How is it that when life starts to get so crazy you feel like you are hanging by a thread, it always seems to get a lot crazier? Is it Heavenly Father's way of testing our faith? Murphy's law? Whatever the reason, this always seems to happen to me...although so far, in the end, I am always grateful it does.
Man alive, we have been just buried with life around here! My sweet, amazing husband has really swooped in on his white horse and saved me. Our love for one another has grown so much. It's amazing to me that when I am just overwhelmed with life, there's really only one thing I need - Wes. When he holds me in his arms and tells me it's all going to be okay, everything bogging me down just fades away and I am overwhelmed by the love I have for him and how he always seems to know just what I need.
Wes has sweetly taken over most of the laundry around here on days I really can't function. He's done anything and everything I've asked for....and even a lot I haven't. I know enough about men to know that seeing the need and fulfilling it without being asked is really not in their nature, and I have been so impressed with how well he seems to figure it all out and do so much without being asked.
He has given up a couple of ski days that he was really looking forward to. One of the days was with his dad and his brothers, and I felt so helpless and guilty about things out of my control that I even cried. I wanted so much for him to have that day. But it all worked out in the end, a short time (and several uncomfortable tests) later, we finally started to get some answers about what is going on with me. I think it gave Wes a lot of peace knowing there really is something and that I am not just a crazy, overtired mom.
There is still more testing (and waiting) to do, and I don't feel to wonderful most of the time, but knowing at least in a general sense what is going on is a huge relief for me and has lessened my anxieties about the unknown so much. We are both eager to get more answers, direction, and relief from all of this soon. In the meantime, we are so grateful to know something about it all.
Eating the way we have been eating (clean and 60-80% raw) has really strengthened by body enough to sustain me through all of this. For reasons I can't explain right now, raw anything has been a real challenge, which has changed my diet drastically. Boy of boy do I feel it! But I feel so incredibly grateful that we learned so much about good nutrition and really delved ourselves into it last year. Thank you, Linda Eyre, for the idea of choosing a yearly "Major" and "Minor" for our family to focus on. It's blown me away to see the rate at which we all learn and grow from it. What a blessing!
In addition to all the craziness of mom being out of commission and kids watching way too much TV because of it, Wes's Opa, Henry Wouden, passed away last week. It's always sad when someone you love passes away, but I felt so much more prepared for it (probably since I grew up with my parents running elderly care homes, and then went visiting weekly at an assisted living home with a few buddies until I got married) than Wes was. Opa was a really good person, and the last year or so of his life was really hard for him. He'd had a stroke that really slowed him down.....pretty much stopped him from doing anything he normally did, and squashed his independence. We were so happy for him to finally be free of the burdens he was enduring daily. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it, but I am so happy for him to be reunited with his daughter, Johanna (Wes's mom that died of cancer when he was just 6 years old). I bet they are hugging and laughing and catching up. I wonder what Henry has told Johanna about her grandsons. I know she loves them.
(You know that magical, spiritual time when a newborn enters your home? The veil seems so thin you could almost grab it and move it out of the way. Grandma Johanna always comes to visit her grandchildren. I never know why before, but my father-in-law, Lee, told us once that spirits that haven't come to earth and spirits that have already lived and died do not live in the same place. I was a little disappointed when I'd heard that, but now I realize that because of that is probably why she's been with each of our boys after they were born. I hope I am not weirding you out, but I am very serious. I think she came just as much for me as for them, but I know they witnessed a lot more than I did. But that's another story for another day. All in all, I just know how much she loves our little family, and how eagerly she must have been waiting for Henry to come home. What a joyful reunion that must've been!)
I need to write a post about Henry soon. He was such an amazing, devoted man. I felt so grateful to know him well before his stroke, and have those memories preserved in my heart and on camera. He was such a wonderful great-grandfather to the boys and they enjoyed him and loved him very much. He is already missed something fierce.
Our lives were obviously taken up with goodbye visits, extended family together time, and the funeral after this. Alas, Joyschool after Christmas still has not begun (although it will Monday, and none of the kids will know the difference) and life continues to be chaotic surrounding all of it. But it was nice to really be able to take the time amidst it all and contemplate our lives. What were we too focused on? What needed to be a bigger priority in our lives? What kind of person am I and is it in line with who I want to be?
We received many answers and confirmation about the direction we are heading in our lives. I am grateful for the time we've had to stop, freeze really, the rest of our lives and reflect. It's one of those times in my life where I feel like I am learning at an alarmingly fast rate and also seeing my own flaws and mistakes brought right out in front of me (in a good, learning way). I don't know how it happens, but it seems like people always seem to pull it together when everything feels as if it's falling apart. Such is life, I guess. It sure keeps me humble, hopeful, and persevering.
The biggest thing I think we've learned lately is that we need to enjoy life more. We are really good at "whistling while we work" in a sense that Wes and I know what we want as individuals and as a family and are willing and happy to work as hard as we possibly can for it. And we really enjoy it. But we are humans who need to stop and take a break from everyday responsibilities once in awhile. For example, Wes and I loved out of state the week after we got married so he could start pharmacy school. I was thrown into work and jobs like I never had before, and I was away from my family and home for the first time - ever (boy was I homesick) and of course didn't really have any time to socialize and make friends because I had three jobs almost the whole time we lived there. And Wes was thrown right into school and unpacking with me and eating my "new cook" meals and holding down his own part-time job. We'd always tell ourselves we'd have a real honeymoon later. But life keeps right on going and we never seemed to find the time or money to do it. There always seemed to be something more important that frivolously spending time and money away from our duties simply for our own pleasure.
I think that's how I got so completely lost and have taken so long to remember who I really was before it all happened. Of course I'm a better person than I was then, but I had forgotten what a mellow, easygoing, laid back person I was because I could only let my assertive, ambitious, hardworker side come out in order to survive. Being slapped in the face, in a sense, with my physical limitations and saying goodbye to Opa and thinking about life, really opened my eyes to things I just couldn't see before.
And I am excited. I feel renewed and stronger. I feel united even more with my family and my husband and my Heavenly Father. I feel able to discern better when it's time to work and when it's time to play. And I am ecstatic that Wes and I finally will be going on our honeymoon!
I was given the counsel by a leader of our church to "flee from discouragement". I appreciate so much that wise counsel, especially in times in my life that get hard and I feel helpless and a little hopeless. I'm glad I had that counsel so I would try even harder to keep my chin up and look on the bright side of things. I'm so grateful for the things I am learning in my life and for the wonderful people I get to share my life with - especially my family. I hope to pass on the "flee from discouragement" counsel and example to my children. Not that it's not okay to feel overwhelmed or a little lost and lonely sometimes, but that when that happens, it means to hang in there and you will be blessed beyone belief. That the hard things in your life make the good things that much sweeter.