My book is finally done!

It’s done! My book is finally finished awaiting publishing. I’ve been writing it for five years, but only knew that I was writing it for a little over one year. That’s what happens when you journal. My journallings have been a consistent way for me to get my thoughts out of my head. With so many things going on, my head was noisy! I could barely hold a single thought longer than a few seconds, my thoughts would race from one event to another and I couldn’t breathe, let alone sleep. Journalling provided my means of escape.

My book? It’s a good book. It still makes me cry, smile, and laugh. It brings back terrible memories yet provides proof of how amazing my life is now. It shows how a person can climb her way out of chaos and create a life that she loves. It provides proof that life is changeable, no matter your age. If I can do it so can you. It shows determination, fear, love, peace, and hate. It is my first written masterpiece and I’m excited that it’ll finally be published.

I will let you know how to purchase it, hopefully within the next week. It’s terrifying letting my secrets out of my closet for millions to read. Yet it is so freeing, knowing that I can be authentically me. No more hiding, no more lies, just me. Thank you for being a sounding board as I struggled to find my way to air. May you, my readers, be blessed beyond your wildest dreams.

thank you for reading,

me

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Summer Fun

As a celebration of an end to an era of pharmacy school, graduation and passing of board exams, celebrating a new engagement for my son, and for general fun together as a family… we went camping this past weekend. We decided to camp near Wilson Creek, NC where campsites were first come first serve, land with a fire pit next to a small creek. This was not a problem for most of the group that went. Two of us, my youngest two, had never been primitive camping before. One of these had very little idea as to what to expect. He learned, though.

As the brothers and sisters continued to pick on each other constantly, nerves were worn a little thin once in a while. Food, as always, saves the day when attitudes are poor. We ‘knew’ there’d be plenty of wood around to build a fire and so didn’t bring any along… first mistake. We also ‘knew’ the forecast couldn’t be better… second mistake. Truly, though, we still had fun.

Me with #1 and #2, two of my favorites!

Day 1 – arrival chaos, unpacking, putting up tents, taking over an hour to start a fire from not so dry wood, eventually relying on a pocket rocket to start the fire. Dinner served at approximately 10 pm… Starving kids make for grouchy monsters. Stinging nettle seemed to appear and put boils on a few of the group requiring some Benadryl… thankful I brought a fully functioning first aid kit.

Day 2 – up and breakfast… nope, have to wash the dishes from dinner first. First tub is soapy water, second rinse, third sterilize with a little bleach… then breakfast.

#3 and #4, two more of my favorites. Who needs a swimsuit?

All of us climb into one vehicle, drive up to the river, search for a parking spot, discover a great path down, plant ourselves in a shade on the rocks and wish we put on our swimsuits.

 

No problem, though, two decide swimsuits are unnecessary and are soon immersed in the cool water up to their heads.

Lunch and dry on the rocks, hang out a little longer then back

On the rocks, dressed.

to camp to fix dinner… collect wood along the drive back, start fire very slowly, Mom gets kudos for being a pyromaniac. Dinner served as hobos, corn, and peach cobbler. Satisfied tummies, a good day.

 

Day 3 –

#1 Starts this!

Up and breakfast, dishes done last night. Mom cooks egg-n-bread with bacon, swimsuits on, hike to a water fall,

 

Let’s all do it!

Me too!

head back to the river and find the same spot we had yesterday. Climb down, perfect spot, hop from rock to rock, discover the new fiance is an expert at playing on the rocks in the river.

On the rocks, the pro standing and watching and laughing at the non pros.

Mom settles down on a large rock in the middle of the river as the rest of us take a circuitous path around the river

 

from rock to rock while she entertains the dog… rain, just a little, no worries. They finish their circle around the river

 

and we decide to head back to camp for dinner… gather wood along the way, discover puddles… arrive to camp with two tents not closed and full of water… oops. Lessons are learned, sleeping arrangements are changed, clothes are shared and a fire is attempted… Burn the entire bag of charcoal and it still doesn’t start, finally enough wood dries well enough and Mom starts a fire again, hooray! Tarp hung over a portion of camp just in case. Chili, and s’mores for dinner. All to bed as more rain arrives. Lightening and thunder but no wind where we are makes for a tense couple of hours as we rest in our tents waiting for it to pass… sleep.

Day 4 – Mutiny, we pack up instead of fix breakfast, eat Bojangles on the way home. Arrive home safe and sound. An excellent trip!

Perfect Life Picture

Still unemployed, almost done with my board exams, I’m wondering what a picture of the ‘perfect life’ would look like. The¬†picture perfect life? Hmmm… I already love my life but what could make it perfect?

The physical things: a running car that doesn’t need fixing, maybe a sporty one with excellent gas mileage? A house that is clean with plenty of room to play? A yard that is cut? Physical comforts such as air conditioning, heating, and running water? Maybe also have my house fixed up like new, with no holes in the siding and wallpaper that isn’t thirty years old?

The me things: the things that keep me healthy? A slim waist, muscular body? Maybe another six inches taller? Hair that doesn’t gray, and free haircuts? A massage every week? Or, even better, a massage twice a week? The ability to see my dentist, eye doctor, or regular doctor whenever I need to without fear of money or health?

