Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ray of Light

*Candles in the window

*Ruth coming home from China

*BYU Football...GO COUGARS! (they better win!)

*Kindergarten Christmas Party

*Watching the boys pick presents for their dad

*Last day of school until next year

*Knowing Ryan has the rest of the week off work

*Glad that the holiday craziness is almost done...now to just enjoy!

*Snow (as long as you don't count shoveling!)

*Christmas Cards

*Holiday music

*The smell of wassail

And most importantly....

*A baby in a manger and the miraculous life He lived.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ray of Light

*Watching Bradley drive off with Grandpa for his very own Grandpa and Bradley movie date.

*Listening to his excited exclamations after he returned from the movie.

*Pumpkin pie!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ray of Light

*Having Family Feud go so well with the Young Men and Young Women in our ward on Wednesday night.

*Being able to take a break Thursday so I could build up steam for Friday's family wedding.

*Watching my brother-in-law, Dan, and now my sweet sister-in-law Steph be sealed for time and all eternity. It was a beautiful day.

*Having another day to recoup from the craziness of a wedding! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ray of Light

*A supportive husband that can talk me through even the hardest times...and if that doesn't work he's there to hold me while I cry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ray of Light

*I can get SO much information with just a click of the mouse...the internet is truly a blessing and one that DEFINITELY makes my life easier.

*A teacher who is doing all she can to help my child not get bored in school...it's hard when they're smarties like their daddy!

*Warm showers on a cold day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ray of Light

*Pulling the latest book order out of Bradley's backpack...pure joy right there!

*A sunny morning...even if it's still cold at least there's sun.

*Loading a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand.

*Having my own floor to sweep, instead of one that I rent.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ray of Light

It's been too long...

...I can't say my life is fabulous right now. The last few months have been some of the worst I've had, but I made a medication change and I cautiously optimistic that maybe things are looking up. But one way or the other, I still have so much to be thankful for so at the very least I can mention those things that bring a light to my life during the darkness.

*Making apple turkeys with my boys (oh, and one "apple Braeden." He didn't want an apple turkey. You can see him on the right with the spiky hair, not feathers!)

*Hearing Bradley say his line in the primary program perfectly.

*Asking Braeden if he likes preschool and listening to his response, "Sure do!" (pronounced "shore dooo!" with kind of a western accent)

*Getting notes from my 5-year-old that say, "You are fantastic, Mom!" (after he asked me how to spell each word.)

*Having my 3-year-old lovingly pat my arm and say, "You okay. It not hurt." While they take a blood sample.

*Watching the excitement in Bradley's face as he does addition and subtraction. (I'm such a math nerd!)

*Hearing the excitement in my boys voices when their daddy comes home...he gives them every reason to love them.

*Asking Bradley if he'd like me to remove his bracelet from Red Ribbon Week (Drug Awareness Week) only to have him reply, "NO! I don't want people to think I take drugs!"

*Finding out that my insurance paid and extra $125 to my APRN so I have a credit and didn't have to pay for my list visit nor do I have to pay for my next visit...and they weren't supposed to pay anything until I met the WAY TOO HIGH deductible.

*Finally having the energy to exercise more than one time in a week...I'm still deciding if I'm thankful for the fact that I can barely walk today because of it? (That 30 Day Shred is a killer!)

As always I could go on and on. But I know probably what is most important is that I'm recognizing my blessings and making a specific point to be openly thankful for them...it's amazing what that can do...you should give it a try!

Friday, September 18, 2009

When Something Wrong is Something Good

Phew, I won't even try to apologize for my lack of posts...craziness is just my reality right now.

But hopefully in the months to come my craziness will morph into a more manageable , I don't know, dull roar. Anyway, about a month ago I went to my gynecologist and as part of my lovely yearly check had a full hormonal panel done. Never in my life have I been so glad to give blood and so hoping there was something diagnosably wrong with me...or something ELSE wrong with me.

After a LONG weekend of waiting, I found at that not only was my thyroid out of whack, but my progesterone levels were VERY low. So like my title suggests, this is one of those times when something wrong is something very good. In both of these cases, there really should be a relatively minor "fix" (i.e. medication or a cream).

As I said, it's been about a month and I have seen some change. We'll see how things continue and I pray it will just get better. Just remember...wrong isn't always bad.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Your Prayers Are Felt

Thank you SO much for the many who have prayed for me lately. By no means am I out of the woods so to speak, but can feel your love and prayers. Even just this morning I was reading an article from this month's Ensign called A Scripture That Changed My Life and nearly all of the scriptures touched my heart. The article is well worth reading, but here are the scriptures that were especially poignant to me:

2nd Corinthians 12:9-10
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
D&C 59:23
23 But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.

Revelation 7:17
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

A Distant Light

A Distant Light
by Marianne Anderson

The tunnel is long and dark
A tiny light afar I see.
Running and reaching
No brighter it gets.
Stumbling and falling
But still trying again.

Running and walking
The pace is slower now.
Still reaching and striving
But the light is still dim.
Wondering and hoping
But on me the glow does not fall.

Distant and disoriented
Is there still a light?
Lost and confused
In what way should I go?
Scared and small
Is there still hope?

Crying and praying
In the darkness lost.
Fear and aching
A new shroud makes.
Wanting yet retreating
New bonds now control.

Calling and hoping
But again lost, alone.
Pleading and reaching
No light to be found.
Gasping and clawing
No escape to be mine.

Desperate and dying
No alternative left.
Kneeling and submitting
My one last hope.
Awakening and breathing
Fresh air touches my lips.

Tentative and leery
Not ready to stand.
Groping and feeling
Not sure of support.
Hoping and praying
What's that I see?

Peering and pleading
Is that what I need?
Looking and leaning
Have I found my way?
Praising and crying
A distant light I see.

