This time of year

This time of year, the days get shorter, there are fewer sunrises and sunsets that I see and I often walk into work when it’s still pitch black.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker last week. We both have lovely memories of fall–she having a birthday, me celebrating an anniversary. But life has dealt us each hands that are not so favorable in our favorite month of October.

Not only does this time of year spark so many fun memories–pumpkin patches, hayrides, fall festivals, costumes, pumpkin spice everything, apple crisp–it also holds some very bittersweet memories. Memories that aren’t always documented with a photo.

This time of year, I recall the Saturday morning we spent waiting on breakfast at Josie’s and saw one of the sweetest transactions that renewed my faith in the human spirit.

This time of year, I recall the joy in sharing we were expecting a baby in October 2015.

This time of year, I recall the phone calls to and from the nursing home where my Mom lived her last days on this earth before being admitted to the hospital.

This time of year, I think of my best friend who works for The Breeder’s Cup.  I recall her bringing a gorgeous white poinsettia to the hospital after the races that was decorated for fall to cheer my Mom up.

This time of year, the tears come at unexpected moments. Right before bedtime on a Saturday night. Watching a particular movie. Making the apple crisp.

This time of year is not easy. Most of these moments aren’t things we really want to remember, however, they are forever marked in our minds. In our hearts.

But I’m reminded that my Mom is whole. She is no longer suffering. You can’t really capture that.

If you’ve been around me at all, you know that I’m passionate about authenticity, self-care and not just publishing the highlight reel, but the everyday, mundane reel. That’s why I’m going to be honoring a mundane Thursday with #OneDayHH tomorrow.  Laura Tremaine started this a few years ago.  I love seeing the timestamped documented day from dawn to dusk. To be honest–I don’t know if all the usual suspects I follow will be participating. But what I know is that 2 years ago, I participated for the first time.  2 years ago, I looked at the mundane of a Tuesday as I navigated the busiest time of my professional year alongside my mom being in the hospital and what I didn’t know was entering the last 11 days of her life on this side of eternity.

I took a photo that is beautiful yet still haunts me. I didn’t realize it would be one of the last photos I took of my Mom. But I’m forever grateful that I took it. And even shared it. And just like two years ago, I don’t know exactly what tomorrow will hold. I know what’s on my calendar. I know I’ve got some friends with exciting things happening. I know I’ll go to work. Lots of mundane. Will you slow down…take some pics of the boring stuff…and realize that every moment of life is sacred if we take the time to see it as such?

Join me won’t you?

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One month of being a mom

I’ve been a mom for over a month now. It seems so odd since I’m currently sitting in my bedroom alone, the beau at work, pumping to give my daughter breast milk to make her strong. No cries in our home. Nursery still isn’t done. Heck-we haven’t gotten the first bit of furniture. But I’m a mom. 

But what I know-and what I was taught by experience-is how to be a caretaker. To call the hospital to check in every night. To build relationships with the nurses and doctors. To know sometimes sleep and self care is just as important-and necessary-to survive. 

I learned all those things from my mom. She was teaching me about motherhood all along. 

What I also know is that God has given me more than a glimpse of his faithfulness in sweet June. Not only has she been a rockstar growing in the NICU, but she gives me a little glimpse of my mom every day. Countless Friends and acquaintances–some who only knew her through social media pictures- have commented on how June resembles my mom. 

  

Her wide set eyes and the bridge of her nose. Her little delicate eyelids and those sweet little forehead wrinkles all scream my mom. 

What I also hear them saying over and over is that God is real. I’ve always been a believer of God when I look at creation. The trees, wind, mountains and waves of the ocean beckon me to believe that God is real and he is who he says he is. But looking at these pictures,  I have to believe even in those moments when I doubt (and believe me, I still have those moments) because I can’t look at those faces and say God doesn’t exist. God is tenderly carrying me through this season of grief and celebration. Fear and faith. Questioning and belief. I’m clinging to belief and faith and celebration. God has been too good to us not to believe. 

