Family · Creativity · Perspective · Parenting

Thursday Thoughts

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.

John Barrymore

This is what writing is to me. It’s happiness. I love to write with paper and pencil. The feel of the pencil gliding over the paper soothes my busy mind. Every two weeks, I try to utilize 30 minutes of early morning devotional time to write. Words flow freely from my mind through my hand. Pieces of my soul marked in my handwriting. My middle of the night insomnia sessions are where my best thoughts flow. Will I ever write that book I’ve been dreaming of authoring since elementary school?

The journey is never ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment.

Antonio Brown

Marriage – When I took my wedding vows, full of excitement and passion, I vowed to love him until death do us part in good and bad. I still do. I’m still promising that. It’s deeper and stronger than I could have ever imagined. What I don’t think either of us realized at that point is that we vowed to love – deeply, strongly, confidently, and with covenant – is that we might not always like each other. It is completely unreasonable to vow to like someone all the time. Sometimes, we don’t even like ourselves. The majority of the time, the real issue is with yourself. Your partner’s job, promise, and covenant is to love you thru that. Those valleys are where you grow. Look up. Valleys only happen between mountains. Start climbing.

Loving a child doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult. 

Nadia Boulanger

Parenting – “My child is having a hard time. She is not giving me a hard time.” These words were on repeat this morning in my head starting at 4:32am. Our 6yr old woke up and needed to use the bathroom. Sleep did not find her again… and after two hours of cuddling, it was time to get dressed for school. Cue the sobs. Cue the stomps, whines, pointing, and tantrum. Deep breaths. She is not non-verbal. Her biggest character downfall is her inability to use her words to ask for help or admit when she is incorrect. It’s easier to stomp and sob. Going the tough route with her doesn’t help. She is stubborn and has to make the decision herself. When she threw her twisted sweatshirt at my feet, I refused to help her pull the sleeves out until she verbally asked for help. Her father did the same thing when she furiously swung her brush at him instead of just asking him to help her brush her hair. It was a doozy of a morning. 90% of them are nothing like this. I set a timer and told her she needed to have her fit turned off by the time it went off or she was destined for bed immediately when she arrived home with me this evening. Miraculously (tongue-in-cheek) her tantrum was over about 10 seconds before the timer dinged. Hugs all around before she ran out the door to the bus. Then her father and I considered Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s for breakfast… not really, but we both had to take our own frazzled nerves and anxiety down a couple notches before we came to work. Parenting is not for the weak-willed or faint of heart.

“I always loved running…it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” 

Jesse Owens

I’m signed up for a spring 2019 half marathon. I didn’t run one in 2018, although I did take on a hill-filled 10K (actually 6.7miles). Half Marathon Number Five. I ran my first 13.1mi organized race a couple of months before my MS diagnosis. Now I need a goal to get my consistency back. After swearing I wouldn’t run another unless I was trained well enough to knock 10 minutes off my previous finish time, my focus has shifted. Many months of just drifting along… I’m ready to get back in the current and head for something. What it is, I’m not sure. The steady beat of my feet and breathing in and out assist my brain in sorting thoughts. We shall see… we shall see.

As you attempt to make big differences, remember to appreciate the small differences.  And remember that you don’t always have to reach the goal you set in order to make a difference.

Win Borden

Be kind today friends. Find a way to lift someone else up. Even if you are dwelling in the valley right now, reach up and out. Be gracious.

Wear the fancy dress. Tell the joke and laugh at it. Do that cannon ball into the pool. Dance in your kitchen. 


Much love — Jen

Faith · Family · Parenting · Perspective

Both Sides of the Coin

As we drove to Parent-Teacher conferences this morning, I gave my husband the run-down of activities and meetings for the next two days. If you remember my post from earlier this fall, you’ll recall that we took a “not at this time” stance to almost ALL extracurricular activities so we could regroup as a family – no flag football, no dance classes, no tumbling…

The list isn’t long – Parent Teacher Conferences 8:20-9am, an orthodontist appointment at noon, customers who scheduled ahead, and an awards ceremony Friday evening that should last only an hour.

I was struck by irony when he looks at me and says “Ugh… could we have anything else on the schedule!”

 Backstory: A couple times a month since July, I’ve reminded my husband gently clearly that I need his emotional support and leadership as a parent and as a spouse to make all-the-little-things work in our family. One of his love languages is to love us by providing at which he is amazing. *Take the time to do that study (5 Love Languages) if you are in a relationship!*

As a woman with only two hands and 24 hours in the day, I am incapable of doing it all without feeling completely depleted, beat down, and depressed. There – I said it – depressed. Out of routine and unable to juggle everybody’s everything, I’ve entertained the idea of simply running away. I know, it’s a super grown-up, mature thought (sarcasm).

