Catching Up – Happy Fall, Y’all!

Oh my, y’all… I try to keep snippets of stuff updated over here, but I’ve been busy with client work and focusing on writing for our professional blog.

So… HEY!!

Just to bring everyone up to speed, in no particular order:

~ I finally (!!!!!!) got my IUD out. My ANA test came back positive, so I’m headed to a rheumatologist in December. It doesn’t mean I have RA, but it does mean my body is fighting something. Hopefully, my body will have had time to heal by then, and the result will be more accurate.

Also: Filling in the paperwork for my visit to the rheumatologist makes my hands and arms hurt… *sigh*

~ I’ve been working on a 31 day series (thank you, Nester) entitled “31 Days to Peace – finding inner peace through anxiety and panic attacks“. I’ve shared my story on my struggle with panic attacks before, but I’m digging in more, in hopes of helping those who struggle with them, and for helping those who don’t to understand them more.

31-days-to-peace

The gist of it is this:

For those who have never dealt with constant anxiety or panic attacks, these posts will, hopefully, serve as a catalyst for understanding and compassion. Before I had one (or knew I had one), I was clueless as to what they were, much less, how they felt. Like childbirth, it’s hard to explain.

For those who have experienced severe anxiety and panic attacks, my hope is that you will realize that there is no shame to these feelings, and that there is hope for healing and peace.

You can keep up with the series by bookmarking this page.

~ Yesterday, my neighbor surprised me with a nail polish that she had seen me ‘like’ on Pinterest.

essie demure vix Essie Demure Vixen

It is one of my most favorite colors ever! And it is perfect for fall.

My other current makeup favs are:

Rimmel London Lasting Finish By Kate Lipstick 03 – a gorgeous neutral!

and
MAC Blot powder (pressed)

It’s expensive, but worth it. Also: I’m convinced that it equals out the same as the cheap brands because I rarely need to touch it up. (And if I do, it’s a tiny dab.)

mac blot powder medium

So what about you? What have you been up to???

*yes – those makeup links are affiliate links  :)

Faith, Hope and 41

I look smug about this birthday, don’t I?

Last October 7th, when I turned 40, I spent the day tending to my youngest, who was recovering from a, not-so-minor, out-patient procedure he had done that morning. While I would not recommend celebrating your own birthday in that way, I have to admit, it absolutely kept me from focusing on myself, and the fact that I had entered my FORTIES.

I’ve never been afraid of forty. But admittedly, it still stuns me, at times, that I am in this decade of my life.

At that time, I considered writing something about turning 40, but I stopped myself, because, let’s admit it, I was no expert on 40. All I knew was based on hearsay, and emotion, not, necessarily, reality. I was a mere baby in terms of what I knew and felt about it.  I suppose I still am, but I feel a bit more qualified to speak on it now that I’m ‘older and wiser’… *cough*. Or something.

The last several years have all been magical for many reasons, but this year, the year from 40 to 41, has helped me solidify my belief that I am stronger than I ever realized. It’s been a long, hard, winding road getting to this point, but I love going along it. Sometimes, I want to run ahead and know what’s around the next bend, other times, I want to straggle behind and linger in the moment. But I’m always – always – thankful for every moment of it.

Because, I know where I’ve been.

The week I turned 30, my baby girl turned one and we closed on our first home. While there were many cracks already showing, my 30s appeared, from the outside, to be off to a picture-perfect start.

Nearly everything changed from 30 to 40. So much was given and so much was taken away. Sometimes, I feel as though I lived 20 lifetimes in that decade. It was a difficult one, on many levels. I wrote about it a lot on this blog, before the bottom fell out (again), but if you were to go back and look for them, you might not know it. I white-washed much of it. I wanted to find meaning in all of the difficulties, and the suffering. I wanted, desperately, for it to have been for a reason. I needed to find that reason and know it. But, it’s not always easy to see or understand. Sometimes, it just takes faith.

My 30s were built on faith. That was all I had. My 40s are being built on hope.

I am realizing what is meant by older and wiser. I wish it came with a few less wrinkles and sags, but I am trying to embrace those as well.

There are countless variables in life, and I know that anything can happen, at any moment. I see it every day. And that is where the lessons of my 30s, those built on faith, become invaluable. If I didn’t have those, I would be living in fear, because I’ve seen too much happen, and I know what can happen.

But I also know the beauty that can come from those very things; when the wounds become scars.

A wound is messy and always susceptible to being reopened or infected. A scar is where it has healed; a reminder of what was and what is. It does not have to be a shameful reminder.

And that is what gives me hope.

Here’s to my forties.

(linked up with JustWrite)

A Note From a Frustrated Runner

I’m frustrated.

Running has been a close friend for most of my life. I was one of the fastest runners in my elementary school. I ran track in high school. I ran for fun in college. I ran to lose the baby fat after my babies were born. I ran to stave off panic attacks and depression. I ran for clarity in the days leading up to my divorce. I ran for sanity after it. It’s my time to think. Clear my head. I feel good and free when I run.

Except when I don’t.

Recently, my runs have become sporadic and more difficult. This saddens me, because, regardless of the reasons, I was doing so well in my stamina, distance and endurance for so many years. One of my goals around the age of 35 was to run a marathon by the time I was 40. I turn 41 in less than two months, and I haven’t run one. At this point, a 5K wouldn’t be worth the entry fee.

I am not where I want to be with my running. At all. And it frustrates me.

