Happily never knowing …

We are a busy family. We always have been. I think it’s because there are so many of us, HA! In my 20 years plus of parenting I have never felt like we have done TOO MUCH. I felt like I have maintained a balance between school, fun, work, rest and health … but not this school year! It’s been crazy and it only got worse as the year marched on.

At the beginning of Spring I sat down and looked at everything on our calendar. To say I was completely overwhelmed, is an understatement. There was just too much going on. Some of it was our norm, but a lot of new things were on our agenda and they came with a lot of learning. Then there were other “one time” events that demanded priority. Throw in holidays, a vacation, college open houses and marathon training and you have the past 8 weeks of our lives. YIKES. At the time I took a deep breath and prayed for health and time in each day to get it all done. And I’m relieved to say that as of this past weekend we got through it! Except for my marathon this coming Sunday. HA, again! Some people might think that would be the worst if it. But not me. I’m looking forward to. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. It absolutely won’t be. I’m saying it’s going to be freeing. I love to run and to be able to go into this week feeling at ease after weeks of stress and wondering how I was going to fit in my training miles … I finally just get to run.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you happily have no idea how you did it!!!

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2018 and Free …

2017 was a year filled with so much LIFE … and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I started 2017 in full recovery mode. My second round of meningitis at the end of 2016 was no less devastating than my first ten years earlier. I knew the healing process I had laid before me. At times that knowledge made it worse. Other times it made it better because I knew what to expect. I think in a way it made me more compassionate to myself. A rarity, indeed. But I wasn’t myself and I loathed it. I spent months in a fog. My days were filled with naps to combat the unrelenting fatigue and lists because my memory was so poor. My anxiety was at an all time high. I dealt with a significant amount of PTSD that came with an intense amount of anxiety. I was frightened I would have another recurrence. And that pain is NO JOKE. Understanding the severity of my encephalopathy was unnerving. No one can figure out how I was functioning “normally” with the amount of brain swelling I had. But I believe that the terrifying drug reactions I had after I got home really pushed me into a whole new level of fear. I literally thought I was dying. I don’t think I had ever been that scared in my life and sadly it has stuck with me. I can still get to that level of panic with even the smallest of triggers. Yes, healing is a long process. But I am happy to have to the opportunity to do it all again. This could have gone a different way for me and my precious family. And I refuse to be anything but grateful. Refuse.

In January 2017 I somehow convinced my doctors to let me train for a marathon. I truly believe that this was a huge part of regaining my strength again. As the days passed I got stronger and stronger. My memory improved and my fatigue got better with each passing day. If ever there was a time in my life to redefine myself, this was it. And it was incredibly liberating. Who could have ever imagined that the very illness that confined me gave me so much room to grow?!?! Definitely, not me!

When I look back on 2017 it is with mixed emotions. My illness and recovery made it hard. But life still happened. And that made it WONDERFUL. I was able to celebrate George’s high school graduation and watch him plan out his future. I was in awe of the growth that I saw in all of my children. Being a part of their daily lives is a gift from God that I will never take granted. NOT EVER. Summer was just straight up FUN. Having all four kids home for the entire summer was something I needed more than anything. Family heals folks, family heals!

Traveling was also a huge part of my 2017. We took lots of little trips and I was blessed with an amazing trip to Alaska. We celebrated birthdays and accomplishments. YAY, I was there and healthy enough to enjoy all of it! In 2017 I even managed to complete all 16 CEUs to keep my nutrition certification. Now THAT was a miracle having struggled with memory issues, HA! There was so much more too. The privilege of having these experiences and all the others often left me feeling overwhelmed. Like “WOW, thanks God! I’m here, alert and actually living this life!” Words can’t capture how I have felt time and time again. “Humbly blessed” comes to mind but it still falls gravely short.

Anyway, my point of writing about all of this is that regardless of the underlying need to heal and recover, life amazingly still engulfed me and took me with it. Despite the tough times I faced I felt an abundance of joy. I loved every difficult and fantastic moment of 2017 and everything in between. And surrendering to my new journey released me and allowed me to redefine who I was … again.

2017 was hard, but it was also beautiful. THAT sums up life in a nutshell. And as long as I have breath I will cherish every moment of it. If 2017 has taught me anything, it was that I do not have to remain tethered to unpleasant circumstances. That my mind, body and soul can still seek and find the freedom that hope gives us even in our darkest of hours.

So I guess that brings me to my 2018 New Year Mantra. Here goes …

Well, I hope you all have a year where you feel FREE!!!

Feeling lucky (and thankful) …

We got into Las Vegas last night and got a huge surprise from our hotel. A room upgrade. Now I have had room upgrades before but this was over the top. They gave us one of their penthouse suites. The generosity and kindness were quite overwhelming. Some days you forget how good people can really be. Today is not one of them.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are feeling lucky (and thankful)!!!

Figuring it out …

G3 is a junior in high school and this week we began our 2016 College Tour Palooza. Today we visited two more universities, California State University, Channel Island and Pepperdine. It was a long day and we are all on a bit of information overload. G3 is very cautious and is extremely thoughtful in his decision making. He is interested in three areas of study: economics, political science and physics. He is also playing with the idea of law school. And we know that ALL of this can change when he wakes up in the morning, HA!

I’ll be honest, requiring children as young as 16, which he is, to pick a field they will work in for … the … rest … of … their … lives … is almost cruel. And it is not something that G3 has taken lightly. Despite his father and I telling him that he can’t possibly do irreparable harm to his education by switching majors, he is still very worried that he will make a “mistake”. Poor kid!

Sadly, the time has come when we MUST consider where he will go to college after he graduates from high school next year. We are using the three majors he is currently interested in as a guide to which colleges we will consider. Ideally we will find colleges that offer all three majors, but we will settle for colleges that have at least two of the three. This way he can switch majors without too much difficulty, if he finds he likes one more than the other.

So this week we began easing him into college hunting. And I am happy to report that it has gone as well as a mom could hope. After three college visits (we visited California State University, Fullerton the other day) his anxiety is fading. He is becoming more comfortable just being on a college campus. He is more confident and the conversations about choosing his future school seem less overwhelming to him. He is finally seeing that being young is his time to consider all his options. To evolve into what feels right. And that changing his course or direction is acceptable. Even if he does it once. Twice. Maybe even three times. He understands that it’s OK to not have all the answers right now, and learning that eventually they will come. As reluctant as G3 was to start this whole process, this evening he turned to me and said, “This was a good day.”

Yep, he’s getting there … and I couldn’t be prouder.

Well, I hope you all had a day where you started to enjoy figuring it out!!!