The other things: my kids visiting frequently because they actually want to be near me. My pets groomed, clean, and up to date on all of their health things. My friends and family feeling welcome at all times, knowing they mean the world to me?

There’s so many ‘things’ that a picture perfect life would have, but the only thing that matters is the things that we do not the things that we have. The helping a child learn to swim, or feeding a family who has no funds. Putting ourselves out there so others can learn from our mistakes, not having to repeat them themselves.

I want a picture perfect life, and I think I might already have it. It’s the little things that make the difference isn’t it? A job, though? I’ll need one of those as soon as possible.

thanks for reading,

me

Morning Thoughts…

Almost Christmas… My tree is small, my bank account is empty, and I can see the back of my cupboard and freezer… money will come soon but it’s definitely tight right now. I wonder why I put myself here and realize I really didn’t. Life has been difficult for the past several years. The ex has been slow on everything. When I moved out he refused to pay child support (and the mortgage) for three months, so credit cards went crazy high… Then with the kids relying on me for everything (and my inability to say no yet) what money I did have went to them and their lives… No one knew how tight things were and no one understood why I would say no sometimes. I can’t blame them, though. I didn’t tell anyone I was out of money. I didn’t tell anyone that I couldn’t afford to pay for their gas, or their dining out… I paid for the wedding that wasn’t meant to be and now I am stuck with more bills than I can pay.

Now what? I wait. I wait for more student loans to come in, I wait for graduation, and I wait for a job. I remind myself that this time is limited. One day, one day soon, I will be able to pay all of my bills. I will be able to say yes to my kids without worrying. I will be able to live my life on my terms. I look forward to those days.

In the meantime? I still live. I make the most of what we do have. I remember we are extremely well off. We have a roof over our heads, heat, clothes, cars and pets. We are all in good health and are happy. Sure, it would be nice to be able to answer the phone (the bill collectors are beginning to get angry). It would be nice to go out to eat whenever we want. It sure would have been nice to have a big tree this Christmas. My younger two kids just couldn’t quite understand why we had to stay small. That was hard. But, we are all learning. We are learning that things are just things and that it’s OK to eat leftovers and to eat at home. We are learning that the house looks better when we stay home.

I could get upset, and sometimes I do. But I remind myself of the good things and that this life is mine. I remind myself that I don’t mind going home any longer. I remind myself that I have made it the sanctuary that I had only dreamed of. I remind myself that our lives are so much better, happier, safer, than they were a short three years ago. Yes, being broke is hard, annoying, especially around Christmas; but it’s worth it.

thank you for reading,

me

Tension?

Tension. I woke up this morning anxious. It’s 7 am and still kind of dark outside. I’m not sleepy but I wish I could stay in my bed where it’s warm, my house feels cold. I always turn the heat down at night and then put it back up in the morning so I did that already. What do I have to be anxious about? The ex has court this morning because he hasn’t paid his share of the property settlement. I’m sure he’ll get off scott free but I hope not. He has a way of almost getting in trouble and then getting more time or just getting a slap on the wrist… it’s frustrating and I try to forget about it since I can’t really do anything… but it’s frustrating.

Yesterday the kids and I went to go find a Christmas tree. We soon discovered that most of them are sold out or dead. The rest? Expensive. Seventy to a hundred dollars for a tree too big for our place. The younger kids started complaining about this being the ‘worst Christmas ever’ and I just wanted to cry because I was having a hard time finding a decent tree that wasn’t too small or dead and that I could afford… Christmas has been the most difficult for the kids to adjust to. Their dad just isn’t very celebratory and I’m broke. We did find a cute little one for forty-five dollars, but it is by far the littlest tree my kids have ever had and they’re disappointed. I tried. I forced myself to stay positive and to keep encouraging them as we decorated the tree and then put lights on outside. My youngest lit a fire in the fireplace and that helped a lot. We ate a good dinner and then watched a Christmas movie as well. All in all, the day turned out well but the moods never really changed. The holidays are the hardest to be positive when the kids are the ones who suffer. It’s not their fault their parents aren’t together any longer and it’s not their fault their father is no use.

As a mom, I want to fix everything. I want them all to have smooth sailing and never an upset day. I don’t want them to struggle through anything and I want to be able to buy them whatever they could possibly want. Yeah, I know, not my job to give them everything. It’s my job to help them grow into great people and to love them unconditionally. I do love them but it’s hard to watch them struggle. It’s also hard to allow them to see me struggle. I can’t really help it though and we’ll all be better off and stronger for our struggles. That’s the way we grow.

Life is supposed to be filled with good days and bad days. We aren’t supposed to have all good days. If we did, how would we know they were good with nothing to compare? How would we grow if we never had to work for it? How would our lives get better if we didn’t know how to handle the difficult stuff? I look back at my life over the last several years and I see how amazing it currently is. I’ve come this far because I have been willing to struggle through it and there’s no way I’d ever go back to who I used to be. The struggles are all worth it.

thanks for reading,

me

A snapshot in my life…

Just thought I’d describe a snapshot of sitting at home… on the weekend… with my kids being bored… around me… all of the time… Will she not stop? My 10-year-old is singing at the top of her lungs… my oldest son is telling her to stop… and she’s wearing a helmet at the moment because she’s worried about him? He tells her to get away from her and she chases after him. The constant, never-ending noise!! And now we “don’t like” her singing… sigh… ten year old girls and the approaching hormones… we can say nothing right at the moment.

