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!



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.

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.  🙂



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!


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!


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!




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.




Cracks Within Series – #1

Sometimes when I imagine myself,  I see a person that has cracks throughout their body. The body is just flesh and bone but I’m talking about like a stain glass window of sorts. Or perhaps more like, the old china cup that has hair-line cracks throughout it but you can’t stop using it.  The thin cracks making it only more beautiful.

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Each crack within me was placed there from an experience.  The tiny cracks creating a brokenness in one shell of a human.  From the arguments on the playground to being picked last on a team as a child.  The teen emotions of being dumped by the guy I thought was my whole world or struggling to pass Algebra. Finding myself walking the high school halls practically full term pregnant.

The more substantial cracks stem from someone taking advantage of me as a child. The remnants of sleeping in a car overnight due to alcoholic situations at home. Not to forget to mention my experience of divorce, motherhood fails, and professional occupations.

Some of those cracks were brought on by other people’s actions and some my own.

Each one has its place within me and each one helped mold me into who I am today. Maybe the reason I am able to write is due to one of these or perhaps all of them.  I will never know.  I find that okay, I have always said “struggles build character.”

I’ve come to realize from the years 2013 through 2016 there became a crack in my being so substantial it made the largest of large indention.  A combination of things.  I was moved to a place of darkness, seeming to never return and changed forever who I am, almost ruining my marriage, my role as a mother in this world, and a few other things.

In the span of those three years I made choices and choices were made for me that scarred me for life.  I’m still reeling from them, especially since we find ourselves once again in the month of August. The difference is I am feeling better.  The difference is I survived.  I’m stronger and I’m still here writing about it.

Check back soon to get another edition of the Cracks Within series.





Past moments in time are never that far away

Dad & MOM

The past few days my parents have been on my mind. Maybe because Facebook has that deal that shows you past posts or just because it’s July.  I know August is around the corner.

At lunch on Sunday with my entire family I was laughing and joking.  I made a comment about moving in with my kids when I was old and the son-in-laws weren’t too sure about that. I started to say I understood that I wasn’t sure I could live with my parents and it brought me back to the day my Dad died.


That morning, while we were alone in his hospital room, he told me that he needed to take me up on my offer.  The offer I had given him a few days before about moving in with us.  I had forgotten that, which surprises me.   I couldn’t stop my eyes from filling with tears but I gathered myself quickly I think.  I had a beautiful baby boy in my arms to look at and hide my tears.  I felt my husband’s hand on my leg for reassurance as well.

Dying Alone

While dancing and singing with my other baby grandson later,  in my home office, I saw the pictures of both my parents from various times in their lives.  The display has a photo of each of my parents holding me when I was a baby, I told G how that was me and continued to dance.  My mother loved to dance.  When I danced with my father at my second wedding we glided across the floor and if I shut my eyes I can still feel it.

The memories are here  in my mind and next to my heart.  Although they may fade they are still inside me.  Tears may have fallen on this day but I’m glad I remembered that memory with my Dad.

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.




My Space & The Old Green Patio Table

There was a little area of my home that I like to think was “mine.”  The area that gave me some peace in days of chaos,  strength to build for the new endeavors of the day ahead, and just a place to breathe.

This space included an old small green patio table and one matching chair from 2001 and a porch swing with a faded pillow on it.  If you could see the snapshot in my mind of it you would see  that Better Homes & Garden would never have it in one of their issues.  But it was mine.  It was a slice of a few things that represented my life, apparently much more than I ever even thought.

The worn table represented the first piece of furniture I bought on my own, after a divorce.  Since purchasing it I would find myself looking at  gave me a strength or push of sorts I guess. To get through each day.  Looking at it made me feel proud that I could do that single life thing and buy this measly piece of furniture.  Fast forward 16 years later and I see how I made it through on the other side, now married, and raising my family with lessons learned from that life experience.

The set is not in style, not even a color I enjoy, and only one of the chairs remain. (But those chairs were the most comfortable dang things ever!) Oh sure, I had a summer tablecloth on it, along with a fire burner thing that was my Mom’s but that was about it.


