Tuesday, April 30, 2013


The past few days have brought about an emotion that I don't typically feel.  Fear.

Sure, I'm afraid of spiders. sharks, deep, dark water, tornadoes, etc...but these fears aren't normally part of my daily routine. Scared of sharks? Stay out of the ocean. Scared of spiders? Get the house treated by The Bug Lady (shout out). Avoid the situation causing fear and go on with your day. That's how most of us GET to live our life.

Lately however, avoiding fearful situations has become more challenging. Our hometown seems to be under attack by a drastically climbing crime rate. Every day, without exaggeration, there is an armed robbery at a local business, a mugging, a home invasion, a shooting, etc... You cannot log onto Facebook without seeing a report of victimization somewhere. The news haunts my sleep. There are bad people in our city and they seem to be getting stronger, bolder, and closer. No area is safe anymore. Crime used to stay on one side of the river. Crime is now in our neighborhood and on our streets.

Last week an elderly couple that lives down the street from us were shot during a home invasion. Two men broke in at 1pm. I drove past their home at 1pm as I headed home for lunch. At the very moment that I drove by, someone was in their home to rob and harm them. Shots were fired and people were severely injured.  The criminals escaped. There are no leads. That thought gives me chills every time I think about it.

At 1:50pm that day, I drove back by their street and noticed cops, news crews, and yellow police tape. I immediately called my husband to check the news. This is not a scene that we pass by everyday in our quiet, quaint suburban neighborhood. Their entire property had been roped off to keeps others out after someone had broken the rules and forced their way in.

How do you feel safe, even in your own "safe haven" of a home, when someone can come in at anytime and take what they want? How do you not fear being harmed on your own property? I shouldn't have to know the difference between a burglary and a home invasion, but I do now. My mind doesn't need to comprehend that a home invasion is when someone forces their way in while you're currently inside.

There's now a cop car that parks directly across from our house in a church parking lot to ward off any future invasions. My husband thinks it's a good thing, and in my mind I know that it is. In my heart though, it's just a constant reminder when I look out of our windows and pretty curtains that there's a crazy world outside and without warning, that craziness can come crashing inside. It's a reminder that there are bad people in this world who take what they want when they want it. Apparently crime knows no boundaries.

I like being a part of this community. I want to do what we can to make it a better place for our children someday. I'm just not sure how to do all of the above when I, myself, am struggling with living in fear and telling myself that I'm safe.

Safe. You never know how powerful of a word it really is until you find it being forcfully pulled out of your vocabulary.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Viva Nash-Vegas

This past weekend saw two stories of survival. One, the survival of 5 friends who ran the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon in 50 degree weather and a colossal monsoon, with only a touch of mild-hypothermia. No, seriously. There was a fainting spell with one of our runners. These 5 are either crazy or stupid. I'll let you decide which one.

And the second survival, one wife in a car with 2 dudes for 18 hours round trip. I'm either crazy or stupid. I'll let you decide which one. Just kidding, they were great.

So about 3 hours into our journey, this happened:) Chick-fil-A is a special treat for this once southern girl gone back to her roots. The best part of this story is that we not-so-quickly realized about 15 minutes off the interstate that this Fil-A was located on the Univ. of Illinois campus. In their student center. I sure did march in there in my yoga pants and hoodie  like we owned the place. Nothing was going to stand between me and my nuggets.

After our runners completed their race on saturday (the hubs completed his Half in 1:45, congrats, Timmy!), we all went out for a little post race celebration in mid-town Nashville, which is always a great way to spend a day. We had to pump some food into their systems first to combat the hunger and body depletion that they were experiencing. Have you seen those Snickers commercials where the dudes get so hungry that they turn into Betty White and other divas? Good Lord, someone should warn a new wife that those commercials become VERY real after your spouse runs a very long distance race. Luckily once we got some flat bread into my diva  husband, everything was right with the world again. Also getting a Bushwacker into his system didn't hurt the situation either. Think Wendy's Frosty with some many adult libations swirled in for good measure. Who needs a Snickers when you can have a Bushwacker?

This trip held many laughs, good cuddle time with our friends' sweet baby boy, a small dance party in the backyard, etc... We always LOVE our friends' hospitality in Nashville. There's always fun plans, great food compliments of our friend and home-chef, Pete, and ample amounts of great, live music. It's always sad to leave them and the amazing city of Nashville.

