It’s Gone on Long Enough

Bath & Body Works, I have allowed myself to be duped for too long

My love affair with Bath & Body Works products, that is.

I drew a bath for myself the other night and used their Aromatherapy Sleep Bath Milk.  Then I read the ingredients.  Yikes!  Parabens, preservates, and carcinogens galore!

After the initial shock, I did enjoy a very nice bath, but then decided that I enjoy being cancer-free more than I enjoy being immersed in toxic chemical that smell nice.  However, I am a {relatively} thrifty person, so I decided that as soon as I run out of those chemical laden bath products, I will not restock with that same brand.

But I can’t tear myself away from the White Barn candles.  They just smell too wonderful.

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It Whizzed Right By!

The three year anniversary of the {final} removal of my spinal tumor, that is.

In January I made a mental note to make sure that I at least acknowledge February 1, but then it came and went without a second thought.  Honestly, I didn’t remember until last week when I was walking up the back stairs at work and was talking with a friend about one of my scars.

I am so thankful for January 30 {the day my tumor was embolized in a procedure similar to a cardiac catheterization, but in my back}, and for February 1.  I am so thankful for Drs. Olavarria and Razack who took such wonderful care of me during my first surgery and who treated me like I was family.  I am so thankful for Drs. Sawin and Hellinger {plus the cardiothoracic surgeons} for their extraordinary care which will allow me {Lord willing} to never face the same issue again.  I am so thankful for Dr. Sollaccio and his fantastic bedside manner, as well as all of those at Florida South’s Radiation Oncology division for making it not too loathsome to make that 35-45 minute drive every day for five weeks.

I am so thankful for the prayers of the Church which gave me and my family strength as we navigated some uncertain territory.  I am so thankful for my parents who took such excellent care of me during my recovery, and especially for my mom who had to give me medications that I don’t even want to talk about.  I am so thankful for my now husband who stood by my side and loved me so well.

I am so thankful that God brought me through some less than desirable circumstances and taught me that He is worthy of my trust and devotion.

I am so thankful.

The Finished Product

Max’s quilt is done!

After three meltdowns yesterday while affixing the front to the back, it is now ready to adorn Max’s crib.

Drumroll please!

I now present the finished product.

The back. I will probably never use stripes for a backing again.

It's done!

Me with my masterpiece

A Look Back

One year ago today Summer went to be with the Lord.  No one was prepared for her death, it was just too soon.

Summer was a fighter.  Her battles were innumerable, but she was surrounded by people who loved her and gave her strength.  She was so deeply loved.  Her parents were her constant champions and advocates, never losing hope, and they helped her achieve success.

Summer and her family changed my life, and especially my nursing career.  I will never forget the challenges, the heartaches, and the joys of taking care of Summer; I will forever cherish my memories of her and the lessons she taught me.

So much changes in a year.  So much could have changed for her this year.  I wish that I could see what she would be doing now.  How would she have grown and excelled?  What would have been her challenges this year?  What would she look like now?  I miss being able to hold her, talking and singing to her, and letting her know what a cherished baby she is.

I miss her and my heart still aches when I remember that I won’t see her again this side of Heaven, but my heart mostly aches for her family.  They are the ones who feel most cheated out of time with their little girl, and their hurt will lessen with time, but will never go away.

One year can make a big difference.  You learn to live with grief and how to lessen it.  You learn to cope with sadness and move on with life.

A lot can happen in one year.

In the Rough

I’m trying to be more intentional about praying everyday, especially when I’m working, and especially over the babies for whom I care.  And today I needed all of the strength I could get, so I’m really glad that I had a talk with God on the way to work.

Today was rough.  I was really busy and was emotionally drained.  I was upset near the point of tears by something that wouldn’t normally get me that upset.  Thank goodness I had good roomies, because I really needed their encouragement.

I must be getting ready to start my period.

The Obligatory Valentine’s Day Post

So Valentine’s Day was a week ago and I have yet to blog about it… big time blogging fail.

My tardiness in posting may make it seem like Valentine’s Day was no big deal, but I actually had a great day!  It was the third day in a three day stretch at work, and I got to work with one of my BFFs, Stefanie, which is always a pleasure.  On top of having a great roomie, we took care of babies that were doing really well and I was blessed to interact with a sweet family of believers.

When I arrived home from work, I was greeted by friends Sammy, Frank, and Dean, as well as my sweet husband and dog.  Andrew surprised me by cooking me a gourmet dinner of spaghetti and meatballs!

Romantic lighting

What a sweet husband!

