Thursday, November 4, 2010

Follow Up Appt

I had my first follow up appointment today. The Dr said things look well but I need to start taking the nexium. He said he saw some red in my throat - that might account for the slight sore throat I always seem to have. I had stopped taking it after about 4 days because I thought it was making it so I couldn't sleep at night. Now I'm not sure it was the nexium because I am still not sleeping well. I know part of it has to do with increased hot flashes - those things are miserable.

I went into the station today to see about going back to work. I have enjoyed being home so much these last 3 weeks. I love being able to cook dinner and be here with everyone at night. I am tempted to take another month off but I don't want to burn all of my leave time so I will go back to work on Monday.

When I was out and about today I realized that it is a bit overwhelming and intimidating for me to be in open spaces. When I am home I am comfortable talking to Lisa and the kids because I can go right up to them so I don't have to try and talk louder than I can. When I was at the station this morning, and at the beach later in the day, I realized how hard it is for me to talk out in open spaces with noise distractions. I have to remember to just talk at a level that is comfortable and if I have to get closer to someone so they can hear me then I will just have to go closer. I think I am going to be way frustrated with this before it gets better. The last thing I want to do now is acquire a bunch of bad speaking habits by trying to talk louder than I can.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I am doing better each day. My ability to swallow solid food is fairly good but my ability to swallow liquids comes and goes. On a really good day I can take sips of water with only moderate concentration and sips of nectar with mild concentration. What I wouldn't give to be able to just chug a glass of ice cold water!

My voice is still very hoarse and every now and then I get a hint of the breathiness I was told would follow but still no spasms. I was searching for a bowflex treadclimber for us and got a bit carried away and called one of the sellers. I think my voice startled him a bit, there was some stammering and stuttering while he tried to decide if it was a prank call or not so I decided maybe I should let Lisa make phone calls to strangers for awhile.

My energy level is slowing returning. I have started walking again every day. Not as far and fast as I was pre-surgery but I increase it a bit each day. I am loving this fall weather, even the wind felt good to me this morning. I was disappointed then the Dr told me no vigorous exercise for 2 weeks but am realizing that it would be impossible anyway.

When I came home if I had been asked if the surgery was worth it my answer would have been an unequivocal NO! Today my answer would be - yes, it was worth it but I am so glad I don't have to make the choice to repeat it.

When I came home I was 11 lbs lighter than when I went in for surgery. I expect a great deal of that is water weight but I hope to be able to keep some of it off. Lisa and I have both done well making healthier eating choices since the HCG diet. Right now I am down about 16 lbs from when I started the diet, it's nice to have my clothes fit looser and the eating part really hasn't been a challenge.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Surgery

I checked into UCLA Medical Center just before 9:00 AM on Tuesday, October 19 and went in for surgery around 11:30. I don't remember what time they started bringing me around but I believe it was around 5:00 PM. I don't remember much other than that my throat was really sore and heavily bandaged. When they got me settled Lisa came to the room and said she had talked to Dr. Berke and he said the surgery had went well. When I went in he was unsure if he would be able to do the bilateral surgery or have to settle for unilateral due to possible scar tissue from my previous thyroplasty 2 surgeries. Even though the recovery time is longer for the bilateral that was my choice if he could do it - I didn't want to have to have any re-dos.

I was feeling fairly good until around 7:00 when I asked for pain medication. They put it into my IV, Lisa helped me to the bathroom and I was immediately nauseous and barely made it back to the bed. I don't know if it was the pain medication or the anesthesia but I was sicker than sick for the next 36 hours. Swallowing was a huge challenge, I knew I would never get a vicodin down so they brought me some liquid tylenol with codeine, the first tiny sip I took of it I almost drowned myself. My nurse mixed it with applesauce for me - that is how I took all pills for the next 2 days. Everything I ate made me deathly ill. It's a good thing they were still pumping fluids into me because I couldn't drink anything. They told me I wouldn't be able to go home until I could eat and drink thickened liquids on my own so that became my goal. It felt like every swallow that went down stuck just below my breast bone and went no further - every tiny movement made me want to throw up but I didn't have anything to throw up and was afraid if I did I would split my throat incision open. I prayed, I meditated, I conjured up and relived every good childhood memory I could think of. I thought of thing my Mom had gone through with heart surgery, my brother with his recent liver and kidney problems, my 2 uncles with their cancer treatments and knew if they could do it then I could too.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What Am I?

