Faith · Family · Parenting · Perspective

The Value of Time

June is over. At the end of every month I think to myself “Wow, now I can take a breath.” All the while, we are living our ups and downs, celebrating and mourning, thriving and struggling thru weeks, months, days, and moments.

June was full of all of the above descriptions. Big commitments included baseball for both kids, wheat harvest, baling straw, and (as always) work. The smaller moments category encompassed watching the sunsets and stars, sighting lightning bugs, digging our first couple hills of new potatoes, and putting together puzzles. Sprinkled in between are cousin-exchange days, quick trips to the pool and lake, church activities and way more fast-food than we should have consumed in a 30 day period.

It was a whirlwind. I must say though… I don’t think I have any moments (except that one complete mommy meltdown) that I regret spending my time on.

All this twirling and whirling causes me to be introspective. What is the actual value of my time? Is it monetary? Is it emotional? Is it in physical toll?

Truly, I’ve been mulling this over for quite awhile. I have friends that will drive a hour one way (60+miles) to go to a discount grocery store and suggest that I do the same. “Oh the savings are HUGE! I bought eggs for $0.39! Then we grabbed a meal (or shopped elsewhere) and drove home.”

This frustrates me.

Upon suggesting I do the same, I let them know politely that I do not have 3 hours in my daily, weekly, or monthly schedule to dedicate to groceries. I’d rather use my coupon app at our local grocery store, shop my list and the markdowns, and get it done in the 15 minutes I have before I pick my kids up from daycare after a day of work. #shoplocal

(Honestly, I’m not sure how much you’re really saving by the time you add in 120+ miles of gas and wear on your vehicle and a meal at a restaurant. But hey, if that’s how you roll – good for you!)

The way I look at it, I’ve just banked 2hrs and 45 minutes to spend doing things like riding bikes, gardening, or hosting a playdate.

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Princess dresses and manicures

It’s taken effort to place a value on time. I’ve said “no” or “today is not the day” to more things than I thought I would this summer. Furthermore, I’ve cleared an entire week in July and said we are scheduling NOTHING during those 7 days.

The value isn’t just monetary. It is physical and emotional. Running in a thousand different directions to shuttle this child to this event and to make sure I’ve picked that item up from that location is exhausting. It makes my whole body weary. My mind gets foggy. Anxiety grips my heart. Emotionally I’m a bear. Instead of easily seeing the joy, I have to remind myself it’s okay to smile and laugh. Overall, it’s daunting when there is no value placed on time.

This must be fate that I am writing this today. I saw a quote from Handmade by Heroes just before I attempted to finish this entry. “Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice because that flow has passed and will never pass again.”

I don’t want to miss moments like this because I’ve undervalued my time.

Unplanned. Unscheduled. These moments are full of worth to me.

 

blog 7-2 KS Sunset
Harvest Sunset 2018, Kansas, USA

 

Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Perspective

I am thankful for MS because _____

“I am thankful for MS because ___________.”

This was a prompt on a MS focused social media feed I follow. It took me a moment to hone in my feelings on this open ended statement.

Before answering, I scrolled down through the many responses. They ranged from angry and bitter to grateful and inspiring. To each his/ her own on personal feelings, this chronic condition is as unique to the individual as freckles on a face.

My post was short. It has given me “perspective.” On both good days and rough, foggy brained and clear, fatigued and energetic, this condition has given me a different perspective on how to approach life in general.

Three years ago, I was going strong (albeit with a numbed right arm). I was training for my first half marathon, signing up before my diagnosis. I was pushing hard. Full of determination and pride for what I was working towards. Pride is so hollow.

The diagnosis was devastating to my family. Honestly, after researching my odd-ball symptoms, I was pretty sure that was what we were going to hear.

Fast forward three and a half years…. we’ve juggled and jumped the paperwork and financial hoops (doctors, insurance, medications). Adjusting accordingly to temperatures and fatigue levels is a daily occurrence. I’ve ran three half marathons and approximately 1300 miles. Some days are easy. Some days drag.

Perspective: My husband and kids get my energy and effort first. It’s ok to say no. My Best Yes might be to say no to outside activities, social gatherings, or work projects. What I choose to say “yes” to is done with more thought.

Perspective: It is more important than ever to make sweet lemonade from life’s lemons. Anger and bitterness multiply if I let it in. And  let’s be honest, it doesn’t fix anything.

Perspective: Compassion, a listening ear, and empathy are three of the greatest tools. I don’t know what’s going on with other people, but I can guarantee that listening without preconceived  judgement goes a long way. Not assuming that I know how someone feels or what they are capable of has been a humbling lesson to learn with MS.

Perspective: mobility- can you run? Can you walk? Can you use both hands? Can you feel with all your fingers? Don’t take it for granted.

Perspective: Humility. I am breakable. I am broken. I thank God for what I’ve learned, who I am, and what He is using me for.

Perspective: the gift of time.

I’m thankful for each and every day- good, bad, apathetic or productive.

MS is not a gift I’d wish for anyone, but the perspective it’s given me is.

