Saturday, September 28, 2013

New *

My new body :-)
Throughout my life, I have experienced many changes. Most of the time, these changes consisted of trials that were extremely difficult for me to maneuver through, and at times, I felt that rather than living through them, I was just hanging on until I could find footing somewhere and pick myself up to keep moving forward.
Recently, I have found that through some of these most challenging trials have come some of my life's greatest blessings. 
For example, through the divorce of my parents, I was able to be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Through the trails that came from moving to a different town my Junior year of high school, I was able to meet my eternal companion and the man of my dreams, Andrew.
There are so many more examples of this in my life, but I have also picked up a few more trials as well. During high school, I was very depressed. I saw a few counselors, but really felt that they weren't helping me feel any better. I also began to develop health problems. At fourteen, I experienced my first kidney stone. Years later, in college, the depression was still there, but I had found solace through my Savior, Jesus Christ, and through the teachings of my church. Through prayer, I could find a reason to keep living and the horrible thoughts I had experienced before were not as bad as they had once been, still my health was not perfect and to add to my kidney problems, I began experiencing pain in my gallbladder.
I was placed on a few really boring diets by my doctors and had a hard time sticking to them. I also had been prescribed a few different medications for pain, but never anything that would actually heal my body, and as far as the gallbladder goes, removal is not a treatment and does not end the problems. I told my doctors in 2011 that I would prefer to change my diet than to take out my gallbladder. They understood and that is how those crazy diets came to be.
A year ago, life got really crazy. My husband and I moved more than 400 miles from the tiny town that we both loved and were raised in. We uprooted and in the process, I lost my health insurance because I had to quit school. We thought we would be fine, until I began experiencing more pain than ever in both my kidneys and my gallbladder. I noticed that I was gaining weight and I seemed to feel sick all the time. I spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2012 sick enough that I was laid up on the couch for both holidays. To top it off, I had a UTI over our Christmas vacation as well. I seriously wondered when I was going to catch a break, and I was absolutely miserable. 
We came home from our Christmas vacation and I began training for a temporary job of preparing personal taxes for Jackson Hewitt. Working an office job was probably one of the worst things I could have done for my body. This is because I could not drink enough water to suffice my kidney problem and do my job well at the same time. I developed and passed even more kidney stones, and at this point, they were coming on average, every three weeks!
This is when a moment of inspiration had come...
I had always thought laying down until the pain went away was my best option, but I was soon working everyday in the Kalispell WalMart booth, and we were not very busy for some reason. During slow times, I would get up and walk  around my booth passing out coupons to WalMart customers. I found that walking made my pain more tolerable. A doctor later explained to me that this was because the constant movement of my body would help to move the stones more quickly through my body, and it is when the stone is leaving the kidney that it is most painful for me. I began to wonder if increasing my activity at home would help the pain subside, and began to exercise more frequently, along with drinking more water. 
In April, I joined an 8 week health challenge. I felt better when finished, but I still felt malaise that would not leave my body. I knew there was SOMETHING I could do and I just hadn't found it yet. 
In June, I had another check-up with my doctor who wanted to prescribe me yet another medication 'just to see if it would help'. I was really tired of hearing that from my doctor's and told her I just wanted to try one more time by changing my diet and exercise routines. I asked her to give me six months to find a way to help myself and if I couldn't find anything, I would come back and let her write me that prescription. I just don't believe that our bodies are meant to be cured with synthetic materials that can cause so many other problems when you use them to try to cover up problems that are already existent in the body.
I began my search again and finally stumbled upon a friend who was starting to coach people through 60 day health challenges. I really wondered how she could help me when the last challenge I had done had made no difference, but decided to contact her just to see what she had to offer. This is when I was introduced to something called Shakeology. I decided it would be worth a try after looking into it and realizing it was made completely from whole foods with no man-made ingredients. I also signed up for her 60 day challenge and used the INSANITY program my husband had ordered about a year earlier and not finished. 
This challenge began on August 1st, 2013.
Today is September 28th, 2013, and I am excited to report that both my kidney and gallbladder pain have completely left my body. I still have to avoid really fatty-greasy foods to prevent gallbladder flare-ups, but when I am eating balanced and drinking Shakeology every day, I have absolutely no pain and more energy than I think I have had since I was a young kid! To top that off, my depression symptoms have gone away and I am feeling a zest for life that I have never had! I feel bright and cheery and look forward to my day when I wake up in the morning. My world is no longer dark, and dreary and my husband is LOVING this new me!!! Also, a big plus is that I have lost over 15 pounds. When I started this journey on August 1st, I weighed 165 pounds. Today, I weigh 147 pounds! I have lost over 3 inches from my waist, and have lost inches from my arms, legs and hips as well! 
I am blessed to have finally found something that works for me, and I am going to make sure I keep this up. Not only that, but it is my goal now to share this success with anyone who can gain from it! I would be selfish to keep this to myself when it may help someone I know and love!
So, with that being said, I would just like to add that if you have been struggling with anything in your life, I PROMISE you that YOUR life can change for the BETTER! It does get easier and you can find peace and happiness again! If it is your health that you are struggling with, don't give up! There will always be something to help you become whole again! Life is good, and worth living! Don't give up! YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY, and IT CAN BE DONE!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Do you ever have those moments when you do something really silly, but really painful. You know, those moments where you sit there trying to decide if the desire to cry is stronger than the desire to laugh at yourself?
I KNOW you know what I am talking about...
Well, if you are lucky enough to have not had an experience like this in your lifetime, I'll tell you what I did today. Maybe then you'll understand what I am talking about.
This is how I remember what happened:

I was feeling a little munchy, so I decided I'd take a little stroll into the kitchen to see what I could eat. I went to the pantry first, thinking this was where I would find something to satisfy my need for feed... 
This was my first mistake. 
I opened the door and realized it was awfully dark in our house, and I would probably need to turn on a light in the kitchen to make out any of the shadowy shapes I was looking at in the pantry.
(You see, our pantry has no light inside, even though we have been talking about getting something to fix that problem since day one of moving into this house). 
Well, it just so happens that the light switch in the kitchen is located on the south side of our kitchen, and the only thing standing between that switch and myself was that stinking pantry door.
I thought this was no problem as I could just step back, walk around the door and flip the switch. 
This was my second mistake.
You see, my brain, being able to concentrate on only one thing at a time, must have been far too preoccupied with the current status of my stomach. I say this because rather than simply walking around the door and flipping the switch like I was thinking would happen, my body quickly walked RIGHT AT THE CORNER OF THE OPEN DOOR and SMACKED my face straight into it!
I hit my lip so hard it is now starting to swell, and I first thought I had broken my nose because of the instant desire to pass-out. I fell to the floor, clutching my face and watching, dazed, as my husband came running toward me asking me if I was OK. 
My response?
Laughter, and tears. Lots and lots of tears. I still don't know if the tears were a product of the pinching feeling that was taking hold of my upper lip at the moment, or if they were of pure and utter embarrassment, but I guess it was probably a mixture of both. I have calmed down now, except that my eye will not stop this crazy twitching... It's driving me nuts. :-)
Pictures never do justice, but you can somewhat see a titch of swelling starting to happen there.

So what's the moral of this story...?

Are you kidding me? I do things like this all the time and I still haven't learned. I doubt this time will be any different!
I am just glad it was only Andrew around to actually witness this happen... (He's seen me do similar stunts and is less surprised when they happen).
I will admit that we were at Lowe's this morning and I mentioned a little something about grabbing a light to throw into the pantry later today... I will definitely make that a priority on the list for the next trip we take into town!
I guess I have learned something today! 
And if you haven't experienced and embarrassing moment like this yet, well, I hope you do someday. It's good for the soul to have a few humbling moments every once in a while. It's even better if you can laugh at yourself while doing it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

*To My Man*

We have been married two years, one week and one day now. 
I couldn't be happier. :-)
I love you , and I am so grateful you chose me!
Do you remember when we used to Skype and thought that you would NEVER get back from Laramie?
Can you believe how long that period of our lives seemed to take?
When I look back at how crazy these last three years have been... with everything you have gone through with me... it feels like some of those old memories were a lifetime ago! I can't believe you can fit so many ups and downs into two short years... (three if you consider how long we have dated).
Still, I think back and wonder how could that much time have already passed? Where is the time going? It seems to only be moving more rapidly!
Regardless of time, I know that my love for you is not constrained by time.
In fact, it seems to grow deeper as time moves on. I am so grateful for this! Look around you! Look at the billions of people in the world who don't even know of our existence. Look at the media and how many failed relationships we could choose to be our examples. Look at how hard life can be! 
Now look away and know this, life does not have to be that hard!
We are LIVING PROOF of that!
This doesn't mean we won't go over some bumps in the road, but it does mean that we have a choice in how we will handle those hardships.
I know that when I'm with you, we will buckle down and hang on for the ride of our lives! We won't go down without a fight, and if, by chance, we are brought down... I know we will go down together.
That's what we do, you and I. We do things together. We play together. We fight together. We love together. Most of all, we are just...together!
I LOVE YOU, and I know that we will be happy (like we are right now) for the rest of our lives!
Thank you for making the choice to do this together, with me.
Thank you for believing in me!
Thank you for finding that life is mean to be enjoyed, and that it CAN be enjoyed with someone you love spending time with.
Time moves quickly, and I have a feeling it will continue to speed past us, but I find comfort in knowing that the time I have will be spent in good company!
P.S. No matter what anyone else says, I hope you NEVER stop kissing me in public!
 Your "Sweet Girl" :-)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Year In Photos

I took all of my photos off my SD card today... I thought it would be fun to post some up just for memories sake. I'll let the pictures do the talking :-)

 We love that we only live 30 miles South of Glacier National Park :-)

 The mountains are UNREAL here! Definitely one of Heavenly Father's more grandeur creations!
 Conrad mansion. Built by the founder of Kalispell. Beautiful place!
 Braxton and me on July 4th, 2012 @Freeman Park, Idaho Falls.
 Melaleuca Freedom Festival 2012
 Beautiful Mud Lake sunset. Our last weekend living in Idaho.
 Love the warm colors! Last weekend in Idaho.
 Getting back from a RZR Ride! We love bombing across Monteview!
 Andrew's Jekyll/Hyde impression?
 Eating @ Shari's after Hazen and Kizzy took out their endowments in the Idaho Falls Temple. 
 Andrew is overwhelmed by the menu :-)
 Hazen's nerves must be setting in and Kizzy must be tired from all the wedding planning!
 We trashed the pickup. Added 'snaps' firecrackers that were popping for weeks!

 Waiting for the Mud Lake Rodeo to start! 2012
 My babies :-) Just in our front yard!
 Hungry Horse Reservoir
 More Hungry Horse
 I love the moss that grows everywhere here!
 Hazen and Kizzy's first visit to Glacier!
 Andrew and I were asked to play "Mary and Joseph" in our church's Live Nativity.
 Out sledding (on the snowmachines) COLD DAY!!!

 "Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man" Ringing in the New Year!
 New Year's 2012/2013

 Drove the VW Beetle up Blacktail Mountain in January... not much snow this year.
 Playing out on Lake Blaine February 2013
 Mr. Toady, our girls camp friend, playing dead!
 Independence day w/ the Newman Family 2013
 Andrew making a sparkler "Eternity"
 Brian Williams with our over-sized sparklers!
 Family photo time
 Ping pong ball-sized hail in Hamer. July 2013. We were driving in it and thought it was going to break through our windshield!
 Riding the lift up Big Mountain, Whitefish Montana, August 2013
 Ross and Sheron waiting to take the slide back down the mountain, August 2013.
 Logan Pass

 I can't get enough of Glacier! What splendor!
 It is becoming tradition to eat cheesecake on our anniversary. This year it was homemade with hand-picked huckleberries and raspberries!
 I took Andrew to Montana Raceway Park August 31, 2013.

Cars are loud, I want to hear when I am 80 years old... thus the reason for my sweet fashion statement!

Overall, this has been a great year! We miss Mud Lake, but we LOVE it here! We are so grateful for the opportunity we received to come here. How interesting it is to see how life pans out. I never would have guessed that I would enjoy being this far away from family. We can't wait to see what the Lord has in-store for us this next year!