Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Girl in a Whirl

A recent email conversation with one of my friends made me think of this poem. I would just like to give a big AMEN! We just need to give ourselves a break once in a while.

The Girl in a Whirl
by 'Dr. Sue'
( a.k.a.. Vickie Gunther)

Look at me, look at me, look at me now!
You could do what I do
If you only knew how.
I study the scriptures one hour each day;
I bake,
I upholster,
I scrub, and
I pray.
I always keep all the commandments completely;
I speak to my little ones gently and sweetly.
I help in their classrooms!
I sew all they wear!
I drive them to practice!
I cut all their hair!
I memorize names of the General Authorities;
I focus on things to be done by priorities.
I play the piano!
I bless with my talents!
My toilets all sparkle!
My checkbooks all balance!
Each week every child gets a one-on-one date;
I attend all my meetings (on time! Never late!)
I'm taking a class on the teachings of Paul,
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all
I track my bad habits 'til each is abolished;
Our t-shirts are ironed!
My toenails are polished!
Our family home evenings are always delightful;
The lessons I give are both fun and insightful.
I do genealogy faithfully, too.
It's easy to do all the things that I do!
I rise each day early, refreshed and awake;
I know all the names of each youth in my stake!
I read to my children!
I help all my neighbors!
I bless the community, too, with my labors.
I exercise and I cook menus gourmet;
My visiting teaching is done the first day!
(I also go do it for someone who missed hers.
It's the least I can do for my cherished ward sisters.)
I chart resolutions and check off each goal;
I seek each "lost lamb" on my Primary roll.
I can home-grown produce each summer and fall.
But that is not all! Oh, no. That is not all.
I write in my journal!
I sing in the choir!
Each day, I write "thank you's" to those I admire.
My sons were all Eagles when they were fourteen!
My kids get straight A's!
And their bedrooms are clean!
I have a home business to help make some money;
I always look beautifully groomed for my honey.
I go to the temple at least once a week;
I change the car's tires!
I fix the sink's leak!
I grind my own wheat and I bake all our bread;
I have all our meals planned out six months ahead.
I make sure I rotate our two-years' supply;
My shopping for Christmas is done by July!
These things are not hard;
'tis good if you do them;
You can if you try!
Just set goals and pursue them!
It's easy to do all the things that I do!
If you plan and work smart, you can do them all, too!
It's easy!" she said…

…and then she dropped dead.
I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with striving for the ideal as long as we have enough perspective to realize that we're not going to get there in this life. We all need to work together to help others where they're weak and be humble enough to ask for help where we're weak.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ray of Light- Indian Summer

I'm LOVING the Indian Summer* we're having here in Utah. It has been in the high 60s and low 70s the past several days. It's nice to get a little chill in the evenings, but still be able to go outside without being bundled up. It has been SO good for my "winter blues" that it hasn't really been winter like yet. Still lots of nice sun...yay! Oh, and Halloween is even supposed to be close to record high...YIPEE!

* * * * * * * * * *

*Indian Summer: a name given to a period of sunny, warm weather in autumn, not long before winter. Usually occurring after the first frost, Indian summer can be in September, October, or early November in the northern hemisphere, and March, April, or early May in the Southern hemisphere. It can persist for a few days or extend to a week or more. This term is not related to the summer season in India. (Thanks so Wikipedia)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ray of Light- Success!

Ryan's birthday was on Friday. He turned the big 3-0! I figured now was as good a time as any to give him a surprise party. I've been planning this for several months and it's been KILLING me to not be able to tell him. We don't keep secrets...which is good, because that's not my best skill anyway.

Needless to say, it was a miracle that between my four year old son (he was there when I bought decorations and put them up) and myself we didn't spill the beans. Ryan was "totally snowed!" as he puts it.

It was a great success. Everyone arrived BEFORE we did. Until we walked in the house, Ryan still thought we were meeting his sisters to go out to eat. I had plenty of food (actually enough extra that we got together for dinner tonight to finish them off). I made a special design for the top of the cake (I made the design, but Costco lovingly created the cake and decorated it for me) that he totally loved...and it tasted good to boot! Overall it was just a great night.

I didn't realize how much stress it actually caused me until I realized I was shaking. My hands and heart rate didn't get back to normal until after the party. I knew it was important to me, but didn't realize just how much. I suppose the fact that I slept most of Saturday was also a good sign that it had taken it's tole.

