Friday, November 11, 2016

Baby Cooper coming soon!

We're pregnant! Finally. After almost 3 years of trying.

What we went through
John and I decided to do Natural Family Planning in January of 2013 after reading a blog post from a classmate of mine. This changed our life and made our marriage stronger. However, I think a lot of what made our marriage stronger was the past 3 years that we went through. February 2014 we decided after a year of trying (taking some time off for holidays) we would go see a doctor who specialized in the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning.

  • Blood draws-Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for not one but two menstrual cycles.
    • The first series of blood draws proved to be inconclusive. My estrogen and progesterone did not show the normal pattern and my doctor wanted to do another series of blood draws.
    • During one of the blood draws we took a trip to Las Vegas. We left Thursday night and on Friday I had to have a blood draw. We took a cab 45 minutes from the strip to get my blood drawn, then go to a UPS store to have it shipped back to Jackson, TN (where my doctor was), and then called our cab driver, who thankfully lived by the blood draw place to come pick us up.
    • John was so supportive of this and caring. Oftentimes I felt like the infertility was one sided because I was the only one having to go through all these tests. I felt like I was the problem and I would never be able to give John a child. 
  • Semen analysis, twice
    • This was in conjunction with the blood draws. Dr. Gray wanted us to see if John had any issues with his fertility. His first test showed that he had low sperm morphology, meaning that the way that a certain percentage of the sperm were shaped where not conducive to fertilizing an egg of mine. Easy fix. Dr. Gray told John there is a correlation between taking Vitamin C and sperm morphology.
    • Test two, was supposed to be completed 3-6 months later, but I think we did it more like a year later due to fatigue of trying, emotional stress from trying, etc. Result: Normal sperm in all 3 aspect that medical professionals look at!
    • Cue me feeling like I am again the problem. John and I had the opportunity to be able to work on our communication about issues such as this and learn how the other is communicating. At times it felt like the end of the world and that we were frequently yelling at each other about things that had nothing to do with fertility. However, it was just the stress of trying to conceive a child that we so desperately wanted and prayed for. It felt like God was not answering our prayers. 
  • Where we stood:
    • So John was taking vitamin C daily.
    • Dr. Gray speculated that I had endometriosis just by looking at my charting.
      • I never had painful cycles, so I didn't believe him
    • Speculated that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome by my chart, my acne and blood tests
      • Cue another blood draw to determine my testosterone level. Normal, no problem.
      • My previous blood draws, the ones where I did Monday, Wednesday, Friday clued Dr. Gray in on the fact that I was having normal cycles, but some cycles I was not releasing an egg. 
      • Most of the time women present like the "bearded lady", however I manage my weight well, suffer from acne, but don't have male patterned hair growth
    • Speculated that I might have a fallopian tube blocked.
    • Knew from my chart and the blood tests that I had low post peak progesterone. This just meant that my levels after releasing an egg were not high enough to sustain a pregnancy.
  • Medication Intervention:
    • August 2014, I started on Ampicillin. This was to increase my cervical fluid which is necessary to lead the sperm to the egg.
      • I did this for two cycles because I started having a lot of GI issues. I was also cranky because I was having GI issues and supposed to have sex. I didn't feel pretty and like a machine.
    • August 2014, I also started progresterone. This was to increase the post peak progesterone levels in order to sustain a pregnancy if we did have fertilization of the egg. 
      • I used progesterone for almost 2 years until we achieved pregnancy and throughout the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy.
      • This pill was not taken orally. That is all I am going to say about that. It also caused some yeast infections, or at least the feeling of yeast infections.
    • October 2014, I did a trial of clomid. I didn't have any weird out of body experiences, but just continued to be spent emotionally, physically and spiritually. Clomid is supposed to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs. Which from the charting, Dr. Gray believed that mine were not doing that because of the possibly PCOS.
    • November 2014, Dr. Gray decided that he would change the Clomid to Letrozole, which is a breast cancer drug. He just said that this worked a little better for his clients and the side effects were not as great as Clomid. 
    • At the end of 2014, Dr. Gray started talking about surgery to be able to diagnose the PCOS and endometrosis as well as check for the blockage of my fallopian tubes. We were close to meeting our deductible, but I just didn't want to do the surgery. Again I was fatigued emotionally, physically and spiritually. 
