Monday, November 14, 2011

My wounds are healed

I used to wish that I could rewrite history
I used to dream that each mistake could be erased
Then I could just pretend
I never knew the me back then

I used to pray that You would take this shame away
Hide all the evidence of who I've been
But it's the memory of
The place You brought me from
That keeps me on my knees
And even though I'm free

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything
I don't take pride in what I bring
But I'll build an altar with
The rubble that You've found me in
And every stone will sing
Of what You can redeem

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

Don't let me forget
Everything You've done for me
Don't let me forget
The beauty in the suffering

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar
-Point Of Grace



I have a lot of thoughts and mixed emotions that come to my mind when I look at this picture (or when I look in the mirror) but the top three are this.

1. A little bit of surprise: I can't believe that's my stomach and my scar.
2. Lots of emotion: There's so much of my life that's packed into those marks on my stomach
3. Fuzzy polka dot jammies are awesome! 

Six months ago I was still so emotionally wrecked that, even though I was doing well physically, I was still not *well* (whatever that means exactly) and I didn't like being around a lot of people or going out anywhere because I wasn't used to that after spending over a year in bed.

I wasn't able to get up and go to church every Sunday morning. I wasn't able to workout with my friend. I wasn't able to do line dancing with my brothers at a hoedown last year. I wasn't able to sing at church during our congregational songs because I was short of breath. And I was definitely not able to hold down a full-time job as a waitress (at Rolling Meadows) and drive myself around town in my own car.

My wounds are healed and I bear the scars. Jesus carries scars too and because of his, we can be partakers in Heaven if we repent of our sins and believe in Christ. Because of mine, I can point others to his. 

Are your wounds healed? Is there purpose in your scars?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I wish...

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and visit with yourself? Kinda like those movies that show someone meeting up with their future or past selves and fixing mistakes or having do-overs and learning a new lesson. I would just be happy to be able to go back to my 19 year old self and talk with her while she was lying in that hospital bed after just hearing the news that her kidneys had failed and what that was going to mean. 

This was taken in my dialysis corner after I dyed my hair for the first time.

I wish I could have told her that the next year and a half would be the hardest year of her life but that she would come out stronger because of it. That there would be a lot of pain but it wouldn't last forever so just hold on. That awful things were going to happen but she would never be alone.

I wish I could have told her to start dialysis sooner, to be more careful, to try harder to live while hooked to a machine or an I.V. pole. That her dialysis nurse would be difficult to work with and that she would be the youngest person in that dialysis center which kept the staff on their toes. That the side effects of dialysis would be miserable, she would almost pass out one day and she would go straight to the hospital from dialysis another day. That she should have bought more DS games to pass the time. That the dialysis center would be the most depressing place she'd ever been in but that it would give her perspective.

Wish I had told her to wear the mask and care more about her health than the stupid kids that looked at her weird

I wish I could have told her to think kinder thoughts towards the people that cared but didn't know how to show it and instead made her feel like they didn't care. That people don't know what to say or do so instead of possibly doing something wrong, they wouldn't do or say anything at all without knowing that not doing anything was the worst thing they could do. That it was ok to tell people she was tired, or felt bad, or didn't want to talk about her kidneys. That most people had no idea what was happening in her life and wouldn't understand when she tried to explain what she was feeling. That not even her family would know how to support her but that some would do their best and really try.

I wish she would have known that her feelings were normal, that she shouldn't have felt that she couldn't be honest, that she would have worked harder to articulate her feelings instead of clamming up about them. That she should never have been afraid to say how she felt or let herself believe that she was wrong for being scared. That it's tough being tough and it's ok to cry.

Didn't think she'd make it to 20. 

I wish I could have told her that the surgery would not make everything instantly better. That the kidney transplant was not an easy fix to kidney failure. That she would feel worse after the transplant before she felt better. That it would take almost 6 months before she had enough energy to do normal things again. That she needed to avoid large crowds and too much stimulation because she wasn't used to that after spending a year in bed. I wish she would have known that it was ok to take things slow.

I wish I could have warned her that she would get so sick she wouldn't be able to think clearly and that this was normal. I wish I could have hugged her when she felt so sick and hopeless that she wanted to end her own life. I wish I could have helped her make better choices. I wish I could have showed her the before and after pictures of her life to help her hang on when she didn't believe she would ever look pretty (read: not sick) again. 

I wish I could have told her that one day she wouldn't feel ugly and sick but that she would feel more beautiful and healthy than she'd ever felt.

I wish she wouldn't have given up on God so easily. I wish I could have told her to let go of her plans readily because holding onto them would only make her bitter and angry. That she can and will move forward once she lets go of the past and takes the future one step at a time, seeking God's will for each step ahead.





I wish I could have made her believe that one day she would be well again. That she would be able to have fun and visit her friends again. That she would learn how to drive and that she would get a job. I wish she wouldn't stress over college.




I wish she would stop looking over her shoulder towards the past and instead looked ahead and would enjoy the life she has ahead of her.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Things are looking up

Hey y'all!

Just wanted to write and share some of my exciting news with you. I got a call-back from a Retirement Home where I put in an application to work as a waitress during the residents' meals and I had my very first ever job interview today.

Just for your info, using blue ink on your application makes them stand out from the rest. But don't use red or purple or pink or orange, just blue or black. I'm not exactly sure why but those seem to be the only acceptable ink colors for important papers like job applications. I'm definitely keeping blue pens in my purse from now on though.

The Director didn't say I was hired on the spot but he did say he would be calling me next week and it looks very promising. I'm really praying hard that God would give me a job that would be perfect for me and I would love for this to be the answer to that but He knows. For all those that were praying I'd get a job, thank you! Things are definitely looking up for me right now and I'm very grateful for that.

