Tag Archives: friends

Come Gather at The Well 

4 Oct

For the last year and a half, I have had unbreakable evening plans for the first Tuesday of every month. You see, during this hour and a half block of time, I gather at The Well with women of all seasons of life who are each experiencing a uniquely different relationship level with God. While we don’t meet at an actual well that pumps water to drink, we meet at the spiritual well where the water runs deep. 

Where does that name, The Well, even come from you might be asking. It comes from biblical times when women would gather at the well, often in the morning, to draw water for their families. Without water they wouldn’t survive. In John 4 we read about Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. She was all alone, choosing to come get water in the evening when the other women had gone. This alone speaks volumes – she was not accepted by the other women because of the lifestyle she had been living. BUT GOD still loved her. He still pursued her. He still wanted to give her his living water:

“Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” ‭‭John‬ ‭4:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Our church’s women’s ministry was established by two women who felt God calling them to share their journey of building a relationship with Him with other women. It’s not always hearts and flowers – we dig deep, exposing fears, regrets, anguish, the lies we believe about ourselves, our hurts and hang ups. Many times there are tears. This living, running water, which is moving within each of us, reminds me that I’m not alone. Someone out there, another women, has felt, experienced, and grown through similar troubles. 

Each month our time together centers around a different theme. Last night we examined friendship. Our two hosts had invited their four best friends to join them on stage for a “round table” discussion. Picture this – stunning, long wooden table with six elegant and Godly women seated together. They were a beautiful group. Love radiated from each women as she spoke about their special bond of friendship, which was born out of a need to connect and rally around one another in times of heartache and pain, and is strengthened by each women’s individual love and relationship with God. 

As evident by the friendship that was before us, life was not meant to live in isolation. We need close companions and friendships. And those extreamly close relationships they likened to a table with limited seating. 

They asked us to reflect upon our own lives and think about the following questions:

  1. Think about your life’s table. How many seats are available and who is sitting in those seats? 
  2. What prerequisites do you have for those who occupy those seats? 
  3. What fruits are the people at your table bringing? 
  4. What conversations are you partaking in?
  5. Who do you trust with your life? 
  6. Who’s truth do you value the most? 
  7. How are you growing from this relationship? 
  8. What are YOU giving to this relationship?

The enemy wants to isolate us. We are easier to attack when we are lonely and I can personally attest to that. This stage in my life I would describe as lonely and because of that, difficult. Yes, I have my family, boyfriend, and some friends out of state to lean on, but I don’t have a friendship rooted in God’s love. 

The six friends described their friendship as a place of:

  • Trust
  • Depth (friendship and spiritual level)
  • Encouraging
  • Honesty (Ephesians 4: 2)
  • Real
  • Sacrifice 
  • Love
  • Willing to get uncomfortable
  • Fortify (Protect/strengthen against attack, provide, surround)
  • Patient
  • Steadfast
  • Guide in wisdom
  • Rejoice
  • Grieve together
  • Vulnerable
  • Interceding on their behalf in prayer
  • Permission to speak truth and love – I seeing you doing X and I love you too much to keep doing it, to keep ruining your life

Those women are willing to bare the scars of pain and uncomfortableness for their friendship because that’s when they grow. We were encouraged to be very selective of the friends we are relying on for the most strength and reminded the best relationships are made up of the best forgivers. 

We were reminded of the many women’s groups available through the church to meet fellow Christian women – MOPS (Mothers of preschoolers), Mom’s Next (mother’s of elementary school children), Wednesday Night/Thursday Morning/Sunday Morning women’s bible study groups, and so on. I struggled with this part because I don’t feel like there is a group of women my age, who aren’t married, who’ve never had children. I’m too old for the young adult class and not a mother (where the majority of the women my age are meeting). Yes I attend the Wednesday evening bible study when I can, but even in that class, I’m one of the youngest. I often find myself wondering where I fit in at church? Where are the other nearly 30, single, non-mothers like myself hiding?

We all need an honest, insightful, God-speaking friend, who in times of trial, will remind us,  “You can have your moment, but you can’t stay there.”

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Romans‬ ‭12:9-13‬, ‭NLT‬‬

Listening to their stories, there was one woman who described herself as an introvert and I could see myself in many of the things she was saying – difficult to meet friends, never felt 100% accepted by other women, always quiet, searching to fill a void. In my seat my heart was screaming – that’s me! I feel that way right now! Her next words stopped my mental anguish – “I prayed for God to send me a friend and I was blessed with five women who are extroverted. My life is a lot more fun now.”

Pray for a friend? Really? Could it be that simple? That innocent? Could I be that open, honest, and raw? It can. Surrender it to God. He will give you more than what you could ever even think to ask for.

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬, ‭NLT‬‬

 I’m going to be braver than I’ve ever been before. Tonight, Lord, I ask that you open my eyes to the people around me. Help me to form and kindle relationships with women who will be able to draw me closer to you through their friendship. Lord, teach ME how to be that friend for someone else. I am lowering my walls, Lord, so that your truth, light, and spirit may fill my heart and soul with a deeper peace, love, feeling of acceptance than I have ever known. Lord, I don’t want to do life on my own anymore – guide me to my tribe of women would will fortify me and I them. You know the plans you have for my life and I know that includes friends. Show me, Lord, where to find them. 

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Happy Happenings – February 2017

28 Feb

I just can’t believe how quickly February flew by! Perhaps it was because I spent all of my spare time doing homework for my PR history and the modern world class. Or maybe, just maybe, because it didn’t feel like February. Whatever the reason for its seemingly speedy departure, looking back, it was a month filled with many joyous moments!

