Some things change, some don’t

I haven’t blogged in a while because it has been a little crazy around my homestead. Over the past 19 years since I moved into my home in Texas many things have changed in our area, but others have not. All have this has been done in the name of progress. But some things still remain the same.

I used to live in an isolated subdivision off a Farm-to-Market road. To get here you had to drive past the cutest cows on a corner pasture that had a little wind mill and a creek running through it.  As you traveled down the road you would drive by some small farms with crops that flanked each side of a two lane road. Further down the road it came to a “T” intersection, so to continue on you had to make a left onto a small two lane highway. A few feet later was a quick right turn and you were back on FM 2305. On the corner was the most beautiful pasture where horse would run sometimes run along side of you as you drove past. I love to watch these majestic animals in trot. Occasionally you would see some of the local kids riding their horses along side the road either going towards town or towards the lake. In the early spring, blue bonnets would fill the field and family’s would stop to take family portraits. Then there were a few more cow pastures, Frank’s family restaurant, some wooded acreage and finally my subdivision.

Living in this subdivision we had city water by Temple, population 46,000 in 1993, it’s much bigger now. Coming from the Washing D.C. area I didn’t really considered a city, but folks around here did and who was I to argue. Although water was piped in, sewage went to a septic tank. I didn’t know anything about septic tanks, or the fact that we even had one, until the water backed up into our house. Not something you are used to coming from the city. Our home was built in the late 70’s and what I also learned this past week is that septic tanks have a life span. This week we had to have it pumped and pay to have my concrete patio, which was already in place when we bought the home, destroyed by jack hammers in order to get to the main line to clear a clog that could not be reached through the vent stack or clean out under my sink.

Since purchasing our home in 1993, the city of Temple, has annexed most of the surrounding land around our subdivision. In fact all of it leading up to our home. For those of you who live in cities, land that surround a town that does not belong to any particular town or does not incorporate to become a town can be “claimed” by another town in order to extend its borders. After annexing all of the land down FM2305, the crops slowly began to disappear. Homes, shopping plaza’s and business now flanked the thoroughfare. The two lane road that zig and zagged grew to be five lanes wide, two going north, two south and one in the middle for turning, is now as straight as an arrow. A large over pass was built over Hwy 317 which required the city to basically take the land the horse grazed on, eminent domain. So, no more horses. And recently, I noticed a sold sign in the cow pasture    with the creek that runs through it.

With all this change you would think they would do something with the sewer systems or lines, but no that would be a good changed. Instead, they continue to chip away at what once used to be a picturesque land scape down a quaint country road. I miss having to call the sheriff to come herd the cows that escaped on a weekly basis and blocked the road so I could get to work on time. I miss seeing families out for a ride on their horses. I miss seeing the crops swaying in the wind. I miss watching the horses running in the pasture. I miss the fields of blue bonnets. All now gone all in the name of progress.

Maybe someday they will make a change to the sewer system but until then I guess I will just have to live with my little tank. But, I do have to say after five days of not being able to use water or my bathroom I have a deeper appreciation for my toilet.


Confessions of a Sodaholic

The popularity of reality TV has given rise to shows that depict families with unique story lines, swapping spouses, raising multiples and taming unruly kids. Others are about dating, weight loss and addictions.

From time to time I find myself tuning into one of those shows, A&E’s Intervention. The show has covered eating disorders, alcohol abuse and drug addiction. However, you will never see them tackle the issue of soda addiction.While addiction to soda does not create dramatic segments or interesting story lines, it still is an addiction and can have heath risk and withdrawal symptoms.

At 21 the though of having an addiction was not part of my mindset, let alone one related to Coke. Then one afternoon I found myself in the passenger seat of our car nauseated, curled up in a ball from stomach pain and on the way to the hospital. After a several hour wait in the Emergency Room waiting area and a head to toe examination by the doctor on duty, the doctor excused him self for a minute only to return shortly afterwards with a soda in his hand. He popped the lid, handed to me and said “Here, drink this.” It was that moment I realized I was a sodaholic.

Today, I can honestly say that I am still sodaholic. I started with Regular Coke, then Diet Coke to cut calories, and nowadays my drink of choice is Coke Zero. And, while I understand that soda has always been a vice and a pitfall health wise, I find myself consuming at least six cans a day. Yes, I know soda is not good for you, drink water, but I really don’t like the taste of water or tea. And, I didn’t put anymore thought into it, or at least not until today.

