Update On All the Things

I’m thankful for Facebook memories.  They remind me of how hard things were the past several years in the spring/summer.  They remind me of how great I’m doing right now.  They remind me that making the decision to put the kids in school (or keep them in school) was the best decision we could have ever made.  It has been amazing for all of us.

Even so, life isn’t perfect and there will be hard days/weeks.

Sleep

I have been so so fatigued again lately despite falling asleep pretty easily most days, and I feel like it has been getting worse.  I just had lab work done to check my thyroid and it’s normal now. I probably really should focus on movement.  I need to get out and hike more (again).  I feel so good when I do, but it’s so hard to convince myself to just get outside.  I honestly don’t know if I have the energy to make it happen at this point.  But I will try.  I have to remind myself that any movement is a good thing.  So a 10 minute walk to start is okay!  That could be enough to jump start something!

Anxiety

I’ve had a little more anxiety this week as well (though nothing like this time last year and the year before).  I’m trying to remember that there is absolutely nothing that I have to do in my day (well, except for picking the kids up from the bus and leading the 12 step meeting in Rocksprings).  I always want a spotless house, the laundry caught up, etc because it truly helps me mentally.  But I can also let it go for the day if I can’t focus on it for whatever reason.  It’s perfectly okay.

Dealing with kid issues is often what causes my anxiety.  Ethan has always been my hard kid.  In the past, he threw tantrums all day every day.  From a baby till not that long ago.  When he was homeschooled it was really bad.  He struggles badly with relationships and being the “mean kid.”  Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with him.  He is in counseling, he takes medication for ADHD now (started about a week and a half ago, and hopefully it’ll eventually help his impulsiveness), and his teacher and I are working with him.  Unfortunately there are some who can’t see all the work he is doing and just focuses in on his flaws.  But I can’t do anything about that.  So we keep moving forward.  I do need to pray for him more.  That’s something big that will help.  My friend also shared a scripture with me that I can pray over him and share with him each day.

Psalm 19:14 (from the International Children’s Bible)

“I hope my words and thoughts please you.  Lord, you are my Rock, the one who saves me.”

I printed it and will be putting it on the boys’ wall.  It would be a good thing for Levi to focus on as well :-).

Younique

This is my favorite part of my days lately.  It is so so so fun.  The women in the community are amazingly supportive and encouraging (who want to see each person succeed), making videos has become fun and less nerve-wracking, there are ALWAYS fun incentives and perks, I’ve made a little bit of money (and have the potential to make a lot over time), I love the makeup, I love the skin care, it’s so nice feeling pretty, I’m taking better care of myself, it gives me some purpose and something to look forward to, I enjoy sharing the makeup with friends and seeing their excitement for our products (and how they make them feel), and I could probably go on and on! I worked several hours today, and it was fun the whole time!

12 Step Meeting

The 12 step meeting is going really well even though we only have a few people going.  We have a new guy that is getting what he needs from the group.  There are a LOT of alcoholics and addicts in our little town and very few of them are in recovery.  Everyone joins each other in their addiction and do it all together.  I’m hoping that by being consistent and continuing to show up even if we only have a few people coming that we will be a soft place to land when enough is enough.

Unfortunately, everyone has grown up in their environment so they don’t know any different.  Anyone trying to get out of active addiction have a hard time because it’s everywhere.

Yesterday I was 18 months sober!!  It’s such an exciting thing!

Robert and the boys are camping and Karis was at a friend’s house until a little while ago.  I did a lot of work because the next two weeks I have 4 Younique parties!  They will be small, but it’ll be a good chance to learn.  My first one will start Monday!  I have lots of videos, photos and graphics, etc along with doing at least one live video each day.  I hope to do games and activities.

I’ll let you know how they go!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Thankful Thursday… God Has Given Me Rest

Good morning friends!  Today is starting out with a gorgeous sunrise.  I got to listen to the birds sing for a while as well.  I love being outside.  There’s just something about God’s creation that brings peace and solace.

God is good.  In the midst of the struggle, and in the midst of the rest and peace after the struggle.  Y’all, I have struggle consistently for years.  Like since Karis was born (and even before that, really).  Severe anxiety, panic, depression, losing my brother the way I did, relationship issues, etc.  I have had some good times, but they usually only lasted a few weeks at a time, and I’ve realized that many of those were times of hypomania.  I thought I was just feeling amazing (I know now that it was the feeling of euphoria that I get when I’m hypomanic).  And these times were always followed by depression.

