Monday, September 30, 2013

My New Life

Blogging Friends.... Thank-you for your thoughts and prayers sent toward my Kindred Spirit congenital diaphragmatic hernia Buddy, Clay. His operation has been postponed, due to experiencing cold-like symptoms. He is now rescheduled for his third C.D.H. repair surgery on either October 1st, or 3rd. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers!!
Chocolate-covered cookies. They sat on our "snack table" at church yesterday, among Krispy Kreme doughnuts and assorted fruits. These cookies--Keebler Fudge Stripe--were calling me. Chocolate, I have learned, knows my name, and speaks English quite fluently, as it reels me in like some wet, slimy fish. Raelyn. Raelyn. Raelyn. The fruit, of course, did not do that. No. The grapes and apple slices on our "snack table" just sat there, silently, like some introverted child. It did not help that I am still battling negative feelings--and winning!!--of low self-esteem. Whenever this occurs, apparently, my chocolate cravings are much more frequent. Ah, mood swings. It did not help that I had only gotten five hours' sleep the night before--my fault--so fatigue was present. Whoops. We sang worship songs, and all I wanted was a jittery, edgy, hyperactive I-can-achieve-anything surge of energetic chocolate high. You know what? It has been nearly one month since I gave up my bingeing habit. Wow. And, although I have occasionally indulged on chocolate--guilt-free--it has been nearly one month since I've experienced any "highs". I repeat. Wow. And, although I still miss bingeing on chocolate, my crazy mind is no longer sending withdrawal symptoms. Just cravings. Does this officially qualify me as being a "recovering chocolate addict"? Just wondering!! Because I have done amazingly well at saying "no" to cravings!! So. Those Keebler Fudge Stripe cookies were calling my name in fluent English. Raelyn. Raelyn. Raelyn. I tried to ignore the chocolate-coated cookies. I even looked away from our "snack table". Lead me not into temptation!! {What? I was at church!! Why not quote scripture?} But it was no use ignoring something which stared me down. Even the chocolate doughnuts called my name in fluent English!! Raelyn. Raelyn. Raelyn. I must have mentally told chocolate to shut up, because my hands grabbed a cluster of sweet juicy purple grapes, instead!! And that is not even my very favorite fruit!! However. I did indulge with one piece of sweet, sugar-loaded homemade apple pie later!! Guilt. Free!! As resulted to my newfound willpower, I have lost a bit of weight, but still cannot fit into old jeans. For this, I must be patient!! I'm not sure if I was even blessed with the type of body that allows a completely flat abdomen, because there is flab located right above my C.D.H. repair scar. But. Without it--and God's Grace--I would be dead. This is my battle scar, a physical blemish which I have never been ashamed of. Ever. Meanwhile, Rose is most certainly enjoying my new life!! Rather than nosh on a full plate of chips, for an afternoon snack, I now dunk baby carrots in creamy buttermilk ranch dressing. This is easily Rose's very favorite vegetable!! She could eat carrots as though they were candy!! Hmmm. I could learn a thing or two from Rose. Once her velvet-soft ears hear the bag opening, or my teeth biting into an orange crunchy carrot, she comes running, expecting some!! Little beggar!! To which I almost always smile, because what happens next is that Rose and I share the healthful snack!! I look forward to this simple bonding moment as much as she does!! I dunk my baby carrots into creamy buttermilk ranch dressing, bite into them, one by one, and Rose chews the plain other half!! We do this nearly every day!! Also. I'm afraid that during my experience of falling deeper and deeper into chocolate addiction, our walks stopped. I haven't a clue how. First came the excuses--which are always lame and redundant--then laziness. Soon, my premature short-term memory loss took over, like some military commander. Walk? What walk? I forgot!! So. Needless to mention. I am not the only one who gained weight. Rose did as well, because of her addiction to, well, food, as she is part Beagle!! Now. I have flown from one extreme to the other--not surprising--and I've become a power walking enthusiast!! Crazy. We live on a suburban cul-de-sac, with very few miles to walk. So, twice daily, I just lead Rose up and down our "neighborhood". At a fast pace. Sure, I allow Rose's ebony nostrils to sniff bushes and grass. She is a canine, after all!! I especially let Rose sniff our last strip of grass, where this leaning streetlight, plus freshly-painted bright yellow fire hydrant are located. Because, by then, I am huffing and puffing, my out-of-shape, long-ago collapsed left lung--both which were previously weakened by pneumonia--working overtime. You know what? Making my resilient lungs work overtime feels so good!! Now, I understand that I'm insane to be starting our walks back up now, especially during current passing Autumn rainstorms. But, here's the thing. I love, love, love walking in the rain!! Love. Love. Love. Our neighbors must think that I'm crazy--which I am!!--because I absolutely refuse to wear my raincoat's hood during stormy day walks!! So!! There we have it. My resisting temptation against chocolate cravings is going amazingly well, and I am losing weight alongside Rose!! Gradually.
Look for a new post on Minuscule is good!, my other Blog--Lord willing--tomorrow!! Cross your fingers--and paws!!--because it has yet to even be written!!                            

