Thursday, February 10, 2011

Moving Right Along....

We have finally started the process that eight years ago we knew would one day come. Back then, in our almost-married stage, we had no idea when it would come. What would be involved. How long it would take. But now, it has started. We are starting our move into The Farm House.

Almost 60 years ago, my in-laws moved here as newly weds. Over time, with hard work, good planning, and many abundant blessings from God, Dad Carter and his family built up a great farm that led to a solid, local business. I'm not sure exactly how many acres are planted between the farm and the north property, but we grow alfalfa hay, produce from asparagus to zucchini, raise hormone-free beef cows, and recently started with chickens, too. It is alot of work, but it's satisfying work.

Tony and I currently live about 1/4 mile from the farm, not that far, but still a good distance when it comes to having to get up and feed the furnace at the farm at night, check and move irrigation, etc. With our upcoming move, it will be much easier for Tony...and for all of us.

I am so thankful to my in-laws for the work they put into the farm house. I can't imagine how hard it must be emotionally at times for them to be moving out...even though they are moving to a new house less than 1/8 mile away, they are moving out of the house that they raised their family in, all seven children. But I am also thankful they are ready to move into their new house, especially since it will be so much easier for Tony to take care of the farm.

The majority of things are out of the farm house. There are still some things Mama doesn't know what to do with, move them to the new house, sell them at a yard sale, pass on to one of her children. So for now, much is being stored in an out building until warmer weather comes.

I've started cleaning the farm house this week. Time takes it's toll. It's an old farm house, so there are nooks and crannies where over the years mice have found their way in and left evidence of their presence. I'm wiping down everything, vacuuming carpets (and will be shampooing them), disinfecting, sweeping, dusting, and the kids are having a blast clearing out the cobwebs. Swifter and Watkins cleaners are my friends; my dust mask and disposable gloves are part of my attire. I'm making note of what needs Tony's attention...some nails to be pounded in, nooks and crannies to be filled in, what needs to be repainted, repaired, light fixtures he'll have to get down to be cleaned. I'm finding little cubby holes, seeing treasures from over the years, and letting my imagination go to what fun Tony and his siblings must have had growing up where our children will now grow up.

Luke and Susanna are delighted with what will be their new rooms. Susi has some unrealistic ideas for how she wants her room to be (perils from watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition! -- no, honey, those are NOT the kind of rooms most kids have!).

So far, I've done a pretty thorough cleaning of the kids' new play room, except for the floor. Years ago, it used to be their Daddy's bedroom downstairs. I've also done everything except shampoo the carpets in their new bedrooms. Saturday, I hope to start and finish cleaning what will be their school area and possibly my office area...then it's on to the kitchen/dining area, the family room, the bathrooms, and our "new" bedroom before finishing off the rest of the basement.

We're looking forward to the move....and if you have some free time the next few weeks and are bored, stop by to help clean!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Life Is Short

It has been just over a week now that I received a phone call no one wants to get. My beautiful young cousin, newly married just shy of six months earlier, became a widow. Her husband was in a car accident with two other young men (one of the men, the driver, was also killed; the rear-seat passenger had head and facial trauma). We had just met Kevin literally a couple weeks earlier at our family Christmas get-together. Although I didn't get much of a chance to talk with him, he was such an awesome young man. Kevin looked like a tough guy, tats on his arms, big muscles, and in some ways he probably was a tough guy....but what I saw of him and what I've heard about him was his friendliness, his helpfulness, his gentleness, and the way he related to people of all ages. He was not only family, he was a close friend to so many of my cousins.

Not all the details of the accident have been released, but snow and ice were not factors, nor were alcohol or drugs. It was a one-car accident that happened around midnight and wasn't seen or reported for another eight hours. And no one was wearing a seat belt...although since the engine was pushed into the front seat upon impact with a tree, I don't think seat belts would have saved the lives of Kevin and Nathan in this instance.

I am thankful these young men knew Christ and gave their lives to Him, sold out to God. They are with Jesus now and I doubt they'd want to leave heaven to return to their loved ones...but for those loved ones still left waiting here on earth, emotions are running deep.

Please pray for Julie, my cousin; her father Julius who was also very close to both young men; for Nathan's three young children; and for the extended families and friends who lost someone too early in life. And please...remind your loved ones AND yourself to buckle up as well as drive safely and defensively. Regardless of your age, you are NOT indestructible. Life is short, don't make it shorter.

Friday, December 24, 2010

What a Vacation!

