Home…

The saying “Home is where the heart is” speaks volumes in truth. If we allow Jesus to restore our heart and make it his dwelling for the word and truth, there our home shall truly be no matter where we are in this world.

Take a listen to this song called “Home” by Bethel Music… By the way, I LOVE them  and I wish I had discovered them earlier (dare I say my affections are a bit higher than my admiration for Hillsong). I can imagine being in my little hide-away cabin in the mountains on a rainy day with all my windows open, drinking hot tea in a big slouchy sweater with all of Bethel’s music playing on my home stereo system (in my dream of course my entire house would be wired with the most incredible sound system known to man… this is going to happen one day).

The Smell of Spring Makes Me Gag….

photo cred: http://jillianinga.blogspot.com/2011/03/bradford-pear-trees.html.

It’s coming…SPPPRRRIINGGG! I love how beautiful it is, but I am not looking forward to my allergies going crazy nor all of the crazy smells. Though the first day of spring is still a few days away (March 20th), we are already experiencing the spoils of the new season. Daylight Saving happened a couple of Sundays ago, so it’s brighter longer. It’s warm! Today we had a high of 81 degrees!

I have been in recovery from the flu for a couple of weeks now so my appetite is just now coming back. The issue with this is that I am not consuming a normal amount of food and my tummy is pretty weak, so I am feeling lightheaded a lot.

Today, I was driving home from Zumba class and I was already feeling a bit woozy. I opened my windows to get some fresh air, but I got more than I bargained. My sniffer was turned on…what the heck was I smelling? I kept checking myself, I mean I did just work up quite the sweat, but it wasn’t me. It was the weirdest B.O. type smell and I couldn’t quite place it. Frankly, I was trying to figure out if it was a male or female odor. As I was riding along, I noticed all of the new foliage blooming. Beautiful white-flowered trees. At that moment I knew they were the culprits, but I didn’t know the type of tree.

So when I got home, I decided to look them up. My actual Google search terms were ” spring trees that smell like fish.”  AH HA! BRADFORD PEAR TREES! They stink.These trees are very common in Georgia. They are all over the place. My entire neighborhood is covered with these landscaped trees. The search results were overwhelming in smell references – not in the variety, but just in the sentiment. Fish was one, then chlorine, and then *gasp* semen. I am dying… I don’t I disagree with any of these.

The pollen is coming… can’t wait to see the pollen count on the news every day. I better stock up on Claritin and Benadryl now.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Conversations With Parents: Mom and Ray – “Farts”

So by the title of this post, you probably already know what you are getting ready to experience. Let me preface with the disclosure that there was no gas passed or mimicked during this conversation.

I was in the kitchen, making sugar body scrubs for a Bridal Shower that is happening this weekend and my mom was in the living room watching TV. My stepdad, Ray, comes into the kitchen and we begin…

Ray: Whatcha makin’ Reese? (yes… another nickname) Honey, she’s got food over here!

Me: I’m making a sugar scrub; it’s for your body.

Ray: Oh [turns and begins talking to my mom in the living room]. Honey you know what happened? I was laying in the bed and I lifted up one of the pillows, and the fart was still there.

Mom: Huh? The fart was still there?

Ray: [laughing] The fart. I lifted up the pillow….and…the fart… it was there…

Mom: You mean the smell of the fart?

Ray: Yea [giggling] it was there!

Mom: An “old fart”

Ray: That’s what they call old men… and old women are “old biddies.” Dana you are too young to understand this conversation.

Dana: [still mixing the scrub, pretending to be deaf not making eye contact with anyone]

Mom: “Old Maids” are old women.

Ray: Yea! Get the table out, Baby we gotta play some cards.

I still have questions about this…Who farted under the pillow? How long ago did it happen for it to linger under the pillow? How does this even happen? Anyway…I got a good laugh, as always.

I’m a Licensed Realtor!

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Yep! I haven’t been very forthcoming with this information, but one of the things I have been pursuing is Real Estate. I started the class to study for my license back in October.I finished the class in the beginning of January. I took my class final on January 20th and then I took the state licensing exam on January 26th. Then I joined Keller Williams Realty on January 30th. So far, things have been good. I am definitely overwhelmed with information and wondering how this all works out. So, thanks for your prayers! I hope one day to be the top selling agent in GA!

I took headshots this past Tuesday… I think they turned out pretty fabulous. If you are interested in purchasing, selling, or investing in Real Estate in the State of Georgia, I would love the opportunity to work with you!

DanaSellsGA@gmail.com
www.DanaSellsGA.com

In The End…

So…

Ten days ago, I was preparing emotionally, physically, and spiritually for my dad’s surgery. Tonight, I am getting ready for bed as I prepare to close my eyes for the last time at my dad’s house (for this visit anyway). I am experiencing a little pain in my heart right now because I am not really ready to leave, but tomorrow begins a whole new set of activities and commitments.

Being a caregiver is extremely difficult. If you want to see what your personal struggles really are, be a caregiver for a couple of weeks. If you want to see the level of selfishness and other bad character traits you still have to have refined, be a caregiver. There were plenty of times when all I could think about was what I needed to get done, what I wanted to do, how the things at hand would inconvenience me. I had to readjust my attitude a lot, and alsoI had to push through those selfish feelings. Thinking about that, and also just how much my dad has suffered makes me sad that my thoughts weren’t also generous. The reality is that those are perfectly normal emotions. When it came to my actions, they were for the benefit of my dad. For the most part, my selfish desires did not win. I did make time to go to the gym and I also got to have dinner with a friend from elementary school. While it’s important to really hold in priority the needs of the person for which you are caring, it is very important to take care of self. I have experienced, on a very small scale, how you can become exhausted and run down in this role. I can’t even fathom what it would be like on a longer scale. I have a dear friend who’s husband has been ill for four years and is now unable to work. Her life has changed drastically and I know it has worn her down a lot (though you don’t know specifics, please keep her and her family in prayer).

Growing up, I wasn’t really close to my father; however, our relationship began to strengthen around five years ago. I had to learn to forgive him for the past and be willing to move on with the relationship in a positive way. I am glad that the Lord has prepared my heart and increased my capacity to love my dad and see him the way God does. I am very grateful.

There were a couple of days when I had to pray to get through the day. I was running low on sleep. I was frustrated with work stuff, and also anxious for having to forego some real estate training that would have been good to do, but in the end would not have been beneficial in the current circumstances – my dad’s health was more important than my participation in these activities.

One day I was so frustrated because I had already been up at 11:30pm, 12:30am and 2:30am, I was startled at 5:30am when my dad was on the floor and couldn’t get up. He had tried to go to the bathroom on his own. I was very cranky because just the two days before I was running low on sleep due to the medication schedule. Additionally, I was growing incredibly fearful that my dad was impacted because he could not move his bowels. It is not uncommon for surgery patients to experience difficulty with their GI tract moving smoothly after surgery. Anesthesia and narcotic pain medications will slow everything down greatly, but it is important to make sure some kind of movement happens within a week or so. We were getting close tot hat time and I was getting desperate. I was scouring the discharge papers, calling the nurse, and panicking a little. On this day after getting my dad situated in the bed again after his legs gave way, I went back to bed and listened to the Bible app as I am trying to get through the Bible chronologically. I kept having crazy thoughts enter my mind and I couldn’t focused. I finally got to the point where I cried out to God (and shed some tears) and asked him to please help my dad and that I needed to have confirmation he was going to be OK when I left. I could not leave if he was still struggling with something that could be so dangerous. I have been able to be home wth my dad 24/7 for the past 10 days. He will have some of my aunts coming to check on him during the day, but no one will be here with him full time. I am glad his girlfriend is living here so at least someone is here overnight and in the early morning (though I am not happy about them living together). After praying, I was able to go ahead and get the day started. I also ended up having to give my dad a suppository and everything was good to go. Since then, my dad has been getting better and better. He still has some weakness in his legs and pain when getting up and sitting down, but I can tell he is getting stronger and God has answered my prayer to see progress so that I feel released to leave tomorrow and feel confident about his wellbeing.

Well, it’s time to close my eyes.

Lord give me strength tomorrow to trust you with my father because he does belong to you. Jehovah Raffa your strength and healing is so needed. Please make me brave and give me the fortitude to persevere through the unknown. Thank you for your grace. Amen.

One of THOSE Days…

I’m sure you have had one of THOSE days when it seems like a snowball. Coming off of a night where I didn’t get any rest, the morning just shot off almost without warning. I was up every hour or so, the kind of waking that happens when you have a bad dream ( I do remember having some pretty negative dreams last night). Then, of course caring for my dad is nonstop. Food prep, medication, changing bandages, helping to get up and down and all trying to help him maintain his dignity in being in a state that is dependent on those around him, it’s both physically and emotionally challenging.

The previous two nights, I slept through my alarms and thus did not wake up to give my dad his overnight medication dosages. This meant for two days the first thing I woke up to in the morning was my dad screaming in pain. I felt so bad. I think the anxiety from fearing that my dad would be in pain because of me was the reason that I didn’t sleep well. It’s like my brain wouldn’t sleep or rest. And my dream was about the VP of the team where I work reprimanding me and showing disappointment in me (for what reason I don’t know…but it was a dream so whatevs).

Getting up I was exhausted, but I knew that pushing through was important. After making breakfast and doing the morning cleanup and prep, I received some personal email that was emotionally charged – not negatively – just very direct.   I logged on to work and started getting some things done, only realize that I had started the project wrong and had to start over. When I thought I was right, my director let me know it was still wrong (yay). I think by 12pm, I was just so over it that I curled up on the couch in a blanket for a couple of hours.

I got up a little later and looked outside… dang it…snow.. NO! I really wanted to go to Zumba tonight! I know that most people who are used to winter weather are probably saying “Snow? Girl Please, go to the gym!” My only concern is living where I live, winters are typically mild. We are not equipped for snow and ice! Look at what happened last February! The class was canceled last night, so it’s possible tonight may be a repeat. I just want to workout and get some endorphins going.  I  worked out last night, but I wanna dance…. makes me happy…::sigh::

Venting and complaining over…

OK! So, today the snow was so pretty – I haven’t seen snow in a long time. Alright.. Time to get dinner going and to get out of the house to the gym for a little bit.

Recovery…

Back in November I wrote a post about my parents and the woes of aging. I just wanted to give a little bit of an update about everything. My mom is doing well. He calf has healed and she is back on the tennis courts kicking butt and taking names. After all of the appointments with my dad, he decided that he would have surgery. He went into the hospital this past Friday and he had three areas of his spine fused, and areas that didn’t heal from the last surgery were repaired. It was a pretty nerve-wracking experience because in the back of my mind I kept thinking about how that could be the day that I could lose my dad. I guess, in that moment I was exhibiting a lack of faith, though I had been praying that God do a miracle with this surgery. Once I started getting calls from the OR from the correspondence nurse, I started to feel better and I just let go. God’s peace was washing over me.

I did get to see several of my aunts and an uncle (my dad has like 10 or 11 siblings), which is always a good thing. After the surgery was over, the residing surgeon came out to speak with me personally and it was very reassuring. What I liked most was that the hospital was very quiet. My dad had his surgery at Emory Orthopaedic and Spinal Center. There weren’t a bunch of sick people or crazy emergencies. It was a serene and quiet place. The surgery lasted about five hours and my dad was in recovery for almost two hours. When we got up to the room, all of the nurses were awesome. Everyone was personable, respectful, helpful, and knowledgeable. Even the cleaning staff was so sweet. I could not detect an ounce of surliness.

Dad was a remarkable patient and he did well with the physical therapists that were residing over him during his stay. They all complimented him on how well he was doing. The nice thing that my father did for me was get a hotel for the entire stay. We drove down on Thursday night and we both stayed in the room. Then, I stayed in the room each night after his surgery while he was still in the hospital. Caregivers can many times run themselves ragged because the pumping adrenaline and the mindset is steadfast on the person who is hurt or ill. Being able to go to the hospital every morning after having a peaceful night of sleep was such a blessing. I was more alert and attentive to my dad because of it. He also was able to rest and not worry if I was ok in the hospital room with him. Now his girlfriend is another thing. She insisted on being right by his side in the room the entire time. I can tell she really loves and cares for my dad. hmm…

My dad was discharged today (Sunday), which is also a blessing because the weather is predicted to be absolutely miserable tomorrow. Snow, sleet, ice… weather I don’t want to drive in at all. Last year, Atlanta experienced one of the worst winter catastrophes since the blizzard of 1993. Basically, the weather was predicted to be crappy – not a lot of snow, but freezing temperatures. because Atlanta was not really prepared to handle it and people just didn’t listen, all of the major roadways because a parking lot at around 5pm. People were stranded in their cars, people were hitchhiking, people were stuck in restaurants and hotel lobbies overnight. I think there were even a few news reports of  babies being born on side of the road. I mean, it was just bad. The last thing I wanted to do was to possibly get stuck in a repeat of that and be without dad’s meds or worse, have an accident and risk him getting in worse shape. God really had his hand in everything. My dad continued to get better and better each day, and we got to go home a day earlier than expected.

It was nice to get home, get him settled, and go workout. I made the mistake of going to Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon…oy vey! I am blessed to be able to complain about being in a crazy crowded store, so let me take all this in for now. While it’s still scary to see my parents age and have health issues, I am so thankful again that I was obedient to God’s calling for me to come home when I did. I am so thankful to work from home so that I can be with my dad for a week while he gets stronger each day. I am just a spoiled daughter right now. My heavenly father loves me so much and I am feeling it very strongly at this moment. What blows my mind is that God is doing this simultaneously for all of his children. So my blessed weekend is also someone else’s blessed weekend in a totally unique situation.

Here’s a picture of dad as he was being released. I am very blessed to have more time with him. Thank you Lord…Thanks Dr. Rhee and all of the hospital staff!

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Text With Parents: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sitting in a hospital room is not fun and absolutely boring – so here are some more text convos from mom… please keep in mind I am only going to post the ones that are funny here… no reason to air all the dirty laundry, which happens to be hilarious when it’s about the dog.

Mom: (6:42pm)

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Eating and Resting

Aside – ok if you get this in your phone messaging inbox, your first question would be what in the world is that right? I did not alter the colors or anything of this picture. I *think* its a picture of a pizza box. SMH.

Me: (6:43pm) Yall had pizza?

Mom: (6:43pm) Just getting hm (as in home)

Me: (6:43pm) U got pizza?

Mom: (6:45pm) Ray came n wanting to ride out for pizzzzzza

Me: (6:46pm) DID YOU GET IT??????? THE PICTURE IS SO DARK I CANNOT TELL!!!! Stop playing with my emotions :(

Mom: (6:47pm)

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For a queen.

Aside – Momma you is playing now… forreal? Why can’t you just answer meeeeee?! Wait, is she saying I’m not a queen? Did she just throw me some shade?

Me: (6:50pm) Why r u making me jealous that I do not have a love interest? That is not mom-like

Mom: (6:50pm) Im sooooo sorry poopoo

Aside – yes, ‘poopoo’ is one of my many nicknames.

Me: (6:51pm) Lie detector test revealed that is a lie

Mom: (6:65pm) :) My sweet poo pie

Aside – first time with that one, though.

Me: (6:56pm) Y’all playing cards?

Mom: (6:57pm) We just bought new ones getting ready for a showdown

Aside – My mom and stepfather, Ray, play cards every night for hours. They buy new decks weekly because they wear out so much. I think they have a problem.

Me: (6:58pm) Who is the reigning champ? When are the playoffs? Who is in the bracket? Yall got bets going on?

Mom: (7:00pm) Aint nuting to bet sachi is loving her open fence

Aside – this weekend, my stepfather and someone he met at lowes built a new privacy fence on the side yard. Sachi is the dog and now her territory to roam has been increased… yea, he just does all these home improvement things whenever my mom asks. The last project before that was a new driveway to go to the second entrance of the house, which was preceded by having 10 huge trees torn down, which was also preceded by building on a new addition – a sunroom- to the house… I could go on, but I won’t.

Me: (7:00pm) It’s done?? Is she outside??

Mom: (7:03pm) She is and yes it is and she loves it

Me: (7:03pm) She does? Does she play alone or is she needy?

Aside – The dog loves being outside, but she will stare you down through the door like a helpless child if you put her out there alone.

Mom: (7:04pm) She drags out the flower pots. The Book fair set up looks good

Aside – I guess that answers my question….meh…the book fair is something my mom has set up to encourage literacy among the young kids who attend her children’s church class. 

Me: (7:04pm) great! I hope it goes well tomorrow with the fair. Sachi is being a brat now… MORE THAN EVER!

Mom: (7:08pm) R you bac at the motel

Me: (7:09pm) No at the hospital in a dark room watching the avengers movie. I asked daddy and Paulina (aka boo) if they had cards to play. They don’t. They have nothing on you and Ray’s game

Aside – that was the last exchange for the night. I am sure that means my mom and Ray are deep in competition. My dad had back surgery so his girlfriend Paulina and I are with him in the hospital. My life….never gets boring!

Text With Parents: Mom

Sooooo I have interesting conversations with my parents at times…sometimes I am privy to conversations that I don’t really want to hear because they cannot be unheard! Texting is also a very interesting. Below is a snippet into the life of Dana and her family. We are pretty candid. There is usually an undercurrent of snark, fun, and absolute cray-cray.

Background: Mom takes the dog’s (Sachi) comforters at the laundromat. I am not sure why since we had high capacity, front-loading machines. I guess she just likes the industrial ones. Anyway, the fact that this dog gets her linens laundered this way is also insane….she is a dog lol.  (I change no typos or syntax!!!! makes it more real)

Mom: (12:24pm) I’m at the laundrymat with sachis blankets and one wont stop washing so I guess ill leave it

Me: (3:19pm) Did you get the blanket? Sachi wants her blanket

Mom: (3:23pm) Sachi and I just got n from a walk she said she didnt want it haha

Me: (3:26pm) Lie detector test revealed that was a lie

Mom: (4:24pm) Sachi threw up a hunk of bones

I will just stop here… it’s more random after this point, but you get the picture… fun times…fun times…