  1. 10 out of 10 on last week’s homework! My professor complimented my great use of storytelling for the second week in a row!
  2. Random coworkers will now pop their heads into my office to see what the “smell of the day is” for my diffuser. This morning was On Guard and Eucalyptus and in the afternoon they asked for Motivate!
  3. Hummus veggie pizza for dinner!
  4. For some strange reason my work account, and those of a number of other people on campus, was deactivated. Since I was unable to access internet, my shared drives or my email, I got paid to catch up on my class readings this morning.
  5. When lunchtime rolled around, the problem still wasn’t fixed so I was able to take a 1/2 vacation day to come home! It was so much fun to surprise Scott before he headed off to work this evening.
  6. Had a box of Samoa Girl Scout cookies stashed away, busted them out tonight as I wrote my forum post about FDR and the importance of photography in PR history. (***Just for fun, out of 35,000 photos of FDR, how many depict him in his wheelchair?! The answer might surprise you – I know I was surprised when I was doing my reading for class!)
  7. Helped my coworkers get our 50th anniversary display case all set up!
  8. Watching Twilight while making dinner. Tried a new recipe – cauliflower alfredo pasta.
  9. Watching live TV on the Disney Channel app! Currently enjoying Despicable Me!
  10. Pancakes and raspberry hot chocolate for breakfast.
  11. Thanks Abbey for sending photos of Bailey’s (Jacob) 1st birthday party! Wish we could have been there to celebrate with everyone, looks like it was a fun afternoon!
  12. Tried another new recipe – One Pot Mexican Quinoa and it was delicious! Tasted just like tacos WITHOUT the meat!
  13. Chatting with Kira! Thanks for being one of my very bestest friends in the whole wide world!
  14. Great time chatting with my mom. I’ve missed our mother-daughter bonding time.
  15. Visiting with my grandparents for a little while this afternoon. They are the cutest!
  16. All emotional watching former President Bush and First Lady participate in the Super Bowl coin toss. Such a special moment for them!
  17. One of my coworkers surprised our office with cream sticks from DeLuxe Pastry Shop!
  18. Helped teach our Dean how to tweet! She’s so excited to join the online conversation!
  19. The feeling of just washed, just braided hair! I have a cute hairstyle planned for tomorrow, fingers crossed it turns out the way I picture it in my head!
  20. Stepped outside of my comfort zone and layered my LuLaRoe pieces to create a new outfit! Love how it came together! 16473690_10154479016006693_3310079714335901254_n
  21. Loved the way my time lapse video for the College turned out! I shared it to my page earlier, take a look!
  22. Great night at The Well! Lesson from Luke 8, learned all about the condition of our soul soil – is your soil compacted, filled with rocks, taken over by thorns, or good top soil?
  23. Made it home safely in the rain and fog.
  24. Pinterest planning how to grow a bountiful vegetable garden on our 2 floor balcony.
  25. Walks, talks, and lots of laughter with my work friends.
  26. Had an awesome meeting with the creative minds of KSU this afternoon. They taught us some cool new ways to use our new branding elements. I’m so excited to try out what I learned! My designs are about to go to a whole new level! Can’t wait for next month’s meeting!!
  27. Crossing items off my project to-do list at work.
  28. My windshield wipers weren’t frozen to my car at the end of the day and it only took a few moments to defrost the ice.
  29. Homemade crispy sweet potato fries for dinner tonight, with some extras for lunch tomorrow! 16602671_10154485264911693_3885807182169895729_n
  30. Scott and I are slowly getting caught up on all of the Designated Survivor episodes!
  31. Surprising Angie with her first oil purchase!
  32. Buying my textbook for my next class from Amazon for $0.25! Plus the $3 something in shipping, but that’s still such a steal!
  33. Loving my Lasko space heater on this chilly evening. It’s keeping my living room cozy without having to turn the overall heat on!
  34. Taxes are done! Hallelujah!!
  35. Great time at the movies with Macayla and Natalie! 16602569_1363341823687554_7983116607515526958_n
  36. Brand new pillow and microfiber sheet set! Here’s to having some wonderful sweet dreams! G’night!
  37. Quote from today’s sermon: “Faith without action is like horsepower without traction. Makes a lot of noise and your wheels spin fast, but you aren’t going to go anywhere.”
  38. Had a fun conversation, spurred by a debate between Macayla and Mason at lunch today about the correct way to “make a phone with your hand.” Which then led into signing the alphabet and other basic signs.
  39. Thanks mom for sending me home with a clean dress (after the adorable little baby at church got sick on me!) and a can of Chicken Noodle Soup for Scott!
  40. Being the first one in the parking lot means I got my pick of the spots today!
  41. Finished my first draft of a new blog post for the college featuring one of our alumna.
  42. Sent out an exclusive first look of the features to our 50th anniversary website and before I left work, we had someone submit their story to the site!! I can’t wait to open it up to everyone!!
  43. Angie and I brought a friend to the #MindfulMile walk today and got two punches in our reward card instead of just one! We were also somehow front and center in the group photo!
  44. Rocked my Valentine’s Day LuLaRoe at work today! Everyone loved my leggings!
  45. Had a great planning meeting for our 5K! Mark your calendars, it’s Saturday, May 6!
  46. Date night with Scott at Mike’s Place. It was so nice bumping into Hannah and Shirley and Bill!
  47. 10+ hours of sleep and a nice hot cup of Winter Spice tea – here’s to feeling less icky tomorrow!
  48. Phone conversation with mom!
  49. Surprise text from Abbey! Love our silly conversations!
  50. Listened to a great webinar at work today about coping with stress. So glad my employer provides these learning opportunities for us. This one came at the perfect time.
  51. Published a new blog featuring one of our prominent alumna for Black History Month.
  52. Grade back for my last journal entry of this class – 10/10!!
  53. Mid-morning Auntie Anne’s pretzel run!
