Saturday, October 30, 2010

I give you permission......

My husband has said many times that I'm dangerous to myself because of what I know. Now lets clarify that statement. I am a reader and researcher and whatever the topic is I want to know All I can about it, not just go on others opinions, etc. Most of you that are reading this know that my undergraduate degree is in Psychology and Child Development, and my Master's is Early Childhood Education. So on this counseling/therapy/psychology/anxiety stuff I have battled with myself on going to a therapist. I knew what I was dealing with and wanted to help myself. Really I wanted to talk about it but it was never safe to do so.
I go talk to my Christian therapist for 2 hours every Friday! So I get to vent, discuss, talk out everything and get feedback and go home! Many times its just insurance of what I was thinking but instead of beating myself up in the inside, I walk away feeling different.

So in the words of my therapist, I give you permission:
  1. to make decisions that you know are right for your family and stick to them
  2. to make a contract with your spouse verbally and on paper and stand by it
  3. to not accept criticism that is hurtful and not helpful
  4. to not be hurt by family, friends, aquaintenances when you know they are wrong
  5. say no when you are thinking "I want to say no but...."
  6. when others offer to help you by... but that really isn't helpful to you, say thanks but no thanks
  7. when others offer to help you let them know exactly what you need (carry these things, clean up the kitchen, push the kids on the swings) "instead of saying whatever you want is fine with me" because really its not fine with you, and if that doesn't work for them say thanks for the offer- if they really want to help they will
  8. take naps and be tired after doing so much
  9. give yourself "time-out" when you need it and put your kids in front of the tv with a movie so you can calm down and slow down when you need it

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Choosing to SEE- Part 4 Seeing beyond what you see with your eyes right now

Christianity doesn't deny the reality of suffering and evil. Our hope is not based on the idea that we are going to be free of pain and suffering. Rathering, it is based on the conviction that we will triumph over suffering.
Brennan Manning

What if we all got brave?
Enough to take away
All we're hiding behind even just for a day
And let the scars show even a little
But I know the honesty will show us all to be

Broken, we're all broken
And we all need a Savior
Broken, we're all broken
And we all need a Savior
We all have a Savior
We all need Jesus

Words and Music by Steven Curtis Chapman

Today's a big day. I am selling part of the contents of our home and packing boxes to move to any house ( a much smaller home that we will be renting). This should be an exciting time. It is and it is. The end of one thing and the beginning of another causes some things that have been stuffed down inside to rise to the top and it caused pain. The good news is that means we get to deal with it instead of carrying the burdens like baggage to the next place if we choose. My goal is to sort through these tangible and emotional things and leave them here when we move rather than pack them in a box to re-open when we arrive at our next destination. Your prayers are coveted!!!
What if we were all open and honest with our pain and suffering? What if people actually answered the question, "How's it going?" honestly so we could be there for each other? What if we made a point of following up a few times that next week with the person we questioned with encourage and another question, "Can I help?"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Poetry as a means of expression

I can hear the "Hoorah's" already. On Wednesday, my husband and I went to our first counseling session. Ok, who can say after 15 1/2 years of marriage some therapy might be a good thing to help you last the next 50 years together. We meet with a Christian therapist that works with many couples from our church. Today I had a session with the therapist alone. Ok, once again we all know that the stuff that gets brought to the surface in the session doesn't always get dealt with there. In fact, the Holy Spirit through the therapist brings up stuff to the surface that you aren't even aware of that's there or haven't been dealt with and you spend the next few days or until the next session trying to get through it all.
We started with me sharing a dream that I had after the last session. It really painted a picture for somethings that I couldn't put in words.
It began with us on a date with another couple from our past (meaning they are not together any longer), at the football stadium. My friend and I left to go to the restroom. We entered a multiple story building an rode the elevator up. It was a completely glass elevator that overlooked the water below. The doors were like a door you would see in the city that spins on a pivot and you have to get through quickly before it spins around again. Anyway, my friend got through and I didn't. The door spin and opened again facing out, and I stepped out of elevator falling down into the water. I woke up in the dream while being checked out of the hospital. I was holding my arms stiffly as they ached and was walking very slowly and carefully because of the pain. My husband was by my side saying, "Come on, you can do this. Its not that bad. We can get through this. Enjoy the sun on your face and the fresh breeze. Come on hun, come on. I felt like I was soo weak and fragile yet I had to keep going. Like I was being tugged by a rope.
I quickly pointed out that I'm not suicidal in anyway but have felt weak. Anyway, his interpretation was right on and was a good start to the session.

