Dec 25, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

Merry Christmas from our UTE tree!
My beautiful Grandma Margaret (my Dad's Mom)
I feel so blessed this Christmas to be here to celebrate the birth of my Savior.

My husband and I had the opportunity to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my Mom and Dad this year.  We had such a great time.  Just being there and sharing in their warmth and love was a perfect way to start the day.  I'm so very thankful for a family that loves me.  My parents were the 2 people who taught me that Christmas isn't about the presents, but about the people you are with, and they make sure to love the person they are with so well.
Papa Kirk opening his gift

It was a very relaxing evening.  We ate dinner, wrapped gifts, I took a nap, we played games, and just enjoyed the company.  It was wonderful to spend that special time with them and my husband.  We only have 1 more Christmas in Utah before we move away for Medical, so I am really treasuring this year.
Momma Cay opening her "Baby's are the best present" ornament

These past 2 weeks have been really tough.  I haven't been able to eat and have been in and out of the hospital, and so to be able to forget about all the struggle and all the pain I am going through for this night was fabulous.  I have the greatest family in the world, and I couldn't be more blessed.

the Abelskiver maker
After having our tradition ableskiver breakfast with my family, Dave and I got in the car and headed to his parents to celebrate with them.  It was a lot busier over there.  We went from 4 adults to 6 sisters, 2 brother in laws, and 2 nehphews.  Quite a change,  but SO MUCH fun.

I had been planning my in laws gifts for months now (homemade gift baskets of a few of their favorite things) and it was so much fun to see their faces when I handed their baskets to them.  I think homemade gifts are the best.  We then opened the family gift which was the xbox kinect, and we've been dancing our little fannies off all afternoon.  It's been a blast.  After that Dave and I do what we do every year, we had our Christmas.

Dave's Sturhling watch
Dave and I like to celebrate with both families, and then come home to our home, with just the 2 of us and have our Christmas.  We had so much fun!  Dave has gotten me stuff that I had mentioned throughout the year and I had no idea what he was getting me, but he did above and beyond perfect and it was so fun!  I got him a gift that he would never have expected in a million years.  He has wanted it forever, but would never take the money to buy it for himself, so this entire year I have saved up and I was able to get the 2 top things on his list of things he wanted when I had money, a custom made wedding ring, and a really nice Swiss made watch.  He got them both today, and he loved them.

To me personally, I would rather give then receive.  Giving gifts is so much fun for me.  I love to give a little bit of my heart with each gift that I give.  I made each one of Dave's 7 sisters a pair of earrings for Christmas this year, because it's something that I can do to show them that I love them.

Me enjoying my rainbow colored Happy Place
This Christmas was perfect.  I wouldn't change one thing about it (well I would change it so I could eat, but just that).  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas as well!  Have a wonderful New Year!

Jilly Strasburg

Dec 21, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

I had Christmas cards made this year, but unfortunately when they came they had spelled our last name wrong, so to all of my friends and family here is our Christmas card....
Click to play this Smilebox greeting

Merry Christmas
Dave and Jilly Strasburg

Dec 14, 2011

Addiction, Psychiatry, and Bipolar Disorder...What do you think?

I'm not sure if I have ever talked about this on my blog before, but I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder when I was 18 years old. Since then I was put on loads of different medications searching for one that worked for me. I was in and out of the hospital multiple times, I have been on the news, in magazines, and newspapers, and NAMI organizations talking about my struggle, how hard it is for people to get health insurance if they have mental illness, and I have also been a speaker to many different medical schools and medical conferences talking about the reality of life with Bipolar Disorder. For those of you that don't know what Bipolar Disorder is, here is a link explaining a little bit about this disease. I know I can get much more detailed then that, but that will give you a basic idea. In short, I struggle with mania more than depression. 

Since I was 23 I have been on a medication that has worked great for me. It keeps me stable and I am able to live my life as much as possible. There are somethings that I am just not able to do. Because of my physical health and also my mental health I am unable to work, I can't get overly stressed, I have to exercise, take care of my spiritual health, and see my doctor regularly. I still go through ups and downs on my medications but over the last 10 years I have learned to manage my illness very well. I know that I have to take my medication 100% of the time and I can't stop taking it because I am feeling better. I am feeling better because of the medication. All of these things took years to learn, and a lot of work with therapists and amazing doctor's. With that being said I'm going to go into the main reason I am writing this post. 

I know this isn't my regular type of post, but I had an opportunity to go to a medical conference today as a guest instead of speaking. My psychiatrist asked me if I would like to go with him to hear a bunch of speakers and researchers at a local medical school. It was all about mental illness and psychiatry. I jumped at the chance. As we were sitting there and I was listening to this particular psychiatrist, he made a comment about addiction. He said that he has seen the brain scans and he knows that certain parts of the brain light up when people are seeing pornography, or heroin, or food, or any other addicting substance, but he truly believes that there is no such thing as addiction. He believes that if people would just learn self control that they would be fine. People have come up with excuses to justify there poor behavior. All they need to do is just say no, basically.

I found this so interesting as I have had many people in my life suffer from "addictions". It got me thinking what do I believe? I felt like I had a food addiction a long time ago, but I overcame that. I quit cold turkey (because I had to).  Over the space of a year and with some counseling I was able to overcome it. Food to me is now a way to keep me alive and not for me to live for. Researchers say that 6% of addicts will recover completely.  So, was I addicted and just one of the lucky 6% or did I really just learn self control? 

This is my reason for this blog. I am genuinely interested to know what my readers think about this. I want to know if you think that addiction is real or if it is just something that we need more will power to overcome. 

Psychiatry is fascinating to me, as is mental illness. I have learned through my ups and downs with bipolar that mental illness is very real. It is something that so many of us struggle with and yet are so ashamed of. I have embraced my disease and use it to my greatest advantage now. I make sure to take good care of myself physically and emotionally, and I believe that I am proof that anyone with a mental illness can live a "normal" life with the right medication and right self help. Those things go hand in hand. You can't just take a pill and expect to be well. You have to be doing certain things to help you along with your meds to get the fullness out of your life.  I have learned that I HAVE Bipolar.  I am NOT Bipolar.  My disease does not define me and make me who I am.  Bipolar is a part of me, but it is not me.

Anyway let me know your thoughts. I am extremely interested in hearing all about what you have to say. I hope you are all having a wonderful Holiday season, and I can't wait for Christmas and post about all the fun things we are doing. 


