jeremiah 17:7-8

Nov 24, 2015 in ponderizing | 0 comments

I’ve long been a fan of the book of Jeremiah. It is full of prophecy, hope, and redemption. Our son, Fisher Eli, is named after the prophecy in chapter 16 about the latter-day gathering of Israel. This past week I searched my scriptures for verses on hope as I felt I needed a bit of hope added to my bucket. I read many verses and was buoyed up by the power and love of God, but when I read Jeremiah 17:7-8, I knew it was the one I needed to ponderize.

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

This verse reminded me of the life-giving abundance of God. His water can grow things so strong, so fortified, that when the heat and drought comes, they still produce fruit.

Oh, how I need His living water so that I can remain steadfast and producing good fruit in the midst of drought.

My hope is God. I love Him. I trust Him. I am learning to completely depend on Him.


kat’s lentil tacos

Nov 20, 2015 in food we love, recipes | 0 comments

Miss Kat taught me how to make her delicious Lentil Tacos years ago. We love them ever so much for their easiness, deliciousness, healthiness, and low cost. Her website has disappeared from the interwebs, so I decided to post her recipe here so when people ask me for it, I have somewhere easy to send them.

Lentil Tacos

  • 1 Onion, chopped (if you have time to saute on the stove first, it’s worth it)
  • 2 1/2 C. Lentils
  • 5 C. Water
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Mix together in crockpot, cook at least 7 hours, 9 is even better on low or 3-4 hours on high. Or cook on the stove for about 30 minutes if you forgot to start it earlier in the day.

About 30 minutes before eating, add in:

  • 1 14.5 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz. Can Green Chilies

Right before eating, stir in 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped.
Serve on warm tortillas with these toppings:

  • Fresh Limes squeezed on top (a must!)
  • Sour Cream (optional, but delicious)
  • Grated Cheese (optional, but delicious)
  • Salsa (optional, but delicious)

My mom doesn’t like cilantro, so we leave it out when she is here and just let everyone put their cilantro on individually instead of mixing it into the big pot.

Thank you Katherine for blessing our family’s life with your fabulous foodie creations!

i guess wrists are pretty important

Nov 19, 2015 in the hip | 0 comments

It looks like it’s time for some more growing – growing of me and my capacity to deal with another injury. One might think I would be a pro at this by now, but I’m not. I haven’t figured out how to accept each new injury without throwing a little fit about it first.

I fell back on October 30 – a sudden face-plant on our front cement when my pants caught on our gate. My arms were full of stuff and I went straight down to the ground like a plank. Somehow at the last millisecond, my right arm shot out and caught me just a hair before the rest of my body hit. I dislocated my shoulder, elbow, and wrist. After getting those joints kind of back in place, I was not in too terrible of shape and I actually went and taught gym for the day. The next day I had a big passing out episode at our monthly baptismal service and when I came to and found a group of men ready to help carry me to my wheelchair and then into my house, I was super concerned about them lifting up under my arm because I knew my shoulder was still super sore and I knew it would dislocate again if they touched it. What I wasn’t too concerned about was my wrist. It was a little sore, but nothing like my shoulder.

A few days later Jeremy put me all back together much better than I had done and I thought my arm was going to be fine. it was sore, but didn’t seem too serious to me.

Unfortunately, the pain is increasing. He has now worked on it three times and not only is it not improving, it seems to be getting worse. Especially with writing. And mousing (the act of using a computer mouse). And doing my hair. And stirring food.

So yesterday we had the gist of this conversation.

Me: You’ve got to work on my neck, my neck really hurts.

J: I will, but we need to check on your wrist. Tell me where the pain is. Tell me what makes it hurt more.

Me: Oh, it is just STUPID. Just a stupid, little injury. I don’t want to spend any more time on my wrist. Let’s work on my neck and ribs and knee today.

J: I will get to those things, but we need to work on your wrist.

Me: Fine. But it is stupid. How can such a small little thing be taking up this much time and be affecting so much of my life? It just needs to stop hurting so we can focus on the more important stuff.

J: Tracy, this is your hand we are talking about. Your right, very dominant, hand. I’d say it’s pretty important.