At the end, he encouraged me to keep blogging and go back to writing poetry like a did as a kid. Its what I did to work through the emotions of what i was experiencing, much like David did in the Psalms!
Tonight my husband and I had a date and lots came up and it was to say the least painful. I know God is faithful and we will get through this but I think its going to be like peeling an onion, layer by layer. Below is the poem I wrote tonight:
I don't want to cry another tear
I don't want to feel this pain
I'm weak in this fear
Another day of rain
I want to feel the Son's rays
In frustration and hurt I'm drowning
I want to lift my arms in praise
And turn my smile from frowning
Oh Lord hear my cry
Lift me out of this mess
Reach down and I will try
To take hold of your hand
Lord this I detest
Angels surround me and lift this pain from me
My heart is yours, Oh God
I want to be
Who you created
Spread my wings and fly
Fly in your delight
Joyous walking hand and hand
Oh Lord
Oh Lord

Friday, October 8, 2010

Divine appointment at the Nail Salon

Ok really, the nail salon? Yes, the nail salon. I made a comment to the lady next to me about something that was on the television in front of us. She mentioned to me afterwards that she was a lactation nurse at the hospital. She asked me what church I attend. She had seen that I was holding a book with an endorsing comment on the back by Beth Moore. We talked for awhile about our "finding the right church" journey and their current struggle with it. That led to how God moved them here and what has happened since. She teared up many times and then I asked her if I could pray with her. I held her hand (the one that was not being painted at the time) and said a pray out loud and tried to encourage her to follow what was on her heart.
Then she started asking me what was going on. I had avoided me becuase I knew that I was tired and emotional this morning and the flood gates would open. Well she followed me to my car and continued to talk to me after both of our appointments had ended. She gave me her number and offered help with anything and made me promise her I would call. I went to the nail salon while I had help at my house, to be alone. I wasn't planning on talking to anyone about my life. I was just making small talk. But when she opened up, the opportunity to encourage was undeniable. When it became my turn I wanted to run. It became apparent I was not going to "get off" that easy. Our spirits connected immediately because we could relate and understand the pain one another felt because we had each experienced it before. Even though my current and her current circumstances are different, we shared a similar journey and both had hope for a much bright future tommorow. We both agree upon parting ways that this was only by the Hand of God that we talked today. She and I both needed that time to share with someone else that is not involved in the situation and could just listen and see it with out any preconceived opinions.
Its those "divine appointments" that smooth the path of the grave road "on the road less traveled" ahead of you. Be blessed today.
And if you need to shed a tear, let it fall, its therapeutic.

Our "Little king" was Crowned tonight!

To Ryan's big surprise, he was crowned 2010 South Cherokee Recreation Association (SCRA) 90# Homecoming King! He was so happy and we were so proud of him!

Did you know Ryan means "little king"?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our Field trip to Burt's Pumpkin Farm

The littles loved picking out their pumpkins. Hannah had to have the perfect large pumpkin! The drive was magnificient as the leaves were charging colors and the pastures on the rolling hills were very green and lush. She and I had neat girl time converstation on the drive while the littles watched Barney with headphones.

Preschool-ish Playdate and Craft time!

Jennifer and I with kids in tow meet over at Susan's for lunch, craft, and playtime. I traced their hands and they became fall leaves. The littles drew tree trunks and glued the hand shaped colored leaves on the paper. Hannah thought she should add some real leaves. She also crushes brown leaves into crumbs and glued them on the trunk. She's soooo creative!

Then we made cornecopias and glue fruit and veggies shapes on it.

Choosing to SEE part 3 "Beauty Will Rise"

Out of these ashes

Beauty will rise

And we will dance among the ruins

We will see it with our own eyes

Out of these ashes

Beauty will rise

For we know joy is coming in the morning

In the morning

Beauty will rise

"Beauty will rise"

Words and music by Steven Curtis Chapman

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Choosing to SEE- A journey of Struggle and Hope Part 2

pg. 64 "People who don't know much about depression often think of it asgreat sadness,...."
I had planned to title this blog series "Clinical ______ hurts". I was going to title it this way so that it would intrigue readers without having any preconceived ideas that would stir emotions or prejudices towards the topic. This quote about it works.
pg. 65 Sometimes I would just stop, sit and cry. Other days, I would actually crawl under my bed or in my closet. I was physically and emotionally depleted, and though I'm a real pull-yourself-up-by your-bootstraps kind of person, I could not pull myself up and out of this any longer. ........"
pg. 66 "I don't know if you're familiar with the term 'clinical depression,' but I believe you've suffered from it a long time.............. It was a relief to know that what I suffered from had a name. At the same time I felt guilty and ashamed. Like everything was my fault. I had no logical reason to be depressed. I had a wonderful, loving faithful husband, and healthy great kids. We were financially blessed. I wan't living in poverty, persecution, or pain. Why should I be depressed?
What I was beginning to understand was that this was a medical condition. It wasn't logical. It wasn't a response to my environment. It has to do with brain chemistry and coping mechanisms that I'd developed over a lifetime. I began to see that I'd carried this for years and that depression had been the filter through which I had experienced much of my adolescence and everything since. "
pg. 67 "Depression also affected the way I reasoned, the way my brain itself perceived everyday life. While Steven might see a problem, as an inconvenient obstacle he just had to figure out a way to bounce around, I saw problems as insurmountable mountains. "
"It was so hard because sleeping was the one time I was at peace,...."
She went on Prozac, an antidepressant.
"But it was not enough , on its own, to really transform me. What I found is that my dpression actually became an opportunity to acknowledge to God that He was literally my only hope. I n the darkest loneliest times in the middle of the night, I realized that Christ is truly all I have. I realized that everything else-everything-is fleeting."
pg. 70 "The Prozac was not an instant fix-it kind of drug. It was medication, like high blood pressure medication. It treated my symptoms. As I started to feeling better, I could then work on the root of the problem and begins to heal from things. It helped me clearly think about how God's grace applied to me

"I still have awfully dark days. I still take medication. I still see a counselor. I wish God would take my depression away. But so far He hasn't , and perhaps that is becuase He's using this as a way to keep me dependent on Him. ......... It's a journey. I recognize the dark tides that can push and pull me to a place I don't want to go. so I anchor myself to the One who can take me where I do want to go. I take a perverse pleasure in so many of the Psalms, and I am so absolutely greatful to God that He would include the wild writings of a guy like David, who clearly had his ups and downs. I can relate with the pain and great sweeps of melancholy in the Psalms. But I can also relate with the way David always returned to his hope in the Lord. "
Those of you who have been reading my previous blogs posts know some of what I've been going through. I have received such comfort in reading these passages above in her book. I too have struggle with clinical depression. I have been taking an antidepressant generic called seratraline (Zoloft) since September of 2008. I have slightly increased it from 50 to 100 now in September 2010. I can relate to every quote I posted. T (my husband) is Tigger to a "t".. The opportunities are endless for T and every obstacle is a "great adventure". When we argue he quotes scripture or just tells me Im crazy, but there have been many a night that I will fake falling asleep so he will stop talking or debating. There have been many dark days that I just want to crawl in a hole and its in those times that I cry out to the Lord with even more fervor. I don't typically tell anyone what is going on unless they ask. Who wants to hear the truth when they ask so how are you? if its not positive. And really I've dealt with guilt about taking medication and event tried to wean myself from it but I just feel worse when I do.
Do me a favor and read and ingest these last few lines:
1) No one who has true depression can make it just go away, since your not always sad when you feel depressed! Of course they want to snap out of it!
2) Depression actually physically hurts sometimes. Sometimes it makes all your muscles ache and feel really heavy. It can give you a bad headache and make you want to lay down.
3) Yes, when depression strikes we need to sleep. We need to wake up on our own and we will be happier when we get up. When you intentionally or forcefully wake a person up that is sleeping due to a depressed state they wake up worse than when they first laid down.
4) No its not an excuse to be in a bad mood, but when the person described above tells you they are having one of those days, and wants to be alone or needs to lay down, don't start a "big discussion" with them or question them about stuff. If you do expect the response you get!!!imgres.jpg

"Choosing to SEE" A journey of Struggle and Hope Part 1

I am reading a book by MaryBeth Chapman, wife of Steven Curtis Chapman.
I have really enjoyed this book as I have identified with it in so many ways. Our journeys are different but our struggles and triumphs have been very similar. I will be sharing many quotes from her both through this blog.
pg. 40 They had just finished visiting the zoo on their honeymoon in the pouring rain and all the animals were hiding in their habitats. "As we strolled in the rain, we realized we were about as far apart in personality as two people could be. We cried together on the drive back to Nashville. The wedding was over, and reality was upon us. "

I remember those emotions well on our honeymoon. I remember sitting on the bed wanting to just lay there and rest and Tim says, "Come on lets go snorkeling or something!" I think we argued over what to eat and do and.....

pg 41 "We had known some of this while we were dating, of course but dating is the Land of Magical Thinking. Once we had moved to the Land of Matrimony, we realized that Tigger had married Eeyore. Steve's bouncy-bouncy, glass half full perspective was now link till death do us part with my glass half empty, "Oh-bother" outlook, and rarely the twain would meet."
Well those who know us well, know that Tigger was Tim's nick-name!! I knew I was in-love with this man but "real life" was starting and boy was I in for a ride!

pg 43 "....but nobody could frustrate me like that man! I couldn't communicate the way Steven Could. (Believe me, I still can't!) He was frustrated and was trying to fix me. I didn't think I needed fixing. When we would fight, he'd quote Scripture at me (he would later admit that this was a huge mistake). So he'd say things about how we couldn't let the sun go down on our anger, and I would say "Oh, yeah? Watch this!" And I'd lie down and fall asleep."
Just substitute the names Steven for Tim in the above.

Psalm 69 :1-2 Save me oh God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters, the floods engulf me.
Psalm 142:3 When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!

Pg. 64 "People who don't know much about depression often think of it as great sadness, and while it is that, it is so much more. I was sad, mad, frustrated, fearful, reclusive, critical, overwhelmed, and hopeless. No one wants to live with a person who's experiencing the,. And here was Steven (or Tim), trying his best to understand, but because of his positive outlook on life it was hard for him. I felt like he was just clueless to what was going on inside of me. We'd moved into a new house, I had ....... and it was up to me to multitask my way through all kinds of challenges each day.
pg 65 Meanwhile, Tigger the optimistic was getting ready for his biggest tour to date. It would be full of ministries opportunities and happy fans who would applaud his performances and confirm how talented he was. ........ As it became more and more apparent that I was overwhelmed and hurting, managers said they could pull the plug on ..... at any point so ... care for his family. I knew that a lot of money had already been invested....." "

Tigger, I mean , Tim is getting ready for the biggest opportunity of his life. He is possibly selling his company to go with a bigger more valuable company. He's on this radio show. The people love him. He has adoring fans at the company that is interested in him, adoring clients, and more. They tell him how smart and talented he is.
Meanwhile, I have stepped way back in what I'm doing. I was leading a co-op and having a homeschool family fellowship on Wednesday afternoons, mentoring our moms interested in homeschooling, homeschooling our children and reading/planning lessons. Now two of our boys are at private school. We get up early with them and finish what homework didn't get done the night before, rush them off to school, pick them up and start the homeschool and evening routine. During the day I play with the little ones and school Hannah. No more co-ops or mentoring.

Tigger and Eeyore make an interesting pair.
Read more in part 2.