Friday, December 14, 2012

Making a Difference for 2013

During the holiday season many people decide to graciously donate money, time or resources to a charity of their choice.  To help make a difference in 2013, I want to make sure you all know about the non profit that supported me through the last 4 years.  I'm sure you already know which group I'm going to ask you to consider for your donations this year- The American Widow Project!

Let me share a letter from the AWP ladies about holiday donations:
Over the past 5 years, the AWP has been able to reach out to more than 1,200 military widows across the United States. This year alone, because of your support, we have served more than 500 military widows and held 10 National AWP events. Your generosity has given us the ability to continue growing strong and guiding our nations military widows through a healing journey. Please accept our sincere thanks for all that you have done to support the families of our nations heroes. 
Our wish for the New Year is that we are able to reach out to the widows who have yet to find the support they so desperately need and deserve. With over 6,300 casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and over half of those being married, there are still thousands of widows who long to know they are not forgotten or alone in this journey. 
To continue our service of providing support to the widows of our fallen, we need your help. This holiday season please consider making a tax deductible donation to the American Widow Project. Or, view our suggestions below for others ways to give back. Your support is greatly appreciated and enables us to reach so many who long to see that there is hope for them even after tragedy.
In the months ahead we look forward to sharing with you, how through your gifts, we are truly touching hearts, saving lives and remembering our heroes.
Happy Holidays!
Warmest wishes,
The American Widow Project

Here are some ways, beside donating money, to help the organization continue to do what they do best- build friendship and support to help those who have lost their Loves while serving in the military.

  • In lieu of gifts: Instead of your company giving gifts to staff members and clients, consider donating money to help sponsor a widows attendance to one of our upcoming 2013 events. It's the gift that will keep on giving into the new year! 
  • Host a Holiday Party: We all have them, right? Why not use your office or home holiday party to spread awareness about the AWP! We'll even provide you will all the tools you need to get started. 
  • Post a Facebook status or tweet about all the ways to donate and give back to the widows of our nations heroes. Simply copy and paste our sample tweets and statuses below or use your own.
    • Facebook: I am helping military widows and so can you! You can organize or attend an event, become an AWP Ambassador, or just spread the word! It’s easy to make an impact and every little bit helps fund their programs. Get involved today at
    • Twitter: I'm helping @americanwp and so can you! Host an event, become an Ambassador or just spread the word!
  • Shop our store: Model some of our AWP Apparel! From zip up hoodies to our signature AWP pin. Plus, they make great stocking stuffers! 
  • Create your own Crowdrise fundraising page: From now until the first of the year you can create your own campaign to raise funds for our programs through the holiday season. 
  • Gift Cards: While you're out picking up those gift cards for those hard to please family members, pick up a grocery store gift card to be used for an upcoming event! The AWP covers all costs for 10-12 widows at each event. Providing grocery cards allows us to put more funding into our programs that directly benefit the lives of military widows. 

Thanks for checking out the AWP, the things you can do to help, and considering showing some support this holiday season! 

It's been a little while...

We've been very busy lately and it has been quite a while since I've blogged.  I miss it! So I'm back and ready to share whatever comes up.  No promises it will be interesting, because sometimes life just isn't that exciting.  But I've been fortunate to visit with and do some fun things lately and thought it was time to jump back on here and share away! 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Playlist for a Good Run

I just read a few articles about great cardio workout songs. As I was reading I was thinking about some of my favorite songs to run to and started to get so excited! The right songs just pump you up, keep your mis occupied and help you run faster, longer, and even happier! What songs made your workout playlist? Here are my top 10- I don't usually make it through them all though.

E.T. by Katie Perry (this one makes me feel like a boxer, I think it's the beat)
Sing With Us by Eminem
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness (I sing along to this one real high-pitched)
Marchin On by OneRepublic
99 Problems by Jay-Z ('cause I'm gangsta)
Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm
Run by Matt Nathanson featuring Jennifer Nettles
03 Bonnie and Clyde by Jay-Z
Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit (a great song to finish up!)

...and special bonus #11 Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood.

