Monday, February 28, 2011

FAQs: A Day in My Life

This is a post that I've been working on for several days. Sometimes people ask me what my day-to-day life is like. I guess some people have a hard time wondering what a person who can't move does do all day. So, here is a rundown of what a typical day in my life is like:

My day starts around 6 AM when my mom comes downstairs to give me my first round of pills of the day. (I take pills five different times a day for all sorts of things like, muscle spasms, pain control, kidney function, under-active thyroid, etc.) Then I go back to bed, although I usually don't fall back to sleep. This is my thinking time when I pray, daydream and think. (This is often the time where I get ideas for new blog posts.)

My mom comes back at 8 to start our morning routine. I eat breakfast, she washes my face and things like that. Then around 9 a neighbor or friend from my church comes over to help my mom dress me, wash my hair if it's a "hair" day (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday) and get me up in my recliner. (If I'm staying at home all day I just sit in my recliner rather than my wheelchair because it's much more comfortable. If I'm going out, then it's the wheelchair for me!)

I'm up for the day by 9:30 or so. If it's a hair wash day, then my sister Chandra spends the next hour drying and flat ironing my hair. It's quite a process, but fortunately we only do my hair three days a week! After I'm up then I get on my computer and I work on my computer  all day until three or four in the afternoon when my mom and I start our afternoon routine, which includes my bath and other personal care.

My mom and I have dinner together around five. After dinner is over I get back on my computer. I'm really good at multitasking, and I spend the evening working on my computer while simultaneously watching TV. Or sometimes I'll work on my computer while my mom reads to me. Mom usually goes to bed around 10 PM, but I keep working on my computer until my sister Chandra comes home from work (anywhere between midnight and 2 AM). I really enjoy my evenings on my computer because I get a lot done and am quite productive.

This is what my weekdays are usually like. Sometimes Chandra and I go shopping or to the movies on Saturday since she's off on the weekend. The three of us always go to church on Sunday morning and then spend the rest of the day together. I love weekends because Mom, Chandra and I have fun hanging out together.

Here's a little bit about my caregivers:

The brunt of my personal care falls on my mom, as she is my main caregiver. I don't have a staff of nurses (too expensive), so it's basically my mom, my younger sister, Chandra and two family friends from church that each come over three mornings a week to help my mom get me dressed and up for the day. Here's a little bit more about what each of these people do for me:

Mom: my mom doesn't work outside the home and she stays home with me just about all day, every day. She gets out of the house on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to run errands, take care of things or do things that she wants to do while Chandra does my hair. Mom and I get along really well and we rarely disagree. We're each other's best friends and we really enjoy being around each other. (That's fortunate since we don't have another choice!)

Chandra: is my youngest sister and still lives at home. Although she has a full-time job she still helps our mom with a lot of my care. She puts me to bed each night after she gets home from work. (She puts my computer away, bushes my teeth, adjusts me, etc.) This works out well for us. My mom usually goes to bed around 10 or 10:30 and I like to stay up late working on my computer. My mom is free to go to bed since she knows Chandra will situate me after she gets home from work. Chandra also does my hair on Tuesday and Thursday mornings since she doesn't go into work until 2 PM. Chandra is off work on the weekends, so she helps our mom with my care on the weekends, too.

Linda and Kellie: two friends from church that live close by that each come over three mornings a week to help my mom get me dressed and up for the day. It would be impossible for my mom to get me dressed and up all by herself, so we really appreciate the assistance that these friends offer.

I've been paralyzed since 2003, and one of the uneasy feelings about my situation is not knowing where Mom and I will get the help we need on a permanent basis. However, the Lord is mindful of our needs and has always provided someone to help us. Several of my sisters have lived here for short periods of time and have been able to help our mom with my care. When they've moved on there's always been someone else to take their spot, or our circumstances have changed in some way so that we're still able to get by. I'm so grateful for the Lord and that He watches over me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Movie and FroYo

I Am Number Four movie poster
This afternoon my sister Chandra and I went to the movies with our friend Hillarie. We saw the movie I Am Number Four. It was sort of a sci-fi/action movie. It was a good movie, but not a great one. Still, I had a lot of fun and it was nice to see my friend Hillarie since it had been a while. After the movie we went to FroYo and got some frozen yogurt. I got red velvet yogurt which is so good. It's weird how it really does taste like red velvet cake!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Infected

I was working on a blog post Monday night, and I wanted to include a picture, so I did a Google image search like I've done so many times before. However, this time that was the WRONG decision, and I ended up getting a nasty computer virus from one of the images I clicked on. It's the kind of virus where you get a message that says your computer is infected with viruses or other problems that are harmful to your computer and that you'll have to pay a $89 fee to fix the problem.

It's a complete scam, of course, and the virus completely hijacks your computer. I couldn't open any of my programs, including the internet. The desktop background was replaced with a blue screen that said, "WARNING, you're computer is infected!" in big red letters which was followed by a poorly written message that had grammatical errors, etc. (Hence the "you're" instead of "your" in the title of the message.)

Long story short, I didn't know what to do and since my computer is my lifeline, it was a very frustrating problem. I told my sister Laura what had happened, and the same thing had happened to her twice before, so she fortunately knew how to fix it. She looked at my computer yesterday afternoon when she was over, and it didn't take her too long to fix the problem and get me back up and running. Hooray!

I'm not saying that I'm going to stop doing Google image searches, but every time I do I'm going to "hold my breath" and pray that nothing bad will happen. The internet can be a scary place sometimes! I wish it were easier to catch the thugs that make computer viruses. What low-lives! It's a pretty cowardly thing that they do – sneakily hiding behind their computers, just waiting to wreak havoc with yours!

If this happens to you, the program that you need to fix the problem is called "Malwarebytes Anti-Malware." (It's free!)  Click here to find out more about MalwareBytes'

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

World traveler

I wish I could travel, but it's not easy for me now that I'm in a wheelchair. I can take short car trips (seven hours is about my limit), but even still, it's difficult for me when I'm not at home since I don't have my special bed and my overhead lift that I use to get in and out of my bed/wheelchair.

I've visited several states in the US, but I've never been out of the country. It doesn't seem likely that I'll ever have the opportunity to leave the US, but I've learned to "never say never." Who knows if I'll ever be able to travel in an airplane to other parts of the country. I know it's possible for people in wheelchairs to fly, but I don't know how I would get around from A to B after the plane landed since I need a special van to get around since I can't just get out of my wheelchair and hop in a car seat.

However, if I could travel, here are some places I'd really like to see:
1. Hawaii
2. Rome
3. Paris
4. South Africa
5. New Zealand/Australia
6. Ireland
7. The Bahamas, or maybe some other beautiful place in the Caribbean
8. Shanghai or somewhere in China
9. Somewhere in South America (maybe Brazil) so that I could visit every continent (except Antarctica)

The place that I would like to visit the most, though, is:
10. Greece
The Parthenon
I've wanted to go to Greece ever since I was in college and I took an art history class where we studied Greece and all of its ancient history. I would love to be able to go to the Acropolis and see the ancient ruins, like the Parthenon.


Just another one of my dreams!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My old friend, Ben

Andy Griffith as Matlock
I remember the show Matlock being on (1986–1995) when I was a kid, but I didn't really become familiar with the show until I was older. I liked watching the reruns of the show that would play in the afternoon, especially when I was in college. I'd go to school in the morning and I'd get back home early afternoon and I'd watch Matlock every day while I ate lunch. It was my ritual to watch Ben Matlock defend his innocent clients (he was a defense attorney) while at the same time finding out who committed the crime. I could always count on Matlock to A) find out the truth in the last few minutes of each episode and B) wear his light gray suit!

Police/crime/courtroom dramas sure have changed in the past 25 years since Matlock made his debut on television. The use of computers and cell phones is just one thing that's so prevalent in all of today's television shows, but 25 years ago computers and cell phones didn't play near as big a part of life as they do today. It's crazy how things change! Things change slowly and gradually, but then when you look back you see just how apparent these changes are!

Service: it's the Lord's way

Yesterday in church we had a lesson about service that was really good. Here are a few points about service that I wanted to talk about on my blog.

– Through the service of men and women, God's work is done. God does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually through another person that He meets our needs.A lot of people pray and ask God for the things they need, but chances are that God isn't going to show up at our front door. Instead, He answers our prayers and fills our needs by sending other people into our lives to help us.

