December 25, 2011

May Your Days Be Merry & Bright

Merry Christmas, all.
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God is with us. 

December 23, 2011

The Tunnel & The Light

Times get hard.
Day gets dark.
And there seems to be no direction home.
I'm a gypsy and I know that doesn't do me any good.
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But some things feel like fate. 

December 17, 2011

Once Upon A Dream

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I have a confession to make.
Deep down inside,
Past all of my insecurities,
Beyond all of the jokes and eye-rolls,
In the very depths of my gypsy heart and soul,
I wish I were a princess.
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The tall, beautiful, sometimes cursed young woman of so many stories, both fairytale and factual, who is blessed with both aristocratic pedigree and parentage, a kingdom to rule someday, and a fabulous wardrobe or three full of every kind of outfit, shoe, and accessory. 
A well-bred girl of opportunity, class, and unmistakable elegance. 
But there is so much more to these royal aspirations than just glass slippers and gilded rooms.
A princess is born with not only the opportunity but the responsibility to care for others and make a difference in their lives. 
To uphold a kingdom and make good decisions. 
Rule in fairness, equality, and wisdom (not to mention style!). 
Of course, the perks that come with the title aren't so bad either.
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(Yes, the above photo is referring to the fine collections of china and tea that I would posses.)
But the funny part is...
I already am a princess:
I am a daughter of the King of Kings.
I have a curse and story to make even the most popular storybook princess green with envy:
The curse of sin and my separation from my Father as I live here on earth. 
I will someday go home to a wonderful kingdom, wear a glorious tiara, and even have a fantastic singing voice to boot.
I have a mansion being prepared for me.
I will cast that tiara at the feet of the King.
I will spend eternity singing praises to God.
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I look forward to an eternity better than any of the Disney princesses ever had, and a truer Love than was ever shared in true love's kiss.
And, despite my even stronger protests and denials about marriage and the like, every once in a while, during a day dream or sleep, I find myself longing for the greatest part of every fairy tale.
Wishing for that other piece of my royal story that comes before making it home to the Kingdom of Eternity.
Hoping for the dreamiest (usually) part of the tale to come ...
(and finally admitting it)
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I'm a daughter of the King of Kings.
I wear a crown that can never be stolen, broken, or tarnished.
I'm- both in my heart, imagination, dreams and in God's eyes- a princess.
Are you?




December 7, 2011

Vanishing Act

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(Pardon the creepy mask picture. I really have no idea what's up with that.)
I have had this song stuck in my head for about a week now. It's usually the first tune I hum in the morning, and almost inevitably the last thing I think before I drop off to sleep. It's almost like a mantra, and I've begun referring to it as "Theme For Eating Disorder Recovery".
The saddest part is, this is how I feel all of the time.
Well, not all the time. But at least a good 85%.
I'd like to be able to say "Hey, that's a fifteen percent of you that doesn't feel that way!" yet I'm caught simply staring at that sad, struggling, more-than-half of me that doesn't even want to get out of bed in the morning, and dreads putting on a pair of jeans.
What's probably worse is the fact that I know how simply contrary to a hundred different Psalms, Proverbs, and New Testament verses I'm being. I'm supposed to rejoice in the Lord. And instead I'm bogged down by such silly nonsense. Instead of being on the watch for sin, being thankful for all I have, and trying to use my time and myself wisely in the service of the King of Kings, I can't stand myself and I'm constantly watching for and wanting to avoid food and trying to make sure I don't avoid it like it's the plague.
I've got problems on a far deeper level that instigate these feelings, and make the eating disorder what it is. But facing those things and facing the fact that I can't be fixed scares me more than anything else (except spiders). Most days I feel like I'm defenseless and vulnerable against everything, but that can't possibly be true.
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"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."- Joshua 1:9
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him"- Psalm 28:7
"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. "- Isaiah 12:2
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These are just a few of many, many verses that describe the strength and protection God provides for me, His omnipresence, and His trustworthiness.
How do you let go of everything that is bearing down on you, and simply find peace?
How can you go against every feeling and instinct that says "Be afraid! Be miserable!" and simply trust?
I'm trying and trying and I feel like I'm frantically grabbing at something that constantly eludes me.
And that same small voice that says "You shouldn't eat" begins to say "You're a failure" as well.
I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, but I know that's not true either. For those of us on the side of Christ, the battle may be hard, but the war is already won. I just need to keep getting back up, continue to stand up to the blows and harsh words as they come, and keep trying to trust.
"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye who hope in the Lord."- Psalm 31:24
You can't sit around waiting for it to happen.
You've got to go looking for it; you've got to try.
Vanishing isn't an option.

December 3, 2011

Fondue And Fun

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Hullo, bloggers! 
I'm sitting here, December 3 (*insert frantic yelp followed by jaw-drop* Time flies!), and pining heavily for snow. 
(Of which their is neither sign nor hope of. But I can dream.)
The days have all been blending together for me for the past ten or so days. 
I'm stuck at home much of the time, and I'm not going to lie, most of the time I feel like I'm going crazy or about to lose it. I'm not allowed to walk around, and I'm working on getting my driver's license, but it's not like I can practice driving when everyone in the house aged twenty-one or older is at work. I've been looking for a job and loafing around the house much of the time, and I'm beginning to feel like a very (very) large animal (elephant?) stuck in an ever-shrinking cage (that was only meant for a dog in the first place). I also feel like all I ever do is eat, which I know isn't true (just the three meals and one snack, and the portions that I'm required to have), but the disorder- and Satan- are taking huge advantage of my present state of handicapped mobility and are messing with my head and emotions more than ever before. Please pray that I get a job or my driver's license soon!
I created a list at the beginning of the week, comprised of fun or useful things I could do during the long daylight hours. I completed the list sometime on Thursday, and have since been on the prowl again. 
I'm relatively sure I'm going to hurt myself if this goes on much longer.
Anyway, the highlight of the week so far was Thursday afternoon: my fabulous, lovely, and much-loved friend, Brianne (To Twirl A Mustache)...
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...came by and we went on the town. 
We haven't seen each other since I left in mid-September, so it was a fantastic, fun reunion.
We wound up doing a good dose of shopping at Plato's Closet (where she works), and then running to Downtown Boise for coffee at our favorite coffee-spot, Java, and then eating a delicious, fancy-fied dinner at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant. 
(If you've no idea what that's like, imagine a pot of melted cheese at your table, into which you dip bread bits, apple chunks, and veggies). 
It was so yummy! We ate every last bite.
Then we went out to World Market, Barnes and Noble, and the mall (I may or may not have gotten a third ear-piercing while we were there...), and had a fabulous time with it all. 
I loved seeing downtown Bosie (quite a change from Time's Square, what I consider to be "Downtown Manhattan.) lit up with Christmas lights, and the giant tree in the middle of everything. 
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Anyone who knows me well can attest to the fact that I'm a Winter and Christmas junkie. It's my absolute, definite favourite time of year. If the reason for the Holiday-the celebration of the birth of Jesus- wasn't enough for celebration, it's so merry, cosy, bright, and cold.
Yes, that's right: I love cold weather!
It's so...cosy.
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I always feel at my most creative during the Winter. 
I knit more.
I draw more.
I twirl on the icy roads outside after it's snowed.
I just love Winter!
So besides being under house arrest, I've felt a little more chipper due to the change of seasons, as well as the fun decorations we currently have up. 
What's your favorite season, and what's your favorite part of Winter?
I'm trying to think snowy thoughts and stay occupied-any ideas?- and I may take advantage of the weekend by taking my little sister to the park around the corner since she's home. 
Hopefully your week is going better than mine!

November 25, 2011

Pause

It's deplorable of me to have neglected my blogging for so long! 
I'm afraid that at one point during the duration of my treatment I found that I was thinking of my blog as something I "had to do", so I decided perhaps I should take a step back for a while and really focus on  the matters at hand. It seems to have worked, so perhaps you'll forgive me and not have completely lost interest in the goings-on and ramblings that I like to put up here.
The greatest piece of news is that I am back home, safe and sound.
The sad bit is that I'm truly missing New York, as well as my new-found friends there. 
I don't really have the time or thought energy to really go into details or expound on all of my experiences (I'm currently running a low fever and battling a nasty cold), but I promise to in the near future. 
For now, perhaps your curiosity will be satisfied with a few of the pictures I took over the past few months: New York is so lovely in the Fall!
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You've all probably heard lots about Central Park before, but it far exceeds any description words can give it. It's probably one of my favorite spots in all of Manhattan.
Some other place I went include St. John's Cathedral...
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...The Empire State Building...
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...Washington Square...
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...and a few different Macaron shops. I was lucky enough to be able to go to the only Laduree in the entire US, and let me tell you: their macarons are absolutely to die for. The shop is just as adorable as their website (if not cuter). These are a couple of macarons I had with my sister Michelle at La Maison du Macaron. Pink champagne and walnut pear. Delicious!
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It's been a fantastic and unforgettable two-and-a-half months, and I feel so blessed and thankful (especially in light of this season and the holidays both yesterday and yet to come) to have been able to make the journeys I have in the past couple of months, as well as the past year. 
Even with the disorder, I have so much to be thankful for, and have learned so much because of everything. God is good. 
There is no denying that I love New York, and -I won't lie- already miss it terribly. I would go back their in a heartbeat if I could.
On another note, I currently have a horrible, no-good cold which, in turn, has given me a headache and a red nose. I'm really hoping I feel better by tomorrow for church. I'm already nervous about all the things people are going to say to and about me (the last thing a person with an eating disorder wants to hear after leaving treatment and trying to make it on her own are people saying how different, better, or "good" she looks. It's quite the opposite of encouraging and helpful, even if well meant).
All the same, it's something I'm going to have to deal with and get used to. Better now than later, most certainly!
I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was splendiferous, and I promise to write again soon with more details.
Cheerio!
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November 2, 2011

More Than This

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I am more than a number.
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The fate and outcome of the universe does not rest on the number on the scale: if, and when, it changes, nothing disastrous is going to happen.
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I will not let weights and balances write the way I live my day, and the way I live my life.
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I believe in more and higher things than this.
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My perspecitve is based on larger things than this, on greater odds, more important deciding factors.
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IammoreIammoreIammore!
*Sigh*
I hate weigh-in days.

October 29, 2011

Snow, Rain, And Times Square

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Today I embarked on my adventure into Times Square.
I was excited for many understandable reasons, but mostly because early this morning it started to snow!
Yes, snow!
In New York City.
In October.
Hooray!
It was decidedly supercalifragilistic; I love snow!
(Also, sorry about any Mary Poppins references and allusions included in this post: it's currently playing on Broadway and I spent a good ten minutes standing outside the theater staring wistfully at the billboards and advertisements for it, wishing with all of my heart that I could afford a ticket. If there was one musical I would love to see, it's about my favorite female character from my childhood, who is "practically perfect in every way." And as if to taunt me, I kept passing by more advertisements, and even a whole section of shirts and memorabilia in the Disney Store. Someone out there is mocking me!)
Anywho; snow.
The only problem with the snow (besides being cold, which really wasn't a problem until later in the day), was the fact that I couldn't take any of the promised pictures.
I feel like an absolute cad for not following through on my many promises of photographic adventures, but I cared more about not ruining my new camera than anything else.
By far the best part of the trip was the New York Public Library.
First of all, the building itself is magnanimous. Marble, large stone lions; it was absolutely stunning!
On the first floor is a sort of museum full of original manuscripts, engravings, ancient books, Chinese scrolls, even some cuneiforms! It was fantastic to wander around and see a whole book of Audubon's original bird paintings, E.E. Cumming's typewriter, a 15th century, hand-copied, Latin Bible, the original copy of George Washington's resignation speech, the first draft of F. Scot Fitzgerald's Nobel Prize acceptance speech (written in the back of an old novel he owned at the time), a hand-dedicated and signed copy of Ballad of Redding Gaol by Oscar Wilde, T.S. Eliot's final, hand-corrected draft of The Waste Land, Virginia Woolf's diary and walking stick, Charlotte Brontë's writing desk, Christopher Robin's original Pooh Bear, Eeyore, Kanga, Tigger, and Roo, and so many other fantastic delights to fascinate and captivate. I was absolutely and utterly in love with the place, and especially enchanted by the upper story, which was full, floor-to-high-ceiling, with books.
(I may or may not be a great deal obsessed with the place.)
Luckily for me again, the park immediately behind the library is enchanting as well: Bryant Park. It's full of lovely little greenhouses that were actually shops and even a coffee shop in one. Although it wasn't open today, there is also a skating rink that should be available soon.
Needless to say, I will be spending some time there next weekend as well.
Bring a book, eat my lunch, sit in the park, sit in the library: good, cheap fun.
(Not as fun as a ticket to Mary Poppins, but that's certainly not cheap. *Sigh*)
Tomorrow I'll be skating at Rockefeller center, and spending the day in SOHO as well. Hopefully it will be dry enough for pictures.
Cheerio!

