Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm in!!

Here I was, a week ago, going on and on about this "option C" for school that I was very vague about.

I had basically resigned myself to the fact that I probably wasn't going to get in to grad school this year, and was banking on "option C," which is actually a distance learning graduate SLP program that would begin in January and would last 2.5 years.  Which would have been great!

But then Friday morning happened.  It started out like any other day off: I slept in a little, had my breakfast of scrambled eggs and an orange, and was doing my devotions and  journaling in my private blog.  In the middle of typing, I suddenly had the urge to check my school email.  I had sent my preliminary application in to the head of the distance learning program, and wanted to see if she had sent me any more information yet.

I logged in to my email account, and there in bold letters was the biggest surprise I've had in awhile.  The sender was Kent State University, and the subject line read, "Graduate Admission."

My heart stopped, and I clicked on the email.  And there they were: the six words I'd been dying to read for months!

"I am pleased to inform you..."  as soon as I saw those words, I think I screamed and maybe even jumped up and down, all alone in my house.  I ran to grab my phone from the kitchen, getting ready to call Luke, my parents, and my sister.  

Then I decided I better read the whole thing and make sure it was really legit, and what I was seeing was real.  I read the letter three times through.  

They want me!  In their program! 

I called and texted all my favorite people whom I knew had been praying for me.  I was so excited to share the news!  

So it looks like next fall I will begin the masters program in speech-language pathology at Kent State University!

The program will last 1 year and 9 months, and then I'll be a real speech pathologist!  It's not a "maybe" thing anymore!

I couldn't be more excited.  Praise God!  It was hard being patient, but I am so excited that He has blessed me with this opportunity!

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Thoughts on This Touchy Subject

I just found out the other day that this week is infertility awareness week, and of course I couldn't let that go by without saying something about it.

First of all, my blog-friend Callie Nicole wrote a great post titled, "When You Have an Infertile Friend" and as I commented to her, I think she hit the nail on the head.  I think it is definitely worth reading if you're interested.

Once I found out this week was infertility awareness week, I did a little research.  I found out that 1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility.

What?!  1 in 8?  That is a huge amount!  And that means that I probably have a lot more friends or acquaintances who are struggling through it in silence.  And my heart goes out to them.

There is a sort of stigma attached to infertility, and for a lot of people, it is a very private thing.  My advice to anyone who is struggling through it in silence is to tell at least one friend or family member.  I've found that the more people I've told, the easier it has been to deal with.  A lot of people I know IRL read my blog, and when I posted on the blog about our struggles, a lot of them have read it.  The good thing about that is, I don't get those annoying questions nearly as often now ("So when is it going to be your turn?"  and things like that).  People are generally more sensitive, and I know I have a ton of people praying for me.

In my own life, I've taken the stigma away by being open about our situation.  And life has been just a little bit easier since I did that.

However, I'm not saying that everyone who struggles with this should be open about it.  Everyone and every situation is different.  But for me, this has helped immensely.

And I have felt like I've needed to write this for a long time, to all of my friends in real life and in the blogosphere:  we have come a long way on this journey, and have grown a lot.  My jealous feelings are abating.  And while there may have been a time a few months ago where even being around babies sent me into a bout of depression for a few days, I have moved past that.  That being said, my biggest fear is that people are going to walk on eggshells around me.  I'm terrified that one of my cousins or my sister-in-law, or a close friend is going to become pregnant sometime soon, and be afraid to tell me.  And I don't want that at all!  Maybe that's not the case, but it's something I've grown incredibly paranoid about.  So I just want you all to know that I will be happy for you, and excited to welcome another baby!  So please don't walk on eggshells for my sake.

I know this post was all over the place, but I couldn't let the week go by without saying something.  If you have a friend struggling with infertility, I'd encourage you to read Callie's post listed above.  And if you are going through infertility (even if you're not medically diagnosed yet), feel free to join our prayer chain.  Just email me at

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What I'm Eating

Last Friday I shared a few of the new, healthy things I've been eating.  I thought I'd do that again this week!

For Breakfast:

I found a huge bag of grapefruits at Aldi for some ridiculously low price last week.  I've been eating them with my eggs for breakfast.  I am still kind of getting  used to the tangy, sweet, and sour flavor (I had never eaten grapefruit before this week).  I am not a huge fruit person, so I've been trying some new ones lately. 

For Lunch:

I've enjoyed this little treat as kind of a sweet "dessert" a few days this week.  I got the idea from my cousins who have been doing Prism for over 12 weeks now.  

First you take some plain Greek yogurt, and this strawberry Simply Fruit spread, which is sweetened with real fruit juice, so it is Prism-friendly... 

Then you put them together and mix them up

And have strawberry yogurt

You get Greek yogurt filled protein and all kinds of good stuff, plus essentially fruit.  It's sweet and delicious, and I'd say it's a much healthier option than what I used to pack in my lunch everyday:

For dinner:

I made this chicken crock pot chili the other night, picture from Pinterest:

And just for some laughs, here is my much uglier version, with lots of added sour cream (I was late getting home from school that night, so the edges got a little burnt, giving the whole thing a nice, brown color.  It still tasted great, though!):

It may not look the best, but it was delicious!  And full of healthy things like beans, corn, and chicken.  