I definitely find that ruining to the right music can make all the difference!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Have I told you about my job? Do you guys know that I don’t really love it? If you do, you may be aware that I am working on my masters in a field completely different and much more necessary for me but at the moment I’m qualified to do what I’m doing; sell stuff. So that’s what I do everyday- and it’s good stuff that I sell. There are some serious negative moments, but I know those exist everywhere in every job. Sometimes it's harder to plow through with the right perspective when it’s a job you know isn’t going to be your forever. 

Anyway, I have grown into the belief that all of us are doing certain things, in specific places, encountering people at the times precipitated by a bigger plan. Essentially there is a purpose, beyond me earning money to help provide for us, to me working here. Trying to remember that can be difficult. As the days get long and start to feel boring I know that the people  that I work with are what make my days fun. By each of them being different from each other and different form me, learning from them, and how they have provided me with friendship via circumstance in a place where I had about 2 friends when we showed up. I saw that light again today when I realized a morning conversation with my manager started with work and moved to pretty much everything else. I came back to my desk feeling happy- thank goodness for people who connect with you and bring you back to a place of optimism, even if that isn't their intention. Random conversations with someone I like and truly respect make these long days worth it. I am so glad I was able to recognize that this morning!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Last Few Weeks- in Pictures

Spent a few days at the beach in Connecticut, checking another state of my list.

And seeing purple sand and a very important spot.

Beach time with some beautiful people

While my family takes a little South Carolina vacation-- Miss you guys! You can't tell my brother and father are related at all, right?!

Love to see what new positions Lily comes up with!

Lastly, spent the 4th of July with some American Soldiers ;)

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Father

A day late in blog world, but it would just be wrong if I didn't honor my dad here. Happy Father's Day Dad. In our close to 28 years together we've been through a lot! :)

Thank you for always teaching me, being as patient as possible, and listening to me and my long-winded stories.

Thanks for telling me you understand me when I know people think I'm crazy.

Thanks for allowing me to become (and continue becoming) who I am meant to be with your character and integrity as my guide.

Thanks for being calm and collected- it shows me that I have it in me, I just need to channel it more.

Thank you for always giving me exactly what I need and loving me as no one else on this earth can.

You're the best, I mean it. Love you Dad!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wiener Dog Races and Some Boating

We had an absolutely fantastic Saturday! We have been very busy the last couple weeks and had zero plans this weekend except keeping our schedules open and going with the flow. The weather was great and Saturday morning there was an event called "Paws on Poyntz" where our city shut down a main street for wiener dog races, canine couture fashion show and local vendors. One of the local restaurant's even offered their patio to customers who may want to eat with their pooch. Bowls of doggie water were available everywhere.  We took Lil and went to check it out!

Later in the day, we decided we needed some boat time. Unfortunately our boat is still being "tuned up"- they've had it for a month- we are less than thrilled with their service.

We have a couple good friends who just bought a boat and they invited us to tag along. It was SO NICE to relax and be on the water and get some sunshine. I hadn't been to this lake yet- it was huge. We met up with another friend who has an amazing boat, and spent the day tubing, and skiing and just sunning with some fun people! 

I made this one extra large because how amazing is that boat!? It has a speaker system and a bathroom! A boat to aspire to own!! :)

The weekend was refreshing and relaxing and I'm glad we had a little time to decompress. This week is about to get pretty busy! 

Hope you had a great weekend too!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Authentic Appreciation

I've been playing around with the blog- have you seen the few background changes? I can't decide what I like so I'm just dabbling a bit in some different things. As I've been back through a year or so of posts I have noticed a few things and mostly the blog has been pretty chaotic. Obviously the original purpose, circa post one and two, were to keep track of the second half of a deployment. From there we all know life took quite a dramatic shift and as I navigated through the ins and outs of that, the blog was simply a representation of my feelings and where I was. It often helped me "get it out" and then process and identify with others who were, or have been in the same place.

As I seem to have identity crises, so follows my little blog. In the last year I have been growing and learning and changing, as we all do. I have tried to convey feelings here and within the last year I have had so many positive things happen-- but reading back through the blog makes me feel mostly gray. Please don't think I live in the depths of depression consistently.  I recognize that when I feel my strongest emotions are when I like to write them down, and I guess this year, minus the wedding posts, those are the feelings I've been identifying with. 

