Sunday, March 25, 2012


I came across this video recently and just *knew* that you'd love to see it!

This joyful blind quilter puts life's "inconveniences" into perspective.  Watch it when you have a few minutes.... I guarantee that you'll be blessed!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Good News!

I'm back, with a good report on my crazy heart!  (I was recently diagnosed with a heart rhythm problem... you can read part one and part two, if you are interested)  To ease your pain in reading this post (and to keep me from feeling like such a whiner), I'm going to intersperse my medical report with recent springtime photos from the farm! 

Thanks *so* much for praying!  Yesterday afternoon I went in to see the cardiac electrophysiologist (ie heart electrician~ as opposed to a heart "plumber"!).  I'm really grateful to report that all of my tests came back completely normal… the only "abnormality" being my "athletic heart" that showed up on the heart MRI!  LOL!  (I may never win a sports event, but hey, I'm pretty proud that I've got an "athletic heart!")  So the good news is that my heart is very healthy, but the "electrical wiring" is pretty messed up (totally unrelated to my cool "athletic heart").

The next step will be for me to have a procedure done called an ablation… the goal being to cauterize the spot or spots in my heart that are sending out the bad electrical signals.  Unfortunately it appears right now that the trouble spot is on the outside of my heart.  Typically the problem is inside the heart. An inside-the-heart ablation is done by sending a small catheters up from veins in my legs to the interior of my heart.  It is much more invasive to ablate the exterior of the heart (unfortunately I came across this first-hand report of an exterior heart ablation from a former elite cyclist), so I'm praying that we can avoid that.  There is some possibility that the interior of the right ventricle is the problem spot and if that is the case, it would be a much better scenario. 

In researching this particular heart problem I came across a super-interesting YouTube video that explains how an ablation is done.  So for all of the crazy homeschooling moms out there who, like me, feel compelled to research and learn about medical issues, I'm going to include it here.  Modern technology is totally astounding!  Actually, you could watch this with your children and count some extra science credit today!  You can thank me later.  

I don't have the actual date for the ablation yet, but I think it will be sometime around April 9.  Assuming the ablation is successful I should be able to gradually return to aerobic activity, so that is super-good news.  I may never be able to compete or do longer distance events, but I'm just thrilled that I might be able to bike/run with our family, etc. 

Here's how you could pray...

  • that I won't have any more "V Tach" episodes before ablation
  • that the ablation can be successfully completed inside my heart and an exterior ablation won't be necessary
  • peace for me and for my family as I wait to have the ablation done.

I really don't know how to thank you enough... Your prayers, and concern expressed in texts, emails and phone calls mean the world to me!

The bottom line?  God is good, all the time.  I have really struggled with all of this, but in spite of my faint-heartedness (so to speak, LOL!) I know that God is good.  So I rest in that.

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hand;

Thursday, March 22, 2012

AZ/UT Trip Summary!

Hey there!  Here I am... still alive (LOL!) and totally enjoying our early spring here on the farm.   Ooooh it is *so* lovely here~ redbuds in full bloom, sweet little lettuces up in the garden and peas soon to make an appearance as well.  Thanks again for all of the sweet and encouraging comments, emails, and texts regarding my heart problems.  (If you want to read the "long version," you can check out this post and this one).  I still don't have any additional information, but I do have a cardiac doctors appointment this Friday, so I should have more info then.  It is *so* hard to wait!

We have an abundance of rain the past few days and the younger boys have had so much fun playing in the little seasonal creek that runs through our property.  I'm refraining from posting those photos here today though since I did promise to show you some glimpses from our trip out West!  What a privilege to spend time with sons Jake (18) and Gabe (16) *plus* my parents (I'll keep their age a secret!  LOL!)!

I absolutely *love* to travel!  I was really excited about this trip because we had several "firsts" planned... Monument Valley Utah, Canyon de Chelly AZ and the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest too!  Then, to top off the whole trip~ skydiving!

Here we are.... ready to leave for the airport!  Adventure awaits!

I brought my down jacket on this trip and boy and I glad that I did!  It was cold and super-windy... can you see the snow blowing off of the peaks?

Monument Valley was, well, vast.  : )  I think one of the things that I love about going out West is how very tiny I feel under that big, big sky.

The next photos were taken from the window of the house that we stayed in... watching the sun rise!  Phenomenal!  Go God!

Next on our agenda was a visit to Canyon de Chelly... there we were able to see some fabulously old canyon dwellings and wall carvings...  super-cool!

