Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Continuing to End 2009

As 2009 ends, I am still pondering the things that I want to change and work on in 2010. Here are a few that have come to my mind over the past few days....

-- Career Development--

I want to focus on building my therapy practice this year not to a point where it is the most important thing to me but to build it in a way that is professional, healthy, and profitable. I want to make sure I am not only taking clients for full fee but those at reduced fees and pro bono because I am called to this career and want to help those who need help. I want to keep up effectively with my supervision, paperwork, and learning so that I can be the best therapist possible to my clients.

--Home--

I want to be better about keeping the house clean, organizing the budget better, doing more to not waste in our household, make better decisions for the environment, stop wasting money, and being a good steward of what we have.

--Family--

I want to be able to visit my family at least 3 times this year. I also want to keep in better touch with extended family and build those relationships. I want to treat my family as I would want to be treated and forgive past offenses in the way God wants me to.

--Friends--

I want to do a better job this year of having time with the people I care deeply about. I want to make more of an effort to remember important events such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc...and do thoughtful gestures for those events. I want to write more hand written letters and do a better job of connecting with my friends.

--Giving back--

I want to make an effort this year to volunteer my time once per month to a charitable cause or something I believe in. In the past I have done soup kitchens, toy drives, etc...but this year I want to take that to a new level. I want to give back from the abundance that God has given me every single month in some way. I want to be creative in that giving and keep my eyes open to what God would want me to do with that time, money, and energy.

--Hobbies--

I want to further develop my hobbies and interests this year. I want to take the time to learn the guitar (since i have started), scrapbooking, other craft projects, knitting, learning to cook new things, exercise, sports, reading, movies, etc... I want to allow my life to be enjoyable and not just a series of obligations. I want to truly enjoy every day of my life by taking in all of the beauty and wonderful things that God has blessed me to be able to do and enjoy.

That's it for today....ongoing in the new year.

--E--

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ending 2009...

I just did an update on our "Lewis Family Blog" so I thought it was time to revisit my blog and write again. This is something I have kept since 2004 and lately I haven't given it much attention. Losing little Jamie really affected me and made me sort of disconnect from the outside world for a bit. Not in the literal sense as I still hang out with friends, work, and go out in the public but my blog has always been really personal and honest and that has seemed very difficult.

Today's post is going to address some changes that I want to make in my 30th year here on Earth. In August of 2010 I will turn 30 years old. Although I have no problem with that and view aging as a change to get more mature, wise, and even happier...I also view it as a milestone that deserves some serious attention as well.

I am not really looking at these things as "resolutions" although I am making them at the end of a calendar year and they are things to better me as a person or things I would like to give more of myself to. In saying that, I have always made resolutions and I usually shoot for the stars and make 50 to 100 a year. I usually meet about 25% of my resolutions and have always felt good about that. I think that they are things to give you focus and direction and they should last past february.

Here is the beginning of my "Focus list" and the reasons that I want to consider these. It will be a place to be accountable through the year to and may give some motivation to others who stumble upon this post.


--Spiritual Life: Maintain my relationship with God above all other relationships.

This is such an important one to me now that I am an adult. I have been a Christian for approximately 15 years now and I have always taken God very seriously however I have fumbled around at different times with different issues just as everyone who walks with Christ does. The goal this year isn't to read through the bible or pray 30 minutes a day but to be intimate with my God entirely and to stay consistent to my walk with him. Always paying attention to how I love others, give to others, or behave in situations that are not easy. Although bible reading, prayer, church attendance, service, etc... are hugely important disciplines...there is a greater discipline of love that I hope to work on this year in depth. While working on that love I will of course be focused on the word of God, prayer,etc... because only by pursuing WHO God is..can I be like HIM!

Marriage Relationship: Making my relationship with Anthony my FIRST ministry and FIRST job!

For so many years I cried and whined and begged God to bring my husband to me. Some of those years I was engaged to someone that was not good for me at all and I prayed that God would bring me someone who was compassionate, loving, attentive, sweet, strong, protective, good looking, hard working, naturely selfless, etc... and God delivered on every single prayer of my heart. He gave me the most wonderful husband that could ever be chosen for me. He was tailor made for me and I for him. God is so amazing for doing that and sometimes I take that gift for granted. This year I want to learn to talk sweeter to Anthony, treat Anthony with respect every single moment I talk with him, lift him up and help him in every way I know how, and to love him with such ferocity that he is awed by my level of love. I love to see my husband smile and I love the closeness that we share and every day that i am alive I want to bring that smile and closeness to a higher level...or die trying!

Personal Health: Being the best me possible physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, & socially

I have never been good at this. Over the years I have noticed that the women in my family DO NOT take care of themselves. Whether it be that they give and give and give and never take any time for themselves or whether it be that they carry around bitterness and anxiety instead of choosing forgiveness and peace...or whether they are simply overworked and underappreciated, they just don't care for themselves. I have been really led this year to change that about my family. I don't want my daughter to ever think it's ok to not get normal doctor check ups, eat correctly, or even to take a break in the day to catch her breath and enjoy life. My job this year is to change that about myself and therefore change the whole system of my family. This will occur by getting all appropriate check ups, focusing on health and weight loss, getting diabetes completely under control, listening to the physicians about the proper time to have children, Taking time each day to unravel and care for myself if only for 30 minutes a day, talking things out with friends and colleagues, getting appropriate supervision with clients and not "taking things home" and allowing intimacy to continue to develop in friendships and my marriage to be able to grow from these relationships even as I give.

This post is going to be an ongoing post until New Years day as I build on the things I want to work on. These were the ones weighing heavy on my mind today. 2010 is going to be the best year ever!!! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Totally in love.


Anthony and I met over three years ago in June of 2006 and I pretty much knew immediately that he was my husband. We dated for over 2 years before getting engaged and now have been married over a year. It has been a tough year for both of us with job issus, the loss of a child, and a few personal struggles on both of our ends. I also finished graduate school from August-May of our marriage so everything was always chaotic but nonetheless happy. Lately, we have been in one of the hardest times of our lives with losing the baby a little over 2 months ago and tons of financial concerns. I can honestly say that in three years, THIS is the most in love with my husband I have ever been.

Not only has he fully supported us for our entire marriage but also he has done it with a good attitude and a smile on his face. He has done over and above for us like giving me a great birthday and anniversary when the money was extra tight. He has loved me, put up with me, taken care of me, and been a great father to the little one that we had for only 11 weeks! :) I seriously am so lucky to have such a great husband and I can't get enough of him! It's crazy to actually fall in love with someone more every day...like we said in our vows! :)

Sigh...Just thought I would share that the 50% divorce rate is not present in this house..we work hard through hard times and love each other more through the toughness! Thank you Jesus for my Anthony!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Growing pains

Lately I have been learning so much and yet have been in more pain that I ever remember being in. We honestly have gotten through the miscarriage pretty well with God's grace, mercy, and healing. We have accepted what is and trust God with the timing of our child and/or children coming into the world. There is still pain but the pain is certainly manageable. Anthony's job also has been something that we have been able to release and trust God with. He was getting all of these notices that his productivity had to be higher or he would be put on disciplinary action and then out of nowwhere he started getting email after email from customers to manager and corporate people telling them how great Anthony's service was. We are so grateful to these people for their time and effort to write those emails when they were not asked to do so.

Just this week it seems like we are getting those straws happening that are rumored to have broken the camel's back. On Wednesday morning, Anthony went out in the morning to leave for work and my car would not start. Anthony's car has been on the fritz for months and we haven't had the money to fix it yet, so we have been relying entirely on my car that, although really well maintained, is 9 years old and has over 160,000 miles. I was not surprised that it needed something done because my car has been amazing to me over the 9 years I have owned it. Every mile except for 30 are miles I put on that vehicle and I have given a lot of energy to it to keep it running well. Lately we have been putting so many miles on it with Anthony's job that I figured normal wear and tear would happen. I started the day with a decent attitude about it and started problem solving. I quickly asked Anthony if a friend from work could pick him up and bring him home if we agreed to pay for 1/2 of his gas for the week. I kept a smile on my face and continued to say how blessed we truly are no matter what goes wrong.

