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]

GalvStatePark-14
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.

GalvStatePark-8
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.

GalvStatePark-2

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.

GalvStatePark-5

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.

GalvStatePark-15
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.

GalvStatePark-4
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).

GalvStatePark-26

We were also very broke when this happened.

GalvStatePark-18

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.

GalvStatePark-6
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.

GalvStatePark-25

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

GalvStatePark-28

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.

GalvStatePark-3

Then, I stop thinking and go to sleep.

GalvStatePark-19

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

GalvStatePark-13

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.”

GalvStatePark-27
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].

GalvStatePark-21
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.

GalvStatePark-22

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

GalvStatePark-9

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.

GalvStatePark-29
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.

“When things go wrong as they sometimes will…”

Family that gathered in Tulsa for Grampa and Gramma. So much love.
Family that gathered in Tulsa for Grampa and Gramma. So much love. Taken at the funeral home following this service.

My aunt Julie read a poem at Grampa’s funeral, one that he had found in a newspaper years ago and one that he shared with many, that was a much needed reminder to me – in many ways.

I have saved the xeroxed copy Grampa gave to me and I wanted to share it with you.

“Don’t Quit:

When things go wrong as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill

When the funds are low and the debts are high, and you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

20151009_212114
Potty training…a boy who has no interest in potty training.

When care is pressing you down a bit – Rest if you must, but don’t quit.

Life is queer with it’s twist and turns, as everyone of us sometimes learns,

He also doesn't like to wear diapers...
He also doesn’t like to wear diapers…

And many a fellow turns about, When he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow – you may succeed with another blow.

One week I started to intermittently got hives...on all my arms and legs...and bum.
One week I started to intermittently get hives…on my arms,legs and bum.

Often the goal is nearer than, it seems to a faint and faltering man.

Often the struggler has given up, When he might have captured the victor’s cup,

Still not quite sure why I got hives. They came and went throughout each day for a week...whilst we all had colds.
Still not quite sure why I got hives. They came and went throughout each day for a week…whilst we all had colds.

And he learned too late when the night slipped down…how close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out – the silver tint to the clouds of doubt.

The boys get a bit wild - tearing down my window curtains and peeing on my furniture.
The boys get a bit wild – tearing down my window curtains and peeing on my furniture.

And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far,

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

-Author Unknown”

I can get dinner made, at the cost of more work. And two constructive boys.
I can get dinner made, at the cost of more work. And two constructive boys.

I sent the following email to my younger brother in Africa last week:

I have been sick this week and I have a week and a half left of this pregnancy…

So, I slowly get anything accomplished – including emails.
After waking up today with a weird rash on my arms and legs, fighting a cold and…well, one other thing that left me feeling yucky the words of one of my favorite hymns came into my mind.
 Isn’t it great how the Spirit can bring such things into our remembrance? That’s why studying the things that matter are so important, they are a balm of healing when we are in need.
Anyway, the words to ‘Praise to the Man’ came into my mind, “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.” This pregnancy is a great sacrifice for me, some women love this time of creation – I don’t, I don’t love anything about it, except for the blessing that follows – I love my children.
Sacrifice isn’t a sacrifice unless is requires work, patience/long suffering, a bit of discomfort and times where you feel all alone.  It is our own personal mini-Gethsemane that we are called to walk through…though, unlike the Savior, we are not asked to walk it alone. 
I love quiet time with my sons.
I love quiet time with my sons. Wiley loves to “read” Calvin and Hobbs.
I know that I don’t walk this life alone, there have only been moments where I feel really lonely…usually after everyone in the house has gone to bed.
I’m awake, uncomfortable, aching, heartburning (I get nauseated from heartburn), and brain buzzing from the overproduction of hormones.
Half of this year's costumes - Hobbs.
Half of this year’s brother costume – Hobbs.

Although I’m far away from family and my closest friends, I have such a great support group of friends and acquaintances here in Columbia, Missouri – I am very grateful for my life and for the people in it.

Sunday's are the best - everyone usually takes a nap. Blessed Sundays.
Sunday’s are the best – everyone usually takes a nap. Blessed Sundays.

I’m grateful for this yearly time to reflect on the things we are grateful for – because when we stop to count our blessings, especially during times of trials – we can see how much we have.

If you have family or friends who love you like a family – then you are blessed.

now…I just need to remember this every day for the next six days, as I wait for this baby to arrive.

