February 26, 2005
At Kelly's Request - Photoblogging!
This is the post to fulfill Kelly's request for photos....

I will start by posting my pic of the contents of my purse. I actually took this pic as soon as Kelly had the
post about it. I just haven't been up to doing a blog entry and have expended my energy cleaning our place rather than sitting at the computer. (go figure)

The contents are:
*cheapo calendar/planner
*wallet with credit cards/checkbook
*yep, that is a real Disney Dollar - only good at Disney locations
*lens cleaning spray and cloth
*chewing gum - a la eclipse
*pile o' receipts - this is something that is ALWAYS in my purse as I save the receipts and once every few weeks, I pull them out and go through them and put important ones in an envelope at my desk
*coin purse
*hand cream - normally I have MK's Satin Hands hand cream, but dh bought me good smelly stuff - sweet pea! delicious.
*lipliner; 2 dual end lipglosses w/ Velocity fragrance roller; lip polish - all Mary Kay products
*comb - I didn't even know this was in there!
*dual coverage Timewise Powder compact
*rosary
*pad
*chewable dramamine for V (she gets car sick)

Now for some high school pics. These would have turned out better if I knew how to use my scanner, but I had to take photos of them....


These are my senior pictures. Yes, I know. What beautiful hair I had.

These were taken by a friend in my sophomore year of college. He was a photography major and took these as a project for a class. - And I actually helped develop these! Pretty neat.



The other request Kelly had was a recent picture of A. I took several the other night (we'd been sick this week, remember) and I didn't like even one, but here are a couple with the girls, which someone else requested this week.





Being silly!


Some of the girls:

Sleeping on the couch during Sickfest 2005


Valentine's Day


"Do I have to be a Valentine?"


And one to round out the Valentine's pictures:



Here's the detail pic!
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February 24, 2005
Quick Update
Everyone here is finally better (except me! ugh. I am mostly better, but going to the doc for several reasons today, not the least of which is this brick in my head...) Great news is Nanny came home from the hospital full of spit and vinegar on Sunday. Poppop was a few days behind her in feeling better, but he too is now on the upswing. Their son is flying in today to spend a few days with them, so that is also a relief - taking some of the pressure of MIL to be there every day (she needs a rest from taking care of others).

After being sick for an entire week, I had some energy yesterday so went to town cleaning. Unpacked the last two boxes in our bedroom, organized our closet, put away mounds of laundry.... I am not close to finishing, but I got a good half of the work done yesterday.

Today I will be gone all day to our hometown for a dr. appt this morning and then a visit with my therapist after lunch. I have the whole day, past dinner even, to spend there since A is hosting a chamb*r of commerce reception at his hotel.

I will get a real entry up tomorrow.

Love to you all. God Bless!
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February 21, 2005
Update
Since I have nothing good to report on the health in our household, I will talk about something else that is going on here. Okay, actually, I will do two entries... An update first and then a real entry.

First, I will let you know that one good thing, no, two good things happened over the weekend. #1 A went Saturday to take care of his grandfather, lightening the load for his mom. What an awesome man I am married to. Even though it meant leaving his sick wife and daughters home alone, he was much more needed by his grandfather's side. And when I was at my weakest that day, so dizzy I fell on the way to the bathroom, he did leave his grandfather to come home to tend to me and the girls. So, he spent his whole day caring for sick people - without one complaint. He did take V out to the McD playland for dinner since she'd been stuck at home with her sick mom and sister and she took such good care of us. Getting tissues and water, rubbing my hand.... What a sweet girl. I told her that I think she will be a good mommy one day - you should have seen the pride on her face! And yesterday, A and V went to church on their own since Little A and I are still sick.

#2 A's grandmother came home from the hospital yesterday. This is good for her, but not so good for her husband, who seems to be weaker by the hour. Hopefully the doctor will do something different with his meds today to spur on healing.

Little A has had no fever since Friday, but true to form, she has a terrible cough and we are giving her albuterol treatments several times per day. I keep praying that she will outgrow this, but it seems to be hanging on, making every cold much much worse. She was up in the middle of the night last night, crying and coughing until I gave her a treatment and let her sleep in my spot with my pillow on the couch.