– If we have special talents, we should use them to serve others. God blesses us with talents and abilities to help improve the lives of others.After I heard this it made me stop and think what I can do to bless the lives of others.

– When we willingly serve others in the spirit of love, we become more like Christ.I love knowing this because I know I want to become more like Christ. The more I become like Christ the better a person I will be.

I was thankful for this lesson and for the reminder just how important serving others is.

"Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"The Kite Runner"

The Kite Runner movie poster
About a month ago I watched a movie called The Kite Runner and it was so good! I knew this movie was also a book, so I decided to get it from the library. *When I watch movies that are based on books I like to read the book either before or after so that I can see how it compares to the movie, and vice versa.

The book (by Khaled Hosseini) was just as good as the movie, if not better. The movie follows the book really well, which was nice since most movies are so different than the books they're based off of. I listened to the book on CD, and the person who read the book was also the author, so it was neat to hear the author read the book and pronounce all of the Afghan words the way they are meant to be said.

Although this was a good book, it was really sad and difficult to get through at times. However, it was a tale of redemption and forgiveness – not just forgiving others, but also forgiving yourself and letting go of the demons in your past that haunt you. This book was thought-provoking and gives you food for thought.
The Kite Runner book cover

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fond memories

After my accident, my older sister Annette decided to move home to help my mom care for me. One of our afternoon rituals was to watch Jeopardy!. We were huge fans of Ken Jennings, and it was fun to watch to see if he would win another day. Ken's winning streak lasted for 75 days, but he was finally defeated on his 76th appearance. During that time Ken won more than $2.5 million. We were definitely sad to see Ken lose, but all good things must come to an end, right?!

Ken has returned to Jeopardy! twice since his initial winning streak; once in 2005 for the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions, and most recently for the IBM Challenge where Ken and another contestant faced off against "Watson" – a supercomputer with knowledge that would take a human 250,000 years to sort through. Watson definitely made some silly mistakes, but in the end he prevailed and left his human opponents in the dust.

Finale of Jeopardy! IBM Challenge

Although I don't watch Jeopardy! every afternoon like I used to (I usually watch Dr. Phil nowadays), I do enjoy watching it every now and then when they have special challenges, like this one.

So good!

Yesterday I tried a new snack that was so good I knew it had to go on my blog. Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bugles. My sister Chandra recently brought a bag of these home for me to try because it's something that she really likes. I tried them and they were so much better than I thought they would be. They're basically tornado-shaped muddy buddies. If you like peanut butter and/or yummy snacks, these new Bugles are definitely worth trying!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chore finished!

In 2007 I wrote my personal history, which is basically my life's story. It starts when I was born, and since I don't have my own memories from that time I used a journal that my mom kept for me where she wrote about my progress, funny stories, what I was like and other things about me. That journal proved to be very useful so that I could use it to document the first few years of my life. Then I started incorporating my own memories as I grew older. If someone reads my personal history they could learn all they wanted to know about Heather, which is exactly why I wrote it.

Several years ago I wanted to know more about my grandpa and if he had written a personal history, then I would've been able to find out who he was and what he's experienced in his life. Fortunately, he's still alive so I took advantage of this and I wrote his life story for him. I didn't just do this for myself, but also for the rest of my family so that they can know grandpa as well. He's 89 years old and has had such an interesting life. I'm glad I know him so much better after writing his life story.

Here's another example of why I think it's important to keep a personal history. My dad wrote his personal history, and when I read it a few years ago I learned so many interesting things about him, and it was fun to hear him talk about his life in his own words. I especially treasure it since Dad's dead, and I don't have the convenience of being able to talk to him.

I don't have any children of my own, but I do have lots of nieces and nephews, and one day they might want to know more about my life in greater detail. That's one of the reasons I wrote my personal history, and why I'm so passionate about journaling, blogging and documenting my life.

Here's where the chore completion comes in: I update my personal history each year and I write a detailed synopsis of what has happened in my life and in my family's life that year, as well as major world events and things like that. I hate writing the update and I definitely look at doing it as a chore, but I rather do it each year then to have a decade's worth of stuff or more to catch up on at one time. I finished my update this afternoon, complete five pages of pictures. Whew! Finished for another year!

