Monday, November 26, 2012

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Even though I never wrote you letters growing up, I am finding that I love doing this as an adult.  I love that you are a great embodiment of the ideals of kindness, generosity, grace, and hope.  You give kids hope that goodness and virtue are to be awarded, and I think we need more of that.

Getting older reminds me constantly of the desperate need of hope.  Hope for something better, for something to pull us through.  Having faith gives me hope that at the end of this life I will open my eyes to a real "happily ever after," but sometimes the day to day hope and joy and dreams get lost or broken in the shuffle.

This year, my 26th year, has been full of the unexpected, the unplanned, and disrupted, but also full of real joy and growth.  In looking back, I can see a couple of things that I wouldn't mind adding to my life, so here's my list this year:

  1. A new dream, please.  The past couple years were spent wrapped in a crazed hope and deep love for a man who chose to love someone else.  I am sure time will prove this to be the right course for both of us, but it's left me with an emptiness and loneliness that tend to make nights long and give me no true outlet for my heart.  Please, please bring me a new dream.
  2. Courage.  The word "cancer" rings through my head at least once a day and has me thinking about updating my will, fighting back tears, and wondering what I will do if that word truly attaches itself to my life come January...I would like the courage to face whatever comes next with true grace, gratefulness and dignity because...I am scared, and I don't want fear to win.
  3. The right plan.  I am tired of having no solid direction.  I just want this to be obvious.  Do I move?  To where?  When?  How?  Clarity in this would make all the difference.
  4. A ukulele.  I have wanted one for ages, and I just figure it's something that can make me smile even if I'm not good at playing.  I can definitely use something more to make cheerful, silly music with.
Thanks for reading this, Santa.  I know you're busy, and you've got lots of dreams and hopes and wishes to fulfill.  I wish you all the best for your work and Christmas.  Thanks for giving us all one more reason to smile and for lighting up the eyes of little ones everywhere.

With a cheerful heart & good wishes,
Jaymin

ps.  Could you also bring me some new purple pens?  My good one ran out of ink tonight.  Thanks, Santa.  Merry Christmas.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

So...Thanks...

Thanksgiving Table
Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I still want to say thanks.

This year's Thanksgiving meal was pretty traditional and pretty quiet.  My youngest brother, Joel is home from college for the weekend, and my brother, David and his sweet girlfriend, Kelsey came over.  It was nice to have all three of the boys under one roof for an afternoon and to be helping Mom in the kitchen.  The meal was, as always, fantastic.

I will always be grateful for the family meals we have together.  We always end up having strange discussions ranging from politics to books to cats to cooking and everything in between.  These dinners have somehow become a place of peace for us.  We sit together, we laugh together, and we are truthful about what we think.  They're a safe haven.  I am thankful for this.  I am grateful to be a part of a family that actually gets along most of the time, and even when we don't, we never stop loving each other and showing we love each other.  I have no idea how I was so blessed to end up here, but I would never want it any other way.

So...thanks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Certain

I wish I was certain.

God has been so fantastic to me, has blessed me with some much and through so many people in the past year, and has proven time and time again that his love, provision and timing truly are perfect.  It's not God that I am doubting today...it's me.

A friend of mine has found the man she believes she is going to marry.  She believes this more than just about anyone I've ever met, especially considering they're not even dating at this point, but she is certain.  I realized today that I am jealous of this about her.  She is convinced through and through that this is where her life is heading.  That it really is on course to join in life with this man she believes so much in, and that God is working to help her do this.  It amazes me every time we talk about it.

You'd think this would be something I would doubt, but somehow her certainty makes me believe this is actually possible.  The saying that "crazier things have happened" could very well be at play here.  It wouldn't surprise me anymore.  I hope she is right and that this is exactly what God is helping her head towards.  I hope this man is everything she dreamed of and more and that he sees her the same way.

I just wish I could be that certain.  Not just about a guy (although that wouldn't hurt my feelings at all), but about life.

Right now I am finding myself wondering what really comes next.  Ohio?  I'd like to think that's exactly where I am meant to be next, and that's where I intend to be in the spring, but what then?  Do I write?  Do I work at a pretzel place in the mall?  Do I do both and keep working towards something else?

I guess I'm just not sure what goal is worthy of my heart.  Perhaps it's the tired for being sick so often, from being sick again today, but it worries me that I am struggling to find a future to work towards.

My prayer is just to be able to see with clarity and find the joy.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

All I Say

Dear,

Hey...I want to apologize.  Lately, I've been sending you tones of texts, even when you can't/aren't responding.  I'm sorry if this makes you feel smothered or makes you wonder if I'm kind of a creep.  It's just, that, well, I trust you.

I know you may be sick of me.  I probably say too much between the texts, posts and letters, but sometimes I just need to get things out of my system.  You are my safe harbor, my sounding board, and when I find something beautiful and worth sharing; you are who I want to tell.

Hopefully the mix cds don't make you uncomfortable or bored.  Maybe they're not all the kind of music you'd typically pick, but they're the songs that write out my stories, letters, words to you, if you listen.

I'm sorry if I call the women you fall or care for idiots.  It just makes me crazy when you're chasing a girl who clearly can't see you like I do.  No woman alive is worth your time if she doesn't see how incredible you are.

Do you really realize how I see you?  I see you for the good you truly are, and the man you are working to become.  You are kind, brilliant, witty, honorable (even in unlikely circumstances), even poetic when you fight, interesting, musical, talented, inspiring, a romantic (to your very core), and incredibly handsome (even if you can't always see it).

You see, I adore you.  This is why you receive this insane plethora of words, ideas, secrets, hopes, and dreams whether they flow or not, because, I guess, my bigger hope is that you want to know my secret worlds as much as I want to know you, and I am sorry if this is not the case.

However you feel, I have never meant anything but the best for you, and I hope we can always joyfully be a part of one another's lives.  I will keep dreaming, and I will do my best to lift you up.

Even if I never get a chance to become a deeper part of your life, God put you in my life for good reasons, and I intend to cheerfully see it through.

With love,
J

Ps.  Did this just make it weirder?  Eh.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Today is Something Good

Today, despite my body's insistence that it heal slower than I'd like and my right ear's insistence in feeling mildly achy, has been beautiful.

Today, I ate peanut M&M's and they didn't make my stomach feel terrible.

Today, I found the water bottle I accidently (and partially due to lazy/tiredness didn't return to retrieve before) left at work in the exact spot I left it.

Today, I was paid today (not much, but something that will keep me afloat for a little bit longer).

Today, I paid my cell bill and realized I still have some money to start putting toward doctor bills.

Today, I spent a lot of time this afternoon watching the first season of SNL with my brother, Forrest today which gave me a lot to laugh at.

Today, I was told that my crush on Chevy Chase was perfectly reasonable.

Today, I got to spend some actual time reading a book that, despite being a dating book (The Ten Commandments of Dating by Ben Young & Dr. Samuel Adams), is actually causing me to look at my own outlook on life and start working toward real and healthy change.

Today, Jordan told me he has a new low horse named Cloudy O'Sanchez (I told you I would use it, and this isn't the end).

Today, I sang along to a mix I made myself to help get over someone, and found that it feels a lot more empowering and hopeful than it did at the beginning because now I can see that I'm actually healed up and heading forward.

Today, a box was delivered to my house (via my wonderful sister Amanda) full of love from some of my favorite Georgians.  The box included a shark hat Marcus and Regina found on their honeymoon, a book of devotions, a giftcard to Starbucks (YES!), eye shadow, sweet notes from people I love, an awesome new blanket, the bouquet I was supposed to carry for Marcus and Regina's wedding (which is now being displayed on my dresser right next the the bouquet I carried in Amber and Jake's wedding), and a sweet tote bag.  I feel so loved.

Today, I found out my wonderful Nikky, her sweet husband and my stud of a nephew made it back safely from their month-long trip to China.  I have missed them more than words can say.

Today, Amber gave me the recipe she used to make pumpkin pie smoothies, and I am not intending to make them in the incredibly near future.

Today, I bought pie crusts so that I can use this great fall weather to get some baking done.

Today, my mom came home from work and handed me to my own copies of both "Fletch" and "Sense & Sensibility."  They're on VHS, but I can work this that.  I'm excited.

