Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Just Checking In

So I realized today while I was at work that I haven't updated my blog in awhile. Now that I am online, I can see it's been about a month. Things are still going well with J. He is such a nice guy and has treated me with the utmost respect. He kind of has to, he's been warned by several others I know that he better treat me right or he better watch out. It's kind of crazy, because I had teased him previously that I am a princess and deserved to be treated as such (and so far he is doing a great job at that) and so it's funny that I was teasing him about watching out for not mistreating me otherwise there'd be people after him... and now some people who I didn't even expect to say it, have basically told him the same thing. I feel so loved and blessed to have so many people looking out for me!

I realized on Sunday that October was finally the first month this year where absolutely nothing bad happened and I didn't have any major trials to overcome. It was especially nice because it gave me plenty of time to not be worried about "what's next" and to enjoy a little bit of life (and some time with J) It's so crazy how so much can change in such a short amount of time. I am sure there is more I could say about all kinds of things, but for now I am just taking it one day at a time and continuing to adjust to all the changes that have happened this year. I was doing some shopping over the weekend and it was hard to start seeing more Christmas stuff around and realizing this Thanksgiving and Christmas my Dad won't be here. This will be my first holiday season without him! It's going to be tough! ~and now I'm crying .... ugh! I was also thinking this weekend what a blessing it will be to have my Uncle Danny come out for Thanksgiving this year... then I realized the reason he can come is because we lost my cousin this year. So it's going to be a happy but sad reunion! Everything the next two months will be tough, but I know that with Heavenly Father on my side, I am tougher! I can get through it all!

I am thankful for so many things in my life and I am thankful that right now I have someone who makes me happy. I sometimes wonder though if I am deserving of his affections. I know that it took some time for me to like him and I still feel like maybe the scale is unbalanced. I am glad though that he doesn't seem to mind. I am so blessed to have his support at this time and I still don't know where it may go but I am thankful for this time that we're having. It's been fun, we've gone to the movies, a few Disneyland dates, we have just gone walking sometimes. We've gone to the pier and watched the sunset, we've gone bowling, and mostly just gotten to know each other better and had fun in the meantime. We've discussed museums and hiking (depending on the cooperation of my knee) and many other things we want to do together. Hopefully next week we might take the train together (other than the one at Disneyland etc, I have never ridden the train anywhere) so we're talking about taking the train to the Ca Science Center, I would really love to see the Pompeii exhibit before it leaves. So that's exciting. he is talking about wanting to get tickets to the Air Supply concert coming up at the Fred Kavli theather in Thousand Oaks... over all we've had fun and he makes me smile, something that's kinda been hidden most of the year. He has also helped me overcome some self esteem issues. I am still not perfect in my self view, but he has reminded me that I am beautiful and has let me know it even when I don't feel that I am. I love the new Colbie Caillet song "Try". It reminds me of some of the conversations J & I have had. He's told me not to worry about putting on make up or trying to impress him, because I have already done that. That he finds me beautiful no matter what. It's super flattering to hear that (even if I struggle to believe it) and he tells me he cherishes me. I don't know how i got so lucky!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Silver Lining

Sometimes amidst the dark clouds of trials and hard times in life, we find a "silver lining". Sometimes there is something in our life that comes along and shines through everything else. Usually it is completely unexpected and I guess that is the beauty of it. That is what makes it so unique and wonderful. Sometimes it also makes it a little scary and unsure. I know that God has a plan for each of us, and I am thankful for that. I am not sure why it's meant so much hurt and heartache for me this year. I may never fully know how much growth I have obtained or still need at this time. I don't know at this time why my life has been so difficult this year, but I do know I have a silver lining. I don't know how long it will shine, I don't know where it will go, I don't know if it's here to prepare me for more dark clouds (I really hope not) or to help me move past the defeat of the clouds already lingering overhead. I do know I am thankful for it being around though.

My silver lining is a guy. I met J earlier this year, just after my Dad had passed away. Then a little over a month later he started coming to a class I was already attending. We had a mutual friend and started to get to know each other as we saw each other weekly. Of course with all that has passed in my life these past 7 months I wasn't looking for or expecting any type of relationship to come along. I was too busy trying to keep myself afloat. If it wasn't for my faith I think with the loss of Medic this week I might have totally given up. When I heard about Medic I just felt completely defeated. I felt like nothing would be right. But at the same time, the past 3 weeks J and I have been talking a lot more. We have been spending time together almost daily (the past 2 weeks for that) and it's been great. He sent me a text that meant a lot to me after Medic had passed. He's super active at church and we joke about him being too "churchy" but I think even that means a lot to me. I think that although my faith has gotten me through these past 7 months, i was still slipping a little bit. I wasn't putting in as much effort as I should've and having his example has helped remind me where my weaknesses have been and it's nice to be reminded to focus on the Lord first.

It is nice to have someone who cares about me. Who makes me feel loved and appreciated. Someone I can talk to and joke with. Someone who holds my hands and hugs me goodbye. Who says he doesn't want me to leave when we hang out. Someone who has really been making me happy. I just hope that I am giving him as much attention and admiration as I feel I am getting in return. I don't know where this is going to lead. Right now we are both happy and taking it slowly. We are both overcoming a lot in our lives and it's nice that we've been able to be open about things. We both have so much going on that it's nice to not be pressured in our relationship. At this moment I am just happy to be with someone. I don't know how long it will last, I don't know if it will lead to marriage, if it does, that is way down the road. Right now I am just glad he is there. I am glad that J has reminded me that I am worthy of being loved. He has reminded me that I am a Daughter of God who deserves to be treated as such and he respects me. That is hard to come by sometimes. That is hard when we live in a world that is so focused on physical relationships and not so much on knowing one another. I am still adjusting to it all. I do know that I like him a lot, especially now that we've spent more time together and I've gotten to know him better. I am still a little surprised that he's liked me for a longer period of time. I feel like it's unbalanced and that makes me a little self conscious. It also surprises me, since I know I wasn't making any efforts to impress him or anyone really during the time his feelings were starting to develop. It's reassuring to me though, knowing that means he likes me no matter what. He likes who I am, not becuase I dress a certain way or wear a lot of makeup or whatever other methods people use to get attention. It's comforting to know I can be myself around him.

I really do think that he is a silver lining for me right now. He is helping me to look for the good in others again. He is helping me to remember that I need to look beyond myself and serve others. He is reminding me to be missionary minded and not afraid to share my testimony with others. I am slowly being reminded that sometimes it's ok to ask for help from others. That I don't need to be so independant, that sometimes it's nice to have a guy who'll open the door for me, or fix the garage door at my moms house. I don't always have to be the handywoman. It's hard when I am so used to doing so much on my own, but I am thankful for his willingness to help. I am thankful for my silver lining.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

More Tears in 2014

So it's another sad post of the year. I was feeling as if I couldn't take any more heartache, as if I couldn't handle another loss this year or for a long, long while. I thought maybe now that I am dating someone, that maybe, just maybe things were turning around for me. Maybe I was going to start finding a rainbow amongst the dark cloud of the year....then the unthinkable happened! Well maybe not completely unthinkable per say since I know he couldn't live forever, and he was almost 12.... my dog Medic died yesterday :-( it was so hard to get that call from my mom when I got to work yesterday. It left me feeling sad and almost defeated. It's so hard to take so much loss in so little time and all being so close to me. Medic was MY puppy! MY dog! Even though it's been almost 2 years now since I moved out of my parents house and didn't take him with me, he was always my dog. I still would visit him fairly regularly. I still cuddled and hugged him whenever I went over there. I still made sure to see him a couple times a week, and now he's gone :'( and I am crying again.

I have a picture in my room that says "sometimes God calms the storm, sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child" I am not sure how much longer I will have these storms lingering around. I am not sure how much more calming I need to do. It's a tough one. I think maybe J. still is that little bit of sunshine for me right now. I think he is reminding me of how important it is to focus on the Lord. He is reminding me how much the simple things matter that maybe I have been neglecting. I don't know where my life is heading but I am thankful for his example lately. I am also thankful for his patience with me, and his showing me that I am someone who matters. He has made me so very happy even though it's only been a few weeks. I am thankful for him in my life right now. I am a lucky lady. It's funny to think how just a few weeks ago I was writing about someone that wasn't really opening up to me and now we're dating. I had been suspicious of him liking me at that point but he hadn't said anything and I was so overwhelmed by everything else in my life to really see how i felt about him, but I am thankful that I decided to write that post because since then my feelings have been changing a lot. He has made me super happy and I am enjoying our time together. He also sent me the sweetest most comforting message when he found out about Medic. It was what i needed to hear! Thanks J! I think I am almost ready to jump into that handcart ;-) I think people are starting to put me there anyway I might not really have a choice anymore!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Happy Birthday From Dad

So as usual I spent my birthday at Disneyland on Thursday. It was a lot of fun, I was there with my sister, her boyfriend, a friend, and the guy I am dating. It was a great day all in all. I had so much fun. I really had some great experiences. It was nice to spend that time with the guy and get some time to get to know him even more, and for him to meet some of my family and close friends as well. So they too were able to get to know a little more about him, as this was a first meeting for them. I will leave that part of the post at that. I don't want to get into the trip too much on this post because I had a different reason for writing today.

So when we arrived at the parks we started our day at California Adventure. We went in, got fast passes for the racers, rode a few other things, looked at a couple things and decided to hop over to Disneyland for a few hours before the time for the racers came up on our passes. When we got over to Disneyland and the cast member scanned my annual pass, she looked at me and said "who is in the military?" I immediately without thinking said "my Dad was" & then she asked for my military ID. I got out my ID and said "I don't have a military ID" and so she called over the supervisor. At this point I was curious and was able to see her screen it was asking her to check for military ID. I have never purchased my pass with any military discounts or otherwise. I have personally never been in the military, but it wanted my ID. He told her to hit the "yes" (as if she'd checked my military ID) then had her re-scan my pass. I had already told them both I had been in Ca Adv already that day and didn't have any problems with my pass or anything upon entering. So she re-scanned my pass and it came up the way it normally should've where it just showed me coming in as a park-hopper from being over there already.

I have never had that, or anything like it happen before. As I went thru and entered it occured to me that my first thought for military was my Dad. I have known many people who've served our country and so it almost just as quickly as that first thought of my Dad came to me that maybe it was a tender mercy of the Lord. That I was just given a "Happy Birthday from Dad" in a way and place he knew he could reach out and find me. It was incredible and of course it made me cry. In fact I am crying again now just writing this post. I can say i am incredibly thankful for that moment I had. Even though it made me cry on my birthday I felt so blessed and loved because of the experience. I hope I never forget it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

opening a closed book

I think most of us know how to open a book.  obviously unless it's "The Monster Book of Monsters" from Harry Potter,  where you have to stroke the spine to open it, so it doesn't attack you,  it's fairly easy. Just open the cover and there you go.  You'll find the title page,  the copyright info,  and occasionally you even get a table of contents,  a chapter listing if you will. I find the book of life to be a little more challenging.  Especially MY book.  Everybody is different.  Some people are an "open book" where they have no problem showing who they are and sharing their life with anybody they meet, some people are so closed that you wonder if they are like the "Monster Book of Monsters" where unless they feel comforted & soothed by you they won't open at all.  I feel like I am somewhere in the middle.  I'm not going to open easily,  But if I know you and trust you I may share a few chapters or more. The closer I am to you, the more you may get to learn.

