Monday, November 29, 2010

Knock, Knock

So I know that this has been a slow month of blogging for me and that when I have blogged it's been a little bit of a downer. I am proud to announce that I am finally feeling like a somewhat normal human being again, and today, I've even been productive. You have to understand, I don't know where the month of November went. In addition to grieving and being prescribed a medicine that made me CA-RAZY, I just have not been able to shake this stinkin' cold.  When we got back from Ga. Kate woke up about 2:00 Sunday morning puking. So much fun. It was one of those, clean up, doze off for 3 1/2 minutes, wake up to puking child, clean up, doze off for 3 1/2 minutes, and well you get the picture. Sure enough Josh woke up with it. He preached Sunday morning, but Sunday afternoon as he was hugging the toilet I suggested that maybe he should stay home Sunday night. I assured him our church members would thank him. So, it's just been a rough go around here. I went to bed last night determined that this week was going to be better.

So far, so good. I started making lists today. That's right, making my lists and checking them twice. :)  We all know the craziness December brings and I am determined to get a handle on it and ENJOY as much of this time as possible. I am so not a list maker, but for some reason it made me feel in control today. First, I made a list of people to buy for. I thought it would make me feel good to check off the people I've bought for until I soon realized they were way outnumbered by the people I haven't. Oh well. Next list. It is my to do list of things we need to do around the house. Like clean, Everything. And decorate the tree. And oh yeah, get a tree. :)  Okay, so I moved on from those lists and decided to write down all of the things I want to get the kids. I know it will probably stress some of you out that I do not already have that shopping done, but we have always just waited and gone and done all of our shopping at one time for the kids. Mostly because it is impossible to hide presents from my kids so it helps to wait until the last minute. And....apparentlly there are 4 billion toys that come out in the weeks leading up to Christmas and my kids want them all. :) So anyway, that was really fun. I am so thankful for the internet and being able to compare prices and check out reviews online.  My goal is to map out my shopping so that I can just run to the store and BAM! BAM! BAM! Get my stuff and go!! I do better when I plan ahead when it comes to shopping. So, while I don't actually have anything DONE, I do have a plan and that makes me feel better. :)

Well, as exciting as all of that is to you, I thought I would leave you with some sayings (and sightings) that have made me laugh.

*Our first night in Georgia we thought it would be super fun for all of the cousins to have a sleepover in my nepehw's room. Yeah, we don't know what we were thinking either. Anyway, my sister had the baby monitor on and let me tell you, it almost made me want to go get one even though my kids don't really  need one anymore. I would totally start a blog called "Overheard on the Baby Monitor".  Oh.My.Word.

First, we heard Sarah being the responsible oldest cousin. She kept trying to calm Luke (age 2) and Kate (age 3) down. We heard her saying over and over, "Alright big fella, alright big fella."  It wasn't long until we heard the high pitched voice of Kate saying, "Alright little fella, alright little fella". That girl has such bossiness issues. She eats it up when she has someone smaller than her around to tell what to do.  Then, hysterical laughter ensued. I mean, rolling on the floor, tears coming out of your eyes laughing. High pitched, squealing toddler laughter. Sarah, again being the responsible one says, "It's not funny over here."  Two seconds later Eli chimes in with, "It's not funny over here, either!" 

The Responsible One

The 2 Silly Gooses

*My children have a new favorite activity. Telling knock, knock jokes. Except they don't really get it. This is what we heard on our trip this weekend:  "Knock, knock."  "Who's There?"  "Banana."  "Banana who?"  "Orange Banana."  The best was when Kate got in on the action. "Knock, knock."  "Who's There?"  "Banana." "Banana who?"  "Strawberry shortcake."  We're going to have to work on our jokes......

*Knock, knock jokes aren't the only thing my kids don't quite get. It's probably a good thing, but they seem to be lacking in sarcasm skills as well. At one point in the car on the way back I asked Eli, "Could y'all find something else to argue about?"  His response? "But we don't have anything else to argue about."    :)


*As if my kids don't provide enough laughter in my life, I got to go to dance today. If I tell you that I teach 10 3-4 year olds ballet, tap and tumbling for an hour and a half will you instantly know that our class would put a SNL skit to shame? Please envision my little girls doing a sweet dance to "Silent Night". Pretty twirls and rocking the baby. Then, imagine them ending on one knee with their arms in a beautiful pose. Then, imagine looking in the mirror and glancing at their poses until you reach the two on the end, one with her hands around the other girl's neck, choke hold style.  After surviving Silent Night, we worked on our tap routine to "Jingle Bells". One of the girl's still had her jingle bell tutu on during tumbling and I was taken by surprise when her Mom came running in during class yelling, "Get that out of your nose!"  Yes, she had her jingle bell in her nose. I took that opportunity to educate all of my girls on the danger of jingle bells up there noses. Tis' the season....

I hope these things have put a smile on your face too! Speaking of smiles, I have to tell y'all one more hilarious thing. I got an e-mail tonight saying I was given a blog award by Dental Hygienist Schools. I feel both honored and incredulous. They said they not only want to encourage dental hygiene, but also encourage people dealing with family frustrations. I may not cover the dental hygiene on this blog, but I sure do cover some family frustrations!!! Will y'all think I'm obnoxious if I post my award on my blog? Maybe it will remind me to make my kids brush their teeth every night........

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wii Are So Blessed!

