Tried and True Recipe….Feeds 8…Not in My Experience

I found this recipe, I am guessing, about 18 years ago.  It was an instant hit. So much so, in particular, my daughter Cayla would request it.  She asked me to send it to her when she lived in France and then in the Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia. She asked me to send so she could make it for the families she worked for as an Au Pair.

This year before she left for her adventure living in Wellington, New Zealand we had a ‘Farewell’ party.  I asked what meal she would like me to make for this occasion.  My famous Picadillo was the request without hesitation.

We sit down at the table with Cayla, my parents and my husband, Steve.  We begin to partake.  Steve says “Why haven’t you made this before?”  He loves it.

Oops.  I don’t know why.  Kids left.  On their own.  Changed up the menu.

Once again the love of Picadillo is becoming tradition.  I forgot how delicious it is!   And it has a nice stable impact on my blood sugar.

Before Cayla left for Wellington, she took a pic of the recipe.  When my husband Steve committed to working in Ottawa for 4 months, he took a pic of the recipe as well.

I make a huge batch of it for myself almost every week.  I freeze some for suppers which I can heat quickly in a pot on the stove (I choose not to own a microwave) as well as thermos lunches while working.

This is the ecipe and pics of tonights creation.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 medium organic onions, finely chopped

1 large organic bell pepper, finely chopped

6 organic plum tomatoes, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp minced fresh organic garlic

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 lb lean ground beef (I use only lean ground sirloin)

1 lb ground pork (I haven’t tried substituting a lower fat meat such as ground chicken or turkey but I would think it is just as delicious)

3/4 organic balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp capers, drained

1/2 cup tomato puree

Optional garnish:  Sour cream

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and peppers. Cook until they are tender, 10-15 minutes.  Then add the tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste; garlic, cumin and coriander.  Given our winter and today’s temp of -35C, I decide to add some colour with a yellow pepper instead of a green bell.

IMG_3100

Turn the heat up to medium high and add the meat.  Brown the meat, using a spoon to break it into tiny pieces.  Add the balsamic vinegar, capers and tomatoe puree.

IMG_3102

Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour.

IMG_3106

Be creative in how you chose to serve this…in a wrap or taco…whether it be wheat, gluten free or lettuce.  The Picadillo world is your oyster!

I prefer to serve it in a bowl with lactose free sour cream.

IMG_3107

Looking forward to hear if it becomes a family favourite in your home as well.  Serves 8 (that’s what the recipe says…I have never experienced 1 batch lasting for that many people!)

Attempts at Perfection & It’s Failures

“Have no fear of perfection – you will never achieve it.” – Salvador Dali

I can’t get my head around it.  Does anyone with diabetes who is motivated in their management think they can’t achieve perfection?  Yes I said CAN’T.

As a Person With Diabetes I think that not only can I achieve challenging feats beyond my day to day life, such as ascending the Peruvian Tundra to over 15,000 ft BUT I can also achieve perfection with my diabetes.

As a PWD I know that this mindset is superfluous.  BUT, I still want to pursue it, just in case I can achieve it.  You never know, right??  Isn’t that a great goal to set and pursue. Almost like a cure, really.

BUT….yes, I said BUT…I am reminded of how the attempts of trying to be all that to my endocrine system and diabetes management isn’t that simple. Even after coming into 40 years of living with diabetes and being a Mom of a PWD for 14 years.

I am reminded on our flight to Peru, no matter how hard I attempt to make my diabetes perfect, I cannot.

IMG_1326

Upon take off I am aware of the potential impact the air pressure can have on my insulin pump delivery.  The rule of thumb despite there is not total clinical evidence with regards to this is to disconnect on ascension and descending. Why?  The talk of the town is that upon take off the pressure can change the delivery of insulin to cause a low blood sugar. During the flight the pressure change can create air bubbles resulting in missed insulin after landing.

I have experienced this throughout the past 14 years of travel on an insulin pump but was not aware of the ‘talk’ that circulated about this until the past few years.

So, whether clinically relevant or not, I decide to take heed to try and avoid this.

