Monday, December 30, 2013

Day 65: Dichotomy


So, things got really frustrating and difficult to explain or express.  Just when I thought I was figuring all of this out, the rug got pulled right out from under me.  And I just kind of tucked in like a turtle.

I'm not usually a fan of Rihanna, but this song has really struck a chord with me lately (Don't watch the official video--it's kinda freaky).  I've spent a lot of time feeling exactly that.  And wondering, "what now?"  And feeling like this whole battle is too much.  That I'll never have the energy to keep fighting it.

But, I know where that path leads.  Because I'm really good at heading down it.

So, I've been trying to hang onto my faith this time and let that guide me through.  A challenge for someone like me who really wants (needs) to have control over everything.  And a plan for the rest of forever.  And everything worked out.  Preferably neatly.

But, I know that is what I need.  Faith.  And faith begets hope.  "Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope."

And I've just been oscillating between those two states of mind.

I suppose I'm strong enough to eventually stick to the faithful state.

But, the Adrenal Fatigue makes me so tired.  It sometimes feels all but impossible to get out of bed in the morning.  So, finding the strength to change old habits and to NOT choose the path of least resistance... well, that's hard.

But, I can do hard things, right?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 64: Hugs and Shnuggles!!!

I reunited with my babies today! (We got home around midnight last night, so I only got to pick in on them and kiss their sleeping cheeks.)

It was so so so fantastic!

They had such a great time with HH's mom.  I can't express how grateful I am that she came out to take care of them.  It made our trip all the better knowing that they were being loved on and well-taken care of.

My only regret is that HH and I hardly got to spend any time with her.  She flew out this afternoon. :(

Tonight we showed the kids all of the photos and told them about each day of our trip.  It was really fun to share that with them.  And they loved it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Day 63: Bucket List

See the Florida Everglades.


Hold a baby gator.


It was a beautiful and amazing experience.

And then we flew home.

And I'm going to sleep in my own bed.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Day 62: Final Days

Today was our last day at sea.  It was a nice, relaxed day.  Spent trying to make sure we did all of the things we wanted to, but hadn't yet made time for.

Like get a picture of this over-sized chess set.  For our chess-playing kids.

It was a great day.

But, I'm kind of ready to go home.

I miss my babies.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Day 61: What A Difference Anti-Fog Stuff Makes

Today was spent in Grand Turk.  With this sexy man.  On this beautiful beach.  In this gorgeous ocean.

We decided to snorkel out to the coral reef.

See where the water turns from turquoise to dark blue?  That's where the reef was.  It was a little bit of a hike.  Well, the swim version of a hike.

Everyone kept telling us there weren't any fish to be seen and that the water was too murky.

We went anyway.

My mask kept fogging the whole way.  I agreed with those who went before--the water was very murky.  I kept rolling onto my back to try and fix my mask, but in the process always took in quite a bit of salty ocean water, got the mask tangled in my hair and lost plenty of it in the process, and got the goggles back on only to discover they were still completely fogged over.  Which I could only tell in the brief moment I could open my eyes before the salt-water-induced burning made it too painful.

So, it was an awesome trek for me!

HH kept finding all of these sand dollars.  I couldn't figure out how he was seeing them because I didn't realize just how much my fogged mask was inhibiting my view.

And, we actually turned back probably a few yards shy of the reef.  We weren't positive it was out there, and the view under water was so murky for me as we ventured into deeper water, that I got a little freaked out.

So, we headed back to shore and I tried to warm up.

Then this guy came over and told us that he'd heard that the most amazing snorkeling was happening out at that reef--reassuring us it was indeed there.

So, we headed back out.

But, first I checked in at the rental desk to complain about my goggles.  He sprayed some stuff in them.

We went back out.

It was a totally different experience.  With fish.  And a sandy ocean bottom.  And sand dollars galore.  A fairly disappointing reef.  And a sea turtle on the way back.

It was seriously so great.  And so fun.  And even better because I got to share the experience with my HH.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day 60: Fancy Pants

We went to San Juan, Puerto Rico today.  We were both pretty tired, so we maybe didn't get the most out of our visit.  But, it was fun and the weather was beautiful.

And then we had another fancy dinner tonight.

Would have been better if we didn't eat lunch at 6:30.

But, when you're eating four meals a day, these things happen.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 59: Photos Un-Taken

Pulling into port at St. Thomas.  It was so beautiful!!!

We did this sweet excursion kayaking, hiking (using that term loosely), and then snorkeling.  The saddest part was that we had to leave HH's iphone behind, since the advertised dry bag was not actually available.

So, no pictures--besides those taken with my mind.

It was beautiful and fun and fabulous!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 58: Motion Sickness

Turns out, I get that.

Fortunately, a whole lot of Dramamine-induced sleep + one expertly made fresh ginger drink + a priesthood blessing from my HH = A much appreciated cure.

Enabling us to enjoy a WINDY round of mini golf on the top deck.  I was totally winning on the side where the wind blew my hair out of my face.  I lost once we turned and golfed on the side where the wind blew my hair all over my face.

The first side was a lot more fun.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Day 57: Bahamas!

This beach was so amazing and beautiful, our kind photographer couldn't even see straight.

We also took a fun (at times, harrowing) drive with a local guide to take in the sights of the main city, Paradise Island, and the City of Atlantis!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Day 56: Welcome To Miami

It was -3 when we left home.

Adding a good 80 degrees has been indescribably fabulous!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Day 55: Toes In The Sand

I forgot to mention yesterday that I also got diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue.  Those of you who have been reading this blog since its inception might remember that I had that back when Little M was a baby.

So, yesterday was made a little more crazy with that news.

In a way, it's good news.  It explains why my workouts feeling like they're getting harder and my running is getting slower.  And why I just want to crawl back into bed when I'm done.  And all throughout the day.

But, it's not so good news when it comes to my exercise addiction.  I get loads of anxiety every time I think about "taking it easy" and "lowering my intensity" as I was instructed.

But, I was praying for help in getting my addiction back in remission.  So, this is probably the only way the Lord knew how to make me.

And it's good timing.  HH and I leave for a cruise tomorrow morning.

Just what the doctor ordered!  (And I probably won't be posting for a week. :))

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 54: Speaking of Chaos

Did I mention that I've had about a million lab test run over the past few weeks?  The results are finally all in.  And it turns out that I've got a lot of wonky levels of all sorts of things in my system--from amino acids to hormones.

Fortunately, most of my physical symptoms are explainable now.  And fixable.

So, once all of my prescriptions and supplements come in, I will be taking over 20 pills a day.  Figuring out how to space those out so they don't interfere with each other has been quite the adventure.

And, we can make order from chaos--right?

So, I'm hopeful that within a few months, my levels will be normal again and I will be feeling much better.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day 53: Hap-Happiest Season Of All

Last night we decorated the tree.

