Holidays are hard, find reason to laugh

Thankfully, we survived our “firsts” last year. Survived was about all I could say, because it certainly wasn’t pretty. For some reason, Thanksgiving was much harder for me than Christmas. Maybe it is all the memories of cooking with my mom, maybe it is everyone talking about how amazing their families are and I missed the most important part of mine, maybe it was new relationships that I still wasn’t happy about.

With that said, this year is better, but it is still hard. I’ve been sad, but not stay in the bed depressed this year. What I have gotten better at is finding things to make yourself laugh about. Thankfully, Grandmother provides plenty of moments to make you laugh. These are somewhat crude, so if you are going to be offended by honesty that I’ll probably regret sharing at some point in my life, stop reading now. Otherwise, enjoy the stuff I couldn’t make up if I tried….

Mondays are laundry day for me. ALL DAY LONG…. usually 8-10 loads. Usually, I come in and out of the house trading out laundry and running back to work or running errands. Because the kids are out of school all week, I am home all week. Thus, I was folding laundry as we went. I washed whites, and as they came out of the dryer, I gave grandmother her clothes. Less than 5 minutes later, Grandmother comes into the kitchen (connected to my laundry room) saying, “Whose 40C is this?!?!” Do what? I wasn’t looking directly at her as I was doing something else. “This, whose is it, it isn’t mine!” I look up to see her swinging a bra around in the air. Grandmother, I promise that is your bra. “Nope, it isn’t mine. This is too big for me. I have never worn a 40C.” Well, I am not sure about that, but that is the kind of bras you wear and it isn’t my size. “Well, I guess it is Lexi Kate’s.” Ummm, no. She is a 65 pound 9 year old that may be 20″ around, and she certainly isn’t a C cup. “Well, it is yours then!” No, Grandmother, not my size. Then it gets good. Grandmother grabs a tea cup off the cabinet, lifts her shirt, and says, “Look, I told you this can’t be mine. I don’t have enough breast to fill a tea cup! I used to have good boobs, now I have skin. I can’t fill that thing up.” Grandmother, I promise it isn’t mine. Then, she grabs a mixing bowl, and shoves it on my chest. To see what type of dish my breast would fill up. “Good lord girl, where did you get those Double D’s? Did you buy new boobs?” Grandmother. As I said, the 40C isn’t mine. And, no, I haven’t paid for any body parts. Please, put our dirty dishes away and take that bra to your room. My life is weird. Who else in the whole world has conversations like this. I could cry, but I laugh.

Yesterday we had a doctor’s appointment. But, before that my housekeeper came at 8, so we had to get out of the house. We all went to IHOP. Let me just tell you it was hotter than 3 shades of hell in that place. Grandmother loved it. It’s the first time she’s been warm in months. She still can’t order anything on her own off the menu. This time, she ordered smiley face pancakes. Whatever. She asked the waitress why her pancake had a face on it. Because, that is what you ordered…. But, at least she didn’t show out.

On to the doctor’s office. A very uneventful visit. Her blood work looks good. Her defibrillator is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. On a regular basis, it regulates her A-Fib. There have been 2 significant life saving events this year where her heart has stopped and the defibrillator shocked her back. It has shows signs of distress, when she needs to seek medical attention or change medications. So, we keep on keeping on with that….

Things got exciting as we were leaving. As we were walking down the hall way to the parking garage, a man passes us. He wasn’t running, but he was moving at a good speed. He had on boxers and an undershirt tank. No joke, black boxers with bright flowers on them. Light blue wife beater. They didn’t even match. It was 45 degrees outside. What clued me in to what was going on was the hospital bracelet. Grandmother couldn’t believe someone would disgrace themselves so. “What is he doing? Does he not know he doesn’t have his clothes on? Where is he going looking like that?” Well, I’m pretty sure he’s had all this place he can take, he shucked his hospital gown in the room, and he is jumping bail. “That beats all I’ve ever heard. Why would someone in their right mind do that?” Well, I don’t know for sure, but if my memory serves me correctly, you pulled a similar stunt a couple weeks ago. Not once, but twice while you were in the hospital you tried to run away. “Without my clothes!?!” Yes, without your clothes. But, you did keep the sexy hospital gown, the one that left your sexy mesh panties showing out the back. But, trust me, you didn’t look nearly as ridiculous as that dude…..

Sunday through Tuesday were hell on wheels at our house…. Grandmother cussed her sister. Told her she’d never call her again. Told me that she never wanted to see them again. And, I better not even let them in to her funeral. Okie dokie! She was equally kind to me. She was just angry in general all week. I get it. The holidays are hard. And, she just can’t process emotion anymore. So, she gets mad. It has been funny, sad, and down right maddening. Today has been a new day. For the most part, we’ve had a really good day. She talked to the sister that is uninvited to her funeral. She only complained about dinner.

Tomorrow we’ll go to Jeff’s parents for Thanksgiving. She loves them. I am a little nervous about how she’ll behave for everyone else. It’ll still be hard for me. It would also be my mom and stepdad’s 33rd anniversary. I miss the life we had. Let’s just make it through….

The hits just keep on coming

Do you ever have those weeks where you just wish God would give you a minute to catch your breath? I was talking to a friend about this the other day. It seems like for both of us, as soon as we’ve got one thing “handled” something else pops up. The last two years of life have certainly helped me learn not to worry as much, because no matter how much I plan or worry a little surprise pops up. And, I totally feel like the adage, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” is crap. I don’t even think it is Biblical. But, I firmly believe that God doesn’t give us more than HE can handle. He just choses to use us as the vessel to get it done. Regardless, I’ve just had some times lately where I wouldn’t mind God showing off in someone else’s life. I’m tired. I need to nap. I don’t need to deal with one.more.thing…..

Grandmother had been a pill for the last couple weeks. She was past ready to go back to KY and visit people. But, some problems her sisters were having, coupled with her hospital visit had just not made that feasible. This past Monday I had a couple appointments get moved around, so I came home at lunch and told her to get in the car and we took off. We made it to Mayfield around 2:00 and met 2 of her sisters, a brother, a brother-in-law and a niece at Majestic. We ate, talked and had a good 2 hour visit. From there we went over to see one of her brothers that can’t really get out. We visited with him a while before heading out. We also went by the cemetery and decorated mom’s grave for Christmas. It was raining and nasty, so I didn’t get to sit and visit as much as I like. But, Mom loved decorating for Christmas, so as long as I have breath to do it, her grave will be the best decorated one for Christmas. I hope she likes it.

As we were leaving town, we had a delay from one of my can’t catch a break moments. Jeff called to say there was a big oil spill in our driveway where I park my car. So, I drove to Paducah to have my dad check out my car. There was no sign of an active leak, but my car was very low on oil. He put some oil in it and we went to dinner before hitting the road.

It was right at 9:00 when we got home. I hated it being so late on the one night this week we didn’t have anything to do. I totally missed spending the free afternoon/evening with the kids. I needed it way more than they did.

Tuesday morning I took my car into the dealership to see what was wrong with it. “Mamama rahrahrah rah da blah blah blah…. it’ll be $675 to fix it.” Awesome, Merry Christmas to me. New microwave, car repairs, yep. We’re tapped out on getting Misty anything fun for Christmas. As I say to myself, focus on being thankful you were able to hand him cash to fix it.

Wednesday I spent the day with grandmother at the doctor. We actually already had her cardiology check up scheduled, but Tuesday afternoon they called to say her defibulator had activated and it sent a care link report that she was holding too much fluid. Perfect timing, I guess…. Anyway, we went to St. Thomas to see the Advanced Heart Failure Specialist. Ever wonder how many hearts he had to make fail before getting that title? Anyway, I digress. The diagnosis is that her pulmonic valve is starting to fail, and is leaking. This explains her weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. She immediately wanted to know what he was going to do to fix it. NOTHING. It can’t be fixed in her condition. She already has a mitral valve replacement, which is working well. She’d never survive the surgery to fix the pulmonary valve. She didn’t like this idea. She can’t conceive the fact she is old and her body is going to continue to give out instead of get worse. Of course, that led to her accusing me of wanting her to die because I won’t make them fix it…. No, if I wanted you to die immediately, I would make them operate tomorrow. You’d be done. But, this does make the chances of pneumonia and death this winter very high. Again, not surprising information, just hard to digest right at the holidays when put to you so bluntly.

As I was driving LK to dance, someone else I love dearly called to say they had a recurrence of cancer. Our relationship has been somewhat strained of late, so it made the news even harder for me to take. Seriously? Right now? We have to do this right now? Could cancer not wait until next year? Even until spring? Their first cancer surgery was a couple years ago in November. And here we go again. There are 2 types of cancer this time, both not as serious as the other. But, once you’ve had cancer, getting it again isn’t really a good thing. Especially when you are a few years older….. Thankfully, overall they are in better health and I am hoping that helps with the healing.

And, so I am again trusting God to carry the burden and give me rest. Let’s get through the holidays in one piece, please. This will be my second Thanksgiving without mom. For me, Thanksgiving was far harder than Christmas last year. I would appreciate your prayers as we go through this week, that we are able to remain focused on our many blessings and refuse to pick up burdens we’ve agreed to let God carry.

Princess Weekend

Before I forget to give proper credit, everything below came from ideas presented in a class by Molly Westmoreland of Seed Planting Mom. You can visit her website at More importantly, find a way to take her classes. Her next class in Franklin is at Franklin Christian Church in January.

So, as I have said before one of the things that is very important to me in having Grandmother live with us is finding times to make the kids feel special. I knew the time was coming to have “the talks” with Lexi Kate as she is 9 years old and starting to experience changes. I was so focused on having the sex and body talk, that I lost focus on why and what we really needed to discuss. Enter Molly. She was leading a class at our church. All I really read was “conversations with your daughter.” Honestly, I didn’t give a flip what the class was about. I saw it as an hour and a half break. Jeff wouldn’t complain about me going to class at church, I wouldn’t feel guilty leaving him with Grandmother and Sam, as LK was at dance. So, I went, and my mind was blown. I realized there was so much more that we needed to talk about than just the basic facts of life. And, I decided the best way for LK and I to do this was a “Princess Principles” weekend. I might add I had to take Molly’s class twice to total wrap my brain around it all.

