The Year of Faith, and Change

Life is all about change, isn't it? If we didn't change, we wouldn't grow, and that would be a sad thing, indeed. No matter where you are in life, never stop growing and learning. Ever. Sometimes, though, life changes in ways I didn't see coming. Learning to roll with it is hard, but it's how we do the growth thing.

I've mentioned that my day job is social work. And by "day job" I mean the job that I do in the daytime. It's not my main job by any stretch, at just 10 hours weekly. (Plus drive time, time spent discussing the case with coworkers, staff meetings, paperwork because it's a government job....) After my day job, I then come home and work all evening making dog collars, because that's my main job. I knew I wouldn't be in social work for the rest of my life, but didn't have a timeline for an endpoint. Becky was working with me on the case, which was a great eye opener for her to realize that she chose well in NOT going into social work as she'd originally planned. She was let go by her client just before Christmas. I was let go by mine, too, because she's a trend follower and wanted to do what her husband did. (We worked with a husband/wife couple, if you didn't just pick that up.) (That's not really a HIPAA violation. I didn't give names, an address or anything pertinent. Someday, however, I'll find a way around that law and tell you stories that'll simultaneously make your jaw drop and make you snort coffee through your nose.) (Book royalties will be huge, when I figure that out.) So I was let go at Christmas, but before I was aware that I was let go, I was rehired, because the case manager for the clients refused to let my client let me go. It was a whirlwind weekend that made all our heads spin a little bit, and there was much to talk about come Monday morning.

Just before this happened, however, I was evaluating my day job vs. my real job, and wondering why I placed so much priority on a position that barely bought Starbucks for a month. I enjoyed the work (much to everyone's amazement), but couldn't justify the time doing it. I'd decided to leave when Becky left for college. Except Becky was fired. Kind of. (The company still retained her, she just couldn't work with that client any longer.)

Last week, I knew it was time. I literally woke up and realized that I was done with social work. (It was weird.) So I had a talk with God about this, reminding Him of promises to keep us fed and clothed, and also pointing out that He seems to want me to sell pet products, so that would be a great place to provide the money. Being honest with God in prayer is a reality for me.

The day I quit social work, we also discussed changes on another front. I walked away from a job and a church in the same 24 hour period. I'm not going to discuss this much, because I'm not sure what I feel about it. I can't convey feelings that I can't understand, but we knew it was time, and it wasn't an easy decision. I also don't want to get into the politics of religion with anyone, but need you to know that, while church doesn't define who I am or my relationship with God, it is a large part of my life.

I'm terming 2017 as the year of faith. I don't know where I'm going from here, but God does. I can't see 5 minutes from now, but God knows what the end of the year looks like. I'm just going to trust Him to get me there, and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Just today, He took a 6 month old accident and chose to use that to provide replacement funds for the lost job. He likes to keep me marveling at His creativity, if nothing else. We are blessed beyond measure, and shocked at His provisions. But that's how God rolls. It's going to be a great year.

Gymtimidation is a Real Thing

You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I attend the gym regularly. My client has a membership, and I take her several times weekly. I get a lot of stuff done, too, like making sure she's not interrupting others' conversations, diffusing yet another meltdown over what drink she's going to carry around and not sip, and attempting to work a combination lock for her.

All that hard work shows, too. My body looks like an explosion from a Pillsbury dough can.

The last time I actually used the gym was 1990 something. Maybe it was sometime in this century. I can't remember. It's just been a while. I really just don't like working out in front of others. I'm a very private person, despite oversharing on a regular basis. My exercise of choice is hiking in the great outdoors, and even then I like my privacy and get all huffy when tourists are invading my state parks. I'm also a pansy, so hiking in the great outdoors between November and March just doesn't happen. There's mud to contend with, and gloves, and snow and ..... I mean, it's just asking a lot to walk in the freezing temps and then have a wet and muddy dog in the car afterward. Plus, my trails are snow covered and nobody is going to shovel them for me.

Judge away. I have no shame.

A friend of mine invited me to go walking with her last summer. We met weekly and used a trail around the community college that dipped into the woods, looped a field and skirted a pond. She's taller than I am (everyone is) and is a speed walker. I was hard pressed to keep up with her. Ironically, she was leisurely walking. In my defense, it was right after the motorcycle accident (kind of) and I was still sporting an injury. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

The reality is that I live a sedentary life. I'm active all the time, but when I'm busiest, it's computer work and sewing. I've been crazy busy for over a year, and am just now learning to juggle all the things to have some balance of down time in my life. But that year plus where I ran like a madwoman, while sitting, took a toll. I think my muscles atrophied.

Because cold and winter happened, my walking friend and I haven't seen much of each other. We both decided to remedy that, and I suggested walking at the mall this week, since they open an hour early for walkers to take advantage of the indoor loop. She suggested we also go to her gym, right across the road from the mall, since we'd be there. She could get a guest in for free. It sounded like a win to me.

Except I hate gyms. But I love friends. And I do enjoy working out, just not in front of others.

I realized that my friend was taking it super easy on me over summer (probably because of my accident) when she hit the mall with 10' strides. I actually asked her to slow down. Midway through the first lap, my legs were numb. It was a blessing, because I don't think my feet were moving in a normal fashion, and I was embarrassed by how block-like they felt. Not feeling them anymore was a good thing. I pushed through, and managed to mostly keep up with her slower pace, but I lost count of the laps we made. I was more concerned with not stumbling, and making sure my legs were going to survive.

I knew I was out of shape, but had zero clue that it was that bad. OHMHGOSH

At the gym, I was anxiety filled, knowing all the gym rats would be there, looking at themselves in the mirrors, checking out their muscles.... I really should go to Curves. Working out with women is far less intimidating. The gym, however, was peopled with super nice clients who did their own things and largely ignored the fact that my sweet friend was showing me how to do everything. (Personal trainer, for the win!)

It was somewhere in the weight room, standing in front of the mirrors while lifting weights, that I realized how ridiculous we looked together. My super fit gym friend is like Miss America in a bikini in comparison to myself, who would be a sloppily dressed hot dog eating champ, accidentally stumbling onto the wrong stage. I would have laughed out loud at the thought if I hadn't been struggling with weights.

I'm going to confess that this blog post took five times longer to write than it should because every muscle in my body is screaming at me. I kid you not. Right now, the ring finger of my right hand is throbbing. Every muscle, guys. I have a lot of muscles, too. I didn't realize.

This is actually a great start to the year, because what better way to get fit than to just jump in with both feet? (I won't be doing that again, though, without a lot of Advil.) And also, so far, while everything is sore and slightly swollen, my leg is not. I think surgery has been successful. In all honesty, that's one of the biggest reasons I pushed myself too far today. The leg has been notorious for swelling after exercise (like every time we'd walk over summer), so I wanted to test the waters to be sure I was healed. I think I am.

Except for the full body ache. Pass the Advil.

Being a Pawrent Rocks

We all know that I live in a weird world filled with dogs. It's pretty amazing here, and populated with great people. Dog people generally are.

In this world, dogs tend to come first. A lot of us are in the same situation as myself; the dogs are what make us who we are. We're all dog focused, and at events that we attend, with the dogs of course, we greet dogs first and their pawrents second. (Yes, that's what we call ourselves, because it's who we are.) Our dogs are far more well known than we are. We're just the dog mom at the end of the leash. 

It's much like being a mom to kids; you become known as Johnny's Mom and lose your own identity altogether. You are never called by your first name again until your children are grown. Sometimes, you almost forget what your first name is. It's not Mom, or Johnny's Mom or MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM. It's not NO, either. It's something you'd stay up at night trying to remember, if you weren't so exhausted from parenting the kidlets that have hidden your name in their identity. 

Thankfully, being a pawrent is easier in this respect than being a parent is. Mostly, furkids don't keep you up at night, and if they are really having the worst day ever, you can crate them. Laws prohibit crating kids, oddly. Something about abuse and neglect, and the threat of Child Welfare Services... 

Of course, on the flip side, kids don't shed so badly that walking across the room to turn the Roomba on will make your socks furrier than the actual dog is. It's an anomaly that will never be understood. Kids also don't occasionally use the floor as a toilet if it's raining outside. At least not once they're house broken.

Dogs are the center of our world, and we think about our dogs and other people's dogs more than we probably should. It's not a bad thing, just another weird thing that we do. Since we can't pet these dogs from miles or states away, we virtually pet them by visiting their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. (All the cool dogs have social media sites. It's a thing.) We learn all about these dogs' daily lives, what they love, learn their quirky ways, and look forward to the next photo so that we can share more love. The dogs are blissfully unaware of all this, ironically.

The holidays and birthdays are different occasions for the dogs, though. Dogs get fan mail in real life, not just in the internet world. This past Christmas season, Louie received almost as many cards in the mail than the family did. Most have been addressed to him, not me or the family. I love this, and I love each person that has sent him one. I love them a lot. I've also sent a card to their dogs, because that's what you do at the holidays. I'm thinking I should probably up my game, and send treats next year. Dogs would love that!

I'm wondering, too, if I should send Valentine's and Easter treats. Dogs would love that, too. I should probably contact Hallmark about a line of cards addressing the dog. I'm sure they'd be welcomed with much tail wagging by the pawrents who purchase them.