My Mother-in-law and how she shows me unconditional love…

One of the best things that happened to me a few days ago, on my birthday, was receiving a birthday card from my Mother-in-law.  Most years she forgets to send out cards so I’m ALWAYS honored when I go to the mailbox and see her handwriting on the outside of an envelope.  I’ve got to give her credit though because she’s a whole lot better about remembering than I am!  I’m ashamed to admit that I truly suck at making a day special for my loved ones.  The people living in my house reap the rewards but those that don’t live here rarely get remembered.

The point of the post isn’t to talk about remembering though.  It’s to tell you how I’ve been SO blessed by my husband’s family.  You all know by now, what MY family is like.  I don’t know what it’s like to have a close family or what it’s like to truly be loved by a family.  I know what it’s like to be “judged” and “used” by my family.  It was a shock when I was shown unconditional love by a family who didn’t have to show me love.

First of all, I want to tell you what the card said from my Mother-in-law…

“Any woman can be a daughter-in-law.

But it takes a certain spirit,

an openness,and generosity of heart

to make the “in-law” part

drop away,

leaving that comfortable word

“daughter”.

You’re a caring person…

loving wife…

giving mother…

and your presence

in the life of our family

is simply a gift.  “

Dang!  That made me cry.  I don’t even know how to accept love or compliments!  I guess it hit me so hard because my own mother doesn’t feel the same way AND I know that Katherine (Mother-in-law) really feels this way.

She didn’t have to accept me the way she did.  Ben’s family had gone through the horror of his 3 other marriages before I arrived.  They’d “accepted” every one of these former wives, even when they knew they’d never last.  Ben had a definite “history” when it came to women, that’s for sure.  But that’s a post for another day!  I’ll save THAT for when he makes me mad 😉  lol  I need to tell you that these people are Christian’s of the Southern Baptist type.  They scared me and that’s NO joke!  I’m Catholic and it’s no secret that Baptists don’t like Catholics.  These people actually READ the bible and LIKE the bible.  Except for religion class in Catholic school (a million years ago), I’d never read even part of the bible.  Ben’s family doesn’t just go to church on Sunday morning but Sunday night and Wednesday nights.  Their recreational activities revolve around church.  Mine never have.  They’re also very “Southern” people who didn’t really know or trust “Yankee’s” such as they think I am!  lol  They’re the type of people who say “Well, bless her heart”, in the sweetest most loving way.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that Southern people say this only when they think you’ve done something really stupid and they’re too kind to call you out on it.

When I tell you about Ben’s Christian family, you might imagine people who don’t live what they preach.  Christians get a bad rap for being hypocrites but not THESE people and most especially NOT his mother!  She lives what she preaches and believes.  Only she doesn’t preach at all.  She leads by example.  She very quietly sits and reads her bible and only talks about it if you ask her about it.  She’ll mention something in passing but doesn’t shove it down your throat.  She’s so kind and loving that you can actually FEEL her love as soon as you get out of the car to hug her.  I’ve never been around anyone like this.  She believes in being a submissive wife.  It’s no secret that I DO NOT believe that I should EVER be submissive to ANYONE, but most especially my husband, her son.  I could go on and on.

Okay, you can imagine the amount of adjustment my new Texas family had to go through and that I had to go through for a few years.  Although, they never let me see that they were having to adjust to me.  I’m loud and bossy and sarcastic.  I say words like “God” when I get mad (that’s a very bad word to them) and I call people “dumb asses”.  They probably dropped to their knees at night in prayer over the things I’ve said and did!  They only showed the world how proud they were of me though.  I have ONLY ever been shown love by my mother-in-law.  She’s cried with me and laughed with me.  She’s felt my losses as if they were her own and she’s shared her thoughts and feelings with me.

Most of all, she’s treated my children as if they were her own grandchildren.  I wasn’t expecting that and neither were my kids.  We knew they’d TREAT my children with love and respect but we just weren’t prepared for them to actually LOVE them.  My girls feel closer to Katherine than they do their own biological grandparents.

Image

(Here’s one of my daughters snuggling in Memaw’s bed with “Ming-Shoe” the doll that Katherine made for her.  Julia feels safe and comfy in Memaw’s bed and I love that!)