I can't really be called middle aged because most people don't live to be 106 - on the other hand I don't feel like I qualify for elderly either so, what am I?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The "Talk" and Other Stuff

I have spent two days reading the uproar following the conference talk by BKP. I think what I feel is more of a sadness than outrage or anger. It makes me sad to know that most of my family listened to the talk and I wonder what affect it had on them. My relationship with my family has been so good through out all of this. No one has ever made me feel like I just didn't try hard enough - if anything I have been harder on myself in that area than my family has. I worry about the effect this talk will have on gay friends I love who are trying to remain in the church, those who are already struggling with guilt over who they are. I remember when I used to listen to GC, I used to cringe when BKP would get up to talk. I guest mostly, and I feel a bit selfish even saying this, I am glad I am at a place in my life where this doesn't have the ability to send me off into despair the way it once would.

I know I have mentioned this before but - I love where we live. I love watching the fields as they go through a crop cycle. I love it that I can tell what is being harvested as I ride by on my motorcycle. In June the air smelled like strawberries, lately it has smelled like peppers, not sure what kind but it's a red pepper that is used to make hot sauce. I also see fields of butternut squash almost ready to harvest. It amazes me that they grow several different crops on the same plot of land throughout the year. Once one harvest done the field is plowed under and the cycle starts all over again.

I am going to have to dig out some of my old hobbies. With Lisa gone working during the day I find myself not knowing what to do so I have a tendency to just sleep or lay on the bed. I will have to go back to making quilts or even cross stitching! One of the side effects of the HCG I really miss is the energy the drops gave me.

2 weeks from tomorrow is my surgery. That means I have to stop taking everything that could possibly act as a blood thinner, aspirin, excedrin, advil, vitamin e, etc. I try to think about the surgery a bit every day but not so much that I freak out about it. I am trying to mentally prepare myself for the recovery period which, I fear, is going to be much longer, harder, and frustrating than I want it to be.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Diet Transition

Today is the first day going completely off the 500 calorie diet. It has been rather anti climactic and kind of disappointing. We have looked forward to this for 2 weeks, made all sorts of plans on what we would eat. It turns out we can't eat quite like we used to - which is probably a good thing. It's kind of strange to me that fruit and vegetables still taste the best, especially since the choices aren't so limited now. We are to stay off starch and sugar for the next 3 weeks and then gradually introduce them back into the diet after that. I lost approximately 9 lbs, I think it was worth it but I wouldn't choose to do it again. We have decided to eat healthy 6 days a week and to give ourselves one day a week off to eath whatever we want. Hopefully this will help us keep the weight off and also not make us feel deprived of those foods we really like but shouldn't eat so often. I am looking forward to getting some stamina back in my muscles. When I exercise my lungs do all right but my muscles just don't have any stamina. There is quite a hill leading up to our condo, I use to be able to ride my bicycle all the way to the garage, today I couldn't even walk it without having to stop and rest.

We had a creepy experience yesterday. I was sitting at my little table in my room , I glanced up at the windows and saw the shadows of a bunch of bugs against the curtains, I thought it was strange that so many bugs were on the outside of the window. I came back in about 15 minutes and noticed there were about twice as many shadows and then I saw one of the bugs come up over the top of the curtain. When I pulled back the curtain it was covered with flying bugs. We think they are winged termites. We sprayed so much stuff on them we made quite a mess and a not so pleasant odor. We called the HOA and got the name of the exterminator they use and will have him come out tomorrow and look at the samples we saved. If it is termites the HOA insurance will pay for it, if it is something else we will have to pay for it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 12

Only lost .2 lbs yesterday. We talked it over this morning and decided we were done doing the drops. We will have 3 days of the 500 calorie diet while the HCG gets out of our system and then 3 weeks with no sugar or starches. In some ways I feel like a quitter but I am pretty much OK with ending it now. Even though it didn't play into our decision to stop, I am glad I will be back to a normal diet by the time I have my surgery. From the things I have read eating is going to be a chore for awhile as it is so I would like to have more of a variety to choose from.

From previous experience with botox injections I know that swallowing any kind of liquids without choking will really take some concentration for a few days. I remember the first botox shot I had Bill would make a barrier between us at breakfast with the cereal boxes because I was prone to choking and spitting my vitamins across the table as I was trying to take them. It did get easier after the first shot but even now I have trouble eating a juicy apple or orange without choking for a couple of weeks after the shot. I am hoping this surgery means the end of the botox shots.

Lisa started a part time job this week and it is really strange to have her gone during the day. I find myself wandering around wondering what to do. I guess maybe it's time to pick up some of my hobbies again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 11

Only down .4 lbs this morning. I am wondering how much longer I can do this diet. The food choices are so limited. The things I make taste really good but I don't know how many more salads or how much more cabbage and celery I can eat. I am never ravenously hungry and I was thinking tonite that I would almost rather not eat than eat the same things over and over. I enjoy the fruit the most but I can only have 2 fruits a day. I guess it's one day at a time for now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 10

We broke down and bought a digital scale so we could track our weight better. My weight this morning was 147.4. I am not sure of my exact starting weight but I am using 155. If I discount the 2 days of loading I have lost about a pound per day.

We do quite a bit of walking and I also try to get on the nordic track every few days. Intense exercise is kind of discouraged on this diet but I really don't want to lose my aerobic capacity. I haven't felt any ill effects from it so far. My pants might fit a bit looser but it isn't anything that is really noticeable.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 8

No weight loss for the last 2 days, no gain either. If there is no loss today then I am to have and apple and water day. 6 apples and water for a day and nothing else. I might give it an additional day. I enjoy my evening apple so much I kinda hate to ruin that by eating 6 in one day and getting burned out on them. Someone brought a whole box of grapefruit into the station last week so I snatched up 5 of them. I love my half a grapefruit in the morning.

I am enjoying cooking different things on this diet. It is a way I really haven't cooked before. Every time I make something I am a little hesitant to taste it for fear it will be yucky but it has all been at least edible so far and some of it downright delicious. Yesterday we saved all of our protein for our final meal and each had a decent sized steak for dinner. I have found you can make almost any cut of meat into a tender steak by rubbing each side with a kiwi fruit about 30 minutes before grilling it. Today we bought a bottom round roast at the store. I cut it into 3.5 oz portions, rubbed them with kiwi and Lisa grilled them while I used 2 portions to make us some chili for dinner.

I am rarely hungry on this diet, I am supposing it is the drops working as they should. One unexpected benefit is the fact that I am no longer tired during the day. I have been tired for so long that this is really strange for me. I almost don't know what to do with myself.

I have surgery on my vocal cords scheduled for Oct 19. I am pretty scared to do this. I want it to work so badly. I want to be able to just open my mouth and say my words without having to struggle. I enjoy my job so much more on my good voice days. Another thing that scares me is that I will no longer have the disorder to hide behind. I will no longer have an excuse not to talk to others or join in conversations. I have thought about approaching someone from the Ward here to give me a blessing before I go in. I am still undecided though, gonna have to think about that one a bit longer before I make a decision.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Diet Day 6

It's just wrong to come into work and have a package of chocolate oreos sitting here just begging to be eaten. I am realizing this battle is more of a mental battle than a physical one. It's not that I am outrageously hungy, it's just that I want to eat whether I am hungry or not. I love breads and its really hard to make toast for the birds in the morning and not get my little bite, I love chocolate and it seems like it is everywhere I turn. This may be the longest I have ever gone without chocolate. Even in my strictest eating days I allowed myself 6 M&M's a day. I reminded myself this morning this is a choice I am making, it isn't something I am being forced to do.

This morning I was down 6 lbs.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The HCG Diet - Day 5

We heard about this diet from Lisas brother at the family camping trip a few weeks ago. We debated and thought about it for quite awhile and finally decided to give it a try. In a nutshell, you take HCG drops daily and after 2 "loading days" where you get to eat anything you want you start on a 500 calorie a day eating plan. The HCG is supposed to release your bodies stored fat to be burned to make up for what you aren't eating. Weight loss should be between 15 - 20 lbs for the 23 days you are on the drops.