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Fortunately, I know I’m loved and love myself too much to do this. We have to work together to balance both of us working full-time, two full-of-life children, a marriage relationship, and minimal hobbies that keep us sane. On top of that, we both need alone time to recharge.

Last week, we hit these topics with force. (Read that as “the ship was going down…”) Since that meltdown conversation, we’ve been quite in-sync and actually offering to help each other with daily tasks that make life easier.

I can’t help think that his reaction to my short list for the next two days is somewhat attached to that previous conversation. He’s been putting in so much effort that he’s seeing the other side of the coin. Marriage and kids take both sides of the coin to function. 13 years of marriage… still learning!

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Family · Perspective

Work.

For anyone new to this blog, a little background information. My husband and I own a small business with a couple of employees in rural America. We work together full-time in the office. Our job descriptions are complementary but separate. Technically, it’s his signature on the “President” line.

Today he walked over to my desk and picked up an invoice from one of our distributors that I had a question about. He starts in on “from now on…” about this invoice.

What he’s forgetting is that approximately a month ago, I asked him this exact question about the timing of this invoice. I was annoyed….

Because I like to keep things light and as positive as I can, here is how the rest of that conversation went in .gif fashion.

Me:
giphy1Him:
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Me:
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Him:
giphy3Me:giphy4Him: giphy6

People often wonder how we can work together full-time, live together, love each other, and still LIKE each other the majority of the time. It’s work. Marriage is work. Work is work. Respect and trust is work.

Both of us have had to eat our humble pie and accept that we are wrong sometimes. It happens.

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Eat the pie. Move on. Live life.

Happy Monday!

Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Tunnel Vision

Deep in the tunnel, you can’t understand what’s going on outside. You have no empathy or compassion for anyone outside your tunnel. You don’t have patience for their problems or struggles because you just can’t see them from any perspective other than being garbled noise in your own tunnel.

If you do hear what others around you are saying, you don’t hear it as it is meant. It’s jumbled and ricocheted around like an echo.

Tunnel vision is harmful to you and hurtful to those around you.

Other people must be wrong because you just can’t see their opinion making sense from where you are.

It’s easier to think “just let someone else deal with it.” Push it off on someone who isn’t in your tunnel. That will improve the situation. Just don’t deal with it.

Stress levels are at an all time high. Running consistently there for the past month. It narrows the tunnel.

Tunnel vision. Take those blinders off.

tunnel

Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Time for a Date

Nestled between my early morning devotion time and heading out the door for a run, it hit me.

My husband and I haven’t been out (or in) together without kids since March.

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I know…. that is shocking!

Almost two months ago, we flew to Key West for a handful of days. I don’t think we’ve been anywhere without the little people we created, even for groceries and a burrito, since mid-March.

Time to get back on the same page…

Today I scheduled a 36hr getaway for us. We are going to see another couple for a Friday evening and Saturday a couple of weeks from now. What? You thought we’d be able to throw together something for this weekend?! That’s just crazy talk….

Honestly though, it is incredibly important to put that extra time into your relationship. It’s been lacking here. We’ve had a rough patch lately where I truly wanted to get in the car and drive away. Solo. Where? Who knows. Maybe just to go sit in a coffee shop or restaurant and read a book while I sip a chai latte (DF of course) or eat chips and salsa? I might even treat myself to a bowl of guacamole.

But I don’t drive away. I told him I wanted to. Yet I haven’t gotten in the car, removed the car seats, and made a break for it.

Why? A couple of reasons:

  • I genuinely like my crew of people – most of the time. Experience has taught me that it is highly unlikely that you will enjoy another human 100% of the time. I’m quite sure I would not enjoy my own clone 100% of the time…
  • I’m an introvert. Quiet time is necessary to recharge. Daily running and devotions need to become a priority again instead of snoozing the alarm and then needing space from my family later.
  • I love my husband. Even when we aren’t clicking and I’m not even sure we are speaking the same vernacular, we still have almost 18 years invested in our relationship. We’ll celebrate the 13yrs married mark this summer. Sometimes I wonder though… when I say something – what is he hearing???
  • I love who I am when we are in sync. Disharmonious as we are right now, we will find our rhythm again soon. We are better together. He lightens me. I focus him.
  • I’m flat-out terrible at self-care. When I make a cry for help like “Hey honey, I think I’ll just leave. No I don’t know where I’m going to go…” that’s pretty serious stuff. It needs to be addressed together. Instead of further isolating myself, I need to pull closer to that covenant I have with my husband and family.

What it boils down to is that it is time for a date. A real, fix-your-hair, put on a nice dress, lipstick instead of chapstick type of date. No talk of the kids’ baseball schedules, end-of-school year events, or that we are COMPLETELY out of all ingredients necessary to make breakfast. It is time for actual date talk about interests and plans and that amazing song I heard on the radio last week.

It’s time to reconnect and get back in sync.

