Wednesday, September 30, 2009

When My Heart is Overwhelmed

I stole the title for this blog entry from a sermon given by Pastor Britt Merrick who is based out of California. Just recently Pastor Britt learned that his 5 year old daughter had a football sized tumor in her abdomen and soon after he learned that cancerous cells had been spreading into her body for some time. The tumor was removed via surgery and now his daughter Daisy will undergo several months of intensive chemotherapy. I highly, highly urge you to take the time to watch Pastor Britt's sermon that he gave just a week after finding out about his daughter's cancer. I know we don't generally like to take more than a few seconds to read or watch something but, if you want to shake up your day, stir your faith to new heights, challenge yourself or just learn something new, I think this is well worth the hour spent and if you think of it, please keep Britt's family and his daughter Daisy in your prayers.

I've been having a rough season in my life as of late do mostly in part to the depressed state of mind I have been struggling with since the first few weeks of this pregnancy. Then Dakota's illness, surgery, medical charges and her very exhausting recovery has tested my feeble mind to whole new heights these past couple of weeks. It has been so tiring, stressful and on a more positive note: enlightening. As a result of this life season I have so much more compassion for people who struggle with depression. I truly grasp now that it isn't something that they can control on a regular basis and it isn't something that they have chosen for themselves. I have learned that some people can relate well to people when they are depressed and some cannot to no fault of there own, as it is simply their lack of experience with the issue. I am reminded through all this that being in my bible and building my mind up with the living word of God and praying consistently is my greatest source of strength and comfort both now and always! I've learned how I cope with high stress situations and God has shown me that I could use some improvement in this area both for my own personal benefit but, also for the health and protection of my marriage. As the bible says in Mathew 5:45, "He [God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." God does not pick on any of us, discriminate or find joy in our sufferings but, he does bring great comfort and peace to us when we call on him in tough times.

Britt's sermon has challenged me yet again to, "trust in the Lord with all my heart and to lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct my path." Proverbs 3:5-6. God has rocked my world these past 26 years and He has never ceased to be faithful to me or to Joey in the ups and the downs. He has blessed our lives abundantly and given us far more than we deserve. He has never left our side in the tough times and He has always seen us through to the "joy that comes with the morning." God is so real and powerful in our lives and we are constantly in awe of the amazing things He is doing in the lives of people around us. God is so worthy of our praise no matter what life brings!

This isn't an unbearable tough time in our lives by any means but regardless, I think Joey and I are both sensing that God is using our current circumstances and trials to teach us some valuable lessons about trusting in Him no matter what, about turning to Him for our strength when times get hard and remembering not to let stress steal our joy! And just to clarify, joy is not the same thing as feeling happy. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that comes and goes and we cannot count on it lasting for long. Joy is the peace that we have as Christians in knowing that we can lay all of our "stuff" in God's hands and He will carry us through it all. It's a state a mind, and a permanent peace that comes from the Lord and it gives us strength in our darkest hour. I will borrow a verse from Britt's sermon for my last though, "It is good for me when I am afflicted that I may learn your statutes." Psalm 119:71 Tough times are far from pleasant or desirable but, as this Psalmist points out, it is in times of affliction, testing, hardship and struggle that we learn so much about God and ourselves and the life around us.

I realize this came across as a heavy levy as I like to call them but, it's a good kind of a heavy:)! Plus, I don't share enough of this kind of stuff on the blog so once in a while it's probably a good idea to be transparent and make sure you all know we are actually human and life happens to us too:). Hope you can take a wee bit of time out of your day to watch this amazing message and please, most of all, be encouraged! God is our rock and our refuge both in and out of season.

When My Heart Is Overwhelmed from Reality on Vimeo.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dakota Status

Dakota had surgery Friday early AM (around 1 AM) and we got a call around 3 AM that she had made it through surgery well and that the surgeon had removed a 6 inch foreign object, thought to possibly be a rawhide although they were not certain, from her small intestine. They had to make two cuts on her intestine to get the object out as well as to reconnect it to a healthier part of her intestine. She has over 20 staples trailing from her chest to her lower abdomen and she will have to wear a cone on her head for 10-12 days until the wound heals and the staples can be removed by the vet. So far we have made it through 3 days with Dakota...8 to go!!! We noticed immediately that she was feeling better because she was wide eyed and shaking with excitement when we picked her up from the vet. She ate her first small bowl of wet food Friday night at our house before she went to bed and she has slowly gotten used to the soft cone on her head though she does still hate it and lets us know every 10 minutes with a whine or a wild shake of frustration. We have kept her in our kitchen in a penned off area so that she cannot jump on our laps or on our couch which she is DYING to do. She hates being cooped up but, it is for her own good so hopefully she will survive this long, boring week or I should say..hopefully I will survive this long week with Dakota testing me every 5 minutes by barking:). She is eating regularly, going to the bathroom normal, no more vomiting and she is as feisty as ever. It's amazing to Joey and I to see her back to her bratty old self again so fast and after such an awful week of worrying if she would even survive! Thank you all for your prayers, support and well wishes for Dakota. We are so thankful that God brought her through this beautifully and that He gave us the strength to make it through a very taxing week and a half. We are thrilled to have our wild child back!
Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dakota update - surgery tonight