Nov 4, 2011

Fall, Halloween, and now Thanksgiving

It's officially that time of year again. November has begun, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I can't even believe we have gotten here again. In reminded myself to be thankful (and oh I have so much to be thankful for) I just wanted to write a little post about our our Fall has been going, how Halloween went, and of course a few things that I am very thankful for. Fall semester started for Dave and that meant Organic Chemistry and getting ready for the MCAT. This has been a very hectic semester for him. I'm so proud of how hard he works. He wakes up everyday, drives the hour to school, is there all day long, and then finally at about 7pm he walks through the door for dinner. I don't envy my sweet husband at all, but man I am so thankful for all that he does for us. He works so hard for our little family. I know he has to bare the brunt of everything in this family because the doctor's won't allow me to work, and I am so thankful for how hard he does work. He has been on the Dean's list since he decided to go back to school and become a doctor and I couldn't be more proud of him. I did a few speaking engagements over the summer, and since fall has hit I have been working on my own little projects. I know I am unable to work, so I do little things at home that I hope will bring a little bit of income to help out our family when I can. I have learned how to make jewelry, and making earrings are my favorite. I don't have a shop or anything just a page on Facebook where I post them, and some other fun craft projects, and that has been really fun for me. If you would like to check it out, my Facebook page is All This All That I also have an etsy page that I sale my things on as well which is also All This All That I've been struggling with my health a little bit lately. I think the scar tissue has just started to get tight again and it's making it harder for food to move through me. It's just the way life is though, and as long as I have this amazing life to live I will take whatever I am thrown. :) Dave and I recently went to dinner party with some people in our ward, and I'm constantly reminded of what amazing people we have around us and how blessed we are by the friends we have. I couldn't ask for better friends. As we sat there at dinner our friends asked me all about my Oprah story, and how I ever got to be 302 lbs, and what kind of a struggle was that for me, and we just sat and talked for hours. We had so much fun sharing in their love and company. I was so grateful that I felt well enough to be able to go over and enjoy dinner with them. We really do have some of the most amazing people in this entire world right here in our own backyard. Halloween was a blast! Halloween is my Mother-in-Law's birthday, and she was turning 23 this year so it was a big one! ;) My sister in law from Alaska came into town with her 3 children and husband, and what a treat that was. We have had so much fun! On the morning of Paula's birthday we woke up and made her breakfast as she got all dressed up for Halloween to go to work, and then she stayed a little extra and had breakfast with her children. I made one of my casseroles from The Nummy Little Blog and my brother in law made crepes, and everything turned out great. It was a really fun morning. That night, Dave got home from school and we got him all dressed up as the Big Bad Wolf who ate grandma from the Little Red Riding Hood. I was my all time favorite character...Miss Piggy. We had a blast.
We had so much fun just being with each other and with the family, like we always do. More than anything that is what I am grateful for. I am grateful for my amazing family and friends and how much fun Dave and I have sharing in their love.
I do have so much fun with Dave's family, but my heart does ache for my sweet family. My sister who is in WI with her husband and kids, my brother Brock in WA with his family, my sweet brother Paul with his amazing wife and their children in Orem (but is so busy with nursing) and of course my Mom and Dad who I wish I could see everyday. I was glad to see all of them getting dressed up for Halloween though and having a great time. Kirk and Cay even dressed up this year, which I thought was so much fun. Thanksgiving will be great and I'm so looking forward to it. We will be spending this year with my family in Springville and I'm so excited I can't stand it. The last few years my parents have been in OK with my sister, so I'm thrilled that I will get to spend Thanksgiving with them. Mainly in this time of giving thanks, I am so grateful for the amazing family and friends that I have. I am grateful that even through my health struggles I have a life to live. I can deal with anything that is thrown at me as long as God will give me a chance to live it. I have made some amazing friends here by my house lately, and if I wouldn't had made it a year ago I wouldn't be alive to have this girl in my life. I wouldn't be alive to have met all the women I did on my speaking engagements this summer. I wouldn't be able to have one of my sweetest angel friends just show up at my house with one of the greatest gifts I have ever received, and just have her thoughtfulness warm my heart. I'm thankful for the life I have and that I get to live it. I'm thankful that I have each day with my amazing husband and the love he has for me. I have an amazing life. Even if I am in the hospital a few times a month, it doesn't phase me 1 bit because I have a life that I never thought I would or could have, and I'm grateful for every second of it. I'll continue being thankful as long as God will give me the right to live it. Happy Holidays everyone!

Oct 16, 2011

IU, and the final weeks of Summer

I'm sitting here on this Sunday morning at 7am drinking my tea, and watching the sun peek up over Mt. Timpanogos, and I can't help but think of how thankful I am for this life I get to live. Recently as most of you know I had the opportunity to go and speak to a group of men and women in Las Vegas at a fun little convention called Inspiration Unlimited. It was truly an amazing weekend.

My husband had a test on Friday evening, so we didn't get to leave Highland until about 5 and then traffic was bad, so we didn't get to my parents house until about 6pm, and then we finally left for Las Vegas at 6:30. It's a 6 1/2 hour drive from my parents house, and I was exhausted before the trip even began. I started driving because I knew it would give me some time to think. My Dad was asleep next to me, and my hubby, and Mom were in the back. It was quiet and I was listening to classic rock, and just thinking about these women and men that I was going to meet. I had a talk prepared for them, but in my heart I just knew that it wasn't the right thing. As I drove I said a silent little prayer asking my Heavenly Father and Savior to let me know the things that these people needed to hear. Let me know what I should tell them that would touch their souls, and lift their spirits.

It's amazing how when you're thinking of everyone but yourself how time flies. It felt like no time at all that we drove into the Green Valley Resort at 1:15am. I was tired, and looking forward to my bed. I knew that the next day I would be up going to meet some women before I spoke, and also practicing my speech. We got checked into our rooms, and because we were the last ones there they only had smoking rooms. I was so annoyed and frustrated, but I was too tired to care. I just had to tell myself to get over it, and try to get some sleep.

The next morning I woke up with energy that even I didn't know where it came from. I was so excited about the day. I got dressed, went and grabbed my Mom and headed down to the convention to meet the director, Teresa Collins. I was in for a surprise. :) When I met her she opened her arms and hugged me and with her sweet southern accent, told me how glad she was that I was there and what time everything would be going on that day. She introduced me to her group, and had a smile that would not quit. I learned a lot in this 5 minutes. She had spent all week traveling, setting up, teaching classes, and was probably extremely worn out, and yet here she was to greet me, make me feel welcome and important, and gave me a great hug. I was so excited about the night ahead of me.

