Adulting Part 3 – Making Positive Changes

Hello! I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July! Ellie and I just got back from celebrating the 4th with Andrew’s family at their lake house and then the week before we spent some quality time with my parents in San Diego.

I know it’s been awhile since we last connected. I’ve been a little disconnected from the world due to some recent health challenges. I had a chest x-ray done right before I left for San Diego which showed I had pneumonia. I also had more blood work done, and certain levels were off, so I’ve been back in doctors’ offices getting tests done the past few weeks, trying to get to the root of the cause. All this uncertainty has been scary and frustrating, to say the least.

The only thing certain in life is change. Change can be scary. I’m finding life is about learning how to adapt to constant change. What’s been interesting though is that through all the uncertainty with my health, I’ve become clear about specific actions I need to take to make positive changes for my family and me.

One of those actions, as I mentioned in Part 2 of this 3-part miniseries I’m fondly calling “Adulting,” is getting serious about my finances. Seeing different doctors, getting scans, blood work, a scope, and a handful of other procedures, really adds up. I finally bit the bullet and met with someone who could help me create a budget and hold me accountable to sticking to it. I’m now budgeting by paying cash for certain expense categories (such as groceries, eating out, entertainment) in order to learn how to live within my means. I’m seeing results from choosing to eat out less, cook at home more, and being overall more conscious of my day-to-day spending.

Another specific action I’ve zeroed in on is the power of being present. I know “being present” is a phrase we hear a lot nowadays, but it takes on a deeper level of importance when it comes to being in good health. The present is all we have for sure, which is why our awareness of it is so valuable. I know God is in control. While I’ve felt scared because I’ve seen how things don’t always turn out the way we hope they would, at the end of the day what will be will be. I’m being proactive and doing my part, and that’s all I can do. When we were in San Diego I didn’t bring my computer, I didn’t bring a book, I barely looked at my phone because all I wanted to do was be physically and mentally with my family. It felt good to be fully present with the ones I love and let go of all the future unknowns I have no control over.

Lastly, for the first time, I’m open to new work opportunities that will create more stability and consistency in my life, and therefore in my daughter’s life. She is my “why,” the driving force behind all this “adulting.” I’m considering taking on a part-time or full-time job while continuing to speak on weekends when Ellie can join me.

July 26th will mark four years since the rug was pulled out from under our family and we lost Andrew. Most of those years for me have been spent in denial, doing the best I can to fulfill Andrew’s wishes, make him proud, and figure out how to navigate this life as a single mom. And now, through my own health challenges, I’ve snapped out of denial and into my family’s reality. I’m seeing things as they are, instead of as I wish they were, and I’m taking action to create a new chapter for my family and for myself.

Have you ever faced a challenge that forced you to see things in a new way and to make positive changes in your life? If so, what was the challenge and what positive changes did you make?

It means so much to Ellie and me that you care about our family and follow our journey by reading my posts. Being able to share our stories and what I’m learning, and hoping someone can relate and might be encouraged because of it, is so fulfilling to me. Just wanted you to know how grateful I am for you. Love and Blessings.


PS – Need an extra dose of Courage? Check out my TEDx talk:

PPS – Back in 2015 when I published The Ellie Project, a book Andrew wrote and illustrated during the the final months of his life for our then two-year-old daughter, Ellie, I had no idea the impact it would have on families all over the country. It’s sold over 6,000 plus copies, and continues to leave a lasting impression on the hearts of those who read it. Get your signed copy here.