Monday, November 4, 2013

Two Thousand and Fail

So 2013 has been a failure in the blog dept. Woops! Does anyone even still read here? [Not that I would have blamed you if you had abandoned me lonnnnng ago.]

I guess lately I've just felt like nothing's really been going on that seems blog-worthy. I mean, really, my life is not all that exciting! 

This year has sped past me faster than any in my memory. It seems crazy that we are into November already and the year is fast approaching its' end. My days are long and the weeks are fast as I continue to work full time and delve into ministry, social life and the simple responsibility of home and marriage. I am so blessed to  have married by best friend and I love living life with him. There has been no finer example of a godly, loving man I could conceive of. 

My Bible study is plugging right along. We are nearing the end of Proverbs. It has been such a fulfilling, challenging book that always seems to meet us where we have needs each week. I cannot begin to tell you all the stories of triumph, transformation, and joy that have come through this past year studying this book of wisdom. I get the awesome pleasure of watching God move in all of their lives and so many times am humbled by the wisdom and sincerity of their hearts as God teaches them how to live their lives after His own heart. I have no greater passion than this, watching the Kingdom come to Earth, filling my home and the hearts of such beautiful women. 

With them, this year has been busy! Two weddings, an engagement, a baby, and one has a new boyfriend! There have been graduations, a marriage healed and miracles worked in the lives of one who is a nurse. There truly has been a great deal to praise in this year of God's faithfulness towards us all. I am so grateful for these friends, this community of hope that they have created. I am so proud to live life with them. 

I mean, how could you not love these beautiful, moustachioed faces?
[BTW, Shout out to Mallory for singlehandedly supplying enough hair for this photo.]

For me, Proverbs touched me more this time around seeing the character of God. A couple of weeks ago in chapter 28 He showed me the relief, the answer and the death of condemnation of the ever-present Guilt that so many of us struggle with. 

"Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy." Proverbs 28:13

Grace is the answer to guilt. We will never deserve it, we will never be able to pay for it or obtain it, it is simply there in response to our confession. In our need, God supplies it, maintains it and pours it out on us in the most desperate times. Condemnation seeks to tear down and destroy, to remind us of those awful, unpleasant sins we have committed (some even long ago). Grace is the resounding answer to our souls. We are free. We are forgiven and we are reinstated in relationship with Him because that's where He wants us to be. Mercies that never end. Beauty we do not deserve. Love that never gave up on me. He truly does love me until I am lovely. And there's no condemnation in that. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Cruise Highlights

We escaped the cruel harsh winter for the week to head off to Jamaica and the Grand Caymans. It was definitely good timing as it was snowing right as we left. And by the way, you're all welcome for the sunshine we brought back with us! :)

It was kind-of an early anniversary trip since Jesse had a bunch of vacation days to use up before May or he would lose them. Soooo, we had to go on vacation. 

Carnival Victory

Some of the highlights were of course  the food! Fantastic entree's and even better desserts. And somehow there soft serve ice cream was even better than anything I've tried yet. It could have been the 90-plus degree weather, but all the same, delicious. 

We loved climbing the Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rio's Jamaica. Sadly, no photos as we would have never been able to keep the camera dry. We were up to our waists in water, and had to form a human chain to get our whole group up the falls. Filled with lots of laughs though! Strangely enough, we saw a woman climbing up in her wedding dress! Daring! 

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

The shows were fantastic. Well done with sets and lighting, live band and singers. The singers were absolutely phenomenal. The woman could sing everything from Shania Twain, to Madonna and finally Elvis. Flawless. One of the funniest nights was the marriage show, Newlywed style, where they bring three couples up and ask them all questions to compare the answers. A really good laugh, and an older man named Albert totally stole the show. Props to him and his wife for having a happy 49 years of marriage! 

We found a mermaid that looked like Liam Neeson. See below. 

We sunned ourselves a lot on the deck of the ship. Even watched some "Dive-in-Movies" on a giant screen over the pool. There was also a dance party and midnight Mexican Buffet one night. That was interesting...

The trip back ended up taking around 15 hours and was pretty exhausting, but we are back home safe and sound from an amazing time at Sea! Definitely had an enjoyable time detaching from work and responsibilities. These will be good memories for us for ages to come!
Our Favorite Place on Board, a double sized Hammock!

Cheers to nearly 3 years of marriage! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Heart Month

You may or may not know, but the last few months have held quite a health scare for me. Shortly before Christmas I had a fainting spell at home that appeared to be a seizure, and Jesse couldn't get me to respond, so he had me rushed to the ER. 

Where they ran a battery of tests but found absolutely nothing. I am apparently in mysteriously good health (PTL), yet somehow still managed to completely lose consciousness? Other than finding out my blood pressure runs typically low, they came up with little to no information about what was going on. While they were running tests, it mildly happened again, my blood pressure dropping to 40 (should be closer to 120) and they got me to breathe through it so I didn't lose full consciousness. They suggested I follow up with a cardiologist. 

And I'm thinking "a cardiologist? I'm too young for that?!" 

Turns out it was a good idea. He had me set up for a tilt-table test. They strap you to a table and lean you back about 70 degrees. Imagine, leaning backwards against a wall. They let you stay there for a half an hour and watch what your heart and blood pressure do. Apparently almost anyone will pass out after this much time. They were essentially trying to induce the episode to see what's going on. 

Well it worked. A little too well. Right around 22 minutes, I started to feel myself pass out so I let them know. Less than 30 seconds later I had completely lost consciousness and went into the convulsion thing that Jesse had seen at home. Usually when they do this and then they lay you back down, most people don't go out all the way, their heart rate rises and they recover. Instead, my heart stopped beating. For roughly 30 seconds my heart was completely flatlined. (I am glad Jesse wasn't there. He probably wouldn't have handled it well.) I scared all the nurses and they were all a little freaked out, because they had never seen this before. 

They had to give me medication to get my heart rate back above 80 because it was having a hard time rising above 40-60 beats per minute. And my blood pressure was still out of whack, not regulating itself back to normal yet. A few bags of fluid and about an hour later, they released me to go home and rest. Also forbidden was working and driving until they knew more about what was happening and how to treat me, as the Dr didn't want to put me on a pacemaker. (Thank God!) So for the last 21 days or so I've been on a leave of absence, unsure of what's been going on. Thankfully it was very restful and I enjoyed myself immensely. 

Largely I feel completely normal. These spells don't happen frequently, but they can be life threatening. They put me on a simple medication that will regulate and dull the reaction so that if it does happen again it won't be so severe and the heart won't stop. It is mostly an issue with the Vagal nerve being overactive, and shocking the heart too much, which causes it to stop. So we're working together to find out what triggers these reactions and avoid them (such as pain, stress, standing in one place too long, etc). Add that to the medication, and I will lead a completely normal life!  I will still be able to work and exercise and enjoy myself. He released me today to return to work, which is a huge relief! 

The biggest blessing of all, is that he said most young people who have this issue seem to outgrow it. By age 30-35 we will reassess and hopefully it will no longer be an issue, and the nerve will be calmed down a bit and not so easily triggered to stop the heart. 

I feel thankful. Thankful that they know what's going on and it will (hopefully) be easily managed and not happen again. Thankful that I have insurance. Thankful for a good and caring Doctor. Thankful that we haven't been bankrupted or financially burdened by this beyond measure. I am thankful there is hope for healing! I am thankful to lead my life, working, driving, and that it won't restrict me in ways that would have been really difficult. Thankful I don't seem to need a pacemaker for this issue. Thankful for my life, that God saw fit to leave me on this Earth a bit longer. Thankful for my supportive and loving Husband. Thankful for family and friends who have prayed for me and walked through this with me. 

Thankful you all chose to finish this extremely long monologue!
Seriously, thank you for taking an interest in my life. 
Hope you all have just as many reasons to be thankful!