making the trek

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

Anorexia, it’s not just for girls March 11, 2015

Filed under: Changes,Faith,Family,Kids,Lessons,Life,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 10:13 PM
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I write this in hopes that a family dealing with this on the “boy’s side” of things might be encouraged and possibly even be helped.  Although, I will absolutely preface this by saying I am NOT an expert here.  What I AM, is a mom with a rock-solid mother’s intuition.

It started rather normally enough with a 15 year-old entering summer just as his body went through that growth spurt that 15 year-old boys do….5ish inches upward in a matter of 3 months.  Summer for this particular child also meant days filled with skateboarding all over the city with friends.  Pretty much EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.  ALL.  DAY.  LONG.  And I am talking 7 a.m until dark or later.  A hearty protein smoothie to start his day off followed by hours of skating with bananas, water and protein bars were a recipe that concluded 10 weeks later with a 6 footer at just under 130 pounds.  Down about 20 pounds and up roughly 5 inches.  Truthfully, this kid was so busy all summer having fun that I don’t think we grasped the hugeness of the growing and changing until summer was almost over.  I mean there were small signs throwing up red flags for me, but not enough to convince me I wasn’t just being a paranoid mother.  Baggy shorts and big t-shirts hide a lot.  or a little.  We weren’t really worried though because when you burn those calories all day and grow at the same time, it’s pretty obvious what is going to happen.  But still.

Anyway, the pediatrician didn’t seem concerned, even when I point-blank asked if this might be a bit too much, too quick.  So it must be alright.  Right?

When school started back up, our sophomore had a new-found enjoyment in his new physique as well as an interest in eating cleaner.  It was a great opportunity to have many, MANY, MANY talks about food as fuel, getting enough calories, exploring new recipes, hitting the farmer’s market and finding new food blogs (a favorite being chocolatecoveredkatie).  So you just don’t complain when you have a kid whipping up “healthy” desserts and various brussel sprout recipes.  Because broccoli is good for you.  And still that nagging persists.

A disturbing trend started about roughly the same time with an obsession involving food challenge videos on you tube.  The crazy ones…the cross fit dudes who sit down and eat 10,000 calories in a sitting….that kind of crazy.  I lost count and I lost interest after the first 2 or 3, but I didn’t stop taking mental notes of the fascination and the jealousy that wrestled together in the mind of this shrinking boy.

Slowly, other subtle things were occurring such as not partaking in the homemade cookies, being critical of what other family members were eating, small amounts of food being eaten at meal times, “I’m not that hungry” out of the mouth while the eyes linger longingly, etc, etc, etc.

Then came Halloween Horror nights.  Creepy enough but then apparently our zombie lover had a bad Moe’s experience which ended the HHN trip 2 hours in.  Fortunately, our good friend lives close enough that he picked him up and brought him home to vom and sleep.  2 days later we were in the ER with dehydration and down to 117 pounds.  It just got real. And that’s a deep, dark, ugly hole.

Thus the beginning of the delicate dance of addressing the issue and guiding him back to normal.   Many nights the Hubs and I lay in bed talking about what the hell do we do.  Neither of us had an answer.  And, I might add, it is NOT the time to get up and start googling boys and anorexia.  Sleep and peace left on a vacation together after that.

I picked the brains of friends throughout the summer and fall.  Friends who are nutritionists, moms, professional athletes, friends who suffered with anorexia and bulimia as kids and lingering body and food issues.  I called around to find counselors that were familiar with boys and anorexic behavior.  Pickings were slim, I’m here to tell you.  By slim, I mean I found one counselor that sounded like he could potentially help us.  Maybe.

The saving grace, and I do mean GRACE (capital GRACE) was that he was open to discussion.  And mama likes to discuss, so we had many discussions with the Hubs letting me take the wheel on this as he wrestled with his own demons of where/how/why this was happening and the helplessness that is so intricately woven in those questions.  While our son could not wrap his head around the physical need for 4,000 calories a day to meet his body’s needs, he DID hear what I was saying.  At some point during a particularly frustrating conversation I flat-out told him that if he kept going with his plan that his body would fail him and he would die.  Something finally clicked.  Just a bit.  The teensiest of a bit.  But the seed was planted.  His response to me was that he didn’t appreciate that I thought he would kill himself.  To which I had to re-explain myself that it wouldn’t be intentional, however, if he didn’t start giving his body what it needed calorically and nutritionally, his body would take it where it could get it.  Some fat here, when that ran out….some muscle here…and the heart, well….it’s a big ole muscle and if you take from it, it just doesn’t work.

He agreed to meet a sports nutritionist that I knew from the Y.  Thank you sweet baby, Jesus!!  We met monthly, measured, discussed, strategized and I just sat back and listened.  The hubs and I could want it for him all day long but he had to take ownership and do the work.  It was a grueling one step forward and four steps back process.  By about month 3 or 4 he was finally making some gains.  Up about 7 pounds and with a new-found vegan diet that made him feel healthy and satiated and less conscious of what he was eating, he was slowly coming back to us.

This past fall he bought a Jeep Cherokee.  Working at Dunkin Donuts pays off (the irony, I know…believe me, I know) and the kid finally had wheels.  After the wheels came dreams of “‘muddin”” and he joined a jeep club.  His first foray out with the club finished with a good old-fashioned BBQ in the woods.  Our vegan came home ecstatic, adrenaline-rushed and a belly filled with chicken.  And cookies and ribs.  He declared a vegan death.

The reality lies somewhere in between though, as he feels most healthy and energetic when he sticks to a mostly vegan and clean diet, however, he has FINALLY embraced the fact that he doesn’t need to firmly lie in one camp or another, but can incorporate them all to meet his needs.  He’s found a happy medium.  He’s also found a new job.  Pizza delivery dude.

So was he a full-blown anorexic?  As I stated earlier, I’m no professional, but he hit many of the behaviors solidly on the head. There was no obvious trauma or drama during that time to pinpoint why.  Somehow, his grades never suffered.  This kid may be in the current state of Prodigal Son with the Lord, but his parents, never stopped praying.  Their friends, they prayed.  His siblings, they prayed.  Holy water…you know it.  Blessed salt….right on in that dinner.  There is no giving up.  There is no black or white answer.  Eating disorders can differ with each and every person.

For now, he’s good.  Is he “cured”?  He’s finally up to a 32ish waist from a 28 and I no longer see every vertebrae in his spine when he’s shirtless.  However, I’ll say that addiction runs deep in this family, both sides.  Addiction and control, they go hand in hand and he will always struggle with control.  Of course we all do on some level and at some point, he will be mature enough to know it’s a demon he will always need to acknowledge.  As for right now it’s one day at a time.

I’ll take it.  2 years later.  I’ll take it.

 

New job Jazz July 20, 2014

Filed under: Changes,Faith,Family,God,Life,Marriage — tracye1 @ 9:26 PM
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Last week I told y’all I am leaving my current job to start with a new company.  Now, I’ll give you some background.  It’s all very God-lead, in my opinion, and I’m just standing back amazed as it all unfolds.

I’ve been intermittently keeping an eye on a local hospital for job openings for some fill-in work on weekends for quite some time now and have barely gotten a bite; talk about your ego bruising.  Once again, a PRN (fill in position) came open, my friend let me know and so I said to the Hubs, “this is the last time I put in and then I’m done.”.  A week later he encouraged me to send the follow-up email to the director, to which I grudgingly did so, lo and flippin’ behold, she emailed me back and followed up with a phone call to set up an interview the following Monday.  The interesting part on the phone call was that she was giving me a pretty detailed time-line of interview, decision, orientation, 2 weeks notice, yada, yada, yada.  I hung up with an appointment and totally confused as to why on earth I’d need to give notice for a PRN position.

Obviously I went home that night and scoured the website for other openings that maybe I missed.  Sure enough, a full-time position at a new facility of the hospital’s was posted.  What?  Full-time?  Not even on my radar.  This was going to be interesting.  Now I was just curious as to where this could go and IF I would follow through.  If it was meant to be….it would.

I had my interview, which felt comfortable and easy and AN HOUR LONG!!!  Waited a whole week and finally, FINALLY got the call.  They picked ME!!!  The Hubs and I had some decisions to make, and I had a feeling that this might be God’s timing and I would be best suited to follow Samuel’s lead and follow along.  I also had a deja vu moment from when I bought the house…read HERE   and that worked out beyond my wildest dreams, so yes, I was absolutely curious.

And so, in the end, I leave a job that has been very good to me for the last 10 years and step out into a company that can offer me more opportunity for future growth.  The craziest thing is that both the Hubs and I are completely and totally at peace with this decision.  It will require some schedule shifting and kid-compliance, probably multiple times over the next several months as the center opens and hits its stride, but everyone is on board.

So, change is a comin’ and even though I don’t love change, I’m ready to embrace what the future holds.

As a bonus, I get some catch up time with friends across the state in the interim, so #WINNING!!

 

 

Changes. Challenges. July 18, 2014

Filed under: Changes,encouragement,Faith,Family,God,Life — tracye1 @ 10:00 AM
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Door challenge

Door challenge

I absolutely won’t be trying this #doorchallenge anytime soon….my aching back just watching these girls get into this position and then reverse and then again.  But they did it.  And grammed it.  Challenge: complete.

My own challenge comes in form of a new job.  Sort of.  What?  Yup.  After a decade with the same company and my degree just sitting on its haunches, I happened into a position with the competition (also a far larger organization).  While, the initial position is essentially a lateral move, the potential for growth is better and with a large, well-run organization there are countless other benefits.

I can’t explain it, but there is a tremendous sense of peace in this decision both with myself and with the Hubs.  The peace, I am certain, lies in the job itself opening to a Full-time position when I wasn’t even looking.  Good friends, old friends, who unknown to me at the time, were background cheerleaders to the powers that be before and after my interview.  The timing is quick, with little time to second-guess and drag it out.  Basically, knock, open, go in.   God is in control.  Fully.  With no doubt.  And I’ve been here before, when He opened the door to our house.  Sometimes, those prayers of “Please….God….I am dense and thick and need you to make this clear as day”, really DO get answered.  Not always right away, not always the way I think I want them to be answered, but it does happen.  And it’s just WOW.  Really.  Wow.

I mean, I know NO one at this office.  It’s brand new, Opening day is September 8.  My 7 minute drive and 5 mile world just opened up to about a 30-ish minute commute and a 20-something mile world.  What.  The.  Heck.  It’s all good though and clearly I’ll have more time for phone calls and podcasts with additional time in the car.

It will be an interesting year ahead and I’m excited to see what lies ahead.  It’s time.  And I’m up for the challenge!  So, here’s hoping I’m hopping from the fire to the pan and not vice versa!

 

 

Icing on the cake June 9, 2014

Last weekend we celebrated our 20th Anniversary with a vow renewal and gathering afterward…you can see more about that here, but the thing I loved the most was being surrounded by our family and friends.  Now.  There are some of you reading this that might be sad because you missed it (and it WAS great), BUT this is NOT a slight or rant on you missing it.  It was our fortune to be married in June.  Who knew that 20 years later June would be the month of finishing school, graduations and the general crazy busy that ends school and begins summer?  Who?  Not my 24-year-old bride self, that’s for sure.  Anyhoo…….as much as we would have LOVED to have each and every one of our family and friends present, it’s just not a reality.  Life and all that.    That said……

The people who were supposed to be there were.  It was a neat gathering.  ALL of our kids (and with our 16 yo’s recent crisis of faith–that says a lot).  Many of Hubby’s AA friends came, and that is a diverse group of pretty cool people.  Truly.  We had friends come from church, and for the few friends we have there….that was a nice feeling.  Hubby’s parents were there.  Probably one of the very few times my father in law made it to church.   A continued grace in healing of a strained relationship.  My grandparents were there, right up front with us and my grandmother kept her claustrophobia at bay so that they could be on the front lines where they have always been.  Fraternity brothers, to which I can never say enough good about this group of guys.  Friends from our old city who drove 4 hours for a date weekend; this was an extra special because of the time we were able to spend with them the night before catching up.

