Long Days and Nights

Today is January 2, 2015 and it already feels like it should be later in the year.  I certainly doesn’t feel like only 2 days into a new one.  I wrote this letter to a couple very very good friends of mine at  LifeChurch in Oklahoma asking for prayer.  I am going to paste it here because I don’t want to retype it….too tired tonight.

Dear Friends
Don’t know if you are here the rest of this holiday week or will be back the 6th when Austin gets back.  I sent this email to him as well.  I wrote this in regards to the difficulties I am having with my 11 year old Katey. She has ADHD and it’s going through a lot of non constructive behaviors.  She had a change in medication , I think about 3-4 weeks ago and I think that it is making her more angry and aggressive.  She is threatening me, like throwing stuffed animals and barbies, etc. but it’s just getting worse for her even after we decided to change schools. I wanted you to help me pray for guidance and making good decisions in what the next step should be. I need some added support from my trusted long time support folks at LC.  I really don’t know what to do next.  Her mental health social worker will be coing tomorrow to spend some time with us and we will be talking about options and things that may help or not.  
Well since that phone call, I have gotten other news. Today my mom called me very early this morning. Oh the rollercoaster of emotion today. Overwhelmed to say the least. Need strong, bold, healing prayers for my nephew, Jesse, who was airlifted Mercy Hospital in Mason City early this morning. He has a long road of healing ahead of him. 
He was asleep on his girlfriend’s couch and woke up to her punching him in the face.  I have no clue what that was about.  He got very angry and left. He was also very drunk. One of his buddies was going to drive him out to my mom’s, but he was ticked and left anyway. Mason, his friend, tried and tried to get in front of him in his truck to get him slow down. But Jesse would keep passing him. Jesse was eventually going about 80 mph my mom said. He was just past my brother’s place (his dad) and just before Chelsea’s place (step-sister), when he hit s very deep embankment and then hit a pole just before the bridge at the beginning of the Deer Creek bridge. He was not wearing his seatbelt…then ejected sideways out of the driver’s side window of his truck. Mason was still with him. He couldn’t find him at first because Jesse was ejected from the truck. He called 911. The Northwood first responders came and then called the Mercy Life Flight to get him to Mercy Hospital in Mason City Iowa as soon they could. 
He has a severe flap/cut on his head all the way to his skull…about 200 stitches and staples, where his head hit the glass going through the door window. He broke his nose and has stitches across that as well. Gashes on his cheek and forehead that required stitches too.  He smashed his optical bones in his left eye but his eye is ok and intact.  He broke a bunch of ribs resulting in getting his lung punctured and totally deflated. He has a tube in it right now as it is still not doing what it is supposed to be doing. He broke 4 of those little tree like structures that come out of the main vertebrae, I believe they cover or protect the nerves. They are cracked and broken and the doctors don’t believe that they can be fixed. Jesse also broke his pelvis. Contusions on the bones in his legs. Lots of road rash. 
He will be in intensive care for awhile until they can get his lung to function again and his blood pressure to stabilize. My mom will be staying there with my brother, Jerry (Jesse’s dad).
—There was a praise in all this today too.  My niece Amanda, my brother’s daughter, has been estranged from all our family (by her choice) for the past 4-5 years.)  She has gotten married and none of our family went to the wedding.  But today…Amanda came right down to the hospital at 5am…right to Jesse’s side.  She didn’t want to leave him.  When Jerry and my mom came in, she gave my brother (her dad) and my mom (grammy) the biggest hugs and there were many many tears of  JOY!!!  (My One Word for 2015)  When my mom called to give me one last update this evening, mom asked Amanda if she would talk to me for a few minutes.  So I talked with her.  I cried.  I told her how much I have missed her.  I asked her about her job.  I asked how her new marriage was going.  I also asked if we could  get together and talk some more. We have another Christmas party down in Iowa this coming Saturday.  We are going to cut that visit short so we can head to Mason City to see Jesse.  Then we will travel back through my hometown of Northwood to stop at the restaurant to visit Amanda for a few.  I can’t wait to hug that girl!! 
I won’t be going down any sooner unless things get worse. I have way to much on my plate with Katey at the moment. Lots of things and decisions that need to be made soon. Her mental health social worker will be here tomorrow and we will be talking about what the next step will be. I do know she will be going through more testing and functioning skills also. 
So much stuff. I’m a tad overwhelmed and feeling a lot of body pain from my autoimmune disorders. My immune cells are fighting with each other and have landed in my voice box.  So I sound really funny with a crackly voice.  I will need to find some doctor to take do some extensive testing to figure out what autoimmune stuff is going on.
Thank you for praying for my family and me  We love you and thank you for taking the time to be there for for us.
Blessings.
If those of you that follow my blog are of the praying type…please keep Jesse and the rest of my family in your prayers.  Jesse has a long healing road ahead of him.  I got a call from my mom and he is still in ICU, his lung is still collapsed and the tube is still in place.  He is bruising really bad.  He is in tons of pain.  When the nursing staff moves him just a little he cries out in extreme pain.  He needs all the prayers he can get.  My brother does too.  His heart is breaking.  Thank you, my friends.
No sleep last night. I’ve been awake since the day before yesterday. I hope to get some sleep soon.  I have taken my night medicine and should be getting to bed soon.
I hope your new year is off to a good start.
Blessings and peace,
Jerry (L) and Jesse (R)

