Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Family Tradition


Ever since I was a child we have celebrated May 1st as May Day by giving May baskets to unsuspecting friends. While living in Indiana, people were perplexed by my antics, not seeming to understand this tradition. It made me wonder if it was just a "Minnesota" tradition.

The tradition is actually derived from an ancient Roman and Druid holiday, which has endured and evolved for centuries. It is a celebration of spring turning to summer and traditionally a tall “Maypole” with ribbons woven around by dancers is what people think of. The giving of May Baskets came later and simply celebrates both the change of seasons and the joy of giving. Traditionally flowers are given in baskets, which dates back to pre-Christian Europe and is in tribute of Flora, the Goddess of flowers. I never knew the historical background to this tradition until I was researching for this post.

My mom introduced us to the giving of May baskets. We would fill a basket with cookies or something special and drive in our car to someone’s house. Mom would drop us off and we would leave the basket, ring the doorbell and RUN as fast as we could back to the car to hopefully avoid being caught.

As an adult, I have carried on this tradition with my children. It’s fun to hear the kids talk about what to put in the basket, what to write on the card and to plan how not to get caught! It’s a fun way to encourage someone and a good project to do with the kids.

I have done a basket like the one in the photo with pool/beach toys. I’ve done plastic picnic plates and napkins, candy, tea and many other things. We’ve given baskets to friends, neighbors and the elderly. I’m not at all crafty so I usually buy something inexpensive. One year I bought a pretty plastic bowl from Wal-Mart to use instead of a basket. If you are crafty, I have a few links with ideas to make your own May Basket at the end of this post

One of the reasons I like this tradition is that as I mentioned in my 100 things, I love to give gifts. Another reason is because I believe it’s important to encourage others. Many years ago when we lived in Kansas City, a man from our church named Russ had the gift of encouragement. He would send cards regularly to people with the sole purpose of encouraging them. I didn’t really know him, but I was blessed by his ability to uplift people through the gift of a card and kind words. It taught me the importance of encouragement. It is true that the devil’s most devastating tool is discouragement. It’s really quite simple to change a person’s day through encouragement. It can involve a text, card, e-mail, phone call or visit. Kind words can be so edifying. A May basket can be a neat way to encourage someone and to make their day.

Romans 14:19 ISV Therefore, let's keep on pursuing those things that bring peace and that lead to building up one another.

I’m tired of being consumed with my own troubles. I need this right now. When we encourage others it’s hard not to feel good ourselves.


http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/?s=may+day+basket
http://crafts.kaboose.com/maybasket4.html
http://www.theideabox.com/May_Baskets.html
http://holiday-kids-crafts.suite101.com/article.cfm/easy_to_make_may_baskets_for_kids

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Patience


I am usually in fast motion. I do everything quickly. That is not how I would describe myself at this time. I continue to have little energy and on the days when I do have energy, I lose it after only a little while.

I am excited that the energy is coming back but wish it were not so slow in coming. I feel like everything I do right now is at a turtle’s pace.

As I was likening myself to a turtle in my mind, I began to think about what a turtle represents to me. They are slow animals and the word slow is not in my vocabulary so they represent patience. Ugh! That’s a tough one for me! Once, a long time ago I prayed that the Lord would teach me patience. I’m a slow learner and God continues to place me in situations where I can learn to practice patience. Admittedly, I still have a LOT to learn, as patience is one of my greatest downfalls.

Webster’s dictionary defines patience as an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow recovery. Another definition is; to not become angry. Anger is a direct result of impatience. I know this too well.

God is incredibly patient with me. If He wasn’t patient, I would be long gone. He is my ultimate example. My husband and my father-in-law are wonderful human examples of patience. I can learn a lot from them.

I’m feeling a lot of conviction. Many of my emotions right now, I can’t control, but I am able to control my responses to those emotions. I will be patient because it is clear to me that God is using this very difficult experience to teach me, strengthen me and heal me. In his time.