It has been three years since we've visited my family in Ohio for Christmas, so we checked into plane tickets in August, they were reasonably affordable, and our trip was planned!

We decided last week that it would be better to drive down to the Cities (where we were flying out, four hours away) the day before and stay over night, not worrying about potential bad weather (we ARE in Minnesota!), by staying at a hotel and paying just a bit extra to leave our car there, we actually saved a good amount on parking. It was a good thing we did. We had a winter storm roll in on our way to the Cities on Monday, delaying our arrival by a good 90 minutes. Then, the next morning, I had a notification voice mail on my cell phone reminding me about our flight departure....almost two hours before it originally was supposed to leave! Turns out, they'd rescheduled our flight, but I wasn't observant enough when looking at the email reminder to notice it. We got to the airport in plenty of time, I showed security my new fancy card that indicated I was the recipient of a joint replacement so that there would be no problems getting thru. Ha! I was still thoroughly patted down....and was informed I will be every time I go thru airport security from now on. Yay.

From there, we went to our gate and waited. And waited. And waited. Our flight finally boarded, and by the time we taxied off, it was just about the original time we were supposed to leave. We arrived at Milwaukee with a few hours to spare between flights; however, we were there for about 30 minutes when I got another voice mail notification that our flight was cancelled. Not rescheduled. Cancelled. Nothing further. I high tailed it to the nearest airline employee and asked what was going on and how we were going to get to Akron, Ohio, that day. They had no clue our flight was cancelled yet! They got on the phone, talked with a supervisor, and told me that our flight WAS cancelled, that they were going to put us on another east-bound flight, and that they'd make a stop in Akron to drop off those passengers. However, the flight wouldn't be leaving until after it was supposed to arrive in Ohio originally. Oh, we would get compensation in the form of a free airline ticket for each of us, yay! No problems, the flight boarded on time and pulled away from the gate...and taxied, and taxied, and taxied. We were then informed that because the winds had changed, they had to move all the de-icing equipment from the other side of the airport, and until it got there and our plane was de-iced, they were shutting down the circulating air inside the would be about 10 minutes. Well, it was longer, probably about 30 minutes. Not really that bad. Luke kept occupied by playing tic-tac-toe and other games with the young man sitting beside him while Susi was busy drawing, and across the aisle, Tony and I talked and snuggled. Then we were off!

About ten minutes into our 54 minute flight, Luke started complaining that his head hurt. He soon started hitting it with his head, then putting his head down on his tray. Having dealt with some probable migraines before, I suggested to Tony that he trade places with Susi to make sure Luke was okay (my leg would have been uncomfortable in that I had a feeling it was leading to something I don't like to deal with.....). I suggested again to Tony that he grab a barf bag and keep it handy, explaining to Luke what to do, if it was needed. Just a few minutes later, barf bag in hand, Luke showed how bad his aim really is. ALL over the place, well, at least on him, the seat, the tray, and the floor in front of him (bulk head row). Tony got things cleaned up as much as possible, while I wiped him down in the bathroom, just in time for us to land in Akron. I grabbed an extra bag as we were leaving, and after our luggage came off, Luke got changed before we piled into my parents' van. He promptly made use of the new bag several times before dozing off on our hour-long trip to my parents'. Once more when we got in the house....and the poor kid was wiped out.

The next morning, Luke was almost as good as new, but my tummy was a bit upset....and Tony was really wiped out. By the evening, Luke and I were feeling better, but Tony had slept most of the day. We were supposed to all drive to PA the following day to share a meal with my youngest brother, but Tony felt it best that our family just stay back, rest, and recuperate. He slept almost the entire day, while Susanna started with a deep cough.

Today, Christmas Eve, everyone seems relatively back to normal. Luke, however, is understandably nervous about flying back to Minnesota then the long drive back from the Cities. He doesn't want to stay in Ohio, though, especially without Daddy and Mama, so he'll be making the trip back with us come Monday morning. I did call my doctor and got a prescription for him for Zofran, a great anti-nausea medicine that he's used before. We don't know if it was from the travel (there are times that even driving home five miles from town he asks me to pull over because he feels "travel sick") or if it was a bug (there is something going around at home affecting the tummy without a fever) or if it was something we ate (Tony thought the chips and salsa we snacked on in Milwaukee tasted a bit off, and Susi is the only one who didn't eat any...and the only one who didn't have queasiness).

