Check On Your Friends

This week was a very busy week and it’s only Thursday. There was more running around than I care to admit. Work was busy, home was busy but in a different family way. There were changes in the house and changes in life. The week started with a celebration of life for a woman that encouraged so many people in so many ways. The flooring in my bedroom was getting changed out from carpet third flooring. I could say that it was a job that my hubby and I both did together but to be honest it was split 70% him 30% me. During this same time I was trying to decide if I would fly down to my parents place to go to another celebration of life, and then planning the trip. Through all this life keeps going on. Yesterday was a triple booked day at the clinic, and we were trucking along getting our patients seen when I saw a friend at the front desk picking up some medications for her pet. As she was leaving she got a hug from the receptionist, so I thought I would love to get a hug and chat even for a little bit with her.

I wish I could say my friend was doing ok, I knew something was up because she is usually cheerful and happy. As I went outside to catch her it was barely a catch as I ran to her truck as she was getting ready to pull away. I made my little signal to roll down her window to find her fighting back tears. I gave her a big hug, or at least as big as I could through the window, asked if she was ok had to let her go without getting the full story. If she hadn’t come in I wouldn’t have know that she wasn’t ok, don’t get me wrong the intent to call her was there, the time to do it never showed up. I realized at that point that I am too busy. If I can’t even check in on my friends, I might need to slow down a bit.

The same applies to my family. It’s a running joke in my family: the actual end of my work day. There is a theoretical time that I am supposed to be off and I tend to blow right past that time and get home later than expected. So if I am doing this with my family, how much more do my friends not get any of my time. This is not some feel bad for me thing, it’s an eye opener that I need to step back and slow down, don’t tell my hubby I said that!🤣

The pastor last night talked about Hagar, Abraham and Sarai. All three were a part of Gods plan, though they had no issues during their story of taking things into their own hands. Sarai was unable to have kids so she took things into her own hands. Abraham got a bit impatient with how the plan was going so he did things get get it moving along. The end message was that we are all quick to say things are not going as planned, or that the plan is too slow, too hard, too well anything. If we work at stepping back from our tunnel vision and start giving God’s plan a chance we would see that we are not in this by ourselves. God puts people in our lives for a reason and a season. That goes for us as well. We are put into peoples lives for a reason and a season too. So we need to be there for those people. We need to step back and slow down.

Joy comes from taking a moment to breathe, talk to God, take care of yourself and do what you can to be there for others. The one main thing I learned from the celebration of life I was at, is that you need to be present, you should follow your dreams, don’t put limitations on what you want to do, and encourage the people around you. This gal checked in on her friends, and encouraged them and in return they did the same for her. As I am writing this I am sitting in the car with my daughter as she slurps down her milkshake. We are waiting to help a friend by picking up her daughter after church. It’s a small thing but sometimes it’s the small things that matter the most. Until next time:

Choose to be present, do the small thing, make the call, smile more often. This is where the joy can be found

An Inspiration to be Humble

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.          Ephesians 2:8-10

I am so excited to be God’s handiwork. I grew up knowing that I was God’s handiwork, and not just me but everyone around me. Growing up in Southern California wasn’t always easy but for me it was perfect, or as perfect as it could be. I had two parents that loved me, aunts and uncles, grandparents all close by that wanted to be a part of my life as well as my sister’s and brother’s. I grew up knowing that I played a part in my family. We worked with each other, played with the kids in our neighborhood, had family get together and went to a church that taught us to love and help those around us. I didn’t know what it meant to be prideful in my home or church. Humbleness was inadvertently taught by how we acted and cared for each other.

Yesterday I received the very sad news that a person I highly respect passed away. This man was a pillar of his community, he worked on major projects and even helped his city he lived in win great awards for the changes that were implemented to help make the area safer. He urged the church to get involved in lives of the people that lived in and around the building. He was a great pastor who lead our church and helped in growing the congregation. He worked with the new pastors, he guided and he encouraged them. The best thing about this wonderful man…….he was humble. He cared for the kids that came to the church, for the families, and for the elderly. My favorite memory was walking to church with my family, passing his home and having him make sure to stop what he was doing say hi and give each of us kids a candy from his pocket. He was very involved in the church and he made sure to encourage people as he passed them.

Harold and his wife had five sons, some of them became pastors, one is the senior pastor now at Emmanuel. This one family changed so many lives, not because of the words that came out of their mouths but because of the actions they did. One of Harold’s sons Ken married my husband and I. Other sons moved to pastor other churches. Some of his grandchildren are pastors, others play major league sports. Because of the love and humbleness that was taught to the congregation people set aside themselves and their selfishness to work with teens, college students. Basketball tournaments were set up around the city for outreach, and the pastors would go and play alongside gang members and people who wouldn’t normally feel comfortable at a church.

when I moved away from the influence this church had, I missed the humble nature. I missed hearing the messages and even at times when I felt homesick I would listen to live streams that were available. When I went to work with teens at a youth group, I wanted them to help others and be an influence in the community that was good and powerful. Powerful only if it was my God’s grace, and flowing with humbleness. If we do things for others to notice we have our reward, if we do things because we are called to do them we won’t need others to notice.

Pastor Harold’s celebration of life, I imagine will shut down a large part of the city in which the church is located. I know people with fly in from other states, and that there will be a lot of tears. I know that there will be laughter and joy too. Pastor Harold ran the good race. He lived out 2 Timothy 4:6-8:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  I fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Holding My Breath

You ever have those moments when you don’t realize you are holding your breath until you are out of the situation and your breathing returns to normal?

I have had quite a few of those moments over the years. Sometimes it’s as simple as letting out my breath once I have finished doing a difficult procedure like placing a catheter into a small kitten. I don’t even realize that I have “stopped breathing” until I have stepped back and looked over my work and saw that what I did was satisfactory for the task needed.

This past weekend I had to do the final part of my year and a half training on Hospice and Palliative Care for animals. I had to take the final exam. I was given three hours to complete an hour final exam. It was open book/opening note but that didn’t make it any easier. I sent my hubby and my son away to the movie theater, my two girls were in charge of the dogs and the constant in and out that they love to do. The obligatory studying happened the day before as well as the procrastination of starting the test. It’s not that I didn’t feel ready to take the test but there is a phenomenon that goes on in my brain that happens beforehand that feels literally like everything I have learned is erased. Maybe it’s because I know I have a time limit. Maybe it’s because I know that if I don’t pass the test this time I have to wait until next year to retake the test. Maybe it’s because I know that if I do pass the test people will know I now have specialized training and they’ll ask advice about what I have just learned about, and that in itself is scary. I took my time getting my area set up so that I would be comfortable. I had the notes and the Ipad set up to quickly look up what I didn’t know. I had the computer plugged in so as to not have it die half way through. I had my bowl of chocolate covered almonds and water nearby just in case I started to breath during the test and realized I was hungry. If I had been truly prepared there would have been an oxygen pump set up nearby and some soft soothing music to help calm my nerves a bit. My chair was comfy and my finger was poised and ready to hit the start test button.

Two hours into the test I realized that I might just make it. All I had to do was get enough courage to hit the submit test button. Last time I had to hit that type of button I was trying to become a Licensed Vet Tech and had to pass it or do the mandatory “get your college degree” route to try again ( I was grandfathered into the program based on the amount of hours in the field I had). When I submitted my test then and got the “you passed” message I ran back to my hotel room and screamed and then cried. I called people, I did a little jig, I posted it on social media, I finally realized I could breath again. This time after about 5 minutes of talking myself into hitting the button, I got the “you passed” message again. Now don’t get me wrong I was and am still so excited about passing but my response was slightly different than it was back then. The first thing I did was breath, I took a few deep long breaths and realized I was done with my current training, and then I really realized I was done with my training and my eyes started to get a bit wet. It might have been eye sweat but I really think it was closer to tears. I texted the hubby (who was still at the movies), I texted my sister and then my boss and the hospital manager (both good friends). I proceeded to clean up my area and put stuff away. I had a moment where I thought I might throw up but that went away when I remembered I got to celebrate with some of my favorite ice cream.

This year graduation will be in person if you make it to the conference. The conference is in Florida and I am not so the next best thing will be a short video and a picture of myself sent to the powers that be. I am excited to see where this training takes me. I am nervous as well and am probably “holding my breath” because there is the unknown of where I will go with this training. I have so much work to do to let people in my community know that there is this option available, and having to talk with the veterinarians as well so they know they can inform their clients about this option. Change is coming and it’s inevitable. Being overwhelmed is not. Breathing is mandatory. Support is always needed and I am given a lot of it thankfully. This journey wasn’t easy and there was a lot of planning logistics that happened but I am happy to say I am done! Until next time:

If we don’t change we don’t grow. If we don’t grow we aren’t really living

Gail Sheehy

Family Strength

Family is like brewing tea. I love tea, but not just any tea. My tea has to be the green tea with lemongrass that used to be found in stores all over, and then it started only being in a few stores and now I play it safe and get it online so that I don’t stand a chance running out of it. When I first was introduced to this specific tea I was against all teas and thought they all were bitter tasting and stained your teeth. To my great delight this one was light in flavor and no matter how much of it I drank my teeth stayed pearly white. I recently found out though since it’s green tea you are supposed to get the water to a certain temperature before you place the tea bag in, if you don’t get this detail right you are basically drinking colored water with a hint of tea flavor. All of the nutrients are boiled away. So you make the water too hot, bye, bye good stuff, don’t make it hot enough and you are not getting all of the nutrients that you can out of the tea leaves. Funny how this theory can apply to families.

I was blessed within this month to be able to vacation with both sides of my family. I spent a week with my side of the family at a cabin by a lake, and I just got back from a week in a tent by the lake with my hubby’s side of the family. The families are more alike than different. They both have struggles that they are dealing with, they both like to eat, and they both like to have fun together and genuinely love each other. Oh and they both seem to really like to do trips by bodies of water. The difference is in how loud they are when they get together. My side is like a mild flavored tea while my hubby’s side is a strong pot of black tea. Both teas are great and full of nutrient, they are brewed differently but that is where their strength comes from. I would not be who I am today without the strength and love I get from both groups.

When I got back from my trip with my side of the family I knew what had to be prayed for. I knew what the praises and difficulties my parents, siblings and nieces and nephews had. We had fun together, we talked, we played and we had hard discussions. We knew that when we all left to go back to our respective homes and lives that we may not talk a lot but the thought and prayers were still there. I have some fears when it comes to what is being faced by my family, but we are brewed the same and have been doing this life together for a long time. The nutrients are there with our love and faith. We are cut from the same clothe so we are there for each other. The strength was made perfect from the trials and celebrations we have had in our lives. We are a quiet bunch though, the intensity in which we communicate is somewhat mellow and can be a bit intimating if you don’t know us well. Mild but healthy. Strong but not overpowering.

Just getting back from the camping trip with my hubby’s side of the family has made me realize that they have the same qualities that I stated about my family, they just voice them a little louder. They are a strong group of people and loyal. They have fun together, but must have schedules. All they really want though is for people to do and say what they mean and stick to it. Strong black tea. I had to leave the trip early due to having to go back to work. I usually thrive on having some quiet time to myself and I know I will enjoy it when I get the house back to order, but what I noticed as my friend and I drove away was that I was missing a bit of the loud. Just as I instantly missed the quiet strength I received from my family when we all went home, it was the same this time but I knew I would miss the talking around the firepit, the walks to the park and even the giggles when the adults decide that it really is fun to just have fun with the kids. What I pray for is that my kids will embrace the strength and fun they have with both sides and realize that even when they grumble they are still in a place of love and support.

I recently have been feeling as if the temperature has been turned up too high, not in the literal sense even though we have had record heat waves and have been close to fires. I know I am being prepared for something, I have events happen in my life for a reason and I have had to deal with life changes and attitude changes within my family. There have been days were I have requested to know one in particular that I am ready to be taken off the heat. If I could be given the chance to cool down for a bit, then I could brew what I should brew and still keep the nutrients. Its is a struggle when you don’t feel like you are being heard and the temperature seems to be turned up rather than down, but then people say things that help. A verse of the day is exactly what I needed to hear. I get home from a trip with my favorite ice cream and for no apparent reason at all the cat (Lilly) makes an appearance and actually wants to snuggle. It’s in those moments that the tea is brewing and the good stuff is coming out. It’s in those moments that I can be thankful for the loud, and the quiet but loving people in my life. I have been home for about 2 hours and I miss my hubby, my kids, and the dogs, but I also know this is good for me to be home, and in the quiet. So I say, even if you don’t like tea, find your tribe, your people. Brew with them, get to know the temperature in which you are at your best, get the good stuff from what you have around you. Until next time:

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it

Hebrews 12:11

Loud, But Quiet

This is the week of the coast camping trip. We do this trip every year with my hubby’s side of the family. Our camping spot is pretty well perfect! Three sites 16 people with kids outnumbering the adults, which can be a scary thought in itself. We eat together, play together and roast marshmallows together. We are loud and proud, you could say.

My family arrived Saturday afternoon in a whirlwind of parting the “kid sea” (think hockey playing on a road and a car comes). All the kids stop what they are doing to let the car pass and then it’s back to playing catch, and riding bikes. Since we are the ‘new thing’ of the hour all the kids then want to come see what’s new at our campsite. We did not let them down with a tent, trailer, bikes, dogs and the cousins there was much to see and do. Probably the best thing was having my youngest nephew try and help put up the tent. My hubby was pretty smart this trip, he made sure he was in charge of making all the meals besides lunches. Just think, no clean up, no dishes, no breaking up arguments between the kids. He is in charge of us all getting food onto our plates. I mean he went all out too, menus were made up and printed out, families were put in charge of bringing certain ingredients, and even the kids were split into pairs to do the clean up and help cook. He really did make meal times run smoothLy which is a good thing since most everything else is chaotic.

On that note, Charlie, I love our newest addition to the family, she is just a little timid and shakes when her emotional support dog Jorj isn’t around. Charlie is our new puppy. She is actually about 11 months old, and came to us a nervous Nellie, but she has come a long way, until she was forced to meet the cousins. She really did not know what to do with them. They all wanted to say hi to her and pet her and she just wanted to hide behind Jorj. So we put rules into place the the kids couldn’t do anything with her until Tim or I were around. When they did do something they had to be calm and come towards her slow and steady. The first day she tried to have a heart attack, by day three she was getting pet by all the kids and trying to lick their faces.

Yesterday was our first day at the lake, it was also our group picture day. We all headed to the lake wearing our camp shirts made up especially for this trip. It was loud, it was colorful and it was windy. We found a great spot for the pictures and managed to get those done before we headed to the water. We had inflatable flamingos, boats and even bacon. The dogs got to try their legs at swimming while the kids played and tried hard at keeping the inflatables from blowing away. The log was conquered and the kids had a blast jumping off from it. Sand was in places it shouldn’t be, and we were unfortunately find the only patch of thorns in the grass around the lake. By the time we left we were tired, sandy and satisfied with the fun we had. But quiet time was in order. I gave my hubby the dogs, and I headed to the tent.

Quiet time in a campground is a myth, but if you play your cards right you can get to your tent before anyone notices you are gone. I admit my escape to the tent was because of a small breakdown from being a bit overwhelmed due to the wind, thorns, inflatables and the dogs, but I managed to get to the tent, explain to the hubby what happened, and had him play referee when it came to people trying to find out where I went. People just let me be for a little bit. I was able to rest, write, and listen to the sweet conversations my nephews were having right outside my tent, including their rendition of “Hit me with your best shot!” While they played football. Since my kids are a bit older they didn’t need me constantly, and the dogs are getting a well deserved nap. The hubby is on dinner and the rest of the family seems to be doing their own thing so I had “peace”, thankfully.

I do have to return to the land of the non-hiding people who are camping and so I am so thankful for the loud and proud but am as equally thankful for the time alone I was granted. I think tonight is tri-tip and a cobble4 of some sort for dessert. I know walking the dogs and talking to my kids is in my near future. I will enjoy my family, but I will appreciate and enjoy my quiet. I will have to come out of hiding eventually, but for now it will be a nap first. Until next time:

It’s all fun and games until someone cracks, and needs a nap

Peace, Umm Maybe

I really did think that once I changed my clothes after a long day at work that I would be able to peacefully sit down and write something inspirational and possibly a bit humorous. Let’s just say that it didn’t really go as planned. I think the only thing that I did accomplish is changing my clothes. I did sit down but it was really only to check out my poor puppy’s ears. Miss Charlie was looking a bit droopy on one side, and seemed a little put out that something just wasn’t right. A dog knows best, poor girl had a grass seed in her ear and the start of an Aural Hematoma. Yay steroids! Ok so not really in the sense that she needs any more muscles, but they will keep her ear flap from getting worse. Which brings me back to the part where I peacefully sit down, to work on inspiration and humor.

What does it mean to be peaceful? I know it is different than being quiet or even alone. To have peace means that you are ok with what is going on around you, how you feel about what is going on, and having the ability to not allow the environment around you to change your current disposition. I am not quite sure I have the ability to achieve a level of peace high enough that I am no longer phased by circumstances. Heck my knees alone tell me daily that there is a level creaking they will do just to remind me they are there. I love the amount of activity that takes place in my home. The girls are always talking to each other about secret little things, Tyler has a way with the dogs and can get them playing and running for hours at a time. There are many nights when we end up doing our own thing but even in that there is activity and creativity. There is calm in the routine, as my hubby can tell you, if there is something that has been moved and he doesn’t know where it got moved to, there is no calm or peace. I have an issue with clutter and messes, I actually feel my blood pressure rise, and so when I am told I have to deal with said clutter and messes for a little bit, I do not have peace, calm, sanity, or hope (ok I know that’s a bit dramatic there).

One of my favorite things to do is escape into a book, even better when I am sitting by the lake reading said book. Recharging and resetting, finding your way into your own special level of peace. I find peace when I know my family is doing ok. I find peace when I know I have shown love in the best way I know how. I find peace in doing something fun and new especially with loved ones. I find peace in knowing that someone was helped by something I did. Ok so here’s my humor part of this blog:

What do you call a cow with no hind legs?

An udder drag……

I will leave you on that note. Have a good day y’all!

Still Going Strong

Montana, everything seems bigger here.

We are going on our forth day here, and we have yet to slow down. We have four different families all sharing a big open cabin in the woods. We eat together and play games together. We even have adventures. It’s hard though to come together after not seeing each other for a few years. We all have gone through the COVID 2020 pretty much unscathed, but there still is a fear way in the back of all our minds when someone sneezes too close, that maybe, just maybe it could be something more. Luckily this week has been a cough here and there with a sore throat popping up probably due more to doing too much while not slowing down enough to catch up.

Sunday was our day to get the cabin in order, everyone in heir chosen rooms and a stop at the store for supplies was done. The kids all went down to the lake while some adults visited, and others braved the lake with the kids. We played board games and visited, we ate too much and planned more. By Monday we signed up for white water rafting, let me tell you 9 people in a boat, two kids under twelve, two rookies and a guide who is soft spoken until she needs to be loud. It was a blast. We spent two hours on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, listening to the guide, “TWO FORWARD!”, “THREE BACK!” “ When I say row, ROW!” The kids were curious as ever as to when the next rapid was coming. When we did have a rapid and we were rowing for our lives I would try to figure out how long it would take to pry my sister’s knee out of my back as she is holding on. We got wet, some got drenched, the kids thought it was the greatest thing and we all went home happy, excited and ready for the next adventure.

The funny thing about getting a lot of people together is somethings things don’t always work out as planned. We tried to get into Glacier National Park for the day but arrived too late in the morning to get a parking spot. Our other dilemma was getting people into cars in which sick or possibly sick people were not put in the same car with healthy people. We potentially sick ones wear masks but ,asking the trip a good one for all took some organizing. An hour later, no luck with parking we ended up in the main village for lunch, shopping and ice cream. Low key but still turned out well.

Yesterday was the day though, my sister and her hubby planned this 14 mile hike, it would start in one location and end in another. We needed two cars, and two drivers. One car at the finish line the other to drop us all off at the starting point. Originally seven people were going to attempt the hike, but it dwindled down to five. Oh man were the views breathtaking! Jagged peaks everywhere, flowers in bloom, small waterfalls cascading down the sides of mountains, even a chateau in the middle of nowhere.

Five people twelve miles with two miles added to see the continental divide and a glacier. Five people going through the wilderness away from everything, our hearts are full and our feet and knees hurt. The day was amazing, we stayed strong for each other and we arrived back at the cabin to share the rest of the night we the family. It is such a good feeling to be with family, I love listening to the cousins talk, it’s even better when they play together. I love when we have to rally around each other when one family feels a bit left out because sickness was brought into the cabin. Hard choices were made but in the end we made sure they knew they were welcomed and loved. We are all so different in this cabin. There is a mix of teens, to kids to grandparents and adults. There is a lake out back with paddle boats and fishing poles. There is piles of games to play and places to go where adventures are made. Our beds welcome us at night as we fall into them exhausted. We are strong for each other and we will stay strong. It is such a good thing to come together and enjoy being with each other. Friday we all have to go home. It will be a bit hard since who knows when we’ll see each other again. We will keep praying for each other and will work to stay talking to each other. Most importantly we will be still going strong. Until next time:

Adventures are what you make them, memories are who you make them with.

Sun-tired

The sounds of the lake are music to my ears.

After a long week working, and trying to keep up with my hubby and kids we (the kids and I) left town for a weekend at the lake. I wish I could say it’s at a cabin that my family owns or that it wasn’t a long trip to get there, but on both accounts I can’t even remotely try to say that. So after a 12 hour day at work we finished packing our car and at the bring and early time of 3:30am we started our trip to Montana. Oh what a trip that was, you know that feeling you get when someone’s brights are still on and they are driving towards you and you really can’t see two feet in front of your car. That was most of my morning, but I was lucky enough to have my eldest daughter awake next to me in the front seat just a jabbering away. It really did help, though I can’t say for sure what she was talking about, 3am and brights will make you focus on the road more than the conversation you are listening to. The sun rise was beautiful and by the time we were in Washington all three kids were awake and well…jabbering. We made it to Idaho in record time, which is saying something since I was the sole driver (Tim had to stay home to start a new job). Idaho was interesting, we didn’t really stay long, but we were there long enough to get rear ending in stop and go traffic. I will say this, bike racks loaded with bikes can do some damage to small sedans when you drive an SUV. We were all ok, including the guy who hit us, and in now time flat we were on the road again. Montana really is beautiful, there are so many spots of wide open spaces. The forests are so close to the forests you would see in Oregon, with the elderberries, and the cedars. When we finally got to the cabin it really was a relief to get out of the car, but also to see the family we were driving to meet and to go out onto the back deck and just listen. I could feel the stress of the last few weeks and even the drive just melt away.

This cabin, like I said is not even ours. My sister reserved this place over a year ago for the extended family to converge on. We have all come from different parts of the U.S. just to spend a week visiting and having fun together. Which brings in the lake. I never realized how many lakes Montana has. We have been here a day and have only visited one, the one in our backyard. There is a special kind of feeling when you are an adult but you get to act like a kid. Our cabin has a dock, attached to this dock is a paddle board. After a. Owning of having to do adult things like planning and shopping, I could tell the kids were itching to get down to the dock. Two hours later, after many running jumps into the lake off the dock, and using the paddle board to get across the lake we decided to take a break, cue the “sun tired” feeling. It it probably the best kind of tired feeling to have. You know that you were active, you had fun, in our case we played hard at the lake and to sit and just relax on the back porch is heaven.

And so here I sit, dinner was yummy, the sounds of he kids back at the lake is amazing, and a little further down the road the neighbors are starting to get ready for the fun that happens during the 4th of July (we all know people don’t just celebrate on the 4th). I know when I finally do get to bed tonight I will sleep good. There really is something magical about just letting loose and getting the inner kid out. There is something energizing about to playing in the sun, and then swinging on the porch swing afterwards not knowing if you’ll be able to get up anytime soon, unless a nap happens. I try not to envy those who can have this lifestyle on a daily basis, I am just thankful that the plans were made, and the trip was done to be here enjoying my time at the lake. Until next time:

Life is about balance. You don’t always need to be getting stuff done. Sometimes it’s perfectly ok, and absolutely necessary, to shut down, kick back and do nothing.

