Anxiety Overload


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With three weeks to go before leaving for University, Patty has developed inflammation in her eye (iritis). This is nothing to mess around with. Symptoms of Iritis include pain, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, etc. If left untreated, it can lead to vision loss and glaucoma.

She has been to an optometrist four times in a week. Her dad is helping her administer the eye drops (steroid and dilating). The pain is diminished and her iris is no longer sticking to the lens of her eye. But the inflammation is not improving as much as the doctor would like. If it is not improved enough by Tuesday, she’ll have to go to an ophthalmologist and get a shot in the eye.

Patty hates shots. Always has.

Now she can’t stop herself from thinking about it. I would have a hard time, too.

Before this, she was having some stress thinking and planning for her move to University. Would she be able to do her TA job? How would she do with her studies, and meeting her advising professor. How would she pay her rent before getting her first paycheck. Would everything fall into place? How would she feed herself, get herself where she needed to go? (Maybe some of these are my anxieties as well. Just maybe).

Now she fears this will keep her from going to University at all. Or at the least, it will make everything so much more difficult. She signed a lease in May. If she can’t go, she will be $10,000 in debt to the apartment complex. She would have to start paying her student loans from undergrad. She might not be able to fulfill her dream (PhD in history, teaching at University level). Maybe she has a genetic disorder. It turns out that Will has ankylosing spondylitis. Iritis is commonly the first symptom. He has had iritis four or five times since leaving college and was diagnosed through blood tests. Patty’s fear is reasonable. But she may have developed this due to other reasons…like stress.

This also put a complete stop to her driving lessons. We were hoping she would get her driver’s license before she left. Maybe this is a protection. The university is very compact for a place with 30,000 students.

Ralph and I have been trying to encourage her. We continue to prepare her for her time at University. I am buying towels, washcloths, and other odds and ends. Going through my spice cupboards to see what I have that I can share. Collecting items from my kitchen to give her, so we don’t have to spend money for them.

And we are praying that this will heal up before we leave for University. But if not, that she will be able to find effective treatment and be able to obtain it within her schedule. Patty has a full tuition scholarship and a stipend for a teaching assistantship. A lot is on the line for her.


My Place is Not in a Helicopter

Will turned in his two week notice today.

His current employer then counter offered  twice his salary.

He had already sent in his acceptance to the new company.

His dad thinks he should keep his word and go with the new company.

On the other hand…

This is the young man who moved to a town 70 miles away by faith, tremulously hoping that the job would work out. Three years later different companies are offering him huge raises. He has shown himself to be a creative programmer.

He wanted me to help him decide. I gave him some input… I always lean toward security. But I told him the decision was up to him. Whatever he decides is fine with me. I’ll pray for him either way.

This helicopter has landed.

Support needed, freely given.


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“Mom, I had an accident,” Will’s distress came loud and clear through my car speaker as I drove home from work Friday. “What happened? Are you hurt?”

“No. But my car is really damaged on both sides. And the couple who hit me, their old truck is old, but they can’t afford to replace their truck. I kept saying I was sorry.”

“It’s my fault, Mom. I forgot to look both ways and pulled out in front of them. I wish I had just gone home instead of going to the store to buy a new phone”

“Oh Will, at least you weren’t hurt. Was any one else hurt?”

“They were checking out the older lady. She might be hurt a little. … I have to hang up. The policeman is here.”

I could hear the policeman asking for Will’s proof of insurance and registration.

My phone rang a few minutes later.”

“Mom, I can’t find my registration. It’s not here, not here, not here, not here,” he said shuffling through papers in his glove compartment. “Oh no, oh no, oh no,” panic was rising.

“Will, other people have lost their registration. It’ll be alright.” I hoped. “Just tell the policeman you can’t find it, but you knew it was there the last time you looked.”

“Okay. I have to hang up. He’s back.”

The phone went dead. I had come in the house during the conversation, and I sat in my chair, praying. I prayed that Will would not have a meltdown. His autism might become especially troublesome at a time like this. I prayed that he wouldn’t be overcome by panic.

Ralph walked in the door a few minutes later with Mary. He had picked her up from work.

“Will had an accident.”

“Oh no. Is he all right?”

“Yes. But his car is very damaged. And he’s in distress.”

My phone rang again. “Mom, it was alright. The policeman was able to find my registration on his computer. Now I have to wait for the tow truck to come.”

“How are you going to get home.”

“They are going to give me a ride.”

“Who is going to give you a ride.”

“The tow truck driver or the policeman. I’ll call you when I get home.”

“When you get home, call your insurance company right away. They will tell you what to do next.”

Will called us after about an hour. He told us that the insurance company was setting up an adjuster to come out an look at the car. They gave him the choice of where to have it fixed with one of their contractors. And they were arranging for him to have a rental.

“Would you like us to come and visit you?”


“Do you want us to come tonight or tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow is okay. I don’t want you to come over tonight.”

“We will, if you need us to.”

“No, I’ll be okay tonight.”

“Have you eaten yet?”


“You need to eat something.”

“Okay, I will. ”

“See you tomorrow. I’ll bring some food to cook for you.”

The next day, Patty and I drove over to his house, took him shopping for food. We visited him. Let him talk it out. He didn’t eat the night before. I bought him lunch at McDonald’s, and he told me he hadn’t eaten much that morning either. He was too upset. But he felt much better after eating.

I made chicken and dumplings last night, and crockpot roast pork today.

“I’m so glad you came,” he said today. “But I still can’t stop thinking about about it. What if the company I am going to work for decides not to hire me? They are going to do a background check.”

