It’s Been Awhile ~

Life has been tough! Life just seems to be ????? heck I can’t even think of a word to describe it ~ it just has been tough!!!

Someone asked me why I hadn’t written anything in awhile ~ I’ve been thinking about that and my first response is “I’m just tired.” And then I realized I am just tired of everything that seems so heavy, so negative, so stagnant. And then I ask WHY? What has changed in my life…and I reflect back to the middle of March 2020. My anxiety was high, we were preparing to travel for 5 days to go see Ron’s oncologist for his annual cancer check up. Hard to believe it had been two years since his surgery to remove the nasty C.

For the most part we don’t watch the news every day but since we would be traveling we were watching the weather reports and talk of Covid was beginning to run rampant. Yes it was scary, yes it is a nasty bug but life for us continued…we faced what we needed to face and put one foot in front of the other. Tensions were running high here in our home. The little’s were anxious about us being gone for 5 nights, we were anxious of what would the doctor’s find, we were concerned how the little’s would do. It was the beginning of Spring Break and we had had to change our plans from a camping trip to a doctor’s visit. And yet we still put one foot in front of the other.

The doctor’s appointments went well. Cancer is still gone. The only concern voiced was Ron’s weight…but that is nothing new; we have both battled being overweight for all of our adult lives. What a relief. We both commented that night as we laid in bed how relieved we each were, apologized to each other for our shortness with each other and planned a nice one last night out without little’s for our return to the ranch.

And then life threw a punch…quarantined to the ranch. By the time the kids went back to school it was 159 days from school day to school day. Yes, we got out a bit: took the kidlets to the drive thru Safari in San Antonio, only getting out of the truck to go to the restroom, we bought a little blow up pool and the kids had many “swim days” right here at home but for the most part it was Ron or I going to the grocery store or picking up the mail. Even trips to the office were cancelled unless absolutely necessary. Kids did counseling via Zoom, even did a couple of doctor appointments via Zoom ~ do you know how hard it is to keep a 5 year old engaged in a conversation with a face on the screen to be diagnosed and treated by a physician. In my opinion, it was pretty worthless.

Then unexpected changes happened, got new kids to our home due to staff changes. Little’s were moved to a foster adopt home, start to finish was less than four weeks, crazy times for sure, more schedule changes here at the ranch, rumors and anxiety flew at a rapid pace about the future of the ranch, our jobs and then we were scrambling to get the kid’s stuff for school not knowing, were they going in person or would it be remote. Our girl decided she was going to go to school ~ a good move for her as it got her out of the house, she gets to see friends and interact with others.

And then I realized through it all that my depression was lurking around every corner. Visually appearing as exhaustion, lots of exhaustion, absolutely no energy to do anything. Yes I kept cooking for the family, attended the necessary training’s for the job, did what needed to be done but my heart was not in it, I was and am just plain tired.

And yet, through it all I have kept moving forward, slower at times with lots of naps thrown in and yet I haven’t totally given up. Though at times I would like to crawl into my recliner, crochet and watch TV and hide and hibernate from all, and some days I did just that…I give myself kudos for not totally throwing in the towel.

And so today, I find myself asking what do I need to do to get out of this funk…to get energy back, to feel alive and not like a slug. So I did what I know to do. I opened my Bible for a short devotion yesterday and today and always, always God has met me where I am.

Yesterday my devotion was titled “Bountiful Benefits” and this morning was “Relief from Your Distress” ~ yes, Jesus met me right where I am…God accepts me right where I am and loves me unconditionally and I was reminded that God forgives, He heals, He encourages and I am good enough just the way I am AND I have much to be thankful for…family, friends (even though the circle has gotten smaller ~ I think more my choice than anything), a job that doesn’t really feel like a job most of the time, the ability to be with my hubby most all the time and even when he does something that drives me crazy or makes me want to slap the sh** out of him, I am thankful for Ron, for Ron’s love for me and the patience he shows me when I drive him crazy or ask for three kinds of ice cream on a rainy night when he really doesn’t want to go out but he goes to the store anyway. Yes I am blessed beyond measure.

I am encouraged to cry out to the Lord, to give thanks for everything, to keep on trusting Him and to know that

For my good! I may not understand the why’s or how come’s but I do know that I am never alone and that no matter what happens with our jobs, our living situation or ??? that God is in control and that no matter what happens today or tomorrow, in the end everything will work together for good!

