Monday, September 28, 2009

His Blessings Never Cease to Amaze Me

Where do I start with this story? the beginning, I guess....

Two weeks ago, I called my pharmacy to order another month's supply of Copaxone, the drug that I inject daily for MS. Lo and behold, the request was denied by my insurance company. ?!? Since one month's supply of this medication cost over $3,700.00 there is obviously no way that I'm paying out of pocket for this drug.

I called my insurance company to inquire as to why the medication coverage was denied and was told by a representative that I was in the system as being on Medicare Part A. And?! So?!...
...well, apparently, if I'm on Medicare Part A then Tricare (Brillo Man's retired military benefit health insurance) requires that I have Medicare Part B. I dropped part B when I went back to work because I was no longer on disability - therefore, I thought I didn't need it. Not.

Okay - so let me get back on Medicare Part B - what's the premium?, I'll pay it.
Can't do that - the open enrollment period isn't until January and even then the coverage won't take effect until July!

Okay - then let me withdraw from Part A. Can't do that either - it will stay on my record for at least two years (is this like a misdemeanor or something??!?!!) and if I voluntarily withdraw in the meantime then I will be required to PAY BACK to Medicare EVERYTHING for which they have paid since I originally went on disability (and Medicare) in 1996!!!! You've got to be kidding me!!! Nope.

Okay - there has GOT to be something that can be done here....

In the meantime, Brillo Man is livid and on the phone with a Tricare representative - ranting about how he served our country faithfully and how he expects that our government, in return, will take care of his family. At which point the representative reminded him that "Tricare is not health insurance, it's a government run health plan." (DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED!!!)

So - for the first time in my life, I currently have no health insurance. Great.
My medications alone would cost me $4000 per month. ....enter Giant Eagle Pharmacy - They just started a $4 prescription plan... blood pressure medicine will qualify. Now I just have to figure out how to get my Copaxone.

I called the Allegheny Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) --is there anything they can do to help?

They sent an email with a whole bunch of links to services - but I don't qualify for any of them.... okay... I just wait. Lord, this one is all yours....

Two days later I received a call from someone at the NMSS. There is someone who has a 30-day supply of's the number...give her a call.

I got on the phone and talked to Shirley - the most precious woman. She said that the medication belonged to her son who in addition to MS is suffering from terminal cancer. He has refused all medications and she doesn't want this supply to go to waste. Because we lived two hours apart, Shirley overnighted the medication to me and is refusing to allow me to reimburse her for the postage. She's an angel in disguise.

God is good - He has met my need - and I'm believing that I will have no need for any health insurance until we get this whole insurance mess straightened out. (By the way, someone at the Social Security office is now working to "push through" my enrollment since I went and paid the premium for Medicare Part should go into effect within the next few weeks and I won't have to wait until next July!)

Just when you think that it can't be fixed...God fixes it.

Please pray for Shirley and her son, Ken as he faces a huge battle ahead. God is able!

Movie Monday - Pirates Who Don't Do Anything

Friday, September 18, 2009

Today's Word: HUMOR!

Okay...where was in my "5 Word" thing?...Humor. What can I say about humor? I'm not feeling particulary humorous today.

I'm cheating - go here to watch this: Wedding Ceremony - My Waffle Wedded Wife I'm guessing you'll laugh. Or at least smile. I laughed. In fact, I laughed until I cried. I could be that bride. Well, no, I couldn't. I'm not that thin. But I can envision myself laughing like that should Brillo Man have made such a faux pas on our wedding day.

These things made me laugh today: I made up a little ditty song this morning when I woke Olivia up for school --reminding her of good bathroom goes something like this..."wipe, flush, wash, brush" (Trust me - it was funny.)

Bentley stood on the seat of the van whenever I got out to give Olivia a hug and kiss and put her on the school bus. What's so funny about that?...he honks the horn - over and over - beep - beep - beep - beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! (Good thing we live the in the country and have few neighbors to awaken!

I watched a recorded episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" and laughed at some who THOUGHT they could dance. Not.

Bentley is wildly dashing about the living room trying to catch a fly. He's been at it ALL day and hasn't caught the fly yet. I'm tempted to get the fly swatter, but that would mean Bentley would have nothing to chase and I would have nothing at which to laugh.

Olivia got off the school bus in crying hysterically because "Cassie told me that I can't be best friends with my best friend Krysta because Cassie said I can only have one best friend and she wants to be my best friend but she doesn't get it that I can have a bunch of friends and Cassie is just turning out to be something like a bully , I think! ....Can a girl be a bully?" (I was laughing - on the inside!!! - Olivia never knew I was laughing - but I was. Trust me.)

