Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's Day Weekend

I never felt like Valentine's Day was a big deal. We always did a card, and maybe dinner on the weekend, but nothing extravagant. It will always carry a special significance for me from now on though, as its the anniversary of Brian's first seizure. I'm not sure why a year feels like such a huge milestone for me. Maybe its because I've made a committment to myself to live a better, richer life, and a year seems like an appropriate amount of time to have adjusted to some of life's peaks and valleys.

I've noticed my stress level ebbing and flowing a lot lately. I never thought I would say this, but I am almost thankful for the little stresses of life (The girlfriend drama, do women ever grow up? The school stress. What am I going to make for dinner, and how am I going to get the laundry done?) if only because it means that the real problems in life are manageable right now. A year ago at this time, I was sitting in the hospital with my sweet Brian watching him get more and more swollen and just praying that pathology results would come back okay. Everything else fell far, far away and while I was overwhelmed, my priorities were straight. Take care of Brian. Get rest. Eat. Pray. Repeat.

Now that we are out of crisis mode, I have the freedom to add a few things that priority list, but the core remains the same. My marriage is my number one priority. Marriage is hard work. Even good marriages need serious maintenence so that they don't fall into disrepair, just like a house. When I don't clean my house for a week or two (who am I kidding? I haven't done a good deep clean in months!) I don't want to live in it. Like a house needs upkeep, so does a marriage. This means lots of communicating, and I get uncomfortable with maintenence conversations sometimes because I want to believe that Brian and I are just perfect for each other and things should always fall magically into place. Perspective is everything though, and knowing that these conversations don't mean that our marriage is broken, but that we are working to keep it healthy makes all the difference. We constantly grow as a couple, and it is so important never to take the blessing of our marriage for granted. We chose each other as companions, and we must choose also to progress together.

On that note, here is a little photo journey of how Brian swept me away this weekend to celebrate and decompress after a very tumultuous year.

I woke up early on Valentine's Day to make pink, heart-shaped pancakes for
my love, and when I came into the kitchen, I saw....

this lovely surprise!! Brian got us tickets for The Hobbit in IMAX 3D at Navy Pier
and we were spending the night in Chicago!
(Of course notice the Hobbit font which had me squealing with delight at 6am.)

We had a corner suite and it was great!
We ate at Fogo de Chao and came home and spent the night cuddling and digesting ;)

Day Two, almost Hobbit time!

For lunch we I had a New York dog with sour kraut and brown mustard,
and Brian had the "Ditka Dog" a footlong spicy polish sausage with chilli and cheese on french bread.
But that's not all, we topped it off with a mint chip dazzler!
It was delicious!

So sad...time to go home!


It really was the best Valentine's Day ever. I am so grateful for such a sweet Valentine. I am thankful that Brian is healthy and confident that he will continue to improve. Relationships are so important. Whether its a friendship, or a relationship with a significant other or your family, do not take it for granted. As humans we are programmed to depend on each other. Work hard to cultivate those connections. It is not a sign of weakness, but of strength when you can continually strive to thrive within your relationships.

I'm ever grateful for the strong and true relationships in my life.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Simple Prayers


I haven't felt like praying at all lately. I feel bad about it, but I just can't get motivated. I know God is aware of me though, even when I'm not talking to Him. This was evidenced to me in some simple, but profound ways this week.

Firstly, we had a visit from some friends from church the other night. I wasn't in the mood for company. I had a long clinical day and I had a two exams to study for. I decided to stress-bake some bread sticks so I could stress-eat some carbs while I waited for our company. I was listening of course to Coast to Coast like I always do in the kitchen and guest was talking about the power of prayer. He said he realized that he had been praying wrong his whole life. He always prayed a little selfishly for things that he wanted. He never asked what is was that God might want of him. Once he changed this behavior, he started getting answers.

Within a half hour, our company was here and the message they brought was about....you guessed it, prayer, and how God hears and answers our prayers. They even talked about praying for what we can do for God instead of just the things we want or need.

It has been my experience that when "coincidences" like that happen, its like a little text message from God that we should pay attention to.

Wednesday started off rough. I needed gas and when I got to the gas station, I realized I left my debit card at home so I had to go all the way back and get it. Then, since I had two exams that day, I decided I really needed all 18 grams of fat contained in a Little Debbie "gas station brownie" so I indulged. Breakfast of champions. I was downing it on the way to work and I bit down on something hard. Really hard. Gross. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to spit it out so badly, but I was in my new, good smelling car and I didn't want to risk a mess so I just swallowed really fast. I decided to tell myself that it was just a piece of walnut shell. Please let it just have been a piece of a walnut shell because I don't know what else it could have been and it makes me gag to think about it.

I arrived safely at school and as I was walking up the stairs trying to work off the 18 grams of fat from the crunchy brownie, I slipped and almost totally bit the dust. Thankfully, I caught myself.

As I sat down in class, the first good thing happened. I got a text from a friend I used to work with which just read, "Smile! Today will be a good day!" I did smile and I enjoyed the randomness of that text from a friend who had no idea how rocky my day started out.

My first test was hard. Like I got a C hard >.< Ouch. I was so flustered that I couldn't even study for my next test during my break. I was really stressing out about it. Once I got to the classroom, I sat down and put my head down on my desk and said a very simple prayer,

"Heavenly Father, I know I haven't been talking to you very much lately at all, and I know I don't really deserve it because I barely studied, but please, somehow, let me do okay on this test."

Our instructor walked in a minute later with the tests in hand and informed us that this test would be OPEN BOOK!!!!

Really quick:

"Wow, God, that was fast! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

I think he knows and understands the heaviness of my heart right now. I think he gave me a little break with that one. Sometimes you need those instant gratification answers just because you do. I am really very thankful for the little blessings sprinkled throughout my stressful day.