Saturday, June 16, 2018

Time Flies

Has it really been six weeks since I have posted on my blog? It almost become overwhelming...I don't know where to start. Father's Day Sunday which is also the mark of my first of many super busy work days. I may not blog again for quite a while. Soccer registration is all consuming for about 10 weeks...see ya in August. :)

First I will say I am healing well. I am about 8 weeks PO. This shoulder surgery thing is for the birds!  The first 6 weeks were painful but the worst was the lack of sleep. Finally I am getting better sleep and hope to sleep through the night soon. Rehab and I have a love/hate relationship. I love my physical therapist but I also really don't like her twice a week! My best remedy was Copaiba essential oil. When taken 3-4 times a day everyday, I feel great and it doesn't destroy my liver like the prescribed meds do.
Going for a walk
Oh dad, thank you for sharing your smile with me! I have not been the best at visiting dad regularly. I miss dad so much but it hurts my heart so much every time I see him. On this particular day dad was awake and tried to talk a little bit but I doubt he knew me most of the time. It's hard to tell. Below is a picture of Hunter's dog. I have never seen a dog this large.
Biggest dog ever visiting dad

Wicked with Emma...Loved it!
Emma moved home from college on May 2nd. It has been such a joy to have her home again. We are so blessed to have such a terrific daughter. (ok, 3 terrific daughters.) Mother's Day lunch & pedicures for all 4 girls because dad was busy with softball all day.

A year ago my Phoenician friend Tammy and I figured out how we could do a birthday cruise to celebrate her big 5 - 0. After months of saving, the day finally came. I would do anything for this girl. She is an amazing loyal friend with a servant heart, a joyful giver, caring mom and overcomer. Oh how I wish we lived closer. Our cruise took us from Long Beach, CA to Ensanada, Mexico and back. This was a first time event for will be a trip I will not soon forget.

After the cruise I drove Tammy back to Phoenix where I had the opportunity to see a couple friends before jumping on another plane home. Seeing Tammy, Vicki and Eileen really filled my friendship tank! Why is it take my friends don't age but I do? This isn't fair!
My friend Vicki
Thanks Ryan and Eileen for hosting me and thank you boys for giving up your bedroom. You are the best!
My friend Eileen
The most stressful part of my trip was trying to figure out transportation from the west side of the valley to Mesa where Grandma lives. Finally I figured out a combination of friends, waiting around in a hospital and ubers I made to Grandmas house. Grandma and I spent the day together, to say I am blessed to have this lady in my life is an understatement!
Aunt LaRae and Grandma
TWENTY TWO YEARS ago I said "I do" to this handsome dude and what a great decision that was. Chris and I celebrated by hitting several restaurants in the Blackstone District of Omaha. I think you could call us "Foodies" We love trying new places and after all these years we even enjoy sharing meals. :)

We now get to share our wedding anniversary with Chris' sister Holly and her new husband. Dinner at the Greek Island and then we managed to make it out alive of our first ever Escape Room. Congrats Holly and Stephen. Praying for Christ's protection and direction in your marriage.
We escaped with 2:05 minutes left
Last but not least we have had the joy of seeing Reagan get back on the pitch. At almost 7 months post operation our soccer player was cleared to play the sport she loves so dearly. Her playing time is still limited but her first time on the field in a game like situation she got a break away, headed for the goal and scored for the first time in 8 months. It may have only been a scrimmage but I let out a scream of joy. This mama's heart is overflowing with pride and joy for our girl who endured a very tough 8 months. Reags, we are so happy for you. What a comeback! 
In 4 short days we will head to Seattle, Washington for the ECNL National Championship Playoffs. Reagan will still have limited minutes on the field to prevent injury. (sidenote: it's fatigue that usually causes ACL injuries and Reags still needs to build up her game time minutes) I can't wait to see what she does when she laces up those black Copas and takes the game field for the first time since October 14, 2017. You can bet, there will be tears of joy in my eyes. More to come...