Daddy and Tyler creating art before bed.
Daddy and Tyler creating art before bed.

Peace and Comfort to those of you in this world who are truly suffering – you are in my prayers.

I (Chris Traeger) Literally Can’t Get Stressed Anymore.

The perfect storm of stress was probably the main reason I went into the hospital two weeks ago (and missed my sisters bridal shower – sad face indeed) for pre-term labor.

I had a lot of friends, who have experienced pre-term labor, give me great comfort in knowing that things will be okay – EVEN if I have more days like that again.

20150715_220402
Living room turns into the climbing/jumping zone.

So much happening right now, I haven’t been making the time to write or take quality photos with my good camera, so you all will have to settle for the photos taken by my cell phone camera; which has been dropped far too many times.

20150715_220405
Party time – Excellent – woo hoo woo hoo!

My husband has been really busy – gone for long stretches – and with me having to rest more often…things get a bit messy (which leads to more stress…I’m still learning to let that thing called, “a mess” go… but I’ve been a struggle).

My husband did have a weekend free (or took the babies to do some work one day) while I drove to Tulsa to visit my Grandparents – sans children – Gramma was admitted to the hospital for another fall.

Enjoying a nice cafeteria meal.
Enjoying a nice cafeteria meal.

I spent the entire weekend with her in her hospital room.

I brought her 50th wedding anniversary album - she stared at every page for a long time - relearning things.
I brought her 50th wedding anniversary album – she stared at every page for a long time – relearning things.

Sometimes she forgot who I was, thinking I was a nurse, she would ask me questions about myself (that she already knew about me)…she was always embarrassed when she realized who I was.

20150711_190028

I called her 10 days after I returned home and she asked if I knew she had been in the hospital. I reminded her that I was there with her the whole weekend. She felt bad about forgetting.

I’m just glad she still knows who I am when I call.  I have three remaining Grandparents and they cause me tears every now and then.

The weekend after my trip to Tulsa, my mother came up for a brief visit (for a Midwifery conference) and she and I went out shopping one afternoon.

Dress needs to be hemmed, but it was the right color, lightweight and comfortable. Took longer to find the right earring than the dress!
My 60 yr old mother – whistle – Dress needs to be hemmed, but it was the right color, lightweight and comfortable. Took longer to find the right earring than the dress!

She needed to find a dress for my sisters wedding (In August. In Houston, Texas. Because people still get married in Houston in the summer – I did).

For my trouble of helping her spend money on new clothes and jewelry, she bought me some make-up. The fancy kind of make-up I’m too poor to buy myself.

He came out to be with me
He came out to be with me

Since my husband had Scout Camp the week before our trip to Texas, and I was slowly loosing my sanity, there were many nights where I let my sons stay up late.

Wish I could still sleep anywhere...
Wish I could still sleep anywhere…

I was too worn out to fight the bed time routine.

Our trip to Texas was a teary one…Grandparents weren’t feeling up to a visit on our way down, and I got a call that our dog got into some trouble at my parents. I’m not overly fond of my dog in the, “I cuddle with him every day,” but I love that Boy and I was quite upset that he got in a scrap.

So, I cried.

When we arrived at my sister’s house, I was so happy to see her. She too is pregnant (currently 36 weeks and has more hustle than I do!) and two pregnant sisters together is a great comfort. We ‘get’ each other.

Doing laundry and watching T Rock trying to walk.
Doing laundry and watching T Rock trying to walk.

We normally divide our time between Danny’s family and my sister’s home, but I – not feeling well – have kept mostly to my sisters house (where she and her kids have been a great help when I need to rest).

Gregre and T
Gregre and T

The day after my hospital visit, we drove out to spend time with Danny’s family.  My boys just love their grandparents and great-grands (on both sides).  Normally Papa gets all the love, but this trip Little T Rock was loving on Gregre.

20150728_110311

Later in the week, my sister’s family and mine drove out to Papa and Gregre’s for lunch and the kids were happy playing and running about.  It really is a little slice of heaven out on their property and Danny’s family are all Southern Hospitality.

20150728_105945

Last week my mother in law took some time off work to take me shopping! And my sister in law offered to watch my two boys.  My boys had so much fun playing at her home.

Wiley swimming with his cousin K.
Wiley swimming with his cousin K.

A few days after our shopping trip, we went back to have dinner at my sister in law’s and when we pulled up, Wiley recognized the front door and said, “yeah, this is the good house.”