I have to be honest that I don't think I share all of the holiday cheer that is going on around me. I've heard of people putting up Christmas decorations weeks ago, but I am really having to pump myself up. As many of you know these are our "firsts" without my Daddy. First holidays, his birthday, those kind of things. It just happened that his birthday fell the day after Thanksgiving this year and I've been bracing myself. As much as I've tried to prepare myself mentally I just haven't known how I would react emotionally. I've learned that how you tell yourself to feel and how you actually feel are two very different things. And despite my best efforts to stay positive, focus on the blessings in my life, and celebrate what I do have, this month has been tough. I've realized that November will always be my Daddy's month to me. Football, Thanksgiving, his birthday. When we went to the FSU game and the drummer in the band started playing my heart ached a little. Because nobody loved a football game and good band music like my Daddy. Then, the band played "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" for the halftime show and I was back in a mini-van in 7th grade being educated on the awesomeness of the Beatles according to my Daddy. :)

Something I have realized is that we will have to redeem these times. I feel like losing my Daddy on a holiday was actually a blessing in disguise. There is so much to distract and keep your mind occupied. I have very few memories of last Christmas, but I know that the fact that I had to play Santa on what was the most painful night of my life was a gentle reminder that life was going to go on and I was going to have to go on with it. As much as my Daddy loved football and the Beatles and a good Thanksgiving meal, he loved my babies even more and he would be absolutely devastated to think that he took away the joy in their holidays. I know that for a fact. That was my Daddy. Our happiness always came first. So, whether or not I feel like it, I'm going to put on my big girl panties and do my best to embrace our new "normal".

This Thanksgiving we headed to my sister's house. My Mom and Phil were there, too. We were a little bit later leaving than we had planned (shocking, right?). In addition to leaving late we also got stuck behind this truck for the first 45 hours (I mean minutes) of the trip.
All I can say is that by the end of the weekend....I was wearing that sign home......

I know that I probably come across as an ultra conservative, ultra traditional kind of person, but the truth is, I'm really not. I am not big on tradition, mostly because I'm lazy and keeping up traditions takes a lot of work. :)   There are some traditions that are important to me, but for the most part I have ADD and like doing different things. I really think that has helped with the grieving process too, because we've done things so differently every year that we've been married. I think it would be a lot harder if we were always at my parent's house and there was a special chair my Dad sat in and all of that. With that said, my sister and I realized that night while we were in the kitchen prepping our food that this was our first Thanksgiving together in over 5 years!!!! Can you believe that? It was our first together with both of us being married ladies and doing the cooking. As we talked and laughed in the kitchen together I had such warm fuzzies and just felt so thankful that God saw fit for us to live so close to each other at this season in our lives. There was a time in our younger years when I never would have imagined I would feel this way, but she is one of my best friends!
(I look like I'm crying or in a lot of pain, but the sun was just really bright. :)
Thanksgiving morning it was time for some turkey frying. Josh and Phil had been given charge over that duty and neither of them had ever actually fried a turkey.....
                                                            They weren't nervous at all....

                                       And we were all very impressed with the results....especially Sarah.
We enjoyed some yummy food and good company. My Mama was in charge of dessert and she brought a plethora of pies, chocolate eclair and my favorite CAKE POPS!!!  After lunch it was time for some snoozing...

Well, almost everybody was snoozing, but these girls. This was one of my favorite moments. I woke up to these sweet girls playing quietly. Good thing we had an 8 year old to be the responsible adult while the rest of us zonked out!!!
Last week Josh had the honor of performing the wedding ceremony of his uncle and new aunt. We also welcomed a new cousin into the family and he just happened to give my kids his Wii. Can you believe that???? He is getting a PS3 for Christmas and had to get rid of the Wii. Since he had 3 controllers he thought of my crew. Isn't that the sweetest, most thoughtful thing you've ever heard of?  We even let the kids play it sometimes. :)

                    Everyone was very surprised at just how competitive I am.....but I'm not that competitve.....

                                But hey, why play if you're not going to win, right?????????
This was my favorite Wii moment. Phil and I were canoeing. We did a practice run in which we both ended up outside of our lanes going in the wrong direction. Phil stops it and says, "Okay, I think we're ready." LOL!! Truly it is our patience and work ethic that make us so great!! :)

                           You may think all we did was play Wii. No way. We skated too.
                                                          We played on the playground......
                                                  Kate and Luke reorganized his room......
                                             And of course, we attempted family pics....
I've decided that if Josh was standing behind me with the turkey fryer and a fire extinguisher, I would totally use this for my Christmas Card. :)
I hope that you all had an awesome Thanksgiving! Now, time to find a Christmas tempted as I was we didn't pull one out of the ground in Ga. and haul it back on top of the Jeep Clark Griswold style. Maybe we'll start that tradition next year......

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

For Thanksgiving, I'll Be The Turkey. I Mean, Bring The Turkey.

I got a message with this story in it, and I just had to share. For those of you who are up to your necks in pumpkin pies, crying your eyes out over chopped onions (and maybe several other reasons), and scrubbing paint off the floors that was intended for (not so) well thought out holiday crafts. Or for those of you like me, who didn't even attempt any holiday crafts this Thanksgiving. (It's better for everyone, really.)  If you are repacking your 3 year old's suitcase for the 15th time, this is for you.  If you are about to head out the door and make your 85th trip to the store for something like paprika, this is for you. My child is begging me for food, because that is the only way people get fed around here, so I will get on with it.....

“That Mom”

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“That Mom”

Every now and then I attempt to be “that mom.” You know the one who wields a glue gun whilst craftifying something worth being on display at the Hobby Lobby. And the one who joyfully reads aloud to her children without being sneaky and skipping pages. Yes, her.

But it never works out for me.

I’m telling you the minute I start trying to shine my mommy halo, it slips down like a noose around my neck. Take for example the brilliant time I decided to attend a book warehouse clearance sale. I loaded up my kids and decided this was the perfect time to help my people fall in love with books. I wrongly figured a sale could help anyone feel the literary love. Not so.

My kids could have cared less about the books.

