Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Driving Problem

I'm not a huge fan of driving. I know some people like the open roads and could spend hours going absolutely no where. Some like to roll the windows all the way down and feel the rushing wind speed through an open car. Some like to show off how well they can drive by making it look supremely easy, driving with one hand on the steering wheel and having a look of absolute relaxation on their faces. Some people use driving as a way to clear their heads, thinking about anything and everything on long road trips. However, I am not one of those people.

I see driving as a necessity to get me from one place to another. I would always rather someone else drive on trips longer than an hour than me. I always get out of the car after driving a substantial distance with cramped legs, a sore lower back and butt, and a craving to give my body some exercise. I also start getting sleepy on lengthy trips, which is obviously a problem. The endless scene of landscapes and cars as well as the gentle bumps in the road tend to lull me a bit. Yet I also feel like I'm always on my guard when I'm driving and can never reach that state of relaxation others are able to reach while behind the wheel. Maybe that's why I am so tired after longer trips. I know I'm a pretty decent driver (I always follow the laws of the road and try to drive defensively), but I simply don't love it like some people do.

Is this a problem? Possibly. Cars are pretty much a necessity in Texas. I am trying ever so slowly to get over my dislike of driving long distances. I have been plugging my iPhone into my car radio and playing some great music. No one can hear me when I'm singing in my car, so I belt it out as loud as I can! I also have started use my lonely drives as times to talk to God. He is the best listener there is, so why not use any opportunity I have to talk to my Father? And you know what? It's surprising how much talking out loud to God helps me make sense of my world.

So, I'm slowly starting to not mind driving quite so much. Singing at the top of my lungs and talking to God keep me entertained and awake! Who knows, mlaybe soon, I'll be like those people who go on drives with no where to go.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday

1. Sleep- This week, I have realized even more the necessity of sleep. To all those people who can pull ridiculous all-nighters, I do not know how you do it. I'm pretty sure I can't function without a decent amount of sleep every night. Sleep is my friend! It allows me to remember all I learned during the day, helps what I studied stick in my brain, and keeps me energized throughout the day. I strive to go to bed by 10:30 or 11:00 every night so that I can feel my best the next day as well as fight off infection.

2. Advising appointment- It's true, I had my advising already for next semester. It's not even October, and I'm already thinking about my next round of classes. Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit insane? I feel like this semester just got started, but here I am, already planning for the future! I am thankful that I do not have to figure out my schedule all by myself, however. I have two advisors (one for BIC, the other for speech pathology), as well as my parents who help me navigate the hundreds of courses offered by Baylor to narrow them down to the classes I want and need to take. Sic 'em, advisors! Thanks for all you do to help relieve the stress of planning out my college course load.

3. Wind- Not only does wind cool me off from the super hot days, it also helps me to recognize God's constant presence in my life. He is stronger than the mightiest wind, more comforting than a cool breeze on a hot summer day. God controls every aspect of nature, including the wind rushing through the air. I love feeling the wind breeze by me because I am reminded of how great my God is!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Never Once"

The song, "Never Once," by Matt Redman, has been on my heart a lot lately. I decided for my blog today, I would simply post the lyrics to the song. I encourage you to meditate on these lyrics, relishing in the fact that never once are we ever alone. I hope you take peace in these lyrics as I have so many times recently. God bless you today!

"Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace
Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

But God

Confession: I am not perfect. No where close, actually. I am a fallen being. I am controlling, selfish, and prideful. I want things to go my way, and if they don't, I tend to get pretty ruffled. It is hard for me to trust other people because I don't want to get hurt, yet I often crave human attention. My choices often revolve around what will be best for me, not necessarily what is best for other people. Long story short, I am a broken woman.

But God.

But God loved the whole world so much, He sent His only Son to die a gruesome death on a cross so that humanity can live forever with Him in Eternal Paradise instead of Eternal Torture.

But God is totally and completely sovereign. Time is not a limiting concept to Him. He knows all things past, present, and future. He is in control of every single situation. No detail escapes His gaze.

But God is the keeper of my heart. He alone exemplifies perfection. He is the only One who can fill the gigantic void in my heart. He alone can satisfy me completely. No human will ever be enough; I need God to fill the God-sized hole in my heart.

But God loves me no matter how many times I screw up, how many times I go against His commands, how many times I do not show love to others. GOD LOVES YOU AND ME. We can never do anything that will provoke Him to stop loving us! He is full of unending mercy and grace for those who accept His Son Jesus as Savior and Lord.

But God.

But God is AWEsome! Praise be to Him, forever and ever, amen!

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:1-7

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday

1. I get to spend Friday and Saturday with my sister! She goes to college about two hours away from me, and this weekend is my first trip this year to see her. I'm excited to check out her apartment, talk with her roommates, and have some serious sister bonding time. I know she is happy at the school she is at, and I love my school; God has placed us where He wants us and where we will succeed. However, I definitely miss our daily interactions, and I'm excited to see my sister face to face and hear what's going on in her life.

2. I'm thankful for the janitorial staff at Baylor who work tirelessly to keep my school clean. I see them with giant vacuums and cleaning supplies constantly around campus. Baylor prides itself in its impeccably clean campus, and I know this would not be possible without the janitorial staff.

3. This week had been pretty relaxed. I haven't really had much work due, and my test week was last week. Therefore, this week I have been able to relax a little and get ahead on work. I don't know about you, but I love the feeling of getting ahead on anything. Being able to do homework this week that's not due for another week or so has made me feel quite accomplished!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Recipe sharing

I've come to enjoy browsing through Pinterest when I have time. There are a variety of interesting pins on the site, from recipes to quotes to fitness to inspiration, and everything in between. One of my favorite things to pin would have to be recipes. I love cooking, especially cooking new recipes. I think it's fun to experiment with food, and even if you don't find a recipe you would love to make again, the experience of cooking a new dish is well worth the effort! Here's a recipe I found recently that I would love to make sometime soon: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars. It sounds like an interesting combination of ingredients and is definitely on my list to bake!

Ingredients:


Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
Cheesecake Filling:
  • 10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper or foil allowing a little overhang and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Leave your oven on while you prepare the dough.
3. While the crust is cooling, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside. (*Note: This mixture is going to be dry...that’s okay. It’s rather like a crumble topping. You’re going to crumble it on top of the cheesecake layer.)
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Use your hands to form "clumps" of the cookie dough, smoosh it together and flatten it out.  Distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake batter in teaspoon-sized clumps. Be sure to use all of the dough.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Chill in refrigerator overnight or for at least a couple hours.
6. Lift the bars out by the overhang and cut into squares for serving.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Funny looks

Man, did I get some funny looks today! After my 3:30-4:45 class, I decided to do my treatment on the bus ride back to my apartment. I felt like I really needed to at least start my treatment before I got back because my lugs were feeling pretty tight. I had brought my puffer and flutter with me to school in anticipation of needing to start my afternoon treatment. No big deal to whip those two things out, right? I mean, I wasn't going to start hacking in the middle of the bus (that might would cause a major disturbance), but I figured I could at least open up my airways with my albuterol puffer and first set of flutter.

I often forget how normal breathing treatments are to me and how foreign they are to everyone else. By the looks I got on the bus, you would've thought I was an alien! It was as If no one had ever seen a flutter before, imagine that! ;)

Note to self: CF is not normal for most people. Therefore, what you consider an everyday occurrence might weird some people out. Bear in mind your "uniqueness" when in public.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Never Let Go

Ever have those moments of complete insecurity when you feel like you just don't measure up? You don't know if you can stand still because the world seems to be shaking like crazy? You're struggling to see the beauty in life, no matter how hard you try? Try listening to this song by David Crowder Band.


No matter how insecure, shaky, scared, disheartened, or sad you feel, God never lets go of you, my friend!! He's holding on to you, walking side by side with you through any heartache, pain, joy, or blessing, whatever range of emotion you may be feeling. Be secure in that truth. Know that He loves you more than you or I can ever imagine!

John 16:33 "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Celebrating the Small Victories

This may not seem like much....

but I've gained one pound!




I haven't seen a gain in any weight whatsoever in a year and a half. Instead, I've seen a steady decline, dropping pound after pound no matter how hard I've tried to beef up my caloric intake. I've had a lot to deal with over the past year and a half, no doubt. However, thoughts of feeding tubes and constantly intaking high caloric foods have been on my mind pretty consistently. To be honest, I'm pretty sick and tired of it.

I think my reason for gaining this pound is two fold. First, I'm on new enzymes that are very similar to the enzymes I was on before I lost all the weight. My old enzymes were taken off the market due to new FDA requirements, and I've had to play around with new enzymes and dosing since that happened. Finally, these new enzymes seem to be absorbing much better and helping me digest my food. It's wonderful not to have quite so many malabsorption problems!

Secondly, I'm religiously attending two toning classes at Baylor. I am definitely gaining muscle mass as a result, and, as we all know, muscle weighs more than fat. These muscles are helping my lungs work better, as well as building me an overall healthier body. Since coming to college last year, I have been exercising on a regular basis because I know that cardio workouts will help my lungs stay in shape, while muscle toning helps my body keep up with the daily demands I place on it.

