Monday, November 30, 2009

thank you

Hi everyone,

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers for my family during Thanksgiving. It blessed me every time someone mentioned they were praying for me. It wasn't easy, especially for my parents and Cristina. By God's grace, we pulled through.

For me, I was dealing with a new set of emotions - having a "split" Thanksgiving with two families! I was at my in-laws for Wednesday night and Thanksgiving morning and then drove to my family's for the afternoon. It was super weird to not be helping my mom on Thanksgiving morning but my mom-in-law! I loved being able to help in Wisconsin; it was just weird for it not to be my mom! And yes, two turkey meals in one day is a lot and I highly suggest you don't eat the second piece of pecan pie, especially if you've already eaten two full meals, a slice of lemon meringue and mincemeat pie!! First year of marriage stuff... good times! :)

It was extra special to look forward to seeing my family later that day. It made me realize how much I appreciate and love them. And it's cool to see how you appreciate both sides of your family in different ways. I love my in-laws and I love my family!

Tonight Erik and I are headed to my grandparents to pick up a Christmas tree for our house. We'll put it up tonight or later this week and hopefully our dog will not enjoy tipping it over....

Oh and funny story... if you look outside on this cold, Minnesota day, you wouldn't see any ice or snow on the ground. Just ground. Except for the parking lot that I walked through this morning. Apparently I was able to find the one patch of ice on the ground in the whole state and slip on it. Classic. I was laughing pretty hard when I told Erik because it wasn't just a bend-the-knees-and-stumble-to-the-ground fall. It was the classic legs-go-out-from-under-you-so-you-fall-right-on-your-bum fall. Wish I had a camera to see how funny I looked! No harm done, as far as I can tell!

I'm getting excited to see Cristina and the girls around Christmas time. I bet the girls are getting so big! And probably tan... I might be slightly jealous! Excited to see Julia walk (the youngest) and hug and squeeze all four of them!

Anyway, off to go see what my husband and dog are up to. Blessings on your day! And tomorrow's December - WOW! :) Happy Christmas season to you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

learning about the Lord

It's been a rough week. A lot of it came from my extreme tiredness when Tucker had diarrhea in the middle of the night two nights in a row earlier this week. And if you know me at all, you know when I miss sleep, it's not a pretty picture! Thankfully, he's on the rebound so the sleepless nights were only two in a row.

I think Brian being gone is starting to hit me harder. The why is seeming bigger since the shock of it is gone and the relief that he's free from pain has subsided a bit (although I'm grateful he's not in pain anymore). Now it's starting to hit that my everyday life is really truly being affected and it stinks.

I miss him a lot. I miss the family we were when he was completely normal. I'm sad that Erik won't ever get to experience that fully. I miss the normal of two years ago. This really really stinks.

You know, it's crazy how many prayer requests for sick people have been brought to my attention in the past few weeks. I know I was oblivious to much of that kind of stuff happening when I was younger, but it seems like sickness is hitting families extra hard recently. And it is tough to know exactly how to handle it when you've just been through the fight we've been through. One day at a time is the best I can do!

The phrase that stuck out in my Bible time yesterday was "Lead me in the way everlasting." It has been very comforting to think on that yesterday and today because I'm not really sure how to get to that way right now. I'm glad to know God will help me. I know all the right answers, and I know what I would generally say to someone if they were in my position, so that's not a concern. It's doing them and putting the pieces together in your brain that make it a little more difficult.

Anyway, I'm a work in progress and I'm glad God is leading me down the way everlasting, somehow, someway, because no matter what happens around me, I know that deep in my heart I truly love Him and am so grateful for His guiding hand on my life in this crazy world. He makes me have a stability without which I would be lost.

Off to the dog park with Tucker. I love seeing him run around there. I always get a little nervous that I won't be able to get him back on his leash, but I always do. And while I'm there, I'll keep talking to God. He's good.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Hi there! I have a lot I could ramble on about the past week, but since it's getting late, I'll just tell you the highlight. Erik preached at...

