Hands On

There’s something to be said for a man who can actually do stuff. (Yes, I understand women can also do things and take care of themselves, as I most definitely can, but that’s not the point here.) The point is men have changed. How many of you have a man in your life who can actually do practical, useful things? Fix things, make things, use his hands for more than scrolling through his phone? I live in a small town in the south, so I feel like it’s more common here in a farming community than it is in the larger town I grew up in. But even here, it’s becoming less and less common. Like everything else, men are evolving with the times and technology. I get that. But it makes me even prouder of the man I call mine and the little man we are raising that seems to be following in his footsteps.

I sat for about two hours today watching my husband and his friend work in their shop. It constantly amazes me to see the things these two dudes can do. I give them hell on a daily basis, but I swear between the two of them, they’re unstoppable. Today they were working on trucks for a truck pull this weekend. One was attaching a custom made bumper, which he made from scratch I might add, to his truck. The other was working on various projects on his truck, while occasionally stopping to help his friend. These two never slow down. They are constantly thinking of something else to do to whatever project they’re working on and then figuring out how to make it happen. They drive their wives crazy on a regular basis with truck talk, late hours in the shop, and mysterious charges to their credit card, but it’s hard to hate it. We also never have to call a repairman or take our vehicles to the shop. After close to eighteen years, I’m spoiled to it. I can do a lot of things myself, but how awesome is it that I don’t have to every single time?

As I sat there watching my 5-year-old work diligently to split a wood block while the big boys worked on their trucks, I couldn’t help but be relieved that he seems to have the inclination to do things with his hands. Yes, more times than not that means destroying something, but still… at least he tries. He came home yesterday hot, tired, covered in grease and dirt, and happy as a clam, much like his daddy. Hopefully he will always know the satisfaction of being able to do things with his hands.

Small Town Heroes

I grew up within 10 minutes of two different hospitals. An ambulance with EMTs was never more than a few minutes from anywhere in town. Until I married a small town boy and moved to the best place ever, I never really thought about emergency health care in small communities. I know there were volunteer fire departments (VFDs) in my area, but I never thought much about them or what they did. I assumed they fought fires, which they did and do. But they do a lot more in small towns like ours.

When I got married in 2005, lots of things changed including my address. I moved to a small community with one stop sign, a country store, two churches and a post office. Too small to even be a town. The tornado got the post office and the economy got the store, so I guess we are even smaller now. The nearest decent-sized town in our county that also has a small hospital is thirty minutes down a very curvy road, and only if you drive dangerously fast. Our little community is perfect for a lot of things, but emergency medical situations isn’t one of them. While we dated I had become more familiar with the local VFD as my husband and father-in-law were both members and regularly went out on emergency calls. After we married, my husband started working as a wildland firefighter, so the drive to help and protect runs pretty deep with him and an EMA radio is never far away. Hearing the pages and seeing him fly out of the house is not as regular as it used to be, but it’s still a pretty common occurrence. See, out here VFD members don’t just put out fires. I mean they do put out fires, but if you get hurt, first responders from the nearest VFD get to you the fastest. You know them and they know you. They do everything they can until an ambulance can get to you, which may be 15 minutes or so. It could be longer, depending on where in the county they are. Members of the VFD are literally the difference between life and death in some situations and they are volunteers.

Another thing about this small town life: you never want to see the Air Evac helicopter, but you are thrilled to see it when you need it. Even by ambulance at top speed, it’s a treacherous drive from out here and nothing is close. The nearest trauma center is over two hours away. That helicopter and its crew save a lot of lives in communities like ours.

A few years ago my father-in-law had a massive heart attack. 100% blockage of his LAD or “widowmaker”, as it’s lovingly referred to. First responders were at his house working on him within minutes. When EMTs arrived he was alert and feeling better, never really experiencing “normal” heart attack symptoms. They were preparing to leave to get him checked out when he had another episode. They immediately realized it was a life threatening situation and called for Air Evac. They drove toward the helicopter, which landed in the nearest town, to save time. He was flown to Vanderbilt, where they immediately performed procedures that saved his life. It was still a close thing for several days, but without our local VFD and that helicopter, he wouldn’t be here. I have no doubt about that. And stories like that happen daily.

Tonight as my husband was cooking supper, the page went out that our local VFD was needed to help land Air Evac for someone. This community is small enough that you immediately start trying to figure out who it is. Every siren. Every time you hear the helicopter coming over. Every single time you start to pray, because chances are good you know the person they’re here to help. My husband left to help the helicopter land safely and Tuck and I sat on the deck waiting for them to fly over. They always fly near our house because we are very close to the VFD, but today as they circled around our house to go in for their landing, my little boy stood on our deck waiving his arms at them and I swear they must have seen him. They flew low and directly over his head on their way to land. Because these are awesome people who love their jobs and love the communities they serve and they love making kids smile.

When a tornado practically destroyed this community, that VFD kept us fed and organized every thing we could possibly need while we tried to salvage what we could. We literally ate all our meals there. It was a gathering place for us to just be together and rest. It housed the church until it could be rebuilt. It is the heart of this community and I’m not sure what we would do without it.

