Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Faye's Cake Pops...Next Level?

Happy Halloween!!

Kristy Faye - Chief Baker
Cake Bites

For those of you who have followed my random blogs over the past couple of years, you know of my many health ups and downs, as well as the emotional ups and downs that go along with my health. So about a year ago, I tried making a cake pop. I was inspired by a sweet friend, Suzie, who made them and brought them to my baby shower right before Andrew was born. They were delicious and so cute!! Anyway, I started playing with them, and they were tasting good, but looked pretty silly! But there was something very calming about the baking and the decorating. I loved every second of it, and my kids loved eating them, it was a win win! Over the past year, I would make them on the weekends to enjoy with friends and family, and every so often I would get a real order! In the last couple of months I have had an order each weekend. Usually pretty small, but it was fun for me, and forced me to get more creative with recipes, as well as decorations.  
Andrew under my work cart
As seen above, Andrew tends to stay attached to my leg, and when I am working at my cake pop table, he sits underneath it and drives his trains up and down my leg! This makes it a little tough to work for long periods of time, but I still love every minute of it! Especially when he approves a new flavor!
Official Taste Tester

Last week I got a pretty huge surprise when I was contacted by Liza, the creator of Style Blueprint, to see if she could do a feature on Faye's Cake Pops. The timing was amazing, because that week I had been wishing that I had enough cake pop orders to be able to make a difference to my family and our debt.  I love being at home with Andrew so much. I also love being able to drop everything when Isaac needs me, even if it is just to run his football jersey to school. I can't imagine ever working a 9-5 again, and I would just love to go gang busters with something I love.  And I love love love baking! So anyway, I couldn't agree to the feature quick enough!  I have been over the moon for the past week, but yesterday I was overwhelmed with anxiety. I realize that by doing this feature, I am opening myself up to criticism and failure.  This opportunity could really blow Faye's Cake Pops out of the water. Or it could do nothing, and although it wouldn't change who I am today, there is a part of me that will consider that a failure. The email feature will go to over 10,000 subscribers.  On average, it is clicked through by 4,000 people.  If I can't sell cake pops with that kind of  publicity, I won't ever sell cake pops. As much as I believe that God always has a plan for me, I would really like a successful company for me to be a part of His plan!  With that said, the email will go out sometime between now and tomorrow morning. I don't know what it will say, what pictures they will choose to use,  or what effect it will have on my future. But just in case, I have a new email address -, a new twitter - FayesCakePops and of course the Facebook page. 
I am nervous, I am excited, I am anxious, I am blessed and more than anything I am loved and supported by my family and friends. I couldn't ask for anything more today. But tomorrow, I will ask for a bit of grass roots success, and if it doesn't come....Well then I will probably catch up on the laundry and go to the gym with a very good friend!  And at the end of the day, I will say my prayers and be thankful for everything that comes my way.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What a week!

So many times this week, I have thought to myself "wow, I need to blog about this!" And then another day, another event and another day, another event. But now it is Sunday, so let's wrap this week up!

