Sunday, February 13, 2011

And God Was In The House


Hellfire, and damnation, I don't even know where to start!

At the revelation?

At the goosebumps?

At the baptism?

At the tears?


How about at the beginning?

Yeah, that's a good idea.

I'll start at the beginning.

In the beginning......

On THIS very cold West Central Florida Sunday morning (39 degrees), THIS family struggled to get to worship.

All of us had our own issues.

A couple of us didn't/don't feel well.

A few wardrobe malfunctions.

Lots of crankiness.


Rough morning.

Before we left the house, there were tears.

And a pow-pow.  (Piratese for spanking)

The ride to church was UBER-quiet.

We arrive at church, thirty minutes early.

SOMEONE is in OUR parking space.

Two Swords thinks we 'own' it.

Like 'our' pew.


I know.

But another 'omen', of, Good Lord, can this day GET any worse?


Of course it can!

But, at that moment in time, struggling with all of these 'struggles', I neglected to see the other side of the coin.

Good Lord, can this day get any BETTER?


Of course it can!

And friends, it did. Soooooo much better.

We had no idea what this worship service had in store for us today.

How could we?

How does anyone know, on any given Sunday, when God will be speaking to YOU?

Like, on any given Sunday, either football team can win, right?

And on any given Sunday, your ears and eyes just might be opened to a message you weren't expecting to hear, but man oh man, you certainly were in NEED of hearing.

I flipped through the bulletin and noticed the sermon title was "The Beatitudes", but the big projector screens kept flashing the word "BLESSED".


VERY intrigued I was.

Considering how I know how blessed we are and always have been.

But for a really long time, it's been hard to muddle through the muck and pampas grass that has been our 'life', to 'see' those blessings and focus on THEM each and every day instead of being brought down by the muck and the muddling.

Worship started with our future American Idol, "Reilly the Red", singing with her "Graceland Singers" troupe.

She was AWE-SOME.

I mean, all of a sudden, she can really S I N G!

She held that really long high note, for a really long high time!

I couldn't believe it!

See, she's been inspired by American Idol.

Most of the winners/contenders on American Idol all got their starts in:


So Reilly has Carrie Underwood and American Idol on the brain.

As she headed for her 'first' trip to the microphone this morning, I said, "Jesus at the Wheel" baby girl! Jesus at the Wheel!"

She looked at me like "My mom is a complete dork."

And sang her BUTT off.

So proud.

Daddy has tears running down his face.

Jake is all, "YAY SISSY!"

I have goosebumps in places I didn't know there were goosebumps.

And THEN....for the first time ever.....she and her pardner Eva were invited to sing with the grown ups!

No practice.

Winged it.

Held her own for two songs.

How did she know the words, with no practice?

Well, in case you didn't know, these days, little church-goers have Contemporary Christian music on their i-Pods. Which my Contemporary Christian friend and pew-mate and fellow Steeler fanatic, Mister Bill finds hilarious for some reason. But she knew all the words, that's the point.

One of the songs that they sang was "Sanctuary".


Meaning, the song that MOMMY sings to him, and has sung to him since the day he was born.

So, Jake was sitting in my lap, still steamed about the "I hate this boring shirt that my Dad made me wear to church this morning menagerie", but when he hears the first notes, he lights up and says:


And I said, "Sing it baby! Just like Sissy. Loud and proud."

And he did.

If you don't know the words, this is them:

Lord, pre-pare me
To be a Sanc-tu-ar-yyyyyy
Pure and hol-yyyyyy
Tried and truuuuuuuuuue
With Thanks-giving
I'll be a li-ving
Forrrrrrrr you

And he sang it, loud and proud.

And I realize, God is in the house today.


Next up - and I gotta tell ya, this was some special service today - a middle schooler, and friend of our family, Tanner, read the scripture today.

When he approached the podium, Tanner said, "Good morning."

The congregation pretty much mumbled, "mornin'."

And it is dead quiet, as we await Tanner's reading of the scripture when Jake says in his normal voice, but it seemed super loud because nobody was talking, says:

"Goooooddddd        mornnnnninnnngggggggggg,    Tannnnnnnerrrrrrrrr."