A lot of great things are going on in life right now, and sometimes I catch myself remembering that I never thought I'd be back here. I can't scream loud enough how lucky I feel to be where I am and have the perspective I have. All I've ever wanted (I'm talking EVER, since like kid-hood) was to be happy. To figure out how to take things in stride, appreciate what's worth it in life, and smile and laugh more than I cry and complain- that's my dream. 

Great things are happening- I have amazing friends, who are now starting to have amazing BABIES :) I have probably the best dog on the face of the planet. My husband lets me be me even when it drives him up the wall! I am starting school again on Monday and that mean's I'm one day closer to doing what I would really love to do everyday.  I have a job that I can totally handle, and get to see people every day who make me smile in their own quirky ways. This is what it's about- and shifting my focus is where I am at. Authentic appreciation, not perfection. Happiness and joy- this is what I'm striving for.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Apache Troop Commader

A lot of things have been happening: A trip home to see some family, following twitter all day yesterday to hear about the birth of a new baby boy, and today Nick took command. Here's a little photo from today -so proud of him!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I'd like to think I do a post about this every year, but at the very least I can remember doing one on the memorial day after Mike was killed. What's the meaning? Where did it come from? My history-buff and West Point educated husband is probably a wealth of information on exactly where it comes from, but I don't know quite as much. I had read it was originally Decoration Day and is a day to remember those who have died in service to our nation. I've been reading up the last few days and if you're interested, feel free to click on any of the collection of links below. told me: To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps." (p.s. How hard is it to listen to Taps!?!)

Written during World War I, In Flander's Field  is a poem often referenced on Memorial Day. 

What's going on this Memorial Day 2012 in DC?

* My thoughts and prayers are with the many, many women I know who have personally felt the meaning of Memorial Day in the loss of their spouse. As always, I am so thankful that there is an organization out there to connect us all--the American Widow Project!

Thursday Morning Pick-me-up!

You may have seen this on pinterest lately. I had a friend pin it earlier in the week and I feel like it's necessary to share it here- in honor of the blog's name! 

Don't stop!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday-- turned around!

Struggling with these headaches has made me super negative and a grump for people (mostly Nick) to deal with on a daily basis. I was trying and trying to turn my mood around this morning and I couldn't do it. This is why it is so valuable for me to get out around people! I came into work early, deciding not to make a stop at McDonald's, and my coworkers lifted me right back up! It's so nice when people restore your faith in people :) 
Here's what they showed me this morning:

- Shared some amazing Coldstone Creamery coffee creamer for my morning coffee
- Showed some empathy and changed our weekly requirements, making today much more stress free.
- Overall positive demeanor --- thankfully it's catchy!

Thankful this Thursday for these people.

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions—the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of a playful raillery, and the countless other infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling.  ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Friday, May 11, 2012

Stacey, full speed ahead.

I lost my ability to gauge the conversation today. You know what I mean? Someone at work started talking about rank, so I was talking about Nick and his rank, etc. For those of you in this situation, do you do this? I truly have no problem talking about Mike and who he was and things that happened. Sometimes, I think, to a fault. I went full speed ahead in this story, switching from Nick to Mike and back. Then the person I was talking to asked one simple question, "Do you mind if I ask, did you get a folded flag?" Broke my filter WIDE OPEN and I kept talking and talking about the flag, and how his parents got a flag, and where he was buried, and why, and the funeral, etc. At one point my co-worker said, "Um I don't want to really talk about this." followed by a casual, awkward "ha. ha." Snapped me back, a little too late.

I kinda feel bad if I made that person uncomfortable. I am always willing to tell people who don't know about what happens, what happens. It changes opinions and perspectives. However, I may have been a bit too willing.

Working on trying to keep myself in check the rest of the day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Exercise- keep the blues at bay!

I have been noticing the little black demon of depression creeping in lately.  I read nothing about this, but I almost feel like once you experience a depression, you are so susceptible to it returning.  Now I know what it feels like and I tend to freak a bit when I find myself in some familiar thinking patterns.  Lately I've been suffering more than normal from headaches.  I finally went to the doctor after a tough one that lasted several days and we discussed my history. (It's always such a process to discuss my "history" with a new doctor).  He mentioned that it's not to surprising that I would have more headaches brought on by tension as my body is fresh off the antidepressant and may be learning to deal with the levels of stress.  My neck and head muscles are crazy tight, so we just have to work with that and recognize I've been completely off for about 2 months, after being on for something like 9-10 years. Ya, that puts it into perspective. 

