Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where I've Been...

So I went MIA again.  Sorry.  Life took some surprising turns and I'm still trying to catch my breath.  For starters, Frank got a job.  He got a job with a commercial painting company.  It kind of sucked and the money wasn't great but it was work.  Two weeks later he got another job offer with a commercial construction company and it was more money, more hours and so obviously, we jumped at it.  Two weeks in to that job, they promoted him to foreman!

I am seriously giddy.

Then at my job, I got promoted to semi-full time.  More hours, more income.  My bosses are just such amazing guys.  When we hit one of our lowest points, they took the time to talk to me and see what they could do to help.  When we were desperate for help, they helped me.  I never knew that bosses could be like this.  I honestly almost cry when I think about all of this because for the first time in what has literally been YEARS, I have hope for us.  I feel like we are finally getting on the right track so that we can have a little security and a life where we can breathe and maybe not struggle quite so much. 

We laugh a little more around here.  We are actually looking forward to the weeks to come rather than dreading what's going to happen and how we are going to survive it.  Now when I take a deep breath, I can release it with ease; it's not shaky and heavy.  I thank God EVERY DAY for these blessings.  

Hope is a beautiful thing...

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Birth Story...Sort of...

When you work with a bunch of women or even if you hang around with a bunch of women, you will eventually get to the topic of your children and childbirth and all that goes with it.  Not everyone has an exciting story to tell other than that feeling of becoming a mom for the first time.  Every once in a while you hear a truly amazing story of how that little person came in to the world and all you can do is say awww...

I don't think I ever shared Michael's story here but here it is.  We had no trouble conceiving Nick.  I had a textbook pregnancy with him and really, I couldn't have asked for more.  When he was 18 months old, we decided that we were ready to try for another baby.  

Lightning didn't strike twice.

For the next six years we struggled with infertility and one miscarriage.  I went to doctors but with no health insurance, I was extremely limited on what could and couldn't be done.  I went to workshops, read books and listened to countless amounts of advice from people who had gone through the same thing.  Let me just stop and say that there is no "same thing".  What works for one couple, doesn't work for another.  Believe me, we tried.

I went to a natural family planning workshop - which was actually geared as a way of teaching birth control but I knew the instructor's and they decided to work with me on the opposite end.  I took supplements, I lost weight...I made myself crazy!  I prayed and I prayed and I prayed and nothing was happening.  
One afternoon I was on the phone with a dear friend who was the reason I ended up becoming a Christian.  She was a powerful prayer warrior and I turned to her in despair.  She was also a nurse and I think my main objective was to get medical advice but in the middle of my request she began to pray out loud.  I was more than a little surprised but within minutes she quieted and said "You are going to have your need to go to the pastor's and elders at church and ask them to pray over you."  

Awkward silence.

Um...sure, thanks.  Good talking to you.  I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed I was.  Talk to the pastors and elders?  Seriously?  About what?  I sat on the info for a week or two and asked around the church if that was even something that was done and it was confirmed that it was.  Now, at the same time that this is going on, my doctor had me on the depo-provera shots to try and calm what were erratic periods.  The shot was making me crazy: I had migraines, I gained weight, I was EXTREMELY moody and...I had an extended period that was going on in to month number three.  No chance of pregnancy there!

I got up the courage to talk to our outreach pastor (who I had a good relationship with) about the whole "praying over me" thing and he was like "Sure, we can do it on Sunday after church" and then he said he'd like to say a quick prayer over me right then and there.  When I got home?  The period had stopped.

I kid you not.

That Sunday, five men prayed over me while Frank and Nick sat and watched.  I walked out of the office feeling a lightness that I had never felt before.  When I got in my car, the song "I can see clearly now the rain is gone" was playing and I was like YES!!!  That's exactly how I feel!  

Six weeks later I was pregnant.  

This pregnancy, however, was not the carefree one of years earlier.  I was sick each and every day.  I actually LOST weight.  I had periodic spotting, I had premature labor and constant contractions, MY JAW LOCKED OPEN and I had to go to the hospital where I became a 'teaching moment' for the interns!  I had gestational diabetes, I had to give myself insulin shots and check my blood several times a day.  I wanted to die.  Literally, I told Frank that I wanted to die and he became afraid to leave me home alone.  

