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Monday, March 17, 2014

What do Swizz and Eyeore have in common?

I read this today and realized...
I have a post needing to be written.

I am clinically depressed.  Have been since, oh, about 12 years of age.  
Or at least that's when I was first diagnosed. 
Come to find out it is hereditary...several of us in my family are clinically depressed.  
Some of us medicate. 
 Others of us don't.

This is a little bit about my journey.
If it helps even ONE person to feel normal, and not alone, I'm glad to share.

I'm going to start the way things should be in Swizz's world...backwards!

A few months ago I decided to get off of my meds.  Not because I think I was miraculously healed, but because they seemed to cause nerve issues.  And with the problems I have been having with my back, my energy levels, etc, I was trying to be proactive and get rid of something that could have been the root cause of all of those issues.

Except, I'm clinically depressed.
Did I mention that?

And this past year has been a doozey!
We lost our sweet Skipper.
We lost The Rev's last surviving grandparent.
Our family moved in with us.
We moved.
Our new home, a huge blessing!, was a money pit. 
Is a money pit, that is.
Our renters in Atlanta broke the lease purchase agreement and skipped on a few months of rent.
And left close to $20,000 in damages.
We finished out the barn on our property.
The cost tripled from the original estimate.
The Rev's business was a bit rocky for awhile, but has exploded.
Our house got mold.
Did I mention the money pit?
Our cars broke down.  Multiple times.  Big ticket items.
JMonster has had bouts of stomach sickness.
Every few weeks.
We found out some health issues with me. 
I'm okay, but the "fix" is expensive and is taking awhile to settle in.  
I'll share more about that at a later time.

The list could go on.  And it does.  But that's not the point.  The point is that I attempted to deal with all of these things without meds.

Now, I've been praying and reading the Bible, and praying some more.
2013 found me either praying, crying, or praying and crying most of the time.
For realz.

And God is good!
He has really brought me through a fiery place and shown me his grace and mercy.
And He is teaching me to have more grace and mercy.
But the black cloud that follows me around, the filter which I see the world through without being able to help it, is still there.

You don't have too little faith.
You aren't a baby believer because the Holy Spirit isn't making your world rosey.
And if anyone ever says this to you...
pray for them.
For they obviously DO NOT know the God of this universe, 
who created you.
And loves you.
Just. the. way. you. are.

Is this you?  Have you ever been here?
Have your friends either tried to tell you to "buck up" or show you every positive thing in your life?
Or even just let your friendship drop?
Maybe they texted every few weeks to check on you, but you weren't invited to do anything?
No one called to chat?
People protected themselves from you because you weren't bouncy flouncy smile on your face every second of every minute of every day?

It's not that you're not thankful.
Or grateful.
Or even that you are TRYING to focus on negatives.
No one WANTS to be like that.


And if your friends did that to you...well SHAME ON THEM!

I've had friends do that, too.
People I thought were GOOD friends.

You know you've got a good friend when they keep loving on you. 
Keep inviting you to join in on the shenanigans and adventures, every time, even if you keep saying no.  
Or join in but just sit quietly.
THOSE are the keepers, my friends.
Those are the friends who love YOU and not the idea of the best you.

Before this, I've been on Zoloft off and on for years.
I started on it about 2 years after my big accident.
And I stayed on it until JMonster was little.
Then I tried to get off for awhile.

One of the reasons I stopped was the whole medical insurance thing.
You're on antidepressants?
OH, you must be a HUGE risk!
We won't deny you, but your costs will be huge!
Or maybe, now that we think about it...DENIED.
Not a good reason to get off of a medication, but sometimes we do things that seem silly later because we are trying to manage now.

Let's jump back to teenager Swizz.

My doctor prescribed prozac back then.
We called it the happy pill!

At first it was an all the time script.

And it helped.  It really did.

And then he said it could be an as needed medication.
And I did so well I decided to wean off.
Cuz I was better, right?

And I stayed off for several years.
Years that were very hard.
Years where I now realize, looking back, that my filters weren't only not rosey for me, but they skewed every thought I had for everyone around me.
You see that little cloud over Eyeore's head?
When you have one of those, and they are OH SO REAL, it affects EVERYTHING.

Every thought about yourself.
Every thought about other people.
Every decision you make.

And life shouldn't be that hard.
I'm not saying that God promised us an easy life.
He didn't.
But He sure doesn't want you, or me, feeling like the world would be a happier place without us in it.

And that is where our reality lives, doesn't it?
We get to the point where, because our brain chemicals are messed up, we feel so unwanted or unneeded by PEOPLE that we become consumed by it.
Not that we don't believe God loves us.
I know that He loves me deeply.
Every part of me.
But I also know I want friends!
The truth is, and they're lying if they tell you otherwise, even Christians need friends.

Now...let's get down to brass tacks.
Medications do NOT make us whole.
They don't.
And someone who tells you they will is pulling the wool over your eyes.

What they DO make is a person who is capable of rational thought.
When I hear a lie, and I know it is a lie, I can BELIEVE it is a lie.

When my feelings are hurt, and the offender has apologized, the emotions can follow the brain's acceptance of that apology.
And then I am able to trust my feelings.
And trust my responses.
And not question every. single. thought. emotion. or action.

Because when you have to think that hard about every single thought, emotion, or action, it becomes a self-fulfiling prophecy.
You think you must seem hateful.
So you are hateful.
You think your words sound bossy.
So you are bossy.
You think your expression seems negative.
So you become negative.

Let's break that cycle!
I am going to talk with my doctor about getting on a new script.
One that doesn't affect my nerves,
But treats the chemicals in my brain so my levels are "normal".

Although I love Eyeore,

Really, I want to be Tigger!

P.S. I find it funny that I posted the bit about Eyeore on my facebook page and got 3 likes.  I post something dumb about nothing and I'll get WAY more than that.  Things like clinical depression make people uncomfortable.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

And did I mention...WE MOVED!?!

I don't have the energy to tell the entire story today,
(and speaking of energy, there's a story there, too!)

But I wanted to show y'all our new property.

Our FOREVER property!

22 acres...we are sharing with my sister and her family.
Our barn...we renovated it.
This was part way through construction.

Our back deck

The view from our terrace.
And, yes, the sound of the fountain is amazing!

We even planted a garden!

View across lake...the terrace juts out into the water.
Picture was taken from where my sister's house will stand, looking at the back of our house.
Our little slice of Heaven here on Earth!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Spiritual Journey

Well hey there!  
You still here?  
You sure are patient!  

Much more than I am at least.  
Or that I was, for I've been working on it! 

How, you ask?  
Let me catch you up on what's been going on with me...spiritually.

Me...under construction!

WAY back in February of last year (I know, it's almost been a year!  You really ARE patient!) I posted about joining a House Church.  It has been one of the most spiritually challenging decisions I have made...aside from my decision to follow Jesus.

I grew up in a high mass Episcopal Church.  Nothing wrong with that.  I was an acolyte from the time I was a kindergartener until about 10th grade, when my family stopped attending that church.  A few years later I met Jesus.

Since then I've attended several churches.  I've learned.  I've grown.  I've worshiped.

I've never learned, grown, or worshiped like I do now.

I've never been surrounded by a group of genuine people who learn, who LOVE, who challenge others, like I am now.

My daily quiet times used to be sporadic, if ever.  And when I had them they were more for checking it off of the list.

Not now.

I still have a lot of room to grow, don't get me wrong, but almost DAILY the Holy Spirit is guiding me and encouraging me to LOVE in ways I didn't know were possible for me.

For, you see, I am not always a nice person.  I can be oh so selfish.  And judgmental.  VERY judgmental.  And...well, this isn't about my list of things wrong about me.  It's how JESUS is changing me!  For the BETTER!

And how daily I am being accepted.  BY ME!  Because the Holy Spirit guides me there.

With all of my faults, and there are oh so many, I've never really liked myself.  Who would?  Like me, that is?  A person who is so quick to judge.  And to get angry when you do things that disturb me?  Not me, for one.  I wouldn't like someone like that.  Nope.  And love them?  Fuhgetaboutit!

But, I'm learning to love me.  Because Jesus does.  And because all of those bad areas?  Yeah, I'm working on those.

Baby steps, people.  Baby steps.

But in the meantime, I can give myself a break.  And truly love who I am NOW.  Because I am HOLY and DEARLY LOVED!

And because I am Holy and Dearly Loved...I can clothe myself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  And above all...I can let the PEACE of Christ rule in my heart.

Whew.  That's HUGE!


Who doesn't want peace?

(And did you notice, earlier, I actually mentioned the Holy Spirit?  Yeah, Him.  I was always a bit, hmmm, embarrassed by people who talked about Him.  Not anymore.  Okay, so maybe just a little if it's weird.  But, God isn't weird.  People are weird.  And when weird people who do weird things talk about the Holy Spirit...THEN I get embarrassed.  Truth.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter 2013!


What a wonderful reminder of the love our Father has for us.

Being a parent, I cannot imagine making the decision to sacrifice my son for others.

Especially for those who are so unworthy!

He may have known Jesus would live again in 3 days, but He still had to watch him suffer.

May we always remember how blessed we are to be loved so immensely!

(sorry for the poor quality of the pictures...used the phone!)

