Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Exactly a week ago today, I lost my job...the job that I have been working at for over 3 years now...the job that was the first one in my field of study that I got right before graduation...the job that I started as a college intern at. It's so strange to just wake up & go about my day & it just doesn't include going to work anymore. To be there one day, working as usual & then to just never go back after that day. I'm still feeling a little discombobulated...I'm not entirely sure that it's really sunk in yet. I still get the urge to set my alarm clock or to put gas in my car as if I'm going to be needing either for work in the morning.

I can't honestly say that I'm exactly "sad" about this change though. I've been on the job-search for almost a year now...just haven't really put 100% effort into it I guess. I revamped my resume, made sure to get out to lots of clients' homes to take pictures of my design work for my portfolio, & developed a mile-long list of places I'd love to apply for a new job at. But I don't think I'm quite ready to jump into it with both feet just yet. I kind of like being home, being a housewife, being free to accept plans at any time & do whatever my mood suggests. I think I'm going to take more time off before I really venture out into the workforce again.

In the meantime, I plan to spend lots of quality time with my husband, my parents, my brothers, my baby nephew, my in-laws & my friends. I plan to live in the moment & go almost anywhere that I'm invited to go, do as much as I possibly can do on a daily basis & just really let myself enjoy life before I get dragged back into the monotonous routine of everyday work life. Maybe after all of this, then I will be ready for new beginnings. Wish me luck! ( :

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Yes, this is yet another post about "Adoption Voices", the adoption website that I've been participating in since it launced a few weeks ago. They held a contest to see who had the most accepted "friend requests"...kind of like how you can add friends on Facebook & Myspace. I won! I worked very hard to try to get to know as many new people on the site as I could...I've been so inspired by all of the interesting stories of love & hope & even heartbreak, regarding adoption that I haven't been able to tear myself away from the site!

My husband is getting a little worried, referring to as my new obsession...I think he may just feel a little left out since he obviously realizes that I'm sharing my story with all of these people on there. I have shared it with him too, countless times, but I think because I so rarely bring it up he is feeling like he wishes when I did I would choose to confide in him instead. But he's been very supportive & understanding, I think he's happy that I've found a sort of "outlet" for my emotions related to my adoption story.

It has been somewhat of an "outlet" for me...I experienced so many negative feelings while I was a pregnant teen & then after I placed my daughter, it was so taboo to even talk about it around my friends & family. So most of my feelings were burried & kept secret for all this time & I finally feel like I have someplace safe to go where my situation is not only accepted, but understood. It's a very empowering feeling & it makes me just want to share my story with everyone I see! I'm getting better at it, I'm not used to openly discussing what I went through & it's hard because it brings back the reality that I haven't received any letters or pictures from her adoptive family since her first birthday 7 years ago. That hurts. But I'm getting used to letting the pain out instead of holding it in.

Anyway, so I won $100 for having the most "friends" on the website, & I felt very honored, but nothing can compare to how it feels to be able to release all of these pent-up feelings I have been holding in for all these years & to be able to share with people who can empathize with me instead of sympathize for me! That has been worth so much more than $100 ever could be!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


As you've read in my last post, I am now participating in a brand-new website called "Adoption Voices". This site is for anyone & everyone whose lives have been touched by adoption in some way. Most of you know my adoption story, for those of you who don't, I believe I have a post on my blog about it somewhere, or you can read through it on my Adoption Voices profile too ( :

Through this site, I have met so many beautiful women who have been courageous enough to share their incredible stories with all of us. Some of them were adopted as children, some of them have adopted both internationally & nationally, some have placed babies for adoption. All of them have wonderful stories & powerful things to say about them, as well as encouraging words to say about their peers' stories. I have found the site to be uplifting & supportive. It has become a safe-haven for me where I can openly talk about adoption without having anyone feel sorry for me or pity me for my circumstances. It's been very empowering to share my story with these wonderful women & it gives me the strength & motivation to want to be more open with everyone I meet about my personal experience.

One of the beautiful women I had the pleasure of meeting is Stefanie. She is a very brave & optimistic soul who is planning to place her unborn baby for adoption. She reminds me of myself in some ways, yet she seems much more wise & thoughtful than I was at that point in my life. She is very open & warm, sharing about her experience in such a positive way that you can't help but smile ( : She's been very inspirational to me & I'm sure to everyone around her too. I know that God will bless her choice, her baby, & the rest of her life...the beginning is only yet to come!

