Saturday, March 22, 2008

Slow Saturday


plus this

equals this

Friday, March 21, 2008

My piece of the sky

My husband brought one of our lounge chairs from the backyard to the front yard. I've taken to finding a few minutes each day to sit on the chair under the camphor tree and gaze up at the sky.

It's been so delightful, to sit there and watch the leaves dance above my head. The orange blossoms perfume the air, and for a few minutes, it's just me and the earth.

We love stories

I went to Sam's class in December to read a few Chanukah books. After I read to the kids, I gave out some chocolate gelt and some dreidels. I got a little excited talking to this group of kids; third grade really seems like an age when you can start engaging them in some higher order thinking. For most of these kids, Sam is the first Jewish person they've ever met. They've maybe, vaguely heard of Chanukah, and the idea that some people in the world don't celebrate Christmas is fairly foreign to them.

So after I read the books I shared a little bit about how old Judaism is. How Judaism has been around since before the Greek and Roman empires. Sam wrote the Hebrew characters from the dreidel on the board, so they'd know how to play. And then my mouth was going faster than my brain. I rhapsodized that human beings have always wanted to share stories. Before the first alphabet, we told stories orally, or drew our stories on cave walls. My Classics major self wanted in on the action, and I drew some ancient Greek letters on the board, getting them to guess which letters in our alphabet they matched. Sam and I told them what the first few letters of the Hebrew alphabet are, and hey, check that out, they sound just like the first two letters of ours (not to mention that Greek alphabet I'd just shown them). I was fairly exhilarated at this point, none of this was in my plan for the afternoon. I gushed a wee bit longer, about how I hoped that each of them would one day stumble upon the subject matter that just absolutely light their souls on fire.

To be human is to have a story, and to want to share that story with others. The stories we tell now are in homage to the original story tellers. I get giddy when I think of how we are linked to the people of long ago.

Because I believe that sharing stories is an essential part of being a homo sapiens, I'm always surprised to read articles in which the author claims not to understand blogging. Blogging gives people the chance to share their story. Stories are how we connect, and it is no surprise to me, that in an era where so many of us live far from our families or our childhood hometowns, that we would use new technology to help us tell our stories, and connect with others.
These posts, (Jen Lemen, Bipolarlawyercook, and another one from Bipolarlawyercook)
by two of my favorite blogging ladies, have been in the back of my mind for ages now, and I think, in some small way I've touched on the pieces of these posts that I really connected with.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A new perspective on anxiety

I bought a whole bunch of books of affirmations from a few weeks ago for seventy-five cents apiece. I know, I know what you're thinking. I've probably made similar comments myself. Recently I've been listening to a cd of parenting affirmations, and I have to say, I've found it very helpful. I need all the help I can get in changing the negative automatic thoughts in my head- like a weed whacker for my mental roads overgrown with weeds. So after perusing a book by Sue Patton Thoele at the library, I click-click-clicked and hit complete purchase.

One of the books I picked up is "Heart Thoughts" by Louise Hay. I keep re-reading the page about fear. She says
Remember, when a fearful thought comes up, it is trying to protect you. Isn't that what fear is all about? When you become frightened, your adrenaline pumps up to protect you from danger. Say to the fear: "I appreciate that you want to help me."
Whoa! I love this idea- adrenaline is something physical that is released in order to help protect us. But sometimes- maybe often if you have an anxiety disorder- the warning is a little over-dramatic.

As I look at the pile of books next to my bed, I fear that I'm amassing quite the self-help library. Somewhere in the blogosphere I read a critique of sorts of self-help books. The author wondered why people would all want to be the same. I don't want to be the same as everyone else, I don't think that would be possible even if I were working toward that! I want to be me- I want to be the me I am on good days. I'd like to string the good days together, into good weeks and good months. Yes, I know that there is suffering, that life is hard (and hey, some of these books are Buddhist books, and they are so helpful), but I also know that I shouldn't have to struggle on a daily basis.

Mommy Mantras was another purchase, and I've looked at it weekly since I bought it a few months ago. My favorite one is "I can stand this." How many times have I said to myself "I can't stand this anymore!" when I've been in an uncomfortable parenting moment? It is so wonderful to stop myself and say, yes, you can stand this. you are doing it now.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Proof is in the Pudding Cooking

As I mentioned on my photo blog, what a week it's been. Last weekend I was away on a business meeting. I returned late on Sunday evening, too late to read to the children before bed. Monday was generally like any other day after a trip, me scrambling to catch up on laundry, work, and to get things in order for the week ahead.

I checked our voice mail, and heard my mother-in-law saying that my father-in-law had had a stroke on Monday morning. I tried to reach my husband, but he wasn't in his office and he'd forgotten his cell phone at home. He eventually called, as he was going to stop at the grocery store on the way home. I told him to skip the store and come home, that his mother called, and his father was in the hospital. Obviously there would be no 'getting back to normal' this week.

I'm done transitioning off of paxil and onto zoloft. I am really, really grateful that I was done switching before now. It has been so much easier to handle. Of course in any family emergency I would do what needed to be done. But it would have been immeasurably harder on me to have my husband gone for most of the week. It is hard to describe how I can tell that the new medication is helping. For one, even in genuinely stressful situations, I'm not having the physical symptoms that I was having in the last few months even at the highest strength of paxil. No more heart pounding like a herd of horses. No more trouble feeling like I'm getting enough air, no more weird tingly sensation in my arms. But it's more than that. When the kids do or say something that is upsetting to me, I don't immediately flip out and start thinking "omgomg the sky is falling." I can think internally, "hmm, that is really annoying. I don't like it. But, it isn't the end of the world." and react accordingly. And more than that, I'm not reacting, I'm responding.

The other thing I noticed is that in the last year, give or take a few months, there have been recipes that I've thought, gee, I'd like to make that, but then not done a thing to accomplish that. I have made more new recipes in the last three weeks than I probably made all of last year. There's a lot of elements to this seemingly small thing. I'm committed to Weight Watchers. I know that I need to plan ahead in order to succeed. I need to plan ahead even more when my husband is away. We've also been trying to plan meals in order to shop more effectively and less expensively. Where the medicine comes in is my ability to actually follow through on these things. Yeah, I'm crossing my fingers that the medicine will continue to be this effective for a long, long time. I try to drown out the fact that I posted about recovering in October, only to end up feeling just as poorly as I did before that recovery, if not worse. I do think I understand myself and my disorder even more than I did in October, so I'll be keeping a close eye on how things are going, and hopefully won't let things get to the point they were last summer.

So for now, the proof is in the cooking.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Love Thursday

Lots of love this week, lots of love.

My boy

I love this whole drawing, but especially the way he portrayed the crowd in the stands.

Maya's really getting into drawing too.

happy animals

possessed animals?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dear Internet

I send you messages in my head every day. Have you gotten them?

No? Drats.

Well, I will have to keep working on that brain to blog link up.

In the meantime, I'm holding steady. Or, sort of steady. I see the other side, I am almost there. Trying hard. Opening my heart to love, learning to let love lead the way. Fear has led for far too long. Trying to think less, talk less. Trying to just Be.

I kinda lost touch with hope for a few weeks. It's coming back I think. I'm witnessing, from afar: a mother's hope after the birth of her first sweet baby, who had two surgeries in her first week of life; a friend's hope, picking up the pieces after a beloved's suicide; another mother's hope as her baby undergoes care for a serious heart defect; and my sister's hope and strength as she navigates new terrain in her motherhood journey.