Friday, November 9, 2012

work. and flower excitement.

I just don't talk about my work-life on this blog very much.  If ever.   But, I'm very fortunate.  I've been blessed with two completely different types of jobs... and I actually enjoy both of them.

I've been teaching private piano lessons in the evening hours for years now.  It's what I consider to be my "real" job--the thing that I am most passionate about--and it's always my first answer when asked the question "What do you do for a living?"  For a while, teaching piano lessons was my only job.  However, last year, I decided to take on a part-time office job to give us some extra wiggle-room in our finances.  The office job fills up my morning hours and then I go home and teach piano lessons for the remainder of the evening.  Sometimes it's tiring and sometimes I wish that I could just go back to solely teaching... but I actually do enjoy the office work.  It's teaching me to take joy in being a servant and taking care of the needs of others.  It's very fulfilling work.

A few months ago, our office moved locations.  As "Office Manager," I was in charge of packing up the whole office (quite the feat) and figuring out a portion of the logistics.  The move was right smack dab in the midst of my recent health problems.  It was difficult, but I made it through!  And now, we have a brand new, shiny office space.

For the past few weeks, our "Community Manager" Allison has been planning an Open House party for our company.  She did all the party planning (and she did such a great job), but she asked me to take care of the flowers.  I think they turned out so beautifully!!   (The front desk is my desk!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

thankful. and some insta-snaps.

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of posts about thankfulness.  It's been encouraging for me to see these posts, and it's served as a constant reminder to actually put my thankfulness into words, no matter how large or small. It seems like once we allow ourselves to start thinking about just one thing that we can be thankful for in life, we start thinking of many things.  We've been given so many extraordinary things in this life, but it's not because we actually deserve any of it.  Everything we have--even life itself--is a gift.  And, thus, the best thing that we can do is appreciate these things and express that appreciation.

These are just a few Instagram* shots that I've taken in the past month while walking to/from work.  I've been so thankful to be in better health recently.  To be able to walk around outside again.  To be able to walk to work, if I chose to.  To even have a job (or two), in the first place.  To be able to see and experience beautiful things while walking to work.  To capture some of those things with a camera.  To have such a nice camera, in the first place.  To feel like I can express something by taking photos.  To find pleasure in it.   I could keep going on this thankfulness train....

*my Instagram account: staceynicolemcdonald

Friday, November 2, 2012

fun with Love Calculator.

According to Dr. Love, Christopher & I had an 11% chance of having a successful relationship before we got married.  Luckily, changing my name had an huge impact on our percentages!

Phew! What a relief!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

life with kitty.

Since bringing Sneaker back home (the other two kitties are still in Pittsburgh), she's been like a little shadow--always following one of us around.  Now that Christopher's on tour with the band, I'm never alone....

...on the couch.

...on the floor.

...on the chair.

on the settee. the bathroom.

She's even in the art.

I'm not complaining though.  I'd never complain about this!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

wanting to concentrate on other things.

Until recently, I had never experienced any serious complications to my health.  I've always been a fairly healthy person and have been especially healthy these past two years.  The worst issues that I had experienced were some nasty allergies and a bit of acne in high school.  Annoying, yes.  But nothing even close to debilitating.

What I never fully understood before, was that you don't expect difficult health problems like this to happen.  You don't conjure up things like this in your mind.  They just happen.  And then you deal with it.

After living through this and feeling like I've gone to hell and back (in my mind, I'm not exaggerating the pain), I'm kind of tired of it.  It's been so's taken over my's not even over yet, but....

I really want to get back to normal.

I really want to concentrate on other things.  Like autumn.  Like family.  Like friends.  Like coffee.  Tea.  Furry animals.  Cleaning our house.  Going out to hear live music.  Taking photos with a real camera again (and not just iPhone pictures).  Experiencing life like a normal adult in their mid-twenties.

For now, here are some shots from around West Philly.  I'm so thankful that I'm getting to enjoy this fall season.  The discomfort will not stop me.  I honestly believed that I was going to miss out on it completely this year.

Friday, October 5, 2012

in due time....

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7


Thursday, October 4, 2012

a dress for the future.

My mom bought this cute little cotton dress for me a few months ago.
Since my skin's been so bad, I haven't been able to wear it yet.
Somedays, it feels like I'll never be able to look cute again.
But most days--if I'm being positive--I feel like I'm getting closer and closer.

Believe me, a girl has got to have something to look forward to while going through this nightmare!

Monday, October 1, 2012

prayer for healing.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; for you are my praise.
(Jeremiah 17:14)

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the life that you have so graciously given me and for the love that has surrounded me throughout this life.  I stand amazed at your creations and your goodness.  I am grateful for every good thing, big and small.  I am grateful for each hurdle that I've experienced in life because I know that great learning comes from difficult situations.  I am so thankful to know that I am not alone in this time of suffering.  Not only do I have a loving husband, who has taken such wonderful care of me, and family & friends who have reached out to me with such compassion and warmth--but I have a God who also knows suffering firsthand.  I have a God who willingly put himself through hell to save me and everyone who might believe in Him. Truly I am not alone in my suffering.  Truly I can live through the pain and humiliation that are upon me.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
(Deuteronomy 7:9)

Friday, September 21, 2012

looking forward to......

Some things that I'm looking forward to doing once my skin clears up......

  • My first cup of coffee (preferably a macchiato) after months of withdrawal
  • Taking a long, brisk walk around West Philly with Christopher
  • Rearranging/cleaning our bedroom!
  • Sinking my teeth into a thick, juicy burger (and perhaps some pommes frites)
  • Buying a cute outfit from Anthropologie (or anywhere, really)
  • Going out to a nice dinner
  • A trip to the Jersey Shore
  • Going to hear a chamber concert/orchestra concert/Ars Nova concert
  • Going to the Met (to hear Danielle perform?!)
  • Going to Kennywood (okay, this will have wait until next summer anyway)
  • Eating popcorn!
  • Practicing piano again!
  • Getting a new pair of glasses (or just new lenses)
  • Rubbing my face in my kitties fur!!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

eczema diet.

In an effort to help my body heal as quickly as possible from the symptoms of "topical steroid withdrawal" (or "red skin syndrome", or "severe whole body eczema", or whatever you want to call it), I have been following a very strict diet for the past 2 months, with very few exceptions.  This diet is meant to promote "detoxification" and "building up of the immune system" (I'll take both, please).  Though the healing is slow (very, very slow), I do believe that this diet is helping my body to heal more quickly than it would otherwise, because of the nutrient-dense nature of the foods.

The outline for this diet was originally found on the website Eczema Natural Healing (where you can find an explanation of how the digestive system functions + the benefits of each food).


In the mornings, either a piece of whole fruit or (more likely) a whole fruit smoothie.

The smoothie ingredients often vary according to what we have on hand, but usually they're made up of:

  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • blackberries
  • an apple
  • a peach
  • lemon juice 
  • some kale or spinach 
  • (I've been avoiding bananas because I've had some mild allergic reactions to them in the past)

In addition, we have been adding Vitamin C-Complex Powder, Green Super Food Powder, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, and some vanilla and/or almond extract for taste.

LUNCH (cooked):

Lunch is when I get to have a cooked meal (!).

Usually this just means fish and some steamed vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, or red peppers.

A lot of days, the "fish" usually just ends up being sardines in a can (which are surprisingly yummy, just so you know), because they're easy and I can't handle even the most basic cooking in my current condition.  But on happier days, Christopher will make us some salmon or another delicious fish.


Green juice, green juice, green juice.

After a month of making green smoothies, we finally gave in and bought a juicer, so I could follow this diet more vigorously.  I must say, green juice is waaaayyyy more tasty than green smoothies.  At first, I felt like I was starving at night because all that I had for "dinner" was juice, but my body has gotten used to it for the most part (although I'm still looking forward to the day that I can sink my teeth into a thick, juicy burger again....)

Here are my basic juice ingredients (often with other additions):
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 2-3 leaves of kale
  • a handful of spinach
  • a handful of dandelion greens
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1 beet
  • small shoot of ginger
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • an apple (to sweeten)

In addition to food, here is a list of my current vitamins/supplements:

"Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food." 
-Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine"

Sunday, September 16, 2012

plans to give you a future.

"Be still and know that I am God." -Psalm 46:10

Be still?  It seems like all that I've been able to do is be still.  All I can do is lay on the couch.  Or in the bathtub.  And after a bath, I sit as still as possible next to the shower on the toilet.  Wrapped in a towel.  I just sit there and try not to move.  Because moving hurts.  All that I can do is pray.  All that I can do is hope that this won't last for much longer.  I know that there is learning that can come from this situation and I'm thankful for that.  I'm just really looking forward to the day that this is all behind me.

"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

This will not last forever.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

where oh where.....

...have the kitties gone?

You know how I said that this summer hasn't been easy?  Last weekend, we drove to Pittsburgh with all 3 kitties in tow.  The kits are taking a holiday with their "grandparents" for a little while until my skin condition clears up.

The house feels so empty without them!  We miss our little family!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

learning to be thankful.

Things haven't been easy this summer.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty..." 

But God is good.

"...I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

Even in the tough times.

-Philippians 4:12

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

alone in the magic gardens.

I had some alone time in the Magic Gardens this past weekend.  

Wish I would've brought a book and a hammock with me.  

And a pot of coffee.

Or maybe I'm just wishing that this was my backyard?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

bye bye bundt cake.


"Thank You" 

goes out

to my


who recently made

for us.  

I'm not even the sweets type, but this..... 

this cake was out of this world.

(blueberries were substituted for raspberries, for those curious)

Friday, July 27, 2012

new bed cover.

Out of necessity, we recently bought a new bed cover-- 

I've been having a terrible outbreak of skin problems (eczema/allergies) for the past 6-8 months, and it's recently ballooned out of control. Over these last few months, I've rid my closet of all clothing that is not 100% cotton (and, unfortunately, that meant giving away some of my most treasured articles of clothing).

Since the problems are still persisting, we switched our 100% polyester bedding to cotton, as well.

It hasn't solved all of my problems (hopefully it's helping), but it's a fun change in the decorum.

Besides, it seems to be a big hit with the kitties (though that's not helping matters either)!