Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I'm still here, but...

What year is it? Oh! 2014 you say? Why have I been avoiding this blog for so long? I could say that I have been crazy busy. You would understand that, I'm sure. I'm smack-dab in the middle of "the busy years." Basketball takes up a huge chunk of my year, right on top of the time of year where there are kids' birthdays, Christmas, and school. I'm still homeschooling, with 4 different students needing my attention. However, if I am truthful, I would say that if I thought writing about my experiences and remembering God's goodness through gratitude and documenting life's joys with photos was truly important, I would find time to do it.

The truth is that I've been depressed.

I've been sad. Worried. Self-conscious. Unsure. Tired. Scared. Weary. Fake. Confused. Lonely. Numb. Empty. Grey.

Blind to truth. Deaf to Happiness. I just. can't. seem. to. breathe.

Life for the past year and a half has gone on as it should. Nothing catastrophic on the outside for people to see. I'm glad, because I feel so weak right now that I doubt I could handle a real crisis. But at the same time, it makes me feel so alone, because maybe you think I shouldn't be full of sadness. Just who do I think I am? If I'm not happy, with 4 amazing, healthy, obedient children and a loving, faithful husband, and all the comforts and physical provision anyone needs, then WHAT? What would it take to make me happy?

Well, I know the answer. What I need, what I NEED, what I really, truly, deeply require, is a relationship with God. I miss Him. My depression could be defined better as an identity crisis. I used to know who I was. I used to have an answer for everything. I used to have a relationship with my Savior, who always made sense of everything! It's hard to write those words. "Used to." I'm not ready to give up yet. I'm still waiting for something, or Someone, to reach down here and pick me up and put me back on solid emotional ground again. To make sense of this year of depression. To give me a reason for it. But I'm in the middle of it right now, and I can't see clearly. I can remember things I used to know, but somehow they're not really there. It's like I'm in a coma and I can hear the reality around me but I can't interact with it.

This is so hard. It's a daily struggle. Maybe writing about it will help me come through it. I'm sure there has to be an end to this. I was meant for more than grey. I will continue to fight until I am in the light again.

What about you? Have you ever dealt with depression? How do you feel about that time in your life now?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cinderella Scenes





A Kate Story

          The other day Kate and I walked to the neighborhood park together, which we don't do nearly enough. Along the way, we stopped to pick a dandelion. I explained how you make a wish and blow the wisps away. When she couldn't blow them off the stem, I let her pick them off. Then I broke the "no tell" rule and asked her what her wish was. You know what she said?

"I wished I can see God."

 
Her name means "pure one."

Do you remember what Matthew 5:8 tells us? "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Looks like Kate has a good chance of her wish coming true.

Now I'm the one blown away.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meeting Ann

This past weekend, I had the unbelievable chance to hear my (living) spiritual hero, Ann Voskamp, speak. She spoke to a group of one thousand women at a church in Charleston, South Carolina on Friday night and Saturday morning. I still can't believe this really happened. You see, I have been reading Ann's blog, A Holy Experience, since early 2007. Her words have inspired, encouraged, challenged, and wrapped me in Jesus' love daily since then. I have the link to her blog on the sidebar. I had always said that if I ever had the opportunity to meet Ann in this life I would take it. It didn't matter the cost. This was on the top of my bucket list, friends! Well, God worked it out that Ann, who lives in Canada on the Pacific Ocean, would speak at a church 2 hours north of me on the Atlantic Ocean, and tickets were, get this...$15!! I sat at my computer the day the tickets went on sale to be sure to get mine. I told all my friends about the conference. I was so excited for this special trip!

Two friends, Kimberly and Jennifer, were able to make this trip with me. We got a room at a beautiful hotel on Daniel Island, 5 minutes from the conference. Friday night before the best meeting of my life, the three of us had dinner at Queen's Revenge, a nice restaurant near the hotel. I got delicious she-crab stew. In an hour I would be in the same room as Ann. I must explain that this was not like celebrity jitters. I do not think of Ann as a star, but as a dear sister in Christ, whom I can't wait to meet and thank. We lined up at the church before the doors were open and quickly, several hundred women were in line behind us. As they opened the doors to let us find a seat, I snapped a picture of the line:

We sat in the fourth row, to the left of center stage. Worship began, and it was wonderful. The hymns were beautiful and filled with theology and the thousand-woman chorus was high and sweet. During the second song, Ann was led into the front row, to find her seat, directly in front of me. As her mic was being hooked up, she never stopped worshipping God.

She talked that night about her story, that is found in her book, One Thousand Gifts. She has the most intense yet gentle voice I've ever heard. Filled with urgency, yet reverence. Sometimes she sounded almost Southern, and other times the Canadian came out. She was much taller than I had imagined, but she was undeniably, unmistakingly, the Ann of her writings.

After the meeting there would be a meet and greet! My friends got out to the lobby quickly and got a great spot in line to meet Ann. I met them there and waited only about 15 minutes to be able to talk face-to face with her. As I got closer, tears started filling my eyes and as I stepped forward to speak, I was crying. I told her how long I had read her blog and she said, "Oh! How did you even find me back then?" I got to tell her thank you. I told her how her words have been passed on through me to countless others. ("Yes, yes, be the gift.") I told her how the story of Jonathon on the banks of the Amazon had wrecked me. ("Yes! John!") I told her she was my sister. I thanked her for introducing me to the music of David Nevue. ("He says thank you, too!") She hugged me twice. Then she signed my book:


After she signed my book, she placed her had on it and whispered something to God (a blessing?) and closed it. I can't remember everything else, but I had at least 2-3 minutes with her, including capturing the moment forever:



Thank you to Kimberly for taking the photos. I'll treasure them forever.

The next morning we were able to sit in the same place, except one row forward. Ann spoke more truth, about fear and pride, about humilty and bowing low, and about bridges made of "thanks-planks." I took notes and will read over them for quiet times.

After the meeting, Kimberly, Jennifer and I went into Charleston to eat and had a wonderful time! I snapped photos of our walk, our resaurant, and our amazing food. I'll blog about that next!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentines Three Ways

For her friends in ballet class, which meets on Valentine's Day this year:

I used Stampin' Up! Melon Mambo, Whisper White, and Regal Rose cardstock and Flirtatious Designer Series Paper, clear envelopes, an oval scallop punch, a small oval punch, along with the Perfect Words Stamp set. Pink gingham ribbon from Michael's.








 For her ballet teachers:

I used Stampin' Up! Melon Mambo, Whisper White, and Regal Rose cardstock and Flirtatious Designer Series Paper, a scallop punch, a decorative label punch, and the fancy favors Big Shot Die, along with the Four Frames and Perfect Words Stamp sets. Pink gingham ribbon from Michael's.

For her friends at co-op:

I found some frosted vellum at Joann's Fabric, cut out hearts by hand, sewed around the edge, leaving a 2 inch gap, let Kate fill the pouch with sweethearts, and finished the seam. I used an ultra-fine Sharpie to write "cut here" along one side, and then used a heart punch to make a sweet tag for the other corner, affixed with a Stampin' Dimensionals.

Which do you like best?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

From the Gratitude Journal Last Fall

Let's play catch up with my list, then I'll start my 2012 list.

559. the cooler fall-is-coming weather
560. my Pumpkin Spice latte
561. a 4-kid pile up hug
562. being able to help a friend by making dinner for their family
563. and taking her kids to the park
564. being able to homeschool
565. for different cultures around the world.
566. for the Lake District in England,
567. for the mountains in Switzerland,
568. for the green hills in Ireland,
569. and the tulip fields in the Netherlands
570. for his job
571. Can I say my kids again? I'm just overwhelmed with love for them!!
572. for my husband's faithfulness to his family
573. for his frequent, "Hello, Beautiful."
574. for leftover wedding flowers given to me by neighbor Glen,
575. and leftover cupcakes given by neighbor Carli
576. for uncontrollable laughter in public with best friends (Sarah and Devin at Churchill's)
577. for that feeling you get when you meet someone new and instantly have a connection
578. for God's patience with me
579. for all these special moments with my children lately. Ben may be working every day and late into the night, but it has given me time to just be with them.
580. for Rosh Hashana, thrown together and enjoyed. The apples dipped in honey reminding us that life with God is sweet.
581. for long talks on the phone with Grandmas...my kids are blessed.
582. for a gala at the museum Ben built, and the smiles of his coworkers about a job well done, walking the halls arm in arm, glowing.
583. Ben's pride in hard work's fruit.
584. For fancy shoes, clutch, bracelet and earrings
585. Gold nail polish- a manicure!
586. for a low-key Christmas, no stress, gifts all around, and World Vision catalogs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kate is Three

Kate wanted a butterfly-themed birthday party this year! I must admit, I was very excited she asked for this. My creative wheels started turning immediately. I found these amazing butterfly cupcakes on Pinterest... it's just Candy Melts and white sprinkles, but they have such a "Wow" factor. My mom and I had so much fun making them!

  
 
 The Monarch was our favorite! Isn't it beautiful?


I borrowed a Stampin' Up! butterfly punch and went crazy punching out little pink and purple creatures for decorations. Here are the straws and the goodbye candy wands.
















We had butterfly vinyl clings (Target) welcoming the guests into the house.
So here she is, the birthday girl:



I know it is cliche to say, but I really can't believe that she's not a baby anymore.
Motherhood is just a series of goodbyes. Goodbye to her at birth, goodbye to her at one, two...
But I suppose it is a series of hellos, too. Hello to new words, skills, or traits will she pick up this year. Hello to new hugs, longer legs, sweeter conversations. It is so heartwrenching, expanding and contracting like this! Hello and Goodbye, Miss Kate! All I know for sure is that you are so special and
I love you as much as this heart of mine can.