Image

(she just sits, ready to give love to all her little one’s no matter their age)

Most of the time I spend in Texas, Katherine allows me to run her house the way I do everywhere I go.  You know the Mother-in-law on the sit com “Everybody Loves Raymond” right?  That’s how I expect mother-in-laws to be but not Katherine.  She’s happy to sit and read a book while I destroy her kitchen.  And TRUST me, I DO know how to destroy a kitchen.  She’s so gracious and never imposes her will on me.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I impose my will on her.  She’s not used to a whole lot of commotion and when I’m there, I bring my chaotic life crashing into her’s.  I’ll never forget the time she asked me if she could “help” in the kitchen.  Of course, I thought I was being considerate and polite when I told of “of COURSE you CAN’T help in the kitchen”.  I just wanted her to sit there and rest.  I felt like I didn’t want her to go through any trouble when my family was there.  For YEARS I did this.  Finally, a few years ago, she so softly, and kindly explained to me that sometimes a mother wants to feel wanted and needed.  We live over 10 hours away from her and she never gets to be a “mom”.  Sometimes she likes to show US how much she loves us.  Wow!  She didn’t want me to be ashamed because she’d NEVER want anyone to feel shame BUT I was SO ashamed.  I learned to step out of the way and allow her to be the mom when she wants to be the mom.

Image

(here’s me not only taking over her kitchen but taking over her kitchen AND even wearing her apron!  lol)

Image

(Another picture of the mess I make in her kitchen but THIS time I had some help from my little niece Selah!)

Image

(here I am even taking over her Christmas tree…  Geeze, I’m just so BOSSY!  lol)

Like I’ve already said, my Mother-in-law teaches by example.  She rarely needs words.  She’s watched, through the years, as I’ve ignorantly allowed my children to get themselves into trouble.  I was a LOT more lenient than she would have been but I had more faith in my girls than I should have.  I allowed one of my daughters to spend WAY too much time with some boys she met and became friends with in Texas.  They were friends of the family’s so I felt like it would be okay.  It got to the point where she was never home for dinner and she would only come in once a day to say hello to Memaw and GG (Katherine’s mother).  I didn’t want to be too strict with my daughter and I wanted her to have fun too so I allowed her to spend the night camping with these friends and family.  I could tell that it was bothering Katherine (mine and my daughter’s actions were not only improper but just down right rude) so I began to make my daughter stay home more often.  After all, we were only there for a week or two.  Later, we found out that my daughter was doing things that I won’t mention here.  Point being that Katherine knew she was in trouble and instead of imposing her opinions or judgments  on me, she quietly let me know that I was being too lenient by her actions.  She prayed for my daughter and cried when she learned that my daughter was hurt and was going down the wrong road.  She cried real tears like she would do for her own biological granddaughter.  I still can’t get over that.

Over last summer, when I was hospitalized in ICU, my husband called his family and I guess told them that I wasn’t going to make it.  They’ve been in this rodeo more than once with me and have never made the drive to St. Louis to come to the hospital.  I didn’t expect them to this time either because Katherine is responsible for taking care of her 93 year old mother.  Besides the fact that her OWN health isn’t great.  The trip is very hard on them and impossible now for GG.  My sister-in-law told me that Katherine prayed about it and felt like God was telling her to “go now”.  They immediately packed the family up and made the hard drive with 2 small children and 3 adults JUST to see me one more time.  I don’t think they expected me to be conscious but when they walked into my hospital room, I was awake and able to speak.  I believe I was hanging on because my husband told me that I needed to hang on just a little while longer to see “Mom”.  I remember feeling SO much love radiating from Katherine when she walked through that door!  It made me WANT to get better for her.  I promised her that it wasn’t my time yet and that God was good and I was sure I was going to live.  Actually, I was more worried about her making that trip and then turning around and needing to go home the very next day.  SHE wasn’t though.  She was there for me, to hug me and to hold my hand and pray, in person, over me.  The way a REAL mother would.

Image

(Katherine lovingly does her mother’s hair for church so that GG can feel beautiful too.)

I feel unworthy to call Katherine “Mom”.  I know she wants me to and she certainly deserves the title…  but something inside me won’t let me most days.  I feel like to be her “daughter” , I should be a whole lot more deserving or full of grace.  I’m getting better about it but I’ve been in the family for 12 years.  Today, instead of feeling unworthy, I just want to take a second to thank God for this woman who has shown my family and I so much love.  I’m smart enough to recognize that’s it’s not very often that a wife can brag about the fact that they actually LIKE their mother-in-law.  I don’t just LOVE her, I respect her and actually LIKE her.  Thank you God for this woman.  Because of her, I know the love of a real mother and I am blessed.

