February 21, 2015

Winter Camping

Camping in the winter! That's a new item I can cross off of my bucket list. We've talked about it for years but never actually acted on it...until now! We've had unseasonably warm temperatures here lately (except for today...it's currently a blizzard outside ha!), so when we saw that last friday and saturday night were calling for a lows in the mid-30s (that's really warm for the mountains in February!) we decided to pulled the trigger and headed for the hills. Crazy, I know.

We loaded up just like any other camping trip, maybe adding an extra set of gloves and an extra sleeping bag. :) Quick drive to RMNP and we were in the campground. They keep one campground on the east side of the park open year round to accommodate crazies like us. ;) To my surprise, there were actually a decent amount of people up there! Quite a few camp sites were already occupied, which completely floored me. I couldn't believe there were other wackos who had the same idea as us haha!

We picked a great site that had a great views of Longs Peak and Moraine Park. We had two perfect pine trees for a hammock set up and for sunset watching.

 Our tent. Oh our tent drama. I know that I wrote this glowing review of our new tent last year. Well, truthfully that tent failed us miserably. The rainfly (outer covering which protects the tent from getting wet if it rains) made horrible flapping noises with the slightest breeze. It kept us up every night so we ultimately returned it with heavy hearts. We since got the REI Quarterdome 2(pictured above), which also has rainfly flapping issues. So it will be going to back and our hunt for a new tent will continue. *heavy sigh*
Saturday was full of swinging in the hammock, eating a slow fireside breakfast with coffee, reading, sitting in the sunshine and soaking in the views. I had an elopement to photograph, so we headed over to a different area of the park to take photos for my clients. Unfortunately, since Saturday also happened to be Valentine's Day, the Park was absolutely packed with lovebirds driving around gawking at all the beauty together. It was pretty tough to find spaces for photos that didn't include tourists in the background! 

We made it back to camp in time to watch the sunset and start a fire. The sunset was absolutely breathtaking! I was really surprised at how well we slept both nights. I was really afraid that I would just be freezing through the whole night. I had visions of me shivering and wide awake through the entire night, but that really wasn't the case! My sleeping bag is rated to 20 degrees and I bought a sleeping bag liner that increases the temperature by 15 degrees, bringing the rating to almost 0 degrees. Smart layering and a down jacket added extra warmth and helped ensure a good night's sleep! I woke up in the morning toasty warm and not cold at all! I'm not sure I'd want to head out when it's 0 degrees, but it is good to know that we can make it through a really cold night!





 I'm still trying to get the hang of astrophotography. I would LOVE to one day be able to accurately capture the milky way. I spent the better part of an hour our first night trying different settings to get a sharp shot. This was my best try, which I still think is lacking compared to what I know can be done. Oh well, it's good to have ambitions to strive for when it comes to these nighttime creative endeavors!
 On our second morning, we woke up to a pack of coyotes howling less than 100 yards away. I climbed up on the ridge and saw a group of coyotes circling a huge herd of elk. They were attempting to hunt, which I thought was remarkable because coyotes typically won't try for elk because of how huge they are. It was amazing to watch the elk react. They grouped together tightly, putting the babies in the middle and the bulls on the outer edge. The coyotes chased them up and down the valley but were ultimately unsuccessful. We sat on the ridge and watched for a while as the sun came up.

As we turned our heads to the west and saw the incoming storm. We decided to pack up and get out before the snow set in. We got out just in the nick of time, the snow descended on the Park just 30 minutes later. But we were happy and warm in our car with hot coffee and a bag full of freshly baked donuts :)

February 10, 2015

This & That

Be prepared for the most boring edition of This & That ever. There is literally nothing going on right now, but it needs to be that way. So you'll have to settle with my thoughts on good books and lip gloss ;)
  • Cookies have taken over our house! On Sunday, I bought 5 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from a sweet little punkin that showed up at my front door. I had a $20 bill, cookies were $4/box...you do the math. Then yesterday, the FedEx guy dropped over 10 lbs. of massive gourmet cookies on my front step. David's grandma wanted to do something nice for me in light of all that is coming up, so she sent me a gazillion cookies from one of my favorite local cookie shops. So we now have over 8 dozen cookies in our house at the moment. I need to implement some sort of strategy that helps me not eat them all in 48 hours. Self-control isn't working too well ;)
  • Tarte Energy LipSurgence is my new obsession. So much fun! The shade changes depending on the ph level of your skin that day. So far, I've had it be everything from a nude blush color to cotton candy pink. One swipe is usually enough for me to get sufficient color, but if you apply more the color becomes richer. It's very sheer and almost acts as a stain, so it's great to use with balm or gloss on top. I originally bought it for my sister for her birthday, but then I decided I needed some too. 
{source}
  • I have an elopement ceremony in Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend. I figured David and I could head up there and maybe stay a night or two in Estes Park. And then I looked into hotels. Apparently Valentine's Day + President's Day=really expensive hotels that are almost sold out. So instead of spending $350/night, we've decided to camp in the Park. I've never camped in the winter before. It could be really fun...or really miserable. I'll report back on the outcome!
  • Since it's my off-season, I've had a lot of downtime. It's been lovely! My days have been full of taking walks, coffee with friends, trying new recipes and reading. I discovered an author that I really enjoy and I've checked out just about every book of hers from the library. If you like murder mysteries that aren't necessarily fast-paced or scary, Louise Penny may be for you! She writes about a quaint little town in Canada that happens to have a little problem with people showing up dead. I like that she spends just as much time writing about the beautiful scenery and what type of cheese was served with dinner at the local bistro as she does about the clues and crime. 
  • I had a pretty good balance week last week, except for a few minor setbacks. I even managed to go for a long hike on Tuesday. It was almost 70 degrees out and I couldn't not take advantage of that! I made a deal with myself that at the first tiny hint of any issues, I was going to turn around. But I managed 8 miles without any balance problems at all. Hooray! God is so gracious to allow me to enjoy this still.


I thought I'd do a little SCDS FAQ (that's a lot of acronyms haha!) since I have been getting lots of interesting questions about surgery and what exactly this crazy syndrome syndrome is! 

  • What exactly is SCDS and how do they fix it? Basically you have a series of balance canals made of bone that act as barriers between your inner ear and brain. One of my balance canals, the Superior Semicircular Canal, has broken. In order to fix it, they have to do a bone grafting surgery. Essentially they make an incision above your ear into your skull. For about 30-60 minutes they lift up your brain so they can visualize the broken canal. Using some bone from your skull, they craft a "replacement part" and cement it in place. The brain goes back into place, a titanium plate covers the hole in your skull, you're stitched up and good to go! 
  • What are your symptoms? Primarily bizarro auditory and vestibular issues....I can hear my heartbeat, the muscles and cartilage in my neck, blinking and my voice echos in my head when I talk. My ear also feels full, like when you have an ear infection. Several times a day I get thrown into momentary vertigo where everything is just...off. So far, I've only had one instance where the whole room was spinning. Usually I just feel off kilter, especially if I move my head or eyes too quickly. 
  • How did the bone break? To be honest, doctors really aren't sure yet. There is some evidence that it is congenital. There is also some evidence that head trauma can be the culprit. I've had some concussions, so it may be a contributing factor. Or maybe it's both! 
  • What happens if you don't have surgery? I get this question a lot from people hoping that maybe I can avoid having to go through surgery. Unfortunately, this disorder just gets worse over time as the bone begins to wear away. My momentary vertigo would likely turn into constant 24/7 dizziness. I could definitely deal with all the weird auditory stuff for the rest of my life (although it wouldn't be fun) but the dizziness is one thing I couldn't handle. For some patients, it progresses rapidly and just a few months down the road they are debilitated by dizziness. For others, it can take years to get to that point. Since my initial diagnosis in September, I've noticed a steady decline in how I feel. I would guess a year from now I'd be a walking disaster. I'm not taking any chances, hence having surgery now!
  • -What is recovery time like? Immediate recovery is about 4 weeks where the brain swelling goes down. After the initial 4 weeks, it takes most people 4-12 months before they're back to 100%. The majority of that time is spent recovering your balance and equilibrium. The surgery plugs a balance canal so you have to retrain your brain to see the world correctly.
  • I just saw you a few days ago and you seem completely normal! Are you sure you need to go through all of this craziness?! I know, I know. My pleasant demeanor can be quite convincing that I'm perfectly fine :) One of the hard things about struggling with this is that it is literally all in my head. You can't tell just by looking at me that something is wrong. It's only in those moments where you see me stumble from balance issues or you notice I'm having a hard time focussing on our conversation due to all the noise in my head that you realize there's a problem. I liken it to looking at someone who has Fibromyalgia. On the outside, they may look totally normal, but you know on the inside they're struggling daily with all sorts of pain. That's the problem with so-called "invisible diseases," you can't always judge a book by it's cover!
  • How long will you be in California? We're schedule to arrive March 31st so that I can do some brain scans on April 1st. Then surgery is the next day. Most patients are in the neuroICU for 24 hours and then in recovery rooms for the next 2-5 days, it just depends on how you're feeling. My post-op appointment isn't until April 15th, so we'll likely be in California until the 16th or so. During that time between hospital discharge and my post-op appointment, we will be staying in an on campus hotel for UCLA patients. It's only a block away from the hospital, which is nice...just in case ;)

February 1, 2015

Faith Over Fear

I officially have a surgery date! April 2nd. Part of me wishes it was sooner, so I could just get it over with. And part of me wishes it was further away (like, never). It would be nice to have more time to prepare. But really, can one ever have enough time to prepare for brain surgery? Probably not.

The past 2 weeks have been a mental tug-of-war. I've spent half of my time fearfully and obsessively thinking about and researching surgery outcomes/complications/recovery times (helpful hint: don't look at Google images for the search term: middle fossa craniotomy). The other half of the time I've been trying to make myself not obsessively think about or research surgery outcomes/complications/ recovery times. I've had entire days go by where the only thing I've thought about was surgery. Just being real.

I'm part of a SCDS support group for people with this diagnosis (all 400 of us haha! No really, only one in 1 million people have this crazy diagnosis. There's literally only 400 people in the group) and while it's comforting to know I am not alone and that there are plenty of people who have been through the surgery successfully...it's also scary. Because you see the struggles. You see what it's really like for some of them on the road to recovery. You see the tears, the frustration, the complications. You see the ones who stay dizzy for 6 months and the ones who never seem to get better. And that makes it all much more real. Fear sinks in a bit deeper. Anxiety creeps up a little more frequently. Uncertainty begins to surface every hour. Doubt of whether I can really do this settles in and makes itself right at home in my daily thoughts.

I think these past 2 weeks needed to happen. I needed to obsess over it all. I needed to lose sleep over it. I needed to pour all of my energy into basically freeeeaaaaaaking out over this surgery. I needed to get it all out of my system now. Because I don't want to be in this place 2 months from now. I refuse to sink into an ocean of anxiety. I refuse to enter into that hospital with more fear than faith.

Thankfully, God helped me out of my tailspin and has pointed my feet in a different direction. I have exactly 60 days ahead of me to focus on what really matters (yep, that would be Jesus).

I can't focus on my own journey if I keep looking at everyone else's. I can't focus on my own healing if I'm constantly thinking about the problems other people have encountered. How can I expect to experience peace and miraculous healing if I'm always worried about what can go wrong?  I have to retrain my eyes to focus on the Lord through this. I can't keep looking down, wondering if and when I'm going to fall.

I want to be light as air going into this surgery and recovery. I want to be strong, brave, confident. I want to be so hopeful that walk through this with a smile on my face because I am so sure of God's faithfulness in my healing.  It's 100% not natural to walk into brain surgery and have no fear. But that's what I want. I want that irrational hope that laughs in the face of dread.

