Posted in Livin' la vida loca!

Toot Toot! That’s the sound of my own horn.

What is life if it isn’t a little funny?

I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but … toot toot … ya know?

Years ago we met with an agency that dug through our social platforms (with our permission) in an attempt to put a number behind my work. We were in a different city and in a different industry and I got to be a part of our business. My social savviness and marketing skills were mostly self-taught early on. I was constantly reading, studying trends, learning and doing all I could to develop a skill that would benefit our business. As the social marketing world was starting to develop more I knew that I needed to learn everything I could. I enjoyed working in this space and I was seeing a lot of success. Our traffic and overall sales correlated with my social marketing more than any other place that we spent marketing dollars.

When this agency asked to peek into our platforms they planned to duplicate and market it to some other dealerships that we had connected them with. If I was more business savvy at this point in life I would have said no, created my own business plan and marketed it to those same dealerships … but I wasn’t and I didn’t. None of that mattered anyway because after they looked into my world I got a very unintentional compliment. I will never forget opening an email that said their team had evaluated everything and they couldn’t put a number behind what I was doing and if they did, nobody could afford it. I mean I knew that all along … but to have an ad agency say it meant a lot.

 When you work behind the scenes you don’t get a lot of recognition or praise. I could always review stats, study conversions and know that what I was doing made a huge difference, but it wasn’t something I heard much. I heard a lot of complaints from salespeople that didn’t want to write ads or didn’t believe that social marketing was “worth it”. Knowing that industry experts took a peek and could see just how hard I was working meant so much.

Since then I have taken classes, studied and researched immensely since then and really honed in on what works in this realm. I help where I can, and I love looking at the analytics and seeing exactly what my work produces. When we made this move and planned this change for our family this is what I thought I was moving to do. I started researching and studying this new industry over a year in advance. My work was proven and well … I was working for free … so you can’t beat that. I never got to work at the new dealership, but after only a couple months of it being open, I started getting messages from friends and family asking what was going on with the marketing because it didn’t look like my work. I had a few people send me screenshots and I explained the situation to them. When things really needed to get kicked off, I got to help a little, which turned into a lot. As soon as my work started things lit up! I got messages from people saying they could tell I was working on it and how good it was (love you guys that always love on me). Since then I usually spend half of my week creating content, writing ads, scheduling and I spent over 2 months updating a website and writing all new content. Its all behind the scenes, but I get to see those numbers. I can tell you without a doubt that I completely killed it over the spring and into the summer and fall. TOOT TOOT!! The more I worked the harder it got. To be so successful, know you are good, but still not good enough to be on the team … it weighs on you. I wrote on this in Stinky Socks if you remember.

As the reality of the hurt built with my work, I realized I needed to change something. I found an amazing agency that specializes in this industry and made the appropriate introductions. They were hired and were able to continue to improve and grow on my established work. As much as I want to be involved and work in this realm it isn’t healthy for me. I am sure I have friends and family reading this now that are saying, “we established this last August, why are you still doing this?”. I feel you! I am doing much less than I was before and am working more on my goals, I promise. But … there is something funny that has to be shared. If we can’t find humor in the awkward and painful stuff, then I really don’t know how to get through it.


About a week ago we were weighing a trailer at a truck stop and I scrolled through social media while I waited. I see a sponsored post and scroll on by … wait a minute … back it up … looked familiar. It was my ad that I built the week before. They took my text, my ripple video, copied and produced it for an ad (that they are paid for). What do they say about imitation? Ha! Work I am doing out of kindness & a company working with dealerships at a national level just took my work. I’m not sure if I’m on their payroll now or how that works? Life is weird. I got pretty mad and had a hard time sleeping, but my mindset has evolved. I know in my heart that my work is good. I have seen the numbers behind my Ads and the sales generated. I have also prayed for affirmation outside of numbers on a screen because sometimes we all need that. I am seeing this odd situation as a positive one. My work is good and in this case it’s good enough that a marketing agency didn’t even need to create an ad because they could use mine.

