Perspective

Obvious

This morning I met a couple of my friends at the local coffee shop. No big event, but we’ve discovered that we are all happier when we make a couple hours each month to get together.

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Photo by rawpixel.com

As we chatted about our kids and spring break plans, I realized how down-to-earth my crew is. They are wonderful, low maintenance, comfortable friends. If we don’t see each other for a couple weeks, we are able to walk right back into a conversation. No hard feelings that we weren’t able to grab dinner or if a birthday wish was missed.

Here’s a bit of wisdom I gleaned from our conversation.

  • No spring break envy amongst our group. Spring break for most of us working parents means that we are now trying to balance a work schedule with no school and minimal childcare. No one in my circle is going to lay on a beach anywhere. We did spend time talking about day trips we’d like to take our kids on this summer.
  •  The objective for kids’ sports has gotten out of control for our young children. My 8yr old son played his first year of traveling basketball this winter. He gets to exercise and spend time with his friends. We emphasized that he should do his best, but doing his best should be fun at this age. A parent commented after a bad loss (that none of the boys were upset about) that “how they played, none of them will be playing in college.” Ummmm…. yeah… I looked at the other parent and said “well, they’re in 3rd grade so that’s not much to worry about now.”
  • Don’t fool around with or sleep with someone who isn’t your spouse. Just say no. In addition, after one has wrecked his/her own marriage stop the carnage and don’t go around deliberately making passes at other married people. Just Say No.
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  • R Kelly – Sir, you aren’t allowed to buy women. Ever. His comment (paraphrased from his televised interview) “that those parents sold their kids to me” hit a nerve. You can’t declare your innocence out of one side of your mouth and then confess that you purchased young girls.

This is not my normal theme for writing. I’m often deluded into thinking that what appears to be obvious to me is obvious to everyone. However, as I age I’m finding that not to be true.

Family · Perspective

Perfect Morning

I named this post after the candle I have burning on my desk at work. It’s a delicious creamy coffee smell.

If I’m honest, I prefer the smell of coffee over the taste. Tea is more my thing.

As I write, our current real temperature is -6 Fahrenheit. Wind chill sits near -20F. This past weekend, we added another 4 inches of snow to the 7 inches we accumulated from the previous storm.

I’m thankful for the shop guys plowing and piling thru the 4ft frozen drift that blocked my east driveway this morning. The kids were also excited about the prospect of playing on this later in the week when we get a tad bit warmer. Still frozen… but in double positive digits.

My father-in-law refilled the bird feeder and threw out milo for the yard rabbits this morning. They’ve taken to chewing the bark off our lilacs. We’ve had snow cover for weeks and the wild creatures are getting hungry.

Basically, winter is still in full-swing. I speak for all us winter-loving people: “we are ready for spring!”

Faith · Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Three Legged Race

Just in case you’re wondering if I’m still here… yes… yes I am. I wrote an entry a couple of weeks ago, published, and deleted it. I wrote last week, but after a re-read it was just too personal (see family issues below).

My crew and I just crossed the finish line on three ridiculous months of juggling all-things-life. giphy-3

Summary:

  • Busiest season at work
  • Husband/ business partner gone long-term twice
  • Multiple school programs
  • Volunteer activities at church and in community
  • Christmas gathering – then Christmas again – then Christmas again
  • Annual MS scan and labs – I always EXPECT these to go well, just anxiety.
  • Driving the mom-bus to gymnastics, 4-H, and youth group
  • Kids’ orthodontist appointments – EVERY MONTH!!! What?!?!
  • And then we slide into this past week….
    • Family issues
    • Finding out I am signed up for treats both Tuesday and Wednesday at school
    • Being called a “dirty whore” by an addict on my way into the pancake supper at church when I asked her if she needed help. Then she looked at my husband and said he’s “a good guy” and we “have nice kids.” Right…..

So there you go. It was more of a three-legged race where we were also supposed to be rubbing our bellies and patting our heads while singing Christmas carols with gusto.

Preposterous…

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My end of the year reflection is an annual occurrence. As if on repeat, my head shakes at lunacy we’ve just subjected ourselves to. Following closely behind the head shaking is a vow that “next year will be different!”

We can only hope.

 

Creativity · Family · Parenting · Perspective

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

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Morning Glimpse

If you took a peek into life at my house this morning, you’d see a woman who got a good, long, hot shower. It was almost completely uninterrupted minus a few moments of being a dripping judge and jury from behind the shower curtain to settle a battle over custody of the remote.

Mentally, I was planning my next blog post. Maybe some pictures and stories from our trip to Key West? Or perhaps the wisdom I picked up finishing our Sacred Marriage Bible Study? Spoilers for both of those- 1) Key West is a grandiose time of naps, drinking, sight seeing and water; and 2) Everyone is fighting some sort of battle within their marriage whether it’s subconsciously or up front- apathy, keeping it fresh, temptations, respect…

After my life-renewing shower and application of sweatshirt and yoga pants, I was trying to drain the water off those water absorbing orbs my kids received in their stockings for Christmas. Supposedly, these orbs can absorb 1000# their weight in water and should never be eaten or put down the drain. About a dozen slipped over my fingers and down the drain of the bathroom sink.

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Add to my resume: plumber. I’ve had to be a plumber way too much lately. I’m fairly handy with tools and a plunger.. and I don’t say that with pride, but rather out of necessity. Our lift pump in the basement has had issues. My son clogged the toilet at the office. My daughter clogged one at the house. The drain trap dried out and was wafting sewer gas… you get the picture.

My plan for the morning involved prepping backpacks, making my to-do list for the last day of Easter break, and attacking the dishes from yesterday’s meals. It didn’t involve plumbing. However, making lemonade from lemons, I now have an exceptionally clean bathroom sink drain pipe.

Now, back to that to-do list…

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Creativity · Family · Fitness

Hiatus

I realize I have been on quite a writing hiatus. Family, holidays, our business’s busy season and then…. Hello, It’s March!

It is now the season of Lent. I’ve been quite conflicted, frustrated, and sharp. Not to mention… highly judged. I’m not sure if I’m feeling judged because my heart is convicted about something or just flat out judged by other people. Either way, I’m examining my life to figure it out.

I write fantastic articles in my mind in the middle of the night or early morning when I can’t sleep. This morning was no different. If the feeling persists, I’ll put it all in writing. The problem with my thoughts flowing freely in the wee hours is that my body protests. Thus, no amazing novels from me.

I have signed up for two more half marathons: one at the end of April, and one at the end of May. I’m back up to 6.1miles. More running this week. I’m more at ease when I’m running. I’m more thankful when I’m running. I’m a better person for my family, job, friends, and community when I’m running regularly. As my husband implies with his support, I am able to “run the crazy” out and be an over-achiever with my mileage. 🙂

Oh, and to add to our happy, crazy life- M (2.5 yrs old) is potty training- again. This has been the longest process to date. Yes, she is ready. We’ve gone 4 days without any accidents (multiple times) then she just decides she doesn’t want to do it anymore. This results in tedious floor scrubbing. I refuse to be cross with her or negative in this process. We are down to a battle of wills and I’m not afraid to use Skittles to my advantage!

And now my moment is over for now. Back to the piles on my desk and phone calls to return.

With Love – J