Thankfully, Jake and Tanner are 'peeps', and Tanner smiled, and I think Jake's own way of saying, "hey, Tanner way to go, making it to the pulpit, to the big time!" kinda broke the ice for Tanner and calmed any nerves he may have had.

And I gotta give props to Tanner too.  It was some kind of gold medal service today, I'm telling you.  You really do wish you had been there.  Trust me.

Reilly returns to 'our' pew (which was not 'stolen' from us today, thank goodness. Ha.)

She informs us that Pastor Carrie asked her to ASSIST WITH A BABY'S BAPTISM today.

Billy and I looked at her, looked at each other, and both went, "WWWHHHHAAAATTTTT?", not angrily, but whoa so thrilled and honored and surprised and man, I don't think this has happened before in our church EVER and I can tell you that ME, well I am thinking, "Is this why she died and came back to life?  Is it?  Is this part of God's plan for her?  Is it?  Would she be helping with a baptism if she hadn't had that life affirming, life-altering, life-saving, died and gone to heaven experience?"

There was shock in the pew.  (Well, I don't think Aunt Jodi and Mister Bill were in shock, because they had no idea how God was working for us this morning, but 4/6 of the pew was in shock.)

Next came the Children's Message.

Ya just never know what's gonna happen at the Children's Message.

When the Jakester is present, that is.

Because, the Children's Message is always a Q & A between the Pastor and the kiddos.

And as we all know, Jake has all the A's.  Just ask him.

So Pastor Shawn had all the kids sit in the very front pews today, instead of on the floor, because he was giving them a first row seat of the baptism that was about to occur.

And he was (I think), trying to explain to him that the baptism was going to be our way of 'blessing' this baby.

He starts with, "Does anyone know what a blessing is?"

And Jake responded, "Yeah, a blessing is a prayer before you eat your dinner, like we bless our food when we say 'God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food."

And Pastor Shawn gave him a "Yes!"

And then a second later, I hear Pastor Shawn say, "Can I have that please, Jake.  Thank you."


Jake tried to jack the microphone.


RIGHT after giving the RIGHT answer at Children's Message.


The life of Jake.

Then, to give another example of a blessing, Pastor Shawn said, "So, if I were to sneeze, what would you say to me?"

Duh, the obvious answer is, "God Bless You!"

Unless you are Jake.

Jake responds to the question, "So, if I were to sneeze, what would you say to me?", with:


And the usual eruption of laughter occurs, when ummmm, 'Jake' is in the house.

So Pastor Shawn wraps up his message (thanks to the other little disciples who gave 'right' answers), and Pastor Carrie proceeds with the baptism of baby Cody, who I think is going to fit quite nicely into our little country church's group of young'uns, cuz he was a smiling little ham the whole time.
Pastor Carrie motioned for Reilly to come to the altar.

Reilly helped her to pour the water into the baptismal font.

More tears from Dad.

More goosebumps from Mom.

Complete curiousity from Jake, who sneaks away from his seat to get a better glimpse of what his sister is doing, as he has never witnessed a baptism before.

And 'we' were all reminded of our baptismal vows.

We, the congregation.

But most importantly, 'we', the parents of Reilly and Jake.

I need to rewind a couple of days....

Surreally, earlier in the week, my wise sage friend PJ and I spoke.

About a lot.

I'll cut to the chase.

When he asked me how we were doing, I said, "better than 6 months ago, better than 3 months, better."

He said he was glad to hear that.

And then I said, "But one thing is for certain - we are 100% committed to the raising of those babies TOGETHER, in the SAME house, as ONE family.  That has ALWAYS been the committment, that has ALWAYS been the plan, and that IS what we are DOING right NOW.  And they are thriving, and they both have AMAZING hearts for Jesus...and....and...and...."

And PJ says, "Heather, I want to thank you."

"Ummmm?  For what?"

"For honoring the baptismal vows you made for your children."


Didn't really know I was or was not doing that, but okay.

And he told me that he cannot count the number of couples who come in and join the church and take the baptism 'class' and baptize their baby, and then he NEVER SEES THEM AGAIN.  He says it breaks his heart that he doesn't know if these children are being raised in the faith, if the parents are still really bothers him. 