Peace to all reading this post! May the love of Christ overwhelm your daily life. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

More Tendon Damage = Shoulder Surgery

I started this post about one week after surgery but couldn't make my brain form a sentence. We'll see if I am much better now at 22 days PO (post operation). Probably not. :)

Here's my story...
After a successful trip to Trader Joe's, I was chatting with a friend on the phone and about to finish putting away all my groceries when I bent over to pick up an empty bag from the floor. While exerting almost no effort at all, I heard and felt I loud pop in my shoulder. It was slightly uncomfortable but not a big deal until I tried to move my arm. I had no lateral or front extension of my left arm. For the next two days I tried to hide my malady until my most observant child noticed. She's such a tattle tail, Reagan told our physical therapist that I couldn't use my arm. From there I had an evaluation the next morning and because Claire the PT is amazing, I was in the surgeon's office the following morning. Another heavily medicated MRI followed two days later which confirmed what all medical professionals suspected, I had a torn rotator cuff (aka subscapularis) and bicep tendon. Surgery was lurking somewhere over the horizon but my hopes were wait until after summer.

Here's an interesting side note to this story. As I was examined first by my PT, then the surgical resident and finally my soon to be surgeon ALL three asked if I had taken any antibiotics. This is strange right? It turns out to be a very serious question in which we are still investigating. There is a very dangerous family of antibiotics that cause tendon tears in healthy tissue as well as several other side effects. These drugs should be avoided at all costs. You can ask your doctor for an alternative even if you are allergic to penicillin. I have torn 5 tendons in nine months under very strange circumstances. I am praying that I do not have damage from taking a fluoroquinolone, I prefer to chalk this up to some bizarre injuries. There will be a later post but please research Cipro, Floxin, Levaquin etc. You can find info on WebMD, FDA site, Mayo Clinic and many many other sites as well as blogs of people with permanent damage.

Back to surgery...
Four weeks after my initial injury and 15 PT appointments later I leaned on my left arm during a chat with my daughter and experienced a ripping of tissue and tremendous pain that would last for the next week. Back to PT and straight to the was scheduled for 5 days later. It turns out that my bicep tendon was damaged more along with the rupture of a 3rd tendon, the supraspinatus which is on top of the shoulder. My injuries were all in the shoulder but 3 completely different areas. Let's face it, I enjoy giving my doctors a challenge.

Pre Surgery but Post Drugs

2 of the 5 little incisions
There's one large incision that goes into my armpit

Way too many drugs!!!
Outside with Liv 8 days PO

Here are a few things I have learned along the way...
-Let people help
-Get the best surgeon
-Sleep deprivation isn't just for new mamas
-Find your daily gratitude
-Let the house be messy
-Take the least medicine you can but take what you need
-Drink copious amounts of water
-I have a love/hate relationship with my brace
-Getting dressed one handed is not for the weak
-You will be surprised by people
-Look at recovery based on today vs last week
-Have good books and movies on hand
-Get adjusted
-Get over yourself
-Laugh often, it helps reduce the pain
-Get your favorite drinks, it makes you happy (McAlister's Tea)
-When you over do it you pay for it later
-God is still Good!!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mother Daughter Retreat

 Just a few pictures from our weekend away.
Whether you are a new mom or a veteran mom, finding time one on one with each child is so important but not easy. Olivia and I loved our time together, pouring into each other and growing in our relationships with God.

Chick-fil-A before we hit the road

Camp Fire and Smores

It might be April but its snowing

Craft Time
So much fun with our cabinmates
You are unconditionally loved! You are special! You are forgiven! You are a gift from God! You are smart! You are beautiful! You are my sweet child! You bring joy! You are funny! Thank you for spending this weekend with me.
Love, Mom

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Cellist

Oh my heart is full! 
Thank you God for restoring Emma's ability and passion for the cello. Each time I hear her play I wonder if my heart might explode. I wish Aunt Delma was here to experience all that my girls are accomplishing. She would be so proud. Back to what I was talking about...Truly, this child smiles while she plays. She loved it before her accident but appreciates it more now than ever.

