Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Fitbit and Netflix: Finding My Balance

Melted cheese on apple pie. Peanut butter and melted cheese on a BLT. Grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A cold leftover brat to top a salad. 

Yes, I'm obviously a Cheesehead from Wisconsin, and yes, I enjoy all of the above. These might sound like some odd combinations, but in all reality when they are put together they are me at least. 

It got me to thinking about a combination that I never would have put together to help me bounce back from some stress and depression: my Fitbit and Netflix. One helps promote a healthy lifestyle, and the other promotes you planting your rear on your couch for an undetermined amount of time. For me, it worked. 

I'll spare you the gory background details because that is a whole blog on it's own, but just to give you an idea of what sent me spiraling and then magnetized me to my couch here it is in a nutshell. We have one daughter dealing with some mental health issues, and the other one is reeling from the stress of it at home. Then my husband came home from work with news that was a sucker punch (not literally) that sent me into a massive case of "ugly crying," an emotional meltdown and the sudden desire.... eat my feelings.

I'll eat that, and that, and THAT and oh, yes, that too! 
Talk about emotional eating, I ROCKED it that night I had my meltdown. Supper was something gourmet: macaroni and cheese. Before supper was even made I had grabbed a bag of cheesy Bugles and I ate them like they were going out of distribution or something. They tasted phenomenal at that point in time. Extra cheese on my mac and cheese? A fatty brat? Don't mind if I do. Throw it on there! Later that night I know for a fact I was plopped on the couch with a gargantuan bowl of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. (Unlike the Bugles, this truly is around for a limited time at Kwik Trip and, so one has to make hay while the sun shines, right!?!?)

Sometimes "you gotta do what you gotta do," but I quickly realized that my plunge into emotional eating couldn't be a long-term adventure. While I love food, I knew this couldn't be the route I took.

At this point my newly purchased Fitbit became my lifeline away from my emotional journey into the abyss of nacho Doritos, dark chocolate and anything else around that was solidly carb quite possibly a childhood favorite of mine like a bowl of buttered noodles with parmesan cheese. That is my happy place, and at any given point in time I would gladly have jumped right into a giant bowl of it.

So, enough of the food and onto the Fitbit. For the lack of a better word, I have a quirk when it comes to things like a Fitbit. It may sound weird, but I can't "lie" to it because I'm pretty sure it will know I'm not telling the truth.  I'm not saying I'm a chronic liar by nature, but if I don't enter the accurate info into the Fitbit I feel like I cheated or failed myself. Seriously. It's kind of like when I'm on a treadmill if I push the button to quit my workout early I "gave up" on myself. Ridiculous, I know, but in the end that quirk with the Fitbit kept my emotional eating to a minimum. I'm pretty conscious of my calorie intake, my activities logged and my steps taken each day. Thanks to my Fitbit the Doritos consumption was minimal and my workout motivation was maintained.

Another benefit is that shortly before all this happened I challenged myself to run/walk 350 miles to my parents' house in Wisconsin. Because I had posted that on social media, I now can't NOT do it. I can't give up on this challenge. I can't be a quitter. Therefore, I keep moving. And when I move and get exercise I feel better all around.

And then I found the couch....
Not only did life affect me physically, but emotionally as well. When I was feeling my lowest, I literally lost all mental capacity at night. Once the last meltdown from one of our girls had subsided and they were finally in bed, I found that my mind was either running amok analyzing the events that had just unfolded or I was blank. I had lost all motivation to do anything. At this point I had already decided to take a step away from my business to focus on my family, so what previously had consumed my nights was gone.

Here is where Netflix jumped into the picture. I love reading, but honestly some nights I felt so numb I was too tired to read. That is why binge-watching Netflix was so awesome. It required no thought and no motivation. It was an escape that took no mental awareness. It distracted me from the thoughts and worries of the day. I'm embarrassed to admit how many hours I've spent in the past few weeks on my couch, but in a way that was therapeutic as well.

What I realize was while my body needed to keep moving, my mind needed to stop running for awhile. I realize binge watching Netflix involved my body not moving, so my statement seems contradictory, but that is why this crazy combination worked. I'd continuously move my body throughout the day, but at night my mind rested.

I'm crawling back...
I'm finally starting to feel a bit more like myself. There are other facets (my family and my faith) that were positive parts to recovering from my stress (and some depression) that I'm sure I'll write about soon enough. Those topics are a bit more serious of nature, so it was fun to think about the crazy combination that kept me above water.

Simply put...I found the proper balance.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Running Home

I used to hate running. I had no problem running while playing a sport, but why would you just run for purely the sake of running? I mean, really, what is the appeal? 

I was turned off by the monotony of it. Running to me was just miles upon miles of you taking one step after hittin' the pavement in a methodical manner as you watch the various landmarks tick by. Your lungs feel like exploding, your legs feel like tree trunks, and so you ask yourself for the hundredth time, "Why am I even doing this?!?" Even more mundane, though, is running on a treadmill. Talk about doing a whole lot of work to go absolutely nowhere. Now that was one big snooze fest. 

I think another factor that played into my anti-running mentality is that runners are really in an elite group of people. Not that they think they are elite, but in my book they always have been. I was a basketball and volleyball loving kind of gal, and could never picture myself doing cross country training regimens. During my days teaching I worked with a guy that ran marathons at what would be my full-out sprint speed. His dedication to his sport was very impressive to me, but it wasn't one that I saw myself incorporating into my workouts. I knew I was never going to be on "that level" so why even start?

My knees became another issue. Since being diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease (it is a real thing, and something kind of fun to say) in my youth, my knees have been a sore spot for me. Then during an intramural basketball game in college I collided with a friend and blew out my ACL. After two ACL surgeries my surgeon told me to take it easy on that I got older it wouldn't get any better. To make sure I listened to his wise advice I gladly gave up incorporating runs into my workouts.

You might be asking yourself what changed in me to the point that I'm now writing a blog about a running challenge. I honestly couldn't pinpoint the exact moment, but I do recall one event that got me thinking. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were visiting us one summer, and they were in the middle of a running challenge of their own. I decided to run part of it with them to see how I would do. I remember the awesome feeling I had at the end of my run, and...a new interest took flight.

For all the reasons I stated above on why I didn't like running took on new meaning years later. The mundane monotony? I now love it. It is rare for a mom to ever have a quiet moment around their children, but I could when I ran! What a lightbulb moment for me. You mean I have 30 quiet uninterrupted minutes to myself to think my thoughts in peace and quiet? Count me in! 

Have I become a true "runner?" You know, the one with all the fancy running gear that easily runs 10 miles at a shot when the temperatures dip well below the freezing mark? Most definitely not, and it certainly doesn't bother me at all. I do NOT say this to mock the running elite, but to admire them. As I have aged I've grown more confident in myself and am just proud of where I am and what I'm doing. It is a challenge to better myself so I'm not playing any comparison game here. I've run multiple 5K races and just take joy in completing them and beating a PR. Crossing the finish line is always a great feeling, so I keep on going. 

My tech-savvy husband made this 
handy chart for me to track my miles. 
On January 1st I asked friends and family on social media to like a post I made on Facebook and Instagram. For every like that post received I said I would walk or run 3 miles in the coming year. The final count came to 273 miles, but I decided to round it up to 350 miles - the exact distance from my home to my parents' house in Wisconsin. I don't like to back down from a challenge, so I just decided to go for it. 

Since I usually just run around 3 miles at a shot, it took some quick math to realize that I'll need to up my game. That means during the cold weather I need to wake up earlier to get to a local fitness center to pop on a treadmill. I also will need to up my mile count per week. 

So, here I go! This week I started with treks to the fitness center, but when it warms up I'll venture outside. No matter my running venue, I now have a goal set before me. A goal I intend to accomplish. Time to lace'em up and get step at a time.

Simply put...I'm just putting one foot in front of the other.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

You're Here

Dear Deede,

Your heart was the size of Texas. I realize everything is bigger in Texas, but it really is true. To add to the size of your heart was your phenomenal smile. I miss it, and I'm thinking of you more today than other days because today is your heavenly birthday.

I'm not sure why, but I just felt like writing. Since you passed away Jesse took up blogging, and I caught the spirit, and I have found that I really enjoy writing. I'm not a professional by any means, but I love getting to put my thoughts and feelings into words. I have realized that 3 years after you have passed your love still spills out from others that knew you. You loved and cared for so many, and in doing so you taught others to love. I'll never forget how you gave of your talents, time and treasures to so many over the years and how you never expected a thing in return. You loved your Lord, your family, your friends, and almost anybody else that fell into any other category. Your heart was huge.

I will forever remember when I met you on my first trip to Texas to meet Jesse. You welcomed me with open arms, and I remember thinking that I instantly felt like I was part of the family. I'd love to know how many hours we spent chatting my first weekend there, or how many cups of coffee mixed with your homemade cocoa I drank. I still treasure my coffee mug with Texas wildflowers...that is my special memory of you.

