Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Five Things

After our San Diego vacation and getting my classroom together, I was beckoned to jury duty.

I've been there ever since.

Since I haven't yet started the school year, and since I certainly can't talk about the jury I'm on, I really have lacked in the blogging world.

However, in catching up on my dear friend Erin's blog, I came across this little gem and decided to fill it out for you all!


.....and then do it yourself! Seriously! :)

(Sorry, not sure why there is a weird background on the text--it's probably because I copy and pasted the original. Ooops!)

\\ Five Things I Have A Passion For \\

 + Romania. As many of you know, Romania is a HUGE part of my heart. God called me to go for the first time in 2002, and I've been blessed to go seven times since then. I am so excited about where the ministry of Children to Love is heading, and I'm blessed to be able to be a small part of it!
 + Music. I love everything about it. I'd probably really enjoy it if I lived in a real life musical. I'm pretty much singing some random song that's stuck in my head throughout the entire day. 
 + My People. I kept the qualifier "my" in there from Erin. As I've grown older, I haven't liked crowds of people as much, but I certainly like my people. I'm a big fan of my family and friends. 
 + My Kids. And by "my kids" I mean "my students." I'm never too sure about them at the beginning of the year (especially this year when I haven't even met them), but I usually end up loving them like crazy by the end of the year. I miss my kiddos from last year so much! 
 + Traveling. This last one was honestly really difficult to come up with (is that sad?). It came down to writing and traveling, but traveling won out. I'm only passionate about writing when my little brain starts moving and my hands start going....and that doesn't happen too often. I certainly can't force it. Thus, traveling won out. I LOVE seeing new places, meeting new people, and experiencing new things. God created a seriously AMAZING world out there, and I'd love to see as much of it as possible! 

\\ Five Things I'd Like To Do Before I Die \\

Visit all 50 States. I'm not even close. Guess I have some work to do before I die. 
Get married and have babies. Of course. 
Adopt a baby girl from China. Adoption, even locally, was never even a thought until recently. But, out of the blue, God placed adoption and China heavily on my heart. We'll see how He works that out someday. 
Skydive. Someone will seriously have to push me out of the plane, but I really want to do it!
Go to the Olympics. Ok, we all know that I'll never participate in the Olympics (unless they make kneely scooting a sport), but I'd LOVE to go be a spectator some day. 

\\ Five Books and/or Magazines I've Read Lately \\ 

 + HGTV Magazine. Love it. 
 + The 19th Wife. Fascinating. Check it out here! 
 + Getting Naked Later by Kate Hurley. Loved this book! All you single (and not) ladies out there need to read it! Here it is on Amazon. 
 + Swimming to the Surface by Kristin Billerbeck. Good novel. Easy read. I really enjoyed it! Here's the link!
 + God Loves Ugly by Christa Black. I just ordered this after it came highly recommended by a dear friend. I'm really looking forward to reading it. Check it out!

\\ Five Favorites Movies \\

(Not sure these are the top five of all time, but they are five that I love!) 

 + Little Women. Perfect. Sweet. Nostalgic. Packed with memories and perfect one liners. 
 + Stick It. Talk about one liners! And, it's about gymnastics. Of course I love it. 
 + The Help. Just an incredible story. 
 + Nadia. Again, gymnastics...and it's about a Romanian. Love it! 
 + Soul Surfer. I just love the story and the faith of Bethany Hamilton. I love that I can show it to my kiddos after they learn about Bethany's shark attack in Gateways. 

\\ Five Places I'd Love To Travel To \\ 

 + Ireland. I tried to go there once. It didn't work out. You can read about that here
 + Australia/New Zealand. I want to hug a koala. 
 + Africa. I'd love to go on a real safari! 
 + Germany/Holland. The mother land. 
 + Italy. Cannoli. 'nough said. 

Hope you enjoyed the "high five" for the day! Fill one out yourself and let me know in the comments below so I can check it out! 

Enjoy the rest of your week! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

San Diego. (The Rest.)

You've read about SeaWorld, the zoo, and the Safari park, but what about the rest of our time in San Diego?

Well, we went on a trolly tour beginning in Old Town and traveling all around San Diego and Coronado, and we ate. And we ate. And we ate. Did I mention that we ate?

Here are some highlights from the rest of our trip!

 This was our view from lunch on Coronado!! What the what??

 Here we are on the trolly tour. 

 It was SO WINDY in the back!!

Here's the fam at dinner in Little Italy! Yum!