I don't see myself doing another surprise party any time soon, but I wouldn't change the look on Ryan's face for anything. It was great!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ray of Light

This past Sunday I was asked to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting. This is definitely not my favorite thing to do. I'm not the biggest fan of getting up in front of people, but especially not when I'm supposed to be bringing the spirit to the room and helping the entire ward be spiritually fed.

But each time I'm asked to talk in church it's really like a little miracle happens. Each time I have been blessed with divine assistance. I often look back at what I've written and realize those words were not my own. It is such a blessing to know that God is there watching out for me and that when I petition His help and exercise active faith (i.e. study the topic, pray, try to outline the talk on my own, etc.) He will not fail me.

On more than one occasion after giving a talk, someone has come up to me and asked for a copy of my talk, or said how helpful it was to them at that time. I'm definitely not bragging when I say this because the words were not my own. And I'm always very quick to tell the other person that too. I really just feel like I'm an instrument in the hands of the Lord; sharing the message He would have those listening hear.

This time my talked was based on one given by Elder Perkins in the Oct. 2006 General Conference...."The Great and Wonderful Love." I would highly recommend you check it out! It would be WELL worth your time.

Real Mothers

I got the following message in an email from one of my friends. Sometimes it's nice to feel like you don't have to be perfect, to be "perfect." It's an amazing and crazy and tiring and joyful and exciting and stressful...thing to be a mom. I'd like to give a special thanks to all the moms in my life.


Real Mothers don't eat quiche; they don't have time to make it

Real Mothers know that their kitchen utensils are probably in the sandbox.

Real Mothers often have sticky floors, filthy ovens and happy kids.
Real Mothers know that dried play dough doesn't come out of shag carpets.

Real Mothers don't want to know what the vacuum just sucked up.
Real Mothers sometimes ask 'Why me?' and get their answer when a little voice says, 'Because I love you best.'

Real Mothers know that a child ' s growth is not measured by height or years or grade...It is marked by the progression of Mama to Mom to Mother...

The Images of Mother

4 YEARS OF AGE - My Mommy can do anything!

8 YEARS OF AGE - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!

12 YEARS OF AGE - My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.

14 YEARS OF AGE - Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either.

16 YEARS OF AGE - Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned.

18 YEARS OF AGE - That old woman? She's way out of date!

25 YEARS OF AGE - Well, she might know a little bit about it .

35 YEARS OF AGE - Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.

45 YEARS OF AGE - Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?

65 YEARS OF AGE - Wish I could talk it over with Mom.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ray of Light

The last few days have been good, bad, busy, sad, easy, hard, productive, lazy, etc. I think you get the idea. Pretty much I've been all over the map. Needless to say it makes me tired and I just haven't found the energy to get on here.

But even with the craziness I haven't failed to notice some "Rays of Light":

*Fresh fallen snow. (yes, I did have the post about winter...I don't mind snow, what gets me is the "darkness" that often comes during the winter.)

*Clean sheets

*2 year old preschool (all 15 minutes of it)

*Finished projects

*Completing a hard workout (notice, I didn't say doing)

*Spending time with friends

*Watching a movie and eating popcorn while cuddling on the couch with my boys

*Getting answers to my matter how simple or basic the question

*Having nursery aged kids actually participate in singing time, not just staring at you

*Taking a peek at my 2 beautiful boys sleeping peacefully

*Hugs from my husband after a hard day

*My boys eating without complaining about some aspect of the meal...miracles DO happen

*Escaping into the pages of a good book

*The smell of freshly mopped floors

*Watching my dad and son make cookies together

*FINALLY falling into bed after a busy, busy day

*Feeling the peace and assurance that can only come from our loving Father in Heaven

* * * * * * * * * *

Life is hard, but with God I can do hard things!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Well, if I hadn't figured it out by the temperature, the snow falling was definitely a strong indication that winter has arrived. Yes, it looks like it will warm up again, but none the less, winter is upon us and I'm worried.

Living in the South for the last 3 winters has made me weak. I don't do cold and snow very well. It really helps my mood to be able to get outdoors. I also thrive on natural light. Even rainy days are really hard on me (yes, that's coming from a girl that grew up in Western Washington...boy how I've changed!). I'm trying to keep rational and not freak out, but the more and more I think about winter, the more worried I become...especially if we repeat Utah's last winter!

I want to make it through this winter without crashing. I'd love ANY suggestions you have on avoiding cabin fever. I know most of you that read this site don't have depression, but that doesn't mean that your suggestions won't help. Please send your ideas!