In other news, I'm dressing up as Snow White tomorrow and standing as still as I can for a Living Wax Museum at our local theater. Super excited about that. My costume fits nicely and I've got my makeup all planned out to try to look exactly like the cutesy someday-my-prince-will-come Disney princess. It's going to be a lot of fun, and yes, I will post a picture of me in my costume. :-D

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Back To Life Photoshoot + My Big News

Hey hey! Sorry, It's been a while since I've posted anything. I've been pretty busy (when did that happen, again? I loooove being busy!!!) and I'm trying to do some prioritizing in my life and this blog is one of them. I really want to continue to keep this blog up so I'm going to try to start posting a lot more regularly again. Is there anything y'all specifically want to read about? Essays that I write or more life updates, more pictures or more... whatever? Let me know in the comments :-)

Today me and my sister in law did a photoshoot today and had a ton of fun. She also took photos of me and my car. Yes, you read that right. I bought a car last week! She titled the photo album "Back To Life" and that's pretty much describing how things are for me right now. I'm getting back to life after a year of being out of commission so to speak. The shattered pieces of my life are being put back together and even though I really don't know how it's all gonna look in the end, God does because He's the one who's going to bring beauty from these ashes of my life.

I put in more job applications today and picked up some more to fill out so I'm still looking for a job but I'm excited to start working at whatever job I get and being able to make money so I can put gas in my new car. :-D Ok, so now for some pictures.

It's red. That's one of my favorite colors. It's also the color of my hair, too. :-p 

Peek-a-boo! I see you!


These next shots are from our photoshoot. I have some clip-in extension things which make me really miss my long hair. I'm considering growing it out again. What do you think?



 Not bad for fake hair, huh? 



 
It's the little things. :-)


Mercedes (my sister-in-law) took all these for me today. She has a Facebook page here if you want to check out more of her awesome pictures with me in them (they're under the title "Back To Life" hint, hint) and any of her other pictures. She's really good. :-)

Anyway, I think that's everything for now. Write me in the comments or send me an email here: kristin.worldchanger@gmail.com if you have something you'd like to see more of around here. Anything at all, I'm open to all of your suggestions. I could use some inspiration too, so please don't be shy :-)

I'll write more soon! Have a great weekend, y'all <3

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do you like stories?

I love stories. I love the serious kind of stories that people share about mistakes made and lessons learned. I love the funny kind of stories full of silly people doing crazy things. I occasionally enjoy the scary story about being in precarious circumstances but making it out ok. There are true stories and make believe stories, short stories and long stories, good stories and bad stories and sometimes the story is just ok.

The good stories are the kind that last forever and the kind worth reading over and over again.

I was reading a great story the other day and I wanted to share it with you. It involves miracles, an evil king, a pregnant virgin, a man with vision-like dreams, a group of rich men that follow a star, some stinky shepherds, a crazy Baptist preacher who lives in the wild eating grasshoppers and a baby that would grow up to save the world. Oh and we can't forget the angels. There are lots of angels in this story.

Sounds like a great story, right? That's because it's the greatest story ever written and it's not a fairy-tale, or make-believe, or fiction it's 100% true.

Here's another story. There was a very good man who was trying to live a good life when everybody else around him (except for his family) was being wicked and doing very bad things. He talked to God about it and God told him to build an enormous boat and collect all the animals in the world. When the man and his family and all the animals were safe on the boat, it rained non-stop for over a month and flooded the earth and killed all the bad people.

How about this one? There was a girl who was forced to marry the king (along with many other girls) and she was picked to be the queen. This king was very bad and he was going to kill an entire race of people. He didn't realize that this new queen of his was of that very same race. This girl was very afraid but her uncle told her that she had to talk to the king and try to get him to change her mind. She didn't really have anything to lose so she gathered up her courage, talked to the king and got him to change his mind. It helped being able to point out that the king's right-hand guy was running shady deals behind the kings back.

And of course we can't forget the very first story ever written. The one about how earth was created and the first man, and then the first woman. When everything was perfect and God walked on earth. When there was only one rule and nothing else was off limits. How everything fell apart when that one rule was broken and pain and sin entered the world and things weren't perfect anymore. That without this story then there wouldn't be any others.

They sound like exciting stories don't they? Stories that you would want to read over and over again, and to listen to others tell them, and to tell them to little children. The kind that movies are made about and lessons are learned from.

Then why is it that after we are done with the coloring pages in the church nursery, after we outgrow singing songs in 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday School, after we're too cool for anything by the time we're in 7th grade, after we graduate from highschool and enter the "real world" that we are quick to forget the stories or say that they're only for children.

How many adults do you know who love the movie Tangled about Rapunzel? Beauty and the Beast? How about Snow White or Sleeping Beauty or the classic Cinderella? Those are stories that both kids and adults love and they're mostly or completely not true. Yet, we still love to watch them! Then why are we so quick to dismiss the greatest story of all time (and all the other really great stories) that are not only entirely true but also hold important truths about our life and tells about the great war that is taking place right now with us being caught in the middle?

Well, I just answered my own question right there. Because there's a war going on. That baby I mentioned in the second paragraph of this post? The one that grows up to be a hero? Yeah, that one. He's God's son, Jesus and he saved the world by getting himself killed so that we wouldn't have to die since the human race has broken every single one of God's rules. All we have to do is believe, turn away from our sin, an follow God. And Satan is the enemy who wants us to believe that this is all just a fairytale, a good story for kids but should be thrown out like Santa Claus when we get old enough to "understand".

It's really that simple. It's the greatest, truest, most amazing story out there and it can be found in the Bible. Start in Matthew. Or Genesis. Or Esther. Start anywhere you want and read the stories. The long stories and the short stories. The serious stories and the funny stories. the hard-to-believe stories and the stories they tell to the little kids in Sunday School.

Read them and remember this: You're a part of that story too.


