Saturday, April 21, 2018

15 years

Next week Jeff and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage! Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that we gathered together at the Stetson Chapel on the Kalamazoo College Campus and said, "WE DO!"
But, mostly it feels like it has been 15 years when I think about all that has happened in those years. From the moment I met Jeff Simpson, I knew he was the ONE. He just felt right. He still feels right. Three kids, moves, job changes, many mommy breakdowns, fights about finances, and here we are.  I think of all the things we said we promised to do on April 26, 2003 and how they look fifteen years late. Here it is:
I PROMISE to disappoint you. I want so badly to be the person I promised to be on our wedding day. But, here's the thing... I am human. I will fail you.
I PROMISE I will not live up to expectation I have set before you. When were were dating, I wanted so badly to have you believe in all I could be,and all WE could be. So sometimes, I may have faked who I really was because really, I had no clue who I was.
I PROMISE all of these life changes will change me. I had no idea how much being a stay at home mom wouldn't fit for me. Thank you for giving me permission to reinvent myself.
I PROMISE I WILL MESS UP. I will think the grass is greener. It is not. I will figure this out,and I can say with certainty this won't happen again.
I PROMISE THE THINGS THAT ANNOY THE HECK OUT OF YOU ON APRIL 26, 2003 will still be there. I am the worst at finances. I want what I want and I want it now. Sorry, but I have come a long way. I go nearly 7 weeks between hair cuts after all.
I PROMISE I will always believe in YOU. Always.
I PROMISE to always find something about you, and us, that makes me happy. Right now it is your ability to stay up later than me and put our dang kids to bed.
I PROMISE I will always believe in you, and us. ALWAYS.
You are still my dream come true Jeff Simpson. Thank you God for knowing exactly what this girl needed in a husband !

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Moving on ..

It has been awhile since my last update. Blogger wasn't letting me sign in, and to be honest I didn't have the energy to figure out why. Today it magically worked so here we are! So much has happened since January!!
The biggest news is we are moving to the Detroit area this summer. Jeff's job is ending in July, something we've known about for nearly a year. Although he pursued some local options, he was offered a promotion within the Ascension health system. It was difficult to reconcile leaving Portage. However, God could not have been more clear in giving us a peace and discernment with knowing this is His will. Many things have fallen into place, and we continue to feel blessed in making this move. The kids are mostly excited. I think they are at good ages for a move. Matthew is a pretty easy going 13 year old. Playing hockey almost always gives him an instant group of friends. Caroline will be going to middle school and the way our district works, half of her friends would have gone to a different middle school than her. Ellie, I am afraid, is a bit anxious about all this moving stuff. Of the three kids, she is my "contemplative, what if" kind of a girl. I am reassuring her that it will be an adventure and she will make new friends. We are in the midst of doing "all the things" to the house we've put off for the last thirteen years. OH MY!! ALL THE THINGS! Whoever buys this house is pretty dang lucky!! Oh, this house. We arrive here almost exactly thirteen years ago with a six week old Matthew and two years of marriage under our belts. Hell, I never even SAW THIS HOUSE IN PERSON before we moved here. That seems like craziness to 43 year old me!! But you know what, we became a family here. We added Caroline and then Ellie. We made some amazing friends, and have had mostly amazing neighbors. We've had incredibly hard years where we were stretched,and we realized that we needed to work on ourselves and our marriage. In the end, I am proud of who we became here. All of the vows we took fifteen years ago became REAL while we were living on 7620 Carnoustie. For better and for WORSE. For richer and POORER. In sickness and HEALTH. We've stumbled but, we've gotten back up..together. Even though at times, we have definitely been far from God, due to our own choosing, He always took us back. We began this journey with an infant and really in the infantile stages of marriage ,and leave with a teenager and feeling that good groove that I think comes with fifteen years of marriage. I won't lie, nearly losing Jeff last March certainly brought everything into glaring perspective! Life is too short to not appreciate the people in your life. Love them and love them well!
On to what else is new for us! We were able to surprise the kids with a trip to Disney for Spring Break! Jeff had a conference for his new job which allowed us to stay on the property at the Boardwalk Inn and have access to discounted park tickets. We drove and spent five days at Disney. The kids and I visited the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Typhoon Lagoon. It was such a fun week!! I am so glad we took advantage of the opportunity because we never would have been able to "do Disney" the way we did. We loved it!! I am not sure we would go back but we are so glad we made it work!!
We are beginning spring sports. Hockey and baseball for Matthew, soccer and softball for Caroline and Ellie is having her big spring concert with the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus and finishing swimming. Jeff begins his new job on April 29th and will be in Detroit Monday through Wednesday. At first, I will admit, I was sad that we were moving to Detroit. Nothing appeals to me about Detroit. But, my sister lives there and we are looking forward to having just a 40 minute commute between us. There are so many wonderful things about the communities we are looking at, I am starting to get excited. We are very concerned about making sure we live in a community that has good schools. We continue to pray that God would orchestrate all of the desires of our hearts for our kids and their future.
I am sad to leave my job. It finally "fits". We have amazing providers ,and I love the work I am privileged to provide to those facing chronic and life limiting disease. But, like I said earlier, I strongly feel this is God's will for our lives. Also, if I am being honest, I would like to be home more with our kids. Let's be clear...NOT full time:) But, having a job with a bit more flexibility would be awesome. I have a great boss who works with me about everything ,but when you work full time, you have to be there, well ,full time!! I would love to find something part time if possible.
Like I said earlier, we've met so many amazing people here in Portage. Jeff's mom and older sister live here. It has been wonderful to have Barb, Jeff's mom be such an amazing part of our kid's lives. She had done more for us than I could ever write about. We will miss living so close to her.
As I told Ellie, moving is an adventure and the I think the last thirteen years has prepared the Simpsons for such a time as this!

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!!