Do you remember the last talk we had before you passed away? You mentioned how you hoped the girls always knew how much you loved them and how you wished you could be there for them. Trust me, they know. We talk about it all the time. We still listen to the book with your voice recording. And, since our youngest is a spitting image of you, I think of you almost every day. Jesse doesn't really see it, but I certainly do. Not only does she look like you, but she has your mannerisms, hand gestures, voice inflections, etc. I think at least once a week I say, "You look just like your Grandma. She loved you both so much."

Did you know that your daughters are also so much like you? You'd be so proud of them. We all met in Portland this summer as a family, and there were so many times they did something and I thought, "Mom would be so proud." Audra had set up the room in a super cute way, making them feel so special when we arrived. Do you remember that princess tent you made them when we came to Texas that last time? It was very reminiscent of that. They both did so much to make that trip a wonderful time, paying attention to all the little details, just like you would. And Sarah....who could forget all the crafts and fun projects she had ready for the girls? They were in heaven. Your love for our girls shone through your girls.

About know he never shows his emotions at all, but I know he misses you. I remember watching him hug you for the last time, and I wish he could do that again. You'd be so proud of him and the husband and dad he is to us. He works hard both at home and at work. Jesse loves all his girls, even though he is outnumbered by the amount of estrogen in the house. He takes all our emotions and energy in stride and loves us unconditionally. Like the girls are just like you, he is just like his father. I call him "Ron" all the time. He walks like him, has the same mannerisms, the same laugh, etc.

You are missed, but we are so thankful that you knew the one thing needful and shared the good news with others. You are now free from that horrible cancer and all the worries of this world. You knew what you received through your God-given faith in Jesus: forgiveness of sins, and eternal life in heaven. And now, we look forward to the day we can rejoice with you in heaven.

One of the most vivid memories I have is when we were leaving after our last trip to Texas. Do you remember when we were getting into the car and our eldest jumped out of the car, ran up to the porch and gave you another hug to say, "Te Amo, Grandma?" That was a moment to treasure. I think today is a wonderful day to say that again.

All our love....

Simply put....You're here. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A New Perspective

Before our daughter turned 6 this past weekend we asked her what she wanted for her birthday.  Her answer was rather matter-of-fact, "I'd like some more Shopkins and a new house."

I could discuss my confusion over what the excitement is over Shopkins, but I'll let that slide. It wasn't all too surprising to me that she mentioned wanting a newer, bigger house. She has been in several bigger and nicer homes than ours, and after visiting those homes she has mentioned how she doesn't want to have play dates at our house because it it is "too small and dirty." I'm not going to lie, we have some major decluttering to do, but that is another whole topic for a different blog.

Her response was the perfect opportunity for us to talk about how blessed we truly are in the home we have. This topic has been fresh on my mind since the start of last year when I started to read and journal in the book 364 Days of Thanksgiving by Rev. Andrew Schroer. To say that it brought a shift in my perspective of gratefulness would be an understatement.

The book is set up with some introductory chapters on being grateful. If you grab this book make sure you don't skip those chapters - they are a great way to focus your mind on this book. The author then has a devotion at the start of every two weeks. Then you journal something you are thankful for every day. At the end of every two week period there is an area for reflection. The goal is to not repeat anything during the course of the year to show how much (whether big or small) you have been blessed with in your life.

I have always been grateful for what the Lord has blessed us with, but this helped me see those blessings in things that might even be a trial. From then on I was able to focus on the blessing, not the trial or the stage of life we currently are in at this time. 

As I looked back on the year I had to smile that one thing I wrote about was the very thing my daughter was wanting for her birthday. Yes, what in her eyes is a "dirty" house is actually a sign of our abundance of blessings, let alone the fact that we have a warm house at all. When I perused my journal a bit more I realized it ranged from some "major" things to some things that might seem mundane or inconsequential. As little as those things are in our lives, they are truly still a blessing.

I was thankful for PEOPLE.
You are probably thinking this is pretty obvious. Of course I wrote about my parents, siblings, husband, children, extended relatives, high school and college friends, friends from every job I've had since college, former students, book club friends, church friends, the girls' teachers, the hairstylist I've had for 8 years, our amazing doctors that take such good care of us, etc. The list could go on, but in all seriousness, have you ever sat back and reflected on all the groups of people in your life from early on and what an extreme blessing they have been to you?

It goes beyond that, though. I had entries about that lady I never met who paid for our groceries at Hy-Vee, the ladies at the library who are always so nice to my children, farmers who work so hard, my customers, the speech teachers I had in grade school, the friendly worker at Kwik Trip with the funny hats that always makes me smile....I'm thankful for the "strangers" in my life. Whether they are close to my heart or new to me, people are a blessing. Do you see what I mean?

I realized I was thankful when I turned CHORES INTO BLESSINGS.
I haven't ever met someone that truly enjoyed doing laundry. I certainly don't. But how refreshing to reframe my mind to the fact that our family has enough clothes to make laundry piles. We are blessed with an abundance of clothes. I'm also thankful for the washer and dryer we have.

Making and cleaning up the table at night after supper...that turns into being thankful for the fridge to store the food to the stove, crock pot and microwave to prepare the food. This doesn't look past the face that due to the abundance of food on our table we are also able to enjoy leftovers.

Jesse has to mow the lawn and shovel the driveway, but how blessed we are to have a lawnmower and snowblower.

I don't like putting sheets on our beds, but we have beds and we have sheets. Do you see what I mean?

I'm thankful for many ABSTRACT THINGS.
Think we could all agree that a night of uninterrupted sleep is a blessing, as are snow days, peaceful moments between children, humor, central air, patience, freedom, technology, grocery pick-up, changes of seasons, music, random acts of kindness...and on and on. When was the last time you stopped and were thankful for something like humor in your life? It may be a little thing, but a blessing all the same. Do you see what I mean?

I'm thankful for my FAITH.
Where would I be without the comfort of salvation, heaven, grace, forgiveness, prayer, trust, peace, baptism, hope, love, joy....this is my foundation. I'm thankful that my parents shared this with me, and their parents shared with them, and so on. This could be an entire blog in itself.

In the end, 2016 was a year to refocus on the blessings. They are everywhere. Bills may overwhelm, challenges at work might pop up, we may fall ill, etc., but God is GOOD. I learned not to only be thankful FOR everything, but be thankful IN all things. 

Simply you see what I mean?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Time Will Tell

Oops....there it went. Did you miss it last night? With a tick of the clock, a flip of the calendar, or the drop of a ball in New York...there it went. The passing of time. It really was just another ordinary day moving into another, but the significance of a new year always makes people stop and contemplate it: TIME.

On our It Works team we were encouraged to have a word for 2017, and since time has been on my mind lately that is the word I have chosen. It probably doesn't come off as the most inspirational word out there, but it ties in with so many facets of my life. I kept trying to replace TIME with something more exciting or motivational, but since it is pivotal to me right now, I kept coming back around to TIME.

A few weeks ago Jesse got intentional with setting personal and professional goals and setting aside time for specific things. At first I thought some of it seemed a little overboard, like who sets an alarm to go TO bed? Seriously, it seemed strange. Yet, as time went on I could see the benefits of it. Jesse was spending more quality time with the girls, helping out more around the house, working hard to improve himself professionally, and our communication improved. When I saw his results I knew it was time to change.

Have you ever tried to do a lot of things, but realized that you weren't really doing any of them very well? That was me. That is me. What I realized was that it wasn't working. I wasn't keeping up with our house, with quality family time, with my business, etc. There were so many times that I got to the end of the day or week and I wondered how I had done so little with my time. How did I squander it all away?  So, I chose to say "no" to some things. It was time to refocus, and the way that I could do that would be with getting organized with my goals and my time. 

I've always been a visual person. so instead of keeping my schedule in my head, I needed it written on paper. I needed a planner. A friend steered me in the direction of a Passion Planner, and it seemed like the perfect one for me. I really enjoy it because it gave direction to my goals, and it helped me focus on my priorities and see how they all fit into my day-to-day schedule.

So, I'm set. I have Week One scheduled and ready to go. I know it is easy to think big when it comes to goals. I realize this will be far from easy, but I'm ready to fight for it. One-on-one time with my girls? Quality family time? Time for personal development? Time to work towards my health goals? Extra time to show appreciation to my customers? Time to learn to be a leader? Time to make new acquaintances and build new relationships? Time to grow in my faith? I'm ready to put the time into making time for these things.

I'm fully aware that just because I bought a planner and I wrote some dream goals it doesn't mean that it will happen. I would be completely naive if I for once thought that since I've made these plans then the following results WILL happen. How brazen of me to think such things because...

...I could plan phenomenal quality family time and circumstances beyond my control could foil those plans.

...I could set some fitness and health goals for myself, but I might become injured or fall ill and that would all be for naught.

...I could have daily goals set and tasks to do to improve my business, all to see not another customer or teammate join my team.

I could go on and on with examples, but I think you get the picture. So, will TIME still be my word for 2017? You bet! While I'm excited to have some focus to my schedule instead of flailing around attempting to complete day-to-day tasks, I also know that I am not the one in charge. How extremely frustrating it would be if I did everything that I had planned, only to see things not unfold that way? I can only imagine the utter madness some must feel when they think they "take the wheel" in life. Through this all, I take heart remembering the passage from Proverbs 16:9: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

So, I will be faithful with the talents and strengths given to me. I will high-five the victories, but also pray for the peace and understanding to know that when it doesn't go "my way," it is because our all-knowing God is watching over us. I'm looking forward to 2017, whatever may come my way.

Simply put...time will tell.

Psalm 31: 14 - 15a

Sunday, December 18, 2016

All in Good Time

I love doing life with this guy. He makes me smile!
Patience isn't always a virtue I possess. That being said, Jesse has taught me that sometimes it is best to let people figure things out in their own time. Deep down I knew this, but times it is hard to sit back and let things happen.

I have always loved Jesse. I honestly think the first time I talked to him on the phone I knew there was something special there. It would be three months before we ever met in person, but I already knew I loved him. It didn't take me seeing him in real life to figure that out. The fact that he had a few pounds extra around his middle didn't phase me when it came to my love for him.

We both love food. For both of us a large part of our upbringing was centered around food, family and love. Jesse has always loved food, and loved it in large portions. How could he not? His mom loved to cook and bake, and she was AMAZING at it. I remember when we were dating and I visited him in Texas I kept liking one thing more than the other.

BUT, while we both loved food, over the years I grew to know how important staying healthy and exercising was to my overall well-being. Unless it was a holiday or something I tried to watch my portions and exercise regularly. On the other hand, Jesse does not like to exercise and usually had the theory, "Go big or go home," when it came to food.

Over our 10 + years of dating and marriage, the topic of Jesse's weight has come up on multiple occasions, and I know it was at times a source of tension. While I knew the decision to live a healthier lifestyle had to be on his own time, at times I was impatient. I wasn't sure if I was suppose to encourage him or leave it alone. I always prayed he knew I encouraged him not because I want a husband with a 6-pack, but because I wanted to inspire him to think about his quality of life in the years down the road.

The Decision
Needless to say, I was shocked when after Thanksgiving he took the plunge and joined Weight Watchers. I have a guess, but I'm not entirely sure what spurred that decision to be made. I wasn't going to complain! Needless to say I have been blown away by Jesse's dedication to the program. He has been diligent with entering all of his points, and he is doing an amazing job. I'm so happy for him, and SO PROUD to say that he has lost 18 pounds since Thanksgiving! Portion control...portion control...portion control...

I guess I haven't been all gushy about this at home or overwhelmed him with high-fives or gabbed about it endlessly for fear of jinxing it, but I wrote this blog so he knows that I'm bursting inside with pride, with joy and so much more! There are times it is rough for him. For instance, last week someone at work had a birthday, and he said no to a piece of cake because just one piece of cake was 23 Weight Watchers points. When he told me he turned that down I did a happy dance inside.

There are so many reasons I'm proud he is my husband and father to our children. If it is all possible, I'm now more proud of him than ever for choosing to take charge of his health. I'm proud of him because in him choosing this journey it has me looking at my eating habits as well and making appropriate changes. I'm proud because I know this is NOT easy for him.

Better Together
Jesse's change to improve his health has spread into other areas of life as well which are also having a positive impact on me. He started to do more goal setting and scheduling with things both in his personal and work life. Knowing that I need to make a change both at home and with my It Works business as well I'm ready to get 2017 off to a great start. Check back for a future blog on that topic as well!

It is crazy to say, but I honestly think that with these changes in our lives it is bringing us closer together. I think we are communicating better than ever, Not that we were ever down in the dumps or gave each other the silent treatment, but it seems like our overall moods have improved as well. There have been more laughs, more stories shared, more special moments, etc. I thank God for this, and so much more, every day.

Simply put...I'm excited. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

In One Fell Swoop

The counselor gently asks her, "Do you think you have a good relationship with your parents?"
The young girl sheepishly looks at her mom and quietly answers, "No, not really."

And in one fell swoop, the pieces of this mom's heart come tumbling do her tears.

