Sunday, December 4

FRIENDS

Friends. First Friends. Old friends. New Friends. Forever Friends.

I moved A LOT when I was young. Until the 8th grade, my family moved every single year, causing me to also change schools. I find it interesting how this one aspect of my childhood molded me as the friend I am to others. I suppose having to make new friends (leaving others behind) brought me to be somewhat of a social butterfly ~ LOTS of acquaintances. And I enjoyed that sense of knowing others and the hello's, how are yous, all the way through my own children's schooling and their activities. I felt like I belonged. In a world of no computers and cell phones (beginning days) it was nice to feel like you were part of the community. But, as our children left the sports and Youth Group behind to go off to college and become adults, I felt the emptiness creep in. I began to long for the closeness of "Best friends" or at least the relationship where two people shared their deepest sorrows and enjoyed each other's joyous moments. Something I did not get to experience young.

High School Friends
My first best friend was a girl I met in the 8th grade. Both of us new to the school. Both had moved from the same county in California. She and I are still friends. Even when our lives took different paths with college, marriage and birth of our children, we somehow had that connection that always allowed us to migrate back into each other's lives and pick up where we left off. There is actually a group of us that shared a special bond the last two years of high school, and we stay in touch regularly. And even though there are still some private barriers among us, I consider them close friends. Thankful to have women in my life that were there for each other then and would be tomorrow. My children even considers one of them as "Aunt". 
minus one twin, add daughter in law
Long distance friends. When our twins were born we found out that Gene's first roommate and past firefighter co-worker was also expecting twins. Both families had twin girls (Smith's and Jones'). We mom's bonded like super glue. For years our families saw each other whenever Gene's extended family had activities for us to attend ~ as we would pass through their town to go and return. Maybe only spending a couple hours together. As our children got to be old enough I even drove to their town and spent the night so the kids could get to know each other..... well, really just so she and I could talk!!! hahaha! I think she and I know each other better than any other friend I have. And each other's families. Maybe it was the distance that helped us to be so open and free to share. Maybe it was the way we were able to connect through motherhood of twin daughters and sons. Maybe it was the need we both had to be understood and non-judgemental when we discussed our feelings about our loved ones. We could spend hours on the phone. And did. Today there is quit a bit of distance between us, but she holds a very special place in my heart and even if she doesn't need me to hold her hand, I will always be there emotionally for her.
Today's friends. I still find myself with a lot of fringe friends, and friends that surround me as we all participate in the same activities (similar to when the kids were in sports), but I do appreciate BEST Friends. The ones that invite you into their lives to share in their family celebrations, vacations and are not afraid tell you they do not like that outfit you are looking at buying!! Can say "that does not look like you" and be correct! The ones that know you well enough they give you advice.... without fear. They know you will still love them if they are wrong. Best Friends. I cannot say they surround me in great numbers, but the few I do have I cherish. I hope they stay as Forever Friends.

BAMOT / MOOTS Friends
Group of Friends. This one is unique. Again it dates back to the birth of my twin girls. I joined a group called The Birmingham Area Mother's of Twins just before they were born. BAMOT.  We met once a month for a meeting of just mom's (and an occasional newborn) who got together to hear a speaker, and socialize. I was part of the group for about 10 yrs., holding every position there was on the Board ~ and was usually left to speak to the press at our outings.  I looked forward to the activities of this special group. Easter Egg Hunts, Halloween Festival, picnics, playgroups.... oh and selling our used clothes and baby items to each other!! I always had  several women lined up to buy my girl's things. Problem was, I was not always as lucky to have someone ahead of me selling! For the past 5 or more years a group of about 10-12 of us that call ourselves Mom's of Older Twins Society (MOOTS) have been meeting once a month to share dinner and talk. The conversations have moved from babies to grandbabies of late, but we still have lots of family or job and health issues to discuss too. So, I am very Thankful for these 'Old' Friends, Good Friends and Special Friends.

Thankful Thoughts

December 4, 2011

I have decided to think back on my Life today, so I can find the Joy deep inside me and bring it out during this Christmas Season.  It is not that I am without Joy. It just seems to be hiding behind the pains and grief of others of late, with a tiny bit of my own thrown in.

