Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Day for Giving Thanks

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I had my follow-up appointment this morning with the neuro-opthamologist. All of the tests came back normal- the blood work, the MRI/MRA (we are still waiting on the MRV results, but the doctor is confident those will come back normal as well, based on the MRI and bloodwork). I can't tell you how incredibly relieved I am! I haven't been able to stop praising God for His continued watch care over me!
So what's with the swelling on my optic nerves? Well, he thinks it's pseudo papilledema...but he thinks it's just something I was born with. My optic nerves were just made swollen. LOL. Go figure. Always the strange things...he does want me to have vision field testing every 3 months for the next year to make sure nothing changes. And if something changes and/or I develop symptoms of any kind, I will go back to see him for further testing (i.e., spinal tap). But he is unconcerned that anything will develop- he just thinks I was born this way. Who knew?
I can't even describe the sense of relief and joy I felt once that burden was lifted from my shoulders. My parents were in tears...haha. They had a lot of pent up nerves. It was such a day of rejoicing and thanking God for His incredible blessings. I firmly believe in the power of prayer and was able to see God's provision and power once again through all of the prayers lifted up over just this one request. It was such a sweet blessing to be able to rejoice with friends and family over His answer to prayer. So thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement over the past few weeks. I cannot tell you how much they mean to me.
I am still waiting to hear about the job...we're still praying for that one!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Praying for Miracles

So I am finally facing the end of this week. It's been a long period of waiting...too much time for my mind to think too much. Haha. And despite the fact I didn't think it could come fast enough, it is finally here. It's kind of a big week. I feel like my whole life is dependent on what happens in the next couple of days. That might be slightly over-dramatic...maybe not my whole life. But at least the next stage in my life.
Tomorrow morning is my follow-up doctor's appointment with the neuro-opthamologist. I get my results back- from all the blood work and the MRI/MRA/MRV. I think the hardest part is that it could be any number of things. Most of the options are fairly serious. I have so much to praise God for with regard to the circumstances surrounding this whole ordeal. Timing, good doctors, making it through tests, and even the mere fact that my optometrist spotted the problem. I have so many people praying for me, even people I have never even is overwhelming! And I have felt God's peace over the past couple of weeks. But the truth of the matter is that it is still scary. I have been trying to prepare myself for the worst...that's logical, right? Prepare myself for the worst, so that I am not thrown any curve balls. If it turns out to be the worst, I saw it coming. If it's not as bad, even better! But really, how do you prepare yourself for something like this? I have the confidence that my God is good and will walk with me regardless of what the doctor says tomorrow. It's still just so bizarre that my life could change tomorrow. Or not change at all tomorrow. It's bizarre to me that the words of one person, the results of one series of tests can determine how I spend my next steps in life. Or not spend them. This is by far one of the most intense things I have faced in my life. I am praying for favorable results, of course. But I am also praying that I have the strength to praise God no matter what the results may be. I am praying that God is glorified through whatever I may face. The comforting thing is that God already knows the results and what my future holds. And He is going to be the same tomorrow when I finally know the results: good, loving, holy, righteous, and sovereign.
I am also supposed to know about a new job in the next few days. It's really hard because I am so excited about this job opportunity, I can hardly stand it. It's almost as though the job description was written specifically for me. It is everything I am looking for in a new job. It's an amazing opportunity, and I really want this job. If I don't get an offer...I just don't know what I am going to do from here. No one else is hiring right now. I have watched the news in the last few weeks, listening to all the news coverage on layoff after layoff. It kind of makes me sick to my stomach. I have still been looking for other jobs to apply for, and there just aren't any available. Everyone is on a hiring freeze because of fears in the economy. So this is kind of my shot. I know God has a plan. I am just hoping and praying that this particular job is it...haha. I know my God is bigger than this whole economic mess. I am praying that I can trust that- whether I get an offer for this specific job or not.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And Now We Wait

