It's Autumn and Time for Chili and Pecan Pie



In Kansas City today it's cloudy, rainy, and 64 degrees. In my opinion, today is a perfect autumn day. I woke up happy this morning because my husband gets home from a week long trip to Connecticut. I miss him so very much when he is gone on business trips. I struggle with missing his touch and seeing his pretty blue eyes. I also woke up bright eyed at 5:30 am because we got a very exciting phone call last night, truly an answer to our prayers. Nothing is official at this moment in time, so I won't share the news, but for us it's very exciting! Yesterday I also got my lap procedure scheduled and I went to the social security office to make my name officially Mrs. Smith. So yesterday was a day full of changes and good news. 

I rolled out of bed before the sun came up, when the rain was still sprinkling, opened every single window in the house, and then brewed my new butter rum flavored coffee that I got at Target last night. I lit all the fall smelling candles and made the bed. I got the laundry going and then I pulled out all the ingredients for our dinner - turkey chili! 

Ryan's favorite dessert is pecan pie! One of my dear friends made us a gift basket for our wedding, and in it was a bag of pecans from Fulton, MO. Along with some other goodies for the kitchen, like dish towels, and the absolute best smelling grapefruit and thyme cleaning products by Stonewall Kitchen. I've been using it all every day.

I thought this morning would be a great day to make my baby a pecan pie to welcome him home. I put Pandora on Dolly Parton, pulled out all the pie ingredients and got to it. As I was listening to the music, sipping my hot coffee, with the cold breeze blowing in the house, I couldn't help but reminisce about all the days I watched my grandma in the kitchen. That lady poured her heart into her family and home. She loved her simple life and I love her for that. Quiet moments, like this morning, when I'm doing as she did, I strongly feel her presence with me, usually enough to stir my heart and make my eyes fill with tears. I just hope to be half the woman she was. 



Ingredients: 

1 3/4 cups of white sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon of cold water
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I always use extra)
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
1 unbaked pie shell











Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, water, and cornstarch. Bring to a full boil and remove from heat. 

In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually beat in cooked syrup mixture. Stir in salt, vanilla, and pecans. Pour into pie shell. 

Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until filling is set. 

I haven't tasted this one yet, but I made one like it last fall and it was delicious! I cannot wait for Ry to get home and have a slice. 

And a random quote, because that's what I like to do: 
To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to see him is the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement. 
- St. Augustine of Hippo

See more of my faith and blessings board on Pinterest here

Love to you and yours. It's FALL!

xo Wen

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Wendy Correen Smith
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I'm the 1 in 10 with Endometriosis



With the exception of Ryan, my sisters, and closest friends & family, I've never been one to talk about anything medical related, and certainly not my condition which is even more personal than some other issues. 

I have endometriosis. 



What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects at least 6.3 million women and girls in the U.S., 1 million in Canada, and millions more worldwide. It occurs when tissue like that which lines the uterus (tissue called the endometrium) is found outside the uterus -- usually in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus; the area between the vagina and rectum; the outer surface of the uterus; and the lining of the pelvic cavity. Other sites for these endometrial growths may include the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva, and in abdominal surgical scars. Less commonly they are found in the lung, arm, thigh, and other locations.
This misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions which respond to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina, but the blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has no way of leaving the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation -- and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.


Why am I writing about this?
I'm sharing my story for three reasons. The first reason is that I've read blogs, websites, and magazine articles about other women that suffer from endometriosis and when I've read their story it brings me peace knowing that I'm not alone in this battle. And it helps to know that there is hope and treatment. My biggest inspiration comes from Kelle, the blogger behind Yellow Paper Dress. Her reflections about the disease, photographs, and her personal story brings me comfort in talking openly about it. The second reason is that I'm tired of living with the shame of hiding my condition. I cannot tell you how many times I've had to call-in sick to work and make-up excuses for missing events because every-single-month I'm in too much pain to leave the house. Not only does it cause physical pain, but there is a lot of emotional pain that comes along with hiding the fact that your monthly period is not normal, and you cannot live your life for one week of the month every month. My life revolves around avoiding parties, travel, and any kind of commitment for that one week when I know I'll be suffering. If you wonder what it feels like, read this post. The third reason I'm sharing my story is that there is no cure for endometriosis and there are many girls that are embarrassed (like I was) to talk about their symptoms. As awareness about the condition grows, and when women feel more comfortable talking about their bodies, medical research will be funded and hopefully someday there will be a cure. No more hush-hush about the topic!



