The Hard Stuff… Processing Through My Fear, Falling into the Gospel

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

Hello Wednesday and Fine Arts loop, Writing, Morning Time

I had a hard time falling asleep last night and I’ve been up since 3:50 this morning.  While it was frustrating, I’m thankful for the quiet time that I had alone this morning.  I drank coffee, did my Bible study, planned my day, and caught up on my March monthly calendar (appointments, activities, and meals).

Then I decided  that I had Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers books (just a few) and Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists books (a lot!).  I also found the classical CD’s that I have.

I found my art appreciation kit.  It’s paintings with art study on the back (questions, etc).

I remembered I had Aesop’s Fables.

I pulled out my poetry living book.

I pulled out the novel that Karis is going to study next week.

I pulled out a journal that has blank pages to use for nature journaling.

I remembered that I had these Shakespeare for Children books.

We’re going to start with this one.  We’ll read this book, then read the original on Kindle (free!).

I organized my little read aloud/fine arts/Bible area.

My neighbor is letting us borrow this so I don’t have to buy it!  Karis started it today and no tears!  She did a good job as well!

More poetry books (Poetry for Young People).

Karis did most of her school while I was having my meeting with my dietitian.  I love that she’s independent, but also enjoys doing things with me.

Here she is doing a written narration of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Then she did art.  Today we learned a little bit about Da Vinci.  We learned that he not only was an artist, but also an inventor.  Today she drew a picture of an invention that she would create (a machine to clean the house).

I have since gotten my one load of laundry done, dishes done, swept, had breakfast and a snack, had 8 cups of water, showered, and now I’m blogging and eating lunch!

Next week we are going to add in a Fine Arts loop.  Basically this means that I have Fine Arts subjects that I want to do, but not even once a week.  I just put them in order and we go in order, not paying attention to the day of the week.  So if we miss a day, we just move on to the next thing.  I learned about this in the book Teaching from Rest.  I also learned about morning time from that book.  It’s fantastic!

So my fine arts loop will have the following:

  • Shakespeare
  • Art appreciation
  • Artist study
  • Music appreciation
  • Musician study
  • Poetry
  • Aesop’s Fables
  • Geography

Our morning time (every day) consists of:

  • Quiet time (Bible study)
  • Mom/daughter devotional
  • Poetry memorization
  • Fine Arts loop

We start morning time at around 8:00 (after we have gotten ready for the day, had breakfast, etc).

PE will be hiking and Karis will sometimes ride her bike.  We’re about to go for a hike this afternoon in this beautiful weather!

Then we have choir and book fair at the library in Rocksprings.

Life is good!

Learning and Growing with Every New Day

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.”

“…self-seeking…”

“…self-centered, egocentric…”

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.

Grati-Tuesday, February 21st

I woke up at 5:15 this morning feeling such peace.  This is a new thing (the past few months).  I love getting up early, making my bed, getting dressed, tidying the house, making coffee, lighting a candle, then waking the … Continue reading

Raising a Self-Disciplined Child

For the past several weeks/month I have been doing a lot of things for the kids including making their beds; cleaning their rooms (ish); washing, drying, folding, and putting away their laundry; and loading the dishwasher.  I do all of this because I’m home and it seems easier for me to take care of everything (especially since they aren’t home much).

Robert and I have been talking and he is worried that I’m enabling them by doing so much for them, and he’s right.

I got this book at the library yesterday; I just started reading it and I’m already motivated!

Raising a Self-Disciplined Child: Help Your Child Become More Responsible, Confident, and Resilient.

img_8887

Today I decided to update their chore charts and start sticker charts for chores.  For every sticker they will receive $0.20.  So they will receive $1-2 a week.  Their chore charts reflect what needs to be done, but some chores won’t be done every day.  They will not receive money for homework.  It’s just on there because they like to be able to check things off :-).

I hope to teach them some money management through this.  I don’t want them to grow up like me and spend every cent that they have.  I want to teach them to save, give, and spend what’s left.  Ethan takes after me in many ways, including how he spends money (but he chooses to do extra chores often to have more money).  Karis and Levi don’t really spend.

This is our updated multi-purpose “hub.”  It has our meal planning, events calendar (for the month), chore charts, and sticker charts.  Below it are baskets.  One is for backpacks and one is for library books and it has my lunch box in it.

img_8891

img_8886

img_8896

img_8893

img_8894

I imagine that I’ll learn a lot more as I read.  Ultimately, I have good kids.  They have their days, but when I ask them to do something they don’t argue (well most of the time).  They have good behavior at school.  They are polite.  They include kids that need to be included.  They work hard.  They eat what’s given to them (sometimes they try to get out of it, but they do it).  They do their homework without a fight.  They read more than they have to.

I just want to teach them to be more responsible.

It’ll be good!

In the evenings we have a routine.  They shower (every other day).  We read out of a book (right now we’re reading Wayside Stories) and we sing and pray.  I plan to start reading a Bible book that I got when I was homeschooling called Who Is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?).  I had given it to a neighbor and she’s not using it, so I decided to start it again.

whoisgod

Life is good.  I’m feeling completely at peace about the final decisions we have made for the kids.  I love the school, the teachers, the kids, and the parents.  I love that they have the opportunities that they do because they go to school there.  I love that they get free meals :-).  I love that they don’t have a ton of homework.  I love that they are thriving!  I went to the school yesterday for their choir and am just so impressed with everything!  The library is amazing.  We made the right decision.  Now I can just learn to live every day here inviting people over, making meals for people, and taking good care of myself!

Grati-Tuesday, February 14th

gratituesday-for-blog

I’m struggling today.  I have many things to be grateful for, but I’m still struggling.  I will write a post on that in a bit.  But for now I will try to focus on the good!

I’m so thankful for this man.  He has been there supporting me through hospitalizations for mental illness, treatment for alcoholism, and through leaving countless jobs because of all of this.  He loves me more than I could imagine a man loving a woman.  He’s amazing.

img_8317

My babies.

img_8847

Our camp family (and my parents, Meemaw, and Grandma)

img_8749

I spent time yesterday teaching Karis how to bake my sugar cookies on her own (she had to bake cookies for school).

img_8846

These cookies were made and decorated by a friend here at camp.  She’s talented!

img_8844

I got the kids a little something for Valentines this year.  I don’t normally do this.  I let them eat their cookies before school today!  That made their day.

img_8855

I spent today working on my blog and drinking coffee.  Great for a cold day like today!

img_8859

I’m 125 days sober today!  It gets easier every day!

img_8860

Also thankful for:

  • God’s word (and She Reads Truth Bible studies)
  • The fact that God worked out all the details to make it so I can go to town on Mondays instead of Wednesdays… which means the kids can do the community choir :-).
  • The kids being able to be involved in extra curricular activities
  • Restful days at home
  • A clean home
  • Laundry caught up every day
  • Self care

I could go on and on apparently.  This brightened my day!  Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!

These are a Few of My Favorite Things and 100 Days Sober!

Today is 100 days sober!  I’m celebrating by not giving in even though my husband is out of town and it would be so easy to drink.  I’m going to stay strong!!

I’m also now on Step 8 and will meet with my sponsor Monday to see what Step 8 will entail.

img_8180

I love this Lion King shirt, my little black sweater, my bed, and my quilt on my bed!

img_8136

These are my favorite pair of shoes that I’ve ever owned.

img_7932

A new Camp Eagle shirt with my favorite colors!

img_8179

Silly pictures with my family and a picture of all the kids hugging!

img_8161

img_8160

img_8171

Time in the word in the morning (with She Reads Truth, my Life Recovery Bible, 24 Hours a Day, a candle, and coffee).

img_8187

My favorite Facebook group: Healthy Habits, Happy Moms.  The ladies in the group have been so supportive of me with my sobriety!

img_8193

Online AA @ In the Rooms

img_8188

A beautiful sky this morning.

img_8185

Brene Brown quotes… especially this relevant one.

img_8178

My daily plan each day… it keeps me focused.

img_8194

My favorite breakfast: homemade granola in homemade yogurt!

img_8191

Robert’s famous guacamole!

img_8034

My homemade bread

img_8004

homemadebread

Coffee (on sale for CHEAP), Coke Zero (HEB brand), and La Croix water.  All of my favorite drinks!

img_7935

My favorite Coke Zero cup.  Keeps it ice cold!

img_8189

My tree wall!

img_8192

The beautiful land that we live on!  I went hiking with a friend today, and I really want to start doing this more often.  It was perfect.  70 degrees and sunny.

img_8198

img_8196

img_8195

Even though life is hard, there are so many little things that I enjoy and it’s worth it to get through each day!  And sober!

Grati-Tuesday and Update on Simplifying and Organizing

grati-tuesday

This past week has been rough.  I went through a lot of severe anxiety, cravings, and depression.  This weekend was incredible and a nice change from the past week.  So I’m thankful.

I’m grateful that I spent Saturday focused on my kids.  We got candy at HEB, went to see a movie (Sing), and went out to eat at Chili’s.  We got home kind of late, but I let them stay up and play on the Wii.  They just had a good day all around!

I’m grateful for my family.

img_7778

img_7905

img_8064

I’m grateful for God’s word, She Reads Truth, and my online journal (Penzu).

img_8134

img_7906

img_7946

img_7823

img_7821

I’m grateful for the little things.

img_8028

img_7932

img_7903

I’m grateful for online AA.  This will save me so much time and money!

img_8029

I’m grateful for the ability to buy groceries without feeling guilty.

img_7909

I’m grateful that I had energy on Sunday to be super productive.  You can read about it in my post: Weekend Prep, January 15th.

Yesterday I woke up feeling horrible.  Terrible headache, stuffy nose and ears, dizzy, very sore throat.  I thought I was coming down sick.  Robert was off so he told me to go back to bed.  I slept another 3 hours and woke up at 10:15 feeling much better.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get ready to go to AA quickly enough, so I ended up staying home.  But I’m grateful that Robert was off so that I could go back to bed!

After some time resting, I’m grateful that I had a lot of energy to do more work.  I wrote this post: Simplifying and Organizing.  I ended up organizing my room and closet and Levi’s room and closet (his room only took like 10 minutes, but his closet was pretty rough).

I got rid of so many clothes.  A large black trash bag full in my room and a kitchen trash bag in Levi’s room.

img_8106

img_8110

img_8097

img_8098

img_8099

img_8109

img_8120

img_8122

Robert took Ethan to buy food for their Big Bend trip this weekend, so I took the other two to our favorite restaurant in Rocksprings.  It’s so amazing.

When I got home, I got to work to prep breakfasts (smoothie bags with frozen banana, blueberry, and kale and fresh strawberry; protein banana chocolate chip muffins) and lunches (cottage cheese or gouda and deli meat; fresh veggies and hummus; Triscuits; boiled egg… and nuts for snack) for the week.

img_8130

I’m grateful for all the energy and desire to do what I did.  And I’m grateful for nights to spend with my hubby.  The kids go to bed early so we have that time.

I have so much to be grateful for.  I could go on and on.

 

Update… and… Life

Thursday was really difficult.  I was extremely depressed.  I couldn’t function.  I stayed in my pajamas all day.  I didn’t do a thing.  I couldn’t even pick up the kids.

That night I realized I didn’t take my Latuda (one of my bipolar meds) the night before.  I had it sitting on my kitchen table so that I would remember to take it with dinner (you’re supposed to take it with food, and I hadn’t been doing that), and I didn’t take it!

I took it Thursday night!

I woke up yesterday with a whole new outlook on life.  Who knew that missing my med one night would affect me that badly.  It’s crazy!  I’ve never missed it so I didn’t know.  Who knows if that’s truly what it was, but I’m thankful to not feel that way today.

Yesterday I decided to go to town.  Getting up and moving really helped me.  I went to counseling (it went well), and I bought groceries.  I came home and wrote a Grocery Geek post and my two week meal plan.  All things that make me happy :-).

I updated my budget log, and it made me happy because I am finally getting good at sticking with a strict budget.  I went over last check, but I realized what I did wrong and will do better this time.  It’s a learning experience, and I’m getting it figured out.  I went to the store yesterday with the budget to spend $100, and I spent $102.  I am getting better and better at this!

img_7923

Then the fam and I ate pizza and watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  I bought it on Amazon and will buy one a week to get through each one (Friday night is our movie night!).

I decided yesterday that I’m not going to go to town on Fridays anymore.  I won’t be seeing my current counselor, most likely, because I’m starting with a new one soon for EMDR treatment.  I will be seeing her on Wednesdays.  I don’t like any AA’s other than the women’s one (I’ve tried a lot and the others are triggering), so I will just go to town for AA on Monday and Wednesday.  I will do AA online a few days a week.  That means I will only be going to town three days a week (Monday and Wednesday for AA and Sunday for church).  This is exciting.  I will do my grocery shopping on Sunday or Monday from now on.  Probably Monday so that the kids won’t be with me :-).

Robert is working this weekend (he works every third weekend) so the kids and I are going to town to see Sing and go to Chili’s for dinner.  I actually have money to do this because I budgeted for it!

Tomorrow will be my prep day for the week!  I will bake bread, make Green Smoothie Kodiak Cakes to freeze, cut vegetables, make breakfast taco filling, clean up the house (with the help of the kids), and work on laundry (Robert is off Monday, and he can finish laundry while I’m at AA!).  Tomorrow evening I will write my “Weekend Prep” post.  We will have fish tacos and homemade coleslaw for dinner.

The kids don’t have school Monday.  Karis and Ethan will be doing some makeup work and Levi will do his normal weekend spelling (yes, he has homework on the weekend, in first grade…).

On another note… dealing with all of this these past few days has taken my mind off of food.  I have just been “eating normal” these past few days.  Lots of veggies, but also pizza.  I like this.  I think I can keep going forward with this plan.  I already did it, but I was focusing so much on it that I didn’t realize I already had balance and ate “normal.”  Body positivity involves loving my body the way it is and eating normal.  Easy peasy.

One another thing that I’ve been dealing with is medication costs (something else that threw me for a loop on Thursday).  I called HEB pharmacy (where I was trying to set up my prescriptions from Walmart since I shop there more), and one of my prescriptions was $160 (with insurance)!  I ended up transferring it to Walmart and it was free (with insurance)!  I couldn’t understand.  I called the insurance yesterday and she said she couldn’t figure out why it was free at Walmart because when she ran it, it was $160 at either place!  So, I called Walmart and asked for their cash price and it was only $38!  I called HEB and asked for their cash price and it was over $200!  What?!  Well, I decided at that point that it makes so much more sense to stick with Walmart even though I don’t really shop there anymore.

One other prescription that I’ve been stressed about is my Latuda.  With insurance, it is $1000 (because we have to meet our deductible before we have copays).  I don’t pay anything right now because I am enrolled in a patient assistance program.  I have been stressed because it runs out after a year, and I know I’m coming up on a year.  I got enrolled because of my previous doctor’s office doing the work for me.  I talked to my counselor about it yesterday and she told me I can do it myself!  So today I went online and found the enrollment form and the fax number to send it to!  Whew!  That’s huge!!!  So, I’m going to work on that once we receive our W2 and do taxes.

So what I’m remembering is that life is hard but God is good and He provides.  Always.

I read She Reads Truth: The Bread of Life yesterday and it was fitting.

The true miracle of the Bread of Life is that Jesus is all we need. All that other stuff we are hoping will fill our bellies up? It is nothing compared to Christ Himself.”

img_7906

Fighting Through the Difficulty

img_2639

Just Tuesday night I was telling Robert that I wanted to homeschool Karis again next year.  He was open to praying about it and working through the details of possibly doing this.  He was less concerned about me homeschooling her than he is about me homeschooling all three kids.  I miss being with her, homeschooling just her, having lots of “girl time,” etc.  I also know that she really enjoyed being the only one homeschooled.

I began talking with a few friends about it and quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be a possibility (at least at this point I think that’s the case).

I really need to continue to go to AA 2-3 times a week, see my counselor, be a sponsor to other women, etc.  I cannot do that if I am homeschooling.  While I was really sad to come to this realization, I knew it was for the best.

Then today I got a very difficult phone call.

Karis’ teacher called me saying that Karis cried and cried this morning.  Uncontrollably.

She tells her teacher all the time that she’s tired. Her teacher said that she has a lot of anxiety every day. She doesn’t open up to the other kids. She’s struggling with-in herself to feel confident. She struggles like I do.

Her teacher said that she said that I’m too busy for her.

She has been waking up in the middle of the night, not able to go back to sleep, because of anxiety.

This is so new.  I mean, last year she really struggled because of a bully teacher (he would put her in the corner, tell her that she was on a second grade level, tell me I needed to spank her for daydreaming, etc).  But once I pulled her out, she was doing fantastic!  I’m so worried about her.

Her teacher is sending home paperwork for a counselor to see her for free at school. I guess that’s a start.

I’m going to take her out this weekend on a mommy/daughter date. She needs my attention.

I think I will try to make “girl time” a regular thing.  She has told me that I give the boys more attention, but I didn’t think it was this bad.

I guess if this doesn’t help, we will go back to addressing the possibility of homeschooling again.

I do think, though, that this is a situation in which I need to teach her to find strength and courage with Jesus, be confident in who she is in Him, love herself, pray when she’s feeling afraid and overwhelmed, and to work through the difficulty.  It’s so hard :-(.  I’m just praying for the best way to handle this situation as I truly want what’s best for her.

Please pray with me!