What a Month it was

My Good Looking Family (Charlie, me, Dillon, and Jeff)
My Good Looking Family (Charlie, me, Dillon, and Jeff)

This has been the craziest couple of weeks I’ve had in forever. And it has been wonderful. Mom arrived on the 15, Charlie came back from Belize on the 17 and then graduation on the 22.

We’ve cleaned, visited, partied, cleaned again, and visited some more. It’s hard to believe that my son is now a high school graduate and that Mom went home today. I miss her already. I miss him already too and he hasn’t left for college yet.

This is going to be a busy busy summer for all of us. Charlie leaves for MO, and I’m leaving for Murphreesboro TN this weekend. He is going to be a camp counselor for special needs kids, and I’m going to comedy camp. 😉 It’ll be fun.

This is just the beginning of wonderful things for all of us and instead of being scared – like I usually am – I’m excited. That is a good thing.

Keep Telling Your Stories

I wake up some days on top of the world. Other days I wake up feeling like I would rather be under my blankets. I am woman, and I can be moody. If you read my blog, you know that about me.

You also know that I have a tendancy to compare my insides with other people’s outsides and sometimes I think my “story” isn’t worth telling. Nobody really wants to hear about a kid that tried to join church after church, only to be turned down because I was too young. No one cares that my neighbors took me to church as a teenager or that the first “evangelist” I heard was a child star from the popular show from the 70’s and 80’s and that God spoke to me through her.

I get confused and think my story is trivial compared to the ones out there, and then I remember that my story, really is his. And when I’m filled with doubts, God uses someone else to speak to me again.

Today is the 15th, that means I log on to Beth Moore’s LMP blog and post my memory verse. While I was there leaving my verse, I read this:



Keep telling your stories, Sweet Siestas. Don’t decide it wasn’t that big a deal after all…or that maybe you made it up, or that maybe it was just a coincidence. It was GOD. Revelation 12:13 says we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimonies! Let’s open our mouths wide and tell it. – Beth Moore

That is a now kind of word for a now kind of need.

What is funny is my memory verse is straight out of Philippians 1:6 – “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion unti lthe day of Christ Jesus.”

How appropriate is that?  This little girl that no church wanted as a child, has confidence today because of Christ and HIS work that he carries out daily, hourly, moment by moment, to completion.  He doesn’t get board with you or with me and leave us half finished. He COMPLETES his work in us. The enemy is overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by our testimony.

Be blessed. I am.



Hack “The Shack?” – I don’t think so

Pastors all over the world are divided. That is a given.  I mean that with far more grace than black and white type on a blog can convey. Having said that, I’m pleased to see a non-biased review of William Paul Young’s book The Shack in a Lutheran Magazine.

Mainline Protestant churches can be a little biased, so for me to see us step out a little and acknowledge the good along side of the “what we disagree with” is a blessing.

The author of this review is LCMS pastor, Rev. Steven B. Borst from Riverside, California. He surprised me by not just hacking the book, like many are doing these days, but rather embracing both the good and the questionable pointing out a major plus in this book.

According to Pastor Borst, “The Shack deals with life under the cross and is not afraid to venture into the deep mysteries of faith.”

We live life under the cross. Life is messy. It is complex. And sometimes, life hurts. And like William Young, or even his main character Mack, we live in a fallen world where losing our innocence, hope, and faith is a part of this life.  Hopefully, in time, we find ourselves facing that empty shack, that place where sorrow and hope meet and we find God waiting for us.

My only question in the review was the author’s suggestion that William Young have sought out clergy who could have helped him with his “doctrinal problems.” Sounds easy and is good advice to be sure. My only problem with that is pastors and Christians, as a whole, don’t always agree on doctrine even within their own denominations.  Case in point: I spent three years working along side three very gifted pastors not too long ago, we even had a vicar my last year there. I can remember countless times when I would ask doctrinal questions, during devotions, and I would get four different answers from these men. If I had not been taught how to study the Bible Inductively, (By my former pastor and his wife) that would have seriously confused me. Instead, I walk away from those encounters both amused and deeply convicted that I need to study deeper to seek God’s answers and not just man’s interpretation. Ponder the pastoral wisdom and answers yes, and then match it against God’s true word. Every teacher makes mistakes – God’s Word, however, is inerrant. And no teacher is in place of the Holy Spirit and that includes me.

My question to Pastor Borst would be, “Who should William have asked?” Maybe he did ask and got conflicting answers like I do so many times, or maybe he simply wrote this as fiction and not as anything more.

My question to you dear readers – is who do you ask? And what do you do if you get conflicting answers?