  54. Thanks mom for sending me this yummy zucchini chip recipe. Didn’t have Parmesan, so I used shredded mozzarella instead! 16807509_10154515003356693_8203490452848789049_n
  55. Late to the party, but started watching “This is Us” and I LOVE IT!!!
  56. Waking up to Scott’s alarm and being able to go back to sleep!
  57. 65° F in February means open windows for some much needed sunshine and air circulation.
  58. Had a blast at the women’s basketball game with my coworkers! Even got a selfie with President Warren!
  59. Love driving and feeling the warm sun streaming in through the windshield!
  60. Played Phase Ten with Scott before he had to head off to work tonight.
  61. You may think I’m crazy and that’s okay…but “planted” two avocado seeds today! Fingers crossed we’ll see roots within the next 3-6 weeks! According to all of the YouTube videos I’ve watched, people have had the most success with this method! Fingers crossed!! 16641099_10154520382746693_3041490619680927773_n
  62. When I got home from work, I discovered one of our Tulips was starting to open! 16830753_10154523155751693_954702074053095616_n
  63. In a race to get to the grocery store before it closed, every light we came up to turned green. It was one of those moments like in an action movie where the techie guy changes all the lights at the exact moment the hero approaches the intersection.
  64. Bought some Parsley tonight, and since I know we won’t use the entire bundle, decided to see if I could get a few to root! If they do, we won’t have to buy it again! 16864194_10154523155861693_9110339167456637944_n
  65. Seeing the joy on college students’ faces when I passed out free t-shirts!
  66. Used my lunch hour productively to get caught up on some homework reading.
  67. Hammered out 1/3 of my final paper tonight! Only 2,500 words to go!!
  68. Human Resources surprised our College this morning by dropping off some snacks as part of a random acts of kindness/unity campaign.
  69. Another alumna submitted a story in celebration of our 50th anniversary – and she was a member of the very first graduating class! So excited to roll out this campaign publicly!
  70. “Graffitied” the front office windows in preparation for “Month of Gratitude” which begins March 1! We are hoping more of the faculty and staff will participate as well!
  71. Laughing and joking with our Dean during a team meeting today. She apologized for being late and I responded with “The Dean is never late, everyone else is simply early” and she loved it! Thank you Princess Diaries for the awesome quote at the perfect moment!
  72. So glad I fell in love with a man who enjoys cooking. Scott was slaving away in the kitchen making “meatloaf” when I arrived home from work. This was our first time trying this recipe and we enjoyed it – very filling. 16730675_10154535372351693_3022324288754319106_n
  73. Found a way to reference LuLaRoe in my homework post this week! Consultant friends, I hope you’re proud!
  74. This morning Angie and I attended a Gratitude Journaling seminar. It was neat for me because everything the presenter told us to do, I’ve been doing for nearly two whole months now! She shared a great quote by Melanie Beatty that said “gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. I can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
  75. Received the BEST surprise interruption during our budget meeting today – Megan came to visit me at work and brought me a chocolate milkshake as well! It was fun introducing her to my coworkers! 16806721_10154538973061693_988365819408642982_n
  76. In honor of today’s beautiful 75° day, and because it felt like summertime, I made Sunshine Rice. So many memories from my childhood center on that dish. It’s a beautiful presentation and a symphony of flavor!16998187_10154538973931693_1783533658159110836_n
  77. Always love when Manda and Michael pop over just to chat! Loved hearing all about how they celebrated their anniversary last night and chatting nonsense with Paul – Ryan was down for the count taking a nap.
  78. Saturday’s mean PJ day!
  79. Found the missing link for my research paper. I will be so glad to turn it in this week!
  80. On my way home tonight I got stopped at the railroad tracks. Normally this would be irritating, but since I was in no hurry, I put the car in park and turned up the radio. I was blessed with a message from my Heavenly Father in the form of the song “Mended” by Matthew West. Had I not caught the train, I would have missed this beautiful reminded that while I am focusing on the pain of life, He already knows all the ways in which He will help me use that to future His Kingdom.
  81. I never laugh as much as when I am with my family. Sunday lunch and afternoons are my favorite times during the week.
  82. Great sermon delivered in church today about having more patience. This hit pretty close to home as I know this is an area in which I have traditionally had difficulties, but as I was sitting there listening, I began noticing all the little ways the Lord has been working on my heart this past year to help me become more patient with myself, others and situations.
  83. Received an angry email at work from someone who claimed he had asked to be taken off the email list years ago. I emailed him back apologizing that he had not been removed and let him know I would personally remove him from the list. He emailed me back this afternoon to let me know that he was glad I had reached out to him. Apology accepted and bridge mended!
  84. First time at a new doctor’s office today and it was a fantastic experience – in and out in less than an hour. No waiting. No delays. She took the time to answer all of my questions and concerns and never made me feel like she had somewhere else she needed to be.
  85. Thank goodness our internet behaved tonight. 90% done with my paper. Just a few more sources to refind and plop in! I am so tried of reading and re-reading the history of tampons!
  86. The IT guy surprised our department with these adorable mini donuts! Happy Fat Tuesday! 16996488_10154550213346693_300246490286572445_n
  87. Thank you dad for editing my 19 page research paper! You’re the best!!! And it’s been submitted an entire day early!
  88. In order to allow me to finish the last little bit of my paper, Scott made dinner! Then we started watching Inferno, but as we are both falling asleep, we’ll have to finish it tomorrow.

Wondering what this list is all about? Check out my introduction to my daily Happy Happenings!

Happy Happenings – January 2017

31 Jan

A few years ago I took part in a 60 day Facebook group happiness challenge hosted by a fitness/wellness counselor. The whole basis of the challenge was learning to let go and move past the things that have hurt us in the past, that we may be holding onto still, and that are preventing us to be fully happy in the present. During the course of those 60 days, we had homework and weekly activities that we were required to complete in order to remain in the program. As a result of those exercises, I learned a lot about myself.

One of our challenges was to notice and publicly share three things each day that brought us joy or made us happy, not matter how big or how small. At first, finding three positive things was a challenge, but then it switched to how do you choose only three! When I was drafting my end of year post for 2016, I was recalling all of the negative things that had happened, but I could hardly remember the positive, and that was devastating. In that moment, I decided it was once again time to focus on happiness.

Beginning on January 1, I shared my three things, and from that day on, I have shared three or more things that blessed my life or brought me joy. It was amazing to see how my outlook on life shifted, and how my small acts of gratitude became contagious within my little sphere of Facebook. Over this month, many have reached out to say how much they enjoy reading my “Happy Happenings” each day and how it is nice to see some positivity in a world full of evil.

My goal is to compile all of these moments through the year so that I will have them to look back on when New Year’s Eve rolls around again. I want to be overflowing with happiness and joy and blessings from a fantastic 2017. And I want to share this positive energy with all of you, so without further ado, here are January’s Happy Happenings!

