Faith · Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Puppies and Other Good Things

If you think back over the last 25 years, you’ll come across multiple instances where society’s anxiety is built up into a frenzy and the majority believe act like the world is over as of tomorrow. One of those instances was Wednesday. I’ll not reveal which candidates I voted for, nor will I spout ideological convictions. I did my civic duty. Period. I presume you’ve come to your wordpress feed to escape all that chaos. Also, the world didn’t stop turning.

In that vein, here are a couple things we’ve been up to around here.

Puppies. My father-in-law’s Labrador Retriever apparently got out of her pen and got super friendly with the neighbor’s Australian Shepherd. This afternoon tryst resulted in eight adorable, chunky, snuggly puppies- four with spots and four mostly black. My kids and niece have been loving on these little babes since they were 24hours old. Three are already spoken for. Two chose their new (in 4 more weeks) owners by literally running up to the child and crawling in her/his lap. That’s a definitive way to be chosen!

Halloween. When you only have 50 people in your local, rural community, you do Halloween. Yes, even during the pandemic (which we have no cases in S-town) and all things 2020. We’ve never bit into the thought that this is an evil holiday. Our family mantra has always been focused on the fun of dressing up and visiting neighbors. It brings so much joy to our older neighbors to see the kids dressed up. This year, I had a cowboy and a dancer. I also donned a luchador mask and cape. My parents returned from a trip with the mask and my mom sewed the cape. Oddly enough (sarcasm), my kids were mortified that I walked up to people’s homes wearing the mask and cape.

We also carved pumpkins. I wielded the knife, but the kids did all the dirty work and free-handed what they wanted for a design. Currently, the ballerina is melting down on my porch. The owl was crushed earlier in the week when M fell off her grandpa’s piggy back ride and the pumpkin broke her fall.

Obviously, we’ve had many more happenings dotted here, there, and everywhere in the last week. Normal life rolls on. For that, I’m thankful! I continue to strive to focus on glass half-full, positive experiences. Sure, there’s plenty of muddy puddle style anxiety and negativity that I can sit in. I could choose to turn on the news, scroll the headlines, or make comments on social media (that have no effect y’all). But… in the words I used with my sister earlier this week, “I just don’t want to.” Instead, I’m choosing to love on the kids at youth group who shyly smile and say they are saving their snack so they have one to eat at home. I choose to not gossip about the stunning local news while at the salon getting my hair trimmed. I choose the good.

I hope you are able to choose the good this coming week. Lift up your eyes and say hello to your neighbor. Be kind.

— Jen

Faith · Family · Health · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Long Hiatus

Back to writing. This has been a goal for months. Cue the triumphant music!

Shortly before this long writing hiatus began, my life was increasingly frazzled by anxiety. I’d been battling this for months… basically the majority of 2018. After suffering a couple actual legitimate anxiety attacks while my husband was away on a trip and then (quickly after) chosen to sit on the jury for a brutal murder case, I sought help from my family practitioner. She helped me get chemically back on track with the assurance that with a very small amount of anxiety medication, my already strong coping skills would kick back in.

She was correct. I stopped wanting to run away from my family. The crazy sweating, racing thoughts, and desire to be alone stopped! My coping skills like reading, exercise, washing dishes, etc… were able to climb back to the surface and work their magic.

Good thing those stopped because baseball started for my son in March and ran thru July. Even after 4.5 straight months of baseball, he was disappointed when it was over! I ate more hot dogs in those months than I have in my entire life. We started the season wrapped in blankets wearing gloves and ended it sweating thru tank tops and shorts. Totally worth it!

baseball blog
Pee Wee District Champions!

My daughter had 6 weeks of a coach pitch/ t-ball combo in the mix as well. The kids had us hopping all summer. Something at the ball field Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday (all day) and Sunday evenings means that this mama is investing in better lawn chairs next spring. It’s on my Christmas list. The kind of lawn chairs that fold up and have hydraulic shocks — the deluxe model – will be worth the cost.

We took a family vacation to South Carolina in June to visit family and introduce the kids to the Atlantic Ocean. They flew for the first time. Nerve wracking for me, but honestly, they gracefully handled layovers, a diverted flight to Charleston and tarmac time due to a storm, turbulence when our pilots squeezed us into Columbia’s airport before the storm hit again, and security when SOMEONE put an open water bottle in my bag unbeknownst to me. (eye roll)

Family in South Carolina

After a flight to Las Vegas in March, my spine/ lower back started to hurt. After solid scoldings from my family practitioner, husband, sisters, and a nurse friend, an MRI revealed a bulging disc at L5 – S1. This is actually a relief given my MS history. I was flippant about how serious this was until I stopped being able to move without pain. Up, down, walking, sleeping, standing… it was all painful. I started Physical Therapy. There it was revealed that along with the disc issue, my SI joint was also rotated. How incredibly humbling it is to go from running half marathons to not being able to walk! Anyone who has been thru PT knows that it’s a slow, meticulous battle. I graduated PT, bought a SI support band (Serola BioMechanics gets 5 stars from me!), and recently have waded back into running. It’s only one mile at a time, but as the saying goes “you have to learn to crawl before you walk.”

Mixed into the fun was VBS, fishing, playground time, family time, wheat harvest, fall crop planting, our full-time business, and many many more activities. Summer seemed to rush by. I’m not sad it’s over. It wasn’t a hustle, nor did it feel terribly stressful. It was simply FULL. Full of good memories and time spent together that we all appreciate.

Here we are now. Back to school and September is already rolling. I will try to write more regularly. I’ve felt it stirring in my mind and my fingers to get back to it.

Much love — Jen