Sunday, December 29, 2013

I'm alive


My thoughts these days stay right where they originate- in my head. 
I've been meditating. 
I've been reading.

I don't know where my journal is.  I can't remember where I put it.  Joel bought me a new one for Christmas, and it feels right.  I never finish a journal completely.  Usually I'll have it for two years or more and then one day I'll stumble across a new one that feels like home, like a new chapter needs to be written, and I'll close the old and start the new.

That's where I am. 
About to start a new.  

This place doesn't even really feel like home anymore. 
I'd never delete it, but it could use some reworking. 

I'm going to start journaling again.  And then when I feel like an entry is worth sharing, I'll re-write it here.  That's what I do when I have writers block, because in my journal there is no judging and I don't have to censor myself.  

I try to be honest here, but I'd be lying if I said that I don't think about who maybe reading this.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

today

"Yesterday is ashes; tomorrow wood.  Only today does the fire burn brightly." 
- Eskimo Proverb 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

reality

"We must have strong minds, ready to accept facts as they are." 
- Harry S. Truman

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

see beauty

"I never saw an ugly thing in my life; for let the form of an object be what it may-- light, shade, and perspective 
will always make it beautiful." 
- John Constable

Thursday, December 5, 2013

habits

"The unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much easier to give up than the bad ones."
- W. Somerset Maugham

Monday, November 25, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Last week was a start, but it wasn't my best.

I made a huge batch of crock-pot vegetable soup, but it wasn't so good.  I figured out I'm not a fan of pinto beans.  I made the tuna sandwiches for lunch but that's as far as my cooking skills went last week.  We ate out several nights, and we had my family's Thanksgiving as well.

Something I also realized- I'm not in the mood to cook in less the kitchen is sparkling clean.
So my goal this week is to keep the kitchen spotless and let it be the heart of the home.

So this week looks pretty similar to last. ha!

Chicken Pot Pie x 2 (freeze one)
Healthy Tuna Salad
Grilled Salmon w/mango salsa and quinto (x2)
Pineapple BBQ Chicken, asparagus & salad
Mexican Burritos

For Joel's family's Thanksgiving I decided on shrimp cocktail, my Dad's famous cheesecake and Paula Dean's corn casserole (which I'm doubling because a lot of reviewers said it comes out thin.)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

no regrets

Today we celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents house.

It's same as every year, the same house I was brought home to after I was born... the house I've known all my life.  Tall ceilings, large dark wood molding around the doorways and room after room... the Holidays wouldn't feel so warm if it were anywhere else.

Over the years the house has grown smaller, but the noises and the people have grown louder and larger.  I try to remember to be present and enjoy the time together.

Today my Grandpa walked up to me and thanked me for coming to the hospital in the middle of the night a few weeks ago when he had a heart attack.  I know it took a lot for him to come up to me and say that.  Not because the words were hard to say, but because I know he's still not feeling his best, and when we're altogether it's very overwhelming.  It had to have been on his mind.

And looking back, I wish I could have just thought for a beat before responding to him right away.  I know I said something like I know you would have done the same for me and I'd do it again... I don't think I would have changed what I said, but in the manner in which I said it.

I said it in a way like it wasn't a big deal, but it was a big deal- for all of us.  We thought he was dying.  I wish I would have given him a hug instead of staying seated like I did.

I don't want to be that person who feels she needs to fill the gaps of silence.
I want to take my time.
I want to soak in the message and response in a way that leaves no regrets.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Is this jar full?

I've been researching the habits of people who are on-time and get things done, because somewhere along the way I missed a few beats.  I'm re-learning what it means to use time wisely, and how to prioritize my day. 

I read a story recently on an awesome blog post, and I wanted to share it here... maybe someone else could benefit from it like I have.  She's also got a lot of advice and resources for managing time. 

There was a teacher who held up a jar to his students.  
It was empty. 

He put a bunch of large rocks inside up to the top. 
He asked if was full.

When the students said yes, he put poured a bunch of small pieces of sea shells inside and they fell between the rocks.
 
He asked then if it was now full.  Quiet, the students watched. 

Then he poured sand inside that filled all the empty spaces.

He asked again if the jar was now full. 

Then he took a glass of water and poured it inside until it reached the top of the jar. 

"Now it's full," he said. 

He told the students that the jar represented time, and managing that time.  

He said the large rocks represented the large tasks in our life that matter most, and the seashells the smaller, the sand even smaller and the water was the smallest, least important task in our day.  

He said if he were to fill the jar first with water, nothing else would fit, and it's the same with our daily list.  Start with the big and move to the small.  So that at the end of the day, even if you only accomplish one thing, you've done a lot.

When we start small it's easy to get pulled into another smaller task that takes more of our energy away and before we know the time or the energy is gone for the largest, most important things on our list. 

Make a list of the things most important things to you, now focus your daily list on that.  It's amazing what you'll get done. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

I can't remember the last thing I cooked.  

A year ago, I was that person who only ate out once every two weeks. 
I always cooked at home. 
I was happy.  
Everything in my life just seemed to fall into it's right place... that is, when I was healthy. 

I had gestational diabetes with Jude.  I got super healthy and the day I had him, I weighted the exact amount the day I found out I was pregnant.  Basically I had lost somewhere in the 40lb range while being pregnant and getting healthy.  My midwives joked I was the poster child for a pregnant mother with gestational diabetes, praising me and my hard efforts.  I ate fruits and vegetables at every meal, carried a water bottle with me everywhere I went, and I ate two healthy snacks a day.  I counted my carbs and checked my blood sugar 4x a day. 

But then I pushed hard for tests to confirm if I still had diabetes after I had Jude.  I had this nagging feeling that it hadn't gone away.  The tests were done and advice was given to eat a different kind of diet.  To add more carbs back in or I could "go the other way."  This advice was not given by my midwives.  And anyone who has studied nutrition knows that the diet I was on- was very healthy, diabetes or not.  I took the advice and used as an excuse to go back to my old habits. 

My old habits meant that I didn't have to stress at family get-togethers, I could eat that piece of cake at the wedding and I could go to my favorite restaurants with Joel again.  My Dad shows his love with food, and I was happy to welcome that back into my life as well.  I didn't have to plan anymore! 

But with my change in lifestyle, I put the weight back on and then some.  I lost all that crazy energy I had, along with a huge chunk of my happiness. 

