Monday, August 13, 2018

I got the flumonia..........ain't nobody got time for that!

Well, I thought I would give you an update on the great sickness which is on day 18. My symptoms continued to get worse and progressed into the following: 

Facial paralysis
Slurred speech
Very loud ear ringing
Extreme Fatigue
Flulike symptoms
Blurred vision

There is more but you get the gist! This caused me to go back to the doctor where I was diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. The general consensus has been, "What the F is that?" Exactly

"Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS) is a rare neurological disorder characterized by paralysis of the facial nerve (facial palsy) and a rash affecting the ear or mouth. Ear abnormalities such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss may also be present. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults. In cases of Ramsay Hunt syndrome, previously inactive (dormant) varicella-zoster virus is reactivated and spreads to affect the facial nerve."

Saturday was so horrible I wound up in a total breakdown screaming at my husband while in the bath and posting a large rant on Facebook. I know better than this but I did it anyway. That turned into a menagerie of messages so I just decided to post updates on my blog to help those who are so sweet and have asked for updates. 

Sunday I still didn't feel well and that morning I decided I DON'T want to live like this. There are people that live years with this condition and I realized that even though I don't want to have it I do have it. So I have committed myself to say no when I need to, to de-stress, to take time off work when needed, and to treat myself to more relaxation.  I have also happily accepted the prayers people have offered and believe they work. Then on Sunday night I started feeling less flulike. When I say I felt bad enough I thought I might not be able to continue working, I mean it. So I truly wanted to turn a few flips on Sunday night in my yard. However, after I cooked dinner I went and sat back down. I am learning to rest and trust me that it is an education and a lesson I have to learn. Today I came into work at 9:30 even though I wanted to push myself to go in at the regular time. I stopped several times for breaks from the computer screen and although my eye is dropping again and the swelling is there I still don't feel as fluish and that I am very grateful for. 

Looking back this was coming on for months I believe. I remember just not feeling right and feeling very tired. So as a society do we all need to take more time to listen to what our body and mind are trying to tell us? I know I do! 

I am continuing my meds, seeing my chiropractor, and learning to rest. I am learning to read my body like right now when the ringing in my ears picks up and I get more tired, it means go home Jenn. This has been a spiritual lesson for me too and I have no doubt a new journey. Hope everyone is well! We are approaching Jude's tenth birthday and we will be going somewhere beautiful again to celebrate him. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Stroke Scare

I haven't shared anything in awhile but I have a doozie to share tonight. Friday morning I woke up with my face covered in a rash and my right eye extremely swollen. When I say that my husband's term of endearment, "Quasimodo" was actually very kind I am being honest. To top it off I felt absolutely physically horrible but I dragged my carcass to work. I had my semi-annual review that day and I knew our manager had put a lot of work and research into our reviews. As my manager walked in he looked though my window and mouthed, OH MY and as I smiled I proclaimed; "I need to go home." My face was on fire and I just felt so bad.  

I don't remember much of Friday but I know I was in pain and couldn't really sleep, Saturday I drug myself up to work to finish a quote I had started that was on a time constraint. Sunday I slept most of the day and my husband congratulated me on being a total sloth. I am generally always on the go so he really was being funny. I had summed up that I had gotten into the poison Sumac that was growing on a door outside of my upstairs attic. On Monday when I got to work I felt so bad that I set an appointment with my primary doctor. I fully expected to hear a diagnosis that I had gotten into the Sumac and receive a prescription for a strong anti-allergy medication. When the doctor walked into the room he tilted his head to the side and said, "Hmm" and I looked at him wondering what "Hmmm" meant. He said, "raise your eyebrows", "stick out your tongue", "turn your tongue to the left" WAIT why are you doing a neuro exam?? I am very familiar with this. My doctor then said, "this is facial paralysis" what??? He pointed at my forehead and said, "See how you have zero wrinkle lines above your right eye that's an indication your muscle isn't working (note to self look into Botox). Which means you either have Bell's Palsy or a mild stroke. Even though I knew the first diagnosis was probably the right one I heard the word stroke and felt faint. Not because I could die and be with Jude but because I could be a burden, not work, or leave Emily. So the doctor put me on a steroid and set up an MRI for the next day. He said if I didn't feel better to go to the MRI. 

