Showing posts from July, 2013

Rannygahoots Top Five

The most-viewed posts here at Rannygahoots have nearly nothing in common. I suppose that's true because this blog doesn't center around any one topic - it changes as frequently as the thoughts that enter my chaotic mind. 

I present to you Rannyaghoots Top Five Countdown...
5. Where Was God
...When I first read about it, the words Elementary School echoed through my brain. Little kids. Little, innocent kids. My heart and soul ached for the parents who would return home without a child, or perhaps two. They ached for the survivors, the witnesses, those who have to carry on in the face of the unimaginable.

Yet there it was again. Facebook posts and voices on the tv and radio questioning where God was during this horrific event. Why God didn't stop it. How God could have let it happen.
Where was God?
God was...4. A Most Upsetting Thing 

... Alia was taken aback. TWO moms. Now, don't get me wrong, she knows that families come in all shapes and sizes. She knows families in all shap…

Expecting Happily Ever Afters

Once upon a time life was good, then there were bumps along the way that were terrible and horrible and caused great misery, but in the end led to only good things, and they lived happily ever after. And so the fairy tale goes.

Once upon a time a child was born and that child's parents had great expectations for that child. A good life, college, going on to become a doctor or lawyer or something greater that what their parents had accomplished - all goodness and joy and very few bumps along the way - all leading up to a happily ever after. And so the story usually goes.

Once upon a time a child was born and that child's parents were excited to see what that child's passions would be and where life would take that child. The parents knew the road through life wouldn't be smooth for this child, so nurtured in the child a sense of worth, a sense of humor, and a resilient spirit to help along the way. This is the story in which I believe.

I never had any, or at least not many…

And Then ...

And then the phone rang. I instantly recognized my hepatologist's voice. My emotions ran for cover, my heart sinking and my spirit rejoicing, as I realized a diagnosis was most likely at the other end of the line. Answers are good, but I knew the news would most likely not be of the good variety. 

And so it goes.

After going over blood test and biopsy results, he uttered the two words that will forever be a part of my life: autoimmune hepatitis. A diagnosis. An answer that brought with it more than a handful of questions. He took his time, addressing each of my questions and concerns. 

Recommended treatment includes Prednisone in combination with Azathioprine. Pred and I don't have a very good relationship, as he makes me very grumpy. Ok, very grumpy is an enormous understatement. Just ask my husband.

That I'm on Remicade may be my saving grace in all of this. With autoimmune hepatitis, my liver enzymes should be elevated - and they were until my increased dose of Remicade. No…

Thursday or Why I Shouldn't Be a Parent

There's something about Thursdays. My brain isn't quite right Thursdays. Thursday tend to be the day that drag out to no end; when the kids are extra-off-the-wall; when I just want to curl up in bed with a good book and ignore the world. 
There was no ignoring the world this past Thursday ... not with ten kids in the house. Yes, ten. My five, ages 14, 13, 11, 7, and 5. Then a few extra kids, ages 5, 5, 3 (or is he 4 now?), almost-2 and almost-2.
At one point two five year old girls, who were formerly contentedly playing outside, tore through the house with BIG NEWS. They had caught a cricket. They needed to know what type of habitat it needed and what it ate. After some research, they set up a home for him outside in a bucket, so they could "observe him throughout the day to learn more about him," in their own words. They continued playing, but checked up on Crickie and gave me regular updates. Until tragedy struck...
Alia: Mama! Help! There's a bee near the bucket …

And So it Goes

It came out of nowhere. I was not prepared for it. I knew the results could be life-changing, but not in such an up-in-the-air and it's-so-much-more-complicated way. Nothing, it seems, is an easy fix when it comes to my health.

I saw my hepatologist (liver doctor) the other day. Somehow between my liver biopsy and my recent appointment, "it's not autoimmune issues and everything else seems fine, but we should go over your results because they're abnormal" turned into "scarring... low platelets... bile ducts involved ... spleen, too ... still could possibly be autoimmune ... we'll try this for six months then reevaluate alcohol, no ibuprofen or other drugs that could be hard on your liver, no air travel until your platelets are higher and you evaluate risk of illness on your overall health ... lose weight ... more exercise."

I was prepared for possible bad news involving treatment of diagnosed liver issues and for being told to continue losing we…

Drama Distraction

As I await blood test results from my hepatologist that will decide my fate whilst trying not to google the possible liver issues affecting my life nor obsess over what the probable results mean for my life, I do everything I can think of to distract myself. 
So far I've printed out forms, filled out paperwork, washed the dishes, picked up 127 duplos from the living room floor, read 42 books to children - some of them multiple times, taken a horde of small children out for a walk in the rain, made dinner, watched a movie with my kids, loaded the dishwasher, cleaned up 127 duplos from the living room floor, sorted and folded laundry, put away my clothes, updated my calendar, and uploaded videos from our week at Camp Calumet to youtube. Drama Camp videos.  So now I present to you a bunch of noble comical Knights and an incredibly adorable bunch of forest animals for your enjoyment...

