Sunday, December 21, 2008

Open and Honest

I need a minute to be honest with myself and, by proxy, you all.

I just signed up for facebook. Of course I spent way too much time doing that, adding friends and my own info, but I'm grateful to have had a couple hours to do that. That also means that I go through and catch up on what people are up to. Undoubtedly I catch myself comparing lives, which, of course shouldn't be. Sometimes I think MAN! They've never grown up! Or, I did they end up there? Or, whatever.

What I've noticed when I do this (it happens anytime I find a way to catch up with old friends) that I have different reactions to different people who are in the same experience. I've noticed that I have a STRONG reaction to certain people with many kids. Not all people with kids, just some. I look at certain people and I get so angry and bitter that they have more kids than I do. Of course, I am extremely happy for others with many kids. It's strange.

I've known for a while that seeing people with infertility or challenged fertility who get pregnant and have a baby somehow makes me really happy. When I see friends who have been trying and experienced the heartache for a while and know what its like, when they have their children (either biological or otherwise), I rejoice with them as if I were having my own. I cry, I'm ecstatic, I praise God for them and their kids.

Then there are those who have children easily that I can also rejoice with.

But then there are others, who, when i find they are pregnant, or in the case of Facebook when I see them a few years later and find they've had kiddos a plenty and are "so proud" of their kids and have such "beautiful families" stirs up this anger inside me and I get really bitter. I think I've realized that it tends to be caused by a couple things:
1. Friends who have had kids on the schedule I wanted to have them and are completely ignorant to the fact that people have problems doing that and how blessed they really are.
2. Friends that growing up or as young adults I fully expected to be close to when they had their kids and I'm finding out about them through facebook.

When these two are combined, it makes it worse. So then I have a few friends that we were really close to in CA that now are working on their 2nd or 3rd kid and we have never really heard about any of them and it stings. Not only because they are having kids so easily, but also because we were "supposed" to share these experiences and because we aren't in the same area and because of our challenged fertility we aren't sharing in it.

I's jealousy, plain and simple. There is no excuse for it, and I hate it. I experience this hatred and anger towards people I would otherwise love and have great respect for, all because they have something I don't...namely, babies and a relationship with them...and in reality this anger is just masking the tears I want to cry for being so hurt...hurt that I can't have babies as easy as them. Hurt because the dreams I had have been forced to change. Hurt because they haven't felt it important to keep a relationship with us...there lives are moving on without us.

I know this sounds so childish and silly and I sound like I'm whining again. I know that all that is true. But I also know that when I share these feelings here that I'm better able to get it out of me and work through my thoughts and feelings and emotions on it all.

Thanks for being my ear.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's been a while my friends

...I am forcing myself to write this blog... it's yet to be seen whether it will be a good idea or not.

Seeing as how my last hand-written blog was to announce the early arrival of Christmas at Walmart and Christmas is now a few days away, I'm thinking it's been a while since I've been here to share with all of you. In reality, I have been checking up on everyone but have had absolutely no time to post anything. I've been so stressed about everything in life that even though school is done and I'm officially on vacation for two weeks I'm stressed about sitting down to write a blog.

In this time we have accomplished a lot. For starters, we drove to Los Angeles and back for Thanksgiving. On the way out we drove for about 20 hours straight until we stopped at the Grand Canyon. (OK...we did stop at Albequeque to nap at about 5:30 am...Logan hadn't slept much overnight and therefore neither of us we found a walmart parking lot and took about an hour nap)

The Grand Canyon was wonderful and we took lots of great pictures. Unfortunately when we arrived in LA, I accidentally erased all of the pictures. All of them.

I'm moving on. The majority of the trip was spent doing homework. I eventually finished all of it, but not until December 9th. We drove back home after Thanksgiving in one took 22 hours.

The rest of the past two weeks were taken up entirely of schoolwork and work. The house was gross and thanks to my husband for taking care of things around here to at least keep us all healthy. I did eventually finish the semester, successfully thankfully. I have a break until the 20th of January and am trying to rest and catch up on housework, chores, and sleep. In the meantime work has been overwhelming and even though I am technically on vacation I'm working everyday until I get a certain project done. My hope is to get it done before monday.

I'm still super stressed and I'll probably take this first week of vacation just trying to return to a normal state of operation.

Ok...back to work at 9pm on a Saturday night.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A gentle reminder

This is from a cousin of mine...

Here I sit in las Vegas. December 12, 2008. Its night, dark and stormy. The wind is blowing crazily and the clouds are reflecting streams of moonlight. I don’t know why I mention the weather. I am just letting my fingers type it’s the only form of control I have in my time of insanity. You see yesterday at around 1130 am I seen something…when I was awake, as in my eyes were open. I believe could be vision. I was reading the Bible and I heard a voice like a reporter that was somewhere not outside of my head but louder than what should be heard inside ones head. Keep reading please I’m not crazy (right now). So I close my eyes and pray God whatever this is help me focus. I tried to control my mind and focus on God as much as I could but right away I seen newsflashes like I was sitting in front of a huge screen TV with different headlines being thrown and flashed across the screen. Different reporters all reported breaking news with the same intensity, the same urgency. It cut to a big room I could see it from the front right corner A woman stood at the front of the meeting, like a town meeting, she wore a suit and held a microphone. Different people in regular clothes stood up at different times and voiced their opinions “ how can you tell us we cant go to church” What right is that? Who decided this? What is this accomplishing” They cant tell us that!”
That was gone and I heard a radio broadcast “ this is 89.9 Morning Glory”..the announcer called sternly to believers, it wasn’t a broadcast to get listeners, or radio call ins, or advertise, it was to say something, something important something that could not go without saying.
The feeling of something more in my head seemed to go away and I wrote it down.I am alone here typing in the dark apartment lit only by the computer screen. I think of the apostles, of true Christians faced with death, poverty, hunger, beatings I see them right now sitting by a single candlelight to read the Bible, to write letters to encourage others and share this message. This thing so much more than words, literature, stories. This Word. What was it that made them fight for it more than for their own warmth, families, more than their needs, desires? Why arent we like that? Do we not understand? Why did they stand before crowds and proclaim this to strangers and why don’t I? Their hunger pains are the same that I feel, their fears are mine, their beliefs are the same that I am taught? These men, woman, and children had their blood viciously taken from them and spilled mercilessly because of what ?
Because of a message. A name. Its because of them that I have it today and yet I do nothing with it. I do not know the threats, torture, or imprisonment that they faced while they steadfastly and at all costs declared to all, small, great, rich, and poor th is message, since I am not faced with this opposition to keep this a secret everyone should hear it, all should know those that believe in this message right? It only makes sense. Now the world needs it more than ever and we have nothing, absolutely nothing stopping us from proclaiming our Lord Jesus Christ.
Does your coworker know that Jesus saves? Does your Uncle? Brother? Teacher? The man at the gas station? Your babysitter?
Do they know that Jesus saved you? Do YOU know that Jesus saved you?
Satan stands at the door of your mouth whispering fear and lies. Your voice, your words can shatter his plan and save a soul for all eternity. Why could they say it and not us? THe message has only gotten stronger but have we?
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first, If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you “no servant is greater than his master’ if they persecuted me they will persecute you..
16.1 I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed,( the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not k nown the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you….
33. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 15:18-16:1

Monday, November 10, 2008

Attention Walmart shoppers...

Have you noticed? And do you like it?

For the past two weekends I've noticed a faint something in the air. It's not too loud yet, but it's starting to become more prominent and I bet as they continue to roll out the theme it will be turned up.

Yes, that is right, I'm talking about the Christmas music!

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!

And although I'm not particularly in favor of the commercialization of Christmas, I do love the season with its sights and smells and maybe, most of all, the music! I'm one of those who love that there are easy listening radio stations that devote themselves entirely to Christmas music from November through Christmas day, even though I usually never listen to that station. I'm so excited!!!

What do you think? Do you like it or does it make you say bah humbug?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's a sad day in Collin County...(but not that sad)

Friends, I'm sad. Maybe dissapointed is a better word. Yep. I think dissapointed works.

But most of you will think I'm crazy when I tell you why.

A couple weeks ago I received a jury summons. This is only the first I've received in the 4 years we've lived in Texas. I was so excited.

Yep, you got that right! Call me crazy but I was excited. I love the opportunity to be a juror. I have a job that allows me to go to jury duty. Yes, it's a hassle to have to catch up on work or do something "different" than I normally do on a Monday morning, but it doesn't hurt me at all. And furthermore I get to participate in the legal system which is understandably really boring sometimes but I feel honored that I get to do it.

Or, shall we say, that I used to get to do it. I don't any more.

I'm a disqualified juror.

*Sniff, Sniff*

I received a letter in the mail today telling me in one short line that I was disqualified from being a juror and my summons is canceled. I have a pouty face typing this.

I called to ask why and, as I suspected, it's because of the Narcolepsy. I'm not one to try and "get out" of jury duty by claiming I have a child to take care of (I do, but we do pay for daycare normally on Mondays) or by claiming I'm a full-time student (well, I am), but when it came to the question about whether or not I had a disability that could prevent me from being able to serve on a jury in order to be honest I had to mark yes if for no other reason than they have the right to know that I will have a difficult time, even with medication, sitting in a jury seat even for a few hours without falling asleep or nodding off. The disability check mark requires a doctor's note and an explanation. I wrote the explanation, but because I didn't particularly want to get out of jury duty and because I was too lazy to call and try to arrange a letter from the doctor I was still planning on going on Monday.

Until I got the letter today.

I'm kinda bummed. I don't think I'll ever be able to serve on a jury. I know I'm weird, but I feel like I'm missing the opportunity to be a part of one of the things that we as Americans have the right to do. I explained it to my hubby this way...what if they told you that you couldn't vote. You aren't allowed. And it's because of a medical condition you have no control over.

Don't get me wrong. I don't disagree with their decision. On one hand I'd love to have me on a jury (well educated, strong values, knowledgeable about the legal system, etc.) but at the same time if I were on either side of the case I'd definitely want someone who wouldn't have a legitimate problem staying awake.

This is just one of the things I get to face I guess. I tell people that I'm glad I was diagnosed officially in Texas, because if I were in California the neurologist would be required to report my condition to the DMV who would without amazing grace revoke my drivers license. And I wouldn't be allowed to drive. Again, not that I'd disagree with that decision necesarily, but no one likes to be told what they can and cannot do.

