Saturday, July 9, 2011

One point for Cleveland!

The transition from Erie to Cleveland has been so easy and exciting; God has definitely blessed the journey. We have found ourselves in our new little home-renting, not owning (never know where we're really going to end up) but we're happy.

Life has dramatically changed ever since Duke completed his boards! We have been really enjoying the free time; being able to go on walks, start projects, FINISH projects, watch our favorite shows, travel on the weekends; just the simple things that play a big part in our life! Needless to say, I am loving the rotation schedule and am so happy to have my husband back (or for the first time- not sure which one)!

A huge burden that comes with moving is the starting all over part...  feeling scared on unfamiliar roads, leaving relationships, and worst of all, finding a new job. Ironically, CNN was doing a segment last night on how unemployment is on the rise again- hitting 9.2%. Scary. 

Last year I was so lucky to find a job in Erie, it took three months to find, but it was a great first "real" job. Therefore- it was not fun having to leave and venture into the world of and careerbuilder- very intimidating. Early into the job hunt this year I decided I did not want to mess around and I was going to try another professional staffing agency (something I used in Erie). 

Long story short..when I went to interview and talk about possible positions they could connect me with, I was offered a job with them! It wasn't a done deal at that point, but after 3 weeks of waiting, phone interviews, real interviews, and a lot of nerves, I was offered the job! My main role is going to be placing potential candidates in jobs that will suit them- I am very excited to be able to work with people everyday and help them find careers they would otherwise not be able to find! 

This opportunity is a huge blessing. I was expecting the worse, worried I would have to wait another three months! My first day will be the Monday I get back from Arizona/California- so I will try and enjoy this last bit of time off!

WOO HOO for new starts and one point for team Cleveland!! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My best friend..

Danni Marie Vicha. Soon to be Dannie Marie Barker. 

My best friend since high school. My closer friend through college. My sister in Christ for life.

I can think back to some of our memories and I will just start laughing: whether its making music videos together, taking the car out when we're not old enough, missing first period in HS because we were always late, Zumba dance class partners, our adventures in Cleveland, California, Mexico, or just all of the little late nights along the way. 

Whenever Danni and I are together she gives me a confidence to be myself. She has always been so comfortable in her own skin- regardless if she's standing in front of her biggest crush or her best friend, she is always the same person. My favorite thing about Danni is that she is open about her feelings in every situation; if I make her mad, if she's hurt, if she's disappointed- Danni will always be honest and is not afraid to be vulnerable. She knows how to make anyone laugh, and she has patience that goes on for miles. Needless to say, Nick Barker picked the most amazing future wife. 

We have encouraged each other through life, being together every step of the way, so here is to the new chapter of Danni plus Nick!! I know you two will have many of these adventures, laughs, unforgettable moments, plus a million more.
I pray you two will be eternally happy and I am so happy you have found each other:)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oh Ohio!

there is a ton to say about the past couple of months- but I thought I would share the most recent updates before diving into Arizona memories.

Currently, I am sitting in my new, completely unpacked house in Mentor, Oh! So excited to be here but more excited for the years to come!

The journey to get here was not easy. As a matter of fact, the past year was not easy. So many new adjustments, and on top of it all- our first year of marriage. With Duke being in school, it was very difficult to feel normal. We didn't get endless hours together, or many fun weekends, instead they were dedicated to tests and studying- something I accepted and encouraged. I know it doesn't sound normal, but it was unlike anything else to see my husband work so hard for something he loved.
Erie had many blessings to offer- some I can recognize now and some that I may never know about. I do know that it has helped me grow in many ways: it took me away from my comfort zone, taught me to appreciate my family and friends, gave me my first grown up job, taught me independence inside a marriage, and so much more.  That's a lot for a girl who was raised in an Arizona bubble.  At times it is difficult for me to see the need for these changes/experiences, but I'm learning to trust this is an intentional plan for my life and not random circumstance.

It is so fitting that as Duke wrapped up second year -we wrapped up life in Erie and headed to Mentor. Excited for what this city has to bring and the memories we can make here!!

-I'll post pictures of the house soon!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

3 Weeks!

For the next three weeks I get to..

Miss Duke like crazy
Fall in love with Arizona again
Spend quality with my amazing friends
Get coffee with my mom every morning
Eat all my favorite foods
Send back pictures to make my friends jealous in Erie ;)
Drive a red bug
Have great dates at tea infusion- with tons of bobba
Hike. hike. hike.