She took a break from the festivities to read about Rudolph.  Love how comfy she looks.  What's better than a tree for a backrest?

The rest of it was chaos, as it always is.  We have way too many ornaments for it to be anything else.  But, as is so often the case, we managed to find the fun amidst the chaos.

It's tradition, after all.

And I know there will be a day when the chaos-makers will be grown up and gone and I will miss the madness.

So, I'm choosing to love it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Day 52: I Get Along With The Voices Inside Of My Head

I hope today's title doesn't offend anyone.

It's just kind of the way I'm choosing to face reality with a touch of humor right now.

And I think my reality has recently opened up to include a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder.  Which is a big deal for me.  A month ago I would have fought such a diagnosis with every fiber of my being.  For whatever reason, depression was okay.  But, Bipolar?  Not me.

Because... what?  I'm too good for something with a stigma like that?  Mostly, just because it scared me.  How could I live with something like that?  What would that mean for me?  For those around me?

The funny thing is, I'm basically coming out with that diagnosis on my own now.

Let me 'splain.

Several years ago, a therapist suggested I might have Bipolar Disorder because I had some anger issues.  Unfortunately, she didn't explain to me that there are different types of BP.  All I knew was Bipolar I, and I was confident I didn't fit that.  So, I got mad at her (not to her face) and never went back.

But, while I was doing the program at the hospital, they showed us a movie about a variety of mental illnesses.  One being BP I and II.  And this little tiny voice in the back of my head said, "Maybe that fits."  Tiny because I didn't want to risk getting mad at myself, right?

So, I mulled that over for a week or so.  I got more information on it.  And the more I learned, the more I knew it fit.

And suddenly, so many things made sense!

Like, why I haven't responded well to typical antidepressants, but why I am responding well to a mood stabilizer.  And why I can get over my depressed periods relatively quickly (most of the time), but why I always sink back in.  And why, sometimes, I get overly talkative and excited when I'm out with my friends and then I can't sleep when I come home.  And why sometimes I'm just so irritable and angry.  And the way this has all progressed over the years.

And then, this diagnosis that would have terrified me just a short period ago became this welcome relief.  The last decade of my life is no longer inexplicable.

But, more importantly, I know how to treat, deal, and cope with it.

So, I went to a therapy appointment a couple weeks ago and got brave enough to blurt out a quick, "I think maybe I have Bipolar II".

And, it was like the flood gates had opened.

I'm pretty sure he's suspected BPII for a while now, but he didn't want to make me angry.  He's done that before.  He knows how stubborn I am.  And I'm pretty sure he knew it wouldn't have done any good to mention it to me.  Before I brought it up on my own, that is.

So, he explained more about it to me and how he thought it fit my history and that, in a recent conversation he'd had with my nurse practitioner (who is treating my psychiatric needs) (so fun having all of my doctors consulting with each other about me--but, not really), she asked a lot of questions that made it seem to him that she suspected BP, as well.

I talked things over with HH.  I helped him get more informed as well.  And I told him that once I got the official diagnosis, I was going to go public about it.  I'm done being afraid of stigma.  And I'm done worrying about what other people will think and letting that rule my life.  And he has been so supportive.

No surprise there.

Fast forward to my next appointment with my APRN.  I brought BPII up with her, after she reviewed some genetic testing results that came back saying I have a marker that is correlated with BP.  I expected her to confirm my self-diagnosis.

Instead she told me that she avoids "labeling" like that, for fear that I would then "become the illness".  She just wanted us to be aware of the possibility and move forward.

But, I'm not really good with that.

I understand where she is coming from.  And maybe at a different place in my life, that would be exactly what I need.

But, not here.  Not now.

I am embracing this.  Because with it, my life makes sense.  I make sense.  And I know what to do.  I know that I need medication.  Probably forever.  I know that I need therapy.  Probably forever.

And now, finally, I get it.  The necessity of those things in my life aren't a sign of weakness or failure.  Shouldn't be a source of guilt.  Aren't evidence that I'm just not strong enough.

They are the treatment I need to be well.

That is all.

And it has brought me so much peace.

The proof is in the striped sweater:

I did my best to avoid photos during the horrible month of October.  But, this is pretty much what I look like in all of them.  I just couldn't muster a smile.

This was me on Thanksgiving.

I don't know about you, but I think I kind of look like two entirely different people.

I still have my struggles.  Every day is a continuing challenge.  But, I'm doing infinitely better now that I'm at peace with myself.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day 51: Malleable

I had another therapy appointment this morning.

As is pretty much always the case, I told him what's been going on lately, what I've been thinking about, what's troubling me, etc.  And then he asks questions.  I answer him there, of course, but then I leave his office and I really process everything we talked about and things start to fall into place.

Unfortunately for you, I'm struggling to make today's "aha moment" coherent, which is a part of why I'm typing this post--in the hopes it will help me to sort things out.

So, this morning, among other topics, I shared with him the thought and feelings expressed in my recent post.  About being that misfit puzzle piece.

And here's what came together in my mind during my conversation with him, and as I've mulled it over in my brain since--I was wrong.  We are not puzzle pieces.

Because puzzle pieces are fixed.  They don't get to change shape, or adapt in any way.  And people aren't like that.

People are malleable.

So, there goes my metaphor.

But, that's okay.  Because the part I'm figuring out leaves more room for hope and optimism.  So, here goes:

A big part of my problem has been this issue of trying to be perfect, in part to gain acceptance and approval of everyone around me.  But, since I never gave either of those things to myself, I couldn't accept that anyone else would either.  Not if they really knew me.  So, I discounted everyone who seemed to like me and think I was great.  Which makes it easy to see why I've felt like an outsider for so long.

Then, everything blew up and I realized that I had to make total and complete changes in my life in order to find a way to live with my mental illness.

And I think I've just over-corrected my behavior.  Now, instead of needing everyone's approval, I've disconnected from everyone.  I think I feel distant from everyone because I don't know how to relate to others without seeking for their approval.  And I don't want to fall back into that mindset.

There's so much of the superficial in our day-to-day conversations.  And I'm really good at faking through all of that and pretending like I'm fine and everything is perfect.  And I'm afraid of that, too.

So, it's just easier to avoid almost everyone.  Besides a very select few who I believe to be 100% genuine.  Down to earth and honest.  People who don't make apologies or excuses for who they are and don't expect me to be anyone other than myself either.

It's been interesting to me to see how I've been drawn to these people over the past couple of weeks without being consciously aware of why at the time.  Because they aren't the people I usually gravitate to.  But, if they've been surprised, they haven't expressed it.  They've just been kind and accepting.

I'm so grateful and glad for people like that.

I hope to someday be that comfortable with who I am and with who others are that I can be that way too.

And that is the point in all of this.  I think.  Because, as I grow more comfortable with who I am--the right way--not the "trying to be perfect" way--I can also grow more comfortable with who those around me are and to give permission to myself and to them to just be.

