Sunshine Thoughts

Once, sometimes twice, a summer my daughters convince me to take them to the local waterpark.  There is a nice big wave pool, a waterslide, a lazy river, and a kids area.  And the place is really clean.  A dream come true for three little girls.

Unfortunately, their mother does not enjoy water parks.  At all.  A couple years ago I put them off week after week until we ended up at the water park the last day it was open.  Last year we actually went twice.

Then there was this year.

It is nice because besides the wave pool, they can go in by themselves and I just have to watch.

Wednesday was our chosen day.  Sue packed the lunches and water willingly and quickly.  They each got their suits and towels and did a great job with their sunscreen.  I even remembered to put on sunscreen this year.

All was going well.  And yet…I was grumpy.  And this year, I totally failed at hiding my disdain for the water park.  The girls were exemplary and the crowds weren’t even overwhelming, but I was just fit to be tied. But the fun must go on.  Sue decided to sit out the water slide and read her new book.

Sue decided to sit out the water slide and read her new book.  Caitlyn, on the other hand, went down the slide several times.  Patrice even got in on the fun and this year was able to exit the slide without going under.

And we had to have some of their massive, decently priced, snow cones…

Patrice had one too and boy did I hear it when she discovered I didn’t take her picture too!!

The girls obeyed, didn’t beg for a thing, thanked me over and over for taking them and were really…perfect…but I, was not.

I managed to get badly burned even though I put on sunscreen twice and I just acted like a brat all day long.  Thing is, I had no reason to.  Believe me when I say the girls couldn’t have been on better behavior.

I got home and was just needing some time, so I went upstairs, laid down on my bed and began to pray.  And I quickly realized there was something I needed to say to the girls.

“Thank you for being so good today.  I know I had a bad attitude about the water park, and the thing is, it had nothing to do with you guys or taking you.  I enjoy taking you to fun things.  And you guys made it so easy today.  You listened, you obeyed, you did what you were supposed to, you didn’t whine or complain, you didn’t beg.  None of my unhappiness had to do with you guys.  I love seeing you having fun and playing.  And you were so sweet today.”

I can’t go back and undo my attitude, but hopefully, I can help them see, I was not at all unhappy with them and how we can handle things when we have a bad attitude.

Hopefully, that will be the memory of this years’ visit to the water park.

School Never Stops

We’ve been having fun this summer.  We visit with friends every week, we play with Frazier, we go to parks, we go for a run when it is cool enough, we play with our cousins, we go to play practice, we play games, we skateboard,

we practice our reading, and math.  Wait, the girls don’t find that last one fun?  I do!!

I love watching them tackle another math lesson or a math game.  It is fun to me to see them not losing the skills of what they learned during the school year.  I love seeing them add to what they learned from Labor Day to June.

I love seeing them compete against each other to read or do more reading activities for the library “Build a Better World” program.  Each of the girls has finished the first booklet of 50 items and has earned a free dinner, a free ice cream treat, and an entry into the big giveaway.

They are about half way through their second giveaway entry.  Sue is flying through the Dork Diaries Series.  Caitlyn is enjoying lots of different books, print and Audio.  Right now she is working on Three Cups of Tea:

The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard

Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit (description taken from Amazon).

Not all of our fun has been that educational.  We have spent time watching tv, playing computer games, cooking,

cleaning the house.

It’s a well rounded summer, right?

Between Seasons

*Just a reminder, or if you are new to my blog, I use my daughter’s middle names when talking about them here.

 

July 10.  We have been done with school for less than a month, but at the same time, summer is speeding by.

The girls did beyond amazing on their standardized testing at the end of our school year.  Both Sue and Caitlyn scored significantly above grade level.  Math is still an area of struggle, but just for fun, we are resuming our math studies as of today.  Sue is thrilled (or not).

My running is back.  After weeks of worrying about recovering from my injury in May, I ran 10 miles without stopping on July 4!!!

Caitlyn and Sue started Cross Country yesterday (yay!!).  This makes mama very happy.  I love seeing them get active, it is the one sport I can relate to, and I love the family that runs the program.

Our family has made some new friends that we are spending time with a time or two each week.  Friendship is not always easy for me, but God is reminding me if I open my heart, I just might be very happy with a new friend.

Hubby is growing a wonderful garden again this year.  He has expanded it again so we can share the extra with others.  Why not do something you enjoy and bless others at the same time?

The girls have been reading like crazy this summer.  That is actually what they are doing right now.  They have filled up one booklet of 50 squares (20 minutes of reading or a reading activity is one square) and are working on their second.

Patrice tried her hand at some skateboarding.  She was very safe about it.

Sue got to wash the car last night with daddy and today is just a lazy day as it is predicted to rain all.day.long!!

But maybe, just maybe, there will be a chance for us to do some tie dye later in the week (Patrice is sporting last year’s project)…

Soothe Your Soul

Back when Patrice was just a few weeks old and my brain was on hyperdrive due to the postpartum depression by hubby took the girls and me to a park that I had never visited.  I immediately fell in love.  I felt calm and at peace for the first time since we brought our third baby home.

I went back as often as possible.  I still do, no matter what the weather.  It is my healing place.

The last few weeks have been…odd.  There have been some mania type issues.  There have been some struggles with depression.  I have reached out for help and am looking forward to getting this all sorted out.  It’s not an impossible place to live, just not comfortable.

But yesterday…

We went to my park.

Frazier and I walked and walked.

All three of the girls caught fish.

The girls fished with daddy.

And this place right here is my favorite place anywhere.  It just invites me forward, asks me to run or walk.

I think we all came home a little refreshed, a little healthier.

Why Do You Lace Up?

I have not been doing as much running lately, but trust me, I have been thinking about it just as much, if not more, I than I typically do.  My leg wasn’t cooperating, but man I wanted to run again.

I have been doing any and all stretches I heard about, read about, thought of…anything to eek out even a few feet of running.  And finally, a couple weeks ago, I got 3.1 miles out in one run.  I ran the whole distance…but then I was toast for the rest of the week.

I kept trying.  I even got to run with my aunt when I had to make a quick trip up north due to a family emergency.  It was a hard situation, that is turning out wonderfully, but I will never forget my joy of running with my aunt.

But again, I was toast for the rest of the week.

I kept going to the chiropractor…and found out there were 7 exercises I was supposed to be doing twice a day.  Due to a miscommunication, I had not been doing them.  I have now become obsessed with them.  And boy, are they helping.  I posted this on my Facebook just moments ago.

No, you just called your chiropractor to thank him for all the help in getting your leg back into shape for running.

It was with the greatest joy that I ran 5 miles straight earlier this morning. Even a week ago I wouldn’t have thought today possible. I ran a total of 11.2 miles this week…between rehabing and the heat, it was slow, but progressively better and today without pain. Thank you all to all who have encouraged me and prayed for me.

Now it is time to resume half marathon training.

The joy at feeling those endorphins this morning has not abated almost 3 hours later.  It is good.

In the midst of all this, I was talking to a friend as she prepared for an 8k.  Her first race in awhile.  Like all normal runners before a race, she was nervous.  Boy, do I understand that.  She has stepped into the gap of encouragement for me many times.  On this particular evening, it was my turn.

Look at the view, embrace the power your body has, and the cadence of your feet, they rhythm they find.

I realized as I reread what I had texted, that I had spelled out what gets me through every run, every race:  My running philosophy and creed.   Right there.  True and pure.

What gets you through your runs?  What makes you lace up your shoes when watching tv or reading a book might be more inviting?

Words, Words, Words

I have a lot of words. You know it, we all know it–I have a lot of words.  I say a lot of words, I read a lot of words.

Last week the girls were reading something and it included the word dolt.  They were stuck.  I piped up and said, “oh that is an old word used to mean someone is an idiot or not very smart.”  They were impressed, so I thought, “hey–I should use this as a teachable moment.  “Girls, how do you think you go about learning all those words?”  They chimed, “You Mommy, we go to you to learn new words.”  Not what I was going for.  Yes, they learn a lot of words from me–some good, some bad, but the teacher in me was trying to get them to say, “by reading.  We learn words by reading.

Unfortunately, no matter how much we read or how many words we know, sometimes our words will fall short.

I feel things very, very deeply.  If you are someone I admire or that I feel a connection with, I feel it very deeply.  I don’t give those feelings easily or lightly and I want those people to know how much they mean or how valuable they are.

And words fail me.

I try to send little gifts or random texts to let them know they are being thought of, that they are important, and that they are valued.

Problem is, I don’t think that message always gets across; I think I end up coming across as desperate or needy and the thing is, I’m not.  Yes, I have those times, for the most part, I am ok.  I just want the people in my life to know they are valued in my eyes and more importantly, valued in the eyes of God.

We all need to know that.

Come and Drink

The last couple weeks have been…for the lack of a better term…weird.  Running has been on a hiatus.  I have not been planning when and where to run, but rather when and where to stretch and which stretch will make me magically all better.

None have.

Don’t get me wrong, I am improving.  I did do a little running this weekend and I have much hope that soon I will be back to pounding out the miles.

In this two weeks, I have spent a lot of time begging God to bring the strength back to my leg.  But I realized today, I haven’t spent much time, if any, asking Him to be my strength.  To be my source of satisfaction.

This weekend really highlighted this for me.  I have been fighting against a desperate blanket of depression.  Despising the fact that I could not fix it with my running and worried the lowered meds wouldn’t be feasible long-term.

Thankfully the Lord reminded me that much of that depression is coming because the Ibuprofen I have been taking for the leg reduces the effectiveness of my primary bipolar medication.

Yet, even today, among some amazing time with Christian friends I adore, there was an emptiness, a hollowness.  I know a great deal of that is my inability to live in the moment and it is my overwhelming fear that I will screw up every single friendship I have and that maybe I don’t even actually have any friends, but that is a separate topic.  Tonight, I realized where that emptiness really is coming from.  I am not allowing the Lord to be my portion, I am not allowing the Lord to satisfy my desires.  Just as I realized that this verse popped up, literally, on my phone.

 Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

I want the water of life.  I want to draw close to Jesus.  I want to trust Him as I often forget to do.  I want to allow Jesus to walk with me, not just keep Him from afar in a boat, there to send me a life preserver when I realize I am drowning.  I want to allow Jesus to heal some of those hurts that make interacting with others so scary.

I said to a friend recently, “I don’t think anyone knows how broken I am.”  And that’s true.  It’s the gift and the curse of high-functioning depression.  I do everything I am supposed, I look normal.  I laugh and joke.  Thing is, hiding how broken you are–includes hiding it from yourself and God.  And, somehow, that needs to change. I don’t know how to reveal to God how broken I am and let him step into those broken places, but for once, I am going to start with acknowledging I have kept Him out–and pray it does not get worse before it gets better.

In my mind’s eye, I am envisioning a lot of struggle, but there may be nothing visible.  Maybe the Lord will just open His arms and say I have been waiting your whole life for you to acknowledge the broken and that will be it.  I don’t know, what I do know is I want my hunger and thirst to point me to the Lord, to point me to him.

 

No-Go

I have not done any running in 5 days.  Yup, you read that right.  5 days.

Last Tuesday, I tweaked something in my leg or knee or something.  It hurt.  But not terribly.  Thursday it hurt a little more, and then on the day of my 10k (6.2 miles) race, it hurt more, but I pushed through and made the pace goal I had set for myself, regardless of the pain.

Before the race

6.2 miles later

But after that race, that race full of hills, I hobbled around a fair amount.  But refused to admit how much it hurt.  But Wednesday I tried to run again and there was no denying it.

And I was so scared.  So scared I had injured myself permanently and wouldn’t run again.  Running is how I manage the bipolar.  It is more effective than any medication they have yet to try.  Nothing compares to it, really.

I cried a bit on Wednesday.

Thursday I was more scared.  Finally, it came out in a jumble of emotions with my hubby.  Tears came as I finally admitted how badly it hurt and how scared I was.  He urged me to relax, keep stretching and add some ibuprofen to the mix.

I was a little reassured, but he hasn’t run in a long time and what if he was just saying that to get me to stop crying?

So I talked to my cousin about it.  She echoed his sentiments and reassured me it has happened to her several times and was by no means a running stopper.

And I breathed a sigh of relief as she assured me it meant I was a real runner!!  And realized this was the perfect time to be sidelined as we were away at a Homeschooling conference all weekend and there was no time to run anyway…but now I home and I am ready for this knee/calf to chill out and let me get back to the business of pounding the pavement.

Today is again busy, with a very special project, but tomorrow, tomorrow I am really hoping to run.  It has been too long.

Five and a Half Years

I feel like such a newbie when it comes to running.  I’m slow.  I am still working on doing a half marathon, but in truth, I am not that much of a newbie.  I have been running off and on (had a baby in there) for 8 years.  Tomorrow I am doing a race I originally wanted to do five and a half years ago…the time has finally arrived.

Tomorrow morning the whole family is joining me at a race about 40 minutes from here that I originally saw advertised at another race I did on December 10, 2011.  It is the Angel’s Place Race.  It raises funds for homes for adults with developmental disabilities.

I love the area we will be running in, minus the comments about hills, and somehow, I feel like I am keeping a promise to myself.  I ran 6.2 miles (10k) earlier this week so I know I can do the distance, but as always, I am doubting myself.  What if this twinge in my knee means it is giving out on me?  What if I am dead last?  What if I embarrass myself and my family on my birthday, no less?

 

 

On a gentle run Thursday night as my final preparations for my 10k

Only one way to know, to get out there and run.  One foot in front of the other.

Bumpier Than I Hoped

Treating any illness is a balancing act of sorts.  Always adjusting as you go.  How much do you put up with medication side effects?  How much do you rest?  Where is the trade off equilibrium?  Always shifting, always adjusting.

I hate it.  And I am not very good at it.  Six years into Bipolar and I still doubt my every move…except my running.  I don’t doubt that.  That, honestly, I hold sacred and am currently shaping the rest of my treatment around it.

A few years ago I was a few months from running a half-marathon.  Suddenly I went from running 10 miles at a time to 2-3 sidewalk slabs at a time.  I tried compression socks.  I tried changing my route.  I tried adding music to my runs.  Anything I could think of and it just kept getting worse until I gave up running altogether.

Turns out, it was a medication side effect I was on.  It was causing extreme muscle weakness.  By the time I realized the cause, it was too late.  I could no longer run.

That med and I parted ways due to other issues.

I ultimately started running again and did alright until an injury sidelined me.  Last August, finally found me well enough and confident enough to give running another go…and here I am, talking about it non-stop.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I started to feel that heaviness in the legs again.  This time I had a clue what was happening…I looked up my newest medication and there is was listed under side effects…muscle weakness in the legs.  I dropped that darn med like a hot potato (with medical approval) and the heaviness is gone.

Next, I got to thinking about the shortness of breath that has plagued me.  I have had a full heart work up.  That is not the problem.  I recently had pulmonary tests done.  All good there.  I have been able to get some relief with a great essential oil I use, but it is still nagging me.

Um, wait, I am still on one of my psych meds that I am actually allergic too and the reaction is trouble breathing and swallowing.  We have been able to keep those to a minimum with a lower dose, but what if that is part of the problem, so, again, with medical approval, I went off that medication.  The breathing is better.  Not perfect, I am still a little frustrated there, but I have hope.

Unfortunately, being without these meds has its drawbacks.  Getting off of them has been a bumpier process than I had hoped.  My mental reactions have changed.  I am seeing some red flags I know I have to keep an eye on.

And I am bummed.  I had envisioned coming off the meds without a hitch.  In my minds-eye, I didn’t need the doctor’s cautions about why we use those meds and what might happen without them.  So what am I doing?  Contrary to logic, I am getting lazier with the meds I am still on.  Because that will help, right?  Last night I decided I didn’t need my meds, I would be fine without them…so I got 3 1/2 hours of sleep, which really helps things.  On the upside, last night reminded me how important my medication regimen is…I took my morning meds exactly as I should and trust me, I will take all of tonight’s dose.

I am still hopeful that with lots of self-care and hard work, I can stay on the new medication plan, but at the same time, I am scared.  What if I can’t do it?  What if I am stuck with meds that will influence me physically?  What if I am not strong enough to do it all?