Simple, but Powerful

I got to wake up this morning with Jorj snuggling my feet, and Charlie in between my hubby and I snuggled in as happy as can be. My two dogs get to live their lives knowing they are loved and cherished. Saturdays are made for sleeping in, and for our standards we did. By 7:30am we were up, Jorj had his medications (he’s an epileptic), Charlie had her sweater on (she has a layer of fur, and it gets cold here) and we were geared up and ready for our morning walk. It is amazing what a simple walk can do! This morning there was moisture in the air, it was a crisp and refreshing. As we were walking along the rain started to fall, slow and misty at first, then turning into bigger droplets that soaked my hair and made us realize that turning back was a good option, until we saw the rainbow. At first it was a half rainbow barely there, but as we turned to follow the road towards it, the rainbow became full. The colors were so vibrant and clear, the sky inside the rainbow arc was lighter than the sky outside of the arc. The rain came in gentle waves of sprinkles to bigger droplets. As we kept walking the second rainbow appeared, not as vibrant as the original but still as beautiful.

What a way to start the day! Thank you God for the beauty of the moment! As we stopped to take the pictures the horses that were in the pasture came out to say “Hi!” Jorj is such an easy going guy that he just let them do their thing, as Charlie decided to take on every single one of the horses, which luckily she couldn’t do very well, thank you fence line and calm horses. We headed back wet from the rain, but filled with joy for the day.

Once home I received a text from a dear friend of mine. She has three dogs that love to hunt, love to play and love to be around the family. One of the dogs though is in hospice care and doing well with the treatments she is getting. I got this text and a picture. It brought tears to my eyes because my friend’s dog is doing what she loves to do, yes it may be the last time she does the hunt but for the moment she is out in the woods, with her owner and the other dogs enjoying life. The picture was of her in a field, she is focused and doing what a hunting dog does. I wrote back to my friend telling her how wonderful it is that she and her hubby said yes to letting there sweet dog go. There is always the fears and worries that lay in the back of our minds about the “what if’s?” These worries and fears would be there if their dog was laying on the couch or out in the fields.

I was sad about the “last time” comment because it might actually be true, but it was the joy that Katie got to do what she loves that brought tears to my eyes. How many times do I not do what I would love to do because of worries and fears that overturn the anticipation of the thing I want to do. I have enough worries and fears to fill a dump truck, but I also have learned that the joy of trusting that God is in control overpowers the dump truck. Over the years I have gone places and tried new adventures all based on the fact that I will not let fear rule what I do.

I have to force worries away when it comes to my kids, with what they go through on a daily basis in school, on the internet in our home. I understand now why people who have already gone through the teenage years really don’t have the words to describe the process to newbie moms going into the teen years with their kids. I remind myself daily that I need to find the joy in everyday encounters and conversations I have with my kids. They want to talk to me about their interests, and with some encouragement they still do activities with the family.

It’s the simple I am noticing brings the most joy. A walk in the rain that brings you to a double rainbow. Horses that come out to say hello, and dogs who are happy to snuggle in or grab a toy for a game of tug o war. A simple text from a friend letting me see that her dog gets to enjoy life, and that they can let her do it because she is comfortable. Making a cake for my oldest child’s birthday. Sitting on the couch as the rain falls and the family starts to wake up. It’s hard to not let life get in the way of the simple, but even that is a choice, that once made is rest for the soul. Until next time:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

The Barn

So many things happen in a barn, traditionally it’s a place to house farm animals, and their food and supplies needed to keep them healthy and alive. We know barns to be the big, sometimes red, sometimes not but they are an iconic part of life in the country.

This past weekend I was able to go to a friend’s wedding. She decided to have it at a venue that boasted a barn for the ceremony. She decorated the area with the colors of fall, and cute little fairy lights, and of course all of this was a mere ten minutes away from town. Probably one of the best things about living where we live, if you want peace and quite and to go on a long drive we have country roads surrounding us that will give you what you need. My daughter and I jumped into the car to head to the wedding, I figured that we wouldn’t have to leave too early since the place was so close, but by the time we got there, drove (and slid) up the muddy road to the parking area, we arrived in enough time to get the last two seats in the very back. Since the barn wasn’t as big as most barns, and it was already packed full of their guests, we enjoyed the view from where we were. To me, it was the best view, I was able to catch the eye of all the bridesmaids as they walked passed, and when the doors opened to the beauty that was my friend it was worth sitting where we were. The barn though not warm (it was a stormy windy day that day) it was cozy and full of the love of family and friends. The barn was rustic but sweet, the ceremony was sweet, charming and very much rustic. It was perfect for the people that were getting married.

Barns are a place of refuge, animals are kept safe in times of storms. Part of moving out west was to claim your own land and if you brought animals with you, you had to make a place for them. Neighbors would come together to help “raise the barn”. Once it was built their would be potluck parties and get togethers for the community. Churches were sometimes held in a barn especially when there wasn’t another place for people to gather. It wasn’t unheard of to find someone sleeping in the hay loft.

Going even further back history a barn or sorts was used to house a young couple as they travelled for a census. With no room at any of the inns they were forced to stay with the animals. When the young lady was ready to give birth it was with these animals that she birthed her son. Even more remarkable was that the feeding trough was his bed. A barn, the most humble of places was the place where a special young woman gave birth to a Savior. How remarkable that a king would have a starting point with animals, donkeys, sheep, and probably some chickens. Not the most strong of animals. He could have been born with the mighty, instead he was born with animals considered meek and mild. The barn was a refuge, and the Savior still is.

When we were at the wedding, all squeezed into the barn there was a warmth, a joy and a happiness that could be felt. We were all there to support and love the young couple that was getting married. When we are left the barn for the reception area we had to find the warmth in other ways. We huddled next to each other, stood under the propane heat lamps, and some even snuck back into the barn to try and regain the warmth from the building. When we were together we were comfortable, separated not so much.

When we stray and separate from the Savior we find coldness and an emptiness that can only be filled when we humble ourselves and find our way back to Him. He was born in the humbleness of a barn. He was laid in a feeding trough, and only had animals around to use their body heat for warmth. He came into the world on lowly terms just to leave this world in the same way. We are to follow His example love as He loved and be humble as He is. Until next time:

This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger......so they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, an the baby, who was lying in the manger.  Luke 2:12-16

Control, is there really such a thing?

Two weeks ago I was minding my business getting ready for the day, the kids were almost out the door for school and my sweet hubby had just given my a kiss so that he could leave for work. I knew that once I was done with the routine I could sit down and do my devotion to really prepare myself. All was going according to plan. Heck even the receptionist’s first text of the morning to me was on time right (she works from home and sends all medical questions my way, since the doctor is off). I was 1/2 way through my morning when I got a phone call from the hospital manager, with the news that one of our staff members might have Covid. I need to stop what I am doing at the moment and re-evaluate my day.

At that moment it wasn’t a total loss of control but it was enough to where I felt it. Phone calls needed to be made to the people this person was around since they worked last. We all needed to be tested because the person had been around us at one point in the week (whether we were close to the person or not, we all got tested to make sure). Then we all had to wait. The schedules for the week had to be rearranged. Only a few of the staff members were able to get the Rapid test, so they knew right away, the rest of us had to wait. I like schedules, I like lists and to be able to check things off my list. I also like to be on the move. I get bored when I sit too long and I don’t feel productive. I was able to regain a little bit of control when I was able to mark off my list the people that were called, and the schedules that had been changed. By mid week we had two people (the doctor was one of them) that could work. By the end of the week the rest of us minus two were cleared to work. A little more control was given back.

While waiting for the results to come back for my test though, I was able to slow down. Be there when the kids got home. Granted I really couldn’t go anywhere but I learned that I don’t really like the desk job. I became much more thankful for my health, that I could go out to people (when cleared of course) and I could love on animals whenever I wanted. I was able to see the blessings when when I slowed down, and luckily the two people that did have Covid had mild cases.

Control is something that we all want but we also have to realize that it’s not something we actually obtain or have. There is always going to be change. Something that puts a hitch in the plan. The bus that shows up late and the kids need to be taken to school, the run with the dogs that might have been too long and now one has a limp, the ingredient in the cookies that wasn’t exactly correct and now the cookies are not the color you are used to (yes this has happened and my daughter almost threw out the whole bowl of cookie dough). The feeling that we can get when things are out of our control can be overwhelming. Parents all of the world probably know this feeling best when their toddler has a temper tantrum in the middle of the supermarket.

