Thursday, September 04, 2008

moving on

I have switched over to wordpress. Josh, my fiance, has been trying to get me to switch for a while. To go to my new blog, click this link or click on the title of this post.

Friday, May 30, 2008

so yeah...

...I haven't been on blogger in months. Not that anyone really cares, but still.

So yay! I'm engaged! The original date was July 11, 2009...until I found out that I'm graduating this December. So now it's in January. I went from a year and a half to plan to less than 9 months when we made that decision.

I have been freaking out about stuff as I leave in a week for a full-time internship in a different state and won't really have a chance to do planning stuff till school starts back in August. Amazingly, despite my bi-monthly breakdowns, this has been accomplished in the past three weeks:
  • bridesmaid dresses have been picked out (and one already came in!)
  • dress design finalized, have to get fabric
  • colors: green, orange, white, black (technically already decided before this month, but whatever)
  • paper lanterns galore at the reception in green, white, and orange...just need to figure out how many and order them.
  • AMAZING deal on a photographer ($700 for rehearsal, getting ready, ceremony, and reception plus all pictures and printing rights!)
  • church and reception hall reserved
  • one of my best friends is doing my makeup, making half the food for the reception, in charge of the guest book, recommended two different hair people to talk to, and all-around "you ask for my opinion, I'm going to give it" lifesaver
  • a family friend is our "wedding coordinator," which is really just a fancy name for someone to keep mom and I from going crazy and trying to kill each other.
As we are now fully in "wedding season," with every wedding I attend the planning urge grows stronger. A friend gave me a stack of at least 10 magazines to look through for ideas. (Seriously, 10 bridal magazines? The way I shop, that would pay for a whole new outfit, including shoes). Budgeting is hard to do when you still don't know how much your dress is going to cost...just so you know.

That's about it for mind is racing in at least 18 different directions all at once, and I just needed to vent some of it out.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


I'm engaged!!!

...I'll do an in-depth post on the youth convention and the engagement when I'm not so tired/hyper from the whole trip.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

3 left!!

Three what you ask? Why, three semesters of college! Heck yes.

On the DH/gluten free front, I'm doing ok. We think. Turns out that DH may not be the problem after all. So now I have to find another dermatologist in the area that insurance covers so I can get a second opinion. Yippee.

Now the real reason for my update:

I am in love with Google Reader. I check it multiple times daily over breaks, and every morning and night while I'm in school. Reader automatically checks my favorite websites for updates, and displays them within the Reader page. (I do realize that this is a crappy explanation. There is a better one on the Reader site.)

Some of my favorites:
The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks
Funny pictures of signs from all over the world with, you guessed it, unnecessary quotation marks.
I really can't describe this one. You just have to check it out for yourself. I think I have laughed or "Oh no she didn't!"-ed at every single post.
Sun and Shield
The blog that puts my blogging skills to shame. Dr. LaBar is an amazing man and writer whose faith I greatly admire.
I am not engaged...yet. So why have I been reading this blog for over a year? Research. Um...yeah, that's what it is. Eye candy galore, multiple bloggers, and hilarious xangaTV
Karina's (gluten free) Kitchen
When I found this blog, I knew that being gluten-free is no biggie. Just thinking about the site makes me drool.

Granted, these are five blogs out of the 19 I read.

Another new love is Foxmarks. From the website: "The Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer automatically synchronizes your bookmarks between two or more computers running Firefox. It also lets you access your bookmarks from any computer anytime via An easy-to-use wizard guides you through the quick startup process. Then Foxmarks works silently in the background to keep your bookmarks up-to-date on all your computers." This comes in handy when I'm at school and use my personal computer along with the school computers in the library or classrooms.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The New Me

Hello world!

I know it's been ages since I updated the blog, but now I've got something to write about.
Ever heard of Dermatitis Herpetiformis? No? Well, me neither. Until yesterday, that is.

