Tag Archives: home

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 ~ Dining Out

25 Apr

I had a request to put together some restaurant experience from a WLS perspective.  It is not as easy as it might seem to just eat less than you did before.  It takes some planning, tons of patience and it certainly takes a support system that understands and empathizes with what you’re going through.  Life is DIFFERENT.  It is BETTER, for sure.  But, different, nonetheless.

My first meal out was Mexican.  I ate refried beans.  They were amazing.  Cheap.  Everything.  🙂  Once I felt better about going out, it was easier to ask our server if I could eat off the kid’s menu.  I have yet to find a restaurant that denied me that chance.  I have a card from my surgeon stating that I had bariatric surgery but have not needed to “prove it” yet!

The easiest way to see my food habits is to check me out on Instagram.  Search the hashtag #whatJJate and you’ll see ALL my foodie pics!  Here are some things that I snapped pics of that have worked well for me in the last several weeks and where I had them:

Broiled Fish, Bay Breeze (Sanford, NC)

This was one of my first restaurant meals.  It was delicious.  I could only eat VERY little and to be honest it was not great reheated.  If I had an air fryer maybe it would have been better?  It was a costly dinner for what I ate so I have not had this one again!  (Note, I just was not very comfortable asking about the kid’s meal here…no knock on them, I just wasn’t prepared to talk about my surgery too much to strangers.)

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Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap, Chick-fil-A (Many times, many places!)

This is one of my faves.  It is a quick decision and as long as I have somewhere to stop and eat, it’s easy.  I usually get the avocado ranch dressing and dip it in there (sparingly).  The key to this one is SMALL bites.  One wrap is two servings for me at this time.  I peel off most of the wrap as the lettuce holds it together nicely.  I do still eat a few bites of the wrap though.

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Protein Bistro Box, Starbucks (Many times, many places)

Another great idea.  It includes apples, hard-boiled egg, grapes, white cheddar cheese and Justin’s honey peanut butter.  (It also includes a multigrain muelsi bread which I discard.)  I squeeze a little of the peanut butter on the apples – delish!  A great choice if you forget to pack your snack and need a meal on the run!  I have also taken this into restaurants if I was worried about their choices.

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{Kids Meal} Grilled chicken w/ broccoli rabe, California Pizza Kitchen (Durham, NC)

This was yummy and for sure was better than any of the regular menu options.  Yes, you can always go with a salad with some type of protein but you are paying about $12-$14 for ONE meal then.  A kids meal $4-6 will easily fill you up (protein first – then veggies to fill up) and you’re not wasting a ton of food.  I usually take the leftover veggies home to put w/ other protein meals!

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Grilled Chicken Quesadilla, Los Charros (Broadway, NC)

I usually get this with a side of guacamole to put on top of it (or pico).  I open the quesadilla up and then just eat the chicken and cheese.  I also usually let myself have TWO tortilla chips with salsa if I’m still hungry after my chicken is gone.

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{Kids Meal} Grilled chicken w/ broccoli, Outback (College Station, TX)

Easy choice here!  Order from kids menu….the chicken is really good.  You can do steak here too of course but this was before my steak days! 🙂

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Burrito Bowl, Chipotle (College Station, TX)

This looks HORRIBLE.  But it’s delish. 🙂  I get a burrito bowl w/ no rice.  Only protein of choice, beans, salsa, cheese, light on the lettuce and sour cream.  It is easily 4-6 meals for me.

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Sirloin steak, Texas Roadhouse (College Station, TX)

My first steak after surgery.  I chose to wait three months post op to have ANY steak because I like mine medium (risk of infection in your recently sewn up gut!).  It.was.amazing.  Also, it’s easy to order a REAL portion (I did 6 oz) because it’s easily divisible.  🙂  I ate this three times….ordered my two sides as a bowl of chili and a house salad.  Ate the chili for another meal and had some of the salad each time I ate the steak.  Makes that $9.99 go pretty far!

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White bean chicken chili, Lupe Tortilla (College Station, TX)

We make this a lot at home.  I think my Dad eats it about twice a month.  It’s easy to make and is packed with protein w/o having a ton of bad carbs.  The restaurant version was the same and very good.  I did not eat the tortillas w/ cheese that it came with (but I wanted to).  I ordered this from the “Starter” menu so it wasn’t the price of an entree but was two servings for me.

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Cheeseburger (no bun), green beans & mushrooms, Sodulak’s (Snook, TX)

A cheeseburger (hold the bun) is an easy choice anywhere.  Having a side like green beans is a huge bonus for me!  I was able to eat about 1/2 of this burger w/ the mushrooms on top and a few bites of green beans.

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{Kids Meal} Grilled chicken w/ broccoli, Outback (Southern Pines, NC)

Ordered from the kids menu again…and my Mom got a potato that they gave her extra cheese and bacon for…I added that to my chicken and will do that again!  Yummy!  Pretty much MOST restaurants have grilled chicken on their kids menu and some type of steamed veggie.  (Note:  I have gotten very comfy about the kids menu and don’t even feel the need to tell my life story in defense of it!)

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Fast Food Options:  OF COURSE, cooking at home – grilling, roasting, etc…. is usually best…LIFE HAPPENS.  These choices have gotten me through a meal that I might have otherwise skipped (DO NOT DO THAT).

Chick-fil-A

  • An 8 count (FRIED!) nugget entree only has 9 g of carbs and packs 28 g of protein.  My tummy tolerates these VERY well…just eat slowly!
  • Grilled chicken sandwiches (minus bun) are great!
  • Even the regular (fried) chicken sandwiches are low in carbs due to the fact that they are not heavily breaded.  (Again, no bun.)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup…the small has 18g of carbs and 12 g of protein.  (NOOOO crackers!)
  • I stay away from the salads because there is just not that much chicken in them and I have to focus on protein.

Taco Bell

  • Breakfast Soft Taco (Bacon) has only 15g of carbs and has 11 g of protein.  Again, take it SLOW and chew well.  I TRY NOT TO EAT ALL OF THE TORTILLA.  (So, I move all the contents to one side and tear off the tortilla.)
  • Beef Soft Taco Supreme has only 20 g of carbs and has 10 g of protein.  (Same tortilla note above.)

Bojangles

  • You can order a side of bacon and egg.  For real.  🙂

Cook Out

  • Burgers w/ no buns
  • Grilled chicken w/ no bun
  • Barbecue & slaw

Wendy’s

  • Burgers w/ no buns
  • Grilled chicken w/ no bun
  • Chili is a WONDERFUL option.  (small has 16g of carbs and 15g of protein)

Big T’s, Jim’s, Dairy Bar, etc…. – stick with either hamburger steak, burger w/ no bun, grilled chicken, or eat before you go with family and you can have an unsweet tea or coffee and visit and not worry about what you eat!

TRAVEL NOTES – If you’re blessed and get upgraded to First…there is usually a low carb option and MOST meals come with salads that you can put whatever “meat” (and I use that term very loosely!!) on the salad and call it a day!  Best to pack snacks that you can easily turn to though, in case they are just not serving or are only carb-loading!

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HOME CHEF/HELLO FRESH/ETC ETC ETC NOTE:  You can still do these services..you just have to watch the carbs.  Choose meals that are low-carb or that you can adapt by not eating the breads.  Most of them include sides that are relatively low on carbs (like roasted veggies) so it’s still a possibility!

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Treats:

Sugar-Free Sno-cones are the BEST!

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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.  🙂

Letters from home

14 Aug

When your sweetheart is traveling for business, make no mistake about it…THEY MISS HOME. I speak from experience.  There is nothing like finding love notes from your loved ones in your luggage.  Do it. Overdo it. You will send a smile miles away…who doesn’t want to do that?

I like to include pics  (from Groovebook prints) and funny sayings.  Please, ladies and gents, don’t say things like “come home, I need help around the house” because that’s just rude. ☺

Say things like, “We miss your smile around the house…hope you rock that presentation!”  

My last note (usually a Friday morning) is always the shortest.  Literally it usually says…COME HOME AND KISS ME….or GET YOUR SWEET CALVES HOME…  

You get the point. And so will your sweetie. 😍

Cleaning or Cleansing?

1 Aug

Since we moved into our home three years ago, we were blessed to hire someone to clean it.  I honestly don’t know that I have ever deep cleaned the house until after I retired on 7/15.  I seriously forgot how satisfying it is to see something dirty and make it clean.  To have the vacuum lines…the clean counters…  Maybe I’m OCD more than I admit.  I love the fact that I can declutter and rearrange and my hubby comes home and notices.  Silly little things but in this season of sickness for my life, it is very rewarding to have something – anything, to feel that I have a little control over.

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