I Am Blessed

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

Had anyone told me a couple of months ago I would be here posting, looking out my front door as Chooey keeps tabs on me on this 12th day of December, 2017, I would have questioned their sanity or at least thought they were being overly optimistic.

Yet – here I am.

So sunny, so bright, so beautiful, but that all belies the reality of how frigid it is outside today. Winter may not have arrived officially, but winter is here.

I am sitting here patiently waiting for those private messages or emails of memories of you and me to upload to:

http://citizenjournalistslive.com/category/memories

Come on people, you too Bonnie, get that memory to me so I can post it for all to see and read!

Other than depression, I have been faring well the past few days. This is so radically opposite of where I was last week.

My lunch, which Mom brought yesterday, is getting cold. I better grab it from the microwave and eat.

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your Tuesday going?

From 2013…how things have changed.

Family? Friends?

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

I know I should not be with my history, but I am. I am in shock at the response or rather the lack of response to the favor I asked of each of you.

A Favor

To-date, two members of Citizen Journalists Live have responded along with my online sister from the other side of the world. Otherwise, crickets keep chirping. 

Family – no stories of you and I? Even if I am the butt of a joke or guilty of doing the wrong thing?

Friends – online or real world, no memories of us, even if I was wrong and you were right?

It is open season on Mark!

Mark’s out of his Den!

Email or message your memory – good or bad.

Sunday Golden Text: Persuaded

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

– Romans 8:38-39

Happy 3rd Birthday, Amelia!

Amelia Marie Ivy – Born 6:08 a.m. December 9, 2014
7 pounds 7.5 ounces     20.25 inches long

Granddaughter #3, Amelia Marie, decided we had waited enough and took her place on the world stage Tuesday, December 9, 2014. She almost made it to my birthday.

I have already created an album for her in Mark’s Book of Memories from the photos Dave and Anna have shared on Facebook with family and friends.

Now a few of Amelia through this second year:

Let It Snow???

Kevin’s and Hailey’s backyard as seen from the picture Hailey sent me last night.

This is the way it looked last night in Leander, Texas north of Austin. This is looking out the back across Kevin’s and Hailey’s deck to their backyard!

Hailey told me this afternoon that about an inch fell. She said farther south in Texas up to four inches of white stuff fell. A friend of Hailey’s in San Antonio had never seen snow before.

Like the old saying: Don’t give me flowers after I am gone, but now that I may enjoy them while I live.

Anyone who wants to share an image with a memory of me with you or just a story that relates to the two of us, please post it at:

Citizen Journalists Live

Email or private message me your memory and I will do it for you!

I will NOT edit your sharing for content.

You will be able to view the pre-memorial memorials by clicking on Mark’s Memories in the left side categories menu.

THANKS! 

Did I mention I did not wake today until Nurse Tabitha stopped by for her visit?

That was 1 o’clock this afternoon!

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your Friday?

A Favor

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

Have a request for everyone.

I am not asking this morbidly, but rather, let’s say, as a pre-memorial memorial.

Like the old saying: Don’t give me flowers after I am gone, but now that I may enjoy them while I live.

Anyone who wants to share an image with a memory of me with you or just a story that relates to the two of us, please post it at:

Citizen Journalists Live

I will open the site for anyone to share. The post, the memory, will be held for my approval first to keep out spammers.

In addition to post, simply register. Again I will delete any registration that are bogus.

To register:

1. Email/message me your preferred username and password. Remember these are case sensitive.
2. Wait for me to let you know you are setup.
3. Log into the site with username and password you sent me.
4. Click on add new post.
5. Share.

Don’t want to register?

Email or private message me your memory and I will do it for you!

I will NOT edit your sharing.

You will be able to view the pre-memorial memorials by clicking on Mark’s Memories in the left side categories menu.

THANKS!

No truer words

Miss Me?

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

Yes, I  know I have been derelict in my posting today. I do have a reason.

I would say an excuse, but you do know what an excuse is, don’t you?

An excuse is a has-been (ex) wrapped around a pack of lies (spew).

Like that one?

I was feeling so much better yesterday thanks to prayers and the antibiotic, I moved around too much and talked too much yesterday. I wore myself out.

This led to sleeping until 11 o’clock this morning!

Today, I have felt even better. I learned my lesson. I have taken greater care today to not overdo it.

Have a request for everyone. I am not asking this morbidly, but rather, let’s say, as a pre-memorial memorial.

Anyone who wants to share an image with a memory of me with you or just a story that relates to the two of us, please post it at

http://citizenjournalistslive.com

I will open the site for anyone to share. However,the post, the memory will be held for my approval first to keep out spammers. In addition to post, simply register. Again I will delete any registration that are bogus.

I will NOT edit your sharing.

Don’t want to register?

Email or private message me your memory and I will do it for you!

THANKS!

From Mark’s Den in the Cornfield, thinking of you all.

And how is your midweek going?

Frankie (RIP) and Gizmo (RIP) taking care of Daddy

Kickin’ and Screamin’

Delve into the light and dark that is Mark

Howdy folk, on this turning colder Tuesday after a night of rain drenching the Cornfield.

As many of you know, it has been rather touch and go for the past two or three weeks. Today, so far, is one of the best days I have had in what seems forever.

Let it be known:

I am kickin’ and screamin’ and not giving up yet!

These ups and downs are the norm, which I have to acclimate myself to experiencing. My body is literally wearing down from fighting the deluge of respiratory infections which have plagued me for what has been six years now, beginning in September, 2011.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Please, deal with my tortured cries at times and howls of jubilation at other times.