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The porch swing was a gift from my husband and daughter one Christmas and I love it. That’s actually where I sat to re-fuel myself.  To calm myself.  To look out over the sunsets.  I had my husband install it so I could see the sunsets in the west and be near my lilac bushes.

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When I sat on the porch swing I never did sit like you’re suppose to.  I always sat with my legs up and my back against the arm of the swing.  The faded non-outdoor pillow supported my back and kept it from digging into the chains and the arm.  Comfort.  That’s what I had with my porch swing and it’s faded pillow.

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This is no longer a place for me.  One small moment in time has changed that.  It took me two days to be able to even walk into that area.

Some may think I’m over dramatic and that’s fine. Just keep it to yourself please.  But when the only image you continue to see is the one that sent fear through your body it is what it is.  

The most of the space has been disassembled and moved.  I had already thought of doing this of course but never mentioned it.  My daughter made it a point to tell her father herself in casual conversation.  I guess great minds do think alike! 🙂 Her feeling safe in her own home is the most important thing.

I’ve already been thinking of ways to update the post divorce table and chair. I can’t bear to part with it, it stands for something in my mind!   Repainting and recovering it, making it fresh and updated.  Will the image fade even more then?  Will this help or is it a band-aid of sorts.

I’ve had trauma in my life before.  Much worse than what I experienced recently.  The more processing I do I find that I believe the reason it may be so prominent this time is because my child was involved.  That the involvement of my child and my own experiences only enhances the magnitude in my mind.

So.  For now. I will eat my breakfast inside or on my back deck.  I will  ponder the refurbishing of the post divorce table and perhaps eventually swing once more as the sun goes down.



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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……




The Mediocre Level

I wrote this piece not this week but prior.  Today as I decide to actually publish it I’ve felt pretty well.  In fact, the last few days have been good.  Writing allows me to process and move forward.  Not always staying ahead but not falling as far back as I once would is more of a normal thing now. I call that progress.


I hate that my parents died. I hate that the questions go unanswered and the memories are all I have.   I feel broken from that stint I did in 2013. I hate that the confidence I used to feel inside me has been replaced with the lack thereof and the fear of the unknown.

The task of analyzing oneself can be taunting and at times the individual may find themselves grasping to get their head above water.

Currently I do not feel I am doing any area of my life with much excellence.  The ability to be exceedingly good at something has fallen from my life it seems.  I would say I am more in the “do what I need to and get by mode.”  I’ve been running on auto pilot for sometime now.  There’s been a couple of times I’ve began with a mindset of success to only find I fall into that mediocre level once again.  Even in the times of my life (pre-2013) when I was challenged, whether personally or professionally, I still had one or two areas of life I was above average in.

As you can tell the “analyzing” oneself has recently occurred in my life and it has brought a less than stellar mojo around!  Some of you are probably saying right now, “but Julie you are doing this and this and this so well!”  But in reality I’m not.  I’m doing just enough for it to “look” okay.

I’m not falling apart, I’m just looking reality in the face at the moment.  It’s not an “upper” but the “downer” part might be what I need to face to move forward.  I can no longer be the leader of all areas of my life and do it with grace.  And it’s driving me nuts!

I can look back and see when the strength that my mother instilled in me began to fall away.  The turmoil and wreckage of an experience finally got to me and altered my everyday life.  I may be fooling myself, perhaps those traumatic experiences as a child altered me too, but until I was in my 40’s I was capable of  handling  things.  Three consecutive experiences took me to my knees and it’s hard to get up, even almost four years later.

I suppose this is where I would normally write the lines of postivity and a mantra of things to get me “re-booted”.  Well this time I’m not.  I am not going to sit in the depths of despair but I will close with this.

One.  One positive thing a day.  I shall pluck one little thing from my day that I did well and place it at the top of my thoughts.  I will bask in the glory of even the simplest task I did that was good.  Where will that lead me?