But in order to get to that place, I have to focus and rely completely on the Lord. Because like I said, it's not natural to walk into this with no fear. It's wildly illogical. It's going to take a supernatural leap of faith in my heart to get to that place. But I'm praying and trusting God to help me make that leap.

I think it's going to take a lot of prayer. Probably a lot of focus and resolve too. It's going to require me to reject the fear and doubt that tries to creep in. While I'm at it, I should probably rid myself of self-pity, distraction, comparison, unbelief and my tendency to waver. All to make room for the Holy Spirit to minister to my heart and begin building my trust and confidence. Come April 2nd, I want to believe God for miraculous healing so confidently that I don't even remember what it was like to doubt.

Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt...you can say to this mountain, 'go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done." ~Matthew 21:21

January 21, 2015

California

David and I aren't the types to travel somewhere, no matter how serious the reason may be for our travels, and not explore or attempt to enjoy our time together. Yes, much of our time in California was consumed medical stuff, that is after all the reason why we were there. But we had to enjoy ourselves a little bit, right?! :) It would have been too overwhelming to just make this trip about neurosurgeon consults, we had to add a little bit of relaxing and exploring into the mix! Here's a little bit of the non-medical side of our trip to Cali...
In-N-Out, you just gotta do it!

UCLA's campus is quite lovely. It's massive, so we spent a lot of time just wandering around. It was a little terrifying how old I felt there haha! The reality of my 10 year college reunion coming up this year set in pretty quickly. All the students looked like tiny little babies. It was kind of crazy.
L.A. is so crazy that we got overwhelmed pretty easily. All the people, traffic, noise and general craziness sent us into introverted tailspins every now and then. So when we found a lovely little grove of palm trees next to a fountain near the medical campus, we set up camp and we spent a lot of time there just sitting, thinking, eating, praying, people watching. It was nice to have a quiet spot to find a little peace.

After my appointment on Thursday, we got out of UCLA just in time to run down to the Santa Monica pier and catch the sunset. It was a beautiful evening! I decided to bring my photo gear with me on this trip, which is pretty rare. It's so expensive and heavy and awkward...it certainly doesn't make traveling easier. But my camera is a tool for therapy and I knew I was going to need a little therapy during this trip haha! It is such a great way for me to escape reality a little bit and focus completely on f-stops and fading sun rays. Almost every day we ran to a nearby beach so I could immerse myself in this creative process. 

After we wrapped up at UCLA on Friday, we headed north. Since our appointments lined up perfectly with the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, we decided to take a few days and head to Santa Barbara. We knew it would be good to spend some time relaxing and getting away for a little bit. We needed a place to process everything.
We had a lovely weekend in Santa Barbara! We stayed at a beautiful Hilton right across the street from the beach. We snagged a beachfront room and enjoyed breakfast on the patio Saturday morning. A little room service, a few walks on the beach, watching the seals swim by, a little more In-N-Out Burger, another incredible sunset and our day was complete. We had some of the best conversations on Saturday and I ultimately came to my decision about surgery while on the beach. Our whole time there was very conducive to clarity and decision making. 
On Sunday we walked around, had brunch at the harbor, spent a bit of time downtown and then headed towards Malibu! I had been wanting to visit Leo Carillo State Park so we headed over that way. All the pictures of the park showed a beautiful serene oceanscape with beautiful waves. It just looked so peaceful that I had to go. It was pretty much the opposite of that haha! There were gobs of people everywhere. It was a little bit crazy. We grabbed a few photos and then got the heck outta there!
 
Seal!

We headed further in towards Malibu and found the perfect spot over looking the beach and set up for another little sunset shoot. It was really peaceful up there, despite sitting on the Pacific Coast Hwy. Everyone seems to slow down or stop for the sunset. I like that :)

After the sunset, we headed back into L.A. and the flew out the next morning. I'm so glad we were able to take a little bit of time and enjoy a few different parts of CA. California was overwhelming, but it would have been exponentially more overwhelming if we had just stayed in L.A. so I am very grateful for our time in Santa Barbara!