Regardless, while I had this headache I didn't workout.  It ended up being about 7 days that I didn't do more than take a short walk with Lily, if that.  That's when it was really creeping in. One morning I texted Nick that I was so angry and so scared that I would have to go back.  Like the rock he is, he reminded me to take a few breaths, get through the day, be patient and know it will all be fine.  I think not working out, not getting those feel good chemicals, definitely had an impact on my mental state.

I found this article today at and it's right along those lines.  I've never actually known that there are 4 chemicals released by your CNS that help you feel better.  I love the end when it tells you you you don't have to wait to reap the benefits- you'll feel them as soon as you start.  Just wanted to share with you- even if you don't want to, it may help your spirits a bit!

Improve Your Central Nervous System through Exercise. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Husband Takes a Turn

Nick recently had some training that hit a little close to home for us. We talked a lot during those two days and tried to keep each other in a "now" state of mind. I asked him if he would be open to writing a blog post for you all, just about his training and how he felt. I think it might be interesting to hear from his point of view.  Below is his post, enjoy!

            The Army sucks at establishing priorities!  I am preparing to take command of a troop of soldiers and so the Army requires me to take a myriad of classes in preparation.  There are tidbits of great information, some good and a lot of repeated, convoluted and useless information.  This week I was sent to the casualty notification (CNO) and casualty assistance officer (CAO) course.  This is a two day course that covers, as the name implies, how to notify the families of casualties of the death of their loved one, and how to assist the family with all the important tasks in the months thereafter.  We were sent so that as commanders we would understand the process and also it is our unit’s turn for this very solemn duty.
            I was deployed with Stacey’s previous fiancé.  In fact, I served under Mike while he was an executive officer and acting commanding officer for about a month.  I knew Mike, but not well.  I wouldn’t even say I had the privilege of calling him a friend.  I remember the night that Mike was killed.  I was filling out a report on a computer in the troop command post.  The computer was in the same room where we monitored the radios.  All of a sudden someone called in a contact report (which means they had come under attack).  As the details unfolded we realized Mike had been very close to the explosion and was seriously injured.  I ran out to get the other three platoon leaders, the guys who could call Mike a friend, and told them that he had been hit.  I remember looking up at the stars that night and thinking of Mike’s fiancé and how this would change her life.  Mike was battling for his life at that moment, but I knew either way that across the world Stacey would either be receiving a call or a car would be pulling up to her door with the terrible news.  The next day a car pulled up to Stacey’s door.
            As I sat in class this past Wednesday it was very different than the other classes I have taken.  This one was personal, and it was difficult.  Everything we spoke about brought thoughts of this difficult time in my wife’s life.  Stacey and I texted back and forth during our breaks, as we often do, and she reminded me that she is happy now and everything is ok.  That helped.  During our texts I got the idea that maybe Stacey could come in and share her story, and from her experience what helped her and what the Army did that she did not like.  Like most things in the Army, training is very structured and usually with a lot of PowerPoint slides.  As I said at the beginning, we also go through a lot of classes.  So it is very easy for soldiers to just want to check the block on training and move on to the next item on their list.  This training was too important!  I remember a widow friend of Stacey’s who we got to spend some time with, Jayme.  Jayme had an awful experience with her CAO.  Her experience was so bad that she has done graduate work on how the Army trains our CNOs and CAOs.  I thought that this was an opportunity to show at least my class of twenty-five soldiers that these are real people and that if we have to perform this duty we are changing their lives forever.
            Stacey agreed and we scheduled a time for her to come in the next morning.  She did an awesome job!  I am so proud to have her as my wife.  I took away a great deal from this course.  I learned about the process and through reflection and conversation with Stacey I learned about the non-tangible aspects of the process, the emotions involved, what goes through the head of someone hearing the terrible news, the things that are difficult to put on a PowerPoint slide.  I believe that Stacey was able to pass some of that on to the other soldiers in my class and it is my hope that if they are called to do this duty they will be able to do it with the reverence and honor that is required.  Our unit’s roster has been turned in to do our duty.  I hope I don’t receive a call to do it, but if I do I will be ready.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thankful Thursday- my first

It's week sixteen over on a blog I've recently become very fond of- Inspired RD.  (Take a min and stop by!) Today I am linking up to enjoy participating in Thankful Thursdays. One day out of the week to consciously recognize things in my everyday life that I am thankful for but often glaze over- sounds great!