Needless to say, our plans for our trip changed some...but we've still been enjoying ourselves. It's been very low-keyed and has involved lots of time with "the cousins" -- my brother, his wife, and their nine children -- as well as my parents...and at times just us. Our plans tomorrow include caroling at a local nursing home...and not much beyond that. Sunday after services, we're headed to my uncle's home in Akron for a big get together, before headed back to my brother's for the night...then the airport Monday morning.

Please pray that our flights are on time, are uneventful, and that all tummies, heads, and everything else have no problems. Please also pray that Luke is courageous during this time as he really is nervous....

Merry Christmas, everyone! Thru this all, we've also kept the focus where it should be...on that tiny Baby born so long ago to bring hope eternal to a lost and dying world. Happy birthday, Jesus!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wow! It's Been Awhile!

Okay, so I've not been keeping up with my blog. I've got countless excuses, but I won't go into them...except to tell you I've been trying to do alot of catching up now that I'm moving around easier!

I still have therapy three times a will pay as long as I am showing improvement, and I'm definitely noticing improvement! I use a stationary bike as well as this leg press machine then another weight machine where I pull weights with my new knee. No big amount of weight, only about 16 pounds, but it's amazing how even that small amount wears me out! My knee really is healing well, and I am so thankful for that. When I'm on it for long periods of time, it starts swelling, but that's still normal....and can happen for at least a year, although most swelling should stop within then next month or so. I still get stiff towards the end of the day and first thing in the morning before I get moving, but that's lessening, too. I still wear out pretty fast, too, but again, the doctor and therapist keep telling me not to expect to be near normal for at least a year.

In other news...we had our third annual Christmas Showcase this past Saturday. Fourteen different home-based party-type vendors participated with lots of goodies -- everything from make up to jewelery, chocolate to alfredo sauce, cleaning clothes and supplements, essential oils and cookware, and of course, Watkins! Our local Kinship Chapter also had a bake sale. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate that well and left the roads pretty snowy in the morning...roads were just getting easier to drive mid afternoon when we were shutting down. Sales were still good, though. So mark your calendars for next year -- the first Saturday in December, St. Peter's Parish here in Park Rapids!

Tony continues to stay busy. He still has baby leaf lettuce growing in one of the green houses! And tomatoes are still producing, just as beautiful as they were this summer! He's also been doing some machinery repair as well as general repairs around the house and farm along with winterizing everything. We hope to start moving into the farm house shortly after the new year perhaps.

And Luke and Susanna -- growing like weeds! Susi is wearing a 6x most of the time, and even those are sometimes small on her. She's getting to be a tall girl. Luke wears about a 6 or 7...or whatever he wants to wear! He's got a flat backside, so he sometimes has problems keeping his pants or jeans up, especially when he runs around, silly boy! We continue to home school, and I'm thankful they are quick learners as this fall has not been on a regular schedule for home schooling. Now that I'm functioning better, we'll be going full force after the holidays are over. We do participate in our local home school co-op, and I love watching what they learn. They'll sit down with paints and combine colors to make other colors, talking about hues and tints and primary and secondary colors. They talk about textures and shading and all kinds of things that, as a non "artsy" person, I never fully grasped (or cared about). They'll talk quite a bit about drama and inflection and pantomime and all of that kind of stuff. Then the science stuff kicks in....last week, Luke looked at Susanna and said "My hypothesis is that Daddy kisses Mama on the lips all the time." Quick as a wink, Susi came back with "That CAN'T be your hypothesis because here is no way you can prove that happens all the time!" Okay.....Then there was the whole conversation about Peter and the Wolf and the different instruments and who they represented from the musical drama.

Luke is reading books by himself now and loves to sit and just read Peanuts cartoons. He'll read Susanna's AWANA book to her and work with her on her verses for the week. He's starting to add multiple numbers now and is slowly figuring out how to tell time...the one thing he's realized he isn't good at. And Susanna was thrilled to have read her first book all by herself last week! We've really struggled trying to remember the different letters in the alphabet and the sounds they make....until I started her on Hooked on Phonics. Wow, did she really take off then! And while she still doesn't remember all of the sounds without prompting, she'll sit down with her alphabet "cheat sheet" to remember what sounds each letter makes, then read thru the included books. She still insists she never wants to grow up, though.

We're also working on our Christmas program for this year, Dr. Newheart's Christmas Cure. The kids are doing wonderful, and we're looking forward to performing Sunday, December 19, during our second morning service. There are 44 kids this year! And at least 1/3 of them are first graders! This is also the last year our family is involved with the tiny Nativity, as Susanna is in kindergarten. She was thrilled to get the part of Mary, until she realized she has EIGHT lines to learn!

