Thursday, March 29, 2007

Diary of a Cat (author unknown)

http://www.cs.uccs.edu/~cdash/downloads/cat.jpg
I hope I haven't offended anyone with this cat pic, but I thought it tied in perfectly with the cat's diary. I have never used this gesture in my entire life, nor will I... unless, I have just done so in a passive aggressive way.... :)

DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from shredding the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant and cough it up on the carpeting.

DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair...must try this on their bed (again).

DAY 762 - Slept all day so that I could annoy my captors with sleep depriving, incessant pleas for food at ungodly hours of the night.

DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in an attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm. Not working according to plan...

DAY 768- I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo". What sick minds could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth and the tiny bit of flesh under my claws.

DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of the glass tubes they call "beer." More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies". Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The Bird on the other hand has got to be an informant. He has mastered their frightful tongue (something akin to mole speak) and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My doctor told me....

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I am S-T-I-L-L working on billing along with organizing other paperwork which will then be followed by doing the taxes. I will feel so liberated when I get through all of this! For now though...persevere.... I can do this!

Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.
Lord Chesterfield

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nurse, get on the... (comic)

Yes - I am procrastinating - but I love this one! :)

http://www.pz10.com/jokes/pictures/5937.jpg

Sea of Papers

http://images.inmagine.com/168nwm/photodisc/pdil104/pdil104030.jpgI'm still navigating through this sea of EOB's , past med bills (paid/not paid), current med bills (paid/not paid) , and other bills. It gets complicated when the doctors send their bills before the insurance pays the claim and then the insurance isn't always reimbursing at the correct amount or they charge for copays they shouldn't, etc., etc. and so I am still organizing and getting everything ready for review. It is taking forever because I am going all the way back to 01/01/06. After everything is in order, it will then be ...the phone calls AND this isn't even doing the tax receipts/deductions yet.

Do you see the floating paperwork in the pic above? Thats a reflection of my fantasy in which I am shipping all my paperwork down to Dr. Schoor because he is both savvy and efficient with these matters. He is "The Independent Urologist" and is located on my side bar links. Ahoy there! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Office Week

Pearl S. Buck:

The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.

This week is office week. I managed to stay away from this blog for most of the morning and while I am in the mood to write,I have been procrastinating with the taxes and with medical bills and must tackle them now.

I had started out so organized (everything in it's place)but, now - everything is just piled in together. So I have to sift through all of that and follow up with the insurance company - because I KNOW mistakes happen.

"The Independent Urologist" (he's one of my urology links on my sidebar) has some interesting posts on his blog regarding insurance companies denying payment of medical claims to doctors. He is a urologist starting up his solo practice. I enjoy hearing his ideas (he's got some good ones) on setting up his practice (office and financially) and I find him inspirational with his financial ideas. He has other topics as well - the post on getting his child registered in preschool was a hoot. :) Another amusing one written by him is "Letter to the Editor" - January 11th, 07, but for this one you probably need an appreciation for medical codes and billing. :)

O.K., since I am plugging good posts - one more favorite of mine is Dr. Schwab's "Taking Trust" back from Oct. 7th, 06 and another "Vibrations" from Feb. 12th, 07. Dr. Schwab's Blog is "Surgeonsblog" - also on my side bar links. :) Also, if anyone is possibly facing any surgery, you should read some of his more recent posts which are packed full of good information.

The toughest claims to follow up on will be all the nonparticipating physicians (ED Docs, radiologists, and anesthesiologists) because my plan only pays them at 75 percent, but after some wrangling with the insurance company I found out that they will pay at 90% since they work in a hospital that participates with my plan. My argument being - How is it fair to penalize us for going to the provider on the plan by not paying 90% on claims across the board?

I don't have a choice as to which doctor to pick. I have to take the doctors that work for that hospital. By this I mean the doctors that actually do their work at the hospital,not the doctors that I see in their private practice.

The insurance company doesn't offer this info, but it turns out that they most definitely do pay the nonparticipating docs at 90%. I let it all slide and now have to go back through all of it. Believe me I have many EOB's to review along with the doctor bills to go through to determine who has been paid what amount. Then there will be many, many phone calls to follow up with.