So this year I made a new friend. As we've talked and spent some time together in a class we're both attending i feel as if we've maybe gotten to know each other some.  But over time I've begun  to realize he's maybe a little more closed than I am. normally I don't open up much until I've gotten to know someone.  Then slowly but surely my chapters become apparent. You'll start to see my table of contents. Maybe you'll learn stuff from my past, maybe you'll see my hopes for the future. Maybe you'll get to read all about my current chapter. The one I'm living in now, day in and day out. I like being comfortable enough with someone to share a little more. But sometimes I've learned its too much.  Maybe sometimes I should be a little more on guard. Maybe I should attack someone like Draco Malfoy who isn't really paying enough attention, or cares to stroke my spine so I know they're safe.

So back to this new friend. In recent weeks I've begun to notice & feel as if I barely know anything about them. I feel as if thru conversation and occasional comments in class that maybe they've learned more about me than the reverse. I don't really know why this is. Maybe I haven't made this person comfortable enough with me to open up his book. I don't know if maybe they feel they have something to hide, maybe they think I'll judge their previous chapters. I really dont know. But I do know this person seems genuinely sweet and fun and maybe even a bit charming at times. I feel as if we could get along well and enjoy more time together, but right now I feel a bit vulnerable.  I feel like maybe I'm sharing too much, since I dont really know the person im sharing with. i am starting to feel as if maybe I need to close my pages a little more. If I've decided to share my blog page with this person I hope they're reading and realizing I am trustworthy.  I hope they see that I won't judge them. But I am curious too.

I realize though,  that sharing my blog is really opening up my pages. It's really a chance for someone to see who I am. I am an emotional person. I, like a lot of women over-analyze things. I can joke around and like to have fun. But I also cry at sappy movies. Heck I cry if I see a stranger crying sometimes and won't even know why. I love to serve when given the chance and I especially love moments where I can provide secret acts of service. I am someone who will gi ve the shirt off my back if I feel someone needs it more. & I've kinda done that before (it was a pair  of board shorts at the beach, and I had a dress to wear over my suit anyway) But I am also a person who hides my true feelings more often than not. I will bite my tongue rather than create contention or risk an argument.  (Unless I feel really bothered by it, I won't be walked all over) I try to see the good in others and probably give more than I should sometimes. I don't consider.myself a writer, but i have written a few poems (usually emotionally inspired) and obviously have this blog.

I am not a person who has a high level of self esteem. I am working on that though. I know that i am a Daughter of God, which gives me a lot to look forward to. It gives my life a meaning and a purpose. But I (like many people I know) don't feel as if I am the person that people think i am. I have been told that I am a "spiritual giant" especially with all the trials I've faced this year. I don't feel that tall. I feel as if I have a lot of shortcomings,  I know my weaknesses and maybe im good at hiding them. I know how I can withhold my emotions.  I know how I keep from asking for help when I maybe need it most. I know that I will say "I'm fine" when really im not. Maybe thats because they are someone who isn't ready for the chapter of my life I'm in, or maybe its just me holding back again. Im not really sure why I'm writing this post. Or where I am trying to go with it.  Maybe it seems a little random and thrown together,  probably because to some extent it is. I guess maybe because of this friend I was reminded of my book, vs the books of others. Maybe I need to give it some time for them to be ready to open up their life. Maybe I need to just be patient and be a friend. Even if it means a little bit of vulnerability.  Hopefully it doesnt backfire on me. Hopefully I don't get hurt in the end. All in all for those of you who are my friends and reading this, i want you to know I appreciate your friendship.  I appreciate the chapters of your life that you've shared with me. And if you ever feel as if I am holding back some chapter or you're missing a few items from my table of contents,  please know its nothing personal. Its just my inner monster trying to either attack, or waiting for the stroke of my spine for me to open up.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

if everyday were like today

If every day were like today:

... that's message on myfitnesspal when you complete your daily entry, it says if everyday were like today you'd weigh ___# in 5 weeks. ¤Today's message told me I would be past one of my goals, (50# down) and have gotten farther than before the setbacks I've had the past 6 months with trials and losses. I was just about to 50# right before my dad passed, & have kinda fluctuated above that since. Luckily I haven't completely gained it all back,  But have lingered near 35-40# down instead.  Anyway it made me think about the statement, these are my thoughts:

If everyday were like today:

→then I wouldn't have gotten to where I am weight wise and wouldn't need myfitnesspal to track my food
→then it means everyday was a day where I didn't feel the need to snack constantly.  Where I didn't feel as if I was hungry constantly.
→then i'd really be kicking butt in my weight loss challenges
→then although I was tired,  and my knee was hurting I managed a decent workout anyway
→then everyday was an emotional day,  where although things were good,  suddenly I felt sad and lonely (I don't want that everyday)
→then everyday I got a nap during my lunch break
→then everyday I actually documented my samples from cruising thru Costco
→then everyday I had people honk &/or wave at me during my walk,  uplifting my spirits and reminding me i am doing the right thing to keep going forward.

