Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Proverbial Wake Up Calll

I debated on whether or not I was  going to  share this because I'm kinda embarrassed & sobered all at the same time.  Last night I went to the ER because of severe chest pains.  I thought I might be having a heart attack.

The pain came on suddenly around 7  & was quite intense. Friends of ours had just arrived for our small group Bible Study.  One moment I was talking & smiling and the next this sharp pain hit me out of the blue.   It was on the left side of my chest & radiated down my arm. I tried to keep smiling and talking, but the sharp pain kept returning.  Finally I pulled John aside and told him I was having really bad chest pains & I needed to go upstairs & lay down for a minute. When I lay down it was a duller pain, but it never went away.  When I stood up or moved around I'd have sharp, stabbing pains again..  I was a little freaked out.

After laying down for a few minutes I decided to just try to suck it up and go back downstairs and be with our group.  I felt silly & I didn't want to draw attention to myself and wanted to try to proceed with the  evening as normal.  I tried sitting & interacting, but the pain came back with a vengeance & I couldn't concentrate on anything being said.  My one friend noticed that something seemed wrong.  They prayed for me.  And another gal, who is a nurse, even took my blood pressure (It was normal).  After everyone left, I lay down some more while John got the boys ready for bed.

I had a really hard time deciding whether or not to go to the ER because I hoped it was just a fluke & I didn't want to go in unnecessarily.  But, at the same time, I didn't want to just poopoo it in the event it was something serious.  Not to sound melodramatic, but I definitely considered how important it is for my four little boys to have their mom.  So reluctantly I had John take me in.  His sister  (who lives next door) came over & stayed with the boys.

After an EKG, chest xray, & blood work all the results came back normal.  When the doctor came back to talk to me, he asked if I had done any strenuous  activity lately.  At that point I already had been given some pain medication & a relaxant.  I was feeling pretty mellow & was really tired.  I wasn't thinking too clearly & I couldn't think of anything unusual I had done.  The doctor felt that the issue was probably muscular.  And, he told me that  I should take pain medicine as necessary & follow up in a couple days with my family doctor.

It wasn't until I got home that I remembered that I had gone sledding with the boys the  day before & done some light shoveling.  The part that really perplexed me, & still does, is that I hadn't had any pain or soreness prior to last night.  And, it come on suddenly & acutely.  The thought that it could be stress related also occurred to me.  I love my boys fiercely, but raising four boys age 10 & under is sometimes loud, chaotic, messy business.  And, we're all kind on top of each other during these winter months in our little house.  In addition, John & I have been under some financial strain & the weight of multiple responsibilities weighs on both of us.

Anyway.    Why am I sharing all this?  Well, as I mentioned, in addition to being embarrassed for going into the ER thinking I was possibly having a heart attack & finding out it was probably only muscle spasms, it also got me thinking again about my health.

I hated having to admit my weight to the nurse last night when she asked my height & weight.  I know I'm not as healthy as I can be.  And, I know I'm overweight. I want to be an active mom with my boys.   And I still want to be active and healthy when I hopefully someday have grandkids.

I am beyond frustrated with the yo-yo effect I've experienced with weight loss over the  course of most of my life.  I am beyond frustrated that I can't seem to gain any self-control in this area of food.  And, I'm beyond frustrated with how quickly I can feel my body aging & failing me.

I know lots of folks have tried lots of different programs that have helped them lose weight.  I have had many friends share their success stories that they've had with some of these different programs.  But, none of those programs feels right for me.  As beneficial as some people have found it, I just don't want to take dietary aids, drink shakes, do cleanses, count calories religiously or use any other point system involving  food.  I just want to learn how to eat food like a normal, healthy person.  I want to learn how to LIVE.

So, while this wasn't a heart attack, I was sobered last night because I know that someday it COULD be.  If I don't take care of  myself I'm inviting a whole host of health issues to take root.  When I was younger, I could ignore all  that.  I still felt invincible.  The older I become the more aware I am of how fragile the balance is & how much of a blessing good health is.

Last night was my wake up call.  I just need to figure out what's  next.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow Day

It's been a snowy winter for us here in PA.  We've had a few snow days already & even one day that school was closed because of sub-zero temperatures!  Today is yet another snow day.  And, while I really do love the snow and I do like the idea of being able to hibernate inside the coziness of my house, I also have to say that I'm going a bit stir crazy!

The boys already had a long weekend.  They had off Friday AND Monday for Martin Luther King Day.  And, now here we are with another day off because of snow  on Tuesday.  They haven't gone to school for a full week since before Christmas vacation began!  And I think we're  all ready to get back into our routine.