  1. Spent the first 45 minutes of the new year lighting sparklers with Scott and Macayla.
  2. The worship band sang one of my favorite songs this morning – “Whom Shall I Fear” by Chris Tomlin.
  3. Traditional pigs in the blanket for lunch to bring good luck! img_0020
  4. Boys vs. girls Catch Phrase round 2 with Scott, Mom , dad , Megan and Austin.
  5. Last day to sleep in for holiday break.
  6. Trying a new recipe with Scott and it was delicious!
  7. Quiet time reading before bed.
  8. Was slightly amused when I discovered my scarf and hair bow perfectly matched the color of my work water bottle. I may like that color just a little! 😂🙈
  9. The Well was FANTASTIC tonight!! Such a beautiful Women’s Ministry is happening at DFC. Tonight we brought our shame into the light so it won’t discolor or discourage us in the new year. By bringing it to the light, it loses its power. 🙏🏻
  10. 9 minute power workout in my bedroom! Little steps = future big rewards! 💪🏻
  11. Seeing my work friends after a wonderful week off! Missed them!
  12. Tried a new recipe for dinner – vegan stuffed peppers and they were FANTASTIC!
  13. How cute it is when Scotty falls asleep on my shoulder while we’re watching TV. (I love you, hun!!!) 😍😘❤️
  14. My sister Megan officially KICKED CANCER’s butt!!! 5 years clean!! God is Good!!!
  15. A box of doTERRA essential oils was delivered. Love how these oils are safe and allow me to replace medicine – all natural healing and wellness is a game changer for me!
  16. Made it home safely on the slippery roads today.
  17. Joined my church’s challenge to memorize 24 scriptures in 12 months. The verse I’ve selected for the first half of the month is pictured.img_0042
  18. IT’S FRIDAY!
  19. Got a mile workout in during lunch on the walking desk treadmill in the library.
  20. Chocolate – enough said!
  21. Successfully packed all of our Christmas things in one bin! Christmas Tetris level- master.
  22. Reminiscing about past Christmas ornaments while taking them down is almost as fun as reminiscing while putting them up. Fun time helping mom pack away the “sister” tree.
  23. Yiruma iheartradio station while doing dishes is so relaxing.
  24. Chilly nights means adding another blanket to the bed. Busted out my 2005 “Let it snow” seminary blanket and had to laugh remembering all the chilly mornings with Aunt Khristy and Manda studying scriptures before school.
  25. Saw a rainbow while driving to my parents’ house this morning.
  26. Not sure how it started, but Megan, mom, dad and I ended up quoting most of the movie “Jingle All the Way” on the drive home from church.
  27. Sunday afternoon naps are the best!
  28. A coworker surprised us and brought in homemade coffee cake! Yumm!
  29. An Aldi opened up nearby and I had my first successful solo shopping trip there tonight.
  30. Going to bed BEFORE 11:30 p.m.
  31. I get so much joy from purging the office of 5 year old papers, projects and posters. Why were we holding onto all of that stuff?!
  32. All the girls at the office loved my LuLaRoe leggings and Carlie dress! Super cute, comfy and warm!
  33. Best cousin-in-law award tonight goes to Michael!! Thank you for coming over to jump start Scott’s car! We really appreciate it! And thanks for bringing Manda so we could chat and the boys so I could listen to them yell/sing through the window!
  34. Made it to work with enough time to sit, observe and snap a photo of God’s beautiful sunrise. #nofilter img_0049
  35. The custodians did a FANTASTIC job deep cleaning my new office!
  36. Listening to the soothing sound of piano music.
  37. First full day of work in my BRAND NEW OFFICE SPACE! After a year and a half with no walls or door, it’s so nice to have a private, comfortable, creative space of my own! Goodbye cubicle!!
  38. So much joy comes from crossing items off my to-do list! Felt so productive today.
  39. Nothing better than coming home on a chilly evening and curling up with a warm blanket and cheesy hallmark movie!
  40. Peppermint and Motivate in my diffuser at work – one of my new favorite blends!
  41. First time making eggplant parmigiana and it wasn’t horrible!
  42. Watched “Singin’ in the Rain” with Scotty!!!! ☂️🌧💧
  43. Fresh mango for breakfast! My favorite fruit!
  44. Saturday outfit of choice – LuLaRoe leggings and an Irma! Stylish, warm and comfy!
  45. Game night with Macayla, Mason, Scotty, Mom and dad. We laughed so hard while playing the marble game, 5 Second Rule and Apples to Apples. Great Saturday night! img_0059
  46. All caught up on The Bachelor drama.
  47. Michael to the rescue…again. Scott and I really appreciate it!
  48. Trying out my new diffuser – enjoying the smells of Wild Orange and Purify.
  49. Green smoothies are DELICIOUS!
  50. Friendly lady at the grocery store let me go in front of her because I only had two items and she had a heaping cart.
  51. Blogging
  52. The rain stopped and the sun came out right at 5 pm as I was leaving work.
  53. I love designing and interacting with the students on our various social media accounts.
  54. New year means turning over a new leaf at work – stepped outside my comfort zone and presented a few ideas I’ve been playing with. Not only were they accepted, I was complimented for my creativity and diversity.
  55. Collaborating as a team means our events will be that much cooler!
  56. Disney pointing to direct a lost student to the building she needed.
  57. Submitting an assignment a day early. Now to read 100 pages and write a journal (700-800 words) all before Sunday! Bring it on spring semester!
  58. Warm blankets
  59. Scott had dinner nearly finished when I got home from work – tried a new veggie burger recipe. Next time we’ll leave the sunflower seeds out – GROSS (I picked all mine out!)
  60. Relaxing shower before bed.
  61. Had a great meeting with the center for nursing research.
  62. Had a fantastic conference call with alumni relations and advancement. Both are onboard for an upcoming project!
  63. Had a great night at Dave & Busters kicking off Megan’s birthday weekend.
  64. Loved seeing all the photos of my cousin, Erin, who graduated from basic training on her mom’s (Aunt Anita’s birthday!)
  65. Megan thanks for letting me get my puppy fix this morning! Archie is lovable and ADORABLE!!
  66. Had a pretty good hair day! Sorry, no photos!
  67. Celebrated my wonderful, fantastic momma’s birthday with hibachi and froyo! Love you so very much mom and hope you had the most perfect birthday! img_0094
  68. Watching Megan and Austin attempt the bicycle challenge = HYSTERICAL!
  69. Great message today in church all about God’s promises!
  70. Celebrated Megan’s birthday with a delicious meal made by mom , with ice cream cake for dessert! Happy birthday lil sis! Hope it was as super duper cool as you are! Make this year 100% awesome!!img_0096
  71. Submitted my homework on time! It was a close call, I was worried I wouldn’t make it! Week 1 done!
  72. Seeing Grandma and Papa after they’ve been away on vacation for 3 weeks! Great to have them home!
  73. We pulled off a FANTASTIC birthday party for the college today complete with a message from our president and musical entertainment provided by the Men’s Chorus!
  74. At said birthday party, two different papers (local and student media) were there to cover the event as a result of my media alert! First time the local paper has come to anything I’ve invited them to at the college!
  75. Extra cupcakes from the birthday party meant I was sent home with a to-go box to share with Scott!
  76. Coverage of our birthday party was on the front page (just below the fold) of the paper. And yes, that is me in the photo the paper selected. As you can see, I really was broadcasting it live on Facebook! Hahaha!
  77. Splitting a left-over cupcake with a coworker for a much-needed afternoon sugar boost!
  78. Being “kid napped” by Manda on a quick trip to Walmart. It was fun to laugh and catchup!
  79. Thanks dad for reminding me how to check the tire pressure in my car! You’re the best!
  80. Happy birthday to my Disney Sister, Kellan! Had a blast chatting tonight!
  81. Thank you Michael for taking care of the pesky nail in my tire! You are a FANTASTIC mechanic! img_0579
  82. Ordering lunch from my phone at my desk and having it ready by the time I had walked over to the Student Center to pick it up! No waiting in the 20 minute line – FastPass, work edition!
  83. Discovering we had all of the ingredients necessary to make garlic kale veggie burgers WITHOUT a trip to the grocery store! It’s the little things in life! 🙂
  84. Great breakfast meeting at Bob Evans with a coworker and the woman a prestigious College of Nursing award is named after.
  85. Great comment from my Dean as I was heading out the door all smiles on my way to a meeting: “Give you a little freedom and you’re flying around building relationships and making connections!” She told me she’s always thought my work was good, but now, she’s seeing a happier, more creative and idea-producing side emerge!
  86. At said meeting, got my ad approved with only minor revisions to make!
  87. Nothing beats ending your night with a banana chocolate peanut butter smoothie! (Made with 1 frozen banana, almond milk, PB2 chocolate, and chocolate protein powder.)
  88. Singing along to my favorite songs on the radio on my way to work!
  89. So proud of my friend, Tracy! She’s the first nursing student to guest blog for the college and her post went live today!
  90. Pizza and cheesy TV sitcoms are the best way to spend a Friday evening after a long work week!
  91. Thankful for the firefighters who leave their warm beds in the middle of the night to keep me and my neighbors safe. Watching as they check out and clear the building across from mine as it’s alarms were going off. photo
  92. Surprise visit from my dad . It was nice having time to chat, just the two of us! Love you, dad!
  93. Afternoon nap
  94. Finally deciding the topic for my final project in my PR History and Modern world class.
  95. Laughing and joking around with Macayla and Mason! I love seeing how happy he makes her and how comfortable he is in our family dynamic!
  96. Dad and mom sent me home with leftover stuffed peppers and now I don’t have to pack a lunch for work tomorrow!
  97. Journal and final project proposal both submitted before the deadline! Learning so much in the class already and we’ve only just finished week 2!
  98. Angie encouraged me and I encouraged her to go on the “mindful mile” walk at noon with the wellness group. It may have been only 20 degrees, but once we got moving, talking and laughing, the time flew and we couldn’t believe how fast that mile went! img_0581
  99. Had a great workout on the treadmill tonight. It was also great having the whole apartment fitness facility to myself!
  100. Finally all caught up (with the exception of tonight’s episode) on The Bachelor!
  101. My nameplate arrived and looks wonderful on my office door! NOW it feels like my office!
  102. Discussing all the drama that is The Bachelor with my work friends.
  103. While I typically enjoy going to the gym alone, it was nice having Scott tag along this time! We each did our own workouts, but it was nice spending that time working on our physical health together.
  104. After 31 days in a row, my iPad now products “Happy happenings from today” and that makes me so happy!