The Bible teaches:
*But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Romans 8:25

*I waited patiently for the Lord; 
He inclined to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 40:1

*Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

I'm overwhelmed with the knowledge that I matter so much to God! He is molding me with care like the potter He is. It is His desire that I become more like Him. It is my desire to please Him.
.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Help


When I was a child my mom taught me the importance of servanthood. She taught me through her example. She continues to serve others daily, myself included. I chose a career where I get to help others. I love to do things for other people.

Until this past summer Kevin and I had lived away from family for the past 18 years. We have had very little help with the kids or anything else. While I enjoy helping others, I think my pride and insecurity has not allowed me to accept help in any way from others. I have believed it was my responsibility and that I was not worthy of the help.

The past 6 weeks I have had help everyday with the kids. A few people have brought meals. I’ve even reached out to friends old and new to ask for prayer. All of this has been a huge step for me. I have been surprised at how incredibly blessed I have felt by what others have been doing for me! It's amazing how that alone is good medicine.

While I may still be struggling to overcome my depression, I have been incredibly uplifted by what God is teaching right now I’m so glad I don’t have to do this alone. Thanks to all of you who have helped me by your words or deeds. You have truly blessed me and I am thankful for you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shades of Gray



I know in my mind that the flowers are blooming, the grass is turning green and the ski is blue. However, everything has looked like shades of gray to me. There is no color.

I realized this as I was riding in the car the other day. Someone else pointed out a few of spring’s beauties to behold. I could see but could not at all appreciate it. To me, it was as if I were looking through dark sunglasses that I was unable to remove.

I am however able to remember what things look like in full color; it’s just that currently I can’t see with those eyes.

I have tried over time to overcompensate for my feelings of depression by purposefully looking for a positive in every negative. I believe there is always a positive.

What could be positive about seeing things in the shades of gray, which represent my depression? I decided to go to the Bible for some answers.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 There is a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.

I am working through this time of sadness so that I can dance! I love to dance though admittedly, I’m a site to behold! My kids always laugh at me when I dance but I know they LOVE to see me happy.

Psalms 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

In many ways I do have a broken heart. I’m working through this in counseling. It’s not easy but it will be worth it in the long run. I wholeheartedly believe that the Lord will take what seems to be a horrific experience and turn it into something good.

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, Psalms 30:11

I remember a song from my childhood utilizing this verse. Oh how I loved that song! I love the thought of being clothed with the Joy of the Lord.

John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Joy is something that I want to feel with intensity like I have not known before. I’ve been praying that the Lord would remove anything that is hindering my ability to receive Joy.

Gray is not a bad color; in fact, I love to wear the color gray. It’s just that I don’t like what gray is representing in my life currently. God created all of the colors of the rainbow and I want to be able to appreciate them.

I’m looking for a rainbow, which is a symbol of God’s promise and because it’s a magnificent sight to behold! When I finally see a rainbow, I want to be awestruck by its’ beauty in the way that God intended for me to see it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Butterfly


This weekend I have been feeling so hopeless. It has been over a month and though I feel a little bit better, I am nowhere near normal. I see the doctor tomorrow.

In my attempt to remind myself of the things I love in my list of 100 things, I realized I forgot to mention the butterfly. Butterflies are beautiful and to me they are mesmerizing. I've been thinking a lot about butterflies lately and researched them a bit. I read a story about someone who was watching a butterfly emerge from it's cocoon. They were excited and impatient so they blew on the butterfly to get it to open its wings. The butterfly died. The moral of the story was that you can't hurry things along, they must happen in their own time.
I want to be free of this darkness. I want to participate in life again. I want to not feel like I want to scream when I'm around people. I am impatient.

