Recent Post :: Life and Times of Leish

Archive for Recent Post

“But what do you want out of this…” — GYM Life

Hello world!  It’s been awhile since I made an appearance here.  As I sit here this morning with a lap full of cat sipping on my bullet proof Raspberry Zinger Tea (bullet proof anything will change your life folks), I reflect on something me and my trainer discussed a few weeks ago.  (1. He would not approve of my bullet proof tea, and 2. He spoke, I stuttered around and tried to make sense of where I was and where I really wanted to go from that day forward — 8/29/18).  As you can see I’ve been mulling this around in my head for a few weeks, since August 29, trying to figure out how to address it and my goals.

I started a gym program on 8/8/18.  I had been seeing post on Instagram of how this could change my life, just sign up for six weeks.  “Give me 6 weeks to change your life, and you’ll stay forever!!!”.  I kept thinking to myself, I can do six weeks…42 days.  I’ve tried everything else, usually they promoted that it would only take 21 days for transformation (and according to Bro. Dugas, “It takes 21 days to make a habit”).  When I say I’ve tried ‘everything’, I mean just about everything.  I’ve tried Shape Reclaimed, ItWorks, Weight Watchers, Advocare, Arbonne (this did get rid of a skin issue I was having), Trim Healthy Momma, Adkins, Beach Body (several programs), Curves, Plexus Slim, Gym/Exercise program from previous trainer, and low calorie.

Why have I spent hundreds (if not thousands of dollars) on all the gimmicks to try and better myself?  Because society dictates that women should be a certain way; because I am fat (and always have been); and because with an autoimmune disease I want to stay as healthy as possible to try and fight/beat the disease.  I was a ‘chubby’ child, weighing in at 145 in the fifth grade; wearing women’s size 14 mini skirts — they fit me around the middle and still was long enough to be considered a normal skirt on my 5’0″ frame.  Needless to say I was about as round as I was tall.  Fortunately for me, I eventually grew taller.  I still wore a size 12/14 in high school but I stood at 5’10”.  I kept my weight in check until I decided to become a nurse, and school stress and working nights took a toll on my body that I have not recovered from five years later.  Also in that time I hit middle age and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?  It is an auto immune disease where your body (your white cells) attacks the myelin sheath that surrounds your nerve endings.  What does this cause and what symptoms does a person have?  Several things, and no two people are the same.  It can cause numbness and tingling the extremities, fatigue (physical — muscle, mental, and emotional), depression, speech difficulties, memory issues, phantom pain, electric shocks down your spine, excessive sweating, heat/cold sensitivity, and internal organ issues (bowel/bladder) to name a few.  I was diagnosed with this in May 2010.

The fatigue I experience with this has me sometimes sleeping for 24 hours straight, you cannot physically open your eyes…they feel like they weigh about 500 pounds each.  On those days I’m doing good to get up and go to the restroom, much less make it to the gym for an hour long workout.  Not that I don’t desire to be in shape and be “my best self”, sometimes my body has other ideas of what it takes to be my best self.  Not to mention the fact that sometimes my hand would go numb, or my legs would feel like jelly and they were going to fall out from under me while doing sprints…I may not have the best time, but I completed it…that was something to me.

I currently work as an ER nurse, the night shift.  My shifts are random each week, so the days I am available to go to the gym varies, and it depends on how I feel after my shift on if I can go to the gym for an hour.  As an ER nurse, we are sometimes lucky to go to the bathroom much less take time to eat (we do try and make sure everyone gets their 30 minute lunch…but sometimes that doesn’t happen until 1:00 am after starting shift at 7:00 pm).  Are these excuses, to some maybe…but it’s my life and sometimes my bed calls my name more loudly than the gym (due to the before mentioned MS).  Sleep is my friend.

So…now to the big question…”What do you want out of this”.  My trainer was getting frustrated with me because I wasn’t at the gym five days a week and I wasn’t eating 8 meals a day packed full of protein.  I explained that I had stopped going to MO Baking Company and Vincent Donuts after work (2-3 times a week), I had only had ice cream once in the three week (as a March I would eat ice cream every day, or every other day — it’s a family thing — and I LOVE ice cream),  and I had increased my exercise from zilch to at least 3-4 times a week.  His response…”That’s what you’re not doing, tell me what you are doing”.  He was waiting for me to state that I was eating my 8 meals a day, going to be in the gym five days, and focusing on doing the program that was set out for me.