Today, my mom also came home from work bearing the October Real Simple and "The North Avenue Irregulars" DVD which the library got for me through interlibrary loan (I love interlibrary loan, what a wonderful program).

Today, I spent a lot of time hearing our wonderful heater going on and off.  I do so enjoy the weather getting cooler and fall settling in.

Today has been beautiful and it has been easy to see God at work.  I hope your today has been something great for you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thanksgiving in the Months of August & September

August and September 2012 will be a months I never forget.  The whole of my summer was pretty intense and wacky, but I have to say the end of this summer may be what sticks out most.

You've probably read some of the insanity that's gone on in my life for the past couple of months, but what I am learning to focus on are the ridiculous number of things and people and situations that God has blessed me through.  This is my Thanksgiving summer.  Truly, my thanksgiving summer.

So here's what I'm thankful for (in no particular order):
  • My insanely supportive family who have done everything from visiting me in the hospital every evening I was there to making me tea to carrying things for me (which I'm still not allowed to do) to praying for me to making me laugh.  They're wonderful.
  • Giant water bottles I got at the hospital.  They're huge and they keep everything cold for a long, long time.  I love it.
  • Morgan Glawe.  Honestly, I can't thank her enough for her support, encouragement, book lending, gifts, and time.  Morgo, you make me happy.
  • Amber, Kimmieboo, Heather, Hilary, and Regina.  For the prayer, support, laughter, and for Hil busting me out of the hospital to bring me home.
  • My iPod (thanks, as always, Carson...this thing is fantastic and continues to survive so much).  It kept me sane several different nights at the hospital when the sounds and people in other rooms were too much for me to deal with anymore, and has been a wonderful thing to keep me sane here at home too.
  • Jordan Durham.  For reminding me that God always works for the good, telling me that I won't always need reminders to be patient, making me laugh, and being one of the best friends I have ever had.
  • The internet.  For allowing me to talk to Nikky even though she's been in China through most of the past month.  
  • Nikky Wu.  My best friend, for praying for me even when she was half the world away, for making me one of the best care packages I have ever received, and for always being, well...the BEST.
  • Kimzipan and Jay for bringing me the circle-a-word puzzle book, laughter, and magazine with Ryan Reynolds right there on the cover the night I got home from the second round of hospitalization (I am glad I have you in my life, and I'm glad you're together...it needed to be).
  • Foods that are healthy and still taste good which make dealing with pancreatitis and gall stones much, much easier.
  • My church families (IL, MI, OH, GA, MO, NB)...God continues to blow me away through your kindness, prayers, love, support, and generosity.
  • Hope.  I would not be able to do any of this without God constantly showing me that their is always hope.
  • Jake and Amber's continued love, support, and reminding me that I have a place to move into when I'm ready (and thanks for taking care of those couple boxes of books, I can't wait to live with them again).
  • Amanda and Rich.  For all the prayer and kind words on top of the sweet care package full of tea and joy and socks.  It meant the world.
  • Barf bags.
  • The insane flexibility of my office in working with my terrible health and crazy number of doctor's appointments.  This is terrible for me, but it's been no picnic for them either.
  • Having a fan next to my bed at night while here at home because I'm finding the sound gets me to sleep when nothing else seems to.
  • Kevin Rogers.  He may not know it (he may never know it really), but he made the day of my surgery, and going down for my surgery so much less scary.  I know this wasn't an insanely terrifying surgery and it's fairly common, but with everything else that had gone wrong lately...his belief that my surgeon was a good guy, making me laugh, and telling me it was all going to go just fine...I believed it.  I am forever grateful.
  • Texting.  I would have gone insane while in the hospital without it.  Well, without texting AND cable TV (the Travel and Food networks really are addictive).
  • Books.  I find myself reading a lot lately.  Fact and fiction.  I am grateful for every writer ready and willing to put pen to paper and tell us how the story goes.  I have needed that a lot lately for my little mental vacations (special thanks to Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer for writing both Agnes & the Hitman and Don't Look Down.  Please collaborate on many more books so I will have new favorites to read and new reasons to laugh; I need them).
  • Knowing I'm healing every day, even when I feel lousy.
  • Feeling that I am truly growing closer to God each and every day of this and finding that it's all worthwhile because of that.
Mind you, this is a very abbreviated list, but it's a start.  I am so thankful.  I hope Thanksgiving is something I can keep going in October too.  Let's see where God takes all of this.

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dear ------,

Being without you or your words, even for only two days, makes me crazy.  You're what keeps me smiling.  Sure, I hang out with friends and find ways to entertain myself, but I find that I miss you...

I hate that I can't find a way to tell you this.  I want to tell you I miss you, but I don't want to pressure you or scare you.

Sigh.

Love you,
Jaymin

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Something's Gotta Give (And I Think It's Me)

Today is nowhere close to over, and it already feels like both an eternity and a blink.

I went and saw the surgeon today.  My mom went with me (because she's wonderful) and as we were driving up we were talking.  I told her I had had a dream where Dr. Soni (my surgeon) told me that he didn't want to do surgery till after Christmas, and in the dream I had immediately wanted to kill him with his own surgical implements.

My mom laughed, but then turned very serious and said, "I do think we should be prepared for the worst."
"Like what?" I replied, "Like he won't let me have surgery until November?  I mean, you don't seriously think he'd wait till after Christmas...because if he did that, I might really have to kill him."
"No, no.  I don't think he'll wait that long, but it may not be as soon as you want. Or he may tell you that they want to drain that cyst before they'll do surgery..." she paused, and I knew exactly where she was heading. "I know you really didn't like it when they talked about having to drain that before.  Especially since you know that means-"
"I know what it means, but they would have to knock me out or something.  There is no way I would let them do that with me conscious.  I would have to kill them if they did that, or at least hit someone in the face," I said to cut her off.  I didn't want to be thinking about the fact that them draining this cyst could very well mean that they would probably have to stick a great big needle in my stomach to drain the cyst.
"Maybe, but we just have to realize that this may not be something easy and that they may have options of how you can go about doing this."

This lead into a glorious conversation where I cried a lot because all I really want to do is move to Ohio.  I have been planning this move for the past several months.  I have been looking forward to moving in with Jake and Amber all this time, and had told my office that I would be leaving at the end of September.  I would be heading out and starting over and possibly actually proving to myself that I am, in fact, a real adult. Instead, things are being pushed back.  I will still move in with Jake and Amber, but now I have no firm ideas of when I will be healthy enough to move.  And this is what I told Mom.  I don't understand God's timing.  I know it's good, and that He's got better timing and plans than I have, but sometimes that doesn't make it easier, when all the plans and dreams you have been building towards feel like they're unraveling.  Especially when you already feel like you're a bit of a failure as adults go.

My wonderful mother told me that I was not a failure as an adult or otherwise.  That I am capable, that this will still work out, and that it may seem scary, but facing our fears helps us grow.  Not only do we grow, but sometimes facing those fears leads to even better things.  She told me she and my dad believed in me, and that they may not be able to always fix things, but they would never always do whatever they could to support me.  Things would work out.  God won't let me fall.

I don't know if you know this, but my parents are phenomenal people.

We finally got up to the surgeon's, and I went in and paid an exorbitant fee (because I am insane and did not get myself insurance the moment I turned 26) and signed papers and showed them my photo idea (apparently to prove that I am the only lunatic named Jaymin Cheatwood who would show up and pay a ton of money to have a surgical "consult").  Then we waited.  Sometime after I was supposed to actually have my appointment, a very sweet nurse named Maria came out and got me.

She did an initial couple of tests, weight, and had me reexplain how the heck I had gotten myself to the point of a surgical consult.  Then she told me Dr. Soni would be in shortly.  Another ten minutes or so pass, and then, lo and behold, who should appear but Dr. Soni (with his insanely long eye lashes, and incredibly messy hair, perhaps we wore a hat to work?) with Maria again to take notes.

After about 30 seconds of him poking around at my abdomen, he told me that he wanted to schedule me for another CT scan, and that he wanted me to see Dr. Ikenberry (the gastroenterologist).  He also wanted me to come back and see him after the CT scan.  He told me he really doesn't believe that the spots on my liver are cancer, but they'll still need to look at them again.  He also wants to see if the psuedocyst is going down at all and to make sure my pancreas is doing alright.  He said he really doesn't want to do surgery until the psuedocyst goes down a bit more (or they'll go in if I end up very sick), and if it doesn't, they'll have to go in and drain it.  Then he asked if I had any questions.  I really didn't.

