Thursday, January 29, 2009


It's funny how something can be such a huge part of your life, yet so many people who know you so well still have never heard anything about it before. Even now as I write this, my heart is pounding, I'm getting cold sweats, & I feel a ton of butterflies in my stomach. It's like this is a big deep, dark secret...but it's really just something I haven't learned how to share well. I can never seem to find the right moment or the right context to bring it up...I don't want sympathy from anyone, I don't want to come off as sad or depressed about it because I'm not...I don't want to make people feel awkward, so sharing just usually doesn't happen no matter how close I am with the person.

When I was 16 years old, I found out I was pregnant. A junior in high school, about to have a a guy I knew deep down would probably not make a good father, who probably wouldn't even be able to support a baby, or me, someone I would most likely never marry. At the time it seemed the best option for me was to go be somewhere away from him & away from the judgement of the other high-schoolers. So that's what I did. I ended up spending the next 9 months in Warren, Ohio at New Life Maternity Home where I lived with 4-8 other pregnant girls, some in the same position as me. I learned so much from the other girls there, my experiences, & the entire stay overall. One of the most important things that I learned was that adoption IS an option. I ended up making the decison to place my baby girl with an adoptive family when I was in my 8th month of pregnancy. At first it was terrifying...the fact that you choose a family based on a piece of paper with a picture of them & their profile on it, the fact that I still had to go through the actual childbirth part of it, the fact that I would no longer feel like just a regular teenager. But in the end, I knew it was what I had to do, for myself & for the baby. So I made the choice & went through with it as planned. It was a semi-closed adoption, which was how I thought I wanted it to be at the time. This meant that for only the very first year I would receive contact from the adoptive family, picutures & updates, & then after her first birthday, nothing else.

Little Morrigan Renee will be 8 years old on May 18th of this year. I have spoken at the New Life Maternity Home banquet about my experience & even gone back several times to speak to their adoption classes about what I went through & how I was coping. But then when I came back home to PA after my stay there, everything changed. I became embarassed & ashamed of what had happened & that really stuck with me for many years...even after having the support of all my friends & finding an amazing man who understood & didn't care & loved me anyway. It became not painful, but almost scary to talk about with new people. But I want all of that to change. My experience had it's hard moments to say the least, but I grew so much from it & it was an overall very positive step in the right direction for me. That is what everyone needs to know. Girls who are in the same situation I found myself in need to hear my story...& I want to share it.

So I will consider this the beginning...the beginning of a journey out of shame & embarassment into something hopeful for other young women. I have already written down several phone numbers for local pregnancy resource centers & am now simply praying for the courage to make the call. I want to be involved & share my story with anyone I can...if it can help one person make the right decision for themselves, then it is worth everything to me! This can be another New Year's open up & to become a volunteer who can bring a positive light to others by sharing my past experience .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This kind of follows up with my New Year's resolutions...see, I wasn't going to get into the whole "resolution" thing this year because it's something that I never quite seem to follow through with once the party is over. But this year started out much different than most & caused me to open my eyes to a lot of things that I need to change.

Just a couple weeks ago, on Saturday, January 17th, my father-in-law had a heart attack. He was told by the doctors that he had major blockages of several main arteries & they would have to operate immediately. While we were camped out in the hospital over the course of 3 nights & 4 days waiting for him to recover, we got to talking about what causes such things to happen inside your body. One of the most obvious reasons that the doctors informed us about is what kinds of food you eat. You see, not only the fat & calories are bad for's all of the stuff that is unnatural too! When we ingest processed foods that are made up of chemicals & fake colors & all kinds of additives, our bodies don't recognize what they are & therefore can't break them down. So they just float around in our insides, taking up residence in our arteries & wreaking havoc on our digestive systems. So that made me pay attention to what different foods make me feel like after I eat them. I started to realize that when I ate healthier, cleaner foods, I actually felt like my insides were healthier & cleaner! This caused me to make the switch to organic foods. I haven't completely changed EVERYTHING over just yet, but the major stuff that we eat on a daily basis is all-natural now. I also started to think about the things that we breathe into our bodies, & things that we use on ourselves that get absorbed into our systems through our skin. This started to really freak me out when I did a little research & realized what horrible things go into our lotions & soaps & creams & makeups. Not to mention household cleaners! And to think that my 2 precious cats have been climbing all over surfaces that have been sprayed down with these harsh, abrasives really upset me. So I'm changing those over too.

But not all man-made things are to blame for poor health. We have to be responsible too. We have to control our weight & maintain physical activity to prevent health problems too. This made me really examine myself & my health. I recently went skiing & realized that I had to stop several times because my legs were just burning from excertion. I sit at a desk all day at work & rarely get up until it's time for lunch. I go home & sit on the couch & watch tv with my husband, or go out to dinner with friends & eat unhealthy things. So I've decided enough is enough & I don't want to wind up laying on that hospital bed thanking God that I survived painful open-heart surgery someday...I want to prevent it! I have to make the effort to become more physically fit & to reach a healthier weight...not for vanity, not to look good, but to actually feel good & be IN good health.

So, although it was definitely a very scary experience that I wish had never happened, my father-in-law's heart attack was definitely an eye-opening experience that has set me, my husband & his whole family on the right track for a more healthful future & for that, I'm so very thankful!


I know it's almost the second month of the New Year, but better late than never, right? I have a few resolutions for this year that I'm going to work hard to stick to:

1. To become a better me both inside & out. I've already made a switch to more organic foods, as far as the produce, meats, seafood, & some of our everyday condiments & things are concerned. I am also changing cosmetics that I wear, switching to an all-natural line of makeup that uses no chemicals or harsh additives. And I've changed out most of our household cleaning products to organics also. I've been trying to get to the gym almost every morning before work & working on losing some weight. At this point I don't have an exact weight-loss goal in mind as far as actual pounds, I just want to work on becoming more healthy first.

2. To manage my money better! This one has been a bit of a challenge for me lately. It just seems like I never have a plan & I don't keep track of my spending like I should. I've started off so far by cutting WAY back on my trips to Starbucks because I know how expensive that little habit is! Instead, I've been brewing my coffee at home & taking it with me to work rather than hitting the drive-thru for a daily cup of joe. I've also started to take cash out rather than using my debit card for everything because I tend to forget to write it down in my checkbook. I want to eventually work out an actual plan that includes savings & spending in the form of a spreadsheet that will track everything so I can figure out where I might need to cut back.

3. To be more supportive...of my friends, family, husband, etc. If my husband is coaching a basketball game & I'm not at work, I want to be there. If a friend calls & wants to see a movie or do dinner, I want to go catch up. If my brother-in-law needs a break from the baby, I want to babysit. I just want to be there more for the people I care about, like they have all been there fore me.

4. Find a better job. This is a really big deal for me because when I graduated from college, the job that I have now was a dream come true! I had interned here before graduation & knew that I wanted a job here. Well, it's been 3 years now & things are going nowhere fast. Our company has started to regress & lose it's appeal. I have become more of a salesperson than a designer. And I am ready to take on a new position at a bigger, better firm that is more stable & has more to offer me. I feel like I'm being hindered from learning new things here & when you are no longer learning, you are no longer growing. I want to learn new things, I want to be part of a more innovative, forward-thinking company that I can grow with.

So I will be working on all of these things for the next year & hopefully I will see good results. So far I am feeling very optimistic & hopeful. Wish me luck & I'll keep you posted!