We are prepared for take off at Pearson.  Status quo.  Prior to boarding I check my Continuous Glucose Sensor.  All is good in my diabetes world.

As the plane positions itself for take off on the runway I disconnect from my site with the intention of reconnecting within a few minutes after the rapid ascension is complete.

I am excited.  I am thinking about our trip, the flight which is 21 hours with stop overs.  In my mind I am running through what we packed versus the list I print and check off.  I am nervous.  I am landing in a city that has an elevation of over 8,000 feet.  I am worried after the stories I am told of elevation sickness.

The airline steward serves our snacks.  I give it to Steve.  Packed full of gluten. I don’t need a snack anyway.  I’m not hungry.  I look at some magazines.  I do a Word Search.

Several hours pass by.  I start to feel like the Sahara desert lives in my mouth. My stomach feels like a brick made a home in it.  My chest feels heavy.

I question these feelings.  Why?  It feels like I am high.  How come?  I don’t clue in to check my sugar though.  I attribute it to the elevation, the dry air, the excitement.

The steward comes around again.  Offers snacks.  I pass mine onto Steve’s again.  Maybe if I eat and drink a ton of water I’ll feel better.  I take one of my gluten free bars out of my bag.  I bolus, I eat. I feel like crap.

Is it the flight?  The cabin pressure?  I just can’t make sense of it.  Obviously my brain cells are not firing on all cylinders.  Doesn’t being on guard all the time with managing diabetes do that to a person?

Then…I get an itch at my site.  And so I scratch. It is so itchy I must lift my shirt enough to place my hand under so I can make skin to skin contact to find satisfaction. While scratching I realize my tubing at my site is flopping back and forth….I am NOT attached to my site.

I forgot to re-connect after take off.  That was 3 hours ago.

In my effort to achieve diabetes management perfection, I fail.

Now, forgiveness is mine. I am so insulin sensitive that I only end up with a BG of 11 mmol/L.  I check for ketones as well.  They measure at only 0.3.  So…I correct for the gluten free bar and basal rates missed as well as a small amount for the trace amount of ketones.  It takes several hours to come down and even though my sugar is only 11, I feel like I’m on the edge of DKA.  I  know what it’s like, I’ve been there.

We land in Peru and I am almost in target.

After that incident I make a promise with myself.  Disconnecting on a flight to achieve perfect blood sugars is not a goal I wish to achieve.  For what I wish to achieve I fail.  I avoid a potential low but instead end up high and feeling terrible.

What’s the lesser of two evils.  I can’t answer that but I will tell you I will no longer disconnect my site.

Where to Start…Our 12 Day Crazy Busy Trip to Peru…The Intro

I have heard this song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros off and on while listening to Songza.com for the past few years. Yes, the tune is catchy but the words hit the deepest chord within me.

What is Home?

The days my daughter Cayla and my son Kurtis were born I found my home. They were and still are the centre of my being and when they were little that was where I trusted I belonged. Where I felt beyond comfortable. I was in my realm. I always wanted to be a Mom. I knew I would protect them as best as I had in me to the death. They have been, still are and will always be a part of me and the core of my being.

Growing up my Mom was very fond of the story of Ruth and it seemed she quoted a verse in particular often and in a very fond way.  I didn’t understand the impact it would it have on my life until the past few years.  And so I also associate this Blog series on our trip to Pero to what Ruth says in Ruth 1:16.

Ruth 1:16 (ISV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

16 But Ruth answered, “Stop urging me to abandon you and to turn back from following you. Because wherever you go, I’ll go. Wherever you live, I’ll live. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God.

Besides my children I have never trusted anyone so much in my entire life as I have my husband Steve.  Even early on in our relationship with the decisions I made, I felt he always had my best interest at heart.  I trust he will love and accept me, diabetes and all. Never once has he ever had to say to me “Trust Me.”.  My gut just says I should. One should never have to say “Trust me.” to make one believe they should.   Actions speak louder than words.

