Quality over quantity

When you look in the dictionary the definition of friendship is this: It is a state of being friends: friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons; affection arising from mutual esteem and good will. This sounds so stagnant, unliving, flat. Who would want to have a friendship if it really was based on the definition? Luckily friendships are living and breathing, they have an ebb and flow. They are based on the stupid stuff you did last summer, the fun trip you took to the fair, the impromptu lunch date. Some friendships are there for a specific season and others are there for a lifetime. Friendships start to take on a living form like breathing in and out. To have that best friend that we can relay on for anything is just as important as having a group of best friends that do most everything together. What makes friendships last is the quality of the relationship. I had been talking to a client (who is also a good friend) today about the fact that with age our friend groups seems to stop growing in numbers but instead start growing in importance. We noticed that we may not see our friends all of the time but when we do see them the amount of time spent with them seems longer. What hit me when we talked about this was the fact that I had gone to this friend’s house to help her dog with some pain issues, which maybe took me 15 minutes to do, the other 30-45minutes was spent talking with this wonderful lady. Which then made me think of this other friendship that I have, this is how it has been a part of my life:

A few years back (about 38 years to be exact) there was these two little girls. They both went to the same school but different kindergarten classrooms. They played with each other on the playground and sat near each other at storytime. They were friends. Fast forward a couple of years, these same two girls, not always in the same classes in school but will still find each other on the playground to play and introduce each other to some other kids that would become part of their friend group. These two girls did elementary school together, middle school and high school. They had friends come and go from their friend group, but they made sure to always be friends. Their friendship worked so well because they needed each other. One was outgoing, beautiful inside and out, energetic and willing to try new things. The other was equally beautiful inside and out, but was much more reserved, relied on her outgoing friend to make friends and was more than willing to be the behind the scenes type of person. When high school finished they went their separate ways for college but still stayed in touch. Each girl visited the other in their respective colleges and when it was finally time to settle down in a town though they were far apart from each other, they would visit and have those type of phone calls that would last for hours. The quality of this friendship was so good and strong, that the two ended up living in the same town, living like sisters, blessed with the fact that their kids call them aunts. It’s a lifetime friendship.

Now I cannot talk about friendships without bringing my sister into the discussion. I realize there are those out in the world that have never had the privilege of having a relationship so strong that to live without it would be almost impossible. So other than my husband who is my best friend and God who is my only friend I can trust 100%, my sister is the one person that knows everything about me. To be honest I think she even knows when I burp funny. She and I are different in so many ways that in the end that is what makes us get along so well. Her opinion matters to me, but I love to get her riled. When we both want to do the same thing, I find it is my ultimate duty to make sure she knows that it is a competition and there will be trash talk happening. When I had a very hard time at work, I knew that she would talk me through it. I love that my oldest daughter is a mini version of my sister. I love it more that my sister says my middle child is a mini version of me. My sister and I have not lived in the same state in over 20 years but we talk to each other weekly. It’s a lifetime friendship.

The friendships that can stand the test of time are the best for sure but there are also those friendships that see you through a season in your life. Once that season is over, the person quietly steps back but is still a friend, moves to the category of lifetime friendship, or fades to the background because of changing circumstances. These are not bad friendships, to be honest they are some of the best kinds because you learn and grow from these friendships in ways you might not realize with a friendship that has been ongoing for years. When my husband and I were in our first years of parenthood, we worked opposite shifts so that the kids could have one of us at home with them, but there were times that our schedules would overlap and we would have to have someone babysit. We were blessed with being introduced to a lady we to this day still call Grandma Judy. She took our kids whenever we needed her to and she would take them even when we didn’t. She and her husband loved our kids like their own grandkids. In our minds they were family. As our kids grew older they were able to be at home by themselves more so Grandma Judy started to move out of the picture more, but not out of our hearts. Today we don’t see Grandma Judy much, but the friendship we have with her and her husband is still strong. She was there for us during a season in our lives when we really needed her, we were blessed by her and her husband. She is a lifetime friend.

What kind of friend are you to the people around you? To that end I ask myself what kind of friend am I to those who I know? Making a friendship work and last a long time takes work, love, and dedication to each other. We were not made to be alone in this world. We were made for relationships. We were made for community. Even the most introverted person has his/her “people” that make up the tribe. Remember we are who we hang out with so we might as well make it count. Until next time her is a song that has been special to me and my lifelong friends for so many years:

No! Not Right Now

Ok I get when it comes to intermittent fasting there are times when you don’t eat, obviously.  When I was looking through the schedule my BodyFast App had given it said no eating Sunday morning.  Do you know how hard it is to not have your stomach growl while you are sitting in church, a relatively quiet place?  Add on top of it all the fact that your daughter keeps looking at you each time your stomach growls, and your friend who wanted to try out your church is sitting on the other side of you.  I will admit that even the water I kept trying to drink as much as I could didn’t help the situation, it just made me have to go to the bathroom more.  There was no ignoring this problem I was having. 