Planning your lifestyle isn't glamorous, but if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Here's my meal planning efforts for the next two weeks.
I'm going to take the new recipes slow, and stick with simple foods as much as possible. 

Dinners/Lunches
Healthy Tuna Salad (buy enough ingredient to make a batch each week)
Chicken Pot Pie x 2 (freeze one: to freeze wrap in foil, then plastic wrap, do not thaw & bake frozen)
Grilled Salmon w/mango salsa x 2 (I'm trying to get more fish into our diet)
Pineapple BBQ grilled chicken breasts, grilled asparagus & salad
Chicken Mexican Burritos, served with salsa and a dash of sour cream x 2 (we are a Mexican food loving family)

Breakfast: 
I freeze a bunch of veggies in individual baggies so when I go to make an omelet all I have to grab is the eggs and cheese. 
We eat a lot of fruit for breakfast too. 
I don't buy cereal, it's full of sugar, and it doesn't give my kids a good start. 
Jack is only allowed to drink juice during breakfast. 
Jack is also in love with Greek yogurt, sometimes I add a little granola to it. 

Lunch: 
This is where the tuna salad comes in handy with 100% whole wheat bread (if you're not buying 100%, then it's not 100% whole wheat!) and I usually eat a salad with lots of nuts.  Jack loves salads so he does the same, I usually give him half a sandwich and a bit of fruit too.  I'm going to try to grill a couple chicken breasts to use during the week for salads to mix it up. 

Snacks:
I always try to have fresh fruit available for the boys- apples, bananas, grapes, etc.  I also keep cheese sticks and cashews available. 

Last minute meals: 
I once read it's good to have a few last minute freezer meals ready for those nights when you're just too tired.  For awhile, I was buying those meals, but I'm hoping to freeze a few so it's a healthy option for our family and more cost efficient.  I plan to freeze half the soup above and also a pot pie, two meals for the next week that will be easy on me.

The Holidays:
With thanksgiving next week, I've been thinking a lot about what I'm bringing.  I'd like to have a salad before I dig into all the goodness, but I know it's frowned upon to be the salad bringer or raw veggie giver, ha!  But I might just do it anyways.  Might try to present it in a creative way and put it out early so while everyone is waiting to eat they can munch on healthy stuff. 

Below is the new salmon recipe, I hope the boys like it... they're not huge fans of the current way I grill salmon, they do however love the brown sugar, walnut covered recipe I made awhile back. 

Do you meal plan?  What is your family's favorite? 

*New Recipes: 
Grilled Salmon with mango salsa
2 Tbsp truvia 
1 1/2 tsp orange zest   
3/4 tsp table salt   
1/4 tsp ground red pepper   
1 1/2 pound(s) uncooked salmon fillet(s) with or without skin, four 6-oz pieces   
  2 small mango(es), peeled and diced (about 2 cups)   
1/4 cup(s) unsweetened orange juice   
  2 Tbsp (chopped) uncooked red onion(s), chopped   
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped   
1 Tbsp ginger root, peeled and minced   
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice   
  1 small jalapeƱo pepper(s), seeded and minced   
1 spray(s) cooking spray   

Combine first 4 ingredients; rub mixture over salmon. Place salmon in a shallow dish; cover and marinate 8 hours or overnight.

Combine mango and next 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and chill 1 hour.

Prepare grill.

Place fish on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with mango salsa. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and 1⁄2 cup salsa).

Monday, October 7, 2013

a double birthday; Jack & Jude

Written - September 30th, 2013
Party Date - September 21st, 2013

I look at the clock and count the hours.  Joel convinces me to buy all the cakes, I've never been good at managing my time.

I hate that he's right.  I tell myself nothing in this world is perfect and think of Aunt Bobbie.  Last Christmas I had a hard time letting go of perfect and she reminded me there's no such thing.

We tidy up the house together and I leave for the grocery store.  

I set up the cake table and take a shower, but before I'm out of the bathroom... guests have arrived.


The women in our family offer to help and I give them each a job.  None of the food is ready.  It gives anyone who's like me, a chance to make it on-time.  

Great Grandma Copeland and Great Grandma Champ stand side by side making peanut butter and jelly elephant sandwiches together.  Aunt Jessica is on mac & cheese duty and Great Aunt Susie and Melinda are on the chip dip. 

When Aunt Lynnette arrives 50 minutes later, I tell her she's right on time.

Jack is outside most of the day, I stand on the front porch and watch him play.  His cheeks are red and hot.  I tell him I made him a plate.  He hears me but wants to play.


Jude's not use to so many people, and holds tight to me during most of the party.  It's such a contrast to Jack who is independently running wild and free.  I like that he needs me.  

Later, someone mentions Jack is in the bathroom with a worm, so I head that way.  Jack is standing at the sink and when I ask what he's up to... he says the worm is his pet.  He's holding it in a paper-cup with mud and water.  The worm is half hanging out and very much alive.  I tell him he can be his pet, but he has to live outdoors.  He reluctantly agrees and heads for the door.




We all mingle, a few people slip out and Joel and I both agree to skip the hide & seek game we had planned... it's getting late. 

Joel sets up outside and sits with Jack.  He's brought out my favorite blanket from New Mexico.  I hand my Mom my camera and I sit down with Jude.


Joel reads the cards out loud for Jack while he opens his gifts; I do the same for Jude. 

After gifts we start to clean up when I realize we've forgotten something.  Joel runs to the basement and comes back with a bird cage and inside are two green parakeets. 

Jack and all his cousins run to Joel.  We keep the meeting short because we know the birds are scared and then I ask my Mom to take a picture of the four of us.


Later Joel disappears and comes outside with Jack's cake.  It has a motorcycle on top just like he requested.  He blows out his candles, but they all re-light.  I stand back and watch.  I smile as each of his cousins take a turn.  Everyone jokes not to eat the cake and all the kids take off to play.


Joel comes out again with a tiny pumpkin cupcake for Jude.  We blow out the candle together just like we did for Jack's first birthday five years ago.  Jude puts one finger in his cupcake and starts to eat the cream-cheese frosting.  He loves it.




I take too many photographs. 

Joel comes out the backdoor for a third time, he's singing the happy birthday song in a tone like he's tired of singing it and everyone laughs. 

This time, it's a cake for my Mom.  Joel put trick candles on her cake, so when I miss her blowing out the candles the first time... I get her laughing on the second try.