If you have a volunteer fire department near you, show them some love. They run on donations and good will. The members literally volunteer and by doing so, save lives. If you see the Air Evac crew at a local event, because they’re often there to let the kids crawl all over their helicopter, thank them for their service. It’s not an easy job and it’s dangerous. These people make it possible for people like us to live out here on the farms we love away from the bustle we don’t. They are small town heroes and they need your support. #supportyourlocalVFD #luttstennessee #thevolunteerstate

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Live A Little

Ever come across a phrase and feel it “click” in your head?  That was me yesterday.  Pinterest, a better stalker than Facebook ever thought about being, is really spooky sometimes.  I mean, it totally gets me.  I saw the phrase “Live A Little” in my feed yesterday and thought “That’s it.  That’s my what I want right now.”

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m always putting things off for later.  When I have time, when I’m less tired, when I have more money…  The reality is those things never come to pass and life is finite.  Our little community has experienced the sudden loss of several young adults this year.  Gone in a blink.  I’m sure they thought they had more time, too.

I don’t want to just survive.  I want to live.  Just a little.  I want to thrive.  I can keep putting off that skydiving trip or trip to Ireland, but there are little things that my husband and I want to do and we should do them.  Last year we started going to see the Nashville Predators.  It seems crazy to a lot of people to drive that far for a three hour game, but it is so much fun.  It’s a time to just scream and enjoy the atmosphere and we love it.  It was something we could do together.  This year we will do it all again, because it makes us happy.  I find that little thing really made a difference in my attitude.  In fact, right now I’m going through withdrawals from watching hockey multiple times a week and my inner brat is showing.

If you know us, you know we also love offroading.  We have gone off and on for years.  My husband builds and trades all kinds of rigs, so we always have something fun to play in.  We love to go out with groups and ride trails, get stuck, get muddy, and just have fun with people like us.  There are several groups in our area and we are even members of them. Every summer we talk about going riding more, because we always have so much fun when we do go.  We live about an hour from an offroad park we love, so it’s easy to go.  But every year, we go maybe once and then life takes over.  Some of it is because we have a small child and he’s been too little to go and sit that long happily.  But some of it is just because we put it off.  It does take a little effort and we get lazy.  This week we went to two different socials for two different offroad groups in our area.  For me, that’s a struggle.  I had to make myself go.  I am awkward and hate trying to meet knew people or God forbid being the center of attention when I’m the new person.  If not for my husband, I would never go anywhere.  I would sit in my chair reading a book a day and talking to no one.  But we went and it was really fun.  We are making plans to go on some rides and more socials.  Just live a little.  Nothing extreme, just baby steps.

I know I’m middle aged.  I know I’m a wife and mother.  I know I work full time and have a ton of stuff I should be doing at home.  I know it costs money I could put in savings.  I know all of these things and more.  But I am tired of just surviving day to day.  I want to live a little.

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Pregnancy Done The Hard Way

Can I be honest?  Sometimes I really resent how I became pregnant.  Most everyone knows by now that I had In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).  And while that process ran so smoothly it was spooky, which I now realize after trying again not so smoothly, and I have a perfect Kindergartener to show for it, it was anything but normal.  One thing that never fails is if you get in a room of mamas, you’re going to eventually start swapping pregnancy/birth war stories.  How you found out, how sick you were, how long you were in labor, breastfeeding craziness, etc.  One thing that becomes crystal clear every time this happens?  My story is not normal and I resent that some days.

It’s hard hearing how they realized something wasn’t right and started counting days to figure out if they might be pregnant.  Every day was accounted for with IVF.  I drove to Nashville at 4 or 5 am more times than I care to count for bloodwork and ultrasounds.  Invasive tests galore.  I joke that for months I saw more people with my pants off than on.  Except that may actually be fact and not a joke.  I knew exactly when I started my medication.  Exactly when I started my injections and how long they would last.  Exactly when I would have surgery.  We knew the exact moment that little dude was implanted.  While others may have romantic stories of how they got there, we remember an operating room, extreme lack of privacy, a microscope and a half dozen strangers.  I remember the nurse telling us she had several children by adoption and several by IVF.  “I tell them none of them were conceived in love.  Some were conceived in lust and others in a lab, but none in love.”  That sticks with me.  I disagree, but in her defense we do have a test tube, or should I say Petri dish, baby and there was a lot of science involved.  Not everyone has a picture of their embryo that was just implanted to help make it all less surreal.  But we do.  Apparently that is done to help you feel more connected to the process.  I don’t know if that succeeded, but it was something.

It’s hard hearing about how surprised and excited they were when they peed on that stupid stick.  Infertility steals all the excitement of that moment.  I’ve taken dozens of pregnancy tests and never seen a positive one.  Even after we knew we were pregnant, I was terrified to take one and find out that I was no longer pregnant that way, so I never chanced it.  I was driving four or five hours once or twice a week for ultrasounds and bloodwork, then going to work and praying.  There was no mystery to it, that’s for sure.  Just anxiety and exhaustion.

It’s hard hearing how they had their secret for days or even minutes.  How they told their families and how excited everyone was.  With IVF you never get to have a secret to yourself for any amount of time.  While only a handful of people knew what was going on, they knew every detail right up to what day we would get our pregnancy results.  They knew that the nurse called and told us that we were pregnant, but due to the bloodwork probably had at most a 20% chance of staying that way.  While someone else might be able to keep that a secret, we had to call and tell our parents to keep everyone from getting excited.  Obviously my son is here now, but it was touch and go for a month or so.  I remember the day we saw finally saw his heartbeat.  I remember vividly standing in Target telling my brothers, who were clueless about the whole thing.  We were cautiously optimistic, but terrified.  So excited, but trying to reign it in for fear of being disappointed.

