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Archive for November, 2011

Prayer Request

Monday, November 14th, 2011

I would like to ask everyone to remember my great-aunt, Dorothy Poole, in your prayers. She’s in the hospital with several medical issues, the main ones being congestive heart failure and internal bleeding. She also has the beginning stages of dementia. The doctors do not know where the internal bleeding is coming from and they can’t do the needed exams because she won’t make it through the procedure. Also, for those who don’t know, about 4 weeks ago, she fell, broke her shoulder, and had a heart attack. We’re not sure of the sequence of those incidents, but they did all happened. She can’t have surgery on her shoulder because she won’t make it through that either. Because of the congestive heart failure (I’m not sure if it is supposed to be ‘in’ congestive heart failure or ‘has’ congestive heart failure) she has been ‘weeping’ out of her arm. That is because there is so much fluid on/around her heart that her body is trying to get rid of the fluid, so the fluid is coming out of her pores. The doctors gave her a little bit of blood and they are going to wait 3 days to see if the bleeding stops. If it does not stop, they will be sending her back to the nursing home on hospice. They said it she could possibly be gone in 1 day, or it could be 1 month, or even longer. Her body is already in the beginning stages of shutting down as of right now.

So, my mom is flying home to Oklahoma on Wednesday (November 16) and she will be staying 9 days, until the following Friday (November 25) so she can see her aunt while she is still alive. She will also be able to see both of my grandparents (the last two living grandparents), all her siblings, and her other two aunts.

I just wanted to ask all of you to pray for this situation. I could put all the last names on here of all the family connected to this, but we have so many people in our family, I’ll just give the main people. Please remember the Pounders, Ketch (Cory Ketch, my uncle and my mom’s twin brother), Poole, Kelli Shene, Shelli Wagner, Mardi Keesee, and all their families.

Please remember all of us in your prayers.

We love each and every one of you and we thank each of you for your prayers.

Rachel

‘When you just don’t understand…’

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Konnichi wa!!!

Hello again to all of our wonderful family and friends!! I hope everyone is doing well.

I just wanted to share a few pictures with you from church last Sunday. Well, there are some other pictures in the mix too, but I really wanted to share the pictures from Sunday with you.

Okay, so before I get into the serious stuff, on our way…somewhere…one night (sorry, brain freeze. I don’t remember when it was or where we were going.) we saw this dude. You will always fine one construction worker dressed this way. They always seem quite bored and always have a very expressionless face. Hmmm…

Hehe!! I had to through some humor in here.

Also, this chick has gone retro. I got some blue high-tops! Yes, I like Converse.

Also, a lady from my dad’s work gave us these awesome little snacks.

Does the word ‘delicious’ come to mind? It should because that’s a good word to describe these tasty little treats.

 

The yellow-ish wrapper had a cake with chocolate cream in the middle. They were mmm-mmm good!!

Okay, now getting into the serious subject(s). As most of you know, (maybe) Brother Paul Apedo gave us all quite a scare a couple weeks ago when he had a small stroke. The first week or so after the stroke, Brother Paul was still having some difficulty walk, talking, and making a fist with his left hand (his left side was affected by the stroke). But, as of now, Brother Paul is COMPLETELY healed!!! Anyway, his wife, Sister Blessing Apedo, came home from Ghana to be with her husband and to help take care of him. As I told Sister Blessing on Sunday, I know the circumstances weren’t the best, but it is still SO good to have her home.

And here is the walking miracle! And, I might add, the miracle that is now walking with ease!

So, during the main worship service Sunday, my dad was saying at one point that there are times when we just don’t understand why thing in life happen the way they do. I mean, to be honest, I’ve wondered that very thing MANY MANY time over the past 2+ years. First it wasn’t because something bad happened, just because of something that inconvenienced us. Like when our truck broke down in Amish country and we were sitting in the heat (almost 100 degrees) with no A/C. Why did it take 3 weeks to get my dad’s truck back? Well, later we figured out that had my parents not gone back to Amish Country to get the truck, they wouldn’t have met up with Sister Lucas and we wouldn’t have come to Japan and become such good friends with all these wonderful people that we are now friends with. Then there was a super good time, when we were in the process of coming to Japan and all went so fast and so smooth with getting our passports and visas.

