Changing medications- you know it's my favorite!

Monday, April 30, 2012

I've been avoiding the blog. I changed my meds almost 2 weeks ago. I have been suffering the consequences of doing the right thing since. Anyone who knows me knows what I look like when the phrase "changing medications" comes out of my mouth. Just thinking about it now to write that sentence made my nose scrunch up and this little sneer come to the left corner of my mouth- eyes empty with disgust.

I've been clenching my teeth lately, which is what I do when I've got something on my mind. I've also been clenching my muscles- even when I try and do something relaxing like reading, watching tv or falling asleep. I have to actually tell my body to physically relax. Probably why I keep nudging Thomas to rub my back and neck all the time- I'm permanently tense like a swimmer hunched over on the diving block seconds before a race. Except it doesn't last for seconds, it lasts for hours until I wonder why I'm so uncomfortable. No matter how much sleep I get, I seem to be permanently exhausted. I have shut down on communication lately, forgetting to call people, write to them, write here.

Now look, if you've read this before, you know that I am the poster girl for taking medication. I take pills willingly, horse-pill-big or teeny-tiny-drop-it-on-the-ground-and-you're-screwed tablets. I believe that medication, along with therapy is the best course of action for me. I just know too well what it's like when I'm off my medications. It's horrible. I can tell when I miss a day. Medication changes remind me of that. It's the feeling of both withdraw from one (in this case, two) and the start of another (two).

I remember this one time when I was in high school and was getting the flu. I was a nerd in high school (still am, but for the purposes of you getting on with your life, I'll continue...) and missing honors or AP classes for even a day would leave you behind for a week, so we only stayed home if we couldn't move. (Not that we didn't want to skip out, we just knew the penalty- like I said. Dorks. Nerd. Whatever.) I took a load of DayQuil. Now DayQuil is simply NyQuil but orange and they say you can take it during the day. I didn't know that those were the only differences. So when I thought I was going to fall on the floor in a comatose sleep in the middle of the subjunctive in French class, I got a soda. I was so hopped up on DayQuil I could actually feel the caffeine fighting the sleep in my system. I then became jittery and like a 5 year old on a sugar high- bouncing and then ready to crash.

So why do I tell you this story, you ask?

Because that's the closest approximation to what you would feel like if you never had to have a medication change. Between the high dosages and potency of these head meds, they can do crazy things to your system. And unlike Tylenol or Advil that take effect in minutes, these head meds work at their fastest, in 3 weeks. 6 to 8 is more common. So right now I'm in the awful phase of adjustment. It's a witch.

Yeah, I meant the other word that sounds the same.

Wedding Photos

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I've been meaning to post pictures from the wedding but you know me... I forget. All photography credit (unless otherwise noted) is from the amazing Caroline Howard of Riverland Studios.

 the church

my blue shoes 

getting ready 

maid of honor Sarah, me, sisters Hannah and Madison (also bridesmaids) 

 me, and the best dad in the world

giddy to walk down the asile 

the first of many surprises- first kiss as a major dip! 

a triumphal exit

better than any posed shot!

goofing around with the wedding party on the dock 

another surprise- the first dance... with hand motions 

about 150 birds I made for the photobooth 

my wedding cake- with Namie's buttercream frosting. it was awesome 

Thomas and me at the photobooth

Psalm 136

Thursday, April 19, 2012

1O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
2O give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.
3O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;
4who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;
5who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;
6who spread out the earth on the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;
7who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever;
8the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;
9the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever;
10who struck Egypt through their firstborn, for his steadfast love endures forever;
11and brought Israel out from among them, for his steadfast love endures forever;
12with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever;
13who divided the Red Sea in two, for his steadfast love endures forever;
14and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for his steadfast love endures forever;
15but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, for his steadfast love endures forever;
16who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures forever;
17who struck down great kings, for his steadfast love endures forever;
18and killed famous kings, for his steadfast love endures forever;
19Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his steadfast love endures forever;
20and Og, king of Bashan, for his steadfast love endures forever;
21and gave their land as a heritage, for his steadfast love endures forever;
22a heritage to his servant Israel, for his steadfast love endures forever.
23It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever;
24and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever;
25who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.
26O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

I like this psalm because it brings dual natures of our God together, showing that both his might and steadfast love can be together. Killing some, steadfast love towards his people. It's a bit extreme, I'll give you that, but it's strong. And both love and force can be strong- and they should be, from our Lord. Any more meditation on this psalm, I leave to you for now.