I have been working hard on creating a new path for myself and I am getting closer to the finish line (of classes) and the starting line of something new. I plan to use all these marketing and social media skills that I have worked hard to obtain to grow myself and my own brand. Taking all things into account I am thankful for the years of work I was able to do and the growth that came from it. I am glad to step away from working behind the scenes where I am not wanted or valued and into a new light. I pray that as I grow, I will always value those around me for everything that they bring to the table. Through a lot of hurt I pray that I have learned the value of teamwork and never leaving people aside that you love. If we can do anything to better a hard world, I think we can strive to do better than what we receive. Don’t become hard because you were treated badly, don’t leave others out because you were left out, be a light in a dark place and be the person He created you to be. That is my life plan as I move into a new season of life.

… and if you are looking for some outside marketing help … hit me up … I can freelance all day! Not working for free anymore so we will have to work something out! Lol

Posted in Livin' la vida loca!

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

How is 2020 treating you so far?

I had a “saying goodbye to 2019” post ready to go for the new year. I wrote it up in early December, edited and never even scheduled it to post. It was real and raw. I had a lot of goals and plans for 2019 last December, but many were never going to happen, and I didn’t even know it. Even though I had a rough winter I was excited for the new year, excited for our new ventures and ready for a positive 2019. My New Years post got into the nitty gritty of what my year was like, how I had no control and all the crap I dealt with.

I decided not to share it because its not going to change anything. Sharing can be cathartic, but it can also scratch the scab on deep hurts that are trying to heal. After I was handed my new reality I got stuck for a long time. I was sad and really freeking mad. Some days I still feel both emotions strongly. I think its ok to hurt and be disappointed, but I try to also use discernment with where my thoughts and emotions are coming from … am I really feeling this or is the devil whispering in my ear?

I saved my letter so I can process my thoughts, but I don’t want to focus on that extreme negativity in the new year. I try to be eternally optimistic and I pray that 2020 will hold much better things. I don’t have a laundry list of resolutions or a huge list of goals, but I have a plan. I resolve to grow in my faith, to continue to raise strong, Godly boys, and to be true to myself. Whatever I achieve this year I will be proud of and happy with. If things don’t go like I envisioned I will trust that Gods plan was bigger.

If I keep it simple, I believe it will lead to more peace. As always, I plan to write more and share more on this platform, but it only happens when I have time and that is rare. I’m studying for a test right now and took a break to re-focus. I’m not much of a sitter so stretching my mind with a short post was a perfect break for me.

2020 has just begun, but if it doesn’t look like you planned, take a step back. You are never alone and all we can do is Trust in Him. If anyone ever needs a listening ear, someone to pray with, talk to, or sit with, I am here. I was blessed during a hard year with friends and family that listened, prayed, and encouraged. Also, never be above seeking help. If you are dealing with hard things there are professionals that can help you work through them. We only get one life and if we get stuck for too long in the yucky stuff we are just wasting it.

Stinky Socks

Where are your socks at? Mine keep sliding off and I’m just walking around pretending to be comfortable. I know that we all go through rough times. Sometimes it’s due to our own mistakes and sometimes we just end up in hard situations. I try to give grace because I know that none of us are perfect and at times, we inflict that hurt and pain on other people. We are human. Sometimes the hurt is intentional and sometimes its not. I choose to think that people are good. People make decisions that can hurt and at times treat people badly. Because of that we are called to give grace. Just as the Lord forgives us, we need to forgive each other. The idea and practice of Grace and Forgiveness are things that I have struggled with. I move past things, but I always hold onto something, that little wrinkle in my sock that is never just right. Every time I walk, I feel it a little bit and I just can’t quite get it out. I stop, adjust my sock, put my shoe back on and start walking again. I might get a few blocks feeling pretty good, but then that wrinkle is there again and its sliding down. I go through the motions and keep trying to get my sock just right and then I am eventually like a 2-year-old, in the floor, throwing a fit because my sock is sliding off and everything is not fine.

Have you been there? Have you ever lived in a season where you just can’t get your socks on right? You start each day new, pray for peace and grace, put those socks on and start your day. Maybe you get through the day or a week … heck, maybe you made it a month! Go, girl! Then here you are, back where you were with your stupid socks scrunched up, sliding off inside your shoe and you are just sitting around mad, sad, and ready to throw a fit.