I said, "Well, I have to tell you.  Most of the time, it's the kids that pull us out of 'it'.  It's the kids who pull us together."

He said, "that's what being married and having a family is all about.  No matter how down or how lost you are feeling, or how you feel like you are about to lose everything, you and Billy have somehow held it together for all this time." 

God was in the house during THAT conversation, because it hit me pretty hard, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

Forwarding back to this morning -

The parents of Baby Cody took their baptismal vows.

I listened VERY, VERY intently, as it had been awhile since we took our last set of bapitsmal vows, in February, 2005.

Yes, in fact, PJ was 100% correct.

Billy and I have honored our baptismal vows.

We have declared Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

We have OPENLY and OFTEN-LY declared our faith, and have KEPT our pledge to raise our children as Christians.

Yes, we HAVE relied on God's grace to live the Christian faith, and teach that faith to our children.

We DO renounce evil and its power in the world, which defies righteousness and love. 

Although we are sinners and will be 'til the day we die, we certainly do RENOUNCE the ways of sin that separate us from the love of God.  We certainly RENOUNCE it, but when we COMMIT it, we CONFESS it, and we are FORGIVEN.  But RENOUNCE it, heck ya, we do.  I can't tell you how often I pray for the binding of Satan from my home, my marraige, my children, my life, my friends, my family, my church, our world.

We ABSOLUTELY intend to be Christ's faithful disciple, obeying His word, and showing His love, to our life's end.



We ARE honoring our baptismal vows!

I wanted to chest bump somebody, I was so filled with the Spirit at that moment!

Vows completed, baby baptized and toted around the aisle to 'meet' the congregation, Reilly back to her seat, and it's sermon time.

Now, I've already seen God today.  A whole bunch of times.

I hadn't seen nuthin' yet.

It started like this:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

  Matthew 5:3-10 


I am not even going to ATTEMPT to paraphrase Pastor Carrie's sermon.

All that really matters is that she translated THAT gospel to the Fallon Family, that WE ARE BLESSED.

If we're suffering, we're blessed.

If we're grieving, we're blessed.

If we're weak, we're blessed.

And Pastor Carrie expounded a bit on how people over the centuries have tried to grasp how it can be possible to be all these 'things', yet be 'blessed' at the same time.

Finally, she summed it up.

Because Jesus said so.

That's why.

It's right there.

In Matthew.

She just read it to us.

Because HE said so, that's why.

Man, have I been stupid.

I looked at my baptizing rock star-to be.

I looked at my entertaining preaching mayor-to be.

I looked at my husband.

I looked at my AMAZING church family.

I looked at my hands, one of which still wears a wedding ring.


Because HE said so.

God was in the House today.

And I am so prayerfully thankful that I was a guest there today.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Today Was A Good Day


I took Jake to the dance last night.

I did okay.

I slept well.

We all slept in on a cold Saturday morning.

Billy asked me if I was still 'sick' (which translates to, do you still have uncontrollable diarrhea, or are you going to be laying in bed all day).

I replied, truthfully, that 'it' had stayed 'stopped' (meaning, no more diarrhea) since 230pm on Friday afternoon, but that I still had a lot of pain and was really, really sore.

I really wanted to go to Jake's baseball practice today (his new team has just gotten together, and the games don't start for a few weeks, but I have Little League in my blood, as I was one of the first girls to ever play baseball in Little League in Florida, yet another 'milestone' of mine), cuz I hadn't seen him play yet, and because the sun was gorgeous, even though it was pretty chilly.

And grocery shopping HAD to be done.


It was MUTUALLY decided, that I would lie in bed and 'rest' until it was time to go to practice at 1pm. And that's what I did.

I started to get more diarrhea.

Keep in mind, I have had NOTHING to eat since Thursday at 6pm.

NOTHING but fluids.

I did NOT tell anyone.

I just took a few of my meds, not hippo-coma meds, just a few, hoping to get things 'under control', as I am clearly in the midst of a major flare here, and I so do NOT want to go to the hospital for more reasons than I can list, but #1 being, no insurance, #2 being, I hate my doctor, and #3 being, I don't want to contract yet another infection which has happened more times than I want to remember, and #4 being, I don't want to be away from, or worry, the kids.