And just for grins and giggles, check out a few of the places that we decided to pass on for a quick road trip meal along our route home. I bring you:

Seriously, who approved the Just Nuts Hut?

Thanks, but no thanks on the Kinmundy slaughter house as well. That made me want to vomit and/or cry.

And now you know how I got roped into a stop at the Waffle House. You know you're in trouble when the awful Waffle is among the safest choices on your GPS. My take on it after avoiding it for SO long: it's much like Denny's but way dirtier, way louder, and a lot less teeth (how is that even possible??!!). I ordered my hash browns smothered, chunked, choked, gagged, cringed, and appalled. Mission accomplished.

Until next time, music row...
Thanks for the entertainment and hospitality. You're always a great time!

*I apparently don't take photos of people, only drinks and GPS shots. My bad.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Brotha' From the Same Motha'

With the hubs and I preparing for a trip to Nashville soon, we had to make very important accommodation plans for our fur-love, Piggy. I figured it was a long shot when I asked my brother to house and dog sit, but surprisingly he said yes. Thanks, Tito!

I've been busy compiling lists upon lists for my bro so that he's armed with all my Piggy wisdom, and can take the best care of our little man as possible. Tim keeps laughing at how many lists and notes I've left around the house. At one point he asked if I was "going to mark all of our wine and liquor bottles so that I could see if the little bro snuck any drinks or had a party". And by my "little bro", I mean the dude who is 31 and 6'3.

As I sat writing my 3rd page of notes (What?? They're small pieces of paper!), I wondered "if I make this many lists for a small toy poodle, how many am I going to make when we start to have children who then have babysitters?" There might not be enough paper in the world. I'm going to need MUCH bigger pieces of paper.

As I chatted with my bro over the phone about Pig's daily routine, warning him about the wildlife in our yard, etc...I began to share the details of his sleeping arrangements. We have 2 guest bedrooms, so I was clarifying which room I'd put him in he interrupted me with "I want to sleep in the room with the least amount of bugs." Um, okay? Who says that?!

1. We don't have bugs. Don't get me wrong, we have your typical house spiders and the occasional boxeldier bug, but he said it so mater of fact like we were running some roach motel or secretly harvesting spiders for the black market.

2. That, folks, is how I know we are 100% related. I've laughed on and off for the last 24 hours about his sincere statement. He's my blood and he's my fellow phobic. Call us weird, call us paranoid, but these quirks and fears pump through our veins. I'm 34 and I still do a "spider check" in my bed every. single. night. To know us is to love us or to be tragically annoyed by us. We're a Meyers and we don't do bugs, or germs, or dirt. I guess it's that simple and that mater of fact.

If I wasn't afraid he'd pack up and leave our Piggy all alone, I'd put a plastic roach in his bed like a big sister should. #Tempting #WithTheLeastAmountOfBugs

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pinterest Told Me To

I'm sure some of you have actually read the entire blog "Pinterest Told Me To", which is a great idea, by the way. Sheaffer over at PTMT is spunky, creative and when Pinterest tells her to jump, she most definitely does but not before searching for a few "how high" inspirational pins. Check her out sometime! http://pinteresttoldmeto.blogspot.com/

In the spirit of being bossed around by our pin-ful friends, I've decided to share a couple of recipes that I've tried this week that actually tasted as delicious as the pins promised. And for any faithful pinners, sadly we know that is not always the case. Cheesy chicken and rice recipes still haunt my dreams.

Looking for a couple summer dishes to add to your menu carousel? They're just as pretty as they are tasty too! Try these recipes (my tweaks will be mentioned below the actual recipe link):

Shrimp with Mango Salsa on the Grill

My own spin-
My hubs does not like his rice or couscous to touch anything else (weird bird, I know), so I made my couscous separately and it turned out just fine. I prefer to use Near East's Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil. *It's so tasty, and is even tastier when I add fresh spinach and chopped, steamed butternut squash  with a touch of Parmesan once it's done cooking. But that's another dish for another day.*
Taco Bake (healthier version) with Roasted Broccoli with Chile
My own spin:
For this recipe, I tried my best to health it up a bit. Somehow married life has caused me to become the veggie police, so I'm always trying to get our daily veggie allowance in for fear of scurvy. Gotta keep my man healthy and fit! To update this dish, I made the following tweaks:
~ I used very lean ground beef (turkey would work as well)
~ I used whole wheat tortillas (shhh, the hubs didn't even notice)
~ Instead of con queso, I opted for fresh salsa
~ Bring on the veggies- I added diced red onion, black beans, corn, tomato, and cilantro
~I also used way less cheese than the recipe calls for and it was plenty
~ I used about half a tablespoon of taco seasoning and added a bit of chili powder instead
Roasted Broccoli w/ Red Chile
My own spin:
I did a major update with this hot, little dish;)
I don't do cauliflower (my reason is not appropriate for this platform, but just know that I have one).  Instead, I opted for fresh broccoli (two large heads) and it was perfect. I also used a little over 1 tbsp of olive oil, as 4 seemed excessive and unnecessary to me.  
Tasty and fresh with a little spice!
Has Pinterest doled out any orders to you lately that you'd like to share?

