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Jumping Back in to Joy

Monday at last! I know most folks aren’t fond of Mondays and I suppose if you’re out in the working world and have regular weekends off, the thought of leaving fun and relaxation behind for a week of work ahead, then Mondays might not be so appealing. I have a friend from high school who is now a minister, and every Monday on Facebook he posts these bright, happy, and encouraging posts, infusing a smile at the beginning of each week. I look forward to his Monday status updates as I share his enthusiasm for a fresh start and bright possibilities.

 

Mondays are typically my busiest day of the week as that’s my “Home Blessing Day” for you Fly Babies out there–the brundt of week’s household chores are done on Mondays, cleaning up after busy weekends and reorganizing and reordering lists and schedules, planning out our week ahead. Nothing feels so good as Monday afternoon, when all the chores are done, lists are all made, and I can finally sit down for a few moments of peace before scooting out to the bus stop to pick up Bug. This week, the added knowledge that I am capable of tackling that list of chores on my own is most certainly the icing on my cake!

 

I’ve also finally been back to tracking simple gratitude this past week, working on my Joy Dare for the new year, and what a week to be thankful for:

#106 Playdate with friends

#107 Beautiful warmth of late winter sunshine

#108 Friends home safe from vacation

#109 Beauty appointment later in the week

#110 Friend loaned her stationary bike for my PT

#111 A bountiful gift of pens from Missy and her boys

#112 A night out with the girls for Bible study

#113 Homemade hummus and stock

#114 Clearance from Dr El-Kadi–hallelujah! No more C-collar and I can DRIVE!!!

#115 Another showing

#116 Invitation to the Harbor Dinner Cruise later this fall with my honey in Boston and an excuse to buy a new dress and shoes!

#117 Bug all Steeler geared up for Wacky Hat Day at school

 

#118 Autographed bowling pin and shoe at Butler’s Best for Bug, so happy about to bust!

#119 Feeling stronger every day

#120 Best hairstylist ever! (Plug for Shannon @ Shannon’s Hair Hut in Chicora, PA!! Awesome!!)

#121 Sharing ear buds and singing Hey Ya and Soul Sister with Bug waiting for power to come back on

#122 Gas stove to scramble eggs for dinner

#123 Candlelit dinner with Grams and Bug

#124 Snuggying under blankets to keep warm (so much to be thankful for with no electricity!)

#125 Mom and Dad Cardinals at the feeder in the snow

 

 

#126 FREEDOM at last!!

#127 Avocado soft as butter

#128 Sauteed simmering scrumptious shrooms!

#129 Sharing Bug’s Double Stuf Oreos from his Chicken Dunks Lunchables

#130 An awesome afternoon with Sissie and her mom, bowling and then a delicious lunch at Mama Rosa’s

#131 Quote of the Day: Bug to Sissie, “So, what does your dad look like?” hahahahahahaha

#132 “THE” Mama Rosa loving on Bug and telling him what a beautiful boy he is–sweet!

#133 A full week of happy cleaning and planning ahead!

 

Always thankful…

After the Storm

Can you believe it’s almost March? I seem to have missed all of February. It’s actually been over a month since all of this started: January 21st was the night I had the tremor at church that swept this past month away from me in a blur. Bill left for good for Massachusetts. Valentines Day came and went and I barely noticed. I’ve been simply numb in the aftermath. Partly from medication, partly from denial, maybe a little shock as well. How do you just lose a whole month? What hurts most is how Bug just got lost in all of this, too. My sweet angel, dangling on his own…I believe he’s been wounded as deeply as my surgery cut into me. And I ache for his hurting heart. I’m so sorry…and I can’t take it all back. I can’t make it better. Make it disappear and erase his pain. What a life storm for a ten year old…

 

Hopefully now that things are starting to get back to ‘normal’-as normal as things can be when you’re preparing to pick up and move your life all over again another some six hundred miles away…we can both find each other again. A little stronger for weathering this storm, ugly as it was–we made it through. So a little beaten up and bruised, but still standing.

