Monday, July 18, 2016

Praise to the Man

I thought about attempting to be objective enough to frame this post as a review, but since my husband TJ is playing the lead part in this musical, I can't.  I just can't.  I am so proud I'm about to bust all over this blog and disgust you all.  
All I can say is, if you're in St. George, or even if you can get to St. George, this is a performance you will not want to miss.  TJ's portrayal of the prophet was so spectacular it surprised even me, and I had seen a good deal of his practicing at home.  I knew his voice would be gorgeous, but I didn't know that his acting would be so convincing.  He absolutely pulls you into the story with his passion and conviction.
The script was written and directed by Jaime Young, who started Brigham's Playhouse with the vision of sharing inspiring, family friendly theater, and especially using it to share our faith.  It is heartfelt and painstakingly researched.  His direction of the play has been instrumental in helping a certified greenie on the stage give a powerful portrayal of Joseph Smith. His cast is remarkably united and committed in their performance.  Paige Allred truly did justice to Emma Smith with her beautiful voice and solid acting.  She was smart, dignified, funny, and vulnerable.  Beau Brewster's Oliver Cowdry is powerfully acted and sung. And especially notable were the beautiful voices of Ronny and Joshua Reusch, a father and son playing the parts of John Taylor and Young Joseph. 

Taylor Williams' music is very beautiful, expressive of the setting, and by turns heart-wrenchingly sad or filled with glowing joy.  The cast have an amazing deal of conviction behind them, and this especially comes through in their big group numbers.  I absolutely dare you not to cry for joy as they transform the misery of Liberty Jail into the most beautiful message of comfort scripture can offer in "Peace Unto Thy Soul."  And you will never forget "Joseph's Final Testimony."
The show runs about three hours including the intermission--something to consider carefully when you're deciding if your little ones can handle sitting still that long--but it is worth every minute of your time.  You will leave edified.

Tickets are getting snapped up, but if you can't get them for the night you want, go anyway.  They usually have some no-shows.   

Sunday, July 17, 2016

San Diego is Always a Good Idea

TJ couldn't make it to the Virgil Family Reunion because of play rehearsals, and Eliza missed it in favor of girls' camp.  But I took the other kids because I'm noble and selfless and I love them.  I think I may have gotten more out of the trip than they did!

Monica and Jared graciously opened their home to about a million cousins, aunts, and uncles.  It was so nice to be all together.  We spent a lot of time sitting around the kitchen table and talking. 

Uncle Richard sharing family stories! 

Cousin love!  Kieryn Papin, Etienne Gallacher, Elijah Gallacher, Naomi Dick, Elaina Papin

Isaiah was not a big fan of the beach,, but I coaxed a smile out of him!


We had a temple trip for the adults, and one for the youth.  It was a highlight of the trip! 

Mission Bay.  I love this picture of Jared and Isaiah rowing.  Isaiah was saying he wished his Dad could see him kayaking, and Jared had us take a picture to send TJ.  So sweet!

Sarah, Naomi and Elaina

Peter and Josephine Buck, Brayden Papin, Etienne, Timothy Dick, Elijah 

We forgot to put the kids to bed, and they crashed!

I love this bunch of people just like sisters and brothers!  Thanks, Dick Family, for taking me in as one of your own, not just for the reunion, but always.

Monica's house is such a happy place for the kids, who especially love playing the the "pet" chickens.

Up early to say goodbye to the early departures!  These three were inseparable!  

Wellbutrin Tastes like Humble Pie

I hope you like the title, because I'm pretty in love with it myself.  It doesn't match the tone of this post, though, so if you're in the mood for witty observations, I'm not your girl.  In fact, I want to take this moment to say that I'm sorry for being a little too chipper sometimes.  To be perfectly clear: I'm messed up.  What you read here is the healthiest, most positive, shining version of Kari, cheerleading her sad little heart to the finish line--and it's funny that I chose that metaphor, because I find cheerleaders annoying.  The nature of blogging is such that you see me on my best days and not my worst. The idea that anyone might think I have all the answers is too ridiculous for words, especially given the awful state I've been in lately.

Even accounting for the grief I'm still going through, which I consider a separate matter, I'm in pretty tough shape.  Anxiety, hopelessness, frustration, guilt, and deep inadequacy are my constant companions these days.  I spend a lot of time crying, avoiding, hiding, being mean, begging for forgiveness, and watching lame Youtube videos.

My therapist recommended medication, which idea I rejected out of hand.  The whole idea behind seeking counseling in the first place, was to do the cognitive work that would help me heal without the use of antidepressants.  After all, I am the cheerleader of drug-free depression here.  Please don't stop reading.  I hate what I just wrote, too.

I experienced a lot of relief when I took Zoloft about ten years ago.  After awhile, it started losing its effectiveness, and the side effects were bugging, so I went off and tried one or two other medications with no success.  Finally I sought out other options, such as light therapy and exercise, which have been huge for me.  So huge that I write about them here all the time.  But back to why I didn't like my counselor's suggestion that I start on an antidepressant while continuing my cognitive therapy--why was my goal to heal without the use of antidepressants?  Shouldn't my goal just be to heal?

So I've been digging into all my reasons for not taking an antidepressant, and finding most of them to be irrational.  I've found so much food for thought that I'm sure this post is just the first of many.  But I think one of my biggest obstacles to taking medication is my perception that it would just mask my symptoms without addressing the underlying causes of the disease.  To consider the possibility that medication may just be my very best method of treatment for the rest of my life, feels like giving up on real healing.  But here's the thing: all these years I've been trying to get to the root or cause of the depression and fix it.  It must be that my body needs more light in the winter.  It must be that I have unresolved issues from my childhood.  It must be that I need more exercise.  All these things are probably true, but years of attacking the problem from that angle have brought only limited success.  Maybe the "root" really is the chemical imbalance, and I'll be better-equipped to address peripheral attacks on my sanity if I can just get the baseline right.

I started Wellbutrin yesterday.  After all I've written here about beating depression the hard way, I feel like you deserve to be the first to know.  I believe in the easy way, too, if it can be called that.  Facing the very real stigmas still associated with antidepressants isn't easy.  The exhaustive search for the medication that will work for your body isn't easy.  Dealing with side effects isn't easy.  Really, out of all the steps I've taken to beat depression, this may end up being the hardest.  Isn't that just classic depressed thinking--I'll seek medical attention only after I've exhausted every other possible hope for healing.

So here I go, trying another option.  I really hope you find me here in a few weeks telling you how well it's working.  I remember the way the world's weight rolled off my shoulders when I started Zoloft, and I long for that relief.  I remember feeling truly myself for the first time in years: like I didn't have to fake being me anymore. I know that finding the right medication can be a journey.  In fact, from my experience and observations I may well be dealing with this illness for the rest of my life.  Oh, how I long for the permanent healing that will come when I arise to meet the Lord!  Until then, it's my job to cope and to hope.  Maybe I won't have to wait that long.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Two Cute Stories

Story #1

I signed up all five of the kids for a local children's theater production of Cinderella.  The girls would love it, and the boys, well, it would be good for them as all trials are.  As the audition date advanced, though, Ezra made it abundantly clear that he would make the experience as negative as possible if I forced him to do it.  Finally, after trying reasoning, guilt, and force, I gave up and went to the audition with the younger four.

As I anticipated, the director was profoundly disappointed that I had not brought my 13-year-old boy, a hot commodity in children's theater.  He asked if I had tried bribery, and I almost kicked myself. Three days later I bought Ezra five dollars' worth of junk food and he recorded a great audition to submit.  I threw in five more dollars' worth of junk food and he agreed to take the role of the Prince if it was offered, another line he had vowed not to cross.

Story #2

This next story isn't really about one of my kids, but a future daughter-in-law.

Our little five-year-old friend Leigh was watching her vegetarian mother cut up meat for dinner, and asked if she could help.

"No, it's gross," Dani said.

"But Mom," Leigh reasoned, "I'll have to know how to cook meat so I can make it for my husband someday."

"Maybe your husband will be a vegetarian."

"Mom.  Paul loves meat."