Tuesday, October 27, 2009


As promised, a few of the pics from my trip. These are some of my favorites experiences while I was there. I will post more, but I didn't want to overwhelm you. Usually, I focus on pictures of the landscape and such, but this time I thought it would be fun for you to meet some of the kids I worked with.
This was one of the art projects that we did with the kids. It was a tactile activity for them with sand art. The Belarussian children are extremely artistic and they are very detailed in their work. We actually had to cut out some of our art activities because they try to be so detailed.

On the last day we opted to go with some of the staff on their home visits rather than go on a sight seeing tour they had set up for us. Three ladies visit 80 families each week to deliver groceries and feed or bathe children. Sometimes they just go to homes to talk with the mothers and lend them a kind shoulder.

The older lady you see in this picture is 75 years old. She has trouble walking. The girl in the picture is her grandaughter. She is actually a twin, but you can't see her sister in this picture. They are both completely bedridden now. Had they been given wheelchairs early on and some physical therapy, they could probably do some things on their own. Unfortunately, their bones and muscles have twisted up from years of lying in this bed. This is the only bed the family owns. The grandmother sleeps with them. Their parents abandoned them early on, so when their grandmother becomes unable to care for them, there is no one to help them. The church is trying desperately to find a solution.

I wish I had a picture of this little girl smiling. Her smile lights up the whole room! She is around eleven years old. Yes, that is a baby stroller she is sitting in. It is very difficult and very expensive to find even the most primitive wheelchairs here. They do the best they can with what they have. There was another child at this center that also stayed in a baby stroller. The center has a stroller and the parents have a stroller. When they come to the center, one of the male staff members will carry them up the stairs and get them settled in for the day.

This is a really blurry picture, but I was trying hard to be discreet. These are military patrol units that walk the streets several times a day. They have stations every couple of miles and they do nothing but patrol the area looking for anything they can find. The week before we arrived, they actually raided a church where another team was teaching English to adults. The teams were very lucky and got away with a fine of 12 dollars and they were deported. It could have been much worse!

I thought I would leave you with one of my favorite pictures. This is a parachute that we took with us. It glows in the dark and the kids went nuts over it! We borrowed it from one of our town's schools where one of our team members heads up the CDC classroom. We decided to all pitch in and purchase the school a new one and we left this one there for the kids. It's hard to tell from this picture, but the gentleman in the far left of this picture was overcome with excitment when we did this. He squealed with laughter the whole time. Most of these kids don't even like to smile, so it isn't hard to see why this quickly became one of my favorite pictures.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Something to Focus on

I feel blessed to have an opportunity to focus on something positive during all of this mess and to make a great difference in the world. I am hoping that you all can help to rally some troops and help me out.

As many already know, three years ago I went on a trip to Belarus. It is a beautiful European country that borders Russia. I did not go for a vacation, in fact, our team ended up in a bit of a pickle while we were over there and had an extended stay in Poland that I do not care to ever remember. We went over to help a small church in the middle of one of the outlying towns. The church had begun a special needs program and they wanted some ideas to help make things better. We went and did a sort of camp with them and had a wonderful time teaching the children and adults.

The Belarussian government feels that special needs children are an eyesore. They demonstrate weakness and broken children. When a child for whatever reason is labeled special needs, the mother is forced to quit her job and stay at home full time with her child. The government sends her a very meager check to survive on and she is told that she should not allow her child out into the public, including parks, grocery stores, school, etc.

One very important thing to realize here is that our view on special needs and their view on special needs is entirely different. In Belarus a child with asthma or diabetes is considered special needs. These children can sometimes attend school in the morning, but they are not allowed the opportunity of a full education. It is very rare for a family to have a wheel chair in their home and there are no ramps or other forms of access. The government almost encourages husbands to leave their families when there is a special needs child and there is no respite care for mothers unless other family members come in and help.

Until now, we have only worked with two or three churches in the entire country that help to offer respite care and opportunities for special needs kids. This year a meeting was held by several other churches that want to get involved and help provide a chance for these children to lead normal happy lives.

I have been asked to go on this trip and help teach these churches how to start special needs programs in their community and how to accomodate activities for all levels of ability and development. I am very excited about this and I can't wait to go!

I need to raise the money for my air fare and accomodations while I am there. The total cost of the trip is $2791. This covers air fare, food, and lodging for ten days. I had a second job to take care of this until I got sick. It's been very difficult to work to cover this money on top of everything else although I am trying. My first and largest deposit is due November 30th and it is for $1000. I have several fundraisers in motion, but they do not start until December. I am hoping that you all can pass the word to all of your blogger friends and help me out. Even five dollars will get me that much closer.

I know how wonderful and supportive all of you are and I hope you don't hate me for asking for your help. I have several blankets I plan on raffling and I am very willing to take any crochet jobs you might need me to do as well. I have placed a tip jar to the left for you to click on. Any donations you make are tax deductible. Please tell all of your friends and try to pass this along. Even if you cannot help financially, maybe you know someone that can.

This week I will be posting some of the pictures from my last trip so that you can see what a wonderful opportunity this is. If you would like, I do have a power point presentation and some videos of the trip that I can mail out copies of. Thank you in advance for all of your help, prayers, and support.

Friday, October 23, 2009

One month down... two to go

Tomorrow I start my second month of provera. It wasn't too horrible this month I don't guess. AF and I have definitely had worse issues, but that whole two weeks at a time thing is frustrating.

I'm still hovering at the ten pound mark. I think some of it may have to do with my scale. I tested the theory last night. On three different occasions now I have stepped on the scale while toweling off after a shower and the scale shows that I have lost three or four pounds. It got me wondering. Last night I decided to do a little experiment. In a span of five minutes I stepped on the scale three separate times. The first time showed that I had not only gained all ten pounds of my lost weight back, but I had added an additional five pounds to the mix. The second time it was ten pounds lighter suggesting that I had lost five pounds. The third time it was another ten pounds less than that suggesting that my total weight loss was fifteen pounds.

