Driving mom from Michigan to Georgia…it’s what you do.

mom's trip to michiganMy family has two lake homes in Hubbard Lake, Michigan.  For health reasons, my mom hasn’t been able to visit Michigan in a few years.  My siblings and I were determined to get her there this year.  We have dangled this trip in front of her as an incentive for her to take better care of her health and we wanted her to be around the extended family as many have not seen her since my dad’s memorial last fall.  Thankfully, she was able to go.  It took much preparation, and patience but I know in the end we are all glad we went. (more…)

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Seven ways to pay your health first and still be a super caregiver

 

©2013_SusieMorrell_title_6x6_ oil on panel_hlowres with self care text
My sister painted this! Click image to see her online gallery!

Finding the time to take care of your own health with all the competing priorities of work, children, and an aging parent is near impossible.  There is no lost time to be found in a ‘sandwiched’ life.  I’ve experienced first-hand what happens to a mother’s life (and father’s too!) when you put yourself last on the priority list.  My parent’s believed they gave us everything growing up – all our needs were met and many of our wants.  But because they did not prioritize their own health on their daily to-do lists, their health paid the ultimate price.  Starting in their 60’s the lack of attention they gave themselves caught up to them in countless hospital visits, numerous prescription drugs, and a compromised lifestyle that caused them to be dependent on others to help care for everyday activities like cooking, showering, and running errands.  I believe that my dad would still be with us and he and my mom would be enjoying their golden years and retirement savings by traveling and having the energy to maximize each day.  Witnessing these choices, led me to wanting a different lifestyle for myself and others. (more…)

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A day in the life of a sandwich generation mom

mom cardigan or supermom cape

You just never know what the day will bring.  Each one is a new adventure.  Here’s a diary of what happened today:

5:55 am – Rise and shine!  Got up after one snooze even though I wanted two…my dog Shadow was ready to get up so he jumped from the bed when I turned to snooze the second time.  Got up since he’ll just bug me until I do.  Put workout clothes on that I had set out night before.  Swallowed morning prescriptions and vitamins.  Gave hubby a quick smooch and headed downstairs.

6:10 am – Chugged pre-made morning cleanse juice and took my Shih Tzu Shadow for a quick ‘squirt’ (the kids walk him when they get up).

6:30 am – Listened to Chalene Johnson’s Build Your Tribe podcast while I drove to my trainer’s facility for our scheduled workout. (more…)

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The ONE resource you need to initiate the power of prayer

psalm 107 susan morrell painting
I thought one of my sister’s recent paintings complimented this bible verse. Click the image to view her online gallery.

2014 will always be remembered for me as a rough year.  Both of my parents have been chronically ill for at least the past decade and there have been many ups and downs but in 2014 their lives started to spiral.  In the spring of 2014, my mom has hospitalized with pneumonia and incubated due to breathing complications with her COPD and thankfully surprised us all when she bounced back.  We truly thought we were going to lose her.  It took weeks in a hospital and a rehab facility and lots of support and prayer.  During these difficult months, my family was introduced to an amazing site called caringbridge.org (more…)

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Honoring my Dad’s birthday

drop in a bucket book
How lucky am I that my dad published his wisdom in this book!?! Click to order.

Growing up the month of June was all about my dad.  He was the only one in my immediate family with a June birthday and we celebrated Father’s day, too.  Needless to say, I’ve been thinking and talking about him a lot this week.  This August it will be a year since his passing so we have almost made it through all the ‘firsts’ without him.

Mimi & Pipi
Visiting my parent at their dream home in Amelia Island, FL.

We miss him

I know my mom misses him the most.  She is so lonely without him and her life has completely changed since he passed.  Within two weeks of his death, we had packed her up from their Florida condo and moved her into an assisted living six hours away so she could be near me and my three brothers.  So many new changes for my 77 year old mom in one year and she spends a majority of her time all alone which she hasn’t really ever done in her entire lifetime.  She went from her parent’s home, to nursing school, to marriage.  Mom and I talked this week about how we thought dad would want us to feel about Father’s Day and his birthday.  We knew he’d want us to be happy but also remember him.  He loved a bit of a fuss on his special days.  We both recognized that it is OK to miss him, shed a tear or two and then focus on what all we had with him…not what we no longer have.  Falling into a pit of depression definitely won’t bring him back and would just hurt those that we love still living around us.  My dad was too practical and productive to have us sit around in a dark pit. (more…)

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The unexpected payback from expensive travel sports

benefits of travel sports

Just fishin’

Have you heard the Trace Adkin’s song ‘Just Fishin’?  Here’s one verse and the chorus:

“I say, “Daddy loves you, baby” one more time
She says, “I know. I think I got a bite.”
And all this laughin’, cryin, smilin’ dyin’ here inside’s
What I call, livin’

And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside
Throwin’ back what we could fry
Drownin’ worms and killin’ time
Nothin’ too ambitious
She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin’”

— Trace Adkins

I love the story this song tells the listener.  It’s about a dad spending quality time with his daughter.  She’s excited to go fishing but he is older and wiser and knows this experience is so much more than fishing.  The video is really sweet.