    • After the first of 2015, John and I decided to stop medication all together. It was too much of a strain on our relationship. We both felt like sex was a chore at times and that it was too robotic. I also started a new job and had a "missed period", which you guessed it we were both hoping that I was pregnant.
    • March 2015, I added back in progesterone just in case we were to get pregnant because I didn't want to suffer a miscarriage. This progesterone would help sustain a pregnancy if we did in fact get pregnant naturally. By this time I had done some research that showed women who exercise and do endurance sports (running) had low progesterone. I just felt like this was something I could get on board with and knew that I more than likely had low progesterone regardless of what the blood results showed.
  • Surgery:
    • Eight months after Dr. Gray suggested surgery we were finally on board.
    • With the change in my job, my insurance improved immensely. I found out that I would be able to have surgery for $350. I had to pay the hospital, and my doctor. That was it. This insurance will be the thing that makes it so hard to leave my current job.
    • July 1, 2015 I had surgery at Jackson General Hospital. It was such an emotional day for both John and I. I will have to write about that in another post, which will probably never come. John was so brave and took such good care of me after surgery. God has truly sent me such a wonderful partner to go through life. 
    • Dr. Gray confirmed that I had mild endometriosis, which he is almost positive that he cleaned all of it up. Confirmed that my ovaries looked like PCOS ovaries and my tubes were not blocked! He said that research shows that cases like my mild case of endometriosis will not come back after surgical intervention. I asked him if I would have to have surgery every time I wanted to have another child.
  • Changes in medication as a result of the surgery:
    • Continued to use Letrozole to stimulate my ovaries to produce an egg every time (or so that is what my brain thinks, I don't know I'm not a medical doctor).
    • Added in predisone in the middle of my cycle to increase my cervical fluid production. Luckily the side effect was only increasing my appetite and no GI issues.
    • Continuing progesterone post peak to help sustain a pregnancy.
  • Changes in diet (rather anticipated changes)
    • July 2015 eliminated butter and milk from my diet for my acne.
    • Dr. Gray told us about research that showed eliminating gluten and dairy from the diet has been linked to positive pregnancy test.
  • 3 months later...POSITIVE PREGNANCY TESTS!
    • Beginning of October 2015 John and I conceived our first child. We were scared to death. Every breath and step I took I was concerned it was the wrong step and would harm our child. We had prayed and begged and pleaded with God for this child and we finally got it. I held on tightly. This was our child and I was going to do everything possible to sustain this pregnancy if my life and happiness depended on it.
    • Before we knew we were pregnant I went on an elimination diet to determine what foods I was sensitive to. I felt better, slept better, was happier, and my skin cleared up. During the re-introduction phase of the diet was when I found out I was pregnant. I ended up not fully doing the re-introduction phase, but just made sure I was getting enough protein through nuts, vegan protein powder, and chicken and turkey. Regardless, I think I am sensitive to gluten, dairy (which I knew), alcohol, and sugar. Everything fun.
    • The first pregnancy test was October 18, 2015, Grandpa Davis' birthday. 
    • Second pregnancy test was October 20, 2015.
    • Third pregnancy test was October 21, 2015.
    • Forth pregnancy test was October 21, 2015, which was a blood draw because I didn't believe that I was actually pregnant. 
    • I came home after rushing the blood results and told John in the parking lot of our apartment complex. He broke down crying and was so happy. We went to church that night to praise God for answering our prayers. It was a Wednesday. Emelda, the blind Asian lady and her loving husband were there as well and I prayed for them. 
    • I was still so scared, I didn't want to do anything wrong. I drove myself crazy. Read everything and nothing on the internet. 
    • October 31, 2015, we went to Laura and Dan Reynold's house for game night and passing out candy to trick or treaters. We told them our good news. They couldn't have been more excited.
  • Miscarriage
    • I woke up around 1:30am on November 1, 2015 and had some spotting. I had read that this could just be implantation of the fertilized egg. I was a nervous wreck. I woke John up. We held each other and I prayed to God to not take this baby we had hoped and dreamed for.
    • I woke up again around 3:00. Much more blood. Lots of clotting and those cells that already had a beating heart in the bottom of the toilet. The stark white toilet bowl with blood stained water. 
    • I woke John up. I didn't flush the toilet. I couldn't do it. I made John go into the bathroom and look and see what I saw. I didn't believe it, didn't want to believe that our baby, our gift was taken from us.
    • John knelt down and prayed for our baby and cried. I watched this through a reflection and lost it myself.
    • We prayed the rosary together. At the end of the rosary, I had the most beautiful image of my Grandma Davis holding our little baby. John said, well Grandma Davis only had boys, so I bet our baby was a boy.
    • We named him Gerard, Gerry for short. After St. Gerard, patron saint of infertility and mothers. 

