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Thursday, October 26, 2017

I'm here for the (pity) party

I want to write important things.  Doesn't everyone who writes?  We want to feel like we existed and laying our thoughts and feelings in words is an existence in itself that could potentially live here after us.

The words that I use today are quite different than the words that I would have used 15 years ago.  Then it would have been painful and I would suffer to tell the tale of a lonely soul who found love and walked away from it with their skin shredded to ribbons.

10 years ago I suffered under the weight of my soul-crushing desire to have a child.

5 years ago I rejoiced in the promise of an answered prayer.

Today my thoughts and feelings, though still full of those other times and sufferings and joys and grace and despair, also smack of vitality and renaissance.  I am woman.  I am 40.  I am passion and purpose and art and fury and all the things I held restrained within me at 24.

I hadn't yet learned the beauty of stillness.  I hadn't yet heard the heartbeat of perfect love.  I hadn't yet borne the despair of infertility.  I hadn't fully lived.

And yet...have I now?  I do feel that I am on the precipice of something.  Not just being 40, but finding a fullness of myself.  I'm not sure what that even means, but I'm ready for it.

Until I get there, are these words today enough?  Have I meant something?  Have I existed in these words?  Have I inhabited my speech and my thoughts and my feelings?  Have I left something good with my family, my friends, my community, full of warmth and passion and a true deep well of happiness that is encapsulated in my life?

When in doubt, live.  Tackle that voice telling you no or you can't.  Put those words down and give them wings by letting them breathe in the light.  I'm certainly going to try because I have hope for more than today.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fiscal Fast - Halfway through

What's going on beautiful people?  I feel like I just posted.  Oh wait, guess I just did not even a week ago.

Lucky you!  You get another post from me, your benevolent leader!  I'm sure you're thrilled.  :/

So here we are at the over halfway mark.  It's August 17th and we have 2 weeks left!  I'll give you the rundown.
burnout time at the car show

  • We have 1 1/2 dozen eggs left, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 1/2 bags of cappellini (angel hair) pasta, 1/2 to 2/3 left of one carton of almond milk, 1/2 a package of bacon, and a few other things I can slap together in the pantry.
  • We are officially out of:  garlic!  We have garlic powder and garlic salt, but no mo' garlic. :(  We are out of parsley, mexi blend cheese, bread, and nearly out of onions and potatoes.
  • Our garden gave us 5 yellow squash, 1 zucchini squash, 4 poblano peppers, and 5 or 6 green bell peppers this week, as well as a metric ton of cherry tomatoes and half a dozen regular tomatoes.
  • We got out and went fishing at the lake for a couple hours Saturday morning and went to a free car show at the Capitol building Saturday night with the kids.  Ashley managed to survive even though "car shows are so booooooring..."
  • We finished a 1000 piece puzzle that I had sitting around half done for a month or two.
  • I started sewing a dress that I already had everything for and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to make it smaller because...
  • I lost 12 pounds in the last 2 1/2 weeks!  I've been kinda sorta doing the Naturally Slim program and have been going to yoga 4-5 times per week.  That just shows how overweight I was and how much I overate each day.
  • The kids started back to school this week and JROTC for Daden and volleyball for Ashley
Me, myself, and I...ahhhh



I am really energized about the end of the fiscal fast and kinda want to do it for another month!  (Shh. Don't tell Rick.)  He already thinks I'm certifiable!

There you have it!  My fiscal fast update.  We have chicken thighs thawing in the fridge for tomorrow night and I'm going to bring leftover pasta from tonight to work for lunch tomorrow.

As an aside, my yoga instructor tried to get us into Crow pose tonight.  I was nearly there with blocks before I fell off the block.  I also fell off 2 blocks just sitting.  Did I ever tell you my middle name is Grace?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fiscal Fast Y'all!

Um, not sure what's going on here, but we had fun?!


