Today would have been Carrie's 39th birthday. She would be celebrating with her husband and little girls and not wanting to talk about how close she was to 40. Instead, she's celebrating her first birthday in Heaven. I can't believe she passed away 3 months ago yesterday. I don't think any of us have completely processed that she is actually gone. Maybe because she had such a presence among us all. She still lives with us each day even if she isn't actually here in person. I miss her terribly and I know it doesn't even compare to how much others miss her. Today, I pray for her little girls and her husband and my in-laws and my own husband that they can get through this day with the knowledge that she is happy and not suffering any more. She is still with us (and if you see her youngest, you'll see her spitting image) every single day and her love for the world lives on. Love you so much, Carrie!! Happy birthday!
Happy Valentine's day everyone!! Today, I'm thankful for a day to celebrate love :) Call me a romantic (because I am), but I just love that there is a day dedicated to showing people how much they mean to you. Whether you have a lover or just a good friend or family member that you love, make sure you let them know how much they mean to you today.
I'm thankful to spend the rest of my Valentine's days with my wonderful husband. This is our fourth together and I'm so lucky to have many, many to look forward to. I love him more and more each day and I'm blessed to have someone who really makes this day special.
Husband gave me an early present yesterday and it made me cry. This is one of the last good pictures we got of Meg before we had to put her down in November. She was on her way to her surgery the 3 days before her last day and she started feeling a little better so she climbed into to passenger seat to look out the window. Husband took a picture to let me know she was doing okay. Yesterday, he framed it in the most perfect frame that I put on my desk at work. Now I can always see her happy and enjoying her ride.
I'm thankful for St. Valentine for whom this day is celebrated. It is said that St. Valentine was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers when it was illegal for soldiers to be married due to the belief that men are better soldiers when they are single and have no ties. This day was not associated with romantic love until Geoffrey Chaucer penned a poem referencing St. Valentine and love birds. The connection stuck and evolved into the modern day celebration of Valentine's Day. Either way, today was made possible because of the of its patron saint and the acts that
First of all, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Mardi Gras! This Fat Tuesday (today), I hope you all take a moment to enjoy some sort of splurge before we head into the Lenten season. Though I'm not really one to partake in the craziness in New Orleans, I do enjoy the Mardi Gras season and believe we have something to celebrate. I hope you get a chance to enjoy some delicious King Cake at least!
As we move into Lent, many of us are wondering what we should give up. Many people will give up sweets, some will give up coffee **gasp**, and others will give up more personal guilty pleasures. I have decided to give up Facebook.
Now, some people (ahem: Cate) have questioned me on this particular sacrifice and what it really means to me. Others have argued why Facebook is a tool and why I should not give it up. I've decided to argue my case here (oh good ol' law school coming out...).
First, I believe that Facebook is a very valuable tool (you are correct, Harry), especially for those of us who have friends, literally, all over the world. I could never completely shut down my account because it is a way that I keep in touch with childhood friends I met while living overseas and friends I've met at different points in my life who live thousands and thousands of miles away. There are many benefits to Facebook in addition to a means of keeping in contact with people and I truly appreciate it.
However, there are also some serious negatives about it. I am hooked. I mean, seriously addicted. Sometimes, I pick up my phone and don't even realize that my thumb has tapped the Facebook icon until I see my newsfeed loading. I check it at least 10 times a day and I never start or end my day without checking Facebook to see what is happening in the Facebook world. I know, it's bad.
Also, it strains my personal relationships that I have on a daily basis. I am constantly distracted from daily activities because I'm checking the latest posts or pictures. When I am spending time with Husband, I'm usually also spending time with my 1000 online friends. It drives him crazy and it also keeps me from giving him my undivided attention. I'm sure I do the same thing when I'm with friends and other family members.
I've noticed that I'm checking it while waiting at the bus stop after work and while waiting for my food at restaurants. It's a way to pass the time -- at least that's what I tell myself. The thing is, this constant distraction keeps me from appreciating all of the little things in life. The little, daily blessings that God gives us as a reminder of his love. Instead of checking my phone while waiting for food at a restaurant, I could be watching a child and her parents celebrate a birthday or a new couple in that blissful new-relationship stage. Better yet, I could see an older couple still in love and on a date after 60+ years together! Those beautiful things are much better than what the latest person commented about the power outage at the Superbowl or the traffic jam on the way home from work.
