Sunday, March 20, 2016

I'm not going to lie, this week was harder, and next week looks even worse.  But Thursday was a bright spot for me.

I went to yoga for the first time this year.  The New Years' Resolutioners clogging up the yoga room for the first couple months of every year make it way less fun, so I stayed away completely until this week.  I was surprised by how much peace and relief I got from practicing again.  I wasn't aware of how much my body and mind missed yoga.

Thursday nights TJ and I go to sing with the St. George Chamber Singers.  Usually rehearsals are fun, but we're getting closer to our concert date and the pieces are really starting to come together. Chamber music feels like heaven when it's done right, and we did a lot right this week.  Very healing and soothing to my soul.

Several loving friends have reached out this week with love and prayers.  Thank you so much.

Monday, March 14, 2016

I try to make this a whine-free zone, but today I just need to share where I'm at.

My depression has gone from manageable to unmanageable.  My tricks and hacks and boosts are not getting me above water anymore.  My eyelids are swollen from crying all the time.  I can't sleep.  I can't focus.

I'm going in to see a good therapist sometime soon, to help me manage grief over my recent loss and the attending feelings of stress, anger, and despair.  It feels like a step back, since I felt I graduated from therapy about ten years ago, having sorted out all my negative patterns and beliefs.  And I'm not excited about the work ahead.  Cognitive therapy is a lot like physical therapy after a traumatic injury.  You have to go through a lot of extra pain to ensure proper and permanent healing.

But I know it's a step forward.  I choose healing and hope.  I choose not to hide my condition and let it fester.  I have learned from experience that pain, like Lanston Hughes' "dream deferred," can be a dangerous thing:

What happens to a dream deferred? 
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load
or does it explode?
If you can spare a moment, please pray for me and my loved ones.  And let me know when I can return the favor.  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Photo Dump from TJ's Phone

Prince Charming to the Rescue

Last week the was the Relief Society UnBirthday party, which we did Mad Hatter style.  It was a lot of work, and a lot of fun.  Ladies from the ward let me use their tea things, their chinese lanterns, their hats, and even decorations right off their shelves.  It gave me a chance to work with and get to know them in a way I have never done in my almost six years in this ward.  I love them!

That's my mom on the right, who came by special invitation.  It was so great to have here there, as well as TJ's mom, who happened to visiting from out of town. 

TJ's dad came with a special gift for the kids: a handcrafted set of blocks, complete with semi truck and an angel Moroni, just in case they wanted to build a temple.  And guess what?  They did!

 Isaiah dared Grandpa to eat the WHOLE pepper, and when he did, gave him a very special prize: his watermelon-eating contest medal from last summer.  Grandpa, sensing the honor, told him he'd wear it for the day and then return the treasure.  

TJ's parents are retiring and finally moving back to St. George after a too long absence.  Since they seriously considered every town where they have kids, we feel pretty lucky.  They are wonderful people who don't even read this blog, so you know I'm not just trying to butter them up.   :)  I'm so glad we'll have them closer.  And TJ's so glad we'll have their tools closer: TJ's dad is bringing all his tools with him, and paid for TJ to expand our tool shed to make a real workshop in the backyard.  TJ has been working on it like crazy for the past two months, and Dad did quite a bit on it while he was here.  Still not done, but we're getting close! 

At the end of all this madness my brains were fried. So this week TJ took the kids camping for two nights and left me here all by my lonesome.  I got them all packed up, cleaned the house, did some shopping, and made sure I had a good book to read.  Then I sent a text to Georgia:

I willed myself to obey her, kissed them all goodbye, and had myself a fabulous time:

I ate macaroni and cheese for dinner, full of the gluten that is poison to my kids.
I made brownies (see above) and delivered some of them around the ward so that I wouldn't singlehandedly consume all 50,000 calories in two days.
I went to an alto sectional and ate more brownies.
I read Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
I had pancakes with Georgia's awesome buttermilk syrup.
I organized my sewing desk and the craft closet, both of which have been bugging me for weeks.
I folded a little laundry while listening to Radiolab and Ask Me Another.
I went for a my first bike ride of the year.
I stopped and helped a friend with landscaping (see!  I'm not totally selfish!)
I did my roots while watching Fever Pitch on Vidangel. 
I took a long, hot shower and ate Top Ramen and more brownies.
I watched another movie (too embarrassing to mention.)  Okay, I'll tell you.  It was Mean Girls (also edited.)
I got decent clothes on and went on a motorcycle ride with my brother.
I went out for pizza with friends.
I read some more.
I ate Captain Crunch and sausage.  And more brownies
I worked on the budget.  

All in absolute silence.  TJ is my Prince Charming and I will love him forever and ever.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Blogging my Way Whole

Guys!  My blog just topped 10,000 views, most of them in the past year!

Some of you big-time bloggers out there will laugh, but I need you to keep in mind that I'm not a big-time blogger.  A year ago I was lucky to get one or two views per month.

I felt inspired to take my blog public so that I could use it to share my testimony and my experiences. I would still blog about my family and my faith, but I started to be more open about my struggle with depression. I wanted to liberate others to talk about the battles they fight and I wanted to give them support and hopefully some practical advice.

Mostly I wanted to give credit where it's due.  My Heavenly Father has helped me to rise above my disease in very real ways in the past ten years, and I wanted to share that wonder and that hope.  I just didn't know it was part of his plan to use this blog to help me yet again.

I began by writing about how my faith and my depression coexist in He Gives Me Hope.  I was blown away that people liked what they read and wanted to share it.  It gave me so much joy that my miserable experiences could be turned into blessings for others.  I kept writing.

Surprisingly, opening up about my condition has really alleviated my symptoms.  I think this is because this blog has been an opportunity for me to serve and also to create.

In October 2008, I found myself lucky enough to be present in the conference center in Salt Lake City for the Women's Session of General Conference.  I will never forget the power of Dieter F. Uchtdorf's message, "Happiness, Your Heritage." He taught sisters that we will have greater joy if we strive to serve every day and create every day.

"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.  No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before... 
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment.  We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty... 
You may think you don't have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us.  The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before--colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter."

Okay, I'm in danger of quoting the whole talk right here, so I'll stop.  But the powerful impression Elder Uchtdorf left upon me that day paved the way for this blog.  And this blog has paved the way for deep joy for me.

Journaling is one of the most commonly recommended practices for healing and mental health, but writing a private journal has never been a joyful process for me.  My private journal entries are dull and unpolished.  But knowing that loved ones and even strangers are reading this blog impels me to think more critically, to tap into my creative self, and especially to do the work to get my real personality onto the page.  It is a joy to craft a funny phrase or record a great story in the hope that it can make someone smile.

The joy of creative writing has been the hook that motivated me to write about my experiences.  And writing about my experiences has brought me great peace and healing.  I have felt the Spirit testify to me of my divine worth, of my Father in Heaven's love for me, and of the sanctity of my life.  I have felt gratitude for the struggles that have humbled me and made me seek out my Savior.  And as I have revisited painful memories with the lens of faith, I have been able to see that He never deserted me. That is healing.  And it could not have happened without you, my friends.

My lonely road is now packed with fellow travelers, arms linked together.  Acquaintances who've read the things of my heart have in turn shared the things of their hearts, and now we are acquaintances no longer--we are sisters.  You are the greatest gift this blog has given me.  Thanks for bringing me hope, healing and joy by being a part of this journey.

To celebrate the blessing this blog has been in my life and hopefully in yours, I've added a couple of gadgets to the left.  Check out my most popular posts, and some of the ones that are popular in my own brain.  ;)  And don't forget to share, it seriously makes my day.