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Archive for May, 2008

Well, you’d think that being home all day, I’d have lots of time to write, wouldn’t you?  Not necessarily, though, as it turns out.

It’s been an interesting few days.  DH’s surgery went well – thanks again to everyone for all the good thoughts and wishes!  We were at the hospital for a loooong time.  The surgery itself took about 30 minutes but anyone who has ever had outpatient surgery knows it’s the pre-op, post-op and discharge that take forever.  To top it off, his blood pressure very stubbornly refused to come up for a long time after surgery.  Can’t imagine why…I mean, the man is hypoglycemic, hadn’t eaten in 22 hours, had general anesthesia, lay in recovery for an extra 2 hours waiting for a discharge room, and then was given a Lortab for pain on an empty stomach, on top of it all.  Wow.  So, yeah…very, very low blood pressure.  A little scary but after I finally got to ask the nurse if he could get something substantial to eat, all was well.  The poor man was just, you know, starving to death.  🙂

So we got him home at about 9:30 Thursday night.  I literally cannot thank WVSooner enough, because I don’t know what we’d have done without him.  He not only came up to the hospital to sit with us, he also (a) filled DH’s prescription, which I’d have had to stop on the way home (at 9:30!) to do; (b) brought dinner to and sat with my kids –  one of whom was near-hysterical because, you know, that’s how she rolls –  while we waited eternally to find out if DH was coming home or would be admitted for observation; and (c) manhandled DH into the house.  (It’s a long story, but we live on a hill, DH can’t navigate stairs, and wheelchairs don’t push well uphill on soft ground, to sum it up.)  I could not have done it alone.  Not a chance.  So, WVSooner was pretty much the hero of the evening and has our undying gratitude.

But all’s well that ends well, as the Bard would say.  DH is home and recovering, though he’s still mostly down.  He’s not in constant pain but the pain meds are very welcome, and it’s very hard for him to get up and down.  He’s tough though and I think he’s very determined to be taking care of himself come Monday, so I don’t have to stay home with him again.  We’ll see.  He’s pretty stubborn but he’s taken a pretty big hit, too.  And I’m not taking chances with him.  I want to keep him around.  I knew that already, of course, but nothing makes it hit home like watching someone take him away on a gurney to cut holes in him…I didn’t like that. (I suspect he didn’t, either!) And I don’t want to do it again any time soon.  So I’m going to try to keep him from pushing himself too hard…and if he needs me, I am by God going to be here, whether he wants me to be or not.  🙂

They didn’t do the surgery laparoscopically, which surprised me.  The doctor said it was a “pretty big hernia” and maybe that’s why.  But as a result, it will take a little longer for him to be back in fighting trim.  My heart hurts for him.  He’s a screamingly independent man and he does not handle needing help very well.  I wish I could do more for him.  I wish I could make it not hurt, you know?  That’s the big thing.  Turns out, it sucks  when someone you love is in pain.  Who’d have thunk it?  🙂

So that’s the story there.  In other news, I’m still eating a bit badly but I’m halfway through monthly grocery shopping – I’ll finish it tomorrow – so come Monday, there will be no bad food anywhere in sight, lots of healthy stuff, and no excuse for me to be laissez-faire about things.  I’m committing to walking every night, hopefully with B. but if that doesn’t work out I have a treadmill, so no excuse; I’m also committing to 4-5 nights of my 30-Day Shred DVD.  I want to see the scale numbers dropping, but more importantly I want to stop feeling like a giant sloth.  I’m not even feeling Oompah-Loompah lately…just sort of like a big lump of Silly Putty.  I feel like all my muscles have disappeared and I have no shape…just very soft and squishy.  Ugh.

Oh, yes…and this weekend marks the first time ED has driven alone.  Gah.  I am torn between raving hysteria at the idea that she’s on the road alone and grudging excitement at having someone to run errands for me.  🙂  She took YD to my mother’s last night to spend the night, and I told her “Be very careful, you have three of my most precious possessions with you.”  She looked at me oddly and I said, “You, your sister – and my car.”  Which got a laugh.  Not that I was joking, at least not completely.