October 25, 2011

Going Home

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Ladies and gentle-folk, I have a discharge date!
As of November 21 at approximately 5:30 PM, I'll be officially on my way home!
*Insert wild screaming and happy dance here*
I can't describe in words how ecstatic I am to be going home!
The best part is that I honestly believe that I am going to do well.
Faced with challenges, yes, but I'm going to be challenged by this disorder, this disease, at least intermittently for the rest of my life.
But I am ready to be home.
Ready for each of those challenges, and ready to overcome them.
Ready to head into battle at home having overcome the greater half of the demon, and having the Lord with me at all times.
And ready to eat Thanksgiving dinner (without compensating for it later) and enjoy it.
God is so good.
So very good indeed.
In the mean time, this gives me a month to prepare and get as much information, practice, and fun in as I possibly can.
I'm planning to visit Time's Square this Saturday and do some exploring in SOHO on Sunday. Next weekend I should be hanging out with my amazing, opera-singing sister from Boston. I have souveniers to buy, places to see, pictures to take...
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...I'm going to be a busy, busy bee.
Thank you for all the prayers and cards you've sent me so far. The encouragement and hope I've gleaned from them have gotten me through so much!
On another note, I am absolutely loving New York in the Fall. I was passing a small park area, headphones in playing Innocence Mission songs, sipping a $0.75 cup of hot tea (who said New York was always overpriced?) and enjoying the way the orange and gold leaves fell around me. Everyone in this city is in a hurry, and almost everyone is wearing their heaphones or talking on thier phones. Eye contact isn't generally made on the street, but especially not on the underground nor in elevators. But I meander around going at my own, Cali/Idaho pace, (yes, my headphones are in but sometimes I feel like I have a better, more mellow taste in music), and do not sport designer lables or a knockoff; I don't even care that I'm not sporting a designer label or a knockoff. I gaze up at the frescoes and beautiful, small details on the old apartment buildings I pass, I take in the sights, the smells, the pace of everything around me.
It's certainly a dirty, crazy city.
But it most certainly has charm.
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But for all that, I can't wait to get home to Idaho, my family, my friends, and the life I have there.
Even though I feel God's call in my life to move elsewhere at some point, I don't feel that that time is now.
A lot of things are going to be different when I get home, but the things that are going to be the same will be the loving arms that await me, the wonderful, cold weather of a fast-approaching Winter, and a great church and church family.
Life is only just beginning.
:)

October 21, 2011

Success Tastes of Bacon and Eggs

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Today has already been full of so much: both accomplishment and activity.
My request for the final level was accepted (of course) as was my first meal pass- accompanied by one of my favorite staff members- and went so smoothly, not to mention utterly deliciously.
At this point, anything tastes better than the hospital food I get on a day-to-day basis, but there's something about a funky, classic, New York family-style diner that's both charming and a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
The bar with the round, swivel stools.
Cooks visible through the window- paper bus-boy hats perched atop their heads, towels slung over their shoulders- busily flipping eggs, pancakes, and bacon.
Waitresses pouring orange juice, carrying meals out to the many tables and booths set up in the small space.
Customers sipping black coffee, enjoying plates of hash browns, English muffins, omelettes.
The radio- slightly fuzzy- in the background; the volume just high enough that you can hear the traffic report, listen to the latest news on the Wall Street protest.
It was all so picturesque, I wish more than anything I'd had the wherewithal to ask to bring my camera (at the risk of looking like a tourist).
Success tastes of a bacon, egg, and cheese on a kaiser roll, of a cantaloupe with cottage cheese, Tropicana orange juice, strong English breakfast tea.
I can't imagine my first pass going more splendiferously.
I didn't even think about the food, the fact that I was eating, besides to marvel at how wonderful it tasted.
Edifying and moving conversation with Edie about everything from the battle I'm fighting, to how wonderful the Lord is, to how much we both love cats.
Afterwards, a stroll around the block as we digest- taking the long way back to the unit- and enjoying the crispy, windy, Autumn, New York morning.
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God is good.
Today is going to be a good day indeed.

October 20, 2011

Anticipation

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This is it.
The big moment.
After a month of struggles and carefully monitored weight gain,
Of being cooped up in a small unit 23/7,
Of working and wearing my mind thin,
Exploring every emotion, every though,
Writing,
Drawing,
Laughing,
Crying:
After all that, I've finally reached maintenance phase.
I'm finally putting in for the last level.
As of 10:30, I'll officially be allowed to venture out on the streets of New York City, within a certain block radius of the hospital, for 90 minutes a day.
But the best part is that I can put in meal and leisure passes for anywhere in the city (probably in the state), and explore (Ladies and gentlemen, charge your cameras!), eat, and challenge myself outside of this small unit.
I'm in nervous anticipation, not because I think my request will be denied, but because I am excited to challenge myself and learn how to apply all of what I've learned here to a wider area and outside on my own.
It's not going to be all easy peasy rice and cheesey, but it's going to be good.
Good in a way that includes the struggles, the fear, the happiness, the triumphs, the failures: everything.
Good.
"Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye who hope in the Lord."- Psalm 31:24
I'm nervous, but that verse reminds me that I cannot possibly fail.
So that's what I'm doing today, in between art therapy, yoga (bleh), menu planning, discharge planning group, lunch, dinner, and snack: looking forward to the days ahead.
To spending a day with my sister who is going to come down from Boston for some NYC fun.
To being able to eat something besides hospital food (no matter how challenging).
To feeling worried and anxious and learning how to successfully overcome it.
To being able to take pictures of the city, of myself and send them home.
To maybe arranging Skype dates with some friends (and my momma!) back home.
There is so much to look forward to.
What are you anticipating?
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October 16, 2011

Cabin Fever

As it happens, I've become a horrible, no-good, lazy blogger whilst being here in "food rehab."
But I have an excuse!
(Kinda)
They somehow manage to keep me busy in an active sense for probably a little more than half the day.
So what on earth am I doing with that other little-less-than-half of my day?
It's all in my mind.
No.
Seriously.
It is.
A good deal of recovery- in fact, a good deal of the disorder itself- has all to do with "rewiring" my mind: the way I think, the thoughts I have, my perceptions, my self-image.
As you can probably imagine, it's exhausting in a manner that I'll refer to as "emotionally" for lack of a better term.
However, with our seemingly packed schedule of groups and therapy that happens daily, they compensate for how little time we get truly to ourselves by compiling what they think is our due, and dumping it on us all at once over the space of two days. More specifically, on Saturday and Sunday.
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What probably sounds wonderful to you (I mean, two days of complete laziness and lack-of-structure? What's not to love?!) is actually a bit of a nightmare to us.
Those of use who aren't at a level that permits us to leave the building and roam unaccompanied all day are forced to sit inside and twiddle our thumbs for hours on end. Occasionally we can guilt one of the staff into taking us out to Rite Aid (the epitome of thrilling!) or, the real adventure that requires a trip up to the Bronx on the underground, to Target. Sunday afternoons Lawrence, the recreational therapist, comes around and takes us for an hour or so to go exploring.
We are also allowed to have two cups each of caffeinated coffee and/or tea both of these Mondays. However, the treat is a bit spoilt when it has to be accompanied by an Ensure Plus, as in my case.
I honestly don't mean to complain, because it's across these two days that the bulk of my musing and overall improvement occur. With all of this free time on my hands, I have nothing to do but think about the therapy sessions I've had, the topics and lessons we've had in our CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) groups, as well as the other gatherings and discussions that are sprinkled throughout the day.
I think what makes the weekend hardest for me is an ever-increasing case of cabin fever.
I am absolutely dying to get out and see the city!
So much so that it's becoming unbearably tempting to apply for the highest level- the one that allows us out on meal and leisure passes on our own- even though I don't think I'm quite ready to take on the challenge yet. I don't want to eat a meal by myself and find the rest of the day is ruined because I can do nothing but think about it/food/how miserable it makes me feel about myself. I want to be able to deal with and ignore my obsessive thoughts and any other behaviors before I venture out by myself. But the tantalizing sights, the promises of adventure, all beckon so strongly I'm hard pressed to say no.
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So to stop myself from taking action, I've been praying that the Lord will make it clear to me when I should apply for the next level, and am, in the mean time, compiling a list of the places I want to go (keeping it as low cost as possible. So far, the only cost to access these places is the $2.50 it takes to ride the underground). Because I need to have meals planned in advance before each trip out, I'm hoping to one day do a You've Got Mail trip with my older sister (who's living in Boston). We're going to visit as many of the places as possible that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan go in the movie, and I'm personally hoping to eat lunch in the Cafe Lazlo.
(By the way, if you haven't seen You've Got Mail, you need to drop what you're doing and go watch it. It may be the cutest film ever.)
What have you all been up to since my last post? I've made many forays into the blog-o-sphere this weekend, making sure to get as caught up on what's going on with you as possible. Have any of you visited NYC? What are some suggestions for spots I ought to see?
Hoping you all have a great upcoming week!
Cheerio!

October 14, 2011

I Got Rhythm

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What is it about this city that is so...enchanting?
What is it about those three letters (NYC) that conjures to mind so many different pictures?
Taxis
Dirty streets
Blue coffee cups
Crowds of people
High heels
Briefcases
Skyscrapers
Cardboard lean-tos.
And under it all a fascinating, quick, rhythm that makes this city what it is; sets it apart from all the others.
Central Park
Broadway
The Met.
All of these places that somehow call my name, tantalize me with the promise of an adventure, no matter how small, if I go to discover them.
Crowded delis
Yelling cabbies
Cozy cafes
Independent book stores
Boutiques
All blend together in some sort of painting that's a mix of the angles and juxtaposition that describe Cubism, yet with all of the color and expression of an Impressionistic painting.
New York,
I love you.

