Sunday, November 11, 2012


Finley is learning fractions. Well, to be fair, she is sitting, listening patiently as Robyn explains fractions to her over and over again. They are playing school. At the end of every lecture Robyn asks, "Do you understand what a fraction is now?" It is so cute to listen to both sides of the convo.

I wonder if that is how God feels with me. I sit and listen (sometimes) as He explains how much He loves me over and over again. At the end, He asks, "Do you understand how much I love you now?" and like Finley, I  look at Him with my blank 4 1/2 year old face as if He is speaking a foreign language.

When will I get it? Why haven't I gotten it by now?

Friday, July 13, 2012


Months. it's been months. and I have absolutely no excuse other than that I have had no blogs a’brewin’. And I still don’t, but I figure that you would like to hear from me. Maybe I figured wrong, but here are some bits and pieces from the past few months.

Robyn was baptized. It was amazing. At the beach, and my dad and my sister got to come up for the event. I was actually able to walk out into the water with her and Charles and I held her hands as he dipped her down under the water. I, of course, was crying like a baby. It was beautiful. Dad was only able to stay for one night, but he had enough time to fix the brakes on our car, so it is now drivable again. He never gets to come and just relax, there is always something to fix, but I think he likes it that way.

My sister got to stay for a week and help me out. Wow, I can’t tell you what a huge help she was. It made such a difference having her here. And at night, after the kids went to bed, we got to hang out. We talked lots of wedding details (she just got engaged) and we taught her one of our favorite games, Settlers of Catan. It was so fun. I helped raise her, and now here she is, an adult that is about to get married, hanging out with me. Weird.

For the Fourth of July, we just had a lazy day. That night we went to our favorite place for fireworks, 2nd ave pier. Our good friends MJ and Jackie met us there, with their kids JJ and, Robyn’s best friend, Rosemary. We had such a great time, eating watermelon, doing sparklers and watching the huge fireworks. They set them off the end of their pier and you can just lay back on the beach and let the explosion of color fill your entire vision. Last year Finley screamed and cried, this year we brought headphones and she was fine. A little ingenuity and she loved it.

We just got back from another trip to DC. We decided to go a little early and take the kids and stay with our friends from college, Klon and Tracy Kitchen. They have kids the same ages as ours, plus two more, and we have such a good, albeit chaotic, time with them. On Tuesday the 10 of us headed to the National Zoo. Tracy and I spent most of our time counting 6 little heads, making sure we didn’t lose anyone. We saw an elephant, Finn’s favorite; prairie dogs, Robyn’s and Charles’ fav; and my fav: the best, by leaps and bounds, gluten free pizza I have ever had. I will go back, for the pizza alone. We loved the giant panda, petting the horses, the huge snapping turtle who looked as if he could snap your leg off, and the Kitchen children’s favorite, the naked mole-rat. It was such a great day.

The next day we visited Dr. Jemsek. It was a disappointing visit in that we thought our last infusion was to be my last, but he wants me to do one more. God has once again provided a way for us to get my meds at a much discounted rate so that I can even receive the treatment. There was lots of good news too. I am gradually getting better. I am more mobile, I can get around by myself. My balance is almost completely back, and I am doing daily physical therapy homework. I still don’t have much stamina, and my pain levels aren’t decreasing, which is a little worrisome because we have tried almost every pain med in the arsenal. I am trying another one this week, which I had tried before. It helped with the pain last time, but caused severe depression, so I was taken off of it. Dr. Jemsek is hoping that my brain chemistry has  changed to the degree that it will not cause the same side effect this time.

Charles and I leave for Sweden in about 2 and a half weeks. Charles will be performing the wedding ceremony of one of our dear, sweet friends, Kate. We consider her one of our daughters and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. This last round of IV antibiotics throws a little monkey wrench in it, but what are you gonna do? I’ve taken my IV pole to the movies, surely the airlines won’t mind, right?

Well, I guess I had more to say than I thought. Lyme disease continues to be part of my every day life, but I am learning to not let it rule my days. I have a disease, but that doesn’t define me, I am a lot of other things besides that and I will continue to lean on my Savior to hold my hand through the hard times and laugh with me during the good ones. I hold tight to one of Robyn’s memory verses, Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

blue skies smilin' at me

Don't pass out. Two posts in one week.......inconceivable! (A little nod to those fans of The Princess Bride)

I do actually have much to say. Since I last wrote that our insurance had quit covering anything Lyme, not much has changed on the surface. But underneath, much is afoot. Mom and Charles have been working nonstop trying to appeal the situation. Every step is arduous, time consuming and confusing. I am so thankful for all their hard work and determination. We have also found a pharmacy that worked with our insurance to get my lactatid ringers covered. Since this is an infusion I have to have everyday, it is a huge blessing.

The plan is 3 more rounds of IV therapy. My next round begins Monday, April 23rd and will last nine days. After that we will be going back up to DC to see Dr. Jemsek. From there we will determine how many weeks of "vacation" I get between each round.

Dr. Jemsek is looking for Blue Sky Days - terminology that I love. I actually had one this past Sunday and it felt amazing. The old Brooke was back in action. Still a little weak and achy, but wow, what a difference. It was really, really fun. Since then, it has been more gray and cloudy, but we are looking for that sun to peak around the corner again soon. The goal is several of these days in a row, then weeks, months, and so on. Ahhhhh! Just saying that brings me hope!

As a last note, check out this speech, Dr. Joe Jemsek "Speaks the Truth." It is pretty thought provoking.

