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Focusing on the grace…not so much the race

17 Jan

This is a post I’ve wanted to share for a long time. I’ve written probably fifteen iterations of it over the last few months and every time I let fear win…I delete…I walk away…I keep it to myself.

I’ve not landed on a word for 2020 yet. I had one last year…I’ll probably decide on one this year, but it’s something I do with prayer and intention…but I can tell you that a theme I keep hearing in music, in scripture, in prayer and in life – is SHARING. So, I’m going to DO THAT. When I feel something resonate with me that I hope can help others, I have a natural inclination to want to share it. So here it is today:

Having something wrong with you that others cannot see is a struggle. When I show up at Bible Study with my hair curled, a dress on and my shoes actually match…you don’t know that I had to wash my hair the night before because there’s no way I can wash, dry and fix my hair without a break in between. You don’t know that I had to pick out my clothes the night before to make it easier for myself the next morning or that I decided against makeup because holding my arms up for extended periods of time makes me exhausted. You don’t see the tears I cried last night because I didn’t feel like cooking dinner for my family because I knew it would wear me out and that a bath would be out of the question….because even that is tiring. You don’t see the depression that cycles from missing out on life events…the anxiety that comes with planning anything – literally anything – because I am afraid that when it rolls around I will be too fatigued to show up. You don’t see the worry that comes from letting people down and fearing that they won’t give you grace – again.  You don’t see the disappointment from getting excited about getting out and doing something but then it’s “one of those days” and there is NO way you can make it out of the house….and quite frankly, the bed.  You don’t see the way I miss the race of deadlines and a work family and last minute presentations.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a THING.  It is one of MY things and I have truly tried to own it.  To just live with it…to give MYSELF the grace that I’d extend to any of my loved ones.  To pace myself. To do what I can and focus on THAT.  Focusing on the things I can’t do…the things I run out of steam for…the things that do not get crossed off of the list? That leads to frustration, shame and sadness.  Which puts me in a funk…which leads to a depressive state…which….are you seeing a pattern here?

When you see someone with a cast or a sling or hear them coughing or see visible scars – is your inclination to judge them or feel a certain pang of hurt for their illness/injury?  Just because all scars are not visible does not mean that we don’t all have them and need that sympathetic/empathatic smile you’d give someone that you knew was going through something based on their appearance.  I have to tell you, I barely made it through this afternoon.  I overcommitted myself this week and I was struggling this afternoon.  Once I had the chance, I got comfy and I slept for HOURS. I needed it. It didn’t mean I am lazy or worthless or unproductive.  It meant I was taking care of a need.  I needed rest.  But don’t think I didn’t go to my calendar, make a line for rest, draw a box AND CHECKED IT OFF.  Focus on what you CAN do, friends.  It makes a world of difference.

*******SIDE NOTE TANGENT BELOW*******

While I’m at it…a reminder…check on your friends.  The sick, the well, the strong, the weak.  The busy, the bored, the employed, the retired, the traveling, the homebodies….ALL THE PEOPLE.  Ask how they are…and listen to the answer.  And y’all…if someone asks how you are, TELL THEM.  I don’t know about you but I mean it when I ask someone how they are really doing….I want to hear the truth.  I don’t want to a hear a standard answer or a flippant reply.  I want to know HOW they ARE….how can I be praying for them….have the prayers I’ve been praying been answered?  I value my friendships…I value my prayer time…and I want to be sure that my friends know I am praying for them with intention, as specific as possible and as often as I say I am.

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 5)

14 Jan

So – I am WAY behind, what else is new?

The last time I updated Mike and I were still in NC and he has had a couple of appointments since then so I thought I’d just type out a little update for those that have asked…and for me too…because my memory…YEP!

Since we returned home to Texas he has been seen by his Primary Care Physician and his Pulmonologist here in College Station.  His PCP reviewed his labs, notes and all the information from the cardio team and did not find anything alarming or that he felt that was missed.  He agreed that on paper, Mike was not at risk for a heart attack…which is one of those things I keep hearing but also keep thinking of all the ways we could live better, exercise more, blah blah blah…but in the end, I truly believe that was God’s plan.  All the things are, and that was His plan for my hubby on that day and I will just have to rejoice and be glad in it.  Okay?  OKAY?  🙂  It taught me a few things and I’ll get to that eventually but for now….just trying to stick to the facts!

His Pulmonologist has suggested another sleep study (scheduled later this month) and Mike is VERY receptive to finding a CPAP mask that will work for him.  We already know he has sleep apnea.  He has been kicked out of a lab before because basically it was very clearly and quickly seen that he had it…that he needed a machine….but he has very very very particular about this process.  So…this is a huge triumph as in the past he has been….ummm….well….ya know.  I am ever so hopeful that this will be a game changer and will give him a restful sleep.  He wakes up SO tired and I can see the exhaustion by the time he comes home at night.

Speaking of him coming home at night………I am PROUD to say that he has been going into the office later and leaving every day by 5:30!  This has NEVER happened in the history of our marriage (and likely before) so I am extremely happy that he has taken this drastic measure and has the support of his team at work as well.  Finding a work/life balance is a huge issue for so many and I am very thankful that it didn’t cost my husband more than it did before he made this change.

His first Cardiac Therapy appointment is this week so he will learn more then about what is expected of him exercise and diet wise.  He is already eating better and eating less (portion wise)…drinking more water…trying to make better decisions and just getting more active, but he knows he needs to be guided by this great group of people that specialize in heart patients!  Again, this is a win – if you know my sweet but stubborn hubby.

Okay, without getting all mushy and in my feelings, I just wanted to give y’all the facts you want about “how Mike’s doing”….and I’ll keep you updated.  I cannot tell you how much it means to him and myself to get a text, email, phone call or card that asks about how he is feeling….it really does lift his spirits, and mine too.  We have for sure been blessed by some amazing family and friends.

Bye for now…more later…much much much more!  🙂

JJ

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 4)

27 Dec

I said I’d update after Mike’s appointment and I promise I meant to right away but……Christmas!  Whew!  What a busy and amazing and wonderful and blessed time of year….but….busy!  🙂

His appointment was A LOT.  I had several questions, naturally.  He had a few too….but he let me go first!  (He is SO smart, y’all!)  I had some small questions about his new meds and new diet and exercise….but my biggest, scariest, most important question was…..how likely are we to go through this again?  I know there are no guarantees and that there are so many variables that are involved but I also know that many health conditions or episodes are likely to happen again once you have had them once.  I wanted to be realistic and knew that the answer might be one I didn’t want to hear but I needed to know.  She gave me the best answer EVER.  Through a lot of technical reasons (lack of blockages in his other arteries, success of the stent, etc) and historical data….she says it is very likely that this could be an isolated incident!  Of course, that all depends on him taking his meds correctly, exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, decreasing his stress and addressing his sleep apnea.  That is a long list of things to do, yes…but I think he is more motivated than ever.  He detests the thought of a C-PAP machine but he has promised to try it.  (He’s been kicked out of the sleep lab before hahahahaaha – y’all he’s kinda hard headed and every machine he’s tried has not been a good fit for him.)  He had just started to exercise more regularly and has an amazing friend that is willing and a such a blessing to us that he will help him in that area.  The food is my area since I cook for him and he has promised to be more open-minded about trying different things (fruits and veggies are a big deal and he hates about 99% of them).  He also has committed to taking a lunch every day and actually getting out of the office.  His Dr has had several conversations about this with him and how important it is for him to take a brain break.  He is also going in later than usual so he can sleep a bit longer and THAT is a blessing to me (and also is going to take some getting used to as that was a good thing for me to get up early and get my Bible time in…so I have to figure out how my day is structured when I get back home!).  The hospital we use has a great cardiac rehab program that he will be taking advantage of and I am happy that he was open to that immediately.  He already has an appointment with a sleep specialist so we are on our way to a healthier (and hopefully less dramatic) 2020!
We are currently in NC visiting our families and enjoying this season.  It has been great to rest the last two days…since leading up to Christmas is a bit of a crazy time….and we have done just that.  Mike is still a bit tired and the Dr says that is normal and expected.  He played golf yesterday locally though and said he felt tired towards the end of the round but that he never felt “winded” as he would have normally.  THAT is such a blessing to hear!  I am telling you, God can make any situation GOOD.  I am so thankful that Mike is feeling better, is heeding the warnings and is listening to the team that is caring for him.
Again, I cannot say enough thank yous to all of you who have been praying for him (and me too) so faithfully.  We feel the love and we are so grateful.
I’ll update again in a bit once we have more information on the sleep apnea because I know that will make him feel so much better if he can get GOOD sleep!!  Hope each of you had a Merry Christmas!!!

Prayer Priorities

23 Apr

Y’all wouldn’t believe how many people have asked me recently about prayer. How to start…what to pray about…format…how do I find the time…and I LOVE sharing what I personally find helpful and am ALWAYS happy to share (so message me if you have questions at all!! NOT an expert but I can say I work hard at it!!)…

I heard about task oriented prayer a while back and forgot to share it in case it is something that might help someone! I cannot find the article/blog/instagram that I read it on but basically it just involves praying about what you are currently DOING….so it’s not as hard to remember/fit it in your busy day/etc…

Examples:

folding clothes – thank Jesus for the bodies that wear the clothes, the conveniences (washer/dryer/electricity) that we have, the means to buy them/wash them….and then pray for those same things..blessings for your family….

cooking dinner – thank Jesus for the family you are cooking for and the means to have food / ways to cook / water / etc….and then pray for nourishment and blessings for your family…for health and joy to come from your cooking!

driving to school to pick up kids – thank Jesus for the blessing of children, education, freedoms, etc….pray for them/teachers/admins/safety

You see how easy that is? The idea is to remain grateful and in prayer constantly so that you are keeping the communication with Jesus ongoing. It is SO SO SO easy to fill our brains/minds/ears with constant NOISE of this world with TV/radio/podcasts/books but the most important thing we can do is talk to Jesus. I know I am preaching to myself here, so hopefully I am encouraging someone!!

 

My Business

15 Aug

No, not starting a business…not closing a business or minding my business….just I’m BUSY!

Moving, Disney, kids, summer, work, etc etc etc have kept me from stopping and trying to remember any of it…that makes me sad.  However it makes me MADcrazyHAPPY that I have been too busy to notice.  Lately the only thing I even WRITE is my prayer list (which seems to get longer by the day – sadly) so sitting down to type is unthinkable one some days!

Moving has definitely been the time suck of the year!  Hmm, I guess technically “moving” itself wasn’t the time consuming activity….that was over in a day.  Filling a house has been the thing….buying new things, repurposing old ones, shopping for bargains, creating new memories in a new space.  It’s been EXHAUSTING…but most of all…it’s been FUN!!!  It’s one of those things that makes it so apparent to me that crazy times bring out the MOST of what you have the most of.  If you have love and fun and happiness, you will get more of THAT.  My sweet husband has been so awesome throughout this transitional phase of having a new space to live in…..he’s dealt with my shopping habits, my chevron obsessions and my need to decorate every nook and cranny with some form of turquoise, aqua or gray!  My kids have totally enjoyed finding their own new things and old things alike and have been such troopers about keeping things clean and organized.  My Mom has been….an angel!  She has loved shopping for me and crafting and lending a hand or elbow or whatever was needed.  My niece helped unpack like a madwoman and it was a great time to have my entire family…inlaws, parents, niece and her boyfriend, sissy and her hubby and my baby niece….my kids…our friend Zoe…it was just awesome.  I have had more visitors in a month than I believe I had at my former house in the seven years we lived there!  It’s just fun getting opinions on decor and organization sometimes, right?  ((OH AND THERE IS THAT POOL PROJECT THAT I HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT!!!  SO MANY DECISIONS…….EEEEEK.)

Getting the kids ready for back to school…fun times.  My kids will all be at the same school and I’m thrilled about that.  MJ is starting K5 and I can’t even believe it.  The speed at which time has flown is amazing.  I’d like to say I’m dealing with my baby going to school very well but I’m not a liar.  She’s so ready and I want to show her how excited I am for her and I do…and then I fall apart alone!!  WHEW!  It will be all fine and well next Friday after it’s been a day and we’ve had “that” day and she did fine and was happy and didn’t hold onto my leg for dear life.  (Dear God, please don’t let that happen. Amen.)  The boys are kinda “meh” about school starting back….but that’s to be expected at 12 and 15.  Happy for them to get in there and get it going though!

Mike’s promotion + school = CRAZY!  Many nights when we first moved in (he had finals then), I didn’t see him after dinner because I couldn’t stay up until he got in bed!   Work has been busy for him as well….he hasn’t even played much golf lately!

TO BE CONTINUED…………I can’t even stay awake!!!

Moving On

20 Jan

I can’t imagine losing my husband…or my daddy.  I have such emotion right now for my friend and her mom.  I can’t imagine the “what do I do now” feeling or the immense feeling of loss.  I know they are absolutely relieved that he’s no longer in pain, but I would imagine that they are also having that empty feeling as well.  I don’t know how you move on…how you go about your daily life and miss that person….how you sit down to dinner at the table you shared with them and they aren’t there.  The whole “time heals all wounds” saying would fall on deaf ears to me…it would almost offend me.  I’d want more time…more moments…just a few more memories.  Knowing that person is in a better place, of course, helps you with these feelings somewhat I’d think…but not having them present in your every day life has to sting so much.  I am praying so hard right now for this family…I love them so much and I know if there is any way they are going to heal, it will be from our Lord.  God bless them…

Date Night

19 Jan

Mike won a gift from the Marriott in downtown Raleigh while playing in a golf tourney last year. That’s what we are up to. We planned out this night to take advantage of a free night here…

Very cool view…ice skating rink on Fayetteville. We are on the 17th floor! We had dinner at 42nd street and it was delish as always.

My heart though, is with my Sanford family and friends. We lost a great man this afternoon in Mike Moody. He was a special man and fought a disease that all too often wins. I feel for his family…for my Daddy, his buddy…I just can’t imagine the feelings they are all experiencing tonight. If you’re reading this, whatever brought you here, would you please pray for them?

I’m off now to enjoy the rest of this night with my hubby. I’m so appreciative of this time together. Being married to my best friend for the last 6.5 years has been one of my largest blessings. Night!!

Co-sleeping, doesn’t equal no-sleeping…

12 Jan

I’m not ashamed to admit that my almost 5 year old sleeps with my husband and I.  Every night.  I.Love.It.  She’s my last “baby” and we have a king size bed.  We also have a healthy relationship, parents that babysit and two grown boys that hardly even want to SIT with us.  I am sure that because this August, she starts school and has to have more of a routine, we will begin to transition her to her bed.  But for now, and for the last almost five years, it’s been a blessing to me.  My 14 year old used to be my buddy but is “too cool” for me now…so this has been nice.  I’m sure things will change and one day she’ll too think I’m not cool enough to hang with.  I’m just enjoying this piece of her life right now and the place she’s at.

Even if it means a foot in my back every now and then.

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Love and Marriage…and…Progress Reports??

28 Nov

Of course when I was in school…progress reports were not my favorite thing.  Once I discovered boys started high school I sure didn’t like those two words together.  I never thought I’d yearn for a checkup of how I’m doing!  However, as an adult who works full time in a fast paced role, I look forward to performance reviews to be able to have that check-in with my boss (a busy, Global Vice President). I need to hear the good, bad and ugly of how I’m doing so I can act on it. As a Manager, I welcome the opportunity to do the same.  I take it seriously.  I’m probably one of the few people who really enjoys it!!

Well..as a married woman who love love loves her hubby so much…like SO much..I often wish I had a template of a marriage progress report to measure my performance.  To feel like I know what I’m doing right and wrong and in between.  I’m going to create one.  I want to.  I might.  I should add that to my bucket list.  Mike and I have our own detailed conversations about this and daily I truly do attempt to do something that translates the WORDS I love you into an action…but life is busy and chaotic and sometimes you just want to be sure that’s the message you’re conveying!   Somewhere between the “Honey, can you pick up supper?” and the “I have no idea where your socks are.  I don’t wear them!”, you just want to know that the love is shining through!

Hmm. More on this later. Need to wash some socks.

Who’s Driving?

26 Nov

Had a little conversation at the office about this last week and it’s worth capturing.  I am of the opinion that much of the “spirit” of a relationship between a man and a woman is driven by the woman.  I’m not totally saying that the woman is the MOST POWERFUL of the two…but I am saying that if a woman has a negative/bad attitude, the man seems to respond something like this –  obviously mad, irritated, defensive, etc.  On the contrary, if the woman is mild mannered or positive, the man usually responds in kind.  It doesn’t seem to work the other way around.  If the MAN is one way or another, it doesn’t always have the same effects on the woman.  Usually a woman will try to make the mood better if it’s bad!

This is based on my personal experience of friends and such…I’m sure it doesn’t always work out like this!

What do YOU think?

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