Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Home sick for my Mama

Mom was not doing very well when we got to the hospital tonight. I was so hopeful for another night like last night, but we found her in the common room, where we had left her this afternoon, leaning forward with her head still tilted downward, crying. Her cry these days is very quiet. There are hardly any tears, but her face still contorts to show she is upset. There is no way to explain the pain I felt when I saw her. My dad and I wheeled her to her room, changed her clothes, and moved her onto her bed. One of my favorite childhood memories were the mornings that George, El, and I would climb into bed with my mom and dad early in the mornings and all snuggle up. I was still snuggling in bed with my mom while taking afternoon naps just a few months ago. I can even remember crawling into bed next to her the morning after Reid and I got engaged, waking her up, and telling her we needed to start planning. So, tonight when we tucked her into her hospital bed, it seemed only appropriate that I snuggle up close beside her while she went to sleep. It's these simple moments with my Mama that I will miss the most when she is gone. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mom Update - Week 2 in LR and a few pics


Today marked the beginning of my second week here in Little Rock, and my mom's 10th day in the Geri Psych Unit. My dad had a phone conference with my mom's doctor this morning and we determined that she will be ready to leave their facility this week. We also learned that, according to the doctor (who is not God) that he thinks my mom has about 3 to 6 months to live. I make the clarification that the doctor is not God because it is written clearly in Psalm 139:16, "Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them." It seems silly that I read this verse everyday, and yet I still tell my mom she can go to Jesus when she is ready. Like she needs my permission, or something. I think it is part of letting go, of even telling God we are ready for Him to take her. We know she is ready, so now we wait on Him. 

My prayer for my mom right now is Psalm 40:1-4, "I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon the rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord." She is waiting for Him to put that new song in her. The day she will be made new, when she will speak again, and be confused no more. For this day I will fervently pray. 

I decided (after talking to my aunt and dad) to post a few pictures that we took tonight during our visit with my mom. The truth is, nothing could prepare us for what we have gone through with this disease. I know there are people who will be shocked I posted pictures (you can get over yourselves). There is still that controlling part of me that wants to keep everything about my mom wrapped neatly in a little box. The truth is, we love my mom and know that so many of you do, too. You need to know and see what is happening - it is an important part of processing your grief, too. 

I want to be willing to share openly with family, friends, and even strangers who are going through the early onset Alzheimer's journey. There is nothing about early onset that compares to regular Alzheimer's. No one in AR who had a family member with early onset was willing to talk to our family about what they had gone through. I think that is one reason I have been so candid on this blog. If I can help one person, then all this journaling publicly was worth it.

Pics Below:
When my dad and I visited tonight she was in pretty good spirits. We even caught her smile! She was smiling occasionally at things my dad would say. 

My mom responds best to me when I tell her "Gingie Bain" is here. That is what she and my dad called me when I was little. My dad got this picture of me telling sweet Mom that her Gingie Bain loves her. 

My dad was telling my mom how much he always loved her smile. He said he loved the days when he was working in the yard and she would pull in the driveway from running errands and give him the biggest grin. I had never heard him tell that story before tonight when he told her.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mom Update - 12/24-25/2008

For the first time in my blogging history I really don't know what to say. I keep waiting to update thinking I will have something positive to say, but I might be waiting a very long time for that. 

Mom was started on a new medication Tuesday that seems to have stopped the combativeness, but she is in a very sedated state because of it, rarely responding even we ask her to squeeze our hands. To give you an idea of where she is cognitively, the only response we get from her that makes sense is when we say "I love you." She will usually respond with a faint "I love you." Other than that there is no sensible communication, she does not show affection, but occasionally makes a movement that would indicate she knows my dad, Mimi, or Auntie Joye are in the room (even seeing something in these movements could be our hopefulness). 

It is crazy to think that, in a sense, we made it through our first Christmas without my mom. Even as I write this, the emotions I felt as I left her at the hospital Christmas Eve come racing back. I never had the chance to give my mom the necklace I had bought her for Christmas. It is sitting beside my bed - a charm necklace with the word "Hope" inscribed. "A reason to hope" is the Alzheimer's slogan. I spent my visit with her on this day explaining that we were celebrating the birth of our Savior, telling her how much Jesus loves her, singing to her, and telling her that when she is ready to go Home that same Savior that was born in a stable on Christmas morning will welcome her into His arms. 

I honestly never thought I would lose my mom in my mid-twenties. I don't know how long I thought she would live with this disease, but I certainly never imagined it to be so sudden, for me to feel so unprepared to go on without my Mama. The certainty that she will not know my babies, nor see me as a mom. Five years can't prepare you to lose what could have been 25 more years of memories.

Though this week has been hard, it has brought some perspective for me. I was reminded by John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God loved the sinner so much that He sent His own Son to die for our sin. I never understood the painful sacrifice that God and Jesus made when they decided that was the only payment able to be made for the sin of the world. I watch my mom, try to comfort her, imagine her thoughts, her fears. God did the very same thing during His Son's last few days as part of this world. And then He watched as His Son took our sin on His shoulders.

*To listen to the song Faithful One by Selah you will need to pause the music on the blog music player in the lower right portion of the page.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

The rainbow

My sister and I were driving home from visiting my mom at the hospital this afternoon. What we saw as we reached the top of the hill in our neighborhood reminded us that sometimes it takes a lot of rain to make the grass this green but in the end God's going to show us a rainbow. Funny how God can send something as simple as a rainbow to make me remember this.




-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mom Update 12/22-23/2008

Dear Friends and Family,

After coming to the realization that bringing my mom home no longer an option my dad and I set out to find a facility that will best care for her needs. Over the past two days we visited Chenal Heights, Little Rock Healthcare, Northridge, and Presbyterian Village. Our choice, as of now, is Presbyterian Village. I know, many of you may have many kind recommendations on places that your family members have been; right now I do not need to hear them. Sorry and thank you, but I have to be honest. 

My mom was pretty agitated yesterday. She gets pretty over-stimulated during visiting hours and can become upset. Yesterday was my turn for her to not like me. She was pretty agitated with me from the moment my dad and I walked in the room, even though she didn't know who I was. Her condition was the same today, and they decided to start a new drug regimen to see if it helps control the combativeness. Today, during the last 15 minutes we were visiting she had calmed down enough to say "I love you" back to me. Those are words I will never take for granted again.

I went to talk with a pastor at Fellowship this morning with Eleanor and my dad. I think the best advice he gave us, something I have not prepared myself for, is that though we may be ready for her to die and finally be at peace, with that is going to come a finality. Though our mom is basically already gone now, we can still touch her, occasionally hear "I love you" and see her face. Once she dies, she will be gone. For five years I have been loosing pieces, but for it all to be gone - for that I am selfishly not ready.

My dad and I spent some time this afternoon looking at the pictures Ashley took. What a sweet memory for us to cherish of my beautiful mom! 

We hope you will join with our family as we rejoice in the miracle of our Savior's birth this week. What joy we have to be called His and to know that we will one day be home with Him.


Merry Christmas with Love,

Mare


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mom Update 12/21/2008

Dear Friends and Family,

Today was the second full day for Mom to be on the medications. We are still seeing severe swings in her mood. We are hoping this will become more stable as the dosage is regulated and she is finally able to sleep. She slept eight hours last night (she probably has not slept eight hours in the past week). She was much more alert for our afternoon visiting hour. She was walking (wandering) with her favorite CNA, Amber. She was a bit agitated, as well. 

When my dad and I went back for our thirty minute evening visit she was much more medicated after becoming increasingly agitated this evening. She was crying, hallucinating, and trying to get out of the wheelchair she was strapped into. I sang "You are my sunshine" and "Jesus Loves Me" to help her calm down. I was able to tell her how much I love her and how special she is. My dad did the same. I know she might not remember, but we will.

After talking to my mom's nurse today, the reality that she will come back to live at home is not practical. Even if the medication regulates her mood, she will require 24-hour care. This is something we all agree will be best in a nursing home specializing in Alzheimer's that provides lock down (to assure my mom cannot wander out). My dad and I are going to look at a facility tomorrow morning. 

I can't thank you enough for your emails, prayers, and comments. They are so uplifting and to know that you are thinking of us means so much.

Love,

Mare

Mom Update - 12/20/2008

Dear Friends and Family,

I have been sitting at my computer for the past hour, trying to figure out the most appropriate way to write this email. To be honest, I think I could sit here all night. I don't know the most appropriate way to write it, or if there even is one. I waited to write this email until I made it to Little Rock and was able to see my mom and have a better understanding of our situation. Over the past week to ten days the progression of my mom's disease has been tremendous. She became increasingly agitated and combative and was admitted to UAMS for an overnight stay. During her stay she was evaluated by a team of doctors from the Center on Aging. They determined the following:
- Evaluating dementia on a scale of one to seven, with seven being the most severe and advanced, my mom was rated as a six.
- At that point, the average time patients live is 6 months to two years.

It was recommended that my mom be sent to the Baptist Hospital Geriatric Psychiatric Ward in order for them to regulate her medication and get her combativeness under control (The doctor would not release her to come home because she was a danger to herself and others). It is the doctor's hope, as well as our family's, that we can get her behavior controlled enough to bring her back home with us. Once she is home, Hospice will come into our home to help regulate her medications. The average stay in the Geriatric Psych is 7-10 days. If they cannot get her behavior regulated with these meds, our next option will be a nursing home. 

So, these are facts, but how is my mom? Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw today when I walked into the ward. The last time I saw my mom was when you did - in the pictures that Ashley took. Her decline was so quick and drastic. She is not sleeping (caused by the Alzheimer's) which is causing her to be weak. She was hallucinating today when I visited her, and slurred almost all of her words. She became violent last night so they had to give her extra meds today, adding to her weak state. Tonight, I visited my mom with George and Eleanor. She was a bit more alert, but very tired. She asked George and me to take her home with us, which was heart-breaking. I keep having to assure myself that she no longer thinks as we do, she has crossed into a different place and what she says one minute she forgets the next.

How is my family? We are devastated and grieving together. Watching her suffer is unbearable. We are thankful we have no regrets and are able to rest assured knowing that she will be with the Lord when He calls her home. She has been ready to go to her Heavenly home for so long and has been so open about her Blessed Assurance. Right now we are praying she gets to see Him soon.

I love you all,

Mare

Monday, December 15, 2008

Family Pictures by Ashley Carson Photography

While Reid and I were in Little Rock for Thanksgiving, Ashley Carson took our family portrait. It was really important to George, Eleanor, and me that we pictures while my mom was still aware of what was going on. Seeing how things have declined so quickly since these pictures were taken, I am so thankful we have them and will always remember our sweet Mama the way she looked the day we took these pictures.

I wanted you all to have the chance to see them, too. Hope you enjoy and think about using Ashley if you live in Little Rock!

Go to http://www.ashleycarsonphotography.com
click on 'proofing' in the upper right side of the page
the password is 'bain'

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sally

I learned shortly after writing my previous post that my mom's friend in the mirror has a name - Sally. We have no idea where this came from, except that my mom had a childhood friend by the same name. She is spending mor and more time with Sally in the dining room mirror. My mom even told my sweet dad he could visit her in the dining room anytime he wanted. Naturally, my dad had a clever idea like asking my mom if she would mind if he took Sally on a date sometime. At least we still have our sense of humor!

To be honest, I thought the grieving would be easier once we passed the stage where she was so confused, crying all the time, wanting to die, not wanting to die, being scared, feeling bad she was making my dad take care of her. But, selfishly, it isn't. You begin to realize how quickly their time has gone. You wonder why you weren't allowed just one more "good" year. You wonder how they wake up every morning with just a little more gone. You wonder how much longer she will recognize your face.

It is when I ask myself those questions that I find such comfort in Psalm 139:13-16. Take a minute to read it, I hope it touches you too.

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." -Psalm 139:16


-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Never Alone

The  year ‘s end is quickly approaching, meaning that my blog has been up and running for nearly  sixteen months. Sixteen months of our journey has been charted. Unfortunately, I have been less than diligent to record every happening. Sometimes it seems to hard, and lately I find myself  selfishly shamed by the progression of my mom’s Disease.  In fact, it is for this very reason that I have put off writing this post.

While home for Thanksgiving I witnessed for the first time the uncontrollable jerking spasms in her arms. It prohibits her from holding drinks, food, etc. as she does not even realize they are occurring. An appointment with a neurologist has been made, and I am sure he will tell us it is all part of the progression of this Disease I am hating more and more each day. On the bright side, I am thankful that she doesn’t realize she has these unusual movements. Sadly, however, it is a reminder to all those around her , who love her so dearly, that she is getting worse.

For the past month, or so, my mom has been obsessed with something in the dining room at my parents house. One wall in that room is mirrored, and knowing she has been curious about her reflection for a while  I naturally assumed it had something to do with that.  Just recently I found out she has started spending several hours a day in the mirror in the dining room talking to herself. I don’t know if she knows it is her  that she is talking to, but she must feel comfort from the familiarity of the face and voice.

I hesitated to share this. It is so personal, what I consider to be the most personal thing I have shared thus far in my journey with you over the past year. I know my old Mom. I know what a strong, self-sufficient, social woman she was. I think this was what she feared when she  was diagnosed. Loosing control of herself.

While I am “Debbie Downer” most of the time when thinking about my mom, my Auntie Joye and Reid both brought up great thoughts that have humbled me – my mom may not be well, but she is, for the most part, happy, and certainly loved.

These are lyrics to one of my favorite new songs by Jim Brickman and Lady Antebellum:

Never Alone

May the angels protect you

Trouble neglect you

And heaven accept you when its time to go home

May you always have plenty

The glass never empty

Know in your belly

You're never alone

May your tears come from laughing

You find friends worth having

With every year passing

They mean more than gold

May you win but stay humble

Smile more than grumble

And know when you stumble

You're never alone

Chorus: 

Never alone

Never alone

I'll be in every beat of your heart

When you face the unknown

Wherever you fly

This isn't goodbye

My love will follow you stay with you

Baby you're never alone

well

I have to be honest

As much as I wanted

I'm not gonna promise that the cold winds won't blow

So when hard times have found you

And your fears surround you

Wrap my love around you

You're never alone

Chorus 

May the angels protect you

Trouble neglect you

And heaven accept you when its time to go home

And when hard times have found you

And your fears surround you

Wrap my love around you

You're never alone

Chorus 

My love will follow you stay with you

Baby you're never alone 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A bit out of touch


I thought "Mare Moments" were over...I hate to say it, but they are not.

I like to say I am pretty up-to-date with the latest, greatest gadgets. I have a husband who loves electronics and truly uses the million GB iPod, emails like crazy on his Blackberry, was fitted at the Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist for noise reducing earphone tips - yes that is my man! That said, I enjoy catching up on the newest product releases - phones, game boxes, computers, and especially cameras. Reid's dad has a love of photography and one day I hope to be able to capture images as well as he does. 

I was looking on the Best Buy web site the other night at new cameras. My last camera was given to me for Christmas my sophomore year of college. In the world of technology, you could say things have changed just a bit since then. The amount of mega pixels have doubled, cameras have gotten smaller, and they now even come in really cute colors! I was also shocked when I noticed there seemed to be a hide-a-key in the side of these new cameras, too! How convenient. I imagined myself as a freshman, going to a function, not wanting to take a purse, and having somewhere so convenient to hide my key! I kept noticing that many different models had this feature - Nikon, Canon, Sony - what an idea!

Then, somehow, my IQ jumped 10 points and I realized the key on the side of the camera was to give an indication of just how small the device pictured actually was. Real cool, I know. This is the season for giving and I thought everyone deserved a laugh at my expense.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Women Win Again!

REMEMBER THIS AT CHRISTMAS TIME
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and 
female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.  
Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. 

Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl. 

We should've known... ONLY women would be able to drag a fat-ass man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How They Roll

When I say Luke and Emme get cuter everyday I am not being biased - there are pictures to prove it!

The first was from this morning. We were playing in the playroom and Emme and I left to get her and Luke a snack. When we returned we found Luke playing blocks with his "Luke" figure he made at school. *note that he is also wearing goggles!







Later this evening after dinner (their parents went to eat with some friends) I told the kids it was almost time to take a bath. A few minutes later I walked into the kids bathroom to find Emme "ready" for her bath. The sweet girl loves water, and thankfully doesn't know how to turn on the bath yet!






Hope you enjoyed a glimpse of what my fun days are like!
-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Late Thankful Thought

I looked at my Mom yesterday while we were driving to Sheridan. She was sitting in the backseat of our car and looked so peaceful at times. I am thankful that I am still able to spend time with her, that I see glimpses of my old mom from time to time, and that she feels what can only be explained as the Lord's peace. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.



-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time-Out

Luke was sent to his room for time-out when we returned home from the grocery store yesterday. He desperately wanted to watch a video (or Backyardigans episode) and I told him he had to eat lunch first. This didn't go over very well for Luke the (tired) three year old and he threw a fit. While he was in his room I took the opportunity to bring the rest of the grocery bags in from the car. After about five minutes I walked into his room and found this...








That's right, sound asleep in five minutes! What a funny little Lukie he is!

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, November 14, 2008

Brothers and Sisters


There is a lot to be said for the bond siblings share. I think about this bond everyday that I watch Luke and Emerson interact with each other. They know just how to heal a hurt or throw salt in a fresh wound. However, at the core of their tiny beings it is obvious they love each other immensely.

Today, I drove through the car wash with both kids. Luke thinks this is a real treat while Emerson is less convinced. When Emme started to cry Luke reached out and grabbed her hand, and in that moment her crying stopped.

This picture was actually taken about a month ago, but it was the best one I had to show you their true brother and sister bond.


-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mom B




I thought I would offer a laugh in the midst of the crap that is the presidential election of 2008. This is a picture of the Pi Phi house mother, Mom B. I just love her! She is a sweet southern belle who is a bit old to still be keeping tabs on college girls. This is how we would often find her "napping" in her living room. One time we thought she had passed away on that couch and made Kenneth the cook go check her pulse. 


To clarify about a previous post titled "2003 Step Show" I did not participate in that activity. My boss, Lenny, asked me to show him my step moves and I assumed that anyone who knows me and watched the video would know there is no way I could ever move like that. I will, however, always envy a girl who can step!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just For Fun

I stole this from my friend, mikel!

Looks like Mare isn't very bold.............

Bold the things you've done:

1. Started your own blog

2
. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland 
8. Climbed a mountain 
9. Held a praying mantis 
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped 
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea 
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables 
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train 
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (Yes, I hated Walgreens that much!)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb 
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon 
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse 
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run 
32. Been on a cruise 
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community 
36. Taught yourself a new language 
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing 
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke 
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant 
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight 
46. Been transported in an ambulance 
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing 
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris 
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling 
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater 
55. Been in a movie 
56. Visited the Great Wall of China 
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen 
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies 
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma 
65. Gone sky diving 
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp 
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter 
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy 
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial 
71. Eaten Caviar 
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle 
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person 
80. Published a book 
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car 
83. Walked in Jerusalem 
84. Had your picture in the newspaper 
86. Visited the White House 
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury 
91. Met someone famous 
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake 
97. Been involved in a law suit 

98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mom meets Ora

If you think about it today say a prayer for my mom. She meets her new caregiver, Ora, and we are all anxious to see how the day turns out. My dad said my mom is excited about her coming, but I have to wonder how much she understands and remembers from the last caregiver that didn't end up working out. My dad is hopeful, but I am much more cautious of getting my hopes up that we have found a perfect fit for mom. I will give an update at the end of the day tomorrow.

BTW, I am going to my first Celebrate Recovery meeting tomorrow night. It is an awesome program that is done in churches all over the country. It was kind of a must from my counselor. She thinks it will be good for me to process through my life-long struggle with anxiety, anger and grief over losing my mom, etc. I am really looking forward to it and will let you know if I do anything terribly awkward my first night there!

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, October 31, 2008

2003 Step Show

Step Show was yesterday at U of A and Pi Phi finished 2nd to Zeta. I have been homesick for college all day and thought I would share one of the many (social) reasons I would love to go back! The video below is from the year Pi Phi placed 1st! It was so exciting and began and long standing rivalry with Zeta! Go Angels!



Monday, October 27, 2008

Mom, Cash, & "Toby"

My mom went to stay with my aunt in Sheridan for a couple of days to give my dad a break. One of the main reasons my mom doesn't like to leave home anymore is because she can't always take her dachshund, Toby. Well, my aunt quickly realized a solution - to tell her their dachshund, Sadie, is Toby and that he has just gained a little weight. It works like a charm as you can see in the picture! Mom is happy as a clam with her "Toby."

Cash is also a real treat for my mom! Her great nieces and nephews are probably going to be the closest thing to grandchildren that she is able to experience and my aunt is always more than happy to share them with her! Cash is snuggled up with my mom in the pictures below.








-- Post From My iPhone

How Luke Rolls

This is how Luke came to the door when I told him it was time to leave to go to the park. Yes, that is a Spider Man electric toothbrush in one pocket and a glow stic in the other pocket of his jeans. Highly appropriate for a morning at the park, don't you think?








-- Post From My iPhone


Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Ride


I am traveling in style back to Dallas! Pray the Uhaul remains my friend this trip.

My dad wanted me to write something clever like, "Here I am 'hauling' ass." Oh, that dad of mine.


-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Where The Wild Things Are

I think this picture is so cute! Reid was reading his favorite kid's book to Luke and Em when we kept them one night a few weeks ago. They were pretty happy to be rocking and Reid just like the excuse to read the book.



-- Post From My iPhone

Reid is Home

I thought I would give a little update about Reid's exciting job news...he will be staffed on a case in Dallas between now and Jan 1! We are so excited to be living together that we have even tossed around the idea of getting a king size bed! Our reasons for needing and wanting one will be left for another post, but I am sure any of my friends would agree with Reid that I am not a kind sleeper. ;)


-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Guess what I found at the library?


Today I was at the library with Luke, Emerson, and their Nana (Ginny). It is a children's library called Bookmarks in Northpark Mall here in Dallas and is a really cute place to take the kids. Luke loves the computer that he can't mess up and picking out books and a DVD every week or two. It is a really great place!