The program:  Eating 8 meals a day of 4 oz protein, protein shakes, some carbs, only 4 cups veggies, and some rice cakes.  Around 1600 calories.  Working out ‘at least’ 3 days at the gym, and 2 days cardio on the side.  Doable right?  I thought so when I signed the dotted line and handed over my credit card on 8/8/18.  But in reality I couldn’t eat all the food, or space my 8 meals in, and I was unable to make it to the gym (when it’s doors where open) due to my schedule or sleeping (excuses I know!!).

“What do you want?” — when I signed up I had visions of the muscled bodies that were portrayed in the ads I had seen.  I wanted to be skinny (something I had never been).  I wanted to see my bicep and ribs again (since hitting middle age my bones had disappeared).

In fear, I said “I want to be better”.  My better and his better are not the same.

In reality, I want to be healthy.  I want to be able to breath when I bend over to tie my shoes; I want to be able to carry my groceries across the parking lot and up the two flights of stairs without becoming winded or my legs feeling weak; I want to have muscle tone to combat the muscle atrophy that can happen with MS; I just want to be my best self at that point in time.  If that ‘best self” is just NOT going to the bakery or picking up donuts for three weeks (as of today it has actually been five weeks), or going to the gym twice a week and walk/jogging two times.  I got out of bed.  I faced the silent demon that is inside my body, the one that I see affecting my brother (who also has MS) daily that I want to keep at bay as long as possible.  If my ‘best self’ is strolling around the neighborhood for 20 minutes because that is all I can do that day, then ‘that is what I want”.

My first week at the gym I could not sit down or lift my arms, the muscle soreness and pain was making personal hygiene interesting.  I was considering using the hover technique to use the restroom and to just not brush my teeth or wash my hair.  But the soreness became bearable.  After each workout I stay ‘sore’, but it is manageable and I can just tell that I had a good day at the gym.  I can lift a 80 kettle ball, carry 60 lbs in weight on a “farmers haul”, do planks.  Do I still struggle with some of the exercises?  Of course, I was ‘OUT OF SHAPE’, I was so far out that I wasn’t even considered round.  I like to see my progress.  I like the fact that my trainer pushes me to do more, and to go past when I want to give up or stop.  Do I want to trip him sometimes because he ask for one more sprint…YES.  But as I come back to the door heaving from my mini jog…I hear “well done” or “your form is better”.  I may go home and be numb from head to toe, or have tingling in my left hand throughout the day, and go to bed hoping that everything is back to normal the next day.  But I know that I made changes.  I reached small goals.  I went out and I did something.

Will I resign at the end of my six weeks…probably not at this gym.  Though I love the family atmosphere and the support of the individuals that work out here.  I don’t stick to plan well enough.  My diet goals are different than what is allowed on the plan here, and I don’t work out enough to be eating as much protein as I was slotted to eat.  My schedule doesn’t always allow me to be at the gym when the doors are open.  Will I stop and regress?  NO!!  Not an option.  I used to say that I went to the gym so I could eat what I wanted, my previous trainer (back in 2012) used to say “You’re only as good as your diet, and you cannot beat a bad diet”.  I am learning through this experience that going to the gym is to make me feel better, I don’t need all the junk food or processed sweets.  I can say no and fuel my body to be the best that it can be.

The main thing I wanted out of ‘this’ was a better me, and I have seen changes and progress over the past five weeks…and I want to continue building on these changes.  I may not fit the vision that some have for what it takes to ‘make it’…but I am working in the confines of my own vision/life — as a night shift ER nurse that has MS.

Until later my friends…be the best you can be, even if that means just getting out of bed that day.

ERM

Pink Scars…still raw

Warning…long post.  I write to work through what is in my head/heart.  This week has been a point that a healing scar (pink scar) was bumped, and I realized that it was still a little fresh.  Everyone has lost someone in their life…sometimes the loss impacts us more than other times.  Whether it be through death, divorce, broken friendships, or relationships that didn’t work out or where trust was broken.

