Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Forcing A Smile (literally)

I awoke this morning to a seemingly normal day... 

As always, I made my way downstairs into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and a slice of toast for breakfast. 

The girls, already awake, were watching tv in their rooms, so I went about preparing bowls of cereal for them, feeling a bit guilty that I hadn't risen before them on such a beautiful morning.  Summers can be like that... 

My eyes seemed a little puffy from a somewhat restless night.  I'd been having headaches and neck pain for days, and the Tylenol I took before bed took a while to kick in.  Oftentimes, when this happens, I use a paper towel and cold water to soothe my eyes and they always feel better after that.  But not today.

Within moments, an almost numbing sensation crept across my lips.  It felt as if I had just received a Novocain injection in my mouth.  What was going on?  Had I slept wrong?  Had my face had fallen asleep like my arm does sometimes? 

I grabbed a mirror off the wall to investigate this strange sensation...  To my dismay and utter confusion, I could not move one side of my mouth.  I couldn't pucker up!  I returned the mirror to it's rightly place and made myself a cup of coffee.  Surely this was a very temporary thing...  But what was going on??

It took me forever to drink that cup of coffee... 

I went upstairs to brush my teeth, which in itself was a chore and a half.  I found that I could not even spit!  This was getting ridiculous! 

I gazed at myself in the mirror... not quite sure of what to do.  All sorts of thoughts and fears were running through my mind.  Yet within moments, I was laughing it off.  Sure that it was just a freakthing that would subside.

That's when I noticed my eyes.  When I blinked, my right eye stayed completely open.  I tried to force a smile, but the right side of my mouth wouldn't move. 

It wasn't going to be such a normal day after all.


To make my long, five-hours-at-three-different-hospitals-later story short, I have been diagnosed with Bell's Palsy.  A neurological disorder that is caused by damage to the facial nerve.  It can be caused by a virus, but can also be a symptom of Lyme Disease, which I was tested for and will receive the results tomorrow.  I also received a CT scan.  Two actually, because they didn't get it all in there the first time.  I never realized that I was claustrophobic until today.  I had to really focus on not hyperventilating and staying completely still.  I always thought those machines looked so simple.  And REALLY they are, I was just affected differently today and reacted in a very unexpected and fearful way.

This is something that may or may not go away.  And the time frame is varied.  Three out of four BP patients return to normal within 3-6 weeks.  Some take longer.  As I've come to find out, some live with it for many years or longer.

I know that this isn't really life altering like some diagnoses are.  I cannot tell you, how thankful I was, when the nurse who took my scan arrived in the waiting room to tell me I was free to go.  Had it been worse... had it been what they were scanning for...   I can't even imagine.  I was calm and collected as I waited, not allowing myself or my thoughts to even go there. 

So right now, as I sit here with the use of my hands, my watery eye and my forced half smile, I am feeling very blessed indeed.  I felt the need to record and share this day, as it will be the beginning of a journey into the unknown.  A bit uncomfortable, a bit unnerved (literally), but otherwise very, very grateful. 

Thank you...  for reading, for listening and for caring.  Hugs to you all!

            (thanks to the Sazzy one for the tag!)


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Under the Stars

One might think this song reminds me of my estranged husband...  It doesn't. 


Amanda is at church camp this week in the White Mountains.  This is where they slept last night:

(photo from 2006)

I can't even imagine...

I'm quite sure that she feels God's presence in her heart more this week then at any other time of the year.  It is the highlight of her life.

Wish I were there.

I have only slept under the stars once in my life...  It was long ago, during a week of camping with a childhood friend.  I slept (or tried to) on a chaise lounge chair...  I remember the sky being crystal clear, the stars dancing and glittering above my head.  How beautiful...

And yet I remember, that no matter how much I wrapped and snuggled the blankets close around me, I was cold...  The bugs were awful, and I barely slept.  Morning came, and my back ached as if I had slept on a bed of nails...

Sometimes beauty has a price.  When you've gone for so long without it, and suddenly it appears in it's rarest form, how can it not leave you simply aching for more? 

I recently gave advice to someone who was feeling down...  I told her to try and notice the little things:  The blue sky as clouds part, the sweet scent of flowers in bloom, the laughter of children, a gentle breeze....

It's time I take my own advice and find beauty and love in those unexpected places.  Sometimes it takes a sleepless night on a bed of nails to realize that beauty can be a simple as walking out your front door.

Wishing you blue skies and gentle breezes..

<FONTCOLOR=#9999FF size="6">~ Chelle

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Anchorage

My dear friend Jackie inquired about where we stayed while in York (thank you ALL for the kind words regarding my photos!) in my previous entry.  While I love the Ken Burns (I think that's what it's called) photo album settings, looking back I see that some of the subjects in the photos are not fully represented in that format.  It fades out before Mr. Snail appears at the end of his trail, and the cresent moon is sometimes overlooked as well.... I may snag a few, repost them and share a bit more about our trip in separate entries.

For now, I'd like to respectfully answer Jackie's question regarding where we stayed.

For many years, my mom, Ginny, traveled to York each year with her mom ~ my nana.  They spent many a summer walking the sandy shores of York Beach, visiting and revisiting the Nubble Lighthouse and strolling along the streets of "downtown", dining at the many sidestreet cafes and especially enjoying watching workers spin the taffy at the Famous Taffy and Candy store.  This was a very special annual event for them, before Nana became increasingly forgetful and disoriented as Alzheimers slowly yet painfully stole her from us.  Their beautiful, funfilled trips to Maine ended a couple years before nana's final and fateful move into the nursing home.  Up until the very end, she would recall those trips and many other memories as well, with fondness, if someone else gently reminded her.  She knew us all, in her more lucid moments, but never remembered that we had been there once we had walked out the door.

They always stayed at The Anchorage.  It has to be the most popular and most attractive Inn along the beach.  I only managed to snap a small handful of photos of it, and they were taken in the evening.  Much too dark, I realized, after downloading them on my computer.  So I went about brightening them today in order to share them with you.

So, Jackie, while it would have been absolutely HEAVENLY to have stayed at that cute and cozy little house next to the Nubble Light (hehe), it was as equally heartwarming to stay at The Anchorage, making newmemories to add to the old, and promising one another to continue the family "girls only trip" to the sandy (and recently more rocky due to storms!) shores of Maine. 

As seen from The Anchorage's seaside restaurant across the road.


Mailee and Amanda walking ahead from the beach...


View from our room overlooking the pool... (I was only disappointed in the large amount of electrical wiring...  But, hey, at least I could access my email!)

There were THREE pools at this baby...  The outdoor one that you see here (complete with tunnel slide), another outdoor lap pool, and an indoor pool and spa with a poolside cafe' and bar.  ooh lala...  ;o)

The Sand and Surf Restaurant across the road...  Dinner for four = 135 buckaroos... 8-$  LOL  (it was worth it!):


Wishing you all a safe and happy weekend ~ go make some memories! 


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Home Again..

Just sharing photos from our trip to York, Maine.  We had a wonderful time... I'll probably share more, as time and heart allows. 

Miss you Nana.  You were with us in spirit, and that made it so very special.

Hope you are all enjoying your week.  Thank you for your heartfelt comment and emails.

Love and blessings,



Saturday, July 14, 2007

And now..... for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT....

A HAPPY entry!!!

Okay.  So summer's been busy, it's true...  We've done just about all one can possibly do in the summertime.  Besides going to the ocean, which is our next stop.  Believe me, I'm not going anywhere else until the money goes in and not out...  My mom, bless her heart, is taking care of most of this trip.  I've paid our share of the room, and the girl's dad is giving them some spending money... (OKAY.. bless his heart, too.  geez...lol), and I'm bringing just enough to pay for a meal or two, but mom is bringing all the goods and is even "surprising" me with a beach chair tomorrow.  THANKS MOM! 

Our July 4th was almost rained out...  No pics this year, I'm afraid, other than a few not worth posting, and the above (one not so worth posting, but oh well.. I'm feeling festive...)  When I thought there would be no fireworks, I was bound and determined to make the night memorable for the girls, so I went out and bought TONS of decorations (obviously balloons included...), only to find out at the last minute that there were in fact fireworks despite the rain...  So we dumped all our plans and went out!  It was nice.. .wet, but nice.  Amanda was home for the first time in 3 years.  She's usually away at church camp on Pine Mt, but this year they decided to go a little later than usual, which made the holiday all the more special.

We've spent a lot of time with friends, mostly the girls.. I haven't been out much, but I'm having fun just hangin' with them and enjoying the sun.  I've been reading a lot.  I just finished Nineteen Minutes (finally... that book was hard on my mental health!), as well as a Nicholas Sparks book, The Wedding (go figure...lol), which is a sequel of sorts to The Notebook.  I'm now reading a very creepy book that makes me think of NOTHING in my life called Guardian Angels.  It's a supernatural thriller... not something I usually read, but I cannot put the dang thing down.

I've been writing offline, and also drawing a bit here and there, and I sang in a wedding a couple weeks ago.  A whirlwind of an event that I would rather just forget about, but my dear friend is happy and married, and that is the important thing.  It's how it should be, for goodness sake...

So that's my summer in a nutshell...  We're keeping busy and having fun.  I CANNOT WAIT to go to Maine..  I'm hoping for good weather, but will walk the ocean shore, regardless.  I'm also hoping to visit the Nubble Lighthouse and hopefully take some nice photos.  In any event, I will be THERE!  YAY!

Okay, that's it for me...  Thanks for all the smiles my online friends bring me!!  LOVE YOU ALL!


Odds and Ends

I think I'll be changing the name of my award to "Draggin' Girl Blogger..." 

Seems life just doesn't present me with the inspiration to put thoughts and heart into writing these days...  It isn't that there is too little to write about.  Honestly, I could fill a book.  Some things are just easier to share than others.  I know, I have a private journal that is yellowing as we speak, and I could easily vent away in there to my hearts content, and I should probably do so more often than I do.  There's just something to be said, about writing and sharing your life with whoever happens to stumble upon these pages, and to hear a kind word in response to something I've shared.  Maybe you've been in my shoes.  Maybe you have similar memories to share.  Perhaps you are simply jogging by on your way to another friends place and decided to pop in and have a cup of tea!  Truly, it is so uplifting, to know there are many who truly do care.  Complete "strangers", who find their way into your heart, if not "physically" than most certainly mentally and spiritually.

Thank you.

Everyone has struggle.  Don't we?  Some are much deeper and much more painful than others.  I certainly don't pretend that my life sucks when standing next to someone who is REALLY going through hell.  As a matter of fact, my life is very good.  I have my health.  My children have their health.  We have love all around us, in my parents and in friends who care for us and about us.  We still have a roof over our heads, and I have yet to be late with a utility or car payment since he's left...  Something that I was very fearful of.  I still am.  I've been overspending my summer pay terribly.  I've wanted to show the girls that they can still do the things that they always did.  Movies, shopping, dining out, trips, etc...  It's just not true.  I'm working in bits and pieces, but I just cannot provide for them the way I would like.  The way they deserve. 

The girls and I were playing a game in the pool at the complex where we live...  My oldest was taking over things and being a bit "snotty", so I said to her a little sarcastically, "Yes, you just have it all together now, don'tcha?"  She turned around and spat at me, "YEAH, unlike YOU."  Stone cold faced.  I felt as if my own had been slapped.  It wasn't about the game.  At least, not in my own mind.

When I first found out that my husband had cheated on me (we weren't married at the time, but I was holding our two week old daughter in my arms as I walked in on them), I knew that I was disappointing her.  Letting her down.  That our life, our family, would be unstable.  I BEGGED God, to guide me and give me the strength to know what to do. 

Do you know, how loudly He spoke?  How my heart was pounding in my head as He handed me that engagement ring almost a year later.  So loudly, I could not hear His words, and I made the choice.... To try. 

And try I did, for 14 years...  Even had another, beautiful baby...  a BLESSING.  Oh, how I wanted to make our family work.  To fall in love with him, and to feel his love for me in my heart.

Then, it slowly dawned on me.

14 years is an awfully long time, to still carry such a hope....  Talk about a slap in the face. 

I know my choice has been made now... Five months later.  Still, it's sad to me ~ the end of this.  And scary ~ the beginning of that.  The beginning of the rest of my life.

Damn.. I wasn't even going to talk about the divorce when I started this entry!  And now I have to pick up my daughter from a church gathering!  ::exasperated sigh::

Maybe I'll be back later to catch you up on what we've really been up to this summer! 

Love and Hugs~

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fab 5 Part II

ACK!!  This Rockin' Blogger Girl award has me in a twist...  ALL you ladies deserve it!  Here's five more that would be just as much deserving as the five I chose yesterday!  I think I'll be doing this every day till I have you all!!  mmmmmmmuaaahh.......







Have a safe and happy 4th of July!! 





Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rockin' You...

A HUGE thank you out to Nancy from Nancy Luvs Pix and Notions of Nancy, for honoring me with this awesome award!  It's been handed out to many fellow lady-bloggers out there, and I was so excited to feel the love!  Thank you Nancy!

Now, I must choose 5 (and how HARD IS IT, to choose just FIVE?!) favorite lady bloggers to spread the love and cheer to.  I'd choose all you ladies, if I could.  We are all unique and special in our own ways and I love and treasure you all, as well as your journals. 

These are my pics of the evening ~






I know many of you (if not all) have already been chosen, but hey...   

g'nite!  ; )

Monday, July 2, 2007

Monday Musings

Well, the girls made it through the week and are now home safe and sound.  Surprisingly, so did I!  It was 5 days filled with mixed emotions ~ some good, some not so good.  It helped, that they kept in close touch, calling several times a day to fill me in on all their excitement.  That was probably the what saved me, knowing that they were happy and enjoying their time with their dad.  It made ME happy for them and with them.  They took a lot of pictures (using a disposable "film" camera.. didn't know they still existed!), and they have a DVD of themselves riding in a roller coasterMailee went on her very first "upside down" ride called "The Inverter."  She also had one of her (many) dreams come true, visiting The American Girl Doll Store in NYC.  I was so thrilled for her.  They truly did have a wonderful time, and it helped me to relax through the week and sleep soundly (somewhat) through the night knowing that they were safe and happy each day.

For the most part, I valued my time alone.  I tried to fill it with activities that I enjoy ~ lounging by the pool, visiting the lake, dining out with friends and enjoying a good movie.  I also found a job working one on one with a little boy who has been diagnosed with Autism.  I have some experience with Autism, and most certainly have the training, but each child who lives with this disease does so differently.  He is three years old, non-verbal, quite lively ::grin:: and appears very happy in the summer daycare program where I will be working with him in August.  I'm looking forward to working one on one again, as I have been away from this type of intense, focused work for a year now.  It's always so rewarding working with children who face challenges far beyond the "normal" challenges of being a kid, and seeing their faces light up as they overcome them and achieve their goals.

I've also been called back a few times for the catering position that I was hired for during the summer months.  Again, a lot of work, but worth the effort!  I get out, I meet new people, I make money and I eat well!  I highly recommend it!


One sour note ~ with a twinge of sweet:  My cat Fluffy was diagnosed with Diabetes.  He's so fluffy (obviously) that although I was noticing that he appeared to be losing some weight, it was not so obvious how much.  He's always happy, but last week I noticed he was just lying around all the time and not his usual self.  I took him to the vet and he had lost half his body weight from last year, going from 15 to 8 lbs.  After the usual testing that they do, it was found that his blood sugar was over 500.  Normal levels for cats (and humans, I might add) is 75-150.  So, obviously some loving care is in order.  Insulin pills are far less expensive then injections, and after looking online, I found many Fancy Feast varieties that are low carb (even more so than the prescription varieties), and while Fancy Feast is an expensive brand of cat food, it is HALF the price of the Rx food.  So, while I am sad that my kitty has been suffering, and I worry for his furry future, the sweet is that we are able to treat and care for him and will simply have to adjust his "fluffstyle" accordingly!  He's currently snuggling up with Mailee on the couch, purring away...  At least I think it's him that I hear!

I wish you all a peaceful and week filled with smiles and happy memories!

Thank you D, for the beautiful tag!