Image

(she loves us all like we were her very own)

Transplant news… the final decision…

So much has been happening with my family lately and I really haven’t had the time to write or pay much attention to my blog, or my LIFE for that matter.  I’ve also had some pretty serious decisions about my own health that I’ve had to come to terms with.  I’ve talked, pretty much, about my need for a complete intestine transplant and the expiration date that the good doctors have labeled me with.  Well…  on my birthday a few days ago, a FINAL decision was made.

For those of you who don’t know what’s going on, I’ll try to explain briefly.  I have a rare bleeding ulcer disease.  There’s no name for it because there’s nobody known living with this exact condition.  Basically, I have ulcers that eat through my intestine and stomach tissue that causes excessive bleeding.  The best way I can explain it is to tell you that it’s similar to a cancer but it doesn’t spread beyond my digestive tissue.  Although there are no tumors.  Just disease.  I’ve had more surgeries than I can remember the number.  They’ve had to take out my entire stomach to stop the bleeding and they’ve had to reroute my entire digestive system.  If you saw a picture of what I look like on the inside, you wouldn’t recognize it as a human digestive system.  I’ll bet you didn’t know you can live without a stomach, did you?  I didn’t.

I’ve gone through years of hospitalization, coma, death (my surgeon has literally brought me back to life on more that one occasion), blood transfusions (again, too many to count).  The last major event occurred last July.  I was within weeks of being able to consider myself no longer “terminal”.  They gave me the label “terminal” because every time they do surgery to get rid of the ulcers, more ulcers would grow at the incision site.  It was like my body was eating itself and NOBODY, NO specialist could figure out a way to stop this from happening.  Naturally, when your body eats itself, it is NOT compatible with life. They told me that if I could live a year without hospitalization, blood transfusions or surgery, they would lift the term “terminal” as they would have reason to believe that my body was in the process of healing itself (as human bodies CAN do).  Well, last summer, if I could have made it to August, I would have been considered in good enough health, or recovering.  I didn’t make it to August.

In July, while home alone, I passed out in the bathroom.  The weird thing is that I don’t have warning, or much warning.  I just felt like I was having trouble breathing and I passed out with dizziness.  I know that this seems like warning enough for most people but when you’re so used to being sick all the time, you just begin to feel like these little signs are “normal”.  I’ve passed out before and have received concussions from hitting my head on sharp objects.  THIS time, I didn’t get a concussion but I was able to wake up and crawl to the phone to call 911.

By the time I arrived at the hospital, I needed over 8 units of blood to stabilize me.  I’d passed out due to loss of blood.  I was immediately placed in intensive care where they proceeded to call all my family and tell them that this was “the end”.  Nobody felt I’d ever recover because my organs had begun shutting down.  I don’t remember much of my stay in the hospital but my family sure does and they STILL don’t like talking about it and won’t let me know exactly what happened.

However, I DID recover.  I attribute this to God and SO MUCH PRAYER.  Prayer vigils were held by family and people I don’t even know.  Nobody expected me to leave the hospital alive.  I’d lost so much weight and could barely walk.  My muscles had begun to atrophy.  The important thing is that I DID walk out of the hospital.  VERY slowly.  Here’s a picture of me taken 1 week after I was released.

Image

I don’t like looking back on these pictures because I look so bad.  I was too weak to walk on my own and I had to hold on to a wheel chair just to hold me up.  Most of the time, my husband had to push me in a wheel chair so that I could go places and pretend to be normal.  You can see here that I’m “hunched over” because of the intense pain and on the right hand side of my chest, you can see the port o cath.  I’d lost so much weight that it looks like a bone sticking out of my chest.  This is where they administer medications and where they give me blood transfusions because I have no healthy veins anymore to place an IV.

Throughout the course of the year, I kept losing weight and eventually got to the point where no fluids would even stay down.  It became apparent that I wasn’t going to live.  I was told that I was in the process of starving to death.  That’s when they considered a complete transplant.

I wanted a feeding tube but I still wanted to be able to eat because I LOVE food.  Even during all this I couldn’t let go of my love affair with food.  Alas, they’re not going to give me a feeding tube because it would kill me.  My tissues are brittle and where they’re NOT brittle, the tissues are like gum and pull apart.  I’ve perferated (intestines ruptured and infection spread throughout my body… once again causing me to literally temporarily die) before and they feel like I would again if they even do a simple feeding tube.  My doctors have been in conference with the transplant doctors since January.