It’s hard hearing their labor and delivery stories.  How they battled and the bond they felt the first time they held their baby.  Because in addition to the drama that was conception, my son was delivered a week past his due date by cesarean section.  After everything else, the little bugger was breech.  Yes, lots of people end up delivering by C-section.  However, most have been in labor or planned to avoid it altogether.  I never experienced the first contraction or sign of labor.  We went to the doctor to get checked, he decided to do an ultrasound because I was freaking out having IVF and being overdue, and he realized we had a problem.  We calmly called our parents and went to the hospital.  Five hours later I walked myself into the operating room without my husband for a spinal block and within thirty minutes they brought my husband in and we had a baby.   By the time the doctor and nurses were done with me, and had decided where they were going for lunch, everyone was in our room with our baby.  They’d seen his first bath and held him.  The relief and excitement was palpable.  I was the last one to the party.  And I felt like I’d been run over by a train.  Looking back, it’s no wonder I had trouble bonding and breastfeeding. It was like walking in a store and buying a kid. It was that impersonal and different from what I was expecting.

Infertility is hard.   It kills your hope and excitement.  And it’s happening all around you.  Every day.  To people you see daily.  I consider myself a strong person.  If you know me, you know I’m brutally honest.  Believe me when I tell you that this time in my life almost killed my soul and still haunts me.  As horrible as it sounds, I wish I could have a “normal” pregnancy so I could experience how it could be.  (And please don’t try to tell me no pregnancy is normal.  I am not stupid.  But you have to admit, this one is far from what you experienced.)  But another kid doesn’t appear to be in the books, so I look at my son and thank God I was strong enough to get him here. I saw so many women who did this whole thing many, many times and never had the baby they dreamed of.  I am one of the lucky ones and  know that…most days.

I have no clue why I woke up this morning compelled to tell all this.  It sucked and I resent it most days.  But somewhere apparently someone must need to hear all this.  To know that you can go through a lot of things you never thought you’d survive and come out stronger.  Looking back I can’t believe I did some of the things I did.  But I made it and you will, too.

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Resolve to Evolve

I’m not a big resolution person. Mainly because I know myself well enough to know I won’t follow through if I don’t want to, regardless of what I decide at the new year. However, the past few weeks I’ve thought about the new year a lot. Maybe it’s because I will turn 40 and I’m having some sort of mid-life crisis. Hard to say for sure, but I’m at a point in my life where I feel like I should reassess where I am, where I want to go, and how I plan to get there.

2018 has brought me a new venture that I love and as a bonus, has helped me reduce the chemicals in my house which has led to a healthier family. Really. It’s weird, but true. It has also given me the freedom to take days off and spend it with my kid, as opposed to worrying non-stop about deciding between him and my job. Young Living really has changed my life and I love sharing it. With the holidays, I have taken it easy on that front, focusing more on creating products I love. It is such a stress reliever to make things, especially things I use daily. I feel like I’m actually accomplishing something I can measure and see, which is uncommon for me these days. And I’ve been able to share that with a lot of people, which is nerve wracking for me, but has given me a lot of satisfaction, too. It has reminded me that there is more to me than the day to day people see. And it really makes me happy. Like “singing in the kitchen” happy. I find myself making stuff just for the sake of making it, because I can see it in my head and I have to do it and see how it turns out. I assume that’s how musicians and other artists feel, but being neither of those it’s new for me.

Back to the point – this year I’m thinking hard about change in the new year. I hate change. Have for as long as I can remember. I get physically ill and try to sleep my life away. Which brings me back to that whole mid-life crisis possibility. Whatever it is, I’m hoping to make some changes in 2019. Because regardless of how old I sometimes feel, I’m not dead yet. I’ve talked to and read stories of tons of people who make some change mid-life and go on to truly enjoy the rest of their life. I want to be one of those people. I don’t have any crazy “move to Mexico” plans, just a drive to really do some of the things my husband and I have talked about for years. Six months ago I never would have had the courage to even consider a change. But I found this company full of amazing people doing amazing things and it helped me dream again. It’s scary as hell, yet totally irresistible. And I can’t wait.

The Book of Faces

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I’d hazard to guess that most people do. I love that I can “see” my friends from high school and college even though they’ve moved all over the country. Granted, it’s a little stalker-esque to “follow” someone’s life through pictures, but I still enjoy it. I love being able to share my life and who doesn’t like all those “likes” you get when you post a picture? That’s the whole point, right? Facebook has a ton of good qualities. I mean I keep going back multiple times a day so it must have something I like.

What I don’t like is how Facebook can make me feel about myself and my life. Because you don’t automatically think, “well, they’re posting only the best things”, and take things with a grain of salt when you see pictures of your friends in Aruba or baking the world’s coolest cupcakes for their 10 kids. I’m a pretty straightforward person, both on and off Facebook, so I don’t immediately assume everyone is only highlighting the good. Nope. I think I’m failing as a mom or wife. I don’t travel enough. I don’t contribute enough. I have one kid and can’t get anything done and these people have five kids (five!) and are travelling and doing all these family things. I can barely get through a meal with my little heathen. And Lord, when I post that particular little truth nugget… Let’s just say my bid for mom of the year grows stronger daily. That’s honestly how I feel.

Now I can’t blame that all on Facebook. Some of that is just who I am. I will never feel I measure up to other moms. It’s not going to happen, so you can save your inspiring texts and emails about how awesome I am. I’m good. I know it’s stupid, as my sweet husband points out daily, but I can’t make myself stop. That’s not Facebook’s fault. But if there was no Facebook, and I wasn’t hooked on it, I wouldn’t have that shoved in my face as often and in living color. So I do put some blame on Facebook and social media in general.

I give massive props to people who “quit” Facebook. You go. You have the willpower of a god as far as I’m concerned. I just don’t feel like that’s a valid option for me. It’s literally the only way I “see” some of my family and friends. I also use it for my business. It just isn’t logical to stop using it altogether. But I wonder if I can inspire others to try for a little honesty on there. It always amazes me when I post something like “I hate everyone today” and people start worrying about something tragic going on in my life. I’m just posting my honest opinion at that moment, which is what I like to think everyone is doing, so why the concern? Then it dawns on me – most people are only posting rainbows and roses. They assume your world is ending if you actually post anything non-sunny on Facebook. Nope. I hate people at least one day a week on average. That’s me. No crisis, just putting it out there as more of a public service announcement. I guess I could wear some sort of sign instead, but a Facebook post lets people I don’t see daily know not to call, or God forbid, stop by for a visit. A sign on my person will not do that.

So yeah, I love it…I hate it. I’m addicted to it, even though it sometimes makes me feel like a complete and utter failure. I’m working on that. But how about we all agree to be more realistic on the book of faces? Because if I’m feeling this way, I hate to think how the more vulnerable people in our lives feel. ‘Cause I can guarantee they’re on there reading posts several hours a day. And while I have a full time job and a little heathen at home to keep my mind occupied most of the day, not everyone does. Now don’t go depressing everyone you know on there, but maybe shoot for posting about the not perfect times once in a while. It’s ok to have a bad day and shout it from the internet. I personally love giving someone a good laugh at my expense. And hey, you’ll get lots of encouragement and prayers as an added bonus! Win win.

The Best Part of My Journey

Tomorrow is the thirteenth anniversary of one of the best days of my life. On that day, I married the man God created just for me. It was a gorgeous day like today and we were stupid happy. Sounds sappy, right? Especially from me. But it is the truth. In all the times I have questioned my faith and God and a made a ton of questionable decisions, I have never doubted He both existed and wanted the very best for me. Because all those years ago, in the midst of my rebellion, he gave me Jamie.

I met Jamie in what should have been my senior year of college. I had just changed my major Again. I was way out of my element and knew no one, but I was loving every minute. I finally fit somewhere after always feeling just a little out of place. And I quickly learned that agriculture students are friendly, accepting, and a whole lot of fun. Turns out Jamie was in the very first class I went to, but I met him through my new circle of friends. He was actually dating a friend of mine. He was always laughing and a lot of fun to be around, but I literally never thought much more about it. He was taken, after all. Fast forward a year. They had broken up and I realized I missed having him around. My best friend and I began inviting him hang out with us at the bar we all went to. There was a lot of pool playing and a lot of beer. It was a lot of fun, but I honestly never thought of it more than just hanging out with a friend. Looking back, I think I just never saw the possibility of someone like him liking someone like me. Good thing he wasn’t so dense.

Until the night another guy bluntly told me I would be better off with Jamie, I had never even considered the possibility. I thought he was delusional and told him so. But it planted the seed. Things began to change after that. Probably because I had enough sense to pay attention to what was going on around me. I don’t think Jamie had the same problem. He knew what he thought about me. This really sweet guy put up with a lot of weirdness from me and stuck around, even when I told him he deserved better than me. Multiple times. He saw something I surely didn’t see. That was the fall of 2001 and it made all the difference in my life. God is truly merciful.

The good memories we have made definitely outweigh the bad ones, but there were some hard times those first years of dating. But for whatever reason, it didn’t matter. No matter what happened, it didn’t change anything. He was my match and so here we are today. I still look at him some days and wonder how I got here. He is one of the nicest people I know. Friendly and outgoing. Would do anything for anyone and especially me. A natural daddy to his mini-me, with patience I will never understand. And here I sit on a beautiful farm, with a life and community I love. I literally never thought I’d be here after growing up in town. I often jokingly tell him that I’m spoiled, but really I am. This dude puts up with a lot. I am a challenge, to say the least. Can I get an “amen”? But it doesn’t seem to matter. He loves me anyway. He will read this and call me crazy, but even on the days I want to throttle him, I know how lucky I am to have him.

So happy anniversary to the best guy I know. The one I get to call mine. If you are out there like I was, searching and discouraged that anyone would ever love the real you, take it from me: they’re out there. Don’t settle for anything less than what God has planned for you. Even if you are not a fan of doing what He wants. I don’t like being told what I should do. By anyone. But thank goodness He is persistent. Our love story is living proof that there is a God and no matter what you do, He loves you and wants the very best for you. He has a perfect plan for you, if you will open your eyes – or have someone open them for you if you’re dense like me. I wouldn’t trade a second of this life for the life I thought I’d have. Jamie often says he should have gone to trade school instead of college. That he got nothing out of it. I politely remind him that he got me. And I was totally worth it. Ha.