Next time you pick up your Bible, ignore your "good Christian" checklist. You're not a good Christian for reading the Bible everyday if that's all you do with it. You just read it so you can check it off your to-do list for the day and tell your parent, sunday school teacher, or pastor that you read it when they ask. Read it because it's the best story ever. Read it and imagine what it must have really been like to have been told you're pregnant with the son of God, or imagine David killing Goliath with a slingshot, or how disappointing it must have been for Jesus to go to his hometown and have nobody listen to him.

Get excited about this. Write about this. Don't settle for just reading a few chapters every day for "devotions" read just one chapter, or just one story and think about it. Or read several chapters or a whole book and imagine yourself in that story. Change your perspective and it will revolutionize your Bible reading. It did for me. Have fun!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Big decisions + my fun trip in OK

Hey there!
Meant to write this a lot sooner but life has kinda snuck up on me lately and things have been pretty crazy around here.

I can't believe that I've done so much traveling in the past few months, especially this month! Two weeks ago I was in Louisiana for a ladies retreat, last week I was in El Paso giving my big brother one last hug before he deploys to Afghanistan and this week I did a very last minute trip up to Oklahoma (I was in Altus, Yukon, OKCity, El Reno, and Bethany) and was able to stay with my friends, see my sister, spend some time with my grandparents, do a ridiculously fun photoshoot with my friend's younger sister, walk into Walmart wearing a bright green wig, go thrift store shopping to buy cute things, and watch movies eating fun snacks like pickles, brownies and chocolate covered pretzels.

I had a really good time and I wish I could have stayed longer. Mostly because I love my friends and enjoy spending time with them because they are so much fun and so encouraging to me. Partly because I have a lot of big decisions to try to make at home and I wish I could just skip this hard part and go straight on to the after effects of it all but then I would miss out on all this great character stretching-growing-notveryfun-building stuff.

I'm currently looking for a job and I've applied to one already that I really hope I get  but I won't tell you what it is yet until I've got it. I've got other applications too that I'm working on in case I don't get the one that I really want. Health insurance is still up in the air right now and it's very frustrating trying to find something. I have no idea what I'm doing with that and everything looks expensive. I'm also looking at buying a car and I sort of regret getting braces because then I would have more money. Speaking of money, I need a job so I can make money, so I have money, so I can buy things like a car and pay for things like insurance and fancy, new phones and braces.

Blech. And of course, there's the ever-looming question of whether or not I'll be going back to school which is still a possibility and still costs lots of money. :-/

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

And since I'm not going to end this post on such a serious note, here's a picture that will make you laugh. Actually, here's three pictures that will make you laugh. This is my photoshoot I did with my favorite little girl in the whole world. And yes, I walked into Walmart looking like that. :-)

Isn't she just the cutest thing ever! Even with pink hair :-)

Ta-daa!


We are too cool for words. :-)


Also, I want to give a quick shout-out to my friend Naomi and point y'all over to her blog here:


Naomi is one of my most faithful readers here and I'm so glad I got to meet her in person. She is at Heartland with her sister Emily and they started this blog that I've really enjoyed reading. Naomi is a very sweet friend with a big heart for the Lord and I'm excited to be able to follow along a little while she's at college, learning and growing. Go ahead and take a look! :-)



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let me fill you in

on all the crazy happenings of my life lately. It seems that life wants to either go 100 miles an hour while I try to hold on or it's inching along slowly while I beg to faster. There's a little prayer that I've heard my mom say (especially when we're driving and stuck behind the slowest driver on the planet)

"God, slow me down or speed me up
but always keep me 
right where You want me."

I got a new haircut, color and highlights! Yay. Oh, yes and I got braces too. :-)

Some of the fast things that have been going on lately:
I went to El Paso to see my brother one last time before he deploys to Afghanistan. Please be praying for him, if you think of him and all the other military troops that are still there, about to go there, and those that are coming home. I enjoyed getting to see him and his wife and hang out with them for a while but it did feel like we spent more time in the car than we did with them. Riding in the car is not my preferred method of travel but I did get some good driving practice in. 

.
Then, the very next weekend, I packed up for a Ladies Retreat at the Southland Christian Camp and had really good time with the other women from my church that were able to come as well. I am hooked on the salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks and the pumpkin spice latte even though I just had a sip. God showed me some things that needed to change in my life and I've been able to really start working through them instead of just ignoring the problem and pretending it's not as bad as it is (which just makes the problem worse.) As always, I appreciate you prayers for me as I work it out with God's help. :-)


I'm also in the market for a job and looking for new health insurance (which is NOT easy and very expensive, hence the need for a job). Trying to fill our insurance forms and write up my resumé and fill out applications (ok, application. Just one as of now) has been slightly (a lot) overwhelming, at times it's frustrating and sometimes I wonder if my head is going to explode. It hasn't yet and I don't think it will... but it sure feels like my head will explode. 

Because there are never enough gorgeous sunset pictures

Some of the slow things:
My room is really messy, again. Both of those trips left me throwing clothes around as I repacked between weekends plus I got three bags of new clothes from a friend at church and my sis-in-law which have been really fun but I haven't had time to go through them or put them away so they're piled in front of my closet right now. Oh, and I just did laundry yesterday so I have a whole other basket of clothes, plus my suitcase still needs to be unpacked. And my dresser needs to be cleared off and organized. Gives me something to do when I don't want to mess with job applications or insurance stuff :-p

I'm driving! Almost. I've still got a few things my mom wants me to work on but for the most part I'm driving and I was able to go hang out with a friend Sunday afternoon and didn't get home until late. It was really nice to not have to coordinate times with my parents and to be able to leave when I wanted and to drive alone and not get lost because I knew where I was going. It's the little things, people. :-D

There's also my faithful little blog that has been sorely neglected yet again but it's always here ready to take my next impulsive or planned blog post and share my thoughts on everything and yes, I do have some more planned blog posts ahead so LH won't be sitting here empty for weeks at a time. 