So today I was an hour late but I went into work to catch up on everything I could. I try to be right on top of my work and to handle everyone's issues as quickly as possible but I have felt off my game. I don't like that and I don't like feeling limited. I like my boss and I want to do the best job I can do. I just began feeling terrible which included loud ringing in my ears, feeling dizzy, and my face was burning. So I just decided to suck everything up and head to the ER. I had informed several close family and friends over the weekend what was going on so they could be praying for Bell's Palsy. After lengthy testing the doctors determined there WAS NOT a stroke. He said I had shingles and the virus had basically frozen my facial nerve resulting in the Bell's Palsy. It's not fun but it's something I can overcome. So tonight I was pulling my right droopy eye up and I would watch it fall back down again. They say my eye will eventually recover but they are sending me to a neurologist just in case there is residual lasting issues. 

Sometimes I wonder if negative situations follow certain families because it's gotten rather comical the situations that impact my family. People say they aren't surprised or just shake their head. So I began to wonder if we somehow request negativity to us but I don't believe that's accurate. We have been working hard to fill our life with love and positivity since Jude left us. So when the doctor told me this can be brought on by stress I realized I need to take a step back. We have had a HARD two years and haven't given ourselves the means to relax.  I was doing too much and I know I was. I had already started disbanding the dress store and saying No to many invites. Emily has really taken charge of Smile Boxes a lot more but with her leaving for college I know I will play a predominant role in the fundraising Casino night, so I am letting everyone know I need HELP! Work is fanfreakingtabulous but it's busy and I do mean BUSY! I am so grateful for the new business and I hope it never stops but I need to STOP during the day and take time out to blog like I used to because it's my outlet and my stress reliever. So note to boss make me take 20 minutes a day, lol. I realized it's okay I still miss Jude so much my heart hurts and that sometimes we need to follow the Beatles advice and, "Just Let It Be." I actually don’t look at this as a negative, it’s a positive because I can heal from this!

I need to take my vacation at the end of August, turn my phone off, and realize that no matter what everything will be here when I get back. Everything except a droopy right face, I hope. 

I hope everyone is well and know I have missed you guys. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Mom's Of Angels

You know what people don't talk enough about in life? Mental health. You know what sucks for me right now? My mental health. I miss Jude and there is just really nothing that can be done about that. I guess the realization has set in that the further away we get from Jude's loss the fact we won't see him again in this life is really a fact. 

It's super easy to tell someone that is grieving that life will get better, there is so much to be happy about, at least you have a job, and you still have the rest of your family. I still don't sleep and it's still super hard to get up to go to work each day. I am grateful for my job but it's hard and I am not going to sugar coat it. I feel like we so often disguise our struggles! So I am here to tell other suffering with depression and anxiety over loss you are NOT alone! I know people want to help too but honestly, sometimes you just have to go through the trenches alone and dig yourself out. It may take time, it doesn't have to include medication, and all I need is patience from others.  Maybe someday I will see the sunshine again and life won't seem so absolutely overwhelming. 

So mom's of angels out there just know there are lots of us that know how you feel. Lots of us appreciate the good days and feel the bad days with all our many emotions. There are lots of us out there that cry at the drop of a hat! Those titled supermoms that used to handle life in a perfect format and are now thrown off by the littlest amount of stress. We are all forever changed, how could we not be? 

Have a good Monday! 

Monday, May 14, 2018

My Husband

I did pretty well on Mother's Day and I have to say it was really thanks to my husband. Also to Emily for sending me sweet messages throughout the day. Mike signed up for YouTube red and kept me busy watching "Cobra Kai" most of the day so my mind didn't wander. However, the night........the nights are always the worst and they have been since Jude left. The night is when your brain seems to go into overdrive, maybe it's the darkness that causes it. So when I asked late in the evening to go for a drive Mike really didn't question me and we took off in my little Beetle with the top down. It was a nice night and I was able to clear my thoughts a little. Then when I got back the sadness set in a bit again. I finally fell asleep but that didn't last long. I woke up throughout the night having dreams of Jude and not being able to fall back asleep. I texted my work that I needed some time this morning and as usual, they were ever accommodating.

Mike has been my rock during my grief. He always seems to know when I am down and what I am thinking. He also reacts to remedy a potential situation before I have time to react which speaks volumes. He knows me! He knows I hate highways and traffic so he takes the backroads and drives slow. He knows I love movies and a good series so he thinks ahead about items I might like. He loves me skinny, fluffy, happy, sad, you get the drift!  Someone recently told me I can travel without Mike and I remember thinking, I just really don't want to. I know I can but I prefer him to be with me. Don't get me wrong we have our moments and he has to go to his man cave and myself to my girl cave but overall I just prefer to have my husband at my side.  Yesterday in honor of Mother's Day he left me this profound message, "I know what a difficult day today can be. Today delivers twice the loss. To reflect on the loss of Child and Mother is far more than one should endure. Just know I love you and you have been the greatest Mother and wife.

We have been through the worst. After the Jude passed I remember sitting in the funeral home having to make decisions about Jude's burial. I remember feeling blank and like I was just floating in a dream. I overhead Mike talking outside the door and said, "I just have to get my wife through this." I am always strong and always able to keep going in life but for the first time, I had someone realize I wasn't well. I was hanging on by a very small thread and that person dedicated their time to make sure I would be okay. I am forever grateful to him and very proud he is my husband. God knew I would need someone by my side and I am blessed.

I am also very blessed to be the mom of two amazing children! Hope everyone had a good Mother's Day.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Dream

I don't believe this is something I have shared before. It's something I keep close to my heart and I have finally started talking more about the experience. 

After Jude passed away our house was very quiet and very lonely. I sometimes would crawl into his bed to sleep before they came and took his bed away. I was desperate for some sort of reassurance that Jude was okay. We all have our faith but that faith can be questioned when you lose someone so close. So here was my reassurance. I had a very detailed dream. 

I dreamt there were two angels that came to my bedside while I was sleeping. They were so tall they almost reach my ceiling and they were two large pillars of light. They had a face but no mouth because they did not need a mouth to communicate. They were intimidating but comforting all at the same time and they made it very clear I needed to come with them. I sat up in my bed and I walked in between them towards my window in my bedroom. Suddenly I was moving very fast without walking. I wasn't going up like they teach you in books and I wasn't going down either. I was moving horizontally and soon I was in a black mass of stars. I looked at both the angels for some sort of reassurance that everything was okay but they only looked forward towards their destination. Once we arrived I was on what looked like Earth. The angels were gone but I knew they were not far away. I began walking towards the lake on the softest grass I had ever felt. The air was crisp and clean, and there was nothing to fear in any way. Suddenly I saw Jude walking towards me and I started crying. When he walked up to me I just opened my arms and he walked over to me and motioned I sit down. He then crawled into my arms and laid down like he used to in my arms. I asked him, "don't you want to stand?" but he just shook his head no. He just laid there for awhile and I felt this amazing sense of calm. After awhile Jude got up and hugged me goodbye, he turned to walk away and just smiled, then he was gone. The angels reappeared and I remember in detail them taking me home the same way I arrived. 

I felt more reassured that Jude was safe and happy. I venture to believe this was real. 

We are raising funds to put a Buddy Bench in at Jude's elementary school which will help spread kindness. If you would like to help here is the link.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Dear Jude,

Dear Jude,

I can't believe it's almost been two years since you left us, it seems like it was just yesterday. This week is a hard one and I am not sure I could ever put into words just how hard it is in a way that anyone could truly understand. It is physically painful to get up in the morning and get ready to come to work and to go home knowing your bright smile won't be there waiting on me. Since you have been gone there have been lots of changes in our lives. Not long after we lost you we made the decision to sell the house and move. After you left the home was just so quiet that it was overwhelming and all I could see every time I walked in the living room was your face so still and lifeless. The experts say you are suppose to wait at least a year before you make any life altering decisions after a tragedy. This is yet again an example of the fact that experts don't know everything and you need to do what's best for you. I felt better after we moved and I felt like you lead us to the home we are at today.

