Tuesday, March 27, 2012


.... and determined I AM! I have been wanting to get fit, be healthy, and lose this accumulated weight for a long time now. I never really had the motivation before to put everything together to make this work. And to be honest with you - I still don't know if I have enough motivation to keep this going.... but so far I'm doing well. I just want to share my experience so far =)

On the 18th of this month I decided change really needed to happen. I decided to start eating healthier meaning more fruits and veggies, correct portion sizes, eating breakfast, not eating too late, and having 2 healthy snacks a day so that I don't get overly hungry. I wasn't completely sure how to start, but I was in Wal*Mart and was going to get special K cereal (I really like it!) and noticed the special K challenge and also a coupon for a free protein product.... Sooo with that I decided that maybe a good way to start with the eating part of things was to do this challenge. I got a couple boxes of cereal, a free 6 pack of protein shakes, and a box of protein bars.
When I got home I looked up the challenge and thought it was pretty do-able.. I really needed to train my body that food in moderation is GOOD and that fruits and veggies are great snacks and WILL fill me up. I usually only eat a granola bar for breakfast anyway and I love cereal, so should be easy right? Well.... kind of. I wasn't very good with having the snacks between breakfast and lunch and then lunch and dinner and so I noticed myself getting pretty hungry and just miserable. Not a lot of energy. I am getting better at eating healthy snacks in between and if I feel a craving for something, eating fruit instead and I'm getting so much better with it! I don't feel near as hungry and food isn't constantly on my mind like before.
Dinner was the hardest to follow because my family... well they don't eat the healithiest for dinner ;-) So it was always tempting to eat the good, fattening foods and big portions - but I was able to restrain! YAY!
I'm not really following the Special K challenge anymore. I think it was a great way to start though because it made me aware of proper portion sizes, healthy snacks, knowing when is ok to eat, and it helped my body kind of cleanse its self. At first I always felt hungry despite eating all sorts of fruits and veggies - but now they seem to fill me up. Great thing! Dessert is what's getting me now. Still gotta work on that one!!

Another thing I'm trying to get better at is exercising. So far I have taken a 20-30 minute walk every day. Sometimes I will get a 15 min walk in and then a longer walk in later. I've done this every day except for one. Now that it's nicer outside I find myself wanting to enjoy a nice long walk so it's not a challenge to get out and do so. I tried the running thing but it's honestly NOT for me. I roll my ankles too frequently and I feel uneasy. It's hard on my joints and I just HATE it. I realized that walking is just fine and I am doing a 20-30 minute at-home workout every other day. Exercising hasn't been that hard - and for that I am thankful!!!! I'm also getting more active during the day in general. A and I (little girl I sit for) are able to go outside in the morning and take a short walk and I try to turn it into a learning game for her so she doesn't get bored (talking about animals, finding certain objects) and she enjoys it. Then in the afternoon we walk to the library, ride her bike, play at the park, play a heck of a lot of tag - she keeps me moving and even though I don't like it, I know it's good for me! =)

I've been trying to change my sleeping habits as well. I am trying to shut down at about 9:30 so I can be asleep by about 10 or 10:30. (doesn't always happen though!) I notice that if I get any less than about 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep I'm just a zombie the whole day. I feel my best when I get about 9 hours of sleep, but I'm still working up to that! heh.

I'm not doing this to impress anyone or to show off - I just want to be healthy, desperately. I want to be confident. I want to look decent in a bathing suit this summer and in a dress at the Gala in May.

I haven't stepped on a scale yet. But I'm planning to soon. Record what I have and hopefully drop 1-2 pounds a week and gain some muscle mass. I'm horribly weak =( I would like to be around 125. I have a goal in mind to be at by the Gala in May and then a Goal to reach by June =) I think I can do it... I hope I can do it. Oh boy! Never easy - but they say afte 21 days of doing something it becomes a habit - maybe this will be the case? =)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My name in lights..

.....Okay - so it isn't THAT big of a deal, but it kind of is a big deal for me, and it's really something that I just can't stifle my thoughts, emotions, and feelings about.
[I know there is going to be some jealousy as there was the last time, but please, let me live in the moment and be excited about this! I'd appreciate =)]

Let me backtrack a little bit and give you a bigger picture before I share my news! :D I know, the suspense sucks! lol

Starbright World and the Starlight Foundation have been a huge part of my life and I am so proud to be able to help them out!!
If you want to learn more about the Starlight Children's Foundation visit www.starlight.org! And to learn more about Starbright World you can ready a little about it and view a video here.

