Friday, August 28, 2009

New Look

How do you like my new look? I love it. For those who don't have bigger screens, click here to see a better picture of the whole layout.

Louise at Louise Franks Designs (formerly Adori Graphics)is responsible for this awesome look. She is one in a million. She does blog makeovers for free.(Right now she's doing all of them for free because of the economy) Due to some changes, she's charging for some things, but she's still the best deal around, in my opinion, for blog design(this includes buttons, headers, and everything in between). She also does free makeovers for anyone struggling with a long term illness, has lost a child, or someone who uses blogging as a way to deal with their grief. Her philosophy is that if you have a fabulous blog, you'll be motivated to blog more.

The best part about it is that this look is completely custom to me. No premade template here, baby. Louise was so easy to work with; she answered all of my questions until we achieved the look that I wanted. I feel like this blog represents me, and everything flows so much better. My new URL also makes much more sense. When I first started blogging, no one had catchy blog names--they were just basic. I don't have to say "I like writing" in order for you to know what this blog is about. You can just tell. I'm finally happy with my blog.

Header image credit goes to NG71. Norm, thanks for letting me use your beautiful photograph in my header.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Memories Rewind: Wild and Free in the Corn Patch

My grandparents first house was in a little neighborhood where everybody knew everybody. One thing that set my grandparents apart was that they had a garden that had everything you could imagine: Bright red tomatoes, Green beans, Squash, watermelon, and corn. I still remember how that corn tasted, even today.

It took awhile for the corn to grow, so my brother and I made the corn patch our secret playground. When I wanted to get away after a long day at school I went to the corn patch. One day my brother said, "Wanna go to the corn patch?" He didn't have to ask me twice. I was off in a flash.

As I pushed back those bright green leaves, semi darkness enveloped me. My cheeks were flustered from running, so I stop to take in the cool breeze. My brother called out, "Wanna race?" "Sure," I said, "but where are you?"

"It doesn't matter" he called out, "just run." I raced to the end of the corn patch, looking left and right. I saw no sign of my brother, but I heard leaves rustling. I headed in the other direction.

My brother had succeeded. He had distracted me long enough for him to map out another course of action. "Shoot," I thought. I fell for his little trick. Determined not to give up I took off running, kicking up dust as I went. In a brief moment of genius, I went to the outside of the corn patch. I know you're thinking, "You dummy! What do you think you're doing?!" You'll see. Keep reading.

A ha! I spotted a bright red shirt in the distance. "I've got 'em now," I thought to myself. Filled with a renewed sense of hope, I ran faster and faster. He didn't want to lose, but I think he felt sorry for me and let me win. I run slower this time, breathing heavily. My mind was thinking about one thing--tagging him in his red shirt. I didn't think about school, I didn't think about the homework that awaited me, or even the supper. I finally reached his red shirt. I let out a sigh of relief. I asked, "Are you mad because I won?" "Nah," he said. We walked back to my Granny's house ready for supper.

Side note: When my brother said, "It doesn't matter" he called out, "just run", that's how God is. He wants us to run, trusting in Him and not ourselves. We just have to trust that He knows what He's doing, even though sometimes it seems like it would be easier for him to tell us what He's up to. It's all about the journey. If we're concerned about getting there quickly, we will miss people on our path and other important things. If my brother had told me where he was right when I asked, I wouldn't have had to think for myself, and I certainly wouldn't have had near as much fun.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I've changed my URL to I've been racking my brain for weeks trying to come up with a good URL since I changed my blog name awhile back. Please update your blog lists. If you're a follower, it will still take you to my blog. No worries. (If my followers have any trouble, just remove me from your blogs you follow, then add me back with the new URL).
I have another exciting change so be sure to check back later this week!

P.S. If anyone needs to email me, here's my email address. If you want to do a giveaway, I am open to that as well. I will promise to give my honest and thoughtful opinions. 

Click on the picture to make it larger if needed. I'm doing it this way because I don't want to be spammed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to the Grind

School started last week. As you can imagine, I've been busy with homework, reading, etc. This means I'll have less free time. I'll still be posting Memories Rewind each week, so make sure to stop by if you're in need of a laugh or just want to read a good story. I just won't have as much time for posting other things like I did during the summer.

It takes me a few weeks to get adjusted to going back. Last week was a little difficult because pf the sitting. Even though I'd been doing things that involved sitting, it's not the same as sitting stationary at school writing and other things. I don't know why, but it isn't. So, I'm in transition again. If you think of me during the week, say a prayer for me. If you don't pray, just send good thoughts my way.

That's all I've got for now. I've done some homework and now my brain(and body) needs a break.

What's something that you have to get used to again, even though you've done it a million times?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Which one is True...Answers!

Here are the answers to the which one is true post. Although no one guessed that I know of, I'm sure you all want to know. Not one to disappoint, here they are.

Which one is true?

I love to act

I love to sing--True

Which one is true?

My closet is organized by color--True Things are so much easier to find when they're organized!
I’m so disorganized that I spend ten minutes looking for lip gloss

Which one is true?

I was named after a movie--True I'm not joking. Maybe I'll share the story sometime.
I was named after a city

Which one is true?

I would rather read than watch TV--True I love to read. There's not much left on TV that's worth watching. I will occasionally watch TV in the summer though.
Are you crazy? My room is designed around my TV

Which one is true?

I love to find a great deal--True I love a great deal
I can’t resist the latest fashions, no matter the price

Hope you enjoyed this! What's a fun fact about you?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks for everyone who participated in my first giveaway. I drew names to pick the winner because I wanted to make sure it was fair for everyone.

Drum roll please...........

The winner is Heather!

Congrats, I'll email you to get your information. That pillow will look great in your master bedroom! For those of you that didn't win, don't give up. I will have other giveaways.

*I've emailed the winner, but if she doesn't contact me within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.*

Come back tomorrow to see my answers to the which one is true post!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Memories Rewind: The Doll who Died Without Doing a Thing--her Microchip said it All

My mom bought me a doll for Christmas one year. This wasn't just any doll. This doll was a doll that took annoying to a whole new level. As soon as I took her out of the box, I saw a lilac purple jumper with a purple striped long sleeve shirt. Her blonde pigtails captured that childlike innocence in a doll. I wanted to see her in action, so Mama put in the batteries. "Hello, she cooed, my name is Allie."

In a few minutes she said, "B C A...A B C." Then she laughed at her mix up. Did Allie think I was her personal counselor there to calm her fears about learning the alphabet? I was more like her worst nightmare (sometimes). Don't worry, the feelings were mutual.

I was trying to get used to playing with her when I heard, "Kiss me, Kiss me." I gave her a peck on the cheek because if I didn't do what she said, she would keep repeating herself. "Does this doll ever be quiet"? I thought.

Evidently she wasn't capable of being quiet because I heard, "Water, water," in that fake baby voice. This was really starting to get on my nerves. Keep in mind that I was only ten years old. I wanted to play with her for a little while, and then go do something else. She kept on and on, and I lost it. "That doll needs to shut up," I distinctly remember telling Mama. She replied by saying, "Now you know what a real baby sounds like." "Oh man," I thought. My heart rate got faster just thinking about it!

Thankfully, the manufacturer had mercy on me. The doll came with a microchip. I had had enough, so I promptly removed it. Allie "died" that night-I never heard "Water" one more time. I don't think I was ever more thankful for peace and quiet and that moment. That micro chip was like a life preserver would be on a ship, for emergencies only. That was an emergency, let me tell you. Allie didn't hit me or yell, her microchip got her in enough trouble for the both of them. On her death certificate, the cause of death would have been overactive microchip.

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway here! It ends tomorrow, (Thursday) at 12:00 P.M.

Monday, August 17, 2009

You Don't Know What This Is?

Mama and I went to Kohl's because we had some coupons and it was tax free weekend. I went in looking for a cardigan but no such luck. They will have a better selection in the winter anyway. We browsed the racks instead.

I spotted a camisole that I liked, but Mama needed to try something on first. So we headed to the fitting room. As I waited outside, I spotted a sales associate. A woman approached her and asked her thoughts on wearing white after Labor Day. She replied, "I wouldn't care when it is, if I liked it I would wear it." The woman still wasn't convinced so she held up her white blazer and black skirt with white flowers. "You would would wear this?", the woman asked. She still said yes. I thought, "This woman must be a competent sales woman."