They wanted what was in a crate off to the side of all the book shelves. The brightly colored packages were laced with promises. I plucked one from my kid’s hands to read that this package contained the coolest science experiment kit. Anytime a brightly colored package uses the words “cool” and “experiment” on the front, a mother should beware. Especially when said package is marked down to $1.

She should be very wise and tell her children, “no.”

But I was tired from all the efforts to convince them to love books. I rationalized in my brain that we’d dedicated our morning to this sale, we should at least walk out with something educational. So, I bought several of the kits.

Sea monkeys. That’s what the kits were supposed to grow. Key words, “supposed to.” Anyhow, my kids were beyond excited to get this party started. So into the container went the chemicals, the water, the little food crystals and plastic green trees upon which the sea monkeys could play once they hatched.

It’s at this point I should share this is one of those ‘good news’ / ‘bad news’ stories. Yes ma’am, which would you like first?

The good news… something did hatch.

The bad news… they weren’t sea monkeys.

After leaving the experiment overnight, I woke to find my kitchen invaded by the biggest, nastiest, hairiest, giant flies you have ever seen. I’m not sure if our sea monkeys had some kind of mutation situation going on or if some sort of larvae had gotten into the packages we purchased and ate our sea monkeys.

Either way, it was awful.

The moral of this story is simple. Some moms are equipped by the hand of God to be “that mom.” They have been formed with the 3 C gene. Cooking, Crafting and Cleaning come easily and naturally to them.

Others of us have been delightfully chosen to provide the comic relief necessary to keep this world entertained. And to keep future therapists in business.

I feel certain I will be called into some counseling meeting one day where one of my kids reveals the great devastation caused by mommy having to kill the special “flying sea monkeys.” Oh mercy. Y’all will defend me, right?

Lysa TerKeurst
And now some proof that I'm raising wild Indians....


Monday, November 22, 2010

I Missed My Chance

"I'm the kid who has this habit of dreaming

Sometimes gets me in trouble too
But the truth is
I could no more stop dreaming
Than I could make them all come true"


Buddy Mondlock-

I won't lie, I've never heard this song in my life. But I could have written those lyrics. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a helpless daydreamer and a hopeless romantic. Not in a kissy, kissy, overly affectionate way. In an idealic, leap through a field of flowers whilst changing the world kind of way. It's annoying. I wish so desperately that I could be one of those practical, logical, reasoning, planning people. The organized, this is how it is and this is what we'll do kind of people. Alas, one of my most important goals as of right now is embracing who God has made me and figuring out how to use the gifts and talents He has given me instead of longing for those of others. It's hard, y'all. To complicate my excessive dreaming, I am also a perfectionist. You wouldn't know that if you saw my car which looks like a mini zoo on wheels or my wrinkled, not so put together outfits. But inwardly, I am a perfectionist. I dream up how things should be and then I never accomplish them because I can't do them perfectly and if I can't do them perfectly, why do them at all, right? *Sigh*.

Well, God has been tenderly dealing with me about this issue, and by tenderly I mean that He continues to push me to embrace opportunities that hold no chance of perfection on my part. Two babies during college ensured my life would be much too chaotic to focus my obsessive perfectionism on any area of life. A job in social work with unending challenges and sad situations only God can change consistenly kept me on my knees. Then, He made me a preacher's wife where the possibility of me fulfilling everyone's hopes and expectations is as likely as me winning an Oscar. (For anyone wondering, that equals a 0% chance. :)

I write all of this to share that tonight I am disappointed. In myself. You see, a little over a week ago I got an e-mail from a magazine editor. Yes, you read that right. I myself did not believe it. In fact, I googled the magazine seeking staff information because I just could not believe I would get an e-mail from a magazine editor. I only get e-mails from FB, my Uncle Jamie and Kohl's. I consider it a very special occassion if I get real, not forwarded messages. One from a magazine editor was pretty much an occassion to go out to dinner or something. Well, anyway, it was an editor who got my information through my blog and was letting me know that her magazine was having a poetry writing contest and the prize would be having the poem published and them listing your blog link in the magazine. The prize was not important to me. A MAGAZINE EDITOR e-mailed me!!!!! This may mean nothing to you, and she probably sent e-mails to 150 million other bloggers, but for me, this was a HUGE deal. Because when I talk about being a dreamer, I have to tell you that being published as a writer is top on my list. It's even higher than being a back-up dancer for Tina Turner, and that's a long held dream people. I don't talk about it much, mostly because I feel like I will jinx it or something. Or maybe I'm just afraid you will leave me comments assuring me that I should pursue the Tina Turner thing because the writing thing is just not working out.

Well, my BFF, Karen knows about this dream more than anyone and has been a huge encourager to me.  Last year she gave me several books and magazines about writing and being published and they are such great resources. They also scare the mess out of me. The more I read the more I realize I don't know what the heck I'm doing. When I left my job as a social worker, my first priority was to be a more attentive and devoted Mom, but I was also very serious about writing and seeking to be published. I set goals, I made plans. I haven't followed through with any of them. The most intimidating part of the process for me is not writing, but communicating with editors and publishers. I would rather them not know 2 seconds in that I am clueless and that is for sure what would happen. I literally prayed that if I were supposed to be published someone would find me. (Pause while all of you are laughing your heads off). Yes, I know how crazy that is. Like an editor is going to google: MOTHER OF THREE LIVING IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE WITH NO PROFESSIONAL TRAINING OR EXPERIENCE WHO WANTS TO BE PUBLISHED. But it happened! I mean, I don't know how she found me, but if that is what she googled it would definitely lead to me. :)

I had so many questions. The contest was for poems written in the "Roses Are Red" format. But, I didn't know if there was a word limit or the deadline or anything. Common sense says to e-mail her back and ask, right? If only I had some. I was terrified that she would think I am a complete doofus. How does one e-mail an editor back? I don't exactly have experience with this. Heck, I don't have much experience communicating with people over the age of 3. On top of my fear, I got really sick last week and I mean sick to the point that I don't think I could have written my name, much less a poem. And can I just add that poetry is not my forte. All of that is to say that I am finally feeling better so I decided to just bite the bullet, write a poem and send it off. When I got home from class tonight I sat down at the computer and I remembered I had sent it. (Does that worry you that within a 5 hour time span I could forget something like that? Yeah, me too....) I determined that there was no way a busy editor would have already responded to me and yet, there it was at the top of my inbox. *Deep breaths*. And...............

She thanked me for my note but told me that the deadline was in fact closed for that article.  She did finish by telling me that she would keep me in mind for other stories, but the heartache is still there. I think it is worse than if I had gotten a message saying, "Thanks for submitting your poem, but it is the worst thing I've ever read." Because then, I would have feedback. Then, I would know I had really tried. As it is, I've once again paid for procrastination due to a fear of failure (and THE COLD OF 2010. Have any of you had it? It's miserable.) Still, my cold is no excuse. I still had to teach dance classes and do laundry and feed children. I managed to do all of that. Deep down, it was the fear that I couldn't respond to this request perfectly.

I can honestly say that I started this post for therapuetic reasons. I really just wanted to feel sorry for myself and share with you what a loser I am. I missed my chance. It is easy to feel like there will be no more chances. That my lifelong dreams are crushed and there is no hope of reviving them. Drama much?  Instead, as I write I am reminded of the power of words and what a safe place I find in them. The ability to express thoughts and feelings I find hard to say out loud. The ability to encourage and challenge others. The ability to teach us lessons. I'm learning some hard ones these days. I'm learning the truth of this quote:

"Most people don't recognize opportunity when it comes, because it's usually dressed in overalls and looks a lot like work.
Thomas Edison
Even when an opportunity seems to magically fly out of the sky, dreams don't happen without work. We must be ready for them. For the opportunity and the potential for failure that accompanies them. There was a time when I thought my dreams were only possible if every person believed in my talents and praised me all along the way. Criticism or naysayers were a sign to me that it wasn't meant to be. I'm learning that our dreams belong to us, not to others and that it is our job to perservere until we see them come true. I missed this chance. I won't miss the next one....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some Kind of Thankful

This is a very random, somewhat serious, but no so much, look at just a few of the things I'm thankful for right now.

(This is being written with the assumption that you all know I am over the moon thankful for my salvation, my husband, children, extended family, church family, food, a warm bed, a house to live in and all of those important things.)

1. TOILET PAPER- Kate and I have come down with some killer colds and I have to say, I have a new appreciation for a roll of toilet paper. Sometimes a box of kleenex just doesn't cut it.  Nuff said about that.

2. MY JOB- Let's face it, I have the best job ever. I still can't believe I got a job doing something I love when I wasn't even looking for a job in a place that didn't even have a dance studio until a few months after we moved here. I am so thankful for a job that allows me to still be a stay at home most of the time and that allows me to have my kids with me the rest of the time when I'm working. I am thankful for all of the other children who have become a part of my life and the chance to become part of the community. I love having a job that keeps me active and creative. I love that when Monday is moving slow I go to the dance studio and pretend to catch butterflies and do twirls. You can't beat it.

3. TEXT MESSAGING- I am pretty new to the text messaging phenomenon. I just started back in March when we moved and I got a new phone. Before I had  a phone without a keypad and I just did not have the patience or coordination for it. Anyway, now I am totally addicted to texting. I am a really bad phone person. I always have been, but especially after having kids it is just so frustrating trying to have a conversation with little people hollerin' in the background or being too quiet. It's bad when you're on the phone and it's too quiet. That's just a little heads up for any new moms or moms to be out there. So, I love being able to send a quick text.

It has really come in handy since I've been sick. I stayed home with Kate Sunday so other Moms wouldn't give me the ugly look when I brought my snotty nose child into the nursery and that just happened to be the day our church was having our Thanksgiving meal together. Josh had promised to bring a plate home for me and Kate. He sent me a text saying, "Ham or turkey?"  So, I responded with "Turkey".  Tonight he is picking up Mexican for us and I just got a text asking, "Steak, chicken, or shrimp?"  My text back- "Chicken". I was just about to write that we have to be the most romantic people on the planet when I got this text- "You're welcome. My phone tries to guess what I'm typing...and when I typed in you're, it inserted HOT! My phone is brilliant!!!!"   LOL. Oh my goodness. Another reason to love texting. Josh's phone thinks I'm hot. What can I say, I have to take what I can get. :)

4. MY FRIENDSHIPS- I have to admit, I find having friendships to be very difficult sometimes. At least the logistics of it. With moves and kids and the whole being the preacher's wife thing (that can really weird some people out) I find myself longing for more "here and now" kinds of friendships. I have to remind myself we haven't been here that long and that it takes time to build those friendships. But, I am still so thankful for the friendships I have been blessed with that have survived miles and miles of distant and often a lack of communication due to my lack of phone skills. Even if I don't have the hang out every weekend kind of friends, I do ,without a doubt, have some of the best friends a girl could ask for. The kind of friends who have been there through the bad times. The  kind of friends that I can go months without talking to and then pick up right where we left off. The kind of friends that you don't even have to talk to to know what they are thinking. The kind of friends that plan girl's weekend get aways and let me tag along. :) I am soooo thankful. And while I'm at it, I know I've already done the obligatory, "I'm thankful for my husband" bit, but honestly, he goes in this category. 11 years ago I was scared to death that if we started dating it would ruin our friendship. It was just the opposite. He is still my best friend.

5. ARGAN OIL- I told y'all this was going to be random. Soon after we moved here I went to a new hair lady and she used this stuff on my hair and it has just changed my life. In the past when I would go get my hair did they would use at least 35 products to tame my mane (slight exaggeration, but not much). Now, this stuff totally does the same thing all by itself!

6. OTHER PEOPLE HAVING BABIES FOR ME TO LOVE ON- Well, I need to go eat my Mexican food so I'm going to wrap this up. I am SO THANKFUL for the chance to be an aunt! My sister thinks I have baby fever (and it may have something to do with this picture), but I really don't. I LOVE my children and am so thankful for them, but it is THRILLING to my soul to have babies that I can hold and kiss and buy cute stuff for AND THEN GIVE THEM BACK! I used to think it would have been more fun to be an aunt before I had my own, but NO WAY! I totally appreciate the fun part without all of the hard work! Judge me if you will. Adding to my thankfulness is the fact that I just learned over the weekend that I am going to be an aunt again! Josh's sister, Leah and her husband Brad are expecting their first baby! So exciting! (If I put up one of those donation buttons on my blog will y'all help finance a trip to Italy for me to be there? Just thought I would ask. :) 

Uncle Josh and Aunty Em acting a little silly over Baby Lyla  :)

I've enjoyed reading other's blogs about what you are thankful for, but if there is something you want to share here I would love to hear it! Nothing is too serious or silly!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Not Feelin' It

Deep breath. I'm about to share things I may regret. I'm nervous. I feel shaky. I wish I was kidding. I'm not.

I have often alluded to the fact that I struggled with depression in the past, but I haven't shared much about it in detail. The truth is that 97% of the time, I don't think a thing about it. It's in the past and I'm happy for it to stay there. Then, I have weeks like last week and the issue takes center stage in my life once again. The issue. Not sure that is really the word to describe it, but I don't know what else to call it. The illness? The sickness? The thing I dread more than anything else in the world? You can insert whatever word you want there, but no matter what we call it, it's bad.

The Thursday before last I found myself at the dr.'s office. I've been having some other issues (not to be confused with the depression "issue") and I expected to be given some medicince and sent home, like normal. Well, I actually ended up at the hospital having a CT done because the dr. was concerned I had appendicitis. Thankfully that was not the case, but nevertheless I still had to be put on medication. Just a run of the mill antibiotic, mind you, but unfortunately it had a very bad side effect for me. Depression. Did you know antibiotics could cause that? I guess I feel that it is my duty to warn you. I googled it (too many days late) and found this: : There have been reported cases of psychosis, suicide attempts, panic attacks and acute anxiety, all occurring during or shortly after ciprofloxacin treatment.[citation needed] Patients with previous or current psychiatric conditions, are prone to experiencing this type of side effect. Caution is highly advised.

Why do I share this? Well, I really hope it will provide some education and understanding on this subject. Mostly, that depression really is a physical and chemical illness. You see, I have really struggled with this. I have shared many times that God healed my depression and so any time I have any kind of relapse it causes me to have lots of fear and doubt. Am I really healed? Have I lied about this? The truth is, I still wholeheartedly believe that God healed me of a very serious depression I experienced for several years. Josh continually assures me that I am not the same person and believe me, if anybody knows, it is him. The thing I have had to realize though is that this is ,in a sense, my thorn in the flesh. I know that God did an amazing healing work in my life as far as weeding out some painful emotional and sin issues. I do believe that there are times when depression is the result of emotional heartache or even sometimes sin our lives. In fact, I believe that there are usually several issues at work if depression gets to a point that it is serious enough to affect your everyday life.

I was nineteen when I was diagnosed. It was just a few days before I returned to college to start my sophomore year and I went for a routine physical. It was the first time in my whole life that I went to the dr. by myself, without  my Mom. Well, somehow I left from that routine physical with a prescription for Zoloft. I had had a rough summer, but it was my first summer home after being at school for a year. A lot had changed and I had blamed my frequent crying spells on that. You have to understand that I have a significant family  history of depression and the fact that a dr. hadn't already prescribed an anti-depressant for me was probably a miracle. Still, when I think back I really don't know that I was legitimately in need of medication. Whether I was or not, I began to take it and things just got worse. A few years later the FDA would put out a warning that Zoloft was not recommended for teens and young adults as it caused suicidal thoughts. I learned that the hard way without any realization that the medicine was to blame. I just thought I had gone totally crazy. Thankfully I let my Mom know when I began having scary thoughts and she made sure I went to see a new dr. He was supposed to be one of the best in town but all he did was up my dosage. It worked great at keeping my angry outburts and scary thoughts away. Mostly because it made me completely numb. I just became like a zombie. To this day if I see myself in pictures I can look at my eyes and tell that I wasn't there. Emily had left the building....