In our conversations in the past many years, aside from our trips, Steve has been to 42 countries.  A majority of them have been for pleasure, as well, some for business and missions.

Of these countries he often speaks fondly of Peru.   He tells me it is the most beautiful place on the earth.  Then I must go there!!!

IMG_6574

IMG_6535

We are aware of ‘rumours’ that Machu Picchu may not be open to the travels Steve experienced years before.

So, when do we go?

Well, life is funny like that.  In 2014 both of my children announce that one is moving to Edmonton, Alberta and one is moving to Wellington, New Zealand.  They won’t be home for Christmas.

For all the Mommies out there I can hear and feel your overwhelming voice of sadness and “that sucks”.  YEP!  It really sucks.

In early Summer I say to Steve that I can not see a Christmas tree standing tall, all lit up with the kids ornaments for the past 23 years hung in all its glory and no kids.  I threaten fetal position in front of the tree.

And so I ask.  Can I please go away with you to the most beautiful place on earth.  And it is written in stone, so to speak.  We commit ourselves to a trip to Peru to experience Machu Picchu on Christmas Day and Plaza Des Armas in Cusco on New Years Eve. One of the top 10 places for New Years in the world!

I am excited but as I research and speak more to those who have been I get nervous.

Despite my nervousness and apprehensions based on others fear mongering, Steve reassures me I can overcome anything that comes our way while we vacation in Peru. Just like Vietnam and Cambodia.

We are a spontaneous pair.  Our Vietnam/Cambodia trip begain with “hey do you want to go to Montreal for a long weekend?” and 3 days before taking flight instead of Montreal, we book a flight with no plans except a hotel ‘base camp’ for Vietnam and Cambodia…for the same price.

There wasn’t a glitch in that whole experience  (except running out of underwear in which I realize I barely fit into even a large size of women’s Cambodian underwear!)  I look back on that trip and it was worth every minute. So much so, we both want to go back.  Despite all the low blood sugars from the heat and humidity as well as losing my beloved Continuous Glucose sensor because it just couldn’t adhere to my skin. (I know how to make that baby stick now!!!)

Despite our challenges and crazy, spontaneous trip while in Vietnam and Cambodia, I experience great apprehensions with Peru.  The two potential issues I am most concerned about are elevation sickness and keeping safe from gluten and wheat so as to avoid a reaction, at worst a severe one.  The stomach upset is one thing.  The hives are another.

I am proactive with elevation sickness and speak with my family physician.  He advises I don’t need anything, I’ll be fine. He was just there and all was good.  He tells me I will be okay. This gives me reassurance.

I admit, on this trip I am not fully proactive in my celiac disease as I should be.  I am still in a learning curve.  This is my first trip as a person living with Celiac disease.  We assume given the Peruvians very large crops of corn and potatoes…there would be very little wheat.

Not so.  Stay tuned.

I’m OKAY!! Really!?

Wedding Cruise5With the exception of the time we dated in high school, my husband Steve is diagnosed with Type 1 spousal diabetes for just under four years.

It may seem silly but I assumed in all this time he knew diabetes like I did.  I can’t even tell you why I thought he would learn 39 years of living with Type 1 diabetes as I have experienced by observing signs, symptoms and random sharing of how I feel in certain situations.  He has never had formal education in the less than 4 years we have been together.

The moment I understood I need to share my life with diabetes more?

We arrived in Lima, Peru.

After settling on the last leg of our journey we decide to head out in search of a few markets and sites for some art pieces.

On the way back, my pump alarms that my sensor is telling me my blood sugars is 4 mmol/L.  My sugar is going down.  Stupidly, I have no sugar on me…Steve is so good he usually does have lifesavers in his pocket…but he has none.

I feel it is lower than 4 mmol/L.  But I am stubborn.  Steve asks if I want him to go into a store and get sugar.  I say it’s OK .

First, when my sugar trends towards low but I feel like I am not in danger, I don’t treat with rapid acting sugar, I set a temporary basal rate.  I think it’s a control thing.  I want to change the stupid system that really works…just to see if I can make it better.  I am so anti-sugar….I really want to take it…mental block.