And, I present Princess Weekend. Ten days before our trip, I gave Lexi Kate a card that said, “You’re Amazing. I believe in the strong, beautiful, unstoppable power of you.” Inside was an invitation to join me at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead for a girl’s weekend. To say Lexi Kate was excited was the understatement of the century. She yelled so loud I thought my ears would burst and it was so shrill I was sure the glass cracked. She googled the hotel and figured out real quick this was no ordinary place. But, my goal was to show her she was worth being treated like a princess and I wanted to stay somewhere and do things unlike what was ordinary for her.

I picked her up from school early on Friday and we headed toward Atlanta. I had Subway lunch in the car and we just ate and chatted. I totally felt like a giddy teenager. When we were about an hour outside of Atlanta, I let her open her first gift/card. The message was about making Healthy Choices and that we need to focus on strong bodies, not skinny bodies. It was a great talk as Jeff and I both are considerably over weight right now. I explained there is a medical element to that for me, but part of it was that I just wasn’t making great choices. We talked how it was important for us to work together as a family to make good food and exercise choices. I gave her a Fitbit with multiple bands as a token to remember. I will say this may have been the hardest lesson for me. It totally broke my heart that she opened up and shared how much it bothered her that kids at school asked her if I was pregnant. I hate that she suffers emotionally because of people’s perception of me. We talked about that too….

We had a little snafu getting into the hotel. The hotel has a weird entrance off Lenox Road/ Peachtree Street. As I was making that turn, Lexi screamed at the sight of traffic, causing me to react. I pulled out of the turn lane thinking she saw something I didn’t. This little turn made caused us to sit in an hour’s worth of traffic.But, it was a great opportunity to talk about what is appropriate to do when someone is driving. As well as, we control our own actions and reactions. I told her I was just as wrong as she was. I reacted inappropriately to her actions in not staying the course I knew was right. So, she cried and felt terrible, but it was a great visual real life example.

We get to the hotel, checked in, walked around in amazement, and opened our 2nd Principle. It was about freshening up. Now that she is older she needs to take care of her self differently, and own the responsibility of doing that without being told. We talked about also taking the time to pamper yourself occasionally. Her gift was a spa day the next morning and a new Spinbrush Toothbrush. After this we went over to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. She had literally the best hot fudge sundae ever! We came back to the hotel and enjoyed an evening swim.

The next morning we went to The Ritz Cafe for breakfast. She was amazed by the beauty of the restaurant as well as the level of service. We ate the buffet with a side of custom ordered dark chocolate chip pancakes. She opened her next principle, talking about Manners and Grace. Her gift was a framed print I designed with the word Grace. I had different scriptures in it relating to what grace is, having grace for herself, and having grace for others. The breakfast was a great setting to talk about manners obviously, but also serving others with an abundance of grace.

We went straight from breakfast to our spa day. For me, the spa experience wasn’t as great as what I’m used to in Franklin. But, Lexi Kate was in heaven. She got her first facial and loved talking about how to take care of her changing skin. We also got pedicures. We left the spa and went to lunch at the Swan Coach House on the grounds of the Atlanta History Museum. Such a fun place. We opened the next principle here. It was great to see several older ladies there with friends, as the principle was on friends. The basis was to talk about how to be a good friend, choosing good friends, and following Jesus’s model of friendship. Seeing these older ladies drove home the point of having 2-3 really good, know you heart and soul life friends like Jesus had Peter, James, and John. Then, we have an outer circle of 10-12 good friends like the disciples. It was good for Lexi Kate to be able to identify those people in her life. We also talked about sometimes you have to “change” friends. I went through a “friend crisis” after my mom died and 2 of my best friends I essentially had to move away from that closeness because of some hurt and change of focus in life. We talked about how sometimes you have to do that too. Her gift was a picture frame with “friends” on it.

After lunch we went back to the hotel and opened the next principle. “Giving Your Best” was the one I was most excited about. I feel it is so important to drive the message home that no matter what that looks like, we expect your best. 10th place, 100th place, or 1st place….. All you control is your attitude and your effort. Our gift was separate letters from Jeff and I on how we see LK giving her best, and encouraging her to keep that up. We also talked about areas she needed to work on. It was amazing. Of all the gifts, she said that was her favorite.

We had some rest time, then went swimming. We came back and discussed “Beautifully Made”, this was the “body talk” about the changes coming. I gave LK a basket of hygeine products, a razor, some face wash, and other random things. The key was talking about these changes being something we shouldn’t fear or be embarrassed about, and that we need to show modesty and respect for our body. The key was to talk about it from the perspective of how awesome God is to create us so complex, and have confidence in our individual creation. I will not argue my decision, because I think we all have the freedom to do what is right in our situations. But, Jeff and I agreed to go ahead and let LK start shaving her legs. So, I taught her how to do that by letting her practice on me. We used a regular razor and an electric one, and let her get the hang of it. It truly was a fun experience. And, it was good for her to practice that in a nonthreatening environment where we could laugh and love. When she tried on the pads, she did say, this sucks! What can I do to avoid having a period? I told her that once she starts, the only stopping is pregnancy and menopause. She wisely decided pregnancy was even worse and decided she’d deal.