I'm not even sure if there is anyone out there still reading...I haven't exactly been regular in my posts lately. Needless to say the last several weeks have been nearly more than I can take. I think, and am praying that we're working toward a new answer. I hate to think what will happen if the light we're going toward now is not the right now.

Please keep me in your prayers. I know that in SO many ways I am very blessed, tremendously blessed. What's hard is when that doesn't seem to be enough. When the chemical balance in my body could care less hope much the Lord has given me, I find it so hard to move on. But HE is still there and HE will show me the light. Just pray that I can have strength to follow HIM.

Monday, June 1, 2009


It's been a while, as you already know.  I'm still really struggling to get back on balance.  I don't want to belabor the point here, but I'll just say that I've fallen off the unicycle.  I learning to ride again, but I'm really struggling to stay on.  I'm really looking at my life and trying to reevaluate what must stay, and what can go.  It's hard when I used to be so capable.  But I know I'd rather be able to do something, even if it's not much, than nothing at all.

So that's where I am right now.  I'm trying to climb back onto the unicycle, but before I can do that I have to clear out the road so I don't just fall right off again.  It's definitely the biggest balancing act of my life and hopefully it will happen sooner than later...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I want...I need...

I'm still just feeling SO stuck.  As I've mentioned before, I often feel like I'm having kind of an out of body experience.  I can see myself and I can evaluate the things that would be most helpful in my life, but I just can't do them.  I watch/hear myself being mean and snappy, but the words and actions seem to come out of me before I can do anything about them.  I don't want to be mean.  I don't want to blame others for the hell I'm going through.  I don't want to get in a rut that makes me such an emotional wreck, that despite all of my efforts in the past, I just keep gaining weight (one of my biggest signs that things are not going the way they should emotionally).  I want to be able to stop pretending.  I just want to be able to do "normal" (and I'm even talking my altered normal) things without putting every bit of effort into them.  I want to have enough energy to help guide my sons through the struggles of being 2 & 4, and not just give up and give into whatever they want.  I want to be a support for my husband who works SO hard to provide for our family and truly make a difference in the life of SO many troubled youth and their families, often without much thanks and often in the face of open hostility.  I want...I want...I want...or really I NEED.  

Please LORD, I need thy help.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

1 year later...

Today, Mother's Day, is an interesting day for me.  Mother's Day last year I was traveling from North Carolina to Utah.  We were in the middle of the mountains in West Virginia when I totaled our car.  Luckily no one was hurt, but I think that day has still left a stain on our lives.  I suppose it is kind of a bittersweet memory.  We were blessed SO much by a dear couple that we had never met and even since then we have been blessed by our association with them.  But aside from the list of blessings that surrounded this event, I think it still was a catalyst for a downward spiral.  

In many ways I think it was the last straw on the camels back and made what would have been hard (moving), REALLY hard.  Both Ryan and I were really strapped in so many ways.  The past 3 years, although great in many ways, were also very taxing.  We had been to hell and back in so many ways.

I admit I'm emotionally tired enough right now that I don't have the mental energy to be eloquent.  I guess what I'm ultimately trying to say is that Mother's Day is a mixed emotional bag for me.  My husband and sons have been great and I SO appreciate their love and attention.  But I feel torn because part of me is reliving the feelings and stresses of a year ago.  

The mind and the heart are mysterious...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Finding the ray of light in the darkness...

I am exhausted!  Just plain exhausted.  I'm exhausted physically.  I am exhausted mentally (i.e. at first I was thinking physically was spelled with an 'f').  I'm exhausted emotionally.  I'm just not sure how I'll be able to pull together the strength I need to even do simple things like warm up hot dogs for the boys.

I was doing pretty well the last little while, but today was the last straw.  We woke up and Bradley had a temperature for 103 degrees.  No, that's not astronomically high and plenty of kids get sick every day, but this will make 6 weeks straight of at least one member of our family being sick.  I'M JUST SO TIRED OF IT!  

Part of me feels very ungrateful.  None of these sicknesses have been more than a week or so, but at the same time, they've meant that I'm cooped up inside (not so much from being outdoors...which does make a difference...but from doing things with other people).  One of the major coping techniques I've been using to fight my depression has been scheduled social activities.  And with every week of sickness more of those go out the window.  It really put me into a rut today.  So as I'm trying to crawl my way back out before my Young Women's activity tonight I thought I'd try to search for some Rays of Light.  They're always there and they always help.

*I'm finally feeling well enough after the flu I had last week that I don't dread going to sleep.
*It's sunny outside
*The cookies I made for Bradley's preschool class turned out well.
*The cookies I made for Bradley's preschool class are all out of the house now...phew!
*I got my grocery shopping done before Bradley got sick.
*I was feeling well enough (barely, but well enough all the same) to go to my brothers graduation last weekend.
*It's Wednesday so I was able to talk to my husband for a bit (on Monday & Tuesday he's out of cell phone range.)
*My boys are playing (with minimal fighting) downstairs.
*My Internet is working again (it wasn't this morning).
*I have a home.  One that the previous owners took GREAT care of!  Thank you!
*I married the man of my dreams...seriously!
*I have 2 beautiful and generally speaking, healthy boys.
*Ryan has a job that provides well enough to allow me to stay at home.
*I have amazing friends.
*I can email, and shop, and get on facebook, and blogger, and SO many other things online!
*I'm literate...it would be a SAD day for me if I couldn't read.
*I can pray and there is really someone there listening and answering.
*I can have a bum day today and have the power to start over tomorrow.
*I finally got my lawn aerated and he even fertilized for only an extra $5.
*We found our elliptical for only $50 and it's be SO good for me...I actually should have a date with it in a few minutes.
*Although I'm constantly fighting my weight, I have a healthy body that I don't have to constantly be "fixing" at the doctors.
*I have a great depression support group (DBSA).
*I have a college education.
*I never have to take another college class in my life, but I can if I want to.
*I have DVR (I know it sounds dumb, but I LOVE it...NO MORE COMMERCIALS!)

I could go on and on, but I should probably go fix those hot dogs.  But thanks for all of you that will read this post.  I don't know that just writing it for myself would be enough.  Thanks to you, too, for being a Ray of Light.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ray of Light

Phew...the last few days have been CRAZY!  I've had as Ryan calls it the "Attila the Hun" of flus/colds.  It has really kicked me in the behind.  I seldom get that knocked down by a cold.  Anyway, I'm still pretty miserable, but in comparison to how I was feeling before it is SO much better so I feel like that is such a "Ray of Light."

Also, my dear friend Jen has been SUCH a "Ray of Light" to me.  She watched my boys nearly the entire day yesterday so I could get some uninterrupted sleep.  What a true godsend.  Thank you Jen!  And thank you to the many of you who offered to help as well.  It's such a blessing to know that you have friends and family who are there for you when you really need them, and not just people who offer because they feel like they "need to."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thoughts on Easter

What an overwhelming moment captured so beautifully on canvas.  Could you imagine being Mary?  Here she believes that the body of the Lord that she loves so dearly has been taken and desecrated.  Although, the Savior rose Lazarus from the dead, the idea that the Savior, Himself,  could walk again was, I'm sure, far beyond the reaches of her imagination.  Even after seeing Him, she first assumed He was a gardener, again not realizing, or even hoping for, the possibility that her Lord might rise again.  

Then what joy must have filled her heart when realization dawned on her mind.  What faith she must have had to believe.  She witness the greatest of miracles.  He who once was dead, now lives.  My heart can only imagine the magnitude of her joy.  

The resurrection is truly a miracle among miracles, but I cannot think of Easter without thinking of the event mere days earlier.  The suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane:  The Atonement.

I have often pondered what this time might have been like for the Savior and I know I fail miserably to even come close.  I think even of my darkest moment, ones in which I felt as if I had been removed from the presence of God and they are far from close to what the Savior experienced.  

We read in Matthew 27:46, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?  that is to say, My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?" Our Lord and Savior had to experience spiritual death.  He had to truly know what it must feel like to be removed from the presence of God, whereas, although my times have been dark, for me it was only as if I had been so.  Times that are so tremendously horrible that there are not even words for me to describe, He, our perfect example, had to endure more.

And then to imagine that He not only felt what I had felt, but "...he hath borne [the] griefs, and carried [the] sorrows" for all who were and ever would be (Isaiah 53:4).  The magnitude of that responsibility is beyond my power to comprehend.  And He did it willingly.  "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22: 42, Emphasis added).  He knew that He would be wracked with the torments of hell, but out of love for us, and even more importantly, out of love for His Father in Heaven, He suffered all.

So on this day where much of our thinking lays in candy and Easter bunnies and plastic eggs, may we pause, for at least a moment, to think about the true meaning behind this day.  May we realize that without His actions during His life, His birth--which we celebrate so grandly-- would be like merely any other. May we remember that it is because of Him that some day we may return to live with our Father in Heaven some day.  May we understand that because of Him we can know true happiness; we can know love.  May we stop to realize that without Him, all would be for naught.

He lives!  And because He lives, we will too!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

At least we know...

Well sadly my news is mixed for today.  We found out (after a long morning) that Bradley has Pneumonia.  About 1/2 of his left lung is full of junk.  He was a real trooper through the Dr. appointment, blood work, x-ray, and return to the Dr. for shots and to pick up a prescription.  Thankfully we know what it is and hopefully he'll be on the mend soon.  There are a lot of what-ifs that we'll have to be careful to watch for, but we'll be praying that things will work out as they should.  Luckily it is NOT contagious so at least we don't have the added worry of wondering who we might have passed it on to.

It's been a long and tiring last few days, but again, at least we know what's wrong with him and I was thinking about it last night, at least we have 2 beautiful boys to worry about.  The Lord has truly blessed us.

Oh, and our sweet Bradley has so much faith.  Early this morning (oh, around 4:30 am) as Bradley was lying in the tub when we were trying to bring Bradley's WAY TOO HIGH (somewhere over 107) fever down he said, "I think you need to give me a blessing, Dad, so I can feel all better."  What faith.  Again, we truly are blessed! 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ray of Light

Okay, so I'm REALLY trying to stay positive here.  BLAH!  Bradley has been really sick this weekend (i.e. fever that spikes up to about 106.4 degrees and that's while on Ibuprofen & Tylenol!).  Needless to say it's been a long weekend.  And to add to it, Braeden had a fever before Bradley so I thought Bradley had just picked up what Braeden had, but now Braeden has a fever again.  Pullin' my hair out here!

Anyway, my "Ray of Light" is that we actually have medications to help keep the fevers down.  I honestly think if this had been many years ago Bradley may not be with us anymore.

This will go away...this will go away...this will go away...my boys will eventually stop being TOTALLY cranky...eventually...RIGHT?! 

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thank You, Ryan

Thank you Ryan for bringing tears to my eyes. Tears of gratitude, tears of pain, tears of love, tears of hope, tears of understand, and tears of SO much more.  I have wanted you to express your perspective for SO long and reading your eloquent words has proved to be worth every moment of nagging you to write them.

Intellectually I knew that "we" had depression, but emotionally I was, and am, so often in a shroud of darkness that I was blind to the pain of those around me. The best I can do is to imagine what I would be feeling if I was watching Ryan struggle in the way I am. It would definitely be "we" and not just "him."

