Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Favorite Jeans From a Year ago

The week after the 4th of July last year, I set out to make a new healthy life.  At the time, I didn't know what that would mean or look like, but now that I'm one year in, I will share.  I have been private about my changes thus far.  I didn't want it "out there" because that causes me more stress thinking people may be "looking" at me to succeed (or fail), and in the end I was not doing it for them or anybody else.

What worked for me was very simple and it may not work for everybody. I learned to eat in moderation by counting calories, I replaced the sugar in my tea with Stevia, and I learned to exercise. It didn't hurt that after 3 years of tweaking my thyroid dosage, my doctor finally figure out what worked best for my body and my thyroid is optimal.  I lost 1/2 pound to 1 pound a week until about March when I reached my final destination.  It was slow and steady, but slow and steady wins the race right? 

So, a year later, I find myself 36 pounds lighter, 4 jean sizes smaller,  running 3 miles about 3 times a week, with more energy, less anxiety, and a bit more self esteem.  I had been overweight for the better part of 10 years, so it was huge for me to get to a "normal" weight and then surpass that a while back.   I used to not even be able to run the mile in gym class and now I can run 3 at almost 40 years old and a mother of 4! 

I get up every day and make decisions (as we all do) on what I'll eat, what activity I will encounter, if I will exercise or not, etc.  I didn't "diet" and never used that word. I changed how I think of food and exercise and it has not been easy!  Nope!  I won't lie!  I had good weeks and weeks I wanted to quit like anybody else. 

So, here is me wearing my favorite jeans from last summer!  In fact, the receipt was still in the pocket where I had purchased my first running shoes! The jeans fit me like a glove at the time. 

 Here is Jamie and I at the beach in June of 2013.  I did not take an official "before" picture and I wish I had now!  So, this is probably the last picture of me at my heaviest. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

So Much Has Changed....

I do not blog enough, I realize.  I have great intentions, then time slips away from me and marches forward.  The last time I sat here was the end of the year.  Little did I know then how much life was going to send us into a tailspin in just a few short weeks!

In the middle of February, Jamie noticed WPSD in MCU's parking lot and he texted me and later he was called in a meeting.  They were told, very vaguely, that MCU had not received student financial aid the entire school year, money was running short, but they were fairly confident that things would work out.  He didn't even come home all that worried.  We watched the news piece later and  I remember saying, "surely they will get that money!" and Jamie sort of agreed and that was that. 

Then a week later, the news had gotten some more information, and WPSD in MCU's parking lot became a regular occurrence.  By the same time the next week, we were sitting in a restaurant trying to enjoy a long awaited date night, and watching an interview on WPSD on our phone that made our financial future look pretty bleak.  From this news report, it didn't really seem like Jamie would have a job on Monday, much less any longer than that!    Money was running out quickly! 

The next morning, there was a board meeting.  I remember staying up very late the night before trying to turn my brain off of what was to come, my heart racing, tears pouring out, and praying that things would turn around.  The next day, Dr. Imhoff stepped aside as president and Dr. Ken Winters came in.  We were, again hopeful that things might turn around.  He had money rolling in from donors very quickly and he was optimistic that the paperwork sample they were hand delivering would make the cut and money would start rolling in. 

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into another month and then we sat at the end of March with no federal money.  On April 1st, there were almost 50 lay offs, mostly in the Advantage building where Jamie worked.  Jamie found himself the only person left in his department and survived the cut.  I held my phone all day waiting for the text that said, "me" as my signal.  You see, his phone belonged to MCU and he was going to simply text "me" if HR called him out. I never got the text.

He came home that evening, I hugged him tightly, and he cried into my shoulder saying, "why me?" and "it was the worst day I've ever had at work".  MCU was another family to him.  They shared in each other's lives and he loved them.  He had to sit there and watch as each of his friend were picked off one by one, had 15 minutes to gather things, and leave...never knowing if he would be next. 

A prayer meeting was held on campus the following Sunday.  I looked around the prayer circle, tears streaming down my face, trying to feel hopeful, but knowing in my heart that things were very dim for this university.  The University that Jamie finally earned his bachelor's from in 2007, began to work in 2010, and later earning a Master's in 2012.  He loved it there!

On the 15th, the entire university got their walking papers as the DOE had told them there was no hope.  He went in the next day, signed some final paperwork and came home. We were disappointed in God's answer, but it was almost a relief to know an answer at the same time.  Our lives then began a different turn of resumes, job hunting, stress, tears, intermixed with normal life somehow.  It always seems like when we hit a "low" point, God would kind of show up and tap us on the shoulder.  We had 4 financial blessings in a week's time. I did not pay for my own groceries in about 2 weeks as a result, which is amazing!

He did have an interview the next week out of the gate.  Then the next day he got a phone call about another job in TN from a place we had never heard of.  He called them, the interview was set up the next day, he interviewed on a Monday, job was offered on a Tuesday, and the rest is history.  He started his new career a week ago!  He comes home chattering away about this new place, he gets to work with his former MCU supervisor, it has a creative edge to it, but still sort of doing what he did at MCU too. He is very exciting about his future there. 

We attended MCU's last graduation to see my sister on Saturday.  Jamie marched in with the professors and sat on stage with them.  It was very hard for tears not to well up in my eyes as the acting president spoke of April 15th.  I looked around the room at MCU employees that may still be scrambling around with the unknowns.  It was a very bittersweet day!   I'm not sure how well I would have handled it had Jamie not obtained a job! 

God knows what he is doing.  I feel like something wonderful will go into that beautiful campus when this is all over.  I pray daily for those looking for work. My heart just goes out to each and every family that is still waiting.  There are many single incomes, married couples, etc that were effected by this lay-off.  My heart is still sad about it all, but I feel like we can close a chapter and move forward instead of looking back at the nightmare. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

As the Year Ends

It is hard not to ponder the things that have happened around us, to us, and with us the last few years.  2010 was the year of ministry job loss, which caused a loss of people we thought were friends, which caused us to move back very abruptly without a home.  When things seemed to be falling back into a normal pattern then my Daddy died suddenly in 2011, which led to 2012 where the grief process was still really thick and awful.  Combine that with a few health problems that were discovered with me (hypothyroidism and high blood pressure) during that same year.  It kind of sometimes felt like we were being defeated!

Yes, there are always reasons to smile. I happen to have 4 good little reasons and a wonderful husband that always seem to know the right thing to do or say.  The kids being so resilient and easy going about all of the above kept me going strong.

2013 was a year of change, but also a year of normalcy and healing and health.  It is hard to describe 2013 in just a few words.  Jamie started teaching, which was a goal/dream for him to be able to do and was able to teach 5 classes for MCU this year.  My health problems were under control after a couple of scares in 2012.  We started running, which is just crazy!  I am 30 pounds less and dropped 3 jean sizes.  I will blog more on that later;-)

We settled back into our old church who always loved us no matter where life took us.  I'm not sure I realized how special that was until churches have hurt us.  Poplar Spring was there for us even when we didn't go to church there, which was such an amazing blessing when life was tough.  I can't really say the same for my past churches. 

Like everything in life, nothing is perfect and I did bury my last grandparent.  My Papaw was very special to me.  He was always my 2nd Daddy and now I don't have an earthly Daddy of my own.  In turn, I have missed my own Daddy a lot lately too.  I find myself with feelings of jealousy a bit towards people my age that speak of doing things with their Dads or Grandparents. I wonder if anybody truly appreciates all those moments until they can't be?

So, 2013 will soon be just a memory and 2014 is on the horizon.  2014 makes me a bit nervous for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on.  God has got it though:-)

In 2014 Jamie and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage, I will welcome a Great nephew, and my son will begin high school!  My goals for 2014 are not really resolutions.  I want to run a 5K at some point with my husband (perhaps a good 20 year anniversary celebration?).  I want to keep making healthy choices, which is more of a progression of what I'm already doing than something new.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Priceless Moments

Last week I had Micah and Abbi in the car with me and I said to them, "Y'all sure didn't ask for much this year" and Micah commented, "Well, I really can't think of anything I need or want." Similar comments were made by my other kids in the past few weeks too as we talked about what they might like to have.  It was kind of amazing to me that in 2013, kids can live a very modest lifestyle and still be content.  I even commented to Micah in the car that day that the Bible calls us to be content. 

Jamie and I were able to snag 4 Kindle Fires for a very great deal this year and as I was having these conversations with my kids, I knew they were going to be so excited!  So, we got up on Christmas morning, they had a stocking and 2 gifts each under the tree.  They opened each and were happy with their new things then ventured into the homeschool room where Santa leaves any gift that they have to share.  Sometimes it is art supplies, last year a trampoline, and this year a box full of Kindles and Kindle cases. 

So, they start opening the box and you can see from the photo how priceless the moment was.  They were beyond excited and joyful at the gift they were able to enjoy.  It was such a cute moment and one of us really should have gotten video had we been thinking!  But a picture is worth a thousand words. 

We enjoyed Christmas at home in our Pajamas, eating snacks, playing with new toys, etc.  It was the first Christmas in the history of Christmases that Jamie and I didn't have a place to go.  It was strange in some ways.  We have had Grandparents pass away and/or become unable to do these things and we only have 2 places to really be.  The years where we struggled with the constant hustle and bustle are traded for quieter days of feeling like we didn't appreciate the hustle and bustle enough! 

I was able to share a priceless moment with my little family in my little house on Christmas morning that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.  We miss those that have gone before us and are now celebrating at the feet of Jesus every day while we go on living and making memories to etch in our minds. 

And while my kids are content with the things they have as they should be, we feel very blessed to be able to give them a few goodies that they can enjoy too.