My short and sweet story about endometriosis. 
I knew before I met Ryan that I had endometriosis. The endo actually caused me to cancel my first date with him, well kind of cancel. We were planning to go to the Plaza Art Fair, one of my very favorite events in Kansas City. I knew the night before that my period pains were getting worse, and I was actually awake all night from the pain & dread of having to tell him about my period (how embarrassing I thought!). The morning of our date I knew there was absolutely no way I could go on a first date --- walking miles and miles --- with the pain I was experiencing. I don't know what came over me, but I came straight out and told him the truth. I'm sure it went something like "I'm on my period, and I hurt so badly I cannot walk around the plaza all day. How about I just come over to your house and we'll cook dinner together?" He told me to come on over and then he even took me to the store to get Advil (which barely takes the edge off the pain, but I still try every month). I was in the bathroom every hour and I was hurting badly. I spent a lot of time on his sofa that day. Not what you'd imagine as a great first date, but in some ironic why I think being able to openly talk to him about the endo, and see his sweet nurturing side, made me fall in love with him even sooner. Since that day he has been very understanding and supportive. We travel a lot and he knows that we cannot book a trip unless we check my phone P-tracker app because I cannot travel when I'm on my period. We actually did take a trip to California, early in our relationship, and I was nervous I'd start my period while we were there. I thought about canceling the trip, but I was honestly sick and tired of letting it run my life. Well we went, and of course I started my period on the airplane. When we arrived we went straight to San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge. I was hurting and trying to hide it. Then we went to eat by the water, and it was getting worse, but I was still trying to hide it. After lunch he wanted to take me shopping. I remember feeling hot and sweaty from the pain, and I had chills at the same time. Just imagine a hot curling iron inside your pelvic area, along with stabbing pains that feel like someone is cutting you from the inside out. I simply could not walk another step, as the pain was radiating down my legs. I think I started to cry, not only from the way I felt physically but also the pure disappointment of having to say "take me to the hotel room!" As always, he was beyond understanding, he was kind, loving and nurturing. Any guilt I felt about having to cancel a day of exploring the beautiful area, he took away, and made me feel safe and loved. I called my mom the next day to tell her about it. I also told her about Ryan putting wet towels in the microwave to put on my abdomen. I think she fell in love with him after that story. Since then we have avoided travel during my period because sad but true it DOES RUN MY LIFE! 
One of the scary issues that comes along with endometriosis is FERTILITY! Quite frankly endo makes it difficult to get pregnant. All that scar tissue blocks pregnancy. We've talked about having babies from the very beginning. I've dreamed of being a mom since I was five years old. When I first found out I had cysts on my ovaries (a common condition for endo) I thought I'd have to have surgery right away. Fortunately, my doctor told me I could wait until I was ready to have a baby because the best time to get pregnant is right after surgery when all the cysts and scar tissue have been removed, because it will come back. 
Here we are newlyweds and it is time for me to have laparoscopy. I just had my pre-op appointment today and I should have my surgery scheduled by mid-week. I hope we can do it early November. I'm equally nervous and excited about the surgery! One week after the surgery we'll have a post-op meeting with my doctor and we'll discuss the next steps to pregnancy. Many times the laparoscopy is all that is needed for women with endometriosis. I hope and pray that is all that we'll need and that we can have a baby in 2016! 

The ROSE Project --- exciting things are happening for endometriosis. 




Endometriosis Sources & Articles:

Endometriosis Foundation of America, founded by Padma Lakshmi the host of Bravo's Emmy award winning "Top Chef" 

People article Dancing with the Stars' Julianne Hough: 'I Was Really Scared'

My favorite blogger on the topic, Kelle, openly talks about her Endo on Yellow Paper Dress 

Thanks for reading my story. Someday I'll share more details about the condition because it's more than just pain, but for now, I'm going to focus on laparoscopy and pregnancy! 

xo Wen
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I'm Mrs. Smith



Last Saturday, I married the man of my dreams. It was the best day of my life! 

I had intended to wait until we got the professional photographs back from our wonderful photographers (Amy + Mandee, with Bright Umbrella Photography) before sharing our first "Wedding Announcement" post, but I just couldn't wait to share all the fun photos that were snapped by our friends and family. This is the informal post! 

The Sunday night after our wedding we sat on the sofa and I wrote in our notebook all the memories we wanted to document forever. It's two pages long! The day was simply miraculous and full of pieces of Heaven that still bring tears of joy to my eyes. 

Amy and Mandee sent us a few sneak-peek photos on Saturday night. I must say they are one talented team, everyone was talking about how passionate, energetic, and creative they were. I love them! 