Sunday my GI friend, Kimberly and I spent the evening listening to some fantastic cello musicians at UNK. And then I was thrilled when they all came back out to take pictures. Well, that made this mama so happy! I can't wait to do a little scrapbooking. :) To top off the evening I spent the night in Grand Island rather than driving all the way back home. 
Good music, Good friends and a Good night's sleep.

Before I pulled away, we hugged a little longer than normal. My girl is ready for a break. I reminded her it's only 5 more sleeps until she is home again. I can cook for her, do her laundry and snuggle on the couch. Spring Break for the whole family...can't wait!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Thrive at CCC

I'm going to a women's retreat

I know what you are thinking...sounds awful! It took me several years to agree to go to this thing. Thanks to a church event back when my girls were toddlers, I decided it was better to do a scrapbook weekend with friends than a women's retreat with a bunch of annoying women. Seriously, if I am going to spend lots of money and be away from my family for 1-2 days it better be fun or a time of great spiritual growth (or both). No kidding one of the sessions I attended back in the day was "how to dress your shape" WHAT??? That did me in! To be fair, there may have been something good presented that day, I just don't remember. I vowed to never go again. I don't want to learn how to fold napkins, use a scarf as an accessory or clean a bathroom in the midst of a women's retreat at church!

Geepers...a lot of punctuation and frustration just flowed out of me.

Anyway, I am so happy that Christ Community Church knows how to put on an event for women. And I'm thankful to some persuasive friends who got me to go back. Over the years at CCC I have had a variety of roles, this year I am a table leader again. Other than my loyal GF Tami, I do not know who will be at my table. This is both a source of excitement and anxiety. This week I am focusing on prayer for the event, the speakers, the table assignments, the attendees, the weather and health. God is able to do more than I could ever imagine. If you are so inclined please lift up this event in prayer.

As a table leader I am also trying to come up with something special to make for each person at my table. I can't spend much money so it may be a little sign with scripture on it. I will let you know if that actually happens. With a theme of "courage" I like the verse below. (I know I just mentioned it in my last post) I will take suggestions for other short verses.

Happy Presidents' Day!

Pray for our leaders!

Soccer Husker Commit 2020

I love seeing God's hand at work.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, Reagan's college soccer recruiting started very early. She was on a visit at Creighton University before her freshman year of High School. It was exciting but knowing what I know now, I wish we would have said "no" to all those early visits, they created too much stress for our young soccer player. Fast forward one year to the fall of 2017, Reagan had lots of schools talking to her every 2-3 weeks and she decided to commit to a Division I, Power 5 conference soccer program by November/December 2017. Chris and I were not in support of that early commitment and we weren't convinced that she was looking at the right school for her.

First shingles attacked Reags in September and soon after she tore her ACL during a soccer game. These devastating injuries had Reagan wondering why God would allow this to happen to her at the worst possible time. College coaches at Kansas University, Minnesota, Notre Dame and Auburn University all got cold feet, after months of constant recruiting they turned their backs on Reagan. ONLY ONE COACH reached out to Reagan after her injury, Coach John Walker from the University of Nebraska. His message was simple, "You are going to be fine! You were great before and you will come back stronger after surgery." WOW! Remembering the phone call still makes me a little emotional. This is just what our depressed daughter needed to hear.

Reagan's road to recovery has been hard and she still has a long journey back to the pitch but what I have seen in her is amazing. She is a fighter. She is smart. She is persistent.
Here are some statements:
"Mom, do you think God allowed shingles and the ACL to happen so I could slow down?"
"Watching the game from the sidelines has taught me so much about my teammates."
"I won't ever take playing soccer for granted again."
"Why do they complain? I would give anything to play right now."

Growth seldom happens in times of comfort. God's not mean and He doesn't make bad things happen to us but He will us trials to shape us. The bible is filled with stories to support this idea...pruning of the branches or the refining of metals in the fire. And Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of God's great plans for each of us. The bible says, "plans to prosper us and not harm us." I love that. Reagan's temporary set back is actually a set up for great things.

About a month ago to the amazement of my friend, I said these words aloud, "I am thankful for this injury." Is it coincidence that as our hearts began to change so did our circumstances? No, I don't believe in coincidences! Blessings are often disguised when we try to follow our own agenda but when we seek God first, they are visible.

Several months ago Reagan had ZERO interest in Nebraska Soccer simply because it was in Nebraska! The fact is, she wouldn't allow herself to see that UNL had everything on her list of wants and needs. Last week Reagan had a second visit with the Husker staff and team. It was abundantly clear to her (and her parents) this is where she was meant to me. To say the next 55 hours were rough would be an understatement. Our 16 year old child had to make some adult decisions and one of them was letting go of one dream of in order to pursue another. Now that's maturity. Here are some of the things that helped Reagan see the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as the place for her.
  • Player Development
  • Family atmosphere on the team
  • Coach Walker believes in Reagan now as much as pre-injury
  • Holidays with family
  • Financial
  • We love the HUSKERS! (I added this...not on her list)
We don't know where God is going to take Reagan but we know He loves her and has great plans for her. I pray that she continues to trust God, listen for the Holy Spirit and direct people to Jesus.

Below is the announcement our club coach posted on Twitter

G O   B I G   R E D ! ! !

Monday, February 12, 2018

Could She Be A Husker?

I started going to Nebraska Cornhusker football games in 1990. I met my husband in 1994 and once I found out his family had 4 season tickets, I knew it was true love. (kidding...not kidding)

Fast forward 23 years and we have a soccer player visiting the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, home of the Huskers. It's her decision but I've gotta say it would be pretty exciting to have our daughter playing for this Big 10 program, just 50 miles from our home. Academically it's a great fit, in fact Nebraska has produced the most academic All-Americans in the nation, more than Notre Dame, Standford and Penn State to mention a few. The science behind the training, fitness and nutrition is mind blowing. Even though Nebraska Soccer tends to recruit later than most other Power Five programs they still produce professional and national team players every year. That development of the player is critical! The freshman housing isn't the best but all other facilities are top notch. However it is Coach John Walker's character that may be the deciding factor.
Reagan didn't want to take a
picture with her parents

Hawks Championship Center
the indoor training facility

Soccer locker room at Hibbner Stadium
Reagan's ACL recovery is going well. We are so grateful to have an unofficial visit during her time of healing. If it works out, we will be headed to Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Ok for another unofficial visit on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Milestones of Hamstring Recovery

Identifying and meeting milestones has not been a significant part of my thought process. Now that I think about it, I don't seem to be a person who does a lot of goal setting. I remember doing a goal setting exercise when I worked at a church in Phoenix. I hated doing it. I wonder if that is the symptom of some underlying neuroses. ;) Flashback to potty training days, I am certain there was milestone planning, I just don't remember. In the last year, without realizing it I have become much more focused on reaching milestones. Some of these milestones have been suggested by medical professionals and some by me (the patient).

The purpose of milestone-based thinking is to help choose the right goals. It is counter-productive to be laying on the couch 2 weeks after hamstring surgery thinking only of running a marathon. At 2 weeks PO (post op) I was elated to be able to put a little weight on my right leg and began to focus on my next milestone of bending at the hip. Today, I am nearly 6 mo PO and my next milestone is running. Excitement builds these last eleven days until I can put a big checkmark in the "running again" box.

Yesterday I spent an extended amount of time searching and planning my running milestones of 2018.