We have to drag them out of that pool!
We have to drag them out of that pool!

It seriously makes my day that my children love their family like they do.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.

Baby sister will live in her very first home come Friday when she and Jeremiah get married!!
Baby sister will live in her very first home come Friday when she and Jeremiah get married!! I do hope they landscape the heck outta that yard. 🙂

My baby sister gets married this Friday – last Friday, while she was at work – she and Jeremiah got the keys to their new home…which didn’t have electricity yet, but the family got them moved in (through 104 degree heat) anyway.

It was the day of the move, after spending so much time in the Texas heat, Danny said he wasn’t so sure about moving back to Texas…

So, uh, I have no idea what the future holds after graduation.

All his pants were dirty, so he is trying on some pink ones...don't tell anyone.
All his pants were dirty, so he is trying on some pink ones…don’t tell anyone.

I do know that we will have three children. 2 boys and 1 girl.

BabyGIRL

Before I Heard It, I Already Knew It.

On May 14, 2010 I wrote

“I imagined to myself, the place I existed in before
I came to the Earth. My feelings of excitement to
come to such a beautiful place were also accompanied by hesitance.

My Father in Heaven sat down with me at large,
heavenly dinning room table, like any home, the place were families talk.

I asked Him how I would navigate through life – with all of it’s twists and turns. He told me there would be trials, even asking me which trials I might be able to overcome and learn from while I lived upon the Earth. I was promised, with each trial came blessings through my obedience to the predicated laws. Included in those promised blessings were a list of special people who would lend support and encouragement throughout my life – I would in return be a blessing to their lives. I believe that I chose my life-trials, knowing that the Lord would send help and give me access to the light that would guide me safely back into His presence.

Leaving that heavenly dinner table, I was confident in the words of my Father and excited to do His work here on the Earth.

In the short time that I have been on the Earth, I have been given many blessings and made friendships that have brought me comfort and joy. I think about my conversation, as I imagine it, from time to time to remind myself that I chose to come here and I hope to always remember my Eternal heritage as a Child of God.”

Saturday night I heard Henry B. Eyring (of the LDS church, during the women’s meeting of LDS general conference) share similar views. That as daughters of God, He spoke with us, prepared us and assured us that help would be here during this mortal life.

I always knew it was true, but it brought me so much comfort to hear someone else express it.

It’s Been 84 Years, Here’s What Happened

This beautiful creature is 85 years old, the baby is 11 months.
This beautiful creature is 85 years old, the baby is 11 months.

In the last 84 years there have been so many discoveries and innovation.

Without trying too hard I can think of:

Velcro – “next to The Walkman and Tab, it’s the greatest invention of the twentieth century!” movie line from Girls Just Want To Have Fun, but it true.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cell Phones – which have and continue to undergo metamorphous, from the very first cell phone to the newest touch phone/computer/music player…I’m pretty sure my Great Grandparents couldn’t envision such devices.

Tampons – I’m a woman, I think of these type of things. I’m sorry women of the before and early 20th centuries, life was hard and I recognize that. Bravo!

Uncle Kevin, me, Aunt Gail
Uncle Kevin, me, Aunt Gail

NASA – Orbiting the earth, walking on the moon, exploring the universe is something our grade school kids of today take for granted, “yeah, pffft, we walked on the moon, satellites? like, hello? my cell phone has GPS!”

Transportation – trains, planes and automobiles. This encompasses many new modes of transport. In the original Back To The Future film, there was a hover craft…not too far off base from some of the stuff people are creating now, stealth jets, super sonic trains, and speedboats…without which we could not water ski or wakeboard.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) reconstruction – I know this, because my maternal grandfather, who was born 84 years ago, pioneered ACL reconstruction. He is a brilliant retired orthopedic surgeon and my close friend.

He was born in March 1928, on a poor farm in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. During the Depression, his family didn’t know there was a depression, they were always poor and struggling…life went on as usual.

Grampa White
Grampa White

With hard work, Grandpa White worked his way through college and medical school, eventually graduating from the University of Oklahoma a married man with a baby on the way (my mother). He and Gramma went on to have 5 more children. He started a large and prosperous medical clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

DSC_1343

 

I am grateful for the good examples in my life and thank God every day for my good family. I have been blessed in this life and I recognize that.

Happy Birthday Grampa White. The world wouldn’t have been the same without you in it.