From Vasectomies to Coupons – everyone is cutting back these days

This recession is hitting all of us these days. I know for our family of four, my learning how to cook on a more reasonable budget is vital. Learning how to cut coupons to help save us money, is equally important. I’ve used coupons in the past but according to Sarah Roe, I’m using them ineffectively. She uses coupons, sales and even double coupon days to purchase her items for free if not close to it. Her system takes a lot of work and dedication, but it is learnable she says and my husband is all for cutting back.
On other news fronts people are taking more drastic cuts these days.
ABC news reported this statement. “Lawrence Ross, a urologist and former president of the American Urological Association, said he and his colleagues have noticed a roughly 50 percent increase in vasectomies in the past four to six months, which he attributes in part to the ailing economy.”

Vasectomies are up 50%?  Wow. That is pretty drastic if you ask me. If given the choice, I’m thinking my husband would rather clip coupons.

Granted we’ve already been through that “procedure” a few years ago, but it still seems drastic, not to mention expensive if you don’t have insurance. I know I said “we” and you married couples out there are probably thinking I’m using the universal “we;” the one that means HE and not ME. But I don’t. We were there together in the same room through the whole procedure.

His doctor ran a guilt trip on me, and so being co-dependant, I went in to support him. I carried a grudge for a while there and I almost puked. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and I will follow him anywhere, I just didn’t expect to follow him to the urologists office and procedure room.

There were no training classes for this. No Lamaze, no shoulder rubbing or funny breathing, just me in a room with nothing to do but watch. I tried to be cute, and that went badly. I did bring a magazine in with me from the lobby. It was “Appaloosa Monthly” – their stud for hire edition. Pages and pages of pictures of big beautiful Arnold Schartzenegger looking horses for hire. Their prices ranged from $1,000 – 10,000 per encounter. I thought it was fascinating until I got the part about skipping all the romance and they’ll just send you the stuff and you can do it yourself. If you are going to read magazines like that while you are in the room with a man having a vasectomy – don’t ponder things like “I wonder how they do that?” out loud. Just saying, it’s a bad idea.  And it’s really bad form to bust out laughing from reading while doctors are handling sharp objects around your mates nether regions.

I wasn’t going to go in. I really just wanted to wait for him in the waiting room. I did my good wifey job, I drove him there. I was going to drive him home, fill his pain script and baby him for a few days. Wasn’t that enough? Apparently not according to his doctor. Sparkey hit me this this guilt trip.

“Oh now but he was there for you when you delivered your babies. All things being equal, shouldn’t you be there for him?”

All things being equal? I’ve been married almost 20 years, all things are not equal. Never have been. I mean sure, he brings home the money and I spend it. I cook the dinners and he eats them. He wears clothes and I wash them. Balanced, maybe, but not equal. Besides, what does a vasectomy have to do with childbirth? Other than the obvious. I was there, all things are NOT equal.

I gave birth to my oldest in a teaching hospital in Chicago. Now there’s a meet and greet opportunity right there. I met everyone from the janitor to the Chicago Bears that day. Oh no, that’s not right, I met the janitor and the Bears were playing on TV in my private birthing room – where my whole family, friends and various strangers gathered to share this joyous event and ignoring me completely. When I screamed, they just thought I was chearing on our team.

I still remember when my OB came in with her little entourage’ of wannabe doctors and who knows who else. She was checking me over and then turned to everyone and said, “Okay, who wants to tell me how far she’s dilated.”

I was really hoping she was talking about my eyes.

She wasn’t.

Then I hoped they were going to guess.

They didn’t. They had to measure.

I won’t tell you how they measured. I’ll just say that everyone got a turn, including the janitor.

I am happy that I went in with him though for his procedure – even if he was jumping up and down behind the doctor waving his arms and shaking his head no. I just told him he didn’t need to be brave for me and that I would be happy to be the supporting spouse he’d always dreamed of having. And I promised not to laugh or anything. I’m glad I went in, the poor guy didn’t have a clue what the drink holders were for and I had to explain it. So I guess he really did need me afterall.

Delivering our babies was a wonderful experience in retrospect, but that could just be an epidural induced hallucination. I got the epidural shortly after Jeff leaned in close to kiss me and a contraction hit. Poor guy spent the rest of the day sitting in a corner, slapping his ear with his hand and answering imaginary phones. But all in all, it was a good day, surrounded by friends, in a nice calm room, watching the Bears play, and taking pictures. They even let Jeff cut the cord.

I will admit, giving birth is a much better experience than having a vasectomy, and all things are not equal by a long shot. No TV, no visitors, no real drugs for either of us, no cameras and well.. If you ask the urologist if he’ll let you cut the cord – you’ll get escorted back to the waiting room.

We should have stuck with coupons.

Mission Impossible

n593046555_1389948_8118Dropping my 18 year old off at the airport for his first out of the country mission trip was far more difficult for me, than it was for him. Charlie is excited, and I’m well, not so much. I had to leave before I started crying. Afterall I don’t want to embarass the kid in front of his friends.

This is just part of a long list of firsts, all of them life changing in some way or another.


The first day of school

His first time to Camp Lutherhoma

His first youth trip to Branson

National Youth Gathering in Orlando

His first Date


Camp Barnabus where he served as a camp counselor for special needs kids

And Now Belize.

I’ll be dropping him off again in August only this time it will be college.

Will he be ready? Oh yeah.

Will I?

I doubt it.

I am So Busted

Gotta love the 80's
Gotta love the 80's


When helping a child with a homework project that involves scrapbooking, make sure all should be hidden photos – ARE.

Sadly, this is me from the 80’s. After seeing this, my youngest has informed me that I am N-E-V-E-R allowed to criticize his choice in clothing ever again.

People sometimes ask what I did with all of my clown school clothing once I dropped out, and from looking at this photo, it is pretty safe to say I took them with me to college. I even had the overly teased / flammable hair thanks to aqua-net. That stuff was good man. I even used it to shellac spiders to the wall in my bathroom.

Anybody else out there remember the 80’s?

Six Months Seizure Free and the Freedom to Drive

Fire and Scales by Dillon O'Hara
Fire and Scales by Dillon O'Hara
Dillon's Pen and Ink Drawing for Art
Dillon’s Pen and Ink Drawing for Art

We’ve come a long way baby! Years ago,  epilepsy was a death sentence. They used to take epileptics to the city gates and stone them to death. We’ve grown from that to denial of rights.  50 years ago, epileptics were looked upon with fear and trepidation. They were denied jobs, houseing, and the right to drive. With good reason I suppose – at least on the driving aspect – if the seizures were not under control anyway. My uncles lived through a lot of unfair and prejudical behavior because of their seizures.

One was bi-polar on top of having epilepsy and commited suicide: throwing himself off the Peace Bridge in Buffalo when he was 36. The other died at 17 by mixing whiskey with his phenolbarbetol. Not having my uncles to learn from or to talk to is hard.

Epilepsy is a dirty little secret that no one in my family talks about. Until now. I refuse to label it dirty, and I refuse to keep it a secret. My son has seizures and I wanted to know why. I also refuse to allow this bump in the road to limit him.  Laws are changing. People with certain types of epilepsy are allowed to drive, provided of course that their seizures are under control. With the advances made in medicine, controlled epilepsy is probable and achievable.

Dillon has ADNFLE – or Autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy, a very rare genetic disorder that is only now being treated properly. In the past, ADNFL patients were treated as psychotic disorders. These types of seizures can range from mild to  violent in nature and occur while sleeping or just before awakening. They were believed to be night terrors or part of a larger psychiatric disorder.

ADNFLE patients do not typically test well, which is probably why we had such a hard time with finding the right medications and a proper diagnosis. The EEG’s and MRI’s tend to come back normal. The only way to capture a truly abnormal EEG is to undergo a sleep study while wired for sound and hope he has a seizure during that time. It took two studies to finally capture his seizures on tape. Seizure activity can be dormant for months at a time, and rarely if ever during the day.

Dillon’s diagnosis went from it is epilepsy to we have no clue, for years. The spans of no activity and the palsy like side effects in the morning threw our doctor off.  It wasn’t until we went to the Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth last summer, that we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was epilepsy and what kind. I’ve also found out there is a name for that muscle weakness he some times experiences. It is called Todd’s Palsy.

These are things I did not know before this year. But they are things I know now and I’m happy for that.

Today is a very special day in the O’Hara household. Dillon has reached his six month mark of being seizure free for the first time in over six years.

What that means is  Dillon gets to learn how to drive and he could not be happier.

What a Weekend

I was supposed to wake up at 5 am and get a jump start on my week. That didn’t happen. Turns out, my body wanted me to very self indulgently sleep in until 10 am. I couldn’t figure out why I am so tired, and then it hit me – we had a very busy three days.

Prom on Friday * a Woman’s Show at church on Saturday * the boys Play Saturday Night * teaching Sunday School, Church, and scrap-booking on Sunday (Charlie’s Senior Project).

Prom cracks me up. Mainly because the school gave the kids the whole day off to get ready. The girls spent the day getting their hair, make up, and nails done. The boys on the other hand, spent their day differently. Their day looked like this: Breakfast at  I-Hop then off to see the new Wolverine Movie, after that, video games until it was time to pick up the girls. Oh to be a guy some days.

prom-2009-c-dI guess they had fun at Prom though – and that’s all that matters.