Monday, January 31, 2011

Found a New Blog to Love

Well, I love it anyway. In that, super-annoying, I-wish-I-didn't-work-outside-the-home-so-I-could-actually-have-time-to-do-some-of-this-stuff sorta way.

coahbutton

It's a homeschooling blog. And before any homeschooling haters tune out, just keep reading, 'kay?

I don't remember how I found it. I manage to stumble across about 2-3 new blogs a week, most of which I decide aren't worth my time. When I found this one I was intrigued, as FireMan & I are keeping homeschooling an option for FireGirl, but didn't have time to really read it yet. So I bookmarked it for later.

When I finally had time to check it out, I found lots of cool stuff. Educational crafts for little ones, some of which FireGirl can do now. Recommendations on educational toys and other educational tools & items. Ideas.

Stuff that I love. Things that I want to do with FireGirl. So I kept it bookmarked, with the idea that when I know FireGirl & I will have significant free time (what's that?) together, I'll plan to do one of the educational crafts or activities.

As of yet, that time has not emerged, but I'm not giving up just yet.

I'm also considering sending the link to a couple of friends who provide in-home daycare. I figure if not now, then eventually they'll be looking for new ideas for activities, right? Just timid because I don't want to step on any toes, especially considering one of these friends is currently watching FireGirl part-time.

Anywho... that's one of my new blog loves. Hope you find some value in it too!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cute Kid Pics (just because)

A total mess, after having veggie soup at Big Boy

playing at the local mall's indoor play area


building a snowman with daddy (they didn't get much farther than this). Flopsy & Tootsie in the background.


"helping" daddy shovel snow (ie insisting that Jason put the shovel on the ground so she can fill it by hand). Tootsie next to her.

chasing geese at a frozen pond

trying on sunglasses while mommy shops

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goals for the New Year (and beyond)

Around November I started coming up with a list of things I wanted to accomplish, or improve upon, for myself.

Since it was already November, I thought I might as well wait until January - New Year, New Start, right?

And then 2011 started off pretty craptastically for me (yeah, I know you don't know the details, I've kept the vast majority of it private), so I just didn't care any more.

But that list is still there, in the back of my mind. Things I want to accomplish, see happen, improve upon.

Some have details & timelines, others are pretty vague. But then again, I've learned life is like that anyway, right? Somethings are detailed with clear timeframes, other things are pretty vague.

Here's the list (so far), in no particular order:

post pics to my blog on a more regular basis
learn to use a drill (correctly & effectively)
dive more
fit into my wedding dress by our 5th wedding anniversary (inspired by Jene)
dive with sharks (again)
take Jena to swim with the manatees
begin composting

There will be more, of that I am certain. I'll try to remember to keep you posted on my progress for each.

As always, thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Buddy Found a Hill

I love my new header pic:

It's Buddy. Perched atop his hill. Watching over his domain.

It's the very edge of the area enclosed by the invisible fence. The very edge. Like, he's almost sitting on the wire. But... he found a hill.

It's in his blood, this Anatolian of mine. I love my Buddy. And this picture just embodies him perfectly. This is what he does. He watches. Looks for signs of... danger, I suppose. That's what his breed was bred for anyway.

Every morning when he first gets up, and several times throughout the day, he walks the (invisible) fenceline, checking out "his" land, making sure everything's okay.
If we've brought him in for the night, (which we've done several times this winter due to a) how unusally cold it's been this year, and b) the fact that he has lost weight & never got his full winter coat this year, likely due to the stress of the move) then the first thing he does when we let him out, is survey the property. He starts with a visual surveillance, ears pricked, tail at attention. Then he moves to roam the edges of his allowable range, taking in sights & smells, and marking his territory at every turn.

When Jena is outside, his eyes are rarely off of her. I learned this at the old house. I had him outside, with her playing a few feet away. I was trying to work on his obedience commands, but he seemed to have a mind of his own. I gave up and started watching him, trying to figure out what was so distracting to my usually very obedient dog.

He was watching her.

If she walked, he walked. If she stopped, he stopped.

It wasn't terribly obvious. He was about 10 feet away from her, and other than the occasional glance, wasn't even looking at her. But there was a clear pattern. Regardless of the fact that I was closer, that I was holding his leash, that I was giving him commands, he was with her.

Protection is in his nature. It's not trained, it's in his blood to be a guardian.

He still does it. Sometimes he's right by her side, sometimes farther away, sometimes he'll even wander off, but if you pay attention to him, it becomes clear that his attention is always on her.

And momma couldn't be more pleased about that.

By the way - yes, the property in the picture is ours. All of it. Even the woods on the opposing hill. Told ya I moved into the country. And yep, still loving every minute!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Maybe...

Maybe she's so quiet - not because she's angry - but because she has nothing left to say.

Maybe she's not smiling - not because she's unfriendly - but because she's so very sad.

Maybe she's not singing - not because she's ungrateful or unworshipful - but because she's afraid if she opens her mouth to make a sound, she'll cry.

Maybe she's standing so still, so rigid, so closed off - not because she's hostile - but because she's learned that by holding still she can hold in her emotions.

Maybe she's not making eye contact - not because she's aloof - but because she's afraid.

Maybe she's not saying anything - not because she's angry - not because she's even sad anymore - but simply because she's run out of words to say.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You pick me up when I'm falling down

Thank the Lord for Air1. Coming in to work this morning, it seemed as if every song were chosen for me, for what I'm going thru, for what I feel right at this moment. And maybe they were. The first song that came on is one of my favorites, but one I haven't heard in a long time. Like so long that I forgot it was a favorite. Here are the lyrics (minus the na-na-na's. if you know the song, you know what I mean):

******************************************

Take my Hand (artist: Shawn McDonald)

Take my hand to the promised land
And on You I want to stand
‘Cause I cannot do it on my own
You're what I need and I need to be
Right by Your side ‘cause I cannot hide
Lord, I know that I need You

Without You I'm so alone
I am weak but You are strong
You pick me up when I'm falling down
And I'm crying out to You inside of my heart
I need You, Lord, oh so, for the part
I want You to have my life, Jesus

Take my hand to the promised land
And on You I want to stand
‘Cause I cannot do it on my own
You're what I need and I need to be
Right by Your side ‘cause I cannot hide
Lord, I know that I need You (I need you)

I fall to my knees
And I'm begging You, please, oh, Lord
Won't You change me
Make me new from the inside out
I want to shout out Your name (I need you)

Take my hand to the promised land
And on You I want to stand
‘Cause I cannot do it on my own
You're what I need and I need to be
Right by Your side ‘cause I cannot hide
Lord, I know that I need You

*************************

My soul was fed. My heart was watered. Music as ministry, ministered to me today.

Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Fat Butt



Realized I hadn't updated ya'll since my last check up with my doctor.

Well, it's still working. Like, really well. As of that appt, which was about two weeks ago, I am down 24 lbs. I've actually started having to dig my old clothes out of boxes. Finally.

He said I'm doing "amazingly well" on the medication, better than most patients, but also reiterated that because I am doing so well, he knows that I've been doing my work counting my calories as well.

So... on to the next step. Since I'm doing so well, I get new homework.
         #1 - eat more fruits & veggies
         #2 - get more exercise

I asked him for specifics. He refused to give them. He said that in his experience, if you give people too much to do too soon, then if they fail at one or two areas, they get discouraged & quit. So just "more than you're doing now". He said now that my body is "normalizing" we're going to start focusing not on my weight, not on my insulin levels even, but on my overall health. So more fruits & veggies, and more exercise.

Oh, and he said that as well as I'm doing, we might be able to back off the aggressive treatment sooner rather than later. He had originally told me that he thought it would take 9-12 months of aggressive treatment with meds (I'm currently on three different meds for the insulin disorder) for my body to normalize. He said as well as I'm doing he's thinking closer to six months and we might be there. Which is good news.

So, that appt was two weeks ago.

Yesterday, I didn't take two of my meds. Today either.

See... they're really strong medications. To give you an idea, the one is considered a controlled substance in my state, and I had to fill out more paperwork to get it than I ever did when I was on prescription narcotics for pain after my accident or surgery. Like... really strong stuff.
One of the reasons he is amazed at how well I'm doing is that I've had minimal side effects. See, when you have medicine this strong, there tends to be a lot of side effects, sometimes serious ones.

The only side effects I've had:
        - my head sometimes feels tingly
        - I'm cold all the time (really weird for me, because I'm usually the one that's hot while everyone else is comfortable)
        - I spend much of the day with a sorta sick feeling in my stomach. Hard to describe. Not nausea, but... sick

So... with the crap that's been going on lately, I've been stressed. And anxious. And when I'm really anxious I tend to get sick to my stomach. Combine that with the meds, and... I've been really sick the past few days. Like, had to force myself to eat anything, and really wanted to puke that back up, but couldn't, so stayed sick all the time, and then started getting headaches from not eating. Like that kinda sick.

So... I haven't taken those two meds for two days. I still have that anxiety-sick in my stomach. But it's much more tolerable / livable now. And I can eat. Hopefully I can get myself under control soon and then will start back up on the meds.

So, that's my Fat Butt update. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nothing Left. Face Down in the Mud. Empty.

I am scraping the bottom.

I feel as though I have drained every ounce of... everything that I have. I have no new ideas. I have nothing left to give. There is nothing left in my tank. My account is in negatives. I am empty.

It seems as though the entire world has been telling me that I'm not good enough. For anything. And the harder I try, the worse it gets.

Lord knows I'm not perfect. FAR from it. But I'm trying. I've been trying. For soooooooooo long. This pit bull might just be on her last legs. Exhausted. In every way.

I'm not giving up. Don't think that. It's just... I don't know what to do. So what do you do when you don't know what to do?

Ya'll know some of the issues Jason & I have had in the past. And if you've been following for long you know that one of the approaches that I took is realizing that I have no control over him and all I can do is try to be a better wife / mother / person myself. I only have control over me.

So for nearly nine months now I have been trying to be that better person. A better wife to Jason. A better mother to Jena. And so on and so forth, but those being the top two things. I'm not perfect, but I have tried. Oh, how I have tried. And I think I've made great strides. Perfect yet? Nope. Never will be. Better? I think so.

I've been working so freaking hard. Made tough decisions. Stuck it out. Saw a counselor. Dug into God's Word. Read books. Prayed. Did the homework (literally - I had assignments to do). I worked.

I re-evaluated my priorities. What was I willing to do? not do? etc. I gave in on some issues. Stood my ground on others.

Jason has admitted himself that in some ways I am a completely different person than he thought I was. In a good way. In ways that he says, and has expressed repeatedly, are of utmost importance to him in our marriage. Which is why those were the areas I focused on to begin with.

And yet... it's still not good enough. He says it is. But... then finds something else to complain about. He says he's happy. But... then acts in ways that a happy husband just does not. At least not in my eyes.

I worked to become a better mother. Gave up community activities so I could spend more time with Jena. I'm definitely not the perfect mom. Oh, far, far from it. But I try. I try so hard. She's my world, you know. But she just seems... so unhappy with me. She cries so much. Always begging me to spend more time with her, which I just can't. We fight daily. She hits me. Kicks me. Throws toys at me.

And it seems like everyone around me tells me how my parenting is wrong. Everyone. All I know is that I make decisions based on what I believe is best for her, what my brain tells me will work out best for her in the long run. But... apparently I'm doing it wrong.

And to add insult to injury, multiple family members have begun telling me that Jena doesn't actually miss me when I drop her off at daycare. She's just "pushing my buttons", manipulating me to get her way. I think I understand what they're trying to say, but do they have any idea that they basically just told me that Jena... well, that she doesn't love you at all, Jodi, she's just playing with you.

Man, that hurts.

And... at work.

So, I got hired on, right? But my job responsibilities changed very little. Added one new item, but that item I was told would increase my workload by 20-30%. Fine. Well, shortly before I got hired on, my boss got rotated to a new group, and I got a new boss. We're still doing the dance, figuring out our working relationship, but... grr.
He is constantly on my case. I mean, I am darn good at my job. Really am. Perfect? No. But really darn good. Walk-on-water reviews for 6+ years. Other divisions benchmarking my work to take back to their divisions. I'm good, I tell ya.

And... he has admitted to me on numerous occasions that he has no idea what I do, knows nothing about administrative items (budget, website, staffing, etc).

But... he is on my case. About stupid stuff. About big stuff. About everything. Apparently my freaking inbox isn't good enough. Seriously. Like, the inbox on my desk. That my team members, including him, have been successfully using for almost seven years. It's not "apparent" enough. Really? The standard issue inbox, hanging in the standard cubicle position, labelled "inbox" - really?!? I tell ya... stupid stuff.
And... it's not just him! The general manager, who I've always had a good working relationship with, is suddenly nitpicking on everything!
They also made me change my previously agreed upon work schedule, so I can no longer drop Jena off for preschool (left the hallway & cried after that little meeting).

So, I talk to a couple of managers whom I trust and they tell me that because I was hired on, I'm being "watched". Basically, we know you've been here over six years, but now you have to prove that you deserved it. Bullsh*t I tell ya!
So,  I think fine. I'll bust my butt. I'll turn out even better projects. Do whatever they ask. At least put on the appearance that work is my priority (because in reality it will never come before family).

So... is it helping? NO! In fact, last week I worked two hours of overtime. Two measly hours. I actually thought my boss would be pleased. Working on all these projects, putting in the time, twice last week I was the last one to leave the office. Happy boss, right? Nope. Today he told me that they frown on "unneeded overtime" and if I work any (ie. 15 minutes or more) of overtime, I need to send him an email detailing exactly what projects I was working on and why the overtime was needed.

WTHeck?!? Um... how 'bout the fact that you explained to me that my new responsibilities increase my workload by 20-30%? And since I was previously working 37-40 hours a week... it's simple math. How 'bout that? Can I put that down as an explanation?

Oh, and if you're wondering about my time blogging / on message boards / surfing the net, etc. Well, I also have already gotten a talking to about how I'm still "non-exempt" so legally I have to take my breaks. They are not optional, and they will be enforced, so stop skipping them. Although I'm sure being seen taking a break is also perceived as not being dedicated, something else I was told is a perception of me around the office.

So, it seems lose-lose to me. Your workload has INCREASED. You MUST take all of your breaks. We DON'T WANT you to work overtime.

Ridiculous. I feel like I'm being hazed. Been here nearly seven years and I'm being hazed. Geez!

************************************

Wow. This post got long.

But basically, I guess you can see where it's coming in on all sides. There's more, but those are the three biggies in a nutshell. It just seems like no one is happy with me. Including me. I'm not happy with me either. But I'm at such a loss.

I know I can improve, in all these areas, but I've just reached a place where I don't know what else to do.

Maybe they're just bad situations, and there is no right answer. Maybe there is a right answer, but I'm so drained I can't see it. Lying flat on your face in the mud sometimes makes it hard to see what's standing right in front of you. I get that. But it doesn't help me to see it.

I know I suck. I'm horrible. I get it. I'm inadequate. I can't do anything right. But I try. Lord, I try.

Sometimes I wonder if it really is all me. If I just really am that screwed up. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I really am just that bad, that I just really do mess everything up, just by being there.

But, Lord, I hope not.

Because if it turns out that everything really is just all my fault, that everyone really would just be much happier without me because I've just screwed everything up so badly, well... I just don't think I could tolerate that at all. That... might drive me to quit.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jodi is Depressed

I need to post. I have things I want to post. But I'm too depressed to post.

I'm too depressed to do much of anything.

Pray for me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Was 2010 the Year of the PitBull? Maybe so.

With all the blessings we received in 2010, there were also many trials. Many things have gone wrong. Even some of our blessings have been... tainted by the circumstances surrounding the when's and where's of their receival.

For me personally... 2010 has been one of the most difficult years I have had, perhaps in my life. As much as I have blogged about my personal struggles, there is much much more that I have chosen not to share.

Certainly for me this year has been the year of the fight. Fighting for myself, fighting for my marriage, always fighting for what is best for Jena... and yes, I am tired of fighting.

But, as I reflect... I suppose I can take a certain amount of pride in that fight.
There were so many times I wanted to just give up, walk away, leave. Sometimes literally. More than any of you will ever know.
But I didn't. I never gave up.
Not on me. Not on Jason. Not on us. Not on our family.
I never gave up.
Instead... I fought. I worked. I clawed my way out of pits, showed my teeth to a few adversaries, and battled more than once on my knees. But I never gave up.
Even when I didn't know what else I could do.

I guess my co-worker was right. When working on a project recently, he looked at me in surprise one day and said "I guess ya got a little pitbull in ya, huh?".

Yeah. I guess maybe I do.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Fire Chief is Not Welcome at My Home

At least not pulling up in his department vehicle unannounced, in his dress uniform, accompanied by FireMan's captain, during or shortly after FireMan's shift.

FireMom's recent post reminded me of one of the hardest parts of being a FireWife. Which is why I never talk about it. I rarely think about it.

FireMan's job could kill him.And not in that anyone-could-die-doing-anything-at-any-moment sorta way. In the no-really-any-time-the-tones-go-off-he's-putting-himself-in-harm's-way kinda way.

I remember, shortly after he got his job as a full-time firefighter, so excited after so many years as a volunteer, so excited to be getting paid to fulfill his dream... one day he called me at work, so non-chalantly.

He said he was filling out paperwork for his personnel file, routine stuff, and began asking me questions. Name, date of birth, social security number, etc. Routine stuff.
Cell phone, work phone, alternate phone, physical work address (not mailing address, physical location)

Wait, what?

I laughed. Why do they need the actual physical location of my work?

It's so the chief knows where to go.

See, it's just like you may have seen in the movies.
If a firefighter dies in the line of duty, in most departments (all that I know of, really), the chief puts on his dress uniform, at least one other fire officer joins him, they get in the chief's department vehicle, and notify the next of kin in person.

Thanks for calling me at work, hunny (as I start crying at my desk). Timing is not always FireMan's strong suit, that's for sure.

I managed to compose myself to get thru the conversation.

We got thru that, and moved on to the rest of the "routine" personnel questions.

Choose another firefighter to accompany the chief to notify your wife of your death.
If you choose, please name your religion, place of worship, and any clergy you wish to be present in the hospital, or to preside over your funeral.
Would you like a formal firefighter's funeral & burial, or a citizen's?
Would you like to be buried in the firefighter's memorial cemetery?
Please select up to eight (8) men to act as pall bearers at your funeral

There were more. I know there were, but they escape me now.

We finished the conversation, as if it were nothing, I hung up, went to the bathroom, and bawled.

I don't know that every department does things that way. I'm certain that many husbands answer those questions without telling their wives.

But I'm glad that FireMan's department does. And I'm glad he included me in the answering of those questions.

Even if the memory of that conversation is a stark reminder of the danger he faces every day. Even if it means that a little, itsy bitsy party of me resents the Fire Chief, just because I know that if the God-forbid ever happened, he would be the one to tell me.

And no, Chief, you are not welcome at my home. Or at my work. At least not in your dress uniform. Not accompanied by another fire officer. Not in your department vehicle. Not unannounced. Not during or shortly after FireMan's shift.



LORD, Father, Abba - may that day never come

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Quick Little FYI About My Blog

Just so ya know - sometimes I have a million ideas at once, so I'll write three or four blogs in a day, but not post them until later. That way, even if I have a day where maybe I'm having writer's block, I (hopefully) always have something to post.

I just thought I'd put that out there, because sometimes I wonder if my timing makes sense, or if any of you think wait, that seems like it should have been a few days ago.

So if you ever think that, you're probably right.

Just so you know.

Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Well, I might not go ahead with moving the blog after all

I moved to another blog host because I had umpteen people tell me I would have more control over appearance, layout, customization, etc. on that host.

So far, I have not found that to be true.

In fact, it's been a big pain in the butt.

So... Maybe I'll just stay here after all. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Thoughts on Faith Healing

Simply because it's been on my mind lately.

My father-in-law has a heart condition for which he has decided to refuse all medical treatment. Well, he refused all medical treatment, starting over a year ago.

He is relying on God to heal him, if it is His will.

He also talks a lot about positive thinking, and how the Bible tells us to set our thoughts on things above.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."    -- Phillipians 4:8

I've found that people are often surprised that I do in fact believe in faith healing. I'm not sure why.

"And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;..."    -- James 5:16a

I will say, though, that I don't think that healing has to be done by someone especially anointed by the Holy Spirit with the spiritual gift of healing.
But I also believe in the power of positive thinking. It's been proven that having a positive outlook on things actually changes our body's chemistry, improves healing, and just plain old makes us feel better.

And I think they are separate.

And I think that sometimes people are quick to attribute to the supernatural what can be easily explained by the natural. And I don't think that serves God, or does Him justice. In fact, I think that does God a disservice. It makes others less likely to believe us when true miracles occur, because they've heard so many stories about our explainable "miracles" (ie. FireWife's had another "miracle" happen {snicker, snicker}). And it lessens the... specialness (?? - struggling for the right word) when God does perform true miracles.

I also believe that God has endowed certain individuals with knowledge and talents in the medical arts for a reason - so that we can benefit from them. My own story regarding my back injury - I am convinced that God was with me every step of the way, down to the doctors I ended up with, how the surgery panned out, etc. From the moment of my accident I believed God had a reason for me to go thru this injury, and to me, the healing that was performed by medical professionals is no less wondrous than a more supernatural healing.

"...They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."    --Matthew 9:12


So, that is a very short, somewhat disjointed (because I wanted to not go too long) post about my thoughts on faith healing.
 
Thanks for checking in!
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