Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Miracles Happen

This story gives me chills.

My heart breaks for this poor family, losing such a young child to a tragedy like this. I pray God comforts them in this terrible time.

It also brings up some OLD memories for me.

When I was 8 years old, my family took a trip to Africa to visit my mom's twin sister, her husband, and their 5 kids. The youngest of the children was Justin. He was 2 years old at the time.

My details are slightly foggy, so this won't be incredibly detailed, but we had gone swimming that morning. My cousin Audrey and I were the last ones in the pool. At some point, we went inside, but must not have closed the gate around the pool hard enough for it to latch. (It was difficult to do, and we were only 8 and 6.)

After lunch (I think), I remember playing in Audrey's room with her and suddenly there is a lot of commotion outside the room. We hear that Justin had drowned. The next few minutes are a total blur (though at first we kept playing as we thought they meant he had fallen in the water) but I remember the panic rising in the air.

Miraculously, my uncle had been coming home at a time that he would not usually be coming home at. He noticed the gate was open (the one Audrey and I didn't close properly) and went to close it. It was then that he saw Justin, his baby son, floating face down in the pool. Justin wasn't breathing. They tried CPR on him. By this time, my mom had gathered all of us into one room to pray while my aunt, uncle, and dad were with Justin. He started breathing, but was still unconscious. (Now Justin has told us that at one point he was floating above his body looking down and remembers watching what was going on.) I remember when he started breathing thinking "Oh good. He's fine." My 8-year old brain didn't comprehend that as he was still unconscious and had been without oxygen for 5 minutes or longer, he was not "fine."

My aunt, uncle, dad, and I think another missionary took him to the nearest hospital. Now, we're talking 20 years ago, middle of nowhere in Botswana, Africa - this was not like going to a normal hospital. The hospital did not have a single oxygen mask for anyone smaller than an adult! Medical care was poor, to say the least.

But, God does not need fancy (or any) medical equipment to save a life. Justin not only lived, but thrived. Within 2 days, he was out of the hospital with no damage from what happened.

Today, he and his lovely wife Sarah are missionaries in Africa. Here is a picture of them on their wedding day, a little over 2 years ago!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Day at the Office

Last week, one of my facebook statuses generated several comments, so I promised a follow-up blog about it.

The status read "When will my male co-workers realize that telling us who their man-crushes are just provides us with ammunition for their humiliation?"

So, a little backstory. Several months ago, I told my co-worker B that I was going to the movies that night. He asked what I was going to go see, and when I told him "When In Rome," I admitted that I didn't know much of what it was about. But I said "But the guy in it is cute, but I don't know his name." He said "Josh Duhamel? Yeah, he's a good looking guy."

Clearly, I was impressed that he knew who the actor was, but I also thought it was funny. But I didn't think too much of it at the time. The next morning, in front of our boss (who happens to be his older brother....hehe), he asked how the movie was. I said "It was really good. And you're right. That guy is hot!" I didn't really think too much of how I was saying it until my boss cracked up. B immediately was like "Hey! I just said he was good looking! You're making me sound gay!"

Since then, mysteriously, Josh Duhamel's picture may have mysteriously showed up as his desktop background. It's possible that someone may have done this to his computer several times, maybe even e-mailed a picture or two to him.

Anyway, another co-worker was telling us that her husband (who also works with us) really likes the actor who played Jacob in Twilight. (I don't know his name and am too lazy to look it up.) Apparently, when they watched one of the movies, he went on and on about the guy's muscles. So, an idea was formed. Below are the results of that idea. (I was not the main culprit in this one....... I was merely an accomplice. Just for the record.)

Some of the pictures are a little blurry......

His wall clock


His bookshelf


Inside his desk


His rolodex



Intermingled with his family pictures....


By his computer (we also changed his desktop background, but did not get a picture of that. :( )


Lower part of the bookcase (took him awhile to notice this one)



The back of his door (this one was the last one he discovered)

Monday, June 28, 2010

So, it's definitely one or the other.....

