Saturday, January 20, 2018

Oy vei!

I was hoping 2018 would be calm and quiet for us. Well, it is starting off with a bang! Jeff is losing his job this summer at Borgess. We are hoping that we can find an amazing opportunity that is local, but is looking more and more like we might have to move. Part of me is scared to death by this. But, I am a person who moved more than once as a child and count it as a blessing. I certainly trust that God has a plan for Jeff and for us. I only ask that God ok it with me ahead of time!! LOL! Of course that's not how He works. Therefore we wait and pray. I trust Him completely and only ask for clear guidance and discernment through this process.
We appreciate any prayers you send our way. For peace and discernment for God's path to be clear!!
We will update as we know more!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

13 Years, BABY!!

This blog is officially 13 years old!! What in the world? I have never stuck with anything, with exception of Jeff for 13 years!! I am proud of this blog! It chronicles so much of my early mothering years. Those years were no small feat for me. I struggled so. My whole life I imagined myself a wife of a high powered executive that wanted for nothing more than staying home with my babies. Cue the husband who is kind of an executive with all of the responsibilities, but lacking the pay, and a mama that might have well have lost her ever loving mind if she stayed home one second longer. Thank God for a husband that recognized this mom was drowning and needed something outside of "stay at home" mom to keep me alive. I went back to WMU and obtained my MSW and love my job as a palliative care MSW. Can it be stressful to juggle it motherhood, wifehood and being a social worker to those who basically are dying, sure. But, I love my life.
This year I feel like God has allowed me to let Him, "grow me up." Through Bible studies and friendships, we've blossomed. I am so grateful for God's grace. Just today, I saw someone from our past in a neighborhood store. Normally this type of event would have cause me such anxiety. Today, I was able to confidently say nothing. I simply have moved passed this type of toxic interference in our lives. I am able tor recognize  the  blessing the Lord has given us by DELIVERING us from these types of people. AMEN to Grace and Forgiveness and the power of the Holy Spirit to move us in the right direction. Today, as I watched our children play with their Christmas toys I felt happy. Are they hopelessly flawed, sure?!! But, they are good and decent kids that value love and sacrifice and truly appreciate all they've been given this season. Do Jeff and I have it all together as a couple?  Certainly not. But, I have learned this year not to take a single second for granted and even count my blessings when I move from our cozy bed to the couch because my "miracle" is snoring!! Thank you God for snoring husbands!!
2018 will be full of changes. WE ARE READY. I have a feeling that 2018 will be our best year yet! Happy New Year to You!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

See ya 2017!

2017 is nearly over! Christmas is less than a week away!! This year, what a doozy it has been for our family. We will never forget 2017. Everything nearly changed for us in 2017. Facebook has reminded me of times that have passed over the years. Sometimes it has me feeling nostalgic, and wishing for days that have long passed. But, more often than not, it has me feeling so grateful for the grace and growth time has shown us. For all of the hard parts of 2017, we realized what we are made of. We realized through the trials and tribulations of not only the past year but the past several, what our marriage is made of. As we enter 2018, we know who we are as individuals and as a couple. We enter into 2018 with so many unknowns. Jeff will lose his job. Of this we are sure. This should cause much anxiety for us. Are we experiencing  some stress?? Sure. When you're faced with losing 70% of your income it tends to be stressful. However, we've experienced the provision of God in our lives. We trust He has a plan for us.
The kids are doing well! Matthew is playing on the A hockey team this year. It has been an interesting year for sure. He has grown as a player and experienced coaching that is not his father. I have been proud as I have watched him negotiate what it means to love a sport and know you must invest 100% to see yourself grow as a player. He is a joy, my Matthew. He is sensible and sweet. A rule follower almost to a fault. Eager to please and never wanting to hurt anyone's feelings.
Caroline is having her tonsils, adenoids and sinus surgery tomorrow! Poor girl. She has shown so much growth this year. She has become responsible and driven. The key to Caroline is finding a way to motivate her. Caroline plays travel soccer and her coach has figured this girl out. It has been nice to see Caroline motivated. She has a great group of girl friends and continues to love slime and pugs!!
Ellie is finding her way. She is an excellent student. She loves to read and she is in the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus. They just had their holiday concert and we were so proud of our Ellie. She worked so hard and it was such a wonderful evening. Ellie is blessed with a wonderful teacher who invests in her, and believes in her!! Ellie is loving second grade and thriving!
Jeff is plugging away at Borgess, but like I mentioned, losing his job. There is so much I could say but I won't except to say that there is more for Jeff and we are expectantly hopeful that 2018 will bring amazing opportunities for Jeff.
I am enjoying my job! We finally have a great team of professionals that respect my role! AMEN!!! I have been participating in Bible Study Fellowship's Roman's study and it has been wonderful. I feel that I am in a great place spiritually. This helps all other parts of my life come together  as well!
We are looking forward to 2018! Lots of unknowns but the Simpsons are ready!! Merry Christmas to you!! Enjoy your family, enjoy your health. Take the time to enjoy your family and all of your blessings!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thankful 2017

These posts are my favorite. This blog is almost thirteen years old!! I can hardly believe that!! I love reading back on what I am thankful for from year to year. I usually give it some thought, before I sit down and write my list. This year, of course, is focused so much on March 7, 2017.  The day that almost changed our ending.  There have been so many times over the past seven months that I have taken moments to pause and give thanks for all we've been given. For God's grace and mercy in our lives. Tonight I was telling the story of Jeff's DVT and bilateral pulmonary embolisms to someone who didn't know, and you can just see that people are amazed he is alive.  In fact many medical professionals I tell the story to often say, "I can't believe your husband isn't dead." I do not take this for granted. So, here is a list of all of things we wouldn't be able to do if our ending was different. This Thanksgiving we are giving thanks for God's protection and provision in our life.

10. I am thankful I went back to school and got my MSW. Without it, I would have never worked in the ER, and definitely wouldn't have known so much about blood clots and worst case scenarios.

9. Jeff's intuition. I never doubted by how he acted that night that he needed immediate medical intervention.

8. That the ER doc saw something on his CT scan. They originally didn't check his lungs. He easily could have been d/c home and he would have definitely died.

7. We believe that God orchestrated all of the events of the night, including the tech administering  the EKG, as Jeff code thus making immediate CPR possible.

6. Jeff was never intubated. I can't really explain how much of a miracle this is if you're not a medical person. It is crazy how successful his CPR was.

5. Jeff was in such a weakened state after his four day ICU stay. I was so worried that he'd need some serious rehab. Thankfully, he was mostly back to himself within six weeks.

4. Our children never really knew how close we came to losing their dad. Amen.

3. Jeff being able to skate in this year's Dad's and Lad's skating event for Matthew's hockey team.  I love that our children can continue to make memories with their dad!

2. Jeff and I still fight about finances. My Jeff is still my Jeff. I love that he continues to be steadfast in his goal to keep me on a budget.

1. I will never take for granted that God spared me from being a widow. I am not sure I could have handled it. I am not sure I would have endured it well. It has grown my faith so! It has certainly shown me what truly matters. It has made me a better social worker, mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. To God we give ALL of the GLORY and THANKSGIVING this Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Life right now..

I realized this week that I have been failing at my yearly birthday updates!!! Honestly, that is my favorite part of blogging. I love looking back at how life was!! So many lessons to be learned!!
Matthew is 12.5, in 6th grade at West Middle School. Playing hockey and just being a pretty cool kid.  Matthew is much like his mama when it comes to OVER THINKING pretty much his entire life. I love the relationship that has developed between us. Where Jeff is very unemotional and common sense based, I am all overthinking things right along with Matthew. The great thing is almost 43 years of living has taught me to HIDE this from him:)) No, honestly we have great talks about how to chill and calm down and remember that nothing in life ever needs to be taken too seriously.
Caroline just turned 11! She is becoming a young woman before our eyes! She can be sassy but there is a sweet and sensitive side that we are trying hard to invest into. Caroline has so much to offer. She is so determined when she sets her mind to something!! I love seeing how she is evolving into her own being! It can be difficult to try and connect with her. Caroline is very much like Jeff. She does not wear her heart on her sleeve. I feel like half the time I am trying to dissect every bit of that sleeve to figure out her heart and mind. I am realizing more and more how very different they are. She acts one way and is feeling something very different! She is bright and funny and creative and we love her so!
Ellie is 8 and holding her own. We are trying the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus this year. Ellie loves it but last week the teacher asked if she could come in early for some extra help and our littlest girl was just devastated. All of her insecurities about last year came rushing back in regards to repeating first grade. She was very much focused on the fact that she "Can't ever get anything right the first time." That statement just about broke this mama's heart. I reassured her that repeating first grade was the best thing she has ever done. Receiving extra help in reading has made Ellie a wonderful, independent reader!! At the end of the day I am not sure  but she has been convinced to stick with chorus. Ellie is also doing Bible study fellowship with me and has really loved it!! It has been a sweet time for us and we are enjoying it!
Jeff is doing pretty good health wise. He had a follow up with a different hematologist and it went well. The blood thinner he is taking is working at making his blood not so "clotty"!  Professionally, Jeff is at an interesting crossroads.  Accession Health, the company that owns Borgess, the hospital Jeff has worked at for the past twelve years, is in the midst of major reorganization. We are praying that the opportunity that God has for us is revealed. Honestly with all that has gone on with us this year, his job is the least of our worries. God has a plan. We believe that and will be seeking His guidance as we navigate these waters. I have such a sense of peace through this all. I just know that we will end up in the jobs we are to be in and the location we are called to.
We are busy, busy with soccer, hockey, chorus, BSF and life!! We are just loving being in this season of busyness. For we realize, this too shall pass and oh my, will we miss it!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

What hockey has done for our family.