January 19, 2015

The Right Decision

California. What a whirlwind. Our trip to California was a complete whirlwind. I meant to post before we left. I really did. But you know how it goes....shoots, laundry, meetings, watching the Broncos lose miserably in the playoffs... life catches up to you.

Let's just back-up a few steps before I get into everything. Just a little recap, the whole reason we went out to California was to meet with 2 neurosurgeons who specialize in a surgery to fix a broken bone inside of my skull. I first was diagnosed back in September after experiencing some whacky symptoms and since then I've met with 2 other doctors here in CO for 2nd and 3rd opinions. The 2nd opinion didn't go so well. That doctor had me mostly convinced that nothing was wrong with me and that this was just all in my head (no pun intended). The 3rd opinion was 2 weeks ago and that doctor hesitantly confirmed the diagnosis and recommended a less-invasive (and less successful) surgery. David and I both agreed that we would allow the surgeons at UCLA to be the final authority on everything since they are the most knowledgable and experienced with this disorder and how to treat it. So, off to California we went. Hoping for clarity. Hoping for direction.

To be honest, the 2nd doctor I met with here in CO had me pretty convinced that there was nothing actually wrong with me. To the point where I didn't even believe the 3rd opinion I got 2 weeks ago. To the point where as I walked onto UCLA's campus, I anticipated hearing them say the same thing. I was pretty convinced they were going to say "listen, you're fine. Go home, take an aspirin and call us in 6 months." 

So I was quite surprised when both neurosurgeons independently confirmed I do have SCDS and that surgery would be the best course of treatment for me. Not only did they confirm it, but they did it with confidence, assurance and ease. There was no questioning, no guessing or wavering.  The first doctor reviewed my CT scans and told me within the first 5 minutes that I was a "classic case" of SCDS. The second doctor said he was "without a doubt, 100% certain the bone was broken" and then said he was equally confident that he could fix it. 

We talked about the surgery... 
The risks: Ummm, it's technically brain surgery so there are a gazillion risks. Also, they have to shave part of my head. Yeah, big risk there. 
The rewards: Bone is fixed! No more vertigo! No more noises in my head! No more worrying about things getting worse! Peace! Also, they have a 90% success rate
Potential complications: Infection. 10% of people do not get better after surgery
Recovery time: Totally varies. Some people are fine in 3-6 weeks. Some people are fine in 9-12 months.

David and I spent a lot of time talking. Weighing our options. Praying. Thinking, pondering, hypothesizing and discerning. Before we left for California, we prayed. We mostly prayed for clarity. That God would give us wisdom and that the correct path would be made clear to us. Over and over we prayed for clarity. Others prayed for clarity for us. And clarity is what we got. God couldn't have made it more clear to us. Crystal. Clear. 

I know that choosing surgery is the right decision. I feel it in my spirit. Most people with this disorder get worse as time goes on. It never gets better. The bone can't heal without surgery. I'm young. I can't live the rest of my life as things slowly digress. I can't sit here waiting for the day when I'm so dizzy that I can no longer walk. Plus, these surgeons are literally the best in the country at this. We felt so comfortable with their level of skill and knowledge, I know that I'll be in the hands of the best. David and I have the same peace about moving forward, which is always a good sign that we're on the right track.

The risks are there and they are scary. But to me, the scariest thing is not doing anything as my quality of life slowly goes downhill. We're waiting to hear back right now on an exact surgery date, but they seemed to think it would be sometime in the next 4-9 weeks or so. Hopefully between now and then, my fears won't take over and I'll be able to maintain my conviction that this really is the right decision.



December 31, 2014

2014: Looking Back

14 has always been my favorite number, so it's no surprise that 2014 was one of my favorite years.

This year was gooooooood. Sure, there were a few hard things thrown in the mix (hello broken bone inside of my head) but no year is going to be flawless. I'm just grateful to have a year go by that wasn't characterized by job loss, baby loss, heartache and disappointment. It's been a while since we had a year that wasn't really hard. We are standing in celebration over how this year turned out. It felt like we were finally able to breathe and actually enjoy life a little bit (ok, we enjoyed it a lot!).

I think the word Discovery accurately sums up the theme of 2014. Self-discovery, professional-discovery, rediscovering joy. I discovered new hikes and trails, parks and areas around this beautiful county of ours. It was a year of discovering some of God's most beautiful blessings as I learned more about who I am in Christ.

Travel was a big theme of this year. I think we traveled more this year than any other year in our 12 years together! A few of the places we went to: Steamboat Springs, Mexico City, Zion, Charlotte, Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Wyoming, Grand Cayman, Telluride, Estes Park, Arizona/Utah and countless little weekend backpacking/hiking/camping trips in between. I counted and I think we were gone 30 weekends out of the year. We saw so much, experienced so much. And our lives feel richer because of it. Not only does travel bring us closer but it deepens our appreciation for pretty much everything.
Another big piece of this year was me making a big business decision and deciding to photograph elopements! I said goodbye to big weddings and welcomed these sweet little intimate ceremonies with open arms. I photographed 30 elopements this year and I can honestly say I've never been more creatively fulfilled and happy in the 8 years I've been doing this professional photography thing. It's like a whole new world has opened up to me! I also discovered a dormant desire in my heart...landscape photography! I'm soooo excited to see where this goes in 2015! I feel like I'm rediscovering photography all over again.
This year was full of baby steps in my Wild Goose Chase. I pointed myself in the direction I felt He was calling me to. I got over some fear of counseling began doing some spiritual/weight loss coaching for a Christian ministry.  I'm absolutely blown away by how God is using my journey to help others become free from the bondage of weight and disordered thoughts about food. For the first time, I feel like I'm walking in His will and living out part of my calling. It's beautiful.

2014 also marked the beginning of a journey out of the thick, dark and dense forest of infertility. I've slowly begun to peek my head out of the trees as I discern who I am apart from the last 5 years. It's interesting how my identity got gobbled up by the pursuit of motherhood. I'm discovering what life in the aftermath of infertility feels like. It's an interesting and solitary road to walk. But I'm slowly learning to navigate it. No doubt this journey will continue into 2015 and beyond.

Mostly I'm just grateful for a good year. Finally! I'm excited to see how the things I discovered in 2014 turn into things that I embrace in 2015.



December 9, 2014

This & That


  • We officially have tickets booked for Los Angeles so that I can meet with a neurotologist and neurosurgeon at UCLA who specialize in SCDS. We'll be meeting with them on January 15th, with some likely additional testing done on the 16th. That happens to be Martin Luther King holiday weekend, so we figured we'd probably stay an extra day or two and explore! If we're going all the way out there, we might as well enjoy ourselves for part of the time, right?! I haven't been to L.A. or souther California in over 10 years! We'll have about 2 days to do a little sight seeing and possibilities are overwhelming to me...stay somewhere on the beach in Santa Barbara? Go see a taping of The Price Is Right? Day trip to Channel Islands? Drive the Pacific Coast Hwy? Disneyland?!? Ha! If you have any "must see" recommendations, I'd love to hear them!
  • My birthday was on Thanksgiving this year! We hosted at our house this year and had a big turnout of 11 people. That might sound small to some people, but it was huge for us! We had a great day of football, turkey and birthday cake. I got some pretty sweeeet gifts too. I got really spoiled this year. David got me an amazing Patagonia jacket that I've been drooling over. I got a pair of cute Sorel snow boots from my mom and a lot of cute clothes from my sister.  And my in-laws generously got me a new tripod so that I can continue pursuing my attempts at landscape photography. What a lucky girl I am to have such generous gift givers in my life!