Today is day 3 of the 500 calorie diet and I am feeling pretty confident I can see it through. The first day I felt pretty confident, yesterday I didn't think there was any way I could do it. I weighed this morning and I believe I am down 4 lbs. It is kind of hard to say because our scales aren't the best, we should really have digital scales but they just aren't in the budget right now.

I am going to try and track results here in hopes that it will give me the motivation to see this through to the end.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

There has been a little feel of fall in the air the last few days. That is a bit unusual here where there isn't a great deal of change in the seasons. For some reason the change of seasons is hard for me, it seems to bring on a depression or sorts. Almost a feeling of nostalgia for something I can't quite put my finger on. I have been doing my best to outrun the depression with exercise and it works pretty well for the most part. The days I start out with some good hard exercise are definitely easier than those I don't.

Fall has long been my favorite season. When I was a kid fall meant the deer hunting season - one of the highlight of the year. All the uncles and cousins would come home for the hunt. When we were too young to hunt we would play deer hunt in the front yard with some of us being hunters and some of us being deer. Certain places were designated at "thicket" and if you were a deer and could make it to the thicket you were safe. I am not sure any of us even knew what a thicket was, only that we had heard our Dads talk about losing a deer when it run into the thicket.

When I was 16 I was able to carry a gun for the first time. I went out with my Dad on opening morning and waited oon a hillside in the cold for the sun to come up. I killed a 4 point buck that morning, one shot to the neck. the next year I went out with my Dad and saw a big ole buck coming up over the hill and I tried to show Dad where it was and he said "Shoot it!" I said "I can't shoot it you shoot it" he said "I can't see it" - it ran over the hill and someone else shot it. That was the last time I carried a gun. I often went out with the guys to hunt but I never carried a gun.

When I was married fall was a time to go out and get wood for the wood burning stove. When we lived at Hall's Crossing on Lake Powell we used to go up to the Bears Ears to get wood. We would always take a bag of fritos and a can of bean dip and a couple of sodas. I loved it up there. When we moved to Page we would go to Utah to get wood with Mom and Dad. Dad never goes to cut wood without a can of vienna sausages and some snack pack pudding. I have lots of good memories - I have had a good life.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

It is 3:00 AM and I am 3/4 of the way through a 16 hour shift. It is getting a bit difficult to stay awake so I thought I would put words to some of the thoughts that have been tumbling around in my head for awhile.

I finally broke down and made an appointment to see a Dr here to get a botox shot. It has been 16 months since my last shot and I was getting really worn out struggling with my voice. The Dr here isn't nearly as gentle as my Dr in AZ was but I think he got the job done. I had the shot a couple of days ago and my voice feels really good. It is so nice to be able to just open my mouth and speak. I hope it lasts for a bit, it makes my job so much easier. I am thinking about having surgery to correct this but am still a bit hesitant. It involves the cutting and re-routing of nerves and while the success rate is quite high, if it isn't a success I could be left with no voice at all.

I believe a change has crept upon me so slowly I never saw it coming. For most of my life I have preferred to be alone. When I was a kid my mom used to say if she ever wanted to punish me instead of sending me to my room she would have to make me come out of my room. For many years I have preferred to do most things alone. As I write this my heart hurts a bit for those people who were around me because I realize that really wasn't fair to them - for me to live such a solitary life and shut them out. This last week Lisa has helped with Cub Scout Day Camp most of the week so I have had the mornings to myself. I took the dog for walks, and we went to the pier fishing one day. I realized I would much rather do those things with Lisa than do them by myself. It's not that I can't enjoy them if I am alone, it's just that they are more enjoyable if she is with me - so very strange, and a bit unsettling, for me.

It has long been a dream of mine to go to New York City during the Christmas season. A couple of months ago Lisa told me she had looked into airfare, hotels, etc and figured if we put by a certain amount of money each month in 2 years we would be able to go so we have been doing that. At the same time we decided a good way to get extra spending money for the trip would be to collect cans and bottles for recycling. In CA every time you buy a can of soda pop or a bottle of water $.05 is added onto the cost. We took our first bunch in last week and only got $26 - kind of disappointing be we decided to continue to collect anyway. It is kind of fun, almost like a treasure hunt of sorts. We carry a plastic bag with us every time we leave the house.