Monday, April 16, 2012

dr. phil

okay - why do i always find myself beginning my posts with an apology? I don't know if you expect as much from me as I do....but I feel this overwhelming responsibility to you, my wonderful readers, to provide you with interesting and educational material to spend your valuable time reading.

On that note, if you didn't catch it the first time around, last Friday, the entire last half of the Dr. Phil show was devoted to Lyme Disease! Amazing!!!

So take a second and check out the recap......

Dr. Phil - Lyme Disease

Thursday, March 22, 2012

prayers and hand sanitizer

I got that dreaded call from the school today. Robyn had thrown up and was at the nurse’s office. We got her home and, I swear, I am trying my very best to balance caring for her with frantically washing my hands every 2 minutes so as not to catch this bug. I keep imagining my stomach hurts, and there is a very good chance that I will imagine my way right into throwing up. Charles always says it’s half mental. And, of course, he refuses to believe it is a bug. He keeps saying she ate something that made her throw up. All the while, I’m about to puke up my banana with peanut butter because of this stomach bug ripping through our family. Oh yeah, the cat threw up this morning too. Proof.

Second dreaded call of the day. Apparently today’s the day for dreaded calls. This call makes me even more nauseous than the last. It very well takes up the other half of my brain and now I am fully convinced I am going to throw up. Either from the bug or the call, its going to happen. No hand sanitizer will help.

I’m sure you’re wondering what the call was. Ugh. Even writing about it makes me sick. No more insurance coverage for Lyme Disease. Ahhhhhh. Breathe in, Haaaaa. Breathe out. I am so scared. Here is my big opportunity to trust God to take care of us and I am petrified.

The miracle is that they covered me this long. It has been a year. The financial person at Jemsek’s office just cannot even believe that we have been covered at all. She said that it is extremely rare that anyone with our same insurance gets covered. It is truly only by the hand of God that they approved the first eight months, then reviewed it and said yes, and reviewed it again with the same answer. This review, however, God had a different plan. I have yet to understand what that is, but I know He has one. Maybe He is just teaching me to trust Him more.

I am trying to concentrate on all the amazing parts of this year. God has provided money through friends and family, many of you, for all the parts we had to pay for. He has taken care of us in every way from a home health care nurse to home deliveries of all our medications. We have been so very, very blessed.

We are still very blessed, but this means life will change a little. No more nurse. No more deliveries. Our last round of antibiotics would have cost us roughly $4000, so that’s a little scary to think about as we have another round coming up, but I believe God is going to provide. I know in my heart He is. I think even my head knows it. But my stomach? My head is having a really hard time telling my stomach just to settle down and wait on God.

Somewhere between the insurance and the stomach bug.......there’s sure to be some puking around here......even if only the cat. Especially since “Charles It’s All Mental” has now joined the sick brigade. Proof.

For my part, I am going to be talking to God and keeping that hand sanitizer close at hand.

Friday, March 16, 2012

pain today, gone tomorrow

I’m on a new med. I know, right? Well this med makes me ancy, shaky, you name it, I’ve got the side effect. Naturally, in turn, I am itching to do more. More walking, more laundry, more get the idea, just more. Actually fun for me, and Charles is very appreciative for some help, until the next day when I’m in so much pain I can barely get out of bed. A little exaggeration, but a lot of pain none the less.

So it becomes a vicious cycle. This med is supposed to help with the pain, which it does, but it makes me ancy, which makes me do more, which gives me more...together people...PAIN. So they up the dose and here we go again - ring around the rosy.

What to do - this is the story of every new med, and the list keeps growing.....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

lighter fare

Don't throw rotten apples at me. I know, I know, I have no excuses. I haven't written in forever. All I have is an apology....and a sad smile....with big puppy dog eyes....a single teardrop about to spill over onto my face.....I mean alright already. If you haven't forgiven me by now, I'm going to have to banish you.

I have quite a lighter fare for you today. After all the feedback from the hamburger meat blog, I've decided to go a bit less.......carnivorous.

Let me introduce to my new best friends, Cari, Sabrina, Scott, Emily, Candice, Genevieve, Drew and Jonathan, Anthony and John, as well as the faceless voice from House Hunters and Int’l. My HGTV family.

Taking that remote, feeling its warm comfort in my hand. I point it toward the TV, wondering what narcotic will HGTV have for me today. Reno, Open Concept, Demo, Style Diagnostic, DIY, BRB, LOL, customize, function, texture, comps, footprints, curb appeal, etc. are all part of my everyday vocab now. It seeps into my being and I just can’t help myself.

I turn into that man/boy that can’t take his eyes off Monday night football. I hear nothing, not even the cries of my sweet girls pulling hair and wrestling over the toy of the moment, while a variety of accents lure me into a semi-lucid state that rises above all else.

HGTV is good when you are grumpy. It is good when you are sad. It is good when you are happy. It’s just all around good, clean fun. I hold my banner high, I am addicted.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ground beef

Many of you have asked for an update since we have returned from DC. Our visit was quite a quick turnaround. There and back in about 39 hours. Phew! We didn’t waste any time! 

We had a great time of food, games and spirited conversations with our gracious hosts and friends from college, Klon and Tracy and their 3 precious kiddos. 

The following morning we had our appt with Dr. Jemsek. I keep a very detailed journal called a symptom chart. After looking over my symptom chart and listening to our long list of questions, we discussed with him a workable plan. He explained that right now my brain is completely raw, like a big slab of ground beef, and I think that might be a few steps down from my usual mommy brain.

So, this big slab of ground beef is quite, say it together, RAW! No wonder I am having more seizures. I imagine it like that game Operation. Any neurological message that tries to pass thru cannot touch the sides or..... BZZZZZZZ.....seizure. Every time we do a round of antibiotics we are just unloading dump trucks full of of toxins right onto that big, yes I did say big, raw piece of already ground up meat. It doesn’t feel good to say the least.

