Needle in a Haystack

My cousin Jesse is 5 years older than me. I always thought he was the coolest person, and I remember going to my grandparents' house hoping my sisters and I would get to hang out with him. He was always so much fun and one of the most active people I've ever met.

6 years ago today he was in an accident because he and his friends were drinking and driving. It was almost a fatality; he was in a coma for several months, and is now paralyzed from the neck down. It was life changing for him and many people around him. It's tough going to visit my grandparents now because they are worn out from taking care of him, and obviously he's moderately unhappy with his new lifestyle.

Basically, this is one reason I'm adamantly against drinking, especially coupled with driving. There's no reversal. I can't believe it's been that long--it was my senior year of high school--but I know for him the time has passed all but quickly.

Two years ago, I was what I now call "on my death bed." That phrase is absolutely an exaggeration, but this is the month I spent laying in bed, crying because I thought I was either 1) going to die, or 2) have to drop out of college, cancel our wedding, and lay in bed the rest of my life.

My stomach(ish) problems have been much better lately, but I will never in my lifetime forget how I felt. I cannot forget how I came to the realization that life is fleeting, but the quality of life is what matters the most. I now have so much empathy for anyone with any sort of medical condition because it has the potential to destroy your life. Luckily, although mine went on and has gone on for many years, the very serious part was only a few months. I very seriously never thought it would end, but after many scopes, IVs, CT scans, other tests, medicine after medicine, and tons of tears and vomit, I'm doing well. :)

Sometimes finding hope in these situations can be like finding a needle in a haystack. I just think it's amazing that I still love this time of year so much. It could be so dark, but then again, how is that possible? It's Christmas!


'Tis the Season

This is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it: the weather, the shopping, the joyful atmosphere, the decorations. I even had hot chocolate yesterday to celebrate the season, and I don't even like hot chocolate! But for some reason, I'm just not "feelin' it" this year like I usually am. I'm trying everything. I've watched Elf twice. I'm listening to Christmas music. Everything. I think this year, for the first time in my life, I'm annoyed at the way everybody celebrates Christmas and makes a big deal about it without even acknowledging Christ. I love Santa, and I've even contemplated starting a collection of old Santas; I love presents. I'm not saying these things are bad. I love them! But my heart is in a different place than usual at this time of year. It's in the right place, I think.

That being said, I'll give you a glimpse of our little winter wonderland: