Friday, December 30, 2005

'sweet marie'

'Sweet Marie' is my life long nickname for Ann. The whole nickname is 'Sweet Marie my Darling'. Ann's long time gal pal Nina heard me call this sevaral times and picked it too. Ann has (we have) had a setback. We spent almost 24 hours in ER on Wednesday 12/27 and Thursday. Cutting through details Ann is stable now and in ICU at Christis St. Michaels Hospital in Texarkana Texas. Rules are no phones and limited visiting times for family. A ct scan will be done tomorrow 12/31 and will determine what if any futher treatment is required. The best news would be that the treatments so far will be enough. That is what we hope for. Ann was able to be home for Christmas and we enjoyed that time. She also reads all comments to her blog and e-mail and a highlight of the day would be if the snail mail had a card or letter. She really needs her spirits lifted now. Ann's address is Ann White, 3210 Westridge Ave., Texarkana Texas 75503. If you would like to e-mail my address so I could print and take to Ann, do it at I will print comments to her blog also. Ann really appreciated the notes but was not able to respond to most or post her blog. She looks forward to the time when she can respond personally. Again I want to thank everyone for their prayers and encouragement.
Stan White

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

12/7 surgery note composed by Ann's Dad

Ann's surgery was 12/7 from 4 pm - 6 :30 pm. We (her mom and I) saw her in ICU at 9:30. The surgeon was pleased that they found some problems and were able to correct them. All the surgery was below the stomach. She has an orignal and a new (2003 surgery) small intestine attachment to the stomach. The orginal one is where all her prior trouble has been and was again. The blockage there was bypassed and connected to a good portion of small intestine. The large intentine was laying over this exact spot and had a restriction (not blocked) that was repaired also. She will be NPO (nothing by mouth) until this heals. A J tube (small intestine feeding tube) will be used while she recovers. Normal recovery is 10 - 14 days. Of course she was weak from this condition already so pray that her body rallys now to heal .

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Same song, second verse...

Hello all!

Well, we made it to OKC. If you read my dad's comment on my last blog, you saw we got here late (12:15am) and of course I didn't get to go to bed til after 2am. But they were kind yesterday and let me sleep in. So far, so good. I saw my stomach doctor who treated me during my surgery 2 years ago yesterday, and he's already on the ball doing all kinds of tests and such. Thankfully with my central line they don't have to stick me everytime they want blood. Praise God for that! Also, this morning I saw a thyroid doctor who is also doing a bunch of tests to see if my hyper-thyroid is causing all this (although I have my doubts that is true).

Overall I feel well, only sometimes some nausea after eating. I've found that I've become much more anxious than normal. All procedures make me nervous, even though they shouldn't. Really the only pain I'm in now is a perpetually achy right arm because of my central line, but considering where I was a couple of weeks ago that is nothing. My mom's here with me, and I have a great support group here, so really I'm doing ok. I just need to gain weight. I know I've asked for that prayer several times, but I really really need to gain weight. My doctors have taken off my TPN (IV feeding) because it can suppress appetite, so I'm on my own to feed myself now. (Of course they can put it back on easily if I continue to lose weight) My doctors just want me to eat as many calories as possible (nice diet, huh!), so I'm hoping to get some Ted's in here sometime soon. Those of you who know OKC know what I'm talking about. :)

Well that's about it. Hopefully soon I'll post a blog about some of the wonderful people who I've encountered through this journey. I'm telling you-- medical professionals have some of the most wonderful ministry opportunities ever.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. You really keep me going.

Ann's contact info:

Mercy Hospital
4300 W Memorial Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73120
Room #321


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Moving to OKC

I'd been holding off on posting this just in case it fell through, but in a couple of hours I am going to be transferred to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City.

As for my condition, it has greatly improved since I last wrote. My lung has re-inflated and I got my chest tube out, and the blood clots in my arm are a lot better.

I'll write more later, but there's lots to do before we go.

Love you all. Thank you so much for the encouragement.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Not so fast...

I had a feeling about today, that it wouldn't go as planned. Little did I know how true that would be.
As soon as I posted my last post, we were informed that Zale Lipshy had suddenly decided not to accept me as a patient. Losers. So we're back to square one on the transfers. Very disappointing.
Then I had a chest x-ray done which revealed... a collapsed lung! Yes I have a collapsed lung. That would explain my persisting cough and shortness of breath, huh? So to treat that they inserted a chest tube today. I'm still in quite a bit of pain from that.
Then you should know that my left arm has been swelling to an enormous size over the past few days, and today a test revealed that I have 2 blood clots in my arm. So that is painful and the treatment is two shots daily in the stomach.
All this to say that today might not have been the worst day of my life, but it has been really close. It's done a lot to dampen my hope for recovery.
So please pray for me. I'm in a lot of pain. Also, again, encouragment is appreciated.
I'll keep you updated.

Movin' to the Big D

It has been quite an eventful past week, with some gains and some losses, but overall gains I think. I've gained some weight and my blood work all looks a lot better. I've also had several days of fever and headaches and a cough that won't leave. And lots of needles. That's all I'll say for the squimish. :)
Anyway, I write today to say that this afternoon I am being transfered to Zale Lipshy hospital in Dallas so I can have access to more specialists. On the one hand I'm glad because hopefully we can make some big steps there, but I also don't want to be in Dallas where I believe I know 1 person (who I do love, but it's not the same as having a whole church supporting you) and my family's going to be all stretched out again. We'll see what happens. I'll blog when we get the room information and such. I appreciate all means of encouragement. Keep praying for me.
Love you all!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sweet surrender? Not quite....

Well I have had quite the busy past couple of days. I guess this all started Monday, really. The elders at my church here contacted my parents and said they wanted to have a special prayer meeting for me. At first I was a little worried that they knew something I didn't know, but no they just were concerned for me. So we did that Monday night and it was touching and moving, and meant so much to me.
Then suddenly Tuesday it was like someone lit a fire under my world. All my doctors went on high alert (thanks to some special people, I think) and they got me in to see a thyroid doctor on Wednesday in Little Rock. So that was exciting-- progress!
Yesterday my mom and dad and I went down there, and I did a battery of tests and we saw the doctor. He said that he thought my thyroid problem was probably just a secondary problem to my severe malnutrition and anemia. Apparently all my bloodwork came back looking pretty bad. So... the thyroid doctor, light under his tush, calls my primary care physician and tells the news.
My family doctor then immediately hospitalizes me today. She's been wanting to for a while. :) I, however, have been resistant. But today I just kind of threw in the towel (hence the post title) and said "fine, whatever." Of course deep down I know this is what I need.
Goal for the hospital-- NUTRITION! They're putting me on TPN or IV feeding. Today I faced one of my greatest fears and had a central line put in. That's an IV in your collar bone. But God provided with unexplainable peace and the fact that the doctor who did the procedure actually goes to my church! But please continue to pray for my mental and physical strength.
This could be the first step on a long road, which discourages me. Please pray that I'll keep the mind and vision to always look forward. I'm trying my best.
Love you all.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Mickey Mouse and Chocolate with Gummy Worms

Since my blog is just mostly health updates these days, I thought I'd take this little quiz from my friends over at Tryggblog to lighten the mood. Enjoy!

Would you rather speak with God for one minute or add one year to your life?

I'd say add a year of my life, because I feel like I've been robbed about a year.

Would you rather meet Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, Garfield, or Bugs Bunny?

Mickey Mouse, because that'd probably mean I was at DisneyWorld, which truly is the happiest place on earth. :)

Would you rather end hunger or hatred?


Would you rather be gossiped about or never talked about at all?

Since I've never really been gossiped about, I'm tempted to say that I'd like to be. But I think I'll stick with being a wall flower.

Would you rather find one million dollars or find true love?

Obviously, true love. :)

What talent do you wish you possessed?

Joy throughout suffering

If you were going to a remote place and could only take one CD with you, which one would it be?

A mix CD with all of my favorite Chris Rice songs.

If you could hire one of the following, which would it be? (Driver Chef Maid Stylist)

Driver. I hate to drive.

Can you play a musical instrument? If so, which one?

I played the french horn in 6th grade through 10th grade. I was pretty darn good, too, back in the day. :)

Have you attended a high school reunion yet?

Nope. My five year is this year, and since I claim 2 high schools there's 1 I want to go to and 1 I'd never go to.

You're stuck in an airport, what paper do you turn to for the news? (New York Times USA Today National Inquirer or, You don't follow the news.)

I watch CNN on the screens, or go to my most reliable source for news-- People magazine.

Leno or Letterman?

Leno, although I'm growing softer to Letterman.

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

I like chocolate. Just chocolate. With gummy bears at Marble Slab.

