Day 2-The main thing

One of the biggest changes in our life over the past year has been the beau’s new career as a nurse and transition to working night shift. In the first 5 years of our marriage, he commuted at least an hour each way Monday-Friday to sit behind a desk, process shipping orders for the software company he worked for. Now during most of the tenure of our marriage, he’s been in school of some sort so I was used to him not being home every night, but the routine of our life was still pretty much the same.

Sunday–church and food/meal prep for the week ahead. Monday-Friday–breakfast/coffee together, work, eat dinner together most nights, go to the gym or walk together. Saturday-he’d have clinicals and then we’d do some sort of date night–be it at home or out on the town.

Life is much different now.

12 hour shifts 2-3 times a week. Never the same days. Leaving for work around 5:45pm–about 30 minutes after I arrive home–and returning back home around 8-8:30 the next morning–long after I’ve left for work. Not sitting behind a desk all day but being on your feet for 12 hours and some nights literally running around for hours at a time. Caring for critically ill patients and their families. Physically, mentally and emotionally draining.

Meal prep is tough–he’s not eating on a normal schedule and these days I’m not feeling like much of a cook (thanks to the Cub). There are times when he’s working 3 days in a row that I may not see him for 3 days especially if I’ve got evening commitments. Sleep schedule. This is the biggie. He’s constantly tired and it’s hard to go do fun stuff when you’re always tired.

This type “A” Girl is living the most non-type “A” life imaginable. 

And while it’s been tough, there are also some really sweet things that come from it.

We don’t have “planned” date nights as often, but we relish the opportunity to run errands together on a Wednesday night and sneak in dinner at a favorite spot. The time we do have off together is so much more meaningful. There are times in which the beau will have a stretch of 5 days off just the way his schedule falls. It’s been so nice to get house renovations completed, or just steal away for a super quick beach getaway when that happens. He rarely works Saturday nights so we relish those as nights we actually get to go to bed together and wake up together on Sunday. Our Sundays have truly become a Sabbath. My gratitude for him and the job he does, how he provides for our family and just being in the same house (even if he’s upstairs sleeping as I write this very blog) overflows.

Spontaneous Beach Getaway!

I’m reminded of the analogy I use with my students of putting in the big rocks first, then the smaller, ones, then gravel, sand and then water. In that order, everything fits. When things are out of order, then your container overflows and things get stressful. That’s where we are.

Things have changed in order to put in this big rock first. Protecting our marriage is so important. I’ve had to say no to people and things I really want to invest in. Even now, I’m trying to figure out how I can continue to make space for what is most important in my life–and for me, that’s my relationship with Christ, our marriage, caring for myself–mind body and soul, creating a loving home and connecting with other women. If it’s not one of those big rocks, it’s not going in first. Intentionality with our schedule to come home right after work on those days he’s works most days is a must. Or determining a time we can meet up for coffee in Lexington. Connection is key. If that doesn’t happen, we easily will fall into the trap of getting a little snippy, and our “sandpaper moments” skyrocket.

This has all lead to more time at home for myself. Whitespace if you will.  And this isn’t always easy, but oh how things come full circle. That was the intention I chose for 2015. It’s October and the intention wasn’t abandoned, it just didn’t become the central focus of my blogging or my every day thoughts.

But what happened was that I began living it. Creating whitespace means a lot of change and sometimes that is hard–hello lonely nights! But learning how to live in this new schedule and support the beau by putting up my kickstand and being present.

A place of stopping. Slowing down. Doing the necessary work. Oiling the chains. Getting a fresh coat of paint.

In summary–Keep the main thing, the main thing. Yup that’s what I’ve done. And I’m oh, so grateful.

Check out my other #Write31Days challenge entries here.

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{Five-Minute Friday}-In Between

Linking up with Five-Minute Friday where the prompt is to write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. Here goes nothing…

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Smack-dab in the middle of it. That’s what us southern folks might call it. 1 year down. In the midst of the summer class. The change will affect his life much more than mine, but my futuristic mind has trouble allowing this career shift to just affect him.

In the pull and tension of full time work, night class, weekend clinicals–it’s this in between of what was and what is and what will be. What was a career that was unfulfilled. What is one of the craziest seasons of our life. What will be a life that calls for purpose and flexibility and meaning in career as well as opportunities to serve and love and give beyond what we’ve currently know.

But the in between is hard. Waiting. Listening. Being grateful for the tough times. Loving the day and listening to the meaning in it all.

And sometimes that meaning is just sitting with the reality of exhaustion and frustration, knowing that once the in between is over….

There’s always another in between on the horizon.

{Five-Minute Friday}-Thank You

Linking upwith Five-Minute Friday where the prompt is to write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. Here goes nothing…

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We wipe the sleepies out of our eyes. Alarm going off at 4am.  Not unlike any other day. Although today will bring many miles under our belt once again, stops for coffee, and $12 split into six-$2 dollar increments for tolls will find their way into the sun-glass holder in Frank Sonata.

Muffins are made.  Chicken for snacking goes into the car.  Gifts to Mom, a jacket for the 40 degree day back when we’ll return.

600 mile round-trip.  3 days.  We’ve made it in 2 before.  A hotel room awaits us as opposed to the pull out couch at my aunts.