Thank you for all of your prayers for my MRI/MRA/MRV testing! God was so good to me this morning; everything went well with the second session! I actually got really nervous last night, which is silly, I know. I knew what to expect, but I was worried about having a reaction to the contrast. I was working on a few things last night before I headed to bed. I had the TV on for background noise and can you believe it? A commercial came on about the contrast used in MRIs. It was one of those lawyer commercials- "have you or your loved one suffered this long list of side effects as a direct result of a recent MRI? You are entitled to a cash settlement...." LOL. Are you kidding me? I had to laugh- I had never seen that commercial before, and it would air the night before I was going to have contrast for an MRI. Not quite the way to calm the nerves. Haha.
When they took me back, I made sure to explain to them about my "situation." I just warned the tech that I might need a few minutes to make sure I was not going to have a reaction to the contrast before they put me back in the tube. He kind of got quiet and gently explained to me that I couldn't move. Even when they pulled me out to administer the contrast, I still had to lay perfectly still. I asked him what happens if I get dizzy and need to vomit, and he just repeated that I needed to lay perfectly still. Oh goodness. So I immediately started praying. I am an adult for goodness sake- surely I can handle this. I can will myself to not make a scene, right? Haha. God was so good to me, and I didn't even feel the contrast being administered! No reaction, no embarassment!  I know that it was definitely the power of prayer!
So now I have to wait. I don't like to wait. LOL. I will make an appointment for next week with the neuro-opthamologist to receive the official results and diagnosis. It's going to be a long week. Haha. But at least I have some other things I can be focusing on, which will help pass the time. You know, I feel like I have a strange mixture of fear and peace. I realize that sounds crazy. I am nervous- I am not going to lie. Part of that is my fault: I did google research despite the fact I told myself I was not going to. I just couldn't help it. Curiosity got the best of me. Everything is starting to sink in, and it hit me the other day that this could actually be serious. And that's scary. Yet, despite my nerves, I am strangely calm. I know that is God's supernatural peace surrounding me. So many people have been praying for me- I can literally feel the blanket of prayers covering me! While I am nervous, I feel strangely ok about whatever the doctor might say. If the news is bad, of course it will be hard. But I feel somewhat prepared. Which sounds so weird. I don't feel like I am explaining it well. What I do know is that God is good and He has a plan. I know that the God who created me, loves me and wants good things for me. I know that God will not be surprised by the doctor's diagnosis. And I know that my God will carry me through anything and everything I might face. And that brings an immense amount of peace.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Prayers for the President

I cannot let this day pass without posting about the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States. It is such a historic day that I would be remiss if I did not. I am so thankful to be present at such an important moment in history. I thank God for the service and sacrifice of President George W. Bush. Regardless of your political affiliation, or how you voted, the fact remains that as of today, we have a new president and a new administration. God has placed this leader in the highest office of this great land. And as such, President Obama deserves our honor and respect.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." ~ Romans 13:1
And President Obama needs our prayers. My mom had sent me a link to The Presidential Prayer Team. They are committed to praying for the leadership of this country, specifically for the 1st 100 days (which are the most crucial). You can sign up for weekly emails, which include the current needs of the President and his cabinet. I have been praying for now-President Barack Obama since Election Day. I would encourage you to sign up for these emails.
I challenge you to join with me to pray for President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, as they now step up to serve our nation, taking leadership at a crucial moment in our national life. As the two men take the oath of office, pray that the Spirit of God will be there, reminding them of His indwelling power and grace for every situation. Pray that the President would make his decisions based on Biblical truth. Pray (as Pastor Rick Warren prayed) that he has "the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity."


