Thursday, April 10, 2014

On grief

It has been a long time since I've written a real blog post and I don't think I've ever written one like the one that is to follow. It has been a very difficult few weeks and I think that my fingers and my heart will meet and produce something that is cathartic for me and hopefully inspirational for you.

For 24 years of life, I have been blessed to never lose anyone very close to me. The closest I ever got to true, deep grief was when my dog died suddenly during my freshmen year of college. That was sudden grief, coupled with a new environment, new stresses, and not a very solid support system in place in my new home environment.
Side note which will tie in- the Lenten season is very powerful for me. I love gathering in the evenings to commemorate Ash Wednesday, Wednesdays throughout Lent, Good Friday and finally rejoicing on Easter morning.
Little did I know what this Lent would hold. The message of "ashes to ashes" on Ash Wednesday was foretelling of the message that God would provide throughout the past few weeks. My grandfather on my dad's side, Clair, who suffered with dementia and Parkinson's, past away two weeks ago. His suffering was long and his life was really taken from him years ago. When he left this earth, we mourned his loss but rejoiced in his peace and freedom from illness.
After a month of battling health problems, my grandmother on my mom's side, Winnie, passed away on Sunday. She was 90 and while her mobility had been limited for years, her overall health and her mental health especially was good until the last month of her life. Again, she had been suffering which I saw firsthand when I went to see her a week before she passed away. When she finally let go, I knew that she was no longer suffering.
Here's the thing about grief...
It does not look the same for any person. Every single person grieves differently. My mom and dad have been strong and have felt at peace with everything. I shed more tears than they both have, but I too have peace. They were focused on preparing for cremations and services and moving forward. I have been focused on keeping my life in order amidst the changes, the trips home, the chaos. My grief looks very different from their grief. What is healing to them, is not necessarily healing to me.
Death is a funny thing. It is something we don't talk about easily. We don't discuss what happens towards the end of life or the questions you will be asked or the things you will have to face. Yet, when that time suddenly comes, we are forced into this world of hard questions and choices.

Nothing could have prepared me for the past two weeks. Losing two grandparents so quickly was never something I considered but here I am. Nothing could have prepared me for the phone calls or the tears. But I am thankful for my faith throughout everything. I have trusted that God's plan is more perfect than anything I could concoct or wish for myself. I know that both of my grandparents are with the Lord and that their suffering is ended and they will watch over us.  These have been comforting to me.
So yes, this post is mostly for myself. But it's also to say: grieve how you need. Cry however much or little you need to cry. Don't push people out, but feel free to tell people if you need space in your grief. Speak up if you need help and care for your weary heart. Tell people you love them. Stop being scared to talk about death and the creepy, crappy things that go along with it. Rely on God. Rely on others. Be thankful for the life you have. Live, truly live, the life you have. Take heart- it will be ok. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oh Hey Blog World

Well hello there friends! It may have looked like this little space of the blog world was going to be silent for good. But have no fear, I am coming back! And I'm starting off with a fresh space in this little blog space of mine.  It's all thanks to Caitlin at Celebrate Today! She was so sweet and helped me freshen my blog. I love the new look-it's clean and fresh...just what I needed for this space.

A lot has been happening in my world...both the good and the bad. There's been a lot of challenges in the past few months and I think I'm ready to reclaim this blog and use it as a way to write it out. I have found that I'm pretty darn good with words and I think that could be a really good outlet.

So here I am friends, back and ready to write.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sweetheart Swap

So it has been a very long time since I have hit that little orange button for a new blog post. I haven't had the desire or the words to blog for awhile and I'm ok with that. Life has been a rollercoaster of good and bad, beautiful and devastating, rewarding and frustrating.  In fact, that pretty much describes life as a whole. If you're living in the bad, the devastating, or the frustrating- just know it won't last forever.

I actually have a reason to write today though and it is a lovely reason! I decided to join up with Meg at Borrowed Heaven for a Sweetheart Swap. The weather here in Pennsylvania has been downright depressing. We have had a constant series of snow and ice and arctic temperatures so I thought a blog swap might be a nice way to cheer up and look past the ugly weather.

