Community

I live in a community. That’s an actual thing, not just a state of mind. Actually, it’s both, but let’s not argue. I grew up in a decent sized town in Tennessee. It’s more of a city now, but when I was there it wasn’t quite as large. I never understood community outside of my church, which I never quite felt a part of. My parents understood it. They both grew up in small communities and their roots will always be there. People used to be more familiar with it. The world was bigger and we weren’t one big online place. Now the world tends to be one big anonymous hole. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for anonymity. But in hard times, you need your tribe.

When we had dated long enough to come home and meet the parents, I remember I was shocked. I had no idea places like this existed outside of the big park in East Tennessee. Beautiful, clear rock-bottom creeks. Cows and cornfields everywhere. Big green fields and trees. It was gorgeous. I knew I loved it almost immediately. But the longer I live here, the more I realize the people are what make this place so special. For the first time in my life I felt like I was welcomed in as one of the group with no need for insecurity. They love me and I love them. I love that my little one gets to grow up here amongst people who love him.

It is never more apparent how wonderful a community really is until tragedy strikes. Our little community survived a tornado thanks to friends, family and help from each other. This week our county lost two young women. Both left behind teen aged children and husbands. One from cancer and one from unknown reasons. It has hurt this community. Lots of questions. Lots of anger, I’m sure. I personally am still in disbelief. I saw one of the ladies the day before. It is hard to believe she is gone. A lady posted this picture on Facebook. These are students in the town where my son goes to school. They are outside praying for the families, who they all know well, and our community as a whole. They are comforting themselves and each other. That’s community. No one told these kids to do that. They know what community is. It is truly caring about each other, even strangers. It is about helping in whatever way you can. It is rare in this world today, so I cherish it. I am proud to live here and proud to raise my son here.

#waynecountytennessee #collinwoodtennessee #luttstennessee

Sweet Freedom

Our family has lived through a weird five years. Some of it I’ve shared with you and some I’m still working up to sharing. All of this means every year by August, I am out of sick days and halfway through my vacation days. And I never, ever roll anything into the new year. I generally have a stranglehold on those last five days, that I haven’t even accrued yet, hoping for some sort of vacation. It is a stressful way to live.

On top of whatever craziness caused me to be off in the first place, when I miss work I worry all day. I fret over using another sick or vacation day that I might need later. I have left my son and my husband at times I didn’t want to because I was saving every minute I could in case of the inevitable heart attack, tornado, trip to the doctor, broken foot, ER visit, kidney stone, etc. I have never felt like I had the freedom to do anything differently. My husband would always say it was no big deal and people understand when you need to be off, but I always felt guilty. My job took up the majority of my life and I couldn’t afford to keep missing.

My husband doesn’t really understand my point of view, mainly because he doesn’t think that way, but also because he accrues time off like crazy. In addition, he has always had some side hobby that he used to make extra money. He could sell something or fix something. I only have my daily job. My hobbies are reading and sleeping and those don’t pay well…or actually happen now that I have a little one. It has been a sore spot with me for years that he actually has time off he can use and money to have a hobby, while I sit in my office with my ag degree staring out an office window. This was not the dream.

But this week something happened. My little one was sick. Pitifully so. Normally I would leave for work and his daddy or grandmother would hold him and pet him all day. He would cry, but I never felt like I had a choice. But this week was different. See I joined Young Living a few months ago. The people involved with this company showed me that there is a different way to live. That you can do something you enjoy, actually help people, AND even make money. And I’m doing it. And I’m loving it.

The freedom of knowing I have a goal date in mind where I will be living the life I want…it makes a huge difference in how I feel and face daily life. I couldn’t go to my daily job that day, but I could work on my oily job from home. It sounds stupid, even to me, but it is the truth. All of this makes a huge difference to me.

If you are out there suffering through another day of doing what you’re supposed to, listen to me. You can do something else if you want. You can change your life and move toward what you love. Set a goal and go get it. It takes work, but doesn’t everything? But you have to start somewhere. Go to youngliving.com and do some research. Contact me through this site. Find me on Facebook (katiesoilyjourney) or Twitter (@katiesoilyjourney). Join Young Living through my link. It is a worthwhile change. I promise.