So, yes, I'm happy that I weigh 93 pounds. It may not be a big victory, but a gain in any weight at this point provokes me to celebrate this achievement. I will get back to a healthy weight, one pound at a time!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"The Breathing Room"

My mom recently bought me the book, The Breathing Room. It is a collection of poems and photographs sent in by adults living with cystic fibrosis, depicting their lives, joys, and struggles. The adult realm of CF is so much different than the pediatric arena I had grown so comfortable with. As I've transitioned into this foreign territory, I've realized how much I don't know about CF, and the ton of junk many CFers live with on a daily basis. The older you get, the more hardships come your way. That makes sense; after all, CF is a progressive disease that only gets more challenging with time. Yet one of the things I like best about the CF community is that we are brutally honest with each other. We comfort each other when life feels like it hits rock bottom, but we also celebrate with each other when something amazing happens. Even though we are a small group and can never connect face to face due to infection control, I am blessed by the people with CF who share their struggles openly and honestly. They don't hide behind a mask, but they don't try to make their situation seem worse than anyone else's. CFers just tell it like it is.

Today, I'd like to dedicate my blog to some of their poems--the adults with CF who openly share their struggles, triumphs, and facts. All of the following works and more can be found at this website. I encourage you to take the time to read these artistic works and chew on them, letting the intent of the author digest into your system. Maybe one day, I'll share a creative piece of my own with you all! But for now, these wonderful poets will have to do.

James Binegar--"CF a cruel thief"

My lungs feel sick,
filled with rancid infections
channeling through my lungs 
like mud as it wallows
through the trenches 
that are my airways

It leaves them wrecked
and tired from the onslaught
of persistent rage 
viscous obstruction and
pus, festering as it feeds
on the energy within my soul

Leaving the battle ground
war torn and filled with craters
where pockets of life once flowed
expanding with each breath
as the air of life rushed in.

I wish for emptiness
airways free of decay
and obstruction
instead I learn to accept
the thief that is CF

Mortar begins to set
up in my lungs
making them stiff
suffocating my tissues
my body, my soul, my mind 
I feel trapped
in this prison of flesh

If I could rip CF from my body
and place it in front of me
I would see it slither and ooze
a heartless and unrelenting
demon of consumption
taking its time stealing bit by bit
immune to my defenses

I still fight on
clinging to life and hope
that one day I'll know
the beast has been slain
to breathe without labor
to live without pain

Hard to imagine now
my life without such limits
not gasping for air
my lungs without scars 
breathing without a care
my hopes, my dreams

CF, is a cruel thief


Isa Stenzel--"Almost"

I'm almost thirty-and succeeding at survival-
I'm almost perfectly confident with who I am
I almost have everything I need
I almost have complete fulfillment
Almost

I can almost run an eighth of a mile
I can almost have a fulfilling career
I can almost pass as normal
I almost qualify for the life-saving clinical trial
I am almost ready for a lung transplant in a few years
I can almost go a day without any therapy
I almost have as much energy as my aging mother
I almost met God but he wasn't ready

I almost learned to be completely true to myself
I almost have nothing to complain about
I can almost believe I am going to make it
I would almost ask for nothing more
I could almost say if I have more loss I'd be okay
I'm almost ready if the end would come
To say I've lived an almost perfect life.
Almost.


Michelle Compton--"Happy"
happy?

how can you ask such a question of me?
does this disease leave me with feelings of pleasure?

A thousand needles have pricked my skin,
demanding blood
returning poison in the name of health

I've lost friends before i started high school;
said goodbye to loved ones
i met only through their legacies

and you ask if i am happy?

My body betrays me with each breath
sharp stabs to my chest 
keep me from bright hopeful dreams

I make decisions you cannot bear to think of
i face ugly truths - you turn your eyes away
blinding yourself with pathetic pity.

happiness is a question asked patronizingly of children

I face my fear every day
raising my sword of defiance and determination
slaying the dragons you didn't even know were there.

I am courageous, I am strong
I have accomplished everything
and paid with my life.

I am joyous, fortunate, fearless
spiritual, solaced, content and loved
don't ask if i'm happy.


Catherine Martinet--"Tachypnea"

Hummingbird,
diminutive and fierce. 
My breath comes as quickly
as the beating of your wings. 
My hunger for sustenance 
will match your voracious appetite. 
My spirit wills itself 
to adopt your tenacity. 
Swooping 
Darting 
Intently surviving. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

May we never forget

September 11, 2001. A day we will never forget.

I was in third grade when this disaster struck our nation. I remember being in utter shock and disbelief of the images I was seeing on the television. How could my home country be under attack?? What was going on? How could we protect ourselves? Even though I was young, I will never forget that tragic day, the emotions I felt but also the patriotism of the country. 

I am so grateful for the men and women serving our country who are fighting to defend freedom and liberty. I can't imagine the sacrifice our troops go through on a daily basis, consistently dying to their desires to serve the needs of the country. They give so much more than we could ever dream. So men and women of all branches of the military, thank you for serving. Thank you for fighting. Thank you for standing firm in your convictions and striving to better society. I will forever remember that I have the freedoms I do because of you!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Just Little Things

Taking time to enjoy the little things in life...