Monday was just a busy day, wearing all of my different hats... I wake up as a mom, then I have a call with an advertiser that Mere Bulles has a contract with, in order to get all of the details and add it to the analysis. Then I am off to the doctor, although it isn't bad this week, as I only had one dr's appt on my calendar for this week! Late afternoon, I had a meeting to go over all of the wedding advertising opportunities for Mere Bulles, with Steven and Megan. And finally, back to mom mode! All in all, a busy, but good day!
Tuesday was mostly consumed with Isaac's orthodontist appt. It is crazy when I think we have been driving to Goodlettsville for these appointments for 6 years now! Anyway, after I got Isaac to school, I went on with my day, until I was rear-ended. A simple rear-end is not a big deal to most people, but for me, it almost always results in one more concussion.  And another concussion is always one more too many. We just don't know how many more shakes this fragile brain can take... But to top it off, I got out of the car and suggested to the lady that hit me that we pull over to the side in order to exchange insurance info and what not.  So I go back to my car, pull over to the shoulder (we were at a 4 way stop), check on Andrew and when I turn around, that jerk face is gone! Who does that?? Not only did she hit and run me, but she had two kids in her car that she was setting an example for, a little girl, probably 6, and a little boy, probably 8 or 9.  Needless to say, Tuesday was rough for me! I had to get home, take some alleve and lay down.  The headache and fuzzy brain that accompanies a concussion, even a small one, are just lame!
We can skip Wednesday... no need to bore you with the nuances of my regular day.
Thursday should have been a very laid back day, until I got a call from the CPA Football athletic trainer letting me know that Isaac took a pretty good knock to the head. He plays football, he is a left guard, he gets hit...a lot! So a call letting me know, is not a good thing. Then the fact that I got a couple more calls in the 10 minutes it took me to get there, more reassurance that the news wasn't good. But I get there and go talk to the trainer and Isaac. The news isn't surprising, Isaac got a concussion. I let the trainer know that I know concussions all too well. I don't let him know that I probably know more about concussions than he does. I'm still not too concerned, I knew this would happen one day, my son plays football for goodness sakes.  So we get home, feed him, get him some alleve and put him to bed. He is out at 7:30, I check on him at midnight, he is breathing, all is well, time for me to get some rest.  But on Friday, I can tell that this is no simple concussion for Isaac. He is really out of it. He can barely walk through a doorway without hitting the frame. He can barely make eye contact.  He tells me stories that don't make any sense at all. He asks me questions, a few times.  By noonish, he just continues to get worse, so I finally call his pediatrician. They get us right in, check him out and confirm that he has a severe concussion and they are a little worried that it could be more. So they send us to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. On days like this, I love that I live in Nashville, if for no other reason, than I can take my kids to Vanderbilt when they are sick.  Anyway, it confirmed again, that Isaac indeed has a concussion. No regular concussion, but a severe concussion, and they want to do a CT scan to make sure there isn't anything more severe such as bleeding on the brain.
Of course I have been through all of these tests, more times than I can count. And I have considered what it would be like if Isaac got a concussion. But I never could have imagined, what it would feel like to see this
It was scary to say the least, although I was certain he would be okay. Mostly I just prayed. I prayed and prayed and prayed. Finally, we received the CT results, they were negative.  I was so very grateful for that. But on the flip side, living with the issues I have from concussions, I was saddened that I allowed something to happen to Isaac, placing him in the same pain I have often. To hear him say "everything is all fuzzy", "I have such a bad headache" and "I can't really focus". These are things I understand all too well, so all I can do for now is love on Isaac and make sure he continues to rest and not use his brain until the swelling goes down.  On the upside, I decided that there is a sports concussion center and a BRAIN group that will work with Isaac and his school to watch for any delayed effects that can be caused by a concussion,  and those things used to be completely ignored.  The progress that is being made is fantastic, and now I know!
Saturday was a day I have dreaded for months and months, it is the day my brother was to get married. I don't need to get into the drama the past months have held, but in short, the boy who was once my best friend, hasn't talked to me in months or let me meet his daughter that was born in March. It has been a very rough road.  So in knowing that this big day for him was approaching, my stress level has been at full capacity.  But indeed I survived.
It is Sunday... I am living and breathing, and still wearing my pajamas, even though it is 4pm! I feel like I deserve a day off, at least from all of my roles except mom. So today I will play trains with Andrew and watch a movie with Isaac. And tomorrow I will start over again. It will be a new week after all!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Trust that you are doing the best you can!

I had an amazing birthday celebration this weekend! I could not have felt more spoiled by my husband than I did. Not only did he get me floor tickets for Carrie Underwood, in the 20th row, but he gathered some of my good friends together for a day on the boat and a night out on the town.
He also helped me realize something incredibly important, and that is that he loves me more than anything. And sometimes, oftentimes, I forget that key fact.  I think that we just get so very busy with work, kids, household, extracurricular activities and stress, that we don't have much time to show our love to each other. So we both just need to remember that this is where we are in life today. We do have 4 kids, he does travel almost every Mon - Fri, I am trying to sell cake pops, create marketing ideas for the restaurant, pick up serving shifts and make sure everyone is where they need to be, on time, in clean clothes and with a full belly. But I am not trying to work on my run on sentence skills, just in case you were wondering! I am grateful to spend almost all of my time with Andrew. I am so lucky to be able to be where ever Isaac needs me to be, whenever he needs me. But to do those things, Rob has to be on the road. And when he isn't on the road, he is working late into the night to catch up on all of the work he didn't get done while he was on the road. I am so grateful for the life he allows us to live!
So, that is what I learned during my birthday celebration...Life is so busy, I may feel unloved. But needing to be so many places for so many people, should remind me how loved I actually am!  So if I get a little whiny once in awhile, feel free to remind me that I need to live in the moment, and although my moment is controlled chaos, there isn't anywhere else I should be.