So…I say to Steve, it’s okay, I’ll set a temp rate.

And we keep walking.

And several minutes later I become dull.  And quiet.  I lack my bubbly, sunshine Type A personality.

Steve knows but doesn’t know.  He hasn’t experienced such an extreme moment like this.

I personify strength.  Knowledge.  Power.  Ability.  I am never the victim.  He trusts that. Even thought his gut tells him different.

DBB Hypo Peru

So he trusts me and my choice.

Until I mumble I want ice cream.  And he asks further questions.  And I am indecisive and vague.

We end up in a grocery store a few blocks away from our hotel.  He asks me several times what I want to get….I don’t know.  In my mind I want to ask him to help me.  Save me from this terrible prison in my mind of wanting to be in control.  Not to ask for help.  I will take care of myself.  I won’t confess I have failed.  I won’t ask.  I refuse.  I won’t.  I have done this since I was a little girl.  My (mis)behaviour trumps my voice.

I am no good to anyone.  I know it.  I am too far gone to say that.

Steve finally suggests and I agree.

We pay out at the cash and I inhale.

Many minutes later Tracy returns.

Later that night we debrief.  He tells me…”I knew, but I didn’t because you know!”, but I did.  And I failed to tell him.  Thankfully he saw it today. Exactly what I just described.

He tells me “…from now when when you say “It’s okay, I’ll set a temporary basal rate.”  I am going to pop into a store and buy some candies.”

And he will tell me.  “You need this candies”.  And I now I will take them.  Regardless of how bad I want to be in control.  Because, we have this consensual contract.

It’s good to share my diabetes.  A liberation.  Enlightening.  It is a relief to give a very small piece of it to someone else.  Even though it is only a very small piece of what my mind thinks of 24-7-365, if feels good. Despite how much control I want.  And how hard it is to let go.

Travelling with My Pharmacy

DBB Huchay Cusco Blog

There will a few posts/Blogs about my travels to and within Peru.

BUT..

I feel this post in particular is a huge one and is pressing upon me to prioritize even though it’s not in order.

We spent Christmas Eve in Agues Calientes. We planned to climb Machu Picchu Christmas Day.

I became very ill with a very high fever and ultimately sinus congestion, sore throat, fatigue among other things.

I am proud of the way the situation turned out as I recovered very quickly compared to most times I experience this. My husband questioned if I should take part in the venture to Machu Picchu but I insisted despite feeling down and out I would not miss such an amazing opportunity. This is a chance in a lifetime!!! And so we did.

With that being said, after we returned to Cusco a few days later we made plans to take part in a two day trek up the Andes mountains, through the Peruvian Tundra. We would then be hosted by a family overnight before descending back down the next day to another town a few hours away from our starting point.

We reach an elevation of 15,100 feet. Understanding that breathing would be a challenge at the best of times, I am overly concerned that with my congestion and swollen throat it would present greater issues.

On our way to the drop off point 1 1/2 hours away by jeep, I ask our guide to stop at a pharmacy to buy cold medication to help keep the symptoms from being too overwhelming throughout the climb.

As I walk into the pharmacy I take note this is the very first lesson I learn.  Never assume I can go away for 2 weeks and be healthy the whole time. I usually pack cold medications, gravol etc for those ‘just in case’ moments.

This is the first time I didn’t take my personal pharmacy with me. Sigh.

Our guide Henry takes me into the pharmacy in Cusco. I tell Henry in English that I need an anti-histamine/anti-inflammatory. I expect something along the lines of Advil Sinus & Cold or Buckley’s.

After the Pharmacist asks Henry a few more questions in Spanish….”Is it altitude sickness?”…”No, I had a very high fever, sore throat and sinus congestion.”…He recommends a product.

I take a ticket to the cash booth/dispensary at the front of the store. She gives me the box of medication. I am so relieved I will have the meds to help with the congestion, I don’t consider that I didn’t tell the pharmacist I have T1 diabetes OR that I took time to read the ingredients.   At this point I don’t make the connection that Dexametasona (in English “Dexamethasone”) is a steroid!!! I mean, come on, I am a Nurse. I should know the 5 R’s!!