Before opening Easter basket!

It was an Angry Birds themed basket this year!

Each egg had an Easter message inside!  Some even had jokes. :)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

House Church

It's funny, I never would have thought of us as the house church "type".
(Go with me here, I'm not trying to judge or label!)

What's a house church, you ask?

From Vine House Churches:
These are real churches that meet in homes, where believers gather at least once each week for prayer, fellowship, teaching, and to pray for the lost. House Churches can meet in homes, places of business, coffee shops-anywhere people meet. These are real churches, not just Bible studies or House groups. They have (pastor/shepherds), they collect tithes and offerings, and the leadership is responsible before the Lord for the souls of the people in the house church (Hebrews 13:17).

House Churches are local churches in which the church life and ministry to one another takes place mainly in House groups instead of in a "central service". Some house-churches do have a Sunday service, but the emphasis is on the Houses, where teaching, counseling, ministry, prayer and evangelism take place.

The important thing about a House Church is not the quality of the worship leader or how gifted the group leader is, but the tangible love of Christ between the members. People are drawn to Christ when they experience His love practically. Christianity is primarily relational. Jesus when he called his followers asking them to follow Him in relationship. Doctrine is essential but it must be realized in the context of people living out their lives in a way that looks Christ-like.
Yes, we look evil.  No, we are not! :)

 When we moved out of my Mom's house into our current home (remember, we are renting?), we found that not only did our back-door neighbors homeschool, their oldest child was in JMonster's class in our Classical Conversations group!  

And...they held a house church in their home!

Now we had been attending a great church here in town, with a pastor we loved and whose preaching was spot on, but we hungered for more.  We weren't connected in ways we wanted to be, and they started a capital campaign soon after we moved.  

I am NOT saying capital campaigns are bad, however our last 2 churches did HUGE capital campaigns toward the end of us being there and we were over them.  In our minds and hearts, that money could be used to directly help people who are in need!  Building more bricks and sticks, when there are SOOO many churches already here, just didn't make sense to us.

We visited the house church in November of 2011.  
We couldn't believe people actually churched like this!  
Where had this been all of our marriage?

Now that we have been attending for over a year, our thoughts are just the same.  
Church is good.  
Our church is good.  
House church isn't for everyone.  
It isn't better or worse than other churches, just different.

And we wouldn't change where we attend, right now, for anything.

At some point in the near future I will share about our community and just how it "works"!

Have you ever attended a house church?
Do you love the church you are in?
Are you being fed and getting to feed others?


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mentally swimming through infertility

On a side note, I am utterly surprised this blog is still here!  
I would not have been shocked if it had been removed for inactivity.

Don't we need another one like this running around?

Lately my heart has been revisiting where we are with growing our family.  Which at this point is nowhere.

I did finally sit down with The Rev and let him know how hard this is for me.  How I feel like it is US holding the process back, not God.

And JMonster talks about having a baby sister or brother ALL. THE. TIME.

I checked into the whole foster to adopt process, which seems like the best thing for us, and am excited!

The Rev isn't quite there, yet.

I even found a sibling group of 3 adorable kids needing homes.

A 6 year old boy, a 5 year old girl, and a 4 year old girl.

In my heart they could be ours!

We need a home study.

We obviously had one when we lived in Atlanta, but it is way past expired.
(Anyone know how to get a FREE home study?  Message me!)

We have to go to some meetings and get training.

And all of this while I would still LOVE to have another of our own biological kiddos, and not doubting God, but also wondering if it will ever happen.

I am 40, remember?

PLEASE, PLEASE pray for us!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Federal Budget...WHY did I sit and read it?

I made the mistake of sitting down to read the federal budget.

I know!  I know!  Stupid.

My thought process probably went something like this:

"I wonder what the government spends our money on?"

"They seem to overspend...not thinking about a true budget at all."

"WE stay within a budget in our house."

"In the movie Dave they were able to balance the budget."

"I love the movie Dave!"

"Maybe they need ME to look at the budget and find the excesses."

So...I did.

Whoa!  Did you know that the federal government will spend almost $23 BILLION on Reforming and extending unemployment
insurance, but only $1 MILLION on Helping entrepreneurs and small businesses
access capital and grow?

Seems backward to me.

People who are NOT working vs people who are making a go at starting a new life.

These are the types of things which irk me.

I am ALL for helping people.  I am!
(Didn't you see me help that person the other day?  Maybe it was last week?  Or last month?)

However, it must be in the right context.

And it must set people up for success.

Our system is broken, and it keeps those in need...well, in need!

I suggest you do NOT read the budget.

Unless you are one of those who enjoys horror movies and nightmares.

(Anyone else out there make this same mistake?)