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!