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‘Tis the Season

November 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

Thanksgiving might be over, but why do we have to wait an entire year just to reflect on the things that we are thankful for? I know that I may not always remember, but I try every Thursday to post something I am thankful for, you might have seen me use #ThankfulThursday on occasion. I want to exhibit a spirit of gratitude all year-long instead of just waiting for the season to come around. So even though it’s the day after Thanksgiving, here are a few things that I am thankful.

Coffee mugs that put a smile on my face every morning

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My child and his love for all things Star Wars

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Finally knowing why my hands do this…

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Seeing the joy in my child’s eyes when he met Mickey Mouse

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Growing up with an amazing family… 

And finding super awesome old pictures of your childhood, that I am sure they will be so grateful I posted! :) 

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Having married my high school sweetheart and getting to walk through life with the most kind, patient and loving person by my side

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For having a husband who wants to play super heroes with our child. 

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For that moment when my son saw the ocean for the first time

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My forever accessory to life

My forever accessory to life

When my face is rash free, my joints are treating me nice and my fingers don’t go crazy white I can forget that I have an illness. Mostly when I have had weeks and even months of feeling better than usual. The thing about Lupus is that majority of the time it doesn’t show through on the outside. I look just like everyone else, I seem to be healthy but reality is far from that. There are times when I look into the mirror and think back to that moment I heard “You have Lupus” and find myself doubting those very words. Could it really be true? I have felt so good lately. I look okay. Maybe it was all in my head. But those thoughts come to a sudden jolt when I am reminded of my disease every day by my twice-a-day pill organizer. What twenty-something has a pill organizer? Just those that need one..

The truth is I am not in denial of my diagnosis. I’m actually okay with it. But sometimes I find myself looking and feeling like I used to and then everything becomes surreal. When I actually stop to think about those words “You have Lupus” it’s hard to believe. Not because I wish it weren’t so or because I fear what is ahead. It’s hard to believe because who thinks that they will have their world altered by words like that? No one. I seem to be healthy, and sometimes I even feel that way. But then I get reminded of just how invisible this illness really is when I wake up with achy joints and the beautiful butterfly rash to accent my face for the next several days and my stark white fingers that are my winter accessory. Truthfully it’s as simple as this… I don’t think about my disease all the time and if I am having several good days in a row I forget about this part of my life, that I have Lupus. But, I think that is a good thing because it’s pretty great that people don’t see me and see my illness. I will talk to people about it with all honesty, but I like knowing that it doesn’t have to be me. I think it’s okay to forget about your diagnosis because every day when I take my morning and evening medicine that is enough of a reminder. I don’t need to dwell on it.

I do not fear what is ahead. Rain or shine, God Has plans far greater than mine, and that includes my disease!

I am sure that we have all heard the debates about whether moms should work outside the home. I have heard it said that women can’t win, if they work outside the home then they must love their kids less. If they stay home then they don’t want to contribute to society or to their family financially. If we listen to society and these debates then yes, women can’t win. There is no way that we could please everyone with these two options. But, it really shouldn’t be about society and what others think of you as a parent. It is about what God thinks, what your family needs and what you feel about yourself! I left my job a month before my son was born and thought that I would be a stay-at-home mom forever. It’s funny how we make plans for ourselves but God’s plans usually end up in the opposite direction. Here are 10 things I have learned from being a working mom.

  1. Your Child Loves You! My little guy loves me and that love did not change because I went back to work. I visit him every day at lunch and he always has a bright smile and begins to tell me with excitement about his day. His love is unconditional. For that I am grateful. It is all too easy as a mom to make ourselves feel guilty for a number of things. But, our children see us more graciously than we see ourselves.
  2. More Intentional. I have always tried to be intentional with our family time. I never wanted to be the family that all we did was watch TV together. But, it is easy to do when you stay _MG_2659at home all day. Once I began to work outside the home I have found that our family time became more intentional. Less TV time and more playing games, going to the park, evening walks and lots of lego time. It’s not that we were less intentional before, it’s more that we cherish every moment and want to make it count. Even if it is simply hanging out at the house running around like robots.
  3. God Knows Best! Our plans are just that, they are ours. God’s plans typically will differ from what we planned. But, I have learned through the years that He always has a reason for what He does and His plans are always better than I could have done myself.
  4. Making Friends. There is nothing more special than watching my son make friends! He gets excited every day when he walks in to a room full of his best buddies. In our families situation it was not always easy to spend time with friends when I wasn’t working because we are a one car family. Many days we were stuck at home. This has offered a chance for my little guy to play with friends on a regular basis.
  5. No Lesser. I do not feel that being a working parent makes you any lesser of a parent than staying at home. Both roles are extremely important and both roles work hard. It’s easy to tell yourself that you are lesser because you are not home, but this is a lie that we are telling ourselves. Remember, our child loves us unconditionally and sometimes working is what your family needs. Doing what your family needs does not make you lesser! _MG_3138
  6. Always A Mom. This is plan and simple but sometimes you just need to remind yourself that you are a mom no matter if you work from an office or if you work from home. Moms love their children, look out for their best interest and care for their needs. This is true of working moms just as it is true of stay at home moms.
  7. The Mold. There is no perfect mold. Just because you have friends that work or friends that stay home doesn’t mean that you must do what they do. Sometimes what your family needs is not what you even expected. Every family is different, every situation is different and only you know the needs of your family. Don’t feel guilty for knowing the needs of your family!
  8. No One Is Perfect. You will not be perfect in either situation. If you work, you will have days that you feel like a failure as a parent. If you stay at home you will have days that you feel like a failure as a parent. The parenting thing is not easy. Don’t believe the lie that other people have it together, because we are all learning as we go. We are all doing the best that we can, but the truth is that no one is perfect. We will mess up. But, instead of feeling guilty we should lift each other up and support one another because parenting is hard!
  9. Struggles. The grass is not greener on the other side. I have done both and have thoroughly enjoyed both. But, each come with their own struggles, even if you can’t see it when looking in. Working you struggle with juggling your time, stress of the job, and all things parenting. Staying at home you struggle with all things parenting, being isolated, and often times a tight budget. Let’s stop putting up a front and just be transparent with each other. It’s okay to say that you are having  a bad day!
  10. Calling. I firmly believe that if God called you to it, then your family will not be content and thriving unless you are obedient. This is true in either scenario. No matter if God called you to work or if God called you to stay home, you will only ever find true joy being in the will of God!

