I Want to be the Strong One

 

I don’t want to be the one at the table crying about my hard, hard day.  I want to be the one listening to you talk about yours and pouring you another cup of tea.

I don’t want to be the one lying on my bed and wondering how I can get up and make another meal.  I want to be like my honoured blog friends who are fostering, opening their hearts to more instead of trying to get by with less.

I’d like to be the one telling you what worked well for me, not the one trying out yet another medication and choking down natural products to help my mental health every morning.  I used to be that healthy one, not the one focused on every slight change my body makes as a doctor tries to help me get just the right cocktail of medication.

I don’t want to be naval gazing.  I want to be world changing.

I don’t want to be the one walking through deep waters.  Can’t I be the one running on solid ground for a change?

Jesus, you know I long to be wiser and kinder and more humble. You know how I heard this morning that every breakdown can be a breakthrough.

I pray that somehow You’d use this mess for something good.

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I write about my struggle because it’s so real and it dogs my steps.  I write because you are understanding.  I write because putting things into words helps me to leave them there and move on.

As you can probably see by my frequent posting on facebook and instagram and even here on this blog, I’ve had some very good weeks of stability.  I think I’m in for long weeks of good days and then I fall back.  But I’m SO grateful for the good days and how they seem to be outnumbering the bad lately.

I washed all our bedding the other day and hung it on the line to dry.  And oh….those crisp sheets have never felt and smelled so good!  This may not seem like a big accomplishment to you, but if you had known how many hours I spent on our bed and how long it had been since it had been washed, you’d be celebrating too.

Dan and I had a long talk about social media the other night.  He wonders why we love it like we do and if it’s healthy to be so connected.  I told him about how I felt as an isolated northern mom when I first got facebook and started writing.  I remember writing about the dog being in the flowerbed.  I tried to write about it in a way that would make people want to read it. And they did!  They laughed at my story.  They told the stories of their own dogs in flowerbeds and how mad it made them.  I felt understood.  And for once I had found a place to put all the thoughts that swirled around in my head that felt like they were meant for more than just a journal entry.

But I worry about the things Dan does too. Do I really need to track the progress of my friend in Virginia’s sweet, chubby baby?  I only met her once.

The daughter of our fellow missionaries in Belize goes to Italy. Do I really need to be there poring over pictures of her amazing  trip and feeling like life in BayTree, Alberta is preeetty boring?

Do our children need to follow every move of their favorite band?

I go through stages where I feel like my social media use is healthy and other times when I know it’s not.  When I’ve been at my lowest mentally, I could hardly look at it, so feeling like using it again seems like so much fun.

How do you use it for a tool but not a weight in your life?

I do like it for how it helps me to know even my neighbors and church friends in a different way.  I love how it connects me more to my family far away.  And the honestly close friends that I’d never know if it hadn’t been for blogging and facebook.

But yeah.  All good things in moderation.

I need to get going on this day.  It’s the first official day of vacation and everyone is still sleeping at 9 a.m.

If you are on facebook or instagram, just ignore the photos below. And excuse the poor quality of some of them.

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Mother’s Day, 2019.  We’re missing Victoria, who will be home this coming week, Lord willing.

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This little doodebug is almost 17 and graduated this year.  He used to love to play that he was Moses from the Bible story book picture that he adored.  The antler on the floor was the scythe Moses used to kill the Egyptian. Oh dear! Such violence. 😦 (That pink wall and floral couch together.  Ugh.)

A happy May day to you!

 

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I Think of Her

I thought of her this morning when I piled cheese high on two lasagnas–my wise, strong mother who made good food out of next to nothing.

I thought of her when I didn’t know what meat to get out of our over-full freezer for supper last week.  Would it be chicken or roast beef or burger or salmon?  I could even go with pork chops or dig out the ham.  And there’s that liver that’s languishing in the bottom.  But oh dear.  What SHOULD I cook??

I thought of her when I scrubbed my stained bathtub and felt angry again about brown dugout water and a treatment system gone wrong and that we can’t ever decide what we should do to remedy things.

She told us stories of filling rosehips with peanut butter and trying to pickle lettuce. (Neither went over well, she said.)  She told us stories of oatmeal every morning and puffed wheat on Sundays for something special.