I have to review everything going all the way back to 01/01/06. YIKES! It is going to be somewhat complicated. Oh well, you can't eat an elephant all at once...but you can eat it one bite at a time. :) I have found that I have to stay on top of them (which I didn't) because they continually revert back to the 75%. Fifteen percent might not seem like much, but multiply the large and small amounts of the 15% x number of claims and I know it will add up. Besides, Like Dr. Schnoor (Independent Urologist)says $50.00 pays your cell phone bill, etc,etc... and so I will be appreciative of whatever I can save financially.

Then when that is together call the various billers and make arrangements for payments. Some I can pay, but most have to go on a plan as I haven't been working now for quite awhile. Ah... this too shall pass. :)

At least this tax year (because of smaller income and med bills) I should at least derive enjoyment out of watching that little turbo tax calculator revolve in a favorable direction.

This morning my husband informed me that we didn't have any heat because we ran out of oil. We have lived in this house for 30 years, well as of September and we have never let that happen. I stopped automatic delivery because I have been shopping around for the best oil prices as needed. However the indicator on the tank must have broken and was giving a false reading. $620.00 for 249 gallons of oil! Later, I realized that the heat wasn't kicking on, checked the furnace and found water all over the floor and the furnace was cold. Sigh! I called Frey Plumbing & Heating (yes-that is a plug for a good company to anyone living in this area)and instead of coming out and charging for a service call, etc., he helped me trouble shoot while on the phone and it WORKED! He could've made money on that call but instead saved us money. Needless to say - they will have this family as a loyal customer from now on. :)

Time to dive back into my sea of paperwork! Hopefully, I will soon be back to work actually earning money, joyfully working in a medical environment of some kind. :)

Mark Twain:

What work I have done I have done because it has been play. If it had been work I shouldn't have done it. Who was it who said, "Blessed is the man who has found his work"? Whoever it was he had the right idea in his mind. Mark you, he says his work--not somebody else's work. The work that is really a man's own work is play and not work at all. Cursed is the man who has found some other man's work and cannot lose it. When we talk about the great workers of the world we really mean the great players of the world. The fellows who groan and sweat under the weary load of toil that they bear never can hope to do anything great. How can they when their souls are in a ferment of revolt against the employment of their hands and brains? The product of slavery, intellectual or physical, can never be great.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What Super Hero are You?

Your results:
You are Superman
























Superman
100%
Green Lantern
85%
The Flash
70%
Wonder Woman
67%
Spider-Man
65%
Supergirl
62%
Robin
60%
Catwoman
45%
Hulk
45%
Batman
35%
Iron Man
35%
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.


Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Kidney Stones Evidence for Divine Design-pics,etc.

I was recently looking up urology information (when am I not?) and came across this article "Kidney Stones Evidence for Divine Design"~ by Fazale (Fuz) Rana- which I have posted below the kidney stone pics.

I thought the author's perspective on kidney stones being evidence for creationism to be interesting. At the very least, it was to me since my world has been rocked around (Ha! "rocked" - no pun intended!) over this last year because of that mega 6mm stone that had gotten stuck in my ureter in May of 2004. That pesky stone caused a lot of scarring, leading to a totally constricted ureter 14 months later and the rest is hx.

My next renal scan to determine whether or not I will need surgical repair for my ureter is approximately 3 or so weeks away. I am still believing for a good outcome. :)

Also, I definitely do not believe in the "Big Bang" theory or in evolution. I don't have any problem joining God and science together and yes I do believe he created it all, and frankly, am amused at how people limit God.

The only question that I have that I can't wrap my mind around is - where did God come from? You know, if everything has an origin?

This does not hinder my faith in anyway, and I know we will have these answers on the other side of our earthly lives if not before. Faith is believing in things not yet seen/experienced. I have a strong faith, a strong unwavering faith and I thank God for it. Still being human - I have pondered that question.

One night I had a discussion at work in which I said that while it doesn't shake my faith, that I have wondered where God came from. The physician quoted the scripture where God says "I am that I am" and then we discussed the one in Rev 22:13 " I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." And we agreed that this is where we exercise our faith, knowing that one day we will fully understand.

I have also heard about scientists who have come to believe in God because of the discoveries that have been made with the Hubble telescope. O.K. I am digressing - that is a topic for another post.

Drink plenty of water every day to help prevent kidney stones. You should be putting out at least 64oz. (2 quarts) of urine every 24 hours.


Kidney stone crystals, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Kidney stones are usually formed by the precipitation of the mineral salt calcium oxalate from the urine. The resulting hard, round stones (calculi) may cause severe pain, especially as they pass down the urinary tract. Large stones may need to be surgically removed or broken down using ultrasound therapy.