The way of the future

I can't remember when I first heard about Facebook, but it was probably around 2005. I never thought that Facebook would be something that I would ever sign up for, but I've learned to "never say never" and I signed up for Facebook in July of 2008. I'm glad that I did because it's been a fun way to keep track of people that I wouldn't normally keep in touch with. (Like people from high school, nursing school, work, church, etc.) It's nice to be able to know what is going on in their lives without actually having to put forth the effort of e-mailing/calling them, because I know I wouldn't!

All this being said, I was astounded when my mom asked me to help her sign up for Facebook several weeks ago. I honestly thought she was out of her mind, because Facebook and my mom don't really seem to go in the same sentence! However, she decided that since Facebook is not only here to stay, but seems to be "the way of the future" in a lot of ways, she wanted to sign up and learn how to use Facebook. I'm glad I could help educate her in the ways of Facebook since she wanted to learn.

I wonder what other things are going to become "the way of the future" in the next few years. Things that might seem obscure at first, but then seem like a "must" after not too long. Only time will tell!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Midnight oil

I used to get on my computer and work throughout the day, but then pack things up for the day in the afternoon. However, the past six months months or so I've started getting back on my computer in the evenings after I'm back in bed. I usually get back on my computer after dinner and spend another six or seven hours on my computer. Sometimes I'm on my computer 12 hours a day! Working on my computer is truly like a full-time job.

I'm so grateful that there is technology out there that allows me to use a computer. When I'm on my computer I feel "connected" and I'm glad that I have the independence to do all sorts of things like e-mail, work on projects, watch movies, and do pretty much anything that any normal person can use their computers for. It's really a liberating feeling to be able to use a computer and do "normal" things.

I have to admit that I tend to "burn the midnight oil" and I stay up pretty late – usually between midnight and 1 AM. My sister Chandra doesn't get home from work until midnight most nights, so she helps me put my computer away when she gets home from work since my mom has long since gone to bed!

I don't know what I would do if I weren't able to use a computer. My life would be a lot lonelier/less exciting and I would have to find something to fill it up. Thankfully, this isn't the case and I AM able to use my computer as a lifeline.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My life's mission

I've been blogging since July of 2009 and I love it! At first I wasn't sure what I would write about and if anyone would read my blog or not, but it's really taken off in the past 19 months. I write about all sorts of things, both serious and funny, like my personal experiences, my thoughts about different things, current events, pop culture – pretty much anything that strikes my fancy!

One of the features on the Blogger website is the "stats" button where the author of the blog can click on it and find out how many page views their blog has had, where the traffic to their blog comes from, and things like that. As of this morning, here are how many views my blog has had (not counting my own visits to my blog), and where they've come from:
United States: 12,288
United Kingdom: 1088
Canada: 606
Netherlands: 471
Germany: 334
Australia: 213
Italy: 205
Israel: 134
Taiwan: 122
Spain: 82

Can this really be true?! On one hand it's hard for me to believe that people all over the world are reading my blog, especially in places like Israel, Taiwan, etc., but on the other hand if it's on the stats page, it's gotta be true, right? I guess I'll believe it until I find out otherwise, even though it's hard for me to wrap my mind around. I just wonder where these people in foreign countries find my blog!

Regardless of if it's true or not, I really feel like blogging is part of my life's mission. A lot of people tell me how inspiring I am, but I always cringe when I hear this because my intentions are not that I'm trying to inspire people. I'm just trying to let people know that when tragedy strikes and your life suddenly changes from what you always hoped and dreamed it would be, that it's possible to still be happy and find joy. That's all. But I guess if people want to call me inspiring, I'll take it as a high compliment and try to do my best to live up to the praise.

I don't feel like I'm doing anything noble or extreme, I just feel like I'm doing what I can to be like Jesus. I always think that if Jesus could put up with all of the things that He did and still hold His head up high, then I can certainly live my life with a smile on my face since my life isn't nearly as difficult as Jesus' was.