I have SO often told others that I have a tremendous husband. Even just last night I told my sweet neighbor that the Lord OBVIOUSLY knew who I needed as a husband. Thank you for being the love of my life. Thank you for "[following me] into greater lights."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Beginning of Ryan's Perspective

This is Ryan writing. For some time now, I have been meaning to make some contributions to Marianne's blog. She would like to have my perspective and my experiences represented here, as well. This is a daunting task for me, as I believe the depression in our lives has provided me with challenges different than-- but in some ways seemingly equal to-- the ones that Marianne has faced. She has depression in her body, but we have depression in our family and in our relationship. Just as it has taken time, effort, prayers, and much more for her to figure out how to do things with her depression, it has done the same for me. She has depression, therefore we have depression. 

Can you imagine what it is like to love someone more than anything else and want that person to be happy only to have your best efforts fall short because there have been times when the depression keeps her from feeling happiness... or almost anything? That is our story: the story of two people who love each other trying to work through the haze and the darkness the depression can bring to create happiness for each other and for our children. It has taken courage and faith. There have been moments of light and moments of near despair. But through it all, we are together. I think, perhaps, because of our experience with the depression, I have come to treasure those moments of unimpeded happiness even more. Perhaps that is the gift of the depression.

I have more to say than I could ever hope to communicate in a single post, but perhaps a good place to start is to share the lyrics of a song that spoke to me in one of our darker times. To me, it rang true in its ability to express my dedication to Marianne as we journey "through never ending shadows" in our shared faith that in the end, and along the way, we will find "greater light."

"Greater Lights"
(performed by Charlotte Martin)

Keeping me
My steps have said
You must go through every door
Where you are led

Silences hangs
In my fear
Daylight fades
And I know you will be here
Melting our ground

In never ending shadows
I'll follow you to greater lights
Burn through me
Around me
I'll follow you to greater lights

Words will fly
Beyond us
Waking now
No longer numb to the sound
Of every voice

In never ending shadows
I'll follow you to greater lights
Burn through me
Around me
I'll follow you to greater lights
In never ending shadows
I'll follow you to greater heights
Burn through me
Around me
I'll follow you to greater lights
I'll follow you to greater lights
I'll follow you to greater lights
I'll follow you to greater heights
I'll follow you to greater lights

To hear the song, follow the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D50oR8tBVKI

Broken Things to Mend

I recently picked up a copy of Broken Things to Mend, a book written by Elder Holland.  I've wanted it for a while, but finally picked it up.  Even the quote from the back of the book has been so helpful.  It reads: 
"Just believing, just having a molecule of faith--that simple step, when focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, has ever been and always will be the first principle of His eternal gospel, the first step out of despair."
And as I read the dedication, I felt my eyes pool with tears:
"To all who feel that someone --or something--they love 
is irreparably broken or irretrievably lost.  
It is not."
So often I think that is how I feel.  I feel as if something "is irreparably broken or irretrievably lost."  It is such a dark place to be...so, so dark.  But then I read words like these and my eyes want to pool with tears of relief, thanks, and hope.  Here the Lord is speaking through one of His chosen servants straight to me.

With all my heart I believe that the Lord will speak to us individually, but how does that work when the receptors are broken.  How do you hear His call when in so many ways you are deaf to His words, paralyzed from His touch, and blind to His miracles.

I think for me, just purchasing and opening this book was my "molecule of faith."  So much else that I have been trying has fallen short of the mark.  So some little Ray of Light and inspiration from the Lord was able to peak through.  Able to break through the blinders of depression.  

The Savior has always said to "Come unto me," but so often I felt like, "Why would He even want me?  And am I even able to be fixed?"  
"Considering the incomprehensible cost of the Crucifixion and Atonement, I promise you He is not going to turn His back on us now.  When He says to the poor in spirit, "Come unto me, " He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up.  He knows it because He has walked it.  He knows the way because He is the way."
He truly is the way.  In so many ways my life is "irreparably broken or irretrievably lost," but there is hope.

The lyrics to one of the most moving pieces I have every performed with a choir seem to fit SO well here:

And What is it We Shall Hope For
From The Redeemer
by Robert Cundick

And what is it we shall hope for?
We have hope through the atonement of Christ
And the power of His resurrection,
To be raised unto life eternal.
We shall pray unto the Father with all the energy of our hearts,
That we may be filled with His love,
Which He has bestowed on us who are true followers of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
That we may become the sons and daughters of God;
That when He shall appear, we shall be like Him;
For we shall see Him as He is!
That we may have this hope,
That we may be purified even as He is pure.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Power of the Ensign

I think I've mentioned this in a previous post, but since I'm not sure, so follow this link to find out about the Ensign magazine.

Last night as Ryan and I were saying our evening prayer, I had a moment of inspiration.  I literally popped my head up and said, "AH!  Bradley is the "Star of the Week" tomorrow!" Well the fact that he was the Star of the Week" at preschool this week wasn't such a bad thing...it's actually kind of cool, but the fact that I hadn't prepared ANYTHING for it was bad (the parent's of the "Star o the Week" are supposed to present a little tribute about their child's life)...especially since it was 11:00pm.  :(  We finished our prayer (yeah, I usually don't make a habit of blurting things out in the middle of the prayer, but it just kind of happened) and I dutifully got up telling Ryan, "I'll see you in 2 hours!"  (I would love to say it got done quicker than that, but nope, I dragged myself into bed at about 1:00am, but I had a pretty darn cute tribute done, if I do say so myself...sorry a bit of a bragging moment there.)

If you've read my other posts you'll know that getting enough sleep is a HUGE factor in equalling a decent next day.  Today did not fail my expectations in any way.  And I swear the boys could tell that I was extra tired because they were in "tip top" form...YEAH RIGHT!  

I'm seriously not sure how they can scream so loud.  Most people say girls scream, but my boys can DEFINITELY scream with the best of them.  They are seriously the most ear-piercing screams...if you've heard one, you know what I'm talking about.  Well there was TONS of that going on.  I think I would have wanted to go hide in bed even if I didn't have depression.  After sending one kid down to play Game Cube and blessing the DVR for having extra Sesame Street Episodes on it for the other, I gratefully found the couch and spent the pre-preschool hours of the morning there.  

Despite my best efforts, I slept through the "alarm" (a.k.a. kitchen timer) I'd set for myself, and so the "Star of the Week" arrived at preschool about 15 minutes late.  Oh, and just an FYI, his younger brother was literally screaming the entire way to and from preschool (thank heavens it is SUPER close) because I put him in the car without shoes!

So by the time I got home, I REALLY wanted to crawl into bad and pretend today hadn't happened.  I desperately wanted to talk to Ryan, but unless I wanted to call his work, have them send the back-up truck to find him, then have him call me by satellite phone, that just wasn't going to happen. (I'm sure his boss would have loved me for that!)  And my sweet neighbor that has offered to watch my kids in the past, was in bed sick herself, with a house full of sick kids...yeah that wasn't going to happen either.  Oh, and not that this is exactly applicable to the story, but it goes to add to my emotional state, despite my ANAL efforts in following the South Beach Diet, I gained 2 pounds in the last few days...I SWEAR my body wants to hold on to EVERY pound it can...I promise Body, we're not in times of famine yet!

Needless to say I was a mess.  After snugly tying my 2 year old's shoes (yes, we're home by now, but that didn't matter...he wanted those shoes on dang it!) and gratefully praising the invention of the DVD, I sat down on the couch.  Right beside my couch, nicely squished into the corner is my "coffee table" (not quite sure why I still call it a "coffee table" since I don't drink coffee...tradition I guess...but I digress!) piled with copies of various magazines...most importantly the past several months of the Ensign Magazine.  I figured, "What's it gonna hurt?  I'll be sure to steer clear of home organization articles and the like, so it should be fine."  But it  was more than fine.

I flipped open the magazine to the "Latter-day Saint Voices" section.  This section typically shares spiritual stories from other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The first 2 I read, "My Prayer in a Stockyard" and "Exactly What I Needed" were exactly what I needed.  I finished reading through the other 2 entries in the section and by the time I was done I felt the peace of the Lord with me.  Sure, the idea of crawling into bed hadn't gone away (sadly that idea pretty much always sounds good), but I didn't feel the crazed desperation for reprieve any more.  I knew that I could "do" the rest of today.  I didn't have an assurance that things would be perfect or that my children would do exactly what I'd want them to do (boy would that be nice!), but I knew that the Lord was with me and that I'd be okay.  The message on just a few thin sheets of paper gave me hope to go on.

I know that the Lord is watching over me, and each one of us.  Look at your own life and as you make an effort to see the Lord's hand, you will.  He is there for each and every one of us, with or without depression.  I leave my testimony that He knows what we need, and if we'll just look and listen we will know that too.  I say this in Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, March 13, 2009


The last few weeks have been a real roller coaster, like always, but even amidst it all, I've still noticed levels of improvement.  For example:

*This past week I have been SO tired (I wish I could explain how tired I was, but that's not the point), but this exhaustion was different from the normal "depressed exhaustion."  Yes, I was still so tired I didn't feel like doing anything, but it wasn't because I was feeling low or down.  I never thought being totally exhausted would make me happy.

*Or the other day I came down to get Braeden out of bed after his nap.  The first thing I saw was bring orange (or should I say "sunset orange"...thank you Crayola) lines all of over his once white pillow case and sheets.  He was proudly holding up a crayon.  I really could have flipped out at him, but instead I asked, "Oh, did you have a crayon in your pocket?"  He excitedly answered, "Yes!"  In that moment I realized, we'd never told him not to write on his bedding.  So I replied that, "We'll have to show Daddy when he gets home."

I'm really not trying to pat myself on my back, but point out a time where I feel like I was able to think rationally instead of "depression induced."  I guess in some ways I feel like my true self is starting to come out.  Do I think I'm "over it,"  definitely not, but it's nice to see those moments of improvement.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pay it Forward...Blog Style

I saw the following on friend Kim's blog :

I've seen this on a lot of blogs lately and LOVE the idea, here’s how it works: the first 3 people to leave a comment on this post will receive, at some point during the year, some homemade goodies from me. What it will be and when it will arrive is a total surprise! The catch is that you must participate as well. Before you leave your comment, write up a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the fun going (or copy and paste like I did). Then come back, let me know you’re going to play and sit back and anticipate the arrival of your goodies! Please submit in an e-mail or on the comment, your address, if I don’t have it already. Remember that only the first 3 comments will receive a gift from me, so be quick! Have fun!

I think it's a really fun idea, plus I like anything that makes you stop and think about someone else for a moment.  As I try to do as often as my currently volatile emotional state will allow, I like to look around me a think of how I've been blessed, and blogging has truly saved my life in many ways.  I know many of you that know me might be scratching your head right about now, but although "traditional" blogging, as I call it, (i.e. write about all the cute things you and your family are doing) stresses me out to NO end (I just don't feel like I can keep up), being about to have an outlet for my feelings has been so cathartic for me and so I thank all of you that have been willing to hang in there with me.  I thank you for your comments.  I thank you for checking back even when there's been a LARGE gap in posts.  I thank you for just plain being there.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'm still here...

So I promise I'm still alive...doing well...well not so much, but I'm here.  It's been a tough few days, but hopefully I've had enough cry sessions that I might be pulling out of it.  I think it might not have been so bad, but I got this nasty cold during all of it and that always throws things for a loop.  Anyway, I suppose this is part of the whole cycle.  It's about learning to balance the good days with the slow days and hopefully coming out on top.