What CD is in your CD player right now?

Chris Rice's "Amusing"

If you had one day to live, what would you do?

Spend it with my family and eat whatever I want. And not check my email or any blogs. :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A cloud lifted

The past two days I've been taking my thyroid scan up at the local hospital, and while I was there today I got some amazing news. You might remember that I was in the hospital for a few days in August. Me being the sadly uninsured girl that I am, I was worried about the expense. Well I found out today that I received a hospital grant that covered my hefty bill and will probably cover whatever else I have to have done at this hospital. It is such a weight off my shoulders! I am so grateful to God and to Cristus St. Michael hospital for this! I just about started crying when I found out, because I was struck by the thought of the parable of the debtor who has been forgiven much, and I was forgiven a lot. I think rarely do people first hand feel that grace and mercy shown on them. I hope my heart stays tender from this and I never forget the help shown me.

I'll let you know when we know anything from the scan. Not sure when that'll be.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Well the bloodwork came back and my doctor informed me that I have severe hyperthyroidism. Everything else looked relatively ok compared to that. This isn't good news, but it's news at least, and I'm happy to know it so I can start having it treated. They're going to try getting me into a doctor ASAP, so maybe I can start getting well. Thank you for your well wishes and positive energy. :) I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

GI Joe says...

Health update:

Today I went to my GI doc. I was kind of excited because I have felt like I've been making some progress, but he wasn't so convinced, so he kind of deflated my balloon. He was upset about my weight and general appearance, and has ordered a bunch of blood work for me to have done tomorrow (prayers please!). I'm being tested for anemia, B12 deficiency, some mal-absorption issues, low thyroid and my liver enzyme count. I haven't had that done in 2 and a half months so I'm interested to see what it says.

Anyway, it's still two steps forward, one back. I've been eating more this week so I'm happy about that. Keep praying for me, please. Sometimes it's easy to lose hope. Love to you all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lucky duck

So, given my vast amounts of time to think combined with my own life observations and experiences, I have come to a conclusion. I believe there is such a thing as luck. Some people have good luck and some people have bad luck, and it can vary throughout life. I don't care if this isn't popular theology. I don't care. :::ppppphhhhhsssssssttttt::: :) I swear sometimes I've turned into one of those 85 year old women who doesn't care what anyone else thinks. I'm sick and onery, dangit! Heehee!

Also speaking of theology I'm having trouble swallowing (and probably related), more and more I am turned off by the way people use the word "blessed." Here are some examples and my commentary:
  • "Oooh! The tornado didn't hit my house! I am so blessed!" Yeah, so what about your neighbor whose house was smashed? They weren't chosen by God for your special blessings?
  • "I'm sure God will bless you with healing very soon." So... if I'm not healed I'm not blessed by God?
  • (on the Amazing Race) "God, please bless us and help us get to the next pit stop before the other teams." Okay, so you winning has nothing to do with your own and others' ability to read a map or by sheer luck?
I'm sure this is probably an age old struggle that many have felt, but now I'm feeling it and it's my blog and I need to vent it out. We... we being our society or modern Christianity or America or whoever... equates blessings with happiness. I think that's pretty stupid. Would we call Jesus' ministry "unblessed" because he had a rather rough going of it? There's a great Caedmon's Call line that says, "But I get turned around/ I mistake some happiness for blessing/ But I'm blessed as the poor/ Still I judge success by how I'm dressing." (Faith My Eyes)

I'm not coming down on people who say things like "God bless you." A sincere one of those always means a lot. But ya never know what you're asking for when you say it. :)

Conversation Snippet of the Day:

Ann: oh, i still think God is good, i just don't think that means we get good lives (necessarily).

Meredith: oh definitely not. our lives on earth are pretty much crappiness incarnated.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I Heart Brazil

Today I had a pouty, pouty day. I was in a bad mood all day until my mommy made me a cheesecake. Then I was happy. But then I was made happier by a great conversation with an "old friend," and we got to reminiscing about some fun times we had on the great continent of South America. Those who have read the blog for long or know me well know that I love love love Brazil. I've been three times and it really captured my heart.

To try to get me optimistic about life in general lately some people have suggested that I start thinking about plans for the future. Maybe, just maybe, the doors will open up for me to go to Brazil again. I don't know. I have lots of things that have to happen before I can think about that. But who knows. Maybe God puts these fires in your heart for a reason. You can bet I'll keep my eyes open.

Now, here is a photo tribute to my wonderful mission teams I've been to Brazil with. I dearly love every one (even helped one get married!) and they will always be precious to me.

LST 2001-- Aaron, Ben, Ann, Meredith
Click here to read a story that may or may not be about this team.

LST 2002-- Bob, Cherry, some hairy guy, Ann

Campaign 2004-- Ann, Cherry, Taylor, Bob

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 06, 2005

It is grand, isn't it?

Hello all!

I made it back from OKC happy yet exhausted. The trip was simply wonderful, although it did suck every ounce of energy I had in my body. In case I never mentioned it, the reason for my trip was the inagural lecture of the McBride Institute for Faith and Literature, with speaker Kathleen Norris. It was wonderful and I'm so happy I could be there to help pay tribute to the McBrides and all they've done for OC and the kingdom.

Kathleen Norris was good. She made me think about a lot of things, which honestly most people don't make me do. She even made me want to think about them. :) She has a lot of experience with Benedictine monks so I've been thinking about monastic life. Anyone interested in starting a reformation movement monestary/convent?

I got to see a lot of people in OKC, considering the short time I was there. I took my camera to take pictures, but of course I ended up taking zippo. I can't describe how refreshing it is to one's soul to be with people who love you and you love so much. The trip was very hard on me physically, but spiritually/emotionally it was well well worth it. By the way, I never had to use a wheelchair! Yay!

Love and hugs to all my OKC people. Those of you I got to see and spend time with, thanks for helping revive my tired spirit. Those of you I didn't get to see, there's always next time!


I joined facebook finally. I can't decide how I feel about this. I have already made several vows that I will not spend excessive time on this. And I will not base my self-esteem on how many "friends" I have. But it was great fun to reconnect with some buddies from olden days.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Off I go!

Today I am heading out to OKC for a couple of days to see friends. I've been looking forward to this for a while and am super-excited, but also kind of nervous. Please pray that this time will rejuvinate my spirit and that I will stay healthy while I'm there. Love you all!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Soundtrack of my Life

Soundtrack of my now former life, I suppose I should title this post. One of my friends said something that got me to thinking last week about how I should start cementing my Japan memories in my brain before they all fly out never to be retrieved. So one method I have chosen through which to do that is to make a soundtrack to my life in Japan. These are the songs I have so far (it will be at least a 2-disc album). By the way, I didn't spell check all these names and I really don't care.

Ann in Japan, Vol. 1 and beyond-
Bohemian Rhapsody-- Queen
White Flag-- Dido
Sand in my Shoes-- Dido
Grease Megamix-- Olivia Newton John and John Travolta
Elevation-- U2
Sgt. Pepper'’s Lonely Hearts Club Band-- Beatles
Yellow-- Coldplay
You and Me Song-- The Wannadies
Don'’t Know Why-- Norah Jones
Sunrise-- Norah Jones
Asereje-- Las Ketchup
Hey Ya-- Outkast
Rainy Days and Mondays-- The Carpenters
Sweet Home Alabama-- Lynard Skynard
Hands-- Jewel
Leavin'’ on a Jet Plane-- Peter, Paul and Mary
Take Me Home Country Roads-- John Denver
Stuck-- Stacie Orrico
Every Season-- Nichole Nordeman
Let it all Out-- Relient K
This is How we Overcome-- Zoe Group
A New Anointing-- Zoe Group

Today I listened to all these songs and was flooded with memories of people, places, parties, karaoke, and different emotions I felt while I was there. Some of my Japan peeps will probably recognize a couple of them (I doubt any would get all of them).

Clint Black says it well when he croons, "Funny how a melody can bring back a memory. It'll take you to another place and time; completely change your state of mind."

Do any of my Japan folks remember a song or two off this list? Am I forgetting one I should have on there?

Are there any songs that take you to another time and place when you hear them?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

So that's what I look like!

Time for another post. Thanks to some of you for your comments on the last post. :)

Today was the first time since about June I've uploaded my camera pictures to my computer, so here's a mini-picture post.

Jake, Julie, and Bryan (with Sugao behind at the mic)

This is the Let's Start Talking team that came to Hitachi Taga church for June-July. When I was in college and I did campaigns to Brazil, I often wondered if the people at the hosting churches really liked us coming. Now I think I know how they felt. It was fantastic to have them there! They were fresh wind and energy and encouragement at a time when we all needed it. I wish I could have spent more time with them, but what time I did have with them was great. Thanks to Julie, Jake, and Bryan!