Having control is a powerful feeling, but it can destroy you. The anxiety, the worry, the stress that comes with always trying to maintain control can ruin someone. When I was a younger momma with only one child it was a bit easier to have a routine. When I went back to work it became more complex since my hubby and I worked opposite shifts so that we could take care of her. When we added onto our family the routine was more complex but still doable, until it wasn’t because the illusion of control was wearing away and controlled chaos was what was really happening. Things at work were more hectic, the kids needed more from us since they were older, and the stress of not seeing my hubby enough caused anxiety attacks. Change was needed.

I tried to maintain control during that who season of life. I wanted things to be a certain way and when they started to go another way I physically couldn’t handle it. That’s when a job change happened and I started to seek the one that could always maintain control. I started to read my Bible more, I slowed down, I did have to get help from my doctor for a short time. Life didn’t slow down I mean how could it with three young kids? But it did get into a routine of praying, reading my Bible, being there for my hubby and kids and learning that I needed me time.

I have learned a lot from those past days. I learned that when I feel out of control that when I am also not spending time with the Lord. There is a peace that comes when I stop, listen and talk with Christ. There is still chaos and there are many times when I want control but can’t obtain it. The kinks that the world likes to throw into my path will always be there. I can only control the way I react to them. So today I am going to get my day going, drink my Spark, read my Bible and plan for what I can do today but know that it may not turn out exactly how I plan, and that’s ok. Until next time:

Control is only an illusion, real control comes from the maker of heaven and earth. There is peace in that.

Hope for the Simple

I called my husband to let him know I was heading home soon. My son and I had an appointment and I was cutting it close on leaving work. To say this is not normal is sadly not true. It’s not even a thing of time management, it really comes down to the last minute patients and requests that come in that need to be cared for before heading out the door. My son being the good son that he is was waiting in the driveway to hope in the truck so that we could get to his school in a timely manner.

School conferences are important, I know they are. My husband and I haven’t missed one yet for any one of the kids. This year combining the three kids we have a total of eight conferences to go to. Some are in person while others are over Zoom. My son and I rushed to his tonight and let me tell you, it wasn’t boring. I love meeting the teachers and hearing how my kids are doing in school, but the meetings get to a certain point in which we are done talking, there are no questions to ask and we all just look at each other waiting for someone to say something. This is all in the timespan of five minutes because I have am lucky enough to have the kids that the teachers don’t really have anything bad to say about them. There are no complaints, they are good listeners, they help their classmates and they can be trusted. As a momma I love to hear these things especially when my kids are all these things at home but in a different light. I also always hope for the simple when it comes to the conferences because I know the older my kids get the less simple life is.

My middle child and my oldest, have more teachers to meet with and more subjects to talk about, but they also have mental health days, harder classes, identity issues, and classes they want or didn’t get to discuss. We get to find out how good or bad they really are doing in their classes. This is when I hope for the simple, I actually crave it. I think about how much I would love to have a conference like my girls had when they were in elementary school. No world issues, no classes they didn’t get or subjects they didn’t understand.

As a momma I want to gather my kids up like a mother hen does her chicks and protect them from the world. By doing this they don’t get to experience life, they don’t get to have the thrill of an adventure. I think back to when I was their age and if my momma tried to do that to me I would have resisted and fought to have my independence. But oh! I now know how my momma must have felt with the decisions we made.

I don’t know if there really is a thing as “simple”, no matter how much I want to hope for it. Work will always be busy, the kids will make decisions that will make me want to wonder “what were they thinking?”. Life is not simple. There are simple moments, simple projects and recipes to follow. Jesus is simple.

The more and more that I hope for simple, hope for peace, hope for more joy, I have to step back and look at the life I am living. What am I doing to help make my job easier vs. harder? The one thing I always come back to is this: the more I rely on myself to live the life I strive for the more I stress about obtaining that life. When I make time to be quiet with the Lord, read the Bible and actually pray (not just quickly say a short prayer and leave), there is peace and simplicity. My problems don’t go away, the craziness of life stays crazy, but the change comes from knowing that I don’t have to shoulder it all on my own. What’s better is that there is this inner peace that I get immediately. That is a simple hope that is simply gotten.