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Kidney Stones Evidence for Divine Design

by Fazale (Fuz) Rana, Ph.D.

“It’s the closest that a man will ever come to experiencing the pain of childbirth,” the attending nurse proclaimed with a noticeable glee in her eyes. Her comment only added to my misery as I writhed in pain on a stretcher in the emergency room, waiting to pass a kidney stone.

Mineral deposits such as those that formed in my kidneys develop in one out of ten people during their lifetime and account for nearly ten out of every 1,000 hospital admissions.[1] Stones can result whenever a chemical imbalance occurs in the kidney. The type of stone that forms depends upon the exact nature of the chemical imbalance and reflects different etiologies (causes). Calcium oxalate stones, the most common type, result from dehydration or excess levels of oxalate in the diet. (Oxalate is found in certain vegetables, nuts, berries, chocolate, and tea. [2]) Sodium urate stones, a second type, are caused by an inborn error in metabolism that leads to excessive production of uric acid.[3]

Uric acid is the breakdown product of adenine and guanine (key components of DNA and RNA). As a normal metabolic activity, the cell turns over biomolecules—continually replacing “older” molecules with newly synthesized ones, thereby maintaining structural and functional integrity. The cell recycles most of the adenine and guanine generated from the breakdown of nucleotides (the building blocks of DNA and RNA) through what biochemists call the salvage pathways. Still, the cell targets a significant portion of adenine and guanine for breakdown and secretion in the form of uric acid.[4]

Uric acid possesses low solubility in blood serum, causing it to readily precipitate into the urinary tract if the body dehydrates or generates an excessive amount of the product (which can occur if the enzymes of the salvage pathway are defective).[5]

Except for primates, including human beings, all mammals further metabolize uric acid to a more soluble derivative. Evolutionary biologists suggest that the enzymes responsible for this transformation were lost in the evolutionary process that gave rise to primates (and humans).[6] For these scientists, the elimination of adenine and guanine in the form of uric acid argues potently for evolution, since it appears to reflect poor design.[7] Why would an all-powerful and all-knowing Creator put into place an imperfect biochemical process that leaves human beings so susceptible to kidney stones (and other disorders, like gout)? Evolutionists would maintain that the adenine and guanine elimination pathways represent nothing more than an evolutionary “kluge” job, an imperfection that barely gets the job done—not a Creator’s perfect handiwork.

This perspective fails to consider, however, uric acid’s full range of metabolic properties, some of which are beneficial. This compound is a potent antioxidant that scavenges the chemically corrosive hydroxyl free radical, singlet oxygen, and superoxide anion, all produced by the metabolic pathways that the cell uses to harvest chemical energy.[8] The high levels of uric acid in the blood serum, though precariously poised to form stones in the urinary tract, also help prevent cancer and contribute to long human life spans. For other mammals, the conversion of uric acid to more soluble forms before elimination deprives them of a key antioxidant and limits their life spans.

When considered more broadly, it turns out that the primate adenine and guanine elimination pathways reflect an elegant, rather than a poor, design that finds an important use for a waste product. Though inborn metabolic error in the salvage pathway enzymes accounts for the less-common type of kidney stone, the more-common type is largely preventable by a balanced diet—which seems a small price to pay for cancer prevention and long life spans.

When the pain-killers finally took effect and I’d had a chance to research and reflect on what happened to me, I was able to muster thanks to God for kidney stones. But I don’t think anyone will want me to share my story at the Thanksgiving dinner table this year.

References:

[1] http://www.yourmedicalsource.com/library/kidneystones/KS_whatis.html, accessed March 11, 2003.

[2] http://www.urologychannel.com/kidneystones/index.shtml, accessed March 11, 2003.

[3] Lubert Stryer, Biochemistry, 3d ed. (New York: W. H. Freeman, 1988), 619-22.

[4] Stryer, 619-22.

[5] http://www.urologychannel.com/kidneystones/index/shtml, accessed March 11, 2003.

[6] Stryer, 619-22.

[7] Stephen Jay Gould, The Panda’s Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History (New York: W. W. Norton, 1980), 19-26.

[8] Stryer, 619-22.

Friday, March 16, 2007

What Kind of Girl Are You?

You are a Brainy Girl!