Then, Anthony had a feeling he should check our bank account as we had a bill that needed to be paid. He looked and found that our account was in the red and quickly saw the culprit. We had been charged from the bank that holds his car loan twice. We quickly called them to disput the charge and they said "Nothing can be done" and blamed Anthony for authorizing the payment. They said we should call the bank and contest the charges which would take 30 days to correct. We were stuck! Suddenly the straw just broke that camel's spine....

I began to cry and almost scream how sick of all of this struggle I truly am. I am not by any means ungrateful for anything. I thank God daily for all that he does for us. That I have a roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in, clothes to wear, food to eat, friends and family who love me etc.... I am grateful that my husband works so hard to keep us taken care of. I am grateful to have friends who are willing to help us with transportation but man...I am worn out!

I feel like such a baby by feeling this way but I feel beat up. I know that there are seasons in life and we are experiencing the dead of winter. I pray that spring is on the horizon because we are so tired. Please keep us in your prayers through this difficulties. Surely there is light at the end of the this tunnel that is not just the headlights of a locomotive! :)

I hope that you are all well. We miss everyone we haven't talked to and I missed my blog lately.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I've been healed!

I don't mean this in some Benny Hinn TBN throw a jacket on me and knock me down kind of healed. I mean deep in the inner recesses of my heart kind of healed. Today is a "special" anniversary and you know what is awesome...I did not remember. Today was 8 years since my wedding was cancelled to my ex. He cancelled it the day before the wedding and basically broke my heart. Today was awesome because I had to be reminded what day it was and if you knew who reminded me you would be even more amazed. When I realized what day it was (by being reminded) I sighed and said to myself "I am over it, Finally!"

Every year before this I did not have to be reminded because I would wake up in a terrible horrible no good very bad mood and would be depressed the whole day that I wasn't married, wasn't good enough, was treated so unfairly, he didn't pay me back for the wedding, blah blah blah and this year...that all sounds so stupid. This year I feel grateful. I am grateful to be married to the most wonderful man on the planet. I am grateful to not be married to someone who was such a coward and lied to me. I am grateful to be the mother of a child for only a few weeks but it was Anthony's child. Thank you Jesus for saving me from divorce for one more year and for healing my broken heart.

Thank you to my ex who gave me that gift as well.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ajustment of the attitude

Last night I had what some might call a "change of heart." Lately I have been hard to live with. I have been crying, angry, bitter, resentful, critical, and downright negative. To be honest, I felt like I deserved to be. I realize now that I owe my husband more than that. We were both going through so much these last couple of weeks. Not only did we have the miscarriage but we saw a sudden scare regarding our finances. Anthony's job has been going poorly for some time and also the hours have been getting thinner on his paychecks. We have had to be late for bills we had never paid late, we had to not pay others while we waited for money to come, and we are having to really cut back on everything in our house. It has been an overwhelming and extremly stressful time in our house but I do not think we helped it any.

We have started to attack each other and be at each other's throats daily instead of being the one place where we are safe. It helped to read emails (comments) from people who love me telling me that it is important to stay together on this. Thank you Terra for your love and encouraging words during this time. They have been priceless. I really took these words to heart and totally changed my atttitude last night. I talked with Anthony before bed and told him how sorry I was that I had not treated him the way I had vowed to a year ago at our wedding. I apologized for the loss of HIS child and how much that must have broken his heart. I vowed again to treat him with respect and be his safe place to fall. I promised him that even if his job does not stay, I will be behind him. I promised him that not only would I encourage him, believe in him, and love him but I would pray for him every hour on the hour while he was at work because it is my job to support him emotionally, lovingly, and spiritually. We made a pact with each other and restarted our book last night "Love Dare" which is loosely based on the movie "Fireproof" that came out last year.

We made a dare to each other today to not say anything negative to each other for the whole day. It won't be hard because I believe that God has truly changed my heart. I have prayed for the healing of my heart today as well and I believe that the healing is coming and our little one will be here before we know it and will be healthy. God has his hands all over our situation and again, thank you to those of you who have been so supportive and loving to me over the weeks of pure pain. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The journey

Things have been really difficult lately for me and I am not sure how to navigate through them. Each day seems like a new challenge and because it is so piled up on top of each other they don't seem to be things that I can handle at the moment. I am normally a very "problem solving" person but lately I feel like each problem that surfaces takes me out for at least a couple of hours in a meltdown. I am very much ready to try to get my life back but my heart just isn't ready.

I have honestly been through so much in my 28 years that you would think that I have some sort of advantage to others that go through pain but it turns out that grief is not a respector of persons. I am grieving so much. I am grieving the loss of our child and quite honestly a dream. I am grieving this stupid disease called diabetes and the ways that it changes my life. I am grieving our finances and the difficult place we are sitting right now. I am grieving with my homesickness. I miss my family so much and really want to see them. I am grieving that I will have a birthday and our one year anniversary in just a few weeks and we don't have a dime to celebrate.

I am just grieving. That is all I know how to do right now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My first love

Tonight as I sat awake, I decided to seek out some refuge in my first love, Jesus. I started to pray in my heart, search the scriptures, and just ask God what he wants from me. I have known for a long time that his first direction to me is seek first the kingdom. I will say that I haven't always done that. Sometimes I have sought first my relationship, sometimes my education, career, babies, money, health, and the list goes on. God is gently correcting me on this matter this morning as I lay awake trying to find some kind of solace in all that I am going through. Isn't that just like God to show us an area of growth needed when all we want is some comfort and refreshing.

I do not in any way view what happened this weekend as a punishment from God or even as a wake up call. I view it as a very unfortunate event that probably stemmed from a medical problem. I know that God loves Anthony and I very dearly and probably wept with me last night as I begged him to let the pain stop and tonight as I beg him to make my heart stop hurting. God is a compassionate and loving God and I enjoy every time he gently corrects me on where I am in life. I was looking through scripture and came across a scripture that I have heard more than a hundred times I am sure and yet today, I realized how much I have lost direction on this one.

John 13:34-35: A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

This verse really convicted my spirit tonight. This has no relevance to what is currently going on in my life but my lack of love lately has been pretty disturbing. This goes for on the freeway when someone cuts me off, at the grocery store when the cashier doesn't give me what I believe to be great customer service and when someone hurts me intentionally or unintentionally. Lately I have been short on patience and love. I think that right now my spirit is so pliable and willing that God is using this time to really speak to the parts of me that need to hear something. I am going to be open today to allow God to show me areas where I can love better. I need to get back to my first love, Jesus Christ!

Grief keeps you awake

Over the years of losses in my life, nothing quite seems as traumatizing as last night. I know that it's crazy to give your blog parts of you that you don't give to people but then again, I know you are reading so maybe this is my way of reaching out. Last night I lost my baby. That was one of the hardest sentences I have ever blogged in keeping this blasted blog for over 5 years. Anthony and I have been trying to have a baby for some time now and were just thrilled when the pregnancy test finally revealed we were pregnant. It seems like a million years ago now when I saw the test and felt joy. I have been through so much upheaval these last 5-6 weeks that I don't remember the joy, only the fear and pain.

As this past weekend was bad enough as I started cramping and bleeding, thought that I had miscarried, attended my appointment to have new hope and then went through the most physically painful and emotionally traumatizing experience of my life last night as my body felt like it was attacking me. I am going to spare you most of the gory details as I know that some of you have had miscarriages and I don't want to retraumatize those parts of you. If you have been through this just know that my heart goes out to you. I know that no two people have the same pregnancy and therefore probably don't have the same miscarriage but mine was anything but uneventful. I was up for 12 hours straight bleeding more than I have ever bled in my life, feeling pain I didn't deem possible, and begging my husband to tell God to stop it! It was so hard on both of us.

Today we both spent the day fading in and out of naps on the couch and eventually said goodnight to each other so Anthony could get some sleep for work and he put his arms around me and the tears would not stop. I was breathing huge gasps for air as the pain started to surface. He is so sweet and just reassured me everything was going to be ok and that he loved me so much. I finally stopped crying and went through about a dozen kleenex before finally talking and saying "I just need to let this hurt for a while I think" to which my husband replied "me too" and I realized this was something that we had a choice about. We could let this tear us apart or draw us closer and we chose the latter. We need each other through this disappointment and hurt and it's such a beautiful time to use our pain to bond us together instead of ripping us apart with isolation.

I can't get to sleep. It could be because I am still in a lot of pain and sitting with a heating pad firmly attached to my side or it could be that I lost my child. My first and only child so far and I loved that baby more than anything I could begin to explain to you. I know that might sound silly to those who have never had a baby or perhaps have had children but never lost one....but you love with everything in you and regardless of what happened last night I was that baby's mama and I am sad I will never see his/her face or hear the word mama from it's sweet voice. My heart is broken tonight. Will I try again? ...I am sure I will after getting through this and taking God's direction on when the timing is right for Anthony and myself. Will I love another child? Sure I will. Will I be ok? Yes, I know I will as God is a healer of all things broken.

Am I a little less of myself because of this event. You better believe it. I appreciate you reading and letting me just get it out for a second. I am guessing this isn't the last of a post of this nature. Sleep might be something I don't understand for a while. Of all the losses of all 28 years, this one was....is....the biggest.

Thanks for all of the prayers and support friends. I won't forget it and I hope you allow me to be there for you through trials of many kinds.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I feel like an alien


So last night Anthony and I were heading out to the post office to drop a few packages off and I said in the car the weirdest statement I have probably ever said to him. I breathed a big sigh and said "Anthony, I feel like an alien!" He paused for about 2 full minutes with silence and then finally said "I guess I should ask what that means." I thought it was a pretty funny moment but when I started to explain the statment to him, I started to well up with tears. Lately I have felt like I live in an alternate reality. Since the day I found out we were pregnant I have been in a whirlwind. The day was weird in and of itself because we had been trying for 6 months and I figured I just would not be able to get pregnant with my diabetic issues. I fully intended to take the test and then throw it away in the waste basket at the Carl's Jr. I tested at as it would most certainly say "not pregnant." Yes, I know...classy joint to find out you are pregnant in!

Well then I set up an appointment with my general physician and the OBGYN and before I knew it I was hospitilized and learning that I was going to be taking 6 shots a day and basically running my whole life around eating and poking myself. We then got home and started to adjust to all of the changes that were happening while we were housesitting for a friend. When we finally got back to our apartment and started living life as normal, I started to feel like an alien. I feel like I have been abducted and the person who lives in this apartment with Anthony is the alien that has replaced me.

I no longer have the drive to think about making money, being a therapist, or even cleaning the house most days. I have a one tracked mind...this one track is "did I do something that could harm our child" 24/7! While in the hospital they really built up a thought of me losing the baby and totally made me believe that I had already done the unthinkable. My lack of knowledge had put my baby in peril and I would probably have to grieve a loss in no time. The last couple of weeks I have been waiting for the moment when I would have to say goodbye and grieve one more time in my life. (cue the tears)

I have tried to have an upbeat attitude and realize that so far I have no symptoms of losing this baby. I have tried to reassure myself that it was just way earlier than we thought and that I probably caught the pregnancy fast enough that I was able to get the sugars down and controlled so the baby could develop and grow. I try to remind myself that God put this child here and that means something. Then I remember losing my nephew in 2007 and that he put that baby here too. I remember that I have had tragedy after tragedy that I did not expect and that this one would just be another way that I had lost. I remember that people tell me that my losses are for a purpose...they are supposed to make me into a better therapist who understands the struggles that my clients are going through. There is this constant fear that everything in my life has to be a learning experience.

I realize that God loves me so much that he sent his son to die for me. I realize that Jesus' life was full of heartache,grief, and pain. I realize that I really don't have any better coming then what he went through and what many others go through every day. I realize that in my life I have never had anything handed to me and have never had anything easy as long as I can remember. These are the facts that paralyze me with fear. Am I being negative and doom and gloom or am I simply accepting the facts of my life. I have lived on this planet for almost 29 years and I simply cannot name a year where there wasn't trauma and grief. This is not an attempt to throw a pity party because to be honest, my life is still so much better than a lot of folks out there. I still have an education, talents, and abilities. I still have quite possibly the best husband that I could ever imagine having. I still have the most wonderful beautiful sisters that I could have. I still have a gorgeous nephew that is alive and a beautiful neice on the way. I still had one of the most precious nephews ever for 13 days. I still have a mama who loves me and sacrificed a lot for me to be successful. I still have a dad who was able to really claim his mistakes and begin developing a relationship with me after 21 years of no relationship.

I still had amazing grandparents who did well financially so that we would eat and have a place to live when my mom could not possibly support us financially. I still have friends galore who are praying over my child and reminding me daily that Anthony and I will be amazing parents. I still have the luxuries of a full belly, a roof over my head, and amenities all over the place thanks to AT&T and the job Anthony has. I still have medical benefits that take care of me diabetically and I still have the most amazing healthcare team that money can buy. I have no pity or sorrow for myself but the reality is...I still believe that bad things happen to me and I learn and grow from them immensely so I do not curse GOd for them.

In the hospital me and Jesus had one of the hardest discussions I have ever had with him before. I sat on my hospital rocking chair in my very sexy gown and thanked him for saving me over and over again when I did not get the diabetic memo. I thanked him for even giving me one minute to see that "pregnant" sign on the urine stick of a $7.00 test I picked up fully knowing I wasn't pregnant and then I said these words.

Jesus, no matter what happens to this baby or with this baby. I will love you. I will continue serving you and I will accept it as your will. If I carry full term and we get to raise this child. I will raise this child for you. If I get only a few weeks to be pregnant before it's over. I will praise you even then. If I get to be pregant a long time and then lose it, you are still my Lord. If I get to have the baby and then you choose to take it away once I already love and know, I will still serve you even then in my devestation but Lord give me strength to love and serve you no matter what and to accept your will in my life yet again.

I really wish I could see another outcome and believe that for once my life will be different. Anthony, after all is a way my life is different. I wish I could be myself for a mintue and be positive even when the chips can fall wherever they want. I have this default setting that comes in me that says "expect the worst and prepare for that and when anything good happens be estatically surprised!" Why do i operate on such saddness and expectation of pure pain? Why can't I believe that there will be something wonderful in my life that doesn't come with tears, heartache, and disaster before it. Why do I have to qualify for the "hard knock lesson" before getting the smile and the elation that comes with joy. I am in pain today and realizing that life has been difficult and it has proved to create in me almost an inevitable expectation of devestation. Please Jesus let have more hope and less preparation. I want to be filled with joy and anticipation and all I am is an alien form of myself going through the motions for fear I might love this child even more than I already do and be a shell of a person after the verdict comes down.

I would appreciate prayers for my mind today and all that it is going through. I am already a mama and that means I am already in love and hoping that I get one more minute with my little one and get to look at his/her face and decide if he or she looks like me or Anthony in the face. I know it sounds corny but I look forward to each and ever night that I don't get sleep. I look forward to every diaper that I gag at when changing. I crave those moments of realizing that I haven't ate a warm meal in years because that is the joy of being a mother and I sincerely hope for it. I fear blood every time I go to the bathroom and am paralyzed with worry when I feel any pain in my body. I practically go into hyperventihilation when the ultra sound screen comes on and just close my eyes to start to pray that it's better and more developed than last time. They call this a high risk pregnancy but I would call it a white knuckle, edge of your seat, painfully realistic, never feel happiness for one minute with follow up with anxiety pregnancy. Jesus Help me! Help me praise you and accept everything that is coming even when it's difficult, painful and scary. Remind me of your faithfulness to me in the past and that even when I went through pain, you were always there with beauty to follow the ashes. You have kept your promise with a rainbow after every torrential downpour. You are good God and I need to reminded each and every doctor visit heck every bathroom visit.

Please pray for me and with me over this post. This is what my heart is going through. Thanks for loving us and little lewis friends. We appreciate you!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Check this out

This is a great giveaway if you are interested in some school supplies for your kids or even yourself...

Daily Essentials Giveaway!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

An awesome blog to check out!

Go here and check out a great blog and great giveaways for mama's!

Baby Lewis


Hey everyone. It is probably going to be common knowledge by the time I post this news on my blog but I am pregnant with my first baby. Anthony and I are going to be parents! We are so excited and can't wait for all of the new steps that life has to offer. I found out on Tuesday morning and went to see the doctor yesterday to confirm. She approximated that I am about 9 weeks pregnant right now. My first OBGYN appointment is on Tuesday June 23rd and that is when the ball will start rolling. I am very excited and would very much appreciate your prayers through the pregnancy. We have started a pregnancy/baby Lewis blog so please become a follower of it and keep up on all of the changes and news of Baby Lewis! :) It is located at...

Baby Lewis En Route!


Love Ya'll!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Failure


Tonight I was up way too late and reading on Psychology Today and found an article about failure. I decided to read it since that word alone sparks fear in me. The article was about the strategies that we can use as people to not "die" in a sense when we fail at something. I have always been really sensitive to failure. This stems a multitude of areas like a dinner that doesn't taste so good, a grade that was lower than I would have liked, a friendship having a moment of discord, a disagreement with my husband, and more personal things like not losing weight fast enough or putting weight back on.

As I read the article, it mentioned that failure really serves a valid purpose in our lives. It teaches us so much. I would completely agree with this although the pain that comes with failure to me always seems to over shadow the idea of growth for the moment. I can think of a huge failure in my life right off the top of my head that truly taught me so much. I was in a relationship a few years before meeting Anthony for 6 years. It was such a chaotic relationship that I really don't know if it was mostly good or mostly bad. There were certainly good times and my ex fiace was actually a very good man.

In saying that, we both made a ton of mistakes and inevitably we failed at keeping the relationship strong and happy. In my heart for years after the breakup (I was the one who left) I felt like a big failure. I felt I had failed at being a good girlfriend, failed at loving another person, failed at being loved, and failed him mostly. It was incredibly painful and it took me 2 years to get to a place where I could legitimately realize that I wasn't doomed to failure within a relationship. Even in the first year or so of dating Anthony, I still felt like any minute I would blow it.

Another area that really crossed my mind when I started thinking about failure was my weight loss journey. I lost a total of 130+ pounds a few years ago. I was really getting to a place where health was of optimum importance. I would go to the beach every day and run and then go to 24 hour fitness (my awesome gym) and work out again. I have ALWAYS loved to eat so that is just something that I have to accept that I have to work out more. I didn't really mind because I had SUCCEEDED in developing a habit of exericse. Well, then I met my beautiful now husband and started attending Graduate School and the gym and beach were a thing of the past and over 3 years I put back on 70 of those pounds. When I graduated last month, I got on the scale and felt like a big FAT failure.

I do not give myself a lot of heat about weight. I never have. I have always felt like I had a lot to offer the world and that my confidence and attractiveness had nothing to do with the number on the scale or the tag on my jeans but I have also always valued sports and being healthy and I got to a point in Grad School where I was neither atheletic or healthy anymore. I also have always known that given my family background I would be a woman who is shaped like..well a woman. I would have curves in the back and front and would most likely have a little more meat on the bones. That has never bothered me and more than excites my husband. There is also a part of me that knows that there is an issue when your health is bad due to it and there has to be a healthy weight for me at 5'1."

In saying that, I wanted to use some of the advice of the article I read tonight in psychology today to try to work on my aspect of failure and kind of bounce back from these two big failures. The breakup was over 5 years ago and I have learned a lot since then about being a loving person, loving another person, and obviously have married the man of my dreams so I am getting there on that topic. There is the other one to think about though. I am constantly faced with daily failure in this area when I am lazy and don't head to the gym even though I have paid for a 3 year membership.

I need to work on my image of failure. This failure is keeping me in a failing position. Any ideas how to get myself out of the failure funk?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Learning my passions and talents


I love that parable in the bible about the man who gave his servants a certain amount of talents and they were each given a choice of how to use those talents (which was an amount of money in the bible). The basic premise of the story if you haven't read it, is that there were three servants and the master gave one servant 5 talents, one servant 2 talents and the last servant he gave 1 talent. The first two servants did the same thing with their talents, they put them to work (invested) and doubled their money. The third guy buried his and did not do anything with it.

The gist of the story is that the servants who invested their talents and came up with more were told by the master to join in their master's bounty and that since they were trusted with little, they would be trusted with much. The third servant was scolded because he did not even put the talent into the bank to gain interest. Just wasn't a smart decision on his part. I was thinking about this parable and how God is molding me these days.

I feel blessed to have a lot of passion in me and quite a few talents. I am not especially good at most things but I am decently good at a lot of things. I can organize well, I deal well with people and their problems (hence the whole therapist thing), I am a great friend after many years of learning how, I can cook very well, I budget my household down to the penny, I love people with everything I have, and there are many others that I am proud of.

I have seen lately that God has really called me to be trusted with little. I have learned how to really be grateful for every dollar he gives our house. I have learned to use coupons and budget our food and even get a lot of items for free. I have learned to cook well with fresh products so as not to waste money on fast food or processed foods, I have learned to appreciate the love and romance of a beautiful marriage instead of expensive gifts and distracting dates. I have learned the comfort of my own home and entertaining myself. I have learned to do my hobbies with just as much passion as I used to shop for purses and shoes. I have learned to be content where I am and invest my talents in such a way that will bring glory to my master so I can share in his bounty. I am feeling so blessed these days and also feel that God is trusting me now with little and I am claiming his promises to trust me with much!

What are your talents?

Monday, June 08, 2009

My new passion


So I have almost been out of school for a whole month. In that month, I have been able to enjoy some of the joys of being a wife that I did not get to enjoy so much while in school. Some of the joys I made time for, if you know what I mean! (wink wink) Yes, I know, I am inappropriate. Anyway, I am now beginning to enjoy more of the domestic things that I really love. I know that most people don't view me as very domestic and that's fine, you aren't my husband and his opinion is really the only one that counts in that domain, no offense. As much as I have tried to fight my femininity in the past, Anthony has always made me able to embrace it. I super love to be the nurturer and really enjoy cooking for my husband. I have really started to take so much interest in the Food Network and started to try new recipes and learn how to cook different kinds of food.

I grew up in a house with a mama who could seriously cook but we basically had the same 20 ish recipes every month. I was determined to be different than that in my house and it certainly is easy to get into a dinner rut. I have been really focusing lately on my cooking and it honestly comes really easy to me. I feel it is very therapeutic for me to create something that is delicious. Also, this is an issue of health and I enjoy not eating out but really enjoying our food and having more quality ingredients.

Another thing I am really enjoying is managing the money and trying to find deals for our weekly groceries and things. I am very good at saving money and being thrifty and often get a lot of things at our house for free or very cheap due to my intense use of coupons. I am finding a lot of pride in these things in my home. Anthony is always very proud to see how far I can make our grocery money and household supply money go. I am learning this is an amazing talent to have and it's really helping with where Anthony and I are right now in our finances.

So, tonight I made an awesome dinner of creamy cheddar soup (homemade), an iceberg wedge salad with tomato, bacon, green onion, blue cheese crumbles, and blue cheese dressing, and nice crusty french bread. It was delicious. Also, today I did my grocery shopping and ended up getting many things free or very cheap and am able to make gourmet dinners for 2! :) I am feeling pretty good about this wife stuff. I love it!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Easily annoyed or justified?


Today I was really made aware of my annoyances in the world. I am not sure if I am super sensitive today or more analytical about those annoyances. I am not in a bad mood by any means but something was really making me aware of the things that really bug me. I am sure there are way more than these but I thought throw them out there and see if any of you relate so here they are....

I am annoyed by people who break driving rules. Ok, I am annoyed by people who break rules period. I am one of the few people that I know who believes in keeping order and following rules. I have always felt that most rules are put in action to provide protection and order. Maybe that sounds "goody two shoes" but I don't care, it's who I am. I have a unfaltering desire to correct people when I see them breaking rules but I never do. A couple of examples are people who still hold their phone to their ear and drive, who cross a double yellow line to get in somewhere just 5 seconds earlier than they would have if they went up to an entrance, and when people park in a no-parking zone in my apartment complex causing me to not be able to get out of my space or get into my space.