Healing.  Sometimes is quick, the wound scabs over, then the scab peels off and you have new fresh skin.  Sometimes it’s weeks, you may have to have a cast and do therapy for a broken bone, it can take weeks.  Other times it can be months, if you had open heart surgery with an open chest healing process.  Scars are left…until they turn white and show complete healing, they can be tender and cause pain.

This past week marked one year and six month anniversary of January 25, 2017.  The more important date was four days earlier, the twenty-first…the day my family lost my Aunt Claudette.  

Have we experienced losses before?  Of course, every family deals with loss.  When I was in fourth grade I lost my Aunt Barb in an auto accident, this changed my family of four to a family of seven for several months when we took my cousins in during the beginning of their healing process.  Then when I was in college, in 1999, I lost my Uncle Alden in an auto accident. The situation was stressful because it took three days to get confirmation of the accident and to find the car, and verify the body.  My family seldom talks of this, or of him still to this day.  I then moved in with my aunt to help with my cousin through that summer following graduation in 2000.  I had other losses, grand parents that were expected.  Then 2012 came, we lost my dad’s best friend Pat (and my go to starter repair guy, who instilled in me the comfort of the smell of grease from my days spent in his shop growing up) to a heart attack.  A month later we lost both my maternal (Bill) and paternal (Sam) grandfathers within a day of one another (9/26, 9/27).  One expected, one a total surprise.

So, yes, I knew loss.  I’ve dealt with loss.  Faced it and moved forward…then January 21, 2017, happened.  I should have known the signs of sepsis.  Should have made the decision to call the EMS crew when I first arrived to my aunts house.  I had been told for the two weeks prior as the port was placed and chemo started that “day ten” would be the worst day.  I asked about signs/symptoms to look for, to expect…but was never given definite answers.  The nurse in me was not provided with the what if scenarios.  No select all that apply options, or case study results.

That day I not only lost my aunt, I lost a patient that I assisted in working the code on.  Normally I work a patient, package them and send them on…this time I followed the ambulance to the hospital after assisting EMS in getting her stabilized.  It happens, I know this in my head…but my heart scar is still raw.

While at work this week my heart scar was bumped when two of my four patients were cancer patients and the third one that slid into the bay between them was septic…to the point of coma, brought in my EMS.  You think you have the scar healed, the emotions neatly packaged and closed away…until you are faced with a scenario that brings it all back.  I know in my head that He has a plan, and the there is stuff beyond our comprehension (through the glass darkly),  but it still doesn’t make the mortal man (feelings) easier.

I know I’m healing, but I realized there is still some pinkness in this scar. The bump on the scar let me know healing is a process to be embraced and to keep going one step in front of another.  Things may could have been done differently that day, but it is what it is.

As with that scar, there are other scars from other relationships that have altered and changed over the years…I will continue putting Neosporin on them through loving self and living to the best of my ability.  Until they turn white and have complete healing…they will define my life and who I am today.

Love those around you, let them know it.  Send the flowers, take time to text, smile.  Heal.

Until later…ERM. 

Day 6 Scotland – Travel Day: Vacation 2018

Woke up at 3:00 am then 6:00 am, decided to get up at 6:15 to shower and pack, though I’m not off to the airport till 10:30.  Housekeeping took my coveted ‘facecloths’ away when they cleaned but did not replace them…therefore I capped my stay off with using the hand towel for a washcloth. Oy vey!  

My niece was not to happy that I was up, but she has a bus to catch at 8:00. 🤷🏼‍♀️. It’s crazy how things work out, I randomly picked a motel when booking my trip, it ended up being a block from the bus station that Peyt was going to leave from to get to the airport in Edinburgh.  She was going to have to hire a car and load all her stuff, and leave the college early to make it across town in time.  We instead had a friend bring her stuff over on Sunday and we walked over this morning.  Made it so much easier on her, and she was able to catch an earlier bus to give more leeway in time frames.  

I walked back to the motel and went to breakfast.  I saw the epitome of Scottish children picking out muffins.  Two red headed, freckled, pale skinned children were choosing between chocolate and blueberry muffins (in their awesome accent) and also taking one for “mum”.  It was a great way to cap off my stay.

Went to the airport at 10:00.  Security was very easy to maneuver, the only people who have to take their shoes off are those wearing boots, unlike STL where you have to remove shoes even if they are flip flops.   It was an easy transition.  When I left Canada last year it took 45 minutes to get through, they asked 500 questions and searched everything.  These lovely Scott’s asked how my stay was, where I was headed, and let me walk on through.  Much easier.  I did lose my travel moose, here mouse is to be included in the baggie of liquids.  The worker was attempting to make them fit and I told him to just toss them.  It was like .97 at Walmart and I’m headed home. 😂

My driver on the way to the airport was nice, he slowed his talking down so I could understand him.  He realizes that their accent is very thick and it’s hard for us to know what is being said.  For fun he talked  like he would with a friend…I knew he was going for food. <foodie at heart regardless of dialect>.  He was not excited about the English, and suggested I come back when I can spend two weeks visiting because there is so much to see.  He was not a fan of me going to Edinburgh…Glasgow apparently has a sore spot in that though they are a bigger city, Edinburgh is the capitol of Scotland.  I didn’t tell him that it happens that way in the states too.  He was happy that I came, and when asked if my niece felt that Glasgow people were nice I of course said “yes”, he laughed and said “we are, and I’m not just saying that”.

The Glasgow airport has free WiFi, unlike STL (where I stayed for four hours the other day while they were trying to get me on a flight that would actually leave the ground).  Flight to JFK was on time, and I had 1 hour and 45 minutes till my next flight.  Went through customers, then caught a train, to be deposited at a point where I then walked across a field for about 100 yards to terminal #2.  It amazes me on how different airports are.  I got my flight to Atlanta — it was on time and my gate didn’t change!!

Atlanta…I was dropped off and boarded my plane in the same terminal!!  No running, no almost missed flights.  The gate only changed once (while I was there).  I was talking to a guy, who it was his second flight ever, he said it had changed terminals once and gates three times by the time we boarded…he was a little stressed. 😂. Atlanta lived up to its reputation, and Delta couldn’t let me have a normal flight home…we were delayed 20 minutes past our departure time. 😭

FINALLY, I arrived in St Louis, collected my car, and arrived at My house by 2258 STL time, 0458 Scotland time, one hour shy of 24 hours of travel.  Bleh. 😴😴

I was happy again that I only had my backpack and didn’t have to wait for suitcases.  

Made it home, said hello to the cats, and went to bed.  After applying some essential oils good for circulation to my legs…my cankles and cankles.   

It was a great trip…now for my next adventure…until then…

ERM 

Scotland Day 5 – Edinburgh: Vacation 2018

I woke up early, around 5:30/6:00.  Grabbed breakfast and got ready for my day.  It was so hot last night in my room, they do not have air and the window doesn’t have a screen and only opens about two inches for “ventilation”.  Missing my fan!! 😂

We walked down to the Queen Street station and caught the train to Edinburgh.    The train lady told us the train would “terminate” at the Edinburgh stop, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try to jump off prior or take my chances of surviving the “termination”. 😂

When we arrived in Edinburgh we got tickets for the “City Tour Hop-on-Off” bus and got on.  This bus gives a guided tour, with humor interspersed, about the city.  Very worth the money, you get to see the city and explore without walking it all, and from an advantage of above traffic (double decker bus).  I also did this with the kids in Washington DC, if the city you are visiting offers this I recommend it.

After stopping at St John’s Church, we got off at the stop for the castle.  We purchased our tickets from the bus driver so we could fast track and not have to stand in line forever — a very good decision once we reached the ticket line.  We made a pit stop on the way up the hill to the castle to buy sweatshirts.  Brrr!!  The weather so far has been 75-80, sunshine — what the natives were calling ‘hot’.  Today was low 60’s and rainy with cloud coverage.  I was cold in my spring clothes with short sleeves.  The store owner rang them up, and with his accent it sounded like he said “70 pounds”, he reiterated the price of “34 pounds” and I laughed because and said “take it off” to Peyton who had kept her shirt on after trying it on.  The store owner laughed and apologized, and restated the “34”.  Some of the accents (especially in Glasgow) are very hard to understand…but at least it’s a form of English. 

We explored Edinburgh Castle, the castle used in the movie Braveheart.  It has been changed to a Army Barracks, so a lot of it is off limits.  They did have a small portion redecorated to depict what it was during the era of Mary Queen of Scots.  It was interesting, we got to see the Crown Jewels and the ‘birthing room’ of King James.  

We finished out the tour of the city and started looking for food.  Peyton walked me up a hill to a restaurant and then states “This is where we got coffee”.  I personally was wanting more than coffee, I hadn’t eaten since 6:30, and it was currently 3:00.  So we looked around and I picked a Mediterranean restaurant.  When we were seated and started looking around, it was part of a scene from the Avengers new movie. 

We roamed around a little bit and made it back to the train station at 4:45, fifteen minutes into ‘rush hour’, so to save $ or from paying another 11 pounds per ticket, we will hang out until 6:30 to head home.

Then it’s time to pack and prepare for our flights home tomorrow.  

ERM

Scotland Day 4: Vacation 2018

After eleven hours of sleep, yes eleven, I woke feeling like I could enjoy the day.  I knew I was hitting a brick wall last night, but I didn’t realize how fatigued I was.  My feet have blisters, my legs have had muscle cramps and soreness, but my mind is rested. Carpe diem!! 

Last night after the graduation ceremony there was a family member of one of the college students that had a asthma attack, that resulted in the loss of life.  He had medical history, but when the family gathered to celebrate this milestone non of us even thought this would be the ending of the day.  Instead of gathering together to recap the day and the laughs, the students were faced with how fragile life can be.  It’s a reminder to us all to not take moments for granted, to embrace the time we have with loved ones.  Live, love, laugh…to the fullest!! (Prayers for this family)

Started my morning with the hotel breakfast again, I added the pork-n-beans to my plate (one small scoop) and they add some protein I guess. LOL!  Also ate a banana to hopefully assist in my leg cramps/soreness.  

Had to request washcloths from the front desk, they do not stock them in the rooms.  I had used the hand towel previously, thinking they had just forgotten them…but when I realized they just don’t leave them, and there is a sign saying “if you forgot your face cloths”, I put a request in to have some brought up.

Went to church at New Life (Harvest Bible College).  Great services, both of which iterated to preserver through tribulations and to hold onto our anchor.

After service we moved Peyton out of the dorms in preparation to her flying home Tuesday, then we headed out to explore.

We ate dinner at the Butterfly and Pig.  A hole in the wall place that can be easily missed if you don’t know where it is.  I found it on Yelp, it did not disappoint.  

We grabbed the subway out to west end to look at Glasgow University.  The architecture of these building is mind blowing.  I reminded me of Hunchback of Notre Dam era or Beauty and The Beast castle.    Then we happened upon the e Berrie Big Band concert in the park.  They were playing big band jazz…very neat to catch a show and listen to some good music.

A nice and relaxing day.  Tomorrow we’re heading to Edinburgh, then HOME. 

The story will continue…

ERM

Scotland Day 3: Vacation 2018

Hello avid readers (LOL), welcome to day three!  After getting a good six hours of sleep — which is good for this night shift worker in a foreign country without a fan for noise…who am I kidding, that’s good for me anywhere anymore.  I greeted my day.  It’s THE DAY, the reason I’m here, to be at my niece’s graduation…but I’m going to explore a little too.

The motel I’m staying at has breakfast available to guests, what a spread.  The only food that was questionable to me was pork-n-beans, sat proudly beside the eggs.  I like pork-n-beans, and I eat them at BBQ’s and fish fries…but breakfast?  I was excited to see ketchup and HP condiments sat proudly out to be used on my eggs.  I fueled myself and headed out to explore.

After talking to the desk clerk, and getting some ideas of what to see…I headed out to go to the Glasgow Necropolis (graveyard).  

