Friday, April 29, 2011


Itinerary for the trip!!

Monday, May 2nd-travel day

JAN (depart 11:40am) → MEM (depart 1:45pm)) → DTW (depart 6:50pm) → LHR (arrive 7:40 am)

Tuesday, May 3rd- London
Wednesday, May 4th-London
Thursday, May 5th-London
Friday, May 6th-travel to Paris
Saturday, May 7th-Paris
Sunday, May 8th-Paris
Monday, May 9th-Paris
Tuesday, May 10th- travel to Interlaken, Switzerland
Wednesday, May 11th-Switzerland
Thursday, May 12th-Switzerland
Friday, May 13th-travel to Cinque Terre
Saturday, May 14th -Cinque Terre
Sunday May 15th-travel to Rome
Monday May 16th-Rome
Tuesday May 17th-Rome
Wednesday May 18th-Rome
Thursday May 19th-travel day

FCO (depart 10:20am) → BOS(depart 1:35pm) → MEM (depart 7:25pm) → JAN (arrive 8:25pm)


Today was such a good day. My mom and I ran errands together, and I had a great time spending time with her. Even though I am living back at home, I feel like I hardly ever see my family! Especially with my back hurting because after school I go lay down to ice it.

I had my appointment with Dr. Hirshman at 9, and my mom wanted to go with me. I am so thankful that he is my doctor because he seems very knowledgable and wants to avoid surgery at all cost! On Tuesday, I had a MRI so he wanted to talk with me about those results. I have two bulging disks, but he said that I might have a tear in one of them. During my trip, he wants me to continue doing my physical therapy stretches. He also told me to get up every 30 minutes on the plane ride and train rides to walk around. He prescribed me a stronger pain medication to get me through the trip. After the appointment, we went to Buffalo Peak. We were a little early, so we stopped at Maison Weiss! We found some great items (including an adorable Tory Burch top) on sale. It was an unexpected find. We ran a few more errands, and then had lunch at the Thai House. I had to stop by the bank to talk to them about going out of the country. Money stresses me out, and I am very anxious about this aspect of the trip. After talking with my bank and with my grandfather, who travels a lot, I feel a little bit better. It was a day full of errands, but it was so great to be able to spend time with my sweet mama.

My back has felt much better this week. Wednesday was the best day, and I felt very little pain all day. It did get a little worse on Thursday because I had a job interview in Yazoo City, so I was in the car for about 1hr 15min. Sitting irritates it, so it has felt pretty bad since then. I am hoping that it stays at the pain level that it is right now (which is about a 4) and that it doesn't get any worse during the trip. Thank you for all of your prayers! I have felt everyones prayers, and I have had a more peaceful spirit this week. I am very thankful that my back is doing better! Please continue praying that it doesn't get any worse.

I am an official graduate of MSU! I was supposed to "walk" at graduation tonight, but since I wasn't able to my family went out to dinner to Babalu in Jackson. We had a great time, and it was fun being all together. These past four years at MSU have flown by, and I am so thankful for my time at that school. It was exactly where the Lord wanted me, and I am thankful that I made it the whole 4 years! Ha.

I can't end this post without mentioning the Royal Wedding!! I recorded it last night, and I haven't had a chance to watch the full wedding. I have seen clips throughout the day, and of course I have seen THE dress. Wow! Kate looked absolutely beautiful. She had that Grace Kelly look to her, and she looked stunning. It is so fun to be apart of this moment in history. I never really understood why so many Americans mourned the loss of Diana, but I completely understand it now. If something were to happen to Will or Kate, I would be devastated! It is so fun to be a part of this moment, and I can't wait to pass along my love for all things royal to my daughter!

I am so so so excited about our trip. For the past few weeks, all I have been able to think about when thinking about the trip is anxiety about my back. I have had a peaceful feeling all week, and I know that is due to all of your prayers. I know that I may be in pain, but I know that the Lord will not give me anything that I can't handle. I have missed Rebekah and Martha this semester, and I am thankful that we get to spend a full 20 days together. We get along so well, and there is no doubt in my mind that this will be the best trip of my life!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What A Day!

