Dec 26, 2012

"How did you Know?"

I have never really thought about this question since I have been married.  I use to think about it all the time as a single girl, and I used to ask people all the time too.  It didn't cross my mind though, until this weekend at my sister's house.  On Christmas, I was talking to a girl whom I had just met that day.  We were swapping stories about our husbands and life in general when she asked me, "How did you know that Dave was the one for you?"  It took me off guard when she asked me that, and it took me a second to respond.  I had to think of how I could explain that "I just knew" to someone who didn't know Dave, or me.  So I wanted to explain how I knew that the love of my life was the person that I wanted to be with for eternity.

The very first time I saw Dave he was walking through a parking lot in workout clothes heading straight towards me as I sat behind a desk at LA Boxing.  As I watched him my heart started to pitter patter and my mind got all fuzzy.  I remember thinking how gorgeous he was, and for the 1st time I actually got nervous about talking to a guy.  That was my 1st sign.  Being me, I could talk to any guy; in fact I was the Queen of flirting and could flirt with any guy at the drop of a hat.  The fact that I couldn't think of one thing to say to this gorgeous boy walking up to my gym was terrifying.  I had been hit on multiple times at that gym before I met Dave and I had brushed every guy off like it was nothing.  I didn't really care what any of the guys thought of me until that moment.  As Dave opened the door and walked into the gym I couldn't speak.  He walked right up to the desk and smiled his beautiful smile and said, "Hi! I'm Dave."  All I could muster was, "Hi."  Then I grabbed his key card, swiped him in and pretended to have something else to do.  The fact that was I so infatuated with him from the moment I saw him, was my very first sign.

Throughout the months that followed we flirted back and forth, but the one thing that kept getting me was that this boy could get me to lose my train of though in the middle of a sentence because I was to busy starring in his eyes.  I would forget what I was saying, not respond when he had asked me a question, and had to be brought back to reality on multiple occasions.  No man had ever done that to me; EVER.  

1. He left me Speechless

As Dave and I dated over the next year, I grew to love this man who would give anything for me.  I knew that Dave would give his life for me at any moment if asked.  It was a feeling of pure, unconditional love that I had never felt before.  It took him forever to tell me he loved me, but when he did; I felt it.  When I say that I felt it, I mean when he said the words, "Jilli, I love you."  My entire body got warm, and my thoughts got fuzzy, and my heart filled with such peace and sense of security that I can't describe it any better than that.  

2. I felt Secure

After Dave and I got engaged and I was planning my wedding, there were moments where I would get so frazzeled.  Like any bride, I would get stressed out about the details. I remember one moment when we were sitting at his house and I broke down and started to cry because I was so overwhelmed by doing everything that had to be done.  I felt like I was all alone.  I hadn't wanted to bother him with details of our wedding because I knew how busy he was with school, but when I broke down and started to cry I told him everything that I was feeling.  I was so worried that he would get mad because of how I had been treated by men in the past.  I will never forget how he responded.  He hugged me until I stopped crying and then said, "We will do whatever we have to do to make it work.  We're a team now and you don't have to do this alone.  Tell me what I can to do to make this easier for you."

3. We were a Team

As our wedding day came and I showed up to marry him, I will never forget stepping out of my car and he offered his hand to help me out.  I was so shocked because I didn't know he was there.  I got the biggest smile on my face (like I always did when I saw him) and he said, "Hey my girl, are you ready to become my wife and make me the luckiest man in the world?"  I knew he meant it when he said that.

4. He Treasured me

A month after we were married I became deathly ill.  I ended  up in the hospital for a month and half after a bad surgery.  I was unable to eat, and most of the time I was to weak to walk.  I will never forget feeling so terrible because Dave hadn't "signed up for this".  I kept thinking that he was going to leave me because I was so sick I couldn't take care of him like he needed.  For over a month Dave would wake up at 6:30, shower in the hospital, go to school until 4 while I sat in a hospital bed, come back to the hospital and do his homework, sleep on the uncomfortable couch, and then do it all over again.  He spent every waking minute that he could with me.  Not only that, but every single day when he got back to the hospital from school we would put his arms around my waist, help me out of bed, and basically carry me around the hospital for our walk.  It would take us well over an 30 minutes to go less than 100 yards because I was so weak, and he never complained.  He never whined that he had to eat hospital food.  He never cried that he was so exhausted he could barely stay awake during class, and he never had a pity party that his new bride was dying in a hospital bed.  

He took care of me like it was the last day we would ever spend together, and he cherished every moment he got with me.  He would bathe me, wash my hair, paint my toes, do my makeup, and went home once a week to do laundry and clean the house.  He did this all on his own while trying to cope with the fact that he never knew if he was going to come back to me dead.  I can never repay my love for what he did for me; but like he would say; "You don't have to. I'm your husband, and I love you. You never have to pay me for loving you.  It's a choice that I made and would do it again."

5. He truly meant in Sickness and in Health

To this day Dave loves me unconditionally.  He puts up with my crazy behaviors, my bipolar disorder, my shopping addiction, my exaggerated stories, my lack of loving to do dishes, the times when I'm to weak to do anything, and the endless trips to the hospital that have become our daily life.  He has accepted that we can't go out to dinner because I will most likely throw it up, he has gotten use to renting movies and having our "date nights" at home, he loves that a lot of the time I'm too tired to do my make up because getting showered and doing my hair takes all the energy I have, and he appreciates the fact that I still wake up every morning with him and make him breakfast.  He loves the little things and cherishes each one of my flaws.  He protects me when my someone tries to push me to hard, and he comforts me when I am scared.  He his my cheerleader in the background whether I'm on Oprah, or sitting on my floor making jewelry.  He is my biggest fan, and my greatest supporter.  He loves me so fully and completely that I never thought it was possible.  He accepts the fact that I'm a little crazy, cry over the cheesiest things, and the fact that I can't have children.  He accepts every little thing that makes me his "Jilli Pepper".  He completes me, in every sense of the word.

As we continue along this beautiful life together, I never cease to be grateful for his endless love.  I never take it for granted when he walks in the door at the end of every day, and I make sure to wrap my arms around him and kiss him each night when he gets home.  He fills my life with a joy that I never thought possible, and I truly can't imagine my life without him.  I don't want to ever be away from him, and I count the hours each day until I get to see him again.  He's my best friend that I can tell anything to, and he loves me no matter what it is.  We tackle every obstacle together.  He's my family, my love, my life. I can't remember anything before him, and I don't want to imagine anything without him.  The fact that my heart aches without him is enough for me to know that he is all I have ever wanted.  He is the greatest man I have ever known, and that fact alone makes me so thankful that God sent him to me.