I asked my friend, why, why would God give me this answer to a prayer and then make it so hard?  What she said stays with me in every hard time of my life:  God wants us to be thankful in all things.  When I'm having contractions, praise God - there's a baby there giving me contractions.  When I feel sick - praise God that there's a baby there making me feel that way.  Let me tell you, that is not an easy mantra to hang on to when you are throwing up for the seventh time in a day.  

Michael was born three weeks early and the doctor's feared that with my diabetes, that his lungs weren't going to be fully formed.  Let's just say that his lungs were pretty much the only thing working well for him at the time of his birth!  He spent the next six months suffering from a whole protein allergy that had him on hospitalized for a week and needing to see a doctor weekly while on a prescription formula.  He needed to eat every two hours to ensure that he gained weight and we were all exhausted.  He had all kinds of skin baby was a mess.  

The differences between child number one and child number two were so great it was mind boggling.  I don't feel like we were able to relax and just enjoy Michael until he was over that 6 month mark.  

What I learned from this experience is to not take life for granted.  That little life - which started tearing mine up at the six week point (did I mention that I was on a plane when that first wave of morning sickness started and never left?) kept me in a constant state of prayer and thanksgiving for the entire time I carried him.  He is my miracle baby on so many levels and my gift from God.  

After he was born and I'd be holding him, I would tell him that.  When he was two he said something to me, I can't remember specifically what, but he was being adorable and I looked at him and said "How come you're so cute?" and he looked at me and said "Because God made me that way."


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thieves in the Office...

I think we can all stand up now and confess that we've "borrowed" a pen from work.  Maybe a couple of Post It pads, a notebook, maybe even a stapler.  We've had a strange phenomenon going on in our office lately. 

Someone is stealing mugs.

I kid you not.  Our bosses were gracious enough to stock our kitchen with a lovely complete set of dishes (service for eight) with dinner plates, salad plates, bowls and mugs.  We have real silver wear and tall drinking glasses.  Just last week one of my co-workers was coming around to all of the desks in search of the mugs that go with the set because so many were missing.  This didn't really effect me because I have my own mug (a lovely Disney mug with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto on it). 

Well, today I'm in the office and lo and behold, MY MUG IS GONE!  Now I'm pissed.  I mean, I was slightly offended by the loss of the company mugs but now this is personal.  I mean, who DOES that???  If someone borrowed it and broke it, have the damn decency to own up to it and let me know.  Accidents happen, I get it, but at least let me know!

And as if that wasn't bad enough, we are having a little weight loss competition in the office and I had the money hidden in my desk and someone took $20 out of that!  So now, not only did someone steal my dang Disney mug, but they rifled through my desk and stole money!  I'm not going to lie to you, I'm having a hard time going in to the office tomorrow and dealing with this like a rational person!

How do you confront people about this?  Who do you point the finger at?  We're a small office, I thought we were all close but this sort of behavior is appalling to me.  

So I guess not only is there no perfect church but there is no perfect workplace.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My buddy...

Way back when, when Stace was but a child, our family was supposed to move to Florida.  We were living in New York and we had sold our house and most of our furniture when my mom decided that she, in fact, did NOT want to move to Florida.  We rented a house temporarily and then moved in to a house in another town.  It was the summer between 2nd and third grade and where I met one of my best friends.

I was doing work around the house with my dad before we moved in and she was skateboarding down her driveway four houses away.  My dad encouraged me to go down and introduce myself but I didn't want to so he took me down there and handled it all himself.  He was pushy, I was shy; he's still pushy, I'm not still shy.

Anyway, here we are 35 years later and we are still friends and today is her birthday.  To my buddy Linda, you always make me smile and I am so thankful that we've been friends these many, many years.  I hope that you have a wonderful birthday and I look forward to another 35 years of friendship.  Are we rocking those sunglasses or what???

 And yes, I'm still rocking the sunglasses...some things never change!  Love you, my friend!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ereaders, who knew?

I have to admit, I fought the wave of the eReaders.  I am an old fashioned girl who enjoys holding an actual book in my hands and turning the pages.

Or so I thought.

Frank bought me a Kindle Touch for Christmas and while I put on a brave face and smiled and thanked him, inside I was like "Why?  Why would he do this to me?  Doesn't he know me at all?"  So it took some time to charge and I went on my merry little way that day and by dinner time he had looked at me, rather sadly, and was like "Don't you like your Kindle?"  The mean girl in me wanted to yell "NO!  As a matter of fact, I do NOT like it!  I told you I don't like eReaders; why would you buy me one?" But in the spirit of Christmas, I did not and I said that I was just waiting for it to charge so that I could learn it.