After the meet and greet, my Mom and I went back to our rooms where Dave and I went and got a little bite to eat, walked around and just hung out together. It was nice to just get some alone time with my hubby. He kept asking me if I was nervous or worried, and for some reason I wasn't. I was so calm and felt complete peace. I still didn't plan what I was going to say, but I knew it would be alright. I was telling my story. No one knows my story better than me, and no one can tell my story better than me.

As the time came for us to get changed and head down to the ballroom, Dave and I got our on knees together and said a prayer. I just prayed to be calm, collected, to know what I should say, and that the women would hear what they needed to hear. I stood up, grabbed my husband's hand, and I knew I was ready.

My parents, Dave, and myself, sat in the ballroom as it filled up, and filled up, and filled up, with more and more women. Okay, about this time the butterflies started to flutter, but I was still doing okay. I promise myself I wouldn't look behind me to see how many women were there because I knew I would lose it. :)

Teresa stood up, introduced me like a pro, and made me feel a lot more special than I am, and then I got up and started. As looked across the room at all these women and men, and I was in awe of the energy and their presence. They had such a wonderful, kind, happy, and joyous spirit about them. I felt love from these people who had never met me, and I felt acceptance.

As I spoke about my life struggles, hardships, happiness, ups, and downs, I realized that I was telling everyone's story. Everyone has the same trials just in different ways. We all have the same feelings, same emotions, same reactions, and I was just there to let them know that it was okay. It was okay for them to go through every step of the process. It was okay for them to have a rough day and get down and discouraged. It is okay to struggle. The important thing is that you stick with it, stay as positive as you can, and you'll come out on top. Attitude is 90% of what happens to you in this life, and that is what I wanted these women to understand.

When I was done, I said thank you, and then I was shocked. Every single person in that audience stood and applauded for me. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love they were showing. I hurried to my seat as I tried to hold back my tears. I was touched that these amazing women were cheering for my story, when I was cheering inside for them.

After the presentation was over, I stayed for about an hour and got pictures with ladies, signed books, hugged them, talked to them, and made some amazing friends. It was an incredible experience. They also wanted pictures with my amazing husband who is the light of my life. I think they got to see the amazing man that I get to be with everyday and they wanted to eat Dave up. I loved every second of it.

I just want to say thank you to Teresa for asking me to speak. It was an amazing experience and it touched my life for the better. Thank you to all your wonderful women who changed my life, and gave me so much love. And thank you to my amazing husband, for being my best friend, my ultimate support, and my biggest fan. I love you with my whole heart, and I couldn't do any of this without you by my side.

Sep 21, 2011

The Little Green Monster-Jealousy

It has been a really crazy last few weeks. I got a call from the Oprah Winfrey Network a few weeks ago letting me know that they are interested in me doing a new series for them. They weren't able to give many details because they were still getting things put together. I was so extremely excited and flattered I couldn't stand it. From there they kept in contact with me, and it has just been surreal, but so much fun. I can't wait to see if anything comes from this. Even if it doesn't, I just feel very blessed, and very flattered, that they would consider me for this new series. I feel so thankful that my story has touched so many lives across the country. I'm just a normal, average girl from Utah with a story that I'm sure a lot of people have, and so I feel very thankful to all of the people who have connected with my story and felt comforted by something I might have gone through or said, just so they know that they're not the only person that struggles with weight.

Through these past few weeks and the Oprah phone calls, and just being really excited it has been very tough as well. I have an amazing family and support system. I have an incredible husband who supports me 100% and is so proud of all his wife has accomplished. I have 2 incredible parents that push me to be my best and encourage me to always strive for greater things. They have always taught me that I am special, and should be proud of the woman I have become. I have amazing siblings who are always so overjoyed and full of excitement when I tell them what is going on in my life. They are just genuinely happy for me. I feel so blessed by these people who just love me, and encourage me. I have some incredible sister in law's who have been so excited for me and been my cheer leaders which means the world to me. It's always so nice to have family support because a lot of the times myself and others don't get that in this life. I think we always want our families to back us up, and when they don't it breaks your heart. I have some amazing friends who I love like sisters, and since this has all happened they have been so excited and loving and kind and just wanting to know more and more. It means to world to me. So to all of my amazing relationships in this life who support me and love me, I say thank you so much.

This past week has been a tough one though. I have come across some very jealous people who for some reason just can't be happy for me. I have never struggled with jealousy in my life, so I don't understand it that well, but I know it is real and it's bad. It causes people to treat you certain ways, to say very mean and critical things, and tear you down because you are so happy. It blows my mind. I think what has hurt the worst is that these same people that refuse to give me encouragement, support, love, and just be happy for Dave and me, will be overjoyed at something that someone that is close to both of us does. It's very hard for me to not take things personally when it feels so personal. I try to remind myself that the world doesn't revolve around me, and I really try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but it's hard when you see pure joy and excitement on their faces or in their demeanor, and voices for someone you both love, but their utter jealousy towards you. It breaks my heart. I never thought that something that could bring so much joy could bring so much pain at the same time. I am learning a lot about a lot of people the last few weeks. I am learning what type of person I am, and what type of people others are.

I feel very blessed to know that I can honestly say that I wear my heart on my sleeve, that I genuinely give everyone the benefit of the doubt, that I try to find something good in every single person I meet. I'm not saying I'm perfect because I'm far from it, but I try so hard to always make others feel good. I love it when someone is happy or to see a smile on some one's face. I love just being able to sit and listen to someone express themselves, and be that shoulder to cry on if it will make them feel better. I genuinely love people, and I care about them. I get excited for people that I love when something great happens in their life. I try to show them how much I care about them by how happy I get for them. It never crosses my mind to think, "I can't believe it's them when it should be me." I just am not a jealous person. I think if something great happens to a person then they deserve it, and I feel privileged to get to be their cheerleader for a minute, so it breaks my heart when the people that I cheer on turn their backs on me.

I like to portray that I am a positive and happy person because I really am. That truly is the person that I am inside, but everyone has their struggles. I have spent many nights in tears the last week because of a broken heart. My little spirit has been crushed a few times by the way people have treated me. It's so hard for me especially when I know how good I am to them, and yet they won't do the same for me. I try to be strong, and let it roll of my back, but sometimes I can't. I try to tell myself that it is their issue and not mine, but it still hurts. It still makes me cry. It still makes me sad. I think it hurts the worse when you get treated this way by someone that you want so badly to love you. Someone that you just wish would treat you like you treat them. I have spent many nights on my knees asking for guidance, and although I know this is a learning process, and that God is trying to teach me something it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. It doesn't mean it's easy. And it doesn't mean that it doesn't break my heart.