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Very Cheesy Treats

Blogging Friends.... Thank-you for your comments on the other day's post!! I truly appreciated them!! I guess one of the lessons I needed to learn while riding waves of mood swing-infused pity parties {Oh. By the way? I am still surfing, sometimes going under and sometimes gracefully riding!!} was humility, plus gratitude. And you, my dear Friends, have taught me this very lesson!! I am a writer. For which I'm grateful. And minuscule is good!! So, thanks.
Please remember to keep precious little Clay in your thoughts and prayers. Today he is scheduled for his third congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair operation.
September 21st was Rose's sixth birthday. Well, actually. It was our third gotcha day, really!! I cannot believe that I've owned Rose for three years, already!! Time certainly does escape into outer space, I am convinced of it!! As a present, I purchased Rose this long-limbed brown, tan and white plush monkey. I named "him" Holmes after Sherlock, because "he" slightly resembles one of Robert Downey Jr.'s many costumes in the second movie. How befitting that this toy is a monkey!! Before handing Rose her new friend, I, of course, needed to sever Holmes' tags. I did not say one word. And, as though she were the great know-it-all Sherlock Holmes herself, Rose wanted this toy!! She knew!! I also baked Rose a batch of biscuits. I must note. In less than three years of baking treats for Rose, I've made nearly every single recipe from my first cookbook!! Wow. The biscuits that I baked for Rose's third gotcha day tasted like Goldfish crackers!! They were so delicious!! Not only did I test-taste these home-baked dog treats, but I ate them, as well!! Yeah. My youngest brother--Rose's Uncle Michael--has been known to call me Shaggy from "Scooby Doo", because that character eats his Great Dane's Scooby snacks!! Well!! It turns out that this Shaggy has been busted--caught red handed--for enjoying these home-baked dog treats!! By Rose!! Yes, her colossal chocolate-brown eyes watch me, as I walk away with my scored snack. Mmmm!! Then, Rose comes running in my direction, because her ebony nostrils picked up the scent. Darn!! Then, with a cockeyed smirk written on my face, I give Rose the last bite!! Must I get caught for everything?!
Needless to mention. Rose would rate this recipe: Four 'paws' way, way up!!

Chasing Cheese
A NEW THING FOR YOUR DOG TO CHASE AFTER. {Literally!! After Rose's guilty-as-charged treat thief!!}
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons softened margarine {I used butter. We like the real thing around here!!}
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together cheese and margarine. {I was clueless as to what exactly, that meant. Cream together cheese and margarine. So. I just mashed those twain ingredients together with a small spoon. I know what it means now!!} Add milk, and flour. Mold mixture into ball {My dough was crumbly. I felt quite nervous as to whether or not it ever would form a ball. Quite nervous. But I kept adding water until it softened!!} and roll dough {On a floured countertop!!} to 1/4 inch thickness. {I do not follow that rule. I roll my dough very, very thin!!} Cut dough with cookie cutter {I used two dog-shapes, one paw print, plus two bone-shaped cutters!!} and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes {I made my first tray of nine for 20 minutes. The second was rolled out a little thicker, so it required 25 minutes.} or until edges start to brown.  Makes 3 dozen. {I baked 18!!}
Bake bones on the middle oven rack. If your dough is sticky, apply a light layer of flour to your hands, the rolling surface and rolling pin. Because of variations in oven temperatures, monitor the cooking time for your batch of "Doggy Bones". Bake bones until the bottoms of the biscuits become medium brown, and adjust remaining baking times accordingly. If bones do not become "bone hard", bake bones for an additional five minutes or leave them in the oven as it cools. Store "Doggy Bones" in an airtight container. For extended supply, double your batch and freeze them!

Happy birthday. Happy anniversary. Happy gotcha day, Rose!! Either way you phrase it, I am so glad you're mine!!        



Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Blogging Friends.... This post took all weekend long to write, it was such a difficult subject. Such a difficult subject. See, writing, for me, doubles as therapy. That being mentioned. This post was a "therapy session", if you will. Self-acceptance issues can be brutal, yet beautiful. For "riding mood swings" is, mentally, much like a surfer riding the waves. Got that? Mood swing-infused pity parties being our mighty ocean, you hang on tight, meanwhile battling crashing waves, hoping beyond hope that you'll never drown. The goal is to survive, swim away stronger, and gain maturity. And I do. So. Surf's up?
"It" just had to return and haunt me, like some unwanted ghost or demon. See, I thought I'd dealt with this issue regarding being learning disabled. If first mentally fleeing from palpable, palpable, palpable feelings of jealousy, comparison, and disappointment is even considered "dealing". But, that's my survivor's mechanism. I mentally run far, far, far away from any emotional pain, formulating creative escape routes along the way until "it" corners me like in a losing game of Checkers. And this always, always, always occurs. Because, inevitably, there is no way out, for I cannot outrun "it". I can't win. During such experiences, I am mentally a tough loner drifter, like Wolverine from X-Men. Then, finally, after spending quite some time fighting them back, fresh wet tears freely stream down my face. I am rendered vulnerable. Then, I'm left with no other choice but to deal with "it". This occurred during early Summer, as the days were growing longer, warmer, lazier. It was June or July. Fast forward. Brisk morning Autumn breezes are now in the air, trees' leaves have changed colors. It is September. A good three months later. "It" just had to return and haunt me, like some unwanted ghost or demon. See, I thought I'd dealt with this issue regarding being learning disabled. I had long ago kicked "it" out of my head, my heart, my soul. But "it" was not out of my life. So. What is this "it", that I have so mysteriously expressed? Well.... First things first. "It" feels like an emotionally difficult subject, and one that my sponge-like brain is still soaking up, making complete sense of. Because. "It" is complicated. And, to make matters furthermore difficult. There is a sturdy brick wall--virtually speaking--which I have recently constructed, standing proudly against "it". And not even Ty Pennington or his "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" crew can produce demolition on this self-created barrier. No. Because destructing this virtual brick wall is my job, for I created it. And then God {Who it turns out, can be a bit tough!!} whispered these words into my heart and soul. So. You have been mentally running from this. Hmmm. How is that working out for you? See. You cannot be a mental drifter forever!! No. You must face this head-on!! It turns out, that God said just what I needed to hear!! So. {This was written in my Word Document journal/diary entry!! With a few added changes, of course!!} What is this "it", that I have so mysteriously expressed? Well.... "It" is a cosmic, unobtainable dream, broken like precious shattered china dishes. To be an author. For various reasons, I cannot pursue this dream. But, you know what? People can create beautiful mosaic artwork with shattered china pieces!! Yes, beautiful mosaic artwork. And, you know what? As a writer, that is what I have been unintentionally doing all along, metaphorically speaking!! Making mosaic artwork with the precious shattered china pieces of this cosmic, unobtainable dream!! I mean, really. I possess the liberty to write about any subject or genre my crazy heart and soul desires!! Think about that. I can write true stories about Rose.... Or Robert Downey Jr., meanwhile striving hard to paint pictures with words!! Can a published author achieve that? More often than not--according to observation--they are stuck on either writing about vampires and werewolves, magical wizards, or just one genre like some poor typecasted Hollywood actor. So. I have created mosaic artwork with the shattered china pieces of this cosmic, unobtainable dream!! Cool. October is fast approaching us. I already have a Writing Project in mind to create for my new Blog, "Minuscule is good!". Funny. It's story, characters, and details are jumbled up like some jigsaw puzzle, just awaiting to be made into beautiful mosaic artwork....
Those promised Rose stories? They shall come!! I am currently writing a much lighter-subjected Rose-related story!! So stay tuned!!










Friday, September 20, 2013

Remind Me Again

Blogging Friends.... Rose stories shall come. I promise!! For I have been experiencing some very intense writing withdrawals these past three days!! Must. Write. Now!! But, meanwhile, I've also been riding some mood swings lately--and battling them like the fighter that I am--sans any chocolate binges!! I wrote this in my private Word Document journal/diary on Monday, September 16th. I thought I'd share it with you. Right now, I am okay. Hence the fact that I'm "riding some mood swings".      
"Remind Me Again"
"Minuscule is good! Trust me, it's much better than thinking everything you do is important and meaningful. That is not good." --Robert Downey Jr.
Remind me again that minuscule is good. Minuscule is good!! Remind me again that I do not need to attend college classes for something huge like a doctor's career? Because minuscule is good!! Remind me again that I am a writer, an artist who paints pictures with words on paper, and that's enough? Minuscule is good!! Remind me again that motherhood will not complete me, and magically bring contentment? Minuscule is good!! Remind me again that "You fail only if you stop writing", thus according to Ray Bradbury, and I seldom ever go one day sans writing? Minuscule is good!! Remind me again that rescuing my Beautifully Unique adult Mystery Dog, Rose, three years ago this Saturday, September 21st from a local shelter feels wonderful? Minuscule is good!! Remind me again that encouraging Blogger Moms {Plus one Dad!!} who have had kids either born with craniosynostis or congenital diaphragmatic hernia--my birth defects--is important and meaningful, yet minuscule? Because. Minuscule is good!! Remind me again. Minuscule is good!! I suffer from premature short-term memory loss. Sometimes I need reminded. So. Remind me again. Minuscule is good!!
And then. Because that favorite Tony Stark line of mine from "The Avengers" was feeling left out {It was my first influential Robert Downey Jr.-related mantra, after all!!} I wrote this on Thursday, September 19th.

