Monday, August 31, 2009

Kristi's Giveaway

Cute stuff!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Face...Meet Frisbee.

Remember when I was posting so enthusiastically about playing ultimate frisbee? I still had a blast, it was great fun and good exercise...but for some reason I can't go out there and play a sport with the college students without getting injured!

This past Sunday the afternoon volleyball started up again, and it is really hard to pass up volleyball. There is always a lot of laughter and yes, some trash-talking. It's all in good fun. I noticed near the end of one of the games that I had a lump forming on my left wrist. I wasn't too worried about it, and of course kept hitting the ball on that same spot over and over. By the time we got home, I couldn't move it very well without wincing. Turns out it was just a tendon thing, and by the next day it barely hurt anymore. But almost a week later, I have the most hideous green and purple bruise covering my wrist, and those who have spotted it look very concerned. I'm mostly just marveling at the different colors that show up each day!

Now -- ultimate frisbee. First I have to say that I wish so much that more girls got out there to play (volleyball too!). It can be a bit intimidating to be one of two or three girls on a field full of guys, trying to play this game without getting injured. That's where my story comes in. I still don't know exactly how it'll have to ask the other people who saw it and altogether exclaimed "ooh!" as I hit the ground. I was in the end zone trying to catch the frisbee. The next thing I remember is my feet flying out from under me, my knees hitting the ground, and my face...this is the part I wish I had on video. Seriously. I was so close to catching the frisbee that my face landed on it. Not only that, but I remember my head flying back after bouncing off the frisbee. Ouch.

Luckily it was the side of my face that hit, not straight on, otherwise I might have smashed my nose. Somehow I came out of that with no bigger injuries, so I kept playing. Not long after, though, Miles and I left for home and I could feel the right side of my face throbbing with pain. It continued on that way for the rest of the night. I only wished that the face-plant incident had happened before my fumbling catch in the end zone near the beginning of the game.

Last night was supposed to be a game of 'capture the flag,' but what I heard was that there weren't enough people who stayed after dinner to play. Everyone began gathering chairs to sit in a circle, and it turns out that one of the freshman girls, Stephanie, was going to teach us a game. Now, I'm not going to attempt to explain it all here, but it involved each of us coming up with a sign for ourselves that everyone else had to learn. When most of us felt like we knew how to play, and once we really got into it, I'm telling you that was some of the best Welcome Week fun we've had. There was so much laughter and great fellowship, and afterward I took photos of each person doing their 'sign.' I'm hoping to get them all in Sunday's slide show.

Tonight is guys' night/girls' night: the guys will play basketball on campus while the girls play games at Laura's place. Then tomorrow morning we'll meet for breakfast at Honest Abe's Doughnuts (sounds like that was Casey's idea, it's one of his favorites).

Thankfully I don't think I can get injured playing board games or eating doughnuts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome Back, Kotter...I Mean, Students!

I was doing so well blogging (almost) every day there for a short time...then we had the possible-surgery scare we're deeply entrenched in 'Welcome Week' activities. Welcome Week is basically the first week of school, but our campus ministry plans a different activity for every day. It is tiring, but so much fun. Like the time we had our version of The Amazing Race -- that was awesome and hilarious.

Yesterday's activity was simple but always popular: handing out free pizza on campus. This year was really mild compared to last year's feeding frenzy. Still, every slice was gone by the end. Who doesn't want free pizza? And then to top it off, the student life folks starting handing out free ice cream just yards away from us right as we were packing up to go! Can you say serendipitous?

Tonight will be one of my favorite times, only because we are playing ultimate frisbee after our free cookout. Somehow that game has become what we do at almost every gathering and retreat. Thank goodness I took those frisbee-throwing lessons from my husband when we first moved here! I still remember two years ago, playing ultimate on campus during Welcome Week, one of our then-freshman guys remarking that I played the game 'like a boy,' and what a big compliment that was for me. And I had only been one month out from a major abdominal surgery at that point! So...not bad.

Tomorrow night will be our first Bible study of the school year at the Alpha Omega CSC (Christian Student Center), followed by free ice cream. One of the nice things about The Well (our coffeehouse) is that we also have one of those big ice cream...things at the end of the counter. What are those things called? Anyway, you see them at ice cream places all the time and you look through the glass to pick your flavor. You know what I'm talking about.

Thursday is free barbecue (are you catching on to our 'free food' idea yet?) and 'capture the flag' -- I don't think I've played that game since church camp many, many years ago. Not sure if I'll join in or just take pictures from the sidelines. Probably that last one. It depends on how much I'm hurting from ultimate after tonight.

