Friday, February 26, 2010

Thanks, God!

Since B's appointment on Monday, and her subsequent change in medication, we've all had a bit of a reprieve this week. B is feeling better and it's so nice to see her working on school work or crafts peacefully, rather than being in mental hell all the time. Thanks, God!

I find myself drifting off into nap land each afternoon for a wee bit. That's how the soup got burned on Wednesday, but I figure it also means I'm a bit more relaxed (and obviously chronically over-tired). The fact that my body is "letting go" a bit this week is something I'm grateful for. Thanks, God!

I finally (after living here for more than a year) found a curtain-rod solution for the 79 inch wide living room vertical blinds fixture. We live on the ground floor with no privacy fence around our very small patio. The good thing about this is that ample sunlight can come in through our big sliding glass doors. The bad news is, if we want to avail ourselves of said sunlight, we have to sacrifice our privacy by opening the vertical blinds. Not anymore! With sheer curtains (which I of course saved from before we moved) hung, sunlight comes in, but our neighbors can't see in during the day. Yay for pretty curtains! Thanks, God!

It's Friday. I'm glad. I'm glad for fun brainless books to read, and I'm glad to be able to drive to pick up our raw milk from the lovely farmer who has cows that only eat grass. I'm glad the sun is shining and I'm glad that the high today is warmer than the high yesterday. I'm glad for cauliflower cram of mushroom clam chowder, and that my low carb coffee cake turned out so nice. Thanks, God!

I'm glad I was able to call the doctor and the pharmacy and figure out how to save about a hundred dollars off my daughter's medicine. Thanks, God!

I'm glad we got to have dinner with an old friend from out of town last night and I'm glad we discovered a fabulous little locally owned Mexican restaurant that serves very good shrimp fajitas. Thanks, God!

I'm glad for cozy conversations over delicious tea with precious friends, I'm glad for knitting and I'm glad for my family. Thanks, God!

I'm glad for my health and energy. Thanks, God!

I'm glad that I've lost some weight. Thanks, God!

I'm glad the kids are quiet right now. Thanks, God!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Somewhere, Deep Underground



Is that a grimace of terror on my face, am I merely camera shy, or am I having fun? Combination of all of the above, I think.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yet Will I Rejoice in the Lord

17Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

18Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.


This verse from the Holy Prophet Habakkuk was read in Matins this morning. It was what I clung to the two times Wes was unemployed and I descended into utter panic (the way I've done this week). And yet, in those times, God cared for us. We never missed a meal and our bills were somehow paid.

A good reminder of what is what. God is in control and he knows our needs. I need to learn to rest in him. This fear of mine is sin, plain and simple. (I tend to reduce my view of my own sinfulness to how many times I yelled at my kids, but in reality this lack of trust in God goes a bit deeper, doesn't it? A good lenten lesson.)

Our family was able to make it to the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts this night. Beautiful haunting lenten service. So good to take communion. At the end, the choir (that includes me) was up in the choir loft and we were singing "On the Banks of the Rivers of Babylon" as the congregation went forward to kiss the cross and receive a blessing. Bishop Mark was there with the blessing cross. And then everyone left. And we finished singing. Everything in the nave was dark, the only light coming from the sanctuary area. And His Grace stood there, in the empty nave with the cross and waited, facing the dark. And just seeing him there, holding that cross, waiting patiently and lovingly for us, the last his spiritual children to finish up, to come down and receive that blessing was so very very special. I captured that scene in my minds eye and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Before Church, I was preparing a dinner to eat afterwards, and I put some vegetable soup on to cook. Then I accidentally fell asleep and woke up to a smoky smell. Yes, I burned the soup. I managed to rescue the veggies, and they actually were edible. We were all so hungry after Church that we devoured them.

I found out today that our insurance has a $750 individual deductible, which B will meet right quick. This will help us.

It also occurred to me that one reason B's meds are so expensive might be the denominations of pills that were prescribed: 150 20 mg pills per month. I did some sleuthing, and I believe that if the prescription is written as 30x40mg and 30x60mg, then it will cost us half the amount. A hundred a month is certainly more do-able than twice that. I'll call the doctor tomorrow and ask that it be called in like that.

I looked into it, and we don't qualify for the free drugs, since we do have health insurance with drug coverage.

