Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Time. Take Two.

It's 7:21 in the morning. Not a creature is stirring, except for me and the cats. Time zone changes will do that to a person. Or maybe just to me. So I am sitting here on my computer waiting for everybody else (whose bodies allow them to sleep in on vacation) to get up so we can go to breakfast! I guess it just gives me more contemplation time.

I was thinking again about time today and how things change constantly, and it made me stop to think about choices and how they affect us in time. Every action we make has a consequence, it's inevitable. It's part of God's plan for us. But knowing that all choices have consequences tied to them, God gave us an escape route. Because no matter who we are presently, He makes it about who we are trying to become or will be in the future.

Looking at others, it's so easy to judge based on past facts and personal perspective. But we don't have God's perspective. Just our own point of view. To us, when someone makes a mistake that is all that is outwardly apparent. Just the mistake. We don't get to see the person was facing their own unique set of problems or mindsets. Take our friend from Les Miserables. Jean Valjean is considered a hero by my standard. He was seen by those surrounding him as a thief for stealing bread. But he stole bread in a time of depression to feed his sister's children. While the law states it's wrong, it depends who you ask if it was really a crime. Some will side with the law, others will side with Jean. To me, it seems black and white. Forgiveness comes easily for me towards Jean Valjean, he was just doing something desperate in a desperate time. It comes easiest when we think about the mercy given to us from our wrong doings through the atonement.

So Jean Valjean spends his whole life doing good and honorable things, and still some cannot see him as more then a criminal. For a time he became embittered by the things he went through, but in the end he finds compassion to be the ultimate virtue. How many people do we see through time overcome vices and turn them into virtues. Such should be the consequence of time, and the ultimate struggle of life. And to me, it should be applauded. Just something to think about.

I could go on, but I am now going to spend my precious time getting ready for breakfast. YUM!!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What better way to procrastinate on all the things I need to do this week than write a blogpost? And I am laughing as I write this because I know there will be a surge of new posts to read this week because everyone else is doing the same thing. 

It's funny to look back this year and see how many things have changed. Including myself. Getting older and growing up is a strange predicament. I look back at who I was a 5 years ago, a year ago, or yesterday and sometimes I don't even recognize that person. So much changes so quickly. There is no way to freeze time, to stop that process. Every day, no matter how hard we try, we can't stop change. The world is constantly changing! Just look outside. If you happen to be in Virginia, the trees are taking their yearly slumber, but soon enough they will wake up, put on those beautiful green leaves and start their annual fashion show all over again.

I've realized I can't stop time, so this upcoming year, I've decided to try and control the changes a little better. When we know we want to go somewhere, it's easiest when we make a map. So for the new year I have decided to make a road map of a few things. Write down a few places I'd like to be in life, and then find the best routes for getting there. If my road map turns out the way I want it to in my head, I'll have to show all of you what it looks like.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas. That you each take a moment to remember the wonderful reason we celebrate Christmas, and to be grateful for the gifts we have been given from God. I hope each of you fill this upcoming year with the things that are most important, and that the roads you travel will take you where you want to be.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Nate and I have had quite some adventures this month including celebrating my Grandma's 80th birthday. My grandmother is a remarkable woman. She raised 10 kids without much help from my grandfather, serves others unceasingly, and makes some of the best chocolate chip cookies and chicken noodle soup I've ever had.

Anyone who has ever been around my family can attest we are not quiet people. It was not a quiet weekend in St. Mary's, PA. My family planned a giant luau in honor of my grandma's birthday and almost all of our family was in attendance. Naturally this means we were crammed into relatives' homes or hotels. Lucky for Nate and I, we picked the hotel every construction worker in the state was staying at as well. To sum up our early check out from the hotel, the first thing we smelled upon entry was urine, I got really ill, the toilet wouldn't flush (hence the urine smell upon arrival), the chuckle head next door decided, right as I finally fell asleep, he should blast the loudest cop show he could find on TV at 1:30 AM, then took a phone call at 5 AM (which apparently no one ever taught him the "indoor voice" rule, and Nate's favorite, no real pillows! It's pretty hilarious now, but I was pretty tired the next day!

The vanity wall in our hotel room... NICE.

My Aunt rented out the country club, the only place large enough to fit us all, and the party was amazing. Because getting everyone to Hawaii would have been quite an ordeal, and Grandma is not keen on traveling these days, my Aunt Bobbi planned a luau. There was a roasted pig, hula dancers, a Caribbean steel drum player, the whole bit!

Nate was pretty hungry...

Besides spending time with my sisters and other family, the best part had to be surprising my grandma with a slideshow of her life and a small slideshow of her children. I loved watching my grandma's face light up with enjoyment as she looked through pictures of her life and all her children throughout the years.

My favorite picture of my Grandma, the day she was married.