And, I think, I won't need the external approval because having my approval and that of my Father in Heaven is enough.

I know that's all part of the process.  And that is something that most, if not all, of us are working on--mental illness or not.

And here is how we all fit together.  Not like puzzle pieces at all.  But building on and supporting one another as we go and as we grow.  These kids (and HH) took many many attempts at building this pyramid.  They had to try different strategies and strengthen weak spots, and every time they fell down, they got back up and tried again.

And you know what--they never really succeeded in getting everyone in that pyramid.  But they tried.  And they all had a good time.  And I think that even those who didn't quite make it to the top, still felt included and a part of the team (of course, they were the youngest and not really sure of what was going on... but, I don't know how to make that aspect applicable. :)).

So, it's going to take time to correct my "over-correction" and find that happy medium.  But, I will.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 50: In Memory

I'm back from my grandma's funeral service.

It was nice.  And I didn't even get crazy nervous or stressed over having to lead the music and sing in part of a trio.

Progress is being made here, Folks.

And this happened.

She will not remember my grandfather.  But, now we will have this tender moment captured forever, so she will know he that he knew her and loved her.

It was a really good weekend, for the most part.  I had a nice time seeing almost all of my family.  As always, it reminded me how much we miss out on by living so far away.  But, I'm so grateful we had the chance to be together.  And really, we spent a remarkable amount of time together, given how short the time was.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 49: Puzzle Pieces

Sweet P picked this dandelion for me years ago, when we lived in New England.  I've always liked this picture.

And I didn't have any pictures of a puzzle.

But, that title is applicable tonight in a couple ways.

The first is kind of a positive.  It's like all of these different pieces of my health are starting to come together and form a better picture.  Things that I've suspected for years are being explained and/or confirmed.  I've had 10 vials of blood drawn in the last week.  And a urine sample and a saliva sample. And one other unmentionable.

The results are starting to come in.  It's interesting at the very least.  And enlightening, more often than not.

I'm still not entirely sure what it all means, or how to take care of all of it.  But, I'm now taking so many pills (prescription, vitamin, and supplements) each day that I have to get a pill organizer that has a spot for morning, noon, and night for each day of the week.

I didn't expect to need that for another 50 years, or so.

Still, hopefully, I'll be feeling better physically and mentally soon.

The second application is with me being the puzzle piece.  Trying to find my place in the puzzle around me.

I've spent a lot of my life feeling like I'm a bit on the outside looking in.  Which may sound strange to those who know me.  I've always had a lot of friends.  But, I always keep them at arms length.  Sometimes I think that it's me controlling that, sometimes I think it's just because no one knows how to relate to me.  Or maybe, I don't know how to relate to them.

Because I don't fit into that puzzle.

I used to think that I just didn't really fit anywhere.

But then, I started that program at the hospital.  And I learned that I do fit.  Just not in the box I've been placed in.  Turns out I fit in with the misfits.  I connected with some of the people in the program better than others, but I related to all of them.  And they to me, as far as I could tell.  They understood things that those closest to me still don't seem to.  Not for lack of trying on the part of my loved ones.  Just because there are things you can't understand if you haven't lived them.

And even though it was really hard, that part of the program, at least, was a huge consolation and relief.  I'm not as crazy as I thought.  And even on the hard days, being around people like that really helped.

But now, I'm back in the box with all of the pieces that seem to fit so well together with each other--but not me.  "Normal" people.  People who care about me, but now I'm all the more aware of how different we are.  I feel like they aren't really sure what to do with me now.  How to talk to me, or even be around me.

And I feel lost.  And alone.  Like all of the puzzle pieces around me have been put together and I'm that last, misplaced piece, sitting alone in the box.  Things are supposed to be getting better.  So many people made all of this effort to help me.  And we changed so many things.

But, this week has still been a rough one.  I still believe things will get better, but I wish it wasn't taking so long.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 48: Moments Revived

I'm actually just posting a Joyful Moment today.

And you're going to be really surprised, but

it's brought to you by this little angel.

We headed to the chiropractor this morning for some much needed work on my back.  She insisted on being picked up so she could lay tummy-to-tummy, chest-to-chest with me while I was on the table.  And it was so sweet to just snuggle with her.  Even with her fluffy ponytail in my face.

She kept looking up at me and giggling.  It was so cute.  And precious.  And what I needed.

I love my babies.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 47: Wrong Roads

This video is the reason I referred to different roads in my previous post.  I came across it the precise moment that I was both ready to hear its message and still in need of it.  I love Elder Holland.  His words so often feel as though they are directed straight at me.

I keep thinking I'll be back to regular posting, but life continues to get in the way.  Hopefully soon!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

DAy 46: I Am In Process

That's one of the affirmations I'm supposed to repeat to myself 2-5 times a day.

There's a part of me that cringes for multiple reasons at the very thought of it.

But, it's all a part of this new road I'm traveling down.

I love this picture.  It makes me happy in so many ways.  I love the way the back of her hair is a curly mess.  I love how tiny she looks next to HH.  I love that they are cooking together.  I love that she thinks she's big enough to sit on a bar stool.  I love my family.

That is a truth that's become permanently etched into my soul over the past few weeks.

Ah... there's so much.

People keep asking how I'm doing.  I don't really know how to answer that.

I mean, I'm fine.  I went through the darkest period of my life (please tell me it won't ever get darker than that--more challenging or difficult, fine, but not ever so bleak and hopeless, please) and I've come out the other side.  So, I'm fine.

But, the memory of it still vividly there.  There are wounds that haven't fully healed.  So, I'm scared.  And I'm hurting.  And so afraid of losing it all again and sliding right back down in it.

Because a few times I've started back down that slope.  In a relatively short period, I've gotten much stronger in some areas.  But, in others, I still have little to no resiliency against my triggers.  Like a woman at a group meeting I attended said, "It's one step forward, 10 steps back."  So, I'm discouraged and disappointed.

And I've gotten so behind in life.  The world doesn't have a pause button for when you spend your days in the hospital.  And I have this massive binder I need to read full of information and coping techniques and positive thoughts and safety plans and emergency plans we compiled during my time there.  So, I'm really overwhelmed.

I'm finally accepting that I have to make some really drastic changes in my life and my self.  I wanted, through therapy, to be able to stay the way I was (a guilt-ridden, self-loathing, egocentric perfectionist), but somehow be happy.  Because change is scary.  And I'm a little bit stubborn.  But, it is undoubtedly apparent to me that I can no longer continue down that road.  I have to take a different path.  And I can see that that path will take me closer to peace, happiness, and the person that I want to be.  So, I'm feeling really optimistic.

The nice thing about taking the wrong road for 10 years is that I know all about where to not go and what to not do.

