Saturday, July 15, 2017
That is a picture of an unlikely little duo :) Ginger was actually suppose to be Hannah's cat. Hannah is the one who came home for dinner about 4 years ago, asking if she could have one of the kittens a neighbor the next cut-de-sac over was giving away. To my utter shock, Craig asked if she had a carrier ready, we hopped into the car and went to see these kittens... coming home with the little spit-fire of the two sisters in the litter. It became very clear within about 2 days, Ginger was going to claim Gracie as her girl and she has literally clung to her ever since.
We seriously wonder if Ginger actually knows she's a cat. Gracie has raised her from 8 weeks old, treating her like a baby. She dresses her up, totes her around in baby carriers and strollers, entertains her in baby walkers and swings, and speaks to her like she would a toddler rather than a cat. She will sit Ginger down on my bed, tell her to "stay", and that silly cat obeys because her mama will reprimand her if she doesn't . Ginger ADORES Gracie and tolerates the rest of us. She literally HUGS gracie with her paws around Gracie's neck. She purrs and mews as she snuggles in with her mama. They spend all their time together; sleeping, watching TV, doing school work, and playing. If Gracie is eating, Ginger is getting little bites of it too. Sometimes I swear they share not only a heart, but a brain ;)
Over the past couple of years we started noticing that Ginger seemed to be occasionally alerting Gracie when her blood sugar would drop low. At first we thought it was just a fluke. I mean, this is a strange (said very lovingly;) little cat to begin with; one who doesn't even realize she's actually a cat. But, it's become undeniable that she is intentionally alerting Gracie to her low BG. This morning, around 5am, while Craig and I were soundly sleeping, unbeknownst to us at that time, Gracie had crashed on us. I'd checked her less than an hour before and she was 108 and level. Neither of us heard Dexcom alarm nor felt our phones vibrate with the warning. When we woke up at 6:30 and saw that she had dropped to 40 and had been low for near an hour we were shocked.... the only thing keeping us from bolting out of bed and running to her room was her current BG at that moment of 233. What on earth???? Over lunch today, Gracie asked me if I'd seen that she had crashed early this morning. I said I had and asked her if she had woken herself up and gotten some juice. She nodded yes, then told me "Ginger woke me up to tell me I was low." I asked if she woke up to Ginger biting on her (that's how she usually alerts Gracie, not hard biting, just biting hard enough to get her attention, not causing any injury or breaking her skin). She said no, that this morning Ginger kept kneading her in the chest and meowing to get her to wake up. WOW!
We joke with Gracie about how spoiled Ginger is. She is a cat with a diva attitude and she can be a bit of a brat at times. But she's a sweet little diva nonetheless and we all love her like crazy. This petite little cat, who is literally spoiled rotten and expects everyone to cater to her whims, truly has taken on the role of Diabetes Alert CAT and has decided that she is her girl's lifesaver. We no longer think her alerts are flukes; we know that she alerts Gracie when Gracie is in danger, and she's persistent enough to keep at it until something is done about it.
It's really rare that we miss a low BG like we did this morning. I am incredibly thankful that she has Ginger, her goofy little cat, looking out for her like she does. I never expected or anticipated that she would grow into a service role like she has, but I also couldn't ask for a better little furry partner to keep an extra eye on my girl. I am happy to repay her in love, snuggles, and all the tuna she could ever possibly want. We LOVE you Miss Ginger Snap!!!!
Monday, July 10, 2017
Well, it's kinda snuck up on us once again....can y'all even believe how fast time flies??? This will mark the 12 year that we've Walked To Cure T1Diabetes. And, this year we have TWO daughters to walk for!