Along my rout I came across a parade, or what is known as the The Orange Walk.  It’s a ‘demonstration’ of William Orange and killing Catholics.  The gentleman I was questioning about the parade said “it’s the opposite of your St Patrick’s Day, where they celebrate the killing of Protestants”.  He also said there was a lot more drinking and fighting on Orange Walk celebrations than St Patrick’s Day.  I enjoyed the band (I thought I was videoing one of the walks, but failed to have my phone on video). 🤦🏼‍♀️

I was able to explore the Necropolis and the Glasgow Cathedral prior to going to meet up with Peyton (she had texted with news that due to the Orange Walk Street’s would be closed and it may take longer to make it across town).

Graduation!!!  The service started at 1:00 pm, the house was packed.  It was warm.  They don’t have air, neither do they have fans to push the air around.  We had the superintendent of Great Britain and Ireland, Bro Francis, here who was the speaker to the graduates. 

After graduation we went down to the city center and looked around.  Walked Buchanan St, and ate dinner at Nando’s (a chicken joint).  My week caught up to me and I started crashing, it was time for rest.

Until the adventure continues….

ERM

Scotland Day 2.2: Vacation 2018

I have arrived!!!  I called a Glasgow to Hire car, I was told by the powers that be (Peyton) that it was cheaper than getting a taxi.  My driver didn’t pull up where the operator told me he would, so I have some random guy walking down the sidewalk screaming “Taxi for Eleisha March”.  LOL!!!  We finally got it figured out and I was on my way to the motel.  I arrived to the motel at 5:15 and just relaxed for a bit. By ‘a bit’ I mean like ten minutes. <hehe>

Then I scrubbed the scum off, twenty-four hours of traveling in airplanes can make one feel scuzzy, and grabbed another Car for Hire (this driver has been doing this for 10 months, he retired from the NHS, medical field, to help assist with his grandson that has autism.  It provides him to be available at a moments notice), and headed to meet my niece Peyton.  My diver also told me they are having ‘unseasonible’ temps right now…it’s 65-75 degrees.  They of course don’t have air conditioners in the cars or my motel….I’ll deal with the no humidity 60-70’sas best I can. LOL!

She was waiting on the sidewalk…a sight for sore eyes.  She moved to Scotland in August to attend Harvest Bible College, I have talked to her a few times but haven’t seen her since then.  I gave the ‘hug from grandpa’ then one of mine own.

Tonight was the HBC (Harvest Bible College), end of year concert ‘Lifted’.  They all did a good job…but, they had us sitting in the dark.  My head became heavy and I started nodding off. <LOL>. I ended up spending most of the concert in the hallway area where the lights where on, so I could keep my eyes open and alert. 

Afterwards Pey took me to a restaurant near by they all eat at; I had homemade Mince & Pea curry “like we eat at home” (as the owner stated).  

Tonight capped off a crazy long travel day, but the reward of seeing my niece made it worth it. 

The adventures will continue tomorrow, but for now I need some sleep.

ERM

Scotland Day 2.1 (“Is there a Doctor?”): Vacation 2018

So much happened with my flights alone, I’m dividing day two into two post. 😳 (2.1 and 2.2).

Well, with all the changes with my flights I ended up on a Dutch airline, KLM, everything was in a foreign language, including instructions — luckily I knew the basics of flying. <hehe>

They served food.  Which was good, since I was starving.  With delays, sitting on the plane, and running to catch my last flight across the pond I was slightly hungry.  The only other thing I had all day was a Starbucks panini, though it was good it had worn off by midnight.  I got dinner and breakfast, they were both fresh and tasty.