Lori Deschane

Getting to that right state of mind

Notice: This post was written last year at around the same time. It really hit home again, and though some things have changed (mainly, my work location and the camping destination, this year we are heading to Montana), the contents are still so valid. I hope you enjoy

This week was one of THOSE weeks, a week where if the button was going to get pushed it did this week. It is quite easy to let negative thoughts go hog wild when things around you seem so hectic. Studies have shown that even one negative thought can change the chemical balance in your brain. One negative thought tends to lead to another and then eating habits change, attitudes for the day turn snarky and people start to realize that if they don’t get out of your way they might get run over by a runaway train. I swore by Monday night if I was rushed to get one more animal taken care of before the last one I brought to the doctor was done I might crack (our hospital practices with “car side service” we go out to the clients and bring the animals to the doctors). I knew I was tired, and hungry and I had been going at a rushed speed all day long. My state of mind was just not right. Sadly even one of the receptionists asked the question of how long we could all go at this pace before we broke down from the stress and pressure to keep up?

She hit the nail right on, if we feel this pressure in a smaller sized city what must it be like for those in larger cities who have more people and even pets to care for? We all then have to take it upon ourselves to get into the right state of mind. For some it may mean talking to someone maybe even a professional, for others journaling helps them find peace. Going to church or doing a Bible study definitely will help you to get into a more selfless mindset rather than selfish state of mind. If like me you are just struggling to get through a week or a day because there is just too much to do, focus on the task in front of you and eventually you will get through your list of “must do’s”

What if you are doing ok in general but you just need to take a break to “reset” your thoughts. This is where I found myself. I actually brought it up to my sister the other day and she pointed out that our dad used to literally wait all year to finally get a week off in which he would pack us all into the Grand Torino and drive 8 hours to to his favorite place in the whole world: Yosemite. As we talked about it a bit more I started to remember how the stress just seemed to melt off of his shoulders right as the car exited the tunnel that came before the panoramic view of the valley and all the famous mountains Yosemite is known for. It is crazy to think that I am exactly the same way. In order to fully reset my state of mind and get back to myself I need to get into nature. Sadly it is not always Yosemite that I get to escape to but I still have absolutely no problem packing my kids and the dog (my hubby usually rides his motorcycle to our destination) into the Expedition to head to where my heart soars and finds peace both at the same time.

A friend of mine once told me that for her to change her thought patterns she needed to get out with her dogs and walk. Another friend of mine has this thing about cards, she can make a card for any occasion and spends hours online looking for the right kind of paper or sticker for that next card. She is in her happy place when she is creating something that is meant to bring joy to someone else. There is a doctor that I once knew that would have so much fun planning and organizing trips for her and her husband to do. She always did it in a way that would be a surprise to her husband, she would tell him the type of clothes he should pack and for how long but then the rest would be a secret until they arrived. They actually both used to do this to each other and if you were around him or her while they were planning you could just feel that excitement radiating from them.

In order to really get into the right state of mind you have to care enough about yourself to see that you need a break, you need to find your happy, you need to realize that if the world around you is too overwhelming right now that talking with someone might be exactly what you need. I talk about my sister a lot only because next to my husband she is my best friend. So when we discovered the “Marco Polo” app it was a way for us to see each other (she lives in Alaska and I am in Oregon), which in turn helped us to be able to open up more about what is going on around us. The app is like a video walkie talkie in the sense you record what you have to say, facial expressions and all and then send it. Once the other person receives it they then in turn watch the video and then return one of their own. We noticed that once we started using the app more it helped us talk out what we needed to talk out in it’s entirety because we didn’t have the other person jumping in to say what they wanted to say. We actually found out in a weeks span we both had to deal with a bear along our walking paths, hers of course was not a small little brown bear like mine was. In all of the apps glory it helps us weekly get back into our right state of mind.

So now the question is this: Are you able to notice within yourself that you are or are not in the right state of mind? If you needed to change you thought patterns to more positive ones could you? A helpful guide from Jennie Allen called Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts could be a great starting point for you. Getting out into nature is a great way to enjoy the beauty that seems to get forgotten in the lightening speed way of life we lead. If you are saying to yourself: my life is more sedentary but I still need a change in mindset it really could be as simple as a walk around the block with your favorite music playing in the earbuds. When my kids were little I would turn the music up loud and dance around the house with them, now it’s fun to still turn it up loud and dance but the goal has changed to embarrass them as much as “momly” possible. So find ways to have fun, to laugh, to dance, to ultimately get your mindset where you need it to be. Until next time:

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain

Vacation on The Brain

One week left…….

Why does the last week of work before vacation seem so hard to get through?  I mean I know the typical answers are:

You are looking forward to the trip

You really need this vacation to start

You can finally get away from life and it needs to be sooner than later

And while these are all valid, it’s also because there is so much planning to do still to make sure that when you do go you can enjoy your trip.  This week is just that, As it is Monday I have already gone through Sunday which I can be honest I did nothing really to get ready for the week or the trip.  Sunday was for church, and then my Tyler man decided that since he did so well with his lemonade stand on Saturday that we would try it again Sunday.  So of course this means set up, and prep for him and for me, well it means I am a helicopter mom, without him knowing that I am a helicopter mom.    So I sit in my living room and I occasionally look out the window to make sure he is still alive and kicking and that some random person doesn’t pull up and steal his money bag.  There are other thoughts that go through my mind as he stands out there but if I voice them, then I am no longer just a helicopter mom, but I am a crazy, fearful momma who thinks the worst of everyone….where is the fun in that.  Most of my morning was doing the mom thing, very important but really I could have done so much in the prep department while I hovered.    What about the rest of Sunday?  Well there was the heat, and there was the not wanting to move because of the heat thing.  Which is why we are at Monday.

I am so very thankful for the planners in my life.  Don’t get me wrong I do plan, and I do prep.  I have lists gosh darn it!  I love my lists and I love that my lists (especially my food shopping lists) magically get taken care of.  The magician?  My wonderful hubby is home with the kids, and because of this he does the shopping and the preparing of the dinners and such.  This all will change next week when he starts his new job but for this week I will fully love that the shopping for the camping trip will be done by him.  I produce a list of the things I will need, he will produce a ton of bags full of food.  It is a great relationship we have.  All joking aside, my hubby is amazing!  He has taken on this role and has made it happen.  I will miss this when he starts working but change must happen.  With this being said, he is the one that will make it possible this week.  Food will be bought, luggage will be brought in, and bikes will be checked.  I will be at work thinking about vacation. 

Saturday will be here quicker than what I want to think about right now.  At the same time I cannot wait for Saturday to get here.  I am sad that Tim can’t come, but it will be an adventure just the same.  Twelve hours of driving, a week of playing at the lake, hiking, and being with extended family.  Memories will be made for sure.   My family and I take a vacation together once a year, sometimes twice.  It is something I look forward to, it is the break in routine that helps me clear my head for when life starts up again.  I have friends that do “stay-cations”, and ones that fly somewhere.  When it comes down to it, it’s going and doing something that is good for you.  It’s no longer the status quo of working yourself to death, if anything this past year has taught us that we need to do more to take care of ourselves.  We have hopefully learned that the better we take care of ourselves with what we eat, how we exercise, and even how we control of our thoughts, we will start to have healthier, happier lifestyles.  Taking a vacation is part of this equation.  So with this, my week will feel shorter than what it is, because I am so excited to go somewhere.  It will also feel shorter because I am not ready to leave.  I procrastinate, I hope things will pack themselves, and I would love for the car will drive itself.  Take your vacations, turn off your phones, tell people that you are out of cell range (even if you’re not), and enjoy your moments.  There will always be something that needs to be done when you get back, so leave it there, and be in the moment now.  Until next time:

I believe the world will have a brighter shine this spring and summer than most of us have ever seen.  I anticipate the birds singing more loudly, the sun feeling warmer, and the outdoor lunches with friends being more enjoyable after we have spent a year in relative isolation.

Dr. Andy Roark

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