can it get ANY worse???

Yes, it can.

Tonight, I had dinner with some ladies from 2 jobs ago. Out of the 8 of us that showed up, only 2 of us left that job by choice (me and another lady in my department). The rest were swapping stories about being laid-off, who was still there, and the current financial state of that company. But in the end, all of us were in a better place...even though my lay-off was delayed until my next job. All I recall was sluggishly getting up in the morning, having to drive 45 minutes to a job that I grew to hate. I liked the people, but the work (or lack thereof) was unsatisfactory.

Anyway, I sat next to an older, white lady that I used to shoot the breeze with in the mornings. She would look out for me anytime another department had doughnuts, so I could do some quick ninja-like movements and beat the crowd. I believe that she favored me b/c we often bonded over our fondness for Pri.nce.

I hadn't seen her in 4 years.

Someone made a comment about loving her hair. She responded that she was just so happy that it grew back after her surgery.

This was a case where I wanted to know the backstory, but I didn't want to be intrusive...but I still REALLY wanted to know.

Someone else asked.

Thank God, b/c I was dying inside.

She said that she'd give us the short and sweet story.

A while back, she had a procedure done that essentially tied off the arteries supplying blood to her fibroids. She had a scheduled check-up some weeks later, but while in the parking lot at her doctor's office, she passed out next to her car. A police officer happened to see her and rushed to her aid. It turns out that she had an infection, related to that procedure, which spread into her bloodstream and she had gone into septic shock. She was informed that if she hadn't been under medical care that she probably would've died within 18-24 hours b/c the infection was spreading to her organs.

The doctors refused to perform surgery b/c of her condition, so they pumped her with a high dosage of antibiotics, which treated the infection. However, her veins collapsed in the process and she then developed a blood clot. Once the infection was treated, it was necessary that she have a hysterectomy...but she also needed a blood transfusion.

She cried out to God, "Can it get any worse?"

Surgery successful. She goes back to the doctor's office to get the staples removed. However, her doctor shares more news. Apparently, she had a very aggressive and rare form of cancer and it was speculated that she had 6 months to a year to live.

The doctor explains that he'd still like her to do ch.emo and radia.tion treatments. While processing this, she scrambles to change all of her insurance forms and gets things in order. She comes to accept her prognosis but finds comfort in the fact that she's accomplished everything in life that she wanted to.

Her friends frantically prayed for her. In fact, they were still on their knees from the beginning. She goes back to the doctor and he says...

"I don't know how to tell you this. I've had 4 other doctors look at your records and they can't explain it. There doesn't seem to be any cancer in your body. I've read about this happening in medical school once, but you're the first patient that I've actually witnessed."

She just celebrated her 50th birthday.

I sat there as she spoke, eyes glazed over, mouth ajar. I rubbed her arm. She tilted her head towards mine. I think that she thought that I was consoling her, but actually, I just wanted to touch what I perceived to be a miracle.

I learned a long time ago to never ask if life could get any worse. Damn if this story doesn't put a great many things into perspective...

this weekend

Yesterday, I drove up to northern VA to visit my best friend, who is a mommy now. She wasn't due until early September, but baby Jor.dan decided that he had better things to do than to be curled up in a womb all day. She had been in the hospital for a few weeks with early contractions. I have to admit that I was so worried b/c she had a high risk pregnancy due to her own health issues. Well, she gave birth on Tuesday and everything was great with her and her new baby boy. God is good. Focusing on my girl and her fam has been a nice mental break.

I went to R' Us and suffered temporary insanity as I started throwing the whole store in the basket. I don't know why I even bothered to print out her registry. I might've gotten one thing off of it, but there were so many things that I thought the child should have. As for her baby shower that was planned for the first week in August...I don't know. Her husband informed ME of the date, so I guess that meant that either he or someone that she's close to up there is planning it. I'll probably go back in the next couple of weeks anyway. All of my friends tend to be spread out across the country (and tend to move around almost every 3 or so years) so I'm just glad that we live in close proximity during this season of our lives.

We had a guest pastor this morning. It's sad, b/c if had I known that ahead of time, I might've skipped. I still received the Word. There was this tall, nice-smelling, man that walked in and sat next to me while I was praying. When I opened my eyes and peeped him in my peripheral vision, I was trying to figure out how to look at him...without looking at him. Leave it up to a black church to tell you to turn to your neighbor and tell him...something, anything, When I did, I thought that he looked alright. But then I heard him sing along with the praise team, clap furiously, and truly get into the service. Then, when he started speaking in tongues, my curiosity was peaked. But I swear I heard this dude say, ", you da MAN!" I started laughing and then I thought that maybe that was God's way of directing my attention back on Him, lol.