The other day at work I had a discussion that soon turned into what felt like my defense of my son participating in travel hockey. The person I know wasn't meaning any ill intent, however it felt very much like I had to "defend"why we participate in such a time, and, money intensive sport. First of all, I will totally admit that IT IS time and money intensive! Honestly, until about a year ago, I didn't even know how much we invested in hockey. When I found out, I admit, I was shocked. But, as I contemplated all this sport has taught and done for my son, I thought of all of the reasons it is worth EVERY PENNY!

1. Cultivating a passion: Yes, Jeff introduced Matthew to hockey when he was four. However, our son adores this sport. When he isn't playing, he is watching, researching, practicing and thinking about this game. There were times last year when he literally sobbed that not every boy on his previous team "Was focused." We had to explain that not every 10/11 year old that plays hockey cares as much as he does. Never in the several years that Matthew has played this sport have I ever had to bribe or threaten him to practice. He simply loves being on the ice.

2. Being a part of a team. This has been huge. I think we saw it especially the season we went to the Pee Wee State Tournament. Matthew woke up the morning of the tournament with the stomach flu. He was sick every twenty minutes for twelve hours. I was so worried he wouldn't be able to play. Thankfully he rallied and he was able to travel and play his heart out. He saw that year what happens when you work together, using your individual assets for the collective good. It was such a fun year. When he returned for the next year, he was disheartened and worried that nothing could top the previous year. I assured him that every team has lessons to be learned, and fun to be had, all he had to do was look for it.

3. Commitment. My son has committed to being on and at the ice rink five days a week, six months a year for the past four years. It has taught him how to commit and follow through on a task. It has taught him the value of being a man of integrity and someone that others can count on.

4. Fiscal responsibility : HOCKEY AIN'T CHEAP!!! Matthew knows this. He has participated in can drives, and knows that his equipment, ice time, clothing, tournaments, hotels, gas and eating out is a sacrifice our family has decided is worth investing in. He does not take this for granted.

5. Pride in himself. Matthew was born with some mild cerebral palsy. I continue to be amazed by his ability to work through his mild disability with fierce determination. This year he is playing for the  A team. It was a big decision. Jeff and I had a heart to heart with him before the tryouts informing  him that A is different than B. Playing time is not a guarantee. We told him that he would have to put in 100% effort, 100% of the time. Matthew assured us he was up for the challenge. This mom was worried. I know my son, he so loves to please but sometimes his body just can't deliver. However, I see him give 100% effort, 100% of the time. He is eager to learn, take instruction and grow.

6. He has FUN!! If for one minute I thought he wasn't have fun out there, I would pull this kid in a minute. He loves this sport, the friends he's made and life he's built around the sport he adores!!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Summer time and the living is...STRESSFUL!

Today is August 3rd. A month from now we will be starting school. Part of me is all..WOO HOO the other part of me is NOOOO!! I do enjoy the laid back pace of summer. I like not having to rush from work to home to practice to home. Laundry, dishes, food, lunches...oh the LUNCHES, homework, half days, did I mention homework?? This summer we've been dealing with the aftermath of our kitchen flood. It has been NO FUN AT ALL. I could list all of the reasons(crappy painters, delays, no communication, and NO DISHWASHER for 3 WHOLE months. It has been the summer of #firstworldproblems. But, we've also had our share of real problems. Problems such as a husband that is still trying to recover, stressful jobs situations, babysitting stresses, mom's who break their ankles (poor Barb!). It seems the Simpson's were due for the SUPER SIZED quantity of all the heavy crap in  2017.
Jeff had a follow up with his primary are doctor today and he texted me to say, "I am still here, they are doing a EKG." I nearly died from PTSD. I seriously had a mini panic attack. My mind went right back to March 7, 2017 at 7:07a.m when I received a text from him saying, " I have blood clots in both lungs, they are admitting me." I never talked to him again until I arrived at the hospital. Ugh, even typing it makes me nauseous. I continue to be so grateful for Jeff's health. In most ways he is "back to normal." He is tolerating his blood thinner well. But, he is definitely not the same Jeff he was prior to his "Event" as well call it.
We are trying to get through this last month without losing our minds. We have pieced together our daycare. The big kids go to Camp Wakeshma in a week, Ellie goes to Aunt Jenn's! We are lucky to have an amazing village to draw upon when we need them and somehow, Jeff and I continue to make it to work!
Speaking of work, after a very rough season, I finally have providers who respect me and my profession. It is heaven!!
We've had a laid back but fun summer. The kids went up to Silver Lake with Jeff and his family for vacation, mom had to stay back and work. Matthew, Jeff and his buddy are going to a Cubs game this weekend, camp for the big kids is a much anticipated event!
We are looking forward to fall and all it will bring. New teachers, middle school for Matthew, soccer and hockey for the big kids, Kalamazoo Children's Chorus for Ellie. Busy, but fun!
We are planning on soaking up every last laid back moment of August!! Happy last month of SUMMER!!