I appreciate my older brother so much. We text quite often. Whenever I hear about 3 texts come through in succession I know it is him texting. He is often just sharing some little part of his day with me. Sometimes I think he texts because he is lonely, sometimes he texts just to see how I am doing - whatever the reason it is always nice to hear from him and know he is thinking about me. He always lets me know he loves me and that always makes me feel good.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fitting In

I sometimes wonder if I will ever fit in here at work. Most days I just do the job, try to stay away from the drama and don't notice it much but, once in awhile, something will happen that really brings it home. At those times I start to wonder, is it because of my voice? Is it because I am gay? I actually don't know how many people here are even aware of my sexual orientation. It isn't something I hide but it also not something I flaunt. I speak of Lisa freely but no one ever really asks any question. Maybe its a case of don't ask don't tell. I am not an outgoing person and I am sure that contributes to the feeling of isolation. Because of my voice, I hesitate to talk unless it is absolutely necessary. Sensing I was different as I was growing up I kept most people at a distance because it was safer that way. Experiences I had in college only reinforced that behavior. I guess when I take those two things into consideration it is no wonder I don't really feel like I fit in anywhere. I wish Lisa and I could meet another couple we had things in common with but I don't see that happening any time soon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day

I love my Mom. She holds such a special place in my heart I don't even have words to describe it. I wish I could be with her today. Just be in her presence, watch the funny little quirky things she does. Listen to the latest stories from Dad about "the other day your Ma . . ." or her stories about "did I tell you what your Dad did?" They were married when she was 16 and he was 20. They had their first child just 2 days before their first anniversary. By the time she was 29 she had 5 children and had suffered at least one miscarriage. I know she loves my Dad but I also know she sometimes regrets some of the things she missed out on by marrying so young. My nephew recently got married - It is highly questionable if it was a wise move. They hadn't known each other long, she said she was pregnant only to find out later she wasn't. When I talked to Mom and Dad about it all they said was that people probably thought their marriage would never last either and they have been married for 62 years and that they hoped they would be happy. Their home has always been open to all of us and whoever we brought with us. If ever any of my cousins happen to be in the area they always stop by to see "Aunt Dorothy and Uncle LaMar". One of my cousins has a little boy that is autistic, as soon as they get to Hatch he wants to know where "Uncle Jar" is. I keep a sweater at work that my Mom gave me. Everytime I put it on I can almost feel her arms around me. That sweater is one reason I don't mind sitting at the cold spot in dispatch.

I salute Mothers everywhere. I never had the desire to have kids and that has always made me feel a bit of an oddity and a lot guilty. For the culture I was raised in that is almost blasphemy. I think I can't love enough to be a mother. I am too selfish and expect too much. Janett always joked that she had her last 2 kids for me, because I refused to have any. I helped her with her kids off and on a lot and they are special to me but I know I couldn't have sacrificed for them like she has. I see how Lisa is with her kids and what a good mother she is and I don't think I could ever do that so maybe it's a good thing I married someone who couldn't give me kids.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thoughts About Death

Last night our station lost a deputy to an off duty motorcycle accident. He was 27, his wife is 7 months pregnant with their first child. Last month I lost a long time friend due to complications from an automobile accident. Even though he was several decades older than the deputy his death was still unexpected and a shock to me. I have had a hard time wrapping my mind around these deaths. Today I kept thinking that Deputy Glover would never make another traffic stop, he will never help us out on the desk again, his wife will have no one to bring dinner to, he will never see another sunrise or kiss his unborn child. Kent Hirschi will never come to the house again for a visit and stay for an hour long nap, he and Bill will never again argue over the myriad of silly little things they always argued over. There are no "do overs" for these two men. No more time to make amends for past hurts or mistakes, no second chance to tell someone how much they loved them or how they influenced their life for good.