I have a lot of motivation to get myself well, and I have all the oral medications 'possible' to do so.

I lost another three pounds when I weighed myself today - 21 pounds since 1/21. I'm not upset about 'that', but yes, it is quick, and yes, there is of course the obvious concern about my not eating.

But the rule is - you don't eat until it 'stops'. Or at the very least, 'slows down'.

And when you do start to eat again, it's the white diet.

The White Diet, you ask?

Yep. The White Diet.

I eat anything white - rice, pasta, chicken, bread, dairy, apples/applesauce, bananas - basically, carbs, carbs, carbs.

Stuff that is very easily digestible.

So when I do start eating again, it will be 'whitely'.


As I lay down, awaiting our departure time for baseball practice, the husband cracked the whip with the delinquents.

They were cleaning and decluttering and putting clothes away.

Thankfully, when it was time to go, it had 'stopped' again.

We went to practice.

NOTE - yeah, there was no anxiety or fear related to going to watch my son play baseball, as a certain individual has implied, ahem, insisted has been the case. I was THRILLED that I felt well enough to go.

And I sat in a chair on a beautiful February Florida day, and watched my boy get better and better with his skills.

After a most successful practice, the four of us went to Publix for a two-cart shoppping experience.

We're stocking up for the insurrection that my husband thinks is headed our way.


What REALLY matters is:

I made it through a busy day (a busy day on MY scale of busy-ness, anyway).

I did not disappoint a single member of my family today, including myself.

There were absolutely no harsh words or arguments within the marraige today.

At the end of the day, the groceries were put away, two frozen pizzas in the oven, two kids in their warm jammies, watching TV together for the first time in days.

The spouse is gearing up to watch the race. Heck, football is over, and now racing starts. No break!

I'm on the web, catching up on what's going on in the world. Still haven't eaten anything, but still not hungry, and still not feeling like I'm going to pass out or anything.

I know it sounds crazy, but I know my body, and I know this disease.

Today has been a good day.

I did what my body let me do, which conveniently, was exactly what I wanted to do.

Doesn't happen very often.

Especially lately.

Nor have we had a peaceful domestic day lately.

Or very often, for that matter.

Today was a good day.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Thank you, friends


Things got worse before they got better. But they ultimately got better.
My symptoms got bad enough for me to call me doctor whom I avoid at all possible costs. He instructed me to "get my ass in the hospital, immediately." He didn't mention the rest of me, that's almost funny, given the circumstances. Anyway, since we still don't have our Medicaid cards, this was not an option. He told me to get on the scale. Huh? Well, I have lost 18 lbs. since my last infusion, on 1/21. Not that I didn't need to lose them, I have about 50 more to go, really, but that's pretty quick.
My goal for today was to do what Heather knows how to do after battling this enemy for 11 years. And that is to 'get it to stop'. My other goal was to 'bring my husband around'. I didn't need his help, his doting on me, his errand-running, I simply needed to know he was 'there'.
I had left him a voice mail while he was at Reilly's school. And I was right - his anger had abated while taking pride in his daughter.
When he got home, his attitude had completely changed. I told him what the doc said, and what my plan was, and I just needed to get it under control, and no I am not' faking' it, and 'yes' I absolutely want to take Jake to his dance tonight, but I have to get this to 'stop', because now I'm bleeding, too.

He asked me what I needed from him. I said, I don't need a single thing but your support. That's all I need right now.

He never apologized with words, but he apologized with his actions. He stayed around the house for awhile, and kept checking on me in the bedroom. Then he came in and asked if I would be okay while he went and helped his neighbor get his fridge installed. And I said yes, I was okay. And he said, (which he stopped saying a LONG time ago), "I have my phone with me if you need for me anything."

Finally, at about 2:15, I got it 'stopped'. So I called him and told him I was feeling much better, and when the kids got home, I would ask Reilly to go to Publix with me, as she's a great helper, and then I would take Jake to the dance.

And he said, "I don't' think you should do that, I think it's too much for you, and if you need me to, I'll take Jake to the dance."

Well, clearly someone's prayers were heard today, because he came back to being Billy, to being the husband and father he's supposed to be.

