Sorry for my absence you wonderful bloggy friends! I have missed you all! Life has a serious way of getting in my way sometimes, and I am just now getting a chance to stop, take a breath, and catch up. (And by catch up I mean read the 430 blog posts that are stacking up in my reader, redo a little blog and website designing, and get back into the swing of semi-normal life!)
Lets see...what's been going on around here?
The Road: First of all, you might notice some blog changes. I am incredibly A.D.D. and O.C.D. when it comes to my blog. I have spent more hours than I care to count combing the web for the PERFECT blog layout. Then I spend more time tweaking little things...my widgets and links, buttons and sidebars. I drive myself crazy with it. I settled on this layout today (finally!) even though it's a Thanksgiving theme, because I love the colors and the words "Give Thanks" on it. It's a subtle little nudge everytime I open my blog to be thankful and live with gratitude. (I'm not totally hip to the "dinner at Grandma's" type photo idea, but I can't do anything about it, so I'm rollin' with it).
Next, I have added a couple different buttons to my sidebar. Over there to the right you'll see a section called "Snag A Button". They are both for you to take if you so choose. One links to this blog, and the other links to my Women's Prayer Ministry website. Feel free to grab them. And please, if you feel moved to do so, visit/join my ministry site and pass it on to anyone you believe would like to join.
Under the buttons, there are two scrolling marquees. These are people I follow. "IF friends" are my infertility blogging buddies, and "Women of Faith" are some really insightful Christian women bloggers/sites I've come across lately. If you have a blog button and I haven't snagged it for my marquees, PLEASE notify me! I would LOVE to have it!!!
Up top, right below the header, are three page tabs. "My Journey" details the origin of this blog. "The Bookshelf" chronicles my insane addiction to books. :) "My Women's Ministry" page explains the genesis of Let Me Sow Love: A Meeting Place For Christian Women, my prayer ministry website.
And last but certainly not least, over on the left sidebar are links to my Ravelry page and Twitter. Add me to either or both, if you so choose!
Work: I was switched crews a couple of weeks ago, so instead of working my usual 28 days of dayshift, I worked 14 days of dayshift, then went back to nightshift for the other 14 days. Now I have this weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun) off and will start another 28 days of dayshift beginning Monday morning. The quick turn from days to nights a couple weeks ago, coupled with the changing season has me upside down and topsy turvy. I'm lucky to remember what day it is and if I put on clean underwear!
For those of you who are newcomers to The Road, I work as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. Yes, it is a crazy job; stressful, long hours, dealing with the crazy public and even crazier cops! But, it is also a very fulfilling job. I love that in doing what I do I am able to fulfill my calling to help others in some way. Whether it be as serious as talking someone through CPR on a loved one, dispatching an officer to a fight in progress or domestic disturbance, staying on the phone with a scared citizen who believes there might be someone in their home, calming a suicidal subject down until the officers and paramedics can get there to help them...or as minor as giving a caller the phone number to the jail...I serve someone in their time of need. Trust me, there are days I feel like burying my head under the covers and not dealing with the craziness, but there are always moments in every shift that make it worth it to leave my husband and family for 12 hours a day, weekends, nights, and holidays. And that's what keeps me going. My work schedule is one that confuses even me. On dayshift I work 6am to 6pm, and on nightshift, 6pm to 6am. There are a couple of short days thrown in there to even it out to 40 hrs a week...sometimes I'll work 3 12's and a 4 hour day, sometimes 2 12's and 2 8's...it all depends on what the staffing needs are on that particular week. The good thing about my schedule is that I always have every other weekend Friday thru Sunday off, and every other Wednesday/Thursday off. Makes it a lot easier to schedule doctor's appointments, family get-togethers, etc.
Health: This has been a struggle lately. About 3 weeks or a month ago, I came down with a severe sinus infection/upper respiratory infection. It kicked my butt, I tell ya what! I finally kicked it, and by the time I felt halfway human, Matt picked it up. With him being diabetic and having a compromised immune system (he has blood disorders called thrombocytopenia and leukopenia; basically his spleen is enlarged and "eats" the majority of his white blood cells, so he can't fight infection as well as someone without it, and his blood doesn't clot well), any sickness hits him HARD. His sinus infection/URI turned into bronchitis and he was in bad order for a while. We're both over that now, thank goodness!
And, last week sometime I began having serious lower back pain. As in could barely move, felt like someone was stabbing me in the butt, call off work and lay in my recliner for three days back pain. I went to the local urgent care and the doctor there "diagnosed" me with a probable slipped disc and muscle sprain. I was given muscle relaxers and painkillers and sent home to rest. I didn't truly believe there was a slipped disc (first of all he didn't do any x-rays, MRI, nothing to actually SEE a disc problem). So I called a chiropractor and went in last Monday for an exam and adjustment. He took x-rays and did a much more thorough exam than the urgent care doctor did, and performed several adjustments on my lower back. After he read the x-rays, he told me I did not in fact have a slipped disc...the problem was that my pelvis was seriously tilted forward and much higher on the left than on the right. This was what was causing the pain, because in tilting and rotating it was pinching off the nerves on the left side of my spine in the pelvic region. The muscle pain was from my body unconsciously trying to overcompensate for my pelvis being off-kilter. So, I'm on a regimen of scheduled adjustments and pelvic exercises to get it back in place and strengthen the muscles to keep it in alignment. When I first went in to the chiro, I was afraid he was going to take one look at me and blame the pain all on my weight (as every doctor I've been to blames everything on...pain, my PCOS, my infertility, you name it doctors have blamed my weight for it). Now, I'm not an unintelligent person. I realize I'm overweight. By more than a few pounds. But I've hovered around my current weight for several years (unfortunately), and have NEVER had such severe sudden onset of back pain EVER. I explained this to him and he stopped me in my tracks. He looked at me and said "Skinny people have back problems too. Their spines and pelvises get out of alignment too. You think only overweight people need chiropractic care?" That made me feel so much better! He even said he's sure that I realize that my weight doesn't make it any easier on my back, and that losing some would certainly help, but that it wasn't the CAUSE of my pelvis getting torqued. Anything could have happened to do that. And I do realize that I need to lose a substantial amount of weight for many reasons. And I am trying. My PCOS and untreated thyroid condition make it so very hard though. (And I say "untreated" because every doctor I've gone to has refused to treat my hypothyroidism. Bastards.) Anyway...long story short (too late!), I'm on the road to recovery from that and actually can't wait til I can get back to the gym and get some of this nasty blubber off me!
PCOS: Speaking of the bane of my existence, I really need to get this under control. A few months back, I was notified by my husband and mom of a webchat with a prominent St. Louis fertility specialist. I logged on and chatted with him and several other women for a while. He is AMAZING! I had asked him if he believed in the link between PCOS, thyroid problems, and infertility. He amazed me and said yes, there is a HUGE link between all three! No one ever wanted to believe me before (even after printing out research on it and shoving it in their faces!). He said that he wanted me to make an appointment because he wanted to get me going on treatment. He specializes in PCOS, and is a leading doc in the country for infertility issues/IVF/ICSI. Whodathunkit? Right here in my own backyard...a FAMOUS infertility doc?!?!?! I still have yet to make the appointment...don't know why. I think I'm scared.
Church: With all the aforementioned issues going on, we haven't been to church in over a month, and we're both starting to miss it! If it wasn't me on nights, it was me sick, then Matt sick, then me injured...we're going to church this Sunday come Hades or high water! LOL
I also need to get back into a routine of Bible reading/focused prayer time. When I was doing that I felt so much more centered, more peaceful, more connected to God. I miss that. I know that He is always there, and He is ready to listen...I just haven't made the time lately to talk to Him.
Knitting: I'm currently working on another pair of socks. Imagine that! I love sock-knitting. I don't know why, but they're some of my favorite projects to make. This time I'm learning a few different techniques (for you non-knitters this will be gibberish, so feel free to gloss over this section!). The first was a provisional cast-on with crochet chain. After watching a couple YouTube video tutorials, it was pretty much no big deal. The only problem was that I couldn't get my provisional stitches to "unzip" the way they're supposed to, so I had to "uncrochet" all of them. That was a pain in my ample backside, let me tell ya. That led into the next new technique: socks from the toe up using a short row toe. I have no earthly idea HOW this works, and if I had the option to explain how the short rows make the little toe pocket or sleep on a bed of nails...lets just say I'd have to buy stock in Band-Aid for all the little puncture wounds on my back. That's how clueless I am of the workings of short rows. Don't know how they work, don't really care to...all I know is that with a few wraps of the yarn and several turns of your work, VOILA! You have what looks like a little pocket for the toe of your sock. It's a little bit of knitting magic, really. I'll post some pics in the next few days of my progress on the current sock...I think you're gonna love it!
Holy jeebus! This was intended as a short "where I've been/what I've been up to" catch up post! Well, that idea flew out the window about 1000 words ago, didn't it?
I do hope you're all doing well. Please fill me in on the goings-on in your lives if I've missed an important post. And, if you or anyone you know has a prayer need or request, let me know. I feel very moved to pray for others and will add every request to my daily prayers.