Thursday, July 25, 2013

30 Things Blog 5 -- Things that make me happy

If you want to know what this is all about check out this blog post!

Blog 5 -- What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

[As a side note, it's also Thursday, and so this goes along well with the Thankful Thursday posts that I have done in the past! Even in the midst of our troubles and tribulations there is always something to be thankful for. Often times these things are hard to discover, but if we dig deep enough, they are there! So while these 5 things make me really happy right now, I'm also super thankful for them, too!]

1. Being hired at Dundy County Hospital. I am so excited to work with people I have known for around 12 years. These are the people who have cared for me throughout my illness and they are really just the sweetest people ever! I am also getting great experience and I'm learning from the best :)

2. Reconnecting with people. I haven't touched base with everyone who I want to yet, but I'm getting there. The adjustment from the city to the country is rough. It's hard when you've lost touch with virtually everyone for nearly 4 years and it's tough to get back in touch with those who you knew. So I'm happy that I'm slowly making progress. If only we could make plans, now ;-)

3. My best friends in Utah are having a baby boy in November -- and they are coming to Kansas next weekend! I am so excited to see them again. It's been really hard being away from the Soderborg's, I miss them so much! It'll be fun showing them where my roots are and what we do for fun around here.

4. Being in a really good place with my grief. I am so thankful that I am at a point where I am comfortable and excited about exploring other parts of my life again. I'm not longer dwelling on my past and I'm able to see my future a little bit more clear. Doesn't mean there isn't hard days or moments, but I handle them better and better each time they come. 

5. The rain! I can't go without mentioning how HAPPY I am about these storms we've been getting. I think we've gotten a little over a half inch of rain the last 2 nights. While that's not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things because it is so incredibly dry and it likely won't rain again for a long time, every bit that we get helps.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The last two months in pictures!

It's been a really long time since I've blogged about my current life, and so therefore I feel the need to do a picture dump on you all! I've made it a bit easier to sort through everything by putting them in collages, you should feel lucky ;-)

When I went back to Utah for my final study visit for the Methotrexate, I was lucky enough to be around for the Riddle Camping Trip. We had a blast! We stayed up in the mountains for 2 nights, 3 days.
 L to R: Kiara and Jaycee just waking up, sunrise, John and Dave cooking breakfast

 L to R: Family pictures of David's family, John's family, and George's family

 L to R: Dave giving kiddos a lesson about ticks, brothers and their bellies, coloring after exploring

 L to R: Myka just waking up, girls being silly, "Frodo" on the trip to the Lake

So much fun at Payson Lake!

After we had our fun camping, we stopped by Orem City Cemetery on our way home to visit husband, brother, and uncle Spencer. 

 Flowers that I put on his grave, the messages to him in sidewalk chalk, and possibly a sneak peak into the brand spankin' new logo to the riddle of CF website that George drew ;-)

 Releasing balloons in memory of Spencer

Kiara blowing bubbles for Uncle Spencer, nieces and brother drawing on his headstone

We also stopped at the cemetery for fathers day. We spent time with at my father-in-laws resting place as well. 
 Dad and grandpa Mark's grave. Writing messages to him and remember him.

Messages to my father-in-law

While we were at the cemetery we couldn't forget to take father's day pictures :)
L to R: David and kids; Brothers and their daughters; George and kids

The first part of July we were lucky enough to have 2 of my cousins visit from Arizona. (My Uncle Greg's kids). I haven't seen them in many years so it was fun to spend time with them and get to know them better. 

We had our 4th of July celebration a day early out at my aunt and uncles ranch. My cousins were able to be there for that as well. We had a great time that evening. Good food, a lot of laughs, and quality time spent together!
Top L: Carla; Middle L: Tessa; Bottom L: Shayna; Bottom R: Angela; Top right: my mother ;-)

On the 4th of July we went to the lake in Atwood for their big 4th of July celebration. We saw some pretty awesome fireworks!! They put on a great show.

Mid July I finally was able to start my iron infusions. My iron has been scary low for a while now and I'm unable to take oral iron supplements. My blood counts were low enough to warrant a blood transfusion, so I spent a Saturday up at the hospital getting iron and 2 units of blood. I now feel a lot better energy wise!

And just last week I was hired at the Dundy County Hospital as a Lab Assistant/Phlebotomist!
I am super excited about my new job. Though it isn't what I was doing in Utah, it gives me a feel for the laboratory in a different way. I've always said that if I moved back to Kansas I wanted to work in the hospital that I grew up going to. I love the lab techs there and I know that we're all excited to be working together. I started my job last friday doing orientation, and now I'm just doing new employee things for the next week or 2. I'm not going to lie, It's really weird being an employee vs. a patient! It almost feels wrong! haha. But I'm excited to get further into it :)

There have been things here and there that have happened as well, but those are the biggest ones for me lately!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

30 Things Blog 4 -- When You Were 16

If you want to know what this is all about check out this blog post!

Blog 4 -- List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could

1. Pay more attention to your little sister. One day she is going to become your best friend and the one person you spend most of your time with. You love her, even though you don't want to admit it.

2. Spend as much time as you can with the ones you love, even if it's just a phone call. Take the extra time to visit them, write to them, and call them. They don't stay young forever and later, as you spend time with them while their memory is failing, you will wish you would have taken an extra hour on your weekends while they were more youthful. 

3. Those 'friends' you spent hours crying over because you weren't invited to hang out on the weekends? Don't waste your time. After you graduate you will rarely hear from them. Spend your time with the most unlikely people, for with them you will find the strongest friendships. 

4. Don't even bother with sports. If it doesn't make you the most popular girl, so be it. It doesn't make you happy. The tears and disappointments you face because you never got a chance aren't even worth it. You're better than that and you have other talents -- music and writing, dig deep and express them.

5. Embrace your hometown, small town, country life more . There will be a day when you'll choose to come back and live. After being away for 4 years you'll come to appreciate it and respect it. It is engraved in your roots and even if you don't believe it, you'll always be a country girl at heart.

6. Don't stop writing in your journal your senior year of high school!!! When you're 22 you will look back and really wished you could remember your senior year! ;-)

7.  Don't be so concerned about what others think of you. Live your life the way YOU want. Do the things that YOU want. And don't be afraid to express your opinion.

8. Be a teenager. Rebel a little bit. Don't be so scared of getting into trouble. Live in the moment and enjoy your life now. Things will get A LOT more complicated down the road -- more than you could ever imagine. Enjoy it while you can!

9. Take. Your. Medications. When you're 22 and facing surgery, you really wish you would have!!

10. You've done a great job with your life so far. You should be proud of the mature way that you handle everything. Good work 16 year-old self, good work.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Forever 23

Happy Birthday, Spencer!

Birthdays are a huge milestone. This is the last one we celebrated with Spencer.
Today would have marked Spencer's 25th birthday. Crazy to think this guy would have been a quarter of a century old today!!!!

Love you forever, Sweet Pea! Happy birthday!

Monday, July 8, 2013

30 Things Blog 3 -- Relationship With Parents

If you want to know what this is all about check out this blog post!

Blog 3 -- Describe your relationship with your parents

My relationship with my mom is completely different from my relationship with my dad. First of all I am so very lucky to have the parents that I do. They have always been there for me through thick and thin. I’ve had a very difficult life and I don’t know if I would be where I am if it weren’t for their love and support. I know that seems kind of cliche to say, but it’s so very true. They’ve dropped everything for me, they’ve lived well beyond their means for me, and they’ve moved mountains for me. I know that they have my back no matter what challenges I face in the future. 

My relationship with my mom probably couldn’t get any stronger. Now that I am an adult we have a bond that resembles more of a friendship than a mother-daughter relationship. We’re very close and we always have been. Now don’t get me wrong, she still definitely plays the mother figure when needed, but she recognizes that I AM an adult now and that I need to make my own decisions and mistakes. I can without hesitation say that my mother is my rock. She’s literally my everything; my world and more. 