Thank you to all of you amazing people in my life who show me love, kindness, support, joy, excitement, and just lend a listening ear. You mean the world to me, and you are so special in Dave and my life. We are so blessed to have the people we have in our lives. Thank you for loving us the way you do. We know the people we can count on in this world, and I know you all know who you are, and I just want to tell you how thankful we are to have you and how much we love each and every one of you.

I know this week will get better. I'm so excited to speak to some amazing woman at Inspiration Unlimited in Vegas this weekend. I'm so excited to have my true cheerleaders (Dave, my Mom, and Dad) there with me. It will be a great week. I will get over this little hiccup and get back to myself, but just remember that even Jilly struggles. I have down weeks even if I do get calls weekly from Oprah. ;) I love you all and thanks for reading. I'll make sure to tell you all about this weekend when I get back!

Sep 3, 2011

Exercise can be Fun?!

I'm sure a lot of my readers know that at one point in my life I was 302lbs. I know that most of you know that I was also overweight my entire life until I had gastric bypass surgery when I was 20 years of age. I come from a family of very skinny, beautiful people, and it was hard growing up fat, but I will fully admit that I was not going to exercise if it killed me. I hated everything about exercise. Did I know it was good for? Absolutely. Did I know that it would help me lose weight? Absolutely I did. But there was nothing you could do to get me on that beautiful $1500 treadmill that I got for a high school graduation present. Hey, some girls get boob jobs from their Daddy's, mine got me a treadmill to make my fat butt skinny. (Love you Dad!) They're kind of the same thing right?! :)

Now getting that out of the way, most of you know that after I had gastric bypass I lost a lot of weight. I was boxing everyday and I loved every second of it, well then I get deathly sick and couldn't exercise even if I wanted too. I was stuck in a bed because I was too weak to walk on my own. Now that it has been a year and half since my life day (the day my life saving surgery was performed) I have made a goal that I am going to get my heart healthy. I want to do everything in my power to live as long of a life as I can with my sweet Dave. Everything I do in this life is for him, and for the opportunity that I hope God will give me to wake up to see his sweet face in the morning.

On Friday of this week my goal started. I don't have my boxing gym anymore, I don't have zumba, and I don't have a gym. These are all glorious things that people with money have, and since we are starving students and have nothing I have had to use my good 'ol streets of Highland and strap on those new running shoes my Daddy bought me (because I couldn't afford shoes and hadn't bought any in over 3 years, so thank you to my awesome father for loving me so much to buy me all the workout odds and ends that I need to be skinny) :0) and I headed out for a run.

I know you're probably asking yourself where my treadmill is, but when I was younger I gave it to my sister who was a starving student but a running addict. She had young children and couldn't leave her home to run, so I gave her my treadmill and she promised me that once her husband is done with medical residency and they have a little money she would buy me a brand new treadmill, so Jamie you have 1 more year. ;) Actually you have a year and half until Dave and I start medical school and we have our own place since we live with my gracious, kind, and loving, in-laws right now. Anyway back to my story.
My running shoes that Papa Kirk so graciously bought for me this month! Love you Daddy! Thanks for all the help when I have no money!

So I strapped on my new asics, pulled on my awesome new lime green and black running shorts, sports bra, and black tank, and I was ready. I was really going to do this. I told myself I would run for 15 minutes everyday for the 1st week. I have to build up. I mean you are talking to a girl that has never ran a day in her life. I chose to eat ice cream while my sister would go out for her jog. I chose to buy Krispy Kremes while my Mother and sister would go to the gym that they paid for a membership for me. So needless to say this is a HUGE deal. Jill Roberts Strasburg was going to run for the 1st time in 27 years! The clouds opened up and I think I saw God give me a thumbs up.
This is what I hope I will look like one day, and not so much like Homer up top.

I first did the regular stretching just to feel cool, because that's what you see people do. So I stretched for a few minutes and then I headed out. The first 5 minutes were a little tough, but after that I was really starting to enjoy this running thing. I figured that I probably looked like a freak but with my ipod rockin out to "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and my legs feelin pretty good I was having a blast. I ran for 15 minutes and then knew I had to do my cool down and relax. I mean I can only get about 900-1000 calories in my body a day, so I need to conserve some, but man that was actually fun.

For the first time in a long time I didn't feel the stress of money crushing down on me, I didn't feel nervous about Dave taking the MCAT and how in the world we are going to pay for it, I wasn't thinking about my filthy room, or how I have too much stuff with absolutely no where to put any of it, I wasn't thinking about my massive medical bills that I had to take from somewhere and pay, all I was focused on was how good I felt. I never had any idea that exercise could make me feel good. I felt free while I was running, and I'm sure people laughed at the way I ran while they drove by, but it couldn't have bothered me a bit. I was doing it and it felt great. I must admit, running without an extra 152lbs. of weight on me helped too. I had never ran more than 3 minutes at a time in my entire life and to run for an entire 15 minutes was unheard of. It was amazing what my body could do at 147lbs. I was blown away.

As I walked myself home I felt calm, peaceful, relaxed, and centered. I didn't know how things were going to get done but I just didn't care. I knew they would. The most important feeling that I felt though was that I was getting healthy. I was getting my heart healthy so that I could continue to spend incredible days with my hubby that I love so much. And just to prove that I'm really going to do this, I did it again today. Now since I have put in on my blog its like a contract because all of you will hold me to it, but I think this is an activity I can get used to. This is something that I am going to enjoy doing, and for the first time in my life I think I am going to enjoy exercise! So bring it on baby! Jilly the runner, is in the house!

Aug 26, 2011

A little bit of Hope

I woke up this morning quite early. It was 5:15 on my clock when I rolled over after laying in bed for what seemed forever. I finally decided to get up and go have some "quiet" time. I know a lot of you are thinking, "Why in the world does she need quiet time?! She has no children!" but for me my quiet time is when it's still dark outside, I can open my windows and smell the fresh air, have my morning cup of tea, and just reflect on my life. (That sounds a little deep huh? I like to pretend I have depth sometimes.)

Last night I went to "Girl's Night Out" with a friend of mine. I was really excited about it because Stephanie Nielson was speaking. I have read her story in local magazines, and heard a lot about her, and knowing that I have a speaking engagement coming up in a month I wanted to hear what she had to say, and what I could take away from her speech.

She spoke on hope last night, which is something that is very close to my heart. Hope is what kept me alive these last few years. Hope that my food would go down, hope that the scar tissue would stop hurting, hope that I would survive another surgery, hope that Dave is staying focused on school instead of me, and hope that God would grant me another day to wake up to my sweetheart's face. So when she started by saying she was speaking on hope, I connected.