I think we have a problem. I understand fluctuations, but seriously?

This is the most frustrating aspect of my life right now. I am eating so little and I am exercising a lot and I am losing nothing according to the numbers.

I eat 1 cup of honey nut o's for breakfast each morning with 4oz of 2% milk - 160 calories
I eat a grilled chicken salad, a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with half a serving of turkey and a smidge of mustard, or half a chicken breast with some steamed veggies for lunch. I make a point to keep this calorie count around 200.
On my long school nights I try to eat a snack to get me through class. I stick to an apple or a turkey sandwich. It never ever exceeds 200 calories.
Supper is some form of chicken breast baked or grilled with two veggies. I do not use any oils or fats unless I put a little dressing on my salad which is rare or if I splurge and bake up a half of a potato. I will coat these potato spears in half a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, but I only do that once a week. For supper I try to aim for 600 calories, but I rarely make it that far.

That's it. That is all I eat every single day. I walk at least a mile every day and I do 100 crunches before bed every single night. Still, the scale is not budging. What more can I do?
The potatoes and my daily cereal are the only "white foods or sugars" that I eat. Oh well, I'm just going to try my best. No one can say I'm not trying right now. This whole way of life can be very boring.

I just keep telling myself that eventually this will all start to tilt in my favor. I sure hope so.

The week hasn't been all bad. I crossed a major milestone in one of my writing projects this week. I crossed over the 50k word mark. I also lined up several crochet projects and Hubby is finally working! He's been out of work since May. That should be a huge weight off my shoulders soon!

I hope you have all had a great week. Sorry I've been a bit boring here lately. I have some things in the works, so stay posted. I need some creative ways to add to my exercise routine. Something that doesn't seem like it would burn calories (preferably free). I also need some really great low cal chicken recipes. I'm running out of ideas!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I have a serious control issue. At one point I had some very bad obsessive compulsive tendencies. With therapy I managed to work through most of them and I learned how to rationalize myself into less noticeable rituals and thoughts. In high school, certain aspects of my home life and the insane schedule that I kept drove me to find something that I could feel in control of. I turned like many young girls to food. The first pound that I lost was one of the most euphoric experiences in my life. I had the answer to my problem. I may not be able to control my home or my teachers, but I could control my food.

I learned to be sneaky and this brought on new levels of control. Therapy helped that too and thankfully I crept up to a healthy weight by the time I graduated. Two years later, my fiance screamed at me as I packed my stuff that he was glad I was leaving. He said he was sick of living with someone that wouldn't eat and lived in the gym. A week later, back at my parents' house, I realized that he was right. I had tried to control our broken relationship with food once again.

By the time I met Hubby, I had convinced myself to just eat and forget about calories. I was working an insanely stressful job with a ton of hours and I still can't figure out how I never noticed that the scale was inching its way up.

By that point, I gave up. It was either all or nothing with me. I didn't want to go back to the hours of obsessing and anxiety attacks over a french fry. I refused to think about it. I never became an overeater really, I just quit undereating and my metabolism and body had already taken a serious beating. By the time I realized my blunder, it was too late. Now, 8 years later, here I am struggling to find a balance.

This week has been really hard. It really is all or nothing with me. My old demons are quickly sliding back into place and the anxiety is building. I nearly cried last night over a spoonful of mashed potatoes. I didn't dare let those pesky taters enter my mouth, but Hubby kept pushing. It was more than I could handle. I'm certain that there have been many days lately that I haven't eaten enough. I'm scared to death to. Cancer, hysterectomy, no children, these are terrifying words that ring in my ears constantly now. They drive the force and push me to pull out measuring cups, and all of my crazy food strategies from the past.

I realize that control was one of the main issues I had with trying to have a baby too. I didn't deal with it well. That is one reason why it took us so long to aggressively seek out medical help. I couldn't relinquish control. I thought that if I just temped more or set my clock better maybe it would work. Obviously it never did.

Sometimes God gives us one problem to help us solve another. I feel like maybe this is His way of helping me learn how to move beyond some of my control issues. Why does this stuff have to be so hard though?


Friday, October 9, 2009

Weight a Minute.

I've been a little quiet lately. I need time to process and reflect on what I am doing. I feel like my life is completely consumed with the goings on of my body again. This is why we quit ttc for a while. I needed time to focus on me and just enjoy being a human being. This is no fun.

I finished the last dose of provera for the month this morning. Already the cramping is intense and icky. I actually had a little breakthrough bleeding two nights ago. It was very brief and barely noticeable, but I've never ever had that happen on provera before. I'm not sure what it meant, but since it wasn't there the next morning and I only had two pills left, I just went on with life.

I've been very diligent with my diet and exercise. I'm nearing obsession at this point. I eat 1200-1400 calories a day. I walk with hubby a mile or two every day. I try to throw in sit ups, extra steps, and extra activities as my energy allows. My energy is still crap though so this isn't easy to do. As of right now, I've only officially lost two whole pounds. This is more than frustrating. I have until December to make a significant change in my weight, I eat mostly lettuce and chicken, and I still can't manage to shed the pounds. How is all of this going to work?

Most days I reach a breaking point where I just want to throw in the towel or hold up my hand and tell everyone and everything to just stop for a minute and let me catch my breath. I feel like nothing I do ever works and I am swimming upstream for a minute. Still, I can't let go of those images I have in the back of my brain where Hubby and I are staring down at this red, wrinkled up little person that we have brought into the world.

Why does this have to be so hard?