Monday, September 02, 2013

The Diabetic Mile

When I was a silly little girl I had this “dream list” of what I wanted for my partner in life, and one of top three things on it was that he would be healthy. Now, you may ask “why would that be in her top three ideal traits for her partner?” Well, when you grow up with a Mother who is sick your entire life, and half your childhood was spent in hospitals, you spend a lot of time catering to her needs – which wasn’t always a bad thing mind you, because of her illnesses I got to spend my summer’s at the beach which was better for her health – but you see the toll that takes on your parents marriage and you hope that your marriage will be a bit easier.

These were childish thoughts. I have written many times over how Graeme exceeds what I needed/wanted in a partner and I truly didn’t think twice about his diabetes when we were dating, engaged, and newly married. It really wasn’t until we had to buy his first round of insulin and supplies here in the USA at the pharmacy and having several issues, that I really understood that this would be something we carried together for the rest of our lives, unless they find a cure.

As we have ventured farther into our marriage and into the world of being unified, diabetic conversations happen more regularly. We have drastically changed the way we eat, our excersise routine, and for his overall health we opted he go on a pump system just this past December.

His new pump system, the Omnipod, has been life changing for him. Although it doesn’t change the  fact that he is still a type one diabetic, it makes his/our world that much easier to navigate through and around. Over the last six months I have become a great pseudo nurse, in handling pump failures (when it errors out), removing the pump, adhering a new one, and many other nurse-like duties. Beyond this role, however, I have never been able to fully grasp the daily “weight” that Graeme carries.

We found out a couple of months back that the OmniPod was going to be coming out with a smaller, more advanced version of their pods that Graeme would be transitioning to. We discussed once that happened that I should wear one of his older versions using saline as the substitute for insulin and become a “diabetic” for a few days.

The day finally came where it worked to take on the challenge. Graeme prepped the site and the pod (which I have to say it was very strange to be on the receiving end for this). Once it was injected, it stung for some time, but I am a bit baby when it comes to things being injected into me.

After a couple of hours I forgot I was wearing it and went along my merry way doing what I normally do. It wasn’t until it came to our snack time later in the day that I realized I was going to have really improve my math skills in a short period of time. Paying attention to how many carbs I had and if they were higher or lower on the Glycemic Index (GI). Not only that, but remember how I said I was big baby when it comes to things being injected to me? Well, having to prick my finger three+ times a day while testing blood levels was going to be a feat for me to overcome.

Here was our first reading together, normal Blood Sugar Level (BSL) goal range is 80-120 mg/dL for a diabetic. Someone “normal” can run a little low, like mine, just because our bodies are able to naturally regulate our insulin levels.

It came the next day that I got to go through some normal day to day trails with this thing connected to me in Graeme’s shoes. I went into the market to grab just a few items, not a major shopping trip, so I left my bag in the car and just grabbed my wallet. I should mention that with this kind of insulin pump it needs these two parts (the Pod, on the body, and the Reader) you see above to be able to communicate, for the most part. You don’t have to be right next to the reader at all times, but if there is an error, you need to inject insulin, or check how much insulin you have left, you need both.

When I was in the market I was near a refrigerator section and at one point I heard this high pitch beeping noise. I got super nervous, because occasionally the pods will error out and when they do, they make a high pitch noise informing you of the error, which you would then need the reader in order to clear the error and ultimately remove the pod, and replace with a new one. I stepped away from the refrigerator and thankfully it wasn’t the pod, but the refrigerator itself. *SIGH* of relief.

I realized in this moment, Graeme has less freedom in more ways than I thought. He has to, in some way, shape, and form, always be connected to the things that keep his body functioning along with always being aware of how his body is reacting in the day to day.

I made it through my first and second days with no errors or problems. I finally got used to pricking myself for blood and I was getting better at the whole math thing! The pod though was starting to get itchy and I couldn’t wait to take it off. Again, really getting to experience the ins and outs that Graeme experiences on a daily basis.

Graeme took the pod off the next night and in so many ways I was grateful, but I was also sad, because I knew for me this was just a few short days of experimenting. For him this was every day.

We often talked about how, though health had been one of my top priorities for being with someone, part of my life had groomed me to be with someone who needed a little more patience, encouragement, and love in this area. I don’t mind changing pods in restaurants, running back to the car for his kit, or taking an hour to walk through with the pharmacists on cost changes, wrong prescription, and health plan changes. He makes my life better and way more fun and if this is the least I can do to make his life easier I will do it and much more!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Time Lost

A couple of weeks back I lost this. This represents three years of my life and the week we spent searching for it, retracing my steps, calling people, business, I felt like I had a permanent hole within me.

Graeme and I went on our nightly walks throughout the week and one night I realized as we were talking about the last three years why this journal meant probably a bit more than any other. This was my transitional journal. It was the one I started as a single girl living with wonderful friends to married woman living with her best friend. It was a big transition for me and often still feels like one, but this journal captured those initial thoughts and feelings and those meant a lot to me.

Thankfully I got a call at the end of the week and my journal had been found! I immediately went and picked it up, wrote its last entry in the car, and when I got home it went straight into the box with the rest of ramblings and memories.

I know these won't nearly mean as much to anyone else as they do to me, but it is nice to have some record of where I have come and where I am going, with everything in between.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Buy With A Purpose

A couple of weeks back Grae and I had the chance to help some friends out with a new adventure they have embarked on together. Ally is truly the one spearheading it, but I know she would say she couldn’t do any of it without Ben.

Ally and Ben both have a real heart for mission, and a big part of that call is global mission. However in this season of their lives they realize that is not what God has called them to. He has called them to have a global heart, but to be present to the missions that surround them currently on a daily basis. With that in mind Ally started developing a way to blend the two together and with that came Buy with a Purpose (BWAP).

It all started with a blog and showcasing products that were coming out of countries all over the world, but based/founded in the US. Then it flowed into buying products herself and selling them, and giving these organizations even more exposure than they would have had before. For Ally, this wasn’t just an easy way to make an extra income. Starting something like this from the ground up practically on your own isn’t easy, and she knew income wouldn’t come for a long time. It was the desire to make people like myself aware of these groups of people who exist around the world, who are making goods for the their survival, betterment of their community, and being wise with where we are putting our financial dollars. It can really be said that you are buying products that come with a purpose beyond your desire to “want it”. Hence, buy with a purpose.

Grae's and my involvement came when Ally and Ben decided to get a booth at Fish Fest, a huge Christian “Woodstock” of a day (where various different bands play throughout the day and businesses like Ally's set up throughout the space) and needed extra hands to help be available for all the day's logisitical needs. To get this kind of exposure would allow Ally and Ben the chance to share on a broader scale some specific organizations and their desire to open the floodgates for these kinds of products and their purpose.

Graeme had worked alongside Ally over the last few months in creating her logo and website, so it was great to see Ally and his work come together on this day. We got the chance to meet all kinds of people, share about four organizations Ally had been working with, and just support our friends with the calling they have on their lives.

Ally and Ben are world changers. They inspire Graeme and I to be prayerful about what our next steps are and what God is calling us to, but not just that, but how to live each day being influenced by the Holy Spirit. They are exciting friends to have and it is my hope and prayer that each of you find people like Ben and Ally, because you won’t ever be able to settle with the “average”.

Take the time to check our Ally’s blog and her website! She’s an advocate for these businesses, but really, it is the people behind the business that she is championing whether they started the organization or are the ones making the products. Her heart is for people; that we may not treat them and their causes like they are thousand miles away, but just around the block from us.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Where Did the Weekend Go?

It was the kind of weekend where Friday arrived and before I knew it, it was Monday morning, so unfortnately not a ton of time to write, but I did happen to pass this bit of inspiration. Hope it encourages your Monday morning whatever you may be doing!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

A Firework of a Weekend!

What a wonderful couple of days it has been. To be able to have a three day week and a four day weekend is always nice, like a mini holiday!

Graeme and I both finished up our Wednesdays and enjoyed our afternoon together and then got the chance to take some of our good friends to one of our favorite movie theaters. It's the luxury kind, where the chairs recline all the way back and you can order food throughout the movie (it's the simple fun things in life for me!). It was kick to see how excited Ally and Ben got over the whole experience; thanks again for the champagne guys, it was a great choice!

Thursday Graeme and I decided since our big plans weren't until later that we were going to enjoy the day. We adventured off to our local coffee place and wandered around an art gallery we had been wanting to check out. Then we spent a good chunk of the afternoon laying out by the pool reading (it has been a while since we both have had this much time to read something that wasn't work related). We headed off to Dana Point, where we ventured around the harbor people watching and enjoying the afternoon's festivities. It has been great over the last three years to experience different coastal cities' celebrations, Dana Point is unique, because we found that almost everyone was on the water. There was a HUGE water fight taking place with at least 75 boats in the harbor; from water balloons, buckets, squirt guns, anything to get the other boat occupants wet. 

We then met up with some friends and headed out on a boat to watch the fireworks from the coast. This was so much fun, purely for the fact that it was Graeme's first time getting to see 4th of July fireworks up close. The first year we ended up seeing them from a playhouse a couple of miles away and then last year, because of the cloud cover they were only partially seen and really only in the distance, which resulted in us watching the New York fireworks on TV. 

I married the right guy in and of the fact that I love movies and so does he, so again, we took advantage of not working on Friday and caught an early showing of Monsters University (great prequel!) Then we came home and got ready for a garage sale we were having with some friends on Saturday morning and a bit of baking (some lemon basil butter cookies, oh so delicious!). 

Once we finished up that we headed off to a picnic in the park with some old and new friends. It was a great time to catch up and celebrate all the exciting things that are happening in each others lives! 

Saturday was a 5:00 am start for us, as we set up the garage sale at our friend's place. I haven't done a garage sale in AGES, just because I have never had the right place for it down here, but our friends have a great set up and it was so nice to be able to go through a ton of stuff, throw it out on the lawn and hope for the best! It was a fun morning of spending time with people, making deals, and even making a little bit of money. 

Then it was off to San Diego county for some good friend's wedding. This wedding was particularly special for me because I had walked enough life with the bride to know her dreams and heartaches, and to see her walking down the aisle to the best suited best friend for her was just so fun! Weddings bring out two emotions in me these days; one: that I am so happy that I never have to plan my wedding again and two: it reminds me of the vows I made to Graeme and how true they are to this day, always a nice reminder. 

So here we are on Sunday. It has been a great "lava" day. Haven't really changed out of the clothes I slept in, except to get in my swimsuit and swim in the pool for a bit. All in all it was a wonderful weekend with friends and my best friend. I realized this weekend how truly patient Graeme is with me and all my craziness; life would be a lot more boring without him that is for sure. 

Happy 4th of July! Happy Birthday 'Merica! Happy Let Freedom Ring Weekend! 

Now off to conquer my Monday...

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Season = Outdoor Activity Season

I have always been a girl who loves a good adventure and with summer upon us (here in the Northern Hemisphere) this rings even more true.

We currently live at one of the greatest places for outdoor activities in the summer: The Orange County Performing Arts Center (it has some other cool fancy name for people who have paid a lot of money to the arts, to me it will always be OCPAC, but I digress). Not only does it have some incredible concert halls, but it has this great outdoor space to show films and even concerts taking place inside (for free I might mention!).

The other week we got to experience the "Rite of Spring". Being a music lover my whole life, this piece is definitely in my top favorites. But to be outside, seeing the orchestra play, what felt to be up close, was a great experience!

One of my other loves of the "outdoor" summer activities are drive-in's! These places are truly fantastic and I wish there were more of them! To see a double feature for $7 each person, from the comfort of your own car, to eating whatever snacks your heart desires, this girl is totally in her element! Fortunately for us whenever we go up to Northern California there is this beauty that we try to make a stop at if we can. It has been open since 1946 and owned by the same family the entire time!

I have to say though, one of my all time favorite summer activities! I know baseball is typically associated with the fall season, but there is just something about being at a game during summer time that I love. It has been so fun to teach Graeme about the game and to have him get the whole "American" experience. Go Angels!

These are just a few of my favorite things about summer! Hope you are enjoying yours as much as I am enjoying mine! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Time to Build and a Time to Tear Down

Did you ever have one of those places when you were a kid that you would go to, to dream, to play with your friends, to be a kid? I did. It was this tree house that my Dad built and I attempted to assist (mainly with painting).

I loved this tree house and spending time with my friends here. Doing our best to be tough enough to sleep out there the whole night, eating apples right off the tree on summer afternoons, and just having a place that was mine. This space was special and as of a few weekends ago it is no more.

It has been standing for the last 25 years with the last 15 years rarely getting any use. With that kind of neglect my Dad had become increasingly worried that there could be the chance of it falling in an earthquake and preferred taking it down himself. So we planned a weekend to go up and Graeme and I would help him take it down.

Graeme ended up being the primary helper in dismantling and the running joke all weekend was, "how do you feel about me tearing down your childhood?". I would laugh, but the reality like this tree house is that there is a time and a season for everything and there was a season for this tree house in my life, a season that was sweet and filled with a lot of wonderful memories. Now there is a season for it to come down to make new memories watching my husband and Dad bond over tearing down a building together. Dreaming up new plans of what could go in place of the structure. Enjoying the time together as a family.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Everyone Has Their Days

A few mornings back, I was awakened to the sound of a crow loudly squawking what seemed to be right next to our bedroom window. Without hesitation, I turned to Graeme and I said, "Everyone has their days, even the crows.". He laughed. Apparently I make these kinds of comments pretty often. What I was trying to say was, everyone has their days where they just have to "squawk" about whatever it is they are hanging on to and then they feel that much better and are able to move forward.

There are some friends that have come into my life over the years and this is what we are to each other. There is no judgment, we just listen, allowing the speaking party to get it out and that's it. We don't try to fix it or blow up the situation. We just listen.

Everyone has their days when they just need that listening ear...even the crows.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Where I Come From

We bought a desk a couple of weeks back and took the time to make a few minor improvements to it (ie. cleaning it up, refinishing the top wood portion, some sanding, and a few paint touch ups) other than that it was the perfect find for having the space to write!

I wanted the desk to be a pretty clean space, but of course wanted to put a few personal inspirational items on it and when I was cleaning a few boxes out I came across this photo. This is inspirational to me. This is a polaroid taken at my parents wedding of my Great-Grandmother, my Grandma, her sister, one of my God-Mother’s, and my Grandma’s other sister. Each and every one of them I can draw something from, even if all of them are but memories in my mind. 

My Great-Grandmother Ruth was someone I always remember having fun with. She was spry, spunky, and had a wonderfully generous heart. She lived longer than my Grandma, so I have a few more clear memories of her which entail; turtles, swimming, Easter egg hunts, newspapers, laughter, popcorn, and the family always being around. 

Then my Grandma Ginny; my heart beams and breaks all at the same time when I see this photo. I was the only grandchild that ever really got to know her before she passed in 1992. I was nine years old and even by then she had already played such a big role in my life. I try not to live with many “what ifs” but she is my most major what if she was still alive? What if she had been there through my teen years, when I first started to experiment with taking photos, my first boyfriend, picking a college to attend, moving to a country I know she loved, getting married…I miss her. I miss her charismatic spirit I so often hear people talk about. She was the life of the party and I am sorry I missed out on a majority of that, but I soak up what I did get to experience with her. Honda rides to the Santa Cruz boardwalk, baking cookies, having her come to many of my dance recitals, being my caregiver when I had chicken pox, she was a wonderful lady who I love and miss daily. 

My Auntie Shirley, My God-Mother Lily, and my Aunt Willa all were some of the strongest women I had ever met. They (just like my Great-Grandmother and Grandma) had so much adversity in their lives and yet came out on top in their own ways. They were consistently what I viewed to be matriarchs of our family and provided a sense of history and purpose to our big boisterous clan.

They were all beautiful women who have left a legacy to their families. To see their smiling faces in this photo is a wonderful reminder of everything they have left me and how it created a part of me, made me this creative thinking, cooking baking, hard headed, beautiful woman. 

This reminder of the generations that have come before, is dedicated to these wonderful women who exemplified hard work and a love for life.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Well Hello 2013

Well hello 2013!

I was put into a place of taking a forced break from writing. Not maybe the kind of break I wanted, but it has given me such a greater appreciation for writing.

A couple of weeks back I had a chance to spend some time with a friend who I have really gotten to know over this last year and she discovered my love of writing and wanted to know more about it, specifically why I stopped, what goals I had for it, what I loved most about it. As I began to share I realized how much I had missed it being a part of my daily routine. In a way it felt as though I broke up with writing the way I was explaining it to her. She had me write a mission statement for what writing meant to me:

I write to share my story, as a release…so that I can continually move forward.

Even if no one was to read my words, for me it is an outlet that cannot be compared. When I read this Hemingway quote I can’t help but see my mission statement within it.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

This is my outlet to bleed. To release. To not blow up at Graeme with all of my thoughts, ideas, pains, grieves, joys, insights, etc. This last year I think in a way I got so overwhelmed by life staring me in the face I couldn’t even find a way to express it through writing, so I “gave up”. I did however find solace in silence and putting my feet to the pavement and running. It wasn’t quite the same outlet, but I was able to let go in a way. Let go of my false hopes, my hurts, and my failings.

I hate to fail. Not that I know anyone who enjoys failing, but I really tend to beat myself up over it and don’t really offer myself the same kind of grace I receive from God and even those closest to me. This year has felt like a lot of failures. In love, friendships, personal goals, work goals, just goals in general. To try and fight through this wall of failure has been a daily challenge, but one that I finally feel like I am achieving.

These walls can look like having chance to share my honest opinion about my views on public affairs even if it means the loss of that friendship. Or having the courage to realize that a friendship may have run its course, but realizing that there are some pretty amazing and fantastic people who have become a part of my life (even when I was at my lowest). Sometimes, it looks like work. Being a part of a cube farm and believing I was meant for something more than what I am subjecting myself to from 8 to 5.

Though I may not know what that “belief” is, it is taking one step at a time and this first step is just to embrace what I enjoy doing, be able to stare life in the face and share how I am traveling through the day to day.

Though in my opinion 2013 can suck it, but I believe it deserves a second chance. So here is to 2013 and all the endless possibilities that come with it. When the overwhelming waves start to head my way, may I be able to stare them straight on and swim right through them versus being crippled by them.