I’m Sorry Friends


I have been pondering for a few days the friendships I have, and the state they are in. I’m not talking about the social media friends you don’t really know or see much of.  It’s the closest of closest gal pals I’m talking about. 

I feel compelled to apologize to those closest to me in the world of friendships. (you know who you are)

First, let me direct you to my post Friendships that I wrote October 1, 2014. Three whole years ago!  It was a coincidence for sure that this little nugget popped into my view today. Honestly,  I hadn’t given this post much thought, then WordPress decided to share with me someone had liked it today. I took a stroll down memory lane and read it. But I was actually pondering my friendship connections for a couple weeks now.

After three years I’ve come to realize that I am not nurturing my relationships with my closest girlfriends like I used to.  I realize now that this is a by product of my emotional roller coaster ride I jumped on back in 2014.  I have hidden away in the walls of my home verses sharing the hardest times with those who love me.  I haven’t joined the celebratory moments due to anxiety or feeling the weight of the world upon me.

I recall I used to send cards more often, make sure we had coffee or dinner dates, and even text more than we do now.  The relationships in my life have become…. stagnet. Is that it?

The point where the connection is where we click LIKE on a photo or comment GOOD LUCK to one of the people in your life that probably knows more than many others. The ones that would drop anything for you, if you just picked up the phone to call or text.  I must say, when I do click love, like, or type a comment, normally I am  wishing them so much goodness I can feel it.  I think to myself, when was the last time we saw each other?

The face to face interactions that bring forth the building one another up and you’re not alone right now strengths has faded to the back of the line.  The moments where you laugh till you cry, your heart literally aches in your chest at the words they have shared so willingly or you shake your head in agreement. Let’s not forget the  you rejoice at the success of the one across from you moments.  Are these all just faded memories?

Oh I know.  Our lives are busy and our families need us.  We don’t have the energy to go out and the comfy pj pants are more enjoyable than those jeans.  The stresses of the job, family, church, and kid’s activities are all weighing us down.  The fact that our marriage isn’t healthy or one of our kids is having some major issues keeps us from connecting in fear it will be found out! ( I know, I’ve been there on both those topics!)

The re-booting of ourselves in womanhood has been put on the back burner.

99% of the time after being with one or a group of friends I feel just that.

REBOOTED.  REFRESHED.  RELAXED.

I sometimes forget to laugh in my daily life. I know, it’s a sad thing.  But when I’m with a friend or two it just naturally happens.  Seriously. No Joke.  

So why have I distanced myself from the women God has placed in my life?

I guess I already answered that in previous paragraphs. 

I think I’m ready to move forward in my relationships.  To re-connect with my tribe of women friends.  

I guess this post was mostly to motivate me, put it out there, and make me accountable.  I don’t want to end up later in life wishing I had done more.  I love my women friends and I can’t wait to share all the moments before us!

Do you have a girlfriend that it’s been awhile since you hung out or talked with? Maybe it’s time to remedy that!

Until next time!

Julie

 

 

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Julie

 

Bringing It Down – Diabetes #2


Written early March 2017

When dealing with life changes, whether it’s in regards to eating, stopping a bad habit, starting therapy, stopping therapy, or whatever, it’s not an easy path.  Although I do believe a support system is essential it really comes down to the individual.  No one is going to move you forward, they might assist but ultimately you have to take that first step alone.  And that first step isn’t going to come until you are ready.

My first assistance was that blood test that showed my AC1 at 7.2 and the phone call from the doctor with options.  I chose the option to visit with a Diabetic Educator named Kathy.  I spent up until the day after my 46th birthday eating as I wanted.  I began logging food and trying my best from December 27th to January 3rd, then I met Kathy.

Kathy explained things in simple terms and allowed me to ask questions.  She allowed my spouse to ask questions and she even visited about my fears.  Tears fell because of the emotions I was feeling and she never made me feel bad for it.

I now take my blood sugar glucose tests at least 2 to 3 times a day. Once before meals and once two hours after eating.

