social spark Aisling Beatha: January 2009


Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

CPAP Diaries 2

I truly thought I had posted part 2 to my Blog, but in looking today I see that 1 and 3 were here but not 2.
So I apologise fro these not being in the right order.
I'll be making a written post tomorrow since I will have had the machine for one week tomorrow morning.

Friday, January 23, 2009

CPAP Diaries Part 1

So I thought I'd do a video blog. More of those to come.

Watch out for an update tomorrow on how my night went.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So, what does sleep apnoea mean to me?

If you saw this as an empty post earlier, I apologise, my hand slipped and I posted it just as I had typed the title!

So, you've had some fairly good explanations of the technicality behind what sleep apnoea is, before now.
What I want to share with you is how it affects me personally, on this, the week I will finally receive my CPAP machine.

I have always been a snorer. It runs in the family. Dad snores, I snores, my sons snore.

I have always had problem tonsils, in fact if I have the story right the doctors got to the point when I was a kid that they told mom and dad if i got tonsillitis again they would take my tonsils out, but then I didn't get it again for a while. I have had tonsillitis a few times as an adult and to be honest don't even bother going to the GP, because it is never the horrendous cases I used to get as a kid and there's nothing they can do for it anyway.

I have spent much of my life overweight. I was a podgy child, I lost weight in my teens and then put it all back on again as a young mother. I am now clinically obese and have been for years. I have tried to lose weight at various times with varying amounts of success, but always end up back where I started, eventually.

THAT is not the future I want!

Why am I telling you this? Because these 3 issues are all factors in Sleep Apnoea.
The biggest factor of all being the weight, because that will always make this condition worse.
So, why don't I just lose the weight, and keep it off and solve the problem that way?
I have tried, but as my sleep apnoea symptoms have worsened, it has become harder and harder to find the energy to cook proper meals and harder and harder to find the energy to even do housework let alone add in exercise, which I know is essential for me to lose the amounts I need to lose.
So in the end I have got stuck in a vicious cycle which only gets worse and worse.

How long have I been suffering what I consider to be sleep apnoea symptoms?
I would say that seriously I must have had it for at least 4 or 5 years now, this lack of energy, this daytime tiredness, but I did not seek help at first, because I "Knew" that the doctor would just tell me to lose weight and go home. At that point in time I had not thought it was sleep apnoea, and so carried on as best as I could thinking if only I could lose the weight it would be fine.
After a couple of years of that my symptoms got worse, around the time when my son went to 6th form. I was driving 12 miles each way a number of times a week, and at least 3 or 4 miles each way the rest of the week. Not a lot, not a problem, well, not if you can stay awake. And his school pick ups would often come at what was my worst time of the day for tiredness. It was hard. I kept cola, caffeine tablets, and an anti viral nasal spray in the car to keep me awake. If you think the nasal spray is an odd thing to have in a list of things to keep you awake, you've obviously never used one of those things, WOW does it make sure you're awake, for a while at least.
Once I actually fell asleep driving, thankfully I hit the kerb and that woke me up.

That frightened me enough to finally go see the doctor, although I didn't tell him about the falling asleep driving, I did stress how tired I was and how little energy I had and so on. I was by now convinced I had sleep apnoea.
I did not see my usual GP. Our surgery is a large surgery, and is also a training practice. Every year we have 2 doctors who are on the final year of their GP training. I saw one of those doctors. By now I had begun to do my own research, and I was pretty convinced I had sleep apnoea, everything seemed to fit, so I went and told her so. She refused to refer me for a sleep study, because my husband could not say he had heard me stop breathing in the night while I was snoring. I was incredulous, I mean, just because he hasn't witnessed it means it hasn't happened?
So they did all the usual blood tests for tiredness and lack of energy, iron levels, diabetes, thyroid and EVERYTHING came back normal!

I should have pursued this further back then, but I didn't, she had basically left me with the distinct impression that my original assumption had been correct and that all they were going to do was assume it was because of my weight and therefore my own stupid fault and just tell me to go away and lose it. Oh yes, they even offered me exercise on prescription, which is a fantastic scheme if you get free prescriptions, if not it actually ends up costing more than a gym membership and I couldn't afford one of those!

Anyway, add another 2 years to the story, and earlier this year my symptoms racked up another notch. I can't pinpoint when exactly but I gradually began to be aware that I was FREQUENTLY falling asleep
  • At the computer desk
  • seated on the sofa
  • as a passenger in the car
  • even during a sermon in church
  • finally even during lively worship in church
  • ALWAYS if I lay on the sofa
  • and so on
At the same time I became more and more aware of my night wakings. I would wake, sit bolt upright on the side of the bed and fall back to sleep right there, only waking again when muscle tone dropped and I fell over. I was falling asleep on the toilet in the middle of the night and all sorts. It was quite frightening.
I was starting to get neck cricks form the falling asleep sat up, and I was often biting my tongue when alseep in that position. I researched sleep apnoea again and I KNEW that this was what I had, what I didn't know was how to convince the GP.

BUT STILL I was tired, falling asleep etc. I researched some more and found a chart where you fill in how often you are likely to fall asleep in a number of different situations. If your result was 11 or more, you should consult your GP with regards sleep apnoea being a possibility. Mine came out at 17 or 18, which the chart considers even a risk of narcolepsy! So I took that with me on yet another visit to the GP. This time was very interesting, I was armed with my chart, I was armed with the knowledge that Andrew would now happily say he had heard me stop breathing in the night, because he had!
Now, I mentioned that our surgery is a training surgery, they are expanding their training services and this time there was a very young newly qualified doctor, considering a move to GP work, sitting in on the appointment. It was clear my GP was not happy about me researching myself, and he had this guy run through all the other possible reasons for tiredness and lack of energy, and insisted on referring me for the blood tests. Anyway I finally got him to refer me for an appointment with the sleep clinic.

I had to wait over 12 weeks for my appointment at the hospital. 3 months of symptoms getting worse again, meanwhile we started with the whole round of blood tests again, la de da! One did not come back normal and concerned them because ti was away from normal the opposite way to the way it normally is if there's a problem, I researched it online and discovered this was a common result in obese people and would return to normal when weight reduced. And that it wasn't a health threat in itself just a warning.

So finally, back in November I was due to see my sleep specialist, Mr Moudgil at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, Shropshire. I actually got to see him a few weeks early because they added in an extra clinic on a weekend. the only thing about weekend clinics is that all the other departments, like x-ray etc, for doing tests are closed, so I had to go back and do those on the Monday.
But in talking with me Mr Moudgil was quite happy that he was sure I was right and I did have Sleep Apnoea. He did not confirm my fears about being lectured about my weight, in fact he confirmed what I had already worked out for myself about the vicious circle and said "Let's get this treated first, then we can get the weight off." WOW, what a revelation, a doctor who took me seriously, a doctor who was willing to do what I needed to get better, WOW.

He suggested it might be an idea for me to see and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon) as after one look at my tonsils his first comment was how big they were. He figured that overlarge tonsils just add to all the flesh in the throat that causes the airway to close down and removing them MIGHT solve the problem on it's own.

Some consultants at this point would have made you go research that alternative first, then come back to them, but he didn't, he said eh was quite happy to continue down both tracks of treatment at the same time, then He referred me for a sleep study, which these days involves bringing a machine home and strapping yourself up to it that night, then taking it back the following day. He said that if that came back positive I would probably see one of the technicians to pick up my machine before I saw him again.

Sure enough, the appointment to pick up my machine, came in the post weeks before my letter from him confirming that indeed my sleep study confirmed I have sleep apnoea.

SO, I pick up my machine on friday 23rd January, this week, which is also my birthday!
Then on 11th February I see the ENT to discuss my possible tonsillectomy. However in my letter from Mr Moudgil he did say that having viewed my results he now thought this would HELP rather than CURE, but heck, I'll take all the help I can get.

Monday, January 19, 2009


From "The Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning.