But, I don't know much at all about this new road.  I don't know how to be that new person.  I feel really different about a lot of things.  A lot of things about myself.  Things I once believed to be quite fundamental about who I am.  So, I'm scared, confused, overwhelmed, and a little liberated all at once.

But, you never get directly from A to B.  So, I'm going to follow this road, just one step at a time.  Putting my trust in those closest to me that they will keep me safe and help me figure this out.

Anyway, I have yet to figure out how to sum all of that in one concise reply.  So, I usually just tell people, "I'm doing better."  Because, most of the time, that's true at least.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 45: Rebuilding

My favorite memories with my grandma are watching her hold my babies.  That was the happiest and most content I ever saw her.  I'm so happy that I have photos of her holding each of them.  Most of them with my babies asleep--she just has the touch.  I just found out that she passed away this morning.  It was not unexpected, but it is still a loss.

That is not what I intended to post about today, however.

I wanted to write down an epiphany I had on my run this morning.

Over the summer a home in a neighborhood not far from us burned down.  It's a nice neighborhood and the home was quite large and nice.  Today, now that it is light during my runs again thanks to Daylight Savings ending, I saw that they are rebuilding.

Even though I hadn't really thought about the home as I ran past it in the dark, seeing it now, with the walls up, I wondered why they hadn't made more progress on it yet.  I thought about the process that entails.  Initially, I thought about my own home and all of the things about our house that bother us.  Some a great deal, and some not as much.  And I thought about the opportunity this family now has to go begin again and fix, or change the things they didn't like about their house previously.  They can make their house even more beautiful and wonderful than it was before.

Then I thought about the unimaginable loss that I am sure accompanies a fire.  Things like old photos, letters, and baby blankets.  And more than I can even imagine, I'm sure.  Things that no amount of money or time can ever replace.  And the heartbreak and devastation that must bring.  In addition, the items that can be replaced, but not without a lot of effort and headache--like birth certificates and dishes.

As I continued thinking about it, I thought how fortunate that the foundation is made of stronger stuff.  Something that cannot burn down.  So, at least they have something strong to re-build from.  And how much they will enjoy their beautiful home when it is finished--even though that may take some time.

All the while, I found myself relating to this home quite a bit.

I feel as though something has come through and ravaged the very essence of me.  Like I've been completely gutted.  And if homes had feelings, I'm sure that home would have felt so lost and empty once the flames were put out and it discovered how very little was left.  And that much of what was left was too damaged to be used.  And so they knocked it all down.

That is how I feel.

I think about all of the things that my depression destroyed along its path of devastation.  All of the days with HH and my children lost to my anger or complete despair, or both.  Days that I might have spent building sweet memories, but instead isolated away from those I love.  People I've hurt.  Relationships that I've simply let go rather than put in the time and effort to nurture, or repair.  My confidence.  My self-worth.  And, almost, my ability to love or be loved.

So much is gone that I feel I will never get back.

But, I then I remembered that foundation.  In just the past couple of days, as I've been spending some pretty intense time digging through the ashes these last two weeks, I think I discovered my foundation.  I thought that had been lost completely, along with the rest of me.  But, it's still there.  And miraculously, it has been stronger than all of the devastation depression has brought with it.

Because that foundation is love.  And I do believe that love conquereth all.

The love I have for my family.  And the love they have for me.  And, even though I've distanced myself from it quite a bit, the love of my Father in Heaven.  Which is truly there unconditionally, even if I don't allow myself to feel it.

And so, I can begin the process of rebuilding.

And it terrifies me.

But, I'm trying to focus on the opportunity I have.  To fix those flaws and weaknesses that I had before.  Not to be perfect because that's what started the fire in the first place.  But, to find peace and contentment.  To become a stronger person.  To stand tall again.  To leave behind the ashes and to become something of beauty.  And to let that foundational love grow until it permeates every bit of who I am.  So it can never burn down again.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 44: Bearing All

Aren't we adorable?


I've been fighting this post.

But, it is insisting on being written.  And posted.

So, here goes.

The last few months have been kind of rough.  Actually, I think the downhill slide began sometime in the summer.  But, that's not really important here.  Just that there was this gradual decline going on.  There were some ups, but not enough to get me back on top.

And then, October hit.  And hit hard.  And I found myself at rock bottom.

A place I'm fairly familiar with.

But, usually, I'm only there for a day or two and then I start to climb out again.

This time, I didn't.  I'm not entirely sure why.  I just didn't.  I stayed.  And it has been miserable.  Beyond miserable.  I've felt so completely and irreparably broken.  And completely lost as to how to ever become whole again.

And so devastatingly hopeless.

And I think that says enough without going into the full nitty gritty.

Finally (after several appointments in a very short period of time), my therapist met with me and HH and told me we had to change what we were doing.  Because what we were doing clearly wasn't working.

Sometimes, I think I like change.

But, I really don't.  I hate it.  It challenges me and complicates my routine.  And it can terrify me.

So, I was dismissive of all of his options for me.

I just wanted to be fixed.

I didn't want to have to do anything hard.  Isn't trying to cope with depression hard enough?  And I didn't want to do anything scary.

But somehow, in a brief period of mental lapse, I agreed to this "partial hospitalization program".


I (HH really) worked out all of the details and got everything set up for me to go (mainly just getting all kinds of help from my friends in watching my kids every day).  And then the mental lapse ended and I totally (TOTALLY) freaked out.  I might have had a hyperventilation episode in the shower.

I saw so many conflicts and complications.  And was overwhelmed with guilt about having my friends watch my kids.  And abandoning my kids every day.

And I was so so so very scared.

But, I was even more scared of what might happen if I didn't follow my therapist's counsel and change something.  So, last Monday I entered the program.

I'll be honest.  It's been really hard.  That first day was so upsetting and scary.  I think I said a total of two words the whole day.

But gradually, as the week wore on, things started to feel better.  I started to feel hope again.  Which was huge.  I called HH on my way home one day and he said, "You sound like you again!"  And a couple of friends have commented that I look like myself again.  And today even my psychiatrist (who has only met me twice) said I look better.

I hadn't realized that my voice and appearance had changed.  But, it's encouraging to hear that I'm getting back to me.

Even though it's only been a short time, it's been an up and down road.  This weekend I had two pretty big set backs over relatively little offenses.  So, I'm pretty sure I still have a long way to go.

But, I think the main thing is that I am going.  I'm making my way up that road.  It's taking me to some really painful places that hurt.  But, I'm learning a lot.  And accepting things.

I always thought it would be really depressing to attend group therapy.  I mean, a whole group of depressed people?  Yuck!

But, it's been quite the opposite.  It's so very freeing to be able to discuss my deepest insecurities and darkest thoughts and have people respond with understanding.  I'm amazed at how quickly I've become so comfortable.  Me, who likes to keep the entire world at arm's length.  But, it's just so reassuring and comforting to know that I'm not such a freak as I supposed.  And to learn how other people are trying to manage this.

