Project Gratitude 

Currently, I am in two classes with the same professor at Mount Mercy University. In both of those classes, I’ve had to do the same assignment. I have had to write a letter to a person to show how much I appreciate them, and then I had to read it to them.

The first person that I wrote and read the letter to was my philosophy professor. She made a huge impact on my life and I thought of her immediately when I was introduced to the assignment. I cried when I read the letter and she feared up and then we hugged. It was an amazing feeling to be able to tell her how influential she is.

The second letter I wrote was to my sister and it was even more emotional. Even writing the letter made me full-on ugly cry in the Basile Hall computer lab. I am the type of person that hates crying in front of others, and even though I have had to do it TWICE, I am glad that I was required to do it otherwise I probably would not have done it, at all.

My sister, Lauren, is similar to me in only a few ways, other than that, we are practically opposites. We are similar when it comes to expressing emotions. We would prefer not to do it. I think we get this from our mom. She was tenth out of 10 children and was raised on a farm. Rural children grow up with thick skin. My family does not throw around ‘I love you’ lightly (except my dad; he’s a softy, city kid.) As I read this letter, the floodgates exploded.

The biggest take away from showing my sister gratitude was her response. She said, “I had no idea you felt this way.” Those nine words kind of took the breath out of me. It was hard to realize, but then again, I never expressed any form of appreciation before so how would she know? We could have lived out whole lives not knowing how we felt about each other and that is really sad. Having done this assignment, I can prevent having regrets later in life.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

Fall in Iowa is absolutely beautiful. The air is crisp, and the colors of leaves have changed and covered the ground. As always, Halloween has approached quickly. In all the time of picking a costume for Carson, I did not think of finding a costume for myself.

Carson will be going to his dad’s for his first Halloween and I have actual plans (gasp!). Every class that I have gone to in the last few weeks, I have been asked, “What are you going to be for Halloween?” Since this is probably going to be my last Halloween before taking Carson trick-or-treating, I was going to put a lot of thought into it.

My first thought was that I was not going to spend a ridiculous amount of money. My second thought involved contemplating my wildest dreams. Immediately I thought of superheroes because it would be totally badass to be a superhero. Then I thought about dream occupations.

Doctor. Police officer. Chef. Teacher.

These costumes are people that either help and care for others or could allow me to be creative in my line of work. If I am thinking about being one of these people for one night, what is stopping me from being one for a living?

There are many variables that have led me to my major in public relations. I enjoy helping people and being creative. While I have changed my mind in my career path, there is one position that I have always wanted to be.

A mom.

Having Carson has been a dream come true. I can only hope to inspire him to be whatever he wants to be and to support him in his endeavors. I look forward to what he will be on future Halloweens but this year, he is going to be the cutest monkey around!

My entire world only weighs 23 pounds.

I have a part-time position as a salon receptionist and as I was working the other day, one of our massage therapists let the front desk know that she decided to give a complimentary massage to a client. This was not something that I had seen a stylist or other spa technician do for the many months that I had been employed there, but when I heard her reasoning, I would have done the same.

The woman’s young son had cancer.

My heart sunk immediately. I placed myself in her position and I was at a loss for words. My son stole my heart the moment I heard his first heartbeat. Imagining my life without him would be like living without a pulse.

This women was dealing with a devastating circumstance where her little man could be taken from her and getting a massage was the last thing she felt like she needed. As she was checking out, her smile spread from one ear to the other, and she thanked her massage therapist and our salon over and over again.

In a very tough time, a simple gesture goes a long way. I can’t help but think that if I were in her shoes, I would be a train wreck. I am heart broken every time my son falls. If I lost my son, I don’t know where I would be.

Here we go again!

Another year has begun on the beautiful hill of Mount Mercy University. I am beginning to feel like I actually know what I am doing (or at least where I am going). This is my fifth year of college and my fourth college attended. I guess you could say that I like change.

My experiences have made me adaptable in many environments. This is my first time returning to a college, and I am happy with the college I chose to graduate from. My major is Public Relations so if any of my readers have any suggestions what to do with that major, let me know!

Carson is 9 months old! He has changed so much in a short amount of time. He crawls, pulls himself up, laughs, says “da-da” and “Izzy” (our dog’s name), and eats like a garbage disposal. He fits in 18-24-month size clothing, but no matter how big he gets, he will still be my little squishy!

I have added a bit more to my hefty plate as I am now an editor for the university’s newspaper. I look forward to the experience and building friendships on the staff. My main goal is to connect other students to activities on campus. One thing I have experienced at other colleges is the feeling of not being included, and I do not want that for any other students.

A big change in my life is that I am no longer engaged. It’s not some big sob story and my ex and I are amicable with how we handle our son, and I hope it stays that way. This does make it a little more difficult because I am now a single mom in college working a part time job. I am confident that I will finish this year with as few struggles as possible because I have a great support system at home.

And Joe TV Is On The ’Net

CRgardenJoe's Blog

Not Joe me, Dr. Joe of chemistry. At Mount Mercy, Joseph Nguyen had the idea for the fall faculty series about the War in Vietnam.

Last week, he stopped by my Intro to Journalism class to answer questions about the idea. I ran the camera (not all that well, I will admit) and a student scripted and voiced the resulting story:

Anyway, if you are at MMU and are interested, we’ll have another planning meeting Friday at 2 in Warde Hall 310. Hope to see you there!

Slide I used at SGA meeting to inform students of plans for fall series. Slide I used at SGA meeting to inform students of plans for fall series.

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You call that a spring break?

Last Thursday I had just taken my first midterm of the day when I got a text from my daycare provider informing me that my son was having trouble breathing. I immediately went into problem solving mode and took him to urgent care. The other three children at daycare were hit with respiratory syncytial virus, RSV, this past winter and we thought we dodged that bullet because we took him to our backup. Turns out we were a delayed target.

Carson had had a minor cold a couple weeks prior when he developed a chesty, wet cough. I took him to urgent care the Monday of last week. He was tested for RSV but the results were negative. I was told to return in a couple days if he got worse. My mama bear instincts kicked in and I was furious. I was there so that he would not get worse and they did.

When we returned, the doctor did an oxygen check and the results showed a deficit. We were admitted to the hospital an hour later. 

Carson was 10 pounds when he was born and he is in the 99.42 percentile for height and weight. His size has made me feel that he is older than he is but he is still just under three months. His age worried the doctors as well. 

My fiancé and I shared a couch in the hospital for three nights. This was the beginning of my spring break and while students my age were spending their vacations in hotels on beaches I was jumping at every beep a machine made.

There was no official diagnosis but we were told his symptoms were similar to RSV. There is no medicine for RSV so to help him to be comfortable, he was on oxygen and an IV. 

We were discharged last Sunday and I was looking forward to vegging out and giving myself time to breathe. But I’m a mom so any minute the baby is sleeping, I’m doing something around the house. I also picked up some hours at work. Netflix, naps, and baby cuddles are what is pushing me to finish this semester.