Travel sports

Both of my teenagers are in travel sports.  My 13 year old son plays travel baseball and my daughter plays for a sand volleyball club.  With my husband and I both working full time and the extra family responsibilities I have with my mom, life is B U S Y.  I have to confess that I miss weekends at home just hanging out.  When Monday quickly surfaces, it’s tough to face a new work week after spending a weekend away.  We sacrifice the productivity of getting stuff done around the house and we feel like we had too little rest and relaxation.  Travel sports are also expensive!  I think we probably bought a small car this year between our two kids and their sporting equipment, club fees, and travel expenses.  But rather than go on and on about the negative stuff, I wanted to share a huge positive revelation I had this past weekend about travel sports. (more…)

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How to lift your mood without a prescription

take care of you persc

The right song

For me music is a mood lifter. 

It just takes a minute to set the mood.  Usually when people talk about mood music they are referring to setting the mood for an elegant dinner party or an evening of romance.  But, mood music is so much more than just dinner and ‘dessert’.

The right song can shake lack of confidence, put some sparkle in a ho-hum routine, shine light in the remains of a tough day, ignite a happy memory and remind me what I have to be thankful for. (more…)

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I’m positive that attitude changes everything!

eveydaymoments

Your attitude is a choice

Once, when I was going through a difficult time and didn’t know what direction life would take me, I was told by an acquaintance who had been through a similar rough patch that if you worry and then suffer, you suffer twice. But, if you don’t worry (and just believe) and still suffer in some way, you would only suffer once.

Newspaper columnist Erma Bombeck gave similar advice about worrying:

As a person who often measures value based on productivity and how many to-do items I cross off my list and as person who would like to suffer once and ideally not suffer at all, the act of worrying just isn’t for me. Rather, I choose to believe that there is a lesson to be learned or a bigger plan to be followed.  I choose to be positive. (more…)

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Don’t freak out…reach out!

Mothers day with kids andmom

Ask and you shall receive

Guess what I found out recently?  I can’t do it all and I need to ask for help.  I think the key is to ‘ask’ and not ‘expect’ someone to know you need help.  I’ve definitely said to my husband a few times, ‘Why do you wait until I’m spiraling to help?’  His answer is valid when he calmly says ‘I didn’t know you needed help’.  We think as moms we are supposed to do it all and we think other moms are successfully doing it all.  Maybe it’s possible for the short distance but not for the long haul.  I’m one of 6 kids, I watched my mom work non-stop taking care of the house, kids, food, pets, etc.  I also witnessed her burning out.  My siblings and I helped around the house but maybe could have done more and in recent years my dad had admitted that he could have done more to help at home.

Did you know you have a small army of helpers around you?  Below are eight individuals or groups of people that are willing to offer a helping hand and won’t think any less of you for getting their assistance. (more…)

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Quench your thirst to learn and grow

 

never_stop_learning

Are you running on empty?  We’ve all seen examples of busy moms who lose their personal identity sacrificing it all to care for the needs and wants of their families, job, or community. Sometimes we tragically see these moms in the news after they have snapped and plummeted off the deep end and hurt people in the process.  Most of these women probably meant well initially and maybe didn’t realize they were losing themselves along life’s journey.

Be a role model

Caring for others in spite of ourselves happens easily since there is always something we can do to help someone else, to make our homes cleaner, or to make our boss happier.  It’s a slippery slope and in my opinion sends the opposite message that most of us want to pass on to our children.  I believe it’s important for kids to see their moms growing and thriving.  They can’t witness our personal growth unless we carve out time for ourselves.  I want my son, and especially my daughter, to see that I am still a person underneath this supermom cape.  I have dreams, I have goals, and I have interests.  We encourage our children and our aging parents to step outside the comfort zone.  Let’s practice what we preach!

It’s not selfish to take care of yourself physically and emotionally.  It’s an act of survival.  Ignoring internal passions and interests is dangerous as it can build resentment and burnout.  Avoid the burnout by igniting the little bits of kindling inside of you.  We all were individuals before we were married and parents.  What interests did you have then?  In what ways, even if small ways, can you feed those interests and still care for others? (more…)

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