"You know, I've got a cluster of shrapnel, trying every second to crawl its way into my heart. This--stops it. This little circle of light. It's part of me now, not just armor. It's a... terrible privilege." --Tony Stark/Iron Man
Remind me again that  "It's a... terrible privilege.". My entire existence is. It's a terrible privilege!! Remind me again that 1 out of 2,000 babies are born with craniosynostosis, and I fell among that statistic. It's a... terrible privilege!! Remind me again that craniosynostosis mostly occurs to boys, and I am female. It's a... terrible privilege!! Remind me again that approximately 1,600 babies are born each year with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and I fell among that statistic. It's a... terrible privilege!! Remind me again that 10% of babies born with C.D.H. have it on the right side, and I fell among that statistic. {I think!!} It's a... terrible privilege!! Remind me again that 1 out of every 2,500 live births are affected by C.D.H. in the United States and I fell among that statistic. It's a... terrible privilege!! Remind me again that only 50% of children born with C.D.H. survive. And I am that. A nearly 30-year old survivor. It's a... terrible privilege!! Remind me again that one to three in 1,000 people worldwide are affected by Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. It's a... terrible privilege!! Remind me again. It's a... terrible privilege!! I suffer from premature short-term memory loss. Sometimes I need reminded. So. Remind me again. It's a... TERRIBLE privilege!!
I'm a child of God. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made.". {Psalms 139:14}. Remind me again.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pray For Clay

Blogging Friends.... I have been busy lately. Very, very, very busy!! So, I cannot find the time to completely catch-up on everybody's Blogs.... Because, believe me, I have tried!! {Oh, yeah. And I promise you some Rose stories on this Blog about my dog!! Soon!!}
   Update. In the other day's post, I confessed that I'm a chocolate addict. Ten days have now passed by since I quit my binging habit, and cut back drastically on sugar, as well. Ten long days. I do not miss the sugar. Honest, I don't!! The chocolate? That is another story. I have freakin' chocolate cravings daily. Daily!! They are very, very, very strong. And, at this point, I do not miss the jittery, edgy, hyperactive I-can-achieve-anything surge of energetic high that a ton of chocolate gave me. How did I ever let my addiction get this bad, I oft question? Now, lest anybody wonder. I am not, by any means at all, chocolate-free!! Nor do I want to be!! Because, one thing I have learned during these past ten days, is this. Life sans chocolate entirely? Unimaginable!! Chocolate sweetens life up!! However. I can count on one hand how much chocolate I've indulged on since quitting my binging ways. Wow. As resulted, I have lost a little weight. But not nearly enough!! Here is a Word Document journal/diary entry from Sunday, September 15th. I made some changes, of course. Because, as a writer, that is what I do!! Yeah. I double as an editor!!
        Well, yesterday was my first cosmic test against temptation. Our preborn niece's baby shower. It was arranged like a family birthday party. More of these tests shall come, I'm sure!! For dinner, there were various chips to nosh on. And, I am also watching my junk food intake. Surprisingly, those chips actually did tempt me a bit!! There were lots and lots of barbequed hamburgers. And hotdogs. I ate one juicy hamburger with nothing on but mayonnaise!! Just the way I like it!! There was lemonade to drink. Plus iced tea. I love lemonade!! But there were also luscious strawberries available, plus other fruits. I inhaled those as if my life depended on it!! I love, love, love strawberries!! There was also baby carrots {plus other vegetables} and buttermilk dip. I enjoyed some baby carrots, as well!! Then dessert. It was not chocolate cake, as I had originally hoped for. However. After spending all morning battling strong feelings of withdrawal yesterday--like some demon--I was actually secretly relieved that there wasn't any chocolate cake!! Yes, relieved. I wanted to raid Dairy Queen of every "Chocolate Lover's" Blizzard that day, they were such intense withdrawals!! Okay. Heaven knows that I can be a jerk, especially lately during strong chocolate withdrawals. Now. I think that it is downright rude to attend someone's party and not enjoy even a thin slice of homemade cake!! After all. They did lovingly take the time to bake it!! So, after my oldest brother's best friend's wife lured me toward the cake, I halfheartedly said this. "You don't need to encourage me!!". Then. One thin slice was cut for me!! Which felt weird to this sugar-crazed girl!! I wanted a bigger piece!! It was this made-from-scratch vanilla cake with blueberries layered inside, where, usually, more frosting would be. Icing, plus sprinkles were on top. Then. After arriving home that night, it felt weird, so weird, to not be on a sugar high. See. Usually, on days of birthday party-like events, I drink more than one Sprite. That is 38-plus grams of sugar freely being poured into my system. And I eat way too much cake, whether or not my taste buds even like it. Especially if there's chocolate!! When I return home, it's usually late evening, and, by 10:00 PM, Parkinson is performing some sold-out concert within my chest. I think he must play for Bruce Springsteen!! I possess a jittery, edgy, hyperactive I-can-achieve-anything surge of energy. Because. I. Am. High. Insane, I know. But last night? To the contrary!! I was actually exhausted, after a long day of resisting Dairy Queen chocolate Blizzard robberies.
Now, enough about me!! One of my dear sweet precious C.D.H. Buddies, Clay, is in serious need of prayer right now.
It can be a congenital diaphragmatic hernia parent's worst, most darkest fear. Reherniation. You already watched your child battle for his/her little life, often on the brink of death. So naturally. Nothing comes even remotely close to the thought of reliving that hell. Nothing. But it can--and does--occur, as reherniation for a baby born with C.D.H. are as high as 60%. Well, get this. Clay already reherinated. That's right. The hard to kill little dude already put his poor Mommy and Daddy through C.D.H.-related hell twice. Yesterday, Clay's parents attended an appointment with surgeon Dr. D. to discuss what could be causing their only son's ongoing vomiting problems. Some chest x-rays later, Hannah and Eric were thrown an unexpected nasty curveball. Clay had reherinated. Again. Apparently, the gortex patch which doctors made to "seal" Clay's hole in his diaphragm {Mine was corrected by sutures. We think!!} during both previous operations gave way right in the middle of Clay's diaphragm, below his sternum. Now. Clay's g-tube is working as somewhat of an "anchor" for his stomach, so it is only partially elevated in Clay's chest cavity. However. They could visibly see stomach in Clay's chest based on the x-rays. Like when my left lung collapsed, Clay has been acting as though nothing occurred and all of his organs are where they belong. Pictures on their Blog show a very happy boy!! Clay's breathing has not even been labored, plus he's still ventilator and oxygen-free!! Clay is scheduled for his C.D.H. repair surgery next week on Thursday, September 26th. The hospital will not release Clay until one week's time. Please, please, please pray for Clay, Hannah, and Eric!!
 Their Blog address is this. . Be sure to swing on by, and send your love for Clay!!     