A decision was made at that point, I would need to either eat before the church service next week or acknowledge that my stomach was gonna do what it was gonna do and I would apologize to the people around me later.  Luckily my friend, whether she was being gracious or not, said she couldn’t hear the roar that was coming from me.  My daughter, well she just stated it wasn’t her problem and maybe next time I should eat.  I think I like my friend more than my daughter right now😆.    I chose to fast because of all the good that comes from it, the autophagy, the ketosis, the elevated energy levels, and most of the time I can work through the hunger, it’s when it is a quiet setting that I wish I was a glutton and had stuffed myself full of food.

Yesterday I sat in my living room with most of my family around me, I love the feeling I get from just being near to them.  I am distracted often, and I could be done quicker with my tasks if I just moved from my rocking chair to the cushy chair in my room but then I wouldn’t get to see the Charlie dog sleeping, the hubby and son on the couch interacting with each other, or the daughter slightly smile as she reads a tweet from a person she is following.  These are small things, but since I am gone a lot during the week, they turn into big things for me.  It is a decision that is good for my soul. 

Life is back to normal today.  I have a day full of appointments, I have texts/phone calls to answer and clients to talk to.  When I decided to go into this field, I knew it would be exhausting but fulfilling, that it would push me to my limits, just to help me grow.  The decision was a good one, and it has benefited both me and my family, but because of this same decision I also agreed to less time with my loved ones, which is painful at times.  A yes to one decision, means a no to another.  Just like with intermitted fasting, I have discomforts that must be dealt with, even when I am becoming a stronger person and my family is taken care of.  While I was sitting at church trying to quiet my stomach, I was told about Christ, and how He is not just my redeemer later when I pass on, but He is my redeemer in the present.  He shows up, He is a strong and mighty tower. 

Jesus was a man of decisions.  He was not one who was wishy, washy.  A lot of what he did ruffled feathers and made people mad, but he would do them anyways.  He also found time to enjoy the people and things around him. Life was not easy, but he celebrated with people at the dinner table, he went to social events, he cried with people and he made time to be by himself.  He was a powerful, but humble person.  Oh to be like Him, I mess up a lot, and I don’t claim to be perfect.  I make decisions every day to be better with my health, with my family, with my faith, at my job.  Every day I fail, but everyday there is something I find to be thankful for and to stand for.  My friend needed to know what church I went to, she didn’t need me to be there for her to go (actually she was there before my family and I got there) but it helped her to be more comfortable.  My family doesn’t need to have me at the house all of the time, but it’s good when I am home, my job can definitely function without me, but I am so glad that they choose to have me.  So many times, I make a decision to follow through with it and then look back and think about the many ways it could have gone wrong.  I act and then process.  I have a friend who made a decision that would be so good for her, but because of the environment she is in, decided to hold back on the idea and just try and get by.  When the joy of the moment, of the outcome is noticed and felt, the road may be hard, but the adventure is worth it.  Joy is present in all decisions; it may not be noticed.  Joy is the strength that is felt when life is hard but worth it.  Joy is what is built when a decision is made, and a step is made in the right direction.  When you don’t make a choice, the choice has been made without you.    Until next time:

It is usual that little streams put their mouths into big rivers. Most rivers can also be traced to the big sea. The fact that you start with a small choice does not mean you will be on that narrow road forever.”

Israelmore Ayivor

The Beauty of Life

You know the saying: “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone?” 

As I am sitting here writing my midweek post, I am sitting in the middle of my living room, my buddy Jorj is laying on the ottoman in front of me, my hubby is doing his homework, my girls are on their respective electronic devices, my son is at church and my not so little puppy Charlie is going around to each one of us trying to figure out who is going to play/snuggle with her.  Right now my house is calm and happy.  This is not the norm (at least the calm part).  We are usually pretty happy or at least content with the vibe of the household.  It’s amazing to me how fast these moments go, as you are in them you don’t realize that they will be gone so quickly though.  It’s times like these where it’s nice to sit back rock my rocking chair and enjoy the joy that comes from this time.

I feel like I am being a bit melancholy, these last two weeks have been a bit tiring and overwhelming.  But in the times when I felt I needed something to change my course of thought, I get a phone call from a friend, a hug, or as I wrote about in last weeks blog “A Hug and a Toy” a car thrown at my head (no I don’t know the strongest man in the world, just a little sprite of a boy who wanted to have fun with me).  Last night I got to see a very special friend.  This lady was there for me when my family was growing.  She stepped in, barely knowing me and decided to love me, my hubby and my kids from babyhood to the present.  The best part about this gal is that her love knows no bounds, and her family is the same way.  Last night I got to see her because of a very sad situation, and once again Judy took control in a very gentle way and allowed her niece to cry on her shoulder, and when she could no longer be in the place she was in Judy helped her up, and led her into her home.   Her niece had to say goodbye to a friend that got her through the thick and thin of life with sweet snuggles and gentle kisses.  As we were leaving all she could say was how she would never see her friend again.  I not only cried with her as a friend, I cried knowing the feeling of permanent loss.