Well, that's what's going on around here...what's up with you?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Update

Just about a month ago, I had my knee replacement. It's hard to believe...I never realized just how painful pain could be. I never realized how much one surgery could totally drain one's energy. I never realized how much I took walking for granted.

Over the past couple weeks, my knee has been healing quite well and my physical therapist tells me I'm making great strides in my recovery. As I'm typing, I'm sitting cross legged, something he told me he's never seen a knee replacement patient do so soon after surgery, yay! Now, having my leg complely extended is another story.... I learned new words, or at least different meanings for words I already knew. Some of them I don't even remember right now...thanks, meds!

Bending my knee, I can get it to at least 135* or more. Therapists consider it great if one can bend their knee to 120* within the first month. My extension went from 15* to 7* in the past week. The goal is 0*, although that doesn't often happen.

However, with the great strides that I've been making in what I'm able to accomplish, my knee still reminds me there is alot of healing ahead. If I stand on it or walk around for more than 30 minutes, the knee (actually, my leg bone and the new joint) swells up....and I'm in major pain for the next 24 hours or so. If I sit up "regular" in a chair for more than an hour, the same thing happens. It's frustrating, having to do things in little bits and spurts.

I'm also walking quite a bit without my walker (although I haven't been "released" from my doctor yet, so I'm not supposed to!)...and I'm often walking with little to no limp. But...just as often, it feels like my knee is going to buckle on me.

Those who know me know that it's hard for me to just take things easy and go slow. And I often over do it, but I am very greatful to my friends who are still occasionally bringing us meals so I don't have to clomp around and find something to fix. I'm also very thankful for my friend Diane (Hi Diane! I know you'll be reading this soon!) who still comes over once or twice a week to help catch up laundry, vacuuming, dishes, and light cleaning.

It's also been hard not going in to the market ( lately, and especially on Pumpkin Party Saturdays. I miss them! But I also know that if I venture in, I won't be able to help myself with getting busy there and will regret it for days. Thanks, Barb and Andy, for taking care of things so well!

So...please keep up the prayers. And the encouragement. And phone calls. They are really appreciated. While I've made great strides, it's still a long road of recovery ahead. Oh yay.

Please also remember a friend's little girl, Cora (age 5), who messed up her leg pretty bad shortly after my surgery and is in a wheelchair right now. And the long list of others who recently also had knee/joint replacement or are soon going to.

Love ya all!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Hard to believe I've been home almost a week now! Okay, since my last update, here's what's been going on:

I was scheduled to go home from the hospital Sunday afternoon and was really looking forward to it! But I woke up Sunday feeling quite muddle-headed, really out of it. The nurses actually woke me at 8:00 and I fell asleep again only to have them wake me again at 10:00. As I was in the restroom a few minutes later, I started shaking on the right side, first my hand then arm then everything on the right side...couldn't talk without stuttering...and that quickly got worse, too. The nurse got me back to bed and then doctors started coming in. I couldn't stop shaking and the stuttering just got worse where I could barely speak...but I was thinking clearly (albeit wondering what in the world was happening to me). The internal medicine doctor came and told them to get me off all the narcotics and soon after a psych intern came and started asking me all kinds of questions. I fell asleep again, it was around 1:00, and when I woke up about two hours later, the shaking was gone and the stuttering was just about gone....then the head of the psych department came. Meanwhile, they had started me on two different pain meds, Celebrex (anti-inflammatory) and Tramadol (pain). I felt NO pain (still had pain with the narcotics). After a 30-minute or so talk with the psych guy, he told me it was one of three things: medication, anxiety, or trauma. Well, DUH! I asked him if HE thought I was crazy and he told me based on our talk, he believes I'm clearly sane (so THERE!)....and seemed to lean towards the meds.

It was scary...not knowing what was going on, wondering if I was having a stroke or worse. Thankfully, it does seem like everything cleared up when the meds were changed...and honestly, the new combo works much better. So much better in fact, that I overdid it that night. Tony and the kids came to visit, and before they got there, I took what to me was a long walk, sat in the chair for 90 minutes when they were there, then had that leg thingy on that bends my knee for me -- for over an hour at a pretty high angle. No pain...but then the exhaustion hit!

After having a good morning on Monday, the doctor confirmed that I could go home finally...I'd been there for a full week! It was a rough ride home -- 90 minutes in a pretty uncomfortable position but no way to get more comfortable. What I've come to realize even more this week is that this is going to be a loooooong healing process! It was good to be home, familiar surroundings, see the kids, and settle in. Thankfully, going down stairs is easier than going up, and I'm settled downstairs for a few weeks.