Maybe you’re in a season of grief and fear and questioning. It’s ok. Just know beyond it all God loves you. 

And if you want to dive more into who God is and why we believe,  join me for. Study of the Nicene Creed with the new IF: Gathering app. www.ifgatheringapp.com

  

{miscellany monday}: july 15

Linking up with Carissa at lowercase letters for miscellany monday…excited about a new way to keep writing…it is therapeutic and I miss it. 

  • Filofax.  I mean.  Where to begin.  I saw this post from my girl Kristi on instagram about her faux filofax she snagged at a local supermarket.  After some digging, I realized that there is a whole world (literally, filofax is created in the UK and most of the obsession with it is international) of filofax obsessed folks out there.  It’s like I’ve found this new tribe of people who speak my language.  With all the changes happening in life, I needed something to help managee that so I snagged the same faux filofax at the same supermarket as MommaKristi and bam–we are off.  I’m loving it, the way it works as my wallet and organizer and that I get to decorate the pages each week.  I just need something to keep me happy in the little things during this crazy season!

    filofax love

    filofax love

  • Remember those big changes?  Well, they are here–my sweet Mama has moved to Kentucky!  She’s been here a week and things are going pretty well.  If you’re interested, I’m updating her progress here.

    Mama D

    Mama D

  • There is a Dunkin Doughnuts close to where my mom is in Lexington.  They offer $1 any sized iced drinks from 3-6pm.  Needless to say this has been my reality more than I’d like to admit. Iced Coffee. Cream. SugarFree Caramel. Delish.

    Mmmmm

    Mmmmm

  • In addition to the filofax, I got this awesome little cash wallet from A Time for Everything to help with the budget.  Absolutely love the pattern I was able to pick out and so far it’s really helping keep our cash management in control (while being stylish!)

    a time for everything!

    a time for everything!

  • We spent time in Virginia with family over the 4th before bringing my mom back to Kentucky.  We also visited some of our favorite spots in Roanoke since it’ll likely be a while before we are back to visit.  Thelma’s Chicken and Waffles, the Roanoke Farmer’s Market and a double visit to our latest Favorite, The River and Rail.  Amazing food. Amazing drinks. Amazing company.
    love

    love

    PS-We also had breakfast with Gangee that morning…

    Gangee

    Gangee

#honesty-day #2

So, yesterday I mentioned that some local pals of mine are venturing to write daily for 30 minutes each day in the month of August.

I’m not giving myself any parameters other than that.  Do I hope that some of those pages will come out in this blog.  Absolutely!  Do I know that some of the writing may just be too raw, too hard to put in this space?  Absolutely!  This post actually teeters in that direction, but hearing myself speak of vulnerability, I’m going with it.

Day Numero 2

What I do want to gain in these 30 days  is the practice of a discipline that I LOVE but don’t make the time for.  If I can squeeze in these 30 minutes doing this fun, life-giving, creative thing, then I absolutely should be able to carve out time to do some other fun (okay, not always), life-PRESERVING things.

Enter #honesty.

The beau and I used to joke about this a few years ago.  In our written communication, we would utilize the twitter hash-tag phenom that was new on the scene at the time for anything that we needed to say that might sound a little brazen, a little rash.  You see, I’m a sensitive soul.  I wear my feelings on my sleeve.  And that, my friends, gets me in trouble from time to time.

But with #honesty, I feel like all bets are off from my feelings getting crushed.  It’s like that story I once heard of a couple that anytime having a “discussion” on difficult subjects, they would both wear Rudolph noses.  It’s hard to take yourself too seriously when the person staring back at you has a very shiny nose.

Lately, I’ve needed to put on that nose to have a hard conversation with myself.  As mentioned a few posts ago, I’m tired of constantly feeling like the excuse of “life has thrown us curve-balls lately” has been all I ever say.  Life has thrown some our way, but we by no means are exempt.  We by no means are the only ones in our circle of friends or teams of co-workers who are finding themselves in non-ideal situations.  If you follow my Mom’s blog, you know about the roller-coaster ride we have been on for the past 3 months.  But I’m sure as you’re sitting there at your office desk, or in your pj’s on the couch, or on your phone running errands during lunch, you’re thinking of your own “thing.”  Your own curve-ball.  You may be driving back to it–at home or at the office.  You may be staring at it–in the faces of loved ones or the face in the mirror rattled with sickness.  You may be sitting in the very midst of this roller coaster ride, screaming to get off, because you were not tall enough to ride, but you feel you’ve been forced in, buckled in and there is no escape.

#honesty.  Do I feel that I’m mature enough to handle all that goes with caring for an ailing parent?  No.

#honesty.  Am I scared about what the future holds for my marriage thinking about the beau going back to school, working full time?  Absolutely.

#honesty.  Do I feel restless, even though I feel that I’ve grabbed hold of the vision God has for my life?  Yes.

#honesty.  Am I saddened when I see myself in full-length mirrors?  ….Yes

So what do we do with these honest assertions of life?  How do we manage them?

My mantra over the past three months, but really the past 3 years is that I’m just “taking it day by day” or “we’ll figure it out”.

But what if taking it day by day means that there is no motivation to get out of bed to go run at 4:00am doesn’t come?

What if day by day means that finances seem all over the place?

What if day by day means that it’s been months without a date night?

Day by day HAS to coincide with figuring it out. It is not an OR, but an AND.  They are not left to be isolated statements.  

Figuring it out might mean that you have to become a control freak for a season.

Figuring it out may mean that you say No to lots of things you want to say Yes to.

Figuring it out may mean that you are saying Yes to things you’d rather say No to.

Figuring it out may mean getting less sleep.

I’m still determining what this means for me.  Still figuring it out.  Figuring out how to take it one day at a time and still meet those goals.  Make it up for that run.  Care for Mom in the way she most deserves.  Be intentional with that friendship.  Do the best at my job.  Be the best wife I can be.  I will figure out how to integrate these life-preservers.

Be well,

How do you take it day by day AND figure it out?

Weekly Roundup-February 24, 2012

Goals:

  • Physical–It’s been a good week.  This week’s running schedule was a little lighter as compared to last week’s 8 miler to cap the week.  Speaking of that 8 miler–I did finish it.  Man—what a feeling of accomplishment and exhaustion all wrapped up into one 1/2 hour of laying on the couch with my legs elevated after it was over.  I know that continuing to lose some pounds will help out with some of the pain I’ve been experiencing in my knees.  I’ve been a little more lax in my eating –still eating “Paleo”, but with more choice meals and items than I know is good for me.  That will definitely be reigned in as I’ve seen such a difference in my energy level, my weight and just overall temperament this week.
  • Spiritual–I’ve put The Circle Maker on a bit of a hold to read a book I ordered so that I could participate in an online book club over at The Clothes Make The Girl for The Gifts of Imperfection.  Man–it is similar to One Thousand Gifts, in that I want to make this a book I read multiple times a year.  The author, Brene Brown, is a researcher at the University of Houston, but there have been so many spiritual “a-ha” moments, its’ just crazy. One thing I think is so neat is just the way that God chooses to echo certain things over and over and over in your life.  Right now, it’s all about the darkness and the light. In the [somewhat] words of Kari Jobe, “I am the light of the world–I am a city on a hill…”  I wasn’t able to go to an Ash Wednesday service this week which made me very sad, but I had some great discussions with some students about it.  Being that I’m giving up one of my major vices, I’ve had to retrain the folks at the local establishments I visit that my ‘”regular” order will be sans my favorite beverage for a while. More on this to come…
  • Creative–Still at a standstill in this area.  But, I did read a great thought on creativity last night in The Gifts of Imperfection that really got me motivated. Brene says “If creativity is seen as a luxury or something we do when we have spare time, it will never be cultivated.”  (p.97). Talk about being convicted for “lack of time” for projects!  I must make this a priority to cultivate my giftedness–whether that is blogging, crafting or letter writing.
  • Home--Things just feel so much “homier”–it’s amazing what real furniture, lamps and some intentional home-care will do.  We still have some projects that need finishing, but I’m hopeful to have some updates on those soon.  And I was reminded that I really need to post some photo updates of our hose on the blog–I can’t believe that hasn’t happened yet!  Perhaps that will be a project I tackle in March–I only have a few days to finish my February project!  This week we began implementing our daily cleaning blitz and so far, I think it’s gonna be really great for us to make sure our home is clean on a consistent basis.  When you live in an older home you are renovating, in the beginning it just NEVER feels clean, but since it’s feeling more like home, it’s just become more obvious how dirty our old home can get. 🙂  We take 15, 20, 30 minutes (really just depends on if we have dinner in the oven and how long that will take) and tackle an area of our home.  We just do this three days a week, but I feel it’s going to make a huge impact.  One day is surfaces, the next day is floors and the last day is bathrooms and just general “picking up” prior to the weekend when we’re more likely to have folks over.
  • Personal–Been a bit of an “off” week for me–very pendulum swinging from super slow to oh-my-gosh-how-did-my-day-become-so-crazy-am-I-gonna-survive?  I’m looking forward to a nice Sabbath rest on Sunday. And some crafting.