Then I got to thinking about the saying I started this post out with.  Yes we may not know what have until it’s gone, but once the grief starts to lessen, even slightly the memories will start to surface.  I know with my friend that she and her pet went on adventures.  He was there while she worked.  There will be joy found in her heart once the pain weakens.  It’s time like this when I am reminded that I take a lot of things for granted.  Everyday there is something or someone who could bring a smile to my face, if I would stop to really see what is around me.  My sister is on vacation this week, and what does she do?  She sends me a picture of what she is seeing as she sits and looks out her window.  That brings me such joy in knowing that she is enjoying herself in such beauty.  Every morning when I let our puppy Charlie out of her crate, I have about 1.5 milliseconds to hop back into my bed and get covered before she is on the bed doing everything in her power to lick us and say good morning.  My daughter love to play this horse computer game and when I got home last night the first thing she did was shove the headset into my hands so that I could listen to what the rider of her horse does every time she jumps (the rider throws her arms out and yells “Wheeeeeeeee!!!”).  Just in case you have been following me, this is the same daughter who spends majority of her day when she is home in her room.  We barely see her.  I will take what she gives me 😁

When life is overwhelming, I have a choice to let it take over or let joy come out.  The most I can tell you is this, we will always have hard times, we will always have trials, and times of being in over our heads and overwhelmed.  I have been with a lot of people over the years who have had to say goodbye to their beloved pets, and the main takeaway I get from each and every one of those times is that they were so thankful that they got to share their life with their pet.  I love hearing the stories they tell, and I hope that by telling their stories that they can see that there was joy.  My house is still quiet.  The people in my house have changed their positions (the animals are still where they were when I started), but I am still enjoying the moment.  I am enjoying being interrupted by my kids or my husband because I know that I will miss this when it is gone.  I love that when someone gets home Charlie does everything in her power to whip her face with her own tail because of how excited she is to see the person.  I love the joy in the moment even if I get the weird “oh great, I get to do the dishes” look from my son.   I would love to bottle up these moments, these interruptions, these sad but joyful times.  There isn’t really any way to fully preserve them, and so I think we will always deal with not knowing what we have until it’s gone.  I know that is how life is, but we can choose to coat the memories that we do keep with a healthy amount of joy, because in doing that we will be reminding ourselves that joy comes and with it comes the ability to keep on living.  Until next time:

And joy comes with the morning. But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. ( Proverbs 4:18) Joy comes in the morning. It doesn’t mean tomorrow. It’s not a formula that promises that you’ll feel happy at sunrise. It’s a promise that will come true when God’s sunrise breaks.

How Do They do It?

They always seem so content

My bestie and I have known each other for years. We practically share the same birthday, I love her like a sister and I know it’s because we are different but we accept each other and love each other besides our differences. Last night we were able to get together to celebrate another year spent on this earth. This past year has had lots of challenges as well as accomplishments. So many different losses, but at the same time there have been times of joy that help to cover some of the pain of those losses. So as we, waited for my wonderful hubby to light the combined amount of candles on a cake just barely big enough to hold the candles, we laughed, talked and finished eating one of our favorite dinners.

One of the best things I noticed about last night was the excitement my girls had in showing Aunt Sunni their rooms, and then talking to her about what they are most interested in. As the night progressed we shared our gifts for each other and some tears about family and life in general. One thing that I notice every time I am around Sunni is the fact that whatever seems to be going on in her life, good or bad, she is present, she is still content. There is a quote I came across the other day that says:

The most convincing sign that someone is truly living their best life, is their lack of desire to show the world that they’re living their best life. Your best life won’t seek validation

Steven Bartlett

I had a discussion a few days ago with my eldest daughter about this idea. We were talking about the fact that the world loves to label things, people whatever. People then take these labels and create a cause about them, or live by the label, or in rare occasions will take the label and just leave it there. When people choose to leave the labels where they are at and live the life they want to live, you will find content people. It’s hard to do, but when you choose not to worry about what people think about you or what they say about you, you can get yourself out of your self imposed prison. There are so many labels that can be given to me based on my religion, my race, my profession, my thoughts, really anything. I could be labeled a good technician but a bad mom because I work too much. I could be labeled a weirdo because of my all out love of cheesecake, flamingos and my dog, and I probably am, but I could also let this knowledge hold me back from living my best life.

People want to label themselves as a certain type of person, but will get upset when someone else puts a label on them. When we choose to live our lives to the best of our abilities while also finding the joy in everyday life, we rise above the world. We find contentment in what we are doing, and the draw to have to show it off to the world diminishes. I love that my girl Sunni is a strong, warm and loving momma to her two amazing girls. I love also that she can cry without apologizing, that she can stand firm in her decisions and that when she is with someone, she is present with that someone. She doesn’t have a perfect life and I know she has her struggles but, right now this is her best life. She shows up and is present, in whatever she does

What if we as a people decided that the world doesn’t need to see everything little thing that happens in our lives? What if we said, I am here, I am present without having to take the phone out to document it? Take your pictures, share your adventures, but don’t do it to have someone click the “like” button. I sometimes envy those who have chosen to stay off of social media. They don’t have the draw to post everything they do. At the heart of all this is this: Are you the master of your own universe and need to have people validate you simply because it makes you feel better, more in control? What if instead you just did life, knowing that there is a God who is in control that has already validated your life even before you did the stuff you did? There is joy in that. There is hope in that, there is peace and rest in that. I know that even if I did the biggest screw up ever and it landed on all of my friend’s Facebook pages, that that event doesn’t change who I am in God’s eyes. I have found that the most content people don’t have perfect lives, they have had major struggles, but they also believe in something bigger than themselves. They know when to show love, mercy, grace. They don’t think themselves better than anyone else. There is not a desire to always look and act perfect. That is the best life, and that sounds like the place I want to be. Until next time, I will leave you with a small speech from Robert Duvall in “Second Hand Lions”

Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good. That honor, courage and virtues mean everything. That power and money, money and power mean nothing; that Good always triumphs over Evil; and I want you to remember this: That Love, true Love never dies. Doesn’t matter if any of this is true or not. You see a man should believe in these things because these are the things worth believing in.

Robert Duvall

A Hug and a Toy

Today was going to be a long day. We ad a full schedule and our doctor had to leave early for the day, so some of the appointments were rescheduled and others were given to me to care for. The last few days from Friday have been a bit rough. Within a 4 day period we as a hospital family looked forward to one of our co-workers getting through a complicated surgery to finding out she passed from complications. We as a hospital family mourned together in our separate homes and places where we were, and looked forward a few days to see where certain jobs needed to be taken care of.

Do you ever get to a point where you just stay busy so that you don’t puddle up and cry? The first few days were that way at least for me. I got the jobs done that were my responsibility to do but would then make sure I was busy with my family or some other such thing. Yesterday though it was good to cry. I had to give some bad news to a few clients and afterwards I just sat, and cried. Then I got to see a friend. This person radiates happiness and joy. I could see tears and weariness in her eyes though. She has been her momma’s sole caregiver for quite a while and she was just weary, and so we hugged. It was a rib breaking hug, and then we hugged again, and made plans to have lunch. Then I made her wait so that she could get a hug from the hug master, my co-worker and friend Mary. The power and the healing force of a hug and then cleansing power of tears is amazing.

I then had another close friend come by. I had to give her some guarded news about her dog. This did not stop the hugs, nor did it stop her super cute, mischievous son from pelting a toy at me, forgive me dear child for not paying attention to you or playing with you😜. I love you with my heart. It is not coincidence that these two ladies came into my day yesterday.

God places people in our lives because He knows exactly what we need. He knows I am hard headed, that I get tunnel vision, that I am loyal, but when I break, I a break hard, just to “buck up” and move forward because things need to get done. I don’t usually ask for help, but feel needed when I can help someone else. I didn’t know I needed to see these two ladies until I saw them, and of course my little toy throwing buddy. I know that the hugs helped both parties, I know if the toy made contact with its target it would have definitely gotten me out of my slump.

In all of this, it warms my soul that joy still abounds. There was an article written about my co-worker who had passed. She radiated joy, she knew who she was, and she did life. She had a huge disability that caused her pain all of the time, that didn’t stop her. She did life, she did adventures and she loved big. She was inquisitive, and we all had to try and navigate her engineering brain. Animals, dogs mainly, were her life. They brought her joy and a purpose. She will be missed. There is a huge hole left where a small (no seriously she was like 4’9”) lady once stood.

With her passing, it makes me think again what it is that brings me happiness, but also what brings out my joy. I am happy with cheesecake and working out. What brings out joy is my God, my family, and my friends. What helps me spread joy is when I can just be with people. When I can cry with people but also hug them, laugh with them, be with them. When I can pet my animals, when I can sit in the sun, and read my book. When I can be silly, and do new adventures. I hope you have joy, I hope that you can find joy in the simple, I hope there are hugs in your future, but I would try to steer clear of little boys chucking toys at your head. Until next time:

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning Psalms 30:5

It’s That Time Again

Do I feel any wiser?

Probably not, in two days I get to be a year older. Ok so in actuality I have been already working on that year, I just get to celebrate making it happen in two days. I must say I am very grateful that I made it this far. Being alive is something we as a whole may take for granted a little too often. I fully believe that worrying about when I will be with the Lord is not really worth my time since only God knows the numbers of my days. What I can do in this very special TWO DAYS BEFORE MY BIRTHDAY BLOG is tell you what I know to be true. So I hope you enjoy my extensive list of what I know is true:

  1. A birthday is important and should be celebrated, even if it’s just you or you have a car parade that is miles long. You made it this far, celebrate it!
  2. It is such a joyous occasion when the puppy is let out of her crate in the morning and does a flying leap onto your bed just to say “Hi!”
  3. Apples (Jazz preferable) cut up with peanut butter and sunflower seeds is one of the best parts of my lunch
  4. When you get a sunburn, make sure that it’s a weird shape so that when someone asks what you were doing you can give them a fun story.
  5. Sitting next to your son at church, realizing that the faint smell you are smelling might be the jacket he is wearing, is somewhat of a distraction. The jacket is getting washed!
  6. Jelly beans that are hidden in your bathroom cupboards taste so much better when you think you are the only one that knows where they are hidden
  7. Watching your daughter get excited about the birthday gift she is getting ready for her bestie is pure joy
  8. Doing a facetime call with your sister on her birthday just so you can walk her through how to use the gift you got her is really fun
  9. Sometimes pretending all is ok for a short time is beneficial, though hard to do
  10. Once a mom, always a mom
  11. Celebrating with one client, while silently crying along with a different client is one of the hardest jobs to do in the vet field.
  12. Self care is important, but is essential when all that you have to give is gone. It might take a loved one to gently tell you to go and do you for a bit.
  13. White dogs + grass equals quite a mess
  14. The first day of warmer weather and a slight breeze is extravagant, remembering to put sunscreen on is a plus
  15. White dogs + sun = a happy dog with a slight sunburn on her nose
  16. When you become a runner there is something inside of you that cheers on the random runner you see while driving to work, that cheering also encourages you to make time for a run
  17. There is a bit of jealously when you are in you gigantic work rig and your co-worker flies right by you on his motorcycle.
  18. Even if it’s a little cooler in the morning, if you have the chance ride your motorcycle!
  19. When your teen asks you to go on a bike ride, you go on that bike ride. If anything you can challenge her to a race and leave her in the dust (for about 2.5 seconds anyways😂)
  20. If your kid put forth the effort and did the work, you do the firepit and surprise them with smores
  21. When fighting over who is going to make the cookies, make sure that the person who one doesn’t see you when you sneak some cookie dough into your mouth
  22. Be the kind of friend, that if your friend is having to do something hard and you can share some of their load, you do
  23. Scratch the belly or head of the pet that offers that part to you, they love you and will take your love any way they can get it.
  24. Just because your pet has mastered the “puppy dog” look doesn’t mean he needs to have one more dog treat….especially if the last one counted as number 15
  25. No matter how many times your teen complains about the notifications going off on their phone, when you suggest turning it off, they will look at your like you just killed their best friend.
  26. Monkey see, monkey do. When one dog starts barking at the noise your hubby made, the other one will too, no matter how close they are to your ear.
  27. Cuties are a thing. The little oranges that peel so well, if you get the normal oranges, they do not get touched. Cuties on the other hand will be gone right as they are put in the bowl.
  28. When someone (me) stubs their toe, or accidently kicks a step don’t expect that I can talk right away to tell you what happened. Let me cry, curse, jump around first, then I will tell you I need ice
  29. New shoes, plus new sunburn on top of your foot DO NOT MIX
  30. I am feeling adventurous this week, I think I will start to teach my teenager how to drive, with a stick shift car
  31. When your son wants to cuddle, you cuddle, just not when you are driving, if he asks then, please wait until you get where you are going
  32. There are two types of dogs in my house, the puppy that will plop down on you and drop kick your ribs to get comfy, and then there is Jorj, staring deep into my soul, waiting for my to fill his toy with treats
  33. It doesn’t matter how long the cat has been in the kid’s room, when she comes out, she is in charge and she will claw slap you if you do not agree, don’t believe me? Ask Charlie the pup
  34. On that note, when the cat does come out, drop what you are doing, catch her and clip those nails. If that is what saves the puppy’s life then you must do it
  35. Just because you have done the job before doesn’t mean you should do the job now, things have changed and so have you
  36. Holding hands with your hubby is so healing
  37. Joy comes from knowing you are not fighting this battle alone.
  38. Sometimes when the only energy you have left is the energy to watch Instagram Reels after work, that is what you do.
  39. One of the greatest feelings is knowing you have the ability to help someone move forward and you act on that feeling
  40. April showers would be great right now, so we can enjoy May flowers. Though it does put a damper on my times I can ride my bike
  41. Did you know that when you remain calm, even in stressful situations, it helps those around you stay calm too? Once the situation is taken care of or fixed, then let the tears fall
  42. What I know for sure, this list is almost done, you are doing great!
  43. You know you have done good so far raising your kids when they stop arguing and comfort you when you get really bad news
  44. Being a year older is great, it means you can take what you have learned this past year and improve upon it and grow and thrive even more in the year to come

I always love doing these lists. Especially when it’s around my birthday. It helps me to put things into perspective. Tunnel vision is a real thing for me just read my blog Tunnel Vision . When I can sit down and list out what I know for sure (in my life) I tend to find a piece of my joy that might have gone missing. I hope you enjoyed my list, but do you have a list that could be made of things you know for sure? I would love to hear what some of those items would be. Please share in the comments section. Until next time:

Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t change your individual spirit according to the latest style. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

Change Matters

Since when did change become a bad word?

We all know those types of people.  They are the ones that are the movers and the shakers, but they also don’t do well when the schedules get changed.  They are the ones that when a change has to happen you let them know about it 3 months in advance and in triplicate form.  When the day comes that the change is to happen you make sure they have had breakfast and a good night sleep so that they can face the challenge of the day.  Albeit the change can be as simple as dropping the car off at the shop and having this person pick you up, but hey it’s still a change. 

Earlier this morning this type of change happened to my poor daughter.  She was trying to play one of her computer games but overnight there was an update with the computer and the game was logged out.  Normally this isn’t a big deal, except she didn’t remember the password and the one person who could help with this had already gone to work and wouldn’t be able to help until he got home.  Now my daughter deals a little bit with anxiety so I could tell this was getting her a little worked up so instead of feeding into it, there was a change of subject, which seemed to help her thankfully.  Que the dogs.  They are a great distraction.  I will make this point right here, dogs are amazing, if you didn’t know that already.

I deal a bit with anxiety as well and change for me is not easy.  I would be the person that goes and lets off steam in the form of tears, and then turns around and gets things done.  I have taken on the mantra of “one step at a time” or just like in the movie “What about Bob?” baby steps, one baby step at a time.   This doesn’t mean that it’s easy though.  Lately (and I mean that in the last year) work has been busy, this is not new, but then adding in training new people, soccer practice for two of the kids, family time and getting my studying done, any changes really should get to me in triplicate form and maybe even a phone call the day of😂.  I am not complaining here, just stating the facts….ma’am. 

So why is change seen as a bad word?  When change happens the old must end.  There is finality with change.  This doesn’t mean what is causing the change is bad, just that in order for it to start something, something else has to end.  I love intermitted fasting.  I love what it does to help my body be healthier.  I do not like that fact that I need to not eat at times.  Each week I get a new schedule, so there is a constant change in my eating habits.  The gain I get far outweighs the cost I must spend.  I must focus on not getting “hangry” around people when I have fasted for more than 12hrs.  When I do get to eat, I can eat what I want but I have learned what foods make my body function better, so I chose to stick with those foods.  Change is fun though, I love breaking people’s assumptions that I will be doing something a certain way and then going a completely different direction (this backfired on me once when I told my daughter we would be going on a walk and then halfway through decided a jog/run would be better, she did not like me that day, but it was fun😁).

I love to workout.  I am an amateur at best and that is exactly where I want to be.  If you read my last blog it explains why Amateur, Yes!.   I love to challenge myself and I love to get into competition with well mainly my sister, but there have been others who have pushed me as well.   I get new workouts each week, and love seeing the changes that my body is going through because of the routines I do.  Mainly though, it’s the constant change each week.  The constant excitement of seeing what new exercises I am given each Monday.  I will say, ballet is NOT my strong suit, nor is a dancing routine but  I still put forth the effort.

Spring is trying to come to our area.  I can see the hope in the trees as they start to bud out.  I can see it as the grass starts to wake up and the deer decide to once again stand in the middle of the road.  Change is beautiful.   I also know that our climate loves to throw us curveballs, which is why most amateur farmers will grow they can inside before putting their crops in the ground, since the rule of thumb is don’t plant before Memorial Day, freeze and frost will get you every time.  Change brings beauty, change brings breakdowns that may need to happen, change could mean a new start.  Your outlook on the word change will affect how you deal with what comes at you.  So how will you deal with the changes that come your way today?  Until next time:

One reason people resist change is that they focus on what they have to give up, rather than what they have to gain

Rick Goodwin

Amateur? Yes!

My daughter has always had an eye for drawing and taking pictures.  She takes the time to really do it just the way she likes, sometimes she is spending hours on a project just to get it to a point in which she changes it later because she has a different perspective when she comes back to it.  Artists are just that way, but when I ask her to share her masterpieces she doesn’t like to because they are “just not right”.  My dad is this same way.  He is a perfectionist and is shows in his woodworking abilities.   He has made so many pieces of furniture over the years, and they are all so beautiful, but one of the first lines that will come out of his mouth is to underhand his handiwork.  When Tim and I got married, I asked dad to make us a hope chest.  It was a simple design in which all I wanted was for it to be lined with cedar.  The outside could be in whatever wood he wanted.  I can’t tell you the name of the wood chosen, but I can tell you it is a beautiful piece and when I put the special oil on it the red really shines through.  Dad seems to always say something about the fact that it hasn’t fallen apart yet.

I notice this in myself too, when someone pays me a complement, or tells me that I am doing a good job.  Instead of saying “thank you” I downplay what they have said to me.  Not only does this take away their complement but it also causes them to think that since I didn’t take them seriously this time that next time, they just won’t say it.  I have been working on this over the years, practicing not automatically downplaying my abilities but also validating what the person said by saying “thank you” to the person.

I am in love with the process of doing things.  I am not in love with being the center of attention, or even getting attention at all, but I do need to be seen.  I used to think I would be ok if I was just the “behind the scenes” girl, but after doing that for such a long time I started to realize that I actually like it when someone notices that I have creativity too.  The problem of getting noticed is that people realize they like what you do and want more of it.  You can’t stay an “amateur” when people notice your skills.    In the book I am reading “That Sounds Fun” the author Annie F. Downs talks about the joys of being an amateur.  You can have fun in what you are doing, because you are doing it for yourself and to do just that, have fun.  When my daughter is drawing or painting or doing any type of creativity, she is doing it because it brings her joy.  She isn’t earning money for her projects, nor is she having people beating down our door for her creations (though I am still waiting for my original masterpiece from her that she is still “working” on).  She may one day do one or both of these things but for now she is happy to sit at the table for hours or hide away in her room to do the thing she loves. 

I love to push myself, to prove that I can do something.  As I was sweating bricks today trying to keep up with the super sweet but bossy trainer on my FitOn App, I realized that it wasn’t the trainer that was keeping me going, it was me.  The trainer is on my iPad.  I could turn her off at any moment, instead I choose to follow along because I know I will get energized later because I accomplished the workout.  I treat myself the same way when it comes to my Hospice and Palliative Care training, when I am playing the lead role in wife and mom, and when I try my hardest to train people at work to do the job they are being asked to do.  Even with all of this I am trying to remain an amateur.  I want to keep enjoying what I am doing.  It is not always easy because the kids do things their way, the co-worker doesn’t want to do their best, and there are days when I really do not want to do one more squat with a leg lift. 

In the world of knowing the latest and the greatest and posting the picture as soon as it is taken so that people can see you do actually do things, being and doing something just to do it starts to disappear.  Who says that the world needs to know that you just finished the exercise, or the painting, or that your child just scored a goal in soccer?  Why can’t it be that we stay in the moment and enjoy it.  When you come to my house, there are masterpieces everywhere.  I have pictures up painted by my kids when they were under the age of five.  I have a BBQ cover that my hubby built, that is creative and built solid.  I have paintings from friends and pictures that I have taken.  They are masterpieces to me because I know the story behind them.  I know they were created by amateurs just doing what they love, not for the glory.  They were created by people who sat down one day and thought “wouldn’t this be fun, or if I draw it this way, it can be built and look the way I want it to”.   Simple, fun, and for no fame.  Perfect.  The world is going to judge us for so many different things, so why not save some things for ourselves to enjoy without the world looking in?  Until next time:

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited for all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.

Albert Einstein

The Fickle Heart

The world in which my heart lives is such a fickle place. 

As I sit here in my work vehicle watching and waiting for my son’s soccer practice to be over, I know that if I really want to be truthful, I would love to already be at home getting ready to eat dinner.  Here I sit though because this is important to my little man, and he enjoys the game and being around other kids.  I find it silly that as they practice they have to be wearing masks.  They are outside and there are a total of maybe 10 kids plus the coach on this really big field that I will reiterate is outside.  The rules state though that masks must be worn and so the kids do. 

The year of the virus has been a tough one, I miss the hugs and the lunch dates, but I have enjoyed the kids home more and the fact that I can take them to work with me.  I love the differences we have as people, I love that some of us are good at sports and others love to quilt.  I love the hotheads and the ones that are so calm it’s strange.  I love that we have different opinions and that we all tend to live our lives in our own ways.  I love that even as I step into my own home I will hear a different language being spoken (my eldest daughter is learning German).  I love seeing that my cousin in California is a chef/personal trainer/woodworker.  I love all of this because it is what makes us all unique.  I would not want to be like someone else.

I am reading this book about a gal who writes a blog, she talks about deep down joy, but doesn’t necessarily always feel it.  I relate with her, now more than ever only because things are so mixed up in life right now.  I won’t say it’s bad, but there are days when I don’t really know who I am other than a mom, wife, vet tech, Christian, but deep down I am a bit lost, and then I go on a walk with my dogs and I start to see that I am me.  I love the new wonder of the dogs seeing a horse for the first time, or when as I am walking a motorcycle drives by and I get the urge to fly.  I love the sense of accomplishment when I finish a project, blog post or craft and I know deep in my bones that I got something from it, and that is all that matters. 

I sat in church on Easter Sunday having the hardest time not crying.  The songs that were being sung just hit right at the core of who I am.  They also showed my what I had let go, and made me think of ways that I could get back what I have lost.  I realized as I sniffled and blinked back tears, trying hard to just keep singing, that I am not the center of my universe.  I am not my own creation, at some point God thought of me and said I really want her to live, and I want her to know me, and so He made it happen.  The mystery gets lost to me sometimes when I am in the hustle and bustle of life and I am worrying about this or that.  I forget that all it takes is a whisper to reconnect me. 

My son’s practice is about to end, which means I will get to go home and enjoy the craziness of the household.  I know all too soon I will look back on these days and think of how simple they were.  We will have other crisis’s to live through and new worries to add to our thoughts, and in all of it, will I remember that I am a somebody or will my fickle heart let me think I am just what my titles are and nothing more?  I am hoping I will grow and move and enjoy the journey I am on, and realize that I am so much more than what I think I am.  Until next time:

You are under no obligation to be the person you were a year, a month, or even 15 minutes ago. You have the right to grow. No apologies

Happy Easter, the Day After

Easter egg hunts and candy galore.

For some this holiday is just about the candy, hunts and the all might bunny, for others (me included) it’s about saying “HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!” Last year right around this time churches were shut down with what seemed like the rest of the world. We had a virus going around that we didn’t seem to know a whole lot about and it scared us, due to the impact it was having on us humans and how quickly it was spreading. There is still that fear now, but a little more subdued because we know a little more about it and we have a vaccine that is helping. This year though, we got to celebrate as a church family together in church, and for me that is powerful. It helps me reset my selfish thoughts into more selfless ones, and to tell you the truth I need that more than just Easter but for at least this past Sunday I could get into the promise that Christ died for my sins and is alive!

Easter this year snuck up on me though, and to quite a few other people as well. Maybe it’s because it’s earlier in the month than normal, or that fact that I haven’t gone shopping in a while and when I finally did, it was for Easter candy and the store I was counting on for said candy was already 99.9% sold out. No need to panic right? I mean I did just say that this holiday is more about the promise that Christ is risen, but I will admit, Easter candy is some of my favorite candy. Oh and the Easter egg hunts I “make” my kids do so that they could find the elusive empty egg so they can run and tell me what the significance of the empty egg means so they can get a prize. Saturday my son and I did an Easter Egg Hunt that was put on by a local church. It was a driving scavenger hunt where we got another clue at the different places we drove to. We told each other we wouldn’t cheat and look at the answer on the back of the clue, and for the most part we held to that, with the exception of one time when we had gone to two different furniture stores to find out they were not the correct answer to the clue. We had fun, and Tyler got a big bag of candy at the end of the hunt. He is still at an age where doing these activities are still fun. My girls are just happy to go along with my shenanigans at home so that they have the appropriate sugar rush to welcome them into Monday.

So with how important the holiday is, do I act any differently on Monday. Do I go back to my selfish ways? Do I promise like New Year’s Resolutions to do better and be better? To be honest I have to answer yes to all of these questions. I wish I could say that I am perfect and I don’t make mistakes but I am so far from perfect. I screw up all the time. I promise myself I won’t yell at the kids when I am frustrated, but I still do. I promise to judge less, but then find myself wondering why someone I know doesn’t work as hard as I do. I try and read my Bible more and pray more, but then Instagram takes over. I try and not let guilt rule parts of my life but it has a way of sneaking in, when I have a weak moment. Christ died for me because I am a sinner, and I needed Him to and He knew that. As I tried to explain to my daughter a few times, perfection is not in my blood, nor is it in hers, but we are called to try. We are called to love and not judge. We are called to be humble, kind and have integrity. We are called to live with the hope of Easter in our hearts. The world will throw us every which way and cause us to doubt to our core. People will fail us, but with the hope of Easter in our hearts, we know perfection is not the end call, love is. I hope your Easter was filled with fun, eggs, yummy candy, and visits with family and friends. I hope that if you are a believer, you celebrated the holiday for what really represents. Happy Easter from my family to yours. Until next time:

But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us

Romans 5:8

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