Saturday, April 28, 2012

Still Here, Just Busy

It's been over a week since my last post which is kind of unusual for me since I usually write several times a week, but sometimes I run out of things to write about! Plus, I've been quite busy lately working on a special project. My grandpa turned 90 earlier this year and we're having a family reunion at the end of May to celebrate this impressive achievement. I'm working on a slideshow with pictures of my grandpa's life for my family to watch. I love making slideshows, but it's a lot of work and takes quite a bit of time to piece together.

My grandpa is an amazing man and a hero, for sure! I'll have to write more about him at a later time. For now, here are a few pictures of him from back in the day:
It sure is a stormy, rainy evening, so I thought this would be an appropriate thought to leave with everyone. It's sort of akin to making "lemons into lemonade." Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nursing 101

A few weeks ago my mom and I went to talk to my friend Lacee's nursing class to speak to her students. (Lacee is my gal pal who I worked with at the movie theater with before my accident. In 2003 I convinced her to go to nursing school with me, and the rest is history. She's gotten her Master's Degree and is teaching nursing, and I'M paralyzed. Oh, how things change!)

Anyway, Lacee asked me to come speak to her Fundamentals of Nursing class and talk to them about my accident, how I coped with becoming disabled at such a young age, my experiences being a patient, what I think nurses need to know about being a good nurse, etc. I've spoken to Lacee's classes several times before and I always dreading doing it because I get so nervous when speaking to a large group of people. My nervousness has nothing to do with a fear of public speaking; it's more the fact that I physically have such a difficult time speaking and projecting my voice when I'm in a large room. My voice is quite soft, and it takes me longer to speak since I can't breathe on my own. When I'm talking I often run out of air and I have to wait for my diaphragm pacer to give me another breath before I can continue talking (since I only get 16 breath per minute).

Talking to Lacee's class went really well, so I'm glad I didn't let my apprehension keep me from doing it. It's not my first time doing it and it's always gone really well, so I don't know why I can't so nervous between times. I guess I just worry that people won't be able to hear me and/or follow what I'm saying. But I know I have an important message to share that will have a profound effect on those that hear it.

One of the things that my mom and I spent quite a bit of time talking about was the "early days" after my accident. Things were so hard back then, and I would not want to go back and relive those days again for anything! At the time I didn't think it was especially difficult, but now that so many years have passed I've realized that things are so much easier  now and I'm so much happier. Again, it's not that I wasn't happy at the time, because I was, I'm just so much MORE happy now. It's really a lesson to me to remember that when I'm facing difficult times to just hold on and know that things will eventually get better!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

(Not-So-) Formal Wear

Yesterday I wrote about my shopping trip to the mall last weekend. I realized something as Chandra and I quickly zipped through JCPenney. It's prom season, so there were tons of formal dresses on display. What I realized is how much formal dresses have changed in the past 10 years that I've been out of high school!! (Which really wasn't  that long ago!)

When I was in high school almost all of the formal dresses that girls wore were long, ankle-length dresses.  I'm not saying that all long dresses are "out" right now, but short dresses are definitely back "in." I remember short dresses being popular back in the early 90's when my older sisters were going to formal dances. But by the time I was going to formals (say, five – 10 years later) hardly anyone wore short dresses.

Another thing I noticed is that a lot of the formal dresses I've seen in stores/in magazines/on TV shows, etc. are much less formal than they were when I was in school. This has its pros and cons. On one hand I think it's nice to be able to buy a dress that you'll be able to wear again, but on the other hand, I don't like how casual everything seems to be getting. It just seems less special.

Shopping Is Bittersweet

Last Saturday my sister Chandra and I went shopping at the mall. Boy, do I love shopping!! One of the stores we went to was New York and Company. NY and Co. is one of my all-time favorite stores to shop at! I used to shop there all the time before my accident and it's where I bought a lot of my "professional attire" that I wore to work when I was a manager at the movie theater.

