making the trek

Trekking through life: Faith, family, friends and a whole lot of coffee!

Parenting the bigs March 11, 2017

Filed under: encouragement,Friends,Kids,messy,Parenting,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 10:12 AM

I was listening to one of my podcasts**  on my way to work, Girlfriends by Danielle Bean and one of the feedback messages she had was on the limited amount of blogs for the parents of the bigs…..teens and young adults and it got me to thinking.  So much thinking.  I don’t even think I can fit it ALL in on one post, because my head just doesn’t release my thoughts sometimes….but I’ll give it a try.

Here is where I date myself and on the same hand don’t even care.  (The blessings of the backside of 40, ladies….it is a gift!!)  The advent of technology has me absolutely feeling like an old lady though.  For example,   “back in my day we made friends at the park and playgroups, cell phones were a luxury and if you were dealing with parenting issues you reached out to your group of real life friends.”  You see, internet was sparse back in the old days.  Dial up.  Sloooooooow.  And it was so new that it was just weird–because it was different.  The thought that you could make a community of friends on the internet was just well….a thought best kept to yourself.

Fast forward 15 years and my GOODNESS how times have changed!!

There are amazing communities of faith filled women, Mamas who have been there and done that for advice and Mamas who are trudging through it in solidarity.  We have the double edged sword of social media with all it’s pretty pictures, real life messes, fun videos and videos of what’s really going down in the kitchen at the arsenic hour.  What an amazing and challenging time to be a parent, especially of littles.  The world of evangelization just leveled up, BIG TIME!  And it is a club that I’m not sure if I will ever feel feel comfortable in..trul:   I only snapchat my real life friends, barely instastory and keep my grams pretty tame…facebook, you are mostly dead to me.  True story.

And then you get into the season of the bigs.  At first, I thought that perhaps just not “coming of age” with the combination of internets and parenting makes me a little leary of all things world wide–the discomfort and unfamiliarity of it all.  However, I also found upon further reflection that these babies are now growing into young adults who want the internet on THEIR terms and not of their blogging mother.  And so I resist.  And then, I hear the feedback that reminded me there are so many ways to bless others with this technology and we can all use this to encourage and build up (even though we often see it turn on honesty and genuineness).  So, it’s a balance of protecting the privacy of your growing people and sharing in the gift and challenge of parenting—what works for others, tips and life hacks to grow in faith and realize that we AREN’T THE ONLY ONES dealing with x,  y, and z.

In the past, I have shared some of our trials in this season and have even written on the very painful time of our  son’s episodic struggle with anorexia-type issues and likely I will very soon write about our daughter’s recent depression recurrence.  The fear of being so transparent in a world wide arena holds me back though.  This past week, however, reminded me that we are NOT alone and if blogging helps me process and encourages someone else in the same battle then I will do it.  But first…..Imma gonna pray on the next post.

In the meantime, if you have a second, minute, hour, pray for Leticia Adams  and family whose son ended his battle with depression this week.

St. Dymphna, pray for us.

**Adventures in imperfect living by Greg and Jennifer Willets

Among Women by Pat Gohn

 

Authentic Sisterhood October 30, 2016

Filed under: encouragement,Friends,Life,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 12:25 PM

We are completely out of our routine this Sunday.  Cheer competition has re-routed us.  The girls had to be there by 715 a.m. with hair done, and since I promised a ride to our girl’s BFF that meant out the door by 615 so that we could get to the arena in time to do BFF’s hair (she’s at her dad’s this weekend and needed assistance) and have them on time.  There will be no sleeping in this weekend.  Cue the violins.

So, Mass will be at 6pm tonight which freed up my morning.  Which I promptly filled up with a breakfast date with one of my dearest and oldest BFFs.  (I don’t have to be at the arena until 245pm so plenty of time!)  Sometimes we walk the bridge, paddleboard (ok, that was once, but it was really fun), have sushi or in today’s case:  breakfast.