Okay, so it is August 11th and we are officially 1/3 of the way through our month-long fiscal fast.  Loyal readers (so like 3 of you) of this blog may know that this is the 5th year running for my No-Spend Month.  I really love it guys!  For a variety of reasons.  Let me explain.

So, essentially the idea is to not spend any money during the entire month of August.  Okay, so for us the FIRST year, we literally spent nothing on anything.  At the time we were doing the Dave Ramsey Envelope System and so we had enough cash from the previous month to pay for our gas the entire month of August.  It was great, but the envelope system doesn't really fit our life anymore.

We still pay the bills as usual every month, as much as I'd love to NOT.  However, I also like taking indoor showers and sleeping with a fan on, so you know...gotta keep the e-lec-trickery on.

Over the last 5 years, certain modifications have been made, but overall it is essentially the same.  We now grow a garden and I can and freeze and bake and freeze leading up to this month.  Not a lot mind you, but enough to get by with some quickie meals.  I made 45 bierocks a week ago and that is our go-to no thawed meat, no ideas, no energy meal.

Bierocks hot out of the oven.  YUM!


We also purchased a pork and beef bundle from the local meat locker because we were completely out of everything in our deep freeze.  We also got a few things from the store to have on hand.

The big modification this year:  since we actually have the kids for half of August, we needed lunches for them.  So I made a concession to my husband (rarity!) and we now buy just lunch stuff on Sunday before the next week.  Still reducing our spending by a LOT but not having to stock up on lunchmeat or me having to worry about enough stuff for them to eat.

So now we live off whatever we have in our home.  Nothing extra.  One tip is almond milk.  Buy at least 2 containers.  They last more than a month and you can essentially use it anywhere you would use regular milk with the added bonus of being good for you!  I use it for biscuits and gravy all the time.  I don't even notice the difference, to be honest.

Okay, so here we are, 1/3 of the way through.  How are we doing?  Well...we are already almost out of cheese, but we have plenty of eggs!  The bierocks are holding up.  We've only eaten about 25% of those.  I made a poor man's meal tonight and cleaned out part of the fridge.  The most dire circumstance though is that I don't have any minced onions on hand and I'm down to my last 1 1/2 onions.  Seriously.  No bueno.  I can't believe I forgot minced onions!

On to the biggest benefits!  You eat REAL FOOD every night!  If you do as we have done the 4 years prior to this, you NEVER go to the grocery store...ever.  For an ENTIRE month.  *YASSS*  You get creative!  You learn what spices and flavors go together.  You make do.  You utilize, save, repurpose.  I have never found another thing that has helped me think about what I am using and my waste better than a fiscal fast.  Period.  You realize the jam that's been in your refrigerator door for months can be used in pan sauces, salad dressings, marinades!  Probably my favorite thing is that we find creative ways to have fun on the cheap.  Last night we visited a sunflower patch (hence the top pic) and took pictures.  There's free stuff downtown tomorrow and I want to make everyone come with me inside the Capitol building.

Fiscal Fast.  10/10 would do again.

If you've done this or a modified version, tell me your favorite part of it in the comments!

Monday, August 7, 2017

I refuse...

You know, sometimes I just refuse to give in. I adamantly reject the idea that my anxiety is going to take over my body and mind. Tonight I made pork chops in a pan sauce, green beans (from my canned stash), and leftover squash casserole. I fought my mind throughout the meal and had to leave the table early because I wasn't feeling well.

All I could think about was the green beans. They were pressure canned and all I could think about was botulism and how it would feel to have my organs shut down, etc. I canned everything exactly as the instructions said to and I cooked the green beans again for supper, so it was perfectly fine, but my mind was deceitful. It tried to take me down that lonely, scary road. I hopped on the exit ramp though.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about refusing to give in. I don't want to give up living before I'm done actually living! I don't like flying. I don't like the idea of being holed up on a cruise ship without escape. Two weeks ago I took that flight and cruised from Long Beach, CA to Ensenada, Mexico and while I may not have chosen a cruise ship to get there, it was a fun time and Ensenada was beautiful. We went to two vineyards there and enjoyed fresh olive oil with lovely bread and cheese.