We got dressed and went over to Lenox Square Mall for dinner. We ate dinner at Panera, and talked about our next principle. It was “Pure Mind & Heart”. We talked about Purity in our body, mind, and heart. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, guard what you put in it. Your mind needs to remain pure, careful what you watch, read and listen to. Keep your heart pure and not have idols. This was an easy conversation, as it is something we talk about a good deal at home. I love the Salt, Pepper, and Water example that Molly uses; so I did that. The gift was a new water bottle, as a reminder that Jesus is the Living Water. She wants me to put vinyl lettering on it that says “Does it dirty your water” as a reminder of the activity, and life lesson.

We also did some shopping after dinner. She needed new tinny shoes. And, she used her money to buy some trash, I mean super cute things, at Justice. We also made a Build A Bear for Sam. We rode to Phipps Plaza mall and back to the hotel in a pedicab. She thought that was just fantastic.

Sunday morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel again. Our next principle was around emotions and journaling. We talked about the emotion is okay, but how we react is our choice to handle well. In journaling you can let all that emotion out before you handle a situation with a person. Journaling is also a good place to dream and work on ideas. There’s no risk in failure by just writing it down. I of course gave her a new journal, notebook, and pens as her gift to go with that.

Our next Principle was Time with God. We are trying to move from a point of us leading family devotions to Lexi Kate owning that for herself. She actually does a pretty decent job of having quiet time without being guided to do so. But, we just talked about this some more. I gave her a mother and daughter devotional book. Looking forward to working on that with her.

The final principle we covered as we got ready to head home was God’s Love Story. Lexi Kate has already accepted Christ as her Savior, so I just drilled home what it means to be redeemed and that she is truly royalty. I want her identity to be firmly grounded in Christ. Her gift was a Crown of Thorns from the Holy Land. It is a beautiful symbol that she will forever be a princess because her King wore a Crown of Thorns.

All in all it was an amazing weekend! We used the four hour drive home to recap the principles we had covered and talked about how we applied that once we got back home to our real life. There isn’t a dollar amount to put on the value of this weekend. Granted, you wouldn’t have to go to the Ritz Carlton and have Spa days to drive these points home. But, that is within our current means and something I wanted to do. Please don’t get lost on the trip and experience and forget the purpose of connecting to your children. We want them to feel prized, pursued, and protected. It’s vital to them growing into the adults we want them to be.

We had one exciting moment in the weekend that added a lesson I hadn’t planned on teaching. While at the mall there was a man fondling himself and growing increasing belligerent with mall security. He kept getting louder, and coming closer to Lexi Kate and me. He was threatening to do something to really get himself arrested and merit being kicked out of the mall. Once he was within arms length of us, I told him he needed to move away. The rent a cop wasn’t doing much to make me feel safe. He didn’t move, and kept yelling. I reached in my purse, and calmly said, “Sir, I have asked you to move away from us. I feel like my life and my daughter’s life are in danger. I am going to need you to leave immediately.” He gave me a bad look, and kept screaming but did leave. Lexi asked me why I told him I felt like our lives were in danger, and what I was reaching for in my purse. So, we got to explain the constitutional right to bear arms, gun safety and responsibility. And, I talked about how serious it was to have a gun and that under no circumstances did you use it unless you felt like your life was in danger. For my protection, I needed the man and mall security to understand I felt like he was threatening her life and mine, and if I shot him it would be in self defense. That was a very sobering end to the night. But, back to feeling prized, pursued, and protected; I think Lexi Kate definitely felt protected in a scary moment knowing her mom would do whatever it took to keep her safe.

So, mamas out there, if I can give you one piece of advice (and I am not an advice giving momma, because heaven knows I am no model parent), let it be this: take the time to invest in your children. Have special moments with them. Talk to them about the important character and developmental phases in their life. Talk on your own terms, be the source of their information before it is too late. Let them know they are worth it to you, and to our King.

And, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Molly Westmoreland for following God’s calling in your life to connect with and encourage mommas to be all God wants us to be.

A Peace Offering

This is my second attempt at this post. Actually, it is about my 50th. I needed to write 3 or 4 different posts over the last 5 days. But, I never got time to set down and write it out. I just spent the last hour writing, and it went away. I love it. Maybe that is good. My anger and frustrations had time to subside. My kids won’t read this in the years to come and wonder why mom dropped the f bomb on social media. Trust me, it has gone through my head on more than one occasion over the last few days. So, let’s take a journey through the stories…..

This weekend Jeff and Sam were out of town for boys weekend. Sam is by far Grandmother’s favorite. (Sorry Lexi Kate) He is sweet, he gives hugs. He hides when he doesn’t want to talk. Instead of sitting near Grandmother and just not talking. Anyway, he is gone Grandmother is not happy. While Lexi Kate was playing with a neighbor I decided to take Grandmother to Costco. She hadn’t been out in a few days, she loves grocery shopping, win/win. WRONG. She hated Costco. She complained about it being too big, she complained about it being to crowded, she complained about the cart being too hard to push, she complained about not having a cart to push, she complained about it being too expensive (Never mind the fact that we are buying a pack of 18 paper towels instead of 1. She much prefers to buy one roll of paper towels and one pack of toilet paper at a time. That way we go to the grocery every day. Ain’t nobody got time for that.), she complained about them not having things she wanted. She ran over me with cart. Whatever, it’s fine. My legs are covered in bruises and busted veins anyway.

So, the day goes on. I don’t feel like cooking, Lexi Kate wants steak for dinner, Grandmother wants a burger for dinner. We all agree to go to O’Charley’s. We went at 4:45, before it gets dark, before it gets crowded. What can possibly go wrong? EVERYTHING….. We walk in and the lobby is full of a boys soccer team waiting to be seated. She complains about the crowd. The boys immediately get up off the bench and offer her their seat. She complains about the hard bench being too low. At this point, I should have just went home. But, I am stubborn person, we stayed. I make everyone commit to what they are ordering. We are ready. The waitress comes and takes our order. Grandma hears me order Prime Rib. She suddenly wants that instead of her burger. I try to tell her that she doesn’t like prime rib. They can not get prime rib extra well done without ruining it. After our lengthy discussion she orders prime rib anyway. And, we wait….. She also had ordered hot tea. The waitress brought her hot tea. It was delightful, until it wasn’t. She drank the first cup, the water in the kettle had gotten cold. She was mad, and no longer wanted the tea. The waitress came back and she order a glass of water, no ice. Like any reasonable person, the waitress assumed she wanted a drinking glass with cold water in it, and she delivered such. Nope. Grandmother yelled at her for being stupid and not bringing more hot water for hot tea. I apologized and took the blame, saying I misunderstood and told the waitress wrong thing. All good, she brought more hot tea. And, then the prime rib came. Perfectly over well done. Charred on the outside. Mine was medium, a hint of darkness on the outside, pink inside. Perfect. It was yummy. Except, remember what I said about Grandmother not liking prime rib. That didn’t change. She cut into and immediately saw the grey/pink color and threw a fit. It wasn’t well done. I explained that it was very well done for prime rib. She went about eating her potato then came back to the prime rib. She tasted it, she hated it. I offered to buy her a steak. She gave me the understanding she wouldn’t ever eat anything else from that restaurant. The rest of us continued eating. Lexi Kate and her friend needed a break, so they went to the bathroom. The waitress made the dreadful mistake of coming back to the table to see how things were going. Grandmother told her how horrible it was (same waitress that heard me tell her she didn’t like prime rib), how they should be ashamed to serve such, and then she THREW THE PRIME RIB. She refused to pay for the prime rib. I picked it up, and assured her that we would in fact be paying for the prime rib she put on the floor. The girls came back. I needed  minute, and went to the bathroom to put cold water on my face. Not sure if I was having a panic attack or a hot flash, but I had to cool off. During the time I was gone, Grandmother made the waitress cry again. I told the girls to shovel the rest of their food down so we could go. The waitress brought our check and brought me a piece of caramel pie with a smiley face on it. It was girl code for you need wine, but it is illegal for me to send you out of here with alcohol, so have pie. On our way out, Grandmother fell in the parking lot. I almost killed myself trying to catch her and hold on to the pie. But, I was not dropping the pie! I am fairly certain the fall was on purpose. Grandmother is pretty good at gaining sympathy when you’re mad…. But, I don’t know that for certain. Anyway, we got home. We went to bed. And desperately prayed for God’s mercies to be new in the morning.

Sunday was a great day for our family of 4. We celebrated my sister in law with a surprise 50th birthday party, and a surprise engagement from her boyfriend. It was great. So happy to see the way God redeems situations and always adds in a little bonus. The kids loved seeing their cousins and playing in leaves, and what little girl doesn’t love seeing a proposal. I enjoyed the good food, laughter, conversation and a break.

Monday, thank God for Monday. It is a new week. We will move on. The physical therapist came to see Grandmother. We really like him. He is super good with her. She thinks he’s hot. Whatever, gets her motor turning. As he was leaving, he told me I couldn’t keep doing what we were doing. Well, again, I am a stubborn old mule. The minute you tell me I can’t, I am motivated to die trying. I can, I will. We have to….. Just like the teacher who once told me I couldn’t pass her class. I was determined to make an A in her class if I had to fail all the other ones trying. Anyway, he was just talking about her condition gets worse each week. She can no longer remember simple instructions and she is very weak and prone to falls. He went on to say that her trachea seems to continue to tighten, restricting air flow, making pneumonia a certainty this winter. We know what pneumonia does to heart patients….. But, I just can not imagine putting her in a nursing home right now. I cannot bear the thought of her being drugged into sedation. It’s probably not the right choice. But, today it is the choice I have to stick with.

Tuesday, Tuesday has to be better. I decided to give Gran another shot at eating out. I made her pick the restaurant, I made her order before I ordered. She complained her food was cold and had no taste. It was a meat and 3, we got the same veggies. Mine were so hot I couldn’t eat them. My mouth was burning. I put ice in my carrots to cool them off. But, hers were frozen. I know her taste buds are messed up. But, apparently her hot and cold sensors are shot too. She made a scene about them taking my $20 and putting crap on a plate. I smiled and waved good bye. And dropped her butt off at the house. While I was at work she called to tell me she unplugged the crock pot because the chicken I was cooking for dinner was done. It was 2:00, it is pork loin. It is not done. Even if it is done, leave it plugged in so it doesn’t get cold. I went home and plugged it back up. In my angst, I put it on high. We had over cooked pork loin for dinner. Karma sucks. My dishwasher also quit working. It was full of dirty dishes. That’s freaking fantastic.

Wednesday, hump day. I will make Grandmother happy. I will make her smile. I will break her from being grumpy. I bring her a peace offering. She has been asking for chocolate pie all week. Chocolate pie is her favorite thing in the world. I will be late for work but I will make the chocolate pie. And she will love it. And she will love me. And all will be right in the world. I sat the beautiful pie on the counter and told her I made it just for her. She complained. She didn’t want the pie. I shouldn’t have gone through the trouble. I most certainly shouldn’t have left her more dirty dishes to wash (I explained I would wash the dishes.) She refused to eat the pie because I shouldn’t do things I didn’t have time to do. I MIGHT LOSE MY MIND! EAT THE FREAKING PIE! But, I smiled. I spoke kindly. I left for work. I picked up our Christmas Cards, I had lunch with my little boy at school, I sent an offer on an unlisted property. I am happy. I don’t care if she isn’t happy. She can’t control my response. I am happy, I am smiling. So what if I don’t quiet believe it yet.

One new development in her diagnosis is the suggestion of Lewy Body Dementia. I had never heard of it before Robin Williams. I still didn’t know about it. But, as I have started to research, it is absolutely spot on. It explains some of her symptoms that don’t exactly line up with Alzheimer’s. It also explains why her mood altering medications work for 6 weeks and then poof, they don’t. It may not be our answer, but it is a clue. And, unfortunately, like Alzheimer’s there is no cure. But, we have another piece to the puzzle to help our fight move forward to a better life while we have it.

So, we pray for new mercies minute by minute. We fight. We cry. We smile. We offer peace offerings and carry on.

Grandmother, you’re going to get us arrested!

Today we went to see the foot doctor…. can I just tell you that getting old sucks. But,  on the upside, medicare pays for someone to give you a “pedicure” every 9 weeks. Grandmother asks me to cut her toenails occasionally…. nope, not going to happen. If medicare will pay for it, I’m not doing it.

Anyway, I digress….. As we were on the way home, grandmother was short of breath. I asked her if she had her nitroglycerin patch on. She said, “I think so, look and see.” I explained I couldn’t look while driving. And, then she pulls her shirt up over her head, flashing the world as we drive down Lewisburg Ave, through downtown Franklin. I almost ran my car off the road. Grandmother, put your shirt down!!! That’s indecent exposure, you go to jail for that! She laughed, and said, but I need you to see if my patch is on. Again, I told her I couldn’t look while driving. To which, she said well obviously you looked at something if you knew my shirt was up! True, but it’s kinda hard to ignore that kind of thing. Yikes!!!

She leaves her shirt up looking for her patch, and I keep driving. Actually, I floored it to get past all the men walking along the side of the street this morning. Poor fellas, I pretty sure 81 year old tatas weren’t exactly what they were expecting at 10:00 this morning. Fortunately, we made it home without a speeding ticket or ticket for indecent exposure. Oh my lorty!

On a total different note, we’d appreciate your prayers for our kids. Living with a dementia patient is hard. I am constantly trying to normalize their lives and make them feel special. But, I know they feel the pains. One of our “special” treats for them are weekends away one on one. This weekend Jeff is taking Sam to Knoxville. They’ll check out of school a little early, drive up to Knoxville, swim in the indoor pool, have a fun dinner, and then of course be in football heaven on Saturday. I bought Sam an all new UT get up, including a $55 official smokey grey jersey. Can we just say that is highway robbery. Sam is a little dude, it didn’t take $3.50 worth of material to make that thing. But, to see that boy so his happy dance, was worth $250 so, it’s fine. Next weekend, I’ll be taking Lexi Kate to Atlanta for a girls weekend. I have several special things planned. You need to check out! I’ll be using these seed planting principles to have some intentional conversations with Lexi Kate about claiming who she is as a Princess of the Most High King. She’ll love getting all the presents, staying at a super fancy hotel, having a spa day, and high tea. I’ll love just talking to my daughter about who she is and where she is going in life. I’ll admit I’m a little nervous about some questions she may ask. She’s wise beyond her years, and her “why and how” questions take my breath away often…. So, pray for Jeff and I to be totally tuned in to our kids this weekend and free from distraction. And, pray for our kids hearts. That they may know that we love them more than they could imagine, and that God loves them even more than that.

