Friday, February 28, 2014

Breaking Free

I went into my counseling appointment yesterday kind of frustrated because I had been walking around with anxiety and felt that there was no reason.  Some days I feel hopeless because it just "follows me" sometimes with no reason.

I've come to the conclusion that even though I don't know the reason, there's always a reason.  It's usually pretty deep down, and I don't realize what's going on.

I've also realized that there is no quick fix.  Medication only helps me to be able to think clear enough to get more help.

Counseling twice weekly and Celebrate Recovery are two things that I believe will help me be able to dig deeper to figure out why I am anxious.

Like I said, I went into my appointment yesterday knowing that I have more deep down, but I don't know what it is.

God reminded me through my counselor that I have a lot of lies that I carry around with me all of the time.  We used a worksheet from the Breaking Free workbook by Beth Moore to work through some things.

I listed out some lies that I believe, and she said, "no wonder you're anxious!"

It was almost a relief to write everything out.  It was therapeutic to see that there is a reason that I'm anxious, and also to get it out of my head and heart.

Now is the hard part... working through them... breaking the lies down... and replacing them with God's truth.

Some of the lies that I walk around with all the time are
I need to be in control.  Bad things will happen if I'm not in control
If I'm not, our needs won't be met.
And it'll all be my fault.
I'm lazy.
I'm never enough.
I need to always be doing fun things with my kids to be a good mom.
Who I am is not good enough; therefore, my worth is based on what I do.
It's my fault if I'm anxious; I should be able to control it.
I should be able to control my kids' behavior.

All of these lies are heavy on me. 

The heaviest one is "Who I am is not good enough; therefore, my worth is based on what I do."
I am going to be working on finding scripture to work against this lie.  God's truth is stronger than the lies Satan throws at me.

I believe with a lot of work and God's power and grace I will be able to "break free" from the lies that I carry around me with.  Today I'm hopeful.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I have felt quite a bit of anxiety the past few days, and if you were to ask why, I couldn't even tell you.  I guess that's the reason for going through Celebrate Recovery.  I'm hoping to be able to figure out why I'm anxious so much.  I'm on lots of medication for it, and I still have anxiety... so I don't think it's a medication issue.

It gets frustrating to not be able to figure out why.  The times that I know why, it's easy to work through... but not knowing why means it just sits and feels heavy... a heaviness that is just there.

Last night, I tried just about everything I could do relieve my anxiety.  Ended the day praying in my journal and going to bed early.  I woke up early (4:30) as usual, and I got up and spent time in the Word and prayer immediately. 

And wouldn't you know it, I'm anxious again today. 

Blah.  I can't stand anxiety.  But it's something that I must try to work through.  I'm at the point in which I know it's part of me, but I also know that I can continue trying to work through it and figure out why... 

One day at a time...

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

One Day at a Time

Well, after all the talk of Bipolar II by the doctor in outpatient, my doctor really doesn't agree.  She really feels that a lot of my highs and lows are more caused by anxiety.  She said that we will keep an eye on that just in case, but right now, she's not re-diagnosing me.  

While it was reassuring at the time that I could have Bipolar II (because at the time I thought it was that I wasn't on the right medication), it is more reassuring that I most likely don't have it because the prognosis long-term is much better with anxiety than Bipolar II.  I have depression at times, but it is often times caused because of my severe anxiety. 

We'll see what happens long-term, but for now, I'm doing pretty well.  I have many coping strategies that I've learned, I am going to counseling pretty often as well as going to Celebrate Recovery, and I'm on some medications that really help (she is slowly weaning me off of a few that she believes aren't necessary).

Celebrate Recovery has already really been very good for me, and I just began the process.  It is very intense, but that is good.  I am going to dig deep to see why I have the cycles that I have, and why I'm so anxious (on top of mental illness).  I have only completed one part on denial... and it was really good.

I have hope that things will continue to get better.

One day at a time. :-)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal Plan for February 24 through March 9

This is what it looks like on the only bare wall in our kitchen :-).  We have been doing this for months now, and it works well.  I start planning on paper, then move it to this to have it up on the wall.  We have a calendar with what's going on and our meals on it, a place for important fliers/info, and my little Toms flag :-) (just because).  On the left is a list of breakfasts and lunches to choose from.  I also write what we're out of on there (under "needs").  These needs will be all we buy for the next month!

The bottom is the rest of the different types of food.  They're on magnetic "paper."  The magnets are for recipes; though, I've been keeping the recipes in a binder lately (binder is for another blog post).

I made a meal plan for two weeks, but I have enough food for two more weeks.  I'm being realistic and know that if I plan that far out, something will come up!

So, here's the plan for the next two weeks:

  • Sprouted grain toast, fried egg, fruit
  • Green smoothies
  • Egg sandwich
  • Steel cut oatmeal
  • Protein boxes (boiled egg, cinnamon raisin bread, apples, peanut butter, cheese)
  • Buckwheat waffles
  • Sandwich, fruit, hummus chips
  • Protein boxes
  • Leftovers
  • Tuna salad
  • Chicken salad
  • Wraps
Monday, February 24
Crockpot tacos with tomato, cheese, avocado, lettuce

Tuesday, February 25
Meal is being brought to us :-)

Wednesday, February 26
Chicken and tomatoes in crockpot, steamed green beans with sea salt, garlic, and lemon pepper

Thursday, February 27
Mexican soup

Friday, February 28
Lentil Veggie Soup

Saturday, March 1
Honey glazed chicken thighs (in the crockpot)
Homemade oven-baked fries

Sunday, March 2
Whole chicken in the crockpot (place onion wedges on bottom, chicken, sprinkle with a little olive oil, herbs of your choice, sea salt, and pepper)
Sweet potato fries

Monday, March 3
Cheeseburger Soup

Tuesday, March 4
Pork chops (pan-seared in grapeseed oil, seasoned salt)
Mashed potatoes
Steamed carrots

Wednesday, March 5
Food being brought to us :-)

Thursday, March 6

Friday, March 7
Game night- Finger foods (popcorn made in coconut oil, uncured salami, cheese, fruits/veggies)

Saturday, March 8
Taking the kids to my parents- take a protein box

Sunday, March 9
Citrus chicken thighs (E-meals recipe)
Roasted veggies

Until next time...

