I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be,
but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.
— Douglas Pagels

Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Big Fat New Years Eve Blog - Goodbye 2009!

Every year on NYE, I analyze myself and the annual goals that I set at the beginning of the year. I'm almost afraid to look, but here we go...

Goals for 2009

1. Continue my education, either in college or with Bob Ross, Inc. DONE! 3.87 GPA in college, and hope to continue next year!

2. Find stable employment and reduce debt as much as possible. OH LORD...NOT EVEN CLOSE! My relapse of Periodic Paralysis has prevented me from working.

3. Go to church regularly and/or schedule a weekly Bible study. FAILED MISERABLY AT THIS!

4. Utilize my time more wisely by developing routines and following a schedule. I did pretty well, but need improvement.

5. Have a piece of art in a show or fair. Done!

6. Try at least a dozen new recipes. I tried quite a few, but forgot to keep a tally!


As suggested by my friend Marilyn last year (thanks M), here are a few things that I accomplished this year:

1. Taught double the Bob Ross workshops this year than I did last year!

2. Joined and was appointed Secretary of Art With Heart.

3. Prepared and publicly displayed several works of art!

4. Completed a semester of college and somehow (read: merciful teachers) made all A's!

5. On that same note, I started learning how to draw...something that has been on my bucket list for a while. Very emotional thing for me and I don't take it for granted.


And now...my goals for 2010!!!

The Mainstays (aka the stuff that's ongoing and on my list every year):

Maintain a healthy weight and keep blood panel numbers at an acceptable level by living a healthy lifestyle.

Stay involved in one or more charities/ministries.

Read more, write more, and learn more.

Be a good friend and relative.

The New Goals:
1. Continue college education

2. Return to Florida for Bob Ross training (either Florals cert or Landscape/Seascape audit)

3. Become more organized in every aspect of my life

4. Find a way to pay off some medical bills

5. Put a significant dent in one or more manuscripts

6. Knock out at least one item on my Bucket List

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A very Merry Christmas to my readers!



Despite flooded road and yard...




With high tide and an insane thunderstorm making it worse...




And a scaredy-dog who HATES thunderstorms...(yes of course we let her inside) :)




Some of the family was able to make the trip via SUV through the rough, wet terrain to the Sandy Bay in Bayou La Batre, Alabama for Christmas Eve festivities.




Now somebody get over here and help me eat these things!!! :)

Hope your Christmas is happy and blessed!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

School's out...I survived...what's next?

Well, I made it through my first full semester of college at MGCCC. It wasn't easy...in fact it was very hard. God, it was so hard. But I did my best, and with the patience and understanding of my merciful teachers, I finished with all A's and a 3.87 GPA.

Music Appreciation and Art For Elementary School had a few issues, but thankfully they were worked out by the end of the term. Sometimes, I thought Drawing and Design were going to kill me. Physically speaking, I had a terrible time and I can't help but think about how much better I could have been in those classes if I hadn't been so sick and miserable. Maybe no better at all, but I wonder. It has been a very emotional experience for me, and I knew it would be. Learning to draw (and paint) has been on my bucket list for years...a childhood dream. I've been saying since Kindergarten that I wanted to be an artist, but I never thought in a million years that it would happen because I've always been so, so bad at it. Since becoming a Bob Ross instructor, then joining Art With Heart, I have felt crippled in a sense because I couldn't draw and didn't even have the knowledge to know how to learn. I'm still a newborn where this is concerned, but I am amazed by how much I've learned already. It brings me to tears...I can't help it. This experience has been very difficult for me health-wise but I don't regret it. It has meant a great deal to me. More than I can say.

I feel very disheartened, however, because I don't believe for a second that I'll be able to do this again. I am supposed to have the same schedule next semester, but right now that seems impossible. I was already sick every single day in class, in some way or another, and by the end of the semester I was having to lie down in my car at times because I was so weak and exhausted. It was (and is) a constant fight to sit up and act like nothing's wrong, and it's getting harder as time goes on. I've gone into "crash" mode again, and this time, I can't seem to find a way out. I can't stand the thought of being sick at school every day for four more months, and then four more months after that, and after that, and so on. But I also can't stand the thought of dropping my studio classes when that is the primary reason I'm there.

Anyway, I don't want to drop the classes. It would tear my heart out. Right now I've registered for the spring semester with 16 hours (yikes)...10 of those being online, the other 6 being Drawing and Design 2. Seems impossible, but I guess I'm gonna give it a shot. One of my classmates blessed me so much on the last day of school. He gave me a hug and said that he was praying for me, and that he hoped to see me in class next semester. He said he could see that I was very tired, but to not give up because it would be worth it in the end. He has no idea how much I needed to hear that. I cried all the way home, and most of the day as well. Amazing how kind words can give us enough strength to keep going.

Enough of my rambling. My point is that I'm grateful. Even though I'm struggling horribly and I don't know what my college future holds, I don't take a minute for granted. This rivals my time in Florida almost two years ago, and is definitely on my list of experiences that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. I'm just scared that I won't be able to continue, that's all. I have so many emotions right now, it's overwhelming. Blah. I'm such a sap. :)

So now, a short hiatus. Christmas is here (already...crazy), 2010 is around the corner, surgery the first week of January, then the insanity begins again. Full time college and part time teaching.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

You know you're gettin' old when... (TMI warning)

...your surgeon is younger than you!

This is finally happening. I will have three procedures total.

1. Remove all polyps (small tumors) from my endometrium; 2. D&C (remove the lining, send to Pathology for biopsy); 3. Endometrial ablation (destroys the inside of the uterus...hopefully for good).

It's not guaranteed to work, but they claim to have a great deal of success and all three docs I've discussed it with said that this is a much better and safer route than a hysterectomy, especially since I am high risk. They all said with no hesitation that this is the best choice for me at this point and time.

So it's a done deal. Three procedures in one, but considered minor. The risks are still there of course but I was so happy to hear that I would not have a laparoscopy, which means no staples! They expect me to recover quickly and be back in full swing within a week or so.

This is something that they can usually schedule quickly, but they are so backed up with surgeries right now that they can't get me in until January. Thankfully, they were able to schedule it so that I'll only miss the first week of school (assuming there are no complications). So despite the terrible pain, I'm relieved that I'm not gonna miss finals this semester.