We’re just normal folks living a blessed life, in a messed up world. If we can show Jesus to the world around us, especially to those in our home, we’ve had a successful day. Love and prayers my friend…..

Exciting Day

From November 2

Tomorrow will be an exciting day…. we have our “week home” from the hospital checkup with the GP doctor at 9, Occupational Therapy at 11, and having a tooth pulled at 2. Having the tooth pulled probably isn’t a great idea. But, it needs to come out in order for her to have any relief from pain. Due to her heart condition, and other meds she takes, Tylenol is about all she can take for pain relief. Tylenol is no match for an abscessed tooth. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in her condition it is. We had to get approval from her heart doctor for the dentist to do it. I will say I was highly impressed with Franklin Dental Care. I’ve never been there, but they could get her in on Friday, and willing to reduce their rate because they don’t take medicare insurance. Not only that, the dentist that saw her, called me on my cell phone on Saturday to check on her. Not some office worker, the dentist called me from his personal cell and specifically told me to keep his number and call if we needed anything. So, much prayers appreciated for an “uneventful” busy day.
Our time home has gone well. It seems a few days in the hospital reminds you that life at home isn’t so bad. Grandmother has had more energy and a better attitude since she got home. She even looks better. That sounds weird, but you know how you can just tell when people “look better”. The physical therapist has came twice, and the occupational therapist was here once last week. It makes me feel better having professionals around often to take an outsider’s look to make sure she is doing okay.
So, if you have a minute, pray for us tomorrow. It’ll be a busy day and it will wear grandmother out. Tired grandma is cranky grandma….. and, pray for the extraction that it goes smoothly.

Depending on the Holy Spirit

From October 26

My thoughts today have surrounded the idea when is it the Holy Spirit activating my “momma gut” and when am I being a control freak? As I mentioned earlier, I just didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of taking Grandmother off her coumadin. I tried to let the doctors be doctors and let me just be the supporting family. I left the hospital for a couple hours, and just prayed as I went about my work and errands. God, give me peace about this. In my heart of hearts, I’m okay with Grandmother dying, as her life on Earth really isn’t that great. But, I also wouldn’t ever forgive myself if I knew that what they were doing wasn’t the best method of care and I didn’t say something. I prayed a multitude of different things all day. I really wanted to let go and let God. The thought didn’t leave my mind for several hours, so I just decided to call her primary cardiologist. If he’s fine with the plan of care, I’ll truly be fine. At least I will be comfortable knowing I did what I could. His nurse didn’t seem to think removing her from coumadin was a great idea, but she was going to talk to him and call me back. We’ll see….
That one thought, brought me to thinking when do I do this in other areas of my life. When do I play God by being a control freak. When do I ignore the Holy Spirit’s tug in my heart, and dismiss it as silly me just trying to manipulate things. I want to be so in tune with God there is absolutely no mistaking what’s the Holy Spirt and what’s me. I can think of a few instances where I’ve gotten it wrong on both sides of the fence. I can also think of times that I’ve confidently acted on the Holy Spirit’s prompting in my life. Like the time I called a friend out of the blue to let her know she was on my heart and in my prayers, to have her unload that her husband was having an affair and leaving her. Or, the Tuesday morning that mom called to tell me that she was in the Emergency Room but she was fine, no need for me to come see her. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit told me to cancel my appointments and fly to KY…. I got to spend the last few hours of my mom’s life by her side. One prompting I had there, was to insist that she be moved to a cardiac intensive hospital. I didn’t, that decision will forever haunt me. I could go on with more examples in my life and the lives of others, but because I am deliriously tired, I’ll stop for now.
This is primarily a post for me to be able to come back to and remember that our God is ever present in our lives. The more intently we focus on him and pursuing His will in our lives, the more audible the Holy Spirit is in guiding our paths.

Different scenery

From October 26

So, our scenery looks a little different than i anticipated today….. But, once the cardiologist comes by, we may get to head home. She’s had a blood transfusion, and looks so much better. They’ve stopped her Coumadin for now, and the GI Doctor is actually recommending a permanent stop for that. I’ll be interested in the cardiology take on that. Because of her valve and internal defibrillator, in theory she’d have to be on blood thinner forever. But, the doctors on the other end of the spectrum are saying we’re at a point of blood thinners doing more harm than good. They’re creating an internal bleed issue. Yes, without the blood thinners there’s a pretty high risk of stroke. I don’t know which would be worse. We’re at the point where things just really don’t get better. And, I mentally know that, but your heart doesn’t like to process that. And, it certainly isn’t something I want my kids to have to be eye witness to. So, we do all I know to do, we pray and trust that God’s plan rests with the doctor with the strongest will/argument for treatment plans….

