Thursday, December 30, 2010

last post of 2010

Well, here it is. The last post I'll make before 2011 rolls in!  Just wanting to highlight some times that have happened during 2010 that were blessings, miracles, tough times, good times, and all things in between. So here goes!
January didn't hold a lot of interesting things. I think the biggest thing I remember is how I finally felt well enough to cook on my own for the first time in a very long time. I didn't get to cook all the time, and rarely without assistance but I was back at the stove again and it felt great! I also started working on the church blog in January. It was a lot of fun, and a great change of pace for me since I had spent so much time trapped in a recliner in the previous months just playing online games. It challenged my mind and that is what I enjoyed the most.
February was the one month last year that held the scariest part of my year. My then 2 yo daughter found my med box and unlike most children who would spit a pill out at the first bitter taste, she ate them!  And she didn't eat just a few. Here is the breakdown of what she ate. 10- Adult gummi multi-vitamins, 4-50mg Metoprolol (that's a beta blocker), 3-25mg of Zoloft, 3- 50mg of Trazodone, and 3- .25mg of Klonopin.  I know that she ate this many because even after we tore the couch apart, tore the living room where she was hiding apart, this many were still missing. I remember calling my mother in law frantic saying you have to get here NOW aleah has eaten my medicine. I remember standing in the foyer of my apartment keeping my baby girl awake until Anita got there and we made it to the hospital. I remember my oldest daughter (not quite 6 yet) standing with her little hand on her sister praying that God keep those medicines from working and praying that they didn't hurt her. I remember Aleah looking drowsy so I let her stand beside me and I began to cry and she wrapped her tiny arms around my right thigh and praying God please help my mommy feel better, In Jesus name Amen. I remember her sweet face looking up at me and saying There mommy, you'll feel better now! I remember that all I could think to pray was God please don't take my baby. Looking back I know that it was the prayers of my oldest child that God heard. The medicines did no damage, and Aleah was only sleepy from them. I remember having to hold my youngest child while they forced what looked like an eternity of charcoal into her little body. I remember how lifeless she looked when she finally fell asleep and they placed her in the ambulance to transport her to Children's Hospital. She slept for a long time, but it truly should have been much longer considering what she took. Most of all I remember how I was blessed to wrap my baby in my arms and after 36 hours I was able to take her home and not plan a funeral. God truly blessed my family during the month of February and every day I see my sassy, bossy, whiny, and extremely smart little girl without any problems from her overdose, I thank God because I have her still with me and she's perfect!
March was a month that held more activity than many of the previous months had. I got a new camera and the weather was perfect for getting outdoors and just walking around some taking photos! It gave me a great start on familiarizing myself with my camera as well as time to get out of the house! That's what I remember the most, just the freedom of getting outdoors, smelling the sweet scent of spring coming in, feeling the still cool breezes hanging around from the chill of winter... yeah that's what I'll remember from March of 2010!
April was my last birthday celebration of my 20's! I thought it was going to be horrible! I was struggling to make it with the horrible POTS/DYS symptoms I was experiencing. That month I'd blacked out in the shower for I think the very first time... that part was completely humiliating but hilarious now that we look back on it! If you have POTS then you know that lifting your legs up to get blood back to your heart is sometimes the first thing to be done during a blackout... well it's not great coming to from a really bad blackout, naked as the day you were born except for a clumsily placed blanket, and then realizing that yes, someone had held your legs up in the air!  Yeah, that part wasn't so great, but turning 29 didn't kill me except my pride when I blacked out in the shower on my birthday no less... talk about wearing your birthday suit huh...haha
May was hard. I lost a dear friend of mine to MS. Donna was my greatest inspiration when I first got sick. She helped me to see what life could be like if I just simply embraced the life I'd been given and live it to my fullest for Christ. Donna was always smiling, always so sweet and encouraging, and she was an awesome chef! I miss those hugs and smiles each and every time I go to church. Her daughter Amelia has so much of Donna's personality, looks, and great attitude that we are all still so blessed to catch glimpses of such a dear friend who's gone on Home to be with Jesus.
June was just another month mostly. I did start the first steps to getting Photography By Miranda started and that has been a lot of fun even though I've only done two shoots since then. I'm proud of them though because with my health up and down like it is I was actually surprised I managed that!
July was exciting for me. I got my first prints back! I did a shoot with my sister, her fiance', and their kids. That was a lot of fun, so I ordered some prints of those and some photos I had taken of my kids. It was exciting getting that package in the mail and seeing my work in print!  I've gotten much better since then not only with photography but editing. It's often been said of me (by my husband) that I'm a collector of hobbies! And I'll admit I've picked up a LOT of hobbies since we've been together and lain most of them down, but photography has been the constant for me. I love it!
Ok, August was REALLY exciting! We began the process of buying our very own place! No more renting an apartment and the news just kept getting better. Through a friend of Eric's we will soon be buying our own land at such a great price that it can only be called a blessing or even a miracle in today's economy! Oh and we bought our first family dog! She's a beautiful Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler). We named her Kiah!
September was cram packed with doing some minor repairs on our place before we could move in completely, so there isn't much to say about that month other than it was EXHAUSTING!!!
October was financially a difficult month and out of necessity I picked up the whole game of couponing. I found VERY quickly that I love sale shopping and couponing! Saving more than 50% on a grocery bill was exhilarating for me and it gave me a sense of accomplishing and having something to give to my family. One of the hardest things of not being able to work is not being able to financially help and there is never a more difficult time than when money is tight. So coupons have become my way to financially help and I'm proud of it! My goal in 2011 is to save even more and to build a nice stockpile of food and household items so that just on the off chance of hard times again we'll have a nice 3-6 month supply to help pull us through.
November held a big event for me. I had my disability hearing. I still don't know anything back yet. It was very stressful which if you know about POTS then you know stress can debilitate you seriously! I did fine until the last half of the hearing and then the heat in the small room we were in (it was a video hearing) started really getting to me. Add to it that I had no way to pull both legs up cross-legged in the chair that I was in (this is a life saver for me due to pooling when they hang down). So the stress, heat, and blood draining into my legs away from my heart and brain, oh and no gatorade with me (what was I thinking???) led to my blacking out as I left the room after the hearing. So yeah, I've now added a federal building to my blackout
December has been amazing. My health was SO much better than last December and I immensely enjoyed Christmas! My oldest daughter had her first ever memorized part in the children's Christmas program. Watching her saying her part and looking so proud and standing so tall, almost made me burst at the seams! Watching all the children sing and say their parts was good too, but you know how it is... she's my baby!  Our church's brass and woodwind ensemble performed again this year and this time I was a part of it. Maybe not the best part of it, but I was  I also sang O Come All Ye Faithful and the most exciting part for me was when I took a chance and instead of singing the note we'd prepared that was lower I jumped up there and hit a HIGH A FLAT!!! I was soooo excited and not only once but like 3 or 4 times! I think someone recorded it and is supposed to be getting me a copy, so I can't wait to actually see myself perform. It's not often that I get this excited about something but a high A flat? and it was ME!?! Yeah I still can hardly believe it myself!  Oh and we had Christmas at DiDi's and even got to skype with our cousin Shannon. He's over in Afghanistan serving our country and we are so proud of him! After Didi's we went to my mother in laws and had Christmas there. Christmas morning was a blast with the kids, they were really into it. I also really noticed how my oldest has matured since last year. She's a great big sister. And we got SNOW!!! The day after Christmas we had a blanket of white and lots of snow falling the day of Christmas and the day after. A beautiful end to a great 2010! Now lets get busy making the most of 2011! Happy New Years Everyone!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Putting aside the Hustle and Bustle

