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Archive for May, 2011

Recently I went on a quest.  As I have been progressing toward better health, I have been trying to organize and prioritize my life again.  Cole was 15 months old when I got sick.  He is now coming up on the two-and-a-half mark and has turned into a talking, galloping little boy.  He needs different things than he did a year ago.  I was trying to figure out how to be a work-at-home mom when I have a munchkin who is a constant distraction and delight, wanting to sit on my lap while I am at the computer, constantly needing something cleaned up or gotten out or turned on.  If he’s not throwing a tantrum when things don’t go his way, he’s looking for a hug and kiss to remove the bumps and bruises of life.

I am a researcher by nature.  To solve problems, I like gathering information and then using the bits and pieces that mean something to me to formulate a plan of action.  As I faced the dilemma of how to balance my work, motherhood, my health, and all the other things that I have slowly started to merge back into my life again, I began the research process.  It was informal but highly trustworthy.  I asked other working moms, friends who I admire and want to emulate, what they do to find balance in their lives.  How do they make decisions about their time and pay attention to all the things that are important?

One friend that I asked this question to, gave a little response, but then said, “Let me know what else you find out.  I would love any tips you get!”  Which, of course, reminded me that I am not the only one trying to be more successful as a mother or simply as a woman.  After gathering information and ideas, anecdotes and experiences from working moms that I trust, I have formulated a plan of action for keeping balance in my life.  Here’s what I sorted out for myself.

My life is not what others would consider “balanced.”

75% of my existence is taken up by my child and husband with some home responsibilities thrown in.  With the final 25% left over to squeeze in work deadlines, church service, and all the other stuff like…read a book or chat on the phone or finish a project.

And I’m ok with that.

I don’t think that right now, as the mother of a two-year-old, that there is supposed to be an “even” division of my time, with 15% going toward my family and 15% going toward my church and 15% to my work and 15% to my home and 15% to my hobbies…etc.  My child is two.  He needs attention and help and a playmate and time with his mom.  My husband is a quadriplegic.  He needs attention and help and a playmate and time with his wife.  That’s what matters right now.  That is the season I am in.  Does this mean I don’t do other stuff?  Of course not.  But balance right now means something completely different than it did before Cole was born.  And balance means something different than what it will probably mean when Cole is in school full time or going off to college.

I think that true balance is paying attention to the things that matter most at the time that they matter most.

Ahhh!  The revelation!

I don’t need to work like a crazy person right now.  But I definitely had to as I was building my business a few years ago.  So although it was necessary to work my guts out in the beginning, work doesn’t need to take up most of my time at this stage.  And here’s the trick…no one can tell another person what is most important at that particular time.  I believe that personal revelation from a higher power and our own common sense is what helps us work all that out as individuals.

So I’ve decided that balance is in figuring out what is the most important and feeling confident when we are paying attention to those things at each stage of our lives.  A little asymmetrical but balanced still the same.

I was shocked by the freedom and confidence that this realization gave to me.  I’m smart.  And I can make smart decisions of how to balance my life appropriately for each stage in my life.  This understanding empowers me and gives me courage.  And it even helps me be a little more patient as I am interrupted half a dozen times while composing this post to to play “Who Can Eat the Goldfish Cracker the Fastest” game.

But just think!  If I hadn’t paused to play, I would have missed out on the best little two-year-old laugh six whole times!

Enjoy the unbalanced balance, friends.  And while you’re at it, the giggles and laughter of motherhood.

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Another Anniversary

April 20.  That was the date of my last post.  Really?   Yes, Kolette.  Really.

What have I been doing that could possibly keep me from jotting down a few lines in blogland?  As I started to write, I had to pause and think for a moment.

Ah, yes.  That’s right.  Hospitals.  Surgeries.  The usual.

My dear Jason went in for a routine surgery about six weeks ago.  Three weeks later he had a raging infection brewing inside his belly at the surgical site.  Honestly, he looked terrible.  Terrible enough for even me to take notice.  After being admitted again to the hospital, they did two emergency surgeries on him, removing all the crazy infection and hooking him up to a heavy dose of IV antibiotics.

I guess someone in the Hall family needs to have a PICC line at all times.

It’s been a little slow in recovering from this one but he is doing better and getting around more the last few days.  It came as no surprise to either of us that this drama all landed right smack in the middle of my one year anniversary of pancreatitis.  One year ago I went into organ failure.  One year ago my life and my body changed – probably forever.  One year ago our little family learned a little more about service and miracles and how to stick together to solve a problem.

I thought I would let you know where I am now that 12 months have passed.  Shockingly to me, life is not back to normal.  I assumed that pancreatitis would simply be a distant memory by now.  It’s better, but not quite all the way better.

  • I still have daily pain related to all the craziness that went on in my belly.
  • My digestive system is a mess – but I am eating fairly normally.  The days of a meal consisting of four tiny bites are over!
  • I “glisten” after I eat anything.  It’s like my system just had a workout and I develop a lovely sheen for about 20 minutes.  The doctor is perplexed as to why that is still happening but it does seem to be getting better over time.  We’re trying probiotics and other things to see if my body will respond better.
  • I am off my enzyme pills.  I found that my body didn’t seem to be in any better shape using them so they are a thing of the past.  This is good news because it means the 30% of my pancreas that is left is doing SOMETHING.
  • I am still taking insulin each night to manage my diabetes but it’s working so well that I only  have to check my blood sugar about every other day.  I’m a very low maintenance diabetic and we have a glimmer of hope that it will get even better in the future.  We’ll see.
  • My hair is growing back.  Hooray!  I thought it would but I couldn’t help worrying that maybe it wouldn’t.  This is yet another time in my life that I am grateful that my hair grows super fast.
  • I still look pregnant.  I haven’t really gained much weight back so my body looks skinny and my belly pops out like I’ve got a soccer ball tucked in there.  This is because my fascia layer (whatever that is) is stretched out and it will not get back to normal without surgery,
  • I still take a nap almost every day but if I miss a day or only get to rest for an hour then I’m usually fine.  “Feeling bad” comes in waves instead of being constantly with me.

  • I can chase Cole (onto the soccer field during our neighbor’s game).  I can even toss him in the air and tickle him and do all the stuff a mom wants to do with her two-year-old.
  • I have started working again – watch for my dollar stamps starting up again this Halloween!  I can’t put in the hours I’m used to but I’m getting there.
  • I even managed getting the planting done last weekend.  That was a big step for me to tackle the physical labor.
  • I’ll have a final surgery in about six months to deal with my belly.  It’s all part of the process.  My surgical scar is the size of an avocado, I have a little hernia bubble poking out on my abdomen and that stretched fascia layer I mentioned earlier.  All of these things need to be dealt with surgically to try and get me closer to normal than I am right now.  The doctor wants me even more healed than I am right now before tackling that issue.
  • I still love my doctor.  I still am in awe of the service and love and prayers that have been shared for me and my family.

Thank you for being there with me.  And for me.  It’s nice to know that there are friends waiting for you on your journey back.

I have high hopes.  The next 12 months are going to be great!  They certainly have to be better than the last 12, right?!  Here’s to moving forward, baby step by baby step.  And loving the miracles and tender mercies that pave the way.

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