 

What The Future Holds

October 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

Apparently Mars will be colonized. Seriously! In 2023 the colonists will leave with a one way tickets to Mars. Wow! My heart races as I type those words. Colonize Mars. I am certain that if I cried the last time I flew I would probably be hysterical or passed out flying through space. Ugh! That is something I have zero desire to do! I love a good adventure, in fact I am a nomad at heart. But, a one way ticket to another planet… no thanks!

blog pictureWe have all watched movie after movie of Earth colonizing other planets. It’s now not just a possibility but a reality! This is just crazy! My child is going to grow up in a world where Pluto doesn’t know whether it is a planet and people are living on Mars. WHAT? It’s a totally different world than what I grew up in. Everything will be at his fingertips, and there will be an entire population making their own world far beyond what was a possibility when I was a child. Hashtags that document life events, Facebook that has become the new family photo album, whatever question you might have answered with the tiny phone in your pocket. I have no idea what his world will look like by the time 2023 approaches and people are launching into space headed towards their new lives.

Our world is rapidly changing and what was once my world will probably look more like the dark ages to him. I can see it now,

“Mom, you know you only have to think my name and your phone will dial it. You’re making this harder than it has to be.”

“Well sweetie in my day we actually had to dial on a touch screen phone.”

“What is dialing?”

I know, I am exaggerating a little. But, the world is ever-changing and when my son is my age he will probably be having the same revolutionizing thoughts that I am having…What will the world look like in the future? What kind of world will my kids grow up in?

It’s probably safe to say that I am not the first parent or the first generation to think that the world is changing faster than I can keep up. And I am sure that I won’t be the last to feel this way.

Go On, Admit It.

September 7, 2013 — Leave a comment

This is not an easy post to write. You see it is very common for people diagnosed with any disease to struggle with depression. But, no one wants to talk about it. Why? Because if you admit to having dealt with this issue then suddenly you will be seen as an emotionally unstable basket case. At least that is what we believe others will see.

typewriterThe truth is, it’s very common to deal with depression. In fact the Lupus Foundation of America states that “between 15 and 60 percent of people with a chronic illness will experience clinical depression.” That is a significant number! So why do we fear to mention this “symptom” of our disease? Because we are scared that others will view us differently. 

I have dealt with depression. There I said it. And honestly it’s not even easy for me to admit to you right now. I am actually sitting here thinking about your response as I type this.

At first I didn’t even realize that I was dealing with depression. I thought that I was emotional for one reason or another. When I finally began to realize what I was dealing with I didn’t want to admit it out loud because saying it means that it’s a reality. The thing is I wasn’t depressed about any one thing, I would find myself crying for no reason at all and frustrated that I couldn’t figure out why. I struggled understanding what was happening because I never really had a melt down after being diagnosed. There was a peace that I felt when I heard the words Lupus. There was finally a name to the problems I was having, and I knew that everything was in God’s hands. But, what I didn’t take into account was the changes that happened days, weeks and even months ahead. Fatigue that caused our family to end a Saturday outing earlier than normal, nausea that lasted all day, painful joints that left me sitting on the couch with heating pads all evening. It could be much worse, but it was change that I didn’t see coming. I also now know that certain medications can have a side effect of depression. Eventually my emotions began to shine through and I was able to see that yes, I was dealing with depression.

I don’t believe that depression is something that can ever truly be a hurdle that you leap over and never come to again with a chronic illness. The difference is that once you know it can creep up along your path at anytime you know what to do with it. For me, I look at it as another way to help others. You see I truly believe that my Lupus is more than just an illness. It is a ministry. If I didn’t battle with the things that come with my disease then I wouldn’t be able to encourage others in the way that I can connect with them now. So I write this to you today to say that it is okay to not be perfect! It is okay to admit that our illness stinks! It is okay to admit that your having a rough day! Because then we can stand together and fight our illnesses side by side!