Here’s a picture of me after I began to actually GAIN weight.  I was around 110 pounds here (WAY too thin for a woman who’s 5’7).  By the way, I’m about 15 pounds lighter in this picture than I was in the picture with the wheel chair.  Ironically, I’m contemplating how much food I can scarf down.  This was just February.

Image

So… back to now.  The decision is that I’m NOT a good candidate for a transplant.  The reason is that even if I could live through this major surgery, I’d have to fear rejection.  They’d only be able to do this one time and if I rejected the organs, as happens frequently, I would almost definitely not live through another one to replace the donor organs I rejected.  Remember, my tissues aren’t healthy and there’s nothing good to connect my new organs to.  The only solution now is that if I continue to lose weight, they’ll hospitalize me for a week or maybe even two weeks so that I can receive TPN (nutrition) through my port.  That’s the only thing they can do.

This doesn’t sound like good news, does it?  Well, I know it sounds bleak but I’m relieved they won’t do the transplant.  That just felt like death to me.  Besides that, I’ve gained 10 pounds and am now up to 120 pounds on my own!  The doctors are thrilled that my body, once again, seems to be repairing itself!  God is good to me and miracles DO happen.  I am a walking, living, breathing miracle even by modern medicine’s point of view.  It’s a miracle in itself when a doctor of Western medicine will actually say to me that I am a “medical miracle”!

I am blessed!  I asked the doctors to do what they can to give me another 4 years so that I can finish raising my daughter.  The doctors CAN’T give me 4 years but God CAN and today, I am blessed!  I told the doctor he can expect me to outlive Him.  He says he think I can do it 🙂

Drama, Drama, Drama and the Zoo!

A few of you have noticed that I’ve been gone for a little while and have asked me what happened.  One of my blog buddies (Shaun) even thought my laptop must be broken! lol  I guess that’s a fair worry because I’m usually around every day.  It’s nice to be missed!

The reality is that my laptop is just fine.  My family, however is NOT fine.  Dad was in the hospital last week with a heart attack and the day after he was released, his wife, my step mother of 33 years was admitted with pneumonia.  During her stay, many tests were run and we were told that they believe she has pancreatic cancer.  They’re also checking into her kidney’s and liver.  I guess maybe they think it’s spread.  I don’t know.  I have NO idea what Dad will do if anything ever happens to her.  He completely depends on her for his complete existence.  We’re all VERY worried so prayer, or happy thoughts PLEASE and thank you.

Once my stepmother was released from the hospital, my brother, who is 4 years younger than me had a heart attack!  We’re falling apart!  Geeze.  The scary thing is that his wife is out of town on business and he’s home alone with the babies.  Hubby and I rushed to go get the babies and we’ve been busy, busy BUSY taking care of my precious little nieces.  The GOOD news is that my brother will be fine and that his health can be controlled with medication.  The bad news is that his wife is still not home.  I think we’ll be getting 3 of the girls again this weekend.

Soooo… to make good out of a very stressful and bad situation, we decided to have some fun with the kiddos.  Sunday was a PERFECT day for the St. Louis Zoo!  You guys HAVE to check our zoo out if you’re ever in my neck of the woods.  It’s pretty awesome and it’s totally free!  That’s the best part, right?  lol

Image

After driving for an hour, in search of a parking space, we’re on our way to see the lions, tigers and bears!  lol

Image

4 year old niece trying to decide if she should give the seal a kiss like I told her to.  She’s not much of a cooperator!  lol

Image

Even my oldest daughter came!  Here they are playing in the bamboo jungle 🙂

Image

Teenage Munchkin and her bff at one of the HUGE aquariums.  This one is called “The River’s Edge”.

Image

Esme’ wanted to see the “Elf-an-nents” first.  So by ALL means, we’re going to see the elephants 🙂  The only thing was that we saw more elephant poop than we saw elephants.  They all seemed to be hiding!  I think his name is Raj.

Image

Here’s me and my precious little Ireland.  She was SO tired but didn’t make a peep.  What a terrific baby girl.

Image

Esme’ didn’t want to miss out on the family love!  lol  Nothing like a big ole group hug!

Image

The lion sleeps tonight!  lol  ALL the animals were lazy!