October 5, 2011

Jealousy

I am jealous.
Jealous of the people that I see from my un-openable, bullet-proof glass window, as they laugh and joke on the street before and after work.
Jealous of the people I can hear on the other side of the fence as I meander around the patient park during one of our fresh air breaks outside; I can hear them playing with their dogs, leading children, calling names.
I am jealous of my peers who have earned the privilege to walk in and out of the locked doors, as they go out on passes and adventures into the city, and (more often) spend their allotted 90-minutes-at-a-time exploring and enjoying the several-mile radius around the neighborhood that they are permitted to wander at will.
I am jealous of the staff- morning and night- as they greet the day, and then say good night hours later.
I'm jealous of everyone out there who can eat meals, think about food, view their bodies, and live their lives in a completely healthy, un-obsessive, non-eating-disordered way.
I am seething with jealousy.
The more time I spend here the more I see how much my life, my way of thinking, and my ideas have been tainted by this disorder. I can see all of the emotions and problems that I've spent years internalizing and running from, avoiding, cowering in fear from, suppressing. And how all of the anxieties and stress, all the things I've taught myself are wrong or frightening or bad, are now coming back to haunt me, trying to find release and reprieve through behaviors and dysfunctional thoughts.
There is so much to sift through here.
But at the end of the day, one of the most predominant emotions I am left with is jealousy.
Believe you me when I say that I will never take things like going out of doors at will, using razors, electronics, the bathroom, how, when, and where I want (for the latter it's only an issue of not being allowed to use it for an hour after each meal or snack). Fresh air has become a blessing here that can only be got four times a day-if you're lucky- when you're on a lower level.
However, I am somewhat delighted to say that I've been doing well, and as of tomorrow I should probably be on level Four-B. That means I'm allowed to sign out and wander around the building, without staff supervision, for a set amount of time. It's the second-to-last level, and I'm looking forward to achieving the privilege to be outside of the general unit, and able to find a quiet spot away from everyone and everything.
I already have my eye on a spot by the window in the main lobby: it has a long series of windows that overlook the Hudson River, and there is a small sort of cafe/coffee shop that sells basic coffees, pastries, and-most importantly- tea.
Of course, the real goal is level Four-A. That's when you're allowed to take passes out into the city when you want, take your laptop and/or cellphone, or take passes out for most of the day and eat out, explore around. I've had several outings around the city (one of the them being on the way to a research PET scan AKA two-hour nap in a machine that scans my brain), but to do so without general staff restrictions and by myself!
The Gypsy: taking NYC by storm!
Believe me: you'd want it too.
Especially considering how marvelous this city is. I'm absolutely in love with everything about it; and this being said by someone who's living in a grungier part, and has only been up the glorified Madison Avenue once in passing (and was rather unimpressed by all of the Gucci/Prada stuff. I really want to adventure into SOHO, and spend afternoons in the NYC library and Central Park).
I say all of this, though, for lack of a better topic. I feel rather crummy about my lack of blogging, but things have been so imbalanced here, and I only now feel as if I'm beginning to get into the real rhythm of how things go. I had so many research projects last week alone that I thought I was going to have to be moved to the real psyche ward on the floor below ours!
But improving I am, jealousy and all, and I'm slowly getting a grip on things and how to deal with them.
As mentioned above, I am doing well enough (by the grace of God alone!) to be allowed to wander around the building, but I'm truly looking forward to the day I get to eat out -a true challenge- and be by myself in this dirty, fantastic city. I'm also looking to taking said laptop and maybe organizing a Skype date with my mum eventually: phone conversations and emails are nice enough as it is, but there's nothing to compare to actual face time, especially when my face has been changing.
Please forgive me for my spotty posting, but thanks to all of you who still check in to see if I'm writing at all, and especial thanks to all of those who are praying for me (and sending me letters! I love love love getting the mail you send)!! Please know that I am staying updated on all of your blogs as well, lack-of-comments aside.
Cheerio, all!

September 21, 2011

Settled In

I can't believe it's been a week. 
And a long week at that.
I'm living in a place where twenty-four hours feels much more akin to twenty-four days.
This is a feeling that is emphasized on the weekends, when we have no real planned groups or activities to fill our hours. The hectic, scheduled moments of the weekdays bring everything into a balance, though, and even the feelings out considerably.
And speaking of feelings, I don't think it's possible to spend any more time and energy on and in emotion than we do here. Everything seems to be about exploring feelings, analyzing them, understanding them, overcoming them...it's emotionally exhausting!
And yet, at the same time, it's fantastically encouraging and eye-opening. I can hardly believe some of the things I've learned about myself, my disorder, other people, even my faith. It's astounding! And the progress I've made is already becoming apparent to me, at least.
As it has been a week for me, I am officially allowed to request a pass to the "next level" (Level III) in which I am permitted to go accompanied off the unit. I also, today, had my first calorie increase. Surprisingly enough, I've hardly noticed and have actually been excited about it. Thus far I've had the sensation that I've been hanging in a limbo- not making any significant food changes (although making a lot of psychological progress) and not involved in any researches- and thus kind of just...floating.
But I did start a  research, and I am starting to eat more. This hardly signifies anything, as even on the lower count I've gained some weight, a fact that has made me ecstatically excited and happy.
The research I'm currently doing involves my being hooked up to an activity monitor for 48 hours. The monitor is a little square box from which extends several wires that have little tab-like things attached. I have to have the wires and tabs taped to me in several spots, including the bottoms of my feet, and I have to wear an arm-band. The monitor is calibrated to my specific body, and will keep a sort of log, I suppose, on my energy levels, how much activity and movement I do, etc. I have to wear it, even during my sleep, until Friday, then I'm going to be doing a test at some point that involves my making choices between physical exercise or an equal amount of time spent doing an activity of leisure, and then a similar one involving choices between exercise and monetary gain. It's really difficult to explain, but the gist of it is that they are trying to understand how anorexia affects our choices and our minds.
The one similarity between all the tests and all of the research that they do here, as far as I can tell, are that they all seem to involve drawing exasperating amounts of blood.
I feel like every time I turn around someone is sticking a needle in my arm and filling little tubes with the red liquid which helps keep me alive. I'm pretty sure by the time I've left here I'll have had enough blood drawn to start a blood bank, and there will be a series of small, semi-permanent bruises in the crook of my arm.
The one greatest delight of the week, however, was yesterday's mail delivery.
In it were two very unexpected letters from friends in the outside world.
I can't even describe in words how wonderful it was to see my name printed on an envelope, to receive mail, to read the precious and uplifting notes therein. Thank you to those who are sending letters! You don't know how much they mean to me, and the way they brighten my day!
I've begun to try and get all of my things settled in, and my room organised. In a way, it's almost like being in a college dorm. I finally got my brain to grasp the fact that I'm going to be here for a couple of months, not weeks, and I'm now wishing I had things like pictures, books, and little knick-knacks (even though I'm not really a knick-knack person) to put up, to make it more comfortable, to make it more...me.
The one thing I really wish I had right now, for some reason, are stickers.
I'd forgotten how much I love stickers, and now all of the sudden, all I want is a big bunch of them to put on my board, on my folder, on my wall, on papers.
I really wish I had a lot of stickers.
I'm probably going to have to add this to the list of things I want my mom to ship me...
Speaking of mothers, please pray for mine and my family as we are all facing stressful times right now. I know that a lot of things are happening back home that are hard on everyone, and I wish that there was some way I could be there to help. The next few days are going to be rather hard, I believe, but I am trusting in God, as always, to keep us afloat, protect, and lead us.
He never fails, and I know He never will. What a confidence booster that thought is!
I think that sometimes God throws all of these curve balls at once- those times where every time you turn around there is a new trouble or strain waiting to swallow you whole- to remind us how dependent on Him we truly are. Every breath, every moment, we are nothing without Him. Yet how easily we forget Him and look to ourselves for help: how quickly we uplift and esteem our own plans and opinions above that of the God of the Universe, our own King and Father!
To be honest, I don't have too much to ramble about today. I feel so drained of meditations and philosophies and deep thoughts, merely because that's all I seem to have spent every second of the past week dwelling and musing over.
My spare moments in between sessions and meals are spent writing, reflecting, praying, and reading my Bible.
One great joy of this past week was learning that my roommate is saved, and then my roommate's leading another one of the girls here to the Lord.
There will be triumphs here indeed!
I have to rush off to a group in a little bit -"Interpersonal Effectiveness"- so I will bid cheerio to all of you, my lovely readers and followers, and once again hint at how much I love receiving snail mail (Hint hint hint!) and how much I appreciate the prayers and comments.
Be strong in the Lord.
And have a wonderful Wednesday!

