Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pursuit of peace



[via]

  It's funny how time has a way of putting things in perspective.

2011 was full of surprises, challenges, and changes. I accomplished some awesome things, struggled through some tough times, said hello to some good things in my life, goodbye to bad things, and ultimately changed as a person. For the better? I'd like to think so.

I started off the year with high hopes of getting pregnant. Actually, almost exactly a year ago is when we said we would start "trying". I had the whole plan figured out. I was proud of myself for finally being ready after many years of geuinely being afraid of having a baby. At first we didn't tell anyone. I didn't want the added pressure from friends and family asking questions or giving advice. That lasted all of a few months, and then my world began to crumble.

When I didn't have a period for nearly three months (and was not pregnant), I decided to get checked out. My doctor diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I started taking multiple medications in an effort to get my body to cooperate with my plans. I was terrified. I couldn't believe this was happening to me... me of all people, the person who had their entire life figured out. Yet every month I would hold on to some glimmer of hope, only to be continually disappointed. I began to realize how very little control I actually hold over my own life.

I finally had to start talking about it. At first I started a seperate blog so I could write out my own thoughts without anyone knowing. But I slowly realized that this hurt too much to hold it all inside. So I started talking. Along with that came my own guilt of thinking I was too depressing to be around. I couldn't feign happiness or hope when I truly didn't have it inside me. What friends of mine want to talk about hardships, struggles and heartbreak all the time? Who wants to listen to that?

People who truly love you, that's who.

Along with the realization that I was no longer in control of my life plan, I began to realize how much I need people in my life who care about me, who will listen, and most of all, be honest with me. Yes, my husband is a huge source of encouragement with his never-ending supply of hope and optimism. I truly couldn't be going through this without him and his strength. When I want to be sad and hopeless, he will listen, hold me, and let me feel what I'm feeling. At the same time he will express his hope for the future. Oh, how desperately I wish I could be more like him.

And then there's my friends. It's scary to me how much I've discovered I need them in my life. I am not the type of person who admitts (or even believes) that I must rely on another person, or need what they can give. Yet, how foolish of me to think I could make it through this life alone. I have discovered that when you are depressed and sad sometimes, not a lot of people want to be around you. I have lost friends this year because of my own pain. That's why when you find someone who will stick by your side through bad times, you appreciate it so much more. It means so much. Those friends are the only ones who also deserve you at your best.

So to those people, thank you. You know who you are.

Little did I know what a journey this year would take us on... the hopelessness I would feel, the struggle to stay positive, and ultimately the pursuit of being at peace with the whole situation.

This year was full of thing I never thought would happen.

I never thought we would struggle to get pregnant.
I never thought I would run two half marathons.
I never thought we could live on a $7,000 a year pay cut.
I never thought owning a home would be so much work, yet so rewarding.
I never thought I would lose friendships I held so dearly for so many years.
I never thought I would gain a friendship I now cherish.
I never thought I would be on my way to accomplishing a lifelong dream of being a Psychologist.
I never thought I could be so out of control of my own life situations.

... and yet, I never thought I would be so at peace with my life.

For me, 2012 is all about the pursuit of peace. Coming to terms with the things that have happened this year is a continual struggle for me. I constantly wrestle with believing God has a plan, and that this IS a part of that plan. Believing that He is good. That He is faithful. That He only wants the best for me. Inner peace with all that has happened in the past, the things going on right now, and what will happen in the future -- that is what I'm striving for.

I am by no means there. And even if one ever does get there, it doesn't mean that the pain stops or the struggle ends. Sometimes I will still be depressed. I still need help keeping the right attitude, and I still need people who will hold me up when I want to fall down. One thing people like to say to me to "encourage" me is that this is just a bump in the road, and that they are confident we will get pregnant someday. But I couldn't say I've learned anything from this whole ordeal if I truly believed that.

Because if I've learned one thing, it's that we are not guaranteed anything in life. Whatever actually happens is a blessing. Anything else good in my life is over and above the fact that I was simply given the gift of my own life. Babies are miracles... the eighth wonder of the world. Life is precious. I no longer expect to be given one. All I can do is take one step at a time, do the next thing thats in front of me, and trust God for tomorrow.

I can no longer plan on the future. I do not know what the future holds, but I can thank God that He does.

I find peace in that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5-day weekend in sight

I don't know about you, but I am so over this lame week at work! After the craziness of a very successful toy drive last week, I'm stuck in the office for three days attacking the aftermath of paperwork that accompanies said toy drive.

