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Focusing on the grace…not so much the race

17 Jan

This is a post I’ve wanted to share for a long time. I’ve written probably fifteen iterations of it over the last few months and every time I let fear win…I delete…I walk away…I keep it to myself.

I’ve not landed on a word for 2020 yet. I had one last year…I’ll probably decide on one this year, but it’s something I do with prayer and intention…but I can tell you that a theme I keep hearing in music, in scripture, in prayer and in life – is SHARING. So, I’m going to DO THAT. When I feel something resonate with me that I hope can help others, I have a natural inclination to want to share it. So here it is today:

Having something wrong with you that others cannot see is a struggle. When I show up at Bible Study with my hair curled, a dress on and my shoes actually match…you don’t know that I had to wash my hair the night before because there’s no way I can wash, dry and fix my hair without a break in between. You don’t know that I had to pick out my clothes the night before to make it easier for myself the next morning or that I decided against makeup because holding my arms up for extended periods of time makes me exhausted. You don’t see the tears I cried last night because I didn’t feel like cooking dinner for my family because I knew it would wear me out and that a bath would be out of the question….because even that is tiring. You don’t see the depression that cycles from missing out on life events…the anxiety that comes with planning anything – literally anything – because I am afraid that when it rolls around I will be too fatigued to show up. You don’t see the worry that comes from letting people down and fearing that they won’t give you grace – again.  You don’t see the disappointment from getting excited about getting out and doing something but then it’s “one of those days” and there is NO way you can make it out of the house….and quite frankly, the bed.  You don’t see the way I miss the race of deadlines and a work family and last minute presentations.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a THING.  It is one of MY things and I have truly tried to own it.  To just live with it…to give MYSELF the grace that I’d extend to any of my loved ones.  To pace myself. To do what I can and focus on THAT.  Focusing on the things I can’t do…the things I run out of steam for…the things that do not get crossed off of the list? That leads to frustration, shame and sadness.  Which puts me in a funk…which leads to a depressive state…which….are you seeing a pattern here?

When you see someone with a cast or a sling or hear them coughing or see visible scars – is your inclination to judge them or feel a certain pang of hurt for their illness/injury?  Just because all scars are not visible does not mean that we don’t all have them and need that sympathetic/empathatic smile you’d give someone that you knew was going through something based on their appearance.  I have to tell you, I barely made it through this afternoon.  I overcommitted myself this week and I was struggling this afternoon.  Once I had the chance, I got comfy and I slept for HOURS. I needed it. It didn’t mean I am lazy or worthless or unproductive.  It meant I was taking care of a need.  I needed rest.  But don’t think I didn’t go to my calendar, make a line for rest, draw a box AND CHECKED IT OFF.  Focus on what you CAN do, friends.  It makes a world of difference.

*******SIDE NOTE TANGENT BELOW*******

While I’m at it…a reminder…check on your friends.  The sick, the well, the strong, the weak.  The busy, the bored, the employed, the retired, the traveling, the homebodies….ALL THE PEOPLE.  Ask how they are…and listen to the answer.  And y’all…if someone asks how you are, TELL THEM.  I don’t know about you but I mean it when I ask someone how they are really doing….I want to hear the truth.  I don’t want to a hear a standard answer or a flippant reply.  I want to know HOW they ARE….how can I be praying for them….have the prayers I’ve been praying been answered?  I value my friendships…I value my prayer time…and I want to be sure that my friends know I am praying for them with intention, as specific as possible and as often as I say I am.

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 5)

14 Jan

So – I am WAY behind, what else is new?

The last time I updated Mike and I were still in NC and he has had a couple of appointments since then so I thought I’d just type out a little update for those that have asked…and for me too…because my memory…YEP!

Since we returned home to Texas he has been seen by his Primary Care Physician and his Pulmonologist here in College Station.  His PCP reviewed his labs, notes and all the information from the cardio team and did not find anything alarming or that he felt that was missed.  He agreed that on paper, Mike was not at risk for a heart attack…which is one of those things I keep hearing but also keep thinking of all the ways we could live better, exercise more, blah blah blah…but in the end, I truly believe that was God’s plan.  All the things are, and that was His plan for my hubby on that day and I will just have to rejoice and be glad in it.  Okay?  OKAY?  🙂  It taught me a few things and I’ll get to that eventually but for now….just trying to stick to the facts!

His Pulmonologist has suggested another sleep study (scheduled later this month) and Mike is VERY receptive to finding a CPAP mask that will work for him.  We already know he has sleep apnea.  He has been kicked out of a lab before because basically it was very clearly and quickly seen that he had it…that he needed a machine….but he has very very very particular about this process.  So…this is a huge triumph as in the past he has been….ummm….well….ya know.  I am ever so hopeful that this will be a game changer and will give him a restful sleep.  He wakes up SO tired and I can see the exhaustion by the time he comes home at night.

Speaking of him coming home at night………I am PROUD to say that he has been going into the office later and leaving every day by 5:30!  This has NEVER happened in the history of our marriage (and likely before) so I am extremely happy that he has taken this drastic measure and has the support of his team at work as well.  Finding a work/life balance is a huge issue for so many and I am very thankful that it didn’t cost my husband more than it did before he made this change.

His first Cardiac Therapy appointment is this week so he will learn more then about what is expected of him exercise and diet wise.  He is already eating better and eating less (portion wise)…drinking more water…trying to make better decisions and just getting more active, but he knows he needs to be guided by this great group of people that specialize in heart patients!  Again, this is a win – if you know my sweet but stubborn hubby.

Okay, without getting all mushy and in my feelings, I just wanted to give y’all the facts you want about “how Mike’s doing”….and I’ll keep you updated.  I cannot tell you how much it means to him and myself to get a text, email, phone call or card that asks about how he is feeling….it really does lift his spirits, and mine too.  We have for sure been blessed by some amazing family and friends.

Bye for now…more later…much much much more!  🙂

JJ

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 4)

27 Dec

I said I’d update after Mike’s appointment and I promise I meant to right away but……Christmas!  Whew!  What a busy and amazing and wonderful and blessed time of year….but….busy!  🙂

His appointment was A LOT.  I had several questions, naturally.  He had a few too….but he let me go first!  (He is SO smart, y’all!)  I had some small questions about his new meds and new diet and exercise….but my biggest, scariest, most important question was…..how likely are we to go through this again?  I know there are no guarantees and that there are so many variables that are involved but I also know that many health conditions or episodes are likely to happen again once you have had them once.  I wanted to be realistic and knew that the answer might be one I didn’t want to hear but I needed to know.  She gave me the best answer EVER.  Through a lot of technical reasons (lack of blockages in his other arteries, success of the stent, etc) and historical data….she says it is very likely that this could be an isolated incident!  Of course, that all depends on him taking his meds correctly, exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, decreasing his stress and addressing his sleep apnea.  That is a long list of things to do, yes…but I think he is more motivated than ever.  He detests the thought of a C-PAP machine but he has promised to try it.  (He’s been kicked out of the sleep lab before hahahahaaha – y’all he’s kinda hard headed and every machine he’s tried has not been a good fit for him.)  He had just started to exercise more regularly and has an amazing friend that is willing and a such a blessing to us that he will help him in that area.  The food is my area since I cook for him and he has promised to be more open-minded about trying different things (fruits and veggies are a big deal and he hates about 99% of them).  He also has committed to taking a lunch every day and actually getting out of the office.  His Dr has had several conversations about this with him and how important it is for him to take a brain break.  He is also going in later than usual so he can sleep a bit longer and THAT is a blessing to me (and also is going to take some getting used to as that was a good thing for me to get up early and get my Bible time in…so I have to figure out how my day is structured when I get back home!).  The hospital we use has a great cardiac rehab program that he will be taking advantage of and I am happy that he was open to that immediately.  He already has an appointment with a sleep specialist so we are on our way to a healthier (and hopefully less dramatic) 2020!
We are currently in NC visiting our families and enjoying this season.  It has been great to rest the last two days…since leading up to Christmas is a bit of a crazy time….and we have done just that.  Mike is still a bit tired and the Dr says that is normal and expected.  He played golf yesterday locally though and said he felt tired towards the end of the round but that he never felt “winded” as he would have normally.  THAT is such a blessing to hear!  I am telling you, God can make any situation GOOD.  I am so thankful that Mike is feeling better, is heeding the warnings and is listening to the team that is caring for him.
Again, I cannot say enough thank yous to all of you who have been praying for him (and me too) so faithfully.  We feel the love and we are so grateful.
I’ll update again in a bit once we have more information on the sleep apnea because I know that will make him feel so much better if he can get GOOD sleep!!  Hope each of you had a Merry Christmas!!!