You didn’t sign up for this.  This wasn’t in the arrangement so to speak.  Marriage is to be a flowery ideal for at least the first 2 years before things really start to get real.  We had about 6 blissful months.

But I wouldn’t change the last 3 years with all their challenges.  We’ve made memories to last a lifetime in just 3 short years.  Buying our first home with friends thinking we’d lost our mind.  Learning more about home renovation than we ever thought we’d need to know.  Laughing (even still) at the December days with out heat in our home when we’d gamble at when would be the best time to take a shower (after dinner out at our favorite little diner with a pot of hot coffee on the table was the definite winner).

You didn’t sign up for weeks in Virgina with my ailing mom.  Spending hours in hospital rooms and rehab facilities.  Deciding if a wheelchair would fit in the trunk of our car was probably not on your list of “requirements” for the first new car you’d ever buy.

But you did so. Do so. Without fail. Daily.

Thank You.

Going Green…Smoothie, that is.

One of my first Green Smoothies Months ago!

About 3 weeks ago, I was introduced to Casey Sollack of She Shines Wellness Revolution.  She was speaking on self-care as a business owner, and my own interests in health and wellness definitely struck a chord with a lot of what she was saying.  I’m a huge proponent of fitness and eating right, but I also believe that some other components get the shaft often–sleep, balance (aka: saying “no”) and the holistic elements of wellness (mind, body and soul, not just body).

Casey has a lot of training and experience so it was great to hear what she had to share.  Some of her core beliefs when it comes to wellness is the importance of Water, Sleep, Alkalizing your body by Limiting Meats and increasing your green leafy vegetables and doing so by Green Smoothies.  Now we are still Paleo, so we’re definitely still eating meat, but we were by no means getting the amount of green leafy veggies needed, so my ears perked up about these smoothies.

Casey just finished up a 10 Day Eat Clean Challenge where she sent out daily emails of info and encouragement (and Green smoothie recipes) as well as created a Facebook community of over 250 people taking her up on the challenge.  While I’ll honestly admit that I didn’t follow every one of her challenge guidelines to the T, she was okay with that.  She communicated over and over that this was YOUR challenge to get out of what YOU wanted.  Now, following it to the T was recommended, but I never once felt restricted or harped upon if anyone “fell” off the plan.

My favorite thing was finding my own love affair with Green Smoothies.  I’ve made some in the past and did truly love them, but I felt encouraged to break out of my simple little box and get creative.  You can really use any type of greens you have on hand–I’ve been using what we’ve gotten in our CSA paired with Spinach, so we’ve had a rotating blender bowl of kale, swiss chard and spinach on any given day.  (Casey would say rotating your greens is super important!) The Beau is on board which is great and we both feel awesome about getting in so many green vegetables before noon each day!  Green smoothies have replaced our typical morning breakfast of Bacon and Eggs.  We’ll treat ourselves to an omelet on the weekend and that makes those even more special.  For all you [Green] skeptics out there, yes–it does look a little weird and sometimes (when you add blackberries for instance) it’s even a dark plum/brown color.  But the goodness inside outweighs any weird stares I’ve gotten when walking into work with my Green Smoothie each day.

My favorite recipe so far has been the Apple Pie Smoothie.  Smoothies are great for traveling (as I mentioned we’ve been doing a lot of lately) and so this was one of those mornings I thought I’d get creative.  Someone mentioned in the Facebook group they were missing Apple Pie on the challenge and if anyone had a smoothie recipe for that–I didn’t at the time, but made one up and boy was it delicious!

Apple Pie Smoothie on the Road!

Apple Pie Smoothie

What You Need:

  • 1 c. Coconut Milk (carton)
  • Small Handful of Spinach
  • Small Handful of Swiss Chard
  • Pinch of Parsley
  • 2 apples (cored)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 c. mixed frozen fruit
  • 1 tbsp. Almond Butter
  • Dash of Vanilla
  • Dash of Cinnamon

What To Do:

  • Pour your coconut milk into the blender and then put your greens in.  After securely putting the lid on, begin to blend
  • While that is doing it’s thang, get your other ingredients out and prepped–core the apples, get the almond butter out, frozen fruit, etc.  Let the blender work it’s magic for a while.  I just have a regular blender, so I’ll stop it, take the lid off, and then put in the frozen banana and blend again.  (I don’t put everything in at once since I don’t have a vitamix as you’ll see Casey does.)  Then put in the frozen fruit and blend.
  • While that is blending, cut up the apples and then put those in the top (I Just pop off the removable part of the lid and keep it blending).
  • Lastly, turning the machine off, I put in the almond butter, vanilla and cinnamon and then securing the lid, blend one last time.  I keep mine blending for a bit so that it’s a little frothy.

I’ve tried LOTS Of variations on smoothies, putting in some pretty random veggies from time to time.  Abundance of green peppers?  Throw them in the smoothie!  Carrots looking a little overdue?  Throw them in as well!  The beau said today’s was one of the best he’s had.  It had cantelope and carrots in it!

My key would be keep things moving so it isn’t chunky.

Best,

PS-Here’s a little video of Casey making her Signature She Shines Wellness Revolution Smoothie!