In the Air!

In the Air!
400 feet above the ground in Orlando.

Florida

Florida
Taking my first step towards a new life.

Virginia

Virginia
Spending an afternoon at Marymount during my internship!

My rocks!

My rocks!
Wouldn't be where I am without my parents!

Graduation

Graduation
Walking for my Masters. An interesting book end as this all started when I graduated from undergrad!

Awesome Nurses!

Awesome Nurses!
After my port removal and saying goodbye to my chemo nurses before moving away from Michigan. Wouldn't be doing that without them!

Hair again!

Hair again!
Growing longer each day

Last Chemo

Last Chemo

Google+ Followers

Silliness

Silliness
Something to remember and return to. A good day!

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Monday, February 29, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 206. Feeling Real a Little More!

Today I talked with my supervisor for my internship for the first time!!  It was just a short conversation. Hopefully I will meet up with him in Richmond on the weekend and then pepper him with questions!  I am working on finding a place to live down there and trying to get my start dates set and know what I have to do once I get there!  Lets not even mention how I am going to get down there!  While I can drive a lot more than I use to...a long trip to Southern Virginia is more than I can do on my own!  Lol!  But...today I talked to my supervisor.  And that adds a little more realness to it all!  Lol!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 205. Many Blessings

Lately I have been working on trying to find a place to live for my internship that I can afford.  I have actually been getting pretty stressed out looking!  It's kinda crazy what some people will charge for a room!  At any rate, I was taking a walk today through the park down town and thinking about how I am going to afford this and that and budgeting in my head.  I've been getting out walking the past couple days because the weather has been behaving and even got a little warmer.  In the past two days I have had four people ask me for money in the park.  I don't carry money with me when I walk and told them and the first three (all older men) said that was ok, wished me a good day and moved on.  I need to start learning the locations of soup kitchens so I at least can direct them in that direction.

Then this afternoon, I was stopped by a young woman who asked me for money because she was hungry and pregnant and had missed dinner somewhere.  I told her I was sorry and I didn't carry cash. As soon as I said that a very angry look came over her face and she looked away saying "Fine" in a manner that was obviously anything but.  I walked on, feeling bad for her and wishing there was something I could do for her and the other people who had asked me for money.  Then I started thinking about the things that had been on my mind that were money related and I had a very strong reality check.  I have a roof over my head and I know I will find one for my internship.  I have a warm bed, clean clothes and food in my refrigerator.  I have close family and friends and would never find myself in the park asking a stranger for money.  I may not have a lot of extras, I might have to watch how I spend and budget.  But I am actually really well off when you think about it.

In that moment I couldn't do anything but thank God for all the blessings He has given me.  Yeah, my apartment isn't pretty or big or flashy.  But it is warm and clean and comfortable and I'm not going from month to month wondering where I will get the rent money.  Yes, I have a strict food budget...but I at least have a budget to be strict with.  My clothes are not designer labels but they are nice and clean.  So I really do have so many wonderful blessings in my life.  I am certainly going to remember this when I am bummed because I can't afford to go out to eat or visit someone or buy something I want.  I have been given many blessings and I have a lot to be thankful for!





Saturday, February 27, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Days 203 & 204. A Beautiful Walk!

Yesterday and today have been busy days but it was so nice to go out this afternoon for a walk!  It was still chilly but sunny!  Stress has been building so it was nice to just walk it off with the sun shining and listening to music!!  I know this is short and sweet but sometimes it is just enjoying the simple, little things without looking too deeply into them!  Lol!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 202. Anne of Green Gables!

Ever since I was a little girl I have been in love with the world that L.M. Montgomery has made in her books about Anne and Emily and her many short stories!  It doesn't matter how old you get, these are classic, timeless stories that can be read over and over again!  Yesterday I started watching the Anne of Green Gables movies and tonight I finished them!  I just curled up on the couch and lost myself in that world and pushed everything else on my mind and in my life aside for a few hours!  And it was wonderful!

Now I want to go find the book Anne's House of Dreams on Kindle and snuggle down into bed and read myself to sleep!  The stories and characters created in these books have always come alive to me and it is wonderful that after all these years, they are still a source of comfort and complete delight!  Tonight I feel completely happy and content and ready to loose myself in Anne's world!