September 18, 2011

In Which She Goes Off On A Tangent

Let me start by saying how much I love, adore, value your comments.
I know it may not seem that way because I don't seem to comment back too often, or even comment on your blogs, but it's so important for each of you who take the time to follow my ramblings, and then proceed to comment on them, that I do read every single one.
And they not only make my day, but they give me some of the greatest encouragement and the biggest smiles.
And as to my lack of commenting on other blogs: know that if I'm following you, then I'm reading nearly all of your posts. I seem to be a failure at posting my thoughts or comments about them on the blog, but I do read the posts, and they do affect me in so many ways.
So thank you.
Now let me say how thankful I am to be in this place.
It's not easy (Well, meals have actually been one of the easiest parts so far, as eating regular portions was a battle I'd begun to triumph over shortly before coming), and it's definitely going to get harder as I get into the next stage-weight gain- and beyond.
But it is such a beautiful, growing kind of pain and struggle.
It is one that I can, because of the atmosphere and focus, hand over to God and really focus on correcting and overcoming.
It's rather ironic: all of the things I do here are considered "obsessive" outside: constantly thinking about food, always working and focusing on my eating disorder and ways to overcome it.
But in here, it is what I'm supposed to do.
I'm here to focus on getting better, and it's such a relief to find that it's okay to spend large chunks of time writing about my thoughts, exploring my feelings and motives, and designing and creating ways in which to overcome Vanity.
I already feel like I've made progress, and even though I'm in the medical stabilization (which doesn't mean a whole lot, it's just the first week you're here and getting settled in before they start chucking large amounts of food into you), I've already gained a little weight each day.
And I'm actually extremely excited and-dare I say happy?- about it!
What I also love about being here is the amount of time I have to spend in God's word: studying it, praying, memorizing it, learning about Him.
I've even caught myself occasionally thinking of this as a vacation with Christ.
Now, my main point of writing today was to touch on the last comment I made in my previous post.
About hugging your mother and thanking God for her.
Well, I can't emphasize this enough.
I was aware before I came in just how important and fantastic my own mum has been through this all, but as I witness the lives of those around me, catch bits of their phone conversations as they speak with their mothers, and talk to them about family, I am truly coming to see how blessed I am.
My mother has been one of my greatest sources and motivation throughout all of this.
She has been the perfect blend of understanding, sound advice, motivation, and has almost instinctively known what to say and not say, how and when to push and how and when not to.
I am in awe at how fantastic she is, and how much I love her.
I also miss her terribly, and flatter myself that-surrounded by a houseful of my brothers- misses me too.
So as I cannot turn around and give my mum a hug right now, I wish that you would turn around and hug yours instead.
I should probably get off the computer now and let someone else have a turn, even if the entire unit isn't awake yet and breakfast is in a half an hour. I look forward to today- I'm going to get a recording in my inbox at some point today, from my church of today's sermon- and I especially look forward to this coming week: on Wednesday I'm officially allowed to go up to level three (weight gain) and end this sort of limbo I've felt I've been floating in the past few days. I'm admittedly anxious- maybe overly- to truly start getting better in as many forms and actions as possible. Nervous as I may be about facing larger meals, I'm confident that Christ will carry me through it and that I will get better.
Love to you all, thank you for the many many prayers, and have a fantabulous Sunday.
Cheerio!