My dad and I’s relationship depends upon the day ;-) I wouldn’t say that I’m super close with my dad, in all honesty, and I really hate that fact. I am a very expressive person and my dad is quite the opposite. He doesn’t hug much, I love you’s come few and far between, you don’t often know what he’s thinking or going through. But I never question my dad’s love for me and I never question how much he cares about me. We have the type of relationship where we will sit down in the living room and talk about the weather and, more often than not, what the heck is wrong with my car. I can’t ever remember having a heart-to-heart with my dad, but that’s just our relationship. We don’t have a lot of similarities and so it’s hard to connect and bond with him. I’m trying to make more of an effort for conversation with him, asking him questions I may normally ask my mom, and even if I don’t want to spend a little time with him doing the things that he does (such as fix a fence, haha).

Sunday, July 7, 2013

50,000 views [and counting!]

I remember getting really excited when I hit 10,000 views on my blog. And an even bigger moment for me was when I hit 70 followers and then 30,000 views.

And now comes my biggest excitement of all so far -- hitting over Fifty Thousand pageviews with 73 followers. It feels like quite a milestone for me, and it's something I never expected to see.

When I started this blog in January of 2010 I, for one, never thought I'd keep up with it. Secondly, I never in a million years imagined that I would have readers. And followers. And commenters! This blog was something I wanted to start for me. I had just started college August of 2009 and I wanted to be able to look back and remember such a huge step in my life. I never thought there was anything extraordinary about my life, and I certainly didn't think anyone would be interested in reading about the ongoings of my life.

I didn't start this blog with intentions of having readers or being popular. I didn't want to promote anything of my own. I never have posted FOR anyone else, it's always been for myself. Most of my posts were are written with a lot of vulnerability and absolute truth. I, many times, write during my time of need and hurt. Perhaps that's why I gained the attention of people who hardly know me. I've been able to connect with so many awesome people. I have gotten a lot of messages from people who say they relate and they are so glad they have found someone who just "gets it".... something that I've always looked for through the many struggles I've had throughout my life; my disease, my late husbands disease, death, grief, and just simply life.

As my followers grew and my pageviews increased I started holding back a little bit with what I posted. I questioned if blogging was something I should really continue doing. I was uncertain if I wanted to share such an intimate and private part of my life with such a big audience (well, big to me). But then I realized that a lot of people who do follow me are here to offer me love, support, comfort, and friendly advice. I also remembered the many people who have contacted me telling me how much I inspire them. How I am their hero due to the many trials that I face. How they are thankful for my blogs. How they can relate to me like they can no one else.

I realized that by writing about my own story and helping myself, I was also inadvertently helping other people who needed it. I therefore decided to continue sharing my life and my story for those willing to soak it all in.

So thank you for sharing with me the highest points of my life. The littlest of improvements and excitement in the Riddle's life. Sharing with me my goals, my hopes, and my dreams.

Thank you also for sharing with me in the lowest points of my life. When I felt like I had reached rock bottom. Being there for me [and Spencer] during our setbacks, no matter how big or small. Thank you for being a source of comfort for me when my world and heart was shattered.

And thank you for sticking around during my crazy rants, my opinionated posts, and likely a million repetitive posts that you read time after time again =)

Here's to another 50,000 pageviews!

30 Things Blog 2 -- 3 Fears and Why

If you want to know what this is all about check out this blog post!

Blog 2 -- Describe 3 fears that you have and explain how they became fears

1. Spiders --
I honestly cannot explain to you why on earth I became so deathly afraid of spiders. I know that it’s pretty illogical because I can’t quite find a rational reason and I can’t identify a specific thing that made me fear them. They are just so small and creepy and I hate the idea of them crawling on me. The itty bitty ones aren’t bad, but the medium to large ones I just cannot deal with!!

2. Heights --
My fear of heights started when I went to my very first summer camp in elementary school. We were hiking up to the cross. In all reality it isn’t very far, and it isn’t all that steep, but to a little girl it sure looks that way. Going up wasn’t all that bad, it was the coming down part that didn’t go well with me. We had counselors positioned the whole way down, but in between counselors I ended up slipping down to the next one. I was then suddenly very afraid that I was going to continue to fall down the side of the hill and hurt myself. I think it also stems from a fear of falling and hurting myself. I get really unbalanced pretty easily and I’m sure that plays a role in it as well!