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Family · Perspective

There’s a Blender in my Purse

giphy1Me. When my husband sprung it on me this morning: “We need to get to the office 30 minutes early. Let’s ride together.”

Ummm….. I haven’t brushed my hair or my teeth. I’m not wearing makeup. This will be a 10hr day at the office, so I need to pack a lunch or something edible.

But yes. Thank you. I am already wearing pants.giphy

Has he prepped anything for the day? Men have it so simple. He’s dressed with shoes and wearing his coat to walk out the door. “Where are your keys?”

I slide the keys across the floor while I simultaneously shove an entire blender and a banana in my oversized purse.

“You can either wait by the door or out in the truck, but I’m going to need a couple more minutes!” Irritation…

He starts to tap his shoe on the floor and does that ‘I’m waiting for you body posture.’

giphy2At this point, I literally stick a full-size carton of almond milk in my backpack. Running into the bathroom, I swipe my small makeup bag off the counter onto the carton of almond milk. Jogging back to the kitchen to pick up my oversized purse, I tell him to move it. “Let’s go!”

Five minutes and we are out the door. Man is he lucky that I love him or this might be tomorrow morning….

giphy3

 

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Avalanche!!!

Me. This past weekend.

giphy5Not for exercise. Due to my husband’s work schedule, I managed very little physical running.

I was mentally trying to run away. The past week has been absolutely suffocating- family, marriage, work, home-ownership. You name it.

These situations rarely materialize as an instantaneous big blob. Rather, it is a slow building process, like a snowball. Each snowflake contributes until you have a breaking point and this HUGE ROLLING avalanche comes flowing down and out.

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Ever see anything about an avalanche resolving in a positive manner? Me neither.

I’m usually not an avalanche girl. I usually address it as it comes: good, bad, or ugly. The month of August, it just didn’t seem like there was time to address anything.

  1. Work. Did I mention we are starting to farm on our own now too after normal business hours? (We are incredibly thankful and blessed to have this opportunity!)
  2. Husband gone to see family across the country for a week. This leaves me in charge of all things business and family.
  3. Me to Denver solo for my 6m MS check-in. Out and back in 36hrs. Praise – was moved to a yearly appt with blood and MRI in 6 months locally! Also saw my friend Abby’s new beautiful baby, Miss Sinclair. ❤
  4. Quick trip to KC as a crammed into the last weekend before school getaway. I met my friend Jess’s new little guy, Mr. Kevin, and played with her gorgeous little gingers. We also had dinner with another friend and her husband.
  5. School. Kids needed supplies. New routine that starts two hours earlier than our summer did. Parent’s night #1 with teacher #1. Parent’s night #2 with teacher #2. School is in full force mode now.
  6. Normal family functions – feeding my people, clean clothes, picking up the house, garden produce, playing with my kids (Barbies, farm, catch in the yard, bike rides, sprinklers) – Oh, and did I mention that our hot water heater blew out the top and was steaming our entire mechanical room? Fortunately, the sump pump kept up until we discovered it.
  7. Volunteer Responsibilities- Parent Teacher Organization Family Fun Night, Church Secretary & Children’s Church, Vacation Bible School Day Camp
  8. A nasty head cold and quite possible resurgence of mononucleosis in my exhausted body. I had all the symptoms, but didn’t do the blood test. Nothing they could recommend except rest and fluids anyway.
  9. et cetera et cetera et cetera….

The ball just kept rolling from one thing to the next. Pretty soon, all the little conversations that we needed to have to stay connected had just slipped past. Every turn felt like a new area of neglect.

If I’m cooking dinner, I’m missing out on playing catch. If I’m sitting down with my husband for the evening, I’m not getting the laundry done. If I take 30 minutes for a mind and soul clearing run, I’m skipping time I could be spending with my family.

It was a never-ending, always losing game of catch-up. It ended in a slouched pile of tears in the shower and an honest, raw conversation with my husband.

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I’m a puzzle that’s been missing a piece. Even as my missing piece, he still can’t read my mind. When I’ve managed to get it all done without help or complaint, how is he supposed to know that I need another hand or eye on a situation?

You’d think after 12 years that would be more than obvious. Honestly, I think it gets harder to see the longer you’ve been together. You are so trusting of the other person that everything just falls into that same groove. It sometimes takes a derailment to get back on the same page.

Every supply and note for school has been signed and sent on time. Every phone call at work has been returned promptly. Clean clothes for all. Food for meals done. I handled it all like a boss. Never asking for help or insinuating it wasn’t something I could handle. An exhausted, stressed, increasingly isolated boss.

Suffocating under the avalanche of missed connections wasn’t the way to survive the last month. Living on that lonely island isn’t necessary. Unless you ask for assistance, it isn’t apparent that you need it.

Ask for help. Be honest with yourself and your partner. Do it before the avalanche hits.

Much love,
Jen