She told us stories of seeing air through cracks in the logs above her babies’ beds and of goats who kept her grass trimmed.  We knew well the story about the cougar she and dad heard screaming when they were out late one night on foot.  And the one about Dad flagging down a freight train using the red lining of his coat.  Mom was in labor with my brother David and Dad and Mom lived 30 miles back a railroad track with no road to the nearest town with a hospital, a little burg in the mountains called McBride.  They actually made it to the hospital in time, even though the train got stopped in a tunnel for a while and had to be pulled by another train or something.  We were always a little disappointed that it didn’t climax with David’s birth in the caboose.

All these exciting things happened before I was born.  The eighth of ten children, I came in easier times.  The only hardships I remember were having to wear what I thought were ugly hand me downs and going easy on things like raisins and cheese and chocolate chips.  Well.  There was also driving old vehicles and having breakdowns and forever giving up our beds for company.  But my little hardships were only character building.

When I was a teenager, we even ate at restaurants occasionally when we traveled.  And there came a day when cheese was always in the fridge.

When Mom and Dad married as two young things in Pennsylvania, they discovered that they both had a dream of moving west and having a family of ten children.  So they set out to realize those dreams in an old car and trailer with an 8 month old baby and another on the way.  Their first home was a two room shack in the mountains of British Columbia in a little settlement that couldn’t be reached by road. The rent was $10/month.  They arrived by train and started to eke out a living, with Dad working all week in camp with a crew that was surveying for a road.

Mom cleaned and painted the shack and made it home.  She fought with generator-powered wringer washers that wouldn’t start, carried water and wood, and learned to bake in a wood stove, where her cakes ended up done on top and gooey on the bottom.  Later someone told her how to clean out the bottom of the oven and her baking improved.

She told me today on the phone that Dad would get her a water supply before he left for the week, but when she ran out, she would carry her baby on her hip, largely pregnant with the second child, and go get water a quarter of a mile down the road at the train shed, where there was a well with the old-fashioned rope for lowering the bucket.  She got water there until it came up with a mouse in it one time.  After that Dad had to get her water from farther away and fill the rain barrel for her.

She had brought canned cherries and vegetables and some jars of canned chicken from the east.  Dad shot a moose and it was also canned up for the winter.  During their first year in the west, Mom saved her last precious jar of chicken for Christmas day.  She dipped the pieces in flour and fried them and she and Dad ate them for Christmas dinner.

With a few brave souls making the West their home, their family and friends in Pennsylvania wanted to see the place for themselves.  Mom tells about getting postcards from people back east saying they were coming to visit.  She’d calculate the days it probably took for the letter to reach them and the time it took for them to travel the miles and she’d bake fresh bread and make a chocolate cake and some oatmeal cookies.  And then they wouldn’t come and the family would eat the bread and the cake and the cookies and the company would show up when the pantry was empty.  There wasn’t a phone for miles around and who was to know?

One aunt that came to visit sat around and wiped tears all the time.  Mom didn’t know whether she was crying for herself and the hardships of the trip, or crying for Mom and her hard life.  With no fridge or freezer, their guests were offered canned milk, powdered milk, or goat’s milk from a neighbor down the road to go with their cereal in the morning.  This particular aunt didn’t take any cereal.

When Mom would worry over the mud and the puffed wheat and the outdoor bathroom for guests, Dad would tell her not to mind, it was more fun for the company if they had a bigger story to tell when they got home.

Mom and Dad often gave up their bed and slept on the hard kitchen floor when they had company.  They probably did it for the lady whose travel journal Mom picked up when her guest was gone for a bit.  In it she read.  “Got to Jess Peachey’s.  Many miles back in the sticks.  Yard full of dandelions.  Outhouse in need of shaping up.”

Through the lonely days and lots of babies and cold weather and canned moose meat, Mom’s spirit was indomitable.  She sang when she did her laundry, scrubbed her diapers hard to make them white, and starched up her little boys’ shirts for church on Sunday.  She had her third baby six days after her oldest turned two and potty trained them all at eighteen months.

Mom took time to stimulate her babies by sitting them near her on the counter while she worked and singing them funny songs from her childhood.  She mended tired socks and made the old houses cozy with pretty curtains and re-upholstered chairs. She tells me that in that first year she was okay with being so far from all she knew through the week, but on Sundays after the four families of the Mennonite community gathered for church, she would have given anything to hear her own mom say “Stop in for lunch.”  But there were 3000 miles between her and those words.  She and Dad would go back to their little house and eat a quiet lunch.