Monday, April 22, 2013

High Five Friday

I know, I know, you're probably thinking to yourself that today is Monday and you'd certainly be correct in that thought. However, I used my Friday post for something else and since I'm the Editor and Chief over here, my thought process is "who cares, I'm gonna post my high fives today". Booyah. Or Booyah-shaka depending on which of my friends is saying it.

My High Fives for last week:
  • The flood waters in Illinois FINALLY parted on Saturday and we escaped without any water in the basement. Most people we know were not so lucky:(

  • The sun has finally made an appearance! Hallelujah!
  • This song . There's just something old-school, juke box charm to it.
  • Starting the process of repainting the exterior of our home. Our girl needs a face lift, like yesterday.  We're thinking light gray with an aqua door. Whatcha think?

  • This little cutie. I may or may not have watched this 50 times in 48 hours. What?
  • Pizza and movie night with my mom, dad and brother while Tim was out of town. Reunited and it felt so good.
  • Partaking in a special night out with 7 other couple-friends for a guest chef, 5 course dinner and local drink pairings at Anderson Japanese Gardens. It was fun to feel a bit more sassy than your typical Saturday night while enjoying good food and even better conversation.
  • Planning the hubs birthday in June. We spent his birthday last year packing up my entire life, which does not a birthday make, so this year we're going to do it right!
  • Being one week closer to trips to Nashville, Charleston and Las Vegas.
  • Our criminal justice systems catching the bad guys! Well done, ladies and gents. And in only 5 days?! Your rock, Merica! Booyah.

Friday, April 19, 2013

An Adult Field Trip

Yesterday, 26 professionals boarded a bus as part of the Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Rockford class and headed out on a field trip to our state's Capitol. It was my first field trip in a LONG time. Y'all know that I love making lists, so I figured what better way to share what I learned yesterday than with a list?

What I learned on my adult field trip:
  • Almost missing the bus is as stressful at 34 as it is at 10 years old. The only difference is that I'm speeding to it in my Jeep versus running like an idiot with a huge backpack flopping from side to side, while everyone who was actually on time laughs at me through the windows.
  • The Capitol building is gorgeous. If you haven't been and live in IL, check it out.
  • Our Senator, Syverson, is smart, eloquent, friendly and very funny. I could've listened to him all day.
  • Getting personal face to face time with your Senator and House Reps is quite an honor. #insidescoop #Bigtime
  • We, as voters and tax payers, don't have all of the information. I learned A LOT about the ins and outs of some of our upcoming bills to be voted on this summer. There are wins and consequences to every decisions, and frankly, we the people, aren't the experts (my words, not theirs).
  • Watching the House vote live, which we did, was NUTS. It's chaos. And not even organized chaos. It honestly looks like a 3rd grade classroom when there's a substitute teacher. People are walking around, chatting it up with their friends, looking at email, shouting out whatever strikes their fancy, sass talking each other during debates, etc... Our guide assured us that each Representative knew how they were going to vote long before they take the floor, and to not be alarmed if it seemed unorganized. Thankfully we had that warning otherwise I would've been yelling over the gallery for the Reps to sit down, zip it, and focus on our laws! "Hey you two from Moline, stop watching kittens being tickled on YouTube and focus! We have Bills to pass here! Don't make us come down there!"
  • I think I want the hubs to run for Senate. For real. 
  • I was shocked by how many young women were on the House floor. I can't imagine having that job at my age.
  • Adult beverages are served on an adult field trip on the ride home. Don't worry, we had a charted bus with a driver. It's all good.
  • Nothing bonds a group of Leadership classmates and the future of our town quite like a cooler full of Summer Shandy's and Miller Lites. Who knew? Why didn't we do this the first month to really get to know each other?
  • Apparently whipping a koozie out of your purse is not the norm outside of the south. Again, who knew?! Half of the bus thought I might have a drinking problem and the other half thought it was the coolest thing they've ever seen. I assured them that- 1) I do not have a drinking problem, but that I simply hate cold hands and/or warm beverages 2) You never know when a party might break out. I, for one, as a future leader, take preparedness seriously. #Kooziesforever #KoozieHandsWarmHeart
  • When someone starts calling you the "koozie girl" on a 3 hours bus ride, others who have been drinking may start to think he's calling you "Hey, Jacuzzi girl", which are two VERY different things. Yikes! #QuestionableLeadership #NotAJacuzziGirl!
And lastly, when I told my husband before I headed out "they said there'd be adult beverages on the bus on the way home" he sincerely asked "want me to pick you up from the bus so you don't have to worry about driving home?"...Umm:
  1. My response "I'm not going to get hammered, babe! It's still a field trip for my LEADERSHIP class, but thanks, I think?"
  2. Maybe people really do think I have a drinking problem?! Maybe I better cut back from my 2 drink limit to 1. Ya know, just to be safe. Geez.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Angels in the Dust

