Failure and what Follows

Well, the day finally came. The day I knew would never happen. When people always say “One day, you’re going to be grateful for this.” I was never going to be grateful for that crippling anxiety that made me absolutely terrified to do, or not to do anything. Not only was I not grateful, but I couldn’t imagine why it was happening to me, to me, I had done everything “right” why was this going to wrong?

Today I go back to the doctor for the first time since we found out it didn’t work.

I’m 15 days into my 26th year, they were all “perfect” and I am scared because I can’t imagine what could have gone wrong.

For someone who loves to be in control as much as me and for something that was so seemingly controlled every step of the way, I know that right now there is nothing else I can do.

A little over a week and a half ago, my first try with IVF failed. I was 25 when they were transferred, the doctors said that all three were A+ embryos, and today I go back, by myself to try and use my mangled Serbian to understand if there is something wrong with me or not, and whether is is possible for me to have children.

You’d think I should be sitting here studying up on Serbian gynecological terms so I can halfway understand what the doctors might tell me today when I go. Or I should be thinking about will it even be worth it to give them all this money we’ve saved to freeze our embryos or will it even matter. My old self, would want me to sit here and think about how I’m going to hold it together to break it to my husband if they give bad news.

But for some reason I’m sitting here thinking how grateful I am for that period of anxiety in my life.

Because as much as it sucked, and as much as I didn’t know how to get out of it and make it end, one of the many things that it taught me is that I couldn’t.  I couldn’t make it end, and as it usually happens, as soon as I stopped trying to make something happen and started to live my life with it, it went away. Being in the situation we’re currently in, it took a much shorter time for me to let go of holding the situation so tight, cast my cares on God and just live in the situation that I’m in. And I wouldn’t be able to do any of that if it were not for everything I went through back then.

If you’re reading this and you have anxiety, I know what you’re thinking.  First, you’re probably thinking that you would rather know how long (down to the hour and the minute) my anxiety lasted so you can compare notes and know how much longer you have so you can just hang on. And second, if you’re anything like I was ( a still am sometimes), a Christian, desperate to explain my life and circumstances with perfect logic- you’re in a new wave of anxiety thinking “oh my gosh, I’m having this anxiety right now because God wants to prepare me for something worse that’s going to happen in life later, and I don’t know if I can handle this, definitely not anything worse”- and now we’re in a new spiral of anxiety. I’m sorry for that, been there, because if we can identify the WHY something is happening, then we are ok, and we can get through it right? That was me anyway.

What I would say to myself back then, if I had my mind and experiences now, is that going through anxiety  is not a guarantee that nothing else bad will happen to you, but it’s also not a guarantee that anything “worse” will happen to you. Everyone’s reason for going through it is different. What anxiety did for me personally, was teach me to cope and handle things, so I didn’t see anything anymore as “worse” or “harder” to handle, just as life and living it. So, try, just try, not to cling too tightly. to the “this means that,” or “that equals that” talk, because not only does it not help, it isn’t the truth.

I’m not a doctor, and the degrees I have are a lot closer to international hostage negotiation than they are to psychology, (although I’m seeing a thread of how those could be friends). But I hope my experiences, failures, victories and what I thought was me going “crazy” can be useful to someone. I will leave you with one thing I know to be the truth:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, ” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Hope is my favorite word in all of that, and biblical hope is more than sitting, waiting wishing- Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.

So today I’m going to go in, whatever they tell me, with a hope that God has a plan for me to prosper somehow, no matter what the doctors, or my uterus say 🙂 Please send prayers, thoughts, baby dust and whatever else you’ve got!

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20 Facts About Me

The easiest thing to write about when you’re trying to get into/ return to the groove? YOURSELF. I mean really what do you know better? I will try to use this to break back into my laptop relationship and maybe make some new friends.

  1. I love Jesus
  2. I’m a college admissions counselor at UNC Asheville
  3. I have A LOT of (way too many) clothes
  4.  Most of which came from Goodwill, I LOVE Goodwill
  5. I got married while in college
  6. I am extremely cheap IMG_1507.JPG
  7. I have a very cute dog
  8. I suck at make-up
  9. I played volleyball and ran track in college
  10. I love to cook new recipes.
  11. I am painfully competitiveApartment Gardens
  12. I unintentionally kill lots of plants
  13. I’ve HAD (and survived) anxiety and depression
  14. I dye my hair (frequently) at home
  15. My dream job is US ambassador in a foreign country
  16. I’m a terrible speller
  17. My family is my greatest assetb8e03d78bcaf237e566748f7a16be8ed
  18. Being outside helps me relax
  19. I love college basketball
  20. I make things for more than it would cost to buy them

Wow am I glad I only  picked 20, because that was harder than I thought it would be. I’d love to hear if I have anything in common with you? Connections are my favorite part of blogging.

Five Pretty Green Things That Will Make You Think Summer

Being stuck inside at a 9-5 is great because it allows me to pay for a building that I can sleep inside, but it’s also not great because I can see how good it feel outside through the glass doors of my office.
I try to sit really still in my windowless office so I don’t have to pass by the full-length windows in the break room that tempt me to run out and never look back.. except that I’d be running into a construction site, and I am really fond of sleeping indoors.
But today I gave in. I stared out the window. I day-dreamed about a beach trip where I tan my seasoned office skin. If you would like to join me in my day-dreaming, I give you five beautiful views that make you think of Summer.

1. Apartment Gardens
Apartment Gardens

 

2. Watermelon

melon

 

3.Waterfall Hikes

waterfall.jpg

4. Road Trips

Vw Camper Volkswagen Automobile Vw Car

5. Beach Vibes

Beach.jpg

 

*Sigh* While (most of us) can’t enjoy the delights of Summer all day everyday, we can at least daydream all we want during the week.

Three days from Friday!

Regaining Perspective after Anxiety

After spending a large portion of time being an anxious mess, I have to follow that period of time up with an equally large amount of time reminding myself  to keep my perspective in check. ( Because I have recognized, at least in myself, that anxiety is caused by an inexplicably skewed perspective).

This is the best illustration I can come up with for what anxiety looked like inside my head. (Feel free to visualize as a cartoon, I did).

When I am what I consider to be the real me, I am the brain with my own glasses on, just laughing, working, exercising, cooking- blah blah. Somehow, my brain looses that pair of glasses (my guess is when she takes them off to sleep- probably in a meeting.) Anyway, she picks up the wrong pair and everything is way too close. This is when I start to think about and see everything through this magnified lens of like “This one thing is EVERYTHING, and it affects all things and it’s the reason why tangent tangent tanget..”

Example: I remember getting freaked out about wearing make-up for a period of time. I felt like If I wore make-up and thought I looked pretty, then I was being too self-absorbed, and God would not love me, because I thought I was better than everyone else (even though I didn’t- this particular pair of glasses were zoomed in pretty hard.) I am so serious. I didn’t wear make-up for months, because with those lenses on, I thought I was too self-absorbed that I could never lead someone to Christ with my selfish cat-eye liner. *Note: This is totally not how God views us, I was being weird*

-Back to the Brain- Eventually she looses that pair of glasses too (thank goodness) and she picks up a pair that make everything seem way way too far away.

Example: I started thinking about being a dot in the world and feeling like I could never be significant. I could not think of a single day-to-day task with any type of heart because I just got so stuck with those glasses on. I just felt like, anything I did would be abysmal because I was just a little anxious dot. -My brain could not see things any differently. *Note: Also not how God sees us.

The common denominator, for me at least, in all of these scenarios is the way my perspective gets “stuck” in a certain view, that no matter how hard I try to- I can’t get out of. Actually, thinking about it makes it worse, but if you have anxiety, you know that.  So, the best way I can put it, is that I’m having to constantly remind myself of exactly where I stand with Him and within the world.

Although, when I get it right with him, the ‘in the world part’ comes on it’s own.

This verse, does a great job of putting things in perspective for me.  Especially when I think of it with this gorgeous photo I took on the parkway yesterday.

mountains

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
5You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:3-5)

This reminds me that as complicated as I might see myself as, with all of these tangles, high, lows (and a brain with multiple pairs of incorrectly prescribed glasses.) I am nothing compared to the complexity of this gorgeous world we live in, but even though I have “small” problems on the grand scale, God still sees them as big as I do, and he cares about the day-to-day that I go through, because He chose us to love and to save, brain with tiny glasses and all.

Can anyone relate? Or have any other verses that they love to lean on?

If anyone has any prayer requests, or anything I can support you in, I would be so happy to do so.

Love, Love, Love and Happy Monday!

Meredith F. Ristic

Seven Stages of Traveling Overseas With Your Parents

Hello Everyone!

It’s been a bit since I’ve written, but I’ve just returned stateside after an 11-day trip to Belgrade, Serbia. My husband’s home country, this was my fifth trip so the journey and all of the trimmings have become what feels like a second home to me. But, this trip was very, very different from any of the others I’ve taken. Why? Because I was accompanied by my parents, and it was their first time out of the country.

I know everyone’s parents, and relationships with their parents are different, so an overseas trip could mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people. For me and mine, this was a huge deal.

We have established that I am an obsessive people pleaser,  and travel is kind of “my thing” since I have to do it alone so often, so bringing my parents into my husbands world while showing them the ropes of travel/ plenty-of-respect-for-them-as-my-parents put me on level 10 of “be crazy and over-obsess on everyone’s emotions.” Saving you the stories, we had an amazing time. Our families got along great, my husband is an absolute saint, and my parents can’t wait to go back.

Theatrics aside, I want to share with you the seven phases that I experienced traveling with my parents.

PHASE 1: What if I don’t like it?

This came more is discussions with my mom. A few weeks leading up to the trip, she expressed her concerns about plenty of mom stuff. What if she did like the food that was served and she didn’t want to be disrespectful? What if there were people over and she couldn’t go to bed when she got sleepy? What if the bathroom wasn’t accessible when she needed it to be?

(We talked about these things, made plans and code words and put the fears as much as ease as we could without being there. This is also where we discussed the “the flow.” That no matter what we were faced with, this was my husband home and the country that raised him, so “we” (they) were going to go with the flow.)

PHASE 2: What is that?

As soon as we were off the plane, the questions were ON. What is that building? How long as that been there? Why did the government do that? What does that word mean? What is that made of? What did she say? What does that taste like?

(Que Tour guide Ken/ my saint of a husband Milan. He answered every question, translated every dad joke, and gently encouraged them to  try new things. Swoon.)

PHASE 3: Can you hear me now?

Obviously, when you’re in another country, and they don’t speak the same language as you, as long has you speak your own language slowly and increasingly loudly, it’s like you’re speaking the foreign language.

(It was cute, because I remember doing the same thing, but regardless of how many hand motions and loud English words you use they can’t understand you.)

PHASE 4: My pants won’t button.

Ok so this is a double brag and I apologize, but the food in Serbia is amazing. On top of that, my  mother in law is an incredible cook. Like not normal incredible, but like everything she touches turns to delicious. She makes everything from scratch. Homemade soup, noodles, bread, ajvar, canned goods, everything. My parents figured that out pretty quickly, but they also realized that as people ask you if you would like something else, they are already putting it on your plate.

(Needless to say, we all gained some happy weight, and wore our stretchy pants home.)

PHASE 5: I now speak flawless Serbian.

Around day three, my parents had completely melded into the culture difference and decided they spoke Serbian, and they were now ready to move abroad because “they got this.” This was adorable to me, because I have been practicing the language for 5 years and I am still pretty pathetic on the delivery. However, I totally applaud the confidence.

(Omit the part where mom, who is a southern lady who doesn’t swear, read the subtitles on the tv and asked a room full of my in-laws what a particularly serious expletive meant. Other than that- flawless.)

 

PHASE 6: Seasoned historians.

11 days in Serbia, one trip to Tito’s museum, and a few conversations with my father in law and they were decided Serbian historians and ready to share the history of Serbia with anybody who would listen.

(The child in me stuck in a constant internal eye roll. But the wife of a Serbian in me was smiling and incredibly happy with their enthusiasm.)

PHASE 7: Jet Setters.

My parents are now officially jet setters, and on our return journey they were using words like “usually” and  “the airline is supposed to” to describe our flights.

They are cute and I’m happy that the travel bug got them just as good as it has gotten me 🙂

Anybody have any funny stories from traveling overseas with their parents?

Cheers and happy travels!

Meredith F. Ristic

 

 

Step Into Spring

My seasonal Christmas graced Western North Carolina this  weekend as the J. Crew Sample sale came to the distribution warehouse in Asheville, N.C. This is fabulous because it encompasses three of my favorite things in one event, J.Crew, getting a steal of a deal, and competition.

Anyone who knows me know how much I love J.Crew and a good sale. Every time the new season’s catalog comes out, I pick it up an try to re-create my favorite looks, most of the time with what I can find at Goodwill (I work for the state). As much joy as I get from that, it was impossible to pass up the opportunity to get the real thing at a price I can afford.

So a trash bag, some thrown elbows and 3 hours later, I came home with four pairs of pants, three pairs of shoes, a sweater, a scarf, three necklaces, new sunglasses and a handful of hair accessories, all for less than $140. ( all pictured above)

While I’m actually in love with all of it, I wanted to share three of my favorite pieces.

First, and obviously these leopard calf hair ankle boots.

Half of me loves them because they are unique and super comfortable. The other half of me loves them because I found them in excellent condition for $45 and they retail for about $400.

I’m no so wild a dresser as these might suggest, I really like the classic looks, but I was feeling adventurous, and I think these can take a classic look and add some sauce to it 🙂

Next, is the pink ladybug pendant necklace.

pendant

photo/link: https:www.jcrew.com/p/C1866

I was so happy to find this because I remember looking at it  in the retail and outlet stores and pining over it because I have been super into long necklaces, and this just says spring to me.

I can’t wait to over-wear this in the spring an summer with dresses and long tops.

I really like pieces like this because they help me to ease my wardrobe into spring with a small pop of color without going from all black in boots to a fuchsia blur in cork wedges.

Finally, I’m a little more than excited about these black  wide-legged cropped pants.

rbb-279734-blk-i1

photo/ link: bebe.com

 

These aren’t the exact pair, but these look the most similar, they retail for about $100 at bebe (link in the caption).

I’ll be honest, these are a little out of my box. I am totally cool with leopard calf hair, but a little flare in my usually strictly-skinny pants closet is scary.

I swore I would never wear these when they first came out, but I have seen so many cute outfits with them that I decided to take a baby step out of my box. Any girls who have already purchased these have any ideas on what to pair them with? I’d love suggestions!

P.S. For all my long-legged giraffe women, these come in tall. So we don’t have to look like we are wearing gaucho Bermuda shorts  😉

Happy spring shopping!

 

 

Saving {very dry} Winter Skin

Happy Friday!

Its winter here in Western North Carolina, but I feel a little uncomfortable describing it as such- especially because it’s 71ºF today. Nevertheless, it is February, and my winter skin problems are plaguing me like its 20ºF.

I used to describe myself as someone with VERY dry skin. But after watching hours of youtube videos trying to find a solution, I realized that I just have sensitive skin. In the summer, I can go with a lightweight moisturizer and be totally fine. But in the winter, I don’t know if it’s the wind, the cold temperatures, the dry heat or all the above, but my skin gets unbearably dry.

I feel a little silly blogging about anything that could be considered “beauty,” honestly. Not because I don’t love feeling feminine, or using make-up, but because I’m cheap, low-maintenance and at 24 I am just now discovering all the crazy things make-up can do. So, I wouldn’t hardly call myself a beauty expert, but I would absolutely call myself a dry skin expert.

To save time, I’m going to give a quick list of all the things that people have told me to try, and I tried, that didn’t work. (So I took them back because I’m cheap).

-Cetaphil daily moisturizing lotion
– Up &Up version of CeraVe daily moisturizing lotion
-Organic Coconut oil
-Nivea Creme ( in the large blue tin)
-Argan oil (alone)
-Various cleansers in addition to moisturizers

These were all varying degrees of failure, some worked but were really greasy and didn’t get along with make-up (Nivea), some made my skin feel soft and moisturized at first, but by lunch my skin would flake under my foundation (all daily moisturizers/argan oil). And still others I wouldn’t make it out the door without my face feeling tight and irritated due to the dryness.

Like I said, I’ve watched a ton of youtube videos, and read equally as many product reviews, but I couldn’t find anything convincing enough to make me want to try it. I would rather stop wearing make-up and apply regular, cheapy lotion 5 times a day than buy something for $40 or buy 7 products for a 45-minute routine.

I exaggerate, but not much.

I came across my solution by accident, and I don’t know exactly what your skin-tuation is, but for me I swear by these two steps.

1. At night, on a make-up free, damp face (I don’t think it matters how you get there- cleanser, wipes, shower, what have you) I first apply Moroccan Argan oil (I got mine at Wal-Mart for $6) and I let that soak in while I brush my teeth or dry my hair.

2. I cover that with with L’oreal’s Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm (it goes for $19.99 at CVS, which I know is a lot, it is for me too, but I waited until it was on sale, and I used my extra care bucks to get it for $12. It’s not free, but its my true skin-saver for under $20)

In the morning, I wake up and do exactly the same thing, I just give my skin some time to soak up the golden balm before applying make-up. For those of you curious where the spf is, I get mine in my setting spray.

And that’s it. Those two steps refresh me from a day in the elements and protects me from our dry baseboard heat at night.

I say I stumbled onto this because it’s true, it not something I would have ever gone out and purchased for myself, if you read it, the cream itself is for “mature, very dry skin”. This is not something I would have thought would be necessary for me, but I really can’t argue with the results.

(P.S. I know my fellow cheapy’s will notice there is a L’oreal Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition moisturizer for $2 less right next tot he golden balm, and be tempted. I know this because I was yesterday when I re-stocked. I can’t speak to this because I could bring myself to buy it after having such success with the golden balm (this is the first time I’ve gone back to buy the same product more than once, and probably the first I didn’t return). I did, however, open it to realize the consistency is very different, so proceed with caution!)

I’d love to hear feedback and anyone else’s successes in dealing with dry winter skin!