Give Thanks

So, I'm a little late, but what else is new?! Ha! Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I was sure to take a moment to reflect on everything that I am thankful for. Since November has started, I've seen post after post referring to things people are thankful for each day of this month. I didn't participate (let's face it, I probably wouldn't keep up with a daily post anyway...), but that doesn't mean I'm any less grateful or thankful than everyone else! So, now I'll post 30 things I'm thankful for in my life, in no particular order:
1. Health - I have my share of problems regarding my health, but for the most part, I'm pretty darn healthy! I don't have any major disorders or diseases, and what I am hit with, I am able to handle and get better in a flash (although some 'flashes' take a bit longer than others)
2. Mind - In the field I currently work in, I am reminded on a daily basis of some people's reality, and it's very scary. I am truly thankful that I am of sound mind. I do not have an alternate reality that only I live in, and for that, I am truly blessed and eternally grateful.
3. Work - For some, it takes months, and even YEARS, to find a job with their degree. Nowadays, it's not just about going to college and obtaining a degree - you have to also join the hundreds of thousands of people on the job hunt in order to put that degree to use! I am forever grateful that I was fortunate enough to have landed a job within only 2 months of graduating college.
4. Memories - Just think if memories did not exist... Seriously, contemplate that for a second, or even a few minutes. Now, it would be terrible, wouldn't it?! Memories are sacred moments of time that you can reflect on at any time. Especially in losing loved ones, memories help us to remember them and to cherish the time you spent with them, no matter how long ago.
5. Family - I could fill a 500-page book writing about my family and how important and influential they are to me. No matter the situation, they are always there for me 100% and support me through it all. Whether it be financially, spiritually, emotionally, physically - they're there. Always. And always (well, almost always) without question. I know that no matter what I'm faced with in this lifetime, I can count on my family to be there to face it with me: good or bad. We enjoy the happiness life has to offer, and we face the saddness that sometimes succumbs us. Not everyone can say that about their family. This world can be pretty scary, especially if you have to face it alone. On the darkest of days, my parents and siblings were there to show me the light. They always helped me to see the silver lining of any situation.
6. Food - As anyone who knows me, I love me some food! And usually, I'm not very pick, either. There are so many unfortunate souls that do not have enough food to nourish their bodies, and my heart breaks for them.
7. Rain - I know that here in Texas, it doesn't happen very often anymore, but I'm just thankful it happens at all! It was scary for a while there, but rain has nourished the earth once again, allowing trees and plants to flourish.
8. Holidays - Although they are stressful, I absolutely love the holidays and am thankful to get to spend them with loved ones! My favorite holiday is Christmas, which is no secret! I love the excitement of putting up the Christmas tree and decorating until I collapse. I love the colors and SO.MUCH.GLITTER that comes with it all. Then there's the shopping to put a smile one someone else's face! So joyous! I also love the cold that comes with it. There's just something in the atmosphere during the Christmas holidays that is utterly amazing - there are just no words. It's cold, there's Christmas spirit in the air, everyone is bustling about making plans and getting together, snuggling in front of the fireplace, watching Christmas movies....I could go on forever! I love it.
9. Friends - I've struggled with this topic for a little while, and off and on throughout my short 24 years, but I am truly thankful for the friends that I have. No matter the situation, I always have a friend that I can turn to when I'm in need, even if it's just for support. Although there isn't just one friend for everything, I have a lot of friends for it all! And for them, I am thankful. Let's face it, it takes a lot to put up with me ;).
10. Post-It's - I recently posted on Instagram my love for post-it's, and it's true: I love them! I'm so thankful for them because they help make my life [and job] so much easier! Most of the information I need to jot down is temporary - and what better way to do so than on post-it notes?! I obviously can't think of a better way.
11. Music - Without music, life would be boring (yes, I know not everyone has the luxury of listening to music)! It definitely livens up my life. It also helps to calm me down or get my mind off of things. Whether I'm mad, happy, sad, upset, silly - there's always a genre I can turn to in order to help with my mood. It's glorious!
12. God - God is my savior! Without Him, I do not exist. I do not eat, breathe, sleep, cry, or dream. He puts thorns in my life to allow me to struggle and become of better character. If He puts me to it, He gets me through it! I do admit that some challenges are way harder than others, but I always come out of the other side thankful for the storm. There's a reason for everything, and although it may be hard to accept sometimes, God has His plan for me, and I accept that and put my total faith in Him. I continue to grow closer to Him and allow Him to light my path in this journey through life.
13. Heart - I have a BIG one! I love so many people and so many things, and when someone is down on their luck or struggling to complete even the easiest task, my heart breaks. My heart feels for homeless people and animals alike, for those in need of food, that live in poverty, those stricken with any type of medical disease, for the lonely...I'm making myself sad just typing them all out! The list goes on and on. However, even though it causes sadness, I'm thankful for my big heart. It allows me to feel and give to those that otherwise are neglected. I do what I can when I can, and it's very rewarding.