I'll never forget the first time we showed up at the annual JDRF Walk To Cure.... It was quite literally the day after Gracie had been released from the hospital as a Type 1 Diabetic. She was 15 months old! We were still in the "dumbstruck" phase and were still trying to wrap our mind around those two little words the doctor had said to me just 7 days earlier..."She's diabetic". It was an incredibly windy Nebraska day; the type of wind you expect in November along the Maine coastline ~ gale force. We showed up with a twin stroller, Gracie in the front seat with her paci in her mouth and trademark bow in her hair, Hannah at 3 weeks old in her carrier in the back seat covered as completely as possible to keep the wind from taking her newborn breath away, Tess and Sarah excited to run around. We wandered around the park, looking at the vendors and not really understanding anything about what they were "selling", eating hotdogs, and basically absorbing our new community of families like our own. I'm completely sure we had the "deer in the headlights" stare going on;)
Over the year following that walk, we settled into our new normal. Life was no longer what we had expected... but in many ways it was better. No, I would not wish T1D on anyone! However, when faced with a chronic illness, an invisible disease, you tend to embrace life a bit more and you learn how to roll with the punches like pros. You focus in on what's important and you suddenly no longer worry about the rest. It is THANKS to JDRF for the amazing life both our daughters have now as well as the bright future they have to look forward to. JDRF is integral in the advances in diabetes care and management: new technology, less long term health complications, better management of this life threatening disease. Thanks to continuous glucose monitors (CGM) both Gracie and Sarah lead healthier and more "normal" lives than they would have 10-15 years ago. We are able to stave off complications, DKA, and hospital stays because we know have real-time trends that we can watch on each of the girls from our phones ~ we can see ahead of time if Blood Glucose is climbing or crashing and do something about it to avoid a crisis, we can easily see when their insulin doses need tweaking, we can even tell if they are beginning to get sick thanks to their CGMs and get them into the doctor quickly to keep them out of the ER with complications. This year the brand new Closed-Loop system has been made available.... the predecessor to an artificial pancreas. This system will read algorithms and self adjust ~ add insulin when needed, decrease insulin, and even turn itself off if the diabetic is crashing. AMAZING! The days of only 3 finger pokes with a small knife blade and injections with steel needles that you sterilized and sharpened (I remember this from when my Dad was diagnosed as a Type 2 when I was in Jr High) are long gone :)
It was only a week after last year's Walk To Cure that Sarah was diagnosed with T1D. Yes, our world was suddenly shaken to the core yet again with those same two little words. But over the past months we've watched Sarah take ownership of her T1D and we've watched as Gracie came alongside her big sister in a mentorship role. This is a really hard life and unless you're living with the life and death decisions you must make each and every day, all day long, you have no way of understanding. Our girls, and everyone like them, don't look sick. By all accounts they look like very healthy kids leading active, normal lives. What y'all don't see under the surface is the struggle to stay healthy and feeling good. Life for T1D kids is like a 3 ring circus that nobody ever sees. It's a balancing act: insulin, carbs, food (yes, separate from the carbs for many reasons), activity, emotions, stress, hormones, weather...you name it and it affects them and their BG. Once you hear those two little words, nobody in your family sleeps straight through the night EVER AGAIN, because doing so could have fatal results. You want to hop in your car and run to the grocery store? If you're living with T1D you can't do that until you know your BG first; if you're low, you must get some fast acting carbs into yourself and wait for them to bring your BG up before you ever turn the key in that ignition. Want to go visit family an hour from home, even for the day? You must pack extra supplies "just in case". What are those supplies, you're wondering? How about a small duffle bag full of extra pump supplies, sensors for your CGM, 3 kinds of tape, short acting insulin, long acting insulin, syringes, Glucagon kits, scissors, juice, snacks, lots of water.... and that is just the short list off the top of my head.
So why do we raise money every year for our local JDRF chapter's Walk To Cure? Because we hope and pray every day that our daughters and everyone like them, live to see a cure and they no longer have to live with T1D. But until then, we walk to ensure that they have a better life with fewer complications from this life threatening disease. T1D is not something you can "grow out of" or change your diet and exercise routine to get rid of.... It's an autoimmune disease and it's LIFELONG, and as of right now, there is no cure. Insulin is not a cure, it is LIFE SUPPORT... without it they die. That is the reality of T1D. The other side of our reality, however, is the amazing community that is as strong as it is because of JDRF and their mission to finding a cure and bettering the lives of all kids like Gracie and Sarah along the way. Please join us as we fundraise for this year's JDRF Walk. I'll be posting about fundraising opportunities as we schedule them, and of course we'd love for ya'll to join our Saving Grace Team (Schroeder Family Team). While our team was named over a decade ago and life threw us another curve ball with Sarah joining the T1D ranks, Saving Grace is aptly named... for it is by the Grace of God alone that these two girls are living the amazing lives they are. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God knows the plans HE HAS FOR THEM and those plans are awesome, even if we don't understand or see His vision while we are on the journey.