She got grumpy and tired and worried and bossed her husband around too.  She struggled with assurance of salvation and had a sharp tongue.  But today she tells me that she never really fought depression in a big way, even though she was sometimes lonely.  I think there was just too much to do and she didn’t have time to get down.

Today my children have six kinds of cereal to choose from.  I run to town when the milk supply is low.  My water might be brown-but it’s right there and it’s hot.  I call my sisters when I’m lonely.  I communicate with the world on Facebook.  I hate it that we’ve had so many power outages lately.  And what a pain it is when the internet is down for a few hours.

I don’t really long for the good old days.  I’m not here to romanticize the hardship.

But some days I wonder how it all stacks up and how we will learn the hard lessons of life.  Do difficulties make stronger people?  Are my children destined for wimp-dom?

I guess that’s why I make them eat liver sometimes. It’s why when they talk about having a huge house and a perfectly matched table someday that I remind them that God might call them to serve in a remote village in India with no plates at all.  (I hope He does.)

I guess it’s why I also want to cultivate gratefulness.  And world awareness.

Surely there is still inner strength to be found in a life with lots of food choices and more clothes than we know what to do with.

Sometimes He Uses Zoloft

It has been so interesting getting your email requests for the story of my short experience with the bipolar battle.  I thought I had mostly facebook friends as blog readers (because I link it there), but it seemed like the majority of people who requested an email copy were ladies with names that sounded like Mennonite housewives from Pennsylvania.  Not all of them were, of course.

Different ones of you wrote that you battle(d) post partum depression and I felt like the story I just wrote didn’t address depression much at all, being mainly composed of my bizarre experience with a manic episode.

But three years ago I wrote about PPD for a writing group I’m part of and I’ve been wanting to share that story sometime on my blog.  I can’t believe I didn’t do it earlier.  But I was scared because it talks about using drugs for healing.  I guess I’ve been emboldened.  Hopefully it’s not that I’m feeling brave because I’m headed into another manic high. Horrors!

{See, since I told you the unspeakable, I can now joke about it. 🙂 That brings me great relief.}

If you want a really excellent post about anxiety and depression, read this by Christopher Witmer.  My daughter sent it to me this morning.

Oh…if you are on Instagram you may have already seen this, but here’s an igloo that Dan and I built with the children this weekend.  It’s sitting on a very green lawn at the moment.  The children decided to try sleeping in it on Saturday night, but only lasted till 11:00, when they came in because it was cold.

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And without further adieu, here is my PPD story.  It’s much shorter than the last one, thank the Lord.

Sometimes He Uses Zoloft

I stared mindlessly at the frozen Alberta landscape through the big living room window with its sheer white curtains and green and rose floral valance The bleak whiteness outside held its cold, grey grip on my soul. I turned away. Could that actually be the baby crying again? I had just put him down for a morning nap.

The bleak greyness spiraled down, down into a familiar black hole. I couldn’t stop the tears as I picked up my little boy from his white crib with pink and blue hearts painted at the head of it. He was perfect, so brown-eyed and round and dark-skinned.

What was the matter with me anyway? I had it all. Warmth, security, a healthy little son, people who cared, good books to read-even though I didn’t seem to have time to read them. I even had an extra handsome husband. And he was gentle to boot.

Of course when I looked in the mirror, I knew one reason I was sad. My chest was flat and the dark circles under my eyes were enough to scare anyone away. How could my husband love me? Nursing a baby had taken so much out of me and my already too-thin arms hung scrawnily beside me. My baby was fat and happy, though. I held my son against my bony collarbone and my tears fell on his face. I tried to smile at him and he smiled back, too little to understand a mama who cried more easily than she smiled. At least I hoped he was too little to be affected. What if he wasn’t? The thought made me cry harder.

Oh Jesus, if you care, why don’t you just take my life? I’m so miserable and I make others miserable and they’d all be happier if I was gone. Dan could find a pretty, happy wife and Alec would have a mom who had energy to be a pretty, happy mom. What a hypocrite I am, pretending that I am a Christian, yet wishing I could die, not knowing at all the joy and peace and all those things that Christians talk about. Oh Jesus…Jesus. Jesus, have mercy.

And that bleak greyness that spiraled into blackness became my life. There were days when the sun shone and I felt stronger and smiled a little more, days when I could believe that maybe God loved me after all. But always it came back to taunt me and I fell deeper and deeper into the black hole. “I just feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep hole and I just can’t get out,” I bawled to my sister.