We were hoping things were looking up today with Dakota but, she took a turn for the worse with diarreah and then she began throwing up again which is a very bad sign. This is also day 4 of basically nothing in her stomach and she could barely walk anymore as she has gotten so weak. I couldn't take it anymore and realized that waiting it out wasn't working. Joey got home from work and we rushed Dakota to the ER night hospital. They started out the evaluation by doing an x-ray and some blood work on Dakota and both results, though not conclusive, indicated that there is actually something lodged in Dakota's intestines. They couldn't gaurentee us that there is in fact anything blocking but, the only other options recquired just as much money as proceeding with surgery. It is truly one of the most stressful, heart breaking and frustrating things to be at an ER with a sick and dearly loved animal and to be faced with the decision of taking on a several thousand dollar surgery bill or making an even harder decision. Joey and I had to talk the situation out for a while because we truly do not have any money for this kind of surprise but, ultimately because Dakota is so young and has such a high chance of coming out of surgery okay we felt the best decision was to proceed with the surgery tonight. Please pray that this surgery does in fact resolve Dakota's illness, that she is able to bounce back and begin eating on her own again and that we do not have this problem again. NO more rawhides for Ms. Dakota evidently. She will have surgery in the middle of the night tonight (Thursday) and will most likely stay at the hospital until Friday night or Saturday depending on her progress. I pray that she feels so much better when this is all over as she has been through so much this week as have we. Joey and I are both exhausted and overwhelmed but, feel relieved that there seems to be a solution and that our little pup will be back to her old self again in a week or two. I will update tomorrow after her surgery. Thanks for your prayers and support as we both really appreciate it!!

A very sick puppy

For those who are wondering: Our little pup has been very sick since Sunday afternoon. We came home from church on Sunday to find that Dakota had drenched her entire towel with throw up, she had rubbed the top of her nose off in irritation with the smell in her crate which added blood to the scene and she had pooped in the crate as well. We weren't quite sure what to think initially so we thought maybe she had a minor stomach upset that would pass,but unfortunately she has gotten progressively worse over the past several days. Monday Dakota threw up over a dozen times both all over our carpet and a few times outside. They weren't small messes either if I might add. She wouldn't eat or drink aside from some chicken broth which she kept down for an hour only to throw up in the afternoon. I ended up rushing her to the vet when I got off work on Monday and they gave her a IV of water since she had gotten so dehydrated and they gave her a shot with anti-nausea medication. She pretty much slept from Monday night until Wednesday night only waking up occasionally to take small sips of water but, she never touched her food. Today is day 4 or 5 depending on how you look at it and she is still refusing to eat though I have been able to force (nicely) a tiny bit of food into her mouth and make her eat it and she has picked at her food a little then only to drop the food on the ground out of her mouth. Today, Thursday, I was making Joey a delicious lunch in the kitchen where we have Dakota penned off and she had her first bowel movement since Sunday...diareah all over the kitchen floor. I have never smelled anything so foul in all my life and my amazing husband took over and cleaned up the mess before I added any pregnancy puke to the scene. I cannot thank him enough!! I'm not sure if the bowel movement is a good sign or not. I think it means that Dakota does not have a blockage in her tummy which make me very happy but, it shows me that she is still very sick and now she has nothing in her stomach. I have called the vet again and am waiting for their call but, please Kota in your prayers as well as us as we cannot afford anymore insane vet bills right now. We are hoping for a miracle here! I'll keep you posted.
Monday, September 21, 2009

Aching to Get Away

We have been in North Carolina for 2 years now and one thing I have been dying to do since we moved here is visit the gorgeous Asheville mountains during the fall season. Joey and I are both out of vacation time but, we are determined to figure out how to squeeze in a super short getaway to this beautiful country before another year passes us by. Isn't it spectacular!! I would love to get away for just a tiny bit and breath in some fresh country air and soak up the brilliant array of fall color. To be continued....
Friday, September 18, 2009

What I crave or not- For all who are Curious:)

Pizza does nothing for me but, Joey could eat it every day of his life! :)
The one thing I absolutely cannot stand right now is Salad and most all vegetables. Unfortunate.
The one thing I crave most in the world and I CANNOT eat it....SUSHI>>>>
One sweet treat that I tend to overdue but, seems to settle the tummy a little Jollys!
My favorite food this pregnancy that I actually can eat and I have probably eaten at least 3 times a week since my 3rd week of pregnancy are sub sandwiches. I prefer them from Quiznos, FireHouse subs or Jersey Mike's. I think my body is trying to get the vegetable nutrients out of these sandwiches since salads and raw veggies make me gag. I'm sure these cravings and aversions will change constantly over the next 6.5 months but, so far they have remained very much the same for the past 13 weeks. Poor Joey could probably go the rest of his life without needing to eat another sub again. haha!
Thursday, September 17, 2009

What a talented kid!

Maybe some of you have seen this already but, I couldn't help but be blown away by this talented 6 year old girl and she seems so happy so obviously all the intense practicing the past few years haven't dampened her spirits! lol.
Monday, September 14, 2009

Baby Martinez' 2nd photo shoot

12 weeks along and the baby is looking night and day from the 9 week ultrasound. This kiddo has a lot of energy and was kicking furiously and swinging fists everywhere. Heartbeat was a nice strong 170 or so and the technician said that everything is on track and where it should be. The little pinto is 2.5 inches long already! I was absolutely in awe of how much has changed since the first ultrasound and I couldn't stop staring at the monitor. I don't think I ever blinked. It's hard to process that there is a baby inside my tummy when I haven't grown much and don't feel any kicks and it is only during the ultrasounds that I am really able to process that life is growing inside me. I feel bad that Joey was unable to make this appointment as I know he would have gotten a kick out of how much the baby was moving but, he will definitely be at our next ultrasound which will be the determining of the babies sex in just 6 more weeks! Stay tuned for that exciting post:) Here are the latest and best of the ultrasound pics. You can see the long leg in one of them and in the other the little hands and a precious profile. So miraculous!
Sunday, September 13, 2009

Visiting the Fishers while in California

I will be the first to admit that I have really dropped the ball in the photography department. Some of you know that along with many other things, photography has been one of the joys that pregnancy has put on hold. Lots of things seem to put a bad taste in my mouth right now but, I very much look forward to that passing and getting my photo bug back again. That being said, I didn't get any pictures of all the Fisher family (2 year old Maddie was already asleep for the night), and none of Joey with his buddy Ben. Sigh. I did manage to get one of me with my great pal Melissa and her adorable little son Hudson. He is such a happy baby and it was such a treat to see Maddie and Ben and Melissa. We miss you guys already but thank you so much for having us over and feeding us a yummy dinner:). Oh and please forgive us if we are a little shiny faced in the pictures. It was a super duper hot day in California that day! lol.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Becca's wedding Reception pics #2

Seriously, Becca and Tony's cake is by far the prettiest wedding cake I have ever set my eyes on. It was GORGEOUS and tasted even more delicious than it looks if you can imagine that. The rest of these pictures are of various friends and family. I miss everyone already. Oh, and lastly, can I just say that my husband was the most amazingly helpful and supportive hubby any wife could ask for during a crazy wedding week. He blessed my socks off:)! Can't wait to see everyone again soon!

Becca's Wedding Reception pics #1

Becca's reception was held at a golf course across the street from the church. It was a beautiful setting at the foot of a mountain covered with pine trees. It felt so refreshing to be outdoors and all of Becca and Tony's wedding accessories added a perfect rustic touch to the already lovely setting. My mom really got into dancing as you can tell by one of the pictures and everyone else enjoyed relaxing under the shady tents and drinking soda pop. It as a wonderful time!
Monday, September 7, 2009

Part 4

Inside church pictures that Joey snapped for me really quick before he headed over to the reception. Thanks honey:)

My Sister's Wedding Part 3

Saturday morning Becca and I got up at 6:30 AM and after showering we headed next door to get Becca's hair done. The neighbor Jill happens to be a hair stylist and she even has a salon in her basement. The little salon is so nice and Jill did a great job with Becca's hair. My family had already left and headed up to the church to set things up so Becca and I packed up her car with her dress and things and then we headed up to the church on our own after she got her hair done. I had such a blast helping Becca get ready on Saturday and she was such a champ through the entire process. All in all things came together nicely and the ceremony was absolutely beautiful. Becca and Tony looked so amazing and it was such a blessing to be a part of their special day. The weather was perfect for the outdoor reception which was just across the street on a golf course. Music was playing, food was being served and the sun was shining. Pictures to follow...

My sister's Wedding Part 2

Mommy at the high school cafeteria. Isn't she the cutest lady ever!!
The groom, Tony's eye reflecting the cross window in the church. SOOOO NEAT!
The Groom's brother AJ, the little guy is his son, Logan in the middle and Ryan filling in.
Why we live and breath the way that we do. All for you, Jesus!
Me and the bride. My dear sister Becca Boo.
Friday was a fun day of lots of finishing touches. My mom and I worked on rolling the plastic utensils into a napkin and wrapping them with some rustic twine. I think we rolled 160 of them in total. We also stuffed little party favors with candies and glued orange flowers onto some pretty fall hearts that would adorn the aisle in the church. I loved sitting around working on wedding projects with my sister Becca and my mom throughout the day. It was definitely a nice bonding time. I also got to visit my younger sister Anna at her high school and evidently she doesn't ever want me to come back because the boys enjoyed my visit too much. lol. I found that quite amusing. I got to visit my mommy while she worked in the cafeteria at Anna's school and snapped a quick picture. The picture of Anna and I at her school didn't turn out unfortunately. I enjoyed getting to spend a little time meeting Anna's friends and some of her teachers. I hope Anna will let me come back some day:). Friday evening Joey was able to drive up when he got off work just in time for us to head up to the church for the wedding rehearsal. I think the rehearsal went really well and we all felt very confident about how things would go the next morning. Everybody had fun and afterwards we headed over to a delicious pizza restaurant and enjoyed eating to our heart's content with our family and the Groom's wonderful family. It was so nice to meet all of my sister's new family and to hang out with everyone and relax together. We got home late that evening and my mom and I finished up a few more things and then we all hit the sack 100% wiped out. I got to chat with the bride to be again that evening and I will forever cherish the time that I had with her before she turned a new page in her life story. I don't know if we will ever sleep in a room side by side alone chatting until the wee hours of morning again. We are both married now and our priorities are different but, those memories will last forever in my heart! waaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I just never thought that my little sisters would grow up and move away from home. I'll miss hearing her answer the phone at the house and seeing her face everytime I get to stop by. Now she has her own house and her own life and sometimes we won't be able to cross paths due to conflicting schedules. Sigh. Getting older is tough:(. lol. Okay, but on the flip side. I couldn't be happier for my sister and my new brother in-law Tony. He is a great guy and perfect for her. I'm so happy that they have each other and that they honored God in their relationship. I know they will be blessed and enjoy a long happy life together! Part 3 is on it's way.....

My sister's wedding Part 1

Joey and I flew out to California this past Wednesday for my sister Becca's wedding to her high school sweat heart Tony. Wednesday was a long day to say the least. We got up at 3:30AM had an average flight which is enough to make me sicker than a dog:) and Joey got to eat at his favorite Cali pit stop, Zancous (Lebanese food in LA). After that we drove to El Tecolote, my favorite Mexican restaurant in Camarillo and I picked up two tostadas to go and we headed over to Joey's Grandma and Papa's house to visit. We had a great visit with Joey's Grandparents. It had been 9 months since we had seen them last and it was so good to catch up! His Grandma is the best hostess ever and always serves us all kinds of goodies while we sit around and chat: Ice cream, sodas, fresh watermellon and plumbs!! Delicious!! My tostadas from El Tecolote were just as incredible and mouth watering as I had imagined them over the past 9 months. I seriously am salivating right now just thinking about how amazing they were!! Can't wait to eat another one!!! After spending a couple of hours with the Grandparents we headed over to our good friends Ben and Melissa's new house and spent the rest of the evening catching up with them and their two precious children. I have a few pictures from that visit that I will post soon. Thank you Ben and Melissa for having us over and for that delicious dinner!! It was such a treat to see you guys and your home is lovely. At the end of the evening Joey and I headed over to my Grandma's house to crash. Gram and Great Aunt Sue were sitting outside and we chatted with them for a few minutes before collapsing upstairs in bed. WHEW! Joey got up at 4 AM as he had to be at work at 5 AM both Thursday and Friday and I woke up at 6 AM probably due to the time change. We definitely didn't quite catch up on sleep that day. lol. I got to chat with my Grandma and Aunt Sue again for a bit as I waited for my Dad to pick me up and drive me back to Lebec with him. He got to the house around 10:30 and then we headed over to El Tecolote again to grab a couple more tostadas before my window of opportunity closed. We both devoured them:). I had a great drive up to Lebec with my Dad and chatted the whole time. And then the wedding festivities began:). Pretty soon after I got to my parents house, my mom, Anna, Becca and I headed down to Bakersfield to get our nails done. I hadn't had my nails done since my wedding so I very much enjoyed getting beautified with my family and Abby, Becca's now sister in-law. After nails we went to Wal-Mart and picked up a bunch of yellow flowers to be the centerpieces on the tables at the reception, stopped at Payless Shoes to get the bridesmaid shoes, grabbed a quick bite of dinner to go and then headed home. I had the honor of sharing a room with the bride to be so we got to chat until late in the evening until we both pretty much fell asleep mid sentence from exhaustion. Thursday was a day well spent!