After awhile the party starts to die down.  My parents are the last to leave.  When everything is said and done Joel and I sit down and relax.  Feels like we made it through their birthday party like we made it through the last year. 

Jack says he's hungry and we load him up with food and cake.  Later he names his bird spiderman.  Joel and I agree on Stewie for Jude's.


It's hard to grasp that Jack is five and Jude is one, but at the same time it feels as if they've both been with us forever.  The love I have for each is the same and it's different, but never more than the other.  It's just like everyone says... your heart will grow not divide.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

perfect paralyzes


It’s been hard for me to blog lately. 

I don’t know… maybe it’s because I’m not where I want to be.  I have this idea of perfect, and I know how perfect is impossible and how crippling it really is to living, but I still can’t seem to shake it.  It paralyzes me.

We live in an imperfect world.  I tell myself that a lot.

Do you ever just look at who you’ve become and think that’s not me, I’ll make a few changes and then I’ll be the person I’m suppose to be?

I see myself as someone that I’m really not, not right now… or not anymore, but hope to be.

I’m not unhappy.  I just want to change. 

It's being caught between who you are and who you want to be. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

intentional living

So I'm trying to be more intentional.

Friday night we had a bonfire in the backyard.  We made smores with Jack and I pitched a crazy idea for our family.  The idea wasn't well received ... I'm pretty sure Joel compared it to the tooth-fairy.  But it was fun to imagine and talk about.  I don't want to share it yet, because I'm hoping it seeps into Joel's subconscious and one day he'll be like, "Liv... let's do it." (haha)  Jack on the other hand is completely on board.  My little explorer.  He has a heart full of adventure and I love it.

After the boys went to bed, we laid in the grass and looked up at the stars.  I saw a falling star and it felt somewhat surreal, it was that beautiful.

It was a clear night and I watched plane after plane pass over us.  They were so small you had to watch for the flashing lights to make sure it wasn't a star.

Made me think of the times I was a flight attendant.  Made me miss the views from above the clouds and the time the pilot and first officer called me up just to show me Las Vegas from 30,000 ft... the night was so clear you could see the strip.  "There's sin city," he told me.

But the thing I miss the most about flying is Boston in the fall, or when the plane doors opened in New Orleans... you could just smell the ocean, or when it was winter in Ohio and then we'd land in California and it was like we traveled through time and landed in summer.

By midnight I had another "crazy" idea, but this time it involved me driving to Nashville in December for a weekend photography course.  The only thing is, it's pretty expensive.  But I know it would challenge me as an artist and I'd probably make some lasting friendships.  Time will tell if it's something I'm meant to do.  The idea scares me but it excites me more.

We went to bed too late that night... and I woke up too early.  It's been awhile since I've been up before the sun.  While everyone was in bed I went to the Farmer's Market and I lost track of time.


The produce at the Farmer's Market doesn't compare to the store.  It's been awhile since I'd been, so I loaded up on corn, beets, honey, kale, red onions, pumpkin bread, coffee and the cutest little potatoes I'd ever seen.  I got a big pumpkin and a few gourds for the house and a fun pumpkin cookie with candy corn eyes for Jack.  I learned how to grow lavender and I met a lot of sweet people.

After I got into my car I realized we were suppose to be at Jack's first soccer game in 30 minutes, so I went home and got the troops ready.

It was the perfect sweater weather for a soccer game and Jack scored the first goal!  We met a lot of new people there and my Mom came to watch.  She also brought Schuler's Donuts which are the best donuts in the world.  Jack even snuck across the field and grabbed a few donut holes when he saw us.

After the game we went home and Joel and Jude took a nap while Jack and I cleaned up a bit and cooked lunch.  It was a lazy Saturday afternoon and later I made dinner.  I've been trying to cook all our meals at home and have us all sit together at the kitchen table, you know... be more intentional :)

photo source: Mandy Lynne

Friday, September 13, 2013

255


I read 255 pages last night.

I read, "A Million Miles In A Thousand Years."

It wasn't the first time, but it was the first time it made sense.
It was the first time I needed to read it.
It was the answer to my floating.

I use to think reading a book would never give me answers, just like how we constantly google for answers we could easily figure out ourselves.

I know what I need to do, I know what I need to change and I know what makes a life meaningful.  I don't think I've ever had such a clear cut direction.

     "If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn't cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers.  You wouldn't tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you'd seen.  The truth is, you wouldn't remember that movie a week later, except you'd feel robbed and want your money back.  Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.
     But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful.  The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won't make a story meaningful, it won't make a life meaningful either." 
- Donald Miller

Thursday, September 12, 2013

300


300 times I've sat down here to write.

And as much as I want to point out, "hey... I've shared a lot of my life here," there's even more than I haven't.

Like how every time I open up this page I'm stuck.

I'll write later I tell myself and x out of the page.

I sit and think how maybe I have writer's block.  Why can't I write something that flows together, not a bunch of ramblings that mean nothing to me.

I've been reading and thinking a lot.  Maybe too much thinking.  And maybe too much reading looking for an answer.

Live your life and you'll have something to write about, I've read.

But a lot has happened in my life lately.  Jude turned one, and started walking.  Jack started preschool, and our six-year wedding anniversary is in a week, a day after Jack's 5th birthday.  I photographed my last wedding of the season and I've rejoined facebook (gasp).  I'm throwing a double birthday party next weekend for the boys and I've been staring too long at pinterest.

But is that really living?  Things that come yearly that must be addressed?  I think you can float through life if you want to.  I think you can float through life if you don't want to.

Maybe that's what I've been doing... floating.
photo source

Saturday, August 31, 2013

a week of meditating


“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 
 -Marcus Aurelius


I've always liked the idea of meditating.

I read books about it and thought about it but I never really committed.  It was scary, could I really think of nothing for 20 minutes?

Would I be like Julia Roberts in "Eat, Pray, Love" where she closes her eyes only to open them one minute later frustrated?

When I couldn't find my meditation book this week (that I swore I'd read through before I began again)... I decided to just say fuck it and do it already.  So I did.

It was easy and it was hard, the time past quickly and sometimes it seemed to lag on.  Some days I was great at returning to my breath and other days I'd realize I was majority daydreaming and I'd bring myself back.

The main thing was, I did it and I was gentle with myself.  Whenever I had a thought, I'd acknowledge it and then I'd let it go and focus again on my breathing.