What's better than shopping, and how can something so good possibly be bittersweet?! Well, it's really depressing/discouraging to go into a store and see SO many beautiful clothes that I would love to wear, but can't (especially when I know that I would look just darling in them!).  ;) It's cruel; sort of like dangling a big, delicious carrot in front of a starving rabbit who has his foot stuck in the a trap, making it impossible for him to get it. I know this disappointment is self-inflicted because I don't have  to shop in stores where there's tempting, "off limit" clothing, but I can't help myself!

It's probably hard for people who aren't in my situation to understand my clothing struggles, but there are SO many clothing styles I'd love to wear, however, they don't really work for me anymore because it would either be #1) hard for people to dress me in, or #2) hard to adjust the clothing after it's on, resulting in wrinkly/lumpy/bunchy clothes. (And I hate looking disheveled!) Long story short, for a clothes lover like myself, shopping nowadays can be rather difficult, discouraging and disheartening.

I would love to be able to rock an outfit similar to something like this. Maybe a pencil skirt or a nice fitted dress with high heels. (This is sooo  my style!)
There were so many things that I liked, so I bought a lot knowing that I will most likely  return at least some of what I bought. (This is always  the case, since I can't try things on at the store, but I'm used to it.) I am  returning several things, but it wasn't a total loss because I got lucky and found several things that I will be keeping. The things I'm keeping are two cardigans (and a tank top that goes under one of them), two scarves and a shirt with flower embellishments around the neck. Oh yeah, and a cute pair of sandals that I forgot to photograph.

And to top things off, I also did some online shopping on New York and Company's website when I got home and bought four more skirts and two more cardigans. Will they fit? Well, that's always the million-dollar question and only time will tell, but I'm optimistic! 

Can you tell what my favorite colors to wear are? Yes, pinks and purples. Don't get me wrong, I love other colors and do occasionally wear them, but the vast majority of my wardrobe is pink/purple because I just don't think I look quite as good in anything else.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Titanic: 100 Years Later

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The luxurious ocean liner set sail from Southhampton, England on April 10, 1912. The ship was scheduled to arrive in New York on April 17, but we all know that never happened since the ship struck an iceberg, tearing a giant hole in the ship. 
The ship's collision with the iceberg happened around 11:40 p.m. on the evening of April 14 and the ship ultimately sank at 2:20 a.m. in the wee hours of the morning on April 15. That means that for more than  hours the passengers experienced sheer terror as they realized the ship was sinking and there was a good chance that either they or someone they loved would likely die. I can't help but wonder what the realization of that horror would've felt like, knowing that you, your spouse, your children, etc. were going to die a horrible death.

More than 1500 of the ship's 2200+ passengers lost their lives. It was truly a tragedy that this supposedly "unsinkable" ship sunk on it's maiden voyage and that so many people lost their lives. I, personally know how I  feel when there have been disasters in the world (some of the recent significant disasters like 9|11, the tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina,  deadly tornadoes, to name a few), so I imagine that's what the sinking of the Titanic felt like for the rest of the world back in 1912.

I was obsessed with the Titanic when I was in 8th grade, thanks in large part to the movie Titanic. I even did a report on the Titanic for an English project that year! [It's funny to look back and remember how silly we were as kids!] When I was 13 I was utterly smitten with Leonardo DiCaprio! (How embarrassing to admit that I was one of "those" boy-crazy teenyboppers?!?) If I were 13 today, who would be the object of my obsession? Perhaps Justin Bieber? He's probably one of the biggest heartthrobs out there right now, so I'll pick him. He definitely doesn't hold any appeal to me now that I'm "older and wiser" but if I were 13 again, who knows?!! Thank goodness we eventually grow up!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

R.S.V.P. Pens

I don't know if any of you can relate to this or not, but back in the day when I was still a writing girl, I had a certain brand of pen that I always preferred to write with. In my opinion, all pens are not created equal! My pen of choice was Pentel's R.S.V.P. pen and it had to have a fine point. I'm not sure why, but I was never able to write as well with pens that had a medium point as opposed to a fine point… strange, I know! ;) These pens come in the traditional blue and black ink, but also red, green, purple and pink. However, Blue ink was the only way to go for me. In my opinion blue ink is so much friendlier and more personable than black ink!
A close runner-up to the RSVP pen would be your original blue Bic (also with a fine point). Bic pens are about as cheap as they come, but I think that proves that expensive doesn't always necessarily mean better.