Speed Bump

I’m competitive. It’s one of those things I seem too lazy to be, but there it is. I’m not an athlete, that’s for sure. But I love a challenge. I love being told I can’t and then shoving it back in your face later. I mean I don’t shove it, I let the success do that. It so funny because it lays dormant a lot. Some people would never imagine me as anything but laid back and well, lazy. But when it comes out, it takes over. Apparently.

In addition to everything else Young Living offered me, it offered me a chance to compete. With myself, mostly. There are all these different goals and the strategy to reach them intrigues me. And that’s all fine and well, but I feel like it has overshadowed my primary goal. Overall, the thing that attracted me to YL is the ability to help people. Really help them. Show people better products for their families. Empower them to make good decisions and take their health into their own hands. This company gives me the opportunity to do that in a physical way and the freedom to do it my own way. The feeling I get when someone tells me they made their own roller or used a certain oil and had wonderful results…that is the reason I got on this road.

So this weekend I’m working on a re-set. I don’t think I’ve made any huge errors or completely run off my friends and family, but I have spent more time than I like to admit looking at my numbers and trying to figure out how to increase them. More and more and more. It’s so exciting to beat the goals I set for myself. And I won’t lie – I want to make a profit. This journey leads to financial freedom, otherwise I would just be using these products. But I know, because I’ve seen it done, that I can reach that destination without running off everyone I know. I’m not a good pressure person. I hate being pressured, so I try to remember how I would want to be dealt with. But a couple of times I felt myself apply pressure that was unnecessary. It would benefit them, sure, but they really didn’t have to do what I suggested at that second. I was seeing the numbers in my head. That makes me unhappy, which is the opposite of my goal.

My dream is to truly help people and empower them to help themselves and others, while making enough money to do that full time. After these three months, I know I can get there. I have the drive and the strategy and I intend to get there. I’m not going to stop competing against myself, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t and don’t really want to. That makes me happy, too. But I will try to remember the point and the thing that set me on this incredible journey in the first place. Helping YL get oils into every household in the world and making a positive difference in people’s lives. If you’ve made it this far, consider that my commitment to you. Continue on this journey with me, no pressure. Only a genuine attempt to improve your life and mine.

So, ask how Young Living is changing my life and how it can change yours.

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.

This Oily Life

Since I started this journey, I’ve had multiple people say I seem happier. I don’t know if it’s the oils themselves or just the change in focus. The running joke is I told a friend one day in conversation that I liked talking to people. That is out of the ordinary for me. A lot. And everyone she tells laughs. A lot. I think it’s that I finally have something worthwhile to say and I feel a passion to share it. I literally hear myself getting excited when I’m talking to someone about Young Living. I feel like I can help people improve their life and I want to do that.

I honestly hadn’t noticed how much I had started using Young Living products personally. I don’t have a huge supply at this point. Mainly oils from the premium starter kit and a few other things I’ve purchased. I had a friend ask me a few days ago how and what I was using that I felt was helping me. When I started telling her, I realized how much my family uses them.

I wake up and wash my face with Mirrah cleansing oil or a charcoal bar. (I love that cleansing oil, by the way.) I use Cedarwood mint soap or Morning Start bath gel and lavender conditioner. I get out and use Progessence Plus serum on my face, Stress Away in my lotion and Thieves oil on the bottoms of my feet for immune support. I use Thieves on my little one who is starting school, too. Last fall and spring were rough on us. We hope to avoid that this year. I’ve also made my own lip balm, hand salve, foaming soap, and foot cream. At night I diffuse lavender in my room and spray Seedlings spray on my pillow. On restless nights, I diffuse Sleepyize in my little one’s room. I diffuse daily at home and work, rotating through different blends. My husband uses a Panaway mix every night on tired, sore muscles. I’ve treated bug bites and stings, cuts and scrapes, and pimples and who knows what else. I mean seriously, I’m using them more than I even realized. And they help my family. Is this a miracle solution? Of course not. Do I look crazy to you? Don’t answer that. We still take our prescriptions and have our recommended check ups. This is simply a way to naturally support what we are already doing to maintain our health.

I’m also using products with synthetic fragrance as little as possible. I just can’t make myself go back to it knowing it could be screwing with my health. I’m checking labels on everything. Also not me. My husband will tell you he’s having trouble reconciling this Katie with the Katie he’s known for 17 years. He’s happy that I’m happy, but that doesn’t make it any less unusual. I get that. But I maintain this is just a happier, healthier version of me. Still the same mean me, but maybe a tiny bit nicer. You can thank Young Living for that.

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.

I Have the Best

When I first saw my best friend, my immediate thought was, “Is this chick for real?”, followed quickly by, “Yeah, we can’t hang out.” I was about two days into a new job at a bank, something I has never done before. If you haven’t done it, a lot of times they train you as a teller first before you do another job so that you understand how everything works. Anyway, I was training with the lady in the drive thru and this chick in stilettos and full make-up walks in to show her the scrapbook she was working on… Just take that all in for a second. Even now I sometimes refer to her as bunny in my head (as in playboy). For those who don’t know, I’m almost 40. I don’t wear any make-up, even now, and I guarantee I’ve never worn high heels. I wasn’t sure who she was, but I didn’t really care, short of an odd fascination that someone like this even existed out in the middle of nowhere.

