Friday, September 9, 2016

A Long Road Ahead!

Hi Gramma,

This is my first post since you've been gone. I miss having you around, and having you read my posts and then emailing me your thoughts and support. I always felt so loved and respected by you. I haven't wanted to write anything since you passed away.  It hurts just writing on here knowing you won't be reading it or responding to it. I wish there was a way we could still talk to each other. I miss you so much.

 Life over the last 2 years have been intense and full of rich learning opportunities that I probably would never have asked for if I knew what they entailed. I feel like I have been broken into a million different pieces and as I have been picking up each piece I have had to evaluate it and decide if I want it in my life or if I want it to look different. I have tossed some of the pieces out of my life and added new ones to replace them. Those new pieces have added great joy to my life (exercise, healthier eating, accepting the flaws in myself and acknowledging the positives in myself). The pieces that I pick up and decide to keep, I find I am changing how those look as well ( my positive attributes, my talents, job, parenting, and creativity).

Then there are the pieces I pick up and I am just not sure what to do with (my religion, my social views, my views of my worth and purpose in life ... that last one isn't in a negative depressive way either, just in general). These pieces I am reluctant to put anywhere are what are keeping my mind and spirit in a state of exhaustion these days. I've realized that I have been blind for my whole life on some of these pieces! I feel like in general I have sort of just jumped in with everyone in life and tried to just function how everyone else functions. Almost like a robot. Now that I am consciously thinking about each piece in my life, I am able to ask myself "is this something I want?" "Is this something I believe?" "Is this something good?".  They aren't easy questions to answer because each come with their flaws and garbage. These pieces are going to take a while to figure out where they belong in (or out) of my life.

I don't know how you would feel today about my questioning my religion (part of me thinks you'd be happy as long as I didn't stop believing in God). It's been an extremely lonely place. In my church, if you question, it is often talked about ( and I used to believe this!) as someone being weak, lazy, or lacking in faith. I don't consider myself weak, it's the opposite, I'm strong. I'm being brave and challenging a part of me that was blindly following for so many years. I'm being open minded and I am bravely putting myself in situations that feel scary and lonely. The sad part is, I am the most lonely in the church. I can't talk to many about what I am experiencing and if I did, they would be defensive and have their own churchy way of shutting me down quickly. If I challenge anything, they turn into wasps and attack (again in their own churchy, "christlike" way), they group together and shut me right down. There is little space for people who aren't thinking like the whole group. I have been the opposite of lazy. I have been actively pursuing my religion and not just giving up. I'm still taking part in my calling and being authentic. I won't teach anything I don't believe in and I will only teach the things I have conviction in (though the list is getting smaller on that, but I think I got it to a sturdy place).  I'm asking questions and praying. I'm keeping my mind and heart open the best I can. It's been a long time that I have struggled and questioned and I haven't given up yet, even dispite some of the hurtful and hateful comments I have heard (though none of those people actually realize the pain their comments caused). And lastly, I'm not lacking faith, I haven't given up. I have faith in God and in Christ. I believe in them and I believe in God's plan. I have faith that with God's help, I can find a way to piece this all together.

My questions in the church are boiling down to the culture mostly and a then a couple fundamentals that are hard for me to understand and accept.  See, when I joined the church, I knew it my heart that God wanted me to join it. He told me and I can't deny it. So I jumped right in and everything was new. It was so much to take in and at first I resisted because the confusion of it all felt like too much, but then as time went on I almost found it easier to just walk to the same beat as everyone else and not stick out. I think my foundation of God being my father, and Christ being my brother and Savior has always been there and never questioned, but I think almost everything else I just sort of took on and hoped the belief and conviction in it would just come. As I have gone on and encountered sources of confusion, uncertainty or disagreement; I buried them and kept walking to the beat of the church's drum. Eventually as my life in other areas came to place where I needed to face them and create change is when all those things I buried also came up and I realized I no longer had the strength or ability to bury them back down. I needed to face them. And that's where I am today. But even through all of this sorting through the pieces, I have felt all along that this is what God is wanting me to experience. I can see the path being built in front of me with each challenging step I take. I'm looking forward to figuring out my conclusion and I am hoping that lands me in a place where I can feel peace, where I am allowed to be myself and think my thoughts, and where I can feel without doubt, that this is where and how God wants me to be.

It's been an up and down experience.  I get easily distracted in my emotion in it all too, which never helps. My feelings get hurt easily and my logical part of my mind tries to help me out of that pain, but I definitely have a larger emotional section that drowns out that logical voice so I need to work on that. I wish it were easier just to shut the noisy and inconsiderate people out.

I've noticed that one of the loudest and most harmful voices that have existed in my mind have been my own. I spent my whole life convinced that I am unintelligent, unworthy of being truly loved and that I am different. I've gotten so good at shutting up that voice telling me I am stupid and I am now convinced that I have worth in this world and to God and to my family and to those around me. I'm just needing to fine tune that and figure out exactly what that looks like.

And finally I have come to the realization that I am different and so is everyone else! We are all unique and the purpose of coming to this earth isn't for all be perfect and the same. If that were the purpose then we would be choosing and fulfilling Satan's plan. I know we have all been blessed with the gift of agency and the ability to think on our own. I'm not going to pretend to be something I'm not anymore. I'm not going to walk to anyone's beat because I'm not a robot and that isn't what God intended me to be. God sent me here to be happy and to figure out what that looks like for me. Putting on a mask and pretending has not made me happy and it doesn't make anyone happy. So I'm going to just jump right into His great plan of happiness and I'm going to make mistakes and I'm going to be imperfect just as he expects and wants me to be. I'm going to do what it takes to draw closer to Christ in how I view and treat others. I'm going to be real and I'm not going to hide my flaws.

I could go into great detail into all the pieces that I'm debating on, but then I'd never stop talking. Maybe I'll just keep writing my thoughts out on this stuff. Writing my thoughts out has always been helpful, I just wish you were still reading them so you can help me with this stuff. :(

Love you Grandma.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Thankful for Life!

Hi Gramma,

You've been on my mind so much these days. Worry, love, and gratitude are the main feelings. I'm sorry you are struggling so much right now. The falls must be scary. I wish I was closer. I'm thankful for the time I had in the summer with you, but I wish so badly I could come again and visit you some more and make you more cookies!

I love you so much and hope you still have the energy to make it to the computer to read my blog that I have set aside just for you! I love that you love my blog!

I'm getting even closer to having this baby. I'm experiencing a mix of emotions around it. I just wish it wasn't so painful to bring him into the world, but I've come to learn that the things and people we sacrifice the most for, make us the most grateful for. I'm sure at a small level it is comparable to what the Saviour did for us.  And further to that, it helps me to understand more as to why He loves us so much. To give so much, and to go through so much...

I had Todd's wife Keely take pictures of me to document this pregnancy. I have barely taken any photos this time around and I didn't want this baby to feel left out. At the same time, I took pictures of them. They got a new dog and are pretty excited about her! I'll attach the pictures of them along with the maternity photos.

Anyway, I love you Grandma. And my heart aches for you right now. I'm hoping you feel better soon.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Much Happier Post

Hi Gramma!

Things have really calmed down since the last post! And now I am finally done my busy season with photos, which feels great. I feel like I can focus on my kids, my home and myself now.

I have been richly blessed in my business. I was able to pay my business start up debt off 6 months earlier than planned! Part way through my fall season, the money could start coming to us! I haven't used any of the money I've made for myself or my family until now! It feels great to finally feel like I'm contributing! The money I make is going to go towards braces for the kids and activities for the kids that I've never been able to give them before. So happy!

My mood has improved significantly. I think my hormones have levelled out and I feel like me again! Pregnancy is just so rough on my mental health. This one was the worst of all! I've never been through anything like that, it was so scary to not feel myself and feel so unstable. I'm grateful for the experience in that I have gained such an understanding of mental health challenges that I have never really experienced before, even with my experience with Jodi. It's different when you are the one walking the dark path. Hopefully I can use the experience to help others in the future. I do have such a passion for people and their mental health.