Your dad suffered a massive infection to his heart after we lost you which was very scary but he is doing better now! He immerses himself into gardening and gaming to occupy his mind. It's when your dad gets still that he gets so very sad without you.  Your sister went away to college and then decided to come home for a semester. She will be returning to the University Of Alabama in the fall and will be finishing our her nursing degree there. She has a hard time with your loss even though she doesn't really see it now. She cannot really talk about you but someday she will.

Nurse Charlotte, oh lovely Charlotte never went back to pediatric nursing. I think her heart literally broke in two when we lost you and it took awhile to piece back together again. She worked in elderly hospice for awhile and now as a new position at a hospital. Nurse Allan still texts every day he works, "Good Morning Glory" in his bright loud Goat way! He comes to see us when he can and he is caring for two new boys. He says in the early morning hours when no one is awake he sits and sheds his tears before his shift starts. Nurse Candice is as funny as ever and I get to keep up with her on Facebook. Oh and guess what? Dr Riela retired!! I told Mike you just made an impact on everyone.

The house we moved into has land that you would love! Since we have more room you know your dad found a way to get more animals! First we got Blue who ironically walked up during an outdoor memorial party we were having for you when we first moved in. He is a big brown dog and he just walked up and laid his head on your dad's lap. When your dad found the owner she didn't really want him anymore so VOILA we have a new dog! Emily adores Blue and is always spoiling him rotten. Next we got Buddy the pig, oh he is a stinker. Your dad calls him Boudreaux and he is so super smart! Lastly, we had a stray cat walk up who before we could get her fixed sh had kittens. So we have a zoo, we bought a zoooooo!

On Sunday we are having an Emily's Smile Box party in your honor where we will be putting together 250 Smile Boxes to benefit local hospitals. We have invited everyone we can to come out and remember your spirit and help us help others. Then on Monday I have asked everyone to do something kind in your honor and to please tag us. I have also asked them to wear their superhero outfits again!  I am hoping this will spread like wildfire and that many people hear the words, "I did it for Jude" Sunday - Monday. Your mom is taking off the day on Monday and I plan to just meditate in peace with your memories surrounding me.

It's the little things that get to your dad and I right now. It can be a song, walking pass a bottle of Pedialyte, hearing a baby giggle, or a simple beautiful Cardinal sitting outside our door. The tears just creep up and sting as we hold them back in public. The knot in our throat is sometimes hard to swallow back down but we manage. We live each day to see Emily grow and thrive and to get closer to seeing you. Death is no longer scary when you have lost a child.

We hope you are happy and thriving where you are at. I see your signs at times and I love every one of them. Well my lunch is over so back to work I go. I love and miss you always.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Updates and Mass Shootings

This may be a long blog with lots of updates and my very unsolicited opinions. As I stated before I obtained a new boss in September.  I feel like this was a Godsend and something that was really needed in my life. I feel like I have a purpose again and I am able to get out in the field and market to obtain new business.  When I hurt my back the new boss paid to have a massage, he comes in and talks with me each day, and just seems truly interested in his employees well being. I think I needed this little push because I was so sad and lost without Jude. I still am but at least I now feel I have a reason to get up and keep going each day. I have been taking better care of myself and enjoying my time with my family too.

I do still have nightmares and anxiety, which is normal. Last night I dreamt the house caught on fire and I was trying to get home. By the time I got there all our animals were lost and then I saw Emily's car and she wasn't supposed to be home so I just started bawling. Typical dream of being afraid of losing others in my life. I still miss Jude every single day and sometimes I just let the tears flow but I know he is always near.

So let's move on to the controversial debates regarding mass shootings. Gosh my heart goes out to the family and friends of the victims in Florida. I cannot imagine burying my child because someone else took their life in a violent act. Last year, while Emily was completing her senior year at Byron Nelson High school in Trophy Club Emily, texted me the unthinkable. "Mom, there is an active shooter at my school. I am hiding in the theater closet behind clothes. I wanted you to know I am safe."  This was not long after we lost Jude. I remember looking at my phone and trying to comprehend what she was telling me. I slowly got up from my desk, walked to my bosses office, and let him know I was leaving. I text my husband and then left. My husband called the office and my boss seemed perplexed I left. My husband replied, "All I know is if your wife tells you there is an active shooter at your child's school and to go to the school you leave and go to the school." We sat on the corner in front of the school and watched every major SWAT team and bomb squad from the metroplex area pull into my daughter's school. Emily would sporadically text updates,

"They're saying its bombs and a shooter"
"Mom, I am scared"
"Mom if something happens to me I want you to know how much I love you"
"We are hearing the shooter is in the athletic haul"
"They're making us turn off our phones"

We were listening to the police scanner outside the school the entire time. We saw a few of the squad's drive around to the athletic haul. They began screaming BREACH BREACH BREACH and inside they went. Finally, after 9pm that night lines of kids began emerging from the building without their backpacks, without purses, without anything, and with their hands up. We scanned all the lines of children until we finally saw Emily's face and we all hugged for a very long time. We found out later a student inside the school was texting exact locations to someone outside the school so they could call the policy and inform them of movement of the fictional shooter/bomber. However, Emily still swears something else went on in that school.

It was ridiculous! It was a situation I had talked to Emily about and the school had practiced shooter drills. I had always told Emily if you cannot get out get hidden and the theater would be great. Sure enough, she found that little dark closet that locked. Our kids should NOT have to think about this. I truly believe Eric Harris (don't know him look him up) was the devil and started this mass chain reaction.

I know many will react to this blog but I really hope that everyone takes a second no matter what side of the debate you are on and just think things through for a moment. Not everything in life is black and white, there is a whole lot of gray! I feel like the two sides of the gun issues are so passionate about their stance that they cannot listen to compromise or focus on realistic solutions. I don't know the exact way to stop these massive tragic losses but I know it's time to do something. I am well aware there are other situations going on in America like abortion, Chicago, suicide at schools, etc but I am not talking about those situations right now. I am addressing mass shootings. I am addressing something that should never happen and that our children shouldn't worry about. My child should never have been cowering in a dark closet for hours fearing for her life.

So my ideas? They would take work and I understand they may seem a bit irrational but I believe this can be done.

1. Ban backpacks - Emily's school started a trend like this. No lockers and no large backpacks. All textbooks are kept in class and used there. I would take it a step further and ramp up the rule to match local stadiums. No purses or bags larger than a specific size. Atheltic bags stay in the athletic dept and musical instruments stay in the band hall.

2. Metal Detectors with a central point of entry. Yes, I do I expect schools to pay for this? I don't know the answer but I do believe if districts can afford massive multi-million dollar stadiums they can afford a few metal detectors with security guards in the morning or rotate teachers. If they aren't a big district then possibly the government could help, local citizens, or even make it a community service project for major sports teams. Somehow some way if your child was in a shooting you would find a way.

3. Follow Texas in the Protect Texas Children Act of 2013 and actively train and arm teachers. The Senate passed act allows 1 teacher per 400 children to be armed. The teachers go through 80 hours of intense training and screening. The schools then display signs (Look up Argyle ISD armed) that say "Our teachers are armed and will take any means necessary to protect our students." AMEN! The argument here is, what if the teacher snaps, what if a student gets the gun, and we cannot even afford pencils. My favorite ridiculous argument is the last one. First Argyle and many others have been fully armed since 2013 and not ONE of these districts has had an incident. It is psychologically proven that a criminal that wants a victim will rarely walk into a situation where he knows HE can be the victim. Therefore the signs are a huge deterrent because the armed shooter will know he could quickly be taken down before ever taking action. The only high school mass shooter situation stopped in the midst of the situation was the Pearl HS shootings. The VP ran to his vehicle and obtained his own personal weapon and held the shooter captive until police arrived.