Humor - sometimes I don't take the time I should to appreciate the humor in life. I tend to take things way too seriously and often times I have to remind myself to lighten up. Because after all....a merry heart doeth good like a medicine! (Proverbs 17:22)

Gotta go get the fly swatter before Bentley drives himself nuts chasing that fly...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Word of the Day: Pennsylvania

Of all the places I've been in my life, I can honestly say that there's no place I'd rather live than here in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania. And I suppose it's good that I feel this way because I have lived nowhere else but Pennsylvania all my life. I've moved from one western Pennsylvania town to the next and I can say that I never tire of the magnificent beauty of our State.

We have the honor of being represented by the second star on our nation's flag - the second state to join the Union - beat out by Delaware - by only a day or two, I believe. (I never was very good at remembering historical facts!) And we've got Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was signed in Independence Hall. And of course, there's the Liberty Bell and the Betsy Ross House and many other great places to visit. If you haven't been and you ever have the chance - I recommend a visit to Philly. It's a beautiful city - filled with history and lots of ART! One of the most well-known sculptures, the original "LOVE" sculpture by Robert Indiana, makes its home in Love Park.

In the southwestern corner of the state is Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has been my home on more than one occasion. I lived in the suburbs there from a very young age through First Grade when my Father took a teaching job in New Castle. It was there that I lived the remainder of my growing up years in the house where my Mother still lives today. After college I got my first job in Pittsburgh - and it was then that I fell in love with that great city. There is so much to see and do there and it's a city with such diverse neighborhoods and culture that there is something sure to please everyone!

In northwestern PA, sits Erie - right on the shores of the great lake. I did my clinical internship in Medical Technology at Hamot Medical Center - its parking lot literally dipping into the bay of Lake Erie. It too, is a beautiful city and Presque Isle State Park is a great summertime destination for anyone who enjoys the beach.

Now I'm in Greenville - halfway between Pittsburgh and Erie. One of three 'Greenvilles' in the state. Why there are three towns in the same state with the same name is beyond me. The problem was that they didn't consult me before they named the town! At any rate, I wouldn't want to live anywhere besides where I am now living. We are blessed with a beautiful home which sits on a five-acre pond. The Great Blue Herons fish outside our backdoor each morning and the tree frogs, bullfrogs and crickets sing us to sleep each night. No matter where I travel - there's nothing that feels quite as nice as returning to our home in Pennsylvania. Dorothy said it best in The Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home!"

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young— a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
-Psalm 84:3

Tune in next time for Word #3

I'm playing along....

Okay - I'm always looking for new subjects about which to blog. Pat said she'd send the words - I would just have to do the writing about the words. Frankly, this would have been much easier had she just done the writing as well and then I could have just cut and pasted the whole thing into my blog. But something tells me she would not have complied.

So - here is my first word and what I have to say about it!


Music takes up a huge space in my heart. I wish I could say it takes up a huge space in my life but that's not the case any more. It all started when I was a kid. I took piano lessons for a few years - not nearly long enough. And I regret that I didn't stick with it and play longer because these days I do more 'plunking' than playing and I don't even do that enough. Our piano sits in the living room with more dust on the keys than fingers. I've threatened to find a teacher for Olivia --someday I will do just that.

I also play the guitar although not very well and I don't know many chords and find that it's far easier to slap a capo on the strings and change the key so that I can play the song in the chords I do know and still be able to sing in a range in which I'm comfortable rather than learn more chords. I think I know about five or six of them. Huge repetoire, huh? But it was enough to play every Girl Scout song known to man (and girl!) around the campfire. I spent a lot of hours playing and singing around many, many campfires. Good times!

Which leads me to the REAL big part of the love of music for me: singing. I love to sing! When I was a child, I often imagined myself as Julie Andrews twirling and singing on the mountaintops in The Sound of Music. If there was a choir, I was in it. My greatest accomplishment was trying out for the Eastern District Youth Chorale and actually making the cut! Yahoo! This choir was made up of kids from all over Pennsylvania and Delaware (The Eastern District of the Assemblies of God.) Sadly, I was unable to go on tour with them as our family just didn't have the money at the time to pay my expenses - but it was nice to know that I made it into this most auspicious choir! I had gained a new respect for myself as a singer and knew then that I was just as good as the people in our church who were often called upon to sing. And I did tour Pennsylvania with our church chorale during the bicentennial year - 1976 - that was a blast!! Visiting Philadelphia and seeing the Liberty Bell, going to Independence Hall, etc. was especially memorable during that year of our nation's celebration!

Since then, I have been privileged and honored to be part of the Praise Teams at two churches which I've attended in the past. I've been asked to sing more "specials" than I can count. And it's been such a blessing to be able to sing for the Lord!

These days, I'm no longer on a Praise Team as my church has no need for a new member. So my singing for the Lord is done mostly within the solitude of my van. I pop in a CD or turn on the radio and off I go down the road - singing at the top of my lungs - praising my God! An audience of One. That's the best!

Tune in tomorrow when I'll share my thoughts on Word #2.