I've always enjoyed family history, but the slideshow was probably one of the things I liked most. Although it was a time consuming project due to scanning hundreds of pictures, editing out rips and stains from pictures much older than myself, and getting everything to line up to the music, it made me feel so good that my family all enjoyed it so much. It is also fascinating to learn so much through pictures  and stories. I could literally see what a courageous woman my grandma is, and how many people she has helped throughout her years. It helped me realize how much of that was passed on to my mother, and hopefully what has been passed down to me. I hope I am that kind and gracious and one day when my grandkids make a slideshow for me, they will see the same patterns of service and love.

Sooo classy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

99% vs. 53% vs. 100%

It's time for me to talk about Occupy Wall Street. This goes to "the 99%"... I can't take it anymore. I have been reading trying to understand the Occupy Wall Street group, but quickly came to the conclusion there is nothing to understand. There is no cause they are trying to achieve, other than to sit there because they have nothing better to do, because they can't find a job.

I will be quick to mention I agree there needs to be some regulations and rule changes. I definitely think corruption and greed are large problems that helped cause our current economic situation and even that we need to make some safe guards for people that are being ripped off by "the 1%". Because they CERTAINLY do. 

However, when you march or protest, you don't do it because you feel like having a camp out. Also protesting does not make you cool. It actually has the opposite effect when you make an idiot of yourself and get tear gassed because you are breaking the law for no reason. I think civil disobedience is okay when those who do it are trying to change unjust laws or are having their rights infringed upon. Non-violent civil disobedience, where people purposely break a law and peacefully submit to arrest is okay with me. It doesn't mean you don't fight it in court once you are on trial, and certainly is not appropriate in every circumstance.

You protest because you are driven by your passion to achieve a goal. If you wanted to protest until Wall Street agrees to new regulations, or until CEO's of some corporations or banks step down, that would make sense. Standing around complaining is not protesting, nor is it achieving anything.

To the 53%. For those of you who have not heard, the counter group to OWS is "we are the 53%". Or the estimated 53% of Americans who pay income tax "that supports the government assistance the protestors are looking for". I've been on both side of this fence. I jumped through all the hoops, I got a good education, I pounded the pavement looking for a good job for 4 months after graduation and I got zero job interviews. I finally took a less than ideal job as a full time phone operator for a year. After I couldn't take the monotony any longer (and because some less than ideal circumstances), I quit. I worked at a temporary job while I was having a bunch of life changes and health issues, and now I am working at a job that isn't my dream job, but I love my co-workers and am content. Would I love to work in my major and land an amazing marketing, public relations, or journalism job? ABSOLUTELY! And if anyone wants to offer me one that is reading my blog, I'll take it! But am I going to cry about the world's injustice of me not being able to get my dream job, no! (Okay, well maybe a little, but I compose myself quickly.) I may be live in a particular circumstance, but if I don't like it, I need to change it. You don't just sit around and wait for the world to change. You do something to make it happen or you stop complaining about it.

I understand some people are in more desperate need of a job. And jobs are NOT easy to come by. But if I was still unemployed, I would be busting my tail to start my own company or hounding some company to give me a job and be proving to them why they should. I don't think some of those in the older generation or 53% should say that my generation are just brats that feel entitled to everything. Some are, but some are not and it's not fair or true. Times and circumstances change. We went to college because we were hounded about how if we put in our time, we'll get good jobs when we graduate college. That turned out to be a bust. Lucky for me I had little debt and paid it off quickly while I lived at home and had the circumstances to be able to do that. I feel for my colleagues who got specialized educations and need high paying jobs to sustain themselves and payments on high amounts of student debt. But if those jobs don't appear, you don't just collapse in despair. You do something about it. Some of the greatest periods of industry and invention came after times of immense struggles.

What I am trying to say is this: If you don't like the hand you've been dealt, reshuffle the cards or throw out the deck and make your own. And if you are doing that, be patient with those who don't know how to do that yet. Not everyone can handle what you can.

So whether I am part of the 99% or 53%, I know I am 100% over other people trying to speak for me. Because I pay income tax, it does not make me the same as the other people in the 53%. Because I am against greed, that doesn't make me part of the 99%. I just want to be an individual in my own category apart from the 6,971,163,850 other people in the world. (Which is the estimated population of the world as of 7:12 PM EST on 10/27/11). Is that okay?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Naked Truth

Some people would call me worrisome because every night as the sun sets, I close my blinds. I don;t mind seeing out, but it creeps me out to think someone may be looking in. Nate and I live in an apartment where the building next to us is pretty visible (or in other words I can see into their apartment, so quite obviously they can see into mine). It's one of the many perks of apartment living.

A quick non-science lesson for all of you, as it becomes darker outside earlier, it becomes more important to close your blinds if you have lights on in the house. This is what is called the "fish bowl effect". Because everything else is blacked out, the light is illuminated more. Except in apartments, the residents are not fish, they are seeing people. Naked people as a matter of fact. Like the naked man across the way who was getting himself a sandwich today in his kitchen.

So really I don't know if he was making a sandwich. I don't know what he was doing because I wasn't trying to get a peepshow. Either way, I think in the next apartment newsletter they send out instead of taking an entire page to show an illustration of a dog picking up his own poo-poo and the quote "If I can do it you can do it", maybe they should change the illustration to be a naked person closing their blinds.