4. Oh people are going to hate this one and I want you to know I come from a gun-toting, military, bad ass family. I believe we should ban AR-15's and other high caliber rifles. Before anyone starts in I know exactly what an AR-15 is. I know AR does not stand for Assault Rifle but Armalite because the rifle was named after the company that made them. I know it was first used in the Vietnam war because the M14 they were using was just too heavy and cumbersome. Put the M14 up against an AK47 and there was just no match. So it originally came out as the M16 and fully automated the AR15 is the civilian version that is semiautomatic. Now here is what I want you to think on, the AR can fire dozens of rounds in seconds and is a more accurate shot than many military weapons. It can also be customized, which we have all learned. I just see ZERO need for the weapons. Again keep in mind I am pro-gun and my family is armed and any gun family, if being truthful, will tell you an AR-15 is a killing machine. That's what it's built for. I can see maybe hunting hogs but besides that zero need for sports hunting..........unless hunting humans. I believe I can adequately protect my family without one of these weapons. However, I would also be okay with heavy regulation of these weapons. Did you know in Florida you can buy this weapon if you are 18 and have a clean record? There is absolutely no wait? I believe we pro-gun families should lead the way in making sure only responsible, evaluated, screened people have access to weapons.

So let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Will they ever ban these weapons, I highly doubt it. Will they ever ban guns and repeal our 2nd amendment, no way ever. It's just NOT going to happen and there are many responsible gun owners. I think we look at other solutions like I listed in numbers 1-3. Regardless we can argue all we want in America but the fact is these students and others are being slain.

I want you to think hard about what happened to these kids in Florida. We can point out the size of bullets used in the AR or other pointless information that if not combined with the total facts is useless. The smaller bullets and high velocity equal a bad outcome. These kids were assaulted, their bodies ripped by bullet holes, and their friends forced to watch. The school is soaked in blood, bullet holes through computers, and lives scarred forever. These parents are having to decide as they sit in a shock at a funeral home if they're going to cremate or bury their child. I have been in that seat and trust me it's a horrible decision to make! I know this is graphic but I believe it's going to take graphic to make a change. Come on AMERICA! Do something! It's time.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Jude's Unconditional Love

"Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism or complete love." Wikipedia. 

What is unconditional love to you? It's something I have thought over this past week as I guide myself through another thorny path in life. I mulled over all the times and situations in my life that would fall under unconditional love. I think we parents have a true understanding of the definition listed above and that we find this love in our marriages too. 

When Jude was so sick he would vomit on a regular basis. There were very late nights and early morning that I spent beside his bed wiping vomit up, changing sheets, and changing his pajamas. His medications would cause Jude to have very bad diapers as well so there was pretty much always a cleanup factory going at my house. Despite the messes and the lack of sleep my love for Jude was stronger than anything we would encounter. I would just stroke his hair, kiss him on the cheek (possibly get thrown up on), and get him cleaned up. This would repeat on a regular basis leaving me exhausted for work, but he was worth it. Jude was just pure innocence and anything he did he always had a smile on his face. He also loved everyone in his family with his entire heart. You could just see in his eyes how much he loved you! 

So when there are days that I may not agree with someone I love, I feel alone, or I am not sure my future I remember his big bright smile. I remember his unconditional love for me because I am sure I was very difficult sometimes. There may have been nights that I was so stressed that Jude was wondering what in the world I was doing but he still kept that smile. Jude never uttered mean words, he never questioned my love for him, and he was basically the type of person I would love to be. 

He is a reminder to me to not give up on those I love and to always give one hundred percent of my heart. That as trying as life can be sometimes there is always a suction to suck away what makes you choke, a light to help you see in the dark, and someone there to help you clean your mess.  There is always someone who will kiss your cheek when you are down, raise you up when you are low, and speak reasoning when there is no reason to find. 

