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Back to Work

Today, I headed back to school for the first day of pre-planning.  It’s a little hard to believe that I’m beginning my 8th year of teaching!

Just the other day, Rebecca and I were texting about this (maybe that was actually this morning), and she said that she could remember when I started.  We’ve been blog buddies ever since I went back to college to finish up my degree, so she’s witnessed this entire journey.  It’s crazy how fast time flies sometimes!

I’d gone to bed at 9pm last night, which made getting up to my 4:30 alarm a tad easier (although still a bit unpleasant) . . .

I’d also laid everything out the night before to make my life a little easier.

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What can I say?  I’m an overachiever in almost every way.

I felt a little more put together than usual and was finally wearing a full face of makeup.  I’d even straightened my hair . . . something I hadn’t done in a couple of weeks.

I wish I could say that I got a lot done in my classroom, but alas, today was the first of four days of meetings / trainings.  Four!  Good gravy!

I will admit that it was fun to see the awesome teachers I’d bid adieu to in June when we left for summer break.  I also got the chance to meet a new friend.  She’ll be teaching at my school this year, and I am so excited!  She’s just the cutest thing ever!

The day did go quicker than I’d expected.  I’m very fortunate to work with a great group of educators.  I talked the Mr.’s ear off as soon as I got home (I was late since I had physical therapy right after school) and all through dinner, which was out because, well, just because.

I did start feeling tired on the way home, though.  It’s funny how sitting all day can be more tiring than actually doing stuff.

Ahem.

I managed to snap a selfie (fun filter courtesy of Snapchat) with a smile on my face . . .

The Mr. was driving, and he wasn’t amused.  He thinks these photos are silly and look like something a 12 year old would do.  Whatever.

I have a lot of work ahead of me before the kids return on the 17th.  With only three actual days to spend in my classroom, I’ll be hoofing it pretty hard next week, but you know.

I’m nervous going into this new school year because I have a new prep, and lesson planning is going to be VASTLY different from previous years.  I’m not sure how my prep is going to fit in with the new protocols because it’s something that only a couple of us will be teaching.

I’ve already started praying for wisdom to address my students’ needs and flexibility to adapt to the changes.  I don’t do change that well, so, um, yeah.  Fortunately, all of the teachers in my school are in the same boat, so I’m not rowing all by myself.  That’s comforting.

I’ve also been praying for the students who will enter my classroom, many of whom I taught either last year or the previous one.  They are in for a BIG surprise when they see me on their schedules.

heeheehee

The good thing is that I know their strengths, weaknesses, and habits, so that will help a lot.  They’ll be a few months older, which will hopefully mean that they’ll be a little more serious about the job at hand.

I’ll have a lot of books to talk about . . . 21 to be exact (one is not pictured) . . . all of which I read from June through yesterday.

If you’d be willing to say a prayer for me as well as all teachers going back to school, I’d sure appreciate it.  This profession is getting increasingly difficult as the Powers That Be (:::cough::: state legislators :::cough:::) make ridiculous mandates without having a clue as to what it’s like to actually do the job of teaching.

It’s a good thing we are in it for the kids and not for the politicians!

Thanks, y’all!

Week 38 – Reset

Today marks 38 weeks since I broke my ankle.  It also marks my second week back at physical therapy since my month-long hiatus (forced upon me by insurance).

You might recall that my previous post was one big pity party.  I couldn’t help it – I’d had a horrible week beset with a lot of pain.

Well, this week was so much better!  Although I wasn’t pain-free, the level I experienced was down a lot.  I suspect a big reason for that was the REST day I actually allowed myself on Sunday . . .

It was supposed to be a leg day, but I’d been asked not to work this part of my body at home, so I actually complied.  I had thought that I would go for a walk, but I wound up sleeping in a little, and then the Mr. and I kept pretty busy after church.  By the time the evening rolled around (when I thought I might still sneak in a walk), I was too tired.

So, my ankle was fairly well rested.

I arrived at physical therapy on Monday raring to go.

As always, I warmed up on the bike . . .

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The athletic trainer I’m working with had been doing her homework, so she was ready for me.  I’d sent her a link for the Body Beast workout sheets that detailed the exercises I’d been doing.  She had made her own list . . . of things she didn’t want me to do right now . . .

Y’all, I just about died.

That’s a crap ton of moves . . . that I can’t do!

She explained that we are doing a “Reset.”  Like I mentioned in my previous post, we are going back to basics and will work our way up from there.