There is something to be said about being close with your neighbors and community, but I think this one is pushing that boundary a little too far. If you are going to be in visible distance, please remember to put on a shirt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writing It Out

In case you have not heard. Nate and I did not win the car. From the one thing they have said to us, it seems like there is some serious backhandedness, but either way they awarded someone else the car. If we had lost because we hadn't tried, it would be one thing, but I exhausted EVERY avenue I could possibly think of. Anger builds up when I think about how I did not want to harass and constantly barrage people around me to vote, but I honestly thought we could win so I went along and did it. Then I just feel silly that I got my hopes up over a silly contest, and it makes me feel worse when I feel like I am not a big enough person to just let it go. But I am letting it go. Right now. Poof. Gone.

Writing it out always helps.

On to bigger and better things, I am now in the Young Women's presidency at church. This means I get to work with all the girls 13-18 at church and help them realize and become the kind of people they want to be. Just like my YW leaders did for me when I was their age (not so long ago)! I can honestly say Annie, one of my YW leaders was such a great source of helping me realize who I was and how I could make good decisions. She made me feel loved and appreciated and I know she contributed in helping me to be who I am today. I think every girl in my class wanted to be just like her!

I hope my Young Women think that about me one day too. I hope I can learn to be the kind of leader who listens, genuinely cares, and really helps to strengthen those around her. It is the strangest thing being put in a leadership position. When you feel responsible for someone else, you instantly grow to love them. Even if they are different from you, or they dislike you, you feel like you would do anything for them. That is how I feel about the young women I work with. Some I barely know, but I feel so protective over them. I just love them to pieces! I think God must really love me and trust me to let me have the privilege to work with them :) I love it!

On that note, I realized I haven't eaten dinner and I am soooo going to bed in an hour and a half. More to blog later....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I have a pet... His name is Peeve

Abraham Lincoln is attributed to one of my favorite quotes. "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." Today's post goes out to those who should remain silent.
I am writing about people who are so narrow minded they refuse to listen to anyone else's point of view. Specifically I would like to address those who are intolerant of religions they know little about.

As a Latter-day Saint, I am used to people not knowing what I believe, who I worship, or how I chose to live my life. I have had plenty of one way conversations where someone tells me "what I believe", and what they say is grossly incorrect. But today, I'm not writing to talk about that. I am writing to speak out for my friends of other faiths who are constantly being picked on because of misunderstandings about their religion.

Tonight my husband is covering a meeting where they are voting to approve the building of a new mosque. Some 4000+ Muslims would like to build a mosque where they can meet and worship together. They would like a place to gather together, just like so many of us do on Sundays, to worship their God.

Some people have voiced legitimate concerns with this proposal. One was "parking will become a nightmare in this area". This is a problem in which a reasonable agreement and solution can be reached. However, another voice concerned was, "It's what they are doing in the mosque - they are not teaching them to love their neighbors".

Seriously? Do you think this lady has ever been inside a mosque? Probably not.

I have.

You know what they did? They allowed us to come in and watch as they said their evening prayer. They spoke to us about their beliefs and how they believe Jesus was a messenger sent from God! Jesus is mentioned more by name in the Qur'an than Muhammad, their own prophet! Although Christians and Muslims obviously differ in beliefs about what role Jesus plays in history and our respective religions, Muslims share like views with Christians on many issues.

The woman who said they are not learning to love their neighbors is probably thinking of the small minority of Islam followers who are involved in terrorist attacks. She is most likely fearful because she does not understand their religion and does not realize that just like any other faith, there are different sects. In Christianity we have Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, and many others. While we share many common beliefs, we differ highly in some major areas like our beliefs about the Godhead.

In Islam, there are Sunnis, Shiites, and other sects too. Jihad to those who would choose to terrorize others, means holy war in a literal way. For the overwhelming majority of others, it means the spiritual war within ourselves to overcome the desires of the natural man. The struggle we each face to have our will aligned with God's, and to choose good over evil. Shouldn't that be everyone's goal?

Tonight the new mosque was approved to be built 5-0. I am happy for my Muslim friends who will finally have their own place to worship. From what I understand the majority of the meeting was about traffic and parking concerns, with very few people saying hateful things, and that makes me glad too. It always gives me a glimmer of hope when I see our 1st Amendment rights being upheld!

So should you ever find yourself in a conversation in which you know nothing about the topic at hand, learn about it or learn to walk away.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Day Late, A Dollar Short

I am one day behind on writing my monthly blog post. Shame, shame, shame!

Why you ask am I so behind on my blogging? Because in the past month I have been a busy bee! Nate and I have moved into a place of our own (with A LOT of help from family and friends), which includes buying all new furniture and odds and ends and unpacking a WHOLE LOT of boxes, I got a new job, a new church calling, and we are just beginning to really get settled.

So you may be thinking that it doesn't sound like I was so busy that I could not have written a blog, but then that leads me to my next explanation... DISTRACTIONS!

Distraction One

A cork board map. I want to make one to plot N and I's adventures!
Because I have moved into the phase I call "nesting", I am ready to settle in and feel comfortable where I am at right now. Not stagnant of course, just sane. It's hard to explain, but when I do not feel settled into a place, I feel like I am living out of a suitcase just waiting for the next plane to arrive and take me away. Life is always taking us in different directions, but when you hop one too many planes, it makes you a little jet-lagged.

Hopefully the settled feeling will come soon, but in the mean time as I am trying to get the apartment in order, here is what I have been looking at...

Flowers or plants to give the apartment some life!
Something to fill the two giant vases in the living room.

Distraction Two. 

This dress is so BEAUTIFUL!

Kate Middleton fashion blog posts are my guilty pleasure. So sue me. After a long day at work, I like to dream of fashion designers who would make affordable, beautiful dresses that don't expose your entire body. Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to pay more than $30 for a nice dress so I will have to dream on. Celebrities can afford them however, and I would appreciate it if they would take a cue from the Duchess and buy a dress that covers their bum bums (and other body parts). I now get distracted constantly by a TV since I am right in front of one at work, and every day I think about how the woman HAVE to be flashing someone in the audience or at least one of the camera operators. Some don't sit very lady like and their dresses are not covering very much. Enough said.

 Distraction Three.

My boo.

That is right honey, you made it on the distraction list. Albeit you are my favorite out of the whole bunch.  Ever since I started working, I don't get to see much of Nate. He works nights and I work days. Most of our spare time is spent together. When you don't get to see much of someone, when you get the chance, you spend as much time as possible.

It's hard to believe we have been married for three and a half months already! They say time flies when you are having fun (and when you have a husband who does the bulk of the chores and has never complained about it once). Okay, so I actually don't know who says time flies when your husband does all the chores... but I'm sure someone has before, right?

Bottom line, I will be better this month. I will write at least one more post this month, and it may even be a thought producing one.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

So many posts... so little time!

 That's right, this may be the most I have posted in one month ever! Yes, it may have something to do with being incapacitated after back surgery and tiring quickly once I am up walking around. That will be over by the end of the week though, and I am excited about that!
 So while I lay here in my bed, it gives me time to think up crazy thoughts and plans that will most likely never come to fruition, but if they do it would be pretty cool. I think my husband would love these ideas since he is a bit of a day dreamer too. (Some people call it A.D.D. I think.)
 Wouldn't it be sweet if we could get an American car company to sponsor a drive across the US? And do a video blog about our adventures? Point out little shops along the way that make all American made products and meet all sorts of interesting people along the way? Proving that American made is possible and cool? With Nate's quick editing abilities and camera knowledge we could turn quick videos at all sorts of cool spots across the US! I guess Alaska and Hawaii are a little harder to hit on the US tour, but if Ford or GM could foot the bill I guess it wouldn't be too hard to get a car where we needed it. Test drive their different vehicles in different states, or just keep the same car the whole time to show how durable it is!
 I'm just saying, has anyone done this before? Because I am thinking it would get great publicity and would be one great advertising/ pr campaign. And of course I would be glad to step up and coordinate this PR stunt of a life time! It would be like an Elizabethtown type road trip, with all sorts of quirky stops and exciting adventures. I'd love to do it someday. It would be a lot of driving, but I think it would be a blast to go all over and find "the heart of america". Whether people, places, or things, the great and praiseworthy things happening across the USA!
 So anyone out there at a US car company reading... you better snatch Nate and I up on this awesome idea before another company does. Prove you have what it takes to be the #1 American car company! Dodge, *cough cough* I saw the JD Power and Associates report and you are smack bottom. Just call me, we'll come help.
 That or Nate and I will just have to take this trip when we get old in an RV... either way, you better be prepared Nate... cause it is soo happening!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sclerotherapy Part 2

 It looks like all your prayers and well wishes have done wonders. Nate and my Dad gave me a blessing before the surgery saying everything would go well.

It did.

 In what ended up being a 15 minute procedure, they injected exactly where they needed to and believe they have reached enough of the malformation that I shouldn't have to go back for any more treatments! So while I am sore today and possibly sore for the next couple weeks, this thing should be shrinking up quite nicely.
 So goodbye to you Morty. We have not had a good time together, and I will NOT miss you one bit! They have me wrapped like a mummy/ burrito at the present moment and I'm not sure how the lady's of old wore corsets. I am pretty sure this thing is worse and may be limiting the oxygen levels in my brain. I am excited that this time around I had no nausea at all, no unnecessary cuts from my spine to my side, and I don't have to miss any big events! I get to go to my brothers' birthday celebration (brothers plural, I am celebrating for Adam even though he won't be present), and we are eating at Kabuto's! I love it when they cook your food in front of you and do all those little tricks!
 I better stop typing. I can tell the drugs are still in my system because I keep thinking I am writing one thing and type something completely different. Time to go back to sleep!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sclerotherapy Part 1

 Tomorrow I go in for my first treatment for this monstrosity on my back. They call it sclerotherapy. Basically they stick you with a bunch of needles and inject in a variety of things that cause the malformation to become inflamed and harden. I hope that is a good thing. I'm assuming it is, even though it sounds really yucky and I've never heard of inflammation being a good thing. I can't remember if the doctor ever told me, but I think I have an arteriovenous malformation. In a language I understand, it means there are abnormal connections between my arteries and veins, causing a high flow, pulsating collection of blood vessels. AKA a strange mass in my chest cavity and back.
 The way the doctor explained it is the arteries and veins couldn't make up their minds what to be, so they decided to be something in between the two and start a pool to hang out it. Like all lazy beings, they decided to recruit others surrounding them to do their work, or fill the pool. Only problem is the greedy little things keep trying to expand the pool and steal the supply to normal, helpful parts of the body.
 Luckily for me, it has not adversely affected any other parts of the body. (Unless you count my brain, which has not has a whole lot of sleep in the past few months... for further explanation, see earlier posts about planning a wedding, having my back sliced open by a crazy butcher doctor for no reason, and sleeping next to a man who snores and tries to carry on conversations in his sleep. I sure do love that man though.) So we are going to start therapy so it doesn't decide to do so.
 I have been asked what this procedure entails and what it is all about, so I am writing a blog to give you the basic scoop.
 Here are the highlights according to John Hopkins:
-Arteriovenous malformations may cause pain. They are also more stressful on the heart because of the rapid shunting of blood from arteries to veins. Depending on their location, they may also result in bleeding. * I am not bleeding, so this is very good news!*
-Although surgery is sometimes useful, it is usually difficult for surgeons to completely remove vascular malformations, which will return if not removed completely. *Found that out the hard way* A nonsurgical method of closing down the blood or lymph flow into the malformation is done by interventional radiologists, who treat patients with image guided procedures. Vascular malformations are treated by embolization.
The AVMs can be closed by advancing a tiny plastic tubing, no larger than a pencil point, into the feeding artery to the malformation. This can be done without incisions or stitches, and with only mild sedation. Medical glue or alcohol or small beads are then floated into the malformation until it is full and no longer has blood flowing through it.
The VMs and LMs are closed by injecting alcohol into the sacs filled with venous blood or lymph until these sacs collapse and no longer fill. 
- The recovery time varies. The arteriovenous malformations can be treated with a one night hospital stay. There is usually minimal discomfort for one to three days. 
*If however it is a mix, which the doc thought it may be* The venous and lymphatic malformations also require one night in the hospital. These malformations swell after treatment with alcohol, and the swelling and pain may last for 3-5 days.  During this time, we give patients medication for any pain or swelling they may have. The full shrinkage of these malformations may take four to six weeks. *Also I was told I should be able to go home without a stay overnight- your prayers are appreciated in regards to this matter*

-AVMs are more difficult to treat since they tend to pull in new artery feeders from time to time. However, embolization is very effective in blocking abnormal artery feeders while preserving normal arteries. AVMs may require a series of treatments to block all of the abnormal feeders. *Lucky me, mine will haha*
Venous and lymphatic malformations respond well to alcohol embolization. These may also require a series of treatments about 6 weeks apart to block all of the abnormal vessels.
All vascular malformations require long term surveillance, so that if there is any change, such as pregnancy, they can be monitored for symptoms that may warrant rechecking and possibly retreating. We monitor PAVMs over time to be sure they collapse and do not refill. 
-Since congenital vascular malformations are relatively rare, it is probably advisable to obtain treatment at a major center that sees many patients. *Hence my lovely ongoing battle with Anthem and Duke every day to try and get my procedure covered.
 So there you have it folks. It should be no big deal, right? I am just amazed at the whole process of how the human body develops and how things can deviate from the normal blueprint of body functions. And furthermore, that doctors have developed ways to combat and fix so many problems when bodies don't function the way they should. It's pretty amazing to think about.
 I am going to try and sleep now. I doubt I'll get much tonight, but I think I'll feel much better once N gets home and I have someone to snuggle with. Wish me luck everyone!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Something of Substance