I’d cry and pray, repent and journal, cry and pray some more. I’d read promises from the Bible and try to start out fresh for just one day, believing in God and His love and purpose for my life. But each time I’d fall, the hole got deeper and I felt more hopeless. My husband Dan was kind, but he felt helpless with a wife who loathed herself and wouldn’t listen to reason. My church friends prayed for me and my sisters listened to me when I talked and reassured me that I really was okay, even when I knew otherwise. Family suggested that I talk to my doctor. It never seemed to be the right time. I felt terrible for the way I felt about God and the guilt made the hole deeper and blacker. Reading the Bible felt like a slap in the face, all those commandments that I couldn’t keep, people like David and Paul bubbling over with the majesty and wonder and love of the Creator, who had made me to become this person I despised.

Sometimes when I would drive somewhere, I’d wonder what kind of an accident would take my life painlessly. One especially desperate day I confessed to my sister on the phone that I had thought about taking a lot of Tylenol or doing something, ANYTHING to escape the misery of my guilt-laden, God-criticizing hell of a life I was living.

When Alec was close to a year old, I finally talked to our family doctor, telling him briefly about the deep, black hole. He listened kindly, saw my tears, and sent me to a wise little psychiatrist. She listened to me, wrote out a prescription for Zoloft, assured me that it was non-addictive and would actually rebuild instead of just masking chemical imbalance, and sent me on my way.

I was skeptical, ashamed that I needed drugs, but desperate enough to try them.

They helped. I took them for seven years, through two more pregnancies and a move to Belize. While in the sunny Caribbean, I slowly weaned myself off of them.

I still struggle daily with negativity and oversensitivity. There are times when that blackness veers closer to my mind than I wish it would. But now I know the warning signs.

Pills can never cure a soul that’s not at peace. But in my experience, they helped me begin to think clearly enough to take care of the things that brought the terrible turmoil and self-hatred, the thoughts that brought me low and kept me groveling.

I believe God heals through diet programs and exercise and rest and His beautiful Word and health professionals and caring friends. I also believe He sometimes uses Zoloft.

Story

Hi there,

Some of you are saying you can’t access the story I emailed to you and others can.  If you’d just send me an email at dugoutwillow@gmail.com, I will try to send it a different way.  And it’s easiest if you send me an email instead of a facebook comment or blog comment. That way I can just click reply instead of copying and pasting addresses from facebook or even here on the blog. Or if you haven’t heard from me at all yet, please just resend an email.  I may have missed someone.

The resend will have very small print.  Sorry about that. The Word file I sent is better.

You live and learn. 🙂 I apologize for the inconvenience. And I’m sorry for myself too. 😉

Also, a few of you commented on yesterday’s blog post and didn’t include your address. So if you commented anywhere and still didn’t receive the post, please email me and I will try to send it to you.

Yes, I’m a little overwhelmed, but it’s a good day to be at the computer.  It’s snowing a beautiful snow that would be so lovely in December, but doesn’t look very pretty in May.

Good day to you.  Enjoy your tulips or lilacs or whatever is blooming and green for you.

If you read here often

Friends:

You know if you read here that I have been battling depression off and on for over a year now.  I have alluded to other mental illness, but never got brave enough to say what my diagnosis is.

But inspired by a book called The Lookout After the Climb by Anita Martin, I’m now ready to share my story.  Anita battles bipolar disorder and there are lots of stories of other people in the book who have it too.  And yes, that’s my diagnosis as well.  I will tell you the experience of having a manic episode that led to that conclusion, paired with the depression that further confirmed it. And why did I, at age 44, develop bipolar disorder? My story doesn’t answer that question.

Instead of posting it publicly, though–and leaving you with trying to form the right words in the comment section–or whatever!…..I will email it to you if you want to read it.  I am not ashamed of my experience and will share it with you if you send me your email address.  Just message your address to me via facebook or instagram.  Or put it in the comments below.  Or email me at dugoutwillow@gmail.com and I will send you a copy.

I write because I don’t do well at keeping secrets.  I write for others battling similar things.  I write to bring awareness.

P.S.  This piece is  loooooooong.  You’ll probably want to open it on your computer.  Let me know if you can’t open the link.  And bear with me if I get inundated with messages and don’t get back to you right away.  I need to go away this afternoon, so I’ll try to work on this later today.

Edit: Please let me know in your message if you don’t want to be put in a group email. I think I will have to group the emails together to save some time.  And forgive me if can’t reply to your personal messages.

Thank you for reading my stuff!

