Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blogger Reflection Award

John McElveen awarded me with this honor. Me. My little blog. Awwwww, what a terrific compliment - one that I'm happy to "pay forward."

Here's how it works:

1. Copy these rules into your own post.
2. Reflect on five bloggers and write a least a paragraph about each one.
3. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.
4. Leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they’ve been given the award.
5. Put the award icon on your site.


"This award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy… of knowing them and being blessed by them."

And my selections are [drumroll please]:

1. Nadine. Her writing is very inspiring. What I love most is that she draws the most incredible analogies from the seemingly innocuous, everyday stuff. Who else would make such a wonderful connection between the new Transformers movie and how we are called to transform ourselves in God's love. Her posts are filled with powerful stuff. I have ADHD so it's often hard for me to just sit and reflect. Her blog regularly gives me a nice little "jumping off" point for my reflection.

2. Lala. I've been following her blog for about a year now. She writes from the heart about her day-to-day life, and although she's experienced some very difficult times, she's determined to live a Life Full of Grace (blog's tag line). Never preachy, just grateful.

3. BehavenPaPa. He is Lala's father. His blog details his many travels, which include the work he does for others in God's name. Very educational, extremely fascinating stuff. His earlier posts about Beijing and Romania are among my favorites, and although I may not have posted a comment on his blog recently, I do still read it often.

I'm going to stop at these three. I know the rules say to list 5, but if I wait until I have a chance to ponder the many, many blogs I read, I'll probably never get around to posting this (darn, ADHD!).

Anyway, check them out! Tell them Elle says "hello."

I'm Back!

I had a great trip to the Washington, DC area to visit my mother – a long “girls’ weekend” filled with shopping, cocktails and dining out. I was surprised to learn at Weight Watchers that the price I paid for indulging for 5 days was a gain of only .4 lbs. Notice the decimal. Point four pounds. WOO HOO! Actually I’m sure I gained considerably more, but I really hunkered down and got serious about my diet – oops, I mean lifestyle change – as soon as I stepped off the plan on Tuesday afternoon.

Because I lived the DC-area for most of the 1990’s, we don’t do the tourist-y stuff (although I highly recommend it if you’ve never been there). We mainly meet up with friends at our old hangouts, or at the new hangouts that replaced the old ones. And shopping. A LOT of shopping.

I generally try to avoid checking baggage so I’ve learned to pack lightly and bring a single carry-on bag. When that plane lands in D.C., I want my vacation to start that very minute, rather than hanging out at baggage claim. For that reason, it’s become a tradition that on my second to last day there, my mother and I go to the post office or the package shipping place and send boxes containing my purchases (and occasionally my dirty laundry) plus all the stuff my mom bought the kids and just hadn’t gotten around to shipping. Never mind that the “bargains” aren’t really bargains if we pay $50+ to ship them. I was impressed though. We shipped 3 boxes from the post office on Monday, I returned home on Tuesday, and the boxes arrived on Wednesday. Some of my goodies do come home in the carry-on.

Since returning home, I’ve settled back into my usual non-routine. I’ve been reading Son #1’s new Harry Potter book. He’s much further through it than I am, but I’m quickly catching up. We hope to see the latest Harry Potter movie soon before school starts on August 10th! I can’t believe it’s almost that time already.

Well, I’m off to check out your blogs. More later.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Have a Great Week - Check Back Next Thursday!

Went to my Weight Watcher meeting this morning. I didn't lose any weight since last week, nor did I gain, so I'll consider that progress. I did get my 16-week "clapping hand" charm for my keyring that I received when I lost 10% of my body weight. Yipee. It's supposed to be a motivational tool - a visual reminder - but I prefer my regular key chain so the WW one just sits in my drawer.

Tomorrow I'm flying to Washington, DC to spend a few days with my mother. A nice long girls' weekend - dining out, shopping, etc. I return Tuesday evening, but I'm sure I'll be spending Wednesday (at least) tidying up the house. Dear Hubby will spend some quality time with the kids, ages 12, 10 and 5. Four guys, four days. What could possibly happen? (Don't answer.)

Please check back with me next week. Adios!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Prayer Request, etc.

Someone new commented on my blog recently and, being the polite person that I am, I decided to visit her blog. She's young. Young enough to be my daughter, technically speaking. She's also been battling a heart condition most of her short life. To read more about Kaylee's story, click here.)

Now, I know about heart conditions. Dear Hubby was blessed with poor genetics from both sides of his family tree. His father's side is prone to massive, fatal first heart attacks. His mother's side has micro-vascular disorder (i.e. very narrow arteries). So in Dear Hubby's case, a little bit of plaque blockage can cause a lot of damage.

Dear Hubby was 34 years old when he had his first episode (slight chest pain/arm numbness while jogging). Fortunately, I found a cardiologist who was willing to take this seriously, and he had his first angioplasty and first stent a week later. Son #1 was 7, Son #2 was 5, and Son #3 was 6 months old. I was alone, breastfeeding Son #3 and trying to entertain Sons #1 and 2 in the waiting room because, as fate would have it, Dear Hubby's sister had a massive coronary "event" earlier in the day was in critical conditional in a different hospital. She had four stents put in a week earlier. Not exactly a confidence builder.

A year later, Dear Hubby had 3 more stents put in. At this point, we were in "maintenance mode." As in: okay, the docs know what's causing this (microvascular disease, C-reactive protein, unusually high cholesterol levels despite a healthy diet).