On the first flight, I hadn't flown in so long that I forgot what it felt like. I clutched my rosary, my thumb furiously rubbing the crucifix, tears streaming down my face, praying to God and Mary to help me through that moment. Then, the landing was no big deal. We had a short layover in San Francisco and this time, I tried my utmost to be blase' about the whole takeoff so I wouldn't freak out. I literally almost fell asleep right as it started. I was determined not to let the anxiety take over.

On the flight home, I was so worried about the terrified guy next to me that I didn't have time to ponder the plane breaking in half.

I told my friend before we left that I HAD to do these things. I HAD to challenge myself to go through it. If I didn't, I would be so disappointed in myself.

My anxiety is muuuuuuch better than it used to be and I am so thankful for that. The triggers are still there, but I am challenging myself to face them head on instead of cowering in the corner. For right now, I've done it and I'm happy to report that I'm still alive. So live like there's no tomorrow. The cliche' is a bald truth we must acknowledge. One day, there won't be one. That's it. We're done. My hope resides in the cross but until God takes me home, I refuse to let fear win.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Be

Lord, I am so frightful. I am reaching blindly, hoping to catch on to something solid. I want so much to live a life unafraid...and then darkness comes.

Why? Why does every night end in pleading for rest, comfort, peace? It's a never-ending cycle of anxiety. It is like Sundowners, anxiety-version.

On the way home, I feel a weird twinge or my stomach starts hurting or I can feel my heart kicking out weird beats. There it goes, a whirlwind that lifts me off the ground and makes me dizzy. I feel sick and being dizzy makes me sicker.

I desperately want to cry. I need the renewal that comes with choked sobbing.

I have had this feeling all week. It paralyzes me and makes me crawl into bed to do nothing. I forgot to pay our monthly bills on time. I forgot to submit something important to the church bulletin. My dishes are piled up. My laundry is overflowing. I haven't cooked a real meal in over a week.  I have been wearing dirty clothes to work all week and no shower, just perfume and deodorant to cover the smell. This is me at my worst.

Rock.
Bottom.

Misery.

Give me relief Lord. Jesus, I trust in you. I hear what you are telling me and I am willing to concede that point.

I think it may be time for more therapy. I am not ashamed, but I am afraid. Will it work? Release, relief, I crave you. Let me snuggle down in the dark and never worry again. Please God...help me be still and know.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fill up your cup

I have had a long week.

My emotional reservoir was seriously depleted.  I have not slept well.  I am fatigued. I wasn't feeling well tonight and didn't feel like eating much. I am stressed, but I am grateful.

I have forgotten how much I needed to take the time for a little self care.  So tonight, I am in my sweatpants. My favorite green "T rex hates pushups" tee, courtesy for the Field Museum in Chicago, reining in the boobage and getting ready for some cross stitch.

How are you? Are you well? Have you had some rough nights recently? It's okay, really. No matter how scared, anxious, lonely, or fatigued we are, we know that we still have each other. We are all in this together.

This week I learned the very important lessons of service and grace and a huge helping of humility. I helped a very dear college friend during a very rough time in her life. I made myself available to her in any way she needed and tried to calm the chaos for her, just a little bit. For a moment or two, she had peace. I am not good at the emotions or the gestures of comfort. I feel awkward and never know quite how to act. However, for my friends, I will do anything. I am fiercely loyal and passionately in their corners. Do not think that because I don't cry much that I do not feel. I feel very deeply.  I am devoted to filling up your cup at the risk of letting my own well dry up.

This tough week has been a trial for the fortitude of our nation and our people. People feel hurt and sad and, whether you believe they should be or not, the reality is that they are.  So, fill each other's cups. Remember that true service, done out of love, can build bridges instead of walls. Keep perspective on your situation. While people cried over election results, others cried because they lived in poverty or because a loved one died. Most of all, extend compassion and actively listen to one another.   Have a wonderful week ahead and know that God is there. Love and light to you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Gee, narcissistic much?