She wants me to get back to being able to do easy moves with no pain and then proceed, slowly, to harder moves.

Slowly is not a word I use very often, unless I’m talking about my running speed.  Ha!

So, I started out by doing stretching moves to help me get my hamstrings flexible again . . .

Two moves involve me putting my feet on this board while keeping a rolled towel between my thighs, raising my hands over my head, and sliding them down, very close to my body all the way down to my toes.  After holding them by my toes for three seconds, I have to slide them up again and start over.  After thirty reps, I moved so that my heels were on the board with my toes on the floor and repeated the movement thirty times.

This might not sound difficult, but this girl was really feeling the burn in my hammies.

The next move involved me standing in a band of sorts, walking forward until it was stretched tight, and then sliding my arms up and down, reaching for my toes, thirty times.

I also had to do the move from last week where I held onto the stick at the front of my right foot and leaned my foot forward with my knee moving to the outside of the stick, thirty times, to stretch my Achilles tendon.  I did this exercise with my right leg bent on the floor, stretched by a smaller band, while leaning forward to stretch.

I felt a bit like Gumby.

I did some other work in the main room on a mat using a band to do windshield wipers to help with my range of motion.  I also had to do some pulling and pushing band exercises.  Then, she had me do some work with an exercise ball (I’ll show you a picture in a sec).

After all of that, it was “Tool Time” because my tendon was knotted up . . .

This has to be one of the most painful things I have to endure at therapy; my bruises stick around for a week or two every time I get the “tool.”

My ankle was a bit swollen after all of the hard work I’d done that day . . .

I was rewarded with a heating pad and ice, with STEM treatment underneath . . .

I’m pretty sure that I spent a few hours at the pool after therapy, but I didn’t take a picture!

On Tuesday, I got up and walked four miles . . .

It was not an easy walk; I was sore most of the way, but I pushed through.  This was the day when I had the most pain.  I even considered sending the following picture to my surgeon’s nurse to ask if I needed to go in . . .

That’s the area where I’m experiencing the most pain, and it’s different from the pain I’ve had before.  It’s a very confusing thing.

I am not one to be held back for long, though, and I really wanted to work in my classroom, so I headed out after my walk, with a stop at Chick fil A first.  They gave me two extra boxes of hash browns, y’all, because they said that they had extra.  I wound up eating only two of them but still!

I tried not to overdo; my main goal was arranging the furniture.  Here’s how my room looked after a couple of hours of work . . .

After that, I figured I’d earned a trip to the pool . . .

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What a great way to relax!

Wednesday was supposed to be a cardio day, but my PT had, in essence, removed almost all of the exercises I could do, so I worked out my abs instead and then headed back to school.

I cleaned every single table, counter top, and bookshelf and put more of my room together . . .

I repurposed our old DVD shelving units by loading them up with books . . .

I grouped some of my favorite authors’ books together . . .

I was a little shocked when I got a shout-out by one of my favorite ladies on Twitter.  I totally fan girled, y’all.

See, Allison van Diepen and I have been friends on Twitter for a few years now – ever since I sent her an email about how much one of my students had loved a book she’d written.  She’s such a nice gal!  ❤

I’m going to be organizing my students’ work a little differently this year, so that will leave my back counter free for books to be displayed . . .

After all of that work, I needed some water therapy . . .

The forecast was calling for a lot of rain the next few days, so I figured this would be my last chance to read in the pool for awhile.  I accidentally got part of my book wet.  I guess I misjudged where my elbows were.  Ha!

Because I’d taken it a little easier, Thursday’s trip to physical therapy was a lot easier.  I repeated the same exercises with a slight twist on the ball one . . .

The trainer thinks I’m going to be coordinated enough to roll the ball back with both legs at once.  Ha!  We didn’t actually do this one yet (she was actually prepping me to work on my left leg to make sure both leg muscles stay balanced), but she promised that we would be doing this next week.  I told her that she must really need a laugh.  😀

I had a doctor’s appointment Thursday afternoon so I could finally get a prescription to get a bone density scan.

I’ll be talking more about that in a different post once I get the results of that and the twelve vials of blood I had drawn the next day (the rainiest summer day thus far) . . .

It’s a good thing that Friday was my real “rest” day.  I doubt I would have had much energy after fasting for the blood work and having to wait for over an hour for the bone scan.  I think that having two rest days each week is going to be another key to my ankle healing fully.  I might tend to overdo things . . . just a bit.  Ahem.