Right now I would like to share a link with ya'll. Tupperware graciously donates 40% of all sales from this link to JDRF:) http://www.tupperware.com/?fundraiser=5963cfdf1f800b180743e9da
I'll be setting up our team page tonight and will post the link to that this week. We'd love for everyone to join us as we Walk To Cure T1D
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Even tho we are all grieving Sweet Oliver's passing, we are thrilled to welcome little Kyah May into the family. Sarah fell in love with her when her eyes fell upon her picture on Facebook. She drove 5 hours west today to pick her up and bring her home.
Princess Kyah is just a bitty little pup...8 weeks old Chihuahua. She was exhausted after her long drive to her new home and leaving her mom and litter mates, but we are all in love already. She hasn't met her cousin Doug yet, however he seemed enchanted by his baby cousin, from the safety behind the baby gate. She is just too bitty right now to meet Doug nose to nose, but I'm pretty sure they'll enjoy some adventures in the future.
Welcome to the tribe Kyah May!
Gracie's sweet bunny, Oliver, passed away today. This was totally unexpected. She was making music videos with him yesterday, he was fine this morning...tonight, when I went to check on the critters and give them their evening petting, I found him "asleep" in his litter box (his favorite place to nap). I reached in to scratch his long, soft ears and found he was gone. Telling Gracie was so hard. She adored that fluffy boy.
Oliver....you were an amazing friend. We all loved you dearly. You were such a joy, it allowed us to open our hearts and home to other critters, other bunnies among them. We miss you sweet, quiet presence already.
Oliver....beloved and cherished 2012-2017
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Can you see those smiles? Those two! They simply amaze me. Warrior spirits with fierce hearts. I never tire of watching them, no matter what it is they're doing.
Gracie and Hannah are very close, not only in age, but in heart. They truly love being together (most of the time). So much so, they want to have a farm together when they grow up, and they've already named it...Sisters Farm. Y'all should hear their plans; the way the barn will look, their own cabins nearby, the crops they'll grow, the trucks they'll drive, rescuing animals of every kind...they even have their husbands and kids figured into it all. Be still my heart!!!
It's no wonder they love riding together as often as possible. These two even love mucking stalls together:). Their days are full of animals, both at home as well as at the barn, and they couldn't be happier. They are hard workers, diligent, responsible, not looking for short cuts, capable, and above all, they have hearts bigger than Texas
Wendy Lou training with Shawnea
Gracie's first day on Wendy Lou
Hannah and Canton crack me up. They totally "get" each other...
Gotta have a few horselfies😉
Saturday, June 24, 2017
It seems like "my" space has turned into more of a family space; which is totally fine, unless I'm working on a project. So, I decided to turn the bedroom next to my "wing" (as my family dubbed it years ago) into a sewing studio. Sarah painted the walls a wonderful Tiffany blue, a couple years ago, so I decided to work with that color. I am loving how things are turning out in here. I opted to leave the bed incase we ever need it, plus the girls like to curl up on it when I'm working. Not to mention that annie sleeps there every night as well;).
I did add some new storage (absolute must have) otherwise, I've been working with what I already have. I made a sweet vintage feeling curtain to cover up the ugly basement window well view, recovered the office chairs, changed up some fun decorations for the walls...it's still a work in process, but it really turning into a fun place to hang out and create :)
My Great Grandma's pinking shears, handed down the generations, finally making it to me :)
An antique child's blackboard makes for fun artwork.
Annie's toy basket...SPOILED;)
Still need to move my work/cutting table in; working on the floor until then.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
This will be the hardest post for me to ever write, because I'm cracking the door open in the wall that keeps me guarded and safe. Vulnerable. Transparent. Everything I usually always try NOT to be...
Yesterday was Father's day and we thoroughly enjoyed celebrating Craig. The day began with all our girls gathering round him, full of hugs and "I love you, Dad", then we headed off down the road. Our intention was to head to Nebraska City and enjoy lunch at Arbor Lodge... however, as is the norm for this motley crew, we got a bit side-tracked. We stopped at a car show, just up the street. What was suppose to be a quick stop, turned into lunch when Craig spotted the HUGE hamburgers they were grilling;) We really did enjoy ourselves, relaxing as we admired all the wonderful antique and vintage cars and trucks, and ate a classic "church" meal, complete with an assortment of pie. Craig opened his gifts and then we hit the farmer's market before finally heading off to Nebraska City. By this time, we'd lost half our kids, as Tess and Hannah opted to stay here and enjoy Tess's dog, Doug. Once there, we enjoyed some exploring, some great snacks, a bit of history, lots of laughs, and just some great time together. Yesterday was a time that we will all enjoy mulling over the memories for years to come.