We celebrated the next night “for real”, since I was pretty tired on the actual Valentine’s Day, by visiting Pannullo’s and then checking out “The King’s Speech”.  Food at Pannullo’s was good, but we think the chef was on a salt kick because everything was oversalted.  “The King’s Speech” was exceptional.  I love Colin Firth and he didn’t disappoint in this film.  While I was taken with the acting and the story, Andrew loved the cinematography.

Out on the town!

I am thankful for the years that I was single and didn’t have a Valentine except for Christ, because they taught me so much, but I am also super thankful that I now have two Valentine’s, my husband and my Savior.

Oh, Amazon

Dear Amazon.com,

Thank you for the wonderful store that you operate which allows me to choose almost whatever item I desire at (usually) the lowest price around.  I must tell you something, though; sometimes your research is incomplete.  Purchasing a one-time order of diapers does not mean that I am ready to become a member of Amazon Mom.  They were a shower gift and not for any of my (non-existent) progeny.

Thank you for your kind interest in my shopping habits.

Sincerely,

Erin

Scary

I read this article by Dr. Mercola this morning regarding the IPV and Gardasil vaccines, both of which I received.  I can’t believe that I allowed a physician to play with my emotions and naivete so that I would get the Gardasil vaccine.  I was 19ish when I received it and as uneducated on vaccines as you can get.  I wish that I could go back in time and tell that oh-too-trusting college student to wait for more research and “just say no!”

Vaccines are some scary stuff and we have to educate ourselves on the pros and cons of each, as well as the actual need!

Buckets of Tears

I hate sad stories.  Really really hate them.  There is enough sadness in life without borrowing sorrow from a fictional tale.  That being said, though, the book that I just finished, The Pirate Queen, was a devastatingly beautiful story.

The Pirate Queen is Sephora Warren, wife of a successful plastic surgeon and mother of three adult children.  Her life has revolved around her husband’s desires and turning a blind eye to his infidelity for the duration of their nearly thirty year long marriage, as well as tending to the needs of her children.  When the book opens, Sephora is cleaning up a party for Southern Living, soon followed by her packing her bags.  She is tired of her life and her husband’s cheating ways; but when her husband surprises her by walking in the front door as she is about to leave, her plans take a very different turn.  Bender, her husband, tells her that he has cancer and that he wants to go to their summer home {one that they have never actually been to together} before he dies.  So instead of walking out, Sephora takes care of her husband, children, and grandchildren.

I was so frustrated for Sephora for so much of the book.  There were many times that I wanted to punch her husband for her or deliver a verbal assault; the author does a phenomenal job of making Bender very easy to despise.  As the story progresses, though, healing happens ever so slowly.  So slowly that it happens when it is almost too late.

**Spoiler** The Pirate Queen is a well written book, but I wish that Sephora and Bender had had more time together to mend their relationship and to enjoy one another in their newly realized love.  I suppose that’s one of the things that makes this story so poignant, though.  If you like sad stories, or if you like to cry, definitely check out this book, because as I said, it is devastatingly beautiful.  You can pick up a copy at your local Barnes & Noble (you can also download an excerpt for free at B & N’s website), at Amazon, or most any other bookstore.

Vote for this review on the Blogging for Books website!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, but all opinions are 100% mine.

Northanger Abbey

Image from mobipocket.comNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen is now my favorite Austen book.  I love it!!

This book tells the story of Catherine Morland, the second child in a family of 10 children, who goes to visit Bath with a wealthy neighbor and ends up meeting a charming young clergyman, as well as some other new friends.  Catherine is quite different from Austen’s usual heroines.  She is neither fiercely independent nor cleverer than most.  She is a naive seventeen year old who is obsessed with Gothic novels and must learn that real life is quite different than the novels she loves so much.

While is Bath, she makes a friend in the slightly older Isabella, who is much more sophisticated and coy than the sweet Catherine.  At first, Catherine idolizes her new friend, but after several instances of Isabella’s bad behavior, their friendship is severed.  Fortunately, she has made a new friend in Eleanor, the sister of Mr. Tilney, the charming clergyman, and Catherine is able to learn from her mistakes in her last friendship.  While becoming closer to Eleanor, she also falls in love with Mr. Tilney, who loves to tease Catherine about everything, and who really does quite a bit to help Catherine sort through her feelings about Isabella and growing up.  But does he love her?

When I first started reading Northanger Abbey, I heard some mixed reviews.  Most people thought that is was an odd book, but out of love for Austen, I wanted to read it anyway.  And I’m so glad that I did!  The book had a few laugh out loud moments and is something that I will be able to read over and over again.  Unlike Emma which became a little bit of a chore to finish, I couldn’t put Northanger Abbey down and was anxious to see what happened to the sweet Catherine.

Northanger Abbey has earned a permanent place in my home library and is one that I will read many times in the coming years.  I would heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a pleasant read.