I have been a member of Starbright World (SBW) for about 6 years now. Starbright World is an online social network for chronically ill teenagers and their siblings. It's a place where we can go for true understanding and support through our tough teenage years while we battle illnesses that often times prevent us from living a "normal" life like our friends. SBW was a lifesaver for me. And not to mention, I met my husband, Spencer there ;-)
Early on in my membership with SBW I was asked to be featured (kind of a poster child) in a e-news letter. I shared with the Starlight Children's Foundation how SBW has impacted my life and what it is like to be a sick kid. It was a pretty cool thing for me to do at 15 or 16 years old. =) I was honored!

I continued being an active member of SBW and became nominated and "elected" as one of the Community Leaders (CL) on SBW. CLs are, kind of, highlighted members. We represent the SBW community. We get to have special meetings and help out the chat moderators (hosts) as needed. We also get to help out with cool contests and make new members feel welcome into the online community. To help them feel that they belong.

In 2009 I was asked to 'star' in a video for the new and improved Starbright World! Of course I said yes and they flew me to LA to shoot the video. One of the chathosts, Gabe, was the director, they had a legit film crew and SBW spotlight location in the hospital, and another senior chathost, Rasa, was my "mom" in the video. We had a GREAT time. You can view the video below. (which I've never shared before!!!) Keep in mind - I was SO nervous! I had NEVER been on camera before and I'm used to stage acting... not on-camera acting! haha! I was supposed to be a young, hyper, teen tooottalllly excited about SBW! Not the best thing I've ever done - but it was so fun! haha

To my huge surprise, in 2010 Spencer and I were asked if we would like to join our best friend, Emily, on a skit to feature Starbright World at the Starlight Gala and after doing the skit if we would like to give a speech sharing our story and our involvement with Starbright World! We said yes in an instant and we were flown to LA to the Gala. It was SOOOOO much fun. Not to mention that's where Spencer proposed ;-) We did our little skit with the lovely Emily and then we gave our speech to hundreds of celebrities. And then we got to hang out with the celebs which was so fun! Fantastic evening. A clip of the 2010 Gala below! (a few Photos Here) I also know that we touched a ton of people. (if you scroll down you can read about her favorite starlight little pickle press memory) Mr. T was the very first to start clapping at the end of our speech - and he gave us a standing O!!! Haha!

Spencer and I then followed up with Starlight a couple of times and were featured in another newsletter after the Gala to tell everyone how we were doing and talk about some of our wedding plans and then after we were married sharing a few of our wedding photos. Spencer and I continued our membership on Starbright World; Spencer became a volunteer as a mentor on the site and I recently became a volunteer as well mentoring the CLs and other users =) I love volunteering my time and helping out. It's truly a light in my life!

And now..... what you've been waiting for =)

I am beyond honored, blessed, and privileged that I was asked to not only speak at this years Starlight Gala in Los Angeles, CA, but I was also asked to present an award to one of Starlight's honorees!!! I am so thrilled to be given this opportunity!

When I received the email I read it, said "Oh My Gosh" with a shocked face and huge smile and my mom asked me what was going on. My eyes completely filled with tears and I was unable to speak. So honored. So blessed.
I have SUCH a deep passion for speaking and touching others. I always, always want to help. I've always told myself that if I touch and inspire just one person then I've done my job and I'll be happy. But I know I've had an impact on so many more people than just one - and to be given opportunities to continue to inspire and touch people is truly a dream come true. It touches ME so deeply to be asked.

I asked myself last night what I ever did to deserve this... I almost don't feel worthy to do such a thing... but I think karma has come around. I have truly had a harder year than I could ever imagine. It was filled with ups (and the BEST ups of my life) but also so, so many downs. Yet I have done my best to remain optimistic and I continue to help others despite my hard time - I think it's all coming back and giving me what I feel like I deserve. This amazing opportunity.

So honored. So blessed.

And now the very giddy side of me that of course I have.... I want to share more!

They are going to fly me to LA on May 17th, and if it goes like last time, I'll have a driver there to greet me and take me to the freaking BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL! Haha! I'm wayy too low class for that :-P How cool!!! The Gala is being held there and I'll get to spend the night there!

You know how they have those special rooms backstage for the presenters and speakers on like talk shows and stuff - well last time Spence, Emily, and I were given our own backstage room! Maybe I'll get one again :-P. I know that after I get there I will probably watch some rehearsal and then do my own rehearsal to figure out how it all goes. Then I'll get ready for the Gala and eat some AMAZING food, and then hang out backstage with the hosts and wait for my turn =)

Last time after the evening was over we were asked several times by the celebs if we could take some pics with them and we got to hang out with them. WE were the ones being treated like celebs. Cool!

I'm just super excited for the experience again, to share more of my story, and so happy to be going back.

I'll say it again... I am TRULY so blessed, so privileged, and so incredibly honored to be doing this <3 THANK YOU STARLIGHT! =)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Widow Brain"

Okay so I don't think anyone will quite understand the magnitude of this problem unless they have lost a spouse or someone very close. If you want a look into some of my internal struggles and every day life, read on, friends, read on....

Widow brain is a very frustrating, angering, and upsetting thing. Sometimes it gets rather embarrassing. It's when you just forget just about
e v e r y t h i n g

*** You stop mid sentence when you're talking to someone because:
1. you get side tracked by something such as
a. background noise/happenings
b. your own thoughts
c. scattered emotions and feelings
d. all of the above, all at once
2. you completely forget what you were saying
3. you completely forget your entire point
4. you, even sometimes, forget what the conversation is even about.
And it's worse than just your normal "oh shoot I forgot what I was saying." Much worse. Trust me - before Spencer got sick and passed I frequently lost my train of thought, but OH BOY - did I ever think that I'd get this level of amnesia?! HECK NO! Sometimes I get so frustrated to the point of tears. I am normally NOT socially awkward - but this makes me feel very awkward when talking to friends and even sometimes family because I so desperately want to talk and have a good time, but I stumble on my words and thought process all. the. time. It gets worse when I am either thinking of Spencer, or when I am talking about things related to Spencer and his passing. This is why right now I really prefer e-mailing and occasionally texting over phone calls and in person conversations... because it's not only annoying... it's a blunt reminder that I feel like I'm completely losing it and what I have lost.

You misplace pretty much every single thing you have at some point....
Again... this isn't your ordinary "I can't find what I'm looking for" situation. This is probably the number one thing that bothers me most. I literally feel like I'm losing my mind. I have misplaced my keys several times, I have 'lost (or misplaced, I don't know yet)' my first checks, I misplaced my purse, my camera, that paper I was JUST looking at.... And the list goes ON AND ON AND ON!

And it's not JUST misplacing my things. Oh how I wish it was JUST misplacing a few things here and there.. No, it's misplacing them and then finding them in the most random and strange places.... =/ Those kind of places that you go, "when did I even open that cabinet up?" Ya. Horrible.
And what's worse? I have seriously horrible memory gaps. Again, terrible amnesia. Sometimes I can remember point A to point B... but point B to point C?? Don't even try to ask me what I was doing, where I was at, where that glass of water that I just had in my hand two seconds ago went.... Talking about my very first misplaced check - I honestly do not know what happened from the time I left the house to the time I arrived at my own home. can't recall a bit of it. Who knows the place that I went right after I got home. Who knows where I set down that check. Did I have it in my hand while walking home? Was it in my pocket? My purse? My bag? I don't know.

I will sometimes walk into a room, or specifically the kitchen, look around and wonder why the heck I'm there. In the kitchen example... I will be standing with the frige open... and then it's like I snap out of a 'dream-like-state' and wonder HOW the heck my feet just carried me from my position on the couch to the open refrigerator door. Ugh. Horrible. It's like I'm in a daze when it happens.

I mean I don't want anyone to get concerned about it. I've read this is a VERY common thing that widows/ers do... and people who are grieving in general do. We glide through life... just try to sustain. It's often times a fog going day by day and sometimes I don't remember half of the things I did the previous day.

I just really needed to vent. I am frustrated by this. I hate being so awkward and forgetful! (don't worry.... I have my mom looking over my shoulder with the bigger things to back me up and make sure nothing SUPER important is getting misplaced and that I'm okay)..... I just wonder when this will ease up - because I'm getting VERY sick of it >.<

EDIT: I was just googling "Widow Brain" after writing this post.... I wanted to read what others had to say about it.. and while reading another Widow blog and I found this... I feel like it sums up what I was attempting to say PERFECTLY...

" It’s the inability to make even the simplest of decisions; to remember a thought even from just 30 seconds ago. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a room unable to remember why I went in there. How many times I’ve opened my mouth to say something only to have absolutely no idea what it was I wanted to say. I’ve even walked away from my car in a parking lot while it was still running. Twice.

As if grief and loss wasn’t bad enough, “widow’s brain” leaves you feeling like you have almost no control over the pieces of your life that remain. I used to be so organized. So ready. So on top of everything. Now, we’re lucky if I remember to grab Shane’s lunch on our way out the door in the morning. And don’t think I haven’t had to go back for it once or twice, either.

And probably the worst thing about “widow’s brain” – it prevents you from being able to recall your memories. Even the one’s you want to remember. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve ended up in tears because I can’t remember what Chris used to call something, or what his reaction to a situation had been. There are so many details about our life together that I simply can not remember, no matter how hard I try. And that sucks. Losing your spouse is difficult enough; why take away the widow’s ability to recall facets of their life together as well? It’s almost like the things that made “us”, “us”, are gone now too.

