Thursday, July 14, 2011

Re-evaluating my life.

Since my last post, it has come to my attention that it has been 20 years since I graduated BHS.  With a pending reunion, I have been looking back at the choices I have made in the past 20 years.  In some ways I have made great strides like accepting myself.
 
All of my friends in high school may be shocked to know this, but I wasn't as I seemed in school.  I really was just a kid with low self esteem and poor body image who wanted to be like by everyone.  I was on the Pep Squad, Flagline, Newspaper Asst Ed, Yearbook Ed, Beta Club, Fellowship of Christian Students, Science Club, Literary Rally team, Baseball statistician, Science Club, and an Honor Student.  I'm sure there are other titles I held for those 4 years, but they slip my mind at present.  Looking back I probably did all of those things either for acceptance, attention, or just to give me something else to think about besides the aforementioned self esteem.  I would find myself very lonely and sad when I wasn't busy.

After high school, I went to college at NLU-2hrs away from home.  I think I was trying to run away from myself, but in the end I dropped out and came home.  I told myself I wasn't even competent enough to pass Aerobics class.  I self-sabotaged my college career for some unknown reason.  Since then, I have often chosen self sabotage. . .

God has greatly blessed me in spite of myself.  Because I dropped out of college, I met a great guy I would end up marrying 2 years later.  Even though he is not my childhood image of Prince Charming (he's not very affectionate, passionate, or social), he is a very hard working man who loves me no matter what.  I know this not because he tells me, but because he SHOWS me.  He shows me by working hard every day even when he is hurting or sick so I can be a stay at home mom to our son.  He shows me by providing me everything I want that he can realistically afford. And he shows me by not listening to me when I try to sabotage us with my crazy rants.  I love that man.

God has also given me a son who is all I have ever wanted-even if he does act like me.  He kisses me good morning everyday. He hugs me every chance he gets. And he cuddles with me every night.  I love that boy.

I did have success in my college career later in life, I went back and graduated with a degree I really didn't want, but said to myself if my sister can do it, so can I.  Not fulfilling my own goals, but someone else's.
So with all of these blessings and all of this love, why do I continue to come up short?  I don't have the answer to that, but I do know that I am now on a journey to find the answer--even if it takes me another 20 years.  I'm not even really sure who I am anymore, or that I ever knew who I was.

I am making a commitment to myself to be the person God created me to be.  A concept I learned a couple of months ago when I help lead a OneWay Ministries children's camp.  It may take a while to reevaluate myself.  I will keep the blog updated, but it will be limited.  At one point, the computer was becoming the place I would spend most of my days, but I can't do that if I want to change me.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm back. . .

Ok, so it's been a while since my last post.  Today I will attempt to catch up with all the things that has happened since my last entry.

For about a month, I had indigestion every evening (like heartburn symptoms)-nothing Tums couldn't fix. This time, it was different.  Tums didn't work.  Probiotics didn't work. The pain changed from indigestion to a cramp-type feeling.  I thought "maybe I need some Levisin."  So I even tried Levisin drops I had since Chuck was a baby. Yes-they were expired. Yes-they still work; but not this time... I didn't go to bed, because there was NO RELIEF.  I googled essential oils for gall bladder and was wishing I had some red geranium oil at that moment.  About 3AM my crying woke Gil up (I was trying to be quiet).  He called my mama to see if she had some Levisin that wasn't expired-all the while I knew it was my gallbladder, but was in serious denial!! I didn't want to go to the ER.

This winter has been tough-the toughest yet for us.  We haven't missed a payment or have been late on any bills, but January the decision was made to drop our health insurance.  Not because we wanted to, but the monthly premium was outrageous.  We are a blessed family in that we aren't very sickly and rarely need the doctor.  We were looking into a program to start again as soon as work picked back up, usually mid-March.
Back to my story, Mama and Daddy came over and made Gil take me to the ER.  They stayed at my house til Chuck woke up, then came into town.  By that afternoon, March 1st, I had emergency gall bladder surgery. It wasn't too bad, the doc was able to do it laproscopically.  Despite his concerns of maybe having an ulcer or gastritis (because of the indigestion symptoms), there was no indication of anything but gall stones.  It wasn't even infected, just severly inflamed. Praise God.  I didn't like the possibility of a ulcer diet (bland).

I have tried to keep up with my resolutions with pitiful results, but some things are more important than silly goals  that you set for yourself that, let's face it, most of the time unattainable.  I have started making my own bread-my "new thing" of the month.  This one I will probably continue.  Chuck loves it. It doesn't have any preservatives and best of all it doesn't make him crazy.

