Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Was Invincible

Every so often something happens in life that changes your path; for the good or bad.

In October of 2012 I went in for a routine exam with my gynecologist, not knowing that a few weeks later I'd receive news that would change my life in several ways. At 19 years old, you think you're invincible. You're a young adult. You have your whole life ahead of you. I thought this too. I was a selfish, obnoxious 19-year-old, and then all of the sudden I wasn't. I was a 19 year old who didn't know whether or not she'd ever have children. I was diagnosed with a severe case of cervical dysplasia, also known as precancerous cells of the cervix or stage 0/1 of cervical cancer. It is most commonly caused by the human papillomavirus, but it isn't always. It doesn't sound like a huge thing, and at the initial testing stage I didn't think it was. After a secondary biopsy, though, it was confirmed and my thoughts on it changed exponentially. The only treatment my doctor wanted me to go through was cervical tissue removal, so that's what we did. The problem with it, though? A severely weakened cervix. One that might not ever be strong enough to hold a child to term.

I know this is probably an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people. Not everyone enjoys talking about women's reproductive parts. Personally, I think that's a silly notion.

Anyway, when I first found out about my diagnosis I was devastated. I had always wanted children. It's always been my dream; to be a mom. I cried. A lot. Over the next 3 years I would visit my doctor every couple of months for more tests to make sure we were making progress, and sure enough it was working. Four years after my initial diagnosis, and I have had 2 tests in a row come back negative for any dysplasia. For that I am lucky. For that I am thankful. As for whether or not children are in my future? It depends on a multitude of things that I can't plan for at the moment, which is overwhelming for my not-so-inner high strung mentality. Will I be able to hold them by myself, or will I have to look to my doctors for a solution? Will I only be able to adopt? Who knows. I don't. What I do know is that I am healthy again, and for the time being I'm going to enjoy that. I was lucky enough to catch my illness before it became catastrophic.

The whole experience taught me a lot of things. It taught me to love deeper. When you have to look to others for support you learn who is really important, who really cares about you. There are some people who don't even know what I've gone through, and I'm sure this will come as a shock to them. The experience also taught me to be kinder and more patient with children. I will be the first to say that as an 18 year old I was probably not the best young woman to be left alone with children. I had absolutely no patience when it came to whining or crying. I had no desire to play with infants, to learn their mannerisms, to encourage their learning. Sure, I wanted kids eventually, but I always figured my patience would come with practice. It didn't. It came with understanding. An understanding that this may be my only chance to be someone's person they look up to. An understanding that I have been given this life to live as lovingly, as warmly, as happily as possible. That's not something I'm willing to take for granted.

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my world; into what has made me into the person I am today. It's not an easy read, and maybe it's a little confusing, but it's my experience. Love and light to all ♥ 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass - Review *Spoiler Alert*

Every year around Christmastime my mom asks me what I want for Christmas, and it's usually always the same thing; books. I grew up in a family that loves to read, and as such it never surprises my mom when I give her a list of at least 20 books that she can choose from to buy for me for the holidays.

This year I requested "The Selection Series" by Kiera Cass, and unfortunately they weren't the books she chose to get me. That's okay, though, because I turned around the weekend after, and I bought them with some of the money I received.

Let me start out the actual review by saying this; I'm usually a hard-to-please reader. I can spot grammatical errors and plot holes a mile away. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised whilst reading the series.

Kiera Cass wrote this dystopian series with a historical/romantic twist. The books are about America Singer, a 16 year old girl who lives in a world of eight castes. People are placed into castes based on the social & economic status. She is a Five, one of the lower middle castes, and as such doesn't have much of a life outside of entertainment. Her country of Illèa was once known as the United States, and is now run as a monarchy.

When a prince of the royal family reaches the age of eligibility a competition takes place where young women from each province competes for the affection of the prince. When it comes time for Prince Maxon, the male protagonist, to reach the age of eligibility, America is coerced into applying to be a Selected.