14. Technology - Who knew that the invention of the computer would have come so far in such a short amount of time? Everything in life has its pro's and con's, and technology is not exempt from that, but technology makes our lives so much easier and more efficient. I realize that it's the cause of our fast-paced world, but there must be progress in the world, and technology continues to progress year after year! I mean, come on...I can see someone that is miles and miles away! I live two hours from my parents, but I can see them anytime I want (mostly anytime I long as we're both connected to wi-fi haha). That's special. And a blessing when you're homesick or have to be away from your loved ones, whatever the reason.
15. Social Media - This kind of goes hand in hand with the technology, but I am thankful for social media. It helps to keep in touch with those we would otherwise lose contact with, and it also is quite entertaining! Additionally, it makes getting news out to people faster.
16. Marriage - We spend our lives in search of that one person we are going to spend 'forever' with. I am eternally thankful to have found my 'someone'! We've had our share of ups and downs, but Colten truly makes me a stronger person and is the most amazing husband I could have ever wanted for myself. I am blessed to have been able to marry him and continue our lives together.
17. Life - I am thankful to be alive! Every day is a blesing and we should cherish it as such. It's so easy to take for granted each and every day, but it is so important!
18. Pictures - The art of photography and being able to capture a moment in time is precious! I admit that I am addicted to photography and am always in love with the ability of those special moments we hold in our hearts to be displayed for all to see.
19. Small Towns - Growing up, I was not thankful for this, but as I've matured and grown up, I am truly thankful for small towns! The city is fast-paced and impersonal. Yes, everyone knows your business before you do in a small town, but it has charm and comfort that you can't find anywhere else.
20. Extended Family - My extended family is also there for me and my immediate family, no matter what. We all have our differences, but when it comes down to the wire, they're present and extending a hand wherever it's needed (most of them anyway). I also am thankful that our extended family gets together for every Holiday throughout the year. Being surrounded by family so often throughout the year is something that many people cannot relate to. I know that it's precious and I absolutely love that I'm a part of such a great tradition. Of course there's always the dullest crayon of the bunch, but we're all family and I love everyone in mine!
21. Blogging - Obviously, I do have somewhat of a life and cannot live on my blog each and every day, but I am thankful for the ability to share my life story and experiences with others in a way that I wouldn't be able to without my blog. I mean, face it, my life would suck without me ;). *see what I did there? HA!*
22. Books - Oh my word - what would I do without books?! Whether it be a physical book or an ebook (which my love for grows stronger every day), I am thankful for authors and publishers that grant me the opportunity to dive into someone else's life for a little while-whether it be for a few chapters or a couple hundred pages-and forget my reality just for a bit. Most of the time, it helps me to appreciate all that I have and the drama-free(ish) life that I live. I'm a book whore - and I love it!
23. Country - This topic is two-fold. I am thankful for THE country - as in, the land with open space and cows and chickens and sky and trees (a.k.a where I grew up). It is so peaceful to spend time in the country where there are no stresses to worry about: parking, traffic, noise, strangers, etc. I am thankful for every day that I get to go back to that place and run wild and free (okay, we all know there is no running involved...). The second part of this is that I am thankful for country MUSIC! It pretty much sums up life. Love, hate, life, death, tragedy, cheating, breaking up and making up, cowboys and pick-up name it and there is a song for it! It always puts me in such a great mood. Yes, I'm a country girl and damn proud of it! *no matter which city I may live in*
24. Little Things - I am truly thankful for the little things in life. I don't have to live an extravagent life and take a zillion trips across the world to be happy. I love living a simple life. And I cherish the little things.
25. Laughter - We all know there are many days that just don't go your way. We all have them, most more frequently than we'd like. But laughter always brightens my day. Whether it be at the office or at home or just a phone call, laughing always makes me feel better, and for that, I am thankful!
26. Faith - Without faith, I would not put such trust in God, and I would be miserable. I am thankful that I am filled with faith in God that He has a plan for me to live a happy and prosperous life.
27. Education - As much as I disliked it, I am thankful for the education that I've had the opportunity to possess. Without it, I would not be at a job that I love with such amazing co-workers. It wasn't the path I saw for myself the entire time, but it was all worth it in the end!
28. Love - Without love, how happy can you truly be? Whether you love your friends, family, neighbors, pets, spouse, significant other, God, educators, co-workers.... love is fragile and should be cherished. Love is abundant in my life in every aspect that I can think of, and for that, my friends, I am utterly thankful - words cannot express just how much.
29. Crazy - "Crazy?" you ask? Yes, crazy. I am thankful for crazy. Not the mentally crazy that you're psychotic and don't know what you're doing, but the crazy that allows life to be more than a boring routine of work, home, sleep, repeat. I'm thankful for the crazy that is in my life. One thing that comes to mind when I think of 'crazy' is my family. We are crazy. We will act crazy, say crazy things, DO crazy things, it's all there. And I love it! And it's amazing. And I am thankful for crazy.
30. Unanswered Prayers - We all have those prayers we make when we think we know exactly what would make us happy at that particular time, but I'm thankful for those prayers that went unanswered. I will reiterate that everything happens for a reason, and what we think may make us happy may turn around on us and make us totally miserable. God has His plan, and if the prayer went unanswered, it was for a reason. Without everything I asked for in life, I am truly happy with who I am today and where I am in my life. I'm not perfect and I don't have a perfect life - believe me! But I'm happy. And who knows if I'd be happy of those prayers would've been answered? I don't, but I'm thankful for them.

Of course I am thankful for much more than this, but I feel this is a great list that includes a wide variety of things I am thankful for. I'm also thankful for the holiday of Thanksgiving, in which we are especially reminded to be thankful for what we have. It's easy to forget sometimes...we all do it. So, give thanks and be appreciative of everything you are blessed with throughout the year! I know I am and will.

Proud to be a Lady Horn

The Schulenburg Lady Horn Volleyball team will be playing for the STATE CHAMPIONSHIP tomorrow morning!  The first time in the school's history! 

How amazing is that?!  I know that while coaches push their athletes and train them - they all have one goal in mind: State Bound.  However, Schulenburg's Lady Horn athletic program has come up shy for....well, forever!  But all that's changed this year, and it's so exciting to see it happen!  Although I couldn't go to the State Semi-Finals yesterday afternoon, I was able to watch it on the computer - those girls looked totally in control!  I would've been freaking out.  Seriously.  It's STATE for the first time ever!  But they kept their cool and won in 5 sets.  Talk about a nail-biter!  Although I don't know most of the girls on the team (they were like in elementary school while I was in high school!), I'm very proud of what they've been able to accomplish thus far.  No matter the outcome tomorrow, they've made history!  I'm also so excited and thrilled for coaches Donald and Melissa Zapalac.  They've been coaching Lady Horn Volleyball since I can remember, and they do such an amazing job!  They've definitely earned it and all deserve to be in that match tomorrow.  I can't wait to watch. 