Family/Local Friends: I will need someone to drive me there and home (of course), and someone to sit with me for about a day. They think I'll be up and around on my own in 24 to 48 hours. Would greatly appreciate a volunteer to put up with me during this time. :) Also, please note that my mother does not know and is not to be told. She will hear about it when I see fit. Thank you for your cooperation.

And I am so thankful for everyone's thoughts and prayers!

Monday, November 16, 2009

One For One

When you buy one pair of shoes from TOMS...



...they put a pair of shoes on a child in need.



I went through the McDonald's drive-through today and wasted seven dollars and change on junk that I didn't need. It's so easy to spend money on things we don't need, isn't it?

So I decided that I wanted to do something with the money that I received this week for teaching...something other than spend it on more junk at McDonald's. I thought about getting something that I could use. I own three pair of shoes (including those god-awful crocs...ha!), and thought that I could use a pair of casual flats...something that I could wear to church or something. I imagine folks would appreciate not having to see my uglier-than-sin crocs every time I enter the room. So, I went to TOMS and ordered the above pair. $44 + tax + shipping = 50-something bucks. That's the most I've ever spent on shoes in my entire life...




...and it was worth every penny.



I never thought shoes could make me cry like a baby...



...so much for that. :)


Go to TOMS.com. Join their mission. Make a difference.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bob Ross Charity Workshops





(Click on Abby's photo to visit her website)


Although sick and broke (in more ways than one), I try to do as much charity work as I can. It gives me a reason to get out of bed. I wanted to do something big that I had never done before, so I decided to go out with a bang this year and have my last two Bob Ross workshops in 2009 to benefit charity. I held one workshop at Hobby Lobby in Biloxi, MS and the other today at Hobby Lobby in Mobile, AL.

Thanks to all of my wonderful students for helping make this happen! I couldn't do it without you! You rock!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tropical Storm Ida

You know you live on the Gulf Coast when you have a tropical storm in NOVEMBER!

Are you kiddin' me???

I went to the point of Pascagoula yesterday to take a pic or two. I got out of my car with umbrella in hand...



...and it IMMEDIATELY did THIS. Haaaaaaa! Shoulda known.

So I gave up and decided to get rained on. No biggie, it was only sprinkling at the time and the gulf was a little rough but didn't look too bad. I went out too early, really.

Thankfully, Ida was kinda a pansy. Strong wind gusts (still present 36 hours later) but not much flooding or damage to the area. The school studio got a little water, surprisingly, but all is well.

Now someone please inform Mama NayNay that it is indeed NOVEMBER and we dun want none 'o dis mess anymore. Mmmmk thanks!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ryan




No little boy should lose his father.

Ryan was a single dad, raising his son Skyler since birth. He worked his butt off as a laborer, sometimes seven days a week, so Skyler wouldn't go without. He would come home after a long shift, and find his son with toys in hand, waiting to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with his dad. They were two peas in a pod.

Ryan developed an abscessed tooth. A phobic of dentists, he refused to go even though people begged him to. If he only knew how serious a tooth infection could be. He would have never let a fear of needles and pain take him away from his son. He didn't know it could happen to him.

The infection went to his brain. It turned into meningitis, and he had a massive stroke. I received a call from my mother that Ryan was on life support. I canceled my class and went immediately to Mississippi, where I found Ryan in a coma with tubes and hoses coming out of his brain. It is an image that I will never, ever erase from my memory.

Ryan had chosen to estrange himself from my side of the family several years prior, so we had not seen each other in a long time and I don't think that he would have wanted me there. Tough luck, I told him. I held his hand and declared that he is the most stubborn person I've ever met. I picked on him and played with his toes, giving anything if he would wake up and cuss me out. I reminded him of when he used to spontaneously break into the song "Love Shack", which always made his sister and I double over in laughter. I demanded that he wake up and come back to his son. I prayed. I cried. I fussed. I told him that I loved him and that I'd give anything if things could have been different. I told him that I was so sorry that this happened to him.

He was removed from life support on November 7th.

The tragedy made the front page of the newspaper. Killed by a toothache. Dentists stepped forward and pleaded with the public to not be afraid of them. People everywhere made dental appointments because of Ryan's story. Twenty-nine is too young to die. Five is too young to lose a father.

Skyler is being raised by his grandmother (his mother left shortly after his birth), and he misses his daddy horribly. He lives in my town, but he doesn't know I exist. I see him at the baseball field and wish I could be there for him, but I'm not permitted to do so. Family feuds are senseless and cruel. They hurt so many people...sometimes for generations to come. Life is too short and fragile for such things, but it is far beyond my control. All I can do is pray for Skyler to be ok.

My heart is crushed for him. It's so unfair. No little boy should lose his father.

Friday, November 6, 2009

GREEK FEST!!!

In line to order food!


Crazy lady singing on top of a dining table! Does she realize that she flashed everyone directly below her? The world may never know.



The adorable kids!



The Music!


The Vendors!


The crowd!!! (And that was only HALF of them!)


The awesome art! I could only dream of painting like this!








Greek Fest is annually the first weekend of November in Mobile, Alabama. It is held at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on S. Ann Street. Very cool place, and Greek Fest is always a fun time! The $2 admission fee benefits several local charities including Penelope House Domestic Violence Center, an organization that is near to my heart. Next year, come join me!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I saw God at Waffle House

I got up this morning in the usual way, in terrible pain but functional, and needed to run a few errands. As I left the house, I was contemplating lunch and talked myself into Waffle House. I rarely go there and Lord knows I don’t need it, but I decided to stop in for one last texas cheesesteak plate before I return to a highly restricted, heart-healthy diet.

I sat down and ordered. Behind me, a man walked by and was talking to the waitress. He wasn’t making a lot of sense, and I could tell that he wasn’t quite right in the head. I sipped my coca-cola for a minute and then I heard the man yell across the room “Did you know that you can copy a 20 dollar bill on the copy machine and it will work in a casino?” I wondered who he was talking to, but didn’t look his direction. He said “She’s not gonna talk to me…” and the waitress approached me and said “He’s talking to you.”

“OH! I’m sorry…” I said as I turned to him and smiled.

Him: Do you know that college called USA?

Me: Yes…

Him: Some kids from that college copied 20 dollar bills on a copy machine and went to Atlantic City. The bills worked! But do you know where they got caught?