Tonight has also made me think of my bucket list!  Going to Prince Edward Island is very much near the top of my list and I am thinking that in a year, I am going to plan a trip there!  Once I get settled down and save up a little, I am going to start doing some exploring and P.E.I. will be my first stop!!  Maybe I'll even get some of my own writing done there!  After all, it is a place that has such scope for the imagination!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 201. New Glasses!

I am a little excited tonight!  I got my new glasses!  I will admit the prescription is a bit stronger and took me a few minutes to blink away the "Oh!!" feeling when I put them on!  But I really love the way the frames look!!!!  Makes me feel a little cuter and more confident!  And happy to get read of the glasses that looked like they belonged in the '60's or '70's!  My new ones are a pretty blue with just a little bling on the sides!  Loving them!!



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 200. A Needed Compliment!

One of the things that bothered me when my hair grew back in was that it wasn't the same shade.  I know...big deal!  It came back in!  That was what I was praying for every day since it started to fall out!  I know this sounds silly and more than a bit vain but I loved my original hair.  It was a perfect gold color.  My mom use to hold it next to her gold wedding ring to show the comparison of the two colors and I kinda loved that.  It was fine, thick, gold hair!

I was so afraid when I was bald of my hair coming back in differently.  You hear all these stories of people's hair growing back in completely different colors and textures and thickness.  And I loved my original hair color and wanted it back.  But I think, more importantly, I wanted something to go back to normal.  Something to be the same that it was before because so much was never going to be the same.  And my hair came back in blonde...but a darker blond with more red in it.  As it is getting longer it is lightening up more but to my eyes (and many other eyes) I am a strawberry blonde now...with darker tones.  I'm so thrilled my hair is still fine and thick and growing nice and long and I'm learning to like the shade but it isn't the same.  It isn't gold anymore.  It changed like everything else.

Then today, I was at a pharmacy waiting in line to drop off a prescription and the man in front of me kept turning around and staring at me.  At first I was a little uncomfortable.  Finally he asked me if I had anything in my hair.  I said no and he looked at my hair again and then just stared at it and said that it looked shiny.  Then he said it looked shiny and gold!  Which of course prompted the question of wether it was my natural color.  As crazy as it sounds, in that moment I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my heart!  Someone thought my hair was gold!  Lol!  I thanked him for his compliment and assured him it was my natural hair color.  He kept looking at my hair for a little longer repeating it looked really gold.  It did become a little uncomfortable after a bit and I was glad when he turned his attention to something else but I was also still really thrilled!!  My hair is FINALLY becoming gold again!!!  It's finally getting back to it's normal color.  Wether anyone else sees it or not...at least one person saw it and gave me the compliment I needed to not let this small, seemingly insignificant thing bother me so much anymore!

So thank you to the man at the pharmacy who unknowingly told me that at least one thing, no matter how small, is finally coming back to how it was before cancer and chemo.  Maybe it won't be the exact shade again...but close enough that it looks gold again!   Thank you!!



Monday, February 22, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 199. A New Light!

My kitchen light has slowly been getting dimmer and dimmer. The bulbs loosing their brightness. It made me think of a story my dad made up when I was little called The Bright Light story where badness made the lights dim and goodness made them bright. I must have been good because the new bulb that was put in today was crazy bright!  Lol!!!  It's nice to be able to see in my kitchen again!

365 Things to Smile About Day 198. Babies Make You Giggle!

At church yesterday there was a sweet moment.  After communion, when the choir had stopped singing, there was complete, peaceful silence. Then, out of the silence you hear a high pitched, sweet, baby voice start loudly saying, "Dada!  Daddy!  Daddy!  Dada!  Dada!!"   Lol!  

 Giggles slowly rippled across the church as daddy tried to gently shush the little ones eager cries!  To no avail!  Lol!  And that's ok!!   That sweet little call was just wonderful to hear and warmed your heart!!  Made a smile spread across your face!  Lol!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 197. Around the Park.

Today was another beautiful day!  I had to spend about four hours in the afternoon inside but after dinner I had an awesome walk!  Just headed down town and spent the evening walking around. 

The park was pretty empty so it was nice to stroll around it and watch the sun set!  A pleasant evening with a chill in the air and music in my ears!  Just a great way to end a busy day!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 196. WOOOO!!!!