Today has been such a wonderful, yet bittersweet day. It was my last day at Madison Crossing, and my last day as a MSU student. The day was filled with happy and sad tears. I have so enjoyed my time at Crossing, and I was very sad to leave my awesome students and wonderful team of teachers!

This morning I surprised both of my classes with bringing them donuts. They were happy! :) We then spent the day laughing together and having fun. The kids are going to New Orleans on a field trip on Friday, so they are excited about that as well. After lunch, the kids (and teachers) threw me a surprise party. I was blown away by the thoughtfulness of my students and my parents. A couple of the moms had set up a wonderful buffet of chips and dip, cookies, cake, etc. The students showered me with presents! I think that I could set up my classroom with what they gave me.

I feel honored and blessed to have been apart of their lives. The teachers that I am leaving behind are some of the best people that I know. They have inspired me, encouraged me, and have truly become forever friends. We are going out to dinner tonight one last time as a team, and I can't wait to spend one more night with them. Thank you Madison Crossing for allowing me to grow and become the teacher that I am today. I can now enter my first year of teaching with confidence, grace, and poise. I am so looking forward to what the Lord has in store for me in the next year, but I will never forget the teachers and students from this time of my life.

A huge thank you goes out to all of my students!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

prayers are needed!

As you know, my back has been hurting me for a few months now. I was referred to Dr. Hirshman, who specializes in chronic back pain. I had to leave school a little bit early, but I knew that I would have to go back after my appointment. I met with the nurse and gave her my information. I was really nervous, and she called me out on my splotchiness! Ha. She had me do all kind of range of motion moves, and I described to her what was going on. Dr. Hirshman came into the room, and he did some more range of motion moves also. He asked all about the pain that I was feeling. My pain is on the right side of my lower back, right where the pelvis bone meets the spine. I also have had some pain shoot down into my right hip. He looked very concerned and serious, and said that he had a suspicion of what I might have. He said that it was either muscle related or I have a condition (he called it a disease in the office-umm..scary!) called discogenic disorder. I told him that my PT had ruled out my pain being muscle related. He pursed his lips together, and said that he really didn't think it was muscular but the other disorder as well. Well as soon as he said, "I suspect that you have a disease called discogenic" he totally lost me. I am pretty sure that my body when into a shut down mode due to the shock of thinking that I have a disease! I also explained that I leave for a 18 day trip to Europe on Monday. I was hoping that he would reassure me, tell me that he could fix it, etc. Well he did none of those things. He just looked at me with this sad expression on his face that basically screamed "You probably don't want to do that." However, I did not straight up ask him what he thought I should do. I was too scared to hear the answer. So he finished his evaluation, and he wants me to have an MRI done asap, so the nurse is supposed to schedule one for tomorrow afternoon, and I have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Hirshman on Friday.
Well I left the office fighting back tears. I think that I had a lot of pent-up emotion in me, and this news was just too much. The medicine that I have been on has caused me to be extra-emotional (shocking I know) and I have felt anxious a lot of the time. I have been so careful at controlling my anxiety the past few weeks and not giving in to my tears, but I just let it all out on my way back to school. I called my mom and Rebekah and talked to them. Talking everything out always helps me, so I was able to calm down by the time that I walked back into the school. After I had a few hours of perspective and time to calm down, I feel like I had processed the information that the doctor had given me.
As of now, I will have the MRI tomorrow, go to my doctors appointment on Friday, hopefully be prescribed a strong pain pill, and be on my way to Europe on Monday! My fear is that my back pain will start becoming unbearable after flying all of the way over there. I am trying to hold down my anxiety, and give my fears to the One who can conquer all. Please join with me in prayer, as I seek wisdom from God and ask for a painless trip.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Questions, Questions, Questions

When I started telling people that I was going to Europe after graduation, everyone always seemed to ask three questions: Where are you going? Are you going with a group and/or travel agency? How are you getting around Europe? I wanted to answer all of these questions, so that y'all will know whats going on.

In my last post, I explained where we are going: London, Paris, Interlaken, Cinque Terre, and Rome. We will be gone May 2nd-May 20th.

We are not going with a specific group. We have decided to wonder around Europe on our own! We have heavily depended on Rick Steves for all of our advice. I bought the books Best of Europe 2011, and Europe Through the Back Door 2011. Both of these books have been invaluable. Out of the three of us going, I am more of a "planner." I love to plan trips, and I have had a ball tackling this huge responsibility. I have tried to become familiar with the maps of the cities so that I will somewhat know my way around. I have also contacted people who have either lived in Europe or backpacked themselves. I love seeking advice from others because it helps so much!

We are staying in a few hostels, a few hotels, and in Rome we have our own studio apartment. I searched high and low for the best deals, and feel confident that I got the best deals in our lodging. Overall (without the cost of currency exchange) we will only be paying about $670 for lodging.

To buy cheap plane tickets, I looked on the website They have great rate for students and people under 26. I looked for deals on their website and also on well known airline websites. We ended up buying our tickets through Delta for only about $700. We are leaving on a Monday and coming back home on a Friday. By booking flights that left before and/or after a weekend, we were able to say hundreds of dollars. We decided to fly out of Jackson because it is much easier to get to. We thought about flying out of Memphis or New Orleans, but the price difference was not that much and we wanted it to be easy! From London, we are taking the underground train (the Chunnel) to Paris. Instead of buying a EuroRail pass that is about $700, we decided to get one that was around $300. Our pass is a little more restricting because it only lets us ride a train through three countries. Since we knew ahead of time which countries we wanted to go to, we thought this would be the best route to take.

One thing that I am worried about is the whole money issue. I am horrible with math, and I really have no idea how to figure out the British pound, Euro, or Swiss Franc! I am hoping that Rebekah and Martha will know what they are doing. :)

Another aspect that I am anxious about is my back. My back has been hurting since last July, but it was never hurting enough that I had to go to the doctor. Well the week before spring break, the pain became really bad. I started taking Advil and Tylenol around the clock, but it still was not helping the pain. The week after spring break was a really bad week. On a Wednesday my back started extremely hurting in the afternoon. I went to school Thursday and Friday, but I was in a lot of pain and was distracted all day. I started icing my back every hour and doing back stretches (thanks to Dr. Mom!). I laid in bed all weekend just resting my back. It was still hurting that Sunday night, so I called in sick on Monday and scheduled a doctors appointment. The doctor referred me to a physical therapist (PT) and gave me a prescription for a pain pill and muscle relaxer. I had been going to PT for a couple of weeks, and my back seemed to be getting better. I started to not take the prescriptions at all. I drove to Starkville last weekend, and my back started acting up after that. Sitting for long periods of time aggravates my back the most and makes it hurt. I started taking my pain medication again last week, and I told the PT that it was hurting again. It has not stopped hurting this weekend. Due to the fact that sitting for long periods of time hurts my back, I have decided to not walk at graduation. Driving to Starkville, sitting through the ceremony, and then driving back would just be too much considering that I have to be on a VERY long plane ride two days later. So basically I am really worried about the long plane rides and train rides in Europe. I honestly cannot imagine traveling with being in this much pain. I know that our God is a God of miracles, and I am praying for one! I pray that my back is a) completely healed, or b) healed enough that I don't feel it on the trip! That is my main concern right now! I would greatly appreciate it if you would join me in prayer as well. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finalized Europe Plans

We have finalized our Europe travel plans, and they are slightly different than our original plan. We decided that we wanted to spend more time in the cities instead of going to lots of different place for one night or so. We are now going to London, England; Paris, France; Interlaken, Switzerland (plus day trips to Gimmelwald and Murren); and Rome, Italy (plus a day trip to the Cinque Terre). We are so excited about this trip, and cannot believe that we leave in two weeks.

I am almost completely done with my undergraduate degree. I have submitted my last paper, and my supervisor is evaluating me one last time on Tuesday. After four long years, the day I have dreamed about is finally here- graduation!!! My family and grandparents are coming up to watch me walk across the stage, and I am so thankful for their support. I never would have been able to do it without their love and guidance over the past four years. They are so excited for me as I go off to Europe and then begin this new stage in life.