Tag Archives: family

Philippians thoughts – no one looked down upon

18 Jun
I was reading in Philippians today and what I am hearing Paul saying is:
  • Don’t be selfish.
  • Don’t do things out of desire for advancement or self promotion.
  • Don’t be conceited.
  • Think of others as BETTER than yourself. This will give you a natural concern for their needs and concerns.
So….if I consider YOU above ME…and YOU consider ME above YOU…a beautiful thing would happen. A community where everyone is looked up on and no one is looked down on. Wow.
How appropriate. That Paul, y’all.
(Verses, for context, from NLT: 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.)
Disclaimer: I am NO Bible scholar (or any kind of scholar) so feel free to tell me I am way off….but man this message….it hits different TADAYYYYY.
(Posted on my personal Facebook 6/9/20 but wanted here to keep things together.)

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!!!

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 3)

17 Dec

That was scary, y’all.

Though I have heard all the words that revolve around heart attacks and heart issues, learning about them through the lens of how they affect my husband has been quite an experience. I think in Part 2 I left off with us getting home on Thursday. I think we both slept SO hard that night. Post-hospital exhaustion is so real!!

Mike listened to the advice of the physicians and took it very easy over the weekend. No working, no lifting, just lots of rest and fluids. I was very proud of him for being a good patient. He can be very hard headed in case that was not obvious to y’all by now! 😉

Monday was a big day! He went back to work…but instead of getting up at 4:50 and leaving around 5:45 or so he got up around 6:30 and left around 7:20….which of course changed my schedule around but soooo worth it if it alleviates some stress for my sweet hubby!

I took him lunch around 11:45 and he sat in the car with me to eat for about 30 mins…not talking about work but just chit chatting about kids and our upcoming trip home to NC and how he was feeling. No rushing to get back in the office, just enjoying the time together.

MJ had a basketball game that was earlier than normal and he met us there a few minutes before 4 pm so his day was short. It was probably the perfect scenario for the first day back from his episode last week. The Lord really worked that out for him….not a stressful day back at all. So many of his work days are and I am so grateful that the Lord saw fit to spare him in countless ways!

He has been SO tired. Exhausted, really. I am not sure if it’s the meds, the after effects of the trauma and emotions and lost sleep or the return to work yesterday but he was asleep by 8 pm last night! I had to wake him up to take his nightly medicine with some toast! His wrist was sore last night, likely from using his laptop keyboard – and it’s his right hand – and he’s right handed…so I sort of expected that. The site of the entry looks fine – so thankful for that! He has had ZERO chest pain since before the stent. Other than a mild headache he has really been amazed at how he feels!

We have had so many conversations about how the whole thing went down last week and there are so many ways that we can see how God shaped and orchestrated the days leading up to THE DAY. There are ways that we have both been blessed by family and friends and strangers that I can’t even recount them all. There are new fears and new worries, yes. But there are also renewed promises and faith and knowledge that through it all, we were blessed.

I can’t thank everyone who was praying for us enough. I heard from people far and wide and we felt your prayers. We felt peace. We felt love. I am so incredibly grateful.

Mike’s follow up appointment is tomorrow and I sure hope they are ready for me…I mean him! LOL Let’s just say I.HAVE.QUESTIONS. This post heart attack life is going to be different….we are going to learn from it and we are going to move forward with renewed hope that we can make it through anything with faith and with one another!

I will update again once we have that appointment with any new information that we learn and I am certain I’ll have more thoughts and emotions and yes…probably more questions!!!

Promises, Promises

23 Feb

I am so human.  SO human.  I am also SO thankful that Jesus is much more than that.  That His promises are guarantees.  That said, I am going to promise you that I am going to update you, in due time, on all of the changes that have gone on in my life in the last year.  I will try to follow through with this but I will likely fail….but I do PROMISE you that I have good intentions!  If you have followed or known me long at all, you know that I love lists…so I will just jot down here the changes and come back here to link once I actually type it out!

In 2017 – we……..