Thank you Stefanie for your story & for the award, but I think you deserve it most for your honest & open, lovely blog! ( :

Monday, June 22, 2009


I was recently invited to participate in the launch of a new adoption-awareness & support website called "", through a group I joined on Facebook & then forgot about! When I first signed up for Facebook way back when, I joined a group about adoption & maybe entered one or two comments on it from time to time. Well, I eventually forgot I was even part of it. Then the other day I recieved a message inviting me to take a look at this new website & I was totally blown away when I did!

I haven't shared my adoption story with many people. It was something that happened 8 years ago now, which most of the time feels like an entire lifetime ago! It was also somewhat of a "secret". Most of my extended family has no idea I was ever even pregnant, which is shocking considering I spent 9 full months living in an out-of-state maternity home. But I was in high school at the time & most of my friends were just too young to be able to relate to the situation I was in. I lost alot of friends because of that...they simply didn't know what to say to me & I didn't have the self-esteem to handle it. I lived under a cloud of guilt & shame, & still do to an extent, about the whole situation. That makes it very difficult for me to open up & share about it.

This website has changed all of that for me...I can participate in discussions, meet other people who CAN relate to what I went through & offer words of support & encouragement. I think it has also been easier for me to share my story with strangers who I've never met before then explaining to my aunt & cousins, "oh yeah, remember 8 years ago when I was 16 in the 10th grade? Well let me tell you a story..."! I clam up when it comes to sharing face-to-face, but being able to blog about my experience & hear back from people who understand has given me such a surge of confidence. I've always intended to become an "adoption advocate" in some way & I've felt that God allowed me to go through what I did in order for me to be able to share my experience with other people & be able to spread adoption awareness. I truly believe the first step in learning how to branch out & share more openly with friends & family too & that is very exciting!

Please take a look & see what you think:


Okay, so this is a follow-up to my last post "Summer Book Club". We finally, FINALLY finished the nearly 1,000-page book by Ken Follett "The Pillars of the Earth" & had our final discussion about it last night. All of us in the book club unanimously agreed that the ending left us very disappointed. The whole focus of our book club is to share about the parts we enjoyed & discuss the events that occur throughout the books we read & also to make predictions for what we think will happen further into our reading. Well sadly, most of our predictions were concerning characters we assumed were going to become more of something further along & 9 times out of 10, this did not happen. It seemed that there were SO many characters & hardly any of them actually fully developed throughout the book. By the end, we were so frustrated with the drawn-out storyline that we all admitted had we not been participating in this book club, we would've put the book down many pages ago!

BUT...moving on, we drew out of a hat the title of the next book we are going to read: "My Name Is Red". It's a Nobel Prize Winning tale of a miniaturist (clay artist) in 16th century Istanbul who disappears shortly after being commissioned by the Sultan to produce figurative art illuminating the European style, which is a dangerous proposition that defies the laws of Islam. It is "part fantasy & part philosophical puzzle that journeys into the intersection of art, religion, love, sex, & power". And it is written from the perspectives of various people, animals & inanimate objects such as: Esther, a coin, a dog, & the color red.

We are all very excited to see how this book goes & hoping that it makes for much better discussion & has a much better ending than the last one!

Monday, May 18, 2009


My brother-in-law had the ingenious idea to start up a summer book club over the next few months to keep us busy...& enlightened. So far we only have 3 members, myself, my brother-in-law & his girlfriend, but we are expecting to add a few more next month after we finish our first book. We weren't quite sure how to go about starting things off, so we all took a vote & picked a book that we wanted to read. We had our first meeting last night & didn't really know what to do! We mostly talked about what we thought we should do for future meetings, then loosely discussed the book & the main characters & our predictions.

The book we all decided on is Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth". It's almost 1,000 pages & the excerpt on the inside cover doesn't give a very exciting description, which is why it's been sitting on my bookshelf for 5 months since I receieved it as a Christmas gift. I was a little bit intimidated by the number of pages & by the dry-sounding content, it's technically a "historical novel" & history is NOT one of my major interests! It's a story about a monk & his brother who is a priest, set in 12th century England during The Anarchy & the death of King Henry I on the sinking of the White Ship; when society, politics, & religion were all in a time of upheaval resulting from King Stephen's reign. However dull all of that may sound, the characters are suprisingly likeable & well developed, the plot is very interesting & unpredictable. We are only 110 pages in, but the book reads so much faster than I expected & I find myself having a hard time putting it down!

We are reading 235 pages for next week, to the end of Part I, & will probably have much more to talk about! I'll keep you posted on how the book goes, & if anyone has any suggestions on how to run a book club, please don't hesitate to comment! Happy reading!

Monday, May 11, 2009


I just have to take a couple minutes to brag about my little (well younger, maybe not so little anymore!) brother & his amazing band, The Shelf Life. They have 3 brother is the lead singer & acoustic guitar player & the other guys play the banjo & mandolin & do some backup vocals. Anyway, they've been playing as a band for a while now & even though they are struggling college students & starving artists at times, they always put their music first & make sure they can scrape together the money to keep their instruments & their band going. They've been doing incredibly well with marketing themselves & getting their music heard all around Pittsburgh. Not only have they played many of the local clubs & watering holes throughout the city here, but they've even gotten air time on the radio & now they actually have out-of-state venues scheduling to have them perform! In fact they just won "Battle of the Bands" last night at a local hotspot called the Beehive & the competition was broadcast live streaming online taking votes like it was American Idol! It was really great to watch & just see their hearts & souls come out in their music which is suprisingly soulful & has such meaningful lyrics for guys their age. While most of the newer music out there is very "pop" or "punk", they are more of a throwback to legends like Neil Young, Bob Dylan & David Bowie. They have a young, unique sound but really sound like old souls when they's such REAL music!

As a big sister, I couldn't be more proud of how my brother really stuck with this & followed his heart no matter what & really made his dreams come true. I'm so excited for him & his band & all that they are accomplishing! I hope you will all take a moment to listen to some of their best work: I think it will make you proud too!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Well first of all I have to admit that I sort of stole this idea from a friend's blog where she professes her love of being an aunt...sorry Bekah, but copying is the best form of flattery right? ( :

Anyway, not everyone knows this but I have an absolutely adorable little 8-month-old nephew who is really the light of my life! My husband can attest to this but I am almost always at my in-laws' house visiting the little guy. See, my in-law's live only ohhh...about 100 feet from my house! So I invite myself over almost daily to visit my sweet baby nephew. The very best feeling in the world is when I walk in & say hi & he looks up & smiles like he's excited to see me! I just absolutely love him to pieces! To the point that it's almost hard to even imagine being able to love my OWN child even more someday.

Everyone keeps asking us now that we're newlyweds, "So when are you planning to start a family"...well the answer is: why start a family of our own when we're both getting so much enjoyment out of our little nephew?! Don't get me wrong, I adore kids & can't wait to have my own! But for now, we are planning to wait for a few years before we cross that bridge. For now, we are perfectly happy spoiling & loving on our sweet little nephew! And when you take a look at these pictures, can you really blame us?!

Monday, March 30, 2009


I was out & about yesterday doing my usual Sunday-afternoon grocery shopping & had just grabbed a number for the deli line when I saw him in front of first, I didn't think it was him for sure, but then he turned sideways for a split second & I saw that not only was it definitely him, but he had a toddler in the shopping cart he was pushing! I absolutely first instinct was to just turn & quickly walk away, possibly even out of the store altogether & just head straight home. But instead of running, I completely froze. I couldn't even move an inch, or take my eyes off of him even though I feared he would literally feel me staring a hole through his back & turn around. So I just stood there & held my breath...he was next in line to order. When he stepped forward I turned my head & pretended to look at something else just so he wouldn't possibly see my face. When he started to walk away & it was my turn to order at the deli, I ran up as fast as I could to the counter, looked down & just pointed to what I wanted...I couldn't risk him hearing my voice since he was still within earshot. Then he finally disappeared into the sea of people with his little girl in his shopping cart.

I am talking about a run-in I had with my ex-boyfriend for the first time in over 5 years. Obviously things ended badly between us, which is why we haven't had any contact at all for so long. But what's more than that is how deep our relationship went before it went wrong. Not only did we date for 3 full years, but we went through SO much together. We went through his diagnosis with Bi-Polar Disorder together. We went through hardships with his mom being admitted numerous times to the psych ward for overdosing on pills together. We got through high school together. What's even more than that, we shared a child together. And we gave her up for adoption together. So you can't really even fathom the millions of thoughts & emotions that ran through me when I saw him standing there...with his daughter.

Well I had avoided him through most of my shopping & was almost to the checkout line, when we passed each other & he whirled around & called out my name. Again I froze. He came back to where I was standing still & cheerfully said "Hey stranger...long time no see" we were long-lost buddies. It made me sick to my stomach. When I finally turned to face him, I couldn't stop staring at the little girl in his shopping cart. I braved it & made small talk...except he did most of the talking. He congratulated me on my marriage & asked about the wedding...turns out he works with my father-in-law at a steel mill only miles from my house. That made my stomach do flip-flops. He asked about my father-in-law & how he's been recovering since his heart attack. He asked about my family members by name. Then we got to talking about how other used-to-be-mutual friends were doing & got onto the subject of children. He told me his daughter's name is Leighaden, which was a name the two of us initially picked out as a potential name for the baby girl we gave up when I was 17. That hurt & I let it show through my words, which is a defense mechanism I am trying to correct. Then before the conversation came to an end, he stopped & said, "You know, not all guys who have done bad things turn out to be bad dads."

As I drove home I thought about the things he had said, & even the way he called out my name like we were old pals. And I realized that people change. Life changes us. We grow up & we are sometimes so different from how we were years ago. Sometimes hardly even the same person at all. I have a bad tendency to hold grudges against people who I feel have wronged me...sometimes for years I harbor this hatred & disdain for them, as I did for him. But when I was reflecting on how upbeat he had sounded & how interested he seemed in my life & how truly happy he sounded when he offered his congratulations on my wedding to the man who had practically stolen my heart away from him, & how caring & gentle he was with his daughter, I realized that he hadn't been the least bit concerned about hating me or avoiding me at all. All this time I had spent being angry & hateful & trying to avoid him everywhere I went...& he had been free from all of that for this entire time. Not only did he not try to avoid me, but he actually embraced the opportunity to run into me & talk to me. It made me open my eyes & see that I don't have to forget...I'll never be able to forget the things that we went through in our relationship, but I really need to learn how to forgive because the people who hurt me in the past are not always the same people they used to be.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I absolutely LOVE springtime! Except for the part where it makes my sinuses go crazy with what must be allergies of some sort...I have an appointment with an allergist on Tuesday to confirm this. But other than that, everything about spring is so wonderful! There is just a certain "freshness" about everything...all the new vegitation, fresh clean rainfalls, light breezes, all of the smells & sounds, I just can't get enough!

To "celebrate" spring, of course, I do some spring cleaning to get ready for all of the windows to be opened wide, people to come over for cookouts & game nights, etc. But this year I'm going to do something fun & special. This year I'm going to re-paint the house! We just got a gift card in the mail a few days ago as a (very belated!!) wedding gift, which I used to purchase a new area rug for our kitchen. For those of you who have never seen my home before, it was originally decked out as my husband's bachelor pad. The kitchen was the worst...covered in posters & license plates & model trucks & cars, not to mention the black & white checkered ceiling, countertops & cabinets! It was a complete nightmare when I moved in! Slowly but surely, I've been removing all traces of the checkers & cars, but the final items were 2 HIDEOUS cobalt blue rugs with black "Chevrolet" bowtie logos in the middles. These were actually given to my husband by his boss when he worked for a local car other words, they were dirt mats, NOT area rugs for a residential kitchen!! So, suffice it to say that I am VERY pleased with my new rugs that took their place just a couple of days ago!!

Now the goal is to paint the entire kitchen to match the new decor of the rugs. Then, we are excited to FINALLY be purchasing a REAL BED! We've been using the fold-out couch bed which has been causing many sleepless nights & backaches. So we are happy to be able to finally have a real bedframe with real, comfortable mattresses! This means we need new bedding, which means I will want to paint the bedroom/living room to match our new bedding. And I'm hoping to finish all of this within the next couple of weeks before my big candle party on Good Friday (April 10th). So wish me luck & happy painting!! ( :

Thursday, March 5, 2009


It's been a pretty bad, discouraging, stressful day for me today.

