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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Just a Normal Everyday Routine, Interrupted.



In an effort to do a better job listening to what God is teaching me, and being more obedient in writing, I've been journaling as I ride on the Metro to work. This was my journal entry from the other day when God spoke to me in a really sweet way, in the middle of an every day routine:
I am going to work late this morning. Last night we had dinner with Tim Rose and his family. What a great family. I really enjoyed being with them. What a privilege it is to share moments with people.
This morning on the metro I am sitting next to a grandpa. His granddaughter is sitting in front of us. I think she is about 4. I am loving listening to him talk to her about the train, and the airport, and what they are going to see today. He is wearing a straw hat and clinching a wooden cane. Sometimes when he talks to her, he rests his chin on the metal bar on the back of her seat.
Makes me miss my Papa Tom. I'm glad I'm going to see him again one day. There’s part of me that wants to interrupt them and get that little girl’s attention, and tell her to soak these moments in. Remember the funny things your Grandpa does and says, and the way his face smiles, and the way it feels to hold his hand.
A couple of other things to note from yesterday. I talked to Chris. He told me two of his guys got hurt real bad the other day. Chris told me not to worry. Yeah right. I kind of wish I had one of those video baby monitors so I could keep an eye on him. But that would be bad, because I would only want to see it when he was sleeping or laughing. I'm so scared for him. And I'm so heartbroken about his buddies being hurt. I pray for all of them.
Last night, Michael told me that he got really angry at God when I told him about that conversation with Chris.
Every morning, my metro train rolls through and stops at Arlington Cemetery. I'm ashamed to say that this doesn't even usually phase me. But this morning, at that stop, I paused and prayed.
It seems like Michael and I are in this season that God wants us to trust him. To stop fighting the challenges, to again, ask “What Lord?” Instead of “Why Lord?”
I just heard the grandpa ask the little girl "Do your ears feel funny?" he told her if they do, yawn.
He knows.
HE knows.
Grandpa told me to have a good day as I got off at my stop. I looked back at them through the window of the train. The curly headed little girl had turned around and was taking a picture of her grandpa with her pink hello kitty camera.
And, I feel like I’ve been blessed with a glimpse of the God who has gone before me, and knows, and is in control.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Letters to a Paralyzed Husband: Find Ways to Contribute

Introduction: This is one of a series of posts inspired by the upcoming wedding of a bright-eyed couple who we met via this blog. I have thought of things we have found helpful. Some are specific to being paralyzed, but most have a kernel that applies to any marriage.

As we were chatting in bed on a recent night --bed is where we have our best chats-- D commented, "this year has been so much better than our first year." We are coming up on our second anniversary and have looked back often on all of the lessons learned. This isn't to say this year has been easier. We have actually faced many challenges on both sides. But a significant difference is how I chip in.

The first few months of our marriage D did everything. Well, I did walk the dogs. Otherwise, almost all of the chores were on her. Coming from bachelorhood was one strike against me. Guys just aren't usually as picky as the fairer gender. Another strike: I was used to home health providers doing what I needed for convenience, not laziness. Strike three was that we simply weren't used to each other's habits. So, I had some learning to do.

Here and there I noticed things I could try. For you guys with limited mobility, it's going to take patience and creativity, but pushing your own limitations is important to getting and being better. I found myself recalling that line Jack Nicholson made famous, "You make me want to be a better man." It was fairly natural as I went along. I have pointy elbows and strong shoulders which proved perfect for deep muscle massages for my tired and wound-up wife. I mess up the floors a lot so I started vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping them. I contribute to the laundry, so I started folding.

As time goes by I look back on all of the ways I've contributed: cooking dinner, running to the store, planning dog coverage for our trips, pretty good list. D is breadwinner, caregiver and wife. All too often she has to balance those roles. By chipping in --however imperfect the results-- I take away some of that pressure, making my wife's life a little easier.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Get You"

Brokaw and I have a little game we play almost every Saturday morning, when I'm putting clean sheets on the bed.

We play a little game called "Get You."

video

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Phew! What a Relief

To everyone who prayed for us: Thank you. I promise I did not mean to over-dramatize. If you know me, you know me :) And if you don't, well, you will get to know me.

Michael and I went down to UVA Tuesday for the big appointment.

I can report to you that it went very well, indeed. The best part, in my opinion, was meeting with a Urologist who looks at things through the lens of Neurology. He really knows his stuff! He has extensive experience working with people with Spinal Cord Injuries, so he "spoke the language."

I was uber-impressed with things like "autonomic dysreflexia" and "C 5/6" rolling off his tongue. So comforting to know for a fact that the doctor who we're talking to knows more about what is going on than we could find ourselves on Google.

The bottom line is this. This doctor said that M can expect to get a few UTIs a year, and that's normal. Just a couple isn't a big deal. So, he said we are doing a good job!! He explained to us in a way that we could totally understand why these infections keep popping up, and for now at least, nothing changes in our daily routine.

We'll go back down to UVA in September for a few more tests, but for now, life as it is, goes on.

So, after all my stressing out, the lowlight of the entire day (for me) was just getting peed on, a very small amount, in the doctor's office. And the highlights were chocolate frozen yogurt, and an unplanned stop to see a couple we adore, and don't see enough.

Thanks for your prayers.

Monday, July 18, 2011

On Peace and Comfort



I am not working today.
It's not necessarily a "vacation" day, it is a full-on mental health day.

You see, I knew I would be a mess today.
Because I know myself.
And I know that when I'm coming up on a big, uncertain situation, that my anxiety level shoots through the roof.

And it has.
My hands are all a mess again.
I have those sores on the sides of my tongue.
And my stomach is upset.
And, Friday morning and Sunday morning, I had total crying fits.

The why:
Tomorrow, Michael and I will drive down to UVA for a very important doctor's appointment. M is seeing a specialist about constant issues he's been having with his bladder.

This is a good thing!
We have been waiting for this appointment for months! We are blessed to have a chance to see this doctor, who is a super-expert in this field.
Nothing bad is going to happen.
We are going to get some answers.
My dear husband, who has pushed through so much pain and irritation, will hopefully have some relief very soon.

But how that relief will come is uncertain.
There are options.
Some seem more stellar than others.
And I have to remember that just because I've talked to people in a similar situation, and although I'm a master Googler, I am not an expert in this field. And there are probably options out there that I don't know about.

This is not life-threatening.
But, it will likely be life-altering.
And I'm afraid of changes like that.
Even though I am kind of Superwoman.

The most important thing is that my husband is healthy.
No matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient that is for me.
No matter how unfair it is either.
Sometimes that reality really sucks.

But, it will be okay.
We will adjust.
We always do.
We can do anything, through Christ, and together.

Recently, I've really been enjoying the daily devotions from Proverbs 31 Ministries.

The other day, I read this:
"God designed us to continually need Him. We gather peace throughout the day. We can ask for His peace to show us which way to turn when our instinct is to go down a dark road of sadness. We can seek His peace to cover our thought life when we want to get even or when unhealthy emotions try to take root."

Philippians 4:7 says this:
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"

But, I'm learning that we have a responsibility, there. We have to seek that peace. And we have to accept it. I think I've just been expecting the Peace of Jesus to just fall down from the sky and land on top of me while I'm in the middle of trying to control everything myself, and make everything better. I think I've got a choice to make here. And I've got to stick with it.

Please pray for us tomorrow. For the appointment. And for peace. Thank you, dear friends.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Morning Rambling

It’s 7:00am and it feels like mid-morning. Strange, huh?

We’re starting two hours later than normal today, because when that alarm went off at 4:00am, my body screamed NOOOO!!!!

Right now, I’m sipping my first morning cup, with a puggle snoring and a laptop fan swirling on my laptop.

Michael is in the bathroom, humming. That used to drive me crazy! He does it to help his body relax. But, I hate doing this ‘bathroom stuff,’ and I used to interpret that humming that he does as him enjoying, which only made me feel more guilty!

Now, I know, he’s just trying to calm down. That’s how he does that. Cool. I drink coffee, and write. Whatever works for you.

I just watched the Today Show open. I don’t even know the last time I’ve seen that, not just heard it. Did you know that used to be my dream job? Then, I worked about 4 years of overnights for morning television news shows. No thanks on that.

I have my dream job.

And it’s not what I expected.

But, sometimes, that’s how God works, isn’t it? His ways are higher than ours! So glad for that.

Later today, I’ll go to the White House to cover the President giving the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Leroy Petry, for bravery and gallantry in Afghanistan. He is a Ranger. I can’t help but think of my little brother who is serving in Afghanistan right now.

I’m so thankful for brave men like Sgt. Petry. But I pray every day that Sgt. Chris Brown never even has a chance to be brave in the midst of enemy fire, because I pray the enemy fire stays away from him. I wish there was more I could do. I wish I could just go online, buy him a plane ticket, and he could come home. But, instead, I collect dried fruit and nuts and canned goods and send them to him. I wish I could do more.

Today, I’ll take our two interns with me to the White House. They were born in 1991 and 1992. They are babies! It really is no fun that the interns get younger and younger and I get older and older, but I love interns! I was once one, apparently a long time ago, but it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. And I’m still so grateful for the anchors, reporters and producers who gave me a chance, let me ride along, reviewed my writing, and gave me feedback. So, that’s what I want to do today for these young people. Plus, I can’t wait to see the look on their faces when they get on the other side of that gate at the White House, and witness one of the most moving ceremonies on the planet.

It’s going to be 100+ degrees today. But, I’m not complaining. I love Summer like nobody’s business! A few unbearably hot days are not enough to taint my love. So, I will get an iced coffee, wear flip flops until the last possible second, and smile.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Saturday Morning Post

This morning, I'm visiting with an old friend. Saturday morning.
It's been a while since I've been here, blogging in the morning light, hearing the hum of the air conditioning, and the taps of zippers and buttons tossing in the dryer.

I don't think I've had a chance to do this all Summer. And my white chair, is now blue, by the way. (Part of our June home improvements) Although, a certain Puggle has been laying on it all week, so the new blue slipcover will be going in the wash today, so it will probably be white again later. Sorry. Rabbit trail.

What a wonderful week it has been!
After almost two months of traveling, we were back at church last Sunday, and it was like being home.

Sunday afternoon, we packed a picnic dinner and headed into DC to watch the rehearsal for A Capitol Fourth, a concert put on the West Front of the Capitol by PBS. I was so ready to see Josh Groban, but...
The National Mall was cleared out because of the impending doom. And the concert was cancelled to the public! We sought shelter in the Air and Space Museum, where we didn't learn anything about air and space, but we at at the McDonald's inside!

Then, we caught up with some dear friends of Michael's who were in DC for vacation. (gotta love Facebook!) Jim and Kim Gates.
Michael really looks up to Jim, so it was a great time of catching up, and encouragement. We loved being around them. So much laughter and joy!
M went on a beer tour and I endured the serious torture of avoiding the amazing crossiant rolls at HOPS.
So, no concert, but we had a fabulous Sunday evening anyway!

Monday was July 4th, so I was off of work, and we decided to honor our nation's independence by doing the most American thing of all time.
Going to a baseball game!
The Nats played the Cubs, and it was a sunny, sold out game. It was close, and went to a 10th inning. We were sitting close to "that guy" at the game. You know the one. The guy who's yelling and starting cheers, all by himself. He seems kind of drunk, but not really. At first, he kind of gets on your nerves, then somewhere around the 7th inning, you find yourself clapping and cheering along, and actually kind of glad "that guy" and his team spirit are there?
"That guy" is in the background with his green "rally cap" on. You can see the effects on my dear husband here. Well, it worked! The Nats pulled off a win off of a wild pitch, and a stolen base, in the bottom of the 10th.
After the game, we went to Danny and Nassika's for some really great mini-burgers, hot dogs and lots of other good food. It was a great time. And, actually, Nassika gave me this nice candle that is burning right now, as I write this blog!
Yay.
Let's see... what else happened this week... standby for more photos....
OH YES! The coffeemaker saga! If you're my friend on Facebook, this is old news, but...
Last week, when I got back from Iowa, my coffeemaker was broken. So, I went across the street to Target, and spent $9.24 on a cheap replacement to get us through until I could find a good deal on a real replacement.
Then, my good, beautiful stainless steel, Cuisinart Grind and Brew started working again.
Then, it stopped again. So, I was glad I had the cheap backup.
THEN... my backup failed me!!!
So, one day this week, at 4:00am, I was in the McDonalds Drive-Thru buying two large coffees.
Ick.
The next day, I had a better solution.
Luckily, this lasted us until this shiny new savior came yesterday while we were out.
The filter is currently soaking, and it will be fully operational soon! I got a great deal on a refurbished coffeemaker on Overstock.com! yay! And it has a thermal carafe. And, the parts from my old coffeemaker fit, so we can use those as backups. I'm going to see if I have my Target receipt from that cheap coffeemaker, but I probably don't. Oh well.

