17 Hopes and Plans for 2017

It’s been an intensely introspective last couple of weeks with all of the challenges our family and friends have been facing, much of which has turned the upcoming year into one with more uncertainties than we’d ever hoped for. Nonetheless, it’s imprudent to face a new year without some sort of plan for things you want to achieve. In light of that, here are seventeen things I’d like to work toward this year (subject to change, of course, were I to actually get pregnant):

  1. Complete my weight loss journey
  2. Lower my cholesterol naturally
  3. Do one BIG hiking trip that we travel to do
  4. Participate in Reach the Peaks in September (a 12 mile hiking challenge that covers all 5 peaks at Hanging Rock State Park)
  5. Transition back to a mostly vegetarian diet (I’ve been struggling with this for several months now and am mostly only eating poultry and the VERY occasional fish)
  6. Change my workouts to be geared more toward hiking than running, and stay consistent with them.
  7. Find a better-paying writing gig (although I am having fun over at #AmReading)
  8. Knit more
  9. Get back to cooking
  10. PURGE the house and start fixing and upgrading things
  11. Begin pursuing the adoption process and, if that’s the way we are supposed to go, be as far along in it as possible by the end of the year.
  12. Begin cleaning some of my stuff out of Mom and Dad’s (I feel kinda guity for contributing to their clutter in addition to all of my own)
  13. Read a devotional and Scripture and pray every day (I’m currently reading Jesus Calling)
  14. Say “no” more often to things that bring me stress
  15. Read more BOOKS (currently reading: Decision Points by George W. Bush)
  16. Apologize less and work to stop feeling responsible for everyone else’s problems
  17. Stop picking my arms

Some of these will (hopefully) have to be put off until 2018, and if that happens, I will be unbelievably thrilled (and I’ll have a whole new set of goals). I also know they’re a bit nebulous and vague.  What can I say…there’s less chance of missing the mark entirely when the target is so big.

In other news, two years ago (2015), one of my resolutions was to stop biting my nails. Two years later, I think I can say I’ve officially conquered that bad habit.


And yesterday:


I know, my cuticles need some work.  Small victories.


The Lupron Diaries: Final Thoughts, Goal Update, and What’s Next

It’s been quite some time since I last wrote; I’ve actually been legitimately busy.  Brace yourselves, because this may be a long one.  Since my final shot:

1. My side effects have subsided!

Thank goodness; they started to go away after about four weeks, which, from what I read, was the normal timeframe for that process to begin.  I cannot express in words how glad I am for the bone pain to be gone.  I’ve even managed to run a couple of times since with NO pain, which makes me pretty excited about fall/winter hiking and my next two 5Ks I’ve got scheduled.  My mood has improved VASTLY, although I’m not gonna lie, I sure would like to have some PMS symptoms about now so we can get back on the fertility treatment train.  But mostly, I’m just so grateful to have survived the Lupron experience and come out on the other side relatively unscathed.  I even managed a 5.3 mile hike on Labor Day in which I didn’t end up stumbling and tripping constantly.  I can’t tell you how much more enjoyable that makes hiking.

2. The weight has come back off!

I gained about 11 pounds throughout the course of the treatment.  Although I was pissed about it, I didn’t beat myself up too much because I’d largely managed to keep from eating all of the food (one of my Lupron Goals), so I figured that it would come off relatively quickly once my appetite went back to normal.  And it DID!  I’ve actually lost about 17 pounds since July 16th and am seeing numbers I haven’t seen in five years.  It hasn’t been effortless by any stretch; I’ve had to work hard and really clean up my diet, but it’s led to a completely different relationship with food and an understanding about what my body needs and how to fuel it properly (more on that in a future post).

3. I hiked Mount Mitchell!

You’ll recall that this was my most important Lupron Goal.  And I did it.  I’ll post a longer recap of the hike itself later. It was by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done physically, and outside of holding the family together while my dad was in the hospital back in 2007, it was the toughest mental battle too. I had a panic attack when it started raining on us, and it took significantly longer than I thought it would, but I reached the top, bloody, dirty, and tear-stained, and I stood on the observation deck looking across what seemed like hundreds of mountains, feeling like I’d conquered the world.  I did it.