We found out yesterday that my little car is going to cost nearly $1,000 to get it fixed in order for it to pass inspection. I need a dealer-only part of course, plus an 02 sensor, plus 4 new tires, plus an oil change. Great. I had to drive my husband's truck to work today which meant he literally had to walk to's only 6 blocks or so, but it was still pretty cold out this morning & it made me feel really bad for letting him do it. Not to mention he's been so sick lately, the little bit of a walk to work probably sapped all of his energy for the entire day. He's still living on toast. Last night he managed to eat a steak sandwich from Subway, but then was up most of the night with heartburn & sleeping propped up on the couch for the little while he actually was able to sleep.

My husband had his colonoscopy on Monday & the doctors were still not able to find anything helpful. A small polyp that was benign & easily removed, some spasming & inflammation in his colon, nothing out of the ordinary for someone who's been diagnosed with IBS since they were 10 years old. So on to the next test. Tomorrow morning he undergoes the oh-so-pleasant "gastric emptying" procedure where the doctors literally watch his digestive system process food. If this does us no good then he will have a CT scan of his small intestine probably sometime next week. We are still waiting for half a dozen blood tests & biopsies to come back with some results, hopefully soon. It's just been such a long waiting game & gets scarier by the day. Every pound he loses, every time he falls asleep at 6:00 in the evening, every test that comes back inconclusive, every result we wait days & days for. Too many questions & not enough answers.

The combination of my husband's failing health & all of the unanswered questions that surround it added in with the cost of my car that we can't afford to cover is just too much for one day. I've been sitting at work all day with knots in my stomach over how I'm going to pay for my car, what the tests are going to reveal tomorrow, what kind of mood my sick, irritable husband is going to be in when I get home. And it doesn't help that work has been so slow lately. Another worry to add to the heap I much longer will I have my job if business doesn't start to pick up? I am technically the "newest" member of the staff here & there are applications flooding our mailboxes for positions here since seemingly everyone else in this entire industry has been laid-off. All of these talented designers with years of experience under their belts & they are basically trying to steal my job. It's a very unsettling feeling to live day in & day out with no sense of job security. On top of basically living paycheck to paycheck. On top of having a husband who's getting sicker by the day, who's having to shell out hundreds of dollars we don't have for medications that are barely alleviating his symptoms.

Yeah, it's been a pretty bad, discouraging, stressful day today.
Hopefully tomorrow will be better...

Friday, February 20, 2009


At the beginning of the new year I blogged about how I wanted to make the switch to the use of more natural products in my every day life & I am quite proud to say that this is one New Year's resolution I've been diligently keeping. I have changed out all of our household cleaners, laundry detergent, fabric sheets, & dish soap to ones that contain all-natural products. I've been buying more organic foods at the grocery store. And I even decided that when I went on my annual makeup shopping spree that I would find a line of makeup that was all-natural. Well, I did...a line called "Tarte" from Sephora. I bought the mascara a couple months ago just to try it out & ended up loving it. So last night I got the brushes, eyeliner, shadows, blush, bronzer, & lip gloss to go with it.

I was proud of myself for making the change to natural products...especially since these are ones that I use on a daily basis, on my face! I was a little bit disappointed by the limited selection of colors, but felt overall that I had made a satisfying friend spotted a store called "Bare Minerals" & said, "Oh wait, do you mind if we go in there so I can get some facial cleanser?". The minute I stepped inside I was completely overwhelmed by the vast selection of shimmering color everywhere! I watched as a salesperson put mineral powder on my friend's eyebrows & created a soft, subtle color instead of the harsh pencil I'd been using on my own for so long. He demonstrated how with just a droplet of water, the mineral makeup is transformed from sheer, shimmering powders into matte, liquid foil color. He patiently showed us how to layer eyeshadow colors for different effects, showed us how to use a little water to create eyeliners, & explained to us that this product is 100% natural. I was IN LOVE!!