When I eventually moved into the loan department, we spent all day, every day together. It was quickly apparently that her outside did not exactly match what I assumed was inside. For one thing, she is probably the nicest person I have ever met. She takes mother hen to a whole new level. Which is funny, because she would also “cut a b#$ch”, if you know what I mean. I swear we are long lost sisters. I tell her all the time she’s every 14-year-old boy’s dream girl – she is bunny on the outside, cooks and cleans like Martha, and laughs at fart jokes like a loon. She’s the best.

I think the most fascinating thing about her though isn’t any of that. It’s that this beautiful, talented girl is so insecure. You always think beautiful people are pompous and sure of themselves. She thinks she’s fat, for one thing. She’s not, but surprise surprise, someone who should be nice to her continually asks about her weight. She thinks she is stupid. She is not, but people see her pretty outside and make assumptions, much like I did. And then they speak and act on those assumptions and she takes it. If you only took the time to glance her way, you’d never know that she’s so nice. I had no clue. Unlike me, who says whatever I think and prepares to face consequences with a smile on my face, my bestie thinks before she speaks (even when she’s super mad). Will this upset my boss? Will this upset their family? Will it upset my family? Will people think I’m awful? And on she goes. It’s funny to hear my suggestions versus her worries. What gets me the most is that people take cheap shots at her continually. Things people would never, and I mean never, say to me, they say to her. Ugly things. Nosey things. Judgemental things. And she takes it with a smile, because she doesn’t want to upset them or make it more awkward. Whatever that is, I don’t have it. By nature I am protective and nothing makes me madder than seeing her sit there while people ask, in the middle of the bank lobby no less, things that are none of their business. They know she won’t say anything. They know she couldn’t in that place, even if she wanted to. I, however, will. Fair warning. I will not stand quietly by knowing someone upset her on purpose. I may or may not be quiet about it, but you will know you’ve crossed the line.

Like all best friends, we even each other out. We mostly keep each other level when we need it, but there are times where we are both mad and have to remember we don’t think we would like jail. Luckily for the world in general, it’s rare to catch us both having a bad day.

We no longer work in the same branch, which sucks. And I broke my foot, so we couldn’t go walk in the afternoon like we wanted. She is dealing with some things no one person should have to and that limits her free time anyway. But through it all, we are long lost sisters. I call, she starts offering help. She calls, I start offering bail money. Kidding. Kidding. I love this girl more than she will ever understand and will step up to bat for her any day. And I know she will do the same. No questions asked. I may or may not have questions.

I’m going to end with a funny. I was working the drive thru one Saturday. I was in the second window, which usually means you aren’t busy. The normal drive thru lady was in the first window so I rarely paid attention. I might glance and smile, but in my head I was already home. A girl drives up and is doing her business. I glance over, smile, and go back to la la land. At some point I recognize the vehicle as my best friend’s. But I had not recognized her – she had no make-up on!! By this point she has already decided I’m ashamed to acknowledge her. Keep in mind the three of us work together daily. By the time I realizewho she is, she is not happy with me. Snippy and cold does not begin to describe the reception I received when I started trying to talk to her. We have laughed and laughed because I didn’t recognize the real her! I look at people a little closer now!

Dream Big

I know most people wouldn’t consider me a dreamer. I’m a cut and dry, logical sort of person. But in my lifetime I’ve had a lot of big, illogical dreams. Some have come true and some haven’t, but I never stop dreaming of something. I think I get that from my dad and the Irish that runs through his veins and mine.

Right now I’m dreaming of a time when I can honestly say that I enjoy my work and I never feel like I’m working in vain. It may be impossible. I know that. At 39 years old, I’m sure I could sit back and roll on through retirement. It’s too late to make a change and I have too many responsibilities to dream of more, right? I have a good job and a great boss. People would love to have the stability I have. It reminds me so much of that fateful day at Sonic when my mom convinced me to change the course of my life if I wanted it bad enough, even thought I felt it was too late. This is different, of course. I’m not making a drastic change. I’m only looking into the future saying, “Can I do more? Can I have more?” Because I still dream of more. And more importantly, I know I can be more.

I think that’s why just the thought of a new challange and new opportunity has breathed life into me. I love a challenge. I feel like a new person. I’m hoping my journey will encourage others like me to dream big. Some dreams are worth the chance.

Oils of Our Lives

I’m at a weird point. I’m doing something I really enjoy. Weird. Taking a hobby I’ve had for years and sharing it with a lot of people. Also weird. More people than I ever expected in a few short weeks. I find myself randomly recommending oils in conversation. Which is not me. Then there’s the whole “selling” thing. That is also not me. It’s like I’m a different person. I find myself struggling to balance my desire to share with my need to give people space and not pressure them in any way. Because even when they’re interested in what you have to say, there’s this suspicion that you’re going to trap them into something or force them to sell oils against their will. Or that’s how it feels from my end. I was wary too, so I get that. And let’s be real, you can wrap it up in whatever package you want to, but at the end of the day I do want you to use Young Living and it does benefit me. But whether you know it now or not, it benefits you, too.

The thing is I genuinely like helping people find a solution through oils. And they have other things, people. It’s more than oil. I love knowing that it’s the beginning of something that’s not only good for them, it’s fun. And I love the thought of sharing and talking about oils for enough of a living that I can get more serious with my cattle business. Cows require time and effort and I have neither after working full time.

I also know that there is no trap. I like to think that people know me well enough to know I wouldn’t get talked into anything I hadn’t researched and asked a ton of questions about. And as usual, I had lots of questions. I probably went through everything on the website looking for the catch. I never found it. All I found was a really cool concept that had spread worldwide. And I am confident in the knowledge that if I wake up tomorrow and think, “What was I thinking?”, I can make one phone call to an impartial person and I’ll be done. All the rebates and discounts are not coersion. They are only meant to get oils to more people. Really. And the membership that turns so many people off? Do you have a Sam’s Club membership? Do you pay a set amount each year and get the discount as a result? Do they use the word “membership”? Yeah, that’s my point.

Yes, at the end of the day it is a business for me. It’s a stupid, ridiculous dream, but I’m taking the chance anyway. Because I need a change and inspiration. But if I didn’t like it and believe it could help people, I wouldn’t be doing it. Period.

So the weird place is how do I balance that? I’m having a blast blogging and sharing my experiences with essential oils. That’s a fact. Had I known it would make me happy, I would have started this years ago. But at the end of the day, I do have a goal. I want to work less in an office and more on things I enjoy. I want other people to have that opportunity if they want it. It doesn’t appeal to everyone. I didn’t think it would appeal to me. And I despise being pressured or coerced, so I’m not going to do that for any amount of money. Well, maybe a million per head. That would be hard to turn down. But when you realize you enjoy something and could possibly get financial freedom, you take the chance. And even though I know the business part freaks people out, I do want people to know it’s out there and it’s a lot of fun.

So that’s where I am. I love it. I love sharing it. I hope you love it, too, and let me show you how to get awesome oils at a discounted price. But if you don’t want to, I’m good with that. You can order one at a time or none at all. It’s not for everyone and that’s ok. Please do not let the “sales” and “membership” keep you from trying something new if you want to. Be brave. Have a little faith in me. But most of all, take a tip from me and be true to you. That’s all I’m trying to do.

A Teacher I Am Not

Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would like teaching.  I hate talking in front of people.  I almost failed speech in college.  I literally want to vomit just remembering that class.  And no one cares what I think anyway.  But here I am, sharing and teaching about Young Living and essential oils and I’m loving it.  I feel like I’m doing something I enjoy and it helps people.  Win win.

I have always been shy or that’s how I remember it.  People scoff at that now, but they didn’t know me in my younger years.  I have always preferred to work in the background and if possible, be invisible.  Until I went to college, I’m not sure I had actual opinions of my own.  My mom still says people tell her they didn’t know she even had a daughter.  They know my heathen brothers (love you!), but not me.  I was very good at blending in.

College changed all that.  I came out of my shell with a monstrous bang and never looked back.  Now I have opinions.  Lots of them.  And I don’t care to share them with anyone who gets too close.

But back to the subject at hand.  I love to learn.  Or more specifically I love to learn what I want to know.  Some things just fascinate me.  Essential oils is one of those things.  There is so much potential there.  So much left to discover.  Even after hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years, we are still learning their potential.  How cool is that?  And there are so many people benefiting from these oils already.  I have a lot of weird health issues myself,  so I’m continually looking for something to help me personally.  Because contrary to popular belief, doctors don’t know everything.  I’ve been to enough specialists personally to know that for a fact.

But I’m no teacher.  I don’t have a plan or a formal education.  I definitely don’t have the right attitude most days.  Some days I don’t even want to see another person.  I’m not always socially appropriate, nor do I care.  I am notoriously honest about what I think.  Sometimes tactfully, sometimes not so much.  I’m just me.  All I have is love and curiosity for the subject matter and the ability to share that.  I’m so hopeful that somewhere out there someone benefits from all of this.

I jokingly (mostly) tell people I’m probably having a midlife crisis.  I will be 40 next April.  Even my husband of 12 years finds the current me suprising.  He says I’m evolving every day.  He knows I struggle to find things I truly enjoy.  It’s funny because I told him within the last few weeks that I have no hobbies anymore.  Somewhere along the way, I lost me.  I have nothing to take me away from real life for a few minutes.   I work all day, come home to a very demanding 4 year old, and sleep.  I guess God heard that complaint/request and for once, answered quickly.

Honestly, I’m still not sure how got here – blogging and sharing on Facebook.   It just happened one day.  I feel like a big part of my daily job is to help people learn new things, so it came pretty naturally to do the same with oils.  I never thought talking to people would be fun for me.  But it really is.  It may be a fluke that quickly passes, but for now I’m enjoying the journey.

A Better Me (and You)

The past few weeks have been so much fun for me.  I set a goal to be a better me and to make better decisions for my family.  And I decided I wanted to share what I was learning, so I started a Facebook page (facebook.com/katiesoilyjourney) and a blog.  Feel free to look me up – I love sharing.

I’ve used essential oils for several years.  As a skeptical person, I continually look for stories of success and research oils for myself.  I don’t blindly believe things, but I will take your suggestions and try it for myself.  Oils were a road to stress relief for me and mine.  My main goal was a calmer home life.  When my mother-in-law began using Young Living this year, I was reintroduced to them through her.  I knew of the company and I guess most people do.  I even had a few bottles I used from time to time.  I also knew I was buying less expensive oils that were already helping me.  But me being me, I started reading about the company.  About how they grow, harvest and develop new blends.  About their mission to get essential oils into every house.  I read stories on Pinterest and on the internet as a whole.  My mother-in-law and I went to a meeting with about 50 super happy people who were using and selling it.   Happy people make me suspicious, so that was kind of a turnoff for me at the time.  Which is pretty funny now.

I got my starter kit a month or so ago and started experimenting.  The scientist in me loves to test things. I compared the YL oils to the ones I had already.  I can honestly say they are more intense than my less expensive oils.  I can use less drops and I trust that what I am getting is 100% oil that has been tested in a lab to verify that.  And YL hires third-parties to audit their products also, which I love.  Their farms, methods, and quality control is impressive.   I’ve since learned that there is no regulation of essential oils in regards to what is considered “100%” and “pure.”  As long as approximately 10% is oil, it can be advertised as 100% on the label.  But when you use YL, you know it has been tested and verified.  And YL is the only company that owns all of their own farms, which specialize in whatever will grow the best in that particular environment.  Their farmers have strict regulations from the company and their products are checked to insure they follow them.  And they don’t just sell oils, they sell all kinds of things: cleaners, shampoos, makeup, and the list goes on.  You should really check out their website.  Overall, it’s impressive and I feel comfortable using them on my family and sharing that with others.

And my husband is a very willing participant.  I’ve mixed things for sore muscles and joints, calming oils, and bug spray.  He uses them all.  I made my son a booboo roller and a calming roller and he likes to use those himself (he is four).  It’s funny how easily they accepted it all.  Easier than I did, I’m sure.

I never, and I mean NEVER, planned to try the business side.  I despise selling anything.  And I hate salesmen.   Three weeks ago that wasn’t even on my radar.  Then my buddy mentioned looking into it and we jumped in together.  I have loved every minute.  Because I’m not selling, I’m sharing.  Young Living sells things, not me.  And I love reading and sharing what I find.  I love answering questions. It’s one of the reasons I like my actual daily job.  I know most people don’t get a kick out of researching and experimenting,  but I do.  And I feel happy and productive for the first time in a very long time.  So I hope that I can keep on posting and sharing my journey and other people can benefit from it.  It’s going to be a lot of fun along the way.  You should really come with me!!

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The Struggle

Anybody care to guess how many times I’ve heard a reference to the parable of the prodigal son in the last month?   I don’t know either,  but suffice it to say it’s a large number.   God is persistent like that.

I grew up in church.  I think a lot of people in the South do.  Twice on Sunday and again on Wednesday night.  I went to a large church with a great youth program, so we also had lots of things to do on the weekends, too. It was a sheltered place.  Not a perfect place – temptation is everywhere.  But I got the time and influences that built the me you see today.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but it settled my soul on a Rock that can never be swayed.

When you are a good girl and in church on the regular,  going to college is eye-opening.  You are in charge of you for the first time in your life and you get to decide what you want to do.  Sleeping late on Sunday was a lot more important than going to church.  And college friends do different things for fun than church friends.   I’m not going to lie,  it was a blast.  It is still is a blast to get together with our college friends.  That time bonds you to people.  You make friends for life.  Family.  And I’ve continued that way on this journey for many years.  Easily passing through with no concerns about my soul.  After all, I knew where I stood with God, regardless of where I spent my Sundays.  And then we had Tuck.

Seeing yourself as an adult is never clearer than when you have this little person around that can’t do anything on his own.  I know I have that Rock and never doubt it.  I know that in the worst of times along the way, scripture or hymns would come to mind.  I would automatically find myself praying.  That doesn’t go away just because you wander.  It is literally ingrained in my soul.

Now I don’t consider myself on par with the prodigal son.  But I do believe God has been making a point in my life.  “I see you.  I still love you.  Shouldn’t Tuck have that?  It’s such an easy thing to come back.”  And for once in my life, I’m taking a suggestion from someone and doing it.  Normally if you tell me something you think I should do or, God forbid, try to guilt me into it, I can guarantee it will never happen.  That’s just me.  I decide for me.  Not you.  But it’s been such a soft whisper.  Just a reminder.  Nothing pushy.  And He is right.  Tuck deserves the chance to have the solid foundation my parents gave me.  Because I’m here to tell you, trials will come and they are many.   And in those times if I hadn’t had my Rock, I’m not sure how I would have survived.

Like the prodigal son, I have talked to my Father and asked him to help me.  And it has been better the last few weeks.  Just knowing that I have made a good decision for my family eases my soul.  I struggle.  Man, do I struggle.  If you know me, you know that.  But it’s ok.  I just have to do my best.  That foundation can’t be taken from me.  Not by you or even me.  And there’s a lot of comfort in that.

No clue why I had to share this today, but make no mistake, I had to.  I hope it speaks to someone out there.   The struggle is real.  But you don’t have to do it alone.

 

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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