Five Years


August brings a whole collage of emotions for me.  This past weekend marked the fifth year anniversary of my dad’s passing.  This year, I was able to spend the day with two of my siblings, my sisters.  It was good for the soul to sit with them and laugh, listen to what is going on in their lives and just relish the time spent with them.

232323232-fp43237-nu=3235-39--386-WSNRCG=3232;86;79659nu0mrj

I call myself lucky because I was born into a family that already had three children.  My siblings, although we don’t see one another that often are what I would call close.  Our parents passing has only reinforced that verses making a larger gap.  My degree of gratefulness for this can not be put into words.

Siblings 2019

But there is something I wish for.  I wish our family, our generation and the rest would talk more about Dad and Mom.  I guess it would make me feel closer to them, allow the current youngest of our kin to know them somehow and quite possibly help the part of me that is broken heal more.

PicMonkey Collage

I find myself feeling better in regards to the grief I have felt in the past five years.  Mostly in the past couple months, finding strength and health.

I sat with my husband on the date of my father’s death and as I realized the time of day my thoughts went to that night.  I can see and feel moments of panic, sadness, hear sounds and recall smells.  I am able to do the same with my mother’s passing that will be marked on the 26th of this month as being four years.

While waiting to go up to the church altar just yesterday I was standing by some flowers from a recent funeral in our church.  The smell wafted over me and it brought about the scene of my parents funerals and the smell of the flowers at them.  It’s interesting to me how much the brain can store and bring back just by simple smells and sounds.

232323232-fp9-nu=3235-39--386-WSNRCG=323237326-5;5nu0mrj

Four years without the super glue of our clan.  Mom.  The lady that could make you angry quickly or rolling in laughter in seconds.  She required your presence at gatherings and if you didn’t, she’d serve up some guilt with your name on it.  The lady that only required her family be surrounded around her and the gifts could stay at the store.  The woman that chose newcomers and grandchildren and in laws over her kids most often in life.  But that was her way of showing us (her 4 kids) that she loved us. See those folks are extensions of her own children, people her children loved very much.

Five years has come and gone and the year before my dad’s death was hard for me for other reasons and that added to the brokenness of me.  My mother’s passing really shook the core of me and I went to some places that were not enjoyable.  But time has passed and I have learned a new normal so to speak.

I’m still broken due to the losses I’ve felt.  But I can honestly say I am finding a balance and I rebound from the lower times quicker.  I feel stronger I guess.  I can  look around and see that I can celebrate my parents by just doing a few things.

Closing my eyes and bringing my memory bank up.  This includes my dad’s big hands and his hugs that no one will replace.  Sitting down at my sewing machine that sits below the picture my mother painted or looking at the photo of her nearby.  I can hear my older daughters laugh out loud about an outrageous story that included grandma.  Then there is my three siblings that I can plainly see a mixture of our parents in. I can feel a bond with them that I don’t even have with my own children or grandchildren.  Only my siblings grew up with our parents and lived with me, that created something pretty cool.

Dad & MOM

I’m sad in August but I’ve got so much to celebrate as well. My sister’s birthdays each year.  This year a family reunion that I hope will become a tradition where we can honor dad and mom and grow closer.  There’s more to celebrate but I’m focusing on those for now.

If I have learned nothing else in my 48 years of life I’ve learned family matters.  The family that brought you into this world.  The family that grew with marriages, babies and close friends.  The family that teaches the next generation what they know in hopes they will learn from it.  Whether it was good or bad advice, there is always something to learn.

Rest in peace Dad and Mom.  You are loved and missed.

Julie

Advertisements

Bringing it down #18


Wondering if I was still around? Perhaps not, perhaps so. In the past six months since my last post I haven’t done much health wise to improve myself. I had a checkup this past month and my AC1 is at 5.9. So that is still in a great area. In January a decision will more than likely be made about cholesterol medicine. I do fret about my heart with my family history and should get off my butt, yet here I am. Still at the same weight. Still eating somewhat what I want. Still walking 6 out of 7 days a week between 10,000 to 11,000 steps. Depression is still an issue but I am functionally by going to work and quilting while taking care of my family. Not much more to report but I wanted to put a post out.