Sunday, February 23, 2014



I admit it... one of my biggest struggles is control.  I want to be able to control my world... control my kids... control my home... control the chaos.

I realized last night that the anxiety that I've been feeling the past few days was actually all because of not being in control.

When I resigned from my job, I felt peace about it because I knew that it was God's plan. I knew that I had to focus on getting better, and I couldn't do that while teaching and taking care of my family at the same time.  I knew that my job was only making things worse with my anxiety and depression.  Robert knew as well that this was for the best.

Even though I felt peace, guilt began to creep in.  I felt guilty that I left my students mid-year.  I felt guilty that I left my team mid-year.  I felt guilty that I left, in general...

I also felt guilty that I left a job that was helping our family financially.  I felt that if we struggle now, it will be all my fault.

All of my guilt and shame from leaving my job has caused some anxiety in me, which is doing the opposite of what I believe God wants for me in this.  I have been trying to control the situation lately because I thought it would help me feel better.

I looked for a part-time job.  I began creating side jobs.  I began focusing on those side jobs and assuming that we some how wouldn't make it without them.

Robert reminded me last night... God made it clear that it was time to resign... He has a PLAN.  It's not about finding a part-time or side job... I need to focus on getting better.  If some side jobs come, GREAT... but He will bring them, not me. 

I need to go back to my THINK coping mechanism when over-thinking things:
Is it true?  Helpful?  Inspiring?  Necessary?  Kind?

My thoughts lately have not been any of these.  So, I go back to God's word... He has a plan for His will... He works everything for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose... He will provide for all of our needs...

Trusting Him is probably part of His plan in all of this.  I need to let go of control and give it to Him.  He knows what's best.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

No Spend Month

I have spent quite a bit of time stocking up (along with the help of a friend!), and we are at a point right now in which it is a great time to have a "no spend month."  What this means is that we'll use what we have and spend very little (not really "no spend," but close enough).  The only things we'll have to buy will be milk and produce.  Pretty much everything else we need, we have.  Those things have to be bought at least once every two weeks... so I'll have enough for two weeks and then I'll have to buy more...

  (This is just a fraction of our stock- the rest is in our pantry, freezer, and refrigerator)

Along with spending very little on food, we will not buy anything else.  We will not eat out, buy clothing, etc.  There will be things that come up, but we will do our best to not buy anything. 

This is going to be hard for ME because I am a spender.  I have realized recently that spending is a way for me to cope with my anxiety/depression.  This is not a healthy way to cope.

This is pretty much a way of fasting for me, so I will have to trust that God will meet my needs in this area.  

In the next few days, I will be inventorying what we have and writing a meal plan for the month based on that.  I will be posting things on here as I go. 

This "no spend month" will begin on March 1st.

Stay tuned for more on this!

Friday, February 21, 2014


Well... I had my interview yesterday.  The interview itself was fine, but I really felt uneasy from the moment I walked in.  It just didn't seem right.  I don't know how to explain it except that I didn't feel peace about it.  From the moment I walked in, to the moment I got home.

The one thing that really threw me off, and was pretty much a deal killer for me, was the fact that they wanted me to work every weekend, all weekend.  Friday-Sunday, 7-7 1/2 hour shifts each day.

At first, my thought was, "well, I'd be home all week then."  The problem with this is that my family is not home all week.  So I wouldn't see them much.  Or get to do anything with them.  Except the evening routine.

Robert and I talked yesterday evening and we both felt that it wouldn't be a good fit.  In fact, all retail will be that way.

I expected some weekends, but not all weekend, every weekend.

My family needs to come first.

We began to look at things, and we realized that we could possibly make it without me working.  It will take living very tight, and we will both have to pick up some side jobs.  But if there is a month that we can't get much side work, we'd make it... we would just be on a very tight budget :-). 

Robert was super excited and supportive of this.  He feels that I need to focus on getting better, and he was just at peace with it all.

So, I'm now open for tutoring, and I'm working on my Childbirth Education training more than ever.  Robert is also picking up side jobs!

God's got this.  He knew in advance that I would have to quit my job.  He knew that I would have to focus on healing and that it would take a lot of time.

Last night, I went to a more local Celebrate Recovery, and it was amazing!  It was a perfect fit.  It was organized, helpful, and loving.  I decided to sign up for their step studies, and I begin a week from tomorrow.  I bought the books and special Bible for it already.  I'm committed!  I felt that this was the best way for me to recover and heal, on top of going to my counselor regularly.  I want my healing to be God-centered!  This is a good way to do that. 

I'm looking forward to see how God is going to work the things out that I don't understand.  He has a purpose and a plan for His glory, and I understand that it's really all about Him.

Until next time...

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Through a dream about school early this morning, I woke up realizing that my dream of teaching really may be coming to an end... and it is a process that I will have to grieve.  Because of my anxiety, the amount of take home work and stress involved in teaching are too much to bear (along with taking care of my family... which should be first priority and it isn't when I'm teaching).

I'm seeing God use me in different ways, but it is not how I imagined He would use me, so it's a bit confusing.  Why would He gift me in the area of teaching if I'm not going to be teaching?  Maybe I'll teach part time again... that remains to be seen.  Even so, teaching part time still involves a lot of take home work that I'm not sure I can handle.  Maybe in a few years.

I was reminded this morning that God is using me through my writing about my experiences.  I know that He is, but like I said earlier, this is just different than I imagined He would use me.

I came to the conclusion this morning that though I will have to grieve not being able to teach, and I'm a little confused by the fact that I can't despite the desire and gifting, I just have to trust Him and know that He knew this was all going to happen... He has a plan for it all.  My dreams aren't always lined up with His will... and at this point, my desire is to just be aligned with His will.  If that means I work at Trader Joe's, or Whole Foods, or REI, or where ever, so be it.  He has a reason and a purpose that glorifies Himself and grows His Kingdom.  Maybe He wants me to share with someone there.  Maybe He wants me to have time to write so that I can continue sharing my story here.  Who knows?  Well, He does :-).

I have my interview today at Trader Joe's, and I just keep praying that God will open the door if that's where He wants me, or close it if it's obvious that it's not the right direction.  I'll keep you all updated.

Until next time...


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 
Philippians 4:8

I've read this so many times and almost have it memorized (I don't memorize verses well). Often times I look at it and think "how can I make this practical in my daily life?"  

Yesterday at counseling, my counselor did just that for me.  She has an acronym that she shares with her patients (and it may not be "hers"), called "THINK." 

T- is it true?
H- is it helpful?
I- is it inspiring?
N- is it necessary?
K- is it kind?

My thought processes tend to drag me down faster than anyone or anything else can, so this is a good way to "think" about things in a new way.  Anytime I feel that my thoughts are dragging me down, I'll use this to analyze whether or not the thought is beneficial. 

Until next time... 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Good Day

Yesterday was a good day, and it included very little about being productive (though maybe productive in another way).  I'm finding that my goal now is to engage more with my family, even though that can be hard at times... there are times when my body physically wants to just get away from it all and isolate.

My house has been somewhat a mess for two days, and I have left it in order to spend time with the kids.  I even worked with Ethan on school on a very messy table.  That's a big deal.  I'm getting there :-).

Yesterday, my goals were to 1) Drive to Oak Cliff to see friends and buy chickens from a friend, 2) Have appointment with my counselor (with my hubby), and 3) Pick kids up from school (this is the first week that I'm starting this). 

Instead, much more happened (in a good way).  I did drive to Oak Cliff, but instead of only seeing friends and getting my chickens, one of my friends gave me a ton of food for my pantry.  It completely shocked me :-).  Tons of grains to grind, Celtic sea salt, coconut, popcorn, brown rice, snacks, butter, cream cheese, etc. 

Then on my way home, I got the call from Trader Joes to have an interview on Thursday.  It completely shocked me because I was told it could take up to 30 days to hear from someone.  Instead, it took 1 day. 

Robert and I had an amazing appointment with my counselor that was incredibly helpful (as usual) and is helping us move forward with some things.  I absolutely love my counselor.
She is helping us see where my cycles start and how they spiral downward.  She is helping Robert know how to help me without enabling or forcing me to do something I can't do.  She also talks about how if I am being productive, make sure that I'm still engaging with the kids and Robert and not shutting them out.  I'm having to learn how to live in the "in-between."  This means not extremely depressed, and not extremely productive.  I'm learning what "just living" looks like.

Then, I picked the kids up, came home, and did some math with Ethan using Legos :-).  I also printed some word problems that included a place to draw a picture, use tally marks, and write the number sentence.  We worked a bit on this.  Once he was "done" (couldn't concentrate any longer), I decided to let him play.  He is 5.

I got a little anxious in the afternoon (which, I do typically), but once Robert got home, I was okay.  Instead of retreating to my room, I decided to force myself to engage with the family, and it definitely helped me to not feel depressed or make things worse.

The kids had dinner on the patio while we lit a fire in the fire pit and just enjoyed a nice evening, watching the chickens roam and peck the ground happily.

Karis named 4 of the chickens.  I named Foghorn (you know, like Foghorn Leghorn, the cartoon character), but she liked it.  The two "twins" are just that they are identical.  One is a little fatter than the other. 

Foghorn (she's a White Leghorn)

Red Head and Twin 1

Twin 1, Goldie, and back of Red Head

Twin 2, Foghorn, Goldie, and Red Head

You'll have to ignore all the random wood everywhere... we ended up burning it in the fire pit ;-). 

I worked with Karis a little bit on a project that's due in a few days, bathed the kids, then they all went to bed.  I then enjoyed some quiet time alone outside (reading one of my Childbirth Ed books). It was a beautiful night.  Robert wasn't feeling well so he wasn't able to join me.

JJ Heller's song (above my writing) says, "There are far, far better things ahead than what I leave behind.  Will You help me find my way?"  

I believe there are better things ahead, and they are starting to happen.  I just have to still take one day at a time because there are a lot of things that worry me that I have no control over.  If I try to control them, they control me.  

Until next time...

Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone with Anxiety and Depression

While most people understand mental illness, there are a small minority that don't.  I read this post: 7 Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone with Anxiety, and it really spoke to me.  And had me thinking... there's a few things I would add... and I would add in "and depression" to the title.
  • You should just pray and trust that God is in control.
    I pray often and trust Him; it's not about that... it's an illness.  It has nothing to do with how much I pray or trust.
  • God can and will heal you.  
    I know that He can, but He may not choose to.  It's not about not trusting that He can heal me; I understand that He is the ultimate healer.  Often times, He allows "thorns" for a reason and a purpose, and that's kind of hard to swallow.  And if He choose to heal me, it may be a while.  I trust that He has a reason for that as well.
  • You need to just get over it, I did.
    Yeah... okay...
  • I've had hard things happen too, and I just deal with it.
    It's not (just) about hard things happening... those just make it worse.
  • Being positive is a choice; you can choose to be happy.
    Not exactly... there are things that I can change about my behavior, but I cannot just choose to not have the mental illness.  I don't want it... if I could choose it away, I would.
  • You probably share too much; maybe that makes it worse?
    Nope.  For me, sharing is therapeutic and helps others.  That makes it easy for me to want to share.  
I could go on and on, but you probably get the picture.  I'm not struggling because I want to be... who wants to struggle?

I've noticed a definite pattern now, so I can choose to try to stop the downward spiral before it gets too bad, but I may not be successful. 

Okay... my next post will be more positive :-).  We just got chickens again! :-)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quick Fix

We went to a Celebrate Recovery last night and while it wasn't a good fit for us (the location), I realized something...

All this time, I have somewhat been hoping for a "quick fix."  It wasn't a conscious thought, but it has been my deep desire.

Problem is, that's not going to happen.

This anxiety/depression has been building and getting worse for years... it's going to take a long time to unravel it all.  

Working on getting better is exhausting.  I feel as though I have no choice to focus on it.  While it seems on the outside that life is so good now, it's still pretty hard.

I'm having to learn ways to cope... learn my triggers... learn and understand how my downward spiral starts, and how to keep it from happening.

And each day, I have to work hard at something all day, every day... and it feels like a job. 


Then, I don't sleep.  Which adds to the struggle.

I'm interviewing for a part time position at Trader Joe's Thursday, and if I get it, that will be about all I can handle on top of working to get better and working with my hubby to take care of our home/family :-).  But, I need a job, and this will be low stress!  I'm just praying that God's will will be done in this! 

Like I said at the beginning, I went to a Celebrate Recovery on Monday that wasn't the best fit, but I'm trying another one on Thursday.  I at least have a good idea of what it's like, so I can make an informed decision.  We (my friend and I) are going to visit another one on Thursday.  If I get a job I'm not sure if I can continue, but I know that God has a plan so He has those details worked out already :-). 

Anyway... I'm realizing that this is going to be a long and drawn out process, and I have a lot of learning to do still. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Up at 2:30...

It's me again... awake at 2:30 this morning.  I have become quite the middle-of-the-nighter.  Not sure what that's about, but I think it's time to call my doc.  I see her in a little over a week, but I might need to see her sooner.  This can't go on too much longer.

Plus, my jaw still hurts.  Either, my TMJ is really flared, or it's a med reaction.  It started right after I started taking one of my new meds... so...

I'm going to try my chiropractor again; hopefully that'll help.

Have I mentioned that I hate that I have to take meds.  Yeah, I do.

As I've mentioned before, my doc and counselor are considering me to have Bipolar II... and this includes extreme highs (hypomania) and extreme lows (depression).

One of the things that I'm going to talk with my counselor this week is "what does hypomania really look like?"

I've read that typically hypomania... is extremely energetic... more talkative than usual... inflated confidence... increased assertiveness... flying from one idea to the next... decreased need for sleep... increase in goal-directed activity... racing thoughts...

I feel like I'm going through this right now.  Though, even though I don't get much sleep, I wouldn't say it's a decreased "need," I'm just awake.  I typically have to lay back down at some point.

My day yesterday looked like this:
I got up and went to church (went to our Coffee House and loved it!).  I came home and Robert and I made lunch.  We ate, then I went running.  I came back, cleaned up, and waited for my daughter's friend to come over.  They played while I got to work.  I baked homemade bread, made some gluten free cinnamon raisin bread rounds (mostly because the gluten free versions were easier and I had almond flour), boiled eggs, sliced fruit, made little homemade Starbucks protein bistro boxes, sliced veggies for lunches (broccoli and carrots), set up overnight crockpot oats, made lunches for the kids for the next day (forgot that they didn't have school!), worked on prepping the raised beds a bit (moved some of the manure from the chicken coop into the beds), blogged/chatted with friends, bathed the kids, worked with Ethan on some school work, kept the house cleaned up (constantly picking up and sweeping), worked on the budget, and played a game with Robert.  

To me, that's just a productive day.  But in the world of Bipolar II, this may seem like I'm in a hypomania episode, which is then typically followed by a crash.  Since I'm on new "mood stabilizing meds," I'm hoping that this is just a productive day.

Here are a few pics of my productive day :-).

I forgot the cheese before I took this pic :-).  I put a little "Tillamoo" in it (Tillamook cheese in little packages).  Now that I'm not working full time, next time it'll just be a slice of cheese ;-).

I've stopped grinding my flour, but this is homemade bread.  It is super yummy.

On another note... Last weekend, I spilled coffee on my computer and it killed it.  In the meantime, we pulled out our old computer (it's an IBM!), and I started getting back on Quicken for my budgeting/checkbook stuff.  I paid bills, got it all set up, etc.  Then, I realized that it was way off... I can't figure out what's going on, but at some point in the past, it got way off and I never fixed it.  We have less money than I thought :-/.  Time to take my application to Trader Joe's.  It's all good.  I think it would be fun to work there, and it would give me something to do... and I can contribute to our family's finances without working full time.  The benefit of somewhere like Trader Joe's (or Sprouts or REI if TJ's doesn't work out) is that I can leave work at work.  No more bringing work home with me.  We'll see what happens.  Ultimately, God is in control.  My thought about working part time is that I'll still have plenty of time to work on my childbirth education class and take care of my family.  I will do my best to try to get my CBE stuff up and running by summer.  That's the plan anyway :-).  I just emailed my trainer and ask her to keep me accountable to getting it done!