However, this  morning as  I looked at the  snow & I felt the  excitement of my children...SNOW and a DAY OFF....I thought about the kind of mom I want to be, the kind of mom I often think about. I want to be a fun mom.  Do you know that it's probably been years since I actually went out and PLAYED in the snow with my boys.  Oh, I've stood there & watched sometimes or ran outside to snap a few pictures, but usually I just watch from the kitchen window inside my nice, warm house.

I recently read a story that someone had linked to on Facebook.  I won't go through the whole story here.  But suffice to say it was one of those that are touching...and maybe just a little sappy.  But, the part of the story that really stuck with me was a mom who decided to run & dance in the rain with her daughter.  I want to be the kind of mom who dances in the rain with her children.  Or for that matter, who plays in the snow & screams her head off while sledding down the hill with them.

So what was I waiting for?

I threw on my boots & put a pair of sweat pants over my jeans because I don't have a proper pair of snowpants.  Thankfully I DO have a good winter jacket my parents bought me for Christmas a couple years back.  I couldn't find my hat & gloves so I grabbed an extra hat & pair of gloves that belong to my boys (Ugh!  How are they big enough that I can wear some of their things now?)  And out I went.

A couple of my boys were already planning to head  out again.  Another one was planning on staying in for a bit.  He had just come back inside.  But, when I announced that I was heading out with them, there was a bit of disbelief at first.  But, then they ALL ran for their snow stuff to head outside with Mom.

I sledded with each of them.  I screamed like a crazy woman going down the hill.  I got cold & wet.  My non-snowpant covered bottom was freezing.  I just hung out with my boys.  I thought about taking out a camera to capture 'fun in the snow' moments.  But, I decided instead just to be out there with them.  In the moment.

And, I gotta say, it was pretty cool.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Fresh Start

Happy New Year.  I hope everyone had a truly blessed Christmas.
I've been thinking about this coming year & some things I want to accomplish or change.  I'm really terrible at resolutions because I usually fall off the bandwagon so quickly...and can't even remember what I resolved a couple months into the year.  So, these aren't resolutions per se but these are some areas I want to be more intentional about this year....

1. Get healthier. Eat better. Exercise more (anything is more than not at all!). I've gained all the weight back that I lost a couple years some. I feel uncomfortable & lethargic most of the time. My father was just diagnosed with diabetes and I found out that diabetes runs on his side of the family ( didn't know this before). It's time for me to take my health more seriously before I have a serious health problem.

2. Less time on Facebook. Facebook has been both a blessing and a curse. It has been an outlet for me & a way to stay connected. As a stay at home mom I often feel somewhat isolated. I enjoy the interaction that Facebook allows. And, I've gotten to know people better through Facebook. But Facebook has it's negatives too. First of all, it can become a cop-out for real face to face interactions with friends. It pulls me away from valuable time with my family & becomes a huge time-wasting distraction. And, I end up spending way too much time following links & reading things that just break my heart & make me wonder what is happening to humanity. ( Even positive article links usually contain vile, hateful comments in the online comments section).
So, I'm not abandoning Facebook altogether. I still think it can be a valuable tool. But, I don't want to let it control my time, my relationships, and my emotions any more.

3. I want to become more hospitable. I have used the excuse that our home is small & not conducive to entertaining as an excuse not to have people over. I guess I've worried that people wouldn't WANT to come if they will feel cramped. Well, our home IS small. But, I love the idea of hostessing more. So, this year I want to turn it into reality. Granted I can't have large dinner parties or other huge events. But, I can have people over for coffee or dessert. I can start small.

4. Become better organized. This is a tough one for me. And, I could go on and on about this topic. But, what it comes down to is that I feel better when I feel more organized & less cluttered or scattered. I want to take areas in my home in small chunks this year & slowly work toward having a more organized home. I will never be like some of my Type A or OCD friends. But, that's ok. I think sometimes I've held that in my mind as the standard & it seem so completely unattainable to me. So, I had kinda given up hope. But, I don't have to meet someone else's standard. I just would like our home to be warm, inviting, & manageable.

5. Get to know God better. Explore, Read, Pray, Question, & Meditate on Who He is. It might seem an odd one for someone who accepted Jesus into her life at a very young age. And, although I fell away for almost a whole decade (in my 20s), I came out of that time with a better understanding of Grace. But, I feel like I'm still just scratching the surface. And, I've been really searching in the last couple years. I want my Faith to be more than just surface deep. In this changing world, my Faith HAS to be more than surface deep to survive. I want to hide the Word of God deep in my heart & mind & soul. And, I want to be more than just a nominal Christian. I want to understand what it means to be an ambassador of the Father's radical love.

Oh, and I'd like to start blogging again more regularly.  :)  What are some things you want to do in this coming year?
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