...whoops, I thought my dog was eating a bone, but I just noticed it was a CD that I had dropped on the ground. Hope I had the stuff on there backed up somewhere else!!!...

...his brother-in-law's youth group in Wisconsin. It was really awesome! A fun glimpse of the future. And it's always awesome when you see God working in other people. I love serving and worshipping and telling others about Jesus because He is truly the life-changer and the hope-bringer.

I'm super excited for my new laptop keyboard to come because this current one is really sticky from the grape juice I spilled on it....

Anyhoo, all for now! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving in case I don't write before then! I'm looking forward to being with family, and I know we'll miss Brian a lot, but it will be okay. There have been a lot of times this week where I have thought of him and just miss him. He brought so much into our lives, so it's okay to miss him a lot. I do appreciate knowing he's still around, just up in heaven, our real home. Such a comforting thought.

I'm finishing up watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay - Thanksgiving edition. I've never made a turkey before, but my mom and aunt have a killer recipe for wild rice stuffing that could hold up on some food network shows (in my opinion).


Saturday, November 14, 2009

a laughable moment

So picture this. Erik is cutting up a bunch of bloody deer meat in the garage with a friend. The two of them are going in and out of the house as they get set up... but Tucker is left inside with me, while I catch up on some work.

Where do you think Tuck wants to be?

The first couple hours of them working in the garage weren't so bad. Tuck whined every once in a while, but slept for a good chunk of that time. But then he saw Erik's friend come in and go back out. That reminded Tucker he's missing out. So he went over to the door, sat down with his head facing where the door opens and whined, making a more ruckus than he previously had.

Once I had caught up on my work, it was 10:30 p.m. I took Tuck outside on a walk to do his business, and after coming back in, realizing I was super, super tired. I thought, "What's the point of staying up if I really should be sleeping?" (I knew Erik would be up for another few hours finishing his project.)

So I told Erik I was heading to bed. At first I put Tucker in his cage downstairs, but while I got ready for bed, he was whimpering and whining, pretty much because he knew Erik and I were both around, but he wasn't with us. Not cool for him. I thought to myself, "If I put him in his kennel upstairs, he'd at least be by one of us, and the complete darkness should tell him, hey, it's time for bed!" So I did that.

But Tucker didn't think it as cool as I did. He started whimpering and whining... not the full blown whining, just the "ohhh, really? I don't want to be here." I thought, perhaps he didn't get enough water, and was kind enough to bring him some water while in his kennel - but he didn't budge. So I went back to bed with Tuck in his kennel, and he whimpered probably every two to three minutes.

I decided to wear earplugs.

Two hours later, I wake up to Tucker making a LOT more noise. He was whimpering, yelping, pretty much saying, are you serious? Get me out of here right now! I yelled at him to be quiet, but nothing stopped him.

I was seriously annoyed...

So I went and opened his cage to see what he'd do while I went to the bathroom... my goodness, he put up such a fuss because the door was shut and he couldn't leave our bedroom!

The annoyance was building... especially since it was the middle of the night and I was trying to sleep!!!

So I opened the door and he dashed downstairs, right to Erik who was inside cleaning up the mud room. I came down, rather grumpy, and told my side of the story. Erik laughed pretty hard... and then said, yeah, once I came inside, I heard Tucker's barking increase. He knew I was down here.

At that point, I was like, are you serious? And let the dog stay with Erik while I went back up to bed.

I woke up one more time when Erik and Tuck came up to bed, and then finally I got a good night's rest. :)

Happy Saturday! Hope that brings a smile to your face!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

the latest battlefront

Fair warning... the next journal entry is long. It depicts the health issues Erik has been going through and goes through how we finally have a solution and a battleplan!! (YAY!)

So Erik and I finally have an action plan to combat the strange health issues he's been dealing with for the past five years. After multiple doctors' visits, a trip to the ER, many chiropractor and kinesiologist visits, way too many days of feeling horrible, we have a doctor who knows what's going on.

Here's the deal: When I met Erik, it had been three years or so at that point that he started dealing with shortness of breath, dizziness, and other strange symptoms. The biggest one was that every once in a while, usually when he did activity, his heart would go into a-fib (an odd beating pattern). At that point in time, no doctor knew what in the world was going on with his body or how to fix it. He even went to the ER one time when he was in a-fib and they had to shock his body with those paddle things 3 times at the highest level of electricity to get his heart to go back to normal.

They put him through so many different tests and rang up a nice huge bill for him to pay and then wound up saying, your heart's fine. We have no idea what's wrong with you, except that you went into a-fib and that's deadly because it can make your heart clot, etc.

That's nice, isn't it?

So Erik didn't know where to turn next - sounds like the lady with the issue of blood story!! He visited chiropractors and a few natural method doctors to see what they would say. Somehow they pinpointed it to adrenaline, but nobody really knew how to fix it. If they did have an idea, it usually wouldn't work.

So throw me into the mix right about this time: we meet, start dating, quickly realize we're going to marry each other, continue dating, get engaged, get married. And we do this all while my family is going through the craziest ride of their life!

Talk about stressful!

Erik's body kept getting worse; there was no knowledge of what was going on, except that he could kick into a wrong heartbeat at any moment and that would be deadly. It hasn't been fun to watch. Especially with my brother dying, I certainly didn't want to lose my husband that quickly!

So speed us up to August of this year. Erik's ready to take a week off work and go to Mayo and have them examine his heart and figure out what in the world is wrong with him--expensive and a lot of time off from work, but we weren't sure what other choices we had!

Erik's at a church event and is casually running and kicks his heart into an irregular beat. It takes 10 hours of him lying around hoping and praying for it to go to normal. But in the meantime, a nurse at the event checks in on us and tells us she knew people with a somewhat similar situation and told us they went to Mayo and had no luck, but there was this doctor named Katsiyannis in the cities who specialized in heart arrhythmia. (irregular/fast heart beating)

What a God-send. What if we had gone to Mayo, but found out nothing???

Our first visit to Dr. K. was a couple months ago. The first thing he tells us is that a-fib is not deadly. Erik's like, are you sure? And he's like yeah. In fact, he told us that we could trigger the a-fib 18 times with the heart monitor to get the information and that would be okay. (The problem is, it makes Erik feel like crap when he's in a-fib.) Some people live in continual a-fib - but they are usually older and because Erik's so young, he feels the a-fib intensely. So he wore the monitor for a month, triggered an irregular heartbeat once-a horrible, horrible night-and the doctor took blood tests.

Here comes yesterday's appointment. The doctor smiled at us and said, yep. You have atrial fibrillation. Here's how to fix it.

We come to find out he's a Christian and he knows God has a plan. He's not sure what the path to Erik feeling completely normal again is, but he'll help us walk through it until we get there. He's pretty clear about the fact that we can fire him at any point if he doesn't help us as we need it. He won't stop until Erik can run about and play like a normal 29-year-old will do. It was extremely reassuring.

The doctor also thinks that perhaps the dizziness, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath could all be connected to the stress of not knowing what your heart is going to do. All that to say, if we fix the possibility of his heart going into a-fib, the rest of his life will fall back into place because that unknown of dying from a heart condition will be gone.

All that to say, now Erik and I are on a journey to his victory. We actually have an end in sight. We have natural help with someone who knows what's going on. We are growing in our faith of God and His power. We know God has a plan for us and we will complete it.

Our outlook has definitely gotten brighter. We have hope that this can and will be taken care of. We're just not sure exactly how or how long it will take. Right now the road involves medicine - a good medicine without long-term side effects - and could potentially involve a surgery that's pretty simple (if you can call any surgery simple!) and effective. So it won't be the easiest road, but at least now we're traveling a road that has an answer. Mix that with God and His grace and healing power, and I think we're doing aok.

The stress level continues to lift as do Erik's spirits. Erik soon should be back to running around like he should be at his age. We go back to the doctor in 2 months to see how we're doing, but we're welcome to call if anything goes wrong and schedule an earlier appointment.

We're going to make it. Erik and I will grow stronger as a couple through this and have a testimony of God's faithfulness to share. Our faith is being tested and we will come out on the other side "perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James chapter 1). Oh great, now I sound like Pastor Mac!! Heh heh

Well, it's Friday morning and off to start my day. It's going to be a good day, and I'm excited to see what God's going to let me do in it.

Blessings in your day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cristina's blog

Hey everyone...

If you want to know how Cristina's doing it, here's a link to her blog: Beware... it will make you cry!!! I'm crying - I couldn't even read it all. The details she puts reminds me of the reality of the situation. Given my personality, I look on the bright side all the time so the reality of it doesn't always hit.

Anyway... I'm rambling. Off to get a hug from my husband.


just checking in

Hi all!

I'm doing really well right now. Erik and I attended an awesome church service recently that rocked our worlds. Spending time in God's presence corporately helped jump start my time with Him at home. I'm learning how to live in this new "normal" of life.

Things are definitely different than they were over a month ago. The biggest difference is that our stress level is down a lot. I'm grateful for that.

Cristina and the girls are reconnecting as a family down in Florida for the next few months. They're having a wonderful time. Cristina did find someone who can help her out a few hours every day to give her some breathing room with the three little ones.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. It has been such a help knowing our community and network of support is there for us.

On other news... deer opener in MN was this weekend. Erik got his deer last night - yahoo! I helped him skin and quarter it last night; for some reason, I find that somewhat fascinating, although last night's deer was bloodier than normal, so it was super disgusting at moments. Given the perception of how women usually find that type of thing disgusting, I felt like I should be more disgusted with it but I wasn't! I was out with friends yesterday and they laughed with me, because this is a part of me that no one knew was hiding inside!! I really do enjoy being a "hunter's wife" with all that includes - meat in the freezer, dead deer hanging in your garage... It's funny because I know it's so unlike the perception people have had of me!

I think I posted last time that our dog got a new leash - a gentle leader. And it was super funny because this afternoon I was feeling like I could be a testimonial for an infomerical about the leash. It's literally changed the way I think about walking my dog because with a regular leash, it was Tucker walking me (and sometimes injuring me he pulled so hard in the wrong directions!!!), but with the new leash it's me walking him!

Oh and I took Tucker to a nearby dog park this weekend. It was great to see him run at full speed around the whole area. Loved letting him get exercise. Erik and I will probably head back there this weekend to hang out with our new little dog community!

Anyway, apparently I have lots to say. :-) Hope your life is doing well. If I can ever pray for you for something, please let me know. Either post on here or email me.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

almost one month later

I guess it's almost been a month since Brian beat us to see Jesus. (It's so hard saying he died!! Sounds so final!!! Glad he's still around - just in heaven still around, not on earth still around!) Overall, I'd say we're doing pretty good. We all have those horrible, horrible moments where you realize what happened and the finality of it sinks in. I usually try not to let those moments last too long; it's too tough. :(

Not really looking forward to holidays without him. It'll have a different flavor. But we're a strong family and the days will come and go with the Lord's help and each other.

I'm working today, but taking a break for lunch. Probably mac and cheese - didn't resist that 4 for $1 sale at the grocery store!!! Tucker's got a new "gentle leader" leash that is supposed to keep him from pulling when we are on walks... which I am SO happy for! I couldn't stop him when he would pull! My arms and wrists need a break from getting pulled around by a little (okay 44 lbs!) puppy!!!

Anyway, just wanted to post a note. I had a great weekend with girlfriends and had prayer time and got to flow with God and it was so refreshing for me to be in that place. Little by little, God is definitely healing my heart and bringing me fully back to Him.

All for now! Blessings and all God's best to you! :-)