Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions n such



I haven't written on my blog for a while but it isn't due to a lack of thoughts, just a lack of motivation to write. I thought I had better write today about resolutions being the new year is here. 2010 was extremely hard for me and my family so I am looking forward to 2011 being a bit easier and having much more opportunity. In the spirit of the "holiday" here are my 2011 resolutions!

My resolutions are sectioned into categories with five resolutions in each category that are of utmost importance this year.

Health:

  1. Get under a new diabetic doctor or the old one and find a diabetic medication regime that works to get my sugars under control.
  2. Get my Hemoglobin A1C to a 7 or lower.
  3. Lose a reasonable amount of weight per month (between 10-12 lbs) with a goal for the year of 120-144 lbs
  4. Incorporate exercise into my life where I do at least 150 minutes per week
  5. Eat at least 2-4 servings of fruits/vegetables a day until it is a habit.
Marriage:

  1. Use all five love languages on my husband each day to make sure I am doing my best to give him what he needs to feel loved.
  2. Pray for my marriage each and every day
  3. Each week do something tangible to show my husband I love and appreciate him (a card, note, small gift, act of service, etc...)
  4. Do my part to complete my household responsibilities on time to show dedication to my marriage/husband.
  5. Take time each day to talk with Anthony face to face and without distraction for at least 30 minutes.
Spiritual:

  1. Take time to pray each day (no time limit)
  2. Read Bible each day (no limits)
  3. Spend at least 10 minutes in quiet time each day
  4. Find a church to go to and go faithfully
  5. Find a way to do service and get involved each week
Career:

  1. Maintain work blog each day
  2. Keep notes/files up to date with clients
  3. Do 1 hour of marketing for therapy job each day
  4. Bring all things up to date (MFTI, Insurance, memberships, etc...)
  5. Keep all hours documented and copied well
Avon:

  1. Build a large customer base
  2. Keep up with customers via email, Facebook, calls, etc...
  3. Do at least one giveaway a month to elicit new business
  4. Spend 1 hour each day working on Avon goals
  5. Go to all available meetings/opportunities that Avon allows.
Friendships/Family Relationships:

  1. Be in better contact with all friends by trying to call three friends each week to catch up
  2. Send one card/letter each week to friends/family
  3. Pray for friends and family daily
  4. Call every two days to check in with Kaylea and Shawn
  5. Have at least two friend outings per month to invest in friendships
Finances:

  1. Move out of apartment to a better situation by Feb. 1st in order to save money
  2. Work on getting all bills to current that are monthly and maintaining a monthly budget that works.
  3. Try to make $1,000 over what we need each month in order to pay off debts/save/etc...
  4. Save 10% of our income each month to create a better emergency situation
  5. Fully research moving out of state and decide if it is financially feasible.
Personal:

  1. Be more organized with paperwork and try to deal with mail immediately and file/trash/deal with whatever needs to be done
  2. Clean out email entirely once per week and do not let it get overwhelming
  3. Keep space neat and tidy (car, table, etc...) to be most productive
  4. Do one day of self care per week in order to de-stress
  5. Read one book for pleasure each week :)
I am sure there is much more I would like to accomplish in 2011 but these are the beginnings. I try to set realistic goals in several categories of life and I never get down on myself if I don't meet one. I just try to do as much as I can. I would rather reach for the highest level and get half way there than reach low and get all of the way there. I pray that you all have a wonderful 2011 and hopefully I will be blogging much more to keep you up on changes and growth.

Happy New Years~

Erica


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Desperate..not so housewives

This week in the news there seem to be an extraordinary amount of divorces. Eva Longoria (From Desperate Housewives) and Tony Parker (NBA player) have announced their divorce.




Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman (Music Executive) have also called it quits.





I know that this is not terribly surprising in Hollywood but for some reason, it is really disturbing to me this time. I think because Eva and Tony got married in July of 2007 which is dangerously close to my August 2008 wedding. Also, Christina and Jordan got together 5 years ago which Anthony and I did as well. I think it just cuts too close to home.

I mean, if you read anything in the news at all or watch Ellen, like I do, there are obvious reasons for these marriages ending. Infidelity is always the word we hear thrown around in the rumor mill of Hollywood, however, is that easier than saying "we just don't get along?" Does it seem more socially acceptable to say that someone cheated or was seen with someone else? I secretly wonder if anyone actually cheated and if there is just the issue of marriage being incredibly hard. I sure didn't know it would require this much work when I got married.

I remember being single only a few years ago and praying to God saying things like "God, if you just bring my husband, everything will be alright." I can't believe I actually uttered those words and mostly I can't believe how gullible I was. I should note that in my opinion I have a very good marriage. I love my husband very much and appreciate him while also feeling incredibly loved and appreciated. I would still say that Marriage is the hardest thing I have ever done.


Marriage is a collage of things I never expected at all in life. I never realized how selfish I was until I was married. I never realized how anal retentive and how much of a perfectionist I was until I was married. I never realized how incredibly stubborn I was until I was married. Marriage is like a holding a mirror up against the content of your character and sometimes what you see is worse than one of those scary Bloody Mary Horror movies in the 80's. I was not pleased to really truly see myself in marriage.

I wonder quite frequently if that is the reason so many marriages fail. I think it is hard to see oneself as you truly are. I think it's hard to see all of your fears, failures, and weaknesses displayed daily by watching someone you love be disappointed. I think it is super easy to be single and think about all of the ways that you will love your spouse and then the marriage comes and you realize that the things that you thought you would be good at, you fail miserably at daily. You learn that your expectations of what it would be like to be a husband or wife are vastly different from what your husband or wife thought you would be like. You learn that the person that matters the most to you and is closest to your heart, can make you homicidal by leaving their socks in the same place over and over and over and not considering that you are the one picking them up and there is no sock fairy.

I say that after doing 1 and 1/2 years of premarital therapy. I know some who get married with no more than a couple of months of dating and expect to not have a moment of disillusionment. I am not trying to dump on marriage or even to make people not want to be married but it is vastly different than dating and there really is no way to know what it is like until you are married. I don't care if you have lived together before marriage or not..it is different. I say that and feel sad today that marriages are ending around me right and left. Not just in Hollywood but in my friend's lives. It is hard to see people break up when you got married around the same time. It is hard to imagine for me being able to stay married without feeling that my vow to God was important. I vowed so many things to Anthony and to Jesus and letting them down is just not an option.

All of this to say today...I am sad about divorces...Hollywood or not, they are marriages and they bring grief with their ends. Stay married people...I bet it gets easier! :)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

30 days and almost 3 months

Well here I am 3 months in to being thirty and so far, it's been the best year of my life. I have gained so much perspective on being an adult, a wife, and a mother that I can hardly contain all of my growth. In October, I headed to Indiana to see my niece turn a year old and that was such a pleasure. I stayed with my older sister, her husband, and my precious nephew Shawn and I really had a great time there. I also was able to catch up with a few friends and really enjoy time with my babies. I think I learned so much about being a mother just watching Hilliary and the way she so selflessly gives to Shawn and the struggles that come with being a single mom (Britt) and how that must be overwhelming. I gained a sense of real gratitude for Anthony and our marriage and all of the ways that he helps me in our lives.

When I got back I headed to the women's retreat I wrote about in my last post where I centered my attention and prayers on healing over the baby and how that was for me. I had so many fears after losing Jamie that I would never give birth to a child and every pregnancy would end the same way. I know that I have zero control over this issue and that really brought me to a place of healing on the retreat and I was able to come home and begin Operation Baby Lewis yet again. This year it means something different to me. One of the things that I realize upon having these precious babies (Kaylea & Shawn) in my life is that there are things about me that I would never want to teach a child.

I won't go into specific detail about most of them as they are far too vulnerable to share, however, I will say that there are days that I remind myself of someone that I do not admire. I don't appreciate that I have taken on characteristics that I do not admire in myself as a wife, a friend, a sister, a Christian, and a woman overall. There are things that I really want to be in life and some of those are crucial to raising a child. I don't plan to get "perfect" before conceiving again but while I wait for God to give us our little one, I want to be in progress as I have been the entire journey of this blog. This blog has traveled with me since 2004 and I am proud of the person I have become, but I am not a finished product.

There was a certain level of health that I wanted to have in my life before I got married and for the most part, I attained that. I have certainly grown in multiple ways since marrying Anthony but I did feel entirely ready to be married. I am glad I did feel ready and did a lot of prep work because our loss of Jamie and Anthony's loss of his job really took a toll on us personally and luckily the strength of our marriage has gotten us through it. We are not entirely out of the woods from the repercussions of the job loss or the baby loss but...we are certainly farther than we were. Overall, we are stronger than we were when we started this journey and I pray that each year of our marriage...actually each day of our marriage makes us more dedicated to this journey together.

The way that Anthony and I have decided to proceed into the baby territory is just to allow God to do his will. (chuckle) As if we have a choice! :) I really like control of situations and I like charting my own path and knowing exactly when something is going to happen. In my life, I have been able to accomplish that for the most part with my career, my marriage, my health, my relationships, etc...but this area is one that I can NOT control and I have given my desire away to do so. Anthony and I deeply want a child (biological or otherwise) and are taking one step at a time towards that. The main goals for us both are to have a VERY happy and healthy marriage and healthy bodies as those are great assets for parents to have.

I will go ahead and address this question as it always comes up to me, I will not be telling anyone when we are "trying" so we could be right now..and maybe we aren't. We have also chosen not to disclose to anyone about a pregnancy until we are able to know a gender, unless for some reason there is a desperate need to tell (like I am as big as a house!) These decisions are not to hide anything from anyone or to avoid conversation about it, it is simply for Anthony and I to get through the scariest part of the process (conceiving and the first trimester) so that we feel a sense of peace and security with how things are going. You can never feel entirely secure in pregnancy in general and even more so after losing a child but...we are going to get the peace we both need through the process and ask that everyone understands our desire to hold this by ourselves.

We are also not going to disclose when and if we pursue adoption or other such options. We are just trying to navigate this as married people and we find that the pressure that comes from our loved ones knowing is overwhelming given our circumstances. We understand that a lot of the questions, concerns, and curiosity is out of love for us and we are truly thankful for your love and for the way our family and friends held us up in prayer during the loss of Jamie. It literally saved our lives so many times. We both feel a great sense of peace and feel led to do this in this manner so we appreciate in advance all of the respect we know that we will feel with our decision. We just ask that the day that we do disclose any info, that you will understand that our love for you is real and we never mean to withhold information but to simply wait until its proper season.

In saying that, I have started Operation Baby Lewis in our home and that is simply Anthony and I joining together to get healthy physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, and otherwise so Baby Lewis is in the best home he/she can possibly be. We both feel a need to get physically healthy including eating better, taking better care of our health concerns, and exercising as if we like it! :) We both also feel a need to make sure we are on sure footing spiritually to bring another life into this house and mold their lives. It is a huge responsibility and it is one we definitely don't want to take without God's leading. We are both pursuing financial maturity through this process of job loss and learning what it means to be a good steward and to make wise financial decisions. Overall, we are spending a lot of time fostering our marriage in date nights, intimacy, and working on our communication constantly so that the home is the most happy home we can make it be.

Anthony and I both come from very different homes but equally there were things we would like to do differently than our parents. Both of our parents are divorced and have remarried. We are really concerned about that aspect first because parents who are happily married and in love and work together create secure kids who know they have a safe place to fall. That is hugely important to us and we are very dedicated to that part our lives. We both feel that many couples have children well before they are ready to and in turn don't have their own relationship solidified and everyone suffers from that decision. We know we can't entirely ready for the challenges that children bring into a marriage but we can know ourselves and our relationship enough to be highly invested and as ready as we can be.

Anthony grew up in a saving home while I grew up in a spending home and we really want to be somewhere in between financially. We don't want to be so concerned with saving money that we forget to enjoy life and see the world but we also don't want to spend so much that money stresses create an unhappy, overextended home. We are beginning to work on this balance and we are really happy with how far we have come.

In saying all of this, we are seeking God's face on Baby Lewis and are excited to have you all pray with us through this journey. We both appreciate all of the support you have given us and we overly appreciate the lack of questions like "when are you going to try again" or "Have you decided not to have children now?" These questions are hard from any avenue during this process but it was nice that the people who love us and know us best have not even gotten near them. Thank you for respecting my grief, pain, and loss. You will never know how truly valuable it has been to not be afraid of these questions with my dearest friends. I will also speak for Anthony in saying thank you for understanding that although a woman goes through the actual miscarriage, Anthony is Jamie's daddy and his pain is very real as well. We have been through a lot together and we have really been so lucky to have the friends we have in this process.

We can't wait until we can give you news but in the mean time, please pray for Operation Baby Lewis 2010 -- ????

Thanks everyone for reading,

E & A


Monday, October 18, 2010

Retreat fostering seeking first the Kingdom

This weekend I went to a women's retreat with my church. I went last year as well and really loved it so I decided it was imperative to attend again this year. I have been thirty now for about 2 months and 9 days so I have been really focused on making Christ the center of my life. I am decent most days at spending time with Him in the morning and reading my bible on a semi-ordinary basis. I was beginning to lose steam when the retreat came up. This weekend was a good booster shot for my time with the Lord.

The first night of retreat I went out with a friend to the beach and just looked at the things he has created and prayed about some things that have been difficult recently. I then went to dinner with the same friend at a fantastic restaurant and just was really mindful of all the things HE has blessed me with. After dinner, we went back to the hotel and just relaxed.

The second day we had a morning session where the speaker spoke about how majestic God is and it was a fantastic reminder of just a portion of his character. I was really moved in my relationship with him and spend the rest of the day in a workshop about forgiveness. That was a big difference since I was working on forgiving myself and moving toward forgiveness of others a well. I found quickly that I was finding a place where God was tugging at my heart. It was certainly a good day.

On Sunday I went to a service in the morning and the worship was fantastic and I was able to pray with some ladies from my church and they really helped me gain perspective on how incredible God has planned my life and been there for me and will continue to be in my endeavors to be a good wife and a good mother. I came home and decided that things are going to continue to be different in my 30th year and I will continue to press in and abide in him to make sure my life reflects his majesty.

Dear Jesus,

Change my heart each and every day by teaching me about your character and how to press in to you more and embrace all that you have for me. I don't want control over my life anymore. You are my inspiration to be better Lord. I love you and praise you. Amen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

19 days...

In 19 short days, I will hit a major milestone in my life. I will turn thirty years old. It's hard to believe this is already here when I feel like I just turned 20 a few moments ago. As I mentioned before in the blog, thirty has me really thinking. It has me thinking about the things I wanted to accomplish by thirty, taking stock of what I have, in reality, accomplished, and what I hope to accomplish in the next year of my life. I am one of those people that wakes up every day hoping to be better than I was the day before in whatever aspects I can. I try to make sure I am staying true to my priorities and that I am constantly working on being closer to the image of Christ. I don't always achieve this and I often fall flat on my face to be honest, but I don't want to ever be okay with that and stop pursuing the new/fresh/better me.

One of the projects I have taken on for my 30th year is something I am calling "My 30 at 30" project. I am choosing 30 things that I want to really work on/change in my 30th year and am going to stay accountable to get them accomplished or at least worked on. We all say something every single year in our resolutions that never get done so I am using this time to treat this as a MUST DO list. I am in full belief that if we really want something, we will do it and not until. That being said, my list is full of things that I have been wanting to do for years but have never really committed to and I am using my 30th year as a jumping off point for actually getting these things worked on.

Some of them are personal and won't be shared completely on the blog, some of them are smaller and just need to be a breaking or creating of habits, and some of them are paramount to me being the healthiest I can be in every aspect and must be committed to beyond what I have ever been before. I would tell you at any given point if you asked that my first priority in life is my relationship with Jesus. I would follow that up with my relationship with my Husband. My third priority, I would tell you is my health. On and on the list goes sounding oh so noble and correct. I would tell all of those things but what the reality would be is that I want my first priority to be my relationship with Jesus. I want my second priority to be my relationship with Anthony. I want my third priority to be my health and relationship with my self. Are those things true?

NO!

It goes more something like this:

1. Facebook
2. Television Shows
3. Eating what I want
4. Career
5. Worrying about all of the priorities that aren't getting paid attention to.

As you can see, I have some work to do! I think if we were all very honest, we say that things are a priority but often times, they just aren't. In our minds, hearts, and souls..they really are important but not until they are suffering unfortunately. I have decided that to start this project, that is the place to begin. My priorities are very simple yet they are not being paid attention to.

So...

