Tag: emotions

630 WP drafts

Lessons learned from the past.

So….

I decided to clean-up some WP pages.

Guess how many “drafts” I have lying in wait.

630

That’s a lot of posts. The way I figure it, I shouldn’t have to “think” for almost two years!!!!

So I thought, why not share a couple with you from my very first days of blogging? You’ll get a good laugh out of this first one and although at the time

Here’s one from 2013

I had to quickly add this post.

I’ve really been feeling “down”, anxious. I was getting scared. Please, Lord, not after twelve years of living depression-free. Not a depressive episode.

There are some changes on the horizon that I’m not welcoming but they are not “bad” by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. I’m anxious because I’m worried how I’ll deal with it. But that doesn’t seem like enough of a trigger. BUT, I think the biggest instigator has been my frustration with getting this blog developed the way I want it to be.

The “Follow me button on Pinterest” is directing my traffic to someone else’s boards. Couldn’t get the “Pin It” button to work and then there’s the drop-down menu I’ve been trying to create for weeks. (I know, the rest of you probably breezed right through all of this.)

I’ve felt totally stupid and like the biggest loser e-e-e-e-ver.  I’ve been quite convinced that no on has had as much trouble developing a blog as I have. I don’t understand any of the technical language so even with precise instructions from the Word Press tutorials, I’ve been lost. I’ve read and read and read the same things over and over and over. I’ve experimented every which way I can.

Today the breakthrough!!!!!

I’ve come so far, huh? I can just about do anything with my blog now and seldom have to ask for help from the “Help” desk over at WP.

Here’s another from May of that same year. Why I didn’t post this, I haven’t a clue. I like it a lot and it brought back good memories.

What environment are you comfortable with? Do you like a lot of activity around you? Some people thrive on a caffeinated environment.They like the adrenaline rush they get from the go, go, go of life.

Others prefer a much slower place. They hate to be rushed. They like calm. In fact, they feel less energized if there is too much going on around them. It wears them out.

And it really doesn’t matter if they’re an extrovert or an introvert, although generally extroverts would fall into the first category and introverts into the second.

However, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, if you experience from bouts of depression, it might be a good idea to change it up a little.

Sometimes, we need a little something that is just the opposite of what we’re used to. We need to force ourselves out of our comfort zone, to challenge ourselves a little.

How many of you have found that once you’ve exposed yourself to a different climate, you’ve actually liked it? And in the liking, you’ve discovered something about yourself.

Last year, although we didn’t plan it, my husband and I found ourselves attending some events we never would’ve dreamed we would enjoy.  A Tough Mudders contest, a hot-air balloon festival, a Thanksgiving day parade in frigid weather, and a ethnic-based (not our ethnicity) music festival. Of the two of us, I’m the one who doesn’t like crowds. I don’t like being outside in really hot weather or really cold weather. I feel very self-conscious in large groups. However, put me in front of hundreds of people to deliver a speech and I’m fine.

But I have to tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of each of those events.

I surprised myself.

It’s good to “shake things up”. We discover new dimensions of ourselves. We surprise ourselves. Not always, of course.  Sometimes we come away simply more aware why we don’t like something. That’s good, too.

So with the summer looming, why not shake things up in your own life? It’s hard to do when your depressed. There is great comfort in the status quo. But sometimes, the jolt we need is in the unexpected. If nothing else, the more we put ourselves in unusual situations other than what we’re accustomed to, we have conversations with people who give us little snippets of encouragement.

It’s hard to do when you’re depressed. There is great comfort in the status quo. But sometimes, the jolt we need is in the unexpected. If nothing else, the more we put ourselves in unusual situations, other than the ones we’re accustomed to, the more we get a chance to learn ourselves.

We have conversations with people who give us little snippets encouragement when they had no idea they were doing so. Conversely, we encourage others by what we say. 

It really is a small world.

God bless and have a good day.

As I reread this last post, I thought about all the traveling I did when my husband was working internationally. I think back to the first time I road a train from a hotel in Bangkok to a huge shopping mall. My husband and ridden with me the day before so I could memorize the stops and know which number stop I was to get off.

To say I was scared when I did it myself is an understatement. But I did it.

Or even last year when I braved Lake Michigan in my kayak. (Of course, I was in knee-deep water, but still.)

And then blogging. Oh, my. What a disaster I was in the beginning. How I cried and almost threw the computer on the wall. How I almost gave up when my “followers” were scant. And now, over 1,000 of you.

