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Sunday, August 10, 2014

See them grow!

Every summer since 1990, my family has spent a week at Crow Wing Crest Lodge near Akeley, MN.

When my kids were each born, they both got a CWC shirt. Each year, I take a picture of them in that shirt next to the door of the cabin.

It is so wonderful to look at all these pictures together and see how they have grown!

Also, we figure Ethan has maybe two more years in his until it becomes a belly shirt.

I envision Ethan holding his up to himself when it doesn't fit anymore and the kids handing down these shirts to their kids someday!


confessions of an insomniac

I've always been a troubled sleeper. I get anxious about sleep, which of course leads to insomnia.

My insomnia was at its worst during my senior year in college until about a month before my wedding. Perhaps that was my subconscious trying to tell me something? Anyway, it finally improved when I gave into taking an antidepressant. Nearly two years of 2-3 hours of sleep a night ended as I finally slept like a normal person. It was pure heaven.

I've tried to get off the meds before--I make it three weeks then crack up. I've finally learned it just isn't worth the pain and that my brain chemistry needs a little help in order to function properly. I'm only on about a quarter of what is considered a therapeutic dose but it does the trick.

However, I am also on another med that helps me quiet my mind. It isn't an actual sleeping pill, but rather an antihistamine (sort of like Benadryl but I can't take Benadryl anymore because it makes me literally start vibrating). I was put on this med when pregnant with Pibs because of course the insomnia and anxiety around sleep reared its ugly head.

I've had very few sleepless nights since beginning this cocktail of meds. Truthfully, it has been delightful! However, I have been in a mild depression for about seven years now. My life started to unravel after Pibs was born and that is when it started. Then there was the divorce, which can make any person depressed.

Lately I've been realizing that I sleep WAY too much (this didn't suddenly start, I just suddenly realized it is a problem). I am always tired. My first thought upon waking is wondering when I can take a nap. After talking this over with my doctor recently, I realized that it is more about too many meds rather than depression. She asked if I would cut out the sleeping meds and I told her just the mere thought of that made me start panicking inside.

So I decided to cut my dose in half. That was a few weeks ago. I am still sleeping great but just at night now--far less napping in my life! I have more energy, my head feels clearer and I am getting stuff done. Is it possible that I have been suffering from medication grogginess rather than depression?

Makes me wonder what is possible now! The plan is to get off the med entirely. It still freaks me out though so we'll see. Not sure I can tolerate sleepless nights as a single mama!

Isn't it crazy that the solution to my energy crisis may have been in my hands this whole time?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

healing and dealing

Sometimes I wonder if the healing will ever come. 

Sometimes I wonder if it will ever end.

Sometimes I wonder how much longer I can put up with it.

Tonight I had a breakthrough. 

Need to set my own heart right before I can let the healing flow.

Pray for me.

Monday, July 7, 2014

what's the haps?

Does anyone else feel like summer is FLYING by? It is the second week of July and I feel like we've done barely anything. Disconcerting, to say the least.

I have a good post brewing in my mind but it isn't quite ready to be released just yet. So I shall share some random bits of life with you.

  • Casual dating is a myth. It should instead be called placeholder dating. I am way into placeholder dating these days. Basically, it means you could never envision love or a future with a person but you hang out with them anyway, until something better comes along. So.....yeah. Once I realized that this is actually what I meant by "casually dating", it became clear to me that I must stop. I don't want to be someone's placeholder and I'm certain they don't want to be mine. My therapist backed all this up as well. :) Dating is finished for me. If God wants me to have a partner, He better throw him in my path because I'm done looking for him.
  • My girl Courtney is moving into the house next door! Watch out neighborhood! I adore Courtney and her family. She is the perfect kind of friend to have close by. She is also the owner of a cooking business that uses my kitchen for classes. It will be so convenient to just have to bring things next door! And if we forget her fancy honey, she just has to run next door to grab it. Also, her kids are outside ALL THE TIME so I'm hoping it rubs off on my kids!
  • I currently hold three jobs. I am a coach at Rachel Olson Coaching, a sous chef at Cook It With Courtney, and now a book distributor! My dad and his business partner wrote an awesome book on transformational leadership! They decided to forgo the standard publishing route and hired me to be their distributor. I have about 2,000 books stacked in my garage and ship them out whenever orders come in. However, despite all these fun jobs, I am thinking about finding some part time temp work in the fall. The recent bigger-than-expected drop in alimony and child support has stretched my budget to the max. My business is growing but I can't count on it to support me fully just yet (but I will!!!!). So for now my plan is to find some very temporary part time work. That will still give me time to work on my business. Of course, if I get another corporate gig like the one I signed last month I won't need to do it. 
  •  As you recall from a few weeks ago, financial stresses have been weighing on my heavily. I am taking care of three people on less than what I made working before kids. I got rid of my credit card and am on a cash budget now but there is about $10 left at the end of the month. But when God provides, He provides! Last week I got notice that I will be getting a property tax refund which will help a lot. Then I was at a Mastermind meeting and found out that one of the women has a great contact at ProStaff, which will help me with that temp work I need. It was all a huge relief.

  • Today I began my Grand Canyon Hike training. I've hiked the canyon 3 times but never really trained for it. I've set a goal for myself as far as training goes. If I fail to meet that goal, I can't hike. I refuse to limp along in misery again this time. If I do it, I want to do it WELL. I will still go on the trip (already bought my ticket) because it has become my fall tradition and I love sharing the trip with my dad. I think this year will be my seventh trip! If you are interested in the hike, check out these two blogs, written by people we hike with each year:

That's all for tonight!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

it's good to have friends

Yesterday was not the best day. I learned a hard lesson about listening to my gut.

