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hard times

My nephew, Ryder Lee, had a spinal surgery on Thursday. He isn’t even three yet and has proven to his whole world just how strong and resilient he is. Ry is definitely a hero of mine. He, of course, isn’t the only one. Zack is a pillar of strength for my sister and nephew. I am so proud to call him a brother. Rach is so calm and comforting for her little boy. The way she is with him is beautiful.

My whole family constantly astonishes me with their courage, strength, and perseverance. I love each of them deeply and it brings me so much happiness when others comment on our closeness. It has been an exciting journey to watch our family grow as we dated, married, and had children. With each new brother-in-law that joined, we inherited their families as well. I was reminded on Thursday and Friday of how blessed we are that we all have this huge “adopted” family that keeps supporting each other through all that comes our way.

Ryder has had so many people in his life who have helped him progress to where he is today. A lot of them, he may never know. Nurses. Doctors. Friends. Family. I have thought of them a lot over the past few days. I have been overwhelmed by the many people who have sent well wishes and said prayers. They mean so much to my sister, my brother-in-law, and to the rest of us who love Ryder so very much. I hope you all continue to do so in the coming years as Ry has more surgeries grows into an even stronger young man.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

… but keep the old?


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I originally planned on making a playlist of all the random songs that played in my iTunes library today, but I found this playlist to share instead. I made it in August of 2007. I am pretty sure I made it to go on my Myspace profile (ha!) because there were (get this) 75 songs in it! They were all songs I must have been currently listening to. At first, I was rather embarrassed by the compilation; but upon listening, I decided to share. You will notice that there are fewer than the original 75 songs included. This is due to the fact that some of them no longer played and some were just not appropriate to share here, especially since I haven’t listened to most of this music since shortly after it was made. I left some on here that might still be a bit much for some of you. I don’t expect any of you to listen to the whole list. I just wanted to document this here. ;)

Usually, you can tell what type of chapter I am going through in my life by the music I am listening to. This time in my life I remember to be extremely difficult for me. I don’t think anyone else really knew that, though. Some of the songs made me want to go back in time 4 years, give myself a hug, and reassure 22-year-old Erin that everything will work out better than she expects it to. Some songs just made me roll my eyes and remember some pretty fun times. :)

I hope you get a kick out of stepping back in time with me for a little bit. It’s kind of fun to be reminded of the silly ways one changes. :)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I am going to be working both days. I used my day off today to lie in bed and rest. I hope it has made me ready for tomorrow!

love, erin

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When I was younger, I hated playing games. I was so afraid of losing. Being a loser. My insecurity would get the best of me and instead of taking a risk on winning or losing, I would forfeit the game completely. However, I couldn’t escape game time at church or school. And what game did the teachers always suggest?

Telephone.

I may have been too young to write more than my name and I may have only just mastered the art of drawing the perfect circle, but I could figure out that a group of kids my age will never make it to the end with the correct sentence in a game of Telephone.

Years went by and games at school went away. Then, I went away from school. I went through a rough 6 years. I made relationships and most of those were torn apart. I finally reached my breaking point. I stood (broken and somewhat lifeless) looking at my past and was so confused by it all.

How did I get here? Why did all of this happen? Why do I feel hurt/angry/scared/alone?

I decided it was time to turn inward and search for answers and insight. Fast forward ten months. July 14, 2011. I am sitting in a coffee shop (guess which one!) thinking over the last few months and how far I have come. I am mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually stronger than I have ever been. There are still BIG problems in my life that I am working on but I am finally to a point where I feel I can share with you something that I have been too ashamed to share up to this point.

I have made so many friends since moving back to Missouri 3 years ago. SO MANY! And I love all of them. However, I didn’t always think I did. Because of events I experienced, I was incredibly messed up. I didn’t fully realize my (negative) potential until about last August. I had become a person that none of you would want to be around. The friends I had made and (in a lot of cases) worked with were the targets of my horrible malevolence. I retold secrets. I exaggerated faults. I gossiped. I insulted. I neglected and manipulated. In short, I played a nasty game of Telephone with my friends most personal parts of themselves and their lives being the sentences spread around from person to person. The sickest part about it was that I justified it all because in my head I was the victim. Those friends hurt me and I was nothing to them. Anything I did couldn’t possibly hurt them but I sure would try.

HORRIBLE, RIGHT??

I know. I now feel like a criminal at times because of it. Thankfully, one of these friends called me out. I was shocked that it affected her at all. Once that shock wore off, I saw how hurt she was. Then, I realized that she wasn’t the only one probably feeling this way. I became embarrassed. Then defensive. Then ashamed. I finally realized that I had become the loser I was always afraid I’d be. I was losing much more than a game this time.