Mom Update: Mom was moved to a different room this week and has a roommate now!  I think this will be really great for her–we all can get lonely from time to time and being in a situation like she is, I’m sure it’s only compounded.  There are always adjustments, but we’ll make it work.  If you’d like her new room number (for card sending purposes) let me know!

Yummy Recipes! Again, with the crazy week that was, I don’t even remember the recipes from this week other than they were some old standards.  However, I did make some super yummy Cabbage Soup that was just amazing (even though I used purple cabbage so my leftovers the next day were quite colorful) and the most amazing Banana Carrot muffins.  There was no added honey or maple syrup and these bad boys were delish!  I was very proud that we didn’t devour them by Tuesday!  They were that good.  I forgot to take photos of either (Photo Phail!) but I’m sure they’ll both grace the menu again soon!

“Pinteresting” Things:  If you’re on pinterest, feel free to follow my boards!

Very cute “upcylced” Christmas tins–what a great re-use.  I’ll have to scour the Goodwill for some of these!

Upcycled Tins

This is an awesome bathroom–love the dark walls with the lighter fixtures and vintage accessories:

Dark and Light

Finally, I absolutely LOVE this vintage kids room–what a great idea to furnish a kids room on the {fairly} cheap!

Vintage Kids Room

Things I’m learning: Margin.  Balance.  Rest.  Themes I can’t seem to get away from. I question a lot that doesn’t show up on this blog and spent time in prayer and reflection wondering if my life is having the meaning it is intended to…(okay–so now it’s on the blog).  I want my life to mean something.  I want the business of my life to be for eternal and intentional gains; not personal ones for me or others.  Not quite sure what all this means, just a bit of what floats around in my head…

Interesting quote/Scripture:

“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” p. 82, The Gift of Imperfection, Brene Brown 

“The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it.” John 1:5

“You belong to the day and the light not to the night and the dark.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5

And now for some Kari Jobe-you were meant for more than this…

Hope you’ve had a great week!  Happy Weekend!

Weekly Roundup-February 17, 2012

Goals:

  • Physical–Got a little off schedule on our runs, but at the same time, I don’t want to get so consumed by running that I can’t still manage things in our life that are also important.  We were traveling,  plus I came down with a cold, so there were a few runs that didn’t happen, but I still got out there yesterday and ran 6 and will run 8 tomorrow.  My knees really bothered me after those 6 miles, but it was also raining, so I coated them with IcyHot last night and they feel a million times better today.  One SUPER exciting thing was our annual Health Risk Assessment at work this week.  I was a little nervous about going because it had been a while since I’d had these levels checked and although I KNOW that Paleo works for us and I’ve seen results in the way my clothes are fitting and on the scale, I was anxious to see if my numbers were going to say the same–boy did they ever!  I could not have been more pleased!

Health Risk Screening Results

  • Spiritual–God has really been reminding me the importance of prayer and what a difference that makes in our lives.  From my prayer runs (which still seem all over the place) to getting a copy of The Circle Maker last week when it was on sale for Kindle, I’m very aware of my prayer life right now.
  • Creative–I haven’t done much crafting lately, but have a lot of things on tap that I want to do, thanks to Pinterest!  Perhaps I’ll carve some time out on Sunday Sabbath to do so!
  • Home--Definitely moving forward on a lot of projects!  We acquired some new furniture pieces while helping Mom clear out her apartment so our bedroom is much more bedroom functional with another dresser and actual bedside tables rather than the TV trays that had been flanking our bed for the past 2.5 years of our marriage.  🙂  We also have moved some pieces around downstairs and are liking how that’s all turning out.  My goal is still to have the Nook “finished” by the end of February.  We have a few things at Ikea and the Container store to pick up so those might not quite be in by then, but it WILL be done by then.
  • Personal–It’s really been a great week!  I entered a muffin contest yesterday and won with my Paleo Pumpkin Dark Chocolate muffins (blog post forthcoming soon!).  Work has been good, a little crazy, but good.  I’m so glad that I cleared my schedule to get some rest this week as I had a bit of a cold (more on this below).

Mom Update: Things are going well–I was able to conference call in to a care plan meeting with the folks there last week and I think we are well on our way to getting Mom better!  We had a really productive weekend there and she is well on the way to being out of her apartment by the end of the month.  She had some good time with her sister Donna on Valentine’s Day.

Yummy Recipes! I’ve had some good things on tap recently AND have actually taken photos, but alas, haven’t downloaded them to the computer just yet.  😦  BUT!  I do have a few from past weeks to share and one from our Valentine’s Day dinner!

Meatzza- Definitely fits the bill when you're eating Paleo but craving pizza!

Brussell Sprouts with Avocado and Bacon, Shrimp with Mango Avocado Salsa

Valentine's Day: Steak with Bacon and Bleu Cheese Sauce, Brussell Sprouts with Bacon and Dates and Sweet Potato Rounds with Chipotle Sauce


“Pinteresting” Things: New category here.  I’m loving Pinterest and thought for those of you who might not be on there, I’d share a few of my favorite pins from the week.  If you’re on pinterest, feel free to follow my boards!

Last weekend in Virginia, I walked away with a canister of buttons I knew I’d be able to use for a crafting project only to find this one a few days later!

button hair pins

I have a TON of t-shirts that just need to go–they don’t fit right or I just don’t like the cut, but I really don’t want to really get rid of them–looking forward to a crafting day to try this!

t-shirt tank tutorial

We use coconut oil a lot to cook with and I’ve heard it has a ton of uses, but MY, oh MY!  Super excited to try many of these!

uses for coconut oil

Although I took last week off to “recoup”, I’m hoping something like this will really keep me on track, blog-wise.  I’m probably just going to print out the pages and keep them in my Home Management notebook as to not have one more planner in my life.  🙂

blog planner

Things I’m learning: Once again, rest is so important.  I said “no” to things that were just going to “clutter” my week, one thing being this blog.  As much as I love writing and the sense of creativity this little space allows me, I knew that I needed rest, especially after coming down with a cold.  Although the blog and other things I said no to are all great, sometimes we have to allow ourselves the freedom to just say no. 

Interesting quote/Scripture: “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest” Exodus 33:14  This has been my “theme verse” for this week and it has been so nice to remember that God’s presence is with me and giving me rest.// “He renews my soul.” Psalm 23:3–not sure if I had heard that version (God’s word translation) of that specific verse–love the visual and feeling of my soul being renewed.

