Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jumping In

A day turns into a week, a week turns into a month, and so on.

I've said it before. I can't seem to get all my ducks on a row at the same time. Sure, when I stay focused, I'm really productive, but there's always something left behind.  People often liken a busy life to having a full plate. The thing is, we all have different sized plates.  While some may be able to physically and mentally manage a dinner plate, others have salad plates, chargers, platters or maybe even a teacup saucer. 

I think I'm in the salad plate category with a dinner plate of stuff, and right now, there's not anything that can really change about that. So, as things are piled on the plate, the stuff at the bottom is left undone.  Sometimes the items shift, but there's always something left at the bottom. (sheesh, if I could only grasp the idea of really eating this way!)
I was really focused on staying ahead of the game through the holidays, and I did.  It was probably the smoothest year yet. That said, many things were left undone. And I got sick.  Not just a cold but really sick. (I'm pretty sure it was pneumonia, but honestly, I didn't go the the doctor. I looked it up online
-shut up- and 1. had all the symptoms of viral pneumonia and 2. set a deadline to go in if I wasn't getting better.) Keep in mind, I self diagnosed my gall bladder a couple years ago. :)

I'll even go on a tangent here. I was so out of it starting a few days before Christmas, that I lost (or rather threw away) a couple of gifts.  I ended up buying replacements, only to find 2/3 of the originals. Also, and this is the kicker, one of the gift cards I bought my brother-in-law (of 15 years), who is deathly allergic to chicken...was for Chick-fil-A. This was my thought process: Their marketing is all about pictures of cows, so...lots of beef. In my (lame) defense,  I've never eaten there before. (I did later replace the awful mistake with a Wendy's card, knowing he likes Frosty's.) But really, come on.  

Anyhow...all of this long-windedness to say, my blog was on the bottom of the pile. Back in September, I really felt God telling me to finally start publishing it. I'm still trying to figure out what that all looks like.

So for now, I figured the best way to jump back in was to jump back in. Really, sometimes it's hard to come up with 5 & 5. Often I find 7 & 2, so this is a good exercise for me to really count my blessings. (OOH! G#6 - I got to see White Christmas on the BIG screen this year. It was fantastic!!)

1. Feeling like I'm dropping the balls everywhere.

2. I've had a LOT of headaches lately. ick

3. Um...regarding #3 below, I told Dale we were going to the wrong camp. We couldn't figure out when we arrived, where everyone was. (Everyone was very gracious when we did arrive.)

4. Lame drivers still get the best of me. That's both a lament at their lameness and that I let them get to me.

5. I have to go to Costco today.


1. I've been super productive with some major things. I have and am continuing to majorly de-clutter my home.  I'm pretty good at this and thought there wouldn't be a lot, but it seems there always is more. Kathi Lipp's new book, Clutter Free had been the current impetus for this.  

2. The other productive thing is I am 95% finished with out tax prep.  The last few years I have been an April girl.

3. I'm so thankful for our Yukon.  After years with a van that broke down about every other month, having a reliable means of transportation is a gift. Also, because there are a lot of seats, we were able to offer rides from the High School Winter Camp back home. 

4. the Bullet Journal system.  It really has revolutionized my life. What I love it that everyone uses a similar bases system, but then tweaks it to their own personal use.  Plus, in a time where I don't really have any artistic outlet anymore, this is a small way to get it in. 

5. That we have money to buy groceries at Costco. (silver lining, right?)

Friday, December 05, 2014


Have you heard the song by Mary Lambert called "Secrets"?
(FYI - she does say "sh!+" in the second line)

As she lists her “secrets” she moves into the chorus and sings:

"They tell us from the time we're young
To hide the things that we don't like about ourselves
Inside ourselves
I know I'm not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I'm over it...
I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are (secrets are) 
So-o-o-o-o what"

I love it! I think it's fabulous. Whether or not her secrets apply to you, the overall message, to not let those secrets define you (or the fear from them getting out) should be freeing to us all.

Shame & blame. Conform. If, as friends we don’t accept others for their quirkiness or differences, we are saying the same thing. More than that though, are the things we feel (or are told) we need to hide to "save the family name" or to not bring "disgrace" on yourself or others.

First of all, there's nothing I can do, that would disgrace me from the love of Jesus. I could certainly make him sad from my choices, but he won't cast me aside from embarrassment. He is the ultimate in love that no one can measure up to.

We have to remember that people's actions are their own and things out of people's control should be met with sympathy and a desire to help, not to ostracize them.

On the way home from a fun trip to the mountains to saw down our Christmas tree, (why do people say “chop”? No one chops their tree from tree farms) we saw a woman driving a VW bug: a bug decorated with 60’s style, bright flower vinyl stickers...all over.  It had dangly balls at the roofline inside the car, and she had lashes on the headlights.  These were not “I drive for Lyft” lashes, but more like vinyl stickers. 

My first reaction was an audible (shaming & judging), “Wow! That’s some decoration!” and most of the people in the car agreed with me. Then I paused and thought (and then said) “Good for her. She is enjoying her car. That’s cool.”  While it may not be for me, it made me smile to think she was enjoying it how she wanted to enjoy it.  Either that or she was driving her daughter/mom/friend/brother’s car, but still willing to use it for her needs!

There are definitely things, secrets, that have held me back over the years. I’ve had some successes, particularly in the past 5 years, in letting go of them and trying not to let those things/feelings be the boss of me. Instead, when I choose to start revealing things, or telling someone, “me too!”, I am being the boss of my secrets and they start to lose their power. There are things in my family that I wouldn't tell just for the sake of telling because others continue to live in fear or shame over them. However, when those things overlap into my life experience and into who I am, I refuse to carry their shame anymore. Do I bring up painful experiences just for the heck of it? No. But I won't let their shame blame me for who I am anymore.

Of course for every 2-3 steps forward, there is a step back, into the comfortable (though unhealthy) shame, embarrassment and general low self-esteem, where hiding the secrets lies. As I continue to make more progress climbing up out of it though, I start to see more light and how things are better up with those who are living in freedom.

Jesus tells me I am enough...the way I am. That shouldn't preclude me from continuing to emulate him more, but it doesn't mean I need to wallow as a victim over things out of my control.

Are there secrets you’re holding on to? Tell them you're the boss and don't let them control you anymore.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Strike! (or It's More Than Just the Turkey)

I was lamenting on facebook about how I was thinking of going on strike again. Yes, again. I actually did once.  

At first I thought that if I stopped doing the things I did for the kids, eventually they would get the hint. (They didn't.) I stopped doing the dishes. I stopped doing their laundry. I stopped making their lunches. I even stopped asking them to clean their room.  That one in particular surprised me.  I never thought I'd do that, but I also never pictured having three boys share one room. I also never grew up around boys and didn't realize the level of mess in which they will survive. I would still make dinner, and serve my husband, but they had to set their own place. I did everything I could so that it didn't impact him.

It didn't work.  I don't know if they really got the concept, and I was freaking out inside over the mess. I don't remember exactly how it was resolved. I think I had them help me clean it up, but it certainly didn't have the impact I was hoping for.

I also realized it had a lot to do with my heart. When I get in that space, I often forget to take a step back and think about why I'm really frustrated.  Yes, it could be as simple as people not doing what they're supposed to do, and how I feel like it's disrespectful, but that's where my discipline & accountability with them should come into play. It shouldn't be throwing a fit like a pre-schooler. 

I also recognize that it comes from a selfish place.  When I'm focused on myself, I am, obviously, less thankful. 

There will always be people who seem to have it better, but there are always people who have it worse. The problem though is that I shouldn't be comparing myself in the first place.  

Once I hear God whispering (ok shouting) to me, I take a step back and I am grateful. 

I'm thankful that I live in the U.S.A. I'm thankful we have so much here. I'm thankful that I am usually warm enough (and if I'm not, I have coats, blankets or a wood burning stove that will do the trick). 

I'm thankful that I have food. Even if I'm down to slim pickings, I'm nowhere near starving. Cans of plain chickpeas and tuna sound nasty together, but it's there if I need it.

I'm thankful I have a vehicle that works. And after having a van that got to the point of breaking every other month, I'm thankful this one runs, has heat, a/c (since currently I need both in one day) and working windows. 

I'm thankful for my dog. She has been such a lovely addition in our home and I know she has helped with my depression.

I'm thankful for medication. As much as I also loathe it and don't like how it makes me feel, I'm thankful I have the choice to use it, and that it keeps me stable to have healthy, balanced relationships.

I'm thankful for my friends. The ones who walk closely through life with me and are the family I've chosen, and the ones I see here and there. The ones I see in person, and then ones I see online.  The ones I've had for decades, and the ones I've made this year. And the ones that make me laugh.

I'm thankful for my family. So many people come to this country and leave their family behind. Others move to other states for jobs. I have family within 10 miles at the farthest. My kids have grown up having relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

I'm thankful for my core family of 6. They make me crazy frustrated, bring me to tears and feel anger and sadness I never knew I could feel. (And which goes both ways, I'm aware!) But oh how sweet life is with them. It's richer than I could have ever known. They make me laugh with humor similar and different than mine. They teach me, forgive me and love me. They love each other and seeing that brings the good tears. They bring me joy I never knew I could feel.

I'm thankful for my husband. Though he is definitely part of my core family, he is my partner in life, my best friend and my true love. He shows me daily he loves me in all sorts of ways. He is an example to me, our kids and anyone he's around how a man of integrity conducts himself. 

I'm thankful I have the freedom to say I love Jesus without fear of prison or abuse. I'm thankful Jesus loved me first and picked me. I'm thankful he picks us all. 

It's an endless list and though I love using sarcasm, it is most definitely filtered (usually) through a sieve of a grateful heart.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, pausing to reflect on some of the things you have to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This is from about a year ago.  Thankfully I'm not quite in that space, but dealing with a new medication and the weather/light change has me a bit "off".

What Not to do When You're Fighting Depression

Block out the natural light.
Make snarky Facebook comments
Make Facebook posts about depression.
Go on Facebook
Watch a movie about the Holocaust.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Make 'Em Laugh (then Bring Tissue and Chocolate)

Maybe there was more to Red Skelton's sad clown paintings than just paintings of sad clowns.  My grandfather liked his paintings and I never understood why.  Why would a clown be so sad? I get it now though.  It seems that the ones who make us laugh the hardest, are often those who are most afflicted. In this case, with depression.

I watched a video clip yesterday of an interview with Wayne Brady. His has a lightning quick wit that makes me laugh out loud as one of the stars on Whose Line Is It Anyway.  He also is the host of Let's Make A Deal.  In the interview, he opened up about his struggle with depression. 

He has also shared how Robin Williams' death prompted him to open up.

We have to keep talking about this.  We have to keep breaking the cycle of shame and silence.  I think it's even more impactful that he is talking about this as a man.  

Postpartum depression, in my opinion, has become a little more accepted. I still think most people don't understand that even postpartum depression is not the same as the "baby blues", but still...it's something. It's a beginning. It seems like even the pharmaceutical commercials for antidepressants are targeted towards women. It must put another layer of pressure on men who are depressed.  

Wayne Brady's transparency in this area helps show everyone, including men who are suffering, that depression has no boundaries. No one is off limits.

Depression is a big fat lying predator. 

Ongoing depression is less understood by outsiders.  If you've lived with someone who is clinically depressed, I think maybe you have a better understanding than the general public, but no one can truly understand it unless they have also been affected.
While I'm sad for him that he fights this crappy fight, it's nice to know there's another one in the army, willing so speak up. Or maybe just to hang out in the dark room with the rest of us.