This Day, Take 2

Today was not my day. No amount of Spearmint and Stress Away could save this day. It’s Monday, so that speaks for itself. I got to work and my phone and computer wouldn’t connect to the internet and therefore the system. No one else was having an issue. Imagine that. Both run off the internet, which is persnickety on a good day. (That’s southern for very difficult x 10). I eventually realized my phone was being an idiot and bypassed it so I could at least get in the system. In the meantime, my visitor arrived. For those that don’t know, my job is loan administration, which basically means I oversee loan operations. And that means sometimes you have people come in to make sure you are doing your job right. Usually it’s stressful, but that’s normal. Add in no phone and no boss and life gets less fun. Luckily his computer worked. Once I had him settled, I went back to working on my stupid phone. After emailing to let people know I had no phone on a day I could really use a phone, I fiddled with it until I considered throwing it through my office window and jumping from the second floor to freedom. It was awesome. In the midst of this, lunch arrived. What could go wrong? Hold on and let me tell you. After waiting 45 minutes, still no lunch. It was a burger and fries, not a four course meal. Turns out my order was placed as a to-go, so it was sitting in the back getting cold the whole time I sat trying to be patient. That’ll teach me. No good deed goes unpunished. You’ve probably heard me say that. Because it’s TRUE and I’m a truthsayer. At least I got it free. Someone asked how it was and I told them it wasn’t half bad for a cold burger and fries. Not exactly the hot burger and fries I expected, but I made it work. I came back and worked on what I now will forever refer to as “my idiot phone” to no avail. I gave up and decided phones are for losers anyway. And I’m a winner. Eventually the day came to an uneventful end and here I am. In my recliner reminiscing. I think I’ll leave my office phone off the hook forever. It was actually quite peaceful looking back. On to Monday, part 2. Deliver me Lord.

Welcome to the Unknown

If you’re a medical professional, I’m going to go ahead and suggest you skip this one.

So. This isn’t going to be funny or profound. It’s mostly me venting and feeling sorry for myself. So you’ve been warned.

If you are one of those fortunate people who go to a doctor with a problem and get a diagnosis, you won’t understand this one. I bet you didn’t even know there was a different way. But there is. I am one of those people that leaves the doctor’s office frustrated and often crying. Today is one of those days. You see, it doesn’t matter what I go for, cold, weird pain, rash, etc., I rarely get an answer. I get a ton of “I don’t see anything” and “I’m sorry, come back if you have another symptom,” but very few answers. It is unhelpful at best and soul crushing at worst. Today I went to a doctor I love. She is my favorite of all of them. But today she got to tell me she doesn’t know what’s causing my issue. There is nothing there. So what the hell is it? Is it really just in my head? I like to think I’m not that crazy, but am I? Honestly, appointments like this make me question my sanity on top of everything else.

This is pretty much constant in my life, except a lot of times I don’t like the doctor so I don’t go so peacefully. Ask the rheumatologist at Vanderbilt who basically dismissed me, so I insisted he test me, and he later had to call and tell me I am developing a very rare autoimmune disease. Moron. Just because I don’t look sick and don’t have the symptoms you are accustomed to, doesn’t mean you get to dismiss me. That day I was in no mood to be casually dismissed by a kid doctor. He will never see me again, though I’m sure he would love to study me. My endocrinologist is a genius as far as I’m concerned. He gave me my son. When he told me they had exhausted their vast resources and were out of options, it was hard to take. It’s hard to take when you are having trouble breathing and actually break down and go to the ER and are told there’s nothing there causing it. This is my experience with the medical world.

So again, you are truly blessed if you can go to the doctor and come out feeling relieved or even terrified. At least you have something to fight. I exit, call my husband or mom, and cry in frustration. I have to remind myself that doctors absolutely don’t know everything and there are things even they have never seen. But it is very hard. Especially when you sit here still having the same problem, trying to decide if it’s real or not.

If you have never experienced this, I pray you never do. It sucks. Does it do any good to tell you this? Nope. Do I feel better? Nope. Is there a point? Not really. Welcome to my frustrating world.

It Is Well

It really isn’t. If I’m honest with you and myself, it just isn’t. I would love to give you some really impressive motivational speech. But I can’t, because I’m not feeling it either.

Have you ever wanted something so badly and for so long that it consumes you? I have. In my teenage years I always imagined a house full of kids when I “grew up”. But it was not meant to be for me. After many years of heartache, we finally did in vitro fertilization (IVF) to have my beautiful little son. Prior to that I had done a lot of things trying to make this particular dream come true. Many, many things that I never thought I would allow my body to go through. In a way, IVF was a relief. I knew it was going to be intense going in. No surprise there. There was a set process and I knew it was going to suck. I spent a lot of time on the road (I live about two and a half hours from my doctor), taking shots in parking lots and sitting in rush hour traffic after leaving home at 4:30 a.m., sometimes twice a week. Looking back, it seems unreal that I went through that. But I have my son to show for the hard work, so it was fulfilling.

Most people don’t know, but we tried again a few years ago. I spent six months in what I can only describe as pure hell. Hopes up, hopes crushed. Hopes up, hopes crushed. My body would not cooperate like it did the first time. My nurse literally told me they didn’t know what else to do. After all that work, my doctor recommended we give it a try and pray for the best. Those that know me don’t see a kid walking around, so you know how that one went. Not only is IVF an emotional journey, it’s a financial one. To spend that kind of money for heartbreak is another level of misery.

People seem to think that once you have your miracle baby, you should be satisfied and content. And I guess a lot of people are. I am not. I want a brother or sister for my son. I want the chance to have a normal, uneventful pregnancy and delivery. The memory of my last delivery and first month of mommyhood are not pleasant. I guess I should be happy I even have a child, lots of people never do. I know that. But that’s not how it is, so that’s not how I feel.

When you struggle with infertility, you try to remain level at all times. Never get your hopes up. You pray, beg, cry and beg some more sometimes, but never get excited. You keep secrets from your spouse, because you don’t want to disappoint both of you. You lie to yourself to keep your excitement down. Never get your hopes up. Never. I made that mistake recently. I let myself believe for just a second. Just a second. The devastation never gets easier apparently. On top of the disappointment, you’re mad at yourself for being so stupid. I know my issues. I know how miraculous it would have to be to get pregnant without intervention. But I see it happen for others, so why not me?

So. It is not well with my soul right now. I’m trying. I’ve poured out my heart to God and cried hysterically while my sweet husband held me. It simply never gets easier. Fortunately I have my essential oils endeavor to occupy my mind when I have free time. But it still hurts. It hurts every time I see a baby. It hurts every time I hear someone say, “We were so surprised! We didn’t even want another baby!” It hurts every time I see a story of abuse or neglect. It just hurts. Over and over. These days I pray God will take the desire from me. Just take it. The relief of not wanting something I can’t have would be tremendous. I think I would be a totally different person. But it’s still there. I have to make myself stop hoping, because why would God give me a desire he doesn’t intend to fulfill? That seems cruel. But there it is.

I don’t know why I had to get this out. Maybe it will help me, but I doubt it. More likely it will help one of you. Which is wonderful. The only thing I see that has come out of all this is I have been able to talk to other people first hand about my struggle. When I did IVF, I didn’t know anyone else who had done it. I scoured the internet for support groups and information. I kept the whole process a secret. I was almost ashamed I had to go to such lengths. Now I can encourage other people and explain the process. I can empathize. I can encourage. With all of my issues, if I can get pregnant, anyone can. The options are absolutely endless for them. Me, not so much. But I think of all I’ve done and know that I did all I could. It just wasn’t meant to be. And I am afraid I will struggle forever trying to make it well with my soul.

This day, y’all

Some days are better than others, know what I mean? It’s not that today was a bad day, per se, it’s just blah. I don’t want to be where I am all day doing what I’m doing… today at least.

Most days I really like my job. I used to love it, but “like” is better than where I was before. I love the people I work with and let’s be real, I’m not going anywhere any time soon (so y’all stop panicking). But whatever is up with me makes me dissatisfied with my present situation.

Not my home life. It’s stressful, but whose isn’t? My husband is sometimes the only thing keeping me sane. I’m hanging on to him. It’s work, I think. I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. I mostly repeat myself a lot and hope for the best. My favorite part is solving problems and helping other people figure something out. Everybody deserves answers and I love trying to break it down so it’s easier the next time. And I still do that a lot. But I am not happy there right now.

Some of it is this stupid boot. It is totally screwing up my mojo. But the real problem is somebody convinced me that work could, maybe, on a wing and a prayer, if the stars align, be something different and that I could actually look forward to it for a change. It’s a far off dream and one a lot of other people have had and failed to realize. I’m a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. Are you still crazy if you realize you are crazy? I need to find that out. But right now I have this teeny tiny hope of light at the end of the tunnel.

So I carry on, confusing the heck out of people who know me well. Who is this Katie who is happy and doing something weird, even for her? I like to think it’s the new, better me, but today I just want to lay down and sleep. But have no fear, there’s an oil for that.

Gloom, Despair & Agony on Me

Anybody remember Hee Haw?  Yeah, well, it was a few decades ago.  And maybe it was only in Tennessee.  Well anyway, I was not very old, but I remember watching it at my grandma’s house.  If you ever saw the show, you recognize the title to this post.  This is a song that pops in my head at some of the most inappropriate times.  Like my brain is trying to protect my sanity.  In my memory, my dad walks around singing it happily.  That may or may not have happened (sorry, Daddy), but that’s who is singing it in my head today.  When I thought about posting about the last few years of my life, this song popped in my head again.  Today I just want to hit the high (actually low) points, so you have a pencil-drawn map of the road I traveled to get here – not exact, possibly slightly crooked, but it will give you an idea of where we’re headed.

In October of 2014, our life on the Double E changed forever.  That sounds super dramatic, I know, but honestly it changed everything.  My father-in-law had a massive heart attack.  He and my mother-in-law were keeping my son every day at the time.  That was about to change, along with a lot of other things for us and my little one.  We spent several days at the hospital crying and praying in the cafeteria.  He had open heart surgery and thankfully, is still mending fences and tending his garden today.  At the time I wasn’t very familiar with heart attacks.  I knew they told us he had a “widow-maker” and that was bad, but I didn’t understand the damage it caused and the way it would affect the day to day for him and by extension the whole family.  It was a hard time.

Fast forward 6 months…my husband and I, well mainly I, decided it was a good time to try to have another baby.  Life had settled back down, I thought, and I wasn’t getting any younger.  I say try because our son is here by the grace of God.  That is a fact.  Long story short, in vitro fertilization is hard on a girl.  But that’s a story for another day.  So we began that process in April.  The first week of May, my dad had a massive heart attack.  If I hadn’t been living it myself, I wouldn’t have believed how eerily similar this was to our time six months before.  Same heart attack, same floor of the hospital, same absolute disbelief and fear.  Same crying and praying.  This time we were more knowledgeable, but no less afraid.  I’d love to know the odds of two people this closely related both surviving 100% blockages and a heart attack aptly named a widow-maker.  It’s still hard to believe how very fortunate we are.  Luckily my dad didn’t have to have open heart surgery, but today both our dads sport matching defibrillators.  I liked to tell people it was the accessory of the season.  They didn’t seem as amused as I was.

Fast forward six months…after a truly miserable six months of stress over my dad while trying to make my stupid body cooperate with my once well-laid plan, our doctor suggested a “Hail Mary” of sorts.  It didn’t work.  Again, a story for another day.

Six weeks later, on December 23, 2015, a tornado destroyed our small town.  My husband and I were in the basement with our in-laws, our 80 year old grandmother, our 4 year old and our trusted blue heeler as the tornado passed over the house.  The destruction was, and still is, indescribable.    The fact that no one lost their life that night is a miracle in itself. Add that one to the list of stories for another day.

Fast forward six months…my sweet nephew was born on April 15, 2016.  Three days later our family crowded around him to both meet him for the first time and say our good-byes.  There are no words.  He was buried on my birthday.

Life has continued on that six month cycle for a while now.  To the point I start dreading the days as I realize another half year has passed.  When you tell people these stories, they don’t even know how to respond.  I can’t blame them.  But we carry on.  Maybe we carry on carefully, sometimes with something close to fear, but we do it nonetheless.

I am not sharing these things to get your sympathy or pity; I don’t need or want it.  I simply want you to see this side of me.  Because I intend to share A LOT of funnier things along the way, but you can’t fully appreciate the mountaintop if you forget the valleys.  Man I sound like I know what I’m doing.  And I totally do not.  The reality is sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.  Who knew that was a fact and not just a weird quote?

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