Hope you’ve had a great week!  Happy Weekend!

QUICK Update on my Mom

Good morning friends!   This is just a quick update about Mom’s transition to the new facility in Virginia.  She had a very difficult first 24 hours adjusting.  Although I think things are much better now, she could still use your prayers and encouragement.  If you would like to send her a card to the new place, please leave a comment below including your email address and I’ll send her address out to you in the next few days!

Thanks for all your continued prayers and encouragement–you’ll never know how much it means!

“We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Best,

Updates…

Many of you have been updated on Mom’s status over the holiday via my twitter/facebook updates.  I haven’t formally mentioned it over the blog or in an email because, well, it was just tough to deal with to be honest.


The long and short of it is that Mom went to the Doctor in early December with head congestion/sinus/yuckyness that had affected her hearing.  After a week, everything was gone–including her hearing.  It never reappeared.  Back to the doctor she went and was diagnosed with having fluid behind her ears.  After a few days of the condition worsening and being incredibly off-balanced, she went to the ER on the 21st.  I jetted home to VA the next day to find my mom having “one of the worst cases of inner ear infection” the ER doctor had ever seen.


We muddled through the holidays humorously for the first few days, as Mom was having trouble hearing what I said and her interpretations had to make you laugh.  When her condition continued to worsen though, it lost it’s humor.  We called the ENT and got an appointment.  His diagnosis was that her hearing loss was not due to fluid or infection, but nerve damage.  What? Yep—my Mom who was a beautician for 21 years and then not working for the past 10 or so due to her health conditions has nerve damage in her ears?  Where in the world could she have gotten nerve damage?  It just didn’t make sense and to see your ENT just as puzzled, well, that wasn’t so comforting either.


After 4 doctors, we headed to get an MRI for answers.  We tried to make it fun.  Made the trip to Roanoke our annual “Mom/Daughter Date” with stops at Barnes and Noble and Olive Garden (Mom’s favorite and always default choice for our dates).  We did have fun.  We shared the chocolate caramel gelatto for dessert.  We love our ice cream.  🙂


I was challenged as to what to do.  Do I come home to Kentucky?  Do I stick around until she gets the results of the MRI just in case it’s bad news?  What about the wintery weather that’s supposed to hit Virginia on Friday?  I have to be back at work on Monday.  The questions didn’t end.  After much wise counsel from friends and the Beau, I knew that I’d know what to do when the time came to make the call.  And I did.  I loaded up the car on New Year’s Eve and then early New Year’s Day made the trek back to Georgetown.


Thinking she’d hear on Friday, Mom diligently called the Doctor’s office on Friday right as they were closing up shop at noon.  A weekend of waiting for the both of us.  I had a “re-new years” planned with the Beau for Friday night and Saturday, but I know the weekend had to be torture for Mom.  One day at a time we both kept encouraging.


Yesterday was the day.  She called the office and finally got a response a little after 5pm last night.


“Good news!  There were no signs of a tumor anywhere.  But the bad news is that we don’t know what is causing your hearing loss.”


It really is the little things, you know?  Those were the words I was completely avoiding saying out loud to myself or Mom, but were constantly lingering in my mind.  She’s revisiting the ENT in 6 weeks to see how permanent the hearing loss is and what can be done about it (say “Hello, hearing aids!”).  Still no answers for the unsteadiness, but we’re hoping her family doc and Rheumatologist will give her some answers.


Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the long and short of it.  Maybe it was the long of it.  But thanks a million to everyone out there who has offered up thoughts, prayers and well wishes toward Mom and I during this.  Continue to remember her as she’s got 6 weeks of this before she’ll get more answers.  Pray for her emotional health as well–the loss of her independence has been a big thing to process.  Pray for her and her neighbors as they all deal with the volume of her TV. 🙂 And while you’re at it, if you don’t mind, say one for me, that I’ll remember daily that she is in God’s hands and that’s the best place for her to be.