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Tuesday, 7/10 A Nasty Car Accident

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hi all.

I am awake... and nauseated... and I am in pain all over--more than usual. However, I am happy beyond all belief. My husband, youngest daughter, and I are alive and are all reasonably well. It was a horrible almost ending to a fairly routine day.

I left for work and somehow had forgotten Lola, my classroom bunny. Marshall came to my rescue and brought her to school for me and helped to keep me from having to reassure a lot of young children that Lola was okay. I skipped lunch because I didn't need salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, gravy and fruit juice and furthermore. I didn't want all of those unnecessary calories. When the program was over, I went and got into my swim suit and had my son drive me to the pool. My plan was to fix a healthy sandwich when I got home and to work in my sadly neglected gardens to free them from weeds.

Floyd picked me up from the pool and we went to the church and picked Marissa up from her summer job with the church feeding program. I stayed in my swim suit because I knew it was the most comfortable thing I had to wear when I worked in the heat to do my yardwork. She wanted to go to the bank and the library after we made a stop at McDonald's for some of my favorite sugar free lemonade. Floyd ordered a diet coke and Marissa ordered a "chocolate chip frappe." (Yuck and arghh... more to come on that.) Floyd added in an order of chicken nuggets. We got our treats and the road was full of traffic, but a kind man in a black pick-up truck let us out onto the road.

We were talking about our next day schedules. I have an appointment with my blessed pain management doctor for trigger point injections in my lower back. It was right then that it happened--everything moved into slow motion. We were traveling south on a four lane road that is/was pretty busy. There were a lot of cars in front of us at the approaching traffic light. A white car (a 2010 Dodge Charger)ran a stop sign on a side road, flew through the road and despite my husband moving into the right lane, he plowed into the driver's side door and as that happened, my door hit the utility pole. The previously mentioned beverages flew all over the car and I was hit in the head by my daughter's cell phone. When we struck the pole, the airbags deployed and the engine started to smoke. I don't know which of the next things happened in what sequence, but my husband slumped over for a few seconds and I did as well. I am unsure if I lost consciousness, but I don't know when the windshield broke or glass went into my hair that was soaked with frappe. I unlatched my seat belt and tried to get out of the car--Marissa was alert and kept asking us how we were. I couldn't push the door open, but some good samaritans had come and helped pry it open. I had the seat all of the way up so Marissa had foot room and my body was in a lot of distress--getting out in that position through a door that would only open about 10 inches was no small feat. I made it--but nobody could get Floyd's door open--the engine was burning and it was horrible. Someone brought some kind of tool and pried the door open--the horn started honking, but my husband got out. It seemed without injury which he confirmed.

My right knee was swollen with a knot the size of a baseball, scratches, and bruises. I could barely stand. They got my walker out of the trunk, but I couldn't grasp it with my left hand. My head was burning and I was not right. The paramedics wanted me to go to the ER, so I agreed. They put a cervical collar on me and put me on a back board, hoisting me into the ambulance. I couldn't stand the back board and they didn't like letting me off, but my back was raging with pain and that was the last thing that this injured person who sleeps in a chair because I cannot straighten my back needed--so they agreed and took it away. I was a mess in thought, and in every physical way possible. Marissa was bleeding where the seat belt scraped her on her upper shoulder near her neck. She was a rock and called most of the other kids. (We were in Mitchell's car--he let us use it while he was out of town at an Ultimate Frisbee contest for the weekend on the shores of Lake Michigan.)

It turned out after a few hours that I had no fractures in my left hand or my right knee, and the CT scan showed no injury to my head or neck. They were pretty impressed with the hardware in my neck. (They didn't get to see the bigger hardware in my lower back that normally brings x-ray people out of their room to talk to me about what is there and where it came from.) They sent me home and I spent the early part of the evening trying to sleep. I have spent the greater part of the evening trying to type this with one hand with occasional reliving of that awful crash and some dozing. My entire body is stiff and sore, and I am greatly worried about my husband and daughter. It was definitely not a good thing that happened, and it makes me angry that it happened at all. It was clear outside and if that young man had even looked, it wouldn't have happened at all. He was pretty worked up, and in many cases, I would have felt sorry for him--but the entire thing wouldn't have happened if he hadn't run the stop sign and if he had looked at the busy road that he was darting across. Usually at that time, there would have been a long line of traffic where we were, but we were kind of "bringing up the rear." If there had been the usual line of cars, this maybe wouldn't have happened. I cannot do the "what if" game anymore because it doesn't help me or fix this.