I wanted to go back and look at those camisoles, but I couldn't remember where they were. We stopped to ask that same sales lady. "Do you know where the Jockey camisoles would be? It was gray." She looked at me like I had lost my mind. "You mean a tank top?" "No, I replied, it's something you wear underneath shirts and it has thin straps." "Is it like a tank top?," she asked, trying to understand.

"Yes, it's similar to a tank top, but it has very thin straps", I said. By this time, Mama was trying to explain it to her as well. She didn't have a clue what we were talking about and it was painfully obvious.

A male salesperson just happened to come up while we were there. He asked us what we were looking for, and he told us where they should be. The lady had her own ideas as to where she thought the camisoles were. "They're in with the shirts, and they have a thick strap." By this time no one was paying her any attention. "Give me the man that knows clothing," was all I was thinking at this point.

He also tried to explain to the sales woman what a camisole was. She finally said, "I really don't know what a camisole is." The man couldn't believe what he just heard. A woman doesn't know what a camisole is?! All of my thoughts of her being a competent sales woman vanished when she uttered those words. Why does she work at a clothing store if she doesn't know that? A better question is: How did she ever get hired?

Friday, August 14, 2009

What do you think Is True?

This is my version of the classic true false game. To round out the blogoversary week, I wanted to do something fun. Which one do you think is true? I’ll reveal the answers soon.

Which one is true?
I love to act
I love to sing

Which one is true?
My closet is organized by color
I’m so disorganized that I spend ten minutes looking for lip gloss

Which one is true?
I was named after a movie
I was named after a city

Which one is true?
I would rather read than watch TV
Are you crazy? My room is designed around my TV

Which one is true?
I love to find a great deal
I can’t resist the latest fashions, no matter the price

Good luck!
P.S. I'm going to be changing my URL soon. It will be I just wanted to give you a heads up. I think it makes more sense to change it to match my blog title.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blogoversary, 100th Post, and a Giveaway

Thanks for all of your sweet comments on my About Me Series. That means a lot.

I said that I was going to talk more about my 100th post today. Here it goes. I thought it would take forever to get to 100 posts, but time has flown by. I've shared my life and had fun reading about others.

Today marks my blogoversary. I guess in a way I have two, though. I started blogging in August of 2006. It hadn't really caught on, so I was basically writing to myself. No one else was there to read it. I didn't get any enjoyment out of it, so I took a break. I'm glad I wasn't gone forever because now I look forward to writing posts. Sometimes I remember things that happened years ago, and think, "That would make a great post!" I love reading other blogs too. It's neat to get a glimpse into their lives. I read cooking blogs, decorating blogs, and family blogs. There are some cute kids out in blog land. This blog wouldn't be what it is today without my fabulous readers. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog when there are thousands to choose from. It's been a wonderful 3 years (1 year of serious blogging though). I'm excited to see what next year brings!

To celebrate, I'm having a giveaway. I was contacted by Living Rooms Direct to do a giveaway, and I jumped at the chance. They have some great things-- kitchen furniture, home decor, and lighting. They also have some drool worthy paintings. Go check them out!

Here's a view of the back of the pillow. I loved the back because if you want to reverse it, you can!

Retail value: $36

To enter:

Leave me a comment telling me where you would put this fabulous pillow in your home! That's all there is to it. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win. *People from Canada can enter too. * For all of the new people, welcome. Please comment at the top of this post, not the bottom. Otherwise, your comment will be on the wrong post.

The giveaway will end Thursday, August 20th at 12:00 P.M.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Journey Ahead Part 3

I wasn't home free when I was discharged from the hospital. I had a lot of challenges ahead of me. The doctors thought it would be best that I start physical therapy as early as possible. I started physical therapy at six months old, but my life has been anything but normal (although my mom believed firmly in treating me no different than my brother. I'm so grateful for that).

I've had lots of surgeries, so I plan to do a brief overview of each one.

1998: I had this one at 9 years old. They broke both of my hips and put in hardware because the cerebral palsy made my feet turn in to the point of tripping.

2004: I had to have new hardware put in my left hip because my leg was starting to turn in again. The doctor also moved a muscle from my quads to help my leg bend better.

2006: I had both sets of hardware taken out of my hips. Little did I know, the hardware wasn't supposed to be left in that long. A hip replacement would have been in my future had I not had this done.

2007: I had a spinal fusion done to my back. This was a very intense surgery. They had to fuse some of my vertebrates because my back had broken(it had been broken a year, but no one knew it...another story for another post)

In 2008, I started having hip pain, which I knew was from a condition known as bursitis. A bursa is a sack filled with fluid that can happen from overusing your joints. I don't want to go into all of the gory medical details, so suffice it to say, something weird happened to my hip. :)

2013: I had my big toe fused on my left foot and my Achilles tendon(more commonly called heel cord) lengthened. 

2014: The Achilles tendon and post tibial tendon on my right foot were lengthened. 

My life has had its share of twists and turns, but I'm still here. The doctors had said that I would be blind, deaf, and require speech therapy, but God worked his magic. I'm now a junior in college and on the Dean's List. To top things off, I am majoring in Communication of all things(and never needed speech therapy)! I don't say this to brag, but to show the greatness of my God.

Through my journey, I've had the chance to meet some amazing people. I can't say enough of about the doctors that work tirelessly on my behalf. I know I could never express my heartfelt gratitude, but thank you. Thank you for helping me despite the criticisms from others. Thank you for trying one new medicine. Thank you for never giving up. Without God on my side and an amazing team of people surrounding me, I wouldn't be here. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to live. Not to live hooked to machines, (I'm thankful for medical technology, I'm not belittling those that do. I've been there, too), but to really live.

I've also met some wonderful families who are on this crazy ride with me. Instead of play dates, we go to the doctor's office. Instead of laughing at a movie, we laugh a the hospital clown.

Thank you all for taking the time to share your stories with me. They were full of inspiration and hope. They were a good distraction from the obvious while in the waiting room. It would be impossible to name all of you, but know that I remember. I remember the curly haired little girl who told me of her frustrations about becoming a ninth grader. I remember the story of the blond haired toddler who is confined to a wheelchair and can't interact with his little brother because of a drowning incident. I remember the then 16 year old boy in the hospital room next to me who was leaving Red Lobster and had a life changing accident. His mom came to my room daily to get inspiration, to see hope in living form. I remember the 16 year old black girl who had to have a spinal fusion up to her neck. Her little baby cousin would come in to see me almost everyday. I was touched by that little girl because she wasn't afraid to touch me or talk to me. Just as I've enjoyed your stories, I hope mine has helped you. I've always said, "If I can help one person by telling my story, it's worth it."

P.S. Here's a picture of me now.

*To celebrate my blogoversary, I'm having a giveaway! Look for it in the coming days.*

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just When They Thought it Couldn't get any Worse Part 2

Since we were born early, chaos ensued. I had to be hooked up to a ventilator right away.

Minutes after birth, both of my lungs collapsed a total of four times. To correct this, I was hooked up to a ventilator. The doctors tried this for a day or so, but weren't seeing results. I was a very sick baby. Mama knew the jet ventilator could cause a brain bleed, but she had to let them put me on it. There were no other options. I was then put on a jet ventilator which beat four hundred times per minute. This was a lot on my little body, so I had a brain bleed on the right side. For those of you who aren't familiar with this, let me explain. When a brain bleed happens, it affects the opposite side of the brain. The entire left side of my body is weaker than the right side. The brain bleed is why I have cerebral palsy. My brother also faced his share of obstacles as an infant. While he didn't have cerebral palsy, he did have to be hooked up to an oxygen tank.

I was hooked up to so many wires and tubes that the nurses had to put an IV in my head. As I lay there in my incubator, I was fighting for my life. I lost down to 1 lb. 6 oz. during my NICU stay and my brother lost down to 1 lb. 10 oz. We were micro preemies. My brother and I were so sick that nurses would call my parents with updates during the night. My mom said they hardly got any sleep because they never knew when they were going to get a call or have to come to the hospital.