I think gluten isn't our enemy, the preservatives are.  When Chuck eats too much bread, cookies, Little Debbies, etc. he is absolutely unbearable and sometimes even uncontrollable in his behavior. I thought gluten was the problem. One day, I saw a recipe from The Pioneer Woman's cookbook, French Breakfast Puffs (I describe them as a nutmeg  muffin that is dipped in butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar), that sounded so good. I decided that I would just have to deal with the behavior because Chuck would love them and he needed a treat. (Sometimes when you stay home all day on a budget, you just need a treat.) I was right, Chuck loved them and the best part was, he had no changes in behavior after eating them!! Since then, I have made various things that were previously no-nos with great results.  When life does get in the way and I can't be Betty Crocker, I do forget and give him processed crap and his behavior quickly turns into a downward spiral ending in a complete and utter meltdown. So now, I am trying to go as preservative-free and as natural as possible in our diet.  That's about as far as my resolutions have gone. That is not going to stop me from attacking tomorrow with the intention of tackling one more thing on my list! I am just hard-headed enough to think I can do everything I set my mind to do, even if it seems impossible. After all Philippians 4:13 says I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I got it bad. . .

Cabin fever that is. This winter has really had a toll on my well-being.  The last time I was a SAHM, Chuck went to public school.  I kept the kitchen clean, clothes washed, dinner on the stove and (sometimes) could even get it done before carpool AND have a snack waiting for him when he got home. As they say, "that was then, THIS is now."
Now, my day looks a little more like this:
Get up and sometimes dressed (usually in my pj's),
Get Chuck (aka Little Man, aka Bug, aka Knucklehead, or aka whatever else I may happen to call him at the time!~He's always had about 15 nicknames used interchangeably at my discression.)  Most family calls him Bug. Anyway, getting back to my routine: get Chuck up, ready (teeth, face, etc.) and fed,
Tell him once again WHY he can't start watching TV before school,
Reinforce that IF he work quickly he can be done before "Wild Kratts" comes on PBS at 4PM.
Tell him I love him,
Remind him to always do his best and I'll be satisfied.

Then the fun part starts:  MATH. I love Math. I don't get people who don't like it.  Chuck is good at it. So, why must he make it a painstakingly loooong process? It may take him 45 minutes to do 1 page, but if I call the same number of problems out to him--5 minutes max.  I don't get it.  If he knows the answers, why doesn't he just  write them down. I don't have to supervise every problem completed or do I? I'm new to homeschooling, but I really had this idea that I could teach the information, do a few review problems with him and could leave it with him to complete while I, heaven forbid, fold a load of laundry.  This does not seem to be the case.  I need to know that this is just first year anxiety on his part and he will not grow needing constant supervision.  I know adults like that and it is not flattering.
Anyway this process continues through every subject until about 5PM nightly.  It's too much for this mama to do everyday.  When Gil comes home, we stop.  Gil works too hard to be subjected to the nag of "Come on son, you know this!!", etc.

This school year has left me in a heap: a heap of dirty clothes, dishes, and thrown together at the last minute meals. I also have a bad case of the "can't"s, can't sleep, can't remember, can't think.

Here's what I CAN do, as the VBS song so eloquently put it, "I will cast my cares on the Lord, because He cares for me. I will trust in God no matter what. Cause I know He will never stop caring for me."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Resolution review, illness update and Grandma's birthday. . .

Well my resolutions have had a slow start to say the least.  With flu and strep rampant, my focus has been on staying well and keeping Little Man well.  We had a scare last week when he started complaining of headache and sore throat (possibly had both from yelling at Super Mario Bros. on the Wii).  After a little Motrin, it subsided and so far so good.

My sister's family has not had it so good this week.  Her father in law was diagnosed with end stage pancreatic cancer. All of them are not dealing well.  I especially worry about  my nieces. The older one deals with stress by not dealing with it and the younger is just having a hard time coping.  This is the first grandparent loss they have had to deal with.  They've had no time to prepare themselves, unlike when my own father in law died almost 4 years ago now.  We at least had a little time to process the diagnosis before we had to prepare for the worst.

Grandma's birthday is tomorrow! She will be celebrating her 94th birthday.  Happy Birthday Grandma Estelle.

On to resolution review:
11 things in 2011. . .
1.  Make one healthy change per week.-Yeah right hadn't started
     that one yet! Not so much going to focus on "low fat", lose
     weight, etc. goals, just eat REAL FOOD-not processed crap.
2.  Craft one day each month--been too cold to go to shop
     and dig out my machine.
3.  Plan my family's menu and cook it!--been cooking, just not
     really with a plan (see post re: spending moratoreum)
4.  Try something new each month.  (January=blog=check!)
     (February=make homemade butter=check!)  
5.  Read the Bible more-uh sorry :(
6.  Make a budget (and actually stick to it!)-hey it's easy to
     budget no money coming in right?
7.  Submit to Gil and be a helper to him.-been easier without
     money to fight about.
8.  Show love to others and serve when/where needed. I have
     even changed our school schedule to accomodate special
     requests.  Something the 2010 me would never have done.
     I looked for excuses not to go out of my way-I know that
     sounds awful, but I justified it with "My child's education is
     more important."  I have since changed my way of thinking to
     "This is a great opportunity to let my child see service
     to others and love in action."
9.  Early to bed, early to rise! Does midnight count?
10. Be "all in". Well, not ALL IN--another one of my many,
      many shortcomings.
11. Finish what I start.-I think my subconciousness threw that
      one in so I would fail and give up all together, but with my
      new accountability partner (this blog), I will give it one
      more shot and keep shooting till I get it right.

Word of the year:  STEWARDSHIP.  I have really had this notion in my soul, not just my mind, for a while feeling the urge to really conserve and turn to more of a homesteading/"crunchy" mentality.
I feel this is my way of good stewardship and being responsible with God's world for the next generation.  If I can keep my little piece of this Earth clean, self-sufficient,  and efficient, as well as encourage others to do the same, maybe another economic downturn like we had a couple of years ago wouldn't give people the "Chicken Little" mentality.  They could feel confident in the grace and provision of the Lord Almighty.

Monday, February 7, 2011

YES WE HOMESCHOOL!!!

I homeschool, but Gil and I both were products of PS.  Bug went to the same school I went to (great school, good test scores on standardized tests), however he hated it.  He was labeled a "problem child" in Pre-K because he wouldn't sit still for 6 hours a day! The nerve of a 4 year old boy! Anyway, I just wanted to HS so that label wouldn't follow him to the middle school (3rd grade).  To my surprise, when we started this school year, my A-B honor roll (straight As in Math) couldn't add 5+2. . .NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND AT ITS BEST!! I was an involved parent (parent teacher conferences, assisted with homework daily-I had no clue!)  The only problem that was EVER brought to my attention was his behavior.  Needless to say, I am very disenchanted with public school. We do teach Bible in our home school, but it is something we did anyway and was not a major factor in the discision for hs. sorry for the vent.

P.S. If DS ever does want to return to PS, he probably will be allowed to, but I will make frequent visits to the school to insure he does not fall behind again...I want my child to live up to his potential, not down to current expectations!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

CHALLENGES, CHALLENGES. . .

I admit it. I like to lurk on the web and I have come to the conclusion that everbody and their grandma has a New Year's Challenge posted. Not that that's a bad thing. I just feel if I can't start (and finish) every one that I like, well, what's the use?  I tend to have those perfectionistic tendencies. I know, I know, if you would look at my life, you wouldn't believe that I am a perfectionist.  Before childbirth and nursing school, I actually had it together. Somewhere along the way I lost it, along with most of my mind! lol. . .
Come to think of it, childbirth and nursing school are kind of alike: Sometimes it's a hard to obtain dream.  Once you're there, you feel like it's never going to end.  After it's over you sometimes find yourself wondering how you made it through, but you're very glad you did!
I love my Little Man.  Come to think of it, there is one more similarity between childbirth and nursing school: No matter what else you accomplish in your life, you WILL make a difference in someone else's. . .

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Very productive day. . .

Today, I am very proud of myself. I did not sit and helicopter over Little Man while he was doing his homeschool work (much to his chagrin).  I stayed in the kitchen.  What did I do in the kitchen? Well, I canned 7 1/2 quarts of tomato puree from our harvest last season, made a huge pot of chicken and sausage gumbo, and made Gil a pecan pie he asked for at Christmas time. With all the cookies and candies, who had time for pie?

Tomatoes in January??? you ask. Yes, during the summer when we have tomatoes coming out of our ears and we just can't eat 'em all, I core and freeze 'em.  It's too hot to heat up my kitchen to can.  Then, when it is cold outside and the added heat from the stove is welcomed, I defrost the tomatoes (now a bag of tomato water and mushy, deflated tomatoes).  When they are still a little icy, I peel 'em.  The skins just fall right off! I currently have enough salsa for Gil til the summer. I think.  That man eats some salsa!  So today, I simply stewed and pureed them for spaghetti sauce, veggie beef soup, and whatever else I need sauce for.  I hope I never have to buy another can of tomatoes or sauce EVER.  I would love to move more toward self-sufficiency.  Is this a resolution for 2012?  We'll see then, I guess. . .

Monday, January 24, 2011

Making do. . .