A field trip to the hospital

From October 25

I have been suspicious the last week or so that Grandmother may have an UTI. With dementia patients, UTIs send them into orbit. It sounds crazy, but just ask anyone who has dealt with it, and they will confirm this is legit. Well, today after church I had taken Sam to Target to buy a toy (with his own money). When I got home, Grandmother informed me of some bleeding she’d been having and we felt like the only solution was the ER. Of course these things don’t happen on a Tuesday morning at 10am…..
So, after a couple hours in the ER and a few tests later, the doctors decide to admit her for diverticulitis. That’s a no fun colon problem and tends to cause blood in places you really shouldn’t have blood. You’ll have to google it if you want any more info than that. To help control the bleeding, the doctors felt like they should take her off her coumadin (blood thinner) for a day or two. Because she has an artificial valve her INR (blood thickness) must be monitored real closely. So, she’ll have to stay in the hospital with some really sexy leg pumps to help avoid blood clots. In addition to this diverticulitis problem, she has a respiratory problem. As much as I didn’t have this planned today, it came at a great time. Gran has had this weird whistle coming from her chest. We can never make it happen when we’re at her doctor or cardiologist. But, it is happening today. So, the respiratory team is keeping a close watch to try to figure out what that is about.
I have been surrounded by guilt all day. Today was supposed to be a special mommy daughter date with Lexi Kate. We were looking forward to dressing up, going to a fancy dinner, and then to see Broadway’s Cinderella at TPAC. Well, instead I was at the ER and daddy took LK on the special date. That’s still good for her, and I am glad they had this time together. But, I know LK really wanted me to go, and dang it I can taste that Morton’s steak. Oh well, next time… And, now I am feeling guilty for leaving Gran at the hospital tonight. But, I have to take care of Sam and get the rest of my life in order for tomorrow. I have all kinds of thoughts running through my head conflicting my decision to stay or go…. but at the end of the day, I just couldn’t stay. I have to have sleep, there is nothing I could do for her, and my family needs me here.
And, right now we all just need to pause and pray for those sweet hospital nurses. She is going to wear them out with that red button. She pushed it a dozen times while I was sitting right there to help her. She kept saying, “they need to get in her and help me go to the bathroom, they need to get in here and bring me some water, they need to get in here and bring me dinner……” And, this my friends is why I won’t gripe about the hospital bill when it comes. I am going to lie to myself and say those sweet girls are getting paid all they deserve to put up with this all night.

Grandma has a potty mouth….

From October 20

I’m working on a post about intentionality and pursuit, but obviously Satan doesn’t want me to post it, because everything I get ready to write it out, something comes up or I am mentally distracted to the point I can’t do it justice, so I don’t do it at all. So, while you’re desperately waiting on that serious post to make you go hmmmm, here is a funny post.
Grandma has been doing awesome on her Celexa and Aricept. We had a couple of really good weeks. Now, we’ve had 3 really, really bad days. Saturday night we took her with us to get family pictures made. That actually went okay. I think she liked the idea of being included even if she did gripe about being cold the whole time. Sunday morning she even went to church with us and that was good. But, by Sunday early afternoon she was a pistol. Just like a switch flipped and she was angry.
Yesterday was a lot of 3 year old type tantrums. Nothing to serious, just fist clinching, foot stopping, I need you to know I’m mad fits. Well, and the fact she hit me. At this very moment, I can’t even remember what I did to make her mad that she hit me. Maybe I need some Aricept. I’m sure it was about her medicine, as 99.9765% of all frustrations circle around her medicine. Anyway, she was mad, she had a fit, I said one more word when I should have shut up, and she punched at me. I moved, so it was more like a light brushing, but the intent was still there on her part.
Today, was my first day back at a full day’s work in 11 days. My kids have been on fall break, so I’ve just had to work around the house and be gone for short stints. So, being gone all day today, i knew she’d be wound up. So far tonight, her tantrums have been the normal stomping and fist clinching in addition to telling the neighbor to “Kiss her Shit”, telling me I was “the meanest pile of shit she’d ever met.” telling me she was “so pissed at me she could spit in my eyeballs”. My jaws are bleeding I have had to bite them so hard to keep from laughing in her face. I shouldn’t laugh at her. But, it brought back memories of my childhood. She taught me my first cuss word. I still remember the stories of my mom telling me every time I dropped something I’d say well shit in the best 2 year old voice I could muster, because that is what grandmother would say.
She missed her lunch dose of medicine today. So, I had to “reschedule” her evening doses to get everything in, yet not take it too close together. She wanted her bedtime medicine as soon as she had supper medicine, which she can’t do because the medicines react negatively together even though taken over an hour apart, they help her. She was not happy. She went into a fit about not being a dope addict and I wasn’t a doctor and I needed to quit talking to her like a 3 year old….. When I finally gave her medicine and told her she could take it and go to bed, she says, “Nope, I am going to set up the whole damn night just to piss you off.” Well, alrighty then! You just set your happy ass up all night. But, I’ll be going to bed.
So, moral of the story is, if you’re having a bad day. Just tell someone to “kiss your shit” maybe it makes you feel like you have a little more control in life. I wouldn’t advise punching them, that could cost you $135 in court costs for misdemeanor assault charges.