A Day of Remembering & A Shot of Anxiety


I slept well last night. Maybe to prepare me for today. I don’t know but I liked it.

My anxiety is heightened.  I noticed it pretty quickly this morning.

The dog barking only once. Shrill ran up my neck.

The sudden awareness that my husband & child had left and I was alone in the house.

On the drive to work my struggle was real to contain my perspective.  Switching the songs more times than  needed on the radio.

Continuing to use my peripheral vision on the guy & his dog at the park.

Anxiety and depression are partners. They walk hand in hand.  When one stops the other can easily pickup where his pal left off.

That’s how it is for me at least.

Let’s go back to the car ride to work.

Country music reminds me of my Dad. It was on the radio.

Today is the 3rd anniversary of his death. Blocking the emotions from that day, 3 years ago is normally pretty simple for me.

But not today.

It’s not like I’m not functional. I am. I got out of bed, walked, went to work, and so forth.

There’s just this blah existence in me today.

It really hit me in the car. The point where tears were coming but I said NO! Not today, at least not right now.

It’s the recollection of my feelings from that evening that creates this emotional upheaval within me. Not necessarily that he is gone.  It’s the way it all went down. I really thought I had come to terms with this.

I came home to find flowers from my husband and youngest daughter and a piece of snail mail from a friend.  Life is sometimes really hard and filled with sadness and anxiety.  But the glimmer of hope is still there, it lies within the area around us.  It may not be in our view at the moment but it is  there.

It’s coming back into my view.  Tiny bit by tiny bit.  Perhaps tomorrow.  Yes, probably tomorrow.

Dad & I

Until then,

Julie

Cracks Within Series – #1


Sometimes when I imagine myself,  I see a person that has cracks throughout their body. The body is just flesh and bone but I’m talking about like a stain glass window of sorts. Or perhaps more like, the old china cup that has hair-line cracks throughout it but you can’t stop using it.  The thin cracks making it only more beautiful.

Untitled design

Each crack within me was placed there from an experience.  The tiny cracks creating a brokenness in one shell of a human.  From the arguments on the playground to being picked last on a team as a child.  The teen emotions of being dumped by the guy I thought was my whole world or struggling to pass Algebra. Finding myself walking the high school halls practically full term pregnant.

The more substantial cracks stem from someone taking advantage of me as a child. The remnants of sleeping in a car overnight due to alcoholic situations at home. Not to forget to mention my experience of divorce, motherhood fails, and professional occupations.

Some of those cracks were brought on by other people’s actions and some my own.

Each one has its place within me and each one helped mold me into who I am today. Maybe the reason I am able to write is due to one of these or perhaps all of them.  I will never know.  I find that okay, I have always said “struggles build character.”

I’ve come to realize from the years 2013 through 2016 there became a crack in my being so substantial it made the largest of large indention.  A combination of things.  I was moved to a place of darkness, seeming to never return and changed forever who I am, almost ruining my marriage, my role as a mother in this world, and a few other things.

In the span of those three years I made choices and choices were made for me that scarred me for life.  I’m still reeling from them, especially since we find ourselves once again in the month of August. The difference is I am feeling better.  The difference is I survived.  I’m stronger and I’m still here writing about it.

Check back soon to get another edition of the Cracks Within series.

Julie

 

 

Bringing It Down – Diabetes #3


April 2017

Three months in and I stopped.  I basically let it drift away by casually having a morsel or two then the entire item in front of me.  Yes, the 80/20 rule works but not for someone that has no willpower, is depleted by stress, tired, and most importantly on this new life change only a couple months.  Feel a lack of support was a factor too.

Here I am on April 4th, no weight loss in March, and I have a blood sugar hangover. Yesterday started as a new start to get back together.  It went very well most all the day and then at supper I failed.  Sweet potato fries, a few would be okay but too many no way!  Then the DQ ice cream cake from my daughter’s 9th birthday.  Those two things with a combination of whatever else few carbs I had throughout the day made my blood sugar increase.  Increase to the point of headache and me deciding to take the actual test.  154.  To some that may be a great number but to me that means WAY TOO HIGH.  An hour and half later 166.  It wasn’t showing any signs of backing down.  So I headed to bed thinking “what the he** Julie? Why did you do this?” It’s been a few weeks like this now and although stress and lack of sleep are factors, YOU chose to eat wrong a lot of the time!”

I’ve started my day by eating protein and  24 carbs, which I’m suppose to have 45.  It’s hard for me to get up to 45 at breakfast without going over.  I took an easy paced walk as the energy level and mindset is low.  Almost time to take my next test and then a snack.  15 carbs.   And on and on and on.