New leggings, J.Crew flannel and my new boots!
  • This weekend, David and I went snowshoeing. This year, I've probably hiked 30 times for a total of at least 200 miles. Go figure, my last hike of 2014 turns out to be my worst hike! We opted for Flattop Mountain in RMNP, which is a hike I've never done before. It's 8.5 miles and about 3,000 feet of elevation gain, so not exactly an easy hike. Right off the bat, I pulled a hip flexor muscle. The pain just got worse and worse as we continued up the mountain. By mile 3 I was in tears and we decided to call it a day. I was really disheartened that we couldn't finish or break treeline. I was really disheartened that a year full of awesome hiking ended in tears (and falling on a patch of ice at the very end, just icing on the cake!). But we managed to enjoy what we could, which included beautiful views, peace and quiet, a yummy lunch, a few shots with my new tripod and watching the winter sun sink low in the western sky through the pine trees. 
 Check out that sweet new jacket. It kept me warm all day long!
  • I'm in love with my new tripod! In my 8 years as a photographer, I have never owned a tripod. I guess I've just never had a need for one. At weddings I'm constantly running around, I don't have the time or need to utilize a tripod. But with landscape photos, the need arose. The more time I spend trying my hand and landscape photography, the more I realized a tripod needed to be a part of my equipment. Especially with night photography, it's virtually impossible to take a shot at night without the steadiness of a tripod. After lots of research and deliberation, I eventually settled on the MeFoto Roadtrip. I love it because it's light, sturdy, easy to set-up and it packs down to only 13 inches long, so I could practically carry it in my purse. 
These are the first 3 night shots I've ever taken and been happy with. I still have a looooooong way to go in the technical arena, but at least I'm making some steps in the right direction. I think this first shot below is kinda creepy. I sure hope the rest of my shots aren't as erie looking :)

  • My Saturday morning Bible study started a new study by Priscilla Shrirer called Breathe. I'm already in love with it. Saying no to unnecessary things in order to make more room for God and peace and stability in my life? Yes please! That's been the theme of my life this year, I'm so excited to dig more into this and incorporate some more Sabbath margin in my life. 
  • Can I share my newest favorite recipe with you? It's a crock-pot cream cheese chicken chili and it's to. die. for. Like so so so good. Too good to not share, so I'm sharing! Rather than type it out, I'll just share the link: http://completerecipes.com/Crock-pot-cream-cheese-chicken-chile.html We have had it over rice and had it in tortillas so far, pretty much any way you service it is going to be stellar!
  • Just being real, I'm in a weird place. Wrestling with a lot of emotions and battles in my mind and with God lately. It's not serious, nothing to be worried about. But it's still significant. I find myself thinking a lot about things like healing, God's will, the long-term effects of infertility, what true joy looks like, theology of suffering, character change, the purpose of adversity and the relationship between faith and answered prayers. Heavy stuff. Maybe I'll write a longer post about that.
  • David's work Christmas party was last night. Since he works for a government entity, they have to keep things classy and family friendly, unlike many Christmas parties you hear about haha! We had a great night! I got to meet some of his coworkers and the food was outstanding. They had a photobooth, bluegrass band, cookie buffet, s'mores bar, carriage rides and they even had reindeer. Yes! Reindeer! Comet and Cupid came for a visit. So cute! It made me exponentially more grateful for his new job. God is so good :)

December 4, 2014

Puppynado

Let's have a little story, about that one time we almost adopted a crazy puppy. 

One day I was driving down I-25 on my way to Denver for class.  It was a beautiful morning, I had finished photographing the sunrise and I was looking forward to the day ahead. I had just stopped for a hot cup of coffee, of which I was about to take my first sip.

Up ahead, something catches my eye. What is that? Is that....no, it couldn't be...surely...is that a puppy on the side of the highway?!? I slam on my brakes (carefully preserving my hot coffee) and pull over onto the shoulder of the interstate. Yes indeed, a sweet little puppy is running around. Barely 5 feet from traffic, he was confused, alone and not quite sure which way to turn. I get out of my car, careful to not get run over myself. I run over to him and I quickly distract him away from the semi-trucks that are headed his way. 