Wow, blog posts two days in a row! I'm feeling very bloggy lately. I actually had something else I was going to write about today, but want to share this frustrating experience instead.

So, last night, I finally went to bed around 12:30. Seeing as my alarm was set for 5:30, this might not have been the best planning. Hehe.... I'm SUCH a night owl, but have to get up early for work. This is a bad combination. But anyway....

Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled program, I couldn't sleep in part because my eyes were hurting SO BAD! Like, ridiculously bad. They felt like they had a bunch of stuff in them. Not just like one thing, but like they were having a party of foreign objects in my eyeballs. So, I decided "Maybe they're dry. I'll try eye drops." Okay, now it's a wet party. They were still hurting. After about half an hour, I decided to try a different kind of eye drop, after looking to see if there was anything in there. Well, it was the kind of eye pain where I couldn't even pry my eye open to look properly. My eyes are always sensitive to the light, and they were even worse now! So, I skipped the looking stage and went straight for the flushing enough eye drop in them that anything in there would be forced to leave. Party over, ladies and gentlemen!

BAD PLAN! BAD PLAN!!!!!!! Instant terrorizing pain!!!!!!! I only did it to one eye (blessedly!) and realized it was not the solution I had hoped for. I don't know why the eye drops made it so much worse, but it did! I hurried, blindly, to the bathroom, stepping on assorted items that got in my way, causing injury to my feet and shins. (Okay, momentary discomfort, not injury, but injury sounds better.) EVENTUALLY, I was able to calm the fire of the eyes slightly with cold water on a clean washcloth over my eyes. After 4 tries and about 10 minutes (which felt more like 10 hours!), I was able to get my eyes open enough to look in a mirror. Couldn't find any foreign objects, but saw what I thought might be signs of an infection. (And looking back, my eyes had been aching all day. I thought I was just tired.)

This morning, more signs pointing to infection, so I find that my eye doctor chain has a branch not TOO far from work. Wanting to go to nip any infection in the bud and also get some sweet relief, I called as soon as they opened and made a lunchtime appointment. I knew it could just be extreme irritation, but my whole left eye is swollen. And I couldn't even do eye makeup today (in part, because if it was an infection, I would end up throwing all the makeup away!) Perfect. Just what I wanted for lunch on a Monday - an eye exam. I hate eye exams - I am such a baby about them. As mentioned, the sensitivity my eyes have for light makes these sheer torture. I would rather go to the dentist than the eye doctor. I mean, I would truly MUCH rather go to the dentist. I wouldn't even have to think about it. Sign me up for the dental chair, please.

So, I get there. Wait and wait for my office to fax over my info to the new office (and it turns out all they were faxing was proof I was in the eye care club and so the appointment was free - nothing medically related). So, I go in to see the doctor, and after performing medieval torture experiments on me.... oops, I mean examining my eyes for several minutes, he says "Yes, your eyes are either infected or irritated." I'm like "Uh, yeah! Which is it?!?!?" But of course, I'm too polite to say this. He's like "Here are some eye drops. They'll help it feel better if it's because of irritation. But treat it like it's an infection - get rid of your contacts, contact case, and don't even think about putting in new contacts for 5 days. If on Thursday, you're still in a lot of pain and think it's an infection, come back."

Thanks, doctor, for telling me what I already knew and giving me a $1 bottle of eye drops that I could have gotten at Walmart! I mean, I'm glad it wasn't such a bad infection that it was like "Oh yeah, definitely infected!" But at the same time, if it is an infection, I'd rather start the antibiotic eyedrops right away!

I was not amused and amused all at the same time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dear Caleb and Evan

Today was a sad day. The wonderful, nearly month-long visit of my brother and his family came to an end. Cameron, Delia, Caleb, and Delia are somewhere over the Pacific Ocean right now (assuming I'm calculating right). Either way, they are on the plane to Narita, Japan. After that, they'll board the flight to Singapore. On the happy front, I realized I have enough frequent flier miles for a free flight over there, so I'll most likely be going relatively soon (within the next year).