Me: Well, yes, when you put it like that, I guess my hand is important. But it just seems so stupid that we have to take time away from my neck and ribs and hip and knee to deal with this stupid injury. It’s such a distraction!

J: Tracy, let me tell you about the Stanford Tomato Study. The researchers had two greenhouses with identical tomato plants in each one. Every day they would go in one greenhouse and say, “I hate you. You are bad tomato plants. You won’t grow.” In the other greenhouse they would say, “I love you. You are beautiful plants. You will grow big tomatoes.” The tomatoes did just what they were told. You need to be telling your arm, “You are a good arm. You are hurt and we are going to help you get better. I love you. Thank you for serving me so well. You will heal and get stronger and I will help you.”

Me: Argh. I know that. And the water study and the rice study. All cool beans. But don’t you agree with me that this injury is getting in the way of more important things? I mean just a few weeks ago we were super concerned about brain stem compression and now we are spending all sorts of time on this little stupid wrist injury.

J: It is NOT stupid. This is your hand. A major part of your functioning as a human being is in your hand. It is important and we need to get it better so you can use it again.

Me finally humbled and listening with my heart instead of my head: Hmmm, okay. I will stop calling it stupid and start sending it love and do my best to give it what it needs. What is wrong and what does it need?

J: Well, I think your TFCC or Triangular Fibro-Cartilage Complex is either torn or stretched really badly. You have all the symptoms. Your radius and ulna aren’t tracking together and the TFCC is the cartilage and ligament structure that connect those two bones. You need to not use it. Don’t do things that hurt it like write and mouse and definitely no more stirring pots of soup. You need to brace it if the tape isn’t working as well as it needs to and rest it and send it love. And start juggling with your left hand to build some coordination because it needs to take over.

Me: Okay. Okay. Fine. I will do those things.

I have been trying to work this all out in my heart and mind, to really take his words in and believe them…and while I do, I am still fighting it a bit. It does seem like a silly injury! And it is super exasperating because it is a whole new body part that is injured and the last thing I need is to add another body part to the list of damaged areas…right hip, sacrum, pubic bone, left foot, right foot, right knee, spine, brainstem, vagus nerve, facial nerve, temporomandibular joint, cerebellum, ribs, clavicle, esophagus, stomach, cecum, IT band, hamstrings, left shoulder, right shoulder, and now my right elbow, wrist, and hand. Oh my goodness, what body parts are left? My left hand, hip, and knee? For heaven’s sake, I need to keep the uninjured parts of me UNINJURED. Once something is damaged on me, it doesn’t get back to its preinjured state, it is weakened and much more prone to future injury, so it is really important to not get the first injury.

At the same time, I can see that it IS important and I need to stop thinking of it as stupid. I need to honor this injury and view it as something just as important as my brainstem or hip. It is harder for me to do that though because I can walk just fine with an injured wrist. I can move without wincing. I think something is wrong with my brain’s processing of things because it seems I believe that if I can still move, it must not be very serious – only injuries that completely stop me in my tracks are important. Maybe that is why the first injury did stop me in my tracks and put me in bed? Hmmm. Big things to ponder.

I ordered the new ulnar support brace along with a compression sleeve this morning and am hoping Amazon pulls a miracle and gets them here faster than the estimated delivery dates. In the meantime, I am trying to train myself not to use my right arm for anything…basically impossible, but I am giving it a valiant effort. Tell me, how am I supposed to put my contacts in with my left hand? Or do my hair? Or anything? How am I supposed to not write?

Okay. Deep breaths. Time to learn more lessons and grow.

he’s not boring

Nov 18, 2015 in blessings, family | 0 comments





Patient. Dedicated. Committed. Perseverant. Adorable. Hero of the fridge, plugged drains, and piles of puke.


Completely full of love for me.

We go back and forth with this discussion all the time. He thinks he is boring and wonders how on earth someone with my passion and energy and drive could ever be content with someone like him. I think he is stable and is the rock that holds all the crazy people in this home together.

In spite of my absolute conviction that he is not boring, lately I have been making him feel boring and not enough for me. From somewhere deep inside me a need to be swooned has burst forth and since he doesn’t feel like he is a swooning kind of guy, he was feeling like he isn’t enough for me. I think this need is mostly coming from my feeling so terribly broken and undesirable…like the need to be desired and swept off my feet has increased as my own inner undesirableness has increased. I have hurt him and apologized and hurt him again and apologized some more. Oh, how I wish I knew how to be a constant well of kindness and love. Oh, how I sometimes wish I could cut out my tongue!

We have worked it out. I have been able to narrow down my expectations so he has something to actually work with instead of a nebulous cloud of “I just need to be swept off my feet.” He has taken me on two actual, factual dates where I didn’t have to plan it out or do a single thing to make it happen. Two blissful wonderful evenings my soul desperately needed.

And then, I read this article on The Real Truth About ‘Boring Men’ and bawled my soul right out onto my pillow. Later that night, I sobbed my way through it again as I read it aloud to him. Go read it. Really. Right now. I wish I had Ann’s gift of communication and could have somehow written that message myself.

As we read, we both saw the truth of the situation. He saw himself with new eyes and realized he is not boring, he is purposed. My Richard has purposed his life to following Christ, giving his whole soul to me, and loving, serving and teaching our children. It is a 24/7 endeavor. So, while he may not surprise me with some fantastic date idea or make a YouTube video proclaiming his love, he will be in the trenches with me, cleaning up puke, listening to our children’s nighttime fears, and adoring my broken, soft-around-the-middle body. He is staying. He will not surprise me be leaving, by finding some hot new young thing. He is in this for the long haul and is determined to be kind, patient, forgiving, and serve each of us for now and forever. He has laid down his life for our family.

It is not showy or fancy, but it is real. It is solid. It is exactly what I need.

annes on injuries

Nov 17, 2015 in children, family, the hip | 0 comments

My little Annesley has decided she is a speech writer. Keziah is in the middle of writing two speeches that she has to give this week and I guess Annes has caught the bug. Yesterday she presented her Anything Is Possible If You Have Love speech and today she gave us this speech on injuries. This is word for word what she said.

Warning: grab a tissue.

My name is Annesley and I am writing about injuries. You can fall off a skateboard. You can fall off of a tree. My mom has injuries, but even if I am sad she can’t do the stuff most mothers can, I am still happy I have a mother who takes good care of me and loves her family. I love her, too.

Injuries don’t mean it’s the end of your life. Injuries can sometimes help you to realize what is ahead of you in your life. When you have an injury or when you have a family member who has an injury, it doesn’t mean that she or he won’t take care of you. It means that you will be able to fight trials and you will have to get used to those trials because it will happen.

My mom is suffering through a tissue disorder. She has been passing out, but this week she has been doing okay. I like that I have a loving mother who takes good care of me.

My mom has an injury and I love her. She teaches a good homeschool group and she teaches gym. She doesn’t actually do all the tricks, but she has people do it for her. She has Grant and she has my sister, that is technically all.

Injuries might make you feel like you need to stay in your room all the time, but that is not true. You should try to help the people in your family who are injured. You should get used to having a family member who is hurt. Once I had an injury. I did a front flip into the pit and hurt my back. It hurt so much, but then it calmed down. But that is not what happens with my mom. When she gets hurt or passes out, she shakes for about two hours or maybe three. I do not like that, but I try to help her as much as I can.

Even when you get hurt it doesn’t mean you will never, ever be able to walk or look behind you again. It means you are hurt. Just plain hurt. It might seem like everything is aimless, but anything is possible with Jesus Christ. He will heal you.

Oh my, the tears. This precious girl doesn’t even remember me before I was injured. This has been her life. She sometimes wistfully says, “Mom, I wish you could run around the yard with me.” Or, “Mom, tell me what you were like before you were like this. Tell me about how you would ride your bike. Tell me about how you would played baseball and volleyball.” Oh, how I love her. I remember so clearly the feeling I got the first time I looked in her eyes. She told me spirit to spirit, “Mom, it’s gonna be okay.”

