Wednesday, October 21, 2020

What's Up Wednesday

Hi friends! Here we are again with another What's Up Wednesday. I know you are so excited to see what I have been up to. I enjoy sharing this with you and for you to get a glimpse into my life, well more into the day to day life.                                                             

                                                                                What I'm Eating

Everything! HA. This is probably the first time in a very long time where I am actually enjoying food. Currently my favorites have been a big chef salad with corn, pepperoni, dried cranberries, chicken, shredded cheese (2 kinds) and butter lettuce

What I'm Reminiscing About
Halloween's past. I am working on next week's bonus Friday Favorites and I am digging through old photos to find my favorite costumes. I loved dressing up as a kid.

 

What I've Been Loving
This beautiful fall crisp weather. I love dressing in the fall and all the layers I can find. I also love finding my fall clothes that I forgot about over the year and being able to wear them again.

 

What I'm Dreading

Getting my (2) wisdom teeth out next week? Its not a dread but its also not excited about it, I'm more ambivalent about it. 

 

What I'm Working On

Posting some items in my Poshmark closet. Check it out here.

 

What I'm Excited About

November! So many exciting things happening in November, its going to be a fun month.

 

What I'm Reading

Currently I am making my way through:

Untamed by Glennon Doyle & Summer Darlings by Brooke Lea Fostser

 

What I'm Listening To

All the lofi, chillhop, jazzhop, sleep beats I can find. 

Specifically this playlist and this playlist.

 

What I'm Wearing
Jackets!! I love a fun jacket and now that it is finally cooler out, I am making sure I take advantage and wear them all. 

 

What I'm Doing This Weekend
Reading and Working on some upcoming posts

 

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

My 2 classes start next week and I am so excited for me. #nerd. There is a lot of exciting things happening in November for me and I feel like its going to feel like a roller coaster ride but I'm pretty sure my heart will be full. 

 

What Else is New

Not that much; I have been savoring these two weeks without school work and I am slowly getting my mindset back into school mode for next week. I have been trying to clean out things and become more mindful with things I have and how I can reuse things in a more purposeful way. 


What have you been up to?


[[Girl, you totally got this]]


-gabrielle

Monday, October 19, 2020

Take and Make Crafts from the Library

My local library has been offering  "Take and Make" Programs for adults and children. These programs are in lieu of in person programs at the library due to COVID.  The library provides you with all the supplies you need along with the instructions to put the craft together. I thought this was such a smart idea. 

One branch was putting together a few like books and then a simple craft to go along with the books. With your library card you are also able to access Creativebug digital art/craft classes. These classes cover a wide variety of crafts and interests. The best part: its FREE with your (Ocean County) Library Card. 

The two "Take and Make" programs I participated in was Anti Stress Lavender Putty and Meditation Jar. 

Anti Stress Lavender Putty

This was a drop in program that ran all day until they ran out of the kits. I figured when I was on my lunch I would swing by and pick up the kit. My thought was - how many people were actually interested in this project?! Well, I was apparently wrong because by 1 PM they were out of all the kits. Mr. Leonard, the security guard suggested I go upstairs to ask at the reference desk to see if they had any more left over. 

As I walked through the library for the first time since the beginning of March, it was EMPTY! Which for me was a good thing, everyone there was wearing a mask and they had strict protocols for picking out books. It was definitely weird but it was nice to do something normal.

I ventured up to the Reference Desk and I met the nicest person ever. [[Shout out to Karen for being so kind!}} Karen informed me that they were all out kits but she would be happy to bring the supplies for me that I didn't have at home and provide me with the instructions. She said to stop by tomorrow and it will be at the desk. I walked back to the office, thinking there are some really nice people still in the world.

The next day, on my lunch, I went back over to the library, said hello to Mr. Leonard and walked back upstairs and went to the Reference desk and like Karen said, there was a large brown envelope filled with all supplies needed, instructions and a sweet note from Karen saying if I have any questions, don't hesitate to call her. I was shocked how sweet she was and how she kept her word.

To make the putty, it was pretty simple and most things, you probably have around the house. This recipe made ALOT of putty; I would half it if you are just making it for yourself. It took me about 20 minutes to make it. I put all the ingredients in a large ziplock bag to mix for two reasons: To make clean up easy and to mix/knead everything today.

Materials:

1 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Salt
3 Tbsp. Cream of Tartar
1 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Boiling Water
10-20 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
Few drops of Purple Food Coloring
Glitter (optional)

Instructions:

1. Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in large bowl
2. Add Boiling water and stir to combine
3. If adding glitter, start with a little and add as much you like. 
*You might need to add more water, to make it dough like*
4. Once you have reached the desired consistency, add in the 10 drops of lavender essential oil; Add slowly and stir to combine. If you want a stronger scent, add more essential oil. 
5. Add several drops of purple food coloring and knead. Add more until you reach desired color. 

That's it- super easy to make! I would store the putty in a ziplock bag; don't leave it out, it gets dried out over the course of a day (Lesson learned!) I split up my rather large batch and kept on little ball at work- perfect for stressful days, one at home- I love the scent of Lavender before bed and one I gave to a friend for her birthday. She loved it. 


The next craft that the library offered was a Meditation Jar. This one you had to register for so I was guaranteed a kit. This one was also super simple to complete and I have used it already multiple times.  

Meditation Glitter Jar

Materials:

8 oz mason jar
Warm water
2-3 Tbsp of Corn Syrup, glycerin or  Elmer's School glue
Glitter
Dish soap (a few drops)
Hot glue or Gorilla Glue (optional)

Instructions:

1. Add warm water (not boiling) to your jar until it reaches around a third of the way up. 
2. Pour 2-3 Tablespoons of corn syrup, glycerin or Elmer's School glue into the jar. 
3. Add a Tablespoon of glitter .
4. Add a few drops of standard dish soap. This will keep the glitter from sticking together. 
5. Top off your jar with warm water, until it is almost full. Leave a little gap at the top of the jar for the solution to mix. 
6. When everything is added, put the lid on tight and give it a good shake so the glitter is dispersed throughout. 
    -If the glitter settles too fast- add a little more corn syrup, glycerin or Elmer's School Glue and then shake again. You may need to repeat this a few times to get it right. 
    -If there is too much syrup or glue and the glitter clumps or does not move around- pour mixture into a bowl and add more warm water. Give it a good whisking until it flows normally. 
7. To ensure the lid stays on, you can add a few dabs of hot glue or gorilla glue around the ring of the jar and then seal it tight.

This project is a little more sciencey to make sure you get the right proportions but it is totally worth it in the end. I keep my meditation jar on my desk and every so often I shake it up and watch the glitter settle. 

How to Use the Meditation Jar:
-The glitter in the jar represents your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. 
-The glitter settling to the bottom of the jar represents your mind settling
-You can practice mindful breathing as the glitter settles or thinking about the glitter settling

The goal is not to ride yourself of thoughts, feelings and urges but it is to learn not to react to them as this can hinder us from seeing things and understanding them with clairty. 

Try not to focus on how much time you spend meditating or being mindful. Be in the moment. 


Thank you to the Ocean County Library for providing these programs amid the craziness we are all experiencing. I think both crafts were perfect for now. Be sure to check out the Ocean County Library (if you are local ) or YOUR local library branch to see what is happening. 

[[You are an isle of calm in a sea of dispair- J.M. Hickman]]

-gabrielle

PS. I will be quoting Arthur here by saying "having fun isn't hard when you have a library card. "

Here is a throwback for you: 

Enjoy! 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Funny Friday

Happy Friday! 

The Friday Feels is all about the Friday FUNNIES today. I have been cracking up all week with these memes. Let me know what is your favorite in the comments.

















----

For extra giggles- 

What can't the skeleton play church music? 

Because he has no ORGANS! HAHAHA

----

[[This year may have broken your heart but it has opened you eyes.]]

-gabrielle

 Linking up with Andrea and Erica

Did you see this week's posts? 1st Semester Recap and Photo Story

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

October Photos

Woah. October is flying by! This past month, I feel like a lot of fun things have popped up into my view and I have really enjoyed seeing different places. I made it a point to take more photos this month and to enjoy the views. Here are my favorite photos from October:

Cute Halloween Costume

Lunch!

Election Season

Shine brightly

Speed of Light

blurred and confused

Beautiful skies

Birthday Mail

Overtime

Unexpected Views

Spooky Szn

Um, I think I broke it....

I spy...

Study time

More Overtime

Statistics

Sad plant. 
Also does anyone know what kind of plant this is?

Lunch adventures

Final Countdown

What are you doing Stanley?!

What did you see this month?

[[effort is attractive]]

-gabrielle

Monday, October 12, 2020

One Semester Done

When the school mascot is adorable. 😍

Hooray! My first (eight week) semester as a gator is completed. I am officially back in school mode. I was pretty nervous going back to school; I haven't really taken classes (that I was serious about) in a LONG time. I missed learning but I never knew what I wanted to study. I didn't want to waste time (or money) with something that wasn't bringing me joy. So here I am two classes in and my heart is so full. I took Financial Accounting 1 and Statistics and these are a few things I realized during the first 8 weeks:

Its QUICK 
Eight weeks goes by in a blink of an eye. I feel like I just started the class and now its over. You are consuming A LOT of information in a short amount of time. You have to stay on top of the all the assignments. 

For Accounting , each week I had to read two chapters, complete a discussion question, a discussion problem, responses and assignment for each chapter AND a quiz for those two chapters. 

For Statistics, I had one chapter to read and a various amount of homework for that chapter and a chapter test. The chapters were long and filled with a lot of information.

Accounting provided us with PowerPoint slides but in Statistics the notes were up to us. I took handwritten notes filled with equations, calculator steps and examples. It was long and tedious BUT it helped me in the end with the homework and tests. I am pretty sure my hand written notes for Statistics filled a 1 inch binder to the max. 

With all these assignments and tests to complete each week,

ORGANIZATION  and CONSISTENCY is Key
To make sure everything is completed on time, I worked on both classes a little each day. I knew what chapters I was reading each week from the syllabus. I would write down what I would work on each day to keep on track for that week in a notebook. 

I made sure the whole week was on one page; that way I could see the whole week at a glance and to keep myself accountable. I can also see the progress as I cross things off the list too. 

I would sometimes get up early to work on either homework or the readings; lunch time would be for Accounting homework and then at night would be Statistics. I would leave the quiz and test for the weekend along with my responses for the discussion questions. 

Sometimes I would get ahead of my plan, sometimes I would lag behind. I would always get the work done. Everything was due by 11:59 on Sunday night, I told myself that everything needed to be done by Saturday night so that would give some wiggle room, just in case. 

It felt like a whirlwind but I was actually really happy to be working so hard,

It's really REWARDING

This is going to sound really nerdy but getting a balance sheet to balance or getting the equation to work is really satisfying. I am especially proud when I find a mistake in a problem and I am able to fix it. This shows that I am retaining what I am learning and able to apply what I am doing. 

Doing what you love is so important and that will bring you so much joy.

-----

Needless to say, I am excited for the second 8 week session that will start in 2 weeks. I am also very excited to tackle some projects that I have been putting off during these two weeks. 

What have you done to make yourself proud?

[[What we learn with pleasure, we never forget- Alfred Mercier]]

-gabrielle

PS. In case you are wondering, I got A's in both Financial Accounting and Statistics. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Faithful Friday

 Happy Friday! How was your week? Mine flew by and I have no idea what really happened this week- all the days are smooshed into one. My brain feels like its fried from finals week but I am so excited to take these finals and have no class for 2 WEEKS! My first 8 week recap will be live on the blog on Monday, just a FYI. 

Linking up with Andrea & Erika for Friday Favorites....

Okay! On to the real point of this post- its THE FRIDAY FEELS.

For the Friday Feels today, its all about Faith. 


I pray often. I pray in the quiet moments of the day, before I go to bed, when I wake up; anytime I start to notice that I am becoming anxious or overwhelmed. Those prayers are short but meaningful. Once in a while, I write down all my prayers into a prayer journal- Its my diary entry to God. I tell him what I am feeling, how I am doing and what I wearing heavy on my heart. I feel so good after I write it all down and get it out of my head. 

Here are a collection of verses that have popped up and have really resonated with me this week.







I hope you have a wonderful long weekend! Enjoy the beautiful fall(sorta summer) like weather this weekend. 

[[never stop praying- 1 Thessalonians 5:17]]

-gabrielle

PS. Did you miss my posts this week? Crohn's Confidental: Humira Update and What I Read in September

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Crohn's Confidential: Humira Update

Welcome back to a bonus post of Crohn's Confidential! I am excited to share this with you!

Two years ago today,  I started Humira.  

I was NERVOUS and WORRIED. I was so sick at that time and I wanted to feel better so badly. Up to this point I had failed so many different medicines and I did not have much hope in this new one. I had just failed Stelara - which I detested so much. It was very painful for me and I never felt as if it worked. I was desperate at this point to feel better when my doctor suggested Humira. 

I had already been on Remicade 2 years before and that caused more problems then it solved. Humira and Remicade are both TNF inhibitors and I was worried since I had failed Remicade before, Humira wouldn't work. I knew I had to try something and  my options were getting more limited. I decided to try this. I knew this was a self injectable and I had literally NO idea how I was going to give myself these shots. I prayed a lot of strength to do this because I knew this might or might not be the one to actually help me  

That first night, October 7, 2018, I sat in the bathroom after my shower with the two loading doses on the counter, thinking to myself, “ okay gab, you can do this. This is going to help you “ I mustered up some courage, turned on my favorite uplifting song at the moment- Joy by FOR KING AND COUNTY and followed the steps from the Humira app. I said a quick prayer and went for it. Did it hurt that first night, yes and no. I think the shock of the pen clicking me scared me more than the actual shot. One done I thought and I moved on to the last one thinking positive thoughts. It was over quickly and after I realized that I did actually complete it, I started to cry. They were both happy and sad tears  I was happy that I did it and I was brave but I was sad that this might be my last option. I cleaned myself up and then I went on with my night. I prayed some more that night, hoping this was going to be the miracle I needed.

As the weeks wore on, I gave myself the injection every other week. After a while, it became easy for me to do this. Was it sometimes painful, yes but I knew somehow it was going to work. I was on it for 6 months when I had the surgery and I had to stop taking it. I had no idea when and if I was going to go back on it after the surgery. Through these weeks of worry and not feeling well, I prayed that something would change. 

The surgery was a success but it was a long recovery for me. I finally went back on Humira in the middle of June and by July, I somehow missed a dose. I was miserable again and very worried. I prayed and through an unusual (but favorable) turn of events, by the end of August, all my problems with my stomach were gone. My doctor couldn't explain it, I surely couldn't explain it but slowly but surely, I started to feel better each day.  I was cautiously optimistic about this good feeling and yet somehow there I was one year in on Humira and I wasn't slowing down. I was consistently feeling amazing. 

In January of this year, I had another colonoscopy and it was perfect. We were all in shock- Humira is really working and the surgery really did help. I saw my doctor recently and he is just as amazed as I am (and my family too) that I have been feeling as good as I have been. Its like we finally found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The most awesome part- he doesn't want to see me for a WHOLE YEAR! How is that possible?! I was actually sad when he said this, I enjoy seeing him and getting to catch up on life. A year seems too long but it is very welcomed.

If I could go back to 6 years ago and let 26 year old Gabrielle know, that things do get better- they might get a whole lot worse before they truly do get better but there IS a light at the end of the tunnel and  you ae going to learn a lot about yourself through this whole process. 

I know for most people, good health is something they don't even think about but I give praise everyday that I am able to wake up and feel a sense of excitement and feel physically good because there were so many days (sometimes months) on my journey that I woke up feeling absolutely terrible. There wasn't anything I could do about it; I had to get up, get dressed and show up because I had accepted this was my life- feeling sick and not having any answers. 

Today, I am doing AMAZING- I say this as I hold my breath because I am very thankful for my good health but I am also cautious knowing it could change any day. I will take ALL.THE.GOOD days while I can and if I have a few bumps along the way, I know I can handle it. 

If you are going through a rough patch right now- take a deep breath and know that things will get better, it will take time and you will be back to what you are accustom to. Better days are ahead. You can keep your head down but keep your eyes up- always looking forward. #Hdeu
YOU GOT THIS!

[[You don't know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.]]

-gabrielle

PS. Did you miss any of my past Crohn's Confidential Posts? See below for the posts.

My Crohn's Disease Journey
My Support Team and How They Help Me
Surgery Before and After
Surgery Recovery After Surgery
World IBD Day
Dealing with Questions and Comments
What I've Learned From Crohn's Disease
Resources