I might skip the store, but I'm going to the dance.

I just got the energy to put a load of laundry in.

Thank you for your prayers.

All of you.




I have one.

Yet another one.

The GOOD news is, I really, really think that billy is going to start work on Tuesday. Really, I think it is actually going to happen.

But this morning was/is traumatic.

I had committed/promised/said, whatever, that I would of course be at Reilly's school today at 845am to watch her become Terrific Kid for the umpteenth time.

Let me clarify something here:

I have NEVER, EVER, EVER missed one of my children's 'events', with the exception of perhaps two baseball games, in their entire lives. My career had been jeopardized on more than several occasions when I left for an event, or was late because of an event, or had to leave early for an event.

Last night, the plan was in action.

Last night, Billy had no plan for today, and was NOT going to Terriffic Kid.

This morning, I got up at 630, turned each kid's lights on, started the oven for cinnamon rolls for breakfast.....and then the shit started.


Diarrhea - 4 times within a half hour.

Started popping pills to get it to stop.

It's not stopping.

Pain is awful.

Oh, and Jake is being a complete, 'Handful' this morning, which is not helping matters. He's been runny nose and coughing all week and missed one day of school, and yeah he's tired, but he just DRAGS in the morning. And he's running out of time and I am doing the best that I can and Billy is still in the bedroom. Awake, I think, but has no intention of getting up.


I asked Reilly to come here so I could talk to her. She did, and I explained my situation, and I said I was going to really try to be there at 845, but I didn't know if I could make it. And she's really sad. Which, when you have a kid who is a genius and gets accolades every single day, at some point perhaps they should 'give' a little, but that's not for me to say, since my parents never went to ANYTHING. Anyway, she asks if maybe Daddy would come. I said, I don't know, maybe you could ask him?

So she did, but I don't know what she said to him exactly, and he comes storming out of the bedroom and he's pissed as all get out and he starts screaming at me and screaming at Jake and I have go to the bathroom again and then I start having a panic attack and then Reilly said to me that she was sorry she made Daddy mad at me and I said not to worry, she had nothing to do with Daddy and me, and i told her I loved her and I was sorry and I was super proud of her and finally Jake got dressed and they are gone.

B is in the shower, and he is SLAMMING everything.

I am in the recliner, with a heating pad on my stomach, having taken enough medication to put a hippo in a coma, but nope, still no relief.

And then he just verbally ATTACKED me. On and on about my 'recluse' ness, how I never go anywhere. Okay, this is an exaggeration, he's really starting to lay it on thick to make his point. Because, as I said the other day, yes I took Reilly to Graceland and Jake to Walgreens and back to pick up Reilly, and yep, I went to a Super Bowl party, and yep, I went to Publix THREE times last week, and picked up REilly from recorder lessons, false. I do leave the house. I just don't leave it as much as perhaps I 'should', and as much as perhaps 'he' wants me to, but I do in fact leave the house, and I do in fact take the 85/15 role in the academic involvement of our children.

I let him go on and on and on. And I, to this day, just do not see how HE could possibly be suffering as much as ME. Inconvenienced, certainly. But there are soooooooo many more events with the children that he missed than I have.

And this is the FIRST time this has happened.

And he just wouldn't stop. He said i'm so afraid to leave the house I make myself sick.

O how I wish I had the power to 'make' myself sick, therefore I would have the power to 'unmake' myself sick.

I said, "Billy...."


And I said, "Billy, how could I possibly give myself diarrhea six times in 35 minutes?"

He shrugged and just kept complaining over and over and over again.

He went on and on about what the hell is going to happen when he starts work, which I have already figured out will be a catalyst for my mental 'recovery', as I will be FORCED to do everything for the kids.

And slammed and slammed and slammed some more until he left, said "I'm leaving" no goodbye no I love you, just slammed the door and took off in my car, far too early, but clearly wanted to get the hell away from me.

But here's the thing.

Once he gets to that school, and sees his baby girl on stage, he'll forget he's mad at me.

Tonight, I have committed to taking Jake to the Valentine's dance. Reilly has no interest in going, but Jake really wants to 'dance'. It has nothing to do with girls, he just wants to show off his moves.

