Life

In Sickness and in Health

IMG_6888We recently returned from a wonderful, relaxing vacation in Mexico. Nine days, just the two of us, relaxing, laying in the sunshine, enjoying the beauty, margaritas and each other. It was exactly what we both needed!

The waters around the resort were all marine preserve and kayaking or stand up paddle board, snorkeling, boating were unbelieveable. Shells, colors, sea life, birds, sunshine. Ahhh….beauty upon beauty.

Upon return to our home, we were aglow with the tan, the relaxed and renewed spirit and heart. Then, the fever settled in. The body aches and migraine. Then Tim came home with the same symptoms. We must have gotten in to something together. Indeed. A mosquito.

Dengue fever is rather common, but not well-known in these parts. And not recommended! After 7 days of fever, migraines, debilitating body aches, we found out about the rash. Head to toe rash. Drive-you-crazy-can’t-itch-don’t-touch-me rash. That lasted about 3-4 days. Then there is the blood issues – low platelets that put you at risk of illness (more illness? have mercy).

Needless to say, after two weeks of the fever, rash, pain, tiredness, uneasiness and follow-up symptoms, we have fully tested the “in sickness and in health” idea of marriage. I adore my honey and overall we did pretty well. There is a little symptom in the list called “irritability” – yeah, we tasted that just a little, but for the most part, we are so grateful to be feeling better and on our way back to work!

If I have to be down with someone, I’m so glad it was you babe!

Life

The Key to a Better Selfie

takecareI am really bad at taking a “selfie”. I usually end up with some haunting version of a nostril or looking like those creepy dog images where their nose or eyes are amplified to distortion. You know the ones.

And in life, it turns out I do the same thing to myself. In my effort to be the best, I end up distorting everything. Let me explain what I mean.

I’m a middle manager, a wife, a mom of young adult children, a daughter of aging parents. I focus on everyone else a lot of the time. And then when I’m ready to focus on me, I get selfish and demanding. I’m tired and a little self-righteous and want to be heard. But the pictures are not flattering. They are distorted by my exhausted self.

These are exactly the times when I have stopped exercising and find it hard to keep a balance in life. I don’t enjoy things, I am just doing.all.the.time.

I know that when I don’t take care of myself, I am really in no position to give meaningfully to others. Then I am on campaigns of giving and pouring out until I am desperate in my soul. I struggle to keep balance and that ultimately hurts everyone that I think I’m helping. My boss, my husband, my kids. And then in this state, I glorify overworking and distort the view of everything.

A friend quoted her grandmother to me the other day. “Don’t forget…take care of the one in front of the guy behind and the behind the guy in front.” It’s not selfish, it’s not wrong. It’s the key to a much, much better “selfie”.

Life

Bold Enough for All That 2012 Will Bring

Twenty- twelve. I am so excited for this new year. Not in a “can’t wait to leave the old” way, although truth be told, there are parts of last year best in the past. No, I look forward to this year with a giddy excitement for the possibilities that lie ahead, the people I may meet, places I may see and the thrill of seeing where my grown children may go.

Something about a new start energizes me to look at everything in a fresh way. I’ve selected the new supplies for my office, joined a home organizing challenge, and outlined my annual improve our family health plan. But this year promises horizons we’ve not travelled.

Our youngest is applying for college and we embark on our twenty-fifth year of marriage, more in love than ever. Life is good and we have been blessed. There are dreams swirling in our minds and prayers gurgling in our hearts. God give us safety and guide our kids. Help us be a blessing and to know your path for our lives.

Twenty-twelve, I can’t wait to see what you hold. I’m ready and I am bold enough to take everything you have to offer! Happy New Year. May it be full of peace, life, hope, strength and contentment for you my friends. Talk to you in 2012, Sally

Life, Parenting

A few of my favorite things

It’s December! There is something about this time of year that makes me just plain happy. Everything about this season holds a bit of hope, thrill and delight to me. Sure, I’m a grown woman with grown children, but you’re never too old to believe. These are some of my favorite things:

1. I adore my family. They are my favorite company, friends and fans of Elf, sappy Hallmark movies and treats.

2. I am so grateful for my job. I get to represent an amazing organization that takes care of kids. And part of my job is getting to receive blessing after blessing from our community for the kids. It is moving to see the goodness and kindness of others!

3. I love, love Christmas music. Oh Holy Night is my all time fav. I remember as a kid caroling through the neighborhood with my siblings. Not sure if we sounded good, but we were convinced we were making others merry! For the life of me, I still don’t know what “figgy pudding” is. Pretty sure It’s NOT on my favorite list.