 

Today we get to spend the afternoon bowling with Ashlee, Michael’s big sis! Our first day back on our own is blessed with a highlight of what we have to come: having Sissie close by all the time once we get moved–definitely a peek of sunshine through those dark and ugly parting clouds!

 

I’m looking forward to March and getting everything moving back in the right direction (north!) Finding our feet on solid ground. I love the smell of the air after a storm, don’t you? Breathing deep…

 

Another Long Day

Our power went out just before four yesterday afternoon. Fortunately it was an unseasonably warm February day so I wasn’t overly concerned about a heating issue or the birds being chilled. And we have a gas range, so dinner was cooked in the glow of candles on the stove top–simple scrambled eggs and veggie sausage patties for a meatless Lent Friday supper, with buttered bread since I couldn’t make toast. We dined by candlelight, then sat cuddled under blankets in the livingroom, waiting for the power to come back on–rather envious of the soft glow coming from the windows of houses the next street over that somehow had power while we didn’t??

 

Just about seven everything came buzzing back on. The fan to the furnace whirred and soon warm air came coursing through the vents. The TV blinked as the DVR went through its resetting cycle. Bug and I reset all the clocks and then I headed to bed to read, leaving instructions with Grandma that Michael could stay up no later than nine since bowling comes early on Saturdays. It was too late to try to catch up on any of my recorded Thursday night shows anyway and blankets beckoned. I lured Tucker to bed with a peanut butter biscuit and climbed in for the night…I do love my bed!!

 

Midnight broke my sleep with the alarm clock’s bothersome beeping–I blindly groped to shut it off and hoped I could get back to sleep. No such luck. I tossed and turned, shoving Tucker one way then another as I tried to find that spot, that magic place where sleep simply sucks you back under….Tuck thought he could still my stirring by pinning my legs under his weight, then apparently had had enough after a few unsuccessful hours and three o’clock had me on the back porch, letting all three dogs out and resigned to being awake for the remainder of the day…I need to remember to disable the alarm clock tonight so we don’t have a repeat for tomorrow!

 

We were supposed to get some snow, two to four inches according to the WeatherBug, but there’s barely a dusting outside. Just as well since we have to drive Grandma to the airport this afternoon and send her on her way back to sunny, warm Florida. She is no fan of Pennsylvania winter, even as warm as it’s been during her visit. Snowbirding has thinned her blood too much. For now, though, I think I may go lie down for an hour or two until it’s time to get ready for bowling…after I do my Sims, that is…Happy Saturday!

 

Healing Begins

This is what four in the morning looks like for me today:

 

 

Two Bibles, my planner, coffee (of course!!), a note from a friend updating our book swap list (which I’ve tried to do on Friday mornings but have missed the past couple of weeks while recuperating), yes, that’s Facebook on the laptop–I was trying to fix a post for 1000 Gifts that I had messed up (not enough coffee in me yet…) before going to my morning study on Intervarsity Press…And that pile on the bench? More stuff that calls for my attention–soon, soon…And for a moment I feel overwhelmed at all I had piled on the table before me, but then…I smiled to myself and offered a prayer of thanks. This is healing, this embarking back into my daily life, getting things planned and organized, and no longer sloughing things off until I feel better or the house is quieter…I am ready to dive back in, and this mess that’s been waiting for me feels oh so good! It’s all so good!

 

Yesterday started off hectic and ugly. My realtor had called almost the minute we walked in the door from my follow up appointment with the neurosurgeon on Wednesday to schedule a showing for yesterday afternoon–seriously?? My house in utter disarray from not being cleaned the past three weeks and I have only a few hours to get all the mud and dog hair and layers of dust whisked away…Blood pressure skyrockets and I fume at the weight dropped heavy on my shoulders. I ran through the house furiously dusting and scrubbing and mopping, trying to restore as much order as I could, making a list on the fridge for all the last minute things I’d need to do before vacating for the showing. After Tuck decided three-fifteen was time to get up that morning and I’d stewed on what still remained for the day ahead, I popped a quick Ativan to calm my nerves and keep my head from unproductively exploding. Deep breath…hold…exhale…repeat…

 

Then things turned amazingly beautiful. I have said I have the best friends ever and again they poured their blessings on me on a day I truly needed lifting up–God is so good! I don’t know what I could have possibly done to deserve the graciousness I’ve received this year at His hand, but it’s incredibly humbling and I am so thankful…

 

Waiting for Mom and I to return from a quick trip to Aldi’s while the house was being shown, was my friend, Jenn, and her hubby, Jeff, with their two sweet boys, JJ and Shane, delivering a stationary bike for me to use for physical therapy! So awesome! Jeff carried the bike into the basement for me and parked it in front of the TV so I can watch a little Harry while cycling my way skinny again–thank you Michels!!

 

 

Then after dinner, my other friend, Missy, picked me up to head to Bible study and a much needed night out with the girls, while Bug stayed home with Grandma. As I climbed into her car, she scooped an Office Depot bag from the back seat. While on a trip last weekend to visit her sister in Virginia, Missy had gone on a mad mission for me, trying to find the Ink Joy pens I’ve been unsuccessfully scouring stores for here–no one had the set I wanted! Not only did she find that set, her boys so sweetly decided I must need another set of twenty! beautiful color gel pens–a literal rainbow of happiness!! Now that is true ink joy!! Thank you Arps!!

 

 

How blessed am I?

 

So, this morning’s study is done and I got hit with an owie of a question that I will post about next week…I love how Scripture is truly refining! I’ve got a good head start on the schedule for next week. Today and tomorrow are busy full of plans to whisk the days away. It feels wonderful to dig back in and find daily direction, set some goals and smile…Each day gets a little brighter, a little busier and I am thankful for love, kindnesses and generosity, strength, and hope.

Count Me Accountable Thursday

I opted out of blogging yesterday morning due to an awful headache that had me burying my head back under blankets until I had to get up and shower in time to go to my neurologist’s appointment just before lunch. Aleve, the pain meds I was given after surgery, and even an Excedrin Migraine capsule did nothing to budge the gnawing ache all day…Some gracious strangers I’d encountered out and about while wearing my C-collar the past couple of weeks, who told me their stories about how they’d undergone the same spinal fusion encouraged the headaches had miraculously disappeared after their surgery. I don’t seem to have that luck…But, feeling better today, other than being woken at three-fifteen by a whining, needing-to-pee Tucker, I am hoping to begin building on my blog structure that I’ve tried to sketch out over the past few weeks. And that brings me to my first Count Me Accountable Thursday!

 

I dug out the dusty scale yesterday morning from the bathroom closet and blew off a thick frosting of dog hair and dust bunnies, parked it in the middle of the bathroom floor. I hesitated…it’s been months since I stepped on that scale. I stopped running in November. Fatigue and shortness of breath stole my motivation, along with crippling headaches that came on after a long run. Slowly, steadily, I’ve watched the weight coming back on, hating myself for every pound I could see accumulate.

 

I weighed in a day early (Thursdays are now officially ‘Weigh In Day’) but I wanted to bite the bullet and see just how bad the damage had become, find out how far I have to go to get back where I belong…The digital numbers glared ugly up at me: 172. About fifteen pounds more than I need. I don’t like it, but it’s a starting point.

 

I’m tracking my food again and water, too. That helps keep me aware of what I’m putting in my mouth so I can make better choices throughout the day. I’ve given up my caramel-vanilla lattes for Lent, less sugar is always a bonus! I’ll start physical therapy next week and begin to build up strength and stability so in another couple of months I can hit the road running once more–that is a day I’m definitely looking forward to! Onward and upward…

 

The good news from the neurologist is that my x-rays looked perfect, he is no longer worried about me becoming paralyzed (always good to know!) I have to follow up with my regular doctor and neurologist, but I am allowed to drive and clean and get this house ready to sell, packed up and move north–hallelujah! Mom flies south again on Saturday, Sissie comes to visit on Sunday, and Monday begins a bright, new week of routine and structure–life is good!

 

Must Love God

Must Love God

Ready Eddy Eddy!

I wonder if all post-surgical patients feel like this, so anxious to get back into life again? Tomorrow morning is my follow up appointment with Dr. El-Kadi and I’m a bundle of nerves…I’ve been Googling physical therapy protocols trying to figure out just what I’ll be allowed to do and how soon I can start running again. That, sadly, looks like it’s still another couple of months off for me, but I can walk all I want (avoiding black ice!) And I’m wishing I had a stationary bike since that’s one of the earliest allowances–maybe I can find a spin class? Okay…that’s probably not what they’re suggesting…I so need to start burning some calories again!!

 

Hoping to get my weight back under control and fit back into my eights by summer, I’ve just signed up on MyFitnessPal. I’ve done SparkPeople for years and had great success with it, but I think I need to try something new to reinvigorate my motivation. Knowing how I obsess, I’ll most likely end up tracking calories and fitness on both sites, just to see which works best–two is always better than one, right? I’m also joining up on another blog for ‘Count Me Accountable Thursdays’.  I need some sort of accountability and that can be my weigh in day (after I dust off the scale that’s been pushed to the far back corner of the bathroom closet…) I’m also thinking that’ll be part of my new blog schedule that I’ve been trying to put together…It’s been so hard to concentrate the past couple of weeks or to set any kind of goals-I am definitely READY!

 

More to look forward to this week! Thursday night Bible study with my girls and a Friday morning beautification appointment with my friend, Jenn–the roots are coming in too grey, too fast and the eyebrows are needing some attention…I have no doubt I’ll be feeling lighter, happier, and more eager to tackle life again come this weekend. And Michael’s sister, Ashlee, is coming for a visit on Sunday-I’m hoping to have a little gifty by my favorite local artist, Marcia Furman, for her before she gets here…I’ll post pics later this weekend if it arrives in time!

 

One more day, my friends, one more day…

Must Love God

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice

Did your parents ever teach you the adage: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”?

 

One of my goals when I started this blog was to not post anything negative or complaining, which leads me to apologizing for the past week of posts. There’s just so much life-draining negativity in this world, the last thing I want to do is add to that and make it worse.

 

Ephesians 4:29 instructs us to “…not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful  for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who  listen.” Whining and complaining certainly does not fit into this description. Not only that, it really doesn’t make anything any better. Do we not listen to our own words? They’re in our heads before we spew them forth into the world–we hear them first, and during, and often regretfully for long after they’ve been spoken. Or at least I do–maybe that’s an OCD thing, obsessing over those details…Nonetheless, shouldn’t we be more kind even to ourselves, by carefully regarding what words we speak?

 

Believe me, I know it’s hard to be patient. Anger quickly bubbles to a boil. But if we can more diligently apply Phillipians 4:8, “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,  whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or  praiseworthy–think about such things.” to our daily thought processes, just maybe we can better keep that anger on a low simmer, remember to breathe, refocus on ‘things above’, and spare others and ourselves from our otherwise hurtful words. And wouldn’t that make the world just a little nicer to live in?

Blessings in Disguise

I know I’ve been a bit whiny the past week or so, complaining about giving up my freedom, independence, and serene solitude. Yesterday I got to see a little gift in our current circumstances: Bug and his grandma.

 

We moved away from family when Michael was only fifteen months old. He’s grown up without his sister, grandparents, or cousins. Over the years he’s kind of adopted other grandparents and extended family through church and neighbors. Kind, sweet people who’ve embraced him and loved him and made us all feel like family.

 

When we had the opportunity to move home again a couple years ago, I was happy that Michael would actually have the chance to finally get to know his grandmother and cousins. No longer would we have to spend birthdays and holidays with just the three of us. Still, there are only so many of those ‘special’ days, and we’ve not had as much time with family as I thought we would and now we’re moving on once more. Fortunately, this move will take us to be with Bill’s family, and Michael will have his sister and more cousins around, and a chance to know that side of the family now.