Jerry (L) and Jesse (R)

small things, Big Difference – One Word 2015

I do not like resolutions and or huge goals….why? Because I feel like I will fail before I even start. So, while listening to Pastor Craig Groeschel speak in this video “small things, Big Difference”, I have learned that I need to figure out “what do I want most over what I want now?” (good question, eh?) 1 Cor 9:24-27 (go read it), we are running to WIN!!! *the Eternal Prize*.  We need to run with purpose. So….What do YOU want most??? YOU! Yes YOU!!

  1. One Word: Small beginnings
  2. My One Discipline: thoughts, think on these things. A sentence, Bible verse(s), something to help you remember your ONE WORD
  3. Build others up: Use Godly words. The power of God’s disciple, being faithful in the small things. Seeing the small things that maybe no one else sees. Power verses to remind you of God’s work in you.

Seek small things
Seek discipline
Seek God for One Disciple
Use that forward momentum
Have an impact in this world!!!

2015:

My one word for this coming year is JOY.

The reason I chose this word is because in 2014, I hadn’t felt much joy.  I had a very hard time finding much joy.  It wasn’t that I was sad all the time, I just didn’t feel content.  My head was constantly going with all the things I thought I “had” to do.  In the meantime, I had numerous people ask me, “what brings you joy, Julie?” After thinking on this question for quite some time, I couldn’t even come up with a list on one hand. Then I did some praying and meditation, JOY was the first word that popped into my head. I will be working hard incorporating more joy into my life, in all areas: relationships (family, friends, professional contacts, etc), college, and my college work, volunteering, writing, looking for work, and my adventure in locating new housing.  I will attempt to find joy in just about anything and anyone I come into contact with.  I have my small notebook ready to go.

My power verses:    I want to memorize these.

Psalm 98:4 (NIRV) Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth. Burst into joyful songs and make music.
Philippians 4:4 (NIRV) Always be joyful because you belong to the Lord. I will say it again. Be joyful.
Psalm 86:4 (NIRV) Bring joy to me. Lord, I worship you.
John 15:11 (NIRV) I have told you this so that my joy will be in you. I also want your joy to be complete.
Psalm 94:19 (NIRV) I was very worried. But your comfort brought joy to my heart.
2 Timothy 1:4 (NIRV) I remember your tears. I long to see you so that I can be filled with joy.

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Cloud 1

My One Word

I have been hearing or rather reading a lot of blogs and from friends about this “what is one word for the year” thing.  Never thought about that before.  Nor have I ever done it.  I think this is mostly because I haven’t taken the time to just sit down and think about how I want to be this year (or last year or the year before…you get it).  I just lived.  Or on some days, not much live.  I existed.  But NOW, I live.  Because I want to, not because I feel like I have to.  If that makes sense to you.  Anyone dealing with any kind of chronic pain, mental illness, or any other illness for that matter, has probably felt this at one time or another.  And so…….

My one word for this year is persistence.

I’m notoriously non-committal when it comes to “inspirational” stuff like this. I hear about a concept that I like and jump on board, but then my interest wanes or, more commonly, I end up unsure if I’m really on the right track. Either way, I can usually be counted on to give it a few weeks and then move on to something else.

Not with this whole one-word-for-the-year thing.

I’m not big on setting resolutions , see my previous post. I think it’s because resolutions tend to be things that I feel I should do (or shouldn’t do, in some cases).  The coulda, woulda, shoulda thing is really not a useful way to get motivated. But, I’ve figured out that I’m all over putting something out there and being open to seeing what comes of it.

I want to get through (have persistence) – getting this stuff with K figured out and how to help her with what is REALLY going on with her, the opportunities that come up with Minnesota Reading Corps (recruitment and leadership), my writing here. I want to get to know our new(ish) community better – it’s lovely and pretty and so close to so many things I want to dip my figurative toe into. I want to find my running spirit in this new, snow-filled (or extremely humid filled summer) environment. I want to be more active — nearby and possibly farther away — and I want to spend more time outside on all the trails that surround this town and down by the river.  I want the confidence in knowing that I can make it through whatever life is going to throw at me this year.

I want to continue to keep in touch with dear friends from years ago and now:  friends I have met through camp, school, college, lifechurch.tv  and find new ways to connect with them on a regular basis, because they lift me up. They were sent into my life for a reason and I’m not going to let geography push them out of it.  Also want to be persistent in becoming more aware of the people in my community and my church.  I need to get to know the people around me.

I also want to figure out my relationship with K. I written about some struggles with her  but I’m still struggling and the voice in my head is whispering that if I don’t do something about it I could become irreparably disconnected from my little (not so little 9 year old) girl.

So there you have it, my word for 2013 – persistence.  Enjoy your journey as well in 2013. ♥Julie

Start off the New Year

I want to start off this new year with a link to Chris Sprad’s blog…..Epic Parent.tv .  Today they have something awesome that I think needs to be shared with every parent out there (and not parents too….every person).  So…. here it is:

2013 WILL NOT BE “YOUR YEAR”

Published on January 1, 2013, by  – Posted in HOME0

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If your house looks like ours then chances are you have a fridge full of leftover holiday goodies, hopefully some of them are wrapped in bacon.

But now that it’s a New Year your going to throw it all away and eat healthy.

You may have wrapping paper lurking in the corners of your living room and no idea where to put the influx of new toys from Christmas.

But it’s a New Year now and it’s the year that you will finally tackle the organizing projects you’ve been pinning!

Maybe you’re yelling at your kids more than you should be or you have some parenting questions that need to be answered.

But it’s okay because you downloaded 4 new parenting books and mommy devotionals to your new Kindle fire so you will be a perfect parent by March, probably sooner.

Ahhh… New Years Day, the one day of the year where perfection seems downright possible.

When we let ourselves get carried away by good, probably even Godly goals and buy new exercise clothes, diet shakes and a few dozen books all in an attempt to have this be “the year.”

I hope that this is your year, the year where it all seems to click for you.  Yet I have to warn you that we tend to dream big and criticize even bigger.  Odds are that next year you’ll find yourself in the same boat until you internalize the reality that life is a journey, there will always be steps to take as long as you’re sucking air.

There is no “there” and there is no “the year.”  There are no people who “have it all together.”  Every person has their issues and every year will bring with it new challenges and painful times.

The best thing that we can possibly do is to try to close the gap between where we are now and where we feel like God’s calling us to be.

Realize that there will not be a year when “you’ve arrived” so all you can do is listen for God’s voice and move in that direction.

This is pretty much the plan until you die or until that weird noise you’re hearing outside the window is actually the rapture and not your toddler sticking chalk in the bubble machine you just bought them.

Have grace, be more the person God created you to be, repeat, this is the best resolution any of us can possibly make.

My 2012 in Review

This is my 2012 in review…..quoting a few from old posts:

january_3499c

In January, I moved to Woodbury, MN.  I was living my good friend, Robin, in her townhouse.  I started looking for jobs and looking and looking and looking……..

“I am trying to get everything connected….get myself organized and in sync with all that is going on here.  Being in a new place is sometimes very unnerving for me.  I guess just about every time I have moved, my anxiety has gotten to me.  You know being spiritual, I try to connect to God at least every morning when I get up.  I say thank you God.  Thank you God.  Just Thanks.   Not much more than that in the beginning of my day.  But i know there is more for connection than that.”

“Been also trying to get in with weight loss clinic up here so they can help me keep tabs on how my surgery and weight loss is going.  I hit weight loss of 75 pounds this past week.  SOOOO HAPPY!!  woohoo.  Can’t believe I have lost 75 pounds already.  Still working on more.”