After reading that, this beginning might not make sense, but bare with me.

Crappy days are no fun.

Sometimes, it's one thing after another. One small crappy thing happens and then down the hill you roll, right up until you get into bed and drift off to sleep.

Sometimes, like today, it's just a general blah feeling that lasts throughout the day, ebbing and flowing, and then when you're almost finished ---BAM right in the face. Crappy-ness.

On my drive home from work I reminded myself repeatedly that my current work can and should be left at work. I won't let it take any more of my time.  Deep breaths and happiness at being able to let go! So I reached for the iPhone and tried to find just the right song to take the crappy-ness away.  There we find what I'm thankful for this Thursday- great, fantastic, exactly-what-you-need music! Thank you, Music! This one worked for me tonight... enjoy!

Also, I'm always thankful for my amazing husband. On days like today, when we both ended the work day a little crappy, we give each other time to vent and we both, mostly, completely understand each other's gripe and end up still solidly on the same page. I love him!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Article on Anxiety

I found a great article on one of my breaks today- wanted to share.
"The best we can offer is to help people learn how to manage anxiety themselves, with medicine being one of many choices. The body is a complex evolutionary machine, and it has developed a number of ways to keep itself healthy without external aid. Why not tap into the potential for healing that the body already has?"

(note, I have no idea why it's under the subheading "the intelligent divorce" when it has nothing to do with divorce.)


Monday, April 2, 2012

Breathe. Let it go.

These last few weeks, they've been rough. I feel like I'm spewing out negative every where I turn. I'm focusing on it. I'm mashing it around and around in my brain. I'm becoming consumed by it. It is not fun. I don't like where we are right now and I don't think that's a secret. Our apartment is small, my job is not fun and it's a job I am working purely for some extra income. I do not feel invested in the job. I miss my friends and I don't have many out here. I'm feeling like my clothes don't fit, and while I don't entertain worries of becoming morbidly obese, it really sucks when you put on one pair of pants after another that do not fit. I'm trying to run again but its such a love hate relationship I very often do not enjoy it, I enjoy that it's done. All of these stupid, dumb, trivial things are keeping me mentally circling the drain.

So there it is- blahhhhhhhhhhhhs of negativity. And I'd like to be done now. DONE! I'm tired of drowning in it. I'm tired of pulling Nick into it. I'm sick of being lost in this muddy, dank, pond of crap. So I'm letting it go.

Nick and were talking about how to be happy in the now. I've been thinking about it a lot. Trying to let go. Stopping the negative thoughts that swirl through my brain and take so much energy because they just don't matter. They don't deserve the energy I give them. Who cares what people say unless its something I say or something Nick says? I know that I have heard these words before, but I am starting to comprehend and take them in and understand what it means to stop, and let go. This is what I'm working on.

This is how (I think) you get to live happy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Have you met my husband?

Have I introduced you to Nick? He's a pretty amazing guy who decided to marry me even after he heard about all of my crazies. Here are 20 things you should know about him :)

1. He is a 2007 graduate from The United States Military Academy at West Point. He is an armor officer and spent 10 months in Iraq.

2. When he answers questions, quite often, he will use a lot of words. It's ok. It's because he just wants to convey as much of what he knows to you so that you can know it too.

3. He claims he is "from" 3 states- Kansas, Colorado, and North Carolina. In all actuality he lived in Colorado for 3 and a half years. He just loved it so much he will always claim it.

4. He introduced me to the word "Emo" and just laughed when I was sure he meant "Elmo."

5. If possible, he loves my precious Lily more than me.

6. He has a lifelong dream to own and American Bulldog.

7. Sometimes, and I say this with love, you could mistake him for a 60 year old man. Cigars on the porch, scotch drinking, and calling the police on younger kids have all happened within the last year of living with him.

8. He has a heart 3 times the size of a regular man. He dreams of fixing the world.

9. He has wanted to be a father his entire life. "If it were up to Nick, we'd have kids yesterday." I've said that a lot.

10. He is the most intelligent man I know.

11. He is not a good golfer, but tries to play as much as possible.

12. Supportive doesn't accurately describe how he handles my dream to go back to North Carolina to finish my master's program and work in Mental Health. It will be what happens next, and I never have to ask for that.

13. He is a clean, neat, organized man. He keeps our place clean, neat and organized in spite of my drop-things-where-you-want mentality.

14. He can speak Urdu. Well, he could speak Urdu well about 6 months ago and hates everyday that he is losing it.

15. He has 2 tattoos and a brand. Yes a brand. They all have meaning, God and Country.

16. I am jealous of how strong and secure he is in his faith. He challenges me every time I think I know why I believe what I believe.

17. Staying healthy is very important to him and he loves to run.

18. He also loves pizza.

19. He makes amazing breakfasts. Pancakes are a staple, but he can make a damn good waffle, scrambled eggs, eggs over easy, and even bacon.

20. Before he asked me to marry him, he contacted a jeweler in Seattle to make the ring. Seattle is the first place we traveled together. He then spent months in communication with them on how the ring needed to be designed. Why 7 small diamonds here and why 3 small diamond there. Then he worried about it not being big enough. (see pic)


21. When I have headaches he massages my neck and runs his fingers through my hair. It helps.
22. He can't wait to be more involved in a political campaign.
23. He is the oldest in the family. He has a younger sister and brother. He also has 2 younger half-sisters and a half-brother. He never uses the "half" when he refers to them.
24. He's so, so funny.
25. I'd be lost without him.

There you have it- 25 random things about my man. Now you know him better :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Weekend in Photographs

This weekend Nick sent flowers to my work since I started off Friday in a bit of a slump, then we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a few beers, and a 13th birthday with a cake. Lily was also due for a nail trimming... and as you can see, I cut a little too low. Her paw bled for a while, so we bandaged it, which she hated. Then I tried to bandage and put a sock on-- at one point she had panty-hose on it. It was a little debacle. Nick decided that we would use liquid bandaid (read: superglue). It stopped the bleeding and she rested with dad. Ahhh the weekend... Hope you all had a good one!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Journey off these fabulous pills...

Fully Disclosure in this Post :)

I mentioned before the Cymbalta reduction and elimination plan. (Have I called it by it's name? Cymbalta is the antidepressant I've been taking.) This week wasn't a great one. Basically I am at a point where there isn't really a smaller dose so the plan was to take it every other day. I am feeling more dizzy on the days that I don't take it and I really don't like that feeling, so 2 days ago I basically said, "Let's do it." and dove into no-more-pill land. I have not felt good by any means, but I am trying to keep in mind that it's in my mind, ha. It's just a matter of time.

I have said to Nick so many times the last few days, "I don't know, but I am extremely sad/angry." I was feeling extremely discouraged as of the yesterday and today. I went searching online, however I know that people online will post whatever and cannot be THE ONLY source of information. I have found a few sites with comments from people that have really helped.

Here are parts of posts I found that I identified with:
"Then the terrible irribility set in to the point where I almost started a fight with my boss. A few times I cried at work which is something I never do. Thank God I got to the ladies room in time. In the last few weeks I have been fighting extreme exhaustion, fatigue, and weakness. I feel like I'm walking around in a brain fog."
The irritability has been horrible for me. Yesterday when I was getting ready to go to dinner, I wanted to SCREAM at Nick because he was done getting ready and I was not. Makes a lot of sense, huh?
"The anger takes over so much and I feel like I am going crazy and am going to explode. It has affected my concentration at work. I'm a very level headed person and a logical thinker, so I know that something is not quite right and these feelings of craziness and anger are very unpleasant."
Very unpleasant indeed, even if I'm not the most rational person I've ever met.
"I also like that in your previous post you realize the mood dip is temporary, and a side effect of getting off the drug, and not just your old problem coming back. So important to realize that. I'm experiencing a bit of mood dip right now and it is really hard to realize it is the withdrawal and not the original problem coming back."

That part was very helpful to find. It reminded me- don't worry Stacey, your life isn't spiraling downhill and it won't feel like this forever. Things will be ok.