Next up, the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest!   It was still a bit chilly this day, but beginning to warm up.  Even though we were a bit early in the tourist season and it was cold, I loved it~ no crowds to battle... we really had the park to ourselves!

The petrified wood there was astounding... it looked just like "real" wood, but it was a rock.. it amazed me to see the wood grain and all... preserved so perfectly!

And finally, the last full day of our trip~ skydiving!  I was both excited and terrified!

That morning, before we jumped "for real," my parents reserved a spot for us in the vertical wind tunnel.  It is basically a super-huge fan that blows so hard that you can practice skydiving indoors!  We all did this... here we are all suited up before our indoor "flying" lesson.  I'll tell you this... it is *way* harder than it looks!

After our wind tunnel adventure we went out to get lunch... I tried not to think too much about it being my "last meal!"  LOL!  Then we drove back for the real deal.  Just my father and I were going to do this.  After watching the scary waiver video and basically signing our life away, we went out and the pros who were going to tandem jump with us helped us suit up.


 Let me tell you, it takes an absolute eternity to reach 13,500ft!  The small plane was crammed with skydivers... perhaps 25 and most of them were practicing for a competition that required them to jump at 10,000 ft, so after a while the once full plane was eerily empty, with only my father and I and our tandem instructors left.  Yikes!

My father jumped first.  It was the strangest thing to see him in the doorway of the plane one minute then whoosh... he was gone!  It was like he was instantly sucked out of the plane! He didn't just float away, he was gone!

I was so scared, but determined to conquer my fear and do this.  My instructor reassured me that the worst was the waiting while the plane ascended and then simply getting over to the door.  Once we were out of the door, he said, I'd be fine.  I wasn't so sure about that....

But he was right! We tumbled out of the door and it was the strangest thing... I anticipated that it would feel like going down a big hill on a roller coaster, but it didn't.  I think we were so high that initially I wasn't aware of the ground rushing up at me, only aware of the wind~ like a huge fan blowing in my face!

We free fell for about 60 seconds, then with great relief I felt the parachute deploy!  At that point it got really fun... my tandem jump instructor pointed out to me the surrounding mountain ranges and then spun us in circles....  Oh!  So fun!  It was all over way too fast!

I was a little worried about the landing, but it was slow and easy... really no problem.  Actually I ended up getting a bit tripped at the end, but didn't get hurt at all, just looked a little goofy, I'm sure!

Gabe captured this funny photo of me telling about how scared I was to slide over to the door of the plane before my jump!  LOL!

We did it!  That was a fun memory that I'll look back on for many years!  I'm actually glad that my heart problem wasn't discovered earlier because I'm sure that I never would have been allowed to jump if I'd known!  ; )

And now we are home again!  I am so grateful that my parents bless me this way~ such fabulous adventures we had!  Thanks Mom and Dad~ you are the best!  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life is good!

I'm home and I'm alive!  Yay!  LOL!

So here's a quick update… I went in yesterday and had both a heart cath and an MRI of my heart.  The doctors actually anticipated that both would come back just fine, but since 90-something percent of VTs (that really bad heart rhythm that I went into on the treadmill) are caused by heart disease they had to rule that out before proceeding with any other treatment options.  So far no result from the MRI, but I am anticipating that it will come back fine as well. 

I've been sent home on a "beta blocker" to try and keep my crazy heart under control and I am scheduled to go see the heart specialist (a heart "electrician", if you will!  LOL!) this coming Friday.  Until then, I'm under strict orders to take it easy and generally "be good."  ; )  Don't worry, I will.  Actually, I sent Tom out on an extra-long trail run for me today!  (Don't worry… he *likes* that!)

Assuming that the results from all of these tests are fine, the most likely next step will be something called an ablation~ basically a magnetic cauterization of the "bad" electrical signals in the ventricle of my heart.  I'll know more about our specific plan of action next Friday.

Here's how you could pray… and I do *so* appreciate your prayers!
~that the beta blocker would actually work.  I am still having problems since I left the hospital last night with some crazy heart arrhythmia.  The problem for me is that beta blockers tend to slow your heart rate down.  I guess from all of the running/cycling/swimming my heart rate is already pretty low (50s), so they can't really give me a very large dose of the medication.  So you could pray that the drs could get that under control.

