Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Supernatural Nonsense

"I'm only laughing on the outside. My smile is just skin deep. If you could see inside, I'm really crying. You might join me for a weep."
                                                                                 ~ The Joker, "Batman" (1989)

If you're reading this post, I'm betting it's the gazillionth post you've read that has something to do with depression.  And that's probably depressing to you.  And that's understandable.  But, this is my little corner of my little world, and I can't sleep.  I'm thinking about Robin Williams.  I'm thinking about depression. 

There have been things that have made me sad in my life... When relationships ended.  When friends hurt my feelings.  When I found out my first husband was having an affair.  When I was with a man that hit me. When my grandmother died.  When my parents got a divorce.  When I had our younger daughter and I dealt with postpartum depression.

It made sense to be sad in those times, though.

These days, I'm what you would call "too blessed to be depressed".  I have an amazing husband, lovely daughters, great family living nearby, wonderful friends, etc., etc., etc.  It would make absolutely no sense for me to be sad at all.  Ever.  There's no reason for it.

But sometimes I'm not just sad, I'm (brace yourself) depressed.  Feeling lower than the dirt that is stuck in the grooves of my flip flops.  Feeling completely and utterly worthless.  Feeling like the lives of those around me would be better if I weren't here.

And it doesn't make sense.

Depression doesn't make sense. 

The practical side of me is SCREAMING that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  That there are plans for me, plans that aren't meant for harm, plans to give me a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  That I have great worth in God's eyes (Luke 12:7).

But the depression doesn't listen.  Because depression doesn't make sense.

I've found, though, that I can combat the nonsense of depression with some supernatural nonsense...  The peace of God.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
                                                                  ~ Philippians 4:6-7 (emphasis mine)

God's peace doesn't always make sense.  I remember so clearly when I was in the midst of the roughest part of my divorce, when my insides felt completely empty and I was sure I had ruined my entire life by marrying the wrong person... I was able to speak to someone who calmed me down and set me straight, and I was filled with joy.  JOY.  Joy, as I was learning that my alcoholic, addicted-to-pornography husband was having an affair with a co-worker.  JOY.  

That makes perfect sense, doesn't it?  (The answer to that would be, "Big fat NO.")

Or several months ago, a good bit after a bout of soul-sucking misery had passed, feeling led to share about that time with a few certain friends.  To confide in them, and tell them about the darkness that I would sometimes slip into.  "WHY NOW, GOD?!" I asked, in my very loudest thought voice.  "I'm all good!"  But I knew it had to be done.  So I did it.  I shared my broken heart and ugly cried all over them.  

Suddenly, they knew my secrets.  They knew my shame.  

And I knew God's peace.

I'm not saying that now I'm skipping along, eating rainbows and pooping butterflies.  I do take medicine for anxiety/depression.  But I do know that if I feel like I'm being enveloped in a black cloud of hopelessness, I have a stronger weapon.

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ."
                                                                               ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

And in those times where I don't feel I have the strength or the worth to reach out to God, I have some friends who are willing to pray for me, and I'm strengthened by those prayers, and once again, I have peace.

Smile, make 'em think you're happy
Lie and say that things are fine
And hide that empty longing that you feel
Don't ever show it, just keep your heart concealed

Why are the days so lonely?
I wonder where, where can a heart go free
And who will dry the tears that no one's seen?
There must be someone to share your silent dreams

Caught like a leaf in the wind
Lookin' for a friend, where can you turn?
Whisper the words of a prayer and you'll find Him there
Arms open wide, love in His eyes

Jesus, He meets you where you are
Jesus, He heals your secret scars
All the love you're longing for
Is Jesus, the friend of a wounded heart

Joy comes like the the morning
And hope deepens as you grow
And peace, beyond the reaches of your soul
Comes blowing through you, for love has made you whole

Once like a leaf in the wind
Looking for a friend, where could you turn?
You spoke the words of a prayer and you found Him there
Arms open wide, love in His eyes

Jesus, He meets you where you are
Jesus, He heals your secret scars
All the love you're longing for
Is Jesus, the friend of a wounded heart

He meets you where you are
Jesus, He heals your secret scars
All the love you're longing for, all the love that you need
Is Jesus, the friend of a wounded heart

Friend Of A Wounded Heart by Wayne Watson (1989)

Friday, May 9, 2014

For the Moms Who Didn't Have an App for That...

Mother's Day is upon us, and soon social media will be filled with accounts and photos of the cutest handmade cards and gifts, messy and creative breakfasts in bed, and perhaps some jewelry ~ some made of gold or silver, others made of macaroni or tiny rubber bands painstakingly crisscrossed together on a loom.

All of it is beautiful, and we all deserve the attention.

But I want to give a little special attention to a certain group of moms.

The moms that had a lot of the moms that will be posting, tweeting, Instagramming, and blogging.

I'm talking about the moms that were doing their mom thing "back in the day."

The moms that, if they needed to phone a friend, had to actually pick up a receiver that was attached to a cord that was attached to a wall, and turn a dial to connect with someone.  There were no quick texts.  No speed dialing.  No Siri.  There were no e-mails, either.  If they wanted to contact an out-of-town friend without paying exorbitant long distance rates, they had to get a pen, get paper, and write a letter.  With their hand.  Or maybe, maybe, they used a typewriter.  Then, they sent that letter off, and by the time they got a response, they'd forgotten why they wrote in the first place.  They relied a lot on a little something called women's intuition.

And if they wanted some advice beyond a friend?  Dr. Spock.  In paperback.  Acquired at a book store, or maybe through the library.  No ordering on Amazon with delivery to their door.  No e-readers.  A real, live book.  Or maybe they watched Donahue?  Forget Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, or the ladies on The View.  Their choices were slim.

Speaking of television, the only educational programming was on PBS, and if they missed the time slot, THEY MISSED THE SHOW.  They could not DVR it, restart it, or watch it On Demand.  They didn't pop in a DVD.  They just sat while their child cried because they did not know what Big Bird and Grover were up to that day.  And cartoons?  They were shown on Saturday mornings, and ONLY Saturday mornings.  And they didn't offer anything of value, unless the kids kept track of how many times Wile E. Coyote had an anvil dropped on his head.  Because that was math.

Speaking of math, let's talk about homework.  If these moms' kids had to look something up, it meant the mom was taking them to the library.  Not sending them to search on Google.  Or (heaven help us) Wikipedia.  It was either the library, or there was a full set of encyclopedias present so their kids could do their research in the privacy of their own homes. 

Let's give a shout out to the moms who planned our birthdays without Pinterest, and when they wanted to take pictures of those parties, they used a camera with film.  Then they took that film to a drugstore where it got developed.  And then two weeks later they were able to see their twenty-four precious pictures, and maybe seven of those were actually not blurry in good light, and one would actually have a kid looking at the camera and smiling.

They taught us to ride our bikes without helmets.  They drove us here, there, and everywhere without five-point harnesses or seat belt laws in cars without air bags.  They washed dishes by hand, hung laundry out to dry, all with babies on their hips and toddlers at their heels.  

Whatever it was they were doing, they did it well enough to raise the kids that created the things that we enjoy today.  And for that, we should be in awe of them, and thank them and praise them.

And we should do it with more than an e-card.

Monday, December 2, 2013

What NOT to give this Christmas.

It doesn't matter what you wrap it in.

It doesn't matter how pretty the bow is.

It doesn't matter that you felt it was worth more than two cents.

Your opinion is not a gift.
"Opinions are like armpits.  Everyone has them, and most of the time they stink."
I'm not sure who came up with that gem originally, but I do recall our youth minister saying it.  And I remember thinking, "He's got a point."

A friend on Facebook mentioned that they don't do Santa in their home, and they received a couple of (well-intentioned, I'm sure) suggestions that perhaps they should let their child enjoy the magic of the holiday season, that Santa wasn't so bad, etc., etc.

I know that's not atypical for Facebook happenings, but maybe for this season we could try to focus on and enjoy what works for our own families without suggesting that what works for us would work for everyone.

Don't do Santa?  Merry Christmas!
Santa visits your home?  Merry Christmas!
Real tree?  Merry Christmas!
Artificial tree?  Merry Christmas!
An Elf On The Shelf keeps your kids in check during the holidays?  Merry Christmas!
The Elf On The Shelf terrifies you because you think they're creepy and scary and really do sneak around the house at night trying to find sharp objects to poke in your ears?  Merry Christmas! 

If you are gifted any opinions that aren't quite your size, aren't the right color for you, or are just plain ugly, instead of trying to return or exchange them, maybe just toss them.  Click DELETE and move on, or just move on.  'Tis the season to be jolly!

Friday, May 3, 2013

"I have been crying, and it has done me good."

That's a line from a book I've never read, The Romance of Judge Ketchum by Horace Annesley Vachell.  I was looking for a nice line about crying, and that one came up.

“I have been crying," she replied, simply, "and it has done me good. It helps a woman you know, just as swearing helps a man.” 

Do you ever get overwhelmed?  I do.  Except lately, I've been overwhelmed by happiness, and with joy.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining at all.  I can't really put into words how stinking awesome it is to feel grateful and happy and loved and just plain amazed by all the wonderful things God has given me.  I mean, obviously I don't feel like that all the time -- I'm not sure that's possible without being heavily medicated.  But lately... Yeah.  It's been really great to be aware of the positives outnumbering the negatives.

The only thing is, I tend to cry when I feel happy.

So I've been crying a lot.

Watching my daughters make up their own handshake.  Sniffles.

Seeing a man bring his elderly neighbor's trash can up from the road so she doesn't have to.  Tears.

Anytime I see an older couple holding hands.  Sobs.

And for all I know, it could be an adulterous octogenarian couple, really.  But I'm still going to cry happy tears thinking about the possibility of two people being in love and together for so many years.  And then I'm going to cry some more as I think about being that age and still crazy in love with The Husband, and holding his hand as we shuffle through Target (because any good date ends at Target), and then maybe we can bring happy tears to the eyes of a middle aged woman who sees us.

So if you know me in real life, and you see me with tears streaming down my face, don't worry too much.  I probably just saw a baby smile or something.  It's all good.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  James 1:17

Monday, February 14, 2011

Not a fan of Valentine's Day? I love you, anyway.

Last week during the Super Bowl, my news feed on Facebook was at war with itself -- almost every single post was about the halftime show, and people either loved it or hated it.  There was no in between!

Apparently, the same goes for Valentine's Day.

I. Love. Valentine's.

No, it's not because it's the ONLY day The Husband and I celebrate our love.  We do that every day.  No, no, no, not like that!!  I mean, he does it when he goes to work, because I know he works to provide for our family.  He knows that my taking care of the house is an expression of love -- in our home, love is never having to say, "Babe, I'm out of shorts."

There's a zillion different ways we express our love.

But what's wrong with going a little above and beyond on one special day?

I mean, should we wait until Mother's Day to tell our moms we love them?  Father's Day for our dads?  Birthdays to celebrate that someone is alive?

Psh.  No.  Really, we should be doing those things all the time.  And sometimes we don't.

So what's the harm in having that one day to make a big fuss over it?


Just like there's no harm in Valentine's, my friends.  None.  Some people need Hallmark to say what they can't.  Some people need to hold a box of chocolates or some flowers to know that they're being thought of.

And some people just want an excuse to do a little extra to show someone special how much they care for them.  Because, frankly, I don't want The Husband to bring chocolates out of the blue on a random day.  I mean, I have to prepare for special occasions with the right amount of planning my meals around the calories I'll have if I eat out!  If I get a box of chocolate out of nowhere, I just get really frustrated, and he knows that! And I don't want him to get me a card every other week or something, because dude.  Have you seen how much cards cost now??

Aside from that, it's great day to celebrate LOVE in general.  Don't have a significant other?  Do you have friends?  Celebrate the love you have for them.  I've been single on Valentine's Day before.  I got together with other single friends and had a great time!  My daughters don't have boyfriends but still enjoyed getting cards for all of their little buddies!  No friends?  (Really?)  You have family.  Break from the mold and tell your parents or your grandparents or your favorite aunt you love them on a day other than designated holiday.

But if you still think Valentine's is made up (which isn't true), or something Hallmark has exploited (gee, a card company wanting you to buy more cards, SHOCKING!), I hope you have a Happy Monday and enjoy celebrating the love in your life every single day, since that appears to be what you do.  You're an inspiration to the rest of us!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Can I get a patent on this?

So we all know that moms aren't supposed to get sick.

I was thinking about that today as I tried to sit still and rest my injured back.  As I tried to take 15 minutes to lay down with a heating pad while my darling girls played together peacefully, without making a mess.

As I actually did laundry, dropped the girls off and picked them up from school, maintained order and generally did everything I would normally do, only under the influence of ibuprofen and wincing in pain with every movement.

So moms can't get sick.  

So you know what we need?

Walk-in clinics just for moms.

Except there would be no doctors, because moms already know what's wrong with them, what to take for it, and how long they need to rest before they're back to 100%.

What there would be... Individual rooms set up with Sleep Number beds and Memory Foam pillows, and down alternative comforters (no feathers in case it's allergies that have brought you there).  There would be Snuggies and fuzzy socks.  

There would be laptops and televisions that have Nick Jr., Disney and PBS blocked.  (And, just for good measure, ESPN.)  On the nightstand, an iPad with Pandora, Kindle, and a wide selection of games that you loaded on to your own smartphone "for the kids".

Worried about the kids or their dad calling?  Fear not.  The receptionist collects your phone as you enter and screens your calls.  Your phone will only be brought to you for true emergencies.  The receptionist will be able to provide phone numbers for a variety of take-out places for your family's dining needs in your absence.  Or tell your husband exactly how long to put the chicken nuggets in the microwave.

There would also be room service.  The menu would be super thick.  And since this is my dream, calories would be removed.  Every meal is delivered by a husband-type waiter who smiles sweetly at you as he sets up your table and asks you how you're feeling and if he can get you anything else.  

The words Mom, Mommy, Mama, and Mother are forbidden.

And then, when you're feeling better, when you're feeling rested and refreshed, you simply leave the room.  You don't strip the bed or put the Snuggie and fuzzy socks in the laundry, you don't tidy up the dishes.  You just leave the room, get your phone from the receptionist, and head home, ready to return to life as Mom.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Adorable Christmas. Even though Santa Claus died.

A while back I mentioned that I wasn't only slacking on this blog, but my family blog as well.  So I introduced my girls, otherwise known as The Adorables, to this blog.

They're ba-aaaack.



Li'l Bit & Mini Me share an excited hug as they wait to hang ornaments on the tree.
The Husband put up our tree, and the girls hung the ornaments.  They did a great job, too!  Mostly because they are excellent at following directions.  I pointed, they hung, and everyone was happy.

This past weekend was the children's Christmas concert at church.  Mini Me's dance class performed once, and she also sang with her choir.  She has come a long way from going up on stage and turning her back to the audience! (True story.)

Li'l Bit was in choir for the first time this year, but it wasn't her first time on stage attempting to sing.  At her preschool Christmas concert, in front of fewer people, she cried until she was able to sit in her teacher's lap.  At the end of the year concert, she didn't cry, but she also didn't sing.  This year...

She sang, and she looked so incredibly sweet doing it!  And to top it all off, she managed to make it through the rest of the concert without making a big fuss.  That may have been because I let her play Chuzzles on my phone part of the time, but you know, whatever.

So, if you read my last post, you know I said that we do Santa here. Turns out it's not going to be that easy.

Last year was the first year that we had a tree and did presents for the girls.  Mini Me had just turned 6 at the time, and although she didn't seem to make a big fuss about Santa coming in the first place, she was very curious as to how I was able to return a gift that Santa had brought them.  


Mini Me was told by a friend last year that Santa isn't real, but it didn't phase her.  She heard it again this year and started asking questions.  The Husband decided that he would tell her the story of St. Nicholas to try and explain where the idea of Santa Claus came from.  Not a bad idea, right?

Well.  What Mini Me has held on to from The Husband's story of St. Nicholas is that


He was a man who lived a long time ago and he was really generous, and he is dead.

She has told a friend at school that Santa Claus died a long time ago, and I am just waiting for the parent of that traumatized little girl to call me.

I told The Husband that I think we're going to have to come clean, and do a much better job explaining the whole St. Nicholas thing.

Because it's one thing to have the kid that tells everyone that Santa isn't real.

It's quite another to have the kid that's telling everyone that SANTA CLAUS IS DEAD.