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Archive for February, 2012

Humongous fungus

I had the chance to go on a hike with my students last week after a few days of warm temperatures, rain, and very high humidity. The conditions were perfect for an explosion of fungi along the trail. Here are a couple of photos I took.


Each frond of this one was larger than my open hand.





Every eight weeks, I get an infusion. The medication I get treats both my psoriatic arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to walk to the restroom incessantly. With it, I hardly remember that I have either of these conditions.

I am so grateful for the great treatment I get at the home health care center where I get my infusions. I get the chance to show off pictures and videos of my growing son. I get to blog. I HAVE TO sit in a recliner for three uninterrupted hours. I get to watch my blood pressure drop back to normal as I decompress from a busy day at school (especially Valentine’s Day at an elementary school).

I think I take for granted how blessed I am for the medical team I have making these infusions happen. Without my rheumatologist, gastroenterologist, and primary care doctor willing to work together to find a solution to my condition, there would be no way I could get this treatment.

The is another medical team I am grateful for. My grandfather, who, along with my grandmother, splits his year between Iowa and Texas, has not been in the best health for a number of years. He has fought diabetes and is a 20+ year survivor of a quintuple bypass surgery. He had a stroke a couple of years ago and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He also has had colon cancer, which was in remission until recently.

I got a call from my parents yesterday to let me know that his colon cancer is back. As we speak, he is undergoing a CAT scan in order to determine the location and severity of the cancer and to come up with a plan of action.

So, I am keeping my grandfather, my family, and his medical team in my prayers. I realize that I am so lucky to be able to get one simple treatment to keep my medical problems in check. I know that there are so many who are not as fortunate. I hope to be able to post good news about my grandfather’s progress here soon.

One year out

It’s that time of year again. My birthday is coming up next week, and I am sitting here thinking about both the year that is ending and the year ahead. The past year has been an interesting one to say the least. Losing a job that I loved, only to find a job even closer to home that I love just the same. Watching my son grow and change every. single. day. Watching my wife loving her role as a mom. So much has happened since my last birthday, and I am quite certain that I could not have predicted most of what took place.

This year, in an effort to exercise control in the world around me (yeah, right), I want to set some goals for the things I would like to accomplish before my next birthday. This shouldn’t be too hard, right? In my line of work, I am constantly writing goals for my students. I have to put myself in the mindset of being one year out, so surely I can do the same for me.

Here goes nothing. One of the areas I want to work on this upcoming year is being in better shape. (Everybody says that, right?) I am not at all proud of where I’m at physically, and I want to do better. I want to get back into running and stick with it. I want to get a few 5Ks under my belt again. I want to get my belt out from under my gut again. Keep your eyes out (or your eyes covered) for a post in the coming days about how I’m looking and feeling. Maybe I’ll use this blog as a place to be accountable (even if only to myself).

Another area I’d like to focus on is ORGANIZATION. This is like me saying, “This year, I’d like to learn to be right-handed.” Maybe not the most likely thing to happen, but I would at least like to improve.

I’d like to write a song or two this year. It used to be that I was writing them all the time. Then life happened, I guess, and I felt like I didn’t have anything to write about. We’ll see. (I think I just get hung up on not wanting to write crappy songs, but that’s another post for another day.)

Perhaps the most important thing I want to work on this year is my walk with Christ. It used to be that I was one of those hair-on-fire Jesus people, often to the detriment of anyone who might cross my path with a viewpoint different than mine. Now, I feel that the pendulum has swung much to the other end. Not that I’ve lost faith, but that I am so concerned with not offending or upsetting others that I often skirt around discussions about faith. Either way, it’s not a place that I want to be. I need to do some more reading. I need to do some more thinking. I need to do some more praying. I know that my son watches everything I do and soaks it all up. I need to live out my relationship with Christ in a way that is a visible example for him. No pressure, right?

There you have it. One year out. At least it’s a leap year. I’m probably going to need that extra day.

Who doesn’t love the bus?

I teach a group of students with disabilities at an elementary school. Our curriculum includes off-campus field trips every Friday. That being said, I have spent more than my fair share of hours on a school bus.

I remember riding the school bus ten miles to and from school each day as a kid, and I definitely remember having to come up with ways to stay entertained on that ride.

Today, one of my students and I were making faces at each other in the driver’s mirror. I tried to get a picture of us, but I couldn’t quite get the angle right without putting my camera in the photo. This shot is the best I could do. I’m the one you can actually see.




This is a blossom on a camellia bush in the front yard. A healthy dose of rain last night has our yard thinking that spring is here already.

Testing, Testing…

I am going to try another post to see if I can’t get the hang of this a little better. ¬†Here are a few random shots from the recent ¬†(and not-so-recent) past.

The view from the office a couple weeks back during a hike with my students.

Another shot from a class hike.

We're not in Iowa anymore...

One of my favorite photos. Hoarfrost the day after Christmas in 2010. It was gorgeous, and it was gone by noon.