Well, as we were rounding up the troops I noticed a book, actually a children's book, titled Barack Obama! It was displayed nicely next to some 100 page text book about John McCain's military service that looked totally kid unfriendly (the library does not yet have the children's book recently written by McCain's daughter).  I picked up the Barack Obama book and began to flip through, enraged that now people are reading to their children about a man who really has no historical significance in our nation to date, besides being the first African America to run for President.  So, with moral support of Ginny, I decided to check out the book with two objectives in mind: 1) to play a little joke on my very conservative boss and leave it next to his bed for nighttime reading, and 2) to take the book so no one else would see it before the election (checkout time for books is exactly 3 weeks). 

I know it is only one book in one library, but I still feel liberated.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Comments about last post...Or lack thereof...

I might have already scared many of you away with the last post. I have always erred on the side of being too open. Maybe you see it as a fault when reading my blog; I see it as a strength. How will I ever know if what I am learning and sharing about God is impacting other's in His name if I don't share and give people the opportunity to reflect (whether you comment or not)? I won't if I don't share openly and honestly - to let it all pour out - the ugly and the beautiful. 

I am in a valley. What I would venture to call the deepest valley of my Walk with God. It isn't easy. Some days are proving to be better than others, but that doesn't mean my time won't still be rich. 

So, if you have a comment, it was not fair of me to "revoke" your privileges in leaving it. I will deal if you tell me, yet again, why God hasn't healed my mom, and I would love to know your take on grief. Grief at any stage, over any loss, in any season of your life. I am understanding it is never easy. Thank you for your support. Even being able to see the cities you are reading from is a huge encouragement to keep sharing.

Mare 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

From Denial to Grief

It is amazing what denial can do to a person. My mom was diagnosed five years ago this past Spring and I have held every ounce of grief inside since the day she was diagnosed. The exception is a "good" cry I might have every other month or so, but nothing significant. I have dealt with my emotions in true Bain fashion - make a joke, put on a smile, tell just enough to get by without bringing tears to the surface. This has proven not healthy after several doctors visits because of numb hands, heart palpitations, migraines - all factors of increased emotional stress and anxiety. Last Friday, however, something inside me changed. I cried, and have cried everyday since (almost a week). Not in a "hitting rock-bottom" kind of way, but a healthy, pained by realization way that made my neck loosen a bit. I also had my second visit with Cynthia, my counselor, this week. It was so refreshing to have someone facilitate the conversation and help me articulate the feelings I have kept bottled up for these five years.

*(Please excuse the William Faulkner style writing)
The biggest revelation I have had in counseling is that I am angry and have not yet grieved the loss of my mother. I am angry that my mom is suffering; angry that such a wonderful mother is sick being taken away when there are terrible mothers who are not sick; angry that my mom will not see me raise my children; angry that I can't remember how she used to smell. I am so angry that she doesn't always remember who I am; angry that the world is an imperfect place; angry that five years has gone by so quickly; angry that she will not get to make my children clothes like she did for me and Eleanor; angry she gets scared of dying; I am angry that she wants to die. I am angry that the medicine doesn't seem to help; angry that there aren't any research trials she can try; angry that she might not see my brother and sister choose a spouse one day; angry that she doesn't remember my wedding day; angry that none of her friends know how to act toward her; angry that my dad is loosing his wife; angry that my brother; sister and I are so young to have a dying parent; angry that my mom is dying at only 56; angry that Alzheimer's is hereditary is some instances; I'm angry that, though it is within God's power, he hasn't healed my mom.

I am working through this last statement with a book called Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb. If you are reading  this post, I understand you may have an answer as to why God has not healed my mom. I, too, know this answer and will scream if I hear it again! I still love God, but God and I are working through some things right now. Please let us do that. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sarah on theknot.com

How exciting is this? Our friends Sarah and Steve were married last summer in Cincinnati (it was one of the many weddings we attended). Sarah is featured on Theknot.com in a video called "Wedding Style: Shopping with a real bride, Sarah." She was with her mother-in-law in NYC and was desperate to find a dress because the wedding was quickly approaching. It is a funny story that Sarah tells because she said Steve's mom was mortified Sarah bought a dress without her mom there (Sarah's mom had a prior commitment and couldn't make it out that weekend). Sarah is precious and the video is a great memory for her to have!

click this link and Sarah's video is the 5th on the webpage.

http://weddings.theknot.com/theknottv/knot_tv_ondemand.aspx?MsdVisit=1

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So long, my friends

I don't have much to say after tonight's debate. I really don't think anything, and I do mean anything, new was said as far as the candidates politics go. Oh well, less than a month until the elections and from an earthly perspective it looks like America is going down the crapper. My dad has much harsher words when we talk. McCain used the line, "My friends," during the debate tonight and when it was over my dad called and said, "Well, McCain might as well have just said, 'So long, my friends.' " I am really glad I can rest assured knowing that God already knows who is going to win.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In Christ Alone



My mom and sister had a special day together recently. Some things were said and done that have made me continually call to mind the lyrics of the song "In Christ Alone." I have agreed not to share the conversation that took place between my mom and sister, for the sake of keeping some things special and private for just our family. I will, however, tell you that my mom is talking more and more about God, Heaven, and being at peace with Him "taking" her. I want to clarify something. My mom is tired, she says she is tired. She knows she is saved, and for her there is no fear in death. All of this to say, no, I don't think she is going to die soon. I think when you are losing your mind, sometimes you come to terms with dying before you ever near that final stage. I find it amazing that the most anger my mom has ever shown about her disease is asking why it had to happen to us. Questioning is normal. I find myself much more angry and I am not even the one stuck with a decaying mind. Anyway, to give you an idea of her strength and the peace that the Lord has left in her soul I have chosen these words by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty:

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

*to hear the song above you will need to pause the playlist at the lower right side of my blog.

Doesn't Sound American To Me




I really don't have much to say about this video. I saw it on Fox News and almost fell out of my chair. I am hoping someone is just messing around, but the video was made in Venice, CA and I know from personal experience that crazy crap goes down in those parts. Judging from this video, if Obama wins then we will could be hearing children sing this song for the next four years. Yikes, it doesn't even sound American to me!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nine Years


This Sunday I will turn 24 years-old. My mom won't remember on her own, but I will call her and tell her the story she told me about my birth when I was a little girl. I will remind her how long it took my dad to get ready to take her to the hospital after her water broke. How I was delivered at 4:55 am at just over 8 lbs and 21 inches. 

I can't help but thinking that I am now only nine years younger than she was when I was born. My parents were both older when they met and married (mom was 32 and dad 41). I keep thinking if I can just get a few years head start of when she and my dad did, then my kids will be older if I inherit this terrible disease. I could have nine extra years with my kids. That could be time to see all of them get graduate, marry, and have children. 

I know what you are thinking, "Mare, do you just sit around and think of the saddest crap possible?" No, but I am sorry I can be a Debbie Downer. I don't know why this birthday has made me so emotional. I can barely talk about it without getting upset. My mom always made birthdays special and it reminds me how much I miss my old mom. 

*One of my fave pics: my cousins Caroline and Susan on either side of me and a little friend in front of us. We were all at a dress up birthday party in LR.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

AR Alpha Pi Phi's Get Balfour Again!

UA sorority named top chapter for second time

BY MARSHA L. MELNICHAK Northwest Arkansas Times

Posted on Monday, September 22, 2008

URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/69383/

 

Members of the University of Arkansas chapter of Pi Beta Phi received the coveted and prestigious Balfour Cup honoring their chapter as the best internationally for the second time in a row at ceremonies Sunday on the lawn of the sorority house in Fayetteville.

“ These days, it is not that often a chapter is able to continually achieve at a high level. It’s tough to win the Balfour Cup the first time, but it is darn near impossible to win it two years in a row, ” said National President Emily Russell Tarr of Texarkana.

If it is won a third time, it is retired to the sorority house.

The cup is presented annually to the most outstanding Pi Beta Phi chapter, based on financial management, community service and philanthropic activities, scholarship, risk management, campus leadership and involvement.

The university’s Arkansas Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi won the award four times before this year, in 1945, 1946, 1947 and last year.

“ This is the top award our organization gives. They are the top out of 131 chapters in the United States and Canada, ” Tarr said.

The national president spoke about the ideals and values of Greek life as portrayed by the Arkansas Alpha chapter.

“ Greek is a lot more than just a social network. Being Greek is about honor and integrity. It’s about learning leadership skills and about having the opportunity to use those skills to benefit others. Being Greek is about personal and intellectual growth, ” Tarr said.

Before making the cup presentation, Tarr also presented awards to the chapter for excellence in community service and philanthropy activities, the Panhellenic award for large chapters, and a silver tray for reaching phi level, the highest rank a chapter can achieve. The Balfour Cup recipient was chosen from among the nine chapters to reach that level of excellence.

The Panhellenic award is presented for a spirit of interaction with other groups. The word Panhellenic means all-Greek. The Pi Beta Phi sorority is the first chapter to receive the Panhellenic achievement award on the Arkansas campus, Tarr said.