4. I’m getting paid to write!

This actually happened a little after the Lupron treatment was completed, but I’m still counting it as one of my Lupron Goals.  I’ve been writing for #AmReading for a few weeks now, and while the pay isn’t much, it’s been fun and interesting and is looking to be the launching point for landing higher-paying clients.  I’m writing about books and reading, and you can check out some of my articles here, here, here, here, here, and here!

There is a downside, though, I must be honest. I can no longer blame my grumpiness on the Lupron.  While it has improved and the little bit of patience I had has come back, I’ve always been pretty crusty and prickly, so I’ve lost my excuse.  I’ve had to replace, “sorry!  I’m just Lupron grumpy!” with “Sorry, I’m just a horrible person and you’re annoying.” So that sucks.

I can tell you, without reservation, that I do not regret my decision to go through treatment with Lupron Depot.  It was hard…probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. But I can also tell you that I’ve come out on the other side feeling better, healthier, and stronger than I have in quite some time.  And I credit a lot of that to Joey. I never would’ve made it through this without a constant source of support and unconditional love (and LOTS of patience), someone to be a caretaker and sounding board, to remind me that I could make it through this. Joey and Jesus got me through:).

This isn’t the end of the story; I promise.  There are too many things going on (both good and bad), and I want this endometriosis, infertility, weight loss, and personal growth journey out there, if nothing else than to show people that it’s possible to survive–and maybe even thrive–through tough times.

More to come!

The Lupron Diaries: Vacation and Victory

Last weekend, Joey and I took a trip to Waynesville, NC, to stay in a cabin in the woods and hike all the miles. Although the accommodations left a bit to be desired, I think this was probably the best camping trip we’ve ever had.

On Friday, we hiked the Pink Beds Loop again, but this time, we made it all the way to the waterfall off the Barnett Branch Trail.  It was WELL worth the mile of straight uphill.  The waterfall was about 25 feet high, and the water was ice cold.  Indy was thrilled to get a drink.


Here’s a shot of Indy at our campsite.  She looks so regal.  I think I overestimated her ability to adapt to a strange situation, though.  She didn’t enjoy being trussed up on a lead, and she was afraid of the campfire.  She’ll learn, though.


On Saturday, we went to the North Carolina Arboretum.  I’ll have to do a separate post dedicated to that, because I took a TON of pictures.  The below is part of their quilt garden; every year, they create a different pattern on individual squares. This year was a butterfly; can you see it?


They also had a fantastic bonsai exhibit.  Joey has dabbled with bonsai here and there, so he was beyond thrilled to see all of the trees. I took pictures of each one, and it’s definitely renewed his interest in picking it back up again.

We ended up leaving on Sunday so we’d have a day to recuperate at home, but not before hiking Pinnacle Park in Sylva, NC.  While we didn’t make it all the way up to the pinnacle, we did get plenty of beautiful pictures along the way.  The below is at Split Rock, about a half mile up the trail.


The first mile of the hike was along this creek; it was full of cascades and rapids, and Indy wanted to check out each one.


We hiked a total of 11.5 miles over the course of three days.  It was exhilarating, but also an eye-opener.  We’ve got a lot of work left to do before Mount Mitchell at the end of July.

I’m still counting it as a victory over Lupron, though.  On previous camping trips, we would’ve spent the bulk of our time hanging around the campsite and snacking.  This time, we spent it out in nature, working out and getting excellent views along the way.  I did have a few clumsy moments, but Joey was there to grab me before I stumbled.  I had a few “Lupron sadness” moments as well, but he talked me out of those.  He’s pretty great that way:).

Hiking has been such an effective means of dealing with this journey through endometriosis and its treatment.  I’m forced to unplug while we’re out on a trail…there’s no phone reception, no chance to fiddle around on Facebook or check my Instagram feed.  I’m forced to be observant of the present moment and little else; I have to watch the ground diligently for roots and rocks.  I have to pay attention to my surroundings lest I miss a beautiful waterfall (or a bear…it goes both ways).  There’s no time to think about my dysfunctional body or whether or not we’ll ever get to have a biological child.

There’s just miles of trail.  And not dying…there’s that too.

Hiking Recap: Pink Beds Loop Trail


We were looking for a fairly easy hike to do because I have a 5K tomorrow (!!) and I didn’t want to wear my legs out and render myself too sore to train for that.  This was the PERFECT hike for just that situation.  The Pink Beds Loop Trail is located in the Pisgah National Forest, not too far from Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock near Brevard, NC.

I’d read the synopsis on HikeWNC.info, so I had a good idea of the environment(s) we’d be traversing.  Their site describes taking the loop in a counter-clockwise direction, so we’d originally planned to do that, but we happened upon a very nice man in the parking lot (who, coincidentally, went to Wingate University, where Joey and I went and where Joey currently teaches!) who’d done the hike many times and told us that we’d want to take it clockwise to have a less strenuous trip.  I was all about that since I was worried about my legs.

We began the path (which was fairly well-blazed with orange rectangles), and walked for a short stretch through several fantastic open meadows:


until we reached the fork that actually began the loop.  We took off to the left to begin our clockwise trip, which was clearly a good decision as a fair portion of the trail was uphill at that point (although only gently), so it was nice to get that out of the way up front.  Thick trees formed a canopy over us, and I honestly felt like I was in some kind of fairytale…just waiting to glimpse a unicorn around the next corner or something.

We reached the Barrett Branch trail relatively quickly; it’s a shortcut that cuts across the loop in the event that you don’t want to do the entire five plus miles.  However, if you turn off to the left, you’ll have a great payoff after about a mile when you reach a beautiful waterfall.  Unfortunately, I read the online synopsis wrong and thought the waterfall was only 0.3 miles in, so we got frustrated and turned around before we reached it.  We’re going to do this one again in two weeks, so we’ll follow it all the way next time.  One complaint, though; the signage indicated that there would be blue blazes along the Barrett Branch trail, and we didn’t see ANY blazes at all; the path was well-established, so we weren’t concerned that we were getting off the trail, but it was a little irritating not to have it confirmed periodically that we were on the right track.

Back on the Pink Beds Loop, we crossed the South Fork Mills River and its tributaries many times.  One crossing required a rock hop (which was an adventure for our dog, and to our surprise, she did a great job).  The rocks were large, flat, and sturdy, so I wasn’t too concerned about making it across.

We also had to traverse this log bridge, which thankfully had a handrail.  It was also wide and sturdy, but I was rather nervous (because of the Lupron clumsiness), so I took small steps to avoid pitching myself face-first into the stream.

I was amazed at how clear the water was; I wish I’d dipped my hand in to see how cold it was too.  We saw several minnows and one larger fish that we thought may have been a trout.  Thankfully, Indy was more interested in drinking the water than chasing any of the fish.

We passed through several boggy areas (but none that made the path muddy), and the trail was EXTREMELY rooty for much of the second half.  I never tripped, but I found myself having to look down a lot to make sure I wouldn’t, and that took away from getting to pay attention to the scenery.

The last mile or so was done over impressive foot bridges, which the website says were built in 2013; it almost felt like we were walking on a greenway in Charlotte with how well-made they were.  They passed over large swathes of grass and more bogs and streams, and eventually we made our way back to the fork where we began.

Our entire hike was exactly 6.2 miles; I imagine we added another .6 or .7 by going down the Barrett Branch trail a ways, so I’d say the loop is probably 5 and a half miles or so (rather than the 5.1 that the website indicates).

I think this is the most beautiful hike we’ve ever done, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a long, yet undemanding hike.  My legs weren’t very sore the next day, and I was able to get out and train for my 5K this week without a problem.

I cannot wait to get out there and do this one again!


The Lupron Diaries: Shot #3 and Weekend Happenings

I won’t bore you with the details from Shot #2, as it was pretty much the same story as Shot #1…quick and painless.

