Past Present Future

36859847-8A5A-4506-85AE-45C768209177Last night, as I stood at my kitchen counter cutting up vegetables for our Christmas dinner, I could not help but to think of how many others are doing just the same.  While some are celebrating Christmas already and the joy felt in these homes, with children screaming with delight DD51C1EB-378A-4FE8-A277-60E216708330or perhaps a child already crying over something while a mother and father are exhausted from putting the final touches for their Christmas celebration.

Thinking back of the excitement and anticipation of Santa from when I was a child and then with my own children, all of these thoughts helped me with the ache in my back standing there which seemed like all day, to be one step ahead in my preparation.

It was from joy and excitement in my thoughts to the sadness and the thought of many not feeling so joyous and depression knocking at their door or worse. Within this time span over my vegetable plate prepared, I went from past, present and future in my thoughts, somewhat like the Christmas movie, A Christmas Carol. 2FE8E5A0-AEE6-4AEE-AEA2-0642BDF58916

Sadly, I remember being in that state, too. No matter where each of us are in this vast array of emotions that exist, the Lord sees and knows our name and where we are. Some may doubt and question that with an undertone or outright anger of not so, how could He? Questioning His love and care. I understand that as I have been there also. While I knew different deep within, I sure did not feel anything, trust Him or anybody else for that matter. I was angry with Him, myself and with others and life itself. Definitely not a fun place to be.

E3539BCD-8F78-43EC-B951-77380D63FC33I did not understand the emotional pain endured for years and the isolation I put myself in while wearing a mask with work or public appearances. I definitely struggled, fighting through a depressive state. Thank God I had my children as they were my focus to hold on but even in that, I am sure they did not feel the true joy in my life, as their mother. Still, I managed and I am here, perhaps just for someone to read my own experiences and to give hope. Thank God, He did not give up on me.C9E4F7BB-A203-43A8-B2D8-B6A10C44C797

Sometimes life does not turn out to the expectation we had hoped for in our mind. I never thought I would go through what I did and have but I did, I went through. Is my life perfect? No. I can say that my mindset is a lot better though. I had to work on myself and trust God to get me to this point. I am with myself 24/7 as you are with yourself. If you want change, you need to change, not for anyone else.0EE32B92-F35F-43A1-B892-A24959108EDE

While I had my church and my faith in God, I pulled away  in the isolation of the depression hovering 6515C897-7ED1-4B84-B58C-82A4B6C554AAover my head. As the Bible says, the enemy is out to kill, steal and destroy. He wanted to knock me out.

After years of mental torment of unworthiness and everything else that I believed to be true, I went for counseling, this was five years ago. Best decision ever. Was it easy? No. It was worth my time, money and the emotional ups and downs of understanding myself and in healing many 8A5C9536-F5E4-41B6-A135-16B18934163Abroken areas of my life, which I am still working on and plan to continue. This was my past and is my present.

In the present, I am feeling excitement and joy as I once did in life or perhaps and honestly moreso. I am looking forward to the future to finish out my years with the same and more. It took one step forward and sometimes two backward to get here, and still, but I keep moving forward and desiring more, trusting the Lord. I wanted a change, and that’s a start from the past to be present now and my goal for the future.95C57C62-1A6C-4305-952C-7547691BC035

As we go into the new year and resolutions are made and many broken, do not let that hinder you, it happens. Still, set a goal for a healthier you because it is only YOU that can make this happen. You are worthy. Trust Him.

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Christmas Slump

It’s that time of the year and for days and weeks, maybe months now, we have all been gearing up for Christmas. There is a sense of joy as we celebrate the holiday season, decorating, a time of gift-giving, paying forward is a common occurrence, cooking delicious recipes as well as making batches of cookies and candies, families and friends coming together plus seeing the colorful lights and decorations strung around wherever we go. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Right?

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It really is wonderful to experience the joy mention but sadly many do not. Many do not know the true meaning of Christmas, representing the birth of Christ.

In myself, I do enjoy the season and everything about it, wishing I had more time to experience the lights, shows, etc., and while I have done so more this year, there is also a dread underlying within me because I know how it affects me after Christmas.

Christmas Ornaments on Wood BackgroundIn the holiday season, the vivid colors of red and green while other colors are splashed around, the decorations that adorn homes inside and out for all to admire, the ornaments that are hung with care while many have a memory or a story attached to share and perhaps a tear or two wiped, smelling the cookies and desserts baked plus enjoyed. There are so many joyous moments and then it all goes away, quicker than it came. Months of building hope, joy and love and then poof, it’s over.