I went for a walk in the freezing cold yesterday and I saw shoots of new green grass, and I saw little bright spring green henbit leaves along the edges of grassy places, buds on trees, daffodil shoots coming up through the ground, and some cardinals pursuing each other in a mating dance. Even though things are cold right now, there is hope. Spring is coming and nature knows it.

We are well into Lent now, and things are hard for many, I believe. God is always good and even my fearful and broken heart is learning to trust Him. I think the theme songs running through my head this week are: "Out of the depths I cry to Thee O Lord", and "There is no help for us, no other help than Thee..." and now the "Though the fig tree does not blossom" verse as well.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

About Insurance Costs

Last night, at the pharmacy, I just about fell over. B's main med is over a thousand dollars a month. She's on three others which, thankfully, are generic. We pay 20% of the meds. That's over 200 a month in meds out of pocket.

I was thinking that we had several thousand in our FSA. (Flexible Spending Account). I found out we started the year with $1500. Only enough for our deductible.

Once that is met, we pay 30% and they pay 70%...that's tier two. Tier one coverage is 90/10.

There are no child psychiatrist on either tier. Hence the kerfluffle with the insurance company over whether they will pay for Bingham. Supposedly, they will pay at the 30/70 rate, but if they pay the pretend negotiated rate as opposed to the rate we paid up front, we will be screwed.

Oh wait! We are screwed already!

And they might say Bingham is covered, but does that mean that one small therapist there is covered, or everyone? I think they go by each one who works there, and not the place itself.

So, the intake visit was $280.00 . Med management visits might run around $160.00. Our part would be around fifty. Therapy? How much does that cost? She'll need that, too. 30% is ours to pay. Fifty dollars a week, perhaps, for our part of cog/behav. therapy? ...that's another two-hundred. It's going to be a HUGE chunk of change each month.

Lord, how are we going to eat? B needs this to stay alive!

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Him! It's Him!

A year or so ago, I was sitting in some doctor's office and picked up a magazine. It was something local, and had a big long feature of the top ten doctors in the Louisville area. There was one featured as being the top Child Psychiatrist here in town: Dr. Peters. I remember thinking "yeah, right! Like, we'll ever get to see him." He looked young, with surfer-dude hair and that certain je ne sais quois air of confidence. I read the article. I might have said a little prayer.

It never occurred to me to try to get in to see him specifically. What hope was there after all? At the time I was not familiar enough with Louisville to remember the clinic...or perhaps we couldn't get in because the clinic was out of network. At any rate, I set the thought aside.

Today was Bethany's appointment at Bingham Clinic. I'd had Bethany write up in her own words what she's been experiencing. I also wrote up what we'd been observing. Observing...HA! I wrote up her medication history. I came prepared. Wes even took part of the afternoon off and came with us. It was nice not to be the only grown up.

Long story short: The visit went really well. A nice young woman doctor interviewed us for more than an hour. She asked lots of questions, took lots of notes and even had some one-on-one interview time with Bethany. It was good for me not to be there as a buffer. At the end, she asked us a few more questions, and then she said she'd go talk to the supervising doctor.

A few minutes later, she comes back in with Dr. Peters. I about fell out of my chair. It was the guy from the magazine article! I remembered the hair, and there it was! He spoke with us and said the words I really wanted to hear: We are going to perform a whole new battery of testing on her to get a clearer picture of what her symptom picture is.

Extensive psych testing! Glory to God! This is exactly what she needs, and not the half-baked damage control "lets throw some meds at this and see what happens" crapshot approach we've been dealing with.

And there will be cognitive therapy. That's also going to be part of the picture. Her meds have been adjusted and I hope things go better for her...and for us.

And after Dr. Peters left the room, just as we were getting ready to leave, B had one of her spasmy twitching arm/leg jerking episodes. The doctor looked at it and said: That's not caused by her medications. That's different.

So, the "weirdo seizure-like things" will get investigated, too.

Now, please pray to God that our insurance company does not go back on their word, and that they will cover this clinic and these doctors.

Thank you dear blog readers for all your prayers and support. I've really felt it, both on-line and in person.

Today's the Day!

We have an appointment at 3 pm for B at Bingham Clinic. Any and all prayers are appreciated:

-that God would grant a good rapport between us and the doctor(s)
-that there would be help for Bethany
-effective medications
-that a better/more complete diagnosis could be had, of all she has going on
-that the mystery of her involuntary movements would be solved
-So that she can lead a calm and peaceful life
-that our insurance will approve of these expenses (like they said they would) and pay their part
-that God would have mercy on us. I'm all worn out. We all are. We need some strength.

Or, in lieu of all this, complete and miraculous healing. That would be good, too. God's will be done.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Time for a Pot of Chocolate!


I've been busy yesterday and today! I went to the thrift store and found this oh-so-charming little teapot! Isn't it just darling? I had to add it to my tea pot collection. The other tea pots in my tea pot cabinet will just have to move over and make room. Hopefully they will all be friends with each other soon.

Additionally, my little shopping spree yielded a sweater and a cute terry cloth hoodie/pants combo for Ariana, a pair of exercise pants for me, TWO gorgeous skirts (one is black crinkle with lace applique and black sequins, and the other is a silk crinkle skirt that fades from brown at the hem to coral higher up, with brown embrodery embellishments. And last but not least, a denim Anthropologie Jacket with a bit of embroidery work on it. Getting that jacket represtents hope, because it's just a tad too small for me, yet. But I am shrinking. Hope.

What I was looking for were smaller blue jeans, and after putting a gazillion pairs in my cart to try on, I learned to my dismay in the changing room that the brand of jeans that I currently own (which are getting baggy) use vanity sizing, and the numbers in other pants don't correspond to the actual size of my...ahem...self.

I thought I needed smaller jeans because I was going to go on a caving trip with Maia and Ariana and our AHG troop. I ended up wearing my baggies and they were fine.

Well, let me tell you: I thought caving would be scary, but I actually had fun!!!

The first part of the cave tour was easy: In a boat. We saw blind (and pure white) cave fish and crayfish, and some frogs that had washed into the cave river. What, I asked, do these creatures eat, since there is no vegetation at all in the cave river? The frogs don't eat, and eventually leave the cave, since they don't technically belong there. The fish eat microscopic creatures that live in the river water, was the answer. And I saw a mud-brown bat, too. Amazing to see mud covered limestone and the water so clear we could see the bottom several feet down. In some places, the cave river was too deep to see the bottom. Gollum and goblin jokes abounded. And one little girl who was Pokemon obsessed was "seeing" them at every turn!

There were live rock formations, dripping wet and growing, right next to dead ones that had grown their maximum capacity and dried. The guide told us that were we to swim under that water, we could go up into those rock formations and there would be an air-pocket on the inside, a hollow chamber.

The second part of the cave experience was called a wild cave tour. We entered a tight crack in the rock, geared out with hard hats and flashlights. I'd bought the kind that strapped to my head or helmet. Before long we were crawling through a tight space, and I thought to myself: "What have I gotten myself in to?!" And that was only the beginning. On our way out, I laughed at the section I'd quailed at near the beginning. The passage basically got tighter and tighter. Then we climbed straight down a hole (think Alice in Wonderland style) and had to go through a very tight horizontal passage. Very rocky and uncomfortable, with only enough room to crawl military style...or scootch on your back. I decided I'd rather go feet first instead of head first into that creepy hole and I ended up cork-screwing myself through there. How was I not scared witless, lying there on sharp rocks, staring at rocks five inches above my face? On the other side was a water fall. We climbed up that (OK, so there were stairs at one part, to accomodate us tourists), got wet and were in the final chamber where we rested, and then turned around and headed back. Funny how coming back out did not seem nearly as far as it seemed going in.

The whole thing took us quite some time. And it was quite the experience. I just kept telling myself: "God is here, too." Psalm 139:7-8 came to mind:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Accomplishing the cave tour was huge for me. Five years ago, I was practically in bed all the time with fibromyalgia. And now I was able do this! My recent workouts came in handy, and I felt strong enough to do something difficult.

I have bruises all over, but feel amazing at the accomplishment...even if it was just 1400 feet of caving crawling, and not even real/actual exploring. Still, it was something I'd never tried, and that I'd always sort of feared, and I did it! Glory to God for all things.

The kids had a good time, too. The bunks were uncomfortable (we "camped" in the cave with a bunch of other scout troops that were also on the tour), and the food was hideous, and it was cold, damp and muddy. But all in all, good times were had.

But now...oh, my cozy chair is so nice! I've had Arnica rubbed on my many bruises and sore places and it's definitely time for a pot of chocolate!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's Even Better with Cauliflower!!!!