Started therapy with Adam.

february

“This past week I have been struggling with a fear of eating.  I think most of it revolves around control.  I know the things I need to do, but the fear of gaining what I have already lost is very scary to me.  Before I left Iowa, I had a handle on knowing my numbers, my blood levels and felt generally pretty well.  Since coming to MN, I feel outta control.  I don’t have a grasp on my numbers yet.  I know I have lost some since being here.  But as far as blood levels and such….not so much.”

march-type

“A new chapter has started in my life.  Moving to Minnesota is the beginning of this new journey.  But I still don’t know if I am in the right place or the right time.  If that makes sense.  I have become to feel more comfortable in my skin yet, there are so many who are doubtful and questioning why I am doing what I am doing and how come, etc.  It seems so difficult for some people to understand why I am making the choices I am.  I feel it is right for me.  At this moment in time.  I have been called bull headed, stubborn and gonna do whatever I want no matter what anyone says.  Been un-friended on Facebook by a few this past week cuz I stood up for myself and what I believe in.”

Started going to the YMCA!!!

K spent all spring break with me!!

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“1.  Love more – I need to love more….not pass judgement to fast.  I need to get out more and do the things that make me feel good.  I need to remember to tell the people that I really care about, that I love them….all the time….not just when it’s convenient.”

SOUL DETOX   is the topic at LifeChurch.tv.  Whew….great series.

its-may

Started classes at Argosy University-Twin Cities.  (Eagan MN)  Good but strange to be back in classes again.

At the end of the month K came home to live with me.  What a joyous occasion.  She is finally home after 2 1/2 years.

Going the extra mile is tough because it means stretching further after you’ve already stretched. It means giving more even after you’ve already given. The first part is like, “Oh, this is my Christian duty.” But the second part, the “above and beyond” part, is purely out of the kindness of your heart.”

june

I moved to Hastings MN!!

“I have learned that life is about choices.  So many, that I have lost count.  Choosing the make the best choice you can is sometimes really difficult….at least sometimes it is for me.  I have been trying to teach K about making good choices.  Being 8 years old, it’s really hard for her to make good ones, most days.  Then there are some days she makes the absolute best choices ever and has a superb day.  Those days we celebrate.  On the others, we still celebrate the good choices she has made but talk about the others that could have been better.  We talk about what other things she could have done instead.  I hope this is helping her to know that good choices lead to good feelings and good things.”

Dealt with some old friends who “unfriended” me on FB….which is ok, I guesss.  Still hurt because we had been friends for over 20 years.  It’s about choices.  It’s about standing up for what I believe in too.

K got her tonsils out June 25, 2012.  She did great.  The after it, healing…..oh …well…oy oy oy!!!

july

My brother is running for sheriff of Worth county in Iowa.  So K and I went to many parades and helped him out.  We looked awesome in our bright yellow shirts.

More job hunting…..and more and more and more

There was a big tragedy in my hometown where kids died and some hospitalized.  They were K’s age and a little older.  Sad day for Northwood.

Still figuring out how to pay for college, but still taking classes anyways.  LOL

August

Started off this month reading a blog by Chris Sprad, Epic Parent!!  What a cool dude!!  Has awesome parenting ideas and a good Christian way of looking at parenthood.

Got word that I am now I was hired with Minnesota Reading Corps .  This is part of the AmeriCorps “company”.  I don’t what to call it.  LOL

Weight loss surgiversary = Aug 11, 2012

total weight loss to date 102 pounds!!

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K turns 9 years old!!  OMG I feel old.  We had a party at the park by the pool.  Invited friends….had a photo booth, mustaches galore.  Cake and punch and so much fun!!

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K also started school at Kennedy Elementary School here in Hastings.  3rd Grade…..she sure struggled a lot those first few days.  Her teacher is Mrs. Harris.  She is truly an awesome teacher/friend.

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Started this month by going to Nesbitt’s Pumpkin Patch and Farm.  What a fun time…..jumping on hay bales…..running through the grass…..driving little pedal tractors.  LOL

Learning the single parenting is harder and harder.  K and I butt heads often.  I try so hard to read and talk and listen to friends and family and professionals to try to figure out how to help her become more comfortable here.  It’s still a huge adjustment for her here…..and for me.

Tutoring kids at school – K to 3rd is amazing.  I love my work!!!

Halloween at school was a hoot.  K and I both had pink hair.  Both in ponytails….both of us just goofy.

halloween 2012

month-of-november-turkey

I did a month of giving thanks.  It was hard for me to keep up, but I did do it.

