Thursday, October 25, 2012


Ah... It has been two weeks since I last wrote on here. I have thought about writing several times, but at the same time just haven't felt like saying a whole lot. I've sort of been quiet online lately and I like it. Truthfully, I'm so-so on sharing my life through statuses and blog posts. I do like my privacy and also don't think that everything one thinks and does must be posted online either. I have been busy too in these past few weeks, which has been nice for a change since this subbing season is painfully slow. I've been collecting data for my action research report over the past two weeks and have what I need now in order to start writing the last few sections in my paper. It has been great being involved in my ESOL mentor's classroom; she always makes me excited about teaching and education. I wish I could team teach with her!

So what has been going on with life lately? For the most part, things have been pretty good. Since I don't feel like being overly creative right now I'm just going to make a list....

-- Happy happy news: My brother-in-law returned from deployment earlier this week. We are SO thankful to have him home safely. My sister is thoroughly enjoying having him home of course. She has been very strong through these past few months and their relationship has grown too. I can't wait to see both of them!

-- My boyfriend's medical test results came back quickly and he is fine. Thank goodness! I feel so relieved that he is healthy! So what happened over Labor Day weekend was not from anything serious. Whew.

-- Speaking of test results, I am pleased and relieved to say that my boyfriend's father does NOT have cancer in his lungs. So maybe my intuition was off that day or my feelings were for something else (gotta love the subconscious).

-- Received a post card from a soldier that I been writing to for awhile. A friend of my sister gave me his address because he was not getting much mail. Anyway, I was totally surprised when I opened my mailbox this week and found that! He told me how much he appreciated the support at home -- as it is horrible in Afghanistan  Seriously, anything we can do to help these men and women is needed. I can't imagine how strained they must be mentally and physically.

-- I am getting closer and closer to being done with this degree! Yay! December 8th is my last day; I give a presentation and then I am d-o-n-e!  (and when I say done, I mean until I can figure out the finances for the next degree..hahaha)

-- Still contemplating the SLP career. Hoping to do some observations next month.

-- I've started working out on a fairly consistent basis. My friend in AZ and I have come up with this plan to text each other after we have worked out as way to stay accountable and to not feel like we are on our own. This has been so helpful to me! Plus it is fun sharing workout ideas so it keeps my interest a lot more than if I were attempting to do this alone. My physical goals are to have more endurance and upper body strength. For now I am focusing on my arms -- love doing those workouts! I have used a few from Pinterest too. Once I get to 14 days of working out (not consecutive but just total) then I am allowing myself to buy one bottle of Julep nail polish. Monetary: yes. Motivation: it's helping!

-- Overall I have been good about not spending too much. Trying to save as much as I can right now and also because my dad's birthday is next month and Christmas is not too far away either. Everything adds up so I am trying to be more mindful of purchases.

-- Wondering what to do if subbing continues to be this slow. I'm not getting any calls and all but one sub job I am requested for is a full day, rest are half. I'm thinking of going to a temp agency to see if I could get some sort of data entry job (had a fabulous one five years ago for the summer). I really do need more income especially once I turn 26. Ah... it's only October so we will see what happens.

-- I'm happy about our Warrior football team having a 7-1 record. Unfortunately they lost last week. They have a game at home this Friday so hoping they can rally together and win!

-- Am loving that our house is all decorated for Fall! :) I put up the decorations this week and it has certainly made our home cozier. We have lights around the front window, mantel and in the kitchen window. The added light helps on the dreary days.

-- Loving Fall foods: stews and soups. Mmm... Actually, I eat soup year round so that isn't anything new but we just cook it more during this season and winter.

--Yes I still need to load a few more weeks of garden pictures. Gah, been terrible at that! I'll admit, I am feeling lazy about dealing with my pictures. I take so many that I overwhelm myself. haha Still have several more to load from summer onto Facebook. While people may enjoy seeing these pictures, I put them on here and FB primarily for myself. I like having a record of what has happened over the year(s).

-- A little part of me wants to start a fashion blog. No, not to get sponsors or have a thousand readers but as a way to improve my style... and it is fun being girly. I don't know when or if I will do this. Just a thought!

Think that is about all for now... I've covered several bases. Hope that you all are having a good Fall and October -- that or a good Spring depending on where you might be. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Accomplishment

Credit: Carolyn Cochrane via her Etsy shop
This week I had the opportunity to conquer something that has given me some anxiety. While it is not a big deal to some, it was and has been to me.

On Tuesday afternoon, my boyfriend had an appointment at a hospital on the other side of the city. Since he was also getting lab work done he had to fast for 12 hours. When I met him at work he said he was feeling okay but not great and we decided that it would be best if I drove. I had known this was potentially going to happen so I had been mentally preparing myself (and yes worrying haha).

I will say I was quite nervous, to the point of feeling like my mouth was full of cotton and I had a multitude butterflies in my tummy. I had no choice though. I knew I had to do get over some of these fears/anxieties:

-- fear of driving on big freeways/merging/lane changing
-- fear of driving with a male other than my father (years ago I drove with a critical male and I absolutely  hated it)
-- not only did I have to drive to these appointments but had to sit through them as well. So also my anxiety of hospitals/medical stuff had to be challenged as well.

Yeah silly sounding I am sure, but these things have weighed me down. We all have weaknesses, right?

In regards to driving, Brian was an excellent passenger and was calming (as he is for me in general). He was able to direct me how to do each part. I also tried my best to think about it like subbing "one chunk at a time." Luckily, I was familiar with the freeways from our trips this summer (all but one) but just had not done them myself before. The traffic wasn't too bad either on both ways so that greatly helped me to breathe a little bit. I was so relieved to get to the hospital and then to get back on our side of town!

His appointments weren't too bad either thankfully and I was able to manage fine. Brian really appreciated me being there for him and so I am glad I was able to give him some peace.

As for the whole experience, I was able to get through my anxieties and found that the driving wasn't so bad after all. I felt so relieved after it was over with -- now, I feel more confident. It's great to be able to tell myself that I can do things that I feel are difficult and am capable of overcoming. This year has really been teaching me how to break through the limits I have placed on myself.

Along with all of this I feel even closer to Brian. He has been very good for me and to me. Ever since we got together he has pushed me outside of my comfort zone (in healthy ways - we are fairly like minded individuals). He's helped me to grow in positive ways. I'm stronger because of him - not because I haven't been on my own but he has made me better. I'm so blessed and honored to be with him and cherish each day we're together.

It's been a good week so far. Hope all of you are getting stronger too by one step at a time or chunk. However you prefer. ;-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fill in the Blank Friday: Lasts

Wow October 5th! How did it get to be that already? Seriously. October. We're two months away from this year ending and potentially getting closer to a Zombie Apocalypse  ha. ha. Suppose they'll forgive my student loans? That would be awesome! Ugh yeah... Finding out the big bad # of debt was a bummer this week for sure. I've been kind of stressed this week in terms of finances (plus it did not help that it cost $261 for new lenses for my glasses. Yes. Lenses). Somehow the loans will get paid -- just am anxious to get it all zero-ed out so I can start on my next educational adventure. We'll see though. I think I just am feeling a little ADD these days and am wanting to change something (*positively*) in my life. Maybe I'm just addicted to that feeling of starting over and freshness. Kind of like getting a whole new planner and admiring its crispness. Anyhow... I am in a rambly mood... I will go onto the "Fill in the Blank Friday." I haven't done this for awhile - as Sara says, she's lost her mojo for blogging. So have I. I'm still trying to find it out "there" ;-)

Thanks Lauren for the blanks & this image!
1. The last thing I ate was   Raspberry Chobani 0% fat yogurt. SO good! Now, this is a real addiction folks! I eat it for breakfast, snack, lunch, and amazingly: dessert. Just thinking about it makes me want another. haha 

2. The last time I went to the beach was   September 1st. Unfortunately, it was not the best beach trip ever -- it would have been pretty awesome had an emergency not occurred. Oh well. Things just happen and you go on with it! 

