roller coasters in my soul

Oct 29, 2017 by

I don’t know what is wrong with me. Taking the time to blog has become nearly impossible. I got out of the habit when my hands were injured at the end of October 2015 and even though I can usually type now without gobs of pain, I haven’t figured out how to carve out the minutes in my day to write.

I am hoping to change that. I really, really miss taking the time to ponder and share the inner workings of my soul. And I SO miss having a record of our life.

I think I have said similar things the last ten times I have posted. Hmmmmm. How boring is that? Pretty boring.

It is Sunday evening and I am vacillating between peace in my soul and an angtsy-overwhelm feeling at all the things I need to do, want to do, and “should” do. My husband is taking a much deserved nap across the room from me. His gentle snores are music to my ears as they signal to me that he is actually getting good sleep. My oldest is standing on the washer and dryer creating a “Speak Life” motif on my giant chalkboard. (I had a dream of her doing it before she left on her mission, but it didn’t happen and now that she has been home for nearly 7 months, she is finally giving me this gift. YES!) My youngest is writing a story and has been plucking it out on the computer for several hours. She keeps running upstairs to ask for my input on character’s names and telling me more of her story. Sabbath Day music is playing and filling my soul with God’s love. Our one and only boy is drawing at the counter. All is calm and my goodness, it feels wonderful.

At the same time, my entire living room is full of thousands of pieces of clothing as I am finally doing the giant clothing purge that Keziah and I started back in 2015. I’m staring at my back door which needs a handle and lock so it can open. This makes me think of my basement doors which do not shut all the way and desperately need to be replaced because they let in so much cold air. The fake wood floor in front of those doors needs to be replaced because they are separated and yucky from water damage. This makes me think of the stinky carpet that was ruined in the wall leak we discovered the day Blythe came home from her mission back in April. Then my thoughts go to my bedroom windows that do not seal well and let cold air in all winter along with ice and the subsequent water melting. And then my mind jumps to the need we have of alternative heat – a wood stove that is not dependent on electricity to keep us warm. There are so many things that need to be fixed: sprinklers, vehicles, fences, roofs, couches, flooring, baseboards, tubs, the fridge, the dishwasher, screens, cupboard doors, vacuums, leaves, trash, and many other things. Another winter is coming soon and they most likely will not be taken care of before the cold is upon us.

It all feels so overwhelming. And impossible. There is not enough money or time to solve these problems. When I focus on them, I can easily burst into tears.

So, I keep going round and round in my brain between the peace and love in my home and the feeling of going crazy with fear and want and overwhelm. The reality is we have a lovely home in a beautiful place and mountains of blessings. We have running water, toilets that flush, appliances that make our lives infinitely easier, thousands of books, food to eat, and more luxuries than probably 90% of the world. We also have a hole lot of love and laughter.

Focusing on the good is what I need to do. I’m amazed at the mind game it is to stay on the positive side of things and how quickly I can fall apart when I start thinking of all the things I need to fix and all the ways I am falling short. The last few months I have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions swinging wildly from tears to anger to laughter and joy and back to tears again. I don’t know if it is lack of sleep, peri-menopause, CRAZY period emotions, not turning enough to God, or basic character flaws. The emotion of the minute changes on a dime and my dear husband and children have no idea what to expect from me anymore. They see me crying more often than not, but in the midst of all the crazy hard emotions, there has been heaps of joy and peace and love as well.

I’m really trying ever so hard to focus on the good – to connect with each one of my family members’ souls each day, to spend time communing with God, and to savor the small moments of peace. But the tears still come. I cried my way through the sacrament today. Then when we sang “How Firm A Foundation” for the closing hymn, I sobbed as I took in His grace and mercy and love into my soul.

And then I stood up and hugged an old friend from Ghana who showed up in my church services today. Up and down and all around, I never know what is going to come out of my mouth or if I am going to burst into tears of sadness or tears of joy.

