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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

So I Put Myself In Time Out

Sisters after our Good Friday service
Sometimes you just need to step back in this age of photographing every single thing that you do and enjoy the "undocumented" life. I have done a little of that recently and I can say that it has been nice. I can also say that a couple weeks ago I hit a place that was a little overwhelming and so I just put myself in bloggers "time out". I didn't plan for it to be that way so much, but sometimes life just happens.

It also works to my advantage because a few things have happened around here so I have plenty of blog topics for future posts. One of which I will say was our Easter celebration last weekend. We went to Good Friday service which was really amazing. Very moving. I left there in awe of what Christ has done for me. I don't know why, but it is one of my favorite services of the year. We went to the early service on Easter morning and then home to start cooking bacon, sausage and pancakes for our annual family brunch.

We didn't get a picture of the whole family this year. By the time everyone arrived at brunch a couple of the smaller people in the family had gone and put on play clothes.

I debated whether I should wear my wig or a scarf but ended up with a headband and hair. Now that I have officially been in public in my own hair, it is hard to go back to wearing a wig. I love feeling the wind blowing through my own hair. Weird but it is something that I have missed. We had some awesome pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream and every kind of breakfast meat you can think of (which is David's expertise).

After the meal was enjoyed we moved out into the backyard on the beautiful sunshiney day that was Sunday. The yard was a little mushy from the Saturday night rain but we found some higher ground. There has been basketball in the afternoon with the cousins for the past couple years as they have gotten older. This year we also added some yard dice, a gift I got after the benefit from my friend Jen and her husband who make these cool sets of dice for playing in the yard.

I started out the scorecard asking who would play and by the time we got going, there were nine cousins playing Yahtzee. It was a great two hour game and so much fun! Nine of them played and some of them learned how we score Yahtzee as they had to decide which way to go with the second and third rolls. Then there were a few of them who liked to find interesting and funny ways to roll the oversized dice. There was also a great game or two of lightning on the basketball court (otherwise known as my patio). It was fun to just be out in the backyard enjoying the laughter and fun with our nieces and nephews.

We eventually moved to Mom and Dad's next door. I had asked Zachary if he thought he may be too old to search for eggs. He told me that he thought he would be good for one more year so I had a couple of the kids hide he and Matthew's eggs in Grandpa and Grandma's backyard. It seems that they were hidden a little more than other years. Matthew needed some help and Zach found all but one until he needed a hint. Dinner followed with good food and conversation. I am thankful for our family traditions.

There were a couple of times when my mind wandered back to last year at this time. Easter 2016. I sometimes find myself doing that on holidays. I love the celebrations that come around each year on the calendar. This Easter though, as I stopped to think of all that has happened in my life since last Easter it is overwhelming. It was last year at this time when I knew that this strange lump that had grown to the size of a marble was something...not long after there would be two marble sized lumps and a great deal of pain. The rest is history.

I am more than thankful to my God for walking me through this past year. Walking beside me and those who love me as well as the times He carried me through the physical exhaustion of cancer treatment and the mental and emotion load. I am thankful for the lessons He has taught me through the emotions experienced in full color. There have been things I have had to repent of as well as things that I have overcome as we live day to day. I am thankful to Him for the friends who surround us with help for the physical needs as well as my coffee buddies who give me a good reason to get up out of the house every so often to drink coffee, talk and laugh. I am here, still here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Just Look Up? What?

It happened again...I recently heard said from the pulpit, from a pastor speaking to a crowd of people that depression happens when we look too long at ourselves, that somehow depression means that we are selfish and not thinking about others enough.Somehow, focusing inward on ourselves, we are depressed. If we would just look up, we could stop being depressed. That is actually a lie from the pit of hell that will never help a person struggling with depression to "get better". God has taught me the best lessons of growth in the darkness.

I have heard quite a few messages lately where like the television sitcoms that have become more and more obsolete, we can wrap up solutions to my "Christian life problems" in an entertaining and engaging little 30-40 minute talk. It doesn't work that way. Sometimes life gets worked out day by day, hour by hour, or moment by moment. We receive our daily bread and if this day is not very bright, He has given me what I need for the sunshine and the rain. I am His but yet, where I am is not my home.

If my depression is because I am not looking at Him enough, why is He there with me in that very blue, darkish gray, or black place? My God is with me there just the same as He is in the brightest of sunshine. I actually see Him brighter in the dark. In fact, by His Spirit, He has taught me (in the last 30+ years that I have lived with depression) that it is okay to be there for today. I don't have to "try" to work my way into the sunshine. Some days just are not sunny.

I love my God and that He gave us all David's words in the psalms to read and digest. He must have looked at himself a lot in the mirror based on some of those words. He was depressed, but ALSO focused on God. (Click here if you want to read more about that) He knew where his help came from. He had questions and experienced every emotion and turned out to be a "man after God's own heart". You don't get that title by looking at yourself too long in the mirror, by loving yourself too much. But yet, some of his best writing is where I go when I need the reminder that God is with me here whatever shade this day may be.