Speaking of taking pictures, this will be the first year that I make a slide show of our Welcome Week activities. I've always (when I was able, anyway) taken pictures at these events, but Casey suggested a slide show viewing this year at our Sunday night BIG dinner welcoming back the students. Even though putting together a slide show in just a day or so is not the easiest or least stressful thing to do, I always enjoy it by the time it's done.

Welcome back, students!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wading Through the Uncertainty

There was never a blog post update on how our first IVF appointment went nearly a month ago. Here's the update: it went well...and it lasted four hours. Casey and I like our doctor very much, and the nursing staff and financial folks were all on our side from the beginning, which is always a good feeling.

Now for more updates. My procedure last Thursday went well, and actually two polyps were removed. There was some pain, but it only lasted a couple of minutes at the most. I was in a fairly drowsy state for the rest of the day. I was trying to knit when I came home, which I'm sure looked funny.

I mentioned on Facebook yesterday that Casey and I might need to be making more decisions before IVF can go forward. The hope was that things would get rolling in early September. Keep in mind that the entire IVF process can take about eight weeks. It's not just one appointment and you're done -- there are weeks of meds, injections, labs, tests...and that's all before you even do the embryo transfer thing. It's pretty complicated, but I was finally letting go of my anxiety and I was ready to go.

There is now still a possibility that I would have to have more surgery. For now I'm not going into detail. No need to do that until I know for sure if it is even necessary. I spent a lot of the weekend being upset about it, because I was 100% certain that I was headed toward another surgery -- and yes, this one would be more complicated than just an in-office procedure. But I feel slightly more hopeful today after talking with a nurse at the IVF clinic. Maybe it won't happen. I'm trying to put it out of my mind as much as possible.

But moments like this are what help restore the calm...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Five Years of Blogging Making the World a Better Place

I missed it last year, and I am astounded that I remembered it this year: my blog is five years old today! Do I say 'Happy Birthday Trace Talks'? Because technically it is no more...but it's not like I can say 'Happy Birthday Beauty For Ashes' because it hasn't been around that long...technically. Either way, I've been writing some post or another for five years, so woohoo!

On a completely different note, I am having a small procedure tomorrow morning to have a polyp removed from my uterus. Really not a big deal at all, and yet I still find a way to be semi-anxious about it. Maybe I'm just hungry. Anyway, it will be in the doctor's office and will take just a few minutes. I had the opportunity to choose either general or local anesthesia, and insanely enough I chose local. Why? Because with general anesthesia there's more time involved, it's at the hospital, there has to be an IV...just lots more hassle involved. Sure, you get to be totally unaware of what's going on, but hey! I like to know what's going on.

Honestly, I would like to be as unaware as possible, but I truly did not want to spend more time than was necessary on this. I believe it will go well and not be a huge deal (yeah -- tell that to my tomorrow morning self!). Normally I wouldn't even need to have this done in such a rush, but uterine polyps are a big no-no in the in vitro world. They can raise the possibility of miscarriage with embryo transfers quite a bit, so there is really no question as to whether I would have this done or not. The whole IVF process won't start for a few weeks, but I am one to want things happening now if I know it needs to be done. With my last few surgeries I think the most common question I asked was, "So can we do this tomorrow?"

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Love in Real Life

Last night's 20/20 episode focused on medical mysteries, and all were interesting stories. The one that touched me most, though, and brought tears to my eyes, was about a woman who had been struck with a debilitating disease which locked up her muscles just days before her wedding. That was three years ago, and she and her fiance are now finally beginning to get help since her recent diagnosis. Read more and watch the story here.

I didn't cry because this was such a sad story. I didn't cry because the woman fell ill right before her wedding. My tears came because of the love and steadfastness of the man who is still by her side, because that's what I have had for myself from the beginning. These were tears of knowing -- not that I have known suffering to the extent that she has, but I know what it's like to be very ill just days before my own wedding and the fear that comes with not knowing what is wrong.

Just eleven days before mine and Casey's wedding, I had a huge flare. Of course, at the time we didn't call it a 'flare' because we didn't know yet that I had Behcet's Disease. I'd had symptoms for over a year, and my doctor had been working on a diagnosis but he still had not been able to pinpoint anything for certain. What he needed was what happened: an all-out crazy flare that affected me head to toe. We're talking conjunctivitis, lesions (on my face), ulcers coating the inside of my mouth and throat, ulcers in my stomach, a rash covering my legs, and a fever of 105.2 (complete with hallucinations).