substance |ˈsəbstəns|
the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists and which has a tangible, solid presence 
Tonight I watched 20/20. Stephanie Nielsen was on. AKA the Nie Nie Dialogues. If you don't know who I am talking about, you may have been living under a rock. To recap, she is a fabulous woman who was in a terrible plane crash which severely burned most of her body. She survived and has overcome so much during her time of recovery, which she is still undergoing. I not only admire her for the immense physical and emotional pain she has overcome, but for being a loving wife and a PROUD mother.Motherhood so often gets swept under the rug as unimportant, though it is one of the most important things in the world. I love that she has been able to not only showcase her faith in many different forums, but she has been able to proclaim that motherhood is cool! (Admittedly it may not be cool for it to happen to me right now... I'd like to get one growth out before growing another.)What I love about Nie Nie though, and so many other strong woman, is they are themselves and people are drawn to them. So often in order to fill a void of inadequacy or wanting to fit in we turn to celebrities or other people we admire. We try to be or be like someone else. While we should search for the positive in everyone and try to attain the traits we want to have, at the end of the day it's relieving to just be me. I feel my best when I do something and it is distinctly me. The distinct me I have been all my life because that is the way God made me. We feel are best when we are living in the full splendor of our divine potential. When we are just being the way God made us, and carrying on his work the way he intends us to, we are fulfilling our calling in life.I often wonder what substance I am really made of. The real physical matter that makes me... well me. If you are what you eat, then I am probably 60% trail mix and 40% spinach. An odd combination I'll admit. If it's defined by clothes, I am my indian reservation moccasins and some skinny jeans. If it's defined by what I do everyday, lately it would be scrap booking and dreading doctors visits. But I think it's much more then that. It's all about the adjectives. I am Unconquerable. Happy. Determined. Wise. Vivacious. Curious and Careful. And right now very sleepy. I hope that is how people see my substance at least. What's your adjective?And now I will cut this post short. N is watching himself on the Price is Right on repeat. He got on when we went to the taping on our honeymoon. I think he just likes hearing the announcer say "Nathaniieeelll Eaton, come on down". Maybe if I say his name like that now he will come to bed and be quiet. I'll give it a try, and if I remember I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

And it's over!

  The wedding is finished. N asked me what I was going to do with all my free time, I told him if I ever get some I would let him know. Life has slowed down some since the wedding, but then there are thank you cards to make and deliver, Mother's Day presents to be gotten, bills to be paid, names to be changed, bank accounts to amend, doctor's visits to orchestrate and more! Sheesh!
  Wedding plans may be over, but unfortunately this tumor business isn't. I was anxiously awaiting my next doctor's visit to see what the next step would be, and lo and behold he has decided to refer me out yet again. He said if I were his daughter, he'd take me to Duke Medical Center and see a Vascular surgeon there. I didn't get a copy of my MRA (yes, MRA is correct), but we did see it in the office. Apparently Morty is much larger than I had anticipated. He has wrapped throughout my ribcage, and is covering a significant portion of my side/back. Needless to say, I wanted to break down and cry on the spot out of frustration, anger, and fear... but I did not! (I held it in until N and I got outside) The thing is, I don't want to go to North Carolina. I don't want any more medical testing. No more poking at my extremely rare tumor having doctor's say "come take a look, you'll probably never see this again". Frankly, I don't ever wish to hear those words at a doctor's office again, nor do I want to have my back chopped open with a cleaver.
  But such is life. And I know God must have a really interesting path and purpose for this little adventure. I'd be really interested to know what that is right about now, but I will take the answers when they come. In the mean time, all positive thoughts and prayers are appreciated. I know I have nothing to complain about, seeing how it could be so much worse, and I am grateful for a wonderful husband now to cheer me on.
  Today N went back to work. It was the first time in our married lives that we have been apart for than 2 hours. It seemed to go okay. I was so busy with cooking a turkey and fixing wedding pictures I barely had time to think about it. It's astounding how much closer N and I have become in a little over a week. So far, so good. This being married business gets a bad rep, but I think it's pretty rewarding. We get stuff done so much quicker since there are two of us! Thank you synergy.
  I will write a normal blog post soon. I wanted to post before N got home tonight since I am exhausted and cannot wait to go to bed!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Because I am SO smart and have finished up my temporary job, I have decided to try my hand at different professions until one of them sticks and I find a new one. Today I have decided to try out the medical field and be a doctor. I know today is Sunday and I shouldn't be working, but hopefully the Big Man upstairs will understand. During my first few hours of my new profession I have discovered a new disease, and have decided to publish in my blog for now until I can submit it into a real medical journal.  I discovered this disease, though not highly contagious, affects a large number of future brides, though age does not seem to play much of a factor. I have decided to call this new disease, Hapanxious Nervexcitis. You all may be wondering how I discovered this new disease and unfortunately, I discoverd it because I have it. (Don't worry, since I'm a doctor I self-diagnosed myself.)

So what is Hapanxious Nervexcitis?

It seems for the past two weeks I no longer attain the ability to sleep through the night because I have been so happy, slightly-anxious-that-everything-is-going-to-go-smoothly, nervous, and excited for the wedding (we'll just shorten the feeling to Hapanxiously Nervited). This plague can cause moodiness, nonsense ramblings, inability to focus, fatigue, extreme hunger and thirst, intestinal distress, and other symptoms not yet discovered.

The onset of this new disease, Hapanxious Nervexcitis, or HN, can begin suddenly during dating and last months until it is properly treated. Treatment plans include Tylenol PM, meditation podcasts, just getting up at 2 am every day and finding meaningless projects to occupy you until someone else wakes up (fortunately for me, my mom never sleeps so I usually don't have to wait too long), counting sheep, getting a glass of water, writing, reading, or JUST GETTING MARRIED ALREADY!

