Friday, February 7, 2014

On a more positive note...

This week has been a busy one! Honestly this year so far has felt like we are in "turbo" mode. Between working,  keeping up with the kids, church service, housework, school volunteering, Mike's new job venture and everything else... I like I have to start every week bringing my "A" game.
Working has been so much fun! I was trained in eyelash extensions back in October. I haven't worried about building up my clientele yet... I'm still focusing on perfecting my skill. I have a steady clientele of women who I love! I'm so thankful to have found something I can physically do, not to mention enjoy! My studio had just turned in a sad storage room. I honestly couldn't even look in there... it was depressing! I didn't know what I would do with that space after determining I could no longer do hair. The person who did my lashes knew about my current struggles and suggested I try doing lashes. I debated it back and forth... my only regret now, is that I didn't do it sooner!
I did have a brief job in 2013 at JetBlue. I look back on it now and think that it was good for me to go through that experience. I absolutely hated parts of it... but it was what I needed to pull myself out of the strange place I was in. I will have to go back and update much of 2013, but this little part of my year is a huge part of how I got where I am today.
I love my job! Somedays it's harder than others, my knee still gives me trouble... and this time of year it really struggles. However, I love the similarities it has with being a stylist. I love my clients! It is so fun to help women feel better about themselves. I will ride this train as long as I can... who knows how long lashes will be around, but hopefully I have a few years ahead of me. I have 600 more hours to obtain my Master Estheticians license, and that seems like a good path after lashes. I would love to work part-time at a Dermatologist's office. So we will see where life goes... if I've learned anything these past couple years, it's that life can surprise you!.. plans can be changed and I don't have control over much.
Mike works at home now... which has been interesting, to say the least! I didn't send out any info this year with our Christmas card. It would have read something like, "Mike's currently unemployed, I'm attempting to try work again, we are still fighting battles physically and legally, and thankfully the kids are resilient and hanging in there!" It just didn't seem like the most uplifting note to try and write. Sure, I could sugar-coat things... focus on the highlight reel... but it just seemed like too much work this year. I also tried something new... with Thanksgiving cards, trying to eliminate stress in December. Last year for Christmas we decided to go on a family trip! We didn't have have to do shopping and presents, it was a perfect getaway during the yucky weather. We didn't get to stay home for Christmas last year, and since I had surgery in December, it was not the best. Our family trip was perfect timing and after jumping through the hoops again this year, I really thing we have decided to just to family vacations for Christmas presents.
Anyway... Mike is working from home. He's started his own company and is much happier. Fingers-crossed that things will work out and he can be successful in this venture. His partners work out of our house as well. Which adds a different element to our home. For one... I have to get dressed! Like put on a bra before I leave my bedroom. Our house and bathrooms have to be "company ready" everyday. It's probably a good excuse to clean... but if I'm having a bad day, I do feel like a prisoner in my bedroom. I hadn't realized how used to a quiet house I was! It's not a big deal, considering I work 3 days a week... but my days off are not quite the "me time" I'm used to.
My church calling has been quite the challenge for me. I love the YW's and wouldn't change that. But I have had some hard lessons. It's still an ongoing challenge. I just pray I can learn what it is I'm supposed to learn and things can get better. It's been a bumpy road, and I'm learning a lot of things about myself. I am seeing my strengths and weaknesses... mostly my weaknesses amplified. I'm trying to manage my physical pain and frustration while accepting mass amounts of criticism. I'm back under a microscope and learning to cope with it. I'm learning patience and forgiveness, and praying for the same from my peers. I absolutely LOVE the girls and can have all the compassion and forgiveness in the world for them! I feel like my focus is (and should be) on them and helping them navigate through difficulties in their lives. I love serving them. It definitely adds a different dynamic to have both my girls in my class, although Cori just went into the older class. I'm still sad about it! There are a couple people who are supportive and I couldn't do it without them!
I was able to go to camp this past year! (no worries... I didn't put a bra on over my clothes!.. I was on my best and most proper behavior for an entire week!) Honestly, I was super surprised to get to go back. I thought that ship had sailed, and figured there was a big sticky note on my church file that said "This woman is banned from Girls Camp forever!" (We do have a new Bishop, so I'm betting that's how I slipped through) I was able to attend, and loved being back. It was a completely different experience, but I loved it! It was quite the physical undertaking, and I paid for it when I got home. But, was definitely worth it!
That's probably the most frustrating part of life these days. Trying to balance my limitations and pain management... and still be a decent person. My therapist has helped me, but having chronic pain has changed me. I'm learning to let go of things, or people, that are not good for me. I try to focus on the important things and not dwell on the limitations. I have to end my day with the list of things I was ABLE to accomplish, however short it might be... and not look at the list of things I didn't accomplish. I celebrate my victories, even the small ones. Just getting out of bed some days is a victory! I am thankful to have so much support and love... but mostly understanding from those close to me. Like I said before... I'm working on patience, and praying for others to give me the same consideration.
I also understand that everyone has their own trails and challenges. I don't for a second believe that my trials are harder than anyone else's. I've never been one to compare or keep track of who has it easier and who has it harder. I will NEVER say that I'm thankful for my trails... in fact that phrase is probably my biggest pet peeve... but I would say that I've learned a lot about myself and I've grown in many ways. I have been so blessed in life, in many areas. I'm sure to many people... my struggles are nothing to complain about. There are definitely so many other things in life that are much harder to endure. I have received criticism for portraying such a front, but I can honestly say that I've never compared my situation to anything except my own life. So something that is the hardest thing I've experienced is just that.. solely based on my experiences.
Just for reference and updating 2013... here is what I would consider the highlight reel...

Family trip to Mexico
JetBlue job
Lexi's jump team performance
Girls Camp
Sophie's baptism
Disneyland
Back to School Party
Sand Hollow
Halloween Festivities
Mike quitting his job
Christmas at home!

Between my recovery and second surgery at the end 2012 we did have...

Yellowstone/Jackson Hole
Sand Hollow
BYU in Notre Dame/Chicago

I am much more positive these days! My "pain journal" details the harder times and nitty gritty details... but life is good! I'm back on my feet... literally... and thankful for this journey called "life". There is so much good around me, and harder times makes me more thankful for that. I have good friends and family members who love and care for me. I have a loving husband who is my best friend, and 4 beautiful kidlets. I'm thankful for the gospel and specifically the Plan of Salvation, the knowledge that my family will be together forever. Also, that this life is a time to be tested and thankfully I have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven for my mistakes and shortcomings. I love the Lord, and recognize his hand in my life everyday!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Beware!

So I just posted all 46 of my 'Pain Journal' entries. They are crazy sad and super depressing... in fact, I tried editing a few, but it was too much for even me... and I wrote them! I'm kind of scared to put them out there... they are super detailed, very raw, and extremely personal! I did leave out a few pertaining to family drama. It's been a rough road, and 2012 is not a year I would ever want to revisit...ever.
In leaving out all the family drama, I feel like there is not enough credit given to my sister J. She seriously uprooted her life and lived at my house for months. Mike, the girls, and myself owe her a lifetime of favors, because we honestly wouldn't have made it through that year without her.
Coincidentally, her hubby graduated that year, and now they live 2 miles down the road! She is my best friend and one of the few individuals who stood by me through EVERYTHING. Her example of love, compassion, and care is beyond words. Our family will be eternally grateful for her service!
There was also many in my ward who fed us and checked-in on us over that year! Again, I could never express my thanks enough. My sister-in-law who helped clean and cook as well... and friends who just came and visited. There were so many days I was stuck in bed and my spirits were down. Just having true friends who cared enough to come visit with me meant the world. I was just getting through life day-to-day, and they made that possible.
I had to (and still are in some ways) dealing with the loss of friendships and relationships. I started going back to my therapist, and he has given me so much insight and perspective in helping me move forward. He said something to me that hit me hard... He said "Sometimes, big events and things happen in our lives, and we see our ledger. We see all our relationships in "black and white". It's not an easy thing to look at!" He went on to describe how when we see those relationships for what they really are... they aren't always what we may have thought. I've had to deal with situations where I thought someone was a close friend, but in looking at the ledger... they weren't. Either our relationship was based on artificial things or one of us getting more from the other. I've had to realize the difference between friends (or even family) and clients! I didn't realize that to many people I was just their hairdresser!
I assume my marriage could have had the same issues. When one person can no longer give... the dynamics are changed, and you see the ledger of your marriage. I feel blessed that we made it through 2012, and the ledger thrown in our face was a good one! Not that it wasn't a rough road... it taught us a ton! I was a pain in the butt, especially on my meds. I think about all Mike went through and it brings me to tears. He was amazing!

I am super excited to get back to writing, it is the best free therapy. Things are so much better now! I'm in a better place and I am accepting my "new normal". There were times I didn't see myself ever getting to this point... so it feels so awesome to be here.
Today we met with our lawyer for the last time. We were able to close the chapter on this horrific period in our lives. Things have definitely changed forever... but we are so ready to move forward and put everything behind us. It feels so great! Happy Happy Day!