April 26, 2017

Most days have been better but still not a stellar way.   I am moving.  That is essential in this life with diabetes. I’m serious.  It helps so much even when I’m not actually walking or moving.  The issue I have is this.  When my blood sugar level is great, but  I don’t eat 45 grams of carbs, then go for a walk,  my blood sugar drops low.  And going from low up to way high is the worst feeling to me!   Balance.  That really is the key.  But since falling off in March I’m struggling with getting balance.

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Sleep. Sleep is just about as big a factor as moving.  I didn’t realize it until I stopped taking my anti-depressants in early March.  The one thing they did was knock me out overnight.  I did sleep well while on them but for various reasons have discontinued taking them.  For the most part I am doing okay off them except my “light sleeping” personality wakes too much in the night!  Then the bladder issue hits and up I go to bathroom.  SO, early bedtimes are essential and if a nap is needed I should do just that! Easier said than done on most days.  BUT, I am going to take this one step at a time, tackle one thing at a time.  If I don’t, I will fail.

So my focus is eating balanced.  Then moving.  Just keep moving.  Just keep moving!  Find some support somewhere too.  It has helped me to document via Snapchat with my two daughters and best friend.  I’m not sure they enjoy getting snaps of my walking logs but oh well.  They are getting them! 🙂

Until next time!

Julie

Bringing It Down – Diabetes #8


I realized yesterday morning that Down with the D could mean a couple things.   Diabetes or depression.  Both are in my life.

We traveled for our vacation to an area that enabled me to exercise daily, feel relaxed, and eat somewhat healthy.  We cooked most of our own meals.  I still got on the scale after returning and have decided I need a new scale.

View from the grass

I was motivated quite a bit before leaving for vacation and was determined to keep working towards my daily goals even while away from home.  I was successful and have been reaching my 10,000 step goal all but about one day a week.

Upon leaving beautiful Arkansas and heading towards one more stop before coming to rest at home I could feel anxiety entering my body.  The anxiety led to feeling in a funk and Monday I have felt quite “off” all day.  I do think some of it is from my blood sugars being consistantly on the lower side.   I need to find that balance again, so I feel good most all the time.

Tuesday morning brought more clarity but I am still feeling anxious at some moments.  The walk I took this morning has brought me more than 5000 steps and clearer mind.  Support from a new person came my way and I am utilizing it.

The battle of diabetes is one I am focusing on but the depression still shows up to the party on occasion.  It makes it’s prescense not necessarily by sad faces or tear. It carries the blame when snappy answers blurt from my mouth or the urge to scream erupts within me.  The expression of depression doesn’t take one route.  It is kind and spreads itself in many forms.

I have to admit it was probably a positive to get out with other people last night.  To listen to little kids singing and feeling a loof myself.  Perhaps that is what helped me to visit with my husband in a casual manner last night or  to awaken this morning so much easier.

Mother Daughter Hike

Coming off the high of being somewhere you truly enjoyed and  pulling this thing called life out of  time-out so to speak is hard.  Getting away can give one perspective on many levels and I think this trip did that for me.  The opportunity to realize, alittle more clearer, what I want out of this life I am living.

Until next time,

Julie

 

Quilting A Life


quilt

The quilt before you is my first attempt at something other than square blocks.  In fact, until recently, the only quilts I ever made were square blocks sewn together and my mother would finish them.  I’d help her “tie” them but I never actually quilted them or put the binding on.

I decided after getting a great deal of fabric from mother’s stash that I wanted to dive into quilting.  Knowing my personality I knew I would require assistance.  I searched online for a kit and class I could buy. Craftsy was my source and this quilt was quite the learning experience!

These are my other helpers, isn’t the little girl adorable! I’m a tad prejudice.    Yes, my husband helped because he is a contractor and cuts with precision.  (He’s a trooper for helping me, I would have given up if not for him!)

family-quilt

There were moments of feeling like a failure, frustration, and uncertainty while creating this lap quilt.  Which this reflects aspects of my own life, especially in the past few years, there is more. The bold colors make me happy when I look at them.  Their brightness and solidarity is something I hope to reflect in my own life. Something that is coming in view once more.

All the colors are so very different yet they are harmonious when placed in the same area. They become a union of sorts and create a warm reflection with the soft white bringing them completely together.  Do you long to live this way?  In a common union with harmony and wrapped in the warmth of goodness?

craftsy-quilt

This quilt not only holds beautiful colors and straight lines and areas of strong precision sewing, it holds much more.  For instances,  crooked lines, the fabric that was missed while joining two colors, and the miter corners are pretty rough. When I look at this quilt I feel it represents a few different things but mostly a reflection of life (at least for me.)