I'm sure there are more,  but for the moment that's what I thought about.  I may come back and add more later.  But for now I'm thankful for myfitnesspal.  I'm thankful I have a useful tool to help me keep focused. I'm thankful that it reminds me that "if everyday were like today" because sometimes the days are bad and it shows me I'm off track and heading the wrong direction.  But today was good.  Today it reminded me of my successes,  It reminded me that I can make it to my goal. Then I can start on my next goal.  If everyday were like today then in 5 weeks I will be down 53#! That's awesome!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Goodbye Uncle "Goofy"

So last week I was in Escondido for work.  I was taking a class to become a certified car seat installation technician.  The class was great and now I'm officially certified to properly install child seats into vehicles,  as well as train parents how to do so properly so their kids are safe.  While I was there in class on Tuesday my Uncle Kenneth was having open heart surgery.  It was tough not being there with my aunt,  but I was Praying as always.  Things went well and although he was on the icu it was promising.  Then unfortunately on Weds he took a turn for the worse,  and ended up having 3 more operations due to complications from the procedure on Weds  So weds night I drove to the hospital from my hotel room,  and my sister's all drive from Simi to be with family and see him.  The third surgery they had done weds night seemed promising again so we left feeling better than before arriving at the hospital.  On thurs naturally I was tired since I got back to the hotel late,  but I continued with class,  Then things went downhill again.  By the mid afternoon via text I was notified they were going to make him comfortable and remove him from life support.  This was hard!  Not just for me (& I had  to step outta class to control my emotions) not only did my uncle pass away that afternoon,  It was on the 6 month anniversary of when we lost my dad.  Their times of death were also approximately an hour apart from each other.  I can't believe that my family has been given yet another trial,  especially involving death.  I am grateful  knowing that we're strong and that despite all we've had to face lately life just keeps moving forward. I just hope this is the end of the trials for awhile!  I am sure I've had enough!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Happy Anniversary

Once upon an instant message
This guy found this girl
They talked and they chatted
Decided to give it a whirl
They met one day at Starbucks
Things moved on from there
He liked their matching personalities
She liked that he made her laugh
They found that they enjoyed their time together
Their goals were on the same track
She liked that he didn’t care what others thought
He felt everything was “too good to be true”
They started to date, spend more time together
She made him smile, and made him laugh
He was cute to her while playing golf
She showed she wanted to know him personally
He liked how quiet, and shy she could be
Some would’ve called him a geek for his computer skills
She said it showed her he was truly smart
He loved that she loved him for who he was, and
Supported him for who he wanted to be
They dated three more years
Decided to set a date
Another three years and she got the ring
The day was approaching quick
The next seven months flew on by
Making appointments, and setting the plans
She walked down the aisle
They stood hand in hand
They shared their vows thru tear filled eyes
“I do” at the park, followed by the party
We flash forward to today, ten years have gone away
Still standing side by side
They’re holding hands now in the car
They’re soul-mates, partnered in time
Proud of each other, an inspiration to us all
Surrounded by loved ones, they sing made up songs
Loving one another, more and more each day
He’ll tell you she’s “smoking hot”
She’ll say he’s still cute, or handsome as can be
He says she’s his rock
She says he follows the motto “happy wife equals happy life”
They plan to grow old together
Supporting and cheering on one another
Through good times and bad
Hoping to be parents to more than just Koda
Glad to always have each other
They’ll always find comfort together
Smiling and laughing forever
Working hard, and playing harder
Sharing lunches, life and fun
Through laughter or silence, married they are one
They complete each others sentences
They are equal to each other
For N and D S------- the fun has just begun!

2014 continues to be rough....

So as you may have know the beginning of this year sucked! So after my Dad passed it didn't exactly get much better... we waited 3 weeks to do my dad's services, then two weeks later there was more heartache. At the end of March (just 5 weeks after my dad) Loren Southworth passed away. He was someone I knew from church. Over the past 10 years or so I had gotten to know him because of some of his leadership roles he played at church so I saw him on a fairly regular basis, as well as was in many meetings with him when I was in the YSA ward. Then in the past 2-3 years specifically he and his wife Lynn were the mid-singles advisors for church. So not only did I know him but became closer to him and his wife. We would meet regularly for church and during the week for other church activities too. He was almost like a second father to me. So 3 weeks after my dad's services I was at another funeral for Loren. It was hard! That same week that Loren passed I also lost my cousin who lives in New Jersey to suicide. Then a co-worker lost her mom as well. So I attended 3 funeral services in less than a month! I realized as I thought about it that by the end of April I knew of at least a dozen deaths of people I knew personally, and of people close to those I knew personally. It was tough!!

Things have somewhat settled down since that time. There thankfully haven't been more deaths to deal with but there have been several other trials. There seems to always be drama lately with friends, church, work etc. Things just never seem to be "simple" not that life should be simple, but it would be nice to have less trials. I do know that we are here to be tested and that we learn and grow from our trials but sometimes it feels like too much to handle.

When it comes to my weight loss, close to the time of my dad's death I was down close to 50#. Then because my life was turned upside down I went back up around 9#. After a few weeks I was able to get back on track and re-lost those 9. Then I had a really bad month and a half or so with my knee and went up again. Then I lost that again, then I gained a little back again, then I plateaud again... so I am still working on it. I am not back quite to the 50# down  mark again but I am trying. I am having more bad days with my knee than good, but I keep on trying. Right now I am still only down around the 40# loss mark. It's tough but overall I am glad that I haven't regained all that I lost last year. I would rather be in an almost "maintaining" stage than to have lost all my hard work.

 I know that there have been tons of other things that have happened, actually both good and bad but right now I am not thinking of them! Mostly this year has been rough, but it really has shown me who my friends are. WHo are the ones that are really there for me. That love me and are by my side in good times and in bad (especially since there have been more bad than good lately) I am thankful for that. I have managed to still find things to write in my gratitude journal each night and I have had many opportunities to do service for others which I am grateful for! Life is rough but I am hanging in there! Life goes on, day by day, moment by moment. It seems like the smallest things set me off but I am doing ok!

Daddy's Lil Girl Part 2

 So a few years ago I wrote a poem for my Dad to let him know he was loved. That he had a purpose, I called it "Daddy's Lil Girl" (you can read it here:  Daddy's Lil Girl ) and so after he passed I thought that maybe I could share it at his services, so I re-read it. When I did I realized it wasn't completely what I was wanting to say, so I added to it. This is the addition I wrote for the services:

This feels so unreal
How can it be true?
This pain that I feel
Daddy, I miss you

Now that you’re gone
Your pain is no more
You held on for so long
What did you suffer for?

I know there is a plan
Heavenly Father put in place
When we follow His plan
We’re welcomed by His grace

I’m sure you were welcomed home
By those who’ve gone before
I know you weren’t alone
Met at Heavens door

You left behind a family
Who have loved you all along
All those friends and family
Trying now to be strong

Things will never be the same
We’ll take them day by day
Life is always full of change
I know you couldn’t stay

Our lives will keep on going
So much you’re gonna miss
As your family keeps on growing
To make you proud, our only wish

You are not going to be there
For my wedding day
This doesn’t seem very fair
Who’ll give your girl away?

I wasn’t ready for you to go
I never said goodbye
Tried to show you I loved you so
Why did you have to die?

I’m thankful for the gospel plan
Gift of the atonement too
I’m going to do all I can
To gain eternity with you

You left us all too early in life
I guess there’s work for us to do
You left us all with heartache and strife
Our love we’ll always feel for you

I’m holding onto memories
Locking them into my heart
Love will be the only keys
Unlocking a flood of memories to start

Things may get easier in time
As we go about our days
Finding a rhythm and our rhyme
Love for you to light the way

Thanks for all you taught me
Helping me to learn and grow
Showing me who I could be
Inspiring me more than I now know

We were different, yet alike
Had our ups and downs
Like learning to ride a bike
It was easier when you were around

I’m grateful for our Savior
Taking our sins and pains
By acceptance in the Savior
I’ll be with you again

Time will heal our hearts
Life goes on and on
With each day comes a new start
 Your memory will live on

Thank you daddy for everything
I’m a stronger woman now
You would’ve given me anything
Even If you didn’t know how

Faith makes me stronger
I’ve got a life to live yet
Your loss makes the days feel longer
It’s you I’ll never forget

I am me because of you
When all was said and done
I really hope you knew
Daddy you were my number one

Renee L Conaway 2/15-16/2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bubbles from Heaven

So I had planned several weeks ago to go to Disneyland yesterday. Then when my dad passed on Fri I wasn't sure anymore about going. I spoke to my family about cancelling my plans and they asked me why? It almost didn't seem right for me to be going despite everything that had happened and during all the mourning etc. I also spoke to several of my friends, and they all seemed to have the same response...why shouldn't I go?.... so after much deliberation and a lot of much needed support and encouragement I decided I would go. My friend Tami who I had planned to go with was very considerate of the situation and waited for me to complete the meeting at the mortuary with my family and we left in the early afternoon for an evening at the parks. When we arrived and I got out of her car I walked towards the trunk and as I got to the rear of the car there was a bubble.... anyway I saw this bubble and I looked around. I didn't see anybody within close proximity to where I was and there definitely was only the 1 bubble. It was really odd but it made me smile and feel comforted. It kind of told me I would be ok.... anyway my sisters and I had a private viewing tonight at the mortuary to say our last goodbyes prior to the cremation. It was rough. After we each had our moment alone with Dad we all went in together. Denise asked me about saying a prayer and I was pretty emotional so she offered to say one instead. It was beautiful. In it she mentioned being sent "tokens" to remind us he is still with us and I remembered my bubble. Although they sell bubble guns at the parks and there are usually bubbles there, yesterday it seemed that after the incident I noticed them more frequently. Each time I got a text or something that made me a little emotional or close to tears etc it seemed like more bubbles would cross my path.... so tonight I wrote a poem:

A single bubble floated on down
Yet its source couldn’t be found
I knew it had to come from you
Seemed like the kind of thing you’d do
Such a simple, meaningful sign
Letting me know I’d be ok in time
I saw more bubbles the rest of the day
They spoke to me as if to say
Renee, I’m here up above
Sending bubbles filled with love
So you’ll know I’m watching you
Very proud of the things you’ll do
A little token from the skies
A tear of remembrance in your eyes
As times go on during things you’ll do
Bubbles will be sent just for you
A little reminder of my love
Bubbles from Heaven up above. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

2014 Sucks....

THis year has been less than perfect, less than wonderful.... less than anything good for my family so far! It started out alright.... then went downhill from there..... let me expand on that, i think I am going to do it in a brief timeline type of post....

As I said the year started out great (for me anyway) I was able to go on vacation (i had planned to blog about it, but as you'll soon read since I have been home I haven't exactly gotten the chance to. I will give as brief description here though). I hadn't taken a vacation since the summer of 2012  when I went to Washington DC for a week and visited with COllin and also got to see Sharon. 

Fri Jan3rd my friend Julie and I (along with her kids and her dogs) left early in the morning and began what ended up being a 19 hour drive to Kent, Washington. This was the start of my vacation. (I love road trips) we had a blast and I enjoyed that drive. It was nice and cold in WA. I was excited because not only had I not been on vacation in a year and a half, but I was actually getting winter weather! It was in the 40s in Wa that weekend. I was there with Julie until Mon afternoon. DUring the weekend I got to go to the Snowqualmie Falls, the Seattle Space Needle and on what I called a "frozen hike" because there was ice and snow on the ground. 

Mon Jan 6th in the evening, I flew from Seattle into Bend, Or where I was greeted by Collin and got to spend the rest of the week there. I was able to do a lot of sightseeing both with him in the evening as well as during the days while he was at work. We did a night hike to the Benham falls in the rain.  I got to go to the high desert museum with his parents,  I went to Drake park, it snowed once so i made a  tiny snowman.  On that morning (6th)my sister Denise had bariatric surgery... THe surgery went really well and things were good. I was in Or until Fri 10th when I flew home that evening... this was the start of the year from h-e---- you know the rest

Fri Jan 10th, while I was at the airport etc Denise was texting with me. SHe was in a lot of pain at her surgeyr site and was going to the emergency room. SHe ended up basically being there all night as they ran tests, spoke with the surgeon etc. They had determined that she had over-exerted herself that first week and thankfully she was ok. As they had to cut through some of her muscles for the procedure, in over exerting herself she may have torn some a little more.... :(

**Sometime either while I was on vacation or the next week, my brother in law Neal had been to the doctor for knee pain. He was told he had popliteal fascitis, given anti-inflammatories and started feeling better...
that is until FRI Jan 17th the pain had returned (these details may be a little choppy, out of order etc, but you'll get the jist) so he spoke to the dr again and was sent for an ultra-sound, which he was told to return to the dr for those results... he was in so much pain though (or something, again may be choppy) and instead of returning to the dr office he went straight to the emergency room. They diagnosed him with actually having a DVT (aka blood clot) in his leg. He got put onto blood thinners and told to stay off of his leg, etc... he went home again,,,,

SUN Jan 19th Neal woke up and tried to take his morning shower as usual and within a  min or two was completely out of breath... Since Denise was still recovering from her recent surgery a good friend of theirs took him to the ER again and the friends wife took Denise up a little bit later. It turns out some of the clots (he ended up having several) had moved and travelled up into his lungs... he now had a pulmonary embolism (which if not diagnosed or treated can be deadly...in fact if he hadn't reacted to the shortness of breath, he could've died) That night the vascular surgeon came in and they placed a "filter" in his leg in order to prevent any additional clots from moving into his chest. The rest will all dissolve with the blood thinners he is now taking on a regular basis. He spent 2 days in the hospital and is still recovering from the clots. 

 FRI Jan 24th my mom calls me first thing in the morning before I've left for work. My dad passed out and is lying on the floor. He is responsive but she can't lift him etc. I told her to call 911 and that way the medics can come make sure everything is ok and they can transport him. They won't take him directly to the V.A. like he would normally go to, but they would stabilize him and transport when he could go. I called out for work and went to my moms house right away. Turns out he had an internal bleed. Within 24 hours of his arrival at the hospital he was given 5 units of blood and 3 units of plasma. He spent several days in the ICU and then was transferred to the telemetry unit. This same weekend my friend Carla was in the hospital from Sun-Tues for ulcers during her pregnancy. SO I was visiting dad and her.

**dad stayed in the hospital**

Sun FEB 2nd Neal is having severe pain in the leg where they did the operation to plave the filter. Initially he felt that Denise can take him into the ER but by the time she went upstairs to get shoes on and came back downstairs he was worse and they called 911 to get him taken in. (*again Dad is still at the hospital and his condition hasn't changed, in fact it got worse, while they were treating his bleed etc they were neglecting his normal medical conditions and he ended up retaining water and was having symptoms from his CHF* but they weren't listening to my mom and neglected to call in cardiologists for the first week and a half he was there, there had been another incident too, but I won't get into that tonight either) As for Neal they kept him overnight helped relieve the pain, ran ultra sounds etc and everything came back ok. They weren't sure why he had the pain but it resolved and he was able to return home again.

**dad is still in hospital**

THURS Feb 6th while I am at the hospital with my mom and visiting my dad, my aunt Linda calls. My grandma (who had been in the serious-almost fatal- car accident last summer) had passed out at home and initially was unresponsive, The paramedics were called and she was being taken in. My grandma spent 2 days in the hospital out in the antelope valley. They ran tests etc but never found the cause but she was at a point where she could get around without getting dizzy etc so they sent her home Sat night or Sun morning. 

TUES Feb 11th after 19days they released my dad from the hospital. Nobody felt he was ready, he even told me that night he was only feeling 50/50 but he was miserable at the hospital and wanted to go home. It was hard because he was still weak and needing help with a lot but my mom wasn't going to force him to stay when he really wanted to be home. 

So now if you've been keeping track I had 4 family members in the hospital in 5 weeks. One was there for long term, one was a "repeat offender" and as it turned out it was every weekend! This weekend we were hoping for a break.... we had decided 2014 had already given our family enough trials and we were trying to be optimistic....

Fri Feb 14th .... this is where it gets really hard!!! I had gotten off work a little early and so I was back in town a little earlier than normal. I met up with a friend at the bowling alley where she was watching her granddaughter bowl. As I was walking out to my car to go home and get some stuff for my evening my mom called me.... all I could hear was screaming in the background. SHe managed to tell me my dad was unresponsive and i asked if she called 911, she didn 't answer other than to yell at me to "GET HOME NOW" and in the background she's hollering "BREATHE BREATHE" I wasn't getting any response from her and I was driving as fast and as safe as I could freaking out all the while. Half way home the lone went dead... i got to my parents street, the paramedics, 2 fire engines and Simi PD were all there. I had to park half way up the street, i got out and I RAN to the house. 
My neighbors were there and my mom was freaking out. SHe was saying that they told her to get him off the bed and he smacked his head, she was trying to do compressions and couldnt get his chest to move. My nephews told me they called 9-1-1 and were trying to help papa breathe (turned out the 5 year old is the one who found him) When he told grandma (my mom) he and his 7 year old brother called 9-1-1 and the operator eventually talked to my mom. 

THe medics and fire dept worked on my dad for ??? amount of time. THey were doing CPR, got the I.V. line and his airway secured. His pacemaker was firing, but the heart was not responding.... they pronounced my dad around 5:15 pm.... so much for one weekend of good health.....

THe past couple days have been filled with a lot of tears.... some conversations about funeral arrangements and all the normal emotions of losing a family member. THis has not been an easy time for any of us. Although the past 8 years have been filled with medical problems for my dad, even several close calls (including them saving his life with CPR before) and many rare conditions that they told us would kill him he always survived. SO although we have been blessed with these past 8 years, and we knew he wouldn't live forever... this came as a shock! Turns out while recently hospitialized he told my mom "if i'm going to die I want it to be at home, not here" ... from what we can tell he knew it was time and went peacefully in his sleep. My dad has had to sleep with a cpap machine for many many years now. He ALWAYS has it on if he is in bed. He had wanted to go and take a nap before dinner so (about 45 min before she called me) my mom helped him into bed, got the pillows under his head and he was putting on the cpap when she left him.... when my nephew found him the cpap was off, and the pillows were not under his head..... It was his time. 

It is comforting having a knowledge of the gospel. KNowing that in time I will get to see him again and he will be at peace. THat he will no longer be suffering or in pain. THis time we are struggling now, we have to find comfort in that. He is with loved ones who have passed before. My grandparents, an uncle, family friends etc. There are many who I am sure welcomed him home to Heavenly Father's presence

Right now we are working on the arrangements. Nothing is finalized yet but we know some of what the plans are going to be. We have a tentative date in mind if we can get all the arrangements coordinated for that date. He will be cremated (which was his wish) but the services will include military honors. We will get the Marines color guard for the flag etc. There is so much to coordinate and we are starting that stuff tomorrow. Due to the holiday tomorrow though the V.A./military connections are unavailable. So we havent set anything certain yet. We also have family and friends who will need to make travel arrangements for the services... it's a lot to figure out.... I do know though that it isn't easy

Back in 2012 I wrote a poem for my dad I called it "Daddy's Lil Girl" (you cna look back on my blog to read it if you'd like) it was a poem trying to show my dad he was loved. Letting him know that despite anything else I loved him. Trying to show him he needed to love himself enough to fight for his life as long as he could. That he needed to realize his self worth in order to try and get himself healthier etc... well in the past 2 days I have now added to that poem. I plan to read it in it's entirety at the services. I will start with the initial poem and  then share the adddition I wrote now that he has passed. It won't be easy but I think it is how I can say something. I know I will be crying like crazy but I will do my best to speak clearly... I will probably share the addition on here sometime after the services. For now this is my year in review thru the first month & a half..... like I said at the beginning IT SUCKS!! (other than my vacation) 

We've been so blessed at this time with love and support from so many people.  Via text,  calls,  Facebook and especially personal visits.  Thank you all so much for everything.  The food the flowers and the prayers.  We need it.  This is yet another trial for my family and we'll grow stronger from it.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Journey

So someone I know was recently preparing for weight loss surgery (they have since had the operation and so far are doing ok, not quite 2 weeks post op) and prior to their surgery they and I have been talking a lot. We actually talk a lot anyway. We're close. I love this person a lot. I don't want to put them on the spot here but they know who they are, and anyone who is close know who they are as well. They also know that this person had the procedure so I don't need to call them out on my blog. Unless they ok it. Anyway this person and I would share recipes that we like. They would have me over for dinner and vice versa. Especially when trying new recipes or making healthier options. As I am on my own weight loss journey we share info! Thye had asked me if I had considered the surgery months ago and since I was having so much success I opted to continue on my own path. As it turns out my Dr has told me how proud he was of my progress on my own and has encouraged me to continue without surgery as long as I can. I am now down 50# which is = to 16.46% of my body weight so far! I know that I have more to go but I am ready to take on the next goal! ANyway this other person and I were talking one night prior to their surgery and the next day at work our computers were down so I had some "free time". I started writing and came up with this poem. It was/is dedicated to that person, but in reality can be related to anybody really! 


We're travelling different paths
But our destination is the same
It may go fast, it may go slow
We'll  both get there, our own way
People always have advice
On the best route to take
But the journey always changes
It never stays the same
What may be smooth for me
May have pot holes and gravel for you
We have to enjoy the ride
No matter how it goes
You may come across a simple bump
That feels like a mountain to me
Nobody really knows
Individually what we each need
There is a plan in store
A way to reach our goals
We can support each other
Whatever it may take
I won't know all your struggles
You may not understand mine
There's still a way to connect
As we listen to our hearts
We will find the words to say
The strength to get us through
Good luck on your journey
I'm on a journey of my own
I'll help you, if you'll help me
It's what sister's do! 

Twas The Scavenger Hunt before the gift....

So for Christmas my family and I all went in together on one larger/more expensive gift for my sister Denise and Brother in Law Neal. I felt kind of bad that they would only have one gift to share to open on Christmas day when the rest of us would have several. So I volunteered to create a scavenger hunt of clues so that before they got and opened their gift there would be some fun. That way there was a little more focus on the love we have for them and not just on it being a solo gift. I ended up doing the clues in the form of a poem....

Twas the morning of Christmas, all through the house
Presents are scattered, and hiding about
The gifts they are hiding, some here and some there
And clues they are carrying, find them anywhere
The first is hiding snug in a bed,
Where 4-legs are found while Slenskers rest their heads

Denise in her ‘kerchief, Neal in his cap
Kristie had just settled down for a long winter’s nap
When out on the lawn there arose a meal platter
Where this clue is hiding you won’t need a ladder

Thru the dog window Koda flew like a flash
Looks out the front shutters at Frosty’s sash
Moon on the breast of frosty’s wife made of snow
Gave luster of hidden objects below

When, what to your wandering eyes should appear
Near a miniature sleigh, and tiny reindeer,
A little old driver, so lively and quick
Your next clue is hiding near Ol Saint Nick

More rapid than eagles, This clue’s not the same
For where it’s hiding represents your name
Now Dasher, now Dancer! Now Prancer, and Vixen
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen
Near the top of the stairs, not the top of the wall
Now Dash away, dash away, dash away all

As Nerf bullets before the wild hurricane fly
When they meet with an obstacle, they shoot for the sky
So up to the stair-top the nephews they flew
With a room full of couches and Nintendo Wii too

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound

He dresses all classy, from his head to his foot
His clothes are a polo, and pants rarely have soot
A backpack of electronics, he flings on his back
He’s clearly a nerd, as seen if you open his pack.

Her eyes how they twinkled, His dimples how merry
Her cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry
Honeymoon photos with mouths drawn up like bows
The water was clear, no sign of white snow

You won’t really crack any nuts in his teeth
A ring it encircles his feet like a wreath
He has a moustache, and wears a belt around his belly
I don’t know what to say for bowl full of jelly

We’re all chubby and plump, like a jolly old elf
I laughed when I read about visitors on your “love” shelf
Windex in hand and a twist of his head
Neal took care of the problem, Denise had nothing to dread

Neal spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Denise took a shower, then turned with a jerk.
Around the corner Koda poked his nose
After Denise says no, away he goes

You don’t have a sleigh, there’s a horn not a whistle
Away you shall fly like the down of a thistle
But ill hear you exclaim, if you drive out of sight
Happy Christmas to all, hope it’s not a cold night!

In case you're wondering here is where the gifts/clues were hidden:
1) wrapped under the tree
2) Koda's bed (their dog)
3)BBQ in the backyard
4)Snowwoman on the front porch
5)A Santa in sleigh decor they had by their staircase
6)On their landing upstairs they have a decor "S" in the hallway 
7)In the loft with the dvds/wii games
9)Neal's Closet (but they checked his backpack first hehe)
10) In their "relax" room where they have honeymoon photos
11)On their Nutcracker statue
12) They have a shelf in the living room where they write notes to each other
13)Master bathroom in the shower
14) the gift was wrapped and left in the bed of their truck in the garage

Poem for a friend

So for Christmas I decided I wanted to do something a little more personal for a friend of mine for their gift. I didn't want to post it until I was able to share it with that particular person. Now that they've had a chance to see it I am going to post it. There are some people who read my blog who will know who it went to. Others I am sorry but I am not disclosing that information. I will let you all know that they really enjoyed it!

I don't know where to start
I want to share what’s in my heart

Our friendship started when we were young
It didn’t take long and I was sprung
It went slow until our senior year
Than things really grew from there
I don’t know what drew me in
How it happened, or exactly when
I don’t recall the words we said,
But I’m thankful for the roads we’ve tread
For a true friend in you I’ve found
Never a dull moment when you’re around
Some think friendships are hard
So they fight and put up a guard
With you it’s easy to be myself
I don’t have to hide feelings on a shelf
These 22 years have flown on by
Comes so easy without having to try
I love that you’re always there for me
You’re the kind of friend I hope to be
You inspire me to be my best
Help me overcome any life test
I’m lucky to call you my best friend
I hope that never comes to an end
It’s amazing how things work out
When we learn what it’s all about
The moment when it all comes true
A friend who’s there through and through
It’s a blessing I am thankful for
I could never ask for anything more
You’re supportive, loving and kind
Uplifting to my spirit, heart and mind
Truly an angel in disguise
          Your friendship is my ultimate prize
          Thank you for being who you are
          Strong and simply wondrous by far
          I can never find the right words to say
Showing how you light the way
In every smile you start a spark
That can illuminate the very dark
Thank you for the joy you bring
Friendship, love and everything
This poem was only a start
Sharing the words straight from my heart
Our friendship started when we were young
When we’re old, I’ll still be sprung.