Anxiety

I have never really been a chill person. When I get passionate about something I am all in. Sometimes I do get bored or lose interest and I move on, but sometimes it is more like an obsession. I am not sure I should admit that publicly, but if you know me, you already know that. 

Over the past 3 + years, healthcare and health insurance has become really important in my family. I realized as the new year started, this is the first year that we may not hit our out of pocket maximum in 3 years. (Yeah!) I also realize how thankful I am to have healthcare. The first week of 2016, our medical bill would have been over $13,000 for 1 chemo treatment for Eddie. I don’t even know what people without insurance do in that case. 

Obamacare is far from perfect, but we need a system in place for healthcare because we all need it at sometime. In 2009, I had surgery that would have cost over $50,000 without insurance. I could not have afforded that. 

My concern is that congress wants to appeal the law without a suitable replacement. While I am fortunate to have a good plan and insurance is offered at both mine and Eddie’s job, I get nervous about things like pre-existing condition coverage, whether my kids could afford insurance on their own, and talk about capping employer plans. 

The thought of 20 million people losing coverage makes me anxious. Let’s encourage lawmakers to have a solution before they repeal the coverage we have. Unintended consequences make me anxious. 

Eating My Feelings

I just scrolled past a video of a mother and daughter who worked together to lose lots of weight. They planned their meals in advance and exercised together. In the process they documented their weight loss. 

Losing weight isn’t a New Years resolution for me, it is a life resolution. The 2 biggest barriers to success is my love of food (warm bread and sugar of all kinds) and the tendency to eat my feelings. 

This past year has been one of those throw caution to the wind years. It has not worked out well for my waistline or for my health I am sure. Any day now, I will suck it up and get my blood test done to see where all my levels lie… cholesterol is probably up. 

In my teens and 20’s it was never a problem, but now the weight is harder to get off. I have a feeling this is going to be a tough year, but I am going to try really hard to exercise my feelings instead. 

So if you see me pick up a cookie or other bad for me treat, suggest a celery stick instead. Here is to shedding 20… 

Politics and Friendships 

One of my friends recently told me he has enjoyed watching me move to the left over the past year. I am not sure what that means exactly, but I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about how political views can affect relationships. 

Yesterday, I read a book on the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was one of those type of books where I couldn’t put it down because it was so interesting. One of the things I really found to be profound was the friendship between Justice Ginsburg and Justice Scalia. They were so different and had such opposing views on many things, but they shared a love of Opera.  They also spent time reading each other’s opinions. 

As I think about their friendship, I think about my family and friends. I have always been more conservative than most of my family, but we could still have good discussions about politics and in the end agree to disagree. On many points though, because of my slant towards social justice, we agreed. 

This election was ugly and I saw many relationships splinter. It was not as simple as agreeing to disagree as the election got contentious. In many cases, facts were thrown to the wind and people hiding behind social media felt very free to say things that came off as hateful. 

I have to admit that I shared my opinions more than normal and commented on way too many posts. While I don’t feel like I changed anyone’s opinion, I still felt like I needed to stand up for what I believed. I tried to respond respectfully and not put out name calling or mean memes. 

I hope that we can find ways to have civil discussions without name calling. I plan to read a lot, listen a lot, and continue to share my thoughts publicly. I hope others will too. 

Happy New Year

For the past 2 years I have had the same new year’s resolutions. I will keep them again this year as they seem even more relevant: 

To see others in a positive light- everyone has a story, try not to judge.

Be open minded- listen to someone you disagree with and try to understand their point of view.

Be present- listen intently, don’t be in a rush.

Go to places you love- for me, it is the beach, and Europe (updated for 2017)

Be with people you love- and be loving.

FORGIVE others.

Laugh more!

Give back.

Pay it forward.

Be kind to others, even when you don’t want to.

My favorite verse of scripture is Matthew 5:16- 

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Additionally, I strive to take the high road, but to also stand up for what I believe in and to be more involved in making my community a better place. 

Happy New Year! 

Almost The New Year

Usually at this time on Saturday mornings it is really quiet at my house. Today I have all my kids home and I can hear them all stirring around. I am happy to have everyone home and look forward to spending the night at my sister’s house doing our New Years traditions from around the world. 

As I look back at this year, I can say there were lots of positives and good things that happened. Eddie finished chemo, Lexi got promoted, Adrianna graduated, Nathan made the Dean’s list…I have a job I love. We adventured in Europe, and then I became an EU citizen. Lots of good. 

I think for me, this years political fight was really emotionally charged. I decided to vote for Hillary after Donald Trump became the nominee because I could not reconcile his personality and behavior with my values. To me the election was so much more than one issue. Some of my friends decided they needed to stay true to party platform and they did, others just hated Hillary even though she was better qualified for the position. Whatever the reasons, he won and I cried. My hope and prayer is that I am wrong and things will be better than I expect. Whenever he talks, tweets, or nominates I cringe, but again, I hope it is just his desire to have people pay attention. 

I look forward to what 2017 has to offer, but I am cautiously optimistic. My plan is to be more politically active in my community and overall. I will keep fighting for the underdog and keep trying to make the world a better place. 
Happy New Year! 

Scrolling

 Food picture to post in newsfeed for all to see

In my last post I mentioned that I miss writing and planned to start again. Four months have passed and I started wondering how that happened. I realized that while I do actually have the time to write, I just have not had the focus. 

These past few months, I have been so obsessed with social media and news. I have stopped listening to music in my car and listen to one of several news stations. Sometimes multiple stations. I spend my morning coffee time scrolling through Facebook and twitter to see what crazy thing is happening in the world today. I comment and share, but I don’t write. 

I am not sure why I have been so enthralled with politics lately. I think maybe it is my disbelief that this is real life when it comes to putting someone like Donald Trump in office. Many of my friends voted for him. Many did not. I spend time thinking about the rationale of people who voted differently than I did. I wonder about their expectations for the future. I think about mine.

My goal is to write more and scroll less. I know I will not abandon social media. It is an outlet for me and a way to keep in touch. I hope another 4 months doesn’t go by before I write again.

Random Thoughts

I can’t remember when the last time I really sat down to write. Over the past 2 years there has been so much going on in my life and around me that it has been too overwhelming to easily put into words. I just have too many random thoughts in my head that I always think would seem incoherent if I wrote them down. 

I miss writing. I think it is time to start again. 

This week symbolizes another change for me and Eddie. Nathan is headed off to college and when Adrianna leaves the following week we will officially be empty nesters. Alexa is thriving in her job and life in South Florida after going to college and not coming back. For over 23 years, we have had kids in the house. It will certainly be a change and the house all of a sudden seems so big. 

Soon to be empty nesters

I am happy for the kids and very proud of all of them. They have grown up to be kind, caring, amazing human beings who I love with all of my heart. I know they will all do well in life, and for that I am grateful. I pray for them daily and love watching them spread their wings and fly. 

As Eddie and I come up on the anniversary of our first date 28 years ago, I feel so blessed to have him as my partner in life. It is so cool to be with someone who completely gets me and puts up with all of my shenanigans. 💗

As I reflect on this week, I think about all the things I love about being a mother and a wife and how blessed I truly am. 

I know I will have tears in my eyes this weekend as we turn around to drive home after leaving Nathan at college, but they will be just as much tears of joy as tears of sadness knowing I will miss his humor and smile. I will be comforted knowing I still get to spend a few more days with Adrianna. 😄

Being charitable

At the end of last year I posed the question does a $25 donation make a difference. Several people answered and said yes so I chose 8 organizations to donate $25 each to. It was really fun to choose the organizations and make the donations. It was also cool to get some handwritten thank you notes from a few places I donated to. 

So I am hooked. I am not going to be a major donor for anyone this year, but my hope is to make a lot of small donations to a bunch of different places (I may regret this at tax time). 

Today I bought a flock of ducks for $20 through Heifer International. I tried to add the extra $5 but it would only do $10 so I stuck with the ducks. 

My hope is to make a small difference, have fun, and learn how nonprofits handle small donors like me. Last year I became a monthly donor after I attended a breakfast for 1 nonprofit and they have hit it out of the park with their follow up and appreciation. I am even thinking about a small increase for this year. 

I love the websites that tell me the impact of my donation. I can feel like even my small contribution can make an impact. 

Strength

“The Lord is my Shepherd…”

Two years ago today I sat in the hospital with my friend Penny and then Bonnie as my husband had surgery to remove a tumor in his colon. I was so grateful for their presence to keep me company and distracted while he was going through his procedure. 

Fast forward  a year and 1/2 and my friend Cathy sat by my side. She gave me a silver necklace with a small cross that was a reminder that I didn’t need to be strong on my own. 

My husband is one of the strongest people I know. He has gone through some pretty tough stuff (there is another word I would like to use here…but I won’t), but he faces it like a trooper. Each time we got bad news, he took it all in and then we made a plan to move forward. We are still moving forward. 

I am so grateful for friends and family who have given my strength when I had none, and for my sister and brother-in-law who have been an ongoing sense of encouragement and just plain there for us. I am grateful for the journey(not the cancer-that part sucks), while tough and unpredictable, I have found I do have friends and family who help me to be strong. I am grateful for God carrying us through. 

I am grateful that I don’t have to be strong on my own. 

Promises

I am secretly an introvert so going to after work events is a big deal for me. I really love the J4 Leaders group and decided that it was worth standing between me and my yoga pants. Of course, as always I was glad I went. 

The theme for this year is promises. Specifically God’s promises. Lisa, who runs the group shared her wisdom and then gave each of us mats with the words promise of God for us to stand on. It might seem a little hokey, but I kinda love it. 

  
The mat is made so we can write on it. 

As I think back over the past year, I can claim many of God’s promises in my life and this is a great reminder. Things like God’s promise never to leave me or forsake me, and His promise to supply all of my needs. 

I look forward to this year and standing on the promises of God.