One benefit (?) to the pain I had in the hospital and problems with medications is that I was authorized to have home health care, so a therapist comes in three times a week and I have three nurse visits over the first two weeks I'm home. That isn't usual, so I'm very thankful to have it.

It's been a very humbling week for me. I didn't realize just how traumatic this would be to my body physically. While I don't have alot of pain any more, each day is getting better, the simplest things wear me out beyond exhaustion. I've been in tears many times because walking to the bathroom, a very short distance, makes me so physically tired. A few days, I've had to get lunch for the kids, and being on my feet for ten short minutes makes me hurt and tired beyond belief. The kids have been fairly understanding through this, but it's hard on them, too. By Thursday, we were all ready for a break, and I thank God for my home school friend Sara who called to see what I needed. I told her I need my kids out of the house, occupied, distracted, something! So she brought her twins (right between Luke & Susanna's ages) over the next day along with lunch. The kids went crazy, and she helped my dear friend Diane who had come over to help with house keeping. And overall, the kids have been doing well, trying to help, make me feel better, things like that. My first day home, Susanna spent two hours painting my nails...with literally 15 different colors. They're quite interesting.... She also loves to rub lotion on my feet and give me "foot massages." She's my "ice" girl, getting ice packs when I need them, and Luke is my "foot boy," helping put my foot on the couch or pillow when I can't lift it. They love to get me things to drink, and when I'm on my feet getting meals for them, they'll bring the food over to me since I can't get it myself.

My poor husband. He's been trying his best to keep up with general things around the house along with everything at the farm. There are times we go several days with dishes piling up in the kitchen...I can't walk without the walker, and I can't stand/move for any length of time, so I can't get the dishes stacked or unloaded from the dish washer. With my limited movement and the walker, I can't even get into the laundry room! Luke has been complaining that he's running out of clean underwear!

When Diane came over Friday to help clean, she took one look at my kitchen and said "well, I guess I'll be starting on the dishes!" Then she turned around and said "and the laundry as well!" She got so much accomplished, and between her and Sara, the house (or at least the basement...although I'm sure upstairs is good, too!) looks so much better. That helps me relax more, because I go crazy looking at the things piling up in the kitchen and on the carpet..then get up and try to do things and end up even more worn out! I'm also thankful for my in-laws who have done some grocery shopping for us, and my dear sister-in-law who brought McDonald's for us...and got some birthday presents for the party the kids are going to. Another sister-in-law brought me Chinese food today, yum!

Yes, I now realize my limitations, and I am going to push to the point of where my therapist thinks I should...but not beyond. There is no way I want to go thru knee surgery again any time soon!

I am thankful, too, for those who have been providing meals for us. Between three suppers brought to us each week and friends every once in awhile dropping by with lunch, it has really given me relief as I don't have to worry so much about taking care of meals for my family.

On a totally different subject, I am so thankful our pumpkin parties have been doing well. Last week, we had a record turn out for a non-MEA weekend (MEA is a weekend in Minnesota where all the schools are closed for three days; it is our busiest Saturday of the year). This week was even better. I ache wanting to be at the market, helping with the pumpkin parties, talking with customers, seeing my kiddos working in the wagon ride skits (yes, both of them are in the skit this year!). I miss seeing Tony playing the banjo, launching the pumpkin propeller, and just the crowds in general. But again, I am very thankful God provided us with such excellent employees. I started crying today when I talked with Andy Thompson, thanking him for all his work. Between him, Barb Melheim, Bria Wolff, and Joy Haataja, they've been keeping up with everything at the market, especially on Saturdays. Kelly Schanelic has been doing his usual wonderful job in the concession stand. With them working, I honestly am not worried about how things are going, if things are falling behind, whatever. They've been keeping up with everything wonderfully! And Tony has a great crew in the back, too.

Sometime in the next week, I'll try to start uploading some photos that have been accumulating over the past year. I'll also try to post photos of the lovely flowers I've received from my in-laws Paul and Lori, Al and Carla, Beth, and my friends Barb and Diane. We've got quite the collection going downstairs! Susanna has informed me that any flowers I don't want, she'll gladly take for me...and when I'm tired of the balloons, she'll gladly take those, too!

Thank you all for the continued prayers. Keep 'em coming...they're valued, treasured, and needed! I'm also not able to get emails right now as our main computer with the emails are if you send me an email and don't hear back, you'll know why!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Where things are now....