Here it is: The definitive Nourishing Traditions friendly, GAPS legal, Metabolism Miracle legal, and lenten New England Clam Chowder!

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
sautee in a couple of Tablespoons of coconut oil.

When onions are clear, add:

1 T. sea salt (I don't really measure, I just dump some in, but it was at least that much and it was perfect, not too salty)
juice from 3 cans of Bumblebee clams
3 bags of frozen cauliflower
64 oz. water
pepper, parsley and italian seasoning to taste

Let boil until cauliflower is very tender, then remove from heat and blend. If it seems like the water has boiled down a bit too much, add a couple of cups back in.

Return to heat, add clams and whisk in 1/4 cup coconut flour to thicken it up a bit.

All those who deigned to eat this, which did not include his and her royal persnickitinesses, LOVED this soup.

Did I mention that I love my new immersion blender?

And did I mention that I've lost over 18 inches of fat since a month ago? (4.5 of those inches are off that roll of carbohydrate induced fat just above my waist. Yaaaaaaaay!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Calling All Russians or Russophiles

My friend found this at the antique store and wants to know what the words are on the medallion. I told her I could hook her up with that information. Here it is:

Shrimp!

How to thaw frozen pre-cooked shrimp:

Open bag
dump in big bowl.
Run hot water over it. Let it sit for a few minutes. Drain, and repeat maybe once. The shrimp thaws very quickly.

If you are making a stir fry, de-tail them and add them at the very end. (For years I ate rubbery shrimp added too soon until I figured out what to do.)

Or, serve the shrimp with ketchup and mustard to dip in. Tastes REMARKABLY like hotdogs.

If you are eating bread (like most of the known universe), stuff those puppies into a hot dog bun, add some mustard, ketchup, relish, veg. chili and onions and enjoy the fact that hot dogs and shrimp are both sort of bland and non-descript and can apparently be interchanged with ease.

In need of...

Knitting inspiration! Help! I'm all sick and tired of knitting endless pairs of wool socks (although my kids do love them), for they instantly go through the laundry and become shrunken and felted. I finally figured out that my husband, who finds the hand washed socks on top of the dryer, is the culprit who tossed them into the wash. Grrrr. Communication error. And the other thing about wool socks: they get holes in them really really easily.

I finally finished a small stack of stuff for some nieces and nephew last night at knitting group, and happily spent some time looking at wedding dress patterns for a gal who is going to be getting married this summer. Girly fun!

And I less-than-happily darned a few socks (see above).

So, I need knitting inspiraton. I really want to knit a sweater, but am worried that such an endeavor would ultimately result in a shrunken felted sweater, too, if I used wool.

Furthermore, there's the budgetary difficulty of buying enough yarn for a whole sweater all at once. You aren't supposed to mix dye lots. I wonder if the knitting shop has layaway.

So, any knitters out there with suggestions? Please, pass them on.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What on Earth?

Today I saw a wild turkey, (or a tail-less peacock?) walking on the shoulder of I-64 West in Louisville.

I'm so VERY glad it was not walking in the travel lanes, since it IS lent. ;-)

Dental Gadget Fun (ha!)

It seems like I'm getting less and less fond of going to the dentist as I get older. Perhaps because my teeth seem to require more of everything, and so things have intensified in the dental care department.

It almost feels like since starting the guaifenesin protocol for fibromyalgia five years ago, that my dental health really has gone down hill. Perhaps this is because I can't use listerine or any other anti-germ mouth wash anymore. They ALL contain mint which prevents the guaifenesin from working.

I have more dental care gadgets now that I use regularly than I ever even knew existed a year ago. Sad, but true.

So here is my gear and what I think of each item:

-Toothbrush: tried and true. I don't care what brand, as long as the bristles are soft. Seems I get some fancy schmancy one every time I go to the dentist for a cleaning these days, which is so often (every three months) that they practically keep me supplied for free.

-Tom's of Maine Cinnamon Clove toothpaste. Boring, non minty (a requirement on the guaifenesin protocol).

-Those little Y shapes flossing thingies. Yes, they get the job done. At last I have become a flosser. I finally learned from a dental hygenist friend of mine that flossing is NOT just flicking bits of food out from between one's teeth, but rather, done correctly, one is scraping plaque off the between-surfaces. Who'd-a-thunk-it? I give them to my kids, too, and they now floss as well. When I was a kid I thought flossing was for grownups.

-A water pick. Yes, it is fabulous! Using my water pick regularly has cured my chronic bleeding gums. And chronic bleeding gums (gingivitis, I believe it is called) is BAD for one's whole body, including heart health. I HIGHLY recommend the investment in a water pick.

-Bite guard, on the cheap: I don't use this as faithfully as I should, but here was my dentist's advice: Go to the athletic department and get the one dollar mouth guards and follow the directions for molding them. If you can stand sleeping in that, you save a penny or two by not having one professionally (and expensively) made. And it's just as effective in saving one's bit from cracked teeth due to grinding.

-New items: teeny little toothbruth thingies that look like tiny little mascara wands. The denist told me to get some today and start using them on my very back tooth. The mess started when I had that dental emergency where my tooth broke while eating a chicken pot pie one time, and I went to Immediadent and they butchered my mouth. Well, apparently the gum back there is STILL swollen, and the filling does not come all the way to the tooth, so I have to get it really really clean and get the swelling to go down otherwise they'll have to send me to an oral surgeon to cut my gum away so they can re-do the filling. Yipes! So now I have the mascarea wand toothbrush that I have to jam between my gum and tooth back there and wiggle around. Fun.

-And a tongue scraper. It is supposed to get rid of/prevent bad breath. I figure, since I can't use mint, I can use all the help I can get. I might get some for my stinky little kids, too.

I still hate going to the dentist, and I find oral care very very very boring. But it has to be done, I suppose. And I think that list pretty much covers everything from the dental gadgets aisle.

So, that's my post for the day. Maybe someone has learned something by reading it. A year ago, I certainly did not know so much fun could be had in the dental gadgets aisle, that's for sure!

Monday, February 15, 2010

This Side of Heaven

Snow is falling thickly outside today, on the first day of lent. I smile when I think of the book titles tying lent and spring-time together, because from where I sit right now, spring seems like it's a million years away. Winter surrounds us in a way that has not been seen in Kentucky for many many years. I think there's more snow this year than I've ever seen in the more than 20 years I've called this State home.

I was reflecting the other day on the significance of Christ's resurrection, and what it means for our every day lives. Because part of me, the broken and depressed part no doubt, hears the proclamation "Christ is risen!" and my internal response is "So what?"

What IS the significance of the resurrection of Christ? Is it merely a historical "happened long ago" fact that means there's a nice Church for me to go to in Sundays, and a beautiful liturgy for me to participate in? There is that, but there's also way more. I'm not saying it well, since I can barely formulate a thought around here without being beaned in the head by elasticized home-made stress balls (you'd have to be here to know) or interrupted by exclamations over the new cut baby leaves sprouting on a house plant. But anyway...what was I saying?

Oh yes. I think my understanding of lent and pascha is being formed through my journey of pain. I'm not talking, right now, about physical pain, per-se, although a few years back that was a big part of my journey. Right now what I'm going through is the anguish of seeing my child suffer. Where is the hope in that? Life seems full of grief and sadness, doesn't it?

And Christ's resurrection is not a guarantee that on this side of eternity she'll be healed, or that my life will suddenly be materially blessed. But it's in the redemption of suffering and the fact that death and suffering have been transformed by God into the portal of life...that is my hope. And that is also my experience. There is comfort to be found in Christ this side of heaven, for sure. His holy icon that says "Come to me all ye that are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." The words "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Stuff like that. This is the good news.

We have not been abandoned by God in our suffering and in our deaths. And the fact of the resurrection is precisely what enables us Christians to take up our own crosses and follow Christ to Golgatha, to walk towards our own crucifixions (whatever they may look like.)

My prayer is that for all of us, dear readers, this lenten season will strengthen us on this life-long journey of ours. Jesus is our only hope and he loves us so much. It may be winter now, but spring time is coming! This may be the valley of the shadow of death, but Christ is risen! Blessed Lent, y'all!

Creamed Broccoli Clam Chowder-GAPS/Metabolism Miracle/lenten

1 large onion
2 stalks celery

chopped and sauteed in either a bit of water or non-olive oil. ;-)

When onions are clear, add:

1 family pack sized bag of frozen broccoli,
64 oz. water
1 tablespoon salt
pepper to taste
a generous sprinkling of garlic powder
juice from three cans of clams

bring to boil and cook until broccoli is tender.