And now about me. Man, I hate being sick. This stuff started on Thursday, the worst seemed to be Saturday, but I was up last night from 1 am to 4:30 am and woke up this morning before 7:30 (thanks to V). I think something has settled in and I have a sinus infection - not to be gross, but isn't that when you have yellowish mucus? The pressure in my ears is nearly unbearable. My throat is raw and my torso completely sore from all the coughing. I am certain I will want to send the girls to their room shortly - no sleep and a sick mommy does not make for much patience - and they are already telling on each other today. If I don't show signs of improvement before this evening, A will have to take me to the clinic, in case I need antibiotics. ugh.

That's it for now. It is going to be hot here today. I was hoping I'd feel good enough to take the girls to the park, but now I think I am going to have to just let them play on the deck/porch - maybe I will get the paints out for them.

Hope you all have a great day. Keep the prayers coming for Sean and Brody, along with Sandi's friend Karen and her family.

Until next time, God Bless you with good health and peace.
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February 19, 2005
Could We Get a Break?!?!
Talked to A's mom this morning. Her parents are both sick - you know the grandmother who went into the hospital earlier this week? Well, she has double pneumonia and is not improving AT ALL. And her husband - Poppop - is sick with severe bronchitis/borderline pneumonia. As a matter of fact, A is on his way right now to care for his grandfather today.

And let's face it, we are selfish beings, we humans - I am sick and would really like A to stay home and take care of me and the girls who are also sick. However, I suggested that he go be with one of his grandparents since his mother is completely unable to be in two places at once. The plan here is to keep Poppop healthy enough that he won't end up in the hospital too. And hopefully..... well, hopefully Nanny will improve at least a little. I know that my MIL is starting to realize that there is a possibility that her mother won't improve and well, I think she is a bit overwhelmed at the idea. The thing that bothers me is that Nanny is "hopping mad" about being in the hospital and just wants to go home. Which means her mind is working. :)

So, if you have a moment this weekend, send some prayers our way. And let's not forget about Sandi's friend, who lost her four precious babes this week. I just can't imagine.

Until next time, God and good health be with all of you.
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February 17, 2005
Blessings Abound
Now that I have more information on A's grandmother, I am thankful my MIL had the concern she did after her parents not coming to mass two mornings in a row. Without going into all the details, Nanny was in bed semi-unconscious for more than a day. Sounds like she hadn't eaten in 2 days. When MIL went over there yesterday morning to see what was going on, she was unable to wake up her mother. 911 came and all and well, now she is in the hospital. They suspect pneumonia or something like fluid around her lungs - we'll know more later today after the CAT scan is read. Most likely, MIL saved her mom's life by going there yesterday morning.

Ana has had a high fever for going on 39 hours. No vomiting, and no complaining about her ears, so I am questioning that it has anything to do with them. At 4 am today, I remembered that my friend Al's son had chicken pox (they found out 3 days after spending the night with us that he had chicken pox ~ something Al thought was impossible since he'd been immunized). So, we are wondering if this fever is chicken pox related - the timing is exact - the incubation period is about 21 days and tomorrow is day 21. However....

Now Veronica is sick too. And she threw up this morning. One thing, I am so proud of her - she gagged and knew she was about to get sick and she ran as fast as could be! She made it and actually ended up getting sick into the toilet - what a big girl!!!! Afterwards, she was happy to brush her teeth.....

Anyway, so here I am, debating whether or not to take them to the clinic (we don't have a pediatrician here yet).

Please pray for all of us, particularly for A's grandparents and parents.
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February 16, 2005
URGENT PRAYER REQUEST
I don't know many details, but A's grandmother (the one we are close with) is being taken RIGHT NOW to the hospital via ambulance.

She is 85 and has had a full life, but nobody is ready for her to leave us yet. Please pray that God have mercy on her and that He give the rest of us peace no matter how His plan works out in this.

Obviously, we are all praying for healing right now and hope that she will be okay.