I started a new med at the end of January (it’s actually a very old med and for some reason it’s not used very often… it’s also really cheap).  I’m on a very low dose (in addition to a lot of other meds).  I have been doing great ever since.  I mean, I have low days, but they don’t stay that way.  Usually it’s because I’m overly tired or dealing with circumstances that are difficult (usually involving one or more of my kids).  I have consistently had low anxiety, no lasting depression, have had motivation (but not overly motivated like when I’m hypomanic), and I’ve enjoyed myself more than I have in so long.  I have great relationships with people (I’m not assuming the worst as often).  I spend more time with friends and family.  My family has noticed a HUGE difference in me. They often recall what life was like when I was drinking all the time and when I was depressed all the time.  I slept a lot.  I was really short with them, yelling a lot.

Anyway… yesterday during Bible study we were studying Judges 3:7-11.  In verse 11, it said that the Israelites had rest for 40 years!  I was telling my friends how big that was for me and they said that they could see how that would stand out to me.  This is so big.

Othniel

7And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lordtheir God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. 9But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10The Spirit of the Lordwas upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.”
So today, my biggest thanks is to God for giving me rest.  I don’t know how long it will last or if it will continue to be consistent, but I will enjoy it today and praise God each day.
I’m also so thankful for the relationships with the amazing people in my life.  I’m especially thankful for my amazing husband and children.  I wouldn’t be where I am without them in my life.  Robert has stood by me and supported me through severe mental illness, dealing with the suicide of my brother, and through my alcoholism.  We still have a lot of growth ahead, but I’m thankful for the growth that has taken place so far.  And my kids have been amazing as we have processed all that has taken place in our family as well.  They have grown so, so much this year.  We’re still working through some things, but overall I’m so happy with the official decisions that we have made for them (especially for putting and keeping them in school).
I’m thankful for the friends that I have in my life.  I have lots of old friends and a few new friends.  I’m blessed with rich relationships.
Other than these things, I’m just thankful for the little things.  My plants, candles, Willow trees, the sunrise over the hills, my Happy Planner, coffee, Coke Zero :-), God’s word (not a little thing), Bible studies that point me to Him, my amazing office, decorating my house so that it feels warm and cozy, all of our needs provided (okay, also not little), my new business venture, my blog as my outlet, hobbies, and so much more.
I am truly one blessed child of God.

Self Care Sunday

relaxitssunday

Usually on self care days, I still do some chores.  The reason is that having a clean house is self care for me.  I like to keep up with everything so I don’t get behind and start to have anxiety and depression.  I mean, anxiety and depression still happen (hello mental illness), but if I can prevent it, I will try :-).

So basically that means keeping up with the daily chores: one load of laundry (from start to finish), sweep/vacuum, make my bed, pick up things that are laying around (and the kids will clean up their things), and keep up with dishes.

I need to do a bit of food prep.  This means cutting veggies for my veggie tray, and I will make an instant pot breakfast casserole.  It won’t take very long.  I also need to make dinner.  Pasta and sauce in the instant pot and steamed veggies.

The self care things that I’m doing are: sleep in (till 9!), morning meds (buspirone, lithium, propranolol, lipitor, lexapro, and birth control that I take for my moods) and supplements (B-complex and Vitamin D3), blog (self care and meal plan), plan my week (in my Happy Planner!), and maybe nap :-).  I am trying to drink more water so I have that with me through the day.

I also hope to play some games with the kids.  I might go for a short walk.

Typically we go to church on Sundays, but when Robert works (every third Sunday), the kids and I stay home to rest and play.  I have worship music playing all day.

What are your plans for self care today?

Happy Weekend!

Hey guys!  I hope your weekend has started out well! I absolutely LOVE that I am no longer sleeping my weekend away!  I woke up a little later than a week day but it was still early enough to enjoy … Continue reading

Pursuing What Sets My Soul on Fire (Jesus)

Being in a constant state of worship and adoration, service, gratitude, prayer, and confession are what set my heart on fire. Unfortunately my life has been just one struggle after another and my spirit has gotten lost in all of … Continue reading

Grocery Geek: First Two Weeks of 2018

I won’t be driving to our “big town” (Kerrville) near as much these days (since I will be doing AA in Rocksprings) so we will definitely be shopping for 2 weeks at a time.  I can get some groceries in Rocksprings (where I will be leading AA and the kids go to school), but the selection is very limited and food is much more expensive.  So I don’t want to do big shopping there.

Robert shot an axis deer the other night and he will be processing it tomorrow so we should have a good 30-40 pounds of meat from that!  I’m so thankful because meat is the most expensive part of buying groceries.

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Of course we won’t ONLY want axis meat so I will buy a few different types of meat here and there.

We emptied a lot of our food before we went out of town so we hardly had any meat left.  Some frozen chicken breast, some fish (including some wild caught mahi-mahi that someone caught and gave us, a little salmon, and a white fish of some sort), a pound of ground beef, and a pound of bacon.  It’s actually all frozen except the bacon.

We hardly had any produce.  I think just some apples, potatoes, and onions.  Anything else that we had went bad.

We do have a pantry mostly full (that I plan to reorganize soon!), so we have plenty of canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, rotel, canned beans (black, garbanzo, and pinto), lots of whole wheat flour, dried pinto beans, white and brown rice, oats (rolled, quick, and steel cut), cake mixes, cereal, oatmeal, snacks (we got a ton for our trip and had a lot left over), protein powder, honey, peanut butter, ingredients for homemade granola, oils (coconut, avocado, olive, and canola), mixed nuts, bagels, bread, tortilla chips, and on and on.  We have lots of frozen veggies and fruit.

So most of what I bought yesterday was fresh food.  I also had to buy some household products and we include that in our budget.  Another thing that we had to buy was freezer paper and freezer bags for freezing the deer meat.

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Cold foods:

  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 1 bag of boiled and peeled eggs (Levi loves these)
  • 1 carton of egg whites
  • 1 (large) package of drumsticks (these were 99 cents per pound!)
  • 1 tub of Julio’s salsa (our fave)
  • 1 lb of lunch meat
  • 2 blocks of cream cheese
  • 1 package of sliced medium cheddar
  • 2 links of sausage
  • 2 ham steaks
  • 2 lbs of butter
  • 32 oz plain Greek yogurt (for making ranch dip and homemade yogurt)
  • 2 gallons of milk (one for drinking and one for making homemade yogurt)

Pantry Items:

  • 1/2 caff coffee
  • Decaf coffee
  • Nature’s seasons (we use this in everything)
  • Seasoned salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Ranch packets
  • Duke’s mayo (my fave)
  • 4 boxes of whole wheat mac n cheese
  • Frosted Mini Wheats (Karis needs fiber!)
  • Brianna’s Dressing (my fave)
  • Coconut sugar (for making homemade yogurt)
  • 2, 12 packs of caffeine free diet coke (HEB brand)

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More Pantry Items (and some household items):

  • Whole wheat English muffins
  • Tortilla chips
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Tortillas (half corn/half wheat)
  • Plastic forks and spoons
  • Paper plates
  • Generic disinfectant wipes

Household items:

  • Dishwasher tabs
  • Melatonin
  • Quart size freezer bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Freezer paper

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Produce:

  • Bag of spinach
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Celery
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Avocados
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet tomatoes
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli florets
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Baby carrots
  • Rainbow baby carrots
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Jalapeños
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe

I spent $178!  Which I think is pretty amazing for 2 weeks’ worth. I might have to spend another $25 or so for little things here and there but that’s about it.  I really love HEB.

We also got the kids new tennis shoes and socks yesterday, Karis got some long sleeve shirts and a pair of jeans, and they spent some of their Christmas money (the boys got BB guns and Karis bought a pair of boots).

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I had grand plans to get a lot done in the house today and it hasn’t happened.  But I’m okay with just taking it easy after a long day yesterday.  Tonight we are spending time with our neighbors playing games and eating soup!  I’m looking forward to it.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?

On this Thanksgiving…

I have pulled out my computer and sat there staring at the screen (or getting distracted by Facebook) so many times in the past month or so.  We have so much going on and I have so much that I could share, but the words just aren’t coming when I sit down to write.  I’m not sure why.  I do know that I have spent MUCH less time on my computer lately and that’s a good thing.  I used to sit on my computer all day, every day.  Now I don’t have time for that, nor do I want to.  Part of the reason why I don’t write as much (or sit at my computer as much) is that I used to drink and drink and drink and all I could do while doing that is sit.  Also I have been so busy.  Mostly in a good way!

The moment that I decided to put Karis back into school, my anxiety went away and my depression lifted.  We didn’t even take much time to pray through it once I thought of it because 1) I knew that Robert wanted our kids to be in school, 2) I realized that my mental health went back down hill when I pulled Karis out, 3) Karis went backwards in many ways being home and I knew it would be best to teach her how to persevere even when things are hard (and she needed to be around kids her age).

Since we’ve made that decision, lots of things have hit us… broken arm, asthma attack that landed Ethan in the ER, lots of doctor appointments, bloodwork, lots of medicine, Ethan got strep (and ended up missing 4 days of school), counseling appointment for Karis… And I have been in either Rocksprings or Kerrville pretty much every single day (with a day off here or there).  I have also tried to go to AA twice a week but it hasn’t happened as much as I would like (I definitely go once at least).

But do you know what hasn’t changed through all of this craziness?  My joy.  I may be tired.  I may be somewhat stressed.  Karis has cried a lot (as we’ve been walking her through things).  Levi has been in trouble a lot at school this year (and we’re working with his teacher and doctor to figure out how to handle this).  But I haven’t regretted anything.  I haven’t felt guilty.  I haven’t tried to make something happen that wasn’t supposed to happen (which is how I ended up homeschooling off and on so much over the years).  I haven’t made things to be my fault when they weren’t (like putting Karis in school or Levi getting in trouble).  I’m just truly living each day.  One day at a time.  To its fullest.  I’m more comfortable in my skin.  I have spent a lot of one-on-one time with my kids.  Karis and Ethan are doing choir.  The house stays mostly clean (except this week because the kids are home, and that’s okay!).  Robert and I work together.  I focus a LOT on self care because that is what keeps me going. Life is just good.  But I don’t take it for granted.  With my history and my mental illnesses (and being an alcoholic), I truly have to take it one second, one minute, one hour, and one day at a time.  And I’m finally in a place in which I can do that.

So on this beautiful Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for.

It has been literally years since I felt this kind of peace and joy for more than a few days, and especially through stress and difficulty.

My family and friends are amazing, I’m learning to love myself as God has made me to be (and I’m realizing what my true calling is), Jesus loves me and I love Him, we love Camp Eagle and are so blessed to be a part of this family, we have all of our needs met (even when we don’t know how things will work out, they always do), I’m thankful for AA and what it has done in my life (and continues to), I’m so thankful for the Healthy Habits Happy Moms community (and Balance 365 program) that has helped me see myself in a completely different light, and I’m thankful for all the little things that bring me joy each day… music, flowers, coffee, Christmas lights, candles, a hike, spending time with my friends and family, playing games, cleaning, coloring, drawing… the list could go on and on.  I am who I am today because of who God is, my family and friends, and through the difficult of the past several years.

Scattered Post… Update, AA, My Story, Friendship, and Plans

I used to blog every day and now every time I sit at my computer to blog the words don’t come.  I have so much on my mind, and I just don’t know how to get it out these days. … Continue reading

Contentment and Teaching the Kids to Work Through Hard Things

I have a history of discontent.  If something doesn’t seem to be working well or is hard, I change things.  I see the difficulty as a sign that something isn’t right.

Because of this, we have moved so much and I kept chasing something new.  We have moved 12 times in the 13 years that we have been married (a lot of that was at the same camp).  We moved apartments early in our marriage.  We moved twice when we lived in the Dallas area.

This worked its way into homeschooling.  I have homeschooled off and on for a long time.  When I started struggling mentally, I would put them back into school.  This last time I really had no choice since I had to go to town all the time for AA when I got out of rehab.  But it still counts.

I have spent a FORTUNE (and a lot of that in credit) on new curriculum.  When things got hard for the kids or they seemed to struggle, I would buy the “shiny new thing” thinking that it would be better and they wouldn’t struggle as much.  For Karis, this was math.  For Ethan, this was reading and phonics.