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In the past couple months I’ve been on the high side emotionally, the frustrated, tantrum throwing, not to mention the low side.  You name it, I’ve probably felt it.  Kathy gave me just a few things to start out with.  45 grams of carbs per meal and 15 per snack.  Going in I knew I needed to expect less of myself.  That probably sounds odd but it’s true.  I have high expectations for myself and that can lead to me taking the long fall down to failing!

This time I wrote about moving into a different level of this journey.  I felt it needed to be shared because only writing about the good or positive moments isn’t reality or truth. I won’t hide in the goodness of life, the ugly is part of it.  Just have to choose how to deal with it.

Julie

Bringing It Down – Diabetes #3


April 2017

Three months in and I stopped.  I basically let it drift away by casually having a morsel or two then the entire item in front of me.  Yes, the 80/20 rule works but not for someone that has no willpower, is depleted by stress, tired, and most importantly on this new life change only a couple months.  Feel a lack of support was a factor too.

Here I am on April 4th, no weight loss in March, and I have a blood sugar hangover. Yesterday started as a new start to get back together.  It went very well most all the day and then at supper I failed.  Sweet potato fries, a few would be okay but too many no way!  Then the DQ ice cream cake from my daughter’s 9th birthday.  Those two things with a combination of whatever else few carbs I had throughout the day made my blood sugar increase.  Increase to the point of headache and me deciding to take the actual test.  154.  To some that may be a great number but to me that means WAY TOO HIGH.  An hour and half later 166.  It wasn’t showing any signs of backing down.  So I headed to bed thinking “what the he** Julie? Why did you do this?” It’s been a few weeks like this now and although stress and lack of sleep are factors, YOU chose to eat wrong a lot of the time!”

I’ve started my day by eating protein and  24 carbs, which I’m suppose to have 45.  It’s hard for me to get up to 45 at breakfast without going over.  I took an easy paced walk as the energy level and mindset is low.  Almost time to take my next test and then a snack.  15 carbs.   And on and on and on.

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Most days have been better but still not a stellar way.   I am moving.  That is essential in this life with diabetes. I’m serious.  It helps so much even when I’m not actually walking or moving.  The issue I have is this.  When my blood sugar level is great, but  I don’t eat 45 grams of carbs, then go for a walk,  my blood sugar drops low.  And going from low up to way high is the worst feeling to me!   Balance.  That really is the key.  But since falling off in March I’m struggling with getting balance.

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Sleep. Sleep is just about as big a factor as moving.  I didn’t realize it until I stopped taking my anti-depressants in early March.  The one thing they did was knock me out overnight.  I did sleep well while on them but for various reasons have discontinued taking them.  For the most part I am doing okay off them except my “light sleeping” personality wakes too much in the night!  Then the bladder issue hits and up I go to bathroom.  SO, early bedtimes are essential and if a nap is needed I should do just that! Easier said than done on most days.  BUT, I am going to take this one step at a time, tackle one thing at a time.  If I don’t, I will fail.

So my focus is eating balanced.  Then moving.  Just keep moving.  Just keep moving!  Find some support somewhere too.  It has helped me to document via Snapchat with my two daughters and best friend.  I’m not sure they enjoy getting snaps of my walking logs but oh well.  They are getting them! 🙂

Until next time!

Julie

Bringing It Down – Diabetes #4


Written late June 2017

In May I didn’t track my food as well and to this day I am not logging it.  I’m depending on my mind.  The physical picture of what my plate should look like and the size of my snacks.  Including this with thinking about how my body feels is my go to. Remembering how I feel if I eat too many carbs in the next couple hours I keep near as well.  I still eat carbs and not always “good” ones but I’m confident in my abilities to judge my choices.

I think what made me get back on track is being put in a physically working environment. Our Kansas wheat harvest arrived around June 10th and my job was not in a cushy air-conditioned cab.  It was weighing grain trucks in the humid, hot Kansas sun. Weighing the trucks meant shoveling and sweeping grain into a pit.  So it wasn’t just sitting around. It kept my mind and body busy.  I wasn’t as hungry either, a little went a long way for me.