However, this also surfaces so many memories of my high school athletic years.  From simple district games (every game is important!) to the Regional Tournament...they've all been on my mind the past few days.  Am I jealous?  No.  I'm so happy for those girls and I would've loved to have been able to play in the State Tournament, but I have my own memories, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  It also brings up my love for the game.  I absolutely love volleyball.  So, it's kind of crazy that I passed up a chance to play collegiately, isn't it?  Well, I don't know.  It was such a hard decision to make as high school graduation loomed over me.  My family and I toured Oklahoma City University (Go Stars!) with the possibility of playing on their team, but I had reservations about it.  Did I really want to move to Oklahoma?  Did I really want to pursue collegiate volleyball?  Did I really want to continue on the path that so many thought I'd be taking?  Why wouldn't I?!?! 

Well, that's a little harder to answer than I thought.  There was just something in me that wanted more.  I wanted to be more than volleyball.  Let's face it, what happens after college when volleyball is over?  I wanted to invest in my future - my entire future.  I wanted to live my life and do what was going to make me happy.  Did I hurt people in the process? Yes.  Did I waste my parents' money during all those years of club volleyball?  Probably (and I'll always feel terrible about that).  But those are memories that I cherish dearly.  And I made great friends along the way!  No way would I have been as good as I was in high school if it wasn't for playing club ball.  And my memories wouldn't be the same.  So, to my parents, I am forever grateful and thankful for all of the time and money that went into club volleyball.  I know I disappointed them with my decision not to play collegiate volleyball, and that still hurts.  But I absolutely love where I am in my life and the people in it.  If I would've gone to Oklahoma, my life would be completely different.  But now, I have a job that I love in a field I've always been drawn to but only decided to pursue these past few years.  I have an amazing and loving husband that I cherish and adore.  I have a supportive family unit that I love more than anything.  I have an amazing life that I wouldn't trade for the world!  And I know it's impossible to know what my life would be like right now if I had chosen OCU, but that's all in the past now.  It's been a rough past four or five years with so many ups and downs, but I've become a stronger person for it and am on my way to bigger and better things!  It's all part of the learning process and growing up.  But everything I've ever done, accomplished, and failed at has played an important role in shaping me into the woman I am today.  Have my dreams changed?  Yes.  Have my goals for myself changed?  You betcha.  It happens.  Life happens.  Life changes.  Constantly.  But do I still think about it from time to time?  Absolutely.  Do I still love the game?  You better believe it!  But do I regret it?  Absolutely not. 

Some things are hard to explain, and that decision not to play is sort of one of them.  But I wouldn't trade where I am in my life for anything.  And I could play that oh so popular 'What If' game, but I won't.  What's the point?  I'm not unhappy.  I look forward to where my life will go from here, but I will always have those amazing sports memories to reflect back on and cherish.  Let's face it, there were some great moments!  I loved the adrenaline that a 5-set match brought.  I loved game days and the feeling that the world seemed to stop during game-play.  I loved the warm-ups to music in the gym.  I loved the coaching staff and things they tought me about life as well as the game (I think about Coach Zapalac from time to time, and I'm so thankful to have had such a great coach all those years!  He really taught me a lot, and he believed in me in ways no one else had ever's a relationship that's hard to explain, but those athletes with a love for the game they're playing and great coaching to help along the way know exactly what I'm talking about).  I loved all of it (well, not 'all' of it...those workouts and mile-runs during two-a-days were NO fun!).  But it was high school, and life goes on past high school, despite the thoughts of several people who think high school was the best time of their lives.  I refuse to allow that to be the best time of my life.  Life moves on.  With or without you.  It's up to you if you decide to move on with it.  But that doesn't mean I have to forget those great moments!  I will always have them to reflect on, but I love my life.  I love where I am.  And I wouldn't trade it for the world.  Oh, memories.  What great things! 

In Just One Year

In just one year, my life has completely changed.

This simple sentence is definitely an understatement, to say the least.  My life has DRASTICALLY changed in just one short year.  This time last year, I was so bogged down with many milestones that were about to happen in my life:  I was preparing for my wedding that would happen in 5 short days, working towards college graduation in a month, pursuing an internship with the Office of the Attorney General, and working.  That's a LOT to have to keep up with, but I must admit, I did it pretty well and am very proud of the outcomes :).

However, little did I know that my life would change even more in a short amount of time.  Early in the afternoon, on November 7, 2011, I received a call from my husband-to-be.  He told me that instead of going to class later that evening, I needed to go home.  Now, this was a very strange request.  He knew how important school was to me and how missing even one class could be detrimental to my final grade - and it was a class I was not particular keen on.  Plus, he wouldn't give me any additional details - just that I needed to go home after I left my internship for the day.  I couldn't just leave it at that, though.  I also could tell in his voice that something was terribly wrong.  Little did I know just how wrong it was.  I asked a few more questions, and he told me that he received a phone call from my mom about my grandmother.  I immediately hung up the phone with him and called my mom.  She asked who had told me, and I told her that Colten did.  How was he supposed to keep that from me??  Especially after my questions - I was not going to give up until he told me what was going on.  Upon the realization that 'something' was wrong, my mind automatically ran through a list of terrible things that could have happened and the several people I cherish dearly in my life that it could have happened to.  I needed to know.  My mom informed me that my grandma had passed away.  What?!  This couldn't be right.  She was fairly healthy for her age and had been doing fine a few days prior when I had seen her just the weekend before.  My mind just couldn't fathom the information I was trying to process.  My mom continued to explain what had happened - my grandparents were doing what they loved most: taking care of the farm.  They were attempting to give a sick cow a shot.  Their dog could sense the cow's agitation (of trying to be penned up and being sick - I'd be pretty agitated, too), and went after the cow to protect my grandparents.  They loved that dog, who returned that love towards them.  The cow got loose and took after my grandma, who was head-butted in the chest and died.  At least, that's the information we had.  To this day, no one really knows exactly every detail of what had happened, but we have closure, and it's pretty close to the truth from what we can tell.  My grandpa held her tight, begging her not to leave him - that he needed her and loved her so much.  He could not go on without her.  In the midst of everything, my grandpa had been knocked to the ground.  After an amount of time that no one knows, and to be honest, it doesn't even matter, he drew up enough strength to pull himself up and make the trek to the house to call 911.  My grandmother was pronounced dead on the scene.

Upon hearing the news, I lost it.  I completely and utterly lost it.  I couldn't think, I couldn't accept the news, I couldn't even breathe.  Granny was gone, and Pops had witnessed it all.  They had been married for over 50 years, and I cannot imagine, even to this day, the emotional toil this has put him through.  How do you move on from that?  How?  Why?  Why her?  Why then?  So many questions - of which none matter.  It was her time, and God called her to her eternal resting place.  Immediately, I went into my boss's office and just broke down all over again.  I had to tell her the story of what I couldn't, and wouldn't, accept.  How could I?  I was preparing to marry my best friend in 5 days and it was just a sick joke!  Only, it wasn't a joke.  It was far from a joke.  No joke at all.... none.  My boss immediately told me that she was driving me home (obviously, I was in NO shape to drive), and a co-worker followed us in her car.  I got home and immediately hugged my fiance.  I was crying; he was crying; my boss was crying.  It was a mess.  My boss left and then it was just us.  My body was in shock.  My mind was in shock.  Colten didn't know what to do.  What do you do in that situation?  What do you say?  I don't know.  I still don't know.  But it didn't matter.  I knew that I had to get home.  Everyone kept telling me that I didn't need to be there right away - there wasn't anything to be done anyway, but I needed to be home with my family.  I had to see Pops.