My mom wants me to move to Africa. She really must.

Last weekend I was given a DVD by my mother and was told "you need to watch this. It's a documentary on children in Africa who have been orphaned by AIDS". Oh, lovely. That sounds like an amazing movie to watch on a date night while munching on popcorn and Swedish fish. Not. Especially not for this softy.

This film took me 10 days to watch. 10 days! Why? Because I knew long before ever inserting this DVD that it would shake up my world. Again, my mother must want me to move to Africa. Sell everything I own, give up the dreams of clean water, cozy beds, a growing 401K, etc...

If you have Netflix, or are just in the mood to search for a documentary, rent Angels in the Dust. You will not regret it, although your spouse might regret allowing you to watch it. About an hour in, I turned to Tim and asked "So, when do you want to go?" To Africa, that is. Is Monday too soon?

As someone who once hesitated giving my life to Christ for fear of where He'd send me, I think it's safe to say that I've done a complete 180. I'm not joking either on my hesitation to grow in my faith due to geographical fears. In my mind, all Christians became missionaries at some point and this American chick had never longed for international travel. Mexican all-inclusive resorts were enough for me. And somehow, I just knew that the Lord would send me to Africa and I was not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.

Fast forward, which I love doing because our Lord has one huge sense of humor, I've since become a Christian who desires to live their faith out loud, I've since done 4 medical mission trips to Nicaragua, which is the 3rd poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and I dream of Africa. It's not a matter of will I go, but when will I go? When will we go?

I know the hubs slightly rolled his eyes when I asked "so when do you want to go" (eye rolling is an extreme talent of his that we're working on together), BUT he also sat there and watched the entire story with me. I believe he's open to going at some point, short term, and I'm so thankful to be married to someone who gets my heart and doesn't laugh or belittle me for wanting to do our teeny tiny bit to make our world a better place.

Plus, I even caught him cooing a few times over the little bitty children on screen. He cooed and I asked out loud of their sweet. little faces "do you want to come live with me???"

If there are angels in the dust, in a far away land, I want to go and sing and dance with them. I want to hold their dusty little hands, while walking with my husband, across desolate fields where stray animals include ostrich and elephant. I want to follow the good Lord's crazy sense of humor to wherever He wants to send me.

In a way, I always knew this was coming. I just didn't know He could take a girl who once questioned her desire to ever be a parent, to one day wanting to parent children that aren't even mine. He's a funny one, that Lord of mine.

So, when do you want to go?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. Obama,

I don't think of you very often, although I'm guessing I probably should as a proud American. When I do think about you, I often do so in a questioning manner. I don't always agree with your decisions and policies, but that's mostly because I don't understand them and don't try as hard as I should to see the thought process behind them. I will work on that.

But today, I pray for you and I feel for you, probably more than I ever have before. For some reason you were the last person on my mind as I drifted off to anxious sleep last night. You have a job that I would never desire. Making decisions is not my forte, and you sir, have to make them daily for yourself, your family, me, our nation and at times, the world. The whole wide world. I, often times, stress between which purse will be a better purchase, and you're deciding how to proceed as a strong nation through adversity, uncertainty and terror. I do not envy you; I feel for you.