 

Yesterday was the first day of a four day weekend from school for Michael. We have bowling plans the last three days of the break, but nothing was scheduled for Friday other than a trip to our favorite Chinese buffet: the Fortune Star. We stuffed ourselves silly, full of crab rangoon, stir-fry green beans, egg foo yung and more…Michael couldn’t wait to show Grandma his dessert concoction of pudding, chocolate cake, cookies ‘n cream ice cream, all smashed up with fortune cookies. Yeah, it looks pretty gross, but he makes it every time we eat there, and you kinda have to admit–what could be wrong with a combination like that?

 

After we came home, Bug and Grandma played a few games, then cuddled on the couch, gabbing away. Michael is as much of a talker as Grandma is, and the two of them prattled on most of the afternoon. It melted my heart to see him so happy. As frustrated as I have felt, I’m really thankful that the two of them have this time together–this gift in the darkness, a light of love…makes the rest seem easier to bear.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30

 

Pigging out at Fortune Star–such manners…

 

Noise

I don’t do well with noise. I am a huge fan of golden silence. Probably half my problem these past couple of weeks…Even when Bill was still here, he’d get up and head off to work, Michael would go off to school, the dogs would all settle down for their naps, and I’d have beautiful, sweet silence. Not so much now with another person in the house…

 

Mom’s a talker. A constant talker. And a fairly negative commentator. I grit my teeth and shoulders tense, bury my face in my book…I don’t like noise. And I can’t get away from it right now. There isn’t an off button. Deep breath, try another paragraph…

 

I’m sure I sound ungrateful. She did fly up from Florida to help me get through my recovery time, and I am thankful for that. It’s just everything else that comes along with it is a rather hard pill to swallow.

 

Michael is having a difficult time right now dealing with our upcoming move. Facing leaving all his friends once more, and heading into the great unknown of another school and having to make new friends all over again is very daunting. Daddy’s been gone almost two months now. Then he watched as I lost control during the tremors and was rushed off to the emergency room in an ambulance, followed a few weeks later by a stay in the hospital for surgery. How much more can be piled upon his shoulders? I’m in my forties and it’s a struggle for me to handle…I can’t begin to imagine how scary all of this is for a ten year old!

 

So he’s been acting out and having meltdowns. And I’m getting lectured about how my child isn’t normal and he needs help because he’s too out of control. Everything in his life is not normal and out of control right now! She broadcasts to her friends his bizarre behavior and my apparent lack of parenting skills, as if my family’s private business is hers to share and I fume inside.

 

So I cherish my few hours of morning time in silence. Pray for peace, strength, patience. Wishing my husband was here, wishing all of this was over. I need to get back to my routine, and find the quiet within. Soon…soon…

Feeling Better

I went for a walk yesterday morning. A quick couple of miles around my usual running route. Made me really want to run, feel my heart pounding in my chest, cold air chilling my lungs, the beat of feet on pavement. But I contained my pace to walking, breathing deep of fresh, cool morning air. Waving as neighbors left on their way to work. It was freeing, being out on my own for just a little while. Restoring a tiny semblence of independence for just those few minutes away. Helped me hold on better the rest of the day.

 

The weekend will be busy, that will help. Bug has a four day weekend from school so I think we’ll hit the Chinese buffet for lunch tomorrow to get us out of the kitchen. Saturday is bowling, and then Sunday he has a tournament–the first that Grandma has gotten to see. That’s also our new pastor’s installation service in the afternoon and I think I’m ready to brave church again, even with my choke, er, cervical collar–I’ll sport my pretty purple paw-paw bling! Monday Bug is off for Presidents’ Day, so we have a bowling date planned with friends and I need to get a couple quick X-rays done to take with me to my appointment on Wednesday with the neurosurgeon, hoping to hear I’m allowed to live again…please!! So close I can almost taste it…freedom!!

 

Who knew I’d ever really want so desperately to get on hands and knees and scrub my house clean again? Two weeks watching dirt accumulate has been as stressful as living with this collar strangling my neck. When did I become such a clean freak?? I need to get the house presentable for showing again, my realtor as anxious as I am to get things moving once more. The time is coming and I can feel it…Almost there…almost there….