On A Personal Note

My blogging habits have been deplorable lately. I know that this is nothing new for me, and I’m sure, in many ways, you’ve come to expect poor blogging habits from me. However, I feel the need to explain myself and apologize.

I don’t take my “career” as a blogger lightly. I work hard to plan posts that I think my readers will enjoy, and I work hard to set up the activities and events that I’ll be blogging about. I make sure I charge my camera and try to go to exciting places or research a lot of things to keep my readers engaged and interested.

However, blogging lately has been an issue. I have a lot of very personal family things going on right now. Some of them I can’t really share about in detail until I actually get more details about it. What I can share is that several members of my family are having some ongoing health issues, which means I’ve been trying to spend my time with them (and sometimes that entails being away from internet access), plus we have many homeschooling related events coming up that are taking me away from my computer.

I am going to make a very strong effort to blog consistently until I have to leave town again, but there is so much to prepare and so much to do. I just got home today and I’m already looking at the possibility of having to leave again sometime next week, which isn’t set in stone, but is a possibility. That means that I have only a few days to get my son adjusted to his ordinary routine again, work on cranking out some travel-friendly lesson plans for our homeschooling unit, actually DO our school lessons, go to the grocery store, work on creating  few recipes for Duncan Hines’ Very Important Baker program, do some spring cleaning, and actually try to have a life at the same time.

It’s frustrating. It’s crazy. But in the end, while I take my blog very seriously, and I take my job as a blogger very seriously, there is one major thing that will always come first over this blog, and that is my family.

For those that don’t know this, my father has a condition known as atrial fibrillation, or A-Fib. It’s something he has been dealing with for years, but just over two years ago (almost exactly), he came down with what he thought was a case of food poisoning. I was in the process of moving back home temporarily in order to find a new living situation since I was leaving my old apartment without much of a backup. I was also going through my divorce at the time. There was a lot going on in our family, and I just assumed that between food poisoning and the stress hitting my family, my dad was just ill. I went out to dinner with an old friend, and spent the evening unpacking a few boxes. The next morning, my dad woke up, was groggy, and said “When mom is off of the phone, can you ask her to come here?” “Sure. Is there something I can help you with?” “No. It’s okay.” I passed the message on, and when my mom got off of the phone, she went in and said, “What can I do for you?” My dad’s face was slack on one side, and he said “I think I’m having a stroke.”

You should have seen the sight of my mother and I trying to carry my dad to the car, since an entire half of his body wasn’t working. We got to the emergency room and told them we believed he was having a stroke… I’ve never seen hospital staff move so quickly.

It turns out that my dad did have a stroke, and that the “food poisoning” symptoms were just related to his stroke. He was in the hospital, nearly didn’t return to work, and even had to learn how to walk again. He’s regained a good portion of his strength by now, and has taught himself how to eat, talk, and move all over again.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we were in church. We’ve only been attending the church for a few months now, and we don’t know that many people. My dad immediately worked to get involved in church, and, on this particular morning, he was handing out bulletins to everyone entering. My mother and I took a bulletin from him, took our seats, and began singing. A woman tapped my mother on the shoulder and asked “Is that your husband?” And there my dad was, on the ground. He had passed out, hitting his head on the floor. Immediately, my mother and I both had flashbacks to the time 5 years ago when he passed out in the shower as a result of his heart problem (my mother woke me up by flinging open my door and saying “Go wait for the ambulance and direct them to our room” with no further explanation) and the time when we had to carry him to the car after his stroke only 2 years prior.

Luckily, his fainting this time was only a minor incident. You know that label on medication that says “Take with food or milk.”? Yeah, that’s not a casual suggestion. If you don’t take it with food or milk, you could do something wild and crazy like faint in church. He’s fine, and there was no foul and only a minor bruise. On the bright side, the whole church knows us now. I was inquiring about joining a small group not too long ago, and was introduced like this: “I hate to use this as an example, but she is the one who’s dad passed out in church last Sunday.” Yes, that’s me. :raises hand:

On Monday, my family made the journey down to Springfield, Missouri. We were able to visit my grandmother, who also recently has had some issues healthwise of her own (she has COPD, which is the best warning that I can think of for anyone who is considering picking up a cigarette… don’t do it. Even after you’ve quit smoking, even 15 years later, it can still affect you and you can still end up on oxygen). We also got to tour a chocolate factory in Springfield, and I’ll be able to post about that soon, I hope.

Soon, we will be visiting my grandfather, who is also having some medical issues, but I don’t have good details on that yet.

But you see, my family, they’re the important thing. I’ve seen many times how one day, you could wake up, and realize that it could be the last time you’ll see someone. Sometimes I think about that day where my dad said “I think I’m having a stroke.” I think “What if he wouldn’t have recognized it? What if he wouldn’t have gone to the hospital and gotten it taken care of? What if it had eaten away at him longer?” I think about all of the times when he has dealt with his heart issues before they got him on the proper medication to help with that. What if his heart were to kill him? What if, when he passed out in church, it had bruised his brain because of the medications he’s on?

The people that I love, that you love, that any of us love… they could be gone in a second. It may not even be a health problem. They could walk outside and get hit by lightning, or a bus. They could go in their sleep. It seems morbid, but the point that I’m trying to tell you is to cherish every moment. Don’t sweat the petty stuff. Get over it. Forgive. Forget. Love. Love wholly. And forgive me, because if I have to take a few days between posts to spend time with my family in their time of need, health-wise or otherwise, I’ll do it. They come above any blog, above any message I want to get to you guys or any recipe I want to invent or any box I want to review. They’re first. You guys are awesome. I love you guys… but my family. My family comes first.



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