That was all well and good for the diagnosis, but I had just over a week until my wedding! Talk about throwing us for a loop. And it's not like Casey and I had been together very long. He had known me for less than two years, had been dating me for less than one year, and we'd been engaged for nearly four months. If you saw lesions on your fiance's face, isn't there a possibility you would want to turn and run?

But that wasn't Casey. He loved me despite all the scariness of the unknown, despite the fact that he didn't even know what might be wrong with me. He loved me..."for better or worse, in sickness and in health" weren't even words he had declared in the presence of God and our families, yet he was living it right there in that hospital room.

We've talked in the past few years about how easy that time seems compared to 2006, and I once asked Casey if he still would have stayed had he known how much harder it would get. His answer was a smile and an immediate "of course."

The best part? I already knew what his answer would be. He lives it every day.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Leaning Tripod Photography

After quite a bit of hard work (and more to come, that's for sure) I am finally ready for anyone who wishes to view Leaning Tripod Photography! The link to the gallery is also in the sidebar -- just click on the logo.

The main purpose of this store is to make things a bit easier when I do personal photo shoots for customers. It seems lately that I am doing more and more photo shoots -- and don't get me wrong, I love it! -- but I needed a better way to keep things organized. Plus, I think this is much easier for my customers. They are given a link and password, and they can go and order prints and other items.

I am also displaying some non-portrait photographs for anyone to see and purchase. As of now, the main gallery only holds two albums. I'll be adding more photos to those two albums on top of adding more albums to the gallery at a later date. How long it takes depends on how long I work on my photos, because I want each one to be the best it can possibly be. That means spending a bit of time on some and a lot of time on others.

You'll be able to order prints -- up to very large sizes -- but you will also be able to order a variety of other items with your selected photos. Ordering calendars, though, requires sending an email to

If you just want to look at the photos, feel free! My suggestion is to view them as a slide show. That gives you the chance to see some of the black and white photos change into their color versions.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Case...Back on Campus!

For those not in the know, my husband Casey is a campus minister. That means that we get to hang out with college students all the time! Not really...but we do see them a lot, and it is a hugely rewarding ministry. Since we will soon be entering our sixth year, Casey and I have had the opportunity to watch so many amazing people go through their college years. We've seen their struggles, their triumphs, their sorrows, their is an awesome ride.

Casey is entering an exciting time in his campus ministry, and -- oh, I'll just let him tell you about it. You can read more here.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Feeling Monk-ish

Yesterday I saw an ad on TV that made a little pain to shoot through my heart as I softly said, "Oh nooooo..."

The final season of Monk begins on Friday.

It is a long-running show (this will be its eighth season), but it's always sad when the brilliant ones come to an end. And if you haven't had the chance to see this show, you are missing out -- go set your DVR now!

I discovered Monk soon after it began and promptly got Casey hooked as well. What's scary in watching it is beginning to realize how 'Monk-ish' you might be yourself (I'm probably more Monk-ish than Casey). But the fun part is finding other Monk fans out there, and one couple in particular shares our love for this show. Yesterday I broke the sad news to them, that this was the last season. But the plan is to get together on Friday night to see the premiere, and hopefully each show of this season. I say the more, the merrier!

The link in the second paragraph gives an overview of the show, in case you're unfamiliar. It really doesn't do justice to it, though, or give you the little gems found in every scene. Seriously, Tony Shalhoub did not win an Emmy for this role several times over for nothing. If you liked him even just a tiny bit as Antonio on Wings, you will adore him as Adrian Monk. Okay, starting to sound like I'm doing a review, so I'll wrap it up...

How Monk-ish am I? I'll give you a couple of things, but they're just small examples. One is that I like the volume on the TV to be an even number. I've tried -- honestly -- to give the odd numbers a go, but it bothers me too much, and I'm back on a 24 or 26. Another example is that if I am holding a TV remote (do I watch too much TV? Hmm...) I have to run my thumb over certain remote buttons in a certain pattern. I've done this to the point of rubbing off words/symbols on some of the buttons. And yes, it does drive me crazy, so I have made an effort to just put down the remote. And phobias? I don't think it's extreme, but I do have a fear of climbing ladders, although I haven't always been like that. But Casey can certainly attest to that fear, because he's seen me go up the attic ladder and the mild panic that sets in when I'm on the way up, down, or just in the attic trying to figure out how to get down without falling. We've had some good laughs over it, although not in that moment when I'm actually on the ladder.

So tell Monk-ish are you?
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