During the holiday season days are filled with people rushing from here to there in hopes of grabbing that next great steal of a deal to fill up the space below their Christmas tree. Rush, rush, rush and soon we're all burnt out and devoid of the Christmas spirit. We begin to loathe hearing those jolly Christmas tunes on the local radio. As our cash flow grows thinner and thinner, we're no longer buying and giving from the heart but we now resort to finding anything at all that will just get the job done!  By the time Christmas Eve rolls around, we've already got several holiday parties and programs under our belts. We've prepared meals for family gatherings. We've bought those Secret Santa gifts, thinking the whole time that we're leaving that party with a gift as good as what we bought.  You know you always leave wishing you'd just gotten back what you purchased instead!!!  Everything is all about the rush. The never ending tick-tock of the minutes and seconds as they draw us closer and closer to a deadline. See, we're no longer thinking of the Birth of Christ as the meaning of Christmas.  We're just rushing to meat a deadline of gifts and parties and gatherings that are expected of us.  So, I'm taking some time out of my busy schedule to let you know what Christmas means to me.
  Christmas.  It's a word that is slowly being shut out of our schools and neighborhoods. Instead of a Christmas tree, it's now a holiday tree. No longer are their Christmas breaks in school, instead it's a Winter break. Forget Christmas songs in the school and workplace... you guessed it - Holiday Music! Our world is slowly, but much to quick for my liking, pushing Christ out of Christmas. I don't understand this at all. Christmas is only around because of Christ! Had he not been born, there would be no Christmas!  So my Christmas Tribute this year is The Christmas Story. I'm taking the text from the King James Bible. I read other versions, but there are just some things that I love hearing from the KJV of the Bible.  I'm using the passage from Luke chapter 1 verses 1-20.

Luke 2

 1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
 8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
 15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
 18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
 19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

    This is what Christmas means to me. Not running from here to there trying to meet a deadline of gifts and gatherings. But taking the day, Christmas Day, to remember the first of the greatest events in history that pertain directly to me. The birth of the man who gave His life so that I might have salvation! That's what Christmas is to me.
    Sure I buy gifts and I'm somewhat involved in the hustle and bustle of everything, but I never let my mind wander away from the true meaning of why there is a Christmas Day. After all, it's HIS Birthday, well the day we celebrate it! And who doesn't love birthdays :)  My kids will wake up on Christmas Day, and they'll see all their gifts around the tree. But no tearing into any gifts until we've done our Happy Birthday Jesus time. They really love having a cupcake or something with candles in it, singing Happy Birthday Jesus, and then they get to blow out the candle. It may not make any sense to you, but to us it makes perfect sense to honor Jesus birth like this. So if any of you have any special Happy Birthday Jesus traditions, feel free to comment and share! Oh, and Merry CHRISTmas to each and every one of you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Blogging to feel better

This post holds no huge purpose, no enlightening ideas, and no huge pick me up thoughts. I'm merely posting right now just to try and clear my thoughts in hopes that something will make sense or that I'll find a glimmer of clarity before this day has been a huge total waste.  Now I know all that sounds depressing, but I'm not depressed, just having a down day.  Not sure why. Maybe it's added stress or maybe it's just this disease that no one really understands causing all these feelings. POTS can surprise you that way sometimes a lot of the time.  So if by the end of this post, I have no mental clarity, no huge epiphany regarding the cause of today's blahness (yeah, I know that's not a real word... sue me, you won't get much!) then I'll blame it on the Dysautonomia/POTS and all it's glory. 
My day started off normal enough. I was awakened by the sound of crashing unpacked boxes in my closet. These horrible cats that my kids and husband (yes, you eric... remember Miracle?) decided we should have, had somehow gotten into my newly straightened closet and managed to knock over the one box that was a junk box. It also happened to be an open box because I'd searched for some things this week. So now I've got all of those things still sitting in the walking space in my closet. Yes it is 9:30 pm now and NO I didn't bother picking it all up! Just haven't felt like it! 
Let's see. Next I checked emails and facebook. Updated everyone on a friends medical condition and reminded everyone on the church facebook to be praying for my friend. I played a quick game or two of Bejeweled Blitz (who doesn't love shiny gems blinking and flashing early in the morning?!?). Then I made my way into the living room, let out the air mattress the kids are sleeping on. Yes they do have their own room and their own beds, but if letting them sleep on the giant air mattress in the living room insures that I get at LEAST 5 hours sleep without my kids wrapped around me in an octopus-like fashion... then it's worth it.  Anyway, got all that put away for the day and vacuumed and picked up the two dozen My Little Pony toys that were strung all over. 
Yeah, I'm still not getting an epiphany.  Day is starting like any other.
Next I made lunch. Serena helped. She's turning into my assistant chef! I love her working beside me. It not only helps me when she can get things that I can't bend to get out of a cabinet, but it gives me another pair of hands in the kitchen. Let's face it. With Dys. you need all the hands you can get!  
After we ate I left Eric with the few dishes. Thank the Lord for paper plates! I came back to my room, did another update on my friend Jacob, and I've pretty much been in here since catching up on a couple of tv series I've missed lately. Well I did get up and helped Serena bake peanut butter cookies. 
I don't know. I can't put a finger on why today has been a downer for me. Maybe it is just the Dys/POTS. I know that my memory and focus has been more than lacking. Who knows. Anyway, for tonight I'll blame it on POTS! I hope everyone else has had a day that's more of an upper kind of day.  I'm just looking forward to bedtime! Well Serena is asking for a snack, so I've gotta go and take care of that. Catch you on the flipside and here's to hoping the flipside offers a better mood day! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

what to do when pain limits you exponentially

Hey there!  Well today is December 1, 2010 and my 9 year wedding anniversary to my wonderful husband Eric! He's stood not only beside me but with me through it all, and I mean ALL! Anyone who has a disease that causes daily trouble truly understands what it means to have someone be there with you through it all. He's truly a God-send!
Serena, Miranda (me), Eric, and Aleah - Taken on Sept. 21, 2010 Aleah's 3rd Birthday!
So, I'm laying here on the couch, yes I finally made it out of bed after 3 1/2 days stuck in it, and the kids are playing well together for the moment. My oldest has scrambled eggs for them to eat earlier, so that took care of their mid afternoon snack, and it was her very first time every using a stove all by herself!  She did great, and I was just in the living room and since it's an open floor plan, I was able to watch her every move. So since there is nothing pressing at the moment that I absolutely have to do right now, I am laying back on the couch writing this blog on what to do when limited exponentially by pain. 
 Well for starters, you can write your own blog! I've found that it helps me make it through days like this. Not only does it pass the time, but it allows me to have a voice when I'm just too tired to speak aloud!  I also work on photos on those days I can't get out of bed. Even a beginner photographer can have fun editing photos! A fun site is PikNik. There are a lot of freebie options that are available there and the best part is anyone can use the options without being overwhelmed!  A couple other sites that I have not used are LunaPic, BeFunky, and LoonaPix. I will probably check those out soon though. I love editing photos. It's a great pas the time kind of fun! For fun stuff I tend to use the free online stuff. But I do have a couple of photo softwares that I use for my actual photography work. Another idea for passing the time on days when you can't do more than sit or lay in bed is my current favorite thing to do... coupon! 