It feels so good to be home.

Monday, April 25, 2011


It seems appropriate that with the change of season- some things are coming to an end, while others are just beginning. 

 Erie chapters are starting to close, while Ohio doesn't seem so far away-and Arizona is even closer. 

Last Thursday was my last official day in the office- although I'm going to continue to work some from home-I'm going to miss the daily office buzz. I'm going to miss some great people and all of our funny memories. 

My friend Emily started at BFF one day after I did and we have barely spent one day apart- we got to travel to many beautiful (random) townships of PA and interview nonprofits for the Nonprofit Profile Project together. We were partners. I saw her substantially more than I did Duke- I will miss her so much!

Easter was an amazing day yesterday! Duke and I drove to Toledo late Saturday night to celebrate the engagement of Jon (Duke's brother) and Corrin!! They played such an important role in our engagement- there was no way we could not support them. Duke told Jon we couldn't make it because of a test- so to be able to surprise them and show them our love was so much fun!! She looked absolutely beautiful- glowing from head to toe- and I cannot wait to have her as a future sister. P.S. her ring is breathtaking!!

I can't believe I'm packing my bags for Arizona tonight. I'm so so happy to see my family and friends- but I'm going to miss Duke so much-obviously. Although our schedule isn't perfect, I love it more days than I hate it, and anytime is better than no time in my book. 
However there is an end in sight- May 27th. That day is going to scream freedom- the day Duke conquers the boards. Only a month and 2 days away!! 

Prayers would be so appreciated. 
Happy Reading:) 

Friday, April 8, 2011


I hate today. I absolutely hate the date of April 8th. (sorry if today is your birthday) but today could possibly be the worst day of my life. In this post I desire to share the story of my dad. This is going to be a long, heartfelt post, so you have permission to turn around and leave now. 

I have always wanted to put into words what this day means- but I get severe anxiety and sharp stomach pains when i try to bring up  the memories. I promised myself I was going to write this post straight through- without erasing much- therefore there are going to be errors in sentences but it's going to be honest and straightforward.

I want to start by sharing a little bit about my father.
He was so amazing. My father was the most self-LESS man in the world. It can be traced back to his twenties when he left his family to come to America to create a life for himself. He worked so unbelievably hard to receive his masters while working 2 kitchen jobs and juggling being a husband/father. Even when I was a little girl I can remember him giving- it didn't matter if it was time, money, clothes- he would give anything for anyone.

My father was diagnosed with cancer when I was in 6th grade. By God's grace he went into remission after surgery/treatment and was cancer free for 5 years. When I was in 10th grade he was re-diagnosed with liver cancer- a more aggressive kind. My father was a fighter- he tried it all- surgery, radiation, 20 different types of chemo- he never wanted to give up. He never shared his struggle though- never expressed how much he hurt- never expressed his anxiety, thoughts, or fears- and that is something I deeply regret not learning. 

I lost my father on April 8th, 2008. That is a day I will never forget. I knew I was going to miss him - but i never fully understood the magnitude of it all. This past year I have needed my dad- maybe more than other years. There are so many questions I still need to ask-so many lessons I still need to learn. If I knew- I would have loved him so much better-and I hate feeling like I didn't do all that I could. 

The last thing I want to say is please love. do not forget to love. There are so many things I wish I could have done differently- more time I wish I would have spent- more questions I wish I would have asked. I have learned and grown from this experience so much that sometimes I feel like I'm 40 and I've missed my twenties. I just hope I can express respectfully that life is not forever, and we are not promised beautiful, healthy lives. Please choose love. Life is too short to choose hate. 

 I think I needed to write this more for me, but thank you for baring with me. I can only hope I have conveyed my feelings in a way that pushes you to realize that love is greater than anything else. Even the last words my dad said to my mom was I love you. It was so beautiful.

The last LAST thing I would like to say is despite everything I know my father is in heaven and that gives me so much peace. I am thankful he is with the Lord, free from cancer and pain. Believing that truth brings light into this situation- knowing I will see him one day- and I cannot wait.

Ps. this post is called Kosmo because that was my nickname for my dad. I loved it and I know he did too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wedding Bells

Last month I got to go home to Arizona. I LOVE Arizona this time of year-I know Arizonans do not take this time for granted- for they soon know they will be burning their hands on their steering wheels and getting dehydration headaches daily. But March, if only it could slow down and last all year.

2 out of the 3 times I’ve been home this year were for weddings- best friend weddings!

I should preface this by saying after my wedding (which I loved) I realized a lot of the planning went towards hoping the guests would have a good time- cocktail hour, dinner choices, song choices, etc! I have definitely learned to enjoy/appreciate weddings a tad more after I planned one!

Needless to say I was SO excited for Kays wedding! Kay and I had been friends for 4 years, since the very first day of college! Kay’s wedding was the first outdoor wedding that I have seen in a long time. The weather couldn’t have been better, and she had every detail perfectly planned.I can't describe- it's a must see-
Check out her pictures here:

It’s just been such an honor being a witness for 2 of my close friends and seeing them exchange their vows- the biggest promise of their lives!  I am so thankful that we can all be in the same boat- riding through life’s stages together! I’m just wondering who’s going to have the first baby!! (That’s a scary thought)

On a different note- I’m a little nervous about tomorrow. Tomorrow marks my Daddy’s three year anniversary (?) date of when he passed. This week has been exceptionally difficult as I try to deal with missing him so much. I will post more openly tomorrow- but I’m a little nervous for it to come and go- three years has been a long time without my Dad.


Monday, March 28, 2011


I can't believe it has been 3 weeks since I last posted. I don't know what is happening to me. There is a persistent feeling telling me I should blog-next comes the pressure to be creative- then I find myself at a loss for words. Today I'm determined to update no matter how boring it may be!
First I would like to say- I can’t believe my time left in Erie is coming to an end. I can’t believe the snow has stopped falling and the roads are finally clear. I’m not nervous to drive anymore- a feeling most of us take for granted. With these changes also comes the end of our time here, in our cute little town home. Work received its “one month notice” and I even started collecting boxes.  Changes are approaching.

Things I’m excited about:
1.      Our beautiful new place in Mentor-thankfully the process of finding a new home was as effortless as it could have been.
2.      My 3 week trip to Arizona at the end of April- giving Duke 100% privacy as he approaches the final leg of his boards prep.
3.      Our new life in 2 months without med-school in the way. Free weekends and new memories.

Things I’m discovering:
1.      I have a weird habit of not being able to eat anything I cook!! Is this a disease? Even though it looks pretty good- and I’m the one who chose the recipe- I still am unable to eat it! Does this happen to anyone else??
2.      Duke’s first gray hair. He tried to cover and say it was blonde- but we both knew the truth! It makes me sad to see his stress with school coming out in different ways:(
3.      I am a stubborn reader. When I find an author I like- or a series- it is so hard for me to jump to someone else!  Any good suggestions?
4.      I love watermelons. I may have been the first person of the season to buy one at the store yesterday. Silly but it made me so happy to see them back!
5.      I apparently love making lists. 
Lastly my trip to Arizona was amazing- great friends-beautiful wedding! That post is coming!

Monday, February 28, 2011

An unlikely kind of love

I saw this video clip while I was at the gym today. I had my headphones on, could not hear a thing, but the pictures captured my heart. It is beautiful, and illustrates that love comes in all shapes and sizes (and feathers).

One can find love in so many unexpected ways.
Watch ME:)

Hope it tugs at your heart strings like it did mine!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A little love

Valentines day is very interesting. I guess so are all holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays in our house. It's difficult when you're other half has a life that is consumed by school.

It's hard not to get excited for V-day. Although I know it's a holiday created by Hallmark, I still love it. I love all the decorations, the candy, the cards, the flowers.

It was my mission to make Duke feel special this year. I made him a gigantic card and bought a giant Hershey kiss- in other words a perfect gift for me. I also hid a secret dessert in the back of my car so he couldn't find it.

This year was different because although the world was telling me to desire flowers and expensive chocolate, all I wanted was time. I wanted to spend time with my med school student husband. So I asked Duke to come to Yoga with me as my gift- and he said yes. (Yoga is my saving grace these days)

But when I came home- I walked into this:

It just made me so grateful. The letter was the best part- honest words. My favorite gift.
It's special that through it all- he still remembers.

Dinner ended up being heart shaped ham-potatoes-and vegetables. Our first date meal.

Don't mind our stripped plate

I still took Duke to Yoga and he actually did great- more flexible than I would have given him credit for:)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Came across this cute/inspiring story that reminds us to “honor our cracks and see what we can bring to the world.” Enjoy!
An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots; each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.
At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”
The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?
“That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.
“For two years I have been able to  pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together to very interesting and rewarding.
You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So, to all my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Last year- on February 5th 2010- I arrived in Erie- to visit my boyfriend! I remember that trip so well, what I packed, all the feelings I had, how many days had past since we had last seen each other.. everything. That's how my brain works when it comes to special moments- I can remember everything- down to the color socks we were wearing.

Duke and I had been surviving a long distance relationship at that point, so every chance to see each other was exciting. The highlights of my calendar last year was not my birthday or spring break, but the special weekends we got to see each other again. 

The night that Duke proposed was ordinary. I was exhausted from a long day of traveling, and I did not want to feel special. I had sweats on and refused to put a brush through my hair. 

The proposal was beautiful. Duke had put a lot of thought and effort into it. It made me feel like a princess and so unconditionally loved. From endless rows of candles to hanging letters from the ceiling, I was swept away.

Looking back on this one year, life has transformed. I am in awe. Moving, graduating, marriage, working, medschool, missing family, friends, Arizona- life has just been a whirlwind. 

At the end of the day, I am so lucky he asked me to marry him- and I am so happy I said yes:)

Here's to our one year engagement!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I felt a HUGE need to express how proud I am of my sister and my husband. Both are very strong, dedicated, passionate, and driven. It's amazing to see those qualities in them- to have such great role models.

My sister is unbelievable. Her dedication to her education as been relentless. She just took her comp- which is the big test for her PhD in Psychology- a three day test! So proud of you sister. No matter what the outcome!

Duke hasn't stopped studying since the semester started. He's preparing for his boards in May. He is putting everything aside so he can provide for us one day. There is not a day I don't appreciate it. 

I love my family. I am just so proud

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Friday night I came across a very disturbing, heartbreaking news article. 

It's about the women in Afghanistan, specifically the women who are imprisoned. A majority of these women are innocent, suffering because of a corrupt justice system. Their stories range from women trying to run away from their abusive husbands to women who are being punished for another man's crimes (usually a family member: Dad, husband, etc..) The worst part about these stories are that a lot of the women are mothers. Once these mothers are sentenced, the punishment not only falls on them but their children as well. 

PLEASE take a few minutes to watch this video to hear the stories of these strong/suffering women here: 

These women are innocent and are no different form you and me. Their children are innocent.

Redemption: There are nonprofits who are trying to make a difference for these women and children. On the website above you have an option to donate $25 to help pay for 10 students to have school supplies- or for a family to have milk for a month in jail. Not only that, but they will send you a free shirt reading, "Not Guilty." 

Please. When is the last time you have donated? 

Where have I been?

I cannot believe it has been a month since I have updated my blog...goes to show how crazy/busy/FAST life has been flying by. 

I think I left off right before Duke and I went to Pittsburgh. I have a new found love for seeing new things. Especially because I don't know if I'll ever have the chance again. So with that in mind- we spent a weekend in Pitts.
fun fact: on our way there Duke stopped to get gas- and he happened to take the exit to the outlet mall. it was heaven for me..Duke didn't quite think so haha

I had asked around to a few friends what we should to while we were there- and we heard a few great suggestions. The first was the Carnegie museum of natural history.. why not?
-I have to admit it was really great for the first 30 minutes while we were there but then all the dinosaurs started to blur together. haha guess we're not the touristy type.

Then we heard of something called the Mt. Washington Incline- It's supposed to have the best view of Pittsburgh. See for yourself:

Low of Pittsburgh: The roads were terrible- even the GPS couldn't save us. Duke actually got nervous driving-and if you know Duke that just never happens. I think we got honked at, yelled at, and had to turn around maybe 100 times.

To follow our week in Pittsburgh we went to to Toledo to spend Christmas with Duke's family. I hate how fast the the time goes by- There's so much to say about Christmas but really it was just fulfilling. It was nice to be surrounded by people who we love, and get to escape Erie for a week. It's always the hardest coming back though. We love everyone so much. It was also my 2nd Christmas being away from my family. I missed them so much- but that's the power of compromise: Thanksgiving with my family. Christmas with Dukes.

 New years hopes and memories to look forward to: 

1. Arizona trip in March- my best friend Kailyn is getting married!
2. Duke's last semester in school- thank GOD!
3. Giving up pizza. 
4. Celebrating our one year of marriage in July. 
5. Moving to our next adventure, our next city, Cleveland! 

So much more updating to do!! 
That's a good summation of our life for now.

Happy reading:)