Julie

Bringing it Down Not just Diabetes – #17


2017-2019

 

I just read my post from a year ago, boy was I ambitious!  Apparently I lost my luster for this journey cause I did not reach my 10 pound weight loss goal I had! In fact, I lost 3 pounds in that first month and at this moment I am sitting at the same weight I was a year  ago. Some would say that’s better than gaining!  2018 just felt to me like a year of some transitioning emotionally and hitting a roadblock or two and all the while maintaining my weight, not gaining.

As mentioned in my last post I have met with my doctor and my AC1 test results purely shocked me! Seriously!  I am not lying when I say it blew me out of the water!  I can view my lab results about a week before our appointment so I wasn’t shocked going in.  When opened the lab report on my computer I cheered with joy!

5.8

That’s the number that came back and it made me very happy. Once again she called me her poster child for diabetes.  I know if I stopped moving and/or slide (even more than I have recently) into the old eating habits I’d find that number high once again!  But it’s good now! Celebration time right?

Well yes but let’s slow down for a minute – remember the cholesterol issue I spoke of last year?  Ya, it’s still hanging around.  217 overall, my LDL is 143, which isn’t super high if you are without diabetes.  But I do.  Unfortunately with the lovely diabetes + high cholesterol = higher risk of heart attacks.  Which both my parents passed away from. ( I have never smoked, they both did during their lifetimes, so I’m one (or many) step ahead, right?)

Honestly – I’m still processing.  20 pounds seems like such a huge mountain to climb in six months.  My depression has played havoc with me this winter season but I will get my act together soon.  I will get that handy dandy spiral notebook out, do some research, and get a game plan going.  I will find what works for me.

I know that my family history shows high cholesterol although some family has good weight and diets.  So come July it may be time to accept the medication but somewhere in me, there’s that fight that changed my lifestyle enough to reduce my insulin resistance.  I’m going to try and go find it now and apply it to this new challenge!

So stay tuned and keep movin!

Julie

 

I don’t care for fish or turkey – at all.  This could be interesting!  🙂

 

Bringing It Down – Diabetes #16


 

2017-2019

It’s that time of year again, where I find myself at an anniversary of living with diabetes.

First I want to say how very fortunate I feel to have the good health that I do.  I’ve got 3 things that aren’t so healthy but they are manageable.  I’m lucky.  I know it and I know that could change with age and how I live.  It could get incredibly better or worse.

I have to admit I went into this year’s annual checkup telling myself my AC1 would be in the 6.2 to 6.5 range.  You know, I was actually preparing myself for the guilt I would feel. Like telling myself would make it that much easier to swallow.

I got myself here and I am the only one that can maintain or improve my well being.

See my eating habits have fallen by the way side.  Oh sure here and there I still fill up on veggies but my snacking and my candy eating has been pretty substantial.  I am still walking for my workouts, that hasn’t changed.  My husband even joins me on occasion which is quite helpful.

I got myself to that place I was a couple years ago and it wasn’t something that popped up quickly.  IT happened over time, by not eating right and being sedentary.  I know that if I wasn’t making myself move on a regular basis I would be on insulin by now.  I still take my blood sugar and know what goes into my body and so I have proof that this isn’t a made up thing in my head.

If I eat something with a great deal of bread or pizza or an entire candy bar and take my blood sugar two hours later it is going to be HIGH.  My eyesight won’t be as great and I will actually not feel that great physically to be honest.

By the way, I never quit those foods (well I did candy bars for quite a while) 100%.  If I take a walk or workout or drink lots of water it helps to maintain a better blood sugar, even lower than I anticipate at times.  But that’s the key, managing my food intake, exercise and my blood sugar readings.

In the past few months I let my managing my food go to the way side.  I started eating whole candy bars here and there and not having any veggies on most of my plate.  I was bored/sick of salads and cottage cheese and greek yogurt.  Those were my staples of getting through that first year.