A little child cannot do a bad colouring; nor can a child of God do a bad prayer. "A father is delights when his little one, leaving off her toys and friends, runs to him and climbs into his arms. As he holds his little one close to him, he cares little whether the child is looking around, her attention flitting from one thing to another, or just settling down to sleep. Essentially the child is choosing to BE WITH her father, confident of the Love, the care, the security that is hers in those arms.
Our prayer is much like that. We settle down in our Fathers arms, in his loving hands. Our mind, our thoughts, our imagination may flit about here and there; we might even fall asleep; but essentially we are choosing for this time to remain intimately WITH our father, giving ourselves to him, receiving his love and care, letting him enjoy us as he will.
It is a very simple prayer. It is very childlike prayer. It is prayer that opens us out to all the delights of the Kingdom."

Jesus' tenderness is not in any way determined by how we pray or what we are or do. in order to free us for compassion toward others, Jesus calls us to accept his compassion in our own lives, to become gentle, caring, compassionate, and forgiving toward ourselves in our failure and need.
Compassion for others is not a simple virtue because it avoids snap judgements - right or wrong, good or bad, hero or villain; it seeks truth in all its complexity. Genuine compassion means that in empathising with the failed plans and uncertain lives of the other person, we send out the vibration, "YES, ragamuffin, I understand, I've been there too."

Worship Without Words

AWESOME worship!
If you are in the area of Shropshire or mid Wales that means a village near Shrewsbury is accessible to you, you really need to head to Brockton Christian Fellowship next time there is a conference on.

We have just had the MOST amazing weekend, with Peter Jackson and learning all about the GRACE of God.
When there are conferences on at Brockton a couple from Welshpool come and lead the worship. It was AWESOME! Just awesome. And at one point we were just flying in the spirit. And I couldn't sing any more. Not because of my energy issues that sometimes hold me back in worship, nothing like that. I just couldn't sing, the presence of God was so tangible, there were NO WORDS.

Worship Without Words
Heart Response
Two way flow
To and Fro
To God, From god
Worship of the heart
Without Words
Without End

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Do You Believe It?

Someone on W@H asked what God was teaching us today!
And I wrote out this explanation and felt I needed to share it on here.

Grace and belief.

I have to breathe, I HAVE TO believe!
I mean, REALLY believe, not just believe in Him but believe him. Every single word he has ever spoken, every thing he has ever said, Every word written in HIS Word, every single word of prophecy He ever spoke over me, IT'S ALL TRUE!!!!!

And the most important question is "DO I believe that he loves me, I mean really loves me, that KNOWING every evil thing within me, knowing all my hurt and pain, all my judgements, and assumptions, fussiness, legalism, refusal to love those who really need love, spitefulness and selfishness. Knowing every skeleton in my closet, every moment of sin, shame, and degraded love, my shallow faith, my feeble prayer life, my inconsistent discipleship, knowing all of that, HE LOVES ME THE WAY I AM. He doesn't love me the way I should be, He loves me the way I am. Do I REALLY BELIEVE THAT?

Do I really believe that NO MATTER WHAT I do, He will never love me any more or any less than He does now, and that RIGHT NOW, IN MY SIN, He love ME just as much as He loves Jesus! Do I believe it?
Do I believe that if I change and make myself better He will not love me more, do I believe that if I never make any attempt to be better, if I have no intention of ever even trying, He won't love me less? Do I believe it. Because He said it!
Dare I risk believing it?

Do I believe that just as I CANNOT earn my salvation, I can in NO WAY earn my sanctification either? That it's ALL HIM! ALL HIM! ALL HIM!

It's All True

Everything God ever said.
Every word he ever spoke.
Everything it says in His Word.
Every word He has spoken over you in prophecy.

It's ALL true!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

A number of photos to share this week.
First these three:

Then these two:

Check back in tomorrow for Tell Me Thursday if you want the story behind the photos. And why not think about taking part yourself, if you have participated in Wordless Wednesday today.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Some Thoughts on my Theme for 2009

If you're unsure on what I mean by a "theme" for the year, go read the post below.
That post is also good if you want to look at my theme for last year and how it panned out.
If you have any questions, please ASK!

So, onto my theme for 2009.
I haven't really spent a long time thinking on this. In fact, one day, I was musing to myself about how I hadn't yet got around to praying and asking God for a theme for the coming year. My thoughts were of a time with my bible and my journal and a quiet space to sit and contemplate and listen to what The Father would tell me. That was IT, just musing about how I hadn't done it yet and THERE IT WAS, dropped into my spirit, ONE WORD!