I am starting at the very beginning, a very good place to start! As I said before, my first priority is (I want it to be) my relationship with Jesus. This doesn't just mean going through spiritual motions and doing meaningless rituals to feel better about my relationship with Christ. It means legitimately making it the first thing in my life every single day.

Now you may ask yourself what that looks like to me. For me, it is a fairly simple equation.

Matthew 6:33 says "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well.

I figure if that's true, then the other 29 items on the list will be easy if I am seeking first the Kingdom. Yeah right! Unfortunately, anything we are supposed to do is not designed to build comfort, but character. So the first item on my list is going to stem right from seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness. If we want to be exactly like someone else, what do we do?

I would think we do the following:

  • Spend time with them
  • Study them and their character
  • Spend time with those that know them
  • Act out what they do
Since this is true, I decided my first step of spending time with HIM will be my prayer life. We all, as Christians need time with our heavenly Father. Not just to list the many things we need help with although that is okay too but to just BE with Him! I decided that each step of my thirty at thirty will be written in the same manner of committing to do something concrete and solid so that I am not feeling tempted to "technically" do anything.

So...without further ado...

1. In my 30th year, I will spend my first moments in prayer each morning when I wake up and my last moments of my day before bed in prayer.

I do not want to put a time limit on my prayer life just for the sake of keeping it fluid so that as I grow more in discipline to spend time with Jesus, that I don't watch the clock. I would just like it to naturally progress. The main idea in this endeavor is to make sure I make Jesus my first thought of the day and my last thought of the day and spending time with Him will help me be more like HIM!

Let the games begin!



Monday, July 05, 2010

Baby Steps



Well, let's talk about the elephant in the room. Babies. We are coming up on the anniversary of our first child's death. July 16th of last year I was in severe pain both emotionally and physically and watching one of my biggest dreams die. I really went through so much the last year in terms of my own healing and even seeing the ugliness in myself. It is so hard sometimes to feel happiness and joy for others when they find out they are pregnant, when they have children, and when they tell me what their baby's gender is. I try so hard to keep a smile firmly planted on my face but overall, I am just happy to get through it.

Although the year has brought many sad and difficult moments, it has also brought a lot of happy moments. I have not lived a horrible existence from what happened to me. I have hurt at times and I have had joy at times. I decided that when this happened, I would still serve God, love Him and trust him with my life. I also chose that I would still delight in the things that he has blessed me with like a wonderful husband, an awesome niece and nephew, great sisters, my awesome kitty cat Nika, and various other people and things in my life. So, although it has been a hard year, it has been a year I wouldn't take back.

Now, onto the topic. Everyone asks me and Anthony when we are going to have children and although we never really have an answer, I think I can finally answer it. I am not ready just yet. Although I have grieved for a full year and feel confident about trying to have a child again, I want to be in the best health I can be. So, I have started (about 2 months ago) to work out on a regular basis and trade in my old processed foods for whole foods and try to lose some weight. I have not been successful in losing any weight but I do feel a whole lot better. I am not sure what is holding back the weight loss but I will press on and continue to strive for better health.

My diabetes is in the best place it has EVER been in because for once in my life I have taken my shots for about 6 months straight with no failing. It has been the best I have felt in years. I have no idea if God is going to be bless us with a little one of our own but we do know that we want children so I just wanted to address this on the blog because I have been asked so much.

Yes I will try again

Yes, I do want children

Yes, Anthony still wants children

No, we have not been trying

Yes, we are considering adoption

Yes, I am scared to death of losing another child

but....

God has this in his hands and until I am healthy (by a doctor's standards) I will not try to have a child. If I get pregnant while NOT trying, then we will take the best care of my pregnant body but as for actively trying to get pregnant, WE ARE NOT.

I pray that as each day passes of this second year, I can get more and more healing over my heart and that my body becomes a great vessel to bring Baby Lewis # 2 into the world.

I appreciate all of your love, support, and prayers over the last year and will never forget the heart felt words you have all shared with me.

I can't wait to be a mom but...I will to be the best one possible!

--E--

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Gladiator and Pride & Prejudice

I am not feeling too good today so I took advantage of the time down and watched Gladiator and read some Pride and Prejudice. Here are my thoughts on both. I am not quite done with the book but the movie was excellent. I really loved Russell Crowe's Character however, I really wanted to punch Joaquin Phoenix in the face by the end too! I have to give it to him though, the acting was phenomenal. You always know if you love or hate someone ...or feel strongly about them at all by the end of a movie, they must have done a good job portraying their character. I can understand why this movie is one to see before you kick the bucket.

The only criticism I have for it is that I am a bit squeamish when it comes to blood and guts and it was a tad bit much for me at some points but completely necessary for the material being presented. Good movie, I liked it a lot!

Onto Pride and Prejudice. I already just love the sarcasm that Eliza and Mr. Darcy have with one another and in general. Even though the language is not what I speak on a day to day basis, it is not lost on me how witty and awesome this writing is. I have wanted to read this for years and never made the time. I am glad I am making the time now. It is so far amazing and I will continue reading and reporting back. How are your life lists coming? Have you made any goals yet?

By the way, I also worked on my Spanish for right around 2 hours yesterday! Not bad huh?

Yo Necessito Estudiar mucho mas.

E

Life List, Vol 2

Here are the next 20 items on my life list: Today's list is going to be themed toward one of my passions....food. These are some famous restaurants out here in Cali that I am dying to visit.

21. Dan Tana's Italian Food for the Stars

22. Musso & Frank

23. Nate & Als Jewish Deli in Beverly Hills

24. Engine Co. # 28

25. The pacific Dining car

26. Spago's

Here are some more things on my life list that are NOT about food, these are about another passion altogether...traveling. Things I want to see before I leave this planet.

27. Times Square.

28. Graceland.

29. Central Park.

30. Pearl Harbor.

31. Art Institute of Chicago

32. Statue Of Liberty.

33. Lincoln Memorial

34. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

35. Freedom Trail.

36. Gateway Arch. (I have seen this but would like to go up in it)

37. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

38. Greenwich Village.

39. National Civil Rights Museum.

40. Space Needle

I love touristy stuff and want to see it all! There are plenty more where those came from.

Friday, July 02, 2010

1001 Movies...


So Anthony and I just made it through the entire Godfather series this evening. We made it part of our date night since we had Italian food and it was awesome. We had watched Godfather I and II over the past couple of weeks and the third one was no letdown. I loved every single second of all three movies and they got me that much closer to the 1001 movies to see before I die. The next is line is.....



I have to admit that in the past I probably would not have watched this movie so it will be a stretch for me and probably rewarding and the greatest part, it is absolute guaranteed time with the hubs because he loves movies and this one especially. I will let you know how it goes. I am excited about my life list.

I should also make you aware that I am currently reading ...



since it is on the list of books I should read before I die and although it has been sitting on my shelf for some time, I have never gotten around to reading it. I will also let everyone know my thoughts on that one.

I hope you all are working your way through your list and enjoy my thoughts on mine!

The Life List


So I was reading a blog I have recently become very into called Mighty Girl and found that she did a "Life List" and it totally inspired me. Although she has chosen many things I would not choose myself, it made me think about the things I would really want to do before I leave this planet. There are so many that I think this could really span several blog entries. For tonight, I decided to just do 20 and see where that takes me. I hope this inspires to not only write your list but also achieve the things on your list. Let's all live while we are here.



1. Learn to speak Spanish fluently

2. Learn to play an instrument well (I like guitar, drums, piano)

3. Watch the 1001 movies that I should see before I die from the aptly named book.

4. Read the 1001 books that I should read before I die from list on the internet (I have read a ton of these)

5. Learn to ballroom dance

6. Get to my goal weight and stay there.

7. Fall in love with exercise

8. Learn a new recipe every month of my life.

9. Own a home that I truly love.

10. Own a Ford Mustang (brand new) and do with it what I want.

11. Visit all 50 states and see the things that are truly remarkable in each.

12. Go to Vegas every six months of my life and stand where I married my husband.

13. Write a devotional for therapists

14. Write a novel

15. Visit Italy and France and enjoy the awesome food and sights.

16. Scrapbook my niece and nephew's life until they are 18 and give them books on their 18th birthdays.

17. Play softball on a league again.

18. Buy a dress I love myself in and go out on the town with my hubby in it.

19. Wear a bikini and look great in it.

20. Try 100 new foods.

That is it for tonight but I know there are millions where those came from. I love the idea of a life list. It makes me want to get up tomorrow and start on it! :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pants on the Ground


So last night was date night. Every Thursday night Anthony and I venture out to spend time away from our house doing things that we enjoy. Granted, since he has been unemployed, it has been much more cheap outings and less wine and dine. Last night we went to grab a quick bite to eat and headed to Huntington Beach to take a walk on the beach at night. It was a lovely evening and really nice outside as we strolled down the sand. We decided after a while on the sand to head up to the pier and walk down and back before going home. It was about 10:30 pm by this time.