Today I also respect you a bit more than I did yesterday at this time. Did you do anything extraordinary yesterday? No. Did you have any magic words to take away the extreme pain that we saw unfolding in Boston? No. What you did, however, was to stand up as our leader and form sentences that would hopefully affirm and comfort on some level. While millions of us were left bewildered and in shock, without any chance of forming words other than "why", you stood up and spoke for us.

Until last night, I've honestly never thought of how much weight you must carry every day of your life. In the moments last night when my husband and I were in our safe little home, watching minute after minute of horrific footage, I felt as though I couldn't breathe. I truly had chest pains. It was too much, and although we finally caved and turned off the images on our screen, they never left my mind and heart. But for you sir, I cannot imagine what the weight on your chest must feel like? I'm not really sure how you can breathe. You're the boss, these are you're people, this is your land, and our home together. Millions look immediately to you for insight, guidance, and comfort when tragedy strikes, and in those moments, you're just a man like anyone else, who I'm guessing is also in shock. You have the weight of the world, all of those injured, the city of Boston, and your sweet family on your mind and heart at all times, and yet, you have to be eloquent and fearless. I can't even fathom it.

Today and in the days to come, I'll be praying for you. I pray for you as a leader. Our leader, who must help a nation understand, somehow, this senseless act of evil. I pray for you as a justice seeker, that there might be some resolve. I pray for you as a voice among the world, when I'm guessing your words as just as hard to find, if not more so. I pray for you as a father and husband who must comfort, project and try to ensure safety for the women in your life who are looking to their family leader for a safe haven.

And mostly, I pray for you as a person. Your position requires much strength, wisdom, and courage to be the protector and voice for all of us. Even when you're grieving inside just as we all are today.

Thank you for leading us. Thank you for your words when we have none. And thank you for choosing a job that never shuts off after 5pm, on weekends or holidays. You're a stronger man than I. Much, much stronger, and I'm thankful for your leadership.


A proud, yet shaken American

Monday, April 15, 2013

Another Confession- I'm a Toothbrush Toucher

Sometimes I just feel like confessing, or venting, or doing a little bit of both at the same time. Today is one of those days apparently.

I'm a proud germ-a-phobe, and no, this is not part of the confession. I'll proudly wave my germ-a-phobe flag until the day that I die. True story, proud of it. Germs are not my homeboy. I have more rules about hand washing, hygiene, cooking procedures, etc...than any one person should, but I'm honestly okay with that.

Where my confession begins and ends today is in our medicine cabinet. More specifically, my toothbrush. For some reason my toothbrush feels wet more than I'd like it to, which leads to me a place of recent paranoia.

1. Either someone is using my toothbrush, by mistake, of course, OR...
2. Someone is wetting it on purpose to get under my phobic skin. And seeing as how Piggy isn't tall enough to pull a prank on momma, that only leaves one person (a-hem) OR...
3. We have a toothbrush ghost. A single ghost who haunts our medicine cabinet just to wet the green brush a few times a day.

Hmmm... The hubs swears it's not him. And trust me, I ask. I blame part of my paranoia on my mother. In high school, over a week span or so, I kept noticing that my toothbrush was wet when I went to use it. Finally (not sure why it took me so long to ask around a bit) I had a conversation with my mom that went a little like this:

Me- Hey mom, what color is your toothbrush?
Mom- Blue. Why?
Me- Ummmm, because YOUR TOOTHBRUSH IS RED!!!!!!!!!! MINE IS BLUE!!!!! GROSS, I'M GOING TO PUKE! Insert dry-heave (if you know me, dry-heaving occurs more than I'd like to admit thanks to my many phobias).
Mom- Oh, Sorry. (all nonchalant like while I'm dry-heaving)

Sharing toothbrushes is not one of my spiritual gifts. I don't care how much I love you. You're gonna have to get your own brush. No, seriously.

So how does one navigate through a toothbrush crisis haunting? I touch my tooth brush every morning and night and most days at lunch before it ever touches my mouth, you know, to check the moisture levels.

And for the confession component of this little story, I touch the hubs brush as well. He accuses me of being a "toothbrush toucher", which is apparently a semi-serious offense in his book, but hey, I have to know what I'm in for. If mine is wet and his is dry, I NEED to have that knowledge so that I can grill him on exactly what color he believes his brush to be. If my mom can get confused, so can a husband. And "I promise to allow you to use my toothbrush" was NOT included in our vows. I will love you to death and back, in rich and poor moments, and through any serious illness that comes our way, but you abusing my toothbrush was not something I agreed to in front of God and family.

So to my hubs, I apologize for being a daily toothbrush toucher. I can assure you, however, that thanks to my case of minor OCD, I scrub my hands with soap and hot water before I get to touchin'.

And just for the record, my toothbrush is GREEN, mom. Just in case you ever visit and get confused.

GREEN, and most likely wet. Gagggggggggggggggg.

Author's note- I should've known better than to post this one. My toothbrush was SOAKED last night when I went to use it. This means war!

Friday, April 12, 2013

High Fives Friday

On this cold, rainy day and the last 4 days just like it this week, I'm giving out high fives all around for a few things that bring sunshine to a dreary day:
  • My first Chicago Bulls game last night. Da Bulls broke the NY Knicks 13 game winning streak. #Sorrynotsorryknicks #Dabulls #Thanksrizvi

    • Exepriencing my first prescriped prairie burn at my Aunt's house last weekend. The family that burns together, stays together. Check out the video on my FB page for the full affect. Crazy flames!
    • Pretty Little Liars on Netflix. It's my newest addiction. I crave hang out time with these 4 girls. My husband can never get the name right so I'm often asked if I'm going to watch my Dirty Little Liars, Pretty Little Divas, etc... "Gotta secret, can ya keep it, swear this one you'll save..."

    • This black bean salad. So good!
    • A nap on this rainy weekend. Or a few naps.
    • Cuddles with my little Piggy.
    • Dinner with the Freibergs this weekend after their 3 month long vacation in Alabama.
    • Planning fun bridal and baby showers for the amazing women in my life.
    • Caffeine in any form
    • Busting out the grill again, finally! #Puttingthehubbytowork
    • It's Friday. Nuff said.

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    A Dark Battle

    This past weekend, I saw the sad news that world renown Pastor Rick Warren's son had passed away after losing his battle with depression. I use the word battle because for anyone who has truly experienced the illness, every day can feel much like a war zone. The trenches are deep, the enemies are many and sometimes it seems like the crossfire will never cease.

    I, myself, have struggled with depression and anxiety, so whenever I learn of someone taking their own life, I'm one of the hearts who breaks for them versus angers over their choice. I know some view suicide as a cowardly option, and some think it to be selfish beyond measure for those that it leaves behind. I know, however, that neither way of thinking is entirely true for the person who left. Often times the answer is that to go on hurting like that was just too much. Hope was gone. Hurt had replaced it. And those last days were most likely desperate ones. No malice, no selfish ways, just desperation.

    It makes me sad and frustrated that it's still taboo in some circles to openly talk about anxiety and depression. I get angry when someone says "snap out of it", or when I hear uneducated (on the topic, not in general) people discuss how they view someone relying on medication to help get them through that time as weak. If depression was something we could all "snap out of", we would, in a heart beat.

    During my dark days, there were times when it took everything I had to get out of bed and go to work. And there were many days when I simply didn't get out of bed. There was rapid weight loss, inconsolable tears, unfounded anxiety, and quite frankly, deep fear. I knew in my head, thankfully, that I still had a family that loved and a God that never left me, but I couldn't feel any of it. There was no break from the hurt unless I slept. I just wanted to sleep, to rest. Once my eyelids opened though, the sadness rushed back. I second guessed every word I said. I'd replay the most basic of conversations over and over again and regret them to my core. I couldn't stop the negative swirl in my brain. The swirl was winning.

    Luckily, I was blessed with an amazing doctor during my first bout of major depression. Not only did he do everything he should have medically in terms of exams, but he counseled me, he prayed with me, and he cried with me at one point. I remember confessing to him that I didn't want to rely on medication to help me get better and he asked "if you needed glasses, could you physically will your eyes into not needing them? Would you say "no thanks, the Lord will fix my eyes"? I silently shook my head "no". He was right. My body was flawed and was not producing enough Serotonin to keep my brain regulated. And although I wanted my faith to move mountains, much like needing glasses, there was a medical answer before me that could save me. I was sick, legitimately, and there was a remedy that I shouldn't be ashamed of choosing. I choose life. I've since chosen it 3 different times.