I have had to come to the realization over the years that you can’t force people to believe the way you do or think the way you think. They are going to have their or thoughts, beliefs and opinions. This isn’t something new, what is new though is that my kids are starting to realize that they have different thoughts, opinions and beliefs than their parents. It’s a change that takes getting used for sure, and it opens up the paths that they will take to becoming adults. So I pray for wisdom, peace and that they will not have to stumble over their chosen paths, but instead find a way to hope for their own kind of simple. Until next time:

Simply put, there isn’t anything in this world that is simple.

Highlighting the Good

Last weekend I took two of my kids to a new dirt bike trail at our local park. The school district had sent out flyers advertising that if kids wanted to try it out they would have bikes available during a certain time with people helping. My son and his friend wanted to do it so badly so we loaded up the bike and met his friend there. The park system did a really good job of laying out these trails having a beginner, intermediate and advanced sections. We of course had Tyler try out the beginner first just to get the lay of the land. His friend was a bit more adventurous and blazed through that section and proceeded to go to the next level. For Tyler this was a mind over matter situation. He had to focus on the now and not remember that a couple of years ago he fell off his bike doing a trail like this. Let’s just say the matter won over the mind. He did the trail a couple of times but we had to halt his attempts because he would not keep his feet on the peddles.

The next day we tried again and brought Leah along. So much better! Tyler kept his feet on the peddles and went through the course. Leah was made to ride these trails, she loved it. She even seemed happy walking up the hill to the start of the trail, so I thought why not take a picture. It was after that I was told that she had a meeting, her bike, her body and the soft but not so soft earth. She decided she would quit for the day, we would fix her bike and try again. The smile on the kids’ faces though, and how excited Tyler was to show Leah the track was worth it.

The times that I get to spend with my kids is really a treasure. We are away from each other all week long, so the weekends are what we have for doing things fun. We have mud runs, color runs, bike trails, and lake visits under our belts. We have game nights, walks and doing projects around the house as well. I am told I am lucky that my kids still want to do stuff we me and my hubby and that they actually want to involve us in their lives. I want to shield the kids from negativity and bad in the world but I am not superwoman, so what I can do is keep talking with them and pray for them. The other day I was told about a tic tok sight that highlights the “stupid” stuff that kids will do. All I could think is how sad. Why would you want to focus on what people do wrong? Why do we want to know when people mess up, when they make a wrong decision? Why wouldn’t we want to celebrate with people when good happens?

How cool would it be to have a tic tok that says things like “Hey did you see those kids picking up trash around our school?” or ones that highlight the high school kid that walked home with the elementary school kids? I cringe when my kids tell me about the whispers they hear from other kids talking about what someone is wearing, how they are wearing it. Highlight instead that people are different, that they are ok with who they are.

Our minds seem to focus more on the bad than good, we literally have to change our thoughts to see the good. This last Saturday my son and I took a walk. We put Charlie’s sweater on (she is a pittie that has one layer of fur and seems to freeze when the temp gets below 60). Harnessed up Jorj and set out. You know what happened? Tyler and I talked. We walked. We enjoyed the fact that the air was crisp and clear (our summer was a smoked filled summer) We enjoyed the fact that our blood was flowing and that we got some exercise in. Our days are getting shorter and colder as we proceed into the fall and winter months. Staying inside is something I tend to do more of because of the annoying cold. So I will enjoy the times I have outdoors, and when the time comes to hibernate I will do as much as I can.

Focusing on the good is healthy for the mind, body and spirit. In Philippians 4:4-9 Paul is in prison, he is chained to a Roman soldier, he is in a place where most people would think only on the bad, they would feel sorry for themselves and would not be focusing on the positive that is for sure. Paul instead focuses on encouraging others when he writes:

Rejoice in the Lord always (not sometimes). Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men, The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in Everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy---meditate on these things.  

The Waiting

It seems so easy sometimes to just let things wait, but when you are forced into waiting things get a bit more difficult. This last week I was forced into a state of waiting. I had to once again go and get the test done for COVID since I was near someone that was positive. This meant that I had to wait. I had to wait for the test, the results and then wait to hear if anyone else was positive. It isn’t hard to wait, but when you don’t know the end results the stress has a habit of filling up some of that time. The wait doesn’t mean that I am idle though, phone calls needed to be made and appointments changed. I talked with a friend of mine who had to quarantine, because she was positive, which is a type of wait I wouldn’t want to do.