I wish people could understand what a terrible illness depression is. The following are things I have been feeling:

  • Things just seem “off” or “wrong.”
  • You don’t feel hopeful or happy about anything in your life.
  • You’re crying a lot for no apparent reason, either at nothing, or something that normally would be insignificant.
  • You feel like you’re moving (and thinking) in slow motion.
  • Getting up in the morning requires a lot of effort.
  • Carrying on a normal conversation is a struggle. You can’t seem to express yourself.
  • You’re having trouble making simple decisions.
  • Your friends and family really irritate you.

  • Smiling feels stiff and awkward. It’s like your smiling muscles are frozen.
  • It seems like there’s a glass wall between you and the rest of the world.
  • You’re forgetful, and it’s very difficult to concentrate on anything.
  • You’re anxious and worried a lot.
  • Everything seems hopeless.
  • You feel like you can’t do anything right.

  • You have a feeling of impending doom - you think something bad is going to happen, although you may not be sure what, and/or...

  • In your perception of the world around you, it’s always cloudy. Even on sunny days, it seems cloudy and gray.
  • You feel as though you’re drowning or suffocating.
  • You’re agitated, jumpy and and anxious much of the time.
  • Your senses seem dulled; food tastes bland and uninteresting, music doesn’t seem to affect you, you don’t bother smelling flowers anymore.
  • Incessantly and uncontrollably into your mind comes the memory of every failure, every bad or uncomfortable experience, interview or date, like a torrent of negativity.
  • adapted from: Wings of Madness, Inc /www.wingofmadness.com/Start-Here/2/what-does-depression-feel-like
In my reading about the butterfly I also found out that during the Great Depression the butterfly became a symbol of hope. How interesting!
I need to continue to think about the butterfly because I need to believe there is hope for my future.

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

100 Things I love

I have been working on this for a couple of weeks. When I felt nothing, I tried to remind myself of all the things in life I love.

I am beginning to feel better. Every day is a step forward. I have gotten dressed 5 days in a row. I've been out of the house 2 out of 5 days. I've still got a ways to go but am thankful for where I am.


1. I love that I was raised to know Jesus from a young age.

2. I love my husband. He is truly an amazing person. I know that he loves me because he shows me every day in so many ways.

3. I love my kids. Each one of them is special and unique. They make me better for knowing them.

4. I love the smell of roses, almond, fresh cut grass, babies and a swimming pool.

5. I love a clean house.

6. I love the ocean and the many summers we have spent renting a house on the beach. I feel very close to God at the beach.

7. I love chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate but any will do.

8. I love my extended family. I love seeing myself in them. I also love that we have all become very different people. It's fun to share our lives together.

9. I love my parents. They are an awesome example of overcoming what life has dealt you. They have been married for 42 years.

10. I love birch trees.

11. I love iced tea. I'm not kidding, it makes me happy!

12. I love my friends. Each one of them nurtures a different part of myself. I love having many different types of friends. My friends make me laugh more than anyone else.

13. I love helping people. I believe that in this life there is pain and it is unavoidable but being able to lesson ones pain by being compassionate is my God given gift.

14. I love to read. It's my favorite when I start a book and the whole world ceases to exist until I have finished it.

15. I love to decorate. I like choosing color, shopping for just the right thing and seeing the finished product.

16. I love music. Linnea has a shirt that says 'music makes me happy'. It really does.

17. I love the 80's. We were fashion challenged but it was so much fun. I still love big hair to this day.

18. I love going out on dates with my husband. It doesn't have to be fancy, just being ALONE is fabulous!

19. I am a certified scuba diver. I love the peace I feel when underwater. It is truly therapeutic. I haven't been in many years, but I remember the feeling well.

20. I love the sound of a train when I am sleeping.

21. I love buying shoes and jewelry, both can make a plain outfit fabulous!

22. I love it when God prompts myself or someone else to pray for someone and then we later find out what was happening at that moment.

23. I love people who are encouraging.

24. I love joyful people. You know, the ones who are always happy and upbeat. I think I gravitate to those people hoping they will rub off on me.