Me: Where?

Him: The Cat House!

Me: Oh no! Haha…

Him: There was a write up in the paper about it. Did you know that I copied a 5 dollar bill on a copy machine, put it in a Pepsi machine, and it gave me a Pepsi and change?

Me: Oh wow...

I received my food at that point, and turned around to eat. The man kept talking loudly, to whoever would listen to him I guess. I figured he was in his 70’s or 80’s, and had some kind of mental condition. As I was eating, he got up and paid for his food. I overheard him say to the waitress, “See that girl sitting right there? See her? She’s sitting right there. I want to pay for her coke. Because she talked to me.”

I pretended that I had not heard him. Then he walked back by…

Him: Your drink is paid for.

Me: Oh, well thank you so much!

Him: If you would have sat over there with me, I would have paid for all of it.

Me: Haha, oh well thank you…

Him: My wife is dying. She’s not going to make it to Christmas.

He burst into tears. I’m almost sure my jaw hit the floor.

Me: I AM SO SORRY...I’m SO sorry to hear that.

Him: Sixty years. We’ve been together sixty years. She’s dying of cancer.

Me: I am so sorry. I’m so sorry. I have a friend with cancer and she’s very sick…I don’t know how long she’s going to be around. It’s really tough.

Him: Sixty years. The same wife. Sixty years.

Me: I am so sorry. That’s such a long time. Wow. I’m so sorry that she’s sick.

Him: Can I sit here?

Me: Yeah, of course.

I moved my stuff and he sat by me.

Him: Are you from here?

Me: Yeah. Well I’m from Mississippi, but…yeah.

He started talking about the “good ‘ol days” and how things were so much quieter and simpler back then. Said he never had to lock his door, and would leave the key in his ignition and never had to worry about someone stealing the car. He said he collected stuff and that he had several 13 gallon barrels filled with silver (as in silver dollars). “I guess I need to get rid of all of it”, he said. He talked about being drafted in WWII and the Korean War. Then he switched conversations again…

Him: Whatever you do, don’t go to Providence Hospital. They lied to me. They lied. They said nothing was wrong with me, and the next day I was having pain and ended up in surgery for colon cancer.

Me: Oh my goodness…

He proceeded to tell me about his experience in detail, including when he got out of surgery and couldn’t eat anything without throwing up…as I’m sitting there trying to eat my cheesesteak sandwich and hash browns. Ha! Serves me right for blogging about my dysfunctional uterus.

Him: Are you headed to Tillman’s Corner from here?

Me: Um, probably…

Him: Oh well Tillman’s Corner, you know that Goodwill store?

Me: Uh huh…

Him: Well if you go in there, find me and I can give you a 20 percent discount. I get a senior discount you know. Did you know that?

Me: Oh ok. No, I sure didn’t.

Him: Did you know that they don’t even ask me my age anymore? They just look at my hair.

Me: *giggle*

Him: Do you know where I met my wife?

Me: Where?

Him: The skating rink!

Me: You did? Aw, that’s great!

Him: If you ever want to meet someone, go to either a church or a skating rink. Whatever you do, don’t go to the taverns!

Me: Haha…oh no I don’t go there. I’m a church girl.

He’s still crying off and on…says it’s because he’s thinking about his wife of sixty years.

He talked for a while, then got up and said “Thank you for talking to me.” He went to walk out the door and said “If you go to Goodwill, come find me”.

Me: I will, thanks so much.

Him: There in Tillman’s Corner.

Me: Yes sir, thank you. Have a good day…God bless ya.

And he left. It was all I could do to hold it together. I paid my bill, sans coke, and drove to Walmart and cried. A divine appointment, at Waffle House of all places. Somehow, God used me to touch his life by simply being there when he needed someone to listen. But I can tell you that I didn’t touch his life nearly as much as he touched mine. It was a tremendous reminder that you never know what someone has been through or what they may be going through right now. It was a reminder that no matter what kind of hell you’re dealing with, someone always has it worse by a mile, and that we should always count our blessings. And it was a reminder of how such a small thing as a smile, a shoulder to cry on, a free coke, a skating rink love story, and good old fashioned respect can make an eternal impact in the lives of two hurting strangers at Waffle House.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hanging on to hope

I'm having a hard time staying up to date with my blogs...my apologies. Things are absolutely chaotic right now and I'm overwhelmed. Please know that those of you who are reading and have left comments, I haven't forgotten about you. I appreciate you taking the time to come here. I don't take you for granted.

My biopsy was rescheduled THREE TIMES. It is now November 2nd. They did find a problem with my endometrium, and the biopsy will confirm whether or not it is malignant. I am in tremendous pain 24/7 with that as well as the periodic paralysis. I don't say the word hell a lot, but it's all I can think of to describe how I feel right now. I'm going through pure hell. But thankfully, I'm going THROUGH...not staying in. At least that's what I have to believe. If I didn't hang on to hope that things will get better, I would have no reason to go on. Hope is everything. I am hanging on to it for dear life.

"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;"

Isaiah 43: 2-3a

Monday, October 19, 2009

A heck of a time

I don't know what else to call this entry. I'm just having a heck of a time. Lots of ups and downs. My condition(s) are an hour-to-hour event these days. I'll be able to tolerate the pain and weakness and function one hour, and the next I'm so miserable that I have to go to bed. It's just craziness. I feel like I'm being stabbed with a jagged knife 24/7...I wish I could get a break from it.

Nevertheless, I've been fairly active this weekend. Worked at a charity event on Saturday, painting faces...



It was fun. :)

Also worked on a lot of Secretary stuff for the Art Guild this weekend. Oh, I don't even think I've mentioned them here yet because things have been so nuts. I'm a member of the Art Guild at my local college, and they asked me to be Secretary there too. Love those youngins...most of my peers are in the 18-21 year old range so I joke a lot about being the old woman who's almost old enough to be their mother. I love school and will be sad when I have to leave. I wish I was better at drawing (I suck...no really, I do) and I wish so much that I felt better. Some days are just awful and it's all I can do to keep from bursting into tears. Other days are better. I laugh as much as I can (having a silly teacher helps) and try my best to make it through the day. I've missed one class so far...hoping I can make it through the next 2 months without missing anymore. Although, I may very well miss Thursday since my biopsy is Wednesday. I'm really, really dreading that. A lot.

Saturday was my brother Max's birthday. He would have been 14 years old. Hard to believe. I wish he was here.

I guess that's all for now. I have a very busy Monday at school, so I am going to try again to get some sleep. Hope everyone has a blessed week.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The blog entry where I talk about my stupid uterus...fair warning, fellas.

The continuous hormone therapy that I was put on in July in an attempt to bring my pathetic, psychotic uterus under control has not only failed MISERABLY, it has created new problems that are making me even MORE MISERABLE on a daily basis. The culprit? Estrogen. My body simply does not tolerate it AT ALL. Throwing up, doubled over in pain, heart rate and blood pressure out of control, and hypersensitive to everything to the point of crying at the drop of a hat...it is utterly ridiculous. There are few drugs on this planet that I detest more than synthetic estrogen. Useless garbage.

I went to USA Women's yesterday for another consultation with Dr. L. She said there's nothing more that can be done, and gave me two options: destroy it or remove it. I've been scheduled for an ultrasound next Wednesday, and a uterine biopsy on Oct 21st to rule out cancer. After those results come back, I will know whether or not I'm eligible for an ablation (burning the inside of the uterus, rendering it non-functional). If they find tumors or other issues that would hinder the ablation, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) would be in order.

I have a feeling that I'll be eligible for the ablation, but I'm concerned that it's not going to work. It is not guaranteed and I know several people who did not have success with it. I could very well have the ablation, then start hemorrhaging a month later and have to go right back for a hysterectomy. That would really suck. But being very high risk in surgery, I have to consider the fastest and safest method of dealing with this. I also have to think about time and convenience. The ablation is a week recovery, the hysterectomy a month. I would also have to find someone reliable to care for me while I recover from the hysterectomy. Not the easiest task.

The logical thing would be to have the complete hysterectomy and get it over with. Problem solved. But I am high risk in surgery, I don't have the time or the money, and I would be out of commission for a long time. The reasonable thing would be to have the ablation, although risky as well, it's safer and the recovery time is much shorter than most surgeries. But, there's a chance that it won't work. So if given a choice, I'm torn as to what to do.

I'm making it a matter of prayer, but ultimately I am going to have to decide for myself unless the docs don't like the test results and make the decision for me. I don't know...I just want it to be over. My uterus has been nothing but a curse to me for nearly 20 years. I just want this misery to end.

The Periodic Paralysis, kidney stones, pulling and tearing muscles and cartilage, TMJ, migraines, hypertension, chronic pain and weakness...I think that's quite enough to deal with. My insane uterus (and the crappy hormone therapy) only contributes to my complications. It is absolutely senseless. I swear I will throw a "Good riddance stupid uterus" celebration when it's all said and done. It is still a hard decision to have to make, however. I've known for a while that I would never have children, and I've come to terms with that, but it's still a pretty traumatic thing to go through regardless.

This is not what I wanted my life to be, but it is what it is and all I can do is take one day at a time and keep moving forward, believing that God is in control.

But I also look forward to the day when this earthly life is done, and I don't have to suffer anymore.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Please buckle your seatbelt...it's gonna be a wild ride

I swear when I decided on "My Roller Coaster Life" for my blog eight years ago, I couldn't have chosen a better theme. This week has been one heck of an example:

Saturday: Usual day...hurting but functional (on the cane of course), and went to a concert with a friend. Had a great time.

Sunday: Woke up to the most horrendous charlie horse I've ever had. My leg was so drawn up that I couldn't even put my foot on the floor. I binged on potassium and calcium to no avail. I was on crutches in agony the entire day.

Monday: Things declined rapidly when I woke up to projectile vomiting (TMI but you are all aware that I tell the whole truth on my personal blog here, no?) to the point of dehydration and nearly losing consciousness. Even the Phenergan I was prescribed for these occasions didn't help. My uncle thought I had the flu, but I knew it was just another attack of Periodic Paralysis (it DOES act/feel like the flu at times). Pushed more meds and more fluids, but saw no improvement.

Tuesday: Woke up and managed to put my foot on the floor. Lots of pain and prayer, but I did it and the 48 hour charlie horse of doom subsided by the time I left for school. Bypassed the crutches (which are still in my car) and returned to the cane. I was still sick to my stomach but not only made it through the day, I stayed at school later than usual and was doing WORLDS better by mid afternoon. Blew my mind that only 24 hours prior, I felt like I was going to die and almost had to go to the ER.

So, yeah. I'd say roller coaster is an accurate description of my life.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Major attack of myotonia

I woke up this morning to the worst charlie horse in the history of the universe. It has yet to subside, even with meds, seven hours later. I'm currently on crutches and can only sit in a few positions to tolerate the pain.

I need your prayers, friends. This must cease. I have Art With Heart business tomorrow, and school on Tuesday. I absolutely cannot miss school. I just can't.

Will give a real update soon.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Painting and Henna Tat


"Night Light"...teaching this one on the 19th




Practicing henna for future commissions

More to come!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 29, 2005 - The Life I Knew - Gone.

Quick "before" video of Beach Blvd, a couple miles from my house...



During Katrina at my Aunt's house...before it got really bad. Her house was damaged (that tree she was begging to not fall, did), but little did we know at the time that a couple miles south was completely and utterly devastated, including my home.



These videos are my initial reaction to the aftermath...shock...disbelief...couldn't say much more than "Oh my God" at the time.



I had to keep turning off the camera to dodge debris in the road. I also (not on video, mind you) got yelled at and threatened by a man who thought I was a "tourist". I yelled back at him that I lost everything too, and offered him something to drink.



Beautiful Washington Avenue in Pascagoula torn to shreds...you wouldn't believe the huge houses that used to adorn this road...all of them, gone.



My hometown was an unrecognizable war zone. Everyone homeless and living in their driveways. People standing among debris that used to be their homes, standing guard with shotguns, fighting, looting, dying of dehydration...it was a freaking nightmare. Something that you would see on TV. It didn't seem real, but it was our new life for a very long time.



There was no water. No power. No food. No gas. No phones. The National Guard, the Red Cross, and FEMA arrived 11 days later. Everyone was so sick and exhausted by then, we were just grateful to finally see them. The National Guard gave us MREs and water. The Red Cross drove down the streets of Pascagoula and handed out brown bag meals. They had great brownies.

