I’m so thankful that the weekend is coming. And I’m also happy that today is a “chill day.” I have a short list and my goal is to focus on self care! I have been off of Facebook for a … Continue reading
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
Wow. This week has been transformative for my body, soul, and mind. I had no idea what I needed, and I had no idea that my body could lead me there.
Last Sunday I wrote about how I’ve been struggling, then I ended the post with things that I was thankful for. I felt a huge weight lift after that post.
My family went on to go to town, play at the park, and have lunch at an amazing restaurant. It was good for our family to spend a day together. It has been a long time. So, that was #1 of what I needed.
We didn’t end up cleaning out the kids’ rooms that day because we ran out of time, so I decided to do it during the week.
Not only did I completely clean their rooms out (they were BAD y’all), I also made myself a new, quiet, relaxing, peaceful space. The kids had a craft room that they didn’t use often and when they did, they left it a disaster! It was also SO bad. So, I turned it into my own room!
Our house just needed a lot of TLC. I have let it go a lot over the past few years… trying to keep up but letting a lot of things slide.
For most people it wouldn’t be a big deal. But for me it affects my mental health greatly. Instead of getting up and moving, I would sleep all day because I couldn’t handle it. I felt like it was impossible to do any cleaning because the back up mess was so bad (if that makes sense). Then I would feel so guilty because I knew I shouldn’t be sleeping all day but I couldn’t stop. I was physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted.
So, I made a point to purge, clean, and organize the whole house this past week.
Monday I cleaned out Karis’ room. It took like 10 hours at least. It was so bad. Trash was everywhere. I threw away 2 huge black trash bags and a kitchen bag away full of stuff. I also put 2 tubs of things away in the attic and gave a lot of stuff away. It is night and day different and she’s sleeping so much better. She said that it’s so nice to not be tripping over stuff. I also made her a checklist to help her keep up with it (she asked for one and I also made one for the boys).
Tuesday I worked on my new office/hobby space/reading/workout (eventually) room. I also worked on it a bit today (adding some things on the walls and bringing our chair in from the living room). I am IN LOVE with my new space. It is just what I’ve envisioned.
Wednesday I worked on the boys’ room. They had a black trash bag of trash and I put away a tub of stuffed animals, etc. I organized their little trinkets and things and they are just in love with their room.
Thursday I cleaned the house. Our bedroom, bathrooms, dusting, floors, etc.
Friday I had jury duty and I was selected to be on the Grand Jury! Luckily we only meet two more times because our county is sooooo small. Lol! When I got home I took a short nap, then I picked up the kids from the bus. That evening I worked on our written routines, rules, consequences, rewards, and kids’ checklists. The kids are thrilled for these. They need this structure.
Yesterday I worked on my office/work out/reading/hobby/etc room (I need a name for it). I washed sheets and towels. I did more cleaning.
Here’s a fresh update to our pantry foods:
So right now, my house is pretty spotless and organized.
The beautiful thing… I am starting to wake up early because I’m falling asleep by about 10:00! And I sleep ALL night. I don’t wake up at all.
Okay… now onto what I’ve been learning!
- My relationship with Christ has grown by leaps and bounds this week. I can’t explain it except that the Holy Spirit has drawn me in. It wasn’t anything I did. I have missed spending time with Him for a long time, and I have had a lot of bitterness and doubt. I have struggled with trust and faith. I have also allowed other peoples’ beliefs, bitterness, etc affect me. I have decided to unfollow some people.
- I am capable of so much more than I have been telling myself I’m capable of. So much can happen because of thoughts, in positive and negative ways. My counselor in Frisco reminded me of that every time we met. She had me do exercises at home that reinforced that.
I worked for 8-10 hours most of the week. My body was sore but my spirit was stronger for it.
- My house needs to be clean and organized for my mental health. Not so that people will tell me how amazing I am. I have learned that I just cannot function if my house is a disaster. I also cannot function with clutter, period. I am working, still, on decluttering. My counselor reminded me the other day that “environment matters,” and I am a believer in this!
- I need to sit at my desk to blog. It’s my “work space.” I cannot think to blog at the kitchen table anymore. I get so distracted by everything around me. Also my mind is more clear because my house is more organized. So crazy how physical clutter causes clutter in my mind.
- I need structure and routine, and so do my kids. They asked for the checklists. The boys’ behavior has improved dramatically.
- Ethan got in big trouble at school on Tuesday. I didn’t freak out about it. I decided in that moment that I need to be more firm with him. I have been wavering because I have worried about his mental health, but I have determined that wavering is not good for him. He needs to know what’s expected and that there are consequences when he doesn’t follow those expectations. He was grounded from all electronics and friends for a week and that truly affected him. He knows that next time it will be longer and we can always add more consequences. He is going to counseling today to work on his anger management. That’s his biggest issue.
…Life is hard, but God is good!
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.
Whew. It’s only Wednesday and I feel like it should be Friday. This week has been long and it has been a struggle for Karis and I.
I’m currently sitting in our wonderful library sipping coffee (they have a little coffee bar!) and listening to the amazing library director teaching kiddos about alliteration and assonance in poetry and other writing. It’s pretty fun and kinda makes me miss teaching, but not really. We have a fantastic community of teachers, library employees, administration, and more! I also just signed up for Overdrive which is an app where I can check out ebooks and audiobooks on my phone and iPad!
Saturday the kids were riding their bikes at the basketball court. They were playing some sort of game. At some point Ethan threw an empty soda can on the ground and when Karis came up on it, she tried to avoid it, and she fell off her bike. She scraped her knee and hurt her wrist. The next morning she told me that she didn’t sleep at all because it hurt so bad. I wanted to take her in, but Robert wanted to give it a little bit of time because there was no swelling or bruising. She had some time off and on where it didn’t seem to hurt her as much (like when she played on the Wii!).
Robert and I made some pumpkin cookies and played lots of games (totally a side note).
She was in so much pain when I took this picture.
She fell asleep almost right away. The next morning she was thrilled that she could make a fist again! She seemed to be feeling somewhat better so we continued on with our plans. The kids didn’t have school on Monday so we went to Kerrville and my mom was going to hang out with them while I met with my sponsor and went to AA. Karis kept going back and forth about how she felt. She was hurting, she wasn’t hurting too badly, and so on. I had told my sponsor that I was going to take her in (then changed my mind again when she seemed okay). I ended up leaving all of the kids with my mom at the park and I went to Starbucks. After a little over an hour I called my mom to see how Karis was doing and she told me that she seemed to be hurting pretty badly and that it’s a little more swollen (they had gone for a walk in the park). I decided at that point to just go ahead and take her in.
We went to the urgent care clinic because they have the ability to do the X-rays right there. When we got there they said that only one doctor is doing the walk ins (they also have primary care doctors) and it would be about 1:30 before someone could see us. So we filled out paperwork and they set our appt time. We decided to go have lunch with my mom and the boys. We ate at Denny’s and Karis wouldn’t move her wrist the whole time.
It took a while but we finally got back to the see the doc and he was fantastic. He did an exam and pinpointed exactly where she was hurting the most. After the X-rays he told us that it looks like a significant break in her radius at the wrist. He said that he was going to put in a referral for an orthopedic doctor and that the nurses would do a splint until we could see the orthopedic. He also said that I would hear from him in a day or so after they get the final results from the radiologist. Karis and I were both surprised that it was broken (and her daddy!). It just looked so “normal.”
The hardest part about this whole thing is that it’s her writing hand. And she started school yesterday.
She woke up easily and was really excited in the morning. Unfortunately the excitement turned to difficulty almost immediately. (I love this picture!)
Yesterday was a really hard day for her. She was hurting, her splint is heavy, her sling rubs her neck, she was cold because we couldn’t figure out the best way to put her jacket on her with the sling, she had to write with her left hand, she spilled her lunch trying to carry it, she struggled with math, etc. She came home and cried and cried. Then when her daddy came home she cried some more. She told me last night that she already misses homeschooling (which is so hard for me). Her daddy made her favorite food last night (3 cheese and sausage yellow grits) and she just got to watch some stuff on her Kindle (on Kidstube) so she could zone out for a little while. She and I slept in the living room one more time because she has been sleeping so good there and she needed that sleep.
