The Importance of Being Understood

Have you ever felt the ache to be understood? As mothers, I think there is a strong desire to have our fellow mama’s understand us, our choices, and our life situations.

We want people to understand, not just tolerate, why we’re late to church again. We want the picture-perfect Target moms to get why we’ve got circles under our eyes, a double shot Venti latte in hand, and three uncombed children practically spilling out of the cart. I think we want to be seen for the mess we are and accepted with a hearty “I’ve been there, I understand” smile.

I know I do.

Lately, I’ve been longing to be understood. I want people to understand the ache in my heart when I’m scouring grocery store aisles for prune juice and probiotics. I want to be understood when I walk through Hobby Lobby with a darling son and equipment that won’t stop alarming. I crave the acceptance that only comes from similar experiences.

I know my heart’s cry is needy. Why do you need to be understood, Frannie? Just do you. Be you. But it isn’t that easy. Feeling alone in your situation, whatever season of life it is, can feel exhausting.

Imagine the pure joy I had when someone accepted, understood, us. We were cruising JoAnn Fabric’s aisles and I was starting to feel myself shrinking as Uriah’s ventilator kept alarming. It’s this loud, repetitive sound that occurs when he is breathing fast and, since he was so happy and excited to be out of the house, the whole store could hear us coming. 😉

And whenever you carry a child with loud medical equipment you tend to get sweet, kind, pity-filled looks or stares. And as well-meaning as those looks may be, you can’t help but wish to be normal, not pitied, and understood.

As I was cruising past one aisle and entering another, I turned and saw a 15-ish year old young man with Dwarfism looking Uriah over. And, without one ounce of pity or look of sorrow, he looked me in the eyes and said, “That is a cute kid.”

That is a cute kid. 

No “how can I pray for your son?” No awkward side-eyes. No bold stares. No pity-filled, lip quivering looks. Nothing but pure admiration for a little boy who is so much more than the trach sticking out of his neck or the machine beeping wildly beneath the stroller.

It was in that moment that I realized that young man understood us. No, I’m not saying he understands everything about our medical journey or difficulties. He probably has no experience with a trach or feeding tube.

But he did understand what it means to be different. He understood sticking out in a crowd. He understood the fear, the worry, the awkwardness of not being normal.

And in his innocent way, I felt embraced. I felt like he was part of the tribe I needed to find. I felt like Uriah was seen for who he was and accepted without question.

(I always worry when I share these posts that you, my amazing reader and friend, will worry that you’re making me feel uncomfortable, that you’re part of my complaint. I promise you, you aren’t. We have an amazing group of friends across this nation who have embraced us, given us courage, and love! I tend to only struggle with these feelings when I’m surrounded by folk who don’t know us.)

How about you, friend? Are you longing for someone to simply look at you and understand? Are you hoping to find a tribe who accepts you, your children, husband, home, and time schedule without question or judgement? You’re not alone, I promise. We’re all looking for friends who understand. 

The beautiful thing is that there is always one Who does understand and that is our Heavenly Father. He knows our hearts, knows why each tear falls, and invites us to cast every care on His Son, Jesus. He came to tend to the broken, the weary, and the hurting.

And after He works on us, we can find ways to understand and be there for others. 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

3 Tips on Taking Back Your Morning

Hello friendlies,

Some of my favorite things include early, slow mornings, writing the day’s tasks and schedule in a good planner, fresh coffee, and inspiring music. If I’m not careful, mom life leads to rushed mornings, skipped quiet times with the Lord, days that run me instead of my running my day, and too much coffee.

Here’s a few useful tools which have been wonderful in bringing some organization and make the mornings work for me:

Little Tip #1:

Buy a good planner. Right now I am using a Lesson Planner and LOVE it! A sweet friend sent this to me during Uriah’s NICU stay; I love how large each day is — there are so many boxes to write the day’s plans and aspirations in!

Little Tip #2:

Having a hard time fitting prayer time into your day? Me too … one tip I’ve really enjoyed learning from my Bible study is to talk with my Lord while I drink my cup of coffee. So simple, right? But I crave simple these days!

I can really tell the difference in my days when I take the time to talk with my Lord. The beauty of it is that it reminds me of God’s amazing friendship like love; He wants us to talk to Him! And He understands mommyhood, He understands caregivers.

Little Tip #3:

This isn’t really a tip unless you are a musical loving soul like me and are looking for a good recommendation. 😉 I am loving The Greatest Showman’s soundtrack. I feel like everyone is loving this story and I know why! (Warning, there are some curse words so, if that is something you are sensitive to, avoid the song The Other Side). My personal favorites are A Million Dreams and From Now On. Have you seen The Greatest Showman? What did you think?

I can almost always be found doing one of these tips throughout the day (or all at once); hence the coffee-breathed belting of A Million Dreams while I scribble over my planner. Simple joys that bring a little happiness into the day.

What are your tips for scheduling, connecting with the Lord, or a creative outlet? Share below in a comment … I love hearing from you!

