Saturday, April 17, 2021

Life under PRESSURE

I had a Covid-19 test positive on November 23, 2020. Since then so much has changed inside my body, I don't have time to list it all. And no one really wants to know the details.

The PRESSURE of performing to the standard of what I was before I got sick is constant. Real or imagined (with a side order of mom guilt, of course), I fight all day to do what I once did (without even thinking about it), fight back the anxiety that comes when I realize I can't, fight forward for the positivity I know will get me through the day with the best outlook I can, and fight against the flashes of Covid-19 related PTSD that can (and at times, do) become crippling and shut down the whole day. 

There are two key components in my fight against this PRESSURE. 

Jesus and Oola (website link). 

Jesus- My faith has given me what I need to navigate treacherous mental and emotional waters in the past, so I lean in like I always have, holding on tight to the One I know Who holds my past, present, and future. 

Oola (What is it- YouTube video)- is a new word to me in the past few weeks but it has brought fresh hope and freedom that floods me with belief that no matter what I am facing at any moment, there is a stability to be found in the practical pursuit of balance in my unbalanced life. I have often said balance is BS - there is NO way to do it. But, Oola has proven me wrong and continues to challenge that mindset. 

The PRESSURE of things feeling "off" is a constant I experience from the moment of waking to the moment of sleep. This morning, while trying to decompress from yelling at my kid from my exhausted state, a panic attack, and my phone filling with text messages of things to do, I put my Oola (link to audio book on Audible) audio book on to center my focus on what I can do, today, to move forward with being me, today, right where I am, struggles and all

There is PRESSURE all around us about who and what we should do and be. Sometimes, it gets to me, but now, more frequently than before, I let it drive me forward, like catching a wave and riding it to the shore. 

If you want to know more about Jesus or Oola, let me know. They are both super rad! One saved my soul and life and the other is saving my mind and body. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Our Anniversary is the Only Holiday We Earn

Our first decade we spent growing up, making ridiculous financial decisions, fighting, and transitioning our lives from southern California to north Idaho living. We found a church home, grew in our faith, and wrestled with the discomfort of identity crisis and infertility. We stretched in ways we did not know we could move, and we bent in places that had no joint. And we celebrated 10 years by renewing our vows with our close friends. It was only the beginning of knowing what those vows meant.

Our second decade we spent trying to figure out how to grow together despite our differences. How to lean into the friendship we built, connect on a deeper level with the dear ones around us as our prayers were answered and we became parents. Moving from the house we built together to make room for Erik’s mom to move in with us for a season, learning to live together within the challenge of navigating post-partum depression, the loss of a baby, and parenting three under five tested our relationship in ways we could never have imagined. And we celebrated 20 years by renewing our vows with close friends and family. It was another chapter of understanding what those vows meant.

Our third decade is almost over. We have spent it growing with our kids in developmental stages of parenting as they challenge and change us in new ways. Another identity crisis, more tears and choices, more transitions, overcoming and investing in the ones God’s called us to, outside of our bloodline. There are many who pray and remind us of how far we have come and how God’s amazing Grace provides for our every need, daily. Without them I do not know if we would have made it this far. Our differences remain tangible, our ability to make each other laugh virtually effortless, and our commitment to choose Love, even when it scars our souls and is unimaginably uncomfortable remains. And I imagine we will renew our vows again for our 30th anniversary, because it still matters what those vows mean.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Just so you know, you're not alone...

Intense seasons produce intense responses in our home. I wish I could say my Love and I always communicate with patience, kindness and grace. But we don’t. We feel all the feels and express all the stuff.

ACTUAL cliff notes of Conversations THIS week – I’m not even kidding Monday – Sunday (today):

Chores and cash Some chores are paid, and others are not. If you want money, earn it. Grab a shovel and hit up the neighbors for work clearing snow, get your grades up because we’ll pay you for that too. A’s = $10, B’s = $5, C’s get you $0 and you will pay us $5 for D’s and $10 for F’s. Giving isn’t optional, it is mandatory. You can do more with 90% than you realize.

Family time – Games and Growth, connecting with each other is the point, even if it isn’t your favorite game. Cell phones remain a privilege. Social media is fine. And washing your hands with toothpaste for a Tik Tok video isn’t amusing to Dad and Mom if you make said video after your phone is supposed to be put away for the night and you’re supposed to be in bed.

The damaging effects of pornography – distorted understanding of intimacy and sexuality, every guy and girl in those pictures or videos is someone’s son or daughter, real people who have real purpose and value, and many are forced into that life under tragic and hideous circumstances. The adverse effects on their brains - the chemistry and addiction centers

Creating “costumes” that are not as funny as a teen brain might consider – poking fun at anyone different is NEVER funny. It speaks to your character – what you consider funny, who you could and will hurt, and how the ability to decide the appropriateness of a specific costume idea is severely compromised by age and experience.

The difference between suicidal thoughts and really just wanting to not do hard things – If you don’t really want to die, but you feel like you don’t want to deal with one more hard thing, you need to speak up. This is super important and more urgent than you think. It means you need help carrying your load and managing your heart and mind. It is only scary if you hold it in. Once you speak it out, some of the pain actually vanishes and the rest is shared with Dad or Mom, so you don’t have to deal with it alone. If you or someone you know wants to die - this is an EMERGENCY - Ask for help right away.

What really loving someone you don’t know looks like – daily choices of kindness, words of encouragement, making eye contact and smiling, and choosing the path of erring on the side of honoring people because they matter, not because they’ve earned it.

Randomness Category – discussions about sex drive, not-so-funny memes, and things that make me laugh on the inside, but I dare not snicker a bit lest they think its okay to repeat to someone outside of our nest.

Focusing on sexual identity – students who are stating they are LGBTQ as young as 11 are to be loved and focused on as people. To be clear, none of our guys struggle with caring about these dear ones. The questions come from their interpretation of how much of life is defined by your sexual identity. The struggle, wrestling with that aspect of identity doesn’t change the need for love, support and encouragement. Regardless of how they identify, that is not how they are defined. All are dear treasures created by God for powerful purpose and destiny.

So, in case that wasn’t enough, I am late getting my paper due this week because I have chosen many of these conversations over research and paper writing. I have emailed with school staff regarding learning challenges, issues relating to the above conversations, and setting up the annual meeting for Individual Education Plan (IEP) for one of our fellas. The other two 504 behavior plan meetings have been checked off the list for this year but follow up psych testing is on the calendar as of this week and counseling still to be booked.

Almost 700 words shared on the intensity of this week and it barely scratches the surface. These are mere cliff notes and not full conversations so if you find yourself concerned about the welfare of our children from what you’ve read, be assured they are not in danger and we regularly pursue professional assistance, exercise, belly laughs, inside jokes, mostly healthy eating, occasional swearing, and regular prayers of both gratitude and desperation.

May you receive this with the purpose for which it was written: You are not alone in things being hard. They are. Relationships are full of messy and painful conversations and opportunities to lean in and connect or disconnect and walk away. We are doing our best and grateful for your prayers. Thank you for your kindness in not judging or analyzing our function or malfunctions. Much Love from the trenches!