My DH, Gil is a hard working man.  However, he works in an industry that depends on good weather and high demand in the local lumber mills. Well, it is the wet season. Here in the south we don't have snow, we have "wet" in winter and "dry" in the summer. That means since there is little-to-no money coming in, we have decided that we will be, as my 96-ish year old Grandma would say, "making do."  We have opted for a spending moratorium for anything unnecessary-no trips to Wally World, Kroger, Staples, garage sales, well you get the point.  As if that weren't un-American enough, we have taken it one step further effective Wednesday--no satellite service for 2 months!! Little Man wasn't happy (and I have to say, it was kinda painful for me to make the call!).  I know, however, this is temporary and what the heck-probably gonna be good for us to get back to being a family, not just people congregating around the boob tube for the latest round of reality TV/hunting/cooking/home improvement shows. (Truth be told, I kinda have been wondering what no TV would be like-shhh-don't tell Gil or Little Man they would think I'm nuts!!)  You know what-God promises that if we are good stewards over little, He would make us stewards over much.  But before that, we must put our trust in Him to provide what we NEED, not necessarily what we WANT.  So, Heavenly Father, I am trusting in you to provide my needs. . .

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm cold. . .

I love being southern because of warm weather! There are other things, but when the mercury approaches freezing, so does my brain.  I can't think straight, I just want to be warm right now.  It is now 32 degrees-I know it's not cold for some regions of the great USA, but I'm almost a popsicle!   AND The Weather Channel just HAD to rub it in my face that Hawaii was reaching a high in the 80s today. (Did I mention I'm cold?)  Ok, so I'm whining right now-(suck it up and put your big girl panties on, Marla!)
I did have a brief moment of warm goodness today while baking a batch of snickerdoodles for Little Man and Gil.  Baking makes me happy. Here's to baking and warm thoughts. . .

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cuttin through the chaos. . .

Today was the day...I was FINALLY going to cut through the chaos that is my life.  Ya see, I like to think I have it all together until I take a step back and realize that I DID have it together for a little while after we got married (15 years ago! Boy, talk about living in the past).  But that was before--before nursing school, before Little Man, before this life I have now.
ANYWAY. . .
I did it! I tackled the utility/laundry/pantry.  I had very little room to even walk in there-much less get anything done. Most days, the door wouldn't even shut.  If the door did shut, I couldn't THINK about opening the pantry without a major rearranging dance (laundry detergent, broom, a basket of things to put away/give away/return to their proper owner, dirty clothes, clean--well, you get the picture)  Speaking of pictures, I didn't take any "befores"-no self-respecting (=prideful-oh no! not the P word) southern woman would do such a thing!
I tossed a ton of plastic bags (another P word!) into my car for a quick trip to the recycler, Hubs (Gil) brought a laundry sorter to the metal recyclers, hangers that will go to a local thrift shop and wait for it. . .I tossed dried roses Gil sent me for my 10 year wedding anniversary (it's been 15, remember).  I had grandiose dreams of turning that into a "Martha Stewart"-esque wreath to hang in my living room.  I gave up the dream today :(
When it was all said and done, my utility room is one I can now walk in, open the pantry without pain, and I even made enough room for the trash can!! And I even took pics (will post later). Victory!  What will I tackle tomorrow?  Who knows, I don't have a plan for cleaning my house, I'm too busy living in the Nirvana in my mind!

Monday, January 17, 2011

11 things in 2011. . .

Here I sit with a nice cup of Community (that's coffee for those not in Louisiana ), pondering the new year.  (Yes, I realize January is 1/2 way over with).  I like to take my time to think about my life and how to improve it. In the spirit of 2011, I think I've finally narrowed the list down.  It would take way more than 11 things to get me where I want to be. So, here they are:
1.  Make one healthy change per week.
2.  Scrapbook (or sew) one day each month.
3.  Plan my family's menu (and actually cook it!).
4.  Try something new each month. (January=blog=check!)
5.  Read the Bible more.
6.  Make a budget (and actually stick to it!).
7.  Submit to Hubs and be a helper to him (VERY difficult for a hard head like me).
8.  Show love to others more and serve when/where needed.
9.  Early to bed, early to rise!
10. Be "all in".
11. Finish what I start.


and my word of the year:  STEWARDSHIP.  I have heard that word a lot in church, but have never really tried to incorporate in anything other than my tithe.  This year I want to focus on being a good steward of money, time, resources, and other blessings such as family and relationships (these are the best commodities to take care of).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Visual noise...

I love homeschooling my son, however, we have issues- like visual noise.  What is visual noise? It's trying to concentrate on how he is spelling his words while he's flailing about like a fish out of water!! I can't hear him, because he is so distracting visually.  He has always done this-even reviewing spelling words in public school. So, please baby, Shhh-quiten down the visual noise!