Anyway, we are all alive and made it through. I am about to take myself to the bathroom which will be the longest walk I can imagine today. I think seeing my pain doc will be a really good thing today!

Take care--count your blessings!
Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 7/13/2012 10:44PM

    i am so relieved that you are all okay and hope that you have a speedy recovery!!

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JENNKFIT 7/11/2012 8:48AM

    So sorry about the accident. So glad everyone is okay! Rest up take care of yourselves and feel better.


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JRSWHIMSY 7/10/2012 9:06PM

    So very very glad you're all okay!!! *hugs*

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WALKZWDOGZ 7/10/2012 7:57PM

    Mygosh! What a miracle you guys weren't seriously injured or worse! Sending prayers for healing & some relaxation after that ordeal!

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    Just remember to be thankful to God for bringing you all through this intact. Yes, you are very sore and didn't need more aggravation to your body, but God will use this for good. Glad you are seeing the pain doctor today. Perfect timing! I'll be praying for you!

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_LINDA 7/10/2012 10:32AM

    Wow! You were being watched over, so very thankful none of you were seriously injured!! Careless, agressive drivers make me so mad, and unfortunately, there are so many of them out there. Last month, police were cracking down on bad driving habits here -out of 1300 tickets issued, 700 were for agressive driving!! Running lights and stop signs is a major occurence here. Mom has been rear ended twice because she actually stops for red lights :-/. Its no wonder she doesn't want to drive anymore with all the nuts on the road.
I hope that pain Dr. can ease up some of your hurts although trigger point injections doesn't sound like much fun :( Good for Marissa being calm! So very sorry for the loss of Mitchell's car -I hope the other driver's insurance will be paying for it..
I hope Floyd got checked out too -you may all be suffering whiplash and that should be treated right away too because it can have lasting long term effects.
Sending healing and soothing thoughts your family's way.
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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FELINA 7/10/2012 10:30AM

    I'm so sorry about your accident. It's amazing no one was seriously hurt, especially being broadsided like that. I'm so glad you all are OK. Seeing your pain doc today is perfect timing. You all take care of yourselves and feel better soon.

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GRATEFUL-DAD 7/10/2012 10:00AM

    SO glad you and your family are alive and reasonably well after that. So scary.

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LADYJ6942 7/10/2012 9:51AM

    Oh my goodness, I'm glad to hear no one was hurt and that all are recovering. Prayers to you and yours.

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Thursday, 7/5 Summer Fun!! Let's Be Kids!! WooHoo!!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Hi all,

I have been more like a regular person on summer break recently than maybe ever in my own adult life. The past couple of weeks have been packed with pure fun. I feel almost like a kid--er-- a young adult--again and I have enjoyed myself with my own children in the process.

On Tuesday, June 26th, Miles and I joined Micah and the junior high band at Adventureland Park in DesMoines. It isn't quite as big as any of the Six Flags, but that probably helped me considerably. We rode on many rides, if they didn't do a lot of crazy jerking me around. I didn't dare to do that with my fragile skeletal system. We went on the water rides--the Raging River, the Log Ride, and the Saw Mill ride. It was a lot of fun, and Miles got soaked far more than I did. We did several rides that spun us in circles--they even had a good old "Tilt-a-Whirl" that I didn't think existed anymore. In the early afternoon, we went over to their water park. That is certainly something that pushes my buttons. I loved getting onto the tube and then floating around the "Lazy River." I could do that for days, I am sure. The wave pool was a bit rough for me, but I did fine between the bursts of waves. I enjoyed the big pool that you could wade or swim up to the bar. (No adult beverages for me because I had taken my meds to keep me walking for the many hours we were there.) We took a cooler full of healthy food, but I did enjoy a really great cheese burger (on Miles) for lunch. It had several big juicy slices of tomato on it which is another of my very favorites. I also enjoyed a big tall Icee drink that I got to serve up--all grape and blue raspberry, yummy. We left at 7:30, got to the park at 10:15 and left for home when they closed at 8PM. It was a long day--we got home at 11:30 after my sons enjoyed an hour of shopping at some truck stop.