Cashing in on a promise

Friday, April 6, 2012

I've said in the last few posts that I'd talk about my faith. To be honest, I don't really know where to start. I suppose it's going to be one of those posts where I'll figure out what I'm trying to say once I hit the "publish" button.

To start off, I can say that a lot of my prayers have been answered. In the "where am I going?" prayer, the answer was delightful- you're staying right here. I'm officially in the Charleston area for the next two years. For a while I was afraid of this. Part of the delight in not knowing where Thomas and I were going was in the excitement to start somewhere new. A new home, a city to discover, new possibilities for me. I was concerned to stay here because I didn't know what I was going to do. I don't know if my desire to move was out of fear or boldness. I hope it was a bit of both. Time will tell and travel in my new family is inevitable, but not for another 2 years.

In the "what am I doing?" prayer, I also had some excellent answers. I want to work, but in the area I'm in until June, let's just say there's not a whole lot going on. So I turned to the United Way's volunteer site and now I have training next week for one, an ongoing project, and an interview at the beginning of May. There is a stirring inside of me that tells me to hold out on the stress to find a job immediately- I am receiving a few job opportunities here and there and soon I think I will find one that fits where I live and will be living soon (on base). 

In the "where am I in my faith?" question that I mostly posed to myself, instead of God, I have found Him listening in on my thoughts yet again! I often find myself sure of a few things, but not always of many things. I see God as a constant and my humanity as the variable. But then just writing that proved to me that the opposite can be true as well. A life group (house church/bible study/good group of people) I've been going to has been great- getting me out and meeting new people, connecting on a regular basis with friends, low key worship, communion with others, prayer, and feeling part of a community. (And what is a community will be another blog post.) It's amazing to have this group of people and I love that God put me near them. I am quite blessed in being able to stay around my friends and family- the people who inspire me the most. 

I have also been trying to read more- more of the Bible and more of Desmond Tutu's works. I like to see bits of myself and bits of who I want to be in my favorite religious authors. (I think that is why there is often a love/hate relationship among theological works. It's not really love/hate. It's more connection/lack thereof.) In Dietrich Bonhoeffer I see the boldness I wish to have. I'm convinced there's a spark in me somewhere for that. He died at 39 on April 9, 1945, executed by the Nazis for (among other things) a plot to kill Hitler. I don't think my faith is that bold. But he also started rogue "underground" seminaries to train Lutheran pastors when the Nazis started to infiltrate the German Lutheran churches. How bold is that?? In C. S. Lewis, I see the elegance and intelligence he put into his writings. He was vastly creative and prolific. His works touch millions of readers of all ages with imagination and truth. I don't need to touch millions. But his eloquence is what I wish to convey. Often I just feel like I'm rambling. And Desmond Tutu is my current book/friend-crush. In Desmond Tutu I read what I think in my head. What a powerful feeling! No wonder the president, the UN, the Dalai Lama (and you know I love him too), and all sorts of important people hold him in such high esteem. His work brings succinct, clear points and they relate to me that the thoughts I possess that I secretly wonder about are indeed Christian in nature. It also makes me realize that within the current state of affairs in America, I am indeed, a social liberal. It's quite a branding to take on in the country, let alone the South. Then again, Jesus wasn't much of a Conservative.

I think some more things will be further revealed to me as time passes. Answers to why I am here in Charleston and what I should be doing with my life. I keep getting pushed by those who don't know me as well, to finish my degree. But I am having a hard time grappling with my love for theology, religion, international relations, and history versus the evil evil evil that is my Bipolar Disorder at school. For one reason or another, it just can't seem to handle it. People have also gone at me with the online degree idea, but I'm skeptical. All online doesn't have human interaction that I crave and very few programs are available for an undergrad in theology or comparative religions. Plus, what would be the fun in a religion degree when there's no live debate?!?! For now, I am telling myself that waiting will bring me options. So I read books to keep my brain active. I'm more methodical when I read by myself. I re-read frequently, meditate on it, and pray about it more- leading to different and interesting revelations. But I miss conversation and stimulation from classmates and professors. Ahhhh! I keep telling myself to rest, that my time will come. But telling myself to rest is suppressing my very nature.