6. He's Perfect for Me, and is my Best Friend

Everyone will have their love story, and this is ours.  I feel as though there are very few people that ever get the true joy of experiencing the kind of unconditional love that Dave and I have, but those of you that do; cherish every minute.  The one thing I have learned from almost losing my life is that I want to make every minute count.  Dave and I have learned to "not sweat the small stuff".  I don't know if we've ever truly been so angry at each other that we haven't wanted to see them.  We have our battles just like everyone, but instead of pulling us a part, they always end up making us stronger.  The plain and simple fact is, is that the way I knew that Dave was "the one" was so many little things all tied in one.  It wasn't 1 thing that let me know, it was the journey that we've experienced.  We both took a leap of faith, and it was the right choice for us.  We make it work.  He's the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, and being with him makes me a better person; and that's all I need to know.

7. He makes me a better "Me"

I hope this explains a little about how and why I knew Dave was the one for me.  I hope you get the love story that you're looking for, and can be as happy as I truly am with mine.  Everyone deserves to have this kind of love in their life.  Everyone deserves their own "Happily Ever After."

Dec 20, 2012

Jilly Bean Jewelry and the Utah Food Bank

 I have been blessed with the talent of creating jewelry.  It has provided for my family while my husband has been a full time student pursuing a medical career.  I'm very grateful that God blessed me with this talent.  I also have the ability to talk and touch other people.  Recently I volunteered a day at the Utah Food Bank and was blessed to get to know a person in need there.  They have a family and 3 of their family members are small children.  

When my husband and I were 1st married we couldn't afford groceries a couple of times, and we were blessed by my parents coming to our rescue and purchasing groceries for us.  I can't imagine having 3 little tiny children and having to try to explain to them that I don't have money to buy them food to eat when their little tummy's are so hungry.  It was a very trying, yet touching day in my life.

For the month of December and January I will donate 10% of every sale through Jilly Bean Jewelry to the Utah Food Bank to help Utah families in need of food.  This is the least I can do.  God has been there for me and provided for me when I have been in need, and then he gave me a way to support my family so I could put food on my table.  I just want to give back and let my Father in Heaven know how thankful I am for my talent that he has given to me and for the graciousness of strangers who support my small business; because in all reality they are supporting my family during some of our most difficult times.

During this time of year, if you are able to, please donate to your local Food Bank.  No child should go hungry, and no parent should have to tell their child that they can't eat tonight.  Give back a little of what we are given.  Even if all  you can afford is a couple of cans of food, ANYTHING is better than nothing.  

If you would like to look through my jewelry and support this cause please click here.  I sell all my products through Facebook and use paypal for purchasing.  You simply get on my Facebook and find something you like, tell me, and I'll send you an invoice and I ship EVERYTHING for free.  Thank you, and have a very Merry Christmas!

Dec 10, 2012

Valuable Lessons

This weekend and today have been physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting.  I have been dealing with a lot of stomach problems and have surgery on Friday.  I lost a very dear friend which was heart wrenching because of some stupid decisions, and lastly going through the repentance and forgiveness process in your heart and mind if very hard to deal with.

I have never claimed to be a great person.  I like to think I'm a good person, but I make mistakes on a daily basis.  I will be the 1st one to admit when I am wrong, and I take full responsibility when I screw up, especially when I hurt someone I care about.  I apologize, and try to right the wrong the best way I know how.  I really try to do all I can do, so I don't look back and think, "I wish I could've done more."  

That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes look back and say "I wish I could've handled this or that differently, but we are all humans, and we all make mistakes.  Who would I be to judge someone or to treat them badly when they screw up, because I screw up all the time.  "Who am I to cast the 1st stone?"

As I sat in church this last Sunday, a lesson was being taught on forgiveness.  This past week I had to ask for forgiveness from someone that I love.  It was then up to them to forgive me or not, but I couldn't let that affect what I did.  I knew I was in the wrong, I admitted I was in the wrong, and I said sorry.  I then knew that I needed to ask my Father in Heaven to forgive me.  Sitting in sunday school listening to this lesson I was getting down on myself thinking that I was such a terrible person because I had wronged someone.  Then a part in the lesson said that "When you have done all you can do, you need to turn your broken heart and contrite spirit over to God and let him deal with it."  It hit me that even though I had asked for forgiveness and had been forgiven by my Heavenly Father, I was not allowing him to forgive me because I was holding on to those horrible feelings and thoughts I was having about myself.  I was thinking I'm a horrible person, when in reality I'm a great person.  Even great people are allowed to make mistakes.  Even great people are allowed to make HUGE mistakes.

I then realized that I was holding resentment towards the person I had wronged, and that was wrong of me.  I got on my knees when I got home from church and asked my Father in Heaven to remove this burden from me, and also to forgive me for having ill feelings towards that person.  They are allowed to handle the situation anyway they choose, and they get to work through it as they chose, but it is my responsibility to forgive all.  I had to let these hard feelings go to move on.  As I got off my knees I instantly felt better.  I knew I had done everything I could do, and the last step I needed to take was to forgive myself for the feelings I was having; and I did that.  It was a great feeling.

This one act of mistrust, this one slip of a weak moment, and this instance where I fell for temptation had been cleaned away from me, and it was time for me to move on.  It meant moving on without a friend, but that is the way it had to be.  That was their decision and what they needed to do for them, and I respect that 100%.  

It's amazing to me how much my Father in Heaven loves me.  I'm so grateful that he loves me enough to forget my shortcomings and love me in spite of the wrongs I commit.  I'm truly grateful for this experience.  It made me realize that temptation is real, and that no one can escape it.  It's beautiful though, that we are able to be forgiven and forgive ourselves in times like this though.

I have the greatest family and friends anyone could ever ask for.  I'm so blessed to have the people in my life that I have and I'm truly amazed by the love they have for me.  It's pure unconditional love.  They love me even when I make mistakes, and they forgive me and move on.  I will always be grateful for the people in my life, and for the experiences they give me.  

You should be grateful for every single person that passes through your life no matter how long of a time period they are there for, because they are placed there to teach you valuable lessons.  Lessons about yourself, about them, about the world around us, about our morals, and beliefs.  I'm grateful for all the people who have come in and out of my life because they have shaped the woman I am today, and I love the woman I am today.  I wouldn't change a thing about me; even the bad things.  It just means that I have more to work on while on this earth.

Thank you again to all of those who love me unconditionally and teach me so many valuable things in this trip called life.  I'm glad you're here with me, along for the ride.  And Thank You to each of you, for allowing me to be in your life and a part of your trip.


Dec 4, 2012

Some Lessons I've Learned

I've had some amazing women come in and out of my life.  My mother, my sister, my grandmother, my friends, and women I've never even met. I wanted to thank all of you by letting you know 30 things that I have learned from you along my journey.....

