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Just Google It for Goodness Sake

So I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. I do not vainly think that anyone has noticed, but I have enjoyed writing my randomness for the world wide web, so I have missed it. I still am not feeling well, so I have been doing a lot of sleeping, thus explaining why I have not been writing. I cannot write in my sleep. I just cannot.  I am always oddly optimistic that I will go to sleep sick and wake up the next day feeling better. I am not sure if it is a form of denial, hope, optimism, faith, or a combination of the four. But after the days turn to weeks and the weeks turn to months, my optimism and hope slowly fade away. I get a little down. The other day I thought to myself, “Self, how do I lower my expectations of how I want to feel without losing hope and without giving up?” Myself did not have the answer, it usually doesn’t, at least not with some searching first. So I asked God, I asked Jachin, I asked friends and family, “How do I be okay with feeling so crappy and not give up hope to feel better and not give up working hard to feel better?” There were not many answers. Because these people love me and know this is not an easy thing to answer. What I did get were words of encouragement. Because I have great people in my life. So while I was laying in bed feeling sorry for myself, I told Jachin, “I am only lying here because I lack the strength to stand.” Which does make things a little better because Princess Bride makes everything better. Anyways, back to point of why I am explaining why I am in bed so much. When I am laying in bed I Google.

I Google everything. And then I tell Jachin that I have finished the internet. (It’s an inside joke, unless you know what TV show it’s from and then you get 5,000 bonus points).

Of course I Google on my iPhone, because I do everything on my iPhone!

So after weeks of lying in bed I really feel like I have Googled A LOT, and it is random because as soon as I think about something, I Google it, everything. I Google everything. I mean it.

So here is a non-exhaustive list of what I have Googled in the past few weeks, I have left some out, but here are a few, with brief explanations:

1. Best places to live with asthma

2. Best places to live with allergies

3. Houses for sale in Northwest Florida

4. Houses for rent in Northwest Florida

5. Schools in Northwest Florida

It started out innocent, but before i knew it I had a full-fledged plan. There were many, many more searches involved in this thought process. I decided that we should move to Florida to see if I felt better living by the sea. Thank you, I know this was a brilliant idea. I am disappointed it did not work out. I did find a lovely home just west of Destin and North of Rosemary beach in a community called Wild Heron, and there was a private school nearby whose website seemed to show it was similar to the ones the kids are in now. The house was perfect, the master bedroom was on the first floor and the kids rooms upstairs, a fourth bedroom for all the visitors we would have because we were relocating to such an amazing place, duh. The community has a pool by the lake, a gym, and a boardwalk along the lake.  We were going to ride bikes at sunset and fish at the dock.  You can poo-poo on my plan all you want, but when I am there one day, I might not let you visit us. Here is a picture of what I thought would be my home:

 

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I KNOW!!! So dreamy. My vision was coming together perfectly, but we decided to stay her in the Big D. So when my relocating plan looked like it was going to pot, I continued on in my searching:

6. Should dogs eat vegan

7. Average grocery budget for a family of 5

8. How do I give up Starbucks

9. Nespresso machines

10. Cost of Nespresso pods

You see, some things that I Google just don’t make sense, at least not to anyone else. But thoughts go through my head and I think they require some follow though (the Googling). My dog will not be vegan, calm down about it already. But what was happening was that Jachin and I were making a huge financial decision and he was showing me our numbers and they did not look good. After years of tip-toeing away from the whole budget thing, it is for real now. FOR REAL, FOR REAL. Like if you see me spending money you should slap me. So we are on an actual budget, and Googling was required. If I am going to really give up Starbucks, I needed a back-up plan.  I currently have the winning bid on Ebay for a Nespresso machine. I hope I get it! Moving on, but not moving:

11. Coconut cream in coffee

12. Apple and beet juice recipe

13. Calories in juicing

14. Juicing with mint

15. What to eat when juicing and hungry and dairy and gluten free

So a friend carefully suggested I try changing my diet to dairy and gluten free and to try juicing. After going vegan last year my health improved, but now it is time to try something else. Because if what you are currently doing is not yielding you the results you want, you should consider doing something different. Kind of common sense. Many of my symptoms lately can be linked to possible food allergies, so I am willing to try it. When you are chronically ill you have to be open to try different things. Some of them take a lot of work, which is hard to take on when you are feeling sick. But I have juiced and been gluten and dairy free for four days now. Four days down, months to go. Friends, I have never bought a beet before, I didn’t even know what it looked like. And then the sweet lady in the checkout line was kind enough to warn me it might turn my pee red. Bless her, she was only trying to help.

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Maybe the beet juice will help me feel better, maybe it won’t.  God only knows. So I will push on, whether I am juicing, moving to Florida, or Googling, life goes on. And I still find that on my sickest days, or my hardest days, that God still shows His goodness to me in every day.  To me, goodness is dreaming of another life somewhere prettier, goodness is my kids crawling into bed with me just to be close to me, goodness is Espresso, goodness is God whispering in my ear that I can live on a budget and live to tell about it, goodness is a stranger warning me about my pee turning red from beet juice.  These things may not cancel out the bad, but they are present and reminding me to want to live.

So cheers to beet juice and Googling and hope.

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My blog was a fraud

Well, the picture was a fraud. No wait, the picture was legit, Jachin took it while we were vacationing in St. John. This is confusing, stay with me. What it represented was not authentic to my blog. It represented peace and serenity. Neither of which are strong points in my life right now.

That night that I asked Jachin to find my blog that we had saved a few years back, we picked out a picture to put at the top with my blog title. I thought I was being authentic by picking one of our own pictures. I looked at the pre-made formats that I could choose from, but none of them were authentic to me.

So I picked out the picture of the sailboats in the bay in St. John’s.

The only time I feel calm or peace or serenity is when I’m on vacation. We can dissect the wrongs and rights of that later, but for now that is the way it is. That particular vacation was amazing. Jachin and I refer to it often. We felt free as the wind in St. John. All day we roamed that island as if it were our own and each night we would eat at a restaurant in the bay by town and watch the sunset behind the sailboats.

Dreamy. Serene. Peaceful.

That was not too long after we had Sadie, and before Morgan, which is when all serenity left the building.

So I love that picture for many reasons. And the memory of that feeling is priceless. But it does not represent my life now or the blog for that matter, so it had to go.

I have been working with a blog designer that I found on Etsy. Speediness is not her strength, but whatever. I sent her a drawing of what I wanted and that is what she made my blog look like. Voilà! Check that off my list. (Oh if you saw my list you would laugh so hard). (It is so optimistic).(Everything goes on the list). (In an effort to make room in my brain, but that is in vain).

So I hope you like it.

Put St. John on your bucket list.

I don’t believe in bucket lists, too much pressure.

Goodbye sailboats, I hope we meet again one day.

I need chocolate, RIGHT NOW

This one might be for all the women out there. But men, what I am writing about is something you have seen with your very own eyes and it is scary. Men, I am so sorry you have had to witness this. So so sorry. Maybe over time and with some counseling you might recover if you have ever been caught in the middle of a woman and her need for an immediate chocolate fix. It is serious.

So men have seen this phenomenon and women have had to experience this weird out-of-body experience. It can come on suddenly and without warning and sometimes it leaves a path of candy wrappers and crying children (because you ate their valentines or Halloween candy!). This is what happens when a woman suddenly has the dire need for chocolate. But gasp, the horror of there not being holiday candy or a candy stash, and one is not prepared for what is to come.

You start ripping through junk drawers, scaling through the back of the pantry, looking under children’s beds for any remaining holiday candy stash. And then the awful reality hits: there are not any candy bars in the whole house! Not even a single M&M. Women, we know what happens next, because we do not give up.

No woman needing an immediate chocolate fix has ever given up on finding the chocolate. Not ever in history. If she did, then it wasn’t even a real legit craving. Because a woman doesn’t abandon a real chocolate craving. There is no, “Oh well, maybe I will have some chocolate tomorrow.” Ha! I shudder at the thought.

