And God Laughs
I told God my plans and He laughed. So now I am living, laughing, and loving according to His Plans.

Learning to cook!

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My culinary skills have primarily consisted of the following: operating the microwave, stirring contents of a pre-packaged meal in a pot on the stove (i.e., macaroni and cheese, soup, cooking noodles, instant rice, etc.), scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, and dialing a telephone. I supplemented this with no-cook foods like salad, sandwiches, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables and I survived through college and living on my own in Virginia. However, after having gone through an extended period of time when eating was basically impossible and I had the privilege of sampling the range of Gerber baby foods in Stages 1 and 2, I want to cook and savor foods. I also will never, ever again in my life eat mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese (it made me so violently sick), applesauce, cream of anything soup, or anything pureed. I want to enjoy healthy meals and savor the tastes and foods I never thought I would be able to eat again when I was struggling to eat 1/4 cup of pureed mashed potatoes thinned with chicken broth. Thus, I have decided to learn to cook. My first successes unfortunately did not have the opportunity to pose for a photo-shoot. They were a sweet apple sauerkraut, an apple and beet salad, and sesame chicken. It all turned out delicious and there was no need for the fire extinguisher! Pictured above is last night's success, Italian Baked Tomatoes. They have a drizzle of olive oil, seasoned sea salt, oregano, pepper, garlic, and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. The garnish is Basil leaves (which is in the seasoned salt) for aroma and a touch of flavor. It was a wonderful meal, and easy to make!! It may take me longer than most other people, and I may have to make accommodations (like sitting down to do most of the cooking) but the results are just as amazing, if not more so for the extra effort! My next planned meal will be an eggplant and tomato augratin. Also, a huge bonus - I purchased all fresh ingredients for 6 meals this week for $80, which would have been $40 or less had I not needed to buy a stockpile of spices. It is even less expensive than the other meals!! Bonus! And I savor any new independence I can claim!!

Job 8:21

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."

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Wild Olive

Wild Olive

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Creative Victory

This is Me

I am a thirty year old enigma who has defied every expectation ever placed upon me and refused every definition created for me. My greatest passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families. As a special education teacher I broke all of the unwritten rules to make sure that my kids received the services they needed and had a right to receive. I have never been so proud to be reprimanded before in my life. Now, due to unpredictable twists in life, I am learning first hand what life is like when you rely upon a wheelchair for mobility. I am a medical puzzle with the pieces slowly being identified and put together, and my medical bills alone could fund a small nation. It takes a village to keep me alive. :) However, I am not defined by the genetic misspellings. I am a teacher, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a dreamer, a reader, an amateur photographer, a writer, an advocate, a star gazer, a world changer. I am stubborn, situationally shy, quick to use humor and wit to make others laugh or cope with a situation, sarcastic, fiercely independent, giving, compassionate (sometimes to a fault), protective of those I love, defiant of arbitrary boundaries, perfectionistic, self conscious, self assured (yes you can be both!), articulate and occasionally dramatic. And that is just what I could fit in two sentences! :)

Who's On First, What's On Second, I Don't Know! (Third Base!!)*

Simple Vocabulary Definitions for those who may not speak fluent medical :)

Undiagnosed Progressive Neurological Disorder- This is the diagnosis that is believed to make everything else fit together. It explains my frequent infections, my muscle weakness and dystonia, my dysautonomia, my cardiac issues, my inability to regulate blood pressure, my dysphagia, my ataxia, my severe fatigue, my extreme nausea, my gastrointestinal dysmotility and IBS like syndrome, my unbelievable migraines, my sensory changes in my arms and legs, my vision issues, my hearing loss (so much for blaming medication), and so much more. Going back to infancy and childhood, this would explain the severe apnea, the significantly delayed motor skills, the reason why I could never keep up with my peers in physical activities, the neurogenic bladder, the malfunctioning thyroid, and my frequent illnesses and vomiting. This is the diagnosis now being used since the DNA testing for Mitochondrial Disease came back odd and I can not afford the expenses of a workup at the Mayo Clinic. We are treating symptomatically.

Pan-Dysautonomia- "Pan" means that it impacts many different systems of my body, "dysautonomia" is a failure of my autonomic nervous system or the part of my brain that does all of the automatic things that do not require conscious thought like telling your heart to beat, regulating your blood pressure, adjusting your body temperature, maintaining balance in space, digesting food, hunger and thirst, etc. It is believed that I have had this from birth based upon my history of symptoms, including severe life threatening apnea as an infant, but the cause remains elusive at this time

Dystonia- abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, including painful spasms, that primarily impacts my feet and lower legs and is now starting to be a problem in my back

Ataxia- difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating/executing movements

Dysphagia- difficulty swallowing due to any number of causes including muscle weakness and poor muscle coordination

Adipsia- the absence of a sense of thirst

Other Medical Issues- Lupus Anticoagulant (autoimmune disease that causes me to tend to form blood clots and has already caused two deep vein blood clots and one mild stroke), Migraines, unknown connective tissue disorder, abnormal gastric motility, allergies, history of v-tach and severe sinus tachycardia, changes to my echocardiagram that include leaking valves and a new murmur, low blood pressure, ataxia, untreated PFO (small hole in my heart that increases the risk of stroke), chronic lymphadema in my left arm, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Narcolepsy/Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolance (believed to be a result of the dysautonomia and my brain's inability to regulate the sleep/wake cycle), mild hearing loss, malformed optic nerves, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pernicious anemia, vitamin deficiencies

* Title comes from an old Abbot and Costello routine that I chose to memorize in 6th grade and absolutely love.

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