Long, long ago….finish the story

10 Apr

I love how TimeHop provides daily blasts from the past from my various social media accounts for my enjoyment and amusement. Sometimes, like today it finds gems I had completely forgotten about.

Back in 2011 when I was still on the Disney College program I posted a status starting a story and asked my Facebook friends to continue the tale. My best guess is that I was working an evening shift at Disney Quest and wanted something entertaining to read during my breaks. My friends did not disappoint – their creativity knew no limits as they sent a beautiful princess on a dangerous quest.

Each line is by a different author. And now, for the first time in five years I am excited to present our Facebook Fairy Tale…

Long, long ago in a far off kingdom there lived a beautiful princess preparing for a dangerous quest…

…The very first thing before she set off on her quest was to be very sure that there were no toads lurking nearby…

…Even though it was a dangerous quest, she knew that she would be okay because she knew who she was and she had her family’s support and love.

…So she picked up and put one foot in front of the other and headed out the door…

…Along her quest, she met a talking squirrel named Charlie. After spending a few moments talking, Charlie and the princess discovered that they were both heading in the same direction and decided to continue on their path together. They walked for hours and talked about…

…everything  under the sun, from how to survive without your momma and papa, to what exciting adventures awaited them ahead in the magical land that they were traveling to. Now, what the princess did not know was that Charlie was a magical squirrel and he was able to…

…cast a love spell to make even your enemies love you!!…

…Also, he makes the best ice cream sundaes on the planet, but you have to…

…provide your own chocolate syrup! Anyway, the princess knew what dangers lay ahead even just outside of her castle…

…The wicked witch lived, who never wanted her to find love, so she…

…had a plan to get the princess far, far away from everyone she loved including her family and friends. However, the princess was unaware of this evil plan, because she thought she was going on an awesome adventure until…

…the wicked witch, along with her sidekick Prince Humperdink, unleashed their army of toads…

…The only weapon the princess had was her kiss, but there were sooo many toads so she closed her eyes and…

…began to whistle. The whistling brought a variety of birds to the area. And you know that birds naturally prey upon toads, so…

…all of the toads disappeared. And the birds began to chase the princess around the castle so Humperdink then…

…fell into the river of doom where…

…the evil spell that had been cast on him was broke because he was really a…

**note to you all – Humperdink is a bad guy, he is the head toad!

…Master manipulator, and although he tried to trick the princess into liking him, her common sense told her there was someone better for her so she and Charlie ran to the nearest river to get…

…refreshed. The princess and Charlie were exhausted, too much stress, ya know. Once they took a moment to themselves, they decided to continue on their adventure. After walking several hours, they finally ended up…

…back at Charlie’s  house where the beautiful princess kissed him and he turned back into the handsome prince!…

…NO SIR!!! She baked him an apple pie and they spent time together and she found out what his middle name was and what his favorite color was and that he is truly princely BEFORE SHE EVER KISSED HIM!!!…

…Which she already had because at night after their questing they had hung out eating nachos and talking for hours on end, so when they did kiss…

…they wore just engaged buttons…

…and then they went out again on their path that lead to the place where the quest all started and before you knew it all the toads were on the path and looking at the beautiful princess wishing they had become the prince who won the prize of the princess.

The End.

Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon and the health nightmare that followed…

5 Dec

It is no secret that for months now I have been preparing for my very first half marathon – the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon to be exact. I have logged the miles, improved my time and pace, practiced hydration and fueling along the course and read every advice blog and article I could get my hands on about what to do get ready for your first half. I felt ready. I had a game plan and as long as I stuck to it, I would be golden…however, best laid plans have a way of changing as I would ultimately find out. This post is the comprehensive account of my experience, from the best of times to the worst of times….

Let’s start at the beginning shall we….I left for vacation at Walt Disney World on Thursday, November 6th. The plan was simple, enjoy catching up with my Disney sister/runDisney addict, Monique, that evening at Downtown Disney until Scott got off work and would meet me at the resort, while also waiting to hear that another Disney sister, Catherine, had safely landed in Orlando and was in route to Disney. For the most part, this night was perfect, although the bus did seem to take forever, but maybe I was just anxious to be back at the most magical place on earth and see the people I had been missing terribly!

Friday, November 7th, consisted of getting to the race expo early to pick up my packet and scope out the merchandise! I’d had my heart set on buying the runDisney New Balance Cinderella shoes, however, I decided that I’d probably never wear them for fear they would get dirty, so when a maroon warm-up jacket in my size happened to catch my eye, it was fate – we sure did belong together. At least that’s what I told myself the entire time I was waiting in the super long check-out line (you would have thought I was waiting to ride Toy Story Mania or something by the wait time!) I also purchased one of those Mickey head car magnets that says 13.1 – but let’s face it, that thing will never see my car, it’s currently living on my dry erase board. As for the expo itself, I wasn’t overly impressed, although I was mighty glad they had printers because I discovered moments after getting to ESPN that I had left my race waver in my resort room. The entire time I’m at the expo, Catherine and I are playing phone tag, we never did meet up. 😦

 

After the expo, I went to visit Scott at work at Animal Kingdom, stayed there for a few hours and then went to Hollywood Studios where we enjoyed the first night of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights after he got off work.

Saturday, November 8th – Race Day. Game plan was to take it nice and easy – so we slept in, hung out at the hotel until late morning and finally made our way to Hollywood Studios. Disclaimer – there is no such thing as an “easy” Disney Day for me, while we mostly only watched the shows and rode the Great Movie Ride, by the time we made it back to the resort at 4:30 PM, we had already walked 6.5 miles. Don’t ask me how, I’m still trying to figure that one out. I knew I needed to start getting ready for the race around 6 – 6:30 PM and that Monique would be coming over around that time as well, so I took advantage of the downtime and took a nap! What I have failed to tell you about yet is the massive rainstorm scheduled to hit at the start of the race…. Bless Monique’s heart for running to the store to buy us ponchos in a pouch – we could carry them until we needed them at least. I was also extremely thankful to the kind stranger on the bus to the starting line who shared his box of zip-lock plastic bags with us. According to him “the fastest way to make friends with runners is to have a box of plastic bags for cell phones and the fastest way to make friends with strangers in the airport is to have an extension cord.” He had a great attitude, I think we would have been good friends!

weather map rain

 

Our costumes this time around were a mash-up of Disney Princess meets The Hunger Games. Check out our pictures!

While Monique and I were getting ready, Scott was creating this! I love him so much!

race spectator poster

And here’s Catherine and runner Peter Pan! Monique and I were FINALLY able to meet up with her, and her sister Alison at the starting line “party”. We were so cool we danced sitting down! (It’s a joke, seemed funnier late at night – just don’t ask!)

 

And the rain came down before the race ever started… standing in corral I, I pulled out my poncho. We were about 40 minutes to the start and I was FREAKING OUT! Luckily, there were some very great people around me who offered advice and suggestions and all around encouragement. I love the runDisney family, doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or Olympic Gold medalist, we support and cheer everyone equally. My group took off around 10:20 PM and then it was 3.5 hours of running in the pouring rain.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2014 course map

I ended up doing the majority of the race blind because by the time I had reached the 3 mile marker I had wiped my glasses off no less than 200 times – in that moment I took off my glasses and fully relied on my other senses to carry me through. Well and the other runners. Luckily at this point I had found a group of people who were just my speed and I was bound and determined to stick with them. I trusted them – if the group veered left or right and then back to the center on a straightaway, that began to mean large puddle on the opposite side of the road. By miles 6 and 7 I was hurting bad. I had blisters, large ones and as luck would have it a few had broken open. But I was only to the half way point – I had to keep going. I was thankful for the rain – no one could actually tell I was crying.

