Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Grinch Antidote

Being pregnant makes you really sensitive. And emotional. And it becomes much harder to deal with difficult personality types. If someone does something unthoughtful or unkind, it has always taken me a while to get over. I don't like it when people are blatantly unkind. I try to understand why someone would act the way they did so I can have some sort of understanding. I am looking forward to the day I have the baby so I can get away from a lot of negativity at work. But knowing I will never be able to avoid all the grinch-types of the world, or those people who have hard circumstances that don't know how to handle them well, what do you do for those kinds of people? How do you deal with it?

I guess the issue is, I just don't know how to let things go easily?

On to better things though, Nate and I find out in 15 days whether we are having a boy or girl!! And I have been dreaming up Nursery ideas :) I like the idea of Enchanted Forest. Mostly because I love adorable woodland creatures and nature, but it seems like an easy theme. Nate wants gender neutral, so we will probably end up doing something more like this. (It even has the name I like, though no official names have been decided ;)

But if we have a girl, I thought it may be fun to do something a bit more whimsical.

I am leaning towards the first nursery type theme. I think it will be much easier, especially if we end up moving down the line, or if I am crazy enough to try having another baby after this one. Pregnancy is tough stuff, but my philosophy on children is that it's like football, once your down, it doesn't matter how many pile on. (Once you have one child, it doesn't really matter how many you have because you have now moved on to the land of parenting. Life is never the same as it was before haha.)

Anyway... I can hear Nate stirring. Which means it's time for PRESENTS!!!!!!!! Merry Christmas again. Love, Erica.

Merry Christmas!

Here is my favorite Christmas song this year, Mary Did You Know? I love Cee Lo's voice in this song. And the video is very well put together. But impossible for me to watch without crying so I usually just listen to the song. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Who knew November only had 30 days? Not me apparently. And next time you see me, don't bother trying to explain that whole knuckle thing about which months have 31 days in them. I don't really care that much. If I did, I'd look at a calendar once in a while.

So in case you haven't heard the news, or the rumors, Nate and I are expecting a new addition to our family coming May of 2013. And it better be May. Tardiness is not acceptable. Pregnancy and I don't get along well, and I refuse to go over my due date. So naturally, I will be 3 weeks late and they'll have to slice me... it just seems to be the way it goes in the medical world for me haha.

I have had some pretty funny thoughts. Also scary. And exhausting. And just ridiculous. Like last night. I looked down at my feet and thought, am I wearing socks? I was, but I could barely tell. My feet are getting so white. They lost the tan sunburn from Australia quick. I could really use a tan. And then I thought, why do I care? Soon I won't have to look at my feet- I won't even be able to see them!

My outlook is beginning to brighten a little. No thanks to feeling any better, cause that hasn't happened. But instead of grumbling every day, I am trying to think how grateful I should be that we have this opportunity. We are so fortunate, and even if it came at a very unexpected and somewhat inconvenient time, what a marvelous experience it will be.

At this Christmas season, for the first time I am really understanding how difficult being a mother is. And I know I am only beginning this journey. The worry about the future mom's have, giving everything for their children. If there is an experience geared towards helping women understand pure love, it is this one.

I am not ready to be a mom yet. But I don't know that anyone is truly ready. Luckily I have a wonderful husband who has brought me breakfast in bed every morning. And defrosts my windows in the mornings. And is EXTREMELY patient.

This has been me lately. Except, let's be real for a minute. There is no rolling pin in these hands. I have maybe walked into the kitchen a handful for times without vomiting or coming close to it.

The Nate has done all the cleaning, food prep, and everything else lately because I have been pooped. Everyone keeps saying it gets better, but the headaches only seem to be getting worse. I have been trying not to take it out on other people when I feel miserable, but so far, I have had few successes.

But I will keep trying. And when I feel better, I will talk to people again. Maybe even have a night out somewhere? I'll keep you posted.

