Sunday, February 25, 2018


I've never hidden the fact that I struggle with major depression.  I have been on anti-depressants for a little over half of my life.  I'm currently in the process of weaning off of one less-than-effective med in favor of something that might be more helpful.  It stinks.  It's no fun.  Being around people is exhausting, and here's why: I spend 98% of my time around other people pretending that I am super happy and excited about everything because I'm afraid that if they knew that I actually feel like crap and wish I could be in my bed, they wouldn't want to be around me at all.  It's hard to struggle to get out of bed, and it's hard to feel like you're enough for the people in your life.

The idea of being enough is something I've been really struggling with lately.  It seems like I'm either too much or too little for people.  There doesn't seem to be a happy medium.  I say "seem" because I think that a lot of that is in my own head.  I have my own preconceived notions about what others expect of me, and they're often out of line with what people actually need/want.  That's not to say that I will always be enough for people.  There are definitely people in my life who struggle to accept that my best effort does not meet up to their expectations.

You can tell your family member/significant other/best friend that you love them and appreciate their efforts until you're blue in the face, but if your actions say otherwise, all of your words are useless.  People struggling with depression are excellent at giving themselves guilt trips.   As a result, we are quick to recognize when others are either subtly or outright guilt tripping us.  Actions always speak louder than words.  If you've never struggled with depression, it would be hard for you to understand just how soul-sucking depression can be.  Everyone wants to feel like they are enough.  It's hard to feel that way when people you love are constantly reminding you (through actions or words) that your efforts aren't enough.  Sometimes depression feels like you're drowning, and you're surrounded by people in life rafts.  These people have a spare life preserver and a spot in their raft, but instead of offering these to you, they tell you you're not trying hard enough.  They say, "if you'd only kick a little harder, you could probably make it to shore on your own."  As you can imagine, that's a rough position to be in.

As a Christian, I have had many people throw scriptures in my face like this might somehow change the makeup of my brain.  I've been told that depression means that you're living in the past (spoiler: it absolutely doesn't).  Most of us know all of the scriptures about being joyful or trusting in God.  Here's the thing, I do trust in God.  My hope is in God, but it doesn't take away my depression.  Let's talk about David, a man after God's own heart.  I think he knew a thing or two about depression.  He knew how to weep and feel deeply.  David wrote about his struggles in the Psalms. He wept, he mourned, he struggled.  Sometimes it feels like modern Christianity wants us to slap on a happy face at all times and pretend that the struggles of this world don't affect us.  We're so uncomfortable with people who feel things deeply and who struggle to suppress any difficulties they might be dealing with.  I don't pretend to be happy about everything for my own sake, I do it because I know that a lot of people wouldn't be comfortable around me if they knew that I really struggle like this.  I put my public persona on in the same way I apply my makeup.  I try to play up the better aspects of my personality, the parts of me that I know people enjoy being around.  To a certain extent, I have to remind myself that this is the hand I have been dealt.

I feel like this should come with a disclaimer: I do feel loved and accepted by most people in my inner circle.  Some of my struggles with this are of my own device.  Perhaps in masking my depression in social situations, I've duped people into believing that that's how I really feel most of the time, so the truth is harder to accept for them.

To my friends who also struggle with depression, anxiety, etc: I believe (on a cerebral level...I'm still working on the heart aspect) that we are enough.  No matter how we're made to feel, no matter what happens.  We are enough.  God made me, and God made you.  I believe that God doesn't make mistakes.  I've come to accept that depression is likely my 'thorn in the flesh.'  It's ok.  Everyone has struggles.  If I catch you out in the water some time during a life boat phase in my life, I promise to try to toss out the preserver.  I hope you'll do the same for me.  I'm not okay right now, but that's alright.  