As she spoke I realized that everyone has trials. Whether big or small it doesn't matter. Everyone's trials are huge to them in that minute, and that is all that matters. It doesn't matter if it's a 2 year old who has stubbed his foot and his world's collided and all he wants is for his Mommy to kiss it better, or if it's me laying on a surgery table praying that I open my eyes when they doctor's are done with me. Trials are trials, and no matter what, they are hard.

Trials are uncomfortable, no fun, sad, time consuming, thought consuming, draining, exhausting, crushing, and miserable. But I guess the one thing that can help, is to realize that everyone has them. No one in this life gets to say, "Um, no thanks, I'll pass on that part of life. I don't really want any trials. Thanks though." None of us get that pleasure. And because we don't get that joy of having no trials, we have a Savior who was willing to die for us and let us know that, "Hey, I know your trial is hard. I know because I have been through it before, so turn to me. Let me make it better. Let me hold you in my arms and "kiss you better". Let me help you through this hurt and this pain. Let me carry your burden with you, and together we'll get through this trial."

Our Savior is amazing. He has been through it all, and the amazing thing is that he didn't have to. He didn't have to suffer for all of us, but he did anyway. He did so that he would understand our every pain, our every heartache, our every crushing feeling, our every sad day, he has done it all. He died because he loves us, and he wants us to know that when we feel like we have absolutely no one that understands, that he does, that he's there, and that he loves us. He's been through it all, and he'll he there with us through it all.

I feel so lucky to have my life. I feel so blessed to have every second of every day. My life is far from perfect. I have my struggles, but I am thankful for each one of them. Does that mean that I enjoy them? HECK NO! But I am thankful for them, because at least I am alive to go through them. I don't take anything in this life for granted because each experience is beautiful because I'm alive to live it. I can make it through anything as long as God will give me the chance to live it.

Thank you Stephanie for speaking on Hope, and reaffirming my belief in that simple word. I live because I have hope, and that's all that matters.

I hope you all have an amazing weekend! Thanks for reading! I think I have the greatest readers on the planet, and I love each one of you so much!

Aug 22, 2011

New Website

I'm sure most of you know about my cooking blog, "The Nummy Little Blog", but I wanted to inform you have that I have started a crafting/great finds blog, and it's called "The Mormon Housewife". So make sure to check it out! I'll have fun, easy to do crafts, fun things that I find that I love, and really anything else I feel like posting. It's going to be a fun website just for girls! Everything girlie, cute, and for a good deal! I hope you'll like it! So make sure to drop by if you get the chance and sign up to follow our blog! You won't be sorry!

Aug 15, 2011

Inspiration Unlimited

It's officially Monday and since Teresa is announcing that I am going to be the speaker on her FB page then I guess I can announce it on my blog. I have been asked to be the keynote speaker for this years Inspiration Unlimited down in Henderson NV at the Green Valley Ranch. I am so honored I can't explain. When I was asked a few months ago, I was touched, in shock, and knew instantly that I was supposed to do this. I can't wait to go down to this conference and learn so much from these women. I know they are coming to listen to me, but I know I will be getting a lot of my strength from them.

I have thought long and hard about what I want to talk to these women about and though it comes in different waves, the main principle is the same, and I can't wait to share my story of hope and hopefully inspiration with them. I am so honored, once again, that I get to share this amazing weekend with these women.

I know so many of them have been through so much more in this life then I have, and they have so many different experiences then me, but I know I will be able to teach them something different, and in return they can do the same for me. I'm so looking forward to spending time with these amazing women. I can't wait for next month!

Jilly Strasburg

Inspiration Unlimited Website

Jul 15, 2011

Jilly the "Performer"

I have been studying personality types lately, because for some reason this fascinates me. I took a course in college when I was younger called "The Color Code" and in that semester I became enthralled with knowing my little quirks, and what makes me "Jilly". I know every personality has downfalls, strengths, and excitement, and I am always curious to find out about mine.
I recently discovered what I believe to be the best personality test that I have ever taken. It is called the INFP personality test. You can look here if you would like to know more about it.
In my passion to find out more about myself this is what I came across. I am Jill, "The Performer" (also known as ESFP). Here are a few things about me....
Performer's live in the moment, experiencing life to the fullest. They enjoy people, as well as material comforts. Rarely allowing conventions to interfere with their lives, they find creative ways to meet human needs. Performer's are excellent team players, focused on completing the task at hand with maximum fun and minimum discord. Active types, they find pleasure in new experiences.
Performer's take a hands-on approach in most things. Because they learn more by doing than by studying or reading, they tend to rush into things, learning by interacting with their environment. They usually dislike theory and written explanations. Traditional schools can be difficult for Performer's, although they tend to do well when the subject of study interests them, or when they see the relevance of a subject and are allowed to interact with people.
Observant, practical, realistic, and specific, Performer's make decisions according to their own personal standards. They use their Feeling judgment internally to identify and empathize with others. Naturally attentive to the world around them, Performer's are keen observers of human behavior. They quickly sense what is happening with other people and immediately respond to their individual needs. They are especially good at mobilizing people to deal with crises. Generous, optimistic, and persuasive, they are good at interpersonal interactions. They often play the role of peacemaker due to their warm, sympathetic, and tactful nature.Performer's love being around people and having new experiences. Living in the here-and-now, they often do not think about long term effects or the consequences of their actions. While very practical, they generally despise routines, instead desiring to 'go with the flow.' They are, in fact, very play minded. Because ESFPs learn better through hands-on experience, classroom learning may be troublesome for many of them, especially those with a very underdeveloped intuitive side.If you would like to see my entire profile click here.
I think that everyone loves to know what makes them who they are. I am very proud of the woman I am, and I love the person I have grown to be. I truly do love every moment of life that I get. I can't think of a better way to describe myself than this test. I hope each of you get to enjoy and love your life as much as I do. I have each of you to thank for the life I get to live each day. I am truly thankful for your generosity, kindness, and compassion, in helping me fight my illness and get my life back. For your kindness I will be eternally grateful. I want you each to know that I never take a single day for granted, because it's one more day that I never thought I would have. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