Ihave went to my regular pool every day that we didn't find another pool to go to--like Whitewater Junction in Rock Island on Father's Day and again on July 30 and 31. it is a great outdoors pool, located in a beautiful park. I cannot really climb up to the water slides--there are 2 drop slides, a curvy slide and a tube slide. The pool has a spray park in it and about 3 different depth pools. I can do my exercises and people watch and play to my hearts content. It is fun when my kids go too--I went once with Matthew and Micah, once with Mitchell, Miles, Matthew, and Micah; and another time with Miles and Micah. My girls both work there, so they don't see it as being as much fun as I do and my husband doesn't swim or like to be in his swim trunks in public. I wish he would give it a try. Adults don't have to play like kids. I just cannot think of anything more soothing than nice cool water in the sunshine.

The 4th of July brought a lot of fun our way. We took a wonderful picnic meal to Camden Park to see our community's fireworks display. It was over 100 degrees with the heat index--and yet, it was a good time. All of my kids who weren't working were there--Mitchell and his girlfriend Laura, Miles, Micah, and Marissa along with my husband and myself. There was lots of traditional fair activities and games going on. I didn't even try a bit of a funnel cake, didn't need it with all of the fresh watermelon. I did have a couple of small glasses of wine after skipping my meds for the evening which made me a bit giggly as we played "Apples to Apples." It was silly on top of silly. The fireworks were beautiful, the music moving--and we had some of the best space in the park. (Ah, one advantage to my "handicapped" parking placard.) It was a clear, gorgeous, albeit warm, no hot, evening.

On Wednesday, we took a family picnic to Scott County Park--and spent about 6 hours minus about an hour or so for eating in their beautiful pool. It has two slides and is a large, large pool that was full of polite people who were fun to be around because the majority of them knew how to act around others. It was so much fun, visiting and playing ball with the boys while taking time out for slathering sun screen and getting a cold glass of ice water. I swam and exercised several times, but mostly I played and had fun with the guys. I was very tired when we got home around 8PM and fell asleep way too early. I think all of the fresh air and exercise gave me the best sleep I have had in months.

In between, I have been working from about 8:15 until 2:30 at the four hour park program, trying to give my own talent and abilities to children who attend under my watch. Each child gets both independent reading time daily along with guided reading or a reading game that involves either phonics or comprehension every 3 days. It is a fun program that has some flaws, but it is easier for me to navigate than some other things I do as a reading specialist. Both of my two helpers are going to college to earn their degree in elementary education, so they are enthusiastic and I enjoy passing on knowledge to them. It is fun and I leave in time to make choices for playing, gardening, or doing chores. (I love air dried laundry for one!!)

Speaking of gardening--wow, wow, woweewow!! Our veggies are going to town. We picked our first tomatoes yesterday. There are peppers, cucumbers, and green beans doing really well--and it is my guess that the carrots are also thriving, but it seems too early to check. The corn is at least 6 feet tall and it is such a joy. We have had a doe checking it out on a couple of occasions, but she hasn't filled her tummy up there--too close to humans, I think. I am looking forward to a lengthy and tasty harvest!! The flowers are also gorgeous--I have another favorite flower and need to find out its name. It is a little purple flower about 2 centimeters in diameter with a white center and they grow in clumps the size of a child's bouquet. I love them. Our hostas aren't faring so well in the heat and the lighter shades are looking a bit burned, but we have cooler weather and rain in the weekend forecast which will help that. We planted several colorful lily plants on the side of the house that is without flowers because my husband had been wanting them. Some are yellow, some are orange and others are coral. I am hoping that they make it to regenerate next summer as they should (but weren't guaranteed for...)

That;s about it--but I have been busy. I have had my fair share of doctor appointments and medical procedures. I am dealing with my body doing what it does, but it is a lot easier to live with when it isn't cold. I haven't had a lot of time for sparking, but as I remind the members on teams that I lead--our "real world lives" must take precedence over our cyber lives. My advice has to count for me as well as everyone else!!

Enjoy July--make the best of the heat and try to be a kid again. Kids know how to appreciate summer and we should learn what they teach us all!!

Gentle hugs,
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 7/13/2012 10:39PM

    You and I like the same kind of rides. I like the water ones too. Especially thelazy river. Can't handle the wild ones.