Is this normal? Is this the result of dealing with a chronic health issue for a very long time? Is this the result of selfishness? Insanity? Hormones that are swinging wildly? A husband who works a zillion hours a week and doesn’t have enough time to fix all the things? I don’t even know. I just know it is hard. It is a fight, each and every day, to stay in a place of peace and love and calm.

read more

Related Posts

hands hurt = memories lost

Nov 6, 2016 by

Here’s the deal – I’m failing at this whole blog thing.

I could offer a zillion excuses like these ones:

  • My hands hurt
  • My life is extremely full with my homeschooling, church, health, and friends responsibilities.
  • My brain is tired.
  • There is a whole lotta crap going on that I can’t talk about and it makes it seemingly impossible to even begin to compose a sentence about the many lovely things I CAN talk about.
  • My room is filthy and it hard to justify sitting down to blog when I should be cleaning with my five minutes of time.
  • And while all of those things are true, so very true, it really boils down to me not making or taking the time to write and letting my online time be sucked up by other things.

    So, here it is November 6 and I have hardly blogged for an entire year. My right hand was injured one year ago and I had to really limit my typing and mousing, but what started as a temporary heal-the-hand activity change has become the norm. Typing and mousing have been hard this entire time and now my left hand is injured as well so I don’t know when it is going to get easier in the foreseeable future. But I do know this; I have missed an entire year of recording and remembering our family’s experiences and hilarious moments and I can’t get those back. So, I am going to try my darndest to make the time, to take the time, and start writing again. My soul needs it…and I don’t want any more memories to be lost.

    read more

    Related Posts

not a fan of these changes

Nov 9, 2015 by

Some changes, like rearranging furniture, I love. Some changes, not so much. In the past year, we have gone through a lot of changes and I am still struggling to find a new normal.

A year ago, on November 6th, my best friend, Jessica, moved. Jessica is hilarious and super-talented and beautiful and a million other things that people out in internet-land love her for, but to me, she is simply my friend who I can share my deepest spiritual thoughts with, feel completely at home with, and laugh so hard I pee my pants nearly every time I am with her. We first connected because we were both home birthing, breastfeeding, LDS mamas in the same ward. We found we had similar parenting ideas and even though I am a mega extrovert and she is an introvert, we hit it off famously and have been bestest buddies for many years. We understand the deepest parts of each other that we are sometimes not willing to share with the world at large and have been through a lot together. I adore her. Absolutely adore her and ache so much for her physical presence back in my life. Neither of us is a good long, distance friend who stays in touch with lengthy or frequent phone calls or even frequent emails. We have had a few visits, but they have been quick and not nearly as soul-filling as we have wanted them to be. Life is complicated by the fact that both of us have POTS and have a hard time doing all the work of daily life much less adding in traveling and driving and packing and all that jazz. Our midnight sewing/computer/Thai/Gator Bites nights are a thing of the past. My running over to take care of her mid-POTS episode and vice versa doesn’t happen anymore. Having each other as part of our day-to-day lives just isn’t in the cards right now. And even though I have accepted it and support her choices, I don’t like it one little bit.

Then my other dear friend, Jennifer, moved in June. Really moved. Clear across the country moved. Not 3.5 hours away like Jessica where there is the chance to see her every few months, but something like 30 or 40 hours away. She moved to be near her family, which is a totally wonderful and understandable reason to move…but I miss her terribly. Jen has been my dear friend ever since Fisher was a wee baby. We first became friends when I begged her to teach me to play the cello. Then her girls took gymnastics from me. Then she asked me to be her doula. Then I prayed her to our little town because I wanted so badly to spend the rest of my life with her and her delightful family. Jennifer’s leaving has left a gaping hole in my life and I miss her so much, I can’t even talk about it without bursting into tears.

The four of us, Kat, Jennifer, Jessica, and I were supposed to (in my dream world where everything goes my way) grow old together. We were supposed to laugh and cry and serve and love each other for the next 60 years till we all die around 100. We were supposed to help each other with our children’s weddings and put on huge service projects and go out to eat at Red Robin every month for the rest of our lives. We have this amazing friendship that is simply incomprehensible until you have experienced it and I never, ever thought it would change. Yes, we are still dear friends and yes, we still talk and email and laugh, but it is just not the same as being piled on the same bed together eating Pad Thai at midnight while filling each other with love and laughter.