    The reason I wanted to write this today, probably more so for my own heart and peace of mind, is because I know depression is real. It hurts like nothing I've ever known. It makes you feel more alone than any person should ever feel. It can rip you away from the world that you know and love without explanation or warning. It is brutal and at times, for some, choosing life is more painful than not. Where light had once lived, darkness had stolen its position.

    BUT, there is hope. The light does come back, eventually. You have to fight for it. Even when you think it's gone for good, you have to keep fighting. You have to listen to the people who tell you they love you and you have to trust that they do. Even when you feel numb and have forgotten what love feels like.

    I've been told by many counselors that I'll struggle with depression again, and again based on statistics. I fear it at times. I now know the triggers though which makes me stronger. I now warn my husband when the swirl starts, so that he's ready too. I can't go to battle alone. No one should.

    And if and when it happens again, I'll put up a good fight. I've chosen life 3 times, what's a 4th and 5th if needed?

    Today, I pray for Pastor Warren's family and their son and his battle. I pray that it gives Rick Warren, who has a powerful voice in this world, a platform to use his voice and tell his son's story. I pray that his battle will somehow save someone else. Hopefully a thousand someone elses.

    It's a story worth telling, even if people don't want to talk about it. Millions need to hear it. They're desperate for it.

    Ahhh, Anthropologie

    I seriously want to live inside of an Anthropologie store. Do you remember the movie Where the Heart Is? I want that to happen to me, but inside of Anthro and without the giving birth in the store part, of course.

    I'm convinced that their staff is made up the coolest, most whimsical people around. They rank right up there for me with the women who write for Curly Girl Designs and the creative geniuses behind the Subaru commercials. Hands down, best car commercials around. Ever. I have yet to own one of their vehicles, but I still fall in love with their brilliance every time they unroll a new commercial.

    Here are just a few reasons that I love me some Anthro...color (they had me at aqua, coral, and navy), fantastic design, twine, whimsy,playfulness, and a touch of the sea that calls my name daily. Ahhhh.

    Who doesn't want a rabbit head for a drawer pull? I do, I do. Pick me!

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    The Ugly Side of Estate Sales

    Today I saw an estate sale rear its ugly face. And I mean, U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi, you ugly!

    Wowzas. That's really all I can say, although for blogging purposes, you know I'm gonna say more. I'm just sad that this blog isn't scratch and sniff because I can still smell the funk of what I saw on my clothes and hair.

    Okay, let me make this clear...I love junk. If something is old, chippy, rusty, has a great patina, a little dust, etc...I get butterflies. I'm like a hunter stalking its prey, if you will. And I definitely don't judge people for hanging on to very random, old things, because without them, I wouldn't have anything to hunt. However, what I saw today was just plain sad.

    Being a "regular" on the local estate sale circuit, I've heard the grumblings of a "hoarder" sale on the horizon and I've been sort of intrigued (and seriously I am a full-fledge regular apparently. Not only do the sales staff now know who I am and what I buy, but so do some of the other regulars who point out items for me now. I guess I'm easy to remember since I'm about the only one who's under 60 and hitting up the sales every single Friday).

    Apparently this home was owned by two successful doctors in town, and I can tell you that they were not into "storing up treasures in Heaven" but instead clearly buying everything they laid eyes on and loved, and then bought multiples of said items. Multiples times 10.

    The first thing that hit me was the smell. Although this is going to sound awful, and I mean it in the sweetest way possible, at first I thought that maybe someone in the room with me had on a stale adult diaper. Hey, it happens, I'm not judging! But as I moved to the next room, the smell was stronger and coming from every corner. My heart actually hurt for whoever had lived like that for YEARS. That was years and years of piles, junk and rancid funk. Ick.

    I could make this post a mile long, but I'll leave you with a few quick tidbits of knowledge:
    • Hoarding clearly doesn't happen overnight. Tim, keep an eye on me. If I start stock piling the same sets of pajamas in every color, cut up my AMEX.
    • When you see people gag on the Hoarders show, that is 100% real. There is a smell and it is bad. And somehow people live like that. Surely, they start to smell too, right?
    • If you have 40 suitcases piled in your shower, it's time for an intervention.
    • There is no way that sweet, old doctor was able to access 50% of his house, including his kitchen, for years and that makes me sad.
    • I'm pretty sure there was a dead cat in there somewhere. Not kidding.
    • You do not need 18 bottles of Italian dressing. I don't care how great the deal was!#putdownthecoupon
    • Walking through a hoarder house brings total strangers together. I think for a second you fear that the whole place will cave in, so you tend to stay in groups. There's also a LOT of eye rolling that takes place.
    • I need a shower now. 
    • Why did they not stock pile something useful like hand sanitizer?!
    If you need me, I'll be at home throwing away everything I own.