  • February 11 begin running
  • April 21 local 5K race
  • April 22 sign up for a 1/2 marathon
  • Summer 10K race
  • October 21 Des Moines, IA 1/2 marathon

What I went through was rough but conquerable.  If you want to understand my injury and surgery better you can read about it by clicking here. Instead of feeling sorry for my aging self I decided to beat the odds and come back better than before. I share these goals so you can become part of my road to recovery. I am a bit frightened to run again and have no idea if I will be able to run 3.1 miles in April much less 13.1 in October. Posting this is my way of asking for your support, prayer and encouragement, not just in running these physical races but in walking along side me in my life journey. 

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.  Phillipians 3:14

Monday, January 22, 2018

Rocking College Life

One semester to go. I'm not surprised at all but that doesn't change the fact that I'm thrilled to see Emma do so well in the transition to college.  When an 18 year old heads off to college they have no idea what they will experience in that dorm room, on campus or even in those classrooms. For sure it is different from home, their ability to adapt is amazing. Emma loves every single aspect of her college experience so far. Maybe it has helped her learn to appreciate her family a little more and they way she was raised.

-She has learned to live with a stranger
-She has learned how and where to study
-She has formed some amazing relationships
-She has experienced very different morals, values and cultures
-She has found a job
-She has learned that eating too much junk has consequences
-She has found a group to help her grow spiritually
-She calls her mom :)
-She loves coming home (and going back to school).

I am so proud of her!

Shortly after second semester started we received a certificate of academic excellence.
Great job Em. Always work hard to be the best you can be.

Last week this picture came across my instagram feed. My heart nearly exploded with joy. Remember June of 2017 when Emma dramatically injured her middle finger on her left hand leaving her unable to play the cello? Well, she is back at it. Not only is she playing again but she auditioned for the University orchestra and made it! Congrats babe!! I miss the beautiful cello music she created while living at home. It will be such a joy to hear her perform again.

We have always felt like it is our job to help our children grow wings and then celebrate when they leave the nest and learn to soar on their own. Our first baby girl is doing just that!

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men 
stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD 
will renew their strength. They will soar on 
wings like eagles; they will run and not grow 
weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31

Friday, January 12, 2018

Scrappin' Christmas

I'm not ditching the holiday, I'm back to scrapbooking and oh does it feel so good. Many years ago I decided to do a book of our annual Christmas cards and letters. I sort of scrapped 2000 and 2001. They were both ugly to say the least. Since then I just stuck the card and letter in the book. My plan was to get back to it when I had time. Apparently last night was when I finally had time. I creatively documented 11 years of our family cards and letters. It's not surprising but certainly is disappointing that I am missing several years of cards. So if you happen to be a person who keeps Christmas cards and would like to scan my old cards/letters from 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015 I would love to have a copy. In the meantime I have a couple places to dig through.

People like FlyLady warn again the dangers of keeping junk, so many of us suffer from some form of hoarding.  However, I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am to have these pictures and letters from the past. The quotes we included both make me laugh and cry. 

The practice of sending out cards and letters is slowly going away. Chris would love for me to email the letter, I just can't! Life BC (before children) is not typically highlighted in year end letters. Oh how I would love to reminisce about what 23 year old Chris and Melanie thought and did BC. 

Too often I compare our family to others, we just never seem to measure up. Darn social media! What I realized while lovingly pouring over these pictures is that our family has a rich history. I love what Chris and I have created over the years. In a blink of an eye we have gone from one baby girl to three phenomenal daughters who are on the verge of becoming adults. For sure we have a blessed life. And just like the title of my all happens so fast.

Below are some pictures of the simple scrap projects I did last night. It felt so good to use up some unfavorable supplies. I like the way it turned out. Nothing is overly decorated, after all the picture and letter are the important aspects.

I know...ugly but paper from early 2000's

this page isn't really done

again, kind of ugly but happy I used
up a bunch of old supplies