Yes, now that could be wishful thinking on my part, and that could be any number of other things, but if you're a fellow believer you will know what I mean about something just "sitting right in your spirit", and I knew that that was right, that it was accurate, that this was indeed God's intention for me in the coming year. This has been confirmed by others around me and by things God is saying to the wider church at this time.

What does it mean? What will it look like?
Last year I could give you some very concrete thoughts on what my theme would mean, on what it might look like.
This year, I CANNOT do that. I have no idea of what areas of my life I will be experiencing breakthrough, but I know that I will, because He has said so.

In fact, at firs glances this year of breakthrough is starting out with something that doesn't look like breakthrough at all.
I will not be allowed to drive my car for a few months at least. Due to my diagnosis of Sleep Apnoea, my driving licence has been medically revoked. My precious little gift of a car will be put off road for a while and my husband will turn the engine over once a week or so just so she doesn't seize up! I will hopefully be receiving a bus pass from the local council that allows me access to all local buses after 9:30am each day, so no early appointments then!
The bus pass will take 5 or 6 weeks to come through, so in the meantime, and for any journeys after it comes through that are not possible by bus, I am reliant on others!

This is not something I am used to. It's not something I like, particularly, but I am sure that God is indeed, in it and that there is good that will come out of that part of this journey. For instance, if I wanted to pop to the craft store before, I would just get in the car and go, when I had a spare half hour or so. Now, because the buses up to there are so infrequent, I would have to ask my husband to take me, and he's busy, and the craft store bores him, so even if he did take me, I would not feel like I could take the time I normally would, and would find myself rushing out of there, not having enjoyed it in the same way. The same with some other trips I might make, there is a church about 30 or so miles from here that I absolutely LOVE to attend when they have conferences on, and normally it is I who gives a lift to others. They have a couple of conferences coming up and I have had to ask at church to see if anyone else is going and get a lift that way. There's nothing wrong in that, and thankfully someone has come forward, BUT each time there is a risk that no-one will be going. And for someone who is not used to asking and receiving help, it's new.

The same with anything in the evenings around here. I could probably get TO most things, but getting home from them is likely to be a problem because of how infrequent the buses are at that time of night.

So, NO, this doesn't look like breakthrough, and it doesn't feel like breakthrough, but I KNOW that I know that I know, that God, the Father has His hands completely on this whole process and that He will use this, even this to bring about the breakthrough He intends!

And at the same time, I am heading towards some fantastic moments of breakthrough that I already know about!
Hubby and I will be celebrating 15 years of marriage in February. Something a lot of people never thought we'd do!
I should be getting my CPAP machine this month and see a drastic improvement in my daytime energy levels as a result.
We are also following up another solution to the sleep apnoea symptoms that might mean I don't need the machine once that is done.
The restoration of day time energy levels means I can focus once again on losing some weight and increasing my heart health through exercise!

God is good!

So, here's to 2008! And I look forward to reporting back this time next year to tell you what wonderful things God has done!

Some Thoughts on Last Year's THEME!

Well, if you haven't already, go read the post below, which is a direct copy and paste from the post I made back in January 2008 about my "theme" for 2008.

What do I mean, by a "theme" for the year, where did the idea come from?
I am a member of an online group of women called "Women at Home". I have known some of these ladies for years and years! A few years ago someone mentioned about seeking God for a theme for the year and some of the rest of us picked up on it. The first couple of years I actually got before God and sought, and asked, and questioned. As you can see from part of the post below, it is not always an simple process, and your theme for the year may well be worked out in ways you do NOT expect. So, for instance, 2 years ago my theme was "seeking God for MYSELF, not relying on others" and it was the MOST isolating year of my life! Another example is one of the ladies has received her theme for this year and has asked all of us to support her in prayer, her theme is "patience" and we all know if God wants to work patience in you, you're heading for some trying times.

So how do you "get" a theme, I mean, what you just ask God, or what?
Pretty much, yeah, and for some people he doesn't answer, sometimes he just wants you to wait and see, for others it drops into their spirit straight away, and in a moment you KNOW, whereas most of us think about it over a few weeks, and take our time, listening to what God is speaking to us, both directly and through his word.