This being my blog, I feel I can point out that my eldest daughter is one of the Knights (the one that …

Twentieth Anniversary

We've known each other for twenty years. Twenty years! It's difficult to believe.

We met in college in 1993, and back then, I never would have guessed that we'd be so close or even still be friends twenty years later. Through depression, health issues, moves, living in different states, living together, and all life has thrown at us in the past twenty years, we've been there for each other. We can tell each other everything and anything, support each other, and aren't afraid to tell each other when we're concerned about each other's choices or wellbeing.

We've known each other longer than we'd been alive when we met. How is that even possible? It can't have been twenty years since two 19 year olds met it a college dorm room. Twenty years since her roommate kicked her out so that my room,ate could move in causing us to be roommates by default. It was one of the best things that happened to either one of us. We quickly became friends - best friends …

Rough Road

Dread seeps into every crack in my faith, every chink in the joy in which I wrap myself, every positive thought to which I cling. I suddenly feel unsure of myself, of my life, of my plans, of everything. It weighs down my fingers, making it difficult to type. It slows my mind, wrapping my thoughts in fog, making everything unclear. Is it foreboding or senseless worry?  I seek silence, but cannot find respite from the what-ifs that waft through my mind as I meditate.  I pray, but have difficulty stilling my thoughts so I can listen to what God has to tell me. I seek comfort; feel exhausted; alone. The weight of it is crushing me. 
I keep busy tending to children, cleaning, cooking, playing, losing myself in the lives of others in a Who Do You Think You Are YouTube marathon. No longer wanting to think, lest I'm overcome again with this horrible feeling, I busy myself instead. 
An end is in sight. Or maybe not. I could leave tomorrow's hepatology appointment with more questions than an…


The heat is killing me. 

I sit here in my beautifully air-conditioned living room and all I can think about is how the heat is going to do me in. I have a house full of children. Said children usually spend a good portion of their day outside. But it's oppressively hot outside and air quality is low. Our normal daily walk is cut incredibly short, as we're all sweaty and sweltering by the time we reach the end of the driveway. It's pathetic.

It's miserable out there. Miserable out there often translates to miserable in here if we're not careful. I stock up on craft items for just this reason. And board games and puzzles. When all else fails, there are forts to build and a "Cafe Theater" to set up. The kids invented the "Cafe Theater" wherein you set up tables and chairs, make popcorn and other snack foods, turn out the lights, draw the curtains, and watch a family favorite, a movie they haven't seen yet, or videos of our eldest kids as babies o…

Teen Two

Two teenagers now dwell here. Two. Teenagers. You are encouraged not to remind me that we're less than two years away from having three teens, lest my head explode. 

Last year I listed Twelve awesome things about Zachary for his twelfth birthday. This year, with my being in a state of shock and dismay at my status as mom of two teenagers, I shall list thirteen things I don't like about my newly minted teen.
1. Zachary is growing up too quickly. I have yet to figure out how he does this. It seems like just yesterday he was an adorable seven year old with long, curly hair down past his waist. Now he's nearly as tall as me and is OLD, which makes me feel oldER than I could possibly be. 

2. His wit is quicker than that of his maternal unit. In my opinion, it's due to Sporadic Artie robbing me of brain function, but in reality he's just a really sharp kid with a lightning fast mind. 
3. Zachary has a better shaved head than I do. This is not fair. He of gorgeous hair who de…

Camp Friend

Camp Calumet is a place to make friends. Alia is very good at making friends. This year at Camp, Alia made a very special friend. This friend ran to greet her and have a conversation with her each time we passed by. They were such good friends that at times it was difficult for them to say goodbye so that we could move on to our intended activities. Often Alia's new friend would run after her, in hopes that she'd notice and stop for one last goodbye. 

On our way to breakfast on our last day of Camp, Alia stopped to chat with her friend one last time before we hit the road. It was most difficult to pull her away that day. She later explained that her new friend had a lot to say, and she somehow learned to speak to her friend as well. She wasn't exactly sure what she was saying, but she was sure it was only good, kind, loving things. 

We never did get her friend's name, but she prays often that her friend is safe and has found other friends who stop for a chat every once i…

Rhythm of Life

Fear takes hold as we pull away from shore. My husband rows and five year old daughter sits in the middle, also afraid. We rock from side to side as we encounter waves caused by a passing boat. Taking deep breaths, I put my trust in my husband and my faith in God to get us through this. Until we headed for open water, I hadn't realized how afraid I was of riding in a canoe. Feeling scared myself, I did my best to reassure my daughter that all was well. This outing was her mission to overcome her fear - I didn't realize it would be mine as well. 