It was a great breakfast and I realized how blessed I am in my authentic sisterhood.  The kind of friends who are there for you in a snap, the ones you share TMI with, the ones who will call you on your BS and hold you accountable to life and friendship, the ones who will pray with and for you, give you tough love and give you a shoulder.  There is no judgement, only love and truth.

In this life, we have friends spread far and wide and to get to that place of honesty and authenticity takes time and effort and cultivation.  It has taken me years to figure out that sometimes friends come and go and that is just life.  I no longer try to force friendships or do all the work.  It’s mutual effort or it does’t happen and that’s ok, too.  Authentic friends are there with you over the years even if you don’t talk every day or week, maybe visits are infrequent as well, but there is effort.  There is love.  There is a mutual desire to work at the honesty and truth and love that keeps that friendship a priority.

My Hubby is my best friend, confidante and encourager and that is huge and not often the case in marriage.  However, there is something inherently different and important in girlfriends and their point of view, their confidences shared and their encouragement.  Competition has no place in an authentic friendship only shared life.

Yes.  I am blessed.  Friendship with my mom and sister.  My “sisterhood”.  My friends that I’ve had since middle school and grade school.  Friends from early marriage and motherhood from church, from playgroups.  My Christmas list is long, but my true and blessed sisterhood is far smaller, but keepers for life.

Happy Sunday, friends!  Now go make that friend date this week, your heart and soul will thank you!

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

 

Do whatcha gotta do October 29, 2016

Filed under: encouragement,Finances,motivation,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 5:53 PM

Phew!  Just finished a glorious 7 day stretch of working.  In a couple of weeks I’ll do it again.  Because it was available and Christmas is just around the corner!!!

As we continue along on our Dave Ramsey train, one of the most common things people do when working on paying down debt is work more.  Overtime.  Promotion.  2nd job.  Odds and ends.  You do what you have to do.  While I don’t always jump on the overtime train because I do try to blance home and work, this came at a good time.  I mentioned Christmas, but we also have a marriage conference in December and a kiddo going to Europe in June, so yeah,   Getting some of that while it works for our family!  Fortunately, I do enjoy my job and OT for me means working at the hospital and while it is tough, it’s only a few hours and I go home.  Which is great!

The only unfortunate thing is for some reason I woke up at 3 a.m. today.  Tossed and turned for about an hour and threw in the towel at 4 a.m.  Got up, did my daily readings, prayed, finished The Hobbit and about 6 a.m. fell asleep in the chair for an hour.  It was still early enough to walk the dog and get most of the grocery shopping done before I went in to work, so that worked.  Now, I will just be living off the Diet Coke caffeine until bedtime—-which will probably be somewhere around 8:30!!

The blessing is that I HAVE the opportunity to work OT.  If I do what I have to do, then God does the rest.  Consistently.  Truly.  Honestly.  Every time.

Blessings!

 

Ask, seek, knock October 24, 2016

Filed under: encouragement,Faith,Kids,Parenting,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 7:48 PM

With growing kids, I truly want with every fiber of my being to wrap them in bubble wrap and orchestrate their every move, always keeping them close to Jesus and to mama.  However, although I want to do EVERYTHING for them, I know that in doing EVERYTHING for them, I do them an enormous disservice, and so frequently, we step back.  Way back.  Let them go and watch them fail.  Watch them struggle.  It is a painful process to watch sometimes and an internal struggle for the Hubby and I on WHEN to step in.

It is so hard to watch your kids grow through the tough stuff. Sometimes repeatedly.  They do grow though.  So do we.

When they DO succeed, it is with immense joy and celebration and sometimes even awe that we can rejoice with them as they taste the fruits of their labor and perseverance.

I imagine that is how God views us; He lets us go and do our thing, hanging back in case we need Him.  He encourages us through our struggles and cheers our victories.