She’s done well so far though.  Right now she is at a friend’s for a sleepover…with my car.  Which had better be parked.  Sigh.  But I will admit, I don’t know how we’d have done it otherwise, because the friend is half an hour away and I really can’t leave DH alone for an hour round-trip right now.  I mean, he’d probably be fine…but I’m just not comfortable with it.  So it’s good that she’s driving, it really is.  And I’m going to just keep telling myself that.  🙂

That’s enough, really.  I need to shut up now.  It’s late, I’m completely and totally exhausted, and I need to go to bed.  I hope that everyone is having a lovely weekend and I’m going to get caught up with everyone tomorrow, I swear.  MWAH!

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Just a Quickie…

I know, I know, you didn’t think I was capable of it, did you?  🙂

I’m sure I’ll write much more later but for now I just wanted to let everyone know I’m still alive and kicking.  Life has been a tad crazy of late but not bad.  Just eventful.

Today is DH’s surgery and I want to thank you all soo much for all the good wishes.  They mean a lot.  I know he will be very glad when it’s over!  He’s not the type to stress over things for days in advance but I think he’s finally started to get nervous.  I think because he’s so stoic, it makes it the more poignant when he does show signs of worry.  I wish I could just make it go away for him.

Eating and exercise wise I have been…haphazard is the only word I can come up with. (I have more, but that’s for later.) No loss, no gain, so I guess that’s good.  I had an amazing walk last night though…first time I’ve walked in the dark and it was a wonderful experience.  Again, I’ll go on at length another time.  🙂

I have had very little time to read or comment but I should have some time on my hands for the next few days so I promise I will catch up.  I miss everyone!  Meanwhile, again, thank you all so much for your support and for thinking of us.  You are the best.

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Well, it’s Friday again. What a week.

I never did get a chance to post yesterday, and I really don’t want anyone to think it’s because I couldn’t come up with anything to be thankful for. Actually, there are probably too many things, just now, to even pick one. I was just extremely busy and it was a bizarre sort of day.

It started off with me not-quite-but-almost witnessing a car accident. I was about five minutes behind it and came upon the scene while two wonderful gentlemen were attempting to extract one of the occupants from the overturned vehicle. They were able to get the woman out, but her husband was stuck pretty badly and emergency crews had to partially disassemble the vehicle to get him out. Both of them were taken to the hospital but I think they are both going to be fine – though there is a distinct possibility that the man had suffered a stroke; he had definitely suffered something, which was what caused the accident. It was a single vehicle accident but no less horrific for them because of that fact.

I wasn’t really able or required to do a lot…I called 911, and a neighbor and I sat with the woman, who was terrified and traumatized, while the whole thing went on, until they got her husband out, got both of them stretchered and took them away in the ambulance. I guess it was enough. It wasn’t much, and I truly and devoutly hope that God blesses the men who were working so hard for these people – not only the emergency crews but particularly the men who were just passing by and stopped – enormously. I mean, I hope they had the best days of their entire lives yesterday, and I wish them a string of a hundred more best days. I hope they win the flippin’ lottery. I do. They deserve it.

I’m sort of just roiling with emotion about it, and I can’t even articulate most of it. Mostly I’m terribly hurt for the accident victims – I don’t know them personally but I know someone who does, and they are people who just don’t have much at all. They’re what we in WV call “country”, meaning they live a very simple and basic life and don’t have a lot. Not necessarily because they aren’t capable of having more, but because they don’t see the need for more. They work, but they aren’t ambitious and they aren’t acquisitive. They cut firewood for the stove in the winter, they draw water from the creek, they grow a lot of their own food and they don’t do it because they’re worried about global warming or because it’s a socially popular behavior…(or even because they’re worried about genetically altered food or growth hormones in the chicken, like some of us who are STILL not motivated enough to plant a garden. Ahem.) They do it because that’s how they were raised, it works for them, and they don’t see the need to do things any differently.

It’s sort of a foreign notion to most of us…but it’s not uncommon in rural West Virginia. Which leads much of the rest of the country to look down on us as “redneck” and “backward” and a hundred other, less-flattering adjectives. We’re “poverty-stricken” and “underprivileged” (as a state, not me personally).

What most people don’t realize – or, if they do, abhor – is that for many of these people, this is a choice. Not because they’re too lazy to “do better for themselves” but because they just don’t see the need to live that way. What they have is enough, and for them, enough really is enough. So they don’t fit in…they don’t measure up…they aren’t “our kind of people”. Never mind that they really aren’t hurting anyone and, most of the time, are less harmful to or dependent upon the rest of the world than just about anyone (probably have the lowest carbon footprint of any family out there, the car they drive – drove – to work being their only major contribution to that; they won’t file Workers’ Comp even when they have a legitimate injury, and they wouldn’t take public assistance if you tied them up and held a gun to their heads, because they are stubborn and self-sufficient to a fault). Those don’t matter, because the bottom line is, they just aren’t like “us”. And we are conditioned to regard anyone and anything that is not like us with suspicion and dislike. Watch thou for the mutant. (John Wyndham, The Chrysalids.) And yes, these are the people you see on the news every single time West Virginia is mentioned – the ones with terrible grammar, a nearly incomprehensible twang, and who look like they dressed in the dark after a bad fight with a street gang. And probably look like they haven’t bathed in a while, whether that’s true or not. Those are the ones…and we all know how we tend to view these people. I’m as guilty of that as anyone, despite the fact that I of all people should know better – I know these people, and they’re people, not stereotypes! – and that’s part of the reason for my current angst.

But back to the point (yes, I promise, there is one!), this all means that, when they really are in need – for instance, something like this accident happens – there’s no one really willing to extend that helping hand. The neighbors, if they have any, aren’t going to show up at their door with casserole dishes in hand, to spare them the need of figuring out what to do about dinner when they get home from the ER. Nobody’s going to offer to give them a ride to work until they can repair or replace their vehicle. The little things that we do for one another – if we’re good neighbors…may not happen for these people, because they’re different.

Well, they will happen in this case, because some of us will make sure they do, even though we may not know the people that well. We know there’s a need, and honestly, isn’t that enough? But…in many cases, it wouldn’t. And that is really sad, I think. They’re people…they deserve the dignity and respect and care that all of us do, whether they live by “normal” standards or not.

Okay, so that’s my soapbox for the day. 🙂 Sorry. But as I said, I hurt for these people, and I’m a little angry on their behalf. Which they don’t need from me…because they’re not idiots or helpless. So I’m not doing them any favors with that either. Gah.

I think I will call this Emotionally Chaotic Friday. Heh. I am very glad that we are going to the cabin this weekend, because I’m pretty much full to the brim with everything and I’m ready to empty out a bit. I hope.

DH is having his surgery next Thursday and I know he’s nervous, though he won’t really admit it. I’m nervous about that too…it’s a very simple surgery but, working in medical malpractice for years, I know how easy it can be for simple things to go wrong. God, I hope he’s not reading this. Anyway. So that’s a bit nervous making though I’m trying not to sweat it…but positive thoughts and good wishes are more than welcome.

And as for what I’m thankful for? Well…I guess it would have to be empathy, and its sister-quality compassion. Even when I’m horribly uncomfortable because I’m feeling something for others, I am still thankful that I’m able to feel it. There are people in this world who do not seem capable of comprehending or caring about others’ hurts, even when they really care about those people or say they do. I am very, very glad that I am not one of those people, although on particularly difficult days I sometimes almost sort of wish I were. But never really. As difficult as it can be…I never want to be numb, because sometimes by sharing that suffering, we really can help to alleviate it. I couldn’t do anything tangible to help that woman yesterday…but I could give her a hug, hold her while she cried, and turn her face to my shoulder so that she didn’t have to see them tearing the door off the (nearly-new) truck and tossing her belongings everywhere as they were desperately trying to extract her husband, whose condition she did not know. Someone else could have done that, sure. But without empathy and compassion, no one would have, and that would be a terrible, terrible thing. So I’m very thankful for empathy and compassion, not only in myself, but in everyone else in this world who possess them. They are, I think, what make us more than just what we have to be to survive. And that brings to mind another book…Up A Road Slowly, by Irene Hunt. One sub-story of the book deals with a poor girl of subnormal intellect and the main character’s treatment of her, and the subsequent development of empathy and compassion…anyway.

And now I think I’ve made up for no post yesterday with an extra-long one today. I’d offer it on CD but I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle of burning it. 🙂 But I hope that you all have a particularly wonderful, gentle, happy day, and an absolutely stunning Memorial Day Weekend. Hugs to all.

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I don’t have a lot of wisdom to dispense today.  Not that I ever do, mostly I just fumble around blindly and sometimes it’s something someone needs to hear.  🙂  But today I’m just…sort of here.