The next few hours were a blur.  I hadn't packed anything to go home for the wedding, and I had a LOT to pack.  But I had way less time than I had planned, so I hurriedly gave Colten a list of things we needed for the wedding and prayed that we wouldn't forget anything important.  Then we packed for the funeral.  Have you ever packed for your own wedding and a family member's funeral at the same time?  I didn't know what to feel or how to feel it.  I wanted to be excited for my upcoming nuptials, but Granny had just died.  My wedding didn't seem to matter much.  We packed up, grabbed the dog, and headed home.  Colten, bless his heart, got me home as fast as he could - we even encountered the sheriff for speeding, but were let go with just a warning.  It was an emergency.  I had to get home.  Upon arriving at my parents' house, there were no words.  One look was all it took and I was in my mom and dad's arms crying.  We stood on the porch for a bit to gain our composure since Pops was in the living room on the other side of the door.  Was he okay?  Well, of course not!  How could he be okay?  I had to see him, but I had to allow myself to gain some kind of composure before going inside to give him a hug.  While on the porch, my cousin arrived at the house.  We were all hurting in the same way, and we all had the same questions, but there was nothing to say or do in that moment.  We just all stood on the porch looking around like zombies with tears in our eyes.  We obviously had not accepted and could not believe what had happened earlier in the day.  But after a little while, I couldn't take it anymore.  I went inside and lost it all over again upon hugging my grandpa and seeing how much physical and emotional pain he was in and would be in for some time.  I don't remember who else was at the house at that time - the number of visitors that week were countless, but I know who all showed up, just not 'when' they showed up.  It was a long night, but we somehow survived.  Plans needed to be made for Granny's funeral, and it couldn't wait.

Throughout that day and the next, it didn't occur to me to cancel the wedding for now and reschedule for another time - to be honest, my wedding wasn't on my mind at all.  Memories of Granny flashed through my head, and I couldn't get past the pain I saw in my grandpa at every second.  So, plans were made, and we held the rosary on Wednesday evening.  So many people showed up to support us and to give their condolences for our loss.  Pops did astounding.  He made it through the entire thing, and held up better than I honestly thought he would.  I caught myself a few times feeling guilty because, at times throughout the rosary/wake (before the actual praying of the rosary began), my siblings, cousins, and I would laugh about a memory or two (or ten, haha), that we would think of that was our childhood growing up with my grandparents so involved.  And those memories are countless.  But I knew that she would be happy that we were remembering the good times and that she had touched our lives in such a way that we would never forget.  The next day was the funeral.

I agreed to do a reading at the funeral, but I didn't realize just how hard it was going to be to stand up in front of a packed church with my grandmother's body in the coffin right in front of the pulpit.  It was hard.  I wanted to read God's word and make her proud, but I couldn't stop crying long enough to do so.  Somehow, I found my composure and was able to hold the tears back long enough to deliver God's word and make it back to my seat.  After the funeral, we headed out to the cemetery.  Were we really about to bury my Granny?  My Granny??? Less than a week after I had seen her?  Yes.  That's exactly what we did. We laid my grandmother to rest just two days before what was supposed to be the happiest day of my life - my wedding day.  But again, that's not where my mind was.  I couldn't, and refused to, be selfish.  I needed to grieve.  We all did.  But my parents wouldn't let me. They shifted the focus of the rest of that day to wedding plans.  I still had to pick up my dress from Moulton from getting it cleaned and steamed.  We still needed to buy the fruit for the snack tables.  We still needed to get a trailer to get everything to the reception place.  We still needed a miracle.