Shot #3, however, hurt like HELL.  Ginger felt terrible about it, but it wasn’t her fault.  I think it was a combination of my laying the wrong way and my tensing up (maybe because I wasn’t positioned right), but I felt every second of it, including the gross sensation of thick liquid going into my muscle.  I even got lightheaded for a couple of seconds, but it wasn’t unbearable.  She laughed and said, “it’ll probably hurt more taking the band-aid off than the shot did.”  I chuckled, but thought she was out of her mind; after a quick hug, we were on the way out.

She was RIGHT, though.  I don’t know what kind of industrial-strength band-aids they use, but I thought I was going to find all of my skin on it when I took it off the next morning.

On another unpleasant note, I think I’m shedding more hair than normal.  It could just be my imagination, but it seems like I’m throwing away more loose hair than I usually do.  We’ll see how that plays out.  Hair loss is a possible Lupron side-effect, albeit an uncommon one, so perhaps I’m just shedding my winter coat like the pets are.

We went to South Carolina this weekend to visit my grandmothers (we go once a month).  I snapped this pic of a derelict house on the way down; they’d cleared out some trees over the last couple of months, which left it exposed, and my mom wanted a picture of it, so I took one for the team and hung out the window at 70 mph to get her a picture.  You’re welcome, Mom;).


One of my grandmothers is suffering from dementia.  Usually, it only seems to affect her short-term memory (although I’m sure that those who see her on a regular basis notice it in other ways), but this time, she didn’t remember that I’d come to spend a week with them during the summer a few times when I was a kid.  That hurt; she usually regales me with the tale of her and Papa walking in on me calling my parents because I was homesick and picks on me about it. This time, however, I regaled her with the tale of the only fish I ever caught (that couldn’t have been more than three inches long) and how I made Papa take it off the hook because I didn’t want to touch it.  She asked me if I ever got homesick, and I told her I did and we moved on to other things.  Dementia really sucks.

Sundays are always a bit stressful for me; although I love church, it involves a lot of interpersonal activity (and sometimes singing in front of a big crowd), which wears out this introvert.  Joey and I have enjoyed the last two weeks of going and doing something active on Sundays, so we continued that by heading out to Morrow Mountain to hike.

We did the Fall Mountain trail, which is listed at four miles, but after the re-routes they had to do for some fallen trees, ended up being about 4.2.  It’s listed as a moderate hike, and I’d agree with that assessment.  However, it required some log-hopping and balancing to cross a couple of streams, which was pretty harrowing for someone struggling with Lupron clumsiness.

Joey and Indy on the trail:


We stopped at a rock outcropping about halfway through and something intrigued Indy greatly.  I couldn’t tell what, but snapped a pic of her.


I didn’t wash off my makeup before heading out to the trail, so I was ultra-fabulous for the hike.


I think we’re going to keep up this trend of doing a long walk/hike on Sundays.  It’s a great way to decompress and a fantastic way to rack up some miles right at the beginning of the week.   Mitchell will be 12 miles, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.  It’s also nice not to be sitting in front of the tv, which traditionally has been the way we’ve spent our Sunday afternoons/evenings.

We’re also toying with the idea of a day-trip to the mountains to hike on Mother’s Day.  The last couple of years, I’ve skipped church because it sucks too much not to be able to stand up with the rest of the moms.  We’ll see.


I’m aching to put on my Vibrams… 

and hit a trail or two…

dip my toes in a waterfall…

camp by a creek…

enjoy the sunshine…

climb to the mountaintop…

and come back to camp for dinner by the fire…

We haven’t camped since September, and it feels like it’s been FOREVER.  It’s time to break out the gear and air out the tent.  It’s time to decompress.

Feeling Seasonal…


Isn’t this absolutely gorgeous?  One of our sales guys sent this to us last week, just because he appreciates what we do and loves us.  It doesn’t get a lot better than knowing that the job we do is really appreciated.  He’s also one of the sweetest sales guys that we have.  That totally made our day on Thursday!  Also, Edible Arrangements uses kale as their filler, so I got a crap-ton of kale to take home (mostly because I was the only one who really knows what it is).  And, for those of you wondering what anchors the sticks, it’s a head of iceberg lettuce.  Joey and I both had a laugh over that.


Last weekend, we went hiking at Crowder’s Mountain.  After a four-mile hike, we were both in a lot of pain; they gravel the entire hiking trail (how stupid is that??), making said trail extremely unpleasant for those in Vibrams.  The huge rock parts where we had to navigate through were great for the Vibrams, but the majority of the trail was gravelled and left us nearly in tears by the time we got back to the car:(.


Here’s a blue-tailed skink that came out to see us while we were hiking.  He was really cute and very brave not to run away with as close as I got for that picture!  We saw several of them on the trail.

I haven’t been posting very much for a while; I go through seasons like that.  I used to feel really guilty for it, but I don’t have that many readers, and it seems that the ones I do have are dedicated enough to keep checking in.  I love you guys.  School started the week we got back from Gatlinburg, and I’ve been trying to get back in the groove.  It’s difficult, especially when I didn’t take a summer class this time, so I really didn’t do anything over the summer.  I’ve also got to get my thesis started this semester so that I can graduate in May.  I can’t believe that I’m already in my last two semesters of the program.  Now, I’m seriously considering the possibility of PhD studies.  I really don’t want this school thing to end…although I don’t really know how I’d do it since I don’t think I could keep working.

I love fall.  It’s still in the ninties here, but just knowing that fall is right around the corner is cause for joy.  I’m so sick of the hot weather, and, while I don’t really like it getting dark early, I do love the crisp, cold air of winter and the sweaters that go along with it.

Running has met a setback.  I’m really not in good enough health to progress as quickly as I’d have liked, and that has been difficult.  I want progress right now, as most people do.  But I’ve got to lose some weight before I can handle the impact on my joints.  That’s pretty disappointing.  I’ve never dealt with this before in my life, and I hate it.  But, that means, I need to do something about it, and I am working on that.

The switch to East Campus has been particularly difficult for me, and I didn’t think it would be.  I have been so homesick for familiarity, for a place where I know most of the people and they know me, and it’s been difficult to try to get settled in with a bunch of “strangers” (should read:  potential friends).

That’s all for now:)

Getting There…It’s a Process

How about a ghostly silhouette of Shelli taken a couple of hours ago before I promptly fell out into nap-bliss.  Shelli has wrought havoc, snuggled, and has now returned to the windowsill behind the towel, enjoying views of the outside and the birds.  And, hopefully, not the Tomcat that seems to have decided that Shelli is hot stuff.  Two nights ago, he tormented her…Joey had to scare him off twice and he brought a “present” for us, which Joey was able to ascertain was the leg of a bird.  Thanks, Tom.  It’s a wonder that Shelli hasn’t peed EVERYWHERE, but I’ve been doing lots of encouraging and loving and reminding her that she’s our little princess and no stupid Tomcat can take her place.  Unfortunately, she got sick while we were out on our breakfast/Hobby Lobby excursion today, so we came home to puke piles in a few places all over the living room.  She’s been a little puny, so I hope it’s just a little bug or something that’ll work itself out.

Life has much turmoil right now; that, and letting Joey use my netbook for his paper are why I haven’t blogged much in the last two weeks.  Nothing bloggable at this point, unfortunately, so I’ll just be praying and seeing what happens and then we’ll go from there.  However, I will say that I am more positive than I have been in a long time in life’s direction and regaining my creativity and a sense of purpose.

On the knitting front, I’ve finished my cabled scarf that I was working on during our Ohio trip a couple of weeks ago!  And, I bought some yarn for a baby gift that I’m working on for my favorite HEAB‘s forthcoming HEABlet.

So, all in all, things are pretty good.  Joey is working on his final paper, which I’ll proofread next Friday, and then next Saturday, we’re going HIKING!!  Yay!!  This’ll be my first hiking trip since I sprained my ankle last year.  I don’t think I’ll need to wrap my ankles, and I’m really excited to try hiking in my Vibram Fivefingers:).  I think that’ll be interesting and hopefully it’ll help me to have better contact with the trail.

Stay tuned for further updates:).