4. I love my neighbors! I’m so blessed to have the greatest family behind us. Their little three year old came in and saw our tree. She picked an ornament off the tree and asked, “can I borrow this?”. That kid could have my kidney if she asked. Absolute innocence and joy makes me smile.

What do you like about this time of year?

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Life, Parenting

Hunt & Gather – Musing About Black Friday Shoppers

It’s Thanksgiving. Well, technically it is the wee hours of the morning after Thanksgiving. I’m giggling silly in the aisles of Target and it is nearing 4 am. I’m not quite to the can’t-stop-giggling-no-way-in-hell-I’m-losing-my-place-in-line-to-run-to-the-bathroom stage, but given enough time, I could get there easily.

Snaking our way through the rest of the questionably sane humanity trying to save five bucks by waiting in line for hours, we have opened our box of pop tarts and are snacking. Three nearly grown kids and I are really buying stuff that is not such a great deal, but I refuse to do this and come back without a kill!

I ponder this ritual and can only assume it’s some primal connection to our prehistoric instinct to “hunt and gather”. As I observe, there are a few distinct types of post-Thanksgiving meal shoppers that emerge.

1. The Trophy Hunter – armed with lists, coupons and exact strategy to each stop, this shopper easily maneuvers the crowds with their eye on specific targets. The big prize. They know what they are after and with laser like focus remain fixed on the best kill. Be cautioned, trampling, shoving and camping may be involved.

2. The “If It Moves Shoot It” Hunter – driven merely by the idea of life-changing savings, this shopper wanders the aisles, flitting from end cap to end cap and throwing anything with a red sticker or sign into their cart. They are typically the ones that clip your heels with their cart as they drive without watching the road.

3. The Socialite – content with the “let’s bond with fourteen thousand of our closest friends” concept, these are the shoppers who try on every hat, cluelessly block the aisles to stop and visit with Susie from the gym and blissfully wander in their bubble, sharing gossip and Starbucks with their fellow warriors.

4. And finally, The Hunter Becomes the Hunted – seriously, at 1:30 in the morning with dozens of people in line, you choose now to do a return? Enough said.

So to all you successful shoppers out there, here’s to your finds and the good times on gathering them!

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Life

In Sickness and In Health

Today as I deplaned from over ten hours of airport travel at my final destination, I saw something so simple, but so beautiful, it almost made me cry.

A man in his fifties, maybe early sixties, bent down and kissed his wife tenderly on the cheek and then began pushing her in an airport issued wheelchair. The kind smile on his face and gentle touch said he was with the love of his life and proud of it. I imagined my sweet hubby and I in that position. He would be the same caring man that would love me no matter what. He is like that and I am so blessed.

I know that because the last couple of years tested us. I am proud to say we stood and are closer than ever. Hubby’s father became sick and was hospitalized for weeks that turned into months and on the eve of his discharge to rehab, he suffered a fall and passed the next morning. His family came and went through our home before, during, after. For weeks, we were the harbor for his entire family during one of their most painful times. We all grieved the loss. My own mother toyed a little closely with that this year as well. Weeks and weeks of uncertainty about the ones we love is heart wrenching at best; emotionally, physically and relationally taxing.

Add to this mix concerns for our own children, two totaled cars after accidents, stress and cuts and change at both of our jobs and the addition of the unknown for my health….it was nearly more than we could take. In many ways, it forced us to refocus on what was important. To simplify our focus was a survival tactic and it was all we could do to cope.

During the time, I was told that I may have MS. A scan of my brain had many white spots that indicate a degenerative disease and I would need to see a specialist. Problem was….it took nearly six months to see him and in the meantime the nagging thought of being a patient for my hubby to care for ate away at me….at him. It was the unspoken conversation in the glances. The fear hanging in the spaces of our conversations. I was scared and tried to be brave. I acted strong and felt as weak as I ever had. Worry ate at my heart. I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to hold him back.

When we finally saw the specialist he told us I do have a lot of spots on my brain, many more than normal, but no other symptoms of MS. End of story. I wish I could tell you that I don’t think about it, but I would be lying. What am I supposed to look for? Do I come back? I bravely push those thoughts away and avoid them. Until today…they flooded over me again. But this time, a sweet peace settled just behind those thoughts. IF that ever were the case, my hubby would have leaned in to kiss me and treated me with dignity and kindness like this stranger. I am blessed indeed.