Sunday, October 28, 2007


Well, to bring you up to date with my little family. . .

My dog is sitting here next to me, trying to push my hand off the laptop keyboard so that I can pet her. She's so neglected, you see. It's not enough that she follows me from room to room all day every day, or sleeps with me at night - but she insists that I must pay attention to her when I finally have a few moments to myself. Such is the life of my totaly unpampered and ignored little baby, Katy.

TP starts back to college tomorrow (can I hear an "amen"?) and she's very excited. Her goals are to get on the dean's list every quarter and to become the best nurse she can be. DQ's marching band got a "Superior" rating at the state competition last night - what a thrill that was! Her second quarter of her junior year starts tomorrow, and time is passing much too quickly. My hubby may be up for a promotion at work, so please keep us in your prayers. And I'm just humming along with trying to get caught up with a lot of different things around here. The band activitites have been very time consuming, so I've had to juggle my schedule around accordingly, but there is only one more band competition coming up, and after that, things should get back to "normal".

My job is really challenging me right now. After awhile, if I'm not really careful, I begin to get a very skewed sense of the world - I begin to think that there is more evil than love, more bad than good, more contempt than nurturing, more selfishness than giving, more viciousness than kindness - you get the idea. I have stay vigilant that I don't develop "compassion fatigue", or else I'd lose a lot of clients if I came across as cold and disinterested and aloof. I must admit, though, that I have to have a layer of protection from all the pain and angst I witness. What I do to try to keep me balanced is to imagine myself as a sponge who absorbs all of what people bring to me, but that once they leave, it is necessary for me to squeeze it out of me in some fashion so that I can function in my daily life. At times, that is very difficult to do - and this is one of those times. I do truly love what I do, and I feel as though it is a vocation that I've been called upon to do - but there are times in which I struggle with my effectiveness and my abilities to help others.

I can't believe it's so close to November. Today looks like it will be a nice day to get outdoors and take a walk and enjoy the remaining foliage on the trees. I need to clear my head, get re-energized for another week of work and school activities, and pray to God that I am following His will in all of the roles of my life. I'll pray, too, that all of you are doing well.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This Time of Year

Being a "band mom" has now overtaken my life. Endless practices, car pooling, competitions - it's time consuming and yet well worth it, in the end. It's amazing what being in band has done for DQ and her self-confidence, motivation, discipline, and attitude. When I watch her out there on the field, I am amazed that she has only been playing trumpet and marching for a little over two months, because she certainly seems like she's been doing it for all of her life - she's such a natural at it. Last week, she was out in 93 degree heat, in the middle of the OSU horseshoe, looking like she was going to throw up because she was so hot (those uniforms are all wool, mind you) - but she was having the time of her life, and it will be something that she will remember forever! Walking down the ramp and onto the field was the biggest thrill she's ever had - and I remembered walking down that same ramp when I graduated with my master's degree about twenty years ago, and that was thrilling, too.

She is still struggling with some of her grades, though, and so I remain concerned. Her ADD still remains an issue, and while she's learned how to compensate for it, it still is difficult for her to stay on task and be organized and complete all of her homework and get it in on time. She's blessed with an incredibly high IQ, but that can make it even more difficult on her because then teachers begin to assume that she is just being lazy or irresponsible, and therein lies a big problem. To those teachers who don't truly understand what having ADD is all about - how I wish you would be able to live with my child for a week in order to develop a truer picture and deeper understanding of this very real and very complicated learning disability; how I wish you could see that it's not a parenting issue (if that was the case, then my other child would be diagnosed with ADD), how I wish you could see that we are NOT looking to excuse her behavior but only explain it so that we can come up with solutions that will HELP her. Isn't that what it's supposed to be about - finding solutions to help the child learn and achieve to the best of her ability?

My oldest daughter will be starting her 3 year BSN program in two weeks. TP received her orientation papers in the mail the other day, and she became quite excited. This break has been a long one (she finished her first year of college in June, and this new college doesn't start until October 29th), so I think she has been getting a wee bit bored. She'll go continuously for the next three years without a break in between - no more summers off or long Christmas breaks. I believe this period of being in "limbo" has been good for her - it's helped her mature in many different ways, and she is beginning to appreciate things which she was taking for granted, and she knows that she is going to need to work hard in order to get where she wants to be in her life. I'm glad she'll be living at home for the next three years - yes, I am glad because I think she'll be able to concentrate more on her studies and stay on track in terms of her faith and her values. She is respectful of our ground rules (so far, anyway!), and has written up a schedule for her first semester which includes studying, working, and a little bit of time for "play".

As for me - well, I'm just contemplating all of these changes within my family. It's a different stage of life for me - still learning how to balance when to let go and when to be near, still learning how to relate to them more as young ladies rather than little girls, wondering what the next 30 years of my life will be like as I age. I've never thought of myself as "getting old" before, yet there are visible reminders that this is taking place, slowly but surely, and I am experiencing all sorts of mixed emotions about this process. I'm three years shy of the age when my mom died (she was 56), and I've always been a little fearful that I will die at that same age as she did. I find myself wondering what God wants me to do with the rest of my life once the girls are gone from the home. My faith is still strong, yet I sometimes feel a "disconnect" with God - and that troubles me because I know that it is I who is pulling back a little, when I really should be openly embracing Him during this time.

I am looking forward to the rest of the fall, what with more competitions (the band qualified for the state competition), with holiday bazaars, with getting the house ready for company at Thanksgiving, and with preparing for the holidays. It's my favorite time of year because I am doing so much FOR my family - and that is how it should be. I thank God for letting me be, as always, my kids' mom.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

This is dedicated to my husband. We just celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, and I just wanted to let him know that I love him very much. Hey babe - I'm glad I said "yes"! Here's to 32 more. . .

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

National Lupus Awareness Month

October is National Lupus Awareness Month.

This month has been set aside over the past 20+ years to help raise the public's awareness about this devastating illness. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, about 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with this illness, and my daughter is one of them. She was diagnosed in 2004, at the age of 16, and most cases of this disease are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 45. It is typically known as a "woman's disease" and it afflicts certain ethnic groups more than others - such as African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease where healthy tissues and organs are attacked - it's as though the body turns against itself and the immune system gets out of control. It can involve the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, liver, heart, and brain - and it can cause circulatory problems and anemia. A lot of times, there is a tell-tale rash which spreads across a patient's cheeks and nose and the rash resembles a butterfly. In TP's case, it attacked her kidneys viciously, and she also developed anemia, and she developed some problems with her liver.

Fortunately, treatments have improved over the past twenty years, but there is still a lot of work left to be done. TP is now in remission, thanks to an aggressive medication regimen and a couple of knowledgeable physicians at Children's Hospital who treated her. TP still has bloodwork done every 6 weeks to see if there is any activity indicating that her lupus is returning - but so far, we have been blessed with her good health for almost two years now. She still has to be careful when she's exposed to viruses because of her body's inability to fight off disease, and she really shouldn't be exposed to the sun for very long periods of time. Her experience at Children's helped to form her decision to become a nurse, and she will be a great one. She will know how to help children who are gravely ill because she was a child who has "been there".

Please visit the lupus website at , which has a wealth of information about this disease, the treatment advances made, and the need for additional research to hopefully find a cure someday. Even though lupus can go into remission, it can rear its' ugly head again at any given moment. If you're so inclined, you can make a donation to help with the cost of research.