Whether you're an official student or a casual learner, you enjoy hitting the books.
You know a little bit about everything, and you're always dying to know more.
For a guy to win your heart, he's got to share some of your intellectual interests.
A awesome book collection of his own doesn't hurt either!

What Bob Dreams

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What Bob, our German Shepherd dreams about before he wakes up in the morning. ;)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Even when people disappoint...

Even when people disappoint us or we disappoint them, we need to realize that sometimes in life, all we can do is our best and it's not always going to be someone else's best, but it is our best at the time and so we need to be forgiving of ourselves and others when necessary. (SeaSpray)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Patty Lost Her Bathing Suit Top!

http://content.dogfunk.com/images/items/medium/QKS/QKS5498/TU.jpg

Part I

As evidenced by some of my recent blog posts, comments and comments on other blogs over this past couple of months, I have been introspective regarding my attitude, the negative, fearful and passive attitude that I had allowed to encroach upon my mind, body and spirit from January 2006 to early February 2007.

However, this post isn't really about all that, but in thinking of how I operated in fear this past year, I began thinking of how contrary that was as compared to how I really handle circumstances in my life and sometimes they have been really tough, but this post isn't about that either.

Whenever something scares me, really scares me - I don't run - I face it. Why? To get it over with...and often to get it over with we have to go through it. I know this. It is the essence of who I am and how I approach the difficult challenges that we all face in one way or another in our lives. I just ....DIVE in...and this thought led me to the rest of this post.

Part II

I grew up by the Jersey shore. I was blessed to have spent many, many days and nights by the sea. I was like a porpoise in the ocean and once in the water, I never wanted to come out. I could frolic all day! :)

I learned early on that to get past the big waves and not get wiped out when the waves crashed, that you HAD to get in there and dive under the wave BEFORE it breaks - otherwise you are slammed down onto the sand and tumbled all about, getting scraped up and sand impacted into every orifice and then some. By the time you emerge, hair is tangled, packed with sand, seaweed and that wayward crab hanging on for dear life too... you look like anything but a glamorous mermaid of the sea. ;) O.K. I never had a crab hanging on to my hair - but the rest is true.

My friends that I am usually with are the more cautious type. Nothing wrong with that - that is their make up. They ever so slowly work their way into the water. If it's too cold, they need to get used to it - slowly. If the waves are big - they need to feel it is safe to go in - slowly.

Truthfully, I didn't like the cold water and dreaded the sensation of being enveloped by what felt like ice water. The huge waves often scared me and timing was everything. However, I knew that If I just did it..just dove in - I was in. I would be past the breaking waves getting used to the water. I would be in, swimming around doing what I really wanted to do.

Face it. Go through it. Enjoy.

Part III
So, I'd already be surveying the water while still up on the beach, checking out the size and rhythm of the waves.

I usually went down to the water ahead of everyone else, dove in and would be on the other side of the breaking waves coaxing friends to come in and yes - sometimes even lie, saying it wasn't THAT rough, cold etc. They never believed me anyway - they could see and feel for themselves, but you can't blame a girl for trying. I also liked to kid around A LOT and for some reason thought it was funny to say that I lost my bathing suit top.

This one morning, I headed straight for the water only to stop dead in my tracks because the wave coming in was HUGE - definitely bigger than the big waves I was used to. Remember, that I said timing is everything? Well, I froze - because the wave was so big. I quickly turned to look behind me and then quickly looked back at the wave coming at me, now looming larger than life - my life, anyway. I knew it was too late too run back up the beach. If I just stood there... well.. too late - it would just crush me and probably pound me into the sand, maybe break me. My choice - annihilation vertically - annihilation horizontally - either way, it wasn't going to be good, but I decided annihilation horizontally would be the better choice.... maybe it wouldn't hurt so much.

This was all probably 5 seconds of fast thinking, you know the kind of moment where your life flashes before you in seconds, yet it all seems in slow mo.

I chose to dive in, hoping that I would miraculously come through to the other side, but that was not to be - not that day. No... no,I was destined to become beach entertainment that day. At least I didn't die - I only wanted too.

At the point that I dove in, the wave crashed down on my back. I was scared. I was getting pummeled about by the white water and unable to control anything and I couldn't get above water. I was afraid because I could feel myself getting sucked back down to where the waves break and I couldn't get my breath. And nobody knew. Maybe they were struggling too. I don't know.

IV

It was a beautiful sunny day and there were a lot of people on the beach. While being sucked back down with the frothy white water again, I somehow managed to dig my feet into the sand as the whitewater was rushing back down past me and I started to rise up out of the water.

But, then.... I looked down and saw that my bathing suit top had dropped down below my breasts. It was also very loose and the only reason it was still on me at all is that the straps were still on my shoulders. Evidently the wave that crashed over me also broke the hook that fastened my top closed.

I dropped back down into the whitewater that was now pulling me back down toward where the waves break. This wasn't good. I was hoping to somehow get my bathing suit top back over my breasts but now I was wrestling with the sea and guess who was winning?

It wasn't as bad as that first huge wave, but I was getting knocked about and simultaneously trying to get my bathing suit top back to where it should be. Unfortunately, now I only had one hand free to try to steady myself and get out of the water. Again, every time I thought I covered myself, I started to get up, but then saw my breasts and back down I went and then washed back up the beach and then sucked back down to the breaking water. It was high tide and it was rough.

Remember that I said that I would kid around with friends and tell them that I lost my bathing suit top? Well, evidently...this girl cried wolf just a little to often. They hadn't come in the water yet and didn't realize what was happening with me. When I saw them, and while I was still struggling, I shouted to them that I lost my bathing suit top. They didn't believe me. In the middle of all this I was shouting that I really did and needed help. They laughed, but then my one friend (you know who you are) realized that I WASN'T kidding when she saw me getting wiped out over and over again.

She went running up to the beach shouting "PATTY LOST HER BATHING SUIT TOP!"

In the mean time, a crowd was now gathering down at the water's edge - watching me. Watching me wash up and down the beach with the white water, gasping for air in between the waves and whitewater pummeling me. I remember seeing everyone's ankles. The water higher up in the sand was maybe 3 '' and I am 5' 8". It must have been a ridiculous sight to behold, but I just couldn't get it together enough to rise up out of the water with top appropriately covering me before being sucked back down - again.

Someone grabbed my hand. I looked up. It was the lifeguard. I quickly pulled it away. Again, the lifeguard tried to grab my hand and I yanked it away, but simultaneously shouting "NO! NO! Leave me alone!" And I got sucked back down into the waves again.

Then I looked up and saw my friend come charging down the beach with a big beach towel. (Normally she would be slow to come in) Not only did she charge down the beach to the water, but she fearlessly ran right in, giving no thought to the size of the waves or the temperature of the water, actually falling in the water - towel and all. She made her way over to me and helped to get the towel around me and helped me get out of the water. We walked past the crowd of onlookers, back up the beach and to the ladies room. We pinned the bathing suit top closed and then went swimming for the rest of the day.

Part V

She had forgotten all about herself and just rushed in to help me. When someone really cares about you - that's what they do. They break the barriers that would normally be up, to do whatever they can to help whenever and where ever possible. I hope I am that kind of friend.

Ever since 1996 after I had a right meniscal repair done - I am now cautious around rough tides and waves, not wanting to chance being slammed down on that knee. Actually, I did put that surgery off, but not because I was afraid, but because I thought knee surgery meant I would be laid up for 8 weeks or more. It never occurred to me that it would be an SDS. Two days s/p surgery and I was better than before I had injured it and I had put off seeing the ortho doc for a year.

I guess I am thinking about all of this because I am wondering if I am going to need surgery. I know that I am braver than how I have presented to people that know me. I am feeling pretty good and I still have 4 more weeks to go before the next Mag 3 renal scan. I am believing for good news, but have purposed in my heart, that no matter what the results - I am indeed going forward in whatever direction life leads me and trusting that it will all work out for good.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Though your body be confined.....



Though your body be confined,
And soft love a prisoner bound,
Yet the beauty of your mind
Neither check nor chain hath found.
Look out nobly, then, and dare
Even the fetters that you wear.
(Fletcher)

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Farewell My Friend



Last Friday a friend of 30 years passed away.

She wasn't in my inner circle of friends - someone I hung out with regularly, but we had our own special history. She was the neighbor on the other side of the pond for 26 years and then 4 years ago they retired and moved to another state, but returned periodically to check on their house.

When we moved in they welcomed us. They were a lovely family and always kind to us.

We have been blessed over the years to have wonderful neighbors that would do anything for you if they could. However, we weren't here that long before other neighbors told us of the long feud going on between this woman's family and a couple of other families. Sad, really - because they are all nice people. But things happen. We never got involved in any of that and always stayed neutral.

