Monday, 23 October 2017

Coffee Grounds and Post Partum Depression



                                              


"Oops" he said with a nervous little voice.

I turned around to see our refillable K-cup spilled onto the ground. Elliott had tried to help me by taking it out of the machine and dumping it into the garbage, but it was too hot for him and he dropped it. Two months ago I would have reacted in anger. I would have exclaimed "Elliott!! What did you do?" and caused him to flee the scene in fear of a time out or having me tell him in seventeen different ways why he shouldn't have touched the k-cup in the first place.

Today was different. Even though I had two whiney one year olds in front of me, both upset at my lunch offerings and protesting loudly while throwing food on the floor... today was still different.

"Oops! You dropped it! I said in a calm voice."It's ok sweetie. It was an accident. Mommy makes messes too sometimes. Here let me help you clean it up." 

He happily helped me wipe up the mess and remarked at how tiny the coffee grounds were. 

"I need my magnifying glass!"  (I surprised both him and I by agreeing enthusiastically.) 

I asked him what he could do differently next time so this didn't happen.

"Ask Mommy" he said sheepishly. He gave me a big hug, and we both smiled and squeezed.


I would love to say that this is a result of the Positive Parenting seminar I recently attended (and I'm sure that in part it is- SUCH a good seminar!) but the truth is that two months ago I walked into the emergency room in my small town and nervously told them that I thought I needed to go on medication for Post Partum Depression. 

Friday, 6 October 2017

6 Hours

Looks like it did take an entire month for this post to happen. Sorry guys. It was a mixture of busy-ness and honestly just having trouble typing this part out. I love writing and I love sharing all the vulnerable parts of my life. I find it freeing and cathartic; I always seem to find a part of myself that I didn't know quite as fully before. So perhaps that's why I've been putting it off. Sitting down at my laptop and typing it out means that I have to really explore my heart and put words to how I'm feeling.

If you haven't been tracking along with the story about my Dad you can click on these links to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 first. We left off with the day my Dad moved into his own apartment. He had previously been staying with my sister Nicole, but that arrangement wasn't working out very well, so they found him a tiny furnished apartment in Chinatown. Nicole and her husband James dropped him off at 1 pm.

Friday, 8 September 2017

The Rehabilitation Stage of the Story

Well, it looks like I'm right on track for my monthly blog post. You probably can't tell, but that was sarcasm. I used to write *at least* one post a week. Life was... simpler back then (read:no kids)

Anyways, I suppose I should pick up where I left off in the story with my Dad. I've spent a lot of time on the details so far. The details of his accident, and then his first couple of hours, days, and then weeks in the hospital. For the rest of this story to make sense I'm going to have to give you some more details about his (and my) life.

My Dad is an alcoholic. Diagnosed? Admittedly? No, of course not. But make no mistake about it- he has an addiction. I'm not sure how much I want to share, but I can say that my relationship with him for as long as I can remember was shaped by his drinking. And then like a piece of clay that was shaped, it had hardened over time and through fire. And it was shattered, more than once.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Next 11 Days

We left off the day of my Dad's accident. I was 11 days away from my due date, but had been expecting to have the baby early, as I had with Elliott. As my sisters and I parted ways that night they both told the baby to stay put for at least another day or two. We left dad still in the ER, but we were told he would be having a drain placed and be transferred up to the Neuro ICU within an hour or two of us leaving. They hoped that once the pressure was relieved that they could take him off sedation and see how he was from there.

The next morning Gloria and I drove to the hospital together. We talked about our expectations for the day, which were largely about how we would have to figure out if Dad would be able to attend the reunion the following weekend. It was 7 days away. Would he be out of the hospital yet? Could he maybe attend if he was in a wheel chair and took it easy? Gloria seemed very skeptical he would be out that soon, but I thought it was possible. We agreed we would have to talk it over with Dad and his doctors.