I pray every day that the Lord will bless me that I might be able to write in a way to touch the hearts of others.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

XOXO!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Here are some of my thoughts about this great holiday:

Even though I don't have a sweetheart to share this day with, I really love Valentine's Day anyway. It always bothers me when people who are single say how much they hate Valentine's Day. It just makes them sound so bitter and miserable! Don't they have any family or friends that they love and appreciate? I know that I look at Valentine's Day as a day to honor the people I love.

It IS hard to be alone, though, especially if you want to be married. It's something that is such a sincere and humble desire. I'd definitely love to be married and to have someone special in my life to love and care about me in a romantic sort of way. I just want someone to adore me and someone to be sweet/silly with. Is that asking too much just because I'm paralyzed? No, it's not!

What's your idea of the perfect Valentines Day gift?
1. My favorite gift would be a card with a heartfelt, handwritten message telling me why I was loved and what I meant to the person.
2. Flowers are nice, too. I know that flowers are something that's impractical since they are quite expensive and don't last long, but I love them! How about a bouquet of roses like this,
or maybe a bouquet like this with some lilies.

(I love this kind lily because they look a little more exotic than your traditional rose।) *If you give me flowers, no carnations, please!
3. I'm also a sucker for assorted chocolates!

Another thing I love about Valentine's Day is sending cards to my nieces and nephews. I always loved getting mail when I was a little girl, especially cards on holidays and my birthday. I hope my nieces and nephews will appreciate the gesture, and when they get older I hope they will look back on this with fond memories and know how much I loved/cared about them.

I'm content to just celebrate Valentine's Day with family and friends for the time being, but I hope to one day have a romantic relationship and a special person to share this fun holiday with!

Gaga for AC

Today I'm jealous of Lady Gaga and here's why:I was watching 60 Minutes tonight and Anderson Cooper interviewed Lady Gaga. At the risk of gushing, I love Anderson Cooper so much! I feel like I'm back in eighth grade again when I had a huge crush on Leonardo DiCaprio! Anderson Cooper is such a good journalist. I love watching him interview people on his show because he doesn't take flak from anyone and he always calls them out when they're being less than truthful. He's really witty and funny and he always makes me laugh. I especially like it when he fills in for Regis Philbin on Live with Regis and Kelly. Kelly Ripa is also one of my favorite people, and the chemistry between the two of them is fun to watch. It's always a good day when I can start it out with Kelly Ripa and Anderson Cooper!

If I were ever to be interviewed by anyone, I would definitely want it to be Anderson. And I would love to turn the tables and interview him because I have some questions I'd like him to answer। This is just another one of my pipe dreams! ;)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

TRIPLE feature!

My sister Chandra was off work today, so we went to the movies. Actually, we spent all day at the movies and we saw three movies, back-to-back-to-back! I love movies, if you can't tell! ;)
The first movie we saw was called The Eagle. It was really good and very suspenseful. I love movies like that where you don't know how it's going to end. It was probably my favorite of the three movies we saw today.
After that we saw Gnomeo and Juliet. I was so excited to see this movie! I started seeing the movie trailers for it last fall, and I couldn't wait for it. I'm usually not a huge fan of animated movies and I rarely see them in the theater because I prefer to wait until they are on DVD. However, I made an exception for this movie because I thought it looked so cute! Plus, the soundtrack for this movie had the classic music of Elton John (my favorite singer of all time!). The movie was very cute, and it did not disappoint.
The last movie we saw was called The Roommate. It was a thriller and the character that was in it was psycho! It was a great day, and I'm glad Chandra and I could have so much fun together.

What a lift!

On Thursday morning my hairdresser Vera came over to do my hair – highlights and a haircut. My mom and I have been going to Vera since 2000, when I was a junior in high school. She is awesome! She always tries so hard to do just what I want. I'm so grateful that she's willing to come over to my house to do my hair because I don't know how I would get it done otherwise. It would be impossible to get my hair done at the salon since my head is smushed against the head rest on my wheelchair and I can't get out of my chair, either. Getting my hair done is something that's really important to me and it's something that makes me feel normal. Getting your hair done gives you such a lift! Thank you Vera for being so awesome!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A humorous way to remind you

My mom saw this on the internet and told me about it. When I saw the picture for myself I knew I had to use it on my blog. My mom and I are both huge supporters of not using your cell phone while you are driving (especially for the purpose of texting) because it's just so dangerous! This is something that is especially near and dear to my heart since I was paralyzed in a car accident when a distracted driver ran a red light and hit me. I don't know if she was using her cell phone, but either way, not using your phone behind the wheel is a good policy for everyone to follow!

