Staying Strong

Today’s post is a brief one, since I need save my energy and muster my own strength. As some of you who follow me may have read, I drove my kids all the way from Chicago to Phoenix this week, so they could spend a little time with their dad and attend the Fiesta Bowl (crazy I know, but my G-man couldn’t fly just then, so….)

Well, after a short two and a half days in Phoenix, we are on our way back to Chicago- trying to avoid a snowstorm and get back in time for saturday morning hospital clinics. I have about 18 hours of driving left, and only about 26 hours to get there in time for our appointments, so blogging is low on the priority list right now.

But I did want to talk about staying strong.

stay strong

You might think I am crazy for attempting such a feat. (I think I was a little bit crazy too, to tell the truth)  But you would be surprised at how doing this has impacted my kids, and not in the way that you would think.

Sure, they are grateful for the opportunity I gave them. They are beside themselves that they actually got to do something really cool for winter break, and we did get to have some unexpected fun adventures along the way (we saw Dorothy’s house from the Wizard of Oz in Kansas, and stood on the corner in Winslow Az!) but really, it was a lot more than that.

My kids saw me be strong. They saw me take charge and say “I can do this.” I didn’t need their dad, another friend or someone else to lean on. I made this happen. Just me, and they know it was big.

They saw that if you set your mind to something, that you CAN make it happen, even if it doesn’t always work out just like you planned. I did get too tired to go as far as I needed to last night on the way back. That means a really, really long day today, but I will make it happen.Clinic is too important to miss. I’ll break the trip up in my mind, dividing it into smaller more manageable pieces. Looking at driving 15-18 hours before I stop for the day  is overwhelming. Putting it into 300 mile pieces, then stopping for gas, to walk around and then starting again refreshed (it works!  really!) makes it much more doable. And don’t worry, I will stop a few hours away, rest, and drive straight in to clinic if I have to. I also know my limits. That is another strength!

Dealing with Juvenile Arthritis works much the same way. Looking at the whole disease, the what ifs, and the magnitude of your child having an incurable, potentially fatal disease is overwhelming. It makes you feel like you absolutely cannot do this. You can. Just like this trip, you just have to break it up into pieces and focus. As you chisel away at each part, things start to look better. Maybe the first “leg” of that trip is finding the right doctor, or focusing on pain control for your child, or only searching for the right treatment plan… not everything at once. (you may be doing everything at once, but I am talking about your mental focus) When you make progress in one area, you can move your focus to the next. Its amazing how much this can change your attitude. Its amazing how your attitude and strength can affect your child’s. You will be surprised at how strong your really are, and how much stronger you CAN be.

Just like your body won’t be strong from working out once or twice, this mental strength requires discipline and regular practice to get better, but the rewards are great. You have it in you. You can do it. The longer you do, the easier it will be. I promise. Try it and see.

That’s all for today … I’m hitting the road and tackling the first 300 miles of my trip, I won’t focus on the 1279 miles I have left to go just yet (thank goodness for 80 mph speed limits out west!) One step at a time. Stay strong my friends….


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  1. I am reading your post after another breakdown about my new medical condition. I found out a week and a half ago that I have a blood clot in an artery going to my brain. I have been terrified about what it could do, and then feeling stupid because it could be ok in the end. Anyway, I’ve been trying to stay strong but I’m not great at it. It’s a battle!
    Sarah recently posted…We’re Marching On {Thankful for My Man}My Profile

    • Sarah, that sounds really scary, and I don’t blame you at all for being worried! We have been through some life threatening situations, and although I know we have been lucky (and things turned out in the end) I can also say that worrying would never change the outcome, so I try very hard not to- I chose to stay as strong as I can, keep a positive attitude and follow the docs directions, since those are the things that can affect our outcomes that are within my control! I think your feelings are natural in a very scary situation. I wish you all the best, and keep us posted!