“She’s laughing at me,” he says.

“No one likes my singing,” she says as she pretends to cry.

“She’s drooling, her snot is running into her mouth because she is trying to cry.” She goes to wipe her nose then proceeds to chase her brother again.

“Now that you’ve wiped your nose, you’re going to get mad at me again?”

“I love you, I love you, I love you…” she chants over and over again.

“This is mildly extreme, no means no. I said no,” he says.

“I love you, I love you, I love you…”

“Mom, mom, mom… make her stop,” he says. I tell them both to go their rooms, I’m ignored.

“I love you, I love you, I love you.”

“If you don’t get off of me we’re going to have problems.” He attempts to brush her off and she falls to the floor as if she were shoved pretending to cry again. No one believes her and she gets back up continues her “I love you, I love you, I love you”…

and on and on and on… sigh. I told both of them to go to their rooms again. And of course they don’t. He splashed water at her and she goes to return the favor. “You can’t do that because of the computer,” he says.

“Uugh, why do you have to make so much sense?” she says.

The quiet returns for a few minutes… I eat a couple of cookies and relax for a few minutes before attacking the rest of the night. And then the dog begins to bark… quiet? What’s that?

thanks for reading,

me

 

Pediatric Rotations

Many think that pharmacy isn’t like the rest. We, as pharmacists, are often thought of as lesser, unnecessary individuals, at least until they need us. When they need us though, they love the knowledge that we have. I’m in the midst of one of my rotations and this one is with pediatrics at a large hospital. Yes, pharmacists are necessary and needed here. Below is what I wrote after the first day there.

“Day one of peds rotation and its after 10 at night and I’m crying already. The patients I have today are sick, really sick. I was assured earlier that most of our patients aren’t like these because these are in a special ward. But these are still these. I’ve never known DiGeorge syndrome and I’m grateful that I haven’t. Three of the 8 kids on my list are DNAR and they’re just babies. DNAR means “do not attempt resuscitation”. How do people do this day in and day out? How can I? So many medicines! Such little bodies! The slightest error on a med could cause serious damage, permanent damage or even cause them to die. And yet, many of these will die early anyway. I don’t question God, not tonight, but I feel for the parents and the kids who have never known not getting poked or prodded. Who’ve never had a chance to fly. But I am not one to know that they don’t fly somehow. Each person has their place, even these. Life is short but for them? So much shorter and yet it feels so long when they suffer.

I’m going to get my boat tomorrow night. I’ll drive up there and spend the night and then we will set sail on Friday morning, early. I’m excited, scared, and wanting to wait but I NEED this now. I NEED to get out there and recharge for next week. I’ve gotta take care of me or I’m not going to make this. Time for bed.”

I did go and get my boat. I love it. I stayed on it for three nights and three days as I learned from the previous owner how to sail. We sailed it down a little closer than it was, yet it’s not yet to its home… I have to take care of myself when life gets hard and I’m glad to have the boat to do that. I’ll be writing more about her later.

Today, though, was another hard day on rotation. Today we learned that one of the babies, really she’s two, will be removed from her life supporting ventilator in the near future. She has no hope for recovery and her parents have been holding on for a glimpse, a sign, anything they can. They’ve decided it’s time and despite what you think, they may be right. It’s not my place to judge them. I have not lived in their shoes and God am I grateful! I nearly cried when I heard the news but I held it in. Then when it was time to go home the tears began to flow on my drive. Even now they threaten to fall.

All of these children! It’s different when you get to grow old and die after having lived a long and fruitful life. That’s different, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But when you’ve just barely had a chance and that chance was never one out of the hospital? What is life for? What is their purpose for being here? What can we learn? What can they show us?

There’s really a lot we can learn. We can be reminded that life is indeed short, whether you die at two or at 102. Life races by. We can learn to live our lives to the best of our abilities. We can learn to be grateful for our own problems. I’ve heard that if we were given a chance to trade problems with another we’d beg to have our old ones back.

We can also learn that when we have a chance to make a decision that many of our decisions don’t affect only ourselves. We might, and often are, affecting others. Some of these children wouldn’t be in the hospital if their parents had taken charge of their health. Some of the children are recovering from addictions that their parents have. Some of them are suffering from malnutrition and abuse. Some of them are there because of a genetic malfunction. There are so many things to learn!

Even our genetics are things we have some control over. Have you heard of epigenetics? What you do, whether you exercise or not, what you eat, what your mother ate, whether your father smoked? These all change how OUR genes are expressed. So even some of these can be better controlled and prevented. We are barely learning the tip of the iceberg.

Do me a favor. Go love on your babies, your mothers and fathers. Go hug your friends and kiss your spouses. Life is what we make of it. I vote we make it good!

thanks for reading,

me