Growing up, I was not given a Faith based childhood. When I started High School I sought out sources of Faith on my own. One beautiful Sunday afternoon while walking around the campus of a local High School (within walking distance of my house), I experienced an attack by a young man. I was fifteen. It was close to Easter, and I was carrying a fold up "track" about God and Faith.  I believe that I was protected from the worst case scenario, by God, on that day.  Even though I was leery of this person who approached me, I was still young and made a couple of 'not so smart' moves that afternoon that put me in a vulnerable place with this stranger. As I was being physically attacked, I fought back and he eventually ran away. As I jumped to my feet, I noticed the Track still in my hand.
Thank you Lord.
I was so Thankful for His protection from what would have surely been a nightmare memory that day. Instead, I walked away with a sense of protection, as well as a lesson in listening to my instincts.

 Skip ahead and I get my next big Thankful Time ~ finding my husband, Gene. Being a young lady in the late 70's made it hard to find a man you could trust with your heart as well as your body. Drinking and drugs swirled all around me ~ as I suppose it did with most young women and men. It was a time when most of my friends went off to college and I went to work. I never participated in drugs, though I had my share of drinking nights. After a few 'near miss' encounters with some crazy men I had met during this time, I found a nice hard working, non smoking man!! His background was one of an Eagle Scout and Red Cross volunteer, and he worked as a firefighter/paramedic with our city.  We married within the year. I was so Thankful to have found someone who loved me back and I could trust with my life, my soul and my future. He still does.

More Thankful times ahead included the Birth of our Children. Thankful that even with an eight week EARLY start, our twin daughters came home to us Healthy and have grown up without any major issues because of it.
 
Then four years later, our mini firefighter was born to us without complications. Raising three of God's Children was at times challenging, but with His help (and some pre-school, bible school and Sunday school) they all three have grown up knowing Him in their hearts. I may not have had all the tools needed myself, but the Village Helped!! Thus, another Thankful ~ the Church.

Growing older has shown me to be Thankful for my Health! Over the years, I have not had any major health issues. Weight control maybe, but I have a good immune system and my body is hanging in there. I am starting to feel the effects of lack of exercise / strength, and every week I plan my next strategic attack :-D. 
One of our son-in-law's just had the last of his Cancer tumor surgically removed at the age of 32. He still has more chemo and radiation and then the task of trying to live life normally while you pray you stay cancer free.
Gene has had his own pain. Back Pain. Since January 2011. He has been on pain management for it and is now checking into surgery options. We pray he finds the right surgeon that can help him. (looking now)

We are definitely Thankful for our bountiful blessing of financial security. It is because of that we have been able to enjoy many activities and vacations with our family and friends, as well as take care of our lovely home. We have also been able to give to those in need and provide things for our community that help the handicap or less fortunate. It has also allowed us to diversify in business, giving us a second opportunity to share our bounty.

My last thought is about Friends. So Thankful for all the many people that have come into our lives, etc. But, after I started writing it, I realized it deserved a blog of it's own. So.... see you on the next blog!

Tuesday, July 5

Oh the aches and pains .....

Roxy is now 17 yrs. old
Roxy came to us as a rescue around the fall of 1993 ~ Candace & I picked her out and brought her home. She was basically a solid black puppy that looked like a pot belly pig ..... curled tail and all. Gene called her pig, partly because of her tail and partly because of the things she would choose to bring us from the yard (can we imagine a dead bird or was it a chipmunk?) that had maggots on it & dumped into the girls' bedroom?  Then having to pick up not only the carcass, but the wiggling wormy things as well? Only to have her bring it back in because we failed to dispose of it properly??  We got Roxy because our kids had not had their 'own' puppy ~ our older dog at the time was obtained just before I got pregnant with the girl's. So, with Faith dog getting older why not go ahead and get a pup, it might keep Faith younger longer! NOT!! Now we had an energetic puppy and an old grumpy dog wishing she would leave her alone. Faith lasted two more years.... I remember saying how it was the longest 2 yrs. of my life ~ trying to keep the peace and keeping the two from eating each other's dog food. When Faith finally left us, having Roxy around did help ease the loss somewhat.  While Roxy filled the dog void, she was a bit of a 'fear aggressive' dog. We never really knew if she would actually bite anyone, but she scared more than a few folks.

Enter Ginger, October 30, 2005. When I saw an opportunity to foster a displaced hurricane Katrina dog I thought it could be a good way to test the waters on getting another dog without having to commit to keeping it if things went bad. I also loved the idea of being a part of a big reunion with a Katrina family & their dog.  Well.... Ginger had no family looking for her so we adopted her.  We could only guess how old Ginger was.... 5yrs. old? 8 maybe? Seems that Ginger was this super 'social' dog ~ a backyard breeder dog ~ and managed to teach the old lady new tricks (a.k.a. how to sniff b***). Roxy's problem was mainly lack of socialization. The two have been great together until just recently, when Ginger gets a grump moment and appears to attack Roxy, causing her to cower in a corner!! Ginger also shows signs of hearing loss and some facial atrophy, but still has her energy (even with her skinny appearance) at age 14 or so.