Thank you Jude. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Adoption Update

On Wednesday the care worker came and met with our family regarding the adoption. She interviewed me, Mike, and Emily in detail. She then looked at the house and met our zoo of animals. As the animals were coming through the door to meet her she paused and said, "Is that a PIG?" We all had a bit of a chuckle and then laughed again when she pointed out his bed next to our bed. From here we have to complete our CPR training which is tomorrow, 10 more classes and complete our final home study. Everyone is asking what the process is so I thought I would share via the blog. After these steps are completed we will be a licensed foster care home. 

So then this is what happens. Our agency contact will then try to match the best child or children with us. She will call and explain their age, situation, and any trauma we then decide if we would like to take the placement. We have requested only children who have already had their rights terminated which would make them adoptable after 6 months. Mike and I have this feeling that the right match will make their way to us. 

Of course, this is not without some emotional times. I think anyone who says it's not emotional isn't being factual. While asking her interview questions the agency worker would ask us questions like, "what makes your marriage strong?", "can you handle adoption?", and "how do you handle new normals?" Literally, almost all of our answered focused on the fact we cared for a beautiful boy with a highly complex case that took lots of patience, strength, and determination. We have been through one of the toughest situations imaginable so we feel we can make it through anything. 

This week my car radio kept changing stations for no reason, my headset at work keeps raising and lowering without me pressing my button, and I keep smelling an overpowering amount of roses. I would say Jude is sending me some signs. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

You Will Want To Read This Update

I have been so busy at work I haven't been able to blog very much or even talk very much. I have a bit of a break today so I thought I would share a lot of items that are running through my constantly moving mind. Some of which some may find surprising and others exciting. 

First off I explained on my prior blog that Emily has transferred home. She started TWU this week and is going to spend a semester there before deciding to pursue her nursing degree at TWU or another TX.  Who know she may even return to Alabama. I won't get into too much detail because everyone deserves their privacy but Emily has hit that stage in life where she is trying to find herself. We have all been there and we can all appreciate the struggle that lies before her. Luckily we all know with time life plays out before our eyes and lays the path we are set to follow. Luckily she and Dan the man are doing great and he is a huge pillar of emotional support for her. We even included Mr. Dan in our Christmas cards this year. 

We also included Jude in our own special way. 

So before Jude left us Mike and I on multiple occasions talked about having another baby. I decided I didn't want to risk a child having another stroke so then we talked about adoption. We did a lot of research on the subject but in the end I made the difficult decision that although I wanted to expand our family it just wasn't right at the time. Jude's life was complicated and Emily already had enough time taken away from her. So we felt Emily and Jude needed to be our primary concern and we left out family the way it was. After Jude passed the subject came up again but I just wasn't ready. I struggled with the feeling I was "replacing" Jude even though I knew I wasn't going to be doing that because Jude is irreplaceable.  However I also knew we wanted more children and siblings for Emily.  Finally after long discussions and research our family has made the decision to adopt! It's exciting, scary, thrilling, and emotional all at the same time. With just our family knowing we have gone through the background checks, finger printing, financial checks, and more. We are now to the class stages and we even have the great Argyle Fire dept volunteering to help us with CPR classes and inspections.  We will look at children who have had their rights terminated so we will not endure court battles. This was a plan we have thought out and planned for awhile now. I wasn't sure the reactions I would receive so today I started making phone calls and I met with extremely happy and emotional "HOORAY'S" and tears. It was reassuring! We also received the most heartfelt amazing letter from Jude's neurologist that he sent as a reference. I was so touched I cried whale tears! So you guys will get to follow another journey through our blog. One that we feel compelled to participate in and help make a difference in the world. I feel Jude is guiding us and holding our hands along this path. It seems any time I need reassurance we are heading in the right direction I look up and see a picture of his smiling face. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

What I learned from Pageants and Jude

Well that's an odd combination of a title isn't it? However I was thinking recently how much I have learned from running a pageant system, being involved with Emily in pageants, and Jude's life. So in honor of Miss Texas USA (live this weekend online) here we go.