Even if it took some time, I am very excited for a baby. I have already picked out a name I like. I have determined I am having a girl until proven otherwise. Nate thinks it's a boy, but in asking around for guesses, girl is taking the lead big time. So far the name I have picked out hasn't been popular with other people. Lucky for me, I don't care haha. If our child doesn't like their name, he or she can legally change it at age 18.

More to come on baby names and the gender reveal party we are planning. I am hoping by 20 weeks I will be functional enough to host such a thing. Thank you all for your patience with me. For your kind words, encouragement, and support. I am so blessed to have friends and family who look out for me even when I fall short. Thank you!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Return to Virtue

In my church's youth program, the young women have a theme which they say each Sunday before our sunday school lesson. This theme has eight core values which the girls strive to develop. Each week they stand and recite the following:

WE ARE DAUGHTERS of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love    Him. WE WILL “STAND as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are: Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
WE BELIEVE as we come to accept and act upon these values, WE WILL BE PREPARED to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
The most recent value they added was virtue. The ability to maintain high moral standards. Recently more and more people are starting to notice a turning away from virtue. Rather than focusing on teaching our children to have character, we are teaching them they should learn how to navigate right and wrong themselves and let them figure out what is best.

I recently had a conversation at work about honesty which has caused me to think a lot about this lately. 
In this conversation about honesty, Jane Doe tells me that she feels it is okay to lie at work if you are caught doing something wrong if it will bring bad consequences for you. I know we each were raised with different values, but since when did it become okay to lie as long as it makes you look better? How trust-worthy does that make you sound?

But I realized, this isn't just a singular incident. Everywhere around us, people are told to reason for themselves what is right and wrong. Instead of society having a consensus of what is moral and immoral, we'll just find what works best for ourselves.

When will we as a society figure out that morality should not be rationalized? People are coming to see virtue and character as something we have to develop only when a tough decision is placed in front of us instead of developing it every day. We need more people willing to pay the price each day to build integrity and character, to make the decision now, and not wait until the next moral dilemma occurs. It's easy to rationalize in particular circumstances what is right or wrong, but if we have a moral compass to point us in the right direction, we won't have to rationalize, we'll already know where our standards are and can make a decision based on principles.

I read chapter eight from Jonathan Haidt's book The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom this afternoon I found interesting. The chapter is entitled "The Felicity of Virtue." Essentially his argument is the same. That we are losing values of society due to this moral relativity. He gives a call for people to return to virtue for the sake of society.

I believe that we have indeed lost something important – a richly textured common ethos with widely shared virtues and values. Just watch movies from the 1930s and 1940s and you’ll see people moving around in a dense web of moral fibers: people are concerned about their honor, their reputation, and the appearance of propriety. Children are frequently disciplined by adults other than their parents. The good guys always win, and crime never pays. It may sound stuffy and constraining to us now, but that’s the point: some constraint is good for us; absolute freedom is not. Durkheim, the sociologist who found that freedom from social ties is correlated with suicide, also gave us the word anomie (normlessness). Anomie is the condition of a society in which there are no clear rules, norms, or standards of value. In an anomic society, people can do as they please, but without any clear standards or respected social institutions to enforce those standards, it is harder for people to find anything they want to do. Anomie breeds feelings of rootlessness and anxiety, and leads to an increase in amoral and antisocial behavior. Modern sociological research strongly supports Durkheim: one of the best predictors of the health of an American neighborhood is the degree to which adults respond to the misdeeds of other people’s children, rather than look the other way. When community standards are enforced, there is constraint and cooperation. When everyone minds his or her own business, there is freedom and anomie.
We need a return to virtue. Without it, life becomes unstable. Happiness is fleeting because we have no purpose to our lives. Nothing to work for, with nothing to gain. Whether you believe in basing moral standards on religious beliefs or not, the need for a return of virtue is a call for everyone for a better place to live.

