Tiny Eden

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Give Thanks!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday EVER! There is something about it that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. And, no, it is not from the large quantities of wine consumed. I have been feeling this way for years, way before I could drink wine. The past few years, though, I have kind of felt badly for Thanksgiving. People go straight from celebrating Halloween directly to singing Fa-la-la-la-la. What happened to the whole gobble, gobble, pilgrims, Indians, stuffing, pumpkin pie? It is so disappointing! I will be working on Thanksgiving again this year, which really stinks, but Sam and I decided to have not one, but two Friendsgiving celebrations at our house so this way I would not miss out on the fun. One thing that I will not get to do, though, is go up to The Christmas Tree Shoppe and Stew Leonard's with my family in NY the day after Thanksgiving. That is always one of my favorite parts. Another reason why I love Thanksgiving so much is because I get to think back and reflect on everything that I have in my life. Here are just a few!

A girl could not ask for a better family! We have had our ups and downs years ago, but we have always stuck together. This will be my nephew's first Thanksgiving and I am sad that I will miss it, but I am so thankful that he is in our lives. My niece is my competition for being the center of attention, so I am thankful that she will be providing the family entertainment when I am not there. Stina really does take after me! My mom and dad are the best parents. They have always been supportive of me and have loved me even through all of the really bad choices I have made in life. They have been my providers and have given me what I needed to be where I am today, but they have not just handed me things. Instead of just buying me a house, for example, they instilled a strong work ethic in me and gave me the tools I need in order for Sam and myself to buy our own house. My sister is my go to gal for advice. Dana is a great sister, mother, daughter, and wife, but mostly, she is a phenomenal friend. Brian, my brother in law, helps keep me grounded. Whenever I get mad and pout, he is usually the only person who can get me to see things in a better lite. Gramps is my heart and soul. There are no words to describe how much I love him. Even though Grams has been an angel for almost 3 years now, I am thankful for the never ending love that she provided. She has always been my biggest cheerleader and I miss her more and more everyday. Even though I have not spoken to my father's parents in about 17 years, I am thankful for them. They have taught me the importance of forgiveness. I forgive them for disliking me for no reason. After struggling for years with trying to reach out to them and gain their love, I have come to peace with the fact that there is nothing I can do to make them love me and I forgive them for that.

I am thankful for the 10 years I got to spend with my baby girl Cheyenne. She taught me how to really love and showed me unconditional love as well as taught me responsibility. There is a special place in my heart that is reserved just for her. Phoebe and Lulu have shown me that I have room in my heart to love another dog. Their antics and quirks keep Sam and I laughing (and cleaning) non-stop. I am so glad that we found each other.

My friends, new and old, are the best. While I don't get to see my friends from New York nearly as much as I would like, when I am up there, we are able to pick up where we left off. They got me thru the awkward years of high school, as well as college. I miss them terribly and cannot wait to see them again - I'll be home for Christmas, girls! My OLH friends have been around since I was 4 years old and I am thankful that, even after all of this time, I am still able to count on them. It is amazing to see how many of my former classmates have kids - I remember sitting in kindergarten with these people! I love it! My Georgia friends are great. Many have been around since my days in GSU, and some have just been added to the friends roster recently. Either way, they provide lots of laughs and good times. Lucky for me, I work with many of them, so every day at work is filled with smiles and laughs.

Nursing has been my dream for years. I am thankful to CHOA and all of my coworkers for helping to make my dream even more of a reality. After a rough start, I have found my comfort zone and I appreciate my co-workers for helping me to get settled there. CHOA has given me opportunities to grow professionally and I am so grateful for that. Through my job, we have health insurance and I get a paycheck that provides for us.

Our house might be on the older side, but I am so thankful that we can call it ours. It keeps us dry and warm on cold rainy nites and cool and shaded on hot, harsh days. It might be a little outdated, but it aids in providing the meals that keep us nourished, has a nice warm bed, and running water. I think it is a great place. We are working on updating it, but it will take some time and money.

My health is something that I often take for granted and I have realized that it is not a luxury that everyone has. I am thankful for the fact that I can get up and go every morning. For the past few weeks, I have been taking care of myself a little bit better than I have been in the past and I already notice a difference.

Well, I think that covers it all! Just kidding!

SAM! How thankful I am for a husband like Sam. If they ever do another remake of Superman, I think they should base it on a day in the life of Sam. Sam is my partner, cheerleader, provider, but mostly my best friend! He has gotten me thru the ups and downs of 2011 and I know that he will be there for me holding my hand thru 2012. There is one word that I think describes Sam better than any other - HUMBLE. Everyday, he gets up, does his treatments, and goes to work. Very rarely does he complain about it. But yet he is always there to pick up the pieces when I fall apart. He works so hard to take care of himself, not only for him, but for me. Everything that he has, he has worked hard for and earned. I am thankful for everything that he has taught me. Sam has taught me to appreciate the little things in life, to not take the privilege of breathing easily for granted, and to always see the positive side of situations and never give up - EVER! I love the life I have with him!

On to some other things that have happened since my last blog. On November 9th, I became a CPN - certified pediatric nurse. This was an amazing opportunity that my employer provided for me and I am so glad that I seized it. It is more than just another bunch of letters after my name. It is about having even more confidence in myself when I go to work everyday, set an example for the nursing students that come to our floor, and achieving a lifelong dream and goal. That's what those 3 simple letters are doing for me.

I have also learned a valuable lesson in friendship. A sorority sister of mine, Katie, passed away last weekend. Katie had such a beautiful spirit and a smile and laugh that would lite up the room. I have many fond memories with her and I am regretful of the fact that we drifted after college. We were able to reconnect thru Facebook and I really wish we would have carried out the promise of "We should get together sometime". Heaven gained a beautiful angel and I am sure her wings are just as brite as her smile.

Another lesson that I have learned is about respecting myself as much as I respect other people. I am always so concerned about hurting other people and I often end up being the one that is hurt. Friendships don't always last. It would be nice if they did, but they don't; it's sad but true. People change, relationships change, jobs, life happens, marriage, kids, for whatever the reasons. I have spent time evaluating my relationships and, believe it or not, I don't have time to chase after people. One sided friendships are not good. There cannot just be one person making the phone calls and reaching out. It has to be 2 ways. I know that my friendship should not be the center of any one's universe. I get that, but to purposefully drum up bad feelings and if you know that some one's IVF didn't work, don't make them feel worse about it. I am guilty of not always being a great friend and now that I have been on the receiving end, I apologize to anyone that I might have hurt in the past, but I hope that I have never purposefully hurt someone or had a sense of self-importance. Feeling like you have been replaced is never a good feeling.