Back story:
For the past three years, I've been having weird breakouts on my elbows. Some medical professionals told me that it was most likely a skin reaction, and not to worry about it unless it spread. This August I noticed it on my knees as well. This started my doctor chain. I first visited my family doctor, who sent me to an allergist. I went in for a scratch test, but nothing reacted like my breakouts (I did find out that I am mildly allergic to grass and dog dander, but can still have a dog). After another breakout, my allergist sent me to a dermatologist.

At this point, I was just annoyed with everything. My breakouts didn't itch, and half the time I didn't even know they were there. I just wanted to find out what was wrong and move on. My first appointment with the dermatologist was on Tuesday of last week. We discussed some possible causes, such as arthritis or an allergy to pain medication. I broke out again on Thursday night, and went back to the dermatologist on Friday. She was able to biopsy my knee and drew blood.

This brings us to yesterday. I am sitting at work study, stuffing envelopes and chatting away (what fun!) when my phone rings. I go out in the hall and am told something along the lines of this:

"Joy, you have Dermatitis Herpetiformis. You need to start taking medication go on a gluten-free diet immediately."

I wondered if the women on the phone knew that she had just changed my entire life.

So I had three things to look up.
1) Dermatitis Herpetiformis (click for Wikipedia article)
Basically, in the simplest terms I can think of, I have a gluten build up in my skin. My body doesn't know what to do with the gluten it can't break down, so it stores it in my skin. The breakouts are caused by a combination of the gluten, my skin, and iodine. 11.2 people out of 100,000 have this disease.
2) Dapsone (click for Wikipedia article)
This medicine is used for treatment of DH and combined with two other drugs is a treatment for leprosy. Say what? Basically, I am taking this to get rid of the gluten build up in my skin. According to various medical websites, it can take up to two years for the gluten build up to go away. This medication works amazingly, but because of side effects it is recommended that you only stay on it as long as necessary. While on Dapsone, I have to get blood work done once a month to make sure it isn't messing me up anywhere else.
3)Gluten free diet (click for Wikipedia article)
Unlike Dapsone, this is life-long. To keep my skin from breaking out and to keep from developing Coeliac Disease (along with a long list of other diseases I'm at risk for), it is mandatory. This sound horrible, and it is at first. I adore bread. I love bread. I would marry it if it were only a person. However, I can no longer eat my beloved sourdough or pumpernickel-rye. Thankfully, there are other people at school with this same strict diet. My RA, for one. She has been an amazing help, and I haven't even known about it for 24 hours yet. I guess the one plus is that I no longer eat Aramark food.

I'm not going to lie, it sucks. I went grocery shopping last night and had to hold back tears the entire time. Cap'n Crunch peanut butter? Gone. Doritos? No more. Pepsi? Not allowed. Zaxby's? Sorry, no. And the list goes on. And on. And on.

But if I focus on what I can't have, I'll just be depressed. I have to focus on what I can have. Like Chinese food, because they use corn flour on their breaded meats. A Taste of Thai brand foods. Rice cakes (yeah, I actually like these). Sprite. Trix (the only cereal that is gluten free). Potatoes. Rice. Plus there are substitution foods. Breads, crackers, cake, brownies, pancakes, etc. all gluten free.

I can' promise that I will update frequently (just look at my past posts), but I am going to use this blog as a record of my journey. As my dad said, I am Joy who happens to have DH, not a person with DH named Joy. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone one day, just as my RA has helped me. Please pray for me as I adjust to this new lifestyle.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Almost time!

For all the people out there who are chugging caffeine in order to stay awake and buy the Harry Potter book, you must read this. He's got some good theories, some I hadn't heard of before. (Then again, I've been avoiding HP theory-related sites for a while so it wasn't so hard to wait for the book) I won't bore you with my theories, except that I am a firm believer that Snape is good and was acting on Dumbledore's orders.

I'm off to get ready for a book release party, complete with costume, cause I'm that cool.

roughly seven hours to go...

Friday, July 06, 2007

My week at "camp on acid," so named by a fellow counselor

How do I describe this past week? I knew going into camp that it was going to be an amazing experience. Clayton King and Crossroads Worldwide have an amazing ministry, and I grew so much my first summer there. So when it came time to sign up for Camp Soar again, I jumped right on board. Camp Soar was started by two mothers in Greenville whose sons are in wheelchairs. They wanted the boys to have the normal summer camp experience, and did something about it. This was the third (I think) year that Camp Soar has attended Crossroads, which is held at Gardner-Webb University, and the second year I have worked there.

In our group we had three adult leaders, seven counselors, and 13 campers. Unfortunately, a counselor backed out of camp last minute, and on Sunday we were still searching for someone to fill in for him. That’s when God started to work. On a whim, I called Tyrome, thinking he might be interested. He later shared that when I called he had just gotten out of Sunday school where they were talking about the leadership positions that others in his class had taken, and when he got the call he knew that God wanted him at Crossroads. I don’t understand why God works the way he does, but I know that Tyrome was the right man for the job.

We were housed in the apartments at GWU, so each counselor and camper had their own room. This sounds unfair, but keep in mind that we had two shower chairs and two power wheelchairs along with an insane amount of luggage. My apartment housed myself, Jenae, an amazing person who is so much fun, and our campers Tia and Rachel. Those girls were hysterical. They didn’t know each other before camp, but by the second day they were inseparable. I was Tia’s counselor the last time I worked at Camp Soar, so it was great getting to hang out with her again.

As you probably have figured out by now, being a counselor there is hard work. Tia has rods in her back, so you have to do a two-man lift every time she is moved and you can’t twist her back. I had shoulder and back trouble most of the week, which made things even crazier. Almost all the people in wheelchairs (six campers and one counselor) had speed impediments, so understanding them was a challenge at first. Our girls would just laugh at Jenae and I if we couldn’t understand them, which actually made it easier to learn their accents. One thing that I did not realize that Tia told me half way through the week is that she has no idea how her accent sounds, to her it sounds like normal speech. Knowing that helped immensely.

I learned to celebrate victories that seem dumb to other people. After trying and trying, when one of the girls was finally able to go to the bathroom, it was a major celebration at 4:30 in the morning. If Tia ate her entire meal without getting food on herself, it was a celebration. If I could ride on the back of one of the wheelchairs for long periods of time without holding on, it was a celebration. (And I have bruises all over my legs to prove that I did in fact ride all over a very hilly and bumpy campus on the backs of at least three different chairs) If I understood what Tia or Rachel said the first time they said it, it was a celebration.

Watching them worship was another thing I will never forget for the rest of my life. I can’t tell you how many times Tia and I sang “Worthy Is the Lamb” while riding around. We had an amazing worship leader, Carl Cartee. While the able-bodied people swayed back and forth clapping or raising our hands, they rolled their wheelchairs back and forth, doing the same. They sang their hearts out in total surrender and worship to God. Each night after the service, the entire group along with a few Crossroads staff would cram into the leader’s apartment for group discussion about that night’s service. Those discussions were the highlight of my day. Not everyone spoke up, but to see the hearts of these teens and their love for God was such a precious gift.

The staff at Crossroads were amazing – not only at their jobs, but with their interaction with the Camp Soar teens. Even though many of the activities were not handicap friendly, they modified them till they were. The absolute joy on their faces while playing with a 10 foot tall “earth ball” and the bracelets and/or anklets we all left wearing were proof of that. One tradition that Camp Soar and Crossroads has is a dance party on the last night of camp. It was insanely hot, we all (the counselors and staff, at least) were tired, and the cakes were a little too brown, but no one cared. An hour and a half solid of dancing…it was nuts.

Overall it was an amazing experience that can never be duplicated or replaced in my heart. I saw God work not only in the lives of our campers, but also in the lives of the roughly 750 campers there. I made so many good friends on the Crossroads staff, and I can’t wait to see them again next year. Clayton King, the founder and director of Crossroads, made it his mission to speak to the campers daily and make them feel welcome. They had their picture taken with one of the dining hall ladies after breakfast this morning, and she could name them all.

Yes, I grew in my own spiritual walk this week, but I learned more about God in watching the campers interact with each other, the staff, and other campers than I did in any of the services, and I can not wait until camp next year!

Links of interest:

Crossroads Worldwide

Carl Cartee