1. How to put on makeup, but more importantly how to put on mascara without any clumps.
2. How to Flirt with Boys
3. How to share. (this was very hard for me.)
4. How to love unconditionally.
5. How to not be judgmental.
6. Confidence is very important, so fake it until it becomes real.
7. Heartbreak is real and a very important part of life.
8. Don't bring your cell phone out to the pool, it will end up at the bottom of the pool.
9. The Office, Arrested Development, and Sex in the City are all shows worth watching.
10.Don't be afraid to Fail.
11. Try new things, especially new foods.
12. Wearing socks with flip flops is not fashionable.
13. If a girl is giving you a mean look, smile at her and it will instantly disappear. 
14. Classy never goes out of style.
15. A boy that wants to be with you will find a way to do so.
16. Treasure your childhood, and tell stories about it often so you don't forget.
17. Respect your father and mother.
18. Manners are essential.
19. Wear Lipstick. It's a game changer.
20. You can never own to many high heels.
21. Things do happen for a reason.
22. Dream Big.
23. See the world. It is how you learn who you really are.
24. Be the best friend/neighbor you can be.
25. Love unconditionally.
26. Forgive fast, but don't forget.
27. Bright Tube Socks and Shorts aren't cute together.
28. Be an amazing mother, it's the greatest calling you will ever get.
29. Love your husband 1st and forever.
30. Have Patience, and be calm.

So to all you amazing women in my life, thank you for teaching me some amazing things. I am grateful to each of you who have had a hand in raising this crazy little Jilly.

Oct 21, 2012

Something new, fun, and exciting!

 I recently got accepted to be a volunteer at Primary Children's Hospital.  I was so thrilled I can't even explain!  This is something that I have wanted to do for years, but I finally feel like I'm healthy enough to do it.  It will only be 1 day a week for a few hours, but I can't wait!  

One of the main reasons I have wanted to volunteer at a Hospital (specifically this one) is because I have been given so much.  IHC has done so much for me while I have been sick, and I feel like I finally am getting the opportunity to give back a little.  I know what it's like to be sick, and I know how hard it is to sit in those hospital rooms all day long, all by yourself, and feel like crap.  I also know what it's like to have your loved ones be so worried about you, and come in a be with you thinking that it is going to be their last time.  I hope so badly that I can give my love and attention to the patients and family members at this hospital, like so many people did for me.  If I can cheer even 1 person up, give 1 person a little hope, or make someone's day a little better, then I will be happy.

Dave is going to school fulltime and he just got a job working fulltime at the VA hospital, so I need to find things to fill up my time.  This was a perfect option!  I'm just thrilled!  Maybe I can get my foot in so Dave can get a job here down the road  ;)  You never know!  I mean he does want to go into pediatrics.  I would love for him to be able to work at this Hospital one day.

Again, I just want to thank each of you who made a HUGE difference in my life while I was sick.  The ladies who came and visited me all the time, my dear friend who took her time to teach me to sew, the nurses who would spend sleepless nights with me at LDS hospital, my doctor who performed endless surgeries on me at 3am, and especially to my amazing family who stood by through it all.  I couldn't be more blessed.  I hope I can give to these patients what all of you gave to me in my time of need.  I love you all more than I can ever express.

Oct 15, 2012

One of those damn Bipolar Days!

I don't know how many of my readers know that I have Bipolar disorder, but I guess you know now.  :)  To give you a little glimpse into my day to day, I have Bipolar I Disorder with rapid cycling.  What does that mean?  I normally change moods anywhere from every 12 hours to every 48 hours.  I have been stable now for about 7 years, but I still suffer from 2 o3 manic days a month, as well as 2-3 depression days a month.  

Living with this disease for so long, I know it very well.  I know whether my depression is clinical or situational.  I know when I am manic, and when it's getting out of control and I know how to stop it.  I have become awesome at knowing how to adjust my medication, and the most important is I NEVER stop taking my medication, because no matter how well I feel; I understand that the medication is the reason I am stable.

Why am I writing about this?  Well because today and yesterday have been tough days.  The have been depression days.  Yesterday I was really emotional and crying and sad.  I was still emotional this morning, but then it pushed to my next level where I get emotionless.  I call it the "numb" stage.  I know that my depression is coming to an end when this happens, but this is the worst part of my depression days.  I would rather feel anything in this world than nothing at all.  Trust me, numbness is a horrible feeling.

It was good that today I had things that I had to do.  I had a meeting that I had to be to this morning, and I was running late.  I was already upset, and so it was taking me longer to get ready.  Finally I got out of my house and arrived at my meeting.  I was feeling just ornery and irritated, and just kind of like I didn't care about anything.  I was definitely not in the mood to talk to anyone.  Then something beautiful happened.  I walked into my meeting and this nurse that I have seen a few times in the last week, lit up and said "Hi Jill, it is so good to see you!"  I couldn't help but smile, and instantly forget about myself.  As I waited for my meeting to start.  She kept smiling at me.  Then she let me know that she looked up my blog, and that I inspired her.  I can't explain what this meant to me, when I was having a day feeling so uninspired and depressed.  To know that I had touched someone and that this crazy life I live is worth it even if it makes one person feel better it's all worth it.  It made my entire day!  I left my meeting feeling touched.  I was still dealing with the numbness, but I was appreciative of the fact that she went out of her way to make me feel good, when she had no idea how badly I needed it. 

I get home and as I'm pulling in my driveway I'm was just feeling empty (I know how could I feel this way when 25min earlier I had a great experience? The joy of Bipolar).  I came into my house and put all my stuff down and got on the computer.  I had a comment left on one of my blog posts by someone who touched me when I read her blog, and the things that she wrote to me lifted my spirit again.  Again I was so grateful for the love that God has for me, and how he continually knows what I need and gives of it freely.  When I feel so alone, sad, and numb, I have to remember that God still understands what I am going through, and he's there.  In these beautiful little moments of my day he let me know that I am special to him, that he loves me, and I'm worth it.

Thank you to you 2 special people today who did so much to lift my spirits.  I don't know if either of you will ever read this, but if you do I hope you understand what you did for me when I needed it so badly.  It's very rare that I post when I am depressed, but I felt like I definitely needed to post today because I am feeling grateful and touched while also feeling numb and depressed.  LOL  Oh the comedy in life.  I hope you all have a great day!

Your Crazy Bipolar Friend

Oct 11, 2012

You can't be Positive ALL the time

 I am truly grateful for all the people in my life who tell me that I have such a great attitude considering all of my health problems.  I admit that for the most part I really do try to keep a smile on my face and take everything with a grain of salt.  

I have come to terms that I will most likely have to have an endoscopy every single month to stretch open my stomach so I can eat.  I have dealt with having nausea 24/7, 365 days a year. I am okay with the fact that when I go out to eat, the meal I order will be coming home with me.  If I try to eat at a restaurant with a restricting bra pushing on my stomach I will throw up, so I go and enjoy being with my friends and husband; and I have a great meal when I get home in my pajamas.  It doesn't bother me anymore that I throw up at least once a day; no matter what.  It doesn't bother me that I wake up out of a dead sleep to throw up in the trash can next to my bed; I just roll over and go back to bed after.  I know that I have to have a huge purse FULL of certain meds, snacks, liquids, and insurance cards, every time I leave my house because I never know what the day holds.  I am even okay with knowing that I have about 3-4 hours worth of energy every day that I can get things done, and after that I have to sit down and take a break.  