And now, it is time to trust her message.

week 7 in cali

Nov 16, 2015 in blythe's mission | 2 comments

I have been asking Blythe all sorts of questions each week, but she never has time to answer them. Today she tried extra hard to answer me, wahoo! Today marks two full months since the day we dropped her off at the MTC. Craziness! I need to get a package in the mail to her with some fingernail polish, some instrumental music, and some recipes. If anyone knows of anyone driving to the Irvine area, please let me know because she really wants her violin. She refuses to let it be shipped, so it needs to be driven to her.

Mom, to answer your questions – Sister Davis wrote me once and Madi writes, but nobody else.:( The ukulele is awesome, and several people have music that I can copy for it. If you could, I’d love an inexpensive tuner, since the only place I can tune with a piano is the church, but don’t worry too much about that. We normally eat every night in a members home, though this week has had a lot of open nights. I cook lunches and dinners when we’re not in a home. We do laundry at Tina O.’s house, and she is fantabulous! She has the funniest impression of her mom walking, of Disney characters, and anything else you can think of. She found out that Sister Shumway loves popcorn and gets popcorn of varying flavors for us to try. Of her and Carlos O. we say she wears the suit and he wears the dress and totally agree.:) She has all the power tools and is always doing some project in the house. Carlos likes cooking and always gets out stuff to make Italian sodas when we’re over for dinner. They are both hilarious! Tina is currently switching her front door to face the other way, and Carlos tore out all the carpet in the living room so they could put in a new floor. They always have projects going. I like all my clothes. I can’t think of a favorite, but if Old Navy still has those navy flats, I’d love more, they’re my favorite.

Now on to the important stuff. This week has been a little weird, because we worked really hard, and actually did some really good things, but they weren’t in the direction we thought it would go, which sometimes happens. Our key indicator numbers look really bad, but that’s mostly because we weren’t able to contact most of the people we were hoping to. We haven’t been able to contact Liz for 2 weeks, not since our last appointment. Her baptism can no longer be on the 5th, because she didn’t come to church yesterday, and she has to come 3 times before she can be baptized. It looks like we still have some ground to cover there, but we’re working on it. Hopefully we’ll see her tonight!

We actually got an actual appointment with Jennifer for this next Friday! Super exciting! Set appointments are really hard to get. I’m crossing my fingers.

Joanie is always busy, but absolutely forbids us to lose contact with her, especially with this last possible transfer. But we are setting up a dinner with the Mausses (who know her and her daughter, the mom of Elder Everette). We keep visiting her and one of these days I’m sure it’s going to pay off.

A lot of our success this week has been with less actives. We had another awesome visit with the Miskinyar/Gudmaunsen family and each time it gets a little better. We also got in with Raquel B. She’s always traveling and it’s super hard to see her. She’s Filipino and we have a Filipino Elder who has been trying to get an appointment with her. We got a time he could come by and we talked to her for quite a while. Her husband is a big businessman and doesn’t like the church. She tried to come a couple times, but hasn’t made it yet. She asked us to come by for a while on Thanksgiving when her family (who are active) will be there. She’s super friendly and I like her quite a lot. She’s also seriously pretty and has an adorable little boy who is basically a monkey. We’ll also be able to stop by soon again hopefully.

So for Thanksgiving we’re going to Raquel’s, and the bishop’s, at least for a minute, since they bring marines from the base south of us to have Thanksgiving in their home, and he likes us to come meet them, and having dinner with the Cheney’s. We’ll be well taken care of, I’m sure. :)

We picked up a few potentials, and one of them conveniently is friends with several of our ward members, and gave both of them a Book of Mormon! Yea!

Alright, so the Mausses. They live way out in the rolling hills away from the city and in fact are outside the mission boundaries. We have special permission to go out there once a month for dinner. You have to go up this skinny little road perched on top of a mountain. I’d hate to be pulling a trailer! They are loud and fun and hilarious and great singers. One daughter is expecting her mission call any day and the whole family is highly involved in our missionary efforts. Basically, they’re awesome!