Image

The zebras weren’t very exciting either 😦

Image

And the giraffes were even trying to hide.

Thanks to the hubby for putting up with an SUV load of loud little kids, teenagers and hormonal women!  lol  Whew.  I’d hate to be HIM some days… but he performs well under stress and painted a smile on his face all day 🙂

Last day of sanity and a peek into Hubby’s future ;-)

Here’s the song that reminds Hubby of me especially when I have no synthetic hormones (refer to my last post “And you think I’m crazy now?”). lol

Watch the video and it will scare the crap out of you! I asked Hubby if Pink really reminds him of me and he says “Honestly, yes. On a bad day”. Well, honey, it’s about to be a bad day! I just took my last little life saver! lol So today we’ll celebrate, cause all should be good 🙂 Tomorrow…. I pity you 😉

Of course I’d love to tell you all I’m joking. And I’ll even go so far as to say I kind of am… the reality of it is, I can be BAD when it comes to mood swings and lack of hormones. How come nobody ever talks about these things? I guess no woman wants to admit to their own psycho menopausal behavior? Come on now, I CAN’T be the ONLY one! Well, I’m about to break the cycle of silence! lol Here I am telling you that it’s NOT a pretty picture. At least for ME, it’s not.

Pink
Please Don’t Leave Me

Da da da da, da da da da
Da da da, da da
Da da da, da da

I don’t know if I can yell any louder
How many time I’ve kicked you outta here?
Or said something insulting?
Da da da, da da

I can be so mean when I wanna be
I am capable of really anything
I can cut you into pieces
But my heart is broken
Da da da, da da

Please don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this
Please, don’t leave me

How did I become so obnoxious?
What is it with you that makes me act like this?
I’ve never been this nasty
Da da da, da da

Can’t you tell that this is all just a contest?
The one that wins will be the one that hits the hardest
But baby I don’t mean it
I mean it, I promise
Da da da, da da

Please don’t leave me
Oh please don’t leave me
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this
Please, don’t leave me

I forgot to say out loud how beautiful you really are to me
I cannot be without, you’re my perfect little punching bag
And I need you, I’m sorry
Da da da, da da

Da da da da, da da da da
Da da da, da da
Please, please don’t leave me
(Da da da, da da)

Baby please don’t leave me
(Da da da, da da)
No, don’t leave me
Please don’t leave me no no no

You say I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back
It’s gonna come right back to this
Please, don’t leave me

Please don’t leave me, oh no no no.
I always say how I don’t need you
But it’s always gonna come right back to this

Please don’t leave me
Baby, please, please don’t leave me

You Think I’m Crazy Now? Just wait….

Here’s my courtesy call (warning) to the universe…  I will be without hormones in TWO days!  Do you know what that means?  I pity the world.  I will be racked with hot flashes and a willingness to kill or devastate anyone who has the audacity to get in my path.  For REAL.

Menopause is something that shouldn’t be happening to me already.  However, due to a softball sized tumor on my ovary and some extensive damage to my uterus (9 miscarriages and 9 D & C’s plus 1 C section), it was necessary to have a hysterectomy a few years back.  My OBGYN is a man who “forgot” to mention to me the horrors of early menopause so for 2 years, I stayed somewhere between suicidal to somewhat COMPLETELY crazy.  I said and did things that where not normal for even me!  lol  I shudder to hear some of the stories that my family tells me.  Finally, one day, I thought to call my doctor who asked me if he’d put me on hormones.  “Why NO, you didn’t mention hormones, Doc”.  “Oh no, MY bad”, he says.  WTF???  I could have killed myself or someone else and he says “My bad”?  That’s it?

So he immediately put me on hormones that just barely worked but I thought it was normal.  I was a little LESS suicidal and had a few less hot flashes.  This went on for a year before I called the pharmacy who makes the hormones asking if it was normal to feel this way.  They checked the formulation that my doctor recommended and they quickly told me that this formulation couldn’t work on a MAN!  It was so weak and they should have caught it before now.  Once again, my doctor was negligent and the pharmacy had to tell him what the normal formulation should be.  Wow.

Everything seems to be okay with this prescription BUT…  Now the time is up and the pharmacy had to call the doctor to get an okay.  The good doctor won’t refill my little lifesavers.  He wants to see me in his office.  However, he didn’t call ME to tell me this, he called my HUSBAND.  Who, by the way, didn’t bother telling me until after hours and he just barely remembered to tell me THEN!