Friday, September 13, 2013

Hello, My Name Is Raelyn....

And I am addicted to chocolate. Alright. Confession over!!
"I have a chocolate addiction. It's a problem.". These were words which I voluntarily confessed to my Aunt Chris back in August at our ten-year old cousin's birthday party upon seeing her homemade s'mores cupcakes. "I have a chocolate addiction. It's a problem.". Why yes. I placed great emphasis on the word "problem". It was a happy confession, not some desperate cry for help. Because. I was quite pleased and proud of this so-called "problem"!! And Aunt Chris simply smiled at my confession, as though I just told an outstanding joke, a comedian on stage. What? Do I look like Joey Gladstone from television's "Full House"?! I don't even consider myself funny!! I was being serious!! Not that I presented myself in such a manner. No. How could I, with a self-satisfied cock-eyed smirk painted on my face? Huh? I could not have cared less that Aunt Chris' reaction only fuelled my addiction, as I scored me some chocolate in the form of a rich s'mores cupcake!! And then. With permission might I add, plus my charming-yet-honest rave of Aunt Chris' dessert, I scored another one. Because, who can say no to this? "Oh, those cupcakes are so freakin' good!! May I have another one?"? Smirk, smirk. I was already high on chocolate. What's some more in my system going to do? How about give the drummer within my chest--who, by the way, I named Parkinson--full permission to jam away. Thump, thump, thump, thump--do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do--thump, thump, thump, thump. After all. My cardiologist, Dr. L., told us that this was "normal for me", since I lived with Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome for 18 years!! Now. Can somebody really become addicted to chocolate? That is debatable, based on certain Online Websites which I have recently found. However. The majority says that, yes, you can become addicted to chocolate, because of some of its ingredients. Such as sugar. Or caffeine. One source even made this far-out claim. Chocolate can create same high as opium. Well. I wouldn't know about that!! But, based on a deeply personal experience, I can honestly say {Without joking!!} that you can, indeed, become addicted to chocolate!! It makes me feel happy, chasing away any unpleasant mood swings, even for a minute. And, yes. Chocolate can create a high, this jittery, edgy, hyperactive I-can-achieve-anything surge of energy. Does opium do that? Please. Do not answer that!! Now. Can people simply love chocolate and not be addicts? I think so. Chocolate is not evil!! And it isn't an illegal narcotic!! Need I write more? It becomes a problem, an addiction, a vice, when something deep, deep, deep within your psyche says that you "need" chocolate. Constantly. That, just one week ago, was me. It becomes a problem, an addiction, a vice, when you recently ingest nearly the entire package of Double Stuf Oreo cookies. It was an accident, officer, I swear!! It becomes a problem, an addiction, a vice, when the only thing you crave during fatigue, or mood swings is chocolate. For that jittery, edgy, hyperactive I-can-achieve-anything surge of energetic high!! It becomes a problem, an addiction, a vice, when you pour literally 1/2 cup of Hersey's chocolate into pure white milk. Not that I measured it!! It becomes a problem, an addiction, a vice, when you're staying up late writing, thus you "need" that chocolate high. I can carry on and on and on. But my point has been made crystal-clear. You get it. Hello, my name is Raelyn.... And I am addicted to chocolate. Alas. There's a consequence for everything, especially when addiction is concerned, and chocolate's not exempt. Such as weight gain. Yes, I have gradually, over time, packed on the pounds, meanwhile losing several pairs of jeans, plus feeling snug in some nice blouses. I want those clothes back. Or better. I wish to purchase a new, skinnier wardrobe!! The thought of clothes shopping--which I find so tedious!!--never sounded more exciting!! Anyway. I have now been chocolate-free since Sunday!! {Minus one home-made milkshake. Because. I believe that it is mentally and emotionally healthy to indulge every so often!!}. I have not researched Online any withdrawal symptoms, so I'm surfing them out. Thus far, I have experienced fatigue. And when I'm tired, I "need" chocolate, remember? I have experienced edginess, as though I'm under a great deal of stress. Which, I am not!! I experienced mood swings as they briefly came and went one day. Meanwhile fighting back tears. But I survived!! I have experienced way-too-consistent Sweet Tooth Cravings, as I've also drastically reduced my sugar intake, which, an enormously-sized juicy apple helps fix. For a minute!! Although I am not, by any means at all, starving myself, I've also felt hungry all the time. It's like I'm suddenly part Beagle, or something!! Oh and the dreaming of chocolate. One night, it was milkshakes. Another? I was dreaming of M&M's, Oreo cookies and Snickers bars!! You know what? I do not even like Snickers!! Weird. But, I am giving up an addiction which had a strong hold on me for many years, and only recently worsened. Dreaming of chocolate? It is not only normal, but healthy, too. Psychologically, dreaming of chocolate is, I think, my mind letting go in the same exact way it did our old house/neighborhood after we moved. So. I am now going chocolate-free. At all times? This was the query my youngest brother asked me, although he didn't quite phrase it that way. Answer. Absolutely not!! See, my sister baked some M&M/chocolate chip cookies earlier this afternoon. Oh, the temptation was so very strong within me to snack on some raw dough, eat M&M's straight from its bag, and nosh on more than my share of this sweet treat!! But, I resisted!! Instead, I gratefully ate twain oven-warm cookies, slowly, allowing every uncharacteristic lady-like bite to melt in my mouth, as though it were my last. And I am so happy that I did!! Tomorrow we will attend my preborn niece's baby shower. Will there be cake as dessert? Make it chocolate, please!! Because I think shall have one very thin slice....














Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'm "Hard To Kill"

Blogging Friends.... This post required, like three days to write. Because I have been busy. Helping Mom paint our shed green!! And.... I am a bit behind in commenting on your Blogs!! Sorry about that!!
Some people are, in my opinion, "hard to kill". Heedless of what potential life threatening experience is thrown at them--whether self-inflicted or not--they're resilient. For those who are "hard to kill" bounce back swift as a boomerang. They do not fall flat on the floor like some inflated basketball. I think of my Kindred Spirit congenital diaphragmatic hernia Blogging Friends. All 19 of them. Each story unique as a zebra's stripe pattern, some much more dramatic than others, yet every infant's beginnings were terrifyingly traumatic. Killian, Whitney, Timoteo, Wyatt, Ramsey, Bonnie, Zoe, Ava, Catherine, Parker, Clara, Jude, Clay, Memphis, Sunni, Atiksh, Camden James, Oliver, plus Jim Beau are all "hard to kill". I think of Robert Downey Jr., and every disgusting narcotic that he repeatedly put into his body. On many occasions, no one thought that the naturally charming Hollywood actor would survive such addictions. Robert Downey Jr. is "hard to kill". I think of Hawaiian surfer Bethany Hamilton, whose left arm was ripped off by the unsuspecting shark--bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, veins, nerves and all--like some beloved rag doll. She lost nearly half of her blood volume. Bethany Hamilton is "hard to kill". As previously mentioned, nearly 30 years ago, I, like my 19 Kindred Spirit Blogging Friends, was born with C.D.H. . Now. Our experience was not nearly as eventful as most. However. As resulted, my left lung collapsed. It was by God's Grace alone that I evaded childhood asthma, for many C.D.H. kids suffer from that respiratory illness. Yes, by God's Grace alone. I lived a fairly "normal" childhood, and was able to run around sans being breathless!! God deserves the Glory for that!! But, then again. I do possess one pair of resilient lungs!! See, nearly eight years ago, in November 2005, I caught pneumonia at age 21. Yes, you read that correctly. I caught pneumonia. From my youngest brother, Michael, who had previously suffered from it. And no, up until then, we never knew that pneumonia was contagious, either. As per usual, I learned this lesson the hard, hard, hard way. It is how I roll, apparently. But. If anybody was going to catch pneumonia, it would be me, the female "Cranio" baby!! Because, every odd and strange medical-related incidence is always hurled my way like some sly curveball!! Trust me on that one. Anyway. So, in November 2005, I caught pneumonia at age 21. You know what? Had I known that this severe respiratory illness was contagious? I'd have transformed into some germaphobe--a creature that I was not up until this experience--and washed my hands so very frequently that they'd become chapped!! But, I cannot peel back time like some banana. "It is what it is", as that phrase goes!! My lung collapsing all those years ago returned to haunt me like some demon or ghost during the pneumonia. I constantly had to "catch my breath". I was unable to yawn. I could not blow out a candle without feeling dangerously light-headed. Singing was embarrassingly off-key. It is amazing to me how much our bodies can do with "lung power"!! I also suffered from a delirious fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Nobody enjoys throwing up, and I am not exempt. Thus, I stopped eating for some time while staying hydrated. As resulted, I lost so much weight and became so thin that my loving sister gave this warning. "You'll need a feeding tube!!". Whoa. I was then faced with this pondering. Am I gonna let pneumonia take me.... Or am I gonna take it? The choice was mine. I then decided to battle this like the fighter that I am. I was ill with pneumonia for one month. To quote my Mom. "It was bad. It was really, really, really bad.". Well, I survived!! But, alas, I would spend the following year suffering from an ongoing cough. Many loving people said that it was asthma. But, how can this be, we wondered? I never had asthma before. Nonetheless, I recall sitting on our "girl's bathroom" floor once during an attack, terrified and breathless, unsure of what, exactly just took hold of my body. Eventually, a doctor diagnosed me. It was asthma. Their very logical theory? My previously collapsed lung could not withstand the pneumonia. So there we have it. My lung collapsing all those years ago returned to haunt me like some demon or ghost during the pneumonia. I was prescribed twain different inhalers, one of which I've since been taken off of!! Thanks be to God!! I now only use my albuterol inhaler when I'm battling nasty chest cold germs. Like last week. Now. Lest anybody wonder. My asthma attacks are not considered "severe", and they're nothing in comparison to pneumonia. However. During chest cold-produced asthma attacks--and this may be information overload, but I do not care--my airways become clogged up with mucus like some sink. {There. Take that visual. You're welcome!!} Then, I cannot inhale, because it feels as though my lungs push the oxygen back, rejecting that life-giving gas. This is quite an alarming experience, which has been known to awake me at ungodly hours!! But I know what to do during such episodes. Yes, I'm well-trained!! I grab my albuterol inhaler, and puff as deep as humanly possible considering the fact that, well, I am short of breath. Which is quite the challenge!! Puffing albuterol either successfully makes me cough up mucus, therefore "unclogging" my airways. Or not. That being mentioned. Although, I was never hospitalized, I basically spent my entire chest cold fighting to stay alive, if you do not mind me saying so. Because. Every time I coughed hard, it was yet another effort to keep breathing!! But you know what? God most certainly made our bodies amazing!! To think that all of that mucus is not supposed to be taking up residence within my lungs. So. My body rejected it, as if protesting this message loud and clear. Hey you!! Mucus!! You are not allowed in this body!! Get out!! Not spreading germs while struggling to breathe? That was the least of my problems!! Yes, I did, inevitably, share this nasty germ with those who I'm in close proximity to. But covering my mouth when I am batting nearly constant asthma attacks? Not an option!! I repeatedly half-jokingly made this statement. Staying alive is exhausting!! I'm "hard to kill". It is a curse. It is a blessing.                  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Two-Hour Thunderstorm

