Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Life Lessons from a Duck

and I'm Quacking about it!

In May of this year I attended a retreat with some of my Premier Designs Sisters. There were about twenty of us spending a long weekend in a gorgeous lodge right on the Wenatchee River in Leavenworth WA.

The purpose of the retreat was to learn and grow, encourage and celebrate our lives as "jewelry ladies". I had never met any of the gals except for my niece Jill, who is also the one who sponsored me in the business. I was a little apprehensive about attending because of the size and not knowing the ladies or what to really expect. But, I sucked it up and went! I am SO GLAD I did.

 I arrived on a Friday afternoon and immediately reveled in the gorgeous view from the deck as others were prepping dinner. When we weren't sitting in a session we took advantage of the warm spring weather and just enjoyed the view and surrounding area.

Spending some time with my niece was great; she lives in Texas so we can't get together very often!

On Sunday morning we gathered for one final session which was much more like a Worship time than a class. As the end of the time we were challenged to do some writing or list/ goal making. My thoughts wandered instead as I gazed out the large floor to ceiling windows at the river down below us.

The Wenatchee River is popular for river rafters this time of the year and indeed we watched many a group raft past us that weekend. But what caught my eye that morning was a couple of ducks on the opposite side of the river. One duck was perched on the top of a boulder jutting out of a section of rapids. Next to the boulder was another duck, bobbing up and down in the white water. It struck me after a time that that little duck had to work awfully hard to stay in place while bobbing in rapids!

I found myself asking "Is there a life lesson in this Lord? Something you want me to learn from observing this?" My eyes flitted back and forth to the duck on the rock to the duck in the rapids. The logical thought was that the rapids are a dangerous place to be and anyone with common sense would get out and rest on the rock. Was the rock a spiritual metaphor? God, our Rock? But just as quickly as that idea came to mind I discarded it because I sensed that was a Robyn-made thought, not a word from the Lord. I shrugged my shoulders and turned back to listen to the gals around me sharing some of their thoughts.

Later, after we had packed up our belongings and cleaned up our spaces, I wandered back out on the deck for one final look at the river. I am constantly drawn in by water. Whether it's a moving body of water such as river or ocean or a calmer body of water such as a lake, I find such peace and contentment and inspiration being around it. (give me a beach house anyday!)

To my amusement I saw my friend the bobbing duck still out there. I could only imagine how furiously his little webbed feet must be working to remain stationary in the midst of such tumultuous movement.  And just like that the Holy Spirit spoke:
Robyn, I am the River. Stop fighting the current and let me carry you. Trust me. Yes, the river is moving, moving fast. And it will be scary, and dangerous at times. But if you will trust me I will carry you to places you never imagined. You will see beauty you will never see if you just stay put.

Did you just get goosebumps? I did when it happened and they come over me every time I share this story. I went inside and grabbed my niece and pulled her outside to point out the duck and share with her the thoughts that I had had earlier and the one that had just pierced me. It was a strong emotional moment and one I chewed and mediated on during my 4 hour drive home.

It takes a lot of work to stay put, even when it feels like that is the safer, better place to be. But God never promised to keep us comfortable. He's much more interested in our Character than our comfort.

Riding the river does sound dangerous! I've been river rafting on the same Wenatchee River. I was scared but we had an excellent guide and by the time we reached our destination I was wet and exhausted but the exhilaration I was feeling was out of this world! It was and is still one of my favorite adventures. I could have stayed behind (and I almost did once I'd read through the release forms and listened to the safety talk!!) and staying behind would have been safe and smart But I would have missed out. Safe and smart isn't all there is to life. In the life of a Christian we are always being called out of the comfort/safe zone. Makes me think of the quote from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe...

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”

Guess What?

I'm still alive!

I just spent the last couple of hours sprucing up the blog in preparation for a re-launch. I have to tell you that just as I hit the 'compose new post' button, my heart started pounding a little bit harder.... anxiousness building as I thought about staring at a blank page unable to write. But if a 1000 mile journey starts with a single step, then so does a blog post.... one word at a time.

It's been a long season of unrest. Depression, anxiety, lethargy. The usual trio of troubles. I have skipped many a writers group meeting because of this. If I am not writing and I don't even want to write then why bother going? Those are the sort of thoughts that would plague me.

There have many ideas floating through my mind however. Bits and pieces, phrases and fragments of words, just enough lately to think I might still have something to say and I might be able to say it well.

I haven't lacked for things to write about... experiences both exhilarating and exhausting.... trips, tattoos, testing, trying, terrifying, trust-building....Testimonial moments.

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ten Days

My husband is going on another mission trip. He leaves this Friday.

Traveling to Costa Rica with a group from our church; a team of 7, they will be involved with construction work on a church in San Ramon (the men) and visiting the hospitals and orphanage (the women). A visit to the Barrio and a puppet show at church is also planned involving the whole team. They will be gone for ten days.

During his absence I have a ten day plan of my own. I'll be participating in a 'diet' from the same nutritionist who designed the Fast Metabolism Diet, called the "Fast Metabolism Cleanse". It's a pretty strict eating plan, involving a lot (LOT) of healthy shakes and meals that are designed to rev up the metabolism while ridding yourself of toxins.

I've been experiencing quite a bit of distress digestively speaking and after doing some reading up on the cleanse, thought this might be a great way for me to get a fresh start on better eating habits. Learning it was for 10 days it seemed perfect timing-- with Bruce gone, I can concentrate on my eating plan and not have to worry about preparing his meals. (be tempted!)

So, 10 days for him, 10 days for me. Each focused on something entirely different but supporting one another in our separate endeavors.

I'll keep you posted on what's happening on both sides.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Same Old Thing

it's a new year... a new year that is already 2 months in. We've experienced a hard hit of winter, with snow and rain and ice, followed by more snow and ice and rain! While the snow is beautiful to admire (from inside a warm house) driving in it or working around it is often a pain!

I've had one long battle with a cycle of colds that seems to keep relapsing. The never-ending cough has just worn me out. Constant fatigue. Stress hasn't helped. I have stuff going on in my adult children's lives which keeps this mom in prayer mode constantly. But even knowing God is in control, while bringing me a sense of peace and comfort, doesn't fully abate the mama's heart that wants to DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING, to help her kids out.

You know my kids live on the other side of the country... and airfare isn't cheap. It's been over a year since my last visit there and I am hoping, praying and planning for a visit in the next couple of months. I have to leave that timing in God's hands though because of certain circumstances and I am ok with that... on the  surface....

Between winter, colds and flu, and family worries the Big D has been looming larger than ever. Even though the Dr. adjusted my meds, it's a daily battle. I haven't felt this defeated in my depression ever. If it were not for the few hours a week that I work at the bookstore, or the occasional jewelry shows, every day would be Pajama Day.

I'm gaining back weight I've lost, I've lost muscle tone and energy, I have brain fog and back aches. I'm not a happy camper right now. I don't write, I don't sing. I go through the motions... Well, isn't this depressing?

But it's transparency.

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


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.