The pool excursions and picnics sound fun too. I am so glad to see you getting out and having fun.

It's nice to see someone's garden doing well. They are suffering here due to the drought.

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ARIANERA 7/6/2012 8:43AM

    You've definitely been keeping busy with fun activities! Hope to see you less because you've been out enjoying yourself

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MALKS_ARIA 7/6/2012 3:56AM

    wowsie! Such a good Update! glad you are moving a bit better! I am almost jealous of all you have done this summer!


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Sunday, 6/24 A retirement and a birthday

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hi all,

It has been a week of emotional overload for me. It is hard to say how many tears have been from happiness, how many have been from pain, and how many have been pure raw emotion--but I have cried some of each type.

It started last Sunday with the week long countdown for my pastor's retirement. On Sunday, we had his last Congregational Meeting and he entitled his 42nd report "The Final Word." That report had a couple of pages of photos over his 21 years and many of them included my children at various ages and stages along with his family and other church members. That started my waterfall. I knew that we needed to talk sometime, so I emailed him about a short appointment.

Michael came to see me at school after the summer program on Monday and we chatted, reminisced, and cried a bit. He commented that we had raised our families together--his daughters are Mitchell and Megan's ages. I asked him point blank if her would be keeping in touch and he told me that it wouldn't be ethical. However, he has taken a part-time position as the interim director for a new group called QCAIR (Quad Cities Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees.) He told me that both the church and the school district are members and they need volunteers and 2 board members each. A teacher with ELL endorsement will be an asset to this group. I am waiting to find out where to sign up.

His family had a nice retirement party for friends, family, and church family on Friday evening. It was a perfect evening, the food and company was wonderful. I had a lovely time. Saturday night was a program and a more formal dinner at the church. I made reservations for my entire family. Mason didn't come and I was saddened until he shared with me that he "was not ready to see him go and couldn't come." I understand--Michael baptized him as an infant, confirmed him as an adolescent, and gave him his first paying job with the summer food program. He supported Mason as the first male member of the church who served on the alter guild as well. Mason has always been both a hard worker and a charmer. Anyway, it was a fun program, full of good memories and many of the church's accomplishments in outreach over the past 21 years.

Today, the service started out fairly routine. I videotaped part of it, so I can go back to it. I am very glad that my camera died and I missed the final part of the service when the Association Pastor "decommissioned" him, setting him free from his commitments to the church and the congregation, and offering up thanks and forgiveness both ways. Everyone capable of crying did it then, if not when his wife started crying leading praise music. (His daughter did the same when she sang Saturday night.) We had a reception after church and Marshall shared his birthday flowers with Michael and his family. We talked a bit and I answered his questions about where Mason was as truthfully as I could. After yet another hug, he told me "We'll be talking again soon."

I know I have spoken a lot about my church here in my blogs. I am very proud of our small congregation. We do a lot in our inner-city neighborhood to help people in poverty and newcomers to America. We house a weekend food pantry and we collect and distribute "diapers for Baby Jesus" to families with babies whose parents cannot provide them at that time. We have opened our doors and offered a place to worship to African immigrants who want to worship in their home languages--Swahili, Arabic, Kurundi, Dinka, African French. We also hold adult English language and American culture classes for non-English speaking parents--providing child care for pre-school aged children during their instruction. We support the neighborhood elementary school in many ways and we are a bit of foundation in an ever-changing part of town. Mission is an important part of what our church is. I forgot to mention our summer feeding program where we served over 180,000 meals to hungry children in Rock Island and Moline last summer. That was a pretty big job for a church our size.

There is a lot of worry in the community that these good works may disappear. I don't expect that--word has it that we won't take on anything new for a while. We have an interim pastor to provide pulpit service for the next couple of months and a search committee that is working hard to find someone who might find our church to be a good fit with him or her. They are hoping that we can have a new pastor in place by Labor Day. I hope that I can consider that there will be someone else in that position at all. This will take a lot of prayer and prayerful thought.

I saw my ortho on Wednesday to reevaluate my hip problems. He ordered a cortisone injection to be given by a radiologist. I got that appointment on Friday. He said that this would be a diagnostic procedure--my last injection was into the bursa and didn't work. This injection went right into the hip joint with the use of a fluoroscope. He did the injection close to my lower tummy and the idea is that if my hip improves, we know that the problem is the arthritis that is shown on the x-rays. If it doesn't give me any relief, it is most likely my back and a bone scan will be needed. I think it is already improving, but I am also nervous because I thought the last one was working after a few days. I am very frightened to have the idea that my back may be creating a new crisis for me--because I am not sure I can handle that emotionally or physically. The two surgeries I had on my lower back were both a big deal--one saving my life while antibiotics were trying to take it from me; and the other taking over 14 hours and four surgeons who moved all of my organs around while installing hardware that now frightens radiologists when they see it. I had so much wheel chair time, pain, learning to walk,and the loss of my ability to do normal life activities as a result. I am not sure that I could go into anymore of that face-on another time.

On another topic, we had Megan's 24th birthday last week and Marshall's 23rd birthday today. I was a busy younger mother some 23 years ago when Marshall was our new baby. Megan had just turned one, Mitchell was 5 and Matthew was 7. I took a half of year off from teaching to spend with Megan when she was born, but we couldn't really afford it when Marshall was born. He was a bit of a surprise--I found out that he was on the way right after I returned to work and had my annual exam. I told my doc that she was mistaken, I was still breast-feeding Megan. (Hmm, faulty birth control!) She told me that I had to stop that and got me on vitamins and the regular stuff. I was very tired for a few months, it was a tricky time in my life. Anyway, he was one of the easiest of my births and they were a cute little pair of babies.

So, we have celebrated--but Marshall had to go to work, so his cake will wait until tomorrow. I promised to share some wine with him, so I have stayed away from my meds all afternoon. My children are all good people, and they are becoming good adults. They could help me more, but on the other hand, they come though for me and their father and their siblings when it really counts. I know I can trust that important things happen and that everyone has what they need. As Michael and I discussed this morning, in a family this size, we all can see clearly that everyone has a unique way of doing things and that they also grow up learning that "fair doesn't mean equal." That's a concept that many adults cannot grasp. but when you grow up having to share time and resources with others out of necessity, you learn and understand this important life truth.

That is enough of my deeper thinking tonight. I am pretty worn out from emotional things--so I will simply be glad that I have been blessed with a family who can care for each other and myself, who understand how to give and take, and who make pretty good choices. I am also blessed to be a part of a church that shares my philosophies about other people--we are here to share and care and act. I have been entirely blessed by having a wonderful pastor and friend like Michael. We go back 21 years and have many, many stories and memories. I will miss having him in my life at the level I am used to--but I am certain that our friendship will stay intact. Friendships of any type are too valuable to lose for any reason.

That gives me my closing to this blog--I am lucky to have my friends here. Life stays hectic for me even though my work hours are kind of, sort of reduced. (I am going to work at 8 until 3 for a job that is actually from 10 until 2. I just don't know how to plan for over 110 children and implement a program in four hours a day minus time for eating breakfast and lunch. I do a lot on my own time, including planning for my two helpers.) I often consider my teaching position as an extension of ministry. As always, I give thanks for you all and will try to reach out more this coming week.

Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 6/25/2012 12:54PM

    I'm sure that your minister will still be a part of your life, just in another capacity. Soon you will have a new minister and I'm sure he/she will be blessed to have your wonderful family to serve.

Happy birthday to your kids!!

I hope that hip lets up soon.

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_LINDA 6/25/2012 2:03AM

    Wow! What a week. Do not understand why Micheal couldn't stay in touch -sounds like a deeper friendship than just pastor and a member of the congregation..
I truly hope that it is just your hip giving you all these problems.
You were a born Mother Sylvia, in caring for your children, those in your neighborhood and those in your school! That is such a heavy responsibility and you are doing such an amazing job in spite of your health. You can be very, very proud! They will turn out to be great adults with your influence!
Hope you have a less frantic week..
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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Monday, 6/18 Ball Games, a Birthday, and Far More

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hi all.

It has started out to be a busy, entertaining, exciting summer break. I seem to be doing everything hard and furious, but it is nice for that to be play instead of only work and worry. (I know about worry, but it is part of who I am and how I am wired.) Anyway, here's my update since I was here last...