My dad with his cool ride

This is my dad's new truck. Getting a new truck is a big deal at our house. The last time it happened was 17 years ago (and we still have it and it runs great! goooo chevrolets!) I like this truck a lot. My dad put running boards on it so I can get into it easier. It's a biggun'.

Grungy Molly and Skinny Ann

This is a picture of my sister and me. My sister dressed up today for a psychology class experiement where she has to dress unlike herself, so here she's going grunge. I also just wanted an updated picture of me on the blog. I'm a skinny girl now. :)

I'm doing heaps better. My spirit is much better. I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Stirring the Pot

Aha! A new blog! And there was much rejoicing!

Anyhoo. On to business. Most of you probably know that I hold views that some people would find controversial. Recently I have felt the stirring in me to go very public with one of these taboo viewpoints.


Texas is the best place in the world. Period.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Who am I?

Who Am I? by Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a Squire from his country house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As thought it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectations of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.

Who am I? This or the Other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

To Target... and beyond!

To day was a small step for humanity, a giant leap for Ann-kind. I went to the store! (Target, to be exact) I bought some nail polish, a card, and da da da dum..... HARRY POTTER book #1! Some of my friends are probably cheering right now because they've wanted me to read this forever. It was pretty cheap in paperback, so I decided I might as well take the plunge. I'll let ya know how it goes.
Target was interesting, too, because I needed a wheelchair. Interesting social experiment, I guess. People for the most part just ignored me as they normally would, I think, except right before I left. As I was getting into the checkout line (my dad was pushing me), these 4 snotty high school girls (yes I just prejudged them) jumped in line in front of me. Very rude! But I doubt it was because of my wheelchair. Then as I was checking out and trying to work the debit card machine, the checkout lady kept talking to me and hovering over me like I was dumb. Which I'll admit maybe I am, but how did she know? Ah well, she was probably just trying to be super helpful, which she actually was.


This Katrina is awful. Unimaginable. Texarkana is becoming home and a pass-through station for many evacuees. My parent's church is doing a lot of collection and passing out to people who need the basics. My mom and sister worked up there several hours today and my mom heard several people's stories. So time for everyone to put up or shut up. Go do something. Give your money, work at a shelter... do something.
What gets me is that I don't think I'd "get" how big this was were I still living in Japan. This is huge.


My man Dellucci hit another homer tonight, but the other day I found out devastating news. He used to be a Yankee. :::tear::: My mom asked if the fact that he converted to Rangerism doesn't make up for it, but I'm not sure you can ever recover from that kind of deprivation.
(are you starting to grasp that I don't like the Yankees? :) ) By the way, he's from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is doing a lot to help out the victims down there. Good for him!


I have recently signed up on My Space to help reconnect with old friends. I am not sure of the quality or reputation of this service, so I decline to link to my page. But if you want to find me there, you can.


That's all for today's installment. Have a wonderful Labor Day!

PS-- Blake, I tried to make sure and spell check so you won't mock me in my comments.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Suitable Suitor

Today had two interesting aspects to it that I'd like to share.

First of all, today I left my humble abode for the first time in two weeks. It wasn't as exciting as I might hope it'd be, but it was nice. We went to visit a friend of ours from church who happens to be a nurse. In the last week or so I developed a lump on my arm where my IV was, so we got it checked out. She thinks it's okay. So all in all it was a nice "outing". As much as I love my family, it's nice to associate with outsiders once in a while. ;)

Secondly, my parents and I have been trying to find a suitable husband of the Texas Ranger persuasion (and no, that's not Chuck Norris kind of Texas Ranger for those like Nina and Denver out there... the baseball team). This started with my mom finding out that Mark Teixeira was of Brazilian descent, and we know how I feel about Brazilians. Well it turns out he's married. Shucks. So I went through the roster and online bios to see who my possibilities were. Judging by age and marital status, it looks like Kevin Mench and David Dellucci are my strongest options. I find Dellucci much more attractive (especially since he hit two homers in one game against the Evil Empire) but I'm willing to give everyone a shot. Except when I think about it I'm not sure that I'd want to marry a baseball player. They're gone for so much of the year. In some marriages that may be a good thing, but I intend to like the person I marry. Hmm. We'll see. If anyone has any connections to any single men on the Texas Rangers then please leave a comment. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sometimes it sucks

Another post so soon! I guess I finally thought I'd start sharing again.

Well forgive today's post if you're into feel-good items, because today I haven't felt good. I've been considerably sick for almost a solid four months now, and as much as I try to keep a shiny face for the world same days I just don't want to. Luckily most of the world isn't exposed to me on a daily basis. So here is a little glimpse of how tired you can get of being sick.

I woke up in a foul mood and for the most part I've spent pretty much all of today there. But then again I always wake up in a crappy mood. This is for several reasons. For one, my bed hurts my back. I've tried about a million things over the years to make this better but it doesn't seem to help. Oh well. For two, I haven't been sleeping well. This is also two-pronged. When you're sick on a bedrest program like I am you really don't do anything all day to wear yourself out. Bed time seems sort of arbitrary because you never really get sleepy. So many nights I take Dramamine (motion sickness medicine-- also used for nausea) to make myself sleepy. The second half of this is that now that I am getting some better, the reality of my situation is setting in. I left my great job and a bunch of wonderful people in Japan. When I lie in bed at night I have the time to wonder what I'm going to do with my life once I get well. And then I think about people and it breaks my heart. Faces of so many people I know and love in Japan rush through my mind and I miss them so much. I wish I'd gotten to say real goodbyes, or that I could know when I'm going to get to see them again. It's a hard thing to think about.
So those things plague my nights.

My days are spent mostly with TV. I'm sure my intellectual friends are shocked and appauled that I'm not using this free time to real all of the wonderful books there are to be read, but a lot of times I don't feel like it. The books I usually like to read are about things like social justice or different cultures or some other deep and difficult issue, and really I just can't make myself care about those things as much right now. Of course I still care, but right now I just don't want that burden on my mind as well. A life lived around TV is pretty empty. I look forward to my daily Simpsons, Cosby Show, and occasional Miami Ink, but watching enough TV will depress you. There's a lot of stupid crap in the world, and a lot of it has a TV show dedicating time to it. But I have to give TV props for numbing my mind and helping the days pass.

Even though I've been doing better lately, the past few days I just haven't felt very good. I think it's one of the medicines I'm on making me feel bad. We're going to call tomorrow to see what the doctor thinks. I think I don't want to take it again.

This has been such a crappy post. I should probably discard it. But I guess at least it's something. And it's honest. Like everyone probably, I've known a lot of people who've gone through really difficult times. And I've seen so many people handle it with unimaginable grace. A great example of that is my friend Blake, who is going through a hellish ordeal with his mom being terminally ill. Yet through this he has written some of the most touching, faithful things on his blog, and he and his family have demonstrated that grace I mentioned. I'm in awe of and inspired by them because I have a hard time pulling it off.

I learned 2 years ago that I'm not graceful through suffering. I cry, I pout, I pity myself, I breakdown and lose hope. As you've all witnessed, I also pull away from my friends for whatever psycho reason. But maybe I get a few things right, too. I hold on to faith. It's not a pretty faith when I'm holding onto it at the end of my rope, but it is faith. And I try to be honest. Hence the post today. :) Hopefully that's good, too.

I don't know what this post is for. Maybe it's for myself to kind of let off steam and organize my thoughts. I don't know. But I'm just going to post it. Oyasuminasai.

PS- To balance out my crabby complaining, here are things that I'm eternally grateful for. My family, who cater to my cantankerous moods day to day. The nice people who send me emails. The wonderful people who send me snail mail. And Chris Rice. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Today was the day!

My life has been the utmost of boring lately. Thankfully I have my family, cable TV, a few good books, and nice friends who actually still email me to keep me sane. However today was a very very happy day for me. Thanks to my sweet family who found it in Texarkana for me, today I own the new Chris Rice CD, Amusing! :) Yaaaay!
AND I found out today that it actually has a DVD on the other side of the CD, so I got to watch behind the scenes footage of Chris Rice and the people recording the CD. I'm tickled pink. Chris recently went to a new label, so this is a little different from his other albums, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it all the same. Do yourself a favor and go pick it up.
By the way, I think I'm doing some better. I can actually eat now, which is good. I still haven't gained weight, but have faith it'll come.
Thanks to everyone for their nice emails and comments. They really brighten my days. Love you all!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ode to why I have been absentee

Hello, you wonderful people. If you're still reading then you are, in fact, wonderful. :) I know I should be blogging, especially since I have nothing but free time on my hands, but I just can't bring myself to do it. And here is my theory why.