Much love this Christmas season– Jen

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Family · Parenting · Perspective

Countdown to Summer

The sun is finally shining! We experienced a late-spring dreary week of weather last week. The tally is at 5-6 inches of rain in the last 3 weeks. Whew!

Our little rural area was far better off than those west of us. Our temperature stayed above freezing, so just 40mph blowing rain for 3 days. Did you see anything on the news about the blizzard in eastern Colorado and western Kansas? Photo credit to the story linked here at the Washington Post.

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From the snow in the west to the beautiful sunshine that FINALLY peeked through… here comes

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Project #1. Tetherball. I pulled this information from Simply Kierste Design. We have plenty of room in our yard for tetherball. I’m sure there will be tears when someone gets jacked in the face! That’s part of childhood. Learning to roll with it and making evasive maneuvers.
tetherball

Project #2. Can you tell yet that we prefer to spend our summer outside? I bought this swing last summer and never hung it up due to the number of thunderstorms we experienced.  You can find the Swinging Monkey on Amazon. I had to purchase extra equipment to hang it. Again… still sitting in a box in the shed just waiting for the right tree branch and sunshine…

swingActivity #1. Swimming and swimming lessons. I’m a firm believer that either you know how to swim to save your life OR you keep your toes out of the water. Both kids have taken at least one session of lessons. We will continue this summer! I took lessons and completed everything except lifeguard training by middle school. My husband is well aware that he sinks like a rock. He failed swimming lessons.

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Have you bought a pool pass lately? Yikes. We don’t live in a city, suburb, or “neighborhood” that has a pool. We drive 15 miles into town to the real pool or play in the little 18″ deep inflatable pool in the yard. Not much for swimming, but it will keep you cool when the temps cross 90*F.

I’d like to get the kids to the pool at least once a week. My summer work schedule is modified so I can take advantage of an extra couple of days a week with my kids. This means occasionally working from home extra hours in the evening. #worthit #workingmama

Activity #2. Both kids are doing ball this summer. Scheduled for Monday evenings in June, this will be M’s first year of t-ball (softball). Not even a remote idea if she will be able to manage the bat at her current size, but though she is small – she is mighty in spirit!

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T has moved up to coach-pitch. He’s excited! Although fairly wicked hitting off the tee, his success rate hitting off our pitches is also solid. And truly – is there anything more enjoyable than a night at the ball field??? Good clean fun!

My husband is coaching again. In the past he’s been assisting. This year, the manager of the baseball organization asked if he’d be willing to lead a team. After expressing reluctance, I reassured him that this isn’t the majors. Above all else, the boys need someone calm, informative, and encouraging as they continue to learn and develop their skills.

As a family, we opted not to join any traveling teams. I have “lots of feels” about this subject pertaining to 6-7-8 year old children and the scheduling it requires. I honestly hope for the best for each unique family in their individual choices! It just isn’t the right time for our family to put our time into that.  #thebestyes

There are many other places, people, and activities on our list for the summer. I’ve posted a few highlights! We’ll likely head to the mountains for an extended weekend and load up the kids to add a little fun to a few work trips. Wheat harvest (barring anymore sub-freezing weather) will be in June. Planting, baling, and other farm work are always a must. #rurallife

Countdown –> School is out in 22 days. I’m not sure who’s more excited? My kids or me?

 

 

Faith · Family · Perspective

Simple – Daily Prompt

via Daily Prompt: Simple

Have you ever had that moment when you are just absolutely sure that God is telling you something? I’ve had my fair share. And I’m getting a message LOUD and CLEAR this week.

SIMPLE.

I need to simplify. I’ve been reading “The Best Yes.” It is about discerning what is not just a ‘yes’ in my life, but my ‘Best Yes.’ Could I volunteer for one more thing? Probably, but it would take time away from event A and stretch me a little bit more.

For example, last night was Bible Study. Our church does a winter study. It starts at 7. I typically get home between 5:45 and 6pm. I then orchestrate dinner, homework that requires parental presence and attention, try to have an actual dialogue with my kids, put away groceries if I’ve made a trip to the store, turn my attention to my husband for a few snippets of conversation when he rolls in between 6 and 6:30pm, use the bathroom, possibly start a load of laundry, and then settle down to sit with my family for a little bit before we start the bedtime routine… bath, pajamas, snack, clothes picked and laid out for the next day, backpacks ready, teeth, prayers, snuggles, and I’m out by 8:15pm to capturecontinue with adult things like folding said laundry, hanging with my husband, and reading.

I absolutely want to attend Bible Study, but I’m so limited in my evening time with my family. So I chose my family as my ‘Best Yes’ last night and started the lesson for the Bible Study at around 9pm on the couch.

I say that I’m getting the “simplify” or make things “simple” moment because as I’m finishing “The Best Yes,” I had two separate friends give me two more books on prioritizing and simplifying to find peace.

I swear I’m not walking around with a crazy look in my eyes. I’m not blabbering on about all the things I have to do. I do juggle quite a pile of events and responsibilities for myself, my family, and my job. I do put a lot of miles on my car with preK pickup and 1st grade carpool and work and appointments and trips for parts and supplies for the business.

It seems there must be a better way. I am going to keep praying about it and looking for ways to make it SIMPLE.