Our summer park program is moving fast and furious. We are up to over 100 enrolled students. I have seen all of them in one capacity or another and am really working hard to give them all what they need. I am going in early today--as I have every other day, in order to put a schedule and program together, followed by today's lesson plans. I have had to screen about half of them who attend other schools than ours and that has been time consuming. I have two really energetic and positive staff members who do not have reading background--one is a para from the high school and the other is a beginning education major at Western IL University in the fall, so they need support in this process. It will be work to get going, but I am looking forward to the positive experience.
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We got free tickets to see the River Bandits on both Wednesday and Thursday last week. On Wednesday, there was a promotion from our bank to "Pack the Park" and on Thursday, there was a promotion with the Army for Flag Day where my husband works. It was beautiful weather both nights and the game on Wednesday was a knuckle whitening game where our team won in the tenth inning after being behind by 3 hits for most of the game. On Thursday, the Bandits won it with a 3 run RBI that let the game end in the upper half of the ninth. It was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to going again soon. Free tickets made a nice evening even other.
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Saturday was Megan's birthday and we had part of our family gathering then. We actually went bowling and I gave it a try using an 8 pound kiddie ball. It was a lot for me to take on, but I had fun trying. My youngest son loves to go bowling, so it was especially fun for him. It was a good time after a day of errands, the fitness center, and some gardening. I do wish my body was acting better, but I cannot have everything, so I'll be glad for what I do have.
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Sunday started out leaving me pretty teary-eyed. Our pastor is retiring and his last week is this one. We had a Congregational Meeting and the report had a brief pictorial of his 21 years in our church. It made me cry--I have been avoiding thinking about him being gone because I cannot imagine it. However, this coming weekend is all about this--there is a party at his house Friday night, a big community dinner on Saturday, and a "Joyful Celebration" service followed by a brunch on his last day, Sunday. I don't know how I am going to handle all of this, but I just sent him an email to find out if we can have one more talk this week. I hope I figure it out because if not, I will be in tears for a long time to come. He has been there for me during more than I can list, the difficult birth of my youngest daughter. my son's illnesses and hospitalizations, my own health issues that included at least one rescue from poor nursing care gone south, critical issues with my kids growing up, work together on community needs, church camps and summer programs, my health struggle as I have learned to walk again twice, Confirmation of all 8 of my children, baptism of my youngest two children, my father's death and the abuses of my birth family and so on and so on. He has helped me to understand how God loves me and how it shows up looking many different ways. We have been friends and he has taught in my own classroom and read to students in my school. I know that when we have a new pastor for our church that he will be away for a year to let the new guy settle in and make the place his and I know that at age 65, he needs to not be working so hard. Yet, even with all of that "knowledge," I am in tears just the same.
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We celebrated Father's Day with a big family picnic at Longview Park under the trees, near their beautiful green house--and of course, swimming at Whitewater Junction. It was a lot of fun and it was another day with my children and a couple of their friends, talking, playing and enjoying each other. These days mean a great deal to me. My kids are growing up and moving on to their own lives, so anytime that I can pull them together to enjoy each other and to play is heart-warming to me. The pool was awesome--my first time this season in an outdoor pool and it was a perfect day. We had some rain Saturday night which my garden really drank up. (It was nice not to have to do all of that watering at least one day.) For the rest of everything we have been up to has been nice temperatures and sunshine. I am a big fan of warm weather and even the 90+ temps didn't botherme.
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This week has some big moments coming. I have an appointment on Wednesday to get my hip re-evaluated. This pain has been a thorn in my life for a while and i need something better to happen. (It also isn't a good mix with my broken rib and my constant lower back pain. It is too much discomfort in the same area.) I need to get some major chores in the house done and my kids will help, but they seem to need a lot of direction. Finally, there are all of the events leading up to Michael's retirement and I am praying that they are designed to leave me feeling more comfortable with this than I do now. 3 days of "celebration" are a lot and I will be there for all of them. He already has a new job as the interim, part-time director of our area alliance for immigrants and refugees. This should be a good position for him because he is passionate and knowledgeable about the topic and it will be part time, giving him a break from all of the work he has done for so many years. I certainly wish him the best that the world has to offer--he deserves that and more.

I think I'll have more "Spark time" this week and will check in soon. Best wishes to each of you as you get started on your week!

Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 6/25/2012 12:56PM

    It's always nice to see what you are up to. You are always super busy. Happy birthday to Megan!!