Sometimes I have a hard time with life and think this earthly life is way too long but when something like this happens I seem to see things through different eyes. The grass seems a bit greener, the sun a bit warmer. I want to reach out to those I love and tell them how, and why, they are important to me because . . .what if tomorrow is too late?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

We are moved in to the new place but far from organized. It seems like there is so much to do. I can think it out in my mind but when I get time to do it it all seems too overwhelming. I had four days off on schedule change and I probably should've stayed home and got things sorted but instead I made a trip to UT and AZ to see family and friends. My parents are of an age where I feel like I need to take every opportunity I can to see them and I always enjoy being with them. While I was there all who live there met at my brothers house for a Navajo Taco dinner and homemade lemon ice cream. It is always good to get together. I also spent a day and a half in Page visiting. I spent some time at the police station, it is always nice to see those guys. I really miss them. I have a friend there who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer so I spent some time with her. I debated about going to see her because I would rather remember her as she was but I knew I needed to see her. She wouldn't say much about her diagnosis or treatment but she didn't look too well. She only weighs about 80 lbs. It is nice to be in a place where everyone greets you with a smile and a hug and says how nice it is to see you.

I tried to get an extra day off but couldn't swing it so I left at 5:00 AM so I could be into work by 3:00 PM. I got into a blizzard in AZ not far from the UT border. When I talked to Bill the next day he told me our friends were in the same storm and had run into the back end of a semi. Neither seemed to be hurt very badly but when the guy got out of the car he fell - he went to the hospital with a broken hip, broken elbow, and fractured back. When I talked to Bill on Sunday to see how he was doing he told me he had died that morning. Apparently his hip was broke in the crash and that is why he fell. He also had a fractured skull. His death affected me very deeply and I still don't know why. Maybe because it was so unexpected. It just seemd to bring death up close and personal for me.

Lisa and I joined Curves the first of the month. We decided to give it 6 months and see what the results are. Neither of us have a problem with the exercise - the circuit actually gives me a much better workout than I thought it would. We both struggle with the food plan a bit but we are doing our best to make healthier eating choices.

The last 3 nights at work the phones have rung non-stop all night. It really wears me out mentally. It is nice that the weather has been warm enough to ride my motorcycle to work. The trip home on a beautiful night is a good decompressor for me.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We have been extremely busy getting ready to move to our new house. The escrow company really wasn't on the ball and we ended up closing 5 days later than we had planned so we have been putting in some long hours trying to get it ready so we can be out of the rental house by the end of the month. So far I have - replaced a leaky strainer basket in the kitchen sink and fixed another leak under the same sink, changed both shower heads, replaced the gasket between the toilet tank and the toilet bowl, changed the deadbolt on the front door, and patched and sanded all the walls. Lisa and I have painted almost the whole house and she cleaned the carpets today. While doing this I have still been working 48 hours a week and Lisa has been keeping up with her online classes and getting ready for mid-terms. We are both pretty tired. I think I even took a tiny nap at the stoplight on the way to work today.

Once we got a better look at the place we realized there were no light fixtures in the ceilings of any of the rooms - that meant no ceiling fans. So, we hired a guy to remedy the situation (that was a bit beyond my limited maintenance skills) and I will go buy the fans tomorrw. I think we will be ready to start moving stuff by tomorrow afternoon. Lisa talked to the Elders Quorum Pres and he is going to have some men and trucks to help us move the heavy stuff on Saturday morning. I am really thankful the good people in this ward are still willing to help us.

I am liking my job even though it gets frustrating some times. Yesterday I think every big call I took the informants lied to me as to the circumstances surrounding the call. They tell me, not once but several times, someone pulled a gun on them. When the deputy gets there it turns out that all the guy really saw was a fanny pack. Stuff like that makes me crazy. I sometimes think if it wasn't for tattle tales I wouldn't have a job. One thing that makes this job easier here than when I was dispatching in AZ is the fact that I don't know any of these people that call in. When we have a suicide chances are less than one in several thousand that I would know the person. In Page I almost always knew them.

Anyway - life is busy but good.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Verdict

As Lisa stated in her post - the decision was made to excommunicate us. I have given this a lot of thought in the last few weeks, wondering what it would mean to me and how it would affect my life, my outlook, my thoughts and actions. I guess the conclusion I have come to is that my relationship with the Lord is still up to me. I will only get out of it what I put into it. If I am willing to work hard to maintain a relationship I can't imagine He would turn his back on me. Years ago I had a friend who was excommunicated and I remember him telling me he could feel the Holy Ghost leave him when it happened. I haven't felt that. The Church didn't *give* me my relationship with God so I am not sure how they can take it away. I can't deny that we have been incredibly blessed this last year and, no matter what anyone else may think, I choose to attribute those blessings to the Lord working in my life.

I remember reading a book a few years ago about a particular tribe. If someone did something horrendous enough they were banished. This was the worst thing that could happen to a member because banishment meant certain death, once banished from the tribe the member always died. There was one member who had been adopted into the tribe, as the story progressed she fell out of favor with the leader and was banished. She was terrified of the impending death she had been told would follow - only it didn't. She lived and survived on her own until she found another tribe willing to take her in. She realized the reason death was a certainty was because the person being banished believed it was, they believed it so strongly they gave up. I am not going to give up. In some ways believing I can still have the spirit in my life and have a good relationship with God takes as much faith as anything I have ever done because I have always been told that couldn't happen to someone in my position. I feel no differently now than I did last week before the decision. As I was outside grilling steaks this evening I tried to find the words to tell the Lord how grateful I am for the peace and contentment I feel in my life right now - it is such that a mere "Thank you" seems very inadequate.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A New Beginning or The Continuation of A Good Life

I must apologize for my writing--I struggle with articulation and spelling and basically writing in general. (thank you medications of past times).

What exactly does it mean to be excommunicated? Well, it means I continue to do the same things I was doing before--no callings, no garments, no sustaining, ect. I have journeyed a long ways to get to this point in my life. If I would have thought 7 years ago I would be ex'd from the LDS church I would have been scared to death. But, I guess my disfellowshipment was a prelude to all of this and seemed to prepare me. I remember being disfellowshipped and feeling so relieved. And, I have to say, after I spoke with the Bishop about their decision, I felt this relieve inside me. Although I am still waiting to see if what the Bishop told me is true...."You will feel a little sad or depressed." I already struggle with the darkness of depression...its part of the illness. I have depression no matter where I am, where I live or who I am with. It's just life. But, back on task here.... Since hearing the news from the Bishop I have felt free. It seems the obligation is gone or perhaps its the expectation. I just feel like I can choose and do what is best for me.
While going through my divorce my relationship with the church became strained and actually I was not attending church, so I basically had very little communication with ward members. Prior to my divorce I had been counseling with the bishop about my relationship with J and he had always counseled with me to stop seeing her. I had even had conversations with both the stake president at the time and one of his counselors and both had told me the relationship was not good. Well, I continued my relationship and eventually I was disfellowshipped from the church. Some time after I filed divorce papers and the beginning of a very hard time started. I will not get into it, accept to say, homophobia, anger, bitterness, lies, and all manner of bad stuff.

Having gone through my own bitterness and anger towards the church during all of this I am at a point in my life where I have gotten over bad feelings toward the church, even after the Prop 8 disaster. I had to decide if I was going to keep feeling anger or let it go and get on with life. It does not do any good to be angry at the organization, because I realize nobody actually cares if I am mad! And that feeling sucks. So, I can honestly say I think there is some good about the LDS church, it has some good programs, it gives opportunity to be uplifting, BUT, there are other religions, organizations, peoples, groups, and situations that can do the same. There is good and bad in everything we look at , it's just a matter of what we are "looking" for. I want to be uplifted, I want to fill my heart and soul with goodness and where ever I can find this I will go there.

My relationship with J has not changed since learning of my excommunication. I keep hearing the Bishop say, "its' a sin", but I cannot feel what that means with her. When I am close to her I try to see and feel what that means, but I only feel goodness and strength. We wait our whole lives to find someone that brings the other half of us and that is what we have. The universe, a higher power or whatever we want to call it has blessed my life with this woman and the love we share. My only sin is that I lose my patience and forget to be good to her. I am still learning to give and take....aren't we all??