Boy, that first day back after a long weekend is a killer, eh?

My work day went screaming by and now it's almost 8 and I still have a bunch of stuff on my to-do list!  Yikes.

I am writing this in lieu of something else that's due soon, so hey, procrastinators UNITE...tomorrow.

Here's a little something about me you may have noticed.

Sshhhh.  I'm a narcissist.  At least, that's how I feel sometimes.  I struggle with this a lot, especially lately.  I have a really hard time biting back the urge to interrupt conversations (though that does happen frequently, no matter how much I tell myself not to), I rattle off know-it-all facts when people are talking about a particular subject I may have some veeeerrrry tangential relationship to, and I have a hard time keeping friends.  Probably because of these traits.

I am somewhat of a well-meaning narcissist though, if that's a thing.  I try very hard on a daily basis to keep my ego in check.  I honestly think that a lot of people fail at that quite spectacularly.  Instead of feeling jealousy because you didn't get as big a role as you thought you should, instead focus on how to support those in the bigger roles.

Instead of talking about oneself constantly, ask questions of others and LISTEN to their responses.

Constantly serve and ceaselessly pray.  Those both have helped me realize and combat my narcissistic ways.  I will be the first to admit that I do like it when people praise my talents.  I sometimes check what I post on Facebook several times a day to see how many people like it or have commented on it and I sometimes feel affronted that no one has liked my status.  Trust me when I say that I recognize this behavior and constantly feel guilty for feeling this way.

I continue to try daily to not come across so self-centered.  I do this by nearly always asking to help someone or volunteer for some position or another.  I mean, I do it because I really do want to help, but an eensy-weensy part of me does it because if I didn't, I would be even more of a terrible person. Helping people is my calling and one I undertake seriously, but I'd be lying if I said that I don't feel just little bit better about myself because of it.

The biggest problem is the interrupting and know-it-allness that sometimes comes across.  You guys have NO IDEA how much I edit myself before I speak.  Like, ALL THE TIME, thinking about how this will come off and how someone will view me based on what I say.  I feel like half of the thoughts that fly through my head are tsking myself for having said something fairly innocuous that someone may have perceived in a negative light.  I constantly berate myself whenever I mentally correct people and REALLY let myself have it when I actually, finally, give in to the urge to verbally correct someone.

I know.  This does not paint a pretty picture of me.  I realize this.  So why post this?  I just want to know if I'm alone in these crazy thoughts.  I edit my texts, my e-mails, my speech, and oftentimes, my physical reactions to other people based on what I think they'll think about me if I respond differently.  It is exhausting sometimes to hold it all in.  I honestly don't know where I want to end with this.  I am a pretty joyful and exuberant person, but sometimes, sometimes I truly despise myself and how I told some stupid story that's only indirectly related to someone else's true and heartfelt one.  I am a very lonely soul some nights.  I'm the odd piece on the puzzle board.  The one that slipped in to the wrong box.  No matter how hard I try, or how many people try to fit me in to the missing spot, I will only get crumpled and oily around the edges.

Darkness can only be in places that also carry light.

The good thing is that I know God is there and He carries me through a lot of the darkness.  My puzzle piece always fits inside His heart.  I think my husband is the only other person in my life that actually knows how hard I try.  They both love me in spite of my filthy heart.  I will always be grateful to Rick (and God) for rescuing me out of my own personal darkness.  I will continue to work on this, but just know that if you know me, I don't mean to be rude or pedantic or ramble on.  I just want to know you and support you in any way you need.  I promise.

(Also, I took a test and scored really low, so I'm hoping that helps convince you all that I'm not completely crazy!  I tested it myself! haha)

St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for me and all those whose darkness can consume them. Pray that the light prevails within us.