Soon after Christmas Day or maybe after the new year, everything is taken down and put away until next year. Now everything seems bleak and dull. I find it is sad. I know with me, it takes me a couple of weeks to get back in the swing of things and adapt to the norm, awaiting for the next holiday but nothing compares to Christmas of the beauty and happiness all around.6F5E347F-259A-436B-967C-F476AC1B1D78

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) exists in many whether it be for the holidays or winter months moreso than the rest of the year perhaps due to less daylight and sunshine.

Depression hits more in the holiday season as we miss those no longer with us, our emotions are touched and memories seem to be heightened of the past and being unsure of the future. Hope is lost somewhat in the hustle and bustle within many.

Remember to notice and know yourself enough and to get medical help if needed. This happens for many and normal to feel the blues at times but not all the time. Take care of you through the most wonderful time of the year but also all year long.  The holiday blues happen.

0F88B310-D4DF-41E3-93D7-8B1242901DE9While most of us are going through the season with joy and excitement, let’s pay attention to those around us that may not be. Whether it be now or throughout the year, too; sometimes just a kind word, a pat on the arm or even a smile is a gift to some.  Feel free to share, it costs nothing.

Merry Christmas and may the year 2020 be the best ever.

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https://www.verywellmind.com/holiday-blues-4771716

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder

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Tears from Nowhere

This morning I had an appointment early to get my D171077C-9EA4-4CB8-AB0B-4889C4CE7CFDhaircut and was looking forward to a nice, productive day afterward as I prepare for Thanksgiving like many of us are doing.  A good morning overall even though the weather was not cooperating with a lack of sunshine.

C97D4E0A-7459-4C06-9CDA-E09FFE79966CHere I am, sitting in the chair and my sweet stylist doing her magic while we talked and laughed. In the background, Christmas music was playing and the song, Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson came on. I stated I had not heard that for a good year, since last Christmas, of course, making a joke. I knew with that comment, I could not hold back the emotions and the tears started. Where did those come from and why? It’s funny how memories are stirred by music and our emotions are affected.845A8C81-4406-49F2-ACF5-B6ECA5E16D32

Each tear we cry has meaning to our Father God. He keeps track of all our sorrows just as carefully as if He were gathering each tear and placing it in a bottle for His remembrance.” Jennifer Rothschild

Later, when home alone and starting to clean, I turned on the Christmas music, louder than normal with my sound bar and woofer level elevated, hoping the neighbors don’t E3BD3AFE-6084-492C-8935-E9854AE06A2Bcomplain. lol  Believe it or not, the first song was Pretty Paper by Willie Nelson, yet again. What is up with this song today? Just because of how odd and what happened earlier, I texted my stylist and told her. Her text back was that it was playing right after I texted her. Knowing we are not playing the same channels but for this to coincide, interesting for both of us now.

Christmas music is wonderful even when the tears start flowing. The lyrics go deep and touch our hearts. Once they start, they usually continue off and on for the day for me and sure enough today has been one of those days.

74B50E97-29BC-4AD3-B579-ABBD8C4298C3The holidays can bring up memories of our past, good and bad, the grieving of those no longer in our lives whether that be in death or an end of a relationship, being overwhelmed with many things going on in our lives, or a mixture of it all and the tears flow, but not necessarily depression.

When my son moved out of state after college, being five hours away that year, I found the song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas a definite one to make the tears flow, which always reminds me of him still even though now an hour away. This song is not so good when driving to work and tears fall like a dripping water faucet. Why did I even put on makeup?

Feeling sentimental, as many of us are if not all, at this B4A63AF6-4D68-4D8D-AFF2-FDCA03F448D3time of the year, is normal. It is a time for families and friends to come together. With the Birth of Christ recognized, our worship and joy felt can also bring tears of thankfulness. Let your heart feel, allow your emotions that apparently are needed to cleanse and heal some areas within. It’s okay to cry, even in your hair stylist’s chair. I grew up feeling shame and embarrassment of crying in front of others, even my own family. Thankfully that has changed in understanding myself and the whys through counseling.

123F5BD4-90B4-423D-887E-FF3299488885If you find the tears are more than not and on the depressive side instead of sentimental reasons, please contact your physician, a counselor, a pastor, a friend. Reach out! It does takes courage but you can do this.

If more serious and nobody is available or you want to remain private, as many isolate during this time, please get help by going to your nearest hospital or call the suicide hotline. You are worthy and God knows your name and where you are and most importantly, He loves you. Trust Him!

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org  👉🏻 Telephone 1-800-273-8255  24/7

3 Ways God Responds to Your Tears

The Story Behind Willie Nelson’s Christmas Classic, ‘Pretty Paper’

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I Cancelled Thanksgiving

5C2A1F8F-F0E8-4B04-B87F-AC23C8C8CD13This time last year, my life was going in all directions, feeling lost, abandoned, grieving, overwhelmed and well, you get the picture.

There was an excitement just months prior of me enrolling in a medical class, which was a big step for this old girl.  I finally felt empowered enough to move forward after many years of feeling hopeless.  Counseling for years was helping me cope and understand myself plus my faith knowing I could do this and my dreams and desires were coming alive. Wonderful.  Life was good.

It was in September though as classes started and my counselor of almost four years decided to close her office due to medical issues, of course, unexpectedly. While I understood and was concerned, I could not help but feel abandoned by her.  My heart was hurting and my emotions were everywhere.

I would work full-time, go to class in the evenings and when I left, I sat in my car and cried, the grief was too much.  This class was too much.  My life was too much. 6315B5C0-B00E-4882-B65D-6B42AD8F745AHow can I do this? Overwhelmed was an understatement.

Through all of this turmoil within, I also knew I had to put a Thanksgiving dinner together for my husband’s family and our own, although my oldest son, now married would be with his wife’s family several states away.  The month of November was one with my nose in the medical book, studying for finals the week before Thanksgiving, my house not ready and no desire to go forward, just managing the best I could. My surprise was to get a 94 on my final, which shocked me completely. The joy of the results disappeared soon after, as I was still falling apart within and now no counselor to counsel me, left totally in the dark.  Now the anger was more prevalent due to it all.

Being so overwhelmed and grieving, I cancelled  Thanksgiving.  I did. I was done.

Thanksgiving Day was lonely in my home, just like any other day.  My youngest son, living an hour away, decided to stay at his home.  I offered for him, me and his father to go out and eat but he had no interest. Loneliness all around with depression raining down on each of us.

Finally, it was late that night when I spoke to my son, instead of texting.  In the voice, a lot can be heard and discerned.  I knew he was sad over no Thanksgiving.  He probably thought that since his older brother was not present, he was not worth it.  Still, that thought brings 4BD339ED-93A0-4EE6-BECF-84F34CD16FEDsadness all over me.  I will NEVER cancel Thanksgiving or a family gathering again.  He did not know my circumstance and the struggle I was dealing with but I was wrong.

In our telephone call, with my motherly instinct, thank God, I told him to get ready as I am coming down to his house.  It was dark and late but off I went to be with him, I apologized and told him I will never do that again.  We went to eat, get groceries, do all of his laundry and went bowling at midnight.  We both had fun and I put a pot of chili in his crock pot to enjoy the next few days.  In the end, he received my undivided attention and his mother’s love. He needed me and I needed him.

This year we will have the family in for Thanksgiving and if I get the house clean, fine and if not, fine.  I learned my lesson.959C31B5-EC01-444A-AF14-044F96E476B1

Thanksgiving is the holiday where people come together. At least, that’s what most of us are conditioned to believe. While Thanksgiving has the potential to be the most inclusive and unifying holiday on the calendar — particularly for families — it also has the potential to generate the most loneliness.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-art-closeness/201511/4-reasons-thanksgiving-is-the-loneliest-holiday

Holiday Depression, it happens! 

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays#1

Self-Care During the Holidays, it’s needed!

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-importance-of-self-care-during-the-holidays/

30 – 60

Next month marks two big events in my life.  I am unsure how to handle these occasions although they will come and go whether I like it or not.

2C0279E6-C4D8-48E0-B45C-04A63DC01C33Just yesterday I was in my twenties, thirties, forties and, of course, fifties.  Now, the BIG 60.  How did that happen so quickly? I also often wonder how I and/or we have made it to our 30th anniversary.  Wow!  30 years!389EAFA5-9581-4788-AF1B-6FC6D46B9E41

Thinking back, the twenties were me finding my independence and partying in the first part, being young and stupid. The second half, I realized that is not the life for me and because I knew, too, the Lord was drawing me to Him and needed to get my Christian walk straight. It was time to stop running, which I did. To have a complete stranger say to me one night, “You need to quit running from God” definitely got my attention. I knew that was a warning. Later, I met a man at church and we dated three years and married four days before my thirtieth birthday.

My thirties, well our first year of marriage was not enjoyable, to be honest.  Several days before our wedding, with all plans made, etc., I remember standing in the church parking lot looking at this man with the thought to call off the wedding.  Of course, I did not.  Thinking, it was just cold feet and nervousness.  Was it?  It did get better and even more so with my first and second child born in the next few years, they were and are my life. I loved our little family.

145F47B7-AD82-4284-AD28-7B1F1C3F5147As I was busy with toddlers and caring for my aging parents, things changed in those years. My parents passed within two years of one another, then dealing with the estate and family issues.  Sadly, my marriage died, too.  Alone within and being private while wearing a mask of us all being a happy Christian family. Taking this all upon me, as it was all my fault, accepting the lies and rumors being spread that I am a bad person, etc., was weighing heavy upon me.

I remember my fortieth birthday, like it was yesterday.  My small office had cream colored carpet that I had just moved into but it was dirty from the traffic pattern of the other person walking in and out.  I wanted a nice, inviting office with clean carpet. We were slow that day so I got on my hands and knees scrubbing the carpet, 4718957F-EA4C-495C-A61C-C9DD39DDC3D5thankfully not a large space.  While scrubbing, I remember thinking I am just like the fairytale we have all read, Cinderella.  As for much of the forties, I do not remember, as I lost myself in those years.  My focus was on my children and my energy went to them, otherwise depression was overtaking me.

In trying to better myself, I had a short stint of counseling before he moved his practice out of state.  I felt I was gaining ground trying to find myself but only at a snail’s pace. The sudden death of my brother and dealing with his estate and the same family members that stirred up strife before but now more hateful, which got the best of me. I allowed their words and anything and everything negative rip me to shreds.

Finally when turning fifty, I was attempting to get myself out of the pit by taking care of me by having weight-loss surgery.  Looking back, I dealt with emotional eating and I still do at times but I recognize it now, but I had gained well over one-hundred pounds in twenty years of our marriage.

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We are now both feeling the effects of having an empty nest.  We are two strangers in the same house, both working full-time jobs and just going through the motions. I know I was dreading my home life and feeling stuck and feeling the craziness of it all. Too much! Everything went to the wayside, isolating myself from the world around me.

I knew I had to reach out for help. It takes courage to do that so if you find yourself in this loop of hopelessness and despair, please reach out. I found and was blessed with a wonderful Christian counselor five years ago to help me see light again and have hope, when all hope was gone.  Had it not been…ADFEB088-C85D-43CD-BFEC-2B40D3DC6411

I am about to hit my Big 60. I can truly say, I am happier today than I have been for such a long time; by understanding myself and working on my issues? I cannot control others and had to know deep within and to hold onto the fact that God said in His Word that He will fight my battles. Is everything perfect and did everything fall into place? No. I have had and still have some rough moments, but I know not to let it all get me down for long and to pull me down into a pit of despair and depression. I am moving forward. I am stronger today in my faith, as counseling has held me together and I know that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for me, even at this age.

I am expecting that the Lord will use me to glorify His Name and bring hope to others as I continue to grow older.  I want that.  Trust Him.

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Accelerate

3E25D218-716C-4109-83EC-BB9EA2750E57There have been so many years to where I was stuck in a depressed state of mind, body and spirit in my life that I did not see a way through the dark pit of despair.

Walking aimlessly day to day from home to work and back again was my life. No goals, desires or dreams, total hopelessness. Wearing the mask of a smile while tending to the bandages wrapped around my broken and frail heart. Will there ever be more, I would ask so often C4F4348B-5A7D-4E57-B429-29DF2B769643within myself of my life here on out. I saw no hope.

Now it seems that this past year, everything has been accelerated, as in making up for lost time.

Last September, I took a medical class that was completed in eight weeks. Let me tell you, it was accelerated and more so for this old mind to grasp, but I passed with a 94.

Now I joke when I tell those that need to know, like a new doctor recently, that I am presently seeing two counselors a week. While they overlap in topics at times, one I feel is to get me through a loss through feelings of abandonment and where I lost ground somewhat and the other is to push me forward. So, I told 9CFB3676-1B38-4E3B-ADD1-13B42DF06D9Fhim that I am in accelerated counseling, and we both laughed. Funny but true. I have lost too much in my life and I need to regain my years back, as my age is adding up to numbers that I find I shake my head at in shock. I want more in life and I know the Lord has more for me.

Part of my loss has been in my marriage, as I have mentioned in my writings at times.  Recently, talking to a sweet, young girl in our office the other day when she dropped off paperwork for me, well basically listening as she spoke more to my assistant.  I could not help but ache for her and encourage her before leaving. Here she is living with a guy for seven years, recently engaged of which I think pushed by her and understandably so, after seven years together. They are both miserable and she wants out but feels stuck, as she feels seven years will be wasted.  Hopelessly feeling she has to start again.  In my mind and my assistant’s mind, it is better to leave now before marriage, house and children.  Run sweetheart run! Who knows but God what is in store for her but hopefully more than a sad, depressed and unhappy relationship whether married or not. Good news, she left.

AB9D14D6-708F-442F-8401-55BBDF102E48So many things have happened in this last year moreso that I cannot help but see the Hand of God at work. While it was rough and I took a nosedive last fall/winter, I was being pulled through with my nose to the grind in the medical class, while most times falling apart in an emotional chaos afterward.  Another approach was with the acceleration with counseling this year that was put in place to keep me focused. Most importantly, trusting the Lord that He surely has a purpose and a plan for my life.  There is light at the end of this tunnel and I am going through.D2B58A4D-9428-4B02-898D-0BA474E1422B

We all need to make a choice of staying stuck or moving through. I was stuck for way too long, still am, but I want more. As they say, no hell or high water will stop me now. I have a goal, which is to move forward. Unsure what and where forward is right now but I know to keep going. I want the last course of my life to be fun, enjoyable knowing the Lord loves me and is with me.

D3529520-8857-4DFA-A404-23D03899AAD7You, too, have a choice. Unsure where you are, whether spinning your wheels or stuck in the mud, as I have been there. Decide you want more. Take care of you. If you need counseling to figure life out, get counseling. If your energy level is depleted, go see your doctor and get blood work. It might be that you are low in iron or off in other areas within your body. If depressed, get an anti-depressant for a bit to get over the hump. Go for a walk, if just for fifteen minutes or stand outside (then you can say… you are Outstanding) and look around and breathe. It is a start. Nobody can do this for you. You have to make a choice that you want more and that you are important enough. You Are!

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/god-can-restor-your-lost-years/

Escape Plan

33D9F4A0-764B-49AD-9BCD-7CB884F1E342I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.

No doubt, at certain times or in joking, the lyrics of that song were sung and maybe deep down wishing it to be true.  I know I have, many times.

Remembering a time while talking to my counselor yesterday, there was a time I did take a jet plane and flew out west to visit a friend.  I needed time away and was desperate to get out of my life, an escape. It was probably the worst time of my life, feeling lost and numb and wanting to walk away from everything and everybody. Trusting few as my trust in others was growing smaller and smaller.  How could I open up to a pastor or church leadership when the preaching and so forth was on faith, trust God, your joy is in the Lord, etc. Why be subjected to more pressure of not having enough faith and be disillusioned even further of my church family that seemed as distant and trustworthy as my own family.  Where do I go?

Thankfully, through these years, I knew enough and was strong enough in my Christian walk to know that the Lord was my only hope.  I have always heard through many sermons that we must know the Bible enough to grasp hold to the words as if we did not have a Bible to reference.  Plus, we cannot depend upon others to walk this Christian way for us.  I was learning that well through this dark, lonely wilderness.  I had nobody.  At times I felt invisible and walking through a maze blindly.

Since that time, I have managed and all by the Grace of God.  When I felt so alone, I knew deep down that He knew my name and He knew where I was and I had to say those words aloud so many times in desperation, “Lord, you know my name and you know where I am.”  It has been hard at times and still feeling my way through the maze of chaos and confusion but the end is in sight, I know it is. There is joy and then there is fear and sometimes they seem to slap one another within my mind.13578DBA-BF26-4992-B77D-DC5431BEBD1B

I am at a point again to escape but this time to settle some things and get a new perspective, alone.  Just me and God.  A sweet friend said the other day that she did this at a pivotal point in her life, just her and God hashing it out.  That is exactly where I am.  To escape as there has to be more and I need His direction.

966C8FC2-09BE-4567-AE40-A02F221B38AELife can be overwhelming and we can be consumed with hopelessness in situations.  If you make no changes in your circumstances, nothing will change.  We have to make a decision to want more.  I seriously started with this change back in 2014.  It seems like forever ago but there was a lot to sift through and I do not regret the time spent, financial aspect or the emotions expressed.  I am not the same person I was when I walked in my counselor’s office the first day, back in September, 2014.  I had to and you have to make a decision to start taking care of YOU.  Nobody will do this for you.

Sometimes we have to escape to find ourselves.  It’s okay!

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My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.  And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove. I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah. I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest” (Psalm 55:6-8).

https://stillnessofthemorning.wordpress.com/tag/psalm-556-8/

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