I know this has been long, too long for me to even go back and proofread, but I wanted to add in that I have seen my pdoc again and he has started me on two more meds--the last one was giving me nightmares. He also wanted me to continue to recite my prescription of positive affirmation to my self. So, I am reaching inside somewhere to give these new meds a try. I will keep ya'll posted on how they work.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Church Council and Stuff

A week or so ago the Elders Quorum President hand delivered a letter to both Lisa and me telling us the church would be holding a council on January 14 for "conduct unbecoming a member". The Bishop talked to both of us on Sunday and asked permission to use his discussions with each of us at the council, which we gave. I don't know the outcome, I am assuming there will be another hand delivered letter or maybe one by certified mail.

We are in the final stages of getting the loan approval for the townhouse. We have been hoarding every little bit of cash we get so we will have the required amount for the downpayment. After my last pay check we were about $1,500 short of the required amount. When we got the final loan application to sign yesterday they had taken $1,600 off the total, I guess we don't need mortgage insurance with a 20% down payment. Just another one of the many small miracles that have been a part of this whole deal from the beginning. I should be used to them by now but each one still fills me with amazement at how we are being watched over and taken care of. I have heard people testify that their heart was overflowing with gratitude and I would wonder what that felt like. I am happy to say that I now know what they mean. This has been an amazing year for me.

I sometimes feel guilty that I have found such peace and happiness in this life I have chosen to build. I wonder what things I am doing now that I didn't do in my previous life and if I can do them now why couldn't I do them then. When I talk to Mom on the phone she tells me how good I sound, she can even understand me when I talk. Between my voice and her age and being hard of hearing that, in itself, is a small miracle.

All of this doesn't mean I still don't have my rough spots - I do. Every day isn't sunshine and roses but underlying it all is this sense that all is well, that things are right, that I am headed in the right direction. While I am enjoying this feeling I am also a bit leery of it. I have never been one to feel promptings, of any kind, clearly. I guess a part of me still wonders why, if my life is so wrong, so against Gods will, have I been blessed so much? Why do I feel the peace I do? Is there such a thing false peace, and if there is would it last this long? I am trying really hard not to second guess it but to trust what I feel inside.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Being Happy

Is happiness really just a choice, as I so often hear? What all is involved in being happy? What is happiness? Is it the absence of stress, the absence of trials? How much responsibility to we have for anothers happiness? Can one person truly make another person happy?

I am happy right now. I have worries, but I am still happy. Sometimes my job makes my mind really, really tired, and it is hard to be pleasant to everyone that calls in. Hard to remember that, to them, their call is very important even though I may think a good dose of common sense would solve the problem.

I remember a time in my life when I was not only unhappy I was downright miserable. I went to work, shut my office door and sit under the desk in the dark for at least a portion of every day. I hated it and when I got out of that place I swore I would never go back there again. A couple of years later I found myself in circumstances that threatened to put me back to that dark place. It took me a few months but I fought my way out. I guard and protect my happiness very fiercely. I wonder if this makes me selfish. I have people in my life that I love with my whole heart and soul and I would love to be able to give them happiness. I don't know how to do that and it hurts my heart.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

OCD, Perfectionism or Just Organized

I like order. I like the heads of all the bills in my pocket facing the same way, in order by monetary value. I like to start the day with 3 quarters, 3 dimes, 1 nickel and 4 pennies in my pocket. When I use butter I like to cut it neatly off the end of the cube. When I open a new box of cereal or crackers I like to carefully open the inner package, not just rip it open. I like the toilet paper and the paper towels to come off the roll over the top and not the bottom, and have been known to change them if they don't. When I stack the dishes in the cupboard I like to do it by size - big plates followed by salad plates, followed by coffee cup liners topped with the bowls, by size. When I leave the car in the morning to go into work I do things in a certain order so when I get into the car to come back home everything will be adjusted and ready for me to get in and just go. When I use the bathroom at work I am constantly wiping up the soap dribbles and spills from the side of the sink and wonder why it is to hard to put a bit of soap in your hand and get your hand over the sink without spilling it all over. So, which of the 3 choices does all of this make me?

The Pier

It was such a beautiful day yesterday, and I was off, so we headed for the pier in Ventura. I like to fish off the pier even though I rarely catch anything. I just love being out there. This is a picture I snapped with my cell phone just as we were leaving.