My fear of getting up in front of the ENTIRE.  9 A.M. MASS. to renew our vows was real.  When Hubs started getting emotional prior to Mass, he almost brought me over the edge (so I had to threaten him with bodily harm and eggplant…he doesn’t like eggplant).  During the ceremony, I remembered our priest’s advice and just kept my eyes on Hubs, and the priest.  It worked.  Thankfully I followed those instructions because toward the end I snuck a peek at the parishioners and holy cow!  The looks of love and sweet smiles on their faces.  NOW I know why our church opts for this manner of vow renewal.  Talk about a witness.  I would never have made it had I looked out.  Also, the fact that our only response was “I do” rather than repeat the entire wedding vows was a HUGE help.  Death by publicly speaking heart-felt vows and all.

The graces were real.  The love was real.  The friends are real.  The icing on the cake.

Now hopefully life will get real and get our friends here throughout the summer for some visitin’!!!

 

Marriage=Hard June 7, 2014

wedding

Anyone remember their Pre-Cana weekend?  Classes?  Some, all or none?  My memory is pretty crapola these days…I blame multitasking, 4 kids and age.  Maybe I should do more Sudoku or 20, 40, 8 or whatever that game is.  Gingko?  Whatever…getting off track here.

I vaguely remember our Pre-Cana meetings with our Priest as more of a checking off of the boxes and looking back I’m certain he probably wanted to forehead smack both of us.  We were barely active in the Church and going through the motions, however, clearly the seed was planted because….here we are…20 years later and growing everyday in our Faith, Marriage and family.  It’s been a mind-blowing 20 years.  To say the least.

The thing is, I don’t remember much about Pre-Cana.  I remember a lot of vague, surface discussions.  Discussions on the budget and maintaining a joint checking account were the main things I remember, and that’s it.  NFP?  Not so much.  Marriage being hard?  Not really.  So, whether it is my p.poor memory or my 23 year-old naive self, Pre-Cana didn’t really prepare me or scare me.

I take you to be my  lawfully wedded spouse,  my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

I would have loved if we could have taken an in-depth look at those vows:

  • Lawfully wedded, constant friend.  Your spouse comes first.  Always and forever.  Your best friend.  Girlfriends are second and friends come and go as you move through seasons of life.  Pick wisely and you will never be lonely.
  • Faithful partner.  There is a reason men and women shouldn’t be alone together if they aren’t married.  It’s called a fallen world.  Free will.  Attractions will happen and we are all human; it takes a lot of effort to go from foot loose and fancy free to hitched forever.  It can be overwhelming.  Be honest and be sure you are both up for the task and be ready to decide if you can be forgiving if one or both of you fall.  It’s a tough and enticing world out there and marriage isn’t a deterrent to some.  There’s a reason 50%+ of marriages fail.  And infidelity doesn’t always come in the form of a person.
  • Sickness and health.  You will both get sick.  You will both need caretaking.  Be loving.  Be awesome.  Be kind.  Be thankful you are in this together, because being sick is something no one enjoys.  Being a caregiver is no picnic either.  You’ll both have a turn, be ready.
  • Savor and relish the good times and know that bad times will come.  Be a team.  Fight for each other.  Fight for your marriage.  Life is a constant change, ebb and flow and the better you work together, the stronger your marriage will be.  Dig in.
  • Love unconditionally.  This takes practice.  Every day.  All day.  For life.  Staying in love is work.   Put in the sweat equity.  You’ll reap a harvest far beyond your expectations.
  • Support each other.  Careers change.  Dreams evolve.  Work it together.  Marriage is team work.  Be flexible and be each other’s greatest cheerleader.  You’ll take risks in your careers and when you do it together the reward is so much sweeter.
  • Respect each other.   Criticize in love and in private.  The tongue is a savage beast and those words….well, don’t believe the rhyme…it’s all backwards:  words wound.  Be respectful always in word and in deed.
  • Laugh together.  Often.  Experience life joyfully.  It is far too short to be taken so seriously.  A huge area of weakness for this bride who, far too often gets caught up in all the “must do’s” and details of life.  Laughter is free therapy.
  • Cry together.  Forgiveness is hard.  Loss is hard.  Change is hard.  Life is hard.  There will be tears and if nothing else, hold each other through the storm.
  • Cherish each other.  This is your best friend.  Your life partner.  Your help mate.  Your help meet.  Your other half.  Your better half.  Your worse  half.  Your half.

So maybe Pre-Cana DID cover these…maybe I wasn’t listening….maybe it takes 20 years.

More to come….on marriage and vow renewals….stay tuned! 😉

 

We all need a little help May 7, 2014

Filed under: Catholicism,encouragement,Faith,God,Life,Prayers — tracye1 @ 6:52 AM
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As much as we ALL want to be supermom, superdad, super everything, we really can’t do it all.  Not on our own.  In fact we are the most productive and successful when we receive a helping hand, thought, word.  Today’s video reflection on the USSCB site was dead on.  The Hubs was up before me and told me about it (I generally just do the Daily Readings and occasionally the podcast reflection), so I watched for myself.  On the mark.  Completely.

USCCB Daily Reflection 5/7/14

Happy Humpday y’all!!!

 

Divine Mercy and Pope Saints April 27, 2014

Today we are blessed with 2 new saints to our army of intercessors, friends to pray with us, friends to pray for us and friends who were once Pope.  Jenny is hosting a little gathering of memories of Saint Pope John Paull II and there are a ton of great stories, photos and pictures,  a great way to remember the man and to celebrate the saint!

My contribution contains no personal photos of up close and in person with JPII and no earth-shattering and profound moments except that when I came back to my faith in the late 90s, early 2000s, John Paul II was Pope, when my world fell apart in 2003, John Paul II was Pope, when we entered our season of separation and survival, John Paul II was Pope, as we ended our first school year in that season, John Paul II passed away.  The foundation had been poured and the example of his own mercy, forgiveness and love for humanity penetrated deep into my own heart and has since been lived out in ways that can only be accredited to “By the Grace of God” through the living example of Pope John Paul II.  Not only did he pray for mercy for the whole world (see a portion of the Divine Mercy Chaplet below),  he sought to bring his whole flock to the faith and love of Christ and he fought hard for the youth, knowing that the  young are our future.  Perhaps that is the message that sticks with me the greatest.  And so today, Divine Mercy Sunday, we welcome 2 new Saints and rejoice in the example of faith in their lives and hopefully go forward sharing our own faith with all we come in contact with, that we may all come to love and trust in the saving power of Christ in His endless Mercy, Compassion and Grace.

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

I’ve tried to find out a bit more about Saint John XXIII as well and just loved his quotes I found this morning on the Catholic News Service…because we should all find some humor in life (which I often struggle with among the daily “must-dos”)!


1. Visiting a hospital he asked a boy what he wanted to be when he grew up. The boy said either a policeman or a pope. “I would go in for the police if I were you,” the Holy Father said. “Anyone can become a pope, look at me!”

2. “It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about the serious problems afflicting the world and I tell myself, I must talk to the pope about it. Then the next day when I wake up I remember that I am the pope.”

3. In reply to a reporter who asked, “How many people work in the Vatican?”, he reportedly said: “About half of them.”

4. When a cardinal complained that a rise in Vatican salaries meant a particular usher earned as much as the cardinal, the pope remarked: “That usher has 10 children; I hope the cardinal doesn’t.”

5. When he went to visit a friend at the nearby Hospital of the Holy Spirit in the evening, the nun answering the door said: “Holy Father, I’m the mother superior of the Holy Spirit.” He replied: “Lucky you! What a job! I’m just the ‘servant of the servants of God.'”

6. Not long after he was elected pope, Blessed John was walking in the streets of Rome. A woman passed him and said to her friend, “My God, he’s so fat!” Overhearing what she said, he turned around and replied, “Madame, I trust you understand that the papal conclave is not exactly a beauty contest.”

7. He once wrote: “There are three ways to face ruin: women, gambling and farming. My father chose the most boring one.”

8. When he was cardinal and patriarch of Venice, the future pope was talking with a wealthy city resident and told him, “You and I have one thing in common: money. You have a lot and I have nothing at all. The difference is I don’t care about it.”

9. When a journalist asked the then-patriarch of Venice what he would be if he could live his life all over again, the future pope said, “Journalist.” Then he said with a smile, “Now let us see if you have the courage to tell me that, if you could do it all over again, you’d be the patriarch!”

10. A Vatican official told the pope it would be “absolutely impossible” to open the Second Vatican Council by 1963. “Fine, we’ll open it in 1962,” he answered. And he did.

Today as we welcome these Saints we can pray,

“Saint John Paul II and Saint John XXIII, pray for us and the whole world.”

 

 
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