It’s been really cool recently because several ward members have gone out of they’re way to tell us that they really appreciate our sincere efforts and that they can tell that all four of us work well together and are really engaged in the work. It’s great to know that they see that.

My emails may start being shorter, since everyone here just learned that they want us to keep our emailing under an hour.:( I’m not that fast at typing… Anyway.

Love you all!!
Sister W.

stuffed potatoes

Nov 16, 2015 in family, recipes | 0 comments

Something inside my mom-heart has woken up recently and I have been trying to prepare food for my family more frequently. I want my children to eat food I make for them, to feel my love for them in the food I feed them. Unfortunately this awakening has happened at the same time my wrist and forearm are terribly sore from my faceplant on October 30. So, we have some funny moments where I try to do things with my left hand and food flies across the kitchen. Or I spill things – yes, even more than usual – when I try to pour with my left hand. We have discovered it is basically just there to make me look normal as it is nearly non-functional for any cooking or writing activities.

Tonight I made one of our favorite dishes from long, long ago when I used to cook everything from scratch and did so on a regular basis. When saw what was for dinner, she didn’t even remember eating these before so it must have been awhile ago when I was making these on a regular basis!


Stuffed Potatoes

  • 5 Large Baked Potatoes
  • 1 C. Plain Yogurt (can substitute sour cream)
  • 1 C. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 3 T. Butter
  • 2 T. Milk
  • 2 T. Finely Minced Onion
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 1/2 C. chopped cooked bacon (I’ve never put it in and it is super delicious without it.)

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out centers, reserving shells. Beat potatoes with yogurt cheese, butter, milk, onion, seasonings, and bacon. Stuff shells. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Garnish with paprika and/or parsley (although I have never put either one on).

From Whole Foods For The Whole Family by La Leche League International

My arm is done functioning for the night. Cutting and scooping out and stirring and scooping back in were super painful, but worth it for the squeals of delight from our kiddos and the smiles my sweetie gave me when he saw what I had made.

anything is possible if you have love

Nov 16, 2015 in children, family | 3 comments

Annesley “wrote” this today. She actually dictated it to me from her writing notebook, but she didn’t really write all these words – her paper is full of lots of scribbles and lots of love words. She did, however, say them all. This is her message to the world, word for word as she said it, completely unedited by me except for the punctuation.

My name is Annesley and I am writing about love. Love can build families. Every time you are kind, love grows in your family. Love can build houses. Love can build people. Love can build buildings.

People might say you do not have love, but that is not true. You have love every time you are kind. Even if you are sad, you can still have love. You can share love. Love can still grow.

I am so glad that I have a sister on a mission. Even though I am sad, I can still send love to her.

I share love when I go to people’s houses. I give love. When I am naughty, I am not sharing love. When I am kind, I am sharing love. Every time I make a choice, I am trying to make a good choice.

You can share love with a friend, with family members, or even with someone you don’t know. You can share love, it’s just like a plant. When you are growing a plant, it is just like you are building love. Love is growing in your heart, your mind, and even your friend’s heart. You can build courage with love. You can build courage by asking someone to play with you even if you don’t know them. When you are going somewhere with your friends, you should always spread love.

When you don’t believe you have love, Jesus is sending it down to you and you should use that love to build families, make friendships, and be kind. Jesus sends love down to everyone.

Love can grow in your heart. You can build love, you can share love.

Anything is possible if you have love.

Pretty wise words from this almost 8 year old. Next week is her birthday and her baptism is the week after. A little part of me has been wondering if she is truly ready to make this covenant with Jesus. Although she is naturally joyful and full of zest, she struggles with honesty and kindness. We have spent the past many months preparing her for this time of covenant making and while there have been glimpses of this deeper, more thoughtful side of her showing up, it wasn’t until today when she read me this paper on love that I knew she was ready.

because towers are fun

Nov 15, 2015 in children, family, pics | 0 comments

First day of my period + Friday gym + Friday church party + Friday night at Kat’s = exhausted mama. I spent all of Saturday in bed. Literally. I believe I got out three times to use the bathroom and that is all – I never even left my room. After sleeping soundly for hours on end while my children did their Saturday jobs, schoolwork, and played games together, I found these on my phone.