Mile 8 and we were getting ready to enter Hollywood Studios and I was running low on belief in myself and the will to press forward. And that’s when I picked my “running buddy” for the remainder of the course – the blob (remember I can’t see anything clear farther than the length of my own arm!) in the bright green shirt with the long dark hair. You didn’t know you were chosen obviously, because I was always behind you, but when you ran, so did I, and when you walked I thanked the Heavens above. We were playing a game, you and I, and it was called “Catch me if you can, but don’t you dare fall even farther behind”.

I had convinced myself it wasn’t far to the The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (oh you know, just another short 2 miles!!!!) and once I was there, I couldn’t even enjoy them, not really. I tried to take a few photos, made difficult because I was out of energy, shaking and it was STILL pouring. On the bright side, bright green blob must have been enjoying the lights because we walked this whole time.

 

By the time we left Hollywood Studios, we were saying hello and goodbye to mile marker 11 – we were heading to Epcot and the finish line energy was palpable. Bright green blob was feeling it too, we moved a bit quicker where we could, but the path narrowed and got pretty slippery. I think now is a great time to publicly thank all the volunteers and spectators along the route – you have no idea how much your cheers of encouragement meant to me. When I needed a pick me up, someone was always there with a “you’ve got this!”, “keep going you’re almost there!”, or a “yeah runners! we’re proud of you!”

When we made it to the bridge at The Boardwalk, there were two cyclists waiting off to the side – I thought for sure I was about to get swept (not be allowed to finish for all of you non-runners out there), but they let our little group pass on by. Still my heart had lodged itself in my throat and somehow my stomach had found a new home at my knees. And when I finally entered Epcot something inside me broke loose – all the fear, all the pain, all the excitement, and the knowledge it was almost over was so overwhelming I cried. I high-fived strangers. I smiled when I wanted to grimace. I put one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward toward my goal. I have a quote by an unknown author that has been hanging in my room for the last few weeks of my training and I thought of it just then – “On the last mile when your legs are tired and your lungs are burning, GET ANGRY. GET ANGRY for being tired, then RUN FASTER.”  At that point I couldn’t feel my legs, my fingers, my nose – I didn’t know if the ground was still solid below me or not, but I knew I was half a dozen turns away from the finish line.

And then, like a beacon in a dark night, there it was – lit up and welcoming. I sprinted with every ounce of energy I had left in me, afraid that if I didn’t, in that moment I would collapse and never make it across. I know there were hundreds of people screaming, but I heard nothing but my beating heart, saw nothing but the finish line clock – I would finish under my time goal at 3 hours and 27 minutes and just before 2 AM.

And then that medal was around my neck and all I could think was “you did it and you are still standing!”

Wine and Dine 2014 finisher

Although it was still raining, I pulled out my cell phone and let everyone know I had made it – I had finished. Then I was focused on finding Monique and Catherine and leaving. I was so sore and cold and miserable I didn’t even want to stay for the party. Catherine finished before I did and had already left. Monique was waiting for me at the entrance to Epcot – sadly she had been swept at mile 8. Like so many others, Monique and I did the broken-runner shuffle to where the buses were waiting to take us all to our resorts for showers and warm beds. When Monique and I got back to the room, we discovered Scott had set out towels and bananas for us! He’s so thoughtful!

I don’t know how long I slept the next day – it was a very restless sleep. Everything on me ached – my feet from the blisters, my back from hunching over in the wind and rain, my head with a splitting migraine for not wearing my glasses for so long – I felt like I was falling apart, but I had earned that medal and I was going to show it off in the parks! I moved very slowly the remainder of my vacation, but I didn’t let that dampen my spirits or stop me from enjoying myself – all day Scott asked me if I wanted a wheelchair. I refused – there was no way I was going to ride around all day with my hard-earned medal. Monday night we did Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Tuesday I had a meeting to go to and had to shove my injured feet into high heels, and Wednesday I flew home.

I was still in a lot of pain and by Friday afternoon at work (November 14th), my feet were red, swollen and extremely painful to walk/stand on. After a trip to the local urgent care center, I was diagnosed with Cellulitis in both feet from the broken blisters I got during the race. I was given a 10 day, take twice a day prescription for Bactrim, told to drink plenty of fluids and keep my feet elevated above my heart for the next few days – and if the swelling didn’t go down or the pain stop, head to the Emergency Room.

So for the next two days I could be found with my feet up, watching Hallmark movies, drinking lots of fluids and taking my medicine once in the morning and once at night. It seemed to work – the redness started to fade, the swelling went down, I rediscovered my ankles! By the time Monday rolled around I was feeling better and seemed to be on the mend. By Thursday, however, my energy levels had dropped. I wasn’t sleeping even though I had started going to bed by 6:45 PM – and when I did manage to catch a few hours, I had terrible nightmares. And on top of it all, I had a migraine like you wouldn’t believe – and nothing soothed it.

Monday, November  24th – After a night of being unable to get comfortable and having less than two hours of sleep, my alarm went off at 5:30 AM for work. When I turned on the light, I noticed I had the beginnings of a red, itchy rash running down both arms – and since I work at a hospital and knew they’d probably send me home for fear it was something contagious, I took two Benadryl, called out sick and tried to go back to bed.

Tired of tossing and turning by 8:30 AM, I got up and made my way downstairs. At 9:00 AM I took my last dose of the Bactrim and fell asleep watching a movie. I woke at 11:00 AM in terrible pain – the Benadryl had worn off, thank goodness it was time for another. While I was sleeping, the rash had spread quickly to my chest, back and legs. It was harder to breathe (not like an asthma attack where you feel like you are trying to breathe air through a clogged straw, more like trying to expand your lungs while a sumo wrestler is standing on them – it took a lot of energy to inhale and exhale shallowly).

It was about this time my dad text me to see how I was feeling. I told him about the difficulty breathing and the red itchy rash spreading. And he responded with what I already knew was coming – “call Papa and see if he can bring you into the ER. Also tell me the name of that medicine you’ve been taking for your feet.”

I relayed the information and made the call. Then I sent my dad this photo:

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Disease

And then his instructions changed – “Call the ambulance. Tell them you are having a severe allergic reaction to a medication.” But I already knew this – I don’t remember much from my first go-round with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, but this was how it started and this I remember quite well.

Oddly enough, my sister Megan’s boyfriend, Austin, was the EMT who answered the call. When he walked in the door, I think I scared him – I wasn’t doing well at that point – red, swollen and breathing hard. I watched him take a deep breath and go to work. Papa was here as well helping to keep me calm. When two other EMTs arrived from the next township (need more than one person to transport) we all loaded into the ambulance, Papa following behind, and headed for the Emergency Room at the hospital where both I and my dad work. There was nothing they could really do for me in the ambulance other than give me pure oxygen to help ease my breathing (I wasn’t wheezing, so I didn’t need a breathing treatment) and give me ice packs to put on the rash to help ease the urge to itch. They monitored my blood pressure.

My dad met me in the ER and mom was there not long after. By now it’s 12:30 PM and I am in such intense pain, the rash is still spreading and becoming a deeper red. I am exhausted. In a word, I was miserable. I felt bad for the nurse who had to put in my IV, but luckily she found a spot on the inside of my arm where there weren’t a lot of blisters, and she had this cool black light type tool that helped her to find a good vein on the first try. And then I felt bad for yet another nurse who had to put the sticky EKG pads on my already irritated skin.

Emergency Room

Finally after an IV, blood draw, two bags of saline fluid, a shot of pain reliever and 6 long hours of trying to explain to the ER doctor that this is how my first reaction of Stevens Johnson Syndrome started and that I needed to be seen by a specialist at a burn center, I was discharged and feeling a tiny bit better. My parents and I were then on our way to hospital number two so I could be seen by a burn specialist. At one point during my stay in the ER they were discussing admitting me, but that was vetoed because they didn’t feel there was anything else they could do for me there, so then the discussion switched to which hospital I’d like to be transferred to – the hospital with the burn center was not one of the choices at that time. I’m glad we decided to just drive there ourselves – I was STARVING at this point (I hadn’t eaten since 8:30 AM and we were now pushing 7:00 PM!!), so thankfully we grabbed some food on our way!

It has been 10 years and 2.5 months since my first visit to this burn center. I wasn’t scared or nervous – I knew what the treatment would be if in fact this was Stevens Johnson Syndrome and if it progressed. I just wanted to know what this was and how I could relieve the pain long enough to get a few hours of sleep. There was a nurse waiting for me when we arrived. She led us over to one of the Outpatient Rooms, had me change into my second hospital gown of the day and asked me the same set of embarrassing questions I was asked earlier. I was informed the specialist wanted to see me himself to determine what I had, but he was in a surgery and his resident was attending to a trauma in the ER and she wasn’t sure when either of them would be up.

Outpatient burn center

About 15 minutes later, the resident walks in and while looking at my chart says “hello, my name is Dr. Burn, but you can call me Nick.” The irony of his last name was not lost on my mom or I, we exchanged a suppressed giggled glance. Oddly enough, he could have been EMT Austin’s twin. Then he looked up and I had the privilege of shocking him. Here’s why – this burn center is located within a CHILDREN’S hospital, and seated before him was me – a fully grown, 26-year-old female. THIS WONT BE AWKWARD AT ALL – HE’S MY AGE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! (sarcasm) Dr. Nick checks me over, asks questions, writes some stuff down and let’s us know he’s going to go talk to his supervisor and they’d be back.

Another 10 minutes or so and Dr. Nick and the specialist return. Again I am examined from heat to toe and everywhere in between. Thank goodness the sweet nurse I met at my arrival has been there the whole time – she makes it less awkward. The diagnoses – Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) Disease – another form of Stevens Johnson Syndrome, but on a lesser scale. Just as before – there is no treatment, no magical cure, it just has to run its course – however long that may be, no one could say for sure as everyone reacts differently. Because I did not have any blisters or open skin wounds, I was fortunate to go home and not be admitted to the burn unit this time around. I was given a medical release slip from work for 10 days as stress could cause my reaction to worsen. I was told to take Benadryl and Tylenol for the pain and if after a few days that didn’t help, I was given a script for another pain reliever. However, this was passed along with a caution – it is not known what introducing a new drug to my system during a reaction would do, it may help, it may cause things to get worse. I made up my mind right there I wasn’t going to be filling that script. My only job for the next two weeks was to drink lots of fluids to help flush the toxins from my body and to rest.

After a few days I was finally able to get some much-needed sleep. The redness faded and the spots began to go away as well. The migraine came and went. The itching and the aching pain in my muscles and joins held on longer. Slowly even the bruise from my IV began to heal.

IV bruise

Everyone thinks having two weeks at home on the couch sounds like a wonderful thing – however, once you begin to start feeling like yourself again, you start to go a little stir crazy wishing you could leave. I am looking forward to going back to work on Tuesday (December 9th) – I miss my normal routine, I miss feeling productive, I miss my work friends and I’m ready to put all of this behind me. And with two weeks off work I know there will be a mountain of projects each demanding my attention that will carry me through the end of December.

Needless to say, this was not the experience I had been dreaming about for my first half marathon. And I honestly feel like that moment was stolen from me due to the rain. At this moment in time I don’t know if I’d sign up to do another half marathon, certainly nothing longer, but then again, I’m dying to run through Magic Kingdom (it’s the only park I haven’t run through yet) and I really don’t want this to be the only half marathon experience I have to reflect back on. So with that being said, I’ve got some time to think about it, to weigh the pros and cons, and probably be convinced by my Disney sister that next time will be better – and IF I decide to run again, I’m looking at you, runDisney Princess Half Marathon 2016.

National Sisters Day

3 Aug

Happy National Sisters day to my lovable, funny, sometimes annoying little sisters Megan and Macayla. You may drive me nuts at times, but when I need you, I know I can always count on you to be there! We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, and more adventures than I can remember! I love that you’re always around to talk or snap a silly selfie! I’m lucky to have the sisters I do, because they aren’t just family, they are two of my favorite people in the world! Love you, ‘lil sisters! ❤

Sisters

Memorial Day 2014

26 May

Today was bittersweet as we watched my youngest sister, Macayla, march in her last Memorial Day parades. Way to end on a high note, kiddo!! 🙂