When I eat something a great deal I eventually find myself  quitting eating it and sometimes it takes a very long time to come back to it.  I know I know… change it up but these were my “foods” I felt I could rely on and live with.  I didn’t replace them with healthy foods over the past few months, I just ate whatever I thought would be good.

20170824_092042

I still took my blood sugar readings but not as often.  I didn’t want to feel the guilt of failing.  Cause that is what it feels like if I do not get 10,500 steps per day or do a workout at least.  But my depression plays a role in my life and it’s been a difficult past three months for me.  Even though I could probably go without taking my blood sugar so regularly and save money it’s a tool that I NEED.  Seeing that number on the monitor and the estimated AC1 number on my app holds me accountable!

This post is probably boring for most but it’s mostly for myself to keep me accountable and to remember back what it was like, this journey.  I’m sharing all this but although I know my AC1 test results my doctor appointment isn’t until Monday.  I plan to visit with her and then write a post to share my results and figure out what lies ahead for my diabetic journey.

So if you interested stop by next week!  There will be another post!

Thanks for dropping by!
Julie

 

Mom – I celebrate you.


I remember this lady. She was funny and outlandish. Strong and hard working. Opinionated to say the least. Used profanity more than she should have. Always went for the underdog, sometimes more than her own kids. She loved her kids by working tons of overtime, having hot dogs and bologna in the frig, Wonder bread on the kitchen counter and just putting a roof over our heads. Her love was expressed back in those days as pushing us to do whatever we had to to survive.

She is sitting in the trailer house that I spent a few years in after my parents divorce (jr. high years). When we moved in I still wore pigtails but by the time we left they were no where in sight! We spent the summer while they worked on the trailer living in my uncles pop up camper. (Think Kansas summer storms, not real fun) Grateful to Uncle Terry for helping my Mom at this time in her life.

The trailer was completely burnt up inside and my mom with family members like my Uncle Terry completely redid the inside. She was making a home for her family that sat on her brother’s property. She worked way more than 40 hours per week at her assembly line job a few miles away, all while have 3 kids still at home. She didn’t have time to attend games or music concerts but loved us just the same.

I recall my bedroom was TINY to say the least but I loved it. My grandmother had made me a quilt that had my favorite color – yellow that was on the twin size bed. A built in desk that basically was 4 legs and a top with a mirror in front of it. This is probably why my sister Elizabeth says I was spoiled, she had to share a room with Mom when we lived here at one point. She was in high school, sorry sis!

Paneling. It was ALL paneling! 🙂 Orange curtains and green bathroom decor. Mid 80’s, whether in style or not it was home. Home where I didn’t see Mom much cause she was working so much to support her family as a single Mom, Dad never got us kids every other weekend, a place I fought with my sister alot and talked on that telephone while standing clear across the kitchen. Which was so very cool back in the day I might add! I cooked meals for the family, did homework on my own, and I was thrilled when one Christmas we each got sweat suits! One gift. That’s it. Sears was the place she shopped! It was blue and had black & white stripes diagonally. There’s a picture somewhere 🙂 But here’s the deal. We didn’t have much but we had our family. The tree was ALWAYS full of silver tinsel. Mom loved it.

My brother was in the Marines. My oldest sister became a mother during this time and I babysat my nephew in that trailer house. Now he is raised with a beautiful family of his own. My siblings are what I have left that connects me to the woman in the photo. I am lucky for that.

Although she could make me madder than anyone else and embarrass me like no other, I love her immensely. I miss her, not just during the holidays but when one of my girls recalls a memory. When my siblings and I get together or I look at my coffee table where her photo sits. When I smell lilacs or look at photos from the past or the date of her death arrives.

Today though I’m celebrating her. Cause the lady in this photo was being super silly and was enjoying life in one of the most difficult times of her life. If she can do it, so can I! When things get hard I hope I can just remember her strength and of course turn to God.

#strength #loveyamom #youaremissed

PS – No comments necessary, this picture just inspired me. And in a world of a bunch of yucky stuff going on I wanted to celebrate the lady that taught me how to be strong. She led by example. Thanks Mom.

My Parents & the Next Generation


Our family was watching a movie the other night together, a holiday one on Netflix.   One of the lines was ” I see your dad in you daily.”

Recently my own thoughts have been swirling around my dad and mom and the memories I have of them.  I suppose the holiday season is why and the fact that our extended family no longer comes together very easily.  Not because we can’t get along but more of just life gets in the way.

After the line was said, my 10-year-old daughter asked me what it meant, see the father figure was deceased.  I explained in a manner I thought she would relate.

“Don’t you see my dad and mom in me at times?”

Although quite innocent, yet I could tell she was hesitant to say the following she did.

“I don’t really remember Grandpa.”

Sadness inflicted my entire body and my next thought to myself was  “but you were such an important part of his life.”  I wasn’t angry with her, I mean she was only 6 years old when he passed away.  We only saw him 2 to 3 times per year.

But the story of when she was born and meeting him is one forever in my heart.  I guess I need to get the scrapbook out and tell her the story again and again and again.

The very next morning, upon returning to Kansas, we headed to the hospital to have Grandpa meet his newest grandaughter. I can recall walking down the hall, getting close to his room, an

232323232-fp43237-nu=3235-39--386-WSNRCG=3232;86;79659nu0mrj

I am blessed with three siblings, three daughters, son-in-laws and grandchildren and a husband. But I still find myself missing the days of having extended family meet up more than once a year at Mom’s house.

232323232-fp9-nu=3235-39--386-WSNRCG=323237326-5;5nu0mrj

To hear her loud and outrageous comments, the kitchen island filled with good food and all of us crowded into her somewhat small home, then sitting together around her big table to laugh and eat!

My fondest memories are from years ago when we would play games or cards around that table.  This is somewhat lost now in our family.  We would all stay for hours and enjoy each others company with the littles running a-muck!

When all my children and grandchildren are in my home, gathered around my dinner table, that is when I find myself happiest.  Back in the day my mom would always say she didn’t want anything except her family home and us being there was gift enough.  We always got her gifts anyways but now, now that I have my own large family, I totally get what she meant.

pushingforwardwithgracefarminggracedaily

I am lucky because my children and grandchildren live quite close.  But when there has been a few days and I haven’t heard the twins say Gaga or my oldest granddaughter say Grandma Julie in her special way or the youngest grandaughter smile huge for me, or even the 12-year-old grandson hug me, I get to missing them and will video call them.  Grateful for technology but even more grateful for them when they are in my home together.

The thoughts of my parents recently, the subject of my youngest not recalling my dad has made other things to ponder in my mind.  What do I do that is similar to my dad?  Will my grandchildren remember me when I am gone,  the way my own girls recall my mom now? Will they notice the attributes that my daughters have that are similar to me?

Those are for another time.  I’m heading off to reminisce and think of days gone by now! Happy Holidays!

Julie

Bringing It Down – Diabetes #15 – 1.5 yrs later


DOWN with the D (2)

It’s taken me a bit to get this post written.  It will be short and sweet as well for I have other things to conquer!

I had my AC1 test last month and much to my surprise it came back 5.9!  That my friends , is truly amazing and I can’t really take the credit, at least that’s how I feel.  See in May I didn’t walk much and June was a blur from farming and softball games.

My ankle/foot/heal still ache but I’m trying to be better about small spurts for walks and stretching more.  My weight still bounces in the 197 area and I know in the past month it’s because of the processed foods I’ve been eating.  Vacation didn’t help either.  I can excuse it all over the place but basically it’s my own fault for putting food into my mouth, no one else.

IMG_20180804_064106_355[1]

I won’t have my AC1 checked again until January 2019 but after having this one done I feel more confident in myself.  I feel that although I am still in the same place physically that I CAN DO THIS!  That life doesn’t stop because of Diabetes.

I will keep moving and trying my best to put half a plate of veggies before me with little of other stuff.  Life is a journey and I’m heading down mine watching sunsets and sunrises, dealing with stress, and doing the best I can!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

Julie

Waiting – What’s it all about? What does it look like for me?


The topic at hand was inspired via this bible study I recently (slowly) started reading. It’s been “waiting” on me to begin it for sometime now! 🙂 I read one chapter then put it down for another week until I awoke super early on vacation. It was staring at me – creating guilt within, even though it was tucked away inside my bag.

Bible study by Sharla Fritz

Ask any of my immediate family members and they will tell you that waiting is not my virtue. That I like to know what is going to happen prior to it even being formed at times. When watching shows or movies I will figure out the next “act” around the corner. This drives my husband crazy because on more than one occasion I am correct.

In my mind though, I like to think that with age I have become a tad more patient. Of course my employer had me take one of those “hiring” tests last week that reflected patience was not my strong suit. 🙂 It did reflect some really good things about me though too! 🙂

The bible study today was on Anna, it brought about feelings of things I had been keeping in the back of my own mind. Wondering what my next “act” would be myself, what purpose do I have in this life.

For a few years now I have been grampling with a few different things and in the chaos of my mind I’ve let doubt prevail. I’ve always wanted to see myself as a strong woman but in honesty not so much in recent years. The feeling of being proud of myself has lingered. All while jumping from one thing to another wondering why I can not master one thing.

Did I mention waiting isn’t my strong suit? I know I used to heavily be the type of person that had to hurry up and get to the finish line so I could start the next thing to conquer. At least that is what it felt like in my head. Placing my “worth and value” in what I could get done. (This is probably why it drives me nuts to have quilt tops not quilted and ready to present!)

Along the way though and I need to give a shout out to my hubs here because he is not a rushy person. He has brought a sense of slowness to my life and that it is okay to ENJOY the journey so to speak. For instance he always says “it’s not about the killing (insert your favorite animal to hunt), it’s about the hunt.” The time he spends with his friends each year in Colorado. Oh sure he LOVES to snag one for sure and he will share the story, probably more than once, but I know in his heart, it’s about the actual time spent there.

Vacations used to be more stressful and it was probably me who created the turmoil. Thinking we had to have a schedule and keep to it and so on. Although I do believe a “plan” is essential there needs to be room for flexibility. Otherwise I might miss that golden sunset or my daughter and her Dad enjoying a game or memory to etch in my mind. Now, that being said I still must have some sort of plan but I am more lax in it! Baby steps for sure!

But this post isn’t about my vacations, it’s about my journey and the act of waiting to know what my purpose is here on earth. To know that the next act is one that can be doable and if not learning from it will be character building.

While I wait to see what my next act is perhaps I need to take a few clues from Anna in Luke 2:3638. This woman only had a partner for seven years, then lived the rest of her long long long life praying, fasting, and thanking God. As a widow she was alone but in reality she wasn’t. She had God, just as I do and you do.

My journey is happening right now. I need to stop rushing to the next accomplishment and look at what is around me right now. In prayer and quiet asking the Lord to show me what he would have me do now.

The key thing…… I need to WAIT.

Thanks for stopping by and it felt good to be inspired and write once again.

Julie

Turning 30 – Tashley Kay


Tashley b aby

I can’t believe my eldest daughter is turning 30 this month. It’s not about me feeling old or worrying about how it reflects on me. It’s just so very odd to me how the time has passed by quite rapidly.

tash & IShe was the first to make me a momma. The first to test my patience, give me messy kisses and warm hugs. The first to make me worry about ear infections, bumps on the head, and choices I was making as a mother. The first to challenge me and exceed my expectations. She was my “test run” as I like to say.

This is the gal that is most like me,  I think, out of all my children but yet she brings her own flair to life.

FB_IMG_1528340421905

tash and me concert

 

Tashley forgives quicker, has more dramatic responses, and has a smile that is larger than life. Cooking is her delight and even though she doesn’t get enough praise for it, she takes care of her family pretty darn good!  I’m one proud mom!

FB_IMG_1528340126994

She’s a mother herself now, two daughters and a son.

facebook_1528339937960

There are times I relish in the witnessing of her being a Mom and other times I want to step in and say HEY STOP!

But that isn’t my job now. My job is to support, love, and allow her to take the motherhood journey as my Mom did me. Watching from the sidelines and praying for strength for her.

FB_IMG_1528340519092

The bonus to having her be a mother is the fact that I get some awesome grand-kids outta the deal! 🙂 It’s a win-win for me!

Thirty years ago I could have taken a much different route. But honestly, I think I made the best choice.  I would do it all over again if presented with the same circumstances. I would become a mother when I was really only a child myself and go through the heartache,  the changes and challenges that life gave us.

tash kay

Because in the end, all that really matters is the fact that this human existed and she was worth every second!  Choosing her and being with her every day as her mother is what I was meant to do. Plain and simple.

Snapchat-1337913952

Thirty years of watching a life transpire into a million different things and changing daily or even hourly. The opportunity to be Tashley’s mother wasn’t an easy one to start but  knowing her has made my life much, much better. No matter the obstacle or joy, she has always been worth it.

Happy 30th birthday to my girl that was such a laid back baby, a little girl that played well, the tween/teen that had to have the last word, the young lady that found her way even without me, and the woman that through it all, STILL has that huge smile!

 

I love you,

MOM

 

Bringing it Down #15 – May Update


DOWN with the D (2)

It’s now May which means that I need to update this series. It really is hard to believe we are in sunshine days with spring storms popping up all over verses winter darker months.  I’m happy for the sunshine no doubt! Total mood enhancer! 🙂

 

There have been some changes since January, I started a new job in the industry I used to work for many years in.  So that means adjustments to workout times, eating and some mental stress.

When April rolled around I found the 11,000 steps was putting more mental stress on me than I expected.  The feeling of failure was outweighing the motivation mindset, so I made a decision.  I decided to reduce my daily goal to 10,500 steps.  It has been quite helpful and there are several days in the month I have more like 11,000 plus or even 12,000 steps.  I am considering changing to a weekly total verses a daily goal.  I think this might be beneficial to me, but I will need to keep that rolling total in front of me. That is where my Garmin app will come in quite handy! 🙂

Since January I have lost 3.6 pounds with no real change in inches.  I am under 200 which is what I really wanted to get to and remain away from it.  Although I am not far from that number I still feel proud of the loss in weight I have had.  As of today I have lost a total of 16 pounds since January 2017.

I started strong in January with workouts and logging my food, that is where I lost most of that weight loss.  Even though I may not have eaten the best or stayed in my carb range, it was still beneficial to me.  I can see that now that I have strayed from that routine.   I also learned that drinking lots of water, especially before I get my coffee in the morning is a huge benefit!

May goals

Most of that blog post was written before  May 6, 2018.  At which point I found myself with an injured foot that kept me from walking my normal routine and some depression setting in.  I am seeking care for my foot and my hip. I  have rested the foot for a week or more.  It is better but still not good enough to walk the way I was.  Honestly my eating sucked during this period, but I am trying now to rectify that.  My blood sugar numbers are still pretty good and my app says my AC1 should be in the range of 5.9.  I still struggle with the number I have after my evening meal.  There are other exercises I could be doing (strength training and bike riding) but I did not because the depression won out.  I am taking it one day at a time.

Julie May 11, 2018

I want to be sure to be honest here so I wanted to be sure to share that last paragraph.  Sometimes the bad wins out.  It’s whether we allow ourselves to stay there that is the real problem.  I’m working my way out on my terms.  But know that I am a strong woman and can get back on track!  I have very good reasons to.  A 10 year old daughter at home, adult children that still need me, and some pretty super grandkids to name a few!

As of today, my foot has improved even more which makes me happy!  Come June 1st I hope to be back at my working out as I like to be! I did jump on my bike a couple times this week! (May 21st)

Until next time!
Julie