Anyone else out there with a favorite pen?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Oh, What a Beautiful Day!

Yesterday was a lovely day. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It was the kind of day where the skies were blue and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The weather was a bit chilly in the shade since it was only in the upper 60's but in the sunshine it was absolutely perfect. I went to church, got out at noon then came home and sat outside with my sister Chandra for an hour in the afternoon. After we came inside we started getting ready for dinner and our guests arrived around 5.

This is a picture of two of our dinner guests; my friend Hillarie and her friend Dan.
Here's a picture of 3½ month old David on his first Easter. Amy really wasn't interested in posting, so it was hard to get a picture of her in her Easter dress. Oh well!


I'm always looking for new books to read, and I especially appreciate it when people I know recommend books to me, so that's why I like to write about the books I read on my blog. I've been on a non-fiction streak lately, but when my sister Sharon recommended Divergent to me as one that her book club read, I decided to give it a try since she said she enjoyed it. Here's a short synopsis of the book:

"In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all."

This is the first book in a trilogy and is of the post-apocalyptic genre. It's kind of like The Hunger Games meets The Uglies (if you're familiar with those book series). It's definitely a page turner, especially towards the end of the book, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Insurgent, which comes out on May 1. SO, if you're looking for a good book, I recommend Divergent.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"365 Days of Happiness"

For the past several years I've been looking for something to put on the wall above my bed. I've perused different websites that sell art, the aisles of Hobby Lobby, Michaels and other craft stores, but I never found anything I liked enough, so I decided to just bide my time and not settle for something that I didn't really love. I pleased to say I've finally found something that I love.

I love colors and bright, pretty things so when I was looking on Etsy's website and saw the different pieces on QiQi Gallery's page I knew I had found what I was looking for! There were so many paintings that I really liked and I knew I couldn't go wrong with any of the paintings, so looked at all of the pieces and narrowed it down to a few different ones and consulted my mom and sister Chandra. Ultimately I decided on the one called "365 Days of Happiness." It was bright and beautiful and I knew I just had to have it!

(I love the title of the painting. I'm pretty much the happiest person I know, and I'm happy 365 days a year, so I felt like it was meant to be!)

I ordered the painting last Saturday night, it shipped on Monday and arrived in the mail on Friday. My mom said she didn't feel comfortable hanging it by herself since there are four different canvas panels (and I hate crooked pictures!), so I asked our friend Linda to help us out. She came down last night with her laser level and husband Mike after a little measuring it was up on my wall.

Here are pictures. I know I  love it; what do you think?!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Mail Day

I love it when the mail is delivered! When I was a little girl I always loved getting the mail when I had the day off school, or when I was home in the summer. Even though I'm an adult I still love it when the mail comes! Although I can't go out and retrieve the mail myself, it's just fun to see the mail truck drive by my house and know that it's arrived!

Today was a good mail day. I don't get mail every day, and when I do it's usually not very exciting, but today I got several things, each one more exciting than the previous. A Netflix.  A postcard from my friend Linda who lives in England who recently spent some time in Prague.  A piece of original artwork that I recently bought to go above my bed. (I'll write more about this in a post coming soon.) And finally, a personal, hand-signed letter from David A. Bednar.

In this post I wrote about going to a church activity recently where I was honored to be able to meet an apostle of the Lord and listen to him speak. I didn't think I'd get the opportunity to speak with him since there were at least a few hundred people in attendance, but I hoped I would at least be able to say hello and pass him a note that I'd prepared on my computer beforehand in hopes of maybe getting the opportunity to slip it to him. Needless to say, it was a huge surprise to get a response in the mail today.

Sunday Will Come

Since today is Good Friday, I wanted to make a post of encouragement for anyone who may be currently struggling with something difficult in their life, or for anyone who may be unhappy, discouraged or depressed. First, take a minute to watch this 2½ minute video.
I don't think there's ever been or ever will be anyone who goes through life without facing some sort of trial or dark time in their life. Trials are just part of mortality. As frustrating or as difficult as they may be, trials are what make us better people (if we let them, that is). I'm sure it can be really hard to see a trial as a good thing, or as an opportunity to become a better person when we're right in the middle of the darkest part it, but I know it's true.