As an example of why the Arkansas chapter won the Balfour Cup, Tarr cited proceeds from the chaptersponsored 5 K run being used to decorate and stock a children’s library and to donate to First Book, an organization that provides disadvantaged children with new books.

UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart described the group’s second win of the Balfour Cup as “ close to unprecedented, ” “ absolutely incredible ” and “ absolutely fantastic. ”

He told those at Sunday’s event, “ You all ought to be very, very proud of that. ”

“ Winning the Balfour Cup really shows the wide spectrum of work we do for the community and the difference we can make. It really shows our values and what we’re about than what some people might think, ” said Hillary Swanton of Waco, Texas, president of the 263-member sorority.

Megan McClellan of Bentonville, a senior, said sometimes people not involved in sororities and fraternities don’t recognize their philanthropy and involvement in the community.

She wants people to see that “ it’s more than just parties. It’s more than just functions. We’re getting out and winning national awards. We’re the best Phi Pi chapter in the world. ”

Bekha Hale, past president of the UA chapter, urged the members attending Sunday’s celebration to keep the momentum and teamwork going.

“ Let’s make this a trifecta and bring the Balfour home to stay at Arkansas Alpha, ” she said.

Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

 

Just Wait 'til 2030


Don't worry, guys, when Reid runs for President in 2030 he will solve all of America's problems - economic and political. He might have a goofy smile like these politicians, but he has much better business sense (at least at 25). I am also working on a post as to why I will make a great First Lady - stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cardiologist Visit

I had my visit with the cardiologist today. The good news is that after a long visit, with lots of tests, I was told my heart looks great! Bad news is that the reason my heart feels like it palpitates is due to a high stress level. I guess I internalize a lot more about my mom than I even realized, obviously enough to make my heart palpitate! Yikes! I made an appointment to go and talk to a great Christian counselor about practical ways I can try to manage my stress/worries. I know, I have already been told to"Lay all my worries at Jesus' feet." Not to knock it, but sometimes it is a lot easier said than done. I struggle with control, and when I can't be there to see what is going on with my mom then I worry and worry equals stress. Blah!

Don't Hate Me 'Cause I'm Tacky


I just thought it was funny. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Great First Day

Today was my mom's first day to be left with Karen, her new companion. Everything was great. I think, more than anything, my mom finally felt relief that she wasn't a burden to anyone today. Karen was there to take care of her, and that put my mom at ease. They had a great morning. Karen arrived at 9 a.m. They took it easy, went on a walk, spent a lot of the morning outside. Karen was able to get my mom showered and dressed with no issues. She even let my mom help pick out what clothes she was going to wear today. I know my mom loved getting to do that! They headed to Fresh Market for lunch this afternoon and then headed back home to spend more of the afternoon around the house. My mom didn't cry until late this afternoon. About 20 minutes before my dad got home. Only crying once in a day is huge progress, especially with such a big change! I am so thankful for that. 

My dad did pretty well with leaving her. I think it will be a bigger adjustment for him in the long run. I was able to talk to him this evening and he said leaving her today further proved that she really is getting worse, and that she isn't going to get better. It will be an adjustment. An adjustment not to feel like you aren't leaving the person you love behind. The bottom line is my mom is happy and excited about tomorrow. Right now we can't ask for more.

My Best Dressed Picks of the Emmys




While I was not impressed with the actual awards show I did enjoy watching E!'s red carpet coverage of all the stars. My pick for best dressed was Evangeline Lilly in a gorgeous metallic dress by Ellie Saab. Coming in at a close second and third were Cynthia Nixon in Calvin Klein and Felicity Huffman in Reem Acra. Oh, to be a star!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dallas Zoo with Lauren and Annalise

Happy Fall!



Thank goodness the first day of Fall is tomorrow! The kids and I have been so excited that the Texas heat is slowly making its way out of the state. The weather has been so much nicer over the past week or so, and I am looking forward to more Fall-like weather over the next months to come. Nice weather means we can finally play at the park without the risk of a heat stroke! This week when we pulled up to the park on Thursday the kids were so excited they started screaming and clapping! These are the pictures I snapped of their excited faces. Yay, for Fall weather!

Emme and the Taco Bell Man


On Friday we were playing at the Galleria. We had finished lunch only minutes earlier, but Emerson was intrigued by a man standing by the play area watching his kids while eating his Taco Bell lunch. She was so interested that she crawled up onto the bench next to him to check it out and stayed there until I made her leave him alone. I am pretty sure she has never even tasted Taco Bell, but the way she was staring you would have thought it was her favorite food in the whole world. It was hilarious!