Then I found this one and I bookmarked it- I hope it will help!

"Here are some of the ways I've been working through the withdrawal of Cymbalta.
Saint Johns Wart 900mg twice a day
Started taking this for mood enhancement with some success, I will not know the full effect until the Cymbalta has left the building

Water: at least 2 liters a day
All my life doctors have told me to drink more water, and my response was sure okay (In my head I thought I hate WATER). But what the Doctor did not say was why I needed to drink water. It is such a simple thing. ASK yourself, has a doctor actually ever told you why you NEED to drink the water?
In my quest for the knowledge of Natural ways to feel better I read a book called "Your Bodies many cries for WATER" by some doctor (If you reaaly want to know who he is I'll tell you) and what an eye opener!!!
Let me put this is the simplest terms: Your body is made of water, if you do not replinish the water level DAILY, your body does not like!
On come the cries for water, as in, the body not functioning properly.

FOOD: Protein, Fiber and less Sugar.
Cmybalta literally stole my appetite. So my body did what it had to, Stored all the FAT. Yes I gained 50 lbs on cymbalta even though I ate almost nothing. So Healthy Food is one Natural way to feel better. (oh and stay off scales, go by clothes and how they fit. REALLY want to feel better, trick that brain and throw on a pair of jeans that are one size to big and walk around all day feeling SKINNY!!)
Okay, so I'm now making myself eat at the same time everyday; 3 Squares and 2 snacks. After about a week of force feeding myself, my body realized it was not being starved and I actually wanted to eat when meal time came.

I use the comedy channel on Sat. radio each morning while taking my son to school (It's and hour and a half round trip). I laugh at stupid things and it makes me smile. I don't think about anything but what is being said.

Exercise- 20 mins. 3-4 x a week
MOVE. That's it. You move it or loose it."
All of these posts came from the forums at

Ok, now a few things from me. Yes, I hate how I feel. But yes, I feel that being on (or increasing) the antidepressant when Mike was killed was the right thing to do. My doctor was absolutely amazing and very caring. She recommended many things to do to deal with the loss, the medication being only one step. Many people are not lucky enough to have this type of health care professional and I am beyond thankful I did, as I would have probably taken anything at all at that point.

No I do not think the pharmaceutical industry is the devil, nor do I think antidepressants or even Cymbalta are the devil. These medications are necessary for mental health. My criticism lies in the ease of prescribing these medications, the length of prescription (Did I tell you I started a low dose of Cymbalta in 2002 when I went to college to deal with anxiety...10 years later here we are). These drugs alter you're mental chemistry so YES they are going to send you for a loop when you take that away. It's not easy, but for many, many people I think other options should be presented before using the medication as a crutch. It's to easy to write a prescription and get the the person out of your office. It's to easy to ask for a pill to take and that be the only thing you have to do to make yourself feel better. It's a low-respsonsibility solution that should not be used as frequently as it is. (Clearly, this is my opinion).

I think there needs to be more emphasis on what happens when you try to get off of the medication. I just remember getting on it, moving doctor to doctor and staying on it. The reason I wanted to start thinking about getting off of it in the first place is in preparation to start a family. No doctor said to me- hey wait it's been quite a while. Maybe we should evaluate this. However I've been in 3 states in one year so its been a variety of doctors and easy to slip under the radar. Anyway, I'll step off my pedestal now. :)

Please don't take this as a research article, because I've been to maybe 3 websites today. But I do plan to keep investigating more resources to bring back my happy as my brain chemicals try to get themselves together.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Home-Freaking-Made this Dinner!

I usually plan our weekly meals from one of 2 places, Pinterest or my favorite cookbook from my cousins for my bridal shower. Last week (which happened to overflow into this week because we had so many left-overs) was a Pinterest week.

This one, Spinach Mushroom and Pesto Lasagna, took a lot of effort, and was my second lasagna ever home-making, but I was DANG proud of myself for this one.

(that's not mine.)

The receipe and original blog it came from are linked below. I had fun learning to make this one. the Mr. asked repeatedly if I could add some meat, even maybe the ground, frozen, buffalo burgers we had would suffice. I told him no.