Ryan's parents called us one night this week. We were out to dinner. They were looking at our wedding photos, and had to point out something very special in this one below, something we had not even noticed until after they called. If you look closely, just to the left of Ryan, you'll see a cross. It's perfectly illuminated by the glow of the sun. Now when we look at this photo, it's all we can see! It's amazing! Signs from above, just like this one, have been common for us. And we have grateful hearts. 


I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me. Psalms 13:6


My mom and I did the bouquets and centerpieces. I ordered the bouquet flowers from The Bouq, I highly recommend them and I will be ordering from them again. And Trader Joe's was my go-to place for the centerpiece flowers. Our cart was overflowing with flowers before we left! 





On the morning of October 10th I woke up to gifts from Ryan. We had agreed to only get one another a card, but I should have known he'd break that plan. He had this beautiful package wrapped in floral paper that he had selected from Paper Source! I ordered a pair of earrings and a bracelet, and then changed my mind about the earrings at the very last minute. Well, I fell in love with a different bracelet too, but I didn't have the heart to order a new bracelet also. I didn't tell Ryan or anyone else about the bracelet. Quite honestly I had forgotten about it. Well I opened my gifts and couldn't believe my eyes, Ryan had bought me the bracelet that I wanted. He knows me! From my mom I borrowed a handkerchief that used to belong to my grandpa. When my grandma was at the nursing home she didn't have any jewelry, although she had always loved to wear her sparkly jewels. I bought her a ring one Christmas, and she wore it every single day. She didn't even take it off for showers in fear that she'd lose it. She was pretty proud of her ring. and everyone complimented it, which always made her smile. When she passed it was the only piece of jewelry that she was wearing. I decided to wear her ring on my right hand, as a sweet memory of my grandma. 


My sister spent two hours on my hair. She was bound and determined to make sure every single curl was pinned just right, and I cannot thank her enough! I'm lucky to have her as my best friend and sister. 


The girls loading up the car! Don't they look so pretty in their blue dresses!?


The drive to the land was memorable. My niece ate a whole thing of Altoids (not sure why, but she's crazy like that!) and she requested that every single song that came on the radio be turned up louder. She was excited and ready to par-tay, and I LOVE her energy! 



Our flower girls did a great job melting hearts! Seriously, they were jumping around like little ballerinas in their dresses, and they looked like the cutest fluff ball angels!




That's my tall and handsome baby brother dancing with our niece Lucca Lou! 


Our first dance was to Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton --- From Here to the Moon and Back. 


Our song. 



After all the guests left I pulled out my cell phone, and took our first selfie as husband and wife. I thank Heaven for him! 



My new mother+father-in-law worked so very hard preparing their land for our wedding day. We will forever be grateful for their love and support. Their love is an inspiration to us! I love them. 



When we got home, we took photos with our fur babies. 




The next morning, when we woke up as husband and wife, we went to Succotash for brunch and I had the best Cotton Candy Cappuccino.



Sunday afternoon I took a drive to Mt. Moriah Cemetery. It was bittersweet. I left my bouquet at my grandparents gravesite. 




This was my FB caption on 10/11/15: Yesterday was the best day of my life. Dream come true. The best part of the day was after my dad and step-dad walked me down the aisle and gave me to Ryan Smith. The moment my hands were in his and our eyes were connected, I could finally take a deep breath and I felt peace and bliss. As we were exchanging our vows, if I looked away from his eyes only for a moment, across the water and in the trees were pink and blue ribbons blowing in the wind. My mom had made a ribbon display to hang between two trees next to the water and behind the tent. She used ribbon that used to belong to my grandma. When my eyes caught the ribbon blowing, I could feel the breeze on my skin, and I could feel my grandma's love all around me and in my soul. It was the most euphoric feeling I've ever experienced and the closest I've ever felt to Heaven. As soon as we finished our vows, there was a bird in the tree above us singing the most beautiful melody. At the end of the night, as we were eating dinner under the sparkly lights, the sky above us changed to the most beautiful blue and pink sunset, that closely resembled the ribbons that were blowing in the wind. Today, as a thank you and memorial to my angel grandma and papa in Heaven, I left my bouquet at their gravesite. I know they are watching down, and grandma will love this bouquet of roses. And papa loved to shower her with gifts and flowers. This is the first time I've been here to see her name engraved next to my papa's, and in some sweet yet tough way, it feels good.

My hand in his, a few days after we were engaged. 


Once we get the professional photos back I'm going to share another post with many more details about the day, and our vendor sources because they were awesome!

Wishing you and yours a very happy weekend! 

xo 

Mrs. Smith 
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