The Unexpected Journey
When one dreams about being a parent, you know there will be challenges along the way. One would be naive if you thought parenthood would be a walk in the park. You throw out various scenarios to prep yourself, and in your mind you think, "I got this. WE got this." I mean, our parents survived, so we should be able to, correct? I always thought that if I could be just HALF the mom that my mom was to me, I'd be doing OK.

But then the unexpected happens. This young girl, my own daughter, who has always loved school comes home on the first day this fall in tears. Over the next few weeks and months those tears turn into emotional and physical outbursts of varying degree. She holds it in everywhere BUT at home. The thought of someone seeing her "exposed" and "real" terrifies her. The result is that home is her safe place to let her explosion of feelings emerge. The explosions leave remnants everywhere, whether emotional or physical in nature. Some days are good, but some days there are multiple episodes. Then the episodes end by her "crashing." In tears this young girl expresses her fear of not knowing where this behavior was coming from or why it was happening. Seeing my daughter at her weakest moments of despair has brought me to tears on multiple occasions.

We've often used the term "strong-willed" to describe her, and I don't think that has changed. In the beginning of this escalated behavior we reacted to this behavior with consequences and reactions that matched the behavior. Then the realization that this is more than a strong-willed child acting out becomes very apparent. A professional diagnosis is given and this mom (and dad) starts to see things in a new and very unexpected way. Our daughter is struggling internally with anxiety, anger, and fear. A mom watching her daughter try to cope with some mental health issues was not in the game plan for parenting. 

So, now each day brings the wonder of how it will unfold. Will there be a meltdown over a ponytail that doesn't look "just right?" Will our daughter writhe on the floor in anguish over which outfit to pick? Will there be shouts of frustration over a letter or number not being made perfectly? What if out of 10 assignments she gets only one question wrong, will that result in a night of fretting? Will every little look from her sister send her into a fit? What if our plans have to change....what reaction will there be? What if her candy cane breaks again? What if she gets redirected at school? What if a classmate says something she takes out of context? What if....what if....I feel like I'm walking on eggshells in my home. I have quickly realized that what is a molehill to me is in reality her MOUNTAIN. It is so...very....tiring. 

Bit by bit this mom's heart and inner strength starts to get chipped away. I try to hold strong. A mother's love continues through it all, even when my patience is holding on by the thinnest thread...when my mind can think of nothing else but how to help. It has become all-consuming.

The decision to get some help was made. So here we sat in a cozy office, feeling safe. I slowly felt myself coming unhinged listening to our daughter's thoughts. When the simple question mentioned above resulted in that answer, in one fell swoop this mom's heart most definitely caved in. Crushed. Smashed to smithereens.

At first I thought I was overreacting. Did she really know what she had been asked? Was she being serious with her answer? Moms know their children, their mannerisms, facial expressions, voice inflections, etc. and this was a time that I knew she was sincere. There have been many hurtful things said during these episodes, but this by far took the cake because it hit at the very core of parenting.

Suddenly flashbacks came rushing in, considering how reactions and things perceived all this time quite possibly looked to this young girl. When our impatience and frustration of not knowing what was happening could not be hidden in our voices. Did she think she wasn't loved? A parent's worst fear. I have feared this since the beginning, but now it has exploded ten-fold. These days I think about very little besides this.

The Comfort
There is help. I'm so very grateful we have found someone I trust wholeheartedly to walk us through this unexpected journey. I know it won't be easy, but we are looking forward to finding some trigger points and how we can help her cope.

Our faith....our hope...our comfort is in Him. What a comfort that my life and the life of my daughter was known since the beginning of time. That God knew that the best mom for this young girl would be the very one that stands by her now, loving her unconditionally. Loving her through the tantrums and fears, the writhing and foot stomping. Loving her through the anxious and fearful moments. Loving her and sharing with her that she has been forgiven.

What a comfort for this young girl that even though she worries about making sure things are "just right" with her world right now, that there is one who has made everything right. That while she may struggle for months, maybe years, and possibly a lifetime with some semblance of anxiety, her comfort and assurance comes from our Lord, the promise of salvation and the knowledge that our eternal home will have no fear.

So this mom starts on an unexpected journey. We will build up those pieces that have crumbled down. Step by step. Piece by piece. Hug by hug.

Simply daughter, you are loved.

I was contemplating various titles for this blog while I picked up some toys.  Jesse had constructed a rather tall Lego tower with the girls.
At the exact moment when "In One Fell Swoop" came into my mind, this tower came crashing down on one fell swoop.