3. Losing those I love --
Even if you’re not a frequent reader of my blog, you can easily figure out that I’ve experienced loss in my life at a very young age. At only 20 years old I lost my husband of 6 months from Cystic Fibrosis. Within the that same year I lost a total of 5 family members close to me. Just 1 short month ago I lost a very dear friend of mine. It just keeps happening. The further out from a loss I get, the less I fear that I will lose someone else very close to me, but it always remains in the back of my mind the reality that our lives are so short and we are never guaranteed tomorrow. I fear that I will wake up and another life will be taken away from me. These losses have shaken me to my very core and have changed me, partly for the better and party in a way I wish they hadn’t. I am not quite sure how rational this fear is, but in my 22 years of living I’ve lost more than I ever could have imagined I would and I’m scared of losing more.

Monday, July 1, 2013

30 Things Blog 1 -- 20 Random Things

If you want to know what this is all about check out this blog post!

Blog 1 -- List 20 Random Facts About Yourself

1. I've always been known as the good girl... I hate getting in trouble!!! It's rare for me to live on the edge, though I'm trying to more and more and it's been fun!

2. My small little hometown in extreme northwestern Kansas has only around 450 people. 

3. On that note, I only graduated with 11 classmates. 

4. I am a planner. I have to have a plan for everything or else I tent to get really anxious and sometimes panicked. 

5. One of my dreams is to write a book about my life (CF Wife, CF Widow, the hubs and I's story etc) with a goal to help others as I share my story with as much vulnerability and honesty as I can. 

6. I absolutely love little sloths! 

7. I've been in several different musicals such as Wildcats, Annie Get Your Gun, and Godspell. My very favorite was Li'l Abner that we did my senior year of high school. I played the roll of Mammy Yokum and I had a BLAST!

8. I am pretty adaptable to change, in fact it's pretty easy for me to embrace it, but these last two years it's gotten a lot harder since change has been a constant in my life. Outwardly I handle it okay, but inwardly it's becoming very difficult. 

9. I enjoy reading classics. Even though they are sometimes hard to follow and they take a little extra time, I've always been a fan of Shakespeare!

10. My favorite chocolate bar is either a KitKat or Reeses (it's a tie!) and my favorite non-chocolate candy is Skittles!

11. I love to travel! I like everything (minus the unpacking, of course). I love flying and I love the experience. I would really love to go to Italy someday. 

12. My least favorite chore is laundry. Dishes come in a pretty close second, but if I could never do one chore for the rest of my life I think I'd choose laundry. Folding and putting away the clothes is, for some reason, just the worse! 

13. I really enjoy cooking and baking. I love making large meals for a group of people with a challenging dessert at the end!

14. I have a really hard time finishing things that I start, mostly in relation to crafts. I get bored with things pretty easily and so if it's not quick and fairly easy (yet with a bit of a challenge), I lose interest and rarely finish the project. I'm getting better!

15. Many years back my sister gave me the nickname "kitty" and for short she calls me "Kat". It came from Monsters Inc. 

16. Last summer I found that I love gardening and I find it a very relaxing thing to do. 

17. You'd likely be surprised at how many movies that I have not seen, how many TV shows I have never watched, and how many songs I have not heard. 

18. I am so bad at math and geography it's truly embarrassing!!!

19. I LOVE summer thunderstorms in Kansas!!! I love being in severe weather. There is nothing like a good ol' KS thunderstorm!

20. I've officially moved 6 times in the last 4 years. 

Bird City to Salt Lake City -- Aug 2009 -- moved to go to the U of U
Salt Lake City to Bountiful -- May 2010 -- moved into my boyfriends moms house for summer semester which extended to the next fall and spring semester
Bountiful to Layton -- March 2011 -- Spencer and I moved into our own place
Layton to Bird City -- December 2011 -- moved back home with parents after Spencer died
Bird City to Salt Lake City -- July 2012 -- moved back to Utah after a lot of grieving and healing
Salt Lake City to Bird City -- May 2013 --moved back to Kansas after getting terribly sick and having no other choice
I can easily say I'm SOOO done with moving! I'm now in Bird City to stay awhile!