My life has so much that is good, warm, loving, and solid.  Yet at the same time it holds messy, sadness, and struggles.  While those threads are unraveling in one area, the threads that are tightly sewn tug even harder to keep the strength up.  I feel stronger with each day.  The process isn’t a quick one, just as this quilt wasn’t to make, but I’ll get there.  I’ll get to the place of balance I once knew.  I’ll be stronger for it and hope to help others from my experience.

If you find yourself in the darkness, whether it’s been for 20 minutes, 20 days, or 20 years you can still step out of it.  Just as the quilt would not be as strong if sewn with loose stitches, rally together a friend or two, a pastor, a doctor, a mentor to help you.  Just start with a baby step into the brightness.  I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it.

Until next time!

Julie

 

Could It Be a Brighter Time


I was almost too scared to write the title of this post.  As if to jinx the time of my life I am in.

waterfalls

The past 2-3 years have been rough but for a few moments each day I can see the sunshine.  I can feel the calm within and if I shut my eyes, I breathe a little easier.  I can laugh with my husband and welcome a hug from him.  I can raise my head off the pillow and although a tad groggy, I  feel better than I have in a long while.

This comes after making my declaration of spending 2017 focusing on me.  Taking a year to find a better me both mentally and physically.  Being so depleted it is hard to rise from the ashes but I vowed to go slow at it. Less than 30 days in I might still be on the “new life” high, who knows! Let’s go with it, it feels pretty good!

little-bird-says-focus

I will admit I’ve had my days where tears have won out and irritability spawned horrible tones and words from my mouth.  Then the days of wanting to quit or just give up showed their nasty faces too.

But so far the days, or at least the majority of the past days have been enjoyable.  That my friends is a good thing.  Baby steps.  Very baby steps.

I do not blame the place I ended up on any one thing really.  A collection of occurences brought me to a place that wasn’t pretty.  Apologies are owed to others while also to myself.  Appreciation for the tragic moments that build character within me is required.   Stopping the moments of this life from slipping away as they rapidly do is needed. Savoring the time I have with my family, opening my heart once again to showing kindness to others, and just letting sunshine fall across my face is in my future.  Perhaps not tomorrow, but it’s coming, I can feel it.

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So, when the sun comes up today, I will put both feet in front of me, eat a hearty breakfast to start my day and smile.  Come on, try it with me won’t you? 🙂

Baby steps my friends.  Baby steps.

Julie

 

 

Focus – 2017 Word


little-bird-says-focus

My word for 2017 is Focus.  I have already started a sub-list of things as you can see.

Focus

  • on living
  • on the joy in the moments
  • on my health
  • on the little things
  • on the laughter in my life
  • on the small steps
  • on the love given to me

When I came back today to this post this is the spot where I deleted what I had written. The words that had been so carefully crafted the other day, were no longer good enough to share.

Now I will tell you that after a couple conversations with my spouse I am stumbling into an avenue that I’m not too confident about. It will take a great deal of focus for sure.  As I sat in the vehicle having one of those conversations I finally just said it out-loud.

“I feel like I just want to focus on me. That if I don’t take this time to focus on me I won’t get back to who me is.”  Of course the smart man said, “it’s okay to do that.”  With which I replied, “but I’m not a selfish person, I take care of others.” (I am not a saint, it’s just a personality trait. I’m a caretaker)

That’s it.  I’m back peddling – already.  Focusing on me brings about feelings of guilt and selfishness.  The left side of my brain says one thing the right side says another, then throw in that heart-thing.  Deep down I know I have to do this.  I have to do it to be able to survive with any ounce of happiness and enjoyment in life. This isn’t just about depression there’s more but I’m not ready to share that.

Just need to remember.  Small steps Julie.  No major changes, just minor.  Crawl out of the darkness even if it’s just that.  Crawling.  When you feel tired and weak, grasp to the man that God gave you.  It’s okay to not jump in going 100 miles an hour. It’s okay to admit when it’s hard.

So…. now that I’ve given myself  a pep talk I’m off to slay this thing!

More to come from me I’m sure, whenever I might get the whim to write!

Julie

 

Holiday Season – 2016


Although I’ve struggled some this past December, it’s not as bad as the last couple years.  I don’t feel significantly down due to missing my parents.  I suppose the process of grief and missing someone moves to different levels.  It never totally goes away, you just adapt.  That thing called “seasonal” depression, it normally hits me too, but this year there’s just something different.

It’s not the grief or the more than cloudy days.  It’s more of a state of being tired when even being presented with the simplest task.  The loneliness of conquering it outweighs the multitude of benefits from just “pushing through”

I can think back over the past few weeks of moments of feeling goodness.

When my kids and their kids were at our home laughing around the table before Thanksgiving.

Receiving the photo of my husband and youngest daughter on the chair lift or her standing with skis on waiting to go down the mountain.

The longer conversations with the eldest now that she’s found some contentment with her new role.