On a different note, orders for Faye's Cake Pops are really starting to come in. Which is pretty cool since I haven't done anything to promote them except start a Facebook page and feed them to my friends! I really do love baking and playing in the kitchen. It is a little tough with all of Andrew's help, but still fun.  This weekend I will be making an order for Regions Bank, a bachelorette party and a Spider-Man themed birthday. I am actually letting cakes cool as I type and while Andrew naps.

I guess Rob was right when I said I wanted to retire...He responded with "until you find something else you love to do". I love making cake pops. I also love making a marketing pitch to get more events in the restaurant doors. But i'll be honest and admit that what I love the most is taking a nap with Andrew and feeling his sweet soft head under my chin as he snuggles up to me.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Things worth leaving behind and things worth going back to find

It has been a long time since my last post, and so many things have happened since then. Some good, some not as good, but each a part of the lessons I continue to learn in this great thing I call life!
In 2 days, I will be ending the 39th year and beginning the 40th. I can't believe I am turning 39. The last few months have been full of ups and downs, and in an effort to not let the downs pull me far and let the ups continue to lift me, I have been thinking about what is important daily, and what isn't.
So here goes...
Things worth leaving behind:

  1. Trying to do everything for everyone
  2. Changing me to try and make others happy
  3. Not speaking up for myself
  4. Constant fear of forgotten memories
  5. Conditional relationships

Things worth going back to find:

  1. Church activity - Sunday attendance, scripture study, Family Home Evening, Tithing.  God promises us so many blessings, but he can't bless me for covenants not kept (a great friend reminded me of that today). God isn't judging me harshly for my mistakes, I am. He is just waiting patiently for me to return to him
  2. Healthy Eating - Enough said :) 
  3. Continued exercise - I realized a couple of months ago that I wasn't going to get back on track unless I was accountable to someone. I am extremely grateful to my friend Megan who agreed to run the Nashville Women's Half Marathon with me, therefore requiring that I get my runs in every week.
  4. Journaling - I have to keep track of the good days, not just the bad. I have a habit of journaling when I am upset and not when I am happy. My kids need to be able to look back one day and read about the wonderful days that I experience as well as the tough ones.
  5. Spending time with good friends - I am still suffering with social anxiety, but I feel so much better after I have spent time visiting with good friends, I need to do it more often.
I have done somethings better than others, don't we all? So my goal is to make a real effort this year to prioritize my day. There are some things that have to be done, some things that can wait, and somethings that are just more important than others. I want to know that at the end of the day, I at least got done what was important to me. I do a pretty good job of getting done everything that is important to my husband and children, but I am pretty crappy at doing what is important to me. So I am going to create a little checklist for myself and look at it each evening to see how well I did. I am curious to see how my mood will correlate with my checklist success. I am guessing that the results will not surprise me.  Feel free to join me on this exciting adventure, because something I am going back to find is my blogging voice!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The New Plan in a New Year

Sixteen Days ago, I saw the white light.  The one that I thought people made up.  It isn't made up, it exists.  It is bright and warm and peaceful.  I was there.  I later learned that my heart rate was in the 20's, my blood pressure 30/13.  I shouldn't have been there, I made a mistake.  But I survived to tell the tale.  My best friend in the whole world told me the other day, that I have been given a second chance, and all be darned if she is going to let me take it for granted!
So here I am.  I spent some time in CCU.  I spent some time getting tests, and getting help.  We learned that I am in fact not "above average" anymore.  Don't get me wrong, I wasn't born smart, that is my son Isaac.  I was born with above average drive.  I have spent my life trying to beat the odds.  Trying to break the cycle.  Trying to go farther in my life than family members of my past.  And in all honesty, I did a pretty good job.  I studied like crazy, I took serious notes, I did everything in my power to make it.
And I did make it!  I had a fantastic job in the NHL.  More CEO and company owner contacts than I knew what to do with.  Then I married my soul mate.  The most handsome man I have ever laid eyes on. I gained two beautiful daughters, and everyone knows how badly I always wanted a little girl ( I got 2)!
Then when it was time for me not to work so much, I got another great job as the Director of Sponsorship at the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.  Many times I heard "things just fall into your lap".  Which isn't true.  I am a firm believer in Success = Opportunity + Preparation, and I have always done everything I could to be prepared.  And with that, I will discontinue focusing on the past.
What I learned last week is that I am indeed suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury, due to concussions.  What that means is that the "roads" in my brain don't work very well.  And the "roads" to my memory is currently out of order.  I took hours worth of tests to get these results.  They didn't surprise me at all.  But what they did do, is let me loved ones know that I am not making this up.  It is an honest to goodness condition that can progress to EOA (which I also won't be talking about anymore until further results come in). For now, what we know for sure is that I am about as smart as a lower level high school graduate.  If only I could stop paying my student loans now and pretend I didn't go to college for a million years! Regardless, there is some good news and that is what this blog will focus on in the future...
There is a type of occupational therapy for my brain at Vanderbilt.  The goal is to open up the "roads" to my memory and hopefully reduce the number of speed bumps on my cognitive processing "roads".  Currently the speed bumps are doing a great job of slowing down my processing, but that's not the life I want to live!
With some prompting from my best friend, Karlee, and  a lot of support from my husband, I am planning to kick some butt in my brain classes!  She reminded me that people haven't loved my because of my degrees, but for who I am, and I need to find that person again!  I am going to learn to love who I am, no matter how I do on tests and no matter how smart I used to be.  I plan to be the person who progresses so well in brain class, that doctors have to say "results not typical" when I take part in their studies :)
I won't pretend that I am not scared.  I am.  But a little fear never killed anyone.  I am ready to regain as much of my memory as God sees fit.  I also plan to be the best mom, wife and friend that I can be.  This is a journey I call life, and I plan to do my best every single day with this second chance that I have been given, for I am truly grateful!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blessings... Clearing a few things up