The Selection is the first book in the series. One of the reviewer's wrote "it has just the right amount of swoon...", and I have to agree. America has the perfect mixture of tenacity and stubbornness. That makes her relationship with Prince Maxon that much more thrilling because she doesn't want to be with him...at first. Their relationship starts off like most would hope a relationship would; friendship came first. America didn't want to become a Selected in the first place, but when her secret boyfriend in her province of Carolina, Aspen, told her that he wanted her to apply she conceded. Before she left for the competition, Aspen broke up with her, and it left her completely heartbroken. I, personally, thought that this was something that should have happened prior to her sending in her application to the palace, but it ended up working out so I'm not too upset with it. During her time at the palace she became friends with Maxon, and within that time he started to make his way, ever so cautiously, into her heart. The instances of their deepening affections were so slight and innocent that I literally swooned.

The book ends with America ending up as one of the Elite, the last 6 girls of 35 in the competition.

The Elite was a book primarily about America needing to figure out whether or not she was ready for an eternal commitment not only to Prince Maxon but to the country of Illèa as well. I got a little irritated by America's indecisiveness. I mean... Aspen left her because he thought she deserved better, and while I can see how people may think that romantic I contest. When I think of a man worthy of marrying me, he has the confidence to know that he's the one for me. I thought America should feel similarly, especially with the personality that she had. Prince Maxon showed his affection for her almost immediately, and it only wavered when she gave him reason to.

The One is the last book of the Maxon & America part of the series. Quite honestly, it felt like The Elite never stopped. It just flowed right into this book. The feeling was the same throughout it. America was still indecisive. Maxon was still affectionate but careful. Aspen was still a jerk that made America's life more difficult than it should be. Through a course of events America finally realizes that Maxon was the man that she wanted to marry, and as soon as Maxon found that out he was elated. Here was the girl he had been pining for since the beginning of the Selection. Now he just had to convince his dad that she was the right one for the country. Her strong will and unshakable voice made the King absolutely livid as he wanted to have sole control over all aspects of the country, including his soon-to-be daughter-in-law. Fortunately, and some might say unfortunately, Maxon ended up not needing his father's blessing. The One ends with Maxon and America at the altar, saying their vows to one another.

All in all, the books were more than I expected. I usually find it hard to really like a lot of dystopian novels unless they have some sort of sci-fi/magical themes, but this one surprised me. It's definitely a series I have been recommending to a lot of people. It's thrilling, swoon-worthy, and above all a really good "feel good" read.

Now onto reading The Heir... it's about Edlyn, Maxon & America's daughter.

~ Red

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

When You Wish Upon A Star ☼

Sometimes I wish I knew how to fly. When I was little there were so many times I just wanted to get up from where I was, usually listening to parents arguing or something of the sort, and fly away. I always thought about how freeing it would be to be able to leave like that. I’d be unstoppable if I knew how to fly, I thought. Fortunately, even at the tender age I was, I knew that flying just wasn’t going to happen. I’m not Peter Pan. I can’t just sprinkle a little bit of fairy dust on the top of my pretty little head and float away.

I still feel that way sometimes.

It’s getting better, though. I’ve worked on a lot of my feelings as an adult, and with each passing day it gets better. I think that’s what adulthood is supposed to do for you. I think it’s supposed to bring you out of whatever funk it was that clouded your childhood.

It’s like flying…
But without all of the pain that would be involved if I actually tried to do so.

~ Red

2016 Goals! :)

This year is the year I celebrate 23 marvelous years on this planet, and I plan on making the best of it. I have a multitude of goals, ideas that I want to try out, DIY projects to hopefully succeed at, and much, much more. Here are a few of those goals:

  • When it comes to blogging I haven’t always been the best. I’m hoping that with these challenges I’ve engaged in, and some of the prompts that I’ve found intriguing that I can really spice things up. I’d love to become a more active blogger.
  • Relationship-wise we are currently 22 days away from our three year anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s already been three years. We’ve spent three Christmases together, three New Years together, and three Valentine’s Days together… I’m just hoping to make this year the best we’ve had yet.  We’re going to be moving into a house this year, and we’re hoping to expand our furbaby family. Yoshi needs a companion, and that’ll probably end up with a bunny wedding sometime this year.
  • I have a couple of personal/business goals in mind, too. I’m hoping to be 100% off the ground with Enchanted Events by the end of the year, and I really want to get a DSLR so that I can expand on my business some. It’s really important that I get this off the ground because the faster I do, the faster things will happen for me. For my family.

~ Red 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

20 Things About Red

1. I was named after my mother's best friend. They shared homeroom when they were in high school, and they became best friends. They're still very much in each other's lives. I love that I can share my name with someone who is so beautiful; inside and out.

2. I'm really into astrology. I love multiple forms of divination, but astrology is one I have always understood and loved.

3. My birthday is January 14, 1993 - which makes me a Capricorn. 

4. My sister is my half sister because we have different dads, but as Amy says in The Wedding Date... "You're my half sister, but I whole love you." 

5. I'm a self-proclaimed bunny-obsessed activist. I have owed only two rabbits (mostly because I am just now really entering adulthood), but learning about the creatures has proven to be one of my favorite things to do. My first, Lola, was a dark brown and white Dutch rabbit who was just 3 1/2 years old when she passed, presumably, of uterine cancer. My heart was so broken. It took me 10 months before an opportunity came up to take ownership of a friend's 4 1/2 year old Holland Lop, Yoshi, because she was moving 9 hours away for college. He is currently the only "baby" I have, and I'm so glad to have been given the opportunity to be his bun parent.

6. I'm a wedding planner certified by the Association of Bridal Consultants. Weddings are my second obsession, and my oldest one at that. There are many stories told about three-year-old me sitting in my hair dresser's salon, picking out wedding hair and looking through magazines at wedding dresses. The only difference now is that I pick that stuff out for others.

7. My official thunder buddy for life and I met through my aunt and uncle. My uncle is one of his dad's really good friends. To this day my aunt hasn't let it down that she's the reason I met the love of my life. 

8. I've thought about going back to school eventually for something animal-related. I am thinking either vet technician or animal behaviorist.

9. I'm a Michigan native with the heart of a Southern woman. J and I plan on moving to south, hopefully Florida or North Carolina, within the next 3 years. My family has traveled to New Smyrna Beach, Florida for nearly two decades, and we're hoping to settle down somewhere near there.

10.  I'm a music lover to the max. My tastes are very eclectic. One minute I'll be listening to Shinedown and the next I'm enjoying the sweet sounds of Duke Ellington. 

11. I have two tattoos that mean the world to me, and I'm working on designing more. I love tattoos and their meanings. I think the permanence is my favorite part of tattoos. 

12. Two of my three best friends live out of state, and I miss them dearly. Sometimes it's almost tear-inducing how much I miss them. Luckily, in the day of technology, I have Facebook, Skype, and texting to keep in constant contact with them. My third lives in town. 

13. The relationship between my mom, my little sister, and myself is unique. I wouldn't change it for the world. They're the rocks that have always kept me grounded. Always.

14. When I was younger I wanted to be a marine biologist, so I could study the social patterns of killer whales. I was 8 years old. 

15. Baby fever... it's been constant since 18 years old, and it only gets worse as I get older. My friends are getting married, having children, and buying houses; all while I'm sitting at home in my pj's, writing a blog, planning weddings, and taking care of my babies (both J and my furbabies, of course!). 

16. Iron Man is my favorite super hero...ever. I absolutely love him, and the story that goes along with Tony Stark. I have been planning a tattoo for a while of an arc reactor with the idea that it will represent something like what a phoenix does. Being reborn from your own ashes, ya know?  

17. I built my first PC when I was 11 years old. My mother owns a computer store, and you could probably say I've followed in her footsteps. 

18. I know how to play several instruments; my favorites include trumpet, French horn, and guitar. 

19. I absolutely despise cake frosting. It's way too sweet for my liking. I'd much rather have fresh berries on a cake or perhaps a pie in lieu of a cake with frosting.

20. I'm glad that I'm done with this because I suck at talking about myself. 

~ Red