Enjoying more fully the Light.

I read a story about post-partum depression today, it wasn’t a happy one, which reminded me that I haven’t updated the internet on the state of my health:  mind, body and soul.

It’s good news. [Sigh of relief]

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My baby boy.

I don’t really feel like talking about the depression, it’s part of my past now and I know that it could potentially be part of my future. For now I’m going to tell you what I’ve been doing, about what makes me happy.

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My oldest niece, the Mermaid. (side note, this was a candid shot, I caught her mid-imagination).

I needed more Family time, spouse time and time just for me.

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First, I called my mom and asked if she would pay for my gym membership. I knew that all the time away from the gym was one reason I was sad. I missed regular exercise!! I started making better choices with my food and I started pampering myself.

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Anyone who knows me, knows that when you think of me, you don’t necessarily think “cheapskate.” But, for years I have rarely paid for haircuts (ask a friend or sister to just cut it right over a trash can), I almost never go into a salon, I have never had a manicure and I only get pedicures once or twice a year (because if I didn’t, my entire foot would turn into a callus). I also never spent money on makeup, hair supplies or skincare.

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My sister, her husband and their sixth baby.

My skin care routine – up until this year – was usually going straight to bed without washing my face. Rinse face in morning or just wait till I took a shower…whenever that was.

Wearing makeup was usually reserved for Sundays and the makeup I did own was either purchased for me by a mother or sister or given to me by a sister or my mother (because it came as a free gift during a purchase)! I spent very little money in the hair, skincare and makeup department.

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Candid shots really are the best.

In the spring and summer of 2016 when I struggled with pink eye, I had to throw away all of the makeup I did own – which included some new and nice (gifted) things. In addition to throwing out all my makeup, I threw out all my bed pillows (nice, newer pillows I couldn’t afford to replace).

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We were also very broke when this happened.

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Somewhere between back to back pregnancies, a husband who was gone all the time for school and with church responsibilities, a four year old just barely potty training (read “three kids in diapers”) – I was feeling pretty haggard.

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My sister and her baby and she’s pregnant with her seventh! (how amazing is she?!)

Well, I discovered a multi-level marketing company that has amazing skin care and makeup. I knew I couldn’t afford to buy/wear good products unless I sold some. So, I signed up to distribute.

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Along the way, I started having fun with my life again and taking care of myself made me feel good.

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So, I’m going to the gym, taking care of my body, eating healthier and getting better sleep – now at bedtime, I don’t lay in bed trying to un-wind from a day that pulled and stretched me, I go to bed, I think of all the things I’m grateful for and all the things I can do better tomorrow.

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Then, I stop thinking and go to sleep.

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I started singing around the house more often, letting the messes sit later, snuggling with my babies a little longer.

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I decided that dates with my husband were worth the cost of a babysitter (again, where I tend to be cheap – “let’s just not get a baby sitter and stay in or take the kids with us.”

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These two never want their daddy out of their sight!

I re-took my Athletic Training exam (to re-certify) and was 23 points short of passing!! [I mean, I can’t be too sad, I’ve been out of practice 11 years!! With very little study time I squeezed in, I almost passed!! Yes, I’m taking it again].

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My mother in law fostered a love for the ocean in my husband, and here she is with her grandchildren (whiny and all).

My energy levels increased and the chemicals in my brain have found balance as I allowed for more positive thoughts.

I consciously made it a daily effort to push negative thinking away and only see the positive. I had let negative thoughts camp too long in my mind and I didn’t want to be sad anymore.

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Happiness had been my life before and I wanted that life back.

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I never stopped praying during my struggles. I never stopped hoping. I knew that change would come if I just kept trying.

God knew me, He had faith that I could overcome my circumstances and He has faith in you too. The tools are there, we just need to reach out. Ask for help and take steps to change.

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Those ‘gulls see food and in they swoop.

Postpartum depression is not an old friend, but foe. An enemy I may face in the coming years. But I have hope that my faith and past experience will help me defeat him again.

Disappointments still arrive, but I see the light and know that everything will work out.

Here is my New Year’s Resolution: Love

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I think there are many times in life we might ask ourselves, “what was the point of going through that, just to have it end?”

My time away from the blog, I’ve been more fully embracing the life I have chosen and living my life to the fullest. So full, I am crashing to bed earlier and earlier each night.

and, I’ve also been experiencing more joy.

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So my thoughts come from a place of deep reflection brought on by personal trials (that have turn to triumphs?).

As I knelt – or crumpled – next to my bed last night, wondering to God why some things happen – a thing that brings you joy was abruptly taken away – what was the whole purpose of that?