  • All Soul's Day
    • The Catholic church celebrates all souls that have passed the previous year and they have a mass to pray for the souls to get to heaven.
    • We invited our Nashville friends. Uyen, Laura, Mary, Bridget, Tim and Kathleen all came to show us their support. Erin and Brad were also at the mass because Erin was a reader. 
    • This was our little funeral, our tribute to Gerry. It was also celebrating Grandma and Grandpa Davis as well because we lost Grandma December 23, 2014, and Grandpa the beginning of March 2015.
    • My parents and sister even went to St. Elizabeth Seton to help us celebrate Gerry.
    • We decided that night that we would celebrate this night every year. Gerry was such a big part of our life. We decided we wanted our future children to know about miscarriages and heaven.
We were coming up to the holidays and John and I decided to still take medication and avoid trying to achieve pregnancy. I just wanted some time to process the miscarriage and grieve. It was a difficult time after the miscarriage. We were both very emotional and did what we could to survive. 

Soon after Christmas we heard of an outbreak of the Ziki virus in Brazil. This virus was known to be carried by mosquitos and caused microcephaly in babies. The CDC was recommending women who were pregnant or trying to get pregnant to not travel to these areas where Ziki was present. Two of our dear friends were getting married in Nicaragua in March and we wanted to attend and celebrate with them. We decided to stop trying so I would not be pregnant while in Nicaragua. It was a tough decision because we wanted so badly to start our family. 

While in Nicaragua, Heather told me the story of Noel's mom and sisters praying for her to have another baby. Noel's mom already had two girls and she wanted another baby. Noel's mom and sisters prayed to St. Jude Thaddeaus. St. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. She consequently got pregnant and had St. Jude to thank for interceding on her behalf. Noel then gained the nickname Tadeo and his sisters still to this day call him Tadeo (Tadeo is the Spanish name for Thaddeaus). After hearing this, I sent a prayer up to St. Jude to intercede for me like he did for Ms. Somarriba when she was trying to conceive Noel. 

God answered our prayers! We found our we were pregnant on April 10, 2016. John was away in South Bend, IN for a lacrosse tournament. I took the pregnancy test that morning and had to wait all day to tell John that we had conceived a child. When John got home, I had the pregnancy test in the pouch of my hooded sweatshirt. I kissed him and hugged him to welcome him home. When we pulled away, I pulled out the pregnancy test that said "yes" on it. John fell to his knees and started crying. We were pregnant. Our conversation that followed included few words, many tears and lots of hugs. We were pregnant again! 

Then the fear set in. What if this pregnancy would end up like the last one? What if we were only supposed to have babies in heaven? Again started the calling to Dr. Gray about what we should do. Again more blood work to see if my HcG levels were going up as they were supposed to. We reached out to John's brother and sister-in-law for advice on how to trust that this pregnancy was going to be different than the last night. Rich and Steph were extremely helpful and supportive during the beginning of the pregnancy. 

We had our first doctor's appointment with an ultrasound and I saw the heart beating of the miracle we had been given. A weight was lifted!

Our doctor recommended I come in for an ultrasound every 2 weeks just to make me feel more at ease. She said it wouldn't prevent a miscarriage, but it would make us feel better. A weight was lifted!

We hit 12 weeks and I could stop taking progesterone supplements. A weight was lifted!

 We hit 20 weeks and we had the anatomy screening ultrasound. We saw the heart beating, we saw the lungs, the spinal cord, the heart and its chambers, the eyes, the fingers, the arms, the legs. We saw God's handiwork. I was so overcome by God's beautiful plan for our lives and his ability to take something difficult and turn it into something so beautiful. A weight was lifted! (PS Baby Cooper is a boy!)

We hit 30 weeks and we knew the baby was more and more viable outside the womb. A weight was lifted!

We just hit 35 weeks and that means I am 2 weeks away from being full term. A full term baby! I did not believe this was going to be possible. I didn't let myself think about the long term. I wanted so badly to stay in the present with this pregnancy. I wanted to experience everything this pregnancy had to offer, just in case God wanted this baby as much as he wanted Gerry. I wanted to accept the lack of sleep, the kicks the the ribs, the inability to run, the feeling of having my stomach muscles ripped apart, the heart burn, and everything else. Now that I am closer to the end of the pregnancy, I am just trying to be grateful for all those pregnancy joys because I don't know if we will be able to have another baby. If we don't (or we do) that is the hand we have been dealt. This has been such a joyful time and a time of extreme gratitude. 

We could not be more excited to welcome Baby Cooper into this world. I am anxious about delivery. John is hopeful, supportive and loving during this time. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Resource Utilization Groups (RUG) Levels