This week was very much "back to normal."
You know... catching up on a million emails...
And doing conference calls from Starbucks....
I mean, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!
We grilled out... I love Summer nights outside.
One night this week, I cooked steaks in a pan, which at first, I felt like I was breaking some sacred rules, but when I realized it was ready in like 10 minutes on a weeknight, I no longer cared. I overcooked it a little, though.
I started watching what I'm eating and trying to exercise more. Again. Because this weight I've gained over the last year has really got to go. I have decided. I'm tracking my calories, etc. on www.myfitnesspal.com. In my first week, I lost 3.2 lbs and one inch off my waist and my hips. I'll take it.
One day I wore M's sunglasses because I left mine at home. That was kind of funny.
I spent a day working at the White House, and I was reminded of how cool it is that I get paid to do this stuff.
I watched the President send the first live presidential tweet from the East Room.
I stood there, for 2 hours for that White House Twitter Town Hall, in heels. Big mistake. My back still hurts. :(

Michael and I marked our 22nd monthaversary. It's so cute how he remembers it on the 6th of every month. This month, I got a new tube of my favorite lip gloss. (which he also happens to love the taste of, haha!) And, some new massage lotion from Bath and Body Works, and an amazing massage from my live in masseuse to go with it.

Yesterday, Michael rode into work with me, and spent the day at the Bureau so we could go to a dinner at the National Press Club we were invited to, and we had a blast at that.

Today, I'm cleaning this apartment because the dirt in the corners is DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!
But first, I'm going to make some coffee.

I hope y'all are all doing well. Enjoy your days. Especially Summer days. I love this season, there is something to enjoy each day.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Visiting My (Dana's) Family

I just realized I had a few blog posts in purgatory. Sorry about that, poor forgotten blog posts.
Like this one, from a trip to Chesapeake/OBX to see my fam back in June.

The occasion?
My middle nephew, Colby's high school graduation!
Colby is an honor graduate, a stand-out football player, a really good looking guy!
I pretty much think the world of him.
Even if he did have crazy zig-zag hair.
His graduation means there's only one more Lane boy to grow up...
Oh my!!
Now, more photos....
Singing in the car with my favorite road trip buddy. I have a feeling this was "Don't Stop Believin'...."
We decided this go around to not stay in my sister's formal living room on an air mattress, and hopped online to find a cheap hotel. There was some last minute drama when we were checking in at like 2:00am. The girl couldn't find a clean room! All they had left was a HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE SUITE! Oh, darn. What a blessing!
We went to a joint graduation party for Colby, and his best friends, Chip and Abby.
This is my sis and her not-so-little boy.
The proud aunt and uncle!
We enjoyed our time in the pool!
(Note: M is not a dead body as he appears here. He is actually like AHHHH enjoying the pool, unaware of the camera, as me and Little Rob are)
This is my oldest nephew, Jorden, and his then-girlfriend, now-fiance' Kyndall. This was just days before he popped the big question and gave her this:
Awww. Right???? When he makes me feel old by doing things like getting engaged, I remind myself, he was born when I was in the 4th grade :)

After the graduation festivities, we headed down to the OBX to hang out with my mom and Dave! We stayed at the very hotel where we got married almost 2 years ago!
It was under that gazebo that we said our vows.
We laid out at the end of the walkway.
It was a perfect beach day.
We stopped a random woman and asked her to take a pic of us together. I'm not even kidding, she only had like 2 fingers, and one ended up in the picture. I didn't have the heart to ask her to take it over again! Haha.
We drove down south, just a little and saw some of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
And Bodie Island Light.
Then back up north a little, to see my Mama at her baby store!
Then, we spent the night with my mom and Dave and ate some of Dave's amazing cooking, as usual!!! :)
What a great trip!!! I love my family, and I wish I could see them more.

Going Coastal Tour 2011

Also in June, something we'd been looking forward to since January. Kenny Chesney's GOING COSTAL TOUR AT FEDEX FIELD!!!!

We saw Kenny three summers ago, in Virginia Beach. Then, the next summer, we missed him because every dollar was going toward the wedding. Then, Kenny took last summer off. So, we were PUMPED to be able to see him again!

This year, he's on tour with Billy Currington and Zac Brown Band. They were all awesome. Especially their almost-hour-long jam session at the end of the concert!!

We are watching how we spend our money, so we got the "cheap" seats.
I was a bit of a whiny baby about that. Because I've been spoiled watching Kenny from up close in years past.
It definitely doesn't sound as good this far up. And at one point, I ducked when a plane flew over head.
Whoa. Seriously.
Felt like I could reach out and touch this jet!
But, the margaritas were just as good!
And, we really did enjoy ourselves at the concert!
We got even got souvenir beer huggies. :)
Next time, I say we save up and splurge for seats on the floor. But, I'm still glad we got to go and have the experience. And I also enjoyed my new little white dress :) Here's a little iPhone video. See if you can find Kenny!!
video