When does enough actually get to be enough?"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What I believe....

I don't often blog about my faith. I figure that if anyone is interested in what I believe they will ask me. But I have come to realize that most people do not ask =) They assume and judge before truly understanding what they are assuming and judging about. I just felt the desire to post on my religion and maybe clear up a few things because I really hate the misconception of Mormons.

With this post I am not trying to offend ANYONE. If you'd rather not hear what I have to say - that's fine. You are under no obligation to read this. And, also, I am not trying to compare my religion to anyone else's. I respect every other religion there is and you are entitled to your own opinions and choices, just like I am.

I'm frustrated that I get judged a lot because I am a Latter Day Saint. (Yes, I am a Mormon, for those who didn't know….) So many people are misinformed, especially in my home town. Their sources are not accurate, a lot of it comes from members who have fallen away from the church and have become bitter towards it. I just don't understand why I am so heavily judged by what I believe when those who are Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, Wesleyan, Jewish etc etc etc are able to live on freely believing what they believe. Going to church without judgement. It is a free country and we are allowed to worship our God in whichever way we feel is right and true.

This just happens to be the faith that I have come upon in which I believe to be true.

I think it's important to state that we worship JESUS CHRIST. Some people thing that we worship Joseph Smith, no we really don't. Come to our sacrament meeting and you'll clearly see we talk about the Spirit, Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father. Everything is centered around that. Joseph Smith was our first prophet who translated the golden plates which are known as the Book Of Mormon which we believe to be another testament of Jesus Christ. Yes, we still read the bible, we focus upon it a lot. We do not worship the Book or Mormon or get all of our sources from it. In fact, there are many, many references to the bible in the BoM, which a lot of people don't understand.

We put a lot of focus on our living Prophets. No we do not worship our Prophets. But we do listen very closely to their messages. There were many prophets in the bible, so why can their not be living prophets to this day? Who is saying that they had to stop? Just something to think about.

One other thing I want to quickly address - Latter Day Saints do not practice polygamy!!! In fact it's prohibited. over 100 years ago there were a few Mormons who practiced polygamy, but it was stopped. Anyone who is a polygamist is not associated with the Church. I believe those who practice it call themselves FLDS, fundamentalist latter day satins. I think that's a common confusion with LDS. FLDS and LDS are not related.

[You can read more about Polygamy and the church HERE http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/topic/polygamy]

I just ask that before anyone places judgement upon me for believing how I believe and for being a Latter Day Saint - do your research from an OFFICIAL CHURCH website or from the Book of Mormon itself. Please get to understand what I believe before you criticize me and tell me I am wrong.

The best source for information about the LDS faith:


If you want to learn some of the basics about what we believe check out this article. It addresses many FAQs on what we believe, why we believe some principals, and just some facts about our Faith.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Being Back pt 2...

I thought I'd quickly write about the rest of my trip back to Utah before I head to bed for the night.
The rest of my time in Utah was great. I am so sad that I'm already back in Kansas. I really would have liked to be able to stay there for a few more days to be with some close friends, visit a few more people who I really miss, and just take in the fresh air, mountain view (which I miss terribly!), and just feel free from the restraints of my small town, and to an extent, my grief.

I thought this trip out there would 100% be a focus on my grieving process and helping and allowing myself to not only grieve, but mourn. Where I did think about Spencer nearly the entire time I was in Utah, it wasn't all bad thoughts. It was more of remembering what we shared together and the places that it all started. Of course I missed him, and really missed what we had - but somehow I was able to get passed the sadness and actually begin to accept that a new chapter of my life is forming. I was able to begin to accept that Spencer WILL always be with me... Just in a much different way. I won't be able to see him, talk to him, or touch him... but in spirit and in my heart I know he's always with me. This was a huge step to take, and while I feel like it was a very, very small step forward. it was FORWARD - the place where I've been unable to go and scared to experience not knowing what lies ahead.

I visited Spencer's grave on Saturday. I was really thinking about backing out - I just didn't know if I could do it. With it all being 3 months out, and my emotions still so raw, I didn't know what to expect when I went back to the place that I laid him to rest. But alas, I knew I had to go. That was my only chance for a few more month. Nervous as I was - I needed to go. The trip to Orem seemed pretty short. I tried to distract myself with an audio book which helped a lot. Once I got there my stomach started to knot up a little bit - but it wasn't as bad as I imagined.

While I was standing there next to his grave, I almost felt awkward. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to act. I have not once in my life (before this moment) visited anyones grave before... it was a completely new experience for me (as is this whole "widowhood" thing...) I decided to sit down. I brushed off the dirt and just looked. It was all so fresh. No grass had grown over his site and the headstone was just recently place. Just a reminder that all of this happened such a short while ago. It all seems like eons ago, but at the very same moment it feels like yesterday...