My mom asked about recovery time from having my gall bladder removed.  He said he really didn't want to talk about the surgery and recovery time until we set up the actual procedure.  Dr. Soni seems to think that in roughly a month, when I see him next, that he'll be able to tell us more about all of that and get everything lined up.  He said they'll set up the CT scan for me, to make the appointment with Ikenberry, and that he'd see me in a month.

I spent less than 7 minutes will him, for a truly ridiculous price.  All this better be worth it.

So we left and headed home.  I told Mom that I had no idea how to feel about all of this.  Yes, they think I am healing, but I still have no idea when I'll get to have surgery.  This means I still have no idea about anything else too.

No idea when I will be feeling better.
No idea when I will get to move to Ohio.
No idea how I am going to pay for all of this.

No idea.

Mom handed me her phone and had me call Dad to tell him how things went, and as I am in the middle of telling him how frustrated I was that I paid a ridiculous (at least to me) sum of money to see a doctor that told me mostly what I had already heard, but not anything closer to me having surgery, and that I'd see him for maybe 7 minutes...Dad stops me and says, "I put $75 in your account."  He goes on to tell me that a beloved cousin had asked him to deposit money into my account to help with my expenses in all this.  I thanked him for the good news, told him I loved him, and got off the phone.

I ended up crying for the next 10 or so minutes.  I was just so overwhelmed by the love and kindness of someone who I already adore and respect so much...God's timing really is perfect.

I still don't know a lot of things about my future, immediate or otherwise, and I am still incredibly frustrated at some of this because I still don't feel like I have answers for something that should be so simple, but at the same time I know this: I am so blessed.

God is using the people I love and respect, along with acquaintances and a couple of strangers to show me that He loves me, and that He's got this under control.

Something's gotta give, obviously, and it needs to be me.

So here's my white flag God.  I surrender.  You've got to take care of this because clearly I cannot.



One last thing because I haven't done one any time recently, here is a list.

Favorite Things of This Very Moment (3:25 pm CST):

  • Kleenex
  • My Hawaiian Breeze fan
  • Writing thank you notes
  • Tall glasses of ice water and lemon
  • The bracelet Nikky made me at FUEL this year which I have been wearing all day
  • Mom's pep talks
  • My dad
  • Sleeping kitties (who are NOT on the table this time)
  • Surprises

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Things are Getting Better

Today I had my check up with my primary doctor.  I have never in my life needed to use the term primary care physician until the past three weeks, and suddenly it's become an incredibly normal term.  As I said, today I had a check up.  I was told by the floor doctor at Swedes that he wanted me to see my primary care physician about a week after I was sent home from the hospital just to check in and make sure things were going smoothly, and he also wanted me to have some blood drawn so they could run a couple tests.  I was not excited about the labs, but I scheduled the appointment like he had asked.

I got up this morning, and my mom and I went to the doctor.  (Now that I think about it, I am realizing I haven't driven in at least three weeks...I hope I remember how after all of this is over...)  I'm not sure what all I was expecting, but I was a little nervous.  After going a full week without having anyone stabbing me with a needle, I was not looking forward to having to do that again.  I have a sincere phobia of needles, and though it's gotten a tiny bit better because I had to have blood drawn so regularly at the hospital, I am still pretty terrified of them.

Thankfully, my favorite nurse, Susan, was there to take care of me this morning.  She asked how everything was going, and could tell simply by how I was walking and talking that I was feeling quite a bit better.  I had quite a shock when she weighed me: I have lost 16 lbs since I initially got sick a couple weeks ago.  I don't recommend severe pain, gall stones and pancreatitis as a way to lose weight, but this is still probably good for me.  The low-fat heart-healthy diet is doing it's job too, so I am looking at this as the one benefit of all this insanity.

When Susan got me into the actual room for my check up, she asked about the medications I was on, and I told her I was on some painkillers and omperazole (which takes care of the acid levels in my stomach, which is a huge help and keeps me from wanting to throw up).  I told her I was down to my last pain pill, and that the one really bad thing about this was that the painkillers have been what's helping me actually sleep at night.  She looked a me and said, "There's no shame in asking him to refill that order.  You don't need to be in a lot of pain."  She ended up telling my doctor that I should get a refill, and, glorious day, I ended up with the pain meds I need so I can sleep at night while I'm still healing.  I am so grateful for that.  I don't take them much during the day anymore, but at the end of the day, when I am worn out, everything hurts.  This will make life much easier and help me keep healing.

Dr. Breck came in shortly there after, and I asked him if he had seen my MRI results yet because I still hadn't seen them.  He was pretty surprised by that, but pulled them up right away and explained everything to Mom and I.  I told him how frustrated I was with the doctor's I met at the hospital and how no one had told me what the MRI had said or answered my questions clearly, so he cleared a lot of things up.  The best one was him explaining why every doctor that came in said the word "cancer."  The gastroenterologist (GI) doesn't believe that I have cancer.  He thinks what the radiologist (who read the MRI and got the whole cancer mess started) thought was cancer is simply an ongoing issue caused by the pancreatitis and gall stone/bladder issues.  This is the same thing that Dr. Breck thought and had talked to me about with ultra sound back at the beginning of this.  It was wonderful to hear him say that it really doesn't look like any of this could be cancer, but instead that everything can pretty much be traced back to issues we are already working on healing.  I still do have to go back and see the GI doctor and have another CT scan (blah) just to make sure everything with my pancreas is going alright and to see how my liver is doing at that point.  Hopefully when I see him in a couple more weeks he will have good news for me.

I also got a work release notice, so tomorrow I get to go back to work for a couple of hours.  Dr. Breck said I just need to make sure I take care of myself and don't wear myself out too bad.  Thankfully my job is pretty low pressure, and tomorrow I will mostly be getting envelopes ready for statements and getting a little reconciliation done (yes, I already called the office and got this set up).  It will be nice to feel like my life is a little closer to normal.

Dr. Breck is a wonderful doctor, and I am so grateful that I am here instead of anywhere else dealing with this.  It would probably be very hard to have my questions answered otherwise.

The labs weren't too bad either.  Dr. Breck's office has a wonderful lab tech named Terry.  Mom and I went in so I could have blood drawn for a couple tests that will just let them know that my blood sugar levels are normal and my kidneys are functioning just as they should among other things.  Terry knows exactly how much I hate needles, but she found a vein without any trouble, only stuck me once, and I barely felt it.  She kept asking me questions about my surgeon and this whole situation until she was done, and told me to make sure I don't let the surgeon get away without answering all my questions when I see him next week.  She was wonderful and made the whole process a lot less scary then it normally is.  I am grateful.

I had several people praying that today's appointment and labs would go smoothly, and they did.  I am grateful, and God did all that I asked of him and more today in this.  Things are definitely getting better.

Why my Mom is the Coolest

A picture of my mom from a couple winters ago.  My dad took this.
My mother's birthday is today.  Because I have been sickly and have barely left the house in weeks, I do not have a gift for her yet, but I will be writing her a lovely card this afternoon before she and my dad get back from running around Rockford for her birthday.

My mother is amazing.  This summer she has shown that again and again and again.  Don't get me wrong, I have always been amazed by my mother and have felt God has blessed me with the best mom in the world, but this summer, as you have heard, has been a bit of a crazy one for me.  During all of this, she has never failed to lift me up, pray for me, and do all that is within her power to help me out.  My mom is an incredible woman.