I asked him what he was doing on the side of I-25 all by himself. He responded by licking my face. I asked him how he got there. He responded by chasing a bunny down an embankment. I decide we should probably go for a walk and see if maybe he just escaped out of his home. Surely his owners must be frantic and looking for him, right?! We walk away from the highway towards all the pretty farms. We walk all over, looking for his family. We knock on doors, we wake people up, we explore driveways and backyards and we come up empty handed. 

As the morning goes on and I realize this puppy and I were going to be together for a while, I decide he needed a name. I name him Puppynado because he is a tornado of fur and slobber and joy. He loves our adventure so much and especially loved chasing all the bunnies. Puppynado was happy as a clam walking through horse property and country roads with me. Note: I got the pink leash after banging on a poor woman's door for 15 minutes at 6:45am. In her sleepy stupor, she gave me the leash so that I would leave her alone and let her go back to sleep :)
We keep walking, exploring, searching for his owners. Surely, someone is missing Puppynado at this very moment, right? Well, if they were looking for him, we never saw them. After a long time of looking around, watching the passing cars drive down the dirt roads and feeling a bit defeating,  we head back to my car, careful to avoid the semi-trucks. Puppynado happily gets in the backseat, ready for our next adventure.
 At this point, I'm not quite sure what to do with Puppynado. I know one thing for sure...he's ridiculously cute and he's slobbering all over my jacket with his big pink puppy tongue. I know that I want to give him the best shot at reuniting with his owners, wherever they might be so I met up with Boulder Animal Control. Puppynado greeted them with the same enthusiastic kisses and he greeted me with. They determine he is 8 months old and not microchipped (seriously people, microchip your pets!). They told me they would help him get entered into the Lost Dog program. He would get a bath, a fancy photoshoot and an online profile where people can search for him. Sounds good! Surely, someone will claim him in no time. I say goodbye to Puppynado, pat his head, rub his velvety ears and wish him luck. He never even turned around to thank me, he was too preoccupied with his new animal control friends and watching a squirrel.

Because I'm obsessive, I check Puppynado's online Lost Dog profily approximately 28 times that day. No one has claimed him. I check the next day and the next and the next. Still, no one has claimed this sweet little tornado of fur. Eventually, almost a week passes and Puppynado graduates from a Lost Dog, to an Adoptable Dog. That's when my heart starts twisting in knots.

I want this dog. I love this dog. I helped save his life. But I have several problems facing me, the least of which are my 2 spoiled kitties who would not take kindly to having a furry hurricane chase them around the house. Followed by a very logical husband who knows the last thing we need right now is a puppy. 

I pray. I agonize. I cry and ask God what I should do. I talk ad nauseam with David about it. And I never have peace about the decision. I do have peace about visiting him again though. So off to the shelter I go that we can play together.
See why I named him Puppynado? He's a tornado.

After just 12 hours as an Adoptable Dog, someone places a hold on him. My heart sinks a little bit knowing that in all likelihood, he would be going home very soon with someone who wasn't me. Regardless, I brought David over to visit him. I wanted him to meet this little guy who wiggled his way into my heart. 

I'd be lying if there wasn't a little piece of me that wished David had formed an impenetrable bond with Puppynado. A bond that took away all of his logical objections to adopting a crazy puppy. A bond that was so strong that he would say "Beck, we have to get this dog. Wild horses couldn't keep me from adopting him. Perhaps we should just keep walking him all the way home." That didn't happen, but it didn't stop us from having lots of fun with him :)


 David felt that a more appropriate name for him was Puppy CrayCray :)

We get home and I agonize/pray/cry/obsess some more. But only long enough to realize that Puppy CrayCray aka Puppynado had adopted by someone else. I'm not sure who, but I hope they're kind and loving. I hope they feed him steak every day and have a big backyard full of bunnies and an 8 foot fence. 

And that is the story of how we almost adopted a puppy, but not really. The end. :)

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Hi friends, my name is Becky. I am a follower of Christ, wife, photographer and business owner. I am an explorer of the great state of Colorado and constantly seek insight and healing in God's creation. I'm glad you're here :)

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