And that is quite a testament to the nature of my faith.

20 Things Jesus Never Said

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

This brilliant post is from the blog Witness to Grace by Matt Curry:

20 Things Jesus Never Said

1. Do you see that water over there? I'm about to turn it into grape juice.

2. Upon this rock I will build my megachurch.

3. Call me. I can help your team win.

4. I'm not concerned about the very poor.

5. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.

6. Two words: Culture war!

7. I'm worried about who will wind up as the next emperor of Rome. I think I'll start a political action committee.

8. No shirt, no shoes, no service.

9. The greatest among you shall be the ones who have accumulated the most stuff by the time you die.

10. Sabbath, Shmabbath! Forget about it!

11. You'll never see or hear from me again.

12. Whenever you eat these soda crackers and drink these tiny glasses of grape juice, you proclaim by death until I come again.

13. Did you bring your Bible tonight?

14. Do this in remembrance of me on the first Sunday of every month.

15. Sing the first, second, and last verses.

16. Those who are the most religious among you have got it made in the shade.

17. The praise team's new album is available in the gift shop.

18. Gay is not OK.

19. Follow me, and I will bring you fame and fortune.

20. Happy Easter!

Moby Update!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Can't remember the last time I posted about my lovable dog, so here you go.

1. Moby is huge. But he's tall huge, not very big around. He's rather skinny actually, very lanky, enormous paws, and giant ears- see below. We think he's about 60-65 pounds. We did have to get him a bigger crate because I think he grows taller every day. He can, however, curl up into a very cute little ball when he's ready to sleep. But in the picture above, he couldn't understand why I was gardening on the porch and he was in his crate. He gave me the "why? why do you do this to me?" look. 

2. He has more personality than several people I know! He makes just as many facial expressions. He's almost 8 months old and is in the curious and playful stage. He is high energy and very smart- a dangerous combination on some days when we don't have the energy to go back into him! He loves curling up on his mat, but lately he climbs behind us on the couch while we work on the computer. He's not allowed on the couch, but he gets away with it by simply acting like he is. He doesn't hesitate, he just comes over, adjusts the blanket and hops on and curls up. We just don't really know what to say. He just acts like he owns the place. Like I said, personality.

3.  His intensive chewing and nibbling has worn off a bit now that he has all of his adult teeth, but he destroys almost anything. The blue ball shown in the pictures is now dead (one of the greatest toys ever- it lasted so long). He pulls the fuzz off of tennis balls, so those are a no-go, any lightweight rubbery material is probably not a good idea (ie, cheap dog toys), the rope toys are okay but you have to take them away after a while and Thomas is no good at remembering to do that. So we're left with a Nylabone he LOVES, a knock off of a Kong that we got at Marshalls and a green rubber thing that is very durable. They also make these toys that are supposed to "hone their natural instincts" - very realistic looking ducks, geese, squirrels, rabbits, etc. He has a pheasant. When we first got it, we could only give it to him outside because he went NUTS over it. He has since pulled out the stuffing and noise squeaker (less of a squeak, probably what pheasants really sound like) so it's limp.

4. We're almost positive he's a German Shorthaired Pointer. Other than his coloring, he fits all of the characteristics. He was given up to the shelter before the tail docking age. Black is possible, but it would disqualify him from any shows or events because it is very rare and we think that's why someone gave him up. We fail to see any problem. His pointing instincts are certainly alive and well (tail out, nose forward, front paw up), but because we don't take him hunting, he uses them to point out some interesting things. He has pointed at a Red-tailed Hawk, a C-17 (giant cargo airplane), and a bullfrog, among other things.

5. I mentioned tail docking. For a while, I thought it was one of those things that people stupidly did to dogs. Little did I know. Moby's tail is now 19 inches long. 19 INCHES! They do it to prevent hunting accidents. I can tell you now that it most certainly would be problematic if we were to take him hunting. It waves around everywhere.

6. He loves to eat, but since we control his feeding schedule, he uses his mouth for other things. Mostly to explore. He put a frog in his mouth on our nightly walk the other day. He eats the bugs (especially moths) that are attracted to the lights at night. He is also very much interested in dishtowels, socks, microwave covers, paper of all kinds, and the occasional pair of underwear that he steals out of the dryer. I try not to leave things out. He is impossible to stay mad at, even if he does get into something. He's just so darn cute!