BE

As I went to bed last night I reflected on my day…it didn’t start out great, in fact it was a grumpy and frustrating morning. I didn’t go to Sunday School ~ I just couldn’t put on my mask of EVERYTHING IS JUST FINE! After dropping Ron and the kidlets off at the church I went and got gas, stopped at the post office and then drove back to the church and sat in the van and played Tetris on my phone till it was time to go in for the worship service.

As I was walking from the restroom to the sanctuary one of the gals asked me if I was okay. I took a breath and said not really. She reached out and gave me a hug…I shared I was frustrated ~ frustrated with kids who won’t flush the toilet. I know it’s gross but it is what it is. Probably wouldn’t be bad but it’s not one kid, it’s four of them. And they are not toddlers…they are 5, 8, 11 and 14!! I know, it’s my issue and I can just flush the toilet…but dang, how hard is it to flush the toilet ESPECIALLY after you have pooped!! I’m frustrated with a couple of other things that don’t seem fair ~ I know, Life isn’t FAIR!! But it’s still hard some times.

As I replayed the day back I saw some good ~ four kidlets played outside most of the afternoon, birthday girl had a good birthday dinner of hamburgers, mac n cheese, tater tots and broccoli topped off with red velvet cupcakes. My sissy is out of the hospital and I am so thankful for that. Yes I was grumpy throughout the day but things did get better…three littles had their showers and were in bed at the set time, one went to bed earlier than expected and one was very responsible!! I was thankful I got to spend some time writing and crocheting ~ two of my favorite things to do.

And I was asleep before 10pm!!! Woke up more times than I care to admit in the night but my tracker says I slept more than 7 hours so that’s a good thing. Had a pleasant conversation with our night staff person which doesn’t always happen and spent some time in the Word! I would have loved to have a cup of coffee but have to get some fasting blood work this morning…so water it is!!

Back to the Word

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and I am thankful that HE keeps me from falling too deep!

and I have been feeling like I am slipping and sliding into that pit of destruction YET HE reminded me this morning HE will keep me out of the pit that destroys me!

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And even though I MAY feel like I’m getting boxed in and there is no place to turn…GOD will not let me be destroyed!!!

And then the BE’s started flowing

BE intentional in giving thanks!!
BE kinder
BE less selfish ~ I can be selfish, just be less selfish
BE aware
BE a listener
BE there
BE present
and most of all ~ DON’T JUDGE

And now it’s time to get this day moving with the kidlet’s.

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What are you told to BE today?

I Need Some…

I really do…need to do my Weekly Log Notes, need to finish getting dinner ready, need some energy as I am really dragging…
…and here I sit, staring at the computer, scrolling through some of the stories & poems I have written over the years and I came across this one


Blood Sugars
By Ali Workentin
January 7, 2008

Blood sugars
Something I deal with every day
It seems to be in control of me!
Shouldn’t I be the one in control of them?

Blood sugars
Bothersome at times
Little pricks 4 to 5 times a day
Ouch!
Obstacle to my daily routine
Dangerous if too low or too high

Sweets, pasta, bread all effect my life
Usually I can tell if they are dropping or rising
Grateful I can still see and walk
Always have to be aware
Remember its just one part of my life
Something I deal with every day of my life.

Blood sugars
Something that I can work to control
They seem to have a mind of their own
Something I have to deal with every day of my life

Blood Sugars

And here it is 12 years later
and I still struggle with diabetes, blood sugars, highs & lows, changes in medication, new medication, stop a medication…I get so tired of checking my blood sugars and when I am physically and emotionally tired I get the attitude “who cares and does it really matter?”  I know it matters, I know when my blood sugars are consistently in range I feel better all the way around…I sleep better, I move better, my emotions are not all over the board and I’m a pretty likable person 😀

At the beginning of the year I participated in 5 Healthy Habits…
…water, drink water first thing in the morning ~ I was doing really well until about four days ago so it is time to get back on the wagon…I set my alarm to remind me to drink some water when I first get up…
…2 minutes in prayer…I have been successful about half the time so let’s get back on track in the morning Girl!!!
…move for two minutes…since Joey came into our life I have been walking every morning except yesterday ~ it was raining, no pouring and this lady does not go for walks in the rain.  I have been walking once and sometimes twice around the circle right after getting up…you know Joey needs to do his thing!!
…eat a healthy breakfast…well that has not been going so well…need to be more intentional on having a good breakfast.  It’s not that I have don’t have the stuff to make breakfast…I have eggs, bacon, veggies, oatmeal, eggs & sausage burritos…I just need to focus on the NEW HABITS
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The 15 days I did the Healthy Habits my blood sugars were in range 75% of the time…and as Katrina said from Day 1…if you do one thing different each day towards the betterment of your health you are one step closer to being healthy more times than not.  And to remember to give yourself credit for what you do that is healthy!!!