Yes, I am still a politics junkie, though I also see the vanity in it all. To that end I have set up a new anonymous, unscientific Cornfield Poll, ashing what to do with what we know now about President Donald Trump.

Please visit and choice one of the two options:

Cornfield Polls: What to Do with President Trump?

That’s the way it is in Mark’s Den.

And how is your 20th day until Christmas?

Hope Eternal

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

– 2 Timothy 4:7-8

Looking Back

My favorite personal post since being struck over six years ago by histoplasmosis, the condition, though eradicated, has led and leads me ever closer to an early demise.

From 2012:

As the Year 2012 rushes to an end, and none too quickly, I am struck with a reflective mood. The year has definitely been rocky and filled with far more valleys than I would have wanted or anticipated. But where there are valleys, it means there are also mountains. With mountains, it means there were also “mountain top experiences“. Yes, the Year 2012 was a full mix of ups and downs.

As 2012 rang in, there was the usual midnight toast and kiss, but the minutes were also anxiety ridden. I had lossed over 30 pounds in one month, been running a fever, coughing spells leading to nausea and dry heaves. Iohn and I, however, tried to be optimistic and look forward to 2012 as being a much better year than 2011. How mistaken we were in so many ways.

I slowly began to gain a little weight back when I relapsed and lost 15 pounds in two weeks. This prompted a visit to the doctor’s office, something I am reluctant to do. I finally had no choice. This visit lead to one of my deepest valleys as the doctors were concerned that I either had contracted tuberculosis or developed lung cancer. From the doctor’s office to the hospital and then the surgery ward to have a double bronchoscopy and lung biopsy. I woke in the hospital bed many hours later with three tubes sticking out of my side. I remained hospitalized for a total of 20 days, nearly three weeks.

Mark in the Hospital for Surgery

The surgery, however, did lead to what was probably the highest point and most welcome news of all of the past year. I learned that I would live. I may have to adapt, adjust, make changes, but I was going to live. My condition was not life threatening. There was no TB. There was no cancer. What the doctors discovered was a non-specific bacterial infection of my right lobe which rendered it useless. In the words of my surgeon, my right lung was now nothing more than a “dried up sponge“.

I continue to struggle with the breathing. I am still getting use to having only one lung. But I am alive and cantankerous as ever if not more so.

Then in September came my second most memorable and elation-filled moment. On the 20th of that month, my second granddaughter, Alaina Dee, came into the world. There is little to compare to the joy of the birth of a grandchild other than the birth of your own child. This was a real shining moment in a year of so much darkness.

Alaina Dee and Grandpa

Before Alaina’s birth, was my third-rated mountain top experience of 2012. In June I was honored by CNN‘s iReport community with a Spirit Award for my contributions over the last year. This came as a total shock and surprise. But I am eternally honored and grateful for such a recognition.

CNN iReport Spirit Award

That same month another highlight of the year came with an appearance on CNN Saturday Morning when I was interviewed by Randi Kaye on health care and the Affordable Care Act. This interview came not long before the Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA. I was later inteviewed by phone by HLN following the Supreme Court decision.

CNN Interview with Randi Kaye

Then there was another high when I was picked to debate the ACA with another iReporter, Egberto Willies, as part of the iReport Debate series. We were debating the pros and cons of the healthcare law with me taking the con side of the argument.

iReport Healthcare Debate


Most of the valleys I have had to go through this year have been in some way or another health related. Adapting to my new life has been rather traumatic at times. But then again one other health concern actually turned into another mountain.

My doctors surmised my lung infection was caused by a genetic condition that began a few years ago which began decaying my teeth and the teeth breaking off. What the doctors believe is that during the night the infection from my mouth and gums would aspirate into my lungs. With help from friends, family and an email to the Governor of Indiana, I was able to get the decaying teeth and tooth stubs pulled and replaced with dentures. Many who follow Inside My Mind and my CNN iReport contributions also traveled with me through both the lung surgery, hospitalization and the dental procedures.

The Dental Journey

While I’ve been battling with the medical and dental issues surrounding my lungs and teeth, my other conditions, cluster headaches and presumed ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (POHS), have also been problematic. There is also the major depression I must battle daily. Good news on the POHS is that it seems to be in hiatus and not progressing at the moment.

Iohn’s roller coaster employment situation has been frustrating for both of us throughout the year. Thankfully as the year comes to an end, he is once more gainfully employed. The financial struggles over the last two years have been draining and at times seemed like it would sink us. But, here we are facing a new year and still holding on, still together after what will be eight years in February.

Continuing to be difficult on me is not being able to see my sons, Dave and Kev; their wives, Anna and Hailey; and my granddaughters, Dylan and Alaina, as much as I would like. Each holiday, while my siblings gather with their children and grandchildren, Iohn and I celebrate alone waiting for that phone call or text or email from the boys.

While the road has been rocky and the future uncertain as we sit on the cusp of 2013, life goes on. Then again the alternative doesn’t seem all that appealing on this snowy winter’s night.

From the Cornfield, life’s ship was never meant to sail only on calm seas going nowhere. Life was meant to toss and roll with the waves becoming stronger and better for riding the surf and appreciating whenever a harbor was reached.

As the song goes, without the rain we would never have the flowers. Or as my Mom once wrote in a poem, you can never climb the mountain unless you go through the valley first.

Happy New Year to one and all. May the coming year find you healthy and may your soul prosper.