Now, you’d think the man would KNOW that his life as he knows it is over, right?  NO.  He’s completely clueless.  I asked him “what about CRAZY don’t you understand?”.  It’s going to take me 2 weeks to get in to this damn doctor and then it’s gong to take another week for the pharmacy to MAKE the prescription and get it down to the actual pharmacy that I use.  It’s a special formulation.  The BEST case scenario would be that I have my hormones in 3 weeks!!!!  Even my young 14 year old daughter AND her friends are making arrangements to vacate the primises!  What I’m trying to say is that MAYBE my husband should have reacted with a little more urgency than to even wait a day to tell me to make an appointment with my idiot doctor.

What are my hopes and dreams for these next few weeks?  First, I hope my husband has enjoyed his life, up until now.  I hope my child finds a safe place to hide.  AND my #1 wish is that by the time I see my OBGYN, I will be completely whacked out and he reaps the benefits from his decision to NOT refill my prescription!

So there’s my courtesy warning and I just want to say also that it’s been wonderful having you all for friends…  I feel the love NOW, mostly because I still have 2 little hormone pills left.  Moral of the story?  If you have a medication that life as you know it DEPENDS on, maybe you should notice when it’s going to expire and take action LONG before it becomes critical.  Once again, my oblivion and procrastination did NOT pay off.  lol

Proof of Heaven (A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife)… A Book Review

Proof of Heaven a Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterlife

By Eben Alexander

Simon & Schuster Paperbacks

Description from the back cover:

“Thousand’s of people have had near- death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible.  Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists.  A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that  NDEs  feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

Then Dr. ALexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness.  The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion – and in essence makes us human – shut down completely.  For seven days he lay in a coma.  Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped opened.  He had come back.

Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle.  But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere.  While his body lay in a coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super physical existence.  There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.

Alexander’s story is not a fantasy.  Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul.  Today, Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.

This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to.  That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary.  No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it.  Reading it will change your life.”

I really have no words to tell you how I felt about this book.  I can try though.  I loved it.  Even with all it’s medical references and scientific terms.  I’ve always believed in an afterlife though.  I didn’t need to be convinced.

Some of the time this neurosurgeon spent in “heaven” and some of what he was able to describe, I can picture perfectly.  Why?  I’ve had dreams for as long as I can remember living, of places like he’s described.  From the time I was VERY small (at least 5 years old), I’ve believed that I came from a place like this.  Like maybe it could have been a holding place until I was born?  I know, sounds crazy.  But they were reoccurring dreams and the theme always starred ME in this beautiful, comfortable place, for lack of better words.  When I began reading Eben Alexander’s story and learned of his description of that place… I got goose bumps.  I knew it was THAT place.  Besides the fact that I’ve actually had to be brought back to life at least 3 times on the operating table in more recent years.  Although, to be honest, I don’t have a memory of traveling to the afterlife during the times they’ve worked hard to bring me back.

I think, if you have any questions about an afterlife, you should read this.  It’s not all Christiany, just the opposite.  This is written from a clinical perspective.  It struck me that God is “unconditional love” and that we are always striving to get back to that place.  It also struck me that there are several other universes but God loves human beings the most.  The whole “freedom of choice” thing came into play several times.

If you are stuck on your Christian views, I wouldn’t suggest reading this.  I am a Christian but this didn’t offend me at all.  I think I may have more of an open mind than most, understanding that God appears in MANY forms and that He’a not limited to what our brain can comprehend.  He’s also not limited our human perception of Him.

I’ve read many books on the afterlife and NDEs.  This is right up there with the best.  I think I liked it so much because of his story.  Obviously he was a neurosurgeon but what impressed me was that he was the ONLY person alive to have lived through such a lengthy coma where his brain completely shut down.  Pretty much brain dead.  In the book, he explains why none of the scientific explanations of an NDE can apply to what happened to him.  It’s scientific but I think it needs to be as it is geared toward the unbeliever or the people in his scientific community.

BTW… I read this in 2 days.  I only have time to read while I’m in the bath tub so this is amazing! lol  It’s a quick read for sure and if I was able to read anywhere BUT the bathtub, I could have finished it in a couple of hours.

Congratulations to me! I won the Liebster Award!