So, the plan is to give me a little bit more time between rounds of antibiotics to give that big ole brain time to heal some. I know that there were lots of hopes and prayers that I would be done with the IV portion of treatment, but it looks like we are going to be continuing for awhile longer. He wants to come up with a pattern of several similar months.

I have been making some good improvements. I spend about 45% of my time in my chair, rather than 100% of time in bed. Yay! That's a big improvement in my book. I also rarely use my walker around the house. That does mean I’ve had a few falls, but it feels good to have a little more independence.

Today I tried to add in a few more household chores. I took the trash out and I straightened the kitchen. And although that was all I could do before crashing into my chair, for me, that’s progress. 

I’m working hard on getting better. That means lots of sitting, lots of sleeping, and lots of patience. I’m a doing, going, get things done kind of girl, so this has been getting harder and harder as I get to feeling little bits better and better. But God is good, and He is teaching me a lot while I wait.

Friday, February 17, 2012

life is like a bag of cuties

For Valentine’s Day, my sweet husband really wanted to get me a box of head suddenly replays the line from Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates.” I watched The Vow last week. the characters played a game very similar to that line. They had a box of chocolates and they would randomly shove one in each others’ mouth and see if they liked or hated it. It felt exactly like what Forrest Gump says in that all too insightful line, some are good, really, really good; and some are bad, really, really bad.

Oh my, rabbit trail. There aren’t any carrot cake chocolates, are there?

I think this part of my life would be considered one of the really bad chocolates in my life, the one with the goopy, unrecognizable flavor in it. *Bleeeeck!* But maybe the next one will be yummy, or even really, really yummy, mmmmmm, maybe one with a caramel and heath bar middle.....that’s what I am hoping for, but you just don’t know what chocolate God has for you next. Isn’t that kinda exciting?

Now, onto my actual box of chocolates. I can’t have chocolate. That makes that very quintessential Vday tradition obsolete. On Vday, Charles got home from work, walked straight to me, had me close my eyes and hold out my hands. When I opened them I held a very sweet card and a bag of Cuties. If you’ve never had a Cutie, you need to. It is a little smaller and sweeter than a Clementine. And if you’ve never had a Clementine, you’re on your own baby. Back to Cuties from my cutie. In unison *Awwwww*.  They aren’t as good as chocolate, but in my situation, they may as well be.

This Vday, my ever thoughtful husband turned even this bad chocolate into a good one.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Today’s excitement; a 4 hour nap followed by the complete destruction of my dear friend, Melody’s, psyche - causing her to have a complete body and mind shutdown from the chaos of 2 girls, a handicap in a motorized wheelchair, and one of those crazy carts at Target that is impossible to push because there is a 4x4 plastic apparatus strapped to the front that supposedly makes it easier to keep your kids wrangled but in actuality is so difficult to drive that you end up cursing at your children, and that is IF they even stay in the thing.

Melody’s ruined psyche, 4 major wheelchair wrecks complete with ear piercing beeps as I tried to back up causing everyone around to stare, 3 (only 3!) trips to the bathroom, 28 threats to get back in the cart, 3 pizza hut breadsticks, 1 personal pan pizza, 1 red icee, 1 blue icee, 1 bag of popcorn, 1 diet coke, 1 iced coffee, 2 birthday cards, 3 birthday gifts, 3 valentines cards, and 1 package of school valentines later, we finally made it to the car. You would think it would be easier once we got in the car, but oh no. Melody’s psyche was continuing its gradual decline, kids were yelling, demanding, whining, bags were everywhere, breadsticks being eaten, popcorn spilling into all the cracks and crevices of her car. At least they were buckled in, but it was not much better than in the store.

And although we had a long discussion pertaining to the surprise aspect of NOT TELLING DADDY about the gifts and cards we got him, the absolute first words out of Finn’s mouth as Charles crossed the doorstep were “Dad, we got you a surprise!” Not unpredictable, how can you expect a 3 year old to keep a secret.

Melody is now looking at me with a blue plastic belt buckled around her head, she looks kinda like a mix between an Indian Chief and a Trekkie. I think we’ve lost her completely. I definitely owe her more than a bag of popcorn and a diet coke.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

my man

To blame my lack of blogging on my new meds would be correct, but also a lame excuse, as excuses go. I have about 6 hrs of IV antibiotics a day right now. Yuck is right! This post may be a little all over the place as my brain is pretty foggy right now.

What do I have to tell you? Meds are tough right now, we already covered that. I have wonderful friends who help me and care for me. But what I want to tell you about today is the man I married.

Those of you that have met him immediately recognize how special he is, just from his smile and demeanor. He welcomes every person he meets with open arms and makes them feel at home. Even in the midst of all that we are going through his encouraging personality hasn’t changed. He is truly unique. The gifts that God has blessed him with are beyond understanding.

He is an amazing husband. With me bring so sick, he now has two jobs. He is both dad and mom. He takes care of me, the kids, the house, the bills, the laundry, the dishes, and has a full time job. I’m sure I am forgetting things about him, but he is wonderful.

Now that’s not to say its all peaches and roses. We have our problems and fights just like any married couple, but the level of respect with which he treats me makes such a difference. The regard with which he holds me is something I am so very grateful for.

I can never explain to you all that he is. You will have to meet him and shake his hand to catch even a glimpse of it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

heartbreak hotel


Today I thought my heart would break. I know, I know - such melodrama! I don’t know if the lyme is causing me to overreact or if that is just part of my sunny disposition.

As I watched Charles and the kids drive away without me, I seriously could feel it in my chest. So call it what you may - but to me it felt like heartbreak. Robyn has a gymnastics meet at Clemson this weekend. I cannot go.

Charles and I discussed all the details and decided it was just a perfect storm of events all rolled into a seizure waiting to happen. Which basically means he told me I couldn’t go and I begged like crazy, all along knowing he-was-right. Yes, you heard me, he was right.

I know Robyn wanted me there, but when it was time to go she was more concerned with finding her monkey flip flops (which I may have gotten rid of thinking she’d never notice - oops - I picked the wrong pair!) These were the tears she cried as I said goodbye. Ah, youth!

After we settled the monkey flip flop debacle, I hugged her super tight, gave her a million kisses, told her to just have fun, and let her go. She made me promise not to cry, so I waited till I closed the door.

I can’t wait for those pieces of my heart to be back in the same home with me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

wd40 and a handgun

I told someone today that I was 36. After I got off the phone I thought about it and I think I’m still 35. Then again, maybe I am 36. I’m just not sure. The middle of my 20’s was the same way. Those years just get swirled and swept around as if by a wind sprite. How do the years pass so quickly we can’t keep track of them. I mean 30 was big, 40 will be even bigger. But those middle years probably feel quiet animosity towards us when we forget them.

The big years are celebrated with such gusto. I have never gone to a “BIG 4-2” party, have you? Each decade is celebrated with a large party, sometimes an extravagant gift. Some people start their midlife crisis, dyeing their combover a dark brown and buying a bright red convertible. Some people have that plastic surgery they’ve been putting off during those inconsequential years. Yes, I can see why those middle years would be quite indignant by this lack of respect.

Maybe that is why it is in those abandoned years that things begin to fall apart. Their jealousy bubbles over and becomes a torn ACL, a sprained ankle, a heart attack, Lyme Disease........I guess it just depends on how thoroughly we’ve neglected them and, in turn, how truly vexed they are at us. Apparently, I have made mine pretty mad.
It’s not just the birthdays. A baby is In Utero for 40 weeks. Judas sold His Savior for 30 pieces of silver. There is a TV show called 30 Rock, and a movie, 13 going on 30. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights for Noah. the Thirty Year’s War, the Dirty Thirty, Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, 40 winks of sleep, and 40 hrs in a typical work week all get their due.

It is for that reason, I raise my right hand and swear heretofore to remember that I am 35, until the 12th day of September when I will be 36.

I just got off the phone with Charles.

It is for that reason, I raise my right hand and swear heretofore to remember that I am 36, until the 12th day of September when I will be 37........I think.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

genie of the lamp

I saw a counselor yesterday. *Gasp!* Now many of you may be shocked or even ashamed for me that I would admit that. Going to see a counselor is very taboo, much less admitting  to it.

Some of you might think that counseling is only for the truly messed up. The people you know that you would send to an insane institution if you could. The kind of person you would never ask to dog sit, because there is no telling what you would find when you retuned home.

Door #2 - maybe you think that it is acceptable, just maybe, if you have had a major trauma in your life. And even then, you believe that first-class people don’t share even the most difficult of issues with someone outside the family. That would be wholly inappropriate. *Gasp Again!* You should be able to get through this on your own, you’re a big girl.

Another group of people believe that no one should receive counseling because God is the great counselor, and if you are truly a child of His......well you know the rest. *Gasp! Gasp!*

And still yet we find more nay sayers. And this one’s the kicker. Normal people don’t need counseling. Ruminate over that for a few minutes. N O R M A L    P E O P L E don’t need counseling. Hmmmm......well we all want to be part of that group right? The alternative *Gasp! Gasp Again!* being that group over there, the abnormals. EEEWWWWW........ that is simply not an option.

So we sit and judge, all the while needing counseling ourselves. Some more than others. I, the all amazing, ever impressive, mamumba sheemy jumba genie of the lamp, surmise that everyone could benefit from counseling. *GASP! GASP! GASP!*

Now my yoga training gets to stretch it’s proverbial legs. Close your eyes and imagine a place. A place that feels safe and warm. A comfy place, where you can snuggle deep in your big overstuffed armchair, or you can lie in that sun in your hammock, a breeze blowing lightly on your face. And then you just start talking. No one else making a sound. No judgements. No preconceived notions or prejudices. It is just calm and comfy. At times a voice will ask you questions, to clarify or lead you on your way. No expectations. You can just be.

I saw a counselor yesterday. *GASP!* And I hope many of you did too. Believe me, as all powerful genie of the lamp, I know you need to.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


My momma is here to visit me.

I have 4 days with her.

Which means she is going to get every second of my time.....

and in turn.....

you will get none. 

I apologize in advance for this gross negligence on my part.

I just can’t help myself.

She is my momma.

Monday, January 23, 2012

so sleepy

Finley has a yeast infection which has caused the most amazingly, awfully horrible diaper rash in the history of diaper rashes. She finally reached her breaking point last night around 11. Nothing helped. We had been trying everything we could think of. Cream. Bath. Powder. Vaseline. A combo of all. Next was internet research. Nothing was working. She could not go to sleep. She was giving it the old college try, but just couldn’t get comfy. Charles fought the good fight until 1:30 am. At that point his options came down to - a: call my mom. b: the ER. c: wake me up. He settled on c. Not only was I comatose from my bedtime meds, but I could think of nothing else other than what had already been tried. Pretty much, I was just moral support.

We quickly reverted to our newborn survival schedule. Taking turns, eyes propped open with toothpicks, hands moving at the rate of molasses. The major difference being our poor little baby barely made a noise. Now let me just say, if it had been our more dramatic daughter, the entire neighborhood would have known she was in pain. She would have screamed all night long. Her passion for life just eeks out her pores.
Our sick Finn playing Angry Birds

But not Finn, she’s so mellow. She tried over and over again to go to sleep. Laying quietly with eyes wide open for about 30 min at a time before she called us. We rotated sleeping beside her bed, having her sleeping in her bed alone, letting her sleep with us. Not one thing worked. Finally around 3 or 4 she fell asleep and slept till 6. Ahhhh, sweet relief.

Upon comparing notes in the morning, neither of us could remember much of anything. I do remember a few calls of “mom” from the top of the stairs. I remember accidentally clawing Charles in the face to wake him up. But best of all I remember Finley laying in bed next to me teaching me how to rub her blankie like she does. It was so sweet, she was a very precise teacher, I afraid I wasn’t a very studious student with my eyes barely open.

Now we have finally been to the doctor, waited at the pharmacy, eaten at McDonalds......we even let her keep her paci in her mouth all day long, which we usually reserve for bedtimes. Lots of pampering for our little girl. She fell asleep around noon, just about the same time as........zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, January 22, 2012


This is an excerpt from the book "Growing Stronger" by entertainer Thalia. As I read it, I was overwhelmed, I felt like she was recounting my life. Almost every word of her story follows mine, (other than the whole being famous, selling more than 40,000 records, and dancing with President Obama part.) Seriously though, my deep, deep prayer, as you read this, is that it will give you greater understanding into this devastating disease and my journey in particular.

 The Mexican-born entertainer who goes by the single name of “Thalia,” is one of the most famous Spanish-language singers in the world. She’s sold more than 40 million records, has starred in “telenovellas” (soap operas) shown around the world, had a lavish storybook wedding to prominent music executive Tommy Mottola, has sung at the White House and danced with President Obama. In the midst of all of that activity, in 2008, she came down with Lyme disease. Thalia devotes a chapter to the harrowing experience in her recently released memoir, “Growing Stronger.”

The singer started feeling ill near the end of her first pregnancy. After the birth, Thalia’s health really crashed, and she was incapable of caring for her newborn daughter.
Her doctors attributed her symptoms to post-partum depression. Thalia thought something else was going on. “They didn’t care what I said,” she writes. “It was as if I was talking to a wall.”
Nothing her doctors gave her helped at all. “I continued to feel like I had been run over by a truck that had dragged me for a thousand miles, along with a steamroller that had crushed every last bone in my body. I literally thought I was dying.”

Any time she could marshal even the smallest bit of energy, she’d check the internet for information that might help. Eventually, her research brought her to Lyme disease, a condition that was eventually confirmed and treated by Lyme specialists.

She recounts how difficult the treatment was: “I would sweat profusely, soaking my pajamas, the sheets and even the mattress; everything hurt, even my hair, which, by the way, started to fall out. At times it felt as if my head were going to burst, as if there were lead inside of it; my eyes ached in their sockets….the hypersensitivity of my skin was so severe that sometimes I couldn’t even handle the bed sheets.”

Thalia writes that two years of heavy treatment put her “on the road to recovery.” She has changed her lifestyle to incorporate good nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction. She has returned to singing, writing, and other creative pursuits. “I have started to live again.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

my problem

I have a problem. My name is Brooke Fox and I am a Shepherd.

l really had no choice in the matter. It was God’s divine plan. I grew up a Shepherd. I was taught from a very young age that you never EVER pass up a good deal. Sales were created just for Shepherds. 50% off tears at my heart, and 75%, ouch. I don’t care if its a pair of steel toed construction boots, I still have to be dragged away. The $1 section at Target is just cruel. I have to sit on my hands as I go thru there or I end up with $20 worth of stuff and I haven’t even made it into the store! (Those marketing people are S-M-A-R-T smart!) And thrift stores and garage sales, well Charles doesn’t even let me go.

This next part is not for the faint of heart. Viewer discretion IS advised. We are moving on past the wholesome world of good deals into the dark unknown........

When I was little, once a month, late at nite, Dad and a bunch of friends would take all the seats out of the van and go “trash cruisin’.” Yes my friends, trash cruisin’. It was the night before the trash man was coming, and once a month, the trash companies would let you put out anything you wanted to get rid of, and I mean anything. Those pieces were the objective. I was only allowed to go along once or twice - after all - I took up valuable space.
My daddy, circa. 1979

Now, folks, they had reached a whole new level here. Dad and his buddies weren’t looking for good deals. They were out for FREE deals. And a FREE deal people, well that is a whole new bird. Free deals are like candy, stuff as much of it in your mouth as you can and run! I remember trash cruisin’. They would grab the item, drag it into the van and yell, “GO GO,GO,GO!” as my dad pushed the pedal to the medal. Well, now I have found my golden fountain of free deals and I am currently hemorrhaging candy. There is no more room in my system and yet I cannot stop. Just one more piece can’t hurt, eh?

Have you seen “Horton Hears a Who?” The scene where the gorilla sticks bananas in his mouth until one comes out his nose. Yes, that is me. Candy from your nose is painful, but not nearly as painful as passing up a free deal.

Charles literally has to accelerate as we pass things set out by the side of the road. A saggy old couch, a run-down console TV with rabbit ears, a cracked (but definitely still usable) mirror, moldy wooden chairs left to rot..........must I  go on? It’s a problem.

I remember, one year as a surprise for mother’s day, we (minus mom) snuck down to the end of our cul-de-sac in the van - we had disabled the interior lights so they wouldn’t come on when the doors opened, very stealth. I’m sure Dad could feel the tingle of his old trash cruisin’ days. Except this time, I was the driver. He had removed two of the seats, and Josh, Mindy and Dad were all hunched down on the floor. One of our neighbors had left a huge projection TV out by the trash. Ah, sacrilege! So, we snuck down after dark, all in black, ski masks optional. We pulled as close to the TV as we could and as soon as I rolled to a stop they all jumped out and somehow wrangled that huge beast into the van. As I heard those reminiscent cries of “go go go go!” (whispered this time,) I was drawn back to those days of ole. Once trash cruisin’ is in your blood, it’s there to stay.

Back to me and my candy problem. Less than a week ago I discovered the holy grail of free deals! ENT or E Reader News Today. They have bargain books and other such deals, but I only have eyes for one shimmering tab that says “Free Kindle Books.” My mouth actually salivates as I click that tab and see what treasures lie beneath. I have already downloaded over 100 FREE books of which I have read none. I have the candy in my mouth and I am on the run......

My name is Brooke Fox, and I have a problem.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I want a full-time assistant, no, a chef, no, a nanny, a housekeeper, psychiatrist, chauffeur, nurse .....i don’t decide.....

I’m looking for someone who can deal with quite an array of emotional, irrational outbursts and other dysfunctions.  From the lowest of the low pity parties to the highest of high diving unattainable dreams, this person will have to be able to seamlessly adapt to my ever changing highs and lows.

This must be someone who can hook up an IV with one hand while driving Robyn to school with the other. This someone should be able to figure out the universal remote while clearing dirty dishes. and simultaneously wiping a poopy bottom (Finn’s, not mine.) Someone who is prepared to eat frozen pizza or nuggets every nite, or to creatively combine leftovers for dinner. This person should enjoy crazy bedtime rituals, daily toy explosions, and spontaneous changes in schedule.

Next, housework is a must, so come prepared. Vacuuming should be a daily chore, oops, I mean pleasure. Spot cleaning the floor is fine (on your hands and knees of course,) but you will soon learn that comes with cat puke, broken crayons, paint, ground in cereal, spills of unknown substances and half chewed pieces of last night’s dinner. Also, the bathrooms. With a boy in the house and the fact that Finley is now potty trained, well, that’s all I need to say on that subject.

  This person will also be expected to do the laundry of someone with OCD. This is not to be taken lightly. The instructions are endless. Sorry. The kitchen, the kitchen is to be feared. Dishes, garbage disposal, disgusting counters and BONUS! a kiddie times.                                                      I am also looking for a good listener, an empathetic hugger, a tea maker and drinker, a card game lover. Someone who loves to watch a good movie, over and over and over and over and over and ,yes, over again. An amazing person who loves God, me and my family and has patience, lots of patience.

I can’t pay much, but in return be prepared for lots of hugs, millions of kisses and tons of “I love yous.”  Lots of laughter, tickling and snuggles galore. Appreciation that can never, ever be described. A friendship for a lifetime.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

magic pants

For my birthday I got magic pants.

These are no ordinary pants. They are magic - I swear.

My sweet cousin friend Tiffany gave them to me. For 6 weeks they hung on my closet door. I was afraid that the magic might not work on me.

See I had never had great luck with the form fitting yoga pant. I always opted for the looser ones - ones that could hide my greatest flaw - the Hinze haunches. I know, I know what you all are thinking. But not matter what size I am, they are always there, big or small, haunting me. I have accepted the fact that they will always be a part of my life. Now against your protests, let’s move on.

My cousin Tiffany and me
I knew these magic pants were not of the loosey-goosey variety. I had seen them on Tiffany - they were T-I-G-H-T tight. They looked great on her  (the Shepherd side of the family - no haunches.) Plus she is in ri-dic-u-lous shape. Gorgeous.

So for 6 weeks they hung in their little red bag, taunting me. Daring me to try them on. I was too chicken. Charles kept saying, “at least try them on. They were a gift - you should try them.” Now I know, as a man, he had ulterior motives. But still, I could not try them.

Finally, I worked up the nerve. I took that bag - that little bag with it’s taunting face - I tore that bag open, grabbed the pants and pulled them on. This was all done in one swift motion before I could lose my courage. I peaked around the corner of my closet - no one was there. Good. I could face the horror alone. I walked out to the mirror. I could not believe my eyes - the magic did work on me! No visible haunches! Magic indeed!

At Lulu Lemon in DC
 If I could have - I would have skipped around the room, danced and twirled, laughing aloud! Ok, I wouldn’t have done all that - except for the laughing aloud part - which I did, I laughed and laughed and laughed. 6 weeks - I had been missing out on this magic for 6 weeks!!!! What had I been thinking?

So, thank you Tiffany for revolutionizing my life! I wear my magic pants everywhere I go. I am saving up to buy another pair. Thank you Lulu Lemon, even your taunting red bag served it’s purpose.

I will be forever grateful!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the toe

Robyn came home from school with a very, very badly stubbed toe. All was wrong in her little world. She couldn’t walk, talk, laugh, at least not until something fun was going on and she forgot  about it. I have to admit it was quite swollen and I could tell it hurt to move.

Once our resident expert got home from work, everyone got into the action. The suggestions ranged from cutting it off, buying a new one, to taping it to the next toe.

As soon as I suggested it, Finley was sure that was the solution, which she was very vehement about. She walked around telling anyone who would listen “We need to tape it.” I wish I could describe the look of importance on her face, eyes open wide, hands up by her face with fingers splayed to emphasize her point. It’s as if a fire had broken out and no one was listening to her as to how to put it out. This was serious. “We need to tape it!”

When we finally called the trainer, since she has a meet this weekend and we were a little worried it was broken, the solution was to ice it for 15 mins every hour. She was a little suspicious about this form of treatment, but warmed up to it after seeing her throne.

Charles had her set up with a blanket, pillows under her feet, and a movie.....that’s when she asked for popcorn.

It was amazing how quickly she jumped up from her throne when she got a phone call.

Upon the second stubbing as she ran up the stairs that same night, the crying was doubled. A few seconds later, Robyn’s crying modulated to yelling/crying when attention wasn’t received quickly enough. Then Finley started crying because now her toe hurt, and she wanted to get around Robyn who was dramatically sprawled across the stairs. I don’t know, all I know was we were in a world of hurt.

A few days later, things were back to normal, for the most part. Unless something didn't go her way.......and then the limping and groaning continued.......

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

my friend, the gap

I lost a great friend this week. This friend had seen me through thick and thin - literally. No matter what size or shape I was in, this friend always loved me and wrapped me in it’s warm embrace. Always encouraged me with it’s fit and fabric. This week the GAP at the mall closed and I actually cried at the end.

The memories are endless. I can still remember when we met. I was rushing to find an outfit to wear for the Easter service at church and even though we had never met, my friend wrapped me in it’s ever loving arms, found me an outfit, and paid me so many compliments that I left full of joy. That was also the night that I met my dear sweet friend Kristen who won my heart when she told me I looked like Sarah Jessica Parker.

Kristen and the rest of the staff, so many of them my friends, would actually carry my babies around the store so that I could try things on. They would take care of Robyn, Zach and Finley so that I could have just a few minutes of peace and time alone. Time to look in the mirror and feel pretty, to put on brand new clothes, clothes that weren’t grabbed from a wrinkled pile, or stained by baby puke over the shoulder.

This GAP was always more than just a store to me. I loved the smell, the bright white walls, the lights, the fitting rooms, the mirrors, but most of all, the clothes. The way the shirts and sweaters were always neatly folded, stacked in perfect little columns, sizes in precise order. The pants and skirts hanging all in a row, like thoroughbred horses standing at attention. Scarves hanging, like a new box of crayons, one color blending perfectly to the next. The round tables with their displays, their assortment of colors that would smile at you as they drew you around the table to converse with each one.

The scent, clean and fresh. When I would bring the clothes home, I admit to you that I would literally stand in my closet alone, holding them to my nose, inhaling the scent that filled me with delight. A smile on my face.  My heart physically filling with joy.

I loved my sweet friend. I mourn this terrible loss. I will not be able to pass that space in the mall without a heavy heart, and just out of sheer loyalty I will hate whatever store they fill it with.

Monday, January 16, 2012

martin luther king, jr.

I am ashamed to admit that I know very little about Martin Luther King, Jr. I know that he was assassinated. I know that he gave a powerful speech called “I have a Dream.” I know that he was an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in non-violent ways. (Apology - I plagiarized that last bit)

In looking him up on Wikipedia, I found that I know very little about this man. Unfortunately, until this point, I admit, I never thought much about this day where we celebrate him. I was wrong.

Our daughter Robyn is bi-racial. She prefers the descriptor brown to black. She is the only brown girl in her class and she felt embarrassed when they talked about him in school. She said she pulled her jacket up over her face. That prompted many questions about Martin Luther King, Jr., and who she is as a brown person. And I don’t know the answers. We are going to Barnes and Noble to look at books and learn more about him. Although I feel that I have failed in this area in the past, I do believe this is a really great opportunity to spend time learning and growing together.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was not just a great civil rights activist, but an important piece of our nation’s history. I am excited about this chance for Robyn and I to spend time together and to learn.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

oh, farkle

Robyn and I have a new tradition. Everyday, when she gets home from school, we drink IZZIs, eat snacks and play Farkle.

First of all, have you ever had an IZZI? Fruit juice, no preservatives, no added sugars, and bubbles! The closest thing I can get to a soda. Yum! Robyn is now hooked on them. Her fav is blackberry, mine is grapefruit. These drinks are crucial to our tradition. We have a little race to see who drinks more at a time. I always lose at this, getting to the bottom of my bottle first.

Secondly, we eat snacks. Now snacks in the bed is tricky. We tend to leave a lot of crumbs, mainly on Charles’ side of the bed which works out great for me. Snacks range anywhere from cheese puffs and ruffles, to the more distinguished, mixed nuts and today, a baked potato.

And what makes the tradition perfect.....Farkle. Now, if you haven’t heard of Farkle, you have been living under a rock for the past several months, I mean a huge boulder. It is a dice game, AND, advantage mom, Robyn doesn’t even realize we are working on math skills. It’s fun for the whole family, or in this case, just me and Robyn.

It only lasts for about 30 minutes, but I cherish that time together, and I love that she is excited about it and loves it too. You know, smell the roses and embrace the little things. I wonder if we ever would have done this if I hadn’t gotten sick......

Saturday, January 14, 2012

wacky wednesday

After a wacky day at school
This week, Finn’s preschool had their first “Wacky Wednesday.” The mission this week was to wear your fav sports team t-shirt or jersey. I mean we are talking 3 year olds here, how many actual jerseys and such can there be?

As soon as I heard the mission, I was on the case. I knew exactly what I wanted her to wear. She was going to look....well.....perfect. You know me, I am nothing if not, hmmmmm, how can I word this - a perfectionist. Perfect is my middle name. Not in the scary “Toddlers and Tiaras” or ”Dance Moms” sort of way, but just in the “I WANT PERFECTION!(I mean, as much as possible)” sort of way. I admit it and wear my badge proudly.