Here's a quote of my favorite part of the video clip: "Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays. 

"But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come. No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, in this life or the next, Sunday will come." – Joseph B. Worthlin

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter as we remember the Atonement and celebrate the resurrection and life of Jesus Christ!

*Click here to read Joseph B. Worthlin's article Sunday Will Come in its einntirety.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"The Five Love Languages"

Last month my book club read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, which is a great book for anyone who has a relationship with anyone else, whether it's their spouse, child, friend, family member, acquaintance etc. In The Five Love Languages we learn that everyone has a primary way of expressing and interpreting love. Of all the ways love can be expressed, five key categories, or love languages, proved to be universal. The five love languages are Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts and Physical Touch.

The book talks about each of the love languages, and then there is also a 30 question quiz that helps you determine what your primary love language is. This book gives you a lot of food for thought, especially when you use it in the context of your relationships with those around you.

I am actually "bilingual" in my primary love language because when I took the quiz I got the same score in two of the five categories. My two primary love languages are quality time and words of affirmation. I definitely think this is spot on for my personality because in regards to my relationships with my friends, family and loved ones, I really enjoy spending lots of quality time with people. I also find affirming words especially touching and meaningful. There is nothing better than a heartfelt note from someone!

However, even though quality time and affirming words are my two primary love languages, I really identify with all of the love languages. I like it when people do acts of service and kind things for me and I enjoy the gesture of physical touch, even though I'm not able to return the gesture. I also really love getting gifts because it really shows the thoughtfulness of a person if they give you a gift that they know you would like. At least, in my personal experience I know one of the ways I  like to show my love for people that our special to me is to buy them gifts. I'm the kind of person that loves finding out about people; when I meet someone new I like to find out everything about them. I really listen when people talk and I remember the things they say. I think being a good listener is the key to being a good gift giver.

If you're interested in The Five Love Languages, click here for more information. Gary Chapman has also written other editions of the book that are tailored towards singles, children, men and teenagers, and he's also written The Five Love Languages of Apology and The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Work Place.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Happy Spring!

It's April 2 and spring in St. Louis has been absolutely beautiful so far! Warm, yes, but beautiful nonetheless! Here are a few stats for the month of March in St. Louis that are pretty remarkable. This was the warmest March on record (by far) and we had 11 days where the temperature was 80° (or above). The average temperature this past March was 72.1° which was 16.2° above the normal average temperature, and we set five new record high temperatures and six record high low temperatures!

A lot of people are saying this is "too warm, too fast," but I've really enjoyed the warm weather. If March's weather is indicative as to what our weather will be like the rest of the summer, them we're in for a doozy, but from everything I've heard on the weather, an excessively warm March doesn't necessarily mean we'll have an above-average summer. Time will tell!

This is April's picture on my Mary Engelbreit calendar. I love the quote at the top of the page from Carl Bard that says, "Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, ANYONE can start from NOW and make a brand new ending. " Very true and good "food for thought!"

One of my favorite parts of spring is the General Conference for my church which is always the first weekend in April. It's wonderful to be able to hear uplifting messages from the leaders of our church.  Thanks to the marvels of modern technology we're now able to watch this conference on TV, whereas when I was a little girl the only way we could watch conference was by going to our church building where it was broadcast over the satellite dish. In my family we always have a really nice brunch now that we're able to watch conference in the comfort of our own homes, so that makes me look forward to conference even more!

Here's a few pictures of our brunch. My mom made a breakfast casserole and caramel pecan rolls, and my sister Laura made orange rolls and brought a fruit salad. It was delicious!
For dinner my mom made made a new recipe; tortilla soup. When my mom planned the dinner menu she didn't know who is going to be 90°, and way too warm for soup, but we still enjoyed it. Mom also made a new cheesecake for dessert. This is a recipe I recently found on Pinterest for Cheesecake Factory's Oreo cheesecake.We thought it would be fitting since Oreo recently celebrated its 100th birthday.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...