I have always known that I hold onto things. Anybody else? I have also always known that I am not supposed to. Earlier this year I dealt with some of those times that we all go through. Things were bad. I felt like things were crashing down around me. We moved and it didn’t go at all like I imagined. We took time making our decision, we prayed, we waited, we thought everything was right and it was Gods plan. Everywhere I turned something went wrong. Dealing with health issues, house remodel, all the remodel hiccups, health hiccups, personal struggles, kiddo struggles, and everything that could have been thrown in there. A few weeks into the move it felt like anything but, Gods plan. I knew that my socks were more than bunched up and barely hanging on late this winter. I needed help working through it all, navigating life and trying to give the grace and love that I am called to. I want to be everything that I am called to be. I want to work on me. I want to be a better person. I started reading books, reading my bible, seeking biblical advice, I spent time with a counselor, time talking to friends and family, laying it all out and trying my best. I feel like I have done all the things … so why can’t I just get over that hump. Why won’t my damn socks stay on?

I learned some great methods for dealing with hurt and how to really forgive. I have worked through things that I thought I might hang onto forever and most days I feel fantastic. I think I have really grasped that I cannot control other people, I can only control myself. I must choose love and joy and do the best that I can. At the end of the day I know that no matter how much I try to control or force things, He is the only one that is really in control. Grasping that has helped me so much. I think that focusing on my own journey and choosing love no matter what has allowed me to get most of the scrunched up parts down close to my toes out. I am walking around, even running around comfortable, unbothered, my socks are staying on. My health is so much better, my house is done, my kiddos are getting caught up in school and succeeding. After I finally accepted that sometimes things stink and we must choose how we want to react, I made changes. I have expanded my knowledge and education in two fields that I love. I am moving forward with a new career, loving my husband, and my boys. Things are pretty good.

So here I am, juggling many hats, staying busy, working hard, moving forward and things are good. Then I get dressed one morning and these socks won’t stay up. I’m looking like things are good, things are fine, but I’m hanging up on the why? I don’t want to think about the why, but it sneaks in and attacks. I believe in spiritual warfare and I believe that there are times when the attacks are clear. I have forgiven, I have accepted that there are things out of my control, I have accepted that even though this isn’t what I expected in this move I can choose to make the best of it, make the best of my life. I feel pretty good about all of it most days. Then I get hit with the worst pair of socks in the drawer that you walk out the door in and suffer all day. I am ready to throw a fit and I want to know why? I am good at what I do. I have worked my tail off with my husband over the past 6 years at our previous business. I took every opportunity available to expand my knowledge and grow to help us be as successful as possible. I never have any problem staying out of the spotlight, playing the supportive role. Working hard and not necessarily getting “credit” isn’t really an issue for me. If my husband appreciated it and if we are successful together, that is a win. That is my success. I think there are a lot of women that can relate. Working as a team and winning together, that is our win. Things have changed for me and I can’t play on the same team anymore. I spent a lot of months stuck in the why and frankly I spent a lot of months pissed off. I am past that. Situationally, I know I can’t change it or control it and from that aspect I just started wearing flip flops, so I don’t even have to worry about the damn socks.

Flip flop season is coming to an end and I had to put some socks back on.  I did a lot of walking last week and the socks started creeping down, scrunching, and sliding off. Now my thoughts and questions are for God. I don’t know exactly why this is the plan? I can’t really figure out if I am living out Gods plan or if I am just under attack. Having to watch your new reality, being shown how on the “outside” you are, its just uncomfortable and it hurts. Do those feelings go away? Doing work behind the scenes after you were cut from the team, I do that with honor. I do that to support my husband and his success. Because at the end of the day, his success is still our success because I support him. Having your exclusion shoved in your face when you know that you could be making a positive impact, that this isn’t what you imagined or planned … the socks just slid off as soon as I put them back on. Here I am just trying to look cool and pretending I’m not walking around uncomfortable as all get-out. When do the little things stop coming out to make you feel bad all over again? When do you get to just wear the flip flops all the time? Do you ever stop questioning why this was the plan? I really thought I was done with all that, but here I am with both socks hanging off inside my shoes, just trying to keep them pulled up enough to walk.

I know there are a lot of us that are walking around in the same shoes, with the same crappy socks. Our situations, hurts, and hangups are probably all a little different, but we all hurt the same.  I am going to keep praying and keep looking forward. I am going to keep waking up everyday and try to walk in a flip-flop attitude. During some recent reflection I read an article that said that if we are questioning because we think we know better than God, that is never good. If we are questioning because we truly just want to see the light in our own confusions, that might be appropriate. I wanted to share my thoughts and my questions because I know I’m not the only one. If you have questions, keep seeking Him, He is the answer. 

Posted in Livin' la vida loca!, Mom Life

Dimming Someone Else’s Light Won’t Make Yours Shine Any Brighter

A lot has been going on since my last post. I’m going to be honest about the writing gap. I have still been writing. I have blog posts written about life, décor, and remodel progress. I took a break from posting them because I let someone’s own insecurities and judgmental words get into my head.

I sat at a dinner a few weeks ago and I heard someone talking about blogs from the end of the table. I write about our remodel progress and have dabbled in blogging, so I was interested. What I heard was anything but kind. Aside from senselessly bashing a woman for blogging it was thrown in that people who blog should just stop because nobody cares to read it and they must have nothing better to do. Hmmm … necessary … kind … wholesome? No. It hurt for a myriad of reasons. I’m quite sure they knew that I have a blog, so it was just another blow in what has seemed like months of hurt. I wasn’t just hurt for myself, but it was just so senseless and evil to attack people for writing.

Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22

Soft hearted, too sensitive, and taking all the things to heart … that’s me. Its not what the bible tells me to do and it sure isn’t a fun way to live. I am working on it, but its hard, y’all. Why are people so mean? I seem to have a knack for walking into situations where people are bashing others or bashing me. It happened many times in Victoria. I am apparently as quiet as a mouse because people never knew I was around. Jason always told me that its just what happens in the workplace, but my mind was always baffled by employees criticizing him when he did so much for them … and he was damn good at what he did. Instead of wanting to cry it made me angry. I often wish I was angrier instead of so emotional when it happens to me.

Rather than moving past these experiences I dwell on them. I feel the hurt deeply and it lasts a long time. I remember them vividly. Those are all awful qualities and nothing you want to do, I promise. I have worked a lot on myself in the past year, especially the last 6 months. I am better about forgiving, but I have not mastered forgetting. I know forgetting isn’t something that has to happen, I know forgiveness does not equal trust or relationship, but I really wish I could block out all the memories. The times I walked in on people I care about saying senselessly mean things about me, bashing me or my family, or at the worst, saying things that are false and unnecessary.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

I know I can’t change what other people do and I sure can’t control them. I can’t snap my fingers and forget the evil words or hateful things that people say and do, but I can try to live everyday by not causing the hurt for others. I have experienced a lot of that senseless hurt over the last few months. Maybe it was intentional and maybe not. Maybe the blog crap was pointed at me and maybe not. Either way it hurts. Being left out, set aside, talked about, made to feel like you aren’t good enough, its all hard. Sometimes I cry and sometimes I get mad. Most of the time I don’t understand. Lately I have been most comforted by scripture, by understanding that there is a plan and a reason, and it won’t always be dark.

There have been times that I wish I wasn’t so soft hearted, that I didn’t care so much, but I do think that is me. I love hard and I care a lot and I know …

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18

So, here’s to caring less about the words and actions of others and remembering more of His truth. If I want to write a blog about home décor, style, remodel, how I feel or even about a sermon my pastor gave, I’m going to do it. I am going to talk about how I feel and what I like, but I am going to do it with grace and kindness. I am going to continuously work to be the best version of myself and to help others achieve the same.

And its like I always tell my boys, “Dimming someone else’s light won’t make yours shine any brighter”. So lets help other people shine.

Posted in Livin' la vida loca!, Time for a change of scenery

DEMO DAY

When Chip yells, “DEMO DAY” it looks super fun … right? I think it appears that way because he only does it for a little bit and it is fun … for a little bit. Then the crew comes in and Chip goes onto something else.


I admit, there is something quite therapeutic about busting tile, knocking down sheet rock and making a big old mess. My kids loved it! I only got to take part in the fun for about a week before I had surgery. After that I was sidelined from the whole demo situation. That was a shame because there was still a lot of demo to be done. Once the contractors stepped in to help my husband things went quickly. After the walls are down, the tile is busted, wires are exposed, and it looks like a shell instead of a house it gets a little spooky. That moment of, “what did we do” creeps up on you in a hurry and it gets rather easy to wonder if the process will ever end.

Just like many remodel projects, when you tear into something you often find another problem that needs to be addressed. You also might have great design ideas that create more work in the long run. It was easy to tear things out, but it is not easy to put things back together, especially if you have a picky customer, like me. In all reality, most things went quite smoothly, but the things we thought would be easy created the most frustration.

