Failure. Change. Beginning.

ME 2013 July (1)
July 2013

When I left my job as an insurance agent I walked away feeling like a failure. I felt that but didn’t speak about it too often.  I did state to my husband after some time of departing that I didn’t think I ever wanted to go back to the insurance industry. (Yes I kept my license but I didn’t actively sell or work in the industry) This was the industry that I spent the majority of my adult life (25 to 44) in as a profession, so making that statement was pretty substantial.

August 2013 Professional Headshot

The journey I was on after leaving included various things.  Like both my parent’s deaths, becoming a stay at home mother which was always a dream of mine, becoming a grandmother again, being diagnosed with Diabetes, re-entering into the workforce part time and so forth.

My husband is a farmer and life has dealt us some circumstances out of our control that in 2016 I had to go back to work part time.  I did what I had to do and it was an enjoyable and honestly pretty easy job.

July 2016

When we pray with our daughter at night I always say the following, especially in the last year.“Thank you for the opportunities given to us to provide for our family.”

I think of my mother when I need to pull strength in times of struggle, especially when it’s something I do not necessarily want to do. Life has granted me another opportunity to help care for my family.  I am grateful, the journey now, I am coming to terms with and even feeling excited at times about it!

Julie july 2017
July 2017

Next week I will be re-entering the industry I said I didn’t think I would ever want to be in again.  God has presented an opportunity to provide for my family, yet allow me to still be at home some with our daughter part time.  Honestly it wasn’t easy for me to accept this opportunity.  Mostly because I don’t trust myself as much as I did at one time in my life.  The emotions of failure have been on my mind in the past few weeks.

For me every change is one that I must process and go through certain emotions to get to the other side. That place of “okay.” I’m 47 years old and in just 4 years that I’ve been more at home I’ve learned so much about myself.  Also that I’ve accepted about myself.

There are things I’m afraid of and there are things I am excited about.  There are doubts and there are surprise interests. There are moments of gratitude and moments of “it’s not fair attitude.”  I am human.

I am who I am and although I feel less confident than I did long ago when I held a different insurance office position I will give this new occupation in an old industry my best.  That’s where my mother comes into play, she taught me well in regards to work ethic.

I was once told that both a positive and negative of me was that I strive for perfection. When interviewed for the new position I told the four men I was sitting with this very thing.   I’m not sure if it made a difference to them but it did to me.

I can’t think of this statement without thinking of the man that made it to me in 2013.  I’m grateful for the opportunity he gave me and also because he helped me realize something about myself.  The new path I am on will obviously teach me new things, although in an industry I’m familiar with.  You’re never too old to learn, isn’t that what they say?

Julie Feb 2018

I’ve used photos of myself throughout this post.  I wanted to document my physical appearance for myself.  The journey I was on took me through very stressful times and the physical changes are apparent to all of you probably.  But the mental and inside changes may not be so apparent (unless you actually know me personally.)  I know them though.  Some of them were hard to deal with others were joys.  All in all, I am who I am. I will move forward to strive for perhaps less perfection and more kindness. I pray for patience and kindness from others in the days ahead, I’m pretty sure it will all work out just fine.  Life tends to do that. 🙂  I am a stronger, smarter, and even simpler woman than I was four years ago.

Here’s to the new path before for me!



Simplicity of Happiness

Family Jan. 2018 2 PFWG

Today was one of the those days when I wish I could just bottle the way I felt.  To store it for another day and open it up to drink it in.  I spent the day with my favorite people in the whole wide world.

To be honest we didn’t do anything spectacular.  We just hung out at our home.  For Christmas this year they gave us a meal a month.  Where they provide the food and clean up.  It was a lovely time today when all 11 of us were around the table.  We will be an even dozen come mid April, our oldest daughter is expecting.

The children played in the snow and then had hot chocolate and played a board game.  The big kids visited, laughed, watched a nature show, and played with babies.  I was able to continue teaching my grandaughter how to sew her quilt and get her momma going on sewing her quilt.

family day

The kids didn’t run off as soon as the meal was over and it didn’t seem like the day rushed by.  It was genuinely a stellar day for me.  I not only got time with my family but some cute photos and reached my 10,000 plus step goal.

Like I said, I’d like to bottle today, but instead I’ll just be patient and wait for my February date with my family.  I am thankful that they like spending time with us!

Hug your loved ones folks!


Closing Out 2017


There will be and has been a lot of “year in review” and “2017” posts this week out on the world wide web.  I am just now starting my own at 9:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. (and didn’t post until January 3rd!)

Looking back at my blog posts I see I wrote about dancing in the kitchen and then there was the one about my 2017 Word.  They inspire me to reflect on where I am today  compared to last year at this same time.

I’m happy to share that in 2017 I did make changes in my life.  I took baby steps, which is not my normal route when doing things.  At times I fell off the right path, into the one of least resistance (remember I love brownies) and then got back on track to finish what I came into 2017 vowing I would do!

So many different emotions were involved in 2017!  Times of excitement, anticipation, anxiety, successes, and failures, they were all part of the year I chose to FOCUS on me!  There were distractions, brownies eaten, half plates of veggies, and two bite only sweets.  Let us not forget the low blood sugar episodes that come with the sweats and being delirious momentarily.  How about the high blood sugar with whopping headaches and blurry vision!

Then the times of balance.  Those were like I was walking on a cloud!

The poking of my fingers, the magic numbers, and the money spent on supplies.  All part of my life now.  The family that endured me trying to find a balance those first three months and surviving my hangry moments.  (My angry ones too!)

My year in review isn’t all about my move to get healthier but it is a daily thing for me.  It’s part of who I am, who I have to be.  I spent some time posting daily on my personal social media, honestly it helped me.  I felt like I was being held accountable even if no one commented or clicked like.  I had to post, it was motivation to #keepmovin.  Then I stopped, mostly in fear of becoming annoying.

One thing I have found  that I’m proud of myself for is my dedication to getting healthier. Although there were people who clicked like or commented once awhile, ultimately I have learned that it’s really up to me.  I have to be the one to push myself and stay focused.

In the world today ( me included) we tend to lose interest pretty quickly, especially if it isn’t about ourselves.  So why would anyone be interested in how far I walked today or the photo of myself or the road ahead while I walked?  Don’t get me wrong, thank you to those that have supported me and given me high-fives.  It has helped, but I learned in 2017 that I can do something on my own. It may not be easy but I can and did primarily.

I come to this conclusion mostly because….

  • No one is going to hold my hand and poke it to draw blood four to six times a day.
  • No one is going to look at me and say “Julie, stop don’t eat that second helping of pasta.” (NOT EVEN MY FAMILY)
  • No one is going to ask me “did you keep moving today?”
  • No one is going to make me go to my annual checkup.

No one….. but ME.

It’s on me.  Just like it was on me when I gained weight.

My 2018 goals will be shared later in January.  I am already working on them but plan to make a post after visiting my doctor and seeing my six month lab results.  To be honest the past month and half has been a struggle for me.  There have been stresses that play a big factor and the holiday food mixed with colder temperatures play a part.  But I am not going to dwell on the past weeks.  The past 12 months have been better than the prior 48!  I am going to look forward and keep moving to a better me.

So I’d like to end my 2017 year in review with this.

It was a year of successes and challenges that is ending with a healthier individual writing this blog. One that still has miles to go but is ready to take 2018 on!

It’s just that simple.

Untitled design (1)
I couldn’t find many pictures of my husband & I in 2017 together. Hmm…..


Happy New Year!


The bummers, the babies, the years.

MOm & I
A few days old with my mother.

Fourty-seven years ago yesterday I entered this world as the fourth child of my parents.  The last they would have.  My father was watching a football game, of course, while the doctor barely made it into the delivery room from what I’ve been told.  I was ready to hit the ground runing!  Lucky for us there was a nurse right there with my Mother!

A few days later when I came “home” it was to a cattle feed yard in McPherson County. From what I’ve been told, my grandmother was waiting on the scales that used to weigh trucks and there were cattle out. My welcome home had to wait but my nickname was given the moment my Dad found out about the cattle.  As told by him, he said, “what a bummer.”

dad and i

Fast-forward a few years and I started Kindergarten thinking my first name was Bummer, not Julie.  (In today’s age people would be horrified by such a nickname.  They would worry about the low self esteem, meanness of it all, and how it would harm that child! )

Every cowboy, farm hand, feed lot employee, extended family member that I can recall from that time didn’t call me by Julie.  Only Bummer.  That was it.  I survived it too.  I have to admit when I was a teenager or young adult it did bother me some. By then my world had moved away from the feed yard and  was only spoken when I would run into people from that time in my life or by my Dad.

I woke up the morning of my birthday with the thoughts I just wrote in the first couple paragraphs.  A few times over the years I recall him saying, in a joking tone, “my bummer.” I suppose that is what gave the nickname a sweeter tone to my ears.

More thoughts from the last few days are…..

tashley baby 00122

Thirty years ago I was carrying a child, my first.  I remember receiving a blue sweater for Christmas and wearing it, my hair was pulled back.  Not long after that picture was taken I began wearing maternity clothes.