I have nothing nice to say about FEMA, so I won't say anything at all.

I want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers from all over North America that came to our aid and selflessly served my often-forgotten city. Folks from Ontario Canada, West Linn Oregon, Mesa Arizona, rural-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania...all over. I received a blanket from a quilting guild in Indiana, and it was the only blanket I owned for over a year. Because of Amish, Mennonite, and Baptist groups around the country, my family has a roof and four walls again. I can never say thank you enough.

I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH.

You gave us hope again.

I'm bawling my eyes out with appreciation four years later.

We will never forget what you've done for us.

Believe that.

God bless all who suffered because of this monster called Katrina. God bless all who gave in response to it. And God bless those who suffered AND gave, in spite of it.

The Mississippi coast is strong. The Mississippi coast will be revived. We are overcoming this storm one day at a time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What a week

Was very sick today...couldn't even keep juice down. I hope whatever the problem is has passed, and I'm very thankful that it wasn't a school day or a work day. I can't afford to miss either one. Hoping I feel much better tomorrow because I do have a small class in Biloxi.

School is in session! Thursday's class was canceled but my instructor had an art show on campus so I made sure not to miss that. His work is incredible...left me speechless. I had a similar feeling when I went to Florida in 08 and saw my teacher trainer's work on day one of my certification. It's good to know that the one teaching me knows what he's doing, because I definitely...DEFINITELY...DON'T! I'm very nervous about these drawing classes but trying not to dwell on my disabilities...OR THE FACT THAT I ALMOST FAILED ART IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Yeah...let's not think about that.

I've been so frustrated with the college bookstore, because while they have my art supplies, they have not unpacked them and made them available for purchase. Say what? Class is in session, here...you're killin' me, people! I've gone to Hobby Lobby for some of the stuff and will go to Michael's on Monday to see if I can find the rest. I'm a little OCD about things being "right", so I've been pretty aggravated about it, especially since I'm nearly broke and won't get the grant money for another...I don't know...two or three weeks? Art supplies or groceries? I'm having to choose.

Things have been so frustrating lately, but somehow it will all work out.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Blurry and crooked as heck, but.........



I just finished a 16 x 20 version of Sunset Aglow, my favorite Bob Ross painting. I will be teaching it in a special all day class on Saturday.

(I'll be glad when I can get a decent camera someday! Santa, are you listening??? LOL) :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 15th

My sister is a married woman. The wedding was on Dauphin Island at the Estuarium. It was nice, albeit, a bit stressful at times. I suppose all weddings are. She did great, though, and had the time of her life. Was great to see her have such a lovely day.

I regrettably had a rough time. My feet gave out and I broke down in tears during family photos. We couldn't finish them and that really upsets me. Relatives brought me food, drink, and medicine. My brothers helped me walk and my brother's girlfriend wheeled me out to the car in a wheelchair when we left. I appreciated everyone's help.

While I have good days and bad days, I'm still in a full blown attack of Periodic Paralysis. I relapsed 11.5 months ago and have grown increasingly weak ever since. Docs don't know what to do for me, as all they see are the numbers on my bloodwork reports, which don't matter. It's not a numbers game, it's a transport defect. I can't say it enough. They just flat out don't understand the condition. Seems like nobody does except those who live with it, and it has been only through time, trial and error, and research. What it boils down to is that my muscles and nerves do not have the electrolytes necessary to withstand any kind of activity. It's like two equally charged magnets being put together...they don't work. They go opposite directions. And the harder you try to force the two magnets together, the harder they rebel. My muscles and nerves are the same. They function via electrolytes and without them, there's no "charge" so to speak. They literally depolarize and can't move. People ask me why I don't get a pain pump or physical therapy or other treatments, and I really don't know how else to explain that all of these things are not only irrelevant, but potentially dangerous. If you have a spinal injury and force your spine to move, you risk further damage. My muscles are in the same boat when I try to make them do what they do not have the ability to do. Without electrolytes to support and sustain the muscles and nerves, they simply can't work and forcing them to do so only makes the situation much worse. Pain is not the reason I'm disabled...it's the literal inability of my body to function properly. The pain is nothing more than a side effect...it's like having a charlie horse in the entire body and at times I feel like I am going to die.

The judge told me at the ceremony that I'm too young to be dealing with such a disability. No kidding, but no one should have to live with it, regardless of age. I usually try to take it in stride, but lately, I'm just sad and tired and I don't want to be like this.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

To Do's of the Week

Tonight: Catch up on blogs (seriously...I haven't forgotten about all of you...promise!)

Monday: Art therapy at United Cerebral Palsy; put away clean laundry (for the love of organized chaos...I'm so tired of tripping over these baskets!)

Tuesday: Art projects for charity...as many as possible!

Wednesday: To Biloxi to pick up the rest of my stuff from Hobby Lobby, then to Moss Point for Art With Heart meeting

Thursday: Art projects, Art With Heart kids class

Friday: Wedding rehearsal

Saturday: Katie's Wedding! (Please God, let my clothes fit...)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hot off the presses...


Or still on the easel? Ok whatever. :) Just finished!

Rolling Hills, Bob Ross painting #1301, no changes

16 x 20 stretched canvas

I will be teaching this one on Saturday...can't wait! I hope my new students don't hate me for springing this one on them on their first day...ha! It's not as easy as it looks!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I am not well.

I'm getting worse.

My family asked that I file for SS Disability again.

They see that I'm going downhill.

Yet they have no clue how hard this really is.

In horrible pain 24/7/365...I never escape it.

I am so weak that I can barely use my arms and legs sometimes. I almost didn't make it up and down the steps tonight.

I waited till I got home to cry.

I don't know what to do.

I've made a doc appointment to discuss my options...again.

I am absolutely at my wits end.

I don't want to be like this.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Exhaustion

I realize that I am behind here, and I promise I'm not ignoring anyone. Thanks for the comments, y'all! I'll come visit your blog soon. Life is a whirlwind when I'm not stuck in bed...lots going on. Presently in bed, though, hurting and so tired I can barely function. Surprised that I can even type complete sentences. Just gotta get some real sleep somehow. I'd pay money for it right now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More cards for Operation Gratitude


These are blank, meant for soldiers to send to loved ones. Just one of many options in giving to Operation Gratitude.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

20 cards for Operation Gratitude



Couldn't sleep, so I made cards for the troops. You can make a soldier's day by sending cards or packages to Operation Gratitude. Check out all that they do...great organization!

~Kelli

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A friend's poem about Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis has been published in the MDA magazine

As you can see, it is very frustrating living with a life-threatening illness that people don't understand. Thanks Victoria, well done.


A Day in the Life of a Periodic Paralysis Patient


The 911 call placed, you feel like you're dreaming,
You’re not, from afar you can hear sirens screaming;

The ambulance ride, your body’s not moving,
They wonder aloud, whoa, she's not improving;

Respiratory muscles won’t respond to a breath,
You know once again that you’re so close to death;

Whizzed in on a gurney, it’s all moving fast,
What? You’re parked in a hallway, suddenly bypassed;

How are you this evening? Then give you that look,
The oxygen, sensors and wires they unhook;

They make you feel guilty, as if you are faking,
You’re frightened, can’t breathe, and everything’s aching;

The ER visits, the doctors, the begging and pleading,
You would not desert me if I were here bleeding;

Weakness, paralysis and cognitive decline,
Inverted T-waves, arrhythmias are fine;

The patient is faking, playing possum I see,
With his hammer he can't get a jerk from my knee;

Agonizing pain, it strikes with a flash,
The doctor shrugs shoulders, departs in a dash;

Positive tests, plus symptoms and signs,
Potassium is low, but you will be fine.

~ Victoria Cecil-Shover
Solon, Iowa
hypokalemic periodic paralysis

http://www.mda.org/publications/Quest/q163infocuspoem.html

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Periodic Paralysis, Muscular Dystrophy, and a public service announcement if the shoe fits...

http://www.mda.org/publications/Quest/q163infocus.html

Periodic Paralysis is their focus this quarter...thank you MDA!

If you question or have ever questioned my condition, you need to read that whole article. Don't say that I didn't try to help you understand. This is a public service announcement that I will not put up with any ignorance or attitudes from family, friends, or anyone ever again as long as I live.

I have lived in this hell every day since I was a child. It is real. It is serious. I have had chronic pain and weakness for as long as I can remember. I don't know what it's like to be able to do regular every day tasks or function without pain. It is a significant part of my life, and I will strive to bring awareness of this condition for the rest of my days.

You can read a great deal of information about it at the link above, as well as on Wikipedia. It is very accurate.

I appreciate those who have believed me (thank you MawMaw) and supported me throughout the years. My life has not been easy, especially with all of the people who have accused me of lying, whining, exaggerating, faking, and even being a mentally ill hypochondriac. I have had a whole two people come back to me and acknowledge that they were mistaken. The rest are either still in denial or have too much pride. They know who they are and they can kiss my ass. By the grace of God, I am still here, with or without them.

It's in black and white, people. The facts are all right here. The facts have been here all along. I did my part, and will continue to do so. Maybe someday, people will realize that they don't know everything, learn to shut-up, and truly listen.

There would be less suffering in the world if that happened. I would have suffered less. I think about what my life could have been, had I been diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. But there's no sense in thinking about that, because there is only today.

Just today. That's really all that any of us have, if we stop and think about it. So I guess the question is, what are you going to do with today? Seize it and live? Or merely exist.

I choose to embrace life, in spite of my circumstances.

Why don't you join me?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

More from the Biloxi Festival of Arts






My painting demos were fun, but the crowd was very small. There wasn't a lot of traffic in the mall the entire weekend, I guess because of how beautiful it was outside (although MISERABLY HOT...nearly 100 degrees)!

I honestly don't know how people do it. I roast like a turkey in 85+ degrees, so 100 degree temps are doing me in bigtime. Having no air conditioning in my car is not helping either. Part of my left arm is sunburned due to the sun bearing down on the driver's side of my car while I'm driving...crazy!

Anyway, I sold three pieces of jewelry at the festival and kinda broke even, so although it was exhausting, I had a good time and feel like it was worth the work. Tomorrow I will return to Biloxi to do two more painting demonstrations in hopes to have a few students this coming Saturday. If that doesn't work out, I already have a plan B, as there is an Art With Heart face painting gig in Biloxi as well. So either way, I hope to make 20 bucks or so this weekend. :)

Still have pics to upload...and a recipe...coming soon!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Donating my hair - before and after!

Last Saturday, I donated my hair to Pink Heart Funds, a local non-profit based in Long Beach, MS. They provide free wigs and prosthetics to cancer patients of all ages. I was very excited to finally be eligible to donate my hair!

Before...





Waiting for my turn...Stephanie from Art With Heart was there to offer support...and a balloon animal on my head.



AFTER!

I was shocked at how much hair they were able to get...10.5 inches...and my hair is still touching my shoulders! Yay!






This is a great organization, and I was happy to be able to participate in this year's ponytail kickoff. I will plan to do it next year too!


More weekend pics coming up!

Kelli

Friday, June 12, 2009

Zombie Girl

That would be me right now. On Wednesday, I was given a prescription strength antihistamine for skin allergies as well as sleep. Well, the good news is that I did sleep for a few hours. However, my entire day today has been nothing but a FOG. I am disoriented to the point that I couldn't count correctly at the bank today, and haven't been able to accomplish much more than going to the bank and back. I managed to get my oil changed, but nearly fell asleep while waiting at the shop. I'm now attempting to cook pasta on the stove. Let's hope I don't forget about it.

I am zombie girl.

I hope and pray that I snap out of it by morning, because I have a very, very long weekend ahead. I will be a vendor for the first time at the Biloxi Art Association Festival of Arts. I will (hopefully) be selling some of my art while painting faces to benefit Art With Heart. I will also be giving two very public Bob Ross painting demonstrations, and I have to be SPOT ON. Happy trees must be VERY VERY HAPPY! I'm pretty sure that my practice runs tonight will result in weeping willows...ha...this is not good, as I don't recall Bob ever painting weeping willows. His trees were happy, you see, and they always had a friend. So friendly happy trees are in order, and there will quite possibly be dozens of people watching me on stage, expecting to see perfection. *shudders*

So yes, zombie girl must cease and desist. I will not be taking another antihistamine, for SURE, until the weekend is over. By then I should get a call from my doc about my bloodwork (I dare to guess what my A1C will be...yikes), and I will tell her what the pill is doing to me and request an alternative.

I just realized that I haven't even talked about the appointment yet. She was very nice and asked a lot of questions. She wants to help me with my sleep issues and we will eventually discuss the periodic paralysis in further detail. As for the rest, she has referred me to an OBGYN at USA Women's Hospital to discuss my options. That appointment comes July 1st. Praying that my uterus hangs in there and doesn't send me back to the ER before then.

Crazy, insane weekend ahead.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More cards for charity, and events this Saturday...


12 more pink cards...proceeds will benefit Pink Heart Funds. This Saturday, June 13th, is their kick-off where people will donate hair to local cancer patients. So in addition to these cards, I am donating...you guessed it...MY HAIR!!! YAY!

This is a big deal for me. I'm nervous and excited! I will also be on site for two hours offering free face painting to those who donate hair. I can't wait. I hope someone will be there to take pics.

I will also be doing a public Bob Ross painting demo at an art festival. This could be a very good thing...please pray that it goes well and that I'm well enough to do all of this!

Speaking of well enough...it's been a rough time for me. My doc appointment is finally here, and I am hoping and praying that they will listen and do something. This is my last resort...I don't know what I'll do if they don't help me. Please say a prayer for me, would you? My appointment is at 1:30pm CDT tomorrow (Wednesday). I'll post an update when I get home.

Have a lot of other stuff to post about as well. I'll get to it eventually...currently trying to wrap my brain around it all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What's next

As expected, my doc office said that they would not treat me, but that I'm welcome to come back when I can pay.

They are releasing my records. Will pick them up and apply for medical assistance through the local university. Only God knows what the wait time is on that. I need divine intervention. I am in horrendous pain. I can't even describe it.

Thank you friends for your prayers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Home from the hospital

The stupid uterus is at it again. One shot of zofran and two shots of morphine back to back barely fazed me...I must be some kind of freak.

Very tired and in pain but I will hopefully be feeling better soon. Doc appointment Wednesday if they agree to see me. If not, I will ask them to refer me to a local university health clinic, as per my E.R. doc who suggested it. After hearing my history with and seeing how it debilitates me, he didn't hesitate to throw the word hysterectomy out there. If it's offered, I'm going to say yes. I'll know more after Wednesday.

I appreciate the love and prayers, friends. This has been a long road, and it's nowhere near over. Your messages and well wishes make a difference, and I thank you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Busy Busy

Good things are happening, people. My work has nearly doubled, I'm on the road a good bit, and while my health issues are a daily battle, some days are better than others.

This past Saturday, I attended the Moss Point River Jamboree. I painted faces for a few hours, and did a short Bob Ross painting demonstration.




Thursday, April 30, 2009

Documenting for future reference...

Full Hypokalemic attack around 3am that lasted all night and most of the day. No sleep, severe pain head to toe, disorientation, trembling muscles, fluctuating body temperature, usual breathing issues. 6:00pm now, hydrated with a berry banana smoothie and fluids. Had Kashi microwave meal for dinner at 5:00pm. Walking a little better but very weak and in terrible pain.

Triggers: cleaning the kitchen at midnight + no sleep + chronic pain.


Will be documenting more thoroughly from now own.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Three things that I never do:











1. Go barefoot.
2. Paint my toenails.
3. Take a photo of my ugly feet for the world to see.

But I did it yesterday for a good cause. Go to http://www.tomsshoes.com/OneDay to see how you can help kids around the world who are in need of shoes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Turned away again...

How many times am I going to be refused medical care in my life? I seriously must hold the record for this. I need to call Guinness.

So the clinic that is affiliated with United Way is not as charitable as expected. Turns out that they have a required MINIMUM income of $7000 a year.

I don't even come close to that.

The lady was very nice, and couldn't apologize enough.

I told her that I understood, and that she didn't make the rules.

I also told her that when I was working, I made donations to their clinic.

All she could say was "wow". She did not want to turn me away, but had to.

She suggested the Health Department, so I went there and the clinic was closed. I will call them tomorrow morning. I also called the Muscular Dystrophy Association and left them a message. I'm hoping to hear back from them tomorrow. The nearest office is in Montgomery, 3.5 hours away, but I'll go if they will do something.

Somebody has to do something. I can't live like this. I am trying not to be angry, but it's hard. I have always slipped through the cracks where medical help is concerned. I have lost count of how many times I've been refused care due to not qualifying or not having enough money or having no insurance...and right now, I feel like I am going to die young because I'm poor.

That is honestly how I feel right now.

I am chronically ill and disabled because I don't have any money. This has been happening since I was a teen.

Something has got to change.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cards for Operation Gratitude

My current project for Homespun Helpers...

















Cards for overseas troops.














More to come!

School Plans

Ok it's official. I am eligible to receive the full pell grant for 09-10, and after comparing the costs, it makes the most sense to return to MGCCC. Even though I am ticked off at their major screw up 10 years ago that has temporarily killed my GPA, it is still worth returning to take that class again (even though I don't need it), which will cancel out the F they mistakenly gave me and my GPA will be restored to whatever it is supposed to be after receiving the new grade for this class. Which is, btw, Music Appreciation. Pfffttth. Whatever. I'll do it.

Seriously. USA's tuition alone is more than double MGCCC's, and now they have tacked on football fees of $253 per semester on top of their building fees, application fees, health fees, transportation fees, and all other fees that they are making people pay per semester whether they use them or not. At MGCCC I can take that unnecessary MA class as well as others, all online, and still come out way ahead and even get a check in the end. So it's settled. I'm applying at MGCCC.

There. It's done. I'm not changing my mind again. It will be worth it.

Three semesters at MGCCC, then transfer to a university for Art Therapy.

God willing, I will somehow find the health and physical ability to do this.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Smile Through The Pain














I gotta tell ya, this photo almost didn't happen. I was so, so sick and just a few hours earlier in the day I couldn't even get out of bed. I was very disappointed as I sent a message to Brad to let him know that I was probably not going to be able to make the trip. So disappointed, that the stubborn Celtic-Cajun-Native American came out in me and I said to myself "Self, get your butt out of this bed and go meet your friends. You may never have the opportunity again. Just get up and do it."