Do you agree? Do you think there is a need for a return to virtue? Or am I too narrow-minded? Have we evolved to a case by case basis for what is right or wrong because it is a better way? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Puppies Inspired By Puppies

The other day when I was feeling a little bit down, Nate asked me a question I thought was pretty weird. "Do you need to look up pictures of puppies?" (It may have had something to do with a mysterious folder named puppies I left on my desktop a couple weeks back, but no one can be certain.) I rolled my eyes and said no, I did NOT need to google puppies, but today I finally had to give in.

Sometimes when your day looks bleak, or you've had a bad day and nothing seems to make it better, you just have to google puppies. I bring you the cream of the crop mood lifters.

What I did all day today.
What Nate should give into soon.
What I am going to do right now.
The real reason Nate doesn't want a dog. Because he'll have to share his ice-cream.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Nate and I were driving to the DC temple a month or two ago and we listened to a speech given in 1974 by President Gordon B. Hinckley entitled "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled". I sure miss President Hinckley! One day I hope I can be as eloquent a writer and orator as he was.

If you don't have time to read it, you should make time, but I will give you a small taste of what he says, which I find very pertinent to what we are going through right now with the upcoming election season. It is a religious and political commentary of sorts and is well worth your time.

I copy a few lines for you now:

The tragedy is that this spirit [negativism] is epidemic. Criticism, fault-finding, evil speaking—these are of the spirit of the day. They are in our national life. To hear tell these days, there is nowhere a man of integrity among those holding political office. The snide remark, the sarcastic gibe, the cutting down of associates—these, too often, are of the essence of our conversation. Criticism is the forerunner of divorce, the cultivator of rebellion, sometimes a catalyst that leads to failure.

I come this morning with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that we "accentuate the positive." I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course. I am not suggesting that our conversation be all honey and blossoms. Clever expression that is sincere and honest is a skill to be sought and cultivated.

What I am suggesting and asking is that we turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good in the land and times in which we live, that we speak of one another's virtues more than we speak of one another's faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears.

When I was a boy our father often said to us:

Cynics do not contribute.

Skeptics do not create.

Doubters do not achieve.

 I have decided I need to be a better example of looking for the good. How easy is it to fault find others and boast of our own moral character? I close with the last few paragraphs of his devotional with a challenge to try this week to accentuate the positive and disregard the negative when possible. Being kind always makes you feel better.

My dear young friends, don't partake of the spirit of our times. Look for the good and build on it. Don't be a "pickle sucker." There is so much of the sweet and the decent and the good to build on.

You are partakers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel means "good news." The message of the Lord is one of hope and salvation. The voice of the Lord is a voice of glad tidings. The work of the Lord is a work of glorious and certain reward. I do not suggest that you simply put on rose-colored glasses to make the world look rosy. I ask, rather, that you look above and beyond the negative, the critical, the cynical, the doubtful, to the positive. I carry with me a statement that I took from an article published some years ago on Commander William Robert Anderson, the man who took the submarine Nautilus under the North Pole from the waters of the Pacific to the waters of the Atlantic. In his wallet he carried a tattered card with these words: "I believe I am always divinely guided. I believe I will always take the right road. I believe God will always make a way where there is no way" (quoted in Look, 20 April 1971, p. 48).

Said the Lord in a dark and troubled hour to those he loved, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). May the Lord bless you, each of you, with faith, with affection, with hope, with charity, I ask humbly in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Breath Of Fresh Air

I have spent a lot of time in the past week driving. Like 7 hours. All by my lonesome. A "Me" party if you will. A party just for one, in my Honda "Lolovievie" or Lolo for short. I picked the name out of a baby name book when I first got my car. It means "the sweetness of love" or "surrounded by love". To me it symbolized the love that surrounded me as I gave up my car for my brother when he needed one, how my dad chipped in most of the money for me to buy a new car, and how all good things stem from love.

I love how one good deed can start a perpetual cycle of nice actions. I like that when I am driving, I get to be outside in the great big beautiful world. Where everywhere you look you are surrounded by love. By the birds in the air, and the flowing fields of grass, everything is so peaceful, it helps me feel God's love because I see it. God's love. For me. For all of us. To make such a perfect beautiful place to live.

The salty mist of the ocean. The majesty of a thunderstorm rolling in. The way it makes you feel so small under such a big boisterous cloud. I love it. Rain. Trees. The sweet, sticky humidity of a Virginia summer. The way it makes you want to die it's so hot, yet somehow you can't help but love it because you feel like you are five again chasing lightening bugs and catching them in jars.

I miss the outdoors. I miss the way the outdoors make me feel like God is just a stone's throw away. I miss Idaho bike rides by the canal. And naps in the hammock. I miss seeing the sky and only getting glimpses of it through an office window or my car.

I need a trip to Australia. To be outside again. To breathe fresh air. To be away. August, you're welcome any time now :) I'm waiting.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Let the good times roll!

I've been terrible at blogging lately. I've been a bad friend to my blog followers! Life has been busy! I am late on my blog post so all I can do is say I will do better!

Last week was sort of a tough week. I didn't see Nate other than an hour a day, and with all the crazy weather we've been having, it was nearly impossible to spend time together. It was a stressful week.

But then everything changed on Saturday afternoon. Like a bright beacon of light after a dark and gloomy week,  Nate and I got to go to Daryl and Rasheema's wedding! It was awesome. And it reminded me about something bigger than all the craziness in the news, at work, or everyday life.


I truly believe marriage and family life teaches us more about love than any other circumstance. Not only about love, but about Christ-like love. About charity and how real love transcends all things. When I am with Nate, I know he loves me unconditionally. Not because I am perfect. Or we have the perfect relationship, but because we are committed to each other and we promised to always love and protect one another.

God's best gift to me was Nate. And I could see that same feeling between Daryl and Rasheema on Saturday. I could just look and tell that with Gods help, they will continue to enjoy a lifetime of love and happiness together.

I will write again soon, but I had to document what a happy occasion it was to be able to join our friends on such a special day!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

MAY-be I'll Write A May Blog Post?

Get it? MAY-be. And it's May.

I know, it's hard to be this funny.

And yes Ronnie, I'm writing it. I started writing it last night, but I fell asleep. Can you blame me? I have been a busy little bee this month. And I procrastinate sometimes. Thank you for being a good friend and motivating me to write like I promised myself I would!

Here's the skinny on the Eaton family. Nate's parents just left town on Tuesday from visiting us, and we had a great time gallivanting across Virginia sightseeing. I had never been to Natural Bridge, Appomattox Courthouse, or Lynchburg even though I have lived here most of my life. I only apologize to them that it had to be 100 degrees outside and humid. Virginia weather and I have a love/hate relationship. I secretly love the hot, stick summer heat, but it hates me. And it makes me want to pass our as soon as I step outside. Moving to Idaho for four years ruined my native adaptation skills and instead of being able to play outside in the heat all day, I have to constantly find shade and air conditioned buildings.

Besides being busy with all sorts of things, I am feeling much better than I have in months! I can generally walk quickly without getting winded, and can stay awake until 10 pm. Things I have been unable to do for a while now because I have been so fatigued. All I can say is THANK YOU! If I never had another surgery in my life, I think I would get  along just fine!

In another piece of information about my life, I have figured out who the sick-o is who keeps leaving giant spit piles on the stairs up to my apartment. He likes to park illegally in the fire lane because he can't walk 10 extra steps to park in a real parking spot. (I can't fault him for the illegal parking though, I think about doing it myself sometimes..) However, should I see a wad of spit on the stairs on my way into my apartment ever again, I am SO calling someone to have his car towed. And I fill document it. And laugh. And put a sticky note next to the pile of spit and draw a car getting towed and an arrow pointing to his spittle, and say, next time- use the grass. In my head, that made me feel a little better about that.

Today has been a lazy feeling day. I don't feel like thinking. Or like doing much of anything. It makes me glad tomorrow is Friday. And secretly happy that my husband was called to breaking news so I wouldn't have to make dinner. (Even though it would be nice to have him home to join me in my sitting around, enjoying the general splendor of having a night to do nothing.)

It seems in life there is always more work to be done. Every time you finish something on your check list, another thing pops up. Lately I feel like everyone asks me, what do you do in your spare time or after you get home from work. The honest answer is, I don't know when I ever have spare time? And when I get home from work, I am all worked out. I've already been gone from home for 9 hours, and by the time I finish making dinner, my day is done.

I feel satisfied with my life, and content in my heart with all the beautiful blessing the Lord has given me, yet I feel that something is missing. (And all of you can stop thinking of kids right now... that is NOT what I am getting at.) But I feel like there are certain things in my life that I am being prompted to do and change so that God can give me something better. When you pray to ask God to help you realize your short comings, those answers always seem to come quickly! However answers to other questions sometimes take months or years. I've been learning a lot of things about what I need to change in my own character. Flaws that have crept in and habits that have formed that are hindering me from reaching my true potential. So this month I have been trying to recognize those things I could be doing better at (they are in no short supply, to be sure), and to make small changes to accomplish my goals.

Life is sometimes just frustrating in that it goes by on its own pace. That the Lord's timing and will does not always match our own expectations and desires. It's hard to want your life to become this beautiful tapestry and only be able to weave a few strands of thread at a time. I have really seen how the Lord has been placing little threads of beauty in Nate and I's life lately. It's nice to have those moments when you get a glimpse of the masterpiece God is setting up for you. It is truly a tender mercy from God when you have a piece of His understanding and wisdom.

So this month I just have to remind myself, PATIENCE. God is in control. And I know He hears me.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hot Potato!

As I write, I am trying to cook around 80 potatoes for Sunday Supper at church today. Thankful the elderly missionary couple in my ward came over and helped me scrub, cut out yuck spots, and wrap all of them. Next time I think we should have freezer pizzas.

This week I read an great book, which really touched my heart and inspired me to be grateful for every day I have been given. Stephanie Nielson, the author of a well known blog Nie Nie Dialogues, wrote a book Heaven Is Here, all about her life's experience of being in a plane crash that left her close to death and how she learned to recover. If you haven't read it, you should!

Anyone who knows me knows I like it because she explained a few things about the church I attend, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but regardless of your faith, it is a book that reminds us the power of hope and love. Whether you find that through a knowledge of Jesus Christ and His atonement, or your own personal journey, it is undeniable that the human spirit needs love and hope to flourish. Her candidness and courage in sharing her story were quite admirable as well.

The fullness of heaven may not be here on this earth, but there are bits of it all around us. Our task is to open up our eyes and see them. I've noticed this past month I have been trying to focus more on what I do have than what I don't. It has made a lot of difference to my personal outlook on life. While all of us could create volumes of things we fall short of or wish we had, why is it a trying exercise to write a page of things we are grateful we do have? I know my personal gratitude list looks puny in comparison some days to how it should look.

For a year I kept a gratitude journal of how I have seen the hand of the Lord in my life, but somehow the hectic pace of life got in the way and I stopped writing in it. It is time to bring it back. Maybe this post should have been reserved for Thanksgiving, but I want to live in a spirit of thanks and gratitude every day. Shouldn't we all? What a happy way to live.

Yesterday, I had a long list of things to accomplish, and most of them I checked off of my list. This past week, my back and chest pain has been quite unruly and it finally worried me enough to get me to see the doctor. Quite possibly from the medication I took before my last surgery that had the side effect in bold letters, may cause kidney stones to form, I have a kidney infection. I knew I was feeling terrible this week, but my family says I'm a hypochondriac so I always have to be motivated by intense pain or sickness before I will get to the doctor. This time it was both. Nothing gets you to the doctor quicker than blood, nausea and pain. Nothing makes you miss your loving husband more than that either when you are wishing he was there to get you a ginger-ale and a tylenol, lately he's been getting good practice at it.