My question did not come from a place of anger, but a sincere desire to know why.

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Here is what I felt after reflection:

When we lose something we love, we should never regret how we loved.

When we choose to fill ourselves with Love, it begets more love.

Bitterness and sorrow begets more bitterness and sorrow.

There have been many things I used to regret in my life.

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For the things I can’t change, I will no longer feel regret. For the things that I can change, well, I’m taking the time to turn them around. For many things, it’s never too late, to make a change.

Some of those changes have been inspired by reading. Reading of scripture (which I consider history), and reading of non-scripture world history.

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The clarity of my goals came while reading about the Siege of (Leningrad) St Petersburg in 1941 – that lasted 872 days – leading to the death of about a million civilians.

During the siege, a Russian composer by the name of Dimitri Shostakovich (what a fun name to say!!) wrote his Symphony No. 7 – not only did they hold a concert in the physically starved and bombed out city – the concert was broadcast on speakers outside the concert hall to allow those who couldn’t enter the packed building to listen and some directed toward occupying soldiers. As bombs fell, it was the banner of “cultural resistance to atrocity.” (Read more here)

While I don’t wish to create enemies at the gate, it is inevitable that others will choose to make me their enemy – for any manner of perceived wrong (hey, I’m not perfect, but I don’t go out of my way to hurt people).

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It comes down to this:

I don’t wish to have enemies. I don’t want to create any, for those who choose to make me their enemy, I choose to not to fuel the flames of anger, but will fan the embers of love and  beauty.

I’m still trying to figure how to do that.

It starts with not arguing, not gossiping, finding something else to put my mind on, and so on, listening better.

This is my new years resolution. That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever feel the desire to reach into my computer screen and punch someone’s face, because on rare occasion, I do feel that way.

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Photo by Jewly Ann Photography

However petty I have been up to this day, I am choosing to learn how to be better today and tomorrow in the face of opposition. This is what I have decided to work on, in my small way, to change the world.

Overcoming grief, illness, fitness challenge…

Do you ever feel like a tiny Lego man trying to climb up a hanging plant? Will this ever end???
Do you ever feel like a tiny Lego man trying to climb up a hanging plant? Will this ever end??? Will I ever reach the top???

This last week as kind of hard for me, but that’s just because I got really sick after a long string of hard things.

This little guy was throwing up so often, I had to keep a ton of towels under/around him...but he was still so happy!
This little guy was throwing up so often, I had to keep a ton of towels under/around him…but he was still so happy!

Monday, February 2nd, I started my fitness challenge…the day I woke up really sick. Thinking it was just a common cold, I continued to work out, but struggled to find the energy to keep eating, let alone take care of household chores.

For the last few months – going back to the week before Christmas – my entire family has been dealing with the grief of sick/hospitalized family.  My mother’s parents have not been doing well and since December my aunt Gail or Uncle Kevin (with occasional help from Mom or Uncle Keith) have been dedicating their time and energy to caring for and helping my grandparents for the transition that comes from failing health.

Stay focused and eat healthy!
Stay focused and eat healthy! I don’t take photos of all our meals, like last night, Salmon and broccoli over rice (I don’t care too much for rice, but Danny likes it! Maybe I can get him to start eating Quinoa instead…)

The only thing that the rest of us can do from far away is send our encouragement, or offer advice via group texting or by mail (My sister Kelsey mailed a family photobook she created from our reunion at Christmas and I believe my other Aunts mail treats too…), but we can’t be there physically to help.

My two year old got sick during the family reunion in Tulsa and after he started to get better, the baby got sick…never getting better, which resulted in the little guy taking antibiotics last week. Tuesday I started antibiotics. I am just now feeling better and more rested.

All the while, feeling grief over the inevitable loss of my grandparents, who are more like my second parents.  Now, for all I know, they could end up living another 5 or 10 years…but I’ve been struggling with their loss for awhile now.  As a deeply spiritual and believing person, I am confident I will see them in the afterlife. But, losing loved ones is never a simple thing.

Right now, I’m finding comfort in my family life. I am so happy with the blessings I have in my husband and children.

My husband took some aerial photos of campus. Jesse Hall under construction.
My husband took some aerial photos of campus. Jesse Hall, of Mizzou, under construction.

Danny has been helpful when he isn’t busy with school/studying. He has cheered me up immensely with the interesting things he is doing (one being aerial photography).

See the Pillars? After a fire many years ago, the pillars, alone, where still standing.
See the Pillars? After a fire many years ago, the pillars, alone, where still standing.

At the beginning of this semester Danny was officially accepted into the mechanical engineering program with an emphasis to study aerospace (hence the aerial photos).

