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.

Remembering the August Rose

I once heard that, “Memories help us remember the June roses during the winters of our lives.”  Well, my Nana was born August 1st, it was as close a June birthday as she would get.

With NannyShe was the third and last child to her mum and dad, born in England to Scottish parents. I’ve been told I looked like her as a child.

Nana’s house in the summer was a magic kingdom of sweets, swimming, make-believe and Solar Babies. We always had a bedtime snack and what my mother called, “junk cereal” for breakfast – it was awesome!

nanakateAs long as I can remember, Nana had silver hair and her face was ageless. She and Grandad would come to visit us when we lived in San Francisco, San Diego and Pennsylvania – they are dedicated grandparents.

In 1991, Nana would buy Bright Red wellington boots in England and bring them to me – I loved those boots and wore them everywhere.

During the summer of 1992, I went out to Oklahoma to spend the entire summer with my grandparents, alone. I was being home-schooled at the time and had gotten behind in my math and with my english paper on the Sioux Indians. Nana made me sit at the kitchen counter everyday and work on my math until it was completed.
Korf Castle

March 1993, I was so excited to visit England with my family. My Nana was born and raised in England, so I felt like England was a part of me, because I was a part of her. (The orange and brown coat was my favorite – I was devastated when I grew too big for it).

Summer of 1995, my dad decided to retire and move our family from California to Oklahoma…..away from his good job, my good friends and the ocean.  I was really disappointed about this at the time, but my dad wanted to be closer to his parents, siblings and my mother’s parents.

1997 – My sister was teaching me how to drive her manuel transmission car and I was only 15 – we drove by my Nana’s house and she was doing yard work in her front yard. We drove by honking and waving – later that day, when we got home, she called the house and said, “if I EVER see you driving without a license again – I’ll call the police on you myself.” I didn’t realize at the time, the police couldn’t arrest me – I was a minor – but I didn’t do anything stupid in front of Nana again; at least, not intentionally.

Forever PlaidNana and my Aunt Tina bought me a kilt on one of their shopping trips to Bath, UK and I wore it to my cousin’s Scottish wedding. I still wear that kilt during the winter months.

I attended college at The University of Tulsa, so I was able to stay close and frequently visit my Grandparents that lived near Oklahoma City.

In those visits, I recorded Nana’s stories and photographed her doing daily things

Garden FairiesTending her garden full of fairies and gnomes

TeaCUPDrinking Lipton’s Tea – which she said she has only had Lipton’s since she came to this country (1950’s) and only drinks English tea when she visits England…”and that because they don’t have any Lipton’s.”

SwaggerNana called everyone “Hey Guy” or “Love” even strangers – making everyone a friend.

She wore a necklace around her neck with several charms: a Christian symbol, a Jewish symbol, a Muslim symbol and something else, but she would say, “I believe all people are good.” She is correct, good people are good.

Her husband was her best friend and Her friendship with her children second only to her husband. Her grandchildren were her greatest treasures.

She passed away on December 30, 2009, My Father’s Birthday, after a short battle with cancer.

Nana chose for her memorial video to end with the song, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and finished off with Liverpool F.C.’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Because she is awesome and oh so right, we are never alone.

Angel

Keeping My Sabbath Day Holy