I'm going to go spend some time with Jesus, then work on a workbook that I got when I was in inpatient.  It's very helpful, but I actually had forgotten about it :-).  

Until next time...

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Possibilities are Endless

Last night I went to Trader Joe's and picked up an application to work there.  I filled it out and chatted with a friend whose sister works there.

Then I woke up to a notification about how I should organize as a side job (I would love that).

I then realized that I could also tutor again (I did that before and loved it... and feel that since I know the Frisco ISD way of teaching, that helps a lot!).

I also have my childbirth education training to finish, then I can teach CBE classes.

I'm also selling oils.

God has blessed with me the opportunities to work a schedule that would work best for our family.

I think I'll follow these leads and see how it goes.

I'm hopeful about our finances today (yesterday I was not).

Praise God. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Home Management

I've never looked at myself as a "home manager," especially since Robert does a whole lot to help.  When I say home management, I mean more in the sense of scheduling, finances, shopping, etc.

I've had all kinds of "home management binders" and they haven't worked out.  I still have several that I've started and never used.

Last year, I bought a small binder for home management, and it works SO well.  I bought it at Target, along with dividers, small paper, and small velcro folders.  I also bought a coupon divider for our cash budget because fall apart too easily.

Below are pictures and an explanation of how I use each section.  I'm getting better at it the more I use it.

Front cover (obviously).  I love trees and owls :-).

Ignore my socks... hehe... This is just the inside front cover, a folder, notes, and a calendar.

 This is where I keep my checkbook and (usually) envelopes.

I keep stamps and bills in this folder.

When we spend money (we use cash), I put it in this envelope.  At the end of the pay period, I empty it into a folder in my file box.

This is a record of our cash spending.

 I keep coupons in here.  I don't use a lot of coupons since I shop at Trader Joe's and Costco mostly.

This is my grocery list.  I just keep a running list until I go to the store.

This is what I use for my cash envelopes.  I actually use a google doc to write my budget.  It's easier for me, and I have it so that Robert can get to it as well.  It's pretty simple these days... tithe and pay certain bills when we get paid, and everything else is savings or cash for food, gas, etc.

This is a little glimpse into organization world... I love to be organized; it helps me to feel like life is a little less chaotic! 


I've really been worried about money lately.  When we made the decision, we made it completely out of faith.  And I still believe that God will provide.  But when I look at our budget on paper, it doesn't work.  At all.

I read this today, and it speaks volumes to me:

(Patricia Polacco posted this on her Facebook page)

There are lots of reasons to believe that it won't work for me to be home right now (and only work part time if/when I do get a job).  One being that it flat out doesn't work on paper.  The one reason that it WILL work is that God made it clear that I was supposed to resign.  That's the one reason that gets me through when I look at our budget on paper.  

We will continue to tithe even though it's easy to convince myself that we won't be able to afford it... because honestly, we can't afford not to.  He has shown His provision time and time again, so I know He'll continue.  

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Friday, February 14, 2014

Completely and Totally Random Post :-)

Today was kind of weird... my first day at home with no appointments or nothing specific to do.

As usual, I woke up at 4:00.  I'm not sure why my body chooses to wake up at that time, but it has become a daily thing.  I mean, I know I go to bed early, but really?

I have found, though, that I get a lot done during that time.

This morning, I did my quiet time, wrote a blog post, made some banana muffins, and started making smoothie bags (that I put in the freezer).  These contain mango, strawberry, banana, apples, and spring mix.

I don't know, I'm torn about these early mornings.

Problem is, once I take my meds, I am ready to go back to bed... and by that time, I really need to be getting up and moving.

Like I said, today was weird.  After I got all that done, I decided to lay back down... totally forgetting that someone was coming over.  In fact, she was coming over to bring me a painting.  I woke up to her ringing the door bell/knocking... I felt so bad, but we ended up having an awesome conversation.

Here's a couple of pics of the awesome painting!

The one underneath is awesome too, and was painted by a friend of mine :-).  

I should have gone running, but I didn't.  Instead, I showered, threw my hair up, and started working on household chores.

I struggled through the day.  I ran some errands, but I felt weird all day.  Not sure what it is, but I'm assuming it's a cross between my new meds and being alone.  All.  Day.  It's so weird.  And yet, I need this time.  I'm having to learn how to take care of myself.  And not in a sleepingallday kind of way...  In a schedulemakingandflexiblyfollowing kind of way. 

I'm also trying to figure out how much I can handle right now... so far, not as much as I would hope.  I'm working on it.  I'll get into a groove and figure things out.  In the meantime, I struggle.  I guess that's part of the growing process. 

Sorry about the randomness... welcome to my brain.  :-)

Until next time...

Balance is on the Horizon

Turns out my cycles have had a reason all along.  Who knew.  Apparently, because of the fact that my "mania" moments were disguised as good things... and my depression looked like just plain old depression... it was hard to see it.

We are in the "most likely" stage of diagnosing me as Bipolar II.  I see it.  Robert sees it. Friends see it.  My counselor sees it.  My doc is starting to see it.  It's a good chance.  I'm being treated for a "mood disorder" right now, which is what Bipolar II is.

Do you know how good it makes me feel to know that my cycles of extreme ups and downs have a reason?  It's my brain chemistry! 

My inability to balance- it's my brain chemistry!

And with the right meds and coping strategies, I might be able to become more balanced.  This is what I have desired my whole life.