AND I can’t buy a steroid over the counter in Canada! For good reason!

I am told to take one pill now (it is 7:30am) and again at supper. I can take it twice a day for a few days.

Within an hour I can feel the relief. I am overjoyed….until…

Fast forward to that evening and into the overnight…AND the next day…my blood sugars begin to climb…and climb…and climb.

I take insulin corrections like drinking water with no change. Not even a flicker in my Continuous Glucose monitor display. My finger pokes confirm all is not right within my diabetes world.

I reflect back on when we arrived in Cusco. Within a day I was setting temporary basal rates on my insulin pump for low blood sugars and now??? I am insulin resistant in the Andes Mountains??

I play scenarios in my mind. Is it the altitude? Is it dehydration? Is it the anaerobic feedback from the intense activity which leads us to experiencing burning leg muscles, shortness of breathe so bad our lungs are burning?

When I work out at the gym and do intense heavy weights my sugars spike. When I do hill training when I run I get the same effect. Is this the same?

At this point I haven’t made the connection yet that the cold meds contain steroids.

I do think that in part, the intensity of the climb did cause an adrenalin surge that did cause my need for more insulin….pair it with an exogenous steroid in my cold meds and here is a recipe for blood sugar disaster.

My key take away?

Bring my own cold meds and pharmacy.

If ever in an emergency that I require medications while in another country, make sure to tell them I have diabetes.

If and when I decide to ascend to 15,100 feet (or higher), take note and act that if it feels anaerobic, increase my insulin rates to accommodate to it.

No doubt it is a tough balance to achieve but I wouldn’t want to throw my hands in the air and not keep playing the game. Next time I want to improve on this experience. I accept my sugars will never be perfect in these situations especially, but, I will do my best.DBB Dexalor

Full Circle

“No matter the deviation, all things come full circle. You begin and end your journey in the same place, but with a different set of eyes.” – Abram (Jennifer DeLucy, Seers of Light (Light, #1))

This time last year we were in the midst of a ferocious battle of closing what should have become our dream home.

We began to plan our dream wedding. Live the dream life.  On the lake. With a picture perfect view.

Our plans all laid out. Exactly how WE wanted.

It was made known to us very quickly in 2014 that this was not the plan God had in store for us. No matter how hard we tried.

In February 2014 I feel fear, failure and intense anxiety as one of the last times I pull into the one kilometre lane that is to take us to our dream home. It is dusk. Darkness ensuing. It feels like our world is crumbling before us.

As I pull in the lane, I see in the distance my husband sitting in a Bobcat. Uncovered. Temperatures hovering in the -30C with windchill. The wind bites my cheeks. It sends a chill through me as I walk down the lane to summate if my husband will be able to have the snow filled, long lane cleared to the standards needed for the mortgage inspector the next day.

It doesn’t look good. It looks grim. I feel a wave of hopelessness.

I ask Steve into the car to warm up. He is covered in frost and snow.

I ask him. “How bad do you want this?”

He gives me a flicker of hope. He thinks he can have it done.

He wants this. So do I. We’ve come too far.  We have entered into a committed agreement we will not fail at.

There are these beautiful pictures we have drawn in our minds and on paper over the past 3 months of how this will turn out.  It has to be that way. No exception.

We kiss good bye. I ask him to keep me up to date. I drive home with the dogs in tow.

4:00 a.m. the next morning I wake with a jolt. I roll over. I reach for him. He is not there. Is he OKAY??  What has happened?

I text him. I call. We finally connect. The news is not good.

Throughout the night the snow continues to blow across the lane. With the darkness of the night it is hard for Steve to tell how far he has progressed.

As the sun breaks the horizon he is in shock. He is no where near completion. He calls on a dear friend for help. When all is said and done, the lane is cleared in time for the inspector.

Once again we believe the end is near.  Our dream will finally come true.

Within a few weeks we will begin the renovations and transition to our dream home.

Fast forward to a few weeks later.

It is Thursday, March 6, 2014. I am at the Diabetes Education Centre until 9:00 pm where I work as a Registered Nurse.

The whole reason we found our dream home. The only reason why we plan on leaving our hometown.

In the past week a series of events (which I cannot share due to legal agreements) have occurred in which I’ve been waiting for a phone call telling me that despite a series of unfortunate circumstances beyond our control, we will finally close what will be the home of our dreams.  Our resting place.

My cell phone rings. It is our Real Estate Agent. The tone of his voice does not give me hope that all is good. He apologizes. He is so sorry. He is informed that our dream home has been sold to someone else. The selling of our dream home is beyond our control and there is nothing we can do.  We have a sense of the wrong doings of human beings that have caused this BUT there is nothing we can do to get our dream home back.

I sob uncontrollably. Our house is sold. Our dream home is gone. Our wedding plans no longer.

I am in shock.

But I’m not.  There has been this whisper for sometime telling me this wasn’t going to end up the way we planned.

Going back to that cold, hopeless night at the lane something or more appropriately Someone was shaking His head. I could sense it.

I suspect He was saying to Himself:

“How many roadblocks do I have to put up before they realize this is not part of My plan for them?”

The next step was to call Steve. I have to tell him we lost ‘the Cottage’.

We need to find a home now. A home we didn’t think we would have to look or settle for.

We have three months to come up with an answer whether we purchase or rent. Our current home is piled high with boxes.  It has been for two months.  The thought of living out of boxes for three more months seems overwhelming and unbearable.

The next most important discussion we have after shifting gears is how committed are we to my career at the Diabetes Education Centre. It is becoming evident the two hour daily commute is taking a toll on my heath.  The past year has been the most sick I have been in several years.  The stress of the drive and long days does not pair well with my diabetes.

As equally important which marries with our career discussions is; what direction are we heading with Steve’s business “VERGEbuilders”. Steve’s business is growing fast on the commercial and residential side. As the year rolls on so does the work, resulting in hiring more employees.  We did not anticipate the speed of growth.  With that we have to decide where our residence best supports his business.  We see this as critical.

At the end of a series of conversations we decide it is best to stay in our home town. We feel that is where we belong. It is hard for us to imagine moving out of the area we called home since our childhood.  This is also where 2 of our 3 children live for the time being.

It isn’t a simple decision. But, at that point we know my career at the Diabetes Centre will not be long term. We don’t know what, when or how but we are hopeful another opportunity will eventually present itself. We create a long term deadline for my current career with a ‘plan’.  In the meantime, I will continue to commute.

This is our plan.

Little did we know we don’t need to make any plans. It is already in the works.

We begin our search for a new home.  Nothing clicks.  We feel defeat & frustration. Fortunately, the purchasers of our current home agree to extend closing by two more months.

In the meantime we begin to discuss wedding options. The caterer and photographer are booked for our dream wedding in July at our dream home we no longer have. It is another dig at the wounds of losing our dream home as I cancel them.

When we originally discussed wedding plans, all I could envision is Steve and I on the beach together. I could picture the dress, the sandals, the peace, the simplicity of it all.

As time goes by, I ignore what I really want. I begin to sacrifice what I always imagine in order to accommodate to my thought of how happy others will be taking part in sharing our vows. My compromise is getting married on the lake at our dream home.

As we cross paths with our family and friends we hear comments…”Are you guys married yet?” “When are you guys getting married?”

We want to get married but not to ‘just get married’. We want it to be the right time at the right place. We also agree we won’t do it to please others. It has to be for us. Isn’t that why two people come together in matrimony?

As we search with painful disbelief for the perfect abode we discuss the options for the perfect time and place to legally become husband and wife.

It circles back to a beach far away.  Just the two of us.  Simple.

This decision seems the easiest to make among all the others before us. We decide to announce our intentions.  Of course the ones we love give us their blessings and support.

April 2014…we spend the day with our Real Estate Agent again. We look at houses. Nothing feels right. It just doesn’t feel like home. I’m sure mostly because I’m bitter and still in disbelief.

The last house we look at is a newly built home in a subdivision development. Despite it being bright & open, the rooms are too small, the choice of decor is not what I would choose for our home. It triggers a curiosity within me that leads me to ask our Agent if we can view the model home to see what other options are available.

We arrive at the model home. We tour through it. I love it. I can picture us living in a home like this.  It has big windows, an open concept and we can reconfigure it to accommodate to our needs.  The only con is the 40 foot lot.  With all the benefits it has and where it is located, the small lot in the city I can live with.

We talk with the Builder’s Sales Rep. There is only 1 lot left. There are others preparing to put a deposit down. We go home and grab the cheque book. The lot is ours.  The Sales Rep is surprised at our timing.  There were no other opportunities available for quite some time that suits our needs.

Both Steve and I have built before. I throughly enjoy the process. For Steve the process itself is a means to an end.

Knowing our current home and the closing of our new home will not coincide, I begin the search for a short term rental property that will accept our fur babies. It is no easy feat. No one wants short term tenants or fur babies.

In desperation I place an ad on Kijiji. I search on line every night.  A few months go by. Then, one day I receive an email. It is a response to my search. We arrange to meet. As we finish introductions, the owner informs us we will probably not get the rental as he has people viewing the property who are interested in long term. We take a deep breathe, quickly look through the main floor of the tiny bungalow. If we can get it, it will work just fine. I am thankful the kitchen is huge compared to our current home.  I have a tinge of excitement at this.  We are told we will be notified either way in two days.  Just the thought of being told we won’t get the rental seems to be too much right now.

Less than 12 hours later, my phone rings. It is the owner. The rental is ours!  What a break!

In the meantime we decide to get married on a beach. Just the two of us. We begin to plan. It feels good to not have the burden of guest lists, decorations and agendas. We keep it simple by booking with an on line wedding agency. We decide to get married on Magen’s Bay Beach in St Thomas in May.

DOW_0420

Despite all that happened in such a short period of time and the about face we have made with major life plans, we feel like everything is going to be ok.  The day of our wedding is so perfect it seems nothing can take us down.

Throughout these changes and plans, we decide it best for me to start researching alternate career plans. With Steve’s business we decide it a consideration for me to look into a career in Real Estate. I have felt for some time I need to take a break from the world of diabetes (minus my own and my sons) and the daily two hour drive.  This past winter road conditions were too much.

I consult with our Real Estate Agent to gain some insight as to whether this career choice will be a good fit.  As I make my way home from work I discuss the pros and cons with him.

Then, another change in plans we are not part of.

I arrive home that same evening I am on the phone with our Real Estate Agent. I hear an email come in on my phone. I open it. It’s from an old colleague who is a Sales Rep for Bayer. We occasionally partnered when I worked for Medtronic as a Territory Manager. It has been about 1 1/2 years since we have been in contact. It was at that time I went through an interview process with Bayer. In the end, after four interviews it was between me and one other person. They chose to hire the other person.

In my Colleagues email she introduces the fact the person that was chosen over me that previously represented the territory which is small and close to home resigned. She asks if I’d be interested in applying for the position once again.  It is Medical Sales in the Diabetes Division.

I give Steve a brief summary of the conversation I had earlier in the evening with our Real Estate Agent.

All of a sudden we have two career opportunities presented in one day that permit me to shorten my commute time and balance my personal and work life.

We decide that the pros of going back into Medical sales is way too good of an opportunity to pass up. I keep trying to escape from the professional world of diabetes but I see it is also not part of the plan for me.  I apply and am subsequently offered the position.  My role as an Diabetes Educator to Health Care Professionals seems to be a big part of the plan in my life.

In a matter of a few weeks in May, I am offered a new job, I resign from my position as a Diabetes Educator, we begin the process of building a home and we fly off to the Carribean to be married.

We return from our wedding/honeymoon starting my new job.