I have learned how to live this new life that came after getting sick in 2009.  Not only have I learned how to live it, but I am truly thankful that I have a chance to live it.  But I want each of you to know that even though I love my life and am grateful for it, I am not happy and positive all the time.  Even Jilly has "Bad Days".

Have I mentioned lately that I have an amazing husband??  haha  Because I truly do.  Dave is so amazing, and patient with all he has to put up with when it comes to being my husband.  He is the person who see's me cry when I just want to eat because I'm hungry, but I'm too nauseated.  He has learned how to read my lips because at times the nausea is too bad that if I speak out loud I will throw up.  He carries me to the car when I am screaming in pain because food is stuck in my stomach, and he is the one that drives me to the ER and stays with me for the 4 hours it takes for the doctor's to get me well enough to come home.  

Dave comes and rubs my back while I hang my head over the toilet when I have eaten something I shouldn't.  He then will scrub down the bathroom because I'm too weak to clean it.  He never gives me grief about eating something that I know will make me sick, and always does make me sick.  He is the man who sits next to me on the couch when I am crying because I'm so frustrated with feeling sick.  He was the one who put his arms around me last night when I had to call my girlfriend, who I was so excited to go to dinner with; and tell her that I can't go because my food had been getting stuck all day and there was no way I would be able to go that night.  He makes jokes to try to make me laugh through my tears when I am feeling sorry for myself and having a pity party.  

The most important thing that Dave does is that he loves me through my pity party.  He knows that it's not going to last very long, and that I will be happy in a few minutes, but he lets me have my pity party.  He let's me whine and cry to him, and listens to me yell at God and ask him "why?", when he knows I should be asking "what?"  And Dave never, ever, gets mad at me for being sick.  He never asks why he has to deal with this, or why life doesn't get easier for him or his wife.  He just continues to love me unconditionally.

Dave is my hero.  He is the only one that see's my bad days.  He is the only one that is there 24/7 to see what I go through, and he is the one that stands by my side no matter what it is that I may be going through.  I complain all the time!  I cry all the time!  And I have been known to throw some fits; but not Dave.  He laughs at me when I am throwing my fits, and is there to hug me when I'm done.  He goes through so much that I will never understand, and he never whines about a bit of it.  So for all of you who think I'm positive and happy with the crap that I go through, you should meet my husband.  He goes through just as much, if not more than me, and never complains about a thing.  Now there is a man that is positive and happy all the time.  

People have told me that I'm their role model, and all I have to say to that is: "You should meet my husband."

Sep 11, 2012

Never Forget

I'll never forget 11 years ago today, I was running late to school; okay I was sleeping in, when my mom ran into my room to wake me up to the news that the 1st twin tower had just been hit. I jumped from my bed since I had just returned from a trip to NYC.  We were glued to the news when we watched the 2nd plane hit the 2nd tower. I felt as though I had been punched in my stomach. Tears fell from my eyes, and I knew that American was under attack.

I think that was the 1st day that I really had to grow up and be an adult.  I learned that my life could be threatened at any moment. But the most important lesson I learned that day, is that I live in the most amazing country on the face of the earth.  

In the days following I was so grateful to be an American.  To watch endless news casts as the people fought to find survivors but turned out none.  The way those firemen and policemen ran into those buildings knowing they wouldn't come out, and the men and women who raced into the army just so they could defend my freedom.  I knew I wasn't brave enough to do that.  I was so grateful, and continue to be so grateful to those brave men and women who fight for my freedom, and my rights, on a daily basis.

As I sat at the University of Utah yesterday waiting for my husband to finish taking his test, I looked up and saw the American flag swaying in the middle of presidents circle.  It was an overcast day, and so peaceful.  I grabbed my phone and actually snapped a picture of old glory to post to Facebook.  I was rushed with pride, just as I am every time I take a moment to look at old glory.

I will never forget the 1st time I truly remember being a grateful American.  I was on a trip to Gettysburg, PA and I had the opportunity to visit the place where Lincoln delivered his famous speech to the troops in the civil war.  As I stood on that sacred ground in absolute silence, again tears fell from my eyes and I quietly thanked my Father in Heaven for sending me to this great country, and giving me the opportunity to be an American Citizen.

I'm so grateful for my freedom.  I'm so grateful that I can walk down the street and not really have to be worried that I am going to be kidnapped and sold into slavery.  I'm thankful for all of the freedoms I have as a woman that so many countries don't have.  I'm grateful for my right to vote, and am proud to say that I have voted every year that I have been eligible and will continue to do so. I'm grateful for the amazing men and women we have in the military who fight on our front lines and defend our personal freedom. And last but not least, I'm thankful for the freedom that I receive from so many things just by being born in a free nation.  

I live in the greatest country in the world, and although we are still finding our feet and learning how we fit in this big world, this country is ours. It is ours to decide how we want it to be, and how we want to play a part in it. Every opportunity in the world is ours, and I'm thankful for that. I truly am proud to be an American.

Sep 9, 2012

Thank You to the Caregiver

Thank You my sweet Dave, for being my everything and more. I couldn't do this without you.
 Recently I have received so many emails, phone calls, facebook messages, and text messages from people asking for help.  People wanting support for what they are going through.  Although they may not be going through exactly what I went through, because I understand that each circumstance is different, everyone needs support.  

One of the greatest things I had while going through this process was the love of family and friends.  I had so much support, and continue to have so much.  When I think of someone that needs support, the first person I think of is my sweet Dave.  There were always people there for me to talk to, for me to lean on, and people there to cheer me up, but when Dave needed someone to lean on he didn't have anyone.  We so often forget about the caregiver and just focus on the person who needs the giving.  I wish so much that I could give a voice to the people who are the ones behind the scenes.  The person who holds your head up while your sick in the middle of the night, the person who drives the car to the ER in the middle of the night, the person who waits in the waiting room while you're having surgery, what about them?  Who is there for them when they need it?

Dave and I have spent many nights talking about what it was like for him.  What it was like to have your wife dying after a month of marriage, and not knowing what to do.  Going through things that you had never imagined you would ever go through, and not having any idea what to do about it.  The only thing he knew to do was to put on the strong face, get up and go to school, and then come home and be there for me.  Never once did my husband complain about hospital trips, or staying up through the night with me, or the endless doctor appointments.  Never did he complain about sleeping on a hospital couch and then having a full day at school, he never complained about the 2 hour trip to and from our house everyday, he didn't whine when I needed a shower and was too weak to do it myself, so he had to help me.  He has told me in years since that he cherished those moments.  Some of them were really hard, and when he felt like he just couldn't do it anymore he would fall to his knees and just beg God to not take his wife.  He would beg to just have one more day with me.  Why I was crying because I hurt, or hadn't eaten in days, and I was begging God to help me feel better, Dave was begging God to keep me around.  Still, his every thought of every day was focused on me.