Oh, and the doctor called me and said that it is in fact broken (Karis was hoping that the doctor was wrong and this was a big part of her crying).
I asked her that if her arm wasn’t broken would her day have been as bad and she said no. The arm being broken is what is making everything so difficult.
My friend reminded me last night that “we can do hard things” so I told Karis that when she feels like something is too hard, just tell herself “I can do hard things.” She said that she doesn’t believe that. But we will keep working with her. She is going to learn perseverance through all of this.
This broken bone thing is new to all of us. I never broke a bone. My brother never broke a bone. Robert never broke a bone. None of my kids have broken bones (until now!). So it feels like a big deal (and it’s costing a lot!).
Today I came to town and had lunch with each kiddo. When I saw Karis, she seemed pretty happy! She told me that it has still been hard, but better than yesterday. It helps that it’s not raining and cold today! And she’s slowly getting used to using her left hand for everything. She was also really excited about choir this afternoon. I’m happy to be back here, too 🙂 (choir is in the library).
After I had lunch with each kiddo, I had lunch at my favorite Tex Mex restaurant by myself :-). Then I went to the post office and decided to drive around a bit. I haven’t seen much than what’s on the main highway, and since I had time, I decided to check things out. There are actually some pretty cute houses! It’s a very low income town so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Pretty much all of the houses are small, but I love that they are all very different. There are brick, rock, and wood houses and some trailers. But they’re all mixed together.
She just got out of school and she’s sitting next to me reading. She had a good rest of the day and I feel hopeful! Tomorrow morning we will be meeting with the orthopedic doctor. I’m hoping that she doesn’t need surgery (I don’t think so, but you never know). I’m looking forward to her getting her regular cast and just moving forward.
We can do hard things (with the power of Christ!).
I have had yet another long few days thanks to anxiety. I will feel good for a few days and think that I’m “over the hump” for it to all come flooding back even worse than before. This over-breathing/hyperventilation syndrome … Continue reading
Friday was a fun day home with my kiddos. It started out rough with a major fight over the Wii, but once I grounded them from electronics it got better. We colored and decorated eggs and did some crafts. The kids also played outside all afternoon with their friends.
Robert was supposed to be home but he ended up having to work. Oh well.
Yesterday was a great day at my parents’ for Easter. The kids had 135 eggs to hunt and they found all but a few (whoops). We had a fantastic lunch of ham, beans, and homemade potato salad.
We ended up deciding to come home yesterday instead of today. I got their Easter baskets set up last night. We kept it cheap and simple this year. A few cookies that a friend of mine made, glow sticks, Reese’s bunny, bubble gum eggs, and a fun cup that matched their personality. They were happy with what they got :-).
This morning we watched part of the worship service on Watermark’s website, and we praised through YouTube videos. We didn’t go to church for various reasons, but mostly because my anxiety can’t handle it right now.
We had a great lunch of grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, salad, and the kids’ favorite Hawaiian rolls.
We read The Flowering Cross and made our cross cake. This is our yearly tradition. They’re getting a little big for it, but I will keep doing it as long as they let me. They didn’t want to do Resurrection Eggs :-(.
We also cleaned the house and got ready for the week. In a few hours we are celebrating with our camp family! Lots of celebration!
From the chapter of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, “How it Works”:
“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.”
“Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…”
“Above everything, we alcoholics much be rid of this selfishness.”
“We had to have God’s help.”
“First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.”
“He is the Father, and we are His children.”
We read half of this chapter on Monday in the AA Women’s Big Book meeting and these bold words stood out to me. I have been stuck in this for a long time. I am self-centered, self-seeking; most of all I have had a lot of fear and self-pity. I sit and focus on my illnesses and difficulties in life.
I posted this on Sunday:
“This describes me 100% right now. Mental illness, EMDR, counseling, alcoholism, AA, fighting cravings, taking care of my family, just getting through each day… takes a lot out of a person. I feel that I am a strong person (thanks to Jesus), but I am worn. Starting a new week tomorrow with hope in Jesus, knowing that I can get through the week because He’s with me.”
While all this is true for me, I was really hoping for pity… I was acting in self-pity and I wanted people to encourage me. This is self-centered. I wanted attention because of my issues… and in reality, this is me trying to make them my identity.
I want people to see me as strong. I want people to see me as brave, courageous, and honest. I don’t want people to see me as having self-pity and being self-centered. I want people to see my love for others. I want to be known for my love for Jesus. My identity is in Jesus first and foremost. Without Him, I am nothing.
Something else that’s really important is the reminder that I need to get my butt up and outside moving. Not for weight loss, but for time to commune with God and for mental/emotional health. I hiked Tuesday… I took it slow, took pictures, noticed the flowers, listened to the birds sing, listened to the river running, and was just in the peaceful element of nature. It was perfect. I talked to my counselor about it Tuesday night and she really wants me to make this a priority. It’s hard in the moment when I don’t feel like doing anything, but it is so stinkin’ helpful that I need to do it even when I don’t feel like it. My counselor that I had in Frisco would tell me that when I can’t think my way into acting, act my way into thinking. So in other words, even when I don’t feel like it, just get up and do it and it will help me mentally/emotionally.
It was a beautiful day. Sunny and the perfect temperature.
I used to exercise obsessively when I was dieting, and definitely not for mental/emotional health… mostly to try to lose weight. I counted steps, calories, etc. I would exercise to be able to eat or I would exercise to make up for what I ate. This is not healthy. I sold my FitBit because I was tired of feeling guilty if I didn’t reach my 10,000 steps a day, and when I hiked, I would obsess about getting as many steps as I could, not enjoying it. I now use Map My Walk, only to see how many miles because I’m curious. It’s not something I have to keep up with every day. And I can hike without the app… it’s all about curiosity.
The program with my dietitian is called Attuned Eating for Attuned Living.
Every week I have audios to listen to, worksheets, and lots of readings (including some books). She also goes over my food journals most days and we have a weekly Zoom meeting so we see each other and talk to one another. Sometimes there are one or two more ladies in the meeting.
Today we talked about something that I have been struggling with… my coffee and Coke Zero intake. She thinks it’s keeping me from being able to listen to my hunger and fullness cues. I drink so much coffee in the morning that I have a hard time eating breakfast… then I’m shaky by lunch time and over-eat. She also pointed out that there is a reason why I feel the need to have a lot of coffee and Coke Zero (only drinking those and drinking very little water). She thinks I have a habit to the process. Also, I’m using my drinks to replace alcohol, which means that I’m still trying to not feel certain things. It’s an emotional crutch. She wants me to be journaling about how I’m feeling when I drink coffee and Coke Zero.
We’re also focusing on my eating breakfast every day so that I’m not starving and shaky by lunch. The most common thing that I’ve been eating is breakfast tacos. Potato, bacon, and egg with salsa and cheese. It keeps me comfortable until lunch. Today I had homemade Greek yogurt and steel cut oatmeal. I’m pretty hungry now, but it’s almost lunch time so I’m fine.
The most important thing that she’s doing is helping me to learn to love myself just the way I am. She told me that gaining a little bit of weight is normal as my body overcomes the constant dieting that I did for so many years. My body is trying to find it’s set point. Where it’s supposed to be without dieting. I may end up losing weight eventually. But the most important thing is to not weigh myself at all because it changes my emotional state big time.
The most important thing that I have learned this week is that I need to make God’s word and fellowship with His people priority.
I got very behind on my Bible study because of dietitian homework, driving to and from town, and being depressed and anxious. It’s been a rough few weeks.
I was going to skip Bible study since I was so behind. Robert did everything but push me out the door.
We had technical difficulties so we ended up having Bible study at my house, watching the DVD on my tv, and having coffee and discussion. It was really great! From now on the Bible study is going to be at my house. I’m so excited about that because it’s built in accountability. I also love to host women in my home… especially since I’m alone most of the time!