I was sure that tearing out the wall in the kitchen was going to cause problems. We knew it was ok structurally, but I was worried about electrical, sheet rock, and everything else that could go wrong or cause issues. It went smoothly and my husband completed nearly the entire project on his own. The electrician and the granite installers were the only professionals that helped him tackle the project. We also hired plumbers for the project and I shouldn’t leave them out, it was just bad. I think the guys were new to plumbing because my husband had to tell them how to install the faucet, it was that bad. Everything in the kitchen went as planned and there were no major hiccups.

The guest bathroom was another issue, major case of hiccups. Once the old vanity was removed and the new vanity was installed we discovered that the tile had not been installed in all areas of the bathroom and we had some 1980’s leno shining through in my new design plan. The plumbers I mentioned before also struggled in the bathroom. They left the job with exposed blue pex pipe in my bright white newly remodeled bathroom. It was so bad that I cried. Not only were they very slow and extremely expensive, the work was not good. We paid them and moved on. My husband came up with an idea that fit perfectly in my design and we were also surprised to find some matching tile out in an old storage shed on the property. The issues were resolved and we moved forward.

The never-ending DEMO DAY is still ongoing in our master bathroom. Some issues you don’t see until you pull back the layers. We found out that the drain was done incorrectly when the home was built and we have to have the concrete jack hammered out and new plumbing installed. AKA … this is why you haven’t seen any pictures of the master bathroom. It has a beautiful new door that stays closed and I am praying it is complete soon!

What was the biggest issue what we have dealt with? What do you think? I never would have guessed that the most stressful and maddening issue in the entire remodel would be the ceilings. Seriously … the ceiling? YES!!! THE CEILING! UGH … On my list: remove popcorn, remove florescent lights, add can lights, move a couple of fixtures, remove skylights, sheet rock skylight holes, hole from previous wall, new texture and paint. We hired it all out too, y’all! It wasn’t like we were in here playing construction crew. We hired a crew with references and great photos to come knock it out. It was so rough … more crying. Aside from just generally doing bad work they also sprayed texture all over every window in the house, the antique stove, showers, it was everywhere. There wasn’t a room in the house that looked good. Here is another mistake we made that you can all learn from. I was still not able to get around well and I couldn’t be here to check the work. They finished after hours on a Friday and it was dark with only a few spotlights for Jason to check work with. Insert contractor sob story (love y’all … but all of you a lot of you do it) “It’s Friday and I have to get the cash to pay my guys, we can come back and do touch ups”. Don’t do it, don’t fall for it … poof they are gone. Then you walk into your house in the light the next day and loose your ever-loving mind!! Like … HULK OUT … then remember you are a Christian and you can’t hulk. UGH! After this experience we hired another guy to come in and re-do the ceilings. This next guy was a good kid and he was a jack of many trades, but I don’t know that texture and painting were his strong points. Our bedrooms and bathrooms all look fine, no major issues. The focal point of my house, the living room, dining room, and kitchen are not ok. In certain light it looks alright, but to anyone that knows sheet rock and texture or even to an untrained eye in good lighting, its just REAL BAD! At this point we were really done with the ceiling, done with contractors and we needed a place to live. We moved in knowing that we will have to re-do the texture and pain in the main living space of the house at some point in the future. I’m praying that it is at a point when we are gone on a week long vacation because I just can’t with the dust anymore.

So what do you think? Do you want to tear out some walls and get busy? DEMO DAY!! The demo is fun, but the putting it back together part, not so much. I can firmly conclude that I will gladly take part in demo day on future projects, but reputable contractors will be taking it from there. The best part is that is was another project under our belts and more lessons learned. Previous projects we have tackled have not involved as many design and functionality issues, but I learned from each challenge and every frustration. Here’s to another demo day … hopefully coming soon! (NOT AT MY HOUSE) hahahah!!

Posted in Livin' la vida loca!, Mom Life

Focus on what you love

What are some of your favorite things to do? I might be wrong, but I don’t think many will answer, “stare at my phone”. Even though its not something most of us want to admit, how much time are you spending looking at your phone each day?

I have spent the last few years focused on marketing and a lot of that focus is centered around social media. I was constantly working on posts, creating content, studying competitors, trends and was completely engrossed in social media. Since it was a big focus at work I got my fill of it there. I scrolled occasionally, but it wasn’t something I was doing a lot outside of work. Now that I am out of that world and especially since I spent a few months sick, I found myself spending too much time on social media, particularly Facebook.