Yet, He wants us to come to Him in our struggles, to seek His guidance and wisdom to receive His strength to power us through those times of trial.  The times we seek Him out, our struggles seem less lengthy, more manageable; when we try and and tough it out and “do it ourselves”, we often have a long and weary road and our troubles persist long beyond their term.

Let us remember, Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.

Practical application:  19 yo loses his truck key and reaches out to the parental units for assistance, from a random neighbor of a friend because his phone is dead.  Dad brings him his spare key.  An hour away.  On a Sunday night.  No hesitation.  No grumbling.  No guilt trip.  Because he asked.

Practical application:

  • any time
  • any where
  • any thing

One day, maybe I’ll grow up to be as patient as my Hubby.  Until then, I’ll just keep asking.

 

 

 

The recurring battle October 16, 2016

Filed under: Changes,clean eating,encouragement,Uncategorized,weight loss — tracye1 @ 8:00 AM

I have worried about my weight for as long as I can remember.  Probably from middle school on.    When I look back on my school pictures though, I see a normal girl who went through her thick before shooting up phase and later on, in high school, a fit and athletic girl who looked super cute in a bikini.  What the heck was I worrying about my weight for??

Who knows really.  Yes, family drama and divorce and responsibilities far beyond a 14 year old’s capacity probably contributed to emotional eating and the beginning of bad habits.  We can finger point and dissect it a million different ways, but at the end of the day, we all have our battles and my longest-lasting battle definitely comes in the form of food.

Fast forward many moons and 4 kids and I continue to battle those demons.  My Hubby is amazing and supportive and certainly loves me whether I’m fluffier or more fit and I am grateful for that.  The truth is, I have seasons where I do better and others where I don’t give a rat’s a** and just give into the yoga pants on the daily.  In spite of the support and encouragement of family and friends.  There is always a battle present and it is exhausting.

At this time in my life, it’s not about being a size 2, I mean my skeleton isn’t designed for that.  And I’m OK with that.  What IS true is that I’m just uncomfortable.  I’m tired.  All those years of taking care of patients who tell me “don’t get old” and “I wish I would have taken better care of myself when I was younger”, well, that is getting to me.  I see friends and patients who are fighting cancer and I know that we fight our best fight when we are at our strongest:  mentally, physically, spiritually.  Most days I’m 2 out of 3, I want 3 of 3. That is not too much to ask and the time has come to put these beasts down.  For good.

So.  Here I go again.  Changing things up.  While I won’t say it’s a “diet” so much, mostly because I don’t do well on diets, but certainly changing my eating up.  More Paleo.  Ish.  A friend introduced me to Mark’s Daily Apple  and I really like his approach.  So for me, the focus is more FOOD food, less processed food and keeping my carbs under 100g a day.  I’m using myFitnesspal to track my choices and my fitbit to track my moving.

Technically I’m on week 2, however, week 1 got sidetracked by Hurricane Matthew and you just go on with your bad self if you can stick to cleaner eating while stuck in a 2 Br/2 Ba house with 7 people, 1 dog, 1 cat and the uncertainty of a massive storm potentially getting ready to wipe out your city and flood your neighborhood.  As for me, well…….I did my best, but I won’t lie; hte candy corn and the iced cookies, they went down.  Timber.  This week, however, power back up.  Home good.  Debris mostly cleaned.  Closing in on “normal” and it was a good strong week.  Slight “cheating” today, but not horrific and verdict is:  down 3 pounds total since I started.  I’ll take it.  It’s time to put this battle to rest.

 

Letting go of perfect October 13, 2016

Filed under: encouragement,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 9:47 PM
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I saw an instagram pic on Elizabeth Foss‘s account today which was an encouragement in letting go of the journey for perfectionism.  You know the one, where you are running yourself and your family ragged doing everything and doing everything perfectly until you hit that snag and BOOM down comes the house of cards, leaving us wilted, frustrated and maybe even angry.