We decided to start fresh next week (turns out, I wasn’t the only one behind), so now I’m right on schedule!
I started it as soon as we finished!
This book (1 Peter) talks a lot about trials and suffering. It’s just right for what I’ve gone through and continue to. The good news is that it says “for a little while.” That’s hopeful!
So… through struggle comes strength and growth.
Between AA 2-3 times a week, step work, meeting with my sponsor weekly, working with a dietitian that wants to teach me to love myself the way that I am, my counselor working with me on my self worth, daily time in the word, constant worship, church (becoming members), and so much more, I’m growing so much!
Through working hard, I’m learning more about myself and my calling.
Like I’ve mentioned… I have been struggling with anxiety and depression lately. I’m not sure if I’m in a bipolar low or if something triggered it, but it’s been rough. Even last night it was really bad. I went to bed really early because I couldn’t function (actually, I slept on the couch because I just couldn’t get comfortable on my bed).
But… this morning… this morning I woke up feeling good. And that’s all I can ask for. One moment at a time! Even as I type this I am sitting on my back porch, listening to the birds singing, with a beautiful view of the hills. It’s foggy and sunny at the same time. So pretty! The temperature is perfect. I’m in short sleeves. It’s in the 60s, but warm with the sun on me.
The smell of the dew makes me happy… all of these things bring back good memories of last spring when I started homeschooling the boys. While I had a lot of anxiety about homeschooling them, I have good memories as well! I’m thankful for the time I had, and I might eventually be able to homeschool them again one day. We’ll just see what happens!
I’m thankful for Jesus’ unconditional love.
I’m thankful for bedtime reading and silly pictures with my kids. I’m thankful for the time I have with each kiddo in their bed at night (cuddling, talking, praying). I don’t do it every night, but enough. It’s my favorite time of day.
I’m thankful for the time I have to take good care of myself. This is what keeps me afloat most days.
I’m grateful for 145 days sober! I’m so close to 5 months! I can hardly believe it. It has gone fast. While I still have days in which I want alcohol, it’s usually fleeting. I hope one day I won’t even want it anymore! One day at a time!
I’m thankful for AA and learning so much through the Big Book. I’ll be writing about what I’m learning in a new post coming up!
I’m grateful for my LuLaRoe leggings that help me to be comfortable. I’m thankful that I’m learning to feel more comfortable in my own skin, despite a 35 pound weight gain these past few years (10-12 of those just in a few months). This is also a one day at a time thing, though. Even last night I was struggling with body image. But most days I’m feeling better about my body.
What are you grateful for on this Grati-Tuesday?
I have so much to talk about (my counseling appointment, my meetings with my dietitian, etc), but I am just sitting in self pity right now.
I wrote this on FB last night:
I am so mad that I have the illnesses that I do. Without my medication (and even sometimes with medication) it is life threatening. Without my doctor, I couldn’t get my medication. Without the therapy that I have done and continue to do, I wouldn’t be able to work through stuff to get through each day. And along those same lines, addiction is an illness as well that is also life threatening. All of this is in my brain and I can’t do anything about it. These illnesses keep me from being able to work and have a normal life. These illnesses keep me from being able to homeschool like I would love to do.
I just have to continue to trust that God has a plan for it all and He will be glorified. Cause tonight I’m just mad.
The fact that it’s so hard to take the meds that work because of not being able to afford them is the most difficult part of it all.
Add in the trauma that I’ve been through and am working through, and I have a lot to deal with.
I was talking with a friend and she told me to find something that I would enjoy and try to use it to snap myself out of this self pity, but I just have no desire for anything right now. I may force myself out to hike, we’ll see.
All I can do is press into Jesus. He will use this for His glory, and He will be glorified through it.
I go before you now.
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
And though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you
More than you know
No evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
And oh, let your faith arise
And lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go
Come to me, I’m everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything
And I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
And I am with you
Wherever you go
When the storm rages
I won’t be afraid
I have locked eyes
On You face to face
Your voice I will follow
Your eyes I will see
I’ll come a little closer
Come close to me