This morning I noticed diet soda on my Yahoo trend list, so I clicked on it. Unfortunately, it was an article about how people who drink diet soda is at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Makes sense right? after all soda is full of caffeine. Well, I decided to do a little more reading on the subject, so I googled drinking diet soda. Why did I do that! To my dismay I ran across a CBS report about a study conducted by the University of Texas.The UT study was spanned a decade of observing soda drinkers that were 65 to 74-years-old. The study found that the soda drinkers waist line grew 70 percent, yes folks, I said 70 percent more in circumference as compared to non-soda drinkers. Of course with more girth in the stomach area comes more issues with heart disease, which makes sense when you think about todays article and how it relates and cancer. It also refers to another study that shows how diet soda can raise blood sugar. Sorry all you diabetics out there.

Fortunately, I am not a diabetic. Unfortunately, I am a cancer patient. And while I do not know if my cancer is related to my intake of soda, we can all probably agree, it hasn’t helped. And, It’s not a wonder why I look like and apple now. Hello, my name is Rebecca and I am a sodaholic. But only for one more day.

Just One Person ….

Just one person is all it takes to make a difference in a person’s life.  Maybe it is someone you just met. Maybe it is someone you have known all your life. Or, maybe someone you have never encountered. But, one thing you do know is that they left their imprint on your heart.

Last year, around the anniversary of traumatic event in my life, I was at the bookstore and drawn to a book called “Heaven is For Real“. I am not a big reader these days and I can’t even remember why I was there. But, I was. And, there it was just sitting on the shelf calling out to me.

That was the day two people, whom I have never met Todd and Colton Burpo, touched my life. Todd had written a book about his sons experiences while in heaven. Now for believers in Christ and Christianity, although not unimaginable, it was still an amazing story. After all, it is not often one gets to walk next to Christ and live to tell about it. For the non-believer, it is a far-fetched story that was completely made up and coerced. For me, it was about hope, joy and peace.

Hope, because thirteen years ago, after several years of trying to get pregnant, my husband and I were blessed with the news we were expecting. Thirteen years ago we were happier then we ever knew we could be. Thirteen years ago I went in for an ultrasound and saw my baby’s heart beat for the first time. But, thirteen years ago I was also diagnosed with cancer. And, Thirteen years ago I miscarried.

So how does hope, a book and a miscarriage relate. Well, if you have read the book you know, but if not I will tell you. While in heaven Colton met a girl, a nameless girl because her parents didn’t pick out a name for her, a girl we all learned was his older sister. A sister his mother had lost to a miscarriage. I was raised going to church and I have always believed in Christ. I also believed there is a heaven. But, I am far from a church-going, bible thumper and won’t profess to be, but I am a good person. Todd’s book and Colton’s story gave me reassurance that my baby is waiting for me. And it gave me hope that I would be able to hold her or him in my arms one day.

After reading that part of the story, I was excited. I had joy in my heart because I knew that she or he was not nameless and that he or she knew it. I had my son’s name picked out since I was younger and fell in love with the movie “The Never Ending Story”. I also had a love of music, even though I wasn’t great at it. My son’s name was going to be Sebastian Bach no matter who I married. When I got married, by husbands last name was Blizzard. When I think of blizzards, I think of cold and snow, so I wanted a warm name to go with the last name. I picked Summer Breeze. I was so happy I had names picked out and that my baby did not go to heaven nameless.

Finally, the book brought me peace. I have been struggling with cancer for thirteen years. I am on my fifth reoccurrence. I have never been in remission. With each reoccurrence my health issues have become worse and worse. While I don’t think about dying everyday, I do find myself preparing for “just in case”. And while I hope to live well into my sixties at least, I would like to see Kat walk down the isle, I can’t help but think people should not feel sorry for me because I going home to be with my baby. Feel sorry for my family that still has to wait to meet him or her.

I have been fortunate all my life, having people who have made a difference in it. Especially in dark times, and trust me I had a lot of dark times. But it seems that God has always placed someone or something in my path to keep me moving forward. When you come close to dying, you think about the people you have met throughout your life. Not only did I think about them, but I wondered if they even knew that what they did made an impact. So, I decided to reach out and tell them. In doing so, I learned that one of those people had been having a rough time. What he did was so simple he didn’t realize it meant that much to me. When I told him, I think he felt a sense of pride and it made an impact on him. Even if it wasn’t long-term, that day he smiled.

I know Todd does not know the impact he made on my life by writing his son’s story, but he did. He was just one person reaching out and making a difference. Do you have someone like that in your life and have you told them?