Woah, I have a lot going on in my head. I am so overwhelmed with thoughts, feelings and emotions. My grandpa died. But first my grandma died. They were soul mates, they were never apart for very long. They were married 69 years. My grandma had dementia, the end was really difficult to experience. She fell while my family was vacationing in Myrtle Beach. I just knew it was the beginning of the end, September 9, 2014. She fell in the foyer of their home and broke her hip. I feel bad because I kind of wished that God would take her during the surgery. I knew from experience working in the hospital and the nursing home that people with dementia, mild to severe, never really come back after a surgery like that. God had a different plan in mind, like always.
The surgery went well, she was fearful of falling and fearful of getting out of bed. She stayed in the hospital for about a week. There were complications with her lungs or heart. She wasn't eating, she didn't have the desire to eat. Grandma failed the video swallow study with the thickest liquid. Next up feeding tube. It almost felt like a familiar song that I hated hearing. They transferred her to a "rehab facility". Fuck you hospital staff for allowing my family to believe that it wasn't a nursing home.
Grandma participated in therapy, or rather she was put on a bike for her 95 minutes of physical therapy. Then the occupational therapist probably counted the time that he or she "helped" the CNA to bathe and dress my grandmother. Taking away her dignity. Grandma stopped eating, she wasn't getting stronger. She went to see the speech therapist, who happened to be a classmate of mine. We played in the band together.
My dad is worried about doing the right thing, caring for the weak and sick like Jesus called us to do. My uncle Thom yelled at the speech therapist because she wasn't working hard enough. Do you hear the notes of that all too familiar retched song? How do you tell you family that it is a nursing home? How do you tell your dad the research does not support placing a feeding tube to sustain/extend life? The chords of this song are hurting my ears.
Why can't this stop? Why is therapy in a nursing home so stupid? Why don't legislators understand that these are human being, not vehicles to get your company the most money by putting them on a stationary bike for the 113 minutes, just so you can reach your certain RUG level? Why? This is my grandma! My loving, kind, and compassionate GRANDMOTHER! I only wish that she tried to pinch these unethical therapists putting the "robots" on the stationary bike!
They move my grandmother home, on hospice. More stress, more fancy word play to make my family think they are signing up for something that it is not. I go home to see my grandmother the weekend they move her home. She is sleepier, she isn't herself, well not fully herself. She did still try to have a quick wit, and put her fingers up in a pinching motion to let me know that she was still the boss. This is November 20th. My grandmother has been away from home for over 2 months. My grandfather was without his beautiful bride. He was sad, he missed his companion.
My grandpa and grandma get 33 more days together, at home. They get into bed together. My grandpa mumbles sweet nothings that only a spouse of 69 years can understand. His job now becomes caring for his wife, or rather he is able to resume his role as caregiver, provider, husband. At 12:29am on December 23rd my grandma went home. She wanted to get to heaven before Christmas. She wanted to be with Jesus to help celebrate his birthday. She was a good Southern woman who loved Christmas, and loved gatherings, joyful gatherings.
I got the call early December 23rd from my mom, tearful. Saying, we lost grandma. I was in bed with my spouse. He held me, I cried. He cried. I was sad, but felt like I had to remain strong. Strong for my family, my dad, my grandpa, for Christmas.
We got home early December 24th around 12:29am. A mere 24 hours after my grandma went to heaven. I know that the Catholic church believes in purgatory, as do I. I believe if I were to die tomorrow, I would spend some time in purgatory. I should pray for my friends tonight, that they might pray for me and pray me to heaven. Grandma, probably spent a millisecond in purgatory. My dad, grandpa and uncles sat next to Grandma praying the rosary. They came together as a family, to send my grandmother off to heaven.
Growing up, my grandmother always had rosaries around the house. So when she would sit down in one room, she would be able to pray the rosary. She was frequently asking me if I was going to church. She was faithful, she gave me an example of a woman who was trusting in God. She had to be, she lost a son in a farming accident when he was 12. Despite the fact that she had 6 boys, all 6 of the boys were hers. They were hers to care for, to love, to comfort. Then God called home one of hers. One boy that she and my grandpa believed they were called to care for, bring up in the church, and develop into the wonderful men my uncles and father are today. Now my grandparents rarely talked about the death of Uncle Chris, but I can only imagine losing a child. The guilt, the pain. My grandma's faith was probably tried at this point, but she remained faithful. She knew in her heart, for as long as I can remember, that she was going to heaven. She was going to die and spend eternity with the Lord. Be renewed, whole. Reunited with her son Chris.
My grandpa, uncles, father and mother prayed the rosary over my grandmother. John and I prayed the rosary for grandma. I felt peace, immense peace. I knew she went straight to heaven. During this time, when my family was praying the rosary and we were praying the rosary, my sister heard her name being called, repeatedly. She knew in her heart that this was grandma calling out to her. She believes this was grandma ascending into heaven. Amy was frightened, but a peace came over her as she drove to my grandparents house. She knew grandma was safe, grandma was with our Lord. Now Amy has had some experiences with angels and other feels as the one described above, but that is for another time.
There is still so much more that I want to describe, remember, grieve and heal from. I will have to write about this tomorrow. I am growing weary. I have cried, ugly cried the past three days. I am wiped out emotionally. So I am going to treat the rest of this entry like a therapy note.
Discuss the viewing-drawing a picture of the strength of my dad during this, Aunt Margaret and my Grandpa sitting together. Resolving difference and forgiving each other after 69 years.
The beauty of the church during the funeral. The cold during the service at the gravesite. The image of Chris' tombstone. Charles being present and looking at Chris' tombstone. The gathering of my family, putting aside difference to come together for the matriarch of the family. My grandfather's words about my grandmother, "she was a great lady".

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Conditioning Day 2 & 3

Okay so I slacked on blogging this weekend. I just get into the mindset of not doing anything, or rather doing stuff around the house.

Day 2:  Lactate Intervals. Warm up 5 minutes, 5x0:30 sprints, 5x0:30 active recovery (back to your warm up pace), 5 minute cool down.

This run was a nice reminder of how cold it was outside. I thought it was nicer out & only decided to wear shorts and a long sleeve shirt. Boy was I wrong! I am still trying to warm my toes up after this run. My lungs were hurting from the sprints and the cold air. I really appreciate my health on days like that.

Day 3:  Rest, but don't be lazy. Do yoga, walk your day, whatever floats your boat.