I didn't homemake the pesto this time, but other than that and the noodles, it was fully homemade lasagna and it was pretty delicious!

It's a fantastic no-meat meal, probably great for Lenten Fridays. Also, it's really easy to make it ahead and freeze! Find the original reciepe and all the info from The Other Side of 50

Even Nick loved it :)

Weekend in Pictures

I am a serial Iphone photo and I am going to put this obsession to use! Enjoy last weekend in pictures!


This morning I can't stop thinking about this picture. I would like to feel this way every day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Morning Hugs, Music & Plants

These are today's happy things. I love music, and I haven't had a new music in a while. Downloaded an album (ya, I'm so cool I call it an "album") this morning at work to accompany some of my paperwork and organizing I needed to get done. I fell head over heals for The Civil Wars. Listen to my favorite one so far below. I literally (really- literally) get goosebumps when I listen to it because it just freaking strikes something in me.

Dance Me to the End of Love
The Civil Wars

Dance me to your beauty like a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
And dance me to the end of love
Please Dance me to the end of love

Let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
And dance me to the end of love
Please Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now
Dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly
And dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love
We're both of us above
And dance me to the end of love
Won't you dance me to the end of love

Next, we have my little sprouts. This morning I looked at my little mary-gold plants and they have sprouts! Last time I looked there was only one, now there are many! I can't wait till there are actually flowers :)

Lastly, and probably bestly, I woke up this morning after a crappy nights sleep to my husband's hugs and encouraging words. I was groggy, as I normally am, but I told him that I didn't sleep that well. As I just stood there he wrapped his arms around me and said, "I'm sorry baby. Take a nice warm shower and we'll get some coffee in you. You'll feel better then." He was warm and clean-smelling and confident. Sometimes I can't get enough of him. Those were perfect words for me in my barely awake state. Thanks to that lovely man I started the day off on the right foot.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mission: Real Happiness

It is no secret that I think too long and too much about very simple things. Lately, Happiness has been one of them. In the grand scheme of things I am happy with where I am. Somehow thought I can't deny that I haven't been feeling the happiness on a daily basis. Now listen, I completely acknowledge that there is nothing crazy going on in my life right now. I know sometimes you need to have perspective and realize that complaining about little things is dumb. But I have found myself doing a lot of this lately. And often I find myself wondering why I don't have a happy outlook.
Project Renovate! I am a positive reinforcement type of person so in that vein I am going to be blogging (at least weekly) about things happening now that are making me happy. Things I am noticing and appreciating, or things that I do to turn around my mood, in the hopes that I will be able to see how many things are making me happy, and begin to appreciate them.
Also, as a full disclosure side note, I have recently begun the transition from consistent anti-depressant taker to non-antidepressant taker. I have no shame in telling you that I have been on my chosen anti-dep for quite a while. I began in college after my nagging back and leg pain was dubbed “there’s nothing wrong with her let’s call it fibromyalgia”. I also had a lot of anxiety and often an upset stomach. When I began with the anti-deps I noticed how nice it was to be able to go places and do things without always worrying about being sick. When Mike was killed, my amazing physician suggested upping my dosage, along with other things, to help me cope. I wasn’t in much of a position to fight back. Fast forward and I’m still plugging along, never really finding the right time to try to get off of them. But alas, I am in as stable a place as ever, and I think I can properly cope without them now. YAY! I tell you this because I have noticed being all over the map emotionally as I step down the anti-deps, and finding and acknowledging happy things may be a good tool for me in my (hopefully) anti-depressant-free future J
I will start today.
Getting ready this morning made me happy, even if getting out of bed early to do it did not. Feeling put together for work, having my hair clean and done, and not feeling too big for my clothes all day has put me in a generally good place.
Reading a new blog I found this weekend that focuses on how a wife appreciates her husband every single day has made me happy, and reflective. Her writing style is pretty awesome, and as I read just through the “letters” section I was fully captured and enjoying every minute. (find it here!)
Knowing I made a plan for myself this evening to indulge in some continuing education for my future counseling career makes me excited to go home and NOT just lay on the couch. My job right now may be just to help us save up while were in KS but having something on my schedule that I actually have a passion for and can do to make money in the future has helped keep me going today.
Please feel free to share your happiness tricks with me :)