Father's Day is a bit hard for me. You see, God has given me 3 earthly dads: one didn't want me so he left when he learned his young wife was expecting me, one who raised me and was the father I loved dearly but has passed away, and our relationship was always a bit rocky because although we loved each other dearly we just never understood each other, and the third (my father in law) I didn't fit the mold, so yet again, I love him dearly but there really isn't much relationship beyond the surface because I just can't be something I am not. You see, Hallmark doesn't make cards for the hard relationships, and let's face it, holidays like this are all about the Hallmark moment.
Before you think this post is a pity party that I'm throwing for myself, think again. That's not the track I'm going down. What I've been pondering is how the relationship with your earthly father shapes the relationship with your Heavenly Father. I'm a Christian and that isn't just a label I wear on my tee shirt, it's the core of who I am. My entire life has been lived with a true desire to live according to the will of God, to be His hands and feet here on earth as I live out a ministry for Him in my daily life. It is WHO I AM, not just what I call myself, and if you've known me for more than 5 minutes, you probably are not surprised by that statement. What may surprise you though, is my deep struggle with this most important relationship. I have spent my entire life building up a strong, impenetrable wall, an internal safe room, a way to keep my heart and spirit intact.... the problem with this is, when you're so used to protecting yourself from all the earthly hurt, how do you open the door for God to completely fill you? It's not a matter of trust, it's not a matter of faith, it's not a matter of being fake, it's a very real struggle for people like me. I LOVE MY LORD AND SAVIOR WITH ALL THAT I AM and I KNOW THAT HE LOVES ME.... but, when you've been thrown away and/or had severe struggles with your earthly father(s), how do you relate to your Heavenly Father in a different way? When all you know is struggle and maybe even hurt or pain, how do you accept unconditional love? When you've never measured up here on earth, how do you accept that your Heavenly Father accepts you as you are and beyond that, actually "delights in you"?
We live in a time where fathers are considered disposable. They are presented through the entertainment industry as inept, the butt of all jokes, clueless; and our society has not just accepted that picture, but has taken the liberty to completely eliminate the importance of the role of fathers in our lives. How sad!
I watch Craig with our girls and can't help but smile. He loves them, protects them, takes care of them, helps them grow into the amazing young women they are becoming. He models the love of our Heavenly Father to them each and every day, without fail. He shows them what men are suppose to be, hence what they are to look for in their future spouses. Yes, those future husbands have big shoes to fill, and that is a very good thing. And, I am SO thankful that our girls have this character in their own father. Not only is it setting the bar for the traits and the heart they should look for in their future husbands, but more importantly, it's showing them the relationship they can and should have with their Heavenly Father. They already know what unconditional love is since their father has freely given them that kind of love their entire lives. They know how to relate to God in a way I struggle to know, all because of their dad.
Don't get me wrong, I had a very loving dad. Yes, there were problems, but I knew he loved me. What I didn't know was, what was so wrong with me that my birth father would rather throw away a 4-5 year marriage to his high school sweetheart just to be rid of me before I was even born. The adult in me understands: he was immature and had served in the Viet Nam War; when he came home, he was "different". I get it. But as a child, I carried around a sense of unworthiness and guilt because of it. God gave me a second dad.... others may have labeled he and I with the word "step", but we never did. He was MY dad, I was HIS daughter. But, he had his own demons to fight... alcohol. Yes, I'm an adult child of an alcoholic; a label I was always afraid to claim because deep down I felt it was somehow my fault. Beyond his trouble with alcohol, my dad was also agnostic.... how do I, someone who gave her life to God at 4 years old, relate to an earthly father who is agnostic, atheist even? Then, at 21 years old, God gave me yet one more earthly father in my husband's father. I was different from anyone he ever knew, I came from a different place, went to a different type of church, came from a different type of family.... whether or not he viewed me this way, I perceived him as viewing me as "less than" and that has led to a rather rocky relationship. I love him dearly, as much as if I'd been born to him; after all, he has been my father for close to 3 decades. It's hard, however, to build a relationship with someone you feel you're always on eggshells with... always afraid you'll say the wrong thing, look the wrong way, be the wrong way even; never able to be your true self, because you know that is viewed as wrong.