P.S.  So I should at least update you on the car situation.  So the tow truck makes his way through the snow to come get Ryan's car.  Neither Ryan nor I are mechanically minded in ANYWAY (okay, Ryan is getting better, but we're not car people...I mean Ryan doesn't even have a dream car) so we didn't know what to try to possibly make things work, but the tow truck guy was willing to give it a whirl.  After trying a few things, low and behold...the car started.  I think I might have given him a hug if he wasn't all greasy and what not (not due to a lack of hygiene of course, but due to his job).  Needless to say we felt SO blessed.  Then...

...the next day Ryan tried to start the car and it started, but he now he couldn't get the car into reverse.  He tried to do the trick the tow truck guy suggested (apparently, the reason the car wouldn't start in the first place had to do with the car not being in gear right or something like that), but still to no avail.  I admit my positive attitude from the day before was waining.  At least I didn't need the car this time so I sent Ryan on his way with my car and made another call to AAA and AAMCO (a repair shop that really has been good to us).  Luckily this time after only about $250 we were on our way (sad when a $250 car repair seems good!).  

But we were blessed.  When fixing this problem they noticed another problem.  One of the tubes in Ryan's car was COMPLETELY hard when normally it is soft and malleable.  Because it was so hard it had formed a crack which was leaking just a bit.  If it had broken through Ryan's car would have been TOTALLY immobile.  For most people that isn't the end of the world, just get a tow truck like we had the previous days, but if Ryan had been out in Utah's West Desert, where he is 2 days a week, there would be NO way a tow truck could get through to him.  So after a TON of frustration and tears on my part, we were still VERY blessed to have things happen the way they did.  If only I can remember that juts a bit earlier on next time!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I am thankful...

As I called the tow truck today part of me wanted to scream, another part wanted to cry.  We just (as in last month) took Ryan's car in to have the transmission replaced and $2400 later we had a working car.  But as I stopped and looked at the situation I realized we are TREMENDOUSLY blessed and this really is just a minor bump in the road, even if it ends up being expensive.

I am thankful for...
*My husband
*My children
*My family (extended, in-laws, etc.)
*My religion (and ALL that comes with it...and that's a LOT)
*My home
*Ryan's Job...especially during this time that so many people do not have a job, good paying or otherwise.
*My friends
*Modern medicine that makes my life with depression possible
*Good books that fill my life with sweet escapes
*The Internet which keeps me connected to people all over the world
*Lightly falling snow which creates a truly unique silence over this cluttered world
*Sunshine which uplifts the soul
*Music Makers which brings happiness and joy to my children and therefore me
*Craft Group which keeps me sane
*Silly TV shows that help me unwind after a crazy day
*Words of encouragement and love that could only come from my husband
....and SO many more things

So although my natural inclination is to freak out, I know the Lord will bless us.  We've done all that we can and from there it is in the Lord's hands...for good or for bad.  And in the prophetic words of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come what may, and love it!"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ray of Light- You're Welcome, Vegetables

Bradley, Braeden, and I were eating lunch today and I realized how blessed I was when Bradley said, "Hey, I want some peas, carrots, and corn like you have!"  And this is after already eating some cucumbers.  I've really been blessed to have good eaters.

And little Braeden has been all about saying, "You're welcome!"  Sometimes he says it when he should say "please," or when he should say "thank you" and when he says it in the right context it is almost always before someone says "thank you" to him.  I just love it.

That We Might Become True Friends Of God

Last night I was studying my scriptures and in the study guide I came across the following passage:

"The Lord has made no secret of the fact that He intends to try the faith and the patience of His Saints. (See Mosiah 23:21.) We mortals are so quick to forget the Lord: “And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions … they will not remember him.” (Hel. 12:3.)

However, the Lord knows our bearing capacity, both as to coping and to comprehending, and He will not give us more to bear than we can manage at the moment, though to us it may seem otherwise. (See D&C 50:40D&C 78:18.) Just as no temptations will come to us from which we cannot escape or which we cannot bear, we will not be given more trials than we can sustain. (See 1 Cor. 10:13.)

Therefore, given the aforementioned grand and overarching reasons to rejoice, can we not “be of good cheer” in spite of stress and circumstance?

President Brigham Young said of a geographical destination, “This is the place.” Of God’s plan of salvation, with its developmental destination, it can be said, “This is the process”!

President Young, who knew something about trial and tribulation but also of man’s high destiny, said that the Lord lets us pass through these experiences that we might become true friends of God. By developing our individual capacities, wisely exercising our agency, and trusting God—including when we feel forsaken and alone—then we can, said President Young, learn to be “righteous in the dark.” (Secretary’s Journal, 28 Jan. 1857.) The gospel glow we see radiating from some—amid dark difficulties—comes from illuminated individuals who are “of good cheer”!

To be cheerful when others are in despair, to keep the faith when others falter, to be true even when we feel forsaken—all of these are deeply desired outcomes during the deliberate, divine tutorials which God gives to us—because He loves us. (See Mosiah 3:19.) These learning experiences must not be misread as divine indifference. Instead, such tutorials are a part of the divine unfolding." (Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Be of Good Cheer’,” Ensign, Nov 1982, 66)

What a truly beautiful message. I think it can be easy to become trapped in the idea that our trials are punishments or we might want to blame God.   But how can you blame the Lord for trying to help you grow?  It is like a mother hen.  She cannot remove the shell for her young chick, even though she sees it struggling.  To become strong enough to live the hen must allow her sweet baby to push and fight its way out all on its own.

I also feel so blessed because I was just my daily reading.  I was reading through the scriptures chronologically and I was still blessed to find this passage in the study guide even though I wasn't looking for it.  We are truly blessed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ray of Light-Bradley

Bradley announced to me today, "Did you know it's February?  The weeks are flyin' all over!"