Jul 8, 2011

What a Summer so far

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. This summer is flying by, and we are enjoying every minute of it! It has been a crazy 2 months, but so much fun! Right before my Birthday in June my sister in law got married in the Salt Lake Temple. Her wedding was absolutely beautiful, and it was so great to be able to share in her special day. Dave and I had never been to the Salt Lake City temple, and I was in awe at it's beauty. I know Nicole must have felt like a Princess getting married in her castle. She was absolutely beautiful, and we are so happy to have her sweet hubby Jeffy as our brother. They dated for over a year, and we were anticipating there marriage for so long! We just love Jeff so much, and I'm so glad that Nic married him, so now he can't leave our crazy family. He's stuck! ;)My Birthday was so much fun! My little nephew got blessed into our church, (it's like a christening in the catholic church) and we spent the day celebrating him. His Dad did an amazing job at his blessing, and I was so happy to see our little Brax have that incredible experience. We had a fun luncheon with the whole family (minus Nic and Jeff who were on their Honeymoon) and then everyone headed back to our house for my Birthday.
We had cinnamon rolls, cake, ice cream, and opened presents with Dave's family on my Birthday night and we just had a blast.Dave's sister Bonnie was in town for Nicole's wedding and she had brought her new little baby boy Benson. I had the best week ever with him! I think I stole him from her every morning and night. I would take him every morning to wake up Uncle Dave and I would take him every night to sleep with me for a little bit. I just couldn't get enough of him. She flew back home on my Birthday, but at least we got to have cake and ice cream before they left.For the rest of the month of June it was mainly just regular summer stuff. My sweet niece Maddison came into town and I got to spend a couple of days with her. My Mom and Maddie, and I all got to go swimming one day which was so much fun. We got to spend the 4th of July with my family and Maddie before she left as well. She was here for 3 weeks, and I absolutely loved seeing her. I think she was more excited to see Uncle Dave, then Aunt Jilly though. Uncle Dave only got to spend 1 day with her because he has had a very busy school semester. He's doing awesome and has straight A's though, so I know she understood.
I miss my cute hubby who's at school a lot, but I make sure to keep busy. I love weeding the yard all the time to make sure it stays beautiful, I weed our garden, and I sit outside on my lawn chair for a few hours every day and read. I am enjoying every minute of sunshine that we get. It seemed like it was such a long winter, that my body was starved for sunlight. I love just laying outside and soaking it up.Dave and I have a few more summer plans, that I will make sure to write all about. We have a camping trip to go on, a little adventure to Park City, and a whole lot of grilling with Dave's amazing veggie's he is growing in our garden. I'm just so proud of my awesome husband and how hard he works. He has become quite the little gardener (even if we broke our windshield getting started). His garden is so green and big, and beautiful. I use the fresh basil, oregano, and parsley, to cook with all the time. I can't wait to use all the fresh veggies when they come in!!
I hope you all have an amazing, fun, and safe, rest of the summer. I will make sure to post about all our adventures later on. Thanks for stopping by our blog! We love you all tons!

Jun 4, 2011

Windshield Replacement Anyone?

I have a story that just couldn't wait to be told. It literally happened about 20 minutes ago and I can't stop laughing. Let me preface this by clarifying that Dave and I are both Natural Blonde's. Okay, now I can begin....

This morning Dave and I woke up bright and early (okay maybe not early) and decided that today was are garden planting day. It was finally nice weather, and not freezing cold, so our veggies will actually grow. We headed off to Smiths, and then to Home Depot where we got a lot of delicious veggies.

Living in Highland we're not as lucky as most of the Utah people. Our soil is complete clay. It's beautiful underneath the rock hard top soil, but unless you can keep that top soil broken up your plants are not going to grow. This is a lesson we learned last summer. So because of that we decided to make gardening boxes with wood and wonderful soil from the greenhouse. We got our plants today, and we just needed the wood to make the box. We were at Home Depot and looked at the wood, but had an amazing epiphany. There are so many homes being built around our house, and dumpsters are full of their wood scraps, so why spend money on wood when we can just use the stuff that people are throwing away. We'll save money and help the planet out by recycling. We're absolutely brilliant when it comes to saving money and mother earth. :)

We came home with our plants, watered them, and put them in the sun to wait for their new and wonderful home in their garden box. We decided that later that night we would go "dumpster diving" because a lot of people would probably look down upon us, and we can't have that! I mean we have our pride for goodness sake. :P

At 7pm we figured that all the construction people would be done working for the weekend and we went out on our dumpster hunt. We had tracked out all the homes being built previously, and we knew where the dumpsters were that were full of our money saving wood. So off the 2 little blonde's went on their adventure to save money and mother earth!

We came to this house that was so beautifully built, but had an even more beautifully full dumpster. We jumped out of our jeep, climbed up the side of the dumpster, and looked in. We found the greatest wood on the planet! It had a few nails in it and some spray paint, but it didn't matter. It would hold soil and be the perfect new home for our vegetables to grow. I climbed into the dumpster and started handing pieces of wood to Dave. After we found 4 great pieces, we proceeded to put the wood in the jeep. We opened the back up, put all the seats down, I laid down towels to protect the leather, and we started to push them through the entire length of the jeep.

The first 3 pieces of wood fit like a charm. They slid in perfectly and even had a little bit of room at the end so we could close the door. The last piece was the problem. We pushed it and realized that it was too long, so we thought that maybe if it went in 1st and wasn't resting on the other 3 pieces that it may go in a little bit farther. The wood was only an inch or two away from us being able to close the door. I climbed in the front of the Jeep with Dave pushing in the back and we carefully rearranged our wood so we could put the longest piece in first. With the 3 pieces out of the way Dave started to push the 4th piece while I so carefully guided it to the front. He pushed it to the windshield and it hit and I figured he realized that it wouldn't go anymore, so I said "Okay". Dave thought that this meant okay to push, so he pushed just a tad bit more and POP! I looked at the windshield that had just spider-webbed across the entire piece of glass and screamed an obscenity that isn't really lady like, so I won't repeat it. I then looked back and Dave and man was he mad. He let go of the wood and walked up to the front of the jeep. He looked down at the windshield and shook his head. His jaw clenched, and his face started to go a little red. I knew at that moment that he was furious. Then he blew out a lot of hot air that had built up inside him and said, "what an awesome adventure. I'm glad we decided to do this instead of buy $20 worth of wood at The Home Depot." At that moment all I could think about was trying to calm him down, and trying not to bust out laughing. I know that's horrible to say, but Dave never screws up and I found this completely hilarious.

Here the 2 blonde's are, standing in the middle of the road with wood poking out the back of the jeep, Dave standing at the front of the Jeep with steam coming out of his ears and me just looking at the windshield trying not to laugh. If anyone was watching this happen I bet they were rolling on the floor laughing.

I climbed out of the front seat and went to console my sweet husband. The consoling didn't go over very well. He walked to the back of the Jeep, shut the raised door (as much as he could. We didn't break the windshield clean through so the wood was still a tad too long.) walked back to the front seat, climbed in, shut the door, and said, "Let's just get out of here." I walked to the drivers side seat climbed in and started the Jeep.

