Category Archives: Jesus; Faith

Take the Trips

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Not much I disagree with Dave Ramsey about, but I found something big a year ago. Three years ago, I started down the path of becoming debt free. Our family always took trips during the summer and one of the big ways to save money was cut those out. So we did. For two years. We were sad, but we had a goal. Flash forward and we found ourselves fighting to save our marriage.

We had been so busy balancing our budget we forgot to balance our marriage. Neither of us realized those trips rejuvenated our marriage and reconnected us to each other. The two thousand dollar trip was now small compared to splitting up a quarter of a million in assets and attorney fees. We committed to always take the trip and figure out how to save elsewhere or bring in more income.

This weekend we took another get away that on paper does not look all good, but in our hearts was so worth it. We laughed, cried, listened, sang, chair danced, told stories and enjoyed each other. Away from the house and the chores. Away from the kid. Away from our city and friends. Just.us.two.

My favorite part of the night might be eating at 11pm at a restaurant totally picked by me. Now if we fought about money then none of this would be a good idea…I dream of the day of not being a slave to the lender, but when that day comes I want to be celebrating with my first and only husband so some seasons you just need to take the trip.

5 Things I Learned from Lupus

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I feel like I am a success story with Lupus. One big reason is that the good Lord gave me mild symptoms and for that I am grateful, but another big reason is I have learned to live with it and know my place with this autoimmune disease. So here are the top five things I have learned after being in tune with my autoimmune:

1. What you eat matters!

This took me a while to accept but it is true. Certain foods (mostly processed) will send me into achy overdrive. It does not mean that I cannot or do not eat those delicious cheese fries, Cheetos or fried anything…but it does mean I know I will pay the price and honestly it is not always worth it.

2.Have less fear if the liquid is clear.

I had read somewhere that the darker the liquid, the more things added to it. No clue if it is true, but I have found the clear liquids do not send my body fighting as much as the dark. Coke, beer, sweet tea (why, God, why?) get me achy and fatigued, but if I stay with Vodka, Sprite or of course water then I can usually keep the party going.

3. Say yes to the mattress!

Who would say no to a good nap?? I immediately get sick when I live a lifestyle of less than 8 hours of sleep. Now life is busy so this is not always possible, but our bodies are made to need rest and we need to choose to listen.

4.Say NO to stress!!

As a teacher, stress is inevitable. A quote I read says “Teachers make more minute by minute decisions than a surgeon.” I believe this…so stress will happen, but I can choose to avoid stress whenever possible and I do. One way is I stopped watching reality shows or any show that is fighting just to fight…trust me this was hard…but Real Housewives or Mobwives just had to go. FB drama had to go too…I refuse to click on the video with the fight or add comments to the political posts going nowhere. In my marriage, when things get heated…I go to the word and prayer instead. Life in general is lived more peacefully when you know God is in control and has a purpose for you. Now, I am not quite at the place where yoga is more calming than painful, but I am sure I will get there.

5. FINALLY..Exercise helps.

This is tricky because overdoing it wears me out. Also, when I have already worked all day the last thing I have energy to do is go to the gym, but it helps. I will admit that. Probably helps with the stress and mind part of things, too. But I used to refuse to work out and now I make time for it. In the beginning, it is exhausting, but as you build stamina it gets better. 

Now I am sure you are all reading and thinking duh! Even people without Lupus know eat right, get exercise, and rest will help the body…but here is the question: do you do it? Likely, a little but not all the way. I have learned I have to do it or I have no energy, run a fever and experience joint pain. No fun, right? So everything is a choice but my choice is made loud and clear with my body. I have learned to (finally) listen to my Lupus for a happier life!

Power of a Teacher

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I never knew the value of a teacher until I put my son in a classroom. Up until this moment, there was no one human (beside his parents) influencing his life…now there is one person we call his teacher; it changed everything.

It started with her rules becoming our rules around the house. Like one day I said booty and he quickly chimed in “Ms. Monica says we do not say booty!” It later turned to the way she does things like pass out snacks or wash hands. I quickly learned Mrs. Monica is a powerful person and to get on the same page as her or be told I am doing it wrong.

Later it turned into more than that…more meaningful. When she picked up his early signs for seizures were starting again so we could call the doctor. When she could tell he was acting off and might have an ear infection. When we were worried about his development and she could honestly say what was normal or delayed or influenced by others. Her experience and input became very important and valued.