There is no way in HELL that Billy will take Jake to a Valentine's dance, and the kids MUST be accompanied by a parent.

So I acquiesced, and I'm taking him.

Today, I wanted to be there for both my kids.

My body dictated otherwise.

I have until 545 pm to get my 'bowels' in order, so that I can take Jake tonight.

When this happens, it's always worse in the morning.

Billy knows this.

I really think he has gone beyond the 'resentful' stage, and is starting to hate me.

Could you please pray for HIM today?

And pray that this will all be over on Tuesday when he WILL start work?


I was so weak and so sick, just an hour ago, that I put up very little of a defense. I let him walk all over me.

And I feel defenseless and unprotected and completely out of control when it comes to my marriage.

I guess I just have to let him steam about it.

I can't ever 'prove' him wrong if I am in fact 'sick', since I did NOT 'make' myself sick.

It's not like he's Vince Lombardi and he can motivate me with a hot poker and I can get in his truck and just go there and prove him wrong.


When I go to Remicade every 28 days, I have to do the 'scale of 1-10' for pain. I ALWAYS say, can I give you a 'misery' scale instead of a pain scale? And they say yes, and they write down the word 'misery' next to the scale.


That's my state today.

That's the state of marriage today.

That's the state of my life today.

Today, I'm not asking for prayers for me.

I can get through, TODAY.

Please pray for my miserable husband.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011




This is not another pathetic post about me and my stupid disease or how I feel 'lost' since I forewent my career, blah blah blah.

It's about the Great Depression.

The one that no one wants to admit is here.

The one that my family has been in for awhile.

So here's my story.

It's funny, in a way.

Back in the day, when I wore my $250 Kasper power suits and Aveda makeup and oh-so-smart shoes.

Back in the day, when I went toe to toe and head to head with the meanest, vilest, most evil men the world has ever known, and never blinked an eye.

Back in the day, when I had my monthly $80 hair colors.

Back in the day, when I had to put on my game face each and every morning, and be 'amped' for nine solid hours, and then have a one hour 'cool down' during my commute home, always spent on the phone either to talking to someone 'fun', or talking to someone about the battle planned for the next day.

Back in the day, when I was paid quite handsomely.....




That was my job.



How does one, FIND MONEY, you ask?

Well, it's not so easy.

Which is why I was paid quite handsomely.

But I found it enormously challenging, and man, when I could come home at the end of the day, and tell my husband, "Hey! I found A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS today!", and he would stare at me bewildered and say, "How could anyone LOSE a hundred thousand dollars?" and I would say, "actually, it's much easier to lose a hundred thousand dollars on a HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR job than you might think, but it's mighty hard to find it, once it's lost".


That was my job.


I would get these mean, vile, evil men in a room, and I knew they were lying, I knew they were sandbagging, I knew that THEY knew where the money was, and I didn't blink an eye during our twelve hour, no lunch break, no bathroom break, no water, no cell phone interruption, stare-down sessions.

And they'd never give it up.

But I found it.


Every single time.

Every single job.

Which is why I was paid handsomely.

And why I was employee of the year (once).

And why I NEVER EVER EVER worried about job security.


That's the funny part.

Anyway, none of this is my point.

So here I am, NOW.

"We", meaning, my husband and I, have collectively been out of work for three years.


Except for a short stint working on the oil spills in North Florida and in Michigan, (of which I consider to be my husband's service to his country, since he never had that opportunity in the past and has thought twice about it for a very long time), Two Swords has been unemployed since September, 2008.

I have not worked, without any stints anywhere, since February, 2008.

THREE years.

Now, the 'professional' financial guys will say, always have 7 months' salary in the bank, in case you lose your job.

Well, we did.

And they say, have a retirement fund.

Well, we did.

And they say, keep your debt to a minimum.

Well, except for a mortgage and a car payment, we were DEBT-FREE.

NOTE TO READER - I am getting nauseous as I write this post, because it just makes me sick to my stomach that we did EVERYTHING right.

And they say, have college funds for your children.

Yep, we had those too.

There was a time, when our 'plan', was for Two Swords to retire as early as possible, because we thought his heart condition could not withstand too many more years in high end commercial construction. The stress is unimaginable, which just brought on more and more cigarettes.