What was last year's theme?
Like I said, go read the post below to get a good idea of how I saw my theme at the beginning of January last year. But in short, my theme for 2008 was REST!

How has that worked out in my life over the year?
It really is quite funny looking back at it. I mean, I know that I knew all along what my theme was, but I never actually spent time thinking about it during the year, or working on it, or anything like that, it just happened.
I started 2008 knowing that I was having some medical symptoms that I suspected were sleep apnoea related. I had tried to seek medical advice previously but had been rebuffed by our family doctor who would not refer me to a specialist. As my symptoms began to worsen, and I realised I had less and less energy, needing frequent daytime naps just to get through the day, falling asleep sat up at the computer desk, and even, at times mid conversation with my family, I knew I would have to face the doctor again. And I was prepared for it to be a battle, I was prepared that I would need to FIGHT to be heard.
Alongside that, hubby and I had been struggling in our role as small group leaders at church. We had taken on what turned out to be an incredibly difficult group, for various reasons. I know all groups have their share of issues that the members are going through, but ours just seemed to have everything at once, marriage breakdowns and ultimate divorces, death of an adult son, etc. The pressure from that, added to other things we had going on, meant that it all came to a head and I knew that I, at least, had to quit as a small group leader. I had tried waiting for hubby to join me in the decision, and other things, but in the end, I HAD TO make the jump first. We HAD previously tried to get help in our role, but had not been heard, we had even tried to quit before, but had been persuaded to stay. I was prepared for this, too to be a battle, I was prepared to have to FIGHT for what I knew God was doing in me!

So, here were two situations in which I was totally expecting a battle.
When I finally got up the courage to approach the doctors again, yes they wanted to do all the blood tests to rule out all the other causes of tiredness and yes they chased down some rabbit trails but in the end I got my referral to the sleep clinic! PRAISE GOD. I went to my first appointment and for the first time in relation to these symptoms I felt like I was really HEARD. It truly felt like God had gone before me and prepared the way. he totally took me seriously, but me straight on the list for a sleep study, suggested a few other tests to rule out more serious issues, and even said that although my weight is an issue in sleep apnoea, that he understood how hard it was to lose the weight, with the condition, and that we could get treatment in place first and then worry about the weight later.
He also has referred me to an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) doctor to see if taking out my overly large tonsils will solve the problem permanently. BUT he's still following his own treatment plan at the same time.

Small group leading? It was awesome. We hold no blame over the couple who currently lead the ministry at all, and they were absolutely fantastic, totally coming to terms with where we were at, apologising for not having realised before and giving us the space to step back with no repercussions. I do want to get back into a small group though. I am missing that level of interaction, but I know that right now I just cannot LEAD another group, I need to be IN one though.

So, two situations in which I expected battle and found nothing but the way already prepared before me.
A year in which physically I was forced to take more and more rest as my symptoms grew.
A year in which I tried to make much more of a focus on getting to "soaking" meetings, where we just sit on a comfy sofa, or lie on the floor and rest while appropriate worship music is played over us. Sometimes someone prays and sometimes they don't, but we just SOAK in God's presence.
Then, at church family camp I had the most amazing experience.
I wasn't sure about how attending camp would affect my sleep, and not being able to nap during the day, etc, but I went anyway, figuring if had to hide out in our unit I would. There was this one meeting, and worship was awesome, and I was singing and dancing, and then the tiredness, slowly began to come over me. And I got to a point, where I could not dance anymore, but I still stood and sang, and raised my hands. And as the tiredness grew, my hands came down to hold on to the seat in front, and then I had to sit down and eventually even stop singing. I could not even muster to the energy to do that. I COULD NOT fight the sleep, I could not DO anything for God in that moment, I did not even have the energy to think through the words of the song in my head, it was all I could do to just BE. And in that moment I felt the nearness of God like I have NEVER felt it before, I felt His love and His closeness, and His passion, and it overwhelmed me. I mean, seriously overwhelmed me. I could DO NOTHING, and in that moment He came to me. I could DO NOTHING and in that moment He poured out His love on me. I could DO NOTHING and in that moment he came to dwell with me. I could do NOT ONE THING to make myself acceptable to God, I could not earn it in any way shape or form, I could not even keep my eyes open in the worship service, and in that place, He expressed His passionate love and care for me.

And how is the year ending?
Well here I am, it's now 2009, and I am heading towards treatment for my sleep apnoea before the end of the month, an appointment with the ENT in February, and one way or another, finally getting a proper night's sleep, so physically at least, I WILL be rested!

And 2009?
Well, that is another post in itself, watch out for it later.

Last Year's "Theme" Post

Here is last year's "THEME" post, as it appeared here on

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I shall make another post shortly, with some thoughts on how the year turned out in relation to that theme!

My "Theme" for 2008

I hadn't really intended to seek God for a theme for this year. Not after last year which was the year with the theme of seeking God for myself, not relying on others. That turned into the most isolating year of my life. After that and other people's tales of years that did indeed follow their theme but not at all in the way they expected, I wasn't going to do it this year.

Then one of the guys at church prayed for me the other week. I trust this man so much, trust his instincts and his ability to hear God. And this time, as he has does and as he has done a number of times recently he talked about resting in God's presence. And I KNEW, I knew that I had my theme for the year. 2008 is to be the year I REST!

It's a funny theme really and I expect that some people might misunderstand it or think that I should be DOING something to make myself acceptable to God. Heck, I'm not sure I understand it all myself. I mean, REST? Does that mean I sit back and do nothing? Well, in a way yes, because this is about God coming in, loving me, pouring out on me etc.

BUT rest is active. Not in a "I must do ........." and "I have to do .........." in order to be acceptable kind of way or anything like that. But, sometimes rest has to be a choice. I have to choose to rest, choose to ALLOW God to do whatever He wants.
But, back to the other point, it is about me doing NOTHING!, because there is not one single thing I can do to make myself acceptable and I have been trying for so long. Trying to make myself a good enough wife, a good enough mother, a good enough friend, a good enough office worker, a good enough person, and I CANNOT do it! Not one think I can do will ever make me good enough, or acceptable or lovable.

And heck, most of us are good Christians and we know this in our heads, right? We KNOW that stuff, we don't need little old Zoe telling us, I mean, she must be daft is she hasn't worked this one out by now. But, you know what? I thought I had got it worked out, I thought I understood it, but I was STILL striving, still trying to be enough. So, really, the only thing that I believe god requires of me this year at the outset is for me to say "YES LORD!" "Yes, Daddy!"

Does this mean I might stop doing some of the things I have been doing? Oh quite possibly. I have no firm plans for anything like that right now, and actually in effect some of the stepping back from things might be more emotional and spiritual, cutting the ties that involve too much of my soul in these things, whilst continuing to be involved in them in a more right way.
There is going to be a lot of learning to say "NO!" So be prepared for that if you need to ask me for something later in the year. Because this year is about learning that God loves me no matter what and I do NOT have to do do do do do do do to earn his approval. Even those things that you personally think are good and right for me to be doing, even that you think I SHOULD be doing, for whatever reason, I might well, not do them, I might well, say NO! And I don't have to give an explanation, I don't have to make it OK for me to do that, all I have to do is do it. And if I hurt or upset anyone with that this year, I am sorry.

So, is it all going to be nice, and lovely, and me sitting back, letting go of things and just being loved loved loved? Probably NOT! I sincerely doubt it in fact. Because I sincerely doubt that all of the times of rest will be by my choice. When this guy at church prayed for me last week, one of the things he said was that he got a sense there MIGHT be coming a time of ENFORCED rest. He's been through that himself the last couple of years and it has not been easy, I know that. But he said, not to fight it and try and battle my way out of it but to just let go and treat the time of rest as a gift. It's not necessarily a nice and pretty prayer, that one, but my spirit recognized it. Does that make sense? Something in me said "yes, he's probably right".

Does that mean I sit in fear of what that might mean? Absolutely not. There are two possibilities that immediately come to mind and that is either me losing my job OR something health related. But it wouldn't surprise me if it comes a totally unexpected way, or even not at all. And that's OK, because I KNOW that god is in this. That's all I can say, I KNOW that He is in this and I say "Yes, Daddy".

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Review on 2008

The questions are changing slightly from last year. Here are a set of questions I've seen on a few people's facebook pages.

A new chapter - 2009

1. Where did you begin 2008?
I'd have to check my journals to be sure, but I reckon I was here at home and quite possibly in bed before midnight.

2. What was your status by Valentine's Day?
Happily Married, ecstatically in love, both with the same man thankfully!

3. Were you in school (anytime this year)?
School outside the home? Nope, haven't made it to any classes this year. I've taken part in some online classes here and there. I am thinking about picking up some pretty hefty classes up either in the new year or in September.

4. Did you have to go to the hospital?
No emergency visits this year thankfully but yes I did have to visit the hospital. I FINALLY got my GP to take me seriously where the sleep apnoea was concerned and he referred me to the sleep specialist at the hospital. I had to wait nearly 3 months to see him, but when I finally did and we ran through my description of what life has been like his main question was "Why didn't you get this taken care of sooner?" ARRGGGGHHHHH, I had been trying, but my GP just kept telling me to lose weight.

I had various tests, which culminated in me bringing home a machine and various wires to wear at night, here at home.

The sleep specialist is fantastic. He says yes my weight is an issue in me having the condition, but he knows that with the condition untreated there is no way I'm going to lose it, so let's get treatment in place and then address the other later. That was such a relief. AND he thinks that my tonsils might be an issue and that getting them whipped out might solve it! Some specialist's would make you go see the other specialist first and exhaust all possible solutions with them, and then see you themselves again. Not this guy. Hence, I have an appointment before the end of January for the fitting of my CPap machine, on my BIRTHDAY! AND I have to phone the hospital tomorrow to make an appointment within the next 2 or 3 weeks to see the ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) guy, to look at whipping those tonsils out! He's quite happy to follow both plans at the same time and see what happens!

5. Did you have any encounters with the police?
There were a couple of time that things happened in or near our street and they came to do house to house enquiries, but other than that, no.

6. Where did you go on vacation?
We went to BUTLINS!

7. What did you purchase that was over £500?
MY CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!! Heeheee, but only just over £500. My other car had broken down, badly and we had decided it was beyond economical repair and scrapped it. That meant we were a 1 car family for a while, and we were fine with that, truly fine! I was going to get used to travelling on the bus and we would manage.
Then we heard that a family at church might be getting rid of one of their cars at a good price. We knew that this particular family would have taken care of the car very well, and went round to see it. We paid £550 including a super top of the range radio, and figured that if it only lasted 12 months then that would be cool by us!
Now, of course, I cannot drive it for a while because of my sleep apnoea. But hubby will keep it running for me.

8. Did you know anybody who got married?
hmmmm? Was Ello's wedding this year? NO, that was longer ago. Hmmmm? I can't think of anyone off the top of my head.

9. Did you know anybody who passed away?
No, not this year.

10. Did you move anywhere?
Stayed put, right here in sunny old Telford. I love this place. No, REALLY, I DO! Because I know god is not finished with us here yet!

11. What sporting events did you attend?
I did all my sports watching on the TV. We became quite fans of the pro bull riding this year via cable tv.

12. What concerts/shows did you go to?
Mainly school shows and other events that the school samba band performed at. They're good!

13. Where do you live now?
Like I said, here in TELFORD, right where we have been for over 14 years! Gosh, that's a long time!

14. What's the one thing you thought you would never do but did in 2008?
Get on a plane and fly to Belarus with a load of people some of whom I had met only once before and some of whom were total strangers until the moment we met at the airport. We were delivering Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes.

15. What has/have been your favourite moment(s)?
Most of the trip to Belarus, the abandoned village near the Chernobyl dead zone in particular. The old lady we visited in her home, and the time we spent with the team at the drug and alcohol rehab centre. I think the best night of the whole trip, though, was the night we STAYED in the children's Home! AWESOME fun!

16. What's something you learned about yourself?
I learnt that I am loved by a Daddy God and that His love is BEYOND measure. I cannot make him love me more and I cannot make Him love me less, He will always love me, he pours out his grace and his mercy up[on me and I am BLESSED beyond measure.

17. Any new additions to your family?
Well, I never venture far enough into the boys bedrooms to find out if there is anything GROWING in there, but no, no additions to the family that have legs.

18. What was your best month?
I think it has to have been December and the trip to Belarus.

19. What music will you remember 2008 by?
I didn't listen to as much music as I would have liked this year. I think the music of Belarus, and watching the children do their traditional dances, etc, will stick with me. Oh and of course, the belly dancing music, heeheee.

20. Made new friends?
Without a doubt yes. It was clear that not all the team got on on best terms with all the team, but we were only away for 5 days and any issues were kept covered over. But there are certainly members of that team who I will meet up with again in the future.

21. Favourite Night[s] out?
Hubby and I dined at the Mytton and Mermaid again, and stayed the night there, as part of their Sunday Night Jazz promotion. A very nice evening was had by all!

22. Any regrets?
I don't think I have any regrets over this last year. I do wish I had been able to get the GP to take me seriously sooner, so that I would be moving towards solutions quicker, but there was nothing I could do about that.

23. What do you want to change in 2009?
I want to get my energy back. And therefore I want to start picking up all those things I have dropped over the last year as my sleep apnoea has got worse and my energy levels have dropped.

24. Overall, how would you rate this year?
2008 was a year in which I learnt to love and be loved by God. THAT was worth all the loss of energy, every last bit of it. To understand that I could lie here and do nothing, and He would still LOVE ME!

25. What would you change about 2008?
Yes, there were things I didn't like about 2008 as they happened, but I am so much a different person than I was this time last year, and all of that stuff was part of what got me there. I can honestly say I wouldn't change any of it.

26. Other than home, where did you spend most of your time?
Church, I guess.

26. Have any life changes in 2008?
Life Changes? Hmm , I guess this year HAS been life changing, but not in ways I can put my finger on. Not in terms of specific changes. For instance, last week, at church I did a small PowerPoint presentation on my trip to Belarus and one of the church leaders said to me afterwards that I was so different up there and that it was like I'm not "apologising for myself" any more.

27. Change your hairstyle?
Not much. I'm trying out no shampoo, just water. My hair isn't at its best, but it certainly is in better condition than it used to be between washes. Some friends in America have been using baking soda on their hair. I might try that in addition to the water when hubby gets our shower fixed.

28. Get a new job?
Kind of, but not quite, but that's another story, because I'm not sure where it all stands now, and need to think, pray and process!

29. Do you have a New Year's resolution?
Don't do new years resolutions. I do have a theme for the year which I believe God gave me, and some other general aims which I am coming up with, but no hard and fast resolutions, no. Watch out for a post on last year's theme and how that went, and this year's theme, later!

30. Did anything embarrassing?
Embarassing? Leaping around in front of a room full of Belarussian children and adults, trying to get them to do teh twist? Embarassing? Actually not, just fun! Nope, nothing embarassing.

31. Buy anything new from eBay?
I think my main ebay purchases this year were craft supplies, but you have just reminded me of something I intended to look for on there yesterday.

32. What was/were your favorite purchase[s]?
Has to be my CAR! Even if I won't be using it personally for a few months, hopefully I should be driving again in the summer.

33. Get married or divorced?

34. Get arrested?
Thankfully, no!

35. Be honest - did you watch American Idol?
NO! Nor do I watch the UK version, BUT I am partial to a bit of strictly come dancing.

36. Did you get sick this year?
I've had the occassional bug here adn there, but no real "sickness" as such. Although I am battlign this sleep apnoea things, I don't know that you could call it a "sickness", maybe others feel differently.

37. Start a new hobby?
I added jewlry making to my paper crafting.

38. Been snowboarding?
NOPE! Heck, stepping off the coach in Belarus was bad enough some days, I'm not about to strap a board to my feet as well, especially one that has had the bottom side polished to make it even slippier!

39. Are you happy to see 2008 go?
Yes and no.

40. Drank Starbucks in 2008?
Don't have one here in Telford and I don't drink tea or coffee, btu I did have frescattos at Costa.

What are you wishing for in 2009?
I am wishing for a year of Breakthrough!
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