Heart Broken Week (Pt. 3)

17 Dec

That was scary, y’all.

Though I have heard all the words that revolve around heart attacks and heart issues, learning about them through the lens of how they affect my husband has been quite an experience. I think in Part 2 I left off with us getting home on Thursday. I think we both slept SO hard that night. Post-hospital exhaustion is so real!!

Mike listened to the advice of the physicians and took it very easy over the weekend. No working, no lifting, just lots of rest and fluids. I was very proud of him for being a good patient. He can be very hard headed in case that was not obvious to y’all by now! 😉

Monday was a big day! He went back to work…but instead of getting up at 4:50 and leaving around 5:45 or so he got up around 6:30 and left around 7:20….which of course changed my schedule around but soooo worth it if it alleviates some stress for my sweet hubby!

I took him lunch around 11:45 and he sat in the car with me to eat for about 30 mins…not talking about work but just chit chatting about kids and our upcoming trip home to NC and how he was feeling. No rushing to get back in the office, just enjoying the time together.

MJ had a basketball game that was earlier than normal and he met us there a few minutes before 4 pm so his day was short. It was probably the perfect scenario for the first day back from his episode last week. The Lord really worked that out for him….not a stressful day back at all. So many of his work days are and I am so grateful that the Lord saw fit to spare him in countless ways!

He has been SO tired. Exhausted, really. I am not sure if it’s the meds, the after effects of the trauma and emotions and lost sleep or the return to work yesterday but he was asleep by 8 pm last night! I had to wake him up to take his nightly medicine with some toast! His wrist was sore last night, likely from using his laptop keyboard – and it’s his right hand – and he’s right handed…so I sort of expected that. The site of the entry looks fine – so thankful for that! He has had ZERO chest pain since before the stent. Other than a mild headache he has really been amazed at how he feels!

We have had so many conversations about how the whole thing went down last week and there are so many ways that we can see how God shaped and orchestrated the days leading up to THE DAY. There are ways that we have both been blessed by family and friends and strangers that I can’t even recount them all. There are new fears and new worries, yes. But there are also renewed promises and faith and knowledge that through it all, we were blessed.

I can’t thank everyone who was praying for us enough. I heard from people far and wide and we felt your prayers. We felt peace. We felt love. I am so incredibly grateful.

Mike’s follow up appointment is tomorrow and I sure hope they are ready for me…I mean him! LOL Let’s just say I.HAVE.QUESTIONS. This post heart attack life is going to be different….we are going to learn from it and we are going to move forward with renewed hope that we can make it through anything with faith and with one another!

I will update again once we have that appointment with any new information that we learn and I am certain I’ll have more thoughts and emotions and yes…probably more questions!!!

Cry.It.Out.

24 May

I’m not talking about the tactic where you let your newborn-ish baby cry to the top of their lungs in their crib while you sit by the door in anguish and try to resist rescuing them.  I could never do that, personally…but that’s SO not the point…or maybe…it is?

I feel like I hear more often than not – BE STRONG….PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES AND DEAL WITH IT….SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP…basically all the ‘wash your face’ logic that is so popular today.  I just wonder why?  Why are we fighting so hard to be so strong when we were created to depend on Jesus and also on others?  Why are we trying to hold back our tears when we know…from the Bible…that Jesus hears our cries?  He heals our hurts and He is pleased by our need for Him.

I am so guilty of being ashamed of crying. Of trying to hide my tears and trying to appear strong…of trying to pretend someone didn’t hurt my feelings or disappoint me…and of not just crying it out.  Imagine if Jesus is right outside of our door, waiting for us to cry out to Him so He can rescue us?  Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Weight Loss Chronicles ~ TOC

24 Feb

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have been contacted by a friend from high school, a neighbor or a perfect stranger to ask for help as they decide whether or not to take the plunge and have Weight Loss Surgery.  It can be SO intimidating and stressful throughout the process and especially when thinking of maintaining a new life and a new relationship with food.  I am always SO happy to help and always direct them to this blog as well as my Instagram feed for WLS (username:  rnyftw) but I have noticed how hard it is to go back and reference each stage of my journey so I thought I’d link it all here to help anyone (and myself!) who may need to see a specific one:

WLS Chronicles – The Decision

WLS Chronicles – The Initial Visit

WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Testing

WLS Chronicles – Pre-Op Diet

WLS Chronicles – Surgery Day!

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 1 -3 Clear Liquids)

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 4 -13)

WLS Chronicles – Emotions

WLS Chronicles – HELP!!! (links to apps, and support talk)

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Days 14 – 20) ~ Semi-Solids

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 21/Week 4 – Day 41/Week 6) ~ Soft Foods

WLS Chronicles – Post-Op Diet (Day 42/Week 7 – Three Months Post-Op)

WLS Chronicles ~ Week 14 Update

WLS Chronicles ~ Dining Out

WLS Chronicles ~ Maintaining

I hope that makes it easier for everyone to reference the stage they are looking for!  If you have ANY questions beyond what I’ve blogged out, please please please reach out to me!  My email is mrsjmejones@gmail.com and I truly do enjoy helping others in their journey as well!

 

Promises, Promises

23 Feb

I am so human.  SO human.  I am also SO thankful that Jesus is much more than that.  That His promises are guarantees.  That said, I am going to promise you that I am going to update you, in due time, on all of the changes that have gone on in my life in the last year.  I will try to follow through with this but I will likely fail….but I do PROMISE you that I have good intentions!  If you have followed or known me long at all, you know that I love lists…so I will just jot down here the changes and come back here to link once I actually type it out!

In 2017 – we……..

  1. Sold our NC home.
  2. Lived with my Mom and Dad (and without my hubby!!!) for two months.
  3. Moved to Texas.
  4. Road tripped to Austin, Houston, Waco, Arlington, and Galveston.
  5. Lived in an apartment for several months.
  6. Started an amazing Bible study, through Community Bible Study.
  7. Continued weight loss.
  8. Built a house.  An amazing, beautiful, creation if I do say so myself!  (see #10 for referenced IG acct to see pics)
  9. Started backyard projects.
  10. Started a home decor Instagram page (due to that nagging fear of my friends/family growing tired of me sharing home stuff) at http://www.instagram.com/sweetcharmhouse
  11. Visited NC in July and December.
  12. Stepped up our prayer life.

SO, happy Friday and have a great weekend!  I’m going to work on my blog catch up posts!  🙂

 

So. Excited.

10 Jan

So, as I have stated more than once, my primary purpose of blogging is to remember.  To capture my feelings about something.  So, I’d be a fool to not capture the way I’m feeling about my plans on Saturday.  My weekends are usually full of sleeping in, hanging out with the family, eating out, shopping, enjoying my kids….which is great!  However, there are times when I have an actual PLAN (that is usually WEEKS in the making) and that is the case this Saturday.  I am going to meet my childhood friend and we get to hang out all day.  I am SO SO SO SO SO excited.  We see each other rarely at this point..and the funny part is that I seriously feel that we have more in common NOW than when we were TEENS.  She’s got a funny, wacky, witty sense of humor and can always make me laugh.  She can also make me want to Bible study like nobody’s business.  I don’t get to talk to her nearly enough but I feel like I can pick up the phone anytime and know that we can continue on like we’ve talked every day.  Every morning that I take my son to school, I drive by the street she grew up on and I think of times together as teenagers.  Talking about boys and teachers and the popular girls at school that we weren’t close with.  It’s amazing how we could have basically foretold our futures then!  LOL

I’m betting I have a follow up blog to this…complete with pics…in remembrance!