Meditating is accepting yourself just as you, and being with yourself.

It's amazing what you start to realize about yourself, since you're aware of your thoughts and daydreams... you watch them go by and see what is truly on your mind and what you really want.

And I honestly think I've been more present and relaxed because of it.

If you've never meditated, here's a brief rundown:
Find a quiet spot.
Sit in a comfortable upright position with legs crossed (so you don't fall asleep).
Set a timer for 20 minutes (or less if you're a bit nervous, I did 10 minutes at the beginning).
Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
Try to clear your mind.
Be gentle with yourself though, you're going to have thoughts.
Don't get frustrated, acknowledge the thoughts, but don't judge them and gently return your focus to your breathing.

Here are a lot of health benefits to meditating if you're curious.

Consider this your prescription.  It's free and you've got nothing to lose.

I find the best time for me (since I've got a house full of boys) is right before bed.

photo source

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

disconnected

Joel and I have been facebook and cellphone free for quite awhile now.  It was liberating, and it was isolating.

I liked being disconnected.  I'm somewhat of an introvert (but I can put on a mean extrovert suit when feeling up for it) so it made being a hermie that much easier.  

But today, while I sat through Jack's preschool orientation, and yesterday's soccer orientation, I realized that I'm shutting a lot of people out.  I'm limiting the ways people can reach me.

The thought of Jack being in someone else's care and limiting their resources to contact me- upsets me. 

And the older he gets, the more I'm going to lean on technology to calm my fears and keep us connected.

Why am I fighting this?

I started a new facebook account.  A fresh start with a new perspective.  

Facebook is for fun, not to be taken so seriously.  I need to realize that people sharing their problems on the world wide web is not my responsibility to fix.  Crazies?  Ignore!

It's like having this giant family and while getting together can cause a bit of drama, in the end it's totally worth it.

I think we're coming back to the twentieth century. 

 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jude's 1st steps

Jude took his first steps today. 

He let go of the couch and walked three or four steps into my arms.  I hugged him tight and said lots of praises, I think Jack was just as excited as I was... telling Jude he did a great job.  Jude was squealing and so happy.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

living

I've been reading more, and writing less.

Working more and cleaning less.

I've been making a point to be present when I'm with my boys.

I snuggle Jude close and breath him in as he drifts off to sleep in my arms before bed.

I linger in Jack's room after a book, prayer and songs.  I answer his 20 questions, kiss his nose and tell him to stay in bed... exactly what he won't do.  He'll wonder into my room and tell me he's scared and I'll walk him back several times.  He's not scared, he just knows I don't get mad at little kids wondering into my room late at night... he knows how soft I really am.

My hair is getting long, my bangs are past my chin and I've just noticed how much I need a haircut.  Dark roots are coming in and I'm not sure when all this time went by because it seems like my brain is just now catching up.

My birthday went as quickly as it came.  It was a simple, happy birthday.  A new book, trick candles and a slice of pineapple upside-down cheesecake made it sweet.

I've been going to bed early and waking up late.

And I'm going to turn in early tonight.

Sweet dreams.

Friday, August 16, 2013

cloth diaper update

Right now things are going pretty smoothly.  I wash every other day, and we stopped disposables at night.

Our nighttime and nap solution is to use three inserts, and a hemp doubler under that.

I'm really happy I bought all FLIP diapers, they're great and I rarely have a leak since I double up during the day.  That might sound like a lot of fluff, but since FLIPS are so trim it's not a big deal.  

I've found during our cloth journey that the diaper I got for free with our order, the elite fuzzibunz is not good for us.  It leaks almost every time.  I only use it if I'm running low.  This diaper costs more than a FLIPS. 

I also got a diaper as a gift from a cloth diapering friend.  I believe it's an ALVA baby diaper, and it also leaks on us now.  

I'm not using cloth wipes right now, except when I run out of regular wipes.  It's not as hard to separate the wipe and diaper as I had originally thought. 

The sprayer is being used more often as Jude is eating more solids, and since we have hard water I noticed the power of the spray was being limited, so I dipped it in CLR and it cleared right up. 

My only complaint is, it seems whenever I do wash since I'm using more inserts at once... I'm down to 3 diapers while I do wash.  Just makes me a bit nervous.  We're not against buying diapers if we need to, we have when I was behind on wash and it's nice to use disposables while out and about.  But, if we double up, and add a hemp insert... we're good to go. 

As for my Planet Wise pail liners, they're holding up great, my on the go wet-bags however have taken a beating.  The ALVA baby wetbags I got as a gift have both broke around the zipper but the Planet Wise has held up well... despite me bleaching the cute owls on the outside (do not bleach your wet bags!)  I also have the large bag, which holds everything nicely, the ALVA's were a bit small. 

Oh and one more thing, FLIPS has a bunch of new adorable colors!  Boo... I would buy them if we needed more, but we don't.  They're super cute. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Coffee Date #1


So there's this blogger, Alissa, and I've come to be a big fan.  I love her coffee dates and I decided to finally join in, not by vlog yet though because I'm not that brave.  But here goes...

Grab a cup of jo and join in... if we were having coffee, this is what I'd tell you about my week...

First, I'm drinking home-brewed Starbucks willow coffee with a white mocha creamer (yum!) and I'm still in my pj's.

I'm sitting on the couch, Jude's taking a nap and Jack's playing with his train set on the kitchen table.

This week has been rough for us.  Joel's been working insane hours since the inmate escaped from the prison, yes you read that right.  Joel's already put in around 60 hours and today is just now Friday.  Everyone keeps saying, "ohhhh just think of all that money."  Sorry, but fuck the money!  Seriously, I just want Joel home!  Not helping.

Apparently they have video footage of the guy stealing a truck so he's getting desperate and reckless, I hope they catch him soon so things can get back to normal for us.

This is where I'd say I'm not going to be a Debbie Downer anymore and move onto other things...

Jack starts preschool soon!  It's hard to wrap my head around, which reminds me I still need his pediatrician to sign off on his medical stuff.  He bought his first backpack- camo colored and he's so pumped.  He's in the bumblebee class.  Oh and his first season of soccer starts soon... totally pumped for that since it was my first love growing up.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you next week is my birthday, the big 2-6.  And I have no idea what we're doing, but I told Joel the only thing I want is a porch swing.  My parents have a wood one that my grandpa made sitting in their garage and Dad already said I could borrow it.  So they just have to set it up, that's all I want, seriously!