I'm not saying that I didn't deserve Dave's love, because I know without it I wouldn't have survived.  I just want to take a minute to remind each of us to remember the person in the background.  The person who is the caregiver.  It's so easy to focus on the one who is saying they hurt, and forget about the other people are hurting just as much, just in a different way.  Thank your caregivers, your nurse's, doctor's, family who provides support, but doesn't ask for any in return.  Remember the people who make it bearable to live through the tough things that you go through.

I know Dave didn't have anyone but God while I was sick, and I can't thank him enough; but I hope other people in his situation won't have to go through it alone.  I hope your caregiver has someone to talk to, someone to cry to, and someone to lift them up just like they do for you.  I personally want to say thank you, to each of you who graciously give of yourself, give everything that you have, to take care of someone you love, without expecting anything in return.  My thoughts and prayers are with you, as are so many others that you will never know.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Without you, people like me wouldn't be here.

Aug 9, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again...

Well it's that time of year again when Summer days get shorter, Labor day is just around the corner, Dave goes back to school, and we get back into the swing of things.  

It's been an amazing Summer for the Strasburg Fam.  We feel so blessed and thankful for our wonderful life.  This Summer has been filled with so much love, blessings, gratitude, and struggle.  I'm not sure how many of you know what has gone on this Summer, but it has been a little tough along with all the good that has come with it.

Dave didn't go to school this summer and ended up getting a job working for my Dad.  It was great because it just made him even more convinced that he wants to be a doctor.  I'm so proud of him and how hard he works for our little family.  

This summer for me has been challenging.  I have been unable to eat the majority of the summer and have had to have my stomach stretched twice because it keeps closing off.  I have been pretty weak this summer, but also very blessed.  I have an amazing neighborhood who cares for me and loves me.  I have incredible friends who have been there to help while Dave has been working.  And I have been blessed with the greatest family on the planet.  

Last month after returning from an amazing trip to see my family in Washington, I was in the emergency room in extreme pain.  As Dave drove me to the hospital at 2 in the morning I kept passing out because the pain in my stomach was so intense.  We called my doctor on the way to the hospital to let him know that I was headed up there.  My amazing doctor met us at the hospital and started running tests.  After a CT scan results came back, they had found an intussuception in my small bowel.  (That is where your bowel is looped and so nothing can move through.)  They rushed me in for emergency surgery.  My family, my husband, my friends, and all of my neighborhood held a fast and prayed for my health.  They prayed that God would heal me and that I would live through this.  We were all so scared because this is the exact thing that happened in 2009 to start all of my health problems.  It was a very nerve wracking and draining time for my family and me.

During the surgery my doctor was getting read to do a bowel resection, when he watched the intussuception unravel itself.  He didn't have to cut my bowel, or even pull it apart.  My bowel just did what it needed to do all on it's own.  He was also able to clean up scar tissue which is what causes so much of my pain, and so much of the reason to why I can't eat like normal people.

After surgery I came back into my room recovering and hurting, but feeling so much better than before.  I am so thankful to amazing doctors, nurses, family and friends.  I don't know how I could be more blessed in my life.  

2 days later I left the hospital to go heal at home.  Since Dave is working full time I went and stayed with my mother so she could take care of me while I got strong enough to take care of myself.  While at my mother's house an amazing opportunity happened to Dave and me. For the last 3 years Dave and I have lived in Highland Utah.  It's a beautiful town and we love it.  The only problem is that it is 45 minutes from Dave's school.  

This coming school year Dave has been able to get a job working at the Hospital in Salt Lake City.  We didn't know how we were ever going to see each other with his long hours at work and school and then the late nights getting home.  As we prayed for an answer to know what we should do, a house became available 5 blocks from Dave's school.  We knew that the house was an answer to our prayers.  Within 3 days the house was ours and we started moving in.  Everything has just worked out so beautifully.  I can't thank God enough for blessing our lives the way he has.  Dave will now be able to walk to school, and no longer have to spend long hours driving from Highland.  We are so thrilled!

 School starts on the 20th of this month for Dave, and slowly but surely we are moving our entire lives from Highland to Salt Lake City.  I can't explain how excited, happy, and overwhelmed I am.  I am going to miss my friends and family in Highland, but I am looking forward to making new friends here.  The house we got is in my most favorite part of Salt Lake City.  It is where I lived when I was single, and I'm just so excited to be back.  I couldn't have picked a better place for us if I tried.

As I sit here tonight in my new bedroom, watching my husband paint my house, I am so overwhelmed with love for my Heavenly Father for not only giving me another chance at life, but giving Dave and I an entire new experience and opportunity to make new friends, touch new lives, and be touched by amazing people around us.

To all the friends and family we are leaving, we want to know how much we love you, and are so thankful for all you have done for us, and continually do for us.  Thank you for remembering us in your thoughts and prayers.  I know I am alive today because of your faith, hope, and love.  I can never repay your kindness and love.  Please know that you mean more to me than I can express.

Earlier this summer I promised I would show our family pictures that were taken on our trip to Washington.  I just got them today so I had to show off my darling little husband and me.  I'll also post pictures of our new house when I get things a bit more settled.  Thank you again to each of you who make our lives so wonderful.  We love you and think of you often.  We wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for you!

The Strasburg Family

Jul 10, 2012

Photographer of the year goes to.....

Urban Photoshoot
I know that it is so hard to find a great photographer, so I wanted to mention the girl who just took Dave and my family pictures this past week.  She was awesome!  She asked me what I wanted, and when I said "Urban" she drove around before our shoot date and found some amazing spots!  I can't wait to see the rest of the pics after she gets them all edited.  

She is amazing to work with though, and she works in Utah and Washington.  She will be in Utah for 3 weeks, and she lives in Washington permanently.  Jamie Nackos has been studying photography for the last 10 years.  She has such amazing skill with active kids, newborns, and toddlers.  She is also amazing with families even if it is just a couple (which my family is).  I really would highly recommend her, and I don't say that lightly.  I'm a tough critic when it comes to family pictures, so when I find someone I love I have to tell everyone!  

One big thing about Jamie is SHE LOVES COLOR! Big, Bright, Bold, COLOR!  So if that is your thing, she is your gal!  Check out her website where you can find samples of pictures she has taken, her rates, and all her other info.

I promise you won't be disappointed.  I'll post more of our family pictures later.  I hope everyone is having a great Summer!
Jilly S.