Maybe it means that my reasons for running have changed.

I’m no longer running away. Or towards something. Or for sanity (ok… that’s questionable…) But I still need the stress relief; the health benefits.

Holy cow, do I need the stress relief. And did I mention I’m almost 41? Hello, belly fat, that won’t go away!

So I’m thinking about documenting it more online here. I dunno know… But I do need accountability. I just know I need to do it, just like I need to Just Write.

Life gets busy, and stressful, but I don’t want to roll over and let it stomp all over me.

Fall Down and Get Back Up

I’ve been thinking a lot about the struggles I’ve had in the past with panic attacks and depression, and while I’ve shared small snippets over the years, it wasn’t always easy to come clean about what I was in the midst of.

Now, a couple of years beyond it, I’m able to reflect back on them with some clarity (something that can feel sorely lacking in the midst of that cycle…)

Writing down my stories to share makes me feel vulnerable, and yet, I also feel driven by the sense that there are so many of us affected by these same struggles. Knowing I was not alone was one of the greatest things in the process and in taking steps in my recovery.

As I work through my stories, I struggle for words. I struggle with the memories of what it feels like to go back to that place. I see a person in paralyzing fear and anguish.

Yet, as I continue searching, and wipe the mud and muck from my view, I see someone who fought through it. Who found a Way to understand what was happening.

I no longer suffer from regular panic attacks.

Oh, I feel them knock on my door.
Whisper in my ear.
There are triggers, and I know them well.
They sit waiting for me to be overly tired or stressed.

But they no longer hold me captive.

And that is where I want this chapter of my story to begin.
Because it is worth celebrating.

But the past can’t be forgotten, because there are many others who have fallen and fear that it’s that last time before they can no longer get up.

Don’t believe it.
Don’t listen to those whispers.

_____________

linked up to Just Write

Luc(k)y in the Sky(box) with (a view of baseball) Diamonds

Oh, the drama in my life this past week! AAAhhh – panic attacks! AAAAhhh – sprained ankle!!

I’m not usually this involved in drama (other than in high school when I became an official member of the International Thespian Society)… I’ve never been a drama queen. But somehow, I have been coronated the Queen of Dramaland. Hopefully, it is just a temporary reign, and someone will dethrone me.

After writing my post asking for prayer regarding my anxiety, I laid down on the bed for most of the day praying and wrestling and fighting and struggling with my anxiety. I kept repeating the scripture that I quoted on the post. When Sean got home, we talked for a long while. He is so patient with my “issues”.

All week, we had been talking about going to a Nashville Sounds baseball game – baseball has become very big in our home recently. Sean came home a few weeks ago with ball gloves, bats and balls for himself and the kids. Until the temperature reached sun surface degrees, they spent most afternoons outside throwing the ball and hitting. Many evenings have been spent in front of the tv watching games.

The kids really enjoy it – and if it weren’t for the fact that I waddle so badly right now that quick movements are beyond me at this point, I’d be outside playing ball as well. I love baseball. I played on the Green Team from the time I was about seven, until I was old enough to join the girls softball team. I played up until the start of high school. And had it not been for the reputation that the girls softball team at my high school had, I would have probably kept playing.

Friday was the night we had planned on going to a game and I did not want my stuff to keep us from the game. How do you explain that to a child…

So, even though it was over 100 degrees all day, and still above 100 when the gates opened, we got ready and headed out to the ballpark. Walking from the car to the gate was nice. There was a comfortable breeze. But when we got in the park and took our seats, I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to make it very long. The stadium blocked the breeze, and I was feeling a bit trapped where we were seated… It hadn’t helped that when we arrived, a lady was being brought out on a stretcher. Part of a panic attack is the feeling of being trapped and wanting to flee. Looking back, I am able to see how irrational most of my concerns were. But at the time, it is hard to step back and look at it realistically.

I had seen a sign for a “Cool Zone” when we arrived, so I headed there. It turned out to just be a tent with a huge fan. Hardly a cooling respite from the heat.

As I headed back to the seats to give Sean the bad news, I saw someone who worked at the stadium and decided to stop him and ask if there were any options, short of stripping down. He must have taken pity of my condition – the sweltering pregnant lady – because he stopped someone else and chatted then came back and told me that there was an open Skybox. And it was air conditioned!!!

He kindly rounded up the rest of my family and took us up to a room that was the size of a hotel room, with a kitchen and table and perfect view of home plate. And did I mention AIR CONDITIONED!

It was absolutely perfect. I was able to relax, feel safe and comfortable and enjoy my family.

The kids loved the view and the freedom to move around without being yelled at. We did make sure they understood that this was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Because did I also mention that the boxes are $500.00 per game?


After the game, the sugar began to kick in… hard to take photos of moving objects… I tried four times to get a photo of all of them standing still.

And the night ended with a FANTASTIC firework display. I was amazed at how beautiful they were. And the view we had was perfect.

It really was a wonderful night. We needed the time together to just relax and enjoy each other and be a family. We felt very blessed. I was completely and utterly reminded of this scripture:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
~Proverbs 8:28

I was so very humbled to be reminded that ALL details of my life matter to the Lord above. And I know He delighted in seeing our excitement and joy of the change of our circumstances that evening.

Thank you for all of your prayers. Isn’t it fun to see how the Lord answers them!

PS: I got a giggle when I went to pull up the above scripture at BibleGateway.com. It shows The Message translation of the verse as:
He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.)