Saturday, March 3, 2018

Standing Still or Still Standing?

     I have several friends who are starting new jobs...some are starting entire new careers.  I have other friends who are going back to school.  I watch them and am amazed at their courage to start something new.  Meanwhile, I have been with the same company for 25 years.  Right now, my job gives me the flexibility that I need as a parent and a caretaker.  I am able to come home if there is an emergency.  I am able to take Delainey where she needs to be for school activities.   As for school, I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, so I don't even know where I would start.

     I have several friends who have been on a journey to better health...losing weight, working out, and eating better.  I am so very proud of them.  It takes hard work, dedication, and effort to do that.  Meanwhile, I am carrying the same weight that I have for years and have sore achy muscles on a regular basis.  Most days I am just happy that we are not eating fast food.  Meal planning takes time, but I know that it saves time (and money) in the long run.  Finding the time to do these things will make life easier for all of us...and it will make me a happier person.  But right now, I struggle to find the time to do the simple things in life, let alone plan things.

     I have some close friends how have been deepening their faith through Bible study groups, planning mission trips, and new fellowship with others.  I love seeing God work in the lives of my friends.  I on the other hand, am struggling.  I am still strong in my faith in God, but I don't feel that connection that I have had in the past.  Again, this is a matter of making the time...time to read my Bible and devotional, time to meet with others who will encourage me in my journey.

     The reality of my life right now is not what I had planned.  I don't think that anyone plans to stand still.  I think that the goal is always to just keep swimming like Dory tells us.  I want to always reach for something new, something to improve myself and my family, something to make me a better person.  I don't like standing still...I feel like I am on pause.  But maybe, just maybe, I need to celebrate that fact that with all the things going on around me, I am still standing.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Wonder Woman

     Friday at work was Super Hero Day.  We got to ditch our normal dress code of khaki pants and navy shirts in favor of super hero tees and blue jeans.  Most of us jump at the chance to wear something different, so lots of super hero shirts were around the store.  I have exactly one super hero shirt and it was bought specifically for the day.  As I wore my Wonder Woman tee, I felt the exact opposite.  I have had a rough couple of days.  I let some small things get to me and I probably over reacted to the big things that happened.  Luckily, I have some great people in my life who reminded me of several things.

     The first thing that I reminded myself is that I can only control my actions.  I cannot make others say please or thank you.  I can't change years of habits in others.  I can walk away when I am frustrated.  I can call others who know what I am going through.  I can take some time and pray before I respond.   I can count to ten before I say anything.  I can respond with kindness...even when I don't want to be kind.

     The second thing that I was reminded of is that I am not alone.  I have Jim with me every step of the way.  He understands what I am experiencing right now.  I have friends that are walking similar roads to mine.  They are here for me when I need to talk.  I have resources when things get really rough.  I have God with me always...even when I fell completely alone and have no words to us, He is holding me.

     The third thing that I was reminded of was my magic word...BALANCE.  I need to remember that there are good times along with the bad.  I need to make sure that along with the needs of everyone else in my life, I take care of myself as well.  I need to sometimes put myself first, find my quiet time, the time that allows me to be me.  And the thing with balance is that sometimes others come first...but my time is there as well.

     The last thing that I was reminded of is that I am not Wonder Woman.  She is a fictional character who has super powers and a cool invisible airplane (at least old school WW did, I haven't seen that new movie yet).  I am not perfect.  I need to stop berating myself for not being perfect.  I need to set clear boundaries in my life.  I need to continue to make healthy choice for my whole family.  I need to ease up on myself.

     I am no Wonder Woman...and that's okay with me.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

What's going on?

     Three years ago, Jim's parents made the decision to sell their house and move in with us.  We were all looking forward to it, but we knew that there would be struggles.  I know how had it is to leave the familiar behind and go to something new.  Honestly, Jim and I thought that his dad would struggle the most, but it was his mom who missed Indianapolis and being on her own.  After just a few months, they moved back to Indy. They found an apartment and seemed to enjoy being there.

     Last summer, we started noticing things weren't quite right.  Jim's mom used to be an amazing cook.  She was struggling to make the simplest meals.  Her home was always eat off the floor spotless.  The apartment wasn't being kept up as well any more.  In fairness, she is getting older and my father-in-law isn't in the best physical health.  They have always had the stereotypical marriage...he worked outside the home and she did everything else.  Kenny was able to retire and relax, Sharon still had everything else, plus a retired husband to take care of.  Jim and I started going up weekly on our days off to help out...go to the grocery store, pay the bills, fill prescriptions, doctor's appointments.  During all this, Sharon was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
     Ken and Sharon asked us to find a rental home for them near us.  Jim and I searched, but there aren't a lot of rental places in our small town.  When you factor in the things that they wanted and needed, the places to rent became smaller.  Jim and I prayed and asked them to move back in with us.  They said yes, but I know that all 5 of us had our worries about it again.  We loaded them up in December and got much as possible, because Jim and I were also searching for a new home.

     We realized the extent of his mom's illness once they moved in with us.  She doesn't wander off, but she has forgotten so many things.  She isn't able to cook any more, other than heating up a can of soup.  She doesn't remember how to use the coffee maker or microwave.  Her short term memory isn't very good any more. She sleeps a lot and doesn't like to shower.  These are all things that can be part of Alzheimer's .  Our biggest concern is that she doesn't eat.  It is a daily struggle to make sure that she has enough food to keep her body moving.  We try to give her protein shakes, but it still is struggle.  We make sure that she has things for sandwiches on hand and the breakfast bars that she enjoys, but there are still days that I have to be mean to get her to eat.

     At the end of March, Ken had a stroke.  Sharon got us up in the middle of the night because he fell out of bed.  Jim and I recognized the signs of stroke right away and called 911.  He was flown to Louisville to be seen and treated.  He spent a couple of weeks in the hospital and then was released to a nursing home for rehab.  He did really well there and on Mother's Day, came home to our new house.  He still has struggles.  His left hand doesn't work, but he is able to walk with a walker.  Mentally, he is doing great.  Physically, he is doing pretty well...I think that he has more strength than before.  And he has lost some weight.

     In between all of this, we bought a new to us home.  We moved in, with the help of some amazing friends.  Jim had carpal tunnel surgery on one hand, with the other to be done later this year.  My office job was eliminated by my company, but my boss has made sure that I have a job that fits the needs of me, my family, and my store.  The first 6 months of 2017 have been full of change.  Some good, some not so much.  We all have good days and bad days.  We pray a lot...and we ask others to keep us covered!  On the bad days, we take it hour by hour...sometimes minute by minute.  And on those days, we pray even more.

     When you see Jim or I asking for some extra prayers, those are the hard days.  We know that we will get through them, but we still struggle.  We give thanks for the good days...and even though it isn't easy, we try to be thankful for the hard days as well.  We appreciate all our family and friends who are caring for us in so many ways.  We know that we are loved and that we are being covered in prayer daily.  That's what's been going on with the Predmore family!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Closing a Chapter

     Today marked a milestone in the life of Delainey.  Delainey's last day of elementary school was today.  I didn't cry like others did...maybe next year on the first day of school I will, but for now, I am just proud of her accomplishments over the last six years.  I am truly amazed at how fast the years have flown by.  It really does seem like just yesterday she was in pig tails in her pink shirt getting ready to head off to kindergarten. Now she won't let us pick out her clothes, but she still likes us to walk her to her classroom.  She is a mix of the little girl that she has always been and teen that she is becoming.

     When I look back at the last six years, I am amazed how many teachers and support staff showed so much love to my girl.  Her teachers truly love her...they have been there for her from day one.  All of her teachers have given so much to her.  When D had a bad day at school, I know that someone at school would check on her.  It was always fun to take Delainey to school and watch her go visit her previous teachers.  They all had a hug and a kind word for her.  There were times that I would get a random message from someone at school telling me how Delainey's day was going.  I am going to miss that so much next year!

     Delainey has had so many great things happen.  Her love of music has really blossomed.  She was in hand chime choir in second grade, choir in fifth grade.  I have watched in amazement as she had boldly and bravely stood in front of a large group of people to sing a solo at a concert.  She has developed a love of reading.  She has been encouraged to read by so many at her school.  Delainey spent time in running club...she wasn't a fan, but she kept coming back until this year.  Delainey learned the basics of basketball at a basketball club...and she did pretty well for a beginner.  She loves creating art...drawing, painting, pottery.  She attended Bible club before school started.   Her talents were nurtured by her teachers.

