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!

Julie

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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.

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I couldn’t find many pictures of my husband & I in 2017 together. Hmm…..

 

Happy New Year!

Julie

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…..

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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.

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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.

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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.  🙂

Julie

 

My Journey with Diabetes/Bringing It Down – #12 (December)


DOWN with the D (2)

I wanted to be sure to do one more update before I hit my one year mark which falls in mid January.  I haven’t accomplished all my goals since my October post but I feel okay with where I am at physically.  I  must credit my first visit with my new physician with helping me to feel good and #keepmovin!

After going to the same doctor since 1995 we decided to make the change to a new doctor.  The doctor didn’t do anything wrong, we just had our reasons for changing to a new doctor/hospital in another town.  We had debated this topic for two years and finally took the leap.

I know she was probably trying to “win me over” but I’m going with that she really really meant what she said! 🙂 After she spoke to her PA and heard my diabetes story she walks in and says the following.

“I hear you are my new poster child for Diabetes!”

I laughed. (me… really? that’s so funny!)

Apparently dropping from 7.2 on the AC1 test to 5.9 in six months is some kinda rock star action! 🙂 That was December 2016 and then July 2017.  My next test is a month from now.

But honestly, I needed to hear some encouraging words on that very day and she provided them!  Thank you Dr. D!   (Bonus, my hubs was present so he got to hear it too!)

Then Dr. D. said the following as I shared my thoughts and working on eating during this time of year.

“Give Yourself Some Grace This Month”

That’s what she said and I instantly felt a heaviness lifted from my shoulders.  I also repeat that to myself about 40 times a day now.  And not just in regards to eating.

“Give Yourself Some Grace”

When I think of grace I guess I primarily think of God giving it.  But it helps to think in terms that myself and others can do that as well.  Although without God I wouldn’t be able to do it at all.

By the way diabetes isn’t going away.  The fact that I lost some weight, stay active, and eat healthier than I used to is why it’s in a “pre-diabetes” stage.  But at any given time it could change. I have an insulin resistance.  But the best thing I can do is stay pro-active.

Now that I’ve documented my rock star moment let’s move onto other stuff!

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People.  I’m telling you, literally writing my step count each morning,  two of my own emoji for how I’m feeling, and whether I ate out or not is a great tool.  I keep it in my bathroom, access, access, access!

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Reviewing at the end of the month is easy and right in front of me. OR I can see all of it together in a moment’s notice mid-month and get myself re-centered!

My November stats:

Eating out:  I average 10 to 11 times per month.  (I know, that’s really not healthy or financially smart, new goal 2018!)  Six months ago the case!  Time management & meal planning needed!

There were  6 days out of 30 that I got less than 10,000 steps in.

There were 4 days out of 30 that I got MORE than 10,000 steps in. (that is low actually from other months)

I also reviewed my little emoji’s.  I would log how I felt when I woke up and then by the end of the day.  I think this will be beneficial in the long run so I can see how I tie food intake and emotions together.

I also measured and weighted my body and reviewed my DiabetesM app information.  This is the app I use to log my blood sugars.  It helps me see where I need to work on my food intake and exercise to benefit my blood sugars. The first screen shows me what it thinks my AC1 level is at. AC1 levels is the test that reflects my blood sugars for the past 3 months.  I can tell you right now November was a month of not eating correctly at supper time!

On a side note, I am not posting as much on my personal social media about my daily exercise journey.  I kind of miss it but had taken Facebook app off my phone for awhile.  I also felt like me sharing positive and happy things in my life might bother someone else. If their life isn’t going smoothly or they are dealing with difficult things. I know I have found myself having feelings not so kind when scrolling.  My life isn’t any better than anyone elses, my hope when I share is it inspire.

I have other ways of communicating with others that have shown interest in my posts or told me I am helping them. (Snapchat, texting, and FB private group) It feels good to me that something that affected my life so much a year ago has come to help others.   I pray I can continue to get healthier and spend many years playing with my grandkids on the living room floor!

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to comment or ask questions!

Julie

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Relationships


I created this graphic after going through session five of the bible study Sip, Savor, and Drink Deeply by Deb Burma.  You can purchase the study a few different places if you are interested.

Encouragement

Now that I am finished with it I would recommend it to anyone, even if you do not drink coffee.  It includes recipes, craft ideas, tidbits about coffee drinks, and a great many other things about God’s Word. Lucky for me I was able to walk through it with a group of other ladies but it could easily be done on your own!

Now back to that graphic and why I created it for myself.  I wanted to have easy access for a reminder from areas of the Bible.  Some of the relationships in my life are stagnet, not comfortable, flourishing, open, comfortable, or have just gone by the wayside. But today I’d like to talk about one of the most important relationships I have in my life.

The one with my spouse, my husband of 14 years.

When this session was presented before me it was a good thing.  At the time I wasn’t so sure because things were stressful in that very important relationship I mentioned before.  No need to air my dirty laundry or share more than my hubs is comfortable with.  Just know that reading through creating something in me to focus on changing my responses.  I’m still a work in progress and so is he.  To date, I have not been able to sit down and visit with him about this session.  The farmer is too busy and it’s okay, we will when time allows. I have it on the top of our “to do” list! 🙂 But I see the help it has given our relationship already, without him evening knowing what it’s about! 🙂

When I walked out of the Monday night bible study the night we did this session I saw things differently. One thing I realized is that it’s a duty as a Christian to have those difficult conversations with others.  Am I scared?  Yep.  Will I pray on it?  Yep.  Have I strayed from my faith before?  Yep.  Do I still struggle with things today?  Yep. Have I repented?  Yep. Am I forgiven?  Yep.

Psst….. you can too.  Jesus loves you.

Now, feel free to save the graphic or print it off for personal use.  I plan too.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

 

 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

 

 

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.

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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.

April 26, 2017

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