Pesto Recipe

Since I've had a request for the recipe I figured I'd just post it here for anyone interested:


2 C. Fresh Basil (firmly pressed into dry measuring cup...not smashed)
3 T. Pine Nuts
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 t. salt
dash of pepper
1/2 C. Grated Parmesan cheese (fresh if possible, not the stuff in the green canister)
1/4 C. Grated Romano cheese (again the fresher the better)
2/3 C. Olive Oil

To prepare: Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet in a bit of butter. Wash & drain basil- remove stems. Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Freeze or refrigerate until ready to use. (Shouldn't keep in fridge beyond about 5 days.) Don't worry if a brownish layer settles to the top of the pesto after being in the fridge for a while...this is normal. Just stir it up and it will be fine.

For those of you new to pesto, it's super yummy on noodles or to be used a dip for bread or any other number of uses that sound good. I even used a little on top of a baked potato in addition to the normal toppings. If used on pasta adding additional cheese to the top finishes the dish. Be sure to know that a little pesto goes a LONG way. Don't use too much.

Hmm...this makes me happy just thinking about it. You can imagine what we've had the last few days!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ray of Light- Fresh Pesto

So this "Ray of Light" is much less deep then some of my others, but mmmm...but what's better than a home that smells like fresh pesto! Ahh...yes, in fear of losing all of it to the freeze that is coming this weekend, I harvested all of my basil and made 5 batches of pesto. I don't think it's the most cost effective way to go (good cheese isn't cheap), but it sure tastes a lot better than what you get pre-made in the store. So that's what's making me happy right now. YAY for herbs!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ray of Light- General Conference

Saturday and Sunday were truly feasts for the spirit. I have yet to have a General Conference experience that has failed me (or should I say, one where I have been spiritually ready). I know this will not make the darkness go away, but every time I fill my spiritual cup, I feel refortified for the storm I'm living in.

How blessed we are to have a loving Heavenly Father. He KNOWS that we need the spiritual feast that is General Conference. I can't even tell you how many of the talks seemed directed at me personally, and even more beautifully, many others felt the same way.

General Conference truly is a blessing and I feel even more blessed that I will be able to ponder on and reread these beautiful words again.


Somewhere inside me I found a ray of ounce of hope.

I am not an outsider! Satan cannot win this battle!

Over and over the phrases, "Get the hence Satan!" and "I will not let you win!" swirl in my mind.

My boys do miss me, but I'm just blessed enough that they don't fault me for it. Ryan was sweet enough to let me rest. He is such a tremendous husband to spend as much time as possible playing with them.

I need to reevaluate. I need to rebalance. I need to recalibrate.

My reality is that things will be going fine one minute and then the next I'll be on the ground, not sure what sent me there. I can wallow in my own misery and allow Satan to pollute my mind, but what good would that do? I would only be more miserable...exactly how he'd want me.

I do have a choice. It is harder than almost anything I've had to do, but it is a choice none the less and I want to win. I don't want to surrender to the darkness. So I'll reset my sites. Change my plan of action. Take things one day at a time. Recalibrate.

An Outsider in My Own Home

"I love my little family dearly and all I really want to do is to spend time with them, but I can't." That was the thought that kept running through my mind as I lay curled up under the navy blue comforter on my sons bed.

I could hear the excited laughter and giggles of my 2 boys playing with their father. Here I had a golden opportunity to make memories with the ones I loved most, but I couldn't pull myself out of bed.

I will give myself credit...I did try. Before I found my home in Bradley's bed, I was up on the couch. Again, I could hear their laughter and joy and decided I'd come join in the fun. I went downstairs and I was able to play for a few minutes, but that was all I could sustain.

I walked like a zombie into my sons room. I didn't even turn on any lights. I just lay there trapped in the darkness that is my reality more often than I'd like to think.

As I've said on many occasions, I wish I had the vocabulary to truly describe what I was feeling. Again, the idea of an out of body experience comes to mind. Inside my heart is SCREAMING for me to get out of bed and be with the ones I love. But my body, is manically laughing back daring my heart to just try it. And then I'm stuck somewhere in between...wanting one thing so much, but being unable to find the strength to do it.

I think what scares me the most is that I wonder if I was missed. Have my children become so accustomed to mommy sleeping or "resting" that they don't even notice when I've gone?