So here’s to new beginnings and as they say in TBRI…time for a ReDo!!!

How do you keep motivated to stick to healthy habits?

I’m Tired…So What’s New

I don’t know if our having three days off and getting out of the rhythm of things has totally caused my body to reacting, all I know is that I am TIRED!!!
Today started at 5:30, up, dressed and Joey out the door…only he didn’t go far as it was raining, no pouring and he wouldn’t leave the dry of the carport…he finally tinkled on the generator (sorry Ron) but I had things to do so back into the house we went.  
Relieved our night staff person (some of our friends call her our babysitter) and yes it is weird going into our apartment while someone else stays up in our living room…we call her our “human alarm” and yes on two occasions she has gotten one of us up for a kidlet who had a nightmare and one night when CPS showed up (they do their inspections to make sure we have a night time awake staff member between 11p and 5a though we say it would be better to come on a Saturday morning at 7:30a to see if we are all sleeping in)  AND NO we have not gone back to bed though we both have talked about wishing we could.
It is about as far from NORMALCY as you can get…but that is another story.
Spent a few minutes organizing my day, got the kids a “home lunch” ready…it’s funny  because when I was a little girl we always had to take our lunch to school.  Nothing fancy, a sandwich and maybe a piece of fruit or some chips and change for milk.  And would beg my mom to let me buy lunch.  Here at the Yaokum ISD all the kids are provided breakfast and lunch each school day so it’s the reverse treat for them…they like to take “home lunch” as AR calls it…so one day a week I make them a lunch to take.  It usually consists of a lunchable, a piece of fruit, some cheese or peanut butter crackers, either a pudding or fruit gummies and a Gatorade.  
And then Ron took them to school and I folded the two loads of laundry from yesterday and got two more loads going.  After Ron got back from the school run we headed to Walmart to pick up a few things, then to Tractor Supply ~ we were looking for 
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for Joey..remember he wouldn’t go potty out in the rain.  Nope, couldn’t find anything so we went to HEB and got groceries and some cleaning supplies…then back home to put the groceries away and then it was time to go get Little Bit from school.  
Little Bit has a mind of her own and when she decides she doesn’t want to do something she just won’t do it…today she didn’t want to match and fold her socks.  Last night it was she didn’t want to take a bath…last night it was fine, if you don’t want to take a bath, get your jammies on and go to bed.  Then it was “I don’t want to take a bath and I don’t want to go to bed!!” at the top of her little lungs for about 15 minutes till she cried herself to sleep.  Sometimes it’s just plain hard being a 5 year old.  So back to the not matching/folding her socks…she was told “everyone has a job to do and today your job is to match and fold your socks.”  So while whining she didn’t want to match/fold her socks she matched her socks.  It got done with a bit of complaining but it got done.    And I was told “You are a mean mommy.”  I said back to her “it’s okay that I’m a mean mommy, I still love you.”  She is never quite sure what to say to me when I say that to her.
Being five, once her “job” was done she was off to watch her movie and pet Joey…she loves Joey.  We only allow about five minutes at a time for her with him because they are both getting to know each other.  
The afternoon went by quickly and then it was time to go get AR, then AZ came home and homework got done, some hearts for Valentines Day were decorated and then time for tutoring…math for both of them.
Before long it was dinner time.  Tonight was a win..spaghetti and no complaints.
Bath time and then bed…whew!!!
I just sat at the computer for a few minutes to catch my breath, answered a couple of emails and then thought I should write a few words.
That is a pretty typical school day for us…
…I want to get back into writing more devotionals, share some stories, write a few guest blog posts for This(Un)ExceptionalLife, and get back to writing my book which includes transcribing all of my handwritten journals to the computer.  I would also like to put my mother~in~law’s stories together from her handwritten journals to pass on to her grandchildren and great~grandchildren.  
…I want to get back to reading for fun ~ I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book just to read for fun.  Lately it’s been training manuals or daily devotionals but a good cheezy romance novel would be fun to indulge into again.
…And then there is my crocheting…I finished up a blanket two days ago and started on one of my temperature blankets.  Once I get the first 20 rows completed, I will start on number two and then number three.  Plus there are a couple of baby blankets/stuffies I need to get busy on.
…oh and continue being a wife, mom, Grammy and foster~mom, friend and Oh Yes, take a nap once in a while!!!!