Waiting has so many good qualities too. Waiting to see when a friend can visit, waiting for the paint to dry anticipating the next stroke, even when waiting for the cookies to be done baking helps get you ready for the first bite. The problem with waiting is when you are told to wait. Think of it like this:

You plan a fun weekend trip for your family. You have planned for it, you know it is right around the corner but there are a few obstacles you have to get through before you can go. The first one is telling your kids for the the umpteenth time that they have to be patient, that the weekend will only get here so fast. Your nerves are on edge because they won’t leave you alone about it, but you have to keep telling them to wait. You have to do it in the right way though, they are just as excited as you are but they are just not comprehending that it will take the week to get through and the weekend won’t get here any quicker with the amount of questions they have. They just have to wait.

This week I had to wait, the week long plans and schedules all had to be put on hold. The uncertainty was stressful. I had to choose to enjoy the wait, work through the wait or complain about the wait. Admittedly I started out with complaining. I don’t like change much and I had to change my whole week, plus there were people that were relying on me to be there for them and I couldn’t, that didn’t sit well. Have you ever noticed the phenomenon of everything blowing up right at the time when you can do nothing about it? It felt like this week was the week of mishaps for a lot of animals, we had a skeleton crew at our hospital and the doctor really could only do so much. Mix this with people who are frantic about their pets and it can be somewhat of a nightmare. Added to the wait was an injured friend and two people I work with being sick. Not so fun. I chose to work through the wait and enjoy the extra moments I had with my family and pets (though I didn’t get too close to them). Working from home can be a little difficult when you are in a service based business. I mean I can’t cut a dog’s nails through the computer.

Have you ever had those moments where you are so excited to tell someone your happy news but you had to leave a message or you text them and they don’t respond right away. Ugh! The wait. What’s great about this type of waiting is you know when they finally listen or text back there will be excitement in their voices and they will want to celebrate with you. I remember when I passed my Hospice and Palliative Care Certification program I didn’t realize that I was theoretically holding my breath waiting for the test results to come in. When I got them I let out the sigh and started calling the people that had been supporting me. I got through my list and the last person I called I had to leave a message. I didn’t hear back from this person for a few days (they were out camping), but when they called it was so awesome to relive the excitement. It was so worth the wait.

We always seem to want things now, now, now, and if it’s not there when we want it we get upset. We have gotten to the point where we feel entitled to have what we want when we want it. This mentality can take away the joy of the wait. Would you want an artist to go quicker than normal to give you a painting you ordered? No you would want it done well, knowing the final outcome will be worth the wait. We are not supposed to go at this neck breaking speed all the time. We are called to rest. To wait, to find joy in the silence and the beauty around us. If we are so busy rushing and speeding by we miss the magic around us. As I was doing my devotion this morning, I was trying to find the joy in the silence after ending my prayer for the day. I tried to clear my head and focus on the silence and take it all in. Let me tell you I didn’t quite find the joy in the waiting for peace. I got fidgety and started to let my mind wander to what needed to be done for the day. I missed the wait. I missed time spent in blessed peace (the house was empty except the pets). This week I could have done done the road of really just enjoying the waiting process. I could have started a project, got creative, read a book all day. I wish I could say I accomplished the waiting process, but I admit waiting is not my strong point. I am a work in progress, but when I really sit down to think about it the wait is worth it. Until next time:

Take time to breathe, in through the nose, out the mouth. Feel the healing affects of each breath. Slow down, relax and enjoy the moments you have with yourself and the Lord.

Finding Joy in the Simple

Lately I have been feeling lack of peace, but the kind of peace that comes with being ok with the world around me. I find that when I start to think more of myself, and think that I am better than those around me I don’t have peace or the joy that comes with it.

I am very much a person who likes things done, not necessarily in a certain order, but in a certain time frame. When it comes to the household if a pile has been left in a room for longer than an hour I notice, but when it has been a day or more I say something to the person that owns the pile and then I create a timeline in my head of how long it takes for that said person to take care of the pile. If it takes longer than a week for the pile to get taken care of I start the process of taking care of it myself which usually means the items end up in areas that their owners probably don’t want. I fail to realize that the pile might of stayed in the location longer I thought it should have because the person is using the items for a project, or they are trying to get through a busy week and just didn’t get to them when they thought they should. I let t he pile rob me of my peace and joy because it was something that bothered me more than it bothered the person who owned it. I was on the internet a little bit ago and I saw this video where this lady every morning had to pick her husband’s shorts off the floor. At first she was annoyed by it and kept making the comments that she wasn’t his momma and that he should pick up after himself. Then a friend of hers lost her husband, and while they visited over coffee her friend made the comment that she missed even doing the little things she used to do for her husband. What hit me most was that the first gal was seeing the inconvenience of the piles of the cleaning up after people, while the second gal, though she went through pain to see it was missing the joy of taking care of her husband.

Joy can be found in the simple, the sweet hello from your hubby when you wake up in the morning. It can come from knowing you finished a job and you did a good job doing it. It can come from knowing you held your tongue when you really wanted to say something but you were not in the right frame of mind. When I go to work a have a few main focuses. The main one is to make sure the patients I see that day are not only taken care of but that they feel special (ok so I work with animals literally all day long so just giving an extra pat on the head, or scrinch behind the ear is all it takes). After that my focus is to to my other duties well and then make it home by a decent hour. When you work in vet medicine you have a schedule that is given to you but on some days it feels more like a guideline than an actual schedule. So sometimes the focus can be more on getting the job done so that you can actually make it home for dinner, rather than finding the joy in having a really awesome job. Fridays tend to be that way for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Fridays but I tend to get testy towards the end of the day when some co-workers don’t do what I feel they should be doing to make it so we all can get out of there at a decent time. I get into the mentality that I just need to do it all so that things get done. Wow! Have I put myself on the pedestal! I am not any better than anyone I work with, and when I start to feel and act like I am my joy is robbed from me and it shows in how I interact with those around me. I mumble under my breath, I am snarky, I coat my words with kindness but underneath they are not so kind.

Joy comes in the simple things. Knowing that I am caring for the animals that come into the hospital. Knowing that I am care for my family. Knowing that I am caring for my friends. Knowing that I am not enough, that with God I can be. When I focus on what others are doing wrong I put myself above them. I see them through a lens that I shouldn’t be using. Joy comes from looking ahead to the Cross vs. looking to the left and the right and seeing things of this world. I am working on myself, working on spending more time on fixing myself with the help of prayer and looking for the simple joys around me. Joy comes from turning off the phone on the weekend, spending quality time with my family, reading the Bible not just books written about the Bible, observing the quiet but enjoying the noise. Joy comes from the simple, when we chose to step back and away from the daily grind and take in the completeness of God, and blessings He gives. Joy comes from stepping off the self made pedestals, getting out of the “me, me, me” mentality and seeing that there is more in this world than just me. I am a constant work in progress but becoming a God centered person rather than a “me” centered person will increase my Joy tenfold and that is worth working for. Until next time:

Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world---the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-----is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.    1 John 2:15-17

The Laughter

It was quiet and calm before you guys came home!

My daughter, son and I went to church tonight and left my hubby and other daughter at home to do whatever it is they decided to do. When we got home the level of energy and noise grew a few octaves and Tim made sure we knew it was because we came home. This only meant he had to listen a bit more intently to the game he was playing. I am ok with that.

Major and minor disturbances happen all the time in our lives, we just have to figure out how to deal with them. Right before church started I looked down at my wedding ring and noticed one of the side diamonds fell out. I did a little freak out in my mind as I told my daughter that I needed to head back to the bathroom to see if I could find the gem. Just short of crawling around on the bathroom floor I decided that it would be futile, the gem was small and I couldn’t say if I lost it while in the car or walking to the front of the church, the bathroom or the sanctuary. Even Tabby looked at me and said “mom, I think it’s a lost cause”. I knew it was but I didn’t want to admit it. I also knew that if I kept thinking about the loss of the diamond I would miss out on the worship and the Bible study to follow. The diamond would be replaced but the time spent with the Lord couldn’t be.

As we headed home, the kids talked as I once again let myself get lost in the moment that at that very moment my kids were not fighting and they were actually having a conversation. Charlie our perpetual puppy met us at the door with a toy in the mouth and a whip of a tail going crazy. She even squints when she pretzels herself and slaps her face with the tail of death. Cue the laughter. Charlie and Leah my middle child don’t get along really well. Leah could look at Tabby wrong and Charlie will feel the need to come to her rescue. So when Charlie allowed Leah to grab a hold of the rope toy and they started to play tug of war we all took notice. This wasn’t just a simple one time game, they were all out pulling against each other and Leah at least a few times was able to drag Charlie across the floor, only to drag Leah back to where the carpet is and the traction is greater. Tabby tried to join in but it was truly a game between Leah and Charlie. Jorj tried to join in but with the lack of rope and Leah screaming and laughing that her hand was going to get bit off he didn’t try too hard. The game finally ended when Leah gave in to her hand hurting from holding the rope toy so tightly. Charlie looked on smugly with the toy being held down by her paw. Charlie 1, Leah 0.

Charlie gloating with her toy, Jorj sadly looking on

The best part: the laughter. Leah was laughing, Tabby was laughing and I of course had to join in. These girls deal with seriousness way too much. The roles they play at school and at home are quite the load to bear. All too often they have to be careful of what they say, how they say it, what they wear, how they wear it and if the kid behind them on the bus approves of all of this. They are both so unique and yet the same in what they have to go up against each day. They find ways to laugh with each other though, and they have a secret code/language for each other. They stand up for each other, the best thing is they can find their giggles still like they did as kids. It might be a bit more rough now, at this very moment they Leah is sitting on Tabby telling her she just needs to suffer as they share the picture Leah just took of Charlie.

Charlie the perpetual puppy

A good hearty ‘chuckle the kind that makes your stomach hurt can be soothing for the soul. Listening to your loved ones laugh can make your heart soar. Joy comes from laughter too. When the people around you feel secure enough to laugh with you or around you, there is joy. Charlie our puppy is skittish at times, she needs a confident person to be her person and she thrives with our Jorj dog being the strong, mellow type. Laughter is contagious and healing. I forget the stress when I am in the moments joy and chuckles. Finding the joy, will bring peace, strength and the moments of laughter can abound. Until next time:

Always find a reason to laugh. It might not add years to your life, but surely will add life to your years.

Mud Bath Anyone?

You know those annoying ads that you get when you go onto social media? The ones for clothes you won’t wear, the ads for weight loss systems that are based on research that has been around forever but is now the best thing for losing that last 10 pounds? I am one that gets caught up in the active ads. The ones that prompt you to sign up for that run that makes you go through powered color, or bubbles of all things.

I was on a family trip this summer in which I get a text from my hubby (he couldn’t come because of work). He had seen an ad about a obstacle course that was only 3 miles long and could be something that our family could do together. So I jumped up from my super cozy couch and went on the search for the kids. My oldest was like “Nah, that’s too much exercise” where the middle and youngest were all for it. So I sat down and looked up how to get signed up. Good thing I signed up right then and there because I got a sale price that was slightly less that half my paycheck to sign up (at least it felt like it). I texted the hubby that we were all signed up, then headed with the kids to the lake.

The week before the obstacle course, we realized there was a little more planning we would have to do before heading over to the race site. The actual race would bring us through different obstacles like cargo net walls, a wall that required a rope to get over it, “live wire” crawls, and army crawls under nets. Most of these were done with lots, and lots of mud. So we needed to plan. The race was about 1 1/2 hr away, we would need trash bags for the clothes afterwards, gallons of water to get the mud off (yes there was a “shower” at the race, but there were also a lot of people using said showers), and clean clothes to change into. Oh and we had to convince the middle child without actually convincing her that she wanted to do this race. By the time we left we had all that required items and we had two kids mostly convinced they wanted to do this obstacle course.

The race day was a hot 90 degree day. Our race waves were late morning and the only “food” available at the location was Hawaiian ice. Our son did the kid race by himself, at the finish line he reported that it was fun, he didn’t do all of the obstacles but that the mud was “wet and a bit cold”. Our middle child decided at this point she would do the race but wasn’t planning on staying with me and the hubby. Our race time came, the announcer told us repeatedly where the showers were, to follow the yellow cones and then had us do the countdown. We were off! True to her word Leah left us. I was determined to do all the obstacles I could physically do, so I managed 6 out of the 8 of them. Tim was determined to get as much mud on himself and others as he possibly could. Our course had to be done twice to get the full 5k. We managed great until the first mud obstacle. The kids race stirred up the mud for the rest of us, so it was slick, it was mushy, and it took a hold of your shoes and for some would not let go. We got through the first round with both our shoes on, mud in my nose and Tim managed to get the people in front of us muddy on their backsides.