Mama came to Greenville Memorial every day to come see us. The nurses told Mama and other family members to talk to us regularly. It wasn't the traditional hospital visit where people come in and Ooh and Aah over the babies. Mama said there was a serious tone in the NICU. Every where they turned they saw a sick baby. What is even more heartbreaking is that several babies had no one to come see them. Mama didn't get to hold my brother and I for months. She couldn't feed or bathe us. The only connection to us was her voice. The nurses also recommend playing music, so Mama brought a pink music box with a silk overlay and placed it above my incubator and blue one for my brother. The nurses played it every day. Even the soothing music couldn't drown out what happened next.

At one point, the nurse came in and told Mama something no other mother should ever have to hear. She said, "I'm sorry, we've done all we can do for your daughter. She's gone."

Mama didn't know God like she does today, but she knew to pray. She went out in the hall by herself to gather her thoughts. She cried because of what the nurse said. God asked her,
"What are you crying for?" This was the first time she had ever heard God speak to her. She cried out to God saying, "God, you gave her to me, but if she's going to be a vegetable take her on. If not, I want a 180 degree turnaround." Granny called my Aunt Sherrie and told her so her church could pray.

About five minutes later, the nurse came back in and said I had done a 180 degree turnaround. When the doctors had given up all hope, God had something up his sleeve. The years that followed were filled with joy, laughter, frustration, and things that were never expected.

To be continued...

This is the very first picture of me.

*Since this is part of my life, this will be part of my Memories Rewind post. It's emotionally draining to go back and write about this, but it is what it is. There's no funny story today, just me almost 20 years ago.*

Today marks my 100th post. I'll post more about it on Thursday.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Girl Behind the Blog

I want to thank you for all waiting so patiently for this post. I think the time has come for you to know more about me, and since my blogoversary is coming up I wanted to mix it up this week. I'm not talking about the standard ice breaker questions either. I'm going to be transparent with you.

There are a few reasons why I didn't share everything about myself to begin with. I didn't want people to read my blog because they felt sorry for me. I wanted genuine readers that read because they wanted to.

One thing I'm sure you are all wondering is why I go to so many doctor appointments. You will know after these posts. Since my story is detailed, I'm going to break it up in three posts so that I can explain it. After all, what good is my writing if my readers can't understand it?


A Race Against Time Part 1

My mom was six months pregnant with twins. She went to work like any other day. She came home and fixed a supper of fried potatoes and hot dogs. Then, it happened--her water broke over the stove of all places. She called the doctor. They had to get to the hospital and quick. My Papa drove like a madman to Hospital A. The gynecologist looked at her and knew the hospital wasn't equipped to handle what was about to happen. The doctors phoned Hospital B and Hospital C in North Carolina to see if they had any lung machines available. They didn't. Hospital G Memorial came through.

Dr. Monty Lafatte came in the room. He examined her. She was having contractions and dilated 4 cm. They waited to see if the contractions would stop. They didn't, so the doctor asked Mama if she'd be willing to try something new. It was called the Lung Surfactant shot, and it was supposed to help make the lungs develop faster. They told her she would have to sign a consent form for them to be able to do it. She said, "OK, do it" because the pain was unbearable. The shot did help some, but it wasn't enough. They told her she was being prepped for an immediate C-section. She asked, "Can you leave her in?" They said they couldn't do it.

All she had for pain was an epidural. She said she was awake the entire time. After the C-Section, Mama got to see my brother and me for a short time. She said she didn't fully grasp how little we were. I was 2 lbs 3 oz and my brother was 2 lbs. 19 oz. She heard a faint cry from me, then they wheeled us to the NICU. Little did she know that we'd be staying there for three long months...

To be continued...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Happy Birthday, Granny!

I want to wish a Happy Birthday to a very special person--my granny. She is a simple woman who doesn't want much, although she does love an occasional yard sale. She loves her family with all her heart and takes pride in hard work.

Thank you for all that you do. Your laugh is so unique. I could pick it out of a crowd. You have to have a sense of humor to be married to a jokester like Papa!

