water. She said she was feeling hungry now but also sleepy.

After she got out of the tub, we checked her temperature again. It had gone down to 100. I warmed up her soup and sat with her at the table while she ate. She only took a couple of bites, though, before saying she was full. She was really tired and wanted to go back to sleep. She kissed me goodnight then walked back to the couch to go to sleep.

While she slept, I stayed with her, occasionally studying her face. She seemed to be peaceful as she slept. Hubby checked her temperature after an hour had passed and it was now 99 degrees. "What do you want to do?" I asked. It wasn't a normal temp but at least it was lower. He said we'll just keep an eye on her temperature. He'd set the alarm for 3 a.m. then check it again. He carried her to her bed and I got online to send an email to one of my sisters about what was going on. I hated it that I had to let someone in the family know about what was going on this way, but that's what happens when you've got family living in two different other states! Still, I was upset about it. What if something REALLY bad happened to Jennifer?? They'd have no way of knowing unless I got through to them about it. Just that day, one of my sisters had told me how she wished she could be more of a part of Jennifer's life. I wanted that, too. I wanted Jennifer to grow up visiting her grandparents, aunts and uncles more often than just twice a year. I tried to push these thoughts away but the sadness still lingered. If something REALLY bad happened to Jennifer, I just knew they'd feel upset over not having more time with her before it happened. She's just a little kid, too. It's not fair!

After I was done, I went to bed. I checked the time before I lied down. It was 12:30 a.m.

I was awakened 45 minutes later to see Jennifer standing by my bed, with her gown off. "I threw up," she said. I sat up and looked out the bedroom door to see hubby going back and forth in and out of her room, cleaning up the mess on her bed. Since he was taking care of that, I focused my attention on Jennifer. I felt her forehead; it was slightly warm. She was breathing with her mouth open again but she appeared to be cleaned off. I invited her to lie down in my bed with me and while we cuddled up together, I asked her how she was feeling. She said she was feeling okay. She didn't appear too warm but hubby still checked her temp. It was 98. He also brought her a clean nightgown to put on. He helped her back to bed, assuring her he had cleaned it all up. Changed her sheets and everything. He'd even sprayed her room with disinfectant. She slept through the rest of the night without trouble.

Last night I'd decided I was going to keep her home from school today. She looked forward to getting some extra sleep when I told her that. (She knows how important it is to get lots of rest when someone is sick.) I also told hubby that if she was still sick by Saturday, I'd cancel her baptismal scheduled for the following Sunday. With school, I wasn't going to budge. It's just too risky sending a child to school if they are even a little sick. Viruses and germs can spread and get the other children sick. Especially when it comes to children this young (5-6). I told Jennifer she could spend time with me in my bed and I'd read her storybooks and just be with her. She could take naps and color in her coloring book. She liked THAT idea. She loves sleeping in my big bed. Before her dad and I got back together again, she always slept in my bed with me. It was more of a security thing than anything else.

This morning, at 8:20, hubby checked her temperature again. It was 99.8. I frowned; how long before her temp got back down to normal? She seemed to be sleeping okay but I am still going to keep an eye on her. It's a good thing hubby bought us new cell phones last night; we're keeping the phones close in case an emergency comes up. I told him I'd let him know if Jennifer got feverish again today. This time, if her condition gets worse again, I'm not going to wait it out but get her to the ER.