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PUGRAD1995 6/24/2012 8:41PM

    TAke care and enjoy your "time off"! emoticon

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_LINDA 6/19/2012 12:54AM

    Wow! so very busy, busy! Happy belated birthday to Megan, hope she had lots of fun!
I used to love to bowl -but five pin only. There, I took the lightest ball also, which was 5 lbs. I was hoping after all my surgeries are finally over with, that I could take it up again as the bowling alley is only four blocks from my apartment!
It is wonderful your family can still get together and have fun together!
I am very sorry to hear you are losing a long time trusted friend and pastor who has helped you through life's multitude of difficult moments :(
That is brave of you to plan to make it to all the celebrations in your current state of physical difficulties.
100 students! I sure hope those inexperienced helpers can be brought up to speed quickly to be of some help.
Please make sure you get lots of rest where ever you can and take care of yourself. Your children are old enough to pull their share of household duties and should be doing so -insist on it..
My thoughts are with as always during your trials..
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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Sunday, June 10, I am NOT a freak!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hi all,

It has been an awesome week--and I am proud of all I have done on this week of "vacation." I have written two blogs that got eaten up by my silly computer--so I'm sorry that I haven't shared some of this with you sooner. Anyway, in spite of some the problems I have with my wonky body, I have done more this week than, well, I would have been able to do 140 pounds ago. I haven't lost much weight lately and I have a goal to lose about 20 more pounds to have a healthy BMI at my new, decreased height, but I am not gaining either and I feel pretty good except for this orthopedic pain that is a result of arthritis that tried to keep me wheelchair bound over 2 years ago. Ha Ha--I sure won that one!! More on that wheel chair later! emoticon

Last weekend, we took a family camping trip. It was a no-frills trip with a rented pop-up and a tent. Most of our kids--and my husband--had to come and go because of their jobs, so we weren't too far out of town. It was so much fun!! It was relaxing and I tried to play volley ball and badminton. I did play croquet and the mandatory card and board games. My favorite time was around the campfire with the kids talking and laughing. It was nice to have us all together without having to rush away. Our meals were simple enough--vegiies, fruits and meat or sandwiches. It was perfect weather and a perfect time. (I did break one of my lower right ribs simply scooting up in bed, so I have that little nuisance to remind me of my weekend.) Several of us left to go to church and the choir picnic on Sunday, so I missed being able to do much of the clean up and packing--aw, shoot. emoticon

Monday was a day for me to see my doc about the pain in my side and to catch up here at home some. I did some work in my gardens which is always amazing to me and even with the elevated pain in my right hip and the new pain in my right abdominal area, I am able to pull weeds and water plants and simply have fun outdoors. I am working on our frint yard and still haven't made it to the proper store to get some bricks for trimming a couple of flower gardens and to get a trellis for my rose bush. It has been so full of blooms this year that it is hard to believe that we just planted it last year. Our winter made a lot of plant life grow and do better!! emoticon

On Tuesday, I went to school to wrap up my evaluation and then I went to church where I volunteered for three days in my son's classroom. He had well over 40 ELL children that he is teaching reading and language arts to while their parents are learning English in the adult class. WOW!! I was able to climb up to the third floor where he was holding his class and I was able to do almost everything that I was needed for. Mitchell had borrowed several books and materials of mine--including a basket of books I started collecting last fall about immigrants and refugee children. He did a nice job of planning and all I did was what he had organized. It is amazing to see my son do such important work as an educator and to see him do it so well. emoticon I also am giving myself a pat on the back because I doubt that I could have physically done the work I did two years ago with all of the extra weight that I used to have. emoticon

I also called my pain doctor to see if he could provide the care I was getting from Dr. Miller who left our area. I was able to hold my own with his nurse who generally screens calls and doesn't let me talk to him or give him my messages. This is another strength that I have been building since I lost weight. I feel worthy of asking for what I need and confident enough to stick with it. This nurse and I have a history of her not following through on my calls and needs. I basically told her that if I didn't get a response within 3 days, that I would find my doctor or call him at home. She knows he gave me his private phone numbers, so she did exactly what I needed. I couldn't get in until early in July, but I think he is going to do those injections that gave me such relief. Anyway, I stood my ground!! emoticon