  2. I’m right there riding with you and saying Yes! This is a beautiful uplifting post and you are right; our kids see our strength through our actions. They will remember this trip.
    Eliz@positivekismet recently posted…NaBloPoMo: Is The Pressure on?My Profile

    • It may sound silly, but all the positive feedback I got on this post as I was driving (yes, I obsessively checked during gas stops) also helped push me through. When I push my kids to do something big that stretches them, these are the times that they will remember. THey’ll know that I don’t just expect that kind of thing from them, that I do it to, leading by example, and they will remember that I did it as a labor of love, not duty. The more experiences that I can build like that, the stronger their foundation will be, and that makes it ALL worth it.

  3. I just found your blog. My son has JIA. Diagnosed at 4. He is 6 now. Anyway, this is a very inspirational blog post!
    Meg recently posted…Fortune CookiesMy Profile

  4. I admire your strength. Oh the things mothers would do for their children. I love the way you show your kids how important it is to be patient and to persevere in adverse situations. You are a wonderful person and your kids are lucky to have you for a mother. More blessings for you Kim.

    • Sniff, sniff. Thank you Eileen- things have been very hard around here the last few months, and to say its been “trying” is an understatement. Sometimes it feels like I’m going at it all alone, then I get a comment like yours, and it validates what I am trying to do…and I get a little emotional. Thank you for taking time to comment, and giving me a happy “leaky eye” this morning.

  5. Your blog and attitude is inspiring. You have the right approach: taking baby steps rather than swallowing the elephant whole! I hope you returned home safely.
    Tandy Elisala recently posted…7 part series: How to Deal with Difficult People ~ Part 5/7My Profile

    • Hi Tandy! Thank you for taking time to stop by and comment! Even though I write about parenting a child with JA, I think much of wheat we deal with can apply to life under difficult circumstances in general. I’m so pleased that you find the blog inspirational, and hope you will come back (or even share the link!) It was challenging, but we made it back safe and sound, and within 15 minutes of our hospital clinic appointment! If you want to see the other half of the story, please visit my last post- Mission Accomplished!

  6. Mirka Francis says:

    Have a safe trip! And you are really brave to drive that all alone!

    • We made it all the way back, safely, and just in the nick of time because now it is snowing REALLY hard! We were very lucky. Even though I was the only driver, my boys really did keep me company and help me stay up when it counted. I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything either!

  7. Have a safe trip. You are amazing to drive all that way by yourself with kids. Glad they got to see their daddy though.
    Coralie recently posted…Funniest Cat Story you will ever readMy Profile

    • Thanks Coralie! ITs amazing what we can do if we allow ourselves to aspire to BIG things! I’m glad they got to spend some positive time with their dad as well. These will be great “forever” memories for them, all the way around.

  8. Awesome post! Have a safe trip 🙂
    Pauline C. recently posted…Infographic tips before you start a blogMy Profile

  9. Thanks for sharing this great post. it’s very inspiring .. Please be safe on your trip!!!!
    Take Care

  10. I totally know what you mean. I am currently sitting in a hotel room after driving from Florida to West Virginia (12 hours today including stops) and I’m back up at 7am to drive another 12 hour day to Ontario… My husband is with me though but I’m doing all the driving. I didn’t know if I could handle it but I did awesome! We have our 2 kids (ages 8 & 5) with us which I thought would be stressful but we are actually having a great time. Safe travels!!!
    Jenn recently posted…How to be a good blog-fanMy Profile

    • Bless your heart Jenn! At least mine are teens that sleep a lot! Still as much as people groan when I tell them that I am taking a road trip like this one, I have to say that every time we have, we have ALWAYS had a blast. This time was a little more stressful, since I only had 24 hours to make the full 1400 mile leg that was left, but somehow, I pulled it off. I did stop to nap for 2 hours, and made it into our hospital clinic with 15 minutes to spare. My kids are still amazed by that one…. nice to be the rockstar, even though I know it will only last for a few days!

  11. You are so right, you really need to be strong in your mind, strong in your soul, strong to yourself. I just wrote about learning to be stronger to help serve others.
    Liisi Carr recently posted…Revlon Lash Potion MascaraMy Profile

  12. Be safe! Your strength is an inspiration!
    Candy recently posted…Newborn Photographer in Bucks County Baby SMy Profile

  13. You are definitely a strong mom! This crazy cross country trek wouldn’t even be imagined by a weaker mom. Rest up, you’re on the home stretch, Kim!
    Herchel S recently posted…My one word of 2014My Profile

    • I’m home! Thanks for being my cheering section Herchel! (and yes, I took a GOOD nap today, although I think it may be days before I am completely recovered)

  14. Oh my, yes our kids pay attention to everything we do & the simple things are the biggest impact. They are witnessing you digging deep and making stuff happen. They will respect you for that! Oh and this trip will always be a pleasant memory for them.

    Stay alert! and enjoy the drive with the kids.
    Pamela @ Still Dating My Spouse recently posted…10 Budget Friendly Date Night IdeasMy Profile

    • That is my goal! I hope you are right because the whole thing was NOT easy by any stretch of the imagination! We are home now, and they are still basking in the “amazingness” of the whole experience. So mission accomplished at least on that front!

  15. Love u!

    • Sometimes its hard to find the good in a bad thing, and knowing your child has any form of JA is definitely NOT a good thing…BUT getting to know people like you is definitely my silver lining. I really was inspired by YOU for this post, and our conversation the night before is what made me get up early to write it before we headed out from ABQ. The feeling is mutual!

  16. Be safe on your trip back home.
    I agree it is a strength to know your limits and to rest when you need it <3
    Savannah miller recently posted…The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Trucks Versus Wild reviewMy Profile

    • Very true. I recognized my limits about 3 am this morning when I was tired and started to encounter blowing snow. I stopped to nap for a couple hours, then drove straight into my sons’ clinic appointment at the hospital, with just 15 minutes to spare. My kids are amazed that I did it, and even more flabbergasted that I made it work. I’m going to enjoy my hero of the moment status, because I’m sure they will forget what a rockstar I was by early next week, lol.

  17. This was a great inspiring post. Thanks for sharing, I’m enjoying getting to know you better. Your strength really shines through your posts. Wishing safe travels for you all!
    Kristy Mauna recently posted…2014 Blogger Challenge: New Year’s InspirationMy Profile

    • Thanks Kristy! One of the things I LOVE about blogging is the chance to get to know and connect with other people that I may have never had the chance to “meet” otherwise. I’m so happy you are enjoying the blog, with or without a child with JA! It makes me feel like doing this IS worthwhile! Thank you for the kind words!

  18. Great post! Hit home for today as I try to stay strong in my faith for my children. Thank you for sharing and drive safely! Thanks again for these beautiful words
    Carla recently posted…Merry Humbug Christmas ReviewMy Profile

    • Carla, even though I used the driving analogy since it was what I was doing at the moment, I think the staying strong piece can be applied to each part of our lives where our kids are concerned, even our faith! I wrote this post because one of my JA friends just found out that another child in her family also was diagnosed with JA- its hard not to be overwhelmed and easy NOT to stay strong, but our kids are watching, and learning from us. Our example will teach them how to deal with ANY tough situation or adversity. Thanks for taking the time to visit.

  19. You go girl! Your right… letting our children see us do, makes then more likely to be doers in their lives. Long drives suck, but like you said, one task at a time, not the whole picture and you will get there!!
    Mindie recently posted…Homesteading is about TRYINGMy Profile

    • Mindle, that is exactly the point I was trying to make! (and boy, that drive was LOOOOONG!) It would have been overwhelming but breaking it up into smaller pieces in my head really helped. Also, another trick was looking at it as an adventure, who knew what we would see and do on the way? Thanks for stopping in!

  20. I love this analogy. We have the strength to do anything if we look at as a journey we take in small parts
    Angela Taylor recently posted…Don’t throw away those Christmas Cards!My Profile

  21. Please be safe on your trip! That’s a lot of driving. I just drove for the holidays and I totally appreciate how exhausting it can be.
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell recently posted…Getting Off to a Great Start with Team Kellogg’s!My Profile

  22. Good for you! 🙂 Drive safely.
    Becky Lyons Borgia recently posted…Homeschool Unit – Fifty States Studies with Little Passports! ReviewMy Profile


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