July 26, 2012

Prayers, prayers, prayers

A typical week would have me SO excited that it's Thursday. Almost Friday, right?!

But, today is different.

 For those of you who are new around here, I'm a teenage girl who has been diagnosed with Juvenile Enthesitis Related Arthritis (ERA). If you'd like a more in depth description of the disease you can read about it here.

A little over a week ago, I had a follow up appointment and med check with my rheumatologist. The appointment went pretty well overall; mainly because I've been feeling quite a bit better (minus some severe neck pain), but it ended with some not-so-exciting news...

"We should do an MRI just to be safe."

I'm not an emotional girl and I'm fairly decent about holding it together even when I have every reason in the world to break down. But, I'll admit, I busted out bawling in that hospital room as soon as my doctor spit out those 9 words. Thoughts started flooding my head...

It's not fair.

Why me?

I don't want to.

When will I be able to say these procedures are a thing of the past?

Why can't I just get better? For good.

I've been dealing with excrutiating, unrelenting neck pain for over 4 years. And thus far, no doctor has been able to find any answers as to why I continue to have it. It's something that over time, I've learned to deal with. However, lately, it's been really concerning as it has actually kept me from doing a lot of the things I love. (To name a few... Running, horseback riding, babysitting, etc.) It's caused me to slow down A LOT and to me... That's. Just. Not. Acceptable.

So yes, part of me wants to do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of this, but the other part of me is just flippin' done with getting poked and prodded. And there's yet another part of me that's just plain scared.

I don't exactly know what the procedure is going to be like. I don't know what results are going to come back. I don't know if I want to know.

It's safe to say despite all the mayhem, though, that my hearts holds on ENTIRELY to two things:

Joshua 1:9~ Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with your wherever you go.

... And ...

Proverbs 31:25~ She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.

My MRI is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. I wish I could say that I'm really optimistic and not too worried about the whole thing, but then I'd be lying.

I would appreciate any and absolutely ALL prayers for peace, strength, courage, and most importantly... ANSWERS. I adore every friendship I've made throughout this journey and couldn't be more thankful for your kind words.

 

July 25, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses {20}



Stop and Smell the Roses
 
Hey, hey linky party people!
 
It's time for Stop and Smell the Roses with Mandy!
 
I'm finally BACK and truthfully couldn't be happier... I cannot wait to see everyone's smiling faces and I'm just so excited that I'm participating again!
 
I have SO much to share in this vlog! Watching it through, I even realized I forgot about some of the things I wanted to mention! But, what's done is done and I'm satisified with what made it on film.
 
* FAIR WARNING: I look like a complete WRECK in this vlog. Yesterday was a bad hair day... Yipes. *
 
 
 
So. Much. Excitement. I'm staying busy and loving it! Summer's been good to me and I just can't complain.
 
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a fabulous week!
 
Keep smiling. :)
 
 

July 20, 2012

My life in 8 pictures...

Last night it dawned on me...

"I've never actually done a post all about me."

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want this little blog to be a place where I toot my own horn and type around like I own the place... But I DO want you, as readers, to have the opportunity to get to know me.

The real, complicated, slightly insane, girl behind these posts and vlogs.

Me.


We'll start with the picture of me in the upper left hand corner... I included this picture because when my best friend Jaycee took it, she immediately said... "Oh. My. Gosh. That picture is SO you!" And, I have to agree with her! It showcases my notorious ability to laugh when I'm supposed be quiet... Or in this case, when I'm simply supposed to be smiling nicely. It's also a great shot because I'm wearing my favorite cardigan! Eep! *cough* Cardigan junkie. *cough.*

The picture in the upper right corner is one of my cousin Tori and I this summer. Her family lives in Arkansas and I typically go to visit them twice a year. Tori means the absolute world to me. Seriously. She is like my long lost sister, best friend, and cousin all wrapped into one. I can't imagine my life without her sweet, caring personality, her amazing style and ability to give advice, and of course... I absolutely adore her kiddos!

The picture below and to the left of that one is my sister Madison and I. Get us two together and it's always a good time! Seriously. We have more inside jokes than anyone else in the world, I swear to you. We also share a bedroom and even though it gets a little crazy and quite messy at times... The truth is that I have a terrible time falling asleep when she's not sleeping in the next bed over. On top of all our crazyness, my little sis and I are also part of the same girl's small group in our hometown. It's incredible to work together and grow in our relationship with God. Madi, if you're reading this, I heart you and am so proud of the lady you're becoming!

The picture to the right of that one is my little brother Mason and I on a little ice cream date! There is a 9 year age gap between us, but surprisingly, that doesn't make our relationship "distant" at all. He is the funniest 8 year old I know and him and I ALWAYS have dance parties together. Ice cream and movie dates are our specialty and he also loves to help me with taking care of and riding Striker! He's a brave kiddo with a huge heart and I feel beyond blessed to be able to call him my little brother! He obviously holds a very special place in my heart.

Alright... Moving down to the second row, far left... This picture is of my sister Megan and I at prom this year! Megan is two years older than me and we've always had a really close bond. She's my go-to-gal and I honestly have no clue what I'm going to do without her after she moves out at the end of this summer! We go to youth group with eachother regularly and have gone pro at having heart to hearts into the wee hours of the morning. Her sense of humor and ability to be a "helper-chewer-outer" is INCREDIBLE. She is the best listener ever and I appreciate all the "looking out" she's done for me throughout my life. 

The picture to the right of that one is me, my best friend Amy, and my best friend Jaycee. Okay. It's gonna be really hard to stay reasonably short on this paragraph... They're THAT amazing. So if you guys want to hear more about my besties, you can read the post I wrote and watch the vlog I filmed about them on my old blog right here. Basically, these two know how to make me laugh, smile, and open up like nobody else. I'm SO lucky to have two incredible best friends by my side no matter what!

From there, we'll move straight down to the other picture of me. Another great shot taken by my best friend Jaycee on a rainy May day this past spring. I love this picture so much because I think it captures my "classy, sassy, and a little bad assy" personality PERFECTLY. ;) That's all.

And last, but certainly not least... The large picture in the lower right hand corner is my "boy" Striker and I. I've owned Striker since 7th grade (and I'm going to be a Junior... AH! Time flies!) The thing that makes him so special to me is the fact that we literally have an indescribable connection. He's my boy and I'm his girl. I also LOVE having him as a "responsibility." I pay his vet bills, keep up with his food addiction, and of course, work hard to give him other things like pink saddle pads! (A neccesity, of course.) ;) I'm so lucky that my parents chose to have us live out in the country and have the space to keep him in my own backyard! He's a huge part of my life and seriously has a good portion of my heart.

I am so blessed and I seriously love nothing more than taking the time to count those blessings. :)

July 19, 2012

Without further adieu...

It's official! This, right here, is my new blog home!

I had a difficult time keeping up with blogging at the beginning of the summer because I was really frustrated with my blog over at Blog.com... After messing around with Blogger for awhile, I knew it was time for the big switch. And so finally... Without further adieu... Here we are!

It feels so good to be back and for those who have either e-mailed or tweeted to say, "Where have you been?" I truly, truly appreciate YOU! Thank you for making me realize that blogging is something that makes me who I am. :)

I've started writing multiple posts that I'm going to keep "drafting" throughout the next week. I look forward to making my comeback here in the blogging community and thank you all so much for following along throughout the craziness!