I’m so glad these bendable, hilarious kiddos are mine. I guess when you are super bendy, this sounds like a good idea. In fact, I can even remember when I thought things like this were super fun. But now? Now, not so much. And my mind can’t help but jump to the future and wonder what damage they just caused to their bodies. I don’t like being in that frame of mind – and I certainly don’t want to pass it on to them. I want them to live fully and without a care in the world. Carpe diem all the way. So, I am trying my darndest to stay silent about the possible repercussions of these kinds of moves and let them enjoy their fun.

not a fan of these changes

Nov 9, 2015 in my life as me | 2 comments

Some changes, like rearranging furniture, I love. Some changes, not so much. In the past year, we have gone through a lot of changes and I am still struggling to find a new normal.

A year ago, on November 6th, my best friend, Jessica, moved. Jessica is hilarious and super-talented and beautiful and a million other things that people out in internet-land love her for, but to me, she is simply my friend who I can share my deepest spiritual thoughts with, feel completely at home with, and laugh so hard I pee my pants nearly every time I am with her. We first connected because we were both home birthing, breastfeeding, LDS mamas in the same ward. We found we had similar parenting ideas and even though I am a mega extrovert and she is an introvert, we hit it off famously and have been bestest buddies for many years. We understand the deepest parts of each other that we are sometimes not willing to share with the world at large and have been through a lot together. I adore her. Absolutely adore her and ache so much for her physical presence back in my life. Neither of us is a good long, distance friend who stays in touch with lengthy or frequent phone calls or even frequent emails. We have had a few visits, but they have been quick and not nearly as soul-filling as we have wanted them to be. Life is complicated by the fact that both of us have POTS and have a hard time doing all the work of daily life much less adding in traveling and driving and packing and all that jazz. Our midnight sewing/computer/Thai/Gator Bites nights are a thing of the past. My running over to take care of her mid-POTS episode and vice versa doesn’t happen anymore. Having each other as part of our day-to-day lives just isn’t in the cards right now. And even though I have accepted it and support her choices, I don’t like it one little bit.

Then my other dear friend, Jennifer, moved in June. Really moved. Clear across the country moved. Not 3.5 hours away like Jessica where there is the chance to see her every few months, but something like 30 or 40 hours away. She moved to be near her family, which is a totally wonderful and understandable reason to move…but I miss her terribly. Jen has been my dear friend ever since Fisher was a wee baby. We first became friends when I begged her to teach me to play the cello. Then her girls took gymnastics from me. Then she asked me to be her doula. Then I prayed her to our little town because I wanted so badly to spend the rest of my life with her and her delightful family. Jennifer’s leaving has left a gaping hole in my life and I miss her so much, I can’t even talk about it without bursting into tears.

The four of us, Kat, Jennifer, Jessica, and I were supposed to (in my dream world where everything goes my way) grow old together. We were supposed to laugh and cry and serve and love each other for the next 60 years till we all die around 100. We were supposed to help each other with our children’s weddings and put on huge service projects and go out to eat at Red Robin every month for the rest of our lives. We have this amazing friendship that is simply incomprehensible until you have experienced it and I never, ever thought it would change. Yes, we are still dear friends and yes, we still talk and email and laugh, but it is just not the same as being piled on the same bed together eating Pad Thai at midnight while filling each other with love and laughter.

And I haven’t mourned it. Not really. I have tried super hard to be supportive of their moving and been so focused getting Blythe out on her mission and getting through the summer and starting our homeschool this fall that I haven’t allowed myself to truly bawl my eyes soul out over the whole thing. I think it is just starting to really hit home that this is real. Now it has been a year since Jessica left and my heart hurts ever so much. I miss them. I miss us. I miss the entity that we were and the force for good we were in each other’s lives and in the world. I miss watching Jen and Jesse (her awesome dh) play in the symphony and I miss Jen conducting our homeschool orchestra. I miss sewing parties and watching our children play together and the Pink and Red party. I miss our late nights and our doctor’s appointments where they held my hands and gave me strength and courage, and our shopping trips (for mundane things like groceries) and our joy. I miss our joy most of all.