And they also helped me get comfortable with the idea of taking medication.  I only just started last week, so it's too soon to know if, or how much, it will help.  But, I got over my fear of past side effects and I'm feeling optimistic.  It would be so nice to raise the platform on how deep I experience the depression.  If medication can help keep me above the lowest lows, then I suppose it is okay.

Every day is so much to take in and process.  It's been overwhelming on more than one occasion.  So, I'm sure I could ramble on here for about forever.

But, I think I've disclosed enough for one night.

One life time, maybe. :)

I just thought, if there is anyone out there reading this that is really struggling, I want you to know that getting help is scary.  But, it's not as scary as watching things get worse and spiral out of control.  I am one of (if not, THE) the most stubborn people I know.  If I can get over my hang ups and reservations to accept all of this help, I truly believe that anyone can.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 43: Giggly Girl

That was my Darling A this afternoon.

It was pretty intense.  And even a little forced sounding at times.  But, she just kept on going.  She thought she was hilarious.

And after a long day with a lot of stress--and not nearly enough time with her--I really needed those giggles.

I love my little baby so much.

And some good pumpkin carving time was some good times, too.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 42: Character Building

Today was that kind of day.

But, I survived it.

And every day I'm learning more and more that I am not alone, but have many people who love and want to help me.

And this sweet little Darling has decided she is a big girl and needs to sit at the counter on the bar stools with her big siblings.  You can't really tell in this photo, but she is SO proud.

The photo did capture the tale end of one of her current funny faces.  It involves a lot of lip puckering.  And usually a head nod, or two.

It's pretty funny.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 41: Scriptures

We promised Sweet P a new set of her very own scriptures for her 8th birthday.

Then we found out that there was a kind of a shortage because they were updating and improving the scriptures.

So, we had to wait.

She had to wait.

I think she thought we'd forgotten.  But, it just took a while for them to come.

Today they finally did.  I love how excited she was about them.

And the new plan HH came up with for our scripture study a few days ago.  It's a lot more effective and going so much better.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 40: Hair & Share

My hair is the longest it's been in a while and it's making me a little crazy.  I finally made a hair appointment and that was today.

It's so nice to have my hair back to a more manageable length.

But, while I was there, I came clean with my friend who cuts my hair.  And told her about the tough time I've been going through.  I don't share these things because I'm paranoid of how it will make people judge me.  That they'll think less of me for having depression when I have such a great life.  But, she was so compassionate and caring.

And I don't know how to explain how significant that was for me.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 39: Poppin'

Today I made some popcorn.

Not your average popcorn.

Two kinds, actually.

One with cinnamon, caramel, brown sugar, almond bark, and pecans.  And butter.

One with peanut butter, honey, almond bark, and peanut butter cups.

They were both delicious.  The first was my favorite though.  In case you were wondering.

But, they both made me really happy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 38: Play Time

The kids' friends came over this afternoon.

They had so much fun playing together.  It was really fun watching them play together.  They even had some fun running around the backyard, enjoying the last semblance of warmth before we return to North Pole conditions.

And it was cute watching Darling A and her little buddy stand at the glass door, knocking with chubby fists and asking to go outside, in their cute baby babble.

Double baby time = double the fun.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 37: Chocolate Milk

I went to the grocery store after a bit of a rough morning.

I hope you don't think me flippant.  Or weird.

But, I might have told Heavenly Father that I could really go for some chocolate milk.

Lo and behold, chocolate milk was on sale.  The good kind.  Whole milk from my favorite dairy.

It done tasted good.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 36: Smoochy Baby

That was Darling A today.

She was full of love and affection.  That overflowed into wide, open-mouthed kisses smack on the lips for me.

It was a bit slobbery and goobery, but it was so cute and sweet.

It made me smile.  And brought me Joy.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 35: Bakery

Today I made bread and apple pie.

It smelled pretty nice in my kitchen.

And I got to take a loaf of bread to the woman who picked all of the apples that have made the last two pies possible to thank her.

It was a nice opportunity to get to know her better.  And it always feels good to say 'thanks'.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 34: Still Running

This morning was one of the kids' favorite days of the year--their big race day.

HH ran with Sweet P.

I got to run with Little M.

He did it in under 9 minutes!  I was so proud of him.  And it was a great time running together.

Then we headed to the pumpkin patch this afternoon.  It was insanely busy and crowded, but we still had a really great time.

I think my very favorite part was introducing Darling A to the pigs.  She screamed with excitement and enthusiasm.  Those who don't know her looked over with concern because her screams seem like those made in fear.  But, that's just how Darling A is--overflowing with personality and life.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 33: Brewery

Tonight was the Halloween party at the church.

HH was asked to brew up a bunch of root beer for the big event.  He got there early, so it could be nice and bubbly in time for the party.

And by the time the kids and I showed up, he was there with about 20 gallons of the stuff.  And proud as a peacock.  It was cute.

And Darling A was rocking her new winter boots.  Complete with pompoms on the backs.  I need to take a picture.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 32: Run Run Fast As You Can

Today was my first run since last weekend's race.

It was nice.  My knee was still a little sore, but it held up.  Even though I had to get it in as fast as possible, since I had to hurry back to get Baby B to preschool on time.

I love running.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 31: Rich

Tonight was sad.  Saying 'good bye' to my friend that I mentioned last week.

Somehow, this final good bye involved eating pie.  Again.

I got the chocolate peanut butter pie.  Seriously so delicious.

But, as always, WAY too rich.  I really should remember that next time.

Before that, I got to listen to my kids at their violin lesson.  And, as she does, our favorite instructor, was able to help Sweet P elicit some really sweet sounds from her violin.  It was beautiful in so many ways.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 30: TCBY

The library here does a Summer Reading Program.  The kids get a bunch of coupons for rewards after doing a certain amount of reading.  Including one for TCBY.  Our TCBY isn't super close, so we only go once a year with said coupons.

Today was that big day.

We got one for Darling A, too.

Strawberries & Cream.

She's started doing this lip smacking thing whenever she wants a bite or a drink from something.  Pretty fun watching her eat.  And smack her lips if HH didn't get each bite in quick enough.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 29: Sing Along

Darling A's personality just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

It is so much fun.

Ask me again when she's 12--I might feel differently about it.

But, for now, it's fun.

We get this face a lot.

And so does anyone who makes the mistake of smiling, waving, or trying to engage with her lately.

But, she's also started singing to herself lately.

And I love love love it.  I've got to figure out some way to record it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 28: Hm.

I mentioned that Little M has been doing some extra work on his violin practice lately.  Today that hard work came to even more fruition and he did an excellent job.

So much of my time over the last few years has been working with him and Sweet P on the violin.  So, these Moments are so special and rewarding.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 27: Relaying It

HH and I got to participate in a long distance relay race this morning.

Well, all day, really.

This is me just before my second leg.

