Saturday, March 15, 2014

Faith Over Fear

So, I want to share something that has been a big part of my life for the past couple of months and that is the battle between fear and faith. As you can read in my about me page, I have a personal relationship with Jesus. He has been the one to carry me through and to provide for me at exactly the right moments.

Everyone experiences fear at some point in their life. This is a revelation to no one. But there are certainly different levels, and that is something I’ve been learning to deal with lately. I have never considered myself to be an abnormally fearful person. Shyness has always been a part of me, from my earliest memories, but not fear.  At least not the all-consuming kind. The thing is I tend to lower my guard against attacks that I’m not accustomed to and start to think that I am somehow above them if I haven’t yet faced them. I have learned how foolish that is. I have friends and family that struggle with fear on a fairly regular basis and have told me about their experiences. I never felt that I was better than them for not having that struggle. I have plenty of my own for sure and just never bothered to think that I might need to guard my heart against that as well.  Because we all know ourselves completely at the age of 26 (insert eye roll here).  

Anyway, this all started a couple months ago. I started to notice some changes that caused me to wonder about breast cancer.  It was a Wednesday morning while I was getting ready for work. I had noticed the changes while I was in the shower and was now drying my hair, panic running through my brain.  I kept thinking “how am I going to get through my 10 hour work day with this weighing on me?” And then I knew. I got up, walked to the side of the bed and knelt down. I feel like I always underestimate the power of actually getting down on your knees. I don’t think I ever consciously thought “I’m not going to do this” or “I don’t need to”, I just don’t really do it. But the Spirit in me spoke to my heart that I NEEDED to that morning. And I did. It felt much more intentional than a hurried prayer out the door, with everything from my damp sweater pulled from the dryer to my burnt eggs distracting me as I go. That morning I truly surrendered everything to Jesus. My fear, anxiety, dread, whatever the outcome may be if my suspicions were true, everthing. I got through the rest of that day just fine. I told my husband that evening what I had saw and what I was feeling, and other than that it was out of my mind.

The next morning I missed my alarm and had to eat breakfast and put my makeup on in the car only to hit a 2 HOUR DELAY due to a jack knifed semi. I did try to pray in the car during the delay but was feeling distracted and my heart wasn’t as in it as it had been the day before. I made it to nap time and then I did the stupidest thing anyone can do in this situation and started Googling my symptoms. Well there was no doubt in my mind that it was cancer and 15 minutes before the kids were supposed to wake up I started SOBBING and COULD NOT STOP. I mean full blown panic, and at the same time worried that the kids were gonna wake up or my boss would walk in.

As it happened, my co-worker walked in to ask me to cover her room at the exact moment I threw my head down in my arms, the sobs barley muffled. AND I AM SO GLAD SHE DID. She immediately came over to ask what was the matter and I just poured out all the feelings, both embarrassed and relieved. She asked me questions, gave reassurance, offered suggestions, and told me that she wanted to pray with me after work. Do I have the best co-workers or what? It was enough o get me back on track and reminded me that God provides and loves on us even when we put our trust in Google instead of Him.

I had been able to get a doctors appointment scheduled fairly quickly and by this point had told my parents and grandparents (who live 30 seconds around the corner from us) what was going on. As me and my husband pulled into the parking lot we saw that my grandparents had showed up for support. It melted my heart to have my grandpa walking into the OBGYN with me. Just precious. As we sat down, I could sense everybody’s anxiousness. I just wanted an answer and so did they. I needed to KNOW something, just a starting point. I had all these fears piling up from the unknown, from Google and I hated that they were feeling that way too. I am so incredibly loved and I have been so blessed by my husband and family that to think that they were feeling that fear for me, the same I would have for them if the situation were reversed, killed me.

And then I just happened to look up, and framed on the wall was a print of this verse:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

And my heart had peace. I quickly pointed out the verse to them and I could feel the peace that passes all understanding wash over them as well.

We came out of that appointment with two more appointments scheduled for that day, which was both comforting and terrifying. By the time we got home we were exhausted. We had 2 doctors who were unsure to the point where they ordered tests but said that their opinion was that I was fine and an ultra sound tech who denied me a mammogram because of my age.

I received a very reluctant ultrasound during which (I learned later from a second ultrasound with a different radiologist) she pushed much harder on my sore lymph nodes than she needed to (the second one got a perfectly good reading without me flinching once) and she didn’t even bother to label it so that when I actually did get my mammogram and had to show them my results, they had to redo the whole thing. The only information I was left with was to try changing my deodorant or detergent. Both things I had already told them I’d done. I felt dejected, unheard, and embarrassed.

The day after the first ultrasound was hard. The first half of the day I kept really busy. My husband and I cleaned the house extensively which kept my mind occupied but as soon as we slowed down the tears came. I was frustrated, scared, and depressed. Thoughts of "what if the worst happens?" kept running through my head. I sat down with Josh, and as we talked I could see my fear was infectious. We were both in a pretty dark place when suddenly my phone rang. It was my nana. She said she felt like she needed to check on me and asked how I was doing. I could barely choke out "not good". She told me to come over immediately. We wiped our tears and headed over. We were greeted with hugs and cups of tea. They held our hands and prayed over us. We stayed there for the rest of the day, soaking in the love, encouragement, and wisdom and went home that evening renewed for the week ahead.

I ended up with a clean mammogram but still no answers as to what was going on with me. I was frustrated and simply afraid of the unknown. Why didn't anyone have an answer?! I tried to keep up a positive attitude but it was hard. I wasn't myself. I would do pretty well at work with the kids to keep me busy, it was the evenings that were the worst. My mind wondered so easily. I eventually made one more appointment, hopeful that they would give me answers and it didn't disappoint. I'll write more about that later because 1) this post is already massive and 2) I would really like to go into more detail eventually, in the hopes of encouraging others through these issues and maybe offering help and answers as well. 

I was absolutely blown away by the love, and encouragement shown to me during this time. I received beautiful, encouraging cards, texts from friends who I hadn't heard from in years, constant calls to check in on how I was dealing with things day by day, prayers in staff meetings, and my sister and brother in law even made a special trip to deliver a book on fear, worry, and anxiety. The lessons I've learned through this experience are invaluable:

1) My nana has used this analogy before but I've never needed it more. She told me to imagine whatever burden I was carrying, in this case fear, as a heavy load on my back. Then imagine God's throne and imagine yourself kneeling down at his feet and letting that load slide off your back, over your head, and disappearing. You stand up strong and free and full of love and thankfulness towards your savior and ready to continue your journey. The thing is, this is not a onetime thing. We tend to keep going back for that burden, knowing even now how horrible it felt. She told me to imagine this scenario as many times as you need to be it once a week, a day, or in my case a few times a day. A hundred if need be, if it is what gets you to surrender that burden to Jesus and be filled with His peace. I remind myself of this often.

2) Don't go through it alone. I tried to keep my concerns bottled up, afraid to worry others and afraid I'd sound like a hypochondriac and it did nothing but hurt me. I truly found out the depth of support that was around me and experienced how it felt to be the one lifted up in prayer, encouraged, loved on, listened to, and taken care of. I NEEDED it and they so badly wanted to provide it. The people who truly love you want to share in the good AND the bad. Let them.

3) Jesus shows up big when you let Him. As I think back on the whole experience I can see God providing for me each step of the way. A friends support and prayer, family calling at just the right time, a Bible verse popping into my head at exactly the right moment, a card, a smile, a shoulder to cry on. Whatever I needed, God knew and he gave.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long post. I feel that my experience is trivial compared to the sufferings of others but God was able to use it to teach me so much, and I share my story hoping to help someone else. My love and prayers go out to anyone who is experiencing fear right now, It is a heavy, debilitating burden and I pray you would let Jesus take it off your shoulders, He WANTS to.

If you have any questions regarding my experience or how I'm learning to manage fear please don't hesitate to email me. I'd love to help!

Love, Brittainy

Friday, March 14, 2014

High Five For Friday

Just stopping in to share the highlights of my week. It's been a big mix of exciting and terrifying. I'll list the good stuff but I also would like to share a couple prayer requests. My mother-in-law has had issue with blood clots ever since her heart attack about 10 years ago. This past Tuesday she went to the ER and they found a small on in her right leg. They put her on blood thinners and she is ok now but please pray for healing and strength to get her through. She has a hard time walking as it is and uses a cane because of a clot in her left leg so it's going to be yet another hindrance on her mobility. But God is good and he will get her through. ON THE SAME DAY my grandma called me crying saying she was going to pick me up with papa. Me and my husband jumped in their car not knowing what was going on, terrified. She had been sick with what she thought was a sinus infection for about a week but wasn't getting better with antibiotics. In the car she could barely say two words together. She was so weak and out of breath and apparently it happened all of the sudden. SO to the ER we went. She was there for about 6 hours and by the end was feeling a little better but with no answers as to what caused her fatigue. She is going to her follow up today and all prayers would be appreciated.  WHEW! now on to the fun stuff:

1) Me and my friend go to go see Casablanca at a 3 story theater in downtown Birmingham this week! Apparently it was Turner Classic Movie's 20th anniversary and to celebrate they decided to do a special showing of Casablanca. They chose 8 theaters around the country and thankfully one was only an hour away! I'm a huge fan of all things 40's and we grew up on old movies so it was especially cool to see it on the big screen. And it was fun to drive around Birmingham afterwards too, I definitely want to go back and explore.

2) I put my Easter decorations up! I love decorating for all seasons and create little traditions to go with the decorating to make it extra special. For Halloween it's cinnamon bread and watching the nightmare before Christmas or Young Frankenstein, Christmas is hot chocolate and the Muppet Christmas Carol, and Easter is all about Cadbury eggs and Easter Parade. Also, I love throwing back the curtains and opening the windows to get a real taste of spring time and was thinking that would definitely be out of the question this year BUT lo and behold it was 50 degrees! Bam. Perfect Easter decorating weather.

3) Tea! I found this awesome tea at Homegoods and it just makes me happy. Me and my nana always drink tea when we're visiting so I'm excited to see what she thinks of it.

4) My mom's in town!!! She planned a surprise trip up here with my little sister Bliss to visit my grandma after her ordeal earlier this week and I'm so excited! I haven't seen her since Christmas and I'm looking forward to some quality mommy time this weekend. This pic was taken when she got in last night at 10:30 pm. Needless to say we were all in prime condition ;)

5) PI DAY IS TODIZZLE! I'm throwing a Pi day party (3/14, get it?) today in potluck fashion where all the guests bring a different pie. And were having pizza pie. so excited.

Happy weekend!!!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Snow Day

      I was on my way to work yesterday morning when this happened:
The TOW TRUCK got stuck. It was blocking the on ramp to the freeway so I snapped this picture and sent it to my boss and she told me to just turn around and go home. Best boss ever and snow day for me! So without further a due, here is a list of the wildly unproductive things I did with it.

·         Took a bubble bath, candles and all. I want to find an actual BUBBLE bath though. I always just squeeze some body wash under the running water but that equals approximately 3 bubbles. BUT I did have this wonderful lavender-coconut oil sugar scrub my friend made me as a gift and that totally made it! But I do think it's time to bring Mr. Bubbles.
·         Snuggled down with the hubby and watched Selena. Odd choice you say? Well I’m a quarter Mexican {My mom being half and my grandma all} and in my family you WILL love this movie. I spotted it at Target for $5 last week and snapped it up because I just couldn’t not and since we literally had nothing better to do {shoveling snow doesn’t count} we watched it. And I cried. Like I do every time.

·         Started Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments and so far I really like it. I’ll do a review when I’m finished. And yes those are spaghettios in that cup. Apparently this weather is severely impairing my food judgment. It was a delicious 50 degrees yesterday and I could practically smell burgers in the air and promptly went and got one for myself. I didn’t even have the presence of mind to grab my husband something. Nope. Just me. And the bleezard today somehow had me grabbing a can of spaghettios off the shelf. I’m filled with shame and at the same time so so satisfied.

·         Went to dinner with a friend and just enjoyed some quality girl time while our hesrbernds were out.

A perfectly relaxing day that I am so thankful for! Hope you got a snow day too!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tibby & Pearl

Pearl on the left, Tibby on the right
Hello! I'd like to introduce you to my two little kitty babies. Their names are Tibby and Pearl. Or as I affectionately call them, fluffy butt and little girl. These cats. They are my little rays of sunshine and never fail to crack me up. They have quite the love hate relationship. One minute they're performing circus-level acrobatics chasing each other around the house and the next they're snuggled next to each other napping. I've always been a cat person, maybe because I grew up with cats (with the exception of a dachshund and a few carnival-won goldfish along the way). I don't know but regardless, I love these two and their ridiculous ways and want to share them with you! 

 Tibby is just delightful.  Me and my husband adopted him only a couple months after we got married. I call him puppy cat because of all his friendly dog-like qualities. He loves company and being snuggled, he is basically a rag doll. I can literally lay him around my neck and walk around and he's totally cool with it. Oh and he is THE most talkative cat I've ever come in contact with. His dog-likeness even extends into his meow. When he gets really intense there is a distinct MOW-WOW sound that he makes and he even holds it out longer than normal.

Then there's Pearl. She's fairly new around here; my friend found her wandering around her neighborhood looking starved to death and knew I'd take her in, being the crazy cat lady that I am. And we did! She is just precious. She has totally adjusted to the life of an indoor cat and hasn't tried to get out once.  She is very mild mannered and loves cuddling in her own way. We call her the mountain goat. She will literally find the smallest surface on your body and settle down. Like, the end of your knee or when you lay on your side, she will go up and lay on your hip. She also likes to camp out in the middle of my back if I'm on my stomach. She doesn't want to be picked up but she DOES want to be wherever you are which is just the cutest.

So there they are my little dumplins'. I'm sure you'll see a lot more of them around here. Any other crazy cat ladies out there? I feel ya.

The Sunday Currently Vol. 1

READING: The Morning & Evening App and I absolutely love it. I'd seen quotes by Spurgeon on Pinterest before and really appreciated the wisdom they held. When I heard about this app I downloaded it immediately. Some people might not appreciate the old timey language but I feel that it's a part of what gives the devotionals  their  impact. The words he uses are just beautiful and convey his passion for Jesus perfectly. It is what its name implies, there is a devotional posted in the morning and one in the evening.  They're a joy to read and I look forward to them each day.

WRITING: A list for things I need for the Pi day party we're hosting this Friday! I'm so excited. SO MUCH PIE. Also, I'm compiling a list of food from my board on Pinterest to make with my sister when I visit her in two weeks. I've noticed a definite trend: Chocolate, cheese, and mushrooms. YUS.

LISTENING: To Heros Season one. It's been two years since we finished the series and it's been awesome going through it again. We've forgotten enough so that it keeps us on the edge of our seats all over again!

THINKING:  About how thankful I am that Dr. Suess week is over! I know that makes me sound like a scrooge. Hear me out. It was fun and the kids had a BLAST. I thoroughly enjoyed crazy hair day and watching their little faces while I read the stories. I feel like they really were able to derive the lessons intended from the stories too. I was so proud!  BUT I was not thrilled that I was forced to entertain a room full of three year olds with only worksheets and circle time after they consumed copious amounts of sugar because of the Suess themed snacks for THREE HOURS without time that they normally had to run off that energy because of the special activities planned.  Whew! It was great but I'm craving our routine.
Crazy hair day. Garden theme. Oh yeah.

SMELLING: My mocha coconut coffee. OH YES. And drinking it out of my Tervis cup! Which I've been searching tirelessly for the past two weeks and found...under my car seat.  The first place most would search for their missing to-go cup but not I.

WISHING: That I had bacon for tomorrow's  breakfast and that I had the motivation to go to the store and get it.

HOPING: This 40 degree weather sticks! GAH. Its' been gloriousssss. The birds  have been chirping outside my windows and I even got a car wash this week! Yes, this is the first time I've washed my car all winter. Whatevs.

WEARING:  A LOT of dresses, leggings ,boots  and cardigans. Like, pretty much that's all I've been wearing. It's so easy and I feel put together every day. Plus, me and my husband just watched the first two seasons of New Girl which is just further  feeding my dress/cardi combo obsession.

LOVING: Fajitas! I've made them approximately 15 times this month.

WANTING: One of those Polar heart rate monitors! I've been doing a lot of home workouts lately and I'd love to be getting an idea of how many calories I'm actually burning during Tae Bo. BILLY BLANKS 4 LYFE.

NEEDING: A basket for my bike. SPRING FEVAH!

FEELING: Like taking a leisurely Sunday nap and at the same time in the mood to bake. Bring it on 3/14!!!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

About Me

New Years Eve 2013
Hello, my name is Brittainy. First thing you should know about me is that I’m a daughter of Christ, a sinner saved by grace. I love me some Jesus. He is my everything and has been my rock and light throughout my 26 years. The name of my blog comes from my favorite hymn “Come Thou Fount”. I feel like this perfectly describes my life right now, but really it should never stop. I want to always be in the process of letting God tune my heart to be more like His!


I have been happily married to a wonderful man and my best friend for 3 years. We met through MySpace. That’s right MYSPACE. Come to find out that not only did we have a few friends in common but we lived a mere 5 minutes from each other! We met up at a Dairy Queen in July of 2007 after a week of talking online and that was it. We saw each other every day for a whole year and have only really been apart maybe ten days since. We are pretty big homebodies and most of our evenings consist of snuggling down to watch our favorite shows with our two cats. And I like it that way.

My Classroom

 I’m a pre-school teacher which means I get to sing, play with glitter, and use a plethora of stickers on a daily basis and this makes me SO HAPPY. But it is SO much more than that. I love these babies so much and shed a tear at the end of each year. They play with my hair, show me their karate moves, make me invisible coffee, and draw me pictures. They compliment some part of my outfit on a daily if not hourly basis and give me spontaneous hugs throughout the day. I walk in the room and hear “MISS BRITTAINY!!!” and my love and patience (because let’s be honest, I need it) are renewed each morning.  I count myself blessed to have this job and to be a part of their little lives. I LOVE what I do. And I’m like the shyest person I Know so working with little children all day and NOT having to make small talk on a regular basis totally suits me.

Aside from Jesus, my marriage, my job, and my cats, a few other things you’ll read about here are books that I read, recipes I try, crafts that I…craft, my love for all things vintage, and all the other beautiful little things that make up my life. So glad you’re here! Let’s be friends.