Friday, February 23, 2018


Mom and I returned from our adventure in New York City last night.  We walked 6+ miles a day, saw two broadway plays, and got blisters on our blisters.  ;)  It was thrilling and exhausting.  It was everything that an adventure should be.  There are few things that I love as much as people watching, and the city was absolutely perfect for it.  People are so interesting!  The way people walk, talk, and interact fascinates me.  Native New Yorkers reminded me of Batman in the Lego Movie, "I only work in black...and really, really dark gray!"  :)

Broadway was amazing!  Anastasia brought tears to my eyes.  There was a song about people having to flee their homeland.  They kept singing 'I'll bless my homeland till I die.'  It ripped my heart out.  It's so easy to view immigration and even refugees from a position of priviledge.  I've never felt like my safety and life in my homeland were mutually exclusive.  I think hearing that song, and the conviction in the voices of those actors really made our ferry out by Ellis Island so much more powerful the next day.  Whether you'd like to admit it or not, nearly all of us have immigrant roots.  I thank God for my family members who followed their dreams of a better life in America.

Aladdin was hilarious!  Man, that Disney money makes for some incredible set and costume options! We laughed until we cried.  Iago and the Genie were the obvious favorites.  It was such a blast!  I definitely wished that my kids could have seen it.  Next time, I will find a way to see Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen.  I will admit that when we walked by Hamilton's grave at Trinity Church's Cemetery, I kept singing (quietly) songs from Hamilton.  It's a good thing that my Mom finds that sort of behavior endearing instead of annoying.  ;)

Our trip was so amazing, but it wouldn't have been possible without Will or my mother-in-law, Judy.  I really can't express my gratitude enough to the two of them.  Will took care of our kids, and Judy helped paint parts of our home that were in desperate need of attention.  She also helped organize and clean things that I had let slide a bit.  It was a huge comfort to know that my family was well taken care of while Mom and I were off exploring.

Now that I'm back home, the hustle and bustle is totally different.  I'm reffing sibling arguments and trying to keep Evan from knocking Sophia off of her one good foot.  I missed these silly, crazy kids!  I'm so happy to be home.  I'd love to live in NYC, but I am so happy with where my life is right now.  I start grad school in a couple of weeks.  That's the next big adventure.  ;)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"When I'm With You"

Something you might not know about me.  I don't love commitment.  I think that played a HUGE part in why it took me so [SOOOO] long to complete my bachelor's degree.  I'm interested in so many different things.  It felt like a crime to commit to just one of them for four years, let alone the rest of my life.  I told a friend last month that only two commitments have come easily to me in life: marrying Will and having children/being a mother.  It's Valentine's Day, so you'll have to bear with me (or just quit reading now) while I write about my husband for one post.

The first thing that attracted me to Will was his wit and sense of humor.  His looks and love of adventure followed close behind.  I knew that no matter where life took us, it wouldn't be boring. We both love(d) a challenge and adventure.  I also knew that he made me feel safe and loved.  I never felt like I had to hide the less than beautiful parts of myself from him in order to feel loved.

So- here's to the man who dreams with me, who holds me when the world feels like it's falling apart, and the one who brings calm to my life when my emotions get the best of me.  Here's to the man who is my opposite in almost all ways: he's the conservative to my liberal, the collected to my crazy, the objective outsider to my deeply emotional.

Will can tell when I'm struggling to keep it together.  He knows when I need time on my own to recharge.  He's willing to let me go off on short adventures with my Mom because he knows how special it is to be able to make those memories, and he understands how emotionally draining it can be to take care of four children day in and day out while he's working.

Will makes me laugh when I want to cry.  He brings a levity to my life that was sometimes lacking before him.  If I could offer my unmarried friends any advice, it would be to marry a person who makes you laugh.  Marrying someone who is very smart and capable of challenging you is great, too.  Just make sure you don't let them win at Scrabble too often.  ;)

I wrote about our struggles with a child in my last post.  Tonight, when I post a picture of us on our dinner + movie date, it will only be a tiny snapshot of a day that also included my having to talk one of our children out from under a school desk, hostage negotiator style.  We have our fair share of struggles and arguments.  Our life sometimes looks "picture perfect" on Facebook, but I can assure you that it's not. What I can tell you is that we love each other and all of our children more than life itself.  When we swore before God and man that we would belong to each other for the rest of our lives, we meant it.  On the days that we feel less than loving, we choose to love.  I wouldn't trade what we have for anything on earth.

Ben Rector's been on heavy rotation at our house lately.  As I've said on Facebook, he just seems to get me.  My current favorite of his is a song called "When I'm With You."  The chorus is "But when I'm with you I'm no longer wandering / And when I'm with you, I swear I can breathe / When I'm with you, I know who I am and who I wanna be."  That's how Will makes me feel.  I hope that all of my friends feel that either today or some day soon.

Here's to my forever Valentine.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Mental Health

I don't even know how to start this blog.  We are currently on the struggle bus.  I posted a vague request for prayer last night on Facebook.  That's not normally my style, but we are in what feels like a long season of feeling helpless and, to a lesser extent, hopeless.  One of our family members is really struggling and try as we might, we don't have the answers.  We've long kept regular therapy and psychiatric appointments.  Even though it seems like things should be improving, they are not.  

I am a firm believer in vulnerability and openness.  Honestly, trying to hide my issues never brought me anything but pain and trouble.  Here's my problem, as much as this story is something I live out daily, it's not all mine.  I am getting increasingly wary about sharing information about our kids online.  In that vein, I won't be sharing any more details about what's going on.  I can only share a little bit about how I feel.  

I am convinced now, more than ever, that the mental health system in America is in desperate need of overhaul.  Why is it so hard to get help for someone who is clearly at risk to harm themselves or others?  I understand that the movement to deinstitutionalize people with mental health issues was important and saved many people from a system that had become abusive and oppressive.  Have we gone too far in the other direction?  It seems that if a patient doesn't come in waving a loaded gun, they can't receive the help they need.  We need a happy medium.  There are so many parents out there struggling like us.  If the mental health community can't offer more than platitudes and positive reframing, we're up a creek without a paddle.  This is the field I am passionate about and want to work in, I really hope we can do better in the future.

I would like to express our love and gratitude for all of the prayers that were offered up on our behalf.  It is so comforting to know that people are standing in the gap for us.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Something's going to stick...

The restlessness is real, friends.  We've been in Omaha for six years in March (March 7th, to be exact.  I remember because it's my sister's birthday).  For a couple of nomads who enjoy living abroad, it feels like an eternity.  At the same time, it feels like it's only been a minute.  It's not that I'm dying to get out of Omaha, I just want to know what's coming next.  We're throwing anything at the wall, and seeing what sticks.  

I finished my bachelor's degree in December!  In a lot of ways, finishing that degree felt like coming up for air.  It's a silly thing. I understand that it's just a piece of paper, but it meant a lot of me.  I pursued a potential job.  Sadly, twelve years of being a stay at home mom doesn't amount to much when compared to the real work experience of other candidates.  I felt a bit dejected for a minute, but I decided that moping about wasn't productive.  In March, I'll start graduate school for clinical counseling.  The ultimate goal is to finish my clinical counseling master's degree and then go on and pursue an Ed.S or Psy.D in school psychology.  I love school.  I'm excited to be studying again.  If I had an endless amount of money, I'd take college classes for the rest of my life.  I know that's super nerdy, but I never claimed to be otherwise.  Grad school's my silver lining.  ;) 

*It has been a LONG time since I've posted in this blog.  My last post was written when the pain from Dad's death was still so very fresh and all encompassing.  We were looking for any kind of hope to cling to.  Here we are, five years later, and life has changed so much.  The pain of losing Dad isn't as raw.  It's changed, but it's still there, manifesting itself in different ways.  I'm not sure that you ever really get over the loss of someone you love so much.  We're all walking wounded, with gaping holes from the losses we've survived.  That's not to say that there isn't hope, and happiness in spite of the pain.  It's just that you learn a new happy, and joy is tinted by the pain.  We've welcomed two children  who will never know their Papa.  My Dad wasn't there to see me receive my degree.  Life just gets a bit more bittersweet when you lose people who are such a part of who you are.  I still thank God for the many blessings we've received.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tempered Excitement

I thought I'd post a quick update about the meeting at the adoption agency.  I was so nervous about it before I went.  I knew that I needed to make a good first impression with the case worker, because we were going to be up against competition.  I was also worried that the agency might not be a good fit for us.  I worried about what open adoption might look like to them.  Will and I both felt like the time was right and we both feel passionately about adoption, but was this the right agency for us to go through?  I left the agency feeling so excited about the future and completely comfortable with what I knew of the agency. 