I have been trying to count my steps for months now.  I have a pedometer on my phone and it is helpful...if I am constantly carrying my phone with me, which isn't always.  Plus, with all the homework and craziness of school spending time moving just doesn't happen.  Lets add a frigid Michigan winter and forget it!

Well, today the temps few up to an amazing 60 degrees today!!!!  And the sun was out several times making it such a wonderfully pleasant day...despite the wind that could almost take you off your feet with it's bigger gusts!  Lol!  I just couldn't stay in doors and went on a couple walks.  Because of that, for the first time since November, I finally broke the 10,000 steps in a day ceiling!!!  WOOOO HOOOOO!!!!!!  Yeah baby!  Now granted, I got very little homework done and I accidentally walked two miles on an empty stomach...only the last half mile was a bit of a hazy struggle though!  Lol!!  I was just happy to be outside and in nice weather and see that bar graph on my app break the 10,000 mark!  It even covered the screen with confetti when I checked and saw I had gone over!  Lol!   Looking forward to more days of 10,000 steps!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 195. SLEEP!

I have often extolled the virtues of sleep but today I was so happy to welcome sleep back into my life!!!  I have been so stressed lately preparing for my exam that once it was over...I felt like I could finally sleep again!  Although not right away as all of yesterday was full and I had an 8 am class this morning.  But after that class I came home and I SLEPT!!!

My schedule is still busy with school and observation hours and I have so much work to get done in the next two weeks before spring break but just for today...I stopped it all and slept!  Then talked with friends.  Then slept a little bit more!  It felt so great to not feel the need to study nagging at me and waking me up!  It felt amazing to curl up under blankets and just sleep through a cold flash that hit!  Tomorrow I am back to work (well, maybe a little work tonight too) but today was just a time to rest and recharge for the next couple weeks.  Thank you sleep!!  You are my dear friend and I am glad you are back!!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 194. Test Taken!!!!

While I don't know what my score is (pass or fail) I have finally taken my certification exam!!!!  It was long, difficult but also pretty amazing!  Two years ago I wouldn't have believed that I could be doing something like this!  I was still so worn out and run down from chemo that while I hoped to get back to a moving forward in life, I was having a very hard time believing it and picturing it!

But here I am, two years later, in my last semester before my internship!  Taking today's test was such a huge step in moving forward and feels so good!!  This life is something I never imagined and now I can't imagine doing anything else!  So while I am mentally spent, physically exhausted and I'll admit a little anxious about my results...I am incredibly happy and want to celebrate!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 193. Unintended Cardio!!

With school studying takes precedence.  So I find that I spend a lot of time stationary!  I try to get to the gym but often end up forgetting until it is so late I don't want to go out!  Lol!  So today I was able to brush aside the frustration of getting pretty lost at a local community college and focus on getting almost a mile of cardio in!!  Lol!  It was great!  I got my step numbers up a little bit!  Happy moment!!

Monday, February 15, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 192. I Stayed Awake!

I have noticed something about me.  The more stressed I am, the more easily I fall asleep during the day.  Not at night mind you...just in the daylight hours!  I am less than 48 hours from my certification exam and the closer it comes the harder it is for me to fall asleep when I go to bed and the easier it is for me to fall asleep during the day!   Because I fall asleep during the day I am WIDE AWAKE at night but unable to focus!  I will be so happy when this exam is done!

Anyway, I had to be up early today for clinic and I of course couldn't fall asleep last night.  I kept trying to convince myself that I needed to fall asleep and even did the count down of "If I fall asleep now I'll get X hours of sleep." and so on.  Well, my alarm went off and I was able to get up, go to clinic, got to class, go back to clinic and made it home and even managed to stay away another two hours before my eyes closed of their own accord!  Frustrating yes, but I am happy regardless!!  I was honestly convinced that I was going to do a face plant in class today I was fighting sleep so bad!  Lol!  Fortunately, I stayed awake and did not entertain my class with what I can only assume would have looked like me having some kind of spasm attack as I started to fall forward then either caught myself just in time or didn't catch myself and proceed to scare the living daylights out of myself!  Lol!

And so now I shall try to get some more studying in for the exam for the evening since I have already knocked out for an hour!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Days 190 & 191. Moments to Laugh!

Again, I am combining two days in one.  Yesterday was a normal day, all the usual weekend chores:). I was finishing my grocery shopping and walking out to my car and saw a dad and his little daughter ahead of me.  He was pushing the cart quickly and then jumping up on it and letting it roll down the hill.  Both he and his daughter started laughing so hard and his daughter's laugh was so precious!  It was just adorable to watch!  Lol!  Just a sweet moment between father and daughter and beautiful to see!

Today was a quiet day with Mass and brunch with friends and then home for more chores and studying.  Nothing too exciting but a happy moment when I turned on Pandora and a Frank Sinatra song came on that had me dancing around the apartment as I folded and put away laundry and cleaned things up!  Lol!  It just felt good to have the music playing and pushing me to dance!  Who can feel stressed when they are dancing!?  LOL!

Friday, February 12, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 189. Kinda Catching On!

I am a writer.  I love to write.  I love making characters come alive in stories and I love trying to find the right words to make an idea or concept understandable.  I was an English major in undergrad and in my last year I wrote a couple papers that one professor really liked.  He even asked me if I could present one of them with his grad students.  Sadly, I wasn't able to due to scheduling conflicts and time restraints but it was really quite flattering!!

Anyway, I use to think that any kind of writing was fun.  I am learning I am wrong!  I was introduced to writing APA style for scientific writing.  I have had to smother the verbose, literary side of me and jump start the moribund, clinical, scientific side of my brain.  It's hard and not pretty!  And I don't like it!!  BUT...this afternoon I somehow found myself on a little bit of a role following all the rules of writing APA puts out there!  I am not a fan of outlines but I never thought I would miss a complete outline until I hit a class where the pieces of the paper and the research for it is fed to me one piece at a time!  However, I got so excited that I was on a role!  I was able to push all the frustration to the side and actually enjoyed trying to get my research articles I was paraphrasing in a cohesive flow.  I was being challenged to make a style of writing that I find choppy into something smooth and still informative.  At one point, I was jumping around in my chair trying to get it all out of my head and on to the word document!  So yes, writing my research paper today eventually made me smile and even get a little excited!  Here's hoping I did it right!!  Lol!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 188. Still Giggling

Today as a pretty mundane day.  Working on homework, going to class and accidentally falling asleep over my study guide!  But part of the day was also spent apartment hunting online in Richmond!  Now, granted, I ran into perfect apartments easily $200.00 over my budget and of course perfectly located within a mile of my internship.  I had to actually tell myself to not grind my teeth!

So as frustrating as that was (because if I was staying there more than 4 months they were perfectly priced!) I still couldn't help but laugh over the fact that I am going there!  I know I will find a place to live eventually so I am not stressing over that as much as I could.  I am just way to excited about going down there and the work I will be doing!!  So yes, I am still giggling and excitedly anticipating this coming summer!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 187. A Peaceful Moment.

Tonight I was at mass for Ash Wednesday and couldn't help but feel totally happy and at peace.  There has been a lot going on for me lately and the stress has been piling up. 

Tonight it was pretty wonderful to have those few moments where the stress melted away and so did all the thoughts that came with it.  I could just let go of everything for a bit and relax. A good day when you can do that. 😊

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 186. Laughter

How many of you know someone who's laugh alone makes you laugh?  Maybe it sounds silly or maybe it is the kind of laugh that you just can't help but join in!  I have a friend who has the kind of laugh that carries the sound of absolute delight and I can't help but smile I when I hear them laugh!  It's the kind of laugh that comes through doors and walls and is instantly recognizable halfway down the hallway!  I heard it today and I found myself laughing for no reason other than the sound of my friend's laugh brought it out!  lol!  It's a good day when you find yourself laughing listening to someone else laugh!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 185. Inspired!

One of the great things about my field are the people who benefit from the services offered. There are so many people who are incredibly inspiring. They have goals that are amazing.  Like opening businesses!  Seeing their determination to reach their goals is really amazing!

I've met people who make a firm decision to not let their disability slow them down one bit!  I met someone today who is more than ready, in fact eager, to dive into the work to learn how to reach their goals with determination and excitement!  Watching them just increases my desire to be in this field and help them reach their goals!!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 184. Snoring!

I've been sleepy this weekend because I've been fighting some insomnia. So this afternoon I decided to just take a break and take a nap. Comfortably laying in bed, curled up under blankets and half awake half dozing I heard a strange noise.  I couldn't quite wake myself up all the way to acknowledge it. But I wanted to. 

You know how you're asleep but you're not quite asleep but you can't completely wake yourself up yet?  That's how I was. But I kept hearing this noise. Suddenly the noise got really loud and I jerked fully awake and for a second was looking around frantically for who or what woke me up!  Then I realized the noise I had heard and the thing that had woke me up was me snoring!!!!  Lol!  I could not believe how much I scared myself with my own snoring!  Lol!  Possibly need to invest in some breathe right strips!!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 183. Meeting New People!

This morning I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a Roden and Fields party a friend of mine put on.  Its a great line of skin care that I first heard about from my niece who sells it and I wanted to support my friend so I went.  This is not something I normally do.  I have always felt a little uncomfortable at these types of parties because I can never afford what is being sold...no matter how much I like it.  And I really, really liked what I heard about today!!

But my worries were for naught because I had a great time!  I learned some things about my skin and just had a good time talking and laughing!  I met some really wonderfully nice people and there were a couple people I knew there too.  What I really liked about my friend's friends is that they were so nice and welcoming and funny!  People I would like to hang out with again and I hope I get a chance before I leave in a few months:).

So all in all, a good day today!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Days 181 &182. Ticket Purchased!!

So excited!!!  I bought my ticket to go back to VA over spring break to see friends and look at places to live in Richmond for my internship!  This is starting to feel more and more real!  And I will hopefully meet my supervisor for my internship when I am in Richmond!!!

As real as it is getting...it still almost feels like a dream to me!  I mean, two years ago I honestly didn't know where I was going to be.  I was still pretty early on in my recovery.  I was trying to make plans and was working on getting into grad school but ideas and plans aren't concrete actions. What I mean is, you can have ideas and make all the plans you want.  Until those ideas and plans actually start to come to fruition they are so very intangible!  And I have spent a long time in that intangible world.  To have such a big goal in sight...I am feeling all kinds of things!  First and foremost is excitement!!!  But there is fear and anxiety and an "oh man is this really happening?" feelings!!  I am holding on to the excitement thought!

There is so much I want to do in my field and I know I can't do it all at once.  But today, with buying my ticket to go look at places to live...I am excited that the doors are starting to open where I can do everything I want to do in blindness and low vision!!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 180. An American Tale!

When I was little, one of my favorite cartoon movies was An American Tale!  I watched it many times and then, of course, grew up.  Haven't seen it in easily 25 plus years!  Today I was at Best Buy to get printer ink and near the registers were the bins with discounted movies in them.  I sorted through them and gave an actual delighted squeal when I picked up a copy of An American Tale!!!  LOL!  Naturally I had to buy it and I figured you couldn't beat $3.99!  Lol!  It's a classic that I hope to be able to share with my kids some day!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 179. Enjoyable Homework!

It may sound like an oxymoron but tonight I was having some fun doing homework:).  My Gerontology class has an assignment where I have to watch a film or tv show that depicts senior citizens and write a response paper on how they were portrayed and what stereo types they fit or broke.

I was going to watch Something's Gotta I've and talk about May December relationships and December December and May, May relationships.  But I couldn't find it on Netflix.  So I started looking around and was reminded of the film Second Hand Lions!!! It is such a great movie and I was excited about watching it again!!!  I had to rent it off of Amazon but didn't care:).   I found myself laughing through the whole thing!!  And of course taking notes.  There are actually some rather poignant and deep lines in that film if you listen!  Now my only concern is keeping my response paper from being too long and from slipping back into my English Major prose!!  Lol!

Monday, February 1, 2016

365 Things to Smile About Day 178. A Thrill!!!!

One of the things I love about working in the field of blindness and low vision is because once in a while...I can really help someone!  And it is pretty wonderful!  

Macular Degeneration affects your central vision.  Makes it crazy blurry, causes blind spots and makes words appear and disappear in frustrating ways.  We naturally use our central vision to do just about everything, including reading.  What I loved was the reaction I got when I suggested to someone with MD to try looking off to their left and reading out the side of their eye.  The reaction was wonderful!!  Absolute joy and amazement!  The peripheral vision is what someone with MD needs to use but you don't often think about doing that.  One simple suggestion and someone is able to use their vision for reading again!!  It's an incredible feeling helping with that and I can't wait to be able to help more people!!!