I had a lot of writing about stress….holiday time is my stress.  Everything leads up to expectations and what not.  But….made it through Thanksgiving, Black Friday and slid right into December.

december-month-snowmen

It’s still December, but it has overall been a good year for me.  My BIGGEST blessing this year has been my daughter coming home.  It’s been a lot of stress, but sooo much LOVE.

Spent a week being sick…..down and ugly sick.  Missed my kids at school terribly.  They missed me too.  It has been a short month for school.

Been having K in for testing at the Center for Attention, Learning, and Memory.  Trying to figure out how to help her better.  She has a type of ADHD, but trying to figure out what type and which treatment will work best for her.

Christmas at mom’s was great.  ALL of us in one house for the first time since my dad passed away (12 years ago).  They finally put on their big kid panties and dealt with it and let my mom have a wonderful Christmas.  I don’t think I have seen her smile so much in years.

Another weight loss update: to date 110 pounds:

110poundslighter 12 2012

And with that…..

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Life and more

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
― Rumi

Me in the purple is the day of surgery 8.11.11

Me in the red is today 1.18.12

75 pound weight loss thus far

I finally got a picture to compare the beginning of my weight loss journey.  I can’t believe it’s only 5 months out and I have lost 75 pounds.  It’s been rough at times and easier at others.  But I wouldn’t change a thing.  Except maybe the puking part  LOL

Since moving to Woodbury, I have been trying to get things started again.  My diet, exercise, college (possibly), work, therapy, etc etc.  It seems like such a slow process at times.  I have some apps in for work, talked to a dude at Argosy about college work, and started with a new therapist today.  His name is Adam Chase.  He is really a nice man.  He seems very knowledgeable and insightful.  I was able to tell him about the situation with K and some of my history.  He is interested in helping me get K back home.  As I talked to him, I realize that I have been “sick” for nearly 60% of my life.  All I have known seems to be depression and anxiety and “craziness”.  For the past 2 year tho, I have come out of the fog of crap and lived a fairly good life.  I have not been hospitalized for nearly 2 years for anything due to mental health reasons.  Yeah, I have been in therapy, but it has been very helpful and I have learned so much about myself and life and choices and so much more.  My life has been about some horrible choices I have made.  But it’s how I decided to cope with everything around me.  I realize that sometimes it was just a plain ol’ cope out on my part.  But I am LIVING today.  I see things more clearly.  I have chosen to be better.  Do better.  Live better.  There are still some people in my life that see me as “sick Julie”, but I am not sick.  I am not what I used to be.  My thinking is clearer, my decisions are mostly better.  Yeah, I still make some pretty stupid mistakes somedays, but we all do.  Live and learn.

There are many of my friends who talk about setting goals for 2012.  I haven’t thought much about it because I hate setting them for fear of never attaining them.  So, failure is still something I am not comfortable with.  I haven’t decided whether or not I will still set out a few goals for myself this year or not.  I know it’s past the middle of January….where the heck has time gone already?

So….goals.  Hmmmmm.  I don’t want to say they are so much as goals as things I want to do this year.

1. Continue to lose weight to reach my goal of between 150-160 pounds

2. Continue and improve my exercise routine

3.  Keep on working on bettering myself and getting K home with me.

4.  Work on my relationships with my friends and family and make them better and healthier

5.  Be content

6. Continue to work on my faith and spirituality

So there ya go.  A few thoughts anyways.  I hope things continue to go as well as they have.  I don’t want to sound conceited or anything.  I just don’t wanna dive back into the old.  Life is good.

“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.”
― Rumi

January 3, 2012….It’s a new year!!

Ok…so I am a little late in saying Happy New Year!!

It’s the 3rd and I am all up in my new place.  It’s going ok.  Still unpacking stuff and trying to organize my room.  Robin took me for a little drive and showed me around town some.  There are some major roads and stuff that I am trying to remember.  I know I will get lost.  But, I will figure it out….

Been trying to switch phone companies yesterday and today.  Equifax needs me to update my phone number from when I had a fraud report done (6 years ago).  Guess the hold on my credit is still there.  Sucks when you have identity theft and it stays there for 7 years or so.  ugh.  oh well.  I need to make a copy of my SS card and then fax that and this paper from the website to their department.  so, oh the joys of moving and getting situated.