I placed a bouquet of fake flowers that I made right beside his headstone. It consisted of 6 (I think) red roses and 3 white lillies. Perfect. Like is casket spray, only much, MUCH smaller ;-) It was pretty, I was very pleased. It had a little purple ribbon on it where I wrote "Breathe Easy" and then "Love Love Love. Love you always, forever, and all eternity".
I sat there for a little while and decided that his plot was much too plain. Having to really have to go to the bathroom and was really thirsty, I decided to run to walmart real fast and while I was there getting a little bit of side walk chalk. I wanted to decorate it =)
After getting back to the cemetary from a quick run to the store, I just wrote down whatever popped into my head.
"Breathe Easy, Sweet Spencer"

"This is only a moment when compared with eternity"

"One day I'll breathe"

"You gave me: Strength, hope, courage"

"I miss you. Until we meet again, Your Pea."

It turned out nice. I liked the color. Spencer always said he didn't want people to be sad. He wanted us to remember him in a good light and our times together with him. I felt by drawing with sidewalk chalk and remembering was just what he would have wanted. Who knows, maybe he gave me the idea ;-)

I spent some time there. Just taking it all in. People came and went around me. I bought a card the night before and wrote a message to him. I took the time to read the looong message I wrote. It was a bit awkward to read to someone who wasn't physically there... but it was therapeutic. The whole experience was very peaceful. It was an absolutely beautiful day. Perfect. Warm, no wind. Perfect.

The hardest part of the whole thing? Leaving. I didn't want to leave. It was hard to pull myself away, but I did, promising him that I'd be back the next moment that I can. I'd like to keep his plot decorated. I love the idea of the sidewalk chalk - It will be a tradition to draw on his headstone =) I loved doing it.

I felt fairly good, and very proud of myself after I got back to the house. I did everything that I told myself I would. I went to the hospital, I went to the cemetery, and I allowed myself to cry when I felt I needed to. Those 3 things were the most important to me... and knowing that I followed through feels so good. Knowing that I had the courage and strength to do it =) Ahhhh.

That evening my best friends Adam and his wife Christine took me out for pizza and then we bowled 2 games. So fun! That's the first time we've actually ever went out and spent time together; usually it's spent inside playing cards and board games. So much fun! Helped get my mind off of some of my thoughts from visiting and it was a great way to end the trip!!!!

I wasn't at all ready to leave the next morning, and before I even left I was counting down the days to when I get to come back!! (sometime around May 19th!!!!) I know I have a place to stay and wonderful friends to spend my time with. It's difficult at times being back... but my heart is in Utah =) It's where I'm meant to be, I can tell.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Being Back...

Today marks 2 full days that I've been in Utah. I can't quite wrap my mind around being back here. It really hasn't been as bad as I thought that it might be - but it hasn't been a walk in the park, either.
As I was driving to Utah on Wednesday morning I got a little lost and turned around before getting on I-80. I was just frustrated, tired, and wasn't exactly sure if the direction I was going was right. I was mad because my GPS is usually wrong around that area, and the ONE time that it was actually right, I didn't listen to it. Of course. I called my mom to get the right directions and really tried to keep it together. I was on the verge of tears. I had been thinking about what it was going to be like being back in Utah again with Spencer not there. I get emotional and the feeling that I had been waiting for since he passed finally hit - very suddenly and painfully.

Why am I going to Utah?
I have no reason to go to Utah.... I have to reason to be in Utah anymore. Wow. What a painful feeling. Of course I LOVE it in Utah and I have my support network and a lot of friends there now. Friends that I have REALLY missed...
But the original reason that I lived in Utah? Gone. One of the best parts about being in Utah? Gone. That one person I absolutely couldn't wait to see in Utah? Gone. The one thing I always do (or one person I always see) when I have nothing else to do? Gone. That one person to share the rest of my life with in Utah? Gone.

Gone. Gone. Gone.

It hit me like a brick wall and I just started crying. Realizing, finally, that what I knew and what I had grown to absolutely love is now just a memory. I questioned several times that if I was making a mistake by going back to Utah only 3 months after his death. Was it too soon? How would I take it? Was it going to be super awkward? I had doubts and almost called my mom to talk through everything to make sure I really was making the right decision.
After talking through things by myself, out loud, and talking "to Spencer", I knew that it was the right thing to do. After venting my frustrations, aggravations, sadness, and anger I felt much better and was able to continue on my way. I just can't quite describe the feeling that set in. I just felt a huge knot in my stomach and my heart just sank. I felt so alone.