Blend soup with an immersion blender (or put through a blender). I left some chunks of broccoli, but much of it was nicely pureed.

Return to heat and whisk in 1/4 cup coconut flour to thicken. This thickens nicely and quickly.

Add clams.

Stir and serve.

Could also use frozen cauliflower (or a head of fresh cauliflower) for a more
potato-like soup.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Whimsy


I do think Beatrix Potter's art work is just so darned cute! I'm probably breaking a law for posting this picture, but I lifted it off another blog, similarly posted.

Exciting Update!

Continued prayers, please, but things are looking good!

The doctor-who-is-not-to-be called me back and she had spoken with one of the top honchos as THE place here in town that has been recommended. It's part of the University of Louisville's Hospital System.

I'd called there last week trying to get her in, and was turned down because they are supposedly full.

Well, the nice doctor we saw today called her buddy there and they spoke about B's case, and he said he wants to squeeze her in. His "solo" (I think that's like a resident) has a particular interest in Childhood Schizophrenia and clinically difficult cases are attractive to teaching hospitals. I guess I did not sell B's case very well the other day, eh?

So on Thursday (when Dr. honcho guy goes back in to the office, he's going to speak with the folks in the intake department, and then on Friday I'm to call them and get an appointment for Bethany. If they have not heard of me, then I'm to lavishly name drop and take it to the top, who is the Dr. Honcho the doctor from today spoke to.

Until we actually have an appointment, I will still feel stressed and prayerful, so please keep the prayers coming that we can get B in to Bingham Clinic.

The other good news, is that last week, a rep from our insurance agency called Wes and told him that Bingham has just been added as being in-network. This was the day after we'd been turned down for Bingham, so Wes did not mention it to me. But now that this door is opening up, he told me and I'm so relieved.

Prayers please, that B can get in to be seen at Bingham Clinic with a really really top notch team to help her.

"She's too sick and I'm not qualified to treat her!"

Things have been really difficult for my oldest lately. She's developed some sort of movement disorder, which really distresses her. Involuntary arm and leg movements. Is it a side effect of her meds? We don't know. A trip to her doc last week yielded a new drug to try because she happened to have some samples on hand. Okeee-dokeee then. The new drug (B had a total of four doses before we refused to give her any more) sent her, like clockwork, into the blackest pit of depression and despair-with-a-death-wish that I've ever seen her in. She's never ever been this bad. We took ehr off the new medication and back on the old and tried to call her doctor on Sunday. Result: Doctor was unavailable on the weekend. Not reachable by phone. Okay, fine. So we already had a new doctor appointment lined up for today. We can hang on, right?

The New Doctor Report:

We went and saw a very nice and very honest doctor today. It was an expensive hour, but worth it, I hope. The upshot: see above. The new not-our-doctor says B needs someone who will see her as part of a team approach. She needs the best of the best, a team of experts. She is very very sick. (We have been very unhappy with her current psychiatrist for a myriad of reasons for a while now and have felt stuck, stuck, stuck for another myriad of reasons....hence the search for a new doctor.)

Unfortunately, Early Onset Schizophrenia is very rare and there are very few Child Psychiatrists in practice, making the problem of finding one who is qualified to treat our daughter even more challenging.

I appreciated the time and the honesty (well, I guess it wasn't really a favor since I could hear the two hundred seventy-five dollars draining rapidly out of our health savings account thingy even as we spoke. But oh well. It was nice to be heard.) And the nice "not our doctor" is going to make some calls to her personal friend doctor at the top notch place I tried to get B into last week (too full, can't see her, not enough doctors they said) and see if some string pulling won't yield better results. We shall see.

Deep breath. God is in control.

And the movement disorder that B is manifesting is NOT manifesting like Tardive Dyskinesia...the "not our doctor" thinks it's something else and wants me to find a neurologist. Yeah, I think it's time for that. Add that to my to-do list.

Deep breath. God is in control.

Now, in other news:

I made some roasted sunflower seed butter in the food processor today, which REALLY hit the "I'm craving nut butter" spot. And I'm not allergic to sunflower seeds. So, lenten yums, here I come.

And it's the most gorgeous snow outside, so the kids and I are going to "Narnia" this afternoon. Actually we are going to the Nature Center to walk in the snow covered woods, and if we are really really lucky we might spot Mr. Tumnus off between the trees somewhere. ;-) Maybe when we get back we can make hot cocoa and watch The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Dinner tonight: Pasta alfredo with broccoli and shrimp. (and that means spaghetti squash for me and Bethany. )

I'm not READY!!!!!

Lent. Auuuuuuugh!

In the past, Lent has meant a huge amount of mental anguish between following the fast (which includes ALL my favorite foods like bread and bread and bread and some pasta) or following my doctor's diet, which feels like: Ech. Very anti-climactic and hard because it does NOT include bread and also doesn't really feel like fasting per se, when the rest of the community is eating the opposite. I know that in years past I've come to Pascha feeling sick and wearing maternity clothes from becoming so bloated in my belly from the carbs. Yech. But I also know the anti-climnactic feeling of looking at those eggs in the Pascha basket and thinking: Not more eggs! Because the low carb diet I'd been on included too many of them for too long.

So how do I find the balance?

I think I like to go around feeling pious by doing certain things (like eating bread durning lent) when deep down I know that I'm being utterly unspiritual and catering precisely to my own pre-diabetic passions. God help me.

I wish I could spend my time posting delicious recipes of our family's fasting menu. Instead, I'll be struggling with providing three different diets to my family (mine, B's and everyone else's which includes some serious Asperger's-related food aversion issues). I guess I'll write about the struggle. It's just so NOT neat and tidy, so NOT well organized and so NOT perfect.

I will say this: I am going to try this year, to fast. But I'm going to try to do this without the bread or pasta or potatoes. Also, I'm allergic to nuts. So I can't have peanut butter or anything like that.

I'm going to be hungry. (I weep to think of it).

I think it will be good for me to be hungry. (

And I'm going to fail.

I think it will be good for me to fail.

Forget external piety and forget "rules" (even though those "rules" do provide a framework for...something). This is about repentance and drawing closer to God. And we all know that I have a lot of repentance that needs to happen.

I hope Lent gives me that space to repent. I hope lent gives me that space to weep. I hope lent give me that space to draw closer to God.

But right now, I don't feel like I'm ready and I feel more tired than repentant. Honestly. Perhaps it is precisely the un-readiness that puts me in the place I need to be.

Lord, have mercy on me a sinner!

(But at least I can make my blog look lenten. ;-)

Litle Nice Things

Well, after talking it over with Wes I did go out and buy that perfect fabric after all. Due to some smart arrangement of pattern pieces on the cloth (and yes, I did pre-shrink it in the washer and dryer), I was able to cut out both a dress and a blouse. Yay me! The blouse might not be for me. If it doesn't fit (I had a trim a few inches off to to running out of cloth) it might become a blog giveaway item. Maybe. Perhaps.

So, that was nice.

It's snowing like crazy today and it's all beautiful today when I look out the window.

Another good thing.

My kids are chatting pleasantly over breakfast and B is being industrious and helpful in the kitchen. (M to E: "I'm undefeated in both Pokemon and Chaotic." E to M: "That's because YOU'VE NEVER PLAYED." M's response: "I intend to keep it that way." Clever.

I get to take B to see a NEW DOCTOR this morning. Hopefully this will be an answer to prayer.

Last night I slept really well. Went to bed early around ten-thirty, even. What IS this world coming to?

The snow is still gorgeous outside and coming down fast in bigger flakes now.

Laptops give off heat--nice in the winter, isn't it?

I've been really blessed with good friends since I've moved to Louisville and I'm so grateful for each one.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

How to Ignore the Super Bowl

I don't get it. We NEVER, and I mean NEVER watch football. My husband doesn't care about it and neither do I. But the Super Bowl, that he must watch. I shouldn't complain. I could be a Monday night football widow, but I'm not. I really should not complain, but there is something uniquely nerve-wracking about the noise of a football game: animated commentators and the ugly crowd noises in the back ground.

And of course it falls to me to prepare some football game appropriate foods. Tonight we raided the freezer to get rid of all our meat and it's home made chicken nuggets (a vast pile and yes, I made them from scratch), a pound of farm fresh pork sausage cooked up (for those of us who can't do the breading on the nuggets), some leftover meatloaf and some leftover chicken somethingorother (crockpot chicken with tomato and onions...? What's it called?)

I think I need to go hide in my bedroom with a movie and some knitting. Or maybe a good book.

I could go clean up the kitchen, but where's the fun in that? I could go fold laundry. Ditto on the where's the fun in that part.

I could go take a nap.

I wanted to do some sewing, and I even located the perfect fabric at Hancock's, but it was ten dollars a yard, so I didn't buy it. Big shuddering sigh. Deep red rayon challis with off white floral print. Just what I wanted. Why does the pretty stuff always cost more than I have to spend? I told Wes I'd found the perfect fabric and didnt buy it (secretly hoping he'd send me back to the store) but he didn't. He just said "See, kids, grownups get disappointed sometimes too." The man has no clue about romance, does he?

Hmmmm, what to do? What to do?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Knitting and Noble Ideas

This morning I knitted an entire sock while I sat and listened to lectures at the Climacus Conference of Thoughtful Ascent. The highlight, I must say, was hearing one speaker just totally trash post-modernism in his short introductiory speech this morning. Well worth hearing. And John Granger, of course, was awesome. He talked for two whole hours. All these great erudite things will be on ancient faith radio next week. I'll have to catch the lectures I missed. My kids were getting fried and so I headed home early and missed the last bit of the conference. However, I did pick up a couple of very good books. I'll blog about them another time.

Pray for B, please. She is VERY depressed, and has been for several days.

"And HOW," you ask, "does she ever find time to sew?"

Well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, and sometimes this girl has to sew. It feeds my soul. Especially experimenting on finding new patterns that will work for my over-large sasquatch shaped body.

And it's that time of winter when a gal is longing for spring!

So, these yens found me the other day in the sewing section of some store or other, and I found this pattern:

It's the McCalls M5451 Easy Stitch 'n Save blouse pattern. I, of course, refused to follow the directions and promptly experimented with turning it into a dress. I was quite thrilled, you see, to find some cream poly challis fabric that had lovely large-ish flowers scattered broadly on it in sort of a watercolor style in pinks, light purples, pale greens...spring time colors. And all for only a dollar sixty per yard. I promptly snatched up four yards of it. Just the right amount to play with and at a price that would not make a sewing disaster a financial disaster.

I'd been thinking that something along the "empire waisted peasant blouse" lines would look good on me, since it would be sort of a modern interpretation of regency styles, putting the emphasis on the bust as opposed to the waist (which in my case is non-existent). So this pattern really fit the bill.

It was super super easy to make. The most intimidating part (which is stupid and was only intimidating because I'd never specifically done it before) was pinning the bias tape onto the inside of the dress at under-bust level and sewing on for a casing for that elastic. All the other casings were fold-over self-casings and were super easy. I was easily able to customize the dress by measuring on my body where I wanted the elastic to go, and I got a really good fit.

I'd also like to point out that there are a few extra inches of ease in this pattern. Although my measurements were a bit larger than the size guide, I still fit into it without sizing up the pattern, and it is very flattering and not too tight.

In order to convert it from a blouse into a dress, I just lengthened it to be below my calf. I suppose I cut the skirt a tiny bit on an A-line, but not very severely. Wearing it, it falls straight, but there's enough ease to walk gracefully without needing to mince steps. I would not go running or play baseball in this dress, but then again, I never do those things anyway, so it doesn't matter.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention: the sleeves that I made are a medley of what's on the pattern. I did an elbow length elasticized sleeve by cutting and doing a casing where version C would have had me adding an elastic to make a big ruffle sleeve. I figured a cap sleeve like in version A would leave me feeling too bare for Church and not quite elegant enough. I am, after all, not 25 anymore.

Now I want to find a suitable darker colored fabric so that I can make a version of this pattern that I can wear sooner than Pascha. I think I just made my Pascha dress with this pattern and that makes me happy.

Oh, and I swiped the picture of the pattern from here.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Fabulous Blog Find!

Today I was poking around...and came across this web site: http://www.germanorthodoxchurch.org/

This is the second time in one week that I've had the chance to encouner German Orthodoxy. A couple of friends of mine each are from Germany (one originally from Russia and one originally from Ethiopia)...and so we gather sometimes and slip back and forth between German and English.

My friend has an Orthodox prayer book that is in German, and when we prayed together in that language, it really really blessed my heart. Although I grew up in an American speaking home, and of course my parents taught me the Bible in English, my first experience of Sunday School and "churchliness" as in the German language. I think even perhaps the first Bible verse I at least recall intentionally memorizing (other than the first few verses of Genesis) was in German: Isaiah 53:5.

So, this thrills me.