I guess his preschool teacher must have said that the weeks were flying by.  

I love it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ray of Light- Monsters!

This evening I was gone at a book group.  Upon arriving home, my husband told me I had to go downstairs to see the sign that our son made him put on his bedroom door.

It just made me laugh.  Of course I'm sad that he's scared of ghosts, monsters, and bad guys (his father is the one afraid of solicitors...maybe he should have included the IRS as well), but I love how a sign made him feel confident that he was safe.  Oh, the innocence of youth.  I love it!

P.S. Apparently after Ryan had written the note, Bradley realized they hadn't said anything about aliens.  Ryan asked him if good aliens were okay, and after they'd established that good aliens make cookies, even though (according to Bradley) they don't have hands, he was okay including the bad aliens in "bad guys." 

P.S.S.  This is my 100th post!  YAY!

And the winner is...(drum roll please)

So as some of you may have noticed (or maybe not...who knows), I was given the "One Lovely Blog Award" by my sweet friend, Lara of Overstuffed. I was truly honored to get such an award from her because if I had to assign this award to any blog, her's is the first that comes to mind.  She has been friend of mine since we were in a ward together over 5 years ago.  I love her wit, wisdom, and beautiful blog.  WELL worth the time to check out.

In addition, to being given this lovely award, I too get the chance to pass it on to 5 truly lovely bloggers.  Okay, so this was WAY TOO HARD.  I seriously have stayed up at night trying to decide who to pick and I REALLY didn't want to offend anyone.  Seriously, all of the blogs I have listed are so great, but I had to narrow it down.  The big kicker was if your blog was public or not.  I figured if I'm going to post these blogs, then others should be able to go look at them.  I also, had to think about what my first descriptor of your blog would have been, and although lovely is definitely true for most of you, sassy, or funny, or informative came up first for some.  BLAH!  Okay, so you can totally see this is stressing me out, and with depression that's not a good idea.  So just know I LOVE all of your blogs and I just had to choose so NOTHING personal if I didn't pick yours.

And the winners are (in no particular order)...

Lori of Pursuits of Happiness.  Lori is a truly lovely person. We met when I started working at Deseret Towers.  I admit I've often felt intimidated by her beautiful writing, but then I felt bad about that because she would never want me to feel that way.  So if you want to laugh, cry, smile, think, or just plain have a good read, visit her blog.

Heather of Scatter Joy .  Heather and I met when we were co-workers in college.  Those were some crazy days, but I have fond memories of them.  Heather has always made me think of sophistication and beauty and her blog is no different.  She also occasionally contributes to the Sassy Mom Shoppe which is a lovely blog as well.

Kenna of Kenna's Corner. Kenna is one of my newer friends.  We just met a few months ago, but I already love her blog.  She is a wonderful person with a beautiful heart and I feel so blessed to know her.

Anna-Lisa of Rantipoling About. Anna-Lisa and I met when I was working at Deseret Towers.  We've been through a lot together and we're only stronger for it.  Her blog is filled with her life, like most of ours, but I love the wit and humor she uses, especially as she describes the life of a newly-wed, grad student. 

And last but not least, Vicky of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Vicky and I go WAY back (i.e. Junior High) and thanks to Vicky we've kept the friendship strong.  She too, is a truly lovely person as is her blog.  So I was going to say what I loved most about her blog, but I can't decide which I love most, so here are some things that I love about her blog: (1) Her blog has such a truly upbeat and uplifting vibe.  Just like the title of her blog, she sees the best in things and people and portrays that in her writing.  (2) She is constantly blogging about the amazing people in her life.  She could just be self focused, but she is SO other focused.  (3) She has a strong love for God and she is constantly showing that in her blog.  I love that she isn't afraid to share what she believes. 

So to all 5 of you truly lovely bloggers, thank you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ray of Light

Okay, so I have another Ray of Light for today...the internet!  I love the internet for many obvious reasons, but specifically today for online tax preparation.  We've successfully e-filed and should receive our refund in less than 2 weeks!  YEEHAW!  It's SO much easier than it was when I first started filing.  No mailing, etc.  Love it!

Ray of Light

Friends.  What a difference good friends make in your life.  Over these past few months I've developed a great group of friends and it has made all the difference.  We have regularly planned activities that we meet to do each week and that is SO good for me.  Both the regularity of the events and the adult contact has made such a difference in fighting my depression.  So you great ladies...you know who you are...thanks for making a HUGE difference in my life.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Myths and Facts

As I mentioned in my last post, DBSA has wonderful resources.  One of my favorites is just a simple one page sheet listing some myths and facts about depression and bipolar disorder.  I felt it was important enough to be worth listing here.

Myth 1: Depression and bipolar disorder are just states of mind.  A person just needs to "think positive" and they will go away.
Fact: Depression and bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) are real, treatable illnesses that affect the brain.  They can't be overcome by "snapping out of it."  Asking someone to "think positive" is like asking someone with diabetes to change his or her blood sugar level by thinking about it.  People with mood disorders (depression & bipolar) can feel better with the right treatment.

Myth 2:
Treatment is a cop-out for people who are too weak to cope with day-to-day life.
Fact: Seeking treatment is a smart choice that takes strength.  Mood disorders are not flaws or weaknesses.  Seeking treatment means a person has the courage to look for a way to feel better.

Myth 3:
Talk therapy is just whining about problems.  It doesn't help.
Fact: Talk therapy has been tested clinically and found to be effective.  In some cases it works as well as medication.  Good talk therapy helps change behaviors that can make a person's moods less stable.