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Snow day. “Our house, in the middle of the”…photo.

Even with a supportive husband, I’m alone a lot, especially lately – with all the sickness in our house – I’ve not been able to go out.

Danny, on the other hand, likes some pancake with his syrup. I grind my own wheat, throw in one or two bananas and some blueberries...mmmm.
Danny, on the other hand, likes some pancake with his syrup. I grind my own wheat, throw in one or two bananas and some blueberries…mmmm.

So, although it may seem as if this was a bad time to start a fitness challenge, I really believe it was the perfect time.  Exercise has been just what I needed to help boost me emotionally, physically and spiritually…it has kept me going and helped me to stay on track with eating healthy too.

Thank you Aunt Gail and Uncle Kevin for taking such good care of my Grandparents.  I wish I could be there with you all.  I know what you are doing is very difficult too – so continue to make time to recharge your personal batteries! I love you very much.

Our Favorite Medicine Is Pixar…among others

Our house has been experiencing some viral difficulties….the kind of viruses that don’t have vaccines.

First, the common cold.

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hey hey, look at Daddy’s arms, he’s been working out!

When you let your kids out in public people, your bound to pick up yucky viral demons that take over your body in an All Out invasion.

What’s a cold? Nothing too bad, unless you give it to a child who hates sleep even when he is 100% healthy.

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A non-sleeping baby is…

Stressing me out – which leads to an over consumption of sweets…Oreos, dark chocolate..you know what I’m talking about?

Obviously I compromised my immune system and got a cold too, which not cared for properly lead to a sinus infection!!! yeah, I love taking antibiotics (it’s more of a love hate, glad they exist/don’t like killing off all the good bacterias)!!

my son will watch Disney's film UP, over and over again...good thing it is a good movie.
my son will watch Disney’s film UP, over and over again…good thing it is a good movie.

Really, I am a “crunchy mama”, essential oil using, get exercise daily, drink nothing but water, take nutritional supplements every day kinda gal…

but somehow I let it go with the lack of sleep – I picked up comfort food.

Wiley had a friend come over on Monday...even though he was still recovering from a fever, I think the visit helped him bounce back...and gave me a short break.
Wiley had a friend come over on Monday…even though he was still recovering from a fever, I think the visit helped him bounce back…and gave me a short break.

We all recovered nicely from our stuffy heads and then my son got a fever that came out of NO-Where – he hasn’t even been to the church nursery in three Sunday’s (where he put every thing into his mouth and is surrounded by germ infested life forms known as other children…)!

A fever which lasted four days. A fever that had no other symptoms, no cough, no runny nose, no abnormal behavior and no rash when it was over.

Ah well, he is better now.

yes, her mother knew that Wiley was sick before she came over.
yes, her mother knew that Wiley had a fever before she came over.

So for almost a week, instead of playing outside all afternoon and getting chores done, I decided to put a movie on every day..or two movies.

We don’t have television channels, so when we ‘watch TV’ it means we watch a movie.

We usually go days without the TV on.

My son is enjoying the Mr Potato heads that his Aunt April gave him this summer!
My son is enjoying the Mr Potato heads that his Aunt April gave him this summer!

My son watching Pixar movies during the day and Mama watching Harry Potter movies in the evening is a great way, I think, to recoup.

Glad September is coming to a close…”wake me up, when September ends…”(lyrics to Green Day song).

Looking forward to October, the change in weather and LDS General Conference!

 

 

 

What Does Thermodynamics Got To Do With Flatulence?

Let me put my nerd cap on for just a minute. I am “just” a stay at home mom – best darn job I have ever had – so if I get the urge to think about my past academic life, please oblige me?

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Why is thermodynamics and flatulence on my mind today? Well, we have eaten navy beans and ham the last two days…and, the baby has gas.

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The baby always has gas – I love it when he squeaks one out.

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It also just so happens that I discovered WHY humans fart at the beginning of my Biochemistry class – that wasn’t part of the lecture – but the idea occurred to me during the lecture….just a few days before my first date with my future husband, where I proceeded to enlighten him on why humans fart. Classy.

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“Life Obeys the Laws of Thermodynamics” – “Life persists, because a system (a living organism) [YOU AND ME, we are “living organisms”] can be ordered at the expense of disordering its surroundings to an even greater extent.”

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We eat food – we take from our surroundings and place into our system – now Our bodies achieve order by “disordering (breaking down) the nutrients they consume.”

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We generate heat and work when we eat – and that heat goes somewhere or should I say escapes from somewhere; sometimes as a burp.

My baby burps.

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Does Thermodynamics explain snotty noses too? The cold is moving through the house…along with our crawling baby.