Basically though, I'm good~ rejoicing in, well, *life*!  What's not to love~ it's spring, everything is beautiful outside, I'm home safely with my fabulous family, and, to top it off, I am feeling super-blessed by all of my faithful praying friends.  Thank you *so* much!

"Hear my cry, O God;
Give heed to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
 Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
Let me dwell in Your tent forever;
Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings."
Ps 61:1-4

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Please pray...

I can't even begin to tell you how much I did *not* anticipate this, but instead of posting photos from my trip, I am instead requesting your prayers...

As many of you know, I've been training hard for a half-IronMan triathlon~ swimming, biking and running a bunch.  A few weeks ago I began to notice that my heart didn't feel right while I was exercising.  I don't really know how to describe it, but I was just aware that it wasn't beating correctly and I would feel light-headed or dizzy.  Those episodes never lasted very long though, so I would simply slow down whatever activity I was doing until things "felt normal" again, and then resume my workout.

Last Sunday Tom and I went for an 8 mile run and about a mile and a half into the run this heart arrhythmia started, so Tom and I walked for a few minutes until it returned to normal.  Then we began running again and I was able to complete my run with no further problems.  As soon as we arrived home it began again though~ only *much* worse than I had ever experienced before.  This went on for several hours and I almost passed out two times.  I finally, at my parents' bidding, went in to the ER.

I'm *so* glad that my parents encouraged me to go in to the emergency room.  By the time I arrived, I was feeling pretty normal but still I was having PVCs (premature ventricular contractions). The doctors in the ER weren't too concerned, but referred me to a cardiologist.

Sorry that this is getting so long... feel free to skip the rest of this and just pray, if you'd like!  LOL!

Anyway.... I did go in to see the cardiologist this Wednesday and he basically told me that while PVCs can be "normal"... the "almost passing out," etc wasn't normal, so he wanted to run some tests to rule out other problems.  They worked fast and were able to get me in today for a treadmill echocardiogram test.

I was only about 3 minutes into the treadmill test when my heart started ventricular trachycardia (VT).  The test was immediately halted... apparently this is a pretty serious heart arrhythmia.  Everyone pretty much panicked... my goodness!  "I'm fine, I kept saying... It'll stop in a minute or two~ it always does."  Thankfully my heart pretty quickly did return to a normal rhythm because the nurse told me that they were ready to shock me!  Yikes!

So grateful that one of the cardio doctors there was a specialist in heart arrhythmia.  He graciously saw me and consulted with the other doctors there.  I wasn't even allowed to drive home (Tom was able to stay home from work today and drive me) and am going to be admitted to the hospital tomorrow for a heart cath and MRI to rule out potential causes.

So, needless to say, all triathlon training is completely out of the question for now.  sigh.

So, all that long post to say, please pray...
~for peace for all of us~ what a shock today has been for me!
~that the tests tomorrow would be uneventful and that my doctor could figure out the cause of this problem.
~and for wisdom for Tom and I as we pray about what to do, treatment-wise.  Depending on the outcome of the tests, there will be several options.

I am fine... resting in God's peace and provision for us... actually quite thankful that all of this transpired the way that it did.  I suppose that, in theory, I could have easily have ignored this and continued to work out and gone in to cardiac arrest.  So, as always, God *is* good, all the time.  : )

Thank you *so*, *so* much my friends~
I really can't tell  you how much I appreciate your friendship and prayers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

I do believe that spring has sprung here!

In just one day's time, our fruit trees went from this,

to this!  So, so lovely!

The honeybees were in heaven!  The whole tree was humming... unfortunately, it would seem that bees are camera shy!  I tried and tried to capture them and only ended up with this shot.  Some nature photographer I'd be!  

As I mentioned in my last post, we were super-blessed to have our oldest son Nate, who is a chaplain's assistant in the Army at Ft. Benning, GA, home last week with the young lady that he is courting!  Oh my, did we have fun!

Aren't they an adorable couple?!!

The boys are *so* happy to have their big brother home!  There was swinging...

and barrel rolling,  hey don't laugh, its great cheap fun on the farm!  LOL!

And, to top it all off, we have baby goats!  Yay!

I am totally smitten with these little baby goats!

Yesterday we took them out in the field... I wanted to try to capture their silly jumping.  They are so funny, randomly leaping for joy...

A final group hug before bidding goodbye to Nate and Jamie...

Back soon with photos from our trip to Arizona and Utah... including the much anticipated (LOL!) full skydiving report!  Whoo Hoo!

Happy spring, friends!  Isn't God good?