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!

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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)

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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

Perspective

Fatigue, Faith, and a Flaming Yam- Pt 1

Goodness. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written. The title of this blog post sums up the month of August fairly well. I’m breaking this down into 3 parts simply because I need to get my kids up and dressed for church. #reallife

Fatigue has been a real bear this past month. A culmination of everything “make sure the kids have a fabulous summer” and then tack on a bacterial illness and two weeks of high dose antibiotics. Ugh. My body was DONE.

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My kids got my phone and caught me resting.

I NEVER put the blame for anything with my body on MS, but had to concede on this one. I couldn’t function or fight thru the fog to think straight. I had to change my thought process from blaming MS and those flipping lesions to accepting that this is a reason.

When I associate an image with the word Blame, it looks like a kid having a tantrum. I won’t allow this situation to lower me to that.  Honestly, in the depths of the fatigue I didn’t have the energy for a tantrum. My kids, husband and work all still require attention. This body still has responsibilities.

After a solid heart to heart with my sister and a day at a women’s faith conference, I admitted that the elephant in the room is this autoimmune disease. Even though I refuse to use it as an excuse, an excuse is very different than a reason. Many factors led to my body being worn out. Multiple sclerosis is the reason for this level of fatigue.

I’m happy to say that a week later, I’m starting to feel like myself again. I’ve hit the stationary bike twice, elliptical once, and ran my outdoor route twice. All modes of transportation are much slower than when I’m at my top. Exercise sharpens my mind and improves my mood.

I’m listening to my body.

Part 2: Faith

Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

He Grew

So many things to write, but before I squeeze in my run between devotions this morning and rousing kids for eye appointments…

He grew. My little boy isn’t so little anymore. He turned 8 this spring.

Last night we attended my niece’s softball game. As I sat in my lawn chair, my “little” boy climbed on my lap. All solid, long 75lbs of him. I couldn’t see over him. My forearms and legs from the knees down were all my family could see of me.

He grew. I swear it was just a short while ago he was snuggling all the way up and fitting against my chest.

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He grew.

My goodness that went fast! It’s as if he changes every single day. He still has the heart to climb up on my lap, but how much longer until he won’t fit?

My heart aches a bit. It’s beautiful and bittersweet to observe and be a parent. My, oh my, how fast they grow!

I need to go run my emotions out now. He won’t understand why I’m  teary-eyed at his eye exam.

Much love today — Jen

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Cheers to the end of the School Year!

Two-thirds of our dishes are dirty in the sink. Two large unfolded baskets of clean laundry sit in the middle of my living room. Two backpacks spilling over with school supplies lean against our kitchen island. Lunchboxes sit still loaded with the remnants of field trips. Dirty clothes haven’t made it to the hamper.

It’s chaos.

But, I’ll take it. Wednesday was the last day of school. We are officially on summer break! We made it!

We will start operation School Supply Sort and Stash later today. I’ll enjoy the mess knowing my children successfully learned new skills and grew up by inches and pounds. As they sleep with their precious exhausted heads on their pillows tonight, I’ll be happy.

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Cheers to a successful academic year being complete!

 

Fitness · Perspective

Sunflowers

I took time on my run this morning to snap pictures of the late summer beauty around me.

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On my run, 1 mile in, my mom texted to let me know that my uncle, her older brother, had passed away unexpectedly.

I was stunned. As my feet continued forward, my mind went back to all the memories we shared with my uncle and his family. Memories we took time to create by stopping our life-paced rush.

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As I ran down the dirt road, there were hundreds of these orange moths (or are they butterflies?) fluttering all around me. It was surreal. I slowed down and captured one still on the sunflower  eating.

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My favorite gravel and dirt roads path has taken me over this limestone bridge many, many times. I’ve never noticed the plaque with the year and WPA designation.

Six miles gives a person time to think in depth. Maybe I need to adjust a few things in my life- Slowing down, appreciating more of what’s around me and cherishing loved ones.

Summer is slowly changing from greens to dark yellows, rich oranges and spiced browns. It is worth pacing ourselves to notice.

Family · Perspective

Shockers and Wolverines- Lessons in Baseball

Week 3 of summer break. Three more lessons for mom.

Miss M had her 3rd T-ball game last night. It followed closely on the heels of her brother’s 4th coach pitch game. Monday night is baseball night! 94 degrees F with about a 90% humidity. It was a scorcher.

At the Wolverines’ game, we witnessed an unassisted triple play by one of our little guys on 3rd base. He caught the pop-up, tagged his base and then tagged the runner from 2nd. He was tagging everybody wearing green within an arm’s length! T hit all three times and had some solid plays fielding as well.

If you can’t tell, I’m incredibly proud of all the kids on both my son and daughter’s teams. The kids mix from multiple schools, numerous classrooms, and a variety of family situations. Each group has united as a team that supports each other, chants and cheers, and appear to be having a good time!

Lesson #1) It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time.

This is my spreadsheet. I keep track of who is playing infield and outfield for each gameIMG_1539 for the coach pitch kids. My husband is the head coach, so I assign the positions. All 13 boys play at the same time. We stack the outfield with extras. Everybody bats each inning.

Regardless of the fact that the ball is actually making it to the outfield and those kids are seeing action, there are kids who don’t want to play out there. This isn’t the major league. We don’t even keep score. Everybody sees equal infield and outfield playing time on a rotating basis. Why rotating? Because there aren’t 13 infield positions…

If somebody absolutely does NOT want to play a position -which has happened- or we feel that a child isn’t physically safe in a position due to physical limitations, I’m trying to honor that.

Lesson #2) Always make a trip to the bathroom before the game mandatory for 4-7yr old girls.

We learned this one the hard way the first two games. We lost a third of our team in the 3rd inning, twice. Last night, Coach Julia asked the girls to make a run to the bathroom before we headed into the dugout. Half the team went. We when, I was the escort, arrived at the bathroom, half of the other team was already there in line. The entire game started 5 minutes late due to the line in the ladies room!

Lesson #3) Sometimes Mom has to stay in the dugout.

Mady Slugger

Last night in the 1st inning of my daughter’s game, she and I were standing in center field. (Coaches are spread throughout the outfield for t-ball games.) She looked up at me and asked me to hold her.

“Well honey, I can tonight when we get home, but right now we are on the baseball field. You need to watch the ball and get ready for it.” But MOMMY!

“You need to stand out here to help your team or I will have to stay in the dugout.”

At that, she did focus in and start paying attention. She ran after almost every ball that came off the tee. However, the next inning, I traded with another mom/coach and stayed in the dugout.

She is able to do this. This is where I needed to step back. It was a bittersweet moment. She’s mature enough to be on the field, but still wants me when she’s feeling a bit unsure. This was a teachable moment for both of us. Trust.