Jun 14, 2012

My Battle with Food

A friend and I were talking last night and it just made me think back to the life I used to live.  You know, that life where every minute is spent thinking about what you're going to eat next.  That time where you wake up every morning and weigh yourself, feel terrible and go stuff down the pain with more food.  Then when you get home at night the 1st thing you do is go to your fridge and get something to eat, then the guilt sets in and you weigh yourself that night.  The never ending cycle of my addiction to food, and my battle with weight.

Reliving this yesterday just broke my heart.  I remember that girl.  I remember feeling terrible about myself for years because I kept putting on more and more weight, but I couldn't seem to stop eating.  No matter what I did I couldn't stop myself from eating.  If you would have asked me 7 years ago if I would have ever thought I would be where I am today, I would have laughed in your face and cried behind your back.

Now 6 years out from Gastric Bypass surgery, and 150lbs lighter; my life is so different.  I can honestly say that I don't think about one thing when I put anything in my mouth.  I don't think of how many calories it is, or how much I'll have to workout to work it off.  I enjoy every single thing I put in my mouth with absolutely no stress, or guilt.  This didn't happen overnight mind you.  This has been 7 years of counseling, hard work, and learning to love who "Jilly" really is.  Not what I look like.  

The 1st 3 months after gastric bypass I cried everyday.  Like I told my friend last night, I felt like my best friend was there one day and the next she was dead and I never got to see her again.  I went through physical and mental withdrawals like you would not believe.  Food was my drug and I craved it day and night.  I couldn't feed that craving because if I tried I got sick and threw up, so I cried.  I started working out because I had to get rid of the frustrations in my body and I didn't know how else to do it.  I went to counseling, I worked in my journal, and I started to go outside of myself.  I started to serve others, meet new people, experience new things, and learn to love the life around me that wasn't based on food.  

An amazing thing happened after those first 90 days; I learned to live without limits.  I learned to live and enjoy every moment of every day.  I learned to love this incredible experience that God had given.  I met new friends, I had amazing experiences, I was learning new things.  I was starting to live the life that I was always meant to live, but that I could never see in my addiction to food.

While driving through the drive thru at my local smoothie joint, I realize that I have learned a lot more than just what I have written thus far.  In 2009 when food was completely taken away from me and I couldn't even swallow my own spit, I learned what food is really here for.  Food is here to keep me alive.  Food was put on this earth to sustain us and fuel our bodies.  What a concept.  I had never understand that until I was 25 years old.  For the first time in my life I was "Eating to Live" and not "Living to Eat".  That IV in my arm was the only thing keeping me alive for that year, and I gained a completely new respect for this gift that I had been given.  The gift of Food.  All of these lessons that I feel, took me so long to figure out. 

Through these experiences I have gotten to where I am today.  To the point where sipping this smoothie is delicious.  I'm enjoying it not because it's yummy, but because it's something I can eat to keep me alive.  I'm on a full liquid diet right now and I have been for the last 3 months.  Not by choice mind you, but because my stomach isn't able to eat anything but liquids.  If I try, my bowels get blocked, or I throw up.  So here I sit sipping this smoothie and enjoying every moment of it.  It's like that with every bit of food, or pepsi that I drink.  I enjoy it 100% and am thankful for it.  It was something I wasn't able to enjoy 3 years ago.

What have I learned through all this?  I have learned that I am a beautiful, strong, healthy, and happy woman.  I'm so proud of who I am, and I truly love the woman that I am.  I'm so thankful for God giving me these experiences to grow and learn and hopefully help people in their times of struggle and trials.  To the woman I see at the gas station who is 100lbs. overweight and battling with herself in the candy isle, to the 80 year old woman who is in the rest home sick and struggling to keep on weight.  I'm thankful for these experiences and for the life that God has blessed me with.  

Know that if you struggle you are in my prayers, I love you, and that I understand.  You're not alone, and you can make it.  You're worth it.

Jun 5, 2012

28th Birthday

I made it to another year, and I couldn't be more grateful.  I must admit that my 26th Birthday was probably the best of my life, but each one after is right up there.  I always seem to be amazed that by the grace of God alone I wake up on June 5th and have spent another year on this planet.  

I woke up next to my darling hubby today which is always great!  I got on my knees and thanked God for giving me this day with my husband, and then I started to see so much love on my Facebook page.  Thank you so much to all of you who wished me a Happy Birthday!  It was a great one!

After checking my FB I came into my room and saw balloons, presents, and my Birthday Sash all ready for me to enjoy my day!  
 I started to get cleaned up for a day with one of my best friends.  As I was getting ready my hubby got a text telling me that one of my other dearest friends had left a treat for me on the porch.  She must love me a lot because she brought me a plate of cupcakes, and if you know me, you know I love cupcakes. Lisa, I have to tell you what an amazing baker you are because lady, they were to die for!  I didn't share one!
After I was all cleaned up, and feeling cute, I put on my sash and my cute friend Neenie came and picked me up to take me out for some nummy Thai food.  Man it was good.  I was able to eat some soup, and it tasted sooo good!  Neenie, Ed, and I, had a great time at lunch.  It was such a fun day, minus the hurricane winds that brought it to an end.  Unlike me, my friends have kids and this wind storm was scary stuff.  It was blowing over trees, garbage cans, breaking windows, and on and on.  So we had to cut our Birthday date short and head home so they could be Mommies to their kiddos.

Janine dropped me off with a plan to go and finish our birthday party a little later this week.  She had a special gift in mind for me that touched my heart and made me cry when she told me.  I don't have it yet, so as soon as I do I can't wait to tell the story and show the picture.  As for right now, I just have to say 1 thing about it.  She was telling me one that she picked out for me, but she wasn't sure if I would like it.  That is why I started to cry.  She has no idea that the one she picked is one that I had looked at online back at Christmas time and that this particular gift is one of my most favorite things on earth.  If she would have given me my chance I would have picked  it myself, so I was moved to tears when it's the one thing that she picked out for me.  Now you know why I'm so excited to spend this time with her later this week!

Thank you to everyone who made my Birthday so special!  I get to see my Momma tomorrow, my sister in a month, and all the texts, emails, phone calls, cards, and FB messages, meant more than any of you will ever know.  A HUGE thank you to one my sweet Sunbeams who brought me a cake last night when I wasn't here.  I just can't believe how truly blessed I am to have the most amazing people in my life.  I am the luckiest 28 year old girl I know!

Thank you for the special earrings from some of my cute adopted nieces, and my cute kitchen stuff from my sister, and the money to donate to my camera all know me so well!

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! For making my Birthday so magical and special.  I'm so thankful to still be here on Gods green earth getting the chance to love each and everyone of you!  I am so blessed to have you in my life.

Thank you to my sweetheart who always makes my Birthday so special with all my favorite things, especially the candy and balloons!  I can't wait to celebrate later when you are feeling better.  Thanks for going above and beyond with the Lagoon thing even though it didn't work, we'll spend Friday at the Draper Pool and it will be just as great.  Happy 28th Birthday to me!!