  Today is Wednesday which means that the store I frequent most often for grocery shopping has it's newest sales paper out. So today I'll spend some of my time cleaning out my coupon binder. 
Just a snapshot of my binder opened up. It's really heavy! I use a briefcase style binder that my husband bought for me years ago, and it never got much use until now! I made my own dividers/tabs, and I use baseball card holders to store coupons. 

I have all my coupon categories, separated and tabbed to help me find each category quickly. On the binder side that's lifted you can see where I keep my store cards and pockets for calculators, scissors or blade knife, etc. Plus there are 2 folder pockets where I keep printouts (coupons, store policy) and a folder for coupons and other things I might need.

So on a typical Wednesday I get my Publix paper ready (my favorite store as of now) and I check my favorite blogs for deals I might have missed. SouthernSavers, KrazyCouponLady, and a couple more (my main laptop power cord is dead, and due to brainfog all my favorite links are stored on the link toolbar). My first stop is always the two listed though! So I've usually already cleaned out expired coupons (not as hard as it sounds if done weekly), and I've already bought or picked up my freebie coupon inserts, clipped the coupons, and filed them. Now I'm ready to make my shopping list, pull the coupons for each item, and be ready for Friday/Saturday shopping! Right now I'm only shopping for groceries every 2 weeks. I may need a couple essentials like milk and bread before my next trip, but that's pretty much all that I need in between shopping days. And at this point I'm spending no more than $200-$250 for 2 weeks to feed 4. Not bad but I plan on doing better with each shopping trip.  This week I'm behind on everything! I haven't even clipped my coupons yet and it's already Wednesday night! So I've got a lot of catching up to do, but I still have a couple days to get ready. I've actually just been too sick to even clip the coupons this week. Usually I'm not this sick. This week has just been an extremely bad week. Usually I can at least sit in bed and get these few things accomplished even on sick days. But yeah, this week has been extremely bad for me. Today is the first day I've even left my bedroom! And I'm in a lot of pain just sitting on the sofa, but yesterday it wasn't even feasible to attempt it because of the high severity of pain! So I'm thankful that today I'm at least sitting on the sofa outside the four walls of my bedroom.
  Ok back to coupons!  I really am hoping to be able to get my shopping done this weekend. So I'll get my things together as if I'm going to be able to get things done. So after I've gotten my binder cleaned out, restocked, and my list printed or written down I simply have to go to the store! BUT I never go without my list and I stick to it unless there is an exceptionally great deal I didn't see in the papers or on the website. I also try and have more than just the typical 2 copies of papers. This way when there are BOGO deals (Publix has them EVERY week) I can stock up on a LOT! Typically I'll have anywhere from 6-10 coupons of each item, and yes that means 6-10 papers, but I only buy 2 papers each Sunday. The rest I get before closing from a gas station down the road. They allow me to go and sort through the papers as long as I keep them neat and only take the inserts. So that's freebies for me which allows me to save even more on shopping day! But I always buy 2 papers to ensure that I will at least have 1 pair of coupons for the BOGO deals. The reason for having at least 2 coupons per item for BOGO deals is because some stores allow you to use a coupon for both products. Typically this will make your BOGO deal either REALLY cheap or free+! Anyway, that's my typical preparation for a shopping trip. The first couple weeks of it was me getting used to it, then the next couple weeks were me trying to tweak the process to make it work better for me. And now, I just maintain. Which is really easy.
  Maybe the binder method isn't your cup of tea. Well don't worry as there are a couple other methods to choose from! The Krazy Coupon Lady website has a great starting to coupon advice section. and since I didn't find it until a few weeks into my coupon adventures, I'll give you a head's up and post the link here!  And here is Southern Savers beginning to coupon link!  both of those should get you going in no time!
   So I suppose this ties up my 'what to do when pain limits you exponentially' blog. Well, those things plus facebook, fancast, and netflix!  :)  That's pretty much what I do on days when I'm limited to just sitting or laying down. So until next time... Hope that maybe you find that coupons are something you might pick up doing, or that some of the other things I enjoy help you to pass the long days when you might be stuck in bed.   Talk to you soon!