Stay tuned and see what I get done!!!

Tired but Staying Focused

I’ve been trying to stay focused on positive things and see the good in things…
…today is a hard one for me 😦

Due to new Federal Regulations for children in care in the state of Texas, if the organization has more than six (6) children total they must have 24 hour AWAKE staff while in residence.  Don’t ask me why, but when we take the kidlets camping we don’t need the 24 hour AWAKE staff person…go figure…!!

This all came to fruition when Judge Jack in Texas came down hard on the State of Texas Foster Care System.  Here is one article that discusses her stance…click here.  When this first came into being our 3 kidlets were not PMC kids (Permanent Managing Conservatorship) but that changed the week before Thanksgiving and so Nov 19th we had our first overnight staff person here.  
We really don’t have an issue having a person awake it is just different.  It’s far from normal that’s for sure but we make the best of it.  When we were at MCC we had YCC workers who came on at 11 and stayed till 7 so it really isn’t anything new…just different.  And has often happens staff change and last night we had a new night staff person.  Let’s just say that the 2nd person is very different than the first one and that is going to take some getting used to..
and that meant that neither Ron nor I slept well last night and the hours of the night shift person working is different…the first gal came at 9:30p and we were in our apartment by 10:00p and didn’t need to be in the main cottage till 6:30a…now the schedule is that the new gal gets here at 10:00p so we don’t get into our apartment till 10:30p or so…and we have to be in the main cottage so she can leave at 6:00a…we get she only works 8 hours a night but it is different and will take some getting used to.
Usually Ron stays up at night and does the switch over and I get up for the morning switch…which is no biggie as I have been getting up at 5:00a to consistently have my quiet time and incorporate my new daily habits…
…habit 1 ~ drink my water
…habit 2 ~ spend two minutes in prayer
…habit 3 ~ making a healthy breakfast
…habit 4 ~ moving/stretching for two minutes
…habit 5 ~ breathing deeply for two minutes
BUT for some reason last night and this morning has affected me a lot…I mean a lot…I could barely get out of bed this morning and my body was aching.  I hadn’t slept well last night so that didn’t help either (and neither had Ron so he wasn’t feeling it to get up early this morning) but I got up, took care of some stuff, spent some time in the Word and praying…
And the message this morning asked
“Are you walking or talking?”
Intentions are a good thing BUT Actions speak louder than words.
and so I have been thinking about that most of the day…
trying to speak softly and calmly 
as well as being consistent
About 15 minutes after the night staff left, Ron came out of our apartment and told me to go back to bed…by then I was pretty awake but hey
and it is Saturday 
and the kids stayed up later than normal last night
and he didn’t have to ask me twice
so I went and crawled back into bed…
and started chatting with my Pal Mary…
I think I fell asleep though in the middle of our chat…sorry about that!!!
 and then it was 9:45a!!  I had gotten up a couple of times between 6:45 and 9:45 to go potty (you know us old ladies need to do that quite often 🙂  )
I was so discombombulated when I woke up and it took me awhile to get moving
but after making a breakfast of sausage, eggs and biscuits with blackberry jam
me, along with the kidlets and Ron were ready for the day
so off to Victoria.  Victoria TX NOT Victoria BC…Ron still owes me a trip there!!!
We stopped to look at a 5th wheel…we are thinking of trading in our Explorer for a 3/4 ton truck and our 30′ travel trailer for a 5th wheel toy hauler…well the one the guy had on his lot was not what we are interested in…it was a 30 1/2′ but felt very small on the inside…there are few things that are must haves for us…
…have to be able to open the fridge with the slide pulled in
…must be able to use the bathroom with the slide pulled in
…must be able to have two recliners or a double recliner as well as a couple of other chairs or couch
…must have a walk around queen bed
…would be nice to have a washer/dryer combo
…would be nice to have a set of bunks
YES we are planning to go back on the road when I retire in 
5 Years and 4 Days!!!
This 5th wheel was too small…so that’s okay, it was the first one we looked at…
and we weren’t ready to buy today anyway,
must have truck first!!!
Then it was off to Kohl’s to drop off a steamer for our boss,
then Dollar Tree for some Valentine decorations,
then Tuesday Morning…they only had dish towels for Valentines Day,
then Big Lots…got 2 sets of red lights, need one more
then it was off to Sam’s Club…first lunch…all beef hot dog and a soda for everyone, 
Azzy got a mountain dew 😦  I got the other two orange fanta…
Azzy was told she better not get too wired…she did really well and was a big help with pushing  a cart, grabbing stuff from the shelf and making lots of suggestions!!!
90 minutes later we were finally done at Sam’s Club.
We headed towards another RV dealer when I remembered we were supposed to pick up JT and it was already 4:00 and he was due back sometime between 4:30 and 6:00…so no trip to the RV dealer, no stopping at HEB (for the things I don’t buy at Sam’s) and no stopping at Walmart to look for more Valentine decorations and home we went!!
Everyone helped to unload the truck and then AS and AR joined other kids at the playground.  Ron, Azzy and I labeled and put away the groceries.  Ron helped me put up some red lights…that’s when I found out I need one more set…I will take a picture and post what I’m doing once I get the 3rd set of lights and then it was shower and prayer time for the kidlets.
All in all it’s been a good day, we are all just a bit tired.
Hopefully we will all sleep better tonight and wake refreshed and rested in the morning.
Tomorrow is Sunday School, church and football!!!  
SeaHawks play the Packers…it should be a good game!!!
Oh and maybe take down some more of the Christmas decorations.
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Do you still have Christmas decorations up?
Do you decorate for Valentines Day? A lot or a little?
If you don’t decorate for Valentine’s Day
what is the next holiday you decorate for?