3. My last vacation was to   Southern California for a week in August. Went to a cousin's wedding in Newport Beach/Bay (such a fun day!) and then went to Disneyland 2 days, Hollywood Tour and Universal Studios.

4.The last place I drove was   to take my dad to the doctor's office then we went over to the mall so I could get my new work pants re-hemmed. Productive morning on this beautiful Fall day!

5. The last song I listened to was ... Oh good question. I generally have the radio on when I drive but I didn't this morning with dad in the car. So last night coming home from work was the last time I listened to music. I flip between 95.5 (modern pop music) and 99.5 (Wolf/ country music). Anyhow, it was some song from one of those stations! haha

6. The last thing I watched on TV was   the Presidential Debates. I use my actual TV for Netflix 90% of the time, however. Currently Mom and I are enjoying the old show "Coach." I remember it being on TV when I was really young so it's fun to see it now. We laugh a lot!

7. The last time I said "I love you" was to Brian. :)

Happy Friday everyone! I'm looking forward to hearing a football game tonight at my old high school. Hoping for another exciting game :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Changes Ahead

As I sit here I am listening to the swaying trees and swirling leaves rustle around outside. Grateful that the house is filled with light from the sunshine. Today truly feels like Fall. 

This windy change in weather makes me a bit apprehensive, however. While I might sound crazy -- I feel these distinct days are a sign of future changes in life. There have been several times in my life where the weather has changed suddenly (typically blustery and/or stormy) and I feel it in my core: something is not going to be the same in the near future. And it does. Most notably was my breakup with my first boyfriend in 2007. Around that time there was gusty, cold, dark and gray weather. As the wind blew all around me, I felt like life was chaotic just as the weather was then. My intuition was right in knowing life wasn't going to be the same.

Unlike that time, today is not dark and dreary but it feels bittersweet. While I could be wrong (I hope that I am), my intuition is alerting me again. Why? My boyfriend's father is getting a biopsy on a lung this afternoon. I feel somewhat hopeful but yet worried all at the same time. After what we have been through this summer, I know so well how fast everything can change. It's like sand. You can hold those minuscule particles tightly in the palm of your hand, but at some point a few start to fall through the cracks of your fingers... then a few more...That sense of security/stability can be gone within a matter of weeks. What can be so close to us can be gone ever so quickly. We have so little control on what happens to us and others. With that said, my heart is a bit heavy today.

On another note of change...

Here it is: I am thinking of a new direction in the education field. Several months ago, a doctor of speech pathology gave a presentation to a class a I was in. Ever since then I have not been able to stop thinking about that profession. Of course, these thoughts come at the end of my nearly completed Master's degree in Education (which has skyrocked my debt - just found out how much I owe the 'gov munt' yesterday)... 

The truth is, I feel like I don't belong in the mainstream public education classroom. After 2+ years of subbing, I have found that the mainstream room is confining. Don't get me wrong, I do love teaching and I love children but I lack passion in both in the public system. There is a lot of good that goes on, but I also see so many areas that aren't right. I also have found that I prefer to work with specific groups of children versus a variety. I think that is what led me to getting my ESOL endorsement. I discovered how much I enjoyed helping ELLs and see a real need to advocate for them. When I did my ESOL practicum, I felt a new sense of joy and passion for teaching, which I had nearly lost. I would love to my own ELL classroom and maybe someday I will. Next year if I am lucky.

Along with my love of ELL students, I have become curious about speech. Here's a fun fact about me: I am obsessed with people's mouths. My intermediate family knows this -- and I probably gained interest in mouths due to my sister (I love her cute way of talking, she has a unique emphasis on the /s/ and /ch/ sounds). When I watch TV or meet people anywhere, I am quite observant with how they talk and produce sounds. I love the different shapes of mouths, the way teeth can be arranged, and the physical aspect of how speech is created. 

Where does all this leave me then? Well, if I do decide to go for my Master's in SLP I will have to commit to about 3 years of schooling. I have looked at two universities (one being where I am going now) and there is much work to be done. It would challenge me in all kinds of ways. However, I have a decent amount of debt to pay as it is and more schooling = more debt. 