Friday, 14 July 2017

91 Days

91 Days.

I hadn't spoken to my Dad in 91 days and now I was driving frantically to the U of A Hospital where he was being transferred to from Red Deer. All I knew was he had fallen off his roof and hit his head and the injury was bad enough that he needed to be transferred. Sometimes it takes a crisis to learn how calm you can or cannot be, and I think I did not too bad. It was about 3:30 pm. I had Elliott with me, and had packed him a sandwich, snacks, his water, pencil crayons and a toy car. I picked up my oldest sister Gloria on the way because she was too upset to drive, and off we went.

I wasn't sure if he would be happy to see me. We hadn't spoken in so long, purely out of stubbornness. It all started on Father's Day. I had spoken to him two days before, but then forgotten to call on Father's Day. It was not an intentional slight, and I only learned about it a few weeks later when my middle sister Nicole mentioned it. She actually asked if it was correct, because our Dad is known to forget phone calls if he has had too much to drink. I realized right away that she was right- I had forgotten. I felt terrible and planned on calling him later to apologize profusely and ask forgiveness.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Day I Stepped Out Of The Fog

Bit, rudder, fire. Bit, rudder fire.

I repeated it over and over to myself for days. In the book of James it says;

"A bit in the mouth of the horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem like no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything- or destroy it!

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that..." (James 3:3-6 MSG)

Out of (seemingly) no where I had remembered hearing a very smart woman speak on controlling your tongue. The context was completely different. She wasn't talking about parenting, but God used her words none the less. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Explaining the Fog

When you're in the middle of a thick fog, you can't see much else around you. I would sometimes hold my hand in front of my face, just to see if I still existed in that place. Because it's all around you, it's hard to see or think of anything else; but there isn't much to think about in a fog. It's like the color white - it isn't really a color, simply the absence of color. Fog is isn't something you focus on, it's the absence of focus and clarity. It's disorienting too, because you don't know if it stretches for only a few feet in front of you, or for miles.

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Beginning of A Journey Back

As we laid there beside each other in bed I wanted to apologize. I wanted to say that I was sorry for the last few months. Maybe even the last year or longer. I have been feeling so good this last week or two and it's actually been sticking. Not like the other times where it seemed like the fog lifted only for me to wake up a day or two later in the deep again. I wanted to apologize, but I was scared to. It felt like I would be claiming that I'm all better now, and then what if there was an expectation of me to be better. I didn't feel ready for that expectation, and I didn't trust the good feeling yet. So we laid there in silence, and once again I thanked God for how I was feeling better, and begged Him to let it stay.

I'm not sure where to start in this story, given that the story is my life. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when I went under the water, but I can recall many days of drowning. Drowning in depression, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by the smallest of things. It was long before Audrey was born, so I'm hesitant to claim PPD. In fact, pregnancy ended up being some of the hardest months of my life, and I struggled with so much guilt for not feeling joyful and elated for the baby growing inside my womb. And while I wasn't depressed because I was pregnant, it still it felt very wrong to be depressed while I was pregnant.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Our Small Town Life... First Impressions

Ok, we've been here for over a month now, and I figured it was time to jot down (well, type) some of my first impressions. Things I like and dislike, differences and similarities to St. Albert, and just some random thoughts.

People look you in the eye a lot more, and smile a lot more. I could probably write a whole post all about this, (and maybe one day I will!) but for now I'll just say that I like it. I really like it. In the grocery store, on the street, in the coffee shop, and *especially* on the street- people look up when you walk by, smile and say hello.


Friday, 5 May 2017

Stupid Boots

"Your boots are a little bit stupid"

He said it quietly, with no inflection, and I could hear the caution in his voice. It almost sounded like he just wanted to hear himself say it, to see what it might sound like.

It was my fault. Moments earlier, in a fit of frustration I exclaimed "These stupid boots!" as I attempted to shove his almost-too-small winter boots on his feet. The weather didn't demand them- his rubber boots would have sufficed, but it was Easter Sunday and he was wearing his dark blue dress pants. His winter boots, also dark blue, seemed to look better than the black and yellow tractors on his rubber boots.