Not all brides will be affected as severely, but all those planning a wedding are highly likely to catch this malicious disease in some degree or another. If you would like to join this clinical study, or the support group, feel free to leave a comment below. As a doctor, I believe my HN is on the way out. I believe in 6 days it should begin to resolve itself, with flare ups only occurring with the onset of pregnancy, buying a home, or finding a new job. I hope all of you will be on the alert for this new disease and warn your friends about this trend. Early warning signs and diagnosis are usually the best way to successfully treat disease.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April is here!

Wow! Can I just say I never thought April would get here? But it is here and I need to get my tail in wedding gear. I lost a week, and since Nate has to work tomorrow, my Mom and I are going to try and find my wedding shoes and accessories (we're getting into crunch time here folks!) So I have been trying to find some pretty hairstyles that I may like for my wedding. N would probably be upset if he knew I was still up since I told him I was going to bed at 9:30, but it's Friday, so I figure I can always sleep in, right?
Well as I was looking for some cute up-do's, I happened to stumble upon these beauty's. Even though laughing pulls on my back and then in turn makes me want to throw up, this was worth it.
The Boar
The Giraffe

The Foxy Lady

I saved this one for last, since I am getting married the day before Easter it seems most appropriate...
The Happy Easter

So, I think I've really made some progress tonight on finding an up-do for our special day. I told N I wanted it to be unique, yet wind resistant, and I believe these fit the bill. I'd also like to take a moment to apologize to you Nadia, I know this blog probably freaked you out, but I had to post them. I have to go to bed now. We'll see if these pictures give me really creepy or really funny dreams tonight, it's a toss up which way it will go.

Oh and do yourself a favor and watch General Conference this weekend. Best two days of television EVER!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Life's like a garden... dig it.

I am trying to stay up a little more, get a little more active, and get on my feet ASAP, so I thought maybe I'd at least sit up and write a blog. I have to say this has not been a peak week for me. I've been chopped open, sewn back up, been nauseous for days, and the whole time I'm going through this my mind can't stop thinking about how I'll have to do it again in a month and it will probably be worse. To say the least, I'm not too happy about that.
My parents had to waste a lot of money and cancel out on a cruise my mom has been counting down to since they booked it. I missed my brothers wedding, and I'll miss his reception today. Everyone has gotten to take their turn sitting around doing nothing waiting to take me to the bathroom, get me something to eat, or finally today (for the first time since Tuesday night) I got to wash my hair over the sink.
I don't know how I got so blessed to have so many helpful, loving people around, but I am so grateful for them. Through all of this, I appreciate them so much more, and I feel more grateful for the little things we do every day that are often taken for granted.
I've had a lot of time laying around to think, and usually people would want to ask why? Why me? Why is this happening now? Truth be told those thoughts have crossed my mind for a moment, but I immediately shut them out. They do me no good, and it ultimately doesn't matter. As all things in life, sometimes these things just happen. God gives us opportunities to grow, and we decide which road to take. I've decided to look at this experience as a chance to re-live girls camp, except it's not as much fun and at least I don't have to use a port-a-potty?
As I have taken quiet moments to ponder, I feel God's love and mercy for me. I know that He is with me. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to go to the temple a few weeks ago. I literally can say, I feel God's power on my side, and with Him I know all things are possible. I know if it was His will, this tumor could disappear. (And just in case He's reading, I'm okay with that happening :) But I also know that sometimes instead of taking away our problems, He gives us a way to get through them. I believe the phrase I've learned most often through the example of my mother, and in my own life is that when you ask God to move a mountain, don't be surprised when He hands you a shovel.
I will take up my shovel, and I will not stop digging until I move all the hills, mountains, and mole hills He asks me to. Usually He does most of the heavy parts anyway.
I guess I really just wanted to write to vent, and to say thank you all so much for your prayers, thoughts, visits, flowers, cards, and support. They have made me again realize what wonderful people I am surrounded by daily, and how much I love you all. We'll see when I find time again to blog, it may not be until I am a married woman ;) We'll see.
<3 Erica

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

66 Days... Just 66 More Days!

There is a reason the people in that picture are staring and pointing, they are saying "Nate and Erica are getting married there in 66 days!" In case you were wondering, that means Nate and I have already waited 109 days since we got engaged. But really we have been waiting OUR WHOLE LIVES! Between the two of us that makes it around 53 years.

Salt Lake City Temple

Seems like a long time, doesn't it? 

But to be able to go inside and proclaim we are worthy and waited patiently to do so, knowing afterwards we will be together for eternity, it's worth it. I have spent my whole life trying to live in a way that would prepare me to go enter into the temple. If you can see that gold looking window in the middle, it says, "Holiness to the Lord, The House of the Lord". Fifty-three years doesn't seem so long to be able to enter one of the most sacred and amazing places on earth.

The other day as I was thinking about everything, I felt overwhelmed at how grateful I am not only for having a wonderful family and great friends who helped me make good choices, but having a fiance who has done the same. I couldn't ask for more. Well... I could... but it makes me look a little ungrateful when I think about the little things I worry over haha.

So really I just wanted to tell everyone (in case you haven't seen everyone I know post it on my facebook already) I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!! We are taking engagement pictures this weekend, so you will probably get a sneak peak at those pretty soon. We are finalizing food and flowers,  gathering music for the PAR-TAY, and hopefully these crazy people at the dry cleaners will GIVE ME MY DRESS BACK!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Get On The Bus, It's Time To Go

This song popped into my head today, and it made me want to write a blog! My dear friend The Ataris say, "Being grown up isn't half as fun as growing up, these are the best days of our lives. The only thing that matters is just following your heart and eventually you'll finally get it right." I refuse to look back longingly to the past, but we have to look back occasionally to understand the future.

I have had a lot of really good people in my life. Good friends and family who have supported me and loved me through all sorts of things. As I come to a giant crossroad in life, I am glad I followed my heart. I must say, I am pretty sure I got it right. You may not always know what the future has in store, but you know you just have to push forward in faith occasionally. God has closed some doors in my life recently (or in some cases slammed them), but I can see Him opening the most brilliant windows. In these moments all I know how to do is follow my heart and know it will all work out.

When I was little I would occasionally think something magical would happen in my room as soon as I left. Like on Toy Story, I was hoping to see my toys come alive. So after I would walk out of my room and close the door, I would wait a second and then quickly burst in again to see if some sort of party was now taking place. Needless to say, I have yet to barge in on my teddy bears having tea. It is crazy to me that sometimes I still do that. I've closed the door on a part of my life, but then I want to peak back in and see if maybe I am missing out on something. When you take time to peak back into the room, it may seem harmless, but usually you'll end up missing the sunshine through the window.

As I embark on my biggest journey yet, I see plenty of sunshine up ahead and I am going to open all the windows I can!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Really Bad Habit

So as I was looking through my blog, I realized I don't always post the things I write. I write myself to sleep a lot and (as my previous roommates can attest to) I always fall asleep with my laptop in my lap. I fall asleep mid-sentence and wake up with my laptop perfectly balanced right where I left it. Below is a blog I started in October and in an attempt to finish last year, I am posting it now.

It is only October, but it might as well be Thanksgiving already because every night I crave bread, mashed potatoes and turkey. My fall food cravings are in full gear. Fall just seems so cozy to me. I love it. Sweaters, coats, and a warm bed... I am in heaven. I should probably wait to post the Thanksgiving gratitude post, but today I feel like I need a little gratitude boost. So I will list those things I am grateful for now, in no particular order.

Fresh food and home cooking. Sweat pants and three layers of blankets to keep me toasty in bed. A blog to write in so I can feel like I accomplished something today. Supportive friends and family. The ceramic blue elephant who stands sentinel over my meager collection of books and little cactus snow globe. Prayer. Wawa hot chocolate with Irish cream. Craft blogs. An education and the ability to earn a living.

There are so many more, but this seems adequate for now. I won't get toasted leg syndrome tonight, so I am cutting off the laptop before it is too late.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011


Well I had intended to update this blog soon, but that was before I caught what may be the new plague here in Richmond. I think a person can get much more ill than I was, but for a girl who only gets a cold for a day or two, this thing is pretty wicked. I sound like I have pertussis... or I am turning into a goose. I am hoping neither scenario is correct. But the new year has begun, with or without my consent and we are now in full swing. I can honestly say I have spent over half this year in bed. I always wondered what it would be like to sleep like Rip VanWinkle though, so I guess I should feel pretty fulfilled.

For those of you who don't know, I quit my job right before Christmas because of a discrepancy about some requested time off. So my new found freedom has given me plenty of time to recover, but it has also given me plenty of time to think, WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO DO WITH MYSELF!? I would really like a job, or as my parents suggest, I would like to "contribute to society". Luckily for the environment, most job applications are now online or electronic, because at this point I may have used up half the trees in the rain forest. When I think about energy usage though, I probably emitted enough CO2 to counteract any good saving the trees did. All I want is a high schoolers job being a cashier or something... at least something to make me feel like I am doing some sort of work. It has come to my attention though, that even if you are a college graduate and could easily count seven dollars and forty-nine cents worth of change no one will hire you. Perhaps having a college degree makes me inaccessible to those who shop at chain retailers? All I'm saying is, if I was running a business, I would give someone who is over qualified a position if they will happily take the same $8/hr as a goofy kid who can't count. End of rant. Too bitter?

Truth be told, besides being sick, I have actually enjoyed my time off.  When you're preparing for a wedding, I don't feel like you ever run out of things to do. Now don't get me wrong, I sure do miss getting a paycheck, but I have been able to spend a lot of time with Nate. Have I told all of you how much I love that guy? HE-IS-AMAZING! He brought me Chick-Fil-A soup twice, cough drops, extra snuggles, and did I mention foot rubs?? After he goes to work all day, he comes over to my house- to give ME a foot rub! I-LOVE-HIM! Best. Year. EVER!

I need to go to bed. The later it gets, the worse the coughing gets. I will leave you with this. Don't try to RSVP... I haven't added anyone's names yet.