Monday, December 17, 2012

random mondays

It was rough sending the kids to school this morning.

The Connecticut school shooting is still fresh on my mind.

I have 18 pages written on my final seminary paper for the semester.

It's in rough draft form but it still feels nice to have something written out.

It is due no later than Wednesday the 19th.

Today is the last full day with out children that I have to work on it.

Anna and Paul have their classroom Christmas parties tomorrow.
Anna only has class until 10:30 tomorrow.

I haven't done anything for Christmas yet. I've been consumed with school.

I'm tired.

I need to go get a new license.

I hate going into the court house.

It is so white.

They need some color in there.

It's sterile and depressing and always puts me in a bad mood.

It that weird?
I just hate that I have to go through a pat down to go get my license.  
I can't walk through the metal detector because of my pacemaker.
Then they have to SEE where my pacemaker IS and check everything on me.
It's annoying and not something that I enjoy doing.
I get tired of the "you don;t look old enough to have a pacemaker" comments.
You would think I would learn not to lose my license.
I need to get a wallet.  A small one.
I hate carrying a purse.  That's why I am always losing stuff.
My pockets suck apparently.
I should get back to working on this paper.
My head hurts.
All I want to do for christmas is cuddle up with the kids and Roger and watch movies.
we're ALL ready for a break.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

My First Semester Back

It's rough getting out of bed on a Saturday when you have been up all night with a sick 7 year old.

When Anna barged into the room at 7am asking for breakfast RIGHT NOW, I sweetly cuddled up to my husband and whispered sweet nothings in his ear in order to convince him that I needed at least another hr of sleep.

It worked!

But I'm not really sure it was because of my sweet nothings because he eventually came back into the bedroom demanding that I get up to go study for my final exams.I guess he wanted to make sure I got plenty of sleep because he knew he was going to kick me out of the house to study.

You see. I pushed him for 5 yrs, (well more than that if you count the undergrad stuff) to get his studying done. We were BOTH determined that he would get his MDiv. I supported him by taking on the tasks of child rearing, house cleaning, and dinner making, and occasionally kicked his butt so that he would be motivated to get his class work completed.

The roles have changed.  Or so it seems.

All of Saturday was spent locked in the church office studying for my final exams.  When I got home I found a hot hunk of a man folding our laundry in a clean house.  He had even fed the children and get this, bathed them. . .  both of them!

This afternoon, Sunday, I fell asleep on the bed while studying.  Not a good place to study. I woke up a bit disoriented, realizing that I needed to go to the grocery store.  As I was rushing around trying to find the list that I had made between study sessions, my Husband grabbed me by the arm and said in a oh so romantic voice "why don't you let me go grocery shopping. You need to rest. You have a big day tomorrow."   My eyes glossed over and little hearts began to fly over my head.

This first semester back after 5 yrs of not being a full time student has been emotionally draining. It is tricky trying to juggle the kids' school activities, their homework, church stuff and family stuff, all while attempting to be a full time student.  On top of that, my heart was giving me a lot of trouble the first part of the semester. That in its self was an emotional roller coaster. One evening when I was feeling particualry bad, right before going to the ER, I rolled over to Roger and said "I don't think I'm going to make it through the night. Just know that I love you and the kids and that I'm ok. I'm not scared to die."

After being rushed to the hospital, we found out that my doctors had my pacemaker set too low and had me on meds that were making my blood pressure dangerously low. I was also having a LOT of skipped beats, to the point that my pulse at resting was 40bpm.  As my cardiologist said, I was on the verge of drifting into heaven. 

I feel incredible now that all the meds are balanced and the pacemaker has been set higher!

 More than anything, this semester has been about learning our new rhythm.  For so long I have taken on EVERYTHING so that Roger could focus on school and work and enjoying the kids whenever he had free time.  It's been hard for me to step back, and it has been hard for him to know when to step up. I think we are finally getting the hang of this!   maybe?!?

I mean, I could totally get used to coming home to a clean house, clean children and clean laundry.

I'm just saying!

I will close with a prayer.  "Dear Lord, Help me pass my exams."   Amen

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

13 Year Anniversary

I shouldn't be writing this.  I have so much school work that I need to be doing but since I have been working on research since I dropped Paul off at school, and it is now 1:30pm, I have decided to take a mini "brain break."  

Here's the thing. 
I was standing in the kitchen a little while ago, making lunch for Anna, when she yelled out "Is it December yet?" 
The child is super excited about Advent.
I'm thinking it has something to do with her advent calendar that is full of chocolate.