I have been thinking about that a lot today, for obvious reasons, and I thought I would share with you some of the reasons my mom is so incredible (these are in no particular order):

  1. She is always there for me.  Through everything I have dealt with this summer, be it boy trouble (there's been a lot of that), physical pain, financial worries, lots of crying, frustration, sickness, and anger...she has never left me or failed to listen.
  2. She always finds the time.  As you can imagine, me being as sick as I am (and have been), there have been a lot of appointments and tests to go to.  My mom has never once complained about having to drive me anywhere, and she's had to take off a lot of work to take care of me.  She even drove me to an appointment this morning and went with me in to see the doctor and to the lab when I had to have blood drawn.  She never fails to make time for me when I need it, even if that means postponing something she had planned to do.  She is wonderful.
  3. She always makes me laugh.  There has been so much in the way of stress and worry and...well...bad feelings this summer, but in spite of all of those things, my mom always makes me laugh.  It could be because we have the same morbid, twisted sense of humor, but she always finds a way to make a bad situation (no matter how bad) seem hilarious exactly when I need her too.  It always makes life easier to handle when you can find something to laugh about, and she really helps with that.
  4. She helps me see where God's at work.  Today on the way back from my doctor's appointment, my mom pointed out the beauty of the timing for all of this to happen.  Sure, there's never really a good time for your body to decide that it hates you, but honestly, the timing could have been so much worse.  I was still at home, so my family could support me and help take care of me.  I am working for a company that was willing to be understanding of my predicament and let me come back to work even though I've missed so much time.  My mom is working for a company run by a wonderful woman who is friend's with our family and was more than willing to let my mom off or move her hours around so she could help me with whatever I needed.  There's been so much lately that God's done that I may not have seen if it hadn't been for her helping me see it.
  5. She loves me so much and tries to make sure I never forget it or doubt it.  My mother is, and always has been, an incredible mom.  She takes the time, does the little things, pays attentions, is always willing to help, prays, helps me to understand all this complicated medical junk, and always tells me she loves me.  She is a great mom.
  6. She always fights for me.  There have been many times over the past few weeks that I have been scared or confused or didn't know what to ask anymore, but my mom has been willing to step in and help me ask the questions I didn't have the strength to ask or to fight for whatever I needed from my doctors.  She has always been willing to stand up for me when I needed it, but I don't know if I have ever appreciated that as much as I do now.  I could not have done a lot of this without her help.
God has really blessed me with a wonderful woman of God as my mother.  She is amazing, and I truly hope that as I get older I become more and more like her.  

Happy birthday, Ma.  I love you, and I hope you never question that.  May this be a fantastic birthday for you, and I hope that there are many more beautiful years ahead.  You're wonderful.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

God's Got This

I've been thinking the past couple of days about a lot of different things.

God has been very at work in my life and my heart.  I know he's always there, but sometimes I let life get busy enough that I forget to see where he's at work.

As I told you in a previous post, I've been very sick.  It's been a very challenging summer, but the past couple of weeks have been the worst.  I let go of someone I loved, my body betrayed me, and I thought I was going to have to put aside my dreams yet again.  It was tough and it was terrifying, but God works for the good of those who love him, and he tends to take all those things that I don't understand and untangles them.

I've spent a lot of time asking God to take from me my unbelief and help me see his faithfulness and love.  I've spent a lot of time reading my Bible and asking God to help me see the light at the end of this tunnel.  It's been a rough couple of weeks.

The beautiful thing is, God came through for me.  He always does.  He showed me that I am so loved.  I've had people I never expected to care ask about me, pray for me, get their whole church to pray for me, and ask if they could do anything to help.  He let one test lead to another to help my doctors figure out what was causing the real and worst part of my pain, and they're helping me fix this issue.  He's given me amazing friends who call and text and visit and encourage me.  He's shown me just how incredible my family is through their concern, the little acts of kindness, the phone calls, the texts, and my immediate family's willingness to eat a low-fat heart-healthy diet (even though I think they would prefer to eat normal food most of the time) without any real complaints.  I've gotten all kinds of cards and words of kindness.  The support is overwhelming.

picture by C. Ballard & J. L. Montgomery
I spoke to my office yesterday and was told that as long as my doctor says it's okay on Thursday, I can come back to work as early as Friday.  I would get to work however long I felt I could handle, so I won't have to worry about making myself overly tired.  This means I'll be able to earn a paycheck again, and that will give me a great deal of peace.  It still won't cover everything, but it will do a good deal to make me feel more at ease about the whole situation.

This also helped me see that though it may take a little longer than I wanted it to or hoped it would, I will still get to go to Ohio.  I am not going to have to abandon my dreams.  God will get me there, and Amber and Jake have been wonderful about keeping me excited.  Amber keeps talking about the things we'll do when I get there.  I need to pick a paint color for my room, and soon we'll be learning to knit and cooking together and trying to be a bit healthier about everything.  I will get to see Nikky and Yan and Conor on a regular basis.  So many people I love and so many things to look forward to.  My dreams are still going to come true.  God isn't asking me to give up my dreams, but to trust him with them.  I think I'm slowly learning to let him handle this.

And yes, I did give up someone I love, but I am learning, I can still wake up every morning and find the good in the day.  He was my world once, but he isn't anymore.  God's got my heart, and he's healing it quite nicely.  Better things are yet to come, and I'm going to trust God that some day in the not too distant future I will find myself in love with someone who won't walk away, but instead will love me right back.

God's got this.  It amazes me.  Despite all the craziness, I am falling more in love with God and life every day.  Today will be beautiful.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Saga: Blessings & Curses

Underwater Leaves by Jon H. Cheatwood
It's been a little while since I've written anything, and this time I actually have a valid excuse.  I have been (still am) incredibly sick.

About three weeks ago I scheduled a doctor's appointment because someone finally suggested that all the pain I was having, that I had been thinking were just crazy muscle spasms due to all the issues I had been having with my sciatic nerve, were actually being caused by my gall bladder.  So I called the doctor and made the appointment.

The next night I found myself up at 1:30 in the morning feeling like death.  I ended up ending an 18 year streak of not throwing up that night.  I started throwing up at 1:30 in the morning and didn't stop till probably 9 or so in the morning.  Anyone that knows me that throwing up is right up on the scale with needles as far as things that I both hate and am terrified of.  It was a horrible night.

I ended up moving up my appointment to that afternoon, and after speaking to my doctor, he got me some anti-nausea medication called Zofran (which is typically used for cancer patients going through Chemo, if that tells you anything about how lousy I was feeling) and set me up to get an ultra sound of my gall bladder, liver and pancreas.

So I spent the weekend feeling like I was dying, and ended up having to get off the Zofran because I had a really weird reaction to the medication.  That made life exciting.  My dad got to watch me completely fall apart because when I called the doctor's office to ask about the meds they told me I should go to the ER, and that scared me.  My dad, instead, had me call one of my best friends, Heather, who is going to nursing school to talk about the whole thing.  She helped me figure out some meds I could take to keep my stomach in check until I could actually talk to my doctor.  It made a huge difference in my outlook and helped me calm down exponentially, though she probably didn't realize that at all (thanks, Heather, you're the best).

My folks left to go shopping and I took a long nap.  When I woke up, my folks were back and my wonderful father had a gift for me: neon colored socks with hearts all over them.  They were perfect.  My mom told me later that when he saw them he told her he was going to buy them because he was hoping they would make me smile.  They hadn't seen me smile much in about 3 days at that point.  The socks worked.  They were so bright, and they were from my dad.  It was hard not to smile about something so sweet and small.  My dad is the best.

The rest of the weekend was pretty lousy because I was in so much pain.  Thankfully I didn't throw up anymore after that first night, but eating became really hard to want to do at all.

Tuesday I went and had my ultra sound.  Wednesday I found out I needed to have a CT scan because they had seen a couple spots on my liver that they couldn't identify, and they had seen gall stones, so I was going to need to have my gall bladder removed.  I was also told I needed to have a follow up appointment with my doctor so that I could be checked out after having the bad reaction to the Zofran.

I spent all Wednesday on the phone trying to get everything lined up to get my surgery done and the CT scan scheduled.  It was a nightmare because the surgeon couldn't see me until September 10th.  When you're in that much pain, all you end up doing is crying.  Or at least I did.  Between the price of all this and the length of time and all the tests and the fact I needed more tests because something else was wrong...it was a long day.

Thursday, Joel moved to Augustana for his freshman year of college.  I slept most of the day away.  I am so proud of Joel.  Honestly, what an awesome brother!

Friday, I went to the doctor and he explained that they wanted to get a better look at my liver because he just wanted to make sure everything was okay.  There was a very small chance the spots could be cancer, but he didn't believe they were dense enough.  After talking to him I felt much better, and he explained everything with the gall bladder, and told me I was fine after the Zofran.