Breadsticks and pussy willows

The magenta tulips Natalia gave me last week are fading fast, their petals dropping on the table. I bring in an armful of pussy willows and drop them under the tulips. Then I go lie down again.

The wind howls relentlessly, the hammock whirls on the front porch. I go lie down on my bed. That is my favourite place right now. For a while, I drift into oblivion on the soft pillows.

But always I wake up. There’s lunch to set out on the table for the guys who are out working in that wind. The kids will soon be home from school. I don’t want them to find me here again. My room is dusty. I should get up and clean it. But why? Everything is meaningless.

My sister knocks on the door. Luci, can you get up and take a walk?

I guess so, I say.

We walk. I cry a bit. I feel so self centered, I say.

Notre Dame goes up in smoke. Christians in Sri Lanka are bombed. Another sister’s daughter went missing. (She’s been found now.) Friends are grieving fresh losses.

And here I am, unable to think about cooking dinner, crying because it feels like the darkness will never end.

I’m reading a book about mental illness called The Lookout After the Climb. Someone called Christine M. is quoted in the book: “If you found yourself hanging by your fingertips at the edge of a cliff, you would become pretty self-centered too!”

That’s how some moments feel, like suffocation and gasping for air, hanging on that cliff’s edge, an abyss below.

I can’t let go, though. I can’t! My children need me. I love Dan and don’t want to put him through this right now. I MUST hold on. I must get air.

And I do.

After a walk, I take a shower and comb my hair and spritz on the Balancing Act body spray for depression that a friend sent me. It’s 3:45 and the children are home from school. They talk about their day and I listen. They eat the French bread a friend dropped off.

How will they remember me? I wonder. Dear God, please let them remember that I grew flowers and woke them with silly jokes and read to them. Let them forget my sadness.

I wipe a dirty mirror.

I call my daughter to come and make cornbread to go with the chili for supper. She sees breadsticks in the recipe book next to the cornbread and begs to make them instead. I waver. They’re messy to cut out. I can’t handle mess today. Then again, why not?

She mixes them and together we cut them and dip them in butter and season them garlic salt. She’s so happy and I am too.

Alec plays with two black dogs on the front lawn and I stop to breathe in the moment and take a picture. He’ll soon leave home and I’ll miss him so.

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Today I text my church ladies and ask them to pray. I’m having such a hard day. I’m sorry that I talk about depression so much, I say. We’re already praying, they say. You’ll get through. Talk about it all you need to.

Don’t bring me food, I tell them. I have big children to help me with cooking. But someone brings supper anyway. One more meal is before us. Thank you, Jesus. You always provide.

I remember the Sunshine in a Bottle that my friend Laura gave me. “A melody of pure citrus oils to aid in depression. Uplifting and happy.” I mix some with lotion and rub it on my neck and arms.

I throw away two vases full of tulips with missing petals. I pick up the pussy willows that have been laying for two days and put them in a vase on the mantle. I take a picture and post it on Instagram.

My amaryllis is putting out new green shoots. The evening sun is warm. And tonight the sunset’s glow is so soft. The wind is still and the hammock hangs invitingly.

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I need a hobby. But then again, I already have one. It’s writing. That’s partly why l let you in on my depression battle.

I don’t care if you give me suggestions for ways to alleviate depression. Just don’t ask me if I follow up on them. This isn’t just thyroid issues or hormone imbalances. We are doing our best to find answers. I might tell you more about my illness later when the time is right.

I also write because maybe there’s someone who needs to know they’re not alone.

I have good days. I effervesce on Instagram about Hope. Two days later, I feel like a hypocrite.

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Easter dresses.  My fabric was a gift and I wasn’t sure it was me. But after it was sewed, it kind of grew on me. I think I’ll like it even though I’d never have picked it out myself.

This morning I get out my cards. I want to write a beautiful thank you to the woman who sent me the book. Maybe I’ll even wash a living room window.

I love you, friends.
~Luci

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menus, hymns, and plants

You know, sometimes I’m just a mess.  Never a person who loved cooking, I’ve struggled with it terribly in my latest bout with depression.

I wake up every morning and cooking crosses my mind right away, growing bigger and louder as the morning goes on. There’s breakfast.  And what will we put in the school lunches today?  And do I have enough leftovers for Dan and Alec’s lunch? And oh dear–What shall I get out of the freezer for supper?  What?? WHAT???????

Even though cooking isn’t my favorite job, I think I’m actually pretty good at it.  I’m not super exciting about it, that’s for sure.  But I care about making things taste good.  I was taught to eat everything, but I’m picky about how it’s cooked.  Don’t give me soggy casseroles and overcooked pastas, and tough roast beef and dry cookies, please. (Though all of these things happen sometimes at my house, just like they do at yours.)

I know what you are about to say about my dilemma, though:  MEAL PLANNING.

I know I should do it, but in my hardest times I just don’t have the presence of mind for that.  My sister helped me with it at least once this winter and it kind of helped.  But I always digress from the script or don’t feel like eating what’s on the list or have leftovers that need to be used up and I fall off the track.

And all of this food talk reminds me again that I’m super fortunate to have a quandary at all about what to cook.  I remember our dearest Mrs. Juana in Belize saying “I want something good.  I’m tired for beans and chicken.” (Except she said it in creole and it sounded much better than when I try to write it.)

Anyway, I’m now trying to decide why I started this post.  I think it’s because I’ve been wanting to write all day and nothing was coming together, so I just took the thing off the very top of my head and wrote about it. (That last sentence is very poorly done and uses a cliche and doesn’t make a great deal of sense.  You could take it to mean that I’m writing about the veil I wear on my head.)

Here is a list I made tonight to prompt me with what to cook.  I don’t make casseroles much at all, but I put a few on the list in case I get desperate.  We eat lots of vegetables and salads and eggs and fruit and things not on this list too.

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In a world with deep and profound needs, it is sometimes just easier to talk about food and the weather.  Sadly.

Speaking of weather, we’ve had a truly lovely spring so far after a frigid February.  I have a crocus and some tulips reaching for the sun in my south flowerbed.  Today it snowed and I tried to stay happy, but with what to make for supper, a very sore back, and the fact that I had to give up a trip to Western ladies’ retreat in Big Fork, Montana, I didn’t do too well with the happiness.  I wrote a gratitude list, cried a bit, posted about my supper dilemma on Facebook, did laundry, tried to blog, messaged with a friend in Haiti, and stalked this_simple_life and joy_journal and jeanettekauffman on Instagram and wondered how some people can just be so terribly cool and be so humble about it.

I made waffles and bacon for supper, at the Facebook suggestion of my first cousin once removed, Nancy Overholt.

I’ve been doing better lately and I’m so grateful.

But oh my.  There are these moments when the anxiety and guilt stalk me so hard.  I feel guilty because I’m cooking with too many carbs and there are people in our family who battle extra weight (including myself lately, weighing more than I ever have and not sure why) and I should be rethinking my cooking.  I try, but I fall off the wagon there too.  And when I’m depressed, I’m just doing well to get a meal on the table, never mind that it’s spaghetti.  I feel guilty over using unhealthy oils and non-organic fruits and deodorant that’s not aluminum free.  I feel guilty about my disorganized house and my lack of motivation for deep cleaning it.

And I battle guilt over other things too–family things, church things, soul things.  Things that God cares about and has in His hand.  Things that are out of my control.

I’ve been trying like everything to replace negativity with the promises of God and it really does help.  And hymns have such meaning for me.  I look for lines to grasp when I’m feeling low and thinking toxic thoughts.

Arise, my soul, arise.  Shake off thy guilty fears.

With confidence I now draw nigh, and Father, Abba Father cry.

My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay.

And there are others that I can’t think of right now.

And verses:

There is therefore now no condemnation…

He is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.

Casting EVERY CARE upon Him, because He cares for you.

These are old and well-worn verses, but they replace guilt and fear.

I’m so blessed with people who love me.  I’ve had several bouquets delivered recently.  (That’s what happens when you tell people you’re struggling.)  I had a lovely birthday, with some percious gifts and lovely cards.

Here are some random pictures.

Dad and Mom.  He left us 3 years ago.

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Elk herd on our way home from Bible study Wednesday night.  Alberta drilling rig in the background.  I’m sad about that piece of plastic that looks like toilet paper by the roadside.

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A stephanotis plant that a friend gave us a year ago.  I watered it faithfully every week and this spring it bloomed again, with its fragrant, waxy flowers. God is so good at making beautiful things.

I must go to bed.

Thanks for listening here.  You are always so kind that way and it always feels good to write.  I hope I didn’t repeat myself too much about my depression and anxiety.  It’s just a daily battle for me.  And I hope that this rather melancholy little post might have encouraged somebody.

~Luci