While I'll miss all 4 greatly, it's especially hard to see the boys leave. They change so much between visits! I have decided it would be therapuetic to write them letters. Letters that at 3 1/2 and 17 months, they cannot read. But that's okay. Maybe one day they will!


Dear Caleb,
My dear, dear, dear nephew..... where do I even start? You have been so special to me since the moment you were born! Even before your birth, I suppose. And now, as a 3 year old, you bring me so much joy. You are so full of life and so full of love. The way you looked at me today and without any sort of prompting said "Aunt Deanna, I'm going to miss you" nearly broke my heart! When I replied "I'll miss you too," it may have been the understatement of the century!

The way you always ran to me when I came over to Grandma and Grandpa's warmed my heart. The stories you would tell, the funny things you would say, the way you would just sit in my lap and cuddle - I have many priceless memories. From fishbumps to yarn, there are so many things that make you so "spectacular" (one of your special words).

Even how forgiving you are at such a young age shows your tender heart. When I accidentally hurt your head last week, and yet for comfort you decided you wanted me to cuddle you was so sweet. You knew I didn't mean to hurt you, and you still came with your love for me. You are also so sweet and grateful for the things people give you; you remember to say "thank you" and truly mean it.

Playing playdough with you is such an experience. You are so extremely creative! A simple piece of red playdough in your hands can be just about anything. And you are so good at puzzles! I was amazed at how quickly you put the Toy Story puzzle together yesterday!

Caleb, you are without question the most intelligent 3 year old I have ever been around. It's not just because I'm your aunt - the words you know, the words you can read, and even how you carry a thought when I ask for a story.

But most importantly of all, you love Jesus! At such a young age, you always ask for Jesus stories. When I ask you to pray, you pray. You want to sing songs about Jesus and to Jesus. Jesus loves you so much, Caleb, and it makes me so happy that you love Him too!

I will miss you, my sweet, sweet boy. I cherish every moment we spent together and all the memories we made!

Love,
Aunt Deanna




Dear Evan,

My sweet baby - I love you so much. You changed so much is the so short time that you were here. Your wonderful smile, though hard to capture on camera, is truly captivating. Your playfulness is so much fun.

You certainly have personality - the more I was with you, the more it came out. From clapping for ice cream to giggling as I threw you high and pretended to drop you, you and your sweet smile brought so much joy to the visit. Your smile that you gave on command was so cute as well!

Even before this week when you suddenly started talking so much, your communication style was clear. From waving your hand when you saw a lemon (other than the first two times) to your adorable "ple" with hand to the chest when you wanted something to the almost incessant requests for "Bob," it was not often in doubt what you wanted. Often what you wanted was more food. Feeding you ice cream at McDonalds was quite the sticky experience for both of us!

You liked playing outside so much this trip - sidewalk chalk, bubbles, or just walking around. You seemed to enjoy every minute of it - and I enjoyed every minute of sharing it with you!

You also, like your brother, have a deep love for playdough! Any time I would say, no matter what you both were doing or even if you weren't in the greatest of moods, "Want to go play playdough with Aunt Deanna" you always got excited.

Your adorable chubby cheeks are sooooo kissable! Thanks for indulging me in giving them thousands of kisses! You tolerated all of those well. And your belly was always so tickle-able! Your laughter was contagious!

My sweet, sweet baby - I love you and look forward to watching you grow, both from a distance and on visits. Maybe I will be with you for your next birthday!

Love,
Aunt Deanna

P.S. I know you didn't think the lemon trick was as funny as I did, but.....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Five Question Friday!

I saw this on another blog (http://livingbytheminute.blogspot.com) and it seemed like a fun concept. So, here are the answers to the 5 random questions of Five Question Friday. (Also found at fivecrookedhalos.blogspot.com)

1. Do you know how to play a musical instrument?
Piano. For many, many years now. I actually give piano lessons as well. It's one of my relaxation techniques - work through problems on the keyboard. I've been attempting to teach myself the guitar, but that's not going so well. Maybe if by "attempt" I didn't mean "Stare wistfully at the guitar I purchased and think 'I really should try that sometime'" it would happen.