So Tuesday Tony, the kids, and I showed up at Sanford South (formerly MerrittCare) in Fargo so I could have knee replacement surgery. Pain had been pretty bad for quite awhile, leaving it close to impossible for me to walk at times. Surgery went well, and the nurses said that for ones, Dr. Nelsen did a very straight (but long!) cut. I was pretty out of it for most of Tuesday, but then the femoral block they did to numb the leg wore off about 3 a.m.....oh, the agony! I used to think I knew what a 10 was on the pain scale. Believe me, I had no clue! They gave me morphine and a few other things that helped some, and I did a bit of PT Wednesday morning, but then they gave me a second femoral block....and couldn't get the pain under control for the rest of the day. I had some major problems going on for almost all of Wednesday and most of Thursday, but they finally found the right combo of meds for me -- oxy cotin and percoset....but it knocks me out! I did find out though how effective it is....when I woke up at 3:00 am today to use the restroom -- no one wanted to wake me up to give me pain meds (she's sleeping peacefully!), so I had nothing in my system when I got up, OUCH!!!!! It took quite a bit of time to get the pain under control again!

Today, however, has been better. I've learned how to get into and out of the car (believe me, that won't be happening much for awhile!); walked about 100 feet (HUGE accomplishment!), did my therapy, and YAY! took a shower. All before noon. And I am exhausted.

I'm frustrated. How am I going to handle this when I get home? Just going to the bathroom takes everything out of me (haha). There are times I just cry from the are the kids going to be able to handle that? I can't even get UP to go to the bathroom by myself, because I can't lift my leg by myself. When they took out that second block, the front of my leg, from knee to ankle, went numb. They assure me that happens, and everything should be back to normal by bed time tonight. We'll see. Meanwhile, I honestly can't lift up my leg, even a fraction of an inch by myself.

People have asked about the food. It's surprisingly good. I can order whatever I want from the menu whenever I want. I had raspberry fritter french toast for breakfast this morning with crispy hashbrowns, yum! Yesterday, I had talapia with citrus butter, scalloped potatoes, and green beans....and for supper, I had toasted cheese with a tossed salad and oven-baked french fries. Earlier today, I had roast beef and gravy, some more of the really yummy scalloped potatoes and green beans. Oh, and for dessert, I alternate between lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and rainbow sherbet (which is a delicious night time snack! I'll have to have Tony pick some up so it's waiting for me at home...). Other options available are chicken alfredo, just about any kind of sandwhich you can imagine, several kinds of soup, roast turkey, hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, mandarin chicken salad, southwestern chicken salad, lasagna, stir fry, rotisserie chicken, and much more. Breakfast options include many kinds of hot and cold cereals, alot of fruit, bagels, toast, muffins, cinnamon or caramel rolls, build your own omlet, scrambled or fried eggs, eggs benedict, biscuit and gravy, and even more. So the food is actually quite delicious! isn't home cooking :(

It's been kinda lonely here. We live two hours away, so I haven't expected Tony and the kids would be able to visit. My good friends Chuck and Judy stopped by, though! They surprised me on Thursday. "Brownie" on Wednesday, but I didn't get to see her as I was getting the second block put in. i've had some phone calls, although there are times i'm just not retaining what I'm hearing (sorry!). Flowers from my dear sister-in-law Lori arrived to my room about an hour after I did.

Continue to pray for me. I battle with discouragement...not knowing how in the world we'll be able to handle things at home. We're going to need ALOT of help, not just meals and light cleaning. Help with the kids, I'm going to need help with every day things that I didn't expect I'd not be able to do. I'll be house bound for awhile -- even therapy will be coming to me for awhile. Pray for me, for pain and for me to heal quickly...but pray for the kids, too, that they'll be able to deal with all the changes that will be going on, that they'll be able to handle seeing me when I'm in pain...or when I'm zonked out. Pray for Tony that he'll be able to handle things, too, on top of all the farm stuff. And...DON'T LAUGH!...pray that I can get to the bathroom when I need to without too much pain!

Thank you all for your continued prayers. Please understand when I don't process other things you tell me right now. There is so much I'm trying to take in right now, and it's difficult. I know so much other stuff is happening, but I can't focus on it right now. It is hard enough focusing on one minute from the next with this healing and therapy. I can't handle much other stuff right now.

But on that note....I do want to say BIG congratulations to Tony's dear niece, Mary Joy, and her husband Jim, on the birth of their darling daughter earlier today! Paul and Lori are officially grandparents, and my in-laws are great-grandparents!!!!!