The child LOVES chocolate . . . and presents . . .  and baby Jesus.

As I was explaining to her that it was not  December just yet, I began to wonder what the actual date was. My brain is in constant go so I tend to forget what day it is..
 As I was cutting up fruit, I started thinking about my assignments for class, remembered that yesterday was the 26th of November and thought out loud "that means today is the 27th."  

That's when I yelled out "HOLY CRAP IT IS OUR ANNIVERSARY."   

I dropped EVERYTHING, picked up the phone, called Roger, (who was in rout to the dentist to get a cavity filled) and blurted out "Happy anniversary. It's been 13yrs since you confessed your love to me!"

We took a second to laugh about our current circumstance and quickly got off the phone.  
(Anna was hungry . . .  and letting me know it)

I love this picture of my MawMaw and Pawpaw at their wedding.

Isn't it lovely?!?!

Looking at family photos like this makes me so grateful for the examples of marriage that I have in my life.
Looking at this photo, knowing about their ups and downs, helps me to see that marriage is not always easy.  In fact, from what I have heard, sometimes it is pure hell..  But in the end, marriage is two people who have committed themselves to one another, through thick or thin.

Roger and I have yet to reach the thin part of marriage.
I know one day we will.
I'm not naive in knowing that 8 years is a piece of cake in regards to the 50 years Mawmaw and Pawpaw spent together before his death. 
My prayer is that the daily maintenance and upkeep that we do in regards to our relationship will sustain our marriage when the thin comes.

For your entertainment, here is a small bit from the journal of my 15 year old self:
November 19, 1999
"I really like Roger! He is the first boy I have ever liked this much. Maybe someday we'll get married! Just think, Jessica Jasper. Maybe we'll even have two kids. I just love thinking about that. I could go on and on about about Roger. I just think he is the best thing that has ever happened to me, but I don't know if he feels the same."
November 20, 1999
"Mom and Dad said that I couldn't go to church with Roger, but they said he could come over (after church). So he did!  He picked up a movie on the way over. We sat on the couch and watched it. I leaned up against him like I always do. He didn't put his arm around me or hold my hand. I think it is because he is scared of my mom (mom would sit in the same room as us at all times). He'll get over it. I hope!"

December11, 1999
"I was talking to mom tonight about how much I love Roger and Roger loves me. I even told my mom that we would probably get married. She said he is a good guy and has a good heart but my feelings will change with time. I say they wont. I love Roger and Roger loves me and nothing can change that. Not even time. God can change it. But I pray he doesn't"

I love that I have our whole life together documented for our children to look back on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

Tonight Roger, the kids, and I are having our little Thanksgiving Dinner.


We sure are!

I decided to make coconut chicken curry with white rice, and Roger made traditional Indian Flat bread (chapati bread) to go along with it.

The house is REALLY smokey.  It's like we turned a fog machine on.

The kids think it is awesome.

Tomorrow the kids are both out of school, I'm out of school and Roger is off of work, so we have decided to declare the Wednesday before Thanksgiving . . . Pajama Day!!   

We are going to cuddle up in our pjs and play board games all day.

I'm toying with the idea of going to the Zoo tomorrow afternoon and finally using a gift card we got LAST Christmas to a nice steak house that we STILL haven't managed to find the time to use.

But we shall see.

We shall see.

The weather has be stunning and my heart is full of joy!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a LOVELY break.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

We take flight

I was sweeping the floor this afternoon, the kitchen floor, it was driving me crazy and I was having one of those "I have got to clean this floor" moments, when my phone rang.

It was Roger on the other end.

"Hey!  I've got some good news."

Oh no, I thought, here it goes, he is going to ask me out on a date when he KNOWS that I have too much on my mind to drop everything and go on a random date, no matter how much I want to go on a date with him.

"listen, how would you feel about spending the evening at the airport?"

My heart dropped.  I immediately thought about my friend who I had dropped off at the airport earlier that day.  The last time I saw her I wasn't quite sure she would make it on her flight.  She had never flown before and was full of anxious tension.

I yelled out in the saddest shocked voice ever.  "oh my gosh,  did she not get on the plane?"  

After an hysterical laugh from the other end of the phone, Roger began to explain that 
one of our friends was taking their personal Cessna up for an evening fly, thought about how much Paul has been wanting to fly and decided to give us a call to see if we were up for a ride.