I took most of the makeup I bought at Sephora (I kept the "Perfect Whirrled" swirled blush because it ROCKS!) back to the store & returned it. I made an appointment at Bare Minerals to have a "mini-makeover" done so that I could see what their products look like on my face. Now I am even MORE in love than I was before! You would not believe how silky their powders feel...they go on so smoothly you would mistake them for cream, but feel so light you would swear you're not even wearing makeup! And for someone with such fair skin as myself, the option to layer colors without them looking too heavy & dark is a major plus! I was pleasantly suprised by the array of colors available in their moisture-rich, mineral lipsticks too & the quality of all their brushes & tools. Not to mention the prices were cheaper than what I paid at Sephora for the Tarte brand.

It is very exciting to know that you CAN have a wonderful, functional, long-lasting makeup that improves your natural beauty AND is all-natural at the same time! It's such a gentle product that you can even sleep in it without worry. They even carry "starter kits" to help you achieve trendy looks like the smokey-eye-and-nude-lip without sacrificing quality or natural ingredients to get it. I encourage everyone to stop in sometime (their website really doesn't do it justice!!) & see what all this line has to offer...I promise you WILL be impressed!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Okay, so I left off with my husband not being able to get any of the results to all these tests the doctors have been doing on him & we've been getting more scared by the day as he continues to have pain & continues to lose weight. Finally, he got an appointment with is primary care physician, who decided to take matters into his own hands & called around to the Medical Center & the gastroenterologist & was able to get us all the results for everything! The good news for now is that it is NOT his gallbladder...everything came back fine with all the tests & ultrasounds they did on it, no stones or anything. Also his biopsies all came back clean so that's a positive also. But the bad news is that they still do not have a concrete diagnosis for what's going on & need to do MORE tests.

My husband is having more blood work done this week to test again for the H. Pylori bacteria...apparently once you have it, your body creates antibodies that look just like the bacteria so there is some special blood test they have to do in order to determine whether or not it's the actual bacteria still infecting him. Then, he's scheduled to have a colonoscopy next week. And THEN they want him to come back a week later for a "gastric emptying" test which will show them how long it takes for his stomach / GI tract to empty out after eating. Hopefully ONE of these tests will finally reveal the true underlying problem & the doctors will finally have what they need in order to properly treat him & not just treat his symptoms temporarily.

For now, they were able to prescribe him some probiotics that are helping to aid his digestive system which is making eating a little easier for him for the time being. He is also taking anti-nausea meds & pain relievers that help him to sleep more soundly. Thanks to all of your prayers, we are finally getting somewhere & we are so blessed that he has such a caring primary care physician who is willing to go the extra mile in order to move toward answers. Please continue to pray that one of these tests will finally reveal the true problem so that the doctors are able to treat it & my husband will no longer have to suffer.

Monday, February 16, 2009


For those of you who don't know, lately my husband has been suffering from some health issues. A few months back he was having severe heartburn & indigestion to the point where he was barely eating anything at all because everything he ate was causing him pain. He finally went to the doctor about a month ago & his bloodwork came back positive for a bacteria called H. Pylori. This bacteria develops in the lining of the stomach & can lead to yucky things like ulcers, gastritis, & even cancer in some cases. They put him on prescription-strength Prevacid to ease his indigestion & heartburn as well as a combination of antibiotics to try & eradicate the bacteria.

He's been steadily losing weight because even though he's been taking medication, his stomach is still very sensitive to anything that basically isn't bland. So it's been a monotonous diet of plain chicken, plain potatoes, plain toast, plain eggs, not really anything of sustenance. This past Wednesday he had an appointment at the Gastroenterologist to get an endoscopy just to check for ulcers, abnormal cells, etc. in his stomach. The scope came back clear...they couldn't see anything wrong with his stomach at all but they did schedule him to have a look at his gallbladder.

Well, by Friday he was in such pain that he hadn't eaten anything but toast & pretzels for the past 3 days & had lost 6 pounds in that amount of time. He was so sick that we ended up going to the ER that night around 8:30. They immediately hooked him up to an IV to give him pain meds & anti-nausea meds while they ran blood tests. Most of the tests had come back by midnight & none of them were showing anything out of the ordinary, but there was one test we were waiting on that had been "overlooked" in the lineup. They finally got the results from that test & it showed that his electrolytes were low so they had him give a urine sample. This confirmed that he was pretty dehydrated & they started him on fluids right away. This went on until the last test came through around 4am & they finally came back & said there was nothing else they could find wrong other than his dehydration. So they gave him a couple prescriptions & released him to go home.