2. What is your pet peeve while driving?
People who tailgate when either a)you're already going like 15 over the speed limit or b) when you're driving slow because you can't pass the person in front of you who is driving super slow. (Also known as driving pet peeve number 2.) And driving with those who like to criticize my driving, but ESPECIALLY if that person is not even old enough to have a license. I once threatened to make my then 13-year old niece walk home. Seriously.

3. Would you rather have a housekeeper or unlimited spa services?
Wow. Tough choice. I think I'd go with housekeeper because I'm tired of my house being so cluttered!

4. Is there a song that you hear that will take you back to the moment, like a junior high or high school dance?
Well, my school didn't have dances, but as far as back to high school, the songs "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Roll to Me," and "The Sign" all remind me of junior year because I remember them being on in my friends' cars (I was a year young for my grade, so I wasn't driving the year my friends were) ALL THE TIME. Well, maybe The Sign was a different year? I'm sure Mr. Google would know the answer, but I'm not looking it up.

5. What song best represents your life right now?
Hmmm.... only one? Probably "Worth It All" by Rita Springer

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It has been a great month!

Why, you may ask?

The first two reasons that immediately come to mind?





There are other reasons as well.....





In addition to my brother, sister-in-law, and nephews, Daphne (Delia's sister) joined them for the first part of the trip! We had a GREAT time together. I've seen her before in Singapore, but this trip we definitely got closer. Even if she kicked me during our first night sharing a bed.



We've done a lot of fun activities while here. We've gotten together with a lot of family. I haven't been home for a weekend since the 3rd weekend of May! A trip to Pennsylvania was incredible, where we stayed with my cousin Jeremy, his wife Kim, and their children Andrew and Emily. Andrew and Emily are about the same age as Caleb and Evan, so watching them play together was great. Also great was a trip to the beach.


The next week, Daphne, Cameron, Delia, and I went to Cedar Point! Love it! Unfortunately, Daphne does not share our passion for roller coasters, but we did get her on some of the smaller rides. And I think she had SOME fun while there.



Sadly, just two days later, it was time for Daphne to go back to Singapore. :( I miss her! I will be going to Singapore probably December 2011. It seems so far off. I have told her she should get married while I am there so I can be at the wedding.



After Daphne left, that next weekend, we went to Chicago and Indiana to visit more family. You'll notice that there are no pictures of the Chicago skyline or tourist attractions - when my family goes to Chicago, we don't ever actually go to the city. Strangely, I seem to be the only one who wants to, and I'm always outvoted. But, we were only there about 30 hours, so I guess we didn't have much time. The trip was great, so maybe I'll blog more about it later.






Work has also been crazy, so trying to keep it all in check to allow for maximum family time has led to some very early mornings at the office so I could still leave on time.

But it was definitely worth it! They go back Sunday taking pieces of my heart with them. :(

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sometimes, I just don't understand

Well, last night, I went to bed feeling pretty down. My heart was hurting for so many people.

To summarize my evening, I was at a residential crisis pregnancy center I volunteer at. So many of the residents that I have worked with the past year or so have come from the worst situations - it's so sad hearing the stories. I always wonder, when I meet a new one who shares a terrible story, will these stories stop hurting one day? Will I become numb to the terrible things I'm told? I really hope not. Not because I like hurting, but because I never want to minimize their pain. I never want to become cold to God's children who are hurting so badly.

Last night was no exception. The newest resident was opening up to me about how she ended up there. I don't want to go into details, but it was an abusive situation. In addition to that, very little family support.

Then, as I was about to go to bed, I logged into facebook. Almost instantly, more pain on behalf of a friend. A friend who has made it clear that she and her husband want to have a baby. They've been trying for some time. She's made it clear that this is something that hurts her. Yet, several people (who I know were well meaning) were teasing her on her status that maybe she's pregnant.