Kassidy baby pic 00122

Twenty-five years ago there was a one month old infant sitting under the tree and a four year old right next to her.  I had went from being a mother of one to a mother of two little girls.  Now I have a front row seat to watching them both be mothers.

PV 2008

Nine years ago another baby was making our Christmas time more fun.  I’m so glad this particular baby made her way into our home.  She’s my last baby.  In nine years she will be heading out the door and creating a life more on her own then with us.

So many babies, so much time, so many lessons, so many changes.  I can’t recall a time in my life that there wasn’t a story to tell.

I like to think of story telling encompassing  memories of life.  They cultivate the generations.  They are intertwined with tears and giggles, with a dash of surprise.  The stories are heartbreaking and also joyous and ones we will never forget either way.

The bummers, the babies, the years. So much to reflect on in 47 years of living here on earth.  Bittersweet some days for sure. But I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.  Thank you to those that have played a part in my life, my story, my memories.  Whether you called me Bummer, Julie, Jules, or something else.  🙂



Homemade From the Heart – A Quilt Journey

About a year ago I took up quilting.  I had made a few with my mother for my older daughters but never really took to it.  Until now.  In the past year I have made 17 quilts and  I find myself often thinking of my mother while doing so.

mom and i quitl

While I was growing up she tended to do crafts, even before they were cool.  Frona would crochet, sew clothes, crosstitch, woodwork, and from my very young days at home Artex paints.  She was creative, even drawing and painting at times.  Our dining room table normally had stuff all over it.

I have done various crafts in my adult life as well.  Jumping from one to another periodically. Crosstitching to scrapbooks to chalky paint to embroidery and now quilting. I guess I did take after my Mom some.  🙂

I inherited tubs full of my mother’s fabric scraps, quilt blocks she started, even crochet thread and a partial tablecloth she was making. The thought that her hands touched this fabric to make quilt blocks makes it very meaningful when I made my two sisters their quilts recently.


 My brothers quilt was one that she had use fabric paint on and was an eagle.


There are still blocks left to make more quilts.  I will eventually get back to my mother’s blocks but I was not only thinking of her but my grandmothers too.

The woman my father considered his mother and us kids our grandmother made me a quilt when I was an older child.  I recall her asking what color I wanted it to be. Yellow.  Still my favorite color.  I love that quilt.  I can still see it on my twin size bed and I’d sleep under it every night. It was like a piece of sunshine during some dark times.


Eventually it made it’s way packed away in the attic but I decided it was time to pull it out for this post.  Although coming apart in places it still gives me the feeling that I always had.  The feeling that someone loved me enough to make me something homemade. (and love me as if I were their flesh and blood.)  I have the quilt she made for my parents as well.

Then there is the very worn and tattered quilt that my mother’s mother made.  The blocks have embroidered birds for each state on it.  The white and blue quilt I recall seeing in our home over the years of growing up.  The soft material was so nice to touch, still is.  My mother gave me this quilt long before passed, it too has been packed away.


Writing this post has taken me down memory lane.  It has re-connected me with feelings that re-kindles an appreciation for the homemade things in life.  While perhaps not physically daunting while creating but still a hard work to create.  From the finger pricks, to the seams to rip out, to the love that was poured into each stitch, and excitement to watch the person open the gift that came straight from the heart and hands.

I can only hope that my creations are at least half as good as the ones the women I’ve mentioned were.  Every crooked stitch, every binding uneven, every quilt block not square, just know that I made it with lots of love, just for you.


And when years have passed and the seams are coming undone and it’s time to pack it away, think back to the feeling you had when you first opened it or used it.  I promise it will probably fill your chest with warmness and a smile across your face.



Bringing It Down – Diabetes #6

Written Mid- July 2017

I find myself realizing that just six months ago walking .83 of a mile took me 30 minutes or possibly more.  Today I am able to walk that same path in 18 to 20 minutes.  I’m no runner and I never want to be but I’m pretty proud of this.  I sometimes have to break my walks up throughout the day due to my schedule.  I feel bad when I look at my fitness tracker and see less than 4000 steps by 1:00 p.m.  But there are those days.  I’ve made some improvements in the physical part of my health, a ways to go but I’m headed in the right direction.



This week I decided I might like to try riding a bike.  I have this old Schwinn bike that was my parents. I think it’s kinda cool.  But the tires on it are not made for country roads and with my balance issues it’s quite possible I’ll end up on the ground more often than not.  I’m hoping to try my husband or oldest daughter’s bike to decide if this is a new thing for me.  To see if the addition of bike riding will give me a little variety in life so to speak!  If all works with that adventure,  I might just have to trade my old Schwinn for a newer country road tire bike! 🙂

This week I noticed that when dining out I made good choices so to speak.  Did I still eat a hamburger and fries and even a chocolate shake.  Yes.  But the good choice for me was not picking the combo meal that had the largest size of those items.  I was enjoying my meal even though I didn’t stuff myself.  Then one evening my husband had brought home a piece of  homemade cherry pie.  (In his defense, he asked the diner if they had sugar free.)  I took about 3 bites and decided it was too sweet and I really didn’t want it.  Perhaps that was his plan all along……   🙂

One of the things I dislike is having my blood sugar level go too low, for a couple reasons.  I feel bad and then when I do eat it shoots up which causes other uncomfortable results.  So balance is really a key item in this game of controlling diabetes.  I can tell when my body reaches about 95 to 90, the too low symptoms begin to show.  If it makes it to 70 I need help!  But most of the time I keep it around 105 – 120 area before meals and after meals varies from 125 to 145 depending on what I eat.

I am still in the obese section for BMI.  I’m still in a size 18 and the scale hasn’t moved in a couple months.   I continue to love sweets and I do eat them.  The goodness for me is that I am taking the time to pay attention to my body.  I am sure if I had a trainer I would be even better off but that isn’t going to happen or the home chef.  Contentment with where I have come so far is important, moving forward is key as well but for now I’m okay with just settling into this new way.

Until next time,


A Lifetime of Words & Spiral Notebooks

Five years of writing.  Three different blogs.  An array of topics, emotions, and so much I might not have shared unless behind a computer screen.  I’ve invited people into my life through the world wide web to walk with me down not only challenging times but joyous moments.

My following isn’t huge by any means, which I am just fine with.  The writing isn’t about drawing attention to myself or my family, it isn’t about making my mountains bigger than yours or my adventures sound more thrilling.  Writing for me is a process, that’s what I have learned in five years of blogging.

It’s always been there.  The writing.   I recall when I was struggling as a child due to my parent’s divorce,  the school counselor told me to write my feelings down.  I used a spiral notebook but the spiral part was on top.  You know like the one below.


I have no clue where that notebook is today or what I wrote in it.  I’m sure it is filled with much heartache, drama, and anger.  The teen years, some of those notebooks are still in my attic tucked away.  I’m sure my children will learn a few new things upon my death as they go through my things. Those I know will be filled with drama and poems and so much girl/boy heartbreak stuff!

I always liked to start with a very clean fresh piece of paper.  If I messed up I would have to start over, I REALLY disliked scratching out anything.  It’s like the page needed to look perfect although it was filled with the most imperfect things!

My adult journals became ones that looked pretty on the outside.  I always preferred lined pages and some had bible verses or flowers on them.   They too were filled with ordinary daily events, the birth of children, job changes, moving, a marriage, and the failure of one.  The realization of being traumatized as a child not once  but on two different occasions.  The hard times of remarriage and raising daughters through the teen years.  So much written and all included joy as well.  I don’t go back and read them much.  Some are best kept locked away.

I still like a spiral type book to write in even if just for my grocery lists or to do lists.  I don’t journal much anymore on regular paper though.  It’s mostly right here on the blog or I just tuck it away in the crevices called me.

So many things in five years have happened in my life.  I haven’t even blogged about them all.  I suppose I tend to write about the things that I need to process and most of the time my joys aren’t written.  I used to do that more, write about my joys.  But then my joys went to the wayside.  I feel some days more are present now and I see a tiny inkling of myself coming back. There’s a post about all that in my drafts.  Perhaps soon I’ll share that one.

Until next times I hope my posts have helped someone in five years.  I know it’s helped me. Perhaps that was God’s intent… to only help me.



When You Realize You Aren’t as Kind & Empathetic as You Thought You Were

I always thought of myself as someone that was more empathetic and kind to others, than not being that way.  That my Christian faith aided me in that way of life.


I mean it wasn’t like I volunteered at homeless shelters, raised money for the less fortunate, gave money or food to every person on the corner asking for it.  But I have done some of that plus donate to organizations and people I don’t even know.  I enjoy doing mission work at my home church as well.

But what happened that July morning? What happened to the person that normally sees the aid someone needs before becoming stricken with fear?  Is that only available when it seems a safe distance from me or my husband is home?

As the experience becomes a memory with each passing day I feel guilt on occasion. Guilt for not looking closer and seeing a person in need.  A person that needed medical help. Where was my thinking that these individuals stopped to rest and my porch apparently was the most inviting or just closest?

Instead I saw someone that would hurt my family.  I saw, no I felt fear and the image in front of me became blurred.  Blurred by the fact that later I would find out he was having a seizure.  At the time I had no clue why the scene in front of me was happening but it was only a few seconds glance to be honest.  My mind went to the darkest place verses the light place.

Instead of choosing to secure my daughter safely and take pity on the two strangers on my porch I called 911. (yes I know 911 would help them)  I also proceeded to bunker down in a room with my daughter.  I waited and visited with the lovely dispatcher for a good 20 or 25 minutes.  All the while these folks sat on my front porch.  What did they think, no one was home.  Did they want to be found?

The sheriff showed up and he seemed pretty laid back about the entire situation. Perhaps because he was familiar with the situation, the people, and knew things I didn’t know.  I felt better of course when I spoke to him.  Yet….

I wonder why didn’t they ring my doorbell?  Why did they choose that chair to sit in that they did?  How long had they been on my front porch?  During the night or just a short time? How long did they sit outside my daughter’s window? Are they getting the help they need now?

Many questions have run through my mind. I am the type of person that thinks, that is part of my processing.  Sometimes I never find the answers and it drives me crazy but eventually I let go and move on.

I have no clue who they are to this day or where they are now.  I now wish I would have stepped around the corner with the sheriff next to me to see them completely.  To put a face to the images I recall.  To humanize what occurred that morning, to make some sort of connection.

How to finish this post isn’t coming to me.  So I’ll just close for now.


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The Struggles of Writing to Process

pushingforwardwithgraceI’ve said it often that I process things through writing.  So to not be sure if I should write about my experience this past week or not is hard for me.  There is a section of me that longs to just write about it, to aid in the discharging of the yuck that is now within me.  But then there is the section of me that thinks it could cause more harm than good.  That exposing the inner self of me would in someway put my family in danger.  Exposing our lives and experiences might make us vulnerable, more vulnerable.

The few people who know of the experience have probably not thought another second about it.  They listened while I told the story, they empathized with me, and now moved on. As well they should.  But to me, little ol’ me, it made an imprint on my inner psyche.

It’s been six days and honestly I am better.  I suppose by six weeks it will be a faded moment in my life.  A story that perhaps we can someday laugh over. Okay, maybe not that but something similar.

In the world we live in we are always at risk or in harm’s way.  Some of us just never wrap our heads around it in daily living.  Especially when we live a pretty splendid life in the luxuries that we do.  Me included.  Oh sure, on occasion I’ll feel uncomfortable in an area or in a circumstance but nothing ever fearing for my life or my daughter’s.

Now that I’ve experienced a small taste of  that type of fear, primarily in the daughter area, I find myself questioning myself.  Questioning the choices that involve our home, our life, our abilities.

That’s a small area of the struggle.  The thought of being somewhat violated, no matter how innocent it may seem to some, and I’m sitting here questioning myself! All I did was sleep in a bit and plan to have a great summer day with my kiddo!

More to come on this topic I’m sure……



Holiday Season – 2016

Although I’ve struggled some this past December, it’s not as bad as the last couple years.  I don’t feel significantly down due to missing my parents.  I suppose the process of grief and missing someone moves to different levels.  It never totally goes away, you just adapt.  That thing called “seasonal” depression, it normally hits me too, but this year there’s just something different.

It’s not the grief or the more than cloudy days.  It’s more of a state of being tired when even being presented with the simplest task.  The loneliness of conquering it outweighs the multitude of benefits from just “pushing through”

I can think back over the past few weeks of moments of feeling goodness.

When my kids and their kids were at our home laughing around the table before Thanksgiving.

Receiving the photo of my husband and youngest daughter on the chair lift or her standing with skis on waiting to go down the mountain.

The longer conversations with the eldest now that she’s found some contentment with her new role.

Seeing big brown eyes, an infectious smile, and hearing “Grandma Julie” only the way E. can say it.

Witnessing P’s first piano recital and thinking how glad I am she’s not petrified to perform.

The growing belly  and texts from the pregnant momma I call daughter number two.

The glow of Christmas lights and the “perfect” leaning tree we have this year with Pandora and Michael Buble playing in the background.

These are just a few of the nuggets that have made me smile in past weeks.  I look forward to Christmas Eve more than any other day this holiday season.  Because all my children and grandchildren will be at our home, attending church, and opening gifts by that leaning tree.

The gifts they give me will be nice I’m sure but the best gift is them spending time with me. (Oh, and if they would clean up after we eat and open gifts that’d be awesome too!)

May you find joy in the holiday season and hold on if you just can’t seem too!