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Straight from the Heart: What Got Me Through January

AuthenticVirtue.com

Hello sweet friends,

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything that is truly productive. That just isn’t my stage in life right now. Instead of inspiring lists, print-ables, or blog posts helpful in any sense I am craving simplicity. I cannot really offer genuine advice in the form of a blog post; instead, I’m diving deep into the hygge feeling of healing and recovering. Authentic Virtue might one day be a source of written encouragement but for now it needs to be a place of simple welcome, peace, and rest.

There is a level of PTSD that comes with 3 months of bed bound living in a hospital and then 7 months away from home in a NICU environment.  There is stress that comes with g-tube changes, watching over ventilator settings, and colds that turn into pneumonia that turn into hospital admissions.

I’m not complaining. I love my life. I love the privilege of learning how to sanitize trachs and blend foods; I love it because it means I have my son and he is doing so well and thriving perfectly. So many of my other NICU moms do not get that privilege and their loss has shown me how much I have to be grateful for.

I’m doing what I need to do … removing the self-made pressure I assigned myself for this blog. Hello rest, good bye stress. I know you won’t mind, sweet friends. We’ve always been a community of encouragement.

Do you want to know what helped me through January? What little blessings God sent my during the cold winter month?

Little blessing #1:

My husband. For my birthday Dalton gifted me with every Sunday of January being a “responsibility free” day.  We already do a great job helping each other care for Uriah. But this gift was a huge blessing — I was able to do whatever I liked over the last several Sundays including extra naps, trips to the library, and simply being “let off the hook” for the normal responsibilities that are mine those days.

By the way, have I told you how amazing Dalton is?

Little blessing #2:

This big boy has been blessing my socks off. Between his increasing smiles, ability to sit in his Bumbo unassisted, his growing love for tickles and mommy play, His words momma and dadda, and his newfound love for traveling, I am loving these days. Oh, the 6 teeth smile also wins my heart every time too.

Little Blessing #3:

Coffee … coffee … coffee. I never seem to finish my cup so there’s no guilt about making a new one! (Hides blushing face in palms!)

Little Blessing #4:

I don’t browse blogs or Pinterest like I used to but these favorites continue to fill my heart with encouragement and joy.

Grace Lee Cottage

Shy County Gal 

Button Willow Chronicles

Whatever Is Lovely

Wiishu

I’ve also been loving my Hygge Facebook group, getting back-on-track with our budget and my house cleaning projects, lots of candles, and a new Bible study my wonderful friend Amy and I are doing together.

What has been bringing you rest and refreshment this winter? I would love to know! <3 Leave me a comment if you can!

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Currently in our Home // January 2018

Keeping in touch @ AuthenticVirtue.comSo, there have been lots and lots of good things happening in our little corner of the world.

Dalton got a new job and he is really, really liking it. He now works as a technician with Rottler Pest and Lawn Solutions and he is doing an awesome job scheduling and meeting with customers and driving miles and miles to help protect homes and businesses from … you name it! Bugs, snakes, bats, raccoons, feral cats … the list goes on an on! There are so many cool things he’s learning and then I get to learn from him! All sorts of fun facts about animals!

We’re so blessed by this new job. For several years Dalton worked in a maximum security prison and while he was an amazing security officer he is so relieved to be in a better environment. This new job was an answer to months of prayer and waiting. Not only is it a much better environment but his new job brought along a pay raise and a work vehicle. 😀 Lots of fun things to be glad about!

I have been busy keeping busy! I am SO loving our home. We’ve been home from the NICU for 6 months now and I am in heaven keeping home, spending every day with Uriah, and finding new ways to mom better.

We keep pretty busy starting our days around 6:30. Uriah moves to the living room at 7 and he gets dressed and washed up for the new day. Then we rotate between active and more relaxed activities — from reading books and snuggling to tummy time and standing in his new cool stander. We have lots of therapy related exercises to do and that keeps the day full.

We also have several visitors a week now that we have a private duty nurse who comes twice a week for 6 hours and OT and PT therapists who come 8 times a month. Between those awesome ladies and the nursing agency and insurance folk who make their rounds we tend to be ushering people in quite a bit. Not to mention our monthly visit to St. Louis Children’s.

So, between trying to keep up with Uriah’s exercise schedule and meeting with his awesome medical team (away and at home) and keeping our home running I find myself pretty occupied most days! Dalton has always done an awesome job in finding ways to keep me encouraged by filling his evenings after work with holding Uriah while I cook dinner, cleanup, and sometimes go out for a cup of coffee. He’s such an amazing guy!

Uriah is doing amazing things! First of all, my little baby turned one in November! How time has flown!

