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.

Finally Thriving, Not Just Surviving

The past 2 weeks have been long and stressful and amazing.  I was in town 10 times in those 2 weeks (either Kerrville or Rocksprings).  Karis broke her arm and we went to urgent care on Monday the 9th, Karis started school on the 10th, choir was on the 11th, we went to the orthopedic doctor on the 12th, the 14th we went to Wild Seed Farms and Robert and I had a date day (amazing day!!!!!), the 15th we went to the Alumni meeting at La Hacienda and I got my 1 year chip (and we picked up the kids), the 16th I went to AA (and Robert took Ethan to the ER that night for asthma), the 17th I went to town to get Ethan’s steroid med filled, the 18th was choir, the 19th Karis met with her partner for science fair at the library, and Friday Ethan and I went to the doc for a follow up and we got groceries.  The urgent care, ER, and doctors were not good (well, the docs and stuff were great but having to go wasn’t good), but the rest was!  And I’m really starting to feel better.  I’m having a few physical symptoms that I’m not sure about, but I’m still just taking it one day at a time.  I might go back to the doctor eventually.  It’s nothing extreme.  And tomorrow I will see my psychiatrist.  That’ll be good!  I don’t think I really need to make any changes.  I feel like things are going better and while I do have anxiety still, I don’t want to take more meds and I think it’s just something I have to live with.  I’ve learned a lot of coping skills and put those into place when I’m struggling.  Things are going well for the first time in a long time!

Tuesday we had “HAF (Home Away From) Homes.”  This is time with our gap year students (well, 3 of them).  We share with our neighbors who we love deeply.  It’s such a sweet time!

Friday was so fun.  I had an entire day with Ethan.  The appointment with the doctor went super well.  We got all of his asthma meds refilled and we’re going to focus on getting him completely stable in that area.  He got a flu shot.  Then we got donuts and got some blood work done to see what he’s allergic to.  We got groceries (I spent very little and am so proud of myself!) and we got Halloween costumes.  Then went to eat at a Chinese restaurant (Ethan’s choice).

This past weekend was so productive.

Saturday I cleaned the house nearly spotless.  It has been a long time coming!  I have just been having the kids clean it and obviously that means that things weren’t being cleaned super well. So I deep cleaned the bathrooms.  I cleaned the floors.  I cleaned and organized my bedroom (desperately needed to be done… I had piles everywhere).  I got caught up on laundry.  Washed some sheets (I need to finish that this week), and washed towels and bathroom mats.  The kids cleaned their rooms (not spotless, but good enough for now).  I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.

After the kids cleaned, they enjoyed time with their friends and Levi enjoyed time reading fall and Halloween books that I pulled out :-).  At the end of the day we watched a movie as a family (Spiderwick Chronicles… so good!).

Sunday I did a bunch of food prep!  Mini whole wheat pumpkin banana muffins.  Homemade whole wheat bread (though it didn’t rise real well).  I made lunches for 4 days.  I bagged snacks.  Cut cantaloupe.  Cut veggies for the veggie tray.  Froze pumpkin in candy molds for smoothies.

The kids were out playing with friends this whole time.  The boys went fishing in the river.  Karis played with her friends.  I love that they have each other!

Robert worked, then he had to go pick up the camp jeep because it broke down.

At the end of the day I did a quick pick up of the house, finished the dishes, set the coffee up for the next day, signed the kids folders, and did a little bit of spot sweeping.  I went to bed exhausted and fell asleep pretty quickly!  It was so great!

I really think having all three kids in school is the best for our family.  I feel so much better mentally/emotionally.  The kids are thriving.  Karis is actually doing so much better this time.  She feels somewhat stressed, but she’s handling it very well.  I encourage her constantly and she has amazing teachers.  She’s making A’s and B’s!  A 100 in science and even an 86 in math!  This is HUGE, especially since she came in late in the school year.  Also, she’s doing well writing with her left hand since her write arm has a cast on it!

Yesterday I went to AA (always amazing!), then I had a nice lunch on the patio of Chili’s afterwards.  Then Walmart, then home!  We had dinner with friends last night.  It was so amazing!

I always get my Sonic Coke Zero with lime before AA.  And there’s a dollar there because they take up donations to pay for the fee for using the building, material, etc.  That’s my AA Big Book.  We read “How It Works” last week and this week.  It’s my favorite chapter in the book.  It tells you how to work the 12 steps.

The burger was a Smokehouse Cheeseburger.  It had a special sauce, crumbled bacon, 2 amazing onion rings, and all the veggies.  It was so amazing, and of course I love their fries.

Today I’m hosting ladies’ Bible study here.  It’s always a sweet time of fellowship.

Life is good!!  Praise God for this!!

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

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

Night and Day

I thought I would give a little bit of an update on things.

I am night and day better from where I was this time last week.

I have settled into the idea that I will only be homeschooling Karis, and I’ve learned to be good with that. She does better at home, she is mostly independent, and she is fun to work with. There is no stress or anxiety involved in it. I’m looking forward to digging into things with her. And we have a good relationship and she’s now a pre-teener so this is good for us.  I plan to really dive into stuff with her and learn along side her.  And on the days that I don’t feel up to it, she is capable of doing everything on her own!

I hope to do Poetry Teatime every Friday with the girls at the camp.  It will be so fun.

The boys are so excited about going back to school, and honestly they do really well in school. I’ve talked with their teachers from this past year (one emailed me and one I emailed first), and they are so happy that they will be back. They were so encouraging and positive.  The boys will learn and grow at school. We will have a regular routine/schedule every day which will be good for my anxiety and good for my Ethan’s anxiety as well. He needs that routine.

I plan to still do some nature studies with all of the kids.  We will try to take a few “field trips” but not as many as when I would have had them home.

And I am happy to be able to focus on getting healthier mentally and physically. As you know, I have mental illness, and I also went to rehab last fall for alcoholism (which is a mental illness as well). I need to be able to focus on keeping myself healthy and sober. In addition, I’m trying to get back to health physically (using the Balance 365 program) because I haven’t been doing too well there, either. So I guess this is just a season of health for me. Maybe once I’m healthier, I can bring my boys back home (if that’s God’s plan). It’ll probably be a while if that does happen. In the meantime I’m happy about playing with the kids until the boys’ school starts on August 23rd. We were going to start school next week. And I’m looking forward to doing some back-to-school shopping and all of that.

Family camp this week has been pretty great so far.  We have 2 more full days, then we leave on Saturday.  I haven’t felt good the whole time, though, because of my cough and constant nausea.  I’m also really tired all the time.  So I’ve just been resting as much as I can.  We have done 1-2 activities per day and played in the game room a lot.  We have had great meals, fun themed nights, and I’ve enjoyed time with friends.  We have been gone from home for a full week already, which is hard for me because I’m a homebody and an introvert.  I’m making it, though, and am trying to just enjoy the time that I have with my family all together!  It is a blessing to have this opportunity.

Here are some pictures of our week so far:

IMG_2106

Build-your-own pizzas

I actually did the Cross Bows!

The kids love the foam pit, but not as much as last year.

Family devotionals and outdoor worship

RC Cars were fun!

Patriotic night

Patriotic night ended up being indoors.

Drift Ball ended in some minor injuries.

Tonight is Luau night.

The next two days are packed full of fun activities.  Paint war, lake front, date night, hiking, more RC cars, kickball game, dessert, and a dance.

Happy Weekend! Busy Saturday!

Yesterday I met my mom in Kerrville for her to pick the kids up and take them to her house.  They are there till Monday.  I spent a lot of the day today being lazy.

At about 3:45 I had had enough of that so I got up and got busy!  I cut up veggies and baked some muffins.  Robert came home about the time that I was going to cut a cantaloupe and honey dew.  He ended up cutting it for me, then he pan-seared some salmon and chicken breast for me to have over salads this coming week.  I bagged mixed nuts for snacks, made pumpkin steel cut oats in the instant pot, tore lettuce and put it in a big container to have salads, made homemade dressings (creamy buffalo and balsamic vinaigrette), and made quinoa.

I also have peeled boiled eggs (I buy them boiled and peeled from Walmart!) and Greek yogurt to grab for snacks or to go with meals!

I feel like I am set up for success!  It feels so good.

All of this work only took a few hours!  It helps that Robert pitched in!

On a similar note…

I started the Healthy Habits Happy Moms Balance 365 program several weeks ago. The idea is to pick one healthy habit at a time to focus on, and once you are consistent with it for a time, then you add another one. It’s slllloooowwww and hard sometimes. I have honestly struggled with even figuring out what to start with because I feel like I’m not at all where I want to be with my health. I am learning to love my body the way it is, but I know that I have a ways to go in the health department. But dieting isn’t the answer. It’s not healthy, it isn’t sustainable, and it actually leads to bingeing and weight gain. So I want to be okay with the slowness of this program.

Robert and I were talking earlier and I realized that he’s right… I need to focus 100% on being active again. So many reasons. I have high cholesterol and the meds that I was on cause high liver enzymes… since I am an alcoholic my doctor prefers for me to not take them unless I have to (even though I’m not drinking anymore!). Also. With my generalized anxiety disorder and the return of the weird physical symptoms, being outside hiking is REALLY good for that. It’s one of the best things for anxiety, actually. My counselor has told me that she wants me to walk 30 minutes a day and I haven’t been doing that. I find joy in being outside. I love hiking. I have just gotten out of the habit. I used to hike ALL THE TIME. Also, we are backpacking in a couple of months and I am NOT physically ready for that! It’s just the best habit to focus on right now!

My goal is 2-3 times a week by myself and once a week with the kids to do their nature study . I would like to do what my counselor told me to do (every day), but I’m going to start slow.

Overall I am doing SO well right now. I just still have this anxiety. And it’s weird that I’m having the breathing issue off and on.  I know the anxiety is always going to be there, but my counselor tells me that I can get it more manageable if I get outside exercise. So that is what I will do!

Robert also reminded me that usually when I am active, everything else falls into place.  I am more consistent with a lot of things in my life… time in the Word, eating healthier, I’m more active in the community, etc because I’m feeling good mentally!

Healthy Habits, Self Love, and Self Care

This is kind of a hard post to write because it means me finding my voice and maybe going against something that I’ve been told over and over again.  I’ve also learned to take the good from something and to be okay if I don’t agree with every part.

The body positive community is a tough one.  On one hand, they helped me to learn to hate my body less, learn to eat more balanced (and stop dieting), learn to not feel guilty if I don’t eat perfectly, helped me to understand that fat phobia is a real thing and I’m in the process of overcoming that, helped me to see others in a different light, helped me to learn to eat when hungry and stop when full (intuitive eating), and much more!   On the other hand, they are very feminist (which I have mixed feelings about), very anti-weight loss (which I have mixed feelings about because what if weight loss is the outcome of intuitive eating and joyful movement?), and I feel that they don’t seem to think that health is all that important.

I have been feeling guilty for wanting to eat healthy, for wanting to exercise (and have goals in this area), and for disagreeing with the community in any way, shape, or form.

Today I have been talking with the ladies in the Healthy Habits, Happy Moms group that I’m in, and they have helped me to feel empowered to do what I want for myself, my body, and my mental/physical/emotional health.  Dieting doesn’t work.  Habit change and intuitive eating does work.  And if I don’t lose weight due to being healthy, that’s okay too.  Healthy habits are my goal.  I have decided that it’s okay if I want to start running again (despite being told that I shouldn’t).  I want to become strong again.  I want to be able to run a 5k again.  I want to be able to hike long-distance again.  I want to be able to feel good and not need a nap every day.  I want to be able to backpack long-distance again.  I want to continue to have a balanced view of food and feel okay with eating Cheetos, but also feel good about eating veggies.  I don’t want to feel guilty for either.  I want health to be my goal but to not feel guilty for wanting to lose weight in the back of my mind.  I can’t help it and it doesn’t make me a bad person.

For my self care, I am going back to focusing on healthy habits.  The two that I’m going to work on are: Doing Couch to 5k and reducing sugar in my coffee.  I will continue eating balanced, taking vitamins/meds/supplements, and working on self love.  The behaviors of exercise and balanced eating are what make me feel good, so that’s what I want.  I also want to feel strong.  When I was running before I felt so proud of myself and accomplished.  I was able to handle so much physically.  I ended up backpacking 23 miles in one day at one time (that wasn’t planned and I hurt for days afterwards, but I did it!).  When we backpack, we typically hike 13-14 miles on average in a day.  I want to be able to do that again!  Right now, if I walk up a hill I feel terrible.  I am so out of shape.  I will probably also start doing strength training again eventually, but I’ll get there… don’t want to overwhelm myself.  Three days of walking/running is sufficient for now!  Self care is my goal, but if weight loss is the outcome, that doesn’t make me anti-body positive.

I want to also eventually try to increase my water intake and decrease my soda intake… but that’ll come.  One habit at a time!  Studies show that the more habits you try to change the least successful you are at actually making those changes.

The biggest thing that I am learning lately is that I need to stop caring so much what people say or think.  I need to do what I need to do for myself.  The same thing happened with my desire to homeschool.  It all comes down to what’s best for me and what’s best for our family!

Robert completely agrees with me on all of this, and I’m so happy to have his support!

Taking Charge of My Wellness Holistically

I woke up this morning (after only 4.5 hours of sleep) feeling a drive for taking charge of things.  I have been working really hard (counseling, seeing my doctor once a month, taking my medication, working with a dietitian, etc), … Continue reading

Compulsive Buying, Cash Budgeting, and 31 Days of “Living Well and Spending Zero” (Yes, Again)

So… I’m not sure if my anxiety last week was medication after all.  I have been anxious about one thing in particular and I made some decisions and have been feeling better.  Only time will tell.

This is a very honest post.  I’m hoping there will be others who can relate and join me in this!

One of the biggest things that causes me anxiety is money.

You see, I’m learning that I am a compulsive spender.  It can be due to my obsessive/compulsive nature, part of my addictive nature, part of my bipolar, or I’m just a plain old spender.  Regardless of what the reason is, I get a rush out of spending.  I have never been able to save, and I spend every cent I have.  I often go negative in my account because I don’t think about the little things that come out of my checking account like Netflix.  So I will have spent every cent, then Netflix will come out and I am negative.  I have been spending every cent on books and curriculum, or online groceries (walmart.com and boxed.com).  Often, I have spent so much money on credit.  When I was homeschooling all of the kids I would constantly buy curriculum on credit, sell it, and buy again.

Poor Robert has been trying to pay off debt, and I remembered last week that our credit card on my account on Math U See’s website.  So, I bought her math for next year on credit, once again.  The interesting thing about that purchase is that I was feeling very anxious.  I had laid down to rest because of it and I remembered that we still had our credit card on our account (this is one that I had paid off with out income tax refund but not closed).  I got a rush and felt no anxiety for a little bit while I purchased it.  I was very excited about it.  Then once that excitement wore off, I felt guilty and anxious again.  If Robert wasn’t the one to pay the bills, I would have hidden it from him.  But since I know he will see the statement I confessed to him what I had done.  He reminded me that paying that off will take a few months, and it has set us behind again.  He wasn’t mad, just confused.  I ended up closing that account and have no more ways to buy on credit.

I also spent all of the money that Robert gives me for groceries and gas on books (good old Amazon, used curriculum groups, Rainbow Resource, and our writing website), and online groceries (not all was needed).  Hundreds of dollars.  Some things that I bought we needed.  We bought groceries at HEB and spent almost $100 (not bad, really).  Gas was necessary.  I bought some t-shirts at our camp store here so that I had some clothes that fit better (I guess this wasn’t completely necessary).  I paid for counseling for Karis and me.  Etc.  But I spent a lot of money on things that either we didn’t need or I could have saved up for.

Now what?

Time and time again I have proven that I cannot be trusted with any kind of card.  Credit or debit.  If I have it in my account, I will spend it online.  If I have any credit line open, I will spend it online.  Do you see a pattern here?  Online shopping does it every time.  This coming week I have 5 packages coming!  And that doesn’t include how many packages that came in last week!

The only way we can solve this is to take away my ability to buy online, which means going to cash only.

We had the opportunity to learn a lot about managing money a few years ago.  Our friends here at camp taught a Dave Ramsey class.  We bought the materials and only went a few times.  In fact, Robert went, not me.  I’m the one that should have gone.  Today I pulled out those materials, and I’m currently listening to the CD’s.

I also dusted off the envelope system.

We don’t have a house to pay off (part of Robert’s income is a free house!), and we don’t care about building wealth, but the rest is applicable.

I also pulled out another book that I’ve had called Living Well Spending Less.  I did some reading in it yesterday and came across a section that talked about doing a zero spend month to kick start things.

So, that’s what I’m going to do.  31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero.  Well, it won’t necessarily be ZERO spending, but only essentials.  I bought the kindle book (I thought it was $0, but turns out that’s only for kindle unlimited, oops).  It’s a day-to-day plan for how to live this out.

What does that look like for me?

I’ve tried this no spend month many times and quickly failed.  Obviously I wasn’t committed, but more importantly, I was too tempted by being able to buy things online.  This is part of my pattern.

What am I allowed to spend money on?  Perishable food (as little as possible), gas, counseling, doctor appointment, and medicine (my medical and counseling is the most expensive part of our month).  Anything else will be saved.  I’m planning to be able to buy the rest of the curriculum that I need by the end plus have money saved up.  To buy this curriculum, I will hand Robert the cash and he’ll make the online purchase.  I think this is going to work nicely.

For once I’m hopeful.  It’s going to take a lot of work, but I think it’ll teach me to be more content.  That’s my goal.  Hopefully with this kick start I will be better with money.  We’ll see!

 

Self Care and Productive Sunday

 

Yesterday was a pretty low-key day because I was sick.

I budgeted, wrote a grocery list, and wrote out meals that we can cook for this month (with food that we already have)… I will post about that is coming up.

I ordered some groceries on Walmart.com.

I supervised the kids while they cleaned up the house.  They do such a great job.  I helped a bit.

Today my family went to church without me because I just wasn’t feeling well when I woke up.

Since I didn’t go, I worshipped via You Tube, and I listened to a sermon from my church’s website.

I felt a bit better later in the day (which made me wish I had gone), so I did some cleaning up and laundry.  The kids’ did a great job of cleaning the house yesterday, but I decided to clean up their rooms and make their beds for them (they got messy again) because I never do that anymore.  I just wanted to serve them.  I want them to come home and be able to play all afternoon.

I also did their laundry (again, not something I do often anymore).

They cleaned the bathrooms yesterday, and I just touched them up today.

I just love my little house.  It’s perfect for our family.

After cleaning, I prepped some veggies.

I baked a peanut butter cake (without the icing) for breakfasts.


Robert is out working on something with a friend.  I think I’ll go to bed early tonight and get some good rest to start off my week well!