And then we 'planned' for ME to take on a heavier load at work, to take a risky position (cuz I wasn't as qualified as others for that job), to climb the ladder, as I had more room to climb than Two Swords did, and he would retire early, and by then the kids would be in middle school/high school, so he really wouldn't be a 'stay at home dad', and our house would be paid off in 12 years, and I would work, work, work, as long as my body would let me, cuz I wasn't as sick as I am now, and.and.and. that was 'our' plan.

Wasn't God's plan, clearly.

My body gave out, first.

We changed the 'plan'.

We had enough money, more than enough money, to live off of Two Swords' salary.

And if I was home with the kids, perhaps his world at work would be less stressful, as we were 50/50 parents - if one of the kids were sick and couldn't go to school, we would look at each other at 430 in the morning, and say, "TODAY, whose career suffers LESS if they stay home?" And some of those days, Two Swords stayed home. Some of those days, Two Swords took a kiddo to the pediatrician.

So we had a new plan.

And it was a good, solid, it's going to be okay plan.


And then the bottom dropped out.

In the great economic crisis of 2008, Two Swords lost his job.


We did not panic.

Of course he would find work.


No doubt.

Tomorrow, in fact.


I made (strongly encouraged) him to take a break.

He had worked himself nearly to death on a horrible, horrible project of a building that was halfway built and then nearly fell down, and OMG, I would look out the window of the high rise building that "I" worked in, and see if "his" building was still standing, each and every day, that's how scary it was.

He had worked 20 hour days, 7 days a week, holidays included, for 9 solid months, as they tried to get this building fixed.

And they did it.

He did it.

And then he got cut.

(Nauseous again. Reliving it is still sickening, three years later)

So he took a break.

We pulled the kids out of school, and took a two week trip to WV and took the kids to our nation's great capital DC, and he rested, and he renewed, and he was ready again.

AND - the whole time we were gone, he had his feelers out there, he was faxing resumes, he was setting up interviews for when we got back.

We got back.

He interviewed.

Do you know how many jobs he 'got' that never started, because the banks stopped lending money to projects in Central Florida?

I'm going to round down.


TEN times or more, he was hired.

For jobs that never started.


So back to the title of my post.

My financial brain gears never stopped churning.

I calculated all that we had saved, added the unemployment that we would receive, and tried to figure out how much time we had before it got really bad.

I told him - we're okay.

I told him - it's going to be okay.

I told him - we've done all the right things with our money. All the 'smart' things.

I told him we had six months, before he had to 'worry'.

I was sandbagging.

I was doing what those evil vile devil men used to do to me.

I knew we could go a year.

I knew that if things got desperate (but of course they would NOT), we could go a year without touching our retirement or the kids' money.

We made cutbacks.

Out went the hair color.

And the College Football package on DirecTV.

And eating out.

And lots of other stuff.

Stuff that we haven't missed all that much.

Well, the kids have missed the restaurants, and the movies, and Disney World, and going shopping every weekend.

But they don't even know what 'poor' is, so i don't have much sympathy for them.

So a year went by.

How is it that Two Swords STILL does not have a job?

And I will not get into politics here, but man, you have NO idea how painful it was, to watch HIM watch Fox News each and every day. Nausea again.

Year two comes along.

Still here, still unemployed.

I have to start cashing things in.

I had to 'find money'.

I did.

First went MY retirement fund, because it was bigger, because I would pay less tax on it due to my medical hardship, because I didn't, and to this day don't, think that I would live long enough to 'retire'.

Still here, still unemployed.

Cutting back even more.

Year Three.

Still here, still unemployed.

Out went Two Swords' retirement fund.

We had no other choice.

And then went the kids' college fund.

Still here, still unemployed.

I went to 'work' in my brain, and found a hunk of money. Cuz, that was my 'job'.

Bought us another six months.

We have entered the beginning of year FOUR.

It's gone.

All of it.

We've unplugged our house phone, because every single call is from a bill collector.

Today, we received acceptance for food stamps.

Today, we received acceptance for Medicaid.

Today, I can't find anymore money.

It's lost.

All of it.

And every day is scarier than the day before.

The recession is not over.

And it's not a recession.