Things got worse from there, but thankfully there was healing. It's a story much too long to tell here. The thing is, it's a story I'd rather just forget about altogether. Every now and then something will bring it up. Just in the last couple of weeks I had a revelation about the fact that I really go overboard a lot of times trying to prove that I'm not depressed anymore. It displays itself as pride. I don't need help. I can do it all on my own. The truth is, I can't all the time and it is a good thing I realized that. Me needing help every now and then does not equal me being depressed again. There are also times when pride is an issue because I feel so confident in the change in my life. It is easy to think that I overcame my depression by sheer willpower and I must be a very strong person. Then, I take an antibiotic and zombie Emily comes back into the picture. I don't feel like talking. I don't feel like thinking. I don't feel like myself. I feel hopeless, sad, angry, numb, fat, ugly, stupid, and without purpose. Mentally I tell myself that these things are not true. I KNOW the truth of what God says about me. I know I have purpose. I know I am not a withdrawn, antisocial, angry person. I know I should feel thankful and excited about things that are happening in my life. But I can't FEEL it. That is depression, y'all.
I would rather pretend that I didn't experience this. Just get back on here and post a million pics of my sister's visit and the finished playroom. Because those things should have been fun and exciting. Emily would have been excited about them. But Emily had left the building. I am so relieved to be finished with that medicine today and I assure you, I will not take it again in the future! I am so thankful for the healing that God has brought in my life, and yet I realize that this will most likely always be a struggle for me. Depression is in my genes the same way diabetes and heart disease are. I think that knowledge is coming to light in our society, but I think we are still having trouble grasping it. Soon after God healed my depression I was at a church event where the speaker made the comment that people who were depressed were selfish and self-absorbed. It broke my heart. Not for me, but for anyone in that room who might be struggling with it. Let's face it, we all struggle with selfishness to some degree. It is part of the human condition. And I know there have been times I've been down because I've let myself be discontent or overly consumed with myself. But I also know, especially after the experiences I've had with medications, that I can't control the fact that I'm predisposed to this condition any more than I can help being predisposed to diabetes. What I can control is how I educate myself. How I take care of myself. How I depend fully on the fact that my Heavenly Father is big enough  to heal me and big enough to sustain me through any struggles I face.
At some point after my Dad died my mother-in-law called to tell me that I had been on her heart and she wanted to share something with me that she had read. This was it:
"I love Jesus. I don't say that in a cutesy, blase way. I don't mean it in a "I pray when people I love are sick in the hospital" way or a "praise Jesus when I get what I want" way. I mean with all of my being I love who He was and who He is. I don't just love Him, but I trust Him. I trust Him with my heart, soul, mind, body, family, children, and my future. I don't trust Him because He protected me from all pain and suffering or kept my life free of all trials. I trust Him because has been with me all along the way.
He has held my hand, held me in His arms, carried me, prayed for me, and He has seen who I will be, all the while loving me right where I am. He has given me grace, mercy, forgiveness, healing and new life. He has turned my sadness into joy, my mourning into dancing, and my sorrow into peace. He took a time in my life that I was sure would separate me from Him and everyone I love and used it to draw me closer to Him and teach me about a kind of love I don't think I could have learned any other way.
I know that I have chosen to share my story because I feel that is why God healed me. I would be doing a disservice to His glory if I kept my experienes locked away."
As she read the first part I was thinking that it sounded familiar and by the end I was in tears. This is my story. About a year and a half ago I felt led to write out the story of my depression and healing. I sat down at the dining room table in my pajamas and the kids destroyed my house while I wrote non-stop for two days. I wasn't sure what God wanted me to do with it, but I knew that first of all I needed to share it with those who were closest to me and had lived through that time with me. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It may sound crazy to y'all since I blog all of my thoughts and feelings regularly (most of them :), but I felt extremely vulnerable sharing these things with my family. I knew it would be hard for them to read about things even they didn't know. I'm glad now I did. I still have an e-mail from my Dad telling me how proud he was and that he knew my story would help a lot of other people. It is the only reason I keep coming back to the decision that I should share it.
Tonight, I pray that some sense can be made out my rambling. I pray that if you are struggling with depression you will know you are not alone and that there is hope. If you know someone who is struggling I pray it will encourage you to love on them in a new way and see their situation in a different light. If you have experienced God's grace, mercy and deliverance in any way in your life, I pray it will challenge you to reach out to others and share your story. It's why God gave it to you.
P.S. Many of you know that after my Dad passed the verse that I clung to was Psalm 34:18, "The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,And saves such as have a contrite spirit." As I pulled out a copy of my story tonight for the first time in close to a year, I read a quote I started the epilogue with. It said, "God is closest to those with broken hearts."  Jewish saying.   It seems important to Him that I remember those words.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Making of a Fan

Yesterday was a big day in the life of the Fidlers. Eli attended his first FSU ballgame. This event required two grandmas (or a T and a Nana) to keep the girls so the boys could have a bonding day with a crazy, picture taking Mama tagging along. Of course, the first order of business was our wardrobe. What are social (or athletic) events if not an opportunity for new clothes, right? Eli had already planned last Sunday night as he lay awake anticipating the ballgame that he would wear his FSU jersey. A cold spell came through so I had to purchase a turtleneck to wear under it and Dandy bought him a new hat. He is passionate about wearing only FSU colors and I thought I would never get him to wear his coat. He okayed the black turtleneck because the Seminole's hair is black. :) I, too, needed new gear (and by needed I mean wanted) so my sweet Mama kept the youngins for Josh and I to have a date. We went to eat and then I dragged Josh through several stores and he secretly cursed the day he agreed to let me to go this game. :) Since the cold weather showed it's face it changed the gameplan of what I was going to wear. I actually ended up finding a coat that was $2 cheaper than the long sleeved shirt I was going to get, so I went with that and a garnet scarf, gloves and hat.

With our wardrobe settled we met at Josh's parent's house the next morning.
After a stop by McDonald's we began our 2 hour journey to Tallahassee during which Eli asked me repeatedly, "Is it an hour or a minute? Are we in Tallahassee?"  (Asked approximately 15 minutes into the drive.)  He passed the time drawing pictures of aliens, cowboys, sharks and our dogs. I passed the time taking pics of him.
He also passed some time whistling the FSU song....

We finally got there and Eli was overwhelmed by the sights, It was homecoming so the festivities were in full force. I realized that this was my first time attending a homecoming game as an alumni. I thought I might get homecoming queen but I didn't. Maybe next year. :)

There was only one activity that struck Eli's fancy......the pitching game. He is Josh's son. I knew Josh wanted to play too, but he wouldn't.

                                 Soon it was time to head to our seats! Eli is posing with his ticket.

Once we were up in our section he was taking it all in. I was amazed that of all the sights around us he pointed out two things: The flags at the stadium and the Chick-Fil-A cow who was making an appearance in the stands.

     A family tradition continues on!
I wish so bad my Daddy could've been there. He would just be tickled pink that Eli is such a football fan.