1. These situations were at times extremely chaotic but I learned that stress can cause a manageable situation to become unmanageable very quickly. So to keep myself in check I realized the world is not black and white that there are a lot of grey answers. So when I felt myself spinning out of control I would sit down and list the solutions for the problem at hand. Many times I would find there wasn't just one solution but multiple possibilities that could be implemented. This would temper my stress because I would realize this would work out and everything would be okay.

2. To be kind to everyone you meet. The old saying that everyone is fighting a battle is true. Some people have battles they are fighting like keeping a very sick child alive. Some are struggling with money, others with weight, some with depression, others anxiety, and many other situations. No battle is larger than any other battle. Plus you never know who you are dealing with so don't make assumptions. The person you may think is annoying may turn out to be a huge ally and have a heart of gold. The beggar you ridicule may be a millionaire just wanting to help someone else in need. While working pageants I reminded myself that the moms just want the best for their daughters and that many times their efforts to help are true and genuine.

3. Patience is a virtue.The car racing home really isn't going to save any time but only put others in danger so is the danger worth not having the patience?  Sitting in a doctors office for hours on end without any answers or reasons can exhaust a person physically and mentally. So this is where you have to get creative with patience. I constantly hear, "Your phone is HUGE!" I have an Iphone 6 plus. I generally just laugh to myself and refer to the line above about not making assumptions. If they only knew I purchased it so Jude and I could watch movies together in ICU.

Remember to have patiences with a child and this will prevent regrets later in life when you look back on your words and actions. Again I will reference an old saying that people may forget what you did but they will never forget what you said and how you made them feel.

4. If someone offers to help LET THEM! It took me awhile but I began accepting offers when people offered to cook for us, clean up, and help with laundry when Jude was so ill. It increased the quality of our lives. In addition one of the best oiled machines of the pageant industry (in my opinion) is the Miss Dallas USA system. The director has mastered the skill of utilizing the help of former winners, mother of winners, past contestants, and friends to make sure his pageant runs smoothly. Even having someone manage a simple job like selling program books can be helpful. When an event in life or on stage runs like a well played song it generally is with the help of many caring and interested parties. This kindness is given in return for your kindness and hard work that shows throughout your business and life. It's a true give and receive situation that is never ending

5. Don't sweat the small stuff. Seriously I cannot stress this enough. Those minimal little issues that will soon be remedied don't deserve the extra stress and sweat. I encourage others to stop when you feel upset and evaluate the situation. Is this truly something that deserves your tears, time, and trouble. If not move through it quickly and keep going. With Jude most everything was a HUGE deal but we quickly found that when something didn't need our worry it didn't get our stress. This applies to pageants too. Pageants are a form of sport and entertainment. They are there to better yourself and enjoy your time in life. If Emily lost or didn't place how she wanted I used to always give her time to be disappointing in our hotel room. Then I would tell her "Dust yourself off, congratulate the winner, thank the director, and decide if you want to try again. That's really all there is to it because once you walk out that door you don't dwell on it again." I feel this rule applies to many aspect of our life. We cannot always win everything and we cannot always be successful but if you try that's what matters.
Your commitment to a project in my opinion far exceeds the possibility of winning.

6. Stop nagging yourself and others. Whether it's a special needs parent with a nurse, your family, or a pageant director stop nagging. There are ways to express your thoughts in a clear and precise manner and a nice way to express them. This will make you happier and those around you much happier too. It will also motivate others to listen to you and product a more positive outcome. I now stop myself and ask myself if the situation is truly worth nagging or berating someone or can the situation be settled amicably and nicely. Can you leave the person you are talking with feeling better than when the conversation started? If so then why not choose that route. 

Other ways I found to improve my life when it was so chaotic is to not live in fear, push out the negative, gravitate to the positive, eliminate people that aren't nice, and try to add value to someone else's life. I know this seems like an odd combination and topic but hopefully you got something positive out of it today!

Happy Weekend!