I started with her cheerleading dress that she wore for halloween. And not just the uniform, but the whole 9. The leg warmers, the tights, 2 pigtails, all of it.

Charles, on the other hand, is not a perfectionist.  He would have been content with just not dressing her up at all. But, at my insistence, he agreed to the uniform with jeans under it, no leg warmers, no pigtails, just the uniform and jeans. I, obviously, was not going to give in. He asked Finn, hoping for a vote on his side of the board, but her vote was for tights etc. as well. Two against one - I guess her precious smile pushed him over the edge, because, next thing I knew, he was begrudgingly making his way up he stairs to look for some tights.

Eventually, he did succeed in finding the tights, and with her little leg warmers and pigtails, he couldn’t help but smile. She was adorable. She kept walking around the house exclaiming, “Wacky Wednesday!” of course having no idea what that meant other than the fact that she got to dress up - and, after all, that’s all any girl wants, right? To dress up......

Friday, January 13, 2012


Oh, the Lord’s been good to me,
and so I thank the Lord,
for giving me the things I need,
the sun, the rain, and the appleseed.
The Lord’s been good to me. Amen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


As an adult, the throwing of a class A tantrum is highly frowned upon. Whereas a 3 year old can throw oneself to the floor, scream and thrash, and although acceptable, is quietly whispered among passerby the words “bad” and “ parenting.”

I submit the following.
    1. The 3 year old's tantrum is not always bad parenting,
        a. Bravo to him for not suppressing his emotions - albeit rather embarrassing to the parent.   
     2. The adult tantrum is just part of life.
        a. it’s whether you push it down or let it out that matters.

    3. Every once in a great while the adult form of the 3 year old’s tantrum is acceptable.

Today was my once in a great while.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

my kindle cover

For Christmas I got a Kindle from my in-laws. YAY! Love it!!

Since that day, I have been searching from one end of the world to the other for a cover that I like. (Did you know that you can actually do that on the internet - the whole world!) Nothing seemed quite right, and anything that even came close was ex-pen-sive!

The other issue - you may be surprised to learn that I am extremely picky. And shockingly indecisive. I mean seriously, seriously indecisive. Very problematic when shopping, or doing just about anything in one’s life. I am seeking therapy.

Through my exhaustive search, I actually found one that I really wanted - by Kate Spade - $70!

Was I discouraged? Did I consider selling my children to get the money to purchase it? Did I cry when I realized there was no way I could get it?? Only for a split second (I mean I am human after all!)  But above that I AM A SHEPHERD!!!!  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could make one like it - one even better!
the final creation

The first step was to find a book that was thick, yet small enough. I soon realized a journal would be my best bet. I found one at Ross that was cute, the right size, and BONUS! had a hidden magnetic closure! (Already I had bested the Kate Spade version - hidden magnetic closure - she should have thought that one up!)

from the side

I set out to begin construction. I gutted the journal down to nothing, I mean bare bones, and then I put in all the cool stuff I wanted, and........WAH - LAAAAAA! The exactly wonderful Kindle case of my dreams. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! And all at a price well within my budget - less than $10.

the inside - padding, bookmark, and the kindle

Eat your heart out Kate Spade!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

back on the grid

Back on the grid. Somewhere between the fact that my hands are so shaky it is difficult to type and the disappointment that my progress has been less than progressive has left me a dangling semi-blogger, clocking in only 4 blogs in Nov, and a whopping 3 in Dec. Hopefully that is over. I mean the dangling part. Back on the grid.

The problem with progress is no matter where you go or who you see, the first question is, “So, you’re feeling better, right?” or a hopeful, “How are you feeling?” It’s not your fault. Personally, I too thought things would be quite different by now. But, the ugly truth is, they are not.

I began having seizures again somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have had 6 since then. Dr. Jemsek continues to search for clear days. Days in which my neurologic functions are clear and I have no symptoms. This happens very rarely, although by this time he would hope to be seeing groups of “clear” days in a row.

This is not to say I don’t have good days. I have good days and I have bad days. Bad days, I don’t get out of bed. Good days, I have about 3 hours of energy before I crash. Sometimes I try to get out of the house during that time, other days I use that time to actually shower and pamper myself. And still other days, I try to pour that energy into my kiddos. Most times it is a frantic mish-mash of the three.

This is the unfortunate un-progress I have to report. That being said, don’t be afraid to ask me how I am when you bump into me at the store, or stop by to see me. Just be prepared for the answer to possibly be less than what you are hoping to hear, or what I am wishing I could communicate.

Monday, January 9, 2012

finn and me

When Finley and I are playing, she has taken to saying certain words with a british accent, especially the word “no.” When we “drive” anywhere, she insists I wear my seatbelt. And she serves us pieces of the nativity (no, I haven’t put my Christmas decos up yet) as our food. For example, when she is asking, “where’s the baby Jesus?” she is really saying, “pass the milk.”

This morning she declared that the name of her baby Patch was now “Carson Carson.” I asked, “her name is Carson Carson?” She was so offended, “no, Carson Carson!” I asked if it was “Carson?” Ugh, finally mom got it, “Yes! Carson Carson!!”

Carson Carson is now going thru some sort of gender difficulties. Sometimes Carson is a she (after all, she is wearing a dress,) and at other times, Carson Carson is referred to as “he.” It is hard to keep up with, but if you use the wrong pronoun, you are in TROUBLE!

Ahhhhhh, motherhood, a joy, and yet a minefield of mysteries.