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If you are interested in learning about farm life go to our blog called farming grace daily

The work gave me the change and push to get back to moving more.  I am now walking and doing some challenges on my Samsung Health to motivate me.  I’m still sending my Snaps to my pals for support and moving forward.  It’s not been a perfect journey but it’s my journey.  I’m proud of where I am today but would like to move forward to better my health.

My sleep isn’t great but I just do what I can. Most days I don’t allow myself to sit at the computer or sewing machine too long.  A 15 minute walk can give someone a great deal of steps.  I’m still not at 10,000 most days but if I reach 8000 I’m happy.  I can do this and it’s not for a temporary time.  Accepting who I am, what I am doing, and where I am going is the game plan. Also having confidence in myself, that’s still a work in progress! 🙂

Down with the D #5 I will share in a couple days.  It will include my results from my six month checkup and how I  am dealing with that.

If you care to follow along just subscribe on the right side of this blog page.

Until next time!

Julie

Parenting/Grandparenting Divide


I’ve slightly struggled with the art of being a grandparent since becoming one six years ago.  It isn’t because I feel I am too young to be a grandma, more because at the time I had a three year old myself to parent at home.  It’s not something that has consumed me but it’s something internally I have felt on and off in the past years.  It is a blessing to be a grandparent. No doubt.  Joy abounds, but still.

The parent part of grandparent was more evident than anything else due to the fact that I usually have my own child with us when the grandchild visits.  Disclaimer: I do not feel a grandparent is one that should give whatever the grandchild wants to them or supply them with endless stuff, candy, with no regard to discipline.  Perhaps it’s that I feel a grandparent, in normal circumstances, can take a more relaxed role as one watching the grandchild. They can savor the enjoyment of the child without feeling they have to discipline as they do with their own children.  Am I making any sense?

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to have three out of four of my grandchildren at my house, along with my nine year old daughter.  After they left I was thinking about the day and how a tiny bit of me felt tired but overall just happy with the time I had with them.  The moments that came to mind are below:

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When my only granddaughter woke up and decided she would sit with me on the couch, just the two of us and cuddle.  Things like this do not happen very often.  Either her brother or my youngest daughter are present.  This moment in time I snuggled her closer and nuzzled my nose in her hair.  I told her I loved her.  She smiled back at me and it was a pure grandmother moment.  Relaxed.

Singing to one of my twin three month old grandsons while I rocked him and he smiles up at me.  That made my heart full and I couldn’t stop my face from smiling if I wanted to.  

Talking with the other twin grandson and his huge smile appears, like it was all for Grandma only.  

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I pondered for awhile later that day and reflected back in the six years of becoming a grandparent.  I find myself in a more relaxed state, even when my own daughter is present.  Perhaps it is because she is getting older or I have come to “fit” better into this role as Grandma Julie.

 

All I know is joy is present.  Joy is good.  Life with family is even better.

Julie

 

 

Stable Force – Motherhood


Spring has arrived and it came in with quite a lot of busyness!  Our family grew by a couple more humans via my daughter and son-in-law.  Our youngest turned nine.  NINE!  I can hardly wrap my head around that one folks!

As I’ve spent a few days in March cuddling newborns it takes me back to each one of my own daughter’s births.  All three had a unique arrival into the world, only two from my womb, but all just as precious.   I’ve also been reminded of the absence of my own mother.  She would have unwrapped the swaddled babies and inspected their tiny toes counting each one first thing!  She would have given advice from her own days of  being a mother to an infant.  I find myself doing that with my daughter  too, only I’m trying really hard to just step back.  Allow her to experience what she has before her, in her own way.

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I’m quite a bit more emotional than my daughter the new mother. Writing is a way for me to commemorate an experience all while locking it in, (for I know the days will come I’ll forget).  So, here goes.

I’m writing today because last night the simple act of dressing a newly bathed baby made my chest fill with warmth and pride burst from me.  And I wasn’t even the one doing it!  My daughter was.  Witnessing our children doing things in life always has some sort of effect on us, doesn’t it?  Whether it is a musical concert, sharing at playtime, a fit in the store, dropping a toy for the 100th time, or having them display their own parenting skills.

All these little nuggets in life bring forth different emotions and each have their place in our lives.  I think, in my own opinion, being a stable force in my child’s life is essential to a relationship.  Raising my children has not been always sweet moments with bragging rights attached.

There’s been times I’ve wanted to hide under a rock, scream from the street corner, and throw my own kind of fit! My hope if my daughters were asked they would say that Mom was there, even when she was mad at me or vice versa.

I hope I have raised my children with a good combination of love and discipline.  If I haven’t, then I think I failed as a parent.

(Disclaimer: I am not a parenting guru nor think that I am!)

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Farming Grace Daily

When I became a mother at 17 I knew nothing, although my mindset was different!  My first child was a practice run so to speak. 🙂  Then the second one came along and she was completely opposite of the first one.  By the third it’d been so many years I almost felt lost and quite unsure again (at first).

But as I sit here today I realize that the gold nuggets of this life as a mother are not always wrapped in beautiful boxes with big bows or grand gestures.  Sometimes, it’s just the act of saying no, using a somewhat firm voice, cuddles, or talking it out later. Or that the third piece of candy is fine or getting a C on a paper isn’t the worst thing in the world.

That stable force is built on combinations of strength, discipline, tenderness, and care. My wish for my own three daughters is that they are able to display this in their own motherhood experiences.  That the example they were given was worthy.  I love you girls!

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Julie

Their Mother. A Mother.


I’m not even the one that became a first time mother but my emotions have been on a roller coaster ride this past week.  My middle daughter gave birth to a couple of beautiful boys. Although I am thrilled to grow the number of grandchildren I have, it was my job as mother that I felt so emotional about. In fact, I still am feeling it.

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When I became a mother in 1988 I had no idea the impact it would have on my life.  The paths it would take me on, the pains I would feel or the joys I would treasure. I will assume that my daughter doesn’t either.

With my oldest two daughters the majority of their childhood I felt like I wasn’t a very good mother.  Looking back, the mentality of worry of just that subject was the only real thing that was a hinderance.  Somewhere along the lines I began to accept the type of mother I was, improve upon what I have learned, and go forth even if it ended in a mess. I’ve taken the knowledge I gained from raising the two older ones and am trying to do a better job with their little sister.  I’m far from perfect but you know what, that’s okay. I love each of my children and they know it. Them knowing it is key.

Motherhood changes as our children grow in their own lives. Twenty four years I’ve cared for, battled with, laughed with, and loved the woman who I call my second born.  It’s almost difficult for me to put into words the experience of watching her become a mother herself.  Actually each of my adult daughters have given me grandchildren and it’s a struggle to come up with the right words to describe  what the experience was like for me. Their mother.  It’s a treasure although filled with worry and excitement.  The child I called my own becoming something that I am.  A mother.

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I guess what I’m trying to say is that becoming a grandmother once again was great, my mother instinct takes top slot though.  Perhaps it’s so prominent because of the type of relationship my daughter and I have.  Perhaps it’s because I know what her future looks like in a sense.  Perhaps it’s just that the caring nature within doesn’t stop.  I want to make sure she has what she needs now in both emotional and physical support.

Witnessing from a close distance my own children as mothers takes my breath away periodically.  On occasion I have to keep my mouth closed, sometimes I have to speak up. Sometimes it just means sweeping the floor or washing a dish or making a quilt or cuddling with one of the four grandchildren.  Whatever the need I hope they know I’m still here, even if they are mothers themselves. That as their mother, I’m still mothering. And although it’s not always easy, it’s still a pleasure.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Julie

Sewing Generations Together


K, my middle daughter  had a close relationship with my mother.  It was closer than I ever had with Mom and at times I will admit I was jealous.  But my mother and I were quite different, just as my daughter is from me. With both relationships I can see more of myself in my mother than I ever thought and the same with my daughter and me. There were hiccups made along the way by all parties, but we never let that completely break the bond of family.

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The relationships we have with family, in my opinion, is what enhances what we are or will become.  Every occurrence, including family creates something to one’s life, whether it’s more of a connection or a disconnection.

My daughter is about to become a mother (to twins)  herself and in the course of her pregnancy we’ve become closer. Actually since she moved out of the house across the country six years ago our relationship improved and grew. (Sometimes distance is good for a reality check folks!) During those six years she moved back quite close, and  my own mother passed away leaving a hole in both our hearts, along with the rest of our family.

If you’ve followed along here at all you’ve probably noticed my mother was one that could sew, craft, paint, basically create naturally. I don’t feel I got that “create naturally” talent but  I dabble in sewing and crafting.  When I did quilt it was with my mother.  K. enjoys sewing and she spent time with her grandmother learning to sew and embroidery.

I figured out the best way to honor my mother, share about a generation that is gone, and give my daughter and grandson’s a gift to treasure was to make baby quilts.

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At my daughter’s baby shower this past weekend I gave her the quilts, it was a surprise. This is what I placed with the two quilts I made telling the story for generations to come.

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As my daughter read the card and opened the boxes I could tell this gift meant a great deal to her.  She didn’t say much as she isn’t a touchy feely kinda gal but she didn’t have to. (hint: one thing we differ at, but I still love her!) 🙂  I think my Mom would have liked this.

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Just as my mother sewn one generation of love into blankets and outfits,  I  followed her lead.  Someday it will be K. sharing the story, making blankets, and loving her grandchildren.  I hope these are still around to share!

In today’s world, whether it is a family unit, friendships, any collection of people seem to be torn apart like a piece of fabric loosely sewn. The different personalities, selfish mindsets, non-respect, and many other factors from the outside word are participants to make this occur.

Folks, gather your people and keep them sewn tightly together.Weave a bond that even in the darkest time you are still united in some form.   For when they are gone there will be a rip in your heart and only memories to share. Let’s sew the generations together, shall we?

Julie

Could It Be a Brighter Time


I was almost too scared to write the title of this post.  As if to jinx the time of my life I am in.

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The past 2-3 years have been rough but for a few moments each day I can see the sunshine.  I can feel the calm within and if I shut my eyes, I breathe a little easier.  I can laugh with my husband and welcome a hug from him.  I can raise my head off the pillow and although a tad groggy, I  feel better than I have in a long while.

This comes after making my declaration of spending 2017 focusing on me.  Taking a year to find a better me both mentally and physically.  Being so depleted it is hard to rise from the ashes but I vowed to go slow at it. Less than 30 days in I might still be on the “new life” high, who knows! Let’s go with it, it feels pretty good!

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I will admit I’ve had my days where tears have won out and irritability spawned horrible tones and words from my mouth.  Then the days of wanting to quit or just give up showed their nasty faces too.

But so far the days, or at least the majority of the past days have been enjoyable.  That my friends is a good thing.  Baby steps.  Very baby steps.

I do not blame the place I ended up on any one thing really.  A collection of occurences brought me to a place that wasn’t pretty.  Apologies are owed to others while also to myself.  Appreciation for the tragic moments that build character within me is required.   Stopping the moments of this life from slipping away as they rapidly do is needed. Savoring the time I have with my family, opening my heart once again to showing kindness to others, and just letting sunshine fall across my face is in my future.  Perhaps not tomorrow, but it’s coming, I can feel it.

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So, when the sun comes up today, I will put both feet in front of me, eat a hearty breakfast to start my day and smile.  Come on, try it with me won’t you? 🙂

Baby steps my friends.  Baby steps.

Julie