I regretted it immediately. Stupid is a word we were taught to never say. I often joked as a teenager that the only two words that were forbidden in our house were the F-word and Stupid. The details are fuzzy, but I remember a story my Mom told of how she knew a girl growing up who was called stupid, and so she never wanted that word to be used. My Mom never swore. I don't swear. But apparently I do say the word stupid now, and now my 3 year old says it too.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

I Just Knew We Were Home


The bed seemed bigger. It wasn't. It was still the same queen size that we had in our old room in our old house, but still, it felt bigger as I laid there on our first night in our new house. Our first house. We've been married almost six years, and the whole time until now we had been living in the house I grew up in, which we rented from my Mom.

It might have felt bigger because the room itself is bigger than our last bedroom. It's hard to say though because the floor was covered with boxes so it certainly didn't feel too big.. until I looked up. The white popcorn ceiling looked just massive with the soft glow of our essential oil diffuser on the floor; the colours fading in and out, the scent making it feel like home already.

Either way, something was bigger and even in my exhausted state I suspected it was more than square feet. All I had done all day long was lift heavy things, and so the absence of weight in my soul was tangible. It felt like hope. There is still so much hard work to be done. A change of address can't cure everything, but it may just serve the purpose of shaking me out of that place that felt like my feet were firmly planted in drying cement.

Then I heard it; not as loud as I'm used to, but still there it was- the unmistakable sound of a train whistle.  As I listened to it I could hear Chris' breathing change to the deep ins and outs that sleep brings, and I just knew we were home.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Hobbies and Lacy Under-Things

"You need a hobby" he said.

It was said in the middle of a mini-argument. The details aren't important, but you know the kind - there was nothing actually wrong, and we weren't actually fighting, but things were tense. I had probably just brought up the budget or had criticized something he had done with Elliott. At least I'm guessing that's how it started, because this was his point- all I ever think about is the budget or parenting. And so therefor all we ever seem to talk about is the budget or parenting. And so therefor we have a lot of conversations that sound the same.... nothing is wrong, but it doesn't feel quite right either. As a side note - who knew that parenting would be something that we disagree the most on? Sheesh, I think I'll need to write an entire post on just that.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Minimalism, OCD and Digging Up The Foundation.

I'm in a season of change right now. I considered waiting to write about it until I felt as though the season was over, or at least until I had it figured out more than I do now, but instead I think I'll just bring you all along with. Chris always says that you are under no obligation to be the same person you were yesterday. It's true, but how many of us hold an obligation to ourselves to continue being the same person? Or maybe we hold an expectation to be "better?"

Ok, so in the middle of the soul wrestling I've been doing, I have tentatively jumped on the minimalism train. Like... I'm on it, but it's still moving slowly as it leaves the station and I still think about jumping off if it starts picking up speed too quickly. When I told Chris that I was starting to get excited about minimalism he looked at me like I had three heads and asked if that meant we had to take down the gallery wall in our living room? Because minimalism looks like a room with white walls and a wooden chair in the middle, doesn't it? Well... no. I don't really know how to do it "right" but I do know that when I went through the kids' closets and dressers, I felt a significant shift inside myself. I don't want to sound like a weirdo, but I also can't downplay this because it really felt... significant. Then a week or two later I read a blog called "Using Minimalism to Balance Your Uptight Soul" and I read a quote that says:

"If you're like me, you spend a lot of time up there in your ever-whirring brain. It might even be why you like to keep your physical environment so neat. The calm around you balances out the chaos inside"

Whoa.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Elliott Is Three!!

Three years old already? How on earth did that happen?? Time certainly has sped up, especially these last 5-6 months since Audrey came along! Speaking of Audrey, I think that watching Elliott grow in his role of big bother has been my favourite part of these last few months. He is just so sweet with her! Right from the start he has always wanted to hold her and kiss her. He can't walk past her without stopping to give her a hug or a kiss. When she starts crying he will try to comfort her by saying "It's ok Audrey. I'm here." or "It's ok Audrey, Mommy's almost done" (say, if I'm busy doing dishes etc) or he'll sing Twinkle twinkle or the alphabet to her. Even if I have left them both in the living room and Elliott is watching a show on TV and she starts fussing, he will move from the couch to beside her and while keeping his eyes glued on the screen he'll say "It's ok Audrey" and put his arm around her. It's equally hilarious and adorable to watch. Just this morning I walked into the living room where Elliott was putting stickers onto a sheet of paper while standing at the ottoman, and she was fussing, and he moved down to the floor beside her and said "It's ok Audrey, you can watch me do this" And now, while this story didn't happen with Audrey, I think it proves his big bro skills even more...