Here is hoping that all of my readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Spend some time thinking about things that you can be thankful for. Reflect on some of the luxuries that you take for granted everyday. Look at the people that are surrounding you and be grateful they are in your life. Reach out to a friend who you haven't spoken to in a while and let them know that you are thankful for him/her. Also, if you are spending your Thanksgiving at home, either yours or someone else's, be grateful that you are with loved ones and not in the hospital, homeless, deployed, or working. But MOST importantly - Don't forget to wear your elastic waistband buffet pants!!!! Happy Eatin', Guys!

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year - and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God." ~Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This, too, shall pass.

It's official. I am out of tears. And thank goodness because I go back to work tomorrow. It still hurts, very badly, but today I ran some errands and I was not glaring at pregnant women and giving nasty looks to women with children. Not that I actually did that. Well, maybe I did it a few times. But it was not obvious. I don't think.

So what now? Sam and I are kind of torn on our next plan of action. There's one of three things we can do. 1. Start looking into adoption and pray that CF does not manage to weasel its ugly head in the middle. 2. Try another round of IVF (I think Sam might be leaning towards this more than I am). 3. Save our pennies and get some nice cars, fix up our house, spoil the dogs, and get a ton of plastic surgery. There are always the illegal options number 4 and 5 which would make a great Lifetime movie. 4. Steal someone else's. 5. Obtain baby via the black market. Obviously we will not be going the 4 or 5 route, but if we did, I just ask that someone attractive plays me. Doesn't need to be a good actress, I would settle with Angie Harmon. I am definitely leaning towards option 1. The side effects of the medications that I was taking were just plain wicked. The shots were painful, I have painful lumps on my rear that I hear will probably never go away, a few pounds were added, although I did appreciate being able to actually fit into a Victoria's Secret bra, and I became really mean. One day, I got into a scuffle with someone that I don't even know via Facebook status postings. Really? Who does that? WHO DOES THAT? A woman who is getting a 1 1/2" 22 gauge needle filled with a very thick progesterone oil in her rump every nite. That's who!

Since I have started writing about my infertility issues and all of the humps and bumps we have hit, I have heard from so many people telling me about their journeys. While I could see how packed my dr's office was every time I went, I had no clue how many people I was connected were fighting the same awful battle we were. One of my sorority sister's even offered to be an egg donor for me. If that is not a selfless act, I don't know what is. My sister offered to do anything she needed to do, just shy of offering me one of her little humans. Little does she know, I would have gladly accepted the offer of either my niece or nephew.

The hardest part of the whole process, besides realizing that I will not be having a baby, has been having to tell people that it did not work. I was supposed to work on Saturday and Sunday, but I did not think it would be the safest choice for me to go to work. I am not sure how my assistant manager was able to understand what I was saying when I called on Friday, but apparently she speaks "Hysterical Marisa" language because she managed to have a 10+ minute conversation with me. I am not sure I even understood what I was saying. I was hoping to go into work on Sunday, but when I called in on Saturday nite and started hysterically crying again, I was reassured that I was making the correct, and safe, decision to not go in on Sunday. Apparently, Lindsey speaks "Hysterical Marisa" language, too.

So how did Sam handle all of this news? He is my rock. I'm not sure what I would do if I didn't have him in my life. Sam left work early and did what any husband would do. Threw me in the car and said we were going someplace special. And where was this someplace special? The nail salon for a manicure and pedicure. The last time I got a manicure and pedicure was the day before our wedding, so it was about time. $110 later (Sam got a mani/pedi, too), I had great looking hands and toes, but still no baby. I felt a little better though and I appreciated the sympathetic look Sam gave me when the manicurist asked me if anything exciting happened today. Not wanting to start the whole water works process again, I politely answered no. It amazes me just how sweaty and smelly one gets just from crying non-stop. It probably took Sam a lot of time and courage to work up the nerve to physically throw me in the shower on Saturday. Think Pigpen from Peanuts. Then he politely handed me my toothbrush while I was in there and told me that all of that crying and sweating might have made me just a tad bit on the sniffy side.

To get some fresh air, we went to the dog park. It is always relaxing to bring the dogs there to play and run around like lunatics. Especially if your smaller dog is overly possessive and attacks every dog that comes with 25 feet of you. Much of our time was spent apologizing for our 4 legged Jaws. And then we decided to go to the movies - Sam even let me choose the movie - did he really have a choice? So, we went to see the movie every woman should see after a failed IVF attempt. A movie about a woman who juggles her busy work schedule and trying to raise her children. Something I might never have to do. Either way, it was a good movie and Sam was a great sport for going. In retrospect, probably not the best choice of movies, but I got a good laugh.

Little by little, things will get back to normal. This I know. The dogs coats will eventually be dry again - they have been great pillows/tissues. Unfortunately, the dog training went down the tubes this week. So much for them not being allowed on the couch. I mean, it was either them on the couch or me on the floor so they could console me. By the way, if anyone is looking for a good dog trainer, let me know. I highly recommend the trainer we have been using - Sonia from Dog Training in Your Home. Her website is www.betterdog.com She worked with our budget and gave us a huge discount because we rescued our dogs. Sonia comes to our house which I think is a huge benefit because they are trained in the environment they are in the most. You can tell that she really loves the dogs she is working with and has a huge passion for it.

Being that my last 2 blogs have been so blah, I wanted to focus on some of the positives - Sam is still continuing to kick some major tail in tennis, his PFT's went up, and his PICC line was removed today. Yippee! Also, his doctor agreed to write a letter in order to help with the adoption process stating that there is no reason why Sam would not be able to raise a child to adulthood. That is huge in so many ways!

I am also extremely proud of my sister who is in the process of jump starting a business called Sugarbaby Sweets. This is something that we have both been talking about for quite a few years and she actually has the dedication and drive to carry it out. Dana has some great ideas and is extremely creative, so if you are looking for some homemade sweets and treats as party favors or in the market for some pies for Thanksgiving, she is the way to go. Her email is dixiekitty476@aoldotcom (just trying to keep the spammers away - just to clarify it is actually aol.com). I am planning on using my October Happiness Project to kind of get my stuff in order and hopefully get my own little version of a business up and running.

Thanks for all of the kind words, thoughts, and prayers. We will keep everyone updated.

"Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pain, losses, and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures." ~Joseph Addison

"Avoid being impatient. Remember time brings roses." ~Unknown

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hello, God. Can you hear me?