Blogging Friends.... I feel as though I've rediscovered my "calling" in life, despite the fact that it has, honestly, always been there. My life "calling" as a writer!! And now. All I want to partake in during my spare time is writing!! Doing so brings me such immense inner happiness, plus a sense of purpose!! That being mentioned. I have at least twain different Blog posts just awaiting my Brain Juices to create!! Oh yeah. And I wrote this story yesterday.
The force of nature can certainly possess ill timing, sneaking up to its unsuspecting onlookers like some surprising military ambush. I think of tornados which can do some powerful demolition against homes. Or hurricanes that flood city streets with rushing, filthy rainwater like back in Biblical Noah's era. The force of nature can certainly possess ill timing, sneaking up to its unsuspecting onlookers like some surprising military ambush. Which is not always a negative concept!! The other night {Or shall I write early, early, early morning!!} my slumber was abruptly interrupted by twain things. Loud, rumbling thunder which was in very close proximity to our house. And a terrified, noise phobic Rose!! I was--and still am, I'm afraid!!--"in recovery" from this nasty chest cold. {Although. I have gone nearly all day long medication-free!!} Sleep is precious right now, as I was rudely awoken by an asthma attack at midnight just last week. Plus Rose panics during the most minuscule events, thus making it difficult at times to know whether or not she is terrified for legitimate reasons. Confession. My initial reaction to Rose and rumbling thunder awakening me? I was frustrated. Not to mention. Groggy, snotty, and unsure of whether or not the thunder was even reality. Did I dream it? I wondered, as my eyes peered outside our living room window, looking for streetlight-illuminated rain-soaked roads. They were bone-dry. But then I watched Rose's body language closely. I knew that something was wrong. But what? A firework, perhaps? Yes, I was still unsure of what, exactly, awoke me and terrified my girl. A backfire, perhaps? Whatever it may be, something was wrong. My frustrated attitude immediately softened like melted frosting, and I lead a reluctant Rose back into our bedroom. As I sat on hard carpeted flooring beside her, that is when I saw it. Like The Invisible Woman from Fantastic Four was snapping pictures in midnight's ebony darkness. One, two, three consecutive bright flashes of lightning!! Mystery solved, Sherlock Holmes!! I gasped in pure awe upon witnessing this magnificent display of God's creation. Meanwhile, a spooked Rose attempted to escape it. So I linked her spare red leash, we walked toward the great room, and I held my girl captive like some incarcerated prisoner. {Cruel, I know. But Rose will have accidents if I do not hold her!!} In the great room, we would wait this passing storm out. Together. I never did hear any further thunder.... But my ears are a bit plugged by wax right now!! No matter. Rose's ears could hear that rumbling thunder!! I sat on the carpeted floor, my back against our red couch, and stroked her velvet-soft fur. I stroked, stroked, stroked and stroked away. I sang to Rose, as my singing comforts her somehow. I hugged Rose. Literally. I wrapped my arms around a hard breathing, panting, trembling Rose. I embraced Rose so tight, that I could feel the muscles in her shoulders tense up!! I repeatedly spoke these words. "This too shall pass.". Because, after all, it is a storm. This too shall pass!! Meanwhile, I witnessed twain separate bolts of lightning through our great room window like eliminated veins in one's arm!! And they were sideways!! It. Was. Awesome!! I am fearlessly mesmerized by lightning--because I'm insane!!--and I've had to remind myself just how dangerous this force of nature is!! See. I would be standing outside watching powerful bolts of lightning stretch across our heavens if not for common sense!! Thank God for common sense!! Mostly, Miss Invisible Woman continued snapping "pictures", so to speak, through the ebony clouds!! Eventually, all I could see was a distant glowing ball through towering trees, as though God Himself was turning a flashlight on and off, on and off, on and off. This too shall pass? Hmmm. That thunderstorm persisted for well over two hours!! That's right. Two. Freakin'. Hours!! At one point, I mistakenly thought it was over. I thought it was over!! And at 1AM--now high on albuterol, which shoots an adrenaline rush through my system and makes me giddy--a line from Hollywood's film "Twister" randomly appeared within that crazy head of mine. "The cone is silent.". But, shortly thereafter, hailstones fell from those ebony clouds. Then, Miss Invisible Woman snapped yet even more pictures!! And, just like in "Twister", our thunderstorm was not finished!! Wow. I have never experienced a storm to persist that long!! Never. For thunder awoke me at midnight, and I went back to bed--officially!!--around two. It was amazing, God's display of nature!! Oh yes. And Rose, as per usual, recovered from any form of post traumatic stress disorder!!                                   