Finally, as he was in her class for over a year, she became like a second mom. I trusted her to call me if the symptoms got worse so I could come pick him up. She also would tell me good ideas for next birthday gifts based on things he enjoyed. Made me aware of good times and bad times with other kids since I would hear about it later anyway. Helped with the transition when he began to be over aggressive and allowed us time to correct it before labeling him the bad kid. When he fell she doctored it up and knew he loved band aids or helped me out when I forgot a blanket. She understood the vomiting was not sickness but a side effect of his meds so let him stay at school or the coughing was allergies and not a cold. She especially was a saint when he had diarrhea due to his meds and allergies and heroically changed him or kept him near the potty. Clearly going above and beyond, but did it anyway.

As a teacher myself, she understood that days off are hard so she helped out when she could or at least gave me time to get a lesson plan made and return. She gave patience, grace and mercy knowing that the teacher life gets complicated because you cannot just call in sick without creating a plan. I never expected this of her, but was grateful when she offered.

With all this talk about teacher this and that…it all changes when it is your kid and you really see their power and influence on your child. You want the best and I was fortunate to have that in Mrs. Monica. Today is his last day of Pre K. He will no longer go to this daycare as he starts Kinder with me in the fall. I am thankful he has had a great 2 years, but sad that it is over. It means he is growing up and moving on and the moving on means change which is hard for this mama. I will no longer have her as a partner in raising my child (and for those haters…teachers see the child awake more than the parent most days so yes they partner to raise them…the teacher should not do it all, though). 

So today I thank and salute the teacher that does way more than teach. I thank you for loving and praying and filling in the gaps that this working mom leaves. You are a gift from God and an answer to prayer. Your influence is endless and will be remembered for a lifetime as his first school teacher. Thank you!!

Uptown Update

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Kinda hard for me to believe, but for 10 years my husband was a police officer. He loved his job until the city he worked for struck chaos. All of a sudden overtime, no days off, bad shifts, getting the run around and unappreciated became the norm. He saw the writing on the wall and got out when an opening came up. He did medical sales only to learn it was not his thing. Selling to the elderly was a challenge and he realized policing had not destroyed his heart after all. So he went back to his roots and first job out of high school and jumped back into the world of hotel sales. 

He got the unique chance to sell for a brand new hotel that was in the process of being built. I got the privilege to stay the night over the weekend and it was an eye opener. I always just enjoy hotels without thinking about how it got there, but hearing him talk about all the little details and why that was the best fit for that particular location was fascinating. The notepad on the nightstand, the brand of shampoo, the decor, the thread count of sheets, the lighting, the size of rug…every detail has to be considered. He hung the TV, put batteries in every remote, plugged in every alarm…this hotel has kind of become his baby and now it is about to open. The property is beautiful in a trendy spot walking distance from dog parks,restaurants, bars and fashionable shops. The rooftop bar has the best view of Dallas, dogs are welcome with pooch perks and their is filtered water stations on each floor..boutique hotel for sure and it is all Hilton! 

The best part of my stay was hearing his passion as he was eager to tell me all about it. I also got to meet his coworkers and people he spends all day around. He knows my love of skylines and got me a prime spot to just look at my city, watch the planes and read my books in a lounge chair. Love to hear the passion back in his voice when discussing his work and I get some pretty cool hotel perks. It will make the nights he will be gone checking on clients much more tolerable. 

God heard our prayers and blessed him with a purpose in his job and I am grateful to have seen him in his element. I write all this to encourage you that if you are in a job that does not fit we patient, pray and keep working hard. That year in medicine was challenging as he wanted to quit. We often questioned if leaving police was the right choice, but he kept working hard and being prayerful and went to work. In time, he got the answer to his prayer and it was a big blessing. We took a pay cut and it was scary, but we followed Old Diminion advice “chase after the dream not after the money” and it paid off.  Proud wife post as we look forward to the big opening.

Perfect on the Outside

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My husband and I are like a professional-make-it-look-perfect couple. We have mastered the art of pictures. We often look happy with our smiles. We serve and greet at church. We host a church group in our home. We make it look good. But like everyone else we struggle behind closed doors. We argue a lot. We hold bitterness and discontent inside. Silent treatment is a thing. We get jealous and resentful. We blame each other and shut down.