All above pictures from justlittlethings.net



Friday, September 7, 2012

CF humor

You know you're a CF patient when...

after being outside on a hot day for two minutes, you see salt crystals formulating on every square inch of your skin.

you hear students coughing in a class and automatically flinch, trying to find the culprit who could be passing you respiratory germs. When you find him or her, you may or may not give the evil eye, depending on how well you are feeling.

you have your doctor appointments for the year planned and on the calendar so that you will miss as little of life as possible.

your life and health do not go according to plan, and your wonderful forethought all goes down the drain.

your hands and feet start pruning up within seconds of being submerged under water.

your evenings seem to revolve around breathing treatments. I mean seriously, what is this "relaxation at night" thing, anyway?

you know the ins and outs of the hospital and how to navigate the medical world.

you carry so much medical equipment with you, a police officer might arrest you based on the crazy amount of pills, alcohol swabs, and needles in your backpack.

you see people on campus wearing CF shirts and automatically want to bombard them with questions about their CF heritage.

you understand how precious life is and how quickly it can end on earth.

you are probably smiling and nodding your head with the truth of these statements.

Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday

1. "I am not"- I just finished reading Louie Giglio's book, "I am not, but I know I AM." It was a humbling reminder to me that I do not know everything. If I rely on my own strength and knowledge, I will fail. I will crumble under pressure to be the best. I will question my own abilities. I will never be perfect in any relationship. If I forget that my name is I am not, I will get sucked up into conforming to the world. Yet God, who is named I AM, can do all things. I AM has made the whole universe. I AM knows my struggles and hurts. I AM is my source of strength and comfort. I know I AM, and nothing can ever be better than that. I am grateful for Louie Giglio's reminder that my name is "I am not", but I know I AM.

2. Pilates- Bearobics classes have begun again at the SLC. There are a variety of classes, ranging from weight training to yoga to water aerobics and everything in between. I have gone to Pilates two weeks in a row, and each week I have about died in class. Pilates is quite challenging!! However, even though my muscles hurt like crazy after the workout, it feels great to be building muscle and getting in better shape every week.

3. Thursday mornings- On Thursdays, I don't start class until 12:30. Although I am an early riser and consider sleeping until 8:30 to be late, I have been enjoying these mornings just to relax and start the day off right. I use the extra time to do laundry, go to the gym, watch the Today show and catch up on the week's news, and spend adequate time in the Bible. Yes, I think I'm going to like Thursday mornings this semester!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sound of the drum

The never-ending ping of the metronome pulsed through the air. After 8 counts, the sound of a drum cadence joined into the mix, adding to the music. Then all of a sudden, the cadence stopped, leaving only the metronome echoing across the field.  A few counts later, the cadence began all over again, repeating the pattern ten, twenty, even thirty times.

I don't think I will ever get tired of hearing drumline practice. As I was walking across campus today, I heard the familiar sounds of the drums practicing repetition after repetition. I actually found myself trying to get in step with the metronome (imagine me, skipping steps to catch up to some random beat probably no one else noticed, and you'll get the picture of how ridiculous I'm sure I looked). Yes, I'm a band nerd at heart, and I always will be. I could listen to drum practice all day and still be in awe of their excellence. I'm always so impressed by drumline's incredible discipline and constant standard of perfection. Drumline keeps the band in time as well as adding incredible strength and power to its sound. A marching band without a drumline wouldn't be a marching band, honestly!

I'm so grateful that I got to hear a glimpse of the drumline's practice today. Hearing the drum cadences brought back a rush of memories from high school that I will not soon forget. Sic 'em Baylor drumline. Thanks for the reminder of my high school band experiences!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Baylor football

And in the blink of an eye, it's that time of year again....

College football season.

There's nothing more exciting than the atmosphere at a college football game, especially a game in Texas. If you're not from Texas, football may not be quite as big of a deal. Down here, though, a school's football record determines the popularity of the school and settles many rivalries year after year. Football is the fall semester, not just a part of it. Weekends revolve around tailgating, losing your voice, and spending far too much money at the concession stands. Such is the life of a college football fan.

Baylor's opening season game was tonight against SMU. Not to brag or anything, but we wrecked shop. Nick Florence, our new quarterback did an incredible job. Anyone questioning his abilities were shut down tonight. As we scored touchdown after touchdown, the whole stadium knew Baylor was out to win--and win big. We pulled off the victory, completely dominating SMU.

I love that I go to a school where we pray before each and every home game. I love that I don't have to worry about alcohol being sold in the concession stands and then it getting spilt on me. I love that the atmosphere in Floyd Casey Stadium is so exciting and positive. Most of all, I love that Baylor sports always have an unwavering passion to perform at 110% all the time--giving their all to their teammates, their school, and God.

Yes, Baylor football is back. And boy, am I glad to be part of the legacy!