I’m not going to hate on social media, I think its great! I love sharing photos and seeing my friends posts! It’s all great! Great until you are constantly pulling out your phone to mindlessly scroll. Sitting in a doctors office, the park, car trips, family time, before bed, when you wake up, when are you scrolling? I decided that I didn’t want to be scrolling anymore, I wanted to look up and focus on what is important to me. If you ask me to make a list of what is important my phone does’t make the cut . I like social media and I’m not getting rid of it, but I’m getting away from it. It’s been a relief, y’all! That right there was proof enough that I needed it. I still have insta and my page manager app, but no mindless scrolling on Facebook at every quiet moment. I check it a couple times a week on the computer and that is perfect for me.

I’m not sharing to tell anyone else they need to get rid of their Facebook app, but I would say that we should evaluate what we are spending our time on. Last week I spent spring break on fun adventures with my boys. Everywhere we went there were people with their heads down, looking at their phones. We aren’t living in the moment. We are so obsessed with reading about other peoples lives that we aren’t living our own.

My oldest noticed that I haven’t been on my phone as much and he sealed the deal that I was spending too much time mindlessly scrolling during downtime. Last week he said, “Mom, you haven’t looked at your phone as much lately”. I agreed and told him that I got rid of the Facebook app on my phone because I didn’t want to be on it as much. He said, “I like that, you are just looking at everything around us now, not at your phone”. They notice, y’all! It might just be on a park bench while they play, or while you are waiting at a doctors office, maybe during a movie night, but they notice! Look up and see what is going on around you, I promise its better than whatever is on your phone!

I challenge you to evaluate how much time you spend on your phone. Could you benefit from a little less? I don’t feel like I’m missing out on a thing just checking my Facebook like we did pre-iPhone … on a computer … dark ages, right? I see the highlights, but my highlight reel is my own life. What do you want to focus on?

I decided I wanted to spend my time living in the moment with my family. In the down time I want to read my bible, read books, grow and challenge myself. I’ll still be checking in occasionally on my private FB account, but don’t use that as a way to communicate with me! You might end up feeling ignored and it will be by complete accident! Watch for cute pictures of my kids and other adventures on Instagram. (side note: handy little button on insta shares those photos with you guys in Facebook land too)

 

Posted in Livin' la vida loca!

Dazed, Confused ,and Pleural Effused

“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once”.

             – Paulo Coelho

I would say the last few months have been the latter, everything all at once. I shared the “bumps in the road” with everyone, but I still haven’t seemed to find the smooth path.

Before Christmas I started having some pain in my chest and back with trouble breathing. We were still commuting Mon-Fri to get Caden to school and working on the house daily. I never really got the opportunity to get that quality rest and re-cooperation the doctors were so big on. They make a big deal out of it for a reason. Not having my own house, space to relax, time to rest, maintaining a very POOR diet, and doing way too much physical labor too soon in a construction zone = more problems.

I tried to ignore the pain and attributed the shortness of breath to all of the dust I was breathing daily, but things just got worse. I made an appointment with a local doctor because after I consulted Dr. Google I was afraid I had a blood clot or a pleural effusion. I showed up to find out that BCBSTX was having widespread problems with their online benefit verification system. My insurance was showing inactive. I got on the phone and verified my benefits myself, but instead of calling to do the same or even letting me pay cash, I was told the office was canceling my appointment. So … yah … that was fun. Gotta love people sometimes. (insert eye roll) So, I left scared and in tears and I texted my surgeons NP. She is awesome like that and I knew she could help. We set up a time to chat on the phone and did a little consultation. She though that since it had been so many weeks since surgery my odds for the more serious things were low. We went over my symptoms and possible causes. (Side note: I had been lifting 5-gallon paint buckets full of paint and a lot of symptoms started shortly after.) Jessica really felt that a had a herniated disk. She said I should rest, stretch, rest some more, not lift heavy things, and if I didn’t see improvement with ibuprofen and time, see someone local.