Since I am still in the deciding phase, I am doing what I can to get information from professionals to see if it is  something I want to pursue. I contacted a SLP that I know at a school and am hoping she will allow me to observe her. So.... we shall see where all this leads me. 

A near-future goal is to get some sort of full time job (even temporary, 6 months would be great) and work hard at paying down my debt. What kind of a job, who knows. I am hoping to sub as much as possible this year but am pretty sure this year will not be as lucrative. Basically, life is TBD. As usual though, right?! 

All I know is that my heart has changed towards education and I need to be enthusiastic about what I do. I want to help kids in some way shape or form. I'm glad that my feelings there haven't changed. I just hope that whatever I do, I am happy doing it because kids need as much positive input as possible. 

So, those are the thoughts on my mind on this Fall day. A heavy heart and a mind full of thoughts. I'm going to take a cue from the sunshine and have hope.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Little Bit of Color -- Week 9

"One who plants a garden, plants happiness." --Anonymous

Catch Up: 8/6/12

These pictures were taken later in the evening because I had just come back from Spokane with Brian (we were there for his mom's memorial service that weekend). Coming home to this bunch of garden fluffiness was great! 

If you look closely you can see a mini pumpkin :)
Love the perspective of this picture and the one above. Such big leaves!

Yellow zucchini!

Pretty amazing how big everything was at the start of Week 9, huh?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Delight -- Week 8

"A garden is a delight to the eye and a solace for the soul." --Sadi

Catch Up: 7/29/12

These pictures of the garden make me laugh! I remember getting to this week and saying "Whoah!" I mean, look at all that growth!! We got a kick out of seeing my mini pumpkins take over the garden. Next time they will be planted elsewhere. haha 

Big leaves for lil pumpkins

Hip hip hooray for grape tomatoes! Grow!

This concludes the 2nd month of garden growth :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Beauty -- Week 7

"Always remember beauty of the garden, for there is peace." -- Anonymous

Catch Up: 7/22/12

Amazing how much the garden grows in one week huh?! I love the look of Week 7. Very lush, green and full. The garden looks very different now as we are sinking into Fall.

There is a dent on that side of the garden where Cheese has rested throughout the summer. hehe
"And over here we have the lettuce... mmm this is a great place to scratch my cheeks!"

One of my all time favorite pics I have taken :) 

Farmer Cheese has to rest once and while -- lots to keep up!
Beginnings of corn on the stalks! Yay!
"Garbage Zucchini" was the best one, go figure

Driveway zucchini plants. We kinda forgot about them but they did produce several tasty zukes for us!

Stretching Upwards --- Week 6

"In all things of nature there is something marvelous." -- Aristotle

Catch Up: 7/15/12

Unfortunately, these garden posts are coming from well over a month ago. However, I think you can grant me a little bit of forgiveness based on the happenings of the summer. ha ha I am enjoying looking back on these weeks. I had so much fun watching our garden grow!

He is going to miss this

I see the start of something tasty..
Illuminations -- love how the sun was shining through the garden in this pic and the one below

July seems like so long ago....

Monday, September 17, 2012

Like an Anchor (Part II)

To continue on with this roller coaster ride....

Down -- June to July: Unfortunately, in between and during the time I went with Brian to Spokane, my young kitty was not doing so well. She started having some serious issues and we could not figure out what was wrong with her. They came on suddenly and were "fixed" for a brief amount of time. We took her to our vet and an emergency vet twice -- neither could pinpoint the issue. So that was very stressful and sad! (Also I must note that I was doing summer school in the month of June; very exhausting time)

Down-- July: A dear family member had to go out of town for job purposes and will be gone for awhile. :(

Down-- July 22nd: On this day my mom had to get surgery for a hernia. Crazy thing, she was exercising in the early morning and soon after did not feel good at all. Her abdomen swelled up and we knew that it was most likely a hernia. She contacted her doctor and in the afternoon we headed to go to see her. Her doctor quickly set up a surgery appointment with a hospital downtown and by evening, Mom was in surgery. While it was a fairly hectic day I didn't worry too much. I knew that the surgery was routine and felt confident Mom was in good hands. Thankfully all turned out okay and her body has healed fine. Whew. (and last year about the same time she broke her wrist while on a walk with co-workers haha)

Up -- August: Took girl cat to an internist and he found out the problem quickly! Yippie! He found that she has Inflammatory Bowel Disease and it is treatable. So lots of money later.... haha Guess her 'formal name' has real meaning now: Coco Chanel. We love her dearly and are thrilled she is a healthy cat! That was a huge relief as we were leaving for SoCal soon.

Up-- mid August: On the 11th to the 17th I went with my mom and sister to Southern California. We went first for a cousin's wedding and then stayed to go to Disneyland, a Hollywood tour and to Universal Studios. This was certainly not a restful vacation but it was very enjoyable.

My cousin's wedding was a blast (the above picture is from that day) and a beautiful experience. I was able to take lots of good wedding pictures and loved being out in a true Southern California setting, a summer day in Newport Beach/Bay. It was also so good to see him happy -- he has been through quite a bit over the years and it's great that he has found someone he is compatible with.

Disneyland & tours were super fun too! Believe it or not but as a 25.5 year old, I had never been to Disneyland before. As a kid I had no interest in going (yeah yeah.. have been told I was 3 going on 21) and still haven't been too interested, but am so glad I had the opportunity. On the first day Mom and I rode 5 rides (mind you, that stayed mostly horizontal, I do not like actual roller coasters or scary rides): a carousel, It's a Small World, Jungle Ride, Mark Twain boat ride and Pirates of the Caribbean. Each night that we were in Anaheim we watched the Disneyland fireworks. For two nights we were at the actual park and saw how epic they were and then the last 2 nights we watched from our hotel. Loved, loved, loved the fireworks!  Oh and I did get to see Princess Ariel. I wasn't able to get my picture with her but I sure tried. The lil girl in me was happy anyhow. :)

Hollywood tour was awesome! That was a very long tour but I got to see so much: Hollywood Walk of Fame, "Kodak" Theater, Hard Rock Cafe LA, freeway ramp where the famous scene from "Speed" was filmed, Hollywood sign (from a distance but good view), Farmers Market at the Grove (where I shopped at Zara!! A Duchess of Cambridge store!), Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach (just like PDX but with less laws haha), and Santa Monica/ Pier (where I got to finally eat Pinkberry Fro Yo). Big big day!

Universal Studios was alright. It was a super hot day and very very crowded. Yes, I am thankful I went but it was just one of those "I'd rather be in the pool" days. I did go on the tram which was pretty interesting and got to see "Wisteria Lane" from "Desperate Housewives." That was really neat! The rest of the time I waited for Mom and Sarah while they went on some rides. I hung out at the City Street Mall area, which had lots of good stores. Then after awhile I wondered around Universal-- that gave me the chance to see Mr. Beans car from his "Holiday" movie. Love Mr. Bean! On the last part of the day I did watch Mom and Sarah on the Jurassic Park ride -- saw them at the end where they dropped a fast 84 ft. That was funny!

On that Friday we three parted ways.... I was sad to not be with my sis anymore but was so glad she had spent the week with us.

Down: Shortly after the trip we learned that Granny had not been doing too well. During the trip she had fallen (thankfully didn't hurt herself seriously) and then she fell again at her house. She had about a week or so of not being 'right.' While she is 101 it was still disturbing to have any of these issues occur and there is probably going to be a change of her living situation in the near future....

Up and then super steep Down-- August 23rd: After feeling good about completing a 5k with my mom at a work race I was looking forward to a relaxing evening at home with my feet up. However, in the evening my dad called and he didn't sound right. He asked me if I could come over and bring him to our house because he was feeling very exhausted and weak. Immediately, I felt like something was wrong and asked him a bunch of questions-- my first guess was a heart attack. In all honesty, I have been concerned about his health for the past 5 years. While I haven't wished for anything bad to happen, I have felt like there has been the potential. Anyhow, I got myself ready and went to his apartment...meanwhile, Mom was on the other side of town getting us dinner. When I got to his place I instantly knew we had to get help but I wasn't totally sure what to do. What sold it for me was his droopy face on one side -- a stroke. He didn't have good balance, he slurred and he seemed 'off' cognitively. When I saw his face I literally yelled and was like "Dad!!! Your FACE! Can you FEEL your FACE?! Can you FEEL your ARMS?" I completely panicked (and when it counted!ha!). There was part of me that thought I was crazy and made it up, but my intuition was right. As fast as I could I got him into my car and we went to urgent care. Within like a minute of signing him in they saw him and soon got an ambulance. In hindsight, I probably should have called 911 but it all worked out. I got him help and that was the important part. Also, I know that God was watching out for everything and put the right people in place for the whole process. My friend who is an RN in the ER at the nearby hospital ended up being on his call. When Mom and I got to the ER I told her "Oh! Mom Joy works here!" and within a second of saying so she came out and whisked us away to dad's room. Such a blessing. Dad was int he hospital for two days and then stayed at our house for recovery. Thankfully he is doing much better but does have some noticeable changes. We are so lucky it wasn't any worse and hope that future strokes can be prevented.

Up-- August 25th & 26th: Brian's brother and SIL came to town with stuff from his mom's apartment. They took items to their sister's home and then came over to this part of town to deliver things for Brian. I hung out with all of them Saturday evening, which was a great way for me to relax some. Then on Sunday Brian, his brother, SIL and I spent most of the day together. It was so much fun being with them! I really love his family.

Up and then another steep Down -- September 6th: My family and I decided to go to the beach for a day and hang out with family members who were already there. The day started out awesome-- beautiful sunshine from here to the coast, easy/fast drive, lots of fun chatter on the way there and a wonderful morning talking with everyone. Then about mid morning we all wanted to go down to the beach and see what was going on. We sat on the beach for a little bit and then had fun putting our feet in the water. My aunt and Brian wanted to climb the cape so I went along with them. I really did not feel like going that day as the sand was hot and I was not prepared (it's a very steep climb)...but I figured oh well it's a gorgeous day and it will be worth it. Plus, Brian had never been on the cape. Anyway, we took some time getting up (except for my aunt she is in shape!) and I felt so-so... and when I got to the first ridge I felt winded. Brian felt that way too but 10x worse than me. After my aunt went down the hill, I noticed that Brian was getting worse and worse-- there was little color on in his face. Within a few seconds, he leaned back (fainting) and then his body started to convulse (and his eyes were open - absolutely terrifying to see). I started to yell for help and water -- now I was super super super panicked and freaking out. Thankfully there were amazingly helpful people on the cape and a God thing -- there was a medic and two nurses who came to his aid. The one gal tried to calm me down so I could call 911. I called them and help did come fairly quickly. They were able to get Brian off the hill, got fluids in him and then we rode an ambulance to a hospital. He was able to recover well and we weren't in the ER long. Mom and Dad picked us up from there and we went home... Oh what a day. I am just SO thankful he is okay. You just never know when the "fit" will hit the "shan."

Since that last drama everything has been fairly good.... Though recently Brian found out his dad hasn't been doing too well so we are hoping for the best. Ahh....

I recently went in and had a check up with my doctor. We had a good talk and she made a comment that will stick with me and I can draw upon it when I am feeling weak, "The beauty in all this is... it has happened outside of you... You have been like the anchor."

I hadn't thought of it like that and I honestly have never had be that way before. An anchor. I like that. I hope I never forget how strong I have had to be this summer. I also hope that there is a long road ahead of peace.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ups, Downs and So Much Stronger

While I had high hopes for 2012 being a better year, it has basically been a continuation of the previous year. Since the very first day, this year has been challenging but also a wonderful learning experience. I feel incredibly grateful for the growth I have made in this year and even in the past few months. I have become stronger because of everything I have experienced. I will admit, I have had my fair share of anxiety and moments where all I could was try to cling to the present. I've learned that just because you have weakness doesn't mean you aren't capable of being strong. Your strength is known when you have no other choice but to be that way. On a daily basis it is easy to struggle but when you are put to the test that is when all is revealed. Maybe you've always been powerful -- you just didn't know it.

I don't think that finding ones strength has to necessarily come from the cost of a hardship on another. I think it these times just force us to find that deeply embedded inner courage. Further, as I believe: for every bad circumstance or heartache there is always something good.

[ I really hope I don't sound arrogant or melodramatic. I'm not trying to exaggerate either. I'm simply writing from my stream of subconscious and my heart. Trying to gather all the events that have happened in one place is like herding 10 cats! I have all of these different directions I can go and ways to organize my thoughts, so this is just how it is all coming out on here.... ]

So, back to what I was saying: yes, there have been quite a few downs this year but I have also experienced much joy. I feel a sense of peace with my friendships/relationships and particularly the romantic one I am in. While I feel mixed in saying so, it has been good to see the true colors and reality of other relationships/people. The goodness in that comes from knowing I have solid friendships/relationships in my life. I have also made several new friends that add happiness to my life. Cliche - maybe but oh so true: when one door closes, another one opens. I'd like to think it's the window that opens though.

As best I can, I will describe recent events that have led me to this point. My guess is I'll need to do a part 2 post. ;-)

Down/Mixed: After Mother's Day my boyfriend learned that his mom had pancreatic and liver cancer. We ended up going to Spokane to visit her 4 times throughout the summer -- we went every two weeks. Through this time I learned how to use my voice and to advocate for myself. Ironically, from all of this, my relationship with my mother started to heal and grow. While I wish the circumstances could have been different I am grateful for this change, as it has also helped me to be more confident in my commitment.

I experienced many emotions during this time. Frankly, it was quite overwhelming and hard to process what I felt. I had the anxiety of meeting Brian's family and friends for the first time, and all that came with watching someone decline by the day.

I'll never forget meeting Brian's mom -- I felt humbled and in awe. Each time I saw his mom (and each visit after the first she was worse off; I met her first in her apartment and then the last few visits were in a nursing home), I felt a deep sense of calm from her presence. She was such a peaceful, gentle, sweet, sincere and quick witted woman. Even on the last visit, I felt extremely calm and just couldn't take my eyes off of her. She was absolutely beautiful even in suffering. It's almost hard to describe how it felt to see her on that last visit but she was graceful even in her last breathing days on earth.

My relationship with Brian really was molded even further during this heart wrenching time.We grew together  as this time further intertwined our lives.

As part of our relationship becoming more solid, I learned a lot about Brian. I got to see how he managed his emotions and learn just how close he was to his family. Basically, I got to see him in context. I saw him vulnerable, strong, gentle, compassionate and resilient. I learned more about who he was in context of the people he loves and that have been a part of his life for years. I got to see some of his old stomping grounds -- his roots. I got to see the shades of his personality: the boy and the man. In his eyes, I saw the boy who looked up to his mom and needed her. However, I also saw the man who gave his mom so much peace and joy.

What I'll remember for years to come was simply the fact that I got to meet the woman who loved my man for the very first time.

She passed away on July 20th. The memorial service was on August 5th at the church she had been attending. The pastor summed up her life sweetly (almost these words): "Jan's life was a reflection. A reflection causes you to look at something. She looked at Jesus for guidance and strength.... because she looked towards Jesus her life mirrored Him." Oh so true. What a beautiful woman.

I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to spend so much time with Brian's family. We stayed with his brother and sister-in-law each time we visited. They were so generous in letting us stay in their home and were great to be around. In the evenings we would BBQ, sit outside and enjoy the night. It was fun when his sister was there too (she lives in the same area as us) because her 2 year old son would chase the cat around the yard and provide us with a lot of entertainment. I consider Brian's family my new friends -- they are people I admire and love. I loved seeing how they put meaning into the word family. While I did see them work together in a hard time, I could tell that they had a great love for each other that had been there for years. I felt incredibly touched to be able to observe them and to participate in everything.

Those weekends were difficult mentally, emotionally and physically. I was worn out during these times and it was totally worth it. This quote stuck with me during this time, "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be."

I could talk at length about everything but I will let this be the conclusion of this 'event.' I'll do another blog post for the other ups and downs of this summer. On to Part II....

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Productive Day

Ahhh... I am sitting here relaxing and feeling good about being productive today. About noon I started on deep cleaning my room, which is something I have been thinking about doing for awhile. Though it is something I have been wanting to do I didn't wake up with the notion that I would dig in today. However, after a night of not keeping well, feeling slightly irritated and needing to move my body -- I cleaned and cleaned. It felt good to do something that was positive and it's great to feel that instant gratification. Having my personal space in order always makes me feel more mentally collected because it allows me to use my energy on other things versus being distracted by a mess.

So what all did I do?!

I moved my bed, dresser drawers, night stand and bookshelf so that I could vacuum behind each. I also dusted and uncluttered/straightened up each furniture item. Not only that but I used the vacuum to get the cobwebs off of the ceiling, which have been bugging me. Whew! Lots of sweat and totally worth all that effort! (I must mention today was 80 degrees)

Yes-- please note the massive stack of books on my nightstand! I need to get my read on -- just have been in such a habit of getting in bed and quickly turning out the light these days.
LOVE it when my desk looks like this! Maybe I'll have more focus with blogging... ;-)
I'm really glad I took the time to improve my space this afternoon. I feel like I made good use of the day and it helped me to work through some things that were on my mind.

Perhaps now I can also focus more on clothing outfits I want to put together. I am seriously going bonkers wearing the same type of outfit for 3 years -- not that it is the end of the world, but I really want to look more professional. I'm taking what I already have into consideration along with items I want to get. Anyhow, that is the next project... clothes, clothes, clothes. Big goal: purchase with intention!!!!

Alright that's all for now. Know it isn't my most exciting blog post ever but maybe it'll inspire some of you to get your space spiffed up. I'm pretty sure it counts for a good workout too.

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer's Lingering Conclusion

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet drink and your botanical medicine." -- Henry David Thoreau

While taking a walk with Mom tonight, I couldn't deny the fact that the seasons are changing (and despite what the calendar says). In the Pacific Northwest, trees are slightly changing colors, there's a new cool in the air in the morning and evening, and there's that golden light that is cast over everything. Sounds tell me that the seasons are changing too -- just the same every year: I have been hearing sports practice, cheerleaders cheering and the band marching to its own tune. That's one of the joys of living right near a high school all your life; you know when school is out and when it is starting again soon. 

Maybe it's just due to the school year that this change of season is so prominent. There is so much emphasis on the introduction and conclusion of those 9 busy months. There's that sigh of relief and grasp of freedom when its all over and then the butterflies in your stomach when it is about to begin. Summer to Fall is a monumental change in that regard. The start of something new, different and potentially exciting. 

I don't think that the other seasonal changes are any less important. For me, I have a deep love of summer. I am always excited for its arrival. I love it simply for what it is (and what I hope for, being in the PNW doesn't guarantee an ideal summer anymore) -- sunshine, blue sky, fresh produce, farmer's markets, and various outdoor activities. Summer is a big hug and I can't get enough!

I'm trying to appreciate Summer's end and as one wise blogger mentioned last year, this in between period is almost a season to itself. There really is beauty in seeing the earth in a transformative state. Right now we are all on the edge...With that said, here are some pictures I took today:

Beautiful Double Delight roses - my favorite
My happy boy enjoying his catnip! He just loooooves the sunshine. I tell him to soak it up for the winter.
Some of the sounds we hear at home -- football games & practices
Wish the apples on our tree were edible but they sure are pretty to see
My mini pumpkins are quite prolific!
There are some changes in the land and sky as summer is nearing its end. Activities are changing and soon boys and girls will be gathering together in the hallways and classrooms.

Each season has its own joys and beauty but I'll always carry Summer in my heart. Truthfully, I am a bit sad about it ending this year. There was so much going on and lots of heavy emotional situations that I didn't get to appreciate summer as much. Perhaps its my own fault for not taking the time ;-) In any case, I will be more than happy to greet Summer again when she rolls around!

Here's to the seasons ahead -- let's drink them in as Thoreau tell us :)