I've had other friends - on blogs and in real life - struggle and struggle with fertility. It's such a painful thing.

So here in the space of 2 hours I was hurting for someone who struggled to choose to give their baby life instead of aborting, but really is not prepared for the baby at this time; but also for a friend who so wants a baby and would provide a great, stable home, yet does not have one. And my heart hurts for them both. But at the same time, I always wonder "Why, God? Why can she have the baby that she doesn't even know if she wants, yet SHE can't have the baby that she so desperately wants?" And I don't have the answers. But the questions keep coming.

But I do know that a) all babies are precious, especially to God; b) God has a plan and a purpose for each life that is put on earth; c) it's not my job to understand but to trust. He hasn't called me to try to figure out all the answers, but to be faithful to what He's called me to do.

And what He's called me to do in this situation? Minister His love to them both - to the girl who feels confused and hopeless, I can listen and I can pray. To the friend who feels the emptiness - I can listen and I can pray.

And that's what I'll keep doing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Good Night / Bad Night

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.....

Or the best of nights, the worst of nights. Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic. But it was quite the rollercoaster.

First the good:
My friend Ashley and I had plans to go shopping. We get to the mall, but she wasn't feeling good, so we went to dinner instead. What followed was about 2 1/2 hours of wonderful food and conversation. And a waitress who didn't appreciate us being there so long. But the place was empty, so we weren't holding up her table or anything. And we did pay so she could cash out or whatever. As usual, our conversation touched on a wide variety of topics from people we both know to baby showers and baby names to work. She's one of those people that you can talk to and talk to and the conversation just flows naturally. And that last sentence makes it sound like I talk and talk, but I mean that we talk to each other. It's not all me talking and talking, though I definitely talk! :)

Then the bad:
Get home around 10:00. I haven't been home pretty much at all since Friday morning. Literally, from Friday morning at 6:30, I wasn't home until Monday night at 11:30. Then I left for work at 7:30ish Tuesday and didn't get home until 11:30ish. So, I really haven't seen my roommate. At least not since I left her a note asking her to either a) respect that I've told her my knives aren't dishwasher safe and take the 2 seconds to wash them by hand or b) not use them. Not unreasonable seeing as the house is mine, 95% of the stuff in the kitchen is mine, and I've asked her twice before. Well, she went off when she got home, but in this super-fake way of hers where I pretty much decided she's either a liar, delusional, or quite possibly both. She said she cleans up after me all the time (not true), that she takes the garbage out the majority of the time (which is SO not true - she moves it to the top of the stairs and then expects it to walk itself out to the dumpster), and that it's not right that I have decorations out but don't want hers out (I own the house; she rents a room. She can keep her junk in there). Oh, and one of her main points was she didn't know I didn't like it when there was a huge mess in the kitchen and I should have told her. Okay, aside from everything else, really? I mean, really? I should have to tell a 31-year old "Hey, by the way, I'd prefer it if you didn't leave so many disgustingly dirty dishes in the sink that I can't even wash my hands." Or, "Oh, could you clean the George Foreman grill completely and NOT leave bits of food on it for the next time? And in less than a week before it smells up the whole house would be fantastic."

I mean, she does NOT have a right to equal say and equal space in the house - her rent does not allow for that. Should I tell her that? If so, how should I say it? Should I just avoid it like I did?

And then when she was done with her crazy-lady spiel, she was like "Do you have anything you'd like to say?" It was clear she expected an apology (again, for asking her to do what I had already asked her to do months ago), and I said no. She was like "Really?" And I was like "Yep."

I really wish I hadn't let her move in. I liked having more space for my stuff. I liked only cleaning up after myself.

Sigh.

(P.S. If anyone happens to read this that knows my roommate, please be polite and respectful and keep it to yourself. I needed to vent and she doesn't have my blog address or anything to access it.)