I could talk about rules being disobeyed all day long. Anthony calls me "the ethics police" because I also do not like when people are unethical. I hate to see someone sneak into a movie, not return extra change they have received from the cashier, or steal cable, utilties, or internet use from their neighbors. I think this comes from an annoyance of paying my bills and struggling to do so while others disregard that. I should note here that I have friends who do some or all of these things and it doesn't change my love for them but for me, it's a no go and I do not participate.

I also noticed today that I really don't like when you are in a small room with someone and they are smoking and they do not put it out or leave the room out of respect. I at least feel that they should check with you if you are ok with the smoking since it's your lungs that are being damaged. This comes from me doing my laundry the other day in our apartment complex facility. There is one at the end of each hall so the room is only big enough for 2 washers and 2 dryers and a lady came in smoking a cigarette and folded her clothes while smoking which means not only did I have to breathe in her nonsense but my clothes that were just washed also had to. Annoying!!!

Oh man, you thought I was done...nope. Also, I hate when people go through the drive through and ask a billion questions that are clearly stated on the menu. Example, today when I was going for some breakfast this woman in front of me had to be told the flavors of syrup available for her coffee no less than three times even when they were boldly displayed on the lit up screen. I wanted to get out of my car and slap her in the face. Here's the deal lady, if you don't know the menu and you can't read it in like 2 minutes, GO IN THE STORE!

Then it gets better, I don't like when companies have to put down another company to make themselves feel better about their sub par performance. Example, today I heard a commercial from a reputable cable company whom shall not be named (cough Time Warner) that had to put down another reputable cable company that not only provides superior service but also better workers and more options and luxuries. I also will not mention that company's name (cough AT&T) My husband works there and for some reason when I hear these catty commercials I tend to feel they are putting him down and I get mad. Yes, it's silly I agree.

Oh and here's another one, so I have a neighbor who has a dog. I do not have a dog for about a million reasons. Namely because I don't like dog pee and poop. I don't want to have my furniture and/or carpet soiled by a dog. I have a dirt square that California people call a yard and until I have something that Indiana people would consider a yard, I will not have a dog. The neighbor's said dog, came into my house tonight uninvited when they opened their door without the little beast on a leash and he peed on my carpet. Yes, directly on my carpet. Which may I add, I just stepped in.

Today I feel Charlie Brown...I just want to yell GOOD GRIEF! I have decided that half the population is stupid and the other half are just plain inconsiderate. Where does this leave me you ask? I am hoping neither but we shall see.

I feel like these gripe fests are kinda fun. Give me a few of yours if you are willing!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Support in numbers


Things have been pretty hectic lately with graduating, trying to find employment, and holding together the house while finances are an issue. In that quest to hold everything together I have really noticed that when you ask for help and support, you truly get it. I really appreciated the other day when I blogged about my husband's moods and how they affect me when everyone let me know where they were with it. Some wrote about how they understood because their husband's were going through similar moods and I really appreciated when people could help me understand where Anthony is right now.

Here is a little more into the issue. Anthony has been working for AT&T for about 2 and 1/2 years. He loves his job in that he enjoys making his customers happy and seems to get fulfillout out of the actual work. The politics of work are not so exciting for him. He came into the company when U-verse (their new television service) was not even on the market yet. He was on a temporary contract since they did not know if the sevice would work out. He did not care as it was the first job he had ever had that really fulfilled him while also paying well. We all look for that combination.

Just about 6 months ago things started to get very difficult. Their contract ended and they were working for a permanent contract and every 5 minutes it seems they threaten to take away benefits, change the job description to require more of the workers yet not pay them any more for their work, and then the guys talk about striking. In this economy that sounds like a nightmare to us. Not to mention I just graduated and it takes a little more time to start to be a therapist than people would think. We require a number from the Board of Behavioral Sciences to even be able to make money at it and that all requires a lot of filing of paperwork...Back to Anthony.

So as the company beared down and started requiring all of these nonsensical things from the workers it started to make Anthony have a lot of anxiety. He does great work there and even has gotten several calls from customers telling managment how wonderful he was to them. I am very proud of Anthony for always doing quality work. Sadly, the company seems to devalue the quality work and overvalue the quickness of work. If you want to do your job well, you can't be in and out of a customer's house. Every single house is wired differently and to make sure they have the best television service possible, you have to do a quality job. Every month the productivity numbers get harder and harder to meet without doing a crappy job.

This is not what we believe that God wants from us as a people. We are both very set on doing the best job we can do and honoring God with our work. Anthony feels like he is scolded on a daily basis for doing quality work and leading with his personality. I am saddened that he has to go through this every single day. It certainly comes home with him too as I am the one person who affirms him for doing a good job and pleasing his customers. My heart is in that as I am therapist and my job is entirely about people.

All of that to say, it's been hard for me to watch him be in agony some days for doing what he feels God wants him to do and not receive any affirmation about it at work. I really appreciate the input everyone gave me as it certainly made me feel more normal as a wife and helped me look over the issue well and respond to Anthony very well. I love that guy and really want him to have fulfillment in all he does. I forget sometimes that I can't save him from what the world really is. He still really likes his job and enjoys the people he works with so I am praying that soon...that will pay off for him.

Anyway, thanks for reading the new installment on this issue...I will try to keep everyone posted on what I learn through this.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Marriage and moods


Lately I have been learning a very hard lesson and I am not sure what exactly to do with it. Today I went to therapy and discussed it for 50 minutes and it still did not seem clear. This is something that I guess I probably knew about marriage but lately has seemed to be more and more real to me. Every time either Anthony and I have a bad day, it ruins the other person's day. Lately life has been pretty difficult with financial concerns, job concerns, family frustrations, and the like and it really shows in the way our home runs. I notice that the moods are really contagious and it is incredibly hard to stay in a good mood if your husband or wife is in a bad mood. When something bothers Anthony it really bothers me too.

This has started to cause some serious problems for me. Not in how much I love Anthony or even how happy I am in the marriage but I have noticed it makes me lose sleep. I have had a hard time lately getting to sleep and staying asleep and I think that I am really worried about Anthony's happiness in life. We both have such a fantastic time together when it's his day off but as soon as he is back to work, I notice his level of happiness is drastically different and I feel so sad and concerned.

It's so weird for me to feel this way because I deal with people's problems for a living and yet, it is so different when it's the man you love. I am used to listening to people for 50 minutes and then walking away and being able to let go of their stuff and get back to engaging in my own life. Anthony is my own life and his happiness is paramount to mine. Anyone that has been married for a while...check in on this and let me know if this is something you deal with and how do you balance your own contentment in life and your mate's lack of contentment or vice versa. It's a really difficult balance when it is not the marriage that is having difficulties. I want Anthony to find happiness in his own identity and profession as well. I am going to keep praying for answers but I would really appreciate any feedback you all have!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The hunt is on


Ok, so I now have this glistening brand new Masters Degree and here I go into the job world. It's weird because although I have worked for over 13 years, it seems like this is the first time I have entered the "real" world of work. I guess that is since I have worked jobs I was never interested in making my career (food service, retail, nanny-ing, desk work, etc...) I am here to tell you that it isn't just hard to find a job these days if you have a high school degree or even a college degree. It's still hard even with a Masters Degree. The job search is going well although there are few and far between places that want to pay a therapist intern.

For those of you who are not privy to the information on how to become an MFT...here is the run down. First you get a Bachelor's Degree, hopefully in Psychology but it does not have to be. Then you get a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage/Family Therapy where you will clock as many hours in the field as you can that are supervised and you are called a "Trainee." You graduate and then you file to the Board of Behavioral Sciences for an Intern # and you are then an "Intern" and you try to get as many hours in the field as you can each year until you reach the total of 3,000 hours. These are not only your client hours but also your case notes, supervision, etc... Well, then you take the state exams and become licensed where you are officially a Marriage/Family Therapist.

In all of this crap, I am in the step of applying for my intern number. I have to wait for my degree to post at Vanguard and then I send in all of this paperwork and start the process of getting my intern #. That should be fun. Well, then I get paid to do therapy, if I am lucky at a reputable non-profit, group home, psych hospital, or private practice. All of that to say, I feel like my hands are tied.