I am an outsider in my own home...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ray of Light- I love to See the Temple

Yesterday was a beautiful day. The sun was shinning, Ryan had the day off, and it was the perfect temperature. Although those things added to my overall feelings about the day, the chance we had to spend time at Temple Square.

Temple Square is a place filled with peace and joy unlike anywhere else in the world. Having lived out of state for the last several years my boys had not had the opportunity to be there. I have memories of going to Temple Square and they are always filled with happiness and joy. What more could I want than to have memories of happiness and joy for my children.

I was specifically inspired to take my little family there this weekend because of General Conference. This too is a WONDERFUL event held twice a year, but I'll talk about that in a future "Ray of Light." I wanted them to understand where conference was held and give them a glimpse of the spirit that is present during this wonderful event.

I wanted them to see the grander of the Conference Center. Where over 21,000 of people come together, joined in spirit by the many watching and listening across the world, to feast on the word of God.

I wanted them to touch the house of the Lord. To feel the same granite that faithful pioneers literally cut out of the mountain and worked for 40 years to complete.

I wanted them to feel the sacred spirit present as they listened to the words of our Savior and gazed at the Christus.

Overall I wanted their little hearts to be touched by the sweet spirit that can only be felt at temple square.

Again, it was a beautiful day. Yes, the boys were still 2 and 4 years old. No, they didn't start to cry like their mother did. But, I know it sunk in. As I hugged Bradley while we were looking at the Christus, I asked him if he felt happy. He quietly responded in the affirmative. I was able to use this most special of moments to let him know that what he was feeling was the Spirit of our Lord. He was feeling the Holy Ghost. Even as he sat there in his wiggly silence listening to his little brother mumbling excitedly about Jesus, I could tell he knew. I could tell his little 4 year old heart was touched. And that, that alone, made Friday, October 3, 2008 a beautiful day.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ray of Light-DBSA

There is NO question that my DBSA support group has been SO good for me. I know I've talked about this before, but I just feel so strongly about it. It has been such a relief to be able to go and be with others who understand what I'm going through. My family and friends have been great, but it's just not the same. I'm SO thankful for DBSA. What could be better than a non-profit organization that provides free services to those in need?

On another note (sorry, I'm really on a soapbox right now) we as a community of people have to do what we can to help educate America about mental illness. After each week at group I think it is SO obvious that we all fight the misinformation and the ignorance of those around us. I don't blame those around us for this can you blame someone for something they didn't know they needed to learn about? I'm not really sure there is blame to be given to anyone. What I think does matter is that we spread the word.

Personally, I need to be open about my disease and its affects on me...I'm trying to do that, that's what I have this blog. I also challenge those of you that are reading my blog to be open about mental illness as well. No, I'm not asking you to go door to door lecturing your neighbors on the misconceptions that are out there, but please speak up when it is appropriate. Teach your children that depression or bipolar or any other mental illness is as disease just like cancer or diabetes. Those of us suffering, didn't sign up for this. This has afflicted us just like any other disease.

Please help me, and others that are suffering with me, fight the stigma.

Okay, so I'm off my soapbox (at least for now). I do want to thank all of you for your support. It has been SO good for me to share my experience here and read your comments. Thank you for being there for me.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ray of Light

Oh my goodness...I've just been so busy (which always equals tired). Phew! But at least it's been a good kind of busy.

*For starters yesterday a few friends came over and we canned apple pie filling. It's seriously the best recipe around and so I was excited to do it, but without the generous offering of apples from my parents and the help of good friends I think the task would have been too daunting and I most likely would have never tried. Thank you, thank you for helping me!

*I also owe a HUGE thanks to one special friend. I got a special package at my front doorstep. It was the sweetest and most thoughtful way of letting me know that she cared. For starters just sending me something out of the blue meant so much. Then to send a book (I'm such a bibliophile), wow you couldn't have picked a better thing.
Then the message of the text of the book was so wonderful, not to mention the additional hand written message inside the book. You know who you are, and so I won't name names, but THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. It truly made what has been a difficult few weeks that much easier to bare. I love you and appreciate all that you've been for me.

It has TRULY been such a blessing to spend a little time each day focusing on the good. My life is really hard right now. I do my best to plod along through each days and I have varying degrees of success, but I can NEVER doubt that there is a loving Father in Heaven watching over me. I am constantly blessed by the little "Rays of Light" that come from above. And it is these simple rays that my my life worth living.