So you know when you’re watching a movie, and they are on a trans Atlantic flight, then the all page “is there a physician on board” is overhead and someone stands up and saves the day.  Well…at about 2:00 am Atlantic time the all page went out, some guy stood up so it was all good.  But it was taking forever…they had someone on the floor in the back.  Soooo…I went back to see if they needed help.  The guy that stood up was actually a ex-paramedic who was taking a blood pressure.  The patient had “sudden onset nausea, dizziness, and couldn’t remember how she got to the back of the plane”.  They denied medical issues, yet said they “had a water pill they took when their blood pressure got to high”. 🤦🏼‍♀️. We were a little limited (no EKG, no lab), so when the patient says “I’m feeling better” we had to take it at face value.  At least we didn’t have to make an emergency landing somewhere, and our person was breathing when we walked away.  For “compensation” they gave me a 100 euro voucher for a plane ticket, it was either that or 50 euro at the duty free store…but I have no extra space in my bag duty free or not. LOL.  I’m hoping I can buy a ticket under a different name and my niece or one of her classmates can use it.  The gentleman said they like showing their appreciation for people coming forward to assist…I almost told him to just give me a toothbrush and we would call it even — it’s been a long 24 hours. 

After seven of the longest hours of my life, we finally landed in Amsterdam.  I think my buttocks are numb for life. It was 7:00 am Atlanta time (my watch won’t change).  This airport is HUGE.  Luckily it’s all one piece and I wasn’t hoping on trains trying to find my connecting flight…and I didn’t have to run this time either.  Which was good…it’s about the size of Mall of America (or bigger) with every store imaginable there for people to shop in.

I was sadly mistaken that I would get a stamp in Amsterdam…apparently if you make it to their airport you’re good to go.  I was close to leaving and coming back…just to get one. 

After waiting 1.5 hours, I finally boarded the plane that would take me to Glasgow and my niece.

To be continued…

ERM

Vacation 2018: Scotland

Oh, where do I even begin…just getting started on this journey was a journey in itself.  I thought living in St Louis would make it an easier travel transition, Thinking that in retrospect makes me chuckle as I write this.  

My initial booked flight was as follows: STL – Detroit – JFK – Glasgow.  When I arrived my hour and a-half prior to departure for security purposes things were looking good though a little confusing.  My Delta app said I would be leaving from gate A2 yet the departure board said A3; luckily they were close together so I made camp to wait…and wait I did.  We were to leave at 4:48 pm, at 5:00 I was on the phone with delta making arrangements to change my flight because of mechanical difficulties that would make me miss my JFK connection.  

Second flight was scheduled as STL – ATL – London – Glasgow.  I went over, got my seat assignment and boarded the flight because it was to leave at 5:50 pm.  We boarded and sat on the plane.  My delta app kept telling me we were delayed, finally the nice captain came over the speaker and also said we were delayed.  They let us off the plane telling us, “the last flight tonight only has 80 seats left, there are 90 of you…decide if you want to stay in STL or ATL”.  EGHAD!! 

They let us off the plane at 6:50 to go and try to get a seat on the last flight.  I stopped at a different gate and told them this was my second cancellation and I was to be in Glasgow the next day, at this point  I was on the verge of resulting to tears to get something accomplished.  If you know me at all you know I’m a planner and a tad bit organized…I was beginning to stress a little, I have places to be and people to see.

My third, yes third, itinerary for this trip was STL – ATL – Amsterdam – Glasgow.  I was issued a third set of boarding passes and told they were doing the final call for my flight…luckily it was only one gate over.  I squeezed into my seat and took a deep breath.  When this flight actually started to taxi down the runway and took off, I was beyond elated.

I won’t be arriving when I initially planned, but I will be arriving.  And bonus of all this craziness I will get TWO stamps in my passport (to make up for my failed stamping last year in Canada), and I may get to see some of Amsterdam because I have a bit of a delay there.  Another bonus is that I pack in a backpack and didn’t check baggage…I’m afraid with all the changes in my itinerary my luggage may have gotten lost. 

I finally arrived in Atlanta, with 20 minutes to get from terminal B to terminal F.  They were calling my name on the overhead speaker as “last boarding call” as I was jogging down the terminal.  I arrived, slightly out of breath, but I made it.  Boarded my plane for Amsterdam and started my journey across the pond…final destination Scotland.

My journey is just beginning…finally.  Luckily unlike my normal trips I have no plans or specific places I need to be at certain times, except Harvest Bible College at 1:00 on Saturday for the graduation of my niece, Peyton.

Follow if you wish on this journey of mine…exploring my world!!