I am fairly certain that my degree will post soon and I can start the process but there are so few positions out there for paid internships in my area and it is so discouraging. I got a job just recently to make money elsewhere while I wait on all of the psych stuff to pan out. I am working with a therapist I know doing her paperwork, filing, etc... while I wait for the Intern #.

I would appreciate if everyone could say a prayer for my job search and that God opens doors for me. I am willing to work anywhere where I can learn, earn hours, and be in my field. I am not too picky! Also, please pray that the intern # thing will go swiftly and God will help that along as well.

Overall, I am grateful for the current work I am doing and making enough money to help out at home but I need a full time income for us to take the next steps in our lives as well! Thanks for your prayers ahead of time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Learning is painful...yet again


Lately life has been difficult to say the very least. I have seen a lot of accomplishment and happiness like achieving my master's degree and my nephew Shawn was born as well but with those things have come some serious problems. The first thing that has been very difficult has been money! When I got done with school I also got done with an assistantship that provided our monthly groceries and most of our gasoline. Anthony's hours have been cut significantly like the rest of the nation's due to the economic situation our country is in. On top of that, I am ferociously looking for a job as a therapist and realizing that it's just as hard to get a job with a Masters Degree as it was with a Bachelors and with a high school diploma. Pretty sad when you work so hard to get educated and still can't find a position.

There are some things that I have learned over the last couple of weeks of a very "THIN" financial time. Here are a few of my learning experiences so that one day when everything is better..I don't forget.

1. Dates that happen at home can be just as romantic as those that happen outside of the house, if you are only creative.

2. Take advantage of the things that you like to do that don't cost any money.

3. Look around you and notice that you are still of the wealthiest people in the world.

4. It's amazing how great good nutrition sounds when you can't really afford it and when we can, we waste our money on fast food.

5. God wasn't kidding when he said be a good steward because if you aren't, it will come back to hurt you.

There are so many things that I am learning through this hard time and mostly I am learning finding a job IS a full time job. I did applications, resume sending, and cover letters all day today and got ONE call back which was someone who did not have any availability! ARGGG..

Help me Jesus!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My new precious nephew


Today God blessed me with a new little one in my family. My oldest sister, Hilliary gave birth to her first child, a son!

Name: Shawn Christopher Lee

Weight: 6 lbs, 15 oz

Height: 20 and 1/2 inches long

Born: May 12, 2009 @ 6:49 AM (Central Time)

He's goreous!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Commencement Speech


Ok friends, the speech is finally over and it went really great so I thought a good place to post the speech would be right here on my precious blog. Here it is, although you don't get the emotion with it. Let me know what you think! :) Anthony took video of it so maybe if I can figure out how to edit it and put the speech on youtube I will do that and put a video of it on the blog. Hopefully I will be able to figure that out! ;)

Here it is....

When I was asked to speak to you today, one thing immediately came to my mind. “ I can’t believe after three years of these people knowing me that they still trust me to speak in front of a large group!” Honestly, it was absolutely the most wonderful thing for me to hear because I realized it was an affirmation of how much work I had done in this program. In Zechariah 13:9, it says that fire refines us and tests us in our lives and work. In my case, the fire of Grad Psych has done both. I came into this program with a lot of battle wounds. I had lost a lot in my short 26 years and had overcome a lot of obstacles including a diabetic diagnosis that almost took me out of this world, witnessing suicide first-hand, abuse, broken dreams, and like everyone, a lot of heartache before I darkened the doors of my beloved home, Graduate Psychology.

These challenges did not suddenly stop just because I came to the program either. In the 2nd year of my program, my 13 day old nephew and step-mom were killed in the same day in a tragic car accident. You would think that this would have stopped me in my tracks and made me quit. It sure didn’t! This program gave me some amazing tools to not only do therapy with but also to use in my own life. I learned to stop and grieve my losses even when it hurts terribly. I learned to lean on others through pain and allow their support to help me when I had no more to give. I learned to listen to these brilliant professors when they said their famous words, “No Erica, I am pretty sure that is your stuff!” Most of all, it taught me that although we are all alone in our suffering as humans, there is a God that loves me and is always holding us through it. I can honestly say that there were days that I felt Grad Psych saved my life.

There are a few things that got me through Grad School that I have to give credit to; my awesome professors, my classmates who are going to be amazing therapists, marrying the love of my life and relying on him through thick and thin, my amazing friends who are my family, and the love of my grandpa who although could not make it here today in body, is here with me and proud beyond measure. He would probably have some car analogy to let me know that by saying I was “built Ford tough.” Those things right now would be amazing to hear. Luckily this program taught me how to give myself what I need and today I need to be proud and I am. I am proud of me and all of you (turn to look at other graduates) It’s been a long, hard journey and we finished the process that God started.

The biggest question I get these days is “Man, Erica I bet you are so tired of school and ready to be done. You must be burned out.” To that I respond, “Nope, not burn out or burnt up, just more refined gold.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Laying it all down


Last night I had some serious time with Jesus. I have never had quite the time with Him that I did last night. I could not sleep, probably due to the enormous amounts of anxiety that I was experiencing about speaking today. I decided to come out in the living room and read my Bible and pray about all of the emotions that had been welling up with this occasion. Just to name a few, I have been having a hard time missing my grandpa these last couple of days, having a hard time not feeling supported by my family as no one will be at graduation, and a disappointment of not being a mother yet when I am finishing my Masters Degree. I know that I should be so excited about these events so I just wanted to lay all of this down.

I spent hours just laying my fears, hurts, pains, and cares down at Jesus' feet. It helped so much. I slept like a baby in my Father's arms. Today, I am ready to represent my class, ready to go the next step of my life, ready to allow Jesus to have every single care of my heart and every desire of my life. Jesus really is my guide, heart, and breath. My heart would be broken without him and today I get to tell a lot of people about my healing. Jesus will be with me and guide my every word and no matter what, HE IS PROUD OF ME!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Speaking award and Graduation party


Last night my whole class got together to celebrate our graduation with our professors and spouses at our Claim Jumper Graduation party. It was absolutely beautiful. We had a great dinner, dessert, and a program put on by our professors. Our spouses were given "awards" at this program for being available as support to us through the program. I thought Anthony deserved that so much.

Also, we got to see our video again that announced our class name, THE COURAGEOUS 21.
Each professor was given a list of students and asked to announce on those students on what they saw in them in the program and how they grew. Jerre did mine and it was beautiful. We got a lovely gift of a really nice coffee mug that says "Grad Psych Alumni." Those might be my favorite words to date.

I was also given a scholarship for the Outstanding Student award and that was really nice to receive. It will be funding a little getaway for Anthony and I after graduation. A marriage retreat of sorts. It was a pleasant surprise to be sure.

Overall the night went very well and it was such a honor to be there and share with my friends and professors and mostly Anthony what we have accomplished. Today I am spending the day cleaning with Anthony to get ready for a house guest and get my life back together. Tomorrow, I speak at hooding! I am excited and yet very nervous. Prayers would be appreciated.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Graduation Party night


Tonight I am very excited as our class is all meeting at Claim Jumper for dinner for our graduation party. We get to bring our spouses so it's even more fun. It will be really nice to share a meal with our professors and look back at our time in the program. I am not looking forward to a time of extreme emotions or goodbyes but honestly a time of letting go and having fun. I love the girls in our program so much and it will be nice to break bread with everyone and really just kick back. We only have one guy in our program which is why I said girls. We all love Kev too though!

On Wednesday, Anthony and I get to share a day at home together which unfortunately will be spent cleaning up our apartment as we are going to have a house guest on Friday. Thursday is the big day and I get to speak! I have really been looking forward to this and really am feeling so excited about the next few steps. We are looking forward to our little getaway next weekend as well.

I had clients all morning today and it was nice as next week will be my last week at the site. I have loved working there but at the same time, it's a new season and I have to find my new place. I really enjoyed all my clients and learned so much there. I feel like this new season is going to be very exciting.

Well, I should head off to get ready for the party. Hope all is well in your world.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Changing my way of "dress"


So as of Saturday night Anthony and I started going back to the gym. This was one of my huge goals as Grad School ended. Before I started grad school and met Anthony, I went to the gym daily and was up to running 2 miles per day and had lost a total of 140 lbs. Over the course of Grad School I have went to the gym maybe a dozen times and have gained about 80 lbs back. That is horrible and I absolutely hate it. However, it is not in my goals to berate myself or punish myself for this but to do something about it. On Saturday night I started working on getting in shape. For me, this has never meant a certain number on the scale or a certain waist size. For me, it's all about being in good health, being an athelete, and being happy in my own skin. I haven't been happy lately just due to my clothes getting tighter, being more lethargic and tired, and just feeling like crap.

Yesterday I went out and purchased two dresses for my graduation activities. Usually I hate dresses and literally have worn two of them for the past 10-15 years. One of them was for my friend Hannah's wedding and the other was for my own wedding. As you can tell, it has to be pretty serious for me to wear a dress. Well, that has really changed with the acceptance of my femininity. I think Anthony and our marriage really helps me embrace being feminine so I was really excited to put on my dresses yesterday and show him how I looked. He was of course very happy and complimented me all over the place so it felt good. I realize I do not look like a super model and surely don't have all the weight in the right places but I do like nice in my new dresses and that I can accept.

It takes daily work to accept yourself and understand what you are capable of. I am not accepting myself in the knowledge of being over 100 lbs overweight and happy about it. I am accepting myself in that I am the only one who can do anything about it and my husband loves me very much. Also, if I did not lose another pound God made me and that gives me worth. My goals are never to be a skeleton or extremely skinny because I honestly think it's not attractive to be extra skinny. I have never longed for that super lean stick figure thing. I love that I have curves and look like a woman. I am hoping to lose 150 lbs and be a vibrant, atheletic, health, curvacious woman.

In that being said, say some prayers for continued motivation for myself and Anthony and pray that I find dresses along that way that make me feel pretty and that I can keep embracing my female-ness! :)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Commencement


Commencement -- Beginning; the act of starting something.

So since I haven't blogged on my personal blog for a few days, I decided maybe it was time to talk about how everything is going with school. Last night was my last class in Grad Psych. We had a lovely dinner together and sang Karoke to our heart's content. We were also able to open up with each other and say our goodbyes. It was so great to be able to just tell people what they mean to me instead of ignoring that part and acting like we are all going to be best friends after this program. Next week is all of the activities that go into graduation. On Tuesday we are all getting together as a class and having a dinner at Claim Jumper. Spouses are welcome so Anthony will be there too. On Thursday, we have our hooding ceremony which is where I will be speaking. I went yesterday and got my speech approved and it was exactly what the program was looking for, which was nice. Then on Saturday it all comes to a close with Commencement.

As you see above, the word commencement means to begin or to start so it's so interesting that they name your graduation ceremony this. It is a start for me! It is the start of a normal marriage. It is the start of hopefully Anthony and I having a family. It is the start of my career as a therapist. It is so many things starting that I can barely think about all of the starts without getting overwhelmed.

I haven't written since, but I really did well on Exit. Exit scared me so badly but I am really pleased with the outcome. Just as everyone, there were areas that I needed help to navigate but overall, I was really pleased with how everything worked out. I felt very good afterward and really light. I described this to Anthony as if someone had asked you to lift weights for the duration of 3 years and through that time you held on the weights and most of the time you were lifting them but sometimes you would just hold them, but never put them down. At the point where I passed exit, it was like someone told me to put the weights down. Just as if you were really lifting weights, I was shaky, lighter, and stronger. It was a fantastic experience.

As Commencement draws near there are so many things I am passionate about and excited about with my new life without school. Mainly, starting a family, learning guitar, learning spanish, reading books for pleasure, going back to the beach a lot more, enjoying my husband a lot more, and various other things I am so excited to be doing.

Thanks for your prayers over exit and if you are in the area, I hope to see you at hooding, commencement, or both! :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Exit strategy


So today, as well as the last 4 days, I have been sitting at home on my rump in front of a computer screen preparing for exit. I couldn't be more bored with my life and could not be more insecure about exit. I have gone over and over these questions and tried my best to remember every blasted detail of my client and still, I feel like I will go into the room and they will laugh me out of there and take graduation away from me. What is wrong with me? Why do I think like this? Why do I doubt my own abilities and mostly my own progress in the program. I feel so insecure today that I can barely stand to be with myself.

I just wish I had any faith at all in what is going to happen in that room. I feel like I will present my client to the best of my ability and they will spend the next 48-50 minutes shaking their heads, rolling their eyes, and wondering what you do when someone has spent 3 years in the program, been named commencement speaker, and now you have to fail their sorry behind! Why can't I just be remotely calm and confident about this?

I have noticed through this process that I have some pretty drastic core beliefs about myself. Core beliefs are things you figure out using Cognitive Behavioral therapy where you finish the sentences of...

I am ______________.

People are ______________.

The World is _______________.

So my answers, after about 5 years of therapy, are still pretty distorted. Mine are:

I am unworthy.
I am a fake.
I am stupid.

People are always looking to hurt me.
People are judgmental.
People are scary.

The World is F'd up.
The World is unfair.
The World is always looking to attack me.

I think that it is pretty sad that I have worked hard in my program and in my own therapy and those are still thoughts that plague me from my past. I am sad for myself today and maybe having a bit of a pity party but you know what I like about my blog, it doesn't mind!!!

Say a prayer for Exit on Tuesday at 1:30 Pacific time if you think about it. :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Deeper



Lately I have had such huge growth in my personal life that I have been craving going deeper with Jesus. I have been a Christian for many years, 13 years to be exact. My relationship with him has been all over the place through grad school and through some personal trauma. Tonight in class we were learning about the correlation between Psychology and Theology and it was a breath of fresh air and really caused me to feel hungry for Jesus.

I am craving time in prayer, my word, fasting, discipleship, church, etc... It has been somewhat of a 3 year "dry" spell. I have been in relationship the whole time but something in me has really felt lost in where God was in this plan for my life. I desire to help people because of HIS love and HIS healing of my heart but something was not quite connecting. As I sat in class tonight, I began to tear up and feel strongly this hunger and pain of desire. It will be interesting to see where God takes me now.

Next step, learn Spanish


I will be honest, I am somewhat frustrated by the amount of Spanish that is spoken in my direct environment. For example, when I order lunch at a place and they get my order wrong because the menu is in English and they don't understand what you are ordering but I also am fairly tolerant when it comes to other situations like when people need mental health care services. In saying that, I have decided to make myself more marketable and to be available to help people who really might need the services by learning Spanish.

I have no idea what I was thinking in high school, (except that I was from rural Indiana and NO ONE really spoke Spanish) but I took several years of French as my foreign language. Now, here I sit living in Anaheim and man can I order a ham and cheese in French but I can't really get along in the world of Spanish. I was looking online today on jobs that are listed online for therapists and sure enough, almost 50% of them required someone bilingual in Spanish. This kind of scares me to be honest. Although I believe I can certainly learn Spanish but will I ever feel proficient enough to conduct psychotherapy sessions in Spanish, I am not sure.

I am going to start learning after I PASS exit and we'll see how it goes. If anyone is proficient in Spanish and is willing to help me learn, let me know! :)

Excited for the future


The future is exciting to me today. I graduate with my Masters in 3 and 1/2 weeks and there are so many things that are uncertain right now. I wonder about so much and yet there is an excitement in me that I can't contain. A few things I am excited about...

-- I wonder when I will get pregnant and if I don't, who my adopted child will be

-- If I CAN have children, I wonder what they will look like and be like

-- I wonder where I will work

-- What population will I be doing therapy with?

-- Where will we travel to next?

-- What will happen in Anthony's job and dreams?

-- What will my new nephew be like and how often will I get to see him?

-- What will Britt's baby look like and will it be like Britt and myself?

-- Who from the program will I stay in touch with and be friends with for a long time?

-- Will I still live in California?

-- What will my friend's lives be like in a few years?

-- What is it that God really wants to do in my life?

-- What is going to happen with my weight loss trek?

-- How am I going to incorporate my passions for therapy, scrapbooking, music, fitness, nutrition, and dancing to make my life fully fulfilling?

I think that is just a splash of the questions and excitement I have about being done with school and looking forward to my life. I am excited aobut my career, passions, life, family, and marriage so much right now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Speaking...what that means to me


A few weeks ago I was given the honor of a lifetime for me. I was asked to speak at our hooding ceremony when our class is hooded for our Masters Degrees. That is such an honor for a couple of reasons. First of all, because my class is full of great people who have worked really hard and are excellent therapists and so to represent them as a class is such a great thing. The second reason is due to my own personal pain and growth through this program and how hard I worked to stay in it and focused when my world was crashing down.

For the first time in my life, upon achieving something great, I finally feel like I deserve it. I feel like to have me speak at this ceremony is deserved and is an honor and I will not shoot holes in it for myself but celebrate every single moment of this journey. I will be speaking on May 7th and I have "written" my speech in a sense and feel really ready to deliver what I believe God wants me to say. I am so excited and feel so happy about this achievement and for once, it can't be stolen.

I am 4 weeks away from Graduation and in the homestretch of all of my assignments and projects so keep me in your prayers over the next couple of weeks as everything comes to a close. :)

Getting to know me, Question #4



I would describe each of my brothers, sisters, or cousins when we were young this way:

Hilliary: The thing that I remember most about my oldest sister is that she was way into music. She had so much music and posters on her wall that it was hilarious. She would listen to her music so loud and my mom was always sick of it. She would play one song over and over and make you hate that song. She was pretty much to herself and always a little bit angry. I am sure that it came from a lot of painful things as a kid but also from her love of angry hair bands. :) I wanted to be just like her and wear my hair with tons of hairspray in my awesome perm and tight roll my jeans. She was my hero for so many years.

Tasha: I do not really have a whole lot of memories about Tasha since she grew up with my dad and step-mom. I remember she was really cute and had little glasses when she was little and when she came over to play we had tons of fun!

Brittany: Britt was an absolute handful, wait...was? She is a total handful. She always had something funny to say or do and often believed she was someone or something else like a ninja turtle or power ranger. She loved wrestling and was way more of a tom-boy than the rest of us. She was so cute with her blonde hair and blue eyes and you would find it hard to find cuter. I can't believe she is going to be a mama soon! She was very devious as a kid and really liked to use foul language that she had learned either around the house or from tv. This caused her problems once school started! :)

Matt: My cousin Matt is my Aunt Gale's oldest child and he was really kind of a loner when we were growing up because he was the only male grandchild which was probably hard for him. He was really into Star Trek and Star Wars and all things science fiction. Mostly he was just really quiet and played by himself. He and Hilliary are only a couple of weeks apart in age.

Amanda:Amanda has always had a ton of energy. She is my Aunt Gale's youngest and she has always been very young at heart. She always knew how to have fun. I remember her being really into Barbies and dolls in general. She was very spunky and fun to be around and really hasn't changed much if you know her!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Closure


I am at a place in my life I never thought I would be and it's amazing yet sad. I am graduating in 5 weeks with my Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. I have had this blog since I graduated with my Bachelor's and I went through the whole process in this blog. It was hard to see College go as I wasn't quite sure of my purpose and started to work so much it took me down. I went through the process of studying for my GRE on here and applying to graduate schools. I went through getting accepted and through the years of painful exploration of myself and personal tragedy in the midst of a grueling school and work schedule.

God has been so good to me through this experience and now it's time to go through exit and graduation and feel accomplished. There are certainly seasons to life and this 3 years has brought many seasons. It was hard as I started to adjust and maintain my new relationship with Anthony at the time. I then went through personal tragedy in losing my nephew and step mom my 2nd year in grad school and then this year I got married and started trying to have a family. This has been a rollercoaster ride and to be honest, I am not sure what comes next. All I know is, in 5 weeks I will have achieved a dream and a goal and I am really proud of myself. I will keep everyone posted but have a lovely day and I will try to post throughout this time but be assured once that degree has posted, blogging will be more frequent.

Book of myself question # 3


This picture is Britt and Timmy! :) My dog nephew!

We had these pets or access to these animals growing up:

Cats:

Chi -- Chi was my first cat offically. He was a white persian who I absolutely hated. He would sit on the back of the toliet while I went to potty and eat my hair. This was not a loving relationship.

Ebony -- We had this cat next and she was black and did not live very long. I really liked her but she got pneumonia and ended up dying quickly.

Tasha: Tasha was my cat from age 5 or so until I was 25 or so. She was a beautiful little calico. She lived a long time and was the best cat ever. I loved her dearly.

Dogs:

Samantha: She was a cocker spaniel that we got when Brittany was a baby and she didn't seem to live long either.

Bull: Bull was a German shepherd that was Brian's dog and he brought it over when his parents moved away. He was a fun dog but had a lot of energy. He lived quite a while

Bart: My favorite dog, we got him when I was in junior high I think and he was the most beautiful Australian Shepherd. He was so much fun and loved me more than any animal has and I loved him right back

After childhood:

When I worked for Richard, he had a cat named Mimi and I was there with her for 4 years and she died right before I left the job. She was a great cat too. A gray tabby!

Brittany's chihuachua is a joy. His name is Timmy and he is blonde like Britt and he is absolutely the best dog ever. He is a very happy and friendly dog.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The book of myself question # 2


As I have mentioned before in the blog, I have been working on a book I grabbed to kind of learn about myself. It was a little journal like book where you answer questions about yourself. Today I am answering question # 2 in the book which is...

SOME of my favorite games, toys, or ways to entertain myself were:

-- My tape recorder -- I had this tape recorder and I have no idea who gave it to me but it was my favorite thing in the world. I would pretend to be a radio dj and have music, jokes, guest appearances from my family members, etc... and it was such a great place for me to escape when I was little.

--My ATV-- My dad gave me an ATV that looked like a 4 wheeler and it was just my size. I named it Evil Kinevil because my initials were EK. I rode that thing constantly and all of my friends loved it too and had such good times on it.

--Atari -- Hilliary and I had an atari when we were little and we would play frogger, fast food, and space invaders. It was a blast!

-- Pogo Ball/Skip it stick -- These were my favorite "active toys" I liked to jump rope and the skip it stick was a stick with a jump rope attached that counted your jumps. The pogo ball is the Saturn looking thing on this post where you put a foot on each side and jumped your life away. I loved these things!

--Books-- These were my ultimate favorite things in the world and really this hasn't changed. I escaped my troubles with books of all kinds when I was growing up. Some of my favorite titles were Charlotte's Web, The Boxcar children, the Babysitters Club series, and several others.

Overall, these were my most important items growing up and the things that entertained me most. I liked this question as it made me really think what made my childhood bearable. I had a rough one but these things made it something I could get through!

I hope that someone takes the challenge and answers these questions for themselves as it makes you think!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sin City makes closer relationship to Jesus, says the Tabloid

So Anthony and I just back on Monday morning from Vegas for the weekend. We went to celebrate our 6 month married anniversary and God just really used Vegas to teach me some really important lessons. Things have been hard lately to say the very least. Anthony and I have been "trying" to get pregnant and that is the most anxiety ridden adventure I have ever had. In October when we decided that we wanted to start trying, I was so ready, excited, and completely into the idea. Then a few months passed with no "pregnant" on the pee test and I started to get very sad and down.

Well, when we went to Vegas this weekend it was after finding out that we weren't pregnant for the 4th month in a row. It was after I was 2 and 1/2 weeks late and really started to think it had finally happened. I went to Vegas with an agenda! My agenda was to GET OVER IT and stop wanting something so badly that I can not control. It didn't work. It's like when someone tells you not to think of a pink bunny. What are you thinking about right now? A pink bunny right?

All I could think about all weekend was being a mom since I saw numerous parents carrying children through the casinos with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other and thinking "why not me Lord?" What did I do to not deserve a baby and these people think casinos are kid friendly? As you can imagine it was a hard time.

It was the last day and I was going to bed because I am not one of those cool people who can not sleep! God kept me up all night teaching me about myself and showing me areas I can work on. The one that was brought to my attention so much more than the rest was materialism and having to keep up with everyone else. I live in this way so much and I can't blame it on Orange County, California when I was like this in Lawrence County, Indiana!

I am not saying that the reason that God is not giving me a baby is due to my sin life but...I am saying...maybe I would like to take care of this area first. Just a thought for today!