Myth 4:
Medications that treat mood disorders are habit-forming.  They can change a person's personality.  A person can't be "clean and sober" while taking medication.
Fact: When properly prescribed and used, medications are not addictive and do not change a person's true personality.  Medications help a person's mood become more stable and even.  They are not "happy pills" and should not be compared to street drugs.  They do not cloud a person's judgment or give a false sense of courage.

Myth 5:
People with mood disorders can not get better.
Fact: When correctly diagnosed and treated, a person with depression or bipolar disorder can live a stable and healthy life.  Millions of people already do.

Myth 6: Symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder in young children or elderly adults are normal.  They are just a part of growing up or growing old.
Fact: Severe mood changes in young children or older adults should be taken seriously.  Recent studies have shown that children may be affected by mood disorders as young as infancy.  Older adults are also at a high risk for depression. Younger and older people should be given complete physical examinations and treated according to their individual needs.

Myth 7
: People with bipolar disorder or depression are dangerous.
Fact: Research shows that people with mental illness do not commit significantly more violent acts than people in the general population.  However, people with mental illness are twice as likely to be victims of violence.

Myth 8:
People with depression or bipolar disorder should not have children.
Fact: People who have been treated for mood disorders can parent as well as anyone else.  They are also more likely to recognize symptoms, treat their children early, and understand their children's struggles if their children have mood disorders.

Myth 9
:People with depression or bipolar disorder are not stable enough to hold positions of authority in fields like law enforcement or government.
Fact: People with mood disorders can and do hold positions of authority everywhere.  When properly treated, a person's mood disorder does not have to affect job performance.

Myth 10:
Suicide is not a problem in the United States.  Only a small number of people take their own lives.
Fact: Suicide is a significant problem that needs to be addressed.  Suicide deaths in the U.S. outnumber homicide deaths three to two.  Each year, over 30,000 people in the U.S. take their own lives.  More than 90% of these people are believed to have have a mental disorder.
Source: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance  *  www.DBSAlliance.org 

By no means is this an exhaustive list of myths and facts, but to me it's a great start at addressing some of the basic questions/concerns when it comes to mood disorders, like depression and bipolar disorder.

DBSA Support Group

As I've mentioned more than once in the past, I LOVE my DBSA Support Group.  I had a friend ask me the other day, "So what do you actually do at the group?"  Truly a good question.   We're not nearly so formal as AA or something like that, no 12 steps or anything (I am not making fun of AA my ANY means...it's a great program, I was just simply stating that we're not quite the organized), but I think for what we need to be, we're just perfect.  

Unlike AA or other such programs, no matter how much we talk about our depression or bipolar, it isn't going to go away.  So the purpose of the group isn't that.  The purpose is support as we struggle to figure out how to live with our disease.  

I think we can all relate to the idea that we've had experiences that no one could understand unless they'd been through it.  You might try with everything in you to get others to begin to glimpse what you're going through, but even if they are open minded and try their best, they still fall short of really understanding.  That's how I often feel when writing this blog.  I'm trying to help as many people as possible at least get a glimpse of the struggling I'm going through, but it's no the same as having actually been there yourself.  That's where my support group comes into play.

It's so liberating to meet with others that have truly contemplated suicide and know the darkness that you can only feel in those moments.  It is so cathartic to laugh with others about the totally irrational thoughts you've had, but in the moment you thought were TOTALLY normal.  It's so cleansing to cry with someone who knows how hard it is to wake up EVERY day struggling to do the most basic things.  It is so uplifting to see others just like you who are succeeding in life, despite an illness that might otherwise rule your life.  In a special way, I am truly at home when I'm at my support group.  At home in a way that I can't be with anyone else.  

But DBSA is even more.  The emotional side that I've just described is what I think really keeps us coming back each week, but DBSA is about sharing information too.  We talk about our struggles with various medications.  Talk about (in a general sense...no specifics allowed) what meds have been good for us.  We talk about life style changes that have made a difference for us.  We talk about readjusting our reality to make our life work.  And DBSA has so many reference materials available for free.

It's truly an amazing program.  If you or someone you know needs this kind of help or support, go to the DBSA website to find a chapter near you.  Or if you'd like to contact me directly, leave your email address in a comment and I'll be happy to contact you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Ensign: A Blessing From the Lord

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publishes several monthly magazines.  The Ensign, The Liahona The New Era, and The Friend.  All of them are filled with inspiring and uplifting messages of hope, faith, and doctrine.  I love reading my copies each month, but sometimes I find articles that are especially touching and poignant to me.  In the Januaryedition of the Ensign there were 2 articles (of the ones I've read so far) that I felt were written for me. 

The first article, Bipolar Disorder: My Lessons in Love, Hope, and Peace, was SO good for me to read.  No, I don't have Bipolar Disorder, but as I've mentioned in the past, there are many similarities between Bipolar and Depression.  We struggle with many of the same stigmas, we fight many of the same feelings, and in many ways we suffer together.  I thought the article was beautiful written and such a positive thing for me to read.  I would recommend this article to anyone struggling with a mood disorder, for anyone that knows someone with a mood disorder, or for anyone that cares to understand more about mood disorders.

The 2nd article that was especially meaningful to me was titled, Peaches, Pruning, and Spiritual Progress.   An short summary of the article reads, "Like pruning away the unnecessary limbs from a tree, we need to prune away those activities that might weaken our testimonies or lead us astray."  I definitely believe this to be true in relation to testimony, but as I read it I felt as if this could apply SO well to what I'm dealing with in relation to depression or really for general happiness in life.  We all must find that balance that creates a healthy life and what, although in many senses may be good and wonderful, when added to everything else, makes our life unhealthy.  That has become ESPECIALLY true since depression entered my life.  As my sweet husband first said to me many years ago, it's all about balance...SO TRUE!

Again, I would strongly recommend both of these articles to any of you.  They are well worth your time.