Late last night, Courtney and I were texting and she asked if I needed her to come over. I of course said no, because I am not one to burden anyone (other than my mom and sister!) with my stupid problems.

She texted me back that she was coming over anyway. :)

I found myself with a huge smile on my face and feeling very loved. She came over, we ate Oreos and watched Pitch Perfect. It was a delightful evening!

I realized that I say no to love way too often. I don't want to be a burden, or be any trouble. But even though I said no last night, Courtney realized what I needed and came over anyway. That is the definition of friendship.

I'd like to learn to be more open to letting people love on me and love on my kids. I was on an island for so many years where the only way to survive was to keep people out. I'm not on that island anymore. I have nothing to hide anymore.

The island is open. Come on by for a visit. :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ethan had a breakthrough!

Something excited happened here last night and I need to capture it here.

Some of you know that the divorce was pretty tough on Ethan. He was very sad and got to a point where he was hurting himself at times. Eventually he was diagnosed with situational depression and we found a good therapist that really helped him.

But with kids, the progress is slow and you don't always see the fruit of your labor when you want.

One of the things we worked on in therapy was Truth Talk vs. Stinkin' Thinkin'. Stinkin' Thinkin' are the lies you have in your head. For example, I'm so stupid, I'm unlovable, I'm the worst boy ever. Truth Talk is what you say to combat those lies. For example, I made a mistake that I can learn from. I may not have all the answers but I can handle it. I was created for a special purpose and am meant to be here.  You get the general idea.

It was an exhausting nightly exercise for many, many months with Ethan. We would sit together on his bed, he would be down on himself, I would encourage Truth Talk. Very difficult to see what I feel is a truly amazing boy be so down on himself.

So flash forward to last night. After I tucked the kids in, Ethan came back down to tell me he had a chat room fight with a friend. He was just explaining to me what had happened and that they worked it out but I was only hearing "cyber bully!!!" in my mind. I told him very firmly that he was not to ever say mean things to a friend online ever again or I would take tech away from him for a very long time. I didn't even really hear what he was actually telling me, which became clear later.

When I went up to bed, there was a long note for me at the top of the stairs. He explained that he made a mistake, that he felt bad about it but that he was glad he apologized. Then he said "I'm a very tired boy, I need to sleep now".

I immediately wrote him a note to see in the morning about how I could've handled that better and praised him for apologizing to his friend and for handling the situation.

Then I creeped into his room just to see if he was still awake and sure enough, he was. We hugged it out and I gave him my note. He told me that he was going to write "I'm a stupid, terrible boy" but then he stopped and realized he was just really tired and that those things weren't true about him.

THIS IS HUGE. I've gotten many notes from him that tell me how horrible he is, how stupid he is, how he is the worst kid ever. Honestly, when I first saw that he had written something last night, I sighed and thought "Here we go again.". My instinct when I get those bad notes is to hug him, tell him how amazing he is and let it go. But that doesn't really get to the heart of the matter--what he believes about himself. He is the only one who can Truth Talk himself. I simply need to put the right tools in his path. I am so proud of him for doing it all on his own this time!

Ethan just made a huge step forward in his emotional health. I want to celebrate him and encourage him to keep moving forward in the right direction!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

the ugly cry

Well, it had to come out sometime.

Ever since the financial bomb went off last Tuesday, my soul has been trying to get its ugly cry on. Hasn't happened. The best I was able to do was to get a cracking headache and walk around with heavy shoulders.

But today, it found a way out! Of course, it was at church. And of course, I was in the front row since I had to be on stage at various times. Thankfully, the ugly cry waited until my speaking parts were done. 

I love worship music. It's how I chill with God. It centers my head in a way that reading the Bible or being in prayer can't. So our awesome music leader started singing The Desert Song by Hillsong. The lyrics just smacked me in the face and the ugly cry began. 

After a minute of trying to wipe at my eyes and not completely lose it, I felt a tap on my shoulder and saw a pack of tissues. Darling Katie, a few rows back, passed them up. Then Shelcy came and sat right next to me and wrapped me up, while I dripped tears (but not snot, I promise Shelcy!) on her arms. Somehow feeling love from these friends made me cry harder so I just let it go. It actually felt really good to get it out.

Unfortunately it isn't done. I've been breaking into tears on and off all afternoon. Ethan is circling me like a hawk and keeps finding me to check in. He's calling himself The Security Guard. He is such a sweet and precious boy--he just wants his mom to be okay. I struggle with showing this side of my emotional life to my kids. I don't want him to be worried about the things I'm worried about, but I also need him to understand that life isn't always perfect. 

This level of being down doesn't happen to me often. I've been worrying over things, been frustrated over things, been complaining about things. The reason I finally broke down is because I realized something very simple. I am trying to handle adversity on my own. I wasn't taking it to Jesus. It's so simple, yet somehow I continually forget. 

Below are the lyrics to this song. Not sure if Hillsong wrote it but that's the version I downloaded when I got home. Every line of this song is speaking to me right now. But the one I am choosing to focus on (or planning to when I can stop crying) is this: So refine me, Lord, through the flame. The Lord has been refining me since the minute I found out I was getting divorced. My continuing question has always been "Lord, what am I supposed to learn? What parts of me need to be refined?". When you ask God questions like this, He will make it painfully clear what He's trying to do. :)

"Desert Song"
[Verse 1:]
This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

[Verse 2:]
And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me, Lord, through the flame

And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

[Verse 3:]
And this is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand

[Bridge 4x:]
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

[Verse 4:]
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow