Monday, October 17, 2016

Hello World... It's Me

Hello World...
Yes, it's been a while. Do you mind if we don't talk about that? I'd rather focus on here and now. I wouldn't mind telling you about the awesome trip we took to celebrate our 20th Anniversary however.

Bucket List Item


It's been a long time desire of mine to visit New Mexico. I love the southwestern architecture, those tan adobe structures with their colorful turquoise window trim and doors. I love the rich culture and history the state represents. And who doesn't appreciate a warm dry climate when you hail from the Pacific North WET.

So when our 20th anniversary was approaching and we started talking about what to do to celebrate-- and we agreed it should be something special-- something bigger than a weekend away-- New Mexico topped the list.


We flew into Albuquerque on a Saturday evening, rented a car and spent the next 7 days touring the state. We crammed as much as we could into each day without exhausting ourselves. It was WONDERFUL.

We toured the heart of the major cities (Albuquerque, Santa Fe) taking in guided tours, museums, national parks and mysterious wonders.



We drove along the historic Route 66, poked around in cute little touristy shops, climbed into Cave Dwellings from ancient times at Bandelier National Monument, and learned more about the National Lab of Los Alamos. We tried Pinon Coffee, and juiced our taste buds with Hatch chilies!



We stood in awe in the Loretto Chapel and gazed at the miraculous spiral stairway. We saw one of the oldest standing missions and oldest adobe home.




We admired amazing rock formations and breathed in deep the smell of pinons and roasted peppers. We toured the UFO Museum in Roswell and had a close encounter.


We celebrated our actual anniversary day with a scrumptious dinner and a relaxing stay in a very lovely suite in Carlsbad.



 We toured Whites City and Carlsbad Caverns. We made a pit stop in a itty bitty city in Texas and learned about bottomless lemonade. We toured the 'other' town of Deming and made comparisons.



There was some adjustments needed for the much much higher altitude and the drier climate. We learned that at every place we ate we'd be asked if we wanted 'Red' or 'Green' or 'Christmas', meaning what color chili sauce did we want. We learned there is a distinct difference between Mexican food and NEW Mexican food but it's all delicious!


We visited dear friends, shopped, watched a parade, and saw balloons filling the skies from the balloon festival. In the hours of longer drives we listened to books on tape and every once in while we'd just enjoy the companionable silence that being married 20 years can bring.


We rested, we recreated, we romanced. We laughed, we played, we wined and dined. We truly celebrated the gift of marriage and the gift of each other. It was a great vacation.


Upon returning home, the sogginess of Fall in the PNW has fully descended. The nights come quicker now and it's dark when we wake up. This is the time of year I dread, much as I love Autumn. When we change our clocks back an hour it really kicks in for me and I am glad that I gave in and added to my anti-depressant regime. That seems to be slowly getting better... still fighting some lethargy and anxiety but I know this just takes time.




Monday, August 29, 2016

Don't Tip My Cracker!

I told someone today that I have reached a point where it would not take much for the cheese to completely slip off my cracker.

Go ahead, chuckle. I am. It helps to maintain a sense of humor in the midst of it all.

life is good but then this happens...
Life is good. Really it is. I like my job at the bookstore. I like building my jewelry business. But I've been struggling. The lack of interest in writing, lack of enthusiasm for other things I usually enjoy, a strong reluctance to becoming too socially engaged or committed,  has been going on for just a little too long now to pretend it's gonna blow over on its own. I have an appointment on Wed with my Dr for my annual review and I think it's time to ask about a boost to my anti-depressant.

Back in 2005, when I still owned the fitness center and life was stressing me out every which way, back when I was first diagnosed with depression, there was a trial and error period till we found the right anti-depressant. After a couple of months when I started feeling like things had sort of smoothed out I told the Dr, "I think it's working but I still feel like something is off." She added another anti-depressant, a very low dose, but it was enough to bump me up to where it felt like I needed to be.

(I have said often that during that phase of leveling the mental and emotional state, I felt like life was just beige. When she added the extra pill I think I moved from beige into a very very subtle tinge of pink.)

Fast forward to 2009. I had sold my business and was concentrating on really getting healthy. After about a year I felt like I really needed to try life without pills. I reasoned that the things in my life that had brought me down were no longer there so didn't it make sense to at least try going pill free?I owed it to myself to try! And... I did "OK" for a couple of years but if you've followed this blog you know where eventually I ended up. (no, not the loony bin! but... there was a cracker with no cheese on it....)

I have made peace with the fact that I need a pill each day to help me. I see it as a reminder that I do nothing in my own strength. If depression is my 'thorn in the flesh' that's ok because God's Grace is sufficient for me.

Monday, August 8, 2016

When The Glass Is Empty


You know that glass half full/half empty thing? I've always maintained to be a half full kind of gal... optimistic even in my darkest days of depression. On better/best days the glass is overflowing. I've also had days where the glass is full but the contents are a little on the side of piss and vinegar. I take it all in stride..... but I'm not sure what to make of the realization that the glass is just sitting there empty.

It's not so much about depression as it is just feeling stuck. I want to write... and then, I don't. I mean I don't want to write. I don't even attempt it! The blog posts have been few and far between. What I thought was a dry spell finally broken has proved wrong.  I'm pretty much as stagnant as stagnant can be. And that IS depressing.
Or Am I????

Or is it? I can't tell because the part of me that doesn't want to write also says I sorta don't even care. It's a strange conundrum of sorts.

My writers group has helped keep me from going under in that I realize I am not alone. That several gals struggle with feeling stuck. Writers block. Or lack of time to devote to writing. So, I take hope in that. But I don't think its writers block. And it's certainly not a lack of time. I have always made time in the past to write. It's always been a priority. Till now.

Sure, I am busy. I'm working part time, I'm building my jewelry business, I'm a wife and a business partner, I'm a grandma and a daughter, a friend and a sister. But that's never stopped me before. In fact it has often spurred me on.

In all honestly it's not just the writing that's bothering me. I feel stuck in other areas. I've lost interest in things that use to bring me joy.  I'm sure I present as if all if fine but there's a place deep inside that feels pretty dog gone empty.


I start questioning the anti-depressants... are they just not working so good anymore? And I resist going there because I really don't want to  mess with the prescription and play that game of finding out what might work better and experience side effects that I know from the past are just no fun. I tell myself that this too shall pass and that just because I don't feel like writing doesn't necessarily mean that my depression is acting up.

I've forced myself to sit here today and write this. It feels uncomfortable. It kind of hurts. Yet there is a sort of release in the midst of it, like --and pardon this yucky metaphor but I can't shake the image-- like the release one experiences when you pop a big icky pimple. Gross, I know-- sorry!! but the pain is being squeezed out of me as I pressure myself to write.

My sister prayed over me the other day for a release to come in my writing. I want to believe that this might be it. But as I said, that break through I had back in the spring must not have taken because here I am again.

What keeps me hanging on and not loosing hope entirely is my faith in Christ. Whether I am in the center of His Will or stumbling just outside the circle, I know He's got me. That gives me the courage to try again. It keeps me from letting the shadows of self doubt consume me. And it gives me the grace to allow myself time for whatever is going on to pass.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Family

Tomorrow my grandson arrives!

 Kristjian and me in January when I went to Pensacola

This would be my second grandson in my daughter's family. He is 13 and he is coming to spend 3 weeks with grandma and grandpa!!. And yes, we are excited!!!

I have a ton of stuff planned but allowing for some down times (because Grandma will need a break now and then). Included in the plans is a week at Tall Timber Ranch for Jr High Camp. I'm going along and working in the kitchen that week so I can be a part of his experience.

My brother and sister-in-love are also back in town for a month long visit. Yippee! Family get togethers!

My husband is working like mad, at his regular job and also overseeing a project for a friends newest resteraunt. So it's been a little stressful at times and we haven't had much time to just chill but we have plans for a weekend get away the end of July.

Summer is wonderful! Sunshine, family, lots to do and see. I feel happy, full and blessed.
Hope you are finding things that bless you as well.

Friday, June 10, 2016

What Am I Doing?

Life's been pretty busy between building my new jewelry business, working part time at the bookstore, watching my grandsons one day a week, and keeping the home fires burning. Not to mention, the writing group I co-facilitate and the book project we are working on there. Then my former self-employed hubby has picked up a side job as project manager for a new restaurant set to open sometime this summer and that has me running errands again. Yes, life is a little busy. I don't have time for depression or anxiety or fibromyalgia to interfere with things. But it does. 

With my husband leaving the house an hour earlier most mornings, I find myself stumbling around, coffee cup in hand, feeling sleep deprived and out of sorts. When I give in to the lure of the still warm rumpled blankets on the bed and crawl under them I find the delicious cocoon my mind and body craves. I doze and awaken to sunshine sneaking through the cracks of the curtain, or the sounds of raindrops splattering against the windows. Sleep cycle disrupted again I struggle the rest of the day to find my rhythm. It's frustrating. Walking daily seems like a distant memory, something someone did a long time ago but I can't remember who or why. I force myself to push past fibro-pain, cloudy thinking and loss of passion for most things. People annoy me and the thought of engaging in conversation is so overwhelming I can't even ....
I lay on my bed a lot and flick aimlessly through apps on my phone.I ask myself if I need to talk to the doctor about changing my anti-depressant or do something different.  It's worrisome. 


But on the mornings when things seem to fall into place and I do find my rhythm it's glorious! I stay awake, I throw a load of laundry in the wash and scrub down the counters and swoosh a mop across the floors. I go for a walk and I snap pictures left and right of everything I see. I breathe deep and I listen for cues that nudge me here or there. I work my business and study to make it better. I go to work with a smile and energy. I have my list of things to do and I knock it out of the park. I think "life is amazing and so am I". And at the end of the day I wonder what made it different from the day before? 

Depression is a thief. It steals my joy, my energy, my creativity. Anxiety is a rope that ties me to a chair and holds me prisoner in my room. Physical pain is crippling and only feeds my depression more. In those darkest moments I seek out the Psalms and feel David's anguish as he pours out his soul. 




These things I remember as I pour out my soul... Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

My Cup Runneth Over

So much goodness the last few days...

Yesterday my sister and I were interviewed for a radio podcast, "The Karolyn Merriman Show". The daily show features licensed therapist, Karolyn Merriman and each broadcast covers a variety of different topics. From childhood abuse, to difficult relationships, from freedom from fear and anxiety to enriching your prayer life and many other life struggles and challenges, Karolyn offers biblical insights into dealing with and moving from hurt to healing through the power of God's grace.

in the recording studio with Karolyn, after a successful interview!
How did we come to land on Karolyn's show? Karolyn was my therapist many years ago and we've stayed in touch off and on. We recently reconnected on Facebook where she learned I was involved with a writing group. She was intrigued. As we chatted about what our writing group does she became more and more interested in the whole concept of a writing group designed for Christian women writers. She asked if we'd come on the show and talk about how we started the group, why, what we do in our group, how it benefits us etc. I was kind of taken back by her request originally as I couldn't fathom how our group fit in with the themes of her talk show. She assured me that because she often encourages her clients to engage in writing as therapeutic, sharing about our group would be appealing to many of her listeners. She also felt that what we've  done in establishing this group was worthy of mention as it may inspire other women (or men) in churches or communities to start their own writing groups. So.... Anita and I bravely committed to the podcast. It was so much fun!!

 ( You can listen to the podcast here)

Later that day I met up with a sweet gal who is going to host a jewelry party for me this month. I first met L. as a member of my Curves fitness center and we've stayed in touch on Facebook ever since. She is very excited to host a get together for me, not just because she loves the jewelry but she also shared she was happy to have a way for us to connect in a more tangible way than just online!

 I've had my emotional ups and downs when I look back on my time as a fitness center owner. I enjoyed the initial start up and being my own boss. I loved, loved, loved seeing Curves empower and strengthen women in all aspects of their lives. I loved feeling healthy and loved meeting so many wonderful gals and starting friendships that have continued long after the club closed. But the stress of running a business and keeping it financially strong was too much for me. The last couple of years running the club, I was depressed, angry, frustrated, stressed and exhausted most of the time. Not a very good presentation for promoting health! I've often wondered if my presence in the club was a positive one. If I made a difference in even just one persons life. I've questioned that over and over.

Until yesterday.

As we chatted L. expressed just how much she enjoyed her time at Curves and emphatically stated that it was my presence there that made the difference to her. She saw something in me that clicked with her. In addition to being friends on facebook since the club closed, she's been a faithful follower here on the blog (Hi L! Surprise!!) and shared that my posts often speak to her just what she needed to hear on that particular day. Wow.

Every writer desperately wants to be 'heard' and my deepest desire as a writer is not to attain fame and fortune (although I wouldn't turn it down, ha ha) but to know that my writing, Holy Spirit inspired, reached even  just one person and impacted them in some positive way. Yesterdays visit with L was a confirmation that yes, it has. And for that I am so very very blessed. Thank you sweet friend.


And to put the cherry on top of the day I came home with a burning desire to BLOG! And to WRITE! I whipped open my laptop and began pounding the keys. Even if it was drivel I have managed to shake loose the chains that were binding my hands and mind from creatively flowing. Hallllllllelujaaaaaaah!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This, That and The Other Thing

this....
I'm taking a writing course! 
The School of Creative Christian Writing, taught by Jeanne Halsey, is halfway through and I am being challenged both in thought and emotions. It's good and it has got me back into some writing. This is good! More on that another day. It's a lot to process!

that...
Speaking of writing...
The Christian Women Writers Group that I co-facilitate with my sister, has caught the attention of a friend who hosts a Podcast on FaithPlace. She has invited my sis and I to come be interviewed for her show as a way to encourage other women to start their own group! It will be a live interview. Little nervous about that! It's happening on May 5th on the Karolyn Merriman Show at 10 am. Since it's a podcast, you can catch the interview anytime.

the sassy sisters sparkling in high fashion jewelry
the other thing...
Sparkling Over Here....
About 15 years ago I took a leap into the field of being an independent distributor for a jewelry company called Premier Designs. I had some fun for a few months but due to other things going on in my life, I kind of ran into a wall and let it go. My beautiful niece, who was responsible for recruiting me back then, has been with the company for more than 16 years and it's proved very profitable and rewarding for her. Every once in awhile she'd check in with me and ask if I'd ever consider coming back to rep the line. I'd say "thanks but no thanks" but then in February when she asked me again, it just seemed there was a definite nudge to really consider it. So, I took the leap again and resigned with Premier. I'm now a Jewelry Lady! I've always been impressed with the company and all it stands for and the jewelry is lovely. I've done my training show and have launched seemingly successfully. I am excited and see this as an opportunity to continue in a ministry to women. It's not about sales. It's about service and I was created to serve!  I'm still working one or two days a week at the Christian bookstore so this is a perfect compliment to my busy life.

and just a tad bit more..
We've been working on some remodeling in our kitchen. It's a work in progress but I'm pleased with the results thus far.
I'm looking forward to my grandson coming to visit this summer for a few weeks.
I'm eager to go camping and I'm loving longer days and warmer weather. The dark fog of winter has lifted and life is beautiful.