First of all, I loved their case worker!  She was warm, inviting, and passionate about her job.  She was very honest about the fact that most birth mothers choose to parent, and they work hard to provide resources to help them be successful in raising their child.  I think that is so important.  I would hate to work with an organization who tried to pressure women into adoption.  She also talked about open adoption and demystified it a bit for me.  I kind of love the idea of open adoption.  We feel strongly about being open and honest with our children, and I would want to be able to answer any questions that our child would have.  Who knows what open adoption will look like for us, but I am excited about the prospects.

Now to the hard part, the agency only has four spots available for this term, and they're expecting around 20 applications.  It's a total shot in the dark, but we are praying.  Our kids are 100% on board.  Daniel still has an abstract idea of adoption, but he does understand that we would be adopting a baby, and the baby would not come from Mommy's tummy.  He understands that sometimes mommies can't take care of their baby, so they ask a different family to raise them as their own.  We wanted to make sure that the kids were okay with adopting an infant before we dropped off our application. 

Our application has been turned in, and we are in the waiting phase.  We will be interviewed the second week of February and then find out if we made the cut sometime around the middle of the month.  All we can do right now is pray.  If we are selected, we would start our home study and training in March.  The case-worker said that they could be showing new family profiles to birth moms as early as April. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Days

I am so grateful that God's mercies are new each morning.  I'm also grateful for growth in all of it's forms (spiritual, relational, etc).  As the first month of the year progresses, I'm feeling more hopeful about the future.  There are so many new things on the horizon. 

My resolution for this year is to work on being more disciplined.  I want to be more disciplined specifically in reading my Bible and in exercise.  So far, so good :)  I bought a One-Year chronological Bible and I haven't missed a day yet.  Reading the Bible every day is something that strengthens my faith and gives me hope.  I've been reading through Job lately and I have to say that it is a huge dose of perspective.  It's also a reminder that no matter what may come in life, God is bigger.  As far as the exercise part of my resolution goes, I'm getting back into running.  I forgot how much I really love it.  Sadly, I also forgot how clumsy I am on the treadmill!  LOL.  I fell off this morning, which marks my second time falling off since I started running (two times in two years). :)  I'm clumsy, but I'm not a quitter.  At least it gave me something to laugh about this morning.  My goal is to run six days a week for at least 2 miles each day, and build length from there.  I'd really like to run a half marathon either this year or early next year.  I'm saying all of this on my blog so I have some sort of accountability.  Now, you all know what I'm working on and I can check in regarding my goals from time to time on the blog.

The most exciting thing in our lives right now is the fact that we're looking into adoption.  My last pregnancy (Daniel) was filled with complications, so we were advised by multiple doctors that we should not try to have any more biological children.   We've felt strongly about adoption since we first started talking about our future children when we were dating, but it's something that we've been talking about more seriously for the last four years.  Tomorrow, I'll go to an informational meeting at an adoption agency, to find out about applying for a domestic infant adoption.  We're still trying to figure out how we will fund the home study and adoption, but we have faith that we will be able to find a way.   Please keep us in your prayers or wish us luck as we start the process.

Things in our family are good.  We've decided to have a weekly family game night, and it has been so much fun.  It's a good chance to unplug and really spend quality time with the kids.  We end up laughing a lot.  We also end up teaching our children how to be gracious both when they win and when they lose.  The kids are still struggling with Papa's loss in their own ways (I suppose we all are), but we have found Ted E. Bear Hollow to be a great resource for all of us.  If your kids have experienced a significant loss, I would highly recommend visiting your local Ted E. Bear Hollow.  They have some great programs.