It all sounds like it’s coming full circle, doesn’t it?

Well, almost.

In all of these plans that have came before us there comes another ‘glitch’.

With my new career comes a probation period. My probation will not end before we need to close the house. It will impact the type of mortgage and down payment required.

I stress over how to get around this. I approach the sales rep for the Builder. I ask if we can extend the closing. It has been extended three times already by the Builder. We are only one month difference between closing and my probation ending. No deal. The closing date will stay as is.

I throw my hands in the air. Once again I have no control. I have to pray and trust that what will be, will be. I put an alert out to our families. We need a lot of prayer that somehow the closing date will be extended.

Two weeks prior to the closing date a miracle happens. I can’t disclose the events which unfold due to a waiver I signed with the Builder. What I can say is despite the stress of what occurs next, which in the very moment of realization feels like another broken shoelace, comes the answer to our prayers.  It takes a few months for me to understand this is in fact an answer to prayer.  In the first 4-5 weeks it looks like our world has fallen apart again.  So much so we begin to look at options of where to live.

As a result of these circumstances our closing date is extended two weeks past the end of my probation.

Amongst all of this we also experience a dramatic shift in two of our children’s lives. One moving to Edmonton, Alberta and one to Wellington, New Zealand.

So here it is, after all is said and done. In 2014 there are many major deviations in our plans. Most times we can’t make sense of why.

The stress, sadness and changes are unbearable at times.

Regardless of the changes of events from our original plans at the end of 2013 and into the beginning of 2014, the outcomes stay pretty much the same.

We are married. I began a new career, shortening my commute time. In a few days we will take possession of our beautiful home in our hometown. Steve’s business is flourishing.

Besides the plans, how did our view of these events occurring in 2014 change our point of view?

1.  Our faith.  God has the right plans for us.

2.  Our acceptance that we do not have the control in our lives we think we do.

3.  We don’t always have our own best interest at heart even though we may think we do.

4.  Understanding. When a situation occurs, the outcome will be what is meant to be even if we don’t see it yet.

5.  To see that in the end of every journey, every circumstance, big or small, there is a lesson that will help us see with a much needed different set of eyes.

To bid 2014 adieu, we stand in the Andes Mountains at an elevation of 15,100 feet.

I try to absorb the grandiosity of what my eyes see and the complexity of what happened in 2014.  In these moments I try to realize that I will always have the ground under my feet, the sky above me, water abounding, food on my table, a roof over my head and people that love me.

IMG_2012

Here’s to seeing 2015 with a new set of eyes and having the faith to allow the plans that are in the works for this year be according to His will, not mine.

Gobbling It Up

IMG_0764.JPG
I was very guilty of this for many, many years.

Pursued & got the 6 figure job. I worked long, exhausting hours running an extremely successful career all while raising 2 amazing kids.

I thought my career & being the ‘perfect’ Mom would fill the void of what I was really looking for. I also thought building a dream home would make everything okay.

I knew why I did it, but couldn’t put it into words or stop the search. I didn’t stop ‘gobbling’ up until the past few years.

It took a lot of choice, non-choice & learning to accept all the ‘things’ I lost to put what mattered into perspective.

In the end finally finding a love that accepted me for who I was without having to prove myself ultimately stopped that seemingly endless search.

It’s an amazing release from something you are always looking for but can never find satisfaction.

Not that I don’t get sucked into it once in a while & have to step back & say to myself ‘whoa!!’…but I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I won’t ‘gobble up’ like I did. My search is over.

“We’ve got a sort of brainwashing going on in our country, Morrie sighed. Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that’s what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good. We repeat it–and have it repeated to us–over and over until nobody bothers to even think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all of this, he has no perspective on what’s really important anymore.

Wherever I went in my life, I met people wanting to gobble up something new. Gobble up a new car. Gobble up a new piece of property. Gobble up the latest toy. And then they wanted to tell you about it. ‘Guess what I got? Guess what I got?’

You know how I interpreted that? These were people so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works. You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship.

Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. I can tell you, as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have.” ― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie