Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Am I an Introvert?

I’ve always classified myself as an extrovert. Not always the “life of the party” but one who enjoys being around others, who has an active social life and one who doesn’t feel out of place in a crowd. If you were to have asked me last week, did I consider myself an extrovert or an introvert, I wouldn’t have hesitated to say that of course I’m extroverted!

Lately though, I’ve enjoyed my alone time more and more. I guess I really noticed it this past Friday night when we had an evening planned of dinner and drinks with a few friends, then going to watch another friend play and sing at a local bar. A typical Friday night, nothing out of the ordinary, but as the day drew on, I found myself wanting more and more to find a reason not to go. After dinner, and before we ventured downtown, I suggested to Derek, “What if we just go home now?”

It was barely 9 pm and I wanted to go home. On a Friday night, with nothing to do the next day but sleep and clean the house. But I found myself craving my couch, my pajamas, and a good book. What has happened to me? Derek asked the same thing – stating something along the lines of “You used to want to go out all night, now you never want to do anything!” I wouldn’t say that I never want to do anything. But here recently, given the option, I will most likely choose my couch and PJ’s over socializing and wearing pants with a button.

Is this all just part of “getting older”? Is it part of marriage? Is it normal? Does it have to do with the fact that we’re in that weird phase of being married but not having kids yet, where the rest of our friends are either parents or single? Maybe my tastes have just changed. I really couldn’t tell you the last time I stayed out (willingly) past 10 pm – not counting my bachelorette party – or needed someone to drive me home because of one too many drinks. I’m not saying I hate it, I’m just saying it’s different.

Do I still consider myself an extrovert? I certainly wouldn’t say I’m “introverted” – I enjoy company, conversation, and can get easily bored with too much alone time. I’m not one who “needs” alone time, to ponder my thoughts and just be with myself, but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy those things. Is there a middle ground, a name for someone like me? Why must we be either introverted or extroverted?

When I first took the jueng personality test, I was categorized as an ENFJ, with pretty strong indications in the “extroverted” category. That was just two years ago. I wonder if I took it again today, would I be more on the introverted side?

What are your thoughts? Do we as people just naturally become more introverted as we get older, or am I changing for some other reason? 

The Phone Call

It was just like any other day when I got the call from my dad. Well, not just like any other day because I was actually working a late shift at work, so when he called a little before six, I was still in my office. We chatted about my brother's upcoming baseball games, our weekend plans, fishing, and a little more of this and that. I started saying my goodbye's when he said it: baby, I actually called you for another reason.

I knew something was wrong right away. Someone was in a car accident, one of the dogs got run over, he and my mom were splitting. A million different things went through my head in that one split second before he said the next thing: your mom had a doctor's appointment today and we've got some bad news.

In so many words, he explained how she hadn't been feeling well, had several appointments with her primary doctor over the past few days and several tests and procedures done, but that day was the day they found the tumor. The tumor that we would later find out encapsulated several main arteries and veins, and her left bronchiole. The tumor that would supersede anything I thought about over the next several weeks. The tumor that I would cry over, pray over, curse at, and cry some more about.
Fast forward to today. Today marks exactly four weeks since I received the phone call. My mom was diagnosed with stage three small cell carcinoma, with a 3x4x5 cm tumor, a small nodule in the right lower lobe, which is also in the immediately surrounding lymph nodes. She isn't a candidate for surgery, because of the delicate veins encapsulated in the tumor. She has completed her first round (three days) of chemo therapy and will return again in three weeks for another three days. She won't be going through radiation (yet), they will determine if she will start after her fourth round (12 weeks) of chemo.

Obviously this is a very scary, difficult thing for her to go through. For us to go through as a family. As a nurse, I am expected to answer questions, to provide reassurance, but right now I'm a daughter. A daughter who is scared and doesn't know the answers. I wish I did, but being a nurse only grants me a few days of studying more than the average person with knowledge about cancer.

It is likely that my appearance here may not be as frequent. But then again, it may be. I cannot say. At first, this was all I could think about. I couldn't fathom writing about anything happy or interesting or entertaining. Slowly, life is returning to normal. My mom is still my mom. I am still living my life the same that I was before, going to work, going home, cooking dinner and doing the chores, but now there's just a little rain cloud hovering above us. But, as the saying goes, you can't have a rainbow without a little rain.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Summer 2015 Bucket List

I love goals. I love setting them, I love crossing them off a list. I make a list every morning of things I want to do that day and crossing them off throughout the day. I love everything about it. From big, huge, life-changing goals, to the smallest thing on my to-do list.

This summer, there's a few things I want to accomplish:

Go to the beach at least three times. I've got plans to go this Saturday with a girlfriend of mine from high school. I literally cannot wait.

Get better at skiing. Though we don't have a ski boat we have a boat and we have skis and I was able to get up really well last summer (much improved from the summer before). I also want to try wakeboarding.

Make homemade ice cream. Derek's uncle has the best recipe, but my mom tells me the secret is just beating the egg whites. I used to love making homemade vanilla (or peach, with the peaches coming from trees in our yard) ice cream with my parents and I want it to be something Derek and I can continue doing throughout our marriage. 

Go camping. We went last year on Memorial Day weekend, and I hope we continue the tradition.

Have a picture for every day. I've already (kind of) gotten in the habit with #30photosinbetween and #20happydaysinmay so I hope to continue it throughout summer. Maybe I should make my own hashtag? Isn't that what all the cool kids are doing nowadays?

Make s'mores. Because duh.

Complete the #scsbc15. Last year I participated in the reading challenge, but unfortunately I didn't complete all the categories. I'm a little late to start this year (it officially began May 1) but I'm determined to finish! My preliminary list below:
  • Freebie - any book! (5 points): Undecided
  • Any book you've never heard of (10 points): Undecided
  • A book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (10 points): Undecided
  • A book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014. (10 points): The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
  • A book by an author who is completely new to you. (15 points): The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • A book by an author you have read before. (15 points): The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes - I've read Me Before You (amazing) and The Girl You Left Behind (also good) by Moyes and I've debated on reading One plus One but have heard some bad reviews.
  • A book with "light" or "dark" in the title. (15 points): Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  • Any book with the name of a city, state or country in the title. (20 points): Paris Red by Maureen Gibbon
  • Read a book with an animal on the cover. (20 points): The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - This would be a re-read for me but it's been several, several years since I've read it and for some reason it's been on my mind lately.
  • Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books. (25 points): Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (second book in "The Giver" series)
  • Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long. (25 points): Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • +Read a book with an alliterative title. (30 points): Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

As you can see, it's a pretty extensive list but I'm still missing a few. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated. And it's not too late to join in the fun!

Read the Harry Potter series from start to finish (again). Yes I've done this one a time or two (or eight) but it just never gets old. Maybe I'll try to fit a couple of these books in to the missing categories above. 

Visit someplace new. Derek and I already did this when we went to Jekyll Island but of course I'm always up for a new adventure. Derek is going to Nashville (to which I've never been) for a bachelor party later this summer and I'm pretty jealous about it!

What's on your bucket list this summer?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Recently Read

I haven't done a book recap since January, so this will actually include all of the books I've read between January and March. 

The Giver by Lois Lowry
I did something I don't usually do with this book: I didn't read it until after I had already seen the movie. Whoops. But it was still good. I kind of fell out of the whole dystopian genre for a while, pretty much ever since I finished The Hunger Games, but this book has got me back into it full force. I haven't read any of the other books in the quartet, but they're on my list

The Last Original Wife by Dorthea Benton Frank
I still can't decide how I feel about this book. Set in modern day Atlanta, it follows Leslie a 50 something year old woman who is the last "original" wife out of her social circle - her husband's friends have all remarried younger, fitter, wilder versions of the women that used to be their wives. As the story evolves, she must choose between staying with her husband or following her own happiness. What I didn't like about the book was the writing style and the prose used during the dialogue. I'm from the south and I thought it was a tad overdone with all of the "honeys, sugars, babies, and bless your hearts" to seem legitimate. Like I said, it was an interesting story, I just don't know that I particularly enjoyed reading it. 

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 
(Joining Bonnie in her discussion of this book for her book club today. Spoiler alerts ahead!)
This book. Man you guys, this story got me. It broke my heart in to a million little pieces then put it back together again. I'm not a big fan of biographical books (and I was a little slow to get in to this one) and even though I "knew the ending," this book had me hooked.

What I liked...I liked the story itself and how it was one of such resilience. I liked that there wasn't any detail that wasn't covered and I liked that the author took the time to write about Louie before and after the war, as it showed how he changed over time. The parts of the book that were easiest to read (though not necessarily fun to read) were those of the days on the raft and when Louie was in the camps. They were enthralling and kept me up much later than my usual bedtime because I just had to know what happened.

What I didn't like...At times, the book was a little too detailed. As I said, I'm usually not one to enjoy biographical types of books, and there were times where I didn't know if I would be able to finish this one. It was so much different from reading the fictional novels that I'm used to reading. Also, I still get nightmares about the duck. I definitely feel that part could have been left out.

What part of the story stood out the most...The ending, Louie's resilience and how, even though it took a long road to get there, it ended with Louie finding Jesus. 

How it affected my opinion on war...I wouldn't say it affected my opinion much. I've read previously about POW camps in WWII and even more so about death camps that the Jewish people had to suffer through. I guess I could say that it opened up my eyes a little more to the war in the Pacific specifically. I think people tend to forget a little bit about those people who didn't only fight the war in Europe.

Book vs. Movie...I haven't seen the movie yet, and I'll be honest, I didn't even know this was a book until the movie version was released. Because I'm such a weirdo, I refused to see the movie because I knew I would want to read the book first. I'm interested to see how much creative liberty they take with this story.

What are some books you've read recently? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Marriage Advice

You may be thinking something along the lines of: "Kalyn, you just got married. How can you be the right person to share marriage advice?"  While it's true I'm only a little over six months in to my marriage, I do have some great advice to share with you - but it isn't mine!

We had our friends and family share little tidbits, words of wisdom, and advice at our wedding reception. They shared it on little cards, which we kept and read together when we got back from our honeymoon. Helene shared something similar last week, so I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorites from our wedding.

+ Never forget why you fell in love with each other

+ "I'm sorry" will be one of the most important things to say in your life.

+ Love each other more today than you did yesterday

+ The key to a long marriage is: never run out of forgiveness and put God first in your life.

+ In tough times, remember how happy you are today - your wedding day!

+ The secret to a long marriage is to decide tnot to get a divorce. (From a lovely couple who has been married 59 years)

+ Don't blow all your money.

+ Always put God first.

+ When angry: KEEP MOUTH SHUT! Words spoken in anger can never be taken back

+ Have fun daily, pray about everything.

Some of the cards make me laugh, some of them are serious, and some of them can't help but bring a smile to my face. My goal is to have them displayed in our home one day, but until I can find a fun/pretty way to do so, I'll just keep them in their little box and share them with you all here.
Do you have any unsolicited marriage advice?