September 15, 2011

Embarrassment

I am embarrassed.
No, this is no new sensation for me:
Seems like most of my life I've been embarrassed about something.
In fact, as number four of eight kids, I kind of believe it comes with the territory:
If I'm not embarrassing myself, there's about seven other people (not including parents) who can do it for me.
But if there's one thing I've learned today, it's that embarrassment isn't necessarily a bad thing, nor is it something you should be feeling either.
Here I am, blessed enough to have arrived at this hospital facility safely and with hardly any hitches to speak of, I'm all checked in a settled, and I am ridiculous enough to feel embarrassed.
About what?
Well, about things that every other person (all nine or ten of them) are all dealing with, or have likely dealt or will deal with, and are overcoming.
The greatest feelings of embarrassment have come from my feeling absolutely clueless about the way things work here, being here at all (I lie: this hasn't been a huge problem. I am genuinely relieved, happy even, to be here.), getting adjusted. Honestly, I should be spending less time and energy on being embarrassed and more on getting better, paying attention to the therapists, and trying to work out this funny thing called my head (not to mention the ultimate goal: defeating and permanently evicting Vanity from my mind).
But the greatest embarrassment was today after a very emotional lunch and "processing session" (a few minutes after each meal in which we discuss how it went, what we thought and felt, any obstacles we faced, and how we dealt with or overcame them), I was struck with a sudden, gut-wrenching dose of home-sickness.
I have no idea where it came from- I had a small cry-out last night and thought, at the time, "Well, that was that and I should be fine now."
But it wasn't.
So I sat in the group room, while everyone else was doing yoga (it's only my first real day here so I'm not permitted to take that class until I've cleared medical stability level), and bawled like a baby. I pretended, because of this embarrassment, that it was from the book I was reading. At the time, it seemed a plausible excuse.
Looking back, anyone who had seen me would never have been fooled.
But why was it embarrassing?
Why was I feeling humiliated for missing my home, my loved ones, especially my mother, who has been my greatest support in all this?
What was there to feel silly about?
Missing home, missing family: these are all signs that I come from a loving house and environment, as annoying as my siblings can be. This is something that I am so very lucky to have.
So embarrassed?
No.
Now I am ashamed.
There is nothing to feel humiliated over when it comes to missing and loving your family.
It's a feeling that will pass or simply become easier to bear.
But for now, I suddenly don't mind crying in front of the others.
It reminds me that I am human, and that I am loved.
And both of those are important.
What's more important is remembering that I am not completely without family here: I have a wonderful and loving heavenly Father watching over me, holding my hand, cheering and strengthening me along the way.
He is all I could and ever will need, and He has put me here for a reason.
So I will no longer feel lonely.
Instead, I will channel all of my thoughts and energy into getting better so that I can get back home where there is comfort, and love, and familiarity.
I will continue to eat all of my meals, and listen (through ears screened by scripture and with a mind screened by prayer) to what the therapists say, what the other girls discuss, and try to be helpful and be healed.
I think what will really help most of all is reaching that level where I am allowed to go out into the city, or even outside, accompanied by an attendant, for fresh air (I think I get to do that tomorrow! I've eaten 100% of my meals today, which is the requirement for that pass). I kind of feel like a cooped up bunny in here, which I believe is the point: a sort of motivation to do well that way you can get the heck outside to breathe a little.
Anyways, everything is going smoothly here, and I already feel- although 24 hours feels like three days- that I've learned some things. It's only the beginning of what is going to be a very long journey, but I think that if I look at it as an adventure and not as a walk to the gallows, I'll find myself improving vastly and quickly.
I miss so many people already, but I'm determined to "stay strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."
Cheerio, all, and goodnight!
Also, dont' forget to hug your mother.
She's an amazing person.

September 13, 2011

Touching Down, Checking In

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I'm here.
Well, for the most part.
I'm here at the end of the first leg of my journey: a hotel in New Jersey.
I guess it's really just the beginning.
Either way, I flew a couple thousand miles without a hitch, and have made it to my hotel room in safety.
You know, for someone who sat on her butt in a plane and in terminals all day, I am one exhausted puppy. 
Even between three cups of Earl Grey tea and four cups of coffee (all evenly dispersed throughout the day, and most of them "complimentary" on the plane flight. I tell ya, you pay a few hundred dollars for a plain ticket and call the peanuts and drinks "complimentary." That's the most I've ever had to pay for a complimentary cup of dirt coffee and low-grade, salted peanuts! I digress.), I'm still flat-out shot. 
However, despite my exhaustion, I'm still conscious enough to be extremely grateful to God for getting me safely and uneventfully here, and I'm hoping the placebo that this decaf coffee (this time "complimentary" from the hotel) plays on my brain telling me to wake up will get me going long enough for a shower and some scripture reading and prayer. 
I'll be sure to update you all on my impressions of the Big Apple as soon as I have enough cognitive power to even have an impression. So far all I can comment on is my sheer joy at the amount of greenery and trees here- I almost sobbed for joy when we began our descent and I could see the trees that carpeted the world below me- as well as the wonderful, salty, humidity. 
Oh, how I've missed both of these things!
And I also understand what New Yorkers mean when they say "The Jersey side" with a sneer. It's certainly not Utopia. 
By the way, thank you all for the verses and the prayers you've sent my way: just thinking about them has been a huge encouragement today! Please keep praying especially hard tomorrow as I check in to the hospital and begin my recovery!
Cheerio and goodnight!
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September 12, 2011

And Her New Address Is...

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...Drumroll, please...

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Grace Doolittle
NYSPI Four Center
1051 Riverside Dr.
New York, NY 10032
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P.S. I love me some snail mail (Hint hint)!

P.P.S. I am officially allowed to blog my merry heart out while at the facility, so expect to hear from me often! What, you didn't think you could get rid of me that easily, did you? 
Cheerio!

