"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thank You Pinterest

I feel like I've been quite the little culinary diva lately! Ok not really, but after several weeks of minimal cooking thanks to stomach issues, my saltine spree, the holidays, tons of work, fast food being the most convenient...you name it, it feels good to be back in the kitchen again! I've also recently become converted to Pinterest...haha so I'm SUPER into yummy recipes right now! Which is great since now I won't be eating as much processed junk, plus I get to feel like a little domestic housewife :) Wins all around!

So far this week I've made:
- vanilla pudding mix chocolate chip cookies (oh my gosh the dough is DIVINE! I saved some in the freezer for me to eat raw later :)
- chicken carbonara deluxe (fettuccine chicken bacon garlic onion whipping cream deliciousness)
- super loaded carrot cupcakes (fresh carrots, walnuts, pineapple, coconut, raisins...mmm)
- homemade cream cheese frosting with pineapple juice instead of milk
- mozzarella tomato basil pesto grilled cheese with chicken breast (oooooo yum!)
- and sugar cookies (just from a mix in the interest of time) to decorate for an early valentines with my extra cream cheese frosting!

I know, I know, it's a lot of desserts. But I only made a quarter batch of chocolate chip cookies and a half batch of the cupcakes, and some of the cookies are to give away, and the cupcakes are for work, so I'm really not eating as badly as it sounds.

Oh goodness I forgot how much fun cooking can be! I already know what I'm making for a healthy snack tomorrow! I can't wait to take pictures of everything! And to try whatever new recipes Pinterest has in store for me and Trevor!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Faith to Leave Mountains

Over the past year or two I have discovered that when my stomach is on the fritz, reading my scriptures is a good way to try to calm down and attempt to distract myself while I wait it out. It's really hard to concentrate when I feel like I'm about to throw up, but at least it's something.

Right now I'm a few chapters into the book of Acts. That means that during the past many many many episodes of intense nausea, I have been reading about the miracles of Christ, and the miracles of the apostles after His death and resurrection. Faith and healing are everywhere. Faith to be healed, thy faith hath made the whole, He healed as many as were sick, power given to the apostles to heal the sick, arise take up thy bed and walk, healed immediately, He healed all their sick and afflicted...there are tons of references I could quote. That's all good and inspiring to read, but as I sit by the toilet feeling utterly miserable hour after hour, over and over, it's hard not to wonder where my miracle is.

I don't believe for one minute that miracles have ceased to exist! Of course miracles still happen today! I don't expect Christ to suddenly appear and personally heal me; miracles can happen in other ways. We believe in the gift of healing. I have had a few priesthood blessings seeking counsel and to be made well. Modern medicine itself is a miracle, and I've seen 4 different doctors over the years, and had several follow up appointments and tried various medications and diet changes. And I most definitely believe that this little plague of mine can be taken away, either by some incredible event or by simply being lead to the right answers and treatment.

So why haven't I been healed yet?

Faith to move mountains, ask and ye shall receive, with God all things are possible.

But I'm still sick.

Because I guess I'm learning another kind of faith. The kind of faith to trust that not all mountains are to be moved. Some of them have to be climbed. And the trust that God isn't abandoning you just because He is not immediately (or even a couple years later) giving you what you think you want so desperately. Faith in the bigger picture. Faith that, even though your prayers seem to have gone unanswered for years, they are still being heard. Faith that God has a plan, even when you don't understand. Faith that God loves you, even when it's hard, and that He helps his little climbers scale their towering cliffs even when it feels like you are braving the cold harsh conditions alone, inadequately equipped, and scared.

Faith to not be healed...and to be able to accept it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First Day of my First Real Internship!

Yesterday was my first day at my new internship and OH MY GOODNESS I was SOO nervous!!! For one thing, it's something new. I have a hard time with change. Also, I wasn't sure quite what to expect, and I get really anxious when I don't know exactly how things are going to be. Plus I've never been to the gym in my life, so a Personal Training/Physical Therapy internship will for sure mean I'm getting exposed to tons of new things. And then there's the added stress of my stomach and intestines going crazy and randomly making me feel like throwing up for sometimes hours at a time, and I was originally planning on just taking a Zofran as I left for my internship every day to keep things manageable, but now even that won't work.