I had a bit of trouble with a tight knee, but was still able to finish all three of my legs (about 12.5 miles).  And it was so much fun!  I did it last year, but this year was even better.

In part, because I didn't have to bring along my breast pump, like last year.  But, mainly because HH was on the team this year.

Everything is better when he's around.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 26: Cheryl Crocker

Today I got to spend several hours doing what I love--cooking and baking.

I made a batch of my very favorite homemade bread, garlic breadsticks, homemade spaghetti sauce, and apple pie.

It was kind of more effort than I anticipated.  But, it was fun and it all turned out well.  And yummy.

And then we shared it with the cute missionaries working in our area right now.

And then we got ready for tomorrow's big day!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 25: Pie In The Park

This is one of my good friends.  She inspires me and makes me laugh.  And I love her.

And she's moving away. :(

So, we all met up at the park to eat pie, let the kids play, and talk our faces off before she goes.

I'm not going to lie--having my (first ever attempted) key lime pie be the most favorite was a bit of a Joyful Moment for my ego.

But, spending time with my friends, and reflecting on how lucky I am to have such amazing friends (even if they sometimes leave me!) was an even greater one.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 24: Security Blanket

This is mainly for Grandma.  Darling A has been attached to her blankie (given to her by Grandma) since she was ridiculously small and tiny.  Which is why we bought her a second.  Just in case...
One is supposed to stay put away (and clean), while the other is in her bed.  But, you can see, she has other ideas.  She walks around like this pretty much all the time.

Well, sometimes she has clothes on.

But, it's hard to cover up all those chubs.

Anyway, it was fun watching her drag them around today.

But, the best Joyful Moment of the day came tonight at Violin Lessons.  Our favorite instructor somehow got him to try his absolute best.  And it sounded so great, I almost cried.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 23: Joy Ride

Honestly, today's most Joyful Moment was as I was driving up the road with the kids in the back, rocking out to an old CD, made for me by my little sister (Thanks, Meg!), and I just felt happy.  Free of the heavy yuckiness that's been so persistent for the past several months.  Free to just enjoy and experience the beauty of my life again.

But, picking Baby B up from his (first ever!) field trip to the pumpkin patch.  Look how excited and happy he was!  It is rare for him to have a fun experience without the excitement overwhelming him and resulting in a tantrum at some point.  But, this morning he did just that.  Which made it all the sweeter!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 22: Locked In The Pantry

Not me.  Fortunately.

I watched a friends' kids today and her youngest (four days younger than Darling A) locked Darling A in the pantry.  You can see how upset she was about that.

It was really fun watching them interact.  And try to play with all of the big kids.

And I cleaned my house today.  In a deeper clean sort of way.  That doesn't happen very often any more.

It used to happen once a week...

But, that's just a sign that my priorities are straightened out, right?  Right?!

Anyway, it was a really good feeling (i.e. Joyful Moment) to have that kind of clean again.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 21: Super Show

We enjoyed another great day of listening to General Conference.  It was so nice to listen, relax, and be uplifted.  And I look forward to reading each of the talks and getting even more from them by going through them at my own pace.

And in between sessions, we were invited to watch the kids' "Super Show".  It was... interesting, to say the least.  I'm grateful to have such creative children, though!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 20: Just For Me...And Everyone Else, Too

Today was the first of our two-day General Conference.  Where we get to listen to a prophet and apostles of Jesus Christ, and other church representatives speak inspiring words.

It was wonderful.

We've been promised that if we prepare for General Conference in the weeks leading up to it and come with a question, it will be answered.

My questions this time were kind of really broad and difficult for me to even really articulate.  Fortunately, our Father in Heaven knows my heart and I can communicate with Him without putting my thoughts and feelings into words.

Still, as I prayed this morning, I told Him that I wasn't really expecting an answer to my query.  Since I wasn't entirely sure what my question was, I figured, how could I get an answer?

And then Elder Holland came to the podium.  Before he even began his message, I had a feeling I needed to pay extra attention to his talk.  But, barely after he started, this was confirmed as he began talking about mental illness.

And that's where I struggle to put my feelings into words again.  I just know that talk was for me.  Yet again, I am amazed at the Lord's ability to answer prayers and to meet my very individual needs.  While, at the same time, caring for billions of others just as individually.

You should really listen to Elder Holland's talk.  I know I will again and again.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 19: Captured

Darling A and Little M have a sweet bond between the two of them.  I watched them snuggle and giggle and play together all afternoon.  It was so sweet.

Finally, I thought to get a photo of it.

The precious snuggle they were in when I went to get my camera had turned into this by the time I got back.

Ah, well.

It was still a Joyful Moment.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 18: Carnival

I had a glorious run this morning.  It was just nice.  And head clearing.  And led up to a nice remainder of the day.

Isn't she seriously so beautiful?!

The kids' school carnival was tonight.  Good times (and Joyful Moments) all around.  The kids had so much fun.  And it was really fun watching them.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 17: Along For The Ride

Tonight I went for a bike ride with my HH.  It was so fun.  There are few things better than working out with my HH.  It was a nice long ride.  And the weather could not have been more perfect.  It was beautiful.  And I couldn't help but recall how miserably ill I'd felt last week when HH and the kids rode their bikes to the park.  I'm grateful to be feeling so much better.

Life is good.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 16: Rising

Sweet P was invited to participate in her friend's dance class tonight.  They demonstrated their newly learned routine for me when they returned.  So cute.

Today I finally felt like the dark cloud that's been hanging over my head for several weeks has cleared. Which was a Joyful Moment, among other things.

And my new pillow came in the mail.  After weeks of painful, fitful sleep, I'm super excited to (hopefully!) experience the pain-free relief this pillow is supposed to generate.

Fingers crossed!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 15: Decompression

The kids had the day off of school.

Which meant that we had to take a break from the routine and do something extra fun.  Which meant some time at the local kids' play place.

And then meeting up at the park for lunch and play with friends.

This little girl loves to swing.  And it's Joyful Moments watching her.  And watching all of my kids run around and play with their friends.

And then I came home and talked to my mom for over 3 hours.

I should probably call her more often.

But, there was an exceptional amount of craziness to talk to this time.

And it was really good to share it with my mom.

And it probably gave me the clarity and strength of mind I needed to deal with the crazy way our evening went down.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 14: Cherish

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.  A LOT.

About family.  About what it really means to be a good parent.  About how priceless children are.  About what every child really deserves.

And I've gained an added appreciation for the priceless gift I have in my children.  So, today I was that much more in tune with their silly, imaginative conversations.  More patient with their tantrums and struggling.  And more affectionate in our interactions.  And I truly found Joyful Moments in just being with them and feeling the blessing of being their mom.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 13: Check

Have I mentioned that I belong to the largest women's organization in the world?  It's a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and it's called the Relief Society.  Once a year we get to hear from the leaders of our church, speaking directly to us as members of this organization.

