Thursday, September 27, 2007

Old Pictures Old Journals

I always think before I speak.
I find this rather balking,
For by the time my thinking's done,
Somebody else is talking.

I was looking at my picture CD's and ran across these. On this day Alexis, Tucker and Ashlee were singing with Lexie's new karaoke player at Grammaloo's. Alexis was being quite patient but finally she covers her ears when Ashlee just kept right on singing and singing.

Besides looking at ol' pictures I like to open my put away journals to take a peek at what went on in the past. Don't we always forget the little details of daily life? It's fun to go back in time and read journals. Amazing what memories a short write will revive.

April 23, 1998
Yesterday was Alexis Dustene's three month old birthday! She's our first grandbaby! We love her.

Marie, Klint and Kris are on a Skip and Ski Day with our pastor - Larry Kroon. Klint and Kris get to skip school as did all the girls too when they were still in high school.

Today we are having spaghetti at Kim and Tony's. She said she has a surprise to show us---must be a rocking chair [extra effort in drawing the ! was made here]!

Karla and Chris - still in Anchorage - working.

Doug is working.

I am ---- working???

Marie was able to skip work today to go on this trip.

Monday, September 24, 2007

7th Cranial Nerve

I've had surgery on my seventh cranial nerve. This nerve was damaged (? another story) and as a result, it spasmed relentlessly. For years I lived with the facial spasm including a maddening loud buzz in my left ear. The spasm began on my left eye then went to the side of my face and down into my neck. As time went on its progression began to involve my speech because lastly I had developed a lisp. "It's cute," Doug said.

After four-plus years I did not want it any longer. By then, I had learned how to hold my hand over my face to hide it. I learned not to speak unnecessarily because this would cause the spasm to go into hysterics. Laughing, and crying I did at home. I was becoming publicly emotionless. I preferred to be at home, I never wanted to be out and about but life demands and we can't always be at home, safe and sound!

I went to see doctors. One doctor, which I won't name, told me that I had too many kids. When I told Doug this he said "that Doctor is nuts." Nevertheless, he ordered a complete CAT scan of my brain. During the follow-up visit he seemed paranoid and even accused me of threatening to sue him. I was bewildered so I refused to return to his care. As I read the newspaper one day I saw that he had indeed proved himself to be a "nut" when he used a shock gun on a patient of his! (He was removed from his profession and jailed.)

Other doctors told me that the only option I had was to sever the faulty nerve then learn to live with a half-working face the rest of my life. Another gave me the option of having the occasional botox injection that would paralyze the nerve for a while. I considered them. I decided that I should hang on in case this nerve would eventually heal.

My Christian friends told me that IF I prayed hard enough, God would heal me. I went through such a struggle during this time, wondering why God healed others but overlooked me. I was frustrated! I have since learned that God not only can heal miraculously, but he has also given knowledge to mankind. Via doctors we can be healed.

Eventually, I learned how to manipulate the computer browser and I did my own online investigation. Thank the Good LORD for the internet! I typed in all my symptoms and began to read and read and read. Soon I ran across "hemifacial spasms." Soon after I ran across "Dr. J" or Dr. Peter Janetta. He is a wonderful doctor at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When I first read of him he had successfully operated on over 4,000 patients just like me. I am not sure whether he operates there or not anymore.

Yes! There were people just like me! I was not alone. I was not a single freak. I was incredibly encouraged as I began to read the stories of people who had this microvascular decompression surgery. I was elated to read that they could smile, laugh, cry and talk --- normally afterwards. Excitedly, I told all that I had found to Doug.

Then I read about the surgery. It frightened me. They would cut a quarter-sized hole through the skull behind my ear and go in next to the brain stem. When there, they will find the offending cranial nerve (7th, in my case), pick it up and carefully wrap the nerve with teflon pads which protect it from electrical impulses coming from other nerves or arteries.

I can live with this spasm the rest of my life and not have to have this surgery I decided, so I didn't do any more research. Right then, I was happy knowing what I had, it had a name and I was not alone. Hemi-facial spasms. Some people get this same trouble but they also have pain with it. I am fortunate, I told myself, to not have the pain. So I went on with my quiet, in the shadows life.

Graduations and weddings came and went. Finally I told Doug, I just can't stand this Doug. I want the surgery. He agreed with me and we contacted Dr. Peter Janetta's office. I had to go to local doctors for the preliminary tests and then I was scheduled to fly out to Pennsylvania for an October surgery date. I had the surgery which was done by Dr. Casey and Dr. Janetta at Allegheny General Hospital. Here is a University of Pittsburgh, Department of Neurological Surgery amazing video of this type of surgery. (Not for the squimish.) It's a RealPlayer video and it is incredible! If the link does not work go here and click on MVD at the bottom of the video list.

Thankfully, when I woke up, my face was still. I smiled and it was still. Later when I was not so sleepy, I spoke, and it was quiet. I cried and it was quiet still. I laughed. I was so happy! What a blessing!

Let me tell you people - SMILE! LAUGH! CRY! TALK! These are all gifts, use them. I am so thankful to be able to express my feelings without spasms since 2002. I still have bouts of vertigo. I have hearing loss in the left ear. I do not feel comfortable driving but can drive locally. I wait to go long distances until I can get a ride.

Recently I have heard a buzz in my ear. My left eye has been twitching. It can return. I was warned about this after my successful surgery. I pray that it will not. Right now, I do not want to go through that surgery again, but have read of others having multiple operations.

Yesterday, Doug and I went down to visit my sister Millie. It was so good to see her. I have not been with her for a month. I just wonder what is going on in that head of hers. I believe that she has been trying ever so hard to respond. She was looking at us when we got to her room. When I spoke she would look from Doug to me. I decided to share this video I took of her. I don't think that she would mind. Please keep praying.

video

Yes, Blogger's video program worked for me. I think the last time I tried it I was uploading a file that was too big. I made this small and it worked. Although, Blogger uploads much slower than YouTube - for sure!

Millie has been hospitalized for 272 days.

Smile for the joy of others.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How About We Skip Winter This Year?

Fall is quietly falling to the ground! I gathered the last colors of summer and brought them to the deck to enjoy. Only one sunflower I planted just barely grew big enough to join the yellow colors of fall. I cut it to enjoy on my deck before the frost gets to it. We've had a couple of frosts so far in the Matanuska Valley.

Sadly, the darkness of winter is right around the corner for me, but right now the colors of fall have brightened my heart. This is a good reminder that troubles in this world will pass away just as the gloom of winter quietly gives way to the glad flowers of spring! Am I looking forward to winter? No. Am I looking forward to spring, YES! Only three more months until the daylight stops getting shorter and begins to grow brighter!

My Momma left today. She only lives half an hour away but I will miss the all day, all night company that she was. Hopefully her little feet will make their way back here before too long.

"The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Painting, Umbrellas, and Walks


Walk to The Point

Gramma with Great Granddaughter Raegan Mae.

Mom Painting By Number

I am enjoying having my Mom spend time with me in my home. She has never stayed in my home and visited so this has been a fun time for me.

We have taken short walks outdoors enjoying Alaska's golden fall. Once we walked with umbrellas, in the rain. She has trouble walking on uneven ground so we ended up walking arm in arm with our umbrellas fighting for the honor to cover our heads. I ended up with Mom's rain dripping on to my shoulder. I will never forget the fun we had walking and resting on our 'neighbors' porch swing.

We are painting too. We can visit while we paint. "Uh-uh," she said today as she realized she painted in the wrong spot.

We have enjoyed sitting on the deck watching ducks and loons while we ate a simple meal of salmon spread on wheat bread, grapes, chocolate chip cookie and hot tea.

Tonight Mom and I watched movies. We watched Hanging Up and In The Pursuit of Happyness. I made popcorn and as Chris Gardner's wife left him Mom commented, "She does not even stay with him." "She's supposed to be his helpmate." "We are supposed to endure hardship as a good soldier." I turned to her and told her, "Mom, you are a very good soldier."

She is. She endures hardship. Mom raised ten children. She lived and loved a man that was an alcoholic in their young lives. She stuck with him. She passed on to her kids truths from God's word; the importance of including God in our lives; speaking His words as we live our lives. I've listened to her repeatedly applying God's promises to every situation she hears of.

This write was inspired by Mom. She loves Jesus Christ and she loves when her children love Him too. I am thankful for this time we are sharing and am loving her thoughts, her wisdom, her time, and her memories.

Quotes about Mom's by others.

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln, US President.

Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly. ~Ambrose Bierce, American writer.

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. ~Spanish Proverb

A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled. ~Emily Dickinson, American poet.

One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters. ~George Herbert, Welsh poet, orator, priest.

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother. ~Abraham Lincoln, US President.

Have you hugged your Momma lately?

There's nothing like a mama-hug. ~Adabella Radici, idk.


I would like to thank e-Mom of C H R Y S A L I S for thinking of me when she was passing out the Nice Matters Award. Thank you e-Mom!

Friday, September 14, 2007

77

Today Mom is 77.

We are expecting some ladies from her Bible study/prayer group and Karla will be able to make it with her children for sloppy joes.

I asked her, "What kind of cake would you like?" "White cake." "What kind of frosting?" "White, and I would like the cake to have jam between the layers, like you girls used to do when you were young."

So she has a cake with four berry jam between the layers. She wanted sloppy joes too. We will be having that first for a late lunch.

I was talking to my daughter Karla and I said, "Your Gramma is going to be 77." "Wow." "Yeah, two heavenly numbers," I replied. Then I said, "She probably will be having a heavenly year!" Then I thought maybe that is not something we want to say too much. I don't want her going off to heaven just yet!

Her family has been calling in to wish her a great happy day.

Happy birthday, Mom.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What Is Beauty?

"Why do I feel so important when I'm not? Nothing is important and everything is important. I do not know why I am here but I am glad that I am. I'd rather be here than not. I am going to die and I want to live forever, I can't escape that fact, and I can't let go of that desire." - Damien Hirst

8,601 diamonds cover Mr. Hirst's platinum replica of a human skull. His artwork (?) named "For The Love Of God" includes a 52 carat pear shaped diamond. Mr. Hirst bought a human skull from a taxidermy shop. Truely, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." If I had one, I would not want to set this on my fireplace mantel or even a grand piano!

I'd probably never have heard of Damien Hurst except that I read A Slice Of Infinity which comes regularly to me via email and Amy Orr-Ewing used his above quote, so I looked him up. Orr-Ewing writes for the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. I've mentioned this organization before. Ravi is a very good speaker!

According the Wikipedia.org Damien Hirst's art projects dwell on death. Hirst's life included drugs and mayhem, after the death of a musician friend Joe Strummer he says "It was the first time I felt mortal."

My Mom came to visit and we are having a good time together. We will be doing some artwork too! Nothing on death, but life! I picked up a couple of paint-by-number kits and am looking forward to doing that together with her. She will paint the dogs and I will paint the horses and hope we will end up with something... beautiful.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Life from Death


A plant I got from Marie's friend.
It's a Hoya and we were surprised to find it was blooming!

It's been quite rainy in my little corner of the world. How about yours? It is about right for this time of the year, moose hunting season. I don't know of anyone in our family with moose meat yet. :-(

As I've mentioned before, I've been reading the Gospel of John. John is one the the Sons of Thunder that Jesus nicknamed. John and his brother James had spicy temperaments. The sons of Zebedee. I've wondered what their father Zebedee was like, or even their Momma! Is she not the Mom that asked Jesus if her sons could sit on both sides of Him in Heaven. (hehehe)

John wrote about what he saw with his own eyes in the Gospel of John. This book was written as a witness to the life of Christ, just as the other three Gospels do (Matthew, Mark and Luke).

Some people try to say that this Jesus Christ is a myth, a legend. Some that do believe He did indeed live say that he was a good man, a prophet sent by God. John says that Jesus Christ is God's Son. He documented that he and the twelve disciples did indeed spend time with Jesus. He writes the stories of what they did and what Jesus did while He lived on the earth. Jesus came to the Earth to tell us God's words and finish the work that the Old Testament Covenant began. On the cross He said, "It is finished." Now, God's words provide eternal life ---when we first believe that Jesus Christ is His Son.

When Jesus told the Jews that He and His Father are One, the Jews accused Him of blasphemy and they wanted to get rid of Him. They plotted to kill Him. As we all know, they did kill Him. Jesus died willingly, to meet the payment for sin that God the Father required. We could not pay for it ourselves. This payment had to come from a pure and undefiled Lamb. Previous to Christ, the Jews had been sacrificing lambs and bulls for hundreds of years. Providing a perfect lamb without blemish to atone for their sins was something that they all did. Imagine the looks of wonder when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him and then said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" The Jews knew the significance of a slaughtered lamb.

I am not of the Jewish culture, so it is a learning time for me to learn of the sacrifices God required of His people. These truths were told to them during Moses time. The words Moses got from God showed the standards that God requires from mankind in order to be perfect; in order to gain Heaven by one's own merit. If you can keep all of the law - you are indeed a perfect person! BUT, alas for us all, it is impossible! So because we all sinned (not only Jews!), God provided the procedures to have sin paid for through the sacrifices of lambs and bulls. The sacrificed lambs blood --- cleansed away sin until the next year when it had to be done again because, in this world we sin. In this world we have sin on every side. In this world we war against spirits that work every day to pull us down, to destroy us and those we love. I've often wondered - why blood? Why would God require such a horrible thing as blood to pay for our sin? Why not require something beautiful like Cain did. He tried to pay for sin with beautiful basket of fruit. By giving the best of the land. Why should we kill something to pay for our sin? I asked Doug that one day and he told me this: Because that is how much God hates sin.

Sin is something we don't understand as God does. Sin is so awful it blinds our eyes to all the goodness of God. Sin hates us. Sin is like an entity all it's own. It is like a deceitful creature that comes to us, moving our hearts, convincing us that "Surely this will not kill ya" and sin always moves us away from the love of God. To show how much God hated this separating sin He required the most horrible action that fills us with sickness in our tummies. Spilled blood.

Memory: the first time I went hunting with my husband. I was sitting at my look-out under a spruce tree, singing "How Great Thou Art" quietly, braiding grass when I heard some grunting noises in the distance. Cracking twigs and hooves coming up the hill and I quietly stood up watching. In a small clearing between the branches, I could see a bull and yep, it was a legal bull! I whistled like our cockatiel to Doug. He turned and I made a sign of bull antlers on top of my head. Quietly he moved to an area where he could get a look. The moose slowly ambled up the hill, and walked out into a clearing. I held my breath. Doug shot and the moose jumped up, and tried to turn back down the trail, then he fell to the ground. As his last breaths flowed out of his huge lungs, I cried. I cried more when Doug cut the jugular vein and watched all his life giving blood flowing downhill in a big river. I thought of how God requires blood to cover our sins and I was sickened.

Blood out of body is repulsive! That is how repulsive our sins are to God. He hates it. He had to show us how repulsive it is to Him when we obey the evil one by requiring something that should make us all sick, a bloody sacrifice. God created life, sin kills it.

I am so thankful that Jesus Christ came as a meek lamb to be slaughtered so that I, and all of us, could be redeemed! We can be freed from the clutches that evil claimed on mankind when Adam and Eve decided not to believe what God said would happen if they chose to obey Satan rather than obey God.

I believe therefore I am free! I've been freed to fellowship with God because of Jesus Christ's blood sacrifice. Someday I will be totally free from sin so that I can spend eternity in joyful physical reunion with Him and with those that have gone on before us, including God's witness - John!

Don't be like those in the book of John who chose not to believe that Jesus Christ was God's Son. He told them:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.... therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." Later He says, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.... You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it....He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." These verses can be read in John 8.

Study God's words, learn how He loves us all.

P.S. I do not hate Jews. I realize that God chose the least of the nations to prove His greatness. He needed a people to work through to bring His words to us all. He could have chosen the Alutiiq's to do that. The Alutiiq's would have done the same thing to Jesus Christ because all of mankind came from Adam and Eve and therefore, we all have the same ugly hearts that need a Savior.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I'm A Golden Retriever ...Or?

CONNIE YOU ARE A GOLDEN RETRIEVER

Hey. What's up? You're laid back and loyal just as happy chilling on the couch as you are flinging a Frisbee around in the park. Your brain is as busy as your body, and oh those soulful eyes! Just don't let your trademark sweetness make you settle for being anyone's underdog, 'cause you deserve to be at the head of any pack.

Haha. That was my first result, let's see if I change the options to ones that I could not decide was more me than the others.

Here is the second result and there were new questions! This was fun, try it.

CONNIE MARIE YOU ARE A GREAT DANE

Helloooo? Earth to you! You forget people's names, where you left your keys, and sitting through subtitles? Not so much. But you're no dumb pup just a little flighty. On the plus side, you'll never hold grudges and y ou dn't let the small stuff dog you. You also avoid sniffing around anyone else's business, so there's no reason for anyone to come hounding.

Okay, I think you can keep re-taking the test until you are the dog that you wanna be --- but it is fun.

Cute, cute gallery of dog pet pictures. When you are there take a look at "Boo" from Massillon, Ohio. He looks like my dog Chevy. I was told at the dog pound that Chevy was a Malamute and I was surprised! But this dog is a Malamute too and looks so much like Chevy! So I guess my big dog is an ivory colored malamute! How about that. He is not full breed though. His fur is thicker and longer. (This is the first time I am trying Blogger's video feature.) This video is 10 MB and is uploading pretty fast. This video was taken in the spring.

I love my dogs. They are always so happy to see me. Never hold grudges. Every morning is a new day. Never whine when the food is the same as yesterday. Love to go wherever I go --- or sit on the porch if that's what I want to do. Always aware of danger and let me know. (Chewy barked at the garbage bags this morning letting me know that things were not as they should be down the driveway.) I should be such a faithful friend.

Doug sent me a notice that our ISP sent that we were pretty close to over downloading and uploading last month! I do too many videos now that I have learned how to do them! I think after I reach the limit, I he has to pay extra.

Okay, this video upload is taking a very long time.... wondering if this has froze.

....hovering my cursor over Cancel here.

Those interested in how my sister Millie is doing here are some words from my Mom and my brother Don. Mom said that Millie seemed to be bothered and she thought it was because Millie needs to cough but can't quite figure out how to do it yet. She said that Millie looks around more, turning her head while she looks too. Don said that she seemed distressed when they first would get to her room but would settle down after they sat with her for awhile.

Many minutes later...
Can't tell if the video is done, the status bar says it is done, but the goofy little icon is still going round and round. I keep thinking it must be like almost done! I am going downstairs for coffee.

Many, many minutes later...
I sorted through mail, crumpled up catalogs I didn't want, went outside and burned them (probably 45 minutes gone) and still the file has not completed uploading! So I canceled it. Sorry Blogger, that is way too long.

Here it is from YouTube! Fast, easy - not aggravating!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Excuse Me

Our trip to Fairbanks was beautiful. It was marred only by the thought of returning home to a house without Marie. I dreaded it and it was as I imagined to be when I walked into the house with her way down in North Carolina. Very quiet, dark and empty.

So, excuse me while I miss her.

I feel like sandals without a pair of feet. I don't feel much like blogging.

So, because I know she will enjoy seeing these, I am going to share our fall-ish trip home from Fairbanks --- with pictures.

These photographs were taken along the Parks Highway between Fairbanks and home.