This morning he had an appointment for an ultrasound on his gallbladder to check for gallstones. Alot of the symptoms he's been experiencing seem to be linked with the gallbladder problems we've been Googling lately, so we've been worried they would find something in there. But he just called & told me that they won't let him know the results for another 3-5 days. So now we're playing the waiting game. Hopefully this week when all of his latest test results come back we will get some answers.

It is just so frustrating to watch him suffer after being the epitome of a strong, healthy, young male for so long & not have any way to help him. And it's scary to watch him lose so much weight that his wedding band falls right off his finger & not have any clue what's causing all of his problems. So please pray for us that the doctors will find SOMETHING that they can at least diagnose & treat so that he doesn't have to suffer any more.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I got an email this morning that had things about friends all over it & made me think about not only how much my friends mean to me, but also how important it is to surround yourself with good friends. They keep you grounded, they help to remind you of your past & ease your fears about the future. Keep good friends near & dear!

* A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. ~Douglas Pagels

* A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they're not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they're not so bad. ~Arnold H. Glasgow

* The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. ~Elisabeth Foley

* Constant use will not wear ragged the fabric of friendship. ~Dorothy Parker

* Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. ~C.S. Lewis

* The language of friendship is not words but meanings. ~Henry David Thoreau

* A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world. ~Lois Wyse

* Friends are relatives you make for yourself. ~Eustache Deschamps

* What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. ~Aristotle

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I found this quote this morning & felt that it really speaks to what I've been feeling & going through lately...I guess it's definitely much easier said than done but I just wanted to share:


There comes a time when you must stand alone.

You must feel confident enough within yourself to follow your own dreams.

You must be willing to make sacrifices.

You must be capable of changing and rearranging your priorities so that your final goal can be achieved.

Sometimes, familiarity and comfort need to be challenged.

There are times when you must take a few extra chances and create your own realities.

Be strong enough to at least try to make your life better.

Be confident enough that you won't settle for a compromise just to get by.

Appreciate yourself by allowing yourself the opportunities to grow, develop, and find your true sense of purpose in this life.

Don't stand in someone else's shadow when it's your sunlight that should lead the way

Monday, February 2, 2009


So I just had my 25th birthday...I am officially a quarter of a century old. And I must admit, I DO actually feel a little bit different this year. I don't think I've ever really noticed a difference in how I've felt age-wise after a birthday before. I feel that this is a very important age & year for me...a year of change & progress. I have so many goals for myself this year. The most important is going to be trying new things in general...something I say I like to do, & I mean it, but I often don't think about WHAT new things I can try & this year I'd like to make an honest effort to FIND new things to try out for myself.

I think a good place to start is yoga. I'm intrigued (& a little intimidated!!) by the idea of yoga & the breathing techniques & the relaxation & "centeredness" that is associated with it. A friend recently invited me to tag along with her sister-in-law & her as they try out a new yoga place that holds classes in an art studio. I think I might even invite MY sister-in-law to come give it a try with me. I think it could be a very enlightening & enjoyable new experience. And it will also give me a chance to connect more with this friend, my sister-in-law & maybe even meet some more new people.

Another new thing that I want to try seems kind of silly, but I really want to try out a bunch of new local restaurants & coffee bars. My aunt has always been a very strong believer in giving back to your community & supporting the little mom & pop shops. She's very anti-Walmart & Starbucks & all other corporate giants that come in & take over the little communities that they inhabit & turn their residents into dependents on their supply. It's something that I've been giving a lot of thought to over the years & I'd love to make some sort of personal contribution to our little community. There's a fairly new coffee place in town called "Hallowed Grounds" that offers fresh-roasted coffees & specialty teas. It's kind of the opposite direction that I would normally take to work, but it is on my way home from the gym in the mornings. I think I might drop by on my day off & give their coffee a try. Eventually, I'd like to try out a few local hair & nail places, tanning salons, restaurants & cafes, fruit stands, etc. & downsize the amount of business I give to the larger chain stores that put places like this out of business & don't think twice about how they affect our communities. I think it will give me a rewarding feeling to be able to contribute to local businesses.

Overall I think this year is going to be full of new opportunites & challenges for me & I'm ready to embrace the changes that are coming. I am open to new ideas & experiences & people & I really want all of this to be about self-improvement, but most importantly, about living, & learning.

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!