    I kid you not, one woman had a few items in her hands, then turned to me and said with a twinge of horror in her voice "I need to go home and clean my house." Everything she had been holding was put down on a table and she bolted. I was about two steps behind her.

    I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    A Painful, Loving Reminder

    Have you ever loved something so much that it hurt? Or loved beyond what seemed normal or healthy or even beyond comprehension? Have you ever been asked to sacrifice for that love? I'm guessing on some level we all can answer yes to one, if not all, of those questions.  But have you ever been asked to lay your life down for that love? Die for that love? I'd have to answer no, with confidence.

    In a moment of transparency, I'll share with you that I left our Easter service on Saturday wanting more. The pastor did a great job, but being the selfish being that I am, I wanted more. I wanted more depth, more passion, more of the story, if you will. I wanted to come in hopeful, then be broken down a bit by the reality of what we were actually celebrating as a church body, only then to be put back together word by word and piece by piece in His wholeness, before we were dismissed to hang out with bunnies, Peeps, and pastel decorations. I know that Easter is a glorious event, it's actually one of my favorite days of the year, but I also know that before the glory part came the pain, torment, torture and aloneness part. I know things had to "be finished" before they could truly begin. It hurts just to think about it, to the extent that my human mind can grasp, but I need to be reminded of it for the glory and grace to truly make sense.

    As I rose on Sunday morning, before my alarm even went off mind you (Easter miracle), I decided to crank up the worship tunes for the hours I'd spend prepping our home and the meal for our families. Somewhere between baking the ham and plunging Peeps into a pot of chocolate, I had my own little church service and it was exactly what I had longed for the evening before.

    One of the processional songs at our wedding this past summer was David Crowder's "How He Loves". I knew I wanted that song involved in the ceremony somehow, and then decided to have our parents walk in to it, along with my groom. There are so many worship songs that speak to my heart, but that one often seems to sum up what my heart feels, but that I simply don't have the words to explain. I wanted that song to be a reminder on our wedding day, that if we can just love each other with an ounce of how He loves us, we'd be set. No one loves quite like He loves. Not even close.
    To death and back.

    As I stirred my green beans on Sunday morning, the Lord stirred in my heart through this very song. His love, His story, His sacrifice, and His glorious promise and rebirth.

    "And we are His portion and He is our prize,
    Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
    If grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
    So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
    And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
    I don't have time to maintain these regrets,
    When I think about the way...

    He loves us,
    Oh, how He loves us"

    My heart DOES turn violently inside of my chest.
    And I DON'T have time to maintain these regrets.
    When I think about THE WAY.
    He LOVES US.

    Again. And again. Without regret. Without remorse. He just loves us. Me AND you. To death and back.


    Monday, April 1, 2013

    Our Family of Five

    It's official, our family grew by 2 last week! Please meet the newest 'Bergs, Pearl and Merle.

    It's not the best photo in the world, but at least you get the drift. Aren't they cute?

    Rockford has a ton of geese, however our yard hadn't seen too many visitors lately due to all of the snow. When this sweet couple came by last Tuesday for a visit, I treated them to some birdseed. You know, just to be a good host and all. Tim said they'd come back if I fed them, but for me, that made all the more sense, although I'm not sure he meant it to be encouraging. I've been wanting chickens for awhile now, so this seemed like a great test run without the ownership and crowing.

    Wednesday, the hubs texted me the photo above along with "you've created a monster". My heart smiled. If those are monsters, well then they're cutest, feathered monsters that I ever did see!

    By Friday evening I was convinced that we needed to build them a goose hut so they could stay all night and not get cold. I pitched the thought to my husband who looked at me puzzled. So I followed up the initial suggestion with "you know, a hut, like a fort or a tent...a hut for the geese." He frankly replied "I know what a hit is. We're just not building one for geese. Umm, no."

    Whatever, give me a few more weeks to sweet talk him. I think a goose hut could really boost our resale value;)

    So there you have it. The 'Bergs are now Tim, Britt, Wrigley (Piggy), Pearl and Merle. And I've been told that mating season is right around corner. Give me some grandgeese, Pearl!!! I'm totally down with spoiling them rotten with only the finest french bread crumbs.