This morning I went for my first MRI/MRA/MRV session. Today was the easy day! It's kind of funny- it occurred to me that there is no privacy or sacredness at a doctor's office. From the invasive questions they ask you on the registration paperwork to the actual exams and/or procedures...nothing is sacred. No place else is it ok for a guy to ask you, "Are you wearing a bra? I am going to need you to take it off." LOL. So awkward. Call me a prude- it's still awkward, even in the doctor's office.
I was only in there for about 35 minutes, so it went by a lot quicker than I expected. They were unable to give me earphones today, but I did get ear plugs and a nice face mask. Even with the ear plugs, the machine was super loud! You would think with all the modern technology, they could come up with a quieter machine. It kind of sounded like I was sitting on a jet engine. I am happy to announce that I am for sure not clastrophobic :) haha, so that is a good thing. Although, I do have to say that the tube they put you in is quite a bit smaller than I had expected. My brother had had an MRI on his back and he had told me there was about 10 inches between his nose and the top of the tube. This one was more like 4 inches. I was very close to the walls of the tube.
While I was in the tube, I had a great opportunity to spend some time with the Lord. If nothing else, it gave me uninterrupted prayer time! When I wasn't praying, I was contemplating the whole concept of this "tube." What do they do with larger people? I don't mean to offend or be rude, but it was a really small space. I wondered how many times people have pressed the panic button. I wondered what would happen if you had to pee? It is a good thing that the machine could not read my thoughts. LOL.
I did not have to have contrast today- they saved that for tomorrow. So tomorrow morning, I will go into the tube (that sounds so strange! haha) for another 35 minutes, then they will pull me out and administer the contrast via IV, then put me back in for about 50 minutes. So please pray for no reactions to the dye. Round 2 will be for tomorrow...
"Trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you." ~ I Peter 4:19

Monday, January 19, 2009

More Tests

I was finally able to schedule my MRI/MRA/MRV. I have my first session tomorrow at 7:30am and the second session Wednesday at the same time. Each session will be about an hour and a half, so please pray that I am able to stay still for that long! A friend was kind to ask, "What if you have to pee during that time?" LOL. I really hope not. I guess you have to hold it. That's such a long time to be in an enclosed space without moving. I am not clastrophobic, which is good, but that's a long time to lay still. I plan to pray, maybe take a nap, maybe sing...? Haha. It has started me thinking: what do other people do while they are having an MRI? I would be interested to know. People can be weird, and that would be highly entertaining to know what they do or what they think about.
I did find out today that I will be required to have contrast- I am not sure if I will have to drink it or if they will administer it through an IV or through a shot. Of course, I would prefer drinking it, but if that's not an option, please pray for no reactions. I did really well with the blood work (see post below), but you never know...

Please continue praying for peace. I have been doing fine until today. I think it all kind of hit me that all of this is real and could be serious. I'm ok, but am starting to get a little nervous. I think the extent to which they are conducting all of these tests is making it hard (20 vials of blood on Friday, 3 hours worth of MRI tests, etc.). I appreciate the fact that the doctor is being so thorough. It's still scary because so many of the possibilities are fairly serious. I know God is in control, and regardless of what the test results say, He is God and will help me through anything. My analytical mind is just running a mile a minute and is acting as my enemy right now.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crazy Doctor Adventures

So I told you about my embarassing episode at the opthamologist on Monday. I still cannot believe that whole thing. I am so glad I don't ever have to show my face there again- haha
I thought it would be good to update everyone on why I was even at the opthamologist in the first place. A lot of this is a repeat of what some of you know; but I thought I should tell the story from start to finish.
December 22, 2008: While I was at home over Christmas, I went to get an eye exam to update my contact/glasses prescription. While I was there, they noticed some swelling on my optic nerve. They referred me to an opthamologist to get a second opinion, confirm/deny what they thought they were seeing, etc.
January 12, 2009: So on Monday I went to a really great opthamologist that my Teaching Leader recommended to me. That doctor confirmed what the optometrist had found- swelling at the opening of my optic nerve. Basically, a normal optic nerve has a bowl or cup shaped opening; mine is concave (upside down bowl), which indicates swelling or pressure of some sort. He said it could be 1 of 3 things: pseudo papilledema (increased intercranial pressure on the optic nerve), optic tissue swelling (?), or a brain tumor. He didn't come right out and say this until I directly asked him. I think he was trying not to scare me. Which makes sense considering my reaction to the dilation...
January 15, 2009: So he referred me to a neuro-opthamologist so we could rule things out. I didn't even know that specialty existed. My mom came into town so that she could go with me (at the suggestion of the opthamologist). That appointment went well; the doctor confirmed what the other 2 had found- swelling on the optic nerve. I did learn today that the optic nerve is not a part of the eye, it is part of the brain. Learn something new every day! I also learned that there are other possibilities for the swelling than the ones given by the opthamologist. It could be an auto-immune disease or it could be a blood clot. He did find that the swelling is on both optic nerves, not just the right as we had originally thought. He said that more than likely it is pseudo papilledema, but he has to put me through a series of tests so that he can rule things out and be sure. He sent me to have some blood work done, and I will have to schedule an MRI/MRA/MRV. 
January 16, 2008: My mom went with me to get my blood work. When I walked into the lab, the girl took a look at me, took a look at the doctor's request, and said, "I hope you have good veins." Another nurse was peaking around the corner with a concerned look on her face, and I later learned that they were talking amongst themselves, wondering why I was having so much blood drawn and if I would survive it. LOL. I did warn them about my tendency to get dizzy, lose my breakfast, and faint. I think that made them more nervous for me. I had been warned by many doctors in the past not to ever give blood, just because they didn't think I could handle it. Goodness. I am very proud to announce that I didn't even get dizzy! No crazy reactions- I took it like a pro! When the nurse said she had to take a lot of blood, I had no idea what that meant. They ended up taking 20 vials of blood! They pretty much sucked me dry- lol. What they are going to do with that much of my blood, I have no idea. But some is being sent all the way to California for testing. Since I turned over so much, I want to know everything- my blood type, what I am allergic to, what diseases I have, everything. Haha.
I am still waiting to schedule the MRI/MRA/MRV. A week after that is done, I will go back to the neuro-opthamologist for the official diagnosis. All this is a bit of a whirlwind. Who would have ever thought I would be going through something as random as this? I am so blessed that they found it in a simple routing exam. I am thankful for the timing and the doctors God has provided. I am thankful for good insurance. I am thankful for everyone who has committed to pray, and who have been such an encouragement and support so far. And I am thankful for the overwhelming sense of peace that God has provided to me and my family. I like this new idea of trusting God instead of worrying.

Goodbye Eagle U

Many of you are familiar with the situation regarding my job at Eagle U. I have been unable to blog about it, as final decisions were being evaluated and decided on. But after many months of fighting, Eagle U has closed its doors. It is something I was prepared for; but it seems strange that things are final. My boss made the official announcement yesterday. While I started looking for another job starting in December, I have had the last couple of weeks to focus completely on my search. I have had some really great leads in the last week or so, which has been really encouraging! I am praying for God's quick provision. He has already provided in so many ways! While I am sad to let that job go and disappointed in the way things turned out in the end, I am excited to see where He will take me next! It is fun to think about the new opportunities ahead!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sweet Blessings

So I have decided that I have some of the greatest friends a girl could ask for. Yesterday was a little crazy, and despite the fact that I am a little crazy, my friends still love me and are there for me. My mind has been going a mile a minute and my brain is on analytical overdrive.
I met Laura before leader's meeting so we could walk in together, and when I arrived, she came walking through the parking lot, a pretty little box of yummy goodness in her hands. I unlocked the door, and she hopped into the passenger seat, offering to share Sprinkles cupcakes! For those of you who have never tasted these delectable pieces of amazingness, you are missing out! These are by far the most amazing cupcakes I have ever tasted, and just as Laura said, they were just what the doctor ordered! We shared a dark chocolate and a mocha one, and I really couldn't have been a happier girl.
But the best part about the surprise was that it came with hugs! One from Laura and one from Nicki. It was a cupcake and hug kind of day, and my friends knew that and were sweet to deliver! I also had received a sweet email from Tonya, another sweet friend. Knowing that I have friends who love me, in spite of myself (because goodness, we all know how crazy and ridiculous I can be), and who are my prayer warriors and my support system...that doesn't happen everyday. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends...I can't even put into words because I wouldn't do our friendships justice if I tried. So thank you, sweet friends, for who you are and for being so wonderful. I love you and am so thankful for you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eye Doctor Adventures

When I was home for Christmas, I went to have an eye exam so I could get an update on my contact/glasses prescription. While I was there, they noticed some swelling at my optic nerve on my right eye, so they referred me to an opthamologist. Today, I visited the opthamologist that my Teaching Leader recommended. I think I might have to never show my face there again. LOL.

So, apparently, my body tends to have adverse reactions to certain medical procedures. Oh it's great. Dizzy spells, fainting,'s good times. It happens when I get shots or have other medical procedures...and it's never predictable. There could be any number of reasons for it, but mainly I have decided that I am just weird. I can't help it. It's something I have dealt with for a number of years, but never dreamed I would face any issues at the eye doctor. Oh...but out of nowhere it happened again, and again I have offered stories for nurses to tell for future kicks and giggles.

So I went through all of the eye tests (chasing wavy lines on a screen, follow the red line, are you color blind? etc.). This doctor does a yellow dye instead of the puff of air in your eye, so my eyes were yellow for a period of time- creepy. And then came the dilation. I had never had this done before, but I was prepared. They put eye drops in your eyes. Piece of cake. Or so I thought... They put in the numbing drops, which was good. They then put in the first round of dilation drops and told me to count to 200. I made it to about 45 before I felt it coming. That wave...and I knew it was all over from there. I remember telling my brother (who was so sweet to take off of work to come with me- good thing he did!) that I felt dizzy and that I might need a trash can. Then I felt like I was sleeping, and even dreaming about who knows what before I realized that I wasn't supposed to be sleeping, I was supposed to be counting. So I tried to focus on what number I was on, but felt very heavy. It was so strange. There were several people hovering around me: one offering me water, another holding my head, and I could hear my sweet brother's voice telling me that I was ok. It was a strange feeling of drifting in and out of consciousness. After I had lost my breakfast and came to, I was ushered to a back room where they monitored my blood pressure and waited for it to return to normal. Only later did I learn that I had passed out, that 3 or 4 different nurses were helping me, and even a sweet man in the waiting room helped put a chair under my legs to elevate them. My brother said that my arm even involuntarily raised, which is so strange. LOL. I am sure I was a sight. I probably should have been more mortified than I was, but having dealt with this kind of comes with the territory.

The nurses and doctor were wonderful. Everyone was so concerned. I am pretty sure no one else has reacted that way to eye drops. Goodness. How embarassing. I kept trying to convince them that I was fine- once the "wave" passes I am fine. But they wanted to make sure and they took good care of me. When they were convinced that I wasn't going to have another episode, they were able to put in the second round of drops for dilation (which didn't bother me at all...go figure) and they were able to finish the exam. They gave my brother instructions on how to care for me and sent me on my way (I am sure they were glad to see me go!), but not without a hot pair of shades:

Oh glasses are on the outside of the shades. You know you're jealous. I have to laugh about the whole experience. Can you imagine? What a spectacle I make of myself! It was just fitting that I walked out of the office looking this ridiculous. On my way out, a lady in the waiting room stopped and asked me questions about the dilation process (it was her first time too). So as not to worry her, I told her it was no big deal; they just put drops in your eyes and then you get to wear these cool shades.

You can be praying for me because I have to repeat the process over again. Yep. I now have to go see a neuro-opthamologist to have some further examinations. They want to rule out some things, make sure everything's ok. They will have to dilate my eyes again. But don't worry...the fax that was sent over to the new doctor gave sufficient warning to the patient's reaction to dilation...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Blockbuster Deals

Ok. I really like watching movies. Usually it is an inexpensive form of entertainment. Going to the movie theatre was out of the question a long time ago...normal prices around here are $9.50!!! Ridiculous. So you won't find me at a movie theatre very often. So that leaves good old Blockbuster. I have to wait until the movies come out, so I am usually behind, but I'm not picky. There are those red boxes in grocery stores and at McDonald's, but there's always a line and the machines always seem to malfunction. So I stick with Blockbuster. But even they got too expensive. Then I discovered OnDemand with Verizon Fios- it was the same price as renting at Blockbuster, but I didn't have to worry about getting the DVD back to the store. Genius.

But Blockbuster has implemented a new rental policy. Only $1.99 per night! So renting movies is not out of the budget anymore! The only stipulation is that I have to make sure to return it the next day, but I usually only rent on the same day I plan to watch anyway. Apparently, a lot of people are upset about it because there is no 7 day grace period anymore for returns. That's dumb. If you can't turn it in on time, you should be charged a late fee. Libraries do it. Lol. Anyway, I don't know if this is nationwide, but I am sure glad my Blockbuster implemented the new rental policy.

Currently Watching: Eagle Eye

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

As Promised...My Resolutions

I typically don't make resolutions the first of January. Only because if I feel I need a change, I make a change. Regardless of what time of year it is. But because of all of the changes going on in my world lately, there was a sense of ending and new beginning anyway, and it just happened around the first of the year. I did try to make the resolutions ahead of time, therefore decreasing the likelihood of failure (80% of people fail at their new year's resolutions in the first sad!) So I am proud to announce that I am already 2 weeks into my new year's resolutions. I have kind of hit the wall that everyone hits, so writing them down for the world to see will give me the motivation to keep going. So here they are:
1. I take vitamins and drink more water. This sounds silly, but I am so bad about these 2 things. I forget to take vitamins, and I am just not interested in water. I actually don't require the amount of water that most people do...I have been to a doctor about it. It's not like I substitute water for other drinks...I just don't require a lot of liquids in general. And I can count only one time in my life when I have been dehydrated, so it's not a health issue. But I just feel like one day it might become a health issue, so I should resolve to get in the habit of drinking more water now.
2. I run every day and have a visible 6-pack by summer 2009. December was not a good exercise month for me. Which is not like me. Running is my stress reliever, but somehow time got away from me, so I wasn't as consistent as I usually am. So I have to get back into the routine of running every day. That is hard, especially on days like today when everything is covered in ice. But I am committed and need to get back into my running routine. Sasha and I are out of shape and that needs to change! And I couldn't help but add the 6-pack goal...I really want one. LOL. Not sure why, but I am going to work toward one :) I plan to do a combination of crunches, pilates, and tae-bo to accomplish that.
3. I read 2 books a month. I know 2 doesn't sound like a lot, but I have to start somewhere. It is hard for me to find time to read, so I am setting a goal of 2 books a month because I feel that is attainable. And I know once I get back into reading, I will be reading 2 books a week. I'm a bookworm at heart...I have just lost that part of me and need to gain it back. I ordered a lot of books for spiritual growth and have been itching to read them! I am determined to find the time to read. For January, I am reading God: As He Longs for You to See Him by Chip Ingram and The Shack by William P. Young. The first book is for spiritual growth; the second is so that I can be able to have conversations about it with people who have asked my opinion on the book. It is fairly controversial, so in order to have intellectual conversations, I need to read it myself to see what it's about. This book is not directly for my spiritual growth, as it is a fiction book. But I plan to compare it to God's Word to see how it fairs, since so many people are using it as a spiritual tool.
4. I pray more. I realized that this part of my spiritual life is severely lacking. That's so hard to admit because how awful is that? I pray...but I want to be characterized as a woman of prayer. And I can't honestly say that would describe me right now. My plan has several facets to it. First, I am using a book to get me started. It was a gift from one of the girls in my BSF group, and it has been such a blessing! It's called Face to Face by Kenneth Boa. Second, I am posting my "prayer lists" around my apartment so it is a visible reminder to me to pray. Third, I am dividing my prayers in my planner, so that I have specific things to pray for each day. I schedule everything in my planner and everything written down gets done. So why have I not thought to do that before? Not sure. But I am doing it now.
So there you have it. My resolutions. If you have any tips or encouragement to keep me motivated, please feel free to share and keep me accountable!
Currently Reading: God: As He Longs For You to See Him, by Chip Ingram

Monday, January 5, 2009

Goodbye 2008...Hello 2009!

Ok. So I know I am a little late and it has been forever since I have posted an update. The end of the year was crazy! So I will do my best to bring everyone up to speed on what has been happening...

I stuck around a few days after work was finished before Christmas so that I could go to my friend Nicki's brother's wedding (that's a mouthful!) He got married in Fort Worth, so Laura and I drove out to be there. It was so great to see Nicki and to be there with her and her family. I am so blessed to have such sweet friends, so blessed to still be able to keep in contact despite  the fact we are in different cities and different stages in our lives. Here is a picture of the 3 of us at the wedding:

After the wedding, I headed home for Christmas. It was so great to be home. It was a little surreal, but good to spend time with family. It was a busy week, full of activities. One of my Christmas presents was that my parents paid for me to get my hair cut and highlighted. I decided that it was time for a change and that I should chop my hair off. So I cut 8 inches! I LOVE my new haircut- it's so much easier and lighter.

While at home, I was able to hang out with Lauren, which was so great and long overdue. I had missed seeing her the last time I was in town because I got sick. We went to dinner and then to a movie. We decided to check out what the craze was about the movie Twilight. LOL. Oh my gosh. I wasted my money (sorry if I am offending anyone). It was probably one of the most ridiculous movies I have seen in a long time. Lauren and I laughed through the whole thing. It was definitely entertaining to be in a theatre full of young teens. I am pretty sure it was not meant to be a comedy, but when the main character (who is a vampire, btw) says things like, "You're like a drug to me. Like my own personal brand of heroine," you can't help but crack up. Despite the ridiculous movie, it was fun to see Lauren and catch up with her.

The strange thing about the holiday was that the drama was not what I expected. I expect drama on my mom's side of the family. But there was none! We spent Christmas Eve over at my grandmother's house, playing cards and complaining about how my aunt and cousin stole all of the tamales and pan de polvo and how we barely had enough for Christmas. Haha. We drew names again this year and exchanged gifts, and we also introduced the "re-gift" white elephant gift exchange. I hadn't laughed so hard in my life. My gift wasn't so bad (I got a can of Christmas candy), but there was a Cinderella in her pumpkin centerpiece, a Tweety Bird cell phone lounger, and an owl with an eye-patch ornament floating around. It was so fun! We went to midnight mass with my grandmother, and overall it was a great Christmas with that side of the family. The drama was on my dad's side, which is not expected. There is never drama on that side. We had Christmas at our house, and it was just strange for things to not be normal with that side of the family.

Because things were crazy with extended family, my parents, brother, and I didn't celebrate our Christmas until that night. While Christmas was small this year (on my end), I do have to say that I am super proud of the gift I gave my mom this year. She has been wanting a Christmas centerpiece for a couple of years now, but they are fairly expensive. So I decided to undertake the project of making one for her. And I LOVED how it turned out! And my mom liked it too. My dad said I should make several and sell them...could be lucrative. Haha. It's a little hard to see because of my mom's tablecloth, but hopefully you can get the idea.

The day after Christmas, I headed back to Dallas for our last program at work- Mental Toughness for Pageantry. It was hosted at the Grand Hyatt DFW, which is the most amazing hotel I have stayed at in a long time. The hotel is beautiful, and the staff was phenomenal. Richelle and I didn't really know what to do with ourselves, because there was always someone there asking if we needed anything, asking how they could help. We're not used to that...we are usually running around doing things on our own, having to seek out people if we need something. So this was a treat! And not only were they helpful with the program, they were awesome at taking care of us. I discovered that the DFW airport is a Pepsi-only airport (boo!) and I wasn't able to find Dr Pepper. A major issue. But the hotel staff found out that is what I like to drink and every day I had my own ice bucket full of Dr Peppers! The program was wonderful- everything ran smoothly and the girls really seemed to enjoy themselves. It was fun to meet several current titleholders, and we are convinced that the next Miss USA and/or Miss America is coming from our group :) Here is a picture of Richelle and I, then a group shot:

In case you are wondering, I did make a few New Year's resolutions, but I made them before January 1st in an effort to diminish the likelihood of failure. When I have a little more time, I will share those. Happy New Year!