Seeing big brown eyes, an infectious smile, and hearing “Grandma Julie” only the way E. can say it.

Witnessing P’s first piano recital and thinking how glad I am she’s not petrified to perform.

The growing belly  and texts from the pregnant momma I call daughter number two.

The glow of Christmas lights and the “perfect” leaning tree we have this year with Pandora and Michael Buble playing in the background.

These are just a few of the nuggets that have made me smile in past weeks.  I look forward to Christmas Eve more than any other day this holiday season.  Because all my children and grandchildren will be at our home, attending church, and opening gifts by that leaning tree.

The gifts they give me will be nice I’m sure but the best gift is them spending time with me. (Oh, and if they would clean up after we eat and open gifts that’d be awesome too!)

May you find joy in the holiday season and hold on if you just can’t seem too!

Julie

The Gal That Danced in the Kitchen


“Mom, you don’t dance in the kitchen any more.”

My youngest daughter said those words to me recently.

Her words were profound.

She’s right.  I don’t.  Hearing these words brought a sense of sadness over me.  Which were followed by feelings of being overwhelmed and out of kilter.  How did I get to this place?

I’ve swerved in and out of this journey with a dark cloud that continues to hover over me. From my best estimates, this cloud was teeny-tiny about 3 years ago.  Just a newborn and then quickly began to grow.

With each moment of anxiety, nervousness, and feeling as though I was failing, that small cloud turned into a massive one with the death of my two parents. There were moments of sunshine that blocked the darkness temporarily but as the days passed by the darkness began to win out.

Now three years later I am in the midst of something I know needs changed.  I awake daily feeling either frustrated, over whelmed or sad.  I look in the mirror and am unsure of who I am. Not to mention I  faintly remember that gal that danced in the kitchen.

So many factors go into this equation that has brought me to this point in my life.  I’m approaching my 46th birthday and know there are decisions to be made.  Life changes and willpower are needed; yet I’m struggling to find a starting point.

It’s there.  I know it is.  Deep down inside this dark clouded mind and sedentary body it sleeps.  The one thing that will bring me back to the gal that dances in the kitchen and smiles more often.

Julie

Brightness


Today is a good day for me.  I feel like most of the time when I write here I find myself writing when the darkness has once again come to the forefront of my life.  Well today it’s pretty bright in my world! 🙂  Just yesterday was a so-s0 day, but I’m calling it good too!

Today while checking out my Facebook newsfeed, I clicked on the Katie Luther link.  I took the time to read the blog post and I’m glad I did.  It made me remember what difference it made for me when I did the Love Your Spouse challenge. (You might want to read my post before moving on).   I like the writer’s view about marriage and I can see the view of the one that she speaks about of course.

In dealing with my depression and losses in my life I don’t feel that keeping them completely out of the world’s sight is a good thing.  I know there are others struggling as well, it help them or me to share.  Yet part of me feels the shame of not being okay…yet.  It’s an ongoing struggle for now folks but let’s remember!  It’s a bright day for me today!

sunrise
Sunrise September 6, 2016

The past two years have been incredibly hard for not only me, but for my husband.  We still struggle with the things that were hard in the first few years of marriage. There are new issues which could include grief or financial or family struggles.  There are things that are coming from both our childhoods that make their appearance and neither one of us can figure out how to deal with them or react to the other spouse.  We have accomplished a great deal of things in our marriage as well.

Sharing isn’t horrible by any means.   Holding onto the issue, struggle, grief, etc forever and ever is.  I know several people, in my own family even, that can let go of the past easier than I.  Sometimes I feel they are the lucky ones.  But then I try to remember how far I have come already.  How the difficult path I’ve been on has brought about who I am.  That I have already beat a lot of demons that quietly reside within me.  I can feel proud of that.

brightness-darkness-grace
Julie September 6, 2016  Photo was taken for other blog to show how tall the irrigated corn is! 

The darkness comes and goes.  But today I’m celebrating taking my life back and soaking in the brightness of this life given to me.

Back to the love your spouse challenge thing, I participated in that challenge at one of my marriage’s lowest points.  It’s okay.  It helped, because I had to work really hard to remember what I appreciate about my spouse during a hard time.  I didn’t lie.  I meant every word I wrote on my Facebook newsfeed those seven days.  So.  Thank you my friend that challenged me it was a spot in the process of life!  It helped me and my spouse.

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My husband and I.

By the way, my spouse and I actually have several photos of just us but I realized in the past couple years we have taken less.  Probably because I haven’t felt good about me and many other things.  Perhaps I need to take a spouse selfie today! 🙂

Feel the brightness friends!  Don’t worry about when it’s going to go dim again!  Just feel the brightness!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

*My view is that the difficult moments in a person’s life do several things. But I’ve always said, “it builds character and strength.”