I eventually learned from someone that she had a troubled childhood that caused her to live like a hermit and pretty much kept her family that way as well. It was odd. They were extremely private. No one was ever invited in and the kids were rarely allowed out.

She was a school teacher who loved her job and had won state recognition "Teacher of the Year" awards. Lovely to interact with. Every Christmas we could count on getting their traditional Christmas card with the kids posed outside by the pine trees (which are huge now) dressed in winter clothes holding presents. I still have them all - somewhere.

We went to the same church and we shared a lot of the same values. If we spoke it was on the phone, at my house or as she was driving past me on her way home or to come down and get the mail.

We have a little dirt road right of way that runs through the end of our property and goes up and around the pond to the few land locked houses in the back. Her husband would fill the potholes and plow the whole little road with his red dump truck every time it snowed and then eventually when that gave out he replaced it with the blue dump truck. We've had many conversations with him too on his way in or out, but never at their house unless it was through the door. They had a lovely home - they were just private. It was OK - sometimes, you just need to meet your friends where they are at and if you care about them you accept them as they are.

She asked my friend, (who was also my mentor, who was our pastor's wife and she was on the board of our local hospice) and another pastor and me to come with her to pray with sick relatives. While she never once confided any family concerns that she may have had - she trusted me. She would send presents down to our sons and she would give us discontinued grade school books for them to play with.

We had a huge neighborhood picnic that no-one invited them to. I would have, but I assumed they wouldn't come. She was hurt and sent me a letter, expressing it and I felt terrible and promptly called to apologize. I wish I had extended the invitation.
Also in that letter, she said really nice things about me. I had no idea she thought the things she said. I still have that somewhere too.

In the early 90's, my husband faced an unbelievable legal case - one in which he was completely innocent and *that* is when we discovered the meaning of guilty until proven innocent. It went on for 20 long months. (That is an interesting and awesome story that I may post on - but I want to get his permission first and even then I will guard identifying info) One morning, as I was walking out to my car, I noticed this package on my windshield. I opened it right then and there and it was a set of Pastor Charles Stanley cassette tapes. They were about why and what happens when a Christian goes through tough times. They were truly a blessing and I played them over and over * One thing I remember from them is that anything, even the bad things that happen don't happen without first being sifted through the hands of God and if he allows it through then there is a purpose that will work out for good. This isn't verbatim but is the gist of what he said. She also wrote a letter of support when my husband needed it for a character reference. Actually she typed everything because she had severe arthritis in her hands.

Even though we were friends at a distance - we were friends who connected in a unique sort of way. I missed them when they moved away. The sliding door in our family room faces their house directly. While they always had their curtains closed, I joked that they could see me in my pajamas and began to think "Oh well - we're family now." knowing they could see in if they chose to.

Over these last few years, I would feel sad and a sense of loss that the house across the pond was empty and always dark. Even though we didn't see each other much, I just always knew they were there. This last week it looks especially cold, dark and empty.

She liked to write and after she retired, she began a writing correspondence course. She wrote beautiful letters. I thoroughly enjoyed them. This past year she sent me 3 or 4 letters and I didn't respond to any of them. I saved them. I planned to write her. Last April I had spoken with her husband when he was driving by. I told him a little of the medical stuff I was dealing with but we mostly discussed how much they loved upper NY state.

I like to write letters. I did write some letters this past summer and fall. I have several letters to various people that I started last summer ( still in my word program) to send out but I haven't finished. God knows that I have been writing in this blog and others since November. I was going to tell her about my blog. I think she would have liked it and who knows maybe would have liked doing it herself.

She would have loved to hear our family news and she would've cared about my concerns as well. It was the first year that we didn't get a Christmas card from them and I should have known something was wrong. Darn - I hate, really hate regrets!

We went to the viewing Tuesday night. We paid our respects to the family. It was nice to see their now adult kids after so many years.

So, farewell my friend. I know you are in a better place, freed from your earthly cocoon of chains and cares that bound you. No doubt you are experiencing your rebirth into perfect love, joy and peace in your eternal home with our resurrected Lord. No doubt you will be using your teaching skills since our life there is a continuation of who we are here, only more perfected and no doubt you are experiencing the thrill of greeting loved ones from bygone days. :)

I guess this is my final letter of sorts. Thank you for being my friend. :)

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The butterfly is symbolic of the resurrection, rebirth and of new beginnings.