Yeah. It was a lot for me to handle. But it turns out, all my worrying was in vain! I totally loved it!

I got a little lost on the way there, but not too bad and I still made it there in time to change into my required black shirt and yoga shorts, put my hair up, and be ready to go!

A big part of what made me feel so at ease were the people I spent my afternoon with. There are 4 other interns on my shift (2 boys and 2 girls), a leader, and a physical therapist. I'm the newest, but some of the others are only a few weeks ahead of me, and they were VERY nice and welcoming, and did a great job showing me around and helping me out. They're also all married except one, and they're smart, motivated, respectful, social, and all good strong Mormon's! Which is quite a drastic and very welcome change from Costco. I'm not used to being around people in such similar life situations as mine anymore, and it's great!

We started in the gym. The leader guy (I forget what his official 'title' is...so...for the rest of this post I'll refer to him as ' the captain') would choose one of us in turn, and give us an exercise and we'd have to teach it to him as if he were a beginning client, and then correct him if he did anything wrong. Yesterday we worked on biceps exercises. Everyone watched as the person taught, and then we gave a rating and constructive criticism, and the person teaching was given an overall rating by the captain. One slight obstacle for me...I don't know how to use the equipment or do the exercises. Instead of making it some embarrassing huge deal, the captain taught me a new one, and had everyone give me a rating based on how well I learned. Before I go back on Wednesday, I'm for sure going to spend some time looking up different ways to work out, so I will be better prepared.

After all that, I went down to the physical therapy room with the captain and another intern to work on a patient. 2 of the other interns have a personal training emphasis, and I'm not really sure why the other physical therapy emphasis guy wasn't with us. Anyways, I watched as they did some stuff to rehabilitate the kid's shoulder so he could play football again, and we all talked for awhile during his appointment. My stomach started acting up about this point. It was growling and rumbling and threatening to make me feel pretty rotten and sick, and I was soooo cold I was shaking. Next time I'm bringing a jacket for sure! Luckily, I was just observing while it was doing that, so after trying to wait it out for about 15 or 20 minutes, I finally excused myself to eat 2 saltines and get some gum to chew. That seemed to do the trick, I burped, and felt better for the rest of the shift!

Once we were done with the patient, the captain taught me how to do one of the things they were doing with the kid's shoulder. It's called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, or PNF stretching for short. We worked on that for well over an hour. Teaching, practicing it on each other, all that good stuff. I don't think they usually spend that long on one thing like that, but there was some issue with a patient that came in and required extra time or something, so we were left to our own devices...aka practicing PNF for like forever. It would be a lot easier if I were a lot bigger and/or stronger, but I'm getting better at it :) One of the interns helping me and another girl actually knew what he was doing, and was really really great at helping us learn. He'd lay on the table and coach us on what to do, what to do better, and what we were doing good as we each stood on either side of the table and took turns stretching out each of his arms over and over. His shoulders probably feel great today after being stretched out for so long!

About a half hour before leaving, we all started cleaning assignments. I just chose one at random, and it happened to be a super long one. Dusting and polishing all the wood surfaces. Oh man. All the wooden baseboards, all the huge wooden windowsills, the wooden supports, the front and back of the main desk, the doors...it took me over a half hour, and that's not because I was going slow! I tried to hurry as fast as I could, especially because everyone else got short jobs and finished before I was even half done. I'm pretty sure no one had dusted for awhile, because it was pretty bad in some places, and my black clothes ended up covered in dust bunnies. Lucky me :) I'm not choosing that job again anytime soon!

Then we totaled up our points for the day, and headed home. I can't wait to go back for more tomorrow! Here's hoping my stomach will be friendly again!! knock on wood!

I'm really not sure why I ever thought it would be so terrible to leave Costco for new territory. I love this new place waaay better already. Who knows, maybe I won't like it so much later, but I'm guessing I still will :) 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Scattering Sunshine

Not gonna lie, I started off today feeling pretty sorry for myself. It's been an especially rough couple of weeks. And I mean a really especially rough couple of weeks. For me anyways. I started a post or two about it, but they were kind of depressing me even more and I didn't feel like finishing them. Those posts will come later maybe, but for now, suffice it to say there were many severe stomachaches, many medications that stopped providing relief, many stressful things, many meals I wasn't able to eat, many pounds that were lost, many things I didn't feel good enough to do, and many many many tears of frustration, hopelessness, discomfort, and just overall misery and endless woe. Ok...maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration...but only a little.