Whoa!

If I post any of these drafts, I will let you know the original date.

Until then, God bless and have a good day.

 

 

How do brownies and tears work together in grief?

Monday was a hard day. My mom is nearing heaven’s door with every breath she takes. I see her footprints getting closer all the time. There are times she reaches with her arm outstretched as though she is, in fact, searching for a door knob.

In my selfishness, I want to tell her to stay just a little longer. I’m not ready yet.

But instead, I come home and move bricks and broken cement blocks. I spread bark and pull up weeds. I take up old landscape edging, crying through it all. It’s my way of dealing.

It felt good. The work and the crying.

Then I thought about brownies. My mom loves brownies. This was one of the last things she might enjoy.

I used to always bake her special desserts. If I saw something yummy at the grocery store, I would buy it for her. She has not enjoyed food for a couple of weeks. But I thought maybe, just maybe, she might enjoy a brownie.

Besides, I had to do something her. It was the only thing I could think of.

A last gift from me to her.

I don’t know how many tears ended up in the brownies.

Isn’t it strange the things grief compels us to do? Like baking brownies for someone who probably isn’t going to eat them, who probably can’t eat them.

But we all handle our grief differently. Is there such a thing as pre-grieving? If there is, that’s where I am.

My husband is scheduled to go on his annual spring fishing trip with my son, grandson, and some other fishing buddies.  They go every year and have a ball.

He’s balking about going but I am insisting. I know me. I know that I’m ok with my tears. I’m ok with grieving. He’ll come home if needed and it’s only four or five hours away.

The cycle of life. Death and birth. Since the beginning of time daughters have grieved their mothers. My grief is no different except that it’s my grief.

I think part of trusting God means we learn to accept heartbreak as a part of life as much as joy.  Even now God is preparing me for this unwelcome journey.

I do not look forward to missing my mother. I think my tears this past week, (and there have been many of them)  are God’s way of letting me know her homecoming is soon. I’m releasing some tears a little ahead of time so when I am needed to think clearly, I will be able to.

God bless.

How to describe something so tender and yet heartbreaking

I don’t hardly know where to begin.

How do I describe something so tender and meaningful and yet so heartbreaking?

Or even should I?

Should I keep it wrapped up like a present open it later for all of you to share?

I asked myself all these questions before I wrote this post because this is a hard post to write.

Yesterday was an Easter I will never forget.

My mom is getting worse all the time. She cannot feed herself. She’s sleeping more. She is becoming dehydrated.

Yesterday wasn’t really planned but as everyone learned how bad she was, it all just came together. Every child, grandchild, and great-grandchild was at her home yesterday. We all pitched in and brought the ham, sweet potatoes, cheesy potatoes, salads, and of course more desserts than necessary.

I took pictures of everyone with my mom. I would share them with you but my mom is a proud woman and she would never want a picture of her in her present condition all over the internet. I will honor that. Here’s what she looked liked in her twenties. Look at that hair.

But here was the hard part. We all knew that this was almost certainly our last time together with her in her home. I would catch teary-eyed faces unawares on everyone’s face at one point or another. I often had to go to another room to have a good cry as I knew how bittersweet these moments were.

Incredibly, a woman who can’t remember what is said one minute earlier, remembers the whole event. This is the first time this has happened in months. But that’s what love does. It invades our deepest soul and lives there forever. When I think about God’s love for me throughout this period of grief  (I swear, I have been grieving for months.), I feel that same miraculous love at a time when I should be falling apart.

There have been so many loose ends to tie up. We’ve had to find and organize all her finances, her insurance papers, her funeral home arrangements (already paid for years ago), schedule the caregivers round the clock and keep it all straight. My mind is on overload and yet I am at peace.

But here’s the really hard part and I’m crying as I write this because it so impacted me at the time.  I don’t even know if anyone but me heard it.

As people were leaving, my mom, who hasn’t spoken a full sentence in days, found the strength to wave her hand good-bye while saying, “Bye, everyone.” Do I have to explain why that was so poignant?

Was she just saying good-bye for this occasion or was she really saying “Good-bye.” I will never know but I will never forget the look of love on her face when she said it. Dear God, this watching someone die is hard.

God bless and have a good day. I just can’t write anymore although I had a lot more to say. I want to go visit my mom now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eyes

How clearing our “space” clears our minds

imagesIt’s amazing how a fresh coat of paint or painting anything can make a difference in how we feel.

I helped paint my friends TV room last year. To encourage her to think with fresh eyes, I told her to not only take everything off her walls but to fill in the nail holes as well. The idea was to get her to think more creatively. If she left the same holes in the same spot, she’d put the same things back on the wall.

Sometimes we have to get everything out of our sight before we can think. Numerous studies have shown, for example, that clutter creates chaos in our mind. Clutter is almost always in our line of vision. Having every wall covered with “stuff” or every horizontal surface filled to the brim, doesn’t give our eyes a place to “rest”.  Many paintings follow the same principle, leaving a space for the eyes to rest,  except for a Pollack painting which even if you like his paintings, you wouldn’t want more than one within your field of vision.

We need “fresh” eyes about so many things. About our homes. About our circumstances. About some of our views surrounding politics, life, religion. About our personal style. We might very well end up coming full circle in some areas. For me, I try to examine some of my political views now and then in light of what is happening in the world. Sometimes I change my views but other times I decide that my positions are still my positions.

I like knowing my beliefs have stood scrutiny and evaluation. I like knowing that I’m not afraid of facing my beliefs full-on. 

Many people though voice opinions they’ve never even thought through. They offer up their views and I wonder sometimes if they ever hear their own words. Oops, I’m digressing. We’ll save this discussion for later.

Back to my friend’s TV room.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that when we are redecorating, we need to give our freshly painted walls an opportunity to stay “nekked” (the southern word for “naked”) for a while. We need to look at accessories and paintings in other rooms and see if we can use them in our newly decorated space. It’s my belief that adopting a different perspective about something as visual as our living spaces can carry over to the not-so-transparent issues of life-the ones that really matter. A new perspective in one area often spills over into other areas.

It works for depression as well. Changing the living spaces that we look at every day somehow subtly short circuits that part of our brain that has gotten used to our familiar, though perhaps negative, environment. That change ever so subtly reminds us that our moods are more in our control that we thought. That maybe we can change something here as well. We feel just a little empowered.

Action in one area almost always prompts action in another area.

Remember this commercial saying?  “The body in motion stays in motion.  The body at rest stays at rest”? (Something like that.) This message is absolutely right-on, even if it is a commercial.

If you try this concept, you will intuitively feel the truth of it.

We can become too comfortable with too many things.

Sometimes we don’t realize just how comfortable we’ve come with some things or people who are harmful to us. We get so used to our life, our habits, our attitudes, we don’t even see the possibility of change.

Depression is much like this. Depressed people often get so comfortable with their depression that they don’t see the possibility of getting better. They’ve become comfortable in their depression. It has become their habit. And, yes, depression can be a habit, just like having a bad temper.

So we went from changing up our spaces to changing up our lives. It just all works together. Remember, change in one area is a catalyst for change in others.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

Lake Michigan

How faith is like a hike in the woods

Take a walk with me today, across a bridge and into the woods. A few weeks ago, before my mom got really sick, my husband and I took a different path to the beach at Hoffmaster State Park.

My husband wasn’t sure my back would allow me to take this route as there are hills. But I had no problem and this is now become my favorite trail ever.

Walk along and you’ll see why I find it so peaceful. (Excuse the somewhat out-of-focus pictures. When I enlarged them, that’s what happened.)

Hoffmaster

The path starts to lead up a hill.

And it continues uphill.

Isn’t this chartreuse moss beautiful?

Finally, we reach here. I love sitting here and looking out over the cliff.Hoffmaster

 

This is directly in front of the bench. Hoffmaster

This is looking down from the cliff.Hoffmaster

We walk a little further and there is another path heading up another hill.Hoffmaster

And then we reach Lake Michigan.

And the fog lifts.Lake Michigan

Sometimes life is just like this walk. Uphill and around corners. We don’t know what’s coming up next, but we put one foot in front of the other.

Eventually, the fog lifts and we see our way once again. That’s what faith is like.

We keep walking while we trust.

We don’t stop just because we can’t see around the bend. The uncomfortable truth though is that we all do at times. If we don’t actually quit, we at least feel like quitting. We don’t stop just because we can’t see around the bend. In fact, maybe that is a new definition of faith, “trusting is when we can’t see around the bend, but we keep walking anyway.

Remember this path the next time you are ready to give up. Remember how the fog lifts.

God bless you today as you walk your own trail.

 

 

 

 

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