But what has been made abundantly clear to me this morning is that it is time for me to break down and take a Xanax.  Well, half of one; a whole one would render me unconscious until well after this stupid, inane, bizarre electoral race is over.

The Xanax is prescribed for anxiety, and to help me sleep.  Up until a few years ago, I was on a long-term anti-anxiety prescription.  I’ve done fine without it, but I will never, never claim to be “cured”.  Anxiety and depression are like alcoholism; you can get them under control, they can be in remission, but they don’t really ever go away.  And every so often, it will rear its ugly head and I have to deal with it.

Mostly I do this through non-medicative techniques: meditation, relaxation techniques, exercise, and lots of other self-care techniques that are wonderful and work pretty darn well for the most part.  Most of them involve gently directing the brain into other pathways; pathways that do not produce the anxiety response.  Controlling physical reactions through mental processes.  That type of thing.

But every once in a while, when life gets particularly complicated, there are just too many different anxiety-producing pathways to completely avoid.  They don’t even have to be big things.  I’m not talking about the house burning down, being diagnosed with cancer, having a major auto accident.  Yeah, those would certainly do it – but it doesn’t have to be big like that.  It can be something as simple as having your daily routine massively disrupted, while also dealing with a sick child and car trouble and money problems.  It’s not the size of the issues, for me (and for a lot of people), it’s the sheer quantity of them.

If it’s just one issue, I can work my mind out of that pathway and onto others.  If it’s just two, I can probably still do it, and maybe even three.  But when they start to pile up, it gets exponentially harder.  And what happens then is that the process becomes self-perpetuating.  The anxiety builds, because each time you try to redirect your mind, you find another anxiety-producing pathway.  So the anxiety from the first cause doesn’t dissipate – it feeds.

Eventually you end up with a major chemical reaction in the brain.  It sort of achieves critical mass and becomes a little tiny sun of anxiety, burning merrily away without any external fuel source whatsoever.  And at that point, it’s time to intervene.

That’s where the Xanax comes in.  I don’t like taking it.  I avoid taking it – sometimes longer than I should.  I mean, the only time I refill the prescription is when it’s so old the pills aren’t any good any more, and there’s usually still nearly a full bottle when that happens.  The bottom line is I really want to be self-sufficient and I am very proud of the techniques I’ve developed for dealing with anxiety.  But sometimes that pride can get in the way and make me put off doing what I should, for longer than I should, particularly at times when – like now – all my stressors are little and/or not really mine, and I feel stupid for not being able to just handle them calmly.

So.  I’m going to accept that I’m at critical mass and go take half a Xanax.  It’s not going to get rid of any of my stressors.  But it will short-circuit that self-perpetuating response that is happening, so that I can institute some kind of control.

That’s my wisdom for the day, I guess.  That sometimes, you just need help, and it’s okay to get it.  It’s okay to accept when a friend offers to run an errand for you or a spouse offers to do the dishes or a coworker offers to help with a project that’s overwhelming you.  It’s okay to have someone walk you through a workout or prepare some healthy meals for you, or make out a shopping list when you just don’t know what to put on it.  In fact, it’s okay to ask for those things.  It’s not a reflection on you.  You’re not weak, or a failure, or…whatever self-castigation you may be heaping upon your poor head.  And the time may well come when you can return that favor, or pay it forward.

I guess it goes back to caring about one another, as I was talking about yesterday or whenever it was.  But by extension, you have to care for yourself as well, and let others care for you.  Sometimes, that may not only fill your need, but theirs as well.  (I’m not kidding myself that I’m doing the Xanax any favors, but the principle is sound.  🙂  )

So that’s what passes for wisdom in my world today.  I hope that the day is bright and beautiful and full of promise for everyone out there.

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There was a moment last night during Jillian’s 30-Day Shred DVD (not as hard as I’d feared BTW, but then I’m doing Level 1. And it’s plenty hard enough, especially if you haven’t been doing her circuits!…) that really made me stop and think. She says something pretty profound just a few minutes into it…

I should have written down the exact quote, but I didn’t. But the gist of it is, if you want your body to change, you must put stress on it. Stress is what makes your body change; you put it under stress, and that’s when your body adapts. No stress, no change. (Emphasis is mine.)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and talking, about how change creates stress…but this is an interesting reversal of that concept, and for some reason it hadn’t occurred to me. That’s a bit strange, considering that one of my favorite quotes of all time is “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” But for some reason, phrasing it this way makes it a bit more blunt and clear.

Stress leads to change. It’s a very well-documented concept, one that can be clearly demonstrated in a laboratory environment, as well as by casual observation in our daily lives. When we are subjected to stressors, we are designed to adapt and change. It’s a survival technique and we humans are nothing if not survivors.

I think this applies to the mind and the soul just as much as to the body. And I believe that it is not random or chaotic. I believe that there are times in our lives when we are meant to grow and to change, to become more than what we were prior to that time. Those are the times when we are subjected to the greatest and most intense stressors, because the greatest stressors produce the greatest change.

The Bible says that God will not give us more than we can bear. (Another of my favorite quotes!) In fact, I think he gives us just a little more than we thought we could bear…just enough to produce the change that is needed. (Whether you believe in God or not…call it God, call it the Goddess, call it Yog-Sogroth the Many-Eyed…whatever, it’s your dime really.) And our automatic response is to weep, to wail, to gnash our teeth and tear our hair, crying, “Why me?” Just like my 8-year-old when I won’t let her go play, or make her clean her room. Mommy, you’re mean! When we bewail our fate, we are that child, crying resentfully and petulantly… God/Allah/Universe, you’re not fair! You’re mean! It’s a natural response. But…

What if? What if, instead of bemoaning the tests and trials to which we are subjected, we embraced them as an opportunity to change and grow? What if, instead of looking for what we had done wrong to deserve this punishment, we looked for what lesson we are being taught, and what opportunity for growth and change is inherent in the situation presented to us? How much greater and stronger and wiser would we be? How much faster, and easier, and more effective, would the change be? It’s hard as hell, but what if we always strove to do that?

I don’t mean to sound preachy or holier-than-thou, God knows. I’m not preaching at any of you. I’m preaching at myself. I’m in a phase of my mental cycle right now where I am feeling an enormous amount of self-doubt and really as though every decision I make is the wrong one, as though I am just incapable of doing or saying anything right. Not as though people are treating me that way – which is what we usually mean when we say “I just can’t do anything right” – but as though I really can’t. I’m doubting myself and, as a result, feeling a bit despairing and hopeless, and then bemoaning that feeling. And in the process, making things “all about me” that are not even remotely about me.  Which, when you think about it, is incredibly narcissistic and self-absorbed.

And that’s not productive. It’s not healthy. It’s not strong, or wise, or enlightened, and it just doesn’t make sense. Yes, sometimes I am required to make some decisions I really don’t know how to make. I am required to decide between one action or another without knowing which one is right, and sometimes my decisions create consequences – for me, or for others – that I didn’t foresee and don’t want.

But that is what life is. There are no guarantees. There is never going to be a signpost pointing one way or another. There’s no User’s Manual, no primer, no Life Decisions for Dummies. We are given the personal power and self-determination to make decisions to the best of our abilities. And sometimes, we will be wrong. Sometimes…sometimes we may just flounder around blindly in the dark, doing the best we can and never even knowing if it was the right decision.

And that sucks, but it’s also okay. Because the best we can do…is by its very nature good enough. It has to be. We aren’t capable of more – but by being wrong, and learning from it, we become capable of more.  Just as when we strength-train, we use a weight that is just a bit heavier than we are really comfortable with – and by so doing, our muscles strengthen so that they are comfortable with that weight.

And even wrong decisions, or decisions with unforeseen consequences, are opportunities for growth and change. That doesn’t make the process easy – but then, it wouldn’t produce change if it were easy.  And berating ourselves for maybe not hitting the target head on is not only not helpful, it obscures the goal…no matter how natural it may be, and how hard it may be to keep from doing.

So…I don’t know if this will mean anything to anyone, or be helpful to anyone else, but for whatever reason it means a lot to me. Sometimes I am going to be unhappy and doubtful…and that’s not the end of the world. I need to embrace it as an opportunity and try to see what door it is that has opened up, even when I’m more inclined to kick myself.  I really, really want to be the best me I can be, and that’s only going to happen through stress.  So I need to, as the saying goes, put on my big-girl panties and get over it.  (Would someone smack me every so often and remind me of that, please?  Can I get some Smacker Volunteers?)

I hope that everyone has a lovely Tuesday, and that whatever stressors life brings you, they are opportunities that will eventually enrich your lives.  And I hope that whatever decisions you must make, you will be kind to yourselves no matter the outcome.

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Well, Happy  Week…19?  I think?  🙂

There’s an old joke in the writing business about entire chapters of books that say only, “Nothing much happened that day” or something of the sort, aimed at writers of endless and useless exposition…it’s a gentle reminder to be succinct.  HAH!  I was obviously absent on that day of Writing 101.

Anyway.  Not much to report this week.  I’ve done virtually nothing and, as a result, made virtually no progress.  I’m stuck pretty much where I was last week and that’s okay.  This week I have already made a fabulous start and I feel good about that.  Yesterday was a Gold Star Day and I am really loving my Jillian Michaels DVD, so I’m hoping to have a good week.  We’ll see.  🙂

Hope everyone else has a fantastic one!

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It was a dramatic weekend in our corner of the world. I am struck by how difficult and complicated life can be at times, but at the same time I am amazed at how those times can be an opportunity for people to come out so much stronger and wiser, and how deft people can sometimes be at seeing the silver lining. I am also somewhat awestruck by how amazingly good some people are and feel very blessed to be associated in any way with these individuals. There are people in this world who are genuinely good souls. Sometimes it is so overwhelmingly wonderful to be reminded of that, particularly since so much of the time we are exposed to the opposite.

I think it’s important to care about one another. That seems like a no-brainer, I know, but sadly it doesn’t seem to be. There’s so much “me first” and “get you before you can get me” in this world that I think it’s that desperately important to stress how much we need to look out for one another.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge proponent of personal responsibility. The longer I live, the more important I see that it is to take responsibility for our own failings and shortcomings and not constantly look for someone else to blame or to fix things for us. But in an ideal world, we would all take that personal responsibility and also look for ways in which we could help those around us, when they just aren’t able to help themselves. Or, at the very least, when the opportunity comes up to do so, take it. I am not as good about this as I would like to be. I’m trying to be better.

I think that the very act of caring for others benefits us, as well, in very tangible ways. It often poses a significant cost, in terms of time or effort or even monetarily, and that can be discouraging or even prohibitive. But I am a firm believer in karma, and I truly believe that the cost it imposes is never as great as the eventual reward.

We see this, I think, particularly clearly in the framework of this Challenge. It costs us little – a few minutes out of our day, some thought and some empathy – to provide one another with the support and encouragement to keep striving toward our mutual goal of better health. But the rewards! The support we, in turn, receive…the knowledge that there are others out there who understand what we’re going through, and who will take that time out of their own day to offer that support…and that even when they aren’t actively reading, we are in their thoughts! And the soul-deep warmth of reading another’s words and identifying completely, and maybe seeing something suddenly in just the right light…gaining sudden understanding or the key to solving a problem you’ve been having…it’s priceless. And, in fact, can’t be bought for any price. Sure, you can pay a counselor to listen and talk to you about your problems, but you can’t pay someone to care and you can’t buy those few words someone else may post at exactly the time you need to read them.

And an even subtler reward is the sense of self, the increased understanding and gentle compassion that are fostered within us by the act of taking the time to read, to think, and to care. Every caring act, every selfless act and moment of empathy, make us better people in ourselves. Whether it’s helping a neighbor in need or rescuing a turtle who’s in danger, every single selfless thing we do feeds our own souls – and the souls of those around us who witness it and are thereby enriched.

I have met some amazing people who do that – do what they can to help, unselfishly and uncomplainingly, even at significant cost or inconvenience to themselves – and I can’t tell you how blessed I feel as a result. It may not be me they’re helping…but…inasmuch as we are all connected, it really is, I guess. Just seeing it happen is pretty soul-feeding.

I did feel compelled to gush a bit about this, because I think it’s important to memorialize the good things. So much time and effort are spent venting and exorcising the bad that I think it can start to color our very awareness. I don’t want to be looking down all the time! So I try to take these chances to look up, and to sing about how great it is up there. 🙂 And there’s a lot to sing about…people like Cammy, and B. (you know who you are), and all the folks on this Challenge…you all make the world a better place, just by being you. Thanks again, and may your wonderfulness return to you, a thousandfold.

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