As we drove home (as slow as I possibly could so nothing feel out of the back) Dave conveniently asked me if we had coverage for glass on the Jeep. I had just started a new policy with a different company and I had put full coverage on our car, but I didn't put anything on the Jeep. I mean c'mon, it was paid off, and we never drive it. What would I need coverage for? Blond moment #20000 of mine this year. Dave suddenly realized that a $20 piece of wood just turned into about $200 bucks that we don't have. (Remember, we were trying to save money dumpster diving because we didn't have enough money for wood...LOL) Dave wasn't too happy about this whole situation and was unusually quiet on this ride home. I tried to calm and comfort the best I could, but it just didn't help. The last thing I remember saying was, "Well, at least we have an awesome "adventure" story!" He didn't find that funny at all.

As we pulled into the driveway I told him that it was all going to be okay. We could not drive the Jeep for a little bit until we have the extra money to pay for the windshield. Dave didn't seem to care about that, he just couldn't believe that he had done something so stupid. He pulled the wood out of the Jeep, put it on the ground, and walked into the house. To make the situation even more awesome for him, I had made him go "dumpster diving" with me in the middle of his UFC fights. He had paused them when we left, but when we got home the computer had frozen and he wasn't able to watch his fights. This sent him a little over the edge; more so then he already was. Dave grabbed some clothes and went up to take a shower and "cool off".

While he was taking a shower I was searching for a cheap windshield. I ended up finding one for $130.oo so I ran upstairs to tell him. He opened up the shower curtain after I had yelled it over the water and he had a huge smile on his face. He said, "That's how much the deductible would have been anyway. Good job Babe!" So in the end I started the problem, but I also found the solution. I'm so awesome.

At the end of this story let's just say that it was the best "Birthday Adventure" I have ever had. I now get a new windshield for my Birthday tomorrow and I couldn't be happier. More then anything I had so much fun with my sweetheart tonight. He's such a trooper to always put up with me and my little shenanigan's. $130 dollars, and a garden box later....Happy Birthday to ME!!!

May 18, 2011

New York, New York

I have to do a little shout out to my amazing man. I know I have already posted once today, but I have to tell a quick little story on how cute my Davey is. I was sitting on my bed working on a recipe when he came into the room turned our song, "New York, New York", walked over to me and took me by the hand and danced with me in our bedroom. He has no idea how much this meant to me. The fact that I know he loves me more today then he did the day he married me. The way that he still looks at me like it's the first time he ever saw me. And his passion to keep our love alive like we were newly married. He is amazing.

Dave, thank you for all you do for our little family. You are amazing. I have the most amazing husband on this planet. I can't believe you picked me. Thank you for making me smile and being there to hold my hand when I'm scared. I love you from here to the dogs.

A woman who says it much better than me.

I know a lot of you don't know my personal struggle with not being able to have children like a "normal" woman. I don't share this with really anyone. I don't talk about how bad it hurts, how it makes me cry, how I have sobbed for hours and hours, how I write in my journal about how badly I want to be a mother, or how badly I want my husband to be a father. I don't talk about any of this, because it's easier not to.

Truth be told, I play it off and act like I don't want kids right now. It's a lie. I would do anything in this world to be a mother. It's all I could ever want from this life, next to being with my husband. I have the most amazing husband on the planet, and he gets me through each day. I don't know how I would do this thing called "Life" without him by my side. I know I have babies that are coming to me although I don't know how I will get them. I don't know when, or in what shape or form, but I know they are mine. That being said, I want to quote this beautiful woman's thoughts on the subject. My sweet cousin sent me the link to her blog today and I took a minute to read it. If you would like to go to her blog click here. This is how she stated her battle with infertility.....

Truth be told, it's not about reading. It's not about the fact, that for some reason, both of my boys ALWAYS (I mean always. WHAT GIVES??) skip the number four when they are counting.
It's the fact that I love to put everything on me.
MYTH: My infertility is about me. Personally.
This blog post is for me.

Dear Taylor,

You are a good mom. You love your children.

Heavenly Father knew that you could handle this trial.
He CHOSE you.

It is hard.
You can do hard things.

Sometimes when you feel your blood boil, and you want to scream at the top of your lungs,
It's ok.
Because it's not fair.
Life is not fair.

And that is what makes it all so beautiful!

You are right, it would be far easier to have a body that works.
But yours does not.
And even though you are learning and growing so much because of it,
sometimes the pain feels like it might suffocate you.

But your infertility is not about you.
It is not an attack of your character.
It is not a punishment for something you have done.
It is not because you are incapable of being a great mother to many.

You are not broken on accident.
Heavenly Father did not skip over you because you were undeserving.
You were not forgotten.

Instead, He hand chose you out of the crowd, and precisely changed you to be the person you are. I believe he took you aside, put his arm around you, and with tears streaming down his very own face, knowing it will break your heart, asked if you if could carry this burden.
He promised you would never be alone. And he would bless you!
But, he would need to make you differently.
Not to break you.
But to create miracles for your eyes to see.
Every day.

You were not stripped of the most sacred act of multiplying and replenishing to your hearts content, because you were not worth it to be made whole.

You may feel broken, and forgotten, in your divine right of motherhood.
But you were made from scratch!
Everything you have been given, has been given by God.
"The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Cry until your soul hurts. Because it is hard.
But don't ever feel broken.

To all of you amazing women who struggle with infertility, just know that I love you. You are in my prayers daily, and I am thankful for you strength.

May 8, 2011

Amazing Women...Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday I had an opportunity to spend the Saturday with some amazing women that I feel honored to have in my life. It was confirmed to me for the umpteenth time why I married the amazing man that I did. He comes from a huge long line of amazing Strasburg women.

For our wedding Dave and I didn't have anyone but our immediate families join us. We didn't have a reception, and I didn't have a luncheon with anyone but just his 7 sisters and their families and my 3 siblings and their families, so coming into this marriage all I knew was Dave's immediate family. Dave's immediate family is not very close with his father's side of the family. His father has I think 7 sisters, and 2 brothers. He came from a HUGE family of farmers. They have come to be some of the most amazing and special people that I have ever met.

My sister in law Nicole (Dave's baby sister) is getting married on June 2, and so in celebration her Aunt Louise Strasburg threw her a bridal shower to get the entire Strasburg family girls together. Wow, there is a lot of them.

During last summer I briefly had a chance to meet each of them, but for only about an hour or so at a family reunion. My health was still not doing too good, so we didn't get to stay for very long. Since then I have felt a huge amount of love and respect for these women, and have wanted to get to know them better. This shower was the perfect opportunity.