Face it, there isn't any phone call or text message that is more important than your life, or someone else's life. You're really going to kick yourself if you get in an accident, total your car, or worse!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Barbra… my twin???

What celebrity or famous person do people think you look like?

When I was younger (late teens) people would sometimes tell me I looked like a young Barbra Streisand. It usually happened when I was working at the movie theater, and it was always older ladies that would tell me this. I assumed they were probably Barbra Streisand fans that had liked her "back in the day" when she was a young actress. At the time I was mildly offended that they would compare me to Barbra Streisand since I didn't think she was particularly attractive. In my mind I was comparing my teenage self with this: (a woman in her 60's),
but now I realize that they were comparing me with this: (a much younger woman).

I still don't get it, but maybe it had something to do with my cheek bones. (Just a guess.) I don't really know what they saw in my face that they thought looked like Barbra Streisand. (Not the nose, I'm sure!) I don't think people would make this comparison anymore, because now that I'm paralyzed I look quite different than I used to, as my face has filled out quite a bit (something that doesn't thrill me).

I've been on a Barbra Streisand movie kick recently, and I've watched a lot of her older, classic movies. (The Way We Were, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Yentl, What's Up, Doc?, Hello Dolly, Funny Girl and it's sequel, Funny Lady). After watching Barbra in these iconic roles, I've realized how talented she is. She is so funny; something I never realized.

In recent years, and especially in recent months as I've been watching Barbra on screen, I've gained a new-found appreciation for her. Did you know that she is the only woman to have won an Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy and Golden Globe Award, among many others. She is a singer and actor, as well as a film writer, producer and director. And to add to her long list of accomplishments, she published a book a few years ago called, "My passion for design."

To sum this all up, although I don't think I resemble Barbra, I'll take it as a compliment, because I think Barbra was beautiful in her younger days!! (And at almost 69 still is!)

History I WASN'T a part of!

I heard on the news last night that this year's Super Bowl was the most watched televised event of all time with more than 110 million viewers. I usually like to join in on watching popular, history-making events, but I couldn't justify watching the Super Bowl because, to be honest, I just don't care about football! I don't understand football and I don't enjoy watching it.

I also heard all about Christina Aguilera and how she botched the national anthem. Apparently she had trouble with with the line, "O're the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming…" which she replaced with, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming." Even if I were a professional singer I'm sure I would be nervous if I were singing to millions and millions of people, so I don't begrudge her for messing up, but I wish she would've just sung the song "normally" and not try to embellish the tune with lots of runs and things like that. That's what really bothered me, and I thought it sounded perfectly awful when I went back and watched the video of the performance online!

Even though I'm not a Super Bowl fan, I always look forward to Super Bowl Sunday because it's a good excuse to have yummy snacks for dinner! This year my mom made caramel popcorn with lots of dry roasted peanuts, and I also wanted Cheetos. I love Cheetos! They remind me of my plane ride back from my seven-week stay in Atlanta, Georgia, when I went for rehab after my accident. I left before I was able to eat anything for dinner, and I was so hungry! Fortunately the on-flight nurse had a bag of Cheetos which really hit the spot! Cheetos have had a soft spot in my heart ever since!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Night out with friends

This past Saturday night I was able to go out and do something with my friends. It seems like it's been a long time since I've gotten out! My sister Chandra and I, along with our sister Laura and her husband Brett went to our friends David and Karen's house for dinner. We got Chinese food (one of my favorite things to eat!) and my sister Laura made a new cake for dessert. It was some sort of chocolate lovers cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and a chocolate ganache as well. We had a great time and it was so nice to get out and visit with friends!

Restless night

I had a terrible night's sleep last night because I could not fall asleep!! Part of the reason was that I was in a lot of pain. When you're paralyzed one of the side effects is neuropathic pain, which essentially is nerve pain that is hard for the average person to understand, unless you have actually experienced it firsthand. My hands and feet hurt so badly and my muscles kept twitching, which was as equally annoying as the pain. As soon as I would settle down a little bit, the twitching in my triceps would flare up again, which in turn would cause my feet to shake. It was so annoying! I finally drifted off to sleep some time between 3 and 4 AM, and then I stayed asleep until about 6:30 AM.