I made it through Christmas and Caden’s Birthday trip, but the shortness of breath was getting worse and the pain with breathing was pretty intense at times. I finally threw in the towel and went to an urgent care in Abilene. (weird … they had no problem verifying benefits … bitter much) As soon as they got my vitals, symptoms, and medical history, they sent me to the ER side. They got me hooked up to an IV, drew blood, set me up with lots of monitors and started getting me ready for a chest CT with contrast. My doctor suspected a blood clot, but he ended up finding a pleural effusion. Huge praise for no clots! I was also extremely dehydrated (from all that rest I was getting and great life choices), had bronchitis, and started getting the talk about how important it is to take care of myself after all my body has been through. Its one of those things that I know, but I was in the worst situation possible to take care of myself. When you have a family to take care of and are staying with other people, there isn’t time to care for yourself. I still had to make sure kids were fed, bathed, school work was done, whatever mess & chaos we created was cleaned up, we were in bed in time to get up early for that drive & worked all day at the house in-between. The doctor wasn’t impressed with my excuses and he reiterated that I have to rest or I will stay sick. He got me started on breathing treatments and antibiotics and explained the effusion had probably been there since post-surgery and was clearing up on its own. I spent a bit longer in the ER and was released later that afternoon with home antibiotics and albuterol.

A week later I was still struggling with shortness of breath. My mom headed over for a program at Caden’s school and I had to be the bummer that headed back to the urgent care for a follow up. After a chest x-ray and a long visit with the doctor I learned that I still had a pleural effusion. Apparently, it didn’t just disappear overnight. Another round of antibiotics and another talk about rest and taking care of myself, making better lifestyle choices and putting myself first. It was smaller and I was improving! Whew … the first 15 minutes I was there I thought I was heading to regional to meet with interventional radiology to drain it.

Just shy of 3 months post-op and I feel almost like myself. I can finally say prayers with my kids without gasping for air! AWESOME! It doesn’t hurt to take deep breaths and the crackling is gone in my chest. Unfortunately, the health struggles of 2018 carried over in to 2019, but I am declaring them gone!! February was a fresh start and things are going to be good. We are finally in our house!!!!!!!! (It’s not done) hahahah! So many touch ups left, cabinet doors missing, hardware not installed yet, and some doors left to install, entire master bath … then the outside. It seems never-ending, but at least I have a home. I can’t believe this has been such a mess. I sure hope we are on the right path and where God wants us to be. Part of me feels like it shouldn’t be this hard, but I have no choice. Trusting in Him and lots of prayers.

I also need to say again that we are so thankful that Jason’s family opened their homes to us during this time of transition, sickness, and recovery. We never intended for this remodel to take this long, or to invade their space for so long, but everything else happened at once and we had no choice. I also have to say a huge thank you to Jason’s Mom, Ruth. She’s been here working right along side of us many weekends. Finishing this house has been a labor of love and her service has meant a ton to us! I’ve never seen windows this clean … seriously!

I have one more life post and then we should be getting to homestyle fun! I mean life is fun … but homestyle is what we are here for … right?

We really are making progress … I promise!

Posted in Livin' la vida loca!

Big Changes

I guess its time to get back to it. The last year has been difficult. We had so many great times, but it was full of uncertainty, change, and stress. I hate keeping things from people I care about and the year was full of secrets. Now that things are done, and we are moving forward I am ready to get back to work!

If you have followed along before or if you know me, you know that we have been part owners and full-time operators of a mobile home dealership in Victoria, Texas for the last 6 years. We made the decision to end our partnership and move closer to family quite a while ago, but all things take time. This wasn’t an overnight decision and it sure didn’t happen overnight either! I know it all happened in His perfect timing.

Throughout 2018 we couldn’t say much about why we were selling our property in Schroeder, TX or what our plans were. That was hard. I see things black and white and I appreciate honesty above almost anything else, so being dishonest took a toll on me. It wasn’t easy. In the process of selling our place I lost my ability to work on projects in that amazing shop and The Swanky Hen had to sit on the back burner.

shop

Just taking a moment to remember that amazing shop!

Its now December and our separation from our previous business is complete.  We have purchased a new place (that needs some love) in Clyde, Texas. We are closer to family and we are really excited about this new adventure. We have several things in “the works”, but as life would have it the transition hasn’t been easy … more about that later.

So, I’m here, I’m alive and I’m still all about The Swanky Hen. We are about to start a complete remodel on our cute new place and I can’t wait to share that with y’all! It’s going to be fun, fast, and fearless.