Just as my heartbeat started returning to normal, we encountered more waves and I came to the realization that my core strength is not what it used to be after spending a good deal of time over the past year in a wheelchair. I felt out of control of my body and of the situation. My voice calm, I asked Alia how she was doing. Her initial panic had, after a few minutes, turned to stubborn determination, but by this time was back to panic …

The View From Here

The view from here is beautiful, wondrous, amazing. 

It's not because of the magnificent White Mountains in the background. It's not the stunningly verdant surroundings or lovely Lake Ossipee down below. 

It's beautiful because I'm experiencing it with my husband and my youngest daughter. 

The wonder lies in every step I was able to take to get there going up the steep way, and then to hike back down again the long way. 

It's amazing because afterwards it was only early afternoon and my body functioned not only through the hike, but through the rest of the day, and the day after, and on to another hike the day after that. 

The view from here is progress. It's healing. It's renewed confidence in my body. It's hope. It's life. 

I stand here praising God; thanking doctor and diagnosis and tumor-necrosis-factor inhibitor; grateful to be sharing this with two of the people I love most in the word.

The view from here is beautiful, wondrous, amazing. 


After a week of pain, craziness, lots of children running around, tons of last-minute packing, and a huge dose of Remicade, we finally arrived on the shores of Lake Ossipee in Freedom, NH. Home. Camp Calumet. 

Mist blanketed the lake, grey skies meeting calm waters. The excitement I felt as we traveled dissipated in one huge sigh of relief and contentment. This is exactly where I needed to be - listening to the sound of water lapping on shore, breathing in fresh New Hampshire air, watching children dive into all the good things life at Calumet offers. Tranquil. Centered. Relaxed. Instantly. 

Watching my kids play in sand and water, burying my feet in the sand, a smile crept across my face as I realized that my mental to-do list contained only good things: setting up our campsite, figuring out what time the next day we would be dropping off kids at Resident Camp, and planning out our activities for the week. Now that's vacation. 

Only one dark cloud loomed over our day - and it a was …

If You Could

Feeling in a slump ... stuck, even ... I knew I needed to do something to get out of my own way. I sat at my computer and started typing the first thing that came into my mind: 

If you could change one thing to make your life better, what would it be?If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?If you could change one thing about the way you deal with money, what would it be?If you could change one thing about the way you eat, what would it be?If you could change one thing about the way you spend your time, what would it be?

I would walk in faith more, worry less.

I would do everything within my power to be healthier.

I would shop less.

I would pay more attention to feeding myself in the morning to start my day off right.

I'd have more fun with my family.

Five little things that would add up to a vastly improved life. So why don't I? I think I will.

What would you change? Really?

Now why don't you? Why don't you change those five little things, improve your li…

The Tale of the Cricket

She came to me, this girl of great imagination, with eyes wide in wonder and hands clasped before her. "I have a cricket!" she exclaimed. 
"How exciting," came my reply, "tell me about it!" 
"It's here, in my hands. Do you hear it?" 
"I can't hear it through your hands, can you open them up so I can see?"
And carefully she opened her fingers, holding her giant cricket up for me to see...

I could tell it was a giant cricket because of the way she held her hand, and she was ecstatic that I acknowledged the enormity of her lovely cricket with my gasp of amazement and words of adoration for such a noble imaginary creature. 
All day long, young Miss M and her cricket played, and often she'd check in with me, showing off her newfound friend. 
So if you run into an adorable towhead with a huge creative spirit, please say only good things about her fanciful friend the cricket.


One of two things usually go through my head when I hear that word - anticipation - either Rocky Horror Picture Show or the song by Carly Simon. But not today.

Today, anticipation swirls through the house as we make lists and coordinate clothing and cram ten days' worth of everything into as few containers as possible. We're packing for Camp. Not just camping, but Camp. Camp Calumet Lutheran, to be exact. Our week at Camp is rapidly approaching. It feels as if we can almost reach out and grab it, it's that close. 

But we have a week to get through first. A week of packing; repacking; lists of to-do's and to-buy's and don't-forgets; calculations; I-can't-wait's; I-wonder-if's; and who-do-you-thinks. A week of emergency child care for a new friend who needs childcare to work, but can't pay for childcare at the moment because she's just started her job, helping my grandmother settle in to the place she needs to be right now, even if just through …

Strong Shoes

The road of Faith isn't always smooth sailing. Wait, what? That didn't make any sense. You don't sail on roads. Well, not normally, anyway. But you know what I mean. That reminds me of an Irish blessing:

If God sends you down a stony path, may he give you strong shoes.
Our individual walks of faith aren't always easy, and many of us have veered off the path or met one obstacle or another along the way. 

I see people walk out of our place of worship and leave God there. They carry on with their lives, their perceived responsibility to their faith fulfilled. They return to worship when nothing else gets in the way.

I see others walk out the door, hand in hand with faith, only to have their good intentions fall to the wayside as the week progresses. They return to be filled with faith once again to tackle another week living closer to God. 
Then there are those who carry God in their hearts and their works throughout the week, returning again to worship because it is the right…