Trevor came down with a cold and stayed home in bed this morning instead of going to church. So I sat alone in Sacrament Meeting. I tried to pay attention, but ended up spending about half of the meeting lost in thought, reminiscing about how different things are now, and how much I miss my old life from a couple years ago. So many things have changed. Lots of them good, like being married to the love of my life for time and all eternity, graduating from BYU, losing stubborn unwanted weight that plagued my ballet years, getting a job and saving up money, I have a car now (ok actually it's a truck, and it's my uncle's, but I have access to it :), moving on and starting the next chapter of my life...etc. But in moving on, I had to leave a lot behind. Plus now there's the plague of the persistent nausea ruining everything.

Really, even more than being homesick for my previous life, I guess I'm really homesick for the girl I used to be. Growing up, circumstance, and sickness has kind of turned me into someone else.

I used to be this girl.

Always ready to rummage through old boxes in the basement and spontaneously dress up as a pioneer/robinhood/superhero and pose for a random kitchen photo shoot just because, and prance around in the kitchen while whipping up a quadrillion batch of my beloved chocolate chip cookies and singing Disney songs and girly love songs, and then burning a bunch because I would run into the living room after eating gobs of cookie dough to play the piano while the cookies baked. Always dancing, smiling, laughing, girly, happy, and on top of my world.

Well, I don't do that anymore. It's like I've spent so much time being sick, that it's been too hard to be Karin anymore. I miss her.

Eating junk food isn't nearly as fun now that it makes me sick all the time. I work with a bunch of guys all day, and my girliness has been methodically smothered over time. My manager at work flat out refused to let me request one night a week off, or even one hour a week, so ballroom lessons stopped. And now that I'm not in ballroom classes since I graduated, that wonderful part of my life has been fading into just a memory for the past year. I did manage to start going to ballet once a week when my work schedule permitted, but my nausea issues have been robbing me of that lately. I don't dress up anymore. There doesn't seem to be much point. I haven't really even spent that much time on my appearance at all lately since I know I'll just look and smell gross once I get to work anyways. Trevor is gone a lot. At work, in classes, or on campus doing homework in study groups. That leaves me home alone when I'm not at work. I usually don't feel all that great, so when I'm at home a lot of my time is spent on facebook, watching TV shows on Netflix, and lying around feeling rotten and sick and wishing things were different. On the rare occasion that me and Trevor are both free at the same time, our plans are usually inhibited at least somewhat by me not feeling that great. I'm a lot more hesitant to go out and do things now that I've learned I can't trust my stomach to feel good from one minute to the next, and being sick is waaay worse when I'm not at home.

It's been long and hard and it has worn me down a lot.

After my pity-party Sacrament Meeting, I headed off to Sunday School and Relief Society. In the last meeting we sang hymn 230 - Scatter Sunshine. I wasn't paying much attention to the words I was singing. Then as I started the last chorus, I looked back and read what I had just sung:

When the days are gloomy,
Sing some happy song;
Meet the world’s repining
With a courage strong.
Go with faith undaunted
Thru the ills of life;
Scatter smiles and sunshine
O’er its toil and strife.
Scatter sunshine all along your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten
Ev’ry passing day.
Scatter sunshine all along your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten
Ev’ry passing day.
Then I remembered how much I love the Sunshine hymns. They have always been my favorites. My mom used to call me "little miss sunshine" when I was little, or "smiles and sunshine", just like it says in the hymn. Something that is stated several times in my patriarchal blessing, as well as my baby blessing, and in other priesthood blessings from various people through the years, is that I have been blessed with the Spiritual gift of Joy. It hasn't really felt like it for awhile, but it's still true. And now it's time to start scattering smiles and sunshine over my toil and strife, and eventually start focusing on cheering and brightening others' days instead of just moping around because I think I'm having a hard time.