We are normal, but always striving to be better.  So do not look on Facebook or Instragram to really know the status of our relationship. Even going out with us will not say it all though you can probably learn more in our body language. We are the masters of disguise and we take it day by day doing what needs to be done to keep the family going.

If you can relate, then know you are not alone. If you read this and think this sounds absurd, then you might be a newlywed or need to share your secret.

Adventures with Absence Epilepsy

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We noticed when he was around 3 that he would have these moments of going blank. At first, it was so quick that you would have to be staring at him to see it. Over time, it became more often and more noticeable that it was pretty obvious. At his worst, they would occur 20 times an hour and his eyes would roll back in his head. After much testing, we were finally able to get him diagnosed and on medicines.

Now, he has been on medication for over a year and we notice some academic delays. These are delays that could have always been there or delays caused by the seizures, either way we want to be able to make the best decisions for his schooling.  As part of the process, we were instructed to get another EEG and thankfully we could do it over the summer. He did a great job! This test is stressful for this mama as they flash lights in his face, make him sit still for 30 minutes and strap him up to a machine. We are hopeful the results will give us more answers that the medicine is working. His testing was done at a hospital just for children which feels more like a playground! One of his favorite things is the trains…they are amazing and such a blessing to a nervous mom.

He is smiling so big because we timed that shot perfectly so he was in a pic with a train. God has been so good to us during this process to get him the treatment he needs. We are hopeful that he grows out of the seizures in a few years and continues his path to greatness.

Lupus Limits…But Does Not Stop

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I must admit I am one of the fortunate ones living with Lupus. My symptoms are mild, the meds I take are working, I was diagnosed quickly, my vital organs are unaffected; seriously, I am fortunate. My Lupus mostly involves my nervous system, my endocrine system and reproductive system. All those systems or words I would have never known before my diagnosis so basically my nerves, blood and ability to have babies. When I flare and I do weekly, I get fatigued due to chronic anemia, my joints ache like a 90 year old man, and my fingers turn white or purple. Right now my flare includes Pleurisy which means the lining of my lungs are inflamed…the sun is my enemy. Through it all I am grateful because my God has used it for good. This disease brought me a child through adoption that I would not have ever met, the sick days help me to appreciate the healthy days and my experience has helped me to encourage others going through similar things. To be in my low thirties with a chronic illness triggered by such common things as the sun and stress is intense, but I am alive and choosing to stay alive (there are some flares so bad I have felt like death) and choosing to live my life rather than let it live me.

Insert soccer.

When I was being diagnosed I told my doctor I played soccer. His response: not anymore. He went on to tell me that my blood levels showed low iron and chronic anemia so any major physical activity was dangerous. I took a few games off, but continued to play. The fatigue was intense after sunny games but we always had subs so it worked. However in the fall of 2016 I was in a major flare and for the first time in 15 seasons I had to say I could not play. It was defeating as I knew I was really sick to skip soccer. 

That was 2 years ago. I probably felt good enough to play again, but new players join and your team changes.  So I was not asked the next season and then I think the team took a season off so when I got the text to play I considered it. My biggest concern was that my lungs are inflamed right now which feels like a heart attack while resting and like an asthma attack when running-not too smart to say yes, but it will go away.  I also knew it would be hard after not playing two years so I had to speak to my hubs since he would be watching the kid and me if I get sick, but when he cheered me on I went for it.

Last night was the first game and it felt good. I was nervous all day, resting my body, drinking water, taking medicine…but it all felt good.  My biggest fear was my inflamed lungs and they were tight after long sprints, but two subs on the side could be called in at any time.  We won and I got some good touches, but most importantly I played. I was fearful two years ago that I never would again. So unsure if it was a good idea that I kept it a secret so no one could talk me out of it. But I feel okay the day after and since the games are at night, I think swimming will kill me before soccer 🤪 

Lupus does limit me, but it will not stop me. Soccer is what I do for myself. On the field I feel my sexiest and my mind is cleared.  I feel badass to be 38 and still playing. The best part is I challenge my mind and body and grow closer to the Lord as I praise him for the chance to show good sportsmanship and meet others with the same passion. Today I am grateful to be a soccer player living with Lupus again. My call of action to those without chronic diseases is to go out use your body. It is a beautiful thing of science and should not be wasted. Do not waste your health!