The second go through was a bit more challenging. We found running really wasn’t going to happen. Mud puddles also have rocks. That was what was in our shoes. Those obstacles we had to do again, well this time it was with mud in our shoes, caked on our arms, legs and hands. It was also on everyone elses that went before us so we had that on the obstacles themselves. By the time we got to the mud obstacles there was a lot more shoes piled on the side and I swear the puddles were deeper than before. We made it though! We both got medals, Leah and Tyler made it and got their medals, we got our before and after pictures and then made it to the showers in which we just made the mud into mud puddles but didn’t really succeed it getting the actual mud off of us.

It was a fun day to say the least. We had some tired kids afterwards, parents too. I knew that I would feel the effects of the course in the following days but it was so worth it. The next time the hubby mentions something like this I might suggest another type of mud bath though. One that is supposed to relax and moisturize vs. cake on and claim shoes as it’s own. My hubby and I know that our kids are getting older and eventually we won’t have these moments with them. Already we have to convince them that they’ll have fun if they just try it. I love my family and I love doing stuff with them, so if it’s mud obstacle courses over mud baths then so be it, I’ll have time later on in life to exfoliate and rehydrate my skin. Until next time:

All you can do is try, try and be a listening ear, try and be a shoulder to cry on, try and be the one they have fun with, try and encourage and cheer on. If you are actively trying to do these things then you are doing the best you can do.

Finally Back!

Oh how I have missed you!

Four weeks ago, Wednesday afternoon, I was looking at my schedule for the rest of the day and thought, Yes! I will be able to go home at a decent time and I will be able to get to the midweek church service. By 4:30 all that changed with a phone call. A dog in need needed to have surgery to help save his life. This was crunch time and something had to be done. The owners wanted to do whatever could be done to save their beloved pet. The surgery lasted two hours from start to finish and by the time we were done the day was longer than the hours I normally sleep at night. The next day brought another emergency surgery for a little cat that had fallen out of a tree.

The next Wednesday was the same song and dance, once again hopeful to get home at a decent hour, another animal needed help. After a surgery to fix a wound that a barbed wire created the dog was able to go home that same night but it was after normal business hours. By the time we all went home I was humbly acknowledging that my Spark drink that I have every morning would possibly have to be doubled up just so that I could make it through the coming day.

This last week brought yet another pet that was in need of emergency surgery. I absolutely love my job. I love that I get to be the nurse that helps a beloved pet wake up after a surgery. I love that I get to snuggle a pet close when they feel scared. I love being a part of a team that brings comfort, brings health, brings relief to animals and their parents. I would not trade my job for any other job. It does come with sacrifices, sleep is one of them. As I was leaving work yesterday (yet another Wednesday) the doctor and I barely missed another emergency. Luckily for this sweet little dog her owners were quick to see there was a problem and acted accordingly. Lets just say dark chocolate and little dogs do not go hand in hand. By the time the little pooch left our hospital she was a little more black (thank you activated charcoal), she had fluids to help her stay hydrated and she had a dad who was more than happy to throw away any other dark chocolate in his house.

I got to go to church last night though! I got to hear about Isaac and Rebekah, and how with prayer and belief things happen. I was able to sit with my daughter and have my son go to the children’s service. Dinner with the family happened and I was able to sit on the couch and have the cat come say “Hi!” I was able to sit with my girls in the living room, listen to my hubby fix the shoes that should have been thrown away already. I was able to watch as my son did everything in his power to stall cleaning his room. I finally got to be there! I have been struggling lately with not knowing what to say or do when I am confronted with something. I think I am listening more with what people say than what God says. I think I have put my efforts more in my work and family than with my faith and my conversations with God. I plan on changing that, day by day, effort by effort. I am finally back! Until next time:

A house divided against itself will not stand. Jesus knows our thoughts, our hearts. Don’t harden your heart, we are who we hang out with, what we read, what we listen to, what we buy into.

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