ERM 

Investments…being invested

We all make investments.  Sometimes we don’t realize the type of investment we are making because we do it without thinking; other times we are fully aware of the investment and we hope for a good return.  People invest financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally.  We do this as individuals to secure our future, to make friendships and connections that will sustain us through our life.  Investing in individuals can build a foundation for us to stand on throughout life to assist us in becoming what we are to be.

Parents invest in their children without knowing what the end result will be.  They feed us, cloth us, and provide us with education and opportunities that will shape and guide us into our future.  They discipline us when we stray in hopes that we will take what is instilled in us to become more than they were and all that we can be.  There are some parents that do not invest in their children, they just procreate without thought of what the children will be or even caring what they will become…the community I grew up in some continue having children because it gets them a bigger monthly check and it is the only life they know.  A never ending cycle of abuse of a system that was started as an ‘investment’ in individuals (welfare) to assist them in getting back on their feet, but that became a crutch that people relied on to live their daily life relying on the government to supply them instead of investing in themselves and their own futures.

Individuals invest in others in hope of securing a future with someone that will love them and support them through life.  They give one hundred percent of themselves, to only find out that the investment was a bust.  There was no return on it, and they are left holding nothing.  No support system, no returned love, lost friendships and a foundation that has crumbled.  I personally have invested in someone that ended up depleting my storehouse of reserves.  You wonder if it would be considered “insider trading” if you publicly warn others of the poor investment <LOL>; but you realize that there are others that are already investing in the same program/person…some of them are back for round two (they left and invested in something/someone else…but have came back for seconds).  You want to give a public safety announcement to warn individuals of guarding against investments, so know their worth and know what to invest in and what to stay away from.

Young people are investments.  This is inside and outside of the church walls.  Teachers invest in them daily at school, providing them with education and opportunities to make the most of themselves.  Inside the church youth pastors and ministers guide them, and provide them with tools that will make a solid foundation.  They attend conferences and conventions and receive “powerhouse moments” with God that alters their life.  They come home changed, they stand in front of the congregation and make statements about “not backing down”, being “changed”, “taking stands”…yet as a year turns over and life happens the investment into their life is diminished and they lose sight of the end result.  They stop investing so much time and effort into the God aspect of their lives and they start focusing on the physical aspect (a dangerous step).  It makes me saddened to see young people that have had a powerful encounter with God, move away from it and allow little things (relationships) to move into its place.  Why?  Because I myself allowed “little things” into my life that altered it.  We must guard our investments and make sure that we are putting them into things that matter and that will secure our eternal goal…not just the here and now.

God has invested in each and everyone of us.  He secured our futures at the cross when he stated “It is finished”.  We have the opportunity to live eternally with Him.  But we must be ‘vested’ in the process.  Being vested in something, one becomes biased in it.  They have an interest in it that is personal.  God personally is biased toward each and everyone of us.  He loved us before He knew us.  He shaped us in the womb, forming us.  In Psalm 139:13, it states “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb”.  And in Jeremiah 1:5 it states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you;…”.  God has a vested investment in each of us, who are we not to return the investment back to Him?  I have failed at this.

Over the past month I have been reevaluating my investments.  I know that I have some that are a bust.  I placed time, effort, and emotions into investments that did not give a return.  I was left bankrupt — emotionally and mentally.  I failed to invest daily in my relationship with God who was fully vested in me as an individual, I took that for granted.  Some investments can leave us feeling like we are not worth anything, that we are lacking and that we are failures.  But we must know our own worth, know when to walk away from the poor investment and become what God intended us to be.  If we focus on investing in the One that is totally vested in us the return will always be good.  We will have high returns, good dividends, and the retirement package cannot be beat (eternity with our Creator).

Investments into self and others is important, we must be willing to give of ourselves and to be willing to give of ourselves.  Is it hard?  Yes.  Once you have a poor investment you want to create walls and stop giving because you are afraid that all returns will be bad.  But when we invest wisely, and stay the course…then we have positive returns and the end result will be worth it.

Looking forward in seeing the results of investments that are being made in this stage of my life, and the benefits that are to come.

ERM