This pattern of sleep used to be my life after my accident, and it's only been in the recent year or two that I've started sleeping better at night. I don't want to risk jinxing myself, but I'm grateful that I've started sleeping more peacefully most nights. Restless nights are so frustrating!

I've always had trouble sleeping. When I was little girl it would take me forever to fall asleep! I wondered why my sister Laura who I shared a room with for a few years could be sleeping peacefully while I was wide awake! My sleeping troubles haven't ever really gone away (although they've been better lately, like I said earlier). I've always wished I could be the type of person who could fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow. My sister Chandra is one of these people. She lies down and she's out – virtually dead to the world!

I always try to look for the good in every situation, no matter how frustrating or how bleak it might seem. Last night while I was awake it was a good time to think; to "count my blessings," so to speak. I really am incredibly blessed! I might not have everything I want, but I definitely have everything I need and I'm so thankful for that. I'm also so thankful to the Lord for taking such good care of me. The Lord is always there watching out for us, and even though we can't see Him, he's always there. I don't think most people realize just how invested the Lord is in our lives. It hurts me when I hear people say that the Lord doesn't know them or doesn't care about them, because this just isn't the case! I wish everyone could be as confident as I am that the Lord is there! He loves us and he wants the best for us. I think it's important for people to realize that just because the Lord doesn't intervene and solve all of our problems, it doesn't mean that He isn't there or that He doesn't love us. There's always something to learn from our trials, and we can't do that if the Lord comes in and fixes everything.

Anyway, I suppose a few sleepless nights here and there are a small price to pay if it means that my testimony and conviction in the Lord is renewed and made stronger!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So beautiful!

I've talked a lot about the weather this week since we've been experiencing weather that is a little different than the norm for St. Louis. We usually have one or two small snowfalls of a few inches each, but this year we've had at least five significant snowfalls. (I'm starting to lose track since there have been so many times we've gotten snow!) Last night on the news I heard that we were supposed to get an additional one or 2 inches of snow in the night, but I didn't know if we really would.

We did in fact get snow, even more than they predicted, which is a nice change! We got about four or 5 inches, and it coated the trees quite nicely. Here are a few pictures of what I woke up to this morning:

Another few inches is supposed to fall tomorrow afternoon, and then it's supposed to be bitterly cold after that. This is the way winter is supposed to be, and I love it!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Images from the 2011 blizzard





Isn't it amazing what happens when Mother Nature and Old Man Winter collide?!

Dirty mouth?

When I find a new product that I think is impressive, I like to tell others about it. Several weeks ago I was watching Nightline, and I saw a story about something called an OraBrush. Any dentist will tell you that it's just as important to brush your tongue as it is to brush your teeth. This special brush is an awesome tongue cleaner! It's way better than brushing your tongue with the bristles of your toothbrush, and it beats the tongue cleaners that are on the back of toothbrushes these days. (Although brushing your tongue with anything is better than brushing it with nothing!)

The best thing about it is that you can try the first one for FREE, although you do have to pay for shipping and handling ($3.99) but I think it's worth it! Here's the link to the OraBrush website: http://www.youtube.com/user/curebadbreath#g/c/ed0069b4b91e9049

World peace

I've been thinking a lot about world peace in the past week, with all of the riots and protests that have been happening in Egypt. It's really scary to hear about. I'm safe here in my home in America, so I can just imagine how terrifying it would be to actually live in Egypt and have to witness the violence firsthand.

Last night I was watching the news and they said that the protesters don't look too favorably on American reporters, and Anderson Cooper was hurt when a group of angry rioters attacked the group of reporters that he was with. They said that Anderson was punched in the head ten times, but thankfully he wasn't seriously injured.

Why can't we all just get along?! We all belong to one world, and if everyone could take a step back and realize that, I wonder if it would make people realize how crazy all the fighting is.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day

Today is February 2, Groundhog Day! Is it just me or has the first month of 2011 really flown by! It's hard to believe that it's already February, but it is! I've always thought that Groundhog Day is a silly holiday. If it's cloudy outside it means that Punxsutawney Phil doesn't see his shadow, therefore spring is coming in early. However, if it's sunny outside, then you can expect six more weeks of winter weather. That just sounds backwards to me, as I'm sure it does to most people.