But after that, I kept asking myself why did it seem like our family had been under attack, physically? I got H1N1 (swine flu), my dad had problems with asthma (which he hadn’t had trouble with since he was little) almost from the day we stepped in Japan. He would start wheezing real bad and a couple times, they (my parents) thought they were going to have to take him to the Urgent Care on base because he wasn’t able to breather properly. I injured my knee a three times over a period of about 9 months. My mom had kidney stones. It seemed like it was literally one thing right after another. On March 15, 2010, we were in Kyoto with my brother, Justin, and his wife, Rachel when we got the call that my Paw-paw had passed away. I sat in the chair and immediately asked myself (or God, I’m not  sure I knew who I was talking to at that time) “Why? Why now? Why him? WHY?” My sister-in-law was pregnant and lost her baby only one week after she found out that she was pregnant. Once again, “Why?” Then something good happened. We sold our house within 6 weeks after it was on the market and it was sold to the first couple who looked at it. Later, only 16 months after losing my Paw-paw, we lost my Nana (I’ll go more into that later on). And almost one month to the day after we buried her, my great-aunt, Darlyne Franks, lost her husband after a long battle with bone cancer. My aunt had to bury her sister and her husband within one month of each other. Once again, “Why? Why? Why?” I also have another great-aunt, the sister of the one just mentioned, that isn’t doing well and who recently had a heart-attack. Once again, “Why?” And it’s not only been us. I’m not saying that at all. In the past two years, I’ve seen or heard of more happening than ever before. Sister Felicia was 7 months pregnant when her and Brother Emmanuel Kwarteng lost their baby. Brother Paul Apedo had a stroke while his wife was in Ghana with their kids. Sister Lucas lost her dad. And to go one step further, I can say that there are probably THOUSANDS of Japanese asking, “Why?” right now after the huge natural disaster that happened 8 months ago tomorrow. And to everyone who has lost loved ones or homes in the disasters all of the world, they too are probably asking, “Why?” And my dad started quoting the words to a song called “In His Time”. Here are the words:

(Verse 1):

In His time, In His time

He makes all things beautiful in His time

Lord please show me every day as your

teaching me your way

That you do just what you say,

in your time.

(Verse 2)

In Your time, In Your time,

You make all thing beautiful in your time.

Lord my life to You I bring,

May each song I have to sing

Be to you a lovely thing in your time.

So as he was quoting these words, I started thinking about the past two years, and how that eventually, we will see why things happen. It may not be in this life, but it will come in due time. So, we all just have to remember that in due time, all things will be beautiful. :) That’s a nice thought, isn’t it? :)

After saying all this, and after thinking about this for quite some time now, I want to say something else. When you don’t understand life’s hurdles, complications, or just life in itself, “Why” isn’t the answer. That may sound like a huge grammatical error, but I’m as serious as I can be. But I know that when things happen, us being the humans that we are, always ask, “Why? Why did this happen? Why did that happen?” But I’ve learned over the past two years that asking “Why” isn’t the answer to our questions. We have to learn, as Sister Blessing Apedo was telling us tonight after church, that things happen for a reason and God has everything planned out.

About 9 years ago, when we first moved to Dayton, Ohio, it was prophesied to my parents through Brother J.J. Bourn that we would have peace in our family. When my Paw-paw passed away, I was wondering, “Where is that peace at now? I thought we were supposed to have peace, but I don’t feel it now.” And 16 months later when my Nana passed away, I was even more confused, even to the point of asking God, “I though You promised us peace. Where is it because I need it now?” Then, if you remember from one of my last posts, I saw the ‘cross’ out of the corner of my eye. I asked God for the peace and I found it. Then, after we got back from the States, I started thinking, “What if the peace has been there the whole time?” And honestly, it was probably that peace that kept us all from falling apart when both of those deaths happened. So, I had to apologize to God about all that. But I honestly think that the peace has been here with us the entire time. To make it more personal, I’ll say that I feel like the Prince of Peace was right there the whole time helping me through every tough time. He was there all those nights I laid in my bed crying for my Paw-paw and my Nana. He is there when I miss them most (which is all the time). And I know He was/is there even when I wasn’t/am not having a tough time.

Now, I’m going to talk about something that I haven’t talked about a lot. All of you know that my Nana passed away after some…’difficulties’ following a back surgery. I’m going to be open and honest with you. Up until this point, I really…hated…the doctor that performed the surgery on my Nana. I was so upset because there were lies told and negligence during the surgery. I don’t even know the doctors name and I still hated him. But the other day, we (my mom, Rebekah, and I) were talking and my mom was saying that if we don’t forgive that doctor, God won’t forgive us. I knew that, and I still know it, but it hadn’t hit home with this particular subject. So, my whole reason for saying all that is to say this, to the doctor that performed that surgery on my Nana, I’m sorry for hating you so much. I’m still mad/upset and I’ll still miss my Nana, but I forgive you. That’s all I have to say on that subject.

Now, I mentioned a little bit ago that there are probably many all over the world right now asking “why” after all of these natural disasters and even after all the man made disasters. I do have an answer for that question. First of all, I’m going to ask you to go get a Bible. Then I’m going to have you turn to Matthew 24. Look down to verse 3 and read through verse 7 but if you read through verse 14, it’ll be even better. For those that didn’t get a Bible, I’m going to put it on here for you to read:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”

Like I said, it’ll be better for you to read down through verse 14, but this is what I’m trying to point out. So we know about wars. Iraq, Afghanistan, and those places over there can attest to that. Rumors of wars: well, I don’t keep up with that part of the news but I do know it is going on, I’m just not sure of the places. Are people getting deceived? All the time! Nations are truly rising against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms. There are famines all over the place. Pestilence ( “a contagious or infectious disease that is virulent and devastating“; from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online): yes. Earthquakes: oh just let me tell you about it! I’m not sure there is a place that HASN’T had an earthquake recently. I don’t know everywhere but I do know Japan (so many!!), Turkey, New Zealand, Oklahoma, Washington D.C, and several other places that I can’t think of off the top of my head. And if you keep reading, you’ll find that Jesus goes on to say that this is just the beginning. JUST the beginning! Which means there is more to come. This includes (taken from Matthew 24:8-12): Christians being afflicted, killed, and hated for loving God, people all over are going to be offended, betrayed, and hate others, false prophets rising up and deceiving many people (on top of those who are already deceived),  iniquity is greater than ever before, and love is going to grow cold. So, my next question: are you scared yet? I’m not. Do you know why? Matthew 24:13-14 will tell you, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” But it can’t just be those who have endured to the end. Those who endure have to have repented of their sins, been baptized in Jesus name according to Acts 2:38 (and Acts 8:16, Acts 19:5, and Acts 22:16, and all the other scriptures), and been filled with the Holy Ghost also according to Acts 2:38 (and many other scriptures).

Okay, I’m done. :) Anyway, I totally didn’t mean to go way off on that, but obviously there is a reason, so I’m not going to take it off. So yeah, that’s about it. As soon as I get more pictures, I’ll do another blog entry but until then, mata ne!!

Much love,

~Rach

 

Update on Brother Paul Apedo

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Good afternoon to all of our wonderful family and friends!!

I just wanted to give y’all an update on Brother Paul Apedo. I know I emailed a few of you to let you know what happened but I wanted to let everyone know. Last Monday morning (Oct 24) my mom went to work with my dad and she was just chilling at the base for a while until the other stores opened up. She got a call around 7:30 am from Brother Paul, who was trying to get a hold of my dad (my mom had my dads’ phone). She said she wasn’t able to understand him very well, that his speech was really slurred but she was able to understand that he wasn’t feeling well and that he was driving to work to let his boss know that he couldn’t work that day. In the end, Brother Paul said, “Sister Pounders, I almost feel like I’m having a stroke.” My mom basically told Brother Paul that we needed to stay calm and that we were going to try to get some help to Brother Paul as soon as we could. For those who don’t know, Brother Paul’s wife, Sister Blessing Apedo, is in Ghana right now with their kids. I’m not for sure of all the details exactly but in the end, my mom called Brother Kwasi Amoabeng, Brother Daniel Agyare, and Brother Ephriam Lotsu. We were able to get an ambulance to Brother Paul because we (my mom and the three brethren she called, mostly) weren’t sure what exactly what was going on.

To make a long story short, Brother Paul did have a stroke. Monday evening my parents went to his house to go see him and, to be honest, it just wasn’t Brother Paul. And Tuesday evening we all went to see him. It was funny because there were SO many people there! It was like a party at that apartment complex! So we went and stayed at Brother Paul’s house for maybe 20 minutes just talking and listening to him tell us what all happened. Brother Paul told me, “Oh my goodness, it was so scary. I had been lying here calling out for help but no one could hear. I didn’t know what was happening. That’s the scariest thing that has ever happened to me.” Even Tuesday night, Brother Paul was showing us that he still couldn’t close his hand all the way. But yesterday, on Sunday, only 5 days later, Brother Paul was able to open and close his left hand with NO difficulty!! Where on Monday Brother Paul had trouble keeping his balance and he could barely walk, Sunday he was walking just fine. Where on Tuesday Brother Paul’s speech was still just a little slurred, yesterday it was almost normal!! Thank God!!! My mom was crying as Brother Paul was opening and closing his fist because she was the first person he called (although he was trying to get a hold of my dad) and she knew what he sounded like then. She also saw him Monday night when her and my dad went to see Brother Paul after he got home from the hospital. Although I didn’t see/hear all that, I was close to tears myself.