Six months later, we were hoping (and working - wink wink) for Son #4. Fate has an interesting way of kicking you in the face. Six months after the 3 stents, and so called "promotion" at work (i.e. the offer one can't refuse - even if one wishes to), it was decided that Dear Hubby would have to have triple bypass surgery.

Good bye, Son #4. Seriously. I felt the energy just drain from my body and at that point, I decided that if I would be a single mother, I'd rather be a single mother of 3 than a single mother of 4. Not to mention that Dear Hubby was 36 and I was - ahem - older. The surgery sucked a lot of energy from me.

The surgeon was very interesting. Dear Hubby is a runner and his surgeon is one of the pioneers of a new technique that involves using grafts from the radial arteries in the arm to replace arteries in the heart (versus using veins in the legs). He was happily running 12 weeks later. Surgeon told me that all went well considering that he considered Coronary Artery Disease to be a "terminal illness". Silly me. I had been thinking of it as a manageable condition.

The truth is this. You never know what life is going to deal you. There are plenty of distractions. Money, alcohol, fun, sickness. The trick is to thank God for what time you have, find a way to honor Him. Live each day as if you may not have the chance at a "do over" tomorrow, but don't obsess over your mistakes. Each day is a gift. Learn from the past and let it go. Live and love today. Look forward to the tomorrow that may or may not come.

To Kaylee, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Don't lose focus that you serve a real purpose in this world. Fulfill it. No matter how large or small it may seem. Hugs to you.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Friday the 13th!

Are you the superstitious type? While I'd like to thing I'm 'above' that, there's a reason I'm blogging now instead of sitting on an airplane. I'll admit to scheduling my trip (a long "girls weekend" with my mom in Washington, DC) for next week in order to avoid flying on [insert theme from Twilight Zone here] Friday the 13th.

I should point out that if airfare was substantially cheaper on the 13th, I would've jumped at it. Which goes to show you that:
  1. I am a little teensy bit superstitious (I have no problem driving my car on Friday the 13th, though), and
  2. I'm even cheaper than I am superstitious.

According to The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, NC, "It's been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do." So, apparently Friday the 13th is "unlucky" for someone.

So tell me, does Friday the 13th have any special meaning for you? Are you superstitious about today? Do you follow any other superstitions?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Weight Watchers Wednesday

It's been a while since I posted one of these - primarily because I've been battling the same pound. Here one day, gone the next...and back again. ARRRGGGGHHHHH!

I skipped WW last week (it was closed on Wed. July 4th). I don't like evening meetings - evenings are very busy for me. I'm not much of a morning person so the early meetings are out. Wednesday has a 10:30 meeting which is about the earliest I can get myself and three boys out of the house. I know. Excuses, excuses.

Today, however, I was down 2.2 pounds, for a grand total of 18.8. (Be gone silly pound, and take your friend with you!)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Well, he's not exactly a baby anymore, but...

Monday evening Son #1 and took a drive to Lowe's to buy some soil mix for the tree we're planting in the front yard. Sons #2 & #3 stayed home with Dear Hubby who was busily digging the hole for said tree.

Anyway, I'll occasionally come up with a random question in order to draw my kids into conversation and the first one to pop into my head was the following:

If you could change anything about your life, what would it be?

He didn't hesitate at all:

"I'd like to be a better person."

Wow. Not the answer I was expecting. For a moment I was struck speechless. He turned 12 a couple of weeks ago. First of all, I'm impressed that his answer didn't involve "stuff." Second, I'm all for self-improvement.

Of course, I did run through a few moments of self-doubting my parenting skills ("Uh oh, did I ever say or do anything to make him feel like he's not good enough?" etc.). However, we ended up having a good conversation - okay, so at this point, I was doing most of the conversing - about how God created each of us in his own image, how He loves us despite our sometimes poor choices, and how we honor God by being the very best [insert name here: Mom, Son #1, etc.] we can be. We all make mistakes - some whoppers, some less so - and we should learn from these mistakes but not obsess over them. Thanks to the stain of Original Sin, the human species is unworthy, yet our Creator never gives up on us. Neither should we.

And I looked at him in the rearview mirror and thought... Wow. I'm speechless again.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Quiet Weekend

This was the first weekend in a very long time where we didn't have something scheduled. Now that baseball is over, we will have a few more lazy weekends in our future. To recap, Son #2's 10-year old baseball team started off their season with a slump. Six straight losses. The finally found their mojo and ended winning all but two of the next ten games (one loss, one tie). His team was ranked 5th out of 10 going into the single-elimination tournament. They lost the final tournament game by one run, but still received a 2nd place trophy. It was a fun season. Great coaches, involved parents (but not too involved, if you know what I mean).

June was a busy month all of us except Dear Hubby volunteering for the weeklong Cub Scout Day Camp. Also is June was Son #1's trip to Boy Scout Camp in Tennessee. Dear Hubby also attended. It was a long week for me since Son #2 and Son #3 bicker more when Son #1 is absent.

The day after they returned from camp, we celebrated Son #1 and Son #2 birthday with a party.

Other than a barbecue/sister-in-law's party on July 4th and a short trip to visit my mother in Washington, DC (a long "girls" weekend of shopping and dining out), we have no plans. Zero. Zip. Nada. I'm sure things will pop up, but for now I'm liking this freedom (even if it turns out to be only an illusion).