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And Bipolar Does It Again

All to the Glory of God–that is why I blog and share my story so openly.  I want others to know it is possible to live and parent well with mental illness.  This, by necessity, causes my posts to be brutally honest, and that is not always pretty.
I have always endeavored to live by the verse 2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 

I know I have talked a lot about what makes Bipolar Disorder difficult.  Want to know why?  Because it is.  Even when I am very, very stable, it is difficult.

Bipolar does not “just” make you happy or sad, it affects how you feel emotions.  For example, my daughters have been begging for a dog for MONTHS.  My hubby and I have both had dogs and love them, but we were enjoying not having to clean up poop, or take a dog out, or clean up dog hair, or find someone to take care of the dog when we are out of town.  So, we said no.

They kept begging.  Over time, I softened.  I remembered how nice and calming it is to have a dog curl up with you and to sit and pet the dog, and just that love you get from a dog.

I decided a dog was worth all the trouble.

Daddy still needed some convincing.

Then, out of the blue, daddy told me he was on board with getting a dog.

I went to work looking for one.  I visited animal shelters, I went to rescue events, I searched the internet by the hour.  I applied for a dog.  I called on dogs.  Nothing.  I was getting so frustrated with the process of applications, home visits, references.  All of it.

Until Wednesday.

I found this little gem and decided to try one more application.

2016-12-11 20.42.16I  had to provide info on place of employment, references, vet information–the whole bit.  I submitted it and we were approved about 20 minutes later!!!  Daddy and I got pretty excited as we kept our secret.  I told the girls we had to go shopping for a few puppy items to donate to an animal shelter since we didn’t have our own dog.
They bought it.  They even believed that the lady bringing him over was just a friend of mine visiting.  Daddy and I looked at him, asked our questions and decided he was the one.  We asked the girls what they thought and they were non-committal…until they figured out we meant to keep him.  Sue finally said, “wait–we’re getting a dog!!!  EEEEEEEKKKKKK”

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I had worked for months and weeks to make this happen.  The girls were so happy.  Hubby was impressed with the puppy, and I panicked.

My anxiety went up so, so fast!  I started crying and shaking.

I wanted to enjoy this so much.  Soooo much.  And what do I get?

Anxiety and sadness.  Lots and lots of anxiety and sadness.

Such an exciting fun thing.

And the Bipolar stole it from me.

I know it will be okay.  We are having a great time with him.  He is learning SO quickly, the girls are taking their new responsibilities very seriously.  He is already part of the family.  I am sure we made the right decision, but right now, I am just sad, and a little mad, that the Bipolar has stolen from me again.

Again.
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Feeding Our Feelings

Last night I cooked a whole chicken for my family.  I bought it months ago and ended up throwing it in the freezer waiting for a good time to cook it.  But that time never came because I never remembered to take it out to thaw.

But then last week, I got an early Christmas present.  Amazon had an amazing sale on an Instant Pot, and electric pressure cooker, and I read you could cook frozen meat in it.  I pulled out that chicken, planning to cook it Wednesday night, but when it came time to cook it frozen, I got cold feet, and ended up waiting another day to let it thaw in the refrigerator.  So last night was the night…I was going to cook this chicken.  And it was going to be falling off the bone when it was done.  And everyone was going to love it.

It sort of turned out that way.  It was fall off the bone in no time.  The whole family ate it, which is close to loving it, and no one complained about it.  Thing is, I’m not sure how sold I am on the chicken.  Maybe I am just too spoiled by Costco Rotisserie chickens.  They can’t be natural, I mean look at the size of them, but they sure are yummy.  And literally no work at all.  Hmmmm.

But to be honest, none of that is the point of this post.

I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately.  Not about what I eat, though that is a constant battle as food is often the enemy for me, but rather, how we use food in our lives.

Recently, a dear friend and  her family were brought to a challenge.  A big one.  They are walking through the situation as beautiful beacons of Christ.  I am just trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their lives.  My first response to this new life event for them–can I bring a meal?  I’m bringing over some freezer meals for you.

And I wasn’t alone in my response.  Many people brought food…and we all keep asking if we can bring more.

It is that way when life is hard, it is that way when our lives are overflowing with joy–like a birth or adoption, family gatherings, church events.  Anything that brings us together involves food.

It is the essence of our lives.  It brings us together.

Sometimes when I bring food to someone, it is made from scratch, other times it is bought in the store, but regardless, it is my love and support in a tangible way.

What are your thoughts on food?  Do you take meals to other?   Are they homemade or store-bought?  Does your family have a particular food they eat at the holidays that doesn’t get eaten the rest of the year?

The Brain Gets Stuck

You know what is hard about blogging?  When you want to write, but your brain is stuck on something you are not quite ready to talk about.  Of course, anytime you decide to write, that is all your brain can think about.

It is annoying.  And can keep me from writing for days.

But not today.  I have two stories to tell–one horribly embarrassing and one that I found so cute and encouraging.

We’ll start with my embarrassment.  Actually, scratch that, we’ll start with the cute, stick with chronological order…

The girls and I had to go to an appointment today.  Patrice asked where we were going.  Caitlyn says, “we’re going to the doctor.”  “Why??” queries Patrice.  “Because you need shots,” my ever so helpful Caitlyn says.

“No I don’t, I had three last time we went!!’

She gotcha there Caitlyn.

On we drive.

As we are getting out of the car at the doctor office, Patrice says, “when you get a shot they say it hurts for a second, but it doesn’t.  It hurts for 2 seconds!!  So last time I got shots, it hurt for 6 seconds!!”

Now we have been going at multiplication with the older girls hard and heavy lately so I say to her, “did you use multiplication to figure that you?”  “Sure mommy, whatever that is!!”  “Did you times it Patrice?”  “No, I added it on my fingers like this!!”

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(Yes, I made her recreate on her pudgy little fingers counting out how her shots hurt for 6 seconds.)

I watched her count and I saw cuteness and hope–hope that THIS kid, unlike the other two, will get multiplication easily when it is her turn!

We finish the appointment and head home.  I unlock the front door and drop a few things in the house, then head out for a few more things thinking, I can grab them before I run to the bathroom.  I leave the keys in the front door and my phone on the kitchen table.  The storm door latches behind me as I head to the car.  And STAYS latched no matter how hard I push when I am done in the car.  Stays firmly latched.  It won’t budge.

Caitlyn swears she didn’t but I absolutely know she laughed at me as I stood there desperately trying to open the door before it was too late.  “Go to the neighbors, go to the neighbors mommy.”

“It’s. too. late.”

So then we start looking for a way in…the back door  was firmly locked.  As were all the windows.  The girls kept working on that angle as I wrestled with the storm door.  There was no getting the door open, but, in case you were wondering, the top pane of glass comes out of our storm door.  And is now sitting safely in the house.

Hubby can put it back in.

I am kind of over this day.

Over and out.

Checking it Out

Our zoo membership is one of the best investments we make each year.  We live very close to the zoo and love taking a couple hours at a time to check out parts of it at a time.

Last night we checked the long awaited, all new penguin exhibit.  And to say it is spectacular is an understatement.  Check out these pictures to see it through the eyes of 9 year old Caitlyn and 8 year old Sue.

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*very realistic picture

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*very realistic picture, not an actual animal

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*very realistic picture, not an actual animal

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*very realistic picture, not an actual animal

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*very realistic picture, not an actual animal

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*very realistic picture, not an actual animal

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The entire experience was phenomenal, minus the grumpy 5 year old.  It was truly an experience, not simply a display.  When you were walking from area to area, it was built to be like a ship, complete with the waves misting on you and the ship “tossing” around.  We had to leave early, due to said 5 year old, and the 9 year old was so upset.  I had to remind her a few times that we were going to go back…I promise!

The zoo really did a fantastic job with their newest display!

It’s Complicated 2

As I wrote in this post, embracing and understanding my Christian faith gets complicated when the Bipolar plays mean and the depression makes a home for itself in my life.  But it goes beyond there.

I take multiple medications daily to try to keep my Bipolar under control.  I work with a doctor and therapist on a very regular basis in hopes of being well.

And I wrestle with how all of this affects my Christian witness to those around me who are not followers of Christ.  They see me moaning about the depression, many times flat out wanting to die.  They do not see any joy in my Christian walk and they do not see a God big enough to make me all better.

What does that do to my witness?

It feels like it damages my witness.  It feels like it damages what people think of the God I say I love and who loves me.  I sure don’t exhibit joy in the Lord as I plan ways to die.

I have no idea what to do about it.

Is God disappointed in the witness I am showing of Him?  Is He disappointed in my lack of faith?  Is He disappointed in how much I rely on my medications and doctors?  Is He saddened or angered by my desire to die?  Has He turned away from me as I express my need to escape this life at all costs–with little thought of whether or not I will go to heaven if I die by my own hand?*

I don’t know and it worries me.  I have no idea what He thinks of me, but I am sad at the damage I see me doing to my Christian witness.

But I don’t know what to do about it.

*I have improved some and am not struggling to the same extent I was a week ago, but there are moments in every day that are exceptionally hard and the depression is still there controlling me in many ways.

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?

I Hate Food

I hate food.  I do.  Really.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love how it tastes.  A little too much.  It makes me forget what comes later…eaters remorse.

“Why did I eat that?”

“No wonder I can’t lose weight.”

“Why do I do this to myself all the time?”

“Why did I inhale those useless calories and then eat something right after it so the taste is just a memory?”

Why, why, why?

I’ve been trying to lose some weight.  I’m not happy with my size or my flab.  I love my legs,  but I hate the rest of my body.  I hate mirrors, they remind me of the weight I carry.

I exercise, faithfully.  Biking, walking, running, PiYoing almost daily.  I’ve got that part of healthy sorted out.  It’s the darn food that kills me.  I don’t know how to get a handle on it.  I keep saying today, I will be better…and I turn out worse.  I look at the yummy, and think, I don’t need that, or really want it, but it’s there and YUM.

Too bad I am not even done eating it before the eaters remorse hits.  And then every bite feels like lead in my belly.  Sitting there.  Mocking me.  Taunting me.  Hating me.

I say I run, but really I’m a big blimp with little legs.  I’m guessing most people think, aw, isn’t that cute–she’s trying to run.  I do walk.  Up to 12 miles a day, but for some reason no matter how much I do, it is never enough to make a difference.

I am frustrated and whiny about this right now.  I have a Dairy Queen blizzard hating me.  Sitting there.  Mocking me.  Taunting me.

Like I said–

I  hate food.

Not Here But There

I know it has been quiet here.  My words seem to have left me.  I search and search for something to say here and am left holding nothing.  I want to write here, I do.  Last night I even dreamed of writing here, but alas, I am still empty.

I was able to put something together this week for Project Semicolon that you might enjoy.  Head over here to check it out.

Our Children: Prayer Warriors

Have you ever struggled to learn to pray?

Is your prayer time just a list of asking God for things?

Do you know how to communicate with God through prayer?

Do you know how to learn to love Him more through prayer?

I have been a Christian for 30 years, and still struggle with every one of those items.  I am just now learning how to pray scriptures to the Lord.  I am just now learning how to try and listen for God’s voice and words.  It has been a struggle my entire life to learn these skills.

I want better for my girls.

I am excited to have found a 4 week curriculum to teach my girls Prayer Warriors  Teaching Kids to Talk to God.

Are you, or your church ministry looking for just such a curriculum?  Check this one out. You can get this four week study for just $75.00.  It will give kids a foundation in prayer and communicating with God.

Teach your kids how to pray.*

Prayer is a conversation with God. It is not about saying the right words; it’s about speaking from your heart then listening to what God has to say.

What could be worth more than that?

 

*Quote from Children’s Ministry Deals

Disclaimer:  All opinions on here are my own except where credit is given.  I was given a copy of the curriculum in exchange for this review, but the thoughts expressed are my own.

You’re An Old Lady

Please come visit me over at ProjectSemicolon today.

“Was that game fun Patrice?”
“Not by myself.”
“Do you want me to play it with you?”
“You’re a grown up.”
“But I can still play.”
“No, You’re too old.”

And just like that, I was summarily dismissed from playing Let’s Go Fishing…