Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Relief in sight

Here is a page from my art journal. The hut pretty wonky (hey, it's my first attempt at a jungle hut), as are the clouds and palm trees! ha! But hey, I like how the ADRA lettering turned out. I like the bold colors paired with black.

It's nice to know there are agencies in the world that provide comfort, relief, and tremendous support to people in the face of tragedy. One of my favorite organizations to support is ADRA, which stands for Adventist Relief and Development Agency. This agency has helped so many countries in need--Katrina, Haiti, Japan, you name it. They also help communities in developing countries learn how to take care of themselves, not just to survive, but to thrive. That's so important!

In the past couple of years, ADRA has created an inventive way to help people--through their catalog. You can go to this catalog online (or request one via mail) and see just where your dollars will go. For instance, as the mother of an 11-year-old girl, I found one particularly meaningful: for $20 a month, I can prevent a young girl from becoming a child bride. The money helps her parents support her, feed her and educate her. That is so great, in my opinion.

Sometimes it feels like there are so many problems in the world, it's too much for one person. But if I help one little girl, who knows where that will lead? It is incredible to think of what that little girl could be, could do, if only she had a chance. My Hannah will have many opportunities. The least I can do is make sure another little girl, from a continent far away, will have just a few of those opportunities.

I think I'm doing a little better emotionally. Yesterday's visit with the doctor went really well. She spent an hour with me--that's unheard of. But as she is also a Christian, she tried to help me remember that we all fail and mess up and that we just have to keep going forward. For some reason, I'm not very good at that. I live in the past too much, sometimes without even realizing it. But I'm trying to keep my chin up.

All for now,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness??

Confession: I had a true meltdown Tuesday.

It started with a school uniform.

I should have known it was coming, given my state of mind the past few weeks. I only did it with John and Hannah there, but I couldn't hold in my frustration of all the past several months. Paper was thrown, not-so-lovely words (gasp!) were heard, my voice increased ten-fold in decibals, and all over a stupid uniform.

Well, it's never really one thing, is it? John losing his full-time job, the car being so quivery and not working right, acting like it was going to break down all last fall, and on and on and on. It's like the niggly little things all snowballed into one huge weight that refuses to roll off our backs.

The past four years, we have tried and tried to figure out exactly which type of uniforms are acceptable. Of course, one can go the expensive, buy-it-from-Parker-firsthand route. Which will make you did so deep into your pockets, you can tickle your own ankle. OR... you can go to area second-hand stores or Kid to Kid, which carries non-Parker brand, but uniform-style at least.

So (deep breath), I bought two NEW skorts last week. Then Hannah comes home and says it's not the right one, or at least her teacher makes an announcement and says that some girls are not wearing the correct skorts. Now, I must tell you that my daughter has this horrible habit of smiling and being so chipper when she tells bad news. And lately, it seems the more stressed WE get, the more she needs reassurance (of course, that's reasonable), but instead of backing off, she tells us bad news after bad news like she's waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The other shoe dropped.

Something about that stupid uniform set me off and I was angry. I was LIVID!!! I didn't throw things AT John and Hannah, mind you. But I took the paper recycling bin, and starting ripping and shredding and tearing into it like there was no tomorrow. I'm not exactly thrilled the screen door was opened and all the neighborhood heard my brief, but anguished cry for a less-stressed life.

I know I scared my baby. I feel bad about that. But I realized that I needed to just get mad for once. Not cry. Not simper. Not whimper. Not coddle my angry mood until it goes back into its corner for round two or three or 58 of a crappy life. I needed a no-holds-barred outlet of raw, mental pain that won't let up and has been building for days, weeks, months and, at times, years.

I feel like I need to just go to a cabin for three or four days. Just totally get away. As someone who needs utter peace and quiet, those things are nowhere to be found. I go to many a park, true, but it's so hard to find true quiet, where people are not traipsing up and down and everywhere. And yet to go somewhere truly remote is, well, in today's world, a concern. My pepper spray will only help so much.

When I finally made eye contact with John as I took a breath, the love in his eyes, the concern, was nearly my undoing. I wanted to melt. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to say, "I don't deserve your love, go away, I can't handle any of this anymore."

This is what I wrote later that evening.

I see love
in your eyes

not the hate or greed
or pride,

I see me
the way I long to be
I see love
for all

The bleachers,
the Vows
you love me
even now.

The day we said
I DO--
it all goes back
to me and you

I think I shall never see,
Something as lovely as...
gazing back at me.

"One day at a time," John said, when I asked him how was I going to get through this horrible depression. "One day at a time."

All for now,
a miserable, shaky, feeling-forsaken Tricia, still reaching out for His strong hand

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A light in the darkness

First of all, I want to say that my heart goes out to the people of Japan. I'm so sorry for the losses, the heartache and tragedy they are dealing with. I pray they will continue to receive the aid and support of people everywhere.

Lately it's been hard to catch my breath, actually for both John and me. It just seems like life goes at such lightening speed! I have no idea how people, especially moms and wives, work outside the home (part time OR full time!) It just seems like there's "always something," doesn't it?

Maybe that's why I've been struggling with depression again. Just that awful, overwhelming sense that I can't get caught up, and want to cry often. But really, it's more than that. I think the combination of tragedy in the news, plus earthquakes, plus personal struggles has just done a number on me.
I think most of all, my hormone stuff, which I thought we had figured out, is still up in the air. Basically, my doctor is trying to figure out the dosage I should be taking. Meanwhile, my face has broken out SO bad on the bottom part of my face--it's so embarrassing! I know, I try to keep it in perspective with the Japanese who have lost so much this past week. But still...

I hate that deep DARKNESS. It's so hard to just function when I feel like crying so often. I hate feeling on the edge of either crying or yelling at someone. Last week some neighbor kids came over looking for Hannah, and when I told them she wasn't here, they asked, in what I thought was kind of a snotty voice, "Where is she?"
I could have handled that, but they just stayed outside the door, peering in our window! What in the world??!! The one girl, hands on hips, still continued, very demandingly, "where IS she?" loud enough for me to hear through the window. It was such a weird exchange! I tell you one thing: I wanted to yank that door open and tell her... Well, I should stop there. But I took a deep breath and opened the door and actually said, "I don't want to hurt your feelings and I don't know a nicer way to say this, but it's really none of your business."

The question itself didn't bother me so much as the attitude. Grrr! These young girls, sister, really *are* sweet girls. I think they just didn't realize how they came off.

But the thing was, I was so CLOSE to yelling at the oldest! But I knew, really, that it wasn't just her. It was me, with my hormones and all being so close to the surface.

Fast forward a few days: The same girl, we'll call her "S," knocked on the door. Thankfully, Hannah was home and could play. But I decided to talk to them then and there. I gathered both girls close to me, squatted down, and told them that they had upset me the other day. That because they were so demanding, that it made me feel like getting mad at them, and that they need to learn 1) to ask questions in a sweeter manner and 2) that there are some things in life that are none of their business and they need to learn what sorts of things they are. I felt kinda stupid, because my voice got a little "quavery" while talking with them. Their eyes were as big and round as they listened to me. I could tell I had their attention--maybe being near tears helped them listen even better. (Wasn't trying to be manipulative!)

I just think there are not enough people in this life sitting down to explain things to children (or adults for that matter). We are all in a hurry, rushing and huffing and puffing if someone offends us. But we don't take time to sit down and say, "This bothered me. I need you to do _____ so I don't want to yell at you. Can we change how we do it next time?" I know it's not always possible. And that one night, I absolutely felt like I could NOT do that to save my life!

But I don't ever want to give up! There are so many fake, mean-spirited people out there who say they love God and then turn around and would just as soon "spit on you as to look at you." Or whatever that expression is. And I'm tired of dealing with those Christians myself. I'm tired of them giving a representation of God that does not even come close to what He's really like.

Last night, John and I came up with reasons for me to "give thanks" for my depression. (Deep breath) Here we go:

~ It makes me want to get closer to God, to read my Bible more.

~ It makes me want to help others who are hurting too, to reach out to them, and to pray for them. I know what it's like to hurt, and I know the darkness of a mental illness (if you count depression as one).

~ It makes me stop thinking about myself and focus on someone else. I can't always go and "volunteer" somewhere, as people sometimes suggest. But I truly do pray for people, think of them, and try to write little emails or notes of encouragement.

~ It makes me want to help Hannah and John get closer to God. That way, even if I can't help them and show them love when I'm feeling so down, they have Someone who can show them loads of love.

~ I realize how dependent I am on God for my very breath, and how I can't do anything without Him.
All for now,
p.s. My doctor and I decided that, while we're trying to figure out the best progesterone dosage, I will go back on an anti-depressant for a while. I'm also taking something natural to help me sleep better.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I keep thinking I'll get some time to share what's been going on in our house, but just can't find the time. So, I guess it's time for the Highlights of the week:
Took Hannah to the eye doctor. Surprisingly, the doctor said her eyes have corrected themselves except for her astigmatism. So she still needs glasses, but not to wear them as often. Any eleven-year-old girl is happy to hear that!
Tuesday was a lonnnnng day. Hannah is supposed to tell us every bit of homework she has. Lately, she has, um, become more forgetful in that area. I think it truly is "selective memory!" Tuesday she told me quite breezily that she only had two things for homework, and "just a little" in a third. Fast-forward to 8:30 p.m. or so. Hannah starts looking tearful while on the couch. "Um, Mommy?" She begins. "I forgot I have a science, uh, test tomorrow!" Upon my stern, exasperated look, she added, "the teacher just told us only today, Mommy!"
Whoo-boy. I tried to squelch my annoyance. This is getting to be a bad habit. The past few weeks, she has forgotten to bring one thing or another home, a book, a list of something, a lab report, and on and on.

I got her book, and then we began the long process of studying for a test, on three chapters she had not even read yet. I know, I suppose other parents go through this all the time. Thus far, I have tried to be understanding. She seems truly remorseful... each time! ha!
When we were done, I told her that she would have a "consequence," for this. She was embarrassed and mortified, being cut of the same cloth as me, where even a "look" seems to discipline her after a fashion. It was simple: no Flipper, or I Love Lucy, Wednesday night. Nothing. I think it's just hard because, really, it's been years since we've had to do something like that. She's a little perfectionist and I know we got it easy that she cares about her grades and keeping things running smoothly in general.
But it was so hard. I don't know. The thing is... she gets so emotional that I felt like I was on tenterhooks. Once she gets all weepy and emotional, the homework situation can go on for HOURS. (sigh) So you have to tread carefully.
Thank goodness for Spring Break now--time to recover.
Hannah and I took daddy to his job at Tarrant County College and then drove to the Botanic Gardens. We had a fun, giggly time that (almost) made up for the stress of Tuesday evening. We skipped, frisbeed (is that a word?), smelled early blossoms, contemplated carving our names into the names of a big ol' tree. (For the record, she tossed out carving hers and a little guy friend's name on the tree, but I nixed that idea in a hurry! ha!)
Next, a little supper and then a date at Barnes & Noble where she used some of her birthday money to buy two cute little stuffed animals. She's definitely in that "not just a girl, not yet a woman" phase, vacillating between carving boys' initials on trees and buying puppy and horse animals!

I'm just trying to enjoy every day of it.
And Friday? It's called... Crash! I'm telling you, the last few weeks have been so busy, I can barely see straight. We're also dealing with a bully problem at school, and that takes every last ounce of energy and drop of wisdom a parent has (not to mention time on our knees...)
I guess that's it for now. Hope you enjoyed the update!