Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kidney Stone Update

So it was back to the hospital for me yesterday. I woke up to intense pain in my right side again; this time the pain was so intense it made me sweat right through my pajamas. I army-crawled (there was no way I was walking in this state) to the living room to find the phone, called my mom at work (no answer), then quickly dialed my grandmother's number. Poor grandma, I didn't even identify myself but just blurted out something along the lines of "need help, come quickly." Then the nausea hit and I (even more slowly now) army-crawled to the bathroom. A lovely time in the bathroom followed and my grandmother arrived (she's had kidney stones before so she completely understood what I was going through). My mom arrived shortly after because while my grandmother was on the way over the nausea became so intense that I knew it was time for me to go the hospital and I left a message for her at work. I know they consulted on what to do at this time, though I was pretty out of it. And I remember my grandma calling my urologist's office and taking care of a bunch of other stuff for us, but I don't remember all of the details.

At the hospital, I was quickly given an IV with lots and lots of fluids, and the normal amounts of Zofran, Fennegrin, Toradol and Dilaudid (probably slaughtering the spelling of these meds). Within a couple hours my nausea had abated, my dehydrated body was properly hydrated once again and about four hours after we arrived, I was allowed to go home with even more intense pain meds and more anti-nausea. For the record Vicodin barely even touches the pain of kidney stones. It's laughable really. So my new stuff consists of "extra-strength Vicodin" piggybacked with Toradol two hours after I take the Vicodin. We'll see how this stuff works once my stone starts its trek again, right now its not moving much so I'm feeling little pain (thus not taking those meds). And my meds for an infection that has set in (this also occurs EVERY time I get kidney stones) just makes me feel so comfortably sleepy that today has been a quite lovely day, which basically means I've slept most of it away up until now.

All right, back to the recliner in the living room I go. I watched the movie 27 Dresses with my mom, Aunt Martha and cousin Katelen last night. Very cute. I think I'm going to go watch it again. :-)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The World of Finances

Now that I'm done with my teacher certification program and embarking on the official journey to my new career in the world of education (Lord willing of course...if I can FIND a job in my area of certification here in Michigan), I've begun to really delve into researching financial planning. After all, I definitely want to make my teacher salary stretch as far as possible. Armed with my new budget courtesy of YNAB (thanks Jen for pointing me to this system and software!), and some really God-centered, biblical books/resources (more to come on this in another post) and the fun that has come from praying and playing with the YNAB system, I've really started to enjoy reading financial blogs in my spare time too.

Here are just a few of my current favorites:

Get Rich Slowly

The Simple Dollar

YNAB Blog (I actually don't go to this one that much because I have the e-book and I've taken the YNAB free e-course, but I had to list this because the software and e-course are so phenomenal.)

And once again I've run out of time to post. Enjoy your night!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Somewhat Clear-Headed

I'm somewhat clear-headed for the moment, so I decided now would be a good time to post to my blog. I STILL haven't passed my kidney stone and today was the second worst day of pain I've had so far with this silly little thing. Thankfully I still have Zofran and Vicodin on hand and was able to medicate myself enough to get through this rough patch without having to accrue another hefty hospital bill. My cousin Katelen came over and kept me company today too, so that made an otherwise frustrating and unbearable day quite pleasant. Pray for me. I'm so ready for this whole ordeal to be over. I'm exhausted!

In other news, it's now official--my brother is moving to California in July! He's so excited and he and my mom enjoyed a few hours working in his bedroom this afternoon, cleaning stuff out and starting to plan what's going to go and what's going to stay. I'm so excited for him!!! It's so great to know that he's found a job he can get really excited about. What an answer to prayer. Well, it's starting to thunder and lightning outside, so I had better end here. Enjoy your night!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Reader Beware: The Shack by William P. Young

Christians are really getting caught up in ideas espoused in a book entitled The Shack by William P. Young. Although I haven't personally read it, I have been overwhelmed by noting the response to it in Christian circles and wowed by the mass number of reviews on Amazon. Since I haven't personally read it, I do not feel free to stand on my little soapbox and freely declare my opinions at length. But what I do want to do here is refer you to an excellent and comprehensive review of this book if you have read it, are considering reading it or have family or friends that are reading it. The PDF below is written by Tim Challies, a well-known and respected Christian and blogger. I've mentioned him before on this blog. Please, take the time in the next few weeks and read this document. It is definitely well worth the time. :-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Let The Mourning Begin

Champions League Final:

Manchester United won.
Chelsea lost.
Enough said.

Let the grieving begin. (Congrats Ciaran...and all of you other Man. U fans out there.)

May Giveaway at

The battle to pass this one last kidney stone rages on so unfortunately I don't have a lot of exciting news or personal thoughts to post about. But I do have a link here to a wonderful giveaway at (one of the blogs I frequently view). is giving away gift certificates to Monergism Books. Three to be exact. Click on the banner for more details (and give me a referral at the same time). :-)

May Giveaway

For those of you who haven't heard about Monergism Books, check it out here. I love Monergism Books because of the quality Christian literature they keep in print, especially some of the older classics.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hospital Visit

Friday I had to break down and go the ER to get relief from my newest bout with kidney stones...or rather a kidney stone that has been lodged up in there since 2006 or even before. Also, when I say "break down," I literally mean break down. I called my mom at work in tears about 9:30am begging her to come home because "it was a bad one." Within about twenty minutes I was lying in my bed in fetal position, white-knuckle grasping the bedsheets and wishing God would just end me right there. Then came the vomiting, at which time we began our preparations to head to the hospital. This routine, I have to admit, my mom has become quite good at. In a matter of moments, I was safely tucked in the backseat of her car, bucket on the floor, blanket wrapped snuggly around me as I violently shook and dry-heaved at the same time...a plastic bag was placed next to me with a water bottle, napkins, Kleenex, and gum (to get the puke taste out of my mouth should I need it). Cell phone in hand she made some necessary calls as she double-checked her purse for the notebook she keeps with my med. lists and prior kidney stones information that they always inevitably ask for in the ER at some point. She's a pro, what can I say.

The visit itself was quite nice. Aside from almost losing consciousness twice, vomiting so much that the dry heaves made me pull a muscle in my left side, and generally wishing my life would just end, I was whisked into my own little room at an incredibly brisk pace. The lovely nurse arrived quickly, joking about my ashen skin and lips and how they always know a kidney stone patient by our bent over position and pasty skin and lips, and I dazedly listened to her chatter as I willed her to get that IV into my arm as quickly as possibly. But alas, my veins wouldn't cooperate and after doing a number on my right arm, and then my left arm, we finally settled on my left hand and FINALLY my dear little friends came flowing steadily into my body. Friends with names such as Zofran, Toradol, Fenegrin and my new favorite...Dilaudid. In a matter of minutes, I went from going-out-of-my-mind pain and violently shaking from both pain and incredible coldness to this delightful warm, weighted sensation--I felt as if I was being wrapped in a warm, cozy, little cocoon.

And then there was the wonderful man who did my CT Scan. Through my medicated stupor he asked me where the pain was. "Pain," I slurred through my aforementioned medicated stupor. "What pain?" The nurse at my side laughed and asked where WAS the pain. Much better, I thought to myself. We must be accurate. I feel no pain. I quickly pointed to my right side to answer their question. The guy who did my CT Scan also chatted it up with me about his last bout with kidney stones and then told me about the grown men they get in the hospital sobbing like little babies and women with kids who say giving birth is nothing compared to the pain of kidney stones. I remember him saying these things, but once again, I'm in a medicated stupor, and all of this just amuses me. The pain is just a hazy memory now and I just want to be back in my little room with the warm blankets and sleep, sleep, sleep. Oh yes and keep the meds flowing through that IV for heavens sake!!!

And now, a few days later, I'm home and completely off both the Zofran and Vicodin they had me on for here at home. I still haven't passed the stone, but it's out of my kidney where it really causes pain and I'm trying to pass it on the lowest dosages of meds possible. I'm praying I get rid of it in the next two days...without going back on Vicodin. All right, I've run out of time to expand on my kidney stone narrative, so I'll end here for the night. :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

FlyLady and Podrunner

Since this is my blog (i.e. my little soapbox), I’m going to rave about two new things that have me wowed right now. First is FlyLady. This system which I stumbled upon a couple months ago now has completely revolutionized my entire approach to housework. No more am I overwhelmed by a messy house and the daunting “to do” list that accompanies said messy house. I look forward to encouraging little e-mails every day that give me a “mission” to do around the house in ONLY 15 minutes. I love this! I can almost always carve 15 minutes out of my busy schedule to accomplish these fun little missions AND the best part is, I’m starting to see major results around my house. I absolutely LOVE this system so check it out at OR even better, check this book out, Sink Reflections. I checked it out at my local library, but I’m using it daily, so I may be purchasing this book in the near future.

And now on to the topic of Podrunner. Thanks to Jen and Shannon and their mission to run a 5K, I am now hooked on this as well. I’ve focused on keeping myself marginally in shape this winter (or so I thought) and so when Jen and Shannon were glowing about their new running regimen, I thought I would check it out. [Keep in mind, I am so not a runner.] I looked up the program online which is called Couch to 5K, wrote down the week one training schedule and set out yesterday on the road to running a 5K...eventually. A day later I am sooo sore! I thought I was in shape...apparently not. Then today Jen sent me the link to something called Podrunner. It is SO great! I downloaded the first two weeks onto my ipod and they sound like so much fun. Basically it's the C25K running program set to great music with audio cues for when to walk and when to run. The music tempo increases when your speed should be increasing. LOVE THIS! If you want to get in shape this summer, check out the website. I’ll be blogging about my progress in this area of interval training in the weeks to come, but I had to rave first about how cool these Podrunner downloads are first! Thanks Jen for sending me that link!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Return of Wednesday Night Soccer

Ah, summer has, not really, but Summer League Soccer has arrived. I look forward to this every year. Yet when Ciaran moved to New Hampshire, I was sure my viewing of Wednesday night summer soccer would be lost too. Enter Gerrard’s Kopites, and problem solved. Some guys from my church put together a team and so not only do I still get to watch fun summer soccer, but I get to enjoy watching it with a bunch of girls from my church as well. So as you can probably tell, last night was a blast! For the record though, I still miss watching you play, Ciaran!!! You and Carter are still my favorites to watch!

In other reflections, Ciaran and I just began reading C.J. Mahaney’s Living the Cross Centered Life. I’ve skimmed this book before, but Ciaran and I are reading through it slowly, really savoring and working at applying what C.J. Mahaney writes about. This has been such an awesome and convicting experience so far. For example, read my blog and what pops up the most...hmmm....Ciaran, soccer, teaching, etc. Does the gospel? When you read my blog to do you see Christ permeating the entries? Hmmm.... If someone were to read my blog or talk to me at length, what would they say I am most passionate about? Probably they would have a long list because let’s face it; I’m passionate about a TON of stuff. Yet Mahaney says,

“If there’s anything in life we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel. And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others; I mean passionate in thinking about the gospel, reflecting upon it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world and all of life.”
Mahaney goes on to say,

“In the Scriptures we discover a profound urgency for focusing all we are and everything we do around the gospel of the cross. For not only does this good news come first chronologically in our Christian experience, but it stays foremost in critical importance for creating and sustaining our joy and our fruitfulness—a fact we too often overlook” (15).
Is my joy and fruitfulness in Christ waning? Here is the solution. The gospel needs to be my one supreme passion, the very center of my life in all I say and do.

Hmmm...lots of stuff to pray about and so I’m praying this day that God will change my heart so these words typify my life, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” -Galatians 6:14. Well, I’m now off to run errands for a bit with my cousin Katelen, she may find me a bit distracted as I meditate on these truths this late afternoon. :-)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Job Search Has Begun!

Today marks my first official day of job searching. A wretched two weeks of passing three kidney stones kept me from beginning my job search in earnest and then another week of having Ciaran in town kept me occupied and determined to ignore the looming search that needed to take place. And then yesterday I allowed myself to wallow in misery and grieve Ciaran being back in New Hampshire, but after a refreshing evening with my mentor last night and a rousing morning of housework, I began the job search this afternoon in earnest.

So where will my job search take me?! Only the Lord knows the answer to that one. I will be applying for jobs this week in Wisconsin and Indiana and there's actually one in Michigan as well (the same school Ciaran interviewed at last week on the west side of the state...although that one is a high school position and my experience is at the middle school level--thanks for the lead though Ciaran!). Pray for me if you think of it, I'm excited about this process, but I know I need wisdom and a clear sense of God's leading as I navigate these waters in the months to come.

And now for a brief recap. of my enjoyable week with Ciaran. OK, I just wrote that and immediately started to feel sad so I'm going to keep this short. It was a wonderful week! I know I conveyed that in my last post, but words really can't do justice to how nice it was to spend time in person with Ciaran again. And Ciaran's uncle and aunt were in town from Ireland and I hadn't met them before, so I enjoyed some time getting to know them as well. Ciaran's family is so fun to be around and his Uncle John loves literature and I so enjoyed some time discussing Oliver Goldsmith's The Deserted Village (one of his favorites as well as my own) and James Joyce and a whole host of other Irish literary figures. I always enjoy discussing Irish literature with Dr. Byrne, but having his brother to discuss this with as well made for some immensely enjoyable hours. And then Ciaran's Aunt Beatrice (she's originally from Spain and has a beautiful Spanish accent) also is inclined toward literary pursuits and so all around I was able to bask in the joy of discussing literature at length with both of them. What a joy!

All right, I'm going to end here because thinking about my time with Ciaran is making me miss him more...and I have AT LEAST seven more weeks to go before I see him again. :-) Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful's absolutely gorgeous here, I might even take Ben for a long walk before the night is over!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Wonderful Week

Ah, where do I begin?! First, Ciaran is in town!!! It has been so amazingly wonderful to have him here. Talking on the phone, sending letters via snail mail and e-mail is all grand, but nothing beats being together in person. It's been a moment by moment reminder of the hundreds of reasons I have treasured our friendship so much over the past six years. So what have we been doing during this time...I'm so glad you asked...because it gives me a chance to "gloat" as Shannon commented in the previous post. First, Ciaran has had a few interviews so that's taken up some time because one of them involved traveling (I'll get to this one later). But let's first address some good ol' soccer because it's been a GREAT week for classic English football!

So on Sunday afternoon, Ciaran and I watched the Chelsea v. Man. U game (his brother, Paul, had recorded the Saturday game). My boys defeated his team, much to Ciaran's chagrin and now our teams are tied for first in the Prem. race...too fun! Nothing like some good healthy competition between the two of us. And while I'm on the topic of soccer, why don't we waltz over to the topic of Champions League Semi-Finals. So first, Man. U v. Barcelona...being the loving girlfriend that I am, I sucked it up and supported Man. U on Tuesday (partly because I was being said loving girlfriend, the other reason being I wanted an all English final in Moscow--ah the truth comes out doesn't it?! Hehe.) And thanks to Scholes (who moments before his amazing goal was delivered, Paul and Ciaran were fiercely critiquing his worth to Man U these days...too funny), Man U. is headed to the final in Moscow on May 21st! Then yesterday arrives, the moment of truth: Chelsea v. Liverpool!!! Ciaran being the loving boyfriend that he is supported Liverpool (they have a strong Irish population in Liverpool after all, but I think he was still nursing some wounds from Saturday's game). And yet, who is heading to Moscow on May 21st to go up against Manchester United?! Ah yes, that would be CHELSEA!!! When all is said and done though, I thought that was the best semi-final match I've seen in a long time. I was on the edge of my seat through the entire thing! I'm sorry Liverpool fans (Jen and Jared and Garrett and all the others that Jared has successfully marketed to his side that I don't know about yet). Your manager should never have taken out Torres, but alas he did and it was a brilliant day for my boys! OK, enough gloating. I've taken up too much space with soccer, but it's been an eventful week in the world of soccer and the best part has been Ciaran's in town to share it with! I've missed his brilliant commentaries so much!

Now to follow up with Ciaran's interviews that he has been blessed with this week...I'm not going to share too much about them since this is a public space and we don't know the outcomes yet, but I will share this. The interview he had this morning on the west side of the state was enjoyable, but the last question of his interview had to have been the BEST question I've ever heard about in a teaching interview. It went a little something like this[keep in mind this isn't a direct quote because Ciaran's not home yet to get the exact one from him...don't want to bother him while he's driving after all]...OK, here it is:
"Well, this will be the last question for today (insert pause here), and I have to know...what did you think of the Champions League semi-final yesterday?"
Hahahaha, that's right, I'm sorry, not to rub salt in an open wound to all you Liverpool fans out there, but come on, this is too priceless!!! Oh and I'm actually serious, the last question in Ciaran's interview today was exactly that. I guess the principal is a huge Liverpool fan and is pretty upset about why Rafa didn't put in certain players and why Torres was pulled out. But that is TOO PRICELESS, any attention drawn to the fact that Chelsea won is perfect for me. OK, I've run out of time to write, so I'll post more later about this wonderful week with Ciaran.

*Oh and sorry for all of the upsetting grammatical errors, I know they are there, I just don't have time to go back and edit. Just look at this post and really all of my other posts as stream of consciousness writing or a simple free write activity. :-) Enjoy your day!