I started listening to a book on tape to get my mind off to things. I didn't want to be an emotional mess while driving. It worked well and the rest of my trip seemed to go fairly quickly. I finally made it into Utah and got to Ogden. I merged onto I-15 and went passed Layton. Layton is where we started our lives together. It was our first place on our own. I didn't exactly get sad.... but it was just a somber moment knowing that I'll never live there again with Spencer. I got off of the freeway in Bountiful and on my way to Salt Lake I drove past the turn I would usually take to get to Spencer's house. Yet again a somber feeling came over me. It was just strange driving the same roads that I had been driving for 3 years over and over again.
I got to Salt lake and nearly made the early turn up to the Hospital just out of habit oh boy. Just another strange feeling I can't quite describe.

It was amazing being back at Adam and Christines house - I can't even express how much I missed these two. Christine and I started right where we left off. Didn't miss a beat. =) I definitely know that I'll always have a friend here. I can't say enough how much Adam and Christine mean to me. Been there through thick and thin never once leaving my side. Amazing people.

The next day I decided that I really needed to go up to the hospital. I needed to face that part of things. Knowing that I was going into the hospital, not to see Spencer but just have lunch with Christine and knowing that I was not going to leave with Spencer in hand. I saw an RT who really helped me out the last week Spencer was alive. It was good seeing a familiar face, but at the same time a little sad because I knew that that chapter in my life was over.
I have to be honest - being in the hospital again wasn't too bad. It was something that I really grew used to. It became like a home to me because it wasn't only the last 3 months that I basically lived up there, but Spencer was ALWAYS in the hospital. For 3 years I had been going up to that hospital. I know it inside and out, it seems.
Christine and I went up to AIMB (the normal CF unit) to see the staff and a few patients. It was good seeing familiar faces again. The staff up there is like another family to me. Again, it was sad to realize that that chapter in my life had come to a close and that I needed to move on. Those people were no longer the familiar faces that I will now see every few weeks. That kind of got to me. They really have an AMAZING staff up there.

As I was waiting for Christine to visit a pt I was by myself for awhile. It was good for me to be up there by myself because I realized that the hospital really isn't the place for me anymore. It was almost comforting to be in the hospital again. The place that I knew. Not that I enjoyed it or anything.... but I was just comfortable there. (I know, I KNOW it sounds weird =/). But I didn't have anyone to visit anymore. When someone has other things to do - I no longer have a room to go to to rest, sleep, eat, or just talk to someone. It is no longer "my place". Something I really needed to realize.

While I was walking out of the hospital I actually felt very sad. Once again, I was walking out with no husband. I knew that I wouldn't be going back there unless it was to eat with a friend or visit a friend in the hospital. I really understood that that part of my life was over. Humph.

I've been thinking a lot about moving back here. I really would like to. I love it here and Utah is where my heart is now. I've started my life here and I have every intention of finishing school, finding a great job, and living my life to the fullest here. (if only I knew what I wanted to do with my life now... ugh) but starting over is a very, very hard thing for me to think about. Starting a new life is not easy. Everything is different. I can't wrap my head around it and it is completely overwhelming to think about. I won't post much more about it here, right now... But it's a hard topic to think and talk about...

Last night I had my first break down moment. I don't want to go into detail about it, but I am so thankful that Adam and Christine were there for me. Again - they are amazing. Things just hit and I started to get flooded with a million emotions at once and very overwhelmed. I need to allow myself to break down more. I hate not knowing how. I hate that it seems like the only thing I know how to do anymore is to be strong. =/ -sigh-

I am home alone tonight. Christine and Adam went on a MUCH needed overnight trip. It's really weird being alone. I mean I feel very comfortable in their house - that part isn't weird. It's just not having anything to do. Normally I would be at the hospital when I have nothing to do. Or I would be with Spencer, hospital or home. It's getting me down a little bit. But honestly - I'm GLAD that I have some time to myself. I HAVE to be able to accept this. I have to be able to truly understand my reality. I can't just sit back and pretend that it hasn't changed. It's just HARD. So heck if I want to be depressed tonight - That's exactly what I'm going to do. I need to feel. No matter how much it hurts - I desperately need to feel. No more numbness... no more ignoring... NO MORE STAYING STRONG.....

Tomorrow I have plans to eat with a couple of good friends and then go to Orem to visit Spencer's grave site. I really don't know what my feelings are about this. Part of me (okay most all of me) doesn't want to go... I don't know how it's going to go. For one thing, I hate doing things by myself. I always like to have a friend with me. I like the company and I hate being alone. I HATE it. (unless I feel like I need alone time... otherwise no thank you). For two - I just don't know what it's going to be like. It would be so easy to talk myself out of it and just not go... But that would be a stupid thing. I'm here - I need to go. The whole point of this trip is facing this. So I'm going to do it no matter how hard. I hope it will be good for me to be there. I don't imagine I'll stay very long... Not really looking forward to tomorrow afternoon =/ We'll see how it goes.