I’ll have to admit that this award is intimidating to me ONLY because they take so much time to ask and answer specific questions.  However, someone I admire VERY much, Comely Miss, nominated me and I love her AND am honored that she thought of me…  so here I am again!  Feel free to skip this post because I’m positive you’re all sick and tired of hearing all the fun facts about myself.  lol   I won’t know the difference and I know you all really love me, right?  lol

Here are the rules:

1. The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
2. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions given to you.
4. Choose 11 new bloggers to pass the award on to and link them in your post.
5. Create 11 new questions for the chosen bloggers.
6. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.
7. No tag backs.

Now the 11 facts about me.

1.  It’s getting extremely hard for me to come up with anything new and this is hurting my brain.

2.  My first “love” was named Pete and when he broke up with me, I started dating someone who looked a lot like him and his name was ALSO Pete.  Pete #2 became the father of my oldest daughter.

3.  I am an EXTREMELY strong woman who’s personality sometimes is intimidating to others, or so I’ve been told.

4.  I’m not very proud of this but I like to smoke.  I don’t ever smoke in the house or enclosed enviroments and I respect others right NOT to breath my smoke.  I try to hide when I’m outside in a public place.

5.  I appreciate art but am not good at it.  I can spend ALL day at the art museum.

6.  One of my favorite places to go EVER is the Smoky Mountains.  I could live in a mountain cabin, away from everyone.

7.  I’m a VERY social antisocial person

8.  I’ve been very blessed to have my husband’s family in Texas.  They’ve shown me unconditional love and are teaching me to show unconditional love.  Sounds like a no brainer for most people but I wasn’t raised with anything CLOSE to unconditional love and sometimes I put too much pressure to be perfect on my own children.  Here’s some pics of my family in Texas 🙂  They ALWAYS make me smile!

Image

This is Bobby, our cousin.  He doesn’t know it but he’s one of my hero’s.  He’s just a regular man who is probably one of the most funny people I know.  He’s studying to be a preacher but you’d never know it.  He’s so non judging.

Image

Bobby’s wife and our cousin Netta.  She’s always annoyed with me for snapping pictures.  lol  Another very strong woman and so accepting.  She’s a role model for me 🙂

ImageMy sister in law Lisa and her husband Stace 🙂  Love them both so much!  Lisa is the stereotypical Southern Belle and exudes LOVE.  She’s just like her mama.  When you’re around these people, you feel like you’ve always been in their family.

9.  In July of last year, I came very near to death.  After I was released from the hospital I had a dream that God told me I was supposed to go to a hot spring.  I woke up and told my husband that I needed to go to Hot Springs Arkansas so he packed us up on THAT day and we went.  I spent a day at the hot spring bath house and drank the mineral water.  I was barely able to walk when we arrived in Hot Springs.  By the time we left, I was SO much better.  I believe I was really supposed to be there and drink the waters.  Crazy I know but it worked.

Image

Here’s the view from our hotel room in Hot Springs.

Image

The bath house we spent the day in.  Awesome place.

10.  The only time of year that my mom’s enormous family gets together is at Easter.  She came from a family of 10 kids and between them and all of us grandkids and now great grandchildren…  there has to be 100 of us who gather at my cousins house.  I look very forward to seeing all my aunts and cousins every year.  Oh and EVERYONE is a fantastic cook so the food is something EVERYONE would be jealous of 🙂

11.  I’m having issues with “aging gracefully”.  I mean I believe in aging gracefully BUT, in all honesty, if I had the money to have a complete makeover (plastic surgery)… I probably would.  I know, vain.  Honest though 🙂

Here are the questions that Comely Miss wants me to answer:

♣ What caused you to start blogging? (I like this question, so I’m keeping it!)

Okay, I started blogging for a site called Vox and I LOVED the sense of community!  Sadly, Vox went away but I missed it and couldn;t get the same feeling on FB (although I love my fb friends).  I finally found WP a few moths ago and LOVE it 🙂

♣ What career did you think you’d pursue while you were growing up?

I thought I would be a psychologist.  I also PROMISED myself that I would open up an abused women and children’s shelter.  I have done work for some of these but I’m going to keep my promise, I think.  One day, before I die I WILL open up one of these homes.  I think it’s my destiny.

♣ Who do you think has had the biggest influence on your life?