I also made chicken stir fry one night, Luke's favorite meal, and still totally legal for me!  Minus the crunchy noodles.  this picture was taken a long time ago.

And I've been making a lot of chicken or pork with sauteed veggies.  I've been loving sauteed onions and zucchini (or yellow squash).


I've been enjoying Emerald Mixed Nuts this week like they're going outta style.  Seriously, I never knew I even liked walnuts, but they are my new favorite thing. My cousin gave us the tip at our Prism class that one lid-full is 1/4 cup, which is 1 serving.  AKA, the perfect snack

Restaurant meals:

We went out to eat once this week, and it was to Applebees.  I was starving, and as soon as we got there, all I wanted was pasta.  But I held out and got something else that looked pretty filling, but was legal for me to eat: steak and veggies! I had never ordered a steak in a restaurant before because I'm normally more of a chicken girl, but I thought, why the heck not?  A salad just wasn't gonna do it for me that night. It was delicious.  (Not pictured: mashed potatoes.  I'm not allowed to eat those for the first 6 weeks of Prism which starts next week, so I thought I'd at least get my last taste).

What healthy things have you been eating lately?


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Project Get Healthy - Phase 4

Yes, this is the second post in one day.  And I am telling you, it's because of the new supplement I've been taking this week...I have so much energy!!  I'm getting so much done, and I feel better than I have in probably years.

Anyway, let's review.  Last week the doctor put me on a supplement to help my thyroid, and also told me to decrease my wheat intake.  And after doing that, here's how I feel:

  • Like I said, I have tons of energy!  Not only that, but I feel more focused and motivated to get things done as well.  
  • I feel less "in a fog."  I don't know how else to put that, but it had become the norm for me.  Once the fog was gone, I realized just how badly I had been feeling, and how "out of it" I was, simply because I was tired and had zero energy.
  • I have slept through the night most nights this week.  This is HUGE, because (TMI alert) in the past I had to get up at least once to use the restroom in the middle of night, every night.  I never understood why pregnant people complained about that, because it was normal for me.  Anyway, since I've been drinking so much water, apparently my urine is less concentrated, and I have to "go" less.  Who knew??  I always thought drinking more water would make me go more!  Anyway, it's been great. Also, I haven't been waking up with coughing fits either. 
  • On days that I don't have to get up with an alarm, I have been waking up around 7:30 or 8 and feeling rested.  I hate to admit this, but in the past it's always been 9:30 or 10, and I would never wake up feeling rested. 
  • My allergies are still slowly but surely getting better.  People keep making comments about how much better I sound, probably because I'm less congested and my vocal folds (they're folds, not cords.  Definitely had that drilled into my head this year. Ha!) aren't completely shot from coughing 24/7.  I've even noticed I can sing in the car again, and hit the high notes :-)  Yes, I'm a huge car singer, especially during my 45-minute drive to or from school. 
  • Overall, I feel great.  Even emotionally. 

I had another appointment today where I was tested for food allergies.  I luckily wasn't allergic to gluten, so that means I could probably eat at least a little bit of wheat in my diet (although she said it would probably help my thyroid if I didn't.  And since my thyroid controls my fertility, I'm probably going to listen to her).  However, she did find that I'm allergic or intolerant to milk.  I already kind of knew that, but I didn't realize what all a milk allergy could affect.  The stomach stuff I am well aware of, but she told me it is probably really exacerbating my allergies and sinus and respiratory problems, too.  Again, who knew?

Basically I have to do an experiment now where I can't have any milk or milk products for 2 weeks.  NONE.  And then after the two weeks, I'm supposed to have some again, and we are going to see what it does to my body.  Kinda cool, actually!  Although I was going to have a taco salad for dinner, and now that means I won't be able to have cheese or sour cream.  Perhaps I will start the experiment tomorrow.  Ha!

Today she also tested me for any emotional imbalances, and she said everything was normal there, so that was good to hear!  

Next week we are going to test my metals, or something like that...?  I'm sure I will learn all about it then.  I feel like I am learning so much about my body and how it works, and that I really need to be treating it right!

Things are Looking up

I've obviously been feeling a little restless the past few months, which I'm sure has been evidenced by a few of my blog posts.  But all of a sudden it's like everything is coming together, and I couldn't be more excited!  I have so much to be thankful for(and not just because everything is going my way today...I have so much to be thankful for all the time).  Here are just a few from my 1000 gifts list:

131. Feeling healthy!
132. Date night to Applebees and shopping
133. Delicious steak [eating healthy at a restaurant is not so bad after all!]

134. Cute, tiny babies to hold

135. Hope when  new doors are opened.
136. A new, healthy diet

137. 10 lbs lost since last winter
138. Having only 8 days left in the spring semester!  Bring it, finals.
139. Finding a favorite song that totally could have been written by me about the past year.

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

School Update: Option C

I haven't written about school in awhile.  The last update I wrote was when I found out I was on the waiting list at Akron, and I was honestly not super happy about it.  Shortly after that, I found out I am also on Kent State's waiting list.  And I didn't realize this before, but if you're on the waiting list, you can basically hear back from the schools any time before the semester starts (which would be the end of August).  So really, everything is up in the air.

I'll be honest.  I was having a strangely emotional day on Thursday while driving home from school.  (We were watching videos of children using their cochlear implants for the first time in my artic. & phonology class, and for some reason that makes me super emotional every time.  So I'll blame it on that).  Anyway, I just felt this heavy burden and a dread in my heart.  And then I knew I needed to have a conversation with God.  Yes, out loud.  I do that when I'm in  my car sometimes, and anyone driving beside me probably thinks I'm crazy.  But I like out-loud prayers because they help me focus.

Anyway.  I just told God that I trusted Him 100%, and I knew He had a perfect plan, and that right now all I could see were the circumstances in front of me and I just felt hopeless.  I said that I totally trust Him, and want Him to have His will and not mine, but that I just couldn't stop feeling burdened that night.  I prayed once again that God would take control of my life and work it out for good.

And did I magically feel perfect after that?  I wish I could say I did.  Sometimes in my head I know things, but my feelings just won't match up, know what I mean?  I went home, I was lazy and moped around all evening, and I know I was not pleasant to be around at all.  But sometimes you just have to look beyond your feelings, and know that everything will be okay.

Friday I had clinical observations all day.  It was sunny and warm, and my hopeless feelings from the day before were barely even a blip on the radar.  I enjoyed watching therapy sessions all day, and had fun talking with some of my classmates.

And then close to the end of the day, something happened.  Another post-bac woman from my class suggested I  try something else as far as school goes.  I don't want to go into too many details yet until I have more of them to share, but let's just call this "Option C."

Before Friday, I only saw two options in front of me:

Option A: Get into grad school at Akron or Kent, spend the next two years nonstop studying and completing clinicals, put off the whole baby-business until at least next year when I'll be within 9 months of graduating.

Option B: Don't get into grad school.  Find a job that's not in my field or try to go back to teaching, or even substitute teach.  Devote all my efforts into getting healthy and getting pregnant.

If option A happens, I will be ecstatic, but a little piece of me will mourn the fact that we have to put off the whole baby thing for another year.

If option B happens, I will feel totally lost, and probably stressed out while we focus on the baby business.  Stress is not helpful in this type of situation.

I keep telling myself that it isn't a lose-lose situation, but a win-win situation.  either way, I will be getting something I've wanted for a really long time (well, assuming that I actually do get pregnant with option B).  However, I can't help but feel a little pang of sadness when I consider either option.  Not to mention, I keep wondering what the heck God is up to!  I've been living the past month really feeling this way, and to be honest, I've been feeling it even the past whole year since I decided to go back to school.

And then BAM.  After so much waiting, and wondering why God was making me wait, and wondering if maybe He was giving me a big "no" to both of the desires of my heart, option C appears.  And it turns out, if everything works out, both of these desires might just happen, and they could happen at the same time.  From where I am now, I see how absolutely perfect this whole situation will be if it pans out.  It is so awesome when the puzzle pieces start coming together, and you start to see the big picture, isn't it?  I'm not saying that Option C will definitely's still in the very preliminary stages at this point (so much so that I don't even feel comfortable sharing the deets on the blog).  But the hope I'm feeling right now is making my heart so happy!

No matter what happens, I am trusting God with my whole heart.  Whether it's option A, B, C, or something totally different that He chooses for my life, I know it will be the right thing.  Again, I'm just excited to be along for the ride!

While I'm waiting for everything pan out, I've been really enjoying this song by Kelly Clarkson (The Sun Will Rise).  I've basically made it my anthem for this part of my life.  This may be super weird, but sometimes I try to figure out what songs would be on the soundtrack of my life.  (You do that too, right?  Right?)  Anyway, this one would definitely be on there.

And of course God wanted to make sure I knew He was trying to get my attention, because part of the sermon this morning was about waiting.  And our pastor shared Psalm 130:5-6: "I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.  I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning"

He then went on to say something about the fact that no matter how dark the night is, the morning will always come.  Which pretty much goes right along with my new favorite song.

It's really cool how God uses such little things to bless us, and make sure we get the message!

Source: via Jessica on Pinterest

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Must See Movie, and Much Needed Girl Time

I've been super stressed out lately.  It's the end of the semester, and I still haven't heard a final verdict about grad school, finals are soon, and I'm trying to finish up my last few clinical observation hours for one of my classes.  Let's not even talk about the fact that I have no idea what my life will look like in 2 weeks if I don't get into grad school.

So when I heard that some of the ladies in my family were having a movie-and-dinner night, I knew it would be the perfect time to leave the worries at home, and have a nice night out.  And I'm so glad I was able to do that! 

We chose to see Mirror Mirror.

Have you seen this movie yet?  I felt like a huge nerd, because I got so sucked into it!  It was so cute!  And actually really funny, too.  It was weird to see Julia Roberts in the role of the villain, but she did a great job!  I find myself screening all the kids movies I watch to see if it's one we'll add to our collection and watch with our own kids someday.  And I think this one made the cut for sure.  (Does anyone else do that?  I hope I'm not the only one!) 

After the movie, we went out to dinner at Panera, and then I went shopping a little bit with my mom.

I don't think it matters how old you get: you always need girl time, and you always need family time.  This night was exactly what I needed!  Ever since that day, everything seems a little easier to handle. 

1000 Gifts 
128: Girls nights
129: Quality time with family
130. Not being too old to enjoy a kids' movie

Friday, April 20, 2012

Let's Talk About Food!

Now that I've started eating a lot healthier, I'm finding that there are tons of delicious things to eat that aren't processed or full of sugar or carbs.  I thought I'd share a few of my new favorite snacks or dishes I've found this week.

For Breakfast:

I like them either scrambled or hard-boiled.  Eggs are full of protein, they fill you up, and they cut down on cravings.

They give me a little something sweet for my sweet tooth.

For Lunch:

Salad - lately I could live on salads with lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, tomato, avocado, and Ranch dressing.  I found a Ranch dressing in the organic section of my grocery store that is Prism friendly. And I'm told there's one at Aldi's too!


Plain rice cake(s) with peanut butter. This also helps to satisfy my sweet tooth.

For Dinner:

Brown rice, veggies, and meat. 

Tonight I blanched some broccoli, then topped it with parmesan, garlic powder, and salt, and roasted it.  It was delicious! (sorry for the blurriness, I cropped the picture on my iPhone, and I think that's what did it)


Sunflower seeds (even though they do contain some calories and fat, nuts and seeds have tons of good stuff in them!)

Fruit, again

Nuts, including my new favorite thing...

Cocoa roast almonds

These are seriously delicious.  And I'm told they are Prism friendly!  I'm sure I will be snacking on these a lot (in moderation, of course).  If you haven't tried them, please do!   You'll thank me later!

Favorite restaurant meals:

I thought I would have a hard time finding healthy options at restaurants, but it hasn't been too difficult so far, and it's fun to try things on the menu that I haven't tried before.  

This is for the locals, but at Grinders I tried the Island Teriyaki rice and veggies.  It was delicious, and I will definitely be ordering it again!

At Panera, I tried the Greek salad for the first time, and it was so good!  I want to go back soon and order it again.  If you've never had it, it's Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, red onions, Kalamata olives, pepper, and Greek dressing.  

What are your favorite go-to healthy recipes or snacks?  I am so new at this, and I love hearing new ideas!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Project Get Healthy - Phase 3

Okay, I promise this will probably be the last health-related post this week.  But I had another visit with my doctor today, and found some huge things, so I thought I'd update.  First of all, here's an update on how I've been feeling:

I know last week I said my stomach problems were great and my allergies were not getting better yet.  And this week I had a few stomach problems (nothing compared to what I struggle with during the worst times, though, and it was probably due to the fact that I wasn't eating as well on those days) and my allergies have been better!

Just to put the allergy thing in perspective, about a week-and-a-half ago, I had been using my inhaler at least 2 puffs every 4 hours.  I woke up multiple times in the middle of the night choking due to post-nasal drip.  Then my gag reflex would be activated, and I'm sure you can imagine what happened after that.  It was to the point where I simply couldn't function.

Last week, the doctor put me on a supplement that's supposed to help with allergies, and along with the other supplements and dietary changes, I think it's really helped!  The past 4 days, the pollen count has been higher, and I have used my inhaler on average about 1 puff, 1 time each day.  What a huge difference!!  On top of that, the past two nights I have slept through the night without suffering a coughing/choking fit at.  Seriously, I don't know how it's working, but it is!  And not because I'm treating the symptoms, but because I am making my body stronger as a whole.

Okay, so now let's talk about what we found today.

Phase 3:

Today my doctor had finally received my blood work that she requested from another doctor, and found that my thyroid levels were just a touch too high.  Not high enough for the doctors to prescribe anything for it or even mention it to me, but high enough that it could be affecting my fertility!  After testing that reflex, she found it to be weak, and told me something that I was a little bit afraid to hear: wheat is a huge reason for most thyroid problems.  So she wants me to start taking the wheat out of my diet until I'm completely wheat free!  Along with that, she's giving me a supplement that should help.  

As scary as it is that I won't be able to enjoy pasta, bread, or even oatmeal, I'm willing to do it if it makes me better.  And right now is an excellent time for Prism to start!! (although it doesn't technically start for 2 more weeks).

I know a lot of people are huge skeptics of this kind of medicine.  But I am seeing real results!  And I'm a little bit frustrated that my doctors kept telling me that my thyroid levels were normal.  Because thyroid problems run in my family, and I that has been my #1 guess all along as to the reason for my ovulation issues!  I know it's not high enough to actually treat with a pill (which I wouldn't want to do anyway) but just knowing that they're a little bit elevated, and that there's something I can do about it is so helpful!! 

Well, I'm off to the grocery store, and I guarantee my cart will look a lot different than it normally does.  Here's to change!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Have you heard of the Prism Diet?  It is a Christian weight-loss program, and my church offers classes pretty much year round so that you can have a support group to do it with.

I have been going back and forth for a couple of months about whether I wanted to join or not.  It is pretty intense for the first six weeks, and I didn't know if I could handle it.  However, I know it's going to go right along  with what my doctor/nutritionist is going to have me do.  Plus, I just found out that one of my friends is going to start the class too, so I thought I might as well just go for it since I'll have a support buddy!

The Prism Diet is a 24-week program divided into 4 phases.  The first phase is the most intense, because the diet is very restricted.  So hopefully if I can make it through that part, the rest will be easier!

The reason I decided to join was because, although I'm not extremely overweight (don't get me wrong, I could still stand to lose about 10 or 15 lbs) I am just not healthy!  I know eating right is going to change that, and hopefully get rid of a lot of my health problems.

Another reason is that I want my family to be healthy.  If we get healthy eating habits in place now, I feel like that will be a great gift we can give our kids someday too.

So for me, I'm looking at this more as a lifestyle change than a "diet."  I am excited about it!  I thought it would be fun to test out some of the healthy, "Prism-friendly" recipes I've found on Pinterest, and if they're good, I'll share them here.

It seems like most of my posts lately have been health-related, but I'm excited about this, and it really is a big part of my life right now!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Project Get Healthy: Phase 2

Just a quick catch-up: I've opted to try to treat some of my health issues naturally at a holistic treatment center with supplements and diet changes, and I am now done with my first week.

Last week the doctor just had me take some supplements and increase my water intake.  I was so enthusiastic about the whole thing that I decided to drink nothing but water in the past week, and drank between 60 and 70 ounces each day, which is about 3 or 4 times what I had been drinking before, and even a little more than I need for my weight.  

So how did it go?

The first few days were horrendous.  I am used to drinking a cup of coffee every morning, plus a lot of iced tea during the day (sweet iced tea is my favorite thing ever).  So for two days, I walked around in a total fog of fatigue with the worst headache imaginable.  I just wanted a cup of coffee!  But I knew to drink one would only prolong the symptoms, so I stuck to my guns and didn't cave.  By Saturday, I woke up and my headache and fatigue were gone, and I felt great!

I am taking one supplement that is supposed to help regulate all kinds of things, including nerves/stress.  I was to take 5 of those before bed, plus my allergy pill.  Those things made me so tired I not only fell asleep instantly, I also slept like the dead every night.  It was great!  I never really have trouble sleeping, but lately with my breathing problems, I hadn't been sleeping very deeply, and I'd been waking up multiple times each night.  Perhaps this kind of treatment would be great for someone who suffers from insomnia!

I don't want to get into too many details, but let's just say that I've been having major stomach problems for two and a half years.  They involve a lot of pain and cramping, and it had just been something that I sort of thought I was going to have to live with.  By the 2nd day...let me repeat that for emphasis: the 2nd stomach was back to normal!!!  To where it hadn't been in 2.5 years!  I had no cramping at all, and only some bloating on the days I ate really badly.  A big part of me thinks this is mostly because of all the water I was drinking, because I feel like the supplements wouldn't have even really been working that much by the second day.  It seemed like a miracle!  Seriously people, I'm a believer now.  Drink more water!!

Now, I wish I could say the same for my allergy problems.  The truth is, I didn't see much improvement in that area.  I think maybe my breathing is a bit better, and the past few days I haven't been coughing in between coughing fits.  But I'm still having violent coughing fits about 4 or 5 times a day.  Maybe this one will just take a little longer to clear up?  I'm still holding onto hope, because I've heard so many other people say that this kind of treatment completely cleared up their allergies and Asthma symptoms.  

So where do I go from here?

My normal doctor wasn't there today as she is on vacation, and I  had to see a different one.  I think it was hard for her since she didn't know much about me or my case, except what she scanned on my chart right before seeing me, so I felt like it wasn't quite the same as if I had seen the normal doctor.  She just told me to continue drinking lots of water, and to eat eggs for breakfast 5-7 days per week because it looks like I'm not getting quite enough protein.  Good thing I like eggs!

My next appointment is next Monday, and I'm anxious to see my regular doctor that day. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Lately I've been thinking about meditation a lot.

Praying is something that is easy enough - I just talk to God.  I'm a big talker, so that comes naturally for me.  Reading the Bible, although hard to do every day, is something that pretty much anyone who knows how to read can do.  Praise and worship?  Easy peasy...all I have to do is sing to my God. Not only does it come naturally, but that's one of my favorite things to do!

But meditation?  For me, that's where it gets more difficult.  I know we're supposed to meditate on the Word.  I know we're supposed to be still before the Lord, which to me is sort of like meditation as well.  But every time I try to do that, after about 5 seconds my mind has shifted to the 8 million things on my to-do list.  Or worse - it shifts to the default setting of my own brain which is worry.  Worrying is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing when we're meditating on God's word.

The past few days, I've decided I'd pick a few songs and try to meditate while listening to those, and that works a little better for me.  After I do this, I feel refreshed in a new sort of way.  The first song I've been using is the one I posted about the other day: Your Great Name - Natalie Grant's version.  The other song is Healer - Kari Jobe's version.  Both of these songs have a theme: God's healing power.  Lately my world has been inundated with sickness.  Not just my own (which is extremely minor in the grand scheme of things), but others who are close to me as well.  I'm simply listening to these songs and meditating on the words and just recognizing God's amazing power to heal!  For me, meditation is not something we do for ourselves, but something we do for God.  To show Him that we are awed by His power.  Although I must say, I walk away with a peace every time.

"Redeemer, my healer, Lord almighty.  My Savior, defender, You are my king!"

"I believe You're my healer.  I believe You are all I need.  I believe You're my portion.  I believe You're more than enough for me.  Jesus, You're all I need"

Monday, April 9, 2012

Worthy is the Lamb - Easter 2012

Me and Luke, Easter '12.

Easter was wonderful this year.  I spent the morning at church, then the afternoon at my in-laws for a fish fry and the evening at my parents' for dinner.  The food was wonderful, and I let myself eat whatever I wanted.  That turned out to be a bad idea, because I haven't had bread or fried food in 5 days, and not much sugar at all.  About an hour after lunch, I blew up like a balloon and didn't feel too great all evening. ha!  That just goes to show what food can do to you.

Anyway, we had so much fun with family!  With Luke's family we played Mexican train all afternoon, and it is addicting!  

There were many desserts, mostly inspired by Pinterest.  Maria, my sister-in-law, and I both made little pretzel-chocolate-flower candies that were all over Pinterest.  We said next time we'll have to coordinate better. ha!  (I wish I had gotten a picture of her adorable peeps/chocolate chip sunflower cake.  It was so cute!)  

At my parents' house, I somehow didn't get any pictures!  But we had a great time hanging out with family.  And Julie, Andrew, and I (my sister and her husband)  had fun doing fun things like using an app to see how old we look and what celebrities we looked like.  I always seem to end up laughing until I can't breathe when I'm with my sister (which isn't too hard right now, due to my respiratory problems! ha!)  

It was a great day.  So full of family.  When we got home, it felt a little sad that the holiday was over, so I decided to occupy my mind with something else, and started a 1000 piece puzzle that we had gotten for Christmas, and obviously hadn't had time to start yet.  I worked on that for probably a good 3 or 4 hours before bed, while Luke caught up with some DVR'd shows.  The puzzle was on the living room coffee table, and the cats had been eyeing it all night, so I covered it with a big blanket when I went to bed, and thought it would be safe.  Wrong!  Luke said when he was in the bathroom brushing his teeth, he heard them knock the whole thing over!!  He didn't have the heart to tell me last night (plus I was already dead was a long day!)  so he left me a note this morning. ha!  Really, I should have known better!  I'll have to be smarter about it next time. 

Anyway, that was our Easter!  But I can't sign off without recognizing the whole reason we celebrate: because of God's sacrifice when He sent His son to die for our sins!  You would think that every year, the meaning would lose some of its significance just because we celebrate it year after year.  But I think the opposite is true, because I think every year I'm a little older and (hopefully) more mature than the last year, and hits me harder and harder each year, the significance of the sacrifice.  This year there was one song that I was listening to all weekend and just meditating on the words:  Your Great Name (I like Natalie Grant's version).  It just reminds me that it doesn't matter what I'm going through - God loves me enough to send His son to die for MY sins. And He's powerful enough to overcome anything! Everything else just sort of pales in comparison to that. 

"Lost are saved, find their way
At the sound of Your great name
All condemned feel no shame
At the sound of Your great name
Every fear has no place 
At the sound of Your great name
The enemy, he has to leave
At the sound of Your great name

Jesus, worthy is the lamb that was slain for us
Son of God and man, You are high and lifted up
All the world will praise Your great name

All the weak find their strength
At the sound of Your great name
Hungry souls receive grace
At the sound of Your great name
The fatherless, they find their rest 
At the sound of Your great name
The sick are healed, and the dead are raised
At the sound of Your great name

Jesus, worthy is the lamb that was slain for us 
Son of God and man, you are high and lifted up
All the world will praise Your great name

Redeemer, my healer Lord Almighty
My savior, defender, You are my king"

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Operation Get Healthy: Phase 1

As I wrote about a few days ago, I am trying to treat my health problems naturally, through dietary changes and nutritional supplements.  Yesterday, I started the program, and I'm so excited!  I thought I'd update about the whole process periodically on the blog.

In a nutshell, the doctor gave me supplements to help the things in my diet that I'm lacking, and to strengthen the body structures that it's affecting.  To put it mildly, my diet is horrible.  Honestly, I never realized how bad it was!  But I eat a ton of wheat, which is not good, a fair amount of dairy, which is not good, and too much sugar!  Because of my problems, my body is craving sugar, which is actually making my problems worse, so it's a vicious cycle.  

My plan for this week is two-fold: start taking supplements (11 of those suckers a day!  Yikes, I must really be unhealthy).  And start drinking more water.  I am going to see her every week for 6 weeks, and then bi-weekly 6 more times.  The way I understand it is that we're going to change one part of my diet each week, so it's not too overwhelming all at one time.  So by the beginning of August, I should be a whole lot healthier.

Okay, so let's cut to the chase.  Here's what I learned yesterday:

  • Water is just about the most important thing for our bodies, and when we don't drink enough, we become dehydrated.  We can even be dehydrated without realizing it.  Drinking coffee, pop, sweet tea, or any other sweet drink actually makes it worse, even though it may seem like those things are satisfying our thirst.  
  • Wheat is not good, especially when it's white bread or flour.  I knew it wasn't good for me, but I didn't realize it was actually BAD for me.
  • Dairy is only good in great moderation.  Being that I'm lactose intolerant, I really don't consume too much dairy.  But apparently I'm STILL consuming enough that it's messing with my whole body!  Who knew?!
  • Sugar is not good.  Well, I knew that already.  But it's always good to reiterate that.  And I'm eating way too much of it.  Goodbye Starbucks lattes and ice cream that I've been drinking and eating lately.
  • Eating too much processed food makes your body work way too hard, and in ways that it was never supposed to work.
Again, I loved the doctor so much, and even though last week I left feeling like the whole experience was just weird, she explained things to me so well this week that it totally makes sense why my body's not working the way it should be!  I'm so excited to get started with this program, and see how it changes my life! 

And I guess I can't say that I'm proponent yet of this kind of treatment since I haven't been doing it for long enough yet, but so far the entire experience has been entirely positive, and has given me a ton of hope!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sometimes He Makes us Wait...And Sometimes He Doesn't

Waiting.  My least favorite thing.  Something I've had to do a lot more than I ever wanted in the past two years.

Waiting for a baby.  Hands down the most difficult thing I've ever had to do, and we are quickly approaching the two year mark.  I'm just hoping it won't be much longer.

Waiting to feel healthy.  Again, two years and counting of feeling sick all the time, whether it's my stomach pains or my allergies.  This one has been difficult too, because who wants to feel sick all the time?! (Luckily, Operation Get Healthy is underway as of one hour ago)

Waiting to hear about grad school.  This one has only been going on for three months, but has also been grueling.  Mostly because I'm on the waiting list at both schools I applied to, and won't hear anything until April 15.  To say I'm on the edge of my seat would be an understatement.

I've had a lot of things to be patient about lately, and although I complain, I'm sure it has built my character and taught me to lean on the Lord all the more.

...So a few months ago when our downstairs renters moved out, I geared up for more waiting.  I'm normally not a pessimist, but I guess I was just preparing myself for the worst.  I was ready for months and months of waiting to find good renters for our now vacant apartment.

I've already written about what a blessing in disguise this whole situation has been, as we have been able to move into the downstairs apartment.  It is much "homier" down here, and much more convenient being on the first floor and I just love it.

What I have not written about yet, is an update on the status of our upstairs apartment.  And as of Sunday, it is occupied by a great set of renters!

As my title says, sometimes God makes us wait for things, and sometimes he just doesn't!  A few days after the renovations were complete and Luke and I were all moved downstairs, Luke planted a "For Rent" sign in our front yard, and listed our house on a local "buy, sell, or trade" Facebook page.

My prayer for weeks prior was that we would get a good set of renters, and that this house would be a blessing to them.  And this time, instead of saying, "Wait,"  God said, "I got this.  And I'm going to take care of it right this second."  Within an hour of listing the upstairs apartment, we had multiple phone calls and Facebook messages.

Two days later, we showed a few people the apartment, and one family said on the spot that they wanted to move in, and they wanted to move in as soon as possible.  They are our new renters, and I couldn't be more thankful!

I guess my whole point in this post was that God will always take care of us.  He always answers our prayers in the best way possible.  It's not always going to be an immediate "YES!"  But then again, sometimes it is!  And that is the awesome thing about the mystery of God.  I feel privileged to be blessed with this life just so I can watch in awe as it unfolds.

After writing this post when I found out our renters were moving out in January, it is awesome to be on the other side of things, and to see how God worked everything out so flawlessly and effortlessly.

This house has seemed like a burden at times, but when I look past the hard stuff, it has been one of the biggest blessings in our married life, and I praise God for it!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A New Kind of Doctor

My prayer for this blog has always been that God would use it to help others who need encouragement, or who might be going through the same things that I am.  That's why I have kind of an "open book" policy when it comes to sharing certain things (like my struggles with infertility, or being candid like when I shared about my attitude about being on Akron's waiting list).

I visited a new doctor last week, and I've decided to share my experiences on my blog.  Again, if this can help even one person, then sharing was totally worth it.  So here we go.

I've been hearing certain buzz words more and more in the past few years.  Things like: "natural health care," "holistic treatment center" or "dietary supplements."  Two years ago, when I went from being an all-around healthy person to someone who never, ever felt "good," more and more people would bring up these buzz words.  Enough so that I started researching what they meant, and becoming very interested in the whole thing.  If you're unfamiliar with it like I was, here is a little summary, taken right from a pamphlet I got on Wednesday at one of these "holistic treatment centers":

"We are a holistic health care center, meaning that we treat the whole body. Services provided include chiropractic, nutrition, massage, and acupuncture.  We provide a warm positive environment to help facilitate healing."

At first I was a little hesitant to try this center, because it seemed expensive and I didn't know if it really worked, or if it was more of a mind over matter thing.  

Eventually, though, I heard more and more people tell me how much they loved it!  I heard success story after success story, all about this same doctor.  And the weirdest thing was that I was hearing it from so many different people whom I know from different places - family members, friends, and even co-workers. 

Finally a few months ago, I decided that since nothing else was working for me, I might as well give it a try!  But for some odd reason, I felt God telling me to wait.  I have no idea why, but I just didn't feel a peace about it for a few months, and I wanted to wait until the bulk of the school year was over until I started treatment, because I was afraid my high stress levels might affect my body's ability to heal.

Finally one night during March, I was up all night unable to breathe, and the following day I wound up in the emergency room for a breathing treatment.  And  that's when I felt totally ready and at peace (and let's face it, desperate too!)  to call the doctor's office and start treatment.  

Last Wednesday I had my initial appointment, and I'll just give a quick summary of what happened.  The appointment took about 50 minutes, and it involved a lot of questions.  The doctor was taking notes about everything I said, and did not seem rushed at all, which was one of my favorite things.  Then came the weird part: "contact reflex analysis and nutrition response testing."  Again, here's a little information about that from the pamphlet:

"Systems by which body reflexes are used to accurately determine the root cause of a health problem.  When a weak reflex is identified, nutritional products are used to aid the body in healing....They provide nutrition that the body may be missing in your diet."

The reason this was weird was the way she tested it.  I had to try to push up with my arm to resist hers, as she touched certain pressure points that corresponded to systems or structures in the body.  When she reached a weak spot, my arm went straight down and I couldn't resist her at all!  It was so weird!!  But in a really cool way.  

Anyway, during the appointment she was definitely able to pinpoint exactly what was going wrong with my body, and she found some supplements that will help me. 

I did a few other tests (blood pressure and some strange test that they said would predict how fast my body would respond to treatment.  Again, weird!), and the doctor told me to keep a food diary for the next week.  On Wednesday I go back again for my follow-up report where she will tell me more about what's going on in my body, and she'll put me on a nutritional plan and some supplements.  I can't wait to see what she has to say!

My main purpose for going to this center is that I have major allergy/breathing problems, fertility issues, and stomach problems.  Somehow, I always just thought that these were all symptoms of a more central problem, and I thought a holistic treatment center would be the perfect place to go.  Plus, I hate, hate HATE taking medicine and filling my body with chemicals that give me side effects.  I like the idea of treating things naturally first, before going to a fertility specialist.  And I know that I am not the healthiest eater, nor do I have the most active lifestyle, and I want to change that before I get too old!  

And if you are considering seeking natural, holistic, health care, I thought I'd provide a quick pros and cons list based simply on my first appointment:


The doctor spent almost an hour with me

Along with that, when I filled out the intake report, it was all just logistical information (contact information, emergency contacts...things like that) and instead of having me fill out a bunch about my medical history, the doctor asked me the questions during the appointment, which was awesome!  I could give her all the information that I thought would be important or helpful, instead of just putting check marks in little boxes. It felt more personalized.  

The entire office had a calming feel to it, with relaxing music, good smells, and extremely friendly staff members.  It was the complete opposite of what I usually feel when I go to a doctor's office

Natural treatment/no chemicals

They treat the whole body instead of just the symptoms

I for some reason expected this doctor to have a sort of "anti M.D." attitude, but she really didn't at all.

My biggest positive was that the doctor gave me so much hope!  (I know skeptics might say it's false hope, but I'll take all the hope I can get right now!)  


It's not cheap, and insurance doesn't cover it.

It was a little weird!  

So far, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.  I'm still trying to keep my guard up a little, and feeling a tiny bit skeptical.  But for the most part, I'm totally hopeful about this!  I've heard people say that this kind of healing is all in the mind.  To that I ask, do you know how instrumental the mind is in any type of healing anyway?? It's huge.  But that being said, I do believe that we are poisoning our body with all the toxins we put in it these days, and I also believe that natural health care  is actually healing people, and it's really not just all in their minds.  I've heard  multiple success stories about women getting pregnant by treating their fertility issues naturally before going to a fertility specialist. And as far as I know, you can't get pregnant just by thinking about it!  Ha!  Also, holistic treatment may be a bit expensive, but it is NOTHING compared to what I would be paying for fertility treatments, which most insurance companies don't cover either.  

I know I went on and on forever about this, but like I said, if I can help even one person, then it is totally worth it!  Also, whenever people find out I am seeking this kind of health care, they are usually extremely curious about it, and have a ton of questions.  So I thought I'd just lay it all out there for anyone who's considering it. 

And before I sign off, I don't want to put the name of the center or the doctor on my blog, because it just doesn't feel right.  But if you live near me, and want to know about the specific doctor I saw, just shoot me an email :-)

Wow, that was a long one!!  Ha!  Have a Happy Monday!