I can say that this trip is just too short. I wish I could stay a few more days. I would like to see a few more people and I'd love to do a few more things. I wish I could spend more time with Adam and Christine. But all good things have to come to an end. I'm already looking forward to coming back out here in May. Something tells me that without a doubt, even though it's kind of hard being here, this is where I am meant to be. =)

Enough for now... I'll write more later. It's just good to be back.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trip to Utah

I definitely feel like I'm at a stand still with this grieving process. I've been told that some "stages" will move along faster than others; that I will probably revisit several of the stages of grief and that I will feel several stages all at one time. I can tell that it's all true.
I am having a mixture of the stages. Sometimes I'm angry, sometimes I'm depressed. Sometimes I even feel moments of guilt. In brief moments I feel like I have accepted everything and I see hope in sight. But then I'm back to Loneliness, and shock, and denial.

Denial is one of my biggest issues right now. Of course in my rational mind I KNOW that Spencer is gone. I know that he passed away. I watched him take his final breath. I planned his funeral. I saw him in his casket. I KNOW he is gone. But I think there is a part of my brain that I can't control that still thinks he is in Utah.
Spencer and I dated for a long time long distance; me in Kansas, him in Utah. I went to Utah every once in awhile, and a couple of times Spencer came to Kansas. But there was always several months in between visits that I missed him terribly. When I moved to Utah I went home for breaks every once in awhile while Spencer was left behind. Again - I was away from him for an extended period of time. We would talk on the phone a lot when I was gone, but Spencer and I didn't talk those last three months he was with us. He was trached and I never heard his voice. So I kind of got used to knowing that he was in the hospital yet being somewhere yet and not being able to talk to him. Maybe the occasional text message, but nothing frequent.

So with that being said, for some reason I think in the back of my mind the next time I go to Utah, Spencer will be there. I know it kind of sounds strange - but you'll have to take my word for it.

I feel like in order to continue to grieve, heal, and get on with my life - I need to visit Utah to accept the fact that Spencer is truly gone and when I am in Utah, visiting or living, I can't go to the hospital to see him. To hold his hand. To give him a kiss. To tell him that I love him. I can't see him. Period.

With making the decision to go to Utah, I didn't think my opportunity to go would come so soon. On Thursday I was told that I would have the next Wednesday and Thursday (March 7th and 8th) off of work due to Spring break. As I was walking home I realized that this would be a perfect chance to go to Utah like I feel I need to do. So in less than a weeks time I planned a small trip to Utah for ME. This is the very first time I've done something for myself since Spencer got sick. Heck even months and months before then. I will make the long 12 hour drive to Utah tomorrow (Wednesday, the 7th). As of right now I don't even feel like I'm going anywhere tomorrow! Everything happened so quick!

I am very happy to go and kind of excited to get away. I have been cooped up in this house, in this town for 3 months now and I am itching to go somewhere! Love my family to death but there IS such a thing as too much time together ;-). I am happy that I'm actually allowing myself to do something solely for myself. I haven't told anyone about this trip because I don't want people to say "Hey we need to catch up!". I then feel obligated to spend time with said person. And it's not that I don't want to (I do... I want to see EVERYONE) But it's that I want to take this trip with all the time in the world for ME. I don't want to have plans with 3 or 4 different people so that I am busy the whole time. The last thing I want to do is be busy the whole time. I want a lot of down time to visit Spencer's grave site, to reflect and to think about everything that has happened in these last 6 months. I want to be able to grieve and mourn my husbands death when I feel.
So I apologize if I haven't let you know I'm coming to Utah. I really do. But please understand that this trip is for ME. =) I plan to go back in May for maybe a week for the CF walk and it won't be about me then, I would love to see you all then. =)

There is NO doubt in my mind that this will be a very hard trip on me. It's not going to be all roses. Things are really going to come to light and it's not going to be a walk in the park. Even though I am happy to be going, I am really anxious about this trip. So nervous and uneasy about how everything will go. I guess the main reason to write this blog update is to express how nervous I am about going.
I am so scared to hurt again. I've had my moments of intense heartache and pain. 2 weeks ago I was a mess. I could barely get the days. It was so bad that I wish I could just die to be with him because I miss him so much. It was horrible and I really don't want to have to EVER relive some of those feelings. But last week and this week I have been doing well. Of course I always miss him and some times I think about him more than others... but he hasn't been consuming my every thought. I have been on the happy side of things rather than sad. I know this is okay... but I'm not ready to leave this happy state of mind. This light mood that I've been in. When I hurt - I REALLY REALLY hurt. It's an absolutely indescribable feeling. My whole world just shatters around me. And I KNOW that at least at one point in this journey to Utah I will feel like that and I'm scared of it. I'm scared of those feelings.
I am planning on going to visit Spencer's grave and bring him a flower. I don't know how I feel about doing that. Visiting my husband where he is buried. I know that yes, his Earthly body is in the ground, but I know that his spirit is around me. It's everywhere. I know that I am going to see him again. So, again, I don't know exactly how to describe my feelings about visiting his grave. I just know it's necessary. Part of the process.