See I'm easy to please.  Okay, maybe Cheesecake Factory too ;)

If we were having coffee I'd tell you I'm planning a double birthday for the boys next month.  They're only three weeks apart, why not?  I'll have separate parties when someone complains.  Jack will be five, and Jude the big 1!  It's going to be circus theme and I'm super excited.  We're having it at our place and we're talking about getting the boys a trampoline and playground.  Of course it depends on the budget, but we have zero outdoor toys for them and we have BOYS!  They need something to help burn off all that energy.  I'm designing their invites and it's going to be a huge party.

Ek, I almost forgot Jack wants a lizard or other type of creature for his birthday so we're in the market for one, any suggestions welcome.  No snakes!  We want something easy to care for, not too expensive, and durable.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you work isn't going as smoothly as I'd like.  Fitting in the time to edit with Joel's schedule is rough.  I moved my desk into the bedroom to have more privacy but after we have coffee I'm moving it back out to the living room.  I'm just going to have to devote my mornings to it while the boys play.  While it's rough finding the time to edit, it's going really well and I'm happy with my new site, just need to work on the mobile end of it.

Joel?  We're doing good, we're in desperate need of a date night though.  I'd love to go to a drive-in-movie or canoeing!  I'd also like to invite more people over so can just hang out at home.  Make this place more fun and more of a haven.  Did I mention next month is our six year wedding anniversary?  We're also in the market for a kickass babysitter.  One that can drive! lol  Maybe I should go butter up to the neighbors who live down the hill... I think they have a teenager or two.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you I'm doing the couch to 5k program and ask if you'd like to run a 5k with me next Spring.  No I'm serious! haha.  I've been working out everyday and eating super healthy and trying my best to get a full night's rest.  Never thought I'd turn to the treadmill when I was stressed, but it's helped me a lot this week with everything we're going through since the inmate escaped Monday.  It's hard understanding all these emotions I'm having.

But, enough about me, what about you?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

INFJ

According to Myers-Briggs I'm one-of-a-kind and only 1-3% of the population is an INFJ.  At first I thought that was a fun fact, but the older I get the more I realize how different I really am.

I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INFJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).

N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INFJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.

F – Feeling preferred to thinking: INFJs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.

J – Judgment preferred to perception: INFJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability.

I thought about making a facebook account again.

It's been seven or eight months since I've had one.

Sometimes I miss the interactions, but being on facebook sucked a lot of energy out of me.  I didn't know how to put it into words at the time, but I knew I needed a break.  It was overwhelming reading the thoughts, feelings and actions of 400+ people.

Being an introvert, I've noticed how small my circle really is, but I love the people I share it with.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

about me, but not really about me

I updated my "about me" section my photography website today.  Writing about myself does not come easily.

I talked a lot about my experience through the years, and the part that brought me back the most was the part when I mentioned how my hands always smelled like dektol in high school.  I spent every free moment and all my study halls there.

They say smell is the strongest sense tied to memory.  And that memory made me think of my photography teacher, Mr. Bentley.

He was soft spoken and kind.  I didn't really fit into my class the older I got.  After I'd finished all the photography courses, I took all the graphic arts to be able to still bug him for a roll of $2 black and white film and play around with photoshop and of course, when I had finished my work... disappear into the dark room.

I clashed with most people in my class and I kept to myself.  Photography was my passion and I had always been somewhat of an introvert.

The person who talked to me everyday was Mr. Bentley, and I remember on a particular last day of school all the other kids wanted to go outside to take their own class photo and hollered for Mr. Bentley... I hardly noticed, I was cutting mat like always and focused on the math.

He said loud enough so I could hear, "I'm not taking a picture with you guys in-less Olivia comes too."

I was annoyed.  I didn't want a picture with them.  But that smile on his face made me get up and go... I did it for him.  He wasn't just a teacher, he was my friend.

Fast forward six years...

I was out to eat with my parents, Jack and newborn Jude... when I spotted Mr. Bentley sitting a few booths in front of us with his wife.

He was smiling at my boys.  He noticed us first.

We chatted with the distance between us, and I got up later to chat with him at his table.  And before he left he stopped by our table and I got up to hug him goodbye and when I let go he put his hands softy on my face and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

If you knew Mr. Bentley, you'd know that's just him.  And it made me feel so special and I hold that memory of him so close to my heart.

That's the only time I've seen him since high school, but I hope it's not the last.

It's a sweet memory I don't want to forget.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

cups

I love everything about this song. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

an old friend

An old friend flew in from Cali to visit family and got some shots with her sweet baby girl Rebel.

Here's my favorite...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

a full moon


“Before we invented civilization our ancestors lived mainly in the open out under the sky. 
Before we devised artificial lights and atmospheric pollution and modern forms of nocturnal entertainment we watched the stars. There were practical calendar reasons of course but there was more to it than that.  Even today the most jaded city dweller can be unexpectedly moved upon encountering a clear night sky studded with thousands of twinkling stars. 
When it happens to me after all these years it still takes my breath away.” 
― Carl Sagan


My Mother use to tell me when I was little the moon had a face so if someone was lonely or sad all they had to do was look up.

After dinner we drove home with the windows down, the moon was low and full.

When we all got home I took Jack with me to the top of a nearby hill and photographed the moon.  Jack ran wild in the field and begged me to let him catch lightning bugs.  After a few mosquito bites we headed home.

Did you happen to look up tonight?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

optimism


"Whatever you want in life, other people are going to want it too. 
Believe in yourself enough to accept the idea that you have an equal right to it."
-Diane Sawyer 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

WAHM

I'm a work at home Mama.

And the last few weeks I've been an unhappy one.

I felt (and still do to some degree) stretched too thin in every area of my life.  There is nothing I hate more than thinking about looming deadlines as I rock my babies to sleep.  It's like people say... when you're here, you're not really here.  That was me.

When I'm with my kids, I want to be with them.  And when I'm at work, I want to be at work.

I will admit I took on too much this summer, and according to my rules and calendar I'm basically booked until November and I have to force myself to accept that.

I read a few articles tonight to help with the WAHM thing.

I hope they're as magical as the article says.  Basically I need to be an organizational neat freak... the completely opposite of who I am.  It said to get things done asap, and not to wait for a deadline and that you'll feel free for once.  I've got a lot of traits I need to ditch and several I need to pick up.

I've got a lot of work to do.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

wish you were here

so... you think you can tell... Heaven from Hell...

I've heard Pink Floyd for the past four hours... on repeat.  You'd think I was smoking weed, but no... I'm working! HA.

I chose it for the song on my new website.  It's finally complete.  The galleries still need to be uploaded but the splash page and all the plug-ins are good to go.

The "About Me" section was the hardest.  The new logo I finished in a single afternoon.  It's suppose to be like a dreamcatcher, but it's made out of several photographs stitched together.

Check it out!  I'll be redirecting my clients there soon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dear Jude

Dear Jude, 
     Tonight after a bath with your brother, I held you snugly with your head on my left arm and toes to my right.  I had a bottle and a blanket for you.  That's how you relax before bed, you rub the blanket on your cheeks, over your eyes and usually leave it covering your face.  I pull it down so I can see you.  I play with your toes and look at your blond locks, they're so curly and soft.  Everyone says you look like me.
     I sang you a few songs and thought about how you're ten months old now.  You're ten months old and can barely hold a bottle yourself.  For every feeding I held you close, you never had to learn.  It makes me feel good.   
    I walked into your room today and you were standing in your crib.  You only started crawling a month ago.  You say "Da Da" a lot and "Mum."  Da Da was your first word though.
    Seeing you makes me smile, and when you lay your head on my shoulder it melts my heart.  You are my youngest child... take your time. 

                                                                                         Love you always, 
                                                                                                  Mum 

healthy oatmeal cookies

I don't share a lot of recipe here, but I'm always looking this one up for Jack so I decided to share.

We've made this recipe by Martha Stewart a few times and it's a family favorite.  Not too rich and the raisins really add to the sweetness; it's a satisfying treat.

Jack and I made the cookies tonight, but this time we followed the suggestions in the reviews and used olive oil instead of vegetable oil (olive oil has more health benefits than vegetable oil), added a dash of milk and a pinch of sea salt.  I think it's more moist and tastes just as good with the changes. 


Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum-free)

1/3 cup olive oil

2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

1/2 cup raisins

a dash of milk

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours and baking powder; set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and stir to combine; mix in oats and raisins.

3.) Using two tablespoons of dough per cookie, roll into balls; place on two baking sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. For moist cookies, bake 14 minutes, let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.

4.) Enjoy! 
Jack snuggling on the couch fresh out of the tub, with his favorite blankey, eating warm oatmeal cookies and drinking a glass of cold milk.

Friday, July 5, 2013

achieving goals


I'm not scared of growing old, I'm just scared of not achieving everything that I want to do.
-Melanie Laurent 

Sometimes I envision myself old and thinking about the past.  I hope I don't have lingering regrets.  

Then I wonder, will I have the privilege to grow old?

I think setting goals is easy, but planning on how to achieve those goals and having the right attitude is the difficult part.

Maybe that's why I've been so scattered lately?  I need an action plan. 

Listing my goals here seems a bit scary, but not as scary as having regrets. 

My main goal in life is to be a kind and caring wife and mother.  

I think following your heart, listening more than talking, giving more than you take, actively practicing patience and being slow to anger is a sure way to keep peace and love within the home.  I also firmly believe being the example is the best way to teach my children. 

Growing up, I always heard how you should have the heart of a servant, but I never really understood or wanted to accept the saying until Jack was around three.  I respect the religion I was raised to believe, although I don't completely identify myself with it.  Doing things without expecting something in return is liberating.  It keeps your heart free of resentment. 

I think that's a good start, but I think I'll write out a few ways to keep peace within our home that involves more organization.  

What is goals do you have?  

Sunday, June 30, 2013

raising chickens?

So tonight, over Chinese food, Joel asked me what I thought about raising chickens.

I was pretty shocked and kind of excited, and a bit doubtful and curious if it was a joke.  I couldn't believe he was serious.  Raising chickens has crossed my mind a few times and it's something I've joked about with friends, but I've never shared the idea with Joel.

He even mentioned bees!

The idea is fun.

I buy eggs all the time, and when I occasionally choose the white eggs over the organic, range free eggs I always feel a bit guilty.  And I won't even talk about how upset I was when I forgot to freeze a bunch of organic chicken breasts last week.

I never really raised chickens, but we had chickens growing up- in town (laughing).  My parents use to get baby chicks and ducks for Easter morning.  It was the best memory.  But as they got older and louder (the roosters) Dad would give them away to a nearby farm.

I mentioned how much I loved what they did for us on Easter when I was about sixteen and sure enough, that Easter morning there were baby chicks waiting for me in the kitchen one last time.  It meant a lot to me.

So here I am, googling for knowledge on raising chickens.  I should probably give Dad a call.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

warm summer nights

The best things in life are free.

And that blurry figure bending over in the background is my little Jack, four years young.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy


The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
-Benjamin Franklin 



I watched "Happy" the movie on netflixs today.

I'm a sucker for documentaries... research, different cultures, countries, happiness; all the things I love all rolled into one.
  • Did you know that social status, money, and success only account for 10% of your happiness?
  • 50% is your genetic make up
  • 40% is everything else and is within your control... like having close relationships and support from friends, family and the community.  It also talks about helping others, an active lifestyle, and "flow."
They also said that no matter how much money you make, you'll only gain short term happiness and you'll then adapt to that number and ultimately want more.  So no matter how many times you get a raise you'll adapt to that number and feel like it's not enough.

It also stated the obvious for those that dispute that money does buy happiness... saying if you compare the happiness levels of someone who makes 5,000 dollars a year to someone who makes 50,000... yes you're going to see a huge difference, but when your basic needs are met (10%), happiness depends on your genes (50%), and the other 40% is up to you. 

The movie made me think a lot about my parenting and the message I'm sending my boys.  Like Jack's need for a small toy every time we visit the store.  It was so easy to buy that $1 junk toy to keep him happy, but I'm feeding into materialism and also the false idea that things will make him happy.

So no more "things"... we're trading material rewards with family time (swimming, walks, catching lightning bugs, you get the idea).