I spent Friday working in my classroom and getting ready for my tutoring/ reading program during the summer. I really considered not doing this, but I had a temporary lapse and "forgot" that this program which has grown and gotten funding from at least three major funding groups in our local area has happened because of my work and collaboration with my pastor. I found a national article on what cities do for their children in the summer to prevent the "summer slide" of academic and reading skills. From that came a citywide collaborative group that put together a wish list. Move ahead after a lot of meetings and discussion and a trial year and we have reading teachers now imbedded in every summer program in our city to provide tutoring to 100% of the kids who are there. As of Friday morning, I have 72 students signed up in our 4 hour program and I have two (yes, count them--two) paid helpers--a paraprofessional from our district and a college education student who has experience with the park program we are working in. I am excited to see all of the help and the interest in making sure all children get to do some reading. One of the park board's first activities on Monday is a presentation by the library and they are leaving them a collection of books for the kids to use. emoticon

I am good--and healthy--and doing good things. I exercise at the pool each day and am back up to about 8-10 laps along with my workout. I don't often think a lot about eating and the scales--I get my fruits and veggies in and my family knows what I expect us to eat and that I will go to the pool. (They even know the schedule!) I have realized this week that:
1) I am able to do so many things that mean a lot to me and I can do most of them ON MY OWN! I can volunteer and work and get around without a great deal of help. I can play and do chores and things I value.
2) I am worthy of whatever I need or value. I never understood this when I weighted 340 pounds--I grew up believing that other people were better than me and that they deserved to be treated well and that I did not because I was obese. I am still "overweight" but I have figured out that that was a bunch of baloney and that I am as worthy as anyone. I am entitled to the same respect and services that other people get--and if I don't get them, it is okay for me to insist upon them. This is a big shift in my thinking about myself.
3) I am NOT, not, not a freak. This is crude, but it is how I used to feel. I never was a freak. All of the names I was called and my sparse little neutral wardrobe that was too boring for a child or teenager were not who I was or am. I can wear colors and patterns, and I can wear shorts and a swimsuit in public. I can do whatever I want to do in public from run to swim to laugh. I can be loud and silly if the mood suits me and it is all okay because I am a worthy human being. I do not have to sit in the back or in a corner or near a door for a quick retreat. I do not have to "stay out of everyone else's way."
4) I am and always have been intelligent. Having been obese didn't steal my brain cells or lower my IQ. I am still intelligent and I have a lot to offer, even with disabilities and at age 56. I am proud of who I am, who I have been, and of a great deal that I have accomplished in my life. Also, I do not have to prove this to anyone anymore than anybody else. I know it and so do my family and my friends--and that is good enough.

Anyway, this busy week has been productive in so many ways. I used to have a lot of inappropriate thoughts about myself and unfortunately, the people in my life gave me those ideas. I am a good and worthy person and I have a lot to give to others. I can enjoy myself and I can do as others do. I believe shedding 140 pounds opened the door for me to understand those truths that were there for me my entire life.

Summer break is here for children and teachers. I will spend four hours each day teaching children to enjoy books in a variety of ways and helping them to stay on top of their reading skills. I will guide two people closely, one who will become an educator soon. I will model for about 8 park board staff ways to enrich their day to day activities including literacy in mundane and fun activities. I am looking forward to changing at least a few lives. On a similar note, I have had similar experiences for myself since I came to SparkPeople and lost weight. This blog is a tribute to what I have learned about myself and who I am.

I am good, worthy, and important. It is okay to say it, and even more okay to think and believe it. What a great discovery on my part!!

Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    The family camping trip sounded great. You always manage to provide quality recreational time for your children.

It's great to see you gardening. To me it's a great way to get rid of stress.

I love that your son is following in your footsteps. I'm sure he is a great teacher. The children are fortunate to have you again in the summer program.

It's good to see you being proactive about your health and getting what you need.

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MKPRINCESS007 6/10/2012 11:33AM

    This is a wonderful blog and I think everyone here on Spark should read it! I am LIKING IT for sure! You are an amazing woman who has pushed through so many challenges! I am so happy for you that you have been able to enjoy life and do what makes you happy lately without too much pain!

Have a beautiful weekend!


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BUSYGRANNY5 6/10/2012 8:39AM

    Excellent blog to read early in the morning! It sounds like life is treating you well and you are treating yourself well! Life is good! Enjoy the journey!!!

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