Monthly Archives: August 2016

Is an Illness God Talking to Me?

“Attitude changes everything.” “Happiness is a choice.”

I’ve heard these before and I know them to be true. You can choose to be a crank, or not. Your own mind is pretty powerful.

Look at this poor sweet sick thing.

I revisited this concept this week while reading an article asking me to identify one challenge I’ve recently been faced with. And the first thing that came to mind was: illness.

My boys are both at home sick today (do you see that sad pic of lil O? Melt my heart when my guys feel cruddy…). And I’ve just come off of what appeared to be three weeks of allergies. I was majorly low energy, especially when it came to playing with Lil O in the evenings. And that just sucks.

Then I was asked to identify why my challenge is an opportunity. Well, the first thing that came to mind was: you choose your attitude. So this could be an opportunity for me to choose a better attitude? I was kind of lost on how to make illness an opportunity. So I Googled it (‘cause that’s what Millennials do when they need to find an answer). I found 5 Tips to Turn Illness into Wellness. Hmm…intriguing…the post was mostly a bit hokey for my taste, but the first tip caught my attention:

Slow Down and Relax

Ha! Who has time for that?

“You,” I almost hear God in his deep, Godly voice say to my heart.

Well, crap. I am not good at sitting and relaxing. I always want to be busy. But maybe I was sick for three weeks (and get sick often) because I don’t get extra sleep, don’t drink enough fluids, and don’t generally take a break.

Or…maybe I’m just a little sickling. It’s probably the latter. But, still, It doesn’t mean the first suggestions weren’t a good idea.

Touche, God. I hear ya clucking. Us busy people need to relax. And not feel guilty or restless about it. (I mean, I will feel that way. It’s inevitable.) But maybe I can feel less guilty and restless because I’ve given myself permission to take a break.

Can I tell you about something exciting happening in my life?

“Can I tell you about something exciting happening in my life?”

This was the question posed to me by my husband a few weeks ago as we were doing the bathroom shuffle. I turned to look at him – trying to appear enthused, but mostly cautious. J and I are pretty tight; we share nearly everything that is going on. So what exciting thing did I miss? And in that moment I knew: must be hunting, fishing, or soccer related. So I braced myself…and let him speak.

“I’ve been watching Craigslist for duck blinds…” A smile cracked across my face. Of course. Hunting. And we are now the proud owners of two used duck blinds. J really wanted one, but with two available? Well, now lil O (our nearly two-year-old) has his own too – at least ready for him in a few years.

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J in his natural habitat

My husband loves to hunt. LOVES it. And it doesn’t matter what critter is at risk. I remember asking him one weekend what he was going to kill (when I wasn’t sure what hunting season it was), and he said, “I don’t know. Probably a coyote. Or something.” LOL – this man just wants to be outside and get after it! (And God rest the souls of any coyotes, squirrels, or birds that cross his path.)

But this hobby can be very time consuming. We both work full time, so J wants to spend many a weekend in the great outdoors. And lil O and I are on our own. Which can suck. And be lonely. But I’m the wife of a hunter. So it just comes with the territory.

At first, I felt very upset when he’d leave for a whole 48 hours. (Two whole days. I know. The struggle.) It was really tough to deal with the first couple years. Then he said something about how thankful he was for that time and how much it rejuvenated him. Well, crap. I guess I have to let him go with a comment like that. But in turn, I explained how I felt a bit abandoned, which led to him making some meals before he left so I wouldn’t feel the entire weight on my shoulders (of caring for a fairly independent two-year-old. My life is clearly so hard). So now, while I’m not totally ok with him being gone for an entire weekend, I handle it a bit better because we’ve worked out needs for both of us. I’ve gotten less angry over time. And he knows he needs to be back for Sunday night dinner so we can have some family time before another week begins. The compromise helps!

I love that my husband has something to get excited about. And I can sacrifice some family time for him to take some rest time doing a hobby he loves. His rejuvenation leads to him being better engaged in family time, which is something exciting happening in my life.20160715-IMG_2424

Hobbies: are they really for women too?

Husband: “Take a break. Go do your thing.”

He says this to me every once in awhile. And I look back at him – dumbfounded.

My thing. I do not have time for a thing. Even if I did, what the heck would my thing be? (If you have not already figured it out, a “thing” in this instance is a hobby.) Some hobby-like things I do include:

  • Sewing? Uh…no. I think we all know what happened with that last time.
  • Yoga? I like it, but I do it mostly to curb pain and feel well. I don’t know that it’s a hobby, but maybe I should consider it. I think it’s more out of desperation to “find what feels good,” in my case…
  • Budgeting? I do enjoy seeing success in our finances, but I feel like it’s more to keep our family thriving.
  • Gardening? I’d say it’s a hobby in May and June. I get sick of pulling weeds, dealing with bugs, and watering by late-July. And then I have to deal with it ‘til almost October. It’s a love-hate relationship.
  • Drinking wine? Ok, I don’t think that I’m allowed to let that be a hobby. Maybe.
  • Blogging/writing? Ok, that’s kinda my thing.

