Friday, February 26, 2010

Writer's Alcove: Life {Sweet} Life

Sarah Martin

Today we have Sarah from Life {Sweet} Life in the hot seat telling us more about her. She is pregnant with her long awaited first child, is addicted to The Office, and tells hilarious stories about things that happen where she works. If you don't read her blog, go say hey! You may fall in love with her story about how God worked a miracle to give them the greatest gift--a child.

1. Given the opportunity to play any character from a TV show who would you choose and why?

Hmm…probably Pam from The Office because Jim Halpert is adorable! And I think it would be nothing but laughs filming with that cast. :)

2. If you had to live in a foreign country, what’s one thing you would do?

I would love to work with orphanages.

3. If you could travel back in time where would you go and who would you take?

I think it would be amazing to live during the time Jesus was on earth and doing teachings and performing miracles…people must have been so shocked to see something like this happening in the flesh! And I’d take my husband just cause he’s a good travel buddy. :)

4. Name a favorite college memory.

Anything from the ’99-’00 OU Football season…was amazing and so fun to be a part of the National Championship stuff that year!

5. Can you share the something special that you’ve made (or had made) for the baby?

After all these years, I’m finally taking advantage of my mom’s sewing skills and she’s starting to teach me to sew! I made him a burp cloth with an “E” on it. Gotta start somewhere! :)

6. Given the chance to buy any designer shoe collection who would you choose and why?

I love shoes, but I’m not really into brands so I’m not sure on this one.

7. What’s something fun about you that my readers would be surprised to learn?

Hmm…something fun? Not sure about fun, but maybe odd…I count things in my head a lot. Like steps I’m climbing, etc. Random, I know.

8. Favorite quote?

“Nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

9. What kind of book best describes you and why?

Romantic Comedy…I love a good love story – nothing too cheesy though – and I love to laugh!

10. If fear was nonexistent, what activity would you try?


Extra Tidbit: What are your top 5 movies that you’ve seen?

This one is hard! I have a hard time picking a favorite movie, but I’ll go with The Wedding Planner, Wedding Crashers, Fracture, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and The Notebook.

I included this one because I was curious. Hope everyone enjoyed getting to know Sarah!

Don't think I forgot about Memories Rewind on Wednesday--It's done. I just wanted to leave the medicine post up a little longer for those who might not see it until the weekend.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Preparing for Battle

DISCLAIMER: Do not come off any medications without a doctor's supervision. I'm am working with my doctors to come off these slowly and as my body can tolerate the changes.

You may wonder what the meaning is behind this picture. Well, I'm in a battle. A battle that requires determination, faith, and courage. I'm preparing for the long haul. I've suited up in my armor: Prayer+faith=a victory.

I've reached a point in my pain management that it's time to come off the medicines. I'm blogging about this for my remembrance, but if it helps someone in the process, that's wonderful.

Today you see a picture of all of my medications. They're quite menacing aren't they? While they do help, they do come with side effects, which feel more like side kicks because they keep you down while your body is trying to adjust to the pain. In others words, sometimes pain meds have the opposite reaction after awhile because while some can significantly lower your pain, they can throw a wrench into the overall plan. It's a game of trial and error to see what works best for you. (I have been on both sides of things; I've been mostly healthy and I've been to the lowest of lows. I am in no way belittling those who have to take pain medications because I understand. Believe me.)

I will be posting my progress as I go along. This is the side of chronic pain you don't see in the commercials. I aim to tell the truth because when things are exposed, they lose their grip on you. They don't have any power anymore.

Current Progress:
  • Started coming off Lyrica on 12/17/10

  • Completely off Lyrica (2 different strengths) since 12/26/10

  • Been off 12mcg Fentanyl patch since 2/16/10
I'm only using the Lidoderm patches on occassion, and I hardly ever need nausea medicine anymore. I have 3 to to go, (out of 11 and countless other medicines that I had to give a try during this battle.) It's a mental adjustment as well as a physical one.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Memories Rewind: Flecks in Time

Etch A Sketch 2

Image Credit: Google

I sat at my beloved art station with my Etch-A-Sketch in hand. I started out with simple lines swirling across the board. If I didn't like it, I could erase the drawing with the crooked lines and smiley face and start over.

I would draw flowers, my house, and my name onto the dark grey surface flecked with little particles that magically turned my pencil marks into something visible. Drawing my name might not seem like a big deal to most people, but I had a hard time writing it when I was little because of my disability. I would practice making a big swooping "M". As I did this, visions of elegant actresses and movie stars flashed before my eyes. I longed for my writing to be simple and elegant, but at that moment it was a sloppy, lopsided mess. Discouraged, I vigorously shook the Etch-A Sketch, desperate to erase the painful reminder that I still had a long way to go.

Mama called me from the kitchen, which meant it was time for dinner. I was grateful for an excuse to take my mind far away from my failure, but I was determined to come back and give it one more shot. Oh, who am I kidding? I wrote my name in my writing booklet thousands of times before I was somewhat happy with the result.

This memory reminds me of God in so many ways. In our Christian walk, there is no question whether or not we will make a mistake. Rather it is a question of when...because we will. God, in his unfailing love and mercy lets us wash away our mistakes, anger, sadness, etc. He keeps loving us even when we see no reason to love ourselves, just when I saw no reason to ever believe my handwriting would be something to be proud of.

If you have a few minutes, check out this article I found about Jeff Gagliardi, an artist who recreates masterpieces on an Etch-A-Sketch. Seriously, his work is amazing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting Beneath the Surface

As I opened a box of Raffaello Coconut balls, I immediately envisioned biting through that flaky outside to reveal that creamy white goodness. The picture on the box shows a white ball dusted with coconut, but underneath, it's just a white ball filled with cream.

How many times do humans pursue a friendship with someone just based on what they seem like on the outside? Many times someone can look like a caring, charming person. As time goes on, that superficial facade comes off layer by layer, revealing a much different side of that person. Then, we kick ourselves for being so blinded by their outward appearance.

When you really get to know someone, you are fully aware of their faults and quirks and accept them anyway. This doesn't happen over night or even a few weeks; it takes a long time to get to this place. In this place, one is vulnerable because they can't hide under jokes or material things anymore. Both people involved have to be willing to reveal the real them, not the person that has been so carefully crafted over the years. This doesn't just apply to relationships with others, this is about your image of yourself.

You have to be willing to carefully examine what could you change to be better. Don't blame it on other people or other things. The first thing is to admit something needs to change. Denial will put you on a downward spiral that will take you further than you care to go.

You'll be amazed at what you learn if you will dig a little deeper.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Memories Rewind: Outdoor Concert

Recess was in full swing. Boys and girls were playing an intense game of hoops, some were playing freeze tag, but I had my own little thing going on. I guess you could even say I had groupies.

I had found my way over to the swings. I loved the feeling of freedom. I grabbed the rusty chains and started pumping. Before I knew it, my friend R had joined me. "Wanna see who can get the closest to touching those tree limbs?" he asked. Sure. That looked so far away to me, but I was willing to try.

By this point, I should have known R was up to something. "Will you sing for me?" he asked ever so sweetly. I guess, was my hesitant reply. "OK, I wanna hear I Believe I can Fly." Whoa now! He had been hashing this brilliant plan of his for awhile, probably during math class I told myself. Never skipping a beat, I was still pumping my legs. "I believe I can fly" I sang softly but loud enough for him to hear. I didn't want the whole class hearing because then I'd be asked to sing every recess.

"I believe I can touch the sky, I think about it every night and day..."

"Wow, you getting close to those limbs M!" I was also running out of breath!

R felt bad for me, so he added his deep baritone voice to my soprano. As I saw the limbs and the bright blue sky getting closer to me, memories of that math class became all but a distant memory. Little did I know, R was going to put his own twist on the song. "I see M running through that open door". "Well, well, well", I thought to myself. R can be nice when he wants. The more we sang, the better it got. We were in a "contest", but we were just having fun.

Those were the days when kids made up their own fun. We used our imaginations to take us to faraway lands or to the tops of trees. *I can't remember who won the "contest", I think we both called truce on that one because I was about to have a date with the Georgia clay. :)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I'll be Back

I'll be back and better than ever after Friday, which means you'll have comments from me. Thanks so much for all your support while I've been spending more time with God. I've learned more about myself, and I have taken the time to reflect on how far I've come.

I'm making progress in therapy. Some days are so great, and some days couldn't be over fast enough. Pray for continued strength and grace for me as I continue on this journey. Anytime I reflect, it's two sided because I realize how much further I have left to go. One of my friend's posted an excellent quote on F@cebook the other day that would explain everything: "~Not what I should be; Not what I could be..Not who I want to be, but sure not who I used to be!"~ C.S.

God wants us to fully rely on Him. Not our knowledge, our jobs, or anything else. When you really reflect on where you are, there's no denying how utterly lost and helpless we would be without Him. He is my life, my love, my friend, my guide, my teacher....and everything in between.

In other news, I won my school's monthly FaithLearn blog contest for my article, No Strings Attached. Any credit I get goes to God. I just thought you would like to know since you've read about my near death experiences with glow sticks, my life as a student, and just life in general.

It's not about plaques that collect dust on the wall or shiny trophies. Writing is about encouraging people, inspiring them to reach higher, be better, be themselves in the midst of a world of people who change their minds about how they think with every commercial. Sometimes I wish I could write anonymously, so that my name doesn't cloud the meaning of the words on the page. I pray that my writing penetrates people's hearts, makes them long for something more, something different. My wish isn't to be known by thousands of people, but that I'd be known to the only One who matters--Jesus.

What have my awesome readers been up to this week? C'mon, I know you have some entertaining stories to tell!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Memories Rewind: A Penny was all I Needed

Mama had taken us down to the Rec. Department to play one afternoon. We played on the big yellow slide and the monkey bars, but what we really liked was the wishing well.

I skipped down the sidewalk admiring the well manicured lawn. I couldn't wait for Mama and E to get there. "Can I please have a penny?" Mama fished a shiny brown penny from her pocket. I held onto it so tight. I had read the Wishing Well book, so I was very excited. I didn't know what could happen, but I knew it had to be good. I peered over the gurgling creek, searching for little fish. I didn't think the wishing well would like pushy kids, so I patiently waited on my mom a brother to get there. I thought maybe our twin powers would get us a great wish. Or maybe even an extra wish if the wishing well princess was feeling especially nice that day.

Finally, after what seemed like a century in kid years, my brother stood beside me. I closed my eyes and made a wish. I can't remember what I wished for, but it was probably a toy or a sleepover with friends. "Ker plunk" went the penny into the depths of the creek. I watched it as it tossed and turned as the current moved it around. The Wishing Well princess had received my wish.

Next, E had his turn. Mind you, he wasn't nearly as somber about the event as I was. He hurled the penny with all of his might into the creek. "Did you see that?!" he shrieked. Yep, I had a front row seat to the action. I was appalled at how he just threw it in there, but then I remembered: "That's what boys do." They wanted to see who can be the loudest or throw the farthest.

Me? I was content knowing that the pond was magical. The creek was in an ordinary creek in a rather ordinary place, but I believed it was an extraordinary thing. As I walked away, I pondered who all had been to the wishing well. What did they wish for? Hopes, dreams of faraway castles, dragon slayers, and everything in between were in that well. Not physically, but they represented the child-like wonder of the children who wished for them. All it took was a little faith to make those dreams come to life.

What place from your childhood holds special memories for you?

Monday, February 01, 2010

A New Addition

No, silly, not that kind of addition. I'm talking about a new addition to my ever growing collection of medical supplies. I've often joked that I could open up my own medical supply place. I'm excited to announce something that I've wished for a long time. I'm getting a custom made wheelchair!! My pain management doctor said she never would have thought about that causing my pain because that isn't her speciality.

So, just when we thought we were going in circles, we found a doctor who recommended that. Granted, he didn't think about my wheelchair causing my hip pain because it looks like the ones on every hall of the hospital. He said he got to thinking about that though, and I'm so glad he did!

We went last week to get measured for it. They even let me try one out. It was so completely different from the one I have now. They added a few more cushions to support my back. I felt like a completely different person. My back felt like a million bucks! The man that was fitting me said he hated to send me back in my old one, but it has to be approved. I laughed and said we had played the waiting game before.

I know that this is going to make such a difference because I've been telling Mama that I'm sliding down in the wheelchair. Like I told the doctor, we had to find someone who could see what I was saying in order to get a prescription. You can rest assured that I will have pictures when it comes in!

Extra info: School is going well, it's just an adjustment. I'm learning things I never knew about media and learning to think about things from multiple perspectives(which is an invaluable skill). Thanks for all of the comments. Even though I'm taking time to focus on God, my mom is keeping me updated. :)