I am hopeful... like really hopeful... for the first time since I can remember.

Right now, I'm feeling more balanced.  I feel as though I can live life.

We'll see how this goes.  It's a new journey!

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Taking Charge of my Health

After a lot of prayer, seeking counsel, and talking with Robert, I have decided to stop the outpatient program that I've been going to.

I always left feeling super stressed, and yesterday my blood pressure was high from it.

I talked with my therapist for a long time today.  She played "devil's advocate" for a long time and after that, we decided that it was best to go ahead and change my "after care."

Instead of outpatient, I am going to be doing three things: 1) Individual counseling a few days a week, 2) Group therapy through Celebrate Recovery and Grief share, and 3) See my psychiatrist regularly.

The BIGGEST issue with the outpatient program is that it isn't faith-based.  The inpatient program is, the outpatient isn't.  Without Christ in the center, I can't heal.  Without Christ in the center, it is depressing and hopeless.  Without Christ in the center, there's no point.

I'm moving forward and I'm excited about this decision.

The first thing I did was go to my psychiatrist.  She agrees with the possibility of Bipolar II and she's treating me as such for now.  We'll "keep an eye on it."  One of the medications that I was already on can be used for Bipolar, so she said I should be set on that for now.  She also thinks I'm on too much medicine, with which I agreed.  We're going to give my body some time, then start weaning off some of it.  Thank the Lord!  I knew I was taking too much.  With hospitalization, they tend to over-do it a bit. 

Tonight I'll be going to my first Grief Share meeting at church, and I'm a little nervous, but think it'll be so good!  I'm so glad that it's at my church; that's makes things easier.  And before we do that, we get to eat food as a family that is being brought to us :-).  Our church family is AMAZING! 

Until next time...


I have been awake since about 2:15 when my daughter came busting through the door because of a bad dream.  I became wide awake and decided to just get up.  Trying to go back to sleep only makes me frustrated.

I'm so glad I got up.  I know that I need sleep, but I went to bed super early so I'm not worried about it.

I've been meditating on a lot of scripture this morning, and God is revealing something very important to me. 

You see, I have created this identity for myself.  

I am Courtney, you know, the one with a mental illness.  The one who is faulted because of depression and anxiety.  The one who lives with this illness that keeps following her where ever she goes.  The one that makes it hard for her to work full time.  The one who doesn't love herself because it sounds so cliche (and selfish for that matter).  

I read this blog post the other day: We must learn to love self so we can learn to love others.

It spoke so deeply to me, but I couldn't verbalize why.

I realized this morning that the reason is that not only do I not love myself, I live with this certain identity that isn't meant for me to live with.  

I have been transformed by/in Christ.  This means metamorphosis- I am a new creation.  I have been snatched from the hands of this illness.  He has delivered me from the darkness.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  

 Photo credit: ( izabelha

Until I love myself and find my identity in Him, I will not move past this.  I am His beautiful creation, and just as my friend's blog post says... I am enough.  Right here.  Right now.  Without any change.  

Not a future version of me... but me... 

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me,is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” 
John 10:28-30

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you."
Psalm 139:14-18

"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 4:18

"He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Colossians 1:13

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 
Until next time... 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Well, I found out today that they aren't quite to the diagnosis of Bipolar II.  Technically, I am considered MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and GAD (Generalized anxiety disorder).

They are getting to know me better before they diagnose Bipolar II.

I'll be honest, it's kind of frustrating.

But I have to be patient.  This waiting stuff is hard.

Then, I went to the doc for my jaw (my TMJ is bothering me and the work that the chiropractor did wasn't enough), and my blood pressure was high (the top number was 150... that's all I remember).  Apparently my stress level is up.  And I realized that I feel that way every afternoon.  It builds and builds when I'm at outpatient.

I'm not sure what to do with this.  I'm not sure why I'm so anxious/stressed out at the end of the day. 

I talked with my counselor, and she reminded me to talk with my counselor and doctor there.  Have my blood pressure taken at the end of the day there to see if that's the case.  Give it time.

Time.  Patience.  Waiting.  

I hear these words a lot.  I feel like that's all I do.

I'm waiting for my jaw pain to go away.  I'm waiting for a diagnosis.  I'm waiting to hear that they're stepping me down to shorter days.  I'm waiting until I'm done with outpatient before I can really move on with my life.

And in the midst of this waiting, I'm having to let go of control and realize that there's a greater purpose to all of this.  There's a reason.

I need to slow down.

It's hard. 

Until next time...

Diagnosis- Moving Forward!

Yesterday, I finally received a diagnosis.  Now, I can be medicated correctly!  This is huge in my eyes.  We have spent so much time focusing on just taking care of the symptoms that we haven't reached down into the "why" of the symptoms.

I have what's called Bipolar II.  This means I have extreme ups and downs, but they aren't necessarily as extreme as Bipolar I. 

In simple terms, I have periods of "hypomania" in which I am compulsive; I fly from one idea to the next, suddenly; I have increased energy and hyperactivity... which describes me to a "T."  Then, I have depression.  It goes up and down, back and forth.  It has been what has caused my extreme balance issues!  Makes total sense.
I also have generalized anxiety disorder, which describes my anxiety symptoms.

I'm taking meds for both... as well as using coping strategies such as relaxation techniques, yoga, oils, positive affirmations, refuting negative thoughts, and many more.

I'm on my way to feeling better!

I'm also working through the grief of my brother, and I've come to terms with the fact that it looks differently than I thought it would... and that's okay. 

One day at a time :-).  I'm SOOOOOO thankful for the time I spent inpatient, as well as my time in outpatient.