So, it looks like Monday I'll be at work as usual. Fellow citizens, when you get your jury summons, as much as you hate the thought of going, think twice for those of us who can't.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This is a response I wrote to a friend who was telling of the struggle experienced during fasting. Since I couldn't get the comment thing to work, I figured I'd post it here since I know many of us are experiencing the same thing.

I have to admit that I too am struggling with what I've given, and yes, I wish I would have picked a different something to give up. I didn't realize how hard this would be. Not because I strongly desire to sit down and watch an episode of desperate housewives or Intervention, but because daily life is so different and I have to make a conscious effort to deny myself the "pleasure" I get from turning on the tv when I sit down on the couch regardless of whether I'm watching anything at all. How sad is that. Even I, a person who relatively watches little tv, am addicted. What's even sadder is that I'm not NEARLY as addicted to prayer, devotion, intentional worship. In fact, over the last week since this began I have still not picked up the Bible once to spend some quality time. And it doesn't bother me near as much as it did when I wanted to sit down Sunday afternoon and watch tv while my family was sleeping. I guess that's why I appreciate the weeding example so much. I feel like I'm pulling a tv tumor from my heart with roots that have dug themselves deep. And it hurts. I'm disgusted with myself.
So, as much as we hate it, I think this discipline of fasting that we have ignored in our church culture will cause us blisters, but will leave our soil open to much more beautiful things to come.
And, I admire you for giving up (what you've chosen)...reminds me of when Jesus forgave sins and lectured the Pharisees about their insistance that he make the man walk. Don't know why exactly. I guess giving up (what you've chosen) is like forgiving sins...hard to measure but eternally important(???) while giving up something like (candy, food type, soda, something tangible & easy) may have shown your obedience but not profited you much in the long run. I guess I'll have to go look up that passage in my tv void time tonight.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Apparently you don't have to be careful at ChuckECheese...

I love blogging because it gives me a way to share stories with everyone out least I feel like I can write something down and share with whoever is interested. In this episode of Mie's Tales I get to share with you the brilliant nugget of wisdom I learned Friday night while playing with my son at my niece's birthday party. I certainly want to share this news with you all in case you too visit the mouse on occasion and sometimes bring your children with you. Please, don't fall over in shock. Maybe you need to sit down.

Apparently, as one mother so eloquently and gracefully told me, you don't have to be careful at Chuck E Cheese. Either that or her kids don't have to be careful and everyone else does. In my shock and awe in hearing this strange new concept on the first time, I failed to ask which of those two statements applied. Nevertheless, from the horses mouth, being careful is not what we should expect from our kids as they run through the play area, weaving around equipment, climbing down (or up) slides, and over smaller kids.

Logan loves to play with the big kids and for the most part he's pretty good at it. And by good I mean he's able to hold his own without being knocked over and unless he's genuinely hurt he just gets back up and plays some more. On this enlightening Friday night he was waiting for his cousins to take him up into the climby tube thing that floats near the ceiling. He's not quite tall enough to get up the steps on his own and they had fun helping him. As he was waiting two kids about 9 or 10 yrs old come flying down the steps. Mind you, these are the steps to go up...there is a slide to come down. One comes down first with the other chasing him. As the first gets to the bottom step his foot comes in contact with Logan's face. I yell..."hey, hey, hey"...and the boys continue to horse around in this tube, hitting and punching each other and stepping on Logan. After they didn't respond to the universal "hey", I said "knock it off. You guys have to be careful there are little kids around here". That, I promise, was in a very sweet tone knowing that they were playing and didn't mean to kick Logan, at least not the first time. They looked at me a little funny then left the area and Logan kept playing.

A few minutes later bigger feet started to make their way down from above us. This time it was definitely a mom. I told Logan "come on baby, let's let her out", and moved him so she could get out". This is where the epiphany happened. As she climbed out she looked at me and said " kids don't have to be careful".

I wish I would have had a tape of my face. I was so dumbfounded. I responded that they were kicking him in the face and they did have to be careful for smaller children. She said it was a play place and her kids could play all they wanted to. I said that the play thing went up (clearly where her and her kids just came down from) and down (pointing to the slide). At this point I'm still dumbfounded. As she walked away she said "maybe your kid is too small to play here".

Apparently she doesn't know Logan, who probably also could have explained to her a lesson in manners himself in paragraph form.

I stood there for a minute really, really upset and more than anything trying to figure out how any mother would really take that stance. They don't have to be careful? It's not like I was telling them to sit in time out or something...just be careful. Something we are all expected to do living in society with each other. I didn't touch them, and only said what I said above, verbatim, and with the exception of the "knock it off" part all of it was in a patient tone. I'm still in shock. And, I definitely wouldn't have expected it from her. She was a well put together woman in her late 30's. She spoke intelligently, of course, with the exception of what she was actually saying. That one really threw me through a loop.

A few minutes later her kids ran by us full-speed, through the designated little kids area, jumped on TOP of the tables in there, and proceeded to climb from table top to table top across that row of tables. I'm not sure if at that point the woman realized how ridiculously out of control her kids were and got embarassed or if she was still irritated that someone asked her kids to be careful, but after they were done standing on the tables (to which i wanted to smugly say..."I suppose they don't have to get off the tables either?"...I didn't by the way...), she quickly shooed them out of the joint. Not before one of them pounded his fists on the glass of one of the games as he walked by it.

Clearly I was out of line.

I'm glad I was in such shock that I didn't say more than I did. The feelings inside me raced too quickly for me to put thoughts together. I know I can have a way of expressing myself in a "righteous anger" sometimes and not only did I consciously not want to do that in front of all the children there, I wanted to make sure I wasn't stooping to her level. But, since I've had the time to think about it I'd thought I'd share some of the things I've thought of to say to her if I were in the situation again:
  • I could tell them to be careful or file assault charges...which would you like?
  • They don't have to be careful? Which police officer would you like me to ask? My husband (not present at the time), my brother-in-law, or their neighbor (both just a few steps away in the birthday party area).
  • Let me go see what our friend Brian, the manager, has to say about it.
  • Ok...sounds good...I'm happy to NOT be careful around your kids. Next time they kick my son in the face I'll just throw them to the ground. (or kick them back, or fill in the blank...)
  • I'm sorry lady, but someone needs to teach kids who have irresponsible parents about common courtesy.
Again, thankfully I'm not going to get the chance to go back in time and say any of these things. I fully expect that if I said one more thing she would have probably hit me. I understand that she didn't want someone else to tell her kids what to do, I get it, I do. But still.

Don't worry anonymous lady at CEC...I promise to insist on "being careful" your kids and others. In fact, when my husband comes in contact with your kids in a few years while on-the-job, I promise to ask him to be careful with them too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bittersweet Praise

I had a great week this week, looking back. It started off with a wonderful unexpected surprise and ended with one of the best birthday's I've had in a long time. In between was a big mess, but nothing different than any other time recently.

I haven't seen my boss in two weeks due to both of our schedules and her traveling. I wasn't set to see her this week even though we were both technically in the same building. At some point she emailed me and asked where I was...she needed to tell me something. I told her, and she told me she would come and get me so we could talk for a few minutes. I told her that was ok, as long as she didn't come to fire me. I was half-kidding. Knowing the economy right now and how things are in the world I figured she was coming to tell me something bad. Anytime I don't know what is happening I tend to expect the worst and then be surprised if something changes. Although I didn't expect her to tell me that I was going to lose my job, I expected that she was going to tell me something bad about someone else. She's really good about determining when to tell something in person and when an email will be fine...this was something she felt she had to tell me in person. So I waited in the meeting I was in, looking secretly at the door every couple minutes trying to prepare myself for what she might want to say.

When she did come I stepped two steps out the door, the door closed, and she told me. She finally was able to get me a (roughly) 7.5% raise. HUH??? That was certainly not what I expected for so many reasons. The biggest shock was that this isn't the time of year for raises...that is usually in the spring. I didn't expect it at all. The economy is bad and when many companies are considering RIF's if not actually having lay-offs, I certainly didn't expect a raise. Not to mention that in the last year I already received a roughly 2% raise and a 10% raise before that. So, in the last year I received about 20% raise over the what I was making. This is unheard of especially considering that average annual cost-of-living raises are about 3%.

I was honored, and it didn't come one minute too soon. Not because I need the money for anything, nor because I feel I deserve it, nor because I actually do deserve it, but because I've been so stressed about not doing enough in my job, my family, my school, that it was nice to be recognized for not only my efforts but for my accomplishments. I know how much it took for her to get that passed through those who approve such things, and to be able to convince the powers that be that I 'deserved it', especially after what I've already received in the last year, is amazing. I'm extremely grateful to my boss who is an excellent leader.

That being said it was a bit hard to accept. I am not one who insists that I deserve more. I'm grateful for what I've been given. I know that due to my age and relative experience in the world and our industry I am underpaid compared to my peers. In fact, the person who works for me earns 10K more than I do. I suppose they know this too...that I could go to another company and make a significant amount more. But I don't do what I do for money. I mean, I guess I do...the whole reason I work is to provide an income to our family. The truth is though that who I am at work is not for a salary but to make a difference in the lives of those I work with and for and to put whatever God has given me to use for His glory. I hope to shine for him more than anythin else. Additionally, I know there are so many people in this world losing their jobs or struggling. I'm not, and in this specific time in the world its hard to accept an increase in pay when I'm already doing fine and I know there are others who need help. I also believe though, that God for now has provided me an income as He has not for my sake but to pass it along to others. I'm not attached to "my" money. Also, it was a bit hard, because if I had my way I would quit work in a heartbeat and become a stay at home mom and full-time student. We can't afford for us to do that yet and as my husband is in the public sector it may be a while before his income can come close to making up for losing mine. It's just the way it is. Now that I earn more, the discussion of giving up my income involves even more income. And, of course, there is the indebtedness one feels to their organization for taking care of their finances as they have so far.

In any case, I'm extremely grateful for being blessed as I have. It's amazing to see how God continues to grow in my life and although I can never give enough to Him to make up for it, I hope that I can please Him in everything I do.

Then, my birthday came and I was completely blessed both at work and by my family. It was a great day. I'll post on that another time (because I only have about an hour or so to work on my homework before the booga wakes up and even with a raise I can't afford to waste that precious time!!!).

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Our First Bed as a Married Couple...

This story has two parts...first, to tell you about our first bed as a married couple, then, to tell you about our first bed as a married couple.

Let me explain.