Thanks, friends. I will keep you all posted. I may be headed that way to help A's mom and grandfather....
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Satan's Minions are Back ~ Prayer Request
This is not nearly as urgent as, say, Sean's needs. However, I know you all understand what it feels like to worry about your own child just as much as another mom worries for hers. I don't want this to sound like I think my problems are any worse or any more important than any of your own, but I really believe in the power of prayer and we could use some right about now.
I don't know if many of you know of Little A's history with ear infections. Or that it wreaks havoc on her respiratory system and requires many machine treatments per day to keep her asthma at bay. From here on out we will call ear infections satan's minions.
Last spring, as we were headed to FL for a weekend to spend with A's parents at Sea W*rld, Little A was showing signs of illness. You know - not sleeping, fever, vomiting... Well, it worked out perfectly that we were able to stop at a walk-in clinic right off the highway (called insurance for locations, etc. and there happened to be a place only 15 miles ahead of where we were when making the call). She was diagnosed with 2 satan's minions and given a prescription. We were able to continue the weekend and a good time was had by all.
Then, when I took Little A for her 2 yr check-up a month later, we were all surprised that satan's minions had hung around. So, yet another round of antibiotics. A month later, the same.... only we kinda expected it which is why I'd taken her to the doc. Each month the drugs got stronger and worse side effects - intestinal issues, yeast infections, the works - until in June (month 5) she was given the mother of all stuff and received a shot in each leg for three days. You read right. 6 shots in 3 days. The kid screamed bloody murder just when we walked in the office on the third day. She hated the (very nice) male nurse who was unfortunate enough to be the one assigned to use her tiny legs as pincushions. She cringes now when I tell her she needs to go to the doctor. She begged me not to let the opthamologist touch her - she told him she didn't want shots.... Oy. Up until those 6 shots, she was perfectly fine going to the doctor, even though she'd certainly been vaccinated before then.
Anyway, we FINALLY got a referral to an otolaryngologist (ENT) and wouldn't you know satan's minions left her before that appt. (we had to wait a month after the shots). The specialist said "if she gets another visit from those nasty minions this year, just call and schedule the surgery." For tubes. She did go on to say that possibly, Little A would grow enough for her own tubes to lengthen before we'd see any other problems.
Now, I know this is a routine kinda thing that some kids go through. But when it is your own child, you get freaked out. You don't want them to be put under anesthesia, you don't want docs poking and cutting and doing anything that has potential long-lasting ill effects. You just want your child to be well and healthy. Plus, Little A is a fish - this will definitely affect her ability to just hop in the pool....
But in wanting them to be well and healthy, a parent must also trust that sometimes the illness can be prevented by a medical procedure. Fu*k.
January 2, Little A was diagnosed with her next visit from those damn minions. I took that as a sign that she didn't need to have the surgery - look, they waited til the next year! and that specialist said THIS year and she didn't have one more in 2004!
But now, she's running a fever and not sleeping and well, I am pretty sure those little buggers are still hanging out throwing a party in her ears.
Pray I am wrong and her ears are clear and she just has some other little virus boppin around keeping her up all hours.
Sorry so long-winded. Be warned... I am feeling prolific today. ;)
God Bless you.
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February 15, 2005
Babies, Babies, Babies Everywhere!
Every which way I turn, there is talk of or evidence of babies. My world is being inundated by the mention and presence of these miracles, these wonders, these gifts from God. You'd think people were obsessed. Well, can you imagine how this makes me feel? In my hyper-sensitive, PPD plagued mind, this is a bizarre time. I feel great joy. But it makes me cry.
You see, I am excited for my friends who are expecting their first baby. I am equally excited for those of my friends expecting their third or TTC their second.
One of A's closest friends is expecting his first child at 40 years old. His wife, this is also her first child, is 38. At 10 weeks along, she's been to the ER and dr.'s office no less than 6 times. They are in for a long journey if she doesn't just relax a little. I love 'em, but she's a bit high-strung about the pregnancy. It's almost as if she doesn't trust the drs. I hope I can help her understand that not every twinge in pregnancy is a bad thing - that she will have a million aches and pains and they all usually mean the baby is growing just fine.
I have a girlfriend that is nearly my twin (right down to the fact we grew up in NE OH before heading south on our own where we've really established our lives, we have the same hobbies, neither one of us can shut up...) and she and her husband are TTC a sibling for their cute little boy. I pray their dreams come true and especially for her health and the baby's health in the event she conceives (she had a multitude of health issues with her first pregnancy which led to N being born 2 full months early).
I have another girlfriend that lost her third pregnancy at the beginning of her 9th week, and yet another who just announced her pregnancy - oddly, these two quite probably conceived the SAME DAY. While I mourn with the one who lost her pregnancy (she's hoping to conceive again this cycle - the docs told her to go ahead!), I also rejoice with Nino for her beautiful third child.
And we have yet more friends, expecting their first after a loss in October last year - they conceived again in November and all is well.
Oh, and let's not forget about all the other references - my best friend here in FL talking about having her 4th - yes, FOURTH. No, they are not pregnant, but she longs for it. Sandi's desire to be the mommy of a girl... and Kelly's too.... Then there's Cara who is DONE :) .... And Jen_Jake'sMom and Sue who long to give their sons a sibling... And Julia who has been through so much but just announced that the IVF has worked so far!
Oh, gosh, I almost overlooked Kate and her darling Brody! How can we all not long for a babe of our own when she posts those pics nearly every day. How precious! And of course, beautiful little Rachie - how beautiful and sweet she is and growing and toddling.... And we all want that again. And again. And again, in some cases.
I am certain I am forgetting someone. If you feel slighted, I am sorry. I do not mean to leave anyone out.
But, where does this leave me? Gosh, I think I would love another baby. I don't think I am emotionally equipped right now to care for one, though. And I don't know if another one is in God's plan for us. You see, we feel it is incredibly important to pray and discern before making major decisions - like adding another person to our family. And well, we've both been given the message through prayer that we already have had our three children. That is enough for us for now. But it doesn't stop the "what ifs"... It doesn't cease the longing or the coveting. (Gotta get to confession for that one). We are young, so we have plenty of time for God to open that door to us, if it is His will. And for some reason, I know that even if we don't have another biological child of our own, I will likely one day adopt or foster.
Anyway, I just felt like talking about this - because well, because everyone else is talking about it and I just had to add my two cents.....
I am so excited for those of my friends who are adding to their families. I am praying for those who've had difficulty and praying for those who are pregnant that they don't run into difficulty or sadness in this process of helping God with a miracle.
I love you all and pray your dreams are fulfilled and that you find peace and happiness in God's plan for you and your families.
Until next time, God be with you.
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February 12, 2005
"Because I'm a GENIUS"
Shopping at Sam*s Club....

Me: "Next thing on the list is peanut butter!" (You know how Kelly talked about beauty product whores? Well, my children are peanut butter whores. And if it is the only way I can get them to eat vegetables, I am all about the peanut butter.)

V: jumping up and down and dancing to the next aisle, shouting "peanut butter... peanut butter... peanut butter!"

Me: shaking head and wondering if anyone believes that my children have actually been fed today by their response to the peanut butter

V: runs over to the spot where the pb is and says "does this one say EXTRA CRUNCHY?"

(I will insert here that I have NEVER bought crunchy pb for them - I think they had the Publix brand at my in-laws, but it isn't the same package or anything.)

Me: Totally astounded because she was RIGHT - it said on the package Extra Crunchy "V, how did you know that says Extra Crunchy?"

V: Hands on hips and head cocked a bit to the side "Mommy, I know it says that because I am a GEEENIUS!"

No joke, I just about wet my pants right there in Sam*s Club.
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February 08, 2005
Hope
Well, gosh, I have been bowled over by so many of you offering support and kind words. Strangely, last night after talking with A, and praying some more, I was led to think maybe I need to see my OB/GYN. Well, this could prove to be a bit difficult since the practice that is familiar with my most recent pregnancy and subsequent fetal death is in Atlanta and we are in Nowheresville, FL. And we have new insurance. So, I thought, hmmm... I wonder if my old OB (from 4 of my 7 pregnancies) is on my new insurance - even though it would be a drive of 1.5 hours. A thought it might be good to see someone I know. Someone who knows me. Someone who I am completely comfortable with and trust. In spite of the drive.

So, I called insurance and got their web addy (why not just put it on the card to begin with?!). I searched and searched... and there they were! I was so relieved. Almost felt better. Then I was looking at their updated website (it's been almost 2 yrs since I have been there) and came upon some articles. About PostPartum Depression. And guess what. I have every-single-symptom. Every one. Talk about divine intervention here. My thoughts had been that it's too long since the birth to continue to have PPD, but one of the articles said it can last for up to a year or even longer. What?! I thought it was a temporary thing.

So, today I called. You want the good news first or the bad news? Okay, the bad news it is. My first choice midwife is out for a month, visiting family out of the country. Good for her. She no doubt deserves an extended holiday. The good news is I have an appointment with another kick-ass midwife, who was part of V's early days. But the appointment is not for 2 more weeks. Until then, I have been told to see my therapist and talk to her about some drogas. She can recommend something and the OB office will take her suggestion into consideration when they write me a scrip.
I am thinking it is time to look into something that I will take regularly (meaning every day) until I am over this whole PPD thing. I have been reluctant to get on daily anti-depressant meds because in the past they've prevented me from sleeping and functioning on a day-to-day basis. It was a miserable year when we tried the medication route back then. This time I am going into it knowing a bit more and pretty desperate at this point to be able to get to where I am functioning day-to-day. It is essential that I get out of this depressive funk as quickly as possible. I know that the girls would be happier if I were happier (and maybe I won't have the behavioral issues with little A? Probably just wishful thinking on that one!). Anyway, I am hoping they have some other stuff out there now that won't cause the terrible side effects I experienced before.

Anyway, I am hopeful. I know it might sound naive, but it is good to hear that it most likely is Post Partum Depression. Why? Because that means there is something we can do to help me get through this.
In the meantime, I am also going to see my therapist and start to really explore the possibility that I have some grief issues lingering. And I also have some amazing friends.
This is how my day started: exhausted since I was on the phone with Becca til WAY past midnight last night - she called to check on me; after getting the girls breakfast, I sat at the desk and Kelly had left a sweet message on IM for me - what a way to start the day: a thoughtful and loving message from a friend; lots and lots of encouraging comments on my blog - you women rock!!!!; a surprise phone call from Cara - an extra bonus since she was herself feeling like dog dirt after being up half the night with a nasty virus.....
You know, screw the NYTimes! These blogs are not about self-centeredness - they are about being there for your friends and supporting other women/mothers when they need a boost.
I love you all - even you virtual cyber-strangers who take the time to check on me and to post a thoughtful word or two. What would I do without you?
Until Next Time, God Bless You Abundantly.
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February 07, 2005
Sorry to Start the Week Off Like This...
Well, I don't really know what I am going to write about here. Should I write about my awful day Friday, when I was ready to shut both kids out on the porch til their daddy came home? Nah. Should I write about how I have been doing some e-research on my FIL's heart condition and how worried I am about him? Not yet. Should I write about my awesome husband who shoved me out the door and told me to come home late after I had that really bad day? Maybe later. I think I might be cliche and do a sappy Valentine's Day post about what I love about him.

So... What do I write about? I guess I could tell you all that things aren't always what they seem. I guess I could just talk about me. Talk about how I am lonely. How I am depressed. How I need my therapist. How I kinda want to escape from my life for a couple days. But a little vacation is just not going to do the trick - because I'd still have to come back to my life, depressing as that may seem to me in the moment. But I have no clue what is wrong with my life in the moment....

The problem? I have no worldly clue. I am totally at odds with myself. I am happy that we see our families nearly every week now. I am happy that A is working for a different company and although he faces challenges right now in his job, he mostly likes it and is excited for the future. I am happy that we didn't deal with the ice storm that hit Atlanta (and other parts of GA) last weekend and mostly have sunny days. I do miss my friends in Atlanta and I don't get to see my friends in Tampa Bay enough, but I don't feel like it is bad enough to cause me to feel the way I do. I love my husband and feel that we have an excellent marriage. I honestly can't say I have any complaints. For the most part, my beautiful girls are good-natured and well-behaved. And yeah, little A is having some behavior issues and I wish she would just. use. the. potty. but I know we won't have a diaper wearing 5 year old. She's just not ready to grow up that much yet. I can't pinpoint what is going on in my head and causing me distress.

There are the outside things: I feel great happiness when I first see a baby: "oh, how sweet" "look how cute" and all that. If I look for more than 5 seconds, I get a lump in my throat and then tears fill my eyes and then spill onto my cheeks. Why? I have no clue. The only thing I can think is maybe I haven't truly dealt with the whole package of grief since our Gabriella died? Is it possible that maybe I am required to go through the anger phase to get to the end of the grief? You know what I am talking about - everyone knows there are 5 stages of grief.... Is it really required to pass through each of those stages in order to truly heal that grief? I just don't know. If it is required, then who do you suppose I should be angry with? Who do you suppose I should blame?

Do I blame God? How can I possibly when I accept that His plan is greater than our own and I just trust that He is taking care of the details when we are unable to understand. Or do I blame myself? This makes much more sense to me than blaming God, but come on, I have had no less than 9 medical personnel reassure me that I did nothing to endanger the daughter in my womb. So, what am I supposed to do?

I know that there is something wrong in my head. I just can't figure out what it is. Is it hormonal? Possibly. Is it out of the question that it has nothing to do with the loss of our daughter? Not at all out of the question.

Then what could be causing me to feel inexplicably depressed, sad, lonely.... and what makes me cry when I see babies? Better yet, what makes me cry to nearly sobbing in the joy I feel when little A is overjoyed to see me each time the carnival train comes 'round the corner and she catches my eye? I mean, come on, people. I was CRYING over watching my girls riding carnival rides - especially the dragon rollercoaster.

What is wrong with me? Can you give me a clue, God? Because no amount of prayer has turned up an answer for me... What do you all think? My therapist says "what you are feeling is perfectly normal." THEN WHY DON'T I FEEL AT ALL NORMAL?!?!?!
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February 04, 2005
My First Three-Way! - Edited
Call, you sickos. My first three-way call, you complete perverts. ***What a Whor* I Am!!!! I totally had forgotten that Sandi and Becca and I had a three-way call a few months back prior to me moving back to FL, but after our blog party. I am so sorry girls for forgetting that fun conversation and I am sorry for misleading you Kell and Jen - I wasn't a virgin after all. Good golly, get me some help!***

What fun!
Kelly called me yesterday and said she had Jen on the other line and was going to conference us. She then proceeded to hang up on me. She called back and said "oh, well, I guess it isn't going to work." So, I told her how to do a three-way (call! Get your heads out of the gutter and realize I am talking about a phone call here. tsk tsk.) and we quickly were three in the conversation.

Now, you may not know this, dear friends, but this was the first time I had talked to Kelly and
Jen. I have to tell you, I thought they both had young voices. Are they really SAHMs? Or are they cyber-stalking teenagers trying to fool us all? LOL. I assure you they are who they say they are and we had a great time just talking about all kinds of stuff that never gets into blogs. It was kinda like a mini-blog party. But on the phone. Without the snacks.

I am a bit ashamed to admit that V's school work was put off til after the call (we normally try to do it while A is napping), but wow, it was so much fun getting to know these fun ladies a bit more! We talked about how Kelly comes across as "sweet and innocent" and I corrected myself and decided it isn't really so much innocent as it is wholesome or unsullied.

We talked about Jen's odd enjoyment of Barry Manilow songs. We talked about how sad we are for Cara to have a new job she is excited about, but is unable to fully jump in because her precious kiddos are fighting over who can be sick the most.

We learned that we are even more alike than we thought before. They learned that I can get d*scount t*ckets to FL theme parks - bring on the Central Florida Blog Party!!! (Do you realize that my dh is also the GM at a hotel, so we could get a block of rooms for a really reasonable rate depending on the time of year?)

In all, it was a most enjoyable way to spend 2 whole hours! of my afternoon. I am excited to deepen these cyber-friendships and I look forward to a day when we can all gather together and giggle like school-girls.

Thanks, ladies. You make my life fuller and richer and much more fun. I appreciate you and just can't wait to get to know you more. And, Kelly, stay tuned - I have some assignments to complete for you. I am going to see what I can find in the depths of my computer to share some of those pictures with you.

Have a great weekend. God Bless.
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February 03, 2005
Rock On! The Simple Things...
Isn't it wonderful when you find that your favorite radio station is also online, so even when you don't have good reception, you can listen at your pc?

http://spiritfm905.com

Actually, I had known this fact for some years, but I forgot and just rediscovered it this morning. Isn't life grand?

Have a beautiful day and God Bless you.
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February 02, 2005
Prayers for Peace
In the first year A and I were dating, his grandparents celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. I was, of course, nervous to be attending this important family function and had no idea what I would say to his extended family that I had not yet met until that day. I was blessed to be seated at the dinner next to a beautiful priest from the Afr*can Cong0, Father Dennis. Father was a young priest whose manner was gentle and sweet. Even though I wasn't Cathol*c and didn't relate to his faith, I was delighted to share the time with him. He made the time with A's extended family go quickly and I left wishing I'd had more time.
I was compelled to tell the following story after reading Nino's latest entry.
This is the story (as I know it) of Father Dennis and his countrymen. Fr. Dennis came to the U.S. to learn to fly planes and rebuild them. This was part of his priestly ministry since there are so few priests in his native Democrat*c Republ*c of the Cong0, they have to travel great distance and over dangerous terrain to bring the Cathol*c Mass to the people. Having a plane would mean safer and faster travel, allowing a priest to serve a growing number of christians throughout the country. Oh, and by the way, his country was embroiled in a dangerous and fierce civil war.
So, without knowing English, he came. He enrolled in the best flight school in Florida and began to learn the English language as he studied and learned to fly small planes. He was assigned to help in a parish, where he was prevented from saying Mass due to his color? his accent? his representation of a part of the world that is less educated, poverty-stricken, and his countrymen were violently killing each other and committing many other monstrous acts against one another, particularly women and children? Who knows why most people of that church did not warm up to this sweet and intelligent man (A's grandparents loved him so much they would drive hours to see him once he moved on). After graduating from his flight school with the highest scores the school had EVER seen, Fr. Dennis was assigned to a different church - one that was closer to his next school.
He was now enrolled in aircraft mechanics school - since he would have to fix and tune up any plane that he would fly in his country. Again, he wowed the instructors with how quickly he learned everything and his dedication to learning every small detail. He graduated from that school with the highest possible grades.
In the meantime, though, he became enmeshed in his new church community. They welcomed him warmly, with open arms. They loved him and what he represented - a man dedicated to freeing his people, a man who loved his people so much that he would come alone to a foreign land to learn how to fly and fix a plane in order to serve in more dangerous and remote areas. A local man donated a small plane to Fr. Dennis and his Cathol*c Christian ministry in Afr*ca. It seemed the sweet and dedicated priest would be able to return to his country to put his education to use and to begin again ministering to the christians in the Cong0.
However, during this time, Fr. Dennis lost contact with his family in Afr*ca. Due to the civil war, communication was difficult and then impossible to locate his family members. The danger had increased in the area that included his village, so he stayed safely in the U.S. It has been several years and Fr. Dennis has been unable to get word on the location or safety of his family - it is most likely they have been brutally murdered by guerilla warriors.
This is just one story. I got started thinking of Fr. Dennis after reading the article Nino mentioned in O magazine. You can read a similar article in its entirety here (the one in the magazine didn't have nearly all these stories in it!). It is atrocious that these things are happening TODAY. This is happening RIGHT NOW, as I am typing this blog entry and even NOW as you are reading it. These women are being tortur*d, r*ped and even some sons are being forced to r*pe their own mothers RIGHT NOW. I am filled with horror when I think of these women's stories. I am filled with disgust at the animals that are forcing themselves on innocent women and children. I am filled with sadness that nobody in the world is doing anything to try to stop this inhumane-ness.
I challenge you today to read that article. I challenge you to give up your lattes for a month and donate that money to help someone in another part of the world eat for a month. I challenge you to sit yourself down in a quiet place (even if it is the bathroom with the door locked after your husband comes home) and pray for 20 minutes that the Congolese people find peace quickly and help from around the world to get them food and medical attention as well as safe places to live.
Pray, my friends. Because we have it damn good. Because God calls us to help others when they cannot help themselves. Clearly this part of Africa cannot help itself - clearly they are poor and unable to defend themselves against the brutality they face each day. Clearly, regardless of how strapped we are for cash, we can sacrifice something for ourselves to give to these other truly impoverished women.
I love you all and am so thankful that we live in a part of the world that allows us the opportunity to help others.
Until next time, may you feel God's presence in your life.
Posts written by humble servant
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Holly's Hump Day Hottie
I am totally ripping off Kelly here. I saw that Sue needed a Hump Day Hottie and well, I am obliging as quickly as possible.

Who is he? Jakob Dylan. Sexy-Voiced Crooner. Son to the famous Bob Dylan.



I have been enamored by this beautiful guy ever since I first heard his sexy voice on the first Wallflowers cd.

And here's another one:



Kelly, please don't be mad I chose a hottie and stole your tag line. :) Just havin' a little fun.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program....
Posts written by humble servant
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