And I haven’t mourned it. Not really. I have tried super hard to be supportive of their moving and been so focused getting Blythe out on her mission and getting through the summer and starting our homeschool this fall that I haven’t allowed myself to truly bawl my eyes soul out over the whole thing. I think it is just starting to really hit home that this is real. Now it has been a year since Jessica left and my heart hurts ever so much. I miss them. I miss us. I miss the entity that we were and the force for good we were in each other’s lives and in the world. I miss watching Jen and Jesse (her awesome dh) play in the symphony and I miss Jen conducting our homeschool orchestra. I miss sewing parties and watching our children play together and the Pink and Red party. I miss our late nights and our doctor’s appointments where they held my hands and gave me strength and courage, and our shopping trips (for mundane things like groceries) and our joy. I miss our joy most of all.

Kat and I are still here and love each other dearly, but I think we both agree that this whole thing is really hard.

The same day Jessica moved, I got a phone call from another dear friend, Kari. She said she needed some help, that she was moving and terribly ill and could I come help right away. I dried my eyes and went straight to her house where we got right to work getting her better with my herbs and oils and Richard’s energy work. She pulled out of town the next day and my heart broke a little bit more. Kari and I are nearly psychological/personality identical twins. Even though we didn’t spend gobs of time together, we *got* each other. We could call one another at any time day or night and we would be there for each other. She was my spontaneous, adventure loving friend who I could call at the last minute and she would drop everything to help my plans come to life. At one of our Make It For Maggie events, she made Maggie a look-alike doll – her heart is huge. I mentored her children and love each one of them dearly. We still connect on Facebook, but Facebook is no substitute for real life adventures with a dear friend.

Another big change has been our daughter leaving on her mission. It is truly THE BEST thing ever to be a missionary mama. I love it! I am so grateful she is serving and working and growing and doing hard things. But I miss her. And I miss being a mother a four little ones who would snuggle up on the couch with me while I read to them for hours at a time. I am not really mourning this right this minute, but I did have to go through a big grieving process of saying goodbye to those years of mothering and homeschooling these precious children. Blythe’s leaving marked the end of an era of my mothering and even though we are moving on and enjoying this next phase, my heart still longs for those days of having all four of them gathered round and discussing liberty or morality or The Lord of the Rings or a tricky math problem. It will never be the same again…and while that is a good thing, it is a huge change for our family.

The car accident in January caused some big changes in my spine and overall health. The headaches, neck pain, sacrum pain, spine instability, and muscle spasms weren’t part of my life before the accident. Now, even though I am doing much better than I was during February and March, I am realizing this level of instability will most likely be with me for the rest of my life. And there is really nothing I can do about that. My most recent MRI showed an exaggerated lordosis of the cervical spine at C3 and a reversal of the normal lordosis at C6…this basically means the vertebrae are more like a hilly road in Pennsylvania instead of the gentle slippery-slide shape they are supposed to be in.

And my body is getting worse. That is the long and short of it. My muscles are withering away because I can not do the work required to strengthen them without passing out. We are searching for answers to help my nervous system calm down, but right now, the muscles need to be strengthened so I can stop dislocating joints. Just last week I face-planted on my front cement when my pants caught on our gate. I dislocated my wrist, elbow, and shoulder when I caught myself. Now we are working to heal those injuries by having my wrist taped up and trying not to use that arm too much while it all heals. But those injuries further irritate my nervous system and the cycle continues. I keep thinking there has to be a way to be injury free long enough to allow my nervous system to calm down, but it seems every few weeks or so I have another new injury to deal with because I am not held together very well at all.

IMG_2838 (1)

Our youngest child is turning eight this month. Miss Annesley is growing up and soon I will no have no little ones left to snuggle with. This is good…but boy, it is hard. It seems my babies are growing up and while I am so proud of the people they are becoming, I often wish I could go back and nurse them just one more time or rock them in my arms to sleep. Those baby years were precious to me at the time and they are even more precious now (probably because I am not a sleep-deprived mother of babies!) as I think back on the days of carrying my wee ones in a sling, spending hours upon hours at the park watching them toddle around and discover the wonders of the world, and snuggling up with them in my bed at night. Annesley turning eight is just another marker of the end of that era. She still comes in to my bed first thing in the morning and she still snuggles while I read to her, but she is changing and I can see those things will be coming to an end in the not so distant future.

So many changes. I haven’t figured out how to navigate these new situations. I am taking it one day at a time…and I think I am doing pretty well most of the time…but then it hits me…my friends are gone…and they might not come back…and life will never be the same again.

I have been a little tenderhearted all day. I started weeping this morning watching a Bible Video about the crucifixion and it has continued all day with little bits of tears here and there every time I think of a loved one or a precious moment. It probably means my period is starting soon…not that these feelings aren’t real, they are real and they are big. They are just heightened by dropping progesterone levels.

read more

Related Posts

up to somethings

Feb 18, 2015 by

Oh my, the time gets away from me and before I know it, a whole week (or more!) has gone by without me posting.

Here is what I am up to:

  • Paperwork and medical appointments for my oldest who is getting ready to serve a mission for our church. The process is pretty easy and quick, but, boy howdy, it is a lot of hard decisions and work for those of us who don’t have a family doctor and easy medical history. We are facing some pretty big decisions regarding medications and so far, I still don’t know what to do. These are the times I *almost* wish we could just be normal people who go along with the masses and just do what everyone else does, but since there are all sorts of immune system issues, allergies, and a firm belief in whole foods, herbs, natural medicines and alternative treatments, I simply cannot go along with masses.
  • Trying my darndest to heal from this car accident. It was SUCH a small accident and yet, my body is really struggling. The pain, headaches, numbness, inflammation, and exhaustion are quite the humdinger. I actually went in and had x-rays taken last week and they showed my spine all wonkified. On the advice of the doctor I saw and Jeremy, I am giving in and taking some prescriptions to help the muscles and the generalized inflammation in my body calm down.
  • Dealing with the car accident phone calls and paperwork. ARGH. It really isn’t a big deal. It is just a deal and one I don’t have time or energy for.
  • Got my bangs cut when my sister met us in Utah during Blythe’s dentist appointment on Monday. We did a quick bang fixeroo in the parking lot and were laughing so hard at the looks people were giving us that my bladder had a little incident. They were almost to my upper lip…after being cut above my eyebrows just 2 1/2 months ago. I think all the collagen and other supplements I am taking are making my hair grow a wee bit too fast.
  • Researching therapy pools and brainstorming HOW ON EARTH I could ever afford one and where it could go in my house so I could work my muscles everyday without fear of injury, time and expense of going to a pool that is a 20ish miles away, and having to find someone to take me since many days it would not be safe for me to go to a pool alone. It seems like a huge impossibility, but since I know it would be fabulous for my body, I am going to keep researching, thinking, and praying.
  • Fisher and I have started a new geography adventure with Holling C. Holling books. We are starting with Paddle-to-the-Sea and loving it. It traces the journey of a little canoe from Canada, down through the Great Lakes, and out to the Atlantic Ocean. We have some big maps from Beautiful Feet and are using their curriculum guide to give us a bit of structure on our journey.
  • Annesley and I are almost done with Little House in the Big Woods. I think we will just continue on with the series until she grows tired of it.
  • I am still teaching Worldviews to my five stellar youth and am also teaching an adult class on How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and while I love both of them, I have to admit, this car accident has really impacted my effectiveness as a teacher. I simply cannot move, talk, and prepare the way I would like to. They are going well, but my heart wishes for the situation to be different and I could be standing up and be the dynamic teacher I normally am. Teaching from a reclining position is pretty tough…and boring.
  • It is Ward Conference season which is an LDS term meaning a special Sunday meeting is held with each ward (generally small geographical area) in a stake (usually 7-10 wards) where instruction and training is given by stake leaders. Since I serve with the Stake Primary Presidency, I attend each of those ward conferences. This means lots and lots of meetings. Almost every Sunday, I am attending church services in other congregations than my own and then helping that ward’s Primary with any questions or concerns they might have. It is a wonderful opportunity to serve, be blessed by the many relationships I get to be a part of, and the Sunday inspiration I receive is beautiful. I love it. I also miss my own ward. Theoretically, I could attend my own ward on the weeks my other meetings are at a different time than my ward, but my body cannot barely handle the three to five hours of meetings it already has, there is no way it could handle another three hours on top of that.
  • I keep setting goals of things to get done each day and for the most part, they aren’t getting done. I have gobs of paperwork to get done for my classes and my church calling, but my body hurts to much to do any of it for very long. Cleaning or cooking are not happening at all and my children are ready to rebel at how much they are doing and how little I am doing. I am focusing on the basics of our family life and homeschool: phonics, math, stories, snuggles, scriptures, art, outside play time for the kids, and lots of art projects while listening to audio books. Blythe is doing almost all my driving and running around children along with lots of errand running. All the rest is going to have to wait till body recovers from this accident.
  • I don’t know what the typical recovery is from whiplash, but it is looking like mine will not fit that norm since I am still in so much pain. In the meantime, my knee has taken a complete back seat to my upper body. Jeremy hasn’t even been able to work on it my last few appointments, so I don’t know how it is doing. Tonight it is more sore than it has been recently, but I am hoping that with some ice and anti-inflammatories, it will feel better tomorrow. I have to keep reminding myself that we are hastening the healing…not doing nothing as I lie around with my ice pack.

    The three year anniversary of my hip injury is coming up on Friday. Yesterday marks the day of my last good run. I am thinking about how to celebrate…it will either be a day of mourning or celebration and my spirits cannot handle the mourning, so we need to find a way to celebrate somehow!

    read more

    Related Posts

argh, i want this pain to go away, but if i am stuck with it, i might as well rearrange

Jan 10, 2015 by

My knee hurts. I think it is hurting more each day…or maybe I am just getting tired of it. I’m not sure anymore. I do know the shoulda-woulda-coulda monster is eating at my brain and I wish I could rewind time and go back and make some different decisions on the day I fell.

A knee brace will be delivered to my door on Tuesday and will be my new friend until this ligament heals in 12-16 weeks. I have been taped up with Leukotape for the past five weeks and while it is amazing stuff and holds me together really well, it is breaking down my skin making me dream of sawing off my itchy leg in the middle of the night. I’m not sure how well the knee brace will work, but it will make bathing, applying comfrey compresses, oil packs, and BF&C much easier. In fashion terms, it is going to be a real drawback as it needs to be against my skin and the only thing that will fit over top of it will be super baggy stretchy pants. Oh my.

I also have new pair of Danskos coming my way. My feet do really well in Danskos and my pair of Shaylas from February has worn out. Wearing the same pair of shoes 6 or 7 days a week will do that I guess. So, at least my feet will be cute and comfy while I wear my super-stretchy pants. HA!

In other news, I finally finished the rearrangement project we started ten days ago in our wood room (A silly name…it is the first room you walk into in our home. It has a wooden floor, so I call it the wood room. It could be called the dining room because sometimes the dining table is in there, but sometimes the couches are in there and then it is the family room. My children were endlessly getting confused when I would give them jobs to do, so now we call it the wood room regardless of its function and everyone knows what I am talking about when I tell them the wood room needs vacuumed.) Anyway, all these weeks of lying here staring at the walls of my house have made me want to change things and one of those things was the brown, particle-board bookshelves in the wood room.

The problem was where to put the books? I had 680 inches of shelf space in those shelves and I had to move all those books somewhere else. At first it seemed impossible. But I was determined to change the look of the room by getting rid of the brown shelves. Richard chuckled at me and said it could not be done, but I kept plugging away at it all week and slowly, but surely we have solved it. First solution was to reclaim the two shelves by the front door that we have been using as shoe shelves. That gave us 160 inches. Then, we moved the 4×4 Expedit out of our bedroom and the 2×4 Expedit out of our hallway giving us 312 inches. Then we filled two of the shelves on our empty 72 inch wide bookshelf downstairs, giving us 144 inches. Now we were at 616 inches of usable space and almost all the books had found their new homes. I boxed up two shelves of childbirth books (kind of teary about those ones…but I am not attending births as a doula right now and I am not going to be birthing a baby unless some miracle happens, so I decided they would need to go into boxes until they are needed again.) and found lots of books that don’t even need to be in our home anymore. Now, I have a pile of books to sell and lots of piles of stuff to sort through that were on the Expedits to begin with, but the wood room is clean and orderly and I am loving the new look of it. Maybe now it won’t be so painful for me to hobble by it?

read more

Related Posts

time for some big-girl panties

Nov 6, 2014 by

My Jessica is moving.

Today.

The past many days have been spent packing her up and snuggling in bed laughing and crying as we savor these last few moments together. We have not had a good night’s rest for over a week.

Out of nowhere, my eyes fill up with tears and they run down my cheeks.

Oh, this is hard.

I give my heart solace by convincing myself she will be back. She will return to Idaho and her dream of a little farm. We will eat 3 minute chocolate cakes at midnight once again. But, oh, the pain of not having her right down the road is breaking my heart.

read more

Related Posts

dreams

Sep 13, 2014 by

Dreams are a strange thing. I don’t know how they are for other people, but for me they are vivid, soul-gripping events. I often have a hard time separating out what is real and what is not real when I wake up because my dreams feel completely real. Coming back to reality feels pretty jarring.

Throughout my years of adulthood I have had lots of what I call “bad dreams” where sad, bad, hard things happen. Things like murder, car chases, falling off cliffs, evil men breaking into my home in the middle of the night to rape our daughters, living with old boyfriends and having an unhappy marriage full of adultery, abuse, and poverty. In the early days of our marriage, I had dreams of Richard having affairs and in the morning I would wake up unable to sort out if it had really happened or not. He would hold me (if my fury at his alleged affair dissipated enough to allow him to hold me) and listen to the sordid tale and let me work it out in my mind till I came to the truth of the matter. Sometimes these dreams showed me what my life could have been like had I made different choices.

None of this happens every night, but it certainly happens often enough that it doesn’t surprise us. I roll over and say “I had a bad dream” and Richard wraps his arms around me and waits for me to share it. He listens and helps me process all the powerful emotions that pour out of me in the early morning hours.

Does everyone do this? Is this normal? I have no idea. I only know my dreams are intense, full-on-experiences in the movie theater of my mind.

Well, for the last few weeks, the dream experiences have become even worse. I’m not sure if the intensity is worse or the frequency or what, but I am starting to dread going to sleep. All of these dreams are revolving around one theme – rape, abuse, molestation. Of me.

And it hurts.

More than I can begin to describe.

I wake up in the morning feeling violated.

Angry.

More than angry, full on rage.

And at the same time, shriveled.

I was molested as a child by several different people. And though I cannot stand to have my hair stroked because one abuser did that to me, I think I have dealt with it pretty well.

And yet, these dreams aren’t going away. None of the dreams are like my own experiences in terms of setting, participants, or events, but the feeling of violation is identical, but also somehow, more pronounced.

Last night’s dreams was a doozy. I find myself wanting to wrap up in warm blankets and hide from the world as I let my body and spirit process these feelings of being trapped, completely misunderstood, and thoroughly violated by not only the man who was touching me, but also the police who investigated afterwards.

I can see the effects of these dreams on my face. The wrinkles are more pronounced, the bags under my eyes bigger. Tears spring to my eyes much more easily than they ever have before. I find myself crying as I look at a flower, a small child, an act of kindness. The beautiful moments of life are becoming much more precious to me.

This is hard. Really hard. I know these experiences aren’t real, but the feelings are and after each dream they need processed and released. I don’t know why they are coming. Are they a gift to help me heal from my own experiences or are they torturing me and serving no helpful purpose? I don’t know.

I only know I hurt and I cry and I am tired.

read more

Related Posts