Oh, look! A pinecone. :-p

I have stumbled across some really neat, encouraging blogs that I thought I would share with you. I was really inspired by reading them and I hope you are too. They are real stories of real people with real struggles and that's always encouraging to me. Enjoy!


Check them out and let me know what you think! Also, I've been getting back into photography and I edited this picture last night for my Facebook and decided to share it with you too as well as the other photos sprinkled throughout this post. :-)

Have a great day y'all!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Long time, no blog

Ok, so I let the blogging slip a little these past couple weeks which is not cool for all of my tens and tens of readers. I did try to think of something to write but I really didn't have anything other than repeats of this post here: And then what?

I'm basically still in the same "holding cycle" if you will and still not exactly sure what my next step will be, although I've got some plans in the works which I'm not going to share just yet because I'm not the one with the Master Plan and I know all too well how plans (very good plans, I might add) can fall apart in a moment so I'm not going to tell you unless I get a little bit more confirmation and see that the doors are wide open (which I'm hoping for!).

But I did just go to the doctor's office yesterday to get a new check-up and I am doing great. Great as in, Lefty is doing his job and functioning like a normal kidney should and my body is not rejecting at all, I was able to go down on my meds a little and the least amount of pills that I have to take the better, plus I'm gaining weight (!!! Finally!!!) which is a very good thing, and my room is the cleanest and most organized it's ever been in my life not counting the room inspection I had to do in school.

Ok, so that last part is just a nice accomplishment on my part and had nothing to do with my appointment but still, I wanted to share because being messy and unorganized is the usual state of my room and now, I could bring someone in and not say something like "pardon the mess over there" or something like that and I will post pictures soon because I want to show off my cool pictures and crocheted creatures and my wrought iron key that I have hanging up on the walls. :-)

So, back to the appointment, the next time I have to go up to OU will be in November which will be my big one year kidney day and then, I think if all continues to go as well as it has been, that I won't have to see the doc every other month but only 3-4 times next year and after three years I'll only see them once a year. :-D

My younger brother looked at a picture of me from over 2 years ago and said "Wow. This was way before you even got sick and you look a lot better now than you did back then and this was during one of your good times."

Way before I even got sick, I was still... sick. I just didn't know how bad. I sometimes wonder if maybe I hadn't eaten all those really salty mushroom and swiss hamburgers from McDonalds that maybe I could have staved off failure for a few more years but that would still have meant not having a fully functioning kidney and now, I have a good kidney that works perfect.

I told my brother that it's amazing what having a good kidney will do for you and then we both just laughed because the evidence of that is obvious every day.

 Photo Credit: Rachel S.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A lot can happen in a year

For those of you with a Facebook (FB) page (and if you don't have one, don't worry I'll explain what I'm talking about) you've probably noticed the little box on the left side of the screen that pops up every now and then with a status that you posted on this date last year. 

So, on this day last year my status update said this:

Hesitant about posting this because I don't know if it will happen but I'm planning on going to church tomorrow. I made it last week and I want to go tomorrow if I can. Hoping I feel well enough :-)

It looks like August 21st landed on a Saturday in 2010 and that happened to be the time I was on dialysis and I'm not sure if I knew when/if I was having a transplant or not by then (I'm guessing not. I don't think everything cleared until September.) I was very, very sick and dialysis was awful (plus, my dialysis center had no clue what they were doing with me which only added to my list of Traumatic Events in My Life That I Want to Forget. And no, I'm not still bitter about that, why do you ask? :-p ) 

The point is, I barely made it to church. I barely went anywhere other than the hospital. Church was just about the only non-hospital outing I could do IF I had enough strength and energy to do it. That, plus it was a pain to try and dress nice with tubes in my shoulder and stomach without a bandage showing around my collar or a funny looking bulge in my side. 

Today, I woke up early this morning, (something that almost never happens whether I'm sick or not) I took a quick shower, (I couldn't shower while I had the tube in my shoulder and when I could shower again I would do it in the afternoon so I could take as long as I wanted because I tired super easy) I ate breakfast, (I could hardly eat anything because my stomach was so upset all the time and nothing tasted good) I wore a dress, (without trying to hide any tubes) and I went to church.

And then... I drove myself home. (I'm super proud of this one!)

I didn't even think about whether or not I felt well enough to go to church this morning I just got up and went. I didn't try to gauge how nauseous I was and whether or not I could eat without throwing up I just had a bowl of cereal. I didn't have to try on several different outfits because nothing looked right and I didn't look at myself in the mirror and sigh because of how sick (read: ugly) I looked and felt I just put on a fun, polka-dot dress and twirled in front of the mirror because I felt cute and girly (and no one was watching). 

If you would have said to me last year "Kristin, in exactly one year from today, you are going to be an entirely different person and you will be well again." I would have looked at you and laughed before saying something super pessimistic and sad and dramatic like "No, I'm not ever going to be well again, I don't even know what well looks like and I'm never going to change. You can't say that, you don't know, you're just trying to give me hope by saying nice little cliché things and it's NOT WORKING!" (I did actually say something similar to this to someone very close to me who was trying to tell me that things will change, because they always do and I didn't believe her. I do now.)



This was in July of last year so it's close enough. This was another rare day when I made it to church and we snapped this picture because my dad and I wore matching clothes without planning to. And I'm not even gonna say what I think of when I look at this picture....


I took this today with the help of my dirty, smudgy mirror (I need to clean that!) I can see a HUGE difference between the two pictures and I have a very different reaction when I look at this one then the other. 


A lot can happen in just one year. Sometimes bad, sometimes good, usually it's a lot of both but in the end... it's all for good, because that's what God promises. 