     I am not saying that it has always been easy.  There have been friend dramas, homework battles, sickness, and scores of other things.  The good outweighs the bad though.  She has known many of her classmates since that first day of kindergarten.  Hopefully she will continue to grow friendships with those children as well as others.  I hope when she looks back on her first six years of school, she remembers the good things that happened along the way.

     Today, we celebrate the end of the elementary years.  The end of walking Delainey to her classroom.  the end of seeing her previous teachers each day.  The end of knowing exactly where we were going in her school.  The end of so many things that we have taken for granted for the last six years.  Instead of being sad about this like I thought I would be, I am excited.

     I am looking forward to the next chapter that Delainey will be facing in middle school.  Some of the fun things are already happening.  She is signed up for band next year.  She already has a support staff at the school who will be looking out for her.  She is getting to know her way around the school.  She has a good friend who is older than her that I know will be watching out for her.   I know that there will be hard things that will happen, but I also know that there will be amazing things waiting for her!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Finding joy

     It's no secret that this year hasn't started off great for my family.  And it's no secret that I have been whining about it for far to long.  I have been letting this crap (no other word seems to fit here) steal my joy.  And I haven't been sharing the joys that I do have in my life.  I decided yesterday, that I need to focus on the small joys that happen throughout the day.  Some days there might be more than one joyful moment and others, I might really need to search for the joy.  But for now, I just want to share a few of the small joys that have happened lately....

     Yesterday a friend from church gave me two prayer shawls for my in laws.  These shawls are made by several ladies at church and then our congregation sets aside time to lay hands on the shawls and pray over them.  They are very special.  I brought them home and my mother-in-law loved hers.  She has Alzheimer's, so some days she doesn't comprehend well.  I am not sure that she understood the prayers that are in that shawl, but something about it gave her comfort.  Seeing her smile was a joy.

     We have four chickens. It's a pain in the butt to feed them in the cold and wet. The coop stinks (seriously, have you smelled chickens).  But watching the birds come running when we serve them dried meal worms makes me laugh every time!  Those crazy birds will follow whoever is carrying the red bag of worms.  I never thoought that you could actually herd chickens, but we can at our house!

     Delainey wasn't been able to get to know my coworkers when I worked in Louisville because of the distance.  Since I am working close to home, she has been in and out of the store since before it was opened.  Tonight, my girl went with me while I had my eyes checked.  While there, she got hugs and chatted with several of my coworkers.  Seeing my shy girl being so willing to reach out to others (and have them reach right back out to her) makes me smile.  

     There are the little things that I don't think about, but really make my days much more joyful:  Mornings when Delainey and I don't fight about every single thing.  An unexpected email or text from a friend.  Coworkers who are supportive and just make me laugh.  A husband who works his fanny off, but still takes time to fix dinner when I have had enough.  Meeting our deductible, so now insurance will start paying more of the medical bills we are racking up.  A good night's sleep.  A cup of coffee in the morning.   A library book.  Quiet time early in the mornings.  Reading my devotional.  Using my essential oils. 

     I can't promise that I will stop whining about the bad things going on here in my life (honest, I haven't shared everything that has happened...), but I will be focusing much more on the joys that are present.  I will be looking for those moments throughout the day.  I will be attempting to be that joy to someone else.  I will be attempting to spread joy rather than the gloom and doom that I have been sharing this year.  Joy....find it in the midst of troubles.  I plan on it!! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It's a Twofer!!

     I have been whiny and complaining so much that I feel like that's all I do any more.  But, the last two days have been good days.  There has been minimal yelling and fighting, kindness has been shared, and there has even been laughter.  The only thing that hasn't been good is that Jim has been working some long hours the past few days!

     Jim's parents have been in good spirits for the last few days.  His mom has been more present in the here and now.  His dad has been feeling better about his a matter of fact, only one leg is currently wrapped.  He is going to be able to get measured for a sock for one leg, which means that the swelling is getting better.