We were about half way down Huntington Beach Pier when I decided to lean against the railing on the side and look out onto the dark pacific. I always feel really small by the ocean and to be honest, there is a fear in my gut sometimes at how large it really is and how dark it is at night. I still just love the beach and would rather be there than anywhere in California. I noticed when we walked up to the railing that there was a couple about 2 benches down from where we were standing and they were very close together and appeared to be making out. I made that my cue to stop paying attention and focus on my date, the lovely Mr. Lewis.

We stood there talking and looking at the ocean when Anthony said stealthily "Erica, do you see that those people are going to have sex on the pier?" I thought certainly he is overreacting but looked anyway because let's be honest...you would. I looked over and the girl appeared to be unbuttoning and unzipping the man's pants. His pants were already riding low on his waist and I quickly turned away and said "Oh my goodness, I think they are!" It was like that moment when you really feel sick to your stomach about the car accident or fight happening but you just have to look because it's our human nature. I looked, and looked again. Each time I did, his pants were coming further off and she seemed to be helping.

Eventually I stopped looking because even from about 50 feet away I could tell that he was completely uncovered in his unmentionables! All of the sudden, they start to come towards us. I thought to myself "Oh no they aren't...we aren't interested!" but they kept walking with his pants clearly down. I then noticed that the girl who was involved was extremely annoyed and yelling at the man to "hurry up before someone calls the cops!" They weren't having sex after all..this man was absolutely ridiculously drunk and showing his penis to the entire world. I looked behind me because I heard the commotion and sure enough, I got a glimpse of everything that guy owned. Based on what I was forced to view, this really should be a SHORTER story if you know what I mean.

So, they kept walking and the girl who was about 5 foot and 100 lbs soaking wet was trying to hold this guy up who was probably the better part of 6 foot and at least 190. She was rolling her eyes and trying to coax him into not only stopping the indecent exposure but walking to a place where he could get home. Right at that exact moment,I heard a sickening thud. The man fell with his pants down face first onto the concrete. OUCH! Part of me wanted to laugh very hard because I figure...he had it coming for making me take part of that tiny debacle and the other part of me felt really sorry for this girl. I started to laugh as soon as they got out of my view and earshot and Anthony and I both started singing "Pants on the ground, Pants on the ground..looking like a fool with your pants on the ground."

Anthony and I both felt very sad for that girl and all I could say was "I would totally break up with him tomorrow." This, first of all, added some spice to our Thursday but also made me very sad to realize that not everyone has a decent, loving, and classy man like mine and the world is really all about excess including myself. I am just glad that chocolate doesn't make you expose your genitals or I would be in trouble!

Never a dull night in California!

I Don't Wanna Grow Up!



I have been thinking a lot lately about adulthood. As I stare 30 square in the face, I have decided I do NOT want to grow up. The last couple of years have been the most "grown up" of my life. I got married in 2008, lost my first child in 2009, and Anthony lost his job in February of this year. It has been a rough couple of adult years. In saying that, I have been looking around at the children in my life and thinking of how jealous I am of where they are.

My biggest worries paired with theirs ends up being a funny parallel.

Money: I worry a lot about Money. I worry if we can pay the rent, afford my medication, keep our cars running, get more clients, get Anthony a new job, etc... when my niece and nephew are only really worrying about when their mommies are going to put more Gerber puffy snacks on their walker tray. ah, the life.

Health: I worry about my blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, sodium, weight, etc... while my niece is worrying that she can't get her toes entirely in her mouth.

Career: I worry about being the best I can be at my job, helping my clients efficiently, and knocking out my dreams one by one. My nephew is only really focused on getting the box underneath the tv so he can stand on it and be that much closer to woody.

Children: I worry that I will never be ready to have another child, I worry that I will lose more of them before I have one that lives, I worry that maybe I will never have children, I worry that I am getting too old to start on having children, etc..and my niece is just looking around frantically for the pink doggie rattle that she really wants so she can chew on his ear.

Losing Weight: I worry as I work out daily that it won't pay off, I worry that I have destroyed my body forever by being negligent the first 29 years, I worry that I am going to have serious consequences for allowing it. Shawn (my nephew) on the other hand, can't gain weight and eats metric tons of everything he gets handed while wearing every single drop he can all over his face.

Having a breakdown: I worry that all the pain I am in from some losses will all collapse on me and I will be not be able to function. I worry that all of the things that have occurred over the last 30 years will one day be too much and I won't be able to hold it all together. Shawn & Kaylea on the other hand, have no shame....every time their teeth hurt from a new tooth coming through they scream bloody murder and know that their mommies are going to tell them it will be all ok and hand them a cold carrot to munch on. I wish someone would hand me "my cold carrot" somedays.

Life is hard....adulthood is harder....I am going to have more Shawn & Kaylea moments.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Twenty Things I wish I knew at Twenty!

So I was incredibly inspired tonight by a blog I read at Mighty Girl and thought I would do my own list of things that I wish I knew at age 20. I am coming up on 30 in a hot second and it is starting to make me be very insightful and think about what I learned during my 20's and how it shaped who I am at 30. By the way, August 9th is the big day and gifts should include things to dry tears like handkerchiefs and things to comfort like chocolate and coffee. Honestly though, I am kind of excited about 30. There is something about getting older that makes me really hopeful for the future. I am looking forward to having children, spending time with my awesome hubs, and creating the best career ever in my 30's. Now, onto the lessons I feel I wish I would have known sooner. Feel free to comment and let me know what you wish you would have known at 20, 30, 40, etc... I would love all of the 30's advice I can get...Enjoy...

1. It doesn't matter how bad you look in the photo/video; take them anyway: We all look stupid about 95% of our lives. That is completely ok. I think that looking back on your life is so important and seeing the crazy hair do's and more importantly don'ts and being able to make fun of your sister's Bon Jovi look alike fringe jacket is completely priceless.

2. Savor every single moment of time with your grandparents: I miss my grandma and grandpas so much and realize that those moments seemed to fly by. If I could go back and savor more of that time and get all of the wisdom that I feel I missed, I would be one happy chick.

3. Eating healthfully is always the best thing: When I was in my early 20s I don't think I ever thought about cholesterol, sodium, fat, etc...I just ate what tasted good to me and man do those pounds pack on and then one day you hit 30 and realize that your metabolism is like an imaginary friend; goes away right when you need it never to be seen again.

4. Don't ever be sorry for following the rules: I used to be so embarrassed that I am a rule follower. When everyone else would do things when the teacher wasn't looking, I really wanted to join in because I felt dorky for thinking that was wrong. Now, I am the teacher. Don't do things when I'm not looking! I love rules and rules are meant for order and they are not for the faint of heart. It is much easier to do what you want than what is right.

5. Don't allow people into your life that enjoy hurting you. I have done some serious clean up over my 20's of people who claimed to be a friend to me but really enjoyed talking behind my back or creating stories that were interesting or painful. I have learned that if someone even remotely likes to hurt you, they are NOT A GOOD CHOICE. They may be fun, exciting, friendly, interesting etc...but honestly, it won't end well.

6. Family is so much less about blood and so much more about unwavering support. I am incredibly lucky to have family that I absolutely love but I am also lucky to have friends who I adore. I have great in laws and even though many of the people I call family look absolutely nothing like me, I am one lucky girl to have them. Mom, Dad, sisters, aunts, uncles etc...are great but I really appreciate those that choose me!

7. Depression is serious business and don't ever be afraid to admit that you are. For years I battled bouts of serious depression and never gave it a second glance. I would keep getting up, going to classes, or functioning well below my ability. Today, I realize I am depressed, cry it out, get help, and walk on enjoying my life while I kick depression in its ungrateful teeth.

8. Grieve your losses. Really grieve them. There is NO way around them. When I was 19 I lost my grandpa and spent the next 8 years literally in heart breaking pain trying to run away from it. Last year I lost my child and walked through it with grace by doing what came naturally...putting my head under the covers, wailing like someone was beating me, and screaming that it wasn't fair. I still miss my little one but I feel better every day unlike before.

9. There is absolutely no substitute for a good marriage. Marrying Anthony has been the best thing I ever did FOR myself. He balances me, helps me, loves me, supports me, and is my best friend through life. Waiting for him was so smart and not settling for anything less than exactly what I wanted made all of the difference.

10. Sex is PERSONAL. This is such a sacred topic and to share it with others when the one you love is the only one it belongs to is completely nasty and distasteful. I am no prude...but that is Anthony's treasure.

11. Las Vegas should be enjoyed it small doses. There is absolutely no person in the world that really can enjoy more than 2-3 days of Las Vegas. Sleep is so important and filling your lungs with the noxious gases of the casino is really not something you can do for more than 36 hours. Enjoy and go home.

12. Weddings are far less important than vows. I was engaged many moons ago and many know that he cancelled our wedding 1 day (Yes, he is a douche and yes I said one freaking day) before the ceremony. Looking back, I don't care. Thank God that he did because I got my Anthony out of it whom I married under neath the Vegas sign in none of the nonsense that encompasses "bridezilla's of today" and let me tell you what....EVERY single day...I love being married. I have friends who spent thousands both on their wedding and now their divorces.

13. Premarital therapy should be required by law. I spent 2 years with Anthony before we got married and 1.5 of those in therapy together and I found out things in that room that would aid me in my marriage for years to come. I have probably yet to find out all of the benefits of what happened in those sessions. Yes, I am biased but therapy works.

14. It isn't easy to get pregnant. Dear 20 year old Erica, first of all lose some freakin weight...you are going to be 30 one day and it won't be pretty. Secondly, do not think that when you meet your awesome gorgeous hubby and get married that you will one day come home and say "Let's have a baby" and then you will have awesome passionate baby making sex and then the stick will turn pink. What will happen is that you will try diligently for 6-7 months to make a baby while not really enjoying it because it should not be work and then after you give up and get out of grad school with your stressed out behind..you will then get pregnant!" There are only 12 opportunities in a year to get pregnant...get a grip... it takes time.

15. Being a mother is the hardest thing you will ever do. I got pregnant last year and ended up losing my child after the first trimester ...the "safe" one was over. It broke my stinkin heart. I loved that child from the moment of peeing on the stick so losing it was like losing my own heart. I was a mother from day one. I will always be a mother and I do not have more respect for anyone over good mothers. I salute you!

16. Marriage is hard when its easy. I say this to 100% of my clients and I mean it. I am married to the nicest man on the planet and he still drives me crazy. He is sweet, kind, compassionate, a great husband and father, and yet...being married is still REALLY HARD WORK. Don't rush the journey to marriage. Enjoy the singleness and then dig your heels in and enjoy the difficulty of marriage.

17. You will never be perfect! Nuff said.

18. There are men out there who think that women who eat are sexy. Yes there are tons of men who prefer skinny and fit and athletic but there are just as many who like thick thighs, big booties, and a great sense of humor and confidence in who they are.

19. Do what you love, even if you feel like you look stupid doing it.I love to dance and I am pretty stinkin good at it...and I avoided it for years because of my weight. That is a stupid choice on my part. Do what you love always!

20. Honesty is the sexiest thing in the world. Knowing that I don't have to doubt my husband's words is everything. I make it a point that he never have to doubt mine either. When you are young you lie a lot..it's stupid. Just be honest. It is seriously absolutely sexy!

The end! Help me readers, what have you learned!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Feeling more resolved.

Well, a couple of days ago I wrote a post that was very difficult for me and also very anonymous because I would never want to OUT someone online and treat them like I feel that I have been treated. All of that said, things seem a little more resolved for me now. I know more about the situation and feel clear on who I can and clearly cannot trust. I haven't really dealt with this kind of stuff since High School and I forgot how difficult it can be when you feel you have been misrepresented and really have no idea how to represent yourself without hurting others. I had to spend some time looking at my priorities and this is what I have come to....

I really love the person who is angry with me. Deeply love them and care very much for the pain that they are in. I am broken hearted for their journey and to be honest, have no idea what I can do anymore other than just step back and allow them time to deal with it and that may mean they never let me back in and that is a chance I am willing to take to do as they have asked. I also really cared about the person who talked badly about me without knowledge of the situation but I cannot trust them anymore and that saddens me but helps me make further decisions.

As for Hilliary, she and I are choosing the same course of action. We want to do the RIGHT thing but also are hurt ourselves and that means choosing to eliminate those kinds of things from our lives. I have learned that although someone is really important to you or even acts like they care about you and your life, you can't control if they really do. You can only trust until you see a reason not to and now, I have a reason. I have to do what is best for ME and take care of myself and my own mental health. The things this person has said have hurt me, Hilliary, and even insulted a few others and that makes me sad as I really did feel a connection and friendship before. Now, I have to grieve that there was NOTHING there EVER. I cannot tell you how bad that hurts.

Well, I am going to take my own advice and just exercise boundaries. I am going to treat that person with respect, love them through prayer, and make sure none of the things I struggle with, have a hard time with, or don't want shared or talked about are a part of their knowledge. That is hard for me, you have no idea how hard. I really wish I could defend myself, speak for myself, and fight for myself but to me now, it just isn't worth it. I would have to call someone out and tell things I don't feel comfortable telling and that is beyond what I want for my life. After all, High school was right around 11 years ago for me. That is long enough to know better.

So, in regards to this. I need your prayers. I need my heart to heal from this stuff but also, I need to do the right thing from here on out. I only want Jesus to be pleased with the way I treat others and although my heart wants revenge for being lied about, it just isn't worth it. I am just bummed.

--E-

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Some people are not willing to look at anything

Over the last few days it came to my awareness that I was blamed for something (along with another person) that we had no part in. I know who did the alleged act and I also know that the person it was done to was hurt by it and had a legitimate reason to be but somehow me and my sister Hilliary got blamed. We, however, said none of the things that were accused of us and quite honestly did not give much thought to the situation and didn't have enough time to even care to be completely frank.

I also found that someone I trusted and really thought cared about Hilliary and myself found it necessary to discuss this situation at length and say some really hurtful things about both of us and give their opinion on a matter they knew NOTHING about except from the hurt person. OUCH! I am feeling like I am not sure who to trust and talk to anymore. I am feeling overwhelmed, hurt, and blamed for things that were not in my control.

When I did what I thought best which was to CALL the person who was hurt, apologize for their hurt and not take responsibility for it but understand it (the adult thing in my opinion) that person asked me to lose their number, stay out of their life, and go to hell. WOW is all I could respond because to be honest I have been there for that person when others weren't, have taken a lot of absolutely crazy phone calls from them, and spent a small fortune coming to them when I felt they needed me. I no longer feel any love from this person and although they are hurting deeply, it doesn't give them a right to strike out and hurt others either. I have given enough of my time worrying and caring to be blamed for things I would never do.

I have been accused to being immature now, ganging up on, and caring about things that I have no concern with. I have to give up this one, it just isn't worth the drama for me. I have a lot of relationships in my life that are positive, healthy, and loving and this one is a loss for me no matter how hard I tried to be there and do the right thing. As well as the collateral damage that has been done. This person has gone to others and outright been dishonest about myself and Hilliary. I would like a chance to be told what I did before others hearing something I did.

I guess I am just venting on here now because I have no where else to turn without jumping to conclusions and hurting others myself and I won't do that. I recognize pain, grief, and trauma. I deal with them in my own life and the life of others. I would never negate that. I also speak for Hilliary in saying she has been there and tried as well. We are neither one perfect and we were given not even a chance to be asked what we truly thought before blamed and outright thrown away. I can't say I am that surprised. We have always been second rate to some.

I am sad. My heart hurts. I have lost more than one relationship I thought I had. Now, it's time to do what they asked me to do...lose their number and move on. Sad.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Gym.


So I made a bold commitment last week of agreeing with God that no matter if I was uncomfortable, didn't want to do something, or even if it scared me I was going to obey what he wanted me to do. One of the biggest parts of this is the way I treat my physical body. I grew up in a home where exercise was not really a part of my day to day life. The only time that I got any actual exercise was with participating in sports. I was heavily involved in athletics in the summer with softball and that was probably the time that I got the most exercise. In saying that, I certainly didn't know how it affected my body or that it was the exercise I was trying to get. I just loved to play softball.

In the same respect, diet was not really a huge issue either. I grew up in the Midwest which means that most dishes that you eat are either fried, covered in gravy, or just made with the fattiest cuts of meat. I really didn't know the benefits of a healthy diet or making sure I got enough fruits and vegetables. It was completely cultural for me to view food as a way of celebrating and certainly a way to relax. I quickly understood that and used food for years to comfort some of the other unhealthy things that were going on.

On top of these two crucial pieces for health, I also didn't really value doctor's appointments nor their orders. I would go to the doctor if and only if I had strep throat, chicken pox, or something else just as serious that required the bubble gum tasting antibiotic Amoxicillian and other than that, there were no appointments. I don't remember going in for regular checkups even at the eye doctor or dentist...until there was a problem or braces. As you can see, in my home health was just not a priority.

This is not a post to bash my parents or even to put down the state of Indiana. It is just a start of why this problem is what it is. I have made a commitment to start caring about my health. This means the following:

1. Take my diabetic meds as directed. (Yes, it was hard to commit to that before)
2. Do 30-40 minutes of exercise EVERY day.
3. Eat appropriate meals to correspond with diabetic plan and demonstrate moderation in things that are NOT in the plan.
4. Get regular checkups with general physician, female doctor, diabetic doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc...
5. Take care of my mental health by doing stress relieving quiet time each day.

For the most part, these are the guidelines that I think I need to learn to carefully take care of my body. I am sad that it took 30 years to figure this out but....at least it is a start. I will be excited to share with you all on my journey to lose some weight and see my health increase significantly. Keep me in your prayers. It's hard to be obedient.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Just jump in!


Today I spent about an hour laying out by the pool enjoying the beautiful California weather and a nice breeze. Don't worry, I lay in the shade mostly, I am really fair and try to take care of my skin! While I was by the pool, there was a family of about 5 kids hanging out and swimming at the pool. There was a few little girls, a few little boys and this one little girl was about 12 years old. There was also an older brother/cousin/uncle or something that was their supervision. The little girl that my story focuses on was the 12 year old and her name was Jackie. Jackie was clearly a sweet little girl by the way she spoke to the kids around her and the way she spoke to her elders. All of the kids were doing the same things; cannon balling into the pool, running and jumping in, and the more daring boys were doing flips off of the side of the pool into the deep end.

Jackie was a little different than all of the other kids. She wanted so badly to cannonball into the pool, she wanted to do a flip off the side, and even tried the running leap but every time she tried to do something, fear kept her from it. She would run and stop abruptly right before the waters edge and her hands would fly up to her face and she would say "Oh, I am too scared!" This went on for literally an hour and although I wasn't watching the whole thing, I was out there and there was no way to miss all of things that were going on.

I should note, I went out there to lay in a chaise lounge and enjoy the weather and to just kind of be quiet with Jesus. I certainly heard His voice loud and clear while watching this all take place. Jackie was having a really hard time just letting go and allowing herself to do what she knew was going to be fun and exciting. Her fear and her lack of trust in her own swimming ability left her standing at the side. In the very first of all of this, she was trying on her own to jump in. She would do everything in her power to psych herself up to take the flying leap. It didn't work!

Next she tried to get the help of the younger boys who were carelessly throwing their bodies into the air, doing mid-air somersaults and catapulting into the 9 foot deep end. They came over and several times showed her how to do it and said something like "C'mon, just do it, it's EASY." It was anything BUT easy for Jackie. Jackie's next course of action was to ask the older guy there who was in charge of her supervision. He walked over to the side and mimicked what Jackie needed to do to get into the pool safely if she was going to jump. He showed her to position her body, that running wouldn't be the ideal choice, and that she needed to jump into the deep end so as not to harm herself. She still stood paralyzed on the side and over and over, stopped just short of her goal.

Finally, it came down to asking her supervision to help her by throwing her in. He came over and willingly tried to get her in and she grabbed a hold of his shorts so much that if he threw her in, he too would be in the deep end. She stayed glued to the side of the pool. I ended up leaving the pool area and Jackie still stood on the side, not enjoying her time as much as the other kids. My lesson had just begun.

I ended up thinking about Jackie most of the night but realizing it was just a very clear picture of myself when it comes to doing what God wants me to do and trusting him. I kind of see the pool as OBEDIENCE. I am the same as Jackie, most of the time I stand just outside the pool wishing I could just get in. I even do similar things as Jackie did. For instance, I think to myself "If I just talk myself through this, I will be able to do it. I know that God wants me to give 10% of my income to him, however, I am not sure if I do that I will be able to pay our bills. I know I should just trust him but that seems really hard, I think I'll just save the 10% and pay the bills. God will understand." There I stand...at the edge biting my fingernails.

I also do the whole running and jumping in thing. I stand on the outside of God's will and decide...here I come "I am going to just jump in with everything I have and leap blindly. I will go ahead and make a commitment to go to the gym twice a day until I lose all of this weight." More often than not, I run and jump but fall short of obedience because that pace I can't keep up so there I stand...overweight and out of his will. How frustrating.

I also have gone to other people at times to tell me what I already know. It didn't help Jackie to get instructions from the boys of how easy it was nor did it help her for someone to literally try to throw her in. It would only happen when Jackie was ready for it to happen. That is exactly like me. I have amazing female mentors who I go to with questions of a spiritual nature and they help me navigate what God would want me to do. No matter how many people clarify with me that it's appropriate to obey, I still stand on the edge of the "pool" and wish someone would just do it for me.

Lately I have been coming to a point where I am tired of being dry and watching everyone else be blessed in the "Pool." I am ready to jump in and get entirely wrapped up in God's flow of love where obedience starts!

I hope you get something out of Jackie's story..I sure did. I only hope she is able to jump in and enjoy it soon!

Then...this song came to mind...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Determined.


Today something just came out in me. I normally really struggle with motivation, confidence, and even drive. Most people wouldn't think that of me because of the things I have done in my life but EVERY single step has required me to be extremely hard on myself and fight my most basic instincts. I am tired of that. There is this part of me inside that really doesn't believe I can do anything so I fight against it with everything in me and try to be the person I want to be instead of the one I truly am. I don't like this about myself and have decided to be absolutely different from here on out.

The last few months I have been absolutely determined to accept diabetes and have taken care of myself in the best manner I ever have. That was a huge step. The one today was something altogether different. I LOVE being a therapist and it was my all time goal and dream. I also have these other goals and passions for my life. I want to be a mom. That requires me to be much healthier so I have to be serious about losing weight and getting healthy. I want to be a writer. That means I have to spend time learning ways to use my writing style to be a published writer. I want to learn how to speak Spanish and play guitar. That means I have to discipline myself to practice both things. Mostly, I want to absolutely embrace the fact that I am a woman and want to use my creativity to help me advance in life.

I decided I wanted to go into business for myself in an area that I am interested in. I love decorating my house and believe it is the little touches that make it comfortable, romantic, and HOME. So, I decided the business for me is Party Lite Candles. I want to work with surrounding vendors in all areas of merchandise for woman such as jewelry, cosmetics, hobbies, fashion, whatever and have fun while making money for our goals of having children, a home, etc...I have all kinds of ideas and dreams and I couldn't be more excited to start working on this goal.

I also really want to become an advocate for the cure and treatment of diabetes. Today I signed up for my 3rd walk for diabetes and identified myself as a RED STRIDER which means a walker that is battling the disease themselves. I have pledged to raise $2,000 for the American Diabetes Association and I am pumped to do it. The walk is on October 9, 2010 at Knott's Berry Farm and I am going to form a team and walk for the cure! Team Sweet "E" :)

I would ask all of you that read the blog to consider sponsoring me (even if it's only $10) or if you are in the Southern California area, consider walking on my team and fundraising. I am asking that each person on my team raise only $100. Also, if you are in the southern California area, if you want to host a wonderful candle party that will be absolutely fantastic and get you loads of money in free product...I want to do that too! :)

Again, these things came to me today and I feel just led to get things taken care of. I want to get out of debt, stop being overweight and unhealthy, and change my life and discipline level. I think everyone can relate to that!

I hope everyone else is feeling inspired today!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Things in our house...