Have I taken a minute to throw myself a pity party for the last month of problems? Absolutely, I'm only human. But here is the other side of my resolve, and it seems to be much better than the pity party.

I am grateful for the gospel in my life. Without it, I would be utterly lost and am grateful for the peace and knowledge it brings into my life. For marriage and my loving husband who teaches me to love more fully and be kinder towards myself and others. Truly this past year with him has been a bit of heaven on earth. For being able to pay our bills, and the foresight God gave us to take out money through flex spending and an HSA account, which has helped us to pay the $4000 deductible we had to meet without draining our savings. Beauty, everywhere. The beauty of kindness in my behalf and in the behalf of those I love from family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers. How seeing people serving others brings joy into my heart and inspires me to action to try and create that joy for others. Very grateful I just looked at the clock and realized I needed to rotate the next batch of potatoes into the oven!

Realizing I am short on time, words will have to do for the rest of my gratitude. Empathy. Love. Nature. Stillness. Quiet. Teeth. Photography. Music. Indoor plumbing. Fire. Ibuprofen. Memories. Books. Cookies. Health. Wisdom. Friends. Family. Babies. Art. Modern appliances. Sacrifice. Perseverance. Smiles. Heaven. Bravery. Laughter. Pillows. Light. Internet. Flowers. Mercy. The color blue. Trust. Strength. Snuggling. Contentment. Happiness.

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Writing Makes It Better

When we wonder where God is when we are having a hard time, remember, the teacher is always quiet while the student takes their tests.

This has been a yucky day. It's the kind that kicks you hard, where you aren't 100% sure you will be able to wake up in the morning and move because you feel like when you finally fall asleep you'll need to sleep a year to catch up you feel so tired. Today was that kind of day. The day I envy Rip Van Winkle. It seems almost comical to me today is the day I feel utterly overwhelmed, when in reality I had a stinking chest tube and was hospitalized just a couple weeks ago. (I guess the meds must have done more than I thought!)

It makes me very grateful for a wonderful husband, who has introduced me to lots of great speakers and books. And for the Lord helping me to recall things in the moment I need them most. A little while back I read a book called When Your Prayers Seem Unanswered by S. Michael Wilcox. He talks about how we have a fourth watch God. That he tries to help us learn, and allows us to struggle a little to do so.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

The night Jesus walked on the water he calmed the wind afterward, and the scripture specifically says:
"And immediately the ship was at the land whither they went" (John 6:21). Isn't that the ideal finale to
the crises of our lives? "Please calm my storms, Lord, and immediately get me to my destination." He can
do it, can't he? When the storms are blowing in my life, that is usually the solution I desire -- simply still
the storm, at least still it in the second watch. But if we arrive at the darkness of the fourth watch and he
still hasn't stilled it, we likely have learned something-- something wonderful and powerful, something
about ourselves.

The Lord knows all the trials and hardships we will encounter. He will never give us more than we are able to bear. "Before the wind ever started to blow, he prepared us to withstand it." If we couldn't withstand it, He would have stilled the storm by now.

This leads me to believe, that if he isn't stilling the storms, he must know my worn out boat can withstand the stormy seas. I wish I felt like I was in the fourth watch, but unfortunately, I don't think I am there yet. I just think whoever is in charge of the watch schedule made my watches a tad too long. Unfortunately my complaining doesn't seem to be shortening them at all, so it's probably better to be optimistic. After all, when I've prayed for years for the Lord to help me accomplish big things and to be more like Him, I guess I should expect to work for it. What worth accomplishing isn't hard to do?

So I ask everyone as a personal favor this week to be extra kind. Think twice before you say inconsiderate things about yourself or others. Compliment the people around you. If someone asks for help, give it willingly. There is enough negativity and gloom surrounding us every day, try to add something beautiful.