So, Granny, I hope you have a fabulous birthday, and I can't wait to see what next year brings!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Memories Rewind: Diva in the Making

I was a girly girl growing up, but that didn't mean I couldn't hang with the boys. I loved it all-the frilly dresses, bows, and shoes. What I really loved was jewelry. My Mama has a picture of me from Christmas wearing a teal blue sweater, jeans, a bracelet, and necklace. After all, no look is complete without accessories.

I loved Sunday mornings, not just for going to church, but also because it gave me a chance to dress up. I distinctly remember a blush pink dress with a white collar that had dainty pink roses on it. I would finger the roses while admiring myself in the mirror. I twirled in front of the mirror, letting my dress flow freely.

I sat down, slowly slipping on my white tights. I then put on my black patent Mary Janes. Mama appeared to fix my hair. I could feel the brush against my head, leaving behind hair as smooth as silk. She didn't want it to fall, so she wrapped the elastic around several times. She finished it off with a blush pink bow. I felt like a princess that day; no one could convince me otherwise.

My love for jewelry also started at a young age. I begged whoever I was with to let me have a quarter as we left Wal-M@rt. There was machines filled with bubble gum and balls, but I made a beeline for the one filled with jewelry. I slid in the quarter and turned the knob. It was anyone's guess as to what would come out. I anxiously awaited my prize. I peeled off the fuchsia pink top. There was a little diamond ring inside. I slid it on my finger.

"Pretty good for a quarter", I thought.

As I matured, I realized I could have real diamonds. I got my first diamond ring, albeit a small one, for my fifth grade graduation. I almost squealed with delight, but I knew I should behave like a lady.

We inevitably went to back to Wal-M@rt, but this time was different. On the way out, we passed that machine with the fake jewelry. Without so much as even a word, my Papa slipped me a quarter. I said, "I don't want the fake stuff when I can have the real." Papa laughed. Although that machine used to hold dreams of sparkling diamonds, those dreams were made a reality by my Mama. She didn't know it, but I was on my way to becoming a little diva (with manners of course).

*If I can find a picture of me in a dress, I will post it. A lot of pictures are in a scrapbook.*

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Just Checking In

I finished up the last dose of the new medicine this morning. I woke up on Saturday with NO pain. I actually felt like myself. My mom and I went to a few stores. It went pretty well, but at the end I was hurting. I was so happy to be able to enjoy myself without constantly wondering "How long am I going to be able to stay out?"

I can tell a little bit of difference, but I am not naive enough to think it was going to go away in a day. When you've hurt like I've hurt, just to have some relief is worth its weight in gold. We are playing it by ear right now. I'm not going to go crazy and quit taking my pain medicines tomorrow--I know better than that.

I might not be able to come off of them right now, but that is a long term goal. One day, my drawer isn't going to be filled with medicine. It will be so normal; I'm sure that will be strange.

I start back to school in a few weeks, so I won't be blogging as much. I'm excited because a new school year brings new friends and new challenges.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Glance at the Future: A Hands Free Computer

I saw a video recently that got me thinking. Bill Gates is planning on doing a hands free version of the Wii. He porobably wants to test it out on a gaming system before he makes the switch to computers. See, that's why he makes the billions and I don't.

Through the years technology has changed so much. When I was born, they didn't have the sophisticated 3-D ultrasounds that are around today. We can talk to people with a flick of a button. It almost makes email seem old fashioned. With new ideas comes growth and change, but what kind of change and at what cost? MySpace and Facebook fool some people into thinking they have "relationships" with people just because they send them a message every now an then. Let me tell you, that is not a relationship. The virtual world is getting a little out of hand. I heard people were having virtual marriages through video games. How weird is that?

While it would be cool to have a hands free computer, it would also take some time to get used to. I made a mental list of the pros and the cons. One of the pros would be not having to hit backspace to correct your mistakes. Another would be no carpal tunnel.

Some of the cons would be the learning curve. Another would be the computer might require more specialized tools to fix if a problem occured. A third might be awkwardness. I mean, what would we do with our hands? Hands were made for a computer keyboard.

Click here the link to the video. Saving the video wasn't an option unfortunately.

What are your thoughts? Love it ? Hate it? Not sure? I'd love to know what you think!