So what does happens when we can’t find the chocolate candy? We settle. We settle for the baking chocolate chips. Women, we have all done this. We understand each other, it bonds us together, in some scary freakish way. We have all stood in the kitchen with our arm elbow-deep in the chocolate chip bag eating chocolate chips like a rabid animal, drooling chocolate out of the sides of our mouths. We don’t even care about what this might look like, or what diet we are on, or what the consequences are. We have our hands on the chocolate and no one is going to take it away from us.

But I must share with you something terrible that happened today. This might have happened to you too, and for that I am sorry. It made me doubt who I was, why I was here, if I was a good mother and wife. I went in search for the chocolate chips and THERE WHERE NONE. Nowhere. I scoured the pantry again, but reality sank in after my third search through the pantry. I put my hands to my face and let out a faint whimper. What woman lets herself go so badly that she doesn’t even have the chocolate chips? I began to re-evaluate my life and how I would move on from here.

I knew in the back of my mind that this was divine intervention because I am on a sugar fast. And yes, I have the self discipline of an untrained puppy. I was merely trying to sneak a few into my vegan granola bars, that is all. But technically that would count as sugar, I guess. And technically they are not vegan either. Tiny details. Blah blah blah.

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So women, we can be a lot of things, amazing things, but we cannot be without chocolate. Apparently.

 

A Drive Back In Time

March 16, 2014

Today was a long day. A dark day, literally, the sun did not shine through the clouds. Jachin and I were having a particularly rough day, so figuratively it was a dark day for us too. That is a major understatement, but the details of our rough day is not what I am writing about.  Maybe one day that story will be told, but not today. So anyways, I called over someone to watch the girls so we could take our problems elsewhere.  So we drove.  Of course we drove through the Starbucks drive thru first, duh.  And then I just drove and drove, not knowing where I was going.  Similar to our lives, we just don’t know where we are going.  I curved around the familiar streets of North Dallas and turned into my old neighborhood—the one where I spent most of my childhood.  It’s funny that I live less than five minutes from this neighborhood, but have driven through it only a few times in the last decade. I weaved though the streets: the ones where I learned to drive, the ones where I walked down to my grandma’s apartment when I was “running away from home”, the ones where I walked to school back and forth, the ones that lead to the creek we would play in, the ones where we played with friends day in and day out.  I drove by my old house. All the houses around it looked different than what I remembered.  In fact, most of them are ugly, as a result of being built in the late seventies, early eighties. But my mom has great taste when it comes to building houses, and our old house looks classic. It looked the same as in my memory. But the other houses did not.  For some reason they all looked smaller, or uglier, or just not how I remembered.  I remembered who lived in each house, well sort of.  I could remember the faces of all my neighbors, but their names slowly but surely keep fading in my memory.

I drove down the street and turned the corner and drove the two blocks to my elementary school.  I remember thinking the walk was unbelievably long, and how could my mom be so mean to make me walk?  People, it couldn’t be any closer.  I mean two blocks! I drove through the front drop off circle and stopped.  I looked at the concrete benches and I remembered the days and days and days that I came out those front double doors. I was never a fan of school, but that was a good school, and it was kind to me. I continued down the other side of the creek, drove by the houses of my childhood friends, and again, could not think of their names. I remembered their birthday parties, their swingsets, and their kitchen tables, but not their names.  Memories are a funny thing.

And then I stopped and parked.

I parked next to the creek at a park Jachin and I used to go to when we were dating.  We would walk along the path, sit and talk on the swings, and walk down by the creek.  All these memories flooded my already flooded brain, but brought peace.  We didn’t have real problems those days.  I didn’t have real problems when I was mad that I had to walk to school, or when I couldn’t decide which neighbor to play with.  My memories of my childhood are that I was endlessly happy, and I rested in that memory for a moment.  Jachin was not picking up on this nostalgia, because to be honest, he is just not that way.  But it helped me regroup a little, which in turn, helps him regroup a little.

There were definitely hard things in my childhood, but I often forget while raising my kids that hard things in their childhood are good.  I worry that things are too hard for my kids, but that is far from the truth. Children are growing sponges, looking for truth, and they have to have hard things in order to build character, just like the rest of us.  If we try and protect our children from every hard thing, we are ruining them. Children look for God in the dark days, just like us. So while we sat there, I rested in that moment of remembering my childhood, knowing that my children will rest in the comfort of simple things.  I rested in the good that was there in my childhood and the good that followed me into adulthood.  I rested in the fact that although my problems were presently very real, the sun does come out again.

It always does.

The sun has never failed to reappear.

We don’t always know when it will come back, but it does come back, it comes through the clouds and even when the clouds are there, the sun is there too, we just can’t see it, or feel it.  But it is there.

Often, people don’t believe the sun is there, or that it will come back out. But it is a truth, it is there.

Jachin and I talked a little while we sat in the car by the creek, but he is a man of few words, and words don’t really help him.  In fact, words don’t help a lot of people.  Love does. Grace does. Presence does. But words are not often remembered.  Just like the names are not necessarily remembered, but the people are.

I have a sweet friend at church, her name is Sue.  She sends cards.  I don’t remember what was written on any single note from my friend Sue, but I will never forget that she sends me cards all the time.  And they encourage me and help me remember that people care.  So even though I don’t remember certain specifics of my childhood, I remember that people cared, and that my parents cared. And they sacrificed for me, and they survived hard days for me, and they did not give up.

And I will not give up either.

To be honest, today, I gave up for a little while.  Thankfully, I have loving people in my life and I texted a few of them and said I was giving up.  And they texted back and said oh no you will not.  Not specifically in those words, but they texted prayers, and kind words, and, “when can we come over” and “we will drop everything to be there for you”.  And they called and listened to me crying and said comforting things. And that in turn helped me to choose kindness and helped me to put my anger aside and not give up.

The day is over, we will see the sun tomorrow, and tonight we will sleep (after we watch a movie wrapped in each others arms).  We have memories of goodness and we have knowledge of truth, so we will carry on.  With what is left of our memories and with what memories we want to make.

Memories are a funny thing, and I believe in funny, you know.

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It’s cool, I workout

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I workout you know. Well, as of today. Never mind that I can still taste the chocolate chip cookie that I ate on my way out the door while I step on the treadmill. I am on a treadmill and my feet are moving. And get this, I am in a gym, a real gym, with really fit people.

I like fit people. They work hard to be fit. They don’t intimidate me, they motivate me. I like watching them run and sweat, maybe one day I will run like the fit people at the gym.

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I haven’t been a member of a gym in about 7 or 8 years. A lot has happened since then. I did work out in that time period, just not in a gym. So this idea came about when Jake and I were discussing how bad my lupus was last week and what was I doing differently this summer when I was feeling better. I was working out, mainly walking and doing yoga. So I immediately made a plan to push through the pain and begin to put one foot in front of the other.

First step, join the gym. Second step, put on my super duper bright gym shoes.

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Sometimes people stop and say to me “cool shoes”. And I say “thanks” and smile. But I’m really thinking, “did they mean to say cool shoes, or were they so overwhelmed by how bright they are, they were startled and that’s all they could come up with?” Sometimes I reply, “thanks, they make me run faster” and then watch them look me up and down seemingly a little confused because I clearly don’t run.

Enough about my ridiculously bright shoes, their brightness does not help me at all. But I will tell you what does. My t-shirt. As I was reluctantly getting ready for the gym I was losing motivation. So I thought I will at least get dressed. Luckily, my Mr. Rodgers shirt was on top of the pile.

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And for some reason I think it’s really funny, which brightens my mood, and tonight helped get me out the door to the gym. Also, the fact that I told Jachin I didn’t want to go and he said I had too. He’s a real meanie.

So I’m finished on the treadmill. I have enough OCD in me that I have to stop on an even number. Here’s to you mom:

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I know it’s not much, but it’s a start. I’m trying to retrain my body to find the will to live, not kill myself on my first workout. It’s baby steps. (Please tell me you picture Bill Murray’s face every time you hear the words “baby steps”). I did a few weight machines and I think I felt one single bead of sweat trying to break through, so I called it good.

Mission accomplished. Well, not the entire mission, just one barely workout.

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That is all.