So Saturday afternoon I headed up to Salt Lake to this party, and of course I showed up 20 minutes late so I walked in right during the middle of a game. After the game was over I immediately got up and walked over to aunt Nola and aunt Nancy and gave them a hug. I remembered their faces and instantly remembered their special spirits. They opened their arms and hugged me and told me how grateful they were that I was there. That meant more to me then I think they will ever know. We sat and chatted for a bit until lunch was served and then we got up to go get lunch.

As I was standing in line, more of these amazing cousins that Dave has started introducing themselves to me. Some I had met and some I hadn't. They were all so kind and loving and went out of there way to make me feel loved and welcome. What joy it is to be in the presence of true daughters of our heavenly father. I knew that day that his love was there in abundance.

As we got our food we all sat down and started talking. I got to meet my Aunt Anne, who I previously did not get to meet at the reunion. She was so sweet and kind. She told me some fun stories of how she remembered my sweet husband from when he was a child, since that was the last time that she had seen them. Like I said before, Dave's immediate family really doesn't have anything to do with this side of the family, so it's like all of Dave's siblings are getting to know them for the first time as well.

As I made my way around that day and chatted with so many special women, we all sat down to get ready for Nicole to open her gifts from her aunts and cousin's, that she had not spent time with her entire life. That touched me deeply. These people that don't even know Nicole went out of their way to throw her a party, buy gifts, and make her feel special, as she should, for the greatest day of her life. It touched my heart deeply.

After Nicole opened a particular gift 2 of my cousin's had to leave. Their father was my father in law, Lou's, brother. He passed away many years ago, and I love that they still come to every party for the Strasburg family. That day they were headed to the cemetery. Before they left they came and knelt down in front of me and my cousin Jill, (Yes her name is Jill Strasburg) shared with me something that had touched her. She told me that she is faithful reader of my blog, and what one particular entry had made her feel. To me it was just me expressing my thoughts, as I always do on this little thing. :) She told me that her husband had recently lost his job, and although they were prepared for it, she found herself feeling a little down and little sorry for herself, which I think any of us in that situation would. Anyway, she said that my entry where I spoke about how Dave and I have literally nothing, I can't work, I have thousands of dollars in medical debt, Dave is a full-time student, we live with our in laws (because they are so gracious and kind to let us live here), and I really don't own much to my name, but I am happier then I have ever been in my entire life. Which I truly am. I have my amazing husband who loves me, I have a testimony that my Savior loves me, and I have amazing family and friends who support and love me. For some reason that entry was exactly what she needed to hear that day.

As Jill was kneeling in front of me, and holding my hands while tears fell from her eyes, she was thanking me. I couldn't believe it. This woman gave me the love and support that I needed that day. She lifted me like she would not believe. She was sharing her most intimate spirit with me in that moment, and I felt like the lucky one. How blessed am I that I get to call her my family? What an amazing feeling to be in the presence of a true daughter of God. I learned so much from her that day while she was telling me that I helped her. Wow.

Jill, Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for sharing that story with me. I'm glad it was there for you in a time when you needed it, and that in some way it lifted you, because yesterday your spirit lifted me. I feel honored to be your family. I love you with my whole heart.

I'm so thankful for small miracles. For the fact that this little blog, that I LOVE doing, and that I would do even if no one read, meant something to someone. If I have touched even 1 person through my stories then this entire blog is worth it.

The souls of women are great, and I feel honored to be a part of them. I feel such pride to say that I am a Strasburg, because I come from a line of strong, beautiful, powerful, spiritual, good, loving, and Christlike women. I thank my Heavenly Father everyday that my sweet Dave asked me to be his eternal companion, because I really think that I got the sweeter end of the deal here.

Thank you Strasburg women for teaching me what it is to be a true woman of God. I'm thankful for your love and spirits.

And a special Happy Mother's Day to all of you amazing Daughter's of God out there. To my Mother Cay, my Mother Paula, my sister Jamie, my sister's in law, Chrissy, Lupita, Stacy, Melissa, Bonnie, and Laurel. I hope you hall have a wonderful Mother's Day not only because you deserve it, but because you are amazing Mother's, and I love you.

May 1, 2011

Burden of Thirst

Since today is Sunday I thought I would make a post about being thankful. Today I am thankful for something so simple. Something that I take for granted on a daily basis, and something that a woman 5,000 miles away from me spends 8 hours a day searching for. Water.

I was really sick today and wasn't able to go to church, so I got to spend the day watching PBS. They had an amazing show that was called "Best National Geographic Pictures of 2010". It's an amazing show, and if it comes on a again I would highly recommend watching it.

Out of all of the pictures that they showed, this one meant the most to me.It's called "The Burden of Thirst"

There is a group of women in Africa that spend 8 hours every day searching for water to provide for their family. If they don't do this 8 hour trek, and search, their families go thirsty and run the risk of death. Their entire day is spent walking to this well in the ground, digging for filthy water that I could never imagine drinking, and bringing it back to their families. They carry it on their backs in huge buckets for miles and miles in the deathly hot sun. For the life of me, I can't even begin to imagine what this would be like.

I'm sitting here on my bed right now drinking delicious water that I got from my fridge, in my 320z mug, and I never thought twice about it until this show came on. My water is fresh, and clean, and 5 feet from me. What a blessing it is. I have never been so grateful for water in all my life.

I'm so thankful for the simple pleasures and blessings that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with. He does so much for me, and I never even think about it. I don't thank him enough for all the little joys that I get to have each and every day. In fact I complain so much when I'm thirsty because I don't want to walk upstairs to get a drink. I don't think I will ever look at a glass of water the same way again.

Apr 8, 2011

Oprah 2011

What an amazing ride this has been. Thank you to all of you for watching Oprah, for supporting me, and being interested in my story. I feel so lucky and blessed to have had this opportunity. I feel touched that my story and life meant so much to so many people. If you didn't get to watch the Oprah episode, you can check out the full story here. Thank you again to all of you for being so inspirational to me in my life. I have learned so much from each of you, and have grown as a person because of the amazing people I have been able to have in my life.

Apr 7, 2011

Oprah on Friday, April 8th

Hey everyone! I just walked into my house from Chicago. The taping went great, I had fun with my Mom and Dad, and they are going to show the episode Friday April 8th. Make sure to watch and let me know what you think. Thanks to Oprah and her amazing staff! My Mom, Dad, and I, had an amazing time. Thank you to the producer Jim Kelley! You were amazing to work with and so much fun! If you want to see the preview for the follow-up click here.