May 30, 2012

A few MISSED Thank You's

For those of you who read my post yesterday and may have felt left out because you were a HUGE help to me while I was sick, please know that I didn't forget you.  I didn't have all the time in the world to thank everyone who gave so much of themselves to me at that time.  There were a few people that I specifically wanted to thank that I missed.  I had an amazing woman come and wash my hair and cut it for me when I was to sick to leave my house one day, and I will never be able to express the love that I have in my heart for her.  That moment was so special to me and made me feel pretty when I had felt so sick for so long.  Also, to my amazing sister in law Stacy who came and colored my hair; she and her family bought dinner for Dave and just spent the night with us helping me to forget how sick I was in that moment.  It's a big deal to a girl to have her hair done and feel beautiful and to have 2 women come and make me pretty and do it for free meant the world to me.  So thank you to both of you.

Like I said, there are so many more, and as I go about my day I keep remembering them.  So please just know that you are not forgotten, and the love and kindness you showed my husband and I will never be forgotten and you will forever be in my heart.  Thank YOU! Thank YOU! Thank YOU!

May 29, 2012

3 Years to the Day....

 As I sit here this morning reflecting on the last 3 years of my life, I stand in awe of my family, friends, doctor, and nurses.  3 Years ago today I became deathly ill to the point where I was unable to swallow even saliva without throwing it up.  I would never have made it through those times in my life without you.  

To all of the people who visited me in the hospital when I was there for 45 days and slowly starving to death, the days when I finally came home because my doctor said that there was nothing more they could do for me, and I had ladies from my ward there to spend the day with me while my husband was in school.  To all of you who made meals for my sweet Dave to eat because I was too sick to hold myself up to a stove.

To the nurses who spent hours upon hours in the middle of the night talking to me in my room, Patrick, Nate, Paul, and so many others.  To my mom who would come and relieve Dave every other night so he could get to sleep in our bed at home instead of on a couch in the hospital room.  To my sister who flew in and slept on an air mattress in my hospital room because she thought it would be our last moments together.  To my brother Paul who brought my husband a meal at 12:30 in the morning one Tuesday night which I was so thankful for because he hadn't eaten in days.

Thank you to Sherri for teaching me to never stop learning, and even helping me finish my first quilt. To my sweet sister in law Melissa for teaching me how to crochet so I had something to do as I laid on the couch day in and day out. (I don't think that football size quilt will ever be finished.)  To all the ladies in the ward who signed up to come and visit me a few times a week so I wouldn't be alone (and do the death check), standing and knocking at the door until I answered.  To my amazing home healthcare nurse who came 4 times a week and hooked up my IV to give me my 4 hours and 2 bags of liquid meals just to keep me alive.
To my Mom and Dad who after a year of watching me go through 12 surgeries with no answers and not knowing why I couldn't eat, having faith enough to take out of their retirement for a surgery that had never been done before, by a doctor that had never heard of anything like this being done, and to a 10% chance that I would actually live through it, thank you for having that faith and hope that it would save my life.
To my amazing Dr. McKinlay for sticking with me even when I had no insurance to pay him, and needed more surgeries to just live.  I remember crying to him in his office because I knew I needed another surgery and couldn't pay, and his sweet words to me were, "Jill, I'm with you until the end whenever that may be."

To Roz, my doctor's amazing head nurse who took my phone calls day and night.  Who watched me slowly lose more and more weight.  Who wheeled me around in a wheel chair because my 25 year old body was too weak to walk.

To all the people from every country, every state in America, every news anchor, and every friend, who donated their time, talents, or money, in some way shape or form to make it possible for me to get the surgery that saved my life.  I truly couldn't have survived this without you.

So on my 3rd annual "Live Day" I want to thank each of you for being part in saving my life and walking this journey with me.  I couldn't have done it alone.  I still have trials due to this health problem, but I can face anything with all the people I have on my side. To you I say Thank you, and I love you.  I am truly humbled by your compassion and grace.

Last but not least, to my amazing husband.  I can't imagine what you went through.  I wouldn't have traded places with you if I had the chance.  I can't imagine what it was like for you to watch your new bride sit and die.  I don't know what it was like for you to go through surgery after surgery sitting by the phone in that waiting room hoping that the doctor would call with some good news that rarely came.  I don't know what it was like for you when the doctor told us that there was nothing more that we could do so to go home and live like it was the last day we were going to get.  
I don't know how you got up and went to school every day and continued to be a 4.0 student.  I don't know how you functioned when you were thinking that you were going to have to plan your wife's funeral very soon.  I don't know what I would do if I had to walk in every night and see you getting thinner, and weaker, and so very frail.  I don't know how I would have given you baths, washed your hair, brushed your teeth, painted your toes, or held your hand and just sat next to you watching TV laughing, while the entire time in the back of your brain you were thinking that this might be the last night I get to spend with the love of my life.  

Thank you to you my sweet David, for loving me even though you knew it wasn't going to be for very much longer.  Thank you for spending each day with me like it was the last one we were going to have together.  Thank you for being my greatest support, my best friend, and the love of my life.  I don't know how you did it.  I don't ever want to have to go through what you did, but I will forever be grateful for what you went through.  You are my hero, and I'm so thankful that I got to share the hardest time in my life with my best friend.  God couldn't have given a greater challenge to a greater man.  He knew you were strong enough to go through it, and come out better than when you started.

Dave, I know we did so much of those years alone and all by ourselves, but I will never regret any of them.  It taught us to lean on each other.  It taught us that we can get through even the hardest things in this life as long as we have one another to lean on.  I know I can do anything if I have you by my side, so thank you for loving me, caring for me, working for me, spending hours at hospitals with me, going through surgery after endless surgery with me, and still taking care of me to this day with all the health problems I still have and most likely always will.  Our life was never meant to be easy.  I don't think either one of us could have ever imagined how hard it would really be, but I know that we can truly make it through anything as long as we have each other.  So to you and everyone else, Thank you for helping me get to my 3rd year "Live Day".

Eternally Grateful,
Jilly Strasburg

May 13, 2012

Our Love Affair

Lately Dave and I have received so many comments on our love.  Where does it come from?  How are you 2 so in love?  and my favorite, "Every time I see you 2 I just want to start singing "Here Comes the Bride" because you are still in love like newlyweds."  Yes, I love my Dave more than anything on this planet.  I love him more than my life itself, and I can say that because it came to point one time where I got to choose between my life and him, and I chose Dave.  So where does it come from?  I have dated so many guys in my life, had so many relationships, and I just never felt like they were "the one" for me.  Some of them were amazing guys and I still care a great deal about a few of them, but they just weren't for me.  When I met Dave, from the instant he walked through that parking lot towards me I knew that something was different.  He had a light about him  that I had never experienced and I knew that he was the one.  Now I know that sounds so cliche' but, I knew Dave was the man I was going to marry the instant I met him.  It was truly love at first sight.

