Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Haywire Hormones?

Hi!  I'm back.  We were gone last week for a fabulous vacation with friends in the mountains.  I will have a post with pictures hopefully sometime this week.  And, I want to finish my follow-up to the series I started a couple weeks ago as well.

In the meantime I had to share this link to an interesting article...Are Your Hormones Making You Miserable? by Dr. Mark Hyman.

This article immediately caught my attention because I've suspected for several months that my hormones are haywire.  I've been experiencing major mood swings, bouts of extreme anger, general irritibility, and depression.  And, it definitely corresponds with...you know...'that time'.  I've known that I needed to do something but I've really wanted to try something natural.  

This article gives 12 suggestions of ways to get your hormones back in sync.  And, guess what!?  It involves eating fewer carbs and sugars, eliminating processed foods, eating fresh foods & healthy fats, exercise - all stuff I knew I should do all along.

The article challenged the reader to try making the changes for 1 week and see how they felt. I've always felt overwhelmed by the thought of changing my eating habits so dramatically. But, I think I can commit to 1 week. So, I'm taking the 1 week challenge. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Follow Up to Come

I haven't forgotten about writing Part 3 to my series that I started this week.  I have a lot of thoughts I need to come back and finish.  

And, I'm happy to say that this has been a much better week than I've had in a long time.   Thank you for the encouraging comments/e-mails I received.  You'll never know how much they meant to me.

In some other news from this week....

 - I got a call out of the blue from an old friend I haven't seen or even talked to in probably over 11 years.  We've exchanged Christmas cards each year but that's the extent to which we've stayed in touch.  She currently lives in Alabama but she was in town this week and wanted to know if we could get together.  

    So on Tuesday night she and I met up for a couple hours.  It was great to see her again

 - Yesterday afternoon I took the 3 big boys to see Cars 2.  Even though Charlie fell asleep in the middle of it and we paid entirely too much for popcorn and 1 drink to share, it was a blast. Who knew Cars could be an action flick?   And Mater got to be a spy!

   My only hesitation with the movie...as exciting as it was...is this - Is it really necessary to incorporate guns, bombs, chase scenes, spy themes, and the word 'kill' (used multiple times) into a kid's movie?  I'm curious if anyone else saw it and what they thought.

 - My garden is starting to produce!  And, I'm so proud of myself that I've actually kept on top of the weeds!  We've had some fresh yellow beans, green beans, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes so far.  And, my mom sent over 2 baskets of green beans from her garden which I froze.  I put about 15 quarts in my freezer.  They boys actually enjoyed helping!

-  We've had beautiful weather this week...perfect weather really.  While I haven't accomplished a whole lot inside we have been enjoying being outside.

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dealing With Doubt, Part 2

(If you missed yesterday's post you can read the first part of the story here.  Continuing the story....)

Walking to the front of the church was hard and rather scary but I knew I needed prayer and I knew I needed to reach out.  Normally I would have had my husband come along up with me, but he saw someone he recognized who he didn't realize attended our church across the sanctuary.  He wanted to go say 'hi'.  And, I figured I was capable of going up by myself.

When I reached the front a man directed me to 2 women who were part of the ministry team and would be able to pray with me.  When I tried to explain why I was there I immediately started blubbering and couldn't seem to clearly express what was going on inside me.  (I have always been terrible at expressing myself when I speak...writing is the only way for me to formulate my thoughts into some clear meaning.)

I managed to get out that I felt like I was under spiritual attack.  I explained that I was struggling hugely with depression and doubt.  I shared a little bit about how those seeds of doubt started.  I tried to put into words in a minute or two what has been plaguing me for months.  I don't feel like I did a very good job.

As both women listened I felt very self-concious.  I didn't know them.  I had broken down crying in front of them.  And, I felt like I was just babbling and not making much sense.  They both just kind of looked at me.  The younger of the two women was looking at me rather sympathetically and with concern.  But the older of the two seemed to just stare coldly at me. 

When I finished talking the older of the two spoke first.  Her voice had the same no-nonsense quality to it of a strict teacher.  "Have you been reading your Bible every day?" she asked.  Trust me.  I understand the importance of staying in the Word.  That's pretty much drilled into every good church-goer from preschool years on.  I know that's what I should be doing.  But, everything has been flat and hollow lately.  The things I know I should do, the answers I know as a Christian haven't been enough.  Lately when I'd been picking up my Bible it wasn't the comfort it usually is.

"No" I admitted.  "I haven't been".  

"Well there's a big part of your problem right there.  You need to be putting on your spiritual armor every day.  Without that you leave yourself open to attack."  

With her words I felt condemnation spread over me.  It was my fault that I was going through this.  If I were following the 'Christian formula' of daily devotions I would be able to fight off the depression and doubt.  I felt like I shouldn't even be standing in front of them wasting their time.  What I needed to do was to start reading my Bible, not coming to front of the church for prayer.  (My perception)

The younger of the women was gentler with me.  She asked me a couple questions and then started to pray for me.  Her prayer was comforting and encouraging.  Her prayer lended me strength.

When she finished praying the other woman began to pray and it went something like this..."Lord we ask that you help Karen to remember the importance of daily coming to your Word.  Lord help her to remember first thing in the morning to start her day with you and not to wait thinking she'll get to it later, because later never comes.  Lord she needs to remember that she needs your Word to guard against the enemy's attack." 

Again, a feeling of condemnation washed over me.  The younger woman jumped in with a prayer that seemed meant to smooth over the other woman's words.  She prayed against any spirits of 'religiosity' and asked for God to reveal himself in a deeper way through relationship.

I was a mess the whole time....crying and crying.  And, when they finished praying I thanked them and walked immediately to the restroom to try to wipe my flushed face.  It was flushed not just because I'd been crying but also because I was so embarrassed.  I felt truly stupid for going up front and trying to pour out my heart to people I didn't know.

When my husband asked me as I was making lunch how prayer had been I couldn't answer him.  Once again the tears came.  Once we finished lunch and had the boys down for rest time I was finally able to sit down with him and share the whole experience.  I told him how the woman made me feel.  And, my husband was upset.  He wished he had gone up with me.  And, he wished she hadn't said the things she did.

The one positive outcome was that he and I had a really good talk that afternoon.  I was finally able to share with him fully how deeply I'd been struggling.   He knew some of it, but I don't think he realized the extent.  My husband prayed with me and for the first time in a long time I didn't feel completely alone.

(More thoughts to come in the next post...Part 3)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Dealing With Doubt, Part 1

This book sits somewhere in a box in my attic.

I know I've read it at some point.  And, while I really don't remember the content, the title has stuck with me.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how Christians treat other people - non-believers and each other.  Generally speaking we do a pretty poor job of showing Jesus to those around us.  Our love and the way we interact with the world should inspire people to say 'I want what they have!'.  Instead we seem to give people reason to point at us and say, 'Why would I ever want to be a part of that?!'

Do we build up and encourage or do we tear down?  Do we love radically or are we so concerned with being 'right' that we come across as angry and judgemental?  Do we live lives that show mercy, peace, and kindness or our lives pretty much the same as everyone else?

I have a story to share from this past Sunday, but first I need to catch you up on what's been going on in my life lately.

I've been struggling.  A lot.  In this post I talked about an acquaintance I'm facebook friends with who is an atheist and will post very anti-Christian things every so often on facebook.  Those posts have planted some seeds of doubt in my heart and mind.  And, that doubt has been growing and festering in me for a few months.

I also shared here that I picked up a book written by a Christian woman who had experienced similar doubts and wrote about how she worked through the questions with which she struggled.  I was hoping to find some answers or direction in that book, but instead I came away even more confused.

To put it simply I am in the midst of a spiritual crisis unlike any I've ever experienced before. Everything I've ever believed has been pulled into question. A perpetual debate is going on inside my head.   I have been unable to discern the voices - which are from God...and which are from the enemy.  I have been asking myself if God even exists.  And, the ramifications of  asking that question have been a crushing blow to my soul.

Even when I went through a very sinful, dark period in my 20's I still believed...I was just living out pain and rebellion.  This crisis is so different.  Everything is challenged.  And, I'm struggling to hold on to my belief.

So, this Sunday our pastor spoke about spiritual warfare, about the many different ways that our enemy would love to destroy us.  I have most certainly felt I've been in the middle of a battle.  Often, at the end of the service there will be a ministry time.  The congregation is dismissed, but those who would like to receive prayer can go to the front and meet with members of the ministry team.

I have a hard time admitting that I need help.  I feel like I should be able to cope with spiritual issues through prayer and reading the Word.  I feel like I should be strong enough to fight off doubt, depression, and fear.  But, I've been failing miserably.  So, I decided to go up front.

(I will continue this story in another post.  Stay tuned for Part 2)

Checking In

I'm still here.  It's been a really busy summer plus I've been struggling with what to write.  There's so much going on in my head right now.  I plan to stop in again soon and write an actual post.  I hope you are all doing well and having a great summer!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm Just Normal Now

image found here
While this isn't a picture of my dresses I have some similar to these.

Bit by bit I've been parting with some of my vintage dresses. I really have an emotional attachment to a lot of these dresses because I used to wear them back in the day. They were a part of my life. But, they have been taking up space in my closet & I hate to think of them just sitting there. I'd love if someone else can enjoy them as much as I did.

Today I took my collection to a newer vintage store in my town. The owner was in her fifties I'd guess, dressed very hip with dark hair and tats. As she was looking through my collection and we were talking I told her that I used to wear these. She asked if it was an everyday thing for me or just went I went out. I told her it was it bit of both, that I used to have bangs & I really liked the rockabilly look.

Then, she said to me (and I kid you not!), 'Oh. So what happened? You're just normal now?' Well, I explained to her that I now have 4 little boys who consume my time & energy. My post-babies body is hugely different from my body in the 90's. And, yeah, I guess you could say I'm 'just normal' now.
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