     Delainey has been helpful and has worked around the house with me.  We have been laughing at "Creepy Elvis", who is currently hiding in our toothbrush drawer waiting to scare D when she brushes her teeth later tonight.  I will share more about Creepy Elvis some other time...including a picture so that you can judge the creep factor for yourself.  Tonight we are going to reward the good days by watching "Moana" and having a snack of popcorn.

     Work has been relatively calm.  I was behind, but in the last two days feel that I am mostly caught up.  I have learned to let go of work stress most of the time.  It's just a job. I am learning to go in, do my job-whatever it will be for the day-and enjoy my coworkers (well, most of them any way).

     I have been settling into a routine.  Mornings are peaceful, I refuse to let the day start ugly.  I am taking time to read my devotional daily.  My evenings haven't been at the bedtime that I want, but I am winding down nightly and trying to enjoy the quiet.  Jim and I have mostly been able to do our devotional together.  It's not easy with the hours he has put in lately, but we are trying.  Hopefully Jim's schedule will improve, but the next two weeks don't look promising right now.

     I don't know what tomorrow will be like, but I am going to enjoy today.  I am going to be grateful for two days that haven't been filled with drama or tears.  I am going to give thanks to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to see that there is always joy in the hard times.  I am going to try to remember these two days the next time the days are ugly!  I am going to remember that tomorrow is always a new day filled possibilities!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Slowing Down....

     The hits just keep coming here at Casa Predmore.  We found out this week that Jim will need to have surgery sometime in the next few months on both of his hands.  He has been dealing with pain for a long time, and finally has a reason for the pain...severe carpal tunnel.  Sometime this spring he will have surgery on one hand, and then in three to four months, he will have the other hand done.  He would love to have both hands done at the same time, but there are just somethings that I just don't see myself doing for him.  On the positive side, we are glad to have a plan that will hopefully give him relief from his constant pain.

     I have two friends who are amazing prayer warriors in my life.  I admire them both so much, so when they both said the same thing to me, I tend to think that God is giving me a pretty clear message.  They both said that sometimes we are given things in life that will force us to slow down.  I feel like Jim and I  are on the go constantly...and not for things that are fun.  Between work, care-taking, and just the normal day to day things, we are pulled in so many ways.  We need to find a way to slow down and just be.  What better time to focus on just being than Lent.

     Jim and I have missed devotion time, but we have been spending time alone and talking more.  Today we took a nap on the living room floor while watching TV.  And yes, our backs are not thanking us for it now...we are not as young as we used to be!  Delainey and I have actually stayed on task with our devotion time.  It is a little easier with her since I am usually the one home at bedtime.  It has been nice to focus on a quiet time together with her.  We had hoped to go hiking together as family today, but instead spent time napping.  We did take a trip to the local ice cream parlor and then spent some time practicing our basketball skills.  I can still make a lay-up, but I am not so good with the free throws any more.

     Yesterday Delainey and I went grocery shopping.  We bought some food to make some freezer meals.  We have 4 crock pot dinners ready to go for the upcoming weeks.  It feels good to have a plan for the upcoming days.  I spent some time meal planning and getting things ready for the upcoming week.  I have built some time into the week so that I am able to slow down!  I hope that this will make the week better and less stressful for all of us.

     I also talked to a friend this morning and told her that we are going to have to pull back from some of the commitments that we have made.  Jim and I hate to do this, but we haven't planned for several of the things that have happened this year.  We certainly didn't plan on the illnesses that we have had, nor did we realize the extent of care we would need to do with his parents.  Work has also been more than either of us have anticipated this year.  We have had to prioritize and decide what we really need to focus on going forward.  It isn't easy, but we need to slow down and scale back on things.

     Tonight I am in a better place.  I have peace that I am where I need to be right now.  I have a plan to slow down.  Tomorrow, I hope that I will still have the peace and calm that I have right now, but honestly, it changes moment by moment.  I am trusting that there is a plan in place, that what we are going through has a purpose.  My prayer, which is stolen from one of my prayer warrior friends, is for comfort and grace to get through this season of our life.  If you want to join me in this prayer for my family and I, we would appreciate it!  In the meantime, I am going to go watch April the giraffe get ready to have her baby while I practice slowing down.