Roger took great pleasure in the fact that he was able to come home from work and say "hey kids, I have a surprise for you.  Do you want to go for a ride in an airplane?!?!?!"

It was everything Paul had ever dreamed of.

Anna had a great time too.  
When she gets really super excited she gets really super quiet.
Here is a video of her first take off.

Thank you Mr Bill for making our dreams come true! -  Paul and Anna

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I have no clue what is up with me today.

This morning I tried to make coffee and ended up getting about 4 cups of it all over the counter.

I hadn't put the filter holder thingy in correct and had no clue.  The little timer went off telling me that I had coffee but then when I went to pour it in my cup it there was none.  I looked at the machine very strangely for a long time before calling Roger at the office. I got the answering machine right about the time I figured out that I had put the filter holder thingy in wrong. When I reached in to move it, it being full of HOT coffee water, still on the phone with the answering machine, I burnt my hand.  Then, because I had moved it to the correct position, the water started filtering through. The only problem was that the coffee pot was NOT in the machine. Coffee started going EVERYWHERE and I coudn't figure out how to stop it.
This whole time I STILL have the phone in my hand and Roger's answering machine is STILL recording me.  

This afternoon, while vacuuming, I noticed that powdery stuff was coming out of the side of the vacuum.  I thought it a bit odd, but just kept right along. When I got finished I decided to change the bag since I hadn't changed it in a LONG time. I thought it strange that the little light indicating a need for a change hadn't come on.  I pulled the front of the vacuum off and out came a MASSIVE amount of dust and dirt . . . all over the carpet.  "ROGER!  HELP! OH DEAR LORD!  FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE I CAN'T WIN TODAY."

Tonight, after tucking the kids into bed, I took off quickly into my bedroom to grab something. And if i didn't trip over a big suitcase.  I have no clue how that suitcase got there.  

I finally broke down and bought new jammies!  All of the others have BIG holes in the butt.  
I figured since the holidays are approaching, and that I will be spending the night with lots of family, I should finally give up the holy pjs.   I'm sure my Mother will appreciate that! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quick Family Update

I think we are all finally starting to get used to our new schedule because this week was less cRaZy than the last 2 months have been.  
But that could be because  I skipped 2 volunteer things this week that I normally do. 

I know, I felt a little bad about it.

I just NEEDED some time to myself, to care for myself so that I wouldn't be the wicked witch to my hyper children. 
Last week I had 2 exams that I had to prepare for.
My test anxiety was SUPER HIGH. 
I hadn't studied for an exam in over 5 years. 
 And I had NEVER studied for an exam while trying to parent 2 elementary school children all by myself. (roger was REALLY busy last week so he was gone a lot)

Class is going great for me! 

I do have a LOT to think about at ALL TIMES but that's ok. 
I've really looked forward to this time in my life and I am really enjoying all the knowlegde that is being passed on to me.  

I love being able to use my mind again!  

However, with the kids and the house, I seem to have something that needs my attention at all times.  That part is a bit exhausting, but I am slowly learning to balance it all.
 I've taken up swimming laps at the local fitness center on Thursday evenings as a way to destress.
 It's lovely!!
And of course I still do my daily walks with Jimmy the dog, no matter the weather. 

 Little moments away, to breathe and reflect on life, help me to enjoy the hectic craziness of our lives at the moment.

Speaking of breathing, my new pacemaker setting and new meds are doing WONDERFUL.
 Now that I know what it feels like to not feel as if I am about to fall over dead, I am amazed that I was able to get through the summer with the kids.  
I can't believe I drove ALL THE WAY to the beach with the kids, with out Roger, and kept up with them the WHOLE TIME.  During that trip my blood pressure was dangerously low and my pulse was at 40, but I had no idea. All I knew is that I felt so horrible.  

No wonder I was like a walking zombie.  
I nearly was.

Ok, this is as much time as I have to devote to a quick update. Just know that all is well, I am feeling AMAZIN (thank you God, doctors, pacemaker, and meds), the kids are getting the hang of being back in school, I am getting the hang of being back in school, and Roger is starting to get used to not being IN school.

Life is pretty sweet!

It would be even sweeter if we could sell that darn house.  It has been on the market for OVER 2 YEARS. 

We are thinking about renting it out if it doesn't sell in the next few weeks.
I can't stand to see an empty house go through another cold winter.

Now I best get dressed, and the kids dressed, for church.  This pastor's wife is ALWAYS LATE.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Pastor Anna

This afternoon while Roger and I were at church cleaning up and setting up for a function, Anna asked if she could try her hand at preaching.  It took a bit for her to warm up, but once she did there was no stopping her.