25. I love getting my hair done. I love it so much, sometimes Kevin will give me a card on haircut day.

26. I love a lazy day in the sun at the lake or the pool.

27. I love vacations. My ideal vacation is somewhere with a beach, pool or both where someone waits on you and brings you food/drink. That and a good book is heaven!

28. I love a good martini. It has to be fun and fruity.

29. I love falling asleep next to Kevin. It is my favorite part of the day.

30. I love to ride horses.

31. I love when the weather is cool enough for jeans and a sweatshirt and warm enough for flip flops.

32. I love sunshine.

33. I love the newness of Spring when the flowers are beginning to come up and birds are busy making their nests.

34. I love the first snowfall.

35. I love cuddling in front of the fire place.

36. I love it when my family is all together. This mama prefers it best when 'all the chicks are home in the nest'.

37. I love Sunday mornings. We go to Saturday night church so on Sunday mornings we usually watch the Food Network and then go shopping for the ingredients to make one of the things we saw on TV. Some of my favorite recipes have come from Sunday mornings!

38. I love taking a bath. It's my very favorite.

39. I love to work hard. I don't believe in doing anything half-way.

40. I love the patio at Club Soda. It holds a great deal of amazing memories!

41. I love waking up at my parents house and seeing my mom on the couch reading her Bible.

42. I love having my kids home in the summer!

43. I love anything with cilantro.

44. I love to entertain in our home.

45. I love making and completing lists!

46. I love the color BLUE in all variants.

47. I love when my kids have their friends over. I like to be "that" house.

48. I love climbing into a bed with clean sheets.

49. I love using adjectives.

50. I love giving gifts. I love searching for and finding the right thing to give that I know someone will love and use. I love the look on the persons face when they like what I bought.

51. I love the sound of crickets chirping.

52. I love roller coasters.

53. I love bubble gum.

54. I love laughing so hard at anything I cry.

55. I love the cold side of a pillow.

56. I love it when the trees are ice/snow covered. It makes me wish I were a good photographer.

57. I love going shopping and finding what I wanted on sale.

58. I love playing in the rain.

59. I love it when I try to be crafty. I'm not but once and a while, I give it a try.

60. I love it when my legs feel like jello after a workout.

61. I love drinking a frozen coke.

62. I love whoever invented the GPS system. Now I don't have to get lost all the time.

63. I love it when Kevin plans a date night all by himself, including the babysitter.

64. I love the smell of a donut shop.

65. I LOVE the state fair.

66. I love our family tradition of eating home made ravioli at the holidays. It's so good!

67. I love how I feel when I am with Kevin.

68. I love Roman's laugh.

69. I love to hear Spencer singing from his bedroom.

70. I love remembering each birth of our children. I remember every detail like it was yesterday and I never want to forget because they are my proudest moments.

71. I love that Kera choose Kevin and I to be Rya and Roman's parents.

72. I love it when friends just "drop by".

73. I love chocolate banana malts.

74. I love Ebay. You'd be surprised by the fabulous things I've found!

75. I love pear and marshmallow jellybeans.

76. I LOVE spring!

77. I love the beautiful sound of birds chirping.

78. I love it when I actually look good in a photo. It's about 1 of every 100.

79. I love when people ask if Hannah and I are sisters!

80. I love when Kevin has the day off.

81. I love Linnea's sweetness. She's so easy-going and kind. I want to be more like her.

82. I love my in-laws. They love me unconditionally and I know that.

83. I love a good mystery.

84. I love how when Sterling walks into a room everyone yells "STERLING" just like Norm on Cheers. He is loved by the young and old alike.

85. I love to spray paint things.

86. I love how Hannah can totally stand up for herself. I'm not like that.

87. I love how Rya is so stinking smart. She's amazing!

88. I love to see my kids passionate about things.

89. I love being an Auntie. I also enjoy seeing my siblings as parents.

90. I love the comfort of home in Minnesota.

91. I love(d) the field of adoption.

92. I love to watch Linnea score a goal.

93. I love listening to Hannah, Spencer or Sterling sing.

94. I love it when Rya spontaneously sings 'Jesus Loves Me'.

95. I love how Roman uses everything as a basketball hoop.

96. I love it when someone brings me a meal!

97. I love gift certificates.

98. I love finding a bible verse that seems to be written just for me.

99. I love spending all day at the pool or beach.

100. I love that when I was 18 years old, I met and fell in love with a man who would prove to be my true knight in shining armor. I have been blessed beyond words to have Kevin as my husband.




Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sometimes a Gift is Not What We Imagine

I love giving gifts. I enjoy looking for the perfect gift. I love watching the reaction as the receiver opens the gift. I'm especially fond of getting gifts. I have learned that it is one of my love languages.

Sometimes a beautifully wrapped package may contain a gift which does not live up to the beauty of the package. Then there are packages that may appear from the outside to be not much to look forward to. I'm imagining a crushed box, wrapped in paper from a grocery bag that is a little torn.

Well, I was recently the receiver of such a gift.

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way.
If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought." James 1:1-4

My friend Candy sent me this verse. I will admit that it is verses like these that make me initially angry. Oh yeah, a gift. Well I don't want it, can I return it? I didn't ask for it.

After I read the verse several times I was reminded of the name plaque that my parents had given to me as a child. It read 'Beauty of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom but before honor must come humility'. (Proverbs) I remember thinking "You mean I have to be humiliated before I can be honored?". That sure didn't sound like fun to me. Through the years, I have been humbled many times. I can remember my mom saying to me many times in different situations that occurred "..before honor must come humility". What I learned though was that God will continually use situations in my life to mold me into the person he would have me to be.

Here I am dealing with depression and that verse in James really resonated with me.
I'm not considering the depression a gift but I have seen some gifts through the experience so far. I have been gifted with my mother in law who has so unselfishly put her life on hold in order to care for my children and my home many days. My father in law Dwaine is driving the kids many places and keeping things in working order in the home. The same with my parents who are spending a couple of days each week at my house. My dad is keeping Roman and Rya busy by taking them on long walks to the park. My mom is on the move all day cleaning and cooking.

God is teaching me to trust him more. I have lost control of most of the things I was used to controlling in my life, and guess what, I don't even care that I'm not controlling them! Wow.

I am beginning to feel better. By that I mean, I have started to leave the house a little, I feel more clear headed and I have a little more energy.

The biggest "gift" is that God has given me a lot of time to think about how my faith works into this equation and how I can use this as a time of spiritual growth.

The crushed torn box I opened has contained 3 weeks of sickness, growth, spiritual awakening, learning to accept help and I haven't even gotten to the bottom of the box yet.

Please continue to pray for me.





Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jesus

I can feel my family becoming frustrated with me. I am frustrated with myself. Why can't I get out of bed? Why can't I eat? Why can't I do simple tasks? Most of all, why can't I take care of my family? I wish I could explain it. I wish I could just wake up one morning and everything would be back to normal.

Yesterday I found out that a friend of mine gave birth to a stillborn baby. They had been told they could not get pregnant, adopted and then miraculously were pregnant! What a sad ending to a very incredible story. I think about what they are going through and know in my heart they are finding a way to praise the Lord through their circumstances.

Another friend who has been a light in my life found out this week she has breast cancer. I haven't talked to her yet, but I know she is leaning on her faith during this very scary time.

I am spending my time alone with the Lord, thanking Him for all the things he is doing in my life because of depression. Asking Him to help me to become the person he wants me to be and praying about what he has in store for me in the future. One day I hope to be able to thank him for allowing me to go through depression itself. I know in this life there is pain. We are not to expect that things will always good. So in all things, I will praise him!

Psalm 116:3-9 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: "O LORD, save me!" The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simple hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.