And while we're being honest, today we had a small mishap with our bank account that I quickly resolved but while driving there I thought to myself (after watching the movie) that money does equal happiness.  I couldn't believe I was selling myself the lie I just watched a whole movie about!  I stopped myself from digging deeper into that thought and pushed myself to see all the good things I have in my life.  I feel a bit stunned that it came so quickly, and how strong the feeling was.  It's scary the things we train our minds to believe. 

So one of many steps to help myself and my boys, I've started a "count your blessings" ritual after prayers at bedtime, so the last thing my boys think of is all the things good in their life.  I think that's a great way to drift off to sleep.

Have you seen "Happy"?

What makes you happy? :)


Sunday, June 23, 2013

bits and pieces

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” 
― Eric Roth

My blog posts have been random and short.

I can't seem to condense. 

Like today, the only words that feel right are... "just do it."  

Yep, the Nike slogan.  

My life is not what I'd like it to be at the moment.  Deadlines slowly creeping by, not using free time wisely, wanting to be more as a parent, wife, friend, business owner... I want to try new things.  I want to add more. 

So how do you get from point A to point B?  You just fucking do it!  There's no magical answers, yet we all google for them (or maybe I'm the only one?). 

Nobody wants to hear an excuse, especially the ones we feed ourselves. 

I recently read that our grasp should exceed our reach.

"The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself."
-Mary Schmich


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Jackisms

#1

(While I'm in the bathroom Jack slowly walks in.)

Jack: "I'm sorry Mom."

(I stare at the ranch and small orange pieces all over his face and hands.)

Me: "Jackkk... what did you do?"

Jack: "I just really love carrots... so I ate them REALLY FAST like the cookie monster and now there's food everywhere."

(I'm trying hard not to laugh.)

Me: "Please don't do that again, and go wash your face."

#2

Trying to give Jack organic milk that tastes slightly different.

Me: "Jack here's some magical milk, it's called organic and it's really good for you!"

Jack: "Does it taste like crab-legs?"

#3

I ordered a pina colada but later caught the waiter and asked for a virgin so Jack could share with me.  There was small talk of alcohol or no alcohol to clarify my order.

Jack while sipping my pina colada: "Mmmm alcohol is yummy!"

I laugh and say for anyone within ear-shot that it doesn't have alcohol in it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I regret...

Not taking any self portraits while I was pregnant with Jude.

I regret not doing that huge belly cast so I could put it in our bedroom.

And if we're being completely honest, I would have loved a simple nude shot.

It was an experience... a huge, monumental experience that won't come again, one that is easily forgotten.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

clarity

What do you want Olivia?

Such an enormous question.

Monday, June 17, 2013

it's always darkest before the dawn


Florence + The Machine
"Shake It Out"

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn

And I've been a fool and I've been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I'm always dragging that horse around

Our love is questioned, such a mournful sound
Tonight I'm gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it's always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
'Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It's always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It's a fine romance but it's left me so undone
It's always darkest before the dawn

Oh whoa, oh whoa...

And I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't
So here's to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope
It's a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
'Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I'm gonna let it happen to me, yeah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

Sunday, June 16, 2013

today is Father's Day...

And I find myself googling for knowledge on the right things to say and do for someone who has been admitted for depression.

My family member I mentioned awhile back asked to be taken to the hospital.

He's in a new facility that is barely open.

As I type this, my eyes focused behind my laptop and settled on a black and white photograph of him taken nearly fifty years ago.  He's in love and holding his sweetheart.

When I think of him, I only see him laughing... laughing so hard I can see the silver in his mouth.

I can hear his voice... with his strong and passionate opinion, something I've always valued, one because he's the only other democrat I know in our family.

I wish I could make all of this ago away.

I wish there was something I could say or do to help.  It's such a complex and difficult thing to understand.  I do believe this is not his fault.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Burning Bridges

I don't have a secret facebook account.

I did have a dormant account so I could keep my photography business page alive.  I had zero friends.  I spent two hours one night deleting all of my friends and relatives.  It was odd, but freeing.

I've been facebook free for over six months now, but I recently noticed facebook changed their privacy policies once again and I am no longer private and hidden.

So I officially deleted myself, and made a Jane Doe account for admin of my business page.  Why didn't I do this before?  I guess the thought of losing everything I've ever wrote on my wall made me nervous... like I'd really go back and reminisce (ain't nobody got time for that).

You know how some people are hoarders in real life, well there are digital hoarders too.  They're the ones afraid to delete files, online accounts or old email addresses.  Let it go.  Seriously.  Your slow computer and cluttered inbox will thank me.

Anyways, the reason for this post is I felt like I needed to explain.  You know, just in case anyone has done a search, found me and can't for the life of them figure out why I don't want to be their friend.  I do want to be your friend, just not on facebook :)  I use it purely for business.

I wrote the article below the night I decided to leave facebook, which is a bit silly to some but it was a big part of my life at the time.  I also submitted this to an online community for publishing so I wasn't able to share then, but I can now.

And whenever I get the itch to return, I read it.

Written January 9, 2013

I decided tonight, after some misunderstandings, that I am officially breaking up with facebook.  I'm actually pretty bummed about it.  But the reality that I am sad, kind of makes it more obvious that we need to separate.  For good.

I'm not the type to say goodbye and return.  I've had my share of "facebook breaks” with my last following the Sandy Hook school shooting.  Instead of mourning in peace, lots of people used the tragedy to push their political views.

But saying goodbye altogether, I didn't dare utter the words.  Plus, I have a business to run and networking is where it's at.  That has always been my excuse.

My husband deleted his a few months ago.  He's happier.  He tells me all the time I'd be happier too.  In fact, there have been a few times that I shared some drama from the book with him and he flat out told me not to share with him anymore because it ruins his day.  Sometimes I forget how wise he is.

He said facebook was the source for people to make mountains out of molehills.  Facebook was good at pointing out molehills for me so I didn't miss them.  It all felt like an epiphany.

So tonight, I told my husband that I'm doing it.  It's the push I've been waiting for.

"I'm going to delete my facebook," I said.

He told me, "don't delete it just because you're angry, do it because you want to!"

It felt like I was standing at the edge of a cliff about to jump into water and he's telling me to think twice when he's already jumped and had a good time.

"Give me the laptop before I change my mind!" I told him.

I went to delete but couldn't figure out how to separate my business page and my personal without deleting both.  I was in limbo.  Do I deactivate or do I send a request to have everything removed?  Do I open a Jane Doe account and keep running my business page?

I'm leaning towards letting it all go... torching the bridge and watching it burn.

To be completely honest and weird, I've asked myself the question of what people like Benjamin Franklin would have thought of facebook.  I can only imagine, and part of me thinks he wouldn't like it much.

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.”  -Benjamin Franklin

See… wise.

The person I had an argument with today quoted Benjamin Franklin at my wedding in her toast.

Our relationship will mend, and we will eventually move on, but I think facebook will not be the remedy, not that it was the culprit, but it definitely didn't help the situation.  And while we're being honest, it wasn't the first time we've had a misunderstanding on facebook.

Facebook came with a lot of guilt and responsibility.
Always feeling the need to type out a "Happy Birthday" when the reminder popped up
Feeling the need to accept friend requests from every single person I've ever met in my life
The pressure to network
Feeling the need to constantly lift some one's spirit or offer advice
Lost time.  When I always exceeded my “15 minutes only” rule.
The "hide" option.  Probably 75% of my "friends" were hidden in my feed.  I couldn't see a thing they posted because I didn't want to.  How is that a "friend?"

Moments that were private within our home were always followed by a thought about sharing on facebook.  My mind started to talk in facebook updates.  I was blowing up the feed with photos of my kids and all my instagram photos.

And the part that I didn’t want to admit to… the judging.

“A person that judges others will inevitably judge themselves harshly. It is only when one stops judging others that, that one can truly appreciate the beauty within.” ― Ando Oomae

Realizing that I was thinking about facebook when I wasn't even actively on it, judging others and plotting my next post made me realize it's not a place for me.  It wasn't good for my soul.

So that's it, I'm officially breaking up with facebook.  I imagine it will slowly but surely make my life more peaceful.

And peace is what I want.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

depression hurts


“When you're surrounded by all these people, it can be lonelier than when you're by yourself. 
You can be in a huge crowd, 
but if you don't feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, 
you feel like you're really alone.” 
― Fiona Apple




A close family member that I love is battling depression.

As someone who's been though the fog twice, I spent last night assuring him he's not alone, not crazy and all the thoughts in his mind that he doesn't want to share- I've been there and I promised him he'd be happy again, that he would feel like himself again someday.

He wanted to talk about it... so we talked.

It's nothing to be ashamed of (although I could tell a few others in the room were a bit uncomfortable).

His questions of "why" when nothing horrible has happened I think is what is most upsetting to him.  He can't understand it.

I told him there are many questions in life and not enough answers.

I said all the things that were in my mind while depressed but I never expressed, like all the real thoughts I had but never shared because I didn't want to scare anyone (he nodded in agreement).  How one day I was okay, and the next it was like a train had hit me and I couldn't understand how it could come on so strong and so sudden (more nods).

I called him today and talked about medications, things I'm currently on and how I also feel like a bit of this is in our genes.  I think it runs in the family.  It's not his fault.  (He is very active and healthy and I do believe that drugs can and do help people suffering from depression.)

I told him it's hard to go through the fog of depression once and come through thinking you'll never experience that again... and then you do- and it's a whole new experience accepting that you can't control everything.

He said after he came out of depression awhile back, he never thought he'd feel this way again... I said it's a hard to accept, but that he would be happy again.

This person has years of life experience that I don't.  I love him, and I worry about him and I hope one day soon... he will feel true happiness.

Today I looked back in an old journal of mine when I was battling depression in 2009 and here's just a small excerpt.

I think it's good to remember.

February 17, 2009

"Joel had to work a double.  I waited until Jack went to bed to "fall apart."  I had and still do have a major migraine.  I took a hot shower to relax and cry.  The shower is the one place I feel safe enough to let all of my emotions out.  And although it feels good to release it... I start to wonder... why am I sad?  Why am I upset?  I have everything I ever wanted... 

I feel guilty for my ill feelings and thoughts... 

Is this really a mental illness?  Sometimes I'm not sure... how do you know?  And how do you know when you've overcome it?  I keep thinking I'm finally healed and stop my medication only to find myself in the same old rut. 

I keep making excuses so I don't have to see Dan (my counselor).  I know he's helping me but it just seems like too much energy... 

Headaches are becoming all too common lately.  I feel like I can't "quiet" my mind.  My thoughts are so random and sometimes I forget my original thought that sparked my fifty trailing thoughts." 

*If someone you know is battling depression, here is an article of 10 things to say and 10 things not to say.

*And if you are battling depression, I urge you to talk to someone.  The first step is always the hardest.  And if talking seems unimaginable, I suggest writing a letter to express yourself.  You will be happy again, I promise.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

lessons from the ocean

“The things you own end up owning you. 
It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk



     As we walked through the sand and decided on a spot on the beach, the lifeguard came over and
told us how our giant umbrella had to be back behind him so he could see clearly down the shore.

I was so embarrassed as I slowly realized, we were that family.  

You know, the super pale, Northern family dragging way too much and bickering over small things.  I felt silly and not really happy.  I felt out of place. 

The next day, after parasailing and a few experiences that really felt like living...   I was putting Jude to bed and Joel was out on the beach trying to fly a kite with Jack; I watched from the balcony.  

I decided to let go of the idea of "perfect" and headed outside past Jude's bedtime, barefoot, in a floor length sundress with no bra and a single towel for Jude to sit on. 

I went out and played in the water, chased Jack, built a sandcastle.  We buried Jack in his evening clothes and I let Jude get all sandy while playing with buckets.  We got soaked and we walked the beach.  We laughed and played and let go of the idea of perfect.  What's perfect?  Having your arms full of things only to weigh you down?  Or arms free and open to experiences?  

Later, Joel put sandy Jude in the ergo baby carrier on his back and he went right to sleep.  We stayed out late and walked what seemed forever down the beach.  We talked to the locals and drew our names in the sand.  We stopped by the bar on the beach and got a couple drinks.  We watched someone arrive at the ocean, flip off his sandals and run for the water.  Said he hadn't seen the ocean in five years. 

Staring up at the palm trees and the night sky with the ocean crashing against the shore is probably one of my favorite things to do in the whole world. 

One experience with "things" taught me a lot about life.  Every time we headed for the ocean after that, it was barefoot with only the essential things... like a room key.  

Happiness was easier to find.  I felt free.  

“A lot of people get so hung up on what they can't have 
that they don't think for a second about whether they really want it.” 
― Lionel Shriver

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