After a lot of thought and reflection, I've decided that although it will be extremely tough, I will be deleting my Facebook app from my phone and I won't log on until after the Lenten season is over. In doing this, I will also be making a constant effort to look for the beauty around me. It will give me a chance to work on the relationships God has blessed me with, time to meditate on my own faith and the life I live, and remember that the world is a blessing and it is all too easy to be distracted by technology or gossip or what others are up to.
I've mentioned before my interested in eating clean and the health benefits of using organic foods and "clean" products. Now, I'm not the type of person that will ever use completely organic clothing, deodorant or green energy, but I do believe that there are small changes we can make to make our daily lives just a little bit healthier.
I've started buying more and more organic cleaning supplies (I LOVE Mrs. Meyers Clean Day in Basil and Method is also a great product). Recently, I've tried to buy a majority of my produce from local farmer's markets or the organic section at the grocery store. I don't always have the organic option, though, so not everything gets to make the cut!
Last week, I got an email from Fitness Magazine about when you buy organic. This list is great. It's not an organic-buying-bible or anything but it does provide some directions for those of us who aren't sure which products really make a difference. For example, it's totally fine to go mainstream with mascara but you should really go green when it comes to body wash - who know? Also, I use the thick-skin/rind rule when buying produce. If you're buying something with a thick skin, like bananas, it's okay to buy regular ones but if you're buying apples or peaches, go organic!. Check out the Fitness Magazine slideshow here to learn more.
Some of my favorite green products I'm using right now include: Organix Cherry Blossom body wash, Mrs. Meyers Basil dish soap, counter spray and room spray, Origins GinZing eye brightener and Tree Hut Hawaiin kukui body butter. To name a few.
Do you have a favorite "green" product that you use?
This week, I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. My friend Jennifer bought me a copy for Christmas because it is her all-time favorite book. Since I was recovering from the loss of Carrie and this book is from the perspective of a girl with cancer, Jennifer told me to take my time starting it because she knew the wounds were still fresh. I decided I was ready to tackle it this week, and although it did bring me to tears, I'm so glad I read it. I honestly, could not stop thinking about it.
You know how there are some books that keep you thinking even when you're not reading them? This is one of those books. Oftentimes when I finish a book, I can start another one the same evening. I grabbed another book off my shelf and went to start it and as I sat down looking at the first page of the new book, I realized I wasn't ready. There was too much to think about and reflect on from The Fault in Our Stars. Instead, I decided to sit in thought sans distractions for 30 minutes so I went upstairs away from Husband and animals and just replayed the story in my head.
The book is about a 16-year-old girl named Hazel who has been fighting cancer since she was 13. After an experimental treatment buys her some extra time, she is going through the motions as a home-bodied teenager with cancer when she meets a guy named Augustus at her support group. He allows her to break the monotony of her life and experience true love. Because of the shortened life expectancy of terminally ill cancer patients, Hazel and Augustus see the world from a much different perspective than healthy teenagers. They spend much of their time examining the world and life and their relationship is a truly beautiful one.
Having spent the last two years sharing Carrie's battle with cancer (though from an outsider's perspective), I could relate in many ways to the story. Though Carrie was very young when she passed away (only 38), she left a legacy behind in her beautiful little girls and all the people that loved her. In the story, Augustus often talks about leaving something behind for the world to remember him by. I guess as a teenager, it's hard to see your life as something so short and fragile. You barely have a chance to figure out who you are when you are a teenager and the thought of leaving your mark on the world is something that crosses few teenagers' minds. When the opportunity to grow old seems taken from you, I can't imagine what goes through one's mind.
Like I said, this book provided me with a lot of food for thought. This isn't exactly a book review as much as an opportunity to write out how the book affected me. All I have to say is that you should pick this book up and read it. It will make an imprint in your mind. Well done, John Green. And thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your favorite book with me. It means a lot!
Loving and learning a little more each day.