I asked Brother Paul if I could get his picture with my dad. I wanted one with them just normal and I wanted one with Brother Paul holding his fist up on his left hand showing that he can indeed close his hand now!

 

You know what I have to say about this, next to “Thank you/Praise God!!”? “Take that, Devil!! Brother Paul is God’s and he’s protected!”

Brother Paul had told us later that he wasn’t feeling good the Thursday before but he didn’t say anything and that on Sunday, on his way home, he lost control of his left arm and that it was a miracle that he made it home alive because he was in the opposite lane and people were honking at him and all that. But thank God Brother Paul is okay!

I also want to say thank you to everyone that prayed for Brother Paul. Brother Paul also said to thank everyone so I’m saying thank you on his behalf. I know I got several emails back from people saying that they were praying and we all appreciate that.

Much love,

Rachel

Welcome to Your New Abode

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Hola!

Hello once again! I hope everyone is doing well in your respective countries. Everything is doing good here. Just keeping busy, buts that’s normal I think for everyone.

So, when we came back from the States, we were able to bring both of our dogs back with us. If I can just say one thing, it is SO good to be able to snuggle with our dogs again!!! I just LOVE it!!

Here are the dogs right after we arrived in Japan. Buford still looks (and was acting) a little groggy from the tranquilizers. He had a rough trip but he’s doing good now.

Here’s Gracie. She’s a peke-a-poo.

And Buford is a Basset Hound.

And welcome to the newest member of our family, Schnickelfritz. She’s a rabbit.

So, that’s what’s happening here. The dogs seem to like Japan, or maybe they just like being home with us, I’m not sure. And everyone that has seen the dogs seems to like them, too. Whenever we take the dogs for walks,  everyone (most everyone) will stop us and ask to pet the dogs and what kind of dogs they are, and all that.

Alright, I think I’m caught up on all the pictures from the past summer. Hope y’all enjoy!

Much love to all,

~Rach

Summer 2011

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Hello again to all of my wonderful friends and family!

I have a couple pictures from when my grandma and aunt were here that I didn’t show y’all.

This is a gift the my grandma got me for my graduation. Thank you Dah!

And this is the hoodie my mom got me. In the top right corner, it says, “The Ones”.

I love these bags!

Anyway, I just wanted to share some pictures with all y’all from our trip home this summer. Although we went home on not-so-good circumstances, we still enjoyed all the time we were able to spend with our family. 6 weeks went by SO quickly but I’m glad we had it together.

Okay, so I’m going to skip over all the confusion that went on (confusion isn’t the right word for what happened) and I’m going to go right to the pictures.

This was leaving Japan. The sun of the “Land of the rising Sun” was setting. So pretty!

We ended up with a huge detour while coming into the States. Let’s just say that we got to “see” almost the whole mid-west in one day…from the sky that is. Anyway, we were in Salt Lake City and I just had to grab a picture of the mountains. It’s so pretty out west. I love it!

This one (below) is from the plane as we were waiting to take off.

It’s also a pretty view from the sky.

My brother, Justin, and his wife, Rachel, and my little niece came up from San Antonio. I love y’all!!

While in the States, we were able to see some of our friends from Dayton, Ohio at a youth convention that our youth group goes to each year. I love all y’all, ALC!!

This is Lawrence. He’s such a doll!

I was also able to get my drivers license while we were home. During one of the days, my driving instructor took me and another guy to this awesome place. I’m not even sure what the name of it was but it was kind of cool looking. Thanks Mr. Lyle!!

It had glass bottles of pop lining the walls…

…of almost every flavor imaginable.

While at my uncle’s house (my mom’s twin brother), I was able to see/meet his dogs. Their one dog looks similar to our dog, Gracie. Gracie is closest to the camera. Maggie is on the left and Max on the back right.

Max looks like he’s thinking, “You are one psycho dog!”

“Uh-oh, another crazy dog!”

Now, going back to July 14. We found out that morning about my Nana and we were all tore to pieces. I want to say thank you to the Datsomor family who came to the house for a while that night. We all appreciate it so much. Anyway, so we were all tore up pretty bad about this. I mean, really! She had just gone in for back surgery. And only 16 months prior, we lost my Paw-paw. Anyway, so that whole day Thursday, we were doing laundry and packing. So that night, I had gotten pretty much everything packed and I was just sitting on my bed thinking about the last time I had talked to my Nana… trying to remember what all I said to her,… trying to remember our conversations… trying not to cry…wondering why this had to happen, when something caught my eye. I saw a cross out of the corner of my eye. It looked like a cross. I was totally confused. The moon is always right out of my patio door, so I knew it had to be the moon. When I looked at the moon through the screen, it looked like a cross. When I opened the screen, the cross wasn’t there anymore, it was only the moon. But the thing is, I stood up, and the cross got shorter. The further down I got, and the cross got bigger. I’m not sure what all that means, but I felt like God let me see that for a reason at that specific moment. Could it be that He was trying to let me know that even when we are on our spiritual/emotional mountain tops, He’s still there even though we don’t pay that much attention to him, but in those days that we are down and out, He makes himself more noticeable to us. That’s just my thought.

While I was up.

While I was down.

It may not mean anything to anyone else, but I must say that although we were torn apart emotionally, I can’t explain the sense of peace I got when I saw this. Was I still upset? You betcha! Beyond explanation but I still felt that God was with me. There were many times over the following 6 weeks that I looked back onto these pictures to see if I could find the feeling that I had at that moment when I realized this.  On top of that, I first heard the song, “God is still God” by Heather Williams which says this:

Wish I knew what I’m supposed to say to you

What you’re going through

But I don’t know what you’re feeling

Does anyone know what you’re feeling right now

You’re afraid

The future’s like an enemy, and you just wish you could see

‘Cause you don’t know where you’re going

Don’t let it keep you from hoping right now

Yeah we’ve all been lost and we’ve all been hurt

Where our hope is spent and our faith don’t work

But nothing lasts forever

The only thing that matters

Is God is still God and He holds it together

So hang on now

He’s been there, walking in the wilderness

When it’s hard to see the end

But He had the strength to do it, so He can help you through it

So hang on now

So even when you lie awake

And bend until you almost break

The darkest time is right before the dawn

Anyway, now, so now back to the pictures. Did I mention that the scenery is beautiful?

Such a cute dog! This is Gracie Ann.

Yeah, Gracie wasn’t wanting to look at the camera. She’s like me…not much of a camera person..dog.

It was also my cousins birthday. Happy Birthday Lani!! Love you!! We went bowling for Lani’s birthday.

Yes that giant right there, that’s Lani’s brother, J.T.

My grandma wasn’t paying attention to the camera. I love you, Dah!!

And this is Chloe. She’s a doll!!

J.T was making sure we were all situated. Love you J.T!

Rebekah and Lani.

Here’s the birthday girl! Love you Lani!

The majority of the adults were just talking.

Aunt Tommie and Hovie. Awwwe!

Mom and daughter. They always seem to be matching.

There was also a very special day during that 6 week time that we were home. My great-grandmother’s 96th birthday was on August 14th. Wow!! Yeah, so we had a little get-together for that. I love you so much, Great-Grandma!!

This is the cake that my grandma made.

Here’s J.T, Uncle Cory, and Treena.

Amber.

Uncle Cory, Treena, my mom, Great-Grandma, and Ken.

Aunt Tommie and Sarah.

Aunt Tommie, Sarah, Lani, and Jenny.

And here is Gracie. “No, do NOT get my picture.”

This is Sadie, my grandma’s dog.

In addition to getting my driver’s license, two super awesome things happened. First off, I learned to shoot a gun. My uncle, who is a firearms instructor where he works, taught me how. I was able to shoot several different guns and guess what??? I LOVED it!! It was so cool! Anyway, the second super awesome thing that happened was that my other uncle, Uncle Monty, took me on a ride around the block on his motorcycle. Actually, as he told me, “This isn’t a motorcycle. It’s a Harley!!” Did I like that too? You betcha!! Next time we go back, I want to go on a longer ride. Is that okay, Uncle Monty?

And we’re off!

Uncle Monty kept telling me as we were going around the bend, “Put your hands up! Put ‘em up!” I said, “But we’re turning.” He replied, “It’s okay! I’ve got you! Put your hands up! Higher. Higher!” SO I put ‘em up. :-D

So….that’s all I have from our trip home. In case if you haven’t figured it out yet, I REALLY love my whole family! And my church family and all my friends too. I love ALL Y’ALL so very much!

Much love to all,

Rachel