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lamb Chop

Blogging Friends.... Thank-you for all of your get-well wishes the other day!! Wow. I truly did feel your "vibes"!! And, while I am not completely recovered {It takes a body time to be resilient after battling nearly-constant asthma attacks.} I'm on the mend!!
 A favorite toy. Didn't nearly every individual growing up possess at least one? For my sister it was this brown bear named Teddy. She traveled everywhere with that stuffed animal. Camping. Roswell, New Mexico. Home School field trips. Maui, Hawaii. Church. She would conveniently roll Teddy up like some threatened caterpillar, stuff him in her backpack, and he would be her travel buddy!! Me? I flit around like some hummingbird from "favorite" toy to "favorite" toy. And, because I am an oddball, many of them were, by choice, less than conventional. Such as toys from McDonald's Happy Meals. Paper dolls. A Mini Lion King Polly Pocket-style Pride Rock which contains cubs Simba, Nala, and adult Simba. However. There is a brunet-haired, blue-eyed, cockeyed smirking Crimp 'n Curl Cabbage Patch Kid doll. {That I called Nicole Jane, because Hasbro must have been ahead of the strange Hollywood celebrity baby names times.} Comically, Nicole's lavender-colored shorts would never stay up!! Now an adult, I'm afraid that I have parted ways with most of my dolls and stuffed animals. But not Nicole. She was--and always will be--special, in more ways than one. Like Woody to Disney/Pixar's Andy. We're connected somehow, Nicole and I. See, if I part Nicole's wiry hair, there is a skin-colored line stretched down her plastic head. And, wouldn't you know, I deemed that Nicole's surgically-created craniosynostosis scar!! I still own Nicole. Her limbs are dirt-stained, and thread has been pulled out of them. But, as some favorite toys cannot ever be given away, I still possess Nicole. My sister still has Teddy. Question. Are dogs exempt from owning "favorite" toys, much like kids? Answer? Nope!! Rose has this plush, purple-colored Lamb Chop dog toy. {You know. From the television show Lamb Chop's Play-Along with Shari Lewis?} It is actually her second one, and, according to Rose? Best. Dog. Toy. Ever!! They are manufactured in about four different colors, including the classic white. Now. There is one large squeaker in Lamb Chop's body, plus the feet have four little squeakers. What's not to love?! I packed everything for Rose as we prepared our cabin trip in the serene mountain woods. Dog food. Check. Bowls. Check. A can of pumpkin. Check. A black handheld can opener in case the cabin kitchen lacked one. Check. Home-baked dog treats. Check. A brand-new dog pillow. Check. Recycled plastic newspaper bags. Check. A towel for muddy paws. Check. A spare leash. Check. The dog cable. Check. But, apparently, I forgot to bring along something else. Lamb Chop!! Because the very second we returned home--as soon as our front door was closed--when I unhooked Rose's red leash, what did she do? My little girl blissfully pounced on Lamb Chop!! Together again!!