Well, this year it was cloudy and Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, so that means spring is coming early. I'm sure most people in the country are glad to hear this, especially those who have been affected by the massive winter storm that has affected a large part of the country.

I was personally disappointed in the way things unfolded yesterday. Unfortunately, the atmospheric temperature where I live was a little too warm, so most of the precipitation that fell yesterday was sleet. I learned on the news that this is the way sleet forms: snow is falling (way up high), then it hits a pocket of warmer air, melts and turns to rain. Then when it gets out of that pocket of warm air, it freezes again as it falls to earth, but it freezes in little balls, which is sleet.

Yesterday we got a lot of sleet… at least 2 inches, maybe closer to 3 inches, but it's hard to tell. If the air temperature had been colder, it would've been all snow… at least a foot, but probably more. That would've been so much more exciting than sleet!! The air was much colder to the north and west, so people who live 30 minutes to the north or west of where I do DID receive tons of snow. (About 15 inches.)

We've gotten quite a bit of snow this year, which I'm grateful for, especially since some years we don't get much snow at all! What if I lived in Chicago where they are getting 2 feet of snow?! Wouldn't that be exciting?!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Strange weather we're having

We are currently having another winter storm, which is just fine with me because I love snow. This latest storm has caused quite a buzz in the St. Louis area since it's supposed to be this huge ice storm/blizzard, so I thought I would share a few thoughts about it on my blog.

First of all, yesterday I saw some stories on the news where they were reporting that many of the grocery stores in the St. Louis area are running out of food necessities, like milk, bread, eggs, etc. I've always been amused when a huge storm is predicted, and it causes the shelves at the grocery store to go bare. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of stocking up and being prepared, but it just makes me laugh, especially when it's reported on the news.

When I heard that there was supposed to be another major storm with accumulating snow, I got excited like I always do! You'd think that over the years I would've learned to expect the worst (which in my opinion is no snow or not near as much as was predicted or not is much as everyone else in the area) but I can't help but get excited when it is in the forecast! Don't get me wrong, we are getting some winter weather, but so far it's just been sleet. What they're saying on the news is that the more sleet you get now, the less snow you're going to get later on when it's supposed to all change to snow. How frustrating! I don't care about sleet; I want snow – and not just a little snow, I want at least 8 inches, preferably more!

Something else that makes me laugh is how this snowstorm has made the news stations hijack the airwaves! They've preempted usual programming all day, which I personally think is a bit much, but what do I know. I know they're trying to keep everyone informed, especially since the storm seems to be changing a little bit, but do we really need to have this 24/7 news coverage?! I can understand updating things every hour or so, but nonstop coverage?! Oh, and the televised press conferences about the storm have been funny too. I know, I know, it's better to be safe than sorry, but it seems like people get a lot more worked up than they need to be when it comes to the weather!

This is the school's NINTH snow day of the year! I'm sure there will be at least one or two more snow days this week, and I wouldn't be surprised if school was canceled every day this week when all is said and done, but we'll have to wait and see. It's crazy that there have been so many snow days this year, especially when I think back to the year I graduated high school (2002) because there weren't ANY snow days that year. Talk about disappointing since you don't have to make up the snow days when you're a senior!

I have to admit that this storm is really packing a punch when you consider that it's affecting 30 of the 50 states. (That's what I heard on the news.) Also, I have a friend that lives in Oklahoma, and she said that it was 78° where she lives last Saturday, and now just a few days later she's getting anywhere from nine to 13 inches of snow. What a difference a day makes!

So, I say, "Bring on the snow!" Just so long as we don't lose power since it's especially inconvenient with my situation.

Comments welcome!

I love it when people leave comments on my blog because it's fun to hear feedback from others. It makes all the time that blogging takes worth it, and it makes me want to keep blogging. I don't think I would blog near as often if I knew that no one was reading it. Sometimes people ask me questions when they leave a comment on my blog, and I just wish they would leave their e-mail address so that I could answer their question!
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