Elizabeth’s picture reminded me that we are our own worst enemies.  No one is tallying up our laundry piles, dirty dishes, extracurricular activities and perfect baked goods for the umpteenth bake sale.  We are the ones doing that, no one else.

The picture was perfectly timed for me today.  Hubby and I both had evening meetings tonight and somehow shuffling our daughter to cheer practice in between.  It’s been a long week and frankly, it’s been a long two weeks!  In this picture, it triggered something in me….the world WILL go on if I miss the occasional meeting (actually it will go on if I miss every meeting) and our evening will become a lot less hectic and rushed.  And I was able to give myself that permission.  Permission to let it go, permission to stop running for a minute and just catch my breath.  I was able to make dinner for my family (really good, see tomorrow’s post for recipe!), not stress about getting our daughter to practice–which was great since the Hubs hit traffic and never would have made it in time.  Time to shower.  In fact, Hubby also skipped his meeting.

It wasn’t a total bon-bon night, but it was a good breather and exercise in letting go of perfect.  An exercise I come back to time and again.

So, keep those Instagrams pretty but hey, let’s keep it real, too.  Life IS good, but it sure isn’t perfect and there is much encouragement in the reality.

 

It’s been a long time coming…. July 16, 2016

Filed under: encouragement,Family,Gratitude,Life,Travel — tracye1 @ 10:05 AM

I totally get the whole snowbird concept now.  I also realize that I could ABSOLUTELY be a snowbird.  mid-July with windows open, yoga pants on and 2nd cup of coffee on the front porch with my dog mauling a tennis ball—I’m in.

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With 3 of our 4 kids we left at 1 a.m. after working all day.  Hubs managed about a 4 hour nap and I grabbed a couple of hours on the couch.  Our son came home from work and we loaded into the truck.  3 teenagers.  1 extremely confused, 65 pound 10 month old “puppy” and the Hubs and I.  A stop at Wawa for coffee and we hit it.  About 5 gas/pit stops/puppy walks/driver swaps and 17 hours later we pulled into my Mom and her husband’s home.  Just in time for dinner.  Play time with their 2 Newfoundlands trying to “love” our pup.  Showers.  Firefly spotting.  Chatting on the back porch.  And glorious, horizontal rest in cozy beds.

In the a.m.,  we were recharged.  Hiked with the pup up through a farm and then hit the road for another 7 hours.  I will say that I am a beach girl, but the mountains…….a seriously close 2nd place.  THAT said, driving white-knuckled THROUGH the mountains during a horrific thunderstorm is not my favorite and will thus keep mountains in 2nd place.  However, once arrived, the rain stopped, pizza was eaten and rest was had by all.

Yesterday, the hubs and the pup and I started off with a hike along the river.  Later, we hiked with the kids through Lost River Gorge and caverns followed by a 3/4 mile hike STRAIGHT UP the side of the mountain.  None of us completed it.  The youngest and I quit after the first boulder ascent (she was exhausted and I know the limitations of my knee), our oldest daughter lasted another 20 minutes (about 1/3 of the way) and the hubs and boy came down not long after (perhaps at the 1/2 way point).  ‘Twas no joke.  Afterward, we rode a bit further to a lake we passed on the way in (during the rain) to explore.   A phenomenal refresher after all that climbing.

DCIM100GOPRO

Beaver Pond

Spaghetti dinner, salad and bread.

Evening moose spotting (we saw one!) and ice cream and we wrapped that day UP!

We are missing our oldest son who is house and cat sitting and working.  Adulthood is hard.  Sometimes you figure it out at 18, sometimes it’s later.  And sometimes you get a “re-do” and have that 2 week vacation that you’ve dreamed of for years.  Somehow life works itself out.  One way or another.

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If you look real hard, you will see my Hubs swimming out to the rock.  You would have to look even harder to find a happier man right now.

Psalm 118:24  This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

 

 

 
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