Our love didn't just happen.  Our love isn't "the greatest love on earth" just by chance.  We went through hell and back to have the love that we have.  Picture this if you can, you get married after dating for a year.  One month after you're married your wife becomes deathly ill and instead of deciding when you are going to have kids you are thinking about planning her funeral.  Every moment that Dave and I shared together that first year of marriage we truly believed that it would be the last.  

I used to wake up every morning and watch the sun come up because I didn't know if I was going to see the sun rise the following day.  Every morning when I was so sick and couldn't eat I still made breakfast for my husband every day because I didn't know if I was going to get the same chance tomorrow.  Dave and I truly lived in the moment.  We lived as if it were the last day we would ever get together.  Having that happen to you makes all the little quarrels, little issues, his little quirks, or mine that drove each other nuts, don't seem to important.  The fact that he didn't put his dirty clothes in the laundry basket didn't matter.  It became something about him that I cherished because tomorrow I might not be here to pick up those clothes and put them away.  I still feel that way today.  I still pick up his dirty clothes every night and stick them in the laundry with a smile on my face, and a warm heart because it's what makes the man I love my Davey.  It makes him the wonderful, amazing, man he is.  Those little things that drive each other nuts in marriage Dave and I don't experience.  We learned to love every little thing about each other because those were moments that we might have to keep in our memory when I was gone the next day.

Now that being said, do we still argue?  Of course we do.  Is it extremely rare that we fight?  Extremely.  We don't fight a lot because what is there really to fight about?  When little things don't bother your the pointless fights don't matter.  If we do argue, it's about our core value system being touched and that's about it.  

I know that what makes Dave and my love "Newlywed Love" is the mutual respect, love, and charity that we have had to learn in the 1st year of our marriage.  I still look at him like I did when we sat across the alter from one another and declared our love and respect for one another on our wedding day.  I can honestly say though that I love him more today than I did the day I married him.  I love him more today than I did yesterday.  I love that man with every fiber of my being.  He is the most amazing, loving, kind, fun, happy, hard working, and dedicated, man I have ever met.  Like I told him last night while I was looking him in the eyes, "You are the greatest and best man I have ever known." and I truly mean that.  I don't know any man that is better than my David.  I feel so lucky and blessed to have the love that we have.

So for those of me who ask where we get our love, or how can they have the love that we have?  It's simple, don't fight about the little things because they could one day be gone, don't disrespect your significant other, and love like you want to be loved.

I love you sweetheart.  Thank you for making my life special and worth every second that I live it.  Thanks for making this Mother's Day great with breakfast in bed and by teaching my sweet sunday school class today.  You're the best!

To all you Mother's, Happy Mother's Day.  The job you do is the greatest and best and toughest job on the planet, and you deserve all the praise in the world.  I love you Mom, and all the Mother's in my life.

Apr 10, 2012

Going on 5 Days!!

I am just so excited this morning that I had to write about my good news.  I know this won't seem like a long time for most of you, but for me, this is HUGE!  For the past 5 days I have felt GREAT!  I have been outside playing every single day.  On Saturday Dave and I drove down to my parents to spend a little bit of time with them because we were going to be with Dave's family for Easter.  I wanted to see them and spend some time with them before the Holiday so I could celebrate with them a little bit.  

Mom and Dad out enjoying the beautiful weather right as we showed up
We got down there and I helped my Mom do the Easter baskets for the grand kids and make fun little bows on the top of each basket, we got her clothes ready for her to fly to WI this week to see my sister, and then I showed her my little garage sale find.  (I went early Saturday morning and found an awesome ornate big mirror with a fantastic frame that was gold, and I'm going to paint it some fun color and give it to her for Mother's day!)

Dave, my Dad, and I headed outside to play around for a bit.  I pulled out the razor scooter and rode up and down the sidewalk while my Dad and Dave talked, and then my Mom came out.  It was such a gorgeous day that we pulled out the Frisbee (aka the flying saucer because it's HUGE!) and started to play.  I can't tell you how much fun we had.  It was so wonderful to feel the sun on my face, and to feel good enough to play.  This was the 1st time in a very long time that I wasn't hurting, nauseated, or weak.  I played for about 15 minutes and then I had to sit down, but even then I sat in the sun and watched them all continue to play and chit chatted with them.  

Dave and I love spending time with our families.  We find so much joy in being around our parents, siblings, and especially the grand kids.  Dave and my Dad have a really special relationship which I feel so blessed for.  They are just like best buddies.  It's a relationship that I am so thankful for.  I always wanted my father to love the guy I was married to, and I didn't just get that, they just happen to be best friends as well.

Dave outside in the sun playing Frisbee with me
After the great day we had with my parents, we had an equally great Easter with Dave's family.  After we went to church and taught my cute little 3 year old kids, we came home, changed, and got ready to spend the day with the Strasburg clan.  My mother in law had made an amazing dinner that I wish I could have eaten.  She made an amazing Easter ham (which unfortunately is one of my foods that I just can't eat) that everyone enjoyed.  Then she had these cute little individual carrot cakes which were to die for.  We had so much fun sitting around talking to everyone.  After dinner we all headed outside again to play with the Frisbee Dave and I had brought.  Now, let me describe this Frisbee to you.  It is like the world's fastest and longest distance Frisbee ever made.  Not only does it soar, but it flies so far with minimal effort.  There is also a definite learning curve when first starting to play with this thing.

The first group to try to tackle this high flying Frisbee was Dave, my nephew, and me.  They both got it down pat in about 3 throws each.  Now as for me, I was throwing it way past them, to the FAR left of them, or the Far right of them, or 10 feet in front of them on the ground.  To say the least, I never quite got it, but I sure did have a blast!  The sun was shining, we were out in our shorts, and we had an amazing time.  It was just so great to have enough energy to play for a little bit, and then to be able to sit down and stay outside while everyone else continued to play.

After the games, I had made sugar cookies and frosting to frost with all the kids.  It was so much fun to frost cookies with my little niece, sister in law's, and nephew.  To see their cute creativity come out, and watch them having so much fun with Aunt Jilly was a blast!  I was just so thankful to have had 2 full days of feeling good enough to do stuff.  

I know all these things sound like such normal everyday activities, but for me their not.  I normally don't get good enough days to do anything above and beyond what is absolutely needed, and that's fine.  But when I am so blessed with feeling good and having energy I love taking advantage of it.  The weather was amazing this Easter weekend, and being with family and friends was the perfect way to spend it.  Getting to be outside and playing with Dave again was such a joy.  Just a little "Easter Miracle" in my book.  :)  I hope you all had as great of a weekend as we did.  I'll talk to you all soon!