"Congratulations, Mrs. Byram! Your progesterone level was perfect and your HCG level was thru the roof. You are pregnant!". Those were the words I had been praying to hear when my phone rang at 1:34 on Friday, September 23. Instead, I heard, "Hello, Marisa? This is Dr. Elsner. Are you at work? Well, I have your results here and they are not good. We really thought it was going to work." After that, I am not really sure what she said. She just kept talking and talking and I just wanted to hang up. I managed to keep my composure for the 3 minute 40 second long phone conversation, but as soon as I hung up, my world crashed. For the past week, I just knew that it was good news. Every 40 minutes to an hour, I was peeing. Never before had I consumed so much water. The low grade fever I had just had to be from the fact that my metabolism sped up in order to compensate for the 1 or 2 new lives that were getting acquainted inside my uterus.

On the morning of September 12, as I was getting off I-85 at North Druid Hills waiting to make the left turn at the lite, I had a conversation with God. I do this all of the time. But this time there was desperation in my voice and I was actually speaking out loud. I thought maybe this would help get my point across a little more thoroughly. God, please don't let my egg transfer be today. It has only been 3 days, so that means that my embryos aren't very strong if they need to go in today. If they do need to go in today, please make sure they are strong enough to survive. I would rather get a phone call saying that none of the embryos survived and that we can't do a transfer at all instead of getting a call 12 days later that I am not pregnant. Please work with me on this.

September 12 was 10 years to the day that I got Cheyenne, so I knew that it had to be a lucky day. Sam and I were in the procedure room waiting for the transfer when I told him that Cheyenne was going to make this happen. The doctor came in and asked if we wanted 1 or 2 embryos transferred and we decided on 2. The thought of us having not just one, but 2 babies was just riveting. My eyes filled with tears as I watched these 2 little microscopic blobs make themselves comfortable. I clutched my St. Gerard medal that I wore around my neck and asked him to make these 2 little embryos strong enough to survive and give them the chance they deserve as well as give Sam and I the chance the parents we have longed to be.

For the next 12 days that followed, I did everything that I was supposed to do. I avoided caffeine, stayed off my feet for long periods of time, ate healthily, took my shots, took my vitamins, drank only water and juice, switched to decaf coffee, you name it, I did it. But mostly, I talked to them. I told them that when they made their arrival into the world, we had a great bedroom for them with a wonderful view of the back yard. I told them that they could be whatever they wanted to be when they got older and that their dad and I would support them. We had not just one, but 2 dogs who were going to give them kisses and play fetch with them. If there was a girl in there, I was going to become the girliest girl around and I was going to dress her in fun, pretty dresses, teach her how to do her makeup, take her shopping and teach her how to find all the good sales. If there was a boy in there, I was going to be "sports mom". I would find out the rules to whatever sport he wanted to play and become good at it. He would be a momma's boy, but he would know how to cook, clean, and do the laundry. He would grow up to learn to be a gentleman and buy a girl flowers before dates, open doors, and say and do all the right things. Whether it was a girl or a boy, they would be a GIANTS fan and their dad would teach them to play tennis. I will always hug them and kiss them before they got out of the car for school even if it was embarrassing because that is what mom's do.

The fact that I won't get to feel a baby kick for the first time, hear a hearbeat or 2 for the first time, get morning sickness, stretch marks, swollen ankles, swollen feet, have people ask when I'm due or if I know if it is a girl or a boy beyond saddens me. For people who say that you aren't missing much have obviously never had trouble conceiving.

The doctor and the company that we used came highly recommended to us by many people. Through out this whole process, I have said that I was less than impressed with them. I never saw the same doctor because my doctor was always out of the country or at a family reunion with every appointment that I had. The nurse was very cold and matter of fact - not that she needed to be warm and fuzzy all of the time, but this is a very scary process so a little bit of compassion would be somewhat appreciated. These are complaints that I have had during this entire process, so I really don't want people to think that I am saying this because I am disgruntled. When we are paying over $20,000 for a procedure that is not guaranteed, the least we could ask for is consistency, kindness, and compassion.

My family, friends, and co-workers have been very supportive. There were people at work who gave up cancellation dates for me, everyone was saying a ton of prayers and sending positive thoughts, and were just genuinely excited. It was not just Sam and myself who were going thru this process, it was everyone that we knew who was going thru it with us. We were not the only ones who were let down by this. Granted, there were some people whose religious beliefs don't agree and it was evident to me the lack of sincerity that was there, but that is all right. That is what makes the world go round. If they were in our shoes, they would probably think differently. Everything changes once you are the person who can't have a child. We know there are other options out there for us. As soon as our hearts heal, we will be looking into those. We are very understanding of the fact that when a child is adopted, you love them just as if they were biologically yours. But I think it is understandable that we will be grieving the fact that we won't have a little being that has Sam's eyes and nose, my feet and sense of humor, I won't physically experience pregnancy, nor will we ever know what we could have created together. My faith is a little shaken at the moment as I think many people's would be.

I know God has a plan for us and that everything happens for a reason, but it is not what we want to hear right now. Please just pray that we get the guidance and strength we need to get thru this. In the meantime, I will be turning my attention back to my Happiness Project in October. This is just the kind of distraction that I need. It will help my heart to heal. Perhaps we will make the adoption process our goal one month. You never know.

"We must accept finite dissapointment, but never lose infinite hope." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith." ~ St Francis of Assisi

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both......

A ton has happened since the last time I posted. Sam went into the hospital and was really sick for quite a while. We were planning on starting IVF this summer, but didn't because he was so sick. The last thing we wanted to do was worry about doing IVF and have to cope with Sam's sickness and all that it brought with it. Another project that we were anticipating came to a screeching halt was our home improvements. After forking out over $6,500 for mold remediation and all of the changes that went with it, we figured that spending large sums of money on home renovations would not be the smartest thing to do. I have put my happiness project on hold for right now because, honestly, things have just been too crazy for me to really focus on happiness. The past few months have been devoted to focusing on Sam's health and getting him better.

In July, Sam started IVIg treatments. He gets the infusions every 2 weeks. We have seen a drastic improvement in his PFT's and his energy level. He is not nearly as tired and is able to play tennis for 2+ hours at a time 3-4 times a week. Plus, he has been kicking some major tail! Currently, he is playing on 3 different leagues and also picking up some extra matches with friends. My dad came to watch one of Sam's matches 2 weeks ago and was highly impressed by his tennis skills! I feel like I have my Sam back from 5 years ago. He has gained some weight and he is looking fantastic! Last nite, he started home IV's because his doctor is hoping that now the antibiotics will have something to actually bind to now that he is on the IVIg infusions. Thankfully, he has an employer who is very understanding and supportive. That really helps when he is already having to deal with the trials and tribulations of everyday life. So, as of right now, Sam's health has definitely been an "up" for this summer!

