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!

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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.”

It’s Been Too Long – The Word


I’m back at spending time in God’s word daily.  I had been away for quite sometime.  The attempts were there to get back to it but it didn’t stick.  I have to admit when I spend some quiet time in God’s word in the morning it helps for me to be calm.  I’m back at actually writing my prayers out and making a short grateful list.  I can feel some of the darkness fall away bit by ever so small bit.  It’s only day 2 but I need to acknowledge the good things more often to retain them in my mind I’ve decided.

The devotion for today was fitting for my life as well.  Luke 8: 22-25 , do you know it? If not, click on it and take a gander.  It’s simple but boy did I need that reminder.  My storm has subsided at times but it’s still an ever present rain many days.  So, hearing this simple story of Jesus taking care of things and having faith was a gentle push to the thoughts I need to be having.

That even though our financial situation isn’t great, God will take care of us.  Although I can’t shake the darkness and the new medicine has some really yucky side effects when starting, it will be okay because no matter what He’s got my back.  That even though my faith has been shaken and I wasn’t the true follower I needed to be in the past couple years, HE STILL LOVES ME.  GOD FORGIVES.  He has always and will always have me my back.

devotion

I know there will be days when I falter but I am given the opportunity to start again.  That’s all I can do.  Start again.

Pushing towards the light of grace but it’s freely given,

Julie

 

The Ugly Parts


You know that thing going around Facebook, the Love Your Spouse Challenge?  Well I was cringing every time I got onto Facebook because I figured one of my friends would nominate me eventually.  It happened.  I’m on day 3 by the way.  Until today I didn’t post anything gushy with the picture, just the facts of when it was taken.  In fact, I didn’t get real gushy today but it was more wordy and the truth.  It’s a start, right?

Anniversary Trip ARKANSAS
See a happy time.  I wanna go back. I loved that trip!

Oh sure.  I could have just not did it but then the facade of our marriage might be in jeopardy! The view of my life from the outlet of social media in danger!  Don’t act like you don’t think this way (on occasion).  We want others to think and believe that our lives are beautiful and picture worthy and that the ugly never enters.  It does.  The ugly makes it appearance and it brings you to your knees.  To the point of “get me outta here!”   Which in reality means get in my car, go for a long drive, and turn up some Aerosmith or Zac Brown Band or something of that nature.

Disclaimer here – I love my husband but it takes more than love to make a marriage work.  Divorce isn’t in our language so don’t go telling others our marriage is over please.   Just wanted that documented.

Struggling times, problem times, hiccup in the road times. Whatever you want to call them  – happen in marriage.  It’s the ugly truth and hiding it I suppose is the “norm”, sometimes I just wanna buck the norm!  Sometimes I don’t want to feel alone in this struggle after 13 years of marriage. The frustration.  The loneliness.  The anger.  The sadness.

I’m an expressive person where my husband is not. I don’t necessarily need to share my dirty laundry with the world. Or perhaps I do since I’m blogging here today.  Maybe I’m angry at the world because sharing your dirty laundry is frowned upon.  Then again that would make me a hypocrite cause when I see some of the things posted on Facebook I want to reach through the computer screen and smack the person that posted it!

Do I seem a little feisty today?  Yes I am but it’s milder than it was two days ago I promise. Perhaps snarky is a more accurate word.  I don’t want depression, marriage issues, struggles, and grief to be something that people shy away from when seeing it in others.  I don’t want to feel uncomfortable or have them uncomfortable.  But I am.

When a couple of friends have reached out, I now feel embarrassed and ashamed.  I feel like by now I should have it back together.  That I should be happy with the newer house, the healthy kids, the hard-working husband, the easy job I have, and so much more.

They’re right. I should.  This darkness won’t go away though.   The heaviness that I feel is not dissipating.  Although hearing God’s word yesterday did help.  Then again this morning reading and writing in my prayer journal.  It’s a start right?

Whether it’s depression or marriage issues or work issues or family issues hang on.  If you are struggling out there know you are not alone.  Others in this world are in the midst of something not so sweet and beautiful.  The point is to move forward.  Right now I feel like I’m stuck in a spot of mud but I know in the back of my mind I will get out.  I will move forward to a better day, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe in an hour.  I don’t know when but it’s coming.

I’m pushing to the light of grace.

glow
See the light in the corner?  It’s there and I’m heading for it. 

Julie

The Climb. The Example.The Trying.


Written prior to today.

waterfalls

 

A few of our recent family outings have reminded me of how my lifestyle not only hinders my ability to enjoy things but my families as well.

I begin this post with that statement because on a recent trip where physical endurance was needed I struggled a great deal.  I struggled to the point of tears behind the sunglasses and the feeling of failure on my mind. All while being surrounded by many and in a beautiful setting.

STarting to go

Sure, I made it back to the top of that 3/4 mile steep dirt path but there were several stops and a lot of emotion.  Some would say, “you made it” or “the water fall was worth it or stop being negative”.  But you know, today, it’s just hard.  Almost too hard and loneliness is mixed into the realm of things.

Some days bring an emotional hardship and some bring physical.  Finding a balance is difficult when dealing with depression and lack of will power.  Yes there are days of goodness and solitude as well.

The part of that first statement about my mental and physical status affecting my family is what I want to address now.  I see the way my negative thoughts that shoot from my mouth make their way to my daughter’s ears.  When I’m not leading my daughter to be physically or mentally healthy she plays it out in front of me.  Keeping my husband and family from enjoying events due to my in-abilities  isn’t fun for them either.

I was thinking back to when things started to falter in this shell of a person God created.  The events leading up to this day. The changes from two or three years back made their way to my thoughts on this warm afternoon.

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It makes me uncomfortable to think of those things and even more so because I have not been stronger.  The fact that I have gotten to the weight I have, my depression isn’t kept at bay, and the realms of my daily life boggle me at times.

This creation of me, it isn’t at it’s best.  I’m not sure when it will reach a better place while on earth.  I can’t promise I will try today or tomorrow but I will try again.   I will walk the path and continue to find my way.

My hope is to reach a point of health and presence and balance.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Cover Me Christ


Flowers

 

Written last week in the midst of difficult days.  If you can relate, know that in time you will find hope and contentment and happiness once again.

It comes and goes.  The feeling of lonliness.  The one that although in my mind I know that others have felt this pain, I still feel alone. The fact that  God is with me at all times is a fact but my mind can not remember that.  I can not cover my mourning and downward fall.

At the same time I feel guilt for not being stronger.  There are those in my life or were in my life that exhibit the mindset of “push forward” or “don’t dwell” or “we do what we have to do”.   I hear these things (in my mind) and feel them in myself and at the moment of sadness it is followed by guilt.  The guilt of not being stronger when every little thing is overwhelming.   The anxiety is building and comfort is not found.  I find myself holding my tongue when I need to release grief and then yelling for no reason knowing that it’s not about the current incident.

All I can say right now is this.

Please cover me Christ with your love and hold me close.  Help me feel the comfort of your arms in this time of tribulation. I beg you.  I thank you.
Grace is a gift,
Julie