I look forward to it immensely.

Tonight was that night.

First, I enjoyed dinner at Panera with my friends, which was interesting, but fun.

And then we went to the church to listen to the broadcast from Salt Lake City, Utah.

I'll be honest, even though I look forward to it every year, sometimes I walk away feeling a little bit guilty because we've been admonished to do more and work harder.

This year, the theme of the meeting was keeping our covenants with the Lord, mainly by serving others.  And I sat there with a clear conscience.  I've been doing a lot more service in general, ever since I set a goal for it back in May.  But, the past two weeks, I've pretty much devoted more time, energy, and effort than I really possessed to serving.

And that was a good feeling.  A Joyful Moment.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 12: Repeat Already

Like last Friday, snuggling on the couch while watching a movie with HH was today's Joyful Moment.  I'd been looking forward to it all day.

All week, really.  I knew if I could just make it through everything until then, we'd all be okay.

And we are.

Also, I had a nice walk with friends this morning.  Friends who understand and accept me.  All my craziness included.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 11: A Princess

Being able to be a part of this obviously Joyful Moment was one of the highlights in my day.  These kids have completely won my heart in the two weeks I've known them.

And HH making a triumphant return to church basketball tonight was a huge Joyful Moment, as well.  It's been a long road back since his shoulder surgery.  There were times he wasn't sure he'd ever get back into the game.  So, sending him out the door was a great moment for me.

As was his return home.  Injury free.  Big sigh of relief.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 10: Children Are Worth It

Joyful Moments today began early with being able to offer love and affection to children who are in great need in that area.  And seeing their beautiful resulting smiles.

And then causing some smiles on my own children's faces.  Because they've been a little neglected the past few days.  HH and the kids biked to the park and I brought ice cream cones.  I'm getting a little sick, so riding my bike sounded awful.  Doing pretty much anything sounded awful.  But, it was worth the sacrifice to be together with my family, to watch their tricks on the playground, and to catch Darling A at the bottom of the slide about 5,000 times.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 9: Poured Out

I've been trying to stick more to the basic Joyful Moments this time around.  And not so much on all of the rest of life.

And honestly, I wouldn't even know where to begin if I tried to explain what has been going on around here of late.

But, amidst it all, I've been having some serious self-doubts.  And today, I think Heavenly Father decided it was time to put those to rest.

I have never been the recipient of such an outpouring of love.  I tried explaining it to HH at least three different times tonight.  But, I can't adequately convey what happened today.  I interacted with so many people today--some I know well, and some I've barely met.  And it was mostly to discuss some very serious things going on with our neighbors.  But somehow, everyone I spoke to had a similar message for me.  One that overwhelmed me to the point of tears every single time.  But, the basic gist was love and appreciation and support.

Most of it was expressed verbally.  But, there was also this from a couple different friends.  That stack of cookies might have been considerably taller when it was dropped off.

So, now, I need to take sometime to process everything.

Today was really awful in between all of that, so I don't ever want to go through it again.  But, I'm so grateful for the people and friends in my path today who shared what they did.  Because today, it made all the difference.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 8: The Break

Little M's morning masterpiece!

Today was insane.

But, for a couple hours in the middle, we took a time out from the insanity and went to the zoo with some friends.  It was really good for Baby B to play with one of the people he refers to as his "favorite little friends".  And it was really good for me to hang out and chat with one of the people he refers to as my "favorite little friends".

Breaks can be Joyful Moments.  So can listening to the gibbons and being grateful they don't live in my home.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 7: Children's Voices, Oh, How Sweet

Today was the "Primary Program" at church.  Which means that the children aged 4-12 gave the program today.  With a lot of help from some wonderful leaders.

Listening to my children sing and give their brief lines (perfectly) was a sweet (and sometimes funny) Joyful Moment.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 6: Remembering Whose I Am

I was able to attend a baptism today.  For a man from the Congo.

I also conducted the music.  A typical baptism program only has two songs--an opening and a closing hymn.

But, for this one, we sang several hymns in the middle, while waiting for him to get ready again after being baptized.

I still struggle to keep time, so this was a little nerve racking for me when I opened the program and saw the list of hymns.  But, after the first 3 or 4, I kind of settled in and felt confident enough to immerse myself more in the spirit of the hymns.  I think it was not a coincidence that this was the hymn we were singing:

This is a song that is often thought of as a "children's song", but really, it's message is for all of us.  And today, it was precisely the message I needed and my Joyful Moment.  I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who finds a way to let me feel His love even when I don't know how.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 5: Staying In

Somewhere along the lines over the past four or five months HH started taking me out on dates.

Not that we never went out before that.  Just not all that often.  Probably less than once a month at the most.  And not that it's always his responsibility.

It's just that, suddenly, he made it his responsibility and somewhere along the lines I realized we were going out every week or two.

And it has been super fun.

Who wouldn't love hanging out with this man?  In fact, she tends to get a little jealous when he pays attention to anyone but her.

She may or may not get that from me.

But, tonight, we stayed home.  We snuggled up on the couch and watched a movie.  Jack The Giant Slayer.  Interesting.  I liked the lead character a billion times more in Warm Bodies.

But, Ewan McGregor's hair was seriously amazing.

You can ask HH how many times I commented on it.

Any other man would have lost count.  But, he's an accountant, so I'm pretty sure he kept track.  He does things like that.

Anyway, the point is, even when the movie is kind of silly, hanging out with my best friend was a Joyful Moment.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 4: A Girl's Gotta Do

Today was one for the books.

And as I was writing down all that had gone on and I had learned in the course of the day, (in the middle of the afternoon because I've learned that I just have to do things when I have even half of an opportunity, or else they never happen) I realized that I really needed some girlfriend time.

Thanks to an awesome and supportive (dare I say, even a little bit forceful?) HH, I sent out a very last minute invite via my good friend "facebook" and managed to get a few friends on board for a frozen yogurt date.

What can I say?  We girls will go to great lengths for our sweets.

Having a brother willing to share his Butterfinger is a Joyful Moment for any chubby baby.

Having friends who will come at a last moment's notice to offer support is a Joyful Moment of inestimable value.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 3: Big Heart

The music studio where the kids take violin lessons has a fun little rewards program to help with motivation to practice.  They earn points (usually about 5 per week) for different effort and achievements.  Then they can cash these points in for prizes.  The higher the points, the bigger the prize.  Sweet P is a saver; Little M is a spender.  But, he actually managed to accrue over 30 points, as of tonight.  When he realized this, he quickly told me he wanted to get a prize.

He came back a while later with this.  It's difficult to see, sorry.  It's a clear heart.  I think it's supposed to look like it's a diamond.  He used 20 of his 33 points to get it and he walked in and told me it was for me.  To put on my purse.  My own heart melted in that sweet Joyful Moment.