We are using Math U See for the kids and while I LOVE it, Karis has still been struggling greatly.  She’s going into 6th grade and she’s on the 4th grade level and still struggling.  She can barely do basic division (2 digit by 1 digit with a  remainder).  So I was talking to Robert about Life of Fred math and telling him that maybe it would be a good fit for her because she loves reading (it’s story based).  Without him even saying anything, I said, “Wait… I just need to stick with something, don’t I?”  He agreed immediately and reminded me that hard doesn’t necessarily equal bad.  And she may just never be good at math and that’s okay.  And it’s okay that she’s on a level lower than her grade and it’s okay to take it slow.  He also reminded me that it’ll be so good for the kids if I stick with something for a full year.  And honestly, I need to stick with Math U See from now on because there is a DVD with a teacher teaching everything (and I’m terrible at math!).  He teaches it in a way that makes more sense than any teacher ever taught me.  There are also manipulatives and all of the kids make use of them every single day.

I REALLY want The Good and the Beautiful history, handwriting, nature journals, and another science unit.  But.  We have all that we need for those subjects right now.  While I love the set up of those, I need to be content with what we have.

I already have Story of the World Volume one… the book, audio book, activity book, historical fiction novels to go with it (9!), the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, and the Usborne Book of World History.  I have an amazing set up for history this year.  It would make NO sense to change.

Now. The reason why I love G&B is because the history covers all periods of history in one year (adding to it each year), it has fun activities, it has an amazing book of stories, worksheets, and a game for review.  But I can always get it next year!  No big deal!  I’m not even sure if I’ll want to change after we finish what we have… I may want to stick with Story of the World!

Also, I was looking at buying handwriting from G&B.  I ALMOST did.  Then my doctor and I were talking about my impulsive spending and reminded me that if I am buying something new even though I already have something for that subject (and causing final trouble), that’s a sign of being impulsive.  And she’s right!  It stopped me in my tracks!  I have Handwriting Without Tears, and the kids even like it!

Now.  Next year I will probably buy G&B because I love that it teaches handwriting through copywork.  It would cut out a step of our writing.  But I can wait till next year!  No big deal!

I was also looking at buying the G&B nature journals.  But I already have some from Simply Charlotte Mason!  They love them because they can watercolor right on the page (the pages are thick).

And… Science!  I have SO much to teach science.  I have one unit of G&B science already (which will last us about a semester), and I also have Apologia Astronomy.  AND LOTS of science books and encyclopedias to make my own units if I want.  I really have enough to make science work for a couple of years honestly.  Now.  When Karis is in 7th or 8th grade, I will be buying the junior high science books because she’s going to need them to prepare for high school (and honestly she LOVES science so she’ll be happy).  But I have a year or two before I need to do that (I can’t believe she’s already in 6th grade).

All this to say… I think I will finally have a FULL year in which I don’t buy anything new!  I have everything I need for at LEAST a full year (maybe more) and I am happy about that.  It’s weird, to be honest.

And… we are not going anywhere.  While camp ministry is HARD because especially lately Robert has been working a ton, we are content to stay right where we are.  We love the way Camp Eagle is run, we love the people (camp family!), we love our home, we love that we live on 1400 acres and there are hiking trails and a clear river to play in.  Moving to Camp Eagle has been the best thing that has happened to us!

Deciding to stick with something long-term actually takes away a lot of anxiety.  I have a major spending issue, then I feel bad and feel anxious after I have spent.  It’s so easy to buy online and I just throw money away that way.  We were going to have me spend only cash but it hasn’t worked out well (lots of reasons), but at least this next check I will only have cash to spend (and less than usual because we’re going to New Mexico in a few weeks and we need money for that).  I think we’ll actually be able to save up this year.  And do more fun things with the kids.

I’m feeling content, hopeful, and peaceful.  I know I will still have times of anxiety and depression (hopefully not, but I’m planning on it happening eventually), but I know I can work through them and just do what we need during those moments.  That doesn’t mean we need to move, it doesn’t mean I need to stop homeschooling, and it doesn’t mean I need to buy something new and shiny.  It just means we need to spend time in prayer and God’s word, I need to work through it, and I need to teach my kids to do both of those.