Mono-logues

4 Oct

So I decided that my update yesterday could have been called vague….and that is surely not ever my goal.  I prefer to be clear, pointed and transparent.  So, let me seriously give you the lowdown.  

  • I am tracking along with this illness.  (If you’re just learning of my mono issues, you can see the old news here.)
  • I can expect another 2-3 weeks of feeling bad….but hopefully will make the turn soon and be able to join the living again.
  • For the next 6-9 weeks I will be especially susceptible to pneumonia, bronchitis, strep, colds and have the increased risk of hepatitis so my liver functions will be tested regularly.
  • I have an ear infection so he gave me antibiotics for that, which of course go great with anyone’s tummy right?  (Blah!!)
  • Since I have a “weakened immune system”, I am to limit exposure to known sick individuals and to go to the doctor if I have the teeny tiny beginning signs of a cold, sore throat or any fever.
  • I am normal.  Several symptoms made me wonder if I was…and I am.  Not sure if I’m happy or sad about that!!!  
  • The dizziness should get better over the next few weeks.  He is hopeful that it will not last the duration of this illness (which is about 12 weeks total).
  • I should not be taking anything for sleep.  I asked because I am so off on my sleep patterns.  He wants me to sleep when I am sleepy and not worry about when that is.  
That’s all, folks!  I seriously want to thank those of you who ask about me daily, who have called, emailed, texted to check on me, those who’ve sent things, those who have prayed.  I appreciate you all so much.  This has been more than I ever could have imagined so I truly am most grateful for one thing – PATIENCE.  I’m not really good at it….but I’ve learned more than ever who is…my husband has been so loving and patient through this, I can’t even express how much of a difference that makes.  My sweet  mother has been especially kind and helpful.  My kids have been totally understanding and have seemed to enjoy doing little things for me and I have to tell you that their handmade cards are the most treasured.  My boss has been amazing and easy on me.  My colleagues have been absolutely wonderful and have picked up where I left off in a big way.  My employees have been receptive to the changes that they have had to endure and have stepped up to make sure things didn’t fall through the cracks.  My friends and family have been sweet to check on me.  I have had cupcakes, spaghetti, lemon pound cake and flowers delivered….(ohhh thank you to my sweet cousin Diane Thomas for that spaghetti…it was timely and so so so so good!)…and I am so very humbled by the kindness of my loved ones and of strangers as well.  From people who have contacted me privately through my blog or people who have found other ways…I just can’t say enough how much it means to me.  This has been a hard thing for me  for which I’ve had no control.  (Possibly that’s the hardest part.)  Thanks to you guys for making it a little easier on me.  Love you all!!!

Mono Teachings

30 Sep

Mono has taught me a few things.  I have listed some here.  I honestly could do one of these a DAY!!!  (Maybe there are more than a few here.  The rest are free, too, y’all!)

  • You can actually feel like you’ve rested TOO MUCH.
  • Beds are actually kinda boring after a few weeks in them.
  • Online retail therapy is actually as satisfying as being in public.
  • You can spend more than you make in a day on a down comforter.
  • My hubby loves me more than I realize.  He has taken SUCH good care of me!
  • Buying hairspray online is cheaper than in real life.
  • I say “in real life” a lot, like the internet is FAKE.
  • I really do depend on social interaction.
  • Mono is worse than you think.
  • Sometimes when friends/family say, “call me if you need something”, they actually do mean it.
  • Lowes Foods to go is the best thing everrrr.  (Okay, already knew that.)
  • Short term disability is not just for pregnancy. (I didn’t wanna. Nurse at work said I should.)
  • My boss is one of the most compassionate, understanding people I know!
  • My employees are so capable of stepping up and taking on more in my absence.  Thought it probably but know for SURE now.
  • Cards are really seriously one of my fave things.  I have gotten a few and I treasure them so much!!!
  • Reading the Bible is so much better in a Bible study format.  I like instant reassurance that I know what the Bible is saying.
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