Distractions, both a blessing and a curse.

When I packed for Chi.cago, I wasn't in the mood to lug around a bunch of products, plus I didn't want to spend a lot of time on my hair during my vacation. I pretty much reasoned that wash n' gos were the way to go. And when I didn't want to wear it all the way out, I was down for my puff. When I returned, I told myself that I should probably do some twists to give my hair a break.

For some reason, I do not like twist outs in my hair right now. I like it when my hair is in twists, but when I take them out...not so much. I'm steadily practicing my flat twists.

Pardon my fo'head...
While on a trip to Tar.get a few weeks ago, I got suckered into buying more than always. I went there for Dry.el sheets, but came out with Dry.el sheets, junk food, soda, rollers, a diffuser, Yes To Cu.cumbers conditioner, and Shea.Moisture Dee.p Conditioning Mask.

I diffused my hair for the 4th...and I wasn't really a fan. My hair was big(ger), I suppose, but I felt as if I could've achieved the same results if I had just air dried. Most likely, I need more practice in this area.

Last week, I finally decided to try the deep conditioner. Loved It! Shea.Moisture has great ingredients and my hair thrived off of each and every one. So then I said, I'm gonna go BACK to Tar.get and see what else is in their line and maybe I can try something new for my twist-outs.

Tar.get suckered me again! I had to get some head gear.

I believe that my hat count is up to 6, excluding baseball caps.

I also bought Shea.Moisture's Curl En.hancing Smoothie, in hopes that it would be a great moisturizer for my twist-outs. Well, it IS a great moisturizer...but not an excellent styler, since it has absolutely no hold. I ended up slicking it back into ol' trusty, but my hair was ridiculously soft.

My next thought was to flat twist it, using both the Shea.Moisture and Eco.styler. I gots no love 2 days in a row. I was extremely frustrated. Truth be told, it more than likely failed b/c my hair takes forever and a day to dry but I didn't have that kind of time. And I surely did not plan on wearing the flat twists in public. I was disappointed b/c I really wanted to make that Shea.Moisture smoothie a part of my holy grail.

I called the Stay.Natural hotline and was talked off the ledge. Since I had done battle with my flat twists for 2 nights in a row, my g/f suggested that I break from it and recommended Kink.y for my wash n' gos. My only issue with my wash n' gos now is that I can't get more than 2 good hair days out of them. But that's not really much of a complaint since its the summertime and I don't have a problem with wetting my hair every day of the week, if necessary.

When I first big chopped, I used KCCC and hated it. I then vowed that I'd only use it as a gel. Well, I didn't have anything to lose by trying again.

This was the end of the first day...

And this was at the end of the second (without re-wetting...and with my hair pinned back in the front).

Pros - not a terrible amount of shrinkage, a good deal of movement, a nice sheen, great defintion, firm hold, humidity-friendly, and compliments.

Cons - PRICE (although I've had this jar since this time last year), stickiness (I believe that this is what I disliked the first time, but the stickiness subsides after a while).

Is it worth me trading in my regular routine? Eh - I don't know. I have a feeling that when I finish up this jar that I won't re-purchase. I am determined; however, to make that Shea.Moisture work for something...I believe that I will use it and the Eco.styler gel for my next wash n' go.

I'm trying to see if its possible for me to go a week without putting my hair in a puff. Highly unlikely.

stay the course

Lately, I have been praying in the spirit since I haven't a clue of how to lift this fog that has been hovering above me. While driving home from Bible Study tonight, I was thinking of all the different things that make me feel good. I started to take notice of the things that DO make me feel good, but DON'T exactly honor God. I even know how to string those "feel good" moments together to create the facade of happiness.

And then I thought of my vision and how my wants may take years to come to fruition. I can't wait for everything to align itself before I experience true joy. I just don't have that kind of time to waste.

I know that my blog has been the farthest thing from upbeat. It's easier for me to pray for material things or a new job or a companion. I can see those things. I've been taking "this" day by day, hoping for a revelation or confirmation. I've gotten many. And low and behold, tonight's message was all in my window, greeting me at my front door, and chilling on my couch.

When I was a teenager, my face broke out horribly. I was beyond believing that I could be helped. My mom took me to the dermatologist and I was immediately prescribed some random acne medication. The warning was "it's likely to get worse before it gets better". Some of the blemishes that were beneath the surface would be brought to a head and then the healing process would begin. This most likely lacks the eloquence of one of Jesus' parables, but it'll do.

emotional decorator strikes again

I can't count how many times I've glanced over a copy of Archi.tectural Dig.est or watched an episode of Div.ine Des.ign on HGTV and plotted on how I was going to achieve a similar look for less. I even have pictures of homes pinned up on my wall at work. I seem to be drawn to modern chic and sophisticated looks on paper...but for the life of me, I can't recreate them. "Looking at" and "living in" are 2 different things. My tastes diverge from the original plan once I walk into a store and see something bright or highly textured.

I was going through my "HGTVme" archives and taking note of the little things that I've added here and there. And b/c my mind has been heavy, I've been releasing my stress through home decor retail therapy...again. Unfortunately, my job is 5 minutes away from 1, Wo.rld Mar.ket, Hom.egoods, and Tar.get. So my sessions have been more than once a week lately.

I FINALLY found a table for my 2 chairs in my sunroom. I have been having these chairs for maybe 2 years now, but struggled to find an attractive table that was the right height, right width, or the right style to complement them. I'm VERY picky. Once I see something that I like, my strategy is to go home, sleep on it, and then buy it once I'm sure that it's what I want. This takes me weeks sometimes. I can't believe that it took me over 2 years to find a table but that goes to show that I don't impress easily nor will I break my bank. After getting a discount for buying the table off the floor and using gift cards, I spent $50 out of pocket. I've been enjoying it ever since. This table has seen many a cereal bowl since I picked it up on Saturday.

Originally, the coffee table was pushed in the corner with all of those vases (pictured in the windows) displayed on top like a collection. It made such a huge difference to actually use it as a coffee table and to display each vase in a window sill for a gallery look.

I just discovered Worl.d and now that store has made a lifelong customer. I spotted this cold mini-chest (that I'm using for small trinkets and buttons) in the discontinued section and had to add it to my collection. However, I thought that the colorful ceramic drawers would stand out better against white wood.

So I brought it home and painted it white.

I've made it a goal to step up my accessory game but I needed better organization than the huge Ziploc bag that I had been using before. My goal is to fill up each slot with new earrings and overflow my t-bars with necklaces. I'm a little slow in this that may take me years.

When I went to Chica.go, I saw a poster that I'd seen back home before in my girlfriend's kitchen. I loved the colors and just had to have it. I asked if it were ok to copy her style, but was ready to proceed no matter the answer, lol.

I ordered it in print size and then got a frame for it from Tar.get. I just ordered another print by the same artist and plan to put it below this one. It complements the MANY colors in my kitchen nicely. I still need to figure out what I'm going to do about a backsplash, since the tile company would not break up boxes for the design that I back to the drawing board with that one.

Originally, I had pictures of J and his PawPaw on that wall in the kitchen, but they work much better in his bedroom.

While I was in the mood for hanging pictures, I started hanging prints that I'd purchased from the Fr.ench Mar.ket sometime last year. I can't seem to get enough of surrounding myself with images that remind me of home. It has worked to ease my homesickness. (To the untrained eye: that's crawfish on the section of the Picay.une).

So much for modern...chic...or sophisticated.
But I guess when you're true to your personality, people who visit your home will take notice. Perhaps that's what makes the difference between having a house and having a home. I want it to look comfortable and lived in (and sometimes quirky)...even though people know how anal I am about keeping my carpet clean and instantly take off their shoes before entering without my saying a word.

Speaking of quirky...

Remember when J and I won this? I believe S23 asked where I was going to put it. Well, here's the verdict. I broke out J's crayons and colored it. I actually sat at my desk like a 5 year old, carefully scrutinizing the lines, a few months ago. THEN, it was ok to put it in the hallway.

My next therapeutic purchase will probably be more wall quotes.

I'll try not to overdo it, but I like how they can transform a boring sliver of a wall.

This one is above my bed. It reads, "Mothers of little boys work from son up til son down."

So adding little accents has been both scratching my artistic itch while J is back home and relieving me of my frustrations. I keep trying to talk myself into another painting project but I must not be THAT emotional. Then again, after having a day like I had today, I should be in the mood to paint 2 rooms, re-tile both bathrooms, do some yardwork, and knock down and rebuild my shed.