Not only am I happy with all that has happened because of it, I have made some amazing, life-long friends who "get it."

What a blessing.

God's timing is perfect!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Milestones and Great Days

I have had a few milestones lately, and I thought I'd share a few.

One, I have slept through the night the past 3 nights.  This is HUGE.  I have wanted to sleep through the night for a looooonnnnnngggg time.

Two, I spilled coffee on our "good" computer (and it's dead), and I didn't freak out.  Yep.  Not good that I did that... but once it was done, I couldn't change anything.  And thankfully my mother in law has an old one that she can give us.  We'll just use our even older computer until we get that one.

It's just a thing... not anything worth freaking out over.

Did I just say that?

Why yes, I think I did.

Today was such a good day.  It started with church (which I didn't stay long, but going is a start), we came home and made a homemade dairy free chocolate chip cookie cake with homemade icing, we made homemade mini-pizzas, had a little grandparents dinner for Levi's birthday, then Robert and I enjoyed a coffee date alone.  We also picked up some free furniture for the kids that has completely transformed the boys' room and will transform Karis'.  I'm so thankful for all that God has provided (and through some great people!).  We are incredibly blessed and undeserving!
We've also been spending a lot of time making our home more "homey" and organizing lots of things.  It definitely helps me!  One of the things that drives me crazy is mess and clutter, so de-cluttering is so great.

I'm learning to take things one day at a time.  Sometimes one hour at a time.  I know that tomorrow I have outpatient from 9-3, and that's all that matters :-).

Until next time...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Trying to Move Forward- My "New Normal"

Well, I did it.  I got my nose pierced.  And I love it.  I've had some questioning from people, but it doesn't bother me anymore.  I am me.  I can make a decision about a piercing ;-).  Here's a not so good pic... it's kind of weird lighting and hard to see.  But I'm not taking another one ;-).

Robert and my parents were so proud of me for doing this.  Not because they thought I should have a nose ring (well, Robert loves it), but because I'm gaining some confidence.  I'm doing something that I've wanted to do for years but haven't done because I've allowed others to dictate what I did.  

Like I've said in a past post, I'm working on what my life is going to look like now.  I have a "new normal" to get used to.  My "new normal" right now consists of me going to outpatient all day, then coming home and vegging because I'm so worn out.  But I'm working on what life will look like after that.  

I've emailed my old boss about going back to preschool 2-3 days a week next year (we'll see if they have any openings!), I'm working on getting going on my Childbirth Education training (I have to write a paper next!), I'm learning about the Young Living oils and how to run a small business with that, we're looking at our finances (how we'll make it work), and I'm thinking through what I will do once I'm home more :-).  I have many plans, but I'm trying to take it one day at a time. 

It's so hard to just take one day at a time.   

We talk a lot about "grounding" in therapy- which basically means living "here and now."  I struggle with that so much.  I'll get there :-).  

Today I'm going up to school to get my some of my things.  It's bitter sweet.  I'm excited about the future, but I'm also sad that teaching full time is in the past.  I'm thankful that I have had the opportunities that I have, and I know they will be used to bring glory to God in my future.  

Until next time...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Lots On My Mind

I feel like I always have so much running through my mind.  I know that's a female thing in a lot of ways, but I think I have more than usual going through my mind.  This post may be somewhat random and hard to follow, but that's what my mind is like right now...

Outpatient therapy is intense.  It's mentally/emotionally exhausting.  Not only do I share each day, but I give feedback to those who share.  It's group therapy.  

The day starts with some education- codependency, boundaries, affirmations, stages of grief, etc.  
We then have a break and move on to processing.  We process for about 2 1/2 hours.  We have lunch, then we process more.  The end of the day is either yoga, other exercise, or we leave.  

Processing is the hardest part.  We either sit and listen (and give feedback) or we talk.  Talking about my issues is harder than I thought it would be.  I've begun to see that there are so many layers that I have to peel back and work through.  

Today I started talking about my guilt for everyone having to help me, and ended up talking about some things from my adolescence that came up (about Joey).  Whew.  I have a lot of issues to work through. Who knew.

I do struggle with feeling guilty.  We have so much support; I have so much support.  My husband has been amazing.  He works all day, then takes care of the laundry, dishes, cleans up the house, and takes care of the kids.  I fill in the gaps a bit, but that's about all I can do.  I literally have no energy when I get home.  I can't handle the loudness of the kids.  I'm just worn.  Completely and utterly worn.  
We have people bringing us food, helping us with the kids, hiring someone to clean our house, etc... Our church family has been so awesome with everything.  I could never thank them enough.  I have never seen anything like it.  Ever.  

And instead of feeling thankful and deserving, I feel guilty and undeserving.  

I worked through some things today with this... why do I feel undeserving?  Do I have one valid reason to feel undeserving?  Nope.  Couldn't come up with one.  

I realized that one of my biggest issues is I still have a hard time with the fact that this... this frustrating thing about myself... is an illness.  I didn't choose it.  I'm not making it up.  I don't want it.  But just like anyone else with an illness, they have to live with it and learn to manage it.  Sometimes illnesses make people end up in the hospital... and that's what happened to me.  Thing is, I've always felt this way... so I feel that it's not any different than any other day.  I've made it through this long feeling this way.

But, I am tired of feeling this way.  So, I am having to learn to accept help.  Accept meals.  Accepts help with the kids.  Accept someone cleaning my house.  Accept gift cards to Chick Fil A.  Accept flowers by a childhood friend.  Accept cards from family and friends.  Accept the fact that my husband has to really work harder right now to take care of things.  

Accept the fact that this is an illness that landed me in the hospital because my panic attack was so bad that my blood pressure was 163/102.  I was having so much trouble functioning.  

And sadly, accept the fact that I can't teach.  I've tried so many times.  I've taught a full year, then left mid-year the next year three times.  THREE times.  I feel so flaky, but just as my principal says... I'm not flaky... I just have an illness that I'm finally taking care of.  

And on top of the illness, I have a lot of trauma and emotional baggage that I've been holding onto for so many years.  Which doesn't help.  At all.  

I still have a hard time accepting the trauma as part of my life, but it is... and I need to work through it before I can get better.  

I'm going to start this process by writing a letter to my brother.  

Please be praying for me because it's going to be difficult.  

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Here I am!

One of the things that I've realized over the past few weeks is that my lack of boundaries has caused me to not really know who it is that I am.

I flip-flop from one thing to the next, try different jobs, have no balance, and I have been just plain confused. This doesn't help a person with anxiety ;-).

And a lot of times, my people pleasing ways made me not sure what to do or think.

One of the things that I did last week was sit down and make a list... all the things I could think of... little and big... of what I wanted and needed... I also just wrote down some things that I want to do or get back to.  It was fun just thinking about... what do I want?  What do I enjoy?  What do I need?  And... most importantly... what is God calling me to at this point in my life?

My top priority (besides Jesus) is my family.  My husband gives and gives and gives and I want to start giving back (when I'm strong enough, of course!).  I haven't shown him the kind of love that he deserves in a long time, and I cannot wait until he can be above everything else in my priorities.

My kids have suffered for a long time because of my mental health.  I'm excited about being able to work with them more... help Ethan more with reading and math... work with Levi more... Listen to Karis read (she's a great reader!)... PLAY with them.  These are all things that I have wanted to WANT to do... and now I want to.   I did lots of drawing, coloring, and crafts last week and had a blast.  It is so relaxing!  And the kids love it!  What a great way to bond with my babies :-).  Again, it'll take a little while until I'm ready to really "dive in," but I'm getting there.

I know that teaching is my calling, but in this new season, I'm not sure how that will look.  I will grieve leaving my job because I do love my kiddos and teaching in general.  It's just not the right season for it.  I need to get well.
I still have my childbirth education training to finish, which is a great way to teach... but I'm also thinking of going back to the preschool next year, part time (if they would have me back).  I've even thought about becoming a prenatal yoga instructor to go with the childbirth education, but it's expensive to get certified ;-). One thing at a time...

I think the biggest thing is that I will use my gift of teaching right now to work with my kids.  Ethan especially is struggling, so I know he needs me.  He's a smart kiddo, but he's smarter in the area of common sense. Reading and math are hard for him.  He's also only in kindergarten, so I know he'll "get it" eventually!

I love to bake, and even though I know I don't have to bake homemade foods for my family, it's therapeutic for me.  I want to.  I also love baking healthy foods knowing that I'm nourishing my family.  Every time I bake, it puts me in a good mood!

I'm going to start using and selling Young Living Essential Oils.  I have heard of all the benefits of them and recently have been actually experiencing those benefits.  Along with my meds, the oils help my anxiety quite a bit.  I also love Thieves oil for so many things... including the fact that it helped when I had strep (it was gone really quickly because of Thieves!).  I have SO much to learn, but I'm excited about it.  I had a massage yesterday from a friend who is a licensed massage therapist, and she used some oils.  I absolutely loved it. My favorite is one called Stress Away.  The smell is amazing, and it really took my stress away yesterday!
I ordered the Premium Starter Kit because it comes with the Essential 7 Collection, Stress Away, and even a diffuser that is normally super expensive.  I never thought that I would end up "getting into" oils, but I am!

One thing I have realized lately is that I absolutely love Yoga.  Between my video at home and doing it in the hospital, I have decided that it's my favorite way to exercise.  Not only is it a good workout (I'm always sore afterwords!), but it is incredibly relaxing.  It's a workout without feeling like one, and it helps with my anxiety... can't go wrong with that!  I'm going to try to start doing yoga daily!  I enjoy running as well, but I think I will do yoga more often than running :-).  

I also really miss having chickens.  I gave ours to my dad because I just couldn't take care of them.  With working full time, I felt like they were being neglected.  We will wait a little while, but we will get some more. We're thinking about getting them as chicks this time and raise them :-).  Around Easter is a good time for that.  I have started prepping for my garden as well :-).  I'll keep it simple this year... some squash, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and green beans probably.  Maybe kale... but I've never been good at growing that ;-).  I can always try again!  We have some leaves ready for a compost bin... we just have to build it.  Just need a little bit of time, which is hard to come by at the moment!

I'm going to spend some more time simplifying.  I need to get rid of more things, and make our small home less cluttered.  I love having a small home, but it gets cluttered very easily!  Stuff = stress.  I have been working on arranging it in a way that makes me happy, but some things just need to go!

I'm looking forward to having more time to spend time outdoors.  Being outside is so beneficial for me... well, really for anyone.  I just have to make sure I am very intentional about this... It's easy for me to isolate indoors.

Soon, I will start working with the junior high again.  I miss that so much.  I feel that working with them is a calling from God, and I haven't been because of my busyness and illness... I'm hoping that I'll be in a place to pick this back up soon!  I know I will for sure be doing some trips this summer!

Oh, and I'm getting a nose piercing today.  I have wanted one for 8 years and haven't gotten it because I've been worried what people think... I just don't care anymore.  It doesn't affect anyone else, so it just doesn't matter.  It's those little things that I have allowed to control me, and I am done being controlled by what others think or what I think they think.  I am ME.  I can make my own choices.  And this is freeing!

Watch out, world!  Here I am!