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.

An Occasion To Be Resilient: Facing Challenges

Danny borrowed a tandem kayak from some friends, to see how our son would take to it....
Danny borrowed a tandem kayak from some friends, to see how our son would take to it….

On Wednesday I began spotting…seeing as how pregnant women shouldn’t spot, I became worried. Thursday my husband left for a three day kayak trip. I took it easy, let the baby tear my room apart while I sat/laid in bed.

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As Thursday closed, I became more worried, but felt comfort in my Friday afternoon appointment with my M.D…but Thursday night brought no sleep and no comfort for me. I’ll not be graphic (appreciate?) and say, I lost a lot of blood and contracted so painfully from about midnight to 6am.

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Daddy’s job was entertain our son…it was a long weekend for us both.

It was so terrible, I passed out in the bathroom around midnight. At 5:30am I took some ibuprofen, texted Danny – hoping he had cell phone reception along the river – and told him to come home right away.

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Shaking, dehydrated, too nauseated to drink water I just moaned for relief until my NSAIDS (Ibu) kicked in. I slept two hours and woke soaked. I called the doctor’s office and told them the graphic details and asked if I should wait to see them at 1pm or go to the ER. I was instructed to go to the ER….too much blood lost. My brother Keegan drove me to the ER, where Danny met me with a wheelchair (I told him to stop being so dramatic, but really I was grateful).

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Danny was such a great help. He wanted to help me in any way and for some time on Saturday he rubbed my legs, my butt, my back, my head anything I asked. He couldn’t find the heating pad, so he made me two, a heated rice sock and a Nalgene with hot water in it. I was laying on the floor for some time in the most comfortable position I could find and he placed his laptop on its side with a movie so I wouldn’t dwell on how I was feeling. I have such a great support in him.

Here is our little prince, the miracle I gave birth to early last year.
Here is our little prince, the miracle I gave birth to early last year.

It’s been three days of transient labor-like activity/pain. I can honestly say this miscarriage has been more difficult than giving birth – emotionally – the pain is there, but going through this without the sweet union of a new babe to hold makes it seem pointless.

How I loved him before this last week, how I treasure him even more now.
How I loved him before this last week, how I treasure him even more now.

I thought about the Savior and His Atonement. The Savior suffered the deepest and most intimate pains for every single person who ever lived. He did this to free mankind from our suffering, addictions, temptations…He even did this for those who would never accept His message of hope, love and forgiveness.

I gots to keep him safe
I gots to keep him safe

I wont be able to hold a new infant on Christmas Day 2013, but I have made covenants with God and if I keep those covenants my entire life, I will be reunited with all of my loved ones again.

I’m grateful for the knowledge of this gift.

I'm grateful for my family.

I’m grateful for my family and I’m grateful for my supportive friends. It helps me be more resilient.

Saddling Up Anyway

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There is a small plate on my Dad’s office desk that has a picture of The Duke [John Wayne] that has a quote, “Having courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

I’m inspired by the many people in this world who have taught me how to “saddle up.” I see courage as a choice that billions of people around the world make everyday.

I read news articles, blogs and watch documentaries that illuminate people’s daily show down with courage.

I personally know people who have lost a child, a sister, a friend and they wake up everyday and keep moving forward – not moving on – moving forward. It is courageous to move forward when your heart is shattered.

I know people overwhelmed with work, school, health problems that meet each day with true grit. They don’t stay in bed weeping that life is too hard to face.

I once took care of a 22 year old former runner that lost the use of his legs. He was the most determined patient – barely standing and pushing his walker around the hospital unit with his foley cather and bag hanging in front for everyone to see his imperfection – he put those 50 year old bed ridden by their own lack of “gumption to succeed” to shame.

I think, when during the times of our greatest weakness , “imperfections” hanging like a banner for the whole world to see we are courageous and make weak things strong.

We can empower each other by not hiding our weakness and by allowing others to help us and by reaching out to others.

Some days, you just need to buy yourself some flowers to help you keep moving. Consider this your personal flower delivery – keep your chin up.