What I Am Proud Of

I was reading my friend Kim’s blog today and she was writing about what she is proud of. She is an amazing woman of whom I am proud to call my friend.  I loved her post so much I thought I would write one.

I am proud of my three girls–two of whom are in time out right now–

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I am proud of my blogging here and at Project Semicolon.  I was even featured on Postpartum Progress this week.

I am proud of my homeschooling.  Thanks to some great friends, I feel good about the curriculum I have put together for next year.

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I am proud that as a high-schooler I went National competition for DECA.

I am proud of the time I spent on short term missions trips.  I am praying the day will come when I can go again.

These are a few of the things that make me happy–what makes you happy, what makes you proud?

Flopping Fish

I look at myself and I see a fish.  A fish that has been pulled out of the water and is now flopping every which way on the pier.  This way and that.  Struggling to find a comfortable spot.

The last 5 years have been hard.  Patrice will be 5 August 7.  So, that is when my postpartum depression started, but the struggle came a month before when Patrice did some flopping around of her own.  I was on a crazy roller coaster of emotions as she moved in and out of breech for the last 5 weeks.

I cried, I prayed, I sang, I played music to her.  I even put clothespins on my baby toes.  Don’t ask, it didn’t work.

Thankfully she decided head down was a nice position and she was born without much trouble–besides the cord being wrapped around her neck, but my midwife quickly took care of that.

She came.  She was beautiful.  Our family was perfect.

I was anything but.

Five years later I live with a handful of pills three times a day to control the Bipolar Disorder II that came after the postpartum depression and anxiety.

But the last weeks have been good.  I came out of my last depression May 14.  That makes this good stretch 2 months long.  I haven’t had that much since Patrice started flopping in my belly.  I have days that are harder than others, today being one, but overall, I am in a great place.

So why the flopping fish?  I can’t find a comfortable spot in the good.  I feel like I am continually flopping around trying to settle in and enjoy; every blip unsettles me.  I am sure this is the day the darkness or the mania will come.  But, thankfully, it hasn’t been that day yet.  And yet, I find myself questioning every moment, every feeling.

Will I ever be comfortable here?  I want to be, but I have no idea how to relax my brain after all these years.  My mind has betrayed me so many times I don’t trust it in anyway.

But I breathe.  I look for comfort.  I look for that peace.  I reflect on the two months.  I work to rest my soul, to nurture myself, to heal during this time.

I have no confidence this will last forever, but I am hoping to stop flopping long enough to enjoy it!

In A Good Place

Join me over at Project Semicolon where I am sharing about, after 5 long years, being in a good place.  Click here to go to the piece.

Sitting With His Love

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?
 
My legs work and my husband can still make my heart go pitter patter, but I can’t necessarily receive his love like I did before.  My mind tells me I am not worthy of his love.  My mind says he doesn’t mean what he says when his lips say “I love you.”  My mind screams how could anyone love the mess you are?  He would be so much better off without you.

And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Me – I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

But he does say “I love you” in a million ways.  He says it when he sends me upstairs to get a break from mommying.  He says it when he takes the girls for a bike ride so I can just sit with my thoughts.  He says it as he allows me hours to exercise when he might want to relax too.

So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are
 
He shows me his love by taking me in his arms as I sob out how much my mind hurts, how much my soul hurts.  He shows his love by reminding me how much he wants me to fight to stay alive and how he’ll always be here to walk in the darkness with me.

When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way
I know you will still love me the same

‘Cause honey your soul could never grow old, it’s evergreen
And, baby, your smile’s forever in my mind and memory
I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe it’s all part of a plan
I’ll just keep on making the same mistakes
Hoping that you’ll understand

That, baby, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
Thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are…

I do find his love right where I am.  Sitting in the darkness.  Sitting in the light.  I have his love no matter where I am.
* “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran from AZ Lyrics

 

Two Lawns Done

I think too much.  It’s just that.  Plain and simple.  I honestly think it is part of the reason mental illness found a home between my ears.  I stew in my thoughts.  I often can’t let them go.  And things have meaning to me, a lot of meaning.

Take, for instance, mowing the lawn.  Yup.  It is a hot and sweaty job that makes me feel liberated and empowered.

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I tried to mow the lawn for my dad when I was a little girl.  He had this old riding lawn mower.  And at probably 12 or so he let me try to do the lawn.

He wasn’t impressed.

After two attempts, he declared it looked like a racetrack and said I couldn’t mow it anymore.

I learned I was no good at it and that was that.

Another thing I wasn’t good at.

I tried to brush it off, but damn.  I took that thought deep.  I was no good at it.

Then I met the hubby.  We each had our own houses when we met (obviously) and I had this little teeny tiny lawn to mow.  I was paying someone but hubby had an extra mower and taught me how to start it, run it, and mow my postage stamp.

It was liberating.  I loved heading out there to mow my little spot.  I could do it.  I didn’t need someone else for this task.

Once we got married, me mowing the lawn took a backseat as three kids came in four years.  I was nursing one baby or another for 5 years, so I was kind of needed in the house.

Now, they are older and I am back outside part of the time.

I have joyfully taken on the job of mowing the lawn again.

Today, I mowed TWO lawns, while hubby cleaned the kitchen 😉 and then came out and did the trimming of the lawns.

I did it.  I did a task I had been told, and told myself, that I couldn’t do.  And that folks, is empowering.  I feel like a million sweaty bucks.

I love my dad deeply and the anniversary of his death is coming up Tuesday.  You’ll read a nice post about how much I love him, and I do, but right now, if he were here, I would choose the ever mature action of sticking my tongue out at him and saying, “I did it!  So THERE!”

 

Strawberries!!!!

It was late in the season, but the girls and I went strawberry picking yesterday.  The weather was perfect and we had a great time.  We each got to pick one pint, ride the train, have a doughnut and cider, and play in the play area.

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It was definitely worth the drive!

Beginning the Fix

As you may remember, I love PiYo, one of the Beachbody workouts.  I have also done the Brazilian Butt Lift, Insanity and now I am going to once again tackle the 21 Day Fix.

The Fix is a workout plan and eating plan all together.  I did the exercise once.  This time I am going to add the eating plan.  Yesterday I spent a ton of time researching recipes and making my grocery list.

It’s time to get real here.

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Here is my week one eating plan:

Daily:  Egg Mug

Lunch:  Strawberry Salad or Tuna Salad.  The strawberry salad is strawberries, almonds, spinach and vinagerette.

Dinner:  Macaroni and Cheese.  Meatloaf Muffins.  Shepherd’s Pie.  Baked Ziti.  Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken.  Flatbread Pizza.   Fried Rice.

You can get the recipes by clicking the underlined words.

I have not figured out snacks yet.  I think we’ll try it as mostly veggies and fruit and maybe tackle some special treats next week.

Each of my days will start with a 30 minute workout and then continue with healthy eating and walking.  The goal is to realign my eating to clean eating with good portion sizes.  I tried to also pick dinners that the family would like to bring them on the journey with me.

I need to lose weight.  I need to get healthy.  What have you done to successfully lose weight?  What is your motivation that helps you get there?

Applesauce and Tutus

When it all comes down to it, it turns out I am basically 4 years old.  Head on over to Project Semicolon to see how I am like my youngest, Patrice.

So Much More

A few weeks ago, I read an article about actress and singer Demi Lovato and her struggles with Bipolar Disorder.  In the article she said something to the affect of wishing people understood that Bipolar is much more than being too happy or depressed.

Amen.

It is so much more.

It is the mind playing tricks on you, telling you you are worthless, useless and your family would be better off without you–that if you would just end it all now, they could move on and have the life they deserve.  It is not just these thoughts making you sad, but these thoughts coming fast and hard, wearing you down, yelling in your head until they seem to be the only truth there is.

It is the mind playing tricks on you, telling you that you are beautiful telling you that everyone is in awe of your confidence, that you should take on just one more project, and another, and another.  Again, fast and loud.  It makes you want to spin in circles…until it makes you angry, very, very angry.  The sounds get too loud, the colors are too bright.  And finally, or sometimes as a combo, comes the anxiety that exacerbates the anger, grows the fear, causing the suffocating frantic feeling.

Both poles, moving faster and faster.  Both driving you to a point of desperation. Both telling you you need to escape but there is no place to go.  Both putting the fight or flight feeling on red alert.  Both ripping at you.  Both causing constant noise in your head.  Both destroying you bit by bit, every day.

Both.

Let Me Pray

I love to pray.  I do.  I love to pray for others.  Especially when I can’t do anything else for someone, I can pray.  Here is an amazing song that has always inspired me when it comes to praying.

Please leave requests I can lift up in the comments.