My first favorite moment was when the military planes did their flyover and then watching Josh teach Eli how to hold his ballcap over his heart while the band played the star spangled banner. I teared up a little, y'all.

Soon it was time to start and you know what that means.....a trip to the concession stand!

First, there were nachos.....

Then, there was popcorn......
Before I left to go get the popcorn Josh asked if I had enough cash. I told him I had a $20. He started stuffing more money in my purse. He informed me he had just paid $16 for our nachos and 2 drinks!!! For the record, if you ever come to eat at my house I will treat you to a sweet tea or a diet coke in one of our souvenier Florida State cups. Some people have fine china, we have concession stand cups.....

After halftime I made my way to find a funnel cake. I figure betwee the tuition I paid to FSU and the concession stand, there should be a parking space in my name next time or something. Yeah, right!

Of course you all know I have no clue about football. It truly feels like I am watching a foreign film with no captions. But watching Eli was lots of fun! He clapped when everybody else clapped. He stood up for touchdowns. He stomped his feet when they told us to make some noise. And that boy did some tomahawk chopping. I mean, he didn't miss one time. They played the song so much I got to where I didn't even notice it, but I would look over and Eli would be chopping!
It got really cold and we had to bundle up. Josh had looked at me like I was crazy when I asked if I could take my blanket, but he was totally jealous I had it by the end of the game.

It got ugly in the 4th quarter, but Eli was holding out hope....
Well, it didn't end pretty, y'all. We lost in the last minute, literally. And it only lasted a minute. I couldn't figure out why all the other minutes lasted so long, but that one went by so fast! It was heartbreaking, but the day wasn't a total loss....I can tell FSU has a new fan for life!

Thanks for a great day, Dandy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

None of the Above

There's a saying that goes, "If you wanna hear God laugh tell Him your plans."  My life must have been like comedy central to Him last week! I can't tell you how many times last week I found myself thinking, "Okay, new plan!" I was supposed to baby-sit Monday. He ended up going somewhere else. I had huge, awesome plans for my trunk for trunk or treat. Didn't happen. My sister was supposed to come visit. Her babies got sick. We were working on the playroom trying to repaint and refloor it to have ready as a guest room if my family wanted to stay out here instead of driving back and forth to P.C. We got the room painted, but Josh had something come up Friday so we couldn't get the floor in. We were gonna buy the new couch for the room. Had to order it. It's supposed to be here the very day my sister has rescheduled her visit. :) I spent most of  Wednesday cooking chili and baking a cake. Sarah won the cake at the cake walk and there was so much chili at our fall festival that I brought my entire batch home. I lived off of fun size candy bars and
caffeine and that seemed awesome at the time, but now I am detoxing and thinking it was not so great. Does anybody else wonder when Halloween became as much work as Christmas?

Now, I will share my week with you in pictures.

First, we had our trunk or treat. The girls and I were Chipettes. I just happened to look like one with a bloody nose. Please give me some credit. I taught three dance classes in this costume before I actually got to the trunk or treat.....
I literally had 20 minutes between my dance class and the trunk or treat to get Eli and Kate ready and decorate my trunk. Eli had a total meltdown and did not want to wear his costume. He has issues with people looking at him. Bless this poor little preacher's kid's heart. He just wanted to wear his FSU jersey which was fine because it matched Josh's trunk. For the record, my son would wear that jersey every second of his life if I would let him. We are taking him to his first FSU game this weekend and the other night he was laying in his bed wide awake. I went in to tell him goodnight and he said, "I'm going to wear my FSU shirt to the game and maybe a jacket." He's my child. Gotta have the wardrobe planned. :) Anyway, back to that night and Josh's trunk. I'm not showing you a picture of mine b/c it totally looked like I threw it together in 20 minutes. Josh also pretty much threw his together, but it looked way better than mine.  He even made up a game to play in his.

I also thought I would share that this was our first fall festival with our new church and NOBODY else dressed up. Are y'all embarrassed for me? That's what I thought......

Thursday was playroom day. We had gone to town Tues. to pick out paint and the floor so we'd be ready to go. The first job was pulling up the old carpet. It was not too hard as the puppies had already chewed a good portion of it up! Can you believe that? I guess we should've thrown some old shoes out there instead or something. Anyway, I had to say a little prayer that none of our neighbors would drive by as Josh and I were dragging out the old carpet in gloves and masks. I'm sure we were quite a sight. It was a moment. I gazed lovingly into Josh's eyes and asked if he ever imagined we would be dragging old carpet around together. He assured me that our marriage has put us through many things he never expected. :) Here is our playroom before....
Well, I didn't get a picture before we took out the carpet so it's not a total before shot. But you get the idea. We've since painted it a red color  (flame!) and trimmed it in white. I love it. It turned out even better than we hoped. Josh keeps saying, "Just imagine how good it will look with a floor."   :)   I was away from playroom redecorating duty only long enough to teach an hour long ballet class and to eat supper with my Mom and Phil who had come over. Phil was planning to help Josh put the floor in because our PLAN was that we would have the whole room painted and it would be dry by the time they came in the afternoon and then they would finish the floor before the FSU game that night. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Aren't we funny?  Guess who got to put the second coat of paint on by herself? Oh well. My Mom helped the girls clean their room so I got uninterrupted quiet, painting time and the girl's room got cleaned. Score! (If only FSU had been so lucky that night.....)  I was some kind of exhausted and ill by the end of the night, but Josh came and did the second coat of trim and I repainted the dresser and bookcase so we did TOTALLY finish the painting. Hallelujah! I will show y'all an after soon as we have one. :)

The next morning the kids were participating in a parade to the high school for DARE week. I had really mixed feelings about my kids learning about drugs, but I remember that program from elementary school and it must have worked. I never had any desire to even try drugs. And I grew up in the Spring Break capital of the world. Anyway, that is another post for another day. The parents were invited to join th parade and Sarah really wanted me to come. Kate and I ran by the Pig to get some lunchables and headed to the school. The kids were already lining up and I could never find Sarah, but we walked up right on Eli's class. So we joined them. Bag of lunchables and all.