J loves to hunt, fish, watch athletic events (especially soccer and football), and cook (especially if it’s all food I grew or he killed. And he says it in a redneck accent when he makes that menu announcement. It’s something else, y’all. Especially for us not being redneck. Or southern). Why can my husband have a hobby, and not me?

Because I’m a woman, a wife, and a mom. Surely you’ve seen this image somewhere in the interwebs:

I do this all the time. I say I’m going to bed and ask the hubs to join me, but then I stop and pick up junk, organize lunch for tomorrow, and on and on. By the time I get to the bedroom, this man is already laying in the bed half asleep. It takes every fiber of my being not to blow up at him, but he gives me this look like, “You said you were coming to bed. I came to bed. Where have you been?” And he’s right. It’s not like I said, “I’m going to do all these chores first. Actual head-to-pillow time: t-minus 25 minutes.”

I don’t feel like I can take a break. And it’s especially hard to take a rest because we all know who is going to deal with the mess. You know, after I pick myself up off the lawn furniture, where my feet have been dangling in the kiddie pool as I drink a glass of chardonnay. And I say that with the caveat that my husband is super helpful with household chores. He just doesn’t see the dirty socks on the floor and the few dishes in the sink. (You feel me, ladies. Why can’t these men see it?!) Or he doesn’t plan ahead to what clothes we need clean for two days from now. (The number of times I’ve saved this man from wearing dirty underwear…) Also, I love my son. Working full-time while my child goes to daycare leaves me with an unhealthy amount of mom guilt, and I simply want to spend time with him. So taking two hours to go wine tasting with the girls? (Seriously, why is there always so much wine? I might have a problem…) I can’t completely relax while out because I feel like I should be home.

I also struggle with hobbies because I’m a Martha. I love to-do lists. I am an achiever, which means I feel success by accomplishing things. So I often feel guilty when I’m doing something for me. But I need to take care of moi because it is what makes me feel like a real person again! With my own interests, desires, and thoughts. Blogging helps me to find myself. It helps me to reflect on what I’m prioritizing in my life. So I try to do it once every other week.

Yep, it’s a “forget the wet towels in a pile on the floor” kind of night. (Well, maybe not. It’s wet towels, y’all. Gross. Just a really quick pick up to hang them over the banister. But no washing.) So persevere, ladies. Find your hobby. Do your thing. Even if it’s only once a month. Because you deserve to have interests, desires, and thoughts. You deserve to feel like a real person again. It’s time for us to bring back hobbies. It’s time for me to say to my husband, “After I do my thing, you can do yours.”

Real parties come when you’re 7.

Lil O is turning two in September. And I gotta tell ya: I’m a disappointing party planner. (J says because I’m a fun hater.) I just don’t get jazzed up by the party themes on Pinterest, like other women I know. I don’t have time. I am not that crafty (I want to be…oh how I wish I were, though!). And I don’t like to spend money on party supplies. All this is slightly surprising considering I was usually the weekend event planner for my friend group in high school. (To be fair, that usually ended in deciding whose house would be the movie-watching location that evening, so…not a lot of work needed. Just an organizer – which I’m really good at.) 

Owen 1st bday

Lil Man’s 1st birthday – 2015

So…O may just be disappointed.

Or not.

I started to think about my earliest birthday party memories. And Disney movies came to mind.

Beauty & the Beast par-tay

The first big party with friends I remember involved a Beauty & the Beast theme. My mom put together an incredible scavenger hunt, there were crayons in the shape of movie characters, it was…just beautiful. At least, for an elementary schoolgirl. Plus there was ice cream cake. The movie was released in November 1991, which means I was probably turning 7 years old. (And obviously into Troll dolls, as seen in my 90s-typical tie-dye character shirt.)

And the next year? My mom did not disappoint. Aladdin came out November 1992. I remember incredible treat bags and cake toppers with Aladdin and Jasmine – that I also remember keeping for an embarrassing amount of time (and by embarrassing, I might mean I threw them away a few years ago…).

But these two events also redeemed what I originally believed: my kid won’t remember birthday parties ‘til he’s 7. That means I’ve got 5 more years of easy living. And it doesn’t make me a bad mom. So I’m not feeling guilty about it.