Remember if you are following along, on Instagram or Twitter use the #jp2lax!
Here's my Handsome Husband! #jp2lax

Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Conditioning

My husband gave me the task of creating a Christmas Conditioning program for his lacrosse team. At first I was thinking how difficult this task was going to be. When I finally sat down to complete this program, it was much easier than I expected!

Before I went back to school for Occupational Therapy, I was an ACSM Health Fitness Specialist. I would develop exercise programs for adults daily. Developing this Christmas Conditioning program was so much fun. I forgot how much I missed developing difficulty program.

I have decided I am going to complete this program leading up to the Christmas break. I will post that program here for your reading pleasure. I will warn you, this is not that difficult of a program if you are currently running. This program was developed to increase strength necessary for sprinting and increase endurance. However, the program does not require you to sustain running for more than 10 minutes. So if you are looking for something easy to complete between all the Christmas cookies and traveling, this is the program for you.  Only requirement is tennis shoes!  If you want to keep up with this program, use #jp2lax

Day 1:  Foundation Run 2 minutes warm up (at RPE of 4-5), 8 minutes work (RPE 6-7), 2 minutes cool down (RPE 4-5).

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bloglovin App

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Phi Mu Seniors
Huge thanks to Meredith for filling me in on the Bloglovin app. I have spent so much time today on that app! Reminds me of senior year of college when we learned about the free games website. I don't think the 4 of our talked for a week straight we were playing Hot Dog Bush.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dear Pete Wooster, or The Meaning of Life

Disclaimer:  I have not written a paper such as this since I graduated Hanover College in May 2008. Please forgive me if this is all over the place and there is no clear thesis (because I never could figure out how to write a good thesis). I also write patient notes all day that need to be short and concise.

It was May of 2009, at Hanover College. I was required to take a course during Spring Term as part of the "Freshman Experience". I had 3 professors that each taught the course as well as one professor that was our go-to person and the one that graded all our projects and papers. Pete Wooster, a geology professor, was my go-to person. The final paper of Spring Term was to write your meaning of life. Part of this process we had to have Pete proofread/edit/destroy (that's how I remember it) our first draft. I remember sitting in Pete's office on the back side of the Science Center overlooking the quad. I looked at Pete when he asked me a question about the meaning of life. I responded, "I don't think I can have a meaning of life at this point in my life. I am only 19 years old." I remember he told me that I should have an idea what the meaning of life is at this point, it is foolish not to. It probably was not as harsh as I just put it, but I was crushed. I was a perfect student in high school. I am Type A personality, and I am a perfectionist. Basically, if it is not my idea, it is not right. In church on Sunday, I had an epiphany. The meaning of life is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).

Look who I found on Hanover's Flickr Sarah Albertson
Hanover College Quad

The gospel reading from Sunday was Matthew 22: 34-40. Jesus was speaking with the Sadducees when one asked what the greatest law was. This man was a scholar and Father Dexter took the spin that this man was trying to out smart Jesus and show him that he was more pious than Jesus. Jesus told the man that there are two laws that are the greatest, we are to love the Lord our God with all out heart, soul and all our minds. The second law instructs us to love your neighbor as yourself. These two laws are to be followed together, equally. 

Grandpa & Grandma Davis day before Hanover College Graduation
Strong Role Models for my faith

Just because we love God with all our heart, soul and mind does not give us a license to hate others that are different than ourselves. If we love God too much, but forget to love our neighbor, then we are walking around thinking we are more pious than the next guy. For example, I go to church every Sunday and occasionally (read, seldom) go on Wednesdays. I can get so caught up in my love of God that I think that the Christians that go to church less than this are less pious than myself. This is why the second law is to be followed, to love your neighbor as yourself. We are called, as Christians to love our God completely and fully, but we are also called to love others despite their differences, frequency of attending church, or saying prayers. 