Blessings by Laura Story 
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

Every time I hear the above song, I sing it at the top of my lungs.  It has always brought me so much peace.  That is to say that I am totally at peace with all that is happening inside my brain, or not happening!  My hope is that some others would read these lyrics and take them to heart.  I get that some of my family members may be hurting that I am no longer my old self, and because of that, they say hurtful things.  I wish that they read the lyrics, listen to the beauty of the song (link below) and especially allow the last paragraph to make an impression on their heart.
I am writing this blog as an outlet, and as I mentioned in my last post, as a way to possible reach out to others in  my situation, so I don't feel so alone with my struggles.  I don't write for pity.
Also, as I mentioned before, the Holiday's were especially tough for me.  They were made even more difficult by comments made by family members.  I learned that a certain member of my family thinks I have been taken over by the devil and since I have given him control, that is why I feel like I am losing my memory; or something along those lines.  Really??? That is the craziest thing I have ever heard!  I guess there opinion doesn't matter much, since they believe I am going to hell for being Mormon.  Either way, I am screwed if you ask them!  But what their comment, along with a few others made, allowed me to realize, is that everyone thinks this is about me forgetting things.  Oh how I would give anything if that was the case.  If that was all I had to deal with I would be golden!  I would be the post-it note queen!  Unfortunately, this disease is so much more! For those that don't deal with me everyday, here are the symptoms I am fighting with:

  • Memory Loss
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems with language
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Poor or decreased judgement
  • Problems with abstract thinking
  • Misplacing things
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Change in personality
  • Loss of Initiative
These things are no joke!  See, I wish I was just a little forgetful! But that isn't the case, nor is the case that  the devil has taken over my memory!  
One more myth I would like to clear up... I haven't thrown in the towel, I haven't resigned myself to 4-6 more years of life.  Yet I am realistic in regards to what the current research is, which means preparing.  Every so often I get a little teary eyed when I think about not seeing my kiddos do great things. But mostly I think about how lucky I am to have been given 5 years to prepare them and to jot everything down so they can remember me just the way I want them too!  Not to mention the fact that I have been given an opportunity to dedicate the rest of my life to my family.  Had I taken my own chosen route, I would still be the same old workaholic, climbing the corporate ladder.  And then what, my kids grow up knowing there mom was a fantastic employee, but didn't know how to make macaroni and cheese or get grass stains out?  Given the choice, I am truly enjoying the BLESSINGS!  That doesn't mean I have thrown in the towel.  Believe me, I will fight to the end.  If you know anything about me, and you are reading this, you should know that I am a fighter!
My best friend and I have a little joke ...We say that up in heaven when we were all choosing our strengths and weaknesses that we could handle here on this earth, God gave us a few options, and we kept telling him "no, we are tougher than that, what else you got?" And finally when there were only a couple of choice mortal lives left, and no one at all wanted them, we volunteered.  Now I know that can be misconstrued to look like we are holier than thou, NOT our meaning at all!!!! It just means, we have had a couple of pretty crappy roads when all is said and done.  But in the end, I look back and go, "I DID THAT!"  I truly did that!  I can tell some pretty shocking stories about my life.  Instead, I would like to let you know, that I have come out so very strong!  I am a fighter, and typically when I choose a fight, I win!  So, no I am not throwing in the towel.  Yet, I know that there is a chance, some of you may be caused pain by what my life has in store.  I can only hope that you will realize that "the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy".  
I am so grateful for the comfort I have in knowing that I am sealed to my family for time and all eternity.  I am grateful for the work I am able to do in the temples to continue and grow my heavenly family.  And more than anything I am grateful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to earth and chose to die for me, because Heaven only knows some of the sins I have committed.  And with out the power of repentance I would be in a world of pain right now.  Instead, I am in a world of peace.  I am surrounded by people who love me and I am certain that many blessings will come as I face this trial head on!  So click on the link below and listen to the song.  Picture me singing at the top of my lungs, maybe I have a tear or two, but mostly I have a huge smile and I am thinking my Heavenly Father for every clear moment I am offered!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas with Early Onset Alzheimer's

It's clear that I won't be having anymore "big girl" jobs, as I have often referred to my cool jobs and also to the upstart of Maxx V.  I am so very grateful for the opportunity to continue to wait tables at Mere Bulles. The owner and management have been amazing to me, not to mention my co-workers that have to work along side of me.  Yesterday was my first day off, besides Sundays in what feels like ages!  Of course they would tell you differently, as they refer to me as the vacation queen... But I honestly didn't realize how important going to Mere Bulles was to my reality these days.  It has become my normal, and I now see that when I don't have the normal, I am a mess.
This is my first Christmas since my Early Onset Alzheimer's symptoms have really set in.  And it is horrific!  Which is heartbreaking to me.  I have always tried so hard to focus on Jesus' birthday and the huge sacrifice God made, to send his son down to earth.  Knowing that once he was born, he would suffer so much pain and persecution, but that he would save us all.  I am so very grateful for His Birthday!  But my every breathing moment is so hard.  I mean, really hard, I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest it is so hard to breath.  I know that it is anxiety, anxiety isn't new to me.  I already take medication for it, and for years it has stayed in check.  Now it is as if I have lost control.
I tried so hard to get ready for church this morning, but I am literally scared out of my mind to go. I had nightmares last night about how mean all of the ladies were to me.  So we decide not to go and then I am dealing with the anxiety of going to RB's family Christmas.  I want to go. It is so important to him.  But it is as if my feet are made of cement.
So now as to why I am having these issues.  I think it is two-fold.  One is medical, one of the symptoms is the depression and inability to really "care", based on what is working and not working in my brain.  I still have enough sense to know that those symptoms alone make me a completely different person than I used to be.  The super happy, cheerful, girl with the desire to serve anyone and everyone is gone.  And I would be an idiot to now know that other people have noticed as well.  Whether it is my loved ones pointing out my attitude to me, or friends who have bailed on me because I'm just not the same anymore.  I know that I am not good anymore. And I have always had an issue with unhappy people... Thinking that they should choose to wake up on the right side of bed instead of the grumpy side.  And now I am one of them.  I try so hard to smile and be happy, and then I am reminded that I don't look truly happy.  I am reminded that I am bringing others down.  So this is the second part of my anxiety issues.  I just don't feel good about being out in the unknown, and having people think that I am grumpy.  When I really am not, I am just not able to show happiness these days.  It is as if that emotion isn't connecting anymore.  I would give anything to have it connect... You hear stories of Alzheimer's patients being "flat" and "emotionless", and that symptom truly sucks, I can't say anything else about it.
So what I realize is that when I am at Mere Bulles, they know what to expect from me, and I am very comfortable with what I will get there each and every day.  But on days when I have to be around people who don't know me well, I am struck with the overwhelming thought...They are going to think I am grumpy and not nice.  Those are two adjectives that I am not comfortable with in describing me.  The only way to prevent that, is to not leave my house.  And that isn't very healthy either.  So what is a girl to do?
In my deep fear and anxiety, I decided to blog.
Don't worry, I am also journaling a lot.  And working on my book.  But I decided that if I can help one other EOA patient feel not alone, I have done some good.  So I will do my best to put this out there.  I feel as if I am being eaten alive from the inside out, and I wish I had someone to talk to that is going through the same thing.  Until then, I will send this out into the world wide web, and see if anyone finds me that understands where I am coming from.
Please don't mistake me as a bah humbug!  I am so very grateful for Christ.  I am grateful for my church and the opportunity that it affords me in the next life!  I am grateful for everything that this holiday holds!  But I guess it just doesn't show on  my face.  For that, I am sorry.
Merry Christmas to all!!!! Don't take anything for granted! Smile from the inside out, everytime you are given the opportunity!