Bless her heart, at 4 years of age, she has more spunk than most grown up pastors. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Stay Near The Door: Reflections on Seminary

When I recently stopped by Mom and Dad's house I was handed a laundry basket full of my old stuff.

Mom had decided to finally move us kids out.

Being a neat freak myself, the last thing I wanted to do was to take a laundry basket full of childhood stuff home.  My initial response was to ask Mom to just toss it ALL. 

But then I caught a glimpse of an old book in the basket.  

A book that my husband, Roger, had given me when I was about 16.  
An old book written by Seward Hiltner, on Pastoral Counseling. 

I took the basket home.

I can't believe I had forgotten how long I have been wrestling with the idea of going to seminary.

Before Roger and I officially became boyfriend or girlfriend, back when we were "just friends," we used to talk about how we both felt called to the ministry in some way.   One of the first gifts Roger gave to me was the above mentioned book on Pastoral Counseling.  

Years later, here I sit, in Seminary, studying for a degree in Pastoral Care and Counseling.

I want to share this poem with you that was shared with me this past week.
It's written by a paster about his call to the ministry and I find it to be a beautiful way to describe this vocation that Roger and I find ourselves in.  

I stay near the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world,
It is the the door through which men walk when they find God.
There's no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for the door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it . . .
So I stay near the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door -  the door to God.
The most important thing any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch - the latch that only locks
And opens to the man's own touch.
Men die outside the door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter -
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it - live because they found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him . . .
So I stay near the door.

Go in, great saints, go all the way in -
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics - 
It is a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest hidden casements,
Of the withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Som must inhabit those inner rooms,
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture in a little farther,
But my place seems closer to the opening . . .
So I stay near the door.

There is another reason why I stay there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them;
For God is so very great, and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia,
And want to get out. "Let me out!" they cry.
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them that they are spoiled
For the old life, they have seen too much:
Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell them how much better it is inside.

The people too far in do not see how near these are 
To leaving - preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them, too,
I stay near the door.
I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply,  and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.

Where? Outside the door - 
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But, more important for me,
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stay by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
I had rather be a door keeper . . .
So I stay near the door.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What The Church Is To Me

Within the church sit flawed people with shared stories of redemption. 

Not all of our stories are exactly alike.  
The experience may differ. 
The story we share.

Unfortunately, a growing number in our society only see the institution and not the people.  

Unaffiliated, Designer Faiih, seems to be the fasts growing "religion" in America.  

Our society is full of isolated, independently minded people who suffer the great sickness of loneliness. 

They look for community in secular places and are boggled when that community is not found

Yes, Jesus can be found in the backyard, at the fitness center, in the knitting circle and at the bar, but how often do the ppl you meet in those places come to your home for dinner, or attempt to reach out to you during a time of need, or are willing to lovingly confront you so that you are able to grow as a person.

The church, for me, is the center of the community.  
For those within the church they see it as the place where the broken gather to heal, where the happy go to rejoice, and the lonely go to build a community. 

Those who have never experienced a loving church community see the church as an unnecessary institution.

They don't see the people. 

The people, the community, the shared story, is what keeps me going through the good and bad. 

The church gives me hope.  

To follow Christ we allow His life to move over our lives.

As a result, we change.

We grow.

We share. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Heart Update: Staying Alive

I woke up Monday morning feeling exceptionally bad.
I mean, I have felt bad for about 2 years, but I was feeling REALLY bad in particular that morning.

I headed on to class.

By 2pm I was feeling so bad I didn't think I would be able to make the drive home.
During my break in class I shot my cardiologist an email.

At 5pm I was told by one of my professors that I didn't look too well, when I explained that I didn't feel too well he told me to go home.

The 2 hr drive from campus to home was miserable. 
I felt scared, depressed, and defeated.

I cried the whole drive. 

Once at home I was notified by my cardiologist that he thought it would be a good idea if I went ahead to the nearest ER.
I was hesitant.  Over the past 2 yrs I can't tell you how many times I have been told to "head to the ER," only to find nothing but a BIG bill.

I decided to wait it out.

Surely, this was all in my head.  right?

Tuesday was spent on the couch... all day long.... in agony.
My heart kept skipping beats, my chest, left arm, back and side of my neck were tight.
I had no strength to move.

I KNEW something wasn't right.

By Tuesday evening I had had ENOUGH.  
I needed to go to the ER.

My cardiologist called the Hospital, sent over all my paper work, and sent a list of things that he wanted them to look for.    

After a few tests, I was admitted.

Surgery was a big possibility.

My little brother and his wife happened to be in town for a play and hurried over to the ER when they heard the news.  Mom and Dad were 3 hrs away. 

That night Roger slept in the chair beside my bed.  With the possibility of heart surgery hanging over me, on top of the fact that I felt as if I were to about breathe my last, I insisted that he stay.

Tuesday night was very rough.  My pulse and blood pressure kept dropping dangerously low.
My mind would not stop running through the "what ifs."
I told Roger that if anything happened I wanted them to try their best to bring me back..... for the kids.

To make a long story short, by Thursday the doctors had FINALLY figured out what they thought was going on.

So, here is the short version.

My pacemaker was set too low, the bottom wire leading to my heart's bottom chamber was malfunctioning, and the 2 new medicines that I had been placed on were making my blood pressure too low.  

Because the pacemaker was set too low (on a low pulse), I was having a LOT of Premature Ventricular Contractions in my bottom chamber.  Because the bottom wire of my pacemaker was malfunctioning it was picking up the massive amount of PVCs that I was having and telling my pacemaker that I was having regular heart beats.  Because of THAT, my pacemaker was not sending a pace to my top chamber.  My top chamber has lost function of it's natural pacer and uses my human made pacemaker over 90% of the time.  Because it was being told by the bottom wire that I WAS having a heart beat, it wasn't beating.   Thus the reason why my heart kept stopping/skipping.  

By Wednesday evening I was feeling MUCH better.  
My pulse was set up to 75!
When a good friend came to see me that evening she said, quote, "Jess, you are so perky!!"   

I couldn't stop smiling! 

The doctor allowed me out of the room to walk around the halls.  I ran up the stairwells.  

They kept me over night on wednesday for observation.  
By Thursday morning my PVCs had virtually disappeared.  
My heart rhythm was stable, even though my blood pressure was pretty low.

My meds were changed up and I was discharged at noon.

Thursday evening was spent cuddled up on the couch with the kids, watching the sun set out the window, while we enjoyed one of our favorite Disney movies. 

Thankful!   Thankful! Thankful! 

(this ones for you dad)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Little Cottage Office

Another week of classes, volunteer work, and momma jobs has come and gone.

What. A. Week.

This weekend has been spent preparing for the week ahead.... and resting.... a bit.

Last night we headed out to Tyler's house for a potluck and bonfire with friends.
Yes, it was so nice to sit outside, roasting marshmallows, talking to friends, under a STUNNING half moon.  What a beautiful night! 

It was also nice to finally use Tyler's table.  It seems like everytime we all get together to eat, we end up just standing around in the kitchen.  This time we actually sat down for the meal.... in the dinning room.... and even held hands to pray before we partook in all the good fall food.  
I'm pretty sure it was because this time the girls out numbered the guys by one.
Us ladies took it upon ourselves to prepare the table.

Saturday morning was spent sorting and cleaning.
Some church folks brought over some furniture for us that they were no longer using.
Office Desk and Chair. Sofa Chair. Fold out Chair


It got me all excited about making a little "cottage office loft" for myself.
You know, I'm in seminary, I NEED a good place to study.

About 8 yrs ago some friends decided to throw away 2 little book shelves.  We found them sitting on their front porch and asked if we could have them.  They said yes.  I have FOREVER said that I am going to devote a weekend to painting them, but of course, never have.  Those little ugly beat up book shelves have been mocking me every time I place a book on them.

So, I rummaged through the basement and found some old paint.

I spent the rest of the weekend sorting, painting and dreaming.

The Finished product.

Roger can sit right here while I type my papers.

I bought the one on the left when I was pregnant with Paul and the one of the right when I was pregnant with Anna.  They now have a nice little place on my window sill..... in my little cottage office! 

now, I best get off of here and actually USE my office for what it is intended to be used for..... Studying For Seminary. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

When the going gets tough...

...I jump in the station wagon and head out on the Kentucky backroads.

Past the gas station that has no pump.

Past the Junk Yard with the church.
Nothing Fancy Holiness Church

Straight on to the small wooded path.

When things get tough, my soul yearns to be with nature.

heaven on earth

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jessica and Summer's Adventure to Heart Land

Today was the day.  The day that I had been dreading.

Test day.

I am NOT a good test taker.  I get that dreaded test anxiety.

Especially when it comes to my heart.
I just KNOW I am going to fail SOMETHING.

To make things a bit more enjoyable I asked my good friend (and Sunday School Teacher) Summer if she would be willing to go with me to the cardiologist.  Bless her heart, she put in extra hours at work the past two days so that she could take off ALL DAY on Thursday to be with me.  If it weren't for her moral support I honestly don't think I would have made it through the day.  Typing this out, telling you all about how kind it was of her to work so hard so that she could spend all day at the hospital with me, is making me cry. 

 Seriously, I am crying right now as I type this.  

It is so nice to have such wonderful people in our lives.

God is so good isn't he!?!?!?

Since I have a certain type of congenital heart defect that requires me to see a pediatric cardiologist, my tests have to take place at the Children's Hospital.
Which, honestly, is fine with me!  I love being around cute, bright, happy colors.

they use these, instead of wheelchairs, to transport the kids. I asked, they said I was too big.

Before heading to the hospital we grabbed a quick lunch at our FAVORITE place, 
lynns paradise cafe.  Yes, it was YUMMY!  And yes, I got the same thing I get there every single time.

We scored the table with the electric train running through it!   JACKPOT

The first of MANY tests included breathing in and out of crazy things, crazy ways, while being put into, and pulled out of, a bizarre sci-fi chamber.   

in the sci-fi chamber. nose clips on, holding my cheeks down.  breathing through a small hole in the wall.

I couldn't look at Summer during these tests because they made me feel so incredibly ridiculous.  At one point, after making eye contact with her, I started laughing so hard we had to start the test over again. I closed my eyes as much as possible and left the hysterical laughing until after the tests. 

During the running portion of the test, Summer cheered me on.  "Come on Jessica!  You are almost to the next level.  Go! Go!  You can do it.  Hold on just a little bit more."

We then walked across the street, to the clinic, to continue the tests.
I had to have my pacemaker checked out, my EKG looked at (again), and an Ultra Sound done on my heart.  

It was a long, emotional, day.   
I am so thankful that Summer came along to keep me company (and carry all my stuff and remind me to tell my doctor certain things and help me find the elevator).

In a nut shell, this is what is going on with my heart.
Your heart has two chambers, a top and a bottom. Your natural pacemaker is responsible for keeping those two chambers pumping.   My natural pacemaker is gone, it doesn't work much any longer, I am paced 97% of the time by the manmade pacemaker that has been implanted in me.  That pacemaker has two, what they call, Leads.  Those are connected directly to my heart and lead up to my pacemaker battery.  When I had my pacemaker implanted 12yrs ago, the bottom lead didn't work properly, so they turned it off, leaving only my top chamber lead on.  I didn't much need the bottom lead on because the top chamber was sending information (electrical signals) to the bottom chamber, causing it to pump.  However, the doctor is thinking that all of the symptoms that I have been having lately are due to the electrical signally between the bottom and top chambers.  It seems as if the bottom chamber might not be beating like it is suppose to, leaving me with low blood pressure, less oxygen, and an overall feeling of crumminess.  
Today they turned on the bottom chamber lead, even though it is still broken, and have hooked me up to a halter monitor for 24hrs, with strict orders to DO NOTHING.  Or to quote my nurse, "BE A COUCH POTATO."    Roger has been left to fin for himself.  I feel bad for the guy.

If this turns out to be the issue there is a possibility that I will need to have surgery to replace my bottom lead.  There is also a chance that I might need to have my pacemaker switched out with a pacemaker/defibrillator combo.  I was also given some new heart medicine to add to my already existing heart medicine.  

Yes, this is a bit scary, but I can't express to you how nice it is to have a doctor (and his team) working so hard to figure out what is going on with me.

It is times like these that I am especially thankful for friends, family, and a wonderful church community.  We are so blessed! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Goodbye Wittiness

I fear that the wittiness of this blog is taking a hiatus. 

my mind keeps turning to seminary,  the volunteer work that I have taken up, and my family responsibilities. 

Mornings have turned into my sacred study time.  I call it sacred because so far I really enjoy that time that I get to read and study.  I'm sure I will eventually get burnt out, near the end of the semester, but thus far I am really enjoying the whole learning process. 

Early afternoons are filled with the mom job stuff.  You know, picking up the kids, straightening up the house, making dinner, helping with homework and getting little ones to bed on time.