“I don’t think they are going to use this not to hire you. Besides, it probably won’t appear on your record for a while.”

“Would you like your Dad to come over today? I’ll go home and send him back. He can help you get around and get everything arranged. He can drive you to work tomorrow so you don’t have to think about that.”

“Okay. I still wish I hadn’t decided to go to the store to buy that phone. If only I had gone straight home.”

“Will, it’s normal to feel that way. In a few weeks, you’ll feel better, but you’ll still think about it for a while. When I had my accident, I did the same thing. Running over it in my mind. But you have to stop yourself from thinking about it, distract yourself as much as you can.”

“I haven’t been feeling good. My throat has felt funny and I’ve had a headache this week.”

“That’s anxiety, Will. You’ve been dealing with these interviews this week, and made a big decision to leave your current job and go on to another job. That’s a big deal, even though it’s a good event”

Will had four interviews this week, received a job offer, and accepted it. A lot more money, and bonuses. In three years, Will has obtained a valuable skill set in WorkDay. He’s been contacted by numerous recruiters this year. He decided to send his resume directly to the companies the recruiters were trying to refer him to. He’s had interviews with three different companies this week. One of them hired him.

So on Monday, he is going to be messing with this car business, and giving his two week notice to his current employer. They called him into a meeting last week and told him they were trying to get him a raise and a remote position so he could work from home. They were too late.

“You’ll have to push on Will. It’s a risk, but they wouldn’t have hired you if they didn’t need your skills.”

“What if I can’t do it?”

“I’ll be praying for you, and so will your Dad.”

When I got home from Will’s I said to Ralph, “He’s looking pretty thin. I don’t think he’s been eating right. Patty said he’s been eating poptarts for breakfast.” Patty stayed with him for a week this summer. Cook for him when you get there.”

After Ralph arrived, Patty called to ask what I had done with the garbage bags. “Oh, I found them,” and she hung up. Ralph and Patty were cleaning his house.

Sometimes our kids need extra support.


Finished – What I Learned From Doing the Whole30


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I lost 11.4 pounds on the Whole30. My friends, my coworkers, and my family who watched me go through this are impressed by the weight loss. They could see that I was losing weight and that I was eating good food every day for every meal, and I ate plenty of it. My family witnessed me coming home from work and cooking dinner. But not grazing from the minute I walked in the door until bedtime.

But it wasn’t about the weight loss, although that was a nice bonus. It was about changing my relationship with food, becoming better nourished. I learned a lot about added sugar in processed convenience foods. I had to add salt to my food because whole foods have a lot less salt. I cooked with good oils. It was not a low fat diet. I had to eat a teaspoon of oil with every meal. I was rarely hungry, free from cravings, well fed.

Here is the rest of what I learned…


One of the benefits of eating on the Whole30 is improved gut health.

Checking Items off the List. (and the days)


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“One good thing about moving away,” said Patty, “is I don’t have to eat what I don’t like.” Oh the woes of family meals.

“Reminds me of what President Bush said.” I said.

She laughed.

“Now that I am president, no one can make me eat Broccoli,” she said.

Perhaps her thoughts regarding food freedom were inspired by the “Tuesday Night Chicken,” I had just served for supper (from the Frugal Paleo Cookbook). Or perhaps from the list we have been making of all the things she will need for her apartment at the University.

It’s a long list. Despite the fact that the apartment will be furnished. She bought a set of stoneware dishes at Goodwill, along with some glasses. She has let me know some of the items she is planning to take from my kitchen. Like my hand mixer, because she says I never bake (true). And she picked out the color to suit her when I bought it a couple of years ago (bright orange). Some of my glass baking pans and some of my cookie sheets. I hope she will take more of my stuff, as I am in a continual process of getting rid of stuff so they won’t have to when I can’t. ( Grandma has some pans she would like Patty to have.

Mostly kitchen stuff this time. Toiletries. Laundry items. Towels. Cleaning supplies. Food – pantry items. Paper. Printer ink. Key ring. We keep thinking of new stuff. She would like a new laptop, but that will have to come later. For now, she can take an older one from home.

There are boxes in the window seat. We throw stuff into them as we obtain them (or find them, as in the category of stuff I am getting rid of).

Her birthday was last week. She requested small kitchen appliances from her siblings and from us. We haven’t purchased them yet because the smaller “college dorm” versions are not in the stores yet, on sale. They will be soon.

Patty has about five weeks to go until she moves away from home. Last week she opened a bank account. We hope she will have her driver’s license by the time she leaves (although she will still be an inexperienced driver).

We went out for coffee to talk. She said she is excited and frightened at the same time. She doesn’t know what kind of job she will be doing. If she will have to speak in front of students. I told her that she would probably meet with them weekly. Although she was a teacher’s assistant as an undergrad for two and a half years, the job will likely be different. She went to a small school. I went to Michigan State University, and I know how that works at large universities. She hates public speaking, but I assured her that she would get used to it.

She doesn’t know how she will pay for the first month’s rent before she gets paid or her student loan comes in. She should have gotten a job this summer, but I am conflicted. I felt better about having her around so someone was with Ralph during the day. Not that he really, really needs that now. But still. And he is teaching her to drive. They both have gone to my son’s house to babysit his cats and house sit while he was in Seattle for his job three different weeks this spring/summer. I felt better about having Patty there with him then. Especially then. Patty painted his deck while he was gone. He is going to pay her for that.

Somehow, God willing, we will get her there. With planning, prayer, and effort. And we will likely still forget something important.







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