Our sponsors for the toy drive were awesome. It was so much fun seeing them all come drop off gifts and be so excited about giving. We even had our local news channel come out and do a story! What a fun day!































This past weekend was a lot of fun! We went to Citywalk in Orlando with some friends on Friday night and drank wayyyy too much, but of course had too much fun! ;-)

Ready for a night out on the town!




















Saturday night we went to another party at one of Eric's work friends house, which ended with drinks and food at Chili's. It was a packed weekend for sure! I was sure happy to lounge around all day Sunday, clean the house and get my Christmas cards in the mail.

Christmas is FIVE DAYS away! I'm pretty stoked that I was able to do all of my shopping online this year. The presents are still not wrapped nor under the tree, but the upcoming time off of work will help that situation. My sister and brother in law are coming over for the weekend -- should be fun!
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Obsessed!

Over the weekend I got the bug to get extensions. I wanted to do something different with my hair, but was sort of afraid of the price and the maintenance. But I reallllllly wanted it before I go to Vegas with my girlfriends in Feburary!

SO - brilliant idea - I got out the clip in extensions from our wedding. I had splurged at the time and gotten real, human hair extensions (Remy), because I knew I wanted to curl them and do different things. I watched a tutorial video on YouTube especially for extensions in short hair.

After experimenting last night, I dove in and decided to wear them to work today!

Drumroll please............
























I love them! Amazingly, the color three years ago from our wedding still matches my hair today!

























It will be fun (now that I'm getting better at putting them in myself) to experiment whenever I feel like long hair! :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis the Season

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself
in the service of others.
-- Mahatma Gandhi


This year I have the privilege of organizing and planning our annual toy drive for children in foster care. It's my first year doing this as a part of my new position at work, and I'm loving it. The quote above could not be more true for me at this time of the year.

Things can get crazy during the holidays. I heard someone say to a co-worker today, "Are you surviving the holidays?" and thought to myself, is that all we have left of this season? Survival?

Trust me, planning this toy drive is no small undertaking, and has consumed my time for several weeks (and months prior). I have felt my share of feeling overwhelmed, biting my tongue and reminding myself, "it's the most wonderful time of the year... right?!?" But then I see the community coming together, I get random calls from organizations who want to sponsor a needy family for Christmas, and I remember what this season is all about. Hope. Joy. Giving.

I must say, that even though I don't have any family nearby to celebrate with this year, I am full of love and appreciation for the things we have, overwhelmed with the blessings in our life, and truly grateful for the joy I am privileged to bring to these nearly 1500 kids who have been removed from their homes. Seems to keep everything in perspective. 

This is what Christmas is all about.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Technically, I have now run a full marathon!

This past Sunday, I finished my second half marathon! I was lucky I even made it, because the day before I was struggling through a 101.8 fever and cold/flu symptoms. I was chugging vitamains like nobodys business, and really thought I wouldn't make it. But around 2:00 my fever broke, I ate something, and started feeling just a little bit better.

Better enough to drag my ass out of bed at 4AM the next morning and run 13.1 miles! :-) I'm so happy I did it! And the amazing thing?? My time was about 30 seconds FASTER than my first race! What what!

Ready to go!













































Yes I stole pictures from the official photo website becuase I wasn't about to pay $25 for a sweaty picture of me! ;-)























This race was was different than my first one. I had been sick the day before, and still felt a little bit out of it, so mentally I was sort of unsure of myself. I just kept telling myself I would finish. By mile 8, I was EXHAUSTED and really need to walk a lot more than my first race. I practially speed-walked the last 2 miles. Also I was super thirsty this race. I sometimes took two cups of water at the water stops.

That's partially why I have no idea how my time was faster than my first race when I was healthy and ready to go! Wow.






















BUT I FINISHED! Go me! ;-)

This time, I think I'll wait a few months before running another one. I have my sights set on one in February, which I want to run with Jen and my sister again.























After the race, my hubby had gotten off work at 7AM or so, so he drove over to meet me and watch me finish. I loved this post-race more than the Disney one (well, expcept the Food & Wine Festival... can't beat that!) They had way  more "swag" to give away - of course the medal, a large race towel, a patch, a freezing cold ice towel to cool you off, orange juice, diet coke, pancakes, pizza, chapstick, wipes... you name it. It's too bad we had to hurry and leave so Eric could get at least 5 hours of sleep before he had to work again that night! :-)

I would probably do this race again next year. It was great!