So I did. And it was rough. I couldn't eat anything without being sick, and was in so much pain that I was in tears. But I sucked it up and met Gina, Paula, and Brad at the beautiful Beau Rivage resort. All great people, and I really enjoyed meeting them. The whole night was a blessing, and I'm so thankful that I could be there.

Thank you, friends, for your time, your smiles, and your prayers. I am a lucky girl.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Denied medical care for the 123456789th time...

I was turned away today due to not being able to pay in full.

They don't do monthly payments anymore. It's all or nothing.

I was $70 short.

My circumstances were ignored.

They canceled my appointment.

I came home and filed taxes.

My earned income credit is none other than $71.

But I won't get it for 4 to 6 weeks.

By then, I'll need it for gas and groceries.

So once again, I'm screwed over by our great American medical system.

Welcome to the story of my freaking life.

Monday, April 6, 2009

This weekend...

2 am, up drinking fluids and dealing with my newly-acquired sunburn. Ouch.

Yesterday was exhausting, but fun. We had an incredible crowd, and the wait in line was up to an hour and a half before the Sheriff's office finally had to shut it down and tell people to go home. I have no idea how many faces I painted...it was just chaos. We had a good time, though. Pics and video coming soon.

Today was horrendous. Due to being ill, I arrived late to Pass Christian, and had to leave early. I was nearly in tears the whole time, and completely useless. Didn't paint one face. Just sat, took up donations, handed out fliers, and got sunburned. I actually had to stop at a rest area because I was sick while driving. Never again am I gonna let myself make a commute like that in such misery.

Later this morning, I will call the local charity clinic and see if they can treat my condition. If not, I will call my doc and ask for an emergency appointment. If that doesn't work out, I will have to consider the emergency room.

Off to put aloe on my neck, face, and arms. Then back to bed. I appreciate your prayers and comments here and elsewhere. Will reply asap.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I am outta my mind...

It's four in the morning, I have to be in Pass Christian, Mississippi at 10:30, and I haven't even gone to bed yet. I do believe I'm a few fries short of a happy meal, folks.

A migraine is easing up, but the rest of me is still in bad shape. I've blown up like a balloon from the swelling, to the point that I feel like I'm gonna explode. A lovely mental picture there.

I am going to make the trip to Pass Christian (1.75 hours away, approximately) to Art In The Pass to paint faces. Should be fun, and if you're local, I hope you'll come by and see me. But don't get too close or I'll slap some paint on ya...like this!



















And you might end up looking like a giant sunflower........like this!



















If you're second guessing...yes, it's me. All sunny-sunflowered-up. My 11th grade student painted me, and I painted him. Then we took turns walking around the recreation center scaring people. Ok not really. Or maybe we did. That's debatable. All I know is that the very minute I walked out of the classroom looking like a flowerly freak, a group of manly men came strolling out of the racquetball room and appeared quite startled...haaaaaaa! Twas funny! :D


So anyway...sick or not, fun shall be had in lovely Pass Christian.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bugs are dumb, and other ramblings...

I got home right before midnight tonight...met with my sister about her wedding plans. I'm in charge of her invitations, and she has a heck of a guest list! It's going to be a cool wedding...sunset on Dauphin Island, with a reception at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab of all places! That's gonna be a blast. I can't wait.

So I sat down at my computer, and all of a sudden I hear *tap...tap...tap* on my window. It's midnight for crying out loud. I look towards the window and see nothing. A minute later? *tap...tap...tap* Ok now it's creepy. Why would anyone be tapping on my window at midnight. Probably a cat, or some punk kid playing a joke or something, I guessed. So I got up and went to the window. Then I saw it. *tap...tap...tap*

It was a bug. Throwing its body into my window. Multiple times.

Does it not grasp the fact that it's not going to get past the glass? Why does it continuously slam its body into my window, as if it's somehow going to achieve its goal (which I'm assuming is to come inside and have a snack) by doing this?

It finally stopped a few minutes later. It probably knocked itself unconscious.

Bugs are dumb.


So it's a little after 1 am now, and I'm going to take some meds and attempt to sleep. I'm having a very, very hard time with pain and weakness. I just can't seem to get any relief, but I've got to keep trying...praying...looking for a solution.

On a happier note, my plans for kids classes are almost done, and I will be presenting said plans to Hobby Lobby later this week. If this pans out, it will be a good thing. May God give me the wisdom and strength to make it successful.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Urgency

In too much pain to sleep, but too weak to get much accomplished. I did manage to make queso dip and just took some lentil soup off the stove. Also doing a small load of laundry...time for summer clothes. I believe spring is officially here, and if you're familiar at all with spring on the gulf coast, you know it only lasts a few weeks before it becomes the sweltering six months of summer...April 15 to October 15. 80-100 degree (F) temps with 80-100 percent humidity. It's pretty much like clockwork.

I came to the realization the other day that I live life with a sense of urgency. These days, I get out of bed and rush to tackle as much as humanly possible because I know that my body is going to crash and I'm going to end up back in bed. When I'm functioning better than usual, I do as much as I can because history proves that it is only temporary. A mere window of living, in a lifetime of existence. I don't know how to get out of this "mode", because it's all that I know.

I'm feeling very troubled. Depressed. And more tired than words can describe.

I don't want to only exist. I want to live. And as much as I try to accept, and even redefine my life based on my circumstances and abilities, it just doesn't make sense.

I don't know how to make my life make sense.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Blessings on this St. Patrick's Day




May your troubles be less
And your blessings be more
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.


~Irish Blessing

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I never dreamed that my name would be on someone's tattoo...




My brother Layton got a massively huge tattoo yesterday.

A Celtic cross in honor his siblings.

Names in order of age: Kelli (me, obviously), Kate, John, Suzanne, Seth, Max (in heaven).

The tattoo takes up the entire top half of his arm, as you can see.

It took almost four hours.

His arm is currently double-wrapped in saran wrap and tape.

He has to unwrap and treat it several times a day until it heals.

I nearly burst into tears. All I could say was "Holy crap! No way! Get outta town!"

Layton said he did it so that no matter where he is, he would always have us with him.

I'm speechless. Blown away.

The tattoo is INCREDIBLE.

But not as incredible as the man wearing it.

I am lucky to be his sister.