Busy Bee

It's early.
6:22 AM, to be exact.
And I'm already on a roll.
As I leave early tomorrow, I'm sitting at the kitchen table, prepping and already knee-deep in To-Dos before the day is done, the most current of which is checking in for tomorrow's flight.
I'm sipping on an Ensure- breakfast isn't for another half an hour, I suppose- and trying to manage time in the wisest way possible. This invariably includes a blog post; just as I can't imagine leaving home for an indefinable amount of time and not packing two bags full of stuff, I can't fathom leaving my blog for who-knows-how-long and not doing a last post, however scatter-brained it may be. 
I do have a last assignment and request of everyone, though.
I would like, love, adore it if you could all, in the lovely comment box, post your favorite verse reference or even verse that has to do with trusting God. It can be more than one, if you like, but I'm trying to compile a good list of trust verses before I head out, and as you have all been so supportive and wonderful this entire journey, it would mean so much to me if I could include some of your favorites as well.
They don't even have to have anything to do with directly trusting per say, either: whatever verses have and do, for whatever reason, help you to trust and encourage you in Christ you can post. 
I really look forward to seeing what you come up with!
I've still yet to call and ask about whether or not I'm allowed to blog: I have to wait a little while yet this morning before their clinic is open to phone calls, and the social worker I'm in contact with is in her office. I have an entire list approximately a mile or so long of questions I need to have answered before I can truly get the bulk of my packing completed. So far, everything has been tentatively placed in the bag, and my room is currently one big mess. 
Alrighty: I'm all checked in for my flight! It's now time to attack the breakfast beast (and, on a bigger scale, Vanity) and sink my teeth into the day as well. 
I look forward to seeing all of your verses, and I promise to come back later today and at the very least post my new address: I happen to be very fond of receiving and sending snail mail (Hint hint!). 
Cheery-eerio!

September 9, 2011

Dizzy

The past two or three days I've felt a good deal like a chicken that's lost is head yet still running around.
This feeling of chaotic panic stems from some very good news, though:
I am officially leaving for New York on Tuesday!
I received a phone call Wednesday afternoon informing me that a bed would be available in the clinic next Wednesday, and that I was next in line for it.
Chaos has since, invariably, ensued. 
I now have less than a week (three days, to be exact) to be packed, have plane flights all planned and purchased, and ready to spend who-knows-how-long in a hospital facility in New York. 
So you'll have to forgive me for both my lack of blog updates, and my general current case of scatterbrained consciousness. I'm not really sure where I put my brain, but I set it down somewhere and can't seem to find it.
If you happen to stumble across it, could you please let me know? I rather like having it around, and it is a bit imperative that I recover it as soon as possible.
Yesterday was spent mostly wandering about in a daze. When faced with pressing times and matters like this, I usually tend to go into a state of the most frustrating procrastination that is tinged by a willful refusal to care. Thankfully (and only by God's grace) I've been able to shake that off today, and have been facilitating the use of the empty house, my ample free time, and a huge legal pad of paper to plan my packing list and start cleaning and putting things away.
In my fondest wish and dream, I recover quickly and find myself home on Thanksgiving, ready and willing to partake of turkey goodness (even though I hate turkey) surrounded by the love of my family and enjoying my favorite holiday and season where everyone should: at home.
However, in reality, it will probably be sheer luck if I'm home in time for Christmas.
Wait, I lie: there is no luck involved here. God knows exactly what is happening, and how long I shall remain there. And it is this thought that brings me the greatest comfort and peace. It is knowing that God's hand is in this that uplifts me as I'm tempted to worry about plane tickets and their prices, what to bring, what to pack up in boxes that's being left at home, and how to prepare myself as a witness of Christ for this journey. 
I do like to think of this as stepping out in faith, not only because I have no clue what' going to happen, but because I am going into a place where I will be surrounded by people who don't know Christ, and are struggling with the same thing I am. I have a Savior who has helped me and will continue doing so, and I want to show others the Strength and Peace that they need to truly overcome not only an eating disorder, but all of the sins and troubles of life. 
Right now there are but a few things that trouble me:
1. What on earth am I going to do about all those Sundays? There is no church I can and could go to; the facility is not only locked-door for the patients (me!), but I don't know of any even if I could get out. What I think I will do is have my pastor send the recording of his sermons each Sunday, that way I can still be under solid teaching. I refuse to let Satan use this time as a means to drive me further from God than I already am. 
2. Books. I can only take so many! I mean, depending on the airline I fly with, each bag will be $30 or more, so I should be taking only the essentials. But good literature is an essential! I've told myself I'm allowed to bring two novels, but then I keep trying to sneak around that rule by picking two of poetry, a couple non-fiction, a handful of historical fiction...you get the idea. This could be a nightmare.
3. Yarn and knitting needle limitations. 
See above note about lack of bag space, room space, and impending, nightmarish, doom. 
4. Blogging. Although I'm allowed to bring and use my laptop and the internet, I don't know what all is allowed blog and social networking wise. I'm not allowed to use my webcam for things like Skype (unless off the site), and that is mostly to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the other patients. So will blogging be out too? That's my next question to the social worker I've been put in contact with there. 
All of the other big problems- and even these little ones as well- are resting in God's hands, though. I trust him completely and utterly, and I know He has some grand design and scheme. He loves to show us how great His mercy and how clever and perfect His designs are, so if I let go and trust then I am sure to be amazed.
Well, on that note, I don't think I ever cease to amazed by Christ.
Everything about Him is spectacular and wonderful!
So I had better now stop rambling, and get back to the chaotic drudgery (How's that for a paradox!) of planning and packing up.
Thank you again and again and again for your prayers and comments during this whole process of getting in to this facility!
I honestly don't think any of you can ever know how uplifting it is to know that there are others praying for you and willing you on in Christ until you've had the great privilege of experiencing it. 
I promise to post my new address on here as soon as I confirm it, that way anyone who wants to can snail mail me, and I shall be more than delighted to snail mail back.
(If there's one thing I'm leaving room for it's stationary and stamps!) 
I fervently hope that you all are able to find great encouragement in Christ through these words and the things I post here. The entire point of my deciding the put my struggle on here for others to read- scary though it is- is so that maybe I can be a light for Christ, a living story of my failures and frustrations as I deal with Vanity and Satan, as well as a book of the great successes and joys that come through leaning on Christ. It's never easy to trust Him fully- I often fail and find myself trying to follow my own "wisdom"- but there is one verse in particular that has been capturing my thoughts again and again.
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There is something so comforting and yet so challenging in this verse. 
And it is a comfort that I claim and a challenge I daily rise to meet.
Walk by faith, dear friends, and never by sight.
Lots of hugs and a great dose of excitement:
Cheerio!