  1. Sold our NC home.
  2. Lived with my Mom and Dad (and without my hubby!!!) for two months.
  3. Moved to Texas.
  4. Road tripped to Austin, Houston, Waco, Arlington, and Galveston.
  5. Lived in an apartment for several months.
  6. Started an amazing Bible study, through Community Bible Study.
  7. Continued weight loss.
  8. Built a house.  An amazing, beautiful, creation if I do say so myself!  (see #10 for referenced IG acct to see pics)
  9. Started backyard projects.
  10. Started a home decor Instagram page (due to that nagging fear of my friends/family growing tired of me sharing home stuff) at http://www.instagram.com/sweetcharmhouse
  11. Visited NC in July and December.
  12. Stepped up our prayer life.

SO, happy Friday and have a great weekend!  I’m going to work on my blog catch up posts!  🙂

 

WLS Chronicles ~ Week 14 Update

6 Apr
I have not posted lately about my progress with weight loss surgery so I thought I would while I have a few minutes on my hands this morning! It has been 14 weeks and 2 days since my life changed in a major way. I am only on ONE medication now (which I can’t shake – you know thyroid meds NEVER go away once you start!!). I have more energy than I can ever remember in my life. My diet and meal planning still are a huge part of my day. I have been able to dine out with friends more lately and even last night had dinner at a friend’s house. You wouldn’t believe the anxiety over worrying about hurting someone’s feelings by not eating a ton of their home cooked food. (Yes, I know not everyone would have this anxiety but when you are someone who is super sensitive you are more sensitive about other’s feelings and some of y’all just should thank me right now for that because SOME people just don’t care about anyone’s feelings! I digress…) However, we had a wonderful time and I explained and we were done with that!
I have kissed blood pressure and diabetes meds goodbye. I have kissed 80 pounds goodbye. I have kissed lots of foods goodbye. I have kissed LOTS of clothes goodbye (5-6 sizes down!). I have welcomed new friendships made by this journey. I’ve enjoyed exercising which I have really never EVER looked forward to before. I have adapted to my new tummy and my new emotions and new habits….and I have even turned into the most COLD NATURED PERSON I KNOW. (Well besides Shannon :)) EVEN IN TEXAS! LOL I have felt stress about new things. Not eating enough protein, drinking water too quickly, having 1 too many carbs… It is crazy to think of the differences in my diet and lifestyle. There is absolutely no way to tell you in words the emotions and pure joy that I have in my heart over this opportunity. The coolest thing is that people have reached out, privately, to ask questions. To get advice. To tell me they have been considering it. To dig deeper. To get support. So while I’m already in my feels over here, let me tell you that I am OVERJOYED to support others and their personal decisions to make changes to better themselves. Whether that means surgery or diet changes or lifestyle changes – if it makes you better….if it makes you live longer, if it makes you able to enjoy your family more, if it makes you healthier, DOOOOO IT.  Will everyone agree with you?  NOPE!  I can tell you that firsthand.  Side note, don’t get me wrong….those that don’t agree with you likely won’t tell you that to your face…but the whispers happen.  The “why didn’t she just exercise and eat better” questions….the “wow, that was drastic” conversations…the people who just act like it didn’t happen (that’s by far my favorite….hahahahaha….like, do you NOT notice I look crazy different?  now you just seem weird.)  Honestly I used to be offended by the thought of someone not agreeing but then I read a few memes (HA HA HA!) and felt better.  You know the ones…
Also, the support of family and friends means a TON. It is still second to my relationship with Jesus. He is the ONLY reason I have been successful in this because I AM WEAK. Alone, I’d be searching out some Shipley’s Donuts right now. But here I sit, coffee with Splenda & sugar free creamer in hand. Happy. Blessed. Grateful.

WLS Chronicles – HELP!!!

28 Feb

There are a ton of resources for weight loss surgery.  The FIRST one you should listen to is of course your medical team.  But once you’re not at the physician’s office – where do you turn?  It was (and is) a combination of things for me, so I thought I’d share.

APPS

  • Baritastic – This is a great food journaling tool.  You can also set reminders here for taking meds, for drinking liquids/proteins, and for taking vitamins.  I hear that some doctor’s will be integrating with it in the future so they can receive your activity and monitor while suggesting/commenting on your habits/choices.  I think that would be WONDERFUL.  Accountability is an amazing tool.
  • Monitor Your Weight – This is a very simple app that tracks your weight.  You enter your starting weight and target weight (height, age, gender) and it provides BMI info.  When you weigh, you log your stats and it calculates your new BMI, pounds left to target, how much you’ve lost…etc.  VERY simple but the graphing and info is probably my favorite of all weight loss apps (and I’ve tried SO MANY!)
  • BariatricPal – This is more of a forum-based app that connects you to others going through the same experiences.  To be honest, I didn’t use this one much as it has SO MANY members and forums that it was overwhelming for me.
  • Lose It – I have used this app for years.  The free version is pretty simple and great for food journaling and weight tracking.  Personally I used this one for a while until I found Baritastic and just found that it served the purposes of tracking protein better for me.

There are tons of other apps but the above are the ones that I found worked for my journey.  In addition, many surgeons have their own app as well with recipes and tips!

 

SUPPORT

  • My number one support was prayer.  Knowing that I was praying for God’s will to be done in my life and my health has helped me more than anything else.  When you are submitting to His will, you are not praying to lose weight or to be approved for the surgery…you are praying for God’s will be to revealed in your life.  You are giving it all to God and, in doing so, knowing that He will equip you for the journey He sets you on.
  • Support also came in from my family in a huge way.  My husband and I talked at length about this and we prayed together too.  My parents and my in-laws all were rooting me on.  My kids were all excited about their Mom feeling better and ready to help however they could.  My closest friends knew I was going to start the process and were with me all along the way.  It has been wonderful to have cheerleaders in this process.  I can’t imagine having someone be negative about this decision (to my face).
  • A very unexpected resource for me was Instagram.  I was up late one night and decided to search “#weightlosssurgery” and “#gastricbypass”.  I was AMAZED!  Other users were sharing what they had eaten on different phases of the pre and post op diets…they were sharing their solutions for pain/pressure/loneliness/protein.  It was ALL just what I needed.  I quickly created a separate account for this purpose and am still very active in it.  (My username is:  rnyftw – follow me to see what I’m eating or how I’m progressing!)
  • A recipe source OF COURSE was Pinterest.  I don’t even think you can say the word “recipe” without thinking of Pinterest anymore!  You can search by the type of surgery or the phase of diet you are on.  I created my own post-surgery board so I could easily pin to it.  It was very helpful.
  • There a zillion blogs on weight loss surgery.  The one I found the most helpful was The World According to Eggface.  She is 11 years out from her surgery and has been amazingly successful.  She offers pics of her “bento box lunches” and recipes galore.  She is the creator of the famous “ricotta bake” that SO many of us enjoyed during the pureed phase of life!  She also includes any tools/appliances that she acquired before or after surgery to make life easier and that helped me so much!  (BUY A MINI FOOD PROCESSOR, TRUST ME!!!)

I hope the above list helps know where to turn if you have questions, need inspiration or need to vent.  The combination of all of them have helped me through this journey more than I can say!

 

Perspective

7 Nov

Sometimes we get reminded of how important perspective is.  A few examples lately:

MJ is SO excited to “vote” tomorrow at school.  Many (including me) take this for granted or see it as a chore or burden.  My eight year old is looking forward to it, she did her “research” and knows who she is voting for and prepared to defend it!  Many fought for this right for all of us and we should all see it that way!  No matter your political preference or level of HAD IT with this election, I hope everyone has voted or will vote tomorrow!

I take MJ to school 99% of the time.  I won’t lie and say that I don’t take it for granted.  I am blessed to have the ability to do that.  I have since she was in K-5.  I took Christian to school for the most part until he was able to drive.  This is something that some Moms would love to do.  This morning, Mike was so happy to be able to drive MJ to school.  He’s playing in a golf tournament today and made sure he planned his morning to have the time for his baby girl.  It warms my heart mostly but it also reminds me that what one person might grumble about or not look forward to, another longs for.  What one person sees as a responsibility, another sees as a JOY.

I guess it’s fitting that I am realizing this now…in this season of THANKSGIVING.  Basically, I am hoping this reminds me to not take things for granted, to choose JOY and to be thankful for the blessings that the Lord has given me.  Maybe someone else could use a reminder too.  🙂

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!!!

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