I can’t stop telling people about all of his accomplishments! He is now saying Momma, Dadda, and Nanna. He is rolling all over the place and is almost rolling onto his tummy — if only that vent tubing didn’t get in his way! 😉 He LOVES to stand in his new stander, loves to sit assisted, and LOVES LOVES LOVES driving backwards in his cop car walker. Little Bear is still his favorite show and right now he thoroughly enjoys dropping things from his tray and listening to the loud sounds and learning how to put objects into a jar. 6 teeth make his smiles hilariously cute. Oh, he also loves pulling his trach and the vent tubing apart which makes life very interesting. He’s also done two ventilator weans!

Since our discharge in June Uriah hadn’t had one sickness until December when he caught a nasty cold. The Enterovirus led to him throwing up which led to aspiration pneumonia, a 911 call and ambulance ride to the local ER, and then an ambulance ride to SLCH where he got the help he needed. He went from room air (needing no oxygen at all) to needing 6 liters within 24 hours. We spent 4 days inpatient. I have to say that my mom really was a huge blessing during that time! Since Dalton didn’t have any vacation built up just yet, I asked my mom if she could please help me for a few days. With the encouragement of my dad she dropped everything and spent the next 3 days doing everything for me since leaving Uriah alone just wasn’t an option. He’s old enough now to know when he’s alone and we couldn’t do that to him!

It was SUCH a relief to have someone close by to help with Uriah. Mom watched him when I went to shower. She bought lunch, hauled coffee, and helped entertain. She was a blessing and we are so thankful for her being there for us!

We came home the 23rd of December and then Dalton and I got sick together — ah, me. I am glad that season is over. 😉 We we’re both throwing up on Christmas Eve (poor Dalton got the worst of it) but by Christmas Day we were able to keep a little bit down. And thankfully, Dalton’s mom braved the sickness and brought cheer into our dreary home on Christmas. She also did 8 loads of laundry for me which was an incredible blessing!

Now, here we are in the middle of January! I think we’re still recouping from the upset that week of sickness caused but we’ll get back to our normal soon enough. I can tell Uriah is still weaker than normal but he’s such a trooper that I know he’ll be stronger in time.

Now, if I could just push through the dreary, tiredness I seem to be battling I think this winter could still turn out to be a cheerful one in our home. I hate feeling like doing nothing? Is it the dark weather? Tiredness? Too much holiday sugar? Haha! Whatever has me sleepy I’m hoping can be defeated through rest when I need it and a victorious win over my to-do list. Checking things off my list always puts a pep in my step! 😀

What are you all doing this winter? I would love to know! 

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

 

Welcoming 2018 with a List of Goals

Hello, hello, dear readers!

2018 is now eight days old and I’m thinking a new year and new set of goals is the perfect time to begin writing again. Life has slowed me down these days and the combination of busyness and the good yet challenging life changes we’ve gotten to experience have been an excuse for not writing. But I miss this old place, the creative joy and friendships and I’m aiming to come back.

Today, I am turning 28 years old. Woohoo! 😀 It’s alarming and amazing to think I’m getting closer and closer to 30 years old. I feel so young, like life is just beginning! How can I be getting into my 30’s? 😉

My key words for 2018 are thrive and surrender. I want to thrive in my roles of Christian, wife, help meet, mother, and friend. And I want to surrender the things which held me back last year: fear, worry, and the desire to be in control. 2017 was good in so many ways, but there were many moments when I felt like I was barely keeping my head above the waters; instead of thriving I was sinking in a lot of self-pity, fear, and worry. Instead of surrendering my worry and fear and pride to my LORD, I held tight to these things thinking that being in control would help me survive the craziness of of a difficult pregnancy, PROM, NICU life, and the challenges that come from having a wonderfully made, medically-complex child.

This year, I want to let the Lord have more control and I want to enjoy the journey. Here are 8 goals I’ve set!

  • Make Bible reading a part of my daily life again (personally and with Uriah)
  • Create and keep to a daily schedule that will include me making healthy meals for Dalton (I’ve been struggling in the cooking department lately)
  • Get Uriah totally on real food blends
  • Get Uriah crawling
  • Lose 28 pounds (in honor of my 28th year!) I’m still packing my pregnancy weight + the weight 7 months of NICU/living away from home seemed to add to my waistline. 😉
  • Start weekly outings with Uriah to non-germy places until flu season is over (I’m thinking outside park walks, library, and Runge conservation building 1-2 times a week)
  • Begin Trim Healthy Mama plan
  • Begin going to church again once flu season is over

Some of my dreams for 2018 would include finding a country home to rent or buy, getting Uriah stable enough for a visit to our families (who live 3 hours away; we haven’t been for a home visit in over a year), wean Uriah off of the ventilator, and blogging consistently enough that Authentic Virtue grows and opens doors to future writing. <3 Oh, and a birdie. I would love to own a little bird who sings and brightens our home but it would have to be very clean since we don’t want to compromise Uriah’s health. Oh, one more thing. I would love to have a flower garden/porch garden/herb garden/shade garden somewhere this summer. 🙂

What are you wanting to accomplish this year? I would love to hear your goals and aspirations!  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie