Monday, September 27, 2010

Losing Your Grip

During my journey of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, I have learned a lot, and I want to share one of the most valuable lessons I believe I have learned through all of this.

We all have things in our lives that are important, and rightfully so, but when does it cross the line of being an important thing that you hope for, to an "ultimate thing" you expect? I truly believe that we all have moments in our lives where we close our hand on something (whether it be a relationship, a career, or yes, having a baby) and we say "God, you are in control of EVERYTHING... except for this. This is mine and you can't have it. I don't want my life without it so I will make this happen with or without you." (Not that we consciously say this to God, but our actions speak louder to Him than our words.)

The catch here, I don't think many of us would ever realize that we have these "ultimate things" in our lives until they are taken away from us.

For me, I never would have considered my life long desire to be a mom a bad thing or something that hindered my relationship with God. I also never considered the thought that having a baby wouldn't come easily for me. So when the realization hit me that this could take a while and *deep breath* possible never happen I was devastated beyond devastated and, after moments of feeling like my entire life was pointless, I had the overwhelming revelation that having a baby was my ultimate thing. My hand was closed and this was a non-negotiable. I can honestly say that without having my dream of motherhood taken away (/postponed), I don't think I would have ever come to this realization. For that reason (along with this being part of God's plan for my life), I am thankful. I am thankful that God revealed to me in a painful but obviously needed way, that there was a problem in my relationship with Him.

While I now am aware of my personal struggle and ready and willing to face it head on, it is still a challenge. Praying once does not cut it. I have to pray everyday for God to help me to fully depend on Him and to let go of any control I thought I had.

I share this part of my soul with you because after a long conversation with one of my best friends, I realized just how relevant this can be to anyone who may be faced with losing an "ultimate thing" or to anyone who doesn't realize they have an "ultimate thing."

Lesson: If the idea of life without something/someone causes you to be unsure of how you could go on with your life, it is an "ultimate thing" and you are putting that thing before God.

Solution: Pray (continually) for your foundation to be on God and for Him to be the first priority in your life.

Remember: Our number one purpose in life is to bring glory to God. (1 Corinthians 10:31; Isaiah 43:7)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Good Friend Will Stab You

If you know me well enough, you know I'm pretty terrified of needles (well at least them poking me... they can poke other people all day and I'm cool with that). So when my good friend (and coworker), Jessica, brought me her extra blood glucose monitor today (which is something I've been needing to get), I was very appreciative, but also scared like a 5 year old because I knew she would make me follow through.

And she did. That's the awesome thing about great friends. When you can't stab yourself, they really step up. (There is just something about inflicting pain on myself that I can't quite grasp) And yes I know it is a tiny needle. But I'm scared of the tiny ones too.

So with my eyes closed and head turned (seriously), Jess took my blood sugar. I'll be honest, my anxiety was way worse than the needle prick. So if I can do it (well, let Jessica do it), anyone can do it!

Jessica has been a big help with all the stuff I have been going through. Part of her help comes in advice for dealing with my insulin resistance. Since her 7 year old daughter was diagnosed withType I Diabetes last year, she has really learned a lot and has been able to inform me as well. (Despite her daughter only being 7, she inspires me. Needles and carb counting are a constant part of her everyday and she handles it all like a champ.) Of course the best part is just having a wonderful, supportive and caring friend! Thanks Jess for everything! (Including making me bleed!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New York, New York!

Picking up where I left off. I'd like to say how everything turned around after my last post (and the start of our trip to NYC), but not quite yet. Turns out, Jeff felt like he was catching my cold (may have ended up just being allergies) so he went to the Urgent Care and got a prescription for basically the same the steroid I was given for my allergic reaction. Which, as I personally experienced just a day prior, hinders sleep. So guess what? He got a total of one hour of sleep the night before we left! Not a great way to start off a busy vacation in NYC.

Another great side affect of this wonderful little steroid pill is that it affects your blood sugar (the pharmacist had warned me). For someone with diabetes (or in my case insulin resistance), this can be a big problem.

While Jeff and I were (unsuccessfully) trying to catch up on some sleep during our flight to NYC, I had the sudden, overwhelming sense of nausea. It was instant and there was nothing I could do... well, except grab the handy barf bag in the seat back. And yep, I lost my breakfast. What an absolutely awful way to begin vacation! Apparently, my blood sugar had dropped so low due to the steroids that it caused this reaction. And if that wasn't humilating enough, the "fasten seatbelt" sign was on so the flight attendant took my bag for me to dispose of it! Mortifying! (Needless to say, we both stopped taking the steroid.)

Now, I can thankfully say, things really did start getting better from here. (I mean, how much worse could they get???) 

When Jeff and I landed, we picked up our luggage and took our first cab ride to Manhattan. 

Jeff in the cab

We went through a long tunnel

The cab ride was as expected... crazy! It's like people have no fear in NYC! Pedestrians and bikers just dart right in front of cars expecting them to stop and the drivers come millimeters from each other! (My inner control freak didn't panic too much though considering it wasn't my car or my liability.)

I wasn't really sure what to expect of our hotel, so when we arrived, I was pleasantly surprised.

Our hotel: The Manhattan at Time Square
The hotel was nice and in the perfect location, close to almost everything!

We put our stuff in the room and hit the town! In a matter of a few hours we were able to cover a lot of ground.

First, we grabbed some authentic New York pizza from Ray's... and it was delicious!

Cheese Pizza... YUM!

Jeff got Sicilian style pizza
  Then we wiped the grease from our hands and headed to Rockefeller Center.

The Rockefeller Building

Rockefeller Center

30 Rock (Like the show :)

We kept walking and past Radio City Music Hall.

We saw St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was beautifully constructed with ornate designs.

Inside the cathedral

We also walked by another beautiful cathedral, St. Thomas'.

And, (very high on my list of things to see) FAO Schwartz! The toy store featured in the movie "Big" with Tom Hanks.

Remember the "Big" piano Tom Hanks & Robert Loggia danced on???

Yep! We got to stand on it! (I dare you to try and convince me this isn't one of the coolest things ever!)

A girl can't get enough chocolate!

Next, Jeff had to try a New York hot dog off the street. Since he put onions on it, I didn't try it, but in his opinion, the onion sauce stuff wasn't so great and kinda ruined the hot dog.

We walked around Time Square and, seriously, you have to see it in person to fully appreciate just how spectacular it is!

Day 2: We got up early to make it to the Today Show.

Matt Lauer
Jeff even made it on TV! See his head poking up back there??? (I think you can see the top of my hat next to him)

Jeff's mom took this pic of her TV

After Jeff's television debut, we headed down into the Subway to catch the D train to Yankee Stadium. (Not going to lie, I was not a big fan of the Subway. It is hot and muggy down there and, at times, I felt unsafe... especially after a fellow tourist told me about the serial Subway stabber who has yet to be caught. Nice.)

If I get stabbed, I swear...
Our first Subway ride

We did arrive safely at Yankee Stadium.

Inside the stadium

On our tour we saw a mini Yankee museum. They attempt to get an autographed ball from every Yankee Player.

Jeff is pointing to the autographed Babe Ruth ball

The 1999 and 2000 World Series trophies

We even got to sit in the dugout!

The end of our tour included a look into the Yankee locker room where no pics were allowed. It was pretty awesome. Derek Jeter is the only Yankee with two lockers because he gets so much fan mail he needs a second one just for his mail! (Okay Brigid, fess up, how much of that mail is from you?) We even saw former Astro, Lance Berkman's, locker.

That night we had a nice dinner at a small Italian restaurant, Da Tamasos, and then went to see The Lion King on Broadway. But on our way, we ran into the Naked Cowboy! My uncle had told us about him (why do you know this Andy?) but I didn't quite understand the phenomena until we saw him. He is apparently very well known and attracts a large crowd.

The Naked Cowboy of NY

The show was fantastic! Afterwards, we too took a stroll through Time Square.

Us on the big red steps

And then we grabbed dessert... New York Cheesecake! Yum!

Day 3: We started out with a hearty breakfast.

Jeff made fun of me for eating Cheerios on vacation but sometimes a girl just wants a good bowl of cereal!

Then we were off to Battery Park to take a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty. (There was a minor setback when we found out that the #1 train we needed to take was out of service for the day but luckily, with the help of a New Yorker, we were able to get there.)

The Statue of Liberty

Once inside the Statue, we climbed one bazillion stairs to look out from the pedestal.

The New York skyline. Pretty amazing view!
Then, back down one bazillion stairs,

and back onto the boat

We needed a little snack
to Ellis Island!

Ellis Island

Behind us is the different types of luggage the immigrants brought with them

Jeff was able to find many of Normans who immigrated from Sweden to America.

When we finally got back to Battery Park, we decided to walk up through the financial district.

The Merrill Lynch Bull

Wall Street

The New York Stock Exchange

We kept walking until we came to Ground Zero. It is overwhelming to stand where so many Americans lost their lives. It doesn't even seem that long ago that I was walking into sophomore English class and heard on the radio, "Oh my gosh! Another plane just hit the second Twin Tower!" I didn't believe it was real at first but the look of horror on my teacher's face validated it for me. I will never forget that moment.

Ground Zero where new buildings are being constructed

The 9/11 Memorial

And we kept walking... 

Through Chinatown and Little Italy. (No pics here because it was so ridiculously crowded we just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. Turns out there was some kind of festival going on.)

Once we had maneuvered our way through the crowds, we headed to Katz's Deli.

Known for Meg Ryan's infamous scene in "When Harry Met Sally."

Jeff got the pastrami and corn-beef. (Which ended up being Jeff's favorite food he ate in NYC.)

And we kept walking...

Until we came to Washington Square.

This was some sort of exercise class in Washington Square on bouncy shoes. Pretty hilarious! I actually just looked up "bouncy shoes" (since I had no idea what they were) out of curiosity and found this. Ha! Random!

Pretty sure I would break my neck if I tried this!
And more walking...

We found a Pinkberry which I have been dying to try and it was delicious!

Pomegranate for me and mango with toppings for Jeff

We saw the largest store in the world (or at least that's what the sign said), Macy's!

And in front of Macy's some break dancing street performers. (You never know what you will see in NYC... which is part of the fun!)

This is when our feet couldn't hardly take it anymore so we hopped on the Subway (although maybe not the safest, definitely the cheapest. $2.25 one way.) and headed back to our hotel to get ready for the night.

Jeff and I had booked an Improv show so we had a nice dinner at Rosie O'Grady's and started walking. Except the closer we got, the darker and less crowded the streets were. It soon got darn right creepy so we just turned around and headed back. (We basically lost $30, but at that point, I would have paid more money not to have to go).

We ended up walking around Time Square and into some stores. American Eagle in Time Square has this really awesome advertising strategy. If you buy anything from their store, your receipt allows you to have your picture taken and put on the HUGE screen! We couldn't resist :)

We're famous!!!
Day 4: We started our day with the Top of the Rock. It's where you go to the top of the Rockefeller building and can see the city.

Central Park

The Empire State Building

Next, we decided to walk to Central Park. On our way, we stopped at the Burger Joint in the Meridian Hotel. The Burger Joint is well known for it's delicious burgers and celebrity customers. It is actually hidden behind a red curtain, and while the rest of the hotel is immaculate, this joint just looks like a small, run down restaurant.

Mmmm mmm!

With full tummies, we were off to Central Park!

What a view!

Across from Central Park is The Plaza Hotel. (Where Macaulay Culkin stayed in Home Alone 2!)

On our way back to our hotel, we came across Crumbs, a cupcake bakery!

Jeff got the famous Black and White Cookie (from Seinfeld)
I got a devil's food cupcake :)

We got cleaned up and took a cab ride to Hunter College where we attended Redeemer Church and heard Tim Keller preach. It was a little more traditional than what we are used to but definitely a church on mission to spread the Gospel! It was a really great experience, especially since we have read some of Tim Keller's books (The Prodigal God and Counterfeit Gods).

Since it was our last night in NYC, we made one last stop at the Halal cart for a "plate" (comes with lamb meat, rice, lettuce, pita, and white sauce) and despite coming from a cart, it is one of the most delicious things we ate in NYC!

Day 5: We had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and then were on our way to JFK airport, headed home.

Jeff and I agree this was one of our best vacations yet! And, although, we definitely miss the city life with nice weather and everything in walking distance, it's always nice to be home!