"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
(NKJV)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Heartland Baptist Bible College

Almost two years ago, I attended a tiny, strict little Baptist Bible college in Oklahoma City affectionately known to me and my family as Heartland (HBBC). I was very nervous about going to college and as I had several options I could have chose from, I wondered constantly about whether I had made the right choice by going to Heartland.
We all wore matching hoodies because we're cool like that. ;-)

Well, God made it very clear to me that I had made the right choice and I was no longer wondering about what things would have been like if I had gone a different route. I fell in love with my little college, it was perfect for me, and I was perfectly content to spend the next 2-4 (or more!) years of my life there. The environment was safe and fun, the people were so kind, helpful and Godly, many of them wanting to go into ministry full time, the staff/faculty were great teachers and preachers and made such a good influence on my life... you get the picture, I couldn't have been happier to be in such a wonderful place.

Then I came home for Spring Break. I was so excited to have a break from school, I had planned to try to catch up on some schoolwork but that never happened, I was too busy spending time with my family. Then, the day before I went back to school, I had a doctor's appointment and the routine tests came back abnormal. Very abnormal.

I made it back to school, though and tried to shove my worries into the back of my head. I was fine! I was so happy! I had a plan for my life that I was excited about! Besides, God wanted me at college, surely He wasn't going to take that away.

About a month after the doctor appointment, and after a new bottle of pills was added to my collection, I began to have some serious complications. Of course, I didn't think they were serious. There was some pretty major swelling in my legs, so bad that a lot of my shoes wouldn't fit but I just popped my diuretic pill regularly throughout the day and wore compression hose, no biggie. Then I started to feel like my heart was popping out of my chest and I couldn't catch my breath just walking to and from my classes and that was new, seeing as how I had been walking to and from classes for months by that time and hadn't had any problems before. Oh well, it's probably just a side effect from the meds, I'll call my mom, she'll call the doctor, we'll change things around a little bit and I'll just leave earlier for my classes so I can walk slower. Aside from that, I'm fine!

Banquet night with all my friends and then we went bowling afterwards. It was perfect!

Most of you know the story. I was not fine. So far from fine that I was actually at serious risk of... something more serious and there really isn't any explanation for why I was even walking around at that point except that ignorance is bliss. I didn't know anything was wrong (well, really wrong anyway) and I wanted to go to the mall with my friends, or hang out in the game room and play some pool, or sit in the snack shop playing board games.

I got called out of class one day by the Dean of Women and was told that I had to go to the ER and that my mom was already on her way up. When you're in serious condition, the ER moves you to a room quick and the 30 minute wait time in the OKC ER waiting room should have been a big clue to the fact that I was not ok. It slowly dawned on me later, especially when I was told that I didn't just have swelling in my legs, I had swelling in my entire body, including my lungs (explaining the shortness of breath) and was basically drowning from the inside out. Gross, I know, it's even more gross when you realize you've been living like that for months. Another day or two and I would have been in congestive heart failure.

That was the week we found out that my kidneys were failing and I only had so much time before they completely shut down. I needed a transplant and possibly dialysis. Fun. And the rest is all history, you all know how I got so sick and the transplant process was moving so. slow. that I ended up needing dialysis for a few months before my dad was cleared to give me his, we had the surgery, and then it took me the better part of the year to get well again.

My volleyball team, the Amazing Anywho's. :-) 

All the while, Heartland was in the back of mind. You see, they made sure me and my mom were taken care of while we were there. They came to visit me as often as they could, always praying with me before they left and seeing if there was anything they could do. I got the transplant during the following semester and they let me know that they were praying for me during chapel service that day and that they were continuing to pray for me during the faculty prayer meetings. Again, they came to visit me and make sure we had everything we needed and always prayed with me before they left.

Yesterday, I just dropped my sister off at Heartland for her first semester. It was great to see the school again and great to visit with so many friends. I realized this morning that if I hadn't gotten sick and I would have been able to come then this semester would have been my second to last semester before finishing up my Secretarial degree. I came in the middle of the school year and so I had to do 5 semesters but I didn't mind. I was even considering adding an education minor that would have meant more semesters. I would have been a sophomore and more than halfway done with my major. I might have been asked to be an RA like several of my friends were or I might have been able to get a job on-campus working in the library (which is where I wanted to work but the jobs were already filled).

I don't know if being a student at Heartland again is in my future. But whatever path God decides to lead me down, Heartland will always be a special place for me. It will always be my favorite little Bible college and I will take every opportunity I can to visit, to sit in on chapel or church services, to see my friends and to remember how God used the people there in big, powerful ways during my illness and I will be forever grateful for the support system I have there.

We went to the zoo one day just because we wanted to. It was sooo fun!






Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Wedding Roadtrip + some other news

Pretty much had a blast this past week. I got to see tons of friends and we had an AE 17 Reunion. We stayed at a friend's house and we stayed at the Ambassador Hotel in Dallas (more commonly known as the Dallas Ministry Center) and slowly made our way home (or wherever else we were going) from there.

 
Photo credit: Madi Conrad (10 out of the 16 girls in this picture were all at the wedding!)

I had a blast hanging out with all my friends, some of whom I hadn't seen or talked with for over a year (Even if I did have a good excuse for not keeping in touch I do not want to let it happen again) and we had homemade chocolate truffles, pasta with homemade sauce (what can I say, my friends are talented!) and of course, I don't go anywhere without my beef jerky and sunflower seeds. :-) 

Lauren's wedding was beautifully unique and when I get my photos downloaded I will share some of those in another post soon. I also caught the bouquet!!!! Yes, I'm quite thrilled about that. :-D  There was also lots of dancing and smiling and laughing throughout the day and I couldn't be more excited for my friend and her husband. 

Also, before I left on my trip, I did get my nose pierced.  For real this time. :-) This isn't the best picture of  it but you can see my little diamond on the side of my nose and so far, I really like it. My friends all thought it looked cute or were indifferent to it. What do you think? ;-)


On to some other news, my little sister is going to Heartland Baptist Bible College tomorrow and I'm super excited for her and the fact that I have a perfect excuse to go up and visit my favorite little Bible college and all my friends that are still attending. If you think of her, say a prayer for her as she gets ready to start this new chapter in her life. 

Hope y'all had a great week as well and that the rest of your day is awesome!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm packing today!

Today, I'm packing up my clothes and essentials must-haves in my favorite zebra-striped suitcase (I was so happy when I found this at Dustee's!)
I would love to own the whole set, but I only have the small luggage. I really want the duffel bag in the front though!


Tomorrow I'm meeting a good friend of mine in Oklahoma and I'm hanging out at her house Wed and Thurs with another good friend who is flying in before we go pick up another good friend (yes, I have lots of good friends!) and drive all the way down to E. Texas to go to (you guessed it) a good friend's wedding where we will see a lot of other good friends. 

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this. And I wanted to let you all know that I will be taking lots of pictures and I'll have a big post to blog about the trip for when I get back because I'm probably going to be too busy visiting with all my friends to blog. (Well, that and the fact that I'm not sure when I'll have wi-fi either)

I've got some plans-in-progress for when I get back from my trip but you'll have to wait until I get back (because, of course, that's too far ahead to set anything in stone and we all know that our plans don't mean anything if they're not in line with the Master Plan) but if everything works out, I think it will be a really good change for me. 

So, there's your heads-up to be looking for changes when I get back next week and if you read my previous post, I have decided that the jellyfish is a girl and the carrot is a boy. I'm thinking about just calling the jellyfish "squishy" off of  the movie Finding Nemo but that's what I named my pet fish that I had at college (he died, though) and it's not very original anyhow. So I'm open for suggestions on what to name the jellyfish. :-) I think the carrot is just going to Mr. Joe Carrot because I like how that sounds. 

Hope y'all have a great day!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Random Happenings

I don't know if anybody remembers me wanting to get my nose pierced so yesterday, I did it!

Right in the middle of my nose (called the septum, in case anybody thinks that word is fun to say like I do!) and it hurt really bad. 

And I'm TOTALLY kidding!!!! Really, really, for real the septum piercing is fake. I bought this fake body ring at Claire's yesterday and thought it would be funny to freak my mom out (and she was pretty freaked. I wish I had a picture of her face because it was priceless!). Oh, and I'm not kidding about it hurting, the little clasp in the inside pinches pretty bad that when I was wearing it on my lip earlier today my lip started to go numb. :-p

Anyway, just thought I'd share and maybe give y'all a mini-heart attack since I like to play little pranks like that. I'm also going to share with you some other little random things like this Jellyfish that I made!


Isn't it cute!? I'm not quite sure how I got this ^ from this but it worked and I'm really happy with my jellyfish (Haven't decided yet if it's a he or a she... any suggestions? I'm thinking girl what with the pink rosy cheeks and all but it could be a boy too.... I'm so indecisive!)



I also made a carrot! My sister, Mercedes gave me the idea and was pretty much the mastermind behind it all, I just made it. I never would have thought to have made a carrot but I loved the idea when it was suggested and I think it's really cute. I'm currently on a random crochet mission and trying to come up with cute, random things (like carrots and jellyfish! oh, and I made a worm/caterpillar thing but I don't have a picture of that yet) to make and maybe sell.

I'm considering starting my own Etsy business or going to a really neat store that Mercedes took me to yesterday called Alley Cat that sells homemade things (it looks like what I would imagine and Etsy real life store would be. So fun!) and they had some cute crochet plushie animals for sale. My mom has always told me that I could sell the stuff that I make but I never really believed her until I actually saw what was being sold on Etsy and at Alley Cat and it's stuff that I can make! Next time I go there I'm going to ask the manager about selling my stuff and we'll see what happens from there. :-)

On another completely random note (since this is all about being random!) my goober sister is home from camp! Bethany made it home safe today from Louisiana, where she was working on staff at a christian camp all summer and she'll be home a total of 13 days before heading off to Heartland college. I'm only going to get to hang with her about half that time since I'm heading to a wedding/reunion with friends I haven't seen in forever and I'm very excited about it! I anticipate a lot of fun and I'll definitely try to blog and show y'all some pictures if I have internet. 

And I think that's it, for now. I'll write more later but for now, here's another random picture. I love random! :-D


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday LH!

Today, exactly one year ago, I started my little blog Life Happens and it's been the one and only blog that has actually ever made it to one year, with at least one post every month from August 2010 to August 2011

So today, I will give you all the stats that I have on my little blog, as well as link to a few of my posts to highlight the year's worth of posts I have here and then I'll end with why I started to blog and something pithy and sappy to close with. :-) Enjoy!

The total page views LH has: (as of right now when I write this. By the time you read this you will be adding another number to that. Thank you!)

5,204


The month with the most views is:

NOVEMBER 2010

because the two most viewed posts happen to be in November and those are:

UPDATE with 176  views
and
Update #2 (written by my friend Julie) with 112 views

The post that has the most comments is:

new look, new direction with 7 comments
and
I just don't want to. with 5 comments

The month with the least amount of posts is:
A tie between
JANUARY & FEBRUARY 2011
with 2 posts each.

The month with the most amount of posts is:
NOVEMBER with 15 posts

The current number of posts I have published:
(Excluding this one)
77

And now, here's a review of this year with some blog posts that I picked out. It's not just highlighting the year of posting for this blog but it's highlighting MY year as I shared it with you so I picked out some posts that I thought best did that.

Celebrities and Dialysis
What NOT to say
Phase two in progress
This is taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r.
It's a date
Second by second
Tomorrow!
I'm HOME!!!
Just like I thought it would be...
That's how it is
Six Impossible Things
Kristi and Lefty
My current project
Long time no blog post!
My OneWord
And then what?


So there you have 16 posts highlighting my year of blogging here on Life Happens and I hope you enjoy looking back through them as much as I have. Some are really snarky and make me slightly embarrassed that I wrote them but I did and I included them in the highlights anyway. Because who really wants to forget that I refused to wear a face mask anyway? :-p

But there are some that I'm proud of and there's some that encouraged me all over again just by re-reading them. Like my Alice in Wonderland's spin-off of believing six impossible things and my recent discovery of my one word theme (it's more of a motto).

Some of them made me laugh, like my silly story of Kristi and Lefty or remembering how I felt like a celebrity (what I assume celebrities feel like, anyway) when the lady at the hair salon knew who I was because I was on the prayer list at her church.

My favorite part about this blog though, are you guys. My readers, my "followers," my main reason for blogging in the first place. And for my last statistic to show...

The total number of comments I have:
(as of right now and counting my own)
108

Yeah, that's huge. Sure, I've probably got about 20ish posts that don't have any comments but the majority of my posts do all have comments and I've read every single one of and sometimes more than once if they were particularly encouraging. All I can say to that is KEEP EM COMING! :-D 
Oh, and thank you. For reading my little blog and commenting and telling me in person that you've enjoyed reading what I write and for just reading. You encourage me and you inspire me and you're the reason LH has made it a whole year because without you motivating me, I would have stopped.

And the reason I started this blog in the first place? To share with anybody who wanted to know, exactly what was going on with me so that I could eliminate the "telephone" effect where I would tell someone I wasn't feeling good and then a prayer request was sent out and then FB statuses, text messages and emails would be going around where all of a sudden I was getting ready to go to the hospital or I had collapsed on the floor or I had a blood disorder or I was too weak to get out of bed and now everybody was worried and calling trying to get more info. It was a mess trying to sort out the wrong information and tell everybody what actually was going on that I just decided I needed to take control of the information "flow" and that way, there would be no question whether or not it was accurate because it came straight from me and with the blog format, everybody could just copy and paste my blog link and direct everybody to the source.

In a nutshell, I was tired of everybody updating everybody on me and I wanted to do the health updates myself. 

So, here's to another year of Life Happens and we'll see what happens next! 



And here are some pictures that have been posted before plus some new ones. 
The very first picture I ever posted on here. To think I was actually excited about wearing a mask then. 
I also do not miss giving myself those shots. AT ALL. Any of them. 
I never want to have my hair that short again.

Me and my dad about 6 months after surgery.

My first (non-hospital) trip after transplant to visit friends. This was a happy day! :-D

The original me :-)

Another happy day. My sister's graduation and about the time I started to consistently feel good again.

Things hoped for and things not seen. Sums it up good.


Ok, and now, I am really done with this post. It's probably the longest post I've ever done and it's also the first post I've done "ahead" of time. Meaning that I'm writing this the day before it will actually post because on August 4th (today) I'm out doing stuff with my sister-in-law like getting my eyebrows waxed and shopping (because that's what we do best!) and it's really weird to write in this tense and not a future tense like I want to do right now since I'm not writing this today but the day before. Ack! Ok, now I'm really stopping.

Have a great day everyone!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And then what?

In about two months it will be my 1 year transplant day. (Nov 4th) and it's been about a year since I started this blog to journal about it. (More on that later)

Last year I could hardly get out of bed and I was going three times a week (for four-five hours at a time) to a dialysis center sitting in a chair while my blood cycled through a machine before switching to my home dialysis which meant spending hours sitting in front of an I.V. pole while I cycled fluid through my belly. Fuuuun....  :-/

Then I got the transplant and then, after 6 long months, I recovered and then.... what?

There's my dilemma. What do I do now that I'm well? How do you exactly move on *mentally* after your physical self goes through traumatic, horrible circumstances? Am I well enough to work? What if I can't handle the stress of "real life?" Should I go back to college? Maybe I'll just keep hanging out at home because I don't know anything else? And the always dreaded: When am I gonna get sick again?

Because for me, there is no "if" about getting sick. I know I'll get sick again, I just don't know when, or how bad it will be, whether or not I'll be hospitalized again or whether or not I'll have to undergo surgery again but it will happen. And I can only hope and pray that it will be nothing more than a cold that I can take Tylenol or Ibuprofen for. 

So... that's where I'm at right now. Sitting at home trying to decide what my next step should be. I played a  game today on my DS where the side of the screen constantly moves forward so you can't go back and you can't go ahead any further than the screen will let you so you never know what's next until it comes into view. If you wait to long and don't move, the side of the screen will start pushing your character forward (and sometimes push you right off the edge of the platform you're on and make you fall into the lava which kills you instantly and then you have to start all over but that starts breaking down my analogy so just disregard.) 

My point is: Mario (the character of the game I was playing) has to move forward or he dies. And I have to move forward or... I... don't die but I don't really live either. I can choose to sit and just sorta get pushed into the future as each day passes and stay stuck or I can choose to get up and move and live and make the next jump and trust that God will show me where to land.

Disclaimer: I do not own Mario. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Picture Friday



I took this picture and then found this quote while I was editing it. They just totally went together and I wanted to share. :-)

Do the right thing because it's right. Face the truth. Courage to say no. Magic keys to living with integrity. That's a lot of stuff to ponder right there.

Enjoy pondering!

Monday, July 25, 2011

My OneWord.

Some of you may or may not be familiar with the OneWord New Year's Theme. You can click on the link for more info from someone who originally started this but I'll fill you in right here.

Basically, it means throwing out the list of resolutions that you do every year after Christmas of all the changes and goals you have to start working on as soon as the fireworks fly and the countdown ends with the silver ball dropping to the bottom. Only to forget all about that list by the time February rolls around.

So instead of making that list, you choose one word as a theme for your year. Something that will motivate you to make the changes necessary in your life. A word that will remind you of where you're headed in order to become better and more Christ-like. Obviously, it's going to be a word with a lot of meaning so that it will help guide the decisions you make.

And you're probably wondering why I'm bringing this up now since New Year's for 2011 is LONG past and 2012 is still five months away. Welllll..... It's because, last year, I saw a couple friends coming up with their word and since I was still healing from all my surgeries (ok, just two but one was really major so it counts for like, five surgeries.) and I was still stuck in bed and had a hard time getting out (mostly because it takes a whole lot longer to heal emotionally than physically, more on that later) I thought this would be a good idea since I never finish my resolution list and I can't really do a whole lot anyway. A one word theme sounded great.

Except I hit a big problem with that. I couldn't decide on a word. At all. I thought about heal because I was healing up on all fronts at that time, but it didn't really do anything for me. I thought about love since I had been shown love in so many different ways and I wanted to return some of that by loving back, but I was already doing that so I didn't need a word to remind me. I thought of content, joy, maybe strong, or even recover but nothing stood out to me or screamed at me "THIS IS THE WORD!"

I prayed, I read other blogs from people writing about their words trying to get an idea, I prayed more, I searched the Bible once for a word to stand out (even randomly pointing at different words, which got me some interesting candidates sometimes) and I just got nothing. So I gave up. I'm not going to have any word, or theme, or resolution this year at all, I decided.

But I guess I never really did forget all about it since I still saw other friends writing about their word and how it was affecting their decisions or how they saw it pop up several times that day or how God was working that word into their life and helping them to grasp a deeper meaning of it. And on Saturday I got my word. And it surprised me. And then I saw it pop up in two other places and heard someone say it in a movie. And then I got excited.

Do y'all want to know? Of course you do, since you're interested enough in my life to read my crazy little blog. :-)

It is:  ORIGINAL


-adjective
1. Belonging or pertaining to the origin of beginning of something, or to a thing at its beginning.
2. New; fresh; inventive; novel:
3. Arising or proceeding independently of anything else:
4. Capable of or given to thinking or acting in an independent, creative, or individual manner:
5. Created, undertaken, or presented for the first time:
6. Being something from which a copy, a translation, or the like is made:
source of definition




Do you want to know how I came across this lovely new word that explodes in my head when I think of all the implications to my life that it holds? It was thanks to my previous post on being normal that I almost didn't publish because I couldn't really get all my thoughts together on the topic and I just needed something to update my blog with because I didn't want y'all to think I quit writing here. And even though I wasn't expecting any comments (even though I LOVE them, yes that's a shameless hint plus a thank you to those who do comment.) I did get one comment and she mentioned my word.

And as I looked at it, it smacked me in face and screamed "THIS IS YOUR WORD!" Of course, I was surprised because I gave up on finding a word because I couldn't settle on one and, naturally, I tried to ignore this even though I had prayed hard for it in January. (See what happens when you comment!?)

I thought about saving it to share when 2012 actually happened but, then I thought, I'm going to be original and I'm going to share my word in August, because that's when I found it (or actually tripped over it because it was set down right in front of me.) And this is my first decision based on being original, but I can guarantee there will be more. And I plan on keeping this word until I come across another one, just in case you were wondering since I'm not choosing one in January like everybody else.

Do you have a word for 2011? (feel free to share mine!) Are you one of those talented people who can actually complete at least one item on their resolutions list? Did any of those definitions speak to you in any way like they do to me? (I'm a copy of God and I'm the first me ever created. WOW!) Do you think the one word theme is dumb? (be honest, I like honest.)

P.S. A thank you to my friend Shieldmaiden, who was the author of comment in which I came across my word and who I am gonna get to see next month in a pretty white dress marrying her man. (insert girly squeal here) :-)

And remember... there could never be a more beautiful you. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Normal

Is there really such thing as normal? Did there use to be a normal standard (as spelled out in the Bible) but due to a steady drift away from the church and the Bible and anything remotely close to Christianity, have we lost sight of what should be normal and what isn't?

Look at any dictionary or thesaurus you want and you'll get some definitions and keywords like this:


Conforming to the standard or to the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural. 


Dictionary.com, in addition to the definition above, had these to say about normal as well.

Free from any mental illness; sane.
Approximately average in any psychological trait, intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment.



Mental illness is abnormal? Physical illness probably is too, then. Most people have something physically "wrong" with them ranging from arthritis to impacted wisdom teeth to some complications due to pregnancy to cancer to asthma. Does that make everybody affected by something like this not normal?


Who exactly is to judge what is normal or not anyway? Who decided that in order for women to be attractive their bones have to be sticking out and a size 0 pant needs a belt to keep it from slipping off bony hips? Why is it that young people feel the need to "stand out from the crowd" by getting all sorts of piercings and tattoos? (the only problem with that is they only stand out from one crowd, while they fit in with another crowd who's done the same thing). 


Kids who are sick with some chronic disease usually say something along the lines of "I just want to be like other kids, you know, normal." What they really mean to say is "I don't want to have (fill in the blank) anymore." 


I think I've come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as normal. Not now, at least. At one point in time, there was normal. It was the one time on earth when everything was perfect and that was shortly after the world was created and filled with oceans, plants, animals and, the finishing touch, people.


Adam and Eve were perfect and being perfect was normal. Having free will is normal. Being curious is normal. And if Adam and Eve had been able to not give in to the temptation to sin... someone else would have. Because, maybe our sin natures our normal too, otherwise God wouldn't have had to come die for us so we can be saved from ourselves.


Never mind, there is such a thing as normal, and it's not a good thing. It's not normal to dress modestly, to date someone without sleeping together, to go to church regularly, to read the Bible, to not yell hurtful words when you're angry, to give food to the homeless.


"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me [God] before it hated you." John 15:8


I was one of those kids that wanted to be "like everybody else" but not anymore. I don't want to be normal. I want to be like God. And NOTHING about Him was normal in our crazy mixed up world of "fitting in." 




Just some random thoughts I've been thinking about lately. Is there anything you have to add? Do you agree? Disagree? Did you ever just want to fit in and then realize that it was better to just be the you that God made? Share your thoughts in the comments below, I want to know what you think. :-)