I spent the weekend feeling sore, but feeling a little more hopeful.  Not only did I have the CT scan on Monday, but my doctor had gotten me in to see a surgeon that next Wednesday so I was moving along much better.

I don't know if you've ever had a CT scan, but the junk they make you drink is lousy.  I got lucky and they premixed it for me and it was an orange flavor that wasn't too bad.  It just has a really weird consistency, and you're not allowed to eat or drink anything for something like 14 hours prior to your scan, so I spent a lot of time wishing I could drink water.  And hoping I would never ever ever have to have another one of these.

The CT scan itself wasn't too bad except that I had to have an IV for it.  Thankfully I had a really wonderful nurse who made absolutely certain she could find a vein, and it was the least painful needle experience I have ever had.  She was really great.  It made life a lot less scary.

I was thrilled when we were done at the hospital and I got to come home and sleep.  Life was going alright.  I was hurting, but not too worried.  Then...my doctor called.  He said there was something wrong with my pancreas and that he wanted me to go to the ER.  He said he was going to call ahead so they would be expecting me.  Then he said he was going to call my mom.  I got off the phone with him and started crying and couldn't stop.  I didn't want to go to the ER or have anymore needles or have anyone else poking at me or have anymore tests done.  I wanted to take a nap.

But naps were not to be.  Not yet.

My mom came home and drove me up to the ER.  Thankfully I was smart enough to pack up my favorite blanket, toiletries, my Bible, iPod, my phone charger and a book.  I had a feeling they weren't going to let me leave which just scared me more.  Hospitals have always freaked me out, so this was a terrifying experience to walk into.

My dad met us at the hospital.  He said the ladies at work had kicked him out of the bank when he told them I was going to the ER.  I'm glad they sent him.  He made things seem a lot less scary.  I ended up in the ER for roughly 6 hours from the time I checked in at the desk until they finally told me they were going to send me up to a real room so they could do some observation.  They had determined that I have something called a psuedocyst on my pancreas which just means there is a pocket of water that has formed between my pancreas, the wall of my abdomen and my stomach.  It's causing a lot of pain, and my pancreas was swollen and they wanted to check on that.  The whole time I was in the ER I was told I couldn't drink anything because of the tests they were running on the blood they had already drawn (did I mention how much I hate needles, especially when I am already feeling sick to my stomach?).

They got me upstairs and checked in around 11 pm.  The room was nice, and my nurses were wonderful.  They told me I still couldn't have anything to eat or drink, but one of my nurses' told me she would bring me ice chips.  She was wonderful, and they made all the difference, especially since I was still pretty dehydrated from having to fast for the CT scan that morning.  My folks stayed with me until about 11:30 when I told them to go home because they had to drive home separately and they both needed to go to work in the morning, and they both looked like they were going to fall asleep.

As I said, my nurses were great, but one of them did draw blood at 4am.  Again, I am TERRIFIED of needles.  It was not a great experience.  It became the first of many, many times I would have blood drawn.  I ended up having an MRI that day (Tuesday) as well because they wanted another look at my liver.  As of now (almost a full week since the MRI), I still don't know what the results were.

I spent from Monday night till the early part of Thursday afternoon in the hospital.  During that time, I had my blood sugar taken at least twice a day.  My fingers have just recently healed, although I can still see where they pricked my fingers.  I got really good at dealing with that.  My nurses knew how freaked out I was by needles, so they talked through the whole process which did wonders.  They learned to do the same thing when they were drawing blood.  They also got use to me crying.  I did a pretty good job of holding it together, but when you're exhausted and on a lot of medication and scared because every doctor that comes in gives you little to nothing in the way of explanation as to what is happening to you and keeps throwing out the word cancer like it's no big deal...you end up a little rattled and terrified and emotional when they tell you they're going to take blood for roughly the 8th time in three and a half days and no one seems to know what they need all this blood for.  They did tell me that I have pancreatitis and that they couldn't do any surgery on my gall bladder until my pancreas heals a little bit.

They still haven't told me what's going on with my liver, but I was told I need to have yet another CT scan in roughly a month.  I hate CT scans.  I never want to have another one, but hopefully my regular doctor will be able to tell me why this is necessary and what the heck my MRI results were.  I just need to understand what is going on, and doctors at the hospital are pretty worthless for that.  Well, that's not entirely true, the doctor that takes care of the whole 9th floor at Swedes was pretty nice.  He tried to answer my questions and was very kind, but I still hated that whole process.  It was scary all the time.

The good parts of being in the hospital (because there are some): all of the nurses were wonderful.  They showed up as soon as I needed them and would do everything in their power to make my life easier.  They were wonderful angels.  I had some great visitors.  Morgan and Adam came to visit me on Tuesday and sat with me for a couple of hours.  Morgan brought me this adorable bright colored and crazy patterned frog and a big "Get Well" balloon.  It was beautiful and the nurses all loved it.  It brought a lot of color to my room, and it was much in need of that.  Kayla sent me the first of the Hunger Games books and a note.  I got a couple notes, several phone calls, and my family came up every evening to sit with me and bring me whatever I needed.  Kathie and Hilary came on their lunch break on Wednesday which was really nice and completely unexpected.  Broke up a very gray day that I was very tired of.   Morgan brought our friend Alyssa and her little girl Kaylee up on Wednesday night (I think), and Kaylee ended up loving my dad.  Morgan brought me more books.  Morgan was been my angel in all of this.  Such an awesome friend.

Thursday they sent me home with some pain meds and a prescription to help with the pancreatitis.  I was so excited to be home and away from needles.  I have bruises all over my arms from needles.  I still hurt, but I am healing.  I spent the whole weekend taking a lot of naps, and doing a lot of nothing.  I am now on a low-fat heart-healthy diet until I get my gall bladder out, and my wonderful family are all participating in this with me.  They make my life so much easier.

Jay came to visit me on Friday night, and that was great.  He had a lot of things dumped on him because all of this still has me extremely stressed out.  Especially everything with my liver and the fact that I have no idea how I am going to be able to financially recover from all of this (and yes, I HAVE applied for assistance through the hospital).  I am grateful for his willingness to listen, and deal with my fears.  He's a good man.

Sunday, my family didn't want to wake me up to go to Sunday School, and I ended up waking up just before church was supposed to start, so I missed church.  I have every intention of being back next weekend.  My mom said she just couldn't justify waking me up when she knows I need the sleep to heal, and I have just started sleeping through the night.  The amazing thing  was that I got a big envelope full of get well letters from my kids in my Sunday school class and my fellow teachers.  The cards were beautiful, even if the glue was still wet on some of them, and I loved every single one of them.  My class is wonderful.  It made my day.

I slept through a lot of yesterday afternoon, and slept pretty well last night.  I am going to be calling my office tomorrow and see if there is a way I can come in part time for awhile.  Hopefully things will go well, and I will get to actually do some work.  It would be nice.  I could make a little money, and then come home and take naps like I need.

Anyway...I go to the doctor, as I said, on Thursday for a check up (maybe I didn't say that...this is a long post, it's hard to remember anymore) and to have a couple tests run to make sure everything is healing smoothly.  I met my surgeon while I was in the hospital.  I am sure he's an excellent surgeon, but he seemed a bit like a cold hearted weasel as well, so I'm not terribly excited about going to him for my consult.  On the other hand, if I go in on the 5th and he tells me they want to do surgery soon, he may be my new best friend. I just want to get this thing out of me and keep healing.

Please keep praying about all of this, and I will attempt to do a better job of keeping you posted on what is going on.  Life is a bit of a crazy mess, but God is definitely showing me again and again how blessed I am with the amazing people I love and who love me.  I'll get through this.

I love you.  Thanks for being there.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Not Dead Yet, Heart's Still Beating


Ah, such a fool I am.
Such a fool.

Heart, picked apart
the pieces strewn across the floor
That's what I have been 
waiting on
but this is new
different.

This heart is in a million pieces
But this heart is beating 
held together.
Tied together,
held in place

Love hasn't left me yet.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

One Last Week: Take It All

Ah, Life...

A week from today the man I genuinely thought I would one day marry is going to marry someone else.  Not only that, but the girl he is marrying makes his entire family and all his friends horribly nervous.

Believe it or not, I had been doing a fairly good job of keep it together.  I had been moving forward, I had begun to truly pull my heart away and started seeing possibilities and hopes in other realms entirely.  I had gotten good at pretending that my heart wasn't screaming, and I had realized that this man that I loved was no longer the man I had met.  No longer the man who was my best friend, but someone new.  Someone different.  Someone I no longer wanted to love or be a part of, and that had really helped.

But then I went to FUEL.  FUEL itself was a beautiful thing (more on that later), but there I had to spend each day confronted with this reality.  Spent my week with his beautiful sister, with her boyfriend, with his brother and sister-in-law, with his aunt, with many of our mutual friends, and several of his cousins.  Somehow...in the midst of all of this, in the midst of the crazy and the storm and the change and the hopes and new desires, my heart went back to screaming.  It started when his sister told me, for the first time, that she really didn't want this to happen.  How could I have been so blind to this?  I have wished so many times in the past few days that I had known this before.  That maybe I hadn't been so wrapped up in my own pain and frustration to never ask her how she felt.  I may not do a good job fighting for myself, but I could have fought for his sister's heart.  It would have been easier to ask him to please, please talk to her about this whole situation because I could see this was breaking her heart.

Over and over again this week I realized how stupid it was that I wasn't completely honest with him when he asked the first time.  Why didn't I tell him exactly what I thought of his dating this girl?  Why didn't I tell him that I really was heart broken because he had walked out on me when I needed him?  Why didn't I tell him that this girl made me nervous and I thought she was after him simply because I think she believes he has money and he looks insanely like her ex-boyfriend?  He deserved better than that.


He deserved someone who would tell him exactly how incredible he really was.  How just looking at him made me smile, how his voice was my favorite in the world, how musical his laugh was, how he made me want to be something busy, how smart he truly was, how talented he was with an instrument he picked up, how much his paintings deserved to recognized, how much his family adored him, how blessed he was, and how much good could be seen in him.

There was a time where this man felt like an extension of my beating heart, but now he's become a stranger.  This breaks my heart.

A week from today, he will marry another girl.  He'll leave on his honeymoon, and I will have to learn to switch over my heart and start praying that their relationship actually lasts instead of crashing and burning like everyone seems to be afraid will happen.

And then I will learn to live a different life again.  God help me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tangible

Tired. So tired.
How can I be so wonderful
when every man goes to someone else's arms
Dear friend, wonderful, lovely
All have kind words
All seek my grace and help
I am sought for hope, for encouragement, advice
but never pursued or loved
You can't hurry love, right?
You just have to wait
So blessed, but still wanting more
My heart longs and breaks for
something tangible to hold

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Miles of Night




My heart spans the miles tonight
heat rises off the pavement
drinking in the humidity
I find myself missing
every hot Georgia day...

The crickets and locust join
in the chorus
singing songs of heat and long summer nights
the farm still overlooking the ponds and the trees
knowing Grandpa's farm breakfast lay in wait

Or the stars twinkling
pulling me towards
a summer love spent
kissing on my front porch
and watching the stars twinkle

Or maybe July nights spent
singing and laughing and falling in love
with each new friend

But the truth and time find me
in the space between
two fans, my heart, and you

The future is still a MadLib
I see you smiling as we begin
to fill in the blanks

Monday, June 25, 2012

Where Have All the Wizards Gone?

A Jennie Lee Montgomery photo...is she not amazing?

As you may have noticed, I added a terribly cheesy off-the-cuff bit of poetry...

I use to be a writer.
A good one.
A good one becoming better every day.

Now, I'm a girl watching lightning bugs.  Watching the light fade behind the trees and wishing I could be part of the melting colors of the sky or the faded twinkle of the stars playing peek-a-boo with the night sky.

I miss writing poetry with real feeling, but I think I'm out of practice.

Tonight is a lot of cheerful hope mixed with underlying sadness for front porch talks gone by.

Nights like this make me miss Zuni's poetry and magic.  Few people have ever inspired me the way he did, and I miss that sense of wonder, talking in code, coming up with metaphors to describe love, and the advice.  More than anything I miss the advice.

Where have all the wizards gone?

Those wizards that could bring to life your idea or breath fire and light into the heart of you?  Spark magic into life?

I was never afraid when I had words of comfort, laughter, and hope to lean on.  I miss the reassurance that I was something perfect and magical myself.

Years of my life have changed much and much remains the same.  My heart bears more scars, but I look at them with a great deal more kindness than I thought I would ever have the grace to.  I love that they all tell stories of my greatest attempts...even if some were failures.

I fall in love with everyone I meet, and now I am at peace with this.  Someday it will not be love felt alone.

I need you so much closer...I need you so much closer...I need you so much closer

Lost in a Forest of Roses


Lost in a forest of roses
laying down beneath the buds
I stare up into the blooms
finding each is bright
each its own

They remind me of the ones
I have loved
Each man undoubtedly beautiful,
strength shown in their stance
But oh...the thorns

Thorns are unavoidable
maybe the pain caused
makes the rose (man) seem
more beautiful
to me

Gazing at these roses,
I find myself wondering
how many I will see
bloom and grow before my eyes
How many more will I give away?

Maybe I'm mixing metaphors
or similes, I couldn't say
Maybe it's silly to say 
or silly to ask
But I still wonder...


When
will 
the rose
be
for me?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Today is the First Day of my (Summer) Life

Ah, Summer.  You have returned to claim us again.

It is still warm, but not insanely hot like it has been for the past three days.  Seems kinda hilarious actually that it was so painfully, recordbreakingly hot for the last three days of Spring, and now it has dropped about ten degrees.  Not that I'm complaining.  Oh now, this weather is delightful and can stay or even continue to drop as far as I am concerned.  I'm better in cooler weather anyway.

But God's got this.  The weather is delightful.  The sunshine is making everything feel glorious and the breeze makes everything seem worthwhile.  The flowers are blooming, my brothers are working on a variety of things like resumes and thank you notes, and I am contemplating life in general.  I should probably be making a return phone call to the wonderful guy that called me earlier, but a friend of mine is supposed to be stopping by soon to show me a new project she has taken on and I want to make sure I am fully present.  I want to make sure my friend gets my best when I talk to him too, so that phone call will probably have to wait till tomorrow as both our schedules look to be filled for the evening.  At least that gives me something to look forward to (and be, for reasons I can't list, ridiculously nervous about..ha) for tomorrow.

Tomorrow will also hold yet another chiropractic appointment.  Hopefully after it I will not find myself wanting to cry for several hours which is typically the case, but I will say this, each of those appointments has made me feel a little better and made me a little more cheerful.

I did actually finally hear back from Dar at the office.  I emailed her yesterday to explain my situation after trying yet again to call the office and talk to her or Marc without success.  She emailed me back right away.  She really put my mind at ease.  Dar told me to make sure that I listen to my doctor and not push myself.  I am not to rush back to the office, but instead to make sure I am healing really well first.  You gotta appreciate that.  Now I just need to finish healing up and head back to work.  I am planning to return to work Monday.  Yes, this means I am down nearly two full weeks worth of pay, but if it keeps me from being in horrible pain because I am pushing myself too hard...I'll take it.

I also begin house-sitting tomorrow night.  I may take Joel and/or Forrest with me tomorrow night just to be on the safe side, but we'll see.  I may be doing fine on my own by tomorrow night.  I hope so.  I could use some time alone, as well as some time believing I am actually capable of taking care of myself again.  Plus, I just taking care of this house for my friends.  One of the best gigs you could ever have, and it gives me a little time to feel like an adult again.

Well, now I should probably sign off, but I shall leave you with a long overdue list.

Favorite Things of This Very Moment (4:58 pm CST):

  • Golden sunshine
  • What's a Girl to Do? by Janet Folger
  • Unsweetened ice tea
  • "You Only Live Twice"
  • Cinnamint Mentha Lip Shine (Nikky, I am so addicted to this stuff)
  • The cooler temperatures
  • Finally hearing from my office manager!

Monday, June 18, 2012

So If I Want to Paint my Fingernails Green...

Today I am home yet again today.  I am getting tired of being home.  I am getting tired of hurting all the time.

The weird thing is, I feel like I am learning a lot about myself that I did not expect.  I am amazed by the way God will use something this lousy and teach you something good.

In my case, he is teaching me a great deal about my need to trust that other people have my best interest at heart, that I can rely on people when I actually need help, and that God will find ways to use this for the good.  I am grateful for the good.  Can't say this is what I had in mind for my life here, now, or ever, but I am glad this happened now instead of right after I move.  At least I was here and home safe.

Sometime this afternoon I have to face to my fear that my boss will be super mad at me and actually call.  I am really afraid of calling because I am genuinely worried that my boss will be furious and will decide that my absence is no longer acceptable and will fire me.  I really don't want to be fired.  I need the money.  Especially if I am actually going to be able to move in a couple months.  I could use a little prayer and hope.  I am also hoping that I can be brave and make some sense.  I am hoping I will be back at work at the end of the week, but I may not get to be back till next week.  Please pray for patience for me to heal and please pray that Marc will understand and have some patience for me too.

Until I can talk myself into doing that, I am going to work on just relaxing.  I painted my fingernails green today.  I realized this nail polish would have been the perfect color to match my bridesmaid's dress for Amber and Jake's wedding.  Too bad I didn't use it then, but I am enjoying looking at my fingernails sparkle.  I've also started watching all the movies I have never taken the time to watch.  I also have gotten some reading done, and I've written a bunch of letters.  All things I just haven't had the time or energy to undertake recently, but now, since I'm pretty much confined to the two couches in my living room because my walking radius remains very small, I am getting a lot done.  I guess at some point God might take you out of the game for awhile so that you actually focus on things that will matter and bring you real joy.  God is incredible.  He is the sneakiest guy I know, and I am grateful.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I Can Haz Wizard?

Picture by Jon H. Cheatwood
at the Jacob & Amber Ballard wedding reception
on June 9, 2012
So much is happening in my life these days.  This statement seems ironic considering I was told today that I have to stay out of work for roughly one more week so that my back will heal properly, but even with that holding me up from working and running around like normal, life is busy.

A week ago today I was trying to make sure a group of boys was recovering from a party, locating a dress for a rehearsal for an incredible wedding (and succeeding for the first time ever to locate a dress I loved this much so quickly), falling a little bit in love with someone while cheerfully realizing all my feelings for someone else had genuinely been erased by his stupidity and poor decision making skills, indulging my femininity, trying to make sure everything that needed to be down was done, trying to figure out what I needed to say in my toast, doing laundry, and thanking God for Jordan Durham every chance I got.  It was a crazy day, but I loved it.

Every minute of that week made me feel alive and necessary.  I was being asked to run errands, for my opinion, to help with things, to organize, to fix situations, to visit people, and I was highly in demand and desired.  I want every day for that to be the case.  Sure that life is a little crazy, but in Ohio I knew I had purpose.

For the past few months, well, for the past year or so really, I have been trying to figure out what I should be working towards in my life with little real break in the case.  When I was traveling in April, it was suggested by a variety of people that I move to South Carolina, Ohio, and back to Atlanta.  I have been thinking about that ever since.  At this point, I think I have figured out where I will be heading next, and I am beginning the process of making it happen.

My goal is to be moving in September.  I have no idea how to make that happen quite yet, but I do know that I will be attempting to save money this summer and looking for work in my new location.  I will also need to start truly downsizing.  I do not need to move so much junk.  I don't need to own so much junk.  Hopefully I will be able to donate many things to people who will love them more than I will, and it will be glorious.

Be praying on all fronts I guess.  I am thrilled to be rid of one ridiculous and destructive relationship, and I am hoping to eventually jump into a relationship with a real man.  This year, my twenty-sixth year, is already causing all kinds of havoc and change, and as messy as it already is and as scary as a move will be, it is time.  I am going to step out in faith and see where God lets me land.

One last thing, I have just this afternoon finished a new mix for my amazing, hilarious Jordan (mail is heading your way soon, my friend).  I hope he enjoys it, and I hope you will too.

I Can Haz Wizard?:
1. Daylight - Matt & Kim
2. Anna Molly - Incubus
3. Live My Life - Far East Movement feat. Justin Beiber
4. She Can Get It - Kevin Rudolf
5. And I - Box Car Racer
6. She Talks to Angels - The Black Crows
7. Down - Blink-182
8. We Use to Wait - Arcade Fire
9. Near Enough - Metasomatic
10. Good Arms vs. Bad Arms - Frightened Rabbit
11. Bitter - Teddy Geiger
12. Kiss on Me - Tyler Hilton
13. Edge of Desire - John Mayer
14. 2:00 Your Time - Ace Troubleshooter
15. I Won't Give Up - Jason Mraz
16. Heart of Me - Green River Ordinance
17. Secrets - OneRepublic
18. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
19. Tomorrow Will Be Kinder - The Secret Sisters
20. Wish You Were Here - Incubus

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Embrace the Suck


For the past two days I have barely moved.  My back started hurting on Monday but I chose to carefully ignore what I saw as a familiar sign to my back checking out.  Sure enough, Tuesday morning came and my back spasmed as I tried to talk to my car to head to the gym.  I ended up curled up on my front porch with both of my parents standing next to me trying to figure out what to do.  Within 5 minutes, I was laying on a couch on top of a heating pad that also massages your back.  So began a day of nothing but watching movies and ingesting as much in the way of ibuprofen as my body could stand.  I woke up this morning and called into work immediately.  If I don't get fired in the next couple weeks it will be a miracle with all the work I have missed so far this year from vacations, sickness, and now my back.

I find that the what is making me craziest is that I am completely vulnerable.  I have to rely on someone else virtually all the time.  In case you hadn't figured it out yet, I am terrible at letting other people truly take care of me.  It makes me feel useless.  I know I should be able to accept help, and I do sometimes, but when I am literally unable to stand up straight or walk more than a foot without serious pain...it makes it hard to do anything.  I have had to rely on my family to carry things for me, make my meals, put movies in for me, charge my phone, and bring me pain meds.  They have been wonderful, and I hate every minute of this.  I can't do housework, I can't go to work, I can't do anything I normally do.  I am stir crazy and super vulnerable and I am crying a lot.  You try dealing with this kind of pain and tell me you wouldn't cry.

On top of which, I find that because I can't be engaged in any real activities, I am thinking far too much about things that are not necessary to think about.  I am thinking about how much I miss friends, how much life is changing, how lonely I am, how guys still don't ever seem to see me as a woman (even when I am dressed up) and how I just want to feel loved.

My friend, Heather has been phenomenal (she always is), and she has been a constant source of encouragement these past two days.  She and I are so much alike it is scary, and she has been trying to keep my spirits up and help me to not wallow in my frustration over both this pain and my situation in life.  I was reminded by her today of a quote that I love from A.J. Jacobs where he talks about how we need to "embrace the suck."  The first time I read that I fell in love.

Doesn't it just make you smile in spite of yourself?  Yes, the day might be lousy.  Perhaps you want to throw your spine out a window and become a jelly fish.  Perhaps you want to run away someplace where you can hide and lay in a hammock until someone truly wants to seek you out and find your heart.  Perhaps you are just tired of being alone.  I am all of these things and more, but I am going to try to follow Jacobs' example and go for it.  Tonight I will embrace the suck and tomorrow I will do the same.  I will make the best of the bad, and somehow, this will all work out.

In the meantime, find the joy, my friends.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Last Call





Doesn't Mean I'm Lonely
1. Rose's Turn (Glee Cast Version) - Glee Cast
2. Rolling in the Deep - Adele
3. Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) - Kelly Clarkson
4. Calling All Skeletons - Alkaline Trio
5. Am I Reaching You Now - Train
6. Oil and Water - Incubus
7. Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye feat. Kimbra
8. Lose Your Soul - Blue Skies
9. In the Middle of a Mess - Jason Bruce
10. Everybody Knows - John Legend
11. Not Over You - Gavin DeGraw
12. Expo '86 - Death Cab for Cutie
13. Summer is Over - Jon McLaughlin feat. Sara Bareillis
14. Find My Way - The Gabe Dixon Band
15. Say Anything - Good Charlotte
16. Friends, Lovers Or Nothing - John Mayer
17. Good Arms vs. Bad Arms - Frightened Rabbit
18. Nothing to Remember - Neko Case
19. If You Will - Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dyed


by Robby Cavanaugh

“Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.”
-Marcus Aurelius


The past few weeks have been strange.  My soul is restless again and I think it's in anticipation of change; I just don't know what change yet.  

I hate the waiting and the wondering.  God knows I'm not any good at being patient though I guess I have gotten a little better with age.

There is a poster board covered with a very large Venn Diagram stuck on my bedroom wall at the moment. It has two headings: "Should I Stay?" "Should I Go?"  It is saying a lot about the people I love, the places my heart resides, and what I want to do.  There are a few things connecting them, and that tells me a lot too.  I need to take into consideration my health, my financial situation, the fact that I do actually have a small grey monster that is my responsibility, and my heart.  I still don't know where I am going to end up or what I will be doing next, but I do know that I am longing.  It is an ache that is permeating everything.

I know that I need to find a way to truly like myself.  I have said it a million times, and hopefully this will be one of the last times I repeat myself, I need to change this.  I am unhealthy physically on a number of levels, and unfortunately, I have a lovely talent for ending up sick when I am stressed or worried or frustrated.  Pretty sure this is one of the ways God reminds me to slow down, shut up, and listen.  I am home sick today for day two after wanting to strangle the whole of the world on Monday.  Now...I am trying to listen.  I don't want my twenty-sixth year to be one of giving up or shutting down.

I am pretty sure my soul is dyed a deeply morbid and whiny color as a result.  Ha.  Never the less, I am working on changing that.  I want my soul to be died a bright sunshine yellow and green like new leaves, the orange of sunset and the shimmering whites and blues of summer night stars.

Bring it on 26.  I won't be defeated this year.

Ps. One last thing, Favorite Things of This Very Moment (10:41 AM CST):

  • This picture of my nephew, Xavier being his happy and wonderful self.  If only we could all be so much ourselves.  I hope you find your way to do that, I intend to.
  • The coffee my mom left me this morning because she thought I might just want it.
  • "Old Enough" by Jason Bruce because I'm pretty sure that today it is my life
  • Forrest telling me he has an interview next week for a job and seeing him so happy about it
  • Sweet comments, well wishes, belated birthday notes, and general kindness from the people I love most
  • Death Cab for Cutie.  Always.
  • The time between coughs when I feel nearly normal
  • The gold sunshine that is bathing everything I see in its glorious summer-esque radiance, especially the young trees in our front yard that absolutely glow green in the light
  • Summer breezes that carry the sent of my coffee and cool air across my face
  • Comfy pj pants
  • My anklet that reminds me of Shelby, Josie, Amber and CWS
  • Joel arguing with Mira (honestly, mornings can be so silly here)
  • Life.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Twenty-Six


Today I am 26 years old.  A friend of mine looked at me this morning and said, "You don't look any different." He's right, I pretty much look 25.

Another friend of mine told me that this was my new year and that I should enjoy it.  I have decided to think of it that way.  I am going to figure out what quests to pursue, places I want to see, changes I want to make.  I will take pictures, dance badly, and find more ways to enjoy life.

Welcome to my new year!  Bring it on, 26!  I am ready for you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Joys of a Spring Vacation

Amber "surfing" at CWS last year while moving our luggage about.
Yes, it's that time of year again folks!

It's time for Christian Workers Seminar!  Once again in Pigeon Forge, TN, we will be having a ridiculous and rollicking time.  Of course, I can't speak for the people actually attending the event, but I do know that the little ones who will be in my group will.  I am in charge of child care again this year with Amber, and this year we're adding Shelby Upton to the mix.  Should be a hilarious good time.  Our kids will be learning about God, eating snacks, doing a lot of coloring, watching great movies, and generally just having a great time as kids should at things like this.  Parents won't have to worry about where their munchkins are, and I won't have to worry about being bored or about how long I will be busy or anything else.  It will be a lovely little vacation.

I leave on Sunday.  I cannot wait.

I miss Amber and Kimmie and Garble and everyone, so CWS will be a good way to spend some time catching up as well as getting some sight seeing or just general running around it.  Plus, I get to celebrate both Jake and Amber's 21st birthdays with them while we're there.  That will be hilarious and great.  Kimmie and I are taking them out to dinner on their birthdays.  Plus, Jake is bringing Munchkin, so we'll have games to play.  I seriously can't wait.

After CWS, I am going down to Atlanta for a few days to move the rest of my stuff out of the apartment.  That makes me a little sad actually, but at this point, I'm not seeing me heading back to ABC to finish.  Not any time soon anyway.  On the plus side, I will get to spend time with Regina, Marcus, Jack, Mitch, The Cheat and the rest of the family and the ABC crew.  I'll be making a Felini's run as well.  I miss that place.

Conor.  :)  What a stud.
Then, the last leg of my trip will be spent in Ohio where I will be staying with Amber.  Hopefully I'll get to help with some wedding stuff while I am there, and, what I'm most excited about: I'll get to meet my nephew, Conor!  I haven't seen Nikky since she and Yan's wedding last August, so it feels like forever since I've seen her.  I can't wait to see her and meet the little man.  The pictures of him are great, but I want to get to hold the real deal, and have actual face to face conversations with his lovely mother.  It's hard to live so far away from them.

This trip will be such amazing things.  Exactly what I need to shake up my bizarre sense of complacency and start something new.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tap. Tap. Tap.


                Tap.  Tap.  Tap.  Read a few more words, write a few more words.
                This is the same story I have written a million times before.  The Post-It notes, the scratch paper, the nailpolish covered notebook paper, the snippets typed into my computer in the middle of the night.  It is always the same story. 
                And the story starts like this…

                Once upon a time there was a boy.  He was handsome and witty, but the world didn’t see him that way.  No, the world saw him as shy and withdrawn.  Attractive, but not attractive enough to called upon as gorgeous.  Here we enter a girl.  This girl was a little too loud when she was tired (which was all the time) and found it easy to find the best in other people. 
                Here they meet.   Somewhere in the middle of life they run into each other.  Maybe it was a school thing, a college thing, a work thing, a church thing, or they were connected by a brother and a roommate being in love; who knows. 
                Suddenly it becomes interesting; our girl suddenly finds herself ridiculously attracted to our boy.  For some reason he finds her easy to talk to and opens up to her in a way that he typically avoids.  People around their blossoming friendship take notice.  Mutual friends/acquaitences are quick to point out that Boy never opens up like this; he doesn’t spend this much time with anyone let alone a girl he isn’t dating.  Girl brings out the best in Boy.  She sees him for the man he actually is and people begin to see a change, at least when she is around.
                And the mistake is made: Girl takes these whispers, snippets, conversations to heart.  She begins to believe there is something there, that there is a reason for the boy’s attention and friendship, maybe something beyond just friendship.  This is a bad choice.
                I have written this story so many times.  I’d like a new story line.

                I want the story to read like this…
                Once upon a time there was a girl.  She was a little too loud when she was tired (which was all the time), but she found it easy to find the best in other people.  Unfortunately she didn’t always see it in herself.  Here we enter a boy.  He was courageous in his own way, kind, honest and loyal.  He believed in using his strength for the betterment of others. 
                Here they meet.  Somewhere in the middle of life they run into each other.  Maybe it was a school thing, a college thing, a work thing, a church thing, or perhaps it was simply that they kept seeing each other at a favorite book store; who knows.
                Suddenly it becomes interesting; our boy suddenly finds himself ridiculously attracted to our girl.  For some reason he finds her easy to talk to and finds her opening up to him in a way he didn’t expect.  He gives her courage to be exactly who she is meant to be and she gives him strength to be the man he needs to be.  People around their blossoming friendship take notice.  Mutual friends/aquaintences are quick to point out that Girl never taken pride in her goodness before and that Boy seems to be fighting for something.  They bring out the very best in each other.  People begin to see changes in them both, and they’re both growing.
                This is no mistake.  Boy realizes that Girl is exactly what he wants to fight for, and Girl realizes Boy is who she wants to give strength to all her life.  This is a good choice.
                They are in love.
                This is the story I want to be a part of.  The first one is a vicious cycle that causes nothing but brokenness…it’s time to get off that train and find a new track that will take me to the second story.  The second story is where I belong.

                Where do you belong?