I wasn't really sure what this was all about. I was expecting the kids to walk to the high school for a rally or something. No. They literally marched the halls of the high school yelling, "JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS! JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS!" Well, that's what they were saying after the teacher corrected those who were saying, "DON'T SAY NO TO DRUGS!" Just a little bit of confusion there. I should mention here that when we entered the hallway and Kate saw all of the high schoolers lining the wall.she completely froze. Would not move. Eli's class marched on and she wouldn't come. I finally ended up shifting around my huge Mama purse and the grocery bag with the lunchables just enough to grab her with one arm. In case you haven't noticed from my pics, Kate is a healthy girl. She is solid. And heavy. We finally caught up with Eli's class. I was really impressed with how sweet and encouraging the high schoolers were.

Back at the school Kate and I decided to have lunch with Sarah since we marched with Eli. We took our lunchables to her room and hung out with her class. I got to chat with her teacher and she thanked me for some goodies I had sent. Then she asked me how old I am because we knew we were close to the same age. She told me I look much younger and am so pretty. I told her I will be sending her more goodies!! She's my favorite person now. :)  She also talked about how sweet and smart Sarah is, which is always good for a Mama's heart. I know I haven't really updated y'all about how Sarah is doing, but just so you know she made one B and the rest A's on her report card! Her B was only two points from an A. We are really proud of her and Eli who also did awesome with all E's and S's. I feel so blessed for Sarah to have such a wonderful, new teacher. (And I felt that way even before she said I look younger than my age. :)

                                      Kate had so much fun visiting Sawah and Ewi at school! 
While we were eating I got a text from Josh that his Dad needed him to finish his bread route for him. The kid's had a half day that day so I don't know how we thought we were going to do the floors anyway. Since that plan didn't work out I decided I would take the kids shopping for some fall clothes since we had awaken that morning to much cooler temps and Sarah had NOTHING to wear. I'm not sure what happens after I go shopping with my kids. Somehow I always experience amnesia and forget just what that experience is like. Oh well, we braved it anyway. The hardest part of shopping now is that Kate has to stop and examine EVERYTHING and tell me, "I want that for my birfday." That child is going to be sorely disappointed come her birthday, but I just have to say, "Yes, for your birthday" to keep her moving. We actually found some great deals and I'm so excited Sarah has some pants that fit. She must have tried on 15 pairs and finally had success with 3 of them. Two of the pairs come in other colors and I am already planning to go back and buy them in different colors because I am that excited to have some that fit. Is it just me or do they not make clothes like they used to? Eli had to get a staple of his wardrobe, a long sleeved Star Wars shirt. He has two short sleeved ones, but he really needed one for fall, too. He has to have something to wear while I wash his FSU jersey. :)

When we finished shopping we talked with Josh and he was almost done so we headed to meet him at Big Lots. Sarah and Eli were big helpers...
After Josh finished at the warehouse we went to eat at Beef O' Brady's. I picked the worst table ever. The sun was just in the position where I had to squint if I wanted to talk to Josh. I got a Bar-b-que bacon cheeseburger (to top off my week of superb nutritioinal eating) and it was We got home that night just in time to put the kids to bed. We had been gone that long. I was kind of relieved it worked out that way. Sarah and Eli's classes were helping with homecoming events and I had decided not to volunteer when I thought Jenny was coming because that was going to be our only free night. Well, when I found out she wasn't coming I really struggled with not volunteering. The school kept sending home notes practically begging for help. They may as well have written EMILY FIDLER, we need you! That's just how I am. But Josh had strongly encouraged me to pass up that responsibility with everything else going on. I was grateful I had since we ended up being gone all day and night!  So, out of all the options of things I was trying to get ready for, we did something completely different!

Saturday was also full. I had my morning dance class then headed home to do some serious cleaning. My focus on the playroom, and the fall festival, and shopping had left my house seriously neglected. I worked from the time I got home until the time Sarah and I had to head back to the dance studio to get ready to perform Thriller at the town festival. What an adventure! Twenty something girls between the ages of 5 and 18 doing hair and make-up to look like.....zombies!

Oh my word, they had so much fun. They got way more into the whole zombie thing than I expected. Not sure if that is good or bad. :)  This was the first performance for many of them and man did they get an intro to costuming, make-up and character performance! They did so awesome and made me super proud. This was actually 3 classes combined and they had learned their parts seperately, so Sat. was the first time they danced together. We danced twice, once in front of the city hall and then again in front of a new boutique just for girls called Splurge. They were having their grand opening.

                                                Awww......look at my little zombies...... :)

In between performances the kids trick or treated at the local businesses with Josh, and T and Dandy. I hadn't really thought this night out very well. At the last minute I realized Kate's Chipette outfit wouldn't make much sense without me and Sarah so I just put her in one of my old dance costumes. Eli officially never wore his knight costume. My Mom had been given a huge pile of costumes that she brought to my house and Eli decided he wanted to wear one of those instead. Again, not part of the plan, but oh well..... :)

While we were waiting to perform the second time Josh had my camera. He videotaped the first performance. Then, he had orders to take pics of the second performance. I got one picture, the first one of Sarah up there. And a picture of the store sign. And this.....
Well, that face says it all y'all! Ha! Not really. The truth is, last week was INSANE, but it was lots of fun too. Most of the time I felt like this....

And I did it dressed as a cowgirl, a Chipette, a pirate, an FSU fan and a dance teacher to zombies. Not many people can say that........