When J and I got married we weren't rich. Not that we are now or anything, but at that time I had been working a "real job" for about 6 months...J had been working as a private investigator not making much money either. In any case, we bought a mobile home a few doors down from my sister in a nice park (seriously...never would have EVER thought I'd EVER say it was, it was a nice place to live AND we sold it for a nice profit when we moved into a single family home two years later...certainly more than we could have said if we had been in an apartment). savings, lots of debt, lots of stuff to buy as a married couple. Jason moved in a few weeks before the wedding, straight from living in a home provided by my in-laws. A few days before the wedding I started moving my stuff out of my parents' home. We had an old futon Jason brought into the marriage...queen sized...but as we didn't have any other furniture we decided to use it as a couch in the living room. So, we lacked a bed...and most other furniture. Through conversations and people getting rid of stuff we managed to find a dining room table (at least 3rd generation...), a couch, two love seats, and two overstuffed leather chairs. So, we had enough seating. We had a few pieces of office furniture, two entertainment centers, and two TV's, all leftover from our childhoods or donated somehow. But we still had no bed. So, we did what did with all other things...we took what we had and made it work.

That meant that a day before the wedding or so my dad caught me carrying two twin mattresses out of my bedroom at his house. He asked where I was going with his furniture (and rightly so...) and I explained that we needed something to sleep on. Mind you, I was just taking the box bed frame...two twin mattresses. At that point he told me to get my stuff and go shopping with him...right then and there. Knowing my dad he probably would have sprung for a mattress set, but I didn't have any money and for a few reasons told him I couldn't go. What I instisted was that I didn't have any money...we couldn't afford to buy one. But I knew he'd probably buy one for us or at least split it with us, and although I didn't say anything to the point I didn't really want to burden him with our starting out. I was a really motivated barely 21 year old. It wasn't "right" for me to expect someone else to pay for my home. (side note...I almost got away with buying the house without anyone knowing...I had this grand plan of bringing everyone to my sister's house and then walking to our home and surprising them that it was didn't work out because the only fax I had access to was the one at my parents' house and they figured it out).

So, when we got back from our honeymoon we slept on two mattresses on the floor, pushed together, with a plush mattress cover holding them together. Shortly after my sister got rid of her then mattress and we were able to inherit box springs. They were box springs for a king...believe it was eastern king. In case you aren't aware a king bed is about 18 inches or so longer than twin mattresses. This left an 18-inch gap or so from the top of our bed to the wall. We filled it with body pillows and used the king-sized mattress cover and fitted sheet to kind of hold the mattresses together. Of course that didn't work too well, but it worked enough. Every night when our dog did laps through the house he'd jump on our bed in a way that it would knock one of the mattresses off the box almost every night we had to push our bed back together before going to bed. Those were the days when we went to bed together almost every night.

When we moved to Dallas almost two years later we still had the box springs with the twin mattresses on the floor. At some point we discussed purchasing a new mattress, but we were/are diligently paying off debt, so we didn't want to spend the money. And, J set his mind on buying a tempurpedic mattress, which was expensive. And our mattresses worked.

Only a short time later J built a bed frame that picked our box springs up off the floor. So now we were about another 12 inches off the floor but everything else was the same, including the body pillows filling up the space between the top of the twin mattresses and the wall.

It has been another four years since then. That is right. We've been married for 6 years next month and have always slept on two twin mattresses pushed together. It was our deal. We kind of adopted it. When we went to stay somewhere else we had a problem sleeping on those beds because they didn't have the inevitable crack in the middle. Our First Bed was charming.

But, it was time, I suppose, to finally purchase our own bed. Labor Day weekend we decided to go shopping for a mattress, looking at what was out there. J was still sold on a tempurpedic after all these years. We still visited many stores and tried out many more mattresses. I just couldn't justify spending the money on that type of purchase...our twins worked fine. After a few days we finally agreed to purchase the Tempurpedic Deluxe mattress...afterall we had saved up a little and it was on clearance and it was comfortable.

It took two weeks for us to receive our mattress but we had the pillows right away to get used to. They were different. But, after a few days we loved them. When our new First Bed arrived...the First Bed we purchased together...the First Bed that actually consisted of only ONE mattress and one, matching box spring arrived, we fell in love instantly. It has been heaven ever since. They say it can take up to 30 days to get used to...not for us. We got used to it right away.

Now, the question is, what to do with 4 body pillows that have never actually been used for anything other than space filler.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Have you tried?

Thanks to Suzanne for posting this again so I have the opportunity to participate. Last time I couldn't think of anything to add to my own list, and, I didn't have the time to think about it. And over the last several months I've come up with a few.

Have You Tried...?

...creating a photobook with I received a free photobook offer from shutterfly a few weeks ago, just had to pay shipping. So, I spent extremely valuable time putting one together. It maybe took me 45 minutes, but I doubt it was that long. It arrived yesterday and we LOVE it. I made it for my son's first birthday that his 2nd birthday is this week and I still haven't scrapped the last one. Needless to say we LOVED it and plan on doing this for each of his birthdays.

...Peach Iced Tea from Sonic? I get it cut-in-half (1/2 sweet, 1/2 unsweet), extra ice. It's just perfect and although I hadn't had it everyday this summer, but several days for sure. Its a yummy refreshing treat.

along those lines...

...Chick-fil-A's icedream cone? MMMMMM....

and again...

...White Chocolate Molten Lave Cake from Chilis? OMG...J and I have talked about going there just for that treat....although each time we want it we go for dinner too. Even though they've gotten rid of my favorite meal...the Grilled Carribean Salad, we still go back for that treat....heavenly.

...the Tempurpedic bed? WOW...I'll get to the whole story later, but ours arrived on Tuesday and it is wonderful. Then again...there's not much worse than 15-20 year old twin mattresses pushed together...

...watching Intervention? It's one of my favorite shows. I grew up going to AA meetings weekly and I see tremendous value in listening to stories of those who face addiction. I've learned two things...1) I don't ever want to drink or "experiment" with drugs (and I've never done either), and 2) There is hope for those who are lost in an addiction.

...Hershey's Cookies & Creme kisses? Good snack in the middle of the day.

...Garnier Fructis sleek n shine anti-frizz serum? If you've got curly hair or just frizz, this product is great. I now use it daily when blow drying and it does a wonderful job managing the frizz without leaving my hair weighed down or greasy.

...Venus Breeze razors? I've used the venus divine for years and bought the breeze on accident. It fits into the divine razor but I was pleasantly surprised when I used it. It includes "gel bars" that replace the need for shave gel. It works very well and surprisingly you really don't need the shave gel. In fact, I've found that it works better than shave gel. But, to me, the best part is that unlike other razors I've seen like that, this one can be used even after the first couple times the gel bars are good...once they start to wear out you can continue to use the razor if you are cheap like me and get every ounce of use out of a razor.

...bloggers new feature to help you keep track of the blogs you regularly read? On the Dashboard you can add your favorite blogs and it will summarize daily changes for you so that you can keep track of them quickly rather than clicking on all the blogs you like hoping for new posts.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Updated ramblings

...because I should be doing schoolwork...of which I have more than plenty. And being considerably tired with a migraine at the beginning of a particularly painful (phsyically) new cycle I'm prime to avoid the homework. And there's something to be said for trying to ignore the crib bouncing against the wall upstairs and the child in it, who, has been upstairs in bed for 45 minutes and yet is not asleep...but many of you know...I'm not one for "ignoring" a child's "cry" even though its a kind of " ahuh...eheheh"ish...I'll probably take a break in a mintue or so and head up there to see what's going on. It's also my philosophy that its MUCH better to go see whats up now...patt him on his back...give him a kiss...and let him go back to sleep rather than wait until he's in a full bore cry, unconsolable...with irrepairable damage. I'm only half kidding...mostly about the irrepairable damage part and not much else. I'm in a funny mood.

Which makes me need to comment on my last funny mood captured in blog mode. Yes, it has to be said that my post two posts ago was the result of a hormone induced rant, the perfect storm of mishaps of rejection (most unintentional on all parts), and a ton of lack of self-confidence in the personal relationship arena. I've all but forgotten I normally do when I get in that kind of mood...hopefully my faithful readers (and friends?) have forgotten it too. I do have to say that it was certainly good at least for a few relationships that were surprisingly strengthened from it...and hopefully, based on a few conversations, others who were feeling the same way know they are not alone, if nothing else.

Ahh...but to know that that post was immediately before my last cycle and here I am with another shows just how incredibly busy I've been...I love blogging but just don't have the time. Even (or especially) at work, when I've typically managed to carve out 5 minutes for a quick blog. But no. I'm in WAY over my head. Way over. I had a slight breakdown last night trying to explain to my dear sweet helpful husband why his comment about how great he was to make dinner the last two nights was actually quite offensive. Partly because we made dinner was definitely a joint effort (which I LOVED)...but mostly because I make dinner every night...and lunch most days too...days off or not. We've got to eat...therefore, I must prepare something. And clean up after it...although...looking at the pile of dishes in the sink...I'm not always successful. That...and the comment about how I don't "need" to rush to do everything I do...I can take a break once in a while...along with the comment of " much for coming home early" I was greeted with on the phone call where I was trying to call to explain that I'd rushed to catch a really early train only to find that for some reason the trains were held up and the next one didn't come for 40 minutes (unheard of in rush hour...) sweet husband got the brunt of my breakdown. I don't think it happens every month, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't emotional at times. Poor guy.

But he's right. To some degree, I could actually stop rushing in everything I do...but then that would mean I would have to either drop the quality of what I do (not in me, at least not to let it fall any more below what it is...I've already had to hire someone to clean my house) OR, I would have to drop something that I do. So, what is there to drop...I'll put them in order of how I prioritize them:
  • Relationship with God (as supported right now by tiny devotions, constant prayer, sunday morning ABF, and the occasional small group meeting). Clearly not over extended there and seeing as how it is number one priority, I could probably afford to spend MORE time there than less.
  • Marriage: Um...not an option. Period. Plus, the benefit of our schedule is that the efficiency of our marriage is great...we can only spend so much time together each week so we take advantage of it to the fullest...very little wasted marriage time. But, that also means there is very little time to get rid of and I'm not sacrificing any of it.
  • Parenting: Who are we kidding...also not an option. Goes without saying I'm sure, but since it is a large part of my life I thought I'd add it to the list of things that take up my time.
  • Job: Now, this one is controversial I'm sure. But, bottom husband doesn't support the idea of me staying home at this time. And, so, therefore, I work. Don't get me wrong. I do love what I do...I thrive on it while I'm doing it. But, it isn't nearly as important to me as the place it falls in my would probably actually be less. much less. But, the truth is, I make 2/3 of our would take a lot for us to make me not work. The husband would have to take up many more shifts to "enjoy" the lifestyle we live now. That wouldn't make him a happy man, nor a happy husband, and therefore not a happy family. We could give up the lifestyle. Trust me...I'm more than happy to live a more frugal life. I thrive on that too. But, alas, my husband is working on it. And, bottom line, even if we did both of those things, we have debt that needs to be paid off and the quickest way for us to do that so that, in the future, if the stars aligned, I could stay home. Or work less. Or whatever. So, for now...this isn't a "realistic" option. Always something we keep in our minds and would hope for but it isn't happening today. Maybe tomorrow. Not likely.
  • School: If you looked at my actual schedule, this is probably last in terms of how the time spent shows priority. I do it after everything else is done at the end of the night. Which means, I usually get to start working on 3 doctoral-level courses, one of which is an extremely ridiculous 4-level in statistics class, at about 9:30 or 10:00 each night...but tonight it will be more like 11. most people's eyes this would be the one that should be dropped. And yes, it could be, but it is my thing. I guess you'd put it on my hobby list...if it could be compared to a hobby, but its what I do for me. And, it is preparing me to be potentially in a position to do something different in terms of a career that would let me still earn to support our family but stay home a LOT more. potentially. And, as lucky as I am...I have to do residency which means I have to go to school full-time for two semesters in a row...and, my logical nature says since I have a toddler and want more kids but don't have them I might as well try and get this done now before another kiddo comes along when I could make a much slower progress if I wanted to. And, when you look at living at this pace, 3 classes is just as difficult as 2, and so its better to work as hard as possible to get this done quicker and live this pace for a shorter period of time. So, bottom line...I'm not giving this up unless I absolutely have to.
  • Other things...add in all the other things. Friend and family relationships and events. Holidays. Grocery shopping. Politics. Whatever...this is the sand that fills up the crevices of my jar. (which you may understand if you've ever seen the ping pong ball, pebbles, sand, jar experiment, or something similar).
Ah...all to say I'm busy. Extremely busy. And I want to cry. But I'll make it through. It will be good soon. I'm sure in a couple of days. Thankfully, most people in my life understand. At least to some degree. There are very few that understand completely. But there are people who have it better and people who have it worse, and I'm not going to complain. More than I have anyway.

Next post...ask me about our new bed!

***Edited to add*** I never did go check on the booga upstairs...but, he didn't go to sleep until at least 11.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Clean house here I come!!!

I'm so excited. Just got off the phone with our new housekeeper Rosalinda! She is going to be coming to our house so that it actually gets clean once in a while. WOOHOO!!!

Thanks for sharing Molly! And thanks to everyone else for the references.


I'm a natural extravert. Honest. I crave to be involved in large social gatherings and chat away with others. I need it. I want it. Oh baby oh. (five points for the reference)

But sometimes people don't see that in me. Sometimes people see me as introverted. Quiet. Shy. Not willing to speak up. (ok, well, maybe that's a about...keeps to myself). Sometimes people think I'm exclusionary because I don't jump in there and ask how you are doing right away.

Its funny how perception can really impact the way you see the world and others around you. For example...someone says hi to you in the line at the grocery or uncool? Depends on how you grew up. For us transplants to Texas this is a primary example of how different Texas can be. In Texas, you are crazy (or rude, or weird...insert your adjective) if you don't say hi to people in line at the grocery store and strike up a conversation. If you make eye contact with someone and they look away you might find yourself thinking "what's wrong with that person?". Where I was raised though, if you spoke to the people in line at the grocery store, on occasion you would find a generous sole willing to smile and talk back, but for the most part the thought is "what is wrong with that person"...why do they feel they have the right to talk to me. It's not an arrogant thing, its a self preservation thing. You don't know who to trust and so you tend to avoid talking to people you don't know...or making eye contact with just go about your business with your friends and family and live life that way. The idea is that there are "too many crazies in the world". I think it grew out of the whole stranger danger thing...who knows.

Personally, because i'm an extravert, I prefer Texas in that sense because I can smile and bring up a conversation or joke around with the cashier or whatever, and they may think I'm crazy but its not because I said hello to someone I didn't know...that's expected behavior.

Nevertheless my point is that right or wrong here is a matter of perspective. I think too often people jump to conclusions about what someone's behavior means without really trying to get to know the person and understand them. Personally, I know this (certified to teach on the subject), and so I try to apply it in two ways. 1) "Forgive" others when I think they've wronged me somehow, imagining that they probably didn't know they did anything to hurt me. 2) Work hard to communicate about myself and my intentions so that I'm not misunderstood. Of course, I'm never really fully successful at both 100% of the time.

So I find myself writing about rejection and my natural tendency for extraversion and the behaviors people might see in me that would lead them to think otherwise.

Like I said, sometimes people think I'm shy or quiet or arrogant or think I'm better than others or not interested in you because I tend to keep to myself. (There may be other reasons why you think that too...but I've heard at least these in the past). Something interesting...I'm only like this with larger groups where the people are going to be in my life for a while. With one person, or two people, whether I know them well or not, I'm my normal outgoing talkative self. With my family and closest friends...not really shy or quiet at all. In fact, I can be a bit overbearing at times. With large groups of people I know that I will never see again (conferences, etc.) I am my normal outgoing self, talking to anyone. Its just those groups of people that I don't know well but know that will be in my life for a while (or who I really want to accept me) that I'm quiet. I'm afraid I'll make a bad impression or that I'll say something that didn't come out right or I'll be misunderstood and those people won't like me. Not because of something I meant to do (I typically won't apologize for saying something I feel strongly about)...its not like I mean to apologize for my beliefs or am wishy washy, but because of something I did unintentionally or was misunderstood.

I guess time is the key factor. With family or close friends, you've had time to build a relationship and I'm confident that either I won't be misunderstood because they know me well or that because they know me well they will give me a little grace if I do something wrong because they know my heart. With large groups like conferences or whatever where I won't see people again, I don't worry about it. If they like me great, maybe we'll form a lasting friendship. If they don't, oh well, I'll never see them again anyway. But that middle group is what is hard. With people I don't know well but want them to accept me, I know that anything I do now could leave a lasting impression on them that will ruin my chance of being friends with them, on accident, because of a misunderstanding and because of the length of the relationship (probably long-term), its important to me to have a good relationship with that person.

So I choose to stay quiet. It is a very intentional thing on my part that goes against what I am naturally. If I was naturally quiet, then it wouldn't be a problem! But, I'm not. I need those conversations and relationships with others. I thrive when I'm in those relationships. Nevertheless, its pretty hard to build those relationships when you sit in a corner and don't talk to anyone because you are afraid you'll make the wrong impression.

My friends, I fear I've made the wrong impression. Don't know why. Don't know what I did. I can promise you that whatever I did I probably didn't mean to and can honestly say I have no idea what it was. Nevertheless, I've gotten the distinct impression recently that I won't fit in with you. I'm not part of the group. I'm an outsider and am not welcome in the inner circle.

I'm not stupid. I can tell when I was intentionally not selected to help with things. I can see when I wasn't invited to bday parties or playdates. I can tell when I'm intentionally excluded from access to a newly restricted blog. I know when I walk into a meeting when I'm wanted and when I'm not. I can tell when people choose not to come to my house but always go to everyone else's. (Of course, I know when these things aren't intentional too...and, more importantly, I try to pretend that none of it is intentional and I'm always playing the devils advocate...maybe they are busy...maybe they are tired...maybe something came up at home...oh God, I hope they didn't get hurt on the way over!....I don't like to be misunderstood so I try not to misunderstand).

I'm not sure what it is. Is it that I'm a working mom? Is it my beliefs on childbirth and parenting? Is it that "quiet" tendency I have? Is it the fact that my husband and I don't have a normal home schedule? Is it the challenges we've faced? Is it that we aren't native Texans? Is it that I take my son with me everywhere I go? What is it? Obviously I have no idea, but after the few incidents that happened over the last few days I'm saddened by it all. I feel rejected and there is nothing I can do about it (other than try to be cheery on my front) because I don't understand it.

Thankfully, I know that I do have a few friends or people who accept me and try to go out of their way to make me feel loved and valued. My family is always there and my husband is wonderful. And, how can you deny the wonderful little guy I have in my son who gets so excited to see me and hang out with me.

So, any feedback would be nice to help me understand.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Need a Wii Fit?

Who actually needs one I say. I guess I should have titled this who wants a Wii Fit?

Believe me, my last post wasn't the more sad one that I could have posted this morning. I have one so painful to me that I'm not ready to write it because I know if I did at this point it wouldn't be out of love...more of pain...and it would be misunderstood and I would offend some people unnecesarily. Needless to say we're rethinking our friendships and where we decide to be planted.

So, as to not end on THAT note, or on the note of my last post, I decided to post about a completely frivolous yet wonderfully enjoyable thing we've found called the Wii Fit.

We've loved the Wii since we found one about a year ago. Its truely innovative and has been one place for our family to interact in those brief moments we get to spend together. Wii have a blast with it (get it...wii...hahaha)

About a month ago we were lucky enough to find a wii fit. We plugged it in and I've been enjoying it ever since. Of course, I was horribly sick for the past 2 weeks, which ended my daily use of it, but I plan to completely dive right back into it this week, school permitting.

I'll post sometime about why I love it.

But for now (since I need to head to a meeting...), I'm offering to look for one for you.

They are hard to find...very hard if you've been looking for one you know! But over the last several weeks we've found them at the WalMart near our house three times. Everytime I go (about once a week) and everytime Jason goes (about the same amount of time), we check to see if they have any. We've managed to find several for several friends, so if you want us to pick one up on your behalf if we see it, let us know and we'll look for one for you. I'll just pick it up when I see it and you can pay me back, regular price. No guarantees, but just offering to be your scope for you since we have one of our own and have had so much luck finding them.

Technically Infertile

The day has come my friends.

We can technically be put on the infertile list. Of course, I choose to say that we are fertility challenged. We have one beautiful, wonderful son that we were blessed with. I can't seriously say that we are "infertile". But, as we've known, fertility isn't our strong suit.

Nevertheless the technical definition of infertility is well-timed intercourse for a year with no conception.

And we've done that now. Late last night light bleeding ended an otherwise less-than-pleasant day. A day in which I spent at least an hour sobbing over something completely different.

Here are the stats:

Time without b/c: 3 1/2 years.
# of children: 1
# of pregnancies: 2
Time since last birth: 23 months
# of pregnancies since then: 0

So, depending on how you look at it, we've been trying:

23 months (since #1 was born)
17 months (since we really wanted to get pregnant)
12 months (since cycle #1 after Logan was born)
4 months (since Logan stopped breastfeeding completely)

Take it for what its worth. Technically we're infertile.

Not sure what to do with that. This month I was sure we'd get pregnant. Kind of (I have a $300+ prescription waiting for me at Target that I can't take while pregnant. I knew if I bought it then I'd get pregnant, if I didn't, I wouldn't. I didn't buy it but will head there today). But, I didn't think we'd actually make it to the 1 year mark after my cycle came back before getting pregnant again. Of course, I didn't think I'd make it to the 1 year mark after Logan was born before becoming pregnant again. And, I didn't think I'd make it until my annual in January last year before getting pregnant again. There she said to come back in the summer, and I didn't think I'd make it to the summer before becoming pregnant. Now, I'm looking to Logan's 2nd bday in a month and way I won't be pregnant before then. And then I'm looking at my next annual in Dec/Jan thinking...of course I'll be pregnant by then.

They call it secondary infertility...when you have one child and have difficulty conceiving another one. They say its just as painful than primary infertility. I don't know. Again, I'm still considering us fertility challenged and not actually infertile.

And again, not sure what to do from here. Should I go to the doctor to get help? I don't know. I've never been one to be against fertility interventions. I'm all for help in that area. But over the last couple years I've had to reconsider how I feel about fertility and providence. I am almost certainly against b/c for our family. Not ready to say for ANY family...but might lean that way. (another debate for another time). We just don't need it! Part of the reason is that I've learned how much fertility if valued in women who can't have babies and I'm leaning toward the position that God knows more than we do about what our family should look like. (Again...don't flame me on this...I haven't made up my mind on this and I'm not condemning anyone for using bc). But, if I believe that God knows what our family should look like...don't I believe that he knows what MY family should look like? Don't I believe that he could and would let us have a baby in His timing? Now, maybe one way that he would do that is through medical intervention. Like I said, I've always been all for that.

But what if there is a reason God isn't letting us have a baby yet? I've been thinking that maybe He's made us wait because I have to go to school for a full year, full-time, and right now with a 2 year old and working full-time that is difficult on its own without a newborn baby. (So now, if we get pregnant next cycle we'd be having a baby in Junish so I'd be done with that full-time part of school and can coast a little more). Or maybe He knows what's in store with our next family addition. Maybe he knows that Logan needs this extra time as an only. Or, maybe he thinks our next set should be multiples and He is making us wait until we take meds and, by chance, end up with multiples. Maybe he wants us to adopt. Maybe he wants us to have a girl next and, since I'm not completely comfortable with the idea of having a daughter he's holding back for me to get accustomed to that idea. Or, maybe he only wants us to have one child.

I don't know what the future holds. I don't pretend to know why this is all happening. But I do know that God knows more than me. And because of that, I'm afraid that if I take a step toward help getting pregnant, then I would be somehow interfering with something God wants me to stay out of for now. I love control. Maybe God is saying "let me be in control with this"...and if I, out of my disobedience and haste to have another child don't, my life (and the life of those in my family) will not be what God intended it to be. There are several examples of that in the Bible...where the woman was not patient enough and sought help and it didn't turn out well. One can only imagine what would have happened if she was patient just a little bit longer. Of course, back then they gave their maidservants to their husbands to procreate, and that is not going to happen, but in any case those examples are in there for a reason and one of the lessons we can learn is that when we choose to take our life into our own hands rather than wait on God, things don't turn out as well as they could have.

So that's where I am right now. Not sure what step to take next. Except to just keep moving with what I have in life...extremely grateful for the life I've been given and those around me.

I think where I am is to wait on my husband's direction. He is pretty laid back about this whole thing and feels the same way as I do about bc and fertility support. So, at this point, I think I'll just pray for God's will, making it known that I would like more children..."a quiver full"...but that more importantly I want his will in our life and for him to lead my husband on the matter and when my husband is ready to seek help, then I will follow. And, maybe in a month or two we'll have a change in heart and be ready to seek help. Maybe it will take longer, maybe it will never happen. I don't know. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

It was bound to happen...

I haven't been pulled over since I've been married. Even then, I've only been pulled over twice. As much as those two incidences were ridiculous (making a u-turn in front of a fire station anyone?) I'm sure I've deserved to be pulled over many more times than I have.

This morning was another one of those times where, I guess I deserved it, but I really didn't know I did. It is normally a 45 zone, but I guess because their is construction it goes down to 30. Apparently, even at 7am when there is no one working. But, truth be told, I've driven that stretch of roadway 4-5 times a week for the past year and didn't realize the speed limit slowed down through that area. Of course I told the police officer that and I got the look of "yeah, right...".

Unfortunately, police officers get so used to hearing excuses and hanging out with the people who do wrong in society and don't care that they get a little hardened to the real stories people have and can tend to be motivated to "stick it to them" whenever they start hearing someone come up with an "excuse". Trust me when I say I've experienced this, both as someone getting pulled over and someone close to a few officers. The inpatience for excuses is obvious. As it was today when I got pulled over.

Wouldn't you know it, I gave him my license but didn't give hm my insurance. He had to remind me. I'm sure it didn't look good that when I finally did go to get out my insurance the one I gave him was expired. And...he wanted to know if I have "another one". Oops.

Thankfully this was my out. See, I know that there is a slightly better chance of leniency if you know the officer, or, if you know an officer. It gives slightly better credibility to you when you say that you didn't know. Or, maybe it just makes the officer able to relate to you a little more. All I can tell you is that I've seen it happen, several times, where a police officer is "let go" because they are a police officer. Now, police officers in many cases have the choice whether or not to give anyone a ticket, so its not completely unethical. But it still doesn't sit completely well with me.

Anyway, back to my way out. I told the officer "Sir, I do have insurance. If I didn't my husband would kill me...he's a p.o. too". Then came the 3rd degree. Is his last name the same as yours? Where does he work? (followed up by...which station?). Whats the phone number to that station. ( the way...isn't something I've doesn't make sense to try and call a beat officer at the station because he isn't there. nevertheless I thankfully had it in my cell phone under his work number). Is this your car or his? After I successfully made it through the gauntlet, he gave me back my license and expired insurance and let me go with a warning to find the insurance and slow down. Will do sir...much obliged! Very grateful!

I've wrestled with the question of what to do if I get pulled over for the past 4 years. With the exception of the expired insurance (I DO have valid insurance, I promise!), I think this instance went particularly well. (Except, maybe, for the officer whose glasses were fogged up the entire time and made the whole thing a bit comical). I've never wanted to be the one who says "I know so and so police officer can't you let me off with a warning?" or "But I'm married to a p.o., I know you don't have to write me a ticket". That would be pretty presumptious of me. And arrogant. And just wrong. That's not who I am. If I deserve a ticket then give it to me. But on the other hand, J tells me a lot that I should let the officer know. I did get a warning ticket for not having my train pass once (I have an annual pass, just forgot it at home or work or in the car or something). J asked me if I told him that I was a p.o. spouse. In that situation, I didn't. It didn't fit into the conversation and I certainly wasn't going to yell, over the person sitting next to me, in an otherwise quite train, "YOU KNOW...MY HUSBAND IS A POLICE OFFICER". I don't want to be that kind of person, and I don't want police in general to have a bad reputation.

I guess I was grateful I couldn't find my this case, I guess it could be said, that not having my insurance helped me keep my insurance cost low. hehe. Thank you mr. police officer, for going easy on me even though I didn't deserve it.

I can't help but to mention the interesting correlation with grace. (I haven't thought through this completelyfrom a theological perpsective, so bear with me). I guess in a mini way this has taught me something about salvation. I am guilty. Sometimes I am guilty and know I'm guilty. Sometimes I'm guilty even though I wasn't aware I was doing something wrong. "For all have sinned...". I deserve the punishment. And yet, not of anything I did or could do, I was given grace because of who I knew and because of the mercy of the one in authority. I will be held accountable one day, but I will also be able to call out "I KNOW THE KING" and be covered in his purifying blood, washed clean, made whole, forgiven.

Monday, August 04, 2008

How can life go on...

And this is why I say I'm a little on the excessive side when it comes to empathy... but then again...maybe I'm not. Maybe we are meant to be this tuned into each other and yet the world draws us apart and culture expects us to be hardened.

Thanks to Sara, I was able to read about a wonderful, brave little boy named Thomas. You can do the same, if you haven't already, by viewing his website.

My heart is in wrenching pain from reading this story...mostly because I realize its not a story. I realize there is a family now that is burying their son. In an hour and a half. There is a mom nearby, someone I could have easily walked by in a grocery store or at the mall just weeks ago, who is grieving the loss of her baby boy.

Nothing seems important. Not my stupid job or education or car. Not our bills or dirty blinds or whether or not my hair looks good today. I have a beautiful, smart, intelligent son who is as healthy as can be. My husband came home from work last night.

Why am I so fortunate? Why am I so selfish that I take these things, the important things, for granted? From what I can tell, never having met this family to my knowledge, they want to feel free to remember their son and the joy of loving him. And yet how many of us are guilty of scolding our kids because they wanted another hug before bedtime or because they decided to "help" us fold the clothes (that were already folded)?

And in my stops. The sorrow is enormous. I can't get myself motivated to move on and continue with the life I have in front of me. All I want to do is to go back to my son and husband and spend another day laughing and playing and loving.

Yet in a short period, the reality is that I will be distracted with the things of this life enough to continue on with the life we have together. Knowing that by grace alone I have my life and that of my family and friends. At any moment any of it can be taken away and life as I know it can change.

I ask that today you comfort the Bickle family. Teach others around them to let them grieve. Teach others how to support them and let them laugh when they are ready. Bring peace in their home and restore the joy only you can bring. Allow the memory of sweet Thomas to beam through their hearts and minds in a way that brings abundant joy.

I ask that you teach us all how to love like you do, with the Bickle's and within our own families and within Your family. Thank you for making us all stop and realize that our days are numbered and yet you are still in control. Thank you for allowing me to share, if only a tiny bit, in the life of Thomas Bickle through the openness of his parents in this world wide web. Thank you for letting me experience a tiny bit of what someone in their shoes may feel so that I can be grateful for what I have and remember what is important in this world. Forgive me for taking your gifts for granted.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What would you have done?

I took little man to the mall tonight to play at the park. We left the house at about 7:45pm. Which was bad enough in itself considering the mall we went to was at least 20 minutes away. But I love the little guy so I went ahead and took him and spent some time with him...indoors...where it was at least 80 or so instead of 95.

Anyway, at one point I was helping Logan be good and play with the other kids (read: stopping him from pushing the little girls down the slide) and saw a dad put his little girl over the rail and into the play area. Of course he could have walked her to the entrance...but that is the least of my worries.

She was all of 4 or 5, maybe. As he lifted her over the rail he cautioned her to stay in the play area and not go out or else someone might take her and she needed to be safe. I thought that was odd, but was busy keeping an eye on Logan, so eventually got distracted enough to forget about it. Probably 20 minutes later or so the girl went up to another one of the mom's, crying her eyes out, because she couldn't find her daddy and her daddy was missing. I leaned over and told her that he had left her there by herself after realizing she was alone.

At that point I thought about calling the police, figuring they could maybe scare the parents into not doing it again, but realized that there was a very real possibility they would have to take the daughter away and I wasn't ready to make that call when it could have been a dad just making a stupid mistake. So I consolled the girl and kept an eye on her, watching to see if I could find a security guard to do the scaring for me. It was probably 10 minutes before the mom returned with an arm full of shopping bags. When I finally got to the security guard and pointed out the family, thinking maybe he could at least say something, he said he had already had a discussion with him earlier in the day for doing the same thing and he had a bad attitude, but since they had picked up their daughter and the mall closed in 7 minutes, there really wasn't a point in saying anything more.

So, what would you do in that situation? Hindsight being what it is, I wish I would have called the cops right away and let them handle could a parent do that over and over again, leaving their child with people they don't know at all and hoping their child won't walk away looking for them or that another adult will realize that the child is alone and take them away. I just can't understand that. I believe we all make mistakes and I know I am not a perfect parent, but still...I just can't imagine doing that. Next time, maybe I would take the girl away to the security desk, "looking for her parents", and then let the police handle it that way with the parents panicking when the return to look for her and she's not there...then they would learn while she's in safe hands? ...I don't know what would be right in that situation...then, would you say something when the parents return? What about if you saw the parents dropping the kid off and leaving...would you say something then?

Just curious...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Batman: The Dark Knight...sort of review

First, let me say two things. I don't consider myself a qualified movie reviewer for the general population. I am WAY to sensitive and fairly much so that even my most conservative friends disagree with me most of the time on whether a movie was good to watch or not. And yet, I have a few oddball favorites I can't think of them right now but I know they exist. The oddball tendency in me is probably best characterized by my affinity for gangsta rap. Oh, I thought of one...American History X...that is on the top of my all-time favorites despite the horrendous violence, which, of course, leads me to plug my ears and sing "lalala" as loud as I can so that I don't hear or see the violence and put that picture into my head. I know...totally defeats the purpose of making the reality of certain situations known...but, I don't need to see it to experience me. Even the slight suggestion of some sort of violence or meanness sends me to tears.

And, of course, I haven't actually seen this Batman movie.

So, take my feedback for whatever its worth to you.

My dear J had the unique opportunity to go do the whole comic book enthusiast (read: geek) thing and see a movie when it opens...12:01am. This one had such rave reviews, which, coupled with his eagerness to see the movie anyway left him waiting in line with his friend from work, for...90 minutes before the movie began. He got home around three this morning and I woke up long enough for him to tell me his review of the movie.

He loved it. And was glad he got to see it the way he did. He said the line wrapped around to the back side of the theatre and there were 1800 people who came to see the movie at that time...I don't think there are 1800 people who see a movie there on any other typical day.

But, that was about all of the positive review from J. He went on to say how incredibly dark and gruesome it is. There wasn't much blood and guts, but the evil portrayed in the movie was just overwhelming. I guess this is why Heath Ledger has received so many accolades for his performance. He said I shouldn't watch it (he knows me and my sensitivity). He also said that he definitely wouldn't recommend kids to it and almost wouldn't recommend for teenagers to watch it.

J is not sensitive at all to the violence and evil in media, and he has seen much of that stuff in real life. He'll play the most graphic video game and watch any shoot em up movie and rave about it. So, the fact that he called out how seriously disturbing this movie is should be taken as a stern warning about the content. With the exception of Never Die Alone, a movie (from our perspective) with NO redeeming value, he has never said anything like this about any form of media in the 10 years I've known him.

So here is my warning...I'm not one to tell you what to watch and what not to watch, but if you are at all sensitive about violence or evil portrayed on film, I wouldn't recommend watching this one. I'm not going to watch it. And, I would certainly think twice, no, 300 times before allowing a kid to watch it...who, of course, might be begging you to watch it because they are familiar with the comic book or the saturday morning cartoons. There is only so much you can do to get certain thoughts and images out of your head after they've been planted there along with a form of "entertainment".

Friday, July 11, 2008

Funkey Monkey...Let Me In!!!

Hey Lady-
This is just for you...wasn't sure if you were still checking my site, but when you went private I got locked out. Can I come back pretty please?

Monday, July 07, 2008

Difficulty accepting reality

The last week has been quite interesting. I'd say that you'd be proud of me, but, my reality is that many of you won't be, and I'm learning to deal with that.

You see...I finally went back to the neurologist. After a brief discussion about why, as someone with insomnia, I was taking a nap while waiting for him, the doctor eventually found my chart and realized that taking a nap was more than appropriate after waiting for him for an hour after my appointment time, especially since, oh yeah, I have narcolepsy not insomnia. Completely different doc... (You can't blame him too much though...not only was it 3 years ago that I last saw him, my hair was about 10 inches longer back then and I was told at least a few times that my picture didn't look anything like me now. Of course, maybe that was because they had the wrong chart...but I digress)

Anyway, we discussed taking medication even though we're not on birth control. I reminded him that although we aren't on bc, its been 21 months and no pregnancy, therefore it will be highly unlikely to get pregnant spontaneously in the next few months until we go to the dr to do something about it and, even more so, we are constantly monitoring for pregnancy so we would know nearly immediately and could stop taking the medication. He said overall, you have to weigh the risks of falling asleep driving (which i do all the time) or falling asleep while cooking, and the danger that poses to your family compared to the danger of taking a medication while pregnant that, as of yet, is not known to cause any complications. Weighing our situation, it seemed reasonable to start me on Provigil.

This my friends is extremely exciting and yet scary news. I hate taking medication. I really, really, hate taking medication. I hate to be in an altered state of mind so much so that I won't take any medication for pain besides the occasional Tylenol 3 or 600's of Motrin for the occasional migraine, and, of course antibiotics when necesary. Spent $100 on tamiflu when I had the flu a few months ago...didn't even take one pill. (shh...don't tell J or the dr). Its just not who I am. And, its REALLy not who I am when it comes to being pregnant. When I was pregnant with Logan I think I took one benadryl for allergies and one Z pack due to a sinus infection. Nothing else, at all, including for labor, delivery, and recovery. So, taking medication ongoing for the rest of my life, excluding known pregnancy and breastfeeding periods, particularly a stimulant like providgil, really makes me a bit nervous.

On the other hand, the opportunity to take medication brings promise of a brighter tomorrow. And, the first day I took the medication I noticed a remarkeable difference. So much more alert and aware of what was going on around me. If you haven't been there, I don't think I could explain it, other than to say I actually felt awake. At one point in the day I sat in a meeting and thought "the last time I sat with a group of people and felt this alert was in junior high"...the meeting reminded me of what it felt like to be in junior high and actively engaged in the class. It was amazing. I was happy and felt great. Of course, my luck, the night before I started to come down with a nasty sinus infection or cold, probably a cold, and it hit me hard the rest of the weekend so much so that the medicine didn't help much since my body needed its rest.

But, with my joy comes some very interesting reactions. I thought people would be happy for me. What I've found is that, although some people are happy for me, more often than not the reaction is skeptical as to whether or not I need the medication. Now, let me first say that I've made it 11 years so far with this condition and no medication, so there is something to be said in that no, I don't NEED the medication. But oh my can't believe how different my days have been with it. Although I've been tired, I haven't had any sleep attacks. I can see clearly, which, I know sounds weird. I can hear AND understand what others are saying. I have felt fine walking around and cleaning the house and doing yardwork and whatever else needs to be done...I haven't felt the need to just sit on the couch and sleep. I can actually think clearly and write things down as I think it and just overall manage life better. And I've been much more emotional. Not sure if this is good or bad, but it just is. I think its because I'm alert enough to experience life. I don't know.

Nevertheless, the medication is a stimulant, and that in itself causes concern. The dr told me to take one in the morning, and then, after a few days if it seems like I need more then take one at lunch time. I realized right away that the medication wore off quickly at around 3 or 4, so on the 4th of July I took the second pill at lunch. My husband was quick to tell me that he was worried about me because I was addicted to it or going to be addicted to it. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate his concern and want EVERYONE to feel free to approach me if they feel I am adversely affected by the drug and/or addicted to it, but that REALLY, REALLY hurt me. Really badly.

I have always been so careful to stay away from any kind of substance that I can be addicted to. I have never had alcohol. I have never had any kind of drugs. I have never smoked. I am really sensitive as well to other types of addictions, knowing that addictive behavior can be borne out of pretty much any kind of behaviour. I have never even had a narcotic painkiller after the surgeries that I've had. Refused to take them. And so the idea that I would willingly take a drug and abuse it after one day was hurtful. Especially since I was following the doctor's instructions. Not to mention mky reluctance to take the medication in the first place since the idea of taking medication goes against everything I believe in.

But even deeper, to me it meant that he didn't believe that I had a condition that caused so much challenge. I have always been someone prone to sickness...I catch any kind of ENT germ that crosses within 25 miles of my door. That is partly because I was born with GERD but not diagnosed until I was 17 and therefore had trouble keeping good bacteria in my body to fight off the bad stuff..yadda yadda yadda. Add on top of that my migraines, which I started getting when I was 5 but more regularly around puberty (go figure...) and are caused in me by two things...hormones and changes in sleep behavior (i.e, when I don't get enough sleep). Add to that the excessive tiredness and an odd low blood pressure history, it made me...a natural problem solver...dig for what this all could be. Not because of wanting to be sick, but because I wanted to find a solution so that I could be well. I've seen neurologists for the migraines, cardiologists for the blood pressure, gastroenterologists, ENT's, etc. This has led many of my family members to joke about me being a hyperchondriac. That on top of my tendency to be injured and have extremely random illnesses (remember my hand surgery for the tumor that 'only' happens in males?...and yes, I found another female with the same problem...) all of this has made me try really hard not to appear like I'm feeling ill when I am. And, has led me to be the butt of many jokes some of which were spoken by my husband who with good intentions (?) or at least out of a good spirit has actually called me a hyperchondriac.

So I was relieved to learn that most of my health problems (and even my tendency to be less graceful) are caused by or at least made more prevalent by the narcolepsy. Low blood pressure and narcolepsy go hand in hand. Obviously, the tiredness (falling asleep standing up talking anyone?). The tendency to completely fall down when startled. Even the migraines, at least to some degree...all caused by or made worse by narcolepsy. Narcolepsy that was confirmed by a series of tests that measure brain waves and other bodily functions while sleeping, something I can't make up. Tests read by a board certified neurologist that is a director of a sleep center. A report that says, without doubt, I have narcolepsy. Not because I SAY I do, but because I actually do.

J says its hard to believe, not only because its hard for someone without it to understand what its like to have it, but also because I don't show it. And he's right. I struggle in the most part silently. Partly to avoid explaining it to people. Partly to avoid pity. Partly to avoid the situation in general and pretend it doesn't exist. Mostly just to choose to live the life I have to its fullest, narcolepsy or not. And I realized that I'm actually punished for that. If I were to choose to "give in" to the condition and let it rule me, then people would be more likely to understand and therefore support me. If I quit my job so that I could stay home and sleep whenever I needed to, people would get it. If I chose not to drive anywhere or gave up my license voluntarily, people would get it. If I chose to let myself sleep whenever my body was telling me I needed it rather than, as I do, try to stay as fully awake and alert to whats going on around me at all times, people would get it. They would get how often I try to struggle to stay awake. They would see how often my body tells me I need to sleep (or, actually forces me to do so). They would see all the times I do ridiculously stupid things (like fill up the dog's food dish then put it in the refrigerator) because I'm running on automatic behavior gone mad. If there were a camera following me around silently, people would see how often I fall asleep while driving, how often I sing at the top of my lungs like a drunk sailor trying to stay awake instead of falling asleep while driving. How often I have no idea what you just said because my mind was sleeping and my body was spending all the energy it had trying to fool you all into thinking I'm awake. Then people would understand.

But I don't do any of those things. I've spent almost half my life struggling to stay awake while choosing to live my life anyway. While choosing not to give in to my flesh but to "beat my body into submission" and live the best I can, doing the best I can as much as possible. Because of this, the general public has no idea that I struggle. Those closest to me rarely do either. I don't care what the general public thinks of me. But I do care about what those closest to me think about me...for better or worse. Maybe thats a fault of mine. Maybe I put too much care into what they think. But at some level we are all looking for acceptance as who we are. I didn't choose this. I would never have chosen it. And, at some point I'm sure I'll get to the point where I'm ok if people don't get it or don't acknowledge the condition I face. I've never really had to justify it before. But now, with the medication, I feel like I have to justify why I'm taking it, even though those around me should know me by now in that I would never take a medication, especially one like this, if I didn't think it was essential. It's the reality I face. And yet its one I'm ok with. The reality that not everyone will understand, approve, or accept it is another reality I'm learning to deal with. One I'm having difficulty learning to accept.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Birthday J!

Happy Birthday and a Big Congratulations to my wonderful husband, who I am extremely proud of.

Of course, many of you know that his ACTUAL birthday is in December, yet we are now celebrating another birthday July 1st. I'll let him tell you the exact nature of the issue (its not drugs or alcohol), but he has been fighting an addiction now for many years and is "clean and sober" for two years. One thing I've learned growing up in a culture of recovery is that your sobriety date is indeed a birthday, a day to celebrate the new life you received as a result of choosing to give up what has been controlling you and accepting a new way of living...choosing everyday to fight against what is comfortable, what kills the pain, what is 'easy' and instead choosing to be honest with God, oneself, and others. J is ready to celebrate making it to two years and doesn't care who knows if you want to make his day, give him a call and tell him "Happy Birthday!!!" He'll know what you mean. :)

The past 4 1/2 years, since I've known of this struggle have certainly been challenging. As much as it would be nice to have never gone through what we've gone through, the reality is that my husband struggles with something, as we all do, and the reality of our situation is that we would never have been more open, honest, understanding, and close than if things happened just the way they did. As much as the pain literally hurt my heart so bad and changed me, causing me to go through things I would have never imagined, the end result is that we are both continuously looking for our character defects and learning how to live, together, with each other's 100% support with a love that we never would have known for each much as blind faith and newlywed trust was a wonderful feeling...we have something so much better. We know we aren't perfect and yet still our spouse is totally commited and full of love.

Things aren't perfect. What I have had to accept is that they never will be. I may be writing a blog tonight about how things have completely fallen apart and how "the other shoe has dropped". I don't know. But my faith is no longer placed in my husband as the ultimate knight in shining armour. That 100% trust, 'blind faith' regardless of all situations, only belongs to One. And, that relieves my husband of the pressure of being perfect, something he can never attain leaving him to always fail. I am a different wife than I would have been if we hadn't faced this situation...God needed to grind some things out of me that I'm sure I wouldn't have wanted to let go of otherwise. And for all of it I am grateful. My husband now has an appropriate place in my life...the head of our household, the loving and caring and provisionary husband. He is my hero but not my saviour. The man I admire in so many ways and who can have fun and play and just learn to be who God has made him to be.

Happy Birthday's to many more interesting, trying, and wonderful years together. I love you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Narcolepsy Symptoms

If you haven't already, take a look at my post below "On having Narcolepsy"...this is a followup to that one...

I didn't write any of these but found them on a 30 page document put together by others with narcolepsy and I found that I share the same symptoms:

It started out by saying... "You know you have narcolepsy if..."
  • If your right hand really DOESN'T know what your left is doing (and neither does the rest of you).
  • If your side of a conversation consists mostly of "And then...wait, I think I was...what was I gonna say?"
  • If you have a clock on every wall in your house and all of them are purposely set ahead to different times so you'll always think "It's time to go!"
  • If you've never seen a whole feature film, but appreciate the longer ones because you actually wake up before it's over and you can see the end.
  • If you have a 10 hour or more delay on memory retrieval.
  • If you've trained your dog to turn on the coffee maker, pull the covers off you in the morning when your alarm goes off, and prod you into the shower.
  • if everytime you pass a cop on the road you think to yourself, I hope he didn't see me nod off.
  • if you tell people at least twice a day that, "I am so sorry, but I'm abolutely exhausted, and I can not believe that I did that.
  • if you take a drug and are able to remember the entire drive to work and are shocked by that fact.
  • If "deja vu" crosses your lips at least 5 times a day but draws worried glances from people nearby who just watched you repeat the same behavior.
  • If you've never finished anything you started - not even a sentence
  • If your children offer tic-tacs to people who doze off in front of them.
  • If you praise yourself every time you remember something before it is too late.
  • If you've trained yourself to bite the inside of your cheeks to keep your lips tight so you won't drool when you doze in public settings.
  • If you keep a sleeping bag hidden under your desk.
  • If you have ever put the phone it the fridge only to find it later and replace it with a roll of toilet paper. (I forgot to mention in my original post the automatic behavior...we do some REALLY WEIRD STUFF because we are on auto pilot...)
  • if your husband is no longer surprised by finding car keys, shoes, etc. in the fridge.
  • if you say "now what was I saying?" over 10 times a day.
  • if you get up to go to the bathroom and halfway there forget where you were going.
  • if you can fall asleep on a roller coaster.
  • if you have to check the light 2 or 3 times to be sure it really is green before you go.
  • if you have to constantly ask someone "did this actually happen or was I dreaming?".
  • if you have to read the same things over and over and over and
  • You can remember all of your favorite outfits since you were the age of two.
  • You have to carry your address with you because youcan't remember it
  • You realize at noon that you have your blouse/dress on inside out
  • ... if "Huh? I'm sorry, what did you say?" is part of your regular vocabulary, and you're not hearing impaired.
  • if you can sleep through roofers tearing down and putting up a new roof on your house.
  • If you've ever said "I'm so exhausted, I need a nap" and your spouse replies "you've only been up for 5 minutes".
  • If you've ever awakened yourself by inhaling water from sinking too far into your bathtub.
  • if while talking to a customer or a fellow co-worker you realize you have no idea what you just said, or how long they've been waiting for you to respond - who else can be standing and holding a piece of paper & take a quick nap and NOT fall or drop the paper?
  • you sleep in the sick bay at work during the lunch hour (although for was the nursing room while pumping!!!)
  • you've learnt just to smile when others say 'oh I get tired too'
  • If, "Wait, don't wake me.... a man just got hit in the head with a mountain" seems like a good reason to be left alone.... and you believe it at the time.
  • If your idea of a good place to nap includes: Burger King's parking lot, the dressing room at Kaufman's, or in your car outside of the sleep doctor's office because you showed up 10 minutes early
  • If when you lay down, you are afraid that you may have forgot to set your alarms, then realize.... wait.... that doesn't matter!
  • you take notes in your college class that start out legible but end up a beautiful abstract art masterpiece
  • you awaken and curse the clock because it didn't go off, yet you are the one that turned it off.
  • If you dream about getting in a car accident and wake up to find yourself driving on the freeway.
  • sleeping on the sofa, instead of your bed, counts as quality time with the children (or your spouse)
  • you can wake up 6 times before you REALLY wake up, and then you think you're still sleeping

I'm sure I could spend more time doing this but this is just a sample. Really, these things are honest to goodness things that I experience, maybe only SLIGHTLY exaggerated, if at all.

On having Narcolepsy...

If you've wondered where I've been (which, really probably hasn't been many of you), I have been on vacation for 2 weeks, during which I checked my email twice (but didn't really respond to any of them), and that's it. Then, I needed another week to catch up on life.

I just looked through my posts and realized that I've never written one about having Narcolepsy! So, my friends, here's my journey to Narcolepsy and a little bit of what I've experienced in life as a result...

I have always liked sleeping. I've never been one to WANT to get up early. Sleeping in has always been nice. My parents tried to instill in us the value of getting up early and not "wasting the day", so we always had to get up early. Even on the weekends, we had to get up by 8 am on most mornings, if not earlier due to something going on. (which, looking back, wasn't that bad but it helps set the stage...). Of course I've always been an active person, and many of those activities had me up early anyway because I had to be somewhere doing something. I started really hating mornings when, in Junior High, I started getting frequent migraines, most of them caused by some change in sleeping habits, like getting up earlier than normal. None of this (except for, maybe the migraines) is all that abormal for a pre-teen/teenage girl.

I remember exactly when I knew there was a problem. I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. I hated my English teacher because I thought she wasn't a very good teacher (I still, to this day, remember that being a bad class). She didn't like me much either. I remember I couldn't stay awake in her class, ever. It was a morning class, and looking back I think it was the block before lunch (10-12 ish). And it wasn't that she wasn't interesting, or that we didn't have things to do, but listening to her talk and even others talk I just couldn't stay awake. No matter how hard I tried to keep my eyes open they would always close. I spent most of the time in class trying to stay awake and I had little attention span left to spend on actually learning something. And, it was the first class I had that we really had to read stuff. Read lots of books (you know, the historically educational kind like "all quiet on the western front" and that book about the kids on an island) (see...thats all I remember about a "classic"). I would read a page and fall asleep, no matter what time of day I read it and no matter how "exciting" the things in the book were. This happened in other classes too, but my memory is that this class was the worst. Looking back it was probably all the reading and writing.

I brought it up on my annual physical. The dr. pointed out that I was an active teenager and at this point in my life I needed rest, it was completely normal. He did have a point. I was at dance rehearsals (then later in the year swim practice) at 5am, went through the school day, swam until 4:30 after school, usually went straight to work from 5 or 5:30 until 8 or so, then came home and worked on schoolwork (I was an honors student). But most nights I was in bed by 10 and was never one to pull an "all nighter"...I think I did it twice the entire time I was in high school. So, yes, I can see why he thought it was normal. I knew it wasn't, but figured this was just how I was.

It didn't help that I felt lazy because the expectation at my house was to be awake early...and like it...

Fast forward to college and things just kept getting worse. As with most college kids...classes before 9am were almost impossible to make. But I learned the value of waking up 5 minutes before I had to leave, getting ready as fast as possible, and making it to where I had to go just in time. But again, I couldn't stay awake in class. No matter what class. No matter what time. I made sure I sat myself in the front of the room, right in front of the professor. I tried to make sure the classes I took would have as much interaction as possible. I made sure I always had a drink with me. I made sure I always had gum or candy or food with me to snack on. I always had a notebook to take notes (even though that is NOT my learning style at all). When I didn't live on campus, I put a pillow and blanket in the backseat of my blazer so I could lay down and take a nap in the 10-20 minutes between classes. And yes, I could ALWAYS take a nap in that amount of time. These were things that I found helped. I was less likely to fall asleep (or, more likely to be able to keep my eyes open) if I were right in front of the instructor, involved in a discussion, writing notes, chewing or swallowing something, or when I just had a 5 minute catnap. I had difficulty staying awake on my drives to and from school or home after work. But again, at this time I was working full time and going to school full-time (graduating, with honors, in 3 years with a BA), actively involved in church and youth ministry, so, it was explainable that I was tired. Most of the time I walked around in a fog and I eagerly awaited days where I could just take a nap.

By this time I was setting my alarm at least an hour and a half before I actually had to get up because I needed that time to prepare myself to wake up enough to actually get out of bed. I had tried all the moving the alarm clock across the room so I actually had to get up and turn it off...but none worked. I would, mostly asleep, get up, push the snooze button, get back in bed, fall soundly asleep, dream, and then wake up again 7 minutes later...repeating for an hour or so just giving me the 5 minutes I needed to get up and out the door in time to be where I needed to be.

I graduated when I was 20, started working 2 weeks later, and had a MUCH easier schedule. But the sleeping problems didn't go away. I was struggling more and more to stay awake while driving. I would plan my schedule so that I could take a nap in my car between each store visit. When I moved out on my own I felt more free to take naps during the middle of the day or sleep in as much as I wanted to and quickly learned that the extra sleep I longed for didn't help. I was still tired no matter how long I slept.

I REALLY knew there was a problem when I became an instructor. I would fall asleep while driving to and from work. I struggled to keep awake starting 5 minutes into my commute and continued that way until I reached my destination and could get up and walk around. It didn't wake me up, but changing what i was doing seemed to help. I would sing in the car, or talk to myself and I wish I had a recorder with me so you could hear what I sounded like. I'm sure I sounded like I was a VERY drunk woman on the verge of blacking out...which I was, except, without any alcohol or drugs. And, the worst part (if that wasn't bad enough) is that when I was up in front of a class teaching, I would be hoping that what I was saying made sense because I would fall asleep while talking, standing up in front of a class. No super busy schedule now. Nothing besides a normal 9-5 type professional job. No kids. A decent but small home to keep up. No schoolwork to do. I felt so unbelievably lazy. My husband loved watching movies and I always looked forward to watching one with him because it was my opportunity to fall asleep without feeling guilty...although the $9 ticket price with no memory of the movie certainly was a bit of a shame.

It was probably another 3 years before I went to see a neurologist about it. I had finally convinced myself that it wasn't normal, and it wasn't going away. He monitored my sleeping patterns and we tried months of adjusting patterns to see if it could change. He had me on a couple weeks where I was supposed to sleep whenever I wanted to and however long I wanted to, just to see if it helped. It didn't. No matter when or how long I slept, I was always just as tired. We did an overnight sleep study where I was hooked up to wires ALL over. It came out normal, with mild restless legs syndrome. Not enough to explain the degree to which my symptoms were interfering with my life. Then, I got to do a MSLT (I think it stands for multiple sleep latency test), where this time I got to go into the sleep center hooked up to a few wires, and take a nap once an hour for twenty minutes. They measured how long I slept and how long it took me to fall asleep each time. Over 10 minutes (average) indicated no problem, 5-10 minutes indicates abnormal results, and less than 5 minutes to fall asleep indicates narcolepsy. I was at 6 or so. Unfortunately the day before the test I had a bad migraine, and I'm always very alert when I have a migraine otherwise we are sure it would have been less than 5 minutes and been a clear cut case.

Unfortunately, all this testing was in vain because Jason and I had already decided to start trying to have a baby, and therefore I couldn't take the prescribed medication anyway.

It has been 3 years since that study. Since I was pregnant and nursing for most of that time, there has been no need for me to go back to the neurologist for monitoring. But now that I'm not nursing I could probably go back for some provigil, although, they may not be willing to give it to me since we aren't on birth control. And, I'll probably have to do another set of tests. Which, isn't all that bad considering I can go and sleep all day!

Daily life for me is a challenge. I wake up as early as possible and still have the problem with the alarm clock and pressing the snooze button. I take the train most days so that I don't have to worry about driving. I do struggle to stay awake on the train because I want to be careful of what could happen if I don't. But its a struggle. Even when I take the train I have to drive 6 miles home, and about 2 miles into it I'm already struggling to stay awake. On the days I drive into work (Mondays, and occasional sporadic other days), I struggle the whole way TO work (yes, only shortly after I've woken up) and the whole way home. I dread the times I have to drive to Denton to go to classes because that, my friends, is a long drive from downtown Dallas, and I don't even make it to the 35/635 interchange before I'm falling asleep. Usually I plan for at least two stops to get up and walk around because that seems to help a little bit.

If I moved back to California, I wouldn't be allowed to have a Drivers license. It is mandatory for Dr's there to report Narcolepsy, and they don't give licenses to people with Narcolepsy (except, I guess, on an exception basis, but its rare). I don't blame them. I fear there will be a time when I will have to pull myself from driving altogether.

As I go through my day I often walk into walls, trip over my own feet, slur my speech, and have trouble finishing my sentences. Think about the time right before you fall asleep...that's how I feel all the time. The doctor says that if I take the medicine I'll be about 85% awake (compared to normal people). My immediate reaction was to ask him how alert I am now...he says somewhere between 40 and 60%, during the good times. I don't know any better...I really can't imagine what it would be like to just be awake and not be struggling to stay awake most of my day.

I have trouble staying in shape. Since my body is only awake so much, my metabolism is very slow. Additionally, I can't really get up any earlier (already get up at 5:45), I go through my day non-stop until I put my son to bed by around 9 or so, then do my best to get some sort of cleaning done and hopefully a small workout before I completely crash. I only get about 6 hours of sleep a night as it is. And, when I am awake, I have very little coordination to make my body workout. But I do what I can.

My path is somewhat normal. I was diagnosed when I was 23. They say the average age of diagnosis is around 25 because thats when the symptoms become obvious enough that they aren't mistaken for just being tired. They say it gets worse from here but I'm not accepting that.

Narcolepsy is really misunderstood. The main symptom is what they call "Excessive Daytime Sleepiness" or EDS. This is the tendency to fall asleep all the time. You CAN control it to some degree...its not like the movies where someone just falls asleep out of the blue. Usually, with this symptom, if someone does fall asleep they've been struggling for a while to stay awake, just like you have probably experienced when staying up late to watch a movie or finish a college paper, but 10X worse. Eventually, the sleep wins and the person may fall asleep for a few minutes until they wake up, only a few minutes later, horribly embarrassed that they've fallen asleep. The other main symptom is called cataplexy...this is when a person looses muscle tone for a bit (seconds to hours). Sometimes, like in my case, its pretty mild and I'll just have droopy eyes or droopy mouth, trip over my feet or have difficulty making my fingers type on the right keys on the keyboard. Other times, its more severe, where someone looses all muscle tone and actually falls to the floor. It looks like they are sleeping but they are usually awake and aware with no control over their movement. The body goes into REM sleep while the person is still awake. (essentially). There are a couple other main symptoms, one is where you feel paralyzed in the couple minutes before you fall asleep and the other is where you hallucinate a couple minutes before you fall asleep (like you are dreaming while you are awake). I often have the hallucinations (I think that I'm dreaming and asleep but I'm actually awake...we figured this out during the sleep study), but haven't really experiened the paralysis. There are medicines for these things too I suppose. I know that anti-epileptic medicines are often used for narcoleptics.

When I first got diagnosed I did some research and found others who have the condition. I haven't actually met anyone, but reading their stories online has been SO helpful. It helps me to know I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who is like this. And, its not my fault. I'm not just lazy. I'm not crazy, and I'm not making it up. Most people when I tell them say "I had no idea"...or..."but you never have a problem staying awake when I'm around". Trust me. I'm struggling. I'm much better when I'm engaged in a conversation, actively playing a game or doing something phsyical (which is probably, when you are around!). But even then, I'm struggling to stay awake. Or, I'm struggling to be energized enough to do whatever we are doing, even if its a conversation I'm struggling just to stay engaged in the conversation. And its not because I'm not interested, I just can't help it. I found a document that was 30 pages long that included symptoms and situations people have experienced because of the narcolepsy. I'm not going to share them all, but I'll pick my most common ones and share them in another post.