With this swap, we got paired up, had to get to know our partner and then send them a box filled with happy Valentine's things! I was paired up with Julie from Monroes on the Move. Julie was a serious doll and it has been so great getting to know her. She is a personal trainer and currently lives in Washington with her man and her dog. But they are moving to Germany soon! So I'm glad I got to know her before she left the country. Julie-THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for the box you sent me. It came on a day when I really needed a pick me up and everything you included in the box was so heartfelt and I just felt like you knew my heart. I have been loving all of my surprises all week long.

Here's what I got...

 {I knew there would be good stuff when I saw hot pink and sparkles!}

{A GOREGOUS scarf in reds, pinks and oranges-I have gotten so many compliments the two times I wore this during the week. It's also incredibly soft!}

{A chocolate marshmallow stirrer for coffee or hot chocolate- brilliant!}

{A lovely spatula! I love fun utensils!}

{A mug-does this girl know my heart or what?! And it goes with my blog name! I actually cried when I opened this!}

{An eos lip ball-love these guys!}

{A HUGE Kit Kat-one of my two favorites!}

{A Hershey bar-my other favorite}

{The carnage-there was lots of tissue paper. You can't tell me that this table doesn't brighten up the day}

{My wonderful goodies-I definitely was feeling the love}
This box swap was truly wonderful. I have had good experiences every time I have done a swap and I am really thankful for that. I've done a Christmas one, a Valentine's one, a "Hometown" one, a mug one, a nautical one. Each has been a blessing in that it connected me with other women around the inter-webs. And really, who doesn't love to get a box on your door step.
So in spite of the weather, we carry on. And we spread the love.  Keep spreading it, darlings.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

July's Cara Box

So the award to the worst blog poster ever would go to me. Since I never post. You know what though-I'm living it up this summer with friends, good food, a great job and lots going on. However, I did participate in the July Cara Box with Wifessionals!

The July theme was Set Sail! I am loving all things nautical right now so I absolutely had to join in for this box.  I was paired up with two Ashley's this month!  I sent a box to the sweet Ashley at Monograms and Margaritas. I had a blast shopping for her stuff while I was down in Ocean City in June.

I got the most amazing box from Ashley at Raising our Little Devil Pups. Here's what I got! Each package had a little note stuck on to give me a clue as to what was inside. All nautically themed of course!

 Such cute art right!!

Little did Ashley know that I LOVE fun plates and napkins.

What keeps me going! Coffee!

I LOVED this little pouch. I carry it in my purse now. It was such a cute idea to put travel sized stuff together for a perfect beach day.

I didn't know this existed. But I love regular battleship so I'm excited to play this!

Gorgeous colors. Can't wait to paint my nails with these!
Thank you SO much Ashley for sending me such a beautiful box of goodies.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

May Cara Box-Hometown Fun!

So if you've never participated in Wifessionals Cara Box Swap, you are seriously missing out. Each month Kaitlyn pairs up women with one another to send a box full of love and goodies. It's such a great way to connect with bloggers and I can't be the only one who loves getting mail that's isn't junk or bills.  This month's theme was such a great one that I knew I had to participate.

This month, whoever you were paired with sent you stuff from where they are from that connected with your interests too! I got to send some great Lancaster County stuff to Sarah and it was such a joy to get to know her.  See her post about what I sent her way. 

I was paired with the sweet Betsy who lives in Chicago!! She sent me the most amazing box you guys. She was so thoughtful especially when it comes to my nut allergy. She asked questions so she knew what type of goodies she could get me that wouldn't be a problem for my allergies. I was blown away by that!

Here's what Chicago goodies I received...

A postcard that Betsy sent to add my to my collection of unique "art".  I collect fun art prints and pieces locally and now I can add this!

Hot dog napkins people. Come on now. I love hot dogs. And since sending a hot dog is disgusting, this is the next best thing. Funny story-I actually have a thing for fun napkins too.

Fruity tea with the state fruit. Yum!

Local mints since she couldn't get me chocolate  because of my allergy. They smell so good, I haven't tasted one yet though.

Sweet's already on my fridge.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles-a movie about Chicago! I can't wait to watch it. 
She also sent me a sweet note and a CD of songs about Chicago or done by Chicago artists! I can't wait to listen to it.
I can't tell you how much love and thoughfulness I felt from Betsy's box. Thank you! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

This past weekend truly ranks in the top weekends of my life. Yes, it was that good!

Got to host a cupcake contest at work. A friend and I made cupcakes the night before that I entered into the contest, though they did not win. My mom then picked me up after work and we headed down to Bowie, MD. We had dinner at a weird little brewery with AMAZING food. We had a crab dip pretzel that I'm still thinking about. My cousin Danica came to stay with us at our hotel that night and we laughed until we cried.

Friday I got to see my cousin graduate from the Naval Academy.  It was one of the most patriotic things I have ever gotten to experience and something I will never forget. I got to see 1047 Naval and Marine Corps graduates get commissioned to serve our country. My cousin was in the top 10% of the class which is such an honor and we are so proud of her.  It was an incredible celebration, but the weather was rough! Her commencement speaker- President Obama! Talk about a cool experience. His speech was so moving and I am so fortunate to have attended.
{That's Obama on the screen!}

After market and hanging around Lancaster for awhile, I headed to York to meet up with my dear friend and mentor Jacquie and her family. I met them and we made smores at Scott's parents house then we drove down to their house in MD. It was such a lovely break from my Lancaster life.
We ate breakfast all together at an awesome cafe then metroed to DC. We went to the National Zoo and it was the most beautiful day. We walked around and looked at animals. Then we got ice cream. For lunch. With sprinkles. It was such a perfect moment.

Memorial Day started off by me sleeping in which was truly the lovliest thing. My best friend and I got coffee down the street at my favorite cafe, then we watched a movie. We walked down for lunch at one of the few spots that was open for the holiday.  Then we went to the mall and finished out the night with her fiance and two of his friends at $1 Taco Night and washed it down for Carmen & David's ice cream. I can't imagine a nicer day. I can't imagine it feeling more like a day off.

I hope that you all had a lovely holiday and were able to take a break, take a breath, and take a moment to remember the sacrifice of the day.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Playing Catch Up

Hello all! I'm playing a vicious game of catch-up on the blog.  I haven't been around these parts in far too long.  My life has just been so very busy and I am so thankful for everything that has been going on in the last two months.  There are some new followers around here so welcome ladies! Happy to have you here. I promise to actually be someone who posts again!

So here's the scoop of the last few weeks (ok months...)
-My job is going wonderfully. I get to do fun things every day and I love it so much. But it has been very busy. I feel like my mind is constantly thinking about work stuff. I had a dream last night and a colleague was in scooping dog poop.  Can you say interference of work thoughts?

-Church has been a constant game of meetings and opportunities. I joined a women's Bible study on Thursday evenings and that has been so enriching.  Getting to be surrounded by wisdom from so many women of different generations truly fills my heart. God has provided an amazing topic, Decision-Making in Faith, at the most opportune time and placed wonderful women to guide me through the conversations. 

-Speaking of big decisions, Aaron and I broke up last month. It came up at Bible study the week before and so the ladies knew about it and prayed for me and I just felt that it was the right decision. And it was a mutual decision that we both are completely confident in. I truly feel like a new person now. I know it was the absolute right decision for my life and I'm now back on the market for friendship and a relationship eventually.

-My best friend moved into my apartment building! It has been the greatest blessing that I never could have predicted. Walking between apartments, grabbing things that she forgot to pack that I have, making and eating dinners together, walking to market-it's been a wonderful week.

So I guess you could say it has been a busy, life-changing few weeks. Blogging has been in the back in my mind, but I have been reading and keeping up with your fabulous lives.  Babies and marriages and fun! Thank you for the beautiful community that you provide to me. <3