I thought about going to the hospital. I don't know if I will or not. Part of me wants to because I need to understand and accept that Spencer isn't there anymore. I also would like to deliver some thank you notes to the units. This trip isn't all about fun.... it's about coming to terms with my new life. We'll see how things go whether I take a trip to the hospital or not... I'm going to have to be extremely brave to do that.

I'm glad that my trip to Utah will be with my friend Kristin's puppy, Darcy. She was the stray that we found around town. I'm so glad she'll be going to a good home! I'm really going to miss her though. I'm glad that I'm going to have some kind of company on the long trip! It'll be interesting as she's very high energy and I don't know how she'll do with such a long ride - but we'll make it work. (10 bucks says she ends up peeing in my car! haha!!!) I'm not too sure what to think about the trip back. I will be heading home on the 11th. 3 months since Spencer passed. The last 11th of the month I lost my grandma and the 11th of June we lost my father-in-law.....I'm just nervous. I know it's just a number... but why do bad things always happen on that day. So I'm a little weary to travel on that day - but I'm not going to let that stop me. Just going to try to keep my mind occupied the best that I can and focus on getting home safely.

Anyway... I better try and catch some shut eye. If you could please say some prayers of safety for my drive to Utah and prayers of comfort and support since I know this will be a very overwhelming and hard trip. I'd really appreciate it!!!! =)

Oh and on one more note! Are you interested in one of the t-shirts that I designed in memory of Spencer? They are $20.00 each and that includes the price of the shirt, shipping to you, and a donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!!!!!! The more shirts I can order the more money that goes towards a cure and the more people help Spencer's memory live on. If you are interested check out this post below and you will learn more information about how to order and what the t-shirt looks like!! =)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

T-Shirt Orders!!

As some of you know, I am in the process of building a website in Spencer's honor and memory. I want the focus of this website to be awareness about Cystic Fibrosis, Organ Donation, and just a place where people can go to keep Spencer's memory alive. The website definitely has a long ways to go until it gets to the point that I want it, but it's coming along slowly! =) It's currently not up and running, but I hope that it can be within the next month!

I would really like to order some T-shirts to help get traffic to the website in the near future and I am really wanting to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). We need a cure for our precious CFers and I am bound and determined to do my part!

With that being said, I have gotten a lot of positive feed back on some t-shirt designs!! The only thing standing in the way of ordering is a minimum order to fill!
I have created two designs; one a front and back design, and the other just a front design. It seems that the preference is the front and back design! I would love more than anything to order both designs, but to keep down confusion and complications with orders, I am going to limit it to just one for now! I hope that later I can offer the other one too =)

So now what you've been waiting for - The finalized t-shirt design! (click on picture to enlarge!)
Front: Let's solve the RIDDLE of Cystic Fibrosis
Back: To learn more about Cystic Fibrosis and our mission, please visit www.riddleofcf.com

In order to cover the cost of the shirt, shipping costs to each of you, plus a donation to the Cysitc Fibrosis Foundation, T-shirts will be $20.00!! My goal is to be able to donate at least $150 to the CFF! =) I know we can do this!

If you are interested in ordering a T-shirt, please send me and email at:
nikki.johnsonn@gmail.com [Make sure there are two "n" in johnson!!! It's not a Typo!]
In your email please make sure to include:
** The number of t-shirts you can commit to ordering
** T-shirt Size
Shirts are unisex and sizes include S-4XL
Sorry - Youth sizes are not available this time
** E-mail address so I can contact you for payment and shipping information

Once I get at least a quantity of 25 shirts to order, I will let you all know for payment asap! I can receive check or money order only and it MUST be received before I place the order (a date will be set to order and everyone that emails me will be notified!!!)

I ask one thing from all of you:
Can you PLEASE share this with your friends and family? (facebook, twitter, email, family dinner... etc) The more people who order a t-shirt, the more awareness we can spread and the more money we can raise to help find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis!!!! I have to have a minimum order of 25 or you don't get your shirt, so share, share, share!!! =)