Sadly, I think my mother has had the biggest influence on my life.  I was CONSTANTLY trying to receive her love and her pride.  I always, without fail, fell short of making her proud.  I viewed her as perfect and knew that if I could EVER do 1 thing that would make her REALLY love me and be proud of me, I would have succeeded.  That never happened.  I feel like I’ve wasted WAY too much time not loving myself because I always felt like I didn’t deserve to be loved.  If your mother can’t love you, there MUST be something wrong, right?  The problem lies with her, not me.  However, I feel pretty good about myself that I finally figured that out.
♣ What kind of games do you like to play? (I don’t care if it’s video, board, or mind games, I’m just curious. ;) )

I LOVE playing LIFE with my daughter and grew up playing board games.  Sometimes, I secretly play WOW (shhhhh… don’t tell), I loved Diablo and still love playing UNO, Skipbo, Yatzee and Dominos.  I pretty much just like playing games.  Oh and there Apples to Apples and Pictionary 🙂

♣ What is your favorite movie?

This is hard.  Sound of Music?  Breakfast at Tiffany’s?  Gone with the WiInd?  Beasts of the Southern Wild?  Wizard of OZ?  It’s a Wonderful Life?  I just have so many 🙂

♣ How did you meet your husband/wife/significant other?

I actually met Ben online.  American Singles.  I didn;t want to meet another man in a bar!  lol  Although I’m not entirely sure online dating is any better, from what I’m seeing on TV these days.  lol  It worked out for us though!  I met him when online dating was kind of new in the early 2000’s.  I don;t think the weirdo’s perfected the games they played with people.  I wonder, now, if I were single, what the best way to meet people is?  It’s ALL scary!

♣ Have you ever had any “unusual” pets? (This may be unusual based on species or attitude.)

The most unusual pet I ever had was a rabbit.  lol  In the 80’s and 80’s though I used to show and breed Alaskan Malamutes.  I also used to sled with them… like they do in the Iditerod?  Pretty cool.  I miss that!

♣ How do you unwind at the end of the day?

I blog when everyone is sleeping in my house.  lol  OR I’ll play a computer game or read or play the piano OR go on Facebook.

♣ What is your biggest pet peeve?

Oh GAWD!!!  I have so many I don’t know where to start.  I think the thing I bitch the most about is hair in the bath tub.  I don’t like dirty bathrooms and am pretty anal about keeping it clean.  When I go into the bath tub I don;t want to see little hairs stuck to my bath tub.  It will NEVER change, meaning it doesn;t matter how much I crab about it.  My husband is the culprit and I swear I’m going to start posting pictures of these little hairs.  GROSS.

♣ What item is to your left?

HAHA!  Good one!  My coffee cup on a coaster!  Never without coffee 🙂

♣ How do you think of material to blog about?

Whatever pops in my head.  I haven;t really had a problem running out of material.  If there’s nothing in my head, then I read all of YOUR blogs 🙂

Okay now I’m going to name some people to pass this award on to.  I’ll get as close to 11 as possible but I think people are getting tired of me nominating them.  lol  It’s a lot of work but I just want you guys to know that even if you don;t want to do awards (and I don’t blame you)… at least you know I believe you’re deserving of the award!

1.  http://thelazysuzan.com/

2.  http://kellyvision.wordpress.com/

3.  http://fleurdeselsf.com/

4.  http://theartstudiobymarkmoore.wordpress.com/

5.  http://transcendingbordersblog.wordpress.com/

6.  http://ssbits.wordpress.com/

7.  http://otrazhenie.wordpress.com/

8.  http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/  (haha  gotcha back FINALLY!)

9.  http://mamacristinasworld.wordpress.com/

10.  http://wordsforworms.com/

11.  http://canoecommunications.wordpress.com/

Here are my questions to all of you!  Now THIS will be fun!  And I hope that at least ONE of you will answer 🙂

1.  What’s your favorite thing to watch on TV?

2.  Have you ever experienced the death of someone close?

3.  Do you color Easter Eggs?

4.  How is the biggest influence in your life and why?

5.  What do you enjoy reading in a blog the most?

6.  What book are you reading now or what was the last book you read?

7.  How many people were in your family when you were growing up?

8.  What was the biggest disappointment so far in your life?

9.  What has been your biggest achievement in your life so far?

10.  Where do you go to find peace?  For example, a river, the woods, a room in your house?

11.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

*Deep breath*  It’s over.  lmbo  Remember, I don’t want any of you to feel obligated.  If you have time and feel like sharing, please do 🙂  If you don’t, that’s cool too.