I started apologizing to everyone I could think of that I had talked negatively about or to about another. I no longer cared about what they had done to me. I just knew I needed to apologize for what I had done to them. I wrote down a list of the things I wanted to work on. I started on that list. Then, after a few months, I wrote the girl who I had considered my (former) best friend. That was hard. I missed her and hated that she distanced herself because of my actions. So, I told her these things and, thankfully, she accepted my apology.

A few weeks went by and we moved to Joplin. Instead of getting a “normal” job, I met a couple and started cleaning for them. Then, I assisted with their business. This gave me more time to work on my photography but more importantly, myself. Then, the tornado hit.

I could not believe the devastation around me. The horrible tragedy I had been a part of. And I had a home. I had my boyfriend and my family. I had my life! I had been spared. As thankful as I was, I couldn’t help but think over the past couple of years and how horrible I was. I wanted to hug each person I had wronged and tell them how sorry I was and how much I was wrong. And then I received an email from the girl who had shoved my behavior in my face and made me see the reality of who I had become. It was short but so powerful. She told me how thankful she was that we were ok and how worried she had been when she found out what had happened. Her genuine concern and thankfulness that we were ok was so evident. I cried. I wanted to give her the biggest hug. In that moment, I realized it was finally time to write her back to tell her what had been happening with me since her first email. So, I did. It was longer than I thought it would be and I had the biggest butterflies flying around in my stomach. But I finally said I was sorry. I finally made things as right as I could.

I waited for a reply, only half expecting it. Within hours, I had received it and I finally felt at peace. We weren’t quite friends, but we were ok with each other. I felt as though a fog had lifted and I saw that those “faults” I saw before paled in comparison to the woman who had the character to take the first step toward reconciliation.

If you are still reading, kudos! I know this post is long but it is so important for me to write. Why? Because it all leads up to me saying I am sorry.

Yes, I am apologizing to you. And to everyone else. I can’t possibly know on my own who all I affected with my actions and words over the past couple years. I have tried to reach out to everyone and apologize personally but I know I missed some of you. So, to you… I am so sorry. I hope you know I am genuine. If you want to express concerns, please email me and I will try my best to make things right.

And to all of you who may not have realized that all of this going on… You still deserve an apology! I am very sorry for bringing more negativity into the world. Day to day life is so tough in a lot of ways and I have no right to make it worse. Please forgive me.

To everyone: I am sorry for everything I repeated or shared that was negative, inappropriate, or private. I was generally full of it the whole couple of years. Not saying that it was all untrue. In fact, I can’t remember most of the details of all of it. Just do me a favor, if you can, and disregard anything I said that fits into the above categories.

I hope you all can accept my apologies and see that I have changed a lot for the better! I feel really good about sharing this with you all. I have wanted to for a few weeks and now just feels right. I have noticed some really mean comments being posted and actions taking place that are alarming. Not to me, but to those around me. The saddest part is that they are coming from some of the sweetest people. I realize now what it is like on the other side of the fence and so I couldn’t refrain from sharing this with you any longer.

If you are one of the people pouring negativity upon others, please stop. It is not only hurting those you are directing your aim toward, but those of us who know and love these people. Eventually, your behavior will even hurt yourself.

Pour positivity into the world and you will most likely get positivity. If you don’t, keep walking. There is no need and not enough time to waste yours on making others feel bad.

I truly, sincerely love you all. I am thankful for each of you. I hope to never make you feel bad. All smiles and laughter for you from here on out (as much as I can help it). :)

love, erin

(Photo source: http://www.eyeshadowlipstick.com/2136/blue-telephone/)

Yes, you read that right. This post may seem somewhat darker of a post but I don’t mean for it to be. I just feel like sharing some. Don’t worry! There is some good and happy stuff at the end. =D

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It was the last Monday in April of 2009. I went to work at the clinic like normal. Normal time. Normal outfit. Normal everything. By lunch, I did not feel normal. My chest felt tight and breathing was getting more difficult.

Oh, it must be the humidity.

By mid afternoon, I was wheezing and feeling a little light-headed. Upon telling my coworkers, they said, “It’s just the stress getting to you. You’ll be fine by tomorrow.”

I went home and went to bed early. I slept like a rock and woke up feeling better. Then it started again. This time, it hurt every time I tried to take a breath. I didn’t tell anyone this time and acted like normal. I told Will once I got home and made sure I retired early again. This night was a sleepless one. So was the next one.

By Wednesday afternoon, my coworkers had noticed my change in demeanor and suggested I talk to one of the doctors. Within 5 minutes of sitting in his office, I was handed a prescription for an inhaler and preventative asthma medication. I went home and Will and I decided to just try to have a nice relaxing night (in case it just was due to stress).