Time to Write Before Today Get’s Away From Me

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I am exhausted…I think 4 mornings of getting up at 5a is taking its toll…
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it started yesterday evening…I fell into bed before 9p
and when the alarm went off at 5a this morning I just wanted to stay in bed and had a flash I hadn’t written a blog post yesterday ~ UGH ~ 
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I didn’t…I got up, washed my face with cold water, that seemed to help a bit and started my day.
I fixed a bottle of water
and sat down with my Bible, my pens, my planner, my daily devotional,  and a prayer book I got from my bestie…I gather everything pictured and a cup of coffee or like this morning my bottle of water
and snuggle into my recliner.
I love the first paragraph of the intro into the Pocket Prayers for Mom ~ “Hello, my name is Max.  I’m a recovering prayer wimp.  I doze off when I pray.  My thoughts zig, then zag, then zig again.  Distractions swarm like gnats on a summer night.  If ADD applies to prayer, I am afflicted.  When I pray, I think of a thousand things I need to do.  I forget the one thing I set out to do:
PRAY!…”
When I opened this book the other day I felt like this guy gets me…I feel like such a failure so often when it comes to my prayer time and was so encouraged that I was not alone!!! And was super excited and thankful that my Bestie had thought of me…this little book is a wonderful gem.  The introduction is 10 pages!!!  and I have only gotten through the first three…tomorrow will be more reading…like the “Discovering Joy in Philippians” study that I am using, I am going at my own pace.  I have learned if I set these gigantic goals I will fail so I am learning, finally at 62 to set the pace and remember life is a marathon not a sprint!!!
I spent about forty-five minutes this morning with the Lord.
Here is a look at yesterday and today’s prayerful journal…the place I write by hand…
nothing fancy, just notes, scriptures and thoughts.
As you can see yesterday I wrote a bit more, today a little less,
some days the whole page is filled up with no room to write down happenings of the day.
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and that is what matters!!!
This morning I was reminded again to FOCUS on what I need to focus on, don’t worry about what others are doing or not doing and reminding myself that worrying really doesn’t get me anywhere…and how true that was for me when Jamie was in Iraq…I spent most of the year he was there worried sick, I was paralyzed a lot of the time, cried a lot of the time and looking back I can’t really tell you what I did do for most of that year…well like I said above…
I cried and worried myself sick!!!
And to keep my TRUST in the Lord
and know that He knows what I am dealing with.
In the corner of my planner this morning I wrote
“Remember God CHOSE me!!
Be tenderhearted (soft like a marshmallow)
Extend mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience
Lord help me to demonstrate these things in my actions and interactions.
Be faithful and consistent!!!”

I have had a great day…spent time with my hubby, 
had breakfast with my framily,
worked on some stuff on the computer, 
took a nap ~ thank you Ron!!!,
had a good chat with my boss,
had great interactions with the kidlets even during some difficult parenting moments,
laughed with the kidlets before and after school
and had another WIN for dinner…okay it was cold cereal for them
but hey…
it works for me!!
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How about you??
What tools do you use on a daily basis?
Do you find time to laugh even during the difficult moments?
Do you ever eat cold cereal for dinner?
which leads me to
What is your go to dinner when you are tired???