I'm no economist.

But I know alot about money.

We're not just lost.

We're depressed.

And I don't just mean me and Two Swords.

We are lost.

And if God doesn't throw yet another miracle our way, we are about to LOSE everything that we have.


I used to be really good at finding money.

I can't find anymore.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Itching and therefore sccratching


Okay, so I am really trying Super Duper hard to be positive, and to maintain a level of optimism, because things have been 'downnnnn' for so long.


Can anyone tell me WHY?



All of a sudden....

At 2:28 A.M. on a Saturday morning in February,

Exactly TWELVE days since my last Remicade infusion,

That I am itching and scratching like a muthah-you-know-what?


Benadryl, atarax, Valium....whatever....

NONE of it is working, and I am itching, and therefore, scratching like mad!

I have scratched my arms RAW!


To have a disease that was understood.




Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oh - Kay



Yesterday evening, I ran into my dear friend, the Greatest of All Bell Ringers.

She asked me how I was doing, since, well, she knew 'everything' that happened.

I took a deep breath.

And I said, "Oh-Kay."

And then I took another deep breath.

And she said, "Are you sure?"

And I took yet one more deep breath.

And I replied, "Actually....yeah. I'm Oh-Kay."

She still doubted me.

But I didn't feel like I had the energy nor the need to convince her.

Because I was kinda shocked that I actually said and actually FELT like I was



I'm telling you all right now.

Yes, there are problems in my marriage.

Yes, we have been unemployed for three years.

Yes, we are pretty darn close to becoming homeless.

Yes, my body continues to confuse me, to tantalize me, and to agonize me each and every single day.

Yes, my body continues to confuse, tantalize and agonize my spouse each and every single day.

Yes, my treatments wreak havoc not only on my body and my life, but on my bank account.

Yes, I have 'lost' friends.

Yes, my extended family (with a few exceptions) continues to ostracize themselves from me, rather than embrace the fact that their previously super athletic and super strong and super 'go get 'em tiger' daughter is now a 40 year old special needs woman.

Yes, I have problems on a nuclear scale.


I think I'm "oh-kay".

I am not shaking like a leaf anymore.

I am not eating four pounds of Oreos a day anymore (I've cut back to one pound a day!).

I am no longer afraid to speak to my spouse.

I am no longer afraid that my spouse is going to leave the marriage.

Actually, now that I think about it, other than waiting for the other shoe to drop, which I have done for about 34 years, I don't think I fear anything right now.

Of course things are not 'optimal'.

But then again, how many people who 'have it all', really take the time and look back and say, "hey! our life is OPTIMAL!"


I knew a family who once felt that way.

That was my family.

That was us.

That was a very long time ago.

That was at a time when we were higher than a woodpecker's hole.

God had made our cup runneth over.

And yes, we looked around, up, and down, and we said, "We can't believe how 'optimal' things are for us right now!"


We never lost faith.

That the other shoe would drop.

Which it did.

Maybe that was the catalyst for our conundrum.

Having faith that our 'glory' was temporary, and most certainly God would throw us yet another breaking curveball.

It's too deep for me to even think about.

Right now, I'm "Oh-kay".

And my kids are "AWE-SOME!"

Now those two little buggars don't wait for the other shoe to drop.


Cuz we haven't taught them that learned behavior.

And I (we) COULD NOT be more proud of them, or love them anymore than we already do.

And we tell them that about 15 times a day, each and every single day.

Cuz our parents never did.


I'm "Oh-Kay".


WHEN, (NOT 'if', but most certainly WHEN!), my spouse FINALLY receives employment, 99% of all of our 'troubles' will go away.

Some doubt this.

But I'm living it, so I have a little bit more inside information.

When this FINALLY happens, we will all FINALLY be "oh-kay."

It's been a long time, a very, very long time since I've been able to say these words.

Maybe it was the counseling.

Maybe it was the drugs.

Maybe it was menagerie that was my December.

I dunno.

But I am able to sit right here, on a dark Thursday morning, and say to YOU, and believe inside of ME,

that someday,


hopefully sooner

rather than later,

WE are all going to be "oh-kay."

I have to believe it.

It's all i've got to hang onto right now.

And it's enough.