By dinner, I was barely able to breathe. All of a sudden, I felt like my chest was completely stuffed. I couldn’t even suck in air at all. My legs went weak. Then, there went the arms. The room became hazy. And I started to freak out.

(Now, I knew this had to be the worst thing I could do at this point but… come on. Would you not freak out?)

Will managed to stay as calm as possible. He held me and helped me calm down. Then, he helped me start breathing again. Then, we silently cried as I breathed with him.

I went for a walk when my sight came back. I don’t remember being able to feel my legs. I don’t remember looking before I walked into the street. I do remember seeing snow on the ground but being so, so hot. I do remember being so grateful to hear my sobs because that meant I could breathe, no matter how much it hurt. I do remember Will meeting me at the park bench across the street, holding me, and pleading with me to let him take me to the hospital. I refused but promised him I would talk to the Dr. the next day. I could barely breathe all night and Will was terrified I would stop completely. Neither of us slept.

The next day consisted of an enormous amount of tests. After the tests was a breathing treatment. It resulted in a bad reaction and everyone becoming hysterical upon finding me in the room fallen over. Not surprisingly, I was sent home pending results.

We went to pick up my prescriptions on Friday and tried calling into my part-time job. Due to the low amount of employees, I had to work. As understandable as this is, it seemed impossible at the time. I went to work as planned and worked throughout the weekend. I ended up being able to breathe freely by Saturday night and had no episodes after that.

It was now the first Monday in May of 2009.  I went to work at the clinic like “normal.” “Normal” time. “Normal” outfit. “Normal” everything.

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A lot of you didn’t know this story. I was ok with that for a long time; mainly because I hate hearing the endless amounts of “I’m so sorry!!” and “I’ll pray for you.”* However, I felt the need to tell you all now.

Tonight, I felt that same pain in my chest. It hasn’t gone away and I am a little concerned that it is getting worse. Most of you are probably yelling through your computers for me to go see a doctor. Unfortunately, I do not think there is much they can do. You see, since the last time this has happened I have been informed of my condition. This is not stress and it isn’t in my head. It is my body’s way of trying to tell me there is something very wrong with my body. I can guarantee that any pharmaceuticals that would be shelled out to me would only worsen the problem that is causing this. I already know what is wrong but I can’t afford to take care of it (right now).

Is it serious? Yes. Could I die? Probably. Do I want something from you? Yes.

In fact, that is the only reason why I share this story. I am hoping I can get something from you. And that something is…

Prayer.

I don’t ask for a lot, but I am asking for this. Will you please pray for me? You don’t have to tell me you will. Just do it. You don’t have to apologize. You have done nothing wrong. You don’t have to feel bad. God knows what He is doing. :)

You don’t have to pray. I know some of you don’t believe it will do anything because you don’t believe there is anyone listening. But hey, thanks for reading anyway. It shows you care and that is way better than any, “I’m sorry” you could say. :)

*DON’T GET ME WRONG: I really appreciate the prayers and concerns in serious situations. However, I am a hugger. So, instead of telling me what I already know you are going to say, just hug me. :)

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I know this is a horrible transition but…

Ok!! On to the fun stuff! I wanted to share with you all that Will and I are heading to Nashville on Monday! We will be moving there. Will already has a job lined up but we will be looking for both a place to stay and for a job for me. So, if you know of anything, let us know! :)

We are taking a giant leap and moving to a city where we will be starting over completely. We are nervous and excited. So many butterflies! We really don’t know what to expect but are happy we have each other. I am trying to decide if I want to pursue a career in photography once we move or just work on my personal projects with it. It is a big decision and I think once we have a home and I have a position somewhere, it will be easier to decide.

I actually have tons to share but I feel like this post is getting way too long. I will save the rest for a post in the next couple days. :)

I truly love you all and am so grateful for you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading my blog!

love, erin

P.S. I can’t figure out how to turn off comments on this post. I am not sure there is a way to turn it off one post? So, I wanted to let you all know that I am not looking for comments. Just silent support (other than prayer). :)

You all know this, though.

I am popping in to apologize, yet again, for being silent here. My current reason is because my town looks like this right now:

I think it goes without saying that I am needed more in other places than here right now. Before any of you worry, Will and I are ok. So is my family. We were really lucky that we didn’t experience any of the great loss so many did. However, we are working hard to help out our friends and fellow residents. I hope you understand. We would love for any of you to help out if you can! We actually have a few ideas up my sleeve for ways you all can help in the next few months. If you want to help now, please email me and I will direct you to several places that you can help most.

I will be back. I just can’t promise a definite timeline. I know, I know. I really stink at keeping up with this place of mine. I really want to be here. I do. One day, life will feel a little more “normal.” Today isn’t that day. Hopefully, soon! In the mean time, you can keep up with me some on Twitter. :)

I miss you all!

Love, Erin

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