My heart is steadfast, O God;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
-Psalm 108:1

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Today's happenings....

The girls are here - in from New York.
Olivia is THRILLED to see her sisters!
I'm thrilled to have a break from the constant chattering and boundless, endless energy that Olivia brings with her wherever she goes! Her sisters will be happy to entertain her for the next two days!

We will be picking up a small trampoline which we bought from our friends. Something else for Olivia's boundless energy!

So far, we're just relaxing and enjoying each other's company.

...just a lazy day here in the Erskine home!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Okay, so my sister has introduced me to this great website where you can list ten books or more and then start swapping with other people all over the United States (and its territories.) By the way...if you should happen to sign up to join this free website (all you pay is postage to swap any book - PLEASE enter my email address ( d_erskine[at] ) under the referral information so that I can get a credit for a free book!

Anyway...I've been doing a lot of reading. I have more time to do that since Olivia has started school again. In fact, I'm getting a lot more accomplished than I usually get accomplished now that she's in school --her room is almost clean - still sorting through some clothes and toys, items are being listed and sold on Ebay and I'm stacking wood! ahem. Again...I digress...

Two nights ago - I couldn't sleep. I started a book which I got from the swap entitled, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize - this novel is one in which you will be so drawn that you'll wish but hate for it to end. I could not put it down. I finished it before 24 hours was up and don't recall the last time I read a book in 24 hours or less. One reviewer said this (and I couldn't agree more:) "A work of such terrible beauty that you will struggle to look away. You will read on, absolutely convinced, thrilled, mesmerised."

As I am not the best at writing book critiques, I leave you with the following which I borrowed from another source. Read the book. It's a good one. All I can say is God help those who may have to endure what the characters of this book endure.

A man and a boy, father and son, "each the other's world entire," walk a road in "the ashes of the late world." McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, 2005) envisions a postapocalyptic scenario. Cities have been destroyed, plants and animals have died, and few humans survive. The sun is hidden by ash, and it is winter. With every scrap of food looted, many of the living have turned to cannibalism. The man and the boy plod toward the sea. The man remembers the world before; as his memories die, so, too dies that world. The boy was born after everything changed. The man, dying, has a fierce paternal love and will to survive--yet he saves his last two bullets for himself and his son. Although the holocaust is never explained, this is the kind of grim warning that leads to nightmares. Its spare, precise language is rich with other explorations, too: hope in the face of hopelessness, the ephemeral nature of our existence, the vanishing worlds we all carry within us. McCarthy evokes Beckett, using repetition and negation to crushing effect, showing us by their absence the things we will miss. Hypnotic and haunting, relentlessly dark, this is a novel to read in late-night solitude. Though the focus never leaves the two travelers, they carry our humanity, and we can't help but feel the world hangs in the balance of their hopeless quest. A masterpiece. -Keir Graff
(Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Party Rocks On!!

Part Two of WoodstAck: Olivia joins us.

Brillo Man and I accomplished a little before Olivia arrived home from school. Brillo Man loaded the wheelbarrow - pushed it to the stacking area and then I sat in a chair and stacked while he sat in another chair and rested. It was a team effort! The entire time I was pondering the comment that the driver made when he delivered the wood, "My Mom and I stacked a pile this big in two hours!" ...well, good for them. It will take us two weeks!!

"I told Olivia that we would pay her five cents for every piece of wood she stacked."
"What? We'll go broke!!"
"I doubt it."

"Olivia, Dad and I have decided that we'll pay you five cents for each piece of wood you stack. But you have to count by fives and you have to remember your final number." (Trying to sneak in some elementary math...)
"Okay, five, ten, fifteen, Bentley, go away, twenty, twenty-five, I'm taking a break now...(post break)...120, 125, 130. Okay. I'm done."
"I told you we wouldn't go broke."
One dollar and thirty cents. That's a lot of wood stacking!

Brillo Man decided that the garden cart and the wheel barrow needed air in the the tires, so he and Olivia hopped on the tractor and rode to the front of the house to get the air compressor from the garage. (See what happens when you get old?)

That cart rolls so much easier now. Just look at how fast Brillo Man is loading that wood!! ("Are we done yet?")

(Please note the ladder in the background is STILL LEANING on the side of the house --been there since that bird built the nest in the Spring...who wants to bet that it will still be there next Spring for the next nest??!?!!!)

Stay tuned for more coverage of WoodstAck...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

We're Havin' a PARR---TEEEEE!!

A wood stacking party....who wants to come?

That's a BIG truck!

Brillo Man can be seen escaping...he says "I'm gettin' outta the way!

Here it comes!

That truck was holding a LOT of wood!

It's almost over Brillo Man's head!

He says..."Let's go in the house and take a rest before we start!"

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The 1st Day of 2nd Grade

2nd Grade....already....

...where does the time go?...

...The bus is coming!...

...Hey! Don't I even get a hug?!