I've never been more enthusiastic to add a little bling bling to my purse.

This boy can sometimes make me crazy.

But, he can also totally melt my heart with his sweet thoughtfulness.  He is a rare gem in the world of little boys and I am head over heels in love with my sweet Little M and the nonchalant way he'll still reach out to hold my hand when we're walking together.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 2: A Reason For Everything

Parent Teacher Conferences.

Little M has been struggling a bit this year.  Not with his school work, but with his behavior.  So, I was a little nervous about tonight's meeting with his teacher, but it went really well.  Hearing her say, "I love Little M!", was a Joyful Moment to my heart's ears.

Did that make sense?  It was the best way to describe how that felt.  And if hearts really did have ears, that message would have gone straight to them.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I totally cleared that one up for you.

Also, and totally as expected, more Joyful Moments were to be had when I met with Sweet P's teacher. We pretty much just both gushed about how wonderfully sweet she is.  And I about broke down (I think this is the third time since school started a month ago, and every time I've seen her teacher) while telling her teacher just how grateful I am for whatever she is doing that has made all the difference for Sweet P.  Her stress level is pretty much non-existent, whereas I was feeling certain she was going to develop stomach ulcers the way she was stressing all summer!  She loves school and is a happy learner again.

And when her teacher told me that she is a frequent commenter in class, my heart's ears were happy all over again.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 1: Re-Starting Over

Yeah, you read that right.

Time to begin again.

I've been feeling that I needed to start this up again for a few weeks now.  But, I was afraid of the commitment.  Shocking for someone as in love with commitment as I am, I know.

But, the feeling isn't going away.

So, here goes.  Another 1,000 Days of Joy.

While watching Darling A stuff her face with noodles was really fun and entertaining, it's not the Joyful Moment I'm choosing to share for today.

Today's Joyful Moment was found in becoming friends with a couple of the neighbor children as I drove them to and from school today.  They moved in a couple weeks ago, and unfortunately, their mom's car broke down, leaving them stranded and unable to get to school.

I won't say that this demand didn't add some stress.  But, in the actual moment of service, it was nice to help them out.  And, as I said, become friends.  And they are good kids and did a good job of expressing gratitude which always makes doing someone a favor that much sweeter.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 1214: Dee Doo

Or, something akin to that.

That's Darling A's way of saying "thank you".  Of course, she says it to me whenever she hands me something (a current favorite way to pass the time)--because that's what I say to her whenever she hands me something.

So, she isn't really saying anything and she doesn't use it appropriately.

But it is adorable.

And it made folding the laundry a billion times more enjoyable today.  Even when she started taking the items of clothing I'd already folded and handing them to me.

A strange thing happened in the last 24 hours.

I went to bed feeling really weighed down and sad last night.  And I woke up in a really good mood.  Among other things, I think the main game changer was remembering a reminder from my last appointment that at one point, I was a lot more accepting of the depression part of me and my life.  And not nearly so angry and frustrated.

So, I focused on changing my feelings to that.  And on reminding myself of all the progress I have made, even though I'm quick to accuse myself of being right back at the beginning.

And then I woke up feeling genuinely happy.  And so not weighed down.  And that was a great feeling.

And it's lasted for much of the rest of the day.

Which I finished off with a fantastic date with my HH at a very creative and unusual display of local theater.  Few things are better than laughing with my best friend.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 1213: What I Share

Sometimes I'm surprised by what I am uncomfortable sharing.

Mostly, because I am often surprised by what I am totally comfortable sharing.

This week was one of the times I didn't want to share.  But, I feel like I should.

So, I am.

I had another appointment on Tuesday.

I was a wreck on Tuesday.

I had only recently gotten over that last inexplicable bout with depression and could feel myself sinking back in.  I've been stressed about so many things over the past few weeks.  And really really really exhausted.

And then I had all of this emotional gunk going on inside about a few different things.  And I knew I should address each of them and sort through my feelings.  But I really didn't want to.  I wanted to just take it all and shove it in a garbage and get back to enjoying my happy life.

But, I couldn't.  I couldn't sort through.  I couldn't let go.

All I could do was thinking about several more stressors headed my way and the inevitable, impending doom.

I always pray for help in knowing what to discuss in my therapy sessions.  I want to make the most of them.  And, someday, be done.

This week, there really wasn't any clarity coming.  I knew I could discuss the issues I had going on, but none of them were really new.  All familiar territory for me.  And I don't go to just complain to him about whatever is ailing me, I actually want his help in the areas where I still need it.

There have been a couple other times where I haven't really known what to discuss, but I show up and the conversation just seems to naturally go where I need it most.

So, that's what I intended for Tuesday.

But, the conversation just kind of meandered.  We discussed the old issues and he kindly offered advice as if it was new and he wasn't repeating himself.  I was the only one expressing frustration at being stuck in these same places.  And then we discussed an issue I hadn't intended to share because, while it is something that's been driving me crazy lately, it's not something I thought he could help me with because it involves circumstances that I don't control.  His response was basically to give me permission to not accept ownership of any of it.  And truthfully, I didn't see how that would help at all because it involves a relationship that is very near and dear to my heart, so that approach seemed impossible.

And all the while, the children's story, You Are Special kept popping into my mind.

Near the end he finally said, "Did we discuss what you wanted to today?  What was most helpful?"

And I told him I wasn't sure.  And that I was just a total mess inside.

And I just felt angry, upset, and worked up as I drove home.  Not angry at anyone or anything specific. Just angry to still be here and to have all of this junk in the way of living a "normal" life.

And then I got home.  And I thought more about You Are Special.  And I remembered that I have currently been praying for help to be able to keep myself humble.  Because I tend to be fairly self-centered.  So, I see everything from the perspective of how it affects me.  And I had this sudden clarity.

All of the issues I have been stressing over can in one way, or another, be completely simplified if I take my own narcissism out of the equation.  And the path to this was clear--I had to visit my own Maker every day, to be reminded of His love for me.  To keep God's love for me at the forefront of my thoughts and feelings.

And that big, ugly mess inside of me dissolved into peace and relief.

So, that has been my focus this week.  Working on truly believing that God loves me.  Which involves frequent prayer, and making that my focus during my daily scripture study.  And then acting accordingly.

And it's made all the difference.

(It even got me through my birthday.  A day I've learned to dread because, try as I might to fight it, I always get crazy expectations of how everyone will love and treat me on my special day and then I am inevitably let down because someone didn't measure up and then I know that I am not really as loved nor as special as I want to be.  But this year, I managed to avoid all expectations.  And then, interestingly enough, I wound up receiving a great outpouring of love.  And instead of tainting it by hurt over what might not have happened in my favor, I was able to just enjoy and appreciate all that I have.  But, also, to know that above all else, I have a Father in Heaven who loves me unconditionally and that the presence, or lack of attention and affection from all other sources won't change that in the least.)