Nathanael left last Saturday for two weeks to Geneva again. It's been going good so far. I haven't had to make us dinner once! I have such a loving community who just shows up with dinner for me without me asking and often without asking me! I'm so blessed! And Charlene is coming to help as well. I know I could have done this all on my own, but it is sure nice having the help anyway! Especially being so far along in my pregnancy. My tummy is getting so big, it's made it a challenge to do the day to day things.

I've got about 6 weeks left until I get to meet this little guy! We've already picked his name out and we feel really good about it. It feels real now! And it feels so good to be excited about it. I think most of the people around me now know about the pregnancy, and I am just learning now to embrace it. It can be hard walking around with all the kids at the mall and seeing people eye me up and down and then count my kids. I can't help but feel judged, but I am holding my head up high and showing my pride in them. I have the BEST kids!

I haven't taken a lot of pictures of my kids with my good camera. I have a crappy camera on my phone but here are some pictures I've taken with it so you can see some of the going ons, which include the girl's first day of school, our new guinea pigs, Sophie lost her first tooth, a puppy we watched for one night (that was a bad decision!), and a bunch of other fun moments!

Love you Grandma and I miss you!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

It's a Rollercoaster!

Things are hard for me right now. I'm doing almost everything right in order to help myself through this, but it feels like this awful shadow is just always looming. The only thing that gives me hope is the knowledge that I have always come out of this soon after having the baby. So there is light.

I recently had a short break where I started to feel better and a tiny bit of me again. It was relieving. For that brief bit I felt like I was done the hard part and I could possibly enjoy this last half of pregnancy. But I don't think that is what is going to happen.

How do I describe what I'm feeling? Right now it feels like I'm drowning, but in a weird way. My chest is tight and it feels hard to take a deep breath. I have this pain, lump in my throat that frequents when I am feeling panicky and sad. I feel sad and scared....mostly scared. It's  frustrating because I want to reason myself out of it and doing that doesn't seem to be enough.

Why is this happening? It's awful! I wake up and won't know if it is there until I get out of bed. And when I realize the depression and anxiety is there, then I just feel terrified at what my day could possibly be like.

So I go through my day and eliminate any possible stressor that could occur that day. I plan things that could help me, and cencel anything that may not. But I usually end up just sitting on the couch on my phone trying to distract myself out of it.

My kids scare me right now. I'm never sure what the day will look like with them and if I will be able to handle all their demands on me. So I put them in front of the Tv all day. I feel awful about being pregnant again. How can I take on one more when I can't handle what I have now? How am I going to do this?

This is what is going on for me and I hate it.

Here is what I am doing though and some days it takes everything in me to do them.

I am getting help, lots of it. I am being completely.honest and upfront with the people who are helping me. I cover all bases. I am taking an antidepressant, even though it makes me uncomfortable about doing so in pregnancy. I am trying to stay active and I try to eat healthy. Obviously trying isn't as good as doing, but it is better that not trying.

I can sometimes get myself and my kids out every once in a while. AND I am doing good at showing some patience and love to my kids.

I am still trying to pray.

I am getting more sleep and making sleep more of a priority.

I am trying to take vitamins.

I find what helps me is when I write down the things I am doing rather than the not doing list. I remind myself of my strengths in each day and I try my best to let my failures and falling short moments go.

I am almost doing my best and almost doing all I think I can. I guess what I am proud of is that I am not giving up.

This sucks right now and I am trying so hard right now. If I can focus on that then that may just get me out of this.

I am grateful for Nathanael throughout this.  I know from experience that this isn't easy being on a loved one's side. He's carrying the brunt of the load right now and not uttering a single complaint to me about it.

I have a lot to be greatful for and will continue to count those blessings. And for now I'll just ride through it. I'm praying that when I have this baby, that it can all make sense to me after and that I will have my perspective back and have me back.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I Get to See You Soon!!!!!

So soon! I can't wait! I just had to blog to show you some pretty blossom pictures I took. Maybe you could paint one? Is there a favourite you like?

I love you and can't wait to spend time with you!


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Getting Vulnerable

This post is all about ME!

Hi Gramma,

I think it is funny and weird that instead of just emailing you, I am now dedicating my blog to keeping you up to date. I'm posting all my "stuff" for everyone to see, when really, I am meaning to direct it to you. Maybe what I write, if it gets to anyone else will help them, or make them think, or entertain them, or annoy them (Sometimes I search out things that annoy me). I don't know why I do it, but I think inside I sometimes just want to find a way to declare to the world what I am going through! It's much easier being vulnerable behind a computer screen than it is out in person!

Today has been hard. I'm not sure why. I feel like lately my life has been so on track and I am going out of my way to take care of me for once. In almost every aspect of my life I am trying to improve, but in a gentle and loving way. It's been so good, but today I am left baffled at why I still feel so empty and incomplete sometimes? What possibly could I be missing that I am not addressing? The only ideas I have are two things:

1. I am being too self centered.
2. I am leaving Christ out.

1. Self Centered
I am spending time for the first time in 8 years focusing on taking care of myself. And I am realizing that there must have to be a balance. I need everything I am doing, but how do I find the time to be there for others as well? I don't know how. I guess it would be similar to everything else and just learning to take little steps one at a time?

I guess the other problem in it too is that though I am working hard on helping me, I am not forgiving myself or allowing myself any shortcomings. I am so hard on myself to a fault and what happens with that is that is consumes me. I can't think about anything else except for what I fail at. I can be such a great mom in small moments, and then I can feel like such a monster in others. I give up and redirect into a mother I always swore I would never be. I hate it so much. And then after doing so, I put myself down and hate myself for it until I repeat it again. The same happens in my roles as a friend or wife. When I make any mistake, I kick myself down so low and leave no room to pull myself back up. I am trying to challenge myself in how I think about myself and I am trying to learn to forgive myself so I can actually move forward.

2. Where does Christ come in?
This brings me to #2. I wonder if I let Christ in or understood His role in my life, perhaps I would more easily and naturally be able to solve this problem. I am not sure what has happened, but I feel like everything I've known to be true has unravelled and I am left to question and feel alone. It's like I forget everything. I guess this is where you come in. Growing up, whenever we would see you guys when you'd come to visit us, the quote I always knew I'd hear was "Jesus love you". It made me uncomfortable, mostly because I didn't understand it. I still hear it today, but in different wording, and to be honest I still feel uncomfortable by it. I can, in full honesty, say that I know Christ lived on this earth and ministered. I know that he was unnaturally the most loving, accepting and caring person that has ever walked this earth. I know he performed miracles to help others, who even though they made mistakes, he still did it for them. I know that his love was always unconditional. For some reason that aspect I just know to be true and I absolutely love Him for it. So I know that if all that happened, that He would have suffered for us, and died for us in order to bring us back. But I do not know how to see him and feel Him today and how His love applies to me. I don't know how to channel that love to me and believe that I deserve it. I honestly don't know how to see Him any more and I don't know why. I don't know what I did to lose it, and I don't know how to get it back.

Which brings me to a question for you! How do you know? How can you so firmly believe all these years that Jesus loves me... and you... and everybody? How do YOU know? I make the mistake often in resting myself on other's testimonies, but I think I may need to do that right now. Can you send me an email or message me on here to let me know?

This blog post kind of puts me out there, but I think it is just you who reads it, and any stranger who comes across it, maybe they can share if/how they feel it. But I could use my Gramma's wisdom right now.

Thanks for reading. I love you!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hi Gramma!

Here are some fun pictures I did last week when we had a dense fog in Calgary. I decided to do a bit of a fairy tale theme for these. We had fun! Dad and Char didn't like them but I like them. I was going for the magical look. Have fun with Char this week! I love you!