Well, we received miracle after miracle - in the form of family and friends.  Amazing family and friends.  So many people played such a huge role in making my wedding day so memorable and go so smoothly.  Family from out of town (that I don't see very often, but know well enough) offered to take me to pick up my dress, so I accepted.  That same family drove to Victoria to hit up Sams to purchase all of the strawberries and grapes for the snack tables so we would have fresh fruit.  That family is amazing and their help will never be forgotten!  Family closer by stayed around and helped organize decorations and things that needed to be at certain places at certain times.  The next day, Friday, was the day to decorate the hall and have the rehearsal at the church.  That day was a blur!  We had so much help decorating, I'm still truly touched by everyone who extended a hand during this time to make sure that my wedding was about mine and Colten's love for each other, and the true meaning of love and family. My aunt and uncle even brought Pops by the hall for a bit to get him out of the house.  It was so good to see him out and about, even if he wasn't enjoying himself and didn't want to be there.  Who was I to blame him?  He buried his wife the day before.  I'm sure the last thing on his list of things he wanted to do was to attend a wedding in which he would be reminded of his loss.  But he continued to tell everyone that he would go to our wedding, but after that, he didn't know what was going to happen or what he would do.  I was just ecstatic that he wanted to be there for us on Saturday.  So, we decorated the hall and did what we could in the amount of time we had, which was a lot!  We successfully decorated the place to be country chic-ish.  Which is exactly what we wanted.  I couldn't have been happier with the result of that.  Then, it was on to rehearsal.  I didn't have a single minute that day to grieve for Granny.  I bottled it up deep inside of me and keeping pushing forward.  We successfully attended rehearsal, ate, and went home.  That night consisted of a lot of hurt feelings, grieving family members, and a fight between me and my sister.  But we got everything out in the open, made up, and looked forward to the next day.  Not exactly how I saw the night before my wedding day going, but it's okay.  Nothing that week was what I had anticipated.  So, why not?

Then it was my wedding day.  I got my hair done, hung out with the girls getting ready, and then I put on my dress.  I felt beautiful.  I felt amazing.  I felt a giant-sized hole in my chest because I knew my grandma wouldn't physically be there and my grandpa would have to endure being there without her.  Of course, with every wedding, there were some glitches, but I didn't care.  So what if one of my groomsmen had a different color vest than the rest?  Oh well.  So what if one of my bridesmaids left her shoes in another town?  Oh well.  So what if the bridesmaids decided to take scissors to their dresses just mere hours before the ceremony (okay, this was actually hilarious!)?  Oh well.  So what if my husband was intoxicated at our reception? Oh well.  My wedding day was beautiful and absolutely amazing, but it wasn't exactly as I had imagined.  It was BETTER!  Due to everything that had happened that week, my focus on my own wedding changed.  The small stuff didn't matter - I didn't care if Mark's vest was a different color.  I didn't care that part of my dress ripped during the reception.  I didn't care, it didn't matter, and we all had a great time!  Instead, the focus was on family and friends that showed up to help us celebrate our love.  The focus was on every single hand that helped make that day be such a magical dream come true.  The focus was on the meaning of that day, not the little things.  My heart was overflowing with love and support from every person in the room - and I knew my grandmother was there in spirit.  It didn't make the pain any easier, but I managed.

The next week was our honeymoon - and I couldn't have asked for a better location.  We went to Rockport to the Rodgers' beach house.  It was quiet, relaxing, AWAY from everything the previous week had put me through.  It was a break.  A break that allowed me to break down.  A break that allowed me time alone with my husband to begin healing.  A break away from the 'it's okay', the 'I'm sorry for your loss', and the 'she was here in spirit'.  It was a great break.  And my husband was there with me every step of the way.  He held me when I cried, he gave me space when I asked, and he was okay doing whatever we wanted to do whenever we wanted to do it.  Nothing was planned that week, and we went with the flow.  It was amazing.

So, I was a married woman!  And within a month, I had completed my last college class to obtain my Paralegal degree.  So then I was a college graduate as well!  Whew!  Then came the holidays and the stress of trying to figure out where to go when and who was where and when we'd leave and when we'd come back and so on and so forth.  It's hard to please everyone!!  But we survived.  The following months were countless job applications and sending resumes.  Then, the day came that I received an email from my old boss from the internship.  She had a position available if I was still interested.  Boy, was I!  I applied (after a very long night of editing my writing sample with my siblings and Splosion Man), and I scheduled an interview.  I remember leaving the interview in tears.  I mean TEARS!  I was so frustrated with the job hunting process and I wasn't happy full-time at my current job.  I was a mess.  Then, I began to fully allow myself to grieve - which lasted over a period of MANY months, and I'm still grieving, to this day.  I kept it bottled inside for so long, that it has taken a while to let it consume me.  Today, I'm still gripped with the raw emotion that consumed me a year ago upon receiving the devastating news.  But then the call came.  I GOT THE JOB, if I wanted it.  Umm, yes please!  I immediately told my boss at the current job at the time that I would need to change my availability because orientation for my new job started the following Monday.  Talk about a whirlwind!