Thursday, 9 March 2017

That Boy On The Rocks

I was 5 weeks pregnant with our first baby and just that day the extreme fatigue had set in. I felt so disappointed, thinking that perhaps because the nausea was so severe I might avoid this symptom. Hadn't I already got the short end of the stick? Nonetheless I was still over the moon with excitement. I was meeting some friends at a nearby lake for a picnic dinner, and despite my condition I managed to whip together a broccoli salad and fresh blueberry muffins. Chris was supposed to join us as well, but ended up working late so I headed down to the lake by myself.

There I was, carrying my bag filled with goodies, water bottles, sunscreen and bugspray (simultaneously wondering if it was safe to put either of these things on my skin) my camping chair and my green tartan blanket from my trip to Scotland as a girl. All ready for our lakeside picnic, I made my way towards their sweet little family, huffing and puffing the whole way.

Thankfully for me, the nausea was kept at bay and we enjoyed our picnic lunch as I sat there with my little secret in my not-yet-growing womb. Afterwards their preschool aged kids all wanted to fish for crawfish, and so we headed towards the waters edge with fishing line, paperclips and hot dogs as bait. Their younger son, who must have been about 3 years old at the time slowly made his way over the big rocks to get to the shore. I hung back with him, expecting him to ask for help, or to reach his hand towards mine as he tried to find his footing, but he never did. Slowly and carefully he placed his feet on the rocks. A foot would slip and he would plant it somewhere else more carefully. I asked him if he wanted help, and he declined.

Monday, 13 February 2017

The Pastor's Wife... A Whole New Journey Of Blogging

Well, I've been a Pastor's Wife for two whole months now. I can't tell you how many times I've started writing a post (usually just in my head) only to stop and think "Hmm... can I share that?" It's a whole new ballgame for a girl like me - someone who has so openly shared the ins and outs of wifery and motherhood up until now. I hesitate, but then I remember that writing is a God given talent, and blogging is something I have felt the Lord encourage me in time and time again. I think that there is so much power in our words, and so much strength in the words that we choose to share.

And so here I am. A pastor's wife and a blogger. I'm sure I will find my way eventually as long as I am careful to listen to the Holy Spirit and as always honour my husband in what I choose to share or not share.

I used to work in the church we attended before. I was the receptionist for 4 years and I loved it. (I only quit because we started our family and I wanted to be home with my babies.) Something I was always acutely aware of was the fact that my voice was, in some ways, the face of the church. If someone called our church having no experience or relationships to give them a sense of who we were, my voice - my tone, inflection, cheerfulness... that was where their first impression was formed. I was always careful to represent the church well. People can change their minds, but first impressions matter.


Thursday, 12 January 2017

Home

January has me thinking about home.

Chris got a new job in December. Not just a new job, but the job. After 5 years of school, waiting, praying, and more praying, Chris now has a full time pastor job. This is so exciting for so many reasons, and I think I'll need to dedicate an entire post to how the job came to be (because obviously there were a ton of God orchestrated things that happened leading up to it!) but for today I want to talk about the biggest life change that is happening because of this job- we're moving!

Chris and I both grew up in St. Albert, and for the most part have lived here our entire lives. We love St. Albert and probably always will. More so than just this city, we love the house we live in, which happens to be the house I grew up in. When Chris and I first got engaged my Mom announced she was planning on moving out. My two sisters and I were shocked and saddened because we all grew up in this house, and the significance of living in only one house our entire childhood and adolescence (and adulthood for a couple of us!) was not lost on us. We all love and value this house. It has always been home. So when my mom decided to leave, it was the most natural thing in the world for Chris and I to decide to rent the house from her. It also ended up working out very well for us financially while Chris was in the school, because my mom renovated the basement to accommodate tenants which offset the amount of rent we paid. Such a blessing!

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