Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year Vlog

Vicki passed away a couple days ago. Just another reminder of how fragile life is. Please embrace it while you have the chance, and do what you can to make a positive difference in the world.

I am so grateful to have so many kind and wonderful friends. Even if most of you are from a distance, you truly matter. Thank you for loving me, and I wish you all a happy and wonderful 2012.

God bless,

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE! My 2011 Review and 2012 Goals...

Mercy, y'all. What a year it has been. Anyone who has been crazy kind enough to follow my blog in 2011 knows just how much my life transformed overnight nearly nine months ago. It has been a nightmare...the worst one I've ever known...but by the grace of God, I have survived it thus far.

I've gotten to the point where I no longer fully recover from my frequent paralytic attacks, and the MDA has given me no hope of doing so. It is impossible to accept this as my "new normal", so I continue to do what I can to learn about this disease and try to control and improve the symptoms. I am in my mid-30's. I can't give up, and I refuse to live in a prison of fear. There are days when I have no quality of life, but on the days I can function, I'm going to live with all that is in me.

Hard to believe it's the end of the year. In some ways, this year has dragged by (for the obvious reasons). In other ways, it's crazy to see that 2012 is upon us, ready or not. Every year, I give myself goals...resolutions, I suppose. And every New Years Eve, I review them and then make a new list. I'm a very serious "list" person, if you didn't know. Yep, I'm one of those.

That being said, it's time to review my 2011 goals! Drum roll, please...

1. Figure out what to do about my college degree, and make it happen.

I continued college and did very well considering my extreme decline in health. I am so happy I hung in there and didn't give up. I've completed 17 classes at MGCCC, 4 classes elsewhere, and have an overall 3.9 GPA.
I also decided on a new major, since I can no longer physically handle an Art degree. In 2012, I will move on to university where I will pursue Psychology and History. I'm more excited about this than I thought I would be...I really can't wait to dive into the curriculum!

2. Road trip out of state to visit family and meet my new niece due to arrive in March!



3. Increase and become more organized in my teaching business.

This sadly came to a halt thanks to debilitating, life-threatening episodes of Periodic Paralysis. My life hasn't been the same since, but I hope and pray to return to some form of teaching in 2012.

4. Decrease my debt, whatever it takes.

Needless to say, this has been impossible as I have been ungainfully unemployed since April. I am surviving on the charity of family and friends, and I am eternally grateful for the help I have received. This has been a long road and there is no end in sight, but I am doing the best I can.

5. Put a dent in one of my manuscripts...article, short story, fiction, non-fiction...who cares! Just work on something!!!

I worked on a couple of new blogs (yet to be launched) and began work on my first eBook - IF I HAD A MILLION BUCKS. Further info on my eBook project can be found on that blog. I still have a cornucopia of manuscripts on the back burner, and I hope to be able to put a dent in at least one of them once I am finished with my current project.

6. Remain honest and aware, pray, and strive to improve myself each and every day.

Well, this goes without saying. It has been one of the worst years of my life. However, as long as I am breathing, I will strive to remain true to myself and others.

And now, my goals for 2012...wish me luck!

1. Wrap up my time at MGCCC and successfully (FINALLY, PLEASE) move on to university.

2. Publish my first eBook.

3. Return to teaching and working, God willing.

4. Complete all art, craft, and charity projects currently pending or in progress.

5. Become more organized in my home and daily life.

6. If I start matter what it is...finish it!

And as always, I have four goals that I call "Mainstays", because they are the same every year:

7. Reach/maintain my ideal weight and keep my health under control as much as possible. Easier said than done, but I will do my best.

8. Stay involved in one or more charities/ministries. It gives me a reason to live.

9. Read more, write more, and learn more. This is thankfully inevitable, as I am in college!

10. Be a good friend/relative, and strive to improve myself every day.

May 2012 be a better, healthier, happier year for us all.

God bless,

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home from the ATL

Although I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I had hoped to, my road trip was successful. The HKPP acted up quite a bit and I am still recovering, but I am thankful that I made it to Marietta/Atlanta and back home in one piece. I'll post a ton of pics soon.

Hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas. I'll be blogging a good bit this week, so stay tuned if you wish.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all the rest

Whatever you celebrate, hope it's a great one.