Another high point of the summer was my mom, sister, niece, and nephew coming to visit. I love having them here and, if it was up to me, I would have never let them leave! We went swimming at our swim and tennis club, shopping, out to eat, celebrated Sam's 27th birthday, and relaxed.
Christina is growing up into such a beautiful young lady. Her newest thing is watching Toddlers & Tiaras and she tells us that she wants to do that, too. She practices her walk and her "fierce" face. I got smothered in hugs and kisses and she made my heart melt every time she told me I was her best buddy. I can't wait to see what the future holds for this amazing little girl.
Then there is Matthew. What a cutie! I didn't know if I would honestly have enough room in my heart to love 2 equally, but with that face and smile, it is very easy to do. Matthew is the happiest baby I have ever seen and already has such a wonderful personality. He is always smiling and I can probably count the times on one hand that I heard him cry. At only 4 months old, he already has a tooth. Plus, I got to witness him roll over not once, not twice, but 3 times. My mother witnessed it as well, but unfortunately Dana was never in the room. He also ate sweet potatoes for the first time and went swimming for the first time. Matthew and Christina were definitely the stars of the pool - Matthew with his all around cuteness and Christina dancing poolside and looking like a little model in her sunglasses, bikini, and pigtails. It was nice for me to be there for some firsts!

In June, I went back to my home state - NY! And boy did I have a blast. Sam was supposed to join me, but being that he was not feeling well, we decided it would be best for him to stay home. Matthew's baptism was in June and I am so honored to say that I am his godmother. The ceremony was beautiful and the celebration afterwards was a blast!

Great to see so many friends and family joining us for this special day and to celebrate this very special little boy. While I was up in NY, I got to spend plenty of time with my Gramps. Most of our time was spent in the yard surrounded by his many tomato plants and basil plants. I love it! Growing up, I used to spend alot of time with my grandfather and most of it revolved around gardening. He is such a wonderful man who holds a very special place in my heart.

I also got to spend the nite out with my girlfriends in Battery Park. Julie has the most gorgeous apartment and rooftop view of the Statue of Liberty. We had appetizers and cosmos on the sundeck and then sauntered along the water to a fabulous restaurant. We ate dinner outside, drank champagne, and shared some extremely yummy desserts. No one knows how to make me laugh like these girls! Sometimes I think they know me better than I know myself. I just love them!

Even though we had some highlites this summer, we also had some sadness. I had to say goodbye to my best friend, Cheyenne. After being diagnosed with Cushing's Disease in January, her health failed rather quickly. We tried just about every treatment option available. She had also developed dementia, so much of her time was spent pacing and panting. After she stopped eating and drinking, she lost so much weight and was not herself. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make, but I knew that it was the right one. This is not the kind of life I knew she wanted. On the morning of July 3rd, I knew that I had to stop keeping Cheyenne here for my own selfish reasons. Dogs are very intuitive and I think Cheyenne was grateful. She finally stopped pacing and just laid on the couch next to me with her head on my lap. I knew that this was not something I would be able to do so my dad went with Sam to the vet. I will never forget the last time I hugged her and kissed her and told her I loved her. Standing in the driveway, I watched my dad and Sam drive down the street for what I knew would be the last time I saw my best friend. I still cry when I think about her - I am crying as I type this. We had her cremated and her remains are in her doggy bed along with her favorite toys in our bedroom. She was the best dog - protective, loving, snuggly, loyal. Whenever I would cry, she would be there for me to use as a pillow and she also served as a wonderful tear catcher. One of my favorite memories was when we were at the Duluth festival right after I got her. I heard a loud shriek and looked down and saw Cheyenne giving me sideways eyes as she was taking a hotdog out of a 2 year old's hand. Cheyenne was actually doing that mom a favor - Cheyenne was concerned about a choking hazard. Two year olds shouldn't have hotdogs anyway! See you at the Rainbow Bridge, beautiful girl!

A week after we said goodbye to Cheyenne, we went to PetSmart to pet the doggies. Somehow, not one, but 2 found their way into our car. We got them from the same lady that I got Cheyenne from, so I know they have to be quality dogs. While I did feel guilty getting 2 dogs so quickly, I know that Cheyenne would have wanted us to give another dog the same happiness and love that we gave to her. I think she knows just how special she is to me and that she could never, ever be replaced. When we were at PetSmart, I saw these 2 girls in their crates covered in ticks and I knew that this was not the life for them. They had so much spark and love in their eyes, but they also had desperation. I figured that we would take them out of their crates for a walk and see how things went. They never went back into their crates after they came out. Sam was a little weary about them, but I did not want to force him to get them. Part of him knew that this is what I needed to help me cope and the other part knew that they could not go back to where they came from. We loaded up on puppy supplies and piled into the car. I sat in the back with them and had to pick ticks off of them. Not a fun job. Before we even brought them in the house, we had to give them flea and tick baths. Guess who does not like baths? We didn't have names for them and were pretty much calling them Thing 1 and Thing 2. By that nite, we decided on Lulu for the little one (chihuahua mixed with something else)

and I noticed that the big one ran really awkwardly, so she would be named Phoebe Buffay (golden retriever and aussie shephard mix).

The following day, we brought them to the vet and came home with drops, creams, and lotions for ear infections, skin infections from tick bites, incision infections from surgery, eye infections. It was just swell. But now, they are happy and healthy and enjoy running in the yard and hogging the bed.

Thankfully, because Sam's health is improving, we were really getting excited about starting IVF soon. Things were really looking up and I was starting to get into baby mode. We knew that things would be tricky because of Sam's cystic fibrosis, but we weren't banking on any other road blocks. Well, we went to the doctor the other day only to find out that my AMH level is ridiculously low. That means that I don't have many eggs left at all, so getting them to do IVF is going to be very difficult. Also, my FSH level was elevated, so the quality of eggs is not the best. Several people that I know here in Atlanta have used the same doctors' group we are using and they have all had success, so I am hoping that we are in the same boat they are. This was quite a blow and a really big shock. I am taking each day as it comes and facing each obstacle as it arises. I know there is already a path for me and it is just a matter of time before it is revealed. There is love in our hearts for a child, whether it is biologically ours or not, that doesn't matter. Before we explore adoption, though, we are going to give IVF a try and pray for the best.

So that pretty much sums up the highs and lows of our summer. I will update everyone regarding our IVF journey, but I prefer to not talk about it, so it will probably be a while before I blog about it again. We just ask that you send positive thoughts and fit us into a prayer here and there that Sam maintains his health and that we have success. I hope everyone is doing well. Hugs!

"She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader. She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart. You owe it to her to be worthy of such devotion." - Unknown

"Even though sometimes this is hard to tell and the fight is just as frustrating as well. All will be well. Even after all the promises you've broken to yourself. All will be well. You can ask me how but only time will tell. Keep it up and don't give up. Chase your dreams and you will find. All in time. All will be well. You can ask me how but only time will tell." - Gabe Dixon Band

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Maybe Baby......Or then again, maybe not.

I will be very up front and honest. I failed MISERABLY at my Happiness Project this month. Every once in a while, I got in a few exercises here and there, but not to the best of my ability. Hopefully, now that I am no longer a tax widow and I have my husband back, he will inspire me to work out again. It looks like I am going to have my work cut out for me because the 3rd month is now going to have to be combined with my 2nd month. We have already started working on month 3 and can't wait until it really gets rolling.

Now, for the unveiling of the subject.........DRUM ROLL PLEASE.......home improvements!!!! This has already been a very busy and time consuming project, but our house has definitely been a source of unhappiness lately. I guess you could say it started relatively soon after we moved in - actually, right about a week after we moved in when my dad fell thru our deck. Any one who has seen my dad knows that he is not a big guy at all, so it was in pretty bad shape when we purchased the house, apparently. When our contractor asked us if we were doing the home improvements for ourselves or in order to get ready to move, we said ourselves. He was pretty shocked because he said most people who get work done are doing it so they can sell their house. But we are here for the long haul! What are we doing during these home improvements you ask? Well, I will preface this with - our house was built in 1979 and everything in it is still original including the appliances. That's right folks! We still have all Magic Chef appliances. The people that lived here before us just painted the bath tub to make it look new. But when I scrubbed it, a ton of the paint came off. The bathroom walls have quite a bit of mildew, so those are going to be replaced, new counter tops in the kitchen, 1/2 bath, and 2 full baths, new vanities and sinks in the bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, paint in all rooms, and of course new appliances. I am tired of living in the 70's. It was a great decade - I am a product of it. But I think it is about time that we move it along to the 21st century. We will also be doing some landscaping because Lord knows our grass could use a little TLC beyond what we can offer it. So this is something that we are both really excited about. While I am sure that several arguments will break out when it comes to the nitty-gritty, I am sure that it will also be a really fun project for us to work on together.

On to some more fun news......I have a new nephew, thanks to my sister and brother in law. He is just gorgeous. His name is Matthew Joseph Murphy. For those of you who did not hear about my sister's insane labor, I will give you a quick summary. Dana wakes up at 4 am feeling some labor pain. She takes a shower and her water breaks at 4:30 am. Dana and Brian get to the hospital at 5:01 am. After a quick exam, they assess Dana as being 7 cm dilated. She signs the consent with the anesthesiologist to get an epidural, they reassess and discover that it is pushing time - no time for the epidural. Matthew Joseph Murphy was born on March 30th at 5:28 am at 9 pounds 12 ounces 22 inches long. Matthew was born on my grandfather's birthday, whose first name is Joseph, so his middle name is Joseph after my Gramps. I went up to NY to surprise my family for my precious niece's 3rd birthday party. My mom was the only person who knew. I spent every living moment up there with my niece and nephew. They really just rock my world. Christina just turned 3 and she is just the greatest. I can tell that we are going to be best friends. Her personality is just amazing. The things that she says are hilarious. She cried when I left and after I got inside the airport, I cried. Christina has such a beautiful soul and I can tell she is going to be a person who touches the lives of others. Matthew never cries....doesn't make a single peep.....one would say he was peepless. When he is awake, he is so happy. But he is definitely a sleeper. I think it was day 3 of me being there that I finally saw his actual eyes! He was in such a hurry to get here just to sleep.

Now on to the other stuff that is going on with us. Every day that I am at work, I take care of other people's children. I love kids - not as much as animals - but I love them. Being that Sam has cystic fibrosis, we have to deal with infertility issues. We have just recently started talking about a time line for us and when we would want to have kids. While I do like to share my life here on my blog, I am not going to share our time line. Again, that is just one more thing that CF robs us of. Many people get to just get pregnant spontaneously and that is something that we do not get to do. We have to conceive in probably the most invasive, non-intimate way....with a petri dish. After doing some research, we have been hit with some pretty hard realities. The statistics of getting pregnant thru IVF is 50%. If we are not successful, we do not get our money back. The cost is just shy of $20,000. Imagine how heart breaking that is. My health insurance does not consider infertility to be a health problem, so it is not covered at all. Another option would be adoption, but that is something else that is not a 100% guarantee. It is possible to pay a ton of money and still not get a child. What happens if the adoptive parents change their mind? Plus, for my own selfish reasons, I would like to experience pregnancy first hand. When I was looking at some websites regarding couples with a CF spouse going thru IVF, I took a really hard blow. One person posted on there that it was very selfish for people with CF to reproduce because it is already bad enough that the couple has to deal with it and then to add a child to the mix is just plain selfish. It was really hurtful to read and it started to make me second guess whether or not we should have children. After speaking to a friend and one of my co-workers, they both made me realize that this is not something that we should be deprived of because anything can happen to any one of us on this earth. The fact that we have to deal with this on top of CF is kind of like the spoiled whipped cream on top of the melted sundae. One of the hardest things for me to deal with when I am at work is encountering parents who have children who are failure to thrive because they have several children and they don't have enough money to feed them but they are pregnant again and have designer clothes, cell phones and manicured nails. Also, children who are in DFACS custody because they were abused and/or neglected. I know it sounds wrong for me to think this way, but it is just very hard to find reasoning that people who can't take care of their children are blessed with them and then they don't appreciate the gift they are given.

I hope everyone out there is doing well. If you have children, hug them and remember that they are truly a gift from above. Don't forget to tell your family just how important they are and how much you love them. Cherish every day and take in the beauty and joy of the spring season. Thanks for reading and don't forget to become a follower!

A baby is a bit of star dust blown from the hand of God! - Unknown

When God wants something special done in the world... He sends a baby and then... He waits.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Enough lites to decorate Buckingham Palace!

March 15th was the deadline to my first month of my Happiness Project. Did I meet my deadline? Nope, but I came pretty stinkin close! The basement is my nemesis! I worked on it for several weeks, but it is taking much longer than I thought. Yesterday, I spent most of my afternoon sorting through boxes of Christmas lites. If you have ever seen the movie "Christmas Vacation" than you will have an idea of what each box of lites looked like. They were all just huge balls of knots. I took the time to untangle each one and re-wrap them. Had there only been 5 or 6 strings of lites, this would not have taken a long time. Unfortunately, we have about enough lites for our house to be seen from space if we put them all on. Also, we have 2 sets of decorations. We have our red and green decorations and we have our lite blue, white, and silver decorations. That is so we can alternate our theme each year. Oh, wait! Then we have our combo decorations which are the ones that we use no matter what the theme is. This year when we took our fragile decorations down, we didn't do such a spifferific job wrapping them and putting them in their original packaging, so throw that into the equation as well. We have a ton of Christmas decorations that get scattered thru the house, so those had to be resorted. Anyway, you get the point. Needless to say, I am thinking that one more good day down there will get the task completed. I am going to use it towards my goal for this month. How you ask? Well, if you saw the amount of crap that has to be moved around and carried upstairs 2 flights to our office or brought to the garbage/recycling. I am sure this is going to be a large amount of exercise!

I am technically in my second month which will be working on moi! To kick-off my month, I started by taking all of my measurements. I am not looking to lose weight. I will start off by saying that. But, I would not mind seeing some changes in those measurements for the better. I think as soon as I said, "I do!", my metabolism said peace out! I am down to one pair of dress pants and one pair of khakis. As for my jeans, Sam thinks they look better on me, but I feel like I am walking like I just got off a horse.

I did attempt to take Cheyenne for a walk. We walked one mile in one direction and then Cheyenne pooped out on me. The other mile consisted of my carrying her back home. There were people that honked, people that pointed and laughed and one bright light who rolled down his window and yelled, "Well that gives walking your dog a whole new meaning!" Now, I am an animal lover and if I saw some girl huffing and puffing down the street carrying a 40 pound dog, I would assume that there was probably something wrong with this picture. Maybe I am naive, but I would probably pull over and ask if she needed some help and if something was wrong with the dog. But I guess Southern hospitality is a thing of the past!

Aside from working out, some of the other things that I am working on have included flossing daily, putting on lotion after I take a shower, straightening my hair if I am going out somewhere, and putting on makeup more often. This does not include when I go to work. I do put makeup, but the last thing I want is to have my hair fall into someone's oozing wound or a diaper full of poo. That is really not cute! I have sorted thru my wardrobe and gotten rid of clothes that I know that I will never wear again and should have been shot for purchasing in the first place. My diet has been a little healthier for the most part. Every once in a while, I indulge - who am I to turn down a piece of pizza.....or two? More vegetables and fruit have made an appearance into my diet, so I am happy about that.

I feel like my mood has improved some in general. I am trying not to get so stressed out at work. Currently, I am precepting a nursing student and she is awesome! She is way ahead of where I was when I was in nursing school and she is not afraid to try new things. It is nice to have someone that I can teach new things to. It helps with my confidence level. On another note, I had my review at work and got moved up to the next level from Novice to Colleague. We are required to join a committee at work and I am on the Professional Development Council, CF Core Nurse, and Journal Club. I am also the secretary of the Professional Development Council. This year, they needed someone to be a representative from Egleston for the Great Strides Team (A fund raiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation) so I am doing that now as well. If you have any questions about how to donate, let me know! When I am involved with something, I feel like it boosts my mood and keeps me occupied.

The weather has been up and down, but I am enjoying the beauty that spring has brought with it. The lawns are green, the birds are chirping a little louder, baby squirrels are bouncing through the yard, flowers in full bloom....what more could anyone ask for? Oh, I know! A new baby nephew. Spring has sprung and so has Matthew Joseph. He was born on my Grampy Joe's birthday, 3/30 at 5:28 am. My sister woke up with labor pains at 4 am and Matthew was here at 5:28 am at 9 lbs 13 oz with no epidural. My sister is a champ! Big sister Stina is just loving her new baby brother and is looking forward to her 3rd birthday!!!!!

As for Sam, he is still on home iv's and he is working harder than ever. The steroids are helping to give him some extra energy, so that helps quite a bit. For those of you who don't know what a day is like for the average person with cystic fibrosis (CF), I will give you a quick run down. Depending on how sick Sam is, he takes anywhere between 50-65 pills that are spread out throughout the day. Out of those pills, he has to take 6 enzymes with each meal and 3 with each snack. Having CF makes it difficult to absorb fat and nutrients from food, so the enzymes are what helps him absorb it. At his last doctor's appointment, he was up 3 pounds. WooHoo! He does 3 breathing treatments a day - the first and last ones take about an hour each and the noon time one takes around 30 minutes. So when his co-workers come home from work after working 13 hours a day and are crawling in to bed, Sam is hooking up to IV's and doing an hour long breathing treatment. When they are able to sleep in an extra hour in the morning, Sam is up doing his breathing treatments way before the sun comes up. During busy season, he wakes up at 5 am and goes to sleep at 12 am. Sleep is so important for CF'ers because it is the time their body has to rejuvinate, so Sam is not getting that much needed rejuvination. We cannot wait until busy season is over so he can get that much needed rest. He is like the energizer bunny. He just goes and goes! Not once does he ever complain and he never looks for sympathy or special treatment. Sam wants to be "normal". That is the only things he ever asks for.

As a side note, I went to Emory about 2 weeks ago and gave a speech there about what it is like to have a husband with CF. This is a speech that Sam usually does 2 times a year, but he was in the throes of busy season, so they asked if I could do it. Plus the fact that I am a CF nurse helped quite a bit! It was great and everyone was so receptive. I love to talk to large groups of people, so this was right up my alley. The larger the group, the more I love it! I am sure that I did not do as good a job as Sam usually does. But I think I got the point across.

I am hoping that once Sam is done with busy season, I will be able to focus more on my Happiness Project. With him still being on home IV's and in the midst of busy season, it is really hard to focus because I have a lot more on my plate at home. I know that is not an excuse, but our world is kind of upside down right now. My third month is going to have to be pushed back a little, but it is something that I do not have too much control over. To keep the suspense, I am not going to let you know what the next month is just yet. It is something that we have already started on, but we have not gotten too much into it just yet. No, it is not a baby. Just to clear that up!

If anyone else is doing the Happiness Project, please let me know! I am enjoying mine and would love to hear your success stories. Or even if you are not having success, feel free to share and give me some pointers. Also, people, I need some more followers, so make sure you sign up as a follower! Thanks for the positive comments and for reading my blog!

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. -Desiderata

All seasons are beautiful for the person who carries happiness within. -Horace Friess

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Screw the deadline!!!

While I am going to write about my Happiness Project, I wanted to start out by writing about something else that is a whole lot more important to me. Sam is still on home IV's. While I know that he is going to get better, it is still something that is very stressful for both of us. He is a CPA, so he is smack dab in the middle of busy season, when he goes to the doctor, he has to stay at work even later than he normally would, he has to do iv's literally morning, afternoon, and nite. His weight has been flip flopping and his appetite has been less than stellar. I am not going to lie and say that this has not all sent me into a crying spell just about every other day.....or sometimes every day. Sam is usually not around for these little tear fests because I feel like it is not fair to him. He already has enough going on and has expressed to me that he already feels badly that we have to go thru this. Alot of my crying focused around obsessing about Sam having a shorter life span. What will happen to me if I am left by myself, what if we have kids and I have to raise them on my own? It is bad enough when I have to sleep in our bed alone when he goes into the hospital, but there is always the comfort of knowing that he is coming home. As much as I love to sleep sprawled out, I don't ever want to have to deal with a permanently empty bed. Sam always tells me to not worry about it. One day, I got into such a frenzy about it, I was just sobbing uncontrollably - my face was all red and soaked with tears, my eyes resembled Kermit the Frog's eyes, my nose was running like crazy and Sam reached his breaking point. He did something that he had never done before. He started to yell at me about it - telling me that I need to pull myself together, stop obsessing, stop crying. My actions were only making it difficult for him to deal with everything. He told me that he was too persistant to give in to some stupid disease. He grabbed my shoulders, looked me dead in the eyes and told me that he would never ever leave me alone. He will fight and he will keep fighting. He will never get tired and he will never give in. After that conversation, I have looked at him differently. If you look up the word persistant in the dictionary, you will find a picture of Sam. He is a fighter, my hero, my role model. Sam wakes up at 5:15 am Monday thru Saturday and never complains about it. He works 11-12 hours a day for 5 days a week and 6 hours on Saturdays and never once complains about being tired. He is my superman!

My Happiness Project is going very well, but I am running a little behind. At first, I was stressing myself out because I wanted to be on schedule and I did not want to disappoint myself, Sam, or the readers of my blog. I realized, though, that this is my project, so if I want to spend a little more time on an area, I am more than entitled to. Everyday we have to meet deadlines - paying bills by due dates, getting to work on time, getting to bed early, taking the dog out before she pees on the floor, and even finishing the milk before it starts to smell funny! Deadlines don't make people happy. They make you stressed out and this project is all about decreasing stress. I am enjoying clearing out the clutter, donating things, and throwing things away. I tackled my arts and crafts closet the other day - there are a ton of items in it, so I am not complete. There were several projects that I puchased things for, but I never started the projects - never the less finished them. I can guarantee that it will be a while before I set foot into a craft store to buy something. It is quite possible that I could open my own store. Once I am done with my arts and crafts closet, on to the basement I go. That is one area that I am eager to start working on. It will take a few days to sort thru everything, but I feel pretty confident that I will feel like a huge weight is being lifted off my shoulders. Realistically, I would like to be done by March 15th, so I am challenging myself to finish off this month's goals by then.

On a side note, we are having a major mold issue in our house. We had a mold guy come over this morning and he quoted us over $5,000 to get rid of it all in the basement, first and second floors, and the attic. Obviously we are not going to go with the first person and we are going to get some other estimates, but this is a really big job. The mold is something that has been weighing on both of our minds, so I am hoping that once it is taken care of, we will both breathe a little easier - Sam more than me!

Please update me on your Happiness Project progress. You can do it as little or as big as you would like. I got an e-mail from the author of the book the other day and she said that her book is going to be coming out in paperback soon. It is well worth the purchase, people!!!!! You only have one life, so live it to the fullest and make it the happiest! Next month, I will be working on improving myself physically and mentally. Stay tuned!!! But, Tamila, that does not necessarily mean that I will be coming to work all dolled up :-)

Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. ~Earl Nightingale

The flower that follows the sun does so even in cloudy days. ~Robert Leighton quotes

Friday, February 18, 2011

Brown Lettuce and Blue Cheese!

So, I have gotten thru the first 10 days of my Happiness Project. During this time, I have been doing a lot of evaluating. Evaluating my actions and reactions, what makes me happy and what turns me into a ticking time bomb, the effects that my moods have had on others, and my relationships. I notice that I have had a tendency of using up all of my nice and happy on others and my husband bears the brunt of the Unhappiness Project. If he asks me to do something for him, such as make his lunch for the next day just after I settled on to the couch after working, or cleaning the kitchen, I make it very well known that this is not something that I am all that interested in doing. Although, I think I was kind of successful the other nite when I got home from work to find Sam stretched out on the couch watching CSI relaxing after he finished all of the leftovers leaving nothing for me to eat for dinner. I didn't blow up. I just served myself the remaining 5 lettuce leaves that could be salvaged out of the browning bag of salad and slathered it with blue cheese dressing.

I have noticed that I have decreased my complaining at work - I try not to complain when my body parts ache from moving someone, I have decreased declaring how tired I am, at the end of the day, I no longer tell the oncoming shift what a tough day the day shift had. When the resource nurse the other nite said that she heard it was a tough day, I just said, "No, it wasn't too bad." She looked at me with a suprised look on her face and I told her that we all got thru the day in one piece and that was good enough for me! When the physicians order all of the wrong tests and I get phone calls from every single department in the hospital telling me they can't do what was ordered because it was entered incorrectly, I do still get a little irritated. I am human still!

Part of this happiness project has been evaluating friendships. While it is nice in a perfect world to always think that people will be your friends forever, it does not always work that way. Moving on from relationships and friendships is sad, but it also helps with finding happiness. People make new friends, outgrow old ones, find more fun, new exciting ones, and move on. It happens and that is ok. Sometimes you can just give it the best effort you have and after that, it is time to move on. It is not giving up or accepting defeat, it is respecting differences.

You want to know what I part of the organizing I have actually achieved, don't you? Well, it has not been much. Things have been very hectic in our house. Cheyenne has had to go to the vet almost once a week and we got the news today that she has Cushing's Disease. The medication can be rather harsh on her, but we are optimistic that she will be ok. Work has had several call outs, and I worked some extra hours on Wednesday. I felt badly because I was not able to stay longer than 3 hours - that was the day Cheyenne went in for her blood tests. They called and asked if I could come in on Thursday as well, but I was zonked out when they called thanks to the sleeping pill I took. Sam is back on home iv's. The source of some of his recurring illness is coming from our house. More home projects, fun! One of the months further down the road is home imrovements, so it looks like it will be coming sooner than later. But I have succeeded in organizing some things. I have changed all of the hangers in the master bedroom closet to Huggable Hangers, I organized the closet in general, put the dust ruffles on the beds, follow my planner, make my lunch at nite, just to name a few.

I hope I can inspire others to follow along with my Happiness Project. There are some of my co-workers who have showed some interest. I definitely think that people can benefit from this! I would love to hear feedback if anyone else is doing their own Happiness Project.

"Being happy is something you have to learn. I often surprise myself by saying "Wow, this is it. I guess I'm happy. I got a home I love. A career that I love. I'm even feeling more and more at peace with myself." If there's something else to happiness, let me know. I'm ambitious for that, too." - Harrison Ford

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How much happiness can my heart hold?

Holy smokes! It has been a really, really long time since I have posted on here. Our wedding was just magical. It was better than I ever could have imagined. We were surrounded by all of the people we love and care about. I will write and post pictures about the wedding and our fantabulous honeymoon in a later blog.

For this blog, I wanted to share the new journey I am embarking on. It is called "The Happiness Project". This is based on a book, "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. While I will be using her book as a guideline, I will not be following her project to a T. Obviously, she and I have different things in life that make us happy. But there are some areas that did overlap, so it was nice to get some concrete ideas on how to achieve certain things.

I want to start off by saying that I am already happy. I have a wonderful, loving husband, a fantastic, loyal dog, a beautiful house, my dream job - the list goes on. But, I do feel like there is always more room for improvement. Honestly, I feel like one can never be too happy. This journey lasts one year - and yes, I know that I am starting in the month of February and it is not the first day of the month, but as I was reading the book, I got a head start on the first month. I have been wanting to do this for about a year now, but with wedding planning, the holidays, etc, it was kind of difficult to dedicate myself to this. I know those just sound like excuses, but I really wanted to be able to put my all into it. That is just how important this is to me.

So what exactly does this entail? Each month, for the next 12 months, I am going to focus on a different aspect of my life. I already have them planned out, for the most part, but they might change, so I will post what the month's goal is at the beginning of the month. Some goals will be easier than others, but I guess that is like all projects. The author of the book has come up with 12 Personal Commandments that she follows on a daily basis. Competitive as I am, I of course, had to come up with 16 Personal Commandments.

My 16 Personal Commandments:
1. Be Marisa - Ok, so this one I took from the author, except hers was Be Gretchen.
2. Live each day to the fullest - make the most out of my days off. When you start to see the same re-runs of game shows, it is time to get off the couch and get moving!
3. Stop and smell the roses. BREATHE! - I even bought a freshly cut roses candle from Yankee Candle Company yesterday to honor this commandment. I also have a silver stone with BREATHE engraved on it.
4. Don't stew, don't pout, forget the bad stuff. - I hold on to things for way too long and just get more and more angry as the time goes. I am a perpetual pouter. Sam tells me at least once a day to stop pouting!
5. Be nice, be fair. - It is much easier to say something negative than to find the good in others. I already try to stay away from gossip, but sometimes it is not possible. I form opinions rather quickly so I need to start giving people a chance. Also, I need to stop saying mean things about the doctors because, without fail, they always appear 2 seconds later and I am paranoid that they were listening around the corner!
6. Be true, follow my heart. - I ask for every one's opinions about everything. I want a stamp of approval with everything. I need to start making my own decisions. I need to honor my creative side, do more arts and crafts, and nurture my passions.
7. Exude confidence, be fearless. - Again, I feel like this has to do with wanting a stamp of approval. I can be so timid about things and doubt myself. I need to go with the flow!
8. Surround myself with positive people. - I know a whole bunch of negative people and I really feel like it is time to weed them out. Not that it is completely their fault for my sometimes being negative, but it is hard for me to be happy when I have others complaining and dragging my down.
9. It is ok to say no! - And if I don't want to give you an explanation, I don't have to.
10. I can't please everyone. - I need to start worrying about my own feelings and if I don't want to do something, I'm not going to. Although, this does exclude stool samples, sputum samples, urine samples......well you get the point!
11. Spoil myself and those around me. - This does not necessarily mean with material items. Spoil with love, affection, kindness, caring! Although material things are nice every once in a while.
12. Believe in miracles. - A cure for CF and a baby are the 2 that I am focusing on. I want to become more in touch with my spirituality. I feel like I have strayed a little bit from my beliefs.
13. Laugh. - Laugh at myself and laugh at others (but not in a mean way!). Get more joy out of everything.
14. Look your best, act your best, feel your best. - I don't always straighten my hair, wear makeup, get dressed up. I whine, complain and am moody. I focus on feeling tired, stuffy, and sore. I need to act how I want to feel.
15. Everything will be ok. - Yesterday, I was on my way to my hair appointment, stressed out, running late, feeling overwhelmed. I was stopped at a light and looked to my left and saw a gigantic sign that was painted next to an art gallery. A plain white sign with black capital letters that read "Everything will be ok". And it will.
16. Remember love. - Love myself, love those around me, love nature, love it all!

For the month of February, the first task that I will be tackling is (drum roll, please!) Get it together, Marisa! What, you ask, is Get it together, Marisa!? I need to get organized, and fast. My recipes are in a gigantic accordion folder with no rhyme or reason, photos are in a huge Tupperware, my quotes and magazine clippings are mixed in with my recipes, Valentine's, St. Patrick's, Easter, 4th of July decorations are strewn across my basement, arts and crafts supplies litter our spare bedroom, towers of sweaters fill our closet, boxes of shoes and clothes clutter our spare bedroom closet, rapidly multiplying dust bunnies float across the floor. Do you get the picture? This month, I want to work on getting myself organized.

If anyone is interested on embarking on this journey with me, that would be great. I would love to hear about things other people want to work on. Perhaps some of the things others want to work on would benefit me as well. Success happens in groups! I am sure that you are all just dying to see my progress with this, so I will definitely post more often :-)

"Don't agonize - organize!" - Florynce Kennedy

"If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life." - Louis Parrish

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you” - Nathaniel Hawthorne