Starting today, my Thursday mornings will be spent volunteering in Paul's 1st grade classroom.
Today I was introduced to the class and observed what I will be helping the teacher with!
Have I mentioned how much I adore Paul's teacher?!?  
She's wonderful!

This morning, after volunteering, I headed to a local coffee shop to put in 2hrs of study time before the kids got home from school. 

Pretty soon our Teen MOPS program is going to start back up. 
I will also be getting to help coordinate that!
I just love getting to know other young moms in the community!!
(and getting to hold those sweet little babies)

Believe it or not, it has taken me FOREVER just to type this out.
I did a few sentences here and there while helping Paul with his homework and nursing a sick Anna.
(not nursing as in with my boob, but like, you know, nursing her back to health. just wanted to make that clear)

Where was I?

What in the heck is this blog post about?

Oh yeah, about how the wittiness of this blog is taking a hiatus.  

Next week I have a BIG appointment with my cardiologist.  It is that time of year... stress Test time.
I have asked my dear friend Summer to tag along with me.
I just hate these appointments and I do NOT want to go alone.

So, tune in next Thursday evening for a, probably hilariously entertaining, update on mine and Summer's adventure to Kosair Children's Hospital. 

I get slap happy when I'm nervous.
I get really nervous about these big cardiology appointments.
Summer has no clue what she has gotten herself into.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Life, right now, is so SWEET!

I wake up with the biggest smile on my face and jump into bed feeling giddy.

Anna is in LOVE with her preschool.  She is thriving on the M-Th, 8-1:30pm social interaction.

Paul LOVES first grade.
His teacher is WONDERFUL.  I couldn't be more pleased with her teaching style.

Roger is thoroughly enjoying simply being a minister.
For so long he has had to multitask with the role of student and minister.

 I, as most of you already know, am LOVING seminary.
That first day of class, in which we went over the syllabus and got acquainted with one another, filled me with eagerness.

We are all right where we need to be!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I love Jesus.... but I drink a little

In Sunday school this past sunday, we got to talking about what kind of old person we want to be.

I know..... what does that have to do with God?  Why were we talking about THAT?

Well, because we were getting to know each other.

Isn't THAT part of being a church?   getting to KNOW one another!!!
I'd like to think that Jesus sat around with Paul and John talking about crazy stuff like that.

This morning I met a friend for coffee and she showed me this AWSOME video.

Yes, THIS is the kind of old person I want to be.

No, I don't want to have a drinking problem and NO, I don't want to sit around watching tv and calling into shows all day.  But I DO want to be that old person that is carefree and loves to giggle.

you know, kinda like I am now.
So, basically, when I'm old, I want to be my 28 year old self!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paul is getting better at Volleyball

I'm beaming with proudness.

Does that sentence make any sense?

yep, umm, probably not.

Anyway, you get the picture.

I am so PROUD of Paul.

I started teaching him about volleyball when he was 1 1/2.
We started off by playing volleyball", with a balloon, in the living room.

You all, he is finally ready to graduate to a REAL volleyball.

Seriously, he is awesome! 

No joke, he is already better than his Dad.

HA HA HA   sorry roger.  But it's true.

Look at how good he has gotten!

yes, I am aware that my daughter is talking to herself and has a bug on her forehead.

That's just how she rolls. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Steel Magnolias

My favorite movie since, well, since I can remember ever having a favorite movie, has been Steel Magnolias.  As a little girl I fantasied about living in a small little town surrounded by interesting characters that both annoy and love the heck out of each other.

In my child mind, the movies were never like real life.

I never thought a town like that truly existed. 

But that didn't stop me from dreaming about someday finding it.

As an adult you begin to realize that dreams become realities only if you are willing to work hard to make them so.

The great thing about being in a ministerial family is that when you move to a new town, it is typically because you are moving to a new church family.  With new church families comes a new group of people who are not only anxious to get to know you, but are anxious to help you find a new home in THEIR town.

One Sunday, after church, as Roger was standing at the back door shaking hands as people left the building, a man handed him a slip of paper with an address on it.  "I don't usually do this, but I bought this house and I'm remodeling it.  We just started working on it, so it looks pretty rough, but if you want to take a look at it.  If you want to see inside just give me a call and I'll take you through."

We rushed over to check it out and fell in love.  We called Curtis immediately.  He walked us through a house that had been COMPLETELY gutted, explaining where the walls would be and the dream that he had envisioned for the house.  

I felt like the little girl in The Secret Garden, when she FINALLY finds the key. 


The house was completed in November of 2010. 

The front porch was painted the day we moved in.

We immediately began exploring our new town.

Moving anywhere new is scary.  Social situations with a whole new group of people in a new town can be so overwhelming that we are tempted to lock ourselves up in our comfy new homes.  Stepping out, opening ourselves up and exploring the world around us, is the only way to make our small existence seem worth while.

I've already told you all about the the local yarn shop by our house,  but I have yet to mention our lovely hair stylist.

If you're a girl (or woman) reading this, you probably know that finding someone to cut your hair is one of the FIRST things you do when moving to a new town. (after first finding a yarn shop!)   I've had my share of hair disasters to know that you have to find a good stylist.  That stylist will not only cut and style your hair, but will become a close confidant.   You will go to them a stressed out momma and leave beautiful and relaxed. 

My hair stylist works from an old house on Mulberry Street.  It is a hop, skip and a jump from our house on Park Ave.  She only takes cash or check. Why bother with a visa machine?  

I love the homey feel.  

Prince Albert!  It is was what Pawpaw smoked. 

If you come for an early morning hair cut, there is always fresh coffee waiting for you.  
Many a morning I have gotten up, taken a hot bubble bath and walked down to get my hair shampooed and trimmed.  I jokingly call her my Mrs Truvy.  She too loves the movie Steel Magnolias. 

What woman doesn't?  

Often times people from around the community stop by for a quick trim or chit chat.  Several times I have walked in to find church members sitting in the chair, sipping coffee.  One afternoon a fellow mother was getting her hair cut and began talking to me about how giddy she was to have a day all to herself.  She had brought a bunch of magazines from the super market to look through while she got pampered.  She joyfully shared the celebrity gossip with us all.  

Anna and Paul are now getting their hair trimmed by Mrs Jennifer.  She has now met my whole family!
Yesterday afternoon, while dinner was cooking in the crock pot, we all walked up to Mulberry Street.  

Paul was in need of a cut.  

Anna wanted to tag along so she could play beauty shop.  

And Roger joined us because it was such a BEAUTIFUL day for a family walk.
he might get mad at me for posting this, but doesn't he look so lovely?

I have found my Steel Magnolias! 
It took time and hard work, but alas, I am living my favorite movie.

I hear older people talking about "the good ol' days."  I can't help to respond with, "the good ol' days never existed.  We have selective memories.  It's a fact."  I get weird looks.  But it's true.  If we want community we have to get out there and make it.  It we want a small town atmosphere to blossom in  and our kids to grow up in, we have to get out there and make it.

Any town can be as big or as small as you make it.

It takes intentionality to make community.  

Like friendships, community doesn't just magically appear.

It is made! 

You have to to seek it out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Anna has talked nonstop about THE approaching day.
The day she will start preschool.

Every afternoon, as we wait for Paul to get off of the bus, she wears her backpack.  As I lead Paul into the house, asking about his day at school, Anna pipes up saying "I had a great day at school too.  Got a LOT of homework mom," as she follows closely beside her older brother. 

Tonight was open house.  The night we got to see her classroom.
"Mom, we are going to go to MY school and we are going to look for the door that has MY name on the list!"

You can tell she really looks up to her brother!

In fact, she BEGGED Paul to go with her to the open house because she wanted to show him around her new school and introduce him to her Teacher.

The brand new school that houses the Kindergarten and Preschool

Playground in the middle of the school for the protection of the little ones

showing off for her big brother

"Mom, my name is at the TOP of the list!"

"this is where I will be learning all kinds of stuff."

"this is where I will play kitchen with my friends."

"This is MY cubby Paul.  My cubby!"

the preschool wing of the school

"Mom EVERYTHING is MY size!!!"

Her first day is set for Thursday.

I am not nervous at all about her heading out into the world to learn more about how to be social.
However, I am a little nervous about how I am going to be, emotionally, that day.
I have been her sole caregiver for over 4 years.

Fearing that I might have a major crying spell when I arrive at an empty house after dropping BOTH of my children off at school, I have arranged a nice long walk with my friends.  I'm sure if I need to hold their hands and cry they wont look at me strange, instead they'll probably pull a big wad of tissues out of their back pockets.  

I'm excited for Anna because she is so excited.
At four years of age she has expressed to me how much she loves staying home with me but how BADLY she wants to start preschool so that she can make "lots of new friends" and "learn all kinds of new things."  

I'm excited for this new transition in our lives.

I'm excited that my children are so excited about learning!!!

It makes my heart smile.