As for me, I visited with my family tonight and had my uncle's awesome seafood gumbo, as is the Christmas Eve tradition. Tomorrow early morning, I set out on my first road trip since my serious episodes of Periodic Paralysis began in April. Prayers for safe travels appreciated, and I'll blog again soon (with pics)!

Until next time...enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Hate Cancer

I hate it so much.

My friend Vicki is dying.

She had previously fought and won.

Three weeks ago, a spot was found.

It is happening so fast.

She may not make it to Christmas.

I hate cancer.

I hate it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mock Mashed Potatoes

I've been trying to find a successful recipe for mock mashed potatoes since I can't have the real thing anymore. Thanks to some tips from Food Network enthusiasts on Facebook, I finally got it right!

Mock Mashed Potatoes:

Bag of frozen cauliflower (or fresh if you want)
Stick of butter
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
8 oz light sour cream
Cheese of your choice. I use finely shredded cheddar jack and grated parm. I don't measure this...just play around with the recipe until it's as cheesy as you want it to be.
Handful of bacon bits (if desired)
Tsp minced garlic
Fresh cracked peppercorns to taste
Salt if desired, but I don't add any.

Steam the cauliflower in 1/2 stick butter until soft. Drain very well. Place in blender with cream cheese, sour cream, cheese, garlic, pepper, and remainder of butter and blend until smooth. I suggest using a stick blender or one with a "whip" mode, and I prefer it thick enough to not slide off the spoon. Pour into a microwavable container, add more cheese on top if you wish, add bacon bits, and reheat (the cheeses and sour cream cool it off quickly in the blender, so it has to be warmed back up).

Enjoy the cheesy goodness!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

If I Had A Million Bucks, the eBook update

Hey folks, thanks so much for all the charity suggestions. The eBook is going to take MUCH longer than I expected, as I have around 150 charities to research and contact. I'd like to say it will ready for publishing in January, but I would be surprised.

Stay tuned, though. It will be done. I look forward to making this free eBook my first publication (not counting all my blogs, of course). Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I found this little one in the yard, unable to move.

His eyes were scratched out and his legs were limp.

I walked up very close to him (but was careful not to let him touch me) and he tried to move but couldn't.

He started shaking, so I stood there and talked to him softly until he stopped.

He then leaned over and started playing with his tail, and my heart broke because I knew there wasn't a thing I could do to help him.

All I could do was accept that this was a wild animal who got in a fight with another wild animal, and lost. :(

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Added a few pieces to the portfolio

It's not much, but at least I finally updated Gulf Coast Art Studio a bit. Maybe one of these days, I'll have professional photos taken of my work. Until then, you got lil ol vision-impaired me and my lil ol pink Canon Powershot.

Works that I hope to add to the portfolio in 2012:

Cape Hatteras acrylic design on illustration board
Pastel drawing of a horse...still deciding on a name for him
Several baby name door signs for family members
That dang Cracker Barrel tribute drawing from 2010 that I have yet to finish (I did share a preview on the's a nostalgic candy still-life collage)
Several Bob Ross style paintings, if I can return to teaching

I miss my art terribly and hope to be able to return to it soon.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Algebra Chronicles (Part 1)


Ah, I am so very happy to be finished with my first (of four) math classes. Anybody who knows me knows that math is my Achilles' heel to an epic degree.

The course started out well. I made an A and a couple of B's. Was feeling pretty good about that:

Then I nosedived, and things got scary:

(Thank God the practice tests didn't count towards my grade. I would have failed miserably.)

That 73 was once a 61. The instructor reset everyone's test and we took it over. Boy was that a lucky break!

The final had me very nervous, considering that I failed the first practice test and got a C on the 2nd one. Miraculously, I managed to get a B on the real test! That helped pull my grade back up and I ended up with an overall B+ in the course. Woo!!!

It's my first non-A at MGCCC, but I am MORE than happy to accept a B in ANY math class! I'm taking that B and running like the wind. That is, until January...when I start the next level of Algebra. *SHUDDERS*

I'll be so glad when I'm finished with math so I can focus on Psychology and History again. I realize it's all a part of the process, though. I'm going to continue to do my best and try not to stress (<-yeah right)! :)