I was a complete spaz with it those first few weeks.  It was awkward and I kept forgetting how to get where I wanted to go and just when I was ready to smash it against a wall, it turned out that it was defective and I really wasn't so spazzy after all!  Yeah, me!  

The other day I was shopping and was wanting a new book and so I scanned the book aisle at the Super Target and put a book in my cart and then realized, wait a minute, I can get this cheaper on my Kindle!  It was like a lightbulb moment.  I have, quite possibly, a hundred paperback books in storage that have not gotten taken through Paperback Swap so why would I keep adding to that collection?  So I came home, downloaded (uploaded?  still don't know the difference on that one!) the book and happily read it while sitting in bed.  It was GLORIOUS!

I am looking forward to putting a couple of books on there for the road trip to South Carolina.  I love how tiny and compact the Kindle is and I love that I no longer have to find space in the shed for paperbacks - except for the ones I already have!  It's good to join the masses and see for myself what all of the fuss was about.  I'm sure I'll eventually want to upgrade to the Fire or something, but for now, the Touch is PERFECT.

Thank you to my wonderful husband for getting me the perfect gift that I almost hated.  You are the best!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

When Your Husband Joins Facebook...

A couple of weeks ago, something strange happened in my home.  Nick came for dinner that night and I had to sit him down so that he heard the news from me and not from one of his friends.  To this day I have a hard time understanding where we went wrong and how we got to this place but...

Frank got a Facebook page.

He who has mocked us, jeered at us and just flat out told us we were all stupid, has joined the masses and gotten himself a Facebook page.  During all of his online job hunting I guess he thought this was another way to network.  So far, he's been harmless although when we were shopping the other night he turned to me and asked if I was going to go out with a particular friend of mine and when I looked at him strangely (because the question had come out of no where) he was like "I saw it on your wall."

My wall?
You're reading my wall?
You know what a wall is?

It's all just a little too strange for me right now.  I'm not sure what to do with him! I posted some pictures on his page and some links those first few days so that he didn't look so "un-social" and plain but he seems to be doing okay on his own.  He's got people friend requesting him and even though one of them was his ex wife (he did not accept) I totally trust him to not do anything stupid on there.

I just feel like we've crossed into a parallel universe!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Okay, so this is my third year participating and my third year feeling highly inadequate.  Why do I keep doing this to myself?  Because practice makes perfect and someday, something GOOD is actually going to happen for me and my writing.  At least I hope it is.

Here's my main dilemma with all of this:  I did some research on the types of books that make it in to the quarter/semi/finals.  Now the main header is "Fiction" and then all of the sub-genres of it.  I write more along the romance line.  Do they take a lot of romance?  No.  One year, a majority of the stories that made it into the finals had a handicapped person as the main character!  How is that possible?  

I was reading some other blogs that have dealt with the ABNA's and a lot of them are discouraged by it and not participating any more because of the fact that although the grand prize is a contract with Penguin Publishing (and they are HUGE) none of the books that won have sold well.  Shouldn't that tell the judges something?  Um, like maybe not everyone wants to read the same book year after year?  Am I the only one that sees the problem here?

So I'm submitting and although I've never advanced in to any form of the finals, I'm okay with that.  Normally, I get a free printing of a proof of one of my books from Create Space because they give all of the entrants a coupon for one.  If nothing else, I'll save $10 on a future copy of one of my books.  

Still winning...LOL!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Next month my nephew will graduate from the Marines boot camp down on Parris Island in South Carolina.  Have I mentioned how proud I am of him??  Love that boy!  Anyway, even though we are only a state away, it is a 5 1/2 hour drive.  Yikes!

The plan is that my mom is going to fly in here by me and then we will pick her up from the airport and drive down.  We'll spend two nights and get to visit Justin on base and then attend the graduation service.  I am excited for this on many levels.  First, it's a HUGE accomplishment for my nephew.  He worked so hard to get in to the Marines and here he is, one step closer to his dream.  He didn't let anything or anyone stand in his way and for that I am so proud of him.

Next, Michael LOVES all things Military so to be able to take him on an actual Marine base is going to be very exciting for him.  He is studying already so that he'll be familiar with all that he sees.  Then there's the fact that this is a mini vacation.  Sure it's 11 hours of driving over the course of two days but it's a short break from my life and I am so looking forward to it!  

Now, I just need for February to FLY by so that I can get to March!