With this history with my 3 earthly fathers, how do I let down the wall to let God in? I KNOW I'm saved by His grace thru the blood of Jesus Christ, I don't doubt that... but because of the struggles I've had my entire life, even after a lifetime of knowing I'm God's chosen child, I honestly still struggle with feeling "I just don't measure up". I'm not talking about a works based salvation... what I'm admitting to is a very real struggle that goes all the way to the core of my very soul. I want to let God in COMPLETELY, to actually feel His very presence, hear His still, quiet voice even. But I know that I keep him at bay because I don't know how to crack open the wall I've spent a lifetime building to protect myself. To be totally honest, it took over 20 years for my own husband to crack this wall. Not because I didn't love him, because I loved (still do:) him with all my heart; but because I've spent an entire life being thrown away by the people who claimed to love me the most (my mom, grandma, and one cousin are the only 3 in my family who didn't throw me away over the years and for that I'm very thankful).
As I ponder this, God gifts me with memories of Him meeting me right where I am. He reminds me of the how in the darkest times in my life He sent His angels to guard and protect me and allowed me to physically feel their presence. He reminds me of the times He chose to answer some of my unspoken but very real prayers thru a specific song or scripture that I knew beyond any shadow of doubt He meant me to hear or read right at that moment. He flashes memory after memory of Him walking beside me as I look back on struggles I've come through. He reminds me of His answering my prayers over my lifetime... sometimes yes, sometimes no, and other times still the answer was "wait on me". And then...he turns my face to my husband working side by side with our girls, teaching them how to mow the lawn or use a power drill and He reminds me that if I was able to crack this wall and let that man in, I also already let Him in too. Yes, I struggle relating to my earthly fathers because of the scars I carry, but my Lord and Savior is bigger than those scars and all the hurt that has caused them; He is bigger than the wall I've built. And for now, I choose to lay this struggle down. I choose to not wonder if I'm worthy of His love, knowing full well I'm not, but also knowing that His love is unconditional. It's a gift that I accepted long ago; a gift He won't snatch away just because I struggle, rather He will wrap me in His embrace and allow me to rest.
Father's Day is sponsored by Hallmark, I'm sure of it; but God himself wrote the original love note, The Bible, because he absolutely does "care enough to send the very best". Even when I'm struggling with my own feelings of un-worth, I can open the pages of scripture and find the unconditional love I desperately seek. I know what it means to "cry out" to God, but I'm still learning how to actually open up and let Him comfort me instead of just staying behind the wall to block out the pain. It's a journey, but God isn't going to walk away because I'm too slow; no, He will continue to gently take my hand and guide me along the way, directing my steps along the path that leads straight to Him. Do I question my salvation because I never measured up to my earthly fathers, therefore how can I measure up to my Heavenly Father? No, He assures me that Christ died on a cross to save me from my own sin, including my own doubts and struggles. But now, I need to just allow Him to seep into all the cracks in this wall I've built and to fill me up from the inside. I'm still learning.... yes, I can be a bit slow sometimes;)
P.S. I've sat on this post for a week. Mulled it over and talked with my husband about it. I was afraid of publishing it...a few people may get angry or hurt if they read it, I'm exposing way "too much" of myself in this and would rather just tuck it all back inside and not let anyone see the very real struggle, opening up this much leaves me open to even more judgement....but in the end, Craig and I realize that I'm not the only one facing this struggle. So, I'm stepping out in faith, clicking "publish", and praying God can use this to somehow, someway, help someone else. Blessings!
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Tonight was the night we've been waiting for; the first time for Wendy to have an English rider.
After tacking her up and doing some liberty work, Gracie gave Shawnea a leg up into the saddle. Suddenly our bossy little mare became compliant and followed her rider's lead beautifully. She was a joy to watch! She's quick and has a beautiful trot. Watching her canter and take the corners on a dime was was awesome!!! She worked hard but you could see she was having a great time. It's going to be fun watching her progress right along with watching Gracie and Hannah learn from Anne how to work with her. After tonight, Gracie is more than excited for the time when she will get to ride her beautiful little paint.