In just one year, my grandmother had died tragically, my grandpa went through something I wouldn't wish upon anyone - losing their wife and best friend of soooooo many years, I got married, I graduated college, and I got a job with my degree.  In just one year, I'm a different person.  In just one year, I am utterly and considerably blessed beyond words for my job, my family, my husband, my faith, my life.  I don't take one minute for granted, and I definitely cherish every minute I get to spend with every person that I love in my life.  It may not be as often as I'd like, but the time I do get with them, I am thankful and very grateful.  In just one year, I've been hit by heartache, joy, utter sadness, desperation, happiness, low self-confidence, depression, amazing self-confidence, love, and so many other feelings.  I'm scarred, but it makes me stronger.  Going forward, I know that life is never going to be the same, but it was never meant to stay the same.  It has its ups and downs, and I experienced both and then some in a short amount of time.  Every wedding anniversary, I will be reminded of the tragedy that struck my family that Monday afternoon, but every wedding anniversary, I will also be reminded of the love and support that gives life meaning.  I will be reminded that I am loved for who I am and I have such an amazing support system.  I will be reminded of the reason for living.  I will be reminded to cherish every moment that we are blessed with to be with those we love.

In just one year, my life has completely changed.

No Time Like the Present

Old habits die hard!  I was taking Plexus on a regular basis for a little over a month and felt absolutely great! However, due to our financial situation, I was not able to continue on it last month - and I could definitely tell a difference!  But, I'm excited to say, I have purchased and RECEIVED this month's supply!  I couldn't be happier to finally get back on it.  It makes me feel great (loads of energy, which is in dire need lately), and I was losing weight.  Granted (and this is great news, people), I didn't gain weight in the month I was off of it (okay...maybe a few pounds, but that Halloween candy is sooooo good!), but I feel better on it, and I can't wait to get back to my confidant self.  :)

Everything else feels kind of chaotic as well.  The apartment has started to become such a MESS lately.  And the sad truth of that is that I have z.e.r.o. energy to do anything about it.  While I'm not home, I have all sorts of ideas and motivation to tackle it, but once I'm home - nope.  It does not get done.  However, I truly feel these 16-hour days have a lot to do with it.  I work three 16-hour days in a row every week.  Talk about exhausting!  By the time I get home, I literally shower and go to bed.  And this past weekend, I did literally nothing.  I caught up on tv shows and did not pay one ounce of attention to the housework that needed to be done.  Not good.  Not good at all.  Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who keeps the apartment from being taken over by rodents of all shapes and sizes... :D.  However, I need to focus and put int the effort to organize it and maintain a clean house.  I really think with Christmas coming up, it'll be a great time to go through everything and organize it.  Plus, Christmas is absolutely my favorite time of year! What's not to be excited about?!

I think some of my weird feelings lately also come from going home a lot.  At LEAST two weekends a month, I'm in the burg visiting with my family and being sure I'm there for Pops.  I know it's a good thing that I'm doing and I love spending time with him, but it definitely catches up with me the following weekend - which leaves ZERO weekends to be productive.  It's a never-ending cycle. *sigh*  But I'm praying to break out of it soon, and I know getting back on Plexus is going to do me wonders!  Bring.It.On.  That pretty much sums it all up.  In a nutshell.

So, basically, I'm just ready to become a better 'me' and get back to having energy and feeling great about life!  Not that I don't feel great about it now, but I'm kind of just 'content'.  Which is fine for a while, but I'm ready for my optimism and positivity to shine right through!  So, I'm going to continue praying about it and get back on Plexus TOMORROW.  There's no better time than the present to make the necessary changes that I am looking for.
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