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Spring Forward

Today is the first day of spring.  The start of a new season - one of renewal and rebirth.  In East Tennessee, tender buds and smatterings of bright color pop up on every available grassy surface, a reminder of God's bountiful, beautiful creation. 

Spring makes my heart sing.
On Island Home, looking toward downtown Knoxville
The last time you and I met, it seemed that this past season of our lives - the non-stop stress, caregiving, health scares, unemployment, and the like, was winding down and that something new was winding up.  Ben and I wondered exactly what the Lord had in store this spring.
Have you ever stood on a flexible diving board, preparing to jump into the water?  When you're ready to jump, you have to fully commit to that decision.  If you hesitate or overthink, that extra second of your weight on the board won't propel you as far into the water, and you'll miss your mark.  
The Lord has propelled us into our new season.
Recently, Mom has had more bad days…
Recent posts

I'm Smangry! Guest Post at Highly Sensitive Refuge

Hey friends, my piece about sensitive noses and the stinkiness that abounds was published today at Highly Sensitive Refuge.

I am a highly sensitive person, which is a scientific, not esoteric, term for the 15% of the population whose senses and systems are more sensitive to stimuli. I kind of think of us as the canaries in the mine.

Are you an HSP, as well? Hope you enjoy!

Click here to read.

Don't Dread the Tread

It's been a tedious month.

A few things have gotten better.  Most things stayed the same.  Have you ever had a season of treading water?

Ben has maintained his weight, but hasn't gained anything yet.  This has been tremendously frustrating, as we are literally spending $15 a day on Subway sandwiches that seem to have the perfect ratio of carbs to protein for his particular gut anatomy.  Dude, that's over a hundred bucks a week.  Not even Happy Gilmore was into Cold Cut Combos that much.

We're trying to duplicate these sandwiches at the house, but so far, Subway's still the best for digestion.  It's like Ben's guts are ravenous '90s teens on their way home from a school basketball game.

"Turn down that Soundgarden CD and hand me my flannel," I think I hear. "We're stopping at Subway!"

The great news is that we have found an oral rehydration solution recipe that is working well.  Ben's liver numbers actually returned to normal …

Get Knocked Down Nine Times, Get Up Ten

You must be exhausted by the sheer number of times I ask for prayer.

Ben picked me up from work this past Friday evening.  He said, "So...was your day pretty good?" in that way you know you're about to hear something you don't want to.

"Yes," I replied cautiously.

"Everything's ok, but 2 things happened today.  I got turned down for life insurance."

I was already drawing a breath in panicked protest when he finished, "but I'm not worried about that."

"(The company Ben worked for) folded.  We all lost our jobs."

"Like, it's gone?"  I asked.

"Completely," said Ben.

Which brings me to my prayer request.  Just, generally - please continue to keep us in your prayers.

First and foremost, we're going to be ok.  The Lord has been so good and faithful to us over the last year in this way, this way, and this way, to name a few.  I don't believe He's gonna stop now.  But ooh-wee, am I battle-wea…


The last time you and I spoke, Ben had just finished having a big needle poked into his chest and a central line put in for hydration.  A month later, he's doing well.

For a few weeks after the procedure, Ben wasn't allowed to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk.

Boy, did he milk it.

I completed the vast majority of our chores for a while - laundry, cleaning, garbage, recycling, yelling at the recycling bin for tipping over backwards when I opened it too fast, checking the mail, yelling at the mailbox because the mail carrier had left it open again, grocery shopping, and, as usual, not cooking.

I was a ray of sunshine.

We did have a medical scare that I wanted to tell you about.  We had assumed that Ben's remaining intestines were just having a difficult time readjusting to him not being on a serious pain medication. (Ben's Remaining Intestines is a great name for a band.  I'm just throwing that out there.)

One of the positive side effects of his former med…

For Better, For Worse

So I'm sitting here in the UT Medical Center's Vascular Center waiting with my husband, Ben.  This morning, he's having a central line (also called a Hickman catheter) surgically inserted into his chest.

Central lines are used for administering things like chemotherapy, or in Ben's case, IV hydration and nutrition.  Central lines are considered long-term placements and can be in place for weeks or months at a time.

Over the summer, Ben, with his doctor's permission, weaned off a very powerful pain medication he had been taking for years.  He was concerned with its safety and efficacy.  Ben's doctors supported his decision and gave him some short-term pharmaceutical help while he went through withdrawal.  Even with the help, Ben's withdrawal was horrible.  For the first 2 weeks, he marked off each day on a piece of paper, like someone on a deserted island might do to keep track of the days.  We stayed in near-constant prayer during that time.  Every small re…