Abraham Maslow developed a system called the Hierarchy of Needs. Simply put it states that before you can worry about the higher levels of existence you must be stable in the lowest levels of existence. For example (see the website), I think in Japan I was at or nearing the self-actualization level. I had a great job in my field with great friends. I was stable in many many ways. But now I have found myself knocked on my butt back to the first level-- physiological needs. I live day to day just focusing on keeping a few calories in me.

So... as much as it sucks, and as much as it is against my personality to do so, I have really pulled away from a lot of my friends. I feel like I'm sinking all this energy into being well so I have little to spare. I hope my friends can forgive me and just support me through this. I'm trying to be better. See, I even made myself blog tonight. :)

As for how I'm doing, it's hard to say. I am improving in some ways, but not others. The specific prayer request I have is that I can gain weight. I keep losing and I have nothing left to loose except the good stuff (muscle, organs, yadda yadda). So that's that. I'll keep you updated. Love you all! And mad props to all my friends who've recently started blogs! Y'all are awesome bloggers!!!!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Out and About

As the title suggests, I am out of the hospital. I'm on some new medicine now and let's all hope and pray I feel better soon. Although I am out, I am not about. I am the ultimate couch potato these days. Just wanted to give a brief update. Hopefully I'll have a worthwhile blog soon, if anyone's still reading this.
Love y'all.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The things I'll do for attention...

Just want to let my blogmunnity know that I was put back in the hospital again today. I'm not happy about it, but no one asked me! They want to "beef me up" nutritionally for a while. I'm in room 372 of St. Michael's hospital in Texarkana in case anyone is wondering. I'll let you know where there is more to be known!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Going Monastic

As I have been pondering my future lately, I have found myself half-wishing that I was a Catholic so I could be a nun. It seems like a nice lifestyle. Anyone else out in blog-land ever found themselves wishing for the monastic life?

PS- I tried to think of a clever title for this post, but came up short. The pressure got to me. Can any punsters out there think of a good one?

Monday, July 25, 2005


This is a letter I sent out to many of my friends today.

This is difficult to write, but I want to let you know that after much prayer I have left my job with Hitachi City teaching English. It is a very bittersweet decision, but the fact is that I don't have much choice in the matter. My body is making the decision for me. I had a date of Aug. 1 to be back at work by if I was to keep my job, and right now I'm just too weak to do it.
For you in Japan, I'm so sorry. You are what makes this so difficult, because I love my Japanese family and you have blessed my life so richly. I do hope to go back to Japan after I'm well enough to wrap things up better. Forgive me for telling you in such an impersonal manner.
Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to try to recover, and as I start looking towards the future to see where God is leading me next.
Love you all.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


I've gone over a whole week without posting. For many this would be fairly normal, but in Ann-blog time that's like 7 weeks I think. :) So here's a few brief tidbits to update you all.

I've been to a couple of doctors since I've written. Doctor number one (family doctor) diagnosed me with hepatitis, doctor number two (stomach doctor) isn't so sure. Both ordered some unfortunate tests that I reluctantly went along with. No results back except for the fact that my liver is healing and I don't have a parasite. Hopefully more results soon.

I'm feeling so-so. In some ways I'm sicker but in others I think I'm getting better. I am resting well, though.

I'm being an absolute communication recluse, which is probably unhealthy. I'm sorry if you've written and I haven't written you back. I'm going to work on that today.

I was in OKC to see my doctor last week, which was nice but odd. I got to see some good friends, but didn't get to see a lot of the people I associate with OKC because either 1- the moved, 2- they were out of town, or 3- I was too sick. Kind of frustrating, but what are ya going to do.

My mom's birthday was yesterday. Since I've had a driver's license, in our family I am usually in charge of all things for our mom (mother's day, Christmas, birthdays). Since I am rather incapacitated this year I was frustrated that I couldn't do anything special for her, especially since she's done so much for me lately. I vow to make it up one day after I'm well again.

Well, that's all for this installment folks. I'll try to write something entertaining someday soon. To add some color to the blog, here is a random picture. It's my desktop wallpaper. This was taken at the Texas/Oklahoma border between Paris and Hugo.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Book Thoughts

Well my friend Gabe over at Postmodern Christian (who is actually my real life friend, not just a blogger buddy) has tagged me to do this survey on my blog. Since my blog has had nothing interesting nor is there much interesting in my life right now, I'll play along!

1. How many books have I owned?
How many books have I owned? That's a dangerous question, since at different times in my life I have owned almost the whole collections of the Boxcar Children, Sweet Valley High, Babysitter's Club, and Bearenstein Bears. Presently I probably own about 150 books, but I'm not sure because I'm really bad at guessing numbers. And mine aren't catalogued like Gabe's. :)

2. What was the last book you bought?
I bought the TNIV Bible a few months ago. I don't buy a lot of books in Japan, ya know.

3. What was the last book you read? Hmm. I think the last book I read and actually finished was The Good Earth by Pearl Buck.

4. What are FIVE books that have meant a lot to you.
*besides the Bible, which is a given*
  1. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  2. Leaving Ruin by Jeff Berryman
  3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  4. Race, Class, and Gender in the United States by Paula Rothenberg
  5. He Still Moves Stones by Max Lucado
5. Tag five people who haven't played yet
Consider yourself tagged if you're a bibliophile.

Hmm, this inspires me to do some reading. I think I'll go pick up East of Eden again.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Made it

Just wanted to let you all know that I made it back to T-town. That 24 hours of travel was possibly one of the hardest things I've done in my life, but once again God provided for me along every step of the road. I got to meet some really nice and interesting people, and I ate more on the flight from Tokyo to LAX than I ate in the last two weeks, I think. I am a few steps beyond happy to be back in Texas with my family and sleeping in my own bed. I'm exhausted and jet lagged, both of which may take a few days to get over, but my family is also here to help me out whenever I need it. Probably won't be blogging much in the coming days, but I will keep you updated on doctor visits and such. I love you all. Your prayers and support helped get me home.

Friday, July 01, 2005

"My bags are packed...

...I'm ready to go."

That's mostly true, at least. I do need to throw in some last minute stuff before I'm officially ready. I have all my medical records, I went and had an IV done today, my apartment is reasonably clean, and my flights are looking good. I think I'm just about ready.

I'd like to thank everyone so much for their prayers, encouragement, and help. This is a difficult situation, but with so many people helping to carry the load I know it's going to be ok.

I'll let you know when I'm home. Home... sounds so sweet right now.

Love to you all.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Headed Home

Quick update for you loyal blog readers.

Looks like I am headed home in the next couple of days. My doctor and boss are really really pushing me to do it, and honestly it's what I want to do so I figure I should do it. (At my boss' insistence) the doctor gave me a tenteki (IV) full of the good stuff so I could at least function somewhat. I am pretty weak from eating only yogurt cups and toast for the past week or so. I also received a standing prescription to come and get an IV anytime I want this week, so that is great.

Thank you all for all of your support. If you'd like to pray more specifically for me and this situation, then here are some specifics:

  • my employer and co-workers who are being fabulous, truly more than I could ever ask for
  • IV fluids
  • my friends here who are taking care of me so well until I can get home
  • trying to find a somewhat reasonable airplane ticket (this could get ridiculous)
  • as I try to make it through the physical strain of the trip back
  • my doctors appointments and tests I will go through once home
  • my family and me as we try not to worry or stress
Thank you again. Love you all. I'll update this post when I know what day I'm leaving.

The Lord provides! It seems like through this experience, each time I pray for God to provide for me He does in amazing and effective ways. Today two angels of mercy (who will remain anonymous because I think I'd embarrass them) helped arrange my flight home. I can't begin to explain what a load off my mind this is. You two know who you are and I thank you profusely!!!!! So now I will be leaving on Saturday, July 2 at 4pm from Narita Airport and arriving in Texarkana at 8pm on Saturday evening. Until then I'm going to try to get my apartment ready for being gone and gather my strength for the flight.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The GI Files

Hello again, all.
I just posted once, but I figure I owe my friends who read this an update on my physical condition. Frankly, I'll be honest and admit that I am reaching a stage where I am pretty sick of seemingly everyone knowing about my gastro-intestinal (GI) system, but I'm not going to complain about the fact that I have the "problem" of too many people caring. I am quite quite blessed with a wonderful support group throughout the world-- literally.
So here's the skinny (there's a pun there when you realize I've lost over 25 pounds). I'm still sick. Pretty sick. I have good days and bad days. Good days I can get through the day pretty well, my only problem being this constant exhaustion from malnutrition. Bad days I can't do much. This week I've had...4 bad days, 1 good day. So not a great week. Yesterday I went to work all day and today I went half a day. Now I'm so-so. My spirits hover around wherever my physical well being is, when I feel bad I am pretty low. When I feel good it's like nothing can phase me. Also, I'm re-honing my skill of pretending to be ok when I'm not. I know it's not healthy emotionally or physically, but it's a natural instinct.
So here's the plan. I go back to the doctor for blood test and check up. I'm going to show the doctor some of the research I've done (I've diagnosed myself with gastroparesis) and try to convince them to do something. Monday if I'm still not satisfied with my doctor experiences then I am going to ask my boss to make a rush trip home to go to my own doctor. If and when that happens, I will decide from there whether or not I can continue this job. I just can't go on being sick like this.
So that being said, I will appreciate your support and encouragement. Right now I'm dealing with an overflow of advice, so unless you've been in this exact situation I would appreciate if you'd just hold onto it unless I ask. :) My friends and co-workers are blessings beyond measure. Your prayers, emails, encouragement and acts of kindness truly overwhelm me. You are the hands and feet of Christ! I love you all and will keep you updated.

Five Things I Miss from Childhood

Wow! I've been "tagged". This has never happened before, so I will assume that it is a great honor. Thanks JettyBetty! My topic is "5 Things I Miss from Childhood," which I think is a little tricky since I'm pretty sure I'm still a kid. But for simplicity's sake and the purpose of this blog, we'll assume that my "kid-dom" ended when I went to college. Alrighty, here goes!

5 Things I Miss from Childhood

  1. Stephenville, TX-- Stephenville was my hometown, and where I lived for 10 years of my growing up. Perhaps I remember it with rose colored lenses, but it was my Mayberry and I loved it. My best friends all lived in my neighborhood, the other side of town was 15 minutes away with traffic, and football was king. It was a great place. I haven't been there in 4 years. I'm almost scared to go because I know how much it's changed and I've changed and part of me wants to keep the illusion of my hometown alive.
  2. Creativity-- For someone completely lacking it in now, as a child I had real creativity. I would play for hours in my imaginary world, thinking up characters and adventures. I miss being able to lose myself in my own worlds like that.
  3. My little friends-- I was thick as theives with several little girls when I was a kid. There were Carrie and Erin (or "CarrieErin" as my dad would say) who lived two houses down from me, and my best friend Gina and her sister Mara who lived a couple of streets over. Carrie and Erin and I grew apart in high school, and Gina and Mara and I slowly drifted away over time, although we did exchange emails last year. I think our Mara may be going on to be a music star. She recently recorded a CD and it's even for sale at amazon. Keep an eye open for Bosque Brown. Also, I should give a shout out to my childhood homie Nina who I still talk to fairly frequently.
  4. Rolly Pollies-- Also known as "pill bugs" by the less educated, these were my favorite animal growing up. Since I never had formal pets, I made do with what I had. I would host rolly polly colonies. They're just so... CUTE! I'll tell you of a great tragedy that once occured, though. I often hosted my rolly polly empires in the bottom halves of cut up gallon milk jugs. One time as a had a group going it rained during the night. Uh oh... yes, there was a mass drowning. I think I effectively massacred half of the rolly polly population in our yard.
  5. High school football-- I vaugely referenced this earlier, but in Stephenville we had some ferocious school spirit. Football was king, and we were 4 time 4-A state football champions while I was associated with them (GO JACKETS!). I grew up going to football games Friday nights and in high school I was in the band, so I was always there. I loved the feeling of community and intensity and fun. Ask me about can-fans sometime. :) Somehow I managed to go to a college that didn't even have a football team. What is up with that?

Here's the tag part:
Remove the first person from the following list, bump everyone up one spot and put your name in the number 5 spot. Please link all of the blogs as they are linked now.

Journaling Through the Valley
Threefold Cord
Anne's Cafe
Run the Earth, Watch the Sky

I'm also supposed to tag 4 people, but I'm not sure four people read the blog so if you read this and want to play along, gambatte kudasai! Go for it!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Happy Father's Day!

Today is the day to take time and honor those hardworking and faithful men in our lives. So to all you in blogland who have kids of your own or are influencing the lives of those around you.

So today I will pay special tribute to my dad, aka my most faithful blog reader. :) My father, one of the manliest men around, was blessed with two daughters. But he remained optimistic about the arrows in his quiver and was a great father to us. He taught us to drive and hunt and shoot a gun, ride a four wheeler and appreciate a good recliner. He has also encouraged me to be an independent thinker, even when that means that my conclusions are different from his own. But he seems to be handling that well. :)

I remember Father's Day two years ago quite well. I was in a hospital in Oklahoma City and my dad was having to work a lot of the time I was sick, so he was making fairly frequent 5 hour commutes between OKC and Texarkana. Well Father's Day was one of those days that he made the big drive, and I remember thinking how blessed I was to have a father who loved me enough to go through all the hassle just to get to me and spend a few days taking care of me. I'll never forget it.

So thank you, Dad, for everything. Happy Father's Day!

Molly, Dad, Ann-- Father's Day 2004

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Good times and good friends

Last night I had the honor of going to dinner with two of the most dashing gentlemen I know. That's right-- I got to spend the whole evening with Peter-san and Blake-san. They were wonderful enough to come up to Hitachi for dinner and nice conversation. What a treat! Once again I was reminded of how blessed I am not only to have amazing friends, but to have several of them in Japan with me!

One of the greatest titles we can have is "old friend". We never appreciate how important old friends are until we are older. The problem is we need to start our old friendships when we are young. We then have to nurture and grow those friendships over our middle age when a busy life and changing geographies can cause us to neglect those friends. Today is the day to invest in those people we hope will call us 'old friend" in the years to come. --Grant Fairley

Blake, Peter, Ann

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Voice of Truth

I've been feeling pretty dreary in body and mind the last few days. Satan is truly the master of lies, and once he gets a foothold he can wreak havok if left unchallenged. This song is always a great reminder to seek the voice of the shepherd among the crowds and listen to the voice of truth.

"Voice of Truth" performed by Casting Crowns

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
on to the crashing waves

To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand

But the waves are calling out my name
And they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy, you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of strength it takes
to stand before a giant
With just a sling and a stone

Surrounded by the sound of a thousand warriors
Shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out my name
And he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again. "Boy you'll never win!"
"You'll never win!"

But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

But the stone was just the right size
To put the giant on the ground
And the waves they don't seem so high
On top of them lookin' down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
When I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
Singing over me

But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story
The Voice of Truth says, "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of Truth says, "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth

Monday, June 13, 2005

Great news! And okay news.

First I'd like to express my SHEER JOY that Chris Rice is coming out with a new album that will go on sale August 23!!!!!! You can hear clips of some songs here. It sounds great and I'm already so pumped about it. The great part is that on August 23 I will be at home visiting so I'll be able to get it ASAP! I am probably the only geek who is waiting at the doors for Mardel to open the day a Chris Rice CD is released. :) And did I mention that he has love songs on this CD? Chris Rice writing love songs now!?! Oh the anticipation!!!

Okay, rant over. Some people geek out over Star Wars, some over basketball, some over the Restoration Movement :) ... I like Chris Rice. And I'm not ashamed. :) Besides, I needed something to cheer me up.

My checkup today was alright, I guess. The good news is that my liver enzyme count went down to 75 (down 125 points for those counting) and my doctor was so pleased he said I don't have to have a blood test next week, but instead in two weeks. So that's good news. The not as good news is that I got wicked sick again this weekend, so I meant to interrogate my doctor about how long this enterocolitis is going to stay with me. To which he replied, (Ann doing her best Japanese doctor impersonation) "Hmm, I think your condition is caused by your previous surgery. So maybe your stomach condition is your friend" (emphasis put on the Japanesey parts). At the same time I felt disheartened and yet mildly angry at his cheeky response. So that being said, I don't know when I'll really feel better. I researched colitis on the internet and it can last a looong time apparently. My boss is still being great, but let's face it, they can't keep a dud ALT forever. So I'm going to work the best I can for as long as I can... we'll see. I'm going to school for half a day tomorrow, so keep me in your prayers as I try to re-enter normal society.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A splash of color

Realizing that my blog has been rather serious and somewhat dreary (in my opinion at least) for some time, I thought I'd lighten things up with a picture blog. No, they really have no relevance other than I want to post them and they make me happy. So here goes!

This is Meredith, me, and Amber in Honduras last summer. I was going for my JLo gangta look. You'll notice that Amber and I are in opposing gangs. Too bad, really. :) But right now my dear Meriadoc is in Honduras again probably having all kinds of fun and hijinx with our dear Amba.

I have been missing this crazy bunch of people a lot lately. This is, more or less, the 2000 Honors class from OC. This photo was taken after our first semester of college. Although we were known at times to have sharp disagreements, we also ultimately came to love and respect each other in a special way. I love these people so much!

This is my oldest friend Nina. She's not old, she's my age, but she is my oldest friend in that we've been friends for 17 years (since first grade with Mrs. Hayes) and still keep in touch. Nina says that this is a testimony to the power of the internet (since we've lived far away for 7 years now). I agree. In the picture we are pointing to Stephenville, where we grew up.

"I'm so vain... I probably think this blog is about me..." But really, I just received a CD-ROM with a lot of pictures from my campaign to Brazil last summer and this was on there. I like this picture because I believe I was really, really happy when this was taken.

Last but not least, here is a shot from a Toga party we Hitachi-folk had right before I got sick. I normally wouldn't have dressed up, but what the heck. It was a fun experience.

So there ya have it! Hope this is mildly entertaining to some. If not, stick around maybe I'll tickle your fancy later.


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Thursday, June 09, 2005

No, that wasn't my stomach problem...

Imagine my surprise and the surprise of those who visited me in the hospital when they came and realized that my room was nestled in the heart of the maternity ward. Ah yes, the foreigner and the mommies. Sounds like a bad premise for a sitcom. Anyway I think it was a blessing in disguise, in that my nurses were exceptionally kind (from dealing with mommies and babies all day long) and I didn't have to worry about being near creepy old Japanese men. Also, I got to witnesses some precious moments when daddies and grandparents and "big" brothers and sisters got to meet the newest member of the family. Japanese tend to be rather stoic when it comes to their families, so it was great to see those moments of pure joy on everyone's faces.
There were some downsides to my locale, the biggest being the noises. I was in the room closest to the delivery room... yeah just think about that for a moment. Let's just say that I said some prayers for some women who sounded like they needed them. Also I was very close to the nursery. Most babies are kept in the nursery for the first two days (the average stay of mother and child is 5-7 days), so I heard my share of crying babies. The poor things probably just wanted their mommies.
So there's another facet to my stay in the hospital.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

How much do you really want to know?

Over the next few days while I'm at home resting I will try to bring to you some of the more interesting moments I had during my 12 day hospital stint. Here is one such story.

On the first day, since it was my first time at this hospital there were several forms for me to fill out. The secretary of the Board of Education, the aforementioned Ishii-san, was with me to help me.

We got to the last question on one sheet and Ishii-san paused and said, "Hmm, this is a difficult question." I urged her to go on and she said, "Okay, if you have cancer, you have four choices. First, you can be told the truth and your family will be told the truth. Second, you can be told the truth and your family will not be told the truth. Third, you will not be told the truth and your family will be told the truth. Fourth, you will not be told the truth and your family will not be told the truth."

Strange, huh? Well I decided to go with the first option, telling everyone the truth. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I cannot understand options 3 or 4. Personally I would never do option 2 either, but I find it more understandable.

My friends that I've told this story to seem to get a kick out of it. Hope you do, too. More to come.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Good news all-

I busted out of the hospital today. Haha, that makes it sound like I left forcibly, but actually they let me go. So this experience and one of the books I read in the hospital have encouraged me to get serious about and step up my prayer life, so last night I prayed for two miracles-- one was that they would be able to get my bloodwork done on one try (which hadn't happened in the 6 prior blood works I'd had since this began) and that my liver enzyme levels will have gone down drastically. And the Lord answered those prayers! My favorite nurse was the one to do my bloodwork and she hit it on the first try, and then my results came back saying that my enzyme levels had dropped 100 points! (30 was the goal) So I am pretty happy. Of course it's going to be challenging to get back into normal life again and rebuild my strength, but I've been down before and with God and my friends, I can do anything I think.

I can't thank you all enough for all the prayers, visits, gifts, and well wishes.

I'll tell you some of the funny stories that happened later. Now I have got to get my tired bones to bed.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

"I'm not dead yet... I'm Getting Better!"

Dear Blog-mmunity-
Greetings from Hitachi's best and brightest - Nisei hospital. My friend Judith is taking my written statement and posting it to the blog for me. Very kind of her. So no, I haven't gone and abandoned the blog. The day after my last post I went to the doctor and they admitted me to the hospital that afternoon for IV treatment. Long story short, despite some initial scares I was diagnosed with intercolitis, which is a viral infection of the intestine. The treatment was IV feeding and rest for several days. I guess I started feeling pretty good about Monday and figured I'd go home Tuesday. BUT... my blood tests revealed that the enzyme count in my liver was way high so I've been being held hostage since then while they try to diagnose the problem. At this point I'm frustrated and just want to go home. I feel alright, just a little tired and weak. My friends here have been great and taken very good care of me.
So there's the scoop. If they don't release me soon (ie Monday at the latest), I am making a break for it. I'll call the embassy if I have to =) I'll fill you in on the details of this "adventure" when I am released. Just keep me in your prayers, onegaishimasu. And my family. I think they're worried. =)
Love you all -

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

New blog theme-- sickness and spectacles

The kefir (thanks Stephen!) and the apple cider vinegar seemed to work really well for a couple of days, but last night suffered a great blow to their credibility in my mind. Last night whilst (a word I was reacquainted with at work today) shopping, I felt very ill very suddenly. The last place you want to feel really nauseous is a Japanese grocery store. Yuck.
Anyway, all that to say that despite trying these remedies last night and this morning I seem to only have digressed. I might keep trying with the kefir, but the apple cider vinegar isn't doing it for me. So tomorrow I'm reconciling with traditional medicine and going to the doctor. Please pray for me.

And now for the spectacle part, which might become a weekly Wednesday installment if the trend continues. Today was Health Check day, which meant that my co-workers and I went in for our yearly physical for those under national health care. I was actually kind of excited about the whole procedure because they are very thorough and check you for pretty much everything. Alina, Ishii-san (the Board of Education secretary) and I went together. Ishii-san is pretty good with English and Alina is great with Japanese, but as we still had some fun trying to decipher some of the ailments listed in the family history portion of the paperwork. We went through lots of tests-- chest x-ray, heart monitor, urine, vision, and last but not least, bloodwork.
I don't especially like blood work, but I don't become overly anxious about it. So my turn came and I bravely sat down. Alina and Ishii-san had already gone so they were waiting in the wings for me. They started, and despite my limited vocabulary I was able to ask my standard blood work question, "Daijobou desu ka?" or "Is everything okay?" The nurses assured me it was and so I waited. Then I realized that my hand was going numb from my fingertips up my arm. Sometime soon after that realization I started feeling very bad. The nurses must have realized it and stopped the procedure, but I was down for the count. I blacked out for a little while, but was still somewhat cognizant of what was going on around me. It felt like there were about 10 nurses gathered around me propping me up and asking me various questions in Japanese. Finally they got me to my feet and ushered me to the waiting lounge that had a couch and laid me down there, elevating my feet over my head.
The nurses were great. They just kept trying to soothe me and encourage me. One especially kind nurse stayed by my side through the whole thing and held my hand. Soon my blood pressure leveled out and I was revealed that they, in fact, did not get enough blood to do the tests, so I had to go for one more round. However the second time was a piece of cake and afterwards we got to go home.
So today, perhaps rather than having a "look at the foreigner!" moment I had a "look at the poor foreigner..." moment. I don't know which I'd rather have.

Overall... rough day. But I have faith that the Lord has provided thus far and will continue to do so.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Alternative Medicines

Hello all. Thought I'd update you from the sick bed. I have spent the last 48+ hours in my apartment and am going a little stir crazy. Thankfully I have had the internet, the phone, some videos, and a couple of good friends to amuse me.

One of those friends who came by, Raelynn, has also recently been plagued with stomach issues. I asked her for some advice and she presented to me some interesting alternative therapies. First is apple cider vinegar. Although the site I linked to looks less than reputable, it does give you a glimpse of all that it's supports claim it can do to heal the body. My first dose was about half a tablespoon mixed with a glass of water and lots o' honey. It definitely has a kick and I'll have to work up to higher dosages, but it wasn't terrible. It'll just take some getting used to. Apple cider vinegar is supposed to work to neutralize the acids in the stomach and aid in digestion.

Organic healer number two that my friend brought me is a substance known as "kiefer" (pronounced KEY-FUR). I honestly don't know how you spell it. I tried to google it but no spellings I can think of came up with too many matches, which means that I cannot direct you to a nice internet explanation of the stuff. But I'll do my best to tell you. It is basically fermented milk. You can actually make your own kiefer, which Raelynn did and brought me. You take these grains (the origin of which no one is really sure of) and place them in a jar. Then you pour some milk into the jar, leave the jar out for a couple of days (without an airtight lid), strain away the liquid from the grains, and boom, you got your kiefer. Then you rinse the grains, put them into the jar again, and pour more milk in to make even more kiefer. I hear that the grains also "multiply" somehow... that freaks me out a little, but hey, I'm living in the alternative world now. Kiefer's kind of yogurty and definitely has a kick to it. Raelynn make me a chocolate kiefer shake, and I made some more with strawberry syrup and honey. I'm not bold enough to eat it plain just yet. Kiefer is supposed to add good bacteria to your stomach while destroying bad bacteria.

Although I have long been a girl who put her faith in God and traditional medicine, at this point I am willing to try anything. I tried "doses" of both of these cure tonight and honestly, I'm feeling pretty good right now. I'm not sure if it was either of these items that made me feel so, or maybe it's having a placebo effect, but honestly I don't care. :) I feel better and I was able to eat some and that's all that matters right now. I'll keep you updated on how things turn out.

Has anyone else out there tired any "non-traditional" therapies for their illnesses? Have they worked? Please share. This subject intrigues me now.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Still Sick

I've been wanting to avoid talking about it on the blog much, but I'm still sick from last week when I had the doctor's visit I chronicled. I don't know what's going on. My stomach is on a roller coaster; I go from feeling great for a few hours to feeling terrible for a few hours. I'm going to devote this weekend to resting and relaxing, so hopefully that'll push me towards the road to recovery. So please keep me in your prayers.

Also, and perhaps because of my not feeling well, I am so homesick. I especially miss my family and American food. I just want to go home, for a visit or for forever. I miss home.

Sorry to be unentertaining and depressing today. Just wanted to share with the blog-munity.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ki o tsukete!

Maybe no one will find this amusing, but I had a good "look at the weird/dumb foreigner" moment tonight and thought I'd share it since the blog has been lacking in Japanese experiences lately.

Tonight I was riding the bus home from the station. I got on the bus early and waited. There was one other man on the bus, a "salary-man" (or businessman) who looked purely exhausted and was drifting quickly into sleep. My heart went out to the guy since I knew he'd probably been working since 8 this morning (and this was 9:15 at night).

As we were approaching my stop, I reached up and pushed the buzzer to alert the driver. As I did, my drink fell to the floor with a crash and rolled to the feet of sleeping man. I felt bad as I thought that I'd probably startled everyone, especially the businessman. Since we were stopped at a light, I got up to retrieve my drink. Just as I bent over, the completely predictable happened: the bus driver chose that moment to let off the brake and inch up on the light. In a gloriously ungraceful moment I found myself splayed out on the bus floor on top of sleeping man's feet. And I fell out of my shoes. And I hit my chin on something.

So I tried to gather myself, but by this point the bus was moving again so it was difficult. At some point in my struggles the bus driver realized something was going on and called back something, to which I replied "Daijobou desu!" (It's okay!). I sat with my face in my hands until my stop and then ran off the bus. As I was exiting, however, the bus driver called, "Ki o tsukete!" (Be careful!) :) I have a feeling he was not concerned about bad men hiding in the shadows, but instead about me tripping over my own feet as I walked home.

Yeah, it was embarrassing, but I laughed the whole way home. It'd been a while since something dumb and funny had happened to me, so it was somewhat refreshing to just laugh at myself for a while. Hope someone else got a chuckle out of it.

By the way, my chin feels fine now. :)

Monday, May 16, 2005

Second Parents

Mike Cope blogged the other day about the special role of second parents that so many play in the lives of others in our society today, where oftentimes parental role models are lacking. Several commenters on the blog then pointed out that oftentimes it's not just the parent-less to benefit from the surrogate parents; oftentimes those of us with wonderful familial support are also blessed by having adopted moms and dads. I know that I have, so today I'd like to give them blog props. :)

In college I was doubly blessed to gain both an adopted set of parents and grandparents.

Bob and Donna Carpenter are... great. :) Just mentioning them brings a smile to my face. I first met them when I went to Brazil the first time; they were kind enough to host a dinner my mission team since they were missionaries in Brazil for several years. Bob's a professor of missions and world religions at OC, and so over the years I took several classes with him (I can think of 5 off the top of my head). Bob and Donna trained my mission team the second year I went to Brazil, and Bob was actually on the team, so you know those 4 weeks provided some great bonding time. All these experiences were great for growing in friendship and even a mentoring relationship, but they became my second parents when I was sick. They were at the hospital the morning of my surgery with my parents and the McBrides. They stayed with my family throughout the whole surgery (5+ hours) and then were at the hospital nearly every day that I was there (over a month). Donna was the only person I let sit with me other than my mom or dad, and even spent the night in the hospital to give my mom a break. After I was out of the hospital and for the next semester of school, whenever I was sick (which was often) I always had a room at their house where I could hide from it all. Donna would go to the doctors visits with me whenever my mom couldn't come up. And although I'm sure having a sickly pseudo-daughter complicated their life, they never once made me feel like a burden. I love them for their example of Godliness and faithfulness and generosity of time and love (and house!).

*I don't have a picture of Bob and Donna! :( If someone has one (M&K?) could you send it to me so I can show them off?

Bailey and Joyce McBride, who I've referenced several times on the blog (yes, I'm an admitted Baileyite), are my second grandparents. Bailey is the director of the honors program at OC, so I met him in the interview process before I even attended the school. Although we weren't close for my first year or two of school, I was always taken back by the amount of interest and compassion he showed for his students. He always closely followed my mission trips and told me how proud of me he was. Despite a lack of a personal relationship, there came a time my junior year when I needed help, and I turned to him and he welcomed me with open arms. He loved on me and prayed over me and carried me through some hard times. Then of course was the baptism of fire that came when I was sick. Much like Bob and Donna, Bailey and Joyce were always there. I actually met Joyce on the day of my surgery, but you'd never know it the way she was showering my family and me with love and attention. But she and Bailey were also there just about every day that I was in the hospital. More than anything I am eternally grateful for their prayers. When they say they pray for me daily I know those aren't idle words; they truly do pray for me. And I know those prayers have carried me through times I wouldn't have been able to go through alone.

Bailey and Joyce McBride (and me)

I have been blessed unimaginably by my "extended family." I pray that God gives me the opportunities to pass on and reflect this love that I've been shown.

I have an idea. I would like to decree that May 29 is "Second Parents Day." It falls right between Mother's Day and Father's Day, so it's perfect. Hallmark will love me for this. But really, take a day... maybe May 29th... and thank those who have adopted you into their families.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Grieving Process

For the past several weeks I have been reading the blog of Joe and Laura Hays, church planters living in Brooklyn. Their baby was recently born with a life threatening condition and they are updating friends and family (and strangers like me) about it. He is continuing to fight day by day for his little life.

From a link on their site I learned about little Noah Whaley, who was born last week with extremely little brain activity. His parents were not expecting to face this at all, and have been chronicling his condition and their emotions on their blog. I just read that yesterday he passed away peacefully.

Please pray for both of these families. I cannot even imagine the emotions they must be experiencing.

What do things like this mean? Theologians of all types have their different answers, but honestly they don't mean a lot when you're the one suffering. The thing is that so many well intentioned people try to push theology and religion on you when you're hurting, which is so... bad.

I've been through two very trying times in my life. Once when I moved from my hometown when I was 16 and the other when I was very very sick two years ago. Both times I can clearly recall well meaning people shoving their "God is good, all the time!" type sentiments at me. Rare, but precious, were those who would just allow me to experience and feel what I was feeling. The anger, the hurt, the sadness, the mourning... the whole experience, albeit not pleasant by any means, is natural and cathartic. Maybe it's our culture in America, maybe it's our Christian culture, but a lot of people try to deny that natural grieving process and replace it with their feel good religion. I'll never forget my best friend's mom who simply told me "It's okay to cry" and let me when I said goodbye to my best friend. I'll never forget my parents who simply cried with me during the days in the hospital when I wanted to give up hope.

Of course encouragement has it's place, and it's natural to want to do or say something to help those you love who are hurting. But there are times when you need to "weep with those who weep" and keep the "all things work for good" verses for another time. Presence is everything.

When Job's three friends... heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
Job 2:11-13

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Japanese Doctor Experience

Today I experienced what I hoped I would avoid for the duration of my time in Japan, but I think it was pretty good of me to hold off on having to visit the doctor for over 8 months. I've felt like I've had the stomach flu since about last Thursday (except for about 24 hours of feeling better for church). With my history of stomach issues, I decided yesterday I should ask my boss if they'd help me to go the doctor. They were super nice and arranged for me to miss work and go to the doctor today, as well as letting me go home early yesterday and rest.
So this morning I go up and the secretary of my section, Ishii-san, and I went to the hospital. I had heard of people having interesting experiences at Japanese doctors, so I was not excited about this at all. But to my surprise, my doctor experience in Japan was remarkably... normal.
First I had to wait, which must be one thing that doctors all over the world have in common. We waited about 1.5 hours, then they did my vital signs and such, and I got to wait again for another 15 minutes to see the doctor. Yesterday when my boss was talking to me about seeing the doctor, he laughed because he said it'd be me and a bunch of old people. And he was right!
Finally my turn came and the Lord provided, because my doctor could speak English. Dr. Taguchi was definitely an answer to prayer. He asked all the right questions (including, "do you have a history of gastro-intestinal problems?" and was kind enough to listen to my life story) and listened to my answers very carefully. When he examined my stomach he said, "Hmm, you have a lot of scars." :) Yep, sure do!
Diagnosis? Hmm, not sure. I will translate whatever he said as "a bug." He prescribed an "infusion" (which means medicine administered through an IV drip), some medicine for my stomach, and rest. I had heard before that the Japanese were big fans of intravenous medicines, but I was hoping it wouldn't be for me today! So after I saw the doctor I spent a little over two hours receiving that treatment. Then I picked up my medicine and went back to the office to tell my bosses how it went. They were surprisingly concerned and kind, so I guess I have to take back any mean thoughts I've had in recent months about the organization I work for. :) I came home and slept for several hours and am feeling alright. My symptoms haven't really been alleviated, but I'm going to give the medicines some more time.
So that was my day and experience at the doctor. Like I said before, it was remarkably normal. And remarkably cheap! My whole experience, including medicines, cost less than $15. Gotta love national health insurance. :) Seriously, though, throughout the whole experience I could see God's provision and blessings. Granted I still don't feel very good, but I can have faith that soon I will.
So please keep me in your prayers. My stomach is sensitive and vulnerable since the trauma of 2003, and it always makes me nervous when it acts up. Feeling sick throws me back into many memories and emotions that I'd rather forget. And of course when you're sick and far from home, you just want your mommy. :) So I'm feeling some homesickness, too. Thank you for your prayers. Have a blessed week.

UPDATE 5-11-05
I went to school today because I felt somewhat better this morning, and after eating a breakfast and lunch of saltine crackers I felt completely better! Although I have a monster-ugly bruise on my arm from the IV, I am feeling wonderful. Praise the Lord! And thank you for your prayers and encouragement!
PS- No, no accupuncture this time. :)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all those mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or female caregivers who read the blog. I hope that today you feel valued, appreciated, and loved. God bless you for the work you do and the love you give.

But today I would like to especially honor the mom in my life. :)

My mom has been through a lot throughout her motherhood with me, from illnessness and hospital stays to broken hearts and low, low times. She rejoiced with me and cried with me. She has supported me in my crazy dreams that usually include going far away, whether it's the strange state of Oklahoma for college, Brazil for summers of mission work, or Japan for a job. My mom taught me how to encourage, serve, and love. And I still have a lot left to learn from her. I love you, Mom, and wish so much that I could be there to hug you in person today. Thank you for everything. Words aren't enough.

Flowers for my mommy

Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

Democrats Shown the Door at Church

This story is very disturbing. Granted, it's obvious the pastor is a nut job who was willing to actually publicly kick several members of his congregation to the curb for not supporting George Bush, and I honestly don't think many church leaders would go that far. However, I have been known to underestimate the insanity of many people (specifically Christians and republicans... ha ha, that's just a joke... sort of :) ).
Anyway, the point to this post is that I think the religious/political environment in America has become way too blended lately. I've never heard from the pulpit that I should come forward and repent for not being in line with G-Dub, but I've heard pretty close. That is such a shame.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:28

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Guilty Pleasure

I need to just come out with it. Maybe if I admit my weakness then others can help me. :) I am only a little embarrassed to admit that reading blogs is one of my hobbies. Yeah, it's a little nerdy, but lots of people do it so it's generally acceptable. Most of the blogs I check can be found to the right, and those are generally of high quality in both thought and grammar. However, I must admit that my "hobby" sinks to another level. Okay... I'll just say it.

I peruse the Oklahoma Christian Xanga Blogring.

Whew. :::weight off my chest::: Perhaps I should further explain this, so that you don't get the wrong impression. I don't read all the blogs. But over time there are certain screen names that have caught my eye and I like to check on them occasionally. The majority of those I read are people who I vaguely knew in college. However some I read just because it's like watching a train wreck-- you can't help it. Whether it's the spelling, grammar, or drama of it all, something just draws you in. :)

So there you go. My guilty pleasure. I am certainly not advising anyone else do the same. If anything I should be asking for help to stop this unhealthy habit. :)

For the record, I think that Blogger is infinitely cooler than Xanga. Who needs e-props, anyway? :)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Golden Week Reunion

Whenever I stop and think about how many of my good friends I have here in Japan with me, I cannot fathom how blessed I am. Today several of us who were close in college got together to have lunch and just be together. With all of our work schedules it is difficult to get together at the same time, so we like to take advantage when we can. It was a great day and reminded me of how blessed I am through my friends. Jehovah jireh!

Blake, Peter (doing his impression of a Japanese girl) , Sharon

Chisato, Tomoko, Izumi

Reunion May 2005

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Low-down in H-town

I feel like I've been a bad blogger because I haven't really been updating on what's been going on. Well here you go. The reader's digest version of my very eventful past few days.

Last Friday and this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are all national holidays. This string is called "Golden Week" in Japan. I took today (Monday) off, so I am enjoying a week of vacation.
Last Friday I went to the All Japan Worship in Omika, which was great. It was a wonderful opportunity for Christians from around the country to get together to fellowship and encourage each other. I am already looking forward to next year!
I spent last weekend in Mito trying to make up for my absence during the month of April. It was great to be able to visit with my friends who recently moved here, as well as "old friends" who are the reason I've made it this long in Japan.
Today I had the nice treat of friends making the trek to the northernlands to visit me! Peter and Sharon came to Hitachi and we had a fun day going to the beach and to a park. It was fun to show off my city a little (although those two things are pretty much the only things I could show off :) ). Then tonight I went to a high school Bible study and karaoke party with my Taga church folk.
Oh-- but the fun of Golden Week isn't over yet! Tomorrow promisese to be filled with friends and fun as well. But I'll let you know about that after it happens. Hope you're all doing well. Drop me a line sometime. Love y'all.

Friday, April 29, 2005

If I could...

Lately I've been lacking inspiration for the blog, so I will succumb and do this. Plus I think it looks pretty fun. Also, 2 of the coolest bloggerettes (JettyBetty and Crittermer) I know have done it, and I want to be a cool kid, too. :) The object is to pick any 5 sentences from the following list and complete them. Feel free to steal this as your own blog padding. :)

The "questions": If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure...

If I could be a doctor... I would be a medical missionary. Whether I was living and working full time abroad or just going when I could, I would do it. I think it is one of the most amazing ministries a person can have. Were I not so very squeamish with IVs, I would definitely go into nursing. After my experience a couple of years ago with being sick, I came to realize what an amazing blessing that a kind, compassionate nurses can be at a person's most vulnerable time. If you'd like to learn about or support some great medical missionaries, go here: Predisan.

If I could be a gardener... I would grow fields of flowers. I would spend my day pulling weeds and be very happy. At Hidaka (my new school) during souji time I am working in the school's flowerbeds. I volunteered myself to these efforts, and if anyone wants me to stop then they should learn how to say it in English. :) And I'd like to thank my mom for instilling my love of flowers at an early age by making that huge, beautiful flowerbed at our house in Stephenville.

If I could be a linguist... I could spend my time studying the function of languages without having my day to day function dependent upon my ability to speak the languages I was studying. :) In case that was too vague a sentence, I miss studying languages that I'm not under the pressure to use all the time. That's why Hebrew is so perfect. :) Also, were I a linguist, I would make my services available to a Bible translation organization like Wycliffe or Pioneer Bible Translators.

If I could be a professor... I would try to implement the qualities of several amazing professors that I was blessed to study under. The compassion and love of Bailey McBride. The Intellect and dedication of Bob Carpenter. The passion and excitement of Glenn Pemberton. The involvement and personalized attention of Scott LaMascus. The list could go on, but I'll restrain myself. :)

If I could be a world famous blogger... I would hope to give Christianity a good name.