Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Art of Being Still

I've jotted down a billion different things over the last two months of things I want to blog about, but then time passes, and I'm so busy with life that I don't have time to sit down and the inspiration to write about them is gone. I wish I had the time to write. It's so therapeutic. It's become one of my greatest tools to deal with depression and anxiety, so in all reality it should be the first thing I turn to when life gets to be too much. I haven't, however mastered the art of just carving out the time to do things for me that actually help me. I'm getting better at saying no to things to simplify what I can in my life, and I'm good at saying I need to just sit and do "nothing" (which usually turns into mindless social media scrolling or watching TV). Those things are fine in small doses, but they don't do anything for my soul. They don't help me cope the way writing or reading other people's writing does.

I'm in a season of a little deja vu. It was near the beginning of 2015 when I started to become incredibly anxious. I wasn't handling the busy-ness of our schedules well. Our kids were very involved, and even though I have a supportive husband who is quite literally is the other half of this ship, it's been hard to navigate through the waters of this season of life. It's incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, and we wouldn't trade it for anything, but it's still that time of our lives where we are at our kids' beckon call and there is very little time to put ourselves first, even though it may be the time when we need to make sure we are taking care of ourselves the most.

This time around, I'm still in the throws of anxiety. There are very few moments of the day when I don't have a ball welling up in my stomach for any given reason. I can't turn off my thoughts and I'm overwhelmed to put it mildly, but I'm learning from last year's me. I'm trying to keep up with an exercise regimen. I love lifting because it makes me feel strong. When I feel strong, I feel capable. I've lost about 15 of the 30ish pounds that I put on last year, so I'm going in the right direction, albeit very VERY slow.

Quite honestly, I feel like I'm being tossed around from anxiety to depression on a weekly if not daily basis. I find myself crawling into my bed as soon as I can or choosing not to do things I love because it's easier to do nothing. As relational as I am, it makes me a little sad that I can't find the excitement to be with my people....my tribe. I choose being holed up above being with people I love. Not always, but sometimes. I'm starting to fear that point of the year when school is over and summer is here. Last year, I thought that it would mean the end of my "funk" while instead it turned into the beginning of a diagnosis and a summer that was stolen by this disease.

The antidote? Probably more reflection. More making worthwhile time for myself-not to scroll social media, but to do more that makes me happy. More that makes the world a better place. More loving. More grace. More laughter. More living. An article was shared on Facebook last week that has amazing ideas to help those of us who need to take care of ourselves when life is a little too much for us. Have a gander at it. It has so many great ideas!

101 Selfcare Ideas When It All Feels Like Too Much

I know I'm definitely in good company when it comes to this aspect of life, so it's nice to know that I have a village.

Regardless of the anxiety/depression in my life. There's always ALWAYS something to be happy about. I've had many happies over the last few months. I'll share with you in pictures. :)

Getting another tattoo has been on my bucket list since I got my first one. I wanted something that embodied the depression and anxiety that I dealt with while having some significance. Because they were so small, I was able to get both of them done for a very reasonable price, so I jumped at the chance.
"Be Still"- a phrase I have used on myself often. I am always needing to remind myself that God does in fact have this. When I think it's all too much or when I'm overwhelmed or stuck in a pit of despair, God says I need only be still. Thank you Jesus for having my back. Now and always.

However, on this side of heaven, I have a wonderful family and a tribe that is next to none. The arrows represent my family unit. The anchor I got on my wrist a year and a half ago represents my tribe. They are those who love me daily when it's hard. When I have been pulled down into my darkest days or when I'm overwhelmed beyond comprehension, the arrows represent my family's ability to push me ahead. They help me see the light at the end of the tunnel and they keep shooting me forward. The anchor represents my tribe who daily keeps me anchored and grounded and centered.

I love that they all are in a place where I can see them. It's a daily reminder of how blessed I am, especially on the days when depression or anxiety make it hard for me to see it.

Traditional Johnny Holm Valentine's Bash

We're adorable.

We're missing the 4th muskateer. This photo makes me happy and sad at the same time. Looking through my phone, we've had very few get togethers with all of our kiddos so involved. I'm thinking we will have to go old school and start planning them in. I miss their faces when we don't see each other as often. Thank you baby Jesus for zumba (when it works) and Thursday night Girls' night!

The Muldertines....or the Valenders......I can't find a good way to mush them together. But I love this section of my tribe. I heart them mucho. We've had a good run at finding time to pencil in these first few months of the year. We are at the stage where we literally have to write a date on the calendar a month in advance or we don't get together. It's turning out to be a very useful tactic. I need to start implementing it with the other sections of my tribe. :)

Pedi date!!

Our monthly "game night" at Carnaval in Sioux Falls sans kids! This was take 324 I think. 

Our boyfriend Adam showed up for our date.

Happy SURPRISE 40th birthday...I mean 21st birthday to the gem in the middle. 

Snow in small doses or rather, the fact that as I'm writing, there is no more on the ground. I have fond memories of winter, but I'm SO SO SO glad it's gone. It can stay away too! Bring it on Spring!
I hate everything about this photo except for the fact that it meant two days off of school. :) It was a needed recharge of my batteries. 

Hope. This picture screams, I'M COMING! IT WON'T BE LONG! -Spring
Sledding with my friend and our classes at Inspiration Hills. We look cute so it can be a fond memory. No sledding for me because I don't want any broken ankles. :)

Easter Break with my family- always a hit. We may have toned down our need to do things that are traditionally Easter like dye eggs or do scavenger hunts, but we always find time to be together and make some memories. That's what's important.
Family love- Sawyer is enthused.

I don't know how many more of these we will get, but when I look at my Grandma, all I have are special memories of my childhood and adulthood. She is such an amazing grandma.

Making Easter treats with Grandma Pam

I love her Susie Homemaker Soul. I don't have it, but I'm sure glad my kids get to experience it.

Traditional Easter picture with Grandma Van
Wrapping up winter sports- It's bittersweet wrapping them up. I love watching volleyball, and I love watching my boys wrestle. Looking forward to baseball and softball though! That means summer is coming!
We will see what next year has in store. He really likes basketball, so I'm not sure if wrestling will stick. Either way, I have so much fun watching him when he loves what he's doing!

This little buddy is so fun to watch! He is always smiling. Someday he'll learn to get angry, and I'll see him pinning a ton of people, but for now, I love that he doesn't take it too seriously. I love that he enjoys the game- even if  that means he doesn't win every match.

Buddies since birth practically. I hope their relationship continues to blossom!

Not a game was to be won this year, and that was hard. It was still fun to watch them play their hearts out. I know that there were a lot of life lessons hidden in there. For now, I can hope that she learned a ton and is ready to go into school ball next year with more confidence and determination.
Does women's wallyball count as a winter sport? I miss it very much! Co-ed is not near as fun when you lose all the time. Although, it's fun to play this sport with my husband. :)

Fine arts- Jae has acquired a niche for the fine arts. It is definitely one I never had. I played in the band, and I was in choir, but I never had the talent she possesses---or the drive. I have watched her and her friends take an idea to have a drama club and use their leadership skills to contact the superintendent, parents, and college kids and make it a reality. I watched her perform a role in the musical that wasn't a lead one with the same exuberance and finesse as one that was. She loves what she is doing, and I can't wait to see where this takes her. She has never been more excited for anything as much as she is for acting. Follow your dreams sweet girl!
5th-12th grade choir

Heidi is our church music director and Jae's music teacher. She is passionate about music. We love her! Jae had a solo this year which we didn't know about until almost the day of. She makes us so proud. :)

Her drama club's production of "The Velveteen Rabbit"

School performance of Music Man Jr.

Saturday night's performance- Sawyer again is not enthused.

A scene from Music Man Jr. Jae was a townsperson and played her part with pride!
Warm Spring days that show up so you have hope it's coming! Nice Spring Sundays are the best.

Will return hopefully soon with a post about our phenomenal pastor who retired and had his last service this past Sunday. So many great nuggets to take away!

Happy Tuesday!