Saturday had me back to the routine and working out my chest and triceps . . .

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Overall, I am feeling a lot better, aside from stomach woes that are the result of the stress I put myself under with my doctor’s appointment (I do not do doctors very well).

My ankle is almost back to its normal level of pain, which is a good thing because I have to report back to work tomorrow.  We don’t get our kids back until the 17th.  I fully expect my ankle to be a hot mess the first couple of weeks with me being on my feet six straight class periods before my planning time, but that’s really no surprise given the severity of my injury.

Thank you for your prayers and your indulgence last week while I cried.  Some weeks just require tears, while other allow for shouts of joy.  I’m somewhere in the middle this week, which is a good thing.

#findingjoyinthejourney was a bit easier, and for that, I’m grateful.

Week 37

It’s been five weeks since I posted an update about my ankle.  You might remember that I had to take a break from physical therapy because I had to wait for my insurance visits to kick in again (I am on a six-month rolling program).  Ultimately, it’s been 37 weeks since I broke my ankle.  Crazy, eh?

Monday, the 24th, was my first day back.  I was excited because I had missed the routine of it.

I was a little dismayed when the office staff told me that the physical therapist I’d been working with had been relocated to the the beach office.  Ugh.  I wish I’d been told sooner because there’s a distinct possibility that I would have asked for my visits to take place there, which would have been a little inconvenient but would have helped with consistency.  However, I know that all of the PTs at this place are excellent, so I decided not to say anything.  The girl I’d been assigned to is very athletic, and she is a DPT, meaning that she’s a doctor of physical therapy, like my other guy.

My Monday visit wound up only being an eval so she could get the lowdown on my case since she had not worked with me before (we had chatted, but she had not been in charge of me).  She also measured my range of mobility and pulled and pushed on my foot.  A lot.  I discussed my concerns, which I’d made a list of on my phone, and we discussed some of the issues I’m still having.  She wasn’t going to be there for my Thursday appointment but said that another PT would work with me.

Rather than having me do any exercises that day, she iced me down and hooked me up to the TENS unit.

That evening, I began experiencing a high level of pain.  It was so bad that I may have shed a tear or two.  The Mr. and I weren’t sure why my ankle was throbbing so badly.  We thought that the manipulation of my ankle had been the culprit.  I was pretty desperate to get the pain to ease off and found myself running a bath at 11:35pm.

Despite the pain, I did my cardio and ab workouts the next day.

On Thursday, I had my second appointment, and as soon as I got on the bike to warm up, I knew things were going to be tough.  My legs felt like lead; they just did not want to pedal.

I then did my regular calf stretching exercises while the physical therapy assistants tried to figure out what I was supposed to do because my new therapist had not left anything in the computer for me.

Ugh.  That was frustrating because my surgeon’s PT script had been written for six weeks, and I didn’t want to waste any time.

This office has a program called MVP that helps athletes transition from physical therapy to more intense athletic training to get back into their sports.  My Chicky girl had gone through several rounds of the program, which we credit for getting her in the best shape of her life after she tore her ACL.  A couple of months ago, a new athletic trainer was hired for this program, and she wound up working with me on Thursday.

I loved her!  I was already in a lot of pain.  In fact, I’d been in more pain than usual last week, which I couldn’t understand.  We discussed the Beach Body program I’ve been doing for the last three months – specifically the leg workout.  I had done this workout on Sunday and had upped my weights.  Prior to that day, I’d walked four miles two consecutive days, so I’d pretty much set myself up for the pain.

I pulled up a list of the exercises for her to look at, and she was dismayed.  She explained that the moves were too big for what I was ready for, which was why I was having so much pain.  She’s got a plan to break down each move into their fundamentals, help me master them where I’m pain-free, and then help me transition to the bigger moves – slowly.  She also told me not to do my lower body workouts at home – to do them when I was in physical therapy.

Hearing her tell me that I will be pain free made me cry.

Y’all, the week was just awful.  I cannot even tell you.  I had to take Aleve two days, which I never, ever do.  The pain was probably at a 9 – bone pain that I hadn’t felt in months and months.  I’ve figured that I’m going to always be in some kind of pain for the unforeseeable future.  The Mr. constantly tells me that I’m doing too much, but I just cannot live my life sitting in my recliner.  My body NEEDS to be active; I NEED to burn calories.

So yeah, I had a little cry session right there in the PT’s office.

Bless J’s (the trainer) heart.  She was so sweet.  She understands my angst because she messed up her knee during a very important track meet that would have allowed her to go to State when she was in high school.  As she told me the story, her voice cracked, so my fear was something she could personally identify with.

I got myself together quickly, apologized for my weak moment, and we proceeded.  I wound up doing a couple of new moves.  One involved putting a tight band around my ankle, with me kneeling on the floor.  The band also went around a heavy piece of workout equipment, so it wouldn’t move.  Then, I had to, with one foot planted on the floor and my left knee on the floor, lean forward on my right ankle to stretch it, hold it for three seconds, and then return back to neutral.

You might remember that my surgeon diagnosed me with Achilles tendinosis, which is characterized by extreme tightness in that tendon (because of the lack of use while I was in a cast and boot).  We have to break it down to allow it to rebuild stronger.

It’s so freaking painful.

The second exercise she had me do involved me in a similar position on the floor, right foot planted and left knee bent on the floor.  I had a pole that I had to place at the top of my right foot, toward the right side of my toes.  As I held onto the pole with my left hand, I had to lean forward, hold the stretch for three seconds, and then return to neutral.

This was VERY painful; I felt the pain in the muscle on the inside of my ankle behind the ankle bone.  It was the PERFECT move that targeted my area of trouble precisely.  I’m sure I’ll be doing this move a lot.  In fact, during one of my reps, I felt a pop, which was a good thing because that muscle/tendon had been soooooo tight.

Then, I got iced down while I was hooked to the ever-wonderful TENS unit.

I spent the rest of the day extremely sore.

That didn’t stop me from completing the Hogwarts Running Club Eternal Glory 4-Miler virtual race the next day (it was a rest day from my Beach Body program).

Y’all, this was a hard walk for me.  I was in pain from the moment I left my house – pain that I had not felt in months.  I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to do the entire four miles.  I purposely walked slower, thinking maybe all I needed to do was stretch out my ankle.

Nope.  It stayed sore nearly the entire walk, but I did complete the whole distance in one try, so the feeling of accomplishment was HUGE.

I rewarded myself by spending the afternoon at the pool and got to chat with my friend, Megan, who was there as well.

On Saturday, the Mr. and I headed out to see a movie, but we had some time to kill beforehand, so we hopped into a store and did a bit of shopping.  The walking around was still tough.  Ugh.  I felt like I did back in March with my foot hurting every time I took a step.

I’m considering calling the surgeon’s office to schedule an appointment; however, I may give myself a few more PT sessions before I do that.  I remember him telling me that the new protocol would be very painful.

Check.

He had told me that I needed to ask myself if I felt any better than I did the month before.

Well, I had . . . until Monday evening.

Ahem.

I’ve pretty much decided that I’m definitely going to schedule another surgery to have a few pins removed.  One in particular is, I suspect, the culprit for 80% of my pain.  Crazy, eh?  I’m aiming to have the surgery the week of Thanksgiving but am trusting in God’s timing.  All I know is that I’m going to have it before the end of the year.  We’ve had a lot of medical expenses this year and have met all of our deductibles, so it would be more cost effective.  Plus, I don’t know how much longer I can go with this pain.  Some days, it’s almost unbearable, and I’m a tough cookie, so to say that is saying something.

So that’s where my progress stands at this point.  I feel like I’ve taken a few steps backward, and I’m frustrated.  I’ve had a few pity parties this week as I’ve tried to find reasons for the extra challenges I’ve gone through the last few days.  Ultimately, I know that my progress depends on 1) God, 2) consistent physical therapy, and 3) TIME.

I’ve been reminded that I am not a very patient person.  I want my old ankle back, and that’s just not going to happen.

I’m not going to lie – #findingjoyinthejourney was a bit difficult this week.  Pain is a thief of joy, y’all.  I feel overwhelmed sometimes, and that hurts my heart.  So much.

I am so grateful that God loves me when I lack faith – when I can’t see the finish line.  I’ve had glimpses, only to turn corners and discover hills that weren’t on the original plan.

If you would continue to pray for me, I’d surely appreciate it.  This is one hard, long road that I’m still trudging through, a bit unwillingly and very much resentfully at the moment.  That’s just me being as real as always.

Thanks all!

Catching Up 3.0

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve got some catching up to do, eh?  These past two weeks . . . if I could erase them, I would, but since I can’t, I guess I’ll go forth.

Despite my world being turned upside down, life has had to continue, albeit at a different pace.  Grief has a way of slowing a person down, to the point where some days, you’re doing good to put one foot in front of the other.  Thank heavens for friends who continue to check in with me to see how I’m doing.  I received a card and Amazon gift card from my precious friend, Kris.

She and I have done numerous online Bible studies together.  She has a heart of gold. ❤

So, back to the blogging . . .

To help me gauge where I last left off as far as blogging goes, I’m digging into my Flickr account.

Ugh.  Loads and loads of pictures, because that is something I’ve managed to keep up with . . . photographing and uploading tons of pictures so I can remember every moment of every day.

I can be extra that way.

I have been doing a crap-ton of reading . . .

Poolside and in the pool as well . . .

I must have read the second book right after.  Alas, but I didn’t take a picture.

I started on the Throne of Glass series (shout-out to Megan, who’s dying for me to get to the last book so we can discuss the characters).  I will not get to Once and for All until I finish this series.

Y’all, Throne of Glass is every bit as good as Megan promised.  I flew through the first book.

While I waited for the rest of the books in the series to arrive from Amazon, I started on the third book of the Storm Siren series . . .

I loved this series!  I have discovered that I like books that delve into magic powers.  Perhaps one day, I’ll finish the Game of Thrones series.  I’m in the middle of the second book and refuse to watch the series until I either finish or ever (I’ve heard it’s a bit graphic).

Meanwhile, my new books arrived . . .

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I do believe I hear angels sing when the Man in the Brown Truck delivers Amazon packages.

In the middle of reading all of the aforementioned books, I also participated in a Proverbs 31 online Bible study . . .

This book needs to be read by every single person.  We all tell ourselves lies that, gasp, we actually believe.  Jennifer’s wise words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and her gentle leading to scripture passages, help readers learn strategies to combat the negative crap that goes into our thought closets.  I’m going to be keeping this book close at hand to refer to.

I haven’t just been reading; I’ve also been working out.  The only day I missed was the one in which Molly passed away.  I couldn’t even pick up my arms that day.

I did my workout the next day . . . and cried throughout the entire program.

I have been keeping at it, though, and I’m starting to see results.

I’m currently doing Body Beast, another Beach Body program.  It’s a weight training video series, my favorite!

I really, really like it.  It’s definitely challenging, but the payoff has been worth it.

There are even weights incorporated into the cardio and ab workouts!!!!

Yesterday, when I was brushing my teeth, I randomly looked up and saw a little bit of arm muscle action going on.  The vain part of me was a teensy bit happy.

Please ignore the pink thing around my waist. It’s my Flip Belt, which I wear when I’m walking. It holds my phone and kleenex. I love it, but it’s not very fashionable.

Pele and Gambit have been sticking close to me since Molly passed away.  They don’t stray far even during my workouts.

I’m trying to walk at least three days a week.  I spread my walks out around leg day because my ankle still cannot handle too much at one time.

My pace isn’t great, but whatever.  My only competition is my brain and my bum ankle, both of which come out battered some days . . .

This was my ankle after a day of only doing a shoulder workout . . . no walk that day.

I keep trying to put into practice the lessons I learned during my Bible study . . . I am not defined by my circumstances.

The last person to finish a race is still a finisher, same as the person who came in first.

The fact that I’m getting out in the heat and humidity means I’m trying . . .

I read the following quote in my Bible study book:

I’m going to print this, laminate it, and display it prominently in my classroom as a reminder to my students and to myself.

One small snafu in my workout plans happened when the new ear buds the Mr. gave me for Christmas stopped working the DAY we left for his surgery.  I was not very happy; monkey wrenches and I do not get along.

I called the company because they were still under warranty, and the representative I talked to was extremely helpful as he explained the return policy.  After emailing him a copy of my receipt, he confirmed that my pair was still covered.  He then sent me a pre-paid mailing label to print out with detailed instructions on how to package them up.  I had them in the mail the day we got home from the hubby’s non-surgery.  I got a new pair in the mail on Monday . . .

I absolutely love these ear buds.  Even though I’d purchased an Apple watch a few weeks ago, it doesn’t do a good job tracking my heart rate when I lift weights.  I had done some research about this and discovered that the reason is that your blood vessels constrict when you work out, so it’s hard to keep a consistent and accurate heart rate on the watch.  The ear buds check your pulse through your ears.

Now, I will say that the power cut out on me three times yesterday when I was walking / working out, which was not good at all.  I’m going to track the issues and, if necessary, return them again.  Ugh.

One thing I learned while I didn’t have my ear buds was that I could still use the Record app, which is done by Under Armour.  My Apple watch connects to it via Bluetooth, so I can start workouts from either my phone or my watch (the app also installs on the watch) and track things there.  MyFitnessPal (my food app) receives the workout information from the Record app.  This has led me to believe that you can use the Record app with any Bluetooth enabled tracker.  Interesting, eh?  Oh, and I used my regular iPhone ear buds while I waited for the Under Armour ones to arrive, and I still got updates about my progress (calories and distance) from the Record app.  So cool!

One other thing I’ve been doing over here in the land of Auburnchick has been eating out with the Mr.

One day, he texted and asked about dinner.  Here’s what I sent him . . .

He wanted to know if I wanted to meet one of the guys he works with.  He even mentioned Mexican food, my favorite.

Thirty minutes later, the transformation was complete . . .

Forget the Today Show makeover.  All I needed was a straightener and my own makeup.

Last week, we visited an one of our favorite restaurants, Bonefish Grill.  We had not been there since I was in my boot . . . way back in January.  I wore a new shirt, which the Mr. had ordered for me.  Bonefish Grill has the kind of ambience you’d wear it to . . .

The back just makes this shirt . . .

What a lovely dinner too . . .

Don’t be hatin’

Edamame and the House Salad for me.  I can’t exactly remember what the Mr. got, but he was very happy.

There’s still more I could update you on, but this post is way too long already.  I’ll have to save the rest for another post (or two or three).

Childhood Ruminations on the Hodgepodge

I took a two-week hiatus from the Hodgepodge to mourn the loss of my sweet fur baby, Molly.  I’m turning a corner in the grief and am getting back to my routine now, which includes Hodgepodging.  So, without further ado, let’s get to the questions!

1.  Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

I was not close to my grandparents while I was growing up because they lived in Canada and France.  I did get to visit them one summer, and they came to visit us once.  I remember that my maternal grandfather was a silly man.  He made a lot of fun of himself.  My maternal grandmother was more serious.  They had divorced a number of years prior to my seeing them, and my grandfather had a live-in girlfriend, which probably made him happy.  My grandmother was bitter until her death.  My paternal grandparents were interesting.  My grandmother loved her wine and sweets.  My grandfather was very serious.  He was harder to get to know.

2.  What’s an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I was attached to my books.  I have a few from when I was younger but not many.  I didn’t take much with me when I got married and moved out of my house.

3.  When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

Literally, I see trees.  I live across from a small pond that has trees that separate it from the road outside of my neighborhood.  As far as figuratively, I am doing my best to keep my eyes on the forest despite the trees.  Life continues to be chaotic with random, hard things hitting.  I’m trusting God, though, for His grand plan while trying not to feel overwhelmed by all of the unexpected happenings that are popping up every time I turn around.

4.  Do you like sour candies? Which of the ‘sour’ foods listed below would you say is your favorite?

grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats 

Have you ever eaten a kumquat? What’s your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?

I do like sour candies.  Sour Patch Kids are one of my favorite types, but I also like the tart cherries you can buy at convenience stores.  As far as sour foods, I’d say that tart cherries are among my favorite.  I also like grapefruit.  I’ve never eaten a kumquat.  I just can’t bring myself to do so.  A favorite dish I made a few weeks ago was A Couple Cooks Veggie Burger with Tart Cherry Salsa.  It was delicious!  I’ve never made salsa before, so for my first go, what a great pick!  I found the cherries at Walmart.

 5.  July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it’s going so far.

Imagine the world’s highest roller coaster with harrowing twists and turns.

6.  My Random Thought

The Mr. and I went to Bonefish Grill the other night.  We used to go every couple of weeks; however, we had not been since January.  I remember that the last time we were there, I was still in my boot and on crutches.  Then, he got sick at the end of that month, and we pretty much didn’t go anywhere for weeks.

It was so much fun to order a martini and indulge in my favorite dishes . . . edamame and the house salad (no meat).

Life’s been so hard these past two weeks; the sadness so heavy to bear.  Going out and being around people, in small doses, is proving to be a balm to my tender heart.

I Have This Hope

I was doing really good today and thought I was starting to turn a corner in the grieving process.

Then, I got in the car and headed out to run a couple of errands, turning on the radio as I left.

That’s when I heard this song . . .

And just like that, the floodgates opened up, with my tears keeping pace with the rain that started to come down outside.  (Coincidence or not?)

As I listened to the lyrics, I felt as though my heart was talking to God . . . the words echoing the thoughts and feelings I’ve had since last week.

As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?

I’ve been a Christian since I was a teenager, and I’ve been through some hard times, so I know, with certainty, that there is a purpose for everything, and that my tears are never in vain.

I don’t want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy

I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You’re with me and You won’t let go.

Isn’t it hard not to live in fear when you experience one setback after another?  The Mr. and I have talked about this . . . how we dread losing another pet because of the pain we’ve been through with Aubie and, most recently, Molly’s passings.

Then, I heard the next verse . . .

But sometimes my faith feels thin
Like the night will never end
Will You catch every tear
Or will You just leave me here?

As I heard the words, “Will you catch every tear,” I had a picture in my mind of a scene in the final Harry Potter movie.  In that scene, Snape has been dealt a fatal blow by Voldemort, and as he lay dying, Harry approaches him.  Snape and Harry had been at odds for years, and Snape had killed Dumbledore, so he was very much hated.  Yet, he tells Harry to get something to catch one of his tears.

Harry obeys, and he rushes to Dumbledore’s office, drops the tear into the Pensieve (a basin used for this purpose), and discovers a side of Snape that he didn’t know about before.

That scene takes a toll on my heartstrings on a regular day.  This afternoon, well, yeah.  It was brutal.  There is just so much wrapped into these four-plus minutes.

Think about the number of memories attached to each one of our tears.  Our tears tell the story of our lives.  If this story was painted, I envision it being done in watercolor.

Sometimes, there are happy tears, and we rejoice; other times we are sad, so we grieve.

Ultimately, when we examine the reasons for our tears, and if we are open to it, we can see purpose in the events that led to the tears.

Of course, if events have recently transpired, then we won’t necessarily understand the purpose.  That’s where faith comes in.

When Harry Potter sees Snape’s memories, he realizes that everything that Snape went through was because of his love for Harry’s mother and, ultimately, his love for Harry himself.

So it is that I imagine that the Lord is catching all of my tears and guarding them closely, aware that it is through them that my deepest joys and sorrows are expressed . . . especially when words fail me.

My tears are not in vain, and there is a purpose for my pain.  I don’t fully understand the reason, but I praise God that He knows, and that He will not let anything go to waste in my life.

This week, #findingjoyinthejourney has been tough, but I press on, thankful that God is my strength.

Autopilot

If I could choose a song title to represent my life right now, it would be “Achy Breaky Heart.”

Today marks one week since my sweet fur baby, Molly, passed away.

I had to take a break from my blog because the grief has been all-consuming.

I didn’t know the weight that sadness carried with it.

I’ve always heard people describe feeling numb after a tragedy.  I guess that was me in the initial hours as I had some practical stuff to take care of.  The worst thing was taking Molly to the vet so they could care for her body.

The Mr. helped me get her to the car, and I was so wracked with grief that I could hardly walk.  Parting with her at the vet’s office near about did me in.  I don’t even know how I managed to drive myself home.  Thankfully, nothing is very far in Podunk, Florida.

I had originally thought that I’d do my workout as a distraction.  The Mr. ordered me not to out of concern that I’d hurt myself.

Well, I don’t know what I was thinking, because by the time I got home, my limbs were so heavy that I barely made it to my bed, where I fell, exhausted and at the lowest I’d been in a very long time.

All I wanted was Molly, and I cried so hard for her.

I eventually dozed off until the Mr. came home for lunch.

After he left, I got up and saw to Pele and Gambit, who, the Mr. had reminded me, needed me more than ever.

I think sometimes we forget how sensitive animals can be, and those poor babies had been through the wringer as well.  Molly was their sister/mama, and her absence left them extremely confused and, dare I say it, sad.

I sat and loved on them the best I could, and then I blogged (my previous post).

Chicky called me a couple of times during the day and let me pour out my heart to her.  I’m thankful for her thoughtfulness.

Late that afternoon, I decided to go for a walk.  I knew I needed the fresh air, but y’all, it was so hard.

I don’t think I’ve ever cried when I’ve been out walking before, but I did just that . . . so many times . . . during my three miles.