As Roxy aged we invested in cataract surgery in one eye to help her see better and so she could interact with the other dogs ~ she was so frustrated that she could not see the toys & join in ~ (by now we had another rescue that we fostered and Daniel adopted). Unfortunately we cannot do anything about her loss of hearing!

Recuperating from attack
Roxy survived a horrible dog attack a couple of years ago. Slowed her down a little.... arthritis worsened. And over the past couple of months she has started coughing when pressure is applied to her chest area or she exerts herself playing or coming up the stairs, etc. A recent x-ray showed a lesion on her right lung ~ Doctor says unless she had a major injury there for it to be scarring (not the dog attack), he is pretty confidant it is cancer.
Arthritis makes this painful
As I watch these two age it makes me aware of how we too have our own aches and pains, many of the same nature.   My mom has painful arthritis. Gene's dad & my mom both have breathing issues, hearing trouble, and have had lens replacements for cataracts too.
                                                       
Gene has back issues from disc herniation, and just had elbow surgery to repair a nerve that was causing numbness in his fingers. Sister Debbie is due to have that same surgery this Thursday.

It seems that many in our family have snoring / sleep apnea / sinus issues. Myself included. Yes Gene, I made my appointment!! Some have Mitral Valve or disautonomia and need medications to control symptoms. We lost my dear mother-in-law and an uncle to Cancer, as well as have had several survive cancer in the family & one beginning treatments.

I started to title this "oh the aches and pains of aging", but then I realized that not everyone that is hurting is 'older'. And what is 'older'? Older than me? Older than my children? No, because even they are feeling some pains. Aches & Pain, physical and emotional, knows no age.

Sunday, April 10

It's time to get up somewhere.....

The clock on my nightstand says 4:02. A.M..
I have my the laptop in my lap and I am munching on M & M's. Seems that when you are up so 'late' or 'early' your stomach is ready for food of any kind. Where is an almost ripe banana when I need one?

Usually I reserve this time of the day/night for sleeping or trying to get to the airport on time for an early morning flight. But not lately. Though according to my iPhone blinging at me with status updates on people I commented on earlier, there are other sleepless people up too. Each of us with our own reasons.

My reason today, is Lexi, our 3yr. old chihuahua.  Lexi occasionally has seizures. Actually I am not sure how often she has them, because there are times I am gone all day. But, most times I am awakened in the night by her tiny body shaking (she is usually under the covers next to one of us). I take her stiffening body and hold her close to me, wiping away the foam from her mouth until she sighs ~ a sigh of relief. She will then go outside and potty and crash back in bed. Tonite was different.

Lexi's seizures can be less than a minute and mild or longer and a bit more intense. Tonite it was intense AND lasted 2-3 minutes. She kept trying to climb out of my arms as she was was coming out of it so I put her down and she walked in circles.... then she walked all over the front yard instead of just doing her thing and coming back inside. I was drying her tummy off from the dew on the grass when she seized again! Poor baby!!! 

I have tried and tried to find some explanation (other than epilepsy) for her seizures. From food changes to weather issues, but nothing seems to be an actual trigger.  Her Vet says they are probably epileptic seizures that appear just before a puppy is 2yrs. old (yes that is when they started).  As long as she did not have them frequently or more than one in a day, she would be okay. Unfortunately the only thing he could do for her then would be drugs.

Well, she seems to be resting okay... I've got her close to me in her small doggie bed so I can pet on her or feel her if another one comes on. The m&m's are gone and my eyes are getting heavy again. Good night. Or is that good morning?

Sunday, March 20

Blogging

I enjoy reading blogs.
Family members write and post pictures and I feel like I am connected with them. Strangers write blogs that give me a peek into their world of parenting, family and Faith.
Other's have jobs or hobbies that interest me.
Reading other's blogs is like having friends I've never met, but know so much about! They are open and honest when writing about their lives.
I love that about them.
I am much the same.


I also like writing my blog.
Lately I have not had the concentration to write.
I have had plenty I could have written about. And am dissappointed that I did not document the times. It is so much harder to write about something that happened in the past than the present. You loose a lot of emotion.

So, excuse me while I find some quiet time to schedule in some blogging. I promise it will be from the heart and as honest as it can be without hurting anyone I care about!!