Kat and I are still here and love each other dearly, but I think we both agree that this whole thing is really hard.

The same day Jessica moved, I got a phone call from another dear friend, Kari. She said she needed some help, that she was moving and terribly ill and could I come help right away. I dried my eyes and went straight to her house where we got right to work getting her better with my herbs and oils and Richard’s energy work. She pulled out of town the next day and my heart broke a little bit more. Kari and I are nearly psychological/personality identical twins. Even though we didn’t spend gobs of time together, we *got* each other. We could call one another at any time day or night and we would be there for each other. She was my spontaneous, adventure loving friend who I could call at the last minute and she would drop everything to help my plans come to life. At one of our Make It For Maggie events, she made Maggie a look-alike doll – her heart is huge. I mentored her children and love each one of them dearly. We still connect on Facebook, but Facebook is no substitute for real life adventures with a dear friend.

Another big change has been our daughter leaving on her mission. It is truly THE BEST thing ever to be a missionary mama. I love it! I am so grateful she is serving and working and growing and doing hard things. But I miss her. And I miss being a mother a four little ones who would snuggle up on the couch with me while I read to them for hours at a time. I am not really mourning this right this minute, but I did have to go through a big grieving process of saying goodbye to those years of mothering and homeschooling these precious children. Blythe’s leaving marked the end of an era of my mothering and even though we are moving on and enjoying this next phase, my heart still longs for those days of having all four of them gathered round and discussing liberty or morality or The Lord of the Rings or a tricky math problem. It will never be the same again…and while that is a good thing, it is a huge change for our family.

The car accident in January caused some big changes in my spine and overall health. The headaches, neck pain, sacrum pain, spine instability, and muscle spasms weren’t part of my life before the accident. Now, even though I am doing much better than I was during February and March, I am realizing this level of instability will most likely be with me for the rest of my life. And there is really nothing I can do about that. My most recent MRI showed an exaggerated lordosis of the cervical spine at C3 and a reversal of the normal lordosis at C6…this basically means the vertebrae are more like a hilly road in Pennsylvania instead of the gentle slippery-slide shape they are supposed to be in.

And my body is getting worse. That is the long and short of it. My muscles are withering away because I can not do the work required to strengthen them without passing out. We are searching for answers to help my nervous system calm down, but right now, the muscles need to be strengthened so I can stop dislocating joints. Just last week I face-planted on my front cement when my pants caught on our gate. I dislocated my wrist, elbow, and shoulder when I caught myself. Now we are working to heal those injuries by having my wrist taped up and trying not to use that arm too much while it all heals. But those injuries further irritate my nervous system and the cycle continues. I keep thinking there has to be a way to be injury free long enough to allow my nervous system to calm down, but it seems every few weeks or so I have another new injury to deal with because I am not held together very well at all.

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Our youngest child is turning eight this month. Miss Annesley is growing up and soon I will no have no little ones left to snuggle with. This is good…but boy, it is hard. It seems my babies are growing up and while I am so proud of the people they are becoming, I often wish I could go back and nurse them just one more time or rock them in my arms to sleep. Those baby years were precious to me at the time and they are even more precious now (probably because I am not a sleep-deprived mother of babies!) as I think back on the days of carrying my wee ones in a sling, spending hours upon hours at the park watching them toddle around and discover the wonders of the world, and snuggling up with them in my bed at night. Annesley turning eight is just another marker of the end of that era. She still comes in to my bed first thing in the morning and she still snuggles while I read to her, but she is changing and I can see those things will be coming to an end in the not so distant future.

So many changes. I haven’t figured out how to navigate these new situations. I am taking it one day at a time…and I think I am doing pretty well most of the time…but then it hits me…my friends are gone…and they might not come back…and life will never be the same again.

I have been a little tenderhearted all day. I started weeping this morning watching a Bible Video about the crucifixion and it has continued all day with little bits of tears here and there every time I think of a loved one or a precious moment. It probably means my period is starting soon…not that these feelings aren’t real, they are real and they are big. They are just heightened by dropping progesterone levels.