 Cannoli is my FAVORITE!! (Mouth is watering.)

I must say, Point Loma Seafoods is probably my new favorite place to eat. AMAZING!!

As you can probably tell, we had a wonderful time in San Diego! Thanks again, Grandma and Grandpa! Now we're looking forward to Yosemite next year with the whole fam! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Foot Surgery-iversary

This time last year I was a bit drugged up, loopy, and not feeling much discomfort--other than the giant cast/wrap on my leg. I had my set up on the couch, and I was ready to watch the Olympics...lots of it!

I was not, however, prepared for what the days after surgery held...

...crazy discomfort and pain.

...uncertainty and anxiety.


...a strange gnawing that something was just not right.

I knew this was a tough surgery and recovery. I had been through it just two years prior with the other foot. But, I didn't remember it being quite as bad, quite as painful, quite as strange.

After the one week mark, I got a permanent cast in place of my giant cast/wrap thingamabob. Although I was grateful for the stability, I could hardly stomach the claustrophobic feeling of constantly having something on my foot.

But, I had no choice. The pain was starting to subside some (or was that the extra dosage of meds the doc prescribed?). I knew I'd just have to press through. However, after about a week of having the permanent cast, I again began to feel that something wasn't quite right. My foot felt....well, different. Tingling. Burning. Strange. I would almost describe it as if someone was binding my foot in duct tape. It was I tried to shake it off as best I could. I had to start the school year after all. I attributed it to being swollen in a tight cast, nothing more.

I started the year... on a scooter. I counted down the days until I could get that wretched thing off of my foot. I couldn't wait for my foot to feel normal again.

Little did I know...

...this is why my foot felt so strange. About two weeks after my surgery, I developed CRPS. You can read all about that discovery here. 

If you'd like to read about my subsequent CRPS adventure  drama (or are just super bored), you can start from that post and work your way through the year.

It was definitely not expected. I was supposed to have a rough recovery, but then I was supposed to be ok. I was supposed to be able to walk normally again, be active, do all the things I hadn't done since high school. I wasn't supposed to question whether or not I'd walk again. This wasn't the plan.... but it was God's plan.

Over this last year, God has proven Himself over and over. He has stretched me, challenged me, grown me, and changed me. I've developed a greater reliance on and a trust in Him. And, I hope and pray that somehow I've helped someone else grow a little closer to Him as well. If that's the case, then I'd say it was (is) all worth it.

So where am I now? A year later?

Well, I'm walking! Praise the Lord! I'm on my third pain management doctor (the dudes in Bakersfield were awful). Fortunately, I found a wonderful doctor down at USC that I completely trust. I'm still on Lyrica and that seems to help adequately calm my nervous system. I've taken a round of steroids and that shocked my system into better behavior for a time. I'm currently back in physical therapy to help with some stiffness and loss of motion, but I'm confident that Jess (my physical therapist) will whip me back into shape.

My feet aren't "better," but they are certainly better than they were (yes, I'm saying "they"--the other one developed some CRPS along the way)! I still experience CRPS symptoms, but I can (usually) do much more before my feet react, and my symptoms are not as severe as they once were. My USC doc thinks he'll be able to get me into remission (or back to "normal") within a couple of years. It may always be a struggle. I may have flare ups for the rest of my life. But, I may also go into remission and not relapse.

Only God knows. He carried me through this last year, and I trust that He'll continue to carry me through for many more to come (well, for as long as He sees fit, I suppose). :)

As far as I can tell, things are lookin' up!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

We Went on a Safari!!!!

Ok, it wasn't an African safari, but it was AWESOME! I can't wait to do the real thing in Africa someday (totally on the bucket list of life).

The whole fam (that was there) went to San Diego's Safari Park. We had the incredible opportunity to go on a Caravan Adventure Safari where we got to ride into the field with the animals and feed giraffes. It was seriously amazing!

Here are some highlights!

Here we are on our caravan safari!  

 Baby rhino! He's never been touched by human hands!

 God, you really created something special here. These giraffes are amazing!

 Grandma feeding Willow. 

 Brother and Willow. 

 Polly with Willow.


 Mama LOVED the giraffes! 

 So did I!

 And of course, I LOVED seeing the elephants! See the babies?!?

 They were adorable in the water!

So stinkin' cute!

The safari park was definitely a huge highlight of the vacation. It's quite spread out and there's a ton of walking, but it was totally worth it!!!! 

Stay tuned for some miscellaneous San Diego adventures!