Hey everyone. I hope today finds you doing wonderfully and enjoying Spring on its way. Our house has been pretty hectic the last few months and felt like I needed the solace of my blog to get some of it out. Anthony was let go from AT&T on February 22nd officially and we are still in search of full time employment. Anthony has been training recently in becoming a financial advisor but that is a slow process and doesn't pay during the training so we are living entirely on unemployment which is only 60% of his previous income so we have more bills than we have income. So frustrating and stressful. We are trying to just trust God through this time but I would be lying to say there isn't fear over this situation.

I am just now getting over pinching a nerve in my back and it still is a bit creaky some days. I cancelled sessions for a week and for me that means the pain is extreme. Work is going pretty well for me and the clients are steadily increasing which means they are increasing but at a painfully slow pace. Overall, the field is sort of slow right now due to the economy and people being willing to give up their therapy in lieu of things like cable TV. However, I am not going to complain I just need to up my work on marketing and things of that nature.

Health items are going a bit better in our house. I have been back on insulin in a consistent manner for about a month or so and I have never felt better. All infections are gone and I don't feel like junk every single day which is a huge improvement. Its now time to get back to the gym and get on some of this acquired weight. I have gained quite a bit of weight since Anthony and I have been together and although I know that happens, it is so frustrating when I had gotten down to a weight I was darn near proud of in 2006. Now, 4 years later, I am back at ashamed. Who knew?

I can't believe in about 3.5 months I will be 30 years old. I certainly have this feeling of wishing I was further in my life at 30 so today I made a decision to reflect on what I have accomplished in my 30 years and make some goals for my next thirty years.

Things I have accomplished in my first thirty years (1980-2010)

-- I have moved 2,000+ miles away from my original home and established a life for myself the last 8 years.

-- I graduated with my Bachelor's Summa Cum Laude in Psychology and earned the respect of my professors enough to get a recommendation for Graduate School.

-- I got into Graduate School at the school of my choice.

-- I graduated from Graduate School with my Masters in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage/Family Therapy.

-- I was named Commencement Speaker by my peers/professors and was able to speak at my hooding ceremony and felt I did a good job.

-- I got a job in the field almost directly after graduation with a private practice working with my previous professor which makes me feel honored.

-- I met an amazing man and married him and do a pretty good job of loving him day in and day out.

-- I got pregnant with my wonderful child and did a great job taking care of myself while pregnant even though it was rough with diabetes.

-- I handled losing my child with the most grace I could muster and have allowed myself proper time to grieve and long while also realizing that there is life after that loss.

-- I have established a case load with clients who are coming back and paying and that is half the battle! :)

-- I have a pet that I take care of and love to death and don't fear losing her every single day (which if you know me, is a big achievement)

-- I bought a brand new car in 2000 and managed to pay it off and have maintained it to where it is now 10 years old and still runs beautifully at almost 200,000 miles.

-- I have been asked by my boss/previous professor to teach a section of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at the Graduate Level which is again, a huge honor (starting in August)

-- I have great relationships with my sisters and my neice and nephew who are my passion for life.

-- I work every day to better myself!

My next Thirty Years:

-- Get 3,000 hours of practice in my field so I can test for the license of MFT.

-- Pass the examination for my MFT License and do it with flying colors.

-- Have a child or adopt a child and enjoy parenting instead of viewing it like a burden as some tend to do.

-- Enjoy my husband daily and never take him for granted.

-- Travel all over the United States and into other countries.

-- Give back as much as I can to people in need and show Jesus' love on a daily basis.

-- Find a church I feel at home in and become involved more than I ever have.

-- Develop and keep strong friendships and always feed those relationships well.

-- Take care of my diabetes every day and be ok with it.

-- Lose enough weight to where I am healthy and feel comfortable in my own skin

-- Buy a home that I love and work to make it better daily.

-- Own a mustang. PERIOD

-- Watch my neice and nephew grow up and love them as much as I possibly can.

-- Be able to continue to grieve life's disappointments and losses in a healthy and graceful way.

-- Pour into the people i love as much as possible.

-- End my career with love and passion for it still but the ability to stop when I need to.

-- TEACH...at some level...at all times!

Those are my thoughts on 30 as it grows closer!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Shots, Shots, Shots...and I don't mean Jello


Lately my whole life has revolved around shots. I have pretty much had enough of feeling ill all of the time so I have decided to be angry about having diabetes but to just do what I have to do. I saw my doctor the other day and basically we are trying to get my diabetic regimen down since we have been off for so long. We lost our health insurance with Anthony's job so now we are paying out of pocket. For a bit, it was $600/month for all of the meds and supplies that I require. Now, we have it brought down to about $300/month or so. This was with the help of the doctor changing things, the pharmacy giving me discounts, and just working with what I have.

All of that is the logistics of this but there is still the emotional component. I have NEVER been ok with having this illness. Being diagnosed at 16 was a hard thing for me and I just sat in denial for the longest time and then when I really realized that I did indeed have it, I decided I was too pissed to actually do anything about it. Just recently I have come to the conclusion that I am almost 30 years old and being a big baby and it doesn't matter if I want to take care of it, if I believe that I have it, or whatever...I will die if I am not medicated. Guess this growing up stuff is hard.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Appreciating friends who get you.

Last night I got to spend about 3 hours with one of my best friends in the world. This is priceless whenever it gets to happen but for some reason it was especially priceless to me this time. It seems like for a long time I haven't really found friends who actually get me. I mean, they care about me, love me, laugh at my jokes, and spend time with me but they don't "Get" me. Josh gets me. He not only laughs at my jokes but appreciates my sense of humor for what it is, being able to get through life's difficulties with a minimum of scars.

He, in my opinion, is one of the few people in my life that truly experiences me the way that I know myself. Some people will tell me that I am "laid back" and I think "ya right..you don't know me!" Some people will tell me I am "Proverbs 31...an excellent wife" and I scoff at that too because they don't see my house most days nor know that I fail at most of my "wifely duties" pretty much on the hour. Some people say I am "genuine" when I know that I care so much about what others think. Josh just kinda gets all of that about me and totally accepts me either way.

It is truly a treasure to have that kind of friendship and I just wanted to write about it to remind myself of how blessed I really am to have him, Anthony of course, and Nick...the men in my life who absolutely just GET Erica! :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Meeting him all over again

Today we went out to get Anthony some interview clothes. He had been working for AT&T for 3 years so his wardrobe included carpenter jeans, blue/Orange/White polo shirts, work boots and a baseball cap usually. I saw him like this about 6/7 days of the week. Today was a breath of fresh air. We went to this suit store and picked out some nice shirts, ties, and shoes and the other day we bought some new dress pants. He had an interview today and I gotta tell you, I was attracted all over again like it was new. I have always loved Anthony and always will but there is something for feeling that attraction come back more like the first couple of weeks of dating.

He is a handsome man and I am so lucky to have him. Pictures to follow! :)

one potato, two potato


**Disclaimer: As all of you probably know, there is not a racist bone in my body, however, if taken in an offensive manner this post could seem like a racist rant. It is NOT a racist rant but rather a rant about things that are not logical. I hope that you find comic relief in it and do not feel the least bit offended as it really is not about race whatsoever***

So I have a gripe to make. I am going to tell you a story about what happened to me and Anthony the other day when visiting a popular fast food restaurant in hopes of getting a quick lunch before heading to work. Here goes.

We walk into the restaurant which we will name "Cindy's" for the purposes of this blog. I really wanted to go there because they serve baked potatoes and that is my favorite way to eat a potato. I fully intended to purchase a value meal and trade out the fries for a baked potato and get it the way I wanted. I figure, I pay extra for all of these choices so it won't be hard to order this. Here is the run down of what happened.

Cashier (Spanish Speaking): Can I help you?

Erica looks at Anthony: Are you ready to order?

Anthony: Yeah, go ahead

Erica: Ok, I will have a #3 with a baked potato. I would like to have butter, sour cream, bacon, and cheese on that potato and could you please give me extra of all of that. (Extra toppings) I'll have a sprite with my meal as well.

Anthony: I will have a crispy chicken sandwich, fries, and a sprite also.

Cashier: Ok, $15.76

Erica gets into purse thinking of how crazy prices are when you order something special.

(Wait for order)

Cashier: Here (places two bags on the counter.

Anthony peers into first bag and Erica grabs second bag to check the order. (She has a feeling)

Erica: There are two baked potatoes in here?!

Cashier: Yes

Erica: There should only be one...and there seems to be only chives on one of them and only bacon and cheese on the other.

Cashier: Yes

Erica: No, I ordered one baked potato with butter, sour cream, bacon and cheese with extra toppings.

Cashier: Is in bag.

Erica looks in bag again to see two containers of butter and two of sour cream.

Erica: Ok, yes I see the butter and sour cream but there is no extra cheese and bacon and there are two potatoes and not one.

Cashier: Yes

Erica: There should only be one.

Cashier: Other one, in bag

Erica: I know but there should only be one and extra bacon and cheese.

Cashier: Yes

Erica is starting to get visibly irritated.

Erica: Here (takes baked potato out that only has chives on it) I do not need this one. Did you charge me for two.

Cashier: Yes.

Erica: Ok, well I only wanted ONE so I need my money back for this one.

Cashier: Yes

Erica: Thanks

Cashier returns potato and gives Erica back money that he owes her.

Erica: Ok, now I need extra bacon and cheese

Cashier: Yes (does not move)

Erica: OH FORGET IT (leaves restaurant feeling homicidal)

OK, now here is the thing. I don't mind people living in this country through means of immigration. I don't care who takes my order at "Cindy's." I don't care if people speak Spanish in their homes with their families but for goodness sakes...if you work for "Cindy's" know how to say the English words that are on YOUR MENU. I am so tired of having to be bilingual to order a burger. This is so illogical and quite tiring also. I appreciate all cultures but ordering burger and fries should not require me knowing Spanish when I live in America and our #1 language is English!

SIGH....anyone feel me out there?!!!

Lent update

Well I am officially half way through lent and it has gone great. There have been numerous opportunities to be tested and see what God would do through this time. For example, Anthony and I went out to dinner to celebrate an accomplishment of mine and sure enough, the waitress felt it was necessary to bring me a free hot fudge sundae to celebrate. I lovingly gave it to the hubby and remembered what Jesus did on the cross for me.

We went out of town for a few days the other day and went to a location that sells chocolate, chocolate, chocolate...so I bought some and popped it into the fridge and promised myself not to touch it until April 1st when lent is over. So far, so good. Also, our girl scout cookies arrived and the only ones I eat are thin mints so there they sit...in our freezer waiting on me.

God has really been changing my heart on a lot of matters and helping me with one specific area that has been difficult....my control issues. Thank you Jesus for helping me on this journey with no chocolate.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent


Hey everyone, I hope this beautiful Thursday finds you doing well. Anthony and I decided this year to observe Lent. We are not catholic and usually this is practiced by those who practice catholicism but since we are both really big Jesus followers we wanted to do this in rememberance of the 40 days before the crucifixition and give up something that was a sacrifice and use the time we would have eaten or done an activity to focus on our relationship with Jesus and having HIM search our hearts for things we could fix in our walks. It has already been powerful in just 24 hours.

Anthony decided to give up sleep. He is starting to get up at 5:30 am to spend his first hour of his day with Jesus in prayer or bible study. He said that his morning was powerful and God really showed him things that he could work on. I have a habit of eating at least one piece of dark chocolate a day and I love chocolate so much. I rarely go a day without having a piece of chocolate, chocolate cookies, chocolate flavor or something relating to chocolate. I count it as a piece of my mental health. Well, I guess you have concluded that I indeed gave up chocolate for 40 days! I am so excited to see how God uses this time for us to make us better. I am always looking to be a better Christ Follower.

I will keep the blog updated on our journey through Lent and what God does with it! Should be moving and enlightening!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter...even now in death...

Today is not just president's day in the Lewis house. It would have been Jamie's Due date. February 15th is a bittersweet day for Anthony and myself. It is bitter for obvious reasons but sweet because no matter what, we were parents. We valued every second of the weeks that Jamie was able to be alive. We realize that without me, he never was able to be alive but we are able to accept that now and know that although it was hard, we know that God still loves us and has our best interest at heart. Anthony and I are starting a tradition on this day of having a special dinner in honor of our little one. As I laid in bed, this song came to mind. I pray that I can continue to feel this way through my grief process and the movement to one day try again. Thank you all so much for your support through this and I would appreciate your prayers for continued healing over our hearts.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just to make you aware


I know a lot of you are readers like myself so I thought I would use the blog to let you know that Paper Back Swap
is opening up a Market where you can buy books at a very reduced price. Also, I use Paper Back Swap on a regular basis to get rid of books that I have already read in exchange for points where I can get books I would like to read. They are allowing members to use not only cash to buy books at a very reduced price but also use a combonination of your points and cash to get books even cheaper. I love books on the cheap so I completely recommend you head on over and become a member of Paper Back Swap. It's free for membership and as you add books to your page, you get points to spend. If you have any questions, let me know. I would be glad to help you navigate their program. It has been a great asset to me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

And the Winners are....

Hey everyone, sorry it has been a few days and I haven't posted the winners of the giveaway yet. We have had the flu bug in our house and dealing with a few family issues so this is my first chance to announce my three winners of the 500th post giveaway...and the winners are....

Princessica, Terra, and Courtney

I am so glad that you are enjoying the blog and look foward to more giveaways on the blog. Here is what I need from the winners, please email me personally at mrsericalewis@hotmail.com and give me your mailing address. Thanks everyone for entering and keep posted for more coming up on Ericaland!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Down but not Out


Many of you who follow my blog have heard that today my husband lost his job. There has been a lot going on with his job lately and it seems like every day there is something else going on there that causes problems. Thirteen out of the sixteen techs that work at his yard are being disciplined regarding their new "standards" so there is clearly something wrong. Anthony has received tons of emails regarding the quality of his work and has a lot to stand on in fighting this termination. For now, he is NOT officially terminated as he chose to take his rights today and take some sick days and file for stress leave. We are trying to deal with this using the labor union but it is really stressful on us as he is the major bread winner in our home. I make money but not nearly enough to provide for us.


We are trying our best to trust God with what we need so we would really appreciate if you all could be in prayer for us if you are praying people! Thanks for all of your love and support through this. I will keep you posted as best I can.
**Make sure and enter our giveaway***

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Dreams.


**Small reminder, if you have not entered the blog giveaway for the 500th post...read the next post down and get to entering. You have several chances to win if you do all of the things that I have listed. There will be a few prizes so get cracking. They are well worth your entries! Deadline is Saturday February 6,2010**


I have been thinking a lot about dreams lately. I don't mean the kind where a half dressed Jamie Foxx comes to you and asks you to massage him with hot oil. (Wait, you don't dream that too?) I mean the kind of dreams that you have when you are a little girl to get married and have a family. The kinds of dreams you have as a college student to change the world through your career. The kinds of dreams you have as a writer to write the Great American Novel. Those kinds of dreams.


Lately I have realized that a lot of my dreams have come true. It's hard to see that when you are in the middle of a loss of a dream or when you are going through challenging times. I have come to the conclusion that a ton of my dreams are now a reality. I thought it would be a good idea today to write a post about fulfilled dreams. Here is a list of dreams that I had that are now a reality and then a list of dreams that are still yet to be fulfilled but I have high hopes for:


Dreams that are fulfilled:



  1. I moved out of the state of Indiana and made a life for myself elsewhere.

  2. I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology.

  3. I married the man of my dreams.

  4. I graduated with my Masters in Clinical Psychology.

  5. I got a job in my field as a therapist in private practice.

  6. I am teaching in the field of psychology (college level)

  7. I live a happy life.

Dreams yet to be:



  1. I still dream of having at least one child.

  2. I dream of getting into shape and being at a healthy weight.

  3. I dream about being a college professor (full time)

  4. I dream about having a full caseload of clients in my practice.

  5. I dream about writing a book.

  6. I dream about getting that book published.

  7. I dream about going to all 50 states and seeing noteworthy sites.

  8. I dream about visiting Italy & France.

  9. I dream about learning how to ballroom dance with Anthony.

  10. I dream about having a succssful work and private blog.

  11. I dream about being able to own a house.

  12. I dream of owning a Mustang.

  13. I dream of being debt free.

  14. I dream of playing softball on a regular basis again.

  15. I dream of celebrating 20 years married by having a wedding ceremony since we did not when we got married.

I am sure I can come up with several more dreams and I think this will be an unending post as I journey through life. I am curious...what are your dreams????!!!