Rooster called me while I was outside, and he listened patiently as I sobbed on the phone.  We had all been close to Molly.  Because he and I don’t have issues with allergies, we were able to handle her dog hair better.  Molly used to sneak into his room and crawl under his bed when she was afraid of storms.

When I finished my walk and looked at my stats, I was a little surprised.  Even though I had purposely walked a lot slower, my heart rate had been pretty high for most of my walk.  Grief can be so hard on a person’s body.

Going to bed that night was extremely difficult, and I put it off as long as I could.  Pele sensed my hesitation and did something he’s never done before . . . he slept beside my bed.

I slept pretty late the next morning, and I immediately started crying when I woke up.  Ugh.  What a tough way to start the day.

I found a sweet text from Rebecca, who was checking in to see how I was doing.

I don’t know what I would do with her.  She had prayed for us that long 4th of July evening when we knew that Molly wasn’t going to make it.  She was the first person I messaged right after Molly passed away, so she had been sharing, real time, in my grief.

Day 2 was as awful as the first day, and I frequently (and randomly) broke down in tears.

The dogs were still adjusting.

I made myself get out to a couple of places because, as I discovered, the world doesn’t stop spinning just because your heart is broken.  I hurried home though, not wanting to infect the public with my brand of sadness.

I made a batch of Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Popsicles but had a hard time enjoying them.

The face of sadness, y’all, because I keep things real around here.

The Mr. and I attempted dinner out.  He even took me to get my favorite, Mexican, because I hadn’t eaten much in two days.  We talked about Molly . . . about how shocked we still were . . . about whether we could have done anything differently.

I did the ugly cry right there at our table.

What a hot mess.

After much discussion, we’ve come to the conclusion that Molly had probably been sick for a little while (the cough that started months ago), but that something brutal got a hold of her at the end and just wouldn’t let go.

Regardless, my heart still hurt.

Gambit kept close tabs on me, even sleeping on the floor (he rarely does this, preferring his dog bed) . . .

Day 3 was still tough, but I had the small distraction of playing with a friend’s son’s new puppy (no pictures of that).  My dogs were not amused when I got home.  I’m sure they felt as though I was already cheating on them.

I also braved the pool that day for the first time since Molly had passed . . .

With each day that passes, I can’t say that it’s getting easier yet.  I’m still waiting for that.

I still expect to see Molly’s face when I come home from being out.  In fact, that’s been one of the hardest things . . . coming home and knowing that she’s not going to be here to greet me.  One night, when the Mr. and I had gone out to eat, I sobbed as we entered the neighborhood and cried harder the closer we got to our house.  I tried to explain the reason for my tears.  He understood, but gosh, was it hard.  I sat in the car after we pulled into the garage, unable to make myself go in.  He waited until I collected myself.

Bless that man.  He’s grieving too, but he’s supporting me in his sweet ways.

He’s been printing pictures of our fur babies and buying frames.  This experience has been so very hard on both of us.

I’m on serious autopilot right now; joy is found in fleeting moments.

I’m loving extra on Pele and Gambit, finding comfort in their presence.

I found the following quote a few days ago, and it does a good job of summing up how I feel.

It’s not that my love has no place to go.  It’s just that the object of said love isn’t here to pour it out upon.

My sadness is magnified when I see tangible traces of her disappearing left and right.

There’s less of her hair in my vacuum.  Her dog beds are gone (I had to dispose of them because she’d soiled them when she was so sick).  I put away her food bowl.  In fact, only having to prepare two bowls for each feeding breaks my heart.  Even scooping poop in the back yard makes me sad as I realize that there’s nothing in her usual spots.  This might seem funny to some of you, but it doesn’t take much to trigger the tears.

There is just so much to miss:

The way she sidled up to me when she wanted attention
The way she would begin easing her way to me at the first sign of rain or thunder
The way she would patiently wait for her turn to be loved on while we were loving on the other dogs
The way she would slide down beside me on the floor while I was doing ab workouts
The way she would look up at me, her soulful eyes meeting mine, in silent conversation with me
Kissing her in the middle of her forehead where her hair was the softest
Hugging her for endless moments because she always had the most patience for it

I miss everything.

And so it is that even as I begin reincorporating more things into my routine, I do so a bit unwillingly and rebelliously.  I miss my furry friend . . . my partner in crime . . . my Mama Girl.

Oh, and a quick but heartfelt thank you for the prayers, texts, and messages on Facebook and Instagram.  God created us to glorify Him, and one way we do that is by supporting one another.  I don’t know what I would do without each of you.

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