I got a referral from my doctor to start seeing a specialist, and my EGD is only 3 weeks away. I'm also scheduling an appointment with an allergist for as soon as possible, so hopefully some answers will start trickling in, and ideally, with them will come relief and recovery! I also FINALLY finished my last day working at Costco, and I start an internship tomorrow that I'm hoping will be a great start to a new career path that I am much more suited for, and I will start teaching ballet classes soon! The cost of all these medical things has been really weighing on my mind, especially now that I don't have a source of income, but Trevor started his taxes, and it looks like we should be getting a nice amount back that will cover my expenses (well, the ones we are predicting at the moment) and be enough to buy me a nice camera like I was dreaming of getting! My stomach was also very nice to me today and let me eat much more than it has in a long long while and it was wonderful! Aaaaand I baked up a batch of my chocolate chip cookies again for the first time in quite a long time (and I ate several of them without feeling like I was about to throw up, which pretty much blew my mind), and I played the piano while they baked, just like old times. And there may have been a bit of kitchen dancing in there too :)

It's been rough for me this past year or two, but you know what? Things. Will. Get. Better. I know they will. They might have to get a whole lot worse before they do, but they will. The ball is starting in motion, so I just need to keep it going! And scatter some sunshine while I'm at it :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life Lessons from the Fridge

Trevor is at work all night today. So to save myself from dying of loneliness in his absence, and to not be an unproductive waste of a non-busy human being, I decided to deep clean the kitchen. The fridge is in the kitchen. Cherry Jelly Belly snowcone flavoring was in the fridge.

Not in the bottle like it was supposed to be...it was in the fridge. All over.

We got a super cute snowcone ice shaving machine as a fun wedding gift, and some Jelly Belly flavored syrups to go with it. We tried it out after a run on a hot summer's day several months ago, and, as expected, it was delicious! But you can't have snowcones every day, so after awhile the syrup found its way to the back of the fridge, and eventually must have gotten knocked over by something being shoved into our packed fridge, and it spilled.

I found the sticky bright cherry red mess one day, but I didn't feel like cleaning it up. It seemed like too much of a nuisance for me to take the time to deal with right then. Funny how every time I've noticed that sticky red puddle since then I've always had something better to do with my time. Besides, once you reorganize the stuff in front of it, you can't even see it anymore! Or you could always just close the door...problem solved!

Well that theory worked like a charm (kind of) for several months until today, when I finally decided it was time. I took everything out of the fridge and started attacking the mess. The once-liquid puddle had slowly and methodically dried out and solidified over time, and now had more the consistency of thick hard caramel. Not the ice cream topping kind, I mean like those little square ones wrapped in plastic. Yep.  A plastic grocery bag had found its way into the puddle at some point, and it just ripped into pieces when I tried to get it out. The stuff was so sticky and solid that - even after soaking it in hot water for several minutes - it ripped up my sponge when I tried to scrub it out. I had to resort to scraping/prying it up off the fridge and into a bowl with a spoon, bit by bit. Oh and did I mention that it wasn't only on the second shelf where it originally spilled? It had dripped down the side and back of the fridge, and was on both sides of the third shelf, and collected in a nice big thick solid gooey mass of gross at the bottom of the fridge under the drawers.

However gross it may have been, I am pleased to announce that the red mess has been purged, and our refrigerator is now sparkling clean and organized again!

So, what did I learn? Well, I suffer from this stupid idea that if I ignore problems I don't feel like dealing with - or don't feel ready to deal with, they will either go away completely, or I will somehow magically know how to deal with them later. Sure occasionally that might be the case (for example the pizza crust I blogged about last week), but most of the time it is SO NOT TRUE! What would have been a matter of taking 5-10 minutes to wipe things out with a sponge or paper towel a couple months ago, was now a 45+ minute long ordeal of grit and determination for the same end result.

I do this with food like all the time. It starts to go bad, so instead of hurrying and eating it, I leave it. Like the food is going to get fresher as time goes on or something. This theory has clearly worked for the bananas and orange I have on my counter right now. Not. Really, I'm pretty sure something is wrong with my brain sometimes.

Yeah, I've still got quite a ways to go before I've overcome this faulty way of dealing with things. But, there's no time like the present for getting things done! So now I'm off to do something else I've been ignoring for months...clean my room!