Rachel Halleck & Holly Heindselman Homecoming 2013
I love my friends from my time at Hanover despite the fact they had a different major than me

Father Dexter described a time when he was a freshman in college when a woman followed the first law, but omitted the second. He was giving us an image of walking into a St. Mary's Church at 18 years old, his first semester in college. He solemnly shuffled to the front of the the church, right in front of the blessed sacrament. This church in particular had kneelers in the front of the church to venerate the blessed sacrament. Father Dexter was visibly distraught, and slumped down on the kneelers, back to the blessed sacrament head in his hands. As Father was finding comfort by being in the presence of our Lord, an older woman walked up to him stated, "Remember, we do not turn our backs to the blessed sacrament." This woman was implying that she was more pious than he because she would not think to put her back to the blessed sacrament. Father continued to discuss how this woman did not ask him what was wrong or off any humanly comfort, but reminded him of a rule (written or unwritten). This woman was obeying the first law to love the Lord our God, but omitted for one reason or another, the second rule to love her neighbor.

Hanover College Chapel, where I attended church a handful of times

These two laws, to love God and to love our neighbor, are rules/values/laws that have been instilled in me since I was a little girl. Everything I do throughout my day can be summed up into one of these laws. When I am working with a patient who has just suffered a stroke, I am loving my neighbor and loving my God. When I am fixing dinner for my husband, I am loving my neighbor and my God. When I am helping a friend pack up her house to move to NC, I am loving my neighbor and my God. I try to treat others with love and respect, just like God treats me. I want to show others, Christian or not, heterosexual or homosexual, man or woman, the love that God provides to me every day. Although, I fail daily at loving others, and loving/trusting God, I continue to come back to these two laws to help ground me and to ask for forgiveness.

Prince of Peace Catholic Church Madison, IN
Where I attended mass a few times in college
Image courtesy of redtree photography, what a beautiful wedding

The meaning of life is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind as well as love your neighbor as yourself. After 10 years, my meaning of life has changed slightly. I wish I could find that paper that I wrote my freshman year of college. I believe my meaning of life at 19 (I still find it crazy to think that you need to know what the meaning of life is at 19), was to love others just as God loves us, thus making others feel the love of God. Throughout the course of my 29 years, 2 months and 6 days that I have been on this Earth I have lived my life according to these two principles, to love God and to love my neighbor. If you live life according to this meaning, you will find joy in life and all other things will fall into place.The meaning of life is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:37-40

Monday, February 3, 2014

Looking Back

So I recently started looking back over old blog posts. Man oh man! I was really hoping I would have had life figured out at 24. As I am sitting here texting with a close friend of mine from graduate school, I am reminded that I put deadlines on myself that are ALWAYS unrealistic.

By 24, I thought I had to be married, pregnant, in my dream job, with a killer house, and a fat bank account (or something like that).

Image by Bobbi and Mike
I'm 28, married, not pregnant, in my dream job (even though it is a maternity leave coverage ending February 20th), in an apartment, and a figure friendly, healthy bank account.

Accepting my Master's Degree

I still don't know who I am. I still have similar stresses and anxieties that I had when I was 24. They just look different.

Stress and Anxiety
The only thing that is different is my faith. I am closer to God than I have been in over 15 years (which is a guess). We have a great church family. My husband encourages me to pray and write (two things that help me put everything into perspective, if only for a moment).

This Sunday at church was the Presentation of the Lord. This is where Mary and Joseph brought Jesus, a mere 40 days old, to the temple for the purification ritual. Father Dexter, was encouraging us to not lose sight of the light of Christ in our lives. He was telling us that we will always have anxieties, stressors, and worries, but the light of Christ shines in all of us and is for all of us to experience. This light never fades, no matter how far away we are from it. We have just simple allow Christ to be our light. We have to practice letting Christ be our light.

This is such a beautiful message to remember when all of the stressors, anxieties, and worries get to be too much. Christ is our light, shining in the darkness (anxiety), and shining in our hearts.

Christ be our light.
St. Elizabeth Seton, Carmel, IN
I want to leave you with a part of mass that was part of the old translation of the mass (prior to November 2011). During the Eucharist, the priest would say, "When we were lost and could not find our way, you loved us more than ever." Just remember, if you don't feel or even see the light of Christ, he is still loving you.