To quote my favorite talk from my church's General Conference this year, "Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those that don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it." If you have 15 minutes, this talk is well worth your time. Whether you share my faith or not, it is a wonderful message, and was EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

We all need mercy, from God, from others, from ourselves. Because none of us can get through this life on our own. Whether you realize it or not, whether you accept it or not, you need help. And the people who need it most are usually not the ones who will ask for it. Unfortunately people don't wear signs saying, "Be nice, my child died unexpectedly two weeks ago." or "I haven't showered because my house foreclosed and I have been living out of a car." You don't know what someone else may be going through, so please just be nice. Isn't that just easier?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Free As I Want To Be

FINALLY! I am home from the hospital. Apparently my condition was starting to get worse, and they had no choice but to put a chest tube in. I can't say I recommend it to anyone, it hurts like crazy to breathe. They slice you open while you are awake, shove a tube in between two of your ribs, then insert a tube hooked up to a ventilator with suction that sucks up all the air in the plural space between your chest wall and your lungs.

I learned two things about chest tubes this week. One, even if it feels like it, the chest tube cannot suck up your lung, just the air. Trust me, the way it hurt, I imagined it was exactly like a vacuum when you stick it next to your skin. I thought there was a good possibility the suction would just suck up my lung like a piece of lint on the carpet.

Two, you can't think about how gross it is...a tube is actually in your chest! I really got light headed thinking about how it was lodged in there. And probably because it hurt like crazy while it was suctioning... and I was immobile for so long I have this weird headache that won't go away.

Here's what I learned about myself. I am SO INCREDIBLY blessed. I have a wonderful husband who refused to leave my side. I had incredible nurses who took care of me. My nurse Barbara held my hand as they shoved the tube into my chest cavity, something that meant the world to me at a moment when I was scared of what was happening next. I have family that rallies around me, gives me their time without a thought, and waits on me when I am unable to do much for myself. My co-workers have been concerned and visited, my sisters at church brought me meals, flowers, and kind words of encouragement. I am without words to adequately describe what it means to me.

So thank you! Thank you for your love. Thank you for your encouragement. And thank all of you for your friendship. It means the world to me and I hope you know how much I appreciate it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Medical Mishaps

It has been an eventful week. And a non-eventful week. Both at the same time. Any week you go to the hospital three times it's bound to be interesting. On Tuesday I had surgery for the reoccurring mass on my back. The two weeks previous, I had a feeling something would go wrong. Not a worry-filled something won't be right feeling, more of a things are not going to go as expected premonition. As I prayed contemplating if I should even go through with the surgery, I had the firm reassurance all would be well, but things were not going to go as planned.

I can tell you, I would have been ecstatic to be wrong, but unfortunately I wasn't.

The day of my surgery, I felt like I should not have anesthesia. I did not know if it would even be an option to stay awake, or furthermore why in my right mind I would ever want to!? Everyone told me to go ahead and be sedated, but I just could not do it. So the surgery began, and I watched on a screen as the largest needle I NEVER wanted to see was placed into my back injecting Sotradecol to shrink the mass. I was warned it would be painful, so I didn't think anything was wrong when the pain began.

As soon as I sat up after surgery, I felt like I could not breathe. No matter how much I wanted to, I was just not able to get enough air. After an hour's observation and good oxygen levels, they let me go home.

Fast forward two days to Thursday, and I know something cannot be right. The pain in my back I anticipated, the chest pain I did not. The pain inside my chest was not going away and I did not recall feeling this way before. I broke down and called the nurse to ask what could be going on. She said I needed to go immediately for a chest x-ray and see what was going on.

So off we went to the ER to find out what could be wrong. The two things the doctors thought it could be, a blood clot ( I was informed before the surgery on Tuesday pulmonary embolism has happened on occasion) or a collapsed lung. After about four hours of waiting they told me I indeed had a pnuemothorax, and the air escaping my punctured lung was causing my lung tocollapse. They sent me home and told me to follow up Friday. This is what my lung looked like Thursday:
As to not continue to bore you, the rest of the story that brings us to where I am now is, I was told not to do anything strenuous and to be very cautious since I cannot breathe normally, and to stay close to an ER at all times this coming week in case my lung decides to collapse entirely. Not the greatest news, but so far so good I guess...

Which brings us to what has been on my mind lately. With all the health issues and sitting around all day, it is easy to understand I am growing impatient with all this business. As I am typing this I keep getting shooting pains that I pray aren't my lungs collapsing the rest of the way. I know God gives us trials to help us grow, but if failing was optional I would ask for an F this go around and try a different kind of trial. Medical ones are getting really old.

But we are sent here to earth to learn and grow, and God doesn't allow us to fail in our tests. I've realized when I do, they keep reoccurring until I learn and get it right. I know I am being taught patience, but I really thought I was a pretty patient person. I know God is with me, and I am grateful for the invitation to draw closer to Him and get through this mess.

As I am working on it, I have amended my roadmap for where I want to be this year. I've now added this:

If all of you can pray my body will heal, it will be greatly appreciated. I am so grateful for all of your support, prayers, and words of encouragement, and with help I know I will get through this.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This Day Was Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

My day started off like any other day today. I woke up after ignoring my alarm clock a few times, hopped in the shower, grabbed my breakfast and ran out the door. Nate and I are trying to eat a little healthier, so we bought bananas. Bananas and I have always had a love-hate relationship. A rocky on and off again ordeal. The soft and slimy texture of bananas (or yogurt-like substances) usually make me gag, but because they are deemed a healthier option than the blueberry cobbler I made last night, I decided to eat one this morning. Bananas are an easy option on the go and you can eat them while you drive.

Only I should know by now that eating and driving is a bad choice. As I am driving along and eating my banana, I bite into something hard. As previously discussed, the texture of banana is soft and slimy, not hard and crunchy. I immediately spit everything out of my mouth and look down to see this:

It might as well have looked like that. My face did.
So maybe it wasn't quite like that. It was a gross brown, round mass I have never seen before. Especially not in my bananas. After my dear coworker Jessica consulted our top expert on the matter, Google, we found out it was a banana worm. I called Nate to tell him the news. I would now be growing a banana-worm alien child inside of me, and unfortunately he would not be the father. He was at work, so I don't think he really even listened to me, or if he did, he didn't think it was a big deal. Maybe he thinks the banana will pay child support? Anyway, we also found out the banana worms can have laxative type properties. As I type this up, I can tell you... it may be true. The insides are not feeling too well this evening.

Have you ever eaten something on accident that made you ill, or made you want to be ill?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Habitat's for Humanity

Old habit's die hard. Or sometimes they don't die at all. Being recently married, I've realized many things I do are sheerly habit. The way I cook, clean, shop, and more. I have things I do in a particular way, for no particular reason other than I do.

Nate and I do not have a dog, the greatest reason being we live on the third floor (and Nate won't let me get one). But out of habit, I must always put the lid down on the toilet and make sure that I never leave anything a dog may want to eat on the floor or on a coffee table. I also eat food off my plate one item at a time, don't step on the cracks of the sidewalk, hit the snooze at least once before getting up, and run up all flights of stairs as quickly as possible when I encounter them.

These are all what I call habitats. Habits formed at home. We pick them up from our childhood homes, the schools we went to, the places we've been, and ultimately it boils down to the people surrounding us. Home is such an interesting concept when you think about it as living. Most people don't become sentimental over a physical house, they feel attached to it because of the people who lived inside it or near it. According to Webster's, one definition of home is 'where something flourishes'.

Nate is home to me. The Spirit is home to me. My family. My friends. They've all made me who I am. Even some people who have caused me pain, they still feel like home because, if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have learned some lessons. I wouldn't have formed those habits to take me away from those people or situations.

Today I am grateful for my habitats. For the people and places that have formed me into who I am because of habits they have left me with.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I Figured Out Where I Want To Be This Year

Road map for this year complete... You're welcome.